Last week was the first week of my full time self employment. It's been a long time coming; I've been working 40+ hour weeks for the four years that I've been part of the Spitfire Sisters, and although it has been completely rewarding and fulfilling, and I've loved both of the employment parts of my life, it came to a point over Christmas 2014 where - after a long talk with Louisa and Anna during a car journey to a gig - I thought enough is enough. I am tired. I want to sing. Something has to go.
Making the decision to leave my full time 9-5 was the hardest decision I've ever had to make. I moved to London to study for my MA and I was lucky enough to score a dream job to work at, alongside going to classes and hitting the library. The friends I made at my job are friends I will have for life, and it was very hard to say goodbye.
Despite all the sadness, however, I still knew I was doing the right thing. I can finally say that I am a full time, professional singer, and that is incredibly satisfying. Being a part of The Spitfire Sisters has not only become a major part of my life, but it has also changed my life completely, and I am ridiculously happy about that.
Week One of Professional Singing was busy and intense and probably not indicative of how the first few months of self employment are going to go. I imagine there will be days at a time with no gigs, no work and - don't panic Castleman - no money. I'll endeavour for that not to happen, but I'm prepared. I hope.
Monday was spent getting my flat together. I moved in January, but haven't spent much time there due to gigs and work etc. It was so nice to finally think about how I'm going to use the space and think about where I'm going to work, what I'm going to need to get organised, and where am I going go in the flat when I want to get away from the life admin. There's still some rearranging to do, but it is so wonderful to come home to a space that I want to spend time in.
Tuesday I spent my day waiting for British Gas. That's probably all I need to say about Tuesday. It did give me an opportunity to do some tax related spreadsheets though. Dear reader, I'm sure you can feel the excitement I am feeling as I type that sentence through your computer.
On Wednesday, I got to take part in a short film by Escelion Films entitled Falcon. Without giving too much a way, I play a barmaid and a lounge singer. I have worked as both, which practically makes me a method actor (haha). I was incredibly nervous, especially as I haven't had to learn lines for about seven years, but the crew were incredibly professional and made me feel right at ease. I've got another day of filming coming up in the next couple of weeks, but in the mean time, here's a photo of me 'in the moment':
On Thursday The Spitfire Sisters were REUNITED AND IT FELT SO GOOOOOOOD. We had a vocal rehearsal to work on Louisa's newest creation (spoiler alert: it's EPIC) and then went to visit Spitfire friend and beautician extraordinaire Laura Lewis. She pampered us with some Shellac in her salon, which was a true Spitfire treat.
Friday was a big day for us here at Spitfire HQ - we were invited to perform live on BBC Radio Solent! It was such an amazing experience for us. You can listen to us here; we're on from 2:05:00 for about half an hour.
We took a few of our band members with us, and talked about how we got started, what made us think we were on to a good thing, and what we have coming up - particularly our very exciting concerts at Hinton Ampner in July! Tickets are available here.
Saturday and Sunday was taken up by me attending a stag do of one of my oldest friends - I feel like you don't need to see any images from that.
My overwhelming thought after my first full week is that if I'm going to continue to be this busy (which I hope I am) I need to be careful, because living out of a suitcase is hard. I've mentioned on a previous blog post that I suffer from Fibromyalgia and have to be conscious about what I eat and drink. Going from place to place and not stopping for proper meals means that I get run down and suffer from various violent aches and pains. I'm going to have to be prepared for all eventualities and make sure that I always have things I can eat! Websites that have really helped me out with this include Deliciously Ella and Hemsley and Hemsley - I have both of their cookbooks and they are filled with amazing healthy recipes that are easy to whip up and snacks to take on the go. I also make sure I have a few of these delicious Nakd bars with me at all time; the Ginger Bread bar is particularly amazing!
I won't blog my diary every week, but it's been such an exciting change for me that I couldn't resist sharing. Let me know if you have any tips for living out of a suitcase/staying focused when you're self employed/recovering from stag dos!