Wandering Through Amsterdam

I believe whenever I go on holiday it's a treat but for me it's even better when there is snow. I understand some people *hate* snow but when I visited Amsterdam, an already charming picturesque place, it looked even more beautiful covered in a sheet of crisp white snow. Unfortunately for me the snow only lasted for one day and so for the rest of our trip it felt like we were ice skating wherever we went. I was able to capture some pretty beautiful shots of Amsterdam as well as visit some interesting places such as a sex museum. Definitely will not be going there again! I also found, with my amazing organisational skills some really cute and pretty cafes which I will share with you. As I researched for hours places we could go go and made an itinerary for a trip to Amsterdam. So yes I was unusually organised for this trip!

4 Cute Cafe Spots In Amsterdam

If you didn't know Amsterdam is full of cute and quirky shops and cafes. I made it my mission to find some of the best lunches, treats and drinks I could find. Before I left for my flight I did some research and looked up places to visit before creating an itinerary of some cafes that would be cool to visit. I love cafes that look so unique and charming and create food and treats that are just the same. So here are four of my favourite cafes that I visited whilst on my trip to Amsterdam. I can't wait to go back and find more!

The Importance Of Being Creative Daily

I noticed the other day I hadn't done much 'creative' things recently. Which is also probably why the last few days I've felt stuck when it comes to creating and making things. People say that if you just try to start to create then the more ideas on creativity comes to you. That I'll think of creative ideas if I'm constantly creating and drawing and doodling and so most likely these people are right. I have been focusing more on the admin part of my life at the moment. Getting props ready for Christmas markets, ordering my designs and adding last little touches to my products.

This means I've had less time to create and although sometimes things can become overwhelming I'm missing being creative. 99% of the time making and producing art makes me so so happy. I'm definitely most happy when it's just for fun and the main thing is that I feel so vibrantly alive. Neither does being creative have to take you hours and all your time up to happen. A quick doodle of an idea in your sketchbook whilst on the train or drinking coffee in a cafe makes me feel instantly better. It's a part of expressing yourself and I think that's very fulfilling. So over the busy period leading up to Christmas I definitely going to try and be more creative. So here's why I think it's so important to be creative:

Self Care Practices To Embrace In Autumn

I've noticed I've been lacking in the self-care department, especially since autumn has arrived. Of course I love Autumn, with it coming colourful and crispy leaves, being able to wear big jumpers without getting hot flushes and warm cocoa! But, as the days become shorter and darker I have seamlessly become more tired and reach for my bed to snuggle up warm and sleep whenever I can get the chance. Not to mention eating to much or too little, feeling down and having a general unwell feeling. I'm not used to writing blog posts about myself and my health but I think this may help others who are also having the post summer blues. So here are a 7 self care practices I'm going to embrace into my basically non existent routine for Autumn and on wards. High five to self love! Because everyone needs self care!

Relieve yourself of toxic relationships

Recently I have 'relieved' myself of someone toxic in my life. Although It's hard and I do miss them still I know that my life will be much for fulfilling and happier without them. Biting the bullet and taking the steps to get rid of toxic relationships can be the hard part. But once it's done you realise how much love, respect and kindness you actually deserve! If you didn't guess you deserve lots of it!

Wandering Through Venice

Next we headed off to Venice. A city full of brightly coloured buildings adorned with charming shutter windows, canals, river boats and cafes. We set off by bus and arrived mid afternoon. Walking through the streets, over the bridges and capturing everything with our cameras taking in all the beauty. We made it to a large bridge called Rialto Bridge that had a breathtaking view of Venice and the Canal boats just before sunset and saw the most magical site. All pink skies as the lights of Venice lit up. The next day we had lunch at a little cafe watching as people walked passed by, by a little canal looked over by shuttered windows and pink and yellow buildings. Next time I visit I will definitely love to spend some time on a Gondola going through the canals of Venice. Anyway! Here are some photos of Venice as I wandered through the beautiful and charming city. 

