A Stitch in Time!

January 19, 2020 — 83 Comments

This month I have to be the project leader for my own career. It requires a slightly different approach and tempo than when I am working on a role for an opera company as I have to fix my own schedule, set my own goals, and establish deadlines for these tasks. I personally find that I work well under strict deadlines, this is what has enabled me to push myself to complete the memorisation tasks of new musical scores that seem daunting at first. I now need to explore different methods so that I can make the best use of my time whilst preparing for multiple projects with different timelines, which often overlap. To focus on how best to direct my energy to ensure that I can take each piece through the various stages necessary to take a piece from good to great.

I am preparing for auditions, a competition, a recital, and learning new arias and songs to add to my repertoire for the future. I hope to gain some more performance opportunities in the coming months and I want to be planning ahead now on how I will manage the additional workload so that I can deliver my best performance possible for each event

To help in my self-preparation I plan in regular coaching sessions with both my singing teacher Rosa Mannion and my excellent repertoire coach Andrew Robinson. They help me to focus on my deadlines by breaking down each larger task into smaller achievable goals which I can work on in between my sessions.  Always working towards the larger goals over several months.

This month I also had a super opportunity to have a coaching with the delightful British Mezzo Soprano Kitty Whately.

Mezzo Soprano, Kitty Whately

I heard Kitty perform at Wigmore Hall last year and enjoyed many of her recordings, especially her album “Nights not spent alone” where she performs songs by Jonathan Dove, alongside my good friend and coach Simon Lepper. I had the pleasure of meeting and hearing Kitty sing at a celebration held for Jonathan Dove in December 2019. Later I was thrilled that she agreed to work on the interpretation of English Song with me and help me add a little fairy dust to my pieces, as a bonus she advised me on how I could prepare future pieces.

In my first month of my voyage of 2020, I would love to hear from you, my friends and fellow bloggers. I have visited your sights and seen so much talent for the arts, literature, film, food, travel, spirituality and your life passions, (to name but a few). How do you find ways to manage different projects, prioritise goals and bring your own ideas and projects to fruition?  I believe in learning through others and I want this year to be the best one yet!

To inspire you to share, I want to share a beautiful story about my dear friend Hilary Birkin.

I’ve known Hilary since I was 11 when she created my costume for the role of the young Cosette in Les Miserables. It would be my first role at Knutsford High School, where I would later attend for my secondary education. She has worked tirelessly on so many school productions before, during and after my time at Knutsford High School, making sure we all felt beautiful and confident to strut our stuff in our solo song, a dance number or as part of the ensemble chorus. Everyone was made to feel important and I learned so much through her attention to detail and professional approach.

After graduating from Knutsford High School, Hilary and I have kept in touch and she has been supporting me by following and contributing to my blog.

My Drawings For The Twelve Days Of Christmas

Six years ago, in December 2013 I decided to run a 12 Days of Christmas competition on my blog where I drew the Dozen Gifts the songs describe for one of my blog friends to win. Janice Spina was a worthy winner and to my amazement, she had the drawings framed after I posted the originals to her.  I was so pleased that she got as much enjoyment from receiving them as I did when I drew them.

The Images Framed By Janice Spina

However, unbeknownst to me, Hilary had been following the competition and saw these drawings and was struck by an idea. She quickly got in touch with my father (luckily) before the pictures were sent to Janice in America and asked for a scan of the images. With the secret vision of making a Quilt.

Hilary imagined that this quilt would be created out the 12 images replicated using embroidery and cross-stitching. Her Husband, helped her to expand the scanned images from miniature to the desired size and then the work began. She started by copying the designs onto embroidery linen, which had been a gift from an elder relative, adding a little extra sparkle to this handmade gift. Then, using a lightbox she would copy the illustrations and then begin stitching, all whilst paying attention to the detail of color and pencil markings.

Hilary would work on one square at a time. The twelve squares have been popped into her bag, accompanied her on many travels, visited many relatives, and been a creative constant over the past several years.

