Sunday, 24 December 2017

merry christmas!

Hope you've all been good this year and your stockings will be bulging. Either with presents or from eating too much Christmas grub. Whichever way you fancy x

Saturday, 23 December 2017

sound familiar?

Every year. Without fail...

Friday, 22 December 2017

all present and correct

So the people who start buying Christmas presents in they actually stop buying them in October as well? Or do they just keep on buying more and more until finally it is Christmas Day and therefore they are done? 
Cos I bought a couple of presents for the kids at the beginning of December. In an organised manner. Then I bought more. Then I forgot about them and bought more. And when I had bought them enough I saw something one of them would like. So I bought that. But then one of them had more than the other so I had to buy something else. Then one of them mentioned something they wanted. So I had to round up the score again.
And now I've bought them a zillion presents... and I'm not even keen on the ones I bought at the beginning anymore. So I'm really glad I'm not one of those saddos that starts in October. We just don't have room for all those presents.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

party party

It was the other half's Christmas do on Saturday night. It was also his mountain bike gang's Christmas pub crawl during the day. By bike. In fancy dress.
We were getting picked up at 6.30pm. By 5.30pm I was beginning to wonder where the hell he was. It was dark, his phone had died and there was no sign of him anywhere. Then Wendy reminded me he did the exact same thing last year. So I stopped worrying and carried on getting ready.
Sure enough he turned up 45 minutes before we were due out. Sweaty. Bikeless. In a Santa suit. And pissed. 
He yawned his head off throughout the entire meal, drank his body weight in more lager and wine and talked complete bollocks. We left after he fell asleep at the table.
I am buying a bike and going on the pub crawl with him next year. It's the only solution.

Friday, 15 December 2017

christmas shopping...

The eldest wanted to go Christmas shopping for her friend's pressies. So I took her into Leeds after school last night. Had all kinds of plans to do mucho shopping myself. But when it came to it I just couldn't be arsed. I've been avoiding shops lately due to the increased numbers of manic shoppers about. So when I got there I was more interested in looking for an outfit to wear on Saturday night. Didn't get one though. The shops really are full of tat at this time of year aren't they?
Hey ho. Still a week of shopping left before the big day. And I never miss a deadline...

Thursday, 14 December 2017


I absolutely bloody hate getting out of bed when it's still dark. That is all.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

no snow

So today it snowed. Like everywhere. It snowed everywhere apart from here. Well... it snowed a bit here. Enough to make the youngest feel an urge to go on the trampoline for the first time in two years. And come back inside soaking wet. And for AlbertFromNextDoor to get his trusty snow shovel out. But not enough to build a snowman. Or to go sledging. On the sledge we bought 3 years ago which has been sitting unused in the garage ever since. 
So I put the Christmas tree up instead. Happy days.


I soon get bored of illustrating Christmas... It's all the same really isn't it... So glad I didn't start on the old advent this year. Back to autumn for a bit.....

Thursday, 7 December 2017

did someone mention christmas?

I ignore the PeopleWithNoLife who start obsessing about Christmas in September every year. 
I have trained my brain to zone out when the PeopleWithNothingBetterToDo bore everyone on social media with their super organised xmas schedule and the fact they have already completed all their shopping, wrapped it and hidden it in the loft. By the 14th of October. 
I smugly tell myself that these people must live such a dull existence, and their autumns must be so boring, that they have to start Christmas early to bring some excitement into their lives.
Then every year, usually around the second week in December, it suddenly dawns on me that I seriously need to get my shit together cos I have so much to bloody do and CHRISTMAS IS TWO WEEKS AWAY!
That time is now 😬😬😬

Sunday, 3 December 2017

festive spirit

So it might only be the 3rd of December but I'm catching up fast with my Christmas spirit. I've bought a tree, been to 2 Christmas fairs, ordered a couple of pressies and watched the lights being switched on in the village. I imagine all the nutters who started Christmas in October are gonna be well and truly over it any day soon.... doesn't pay to peak too early people....

