5 Tips For Visiting Museums & Galleries

One of my goals for this year is to visit some more museums and art galleries, but after our trip to the Louvre back in October last year I've been meaning to put together some tips for visiting the big boys in particular. With the Louvre being the biggest museum in the world, it's no wonder a lot of these tips were realised during this visit and I wish I had known them before going. There were also a few from visiting Rome a couple of years earlier so let's get stuck in.

1. Wear Comfortable Shoes
Luckily I wore trainer like shoes in Paris but they weren't proper walking shoes by any means. They were cheap ones from New Look so not exactly practical for all day walking and I did get severe pains in my feet and needed to stop to sit down a lot. This was also something I should have picked up on after visiting the Vatican Museum a couple of years back, but with it being so hot over there at the time I just wanted light and airy plimsols. Bad idea. I do remember my trainer shoes being really comfy down in the Paris Catacombs though where the ground is very uneven and there are hundreds of steps to go down and back up again. I can't imagine anything worse than going down there in healed boots or sandals. You'll enjoy your trip so much more if you're wearing decent footwear, trust me!


Paris catacombs, travel paris, things to do in paris, french history, paris history

2. Grab A Map
I think most museums have a little map of the place so you can find your bearings and also pin point locations you're really keen on seeing. Somewhere like the Louvre is an all day thing but one of the biggest pieces of advice I could possibly give is see the areas you're most excited for first. I was dying to see the art galleries in the Louvre but we told ourselves we'd make our way around as much of the museum as possible. Unfortunately this place is so big that even after getting half way round we found our brains being overwhelmed with information and artefacts that by the time we had reached the artworks, we were fed up and couldn't pay attention to them properly. I wish we had done this area first so I could have sketched a little, taken more photos, learnt some more about the works and the artists behind them but we quickly skimmed them before locating the Mona Lisa where we spent around 15 minutes trying to get a view then we decided to call the whole thing a day. If only we had done the art zones first.


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3. Take A Snack & Some Water
It wasn't getting hungry that hit me hard half way around the Louvre, it was the need for a strong hit of energy! Taking some fruit would be a good idea, something like an orange to zing you up when you're feeling tired and also, stay hydrated by taking some water with you. I also had a cheeky packet of vegan cola bottles in my pocket which I shared with James and they certainly helped to keep us going. As you can see at the Vatican, you could end up queueing for hours to get in and I don't need to tell you how hot Italy can get so make sure you've got some water in your bag. Whilst we're talking about the Vatican and standing in the heat, they won't let you in if you're wearing shorts or vests. We saw a lot of people taking light weight scarves with them or shawls to wrap around their waists and a lot of holy places are like this. If it's hot, pop something light into your bag that you can put on during these visits otherwise you'll be refused entry and what a disappointment that could be! If you forget, they do have thousands of tacky tourist gift shops selling flags with the Pope's face on that we also saw people sporting just so they could get in so ya know, you win some you loose some.


travel Rome, things to do in Rome, Roman history, Italian history, the Vatican, Vatican City, basilica,

4. Camera & Sketchbook
If you're a creative and if they also allow camera's within your chosen museum or gallery, then absolutely take yours with you and maybe even a little sketchbook. You never know what might really inspire you and it's good to get a photo image too in case you don't have time to complete a sketch whilst you're there. One place where I wish they had allowed cameras was the Capuchin Crypt in Rome but this was so strict that I'm not even sure whether they'd be happy with you sketching in there either. To be fair, it is the final resting place of 3,700 friars so out of respect this doesn't surprise me, but keep an eye out for signs or information points which will tell you where you stand. The last thing you want is to be shouted at in a foreign language in front of everyone, which is what I witnessed happen to a foolish lady who tried to take photos in the Sistine Chapel after being told twice not to bother. The Creation of Adam is spectacular but do as you're told or you could be kicked out.


