My weekend in pictures

Feeding ElsieI wanted to set myself the challenge of spending the weekend with my camera in a bid to document more everyday moments. Lately I’ve been feeling like life’s a bit unexciting and I haven’t been doing a lot. On my morning walk on Saturday I started thinking about how life isn’t made up of loads of big exciting moments it’s made of little everyday adventures. It made me feel better and more grateful for things I take for granted and I want to try and appreciate and capture the little things that make life good…

Every day starts the same and that’s with a walk. Elsie is on quite a strict training programme at the moment and we have been having one to one doggy behaviour classes every week to help with her protectiveness over Lil around other dogs. There’s been quite a bit of change to her routine and one of the changes is that she now gets hand fed on her daily walks whilst we do attention exercises. Stinky.Weekend snippetsI’m loving the sneaks of Spring and the fact the clocks went forward yesterday, woohoo! I went out for a run on Sunday – in between the rain showers but still managed to get caught in a blasting pelt of rain which at one point felt like hail stones. Let’s just say it was a bad time to wear a T-shirt (and not my rain mack..for the first time.) Oh well first week of training runs done. After my run it was shower, get out of wet clothes time, stretch, then most definitely BEER.Lilly's new toyElsieActually there were quite a few beers involved. And mozzarella sticks. Oops. This weekend we started watching Mad Men. So good, I love the fashion. Although it felt like we should be drinking whiskey, smoking cigarettes and wearing full skirts. I’m not sure how Chris would feel about the skirt idea… We went out and bought the dogs some new toys, I love the pic Chris took of Elsie smiling, she was actually standing on her hind legs for this.Me & ChristopheThat was our weekend in pics. It was fun to document a normal weekend, nothing too exciting happened but it was nice. We watched TV, went on dog walks, I went for a run and we drunk some beer.

I hope you liked looking at these pics, I’m going to try and post some from next weekend too!

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Half marathon training month 1 – setting a programme & nutrition

Half-marathon-planSo I officially started my 12 week half marathon training on Monday (it was a rest day, I did Pilates) so yesterday was my first run of my programme. I decided to take a new route close to home that I’ve only run once as I like to run in new areas. It was an easy 30 minute run and the running itself was fine. What I didn’t expect was to be confronted with a full frontal semi naked man (using the nearest bush as a toilet) at 7:30am but hey it certainly made my first run one to remember (albeit for the wrong reasons.)

I like to be organised otherwise I forget where my head is, so I decided to make a calendar (similar to this one) to make a note of my upcoming training runs and races (I’ve got the BUPA 10k, the colour run and my half marathon.) I used a piece of MDF that I painted in a black and white geometric pattern and used Posca paint pens to draw the numbers and title. The post it notes didn’t stick as well to the paint so I used some heart tape that I got here. (The above photo is for the first four weeks, the calendar is pretty tall but I couldn’t get a good photo so this is just part of it.)

It’s helpful to see it all laid out so I know what I have to do each day and can shimmy days here and there if I need to. In May I’m going to Switzerland on two occasions for work so I’m hoping to do some running there which will be fun although Christophe is a bit worried that I’ll get lost…the likelihood is high.

My training programme is based on this one from Bupa and I’ve tweaked a few things.
Homemade energy ballsDuring my training I want to focus more on nutrition. I already know that what I eat and drink affects my runs so I want to make sure I’m getting the most out of the food I eat especially as I start to run for longer distances. I came across this post by ‘Lazy girl running,’ and after wanting to make my own energy balls I decided to give it a go.