Saturday, 2 December 2017

feeling festive

Turns out the other half is verybloodygood at surprises! I was whisked away to Paris for 2 nights ❤️ 
I've been to Paris loads for work...I used to go twice a year at one point. But I only ever saw the Parc des Expositions and the shops. I had only seen the Eiffel Tower once ...and none of the other landmarks!
It was so lovely, we went to Notre Dame and Sacre Coeur....and he'd even booked us a trip up the Eiffel Tower!
The boy done good!
But now the BirthdayMonthOfFun is over. For a while anyway. Time to get all festive for a bit. Before the celebrations continue...

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

magical mystery tour

I'm having a significant birthday on case I hadn't already mentioned...
And in a rather exciting twist the other half is whisking me away for the weekend a mystery location!! I have no idea where we are going! All I know is it requires a passport! 
We have been together for 19 years and this is the first time he has ever done anything like fingers crossed he turns out to be really good at it...

Sunday, 19 November 2017

party party

My BirthdayMonthOfFun continued yesterday. I went out for tapas and drinks with the girls. A lot of drinks. And a fair amount of tapas. Found some old mates in the pub afterwards. Much fun was had by all. 
I'm a little bit tired today...

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

men at work

British Gas are changing all the pipes in our area from copper to plastic. This involves digging all the roads up, leaving them in a right bloody state for 4 weeks then getting someone else to come and patch them up. They have now reached the bottom of our street. I have to do a lot of face to face interaction with the workmen and a few nifty driving manoeuvres just to get my car out. I am practically a prisoner in my own cul de sac. But it's my turn to do girls night tonight. And the girls will be hungry. So I'm gonna have to turn on the charm with the high viz brigade...

Friday, 10 November 2017

MAKE ART THAT SELLS illustrating children's books

Last week I finished the 5 week long Illustrating Children's Books course with Lilla Rogers and Zoe Tucker. 
I signed up because I felt like I was drifting a bit and needed a kick up the arse and an injection of fresh ideas (and enthusiasm)
And I got it.
It was a struggle to fit it in with my normal work but I loved it so much I just worked stupid hours. And abandoned my children. And the cleaning. 
So here I am, just beginning to recover...and writing this in order to put the cleaning off a while longer...

Week 1 We got to choose from 3 texts that Zoe wrote. (I'll be honest... I only read one. It was perfect for me so I didn't bother with the other two. I'm soo profesh. 😬) It was called Pet Problems ... about a kid who lives in a tiny high rise flat but really wants a pet. I drew a zillion character ideas. I even did some real life cutting-and-sticking-collage and painted some bits too. With an actual paintbrush! I enjoyed the old school methods for about a day before having to admit to myself that I'm a computer sorta chick. I can't do with the length of time the real life methods take... and the total lack of an undo button stressed me out.
So I used some of the real life bits but put them together in illustrator.
Week 2 was all about expressions...
and Week 3 was about poses...
with a BobbyBonus if we wanted to submit secondary characters...which of course I did. Why make things easy for yourself...
In Week 4 we looked at environments. By this point I was feeling a bit like my usual flat style was just not cutting it. Everyone else's work was so full of depth and texture. I do like the flat and simple look but I started to feel a little inferior next to all the photoshop brushes and actual real life painting going on. So I scanned in a few textures I created with pastels and I had a go at photoshop brushes. 
Then I moved them all into illustrator cos my total rubbishness in photoshop was making me want to kick my screen.
We had to illustrate a double page spread. I'm not kidding, the hardest part was deciding which one to do. It took a few days of total faffery before I settled on this one.
In real life you get to illustrate every page so it doesn't really matter where you start. And in real life when I work on books I keep going back and forth on all the spreads and kind of do them all together. Obvs I couldn't do that with this 15 one week.
Finally we got to week 5 ...this was the cover design week... I had to finish it super early cos I went to London for the weekend with my Dotty Wren design besties.
I have to admit I've been a bit sad this week with no new brief and no classroom posts. Back to the normal jobs where people want everything like yesterday and there's no money in the budget for pastel pencil faffery.
I loved the course and would recommend it to anyone. It's made me  determined to go get myself the proper picture book deal I've always this space people x

