Coming Soon Pt 2

Coming Soon Pt 2

Art doesn’t have to be just seen right? It can be heard too… I’m 50+ soundscapes into a collection of… erm… soundscapes. That’s what I’m calling them anyway. For now.

As much as I love meeting people

As much as I love meeting people

So here’s my rule. As much as I love meeting people, online and offline, as much as I love connecting with new souls, I will only meet people who genuinely give a sh#t about what I do. I will only meet people who want to have a real conversation, get to know me, and let an organic relationship grow.


I wasn’t going to say anything but, I’ve been asked a few times over the course of the last few months to attend networking events/groups. At least five different events all with more or less the same objective.

Network. Connect. Meet new people. Expand your contact list… or something like that!

However, in relation to networking or connecting or whatever it’s called now, the above quote is my answer.

I didn’t write it. The words sum up perfectly how I feel though. I had it bookmarked for a moment just like this…

It’s not personal, it just is.

Fewer lines

Fewer lines

If you can tell a story with just the right amount of words it can be just as effective, if not more so.

Over-explaining something isn’t always helpful. Over-communicating becomes a pain. Too much detail can be confusing. Does this translate to art, painting, design or illustration?

Using fewer lines to display something, to paint a picture or to tell a story has been fascinating to me recently. Perhaps it’s borne out of a craving for simplicity and a bit more minimalism in life.

I’ve posted a few illustrations/sketches in this style on social media… here’s another.

Designing a new space

Designing a new space

This year we will be sharing a home renovation with you.

How much we show at this stage depends on how quickly we get started with the work but, we are in early conversations about kitchen, flooring and lighting.

What we do know for sure is that we will be turning three rooms into one open space.

Living, cooking and eating all in one space. If you’ve been in our home you know it’s not a massive space but its not tiny so, yea… you’ll see soon enough.

The sunlight we enjoy at the back of our house from mid-morning until sunset is one of the huge influences on why we want to open up the rooms. We also really want a free flowing space which will suit our way of life better. I work from home and will still have a separate office unaffected by the changes but, it will make a big difference to the flow of our home.

We hope to share more info really soon…

Elle Darby & the White Moose

Elle Darby & the White Moose

I may be jumping on the bandwagon a little here.


I have identified myself as a blogger for fourteen years. I have opinions on the debacle between Elle Darby and Paul Stenson, of the White Moose Café and Charleville Lodge Hotel in Dublin. I’d like to share those opinions.


Brief bit of backstory

Just in case you didn’t know, Elle Darby had contacted the Dublin hotel and cafe about a “possible collaboration” suggesting some kind of deal/offer/discount or free accommodation for her and her partner. The benefits for the hotel would of course be, publicity from an blogger/vlogger and influencer.

Mr Stenson did not like the offer one bit and decided to ‘out’ Elle Darby on social media for such a ludicrous attempt at finagling free accommodation in his hotel.

The story went viral, Mr Stenson banned all bloggers from his business in the process, Elle Darby responded… upset at being publicly shamed and criticised and so on.

Bloggers have weighed in with their opinions. Non-bloggers have said some stuff. Some of it has been ugly.

Anyway, the latest chapter involves Mr Stenson sending Elle Darby an invoice for €5,289,000. That’s for all the free publicity he says Elle Darby has taken advantage of, at his expense. He is of course bluffing and not really invoicing her but, it’s a clever swipe at the whole world of bloggers and free goods for publicity. Haha!

“Payment must be made in Euro. We do not accept Sterling. Mentions in videos will not qualify as payment.”


Elle Darby has witnessed an increase of just under 20,000 in her youtube subscribers since these shenanigans began so, i don’t know? Is that impressive?

And, should everyone maybe just back away now before someone really gets hurt?


“I think this is about treating people with respect and not throwing them out to the wolves.”


My opinion

Here’s the first thing. It doesn’t really matter what I think. Or you either. Not really.

In an ideal world this matter would be kept between the two parties aforementioned. Mr Stenson could have just said no, or piss off or whatever… but, we now live in an age when public shaming is a daily occurrence. People lose their jobs, friends and reputation every day as a result of this kind of drama on the Internet. I’ve witnessed first-hand the sheer ridiculousness of a public shaming with nasty consequences. It’s unpleasant.

So, I said I identify as a blogger at the start of this. I better explain that.

I’m not the type of blogger who asks for free stuff or for collaborations. I’m not that big of a deal. I have been given free stuff though. Coffee. T-shirts. Beer. Coffee. T-shirts… I think that’s it.

I’ve also been offered free lunches in exchange for “reviews” and “free publicity.” Like I said, I’m not that big of a deal but, you see Mr Stenson, businesses do want to offer free stuff by way of ‘collaboration’ with bloggers of all types.

I know first-hand of businesses who have seen an increase in sales/subscriptions to their products and services because of my online influence. I treat this as a privilege, not a reason to boast. I only say it because in light of this story, I firmly reject the ridicule being hurled at the term ‘influencer’ by people who don’t know what they are talking about.


“It still blows my mind just how ignorant of the power of influence via social media many people are.”


