#52handlettered (Feb)

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I really enjoyed the prompts from Miranti for this month's #52handlettered. I have decided to stick with the blue ink but to think more about my letter formations, style and try and vary it up a bit, and also think about adding little things to the pictures like the keys and the little hearts made out of old envelopes. At the moment I am photographing my ink creations but it is frustrating me that the backgrounds are not pure white and slightly different on each one. This is something I need to work on going forward. I guess I should probably be a bit less lazy and try scanning them. Will see if I can improve that for next month. 

I have done another round up below of some of my favourite offerings from other people. Click on the image to link through to their profiles. Happy Wednesday!

This Month // February

These monthly posts are going to replace my 'currently' posts. It is still going to be about what I am up to and what is going on, I guess a little round up of the month. February has been a good month. We went through a busy spell at the end of January but February has been more chilled and refreshing. I have been working hard but have also made time to stop and have fun. 

1. I went down to 4 days a week at work. This has been an amazing experience and it is just a huge gift to have a whole day all to myself to work on my personal projects, the shop and this blog. I am trying to develop good habits and get into a good routine to make sure I make the most out of that day. 

2. I had a few busy days painting and making cards. I am still getting my wholesale catalogue up to date but am excited about sending it out in the next couple of weeks. Below you can see a couple of new ones which I have just put up in the shop.

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3. We spent a long weekend in Corfe Castle in Dorset with friends and family and it was just really lovely and refreshing. Walks outdoors and seeing the sea are always so good for me and I always find visiting new places and getting out of my normal routine inspiring and good for getting the creative juices flowing. 

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4. I have been reading these two books and loving them both. You can read my review on Manage your day-to-day here. 

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5. I have been working on a new website for the lovely folk at Bias Boutique. If you have not checked out this cute shop in Peckham you really should. Keep an eye out for the new website! Sally who runs the shop has amazing taste and every time I go in I discover new and interesting products. This is a shot I took in the shop a few weeks ago to go on the website - I never wear yellow but that yellow jumper that you can see popping out was amazing.

A weekend in Corfe Castle, Dorset

Sometimes I get so excited about travelling and exploring different countries that I think a lot of time I forget how amazing and beautiful the country I live in really is. I need to make an effort to explore it more and appreciate it more than I currently do. 

Last weekend we went to Corfe Castle in Dorset and it was just stunning. We stayed actually in Corfe Castle (not the actual castle but the village it is in which is also called Corfe Castle) in a really cute - what looked like a cottage from the outside, but inside was actually a massive house that slept 15 of us and had a huge garden. You could wander around pretty much the whole village in about 15 minutes and I loved it. We went to the local pub for drinks and dinner, we went to the village bakery for croissants and bacon rolls, we went to the sweet shop/newsagents for the paper, eavesdropping on the village gossip and just generally wandered around enjoying village life. I don't think I could do it all the time but there is something so lovely about life in a little village. 

On Saturday we got the steam train from Corfe Castle to Swanage for the day to see the sea and then on Sunday we did a quick tour of the Castle before heading to Arne nature reserve. Check out some of the pictures...I couldn't recommend visiting this beautiful part of the country more! 

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I took all of these photos using my iphone and edited them with the VSCO app. 

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Learning to Live with Less

 

I am not a minimalist. My natural state is that of a hoarder. I guess this is a bit of a generalisation but I think a lot of designers and creative's are. It seems that a lot of designers are 'collectors' by nature. I have a few collections - nothing I have been very committed to, some that I have inherited and some that I have started myself. 

Now I don't want to become a minimalist in the sense of living in an empty white box with only the bare essentials and with a very clean and empty aesthetic - but I do want to learn to be more of a minimalist than I am now, and to learn to be content with less, to buy quality rather than quantity and to be far more thoughtful and less compulsive with my purchases. 

