April favourites

dearaprilI know April now seems like a while ago, and it is. We are edging further into summer and further away from the cooler months. April has been a funny month for me with highs and lows. There have been little things that have made all the difference and I am going to list some of them below.beautyletteringHaving a skin care routine and putting on a bit of makeup is a ritual that always makes me feel better. Its not because I feel the need to or because I have to. Its something I enjoy, always have done and its something that makes me feel brighter and a bit better. Like I am looking after my self.creamfavouritesA few months ago I was in Sephora with a dear friend when I was testing some products. Something made my terrible sensitive skin flare up loads and it was like I had dipped my hand into acid and also it was so itchy at the same time and came up with a horrible rash that almost blistered. The lovely lady at the counter came to the rescue with this cream on the right. Crème Fraiche® de Beauté Enrichie. I don’t really know what the magic ingredient is in it. It smells wonderfully floral and has something else that I just can’t put my finger on. Once on the skin it was awesome and felt so cooling and soothing on my alergic reaction that I knew I had to buy it. I use it at night time and it leaves my skin so soft and calms any redness I get from the sun (sun alergy here). I was actually in Sephora looking for an eye cream so I knew the Nuxe one would be a good bet and it is. It makes me feel ready for sleep and so nourished.handcreamfaveI picked up this hand cream in Carrefour of all places. It was only 1.99€. Its so soothing and smells like honey and doesn’t leave your hands all sticky and greasy. I love the fact it has yoghurt and shea butter in too and its fairly natural. SO good for the price, I will definitely repurchase as I seem to use hand cream loads due to being a messy illustrator and needing to constantly wash my hands. lushfavesMy medication constantly gives me acne around my neck and jaw line. After a month or so of using these products with a hot flannel my skin has totally cleared up. I adore, love and worship Lush a lot, I love what they stand for and their killer products. These two are my very very favourites. Ultra bland is amazing for removing any trace (even waterproof mascara) and just feels so soothing. If my skin is particularly sensitive I will just cleanse with this and nothing else, not even a moisturiser and it seems to restore the balance in my skin a treat. Aqua Marina really cleans, soothes and always gets rid of any impurities. Its like wet clay with herbs when applying and seems to get deep down and dry out any nasties without stripping my skin. I love them both and they are both firmly in my skin care routine.styleandfashionletteringvintagearmyYou have prob’s seen this jacket in my latest OOTD post. I love it so, it been perfect for these in between days where I don’t want to lug around a massive coat but still need to have some warmth. As I mentioned in that post I like how it scruffs up my outfits a bit. Sometimes I can feel a bit too dressy and throwing this on the top makes me instantly feel more me. I got it in the vintage bit of Topshop.IMG_0216This top from Monki is wonderfully frilly and victorian. I love this style of blouse, especially when worn with Denim. Its silky and soft and you can’t really tell from the photo but it has tiny little dots embroidered into it. I love its flouncy sleeves. I feel all Alexa Chung in it, inspired from her series on Vogues youtube channel (something I am going to get to in a bit).necklaceThis necklace from &otherstories was gifted to me and I love it. I love its simplicity and the length and thickness of its chain. Oh and its gold <3dungareedressMy black Monki dungaree dress owns a large part of my heart. Its so versatile, comfy and just makes me feel like me, but a 5 year old me. I love it.toolsletteringpenfavouritesL-R: 1 & 4 Windsor and Newton Water colour pens. They are amazing double ended pens that when mixed with water give an amazing texture. I love brush lettering with them. 2. Is my trusty mechanical pencil from Muji. Its my favourite drawing instrument ever and I have about 5 and a million refills. Just in case. 3. Faber and castle 1.0 mechanical pencil I also really like this, more for going over lines and being a little bolder.instagramslettinginstafaves@bowieseye (the best name IMO!) I love Julia’s sweet illustration style and simple lines and oh the colours.   / @maiuki Naia and her cute (best dressed) daughter. Naia makes/knits amazing kids clothes. I want her life! / @tincanhomestead This couple are super amazing. Natasha of @nastashalawler illustration fame. They travelled the states in a VW van called WesVanderson (brilliant!) and they are now doing up an airstream. Her style is incredible and I love love this project so much. Watching the progress is so cool. / @rynfrank I have been following this lady and her illustrations online for years under the name Katt Frank. I recently discovered that she changed her name and had a bit of a rebrand. I love love her IG feed so much, so perfectly curated. I can’t wax on enough about how much I love her illustrations and lines. I adore them.

aprilfavourites

And the rest. Youtubes I have been enjoying. Netflix series and books.

