Monday, 15 December 2014

it's that time of year again...

It's that time of year again! Time for Celestine to write her Christmas cards. She very kindly wrote some of mine for me too. She's nice like that.

This years place of choice for the Christmas card writing session was the castle entrance hall. Celestine thought it was the perfect place to feel festive what with the Christmas tree (have you noticed she has changed the baubles?) and the big chandelier.

Here's a selection of the cards. Celestine's favourite is the Christmas tree one with the gemstones. She'll go for anything sparkly. I must admit I quite like it too, though I also have a soft spot for the penguin one above. 

Celestine does enjoy to feel festive. She's been planning her Christmas outfit too lately. She wants a red satin dress with red tulle under the skirt and a holly and berry hair decoration to match. I told her it sounds lovely but I am not sure I have time to make it and the shops definitely won't stock it in her size. She was quite disappointed. 

I guess I'll have to see what I can do.

Speaking of cards- there seems to have been a lot of mini card making this year! - I forgot to post this little card Celestine made back in November, for Ted. 
It was fireworks themed as you can see (hopefully!) and the envelope had firework sparkles on it too. Celestine just loves the fireworks. She tried to make it a bit bigger than her usual cards but really didn't manage to make it that much bigger- she only has tiny hands!

We went to Nottingham on Saturday to visit Henry's Dad and Gran. We drove up there in the frosty morning sunshine and ended up having a really nice day. Not that we don't usually have a nice time there but this time it was particularly nice. It was just relaxing and festive. I had been worrying about some stuff lately, and I just forgot all of it while we were there! We ate starry mince pie tart and I wore my new cream fur coat with the hood- very silky (I caught Henry stroking it while it was hung up in the hallway haha) We went for a drive in Henry's dad's new jaguar and walked round a couple of shops selling all manner of christmassy things. We bought some presents and some gold crackers and then decorated the tree late into the evening, unwrapping all the baubles from their snuggly tissue paper. I brought some of my fairies up from the wedding and they went on the tree too. It was probably the most Christmassy I have felt so far actually. In fact I just remembered we did even pull some left over crackers from last year and wear the hats while eating dinner. 

On the drive home, very late, I saw five shooting stars! I looked it up later and realised it was because there was a geminid meteor shower going on that night. 

Oh also, Carol made Celestine a tiny fly fishing rod which I got while we were in Nottingham. It is amazing! I will have to take some pictures of it soon.

A few snaps from Henry's phone.

Can't believe Christmas day is NEXT WEEK!

Oh also, also, here is the cover for my second Withc's Cat book! It's popped up online now so I can share it:

Not out until next July but I couldn't resist posting it now!

Hope you're having wonderful weeks!


Sunday, 7 December 2014

Celestine's Castle Bedroom

I can't believe it! Finally, finally I have finished one of the rooms in the castle! It's been a long time coming. Celestine is especially pleased becasue it means she can have a proper glamorous bedroom now with all her favourite things in their right places.

So... here we go!

The dressing table is Celestine' favourite thing in her bedroom. Being a little bit vain, she loves to sit in front of it and bat her eyelashes in front of the mirror. She also loves that it is the place for her jewellery box, keeping all her precious jewels safe. Her lucky, gold Cornish pisky is sitting on the left side of her dressing table, surrounded by her birthday necklace which she likes to have on display. 

She has a multicoloured Tiffany lamp next to her bed and also a birthday card she received from a friend.

Here is her bed. At first she was going to have a jewel toned, multicoloured patchwork quilt but when I made it, it didn't quite go in the room. It looked a bit too brash and distracted from all the gems in the room. In the end I made the quilt from some cream, gold, starry fabric which I think goes much better. Celestine agrees. It looks more elegant for a castle than a patchwork quilt. 

Above her bed she has a picture of Dorrie the little witch from my very very very favourite series of children's books of all time.

That's Stardust her favourite bear- not sure if he's been mentioned on this blog before...?