polar bear week

Apparently it's #polarbearweek. So I'm jumping on the bandwagon. Under no circumstances should this be viewed as a Christmas post. Just saying.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

hi de hi

I'm gonna stop going near shops. Nipped out with the eldest cos she needed MAC foundation and came home with a cushion, a top, an enormous tupperware box, 4 pairs of white ankle socks, 4 yellow bags, a daisy trimmed headband, chocolate and 5 rolls of Christmas wrap (cos Lizzie designed it)
The socks and bags are for Saturday night. We are dressing up as hi de hi yellowcoats for a charity 80's bash. (young people and non UK residents should google) Yellow polyester all the way...

Thursday, 2 November 2017

october 17

This was october.....well..some of it....

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

happy halloween

Not sure how many more years of trick or treating I'll get. The eldest has already dumped us. So have two of my sister's kids. Might be just me and the dog next year....

Sunday, 29 October 2017

naked spider

It's been a busy old week. I'm doing the Lilla Rogers 'Illustrating Children's Books' course (To give myself a kick up the arse.) (And life would be boring without piling on more stuff to do wouldn't it?) So on top of normal work and half term I've had to fit in a double page spread for a book that doesn't even exist. (I'll do a post at the end to show and time now...)
Anyway. One of the proper jobs I had to do in the real world was to draw a spider in a pumpkin suit. As you do. Not this one though. This one is naked. As nature intended. 

Thursday, 26 October 2017

half term happiness

I'm far too busy-busy-busy to have the week off for half term. (So what's new, I bore myself sometimes 🙄)
But I did manage a full day off yesterday. The kiddos and I jetted off to the East Coast to meet my sis and her boys, who are holidaying in a rather special caravan for the week. We had a brill day. Particularly notable was the hour we hired a 2-seater and a 4-seater bike and raced around the caravan site. We used up a full week's laughs in just 60 minutes.
Also rather exciting is the fact that next time we see the sea it will be considerably warmer and viewed from the decks of a fancy cruise ship. 8 weeks + 6 days and counting......

Monday, 23 October 2017

all is well in the hood....

....Of course it's all very well having new tops and new boots to wear....but I work from home and don't see anyone apart from the kids and the other half all day. And frankly they wouldn't notice if I wore a carrier bag. So this morning when it was a choice of new clothes or the grey hoodie and yoga pants guess which won?
As it happened the other half obviously clocks more than I realised cos he got home and said, "I thought yoga was cancelled tonight?"

Hmm. Maybe I'll wear a frock tomorrow...

Sunday, 22 October 2017


I went for my annual eye test on Friday. The optician's is in a shopping centre. There are other shops there. Nice shops. Selling clothes and stuff. 
I went for an eye test and came home with some new boots, two new tops, loads of fab halloween merch from Sainsers (designed by my design bestie Lizzie,) and a new coat. A YELLOW coat! A yellow puffa to be exact. I look like Little Miss Sunshine. Or a member of the RNLI.....

Thursday, 19 October 2017

hello love

Two giraffes. 
In love. 
Just because.

I needed to draw something that didn't matter.
This was it.

Good night.

Monday, 16 October 2017

bedtime stress

Why do kids always leave it till the very last minute to sort stuff out? The youngest has had this homework report thing to do since last Tuesday. To be handed in on Monday morning. He finally did it on Sunday afternoon. It needed printing out. He decided that bedtime Sunday night would be the ideal time to do this. Just as Louis Theroux was coming on the telly. But the printer had other ideas. The printer decided to throw a diva strop. No amount of swearing, kicking, re-installing printer drivers, rebooting the wifi or plugging the damned thing in with an actual real life wire would convince the sodding thing that it was indeed connected. We had tears. We had book throwing. We had total googling meltdown. But it wouldn't print. And I missed most of Louis Theroux. 
He'll probably get expelled today 😐.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

autumn grumpiness

It's now dark on a morning when my alarm goes off. So that's me moaning all the way through to April. Apologies in advance. Roll on half term for a lie in....

