Reality check

Preface – by the time you read this, I’m probably recoiling under my desk in embarrassment, regretting clicking ‘publish’. Today’s blog post is more dear diary than DIY or design I’m afraid … 

Contrary to my design-fuelled corner of the internet here at Hydrangea Girl, it is a far cry from what I do in ‘real life’. In real life I’m an office administrator and personal assistant in a suit-and-tie {or my preferred uniform – all of the cardigan and tights combinations you can imagine} office in Dublin. Aka, I’m an office zombie. It is my one and only source of income {but damn, I’d love to be one of those bloggers whose blog is their job}. I have to work as an office temp because it is near impossible to get a permanent job in Dublin these days, but that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms. So, I work at whatever office job is offered to me, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

{In case it wasn’t obvious} my passion is design and to work in it is my ultimate goal. The awful reality however is that I will never work in interior design in Ireland. This is something I’ve grown to acknowledge {but not accept} over the years. I can’t get a job in design because I don’t have the level of experience they’re looking for, and I need experience in order to get a job. And that’s not even mentioning the current state Ireland is in, where there are little to no design jobs available. So I make an ugly-cry face. 

However, I will say thank god I had the foresight to start my website, which has acted as an online portfolio of sorts. It keeps me on the ball, pushes me to produce, create, and has taught me so much in photography, photoshop, writing, design, and HTML. And I must say, because of it I have met some awesome people and have undertaken some pretty amazing projects. 

I know full well how corny it sounds, but I want to say thank you for following me and my hazy dream. All my silly DIYs and poor excuse at interior design. It is all I can do to make the best out of a balls situation.
xx A
Also featured – encrypted cross stitch.
p.s. After sending this out into the universe, I realize it sounds like I am not over-the-moon appreciative of my office jobs. I am forever thankful for them. The skills I’ve gained from working in offices have shaped so much of how I organize, reach strict deadlines, problem solve, and adapt to various roles quickly to name a small few. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. March 12, 2014 / 12:14

    There are many, many reasons why I adore you. This post is currently one of them.

  2. March 12, 2014 / 12:17

    Ohhh same here lady! My food blog is still in its infancy but I always dream of being able to live off of it… but that's really not realistic so I'm an admin assistant who cooks evenings and weekends. Oh well. At least we have these outlets, right?

    • March 14, 2014 / 12:03

      I'm so glad I'm not alone Nicole! Thank god for creative outlets. I think I'd loose my mind if I didn't have my blog. Admin assistants for life! Oh, no wait …

  3. March 12, 2014 / 18:40

    Thanks for sharing this, Alex! It would be really fantastic to be able to blog for a living alright. I'm a journalist (read: 'mostly unemployed') and I reckon I'd have gone mad long ago without my sewing blog. I think having a blog is a brilliant outlet for your creativity and you're building up an incredible portfolio. You never know what opportunities could come your way but in the meantime thanks for sharing your fantastic designs and ideas – and encouraging others to do the same ๐Ÿ™‚

    • March 14, 2014 / 12:18

      Thank you Sue ๐Ÿ™‚ And I feel the same way! It feels strange when I think what do people who don't have a blog do on Thursday evenings?!. The answer is probably a lot, but I really can't see myself without my blog. It has become my internet baby!

  4. March 14, 2014 / 10:11

    I've always believed that you can do whatever you want to, if you want it bad enough and work hard enough. It's never easy, but what's easy that's worth having?

    To put a more positive light on what you're doing right now, I'd say that you're taking your first steps towards living your dreams (sorry – so HATE that cliche but couldn't come up with a more original phrase!) – they might be small steps right now, but you CAN make them longer and bigger. Have you thought about a part-time design qualification? That might be a really positive step forward – not only for formalising your skills but for opening up a new network of fellow creatives to start to lift you from office zombie land (been there, did that for 30 years – ick). Lots of love and luck to you Alex ๐Ÿ™‚

    • March 14, 2014 / 12:23

      Haha, I had to try so hard to not include cheesy cliches when I was writing this blog post. But it really is true, these are first steps in the right direction.

      I have a BA in Interior Design already. I studied for 4 years and graduated mid-recession. Great timing, eh? Unfortunately, most of my college wives had to move abroad in order to get design work. It can be disheartening. But I have to keep telling myself (cliche alert): chin up, buttercup. Ugh.

