Tuesday 31 October 2017

Happy Halloween!

Are you guys doing anything cool tonight? I've been wanting to buy some pumpkins to carve, but in France, they seem to be SUPER expensive as they're quite rare to find and honestly, I could not bring myself to spend 10€ for two pumpkins, so there you go, no pumpkins this year :(

BUT, we've had my brother staying over with us since last Friday and I've planned a little Halloween feast with some cool films to watch so it's not so bad. I personally love to watch Nightmare Before Christmas on Halloween night as to me this is the best ever. I've seen it so many times and know it almost by heart now but whatever I do, I always come back to this one. It's tradition. It's a bit like watching the Harry Potter films on the run up to Christmas. It puts me into Winter mode and its magical atmosphere makes me feel ready for Christmas.

Anyway,  everything has been going pretty well for us lately and we're both really busy with some great projects so even though we're tired, it's a good tired. We're enjoying the darker evenings lately and we're making sure to take some time to relax, which is much needed as I've been ill a whole week earlier in the month! Now that we're going to be in November from tomorrow, I'm finally embracing the season and I'm ready for the whole whirlwind of Christmas gifts, markets with mulled wine and cosy nights with candles. By the way, I'm getting my Christmas cards ready to be sold on my Etsy shop so watch this space!

I hope you all have a great Halloween and that those with kids will get to steal as many sweets as possible from them (don't forget to film their reaction haha)!

Monday 23 October 2017

Something Different...

Happy Monday! Today I thought I'd be sharing a personal project that I've been wanting to work on for a little while now.

I discovered the Japanese anime film 'Wolf Children, Ame & Yuki' a few months ago and I've been very moved by it. Those who know me will already know that I love this type of film and I'm also a huge fan of everything Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, but the atmosphere and the characters were so different from everything I'd already seen that it kind of stuck with me. I felt so inspired that I knew I needed to illustrate what I had in mind, which is something I usually never do.

When thinking about the style and how I wanted to express it, I thought I would need to use a dark colour palette to represent how sad and moving some parts of the film are. It took me a while to take time to work on it purely because it was completely out of my comfort zone and I never work with dark colours and no brief whatsoever. But then I started drawing a basic sketch and felt more confident with my idea.

I started off with Yuki's face and realised that I wanted to show some kind of roughness about it all as I didn't feel that it would be right to show a 'neat' representation of her. So I started to create the shades and bits of colours with some random small lines and it felt right. When I moved on to the Wolf (which is a mix of her and her father), I knew exactly what I was doing then and was very surprised to realise that it didn't take me long to finalise it.

I showed it to Jason very unsure about myself and what I'd done, but as he liked it so much, I thought that I didn't do too bad in the end! The more I look at it, the more I like it and the more it makes me want to carry on. I really want to make some time to create more illustrations like this one!

It really opened my eyes to the fact that I can do different creative things and it would be a shame to stop here ;)

Thursday 19 October 2017

An Unforgettable Experience

I heard of Parc Aquanature a few months ago and I immediately knew that we had to visit this nature reserve during Autumn. This amazing place of 80 hectares counts more than a hundred deers living in the wild in a protected area. Sounds incredible right? Well it was!

During late September/beginning of October, the males get all kinds of virile and start doing a strong noise to rally their females around them. Although we can usually walk freely all around the park, during that period the owners prefer to avoid that in case the males get uneasy. So we decided to hire one of the few off-road buggies they had to explore the whole area. We didn't regret it! Deers are afraid of people but not the buggies as they don't feel it's a threat to them and we managed to get super close!

Our camera was unfortunately struggling a bit with the light (it rained a couple of times!) but I managed to take a few cool photos ;)

We're usually limited to 1h in the buggy but we were so amazed at the sight of all the deers and little bambis jumping around that we were way too slow at the beginning! Jason was driving it and was like a kid with a new toy, sometimes driving faster on the rough path just to scare me a bit!

Now I want to come back in June next year to see all the tiny fawns that will just be born as it will be the right season. I'm so glad we found this place, and the fact that it's only 45mins away from our house is a huge advantage.

After meeting the deers, we did the 1h walk along the river heading North of the main area. The owners were telling us how beautiful it was at that time of the year so we didn't want to miss it.

The atmosphere, the humidity, the colours and landscapes... Everything made me feel like I was back in North Wales for a short moment. Honestly, it was so weird! It just reminded me of our long walks and hikes in Betws-y-Coed and in the Snowdonia valleys. I think we did well settling in Bretagne ;)

Also, I have to mention this incredible mushroom that looks like it's been taken straight out of a cartoon. I found it so cool as I'd never seen a real one like that before! The colour was as vivid in real life as it is on the photo.

Stay tuned for our next adventures or follow along on my Instagram :)

Friday 13 October 2017

My Work Routine!

Hey guys! I’m finally taking the time to share my work routine as a freelance designer and I know some of you will be curious to see how I organise myself! Plus, I love reading other designer’s routines as it always gives me ideas on how to tweak and improve mine. Here goes!

7.20am: The alarm goes off and five minutes later, the coffee machine is brewing fresh coffee. First, thank god for programmable coffee machines, and second, smelling the fresh coffee definitely wakes me up and it prevents me from being lazy and staying too long in bed. I have to say though, if I have tight deadlines or a very busy day ahead, I usually get ready as fast as I can and as I’m more of an early bird rather than a night owl, I definitely don’t find it difficult, which is the opposite for my boyfriend Jason! These two hilarious dogs definitely represent us (I’m the one who’s wide awake, obvs).

