Grapefruit pearls, who knew!

No blog post about drawing today, we’ve been baking.

Two of my best friends have invited themselves over for dinner tonight, I suppose that’s how you know they are your best friends.  I’m making a mixed vegetable, slow cooked pie and couldn’t decide what to make for dessert.

I get a veg box every week and sometimes have things left over that I’m not quite sure what to do with. This week I had four grapefruits which were too much for me to eat on my own so I searched for grapefruit desserts and came across some grapefruit and watercress baked doughnuts. I happened to have everything already, including only one egg, just one teaspoon of vanilla paste left and (can you believe it) my other veg box loner, a bag of watercress!

I messed up the batter slightly, it didn’t seem runny enough so in my infinite wisdom decided to add more grapefruit juice, I THEN remembered the butter was still in the microwave. I’m going to blame the distraction of baking them with a two year old.


I don’t have a doughnut tray so I improvised. The first half went into mini muffin cases, the second half I added chia seeds and used a yorkshire pudding tin. Both are delicious, but I had to add more sugar over the top of the glaze and grapefruit pearls because they are pretty tart due to my previously mentioned idiocy.


Absolutely LOVED the revelation that soaking grapefuit segments in olive oil separates the grapefruit pearls.  It’s a bit fiddly but such a wonderful addition to the recipe.  I’ll definitely remember it for future culinary adventures.

Great recipe though and a lovely rainy day activity.   It managed to distract the toddler from watching another Pixar movie for a couple of hours too.

You can view the full recipe here …

Under pressure.

A very quick post from me because I’m shattered.  It’s been my first night off in weeks and I’d planned to write a blog post, maybe do some drawing and get an early night.   Instead I corked my map of the world board ready for a new map of the world (continuous improvement, remember?) and watched a crap load of TV.  Everyone needs a night off every now and again.

My art classes are going really well, I’m not overly happy with the things I’m producing but that’s the point of it!  I’m learning, I’m trying new mediums and best of all I’m challenging myself and facing my fears.  Last week I did a still life drawing of my keys.  I learnt that it’s ridiculously difficult to do still life on something so close, you change your sitting position just a tiny bit and the whole subject looks completely different, the angles change dramatically, the proportions, everything!  It sounds ridiculously obvious but I’ve never dealt with this before.  I think there is loads of work to be done here, I was nowhere near finished but I think it was great to do something under pressure, I’m going to do a lot more of that I think, only allow myself the one class to finish a picture, I think it’ll really help me to grow.


In today’s class I went and sat outside in the sunshine and found a lovely little spot to do some soft pastel drawing.  This was my second attempt, the first one I was trying to get too much in and lost the focus of the lovely door with its gorgeously cast shadows.  Similarly to last week’s piece it’s nowhere near finished, I’d have loved to have had the time to add some details in the ivy and the beautiful pink flowers that surrounded the archway but I spent too much time trying to get the wood in the archway right.


Perspective again was a bit of a pain and trying to draw a straight line was also quite difficult.  I really enjoyed using pastels though, they are really forgiving and are great for layering colours and textures.  I’m looking forward to doing some more pastel drawings.

Anyway, sorry for the lack of any humour or even any smidgin of entertainment, my brain is absolutely not in it’s most agile state at the moment but I had to post before I forgot it all.

Sleep, I need sleeeeeep!

First day at school 

    I found an art class and it’s PERFECT. It’s weekly, it’s open to all ages and abilities and it’s in walking distance from my house. I was pretty nervous this morning about going, it probably didn’t help that my ever-supportive boyfriend told me I was going to be picked on for being the new girl! The tutor wasn’t there this week so we were encouraged to carry on with whatever we had been doing and critique each other’s work. I met some lovely ladies today, I sat next to Barbara and Lorraine who looked after me, made me feel extremely welcome and gave me some invaluable tips on bringing your own tea mug to avoid the musty taste of the hall-owned ones.

I started to draw a bronze statue of a Viking while coincidentally listening to some Nordic classical music on classical FM, it was strangely surreal.  The Viking was good fun, I enjoy working with extreme light and shade, I love drawing to look metallic, I struggled with the colours of this one and the white pencil didn’t stand up when using it on top of other pencilled area so I learned that you have to do the white first (or I found it easier anyway). In Bodypainting I usually start with the mid tone colours and work out finishing off with the darkest shadows and brightest highlights to really make the image pop but pencils are a different ball game. I’ve definitely not got the dimensions right of the hat and the horns, lots of things don’t match up to the picture so I’m going to need to learn how to draw more accurately (maybe I’ll try a grid system next time?) But all in all I’m really happy with my first pencil attempt. 

I’m going to post my progress because I want to improve. My art will not always be accurate, it will not always be finished and it will definitely not always be any good but I’m hoping you as a reader will be supportive, give constructive criticism and enjoy the journey with me.

Ha det bra!


I’m looking for an art class, I was considering a college course but being a tour-widow with a toddler, a dog, two cats and a couple of businesses to run, I have a similar amount of spare time as a Spanish donkey.  I had grand ideas of starting a college course and of somehow shoehorning in two full days at college per week.  It was going to be amazing and I was going to be SuperArtyMum and be magical and amazing and … and … and Tommer was the voice of reason and thwarted my plans.   I countervailed, there was a moment of slight disharmony (I cried) and then I realised he was absolutely right and I don’t have the time.  The course sounded so good but I know it’s something that can be considered later on.  So for now I’d like to find an evening class or art mentor, something that will get me trying different techniques and styles to what I’m used to.  The bewitchery about art is that you never finish learning, there is so much knowledge and so many skills to gain and master, they are all so intertwined that when you improve in one medium you also improve in another.