Artist Interview Series: Artist & Illustrator Katrina Sophia

Hey guys! It's been a while since I've done an interview on here so I thought it was about time to share with the work of Katrina Sophia as part of the Artist Interview Series. So Welcome to the artist interview series where I interview talented designer makers, surface pattern designers, artists and illustrators. Today's artist, the sixth of the interview instalments is talented artist and illustrator Katrina Sophia. She creates beautiful detailed and delicate illustrations and products inspired by nature.
1. Explain a little about yourself and what you do?
My name is Katrina and I am an artist and freelance illustrator living in Nottingham. I paint the natural world with mostly watercolour. While doing private commissions and freelance work, I sell my original illustrations, greeting cards, prints and stationery on my online shop.
2. Do you have any favourite techniques?
I love painting most of all. I like layering with the watercolour, starting with light colours and gradually adding darker colours. I rarely use wet on wet technique - I usually do the opposite, and let the paint dry completely before I add more layers. But when I do work with oil I use wet on wet technique!

Wandering Through Lake Como | Italy

Misty hills, river boats and quaint little lanes is what comes to mind when I think of Lake Como. Although just one of many stops on my trip Lake Como is one of my most favourite places I've visited to date. I didn't realise just how beautiful the place was when I arrived in the dark evening but once I woke up to daylight streaming through the window blinds I was amazed at the beauty of Lake Como. We took a little stroll down to the Lakes edge to view the amazing landscape hidden behind a cloud of fog. Made for some pretty good photos! We then took a walk through the village full of brightly painted buildings, churches and stone streets before heading to the Cable Car. It took us all the way up to the top of the hill which was both a frightening and exciting experience to say the least. But for definitely worth it when confronted with some of the most beautiful views I've ever seen. Perfect to look at after having a perfect dinner at a nearby restaurant. Now I'm going to leave you with a nice sorts of photo diary of Lake Como!

Coffee Shop Finds | Revival Cafe

Have you ever visited a place and been amazed by the charm of it? With original mix-matched mid century decor, kitchenware, decorations and just a whole lot of 50's and 60's vibes, Revival has it all. Revival cafe is situated in Bexley and is run by the mental health charity Mind and volunteers. I Visit not only for the lattes served in retro style teacups, and the Bob Marley vinyls being played on the record player but, also because it raises money for a charity close to my heart.

You'll often find the locals enjoying a cup of tea served in vintage teapots, listening to the likes of old and modern music played on vinyl whilst taking in the colourful and interesting interior of the cafe including records on the wall. I have not only enjoyed the coffees they serve but they do some pretty good homemade cakes and treats too. Recently Revival cafe have had a slight do over by re arranging the furniture and creating a new and exciting menu, including a panini named after The Beatles!

Artist Interview Series: Illustrator & Artist Claudia Guariglia

Welcome to the artist interview series where I interview talented designer makers, surface pattern designers, artists and illustrators. Today's artist, the fifth of the interview instalments is talented artist and illustrator Claudia Guariglia.

1.Explain a little about yourself and what you do?

My name is Claudia and I'm an illustrator living in London. I love all sorts of visual arts, with a thing for photography and drawing, and in the process of getting back into block printing. I'm still trying to make it but hope to start working soon as a freelance artist!

2. Do you have any favourite techniques?

I'd say that what I like the most is painting, but I do mix it up quite a bit. I really like experimenting, so it doesn't matter which technique as long as I'm having fun and colour is involved. As much as I do love working in black and white from time to time, I could not imagine not working in colour.

Wandering Through Bruges

Back in March I took a short trip to Bruges. So I thought I would share with you some photos I took. I absolutely loved my time there wandering through the cobbled streets, passed the canals and looking at the beautiful and quirky buildings and houses. There were bikes everywhere and some really cute cafes, chocolate shops & restaurants. 

Here's To Taking Things A Bit Slower

I've realised that slowing down and breathing is something I really need to make into a habit. Why am I always trying to rush things or feel I need to be doing a certain thing or a certain person to fit other peoples need? So I need to recharge and sort out my mental health which is why I've closed my Etsy shop for a while. Maybe this will just give me the chance to relax and focus on what I really want to do which is to create. I've basically taken a gap year this year and if this is the most important thing I learnt from it then I think it's a pretty good thing to learn. Not only do I want to slow down and do things at my OWN pace but I also need to start thinking about myself. Hopefully slowing down will help me to actually realise what I want to do and let me take actual care of myself. 