It seems that more and more people are talking about simplifying their lives and being content with less and maybe it makes sense that people are really focusing on this now. For the last however many years our western culture has been all about consumerism, owning more, owning the latest thing and our lives have got cluttered, busy and its almost too much to handle. Owning lots of things actually requires work...finding places to store everything, organising your possessions so that you can find them and then don't even get me started on the cleaning involved! 

None of this is going to come naturally as a compulsive hoarder, collector type but change is good and I like a challenge, so I thought I would do some regular (ish) posts on the blog just documenting some of the things that I learn and try, in case any others are interested in doing the same! 

I am going start off by sharing a few blogs that I have found and have been reading that have given me a glimpse into the fact that simplifying your life really can be a beautiful thing. They have inspired me and made me want to change and have lots of tips and ideas, so get stuck in and have a read.

Reading my tea leaves - This blog is all about a little family who live in a pretty tiny apartment in New York and has lots of ideas for keeping things simple and living in a small space. Erin who runs this blog writes in a really lovely and natural way and her posts are always partnered with simple and beautiful photography.

The private life of a girl - Sophie did a whole series on managing your wardrobe using the five piece French wardrobe technique. I really enjoyed reading through her process, seeing what she purchased and reading her tips for making it work, this is definitely something I am interested in trying.

Into Mind - This blog was such a great find and is about all things minimalism and living a slower and simpler life. There are so many great posts and tips and it always helps when the website is beautiful, simple and well organised so it is easy to find info depending on what you are interested in. I found this site through the 30 day minimalism challenge. Maybe I need to give it a go!

The Minimalists - This website is all about living a meaningful life with less. So many interesting articles on this site, it is full of inspiration. I particularly like this quote in one of the articles I read recently: Imagine all the possibilities we will unveil as we shift from a culture of ownership – a culture obsessed with personally owning every object we can get our hands on – to a culture of access, in which every citizen has unlimited access to virtually everything virtually.

I would love to hear what you guys think - is think something you struggle with, are you trying to live with less? Is this a blog series that you will be interested in? Also if you have any other website or blogs that you think I would enjoy reading on this topic, please share them in the comments!

Hope you all have a great Wednesday! 

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Moodboard Monday

It has been a little while since I have done a black and white moodboard so I thought I would indulge my monochrome pinterest addiction and get myself inspired this Monday morning. Looking at these above reminds me how much I need to make time to just experiment with making marks and patterns. 

We just spent a lovely long weekend in Dorset so there will definitely be lots of colour later in the week.

Sources of all of the above clockwise from top: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

Hope you all have a great Monday!

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Book Review - Manage your day to day (volume one)

I started reading this book a few weeks ago on the recommendation of a friend and while I was reading, it inspired me to write this post about getting my attention span back. Since it is all fresh in my mind I thought I would feature it for the book review this month. 

What I loved about this book was how it was broken up into small manageable chunks and also included writing from a whole variety of really talented and inspiring people. The short essays are grouped into 4 sections: building a rock-solid routine, finding focus in a distracted world, taming your tools and sharpening your creative mind. Each section has 4 short essays and then an interview. The good things about having a book laid out like this is that it is really easy to dip in and out of and it also doesn't take long to read the whole book. I have been reading it on the bus when commuting in the morning and it has been a really inspiring way to start the day. 

I think one of the reasons that I enjoyed this book so much is because it deals with the sort of stuff that I have been thinking about a lot recently: i.e. taming your tools, and ways to work better and more effectively. It has given me a lot to mull over and think about. It also has lots of really interesting and practical suggestions to change and improve the way you do things and deal with your time and resources. 

"Just as we watch our intake of caffeine or candy or alcohol lest we become addicted, we need to conciously develop a healthy relationship with our tools – or we will lose perspective and become slaves to them"

- James Victore – Manage Your Day-to-Day

There were just so many great quotes that I wanted to scribble down and remember, the above being one of them. It is the sort of book that I will want to re-read quite a few times to really digest the content. I can imagine having it with me and picking it up to read one essay for a bit of a boost and inspiration. 

