Max and I went for a bit of a walk the other day and I thought I’d take some photos as it was a beautiful day.
Sorry if it’s a boring blog post, I just wanted to share some photos I took 🙂
Max and I went for a bit of a walk the other day and I thought I’d take some photos as it was a beautiful day.
Sorry if it’s a boring blog post, I just wanted to share some photos I took 🙂
A couple of weeks ago I was looking for a book subscription box to subscribe to as a way of being introduced to different books I might not pick up for myself, and came across the Books That Matter box.
Books That Matter is a feminist book subscription service that focuses on themes of gender, race, culture, class, ethnicity, ability, sexuality, politics or history and includes a book and at least two gifts by independent artists.
I thought I’d try a box and see how it went to see if I wanted to subscribe further, and I can tell you as soon as I opened this box, I logged on to their website and ordered the November box!
Here’s what was in the October box (spoilers, but it’s sold out if you’re not already subscribed!)
I also love the little note with ideas for how the re-use the box afterwards! My inner eco-warrior is chuffed.
Amazing subscription box, amazing team, go and subscribe for your November box, and a big thank you to Books That Matter for supporting illustrators and literature and fighting inequality one box at a time!
The last month or so I’ve really tried to get back into reading, and working in a little indie bookshop has definitely helped!
I also decided around a month ago that I want to look into doing a Masters next year, and found a course that sounds really good in Cardiff. It’s an MA in Art and Design, which then has seven different pathways. Although they have an Illustration pathway, I am leaning more towards the Philosophy or Ecologies pathways, to explore contemporary illustration from a different angle.
That led me to decide I wanted to learn more about philosophy, so I bought some books! I started off with an AS Philosophy textbook that I got used off Amazon for a penny (the only reason I use Amazon is for books that I can get for pennies and cope with a used copy of) while I waited for Teach Yourself’s Philosophy: A Complete Introduction to be delivered to the bookshop.
Now, I haven’t got around to reading much of the textbook yet but the Complete Introduction to Philosophy is AMAZING. The information in it feels so digestible and each chapter briefly covers a philosopher and their ideas, ending with a bit of a multiple-choice quiz to test how much you’ve understood. I never thought I’d be the kind of person to understand someone like Aristotle but this book has led me to buy his Nichomachean Ethics, which I am quite excited to read!
I also picked up a copy of Plato’s Symposium because of that book, and luckily it’s one of Penguin’s beautiful Great Ideas series. Having only picked it up yesterday, I haven’t had chance to open it yet – but it’s going to be one for the weekend I think.
Speaking of Penguin’s Great Ideas series, I also picked up their versions of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Nature and Chuang Tzu’s The Tao of Nature and I am excited about growing this collection! I feel like the size of the books (they are pretty short) will mean they are easier to digest and can be read while commuting, or over breakfast, that kind of thing.
I thought I’d also include library books in this post, as I recently became a member of my new local library and I think they’re great! I’m leaning towards borrowing fiction books from the library over buying them, generally, because I think fiction is a lot more personal, and I feel I’m more likely to dislike a fiction book than a non-fiction. Maybe?
I’ve started reading Meet Me in the In-Between, and being about halfway through, I am enjoying it. I heard/read a lot of mixed reviews on this book before reading it but I think it’s a good book, and definitely worth a try.
The Lesser Bohemians is a book I noticed in the bookshop and I was intrigued by the blurb so thought I’d give it a try – looking forward to that one.
Stay With Me is another one I’m excited about! I’ve heard so many good reviews, can’t wait to give it a read! I found out about it from watching some Booktubers’ videos on the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist, specifically SavidgeReads and Reads and Daydreams (with Jen Campbell).
On the topic of Jen Campbell…
I also got this beautiful book of hers, illustrated by Katie Harnett, called Franklin’s Flying Bookshop in October. It’s a beautiful story and I’d definitely recommend it for a kid (little or big) in your life. I mean, it has copper foiling. Oof.
And that wraps up my October book haul!
I’ll let you know my thoughts on these books when I’m a bit closer to reading them…
Thanks for reading!
Max had a birthday and I got him presents and I thought I’d show you what I got him! Almost everything is from small/independent companies/artists and he loved it all which is great!
First up (his favourite) was this cassette from Art is Hard Records, where different artists on the label covered Pavement songs.
