Friday, 30 April 2010

Silly stories

Seeing as I haven't blogged for days and remain stumped for words, I thought I would share my favourite silly news stories of the week for Happy Friday.

Sailing off into the sunset
A Kent man was rescued by the coastguard after his motor cruiser ran out of fuel on his way to Southampton. The foolish sailor, had only just bought the boat and was using a roadmap for navigation. As if this wasn't embarrassing enough, he was also rather bemused to discover that he had only travelled a few miles from his starting location despite travelling for the entire day. His cunning plan of keeping the coast on this right might have worked had he not set his starting point at the tiny Isle of Sheppey. It is not known how many times he circumnavigated the island but Sammy the Seal says he saw him sail past his rock at least 15 times...

I vote for playtime
A six-year-old boy from Devon was mistakenly sent a polling card for next week's election. All the major political parties are keen to win his vote but Ciaran says he wants more tipper trucks on the roads and longer playtimes and I'm not sure that appears in any manifesto.

Is my mic off?
Like something from a sit-com, Gordon Brown showed us this week that he is what we all thought he was anyway - a bit of a misery guts. After doing his smiling rounds of potential voters he climbed into his (getaway) car and, forgetting his microphone was still attached, proceeded to have a good old moan about the woman he had just been forced to have an amiable chat with. Little did she realise that her '15 minutes of fame' would be centred around the Prime Minister calling her a Bigot. Guess she won't be voting labour any time soon then!

I'm disappointed that in this election run up there haven't been more of these gaffes. It's all gone far too smoothly so far. I'm waiting with baited breath for "ugly babies" and "stinking voters" next week. Come on Dave and Nick... don't let us down!
And finally...
Scientists have developed a spray that can make men more affectionate. Just a puff or two of the cuddle chemical will make the most macho of men show their feminine side and express a desire to watch soppy movies.
Have a good weekend and come back tomorrow for the Inspiration Avenue Blog Party!

Sunday, 25 April 2010

I feel pretty...

... said Mona as she surveyed her new look in the mirror. It was about time she had injected a bit of colour into her life, and the new eyes her plastic surgeon had suggested were a welcome relief from looking so moody for the past 500 years or so. Sometimes it's a tough life being an icon of art history.

Mona and I have been having fun together all weekend. She's more of my art experimentation from my new course which I have to confess I am enjoying immensely. I played with paper and glue, threw in a bit of doodling and collaged to my heart's content.
She's also the perfect entry to Mixed Media Monday's 'I feel pretty' theme. Don't you agree it was time that Mona had a makeover?

Friday, 23 April 2010

Happy splatting tea dance

Let me tell you what's been making me happy this week - for is it not Happy Friday? I've been reliving my creative splurging activities from my Wreck this Journal summer. My new art e-course has had us doodling, staining and splatting with merry abandon. My art output had slowed down for the last few weeks - a mixture of not enough time and an attitude that every piece had to be a proper work of art, something that took hours... So back to frivilous fun is a welcome change.

Picture above comes from my journal. It started as wonderful splats from a soggy teabag dropped at height, then I flicked dark and rich coffee at it. In a nostalgic return to childhood I carved up some potatoes to make the TEA stamps. I wanted to add some collage and flicked through magazines for inspiration. This lady waved at me and yelled "pick me, pick me", so on she went. I loved the summery pattern on her dress so took that as inspiration for the rest of the piece and doodled these big flowers. A bit of fun with some inktense pencils and water and it was complete!

I'd forgotten that it's just as much fun and food for the soul to play with art too. And play I have. Unfortunately I also forgot that my VAT return is due (panic to get all the paperwork for that sorted out the weekend ahead of visit to the accountant!).

On another happy note (forgetting about the looming presence of the tax man for a while), this weekend I am planning a trip to Mexico. I bought my ticket yesterday and stocked up on all the goodies I will need this morning. I'll be there this evening when I tuck into Queso Fundido with the family, then tomorrow we'll be enjoying Chicken & Chorizo in an Almond Mole - washed down with a zingy Margarita...

