Silver Crow Project

Rocking My World Friday - The Almost Didn't Post Edition

The practice of Positive Thinking - Retraining the brain one smile at a time

Good afternoon fair travellers of the Blog Highway. How goes your weekend? I apologise for the late posting of RYWF. To be perfectly honest I wasn't sure I would at all. I'm in a pretty crappy place right now and add to that the hideous goings on around the globe at the moment - it almost seemed just wrong. But then, on reflection that's the point isn't it? To look back and smile, shine a light so bright you burn away the sadness or the hate or the fear.

So here I am and this is where I am glad I take photos throughout the week and add them to a RYWF folder, because when you think it's been crappy you see the smiles that would have been overshadowed. That way lies madness, that's when you open the door a crack to let the darkness in. Believe me - that door is staying locked and bolted with padlocks and chains and all that shebang. 

So my first grateful this week is Virginia for ever starting RYWF in the first place. I've said it before and I'll most definitely say it again. She's rewired my brain and I see the beauty all around me. I don't care if we are getting into happy clappy territory now. It's also the truth.

The Crochet Jumper. On a Woman

While I remember - just for you Helen. The jumper I mentioned last week - Helen commented that she would like to see it on me. Hey, I thought you'd prefer the beardy fella with no vest but whatever floats your boat! 
Whoopidooings: RYWF - Crochet Jumper

Hotdog, Hotdog, Hotdiggetydog

Last Saturday I went to see Dunkirk at the cinema with Craig, beforehand we went to Wetherspoons and I was  swayed into trying their new hotdog range. I had the State dog which was covered in peppery cheese sauce, gherkins and crispy onions with chips and onion rings on the side. Cor, it was so nice I had it again the next day when I was in Maidstone. (I've lost 2lbs this week! The hotdog diet!)
Whoopidooings: RYWF - Wetherspoons Hot Dog
When we got to the cinema an elderly couple were coming down the stairs from the previous showing. They started trying to speed up when they saw us holding back and I said not to rush, we were really early. That's when the gentleman started talking to us - he said he'd actually been at Dunkirk and that the film was very true to his experience. His wife said she hadn't wanted to go and see it. Can you imagine what that must be like? To have been there and then go and sit through that film? I was so grateful to have met him but wobbly before I even went in.

The film itself was exceptional. I can't really say enough about how good it was - enjoy seems a wrong word because I was in tears throughout. But the whole thing was so well done, the music was used in such a good way, unlike any way I've seen used before. I think it should be required viewing in schools. It really should. I am so glad I saw it on the big screen though - I think it was a special experience. Our cinema is so small that the sounds were coming up through my feet - it was a real visceral feeling. One I don't think could be replicated with a DVD.

With Julie Kirk

Many of you who read this blog will also know Julie. If not, she is a small business owner and author. Her shop, consists of papery goodness. She puts together collage packs with love and attention. I asked her to put one together for me, to help me with my uni summer project. I wanted the theme to be corvids and anatomy. Julie has a wonderful knack of 'getting' people and she put together an amazing pack for me. So much so that one page even mentions a white crow - you guessed it, the theme of my project is Silver Crow.
Whoopidooings: Collage packs by Julie Kirk on Etsy
Whoopidooings: Collage packs by Julie Kirk on Etsy
Getting one of these packs from Julie is like a present to yourself. Nothing is wasted - even her packaging can be used in one form or another. This really perked up my day. And in case you are wondering - this is not a sponsored mention. She doesn't know she's featuring here and I doubt she'll see. I really am just so pleased at the service and level of care.

Play Park Fun

Today Phe and I took the Bear to a localish park, at his request. We were really pleased to see that in the time since our last visit they had added some new play equipment. Namely a musical corner featuring a drum pad, a piano pad, a rainmaker and a wooden xylophone. No prizes for guessing which two big kids instantly formed their own band and rocked out - much to the disapproval of the nearly 5 year old going on 80.

The other great addition was the new slide. Wide enough to fit all 3 of us going down it at the same time. Plus it was SUPER slippery. After watching Phe trying to run up, belly flopping and nearly knocking herself out, I decided that looked way to much fun and a new game was born. My first attempt saw me run up, laughing madly, assuming I'd done it, lunged for the bar, feet dissapear from under me, bounce off my boobs, then the belly and then slide most undignified back down again.

By this point we were gathering a crowd of children - not mine - who decided to show us how it should be done. Imagine the Gladiators travelator, not moving, and the Gladiators being the kids. Phe and I decided after about the hundredth attempt of sliding back down with bruised knees, belly and boobies that the kids must have way grippier shoes than we did. Oh it was fun though. And you know you've done alright as you walk away and other peoples kids are calling after to you to come back. (The parents? On their phones on the benches. Them that's missing out.)