I also got him this single from Art is Hard, because he was obsessing a bit over Trust Fund around his birthday and noticed they had done a record for AIH’s Postcard Club. We don’t have a record player yet but I’m sure he’ll love it when we do get around to getting one!
Next up is this postcard from Claire de Lune which I actually bought back in June/July…. I just love getting people presents, ok? I love the colours in it, thought they were very “Max” and it does now live on our studio bookshelf, so he must like it.
Another piece of art I got him was this print from Yuk Fun that still hasn’t been framed yet… I love this so much and I think he does too? Again its pride of place on the studio bookshelf at the moment.
I also got him a pin from Yuk Fun, because I want to inflict my love of pins onto Max and he did love this one!
He’d hinted a couple of months ago that he might like an enamel mug to use in the studio as a ‘work mug’ so I found this one from Pirrip Press which is so nice I wish I bought myself one too! But they’d sold out of the other design in this range.
As a bit of an extra little something, I also found these pushpins in a bargain bin in Waterstones that I thought would be nice for the cork board he’s nicked off me.
After opening presents, we had a pretty chilled out day, made cat friends and drank hot chocolate.
A couple of days later we also went to Bath and had such a nice day out (I also surprised him with a Hard Day’s Night spa treatment at Lush which he loved! Might do a separate blog post on that?)
Thanks for reading, and do check out all these amazing creative businesses I’ve mentioned!
I seem to have not blogged in over a month (oops). I got a new job and then struggled a bit to readjust my routine around it but now I’m feeling positive and excited about blogging and illustration again so you’ll hopefully be reading/seeing a lot more of me!
Continuing on with my last post about filling our new house with art, I’m now going to show you around the porch and upstairs rooms – starting with the bedroom:
This is a print I got from Dick Vincent years ago which I absolutely love! We had it in the bedroom in the flat but I think it fits so much nicer in the new house with all the exposed timbers.
That’s actually the only artwork we have in the bedroom – the room is a bit of an odd shape because it slopes on two sides and then opposite the wall in the photo is a shower and a cupboard with a toilet and sink in it…
One of my favourite things about the studio is having this magnetic noticeboard by my desk. I like that I can change it around if I want to but I can also have lots of art in one place without having a poke a billion nails into the wall.
First up is this print I got recently from Annie Dornan Smith, (well Max got it for me when I told him about it, because I can’t be my own(?)). Isn’t he a sweetie.
I’ve got this postcard on there from Lush Spa Poole that my friend Ceire got me when she went there – the first Lush shop in the world! Not sure who it’s by, sorry!
Underneath that noticeboard is my little zine zone. I used to keep my zines in a box somewhere but the good thing about having a house is having more space and being able to keep cool things out in the open.
Then we have the bookshelf! I love love love that we got a built in bookshelf in the studio (although we may need to invest in an extra one at some point!)
It needs a bit of reorganising as books just got a bit chucked on there when we were unpacking, but it makes me really happy.
This print is a postcard I got from Andsmile studio quite a few years ago now, needs reframing, I think.
This is one of Max’s zines from his fave, Mogu Takahashi.
There are some more prints on the shelves that I got Max for his birthday but there’ll be another post about what I got him for his birthday soon.
When we moved in I snuck one of Max’s old paintings that I love on this little nook, he hates it now but I don’t think he can be bothered to move it, haha.
This print I got especially for the new house when I was getting a bit fed up of looking for houses, so it makes me feel happy when I see it – not only did we manage to get a house, but a really nice one! All the effort was worth it! It’s another one by Annie Dornan Smith.
Thanks for reading, and I promise it won’t be another month before I write another post.
As I may have mentioned a couple of times, Max (my boyfriend) and I moved house last week and we’ve been trying to make it as cosy and homely as possible. (You can read our moving story here). And, with both of us being illustrators, we needed to get some pictures on the walls asap, and I thought I’d show you what we’ve got so far.
All of these bar two pictures were ones we brought with us from the old flat, and it’s so nice here because we don’t actually have enough pictures to fill all the picture hooks anymore! That’s the thing with renting – you can’t always bang nails into walls whenever you want. But I think we’re quite lucky with this place because there are already loads of hooks and nails everywhere, and we are allowed to put in more “to a reasonable extent”. (What is a reasonable number of pieces of art to have in the home, hmm?)