My energy balls are a mixture of oats, dates, hazelnuts and natural peanut butter which I then rolled in desiccated coconut. I just grabbed the ingredients and combined them in my blender with a small amount of water and a bit of maple syrup. I’m planning to use these for a pre or post run snack.Deliciously Ella choc chia cookiesI also made these Deliciously Ella Chocolate Chia Cookies after finally getting round to gathering all the ingredients, for some reason medjool dates are always sold out at my local supermarket but this time I stocked up! These cookies were really nice they’re crunchy and addictive! I’m going to make Ella’s sweet potato chocolate brownies tonight, they sound amazing so I’m excited to try them. We don’t have desserts too often but occasionally we’ll have chocolate in the house so I’d rather prepare healthier options that aren’t processed ready to have on hand for after dinner or when the craving strikes. For most of my other meals I use recipes from my food bible The Oh She Glows Cookbook which is my favourite cookbook EVER. This week I’ve had the grilled portobello mushroom salad with balsamic glaze for lunch a few times and for dinner we cooked a batch of the soul-soothing african peanut stew (amazing!) I seriously can’t wait for Angela’s second cookbook but for now I’m still making my way through each and every recipe in this one.

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Health & fitness update – I’m running a half marathon!

Run with your heartA couple of months ago after reading ‘Running like a girl,’ by Alexandra Heminsley I had the impulsive urge to sign up for a half marathon. A full marathon has always been on my bucket list and after I started running in November it feels more within grasp (as I’ve actually started running!) I found a half marathon that would coincide with my 10k training and signed up.

I did my first park run a little while back, which was really good. If you’re into running or interested in taking it up I highly recommend checking out the website. Park runs are 5k timed runs with a laid-back atmosphere with a community feel. I actually achieved my personal best too at the time (which I wasn’t intending but I think the feeling of running with other people encouraged me to run faster.) It was also a small insight into how race day will feel. I’m so used to running alone now that it was quite unusual running within a 50 people crowd.

My longest run to date is 8k so I feel fairly confident now about my 10k. As of tomorrow I start my training for my half marathon where I’ll be running four times a week (or 3 runs and cross training) and I’m going to keep up with Pilates to keep working on my core and strength. I have no idea how well I’ll do with my longer runs but at the moment I’m loving having a longer run on a Sunday, it’s such a nice weekend activity. The other week I ran to town and met Christophe for breakfast, which was a good motivator to carry on running! At the moment I feel like I could just keep running which is great but I’m being strict as I don’t want to injure myself. I hope that feeling of wanting to keep going lasts but I’m sure with the longer runs it’s going to be hard and a struggle at times.

At the moment I’m feeling excited about my training and getting into a new running routine, if you have any tips please share!

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Coffee date at New Row, Covent Garden

New Row coffeeHaving a little pup around means that if you go out you can only spend a few hours away from them so this week instead of leaving Lilly at home when I went to meet my friend in town I decided to bring her along. We had planned to meet at Hyde Park and go for a walk around the park and do some location drawing but unfortunately the promise of Spring has all but disappeared in London and the sky was grey and cold. We met at Hyde Park anyway then decided to jump on the train to Covent Garden to find a dog-friendly pub.
Me & LillyWe had some lunch and then had a wander around Covent Garden on the search for coffee and somewhere we could sit inside with Lilly. We settled on New Row a place I’d heard of but never tried.Salted caramel brownieI ordered a flat white and Toobie ordered a latte. I also got a salted caramel brownie and, oh MY! It was absolutely delicious and I would go back for the brownie alone although the coffee was amazing too!Toobie & LilThere was a sign that they make their own fresh almond milk everyday which I would love to try next time. Coffee with ToobI’m getting a bit obsessed with coffee lately and making homemade latte’s everyday and on the weekends enjoying them with Christophe. You can’t beat a latte for comfort.PupdateLilly got lots of kisses and cuddles whilst we were there! She was inquisitive, nibbling at dropped crumbs on the floor. Then it was home time and back to work for me. It was Lilly’s first time on a train and she was really good considering the journey was an hour long with a few train changes. I’ve never been on a train journey where so many people have smiled and chatted to me. One lady said seeing her had made her commute so much nicer and made her day. It was so sweet. Lilly on the trainI would definitely recommend New Row coffee for their coffee and their brownies, anywhere that’s dog friendly gets a thumbs up from me really anyway :)