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5. Travel Light & Secure
Aside from a snack, some water, potentially your camera & a little sketchbook, phone and money, I'd try to leave anything unnecessary back home or in your hotel room. I'm a crazy lady who insists on taking hand sanitiser, baby wipes and tissues too but these don't weigh very much. If you can avoid taking your makeup bag and any other bits you usually like to lug around with you, do it. You'll thank yourself half way through the day when you're the one carrying it all around and you're back feels as though it's going to snap. Also, stay safe and secure. Museums tend to be a goldmine for pick pocket's so take a sensible bag that at least has a zip as well as a clasp of some sort, check your belongings throughout the day and keep your things with you at all times. I'm half way through reading Frannerd's book right now and she got her camera stolen at the Louvre, poor girl! So stay safe, alert and have fun too.

Thanks for reading!



Starting A Pin Collection

After months of fighting the urge, I've finally given in and started my own enamel pin collection. With enamel pins being so popular right now, there's hundreds of small businesses offering super quirky designs so that's where I've been heading in search of newbies for my little collection. As of right now I only have 5 pins but I've been keeping an eye out for my next addition.

The Old English Company have a wonderful enamel pin collection, plus they're based not too far from me in the beautiful little town of Stamford. This brand also has an incredible range of other home and gift wares like aprons and food boards, keyrings and patches, even planners and prints! I'm a big fan of their clean look and hand lettering and better yet, they have a competition on right now where you can win a set of their enamel pins so I'll definitely be entering that one!


old english company, enamel pins, feminist pins
What I adore about enamel pins is how much they allow you to customise an outfit should you wish to wear them out and about. They look so adorable on pinafore dresses and dungarees, also bags and straps, even lanyards if you fancy jazzing up your work accessories a little. A lot of people buy pins just to display and this is also a fantastic idea because the creative ways of arranging your pins seem endless. I'm a big fan of boards and even hanging flags to attach pins to. Some people even colour coordinate which looks so cute and I can't wait for my little collection to grow so I can start having some real fun!

Do you collect enamel pins too?

Thanks for reading!






Innabox Design - An Etsy Shop

If you're a regular in these parts you may recognise this shop I'm about to talk about. Innabox Design is owned and run by the lovely Nikky who is an illustrator buddy I met through Instagram. I've ordered from Nikky before and after a long debate with myself, have decided I'd quite like to start a pin collection. They seem to be all the rage right now and because of this, so many creators are bringing out some fantastic pins and I knew Innabox would be a shop I'd love to return to for another gem for my little collection, especially since I already had my eye on one!


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Supporting other small businesses is something I love to do as much as I can; I'll always scour the pages for birthday and Christmas gifts and I've also been pinning a lot more of the finds I love to a board on Pinterest. These small businesses deserve to be found, adored and supported so I feel chuffed to bits that I was able to get my next pin from Innabox. The one I went for was the 'Cat Scan' design which is just too cute and right up my street with a Halloween vibe going on. It's a lovely jet black colour with wonderful detailing of the glossy white bones and cheeky little face. Something that I doubt is obvious about this pin is it is in fact from the 'seconds' basket, meaning it was a little bit cheaper due to slight imperfections but as with the unicorn pin I got from Nikky last year, these imperfections are barely noticeable which I why I'm totally fine with buying seconds from her. Purchasing from the seconds baskets is not only a little cheaper for you, but you're also still helping the Etsy shop by helping them to shift some stock. 


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My Cat Scan pin was just £3 and shipping was a bargain of £1 (within the UK) so overall it was really inexpensive. Nikky also popped a sticker and a little surprise into my parcel which was so lovely to receive and as always, her packaging was on point accompanied by a very professional yet fun business card. I save business cards from my favourite sellers too, I love to see how everyone designs theirs!

Let me know if you're a pin collector and who your favourite Etsy shops are!

Thanks for reading,

Ellis x

Head of Steam Leicester Review

A couple of weeks back, Abbey invited me along to join her at the press event for Leicester's brand new restaurant and bar, the Head of Steam. I'd never heard of this chain before but any excuse to team up with my favourite vegan and try some new foods over a couple of drinks and a good old catch up and I'm there!