There are three different kinds of lighting in the room. Fairylights around the top of the walls, a chandelier and also the tiffany lamp.

Here we have the shelf which houses lots of Celestine's favourite things. A ballerina doll, Paddington Bear (we went to see the film on Friday, it was excellent) her pink giraffe, her Nessie which she took to Scotland, an amythyst chip, some gemmed up notebooks and her birthday crown. These are all things which have been waiting to be put in their proper place in the castle for absolutely ages. Literally years some of them!

Next to the Dorrie picture on the right is a picture of Tottie. I blogged about this book a while back.  On the left to Dorrie, though you can't really see well in this picture, is Mrs Pepperpot. I love Mrs Pepperpot! So does Celestine. She is a little old woman who can shrink to the size of a pepperpot.

And here is the whole of the bedroom!

 Aaand with all the lights on,

And even more zoomed out! You can see how messy/unfinished the rest of the castle still is haha. Actually if you look really close you can see Celestine wrapped up in what she called her 'refugee blanket' in the dark dining room. She was evacuated from her bedroom so photos could be taken.

The 'refugee blanket' is actually the patchwork quilt that I didn't use for the bedroom in the end. 

Anyway, one day I will finish it. But for now I am just glad I have managed to do one room. And Celestine is delighted which is the most important thing ;)

Saturday, 29 November 2014

It's a bit early but...

Celestine couldn't resist- she put her tree up!

It is ALMOST December so it's sort of alright. She just loves those twinkling lights.

I am hoping that I will be able to show you Celestine's bedroom really soon. I realised I hadn't done any of my castle this year and Celestine was getting fed up of having a makeshift bedroom in the turret, so I decided I would make a goal of trying to finish at least one room by the end of the year. I decided on Celestine's bedroom and have been doing little bits of it here and there. I am just waitig for some gems to arrive to completely finish it off. I can't wait to show it to you- hopefully soon! Let me tell you, it is very gold and sparkly! 

Sunday, 23 November 2014

the creative process

The creative process is a funny thing. For example, this weekend I had an idea for a new picture book. Contrary to the pictures accompanying this post, it has nothing to do with penguins! But the idea was led there by penguins.

It started when I bought a pair of penguin socks in New Look. I really really loved the little ice skating penguin on the socks so much that I bought three pairs.  Look how adorable he is!

Then, on Friday, I was making mini Christmas cards with Celestine. We made the usual, Christmas tree ones, reindeer ones snowman ones... and then I remembered my socks and thought 'penguins!'

I just loved the design of the little penguin so much that I painted some bigger ones in my sketchbook afterwards. And I though 'hmm,' this little penguin would make a good little character- though of course it was still a blatent copy of the sock penguin at this point.

Then, led by that thought another thought came and I developed the penguin into another character- still a bird but not a penguin. And I LOVED my new little character (which I am not going to show on here just yet) and a story idea for her popped into my head.  And so a new book idea was born.

And I just thought how interesting the creative process is. You never know where it's going to take you. You can end up with something completely different and surprising from what you started with.

Pink Fireworks

I couldn't resist trying out a different colour combination for this picture. Also edited her face slightly. I'm sure no one else can really notice but I am such a perfectionist when it comes to my work. I change the teeniest tiniest things and to me, it makes all the difference!

I love Celestine! 
And also Victoria Stitch of course. (She would be furious if I didn't mention her!)

Friday, 21 November 2014


That is a little sketch of Celestine I did when we went to see the fireworks a few weeks ago. She has to wear earmuffs because she doesn't like the bangs. I don't have any actual photos of her at the fireworks because I didn't bring my camera. But here's one from last year that I never put on my blog.

Celestine loves fireworks. Her favourite are the big gold sparkly ones that look like chandeliers dripping glitter from the sky. We had a nice fireworks night because we walked up the road to see them with some friends.

Anyway November, November. I have mostly been busy with sketching out a dummy for a new book which is taking a while. I don't know why but dummy books always take me agggges. So I have nothing new to show here really. 