The final designs she brought together with the help of her daughter and with tips from her quilting group, with whom she meets on retreats occasionally throughout the year. When she invited me to spend some with her during my last visit home you can imagine how thrilled I was that she presented me with this fabulous piece of art.  Such a personal gift from a wonderful friend.

Me and Hilary With Her Fabulous Quilt ( click to enlarge )

I am utterly in awe of her creation. The patience, care, love, and attention to the smallest detail that she has shown throughout the creation of this beautiful piece of embroidery. I feel very lucky to have her as a friend and I am so grateful to have this memory from the start of my blog, which has so deeply influenced my life and work. This beautiful gift will take pride of place in our new home and I will treasure it always.

Thank you, Hilary.

83 responses to A Stitch in Time!

  1. 

    I wish i thought i had something useful to offer, Charlotte. My blog, as you know, is about comment, criticism, celebration and memories, but it’s also a sideline that i depend on only for creative fulfillment (and sanity!). I have various regular series that run the same day every week. i also have my own writing, which proved incompatible with the blog for several years, an obstacle that i overcame by a peculiar collaboration. Each of these things require time, but each requires a different level of time commitment. For some, i st aside specific periods, to watch somethng I intend to comment upon then blog, others i build things up when time permits, sometimes getting ahead of myself to schedule things for later publication. Some are spur of the moment responses. And it helps to not have a life to get on with at the same time, so writing can always take a priority. The only ‘rules’ i can suggest are to understand what each project needs, and to devote your time to it accordingly. A Sunday Film Blog involves choosing a film in advance (usually the night before0, watching in peace and quiet, researching the background then synthesizing all you’ve learned into a whole. is that any different to your usual preparations, in essence?

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 20, 2020 at 7:03 pm

      Dear Martin you and your creative writing are so useful and interesting to me. Learning how you prepare your film blog in advance and understanding that blogging can both be prepared or written when an idea captures you momentarily. I think the main thing I will take away is your understanding of the duration of a particular task and how this affects the priority of completing it in comparison to others. I wish you great energy to continue your writing flow!

      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

  2. 

    What a beautiful gift! You are so lucky to have made such wonderful friends along your path. But of course, it’s not luck; you touch people in a special way, clearly.
    As for hints about managing you work schedule: I use calendars, including printed ones and computer calendars that send me reminders. I have to check each morning what I have in the next day or so, and what needs to be done that day. I use colored inks on the printed calendar, to indicate hard deadlines for writing projects (red), general periods when more flexible projects need to be worked on (green) and performances, rehearsals and meetings that I might attend (blue). Fortunately I’m retired, so some of these are more or less voluntary, but without the multi-level lists I could never organize these different events and deadlines. And without the computer reminders, I would never get to my appointments.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 20, 2020 at 7:03 pm

      Thank you for your sweet words. I like to think I have been lucky to encounter such kindness and generosity from people and I try to return this in any way I can.

      I take great joy from reading how you organise your working schedule using colour. It quickly tells how the work is divided and what preparation it could entail. I will definitely start thinking about how I can categorise my work so that I can see at a glance

      I would love to hear more about your green category. Does a time/day become green, if you know you have free time available and therefore you can do a personal growth task or do you designate a percentage of your time to long term (green) goals so that you stay on top of them?

      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

  3. 

    Wonderful story, dear Charlotte! To keep it mind how patience helps us to move on no matter difficulties! Good luck with your competitions! Looking forward to your email! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 20, 2020 at 7:04 pm

      That is very good advice! Sometimes the challenges I face during practise seem to improve minutely for a while and then suddenly amalgamate. But if I haven’t been patient to the process it will not reach a positive result.

      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

  4. 

    Congrats and God Bless

  5. 

    The quilt Hilary made is lovely, Charlotte, and I enjoyed the introduction to Kitty Whately, too. Wishing you the best in 2020.