OK, so the 'ticket' was actually only a cookbook but hey, with the right music, the promised sunshine and the proper mood we really could be dancing in that colourful country!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

A hat for all seasons

I don't think hats really suit me, but then again perhaps that is because I've never tried on just the right one. Time is in short supply once again this week so if I was going to buy one on, it had better be just the right style to suit more than one occasion.

I do so wish to get ahead, and so I must have my hat... I thought perhaps a trip to Ladies' Day at Ascot (I'm feeling lucky), then there's the Three Muses Hats & Crowns challenge tomorrow, my Doodling homework for Experimental Art and a blooming challenge down Inspiration Avenue way.

I came up with this? What do you think? A little over the top perhaps (but seriously, have you seen the hats paraded at Ascot?). There's a lot going on... I can hear rustling and singing and some pollen has smudged my forehead.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Doodle doo

I have just watched Heston serve his guests cock's testicles. Not a cock and ball story nor the real reason for the title of this post!
Tonight I am doodling. I am partaking of yet another art course. Can I get enough of them? Clearly not. This is a class in experimentation and we begin our dabbling with a spot of doodling. When I read our first assignment I feared that I might not enjoy it - I'm too inpatient when it comes to classes - I want to produce the masterpiece on day 1!

Of course I was proved wrong. Our lovely teacher Amelia gave us a few prompts and left us to it. I was particularly taken with the idea of dribbling inks and paints and then blowing them into streaks through a straw and seeing what happened and I can't deny that this wasn't rather wonderful fun. In fact, I was thrilled to come across a page in my sketchbook that has been growing rather slowly. It has been moulded with texture, painted and rubbed with crayon but then I just didn't know what to do with it... until now....

Then I found another page where I'd played with my new rubber stamps. That was similarly splatted. Is that blood drying over the words of a tortured lover's billez-doux? It reminds me a bit of Lady Cottingley's pressed fairy book. Tomorrow I think I'll add some pixie fingers - long and spindly.

While I waited for the paint to dry, I browsed some blogs where the Queen of Creativity herself was waiting to pass on further inspiration when i t came to those rubber stamps... In a serendipidous moment indeed she wrote how rubber stamps make a great basis for sketches, and so...

In dull moments, my doodling always was rather swirly so why should tonight be any exception?

A pleasant evening of fairy tales and doodle-dooing. I wonder what will visit me in my dreams tonight?

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Oh sunny day

Don't you just love Spring weather - one minute you're snuggling up under a blanket and the next it's flip flops on feet and flipping burgers on the barbie.

First BBQ of the season today, though when I went to Sainsbury's to stock up on juicy burgers it seemed that half the town had got there before me and unless you wanted a Bambi-burger, it was frozen or nuffink... Until.... I spotted the deli counter and there sat the four remaining plump Aberdeen Angus steak puffballs of succulence. I took my place in the queue and waited while cheese fiends filled their baskets and the pile of pork chops dwindled. Just one more in front... "Four burgers please" the bald man instructed the sales assistant. I growled at him and he backed away nervously clutching his prize while I marched off in disgust. Grrrr....

Of course, I could have made my own or marinated some chicken which in truth is what I would normally do. However, it has to be said. I'm rather tired dear readers and this way I could get away with very little effort. Particularly as BBQs are 'man territory' - even for men who don't as a rule cook anything that doesn't require 'piercing the film'. Man in question is also South African so outdoor cooking over a flame is in his genes... apparently! Us Poms need to learn a thing or two about the noble art. Pathetic frozen burgers less than 1cm thick are not what real men from his country eat. I have a vision instead of Springboks roasting over a spit while lions back away in fear... I have to say I probably agree with him. If a job's worth doing it's worth doing properly, so stay tuned for BBQ mark II on the next sunny weekend.

For inspiration I shall be watching the Hans Christian Andersen of cooking - Mr Heston Blumenthal. Now he has mastered Roman feasts, vibrating phallic jelly and Mad Hatter tea parties, he will be trying his hand at, quite literally, the stuff of fairy tales. Cue exploding pumpkins, gingerbread houses and Jack's beans made from 'bean-shaped parts of a cockerel' (believe me, you'd rather not know...)

Saturday, 17 April 2010

The Retreat

No, I didn't surrender, there was no white flag or running away. It was my creative retreat.

