Some of the guys at work were doing Inktober, so I thought I’d play along too. Now most of these aforementioned guys at work happen to be professional illustrators and designers (needless to say, I work in a different department), so it was a bit like a minnow playing with the sharks but they’re very nice sharks and to be honest, not that shark like. Anyway, I’m really glad I did, I really enjoyed drawing every day and I think if you look over the month I have improved a bit, although there were still some extremely dodgy days towards the end of the month (say no more about that teapot).

I chose to use the exercise as a daily diary, recording something each day, in particular, that had made an impression on me, even if the thing that made an impression on me that day was the fact that I did some cleaning. And as I have enjoyed both the daily drawing and finding something diary like to draw, I will definitely be continuing into November.

London Design Week at the V&A

V&A London Design Week 2015-23

It’s currently London Design Week, the event is being held at a number of locations across the capital, but there are a number of pieces on display at the V&A. I was in the area so I thought I’d pop in and of course explore some of the other areas of the V&A too.

In the photo above you can see Barnaby Barford’s Tower of Babel in the background, looking like a giant Christmas tree. Barford has cycled around London photographing shop fronts and he used those images to create miniature china shops. He then created a pyramid out of them, placing the most run down looking shops at the bottom and the most expensive shops at the top.

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Also at the front entrance was Zotem, a giant pillar with embedded crystals.

V&A London Design Week 2015

The pillar was massive and I wanted to go and see the top of it, so I walked up to the ceramics section (an area I haven’t been too before) to find the top. The whole thing must have been a nightmare to install.

V&A London Design Week 2015-13

Being up in the ceramics section, of course I had to go and have a look. I loved how the section felt like more of an active place of study, as you could see studios and ladders and boxes of stuff to be sorted. I’m not a massive ceramics fan but I did like these two pieces.

V&A London Design Week 2015-11

Suspicious lady on a plate is looking at you suspiciously

V&A London Design Week 2015-12

I loved the colours and design on this one

And being on the top floor the views out of the windows were amazing.

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I also liked how being in a part of the museum I hadn’t been in before, I came across some random surprises, like this piece (which had to be inexpertedlly videoed to get it’s full impact).

I really wanted to see Mise-en-abyme, which is part of London Design Week, installed on one of the walkways.

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And whilst looking for that I stopped by to check out some of the iron work.

V&A London Design Week 2015-21

I didn’t get to see all of the London Design Week stuff, which is a shame, as it’s obviously not going to be there long. The festival runs until 27th September.

Taking Stock – May

Making : I’m currently doing @CraftingGeek‘s #30for30crafting again and again using it as an opportunity to work on some much neglected wips, so far I’ve just been working on some very ropey looking leg warmers, I started working on them in March, my first ever go at using dpns and ooh I am not a big fan. I am also still working on that house cross stitch from Modern Folk Embroidery, I’m quite enjoying that.



Cooking : I am currently attempting to do The Hormone Reset Diet, as I type I’m on day 5 and I’m not sure I agree with it, some of the figures don’t seem to add up right, like needing to eat less than 49g of carbohydrate a day and yet at the same time 450g of vegetables, the book does say to subtract fibre from your carbohydrate total but still, the maths doesn’t work out. Also I think just 49g of carbohydrate a day is not going to be particularly good for you and you’re meant to eat a ridiculous amount of protein that I just can’t afford. So I’m currently following the spirit of the diet but if you see me blogging about cake in the next two weeks and a bit I’ve fallen off the band wagon majorly. I still think restricting major food groups without good medical or ethical reasoning is not a good idea but I need to do something about shifting some weight so…. So to the answer the question what am I cooking? The answer is not much, just a lot of soup basically.

Drinking : T2 have opened a store in town, they’re Australian loose leaf tea peddlers and their shop is like walking into an Aladdin’s cave of tea. Now I’m not a traditional tea drinker but I do like my herb tea and I keep meaning to get myself into green tea. I now have a jar of their mint tea and a box of their lemongrass tea, although I haven’t opened the latter yet as I’m currently finishing off my current box of Teapigs Lemongrass tea (which comes in tea bags). Teapigs Lemongrass tea is lovely but hard to get hold of, it’s also quite expensive, so I’m glad T2 have arrived. A box of loose leave lemongrass tea from T2 does cost more but I think I’ll get more cups out of it. I love lemongrass tea, it’s a bit of an acquired taste but it’s so refreshing and it’s meant to be good for you to. It can be hard to find lemongrass tea on its own with any other added flavour, so Teapigs and T2 are godsends. I’m looking forward to trying more T2 tea but I think I’ll be steering clear of some of their herb tea blends as I noticed reading the back of the packets in their store that a lot of them have added sugar, you don’t need that in herb tea.


