Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Mini fashion

I often wish I was a kid again;  No need to worry about those ever appearing wrinkles, nobody sending you bills asking you to pay them, no need to slather on that night creme as if you were icing a cake, no need to check your bank balance while having to hold a piece of wood between your teeth to soften the pain, and no need to pull out those stray grey hairs so your new boyfriend won't notice that you're actually older than him.

You'd ALSO be eligible to wear the coolest clothes - like this flamingo applique skirt for example - if you were a kid again. (Boden please make one in my size!)

Here's a couple of sketches for a mini children's fashion clothing range - I had so much fun dressing up these little cuties!

 photo childrensclothingillustrations_zps5313b20b.jpg I'm also starting a little creative collaboration on here for other creatives to share some of their process and how they took the leap from 9 to 5 to studio life.

If you or anyone you know is a creative freelancer and wants to get involved, drop me a line here, or chat me up on Twitter!

Over and out!

Toot toot!

 photo callingcreatives_zpsb6ff4b2c.jpg

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

My favourite summer tipple

 photo classicmojitococktail_zpsb9618db4.jpg

Quick, the sun's out!

Let's all go for cocktails!

I'm starting to get a teeny bit excited now that the evenings are getting lighter and lighter, because I love going outside and drinking 'alfresco' of a summer's evening, shades on, feet up, sipping my favourite cocktail. Lush.

I have a few favourite cocktail stops in Cheltenham, they are (in no particular order)...

1 :: The Tavern - 5 Royal Well Pl, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL50 3DN
2 :: Hotel Du Vin - Parabola Rd, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL50 3AQ
3 :: No.131 The Promenade - 131 The Promenade, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL50 1NW

As a big fan of Mojitos, here's how to make a classic Mojito, just in time for summer!

Monday, 28 April 2014

The secret to getting those creative projects finished

I've been a big fan of Kate Bingaman Burt for a while now, she just seems like the kind of girl I'd like to hang out with and draw stuff with and drink coffee with...

She's an illustrator, educator and maker-of-things. And all around pretty rad.

Here's a talk she did for Creative Mornings - she'll get you so motivated and inspired and she'll have you in belly laughs in no time.

Talented and witty? Yes, clever lady.

If you're a creative and you're in a bit of a creative rut, you need to watch this!

Cute kids outfit of the day

My niece is growing up so fast. She's growing out of all her clothes apparently so I can't imagine how big she'll have got the next time I see her!

I found this awesome boutique children's clothing shop in fashionable Montpellier in Cheltenham called Carousel. It's stocked full of pre-loved lovely brands like Baby Gap, Mini Boden, Joules etc, so I'm going to pop and pick up some cute little outfits for her to wear for the Summer.

If you have little ones you should definitely pop along too, you'll just love it.

 photo carouselchildrensclothing_zps79ac7c1b.jpg

Friday, 25 April 2014

Sydney Australia, you beauty!

 photo theroyalsinsydney_zpsf615ee9c.jpg

Seeing Prince William and Catherine on their Australian Tour gave me a twang of home sickness recently. I'm so glad they got to visit so many places and have their little family with them. They're so cute.

I'm a bit gutted that they didn't visit Western Australia and Perth though - because if you think Sydney is beautiful then you'd really utterly fall bananas in love with Perth.

But seeing Sydney bought back so many memories. I was right back there watching the sun set over Sydney harbour bridge, watching fruit bats fly overhead.

Fruit bats?! Yep, Australia is THAT awesome that they have fruit bats flying around the botanical gardens near the Sydney Opera House at night. A-flipping-mazing.

So this memory came out of nowhere and I could almost smell Sydney and Perth and Australia again. A rush of memories coming out of nowhere and suddenly I had a burst of inspiration to sketch these images in my mind and get them on paper.

And I then thought how especially poignant this was on today, Anzac Day 2014 where we remember all those who served and died in all wars. These people fought so we could be free today, without their selflessness, we may not have the joys we take for granted this very moment. Lest we forget.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

That awkward moment when... realise that Summer is approaching too fast, your legs are still white and you've got no fake tan in the cupboard!

