Creating my own nostalgia

Nostalgia is a sensation that most people enjoy experiencing. This would be because it reminds everyone of a previous time that was better, happier, more golden.

Most people look back on their childhood and think these things, I am no different. It was in particular when doing this book cover design project that during the process I felt nostalgic for the time when I was excited and full of belief in magic and fairies and stories that my dad would tell me before bed.




The Mobile

This was gifted to me by my best friend as I left for university a year ago. It is only now that its significance has hit me. I think a lot of people would look at this and think to themselves ‘what a strange gift’, why would this be given to a friend as they go to university? A mobile? As in the thing used to soothe babies and children as they go to sleep? And I can agree, it is a very strange gift to give to an 18 year old girl with no plans whatsoever to have children in the near future, however I still see this as one of the most thoughtful and loving gifts I have received.

I’ve watched her go through a lot, in our 7 years of friendship she has conquered and accomplished more than anyone I know. Obviously it is not my place to disclose the hardships and emotions here. What is most important is that she is a beautiful artist and that is often the only thing that is shown and made visible to everyone around her.

There is one other person in her life that has received the same gift and to them it was a more logical gift, it was her therapist who was leaving her job as she was having a baby. I know how much that person meant to her, how much she has helped her to become the person she is today.

Every single element of this mobile means something to her and to me that is incredible. The colours of the thread, the origami, even the frame. It’s all significant.

I know to from another person this just sounds so silly, but we all have these objects that hold so much personal meaning yet to another its deemed useless and insignificant.

She has left me the best thing to remember her by.


Learnt along the way

I’m currently just over a month into my first term at university studying Graphic Communication, and yes, I am experiencing all the classic living away from home for the first time things. I’ve attempted to be experimental with meal times which has come to a range of conclusions starting with ‘this is the worst thing I have ever done, oh my god I would rather be eating the vomit of a dog’ to ‘I am a genius cook and every one should bow down to me for I am the lord of food’… I tend to react in extremes, makes life more exciting. I’ve also met some brilliant people and made some wonderful memories – some of which resulted with a headache and dodgy stomach the next day (felt like the best way to break up the cliché).

I decided that I wanted to record my experience and development at uni, mostly as a designer but also in life because it’s always fun to look back. This will possibly become a little series here. The word “possibly” reflects how bad my track record has been with posting recently… I want to get better.

  1. Try Everything. Probably the most overused and cliché phrase on this list, but I guess that’s why it’s so true. Sign up for every workshop/society/event, you never know who you will meet and where you will find a new skill. Maybe it won’t work out, maybe it will be the best decision you’ll ever make.
  2. Always do a draft. It’s just a good idea and makes sure you actually know what your doing. Too many times I have just gone straight in and realised half way through I have no clue what I’m doing and it ends up just being a hot mess.
  3. Don’t take criticism to heart. As long as it’s constructive it is useful.
  4. There is no point living your life striving for acceptance and affirmation from others who don’t deserve it. This is something that I guess I’ve always been learning, but it’s hit me hard here. One of my flatmates who also is on my course has possibly not been the nicest to me in regards to my ability as a designer or just treating myself (and many others) in a respectful way. Although it is mostly in jest, I have found myself feeling very hurt by comments said yet I still feel a need to gain appreciation and acceptance. So I guess I’m still learning with this one, but I am getting better at just living for me and calling out others on their shit.
  5. Your strengths may lay in different places. To me, when I first started the course, it seemed like evrybody had their shit together and could basically do everything within the subject. This obviously isn’t true, everybody has something they need to learn, even if they are too proud to admit it.



I don’t so much have a desire to travel, more a desire to see something new. With only three weeks left of lessons before I leave school forever it is not surprising that I am feeling a whole mix of emotions! To talk about all of them would make this way too long and way too complicated, so I’ve decided to focus on them one at a time.

The feeling today;’ Wanderlust’, (this word may not be the perfect fit, but I couldn’t find a word that could better describe my feelings).  I’m feeling the frustration of having to wait so long until I am free from the pressures and stress that A Levels bring. Excuse the cliché, but it just seems so close yet so far! The summer holidays just seem like a time that will never arrive, so I have found comfort in looking through old photos of holidays of the past. Last year’s in particular since I had inherited a camera and made a real effort in trying to put it to it’s full arty use. Some of these photo’s turned out rather well, so I thought I would share my high quality holiday snaps, like you would do at a family gathering.

This is Southwold, a place I hold very close to my heart since I first went there when I was six or seven years old. It’s a seaside town, with it’s beautiful statement coloured beach huts lining the entire beach, making it look oh so aesthetically pleasing. As you can see here I had a little go with the fancy portrait shots, the top one being myself taken by my sister Kate, and the other two being Kate looking suave in her faux fur coat.

The other trip we took was to France, this was my first experience of a road trip style adventure as we went from town to town seeing all the gorgeous views as well as taking in our fair share of museum trips, much to the dismay of my siblings. My standout memory from this was the MuCem in Marseille, due to it’s slightly peculiar appearance that lent itself to creating some rather lovely photos.

Moving onto Arles, where the museum giddiness took over and we all just posed with our favourite Roman pot, used to transport goods. With a classic cheesy family snap to top it all off (minus mum and Cameron).

Sorry this post has been so higgledy piggledy, I guess that’s just how my life is! I wanted to share and so I thought; what the hell! The message I think I am trying to communicate is that I am incredibly excited for what the summer will hold, as I plan to take many adventures and see as many cool things as possible, yet as of current I am spending most of my time stuck inside doing past paper after past paper, waiting for this extravaganza to arrive.



The Introduction

This is where I hope I will record my life. And by life, I mostly mean creatively; expressing my love for all things that excite me, recording the adventures I go on and taking encouraging myself to take photos of every adventure and exploration I go on and just generally create my own little archive on the internet. Cliché, I know. Just as I know that it is impossible to write an introduction without it being incredibly awkward, so I guess I’ll just have to stick through this.

I’ve always enjoyed the idea of writing, but it’s never been something I’ve felt that I have been particularly good at. That is why so many ideas for stories have been scrapped, my many previous attempts at blogs have been deleted and diaries abandoned. This brings about the question, ‘Why try again?’ I guess i’m just optimistic that one day it will stick and I will be able to convert my enjoyment of the idea into an enjoyment of the reality (I think I just threw up in my mouth, that was the most awful cheesy things I have said, possibly ever).

Now the rambling from my deep and philosophical mind must come to an end (please note the sarcasm), as I move onto the fun ‘here’s a few things about myself section’. I think I’ll just settle with 5 facts of varying excitement:

  1. My full name is Jessica Lucy Downie, and I was born June 19th 1998 (making me 17 at the time of writing this)
  2. I live in England and have done so all my life, I was born in London and moved to Hertfordshire when I was two. Then I was joined by my two younger siblings.
  3. I am a graphic design fanatic – plan on doing it at university next year and to be frank I am a fanatic of all art and design forms which often leads to me being considered incredibly pretentious/hipster/geeky when I spurt my excitement and knowledge all over my friends.
  4. I played Alice from Alice in Wonderland in my school play when I was 11 years old, and to this day I have always felt a very strong connection to the story and character. I’m never sure whether this should be concerning or not since i’ve learnt the context of the story. This also sparked my enthusiasm for drama, I absolutely love the theatre darling.
  5. My favourite colour is ultramarine blue. I realise how pretentious that sounds, it’s just a great shade of blue.

Now that the important stuff is out of the way, I can now try to keep this going and not mess things up.