Saturday, 28 February 2015

And this month's most popular posts are...

Another month wizzes by (marginally helped out by being the shortest month of the year) and so much seems to have been happening in blogland. So I take a quick step back to see what my lovely blogettes have been enjoying the most. Babies and orangutans it seems. Perfect.

The most visited posts:

Stories and stuff blog:
12th February 2015, Baby Business: Week 4, the light of my life >

I did a doodle today blog:
20th February 2015, Orange Lake Light Orangutans >

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Baby Business: Week 6, Dog-blog

Survive the snow. Tick
Test buggy traction in the slush. Tick
Wear suitable leg covering for buggy-slush-splashback. Sadly no!

In one of my pregnancy blogs I talked about my dog Timba - how would he take to a baby invading his life? Well I'll let him tell you...

It's a dog's life.

"Woof. Woof. Woof.
Hrmph. I only popped out for a widdle and I've been forgotten again. It's cold out here, can you please let me in!

How things have changed - seems only 5 minutes ago when I had my lovely mummy all to myself, with the run of the house and walks all the time. Happy days. Then came that office place.

Don't get me wrong, I got to be with my mummy all day, plus I had these great people who would pop in and give me cuddles and (when mum wasn't looking) treats... But even though I slept by mummy's desk, she was so focused on that laptop thing and phone calls that I didn't get quite as much attention as I used to.

And now? Well...
I noticed mum was putting on a bit of weight (talk about pot-belly!) and I was thinking this was a time to increase the walks not cut back (shift a few pounds if you know what I mean!). Then one day she came home with a little something that smelt human, in a sweet milky way, but let out squawks like the pheasants I chase in the garden. What was this?

I had pretty much decided it wasn't worth bothering with when I realised that the little human had become the sole focus of my mummy's attentions. Hmmmmmm, I could use this to my advantage.

So this is my new life, courtesy of my grand master plan to get attention and rewards!
1. When little human squawks, notify mummy with a very quiet 'wuff' and do 'pointer' motion towards little human
2. When entering the same room as little human, stick nose in little human's bed to say hello
3. When out with little human in her bed on wheels, stand guard at all times
4. When little human is having clothes changed, lick the little feet... little human giggles at this
5. When little human is asleep, quickly jump up on the sofa with mummy for a cuddle as she usually only gets about 15 minutes before we hear a squawk...

It may be a dog’s life, but you know what? I love my new extended family."

Baby’s firsts:
Snow and minus temperatures. Oblivious to the pandemonium that gripped the UK - too busy on the hunt for milk!

Business first:
Oooohhhhh gold leaf in print. Super swanky!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

All the fun of the fair

The noises, the smells, the anticipation and the intrepidation. Money changing hands, ketchup overflowing hot-dogs, whirring pink candyfloss and light-sabers wielding above heads. The fair is in town. It may be dark, it may be freezing cold, but it's dry, lights are flashing like neon rainbows and music fills the air. Time to jump on the rides and wait for them to start...

Sunday, 22 February 2015

My week...

Well, it's been a fab week of turning forty. Quick thank you for all those birthday wishes and words of wisdom about entering a new decade. Bring it on!

My week in blogland, writerland and creativeland...

Monday, 16 February 2015

Baby Business: Week 5, the milk monster

Test out the play-gym mat (Little-One not me!). Tick
Master the art of putting tights on a wriggly baby. Tick(ish)
Keep booties on baby feet. No chance!

Help. I have been invaded! It’s like something straight out of a 1950s hammy-horror film... but giant spiders and 50 foot women have nothing on Little-One! Tell me - how can someone so tiny, so beautiful and so delicate transform so suddenly in to an obsessed, targeted and demanding creature? 

Let me introduce you to my daughter’s alter-ego – the milk monster.

On her month anniversary (many happy returns Little-One!) my little girl is doing really well, weighing in at an impressive 9lb 10oz, she is growing rapidly and developing such a distinct personality, complete with her own individual little quirks... the latest of which is her insatiable thirst for milk. Nothing else will do – no amount of cuddles, playing aeroplanes, bouncing in her swing, raspberry blowing on the tummy or even a slobbery kiss from the dog will do. It’s all about milk. Milk milk milk!

