It’s been a long time since I’ve felt like blogging anywhere, despite having so many and varied outlets for my written thoughts. Something which was once essential to my wellbeing and happiness (my “oversharing online” as more than one person has put it in the past) and something which for some years I did daily, gradually became an impossible task, and then the longer I left it, the worse the block became.

I almost wrote “shamefully” to describe how long it’s been, and then realised that this is my business and my life, and there is no shame in putting something down for a while, or feeling like you can’t do something for a while, and returning to it when you can. (although I am very relieved that I have found my way back to it).

I’ve still been writing, sort of – morning pages most days, journalling & coaching homework, and I FINISHED MY FIRST BOOK (watch this space, it’s nearly ready to be shared with the world). I’ve been documenting my life in my insanely detailed annual plan & monthly check in, and I have lists of things that I could share in an annual roundup post for 2021, 2022 and 2023. Probably 2020 too, actually. But I’ve written exactly none of those roundup posts, and very little of anything else online in between.

Why did I stop?

(Spoiler alert – I don’t know exactly!)

I couldn’t tell you exactly, or succinctly, what has been getting in the way of the writing & sharing online habit which has been part of my whole adult life. I started blogging in the summer of 2004, knowing that I was heading off to university in September and wanting to have somewhere to record my adventures. That first blog is, thank god, not online any more – it was an unholy cross between a personal diary and an open letter to anyone who wanted to know what uni was like, and it was bewilderingly titled “You wouldn’t just put a hamster in your mouth, would you?”.

If you too started your online journey in those hazy, Wild West days, you’ll know that under no circumstances did you use your real name, and there was a definite trend for using random quotes instead of, you know, descriptive and helpful titles. Mind you, it was also the time when SEO consisted of writing sex-related words in white font on a white background repeatedly. How times do change.

*claws own attention back from delightful tangent about what the internet was like 20 years ago*

So here I am, finally writing online again, but without a particularly clear idea of why I stopped or why I have started again. I know some of the reasons – there has been overwhelm, exhaustion, freeze; distinctly un-brilliant mental health in patches; an insane schedule; an unplanned studio move; family stuff; and it’s no secret that while I am excellent at many things, I don’t do any of them regularly because that just isn’t how my brain works.

I actually think the last year or so has been the main fallout of the pandemic for me – trying to figure out what my life, emotions and business look like and how to rebuild them all after that absolute shitshow has been harder than I expected.

Living alone is one of the great joys of my life, but it was also bloody difficult having sixteen weeks where I was legally not allowed to touch another human being, have them inside my house, or go inside theirs, especially while I was still in the depths of grief after losing my Dad. I have definitely not fully processed this yet.

Perfectionism & “shoulds”

The “shoulds” of marketing a business also got into my head and in the way – my love-hate relationship with social media has been front & centre, making me feel bad for not posting often, and then making me feel bad when I do post, and just generally fucking with my head, as social media is wont to do. I had a wonderful revamp of my main email newsletter, here for my brand photography, and then sent a couple of emails and a re-engagement sequence, launched a brand story worksheet, and promptly hid in a hole and have not sent an email for the best part of 18 months. Oops.

I also definitely fell into the trap of trying to write content that Google would find appropriate for my SEO, and which my brand photography audience would find helpful – but in trying to do those two things perfectly, and in trying to separate out everything I write about to fit it into the correct box / website / social media account so Google wouldn’t penalise me for duplicating, I lost the joy in it.

Essentially, I have now just divorced the algorithm from my process entirely. I am one very multifaceted human with real thoughts about lots of subjects, and with different businesses & online outlets which happen to overlap.

I am not a bloody robot looking for viral “content” and penalising anything that doesn’t fit my very narrow box of “what this website is about”. (I know SEO is a great tool, and it works for me sometimes – but I am over stressing about it and not writing anything as a result!)

So I will write what I want, where I want, and I will leave the search results in the hands of the gods / stars / robot overlords.

What changed?