Chilled Weekend Mornings & Recent Sketchbook Pages

I found that it's good to take Sunday morning easy and have started to use the time to relax and do what I love most, draw and paint. What's great about the recent weeks is that early mornings in my home are mostly full of sun and it's so lovely to sit with a cup of coffee and paint with the warmth of the sun on my back. It's moments like these that make me feel blessed to be here. I thought I would show you some of my recent work from my sketchbook. A lot of my recent work has been inspired by botanics and plants. This is because my mum is a gardener and so there are always lots of pretty flowers in the garden and about million orchids in the living room which is where I spend some of time creating artwork.

Artist Interview Series : Surface Pattern Designer & Illustrator Amy Hodkin

Welcome to the artist interview series where I interview talented designer makers, surface pattern designers, artists and illustrators. Today's artist, the fourth of the interview instalments is talented 
surface pattern designer and illustrator Amy Hodkin.

Explain a little about yourself and what you do?

My name is Amy and I'm currently in my final year studying Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern Design at Leeds. I love to draw and design patterns for a variety of things.

Do you have any favourite techniques?

My Favourite Art Tools | Part 1

As an aspiring illustrator and graphic designer, I kind of have an obsession with collecting pens...and stationery + art supplies in general. So like my weakness for cacti and film cameras, if I see a new Pentel brush pen or need an excuse to buy a new roller ball ink pen ( because who doesn't need loads of the same pen) then I go for it. So here is part one of my favourite illustration pens, paints, and papers that I like to use.


One of my most favourite art supplies are Promarkers! I use the pastel colours as I find it gives the loveliest look and they are great for mixing. I use them to mostly draw portraits and I love how when you draw with them they almost look like watercolours. 


Brush pens have to be my favourite things to use when it comes to art tools as they can add so much texture and fun to an illustration or painting. I normally use them to draw outline on my watercolour paintings. The ones I use are the Pentel Brush pen and the Zig Real Colour Brush pen.


Omg! I love the Winsor & Newton Watercolour mini palette. I've got the 12 Farben, 1/2 Napf & Pinsel one and I love it! I think the best thing about it is that it's portable as I've painted on train and in coffee shops with it and I mainly also use it as home because I like the colours so much. You can also replace the colours with new ones once they've been used up. It comes with a little paint brush but I mainly use a water brush pen.


I use many style and types of ink and roller ball pens. I love using them to draw outlines and add details to watercolours and portraits that I create. 


Oh Posca pens...a great staple to anyone's art kit! I mostly love using them to paint or draw onto fabric to create patterns as seen below. I use the thick nibbed one as they are great for creating thick textured lines. Mixing the black & white with colour creates a really fun effect. 


Pink Pig is a new discovery I found when looking for watercolour sketchbooks. I love the quality of the paper and it works really well with the Winsor & Newton paints. I like working mostly on a small scale so I got the A5 books from Amazon and got in natural. 

Becky x

Artist Interview Series : Illustrator & Surface Pattern Designer Jodie Smith

Welcome to the artist interview series where I interview talented designer makers, surface pattern designers, artists and illustrators. Today's artist, the third of the interview instalments is talented illustrator and surface pattern designer Jodie Smith. She creates colourful and fun illustrations.

1.Explain a little about yourself and what you do?

I'm currently in my final year at Leeds College of Art, studying Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern. My style is quite illustrative and playful and this lends itself well to designing for children: children's fashion, interiors, books and greetings.

2.Do you have any favourite techniques?

 I prefer working with hand processes, more specifically collage and Lino print. I enjoy the unpredictability of Lino print and the textural marks made. But I also like the precise quality illustrator gives and think this works well for children too, I am currently in the process of combining the two.

3.What are your favourite art materials to use?

 I enjoy the process of mixing colours with acrylic paint and painting papers, and then cutting and layering shapes to create narratives within my designs.

4.Do you have a favourite piece of artwork you have made? 

I find it hard to like my own work as I am SO self critical, but I think this collage translated through screen print onto fabric worked quite well as the natural textures of collage printed well, and I appliqu├ęd on top with felt to add more tactility to the design. This design was created with the idea of it going on a children's t-shirt as a placement print.

5. What's your preferred colour palette?

I don't have a specific preferred colour palette, but I do work a lot in bright, fun colours as I feel they keep children's more interested in the designs. However my favourite personal colours tend to be mustard, baby blue, navy blue and orange- colours I feel could work well for gender neutral designs that I might focus on in future projects.