    My method of handling projects is probably not terribly helpful. I used to try to do everything full tilt. We took care of my husband’s mother until she died, and I found that approach ruined my health. I’ve recovered from that, and now assist another relative in need, but I have to break it down to what is most important to get done that day. Certain tasks might get me ahead in some areas, but can set me behind on what is crucial that day.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 20, 2020 at 7:05 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to share your advice with me. I find your strength to look after loved ones during difficult times empowering. But your understanding of self as a result is very interesting to me. It is very mindful to be aware that the short successes of completing a task, even if it is not relevant to your daily needs can be a distraction. It brings me back to the necessity of prioritisation and it seems a good place to begin when planning.

      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

  6. 

    Really enjoyed this post Charlotte. Being disciplined as a freelance writer requires good organisation and for creative people we have to work at it. Follow your passions and that should help too but being organised reduces the stress.
    Loved the story of your art and the quilt your friend lovingly created. Sharing our artistic endeavours with others is such a beautiful gift.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 20, 2020 at 7:13 pm

      Thanks for dropping by and joining in the conversation. I have found the help, encouragement, and advice provided by my blog friends over the years has taught me so much and I value each and every comment and suggestion. I am glad you enjoyed the post and thank you for your kind words about Hilary’s beautiful creation.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  7. 

    What a great post Charlotte and what a fabulous gift off Hilary! I love the quilt. How clever she is! 👏👏👏👏

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 20, 2020 at 7:05 pm

      Dear Gilly,
      It truly is a spectacular Quilt, thank you for your sweet words and admiration of Hilary’s creative skill. She is a superstar, like you!

      Best wishes,
      Charlotte

  8. 

    Marvelous surprise – how lovely! Warmest wishes for your 2020

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 20, 2020 at 7:14 pm

      A marvelous surprise is certainly a brilliant way to describe the joy that this gift gave me.

      Thank you for commenting Sheila.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  9. 

    It sounds like you are doing well gearing up for 2020. That quilt is fabulous, and what a wonderful and beautiful gift. Your drawings are wonderful and she did a fantastic job reproducing them on the quilt. You are truly blessed, and everyone is truly blessed by you.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 20, 2020 at 7:15 pm

      Thank you for your sweet blessings Tim. It was such a thoughtful creation and I’m very happy to be snuggle up with my new Quilt during these Wintry evenings.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  10. 

    A beautiful Quilt, Charlotte. Such a good friend. My advice on achievement of goals is to write ten of them down on a piece of paper. Fold the paper and put in your pocket. The goals will talk to you until you get them accomplished. It is imprortant that you touch the paper each day and best if you carry it with you at all times.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 20, 2020 at 7:15 pm

      I love this Idea! It feels like the piece of paper is magical and will give me boosts of energy to complete my goals! I like that you return to looking at it and that the goals don’t become lost in one page of a thick journal. They become part of your life and remind me of how Hilary took the embroidery squares with her until completion. You are always full of nuggets of wisdom! Thank you.

      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

  11. 

    The artwork and quilt are spectacular!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 20, 2020 at 7:16 pm

      Thank you for your lovely compliment. I have not thought about these drawings for a while and once I saw the quilt, lots of memories came flooding back and the enjoyment I had when drawing them. A magical moment.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  12. 

    People are drawn to you. Or quilted to you 🙂

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 20, 2020 at 7:17 pm

      What a witty and delightful response. Thank you, I shall keep endeavouring to return my friend’s kindness.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  13. 

    What a beautiful quilt, Charlotte. As a former quilter and now an embroiderer, I can appreciate the work that went into it! What a lovely job you did with the drawings!
    You are learning to be a multi-tasker – a trait of all professional women – which can sometimes be an uphill battle. I can also empathize with learning a score in a foreign language. I am taking a Gaelic course at the U of North Carolina – what a challenge. You are continuing to grow and soon will be able to mentor students yourself!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 20, 2020 at 7:19 pm

      It is lovely to hear that you quilt and now experimenting with embroidery. I wish you good luck with your creations.

      How fascinating that you are working in Gaelic, I have a few Welsh and Scottish friends who can speak their Celtic/Gaelic languages and it has such a musical lilt when spoken. Perhaps use this to your memorising advantage! I would love to hear why have you chosen to study it in more detail?