We were also really surprised to see so many plum trees around the park, we've been going here for years and never noticed them so not only did we exercise Gladiator style, we came away with a healthy foraged haul too.
Whoopidooings: RYWF - Foraged Plums

Here Come the Bullet Point Smiles:

  • The support and cheerleading I'm getting via messages and instagram for my Summer Project. I am being so critical over everything I do. I so want to present a good initial first impression with this uni project and so am picking holes in everything. The support is - well, it's unexpected but it's also so, so appreciated.
  • Getting the workshop straight so I can work out there. I'll take some pictures fo r next week. The aviary is down giving me loads of room and all the walls are now painted fresh and white. It feels like a proper workshop/studio.
I went to B&M to buy a roller to do the walls. I couldn't resist these cast iron keys too - they make me feel like a jailer. I was even more pleased when they all went through the till for a total of £3.49! Bargain!

Whoopidooings: RYWF B&M bargains
  • Getting given a surprise cinnamon bun. Mmmm, I do love anything cinnamon, especially in cake form. (Did I mention I lost 2lbs this week? Cake & hotdog diet.)
  • My bath to have long soaks when needed.
  • Being told I'm the best Mum in the World even though I know I have been a grumpy moo. 
  • The local library - guess who has put in more purchase requests that have been accepted. We may have broken the 20 barrier now.
I'm going to leave you with what I have been playing non-stop this week. I got this Disturbed CD (Immortalized) for my birthday in February (thanks Virginia)  and I adore it. Like, proper love it. If I linked to all my favourite tracks on it I would link to them all so I'll link to two. The one that is on repeat (the first one) and the one that led me to discover the CD in the first place. Enjoy.

And to all my friends who are going travelling over the next few weeks -  please, please be careful, stay alert and have lots of fun x

Thanks for stopping by today - how was your week?

Rocking My World Friday - The FREEEEEEDOM edition

Whoopidooings@ Mixed media artwork by Virginia Hoskings, Celtic House Blog - Founder of Rocking Your World Frioday
The practise of positive thinking - retraining my brain, one smile at a time
Guess when I started writing this post? Guess. Friday! Not the Friday I'm due to post but Friday just gone. Posted in the morning, started writing again in the evening. Oh yeah. (Can we keep it up through the week? Let us see.)

Musical Meanderings

So it's 11pm Friday night, I'm sat at my desk tippy tapping away. A little voice wafts in the door asking if she can sneak in my bed. Sure, go ahead, but I'm working up here. In she gets, get her tucked in, turn back to my desk...

"Mum can you put that lullaby on that you listen to?"


"That soothing lullaby that I hear you listening to. Can you put it on?"

You mean the Pans Labyrinth soundtrack? The one I had on last night?

"Yes - it was really lovely, how long is it?"

Um... it's like a whole CD someone has put on Youtube so... over an hour?

"Whoa - Have you ever listened to the whole hour?"

Er... yeah... last night for one. Most nights I suppose.

"Really? Wow, it must have soothed me to sleep I don't remember it that long. Would I like the film?"

Well - It's in Spanish with subtitles, set during a revolution - which is a type of war and has creatures like that in it? It's a faun. Spelt F.A.U.N (Chavvy accent sounds like forn)

(I point to the picture I've printed out and stuck on my wall of the faun embracing the child. I am saving up for a copy of the real print.)

"Oh. Oh no. I wouldn't like that. But the music is lovely."

I'll put it on then. 

Massive smile. And yes, she is soundo now.

The British Tea Party

My neighbour hosted a tea party in aid of Cancer Research on Saturday. We had been invited along and the kids were really excited.  My neighbour had been telling me, the day before, that she was worried about the heat and people sitting out in the full glare all afternoon.

She needn't have worried.

Cue thunder. Cue lightning. Cue torrential rain. Add a dash of high spirits and laughter and you've got yourself a British tea party. We all felt so bad for her, she'd worked so hard. But the atmosphere was one of fun and "wouldn't you just know it?" We had cakes and scones, sandwiches and tea. Bear was made up to have a cup and saucer. He takes after his Mama Bear - loves his tea.
Whoopidooings: British tea party - in a thunder and lightning storm.
The next day my neighbour popped round to let me know that they had raised over £300. How brilliant is that? Plus - I won a little basket on the raffle, full of goodies to have a cheese and cracker feast. Perfect. Do love cheese and crackers.
Whoopidooings: The hamper I won at the teaparty


For the first time in 20 years I have the house completely to myself for more than an evening. If you disregard a grumpy dog. Roo has gone to Canterbury to stay with Devvie for a few days, Phe has gone to see her Dad and Bear is unexpectedly in Hastings. His Daddy surprised me by whisking him off on Monday so that I can get some project work done and just basically recharge I think. It's been a bit of a bonkers time here and I was losing the plot just a tiny bit. By the time they are all back I will have had two full days and two part days completely. Utterly. On my own. It's weird. It's quiet. It's bloody lovely.