Hang on though, maybe I’m not giving Mr Stenson enough credit, maybe he knows about the power of influence and is still irked by it. The way he describes his businesses on their respective websites suggest he knows exactly what he is doing.

But, bloggers and influencers have come under fire.

People think;

Freeloaders. Never done a days work in their life. Lazy. Entitled.

And that’s simply not always true.


“I think if you are worth collaborating with then people will collaborate with you.”


Sure state the bleeding obvious eh…

But, if you have millions of followers on social media then you probably get to a stage where you don’t need to ask for collaborations anymore.

But asking in the way that Elle Darby did is not ridiculous as some have been suggesting. Blogging/Vlogging is a legitimate business. She is running her own business. You or I don’t have to like it or agree with how it works. It certainly has nothing to do with self-respect and dignity. Millions of bloggers around the world work very hard. They just work hard in a different way from you.

And you don’t have to be under 30 years of age to understand any of this. I’m 40 and started to blog when Elle Darby was 8 years old. Over 30’s are not the problem in this story.


I am Darby & Stenson

We have a small clothing brand called Ruckus Collective. Since we launched it, we’ve had quite a few people suggest that they would promote our shirts if we gave them one or some free.

I have given away a few shirts but, not to the people who tried to blag freebies.

Why? Because they won’t benefit our business. They are just blaggers.

How do I know this? I have eyes and the Internet and can see just how much influence they have… or have not.

Was I a bit angry? Yes.

Did I publicly shame them? No, because that’s rude and at some stage on the Internet, surely someone has to act like a reasonable person.

In the end it’s not about the free goods or the offer of collaboration or the offence caused/taken… I think this is about treating people with respect and not throwing them out to the wolves.

On the other hand, for one of the people in the story I think it might just be one big publicity stunt.

How will it all end?


Veja V-10

Veja V-10

I bought a pair of Veja trainers. I’ve been thinking about these for a while and just had to decide which style i wanted. I love this brand and the more I read the more I love. I also have wide feet so the shoe I opted for seems like a perfect fit.

Here’s some info:

– Upper in leather
– Perforated leather sections
– Logo V made of wild rubber
– Lining in organic cotton
– Inner sole in organic cotton and polyurethane
– Sole made of wild rubber from the amazonian forest
– Made in Brazil


The Amazon is the only place on earth where rubber trees grow in the wild.
Inside the Chico Mendès extractive reserve, located in the Brazilian state of Acre, Veja work with Amopreab, an association of Seringeiros – the rubber tappers. We also recently started to work with two new associations located in Feijó Distric in the state of Acre: “Parque da Cigana” & ” Seringal Curralinho”. Today, 60 families of Seringeiros are part of our project.

Read more here


[my shoes above, great fit]


Located in the Northeast of Brazil, the state of Ceará has vast wealth inequalities, fragile soils and a tendency towards drought. In contrast to the predominant monoculture farming system, a group of small producers grow cotton and food plants under agro-ecology principals which ban agro-chemicals and pesticides.

For those small-scale farmers (1 hectare of land on average), farming development goes hand-in-hand with environmental protection.

Veja buys cotton from 320 families who live from organic farming. Respecting fair trade rules. This cotton is spun then weaved into canvas for Veja sneakers and accessories.

Read more here

Zero Advertising

Veja does not advertise.
The resources saved are integrated into the production chain.
This means the farmers and producers Veja works with are fairly remunerated – to accomodate their social and environmental requirements.

Veja’s fabrication costs are 3 to 4 times higher than other footwear brands because the trainers and bags are produced with dignity. But Veja’s “no advertising” policy makes it possible to sell trainers at a price which is equal to competitors.

Key Priority : CO2 Reduction

While some people are planting trees and others are building CO2 injection wells, the most important priority is the reduction of emissions and energy use. In order to reduce, we need to change our methods of transportation, organization, production, conditioning and consumption.

To reduce.

All Veja trainers are transported by boat from Porto Alegre, Brazil to Le Havre in France. Upon arrival in Le Havre, the trainers travel in barges along the canals to the Parisian suburbs.

Read more here



That’s only a snapshot of their story. Visit their website to see the bigger picture.





This year I aim to keep making monthly Spotify playlists…

The January Mxtpe is:

There will be a February playlist coming very soon.

Follow me on Spotify or search for “Ally Simpson”

Sometimes my playlists take on a theme of their own once I add the first song. Sometimes they fit together very naturally without too much thought or explanation. There is always a theme of sorts though, running through the list, usually hidden and ambiguous.

I listen to music all day in my home office so new recommendations are always welcome too.

Say hi on social media.

Trade at work

Trade at work


The VEJA project creates a positive chain. Sneakers that are made differently. Using organic & fairly traded cotton for the canvas of the shoes. Using wild & fairly traded rubber for the soles. Using recycled plastic bottles to create a technological fabric. Made in a high standard factory in Brazil. Have you ever wonder what’s the story of your Veja kicks? How they are made ? Follow the road from our factory in Porto Alegre (Brazil) to your favorite shop. Director and producer : Lucovic JeanJean You can learn more about the Veja project on our eshop :