  • Elly Pears Fast and feast days
  • This Joy Division documentary on Netflix has reignited my love for this band and brings back memories of my student days dancing and sweating in grotty northern clubs.
  • This series on netflix, Love. (are you sensing a theme yet. I’ve had a lot of tv watching time ok!)
  • Helen’s vlogs. Love them, she is brassy and honest and bold and so her.
  • This amazing series presented by the super cool mega babe that is Alexa Chung
  • IAN CURTIS IN GENERAL and this film.
  • I have been a fan of Sarra Manning since her diary of a crush/J17 days. Her latest book was read in a few days. Loved it.

So that was April. This post literally took a day to do. What have your favourites been? How was your April? I am off to bed now. Night (or good morning when you are reading this)

Notes from this week/ my week in photos 12

This week has been much the same as the weeks before that. Hospitals, bed and trying to get little things done and producing things that make me happy. Spring/summer has definitely arrived. Its hot, this scares me. I hate the heat.
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My lovely stripey covers and my little doggy noodle. And trying to read as much as I can. Very interested in war time novels at the moment. Especially based around the London Blitz. Also recipe and cook books. I love the Elly Pear book thats just come out- yum!

DSCF5203 DSCF5204 IMG_3618IMG_3616 I had to go to Hospital de l’Esperanza in the north of the city (near Parc Guell). I had never really ventured up this way before besides visting the park. The buildings and every thing felt so different than other parts of the city. I had to have a few scans and was done fairly quickly (not the usual occurrence in hospital-land).IMG_3622
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It was fairly near Gracia, so I decided to walk very down very slowly. I adore this part of the city. Carrer Verdi on a week day is such a nice place to be. The weather was so glorious (breezy and cool in the shade but sunny and warm-not too hot). Everything in bloom. I spied some pretty shops, cafes and buildings. I stopped in a cafe that had nice tiles and wall colour.IMG_3629 IMG_3633 IMG_3634 IMG_3636
In the 9 years that I have lived in Barcelona I have always spied the flower market on Valencia but have never ever been inside. Its pretty cool. I did think it was bigger than it actually is though, but cool and pretty all the same. I then got my tired and achey legs on the bus home where I flopped into bed hugging my pup. I don’t get why or how he can stand being under the covers:
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I made a very good, if I do say so myself, shepherds pie. Yum!

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I am enjoying drawing people a lot, even if they are a little weird. I like to imagine these girls in their own weird lost worlds. Floating on their own lonely islands. Its nice to get my hands messy and to feel like I am creating something.

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I had to pop into the centre to get some supplies. Paper and the like. I love Raima so so much, it really is a treasure of a shop. It is a paper supply, stationary shop in a really old street in Barcelona. It is on two different levels, with the more traditional stationary on the ground floor and the paper supply on the second floor. Its a paper lovers dream. I love how much character it has and the staff are lovely too.

DSCF5304 DSCF5308 DSCF5309 DSCF5339Pretty Barcelona streets. I also love visiting El Borne and El Gotic too. Getting lost in tiny dark streets, always discovering the weird and the wonderful.

So that was my week, I love how it looks so busy and fun. The other bits I don’t really show. It has been nice to get out a bit. I have had to cancel plans and be bad because I have felt so very tired though, and therefor have actually spent most of the week in bed- again.

This weeks Good things:
Spring (blossom against blue skies, lighter evenings, pretty light and wearing spring jackets)
Sitting on terraces having a coffee
Going on a few walks around the barrio
Planning for future things and feeling like: i can do this!
A few head revelations- good at realising things again and thinking clearly. Feeling stronger mentally than I have in a while. Black cloud is almost clearing!
Chats with friends and family on whatsap.

Next week: Knee op, MRI’s, Doctors appointments and lots of netflix I predict.

