Friday 26 October 2018

Unexpectedly Amazing Dinan!

WOW. We were definitely not expecting this! On our last vacation day, we didn't want to just leave our Airbnb and go straight back home (depressing!), so we thought we would stop in Dinan on the way back as I'd heard it was a nice place to visit. Well, we had a slight shock when realising how beautiful the whole place was and we kept telling ourselves 'how the hell did we not visit this town before?!'

I think the photos will speak for themselves even though it's of course much nicer in real life! What I love about it is that it didn't feel touristy at all on that day and we could walk around the cobbled streets in awe of all the old timbered houses, not feeling like we had to move out of the way for somebody to take a photo of his wife (you know that feeling?).

It's like discovering a little gem and feeling so special about it haha. Anyway, get ready for quite a few photos!

We didn't take the time to head inside the castle but apparently it's a good one! To be honest, we were also watching our money and if we had to choose between a nice lunch and tickets to visit the castle, we would definitely choose the food (although it was hard because you must know by now that we LOVE castles, but food always wins) ;)

Actually, we found this great crêperie Au Coin de la Breizh which was very affordable and delicious, so we didn't regret our choice!

I think the best cobbled streets that you have to walk along is the Rue de Jerzual that becomes the Rue du Petit Fort. That's where we found the most authentic-looking houses and most of the photos above are from these two streets! Also, we loved walking on the fortified walls to get a better view of the town.

Oh and don't forget to have a look at the clock tower (Tour de l'Horloge) and the Basilique Saint Sauveur!

At one point I just felt so lucky to be able to see such a great place and living so close to it that we could come back whenever we feel like it.

We definitely don't have a lot of money (I mean, hello, we spent our honeymoon just a couple of hours away from home), but money isn't everything and I know for sure that some people can't even afford to go somewhere, even if it's not far from where they live, purely because they can't afford to take time off or book an Airbnb for a few nights. So I do feel lucky and I do cherish these rare moments.

We also know that our real honeymoon will be our trip to Japan in a few years time, which we are saving for, so we're definitely looking forward to it!

Monday 22 October 2018

Portfolio Update - Arthur Bee

I'm finally taking the time to update my portfolio lately and as the second Arthur Bee book launched very recently, I thought I'd take some photos and share a bit more about these two books I had the pleasure of illustrating!

Although I did a bit of character research when starting the illustrations for Shaun Millea's first book, I had a clear idea of how I wanted Arthur to look like. Shaun wanted Arthur to be represented as a bit of a cheeky chap with a bent antenna, so I instinctively included a big smile on his face and gave him a stripey jumper. Don't ask me why with the jumper! I just didn't see him without any clothes on haha.

I loved how Arthur and the other characters turned out in the end and I really enjoyed working on the whole book. So when Sue from Team Author UK and Shaun contacted me again this year to illustrate Arthur's second adventure, I obviously didn't say no! It's been such a great experience and I'm really pleased about how the second book turned out too.

You can check out my website for more photos and the links to get your copies :)

Thursday 18 October 2018

The Fortified Town of Saint-Malo

If you're on the North Coast of Bretagne, you cannot miss Saint-Malo. This old fortified town has such a unique atmosphere and is really worth exploring! Although like with Mont St Michel, it can get very busy in the Summer, so I would definitely recommend to visit it outside the months of July and August. Otherwise, you might have a lot of trouble finding a parking space and walking along the fortress walls (some bits are narrower than others and I can imagine how it would be tricky to enjoy it when super busy!).

It was a bit overcast when we arrived in the morning but I was still snapping away, too happy to be in this beautiful place with my brand new husband ;)

In the morning we decided to walk on the fortified walls that are still standing strong all around the town, which really made us work up an appetite as by lunchtime, we were absolutely starving! I didn't take any photos of the meal we had at La Bouche en Folie, but honestly, if you're searching for very good typical French cuisine, you need to stop there! It's quite small so I would recommend to book in advance, but the food was absolutely delicious. A tad expensive for us, but it was our only treat during our holiday :)

We were lucky enough to be exploring St Malo during the festival 'Journées du Patrimoine' where historic buildings and places exceptionally open their doors for free, or spaces that are usually not opened to the public. For the occasion, the cathedral allowed people to visit the cathedral's bell tower with a guide and we managed to be part of one of the small groups that went up! We felt so privileged to be able to climb up to the highest tower and discover Saint-Malo from above.

By the end of the afternoon, it was very sunny and warm so we did what a lot of people did then: we made our way to the beach! Like Mont St Michel, Saint-Malo has some very changeable tides throughout the day, and parts of the beach that were submerged under water in the morning were completely dry by the afternoon. Tourists could even walk to the nearest island to visit the Fort National! It was so nice to enjoy some time on the beach and it allowed us to have yet another different view of Saint-Malo.

Before leaving, we thought we'd enjoy a nice beverage at the very well-known and quirky (get ready) "Le Café du coin d'en bas de la rue du bout de la ville d'en face du port"! We loved it there! It's so different and a bit crazy. At the bar, you could sit in swinging chairs from an old fairground ride and you couldn't find one piece of the wall that was bare. We were very surprised to see that it was a bit quiet as we were expecting it to be absolutely full of intrigued tourists like us ;). Definitely a great experience!

Oh, and let's not forget about the most scrumptious doughnut I've ever had in my life (apart from the first time I tasted one from the same place back in 2014) from Maison Hector! Apparently their waffles are to die for too. Just seeing this photo makes me want to have another one right now!

So yeah, did a lot of walking, but also ate a lot of food that day!

Monday 15 October 2018

Find all the books I've illustrated!

Yep, that's right! You can now find all the books I've illustrated thanks to my shiny new Published Books page on my website. It's been a while that I thought about creating this page purely because I don't share all the books I've worked on in my portfolio and I felt that it was a shame that some of them weren't getting the attention they deserved.

So now if you're wondering where to find the books I've created some cute illustrations for, you can go straight to my website and find them all in one place, with the link to buy a copy of course. It's great not only for potential clients that would want to have a better idea of the books I've worked on, but also for friends and family that would like to get a copy or two for their children.

There's been a few launches lately and there will be some more soon! The Adventures of Markus Moldewarp launched last month and Arthur Bee Saves the Day just a few days ago. I absolutely loved working on both of them and every purchase means the world to me and the talented independent authors behind them. Every book sold is a little victory and a closer step to being known worldwide and I know how much work and love each author has put into these books. So thank you to everyone that bought copies so far and for your support :)

Wednesday 10 October 2018

Wallpaper Giveaway - Cosy Autumn

It's been a while! Earlier this week, I decided I would create a nice autumnal wallpaper giveaway, but this time I thought I would ditch my usual habit of working digitally and took my paint and brushes out of the cupboard! I was a bit apprehensive, because to be honest, it's been such a long time since I'd illustrated something by hand from start to finish, mixing real paints to get the right colour I wanted, etc. But I kind of liked it and thought it wasn't so bad after all!

Instead of scanning my artwork, I thought it would be best to take photos so that I wasn't losing any details and it wouldn't look so 'flat'. It turned out so much better this way and I think I'm definitely going to carry on with photos instead of scans for this type of artwork!

What do you think? Would you like to see more of this type of painted illustration in my giveaways? Let me know!

These wallpapers are free as usual but I would just like to remind people that they're only for personal use, thank you :)