Upon arriving we were shown the bar and noticed all of the vegan friendly beers had a little green heart marker in the top of the tap handles which was a brilliant idea and one I hadn't seen anywhere else before. Both Abbey and I went for a strawberry flavoured beer and usually I'm not much of a beer lover but this was exceptionally tasty. I only had the one alcoholic beverage as I was driving but there were over 150 beers both bottled and cask to choose from. I was drinking diet Pepsi for the rest of the evening and you may think you can't go wrong with a standard pop but you really can; sometimes it's flat, watered down, dirty glass, too much ice, but this place got it spot on and it really hit the spot.


head of steam, vegan food, vegan leicester, vegan food leicester,

Out of the two levels to sit and have food and drinks, we chose to head to the top floor and bagsy some squishy armchairs which gave us a marvellous view of the bar and the restaurant but it was also nice and cosy for the two of us to catch up properly. A waitress soon came over to take our food orders, so we both went for the vegan spinach and falafel burgers which also came with a salad, then we got a side of sweet potato fries each. This meal was delicious and it came out quickly, seering hot and after getting some quick snaps we dug into our food. It was sensational and we both wished we'd ordered a few more fries but we needed to save room for pudding! 


vegan food leicester, vegan food, vegan leicester, leicester food, head of steam

Oh the pudding. We chose to share some of the vegan ice creams and this was a platter that I couldn't fault. Three different flavours, raspberry, chocolate and vanilla all in their own traditional dessert glasses and enormously portioned. We were in our element and they were each so full of flavour and incredibly creamy. It was so nice to sit and share a pudding with my vegan chummy and even better that there was such a decent variety.


vegan food leicester, vegan food, vegan leicester, leicester food, head of steam

vegan food leicester, vegan food, vegan leicester, leicester food, head of steam

The only down side to the Head of Steam was the service sort of went a bit limp half way through the evening. To begin with we were checked on at least three times to make sure we were having a nice time, the waitress was quick to take our orders and another returned very quickly after that with our food. It obviously got busier throughout the evening, I wouldn't have said it was particularly rammed, but another waitress tried to give us two steaks and despite seeing three waiters stood doing nothing but observing, it took us at least 15 minutes to get the attention of someone to take our pudding order, despite making eye contact a fair bit - it took for us to awkwardly wave for them to come over. Empty glasses were also taken away but no fresh drinks were offered but aside from those small points everything was grand, the food quality was great and we definitely had a brilliant time catching up whilst pigging out.


vegan food leicester, vegan food, vegan leicester, leicester food, head of steam

vegan food leicester, vegan food, vegan leicester, leicester food, head of steam

Something which really impressed me was this place is actually dog friendly. The manager did point out he would prefer for dogs to stay on the lower floor but still, what's better than taking your pooch down the pub? Providing they're happy to sit in the hustle and bustle of a public place that is, I know my Yorkie couldn't think of anything worse but still the option is there!

Overall I'd definitely return to the Head of Steam and hats off to them for having some vegan options on the menu, although do be warned - one of the meals is labelled vegan but has halloumi in it so make sure you check with your waiter before ordering. I had an awesome time with Abbey and a big thankyou to her for inviting me along for the evening!

Thanks for reading,

Ellis x

The Hummingbird Hideaway

Last week I was lucky enough to get over to the Hummingbird Hideaway, a secret little retreat in the heart of Leicestershire specialising in reflexology, aromatherapy and therapeutic body massage. Run by the wonderful Christina, I didn't expect this place to be so charming! I get so nervous when I know someone is going to be touching me and have never had a massage before in my life because of that, but this cosy little den has completely changed my mindset. If you Google reflexology, which is the treatment I had, you'll see it's mostly set in a very medical environment, also like a clinic which if you think about it is the last sort of thing you want to be surrounded by when trying to relax. I remember going along to a physio session with my Mum when I was little and the rooms there were very bland, scary feeling and uncomfortable. Stepping into Christina's chilled out wonderland was incredibly refreshing and she instantly made me feel welcome and at ease. 

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Going off in the background was an essential oils diffuser which made the air feel so clean and zenned out. Christina explained to me that different oils have different properties and can help with a variety of things. Not only are they extremely comforting to smell, they're a lot nicer than incense or candles which can sometimes make the air feel a little smokey but essential oil diffusers are a much nicer option especially for an environment such as this. It seemed to clear the space as well as my sinuses and it really helped to wind me down ready for my treatment.

