Monday, 7 July 2014


The little one and I went to Tiger in Cambridge a few weeks ago to get whatever struck our fancy. We ended up buying all sorts of colourful things. She got herself a big bag of straws, a set of highlighters, a notebook and a hand fan. I got myself a roll of their fruit-themed parcel tape, a set of table napkins and a plain kraft notebook. At £2, the notebook was definitely a steal.

I decided to personalise it yesterday. I just used some of my Derwent and Prismacolor pencils to make this Alice in Wonderland-inspired picture. The little one said that she looks a bit ill because of her eyes. Ha. I'm definitely into drawing droopy-eyed people these days. 

Having said that, she does look a little bit too ill. I might just lighten the area under her eyes a bit.

This was a lot of fun to do and I'm thinking of getting a few more kraft notebooks to customise. Any suggestions on which literary character I should do next?

Edited: I've redone parts of her face to make her look a little less, er, consumptive. The little thinks she still looks ill though. There's no pleasing some people. 

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Heat wave

The last few days have been really warm—the sort of weather that makes you want to spend the whole day outdoors, only to feel completely drained and wilted after an hour or so. I just wanted to drink iced tea and eat Filipino fruit salad, the kind that uses cream and condensed milk as dressing, thus cancelling out the health benefits of eating fruit. 

The kittens are doing a lot of sleeping and eating straight-out-of-the-fridge food.

    The little one has been walking around shirtless.

   I baked a chocolate fudge cake and banana muffins on Sunday. It was so hot that I decided to sit on the floor while preparing the batter. Cool kitchen floor tiles FTW!

Found this cute hedgehog canvas fabric on eBay. I have big plans for it.

The little one turned seven yesterday. Here she is before heading for school.

Her very first manga—Yotsuba. She's completely addicted.

Birthday balloons—the remains of a sweltering day. Best birthday ever, according to the little one. That's all that matter, really. 

Friday, 16 May 2014

We've joined Team Cat

They are sweet and cuddly and messy and affectionate and ferocious. And they love to sleep—on laps, duvets, pillows, blankets, in front of the snakes' vivarium while patiently waiting for the snakes to come out and play. Life is definitely more interesting with Ollie and Ellie around.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

One-minute review: The Shambling Guide to New York

The Shambling Guide to New York CityThe Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really wanted to like this book because I like Mur Lafferty. The premise is interesting, and the main character initially comes across as likable enough. There are some really funny scenes and this is where Lafferty's writing shines through. However, the plot and the characters all turn into cliches halfway through the story, that by the time I got to the end, I felt like the book was just a mish-mash of books, films and television programmes we have all seen before.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

A message on self-care

I'm playing with different magazine layouts in InDesign. I think simple is still the best. Please click on the image to see the full spread.

I've just finished work on a book. Not my own, sadly, but I'm proud of it. I did the editing and layout, and produced the PDF, EPUB and Kindle versions. The whole process has inspired me to produce my own books. There are plans for making children's books (with a little help from my extremely talented friends), plus a personal project that involves a lot of work. I won't say anything else about it until the production has started.

I'm wrapping up work now and getting ready for the Easter holiday. The kids and I will be blowing and painting eggs and probably baking lots of cakes to make use of the eggs!

Blessed be.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Sad girl

Do you know why she's sad?

1. Because a lot of people would rather believe that a seven-year-old girl was lying when she accused her father of sexually abusing her. The very same father who had groomed a teenager who was adopted by his partner, the seven-year-old's mother. That these people would excuse a grown man's openly predatory behaviour as 'falling in love' and write off his daughter's accusations as the result of her mother's brainwashing is just disgusting and explains why many victims of child abuse find it hard to open up about their experiences at the hands of their abusers.

2. Because a man who used to edit a sleazy, sensationalist British tabloid and now hosts a television programme with a global audience threw a tantrum online because a trans woman he interviewed complained that he focused too much on her past rather than the issues that she advocates now. The whole time he was interviewing her, the words 'Was a boy until age 18' were plastered on the screen. He got angry that he got called out for something that could have been easily avoided had he bothered to do some basic research on transgender people's issues or even just read this. Heck, even I have read the guide, and I'm not even a journalist.

3. Because here in Britain, the Education Secretary continues to wreak havoc on primary and secondary schools, proving once again that it's dangerous to leave education in the hands of someone who knows nothing about it.

And that was just a fraction of what happened this week, folks. Doesn't living in this world feel so exhausting sometimes, especially for people who are directly affected by misogyny, racism and the complete disregard for the marginalised that people in government have?

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Wednesday is for worthwhile work

I've decided to make Wednesday my creative work day. This is when I spend a few hours, maybe even most of the day, just writing or painting, without feeling guilty about neglecting my 'normal' work.

Well, that's the idea anyway. I still do find myself squeezing in some housework or editing articles for work for a couple of hours. These days, it's even harder to concentrate as I have the kids with me all the time. (Yes, I'm one of those parents who can't wait for the summer holidays to be over!)

So yes, it's a struggle. To make things a little bit easier for myself, I normally do my paintings on small canvasses for now, usually 5" x 7" canvas boards. They take a maximum of four hours to finish, as long as I have a clear idea of how they're going to look to begin with.

Oh, and I have a new painting material—oil paint sticks. These babies are quite pricey but they do last for ages and they give a lovely smooth creamy finish when you're painting skin.

I have no idea yet where to take my work. I feel the urge to move forward with my art, but the how isn't clear yet. There are thoughts on expanding my teaching, designing a product line or two, and selling prints off my portfolio. I'm not sure yet. My mind's a bit muddled these days, but I think it will be a lot clearer once this summer haze has cleared up.