Thursday, 28 August 2014

Fairyland

Snippets of something I worked on recently. Not sure if I am allowed to put these pictures up here or not (they're just WIP shots)... I guess I'll take them down if so.

I was pretty proud of those light up mushrooms. It took me a while to think up how to make them and in the end I came up with a cunning plan involving tights and PVA. I was insistent to myself that they should light up, even if that meant they took ten times longer to make.

I love multicoloured stars.

Here are some more mushrooms but not light up ones this time.

As you might have guessed, fairies are involved. 


In other news I am working on a new secret project- only secret in that I don't really want to put it on the internet just yet. It's a personal project, a young fiction book and I am very excited about it. I got really inspired and just wrote it and now I am illustrating it in any spare time I have. I really believe in it! I will take it to publishers when I am done and see if they like it. Hopefully they will but if not oh well, it will have been good practice anyway.

Last weekend, apart from working on my young fiction book, we went for a walk near the place where we are moving to. We explored new bits of countryside there and discovered some new tracks which look like they will be really good for cycling. We also found a swing! I am so excited to move and be in our own place. I am expecially looking forward to decorating and putting up our rainbow chandelier that we got for our wedding.  I want to cover the walls in illustration too.  Hurry up house!!!

Celestine hasn't been modelling for me much lately as I've been so busy with my new project so she's decided to take her own photos. Or she thought she would until she realised that camera wasn't real. Poor Celestine, she got so excited when she fist saw it!

She's been busy too, doing her own thing, designing jewellery, seeing other tiny friends etc. She's quite the socialite.


Aaaaand that is all for now!

*back to work*

 

Friday, 15 August 2014

Our Honeymoon

Finally I am uploading my pictures from honeymoon. I took so many that it took me until now to sort through them all!

So here are the best of the best.

Our honeymoon.

We started in Edinburgh were we stayed for two nights in a very nice and welcoming guest house. If you're ever going to Edinburgh I highly recommend this place!

We went on a bus tour round the city, walked round a lot, ate Lebanese for dinner one night, seafood the next and bought some tartan. My married surname is actually a Scottish name that is part of the MacGregor clan so we bought a scarf in the MacGregor clan tartan. It's red and green.


Speaking of tartan, Celestine ordered a special wardrobe of tartan clothes to be made for her for the holiday. She likes to be stylish.


I found these tiny little bottles of whisky in Edinburgh and also this tiny tiny little box of working matches which came in useful later on. Celestine was very pleased that Edinburgh catered for people her size.


Next up was the Isle of Skye where we stayed for another two nights. Above is some whisky porridge which Henry had for breakfast in the Skye hotel. Got to have some whisky porridge while in Scotland!

Because we went to Skye from Edinburgh we drove through the highlands. It was a pretty incredible experience actually. Barren landcapes, mountains looming, twisty turny roads. At some points we really felt like we were in the middle of no where. It was like a different planet!

One of the main things I wanted to do whilst on Skye was visit the fairy pools. So we did! They were very beautiful. In this photo below you can see a line running down the middle of the valley. Those are the fairy pools and you can walk all the way up them.


They are really beautiful. Pools and channels of clear, aqua water all waterfalling down. Celestine was entranced. She wanted to row around them in her boat. So she did!


The weather wasn't actually that sunny that day so it was hard to get photos of how crystal clear and turquoise the water was.

We also visted the coral beaches on Skye which were also very beautiful. We were there at about ten o clock at night and it was still light! It didn't really seem to get properly dark up there at all.

Here is Henry on a rock at the coral beaches.  


For our wedding Carol gave us a really really nice box of chocolates which actually lasted us for most of our honeymoon. we took them with us and ate one or two (or three or four!) a day. They were yum. It was nice to have them in the car as we did SO much driving!


After Skye we took the ferry across to the Isle of Harris. Here is Celestine on the ferry (and a close up of my wedding ring.) I admit I took quite a lot of photos of my wedding ring on our honeymoon, seeing what it looked like under all different kinds of light. I just love the way it slots together.


It was actually raining on our arrival to Harris. We couldn't get into our house yet so we drove up to Lewis and went food shopping.