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We started off by filling out a form just to double check there were no health issues preventing me from having the reflexology and then I was taken over to the super comfy, reclining chair with cushions for support and even a blanket to snuggle up under whilst having my treatment carried out - it was super hard not to just nod off and fall to sleep! I was too interested in the reflexology to doze off and I'm so glad I stayed awake because Christina's knowledge of the human body was incredible. To start off, I received a little foot cleanse which involved beautifully warmed up flannel like gloves which were rubbed and massaged all over my feet and between my tootsies. Then one foot was wrapped in a lovely soft towel whilst the other received the massage treatment, then we swapped to the next foot. It's amazing what a person can tell from another's feet and also the history behind reflexology as it goes back hundreds of years. The Ancient Egyptians themselves were dabbling in this and over time therapists have continued to discover new pieces of information about the brilliant things that are our feet.

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The treatment itself was bliss, I expected to be ticklish in places but I didn't feel like that at all. I was consumed with comfort and I've not felt myself wind down like that for a very long time. Our feet are the areas of our bodies we tend to neglect yet they're so important for balancing and realigning the body. The reflexology can help relieve a number of problems elsewhere as there is a theory that reflex points within the feet are linked to every other area of the body and stimulating these points can improve circulation, help you to de-stress and also get rid of nasty toxins. I was in heaven and we quietly chatted about the history of massage, looking after our bodies and taking a more natural approach in the ways we treat and care for ourselves. I was in my element and with the treatment lasting for around 60 minutes, there was plenty of time to just fully let myself go and appreciate the tranquility that is the Hummingbird Hideaway.

retreat, leicestershire massage, leicestershire salon, melton mowbray, hummingbird hideaway, reflexology, reflexology leicestershire

retreat, leicestershire massage, leicestershire salon, melton mowbray, hummingbird hideaway, reflexology, reflexology leicestershire

There was no rush at all to get rid of me at the end and Christina did emphasise that she doesn't like to create a 'rushed' environment as the treatments are all about relaxing and really being in the moment. Sometimes we can feel as though we're ushered in and shimmied out of the door again as quick as possible but this wasn't the case here. I was helped up out of the chair and upon landing back on my feet I felt as though they'd had some kind of wonderful magic pumped through them; they felt like they weren't my feet but shiny new ones, full of life and feeling very revitalised.

When I got home I was so surprised at how relaxed I remained for the rest of the day. Nothing seemed to work me up and I quietly enjoyed a cup of tea and a little snooze under a blanket, followed by the best sleep I'd had in months that evening. I can't thank Christina enough for making me feel so comfortable within her treatment room and I'd happily book in with her again for further relaxation therapies.

Thanks for reading!




My First Kickstarter Experience

Setting up your first Kickstarter campaign can feel pretty scary, after all people are going to be funding a project you're promising them and you want to make sure you deliver exactly that. I'd seen Kickstarters floating around Instagram for months and noticed a lot of other small businesses used them as a way of getting new products into their shops with the help of their new and existing customers and after a while, I thought I'd give it a shot.

We've wanted tote bags for Pastel Elixir for years and despite looking into getting them many times, the price just wasn't affordable for us at the stage we're currently at within our small business career. If you've looked into merchandise yourself, you'll know things aren't cheap and as soon as you start looking into apparel style merch as opposed to stationery and giftware, things get even more expensive. I decided I would give a Kickstarter campaign a shot and chose a design to go ahead with.

These things take a lot of planning so once I'd got my design sorted, I started to think about what rewards I could offer my helpers and I wanted to give back as much as possible that also wasn't going to have a counter productive effect on my shop. I put some mini treat bags together for smaller pledges and then gave the option to have a bigger goodie bag option, as well as just pledging for a tote.