Before I go any further I would like to give a huge thank you to everyone that contributed to my previous post. I was, quite frankly, overwhelmed by the response. You were all there in the room with me when I ran my "How blogging changed my life" session and I hope I opened some minds to the possibilities and wonderful people out there. Blogging has shrunk the world for me and welcomed me as a member into creative and inspirational tribes.

I spent a wonderful afternoon in the presence of some fab ladies - some I knew already and others new friends to be made. We learnt hand massage, networked, explored our dreams, checked out this season's fashion styles and trends as well as the aforementioned blogging session.

This week, as I rushed from 'day job' to preparation for this event I began to question my sanity in taking on such an adventure. Why couldn't I be content pottering around the garden on a sunny Saturday or doing the supermarket shop?

Well, of course the answer was always there in my face... Because that's not me. I am happiest when pushing myself, when exploring and stretching out into the universe. I perform best with a bit of pressure. In the end it was all worth it. I enjoyed myself, my fellow organiser Tina enjoyed herself and I'm pretty certain our guests did too.

So Tina... when shall we organise the next one?
(Will I be taking it easy over the coming weeks? Not a chance... Coming up next I'm joining the Experimental Art e-Course; the Inspirational Avenue blog party (see badge in sidebar) and I'm travelling to London to meet the chicklit author Lisa Jewell when she launches her new book and spend the evening with a bunch of Mummy bloggers... Can't wait!
PS: Well, although this picture wasn't exactly the location of today's retreat - I believe in thinking big and this can be an extension of the dreamboard I created today. One day... Watch this space!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

It's all about YOU

Hey there bloggers. This post is about you (and I also want something...) On Saturday, my friend Tina and I host our first ladies' creative retreat. I'm very excited, incredibly nervous and in something of a panic because I'm not quite ready yet (still a few days... calm down...).

I'm running a session on blogging. More specifically, I wanted to share my story of how beginning to unleash a bit of myself here in Bloglandia opened up the most wonderful outpouring of creativity which had been shut away in my soul for so many years.

For me it has not just been about the outlet - a place to write and share - but the results. I could never have predicted that within just a few months of writing my first post I would find myself a part of wonderful tribe of like-minded spirits.

Hopping from blog to blog to read the words and admire the work of others took me on a magical journey and introduced me to some of the most inspirational people I have never met! It seemed that one minute I was sitting at home alone in front of the pc tapping away at the keyboard and suddenly a magic wand was waved and I was transported to coaching circles, tea parties, art lessons and craft workshops. I was surrounded by the fun, passion, creativity and empathy of my fellow bloggers from across the globe. I had new friends from a few miles down the road to California to Sydney to Malaysia and I had readers from countries I needed to check on an atlas to see where they were (Guam being case in point - it's a bit East of the Phillipines if you're wondering).

This wonderful journey not only prompted me to put finger to keyboard but also paintbrush to canvas and if I wasn't wrecking journals with Jamie Ridler and her crew, I was inspired by the prompts of the likes of Mixed Media Monday, The Three Muses and a host of others.

I attended parties and through one of these met up with the lovely ladies of Inspiration Avenue who encouraged me to open my own shop on Etsy and join their little team of supportive friends.
I've experimented with fiction and mixed media. I've found and taken part in art courses.

Above all I have found myself and for this I yell to you from the rooftops of England - THANK YOU! It's this I want to share with the attendees at the retreat on Saturday. I'll be sharing links to many of your blogs and singing your praises and I wondered if you would like to contribute to the session by adding a sentence or two describing how blogging has unleashed your creativity, inspired you, led you to new experiences and friendships. It would be wonderful to share this post with the group on Saturday - it's the only way I can think of to get you all there to be presenting with me!

So, what are you waiting for my friends? Tell me what blogging means to you!

With thanks,


The musical accompaniment is there for no other reason than it popped in my head when I came up with the title for this post!

Monday, 12 April 2010

Double Delicious!

May I present my twin nieces born just 5 days ago. Jessica and Sophie. Aren't they lovely!

I had forgotten just how tiny newborn babies are. These two lumps of gorgeousness are about 6lb each in weight. There was a rush of broodiness abounding. Even the other children in the room (aged 6 and 4) kept their usual exuberance toned down in honour of the occasion. Sitting with a baby on a lap was quite the most magical thing they had done I think.