6. What influences your work?

I find inspiration everywhere: visiting new cities and countries, antique shops, cafes, craft fairs, children's illustration books, magazines (my go to's being frankie, betty and dot), scandinavian design, the list is endless.

7.Could you show us where you work/studio space?
My studio space at uni looks like this:
My space at home looks like this:

8.What path did you take to get where you are now?

 I studied a BTEC in Art and Textiles before coming to university, and this really helped me prepare for university in terms of coursework (there was and still is a lot of it) and using print facilities/dye labs/studio spaces.

9.Are there any defining moments in your creative career?

 I haven't got a fully developed creative career yet, as I am still a student. However I would say that being on my course has given me so many opportunities such as live projects with Tigerprint and Hallmark. I won a two week placement and cash prize with Hallmark which was a great opportunity and insight into the greetings industry. I also completed a placement with Lemon Ribbon, a children's fashion print company that designs for many well known high street retail brands. This year I was also shortlisted for the Mollie Makes magazine handmade awards under the 'youth category' and got to go to the awards day where I met and presented in front of the likes of Pinterest, Etsy and Tatty Devine, it was a very exciting and surreal day.

10.When did you know you wanted to be an artist/illustrator/designer/printmaker?

Ever since year 8 at school when I drew a mythical beast for a competition with our local art gallery, I didn't think much of it then but it got displayed in the gallery and my art teacher was very enthusiastic about it with my mum at parents evenings. He saw something in my work that early on and encouraged me to take art at GCSE level so if it wasn't for him (doing his job I guess) then I wouldn't of thought much of it.

11.What would be a normal day for you?

  My days recently have consisted of 12 hour days at university collaging, Lino printing, screen printing, designing on illustrator and chipping away at the dreaded dissertation. They are quite full on at the moment but I love what I do so I don't mind too much.

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12.What is your dream project or goal?

 I would LOVE to publish my own children's books, and to work for myself one day within my own studio space, and perhaps even have my own business as a surface pattern design studio with other designers to work alongside and go to trade shows and business meetings across the word with. I also like the idea of having my own shop full of things designed for children.

13.Is there any advice you could give to an aspiring artist?

 It is a really hard industry to get into so only do it if your heart is 100% into it. This makes the long days and late nights and working weekends A LOT easier as you get to do what you love everyday. Also be yourself, so many people try to be someone else and reproduce others work and this doesn't really get you anywhere. Find out what you want and your style - this can take a while but once you've found it it will be worth it as designs with the makers personality shining through really stand out.

Thank Jodie! I hope you have enjoyed the interview!

If you would like to see more of Jodie's work or shop her products here are the links below:

6 Ways To Get Out Of A Creative Block

Oh, creative block! How I wish you wouldn't cloud my mind. But wait, there are so many sources of inspiration around me, I just need to know where to look. So, as a blogger and a creative I constantly hit a wall when it comes to writing or drawing but I've managed to find some ways to break through that wall. So here are my tips on fighting creating block and getting your creative juices flowing. 


My favourite thing to do is look at other blogs to read and gather inspiration. I follow a lot of creative blogs & travel blogs which are also topics that I write about. They may write about a certain topic that you have your own different views about or maybe you could recreate a blog post in your own style. This is also great if you are an artist or illustrator as even a simple colour palette or photograph can spark inspiration.


This is probably the No.1 way to get your creative juices flowing. You probably already have a pinterest account so I most likely don't need to tell you this but Pinterest is a great source of inspiration. Whether you like art, baking, design, travel or fashion...it's all there! 


One of my favourite magazines to read is Oh Comely which is a new edition to my magazine stack. I also read Mollie Makes and I must take a look at Frankie magazine! Magazines are a great source of inspiration when creative block strikes and if you're not to precious about your magazines you could even cut out your favourite articles and images and make a moodboard or put them in a sketchbook for inspiration. A certain topic, illustration or photograph in a magazine make spark a new idea. 


Gurl, I always carry a notebook or sketchbook with me! I always find inspiration strikes when I bored on the train, or sipping coffee in a cafe or even when I'm trying to sleep! Jot down your thoughts or draw your ideas in a sketchbook and then you won't forget. Then you can come back to it anytime and use it a source of inspiration.