It's definitely cold now. Last night we popped out to the shop and I was surprised to feel how cold it's got. And it's so misty at the moment. Misty mornings and misty dark driving. I bought a cream fur coat with a hood when we visited Henry's mum at the weekend. It is so soft and pristine that I have put it in my wardrobe and not worn it yet! But it is for wearing and I must get it out. One thing that always delights me about the winter months is the amount of sparkle in the shops. I always say that when you start seeing gold glittery heels in the shops, you know Christmas is on it's way. 

I loooove these gold booties. I didn't buy them because I don't have the legs for that style of boot so I took a picture instead. Sometimes I think taking a picture of something you love is almost as good. It still gives you that nice feeling when you look at it.  Glamorous, glittery, Christmassy, wintery boots.  Actually they are exactly the sort of things Celestine might have in her wardrobe. She loves gold.

Oh you know what else I've been loving lately. The M&S Christmas advert with the two fairies flying through the snowy city, making magic, flying through the chimney smoke, shooting red and white sparks from their fingertips. Definitely the best advert of all the big Christmas ones this year. I much prefer magical Christmas adverts to those over sentimentalized ones.

For all this talk of Christmas though, I'm not actually feeling very Christmassy yet. Unrelated but Henry and I really really thought we would be in our own house for Christmas this year but things have not gone to plan with that. There's been some complications with the house we were trying to buy and we have had to pull out. We were so sad about it as we love love loved the house (technically it was a flat but it felt like a house because it was on two floors) but I think it will be for the best.Well, I know it will be for the best. I won't say any more about it here as I don't want to jinx anything this time! 

I have really realised what a stressful business trying to buy a house it though. Seriously, we were up and down like a rollorcoaster for ages! 

November is for: Changing up my hair. I wanted to do it half black half white but I managed to refrain myself from doing that. Would have been a nightmare to upkeep. 

November is for: wearing gloves and my new furry hat, making Christmas cakes with the children at Craft Club. Nutmeg and cinnamon and candied peel, marzipan-ing and making a wish when we stir. Cycling in the early morning mist, chocolate truffle treats from the supermarket, shopping and house viewings, watching Mr Brooks (good film) and Rosemary's Baby, starting to make Christmas cards, listening to Affinity and reading Goth Girl, orange and yellow roses, discovering diamond star necklaces that are far too expensive to buy *sniff* and...

A tiny toadstool card/letter in the post from Polly. Celestine has stolen it away to put up in her castle.

Aaaand that is all!

Hope you're having a nice November.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Autumn Cornwall

Over half term we went on holiday! To Cornwall. My favourite place in the whole world. It was actually a birthday present bought for us way back in March by my grandparents (March is when mine and Henry's birthday is).

It was a really nice birthday present! We don't usually get presents as big as this for our birthdays but I think it was becasue we got married this year.

It was such a nice week. I have never been on an autumn holiday before. The beaches looked so different to how they look in the summer time, more seaweedy and pebbly and the cliffs were all orangy greeny brown.  I am usually accustomed to a bright, sun soaked, flip flop wearing, beach-sitting, surf-y kind of Cornwall holiday so this one felt rather different! It was just as nice though.

The weather wasn't brilliant, cloudy every day, but it didn't matter. Usually it would have mattered to me, I am very affected by the weather, but for some reason this time I didn't mind. Everything just felt nice and cosy.  Also the clocks changed while we were there so it started getting dark earlier which I also enjoyed. I love autumn evenings.

The only thing Cornwall wasn't so great for was my broken toe! (Oh I am so annoyed I broke my toe a week before holiday!) It meant we couldn't walk around too much, and if we did I ended up hobbling. In a way though, having a broken toe contributed to my not-mindingness of the grey weather. I think having a broken toe in beautiful sunshine would have been very frustrating becasue I would have wanted to be out walking on the clifftops all the time.

