Saturday, 30 June 2018

Sketchbook Painting

My latest addition to the sketchbook revival effort. Bizarre no? I really like the colour combinations here. I don't know what it's about but it was hella fun to paint.


Friday, 29 June 2018

Eco Swap - Who Gives a Crap Toilet Paper

This week's eco swap is a joyful little patterned affair featuring Who Gives a Crap: a team of three humans, a dog and a cat whose mission is to provide recycled toilet paper to all those willing whilst raising funds to build clean, safe toilets in developing countries. 

Each roll comes nestled in its own funky little piece of tissue paper - there's not a plastic wrap in site. After getting this trial box last month we've since bought a jumbo box of 48 rolls which should last us a very long time. It looks adorable next to the loo (and in all the bathroom cupboards AND in the loft...) and does good. Easy choice right?



Thursday, 28 June 2018

Painting for the Sake of Painting

After years of art education it seems odd to paint just for the sake of painting. At university I was not a painter. I dabbled at painting during my schooling (there's a fairly creepy self portrait floating around in case anyone's interested in taking a peep!?) Since then, I've mostly used painting as a sketching tool or as a means to another end - planning a print, suggesting a colour for a future project etc. However, as part of my sketchbook revival I whipped up this little flat lay gouache painting. It continues along my unintentional fruit theme and was a pleasure to paint. No it doesn't look realistic or particularly illustrative but it exists in my sketchbook as part of a body of work that is for nothing but for myself to gaze upon in a dull moment.

Although, knowing myself as I do, I'll probably use it in six months time as a basis for some ambition screen print extravaganza that completely ruins the image for me. Ah, such is life.


Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Turning Sketches into Prints

So it's 2018 and I've finally got my sketchbook out. I always loved keeping a sketchbook all throughout secondary school and university. I would usually have both a personal and work project book on the go at any one time. Whilst I was completing my art degree my sketchbooks merged a little and you'd find doodles and shopping lists on the same pages as serious design plans and experiments. A part of me lived in my sketchbooks but when I left education I put down the sketchbooks out of sheer exhaustion. But I've missed it. 

I'm definitely out of practice when it comes to drawing and painting. Things used to flow out of my hands without much thought that take a lot more coaxing now. I'm determined to get it back so my sketchbook is back in my handbag and at the ready.

Above are a few doodles in my sketchbook along with their screen film counterparts. There's something satisfying about translating a loose sketch into a repeatable print. These littl'uns will be gracing the fronts of some of my stationery items.

Anyone want me to add some to my etsy?


Tuesday, 26 June 2018

New Prints

Here's a selection of prints that I've been making so for this Spring. 

There's an obvious predominant food theme that I can tell you was not intentional. 

These are all multi-layer screen prints on paper (apart from the strawberry which is two colour but only printed in one layer).

Does anyone want to see more about how I make these? If so it could be something I put on the blog... what do you think?


Monday, 25 June 2018

Veganuary Six Months Later

It's now six months since I embarked upon my Veganuary challenge. If you've been following me you'll know that I started Veganuary with no real expectations and a mindfulness to not put too much pressure on myself. I thought that I'd end the month with major cheese and milk chocolate cravings and introduce them back into my diet occasionally whilst maintaining a mostly plant based diet. I checked back in with you guys in February to happily announce that, after a relatively easy month, I was planning to continue my plant based diet and see how it goes.

Once again I'm very happy to report that, after six months, I'm still following a plant-based vegan diet.  My cheese cravings and casein addiction has disappeared (the smell of cheese really is off-putting now) and although my chocolate cravings still exist they're easily satisfied my the numerous choices of vegan chocolate available. See the picture above for i-Choc's white nougat crisp chocolate bought at Rice-Up Wholefoods in Southampton yesterday. This bar has now been completely demolished my myself and my omni partner. I really should ave bought two.

Whilst we're on the subject of chocolate I would like to take the opportunity to sing the praises of the ultimate chocolate fudge cake in BOSH!: the vegan cookbook that satisfied the nation with plant-only food since its release earlier this year.

In fact, everything we've made and eaten from BOSH! has been sensational and so full of flavour. My Mum and I devoured this plate of spaghetti carbonara and swiftly made it again for more of the family.

I've been sampling more than my fair share of ready-made vegan food from the frozen aisle including this selection from Cauldron. For those interested the aduki bean melts were heavenly, the burgers were a little dry and the sausages were pretty good but I still prefer Linda McCartney's. 

My carvings for cheese have morphed into a craving for savoury foods that are easily satisfied by anything made or sprinkled with nooch (specifically these Engevita yeast flakes) or Marmite. My goodness I love Marmite now. We go through a pot so much faster than ever before. Marmite on toast with almond butter? Um YES please.