I think I have probably been a bit gushing in this review but I really can't recommend this book enough. I think if you work in any sort of creative industry you should read this book, but even if you don't I think a lot of the issues and ideas it deals with would be relevant to everyone.

Next up on my reading list is this one, which is also part of the series. Can't wait to get stuck in if it is anywhere near as good as this one. 

Hope you all have a great Friday and weekend! Our weekend has started early and we are currently in Dorset exploring Corfe Castle. It always feels so good to explore somewhere new...especially when it is this beautiful!

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Whats up in the shop

As I mentioned on monday I have been trying to be a lot more consistent with what I have been posting on my blog, instagram and twitter and so far this year I have been managing to do it and I am loving it - but as a result my shop has been a little bit neglected. Over the last couple of weeks I have been working on re-photographing the products and trying to make things a bit cleaner and more consistent in the look (haha I think my word for this year is consistent - that seems to be what I am all about right now). I still have a way to go but below are a few of the updated product shots. 

I am working on new prints and cards which hopefully should be up on in the shop in the next few weeks and I am also putting together a new wholesale catalogue...so if you run/own a shop and you think my cards would be a good fit please feel free to get in touch and I would be happy to send you a copy when it is ready. 

My insta faves

One of my main aims this year has been to be more consistent with blogging and instagram, and so far it is going pretty well. There are still a lot of areas that I need to work on and improve but things are going in a direction that I am happy with and excited about and I am just really enjoying myself. I am loving this space more than ever and am also really coming to love the instagram community that I am part of. 

Instagram is such a mine of inspiration and I have started following some amazing people recently with beautiful accounts and so I thought I would share some of my favourites so you can get inspired at the start of the week. 

@ryntor - beautiful scenic shots mixed with cute illustrations. It is a collaboration between Illustrator Ryn Frank and Photographer Tor Harrison.

@ryntor - beautiful scenic shots mixed with cute illustrations. It is a collaboration between Illustrator Ryn Frank and Photographer Tor Harrison.

@sarahledonne - I literally just discovered her today. She is a Graphic Designer living in Stuttgart, Germany. Lots of clean white and pinky hues. 

@sarahledonne - I literally just discovered her today. She is a Graphic Designer living in Stuttgart, Germany. Lots of clean white and pinky hues. 

@cedillee - This French Designer/ illustrator's feed is what my dreams are made of. Lots of lovely colours, illustrations and details from out and about around her.  

@cedillee - This French Designer/ illustrator's feed is what my dreams are made of. Lots of lovely colours, illustrations and details from out and about around her.  

@sosally_ - I love seeing the world through Sally's eyes. She is a Graphic Designer based London and has lots of lovely travel photography. 

@sosally_ - I love seeing the world through Sally's eyes. She is a Graphic Designer based London and has lots of lovely travel photography. 

@wenevermet - beautiful shots of strangers with cute stories about them. This has turned into one of my favourite accounts and always makes me smile. 

@wenevermet - beautiful shots of strangers with cute stories about them. This has turned into one of my favourite accounts and always makes me smile. 

@lovebex_ - lots of white and minimalism and frankly just beautiful. Consistently stunning, clean and fresh photographs. She also runs a cute little shop. 

@lovebex_ - lots of white and minimalism and frankly just beautiful. Consistently stunning, clean and fresh photographs. She also runs a cute little shop. 

@felingpoh - lots of cute illustrations and lovely hand lettering. This girl has skills and her feed is chock full of inspiration and beauty!

@felingpoh - lots of cute illustrations and lovely hand lettering. This girl has skills and her feed is chock full of inspiration and beauty!

@mitchellkuga - This feed is called 'Just the tip of things' - and it is so cool. Look at the whole feed and you will see the genius. The photographs are awesome!

@mitchellkuga - This feed is called 'Just the tip of things' - and it is so cool. Look at the whole feed and you will see the genius. The photographs are awesome!

To be honest this is just the tip of the iceberg of my favourite accounts - I might need to do some more 'insta faves' posts like this. Let me know if you would be interested. Hope these accounts give you some Monday inspiration!