One thing that is really important is having good graphics for the campaign, so people can have an idea of what to expect from the project, any prototypes you might have and clear descriptions to show what you plan to do and how you're going to achieve it all with the help of your pledgers.


unicorn, unicorn tote bag, pastel elixir, kickstarter

The only thing that I majorly regret not doing was having some stretch goals in place and I think this was down to lack of faith to be quite honest and also not trying out different designs on bag images to see what they might look like. It wasn't until the final week of the campaign that I released another design to choose from and this sparked peoples interests again. It was then that I realised having more than one option would have been a brilliant idea from the start. Although I really want to push animal welfare and animal themed gifts in my shop, I also realise it's not to everyone's tastes. A few people even suggested having a word written alongside the animal design but I didn't go ahead with that in the fear that it might put people off for one reason or another, so I'm glad it's just animals. I added the coffee design and when we reached the first goal, I added a couple of stretch goals in place for two extra designs. The downside to not having done this to begin with was you can't alter the rewards descriptions once people have pledged, so I couldn't change the wording to say 'tote bag of your choice' rather than just 'animal tote'. I could add more rewards and did it this way, but it meant I had to go around my pledgers once the campaign had finished just double checking which design they wanted. Lesson learnt!

It took around 2 weeks for the funds to eventually be transferred and I'd made sure my goal included the fees which Kickstarter would take before transferring the money over. The only thing I wasn't a fan of was how Kickstarter will include the postage costs of shipping the product as part of the goal, so say postage per pledge is £2 and you get 50 pledges, you have to take £100 off the total of your final amount to ensure this is all covered, meaning £100 less to spend on the actual products so I had to be careful here too.

Overall I will definitely be using Kickstarter again because not only is it amazing for gathering some supporters and pennies for new products, it acts as a sort of pre order system and is another way to promote your business. It took a lot of hard work to spread the word and there were many moments where I didn't feel we would ever get to the goal in time, but I've learnt some valuable tips for our next one and won't let the challenge put me off trying again.

Thanks for reading!




Vegan Burger Night With Nutreelife*

Being a vegan has taught me a lot over the past 10 months and has also unleashed this love for cooking I never thought I had. Although I love to dabble in new recipes and cook everything right from scratch, sometimes I want something a little faster, easier but still tasty as hell and not straight out of the freezer.

Nutreelife got in touch and asked if we would like to try out a couple of their products and food is something I always like to feature on my blog these days because it's something James can get involved with too. Nothing sparks his interest more than food and since we're on this vegan journey together, it's always so much fun to try something new and gather our thoughts. So Nutreelife sent us a bag of their vegan burger mix and a bag of mini protein flapjacks to try.

The flapjacks are just under two inches in size which seems small but these bad boys really pack a punch and I would honestly struggle to eat more than one. They're really filling and the perfect little pre or post workout snack, crammed with protein and really tasty too. These are awesome for James because he can just chuck a couple in his bag for work or munch on them when he gets home before he nips to the gym. We've found that being a bloke and also hitting the gym everyday means he needs a lot more protein so we found these bite size chunks of yumminess perfect especially for him.


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Now onto the burgers. I was a little suspicious of these in all honesty because my Mum is currently trying to get herself into a more vegan lifestyle and she tried making her own 'vegan meat' from scratch a few weeks back from a kit similar to this so I was a bit like...erm. To cut a long one short, it wasn't great so here was me in my kitchen thinking these would tasty similar. Wrong. We went all out, got some fluffy cobs in with some tomatoes, lettuce and dressings, we made some sweet potato fries and of course veggies on the side and set to work. I also thought they'd be a bit tricky to make, especially after discovering my scales had run out of battery so I had to measure everything by eye but it was easy enough once I had experimented with the first burger. All you do is add water, it really is that simple. Then you mix, leave it to stand for a couple of minutes before moulding it into patties or little meat balls.


vegan burger, vegan meal, easy vegan meal, nutreelife, veggie burger, vegan burger recipe, easy vegan

vegan burger, vegan meal, easy vegan meal, nutreelife, veggie burger, vegan burger recipe, easy vegan


vegan burger, vegan meal, easy vegan meal, nutreelife, veggie burger, vegan burger recipe, easy vegan

Making these patties couldn't be any easier, once you've moulded them into your desired shapes you just fry them in a little oil for a few minutes. In the meantime you can be adding your lettuce, tommies and whatever else you fancy into your bread rolls and before you know it they're cooked all the way through, nice and hot ready to serve. Convenience food doesn't have to be a take out or unhealthy, plus this bag of burger mix will last you ages (depending on how many you're feeding) but we've made 8 burgers so far and could easily get another 8 out of the bag.