Notes from this week 11

This week has passed by in a blur, another week of staying at home and not feeling great at all (same old really- ground hog day). I have felt so frustrated and lonely and isolated. All normal feelings I guess when trying to cope.However I have tried to do small little things that make me happy by drawing, cooking and reading. The week started grey and rainy and I love it so much, lately the weather has been so good, Spring bringing showers, storms and a cool breeze to sunny days. I have started a sourdough starter, made spinach pasta from scratch and doggy biscuits. Cooking is my time, I like the manual task of it. I can think and use my hands and listen to a podcast and its so meditative. It was also my dearest pup Came’s birthday. I can’t believe my little chap is 8 (sad heartbreaking feeling at he same time magical for having these years with my babe)! We celebrated with homemade pup biscuits and he had a long walk to the beach with his daddy. I can’t wait to get back out on my long walks. I have listened to a few podcasts lately with inspiring women who all said that walking was their thing and I agree. Its the best just being free and outside and watching, listening and thinking.

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This week has also seen me start Aprils project of lost girls. I am a little behind because I just can’t seem to manage much at the minute. But I am enjoying exploring some ideas and concepts. So many more to come. Who is your favourite lost girl in history?

The idea behind the lost girl series is to try and show strength in vulnerability and a another side to being a girl and what is beauty and things. Lost, ethereal, broken and sad girls intrigue me. Girls with a story and something to say. An alternative to sickly pink princesses. Grotesque girls with scars and stories. Ghosts and past things that we carry with us.

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Notes from this week 10

I have changed this little section into Notes from this week. As it is more accurate to be honest. I can not get out every week and take pretty photos (sad face emoji) and I do love doing a weekly journal dear diary round up. So it will be a gaggle of things that have happened. Notes/videos/pictures/work etc/general gathering of thoughts and words and images. A little scrapbook of my life.

So this week. One long week of flat-prison-hermiting. Kind doctors, I dearly love my GP. Its so important to have the constant support and understanding of ones doctors when going through scary health stuff. I have been extra clumsy this week (i have knocked my self, fallen over and dropped one of my favourite mugs) and in such a fog. When I say a fog it is like having the flu and being feverish feeling like ones body is actual poison. My knee, jaw and left hand and wrist are ever so painful. There have been tears and wondering how I can get through it all. I have been addicted to snap chat, netflix and pinterest this week. I have also been enjoying cafe mocca’s and home made food (thanks Suegra!). Drawing has been tricky. This week has seen me round up a month of pattern making and I feel good that it is done, because phew thats a lot of patterns (pattern fatigue ha!) and also yay because I have learnt another new skill. I also keep reminding my self to look at the bigger picture as I tend to scurry along with tunnel vision and only look at small tiny details and trip up on them. I have come so far and I need to take a step back and breathe and remember all of that. Spring has sprung. Sunshine and rainy days and a nice cool breeze. Its been lovely watching the tree’s change and hear the bird tweeting.

So here are some patterns a few photos.

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Spring and all things new have really inspired my patterns, as has being ill and medication and my puppy. I also like these dark factories.botanicplantl came factory flowerbotanic handpill

 

That has been my week. Next week: hopefully venturing out, a swim, doctors doctors and doctors and catching up on some over due things.

My week in photos 9

Nine whole weeks of recording and capturing my weeks. These are the sort of moments that are normally swallowed, the non happening nothing days that get forgotten. I am glad to record these small little occurrences though, the mundanity that normally gets forgotten under the big important stuff. I feel this week has been one big recovery week. Starting with being kinder to myself and taking life a lot slower. I am slowly finding my, very wobbly, feet again and feel a little bit stronger. It has taken it out of me though, and I feel like the air has been knocked from my sails and I am a bit winded by it all. I want to run and try and pick up everything and juggle too many plates until I ultimately crash again and realise I can’t. So its baby steps, little by little and slowly trying to put things right. Its being positive and reminding myself I am still healing and not out of the woods yet. This week has been one of relearning and limit finding and putting them into practice. It has been hibernation and resetting. I have been so awfully drained and tired and I need to take my time.

Good things:
Bubble baths and reading
Catching up on drawings
Sketchbooks and inky fingers
Beautiful, bright and cheerful tulips on my kitchen table
Pattern making
My messy desk
Dark chocolate with caramel bits (its so good!)
Sunday Paella

Snap shots of the week that has been tiny little steps.