Reading: I’m still binging my way through Stuart MacBride’s back catalogue, although I will admit the one I’m currently on, Dark Blood, isn’t quite as good as the others. I am currently listening to the audiobook of Child 44, having meant to read it for years, sigh if I’d realised it was by the same author as The Farm, which I did not like, I may have put off reading Child 44 indefinitely, ok it is better than The Farm but still, I’m not loving it.

Wanting: time to speed up and I know I shouldn’t be wishing my life away.

Looking: I was at the ‘What is Luxury?’ exhibition at the V&A recently, some beautiful exhibits.

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Playing: I’m still die hard Plants vs Zombies through and through but I’ve recently discovered Does Not Commute, a driving game with a difference. It’s very hard / I’m crap at it (take your pick) but that makes it an ideal game for me, as I’ll pick it up, play it for one round and then, most of the time, put it down again, so it’s not a time waster but by picking it up a few times a day I manage to get further and further through each round, as I slightly improve with practice. It’s been a nice reminder for the general principle in life that practice does make ‘perfect’, as now when I play the game I’m completing bits easily that I struggled with a few days previously.

Deciding: I’m due a number of operations, likely towards the end of this year and into the next and I’ve had to make a number of decisions, some of which are a bit “argh am I doing the right thing?”. Never before in my life have I quite had to be my own advocate as I’m having to be now.

Wishing: my time away (WHICH I SHOULD NOT BE DOING) as I just want these operations over and done with.

Enjoying: Stuart MacBride books (most of the time).

Waiting: (see wanting, deciding and wishing)

Liking: a part of my job where I’m working with wonderful clients for a brilliant cause, it makes all the difference.

Wondering: what the next 5 years is going to be like, not brilliant I suspect.

Loving: seeing my son really enjoy a recent residential trip, once again he’s doing and loving stuff I never imagined he’d grow up to do when he was younger.

Pondering: where my life is leading.

Considering: not much to be honest, planning ahead is not my forte at the moment.

Buying: nothing, I’m broke.

Watching: the alternative Channel 4 election coverage was pretty good in a spoonful of sugar to help the bitter pill go down sort of way. I’m still watching and loving Critical and I’m sad that they haven’t renewed Banished. And I am of course watching Game of Thrones.

Hoping: that one of my ops is going to be sooner rather than later.

Marvelling: at how brilliant the NHS is and if those toffee nosed gits hurt it even more …….

Cringing: at the election results last night.

Needing: the housework fairy, oh yes, sorry that’s me.

Questioning: some of my treatment plan but thanks to a nice GP hopefully it’s going to get changed.

Smelling: Boy Lacer’s apple tree, the blossom from it has been smelling really nice this year, it’s been a pleasure to go into that part of the garden.

Wearing: tshirts and knee length skirts, even if the weather has turned cold again and consequently meaning I’m cold again.

Following: @StuartMacBride (funnily enough), @abbeyglassenberg (as she has some fantastic creative business advice), @thecatreviewer (for cute and funny reviews of cats you meet in the street) and @Cassetteboy (because he’s a genius).

Noticing: that it’s the people who aren’t on social media (or ok, maybe they’re on Facebook) who are making the decisions on who runs this country.

Knowing: that the next 5 years aren’t going to be brilliant for this country.

Thinking: I need to get a move on and get ready to go to the dentist.

Admiring: Ed Miliband, I think he did a brilliant job in the face of rabid right wing, biased, non dom, tax avoiding owned press. I hope he picks himself up from this and continues to fight for what he believes in.

Sorting: not enough, I’ve let my paperwork pile up again.

Getting: nothing (see buying).

Bookmarking: various pages in the hormone diet book, so that I can go and double check the figures I’m not following.

Coveting: most of the contents of Cass Art.

Disliking: the new government.

Opening: soup.

Giggling: at Stuart MacBride books.

Feeling: disjointed.

Snacking: the kids YoYo rolls, which are healthy but still probably ‘way too much’ carbs (why am I on this diet?).

Helping: I’m still helping with the school leavers hoodies, it is taking a surprisingly long time.

Hearing: The Show Poniesstill.

**You can play along with Taking Stock over at Meet Me at Mikes**

#TSNEM April – gouache painting


(excuse the badly lit photos, rush job blog post)

This month I’ve been trying to improve my not very good drawing skills by following Drawing and Illustration Basics on Creative Bug, led by Heather Ross. I’m still working my way through it but I’ve had lots of fun so far, even if my self confidence is swinging like a weather vane in a hurricane. Below are some of my ‘best’ bits. But still, practice, practice, practice.

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Doll houses at the Museum of Childhood



Sindys – the blonde one in the middle reminds me of a Sindy my sister used to have, my Sindys used to be more dark haired and secretaryish

Me and the kids went to the V&A Museum of Childhood today, principally to do a couple of workshops but we thought we’d have a look at the dolls houses exhibition to (we also had a look around some of the other exhibits, which is where I saw the blast from my past Sindys). The workshops were very good (making a paper house and illustrating a story) and we liked the dolls houses as well, although personally I preferred the more modern ones (although the level of details in all of them was astounding). I also liked how the exhibition used the dolls houses to illustrate how the buildings we live in have changed, from large old houses, to lodging houses, to Surrey stock broker houses, to blocks of flats. There was some good dressing up opportunities to (as always).