So starting with the…
This illustration is by the fab Holly St Clair, it’s a new one I bought just before we moved and I LOVE IT. The foliage in the image works well with the house plants we have in the room (but more on that when I do my house tour). You can buy this print at Family Store and definitely check out Holly’s etsy shop here.
The next picture is one I bought from Fine Little Day on our visit to Sweden last year (2016). I love dala horses and think this minimal but bold colour palette works well with the room (and our swanky new orangey-red sofa). You can still buy the poster online here.
This little neon riso number is from We Are Out of Office – I’ve bought quite a few prints from them in the past and they never disappoint! Also dying to get my hands on some of their pins soon!!
Next up is the kitchen (in our old flat we had one nail in the kitchen – here we have about 7 and a Welsh dresser)…
This is a print I picked up in the House of Illustration in London a couple of years ago (well worth a visit!). It’s by David Lemm and more info about the backstory can be found here – sounds like it was a very interesting public project around mapping (but I just saw it in the gift shop and fell a little bit in love).
This cutie is from Ohh Deer, designed by Gemma Correll, and I think it does a good job of summing up being a millennial. Also – now we have room to actually dance around our kitchen so it’s totally apt. And goes perfectly with the duck-egg and cream kitchen cupboards.
This is one of Max’s prints by Atelier Bingo. I think it really perks up the kitchen space and we have it above our dining table so it feels lively and uplifting (which is especially good at breakfast time when we’re both half asleep….). You can buy it here.
And here is our Welsh dresser! It’s built in and so (obviously) came with the house and it’s so so nice having somewhere to put little pictures and ornaments and things we collect! At first I was thinking about the fact we don’t own any teacups or cake stands and so wouldn’t fill it – I was wrong! (Also – how weird is it that all of Max’s birthday cards were sea-themed!)
I bought this card a couple of years ago for Max and it was the picture we had up on our single kitchen hook in the flat so I’m glad we can keep it on show here. It’s from the Printed Peanut and you can buy it here, and there is also an art print of a similar design here.
This is a print I got with a zine, both by Thomas Colligan, that I bought from Rope Press at Glug Brum in March. If you’re a creative person, definitely see if there is Glug event near you – they are invaluable! They have talks on by people in the industry and street food and art market stalls and it’s just a great evening out!
This is another print I got from Glug Brum, this one in March 2016 I think? It’s by Print Wagon and I love it! He printed them to order out the back of his van, it was great fun! I plan to reframe it before hanging it, but for now it’s on the kitchen counter. You can buy this print here (but be sure to have a look at his other prints too – they are all so cool!)
That’s half the house done – keep an eye out for Part II where I’ll cover the bedroom, studio and entrance hall (oooh).
Thanks for reading,
Apologies for not posting for over a week, Max and I finally moved house on Monday! We’ve been so busy unpacking boxes and spending too much money in Ikea for the last six days, but everything is coming together so nicely now. (I hope to do a “house tour” blog post soon, so keep eyes peeled for that!)
This morning we went out for a walk near our new house, exploring the landscape, saying hello to the sheep, etc. I thought I’d take some photos and bring you guys along!
Map and tea in hand, we wandered around, scampered up hills and got barked and ran at by the cutest spaniels ever.
The views looking back were pretty incredible! (Yes, that’s a castle.)
There were loads of interesting looking plants and flowers, definitely want to paint them!
And I braved a walk through two sheep fields (turns out they tend to walk away from you).
Then we reached a cow field and they’re a bit bigger and scarier, plus Max pointed out it was lunchtime (he’s on the ball, that one) so we headed back.
And then we came home and had some lunch! I forgot to take pictures of that (-10 blogger points) but we had fried avocado, pepper vegan cheese and pesto wraps – do they have a name?
Hope you enjoyed having a look at those photos, like I said I promise lots more house-related posts really soon because we’re pretty much settled in now and it’s GREAT. Let me know if there’s anything specific you want me to talk about.
I have compiled a list of my favourite things this month, consisting of everything from bowls to paint – hope you enjoy!
In no particular order, I’m going to start off with this bowl from TKMaxx, which I’ve already mentioned in a previous blog post because I eat my breakfast out of it every single day and it just makes me enjoy my mornings a little bit more.
