Monday, 30 August 2010

I'm off again...

Here are some pictures from our weekend excursion to Anglesey - we went for a wander, under gloomy skies, along Newborough Beach to Ynys Llanddwyn, or Lovers' Island. It was one of the most beautiful stretches of the British coast that I've ever been to, with moody Snowdonia and the Llŷn Peninsula dramatically in backdrop. I loved how much the shoreline varied in character even on a circuit of the tiny island, ranging from peaceful bays and cormorant-topped islets in the east to blustery dunes and wave-pounded, jagged rocks in the west. It also boasted the clearest seawater I've ever seen - it was all I could do not to strip down to my undies and jump in. It was probably a wise choice not to swim, given that the water was freezing - we could hear the screams of grown men from a foolhardy party of swimmers on the island. We ate a picnic lunch on a sheltered beach, from where we watched a pair of seals messing around in the water just offshore and we even took a paddle, only knee-deep(!), in the icy water ourselves. For the first time in weeks I felt awake and refreshed. It was pretty much perfect.

I am off on a canalboat holiday with friends for four days from Tuesday. We will be taking a boat from Devizes, well-stocked with food and drink :-) The weather is looking good for the next few days, so we are looking forward to it!

Have a lovely week - I will be back next Monday :-)

Thursday, 26 August 2010


I need something for the floor in my new studio space. It's still very much a work in progress - see the pictures leaning up against the foot of the bookcase and the bits of junk and loose wires? - there's way too much brown and orangey wood going on here, what with the warm wood of the floor as well as my random pieces of mismatching furniture. I'm liking the Roneotype printer on its silvery blue-green industrial trolley, the only thing apart from my noticeboard that is NOT brown. And the lovely high ceilings are screaming out for a couple of industrial pendants to light the room. But back to my point: do you have any suggestions for rugs? I don't like orange, lime green, purple or pink :-) I'm thinking maybe a flatwoven Ikea rug for cheapness. Would it be wrong to want something just black and white, or grey? (I already have a different black and white one in the living room) Do I need more colour (other than brown) in my life?

I would also like a few things to make the house a bit cosier. It is much larger than our old home, so our belongings are spread out more and it feels a bit spartan. Only having one floor rug and one serviceable blanket (which is really a shawl) for the entire house is a bit meagre, I think.

Grey striped blanket, £160, from Jane Beck Welsh Blankets.

Grey cobweave wool throw (left), £42, Thing of Beauty.

Or maybe a splash of colour would cheer things up. Mustard mohair throw, £42, Thing of Beauty.

Ah. Time for a bit of shopping, I think. Tomorrow the husband and I are doing a dry-run of his commute to Manchester. I may drag him around some shops whilst we are at it. I'll be back on Monday. Have a good weekend, all!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010


I can't get enough of this place. Here was the view from our study this morning at 7.45am:

I could start sounding like a stuck record if I carry on like this... but I am enjoying our new place a lot. The house is much colder than our old one and we have spent HOURS cleaning it, but we have also found time to go out and explore the area. Mostly we have been investigating supermarkets (eight in six days!), but we also took a day trip to the coast for a picnic on our two year wedding anniversary, and we are planning a lot of walking trips in the hills near our house. Sadly the husband starts his new job in two weeks' time, so our freedom to do what we like on any day is limited, but we will still have weekends to enjoy our new home.

(this bear had banana ice-cream for brains)

Things will take a little while to get back to normal here, but I promise some new drawings soon!

Monday, 23 August 2010

Before and after

I'm back! We are now installed in our new house in Wales and whilst the place is messy, smells like must and damp, and is cold and empty without all my junk unpacked, it is starting to feel like home. I don't have a lot of time today, but I thought I'd show you some before and after shots of our move, as it were. Here are some shots of our old house and the view from the garden just before we left...

And here is the place we have moved into (can you spot the difference?! And yes, that's a giant hay feeder thingy for horses on the right hand side there.):

For comparison, here's the view from the yard outside:

Our landlady is getting the exterior woodwork painted white, so it'll look smarter outside when she's finished. That door leading to the upstairs is a lovely stable door with top and bottom halves that can open separately, so on good weather days I can have the breeze blowing into the room where I will be working (OK, it's raining today, but the view is still lovely - the photo doesn't really do it justice).

I promise there will be more pictures soon!

Monday, 16 August 2010


Guys, it's time I shut up and got on with the packing. We will be moving on Wednesday and I don't know when I will have internet again. We have been promised by the people at BT that we should have internet in our new place by the end of the week. I will believe that when I see it. So I'm off for a few days at least and will be back as soon as I can with pictures of our new place and the horrors of house moving. Have a good week!

Friday, 13 August 2010


I've been working on some stuff for Fiat this week - it's not quite finished yet, so I won't put up much now, but here is the top of a car for you. I seem to spend a lot of time drawing cars!