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I think our absolute favourites though were the art pieces at the end, where they had got various artists and designers to design dolls house rooms in simple wooden boxes. Below are some of our favourites from that display.



I always dreamed of an underwater aquarium bathroom by Katy Christianson



Home is bear the heart is by Mister Peebles


Library (a recent plan) by Liberty Art Fabrics Interiors


Capture Real Life – week 2 – guilty pleasure


The challenge for week 2 of capture real life was guilty pleasures and I thought long and hard about this. Until recently my guilty pleasures were coke zero and chocolate but I’m not drinking / eating those anymore and anyway, even when I was I think there was more guilt involved than pleasure. So what was my guilty pleasure? And then I knew, Plants vs Zombies!

I’m not, as a rule, that into computer games, I do have a very long standing relationship with the game Civilization but I try not to play that because an hour on that can quickly turn into a day and anyway, my middle aged Mac can’t play the newest version and I’m still sulking about that. I’ve flirted with Angry Birds in the past (hasn’t everybody?) and I am partial to a bit of Peggle (although the latest version is a bit of a preemium rip off, so I don’t play that anymore) but I am totally and utterly faithful to Plants vs Zombies.

I came late to Plants vs Zombies, I remember the kids and Mr. Lacer being very into the original and I was as usual “Oh god, not another computer game” but then, in a moment of weakness / boredom a few months later, after the initial family fandom had died down, I downloaded it onto my Mac and I was hooked. When the new version came out I was as giddy as a school girl and I still am every time they release new levels for it (like right now some more new levels are due and I am beginning to check my iPad for updates at a very unhealthy frequency and I know there will be some squealing when they come).

Mr. Lacer and Girl Lacer are not into Plants vs Zombies anymore, well ok, Girl Lacer still plays Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare quite a lot but it’s me and Boy Lacer who are the hard core fans (me more so than Boy Lacer). I can not start my morning without playing the daily Piñata party and when I’ve run out of levels to play (like I have at the moment, which is why I’m even more excited about the new Ice Age levels coming soon), I’ll often play the Endless Zones.

I am trying to cut down on the tech time in my life but Plants vs Zombies is definitely going to stay; I love that I can share the one iPad game I play with my computer mad son, I love that the developers are always keeping the game fresh with new content, I love that although it’s a preemium game they don’t make it impossible to progress without spending real money and I love how fun and colourful it is (eek I sound like I’m either middle aged or a pre-schooler with that last one). So it’s my guilty pleasure because a small part of me says I shouldn’t be so hooked but it gives me so much pleasure I don’t care and as you can see, I’ve got the tshirt to prove it!

The zombie and the peashooter were hand drawn by me using tutorials from here. I added them to my photo using Photoshop which was definitely another #TSNEM for me this month as I’ve never done anything that ‘advanced’ with photoshop before and it was a definite learning curve!

Previous weeks

Week 1 – day and night

Week 3 – nature


January – acrylic painting

February – ribbing and using layer masks in Photoshop

#TSNEM January – acrylic painting



My #TSNEM this January was acrylic painting, I’ve always wanted to encourage myself to do more (like some at all!) painting and drawing and I’ve always been a bit disheartened because I’m not very good at it but in the back of my head there’s always that voice going “Well you’re not going to get good at something unless you practice!”, so I’m practising! And I think I may have found another clue as to what my painting and drawing ‘thing’ is, I prefer and am more comfortable creating modern / non realistic art, as put it this way I can’t do realism at all anyway! And also, when I think about it, if you could give me a day where I could visit a modern art gallery or a ‘traditional’ art gallery but not both, I would go for the modern art gallery every single time, so I guess it should be a case of draw / paint what you love then.

Anyway, my first acrylic painting was very much done with lots of virtual hand holding via a tutorial on Creativebug by Lisa Congdon called Paint a Geometric Star and I found it to be very helpful and inspiring and I really enjoyed the entire process, so I definitely plan on doing more! I particularly liked how the process forces you to do it in small steps; the straight lines were created with artist tape and so you could only paint small sections at a time and as it required several layers for each section, the whole thing took me over a week I think. I’ve been doing a lot of housework recently, in particular in my bedroom / makeshift (because I don’t have anywhere else) craft space (I know the top of my chest of drawers in the photo above looks messy but honestly but that’s it in its tidy state!) and so I would get out my acrylic paints and my in progress painting, paint a section or two, go off and do some housework and then come back and paint another layer, do more housework and so and so on. So it made a fantastic mini creative break between all the drudgery.

I’m really looking forward to my #TSNEM February now!