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Week in photos 6

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Notes from this week (jotted down on my phone as they sprung into my head- I like this way of recording thoughts)

-So February you are over. You’ve been a tough month that has been swallowed up into a black hole. I can’t even recall much of your events as you have passed by in such a daze. Waiting for news, getting news and then feeling so switched off from it all. March you will hopefully bring new blooms, better news, and cheerful spring like feelings.

-This past week has been another one of those weeks. Doctors >flat > dog walk> supermarket and drawing. Nothing else. I wish there were more notes from this week. This week I am struggling, this week is hard. This week I have cried when I don’t want and when I do want to cry I have become blocked.  Next week though, next week shall be better. 
-Kindness of strangers Monday found me back at hospital (again- I know!) Whilst sat in the waiting room for what seemed like ever, watching people slowly have their turn and visit the doctor and filter out until I am one of the last. Get chatting to two old ladies, one in a wheel chair, and they were the kindest and sweetest with me. When people genuinely are lovely and compassionate. I keep thinking that this is what makes the world go round. Kindness, especially from strangers. It can make such a big difference. 
-Thinking a lot about self care and acceptance. Accepting that I need to look after and love my self a little more and also stop being so nasty to my self and to rid myself of the guilt of being sick. Also be more accepting of my limitations and illness and give my self a bloody break. I also need to realise that I am a bloody super human for dealing with this stuff by my self (with the help of my boys and others of course) and I still come out of it fighting and wanting better. This all done in a foreign land far away from home.
-Thinking about goals and asking where next. What do I really want out of life? What is best for me? Where do I want to be and also how can I get there and do it. I feel stuck at the moment. Stuck because of health and other worries like being able to work again. And when I am able to work again- how and what. I want to be happier and owe it to myself to do something about it and use my skills and talents and not hide them away and trying to fit in somewhere that makes me unhappy and stressed and really affects my health. After being so sick this year I deserve something good for myself, also it makes you realise how short life is when faced with challenging health issues. I can’t wait around any longer.
-Asking for help and it being ok. It is not failing, it is not going to make the other person feel better than me. Its ok to realise that I have limits and its not my fault.
-Good things (YAY): soups, dog hugs, sweet messages, kindness of strangers, pink bubble baths, lavender oil, scissor shopping, face masks, changing tree’s, clean balcony, making plans, realising I am making progress even if it doesn’t feel like it.
-Brain breakthrough: its about what I am doing and not about the numbers (followers etc), its about slowly achieving bit by bit a body of work and a good community. Lost followers and all the numbers do not match up to this feeling. Slowly but surely building up my work. Stop and take stock, look at the big picture every once in a while. This is a reminder!
-Little things like going off my self and having alone time and getting a hair cut. Makes me feel more human. Making time for myself and wandering alone. Time to think and also time to treat myself.
-Mothers day. I wish I had a choice to turn it all off for a while. It seems like everyone is a mother or becoming one lately and it hurts my little heart that I might not ever be able to or it can’t just happen in one lovely spontaneous surprise. This is a difficult pill to swallow. Not that I hold it against others. My heart is just hurting about all the could be’s, would be’s and should be’s. Then I realise that hopefully one day my time will come. Please stop asking though, as it hurts my heart to be reminded that I am not able to.

My favourite places: Papersmiths

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Lets go on an adventure together, back to the cobbled streets and beautiful buildings in Bristols Clifton Village. I would like very much to spend the rest of my days here. Its so lovely and especially on a fresh, sunny cold day its the very nicest place to be. Popping into the small little independent shops, walking around the squares and tall town houses and spying beautiful doors. Lots of lovely cafes serving very good flat whites. Just off one of the main roads, tucked away on a corner near a lovely veg shop and other sweet shops leading up to it you can find a stationary addicts ultimate dream. Papersmiths. They have the best most extensive collection of stationary that I have ever ever seen. Perfect HAY scissors, notebooks, lovely cushions, funny sweet cards, posters and prints, the best magazines, pens and pencils (<3) lovely sweet cards and much much more. Everything is displayed so perfectly, all lined up and I do love how the pricing is displayed. On a day like the day I visited everything was bathed in a beautiful winter sunlight. Everything is white and wood, the floors are just so beautiful. Its worth a trip for the interiors alone (succulent wall!). Staff are super friendly and I love how you can just browse without being bothered. I would love to see my work in there someday, one can dream!