Monday, 9 October 2017


Our dog NEVER gets bored of fetching a ball. Sometimes I get a bit bored of chucking it though. Just saying.

Friday, 6 October 2017

autumn v spring

I like Autumn. But it's getting very flipping chilly and dark here in Yorkshire. We are on a one way road to Winter. That can only mean one thing: time to move to Australia for 6 months. I like Autumn. But I prefer Spring...

Monday, 2 October 2017


The eldest's friend, Alice, volunteers for the RSPCA. She roped us into a little dog walk to raise funds yesterday. We had to walk around the lake at Roundhay Park with a zillion other people and their canine friends. It's not far. About 4km. We've done it loads of times as a Sunday stroll. But the way the lovely volunteers clapped and cheered when we got  back to the finish line made us feel like we'd just won the London Marathon.
So that was nice.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

september 17

September. In one easy to understand repeat pattern.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

car insurance rip off

I spent the afternoon sorting out my car insurance. It was going to automatically renew tomorrow. I could delay no longer.
I put it off last year till it was too late and it just renewed. At a price they obviously made up for a laugh to see if anyone would be stupid enough to pay it.
I was.
This year I forced myself to sort it out. 
The price they pulled out of a hat to charge me for the year was an eyewatering £1483.18. I have 10 years no claims discount. I drive a Mini. NOT a Ferrari. I have been driving for over 30 years. I don't live in an inner city theft hotspot. And I am NOT a boy racer. The only other person named on the policy is a god-damned driving instructor. Who moans if I go one mile an hour over the speed limit.
I braced myself and spent a good half hour answering stupid questions on (Other price comparison websites are available. But I couldn't remember who they were. And I was secretly after a soft toy.)
It came back with a somewhat surprising result.
The best price they could recommend was from ESURE. The company I have been bloody well insured with for at least the last 5 years. Probably a lot more. The company who wanted to charge me one thousand four hundred and eighty three quid. 
The meerkat quote was £374.97!! A quarter of the price!
The robbing bastards!
I phoned Esure up immediately and had a proper hissy fit with some poor bloke called Alex. Alex said he didn't know how that could possibly have happened and he adjusted my renewal accordingly... to £363.44.
Cheeky sods! If I hadn't checked they would have been laughing their bloody heads off and no doubt drinking champagne all week.
Thanks Meerkat. It was half an hour well spent. Even if I didn't get the toy in the end.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

driving lessons

It's our little princess's birthday today. She's 17. Which can only mean one thing. Obligatory first driving lesson. As luck would have it the other half is a driving instructor. Like an actual real life instructor. Not just a dad who thinks he knows what he's on about. He really DOES know his parallel parking from his left reverse.
So that's gonna be a right laugh. They argue at the best of times anyway. It's gonna be all out fisticuffs now till she passes her test. I might go live with my mum and dad for the duration ....

Monday, 25 September 2017

colour rush

The highlight of the youngest's weekend, indeed the highlight of his year, was volunteering at Kirkwood Hospice's annual Colour Rush. This is our third year as volunteers. My sis and my friends and the eldest and the other kids always run in it. I'm not a runner. Ever. So I decided to volunteer instead. The youngest, motivated by the idea of chucking paint at people, decided to volunteer too.
We totally rocked it on the merchandise stall this year, then legged it down to one of the paint stations. We spent a happy hour throwing purple paint at people. What's not to love.
Same again next year 👍🏻

Sunday, 24 September 2017

crammed weekend

Another ram-jam-packed-full weekend has left me somewhat exhausted and in desperate need of an early night. Unfortunately part of the ram-jam-packed-ness involved me inadvertently getting the eldest a job while I was in the pub on Friday night. Clearing tables and collecting glasses. She had a trial yesterday and started today. 3 till 10pm. That's TEN PM. On a Sunday night. When I should be curled up on the sofa with wine. Or in bed. 
So... no early night and no wine for this mum's taxi service tonight...the joy of parenthood... 

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

smile, it could be worse...