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Valentines Printables (Free)

I am not really big into Valentines day but I am into letting people know how much I love them whatever time of year it is, so I wanted to do a free printable that you could use for V-day but also at any other time. If you click HERE then you can download the 3 hand inked quotes that you can see in the images above and below. They are set up A4 size so all you need to do is download them and press print. 

Black type on white always looks good, but you could always print them onto coloured paper and card. They work washi taped to the wall or even framed and given as a gift! 

I also like the idea of hiding them around the house in places that the person you love will find them. Little messages of love to find throughout the day. 

I hope you enjoy using them and giving them. If you take any pictures of them in situ on twitter or instagram please tag me! I would love to see them.  

*please note these prints are copyright © Liz Mosley, 2015, and are only for personal use and must not be used for re-sale or any financial gain* 

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Inspired by Karolin Schnoor

I have been admiring the work of Karolin Schnoor for a little while now, and it was these screen printed envelopes that cemented my love (I don't think I would ever be able to send them to anyone though, they are just too beautiful). Karolin is a German illustrator and designer who lives in London and she has a pretty lovely client list having worked for people like The Barbican, Creative Review, Huck Magazine, Little White Lies and the V&A. 

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When I was picking which images to use for this post I was drawn to her black and white illustrations. I love how often she works with black and white and then includes a bright pop over colour, like the first image and the neon pink glasses in the prints below. She also does lots of beautiful illustrations with colour which you can see on her website

I am hoping one of these days to add one of these beautiful prints to my collection. Check out her etsy shop if you fancy one too. Hope you all have a great Thursday and keep your eyes open for the free download tomorrow. 

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Getting my attention span back

There is just too much going on. My poor little brain is so used to being constantly bombarded with information and stimulated that now if there is a moment of quiet - a moment of peace it FREAKS OUT...I don't know how to just stop and be, to enjoy quiet moments. When they come around I immediately grab my phone..log on to twitter or instagram for lots of little bits of information to keep my brain entertained and busy. 

For a while now it has been bothering me just how short my attention span has become. I have noticed it getting worse over the last couple of years and now I actually feel kind of alarmed about it and so I have decided to do something about it. I think in the past I haven't wanted to deal with it because I knew I would find it hard, but I have realised that actually all these amazing tools that I use and love, like twitter, instagram, email etc are controlling me rather than me controlling them and being in control of how I use them. I am their slave, when really I should be the master of these tools. They steal my attention and my focus to the point that I pretty much can't go more than 10 minutes without checking one of them. It is starting to have a negative effect on my life. 

A lot of people give them up for periods of time to have a break and although I think that is a great idea I want to tackle this in a slightly different way. I want to change my habits over the long term and the way my brain works. I want to take back control and use these tools to enhance my work, my business and my relationships - but I want to determine what that looks like, rather than being a slave to them. 

The catalyst to making me really want to make a change was reading this book (I will do a review soon on the blog). I am going to try and make regular time where I am completely offline. I won't check anything, and spend time really focused on something. Now this will be hard to do during my 9-5 because I am at my computer all day, but as of this week I have gone down to 4 days a week (hurrah!) so on that day and on the weekends I am going to designate a chunk of time and force myself to focus my attention on something. 

Now I am under no illusions, this is not going to be easy... so I am starting small. I am going to start off with an hour chunk. I am not going to check my twitter, instagram, my emails - nothing! I will do something that doesn't involve a computer - so paint, take pictures, draw ideas and really give it my full focus. I think I will probably be a bit twitchy when I try it tomorrow for the first time but I will let you know how I get on. After I have done an hour I am going to try and build it up to longer and I guess my eventual goal is going to be a whole day without checking my phone or computer and not even being bothered about it - (just the thought of that makes me feel a bit ill right now) 

As part of this little self improvement project, another thing that I have been thinking of doing is getting into the pattern of writing regularly. I have always loved journaling but have not been good at doing it all that often. I don't really think that I need to be writing about anything specific and not for anything particular, like this blog, but just writing every day - getting my thoughts out of my head and onto paper. You never know, maybe as a bi-product some good blog posts will come out of it. 