      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

      • 

        This language is HARD. It does have a lilt to it, especially when you elide through the words as the Gaelic speakers do. We are heading to Scotland in September on a Smithsonian tour and will return on our own the following year to do the islands. I thought it would be nice to be able to speak a little Gaelic along the way, if I survive this course! Then I have to persuade the professor to offer a year 2!
        Slainte math!

  14. 

    Wonderful quilt. I am personally in awe of you the way you memorize the music scores. I don’t know how you do it. 👍

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 20, 2020 at 7:19 pm

      Thank you for your charming comment. Perhaps I shall use it to inspire me to write a blog post about memorisation and my methods. The common theme to most of my methods is repetition. I choose to find lots of different methods to keep my imagination stimulated otherwise it can quickly become a task similar to writing lines in a classroom detention. It must be fun!

      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

  15. 

    Wow, what a gift! It looks great. Very cool that she did that for you. Good luck with your time management – I am pretty awful with it myself so have few tips. I think working under shear panic to meet a deadline works for me 😉 A little more seriously, set up a schedule. I tend to do best doing one thing at a time, but a bit of time sharing, stopping at points that make sense before moving to the next, works. Just like when you had a bunch of tests to study for….

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 20, 2020 at 7:20 pm

      I can feel my heart rate beat faster as I have also experienced working under sheer panic! 😂 hehe

      Time management as you have raised is a really great way to stay on task. Your method seems natural and in tune with your mind and body on a particular day. This can be vital when singing as one can have occasions when the muscles are vitality and other days when they are sluggish.

      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

  16. 

    Impressive art!

    “This month I have to be the project leader for my own career.”

    Who did it before you?

    Good luck with it all!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 20, 2020 at 7:21 pm

      Good question Daniel! It is important to that I acknowledge that I have achieved a lot to date for my own organisation and focus on achieving tasks. However, I think this is always something that can be improved. I want to raise my game and I hope that this in turn can create dramatic results of improvement.

      To clarify, I consider that I work at my optimal when I have a predetermined deadline. During my six years of studies in a musical institute called a Conservatoire, (four years in Scotland and two years in London). They pretty much set the projects that you need to complete with deadlines and guidelines to stay within, they provide the opportunities to perform and hopefully, you can also add a few bits and pieces in holidays either to earn a wage or attempt to work within the industry and learn a role. If you get a role in an opera from the conservatoire you often have to use those holiday close downs to learn those roles in addition to any work you obtain.

      Last year was my first full year outside of full-time higher education. I auditioned like crazy in order to create opportunities to learn, develop roles and grow as a freelance musician. This was brilliant for the working method that I have been used to, as I had deadlines dictated by the commencement of rehearsals (music must be memorised before the rehearsal process begins) and then performance deadlines. I was very fortunate, however, being so busy meant I didn’t get time to audition for many roles for this year or record myself singing so that I can enter upcoming competitions. Therefore, I need to find a new working method that I can adapt to ensure completion professional growth goals that could enable future work opportunities.

      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

  17. 

    Fantastic. Good luck with the multiple projects and the management of the preparation.

  18. 

    That is SO cool!

  19. 

    I admire your wonderful work Charlotte. My work in music projects is very limited by my supertribal entity work. I am President, GM and CEO of our supertribal organisation.

    Of course, with such obligation to my people and commitment that follows one can not be critical of the necessary priority it tends to carry with it also over most things. I am gigging though albeit so rarely still.

    I have plans also to do more with my music in the next few years hopefully seeing work breakthroughs free up enough time to get some singles, albums and tours done so as to achieve the ultimate in the best I can be musically.

    I will keep you posted.

    I usually keep advisors, directors and managers close. In any project, apart from band members, I have always seen them as vital. Some are some of the best theory musicians our country has to offer. They assist me make key decisions on structures and arrangements, including other key areas of my music.

    As a reggae genre musician, and having been for almost all my life I still find this as vital the genre not having a great theory reliance traditionally. Yet theory can play a key role still in critical areas.

    So hopefully you can appreciate these things.

