Saturday, 24 May 2014

Healthy Living

Healthy living feels much easier when the weather's good. I bought up all this good stuff when the sun was shining. I try to be pretty healthy, going running, eating lots of fruit and veg, cycling and all that jazz. Unfortunately I do love a little beer now and then, which is not so healthy. Just a little one though, honest.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Date Night

Ha ha, oh dear! Haven't been looking forward to this one. I'm saying NOWT and retaining my dignity.

Here's a lovely date-based smoothie I made this morning instead:

Almond milk, frozen banana, dried pitted dates, coconut oil and almond butter. PUCKER UP!

(All proposals of marriage will be considered, but not necessarily accepted)

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Out of the Comfort Zone

I spend quite a lot of time thinking about how to push myself and to find new challenges. A good exercise from Philippa Perry's excellent book, 'How to Stay Sane' is based around this idea.

"The Comfort Zone Exercise is straightforward. Get a large piece of plain paper and draw a circle in the middle. Inside the circle write examples of activities that you feel completely comfortable doing. Around the edge of the circle write down examples of activities that you can do but that you have to push yourself a little bit to do - those activities that may make you nervous in some way, but not so much as to stop you doing them. In the next band write activities that you like to do but find it difficult to get up the courage to do. Draw another circle around this ring of activities. After that write down those things you are far too scared to try but would like to do. You can create as many circles as you like. The point of the Comfort Zone Exercise is for you to consider what you are comfortable with and what you are not, and then to experiment with expanding your area of comfort. "

Here's one of mine from November last year:

Check me out, I achieved a goal! I did a Pecha Kucha talk a couple of months ago. I was pretty nervous getting up to talk in front of a room full of people, but afterwards I felt great and I think it went well! There is a video here, if you want to see me being exuberant about support networks (and probably saying 'support networks' about 20 times). It's a great night and lots of fun whether you want to do a presentation or not. The next one is on Thursday 29th May at Manchester Art Gallery, book your free ticket here, the theme is Time, should be a good 'un!

This is my most recent comfort zone exercise:

I made a start on pushing my geometric drawings on by experimenting with scale on the wall in my back yard yesterday.

 Had to improvise a bit with circles and straight lines! Drew round my garden table, various pan lids and used my clothes dryer as a ruler.

 My toes are in shot here for sense of scale.

A decent start. The wall isn't in great shape, in fact I'm cleaning and painting it on Friday, hence why I decided to do this little experiment. The drawing needs more definition and is a bit wonky due to my makeshift measuring implements, but I know it works on a larger scale now. I'm off to Draw North West on Tuesday, so hopefully I can talk to someone about possibly being involved in Outhouse then. Onwards, upwards and outwards beyond the comfort zone!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014


I am lucky/greedy enough to have 3 workspaces - my dining room/home office, pictured above in all its messy, colourful glory, my studio at Hot Bed Press and the shop at the Craft Centre.

This is the wall in front of my desk at Hot Bed. Not very inspiring is it?? Need to pop some posters of my favourite hunks up, should get the ideas egg grooving.

This is the print room downstairs from my studio. It's rad. I'm planning on getting stuck into some printing next week. The problem I am a little disorganised, so it's easy for me to get sidetracked. This morning, for instance, I am sitting here in my pyjamas, writing this blog and no doubt I'll answer some emails in a bit, which eats into the time I should be spending at Hot Bed. My computer is here, it's hard to leave this guy. I am good at being disciplined sometimes, but other times I AM NOT.

Various items being made in the Craft Centre. Badges, bibs, baby wear.

 Treats for sale in the shop.

How do you stay focused? Come on, I need some help here!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Being Adventurous

This is a little illustration I'm thinking of making into Risograph printed posters.

I am a notoriously keen and intrepid adventurer. I like to be outside as much as possible, it's so good for the soul. I am the founder member of both The Nell's Angels and Adventure Club, dontcha know. I've done quite a bit of travelling and would love to do more in the future, Scandinavia is high on the list, and Russia too, the trans-Siberian railway is very appealing to me, I love trains…so many places I want to see and experience. I had a more modest micro-adventure yesterday though, I wanted to make the most of the sunny weather and felt I deserved a Monday off after working Saturday and running hard on Sunday. So off I went on Gino, my trusty steed, down the Transpennine Trail and Bridgewater canal. Just the thing to give the legs a stretch.

Transpennine trail.

Bridewater Canal, looking brilliantly British.

 Feeling rad in Rapha.

 Barefoot park times. Post mint Magnum.

Let's take this outside.

The rhododendrons were looking glorious.

Although I would like to see more of the world, I really love Britain and have many adventures brewing in my heart. I'd like to complete LEJOG, the CTC, take my bike to the Isle of Wight and cycle around the island, go to Brighton, Glasgow, go puffin spotting on the Farne see the list of fun is never done. I'd also like to do a residency here or abroad, I need to get myself sorted and start applying for these things, otherwise nothing will happen! 

Monday, 19 May 2014

Best thing about being an adult

I missed yesterday's post as I was busy doing the following: running a personal best 10k in terrible heat, hanging out in Chorlton meadows watching some filming, drinking free beers, eating sausage rolls in the sun and arguing with idiots. My time was 51:32, should you care about such things.

That is a weresquirrel.

Anyway, as I was lounging around reading comics, drinking beer and eating pizza whilst pondering this question the other day, I realised that the best thing about being an adult is that I basically get to act like a teenage boy and there's NOTHING ANYONE CAN DO TO STOP ME!