Well that went well …

Okay, I know, three months without writing a blog is unacceptable.  I was doing so well in February and now I’m soooo out of practice, I sat down to write a blog and this is the first thing I came up with …

“Life at the moment is a juggling act, with every ball I add I know I might drop another, I might drop them all and fail miserably, or I MIGHT carry on juggling and succeed.  It’s all about balance and about making sure the weights are distributed evenly and I have my feet on a good, solid foundation.  There are times when I will (and have) dropped a ball …”

Bloody hell, what a load of guff?!  Who the hell let me loose with a laptop and a noggin full of wanky metaphors? Bore off you narcissistic idiot!

Maybe I’ll try again tomorrow …

Stuff what got done

It’s been a bit all over the place to be honest

  • I played an incredibly intimate gig in London singing backing vocals for the brilliant Sian Cross (
  • I took Jemima for her first dentist appointment, she wasn’t impressed, she didn’t get a sticker.
  • Tommer and I went on an awesome “Shag do” (stag and hen do combined for you dirty minded gits) to some stunning holiday cottages in deepest, darkest West Somerset.
  • We discovered that the morning after the biggest night of a “Shag do” should NEVER include a visit to a kids soft play centre for a first birthday party.
  • We’ve all had colds and viruses which we’ve been generously passing back and forth between the three of us.  The family that sneeze together … can’t breathe together?
  • I’ve been planning a couple of different body painting collaborations which is exciting me enough to make me squeal involuntarily.
  • I painted the pregnant bellies of my two best friends Cat and Feefer into a beautiful Bristol landscape – pics to follow.
  • Tommer and I took our third skiing lesson and we’re now ACE at it.
  • My kitchen sink got blocked so I took apart the plumbing in the kitchen, removed the blockage and saved the day.
  • Jemima’s second trip to A&E for suspected Meningitis turned out to be a weird viral rash, phew!
  • Kebab, the cat brought in a massive water rat this morning and dismembered it in the lounge.

Chasing a toddler who’s tumbling down the stairs while clenching two cups of boiling tea …

… not the way I’d choose to start my day.  She’s fine now, she’s eaten her body weight in breakfast cereal and there’s tea over everything in the stairwell.  I think I’m going to pass it off as a new interior design craze.   A large selection of toys are out already – predominantly the noisy ones and she’s trying to use a card reader to turn the TV on so she can watch Frozen for the b’jillionth time.  Then finally, a moment of calm, she’s still for 20 seconds or so, lying on the dog bed, vacantly staring into space, breath held, face gradually getting more and more flushed in that way that any parent would recognise.

I think it’s time to make another cup of tea to replace the one I was robbed of earlier.  I pop to the kitchen, fill and flip the kettle on and come back in to find Jemima angrily scribbling on her plastic kitchen with a colourful selection of crayons.  Tom thinks it’s funny.  I’ll ask him if it’s still funny when she’s scribbling over his new laptop with sharpies …



I love to body paint.  I love creating optical illusions using the glorious canvas that is the human body and I love the temporary, perishable, bittersweet beauty in that we have to take a photo to capture this moment before all the pigment gets washed down the drain.  It all has to be perfected in one day.  There’s no getting tired, sleeping on it and coming back to it in the morning.  Models get restless, they get cramp, they get cold, they get hungry, and crabby, they are humans!  It’s an incredible challenge.  Personalities emerge from the experience that nobody knew existed.  I’ve known women to feel empowered by the experience, I’ve had someone tell me that being painted enabled her to overcome lifelong fears and embrace her body.  It’s a beautiful process that lasts just hours and then it’s gone, the body returns to normal and all we have is the memories of the day and an image to remind us that everything is impermanent.

Proud to be a Bristolian and a tribute to Lorraine McKeag

IMG_7424The Bristol Evening Post wrote a superlative article about ‘Life in Flight’ on their website last week (click here to read online article) and followed it with a FRONT PAGE image on the Weekend Post newspaper. I’m so chuffed to be included in the paper at all but to have one of my images adorning the front page was absolutely amazing. I love Bristol, it’s my home and I’m so proud to be a part of such a vibrant, colourful and interesting city.

I shared the front page with a heartbreaking story of a Mum, Lorraine McKeag who sadly lost her life in a freak accident on the M32. The story focussed on James, Lorraine’s son who paid such a beautiful tribute to his beloved Mother that really struck a chord with me. James, who also lost his Father in 2012 said:

“I’ve lost my mum, best friend, mentor and cheerleader, but rather than get into a cathartic cycle of grief I want to be the absolute best I can be – I’ve had the privilege of learning from the most selfless, positive, tireless and kooky person imaginable and to live life like she did hers would be the best tribute I can think of.”

It filled me with wonder that someone who had been through such a terrible time could find such beautiful words and have such an incredibly positive attitude. I couldn’t help but cry while reading the article to my sister.

James, from your account your Mum sounds like an amazing woman. I truly hope I can inspire my daughter the way your Mum moved you.

James is running three marathons in April to raise funds for the Stroke association and in memory of both his Mum and Dad. Good luck James. To sponsor James in his crazy challenge please visit his Just Giving page

Or to read the whole story click here