Earlier, in anticipation of the visit, my son said he wanted to ask me something. "I'm very confused Mummy" he told me. "I know that the babies grew in Auntie's tummy, but how did they get there in the first place?" I caught the eye of my boyfriend who was waiting with great amusement to see how I would handle this. "It's very complicated" I explained. "I think you'll understand better when you're a bit older". I thought he would be having none of this for a pathetic lesson in the birds and bees, but it was enough. "OK" he smiled, then ran off to play with his cars and make some noise. I think I got away quite lightly there!
Well, what more can I say other than "Ahhhh". So lovely.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Hello Dolly! Hello Dolly!

This is Dolly the Sheep. I drew her for Sunday Sketches then she cloned herself for Mixed Media Monday - how very convenient for a busy weekend!

I'm not sure what I feel about cloning. I wonder how the world would cope with two of me for example, though it would of course solve that age-old woman problem of how to be in more than one place at the same time or having two pairs of hands.

Speaking of doubles... I met my twin nieces for the first time today. Ahhhh, I am sooooo broody. They are absolutely gorgeous twin bundles of loveliness. Photos tomorrow....

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Squish Squash

I haven't played squash for 22 years. I wasn't very good then. You can guess where this blog post is going... Boyfriend decides it would be a great way to spend the afternoon. He's a bit of an all-rounder when it comes to sporting prowess, whereas I tend to do better in anything that doesn't involve a ball, throwing anything, jumping over anything or being in any way shape or form co-ordinated. Luckily for me, we had his 16 year old son along too. For while boyfriend leapt about the court thwacking the ball with serious power, me and the lad took it in turns to be humiliated and cower in the corner. When I finally hit the ball with a bit of strength, I managed to whack it into the cage around the light where it stuck fast and remains still. Unfortunately we had two more balls...

Back in my teens when I was a bit more nimble of foot we used to play squash every Wednesday afternoon in 6th form. I had a bit of a reputation for being incapable of winning a match... until one day... There I was playing one of the boys. One who up until now had a reasonable score line. He was no pushover I can tell you. That day though, suddenly I had found my form. I had him chased around the court, I was on fire, I took him to match point. The crowd gathered... Was DP really going to be defeated by Lisa?? That was it for me of course. I could cope with an audience when I was dancing on the table at my 18th doing a Tiffany impression, but the pressure of winning one more measly little point in an oversized box with a little rubber ball... Or did I just feel sorry for DP and let him win? I guess I'll leave it you to guess!
Now, I wonder just how much I'm going to ache in the morning!

Friday, 9 April 2010

Fishy on a dishy

Would the fiend that stole my energy and ran off with my Muse please return both at once. It really was most rude of you to just show up uninvited. Can you believe, one mention of the word dancing and the Muse was flicking her hair and prancing out the door. Before I could close the door in disgust, I realised she'd shoved the last of my oomph into my best handbag and taken that too. Ahh. I think that perhaps an early night is all I can hope for.

I hope she has a good time and returns refreshed. I tried creating without her this evening, but I miss her chatter. Three attempts at creating a fish painting (for the Inspiration Avenue challenge) later and I retire wounded.

Instead, I present a picture from last year. A homage to fishies wrapped in newspaper. I'm thinking Whitby on a blustery evening, hair blasted into your mouth - salt spray adding the final seasoning.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010


I find it interesting that whenever I am prompted to write about television programmes, they usually tend to be related to food. I've just watched the third installment from the delicious Miss Dahl as she treated us to her take on nostalgic food - rose-tinted memories of childhoods spent in the kitchen with Granny (presumably while Grandad was knocking up another literary classic in the study?). I think my TV developed smell-o-vision tonight for I'm sure the whiff of caramelised apples and pears tickled my nostrils around the same time that the bubbling sugars titilated my ears and eyes. I can't stop thinking of Victoria sponge with a cup of tea served in a bone china tea cup with a delicate floral pattern. I could also quite happily munch through those jacket potatoes oozing with cheese and fluffy with egg - all washed down with home made tomato soup...

