Live drawing in Milan & travel sketchbook

sketchingLast week I spent some time in Milan working on a live illustration project with story telling agency Make Believe. I have worked with them on various live illustration projects over the last couple of years and they are always fun yet challenging. You can see a post from my first project in 2014 with them here. I have travelled to Munich, Switzerland and now Milan with them illustrating as part of a small team. This time we attended the European Patient Innovation Summit where Martin and I worked together on creating x34 A3 illustrations over the course of a day and a half. The illustrations were created after sitting in and listening to patients discussing the effect migraines and heart failure had on their lives. While Martin captures the stories and quotes from the day in note form, I illustrate them, we scan them and Martin colours them in Photoshop. They are then printed and displayed on the day as a gallery wall for the attendees to interact with after the conference. The illustrations created are kept under wraps and used internally for pharmaceutical company Novartis. I don’t have anything I can share here from the project but I flew to Milan for a few days before the job and took my travel sketchbook along so here are some of the sketches I did whilst out and about in Milan, I hope you like them… sketching2sketching4

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Romania travel sketchbook

Sketchbook2The last few weeks have been busy: travelling to Romania for my brothers wedding, moving to our first home and chasing deadlines surrounded by unpacked boxes (and accompanied by endless cups of coffee whilst listening to rediscovered old mix-tapes!)

Whilst in Romania I managed to sneak away lots of time to fill my favourite sketchbook (a moleskin) with some travel drawings.Sketchbook3

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Life lately, old studios, new studios & buying a house!

Lif latelyHello to my little space on the internet, it’s been a while. I thought I’d post an update as theres been lots going on lately and it’s nice to throw a random life post into the mix now and again. May was a busy month: we moved out of the chalet and into my parents house, which meant leaving my cosy home studio and changing my work routine up a bit. I’m currently working in a lovely garden studio down the road, the interior colours are grey, petrol blue, turquoise and pink, a dreamy colour palette (and my current favourite!) It’s been nice to have a place to go to work that isn’t an extension of my home, something of a luxury for some of us freelancers.

Talking about studios and workspaces… in the top right photo (in black & white) you can see a sneaky peek of a very exciting new space. We have had an offer accepted on a house and fingers crossed we should be home owners in the next month or two! The process has definitely had its ups and downs as I’m sure most home buyers experience but so far the last stretch of things seems to be going smoothly. I hope I’m not jinxing things by speaking too soon… The best bit is that our new house has a studio in the garden (yay!) The studio (in the black and white pic) has power and lighting and double glazing. It is essentially a big shed but I am oh so excited to transform the space! It needs a bit of work and I’m building a list of things we need to do that we can work on over summer. I’m planning to take lots of before and after photo’s (of the whole house too!) and share the progress here as I think it will be a fun project to look back on and hope that it might be inspiring too.

I’m soaking up ALL the inspiration at the moment (falling down the Pinterest rabbit hole…) scrapbooking interior spaces, discovering beautiful new home-ware shops, planning artwork for the new house and making lots of to do lists. It’s very exciting and a little overwhelming! I’m trying to bear in mind the famous William Morris quote “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful,” but to me that feels limitless, or is that the point, what do you think?

Work wise quite a few of my projects are still under wraps but I hope to share some new pieces soon. I’m working on broadening my portfolio with new personal work focused around nature and animals and I’ve embarked on a creative course so I hope to share more about that soon too. Until then, bye for now.

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29 things to do before turning 30

29 things before 30A few Monday’s ago was my deadline (and also my birthday) of my goal list of 28 things to do before I’m 29. Last year was the first time I made a list like this and it was a really good incentive to do some of the smaller things I wanted to do but put off just through being a bit lazy. Writing it down definitely made me more accountable. It was really fun to refer to my list and tick off all the mini adventures of the year and even though some were small it still felt good to achieve them. I was going to do a final recap of last years but you can see halfway through here and see all the ones I completed on my initial list too. I didn’t tick off every goal (I knew I wouldn’t) but I still managed pretty well and I’m going to carry some of them over for this year.

Here’s what’s on my list of 29 things to do before I’m 30. Deadline 14th December 2016…

1. Keep a personal sketchbook.

2. Run the London Marathon.

3. Learn how to use my camera properly and develop my photography skills.

4. Buy a house.

5. Visit New York.

6. Organise a fundraising event.

7. Wear more colour.

8. Learn a new skill.

9. Continue to document everyday and special moments through the course of the year and print/display them in my project life binder.