Old blog posts are hidden gems! For me as an artist I am always looking at my old drawings and thoughts that I put on my blog. I may like a particular new style that I tried out that I want to try again but forgot, or may have started a series but not finished blogging about it. So get a cup of coffee, flick through your old blog posts and have a look and read.


This could be plants, posters, flowers, cameras, books, sewing equipment, wall art...anything. You can even find inspiration from the most mundane of things. If you're an artist having plants and objects around you are not only pretty but are great for illustrating. Having a shelf of books will be handy to flick through and can help you gather inspiration and make you feel more homely. 

I hope you have liked reading this post and if you have any more tips on how to get your creative juices flowing I would love to know! 

Artist Interview Series: Illustrator Carly Watts

Welcome to the artist interview series where I interview talented designer makers, surface pattern designers, artists and illustrators. Today's artist, the second of the interview series is talented illustrator Carly Watts. She creates colourful and beautiful illustrations that are inspired by animals and nature. 

1.Explain a little about yourself and what you do?

I'm an Illustrator and designer currently based in Sheffield. At the moment I'm focusing on my little online stores but I also offer custom illustration commissions, such as blog headers and portraits. I love illustrating nature and animals, and I'm inspired by folk & decorative art. I adore colour! 

2. Do you have any favourite techniques?

I primarily work digitally these days which is perfect for me because I can be a little indecisive! This gives me a chance to play around with colours and textures and switch things up if they aren't working. Every single illustration starts off as a rough sketch on paper though. It took me quite a few years to get into digital illustration, I used to use watercolours regularly but I've totally fallen out of practice now! 

3. What are your favourite art materials to use?

If I couldn't work digitally anymore for whatever reason, I think I'd probably use gouache and ink! All of the equipment I use to make art right now is super basic. I literally draw with a mouse and don't have a fancy graphics tablet. I think this goes to show that any material is viable though, anyone can get started anytime with what they have! 

4. Do you have a favourite piece of artwork you have made?

I actually really love the 'Fly Through Space' pattern I made recently. It's such a simple piece but the colours really appeal to me and I loved making a retro space themed piece. It sort of reminds me of something you might see at Epcot! 

5. What's your preferred colour palette?

I love to experiment with colour and I'm always looking for colour palette inspiration on Pinterest. I like working with deep, rich colours - blues, purples and greens. I also love using gold in my work, especially when I can add a slightly foiled effect. 

6. What influences your work?

Nature and the animal kingdom influence my work more than anything else. Whenever I'm stuck and unsure of what I will illustrate next, I always turn to animals to inspire me. I also love looking at vintage folk art, particularly for the vivid, unusual colour palettes. 

7. Could you show us where you work/studio space?

Unfortunately I don't have a proper work space at all! My boyfriend and I live in a small apartment and he has claimed the only desk space! I just have to make do at the moment which is fine, sometimes you just have to make the most of what you have. 

8. What path did you take to get where you are now?

I've definitely taken a bit of a convoluted path to get to where I am now.  I studied art at college but then went on to do a drama degree! I then realised that I preferred the set design aspect of it which led to me getting interested in illustration. I've also worked in shops, and even in schools! There was no clear path for me (maybe there isn't really one for anyone!) but I just followed my instincts and hopefully I'll be able to grow my business even more next year. 

9. Are there any defining moments in your creative career?

Last year I was fortunate enough to be chosen to participate in Secret 7" which is a charity initiative. They take 7 tracks by 7 of the best know musicians in the world and then press each one 100 times to vinyl, artists from around the world then have the chance to design artwork for the sleeves which are then sold for £50 each - all of the money goes to a different worthy cause each year! It was a particularly special experience for me, because the exhibition of the sleeves was situated at Somerset House! 

10.When did you know you wanted to be an artist/illustrator/designer/printmaker?

It's a little bit of a cliche to say, but I've always been interested in art from a young age! When I was at college I was incredibly interested in becoming a fine artist, I just didn't think it was a particularly realistic goal at that time. It's really special to be able to create art each day now. 

11.What would be a normal day for you?

If I have any commissions on the go, I would usually start off by creating a rough sketch on paper and sending it off for approval before I start on the digital version. If I'm just working on new designs/patterns for my shops, I like to do a little research to start with. I have lots of Pinterest boards with colour palette ideas and little things that have inspired me. I will do some sketching in my pad and then scan my drawings so I can start working digitally with them. I also have to set aside some time to upload new work to my shops - a little boring but it has to be done! 