This programme is so ... English! It's lovely, a real delight to the senses, a kind of summer fruit pudding with clotted cream of a show. Tonight as she sat on a steam train for no reason it seemed other than to have the excuse to recite one of my favourite poems, I lay back on the sofa and relaxed into the rolling English landscape and felt very much at home.

I have to confess though that I am ever so slightly envious of Miss Dahl. She is incredibly beautiful in a natural and wholesome way - proving that supermodels do not necessarily have to resemble broom handles. She cooks and manages to turn the most mundane meal into a sensual experience, helped by the softest of voices. When it came to childhood stories at bedtime, she had a Grandfather who was the King of Storytellers. If that wasn't enough, she is also a published author and has her own TV series on the BBC. You can't help liking her though. I could just see us sitting at her kitchen table munching on cake and having a good old girlie chat...

Have a watch. Perhaps we could all go round one afternoon. I'm sure she'd love it! Oh and for the record, my Mum is also a great storyteller - thanks for all those wonderful tales that sent me to the land of Nod with a sack of wonderful stories to turn into cosy dreams!

Monday, 5 April 2010

Who would have thought it?

I used to hate drawing faces; avoided at all costs... But thanks to Suzi Blu and her amazing courses I am completely hooked. Yesterday, I wanted to knock out a quick sketch for Sophia's Sunday Sketches. All I could think to draw was a face! And once I got started, it didn't really stay 'sketch' for long. I can't help myself... graphite is just so boring... I just love layering up the colours and having large eyes suddenly appear from the paper to stare at you. What is this little lady thinking I wonder? Well, one for thing for certain is that she is PROUD to be GINGER! Oh yes, she loves her big mop of orange hair, she wouldn't have it any other way. Look at the way everyone stares when she walks in the room. She's like an irridescent light show. What you can't see is the stunning dress she's wearing in the coolest turquoise with layer upon layer of fabric fluttering in the breeze her dance makes as she moves across the room...

I love how a good quality shot or scan can be magnified in photoshop. You can really see just how many colours went into making this face - creams, peaches, pinks, greens, blues, yellows and of course rather a lot of orange. That's what I love about my faces. I'm not trying to make them real, just colouring their personalities. The enlargement also helps spot the areas for improvement next time - the slightly off centre pupil needs a bit more care, as does the squishy iris. The thing I find about art though, is that is half the fun. I mean Oh no! Do I really have to do another piece of art? What hardship!!

Now, all this talk of lessons leads me nicely onto my next point. I'm sure you all have wonderful creative tips to share - whether watercolours, writing, wrapping presents or a wonderful wasabi recipe! Inspiration Avenue are hosting a fun blog party on the weekend of May 1st/2nd where all the partygoers are asked not to bring a bottle or even a present. No, you just bring yourself and a tutorial to share. All the info you need is here. Do come along; it will be tremendous fun and we pretty much guarantee that you'll definitely learn something!

Sunday, 4 April 2010

A stitch in time...

I don't do sewing. My Mum probably thinks I'm a changeling since she was born with a needle and thread sewn into her fingers. It's strange though because for a time, when I was about 12, I actually used to embroider - from patterns and everything. I could perform an array of intricate stitches and I made my Sindy doll clothes that didn't fall apart. Then one day I woke up and my fingers must have grown overnight and become too gangling for fine stitchery (I have long fingers - terribly hard to find gloves to fit). Suddenly I couldn't even thread a needle. Sew on a button? You must be joking!

Once I started secondary school and we were let loose with electronic sewing machinery, things went from bad to worse. Was there perhaps some form of curse upon me? Why did the needles constantly snap? What made the fabric buckle up and, worst of all, why did I only need to look at a piece of cotton for it to become irrevocably tangled? I think my teacher finally gave up with me the day I tacked my nightdress to my school skirt. Tacking, that most basic of abilities, was clearly past the limit of my skill.

Things never improved as I aged. I do own a sewing kit - though when my Mum saw it I think she nearly passed out in shock. I think I paid £1 for it, 20 years ago. It hasn't been used much. It's pretty basic compared to her shipping trunk of supplies. It's interesting that men in my life automatically assume that because of my gender (and ability to knock up a three course dinner from the most basic of rations) that I am good at sewing. Any requests for invisible mending (or even just button sewing) are met with the most incredulous look and sudden attack of amnesia (rather like when you ask them to take the rubbish out or wash the floor).

