Friday, 31 December 2021

december 21

Well loads of people are saying good riddance to 2021 today. But I had a rather lovely year.
For the first time in over 20 years of being freelance I actually had massive gaps in my work schedule.
And I loved it!
It gave me chance to really think about the work I enjoy doing ...and I realised that for the last 20 years I've basically been saying yes to every project that came along. Even the ones I should definitely have said no to.
I also realised that I've been so busy saying yes to all the things that I've not had a single chance in all that time to actually look for the projects I do want to do. 
I feel really fortunate that I had enough money saved from all that previous yes-ing that I could just take the time to really b-r-e-a-t-h-e and think.
I'm still not sure what I really really want to do. But I do know that if you keep doing the same things you keep getting the same results. For 20 years....

Soooo my plan for 2022 is to follow the stuff that brings me joy.

What could possibly go wrong....

Here's December squashed into an instagram friendly square...
Now I'm off out to party while we still can, rumour has it that more restrictions are incoming....

Wednesday, 22 December 2021


This week's latest:

France banned my friend Sammy from skiing there on Boxing Day.
(They banned all Britishers actually, but I only know Sammy and her family who were gonna go.)
So she's off to Italy instead. Unless they ban the dirty Brits too in the next 4 days...

Jodes came home from uni and I got her a job for 2 weeks in the local M&S Simply Foods. Starting at 6am. Every day.
Which was a great idea..... except I'm her driver. And I don't do early mornings. I'm bloody knackered!
And the iPhone weather app says it's gonna snow on Christmas Day.
The BBC weather app says rain.
So I'm ignoring that one.

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

dog walking chat

My preferred dog walking time is around 4.30pm. But it's bloody dark by 4 these days. So I did today's jaunt at 8.45am before starting work.
It threw me out for the rest of the day.
Can it be summer already please.

Saturday, 11 December 2021

feeling festive...a bit...

Well, Christmas is in full swing. Which is fine. Because it's December.
I went Christmas shopping with my sis yesterday.
Then I bought a tree.
Then trimmed the tree.
It's living where it usually lives. Squished in the corner between two sofas.
It looks like a tree that's been squished between two sofas.
Neil's on a Christmas night out tonight so I'm wondering whether he'll notice if I remove his sofa for the festive period..... 
Of course it would have to go in the garage. Which would mean chucking all his bikes out. 
But I'm thinking I could be single this Christmas if I try that....😬

Wednesday, 8 December 2021

weather chat

The weather app said we'd get snow. We didn't. We just got rain.

What I'd really like is 25 degrees and sunny please. Preferably with a sea view and a pina colada.


Monday, 6 December 2021

christmas spirit...

I went away for a 4 night weekend with mi mates and we had a fabulous time. (Keswick in the Lakes if you're interested.)
But we've arrived back to find that everyone in the whole of sodding Yorkshire has trimmed up for Christmas.
Except us.
And I'm just not feeling it.
It's like December 1st is now the official day to put your tree up! I already felt like I was behind due to my lack of present buying and wrapping in bloody October. Now I feel like a total bah humbug for not having a zillion twinkly lights and a giant Santa in my garden.
Christmas is starting to feel like a chore.

So, feeling the pressure, I was gonna go get a tree this afternoon. 
But then this afternoon arrived. 
And I just didn't want to.
It's chucking it down. And I'm not putting the damned thing up yet anyway.
So I decided to be kind to myself and I just didn't bother.

I'll get one on Friday.
If there are any left anywhere 😬

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

november mashup

A few things I drew in November mashed up into a little square...

Friday, 19 November 2021

Friday pattern making...

Monday, 15 November 2021

monday morning

If you don't feel like you could jump over the moon this morning....just go back to bed.

Mondays aren't for everyone.

Sunday, 14 November 2021

Friday, 12 November 2021

time for a cuppa?

I don't drink tea.
Or coffee.
I never have.
I always thought I would start when I felt grown up enough.
I'm not quite there yet.

Monday, 1 November 2021

October 21

This was October. Well, October before I went on holiday. Nothing since then. My head is still in Crete.