A load of free beers.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Favourite Decade

Ah, it has to be the nineties! Strutting around the mean streets of Darlo with a Chelsea skinhead, being in a band, going to my first festival (Reading '97), leaving school, discovering new music all the time, hanging with skater boys, riding a yellow BMX to college and getting tattoos of questionable quality. Good lord. I'm pretty glad there aren't too many photos around of me with that haircut, actually. My main crushes were Wil Wheaton, Eddie Vedder and Tank Girl.

Love you forever, Eddie. Saw some pretty hilarious fan art when searching for this pic.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Day in the Life - a photo an hour on the hour

 8 a.m Failed to set my initial alarm, luckily trusty secondary alarm awoke me. A glorious sunny morn.

 9 a.m Nice enough for an al fresco breakfast experience of porridge and coffee in my back yard. I was filled with glee to note that birds have been eating the food I've been putting out, even though I've only seen ONE coal tit since December. Those sneaks. My mealworms bring all the birds to the yard.

 10 a.m Cycled to the Craft Centre with my sunny gees on and no coat. I love Summer! I spy Amy Wilkinson whizzing in on her bike too!

 11 a.m Printed some fox bibs and hats for a Not on the High Street order.

12 p.m A coffee, followed by getting sucked into Internet world for far too long. 

 1 p.m Freakin' delicious lunch from Oak Street Cafe. Ham and leek pasty with spicy tofu and beans, new potatoes and beetroot. Yummmmm.

 2 p.m Heat set my prints and packaged 'em up…

 3 p.m …ready for the Post Office run in the sun.

 4 p.m Did some work on a geometric drawing. I think I'm going to do this again, but symmetrical. Not very happy with it.

 5 p.m Got some hydration on the go. I love Bobble filters and am a bit evangelical about them!

 6 p.m Cycled home. My front garden is looking beautiful, if a little wild. Loving seeing new flowers blooming everyday.

7 p.m Still warm enough to sit outside with a little beer. I love to be outside as much as possible, even if this beer wasn't as tasty as my favourite, Badger's Golden Glory.

That's it! I'm going to chill out tonight, I'm working again tomorrow and am feeling the need to rest. Happy Friday y'all! x

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Blog Chat

I started Blog Every Day in May to try and think more about the direction I want my blog to go in and to connect more with people, make an effort to read blogs and to comment on the posts I enjoy. I've never been to any blog meet-ups, maybe I'll give one a go this year?

Does anyone have any recommendations for me?? Thanks in advance!

I've just signed up for Juneathon again, I really enjoyed it last year and I'll be training for the New Forest 10 mile run, so that should give me a kick up the award-winning backside. I'm mostly in it for the horse brass medal. Gimme the bling!

Here's one of my latest prints. Eggy delight.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Home Sweet Home

I bought my house in December, with a HUGE amount of help from my family. My boyfriend and I split up last Summer and it was a pretty horrible time, having house hunting to focus on helped me to get through it with minimal freakout. I saw a few gross houses, the most comedy one appeared to have a corpse in the front room and the owner was sitting smoking cigs in the back doing his VAT return. Erm, do you actually *want* to sell your house?? I was worried at first about living solo, but I really love having my own space. Eventually I intend on getting a lodger, but I'm enjoying my bachelorette lifestyle too much at the moment! I even know how to turn off the stopcock. If you do happen to know any solvent hunks/hunkesses through, send them my way. Anyway, here's some pics of my sweet abode:

 The day I got my keys. Thumbs up! I love the dark green tiles in the hallway, they remind me of a pub, my natural habitat.

 Dining room, the blue is one of my favourite colours.

 Living room

 Enough room for friends to hula hoop.

 At maximum capacity for my birthday.

 I must con-fez I love my home.

Beautiful painting by David K Goodwin above my fireplace.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Fashion, Beauty and Grooming.

Vali Myers. Amazing, beautiful and inspirational woman. I'm ill, don't really feel like writing today. I'm going to draw, feel better and dream about being a wild woman like Vali.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Walk to Work Week

Today I had a micro-adventure as I walked from Chorlton to my studio at Hot Bed Press in Salford. It took freaking ages and wasn't very scenic as I didn't want to have yet another strange canal-side experience. I did enjoy it though, I saw some new sights and popped into Ordsall Hall on my way past, I'd never been there before, pretty amazing building.

I drew for a few hours in my studio then walked to the Craft Centre. It was a gloriously sunny day by then, typical eh? I'm an now exhausted. I don't know how many miles I walked but it was enough! I escaped town via tram to avoid the City parade. Silly football.

This is a very picture-heavy blog post. Also hyphen-heavy, I'm not really sure why. I think I need to brush up on my grammar skills. Now I'm off to be warm and dry, I'm still ill and I have a 10k race on Sunday. Wah! Vicks Vaporub, don't fail me now!

I thought I'd walk down my old street to stir up some fond memories and then through Longford Park for scenic fun.

It started hailing about 10 minutes after I leave the house.

 A patch of blue sky!

 The gloomy glory of Longford Park.

 Criss cross patterns caused by a tree growing into a fence

 Old Trafford cricket ground

 Kellogg's factory. Nice, isn't it?


 Throstle's Nest Bridge

 Ordsall Hall, Tudor manor house

 Slightly spooky exhibition in the roof space. I was a tiny bit afraid.

 Quack quack.

New sketchbook joy.