Next up is this band tee from Oro Swimming Hour and Art is Hard Records, designed by Nicholas Stevenson. I actually picked this up from a recent gig they had in Bristol, not sure if they are available to buy anywhere else but I got a large and it is the comfiest and coolest top ever.
I also got this zine in the post recently, which was a lovely surprise because I preordered it back in May – glad it arrived before we moved! It’s full of beautifully illustrated articles on mental wellbeing and profits are going to charities and non-profit organisations like Mind, Beat and Sisters Uncut. It really is worth a read – you can purchase a copy here.
This month has been particularly significant because I’ve gone from brunette to pink! (There is a blog post about that coming!) so I wanted to include the Bleach London Total Bleach kits and Directions White Toner and Carnation Pink dyes in my favourites as they are all amazing products. The reincarnation mask that comes with the Bleach London kits makes my hair feel so soft and healthy even though I’ve bleached it three times over the space of about a month. Would recommend – you can also buy it separately if you don’t need the bleach, which is good!
Deodorant next – I used to use the lavender and vanilla version of Salt of the Earth’s spray deodorant but recently went unscented (in all honesty, it was slightly cheaper) and I love it just as much. It’s so nice having a natural deodorant in a spray form that doesn’t contain any aluminium or other nasty things that are in standard deodorants. It’s easy to use, I find two sprays under each armpit is plenty to get me through the day and a bottle probably lasts a good 8 months.
I’ve also been loving Rose Jam body spray from Lush, which I managed to pick up from the new Cardiff Spa store when it opened, but I recently saw them in my local Lush (#TeamWorcester) so I think they’ve probably been rolled out to most stores, in the UK at least. Now, if you’ve read my recent blog post about my everyday Lush faves you’ll know that (Spoiler Alert) Princess Cottongrass is my super duper all-time favourite perfume from Lush. However, I think it’s important to change it up from time to time so you don’t get fed up, and August has just been particularly Rose Jammy for me.
I also treated myself to some new art materials lately. I picked up this Clairefontaine Naturel pad from my local indie art shop and it’s so nice to work on natural colour paper – sometimes white is a bit too bright and intimidating. I find I can use pretty thick layers of gouache on it too without it buckling, which is really nice.
If you follow me on my “work” Instagram you will also know I’ve been loving Winsor and Newton’s gold gouache. It’s amazing. It’s like foiling in liquid form. I got mine from Cass Art and I must admit I’m now a bit tempted by the silver…
Thanks for reading!
We’re about to move into our first house!
First, a little bit of backstory. Max (my boyfriend) got himself a flat around the same time we got together, in December 2014. We met at art school, and at the time I was commuting two hours a day from my parents’ house and back, so I started staying with him until June 2015 when I was officially added to the tenancy and had officially moved away from home, from Wales to England.
So, come May 2017, we were both about to hand in work for our final deadlines, and wanted to start looking to live somewhere new. We were set on Bristol, because the illustration scene there is amazing, without it being London. Because neither of us are quite ready for London.
We started looking into different areas of Bristol and decided we wanted to and could probably afford to live in Clifton/Redland area. We kept looking, with the intentions of moving in August, as we had our degree show in June, New Designers at the beginning of July, Graduation and then a two-week trip to Sweden at the end of July, into August.
The more we looked, the more we realised that we wouldn’t be able to get much for our money in Bristol itself, compared to towns just outside. We started to fall in love with Clevedon – on the Severn estuary, with sea views and only 20 minute drive into Bristol. And so much cheaper.
The time came, between New Designers and Sweden, that we could start viewing places. We found what looked like our dream flat, arranged a viewing for it for a couple of days time, and chose a couple of alright-looking places to go and see as well since we were driving an hour and a half each way anyway.
The three alright-looking places were first up, and all seemed very bleh in real life too, we were a bit disappointed but got to spend the day in Clevedon because our other viewing wasn’t until late afternoon. It is a beautiful town, would definitely recommend a visit if you can.
We had a look at our dream flat, and it was beautiful. Beautiful views, beautiful floors, beautiful everything. We loved it. The estate agent who showed us around said he had another viewing booked after us and if we wanted it we needed to go to their office in Portishead (15 min drive) ASAP and put our names down. So we did. But we didn’t think to bring passports and bank statements with us so we were told to bring them the next day. So we did. 3 hour round trip so they could photocopy our passports and bank statements. And, as soon as we got home – we got a phone call saying the other people who viewed it also showed an interest and the landlord picked them over us. Three. Hour. Drive.