I need a new passport. And I really need to get my finger out and send for it pretty soon. I've got the form. I've got a friend to sign the form. And I've got a photo.
The trouble is it's a crap photo. I had it taken for my Chinese visa in June. It's not the sort of photo you would wish to be stuck with on an important travel document for the next ten years. But I don't think having it retaken is gonna help. Turns out I look pretty old and ugly when I don't smile. And smiling is banned by the passport office. This photo is as good as it's gonna get.
Maybe in 10 years I won't think I look so old.....

Saturday, 16 September 2017

sweater weather

Time to get the jumper out. And wear it every day. For the rest of the year. And beyond.
I am sooo counting down to our hols. 14 weeks on Wednesday.
A couple of weeks away from the woolly pullies. Woohoo!

Friday, 15 September 2017

teenage jet lag

The eldest finished her exams in mid June and basically did naff all for the entire summer. She went to bed late and got up late. Every day. By the time she went back to school last week her body clock was in a totally different time zone. Somewhere in the mid Atlantic I'd say.
She has therefore found the transition into sixth form that bit more difficult. Dragging her grumpy arse out of bed at 7am has not been an easy, or pleasant, task. It all got too much for her yesterday. I thought she was a bit quiet. I went upstairs to investigate at 7.30pm. I found her fast asleep on her bed. Fully dressed. She's clearly suffering from extreme jet lag 🙄
So now it's the weekend. She can stay up late. And get up late. And we can do it all again next week. Yay. 

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

actually christmas is in DECEMBER so lay off the festive cheer...

People who post Christmas shiz all over instagram in September. Idiots. That is all.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

domestic goddess

When you're supposed to be doing the cleaning on a Saturday but you nick off with your sis and 5 kids and spend a lovely day in the park instead ...and put the cleaning off till Sunday. Then when Sunday arrives you nick off with the other half and the kids and go to Salts Mill instead ...and put the cleaning off till later. Then later you sit in your office and make an elephant pattern to fool yourself that you're working...
Then it gets to Sunday night and you can fool yourself no longer. So you decide to just clean the bathroom as a token gesture. But you faff about with a little blog post first. That.

Friday, 8 September 2017


Autumn doesn't mess about does it? September arrives and so does Autumn. Like whoa here I am, get your jumper on.
Not like Spring. Spring faffs about. Spring comes for a day in March, gets you all excited, then buggers off till May. Comes back for a few short bursts and then is never seen again. 
I quite like Autumn. At least you know where you are with Autumn. You can put the flip flops away and know that you defo won't be needing them again till next year. You can get the black jumper and the converse out, safe in the knowledge that that's your uniform till Spring pops it's random head round the clouds again. You have no expectations in Autumn. You know it's gonna be mainly cold, grey and miserable so you just get on with it. And cheer loudly whenever the sun comes out.
So keep smiling folks...and treat yourself to a new stop ...Winter x

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

ski school

The youngest has this lesson once a week called "Applied Resilience" It's a made up subject with a made up name. They get a choice of topics they would like to study for the year. This year's choices involved such classics as "Costume Creations" (drawing clothes) "Learn through Film" (watching telly) "Construction" (woodwork) and "Thought Republic" (arguing)
He didn't choose any of the above.
Why would he when "Ski School" was on offer?
For a tenner a week someone drives them to Chill Factore in Manchester and they get to spend the afternoon messing about on the slopes.
Beats Maths I suppose.

Monday, 4 September 2017

back to school

School starts tomorrow. 
Yay to having the house back to myself during the day.
Yay to being able to get on with some work in peace.
Yay to only having to feed myself. Or not. Usually not.
Yay to other people not assuming that as I'm at home during the school hols I must be some sort of lady of leisure, available for impromptu chats and small errands.
Boo to having to set the alarm for stupid o'clock.
Boo to having to drag myself out of bed. Then drag everyone else out too.
Boo to rushing about like an idiot on a morning and screaming about teeth and shoes and homework.
And boo to the 8 million quid I just spent in Topshop, kitting the out eldest for sixth form.
Swings and roundabouts, people, swings and roundabouts.