I think that all of these things I have been thinking about and re-taking control of the tools I use is going to be a long ongoing project, so I will keep you updated on how I get on.  Also I would love to know what you guys think about this particular issue - please share your thoughts with me in the comments if this is something you struggle with or have been working on.

Don't forget you still have until Friday to enter the greetings card giveaway! Happy Monday!

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Greetings Card GIVEAWAY

Last year I did a little Twitter giveaway of one of my Shine Like Stars prints and it was really fun, so I want to do a few more giveaways on the blog this year. I really appreciate the support and encouragement of all you lovely readers so it's a nice way to give something back every now and then.

So first up (just in times for Valentines Day too) I am giving away a pack of 10 of my greetings cards (worth £25!). Each card is printed on beautifully thick 270gsm snow white card. The envelopes are all made with brightly coloured 135gsm natural paper. 

The 10 cards will all be different, some of them have been available in the shop for a while and a couple are brand spanking new ones that are not even in the shop yet!  The giveaway is open to international readers and the winner will be selected at random next Friday (using Rafflecopter).

I personally really like to have a good stash of cards in the house for emergencies (like a forgotten birthday!) or spontaneous letter writing. Getting an unexpected card in the post from a friend is seriously the best thing, so I like to send them whenever I can. This selection of 10 cards will be a great way of having a stash ready for different occasions. They are all blank inside so that you can write your own message and a lot of them are non-event specific so you can use them for whatever you want!

To enter just log into the rafflecopter widget below and there are a few different ways to gain entries to the competition. Happy Friday folks! Hope you have a great weekend.

Tools for blogging

I have started to get into a bit of a better routine with my blogging - my organisation still needs a lot more work but I have come up with a bit of a system that so far in 2015 is working for me. Anyway I thought I would share with you some of my favourite tools that I use for blogging. 

1. Extra Large Moleskin. 
Despite all of the amazing technology and amazing apps out there nothing is ever going to beat a good old fashioned notebook. I know it's a bit cliche now for a graphic designer's choice to be a moleskin but I really do love this notebook. I go for the extra large plain softback version, that I carry with me most of the time and I just use it for putting all my ideas down. I have pages with ideas for blog posts, ideas for new prints/cards for the etsy shop and ideas for design projects I am currently working on. What I love about this notebook is that it is simple and stylish and lasts a really good amount of time. I find it very satisfying to have my old moleskins on the shelf incase I need them and also the pocket in the back which is a feature on moleskins is really helpful for me as I am a bit of a hoarder of scraps of paper. 

2. Evernote
I signed up for an Evernote account a couple of years ago and had a play around with it, but for some reason I never took to it, but I decided to give it a go this year and I am won over - after only a few weeks I can't work out what I did without it! What I love about it is being able to organise all my draft blog posts and being able to dip in and out of working on them (I used to have all my drafts in Squarespace and I started to find it a bit messy and confusing - so now I only move them over to there when they are pretty much ready to go).  It also syncs on my computer and my phone - and so it is great to be able to work on blog posts in progress on my commute. The other thing I like about it is it's great for making lists, storing ideas and inspiration. I guess this is my digital version of the moleskin. 

3. Squarespace 
Last year I moved my blog from Wordpress to Squarespace and I am so so glad I did. I have had such a great experience with Squarespace. I love how easy it is to use the interface and all the tools and functions that it has. I also really like that I have the option to integrate a shop into the website which is something I am planning to do later in the year.

4. Feedly 
Ok so this tool doesn't really help me in my blogging per se - but it is what I use for reading other people's blogs and I love it. Again it's great because I can use it on my laptop but also there is an app so I can catch up with my favourite blogs on the go. I like the design and how easy it is to use. 

