Thursday, 24 September 2015

A Stroll around Llandudno

Guys, Christmas is in exactly 3 months today... Eeeeek! So many things, so little time! Time is definitely flying by this year...

Anyway! I've realised that I never did a proper post about the beautiful seaside town that is Llandudno, and we happened to be there last weekend, during a sunny Saturday, when so many things were happening. It was the best occasion for me to give you a little taste of it!

The Llawn 03 festival was taking place there during the whole weekend, with performances, gigs and great activities for kids and grown ups dotted around the town. Jason had a go at one of these bug-like mechanical games and it was great fun to figure out how it worked! We also saw the impressive owls from Lord of the Wings and we couldn't believe how tame they were. I even managed to get a shot of the smallest one looking at me!

One of my favourite places in Llandudno is Happy Valley (even more on a sunny day!). On the way up to the valley, I couldn't help but take some photos of the beautiful view of the famous pier, packed with families (and evil seagulls who will eat your donuts!) every weekend. Happy Valley is now known for the Alice in Wonderland Trail taking place there all year around. Some of the sculptures are stunning. And the views that you get on top of the hill are breathtaking. We usually make sure to stop by the café for a delicious ice cream and enjoy it sat on the bench, watching the boats go by.

This historical garden is at the foot of the Great Orme, which alone provides a lot of activities for the whole family. We didn't go up there but here is a list of them that you might find interesting if you've never been:
There are the Cable Cars (that we've never tried because I'm afraid of heights) where I'm sure you would get great views of the whole town, and the unique Great Orme Tramway, open most of the year, that will take you on a nice ride to the summit. There is also the Llandudno Ski Slope that we did one year with View Creative and we had a lot of fun! I almost forgot the Copper Mines and the pretty impressive coastline that is now owned by National Trust.

And of course there are so many other things I could mention about Llandudno but really, the list would be way too long and you may as well just visit the website Visit Llandudno to give you an idea :)

Enjoy the rest of your week folks!

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

I'm Launching my Etsy Shop!

Say whaaat? I told you that this super secret project I was working on was something BIG! I can't believe I finally did it! It's one of those things that you think 'One day I will do that...' and you kind of wait for it for no reason. So one morning, I thought to myself 'Why not now?' I already had the idea, I just needed to get stuck in. And when I did, I absolutely loved it!

You can now visit my Etsy shop and find 6 original birthday cards, illustrated by myself. The shop will be constantly growing and I will have some Christmas cards available very soon so make sure to spread the love!

I thought I would give you a heads up and tell you a short story behind each one of them:

I knew from the beginning of this project that I would make sure to have really different characters on each card. And being in the UK, I couldn't avoid the call of a proper royal cat. You would have thought that the crown is the main element that makes it all work, but I think the cloak was the final touch to make this lady very special.

For Miss Ballet Cat, I thought about what a little girl would like to receive as a birthday card and I think that the soft pinks and delicate tutu make it perfect (or should I say purrfect) for a sweet cute little girl.

Right, this one is all Jason's fault, but I have to say, I actually love it! I think I needed more of a crazy cat in this collection and a Catty Purry illustration definitely does the trick! Who could resist these cupcakes?!

Because I would like these greeting cards to not be exclusively for kids, I was thinking about having one that has more of a radical message. One that we could offer as a joke to one of our friends. So Jason thought I should do a black metal one! I thought I wouldn't enjoy creating this illustration much, but I actually found it really funny and I love how even the whiskers are feeling down.

Typical but oh so enjoyable! Mr Astronaut Cat was my first idea, and I knew exactly how it would look in my head. It was also the first illustration I created and that made this whole project so exciting and close to my heart. Also, it had to be a ginger cat, because the contrast with the outfit and the background is the best!

And finally, the crazy pirate with its staring eye has to be one of my favourite. It was a bit of a challenge at first to think about how I could represent him, but once I started, ideas were flowing and I think he looks pretty good. Arrr!

So here we go, after all the hard (but extremely exciting) work, I'm now ready to put it all out there and I truly hope that you like them!

Check out my Etsy shop if you haven't had a chance yet!

Thank you so much!

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Say "Cheese"!

You may have noticed by now that it's really rare when I appear in any photo that I post. But lately I've realised how I was tired of using photos from my last holiday every time I needed one, so I took the plunge and got some proper photos of myself done!

I'm definitely a person that you would call 'Camera shy'. I never know what to do, where to look... I mean, what are you supposed to do with your arms?! But it helped that Jason was taking the photos and that we were in Bodnant Garden, a place that we love and know really well.

So there I was, in front of the camera, trying to look relaxed, professional but not too serious... It's hard stuff you know! But I have to say I'm quite pleased with the result as I usually despise photos of myself. I will never look perfect, and I'm fine with that now. And I actually think that these photos represent myself really well so I definitely don't regret it. I can't believe I'm actually brave enough to write a post about it!

So how about you? How did you manage to get some professional photos done for yourself or your business? I'm quite curious to know how some of you get over the fear of being in front of the camera :)

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Lately on Instagram...

Yes, I am quite aware that 3 whole months have passed since my latest Instagram post. But I've been busy planning loads of great projects this Summer!

We've visited Edinburgh for the first time in July and we loved it! Even more when it was sunny at the very top of the Castle. // I've been eating healthily (kind of), soaking in the sun when I could before going back to my computer and managed to enjoy a full day of Summer at Newborough Beach! // We traveled to France to see my family for a week (which proved to be really eventful) and we went to the beach to celebrate Jason's recovery. // Now back at home, I'm getting ready to launch something BIG... And I'm not eating healthily anymore :)

Follow me on Instagram for more!