Here's Celestine. Of course. She wouldn't miss out on a holiday! She wore her witch's hat to the beach because it was almost Halloween.

She also wrote her own tiny postcard because the mood took her to do so.

Look how much sea weed was on the beach! I couldn't believe it. I am usually used to seeing this beach all golden sand and bright turquoise sea. 

On the first day we did actually do one long walk (and that was the reason why we couldn't do any more walks after that...)

So we walked all the way to Newquay and had soup and pasty in a cafe and looked round the shops. We went to the aquarium because Henry loves to see the giant octopus there. Celestine liked the baby starfish becasue it was smaller than her!

We cycled twelve miles to Bodmin on a tandem one day. It turns out cycling is fine for my toe! We had mint tea in a cafe (ahem Costa) and cycled the twelve miles back to Padstow. 

We had a lovely afternoon in Padstow. We looked round the shops and bought some Chrsitmas decorations. Glittery fairy for me and wooden santa for Henry. I like the bear shop in Padstow because they have a whole selection of tiny miniature bears. I may have bought something for Celestine in there... Also we visited the fudge shop, got to buy fudge while in Padstow!

Celestine had an ice cream on the harbour even though it was October and a bit chilly!

In the evening we went to Rick Steins fish and chip restaurant in Padstow. We were lucky because we were the last two people to get a seat in the queue. It was good fish and chips! Henry was especially impressed (I actually like mine slightly greasier haha.) We bought a chocolate pot to take home with us (below, top right) which was deeeelicious. It was like fondant with creme fraiche on the top. We ate it whilst driving back to the holiday house in the dark. 

Bottom left is Henry's friend the octopus in case you couldn't guess.

I just can't get over how much seaweed was on the beach! Also you can see how much Henry enjoyed having fish and chips! (below)

 Autumn beach

Celestine did lots of boating down the streams on the beach. She did in fact capsize one afternoon and had to spend the rest of the day sitting by the radiator to dry her hair and eyelashes.  She didn't get hurt though. Her boat just snagged on some seaweed and tipped over. Also some part of the stream were very fast and wooshy!

floating around the mini lagoons was also fun...

We used Celestine's boats for a boat race too. Mine won!

Celestine has her own mini boat to play with too...

It was such a good week. We just felt so relaxed. I think Henry especially appreciated the break after his very first and intense term of being a teacher. We bought all our favourite foods to have in the house, smoked salmon, chocolate mini rolls, avocados, yoghurt and berries, fry ups in the mornings. Henry made bread and I made lentil soup. We ate out a lot too which is something we don't do a lot. Scampi and chips for me! 

We visited a friend who is an artist and she gave us a beautiful framed picture for a wedding present which we are so excited to hang in our house. It was a lovely surprise. Then we had a cream tea which was delicious. Henry ordered a large slice of chocolate cake. Oh everything was just so good about this holiday!

We drove a round visiting places on one of the days. Made it down to Lizard point and Kynance Cove except we didn't see anything becasue the weather was SO misty that day. There were lots of crystal shops all around which we looked in. I found a beautiful glimmery star necklace in one of the shops where the stars were carved out of some special shimmery stone. I tried it on though and it didn't suit me. But it was so pretty.

We bought some multicoloured lanterns for our future house, in Newquay which I am in love with.  There is something about rainbow glowy things that just DOES it for me.

On Halloween Henry carved a pumpkin with a pirate face. We watched lots of episodes of Hannibal too while we were away. We finished the second season. So good!

We were both sad to leave on the last day.

When we got home there was a package waiting for Celestine from her new pen pal Ted which was very exciting. When she opened it she found a letter and a pumpkin garland and a badge. Even though Halloween is over Celestine has put the pumpkin garland over her bed for the time being (she is still living in the castle turret at the moment) and the badge she has put on her bed as a cushion. It was a little big for her to wear!

Her 'room' looks very cosy and autumnal now!

Thank you Ted!