  5. March 14, 2014 / 10:20

    Well done you for finding the upside in that post!

    Plus as a little silver lining, without anyone commissioning your work, you have the freedom and time (if not the budget) to create something you truly love, and enjoy doing it. I find many creatives/artists/designers soon begin to feel like an office slave once again, as they bend and compromise their designs to what the customer wants.

    So I guess what we all need are massive budgets and no customers! Lol!

    • March 14, 2014 / 12:13

      That's a really important that I had never occurred to me before. Thank you! It really has put things into perspective as that's something I'd really hate having to do – compromise my design and work. It's one thing to do in office jobs, but I put my mind goes into my design work, and I'd hate to have to start changing it due to other people.

      xx A

  6. March 14, 2014 / 19:56

    ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!! I sent you an email because it was far too long to put in a comment ๐Ÿ˜‰ xxx

  7. March 15, 2014 / 20:49

    Hey! I'm late replying to this because my internet keeps going out (fingers crossed this comment finally goes through!) There's so much to say, but to keep it short and sweet. You're doing amazing things and have had really cool opportunities through this blog, so just keep on truckin!

    There's no shame in office zombie jobs either. We've all been there. I spent a long time in an admin job I thought I hated because I wanted to do something different and something more, but only after I left that job I realised that it gave me a lot of flexibility to do and think what I wanted on my own time. It also taught me a lot of skills and organisation that have helped me in every aspect of my personal and work life.

    You're amazing, your blog is great and you never know what's next. x

    • March 18, 2014 / 11:42

      This is so true Lauren, and this is something I've thought of many times before – my admin job sure as hell offers me a lot of flexibility. For example, I'm here now writing up a new blog post in between calls and tasks. I should say it doesn't happen all the time as it is quite quiet today, but I'm able to plan out a lot of my blog from here at my desk in work.

      And hell to the yes – working in admin has taught me a hell of a lot about organization, timing, deadlines and communication. Which is something I didn't mention in my blog post – I'm so incredibly thankful for my 'real life' job. It's just tough sometimes when one of those days turns into one of those weeks.

      Thank you, Lauren ๐Ÿ™‚

      xx A

  8. March 19, 2014 / 18:39

    Hey Alex… ok, here goes with my thoughts on this post! I truly believe that you can and will work in interior design. I am constantly impressed by what you've done so far, and the amount of projects you've been involved with – even appearing on TV because of your design work!! This may seem weird, but when I'm pootling along doing my random directionless crafting, dreaming of an escape from the rat race but doing nothing about it, I often think to myself "you should be more like Hydrangea Girl, she's putting herself out there and doing something about her dreams!". Weird, creepy, stalkery… but true.

    Don't underestimate what you've achieved so far. What about that stuff in House and Home?! Even doing the styling as well as writing! Every picture you take for your blog always looks so perfect and styled, no matter what it's of. You definitely have "it".

    I've been meaning to express my extremely valuable and worthwhile ๐Ÿ˜‰ thoughts on this for a while, but have had work crises going on – yep, the old office job getting in the way of my real life!

    If this is a bit gushing and cringeful…. tough!

    Maria xx

    • March 24, 2014 / 17:23

      Thank you Maria. You always know just the right thing to say. You're so sweet, and thank you in advance for not judging me and my email ๐Ÿ˜‰

      xxxxxxxx A

  9. March 23, 2014 / 10:32

    I like your blog, I follow and read your blog, and what I see in your blog is You to me. Think of how many artists work or worked in some completely different jobs to pay for their living โ€“ but they're not remembered for that, but for the works they created "in private"!
    And how many people lost their energy for the things they "truly" wanted to do, as making it a job didn't pay enough, and they, without noticing, slowly became slaves of their business and clients.
    If it's meant to be, it will happen. And when it will, it will be good. And so far, you already contribute a lot of inspirational ideas to this world, and that's what we readers know and love you for!
    Thumbs up and all the best wishes from Vienna, Austria!
    – Cordula

    • March 25, 2014 / 12:49

      Cordula you give some serious pep talks. You are very sweet, and thank you for leaving this message.

      You're so right and this is something that never occurred to me – how people end up having to bend to their business and clients. I know I don't have it bad at all, there are times I have moments where I doubt everything and sometimes I think about things waaay too much! And then I write about it and feel silly ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Thank you for being a cheer leader, Cordula. Thank you, all the way from Dublin.