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Sometimes you just can't beat a good ol' hearty meal like this, if you want to try the mixes for yourself there are a few different flavours to choose from along with some other vegan snacks like protein bars, bites and powders in the Nutreelife online store!

Thanks for reading,





*The burger mix & flapjacks were sent to us to review by Nutreelife, we bought our own rolls and veggies to go along side them*

Screen Printing With Screen Sensation*

I have wanted to try screen printing for years and years after briefly being able to have a little go at Sixth Form, yet being part of a class of around 20 people with only one piece of kit meant you couldn't really spend as long as you wanted with it but I knew it was a form of art that I'd love to revisit one day. Running my own illustration business has also meant that I've looked into screen printing my own products as an option, especially for things like t-shirts which are super expensive to have made for you and right now I'd love to experiment a little more with designs before committing to buying a bulk order. Unfortunately screen printing equipment can also be rather expensive once you've purchased a frame, inks and other accessories and it can be a little tricky to know how to get started.

When Screen Sensation* got in touch I was ecstatic and had a little research into the brand further - they're all about providing high quality, easy to use equipment without the massive price tag and were kind enough to send me my own kit and a few extras to experiment with and give my review right here to share with you all, plus a juicy 25% discount which I'll leave at the end should you wish to have a dabble in screen printing yourself.


screen sensation, screen printing, screen print tote bags, screen print clothes, screen print diy


screen sensation, screen printing, screen print tote bags, screen print clothes, screen print diy

The kit allows a generous 12x12 inch space for printing (a compact version is also available) and the box contains the frame, a collapsable mixing bowl, some wooden spatulas for mixing paints and a couple of squeegees. There are a bunch of designs to choose from too to start making your own gifts and garments, ranging from inspirational quotes to kiddy themed illustrations, nature artwork to antique scripts and typography. I was able to choose a couple to test for myself at home along with some inks (I went for some pastel tones!) and I also ordered with my own pennies a few different things to print onto; tote bags, a couple of tea towels, a t-shirt and some greeting cards.


screen sensation, screen printing, screen print tote bags, screen print clothes, screen print diy


screen sensation, screen printing, screen print tote bags, screen print clothes, screen print diy

Also available in the Screen Sensation range is some specially designed fixing tape, perfect for making sure your screens are nice and taught ready to be printed with. A loose screen that isn't fixed properly could result in inks accidentally getting onto areas you didn't want it to be so it's super important to make sure everything is secure before applying your ink. The mixing bowl provided along with the wooden spatulas means this brand have really thought about how to make this process as simple and easy to clean up as possible. As for storage, the bowl collapses down and fits nicely back in the box when not in use along with everything else meaning if you're stuck for space, this kit is so easy to put away ready to use another day.


screen sensation, screen printing, screen print tote bags, screen print clothes, screen print diy

Setting up couldn't have been easier and to start me off I followed this video from the brand's YouTube channel to help me understand exactly how to attach my screens to the frame before printing. I found the inks to be extremely pigmented, especially the black and the lilac onto lighter coloured backgrounds. I think perhaps I should have used the pink ink on something a little darker but I'm going to be buying in some more blank materials to have another go with so expect an update post at some point! There is a little patch I missed on the tote bag but it kind of looks deliberate and rustic, but as I went along with using this kit it was very clear that despite it being very easy to use, you will definitely develop a way of working that is perfect for you and getting things spot on should come with practice in no time. As far as screen printing goes, this couldn't have been easier to use or clean up after.

screen sensation, screen printing, screen print tote bags, screen print clothes, screen print diy

screen sensation, screen printing, screen print tote bags, screen print clothes, screen print diy

screen sensation, screen printing, screen print tote bags, screen print clothes, screen print diy

screen sensation, screen printing, screen print tote bags, screen print clothes, screen print diy

screen sensation, screen printing, screen print tote bags, screen print clothes, screen print diy

