Monday, 31 March 2014

Good designs on a monday

Need some motivation for a seriously dull Monday?

Well then let these really good designs give you a glimmer of inspiration!

1.  Great design studio  2.  Spotted this in Barcelona  3. Found on this blog here

This is a little post I'm going to call 'design done good'  - 3 good designs I spy (usually over at Pinterest or on my travels) that I think you'll like too.

Today's following booty is ::

top left :: Great branding from Ro&Co!

top right :: A bottle of water we had in Barcelona, neat branding.

bottom left :: Gold logo, cool surfboards, and a coffee house too at this place in NYC. I'm in ❤.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

And the top shop of the day award goes to...

Poketo at Remodelista

I've got a bit of a lust for nice shops and I often spy a good one on Pinterest. This is my latest find and I want us all to just stop for a moment and take in the goodness of this very tip top shop.

Don't you just wish this was your corner shop?

It's a cool shop called Poketo and recently featured here over at the Remodelista Blog. Take a look there's heaps more about this awesome store there!

Friday, 21 March 2014

Barcelona in 3 days


I just spent 3 days in Barcelona and I ♥ that place!

I first visited Barcelona in 2008 and now, 6 years later, it was time to hop back to this beautiful city  - with incredible food, fantastic people and TAPAS! How can I forget Tapas?

As I'd seen all the tourist spots before, this visit was a great opportunity to sample the real Barcelona off the beaten track, especially as I'd practised my Spanish a bit more; 'Quiero Cafe Con Leche Por Favor.'

I also wanted to get some sketches and photographs of some Catalonian inspired street scenes for some studies when I returned back to my studio. I'd been itching to do a european street scene for a few months so, of course, I had to go and visit the one place I knew would inspire me.

First of all we stayed at the Europark Hotel in Eixample District. It was perfect - just a skip and a jump from Girona tube stop which is one stop from Passeig De Gracia where everything else is easily accessible. We walked a lot - Barcelona is definitely a city to be enjoyed on foot!

We ate a few times at Betlem Miscel.lania Gastonomica, just a stroll away from our hotel - a real traditional little bistro/cafe/tapas bar with great staff, friendly locals and really the very best food. Simply delicious each time!

Talking of tapas, we also tried Cuidad Condal which is near Passeig De Gracia - after seeing great reviews on Tripadvisor.  The food was great and the atmosphere buzzed with waiters dashing about behind the bar  - great to watch!  But a bit touristy for me - Prices were really good though (and we did drink a lot of wine!)

For breakfast we hit gold when we found a great spot called Milk Bar and Bistro ( with Eggs Benedict, breakfast smoothies and the best cafe con leche!) I'll let the picture do the talking...

We also brunched at the aptly named Brunch and Cake and ate an epic scrambled egg, turkey, avocado and feta bagel (yes it sounds amazing and it was, it certainly, surely, definitely was!) - Sorry no photo, we polished it off in a flash!

Definitely not to forget, just across the road from Brunch and Cake, we had the best Gelato in Barcelona and coffees at DelaCrem. The staff here were so friendly and smiling too, it was a triple win! Coffee + Gelato + Smiles = happiness.

As well as sampling fantastic food with the locals, I made time to visit the Picasso Museum which was beyond inspirational. (Sorry no photos were allowed inside!)

Muchos Gracias (!) Barcelona for bringing the sunshine, the food and the smiles! I can't wait to get sketching from all the ideas and inspiration you showed me.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Studio Songs

I've always loved this song by Ben Howard, Only Love.

But last year someone broke my heart and the song broke too.

I just couldn't listen to it.  Everytime it came on the radio, I turned the channel over.

But someone else fixed the song and I can listen to it again (thank goodness because it's such an awesome song)!

I love the video - he's cycling around New York City - doesn't it just make you want to cycle around New York City, plug your headphones in and drift off into a world of your own?

Let's do it!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

San Francisco sketching

San Francisco, I wish you weren't so far away, and then maybe we could hang out for a day?!

I'm sure you do a great cup of coffee.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

You're awesome

Tell someone how awesome they are today.

Appreciate the good people around you who do nice things. They're the keepers.

T h a n k  y o u  

 photo happywednesday3_zpsbf4422f6.jpg

Monday, 10 March 2014

North Devon road trip

This weekend the sun came out.

So we went on a Road Trip!

Our destination?

A little trip to North Devon was on the radar; Croyde Bay, Putsburgh and Woolacombe. We were ready to see some sea, surf, beach and panoramic views.

So I packed my sketchbook and pens.

We stayed at The Old Bakery Bed and Breakfast in Georgham near Croyde which I was incredible and we must extend our thanks to David and his wife Pipps for such a lovely night and an almighty breakfast in the morning that was deliciousorama!!  (We'll be back soon...)

Want to see more photos and sketches? (...and random pictures of food!) follow me on Instagram for lots more sketches, beaches and other random things that catch my eye.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Studio songs

I've got some new tunes in my head.

And a few pens in my hand.