5. Lighting 
Something that has made a huge difference to my blogging was getting these lights for Christmas. Before it used to be a bit of a nightmare getting pictures for the blog because the light was only just about decent in a particular room in our house in the day time - but because I was at work this limited me to the weekends and also we were often out at the weekends. These lights give a really even and natural looking light and they mean that I can take photos for the blog at any time of night and day and they come out so much better. I am so pleased with them and having them has really sped things up when it comes to preparing blog posts. I have a DSLR for taking photos which isn't anything special but it is doing the job for now. 

6. An Editorial Calendar 
I haven't totally worked out the best way for keeping track of this and so far for me this is a printed calendar that I scribble all over laying out what posts will be coming when so that I can see a month or so in advance what I need to be working on. This is one of the things that I do miss from Wordpress - a built in editorial calendar in the blog. I haven't seemed to find anything like this in Squarespace. Ideally I would like this calendar to be digital because often things change and I am moving blog posts around and changing my mind, so with the paper version that gets very busy and messy - but for now until I find something better the paper version is working pretty well. I did think about getting one of these notebooks so at least it will look way better than my scraps of printed out paper stapled together! 

Anyway there you have it - those are the tools that I use on a daily basis when it comes to my blog. None of these are anything new and I am sure very similar to what other bloggers use - but I hope you enjoy getting a bit of insight into my process for now. I might try and do a bit of a 'tools for...' series - and share what I use for handlettering/designing etc if people would be interested. 

#52handlettered

At the beginning of January on instagram I spotted a lovely idea from Miranti from Pen and Peplum, which was to do some hand lettering every week for 2015. I thought it would be a really great way to practice my lettering just for the fun of it, often I only do it for particular jobs or with cards and prints in mind, so I thought this might be a chance to experiment and play around and generally hopefully get better. I got some new inks for Christmas and I am loving the colour of this blue. It is just so rich and I love the texture created by the ink being more concentrated in some areas than others. Maybe each month I will experiment with a different coloured ink. 

I know I am going to find it hard not to be obsessed with only posting things that I am perfectly happy with, but I think it will be fun to see the images over the course of the year and see how my style and skills develop as it goes along. 

This year has already started with lots of hand lettering, with a range of new greetings cards soon to be in the shop and also a calligraphy workshop (and I am still trying to practice regularly) and I am loving it. 

Above are my first 4 contributions to #52handlettered for the year. You can find the prompts set by Miranti here and I am already looking forward to getting stuck into February's

While I have enjoyed taking part in this I have also loved scrolling through the hash tag, seeing what everyone else has been up to and also discovering some more talented people to follow. Here are a few of my favourites - If you click on the images it will take you to their instagram accounts.

If you want to follow along with my creative journey and see more hand lettering you can find me on instagram here

Currently in January

I really like writing these currently posts – they force me to stop and think about what is going on right now and help me to focus on little things to be grateful for and that are good. I am trying to be a lot more organised with my blog this year. So far in January some weeks it works and some weeks it just doesn't but I feel like I am learning and improving how I go about it - and generally I just enjoy sharing in this space and so I have been having fun coming up with ideas for blog posts and for ways to make improvements. The photo above was taking while walking to work this morning. There was something really beautiful about the hazy warm light and the crisp cold air. I hope you all have a great weekend - here is what is going on with me right now: 

Making: new greetings cards and working on another exciting project I can't mention yet. I am hoping to update my wholesale catalogue in the next few weeks! I really need to get my act together in time for V day - I am new to all this though so it might be too late already! 

Watching: Greys Anatomy - it's on Amazon instant video - what more needs to be said? 

Reading: I just finished reading Crazy Busy and now I need to get back to Rebecca which I had a little break from - hope I haven't forgotten what has happened so far. 

Wearing: loads and loads of layers - man it is cold right now. I have got my eye on a nice warm jumper from Cos at the moment. 

Grateful: for all the book recommendations that I got on this post on instagram - I am looking forward to checking them out and making time to read. 

