Beauty & The Beast Painting

I've been meaning to paint a Disney piece for my Disney obsessed best friend for a couple of years...I know I'm so bad with getting my act together. In a bid to kill two birds with one stone, I thought I'd test out a new material and try to improve my acrylic skills, whilst also making a gift for my friend. She loves Beauty and the Beast (a huge fan way before all the hype came along with the new live action) and I thought I'd paint her a portrait of the famous characters.

The material I used was a roll of canvas; basically canvas that hasn't been stretched onto a frame. It comes on a roll so you can choose how big you want your piece to be and I remember it being quite cheap. Perhaps between £1-£2 for a few metres. I hadn't used it before but with it being so cheap, I gave it a go.

This was really fun to do and I thoroughly enjoyed myself spending 3 days working on it. I had a variety of listening materials ranging from Harry Potter audiobooks to ASMR and it was so relaxing. If you've never done some artwork with ASMR on in the background, you're seriously missing out on some quality therapeutic magic. 

It wasn't until I finished this painting and took a photo to show my Mum that I realised I really should have primed the canvas rather than go straight in with paint. Mum is my go to for artistic criticism and as I've gotten older, we can exchange criticism without offending each other which is something we both used to struggle with! The thing with canvas is sometimes you get annoying little white spaces that show up when the paint is dry where the paint hasn't quite reached the thousands of tiny gaps in the canvas texture and it can look very clumsy. This is something that happened to this piece unfortunately but without looking up close it wasn't very noticeable.

I'd always intended to give this painting to my best friend so I framed it up nicely for her so it was a proper little gifted treat. The framing process was a little tricky as I went out and got a frame, but once I'd got the frame home and cut the painting down to fit, it looked terrible. I ventured off out to The Range again the next day to get another frame and this new one looked perfect, but it only just fit the painting. It was my fault for cutting the painting down before thinking properly about the choice of frame, but the learning involved with this painting has been so valuable and although it isn't a piece that demonstrates my best work, I have discovered so much in the process:

- prime canvas before painting on it
- don't cut the work down until you've got the right frame
- take artwork with you when picking a frame
- continue to practice with acrylic paints
- keep up with the character drawing skills!

Thanks for reading!

Project: Christmas Cards

My blogging routine has been a bit of a shambles over the past couple of weeks but it doesn't matter too much, especially since I've been mass producing new Christmas products and making the most of the next 2 weeks before I take a week off (before the real madness begins!). There are a lot of mixed views surrounding Christmas products being out so early - not sure about other countries but here in the UK, Christmas starts to emerge as early as the end of August/beginning of September. I myself much prefer the vibes that come from Halloween over Christmas, the beautiful colours, the smell of the change in seasons, pumpkins, coffees, snuggly everything, turning the heating on...I adore the Autumn.

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you may have already seen the sneaky previews of some of my new Christmas cards and the good news is, they're now stocked up and available to buy in my shop! Some people think this is absolutely bonkers and believe me, half of me is feeling the same! But these have been going out already and I also have a Christmas Fayre at one of my local tea rooms mid November which I need to prepare for and I'm always early for things like this so I don't end up stressing nearer the time.

I think part of this also comes down to the fact that this is my first year of having complete free reign, I'm able to manage my time down to a T, since illustrating is now my full time job I can focus pretty much all of my time and energies into my shop, I love it. The past couple of years I've felt a little restricted as to what I can and can't manage so this year I'm taking full advantage of my time and making a real go of it. 

My cards are all printed and hand made here at my home in England and there are a few designs to choose from already. No doubt I'll be releasing some more over the next few weeks but I wanted to create in particular a sweet woodland animal range so if you have any ideas for more animals I could use, please feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments! There is already a fox, deer and a hedgehog :)

Thanks for reading,

Dream Destinations: Paris

It's been a few months since I started what I wanted to call my 'Dream Destinations' series and I think I was struggling with picking places to write about, because there's just so many I didn't know where to begin! We didn't think we'd get a holiday this year, after all we did buy a house and ended up having to cancel our wedding anniversary trip to Amsterdam back in March after our boiling broke the same week we moved in. But an opportunity has come up and we were able to book ourselves a new trip and after a bit of thinking, we picked another city to explore. James has done Paris before with his parents, but I've never been to the city itself so we thought this would be the perfect place to visit. I was sneaky though...

Regular visitors to my blog may know how much I adore Disney and have been craving a trip to Disneyland Paris for quite some time after we returned to the parks for Halloween in 2014. I've managed to wangle myself a day trip to Disneyland Paris as part of this holiday and I'm so unbelievably excited to be going back, even if it is just for the day. I'll be making the most of it don't you worry AND it'll be Halloween again! This place is so special and sentimental to me because not only is it where I hold some fond memories of going there as a family during my childhood, it was also mine and James' first holiday together so it'll be lovely to return once again with him.

But back to Paris itself, we have a list of things we'd like to see and do before I drag us off to Disneyland at the end of our week and I'll start with the place we're both most eager to get stuck into.