    However, I’m still weighed down by work.

    Looking forward to hearing more on your brilliant work.

    Kind regards,

    Kaea😉

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 20, 2020 at 7:23 pm

      Thank you for your kind words Kaea, your opinion means a lot to me. I was fascinated to read about your working style and I love how enthused you are about teamwork and discussion with your trusted colleagues. Music, across any genre, is a collaboration whether that is between multiple musicians or one artist and their imagination. The respect you have for your colleagues and the understanding of their knowledge and what they can bring to your craft reminds me to get out of the practise room and organise time with colleagues to discuss work and help evaluate tasks. Thank you for sharing!

      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

  20. 

    Happy organizing!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 20, 2020 at 7:24 pm

      You are so right Jovina! I take great joy from organising my home, I even enjoy reading about the Kon Mari method. So I look forward to trying out these new ideas.

      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

  21. 
    Amrit Pal Singh January 20, 2020 at 4:39 am

    Good morning have nice day

  22. 

    Charlotte, your Twelve remind me somewhat of the style of needlework samplers from days past. Elegant Ms. Whately photo, love the style of your jacket in the first photo. You are very lucky to know Hilary.

    Hints of modernity in the quilt and this year, this calendar, ever so young.

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 20, 2020 at 7:31 pm

      Thank you for taking joy from each element of the blog post and enjoying the story told through the pictures I selected.

      Your comment has made me think of medieval stories told through time through tapestry! Perhaps here we have made our own mark on history, (of course in a small way)

      Best Wishes,
      Charlotte

  23. 

    Glorious and somewhat overwhelming I should imaging. Lovely fabrics the panels are mounted in, bringing out the delicate colouring of your drawings mirrored in the stitchery. Take a deep breath …

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 28, 2020 at 7:09 pm

      There are days when I don’t know if I’m coming or going hehe. It is a beautiful piece of art, I use it where I sing and study so I can appreciate it every day. Deep breath in….out….

      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  24. 

    Constantly honing your craft and learning – that has always been your trademark – and the sure method of becoming a success. You sure don’t want to know how I deal with my projects – I’m a very disorganized project manager, haha. Besides your own way of progressing will always be the most comfortable.
    Love the quilt. An old friend of mine that I grew up with make quilts. I wish I lived in a milder area of the country so I could use one more often!!
    Keep up the good work – in your own style!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 28, 2020 at 7:11 pm

      GP, I decided to plan my week out like a school/college study week and instead of trying to spend too long on each task, break them into one-hour or half-hour slots with the same break periods so that I’m as productive and organised as I was then. I also need to fit in household chores!!
      I’m more energised in the early mornings so I got up this morning as usual at 7am but immediately went out to do the food shopping, came home and cleaned put the clothes for washing in the washing machine then at 0900 I started my study day, one-hour German translations, one-hour German listening, 1.5-hours singing, lunch, one-hour learning new aria, one-hour gym, one-hour planning recital program and refreshing songs in the program, 30 minutes Administration, e-mails, listening to new material. Hope this structure keeps me focused on completing all my projects on time. All I need now is someone to report to and give me a pat on the back hehe.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

      • 

        Well – I’m right here to give you that pat on the back, an ‘Atta Girl’, a handshake and look of total amazement! I could never keep up that schedule – I’m envious!!
        Perhaps that’s why you’re destined to be Star!! Have a wonderful week and give my best to your fiance.
        GP

      • 
        Charlotte Hoather February 2, 2020 at 9:59 am

        Thank you 🥰

  25. 

    Hey! My icon has changed (used to use one of my sexy models) – but I’ve been following you for years now. I’ve got one book out (Misfit Mage – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07R8LPLYN) and working on the next one. My goal is to get 2 books out this year.