So then we sulked for a bit and went off to Sweden, during which Max convinced me that moving to Wales might be a good move for us. I was previously adamant that I didn’t want to live where I grew up or anywhere to close to it. I wanted to live somewhere new and exciting. But we looked at some properties and there was such a massive difference in price, for example the two-bed top floor flat we looked at in Clevedon was £750/month. In Monmouthshire, there were quite a few houses in the £550-£650/month range that came with gardens and driveways and all sorts of good things.
And, wise as he is, he said that he’d rather live in a nice house somewhere not so cool than an alright flat somewhere cool. And I agree.
I mean, there’s still beautiful scenery in Wales.
We started arranging viewings while we were in Sweden and the first one (well, two) to come around were these semi-detached cottages that were stuck together and both happened to be up for rent at the same time. They were properly in the middle of nowhere, in a hamlet three miles from the nearest town. But they were so nice, it was hard to choose which one we like more but we chose one and applied for it. We were supposed to hear back the next day.
In the meantime, another viewing came up for another cottage and we weren’t sure whether to go or not since we’d applied for somewhere else, and we started panicking about being offered the other house before we’d seen this one because this one might be nicer, and we’d already applied for the other one but what if this one was nicer, but also the other one was in the middle of nowhere, and was that going to work for us etc. But we did go and look at it and I’m glad we did because it wasn’t for us and it confirmed to me that I would definitely be happy if we got the other one.
So four days after we viewed the first cottages, we got an email from the estate agents saying the landlady had some questions regarding us being self-employed. (Oh yeah, another thing I should point out is that being a self-employed recent graduate is a nightmare for convincing people you can pay rent. Get a real job, don’t be an illustrator. … I’m kidding. Maybe?)
We answered the questions, and heard back the next day – she was willing to offer us a six-month initial tenancy if we paid that six-months rent up front. Woohoo!
It is now almost two weeks since we first viewed the house and we have completed referencing forms and handed in our months notice at the flat we’re currently in. We’ve packed around half our stuff and are very excited about having a house together (with a garden!) Hopefully referencing goes ok, and Max isn’t some kind of bankrupt ex-pirate with a criminal record and he just hasn’t told me.
I’ll just finish this post off with a list of things I’m excited about now:
And if you are in a similar situation, or just want to take something from this blog post so you know you haven’t just wasted ten minutes of your life, I think it’s to remember that, cue cliche, everything does happen for a reason. It really does.
Thanks for reading, will update you on the move when it happens! Eeep!
I am very lucky in that my boyfriend Max has family over in Sweden so every summer we get to go over and visit them for two weeks. I bought a few things in some of my favourite shops over there this year and thought I’d share them with you lovely people.
Firstly, we went to Fine Little Day which is a quirky little homeware, clothing & gift store in Lindome. Max and I got some cushion covers in readiness for moving into our new home and I picked up some postcards and a card set because I’m a pretty huge fan of their illustrations. I was also eyeing up a rug that had the same cooker print as the postcard above, definitely dream home kind of stuff.
Next up we got some tea towels from Hemtex, again for the new house, in an effort to get rid of all our old, unwanted tea towels and start afresh with nice ones.
Now, one of my favourite Swedish shops that I look forward to visiting every year is Indiska. They seem pretty keen on helping the planet and their stuff is “designed in Sweden for people who love India”. They usually have some nice clothes and homeware in there. This year I got another travel mug (it’s ok to own 3, right? Just in case…) and Max got himself a really nice bowl. The mug above is from Lagerhaus, another really nice homewaresy kind of shop.
Also from Indiska, I got this dress which I really like and is nice and summery, only problem being we got back to England and it was so dark and gloomy and raining and hasn’t really been sunny since June. Ah well.
At the airport on the way home Max picked up a copy of Rum Hemma which has gotten us really excited about our new house and furnishing it with nice things.
By the way, this new house I keep talking about has not actually been found yet… we’ve applied for a beautiful one in the rural Welsh countryside but we’re currently waiting on a phonecall letting us know if it’s ours or not. It’s getting pretty tense.
Thanks for reading! Laterz.