WIWT illustrated- v2 Paper doll

Happy Sunday to you all (as cheery as it can be all things considering). I thought that I would do an updated version of my what-I-Wore-Today. It serves more as a diary though like my last one

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So this month has passed in such a blur, like groundhog day. This sick lark is getting so very wall-climbingly-cabin-feverish boring. Trying to take an hour a day to record little ideas and thoughts either in my sketchbooks or through drawings like these. Its also about appreciating the little things like cups of tea, and enjoying those quiet moments. Its also about making healthy nutritious soups (broccoli being my fave- more to come!). Keeping dreaming too, mainly about nice little houses and wood fires and the like. We have had cosy nights in watching Sherlock and other series. Its a quiet life at the moment and all about all the small minute things.

WIP- Forest girl

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So I must start off by saying that I am in no certain terms a painter. Not at all. I like painting, but I am far too experimental and like to paint over and over things until I get what I sort of want. Thus creating a weird sort of mess in the process. However, I thought that I would give painting a go.

My idea with this piece was to create some sort of alternative weirdo lost girl princess. I decided on the pink hair for this reason, however as the piece went on and on I just didn’t feel it. It just wasn’t right. She didn’t feel like how I wanted to in my head, her skin was rosy and flushed but far too pastel and sweet for my liking. I wanted a tough girl that runs in the forest in between the brambles, her lips a blueish colour, her eyes like birds and her cheeks permanently ruddy from the cold. I will paint another bubble gum lost girl but she will be different. She will be sassier and not so earthy. I want to paint strong girls that most certainly do not need rescuing because they are quite fine on their own thank you very much. Alternative figures to what we are presented right now.
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I don’t see many other illustrators/artists share their WIP. I feel like I am baring all by doing this, you can see my mistakes and the piece in its raw sense. It was very hard with this piece to know where to stop, and I think that shows. You can see the thick layers of cracked paint. Funny how that adds to her worn forestry look though. I decided that I wanted her to have normal brown hair, albeit with twigs and brambles entwined in it. This piece was a great excercise into letting go and knowing when and where to stop and not allowing myself to get caught up in too much perfection. I like this and I am sort of happy with how she has turned out, I wish she wasn’t so WORKED but anyway. I think the process and sharing the process is so important and something that should be more celebrated. Even if the end result isn’t a super shiny well styled pinterest piece in the end. I think it’s what makes work more interesting and I for one love seeing process and WIP.

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You can find the “Lost girls” series in my shop here, either in print form or originals. Each come with their own little story, like this one, of why they are special and inspiring.

Dear October

On the night before Hallowe’en (Hallows eve!) I got a bee in my bonnet about making a halloweenie wreath. I had exactly what I wanted to do in mind, it needed to be dark and creepy and deathly. I always start these monstrous tasks without thinking about the sheer amount of time it takes. So after hand drawing each element and then having the task of cutting it out (a new found technique that I am adopting- a real life photoshop if you like) and then placing it onto the board to photograph. I am yet to scan and work with each element but I am  so pleased with the effect. I also love spooky ghoulish stuff. I love the macabre and the eerie every day of the year, not just for halloween. I love vampires, zombies and old halloween iconography (old masks, eerie animals and dolls). I look forward to creating more of these in the future for different celebrations. Everything should be celebrated with nature and hanging up wreaths.

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So October. You have turned into November with a flurry of emotions and bad (good) weather. What a month. Its been one of my worse, thats for sure. I am still quite sick (an understatement). Keeping my everything crossed that I am going to get better soon.

You have been up and down, trialing new treatment. You have seen me in and out of hospital (my admiration of doctors and nurses has grown so much). You have also seen me try and get out of this ill slump and believe in myself a little more creatively.

You have been wonderful dog walks, watching the leaves turn and the nights draw in sooner. Duvets back on the bed, cups of tea and lots of rain. Pink skies at night and enjoying being inside a lot. Lots of soups have already been cooked on the stove. Dark lipstick has graced my lips and jackets have been pulled out. You have been so very happy and sad at the same time. You have been watching series on the sofa under blankets. You have been a slow quiet month. Sometimes they are the most tiring. October you have made me feel lonely this year. Heres to November!