So far in her tireless (and I mean tireless - no need for sleep!) search for milk she has latched on to most parts of my body. Visitors who have not been quick enough have been sucked on the nose, ear, arm and even the forehead – she doesn’t seem too fussy at the moment! The other day she literally went for my jugular, definitely something out of a horror movie. Hope this is not linked to the current vampire craze? Yikes!

As it looks like the milk monster is here to stay for a while I am learning to embrace the little (still scrumptious) demon, so am off tomorrow to buy some garlic.

Baby’s firsts:
Little-One’s first marketing meeting and brainstorming session. One lucky client now has a lovely bit of baby drool on their proposal!

Business first:
Having a baby in a brainstorming meeting – the creative ideas were on a whole new level!

My week...

I am in Limbo. Yes, that's the word. Limbo.

I am between my thirties and my forties (take the step into the latter this coming week); I am between finished books and submissions; I am between preliminary works and actually artworks; I am between winter and spring; I am between Mummy, provider, blogger, writer and general dogsboddy; I am between... I am just between.

But I feel like things are going to change. I enter a new decade, the bulbs and nesting birds are hinting that spring is about to be sprung, my canvases are sitting eagerly next to my paints and brushes, and my submissions are just waiting to be packaged and sent. So maybe limbo is not quite the word.

Limbo or limboless aside, this has been my week in blogland, writerland and creativeland...

  • I fight a light for baby's attention in my baby business blog. See what I mean >
  • I've completed my water lily prelims and sketches and am ready to put paint to canvas (and hopefully then ink to fabric)
  • I went powder blue for #colour_collective
  • I've been inspired by two wonderful and different art books: 'Scene Through Different Eyes' by Julie Dumbarton (stunning artist) and 'Stubbs and the Horse' by Malcolm Warner and Robin Blake (amazing equine eyes)
  • I did a whole host of doodles over on my I did a doodle today blog. I did a doodle today blog >

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Baby Business: Week 4, the light of my life

Continue to help Little-One put on weight. Tick (now over 1lb 7.5oz since birth!)
Wash my hair twice in the same week. Tick.
Sleep! 4 to 5 hours a night is not to be sneered at...

Three weeks into being a mummy and just as I thought I was getting in to the swing of things, Little-One changed the rules. This (I am now finding out) is the start of the one regular pattern you can rely on with babies... their ability to change their habits and needs at the drop of a nappy. I was just adapting to the sporadic sleep patterns and on-call milk cafe requirements, but now I have two new additions to the steep learning curve... wind and lights.

No-one ever told me just how much it hurts to hear your little ones in distress. Little-One is suffering from trapped wind and it is absolutely heartbreaking hearing the cries of discomfort from my teeny-tiny little girl. I have quickly become skilled in the art of ’burping’ (the baby not me!), but sometimes no amount of jiggling, rubbing or patting can hit the mark and it is down to the good old fashioned hug and cuddle to calm her down... something I have plenty of. However, this does mean that sleep times are massively reduced, but as cuddle times are longer I think it is a fair trade.

Now lights on the other hand are a totally different issue. How do you compete for attention with a light? They are just so shiny and twinkly and are just everywhere – windows, bulbs, reflections, digital clocks, TVs, mobiles...

Little-One is transfixed, so much so that even the lure of milk can go unnoticed. The main problem is that the lights are far more interesting to her than sleep. Just as I get her all cosy and dozy ready for a nice long nap, her now-very-alert eyes notice a random beam of light and that’s it... hypnotic baby state! I am still working on this one as short of living in 24 hour darkness (rather tricky and painful) this is a tricky one to tackle. I feel I should be using it to my advantage more...

With regards to the ‘baby business’ balance, this week was another step forward... I managed to order toner cartridges and new light bulbs for the office. The irony!

Baby’s firsts:
First manicure! Not quite a French manicure, but a gentle trim and file to stop her scratching her face ... scratch mits in the bin!