The Louvre
I've wanted to visit the Louvre ever since I realised it is in fact where the Mona Lisa is housed, along with countless other masterpieces from some of my favourite artists. I'm a huge lover of Da Vinci's work and there is something truly incredible about seeing it in person. Whether I'll be able to take photos inside this building I'm not sure, but to see these paintings with my own eyes will certainly be a few ticks off the bucket list. Even the grounds look spectacular and even if I didn't do anything else in Paris, I'd be happy just seeing the Louvre; that's how much it excites me.

Notre Dame
We love visiting cathedrals, especially when they're plastered in beautiful detailing and represent stunning architecture. I feel Notre Dame is quite an unusual shape too, I may find myself watching The Hunchback of Notre Dame before we's been a while since I've seen that movie and it would be nice to refresh my thoughts on how Disney portrayed such a magnificent structure.

Palace of Versailles
We're also big history lovers as well as museum explorers so it seems silly to not visit the grand French Palace of Versailles. I'm going to do a little bit of research around the palace before hand so I have a little bit of knowledge around it, but I can't wait to explore the museum and take some awesome photos of this place.

Eiffel Tower
You can't go to Paris and not visit the Eiffel Tower can you? To be honest, this is the landmark that I'm not overly fussed about surprisingly, but since we'll be in Paris it would be rude to not give it a quick visit and take some pictures.

Arc de Triomphe 
I know absolutely nothing about this monument and this is something I can tell I'll really love about visiting Paris; when you come home brimming with new knowledge! It's exactly how I felt when I returned from Rome a couple of years back and I love the feeling of knowing you've learnt something valuable, especially around history.

Although this is kind of a city break and we wanted to have something a little more relaxing this time around, the location of our hotel is perfect to just hop onto a shuttle to the Disney Parks and village or a train to a shopping centre and the city. It looks so relaxing and idyllic, with a spa, pool, gym, and gorgeous surroundings to chill in after a day of exploring Paris.

It's been that long since we've properly been away like this that I haven't blogged about it or filmed any memories so this is something else I'm super excited to document, being able to look back properly in the form of blog posts and videos. It's going to be awesome and very well deserved after such a busy year of working hard.

Thanks for reading,

Prima Makeup - First Impressions

It's certainly been a while since I last spoke about makeup here on my blog and for a bit it wasn't something that ever sparked my interest. I felt bored and wasn't seeing anything new and exciting. I've had a clear out, thrown away makeup that was old and manky, re-homed barely used stuff and gifted it to people who will actually make use of it. I only own one foundation, 2 blushers, 1 liquid liner, 1 pencil liner, 1 mascara, a handful of lipsticks and a few eye shadow palettes that I couldn't part with. And my trusty brow kit, can't be doing without that. But you get the point, I've downsized and have been keeping things really simple. 

Yet I was walking around the Autumn Fair at the NEC in Birmingham last week and came across a brand I'd never heard of before but I was instantly drawn're about to see why. Prima Makeup specialise in glitters and I felt so refreshed and excited to see what this brand had to offer and spent a little while chatting away to the rep who was at the stand. The other brilliant thing aside from them being stunning and above aesthetically pleasing, is they're both cruelty free and vegan friendly. As you can imagine, this drew me even further in and I felt myself falling in love with this brand, along with feeling really enthusiastic about finally finding some makeup that excited me to this extent.

I had a dabble into the glitters and was immediately impressed; by the pigment, the adhesive being strong holding without feeling tacky and disgusting, the range of colours and just how much they sparkle and shine. I've tried a few glitters in the past and some brands can rip you right off, simple spraying the top layer of a pan with glitter so once that first layer is used up, you're just left with a sticky substance that resembles vaseline. I was able to have a good old dig around into the pan, really giving it some with the tip of my finger and could see the glitter was throughout the entire pan and you got a very generous, striking colour when applied to the skin.

You guys also know I'm a huge fan of a pretty packaging, but the palette for these glitters is unlike anything I've ever seen. It's magnetic, so you can mix up the pans, they're easy to replace should you run out of your favourite colours and everything is so clean cut and beautiful. The palette felt sturdy, with a lovely glitter finish too but believe it or not despite the hefty amount of glitter overall, it felt felt glam, fun and unique with no tackiness in sight. Another great thing about the magnetic palette is should you need to clean it, you simply take out the pans and give it a little wipe. The pans stay in place too once they're attached so there is no need to worry about them sliding around and potentially smashing - trust me, I gave the palette a good firm shake when all of my pans were in place and not one budged.

The glitters stay in place all day and they're super easy to clean off along with the rest of your makeup once you've had enough. I started to mess about with the colours after filming a video and decided to keep it on for the rest of the day. Glitter certainly perks you up and makes you feel like the ultimate fairy! The range of colours is impressive too, it's great to see some bold, rich shades whilst also providing more subtle options and pastel colours. My favourite is definitely Mermaid Tail; a holographic, white glitter that shimmers all different colours in the light. So pretty! I'm so in love with this palette and can't wait to get really creative with it!

The price I feel is very reasonable at £29.99 as you get 12 colours and they will definitely be lasting a while. The palette is super light weight and slimline too so perfect for travelling to those glitter-must festivals! I couldn't recommend it enough and now I'm dying to try out their other products! Finally - a brand who understands my obsession with glitter!

Thanks for reading,

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