12.What is your dream project or goal?

I would really love to be able to have my illustrations published in a book in 2017! I'm currently working on an entry to a Folio Society competition - the winner will have the chance to illustrate Mansfield Park so I'll see how I get on!

13. Is there any advice you could give to an aspiring artist?

Experiment with all different types of media and never stop learning and practising! Don't worry if you sometimes lose your inspiration, you will always get it back - just keep scribbling and sketching. Set up social media accounts and share your work/connect with other artists - this really helps with motivation! 

14. Is there anything else you would like to add?

If you really dream of becoming an artist, please don't give up! Even if you don't have a lot of time to create, just keep going with it and utilise whatever resources you have. Start out small and keep building.

Thank you so much Carly! I hope you've enjoyed this interview!

If you would like to follow Carly or see her work here are some links you should be sure to check out! :

My Creative Process: Drawing People + Tips

When it comes to drawing people I still have a lot to learn, but it's one of my most favourite things to do. I love being able to create different expressions, details, paint glasses and my most favourite thing, the hair and use bright colours and patterns. So I thought I'd show you my process of illustrating people. I've not been in the most creative spirit so this new project will hopefully help get my creative juices flowing. First of all, what I find easiest is painting with a water brush pen as it means I can paint quicker.

I find that the eyes are probably the most important part for me when illustrating people as they hold a lot of expression. You can also size up the other features better once you perfected the eyes. I like to play with bright colours when painting the hair and different hairstyles create a really fun vibe.

So here are some tips on illustrating people:

Experiment with facial features 
By experimenting with different facial features you can find what style you like. So draw lots of different eyes, noses and lips using different materials such as watercolour or brush pen and then pick your favourites that are most aesthetically pleasing to you.

Find your style 
By finding your 'style' you feel so much more confident when painting people. Your style could be something small and simple such as a signature look. This could be painting the cheeks in a certain way, adding marks to the face or hair, drawing the eyes in an unusual way. Try to draw in a way that is different to other people.

Design is in the detail

Adding details such as freckles, cheeks and glasses can really create a detailed illustration and add character and lots of personality to your drawing. It can also guide you into creating your own personal style.

Create a colour palette
This tip you don't have to do but creating a color palette can help when painting people and clothes. You can then use these colours for the skin, hair, eyes, and clothing / accessories. Choosing a colour palette can be really helpful if you are combining illustrations of people with a setting.

Experiment with different hair styles
This is probably my most favourite thing to do as I love unusual hairstyles. It can also add a lot of personality and character to the illustration. Try drawing hairstyles you wouldn't normally draw or find hard to draw. Use different colours and most importantly have fun with it.

Pratice, pratice, practice!
This is the most important tip of all! The more you pratice the more you will improve in your illustration skills.

I hope you have liked reading and have found some of the tips helpful! Do you illustrate people? I'd love to see your work!! 

Painting In Coffee Shops

Painting in public such as places like coffee shops can be very daunting at first. I can be quite shy when showing people my work and it the thought of it made me anxious. But, I found a little coffee shop that I've been going to for quite a while now called Chin Chins coffee house. It's local to me, it's cosy and totally relaxing. So I got my little Winsor and Newton set out, my water brush pen which is a godsend and my pink pig watercolour sketchbook and started doodling. I've found some of my favourite paintings and watercolours have come from this and it's also a good way of starting conversations and even telling people about your work and shop. I find having company helps but I've even managed to paint on my own which is a small win for me.

I found that once I showed my work people really liked it and asked for more such as commissions! So never be scared to paint in public. I'm now even selling my own hand painted cards which are only available in the ChinChins coffee house!!

In other news I've decided to not apply for uni this year and instead focus on my health and well-being, January hasn't been the most amazing start but it has helped me realise I need to focus on my self and painting in coffee shops helps with this by relaxing me. It's also helping to build up my portfolio so when I do apply for uni I'll have more recent and experimental work in my sketchbooks!

This seems to be going off on a tangent so I'll leave it here for now. Thanks for reading.

Do you paint or doodle drawings in coffee shops? I'd love to know!