    Here is my current thought process on staying motivated this year. For me – it is all about momentum. When writing a book – you take this perfect image in your head – and it comes out not so perfect on the page. In my head – it’s fun, flirty, just the right amount of magic, and it’s full of possibility. On paper – it’s actual words, and they just can’t measure up to the world in my head.
    So that makes sitting down and writing an source of frustration. I have found times, though, when the writing flows. It’s easy, effortless, and comes out just right. I’ve been searching for what makes this happen, with no real success so far.
    But, I think I may have found the key. It is momentum. If I do something now, that doesn’t feel great, but keep doing it over a series of days, then my mind gets in the right space and it starts to flow.
    Looking at just today – and starting just today – is rough. But it seems easier, somehow, if I’m working on the book today, knowing that this weekend it will be much easier.
    Hope this helps!
    Michael

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 28, 2020 at 7:12 pm

      I know you, Michael, I used to like your sexy chap image 😊. Well done on getting your book out and writing down your goals. I agree with your thoughts about momentum, I can stay too long with one task that is frustrating me and feel like I’ve wasted too much time so I have decided structured, time bound learning is my way to move forward, like a college timetable.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  26. 

    Wow Charlotte, The quilt is fabulous,what a amazing piece of work.
    Hilary has worked so hard on it for years I love it…
    Your photo’s are lovely too.
    Good luck with everything you are doing this year. Xx

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 28, 2020 at 7:12 pm

      Thank you I’ve organised myself now, I’ve made a schedule and split tasks up into hourly slots that I can move around into the other six days available if something crops up short notice, scoring through them also reminds me if I’ve not completed something. Fingers crossed xx

      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  27. 

    As a non-operatic person, I’m curious why you need a repertoire. I take it you don’t simply learn whatever songs and arias are in the piece you’re performing?

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 28, 2020 at 7:13 pm

      A good question Fraser, over the years you learn lots of songs and arias either to meet examination criteria or the requirements of the training course or competition with categories to tick, all in different languages to increase your knowledge, for example, I added Russian songs last year for a one-off recital, so now I like to learn complimentary songs to add into a recital program on a theme or to balance an audition list of songs, arias that you can be asked to sing. On top of these new songs you also have opera performances you have to prepare for and in that situation, you have usually a couple of arias and recitatives that help the story along, duets or ensemble pieces to learn, Juliette last year had a particularly long memorisation requirement.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  28. 

    Absolutely first-rate!

  29. 

    Charlotte, how lucky you were to be able to see her quilt with the twelve days of Christmas….. Lucky you!!!!! Top star!!! Have a great week, Charlotte!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 28, 2020 at 7:14 pm

      Thank you Darlene, Hilary knows I’ll treasure it 😊. This weeks started well a couple of offers of work and my learning is on track so keep on pushing on.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  30. 

    I’m somewhat less organized than our mutual correspondent, G.P. Cox, so my sole suggestion might be posting a goal on a 3×5 card (or 76 by 127 mm) somewhere easily visible. [E.g., finish Tenirax by 1/31/2020]

    It’s wonderful to see what’s been done with your artwork. The framing and the quilt are both spectacular.

    Finished the cinema writing assignment course. Work continues on my picaresque novel. And we’ll be performing two plays in February: “Call of a Distant Song,” (premiere) and “The Lollipop Corps.” Currently looking for a singer to record my song for performances of “Call of a Distant Song.”

    All the best in 2020!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 28, 2020 at 7:14 pm

      Well done Jeff completing your writing course. I had to look picaresque up great new word for me hope your roguish hero is a female 😊. Living by your wits is what I feel like I’m doing right now hehe.
      You sound really busy and productive, kudos to you.

      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  31. 

    I absolutely LOVE this story and the quilt. I was already admiring the drawings before I got to the wonderful ending of the story. So many talents, Charlotte, you deserve such special friends. These next few years of your career are bound to be challenging as work in this field is so variable and erratic. I think you have exactly the right temperament to cope with the tricky balancing of lulls, overwork and travel. Best of luck!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 28, 2020 at 7:15 pm

      I look around Hilary and see people who seem to just know where they are going and what they are doing, following the main structured pathway into the industry with backing.
      When the doors appear to be shut it’s working out what to do next and trying not to compare yourself to other singers, my Mum says people look at you and think you have all the answers and you don’t so don’t make assumptions. When training you are regularly told that everyone is on their own journey and there is plenty of work to go around. I was very lucky this month to have had the opportunity to do a week’s sales/office holiday cover work because it is very difficult to take a regular job, in addition to this freelance career because you don’t want to let people down who need you in on regular days. I’m getting my act together.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  32. 