Yesterday was Halloween.

I wasn't feeling it this year. It's a bit pointless when you don't have small kids. I didn't trim the front door. I didn't buy pumpkins. And I only went to buy treats at the last minute. Of course all the special Halloween multipacks had sold out by then so I ended up buying a million packets of KitKat and Twix.

Anyway. As it happened it was chucking it down. And we went to my Mum and Dad's for Sunday dinner. So by the time we got home it was dark, cold and wet and we had zero TrickOrTreaters.

So if anyone fancies a KitKat....

Monday, 18 October 2021

day 12-16

F I N I S H E D!

That's Sally's #autumndraw21 done and dusted.

So now that Autumn's out of the way I'm on the final countdown to getting the hell out of here and heading straight back to summer. Get me to the sunshiney summeryness of a lovely Greek Island please. 

3.5 sleeps to go.... 

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

day 9-11

To summarise:

Sharon and Phil Squirrel had a wedding do.

Angela Beetle was loving Monday.

And Susan Moth was looking pretty perky despite spending all night banging her head on the bathroom window, trying to get inside.

Friday, 8 October 2021

day 7 and 8

Day 7 was Gavin Reindeer, panic knitting his Christmas sweater after seeing all the festive shizz in the shops.

And Day 8 is Cynthia Frog leaping into the weekend.

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

day 6

Today it's birds. These are normal birds on enormous toadstools. Or tiny weeny little birds on normal toadstools.

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

autumndraw21 day 5

This is Lydia bear wearing her new coat.

Inspired by my yoga teacher who treated herself to a very expensive new coat this week. She deserved it though. And it's stuffed with recycled duck feathers. So it's very warm. I might steal it when she's not looking 😏

Monday, 4 October 2021

day 3 and day 4

More illos from Sally's lil challenge... bugs and owl...

Saturday, 2 October 2021


So this month I was avoiding joining in with all the stuff that begins with # and ends in tober. It was a no to #inktober and #peptober and #facetober and #stoptober (is that one smoking? I don't smoke. So I suppose that was ruled out anyway)

I was planning on just an ordinary October where I moaned about the weather at the start of the month, showed off about my holiday in the middle and added some Halloween shit at the end. 

But then my good friend Sally Payne roped me into her October instagram challenge. I figured that as she called it #autumndraw21 and there's no tober in there that it would be ok. Saves me thinking what to draw anyway. Cheers Garth!

Days 1 and 2...

And the prompts if anyone wants to join in...

Thursday, 30 September 2021

september 2021

Hello long forgotten little blog! I'm back for my monthly report. 

To be honest the grass isn't always greener over on the socials... I have less and less engagement on instagram these days. And I refuse to jump through hoops to beat the ever changing algorithm. Reels get on my bloody nerves. And do not start me off on people who share shitty tiktok videos. Maybe I'll come back here as my main posting place?'s what I was up to in September on the old instagram.... available to license if anyone fancies it... 

Thursday, 2 September 2021

august 21

August was the month of the extreme staycation.

We went to the NorthiestNorth of the country on our WeeScottishRoadTrip. Then we went camping. In an actual tent. With No Electricity!

See instagram for the highlights.

See below for the full month in pattern form.

See below below for the patterns made into tins to keep all your shizz in.

Monday, 2 August 2021

july 21

Some stuff I drew in July...

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

new stuff

Managed to find a bit of time to do some personal stuff. Added collage cos it's my fave thing to do when time is not an issue...

Monday, 19 July 2021

stuck in a rut

I'm in a rut. 

I've been so busy lately that I've just been churning stuff out to keep up with all the deadlines. There has been zero time to look at a brief and do some nice research and think about new creative ways of doing it and go out looking for inspiration and come up with something fabulous. I've just been a drawing machine coming up with the same old shit and trying to put a new slant on it whilst watching the clock and thinking I'veJustGottaGetItDoneNOW.

I mean how many times can you draw a bloody cow and make it look different to the last sodding cow that you did for a very similar project last week. And who even has time to think about a new way of drawing the cow when the deadline is on Friday and you've also got to come up with a new bunny and bear combo for someone else by then...and a new collection of jungle animals for a different client by tomorrow.