As with any 'messy' art materials, the clean up can feel like a right ball ache but I literally just lay my screens along with my squeegees and spatulas in my bath tub and rinsed them down with the shower head. No stains in my bath, no splashing, the ink rinsed away really quickly and once I was finished I just lay them flat onto a towel to dry. Everything went back into the box neatly and are ready for use again tomorrow because I've invited my little sister over for a craft day so she can print her own t-shirts with me. She's only 8 but that just goes to show how kiddy friendly I feel this piece of equipment is. With supervision I think you could have a right blast with children over the summer holidays creating all sorts of things and I know she's going to really enjoy herself tomorrow! The screens are reusable so you can just keep creating, the fun you can have with this set really does feel unlimited...I was at it for 2 hours and didn't realise where the time had gone!

If you fancy trying the Screen Sensation out for yourself you can grab 25% off with my code SSBL25-9VIIL at www.crafting.co.uk where you can find a tonne of different screen designs, inks and accessories to start creating your own products. If you're a fellow artist, they also have blank screens available to make your own designs with that I'll definitely be trying out at some point!

Thanks for reading,





*The Screen Sensation kit, screens, inks and tape were gifted to me for this review. Blank materials like totes, tshirts & cards were paid for by me*

My Favourite Illustrators

One of my favourite things to do is grab a cup of tea and a snack before parking myself up in front of some of my favourite illustrator's videos on YouTube. Some I have been watching for a couple of years but over recent months I've been trying to find a few more people so let's talk about Minnie first!

I only discovered Minnie's channel a couple of months ago but have watched religiously ever since. Like all of the illustrators I'm about to chat about, Minnie has such a distinctive style that I find very relaxing to look at and listening to her talk makes her videos an even more of a reason to sit and chill. Minnie discusses techniques, running an online shop and how to fill sketchbooks amongst other topics. I adore her workspace and her tips for a healthy work/life balance as well as advice talks around social media and other challenges artists tend to face. I'd love to try and fill a sketchbook this Inktober after seeing Minnie create her 'Houses and What Haunts Them' zine last Halloween.


Fran is without a doubt the illustrator I have been following the longest especially on YouTube and similar to Minnie, Fran's channel is packed with advice for creatives but there's also an amazing variety of content such as art supplies hauls, travelling around and museum days out, day in the life, behind the scenes of running an online shop and so much more. Fran has been my go to creator when I've personally felt really stuck in a creative rut, especially since starting out wasn't easy for Fran either and she gives me hope when things are quiet for my own work. I'm so in love with her quirky illustration style that is also so apparent within her personality too when I'm watching her on screen; her use of colours and enthusiasm for creating is contagious and I find myself feeling really inspired and motivated after a catch up of her videos - I really couldn't recommend Fran's channel enough.


Sha'an and her studio are one of my favourite things about YouTube right now and I'll admit I have a little bit of work space envy when I sit down to watch her videos. It looks like quite a large space (anything compared to my studio is huge haha) and I just love the oldy worldy aesthetic, cabinets, plants, artwork on the walls - I have a feeling I could spend hours in Sha'an's studio admiring it all. There are a few crafts and DIY projects I'd love to try out after seeing Sha'an talk about them on her channel such as block printing and making my own stamps. I'm also dying to somehow get my hands on a copy of Sha'an's book 'Zoom' which looks incredibly inspiring and would be the perfect addition to my favourite illustrator books section on my shelf. 


Everything about Holly I love. Crazy dog lady and vegan, watercolour artist and soon to be self published with her upcoming illustrated vegan cook book. Couldn't be more excited for her. I'm not overly skilled when it comes to watercolours but Holly always inspires me to keep trying with them, especially as she creates so many wonderful animal themed pieces of artwork that really capture my heart. I think the animals and her love for them is why I enjoy her channel and work so much, her passion really shows and I feel like I'd have so much in common with this lovely lady. As well as art, Holly talks about vegan food, shopping for art supplies, living in the countryside, recycling and again, behind the scenes of running a small business and being a freelance illustrator.


These four lovely ladies are my current creative favourites right now and they each inspire me to be better and embrace the creativity, try new things, keep hold of the artwork I perhaps felt didn't go so well and try it again at a later date. My subscription box would be a very dull place without them!

Thanks for reading,





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