Relax! Everyone else is a bit pasty too, and you'll be able to get a head start on topping up that tan during the May Bank Holidays, which will be here in no time.  So chill.

Have a dip in my felt tip blue pool.

 photo howtogetabikinibeachbody_zps95e21626.jpg

And here's something to cheer you up - dressing up in colourful clothes, always works for me! Boden clothes are so flipping colourful and happy. love the spotty shirts and breton stripey tops - you can even dress up your little Mini Boden's in nautical stripes and pops of colour. Gosh you'll both look so cute!

Over and out!

 photo bodenmumma_zpsec01f14e.jpg

Studio songs

Have you heard of Foxes? (Otherwise known as solo singer songstress Louisa Rose Allen)

She's my fave.

Her new song Holding on to Heaven makes me run a bit faster on the treadmill.

Beautiful voice.  Did you catch her cover of Pharrell's Happy in the Radio 1 Live Lounge?  Catch it here.

Let's bop!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Sketching progress

Just keep sketching!

It's like riding a bike, keep practising, you'll get better, and some day you'll be able to ride around the block!

Here's some things that have made their way onto my sketchbook this week.

Do you have a favourite sketch?

 photo sketchbookprogress_zpsc6e2288a.jpg

Bank holiday time out

Well that Bank Holiday flew by, didn't it!

Did the Easter bunny come to your place?

As I'm not a big fan of chocolate, an Easter Jimmy's Iced Coffee and Wagamamas were my treats! (If you've never had either -

Ooh and check out this sunset I caught - Beautiful.

 photo easterbankholiday_zpsafcd171d.jpg

1 // Springtime = Jimmy's Iced Coffee time!

2 // There's always time for Wagamamas, their food will make your belly do a happy dance.

3 // Harbourside sunset = perfection and reflection.

4 // Some sketching from my desk, time to tidy up Angie!

Thursday, 17 April 2014

The best easter gift

...Is a Bank Holiday and an extra long weekend!


 photo easterspringbunnies_zpsd7a36cda.jpg

I'm looking forward to making the most of the sunshine on Friday (apparently, it's going to rain on Sunday) and hunting down somewhere for a nice lamb roast with the family.

I'll take my sketchbook and pens somewhere nice too. Just can't decide where. Recommendations on a postcard please!

What are you getting up to? Will you be going on an Easter Egg hunt?  I don't know if it's just me, but are Cadbury's Cream Eggs slightly smaller than they used to be? And don't taste the same? I think it's something to do with the ingredients that have been tweaked, well that's my theory, but if it stops me from eating chocolate then keep putting the rubbish ingredients in it I say!

Enjoy the long weekend!

Banksy pops up in cheltenham

 photo banksyexclusive_zps80ba9ec8.jpg

I've lived in Cheltenham for while now and nothing usually ever happens here apart from a horse race or two, but now something really exciting has come to the 'Nham (as us locals affectionately call it).

If you've not already heard, the mysterious street artist Banksy has landed one of his new works in, yes, you've got it - only bloody Cheltenham!

The man himself hasn't claimed the recent piece that popped up in the Fairview area of Cheltenham on Sunday just yet, but it does bare all the marks of a Banksy original, especially as the street artist is in the middle of a what seems to be a period of 'new work', that all have a 'telecommunications' theme. Another one of Banksy's new work popped up in nearby Bristol recently (which is on display from today at a Bristol Museum).

Nobody really knows what Banksy looks like though, which I think is part of the appeal, part of the mystery and PR genius.

Do I wish I had the guts to draw or paint something on the side of a building? Heck yes. But I'd be so nervous that someone would see me, all the lines would be wobbly! But now that 'public' art has been accepted in Cheltenham, it does inspire me a wee bit.