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

My brain is fried

So I drew something straight into the computer for you. Things are going crazy here... me included.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010


I have been thinking recently that I've never shown you any pictures of my home. There are reasons for this. Firstly it's usually too messy. Secondly it's often too dark (17th century thatched cottages tend to have low ceilings and tiny windows!). Lastly I've never really considered it to be 'done' or even in a state where I am happy with it. It has always been too small and poky for me, restricting the things I can or can't do with it. And with it being so small, all the furniture in it makes it sometimes look rather cluttered. In short, I've never seen it as a place that I would really put my stamp on because we always knew we weren't going to be here for more than two or three years before we moved on. But here you go anyway. Here's the living room, where we basically conduct most of our lives - sitting, dining and playing the piano. It's cramped. Anyone over 5'10 will bang their heads somewhere.

I will miss this place. We finally exchanged contracts on Monday, so the house is officially sold. I am filled with a mixture of relief and a little sadness.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010


Morning all. How was your weekend? We are ahead of ourselves in the house-packing now and it doesn't feel like such a big job to finish it. Tomorrow I will go through all of my clothes and throw some out, or save some for the charity shop. On Sunday, when I was looking for something to wear, I couldn't find a single thing that I both liked and was appropriate. I hate my wardrobe sometimes and I know it's all my own fault for being miserly - so I never buy anything - and fickle, which means I always want something different :-/ I think it is time I had a big rethink.

My life is pretty boring at the moment - we went to paint a ceiling in my old flat yesterday. Oh yes. The reason why I was away is that interesting. I have work to do today, despite my best efforts to STOP working so I can concentrate on moving house. I can't win... but it's for the lovely Fiat 500 again. I can't say no, can I?

Oh, one piece of good news - we exchanged contracts on our house so it is officially SOLD! Whoop! I have been waiting for that piece of news for weeks.

I'll see if I can draw something or come up with something more interesting to say later.

Saturday, 7 August 2010


My goodness, it's boring packing up a house. I keep getting distracted by the things I am unearthing from the loft. I have kept pretty much ALL of my lecture notes from my zoology degree (fascinating but bulky), and EVERY sketchbook I've ever laid a pencil in, which in some cases means just two pages of a very fat and shamefully blank book. I should be shot.

And the books! There is some utter dross there amongst the Dostoevsky (OK, OK, I haven't read that one) and Dickens, but I want to keep most of it. Oh, what to do?

Friday, 6 August 2010

Happy weekend!

Sorry I've been absent again this week. Our house move is starting to loom and we are packing up the house. I never knew I had so many books! And seriously, I think I have a problem with regard to blank notebooks. I hope you have a good weekend whatever you are doing :-)

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

illustrator's forearm

I wish to introduce a new addition to the medical textbook here - illustrator's forearm. A close cousin of tennis elbow and housemaid's knee, this is an affliction of those people who spend too much time working on their laptops whilst leaning their forearm on the edge of a desk. Here's the story: last night while I was brushing my teeth, I spotted a weird lump on the underside of my left forearm, just over the bone. I thought 'bone cancer'! Oh my god! Then I realised that it moved with my flesh, so it wasn't a lump on my ulna. Phew. And now I'm attributing its development to a long day's work at the computer. It hurts a bit.

Today I have been doing a second job for Avis, this time about using social networking as a means of promoting the company. Sorry there's no pic...

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

work work work

I am trying to pack up an over-stuffed two-bed house here and the work keeps on coming in!!! Yesterday it was Fiat's turn to get a little of the Karen treatment... Oh, but I do like those Fiat 500s!

Monday, 2 August 2010


What a marvellous few days I have just had! I feel like we kind of deserved it after the trials of house selling that we have been burdened with lately, and it was a hugely welcome break from sitting at home twiddling my thumbs, waiting for work to come in.

We went to Yorkshire on a whim, after hearing that my parents and sister had booked a hotel there for a couple of nights. They, of course (!), were very pleased when the husband and I decided to join them and, because he is a Yorkshireman, the husband could therefore act as an unofficial tour guide to the holiday places of his childhood.

We stayed, as I told you last week, in a railway carriage hotel called The Sidings, near York. I've written about railway carriage living before (and here too), so it was a chance to see what it is like. It was fun and quirky, but not the best place to stay if you like things a bit more luxurious than what was on offer. The decor was a bit tired, it was rather cold at night even in summer, and unless you are an extraordinarily sound sleeper, the violent rattling and vibrations from the freight trains passing by at night could be seriously disturbing! I would only recommend it as one of those experiences that you'll never forget :-) Nevertheless, the hotel retained a faded beauty and I was delighted by the little details to be found on the train carriages.

That last photo is of the four-poster room, which costs £10 more per night than a standard room. Needless to say, miser that I am, we stayed in a regular room :-)

Where did we visit? Knaresborough, Whitby (AMAZING fish and chips at The Magpie), Scarborough (gorgeous banana milkshake at the famous Harbour Bar), the North York Moors, Yorkshire Wolds and the Yorkshire Dales. All in roughly two days. Holidays with my family are always conducted at breakneck speed. There were waterfalls, walks, beaches and picnics. Crazy but fun!


The Harbour Bar in Scarborough.

Evening view from the Yorkshire Wolds.

Gordale Scar, Yorkshire Dales.

We had a house-fixing day on Saturday involving handing over fat cheques to plumbers :-(, followed by a rummage at a car boot sale and Toy Story 3 on Sunday. The film was exceptional, a constant delight - it left us quite speechless.

I hope you all had a good weekend too!