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Mothers Day at Drink, Shop & Do

Drink shop doWe Spent a lovely afternoon at Drink Shop & Do today to celebrate Mother’s day in true British style with afternoon tea.  Tea & CakeI love the quirky details of Drink Shop & Do – they are exactly my mum’s style – vintage tea cups & crockery, formica tables & odd chairs. They laid the tables with mismatched cups & saucers and we ate finger sandwiches, sweet & savoury scones, mini cakes and lots of tea.Afternoon TeaThere were a selection of sandwiches to choose from alongside mini red velvet, lemon meringue pies, rose & pistachio cake & chocolate cake. We also had an endless supply of tea: fresh mint, Earl grey and Yorkshire. HeartsMum & II’ve been to DSD about four or so times and I’ve never been to their toilet (fun fact…) but when I saw the glitter wallpaper it felt like a photo opportunity, how cool would it be to have glittery wallpaper?! …Maybe not permanently ;)DetailsI love that they have their little shop where you can buy from independent sellers (and they hang art on the walls that you can purchase.) I spotted some Stacie Swift cards too!Darryl & Rumi…Couple shots! :)Karl & LilyHappy mothers day to my beautiful mama – I think you’re pretty incredible for raising four children

…I can barely raise a puppy ;)

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My week so far…

Portfolio prepI posted this little snapshot on my instagram a few days ago after spending some time updating my physical portfolio for a meeting tomorrow. I always prep my portfolio using the guidance I was given at uni by thinking about pace and layout. Usually they’ll be a full page spread next to a piece that might have more white space. I also use the right side to place the illustration I think is more eye catching as you tend to look at the right first. Men & a poodleI like to take some kind of work that I can leave with the client and I used the above illustration for business cards (and the below illustration was printed onto postcards.)Treasure mapThis week I’ve been working on my regular love life illustrations for Waitrose, the German book cover I started a couple of weeks back and I’m starting a new map commission later today. I’m planning some new personal work too which I’m trying to fit in between work and looking after Lil, who knew a puppy would be so distracting… :) What have you been up to so far this week?

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Puppy Diaries – Vol.6

Elsie & LillyI wasn’t going to post a puppy diaries entry this week but I couldn’t help myself in sharing the above photo. The two of them are so sweet together. It’s week three of Elsie’s lead rest and I’m literally counting down the days until she can come back off lead and go for a run. I went to the Dog’s Trust this week and we spoke about getting her re acquainted with other dogs once she’s fully rested. (In the meantime we’ve been walking in the local woods where there aren’t many other dogs around.) It’s a long story but I mentioned she’s protective of Lil… well, her socialisation has taken a few steps backwards because of her injury and being on lead walks only. I’m confident with training she’ll get back to how she was before, there was a lot of change for her all at once so hopefully in a few weeks we’ll get back to a new normal routine.

I won’t be posting a puppy diaries entry next week as I’m planning to do a pupdate every now and again instead of the weekly posts I’ve been doing. If you want to have a look at all the posts from when we first got Lilly up until now you can see them here.

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Planning a studio update

StudioI’ve been wanting to update my home-studio space for awhile. I’ve been working in this space for a year and a half now and it’s starting to feel like it needs a refresh. These are some pics taken last year but it’s looking a bit messier around the edges at the moment – I also killed all my plants but one, oops! :(  Studio before updateI’ve been researching some ideas to give my studio a makeover on a budget. There’s a few things I’d like to do including adding some new art to the walls, making a new work calendar (this is my current one,) adding some colour and new plants (ones that require minimal maintenance) and just generally giving it a bit of a facelift! It’s a small space but it’s also a nice space to work in so I want to make the most of it. I’m hoping to get started this weekend on some ideas so I’ll try to post some progress photo’s soon.

Hope you’re having a good week :)

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