10. Be more experimental with my work, try new things and develop my style.

11. Do one thing a month that pushes me out of my comfort zone.

12. Go for a walk at sunrise. Read more

A winters walk – Black Park

December 2015Chris and I have unintentionally started a new tradition in the last couple of years of going for a walk somewhere different on my birthday. I’m not sure if two years in a row counts as a tradition exactly but it feels like the start. Last year Chris and I took Elsie to Ashridge Estate with my mum and sister and walked round the woods with hot chocolate. There’s a few pics in this post. This year with Lilly in tow we headed to Black Park.
TreesThe girlsThe dogs loved it, of course chasing each other and running round in circles. Elsie couldn’t resist a mud bath to cool down after weaving through tree upon tree in pursuit of Lil. Let’s face it she’s never gonna out run our little whip-jack but she’s got the stamina to keep going!tree upon treeSitThe picture above makes me chuckle – it shows the two dogs personalities so well. Lil is busy looking for mischief/something to do/wondering what the camera is and Elsie has the look of pure adoration and wanting to please.
Elsie & INot so much in this one…I think she’s seeing what Lil is up to… SplashIt was nowhere near as chilly as last year but we did catch some raindrops on our departure. The weather has been really good for walking but it seems to be turning cold now, time to wrap up!

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It’s in the little things Vol.2

little pleasures2A little follow on from my first post, here’s a few simple, happy things from this week…

1. Fresh flowers

These blooms were reduced to £1.99 at Waitrose which included the mason jar, bargain! I love sunflowers too they’re so nice to have around and really brighten up a room.

2. A full fridge and cooking again

We haven’t been very good with food planning lately so on Tuesday evening I did a big shop to get lots of veggies and fresh food and did some crazy bulk cooking and baking. I made a half batch of Deliciously Ella’s chocolate chia cookies & almond chia energy bites, a batch of granola bars, a big batch of Oh She Glows lentil and kale soup, some quinoa to add to recipes during the week and a Madeleine Shaw recipe from her Get the glow book for chickpea and lentil dahl with coconut cauliflower rice (first time trying cauli-rice, surprisingly tasty!)

3. Positive energy card

Everyone needs a little reminder to feel the positive vibes every now and again. The simple words + gold stamped lettering = perfection.

4. A new morning routine

I’ve started a new morning routine where I start each day with a walk. I get up with Chris at 7am and we’re out the door with dogs in tow by 7:30am. He drops me and the dogs off part way on his journey to work and we walk back home. We walk past some roads, a farm, some fields and then into the woods. There are some beautiful English cottages on the route too and it’s nice to be out first thing in the fresh air. I’m home by 8:30am ready to start the day and the dogs are ready to curl up and sleep off their walks (lucky them!)

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Snapshots: A day in London

Prosecco SpritzerI’m slowly marking things off my 28 things before 29 list and last week I managed two – go for dinner at Dans Le Noir and spend a day with mum and Avie. Earlier in the week I visited Dans Le Noir which was a fantastic experience (check out their website if you’ve not heard of it) and being vegetarian I opted for the green menu – it was really tasty! Then on Friday I took the afternoon off and with mum and Avie and we headed to Borough Market – one of my favourite places in London.
SparklesAny day that involves bubbles is a good day if you ask me and this prosecco & peach spritzer was yummy, the perfect summer drink. Velvet ChocolateThese doughnuts look so tasty, we didn’t buy any – at this point we were full of delicious food from Black & Blue where I had an artichoke & cheese dip with tortilla chips and a stacked field mushroom with fresh pesto – pretty good for a steak joint. Borough beerI couldn’t resist a snap of these pretty organic beer bottles: the shape, the typography, the banners & illustrations = perfection. I bought Christophe a milk stout from this stall it tasted of smooth chocolate so you can’t really go wrong ;) 
St Paul's in bloomA little peek of St Paul’s through the blooms. Summer in London is such a treat. Flowers & architecture…I’m not complaining.Love fishBlowing bubblesAnother type of bubble, small and large bubbles with irregular shapes their iridescence filled the sky to create beautiful transparencies of colour and happy children.Borough brolliesI’ve never seen these umbrellas at Borough Market before, peeking from behind a corner, drops of light fill the tubes hanging from them. I’m looking forward to going back in the evening, I bet they’re quite a sight.

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It’s in the little things Vol.1

little pleasuresI thought I would start a new series on the blog to help me capture and document the little things in life that can go by unnoticed. Things have been a little quiet over here lately but I’m hoping to find my momentum with blogging again and post a bit more frequently. I love being able to document the big and small moments of life over here. These are a few of the little things I’ve been loving lately…

1. Anthropology Grapefruit & Cilantro soy candle

I bought this candle a little while ago on an impulse whilst ‘window shopping,’ after a meeting in London. The minute I smelt it I had to buy it, it’s such a fresh fragrance and definitely more of a morning scent as it’s so invigorating. I convinced myself I would put it on my desk and light it in while I sip my morning coffee and get ready for work. A ‘work,’ candle if you will. What a stupid concept but my studio smells great :)

2. Lemon & lime infused water

In a bid to make the clear stuff a bit more interesting I’ve been making all sorts of concoctions to encourage the H20 habit. I love adding lemon and lime, fresh mint, cucumber and strawberries to my water. While I write this I’m currently drinking a yummy mix of frozen watermelon blended with coconut water, it tastes so good!