The rest of the week we spent on Harris. It was the main part of our holiday. It really was a very beautiful and unique place. There were so many different types of landscape on the island. For example, on the east side of the island where our house was, the landscape was rocky, it almost looked like the surface of the moon. On the west side there were incredible tropical looking beaches. And then everywhere there were mountains.

I'd say the word to describe the Island of Harris and Lewis would be 'epic'. In fact pretty much all of the Scottish landscape we saw was epic. There's so much remote space, you can see for miles and miles and you become aware of just how massive nature is. That doesn't really make sense but I don't know how else to describe it.

Here is Celestine having a picnic on Luskentyre beach. Yes she does have a lot of food for one tiny person. Her eyes are bigger than her stomach when it comes to food! She had to be helped out a bit.


Celestine loves Nessie! ^ She took him everywhere with her in Scotland. 

You can see the weather wasn't sunny here. It wasn't sunny quite a lot actually. But we did expect that coming to Scotland. It didn't mar the beauty of the place though.

The beaches really were incredible. Just look at the colour of the sea! And that's not even on a sunny day.

We did actually get one really lovely baking hot sunny day. We spent this day sitting on the beach and paddling in the water, but only paddling as the sea was so cold. It looked inviting but it was freeeeezing!

Celestine sat on the beach too. She adores the beach. We found our own little small private one where there was no one else about. We had to climb down rocks to get to it.

Although to be fair, there was no one really about on any of the beaches on Harris. It was so remote.

It was so stunning!!

You can see I didn't take many photos of myself and Henry, I was too busy taking photos of the beaches! I love beaches. They are my favourite places to be. I always wish I lived near the beach.

There were other things to do on the Island of Harris and Lewis too. On one of the rainer days we drove around a lot (beacsue we accidentally missed the boat trip we were suppsoed to be on!) and saw the standing stones and machair. The machair are fields of wild flowers.

Traffic on Harris!

Above (bottom right) is a picture of the garden gate in front of the house we were staying in. This was our view if we looked out of the window. Not bad.

On that same day that we missed the boat trip it was very stormy and windy. I have never seen so much spray blowing off the waves before! We couldn't believe there was actually a man surfing in this.

That night Celestine had to camp inside becasue of the rain. She would have got blown away otherwise- and we would have never seen her again!

Celestine wanted a patchwork tent after she saw one on Marlou B's blog.

She did manage to camp outside a few times though. Much to her delight.


'Goodnight!' ^

Oh look, here we are at last! That's me with a map in front of me on Skye, planning our route for the fairy pools. there's Henry looking happy on Harris.

While on Harris we visited the Isle of Scalpay which is joined to Harris by a bridge. It's a small island and we walked round it one afternoon/evening. It took about 3 hours. 

It was so windy in places Henry's hair stood upright on his head which was funny.

There were piles of rocks like that on the top of every mountain and hill on the islands. I guess it is to mark the top.


Those bottom two pictures (above) were not taken on Scalpay. left one we took when we went on a very long treck round some mountains on Harris. It took all day and was 11 miles! I was very proud that we did it. We climbed up some big mountains and walked round the ridge at the top. It was definitely an expedition. We didn't see a single person during the whole hike. 

Here's Celestine at the top of one of the mountains. It was a hard climb! She was lucky she got carried for most of it. There's Nessie peeping out of her backpack!


We did manage to go on a boat trip in the end, even though we missed the original one we had booked on. We went flying and bouncing through the waved in a rib which was my favourite part. The waves were enormous.

This wasn't us but a little fishing boat we saw out in the water while on the rib. It was bouncing along too! You can't really tell how big the waves were from this picture but they really were massive. You went allllll the way up one and alllll the way down the other side.

We saw seals! I always love to see seals.



One evening we went to Hushinish beach and sat there in the evening sunshine. This was on the sunny day. Celestine had a campfire and toasted marshmallows. That is where those tiny matches came in useful!

That was Henry's favourite beach. We played frisbee for a bit. The drive there was amazing as well. So beautiful. We came across a castle on our way which I think was actually someones private home- so I couldn't really get a photo of it.