I really love the individual thinking behind Bansky's work. He's always pushing boundaries, throwing out the rule book and doing what nobody would ever expect. I like the little dabble with humour and the expressions on his character's faces which are the hallmarks of his work. Banksy just goes and does what he wants and I absolutely love that - he doesn't look for approval. Which, in some ways is what other iconic artists did, Andy Warhol famously said...

'Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.'  

And I believe this is how Banksy works.

Just looking at the crowds of smiling, happy, excited faces looking at this new piece of work on the side of a random house in Cheltenham shows how art can capture the imagination like nothing else, and really does make you that little bit happier. It also brings together community - the kind people who want to save and preserve the artwork, and also the uplift in sales and footfall to the surrounding shops in the area has been great news for traders too.

 photo telephoneboxes_zps4a291f8b.jpg
Image left source // Image right source

So it got me thinking about telephone boxes; those once loved little cubbies that we made late night phone calls to our boyfriends in so our parent's couldn't hear, to the derelict buildings gathering dust that they've become as mobile phones take over.

Here are some other telephone box themed artworks, PR stunts and links that are equally as cool:

1 // Fun Booth

2 // Brits not ready to say goodbye to much loved telephone box

3 // The rebirth of public payphones?

4 // Follow Banksy on Instagram here to see all his new works.

Who knows where the next Banksy will pop up - and that's exactly part of the appeal!

Where to go on a shopping spree in Cheltenham....

I was walking into town yesterday when a couple that were visiting the area for Easter stopped and asked me directions. I always get stopped and asked for directions, I must have Tourist Information written on my forehead or something.

Anyway, I gave them directions but the lady also wanted to know where the shops were, which kind of started me off on a spiel about all the shops that she had to visit in town - From the Promenade, Cath Kidston, House of Fraser (fun fact: our local HoF is called Cavendish House which us locals affectionately call 'Chav House'), Gap, Vinegar Hill, Boston Tea Party... the list went on.

But there's also some awesome independent boutique stores in town that are my little hidden gems and definitely worth seeking out if you haven't already - all you hip, hop and happening guys and girls will ❤ them.

If you're a dude (or shopping for your dude):
// The Union Project, Queen's Parade, Cheltenham

 photo theunionprojectcheltenham_zps1a35d797.jpg

If you're a guy (or if you're a girl who wants to dress up her guy in the coolest togs) go and check out The Union Project in Queen's Circus, Montpellier. These guys have all the up and coming brands and stock from the US and New Zealand. Yes, you're a hipster and you know it.

If you're a dudette:
// Olive Clothing, 7 Pittville Street, Cheltenham

 photo oliveclothingcheltenham_zps090269f0.jpg

Hop, skip and get your gladiator sandals down to Olive Clothing, 7 Pittville Street, (find the back entrance to M&S and you've got it) which, again, stock the cutest, independent brands and vintage pieces where you can restyle yourself into an Alexa Chung-a-like. (I've definitely got my eye on some festival essentials for Glastonbury here!)

For those summer essentials:
// Verite Louise, The Courtyard, Montpellier, Cheltenham

 photo swimwearlookbook_zpsd93449ee.jpg

And if this summery weather hasn't got you thinking about holidays yet, Verite Louise Swimwear and Lingerie, The Courtyard, Montpellier, will get you dreaming of sun drenched beaches and white washed sand.

So get out there, seek them out and support your local independents!

Ahh, now, where did I put my Mojito?

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Studio songs

I was in the car today and two things captured my attention.

Golden fields // There's SO much yellow Rapeseed in the fields all around my town this spring, it's crazy beautiful! At the moment one field in particular is so bright, yellow and golden, it dazzles in the sun and against a bright blue sky, you can't not but look at it.

So I decided to stop, grab a photo, then later in the day I came back and sketched it quickly in my studio. I have to say, my yellow pens just weren't golden enough and didn't capture the true colours.

 photo cotswoldsrapeseedfield2_zps1d6b25fb.jpg

The first ever landscape scenes I ever painted back some 20 years ago were golden rapeseed fields, It's how I practised painting. I've always been inspired by them - something about the yellow against the blue and the little dotted trees along the skyline - perfick.