3. ‘A Lion in Paris,’ by Beatrice Alemangna

Such a beautiful, beautiful book! I first discovered this book when I was in Paris last year and it is simply the sweetest book. The illustrations are just perfect.

4. Printing out my photo’s from the Peak District for my project life binder

I’m still obsessed with project life as I love that it provides me with a visual record of memories. It’s really fun to look back on and see what was happening this time last year.

What are the little things that have made you happy this week?

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Halfway through my 28 things to do before 29 list!

28 before 29 recapAs the title suggests as we’re already halfway through the year I thought I’d do a little update post on how I’ve been getting on with my 28 things to do before I’m 29 list. You can click here to see the full list but for now I’ll share the ones I’ve completed so far. Some of them are ongoing throughout the year so they’ll be in my final update.

The ones I’ve completed…Elsie beachTake Elsie to the beach. Avie and I took Elsie to the beach for the first time in January this year you can see the full post here.BUPA 10KTrain and take part in a 10k charity run & raise money for charity. I killed two birds with one stone by taking part in the London Bupa 10k run to raise money for Chrohns & Colitis UK. The full post is here. This also encouraged me to run a half marathon!Peak DistrictTake a trip. I visited the Peak District recently and it was such a lovely break from the norm. I made a blog post about what we got up to you, you can see it here.Weekend awayGo on a weekend away with Christophe. I don’t think this one fully counts as it wasn’t just us two but we did go on a weekend break with Chris’ family to the New Forest which was lots of fun and that salted caramel ice cream was amazing. Chris dropped his first one after a naughty pup (Lilly!) pulled on the lead!

Some of the other things I’ve ticked are: Start an inspiration scrapbook or vision board dedicated to health, fitness & wellbeing. (this is currently a cork board with lots of bits stuck to it so I’m hoping to make it a bit more ‘inspiring,’ and then I might take a photo or two.) Build an indoor fort with cushions to drink wine in with Christophe. We did this for our 11 year anniversary! It was so much fun, we bought a bottle of red wine and watched crime films. I think we’re definitely going to be doing this again as it was fun to feel like big kids and it was super comfy! Buy more art prints for my studio. Done. I picked up quite a few at Renegade and I’ve also given my studio a bit of a spring clean where I have displayed my favourite book covers along my windowsill as most of them are works of art in the own right. Go to the theatre to see ‘Cats,’ with Scarlett. We had a nostalgic night at the beginning of the year seeing Cats and having a sing song to our favourite old tunes from childhood. It was cringey and amazing. Buy some boxing gloves. I got some for Christmas. Thanks Debs! Go to a ballet class. I went with Avie as she goes to a weekly class. It was really good and I can imagine after doing it for awhile you can really see results but for me I think it was a bit too slow paced.

So there we have it. Phew! Have you started your own list? Please share below in the comments if you have one or are thinking of starting one! I’ve found it really motivating so far!

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A long weekend in the Peak District

The Peak DistrictLast weekend me and a couple of friends escaped (for them) the busy-ness of London and for me replacing my home in the countryside with a new countryside and we travelled to the Peak District. The Peak District has been on my list of places to visit after I saw some stunning photo’s and it was every bit as open, green and beautiful as I imagined. We stayed in a little cottage (with airbnb) just outside the peaks in a lovely village called Honley. We arrived early evening Saturday and after having some drinks at a local pub we settled into our cottage for a chilled evening to plan our adventures for the next few days. Our first stop on Sunday was Holmfirth where we visited an art market, antiques shop, did some charity shop shopping and stopped for coffee and cake. We then drove to Marsden Moor for some walking and breath taking views.National Trust Marsden MoorOn a rockOn Monday we visited Yorkshire Sculpture Park. I’d visited once before on a college trip a long time ago and couldn’t remember much. I’m so glad we went! There was a Rob Ryan exhibition on which was beautiful and sentimental (and hugely inspiring!) as all his work is. We also looked at Henry Moore’s work: his sculptures and drawings. I don’t really connect with his work but after seeing it in person and watching a video about it it was interesting to see how ahead of his time he was and how he seemed so inspired by life around him. There was a video clip of him beginning a sculpture from rock and the sheer physicality of transforming this rock into a piece of art was impressive. It gave me a new perspective and admiration for his work. We liked the sheep too! :)YSPWe were leaving on Tuesday so we decided to use the day to do a bit of a road trip with lots of pit stops to break up the long drive home. It was a really good decision and we got to see so many beautiful sights. We headed from Honley to Bamford Edge stopping when we could to take photo’s and admire the views. Peak District viewsI would happily visit the Peak District again (Chris & I did try to arrange a weekend away for our anniversary where we could take the dogs but we were a bit disorganised! We did however make an indoor fort to drink wine in) I think it would be nice to go here around Christmas time and stay in a cute cottage and go on lovely winter walks. For us, we were lucky to have beautiful blue skies, glittering water and a blanket of various greens to traipse over and it was gorgeous!Blue skiesOur little weekend away came as the heatwave hit England, yay, summer is here!

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