Between 8.30 and 9am: I’m at my desk, ready to rock n roll after a hot shower and proper breakfast (very important to me). I make a point of not eating my breakfast whilst starting to work as I really like to just be switched on with no distractions. I start with my emails, making sure to keep updated all my clients, and I check my to-do list for the week. I use Google Keep to keep track of everything on my phone and I always prepare my to-do lists way in advance so that I know what I have to do without any stressing involved. Then I work hard on all the projects that are priority until lunchtime.

Around 12.30pm: FOOD! I’m always excited about food so I look forward to my lunch break everyday. If I’m super busy, I usually don’t eat until 1pm, but then my belly is making all sorts of noises so it’s no good. I try not to eat too much though as I don’t want to feel sleepy afterwards. Even if Jason and I are working in the same room, we don’t talk much whilst working unless we need an opinion or help with our respective work (he’s a freelance designer too!), so lunch break is also a good time for us to discuss everything and nothing. During this time of year, I do a big batch of homemade soup that lasts us almost the whole week. Yum!

Between 1.30 and 2pm: Back to work! Again, I always decide on which project needs more attention than others before starting and I also try to fit in some time to post on social media as early afternoon is always a good time for my Insta followers. I’m a bit more relaxed in the afternoon and don’t mind checking my phone from time to time and scroll through Twitter and Instagram for example.

4.30pm: I’m having an afternoon break, with a cup of coffee or cappuccino and a biscuit or two. I never used to have coffee in the afternoon but I’m enjoying it now that I’ve embraced my freelance life! Also, it’s because it’s nice coffee and I can’t resist :). I get away from my computer for at least 30mins and I do whatever I feel like doing. It could be sorting out the washing, watching an episode of Friends on TV, or reading a book. The aim is to have a break from work basically.

5pm: Ready to smash that to-do list! This time of day really is different depending on how busy I am. If I’ve done everything I needed to do on that day, then I work on some personal projects and blog posts, or I search for some new work/clients. But if I’m busy and still have things on my to-do list, then I work hard to finalise my designs on time and I send those last emails before the end of the day. Jason is usually still working too by that time of the day so it gives me that motivation to carry on!

7pm: I’m done! Very rarely I will carry on working after that time. By 7pm, I close my computer and I get on with what I feel like doing before starting to prepare food at around 8-8.30pm. Twice a week I try to do a workout to keep healthy, or if it’s nice outside, Jason and I go for a walk along the river down the road from our house. It’s also the best time for Jason and I to keep in touch with both our families and once a week, Jason has a Skype call with his. We also go to the cinema maybe once or twice a month and we always do our food shop on weekdays. Weekends are definitely not made for food shopping! Other than that, I’ll read a book, play around with my clay or even just crash on the sofa to watch a bit of TV if I can’t be bothered!

Weekends: We never work on weekends. We feel that working around 7 hours a day for 5 days a week is definitely enough for us. Yes, there are days when we work more like 10 hours but we try to avoid it! Plus, I definitely need the weekend to recharge the batteries, go out and explore, cook some delicious meals and just chill out. I couldn’t function anymore without my weekends off! I hear so many people on social media saying that we need to ‘hustle’ every minute of the day, every day of the week, but I couldn’t do this. To me, life is not just about work so I guess it depends on people’s priorities :)

Do you guys agree? Or do you have a completely different routine? Let me know what you think!

Friday 6 October 2017

Beau Rivage

We went to Beau Rivage at the Lac Guerl├ędan a little while back now, but as it was during a grey and cold day for the time, I felt it was more suitable to share it now! We were on our way to the light and sound show at the Abbaye de Bon Repos and thought it would be a good idea to explore a bit more of the area.

It rained a little bit, and there was hardly anyone there, but we managed to go for a walk alongside the lake and took in the great views from certain points on the rivage. A few photos below!

It was such a nice peaceful moment and even though we wished it was sunnier, it really helped us just relax during a crazy period in our life.

We're hoping to be able to visit the Aquanature park this weekend to see some deers in the wild, fingers crossed we'll manage! What are you up to this weekend?

Monday 2 October 2017

Wallpaper Giveaway - Create Things & Pay Bills

When Jason and I went freelance last year in the space of two months (yes, we're crazy like that), we knew everything about the challenges it involved and one of them was definitely money. Money might not make you happy, but it pays for your home, bills, food, fuel, and a bunch of useful stuff (thank god we already had our own computers before making this big move).

But because we put enough money aside to prepare for it and that our lifestyle and choices mean that we're the kind of people that don't need much, we definitely didn't want to just concentrate on money.

We're both passionate about our work and really, all we want to do since then is to create things, have happy clients, and essentially, pay our bills. We don't want to be rich, or famous, or have expensive stuff (our home is 50% pre-owned / 50% homemade), we just want to have a life that we enjoy and to put enough money aside to be able to travel from time and time and one day (very far away), buy a house.

I'm sure we're not the only designers out there who think like that so I thought I would make a set of wallpapers to represent this simple, humble thought! I started off with a simple sketch but felt that it was missing something. So when I created it digitally, I went with the flow and had fun adding little elements on the lettering and around it. Hope you like it!