Learning: how to chop an onion properly! I am trying to improve my cooking skills and this has been a good start and giving me a lot more confidence for some reason - last week I made a beef and prune stew and this week a butternut squash and chickpea stew. Am enjoying following through recipes and making good food! 

Obsessed: with chicken and avocado sandwiches! Seriously I have only just discovered what a dream team avocado and chicken are! 

Looking: forward to going down to 4 days a week in Feb. I am not sure if I have mentioned it on here before but I work full time as an in-house graphic designer and have been doing extra freelance work and my etsy shop on the side. It has been amazing but also frustrating juggling all 3 and not having as much time as I would like to work on my shop. Although it's only one day - I am so excited about the extra time I will have starting from Feb. I will keep you posted on how it goes! 

Wanting: to find some more yummy and healthy snacks that I can eat at work. I have realised my weakness is snacking at work. If anyone has any good suggestions please let me know! 

Enjoying: Entertaining lots of friends in January. We have had/are having lots of friends over for dinner and whilst it's busy it has been really lovely spending quality time with good people. 

Loving: practicing calligraphy after this class I took. I am not sure I have improved much but it is so fun and enjoyable. I'm also using it as a reason to write letters to people - so I can try and write their name and address in calligraphy on the front. 

Dreaming: about all of the places that I want to go after this post. We need to get on with it, start making plans, saving and booking things. 

Travelling Dreams

I think it is quite a common phenomenon for people to start planning their holidays in January. If you live in the UK the days are cold and wet and very short and so you start day dreaming about warmer climbs and travelling adventures. I certainly have been, and so I thought I would share some of my travel dreams with you. These are some of places that I am longing to go to. If I am lucky I might cross one or two off this year but most likely I will have to wait a while before visiting a lot of these places. Also some of them are places that I have been to and am longing to go back to. Anyway here we go:

1. Segovia

I lived in Segovia for a year when I was 7 and went to school and spent a lot of time doing Spanish dictations. Anyway that was over 20 years ago now and I have been wanting to go back for years. I think 2015 might be the year!

2. Bolivia

About 10 years ago I spent 4 months in Bolivia on a mission trip. I fell in love with the country and would love to go back to show NM this amazing place and also because I am sure it has changed a lot since I was there. The photo above is of the Salt Flats - all of that is salt! It is a truly incredible place.

3. Iceland

This has been on my wish list for a really long time. Lots of people seem to have been making the trip in recent years. I love the idea of renting a remote cottage, hiring a car and just exploring.

4. Faroe Islands

I found out about this place from following along with photographer Tim Coulson's travel adventures with his family. It just looked so beautiful it got added to my list. 

5. Amalfi Coast

NM loves all things Italy and so do I now too. He went to the Amalfi Coast years ago and ever since I found out about it I have wanted to visit. It looks like such a magical place (lots of stairs though!)

6. Amsterdam

I have been to Amsterdam once for a day on a family holiday and I don't know why but it got under my skin. I have been wanting to go back for a couple of years now and it is also on my list of places I would love to live. Not sure how I got that from just one day, but seriously I loved this place!

7. Salvation Mountain

Ok this is not a city or a country and I think it is in a desert in America somewhere but doesn't it look insane. Ever since I have seen pictures of this place by various bloggers I follow I have wanted to go there, especially since it is basically a massive work of art which is a tribute to God with its powerful message 'God is Love'. You can find out more about it here.

8. Marrakesh

I have wanted to go to Marrakesh for ages now. We nearly went last year but it didn't really work out. Maybe a long weekend sometime in the future though. Love the thought of exploring all those souks. I have heard good things! 

9. Croatia

All these pics (click image above) by Sally Mussel White has put Croatia firmly on my list. This looks like a great country to explore. 

10. New York

What can I say - I HEART New York. I spent 3 months living there doing an internship when I finished University and I FELL IN LOVE. It is an incredible city and I desperately want to take NM because I know he will love it too. 


All of the images above are linked to their original sources...just click on the photograph. I would love to hear if you have been to any of these places or if you have any other places that you I should add to my list. I am going to have to go back to saving the pennies! 