    What a thoughtful gift and memory to go with it 🙂 x

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 28, 2020 at 7:15 pm

      So thoughtful, it was lovely catching up too it was as though the years apart slipped away.

      All my best wishes,
      Charlotte

  33. 

    wow, wow, bravo !!!!! Meilleurs pensées pour Toi !!!

  34. 

    Sounds like your 2020 is off to a great start. I’ve always marveled at how classical singers, like yourself, learn and manage your repertoire of music. You must have a very good memory to begin with, and I think you’re probably well organized too.

    I remember your Twelve Days of Christmas project. I thought that was the greatest holiday project ever. It definitely brought smiles at a most harried time of year. Very nice to have a keepsake quilt connected to that project.

    🙂

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 28, 2020 at 7:16 pm

      I have a good short term memory so I have to refresh old music not performed for a while. I hate to be disorganised, I’m finding ways to put structure back into my week now and I’m happier with that, I obviously like a disciplined sort of school timetable?
      I loved doing the Twelve Days of Christmas I hadn’t been well a fortnight before Christmas that year and it really cheered me up to do it.

      All my best wishes David,
      Charlotte

  35. 

    The quilt is so beautiful and what a wonderful surprise it must have been!
    I do not go out to work and have no tips to pass on to you, except…..I do spend a lot of my time helping my elderly mother continue to live on her own, in her own home and also spend a lot of time taking her and my younger daughter to appointments and generally driving about running errands. The only way I can cope with all that and trying to look after my own home is to prioritise and to keep my diaries and calendar up-to-date. If possible I try to keep a routine going each week for some jobs but usually have to work this round any extra car journeys I might have to do. Inevitably, many jobs get left undone longer than I would like but they do get done eventually. So, yes, prioritise, try to keep to a routine but also keep tabs on work that needs doing and continually reassess and change your rota if you need to.
    It might be useful to keep a little time clear each week in case you need to fit something extra in and if you have nothing extra to do, use it for rest or fun!

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather January 28, 2020 at 7:17 pm

      Clare often times people go out to work to escape the unpaid work that is essential but sadly sometimes under-appreciated, however, I’m sure your Mother and family appreciate all you do for them. I’m in this limbo at the moment where my work time is often unpaid but necessary.
      You hit on routine and I have found that I worked better last week with a formal routine and I have a timetable for this week that I am sticking to over the seven days. I went to a ‘game café’ with my brother last week it was great fun and my brother-in-law treated me to a pilates class and George and I are planning the music for our wedding which has been good fun.

      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  36. 

    What an unexpected twist to this tale and a fabulous outcome. Wow. Congrats to you and your talented friend. Beautiful! I suspect she has great advice also on planning and meeting deadlines. Wow.

  37. 

    Wow, that is a fantastic (and very thoughtful) gift! 🙂
    I don’t really have any advice that hasn’t already been given, but any successful project of mine has started with me sitting down and working out the various steps needed to reach my goal and in which order to do them. Also, writing everything down. My memory is not always reliable when it comes to such things, so having a written list/plan is extremely helpful. Another thing is to not be afraid to ask for help, especially if your project is something completely out of your usual wheelhouse. I would not have been able to start my photography business last year without the assistance of some excellent counselors and workshops.
    Anyway, I know this is late, but happy New Year and I look forward to seeing your projects come to fuition! 🙂

    • 
      Charlotte Hoather February 21, 2020 at 11:23 am

      Congrats on your photography business are you specialising in equestrian or doing all sorts? Where are you based now Stephanie?
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

      • 

        I do a bit of everything: portraits (both human and animal), weddings, events… I’m based out of my house so I travel to my clients rather than them coming to me. Still in Montélimar (no plans on moving anytime soon).

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