Saturday, 5 September 2015

France and everything else...

I had in my head a very different idea for this post when we arrived in France a couple of weeks ago. Little did I know that the relaxing holiday with my family that we planned was actually not going to go to plan... At all.

I mean, it's been kind of terrifying at one point, but to be completely fair, by the end of the holiday, it felt like we were finally relaxing with this horrible experience out of the way.

I usually don't talk too much on this blog about my personal life, but sometimes it's good to share a little bit more. Plus, I wanted to write a post about our holiday like I always do, so why not do it anyway? It shows that sometimes our life is not as perfect as our Instagram photos would lead you to believe.

After a couple of days being in my family home, Jason started to feel a dull pain in his right kidney. By lunchtime, he was urinating blood. Even though he was telling me that it would pass and that he felt ok, to me it was clear that he needed to see a doctor as soon as possible. So I took an appointment for the following morning.

When he woke up to get ready to see the doctor, I could see that something was definitely wrong. He was white, shaking and started to complain that the pain he felt was much stronger. My dad decided to come with us and by the time we sat down in the car, Jason was in agony. Unfortunately, we arrived at the right time at the doctor but it took him a little while to see us. My dad and I were getting really worried as we could see that Jason's state was getting worse every minute. Just before we saw the doctor, he went to the toilet to vomit as the pain was too strong, and I found him on the floor, incapable of getting up. At this point I was feeling so useless because I just didn't know what to do and it's such a horrible sight to see someone you love suffering so much. My dad decided that if the doctor was taking longer we would go directly to the A&E. Fortunately, the doctor finally saw us and understood the situation and what Jason was suffering from really quickly. After 5 minutes, he was phoning the closest A&E and writing a letter to take with us in order for Jason to be prioritised when we arrive there.

The 10 minutes in the car to get to the hospital were even worse, as I thought to myself "what if he passes out? What if we don't make it?", but I was trying to be strong for him. The moment we arrived at the A&E desk, the nurses took charge and Jason was put on the bed with painkiller drips after literally 10 seconds. At the beginning I felt heartbroken because I couldn't stay with him and had to wait to be called. I was wondering how he was getting on with the nurses as he doesn't speak French very well. When they finally called me (felt like hours but was probably just 15mins), Jason had had several blood samples taken and they were asking loads of questions. The most important thing to me was to be close to him, and to be honest, everything went so quick that I didn't get the time to fully realise what was happening.

After his scan and a lot of painkillers, the main doctor looking after him came to me in order to explain everything so that I could translate it to Jason. He told me that Jason had a "Collique Néphrétique" on his right kidney, caused by a stone stuck in his kidney. But he didn't stop here. He also added that his situation was really severe as the urine stuck in his kidney got infected, turning into poison in his body. If we waited longer to take him to the hospital, he could have lost his kidney.

My face dropped when I realised how bad his condition was. They were getting him ready to have emergency surgery by lunchtime and told me that he might stay 3 to 4 days at the hospital. Unfortunately, they didn't allow me to stay during his surgery and I had to go back home. Going into my bedroom, it suddenly hit me and I started crying and hating myself for not saying I love you to Jason before he went for his operation. Jason later told me that he didn't want to make me worried and so made sure that the 'goodbyes' before his operation were as brief as possible.

Later that day, me and my whole family went to see him in his hospital room and we were so relieved to see that he was safe and recovering from it all. By the next morning, the doctor called me to give me the amazing news that Jason had completely recovered and that he would be able to go later in the day, once he'd received all the papers and results we needed. I couldn't believe it! Such a great feeling.

So we took him back home for a few days to relax before flying back home, and it was great. Yes he was under strong painkillers, sleeping a lot and not able to walk too much, but god it was so good to have him with us. And I have to say that being with my family that week helped me so much. They were really supportive and they made the whole situation a lot better to cope with. I took these photos during the afternoon when we managed to go to the beach for a couple of hours and enjoy the sunshine. My brother and his friend came with us and it was great fun. Jason mainly stayed on the towel, taking it easy.

So now we're back home, and Jason still has a 28cm tube in his right kidney that they've had to place during the operation in order to make sure that everything will 'flow' perfectly. We should get a letter soon from our local hospital telling us when he can have it removed.

It's been an eventful holiday, far from being boring but definitely nerve wracking. And I wanted to get this story out there for everybody that had to live something similar to this and show that when you feel pain somewhere, or you don't feel completely like yourself for some reason, don't wait to see a doctor. I'm so glad I didn't listen to Jason and got an appointment straight away. The consequences could have been way worse than that.

Take care everyone, and enjoy your weekend :)


Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Giveaway - "Spots & Arrows" wallpapers!

Happy first of September guys! I mean, where did the time go?! I know you must hear and read it all the time, but I just can't believe that Christmas is in less than 4 months. Whaaaat?

Anyway, we came back from our eventful holiday (more on this soon!) to enjoy some relaxing time on a bank holiday, and I am now back at work, working my arse off because, yes, it sucks to be off when the studio is really busy. Oh well, I always say that it's better than being bored!

Today I'm pleased to share with you some experimental patterns that I really enjoyed creating. I actually took some pots of paint, brushes and paper, and let my hands guide me. I guess these shapes are the kind of ones that I do without thinking and it represents me in a way. I'm feeling a bit brave putting them out there as it's really different from what I do usually, but hey, why not? Hope you like them :)