Happy Wednesday!

Moodboard Monday

Apparently today is known as blue Monday because its the most depressing day of the year. I can figure why people think that...what with everyone being on a bit of a downer after crimbo and desperately waiting to be paid.

But I am saying no to blue Monday, I am not blue, I am trying to focus on the little things, and making time to enjoy them. I have decided to do a blue themed moodboard for today though. Some of these photographs are so beautiful and mesmerising. 

I hope this Monday has been good to you and there was nothing blue about it.

Here are the sources - clockwise from top left: 1/2/3/4/5/6

Modern Calligraphy Workshop

For ages I have wanted to learn calligraphy and particularly modern calligraphy. Before Christmas at work we talked about doing a bit of a team building/fun activity in January to inspire us and give us something to look forward to after Christmas had past, so I got in touch with Quill London as quite a lot of bloggers I follow had been to one of their workshops and loved it. 

Quill regularly run modern calligraphy workshops in London but because there was quite a big group of us they put together a workshop especially for us, and we were not disappointed. 

The workshop was 3 hours long and our lovely teacher Chiara from Lamplighter London provided all the materials that we would need (and got to keep afterwards so that we could keep practising) and took us through the process. The class was really well structured and the tasks that were set were really helpful in developing our skills. Chiara was lovely and spent time helping people individually to improve their technique.

It was exciting being taught the basics and being given the skills (and tools) necessary to practice and improve. Part of me was really excited about what I was able to do after just 3 hours, but I also realised how much practice I will need to get really good. But I am really keen to do the practice and improve so that forming the letters and being creative with the glyphs and how letters join each other comes a lot more naturally to me. Watch this space for hopefully more calligraphy action in 2015!

Book Review - Envelopes by Harriet Russell

Over the years I have been a big fan of collecting beautiful design and illustration books. I have had to cut back on this in recent years because I am running out of space but there is nothing like holding and looking through a really beautiful design book. Recently I have been trying to look through and enjoy old books that I have had for ages but not looked at for a while, and so I thought I would start a feature on the blog where once a month I share one of my favourites. Mostly these will be books that I already own and enjoy (and are probably quite old) but every now and then I might use it as an excuse to treat myself to a new one. 

So to start the ball rolling I want to share with you Envelopes by British illustrator Harriet Russell. What I really love about this book is the sense of humour in it. The concept of the project was to challenge the postman...and see how much effort he/she would put into solving puzzles to work out what the address is. 

The book is full of beautiful envelopes created in Harriet's lovely illustrative style. I have always been a lover of snail mail and so I was immediately drawn to this book and it always inspires me to try and make my envelopes a bit more interesting. You can totally imagine these letters making the postman smile as he went about his/her day. 

The book is smallish and quite thin but has a really good hardback cover and is nicely and simply laid out inside with one envelope on each page. The end papers (below) are also a really fun detail with a collage of the insides of envelopes. I love the patterns on the insides of envelopes and have a little collection of my own (and even made some envelopes out of them) - so this totally floats my boat!

This is the sort of book that you could flick through quite quickly and that would be lovely to have laying around the house for people to pick up, it would definitely bring a smile to their faces. I think it would also make a great gift for illustrators/designers/snail mail lovers. 

Moodboard Monday

A bit of inspiration for a Monday morning. These Monday mornings in January can be a bit tough but I'm trying to keep myself inspired and motivated to start the year well. I seem to have been going through a bit of a pink phase with some of my recent designs (which is strange as I am not a very pink person) - so I have decided to run with it and create a bit of a pink moodboard. I probably need to give my black and white moodboards a bit of a rest for a while. 

I did a bit of painting at the weekend too and hand inked 'moodboard monday' to go on all these moodboards. 

I hope you are all having a good start to the week. 

Here are the sources - clockwise from top left 

Awesome Print by Studio Meez
Pretty blush wall
Blush pink converse
Roses - I can't find the source of this image