Business first:
Creating Pop Art for a client’s new branding. 

Sunday, 8 February 2015

My week...

Another week flies off the calender, relegated from the future in to the past. Wizz wizz wizz. Keeping up is fun and this week has been no exception. With a greater focus on finally being ready to submit manuscripts for consideration, I am more than a little bundle of nerves. The 'send' button has not been activated yet... a little more dutch courage needed (JUST DO IT my head keeps shouting). This coming week, honestly, I promise, I will do it...

This weeks in blogland, writerland and creativeland...

Let sleeping kings lie

It's amazing what you can trip over whilst out walking. Fields, woods, parks all have their hazards when your head is off in a wondering world elsewhere. However, this trip-culprit was a welcome one with its mysterious stillness as it merged in to the ground it lay on, with the ground it lay on now growing over this sleeping king. No doubt a majestic feature of the felled forest of the past, this old tree has been reinvented as a silent and beautiful sculpture.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Baby Business: Week 3, this new Baby world

Help Little-One put on weight. Tick (almost a lb since birth!)
Eat food whilst it is still hot. 1 out of 3... not bad!
Remember which day of the week it is. No chance!

Week three and I have already clocked up almost 100 hours of sleep since Little-One’s birth – Duracell Bunny eat your heart out! All I can say is ‘thank you’ to those many many many many sleepless nights throughout my pregnancy, without them I would have had to learn how to deal with being awake in the darkness of night and watching the black sky turn to light grey ... almost sounds poetic until you add in the bit about milk down the top, a bit of sick, a few smelly nappies and a complete sense of a ‘new type of dawn breaking’...
...welcome to the world of being a mummy!

This is one steep learning curve I can tell you and Little-One and I are learning about this new world together... luckily with mutual admiration and respect for each others’ daily achievements: Little-One mildly approving of my ability to now feed in public without exposing myself and me in awe at the amazing contortionist facial expressions my little girl can make. See, we are both quite content!

I am also pleased to report complete mastery of the buggy, car seat, bathing, feeding, nappy changing and trips to Starbucks, however there is still much room for improvement with regards to supermarket shopping. I haven’t even attempted to hit the high street yet and forget the much needed trip to the hairdressers – it is all about ‘baby steps’ and working out what works for us both (though I am quickly realising that it is really all about what suits Little-One... which is fine by me!).

You have to wonder though with this ‘back to basics’ approach that is forced on us new mums – how do you get your brain to function on non-baby related matters? This I am sure is a question that many new mums have pondered whilst staring goo-goo-eyed at their darling little bundles of joy. Maybe there is no need to know just yet how to get the old grey matter kick-started again and regain the ‘baby business’ balance... it is suffice to say that I am getting there. All I need to do now is work out how to get that sick stain out of my suit jacket...

Baby’s firsts:
Discovering the delights of battery operated swinging chairs and lullabies... not a peep out of her!

Business first:
Feature in the paper on award

Sunday, 1 February 2015

My week...

Snow, sun, rain, sleet, snow, sun, ice, frost, sun, wind... whatever the weather, we carry on like true Brits! Head to foot in woolly hats and thick fleece clothes, we brace ourselves and head out in to the day (or night). But isn't is just lovely being wrapped up in the warmth of your house? A cheeky glass of something by the fire in the evening. Oh, maybe winter's not so bad.

True Brit again, discussing the weather! So what else has my week involved? Lots more fab creative hours spent in my peacock-feather-lined office, most of them productive, a few sneaked off to brew strong coffee and raid the biscuit jar. But all in all, another great week in blogland, writerland and creativeland...

  • Finally nailed down the page layouts for my current Children's book
  • First ticket purchased for Hay Literary Festival - off to listen to the fab Jacqueline Wilson
  • Top rated blog posts for January surprised me a little.  Maps and dodgy watercolours it seems >
  • Baby finally arrived in Baby Business Blog. Check out how I coped >
  • September sun revisited here >
  • Brilliant violet was the #colour_collective colour this week
  • Doodles-a-plenty over on my 'I did a doodle today' blog. Take a peek >