George Michael and Aretha Franklin // Second thing was a song that came on the radio;  George Michael and Aretha's 'I knew you were waiting for me'.  Such a classic, you've got to roll the window down, turn the radio up and sing it loud!! (So sorry to the other drivers who had to listen to me.)

Oh my gosh is it Wednesday already tomorrow? I'd better get some flipping work done!

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Creative mornings with Austin Kleon

I came across writer (and all around awesome creative dude) Austin Kleon recently and my jaw dropped open when I listened to a Q and A session with him - I wanted to kiss this guy, because he made so many things (big life questions etc) make sense and click into place.

I then watched another talk he did at the awesome Creative Mornings and loved it so much I really wanted to share it with you because... well, y'no, I know there's heaps of people in the creative industries out there that might like to share in some of Austin's observations and take on the creative process. And sharing is caring after all! (We need more of it).

So grab your breakfast and a coffee and take a minute to watch Austin in the vid below. It'll give you an 'ah-ha' moment.

Have a good weekend - is it sunny where you are? We have clouds. Lots. I'm hoping they'll shift.

Austin Kleon at CreativeMornings/Austin from CreativeMornings/Austin on Vimeo.

Friday, 11 April 2014

My desk

Trust me, I wish it WAS this tidy!

The great thing about drawing a picture is that you can creatively 'edit' out the bits you don't want. Handy thing that. However, you will be pleased to know I gave my desk a little tidy yesterday and I have another 'area' scheduled for later today.

The spring cleaning fairies are in full swing in the studio!

 photo mydeskworkspace_zps42836488.jpg

Tulips // My friend Sarah came over for dinner the other night and bought me some gorgeous tulips. I love tulips, they reminded me of her wedding day (gosh was it 7 years ago?) where she had these beautiful purple tulips in her bouquet.

Notepad // Also on my desk is my trusty notepad - I'm a list lover and have lists everywhere; Shopping lists, things I want to do list, things I need to do list, jobs I have to get done list, household chores that need doing list (this one is always the last!)

A cup of coffee // Always a cup of coffee on my desk. I didn't start to drink coffee until my late 20s (I was a late starter, you didn't have things like Starbucks when we were kids so the coffee revolution came during my 20s when the TV show Friends made coffee and coffee houses appealing.)

A pencil // Always a retractable pencil, and this one actually ran out yesterday. What do you do when a retractable pencil runs out? Like, you can't sharpen it?!

My phone // Because there's always something distracting to look at on my phone!  Or I usually snap my works in progress or pictures like the one above on my phone camera.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Top of the shops!

Here's another one of my 'Top Shops' of the day I spied on Pinterest called Bonton in Paris. Doesn't it look like the cutest shop? This makes me want to hop on the Eurostar and head straight to Paris!

Talking of shopping, I thought I'd share a few of my favourite shops with you. I'm in need of a bit of retail therapy and when I saw this shop with all these colourful sweets it reminded me of shopping with my friend when I was 19 years old. We'd buy sweets from Thorntons and walk around the shops and try on clothes and then catch the bus back home.

Original Source via Pour toujours Blog
Favourite shops ❤ !!!

❤ Boden  - the colourful clothes of Boden make my heart do a happy little dance every time I wear them - wearing colourful clothes makes you happier. Fact.

❤ Kikki K - the most amazing stationery shop filled with inspiration. Clean lines, stylish simple Scandinavian inspired design, and happy little quotes. Only in Australia, but I get more excited about getting off the plane and visiting a Kikki-K shop than I ever do Bondi Beach!

❤ Paperchase - the UK's equivalent of Kikki-K, stationery galore!

❤ Pink Vintage - this is a blinking marvellous independent store in the heart of my hometown of Cheltenham, in the beautiful shopping area of Montpellier. Pink Vintage not only sells sweets and all kinds of colourful finds and bazaar, but makes the best coffee with good old beans from Monmouth Coffee roasters, London. It's a hidden gem and I love it.

 photo freshcoffee_zps815f66cc.jpg

 photo bodenspringsummer2014_zpsb1cf6d1c.jpg

Monday, 7 April 2014

Studio songs

I found this great cover of Coldplay's new song, Magic.