Eventually though the sewing pile builds (especially since I have a six-year-old son) and I have to dig the needle out. Last night I sewed back on a hood and zip from a coat, a button and popper thing from my cardigan, the hem on a pair of trousers and the hook from my dressing gown.
True to form, mysterious knots formed in the cotton through no reason leaving large loops sticking out to get tangled and snagged and I managed to spear myself and break the scissors.

We wait with baited breath to see how long before they need repairing anew!

PS: I once dreamt that I found the needle in a haystack. Do you think that has any significance?

Saturday, 3 April 2010

I am

I am ...
Flights of Fancy
Autumn's colours
I am what was, what is and what will be
I am Me.

My journal page entry for Inspiration Avenue... "I" prompt. A 'sort of' self portrait in mixed media.

Friday, 2 April 2010


Sharing my happy with Jamie Ridler and the crew.

I listened to a weather expert yesterday. He told me that wherever you go in the UK this weekend you will get rained on. Well, who cares? We need a bit of the old wet stuff to keep us going after all. It's Spring! It's Easter!

This weekend I intend to paint, love, cuddle, relax and think (and possibly eat chocolate). I've already managed to get covered in paint once already today (making Easter cards with my boy) and then we went on a magical adventure with the delightful Nanny McPhee (small c; big P). She's gone now to find some more naughty children who need her help but don't necessarily want it...

I've had a grand week. Nice and busy with work and some successes to show for it. Small boy brought home a football trophy yesterday - Player of the Month - perhaps he will be playing for the Mighty Arsenal in about 12 years and I can retire. (There is a very good reason why I have chosen this football team - eh Sweetheart?). He also won the prize for finding the most Easter Eggs. Really not too much of a surprise that one.
Oh yes, and the Easter Bunny came early. I was lying in bed last night when I heard this tap tapping at the window. The little furry fella was down on the lawn chucking stones. "Let me in", he whispered... Ordinarily, I would do no such thing. I mean everyone knows that you don't let strange rabbits in your house in the middle of the night and still expect to find carrots left in the morning. However, he did at least come with the right credentials (special Bunny ID and a large stash of chocolate). We are still finding little eggs now. He hid them under cushions, in car transporters and art boxes, on top of things, round the back of things and in so many unexpected places. He also left tiny muddy footprints all over the carpet... Hmm...

I booked a holiday this week... Yup, that picture up top is where I am a goin'.

My friends at Inspiration Avenue and I are planning a blog party - more on this next week. Hope you all can some. It will be so much fun.
I would also like to take this opportunity to apologise to the dear friends I may have tricked with my post yesterday. You see it was April Fool's Day and well... I just couldn't resist... Please forgive me!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

The Wright Stuff on The Wright Stuff

Wow, you'll never believe it. I'm in shock. Flabbergasted. Speechless (well, nearly!). Let me explain... If you're in the UK, you may know there's a TV show named after my blog. Well, some might argue that couldn't be the case since it has been on air since before I started my blog, but I beg to differ.

The show, on Channel 5 and hosted by Matthew Wright (no relation), is a newsy magazine format programme with a panel of celebrity guests. They like to discuss the key topics of the day as well as throw in a bit of off beat culture.

That's where I come in... I received what I at first believed to be a spoof email yesterday claiming to be from the show's producers. They had found my blog through google and wanted to invite me onto the show next week as part of a blogging feature.

Well, you could knock me down with a feather. Once I realised that they were being serious I couldn't say yes fast enough. They will be picking me up in a chauffeured car and whisking me to London where I'll receive the VIP treatment. I've been given a 10 minute slot where Matthew will interview me asking for tips on what makes a good blog and why I consider myself blog-obsessed. Also on the show that day are Take That who, having discovered that I have in the past promoted them on my blog, have invited me to join them on stage when they perform their new single - "What a fool am I". Jamie Oliver will also be there cooking up a little French fish dish called Poisson d'avril.

I can't wait to tell you more...
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