Add the increasingly low budgets that a lot of companies are coming up with into the mix and there's defo no time to waste on experimentation and artistic creativity. Unless you want the project to end up at 10 quid an hour of course. Which I don't.

So I'm planning on taking some time this summer to just focus on personal work. Trouble is I'm a bit rubbish without structure and deadlines.
I found a fabulous Picture Book Illustration Summer School at Cambridge School of Art. The bumf said it was great "if you're bored or dissatisfied with your work and want a creative reboot" I was like "YES! That's meeee! Sign me up!!"
Unfortunately that was just the advanced group. The ordinary group focuses on how to write and illustrate a kids book.
Well, I know HOW to...I've done all the courses and attended the seminars. I know all the theory. I just don't put my knowledge into practice. It was the creative reboot I wanted.
Sadly the deadline to apply for the 'Advanced Course' was a month before I discovered it and the course was already full.
So I'm not off to Cambridge this year.

So instead I've booked myself into my own diary and I'm on a mission to have my own Creative Reboot.

Not exactly sure where to begin. But begin I will.... watch this space...

Thursday, 8 July 2021

life lessons

This pile of books is currently homeless. They're "Illustrator copies" from books I've illustrated over the last 7 years. I have about a zillion Illustrator copies now. On shelves all over the house.

Anyway, we revamped the hallway recently and binned off the old Ikea shelf cube in favour of some rather attractive Mustard Made lockers. Everything that lived on the old Ikea shelves made it's way to The Eldest's bedroom. The books have been sleeping on Jodie's bed for the last two months.

But she came home on Tuesday. And she did not want to sleep with them. And all my other shelves are full.

So I'm gonna have a clearout.

Loads of the copies I have do not bring me joy. The first publisher I ever worked with told me they would be re-using some of the images I illustrated for them in other books. I was 'naive' at the time (Read: completely stupid and clueless as to how the publishing industry usually works) and I said that this was fine. It wasn't fine. Turns out it's normal practice to pay the illustrator a re-use fee when this happens. They did not pay any re-use fees. Still, they were putting a ton of work my way so I shut up and put up. For a long time. Until the extent of the re-use finally dawned on me. And the absolute rubbishness of some of the books. So I stopped working with them. But I still get "new" Illustrator copies of old stuff from time to time. Even now. SEVEN YEARS LATER!

I'm gonna cleanse my soul and get rid of the bloody things, pretend they don't exist. I will only keep the books I was actually involved in, the ones I enjoyed working on and the ones I like. The re-use will be the charity shop probably.

Lesson learned.

Thursday, 1 July 2021

july already

I know it's annoying when people can't quite believe it's already July. 

But ... July!! Already!!

Here's what happened over on insta in June...

Thursday, 10 June 2021

still alive!

I'm alive.

I've just been really busy. Stupid busy.

Also it's a bit pointless putting the same stuff on here AND instagram. 

And insta just seems easier.

But I feel a bit sad just abandoning this little blog. I've been moaning away on here since March 2010. That's over 11 years worth of moans!

Maybe I'll post something different from time to time on here. Or when I'm not as busy maybe I'll just double post again.

Anyways. For now I'm here to say that the lovely Emma Isaacs persuaded me to appear on her fabulous Creative Ways podcast. You can listen to it here if you want to listen to me ramble on a bit....

Monday, 26 April 2021

out out

I went out on Saturday. Out out! Literally. As in outside. In a beer garden. It was bloody freezing. But so nice to be out with mi mates again.

Friday, 16 April 2021

normal life continues...

Normal life continued today when I got rid of the ginger roots. 
Next stop: trainer shopping with Alf tonight.
It's the week of dreams!

Thursday, 15 April 2021

big day out

We had a rather splendid day out yesterday. We took the Jodester back up to Newcastle. (She needed to get back for her household's very first night out in an entire year.)

We hired e-scooters and zipped into Toon where we shopped in actual real life open shops and had takeout food on a park bench in the sunshine.

What a day to be alive!