First of all, I'm excited to hear that Coldplay are releasing their new album, Ghost Stories this month. And their new tune, Magic is a typical Coldplay classic - and I love it!

Also, Beyonce's XO is just a brilliant brilliant song, it's so beautiful - I can't stop playing or humming it. 'I love you like XO, you love me like XO...Oo Ooo Oooo Oh.'

I found this awesome cover on YouTube that I have to say is almost as brilliant as Beyonce's version. It's incredible! Check it out below, it's by a band called Idiots Lantern. Nice job guys!

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

The best beaches around the world

Everyone loves a good beach!

From the moment you take off your flip-flops and press your feet into the soft, warm sand, heading for the water's edge to dip your toes in a clear, blue twinkling sea....until after dusk when you can snuggle under a blanket watching the moonlight twinkle on the ocean.

...In my head right now, I'm SO there - are you there?

Here are a few of my favourite beaches around the world to get you in a summery mood!

1.  Leighton Beach, Western Australia

Many Australians rave about Cottesloe Beach, but my favourite is Leighton Beach (the long stretch of beach just before Cottesloe, which starts at the North Fremantle end). Leighton is a wider, whiter and the sea is bigger, bluer and it's less crowded. It's also great for a morning surf, paddleboard or swim. I stayed just over the road from this beach while I was travelling and I'd be on the beach by about 6.30am each morning. During that time, Leighton Beach and I became good chums. You can walk all the way to Cottesloe from Leighton - or run, depending on how hot it is! (Also a great bar/cafe there called Bib and Tucker.)

2.  Piahia, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

I love this beach, not because of the beach so much, but really the water and sea surrounding it.

It's filled with lots of memories for me, mostly of being in boats, fishing on the water and eating fresh fish for tea. The water was also so warm too, like bath water to get into. There are amazing little islands scattered everywhere and you can just hop from one to the next, enjoying beauty spot after beauty spot. Really great if you want to discover a hidden cove.

3. St Ives, Cornwall

For years people kept telling me how much I'd like St Ives and how I had to visit, and when I finally got there I couldn't believe I'd left it 29 years before I did!

The colours are amazing, you have to go and see it to believe it. It's that magic kind of place where blue sky meets white washed houses and turquoise blue waters, against pale white sand. The sunlight just before sunset is also very colourful. It's so beautiful it's hard to imagine you're in the UK!

4. Knoll Bay, Studland, Dorset

This beach is where Coldplay filmed their first single Yellow. In the music video, it's raining and dark but the real beach is an incredible stretch of sand, dunes in the background, soft white sand and always blue skies. It's picture perfect and I can see why Coldplay tried to film their first music video here, but sadly it rained on the day they were filming and in a last ditch attempt the director decided to film a cold and wet Chris Martin in one-take. The rest is music video history. A classic.

5. Jervis Bay, NSW Australia

The whitest sand, so soft, so beautiful, and the first place I ever saw dolphins in the wild.

Oh my gosh that was SO hard! I have so many more to share with you! But these are the ones that evoked the most memories.

What beach do you recommend I popped along to next?

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

5 things that make you more creative

Lots of people ask me how they can be more creative, so I've got 5 things that do it for me...

1 - Heartbreak.  

Yep, heartbreak is surely the top thing to make you more creative. It makes you that little bit more passionate about what you do. If you've never had your heart broken, go and fall head over heals in love with someone and then get them to rip your heart out of your chest and drop it on the concrete. Watch the ideas flow! 

Musicians like Adele wouldn't have written great songs without having gone through some shitty heartbreak, after all.  

2 - Shorten the deadline.

Yes, be a bastard to yourself and make your deadline shorter. And I mean really short, like, 'I need this completed by tomorrow or you're fired and the world will end!' kind of short.

If I get a long deadline, I'm more likely to surf the internet until the day before and then I'll do an all nighter.  Everyone does, nobody's that organised - or if they are, they're an android.

I love this video by Ben Squirrel, the founder of Mailchimp, about this very subject.

3 - Get outside.

A change of scenery and getting outside in the fresh air and sunlight is great. Maybe change your view, visit a new city, get out of your comfort zone, go to a different cafe, walk a different route.  Just do it, pronto. 

4 - Coffee

Caffine is like magic dust.  

Visiting cafes and working on their free WIFI is also very productive.

5 - Collect inspiration

Inspiration is all around you, so collect it, cut it out, pin it up.  

I use Pinterest to pin things (and look at a LOT of stuff.. maybe too much) I see online for reference, and a pinboard on my desk with things that I like from other sources like magazines or postcards. You see, to make good work, you've got to see a lot of awesome work from other sources that inspires you to get better. Inspiration is like fuel for your car; creativity won't run unless there's heaps of ideas in your engine. 

I have a few blogs I really love to follow, one of them is the Miss Swiss blog by Tina Roth Eisenberg - please check it out, I've been reading for years and it always gives me a lightbulb moment. Or three.

Did that help? You got any strategies you like use?  Let me know, I could use a few!