Along with the unwavering support of Mum and my incredible friends, there have also been some big changes, in no particular order, which I think have contributed to me being able to write again:

  • In October 2023 I unexpectedly moved studios, to a new and glorious combined space with an office & reception/gallery, at the bottom of Wivenhoe. (it’ll be open for 17-19th May 2024 as part of the Wivenhoe Art Trail, if you fancy a cuppa or hot chocolate!)
  • In February 2024 we closed the subscription side of Ink Drops after 11.5 years of continuously delivering stationery happiness through letterboxes. The online shop remains open and is doing well, and while everyone else appears to be sadder than we are about it, it was absolutely the right decision.
  • Just over a year ago I lost my godmother suddenly. In itself this was horrific, but it was another reminder that we only get one wild & precious life.
  • ADHD meds and coaching are continuing to help me figure out how to adult, how to do the stuff I have always struggled to do, how to do the stuff I have always gone into flow doing but also remember to eat / drink / sleep / pee, and how to be fully myself but also not be a hot mess the entire time. And also how to play – which is definitely a key thing for me to be able to function as Carla, rather than as a sad exhausted version of me.
  • An incredible book, Single at Heart by Bella DePaulo, which my story features in, was published in December 2023. Reading my own story and Bella’s, and the other single at heart people she interviewed, has given me a fresh boost of inspiration & gratitude for my life choices.
  • Relatedly, February 2024 marked my tenth singleversary, and I celebrated with an eternity ring and a visit to meet a friend’s new kitten. I have never been happier relationship wise than I am now, fully established as solo, and I intend for this to be my permanent state.
  • Two severe bouts of sciatica have reminded me how lucky I am to be generally and ordinarily mobile, if not as flexible as I was in my teens. I know it’s a cliche, but I vowed during the first one that I’d never take turning over in bed or getting downstairs for granted ever again.
  • I have just returned from my third writing retreat, and while I knew at the first one this was going to be a great experience, the connection and support we have formed with one another is something truly magical on a very deep level.
  • And I got my colourful hair back this January after a two year gap, and I know it’s just hair, but I feel more like me than I have done for ages.

And of course there’s a whole lot more that’s gone on, but that slightly random list of mostly unconnected things feel like somehow between them have released my blocks and given me my voice back. And it feels BLOODY MARVELLOUS.

Blogging and dancing have always been my therapies of choice – you cannot think about anything except what your feet are doing while you’re dancing, or you fuck it up spectacularly. And writing my thoughts online is what I have always done, it’s how I process things. I started blogging after I stopped competitively dancing, but I have never stopped dancing – and I hope I never will. It was beyond weird to not be blogging, while simultaneously suffering some reading blocks too – but I did at least hang onto dancing while it was happening. Am fervently hoping all three are now back to stay!

So, what am I doing now?

Business wise, not too much has changed except my premises – more on that in a different post! I’m still 80% photography, mostly magical brand photography (here at and then fantasy, mermaid & main character photography & art over at Google hates me for having two very similarly named business which are both photography based… but that’s ok.

I’ve created a couple of new accounts on Instagram to showcase & collect my colourful, magical, weird & wonderful life – @colourfulmagicalweirdo is a semi-personal diary type one, and @colourfulmagicalhome is for my home & DIY / restoration adventures.

The podcast I co-host with Sarah Wayte Creative, Creative Reboot, is in its 7th season and going strong, and Ink Drops as noted above is now the happiest stationery shop in the UK, but is no longer a subscription service.

TEMPRD Chocolate, my family business which launched in 2020, has gone from strength to strength and astounds me on a daily basis – I am in awe of what we’ve created! I’m not massively involved in the day to day because of my own businesses, but I do still do some events at Christmas, and the wrappers / emails / general marketingy bits that come up.

I still have my lifestyle blog Carla Louise, although it is very very infrequently updated these days. There’s a series of posts about my ADHD journey which are set to private but which I may release out to the world at some point.

In terms of new things, I’m working on updating & re-releasing the stash of downloads & PDFs, planners & courses that were up online until the VAT disasters of 2014, and obviously have added to them since. PDFs and such can be found at Colourful Magical Studio (@colourfulmagicalco on Etsy and Instagram), and there is an academy in the works which I’ll talk about when it’s ready to launch. Neither of which has much in the way of content right now, but it’s coming together slowly.

And of course Luna & Clover are still here, still extremely silly, and still the absolute loves of my life. They’ll be 11 in June, which makes my brain hurt, and I still suspect that I have one dragon and one owl in disguise rather than two cats, but I love them and they make everything better, when they’re not causing me massive anxiety with their weird health issues!

Ok, that’s probably enough for a first post in a million months – if you made it this far, thank you both for reading it all and for still being here to read it. And I hope to keep writing now I’ve started again!

Comments on the blog are not switched on because spam, but I would love to know what you’ve been up to and if anything resonated – so many people have had so many different experiences of the last few years! You can email me –, and I’ll keep an eye on social media comments too <3