It's a really good one by a young lass called Taylor Buono (a great techno colourful light instrument thingy at the beginning too - I'm not sure what it is but I SO want one of them). Anyway, sit back, have a cup of tea and enjoy this little studio song with me!

Easter flowers

There's a lot of flowers in all the shops at the moment. First there was Mother's Day, and no there's Easter on the way and I think that, in general (what with it being spring and everything) there's a lot of colourful blooms everywhere. Which is lush, totally lush.

I was in Sainsbury's today and I was singing along to myself, humming and very un-tuneful version of Bruno Mars' Locked out of Heaven.

I came across a queue for the salad bar (it was lunch time and the salad bar is my favourite and it's such good value - just cram that plastic container up!)  But it's a small area and it's always busy at lunch with a queue.

There wasn't a queue today so much but there ware a few guys being slow and picky and so I continued to sing to myself un-tunefully. And, well, what do you know, but the young chaps put some speed in their step!

I might try my un-tuneful humming in other situations and see how fast I can made a queue move!

I sketched these flowers (back at home, not in Sainsbury's) but I really wanted to sketch this scene of Times Square. But Times Square looked SO hard and my paper just wasn't big enough. You need a really big piece of paper for New York - it is the big apple, after all!

Friday, 4 April 2014

What have I been doing this week?

I'm not quite sure what happened this week - did your's go by too fast too?


So this week I'm wrapping up in pictures. I need to review a few things this week - You see I'm building my new website and print shop (gulp) and I have no idea which of my pictures to put into mass production.

I may ask for your help. Is that ok? Would you let me know which ones you like?

I would say that there's a Cadbury's cream egg in it for you if that would help.

I hope you have a lovely weekend - go and dance the week off, grab a cup of coffee and some brunch with the one you love, maybe go and sit in the park (if the weather's nice) and pick a new book to read from the local bookshop (we are spending far too much time glued in front of the computer, me included!)

In other news that caught my attention this week:

1. Lululemon Athletica has opened a new store in Covent Garden. Get your Yoga and running fix - Namaste!

2. The Cheltenham Design Festival kicked off with some inspiring chatter and activities.

3. The Boston Tea Party in Cheltenham (my hometown) is still as popular as ever, I'm still loving their all day breakfasts.

4. This year's line up at Glastonbury 2014 has been revealed (I'm hoping to go for the first time ever this year.)

5. Michael Jackson's new album title is revealed for May 2014 release.

See you next week!

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Studio songs

Today's Studio Song is from the king of pop himself, Michael Jackson. 'Man in the mirror' is one of my favourite songs, it's on my running playlist for the gym and always kicks in during my 'cooldown.' (or translated; when I'm knackered and my legs have turned to jelly and I want to get off!!)

I found this beautiful cover version from James Morrison. A gorgeous acoustic cover of Michael Jackson's Man in the Mirror is exactly what you need to get this Wednesday into full swing!

Enjoy it and do a little shoulder shuffle groove (I did - it's ok, nobody's watching!)

Do you have a studio song you want to share? I want to make a playlist!

Hello spring!

Oh hi Spring!

We've been looking for you.

Well folks, we got through another winter *applause* !!  And now it's time to get out the spring/summer 2014 wear from the vacpak and dust of those flipflops (seriously, where does all this dust come from?).

I'm sure there'll be the usual deluge of April showers to contend with before we get some sunny summer beachtime though. But let's not think about that for now.

I couldn't resist sketching this beautiful blossom picture earlier this week after seeing so much of the gorgeous stuff all around Cheltenham. There's nothing that says 'Spring's here!' more than blossom against a bright blue sky on a sunny Sunday morning stroll, is there?

I hope you're enjoying the lighter evenings too, I know I am!

Toodle pip.