And that's just it. Things that I used to like, I now LOVE. Dates, cider vinegar, pickles, dark chocolate, rocket, cashews, sunflower seeds, hummus (obvs) - I crave these things and appreciate them more than I've ever appreciated food before. Mum and I made jam from the strawberries we picked at the allotment and it's the sweetest most heavenly thing I've ever had. Plus it's only made with 1/2 sugar to fruit - a lot less than commercial sugars found in shop bought jam. (The recipe is from the little River Cottage Preserves Book). 

Another reason it's been an easy and rewarding experience is that veganism is growing and becoming much more of an accepted lifestyle choice. The vegan book display was found this morning in Chichester's Waterstones. Most restaurants have vegan choices, many even have an all vegan separate menu. It's becoming easier and easier to make these choices. 

Mostly, I feel that my actions are aligning more with my morals. My next step is to try to keep mostly to a whole-food vegan diet that consists of mainly fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. But also chocolate. 

Is there anyone out there who's still on their Veganuary challenge six months in? 
How's it going for you?



Slowing Down at the Allotment for Fathers' Day

I love not having plans. 

There's nothing I love better than a weekend with nothing in the diary. Last weekend was Fathers' Day and I had no plans other than to spend the days with my Mum and Dad down the allotment. My parents have an allotment and it's a little piece of heaven. They work really hard to make it a lovely place to be and it's at the stage now at the end of June where you can just potter. A bit of weeding there, watering here, pick some flowers, eat a radish. It slows your mind down and allows you to put everything into perspective.

On Saturday me and Tom headed over to weed the plot. Mum had made sweetcorn chowder which we heated on the camping stove and ate with a hunk of bread from the market. 

On Sunday we cleared out the shed. Talk about catharsis.

I highly recommend making no plans and going outside.


Friday, 22 June 2018

Getting Back into Yoga

It seems like forever since I went to a yoga class. I started yoga a couple of years ago and immediately took to it. Now please don't get me wrong - my body did not immediately take to it. I am not naturally bendy or strong. I've got pigeon toes and bad posture. I cannot do a single press up or touch my toes. Ever. But that's really not the point I promise you. There's just something about taking some time to breathe, focus on your body and slow your mind. If you're that way inclined there can be essential oils, crystals and meditating. If not, there can be crunches and planks and sit ups. It's difficult and sweaty and relaxing and frustrating and calming and rewarding. My last weekly yoga class was cancelled in April and my entire body has basically seized up since then. A few times I've tried to do a bit of yoga at home. Yoga with Adrienne on youtube is amazing. Her videos are funny and soothing but it's so easy to give up when it gets too hard and there's no one to keep me accountable. Plus my mind always begins to wander when I'm not in a class. What should we have for dinner? I should put some washing on. This carpet needs a hoover. Is Ackley Bridge back on tonight? In the words of Lorelei Gilmore 'hockey puck, rattle snake, monkey, monkey, underpants!'

I found another local yoga teacher via Instagram who is starting a new class next week. I'm excited to get back into it for for my mind and my body. It's going to take a while to get back to the level of fitness I had three months ago but I'm excited to have that time and space each week to focus on the moment. 

Can you do yoga at home without getting distracted? HOW?


Thursday, 21 June 2018

Car Boot Finds!

There are a thousand things I love about car boot sales. They're an excellent way of stopping stuff going into landfill. A lot of the things that are taken to car boot sales would be thrown away otherwise. It's easy to find some really unique things that no one else will have. And it's CHEAP. I have so many things that I couldn't afford to buy new. Possibly too many clothes. Definitely too many clothes. But a new dress for a pound COME ON you would too. 

Our house has definitely benefitted from a car boot sale or two. Lots of our furniture, kitchenware and lighting has been from Ford car boot sale. Ford is full of house clearances, antique dealers and regular people selling their old stuff. It's the perfect mix. This little bundle above cost me the sum total of £3. The china set was £1 and has 15 pieces. I lose using old china for serving food as well as for plants. I've already served chocolate mousse in these teacups. With raspberries. It was heaven. Th glass nuggets were another £1 and I'm going to use them to stand plants in. The enamel bowl at the back cost me my final £1 and is basically perfect for every other household job ever. Need a centre piece for your table? Enamel bowl with floating candles. Melting chocolate? Bain marie over a pan of water. Repotting house plants? Compost container. Manicure? Hand soak bowl. Do you see now?

What's the best thing you've ever bought from a car boot sale?


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