There's Celestine, swinging her legs with happiness. She so loves the beach. 

We really enjoyed our week on the Isle of Harris. It was different to anything we've done before. We definitely hope we can visit again some day!

On our way back home we stayed for a night in Loch Lomand to break up the journey.  Again it was beautiful. Although truthfully, by this point I was quite ready to get home. I've learnt from all the stops we did along the way to and from the Isle of Harris, that I don't really like living out of a suitcase and eating on the go all the time. I like to be in one place.  I think if we did go to the Isle of Harris again, we wouldn't stop at so many places on the way up- though, I am glad we did it this once. It was nice to see Edinburgh and Skye- especially the fairy pools. I have always wanted to see the fairy pools. 

Also by this point we had been away for almost two weeks and for me, that's enough. I am a home bird. And also by this point I was getting fidgety to do my work. 

So I was quite happy to be going home even though we had an incredible time. They do say there's no place like home.




Above left is Loch Lomand. Above right, a loch near the house we stayed in on Harris.

And that, is the story of our honeymoon!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

books I've enjoyed lately

I have been on a bit of a book binge lately! Here are some of the ones I've enjoyed over the last couple of months. All of them I would recommend.

In no particular order,

The Storm Whale by Benji Davis 

I fell in love with this book as soon as I saw it in the shop and bought it right away. The pictures are so evocative and I love every detail- especially the characters wearing their yellow rain macs! It is about a little boy overcoming loneliness.


The Butterfly House by Sarah L. Smith

This book is actually written and illustrated by a friend of mine who I met on my MA course! But being biased aside, I absolutely loved the atmosphere conveyed in this book and all the hundreds of delicate details in every spread. It is an enchanting story about the magical things that happen if a butterfly lands on the very tip of your nose. It is a beautiful book.


La Naissance De Celestine

We all know how much I love Ernest and Celestine! Well my friend Carol kindly gave me this book, which is wordless for the most part, but filled with the beautiful and tender sketchings of Gabrielle Vincent.  It shows how Ernest finds baby Celestine in a garbage can and how he takes her home and cares for her. It is the sweetest story ever.

I am Otter by Sam Garton

Again this book is by someone I sort of 'know' online. We actually both got our first book deals with the same publisher at the same time so were able to share our experiences with each other at the time. Which was nice. You've probably already heard of the internet famous Otter, if not then Sam's blog is worth a look. I am so happy that Otter is finally published in picture book form! She is such a cheeky, funny character. I just love her personality. And there are so many details to look at in the pictures. I am a sucker for detail. The story is about Otter starting a toast restaurant while Otter Keeper is out at work and the chaos that ensues.


When I was Small by Sara O'Leary, illustrated by Julie Morstad

You can probably guess the reason why I was attracted to this book- it's about a miniature girl! Well, sort of. It's about a mother telling her little boy all the things she did when she was small but really taking the 'small' literally. It's a really sweet gentle story with delicate, detailed illustrations.

Vampirina Ballerina by Anne Marie Pace, Illustrated by Le Uyen Pham

This book I discovered online and it immediately attracted the Victoria Stitch within me. I loved the Pink and black cover and when it arrived and I discovered there was iridescent glitter on the cover too I was in love. I wouldn't say this book is so much a story with a plot as such, but an encouragement to anyone out there who wants to be a ballerina. Hard work pays off is the moral of this story. I just love the design of Vampirina Ballerina, she is such a cute little gothling!


Now talking of books, I really need to read more! It was my new years resolution and I have not been keeping up with it very well at all lately. I did alright at the beginning of the year but since about March I have not really read anything new.

I have decided that at the end of every month I am going to write about (or at least list) the books I have read that month here on my blog and this will hopefully encourage me to read more of them! I think audio books count too. I have re-subscribed to audible lately too to try and encourage myself to listen to more stories while I work rather than watch trashy TV shows.

And I am not talking about picture books (though I will include those too if I read any new good ones) I am talking about young fiction books and adult books. Because one day I want to write a young fiction/teen/adult book and I know that it is important to read lots if you want to write.

Starting from NOW!