I have gone to bed when I want, I have got up when I want, I have had the bed to myself - apart from aforementioned grumpy dog - I have had my dinners late and there have been no more than one set of dishes at any time. No mountains spontaneously spawning in the sink. I've been wandering out to the workshop as and when I like without someone trailing after me, touching stuff they shouldn't. I've been playing with my new spray paints - getting a wee bit wheeeeeeee  in the process. I'm sat on my pc now having downloaded a trial of Photoshop Elements and can spend as long as I want up here without having to roar down the stairs that I am going to bang heads together if they don't stop squabbling. 

Bliss. Utter, utter bliss.

* Legal disclaimer. Of course I miss the little darlings madly and cannot wait for them to come home and follow me round trailing their mess and carnage as they go. I also really miss their constant whinging, whining and bickering. Of course I do. (Actually - they do give good cuddles.)

I do love them. But this time has been brilliant. I probably haven't got as much done as I should - I have had catnaps during the day and don't feel so tired and cranky even though I still have broken sleep at night. I do feel recharged. 

I was able to spend a whole morning on my business plan and it's now finished! Hurrah! My mentor says she thinks it and my proposal is really good and I should have no problems getting it passed ready for the next stage. Hurrah, hurrah!

So yes, a little bit of solitary confinement has been good for the soul I think. I can remember when I was at school - the first time round - as a class we had to write an essay on what we wanted to be. I wrote two things. Hermit living in a book lined cave with loads of rescued cats or long distance lorry driver but it had to be a sixteen wheeler. (I believe I was obsessed with the films Convoy and Over The Top at the time) Both pretty solitary past times though eh? I also remember my teacher saying "I can always rely on you!" I wasn't sure what she meant at the time but I take it as a compliment when I look back now.

Here Come The Bullet Point Smiles

  • I ate a whole pizza to myself while the kids were away! (I haven't lost weight this week and baby I don't care)
  • I bought a new man jumper and it wasn't even in the sales or from a charity shop. Oh, what a rebel! It's huge, ginormously baggy and comfy and is crochet (I have a thing for black crochet effect jumpers) and I love it. Want to see a picture of it on a man?
    Whoopidooings: Mens crochet jumper bought from ASOS
    Mens crochet jumper - ASOS - Source
    I wear a vest underneath - let me just put that out there. The sleeves come right down past my hands. Snuggly buggly in this Autumnal Summer weather.
  • A surprise present from a very, very naughty friend to keep me organised while at uni. Isn't it beautiful? The black book is a bullet journal, Jack Skellington is actually a beautiful watch and I just love the crow art work too - I'm taking it as a dare to do well! I am. Challenge accepted. She knows me so well.
  • My new spray paints. I'm going to have a go at grafitti style as one of the pieces for my Summer project. I LOVE THEM! But don't have a flaming clue what I'm doing. No change there then. Going to have a go at stencil cutting when PS Elements and I become friends.
    Whoopidooings: First Spray paints - Kobra spray paints
  • I have been sourcing some of the books on my uni Summer reading list. Found a couple in the library, owned one already and good old Amazon used & new has come up trumps. So postie has been bringing me lots of happy mail this week. Well, I say happy, I did feel sorry for him in the torrential rain but he always has a smile on his face so... And OK, yes, the list did say you don't actually have to read them all just those you can get your hands on... they jest of course. You need to buy all the books. Especially if you find them for 1p plus postage... Crikey - no wonder I'm skint this week! When they all show up I'll post my haul. 
That'll do me this week. A little of what I've been watching then - I shall leave you with a bit of Jim Carrey. But not as we know him. I'm not a massive fan of his films, there are a couple I like and I must admit that at first I thought this would be a mickey take. But it's not - it's quite lovely.
Jim Carrey: I Needed Color from JC on Vimeo.

My second share is Glen Campbell. So sad to hear the news this week of his passing. He was part of the soundtrack to my childhood. I went onto Youtube to hear a few favourites and came upon this one that I didn't know. It's beautiful and affected me the same way Hurt by Johnny Cash does. So I apologise if it affects you the same way but thought it was to beautiful not to share.

Thank you for stopping by today - how has your week been?

Rocking My World Friday - The Oops I Did It Again Edition

Artwork by Virginia Hoskings of Celtic House blog - Founder of Rocking Your World Friday
The practise of positive thinking - retraining my brain, one smile at a time.

(TL;DR: Food, food, trains, books, a new camera and oil pastels and the uni Summer Project)

Guess what day it is? Thursday. How much of this post have I written up to now? That's right - none. I've decided it's the kids fault - they need to go back to school already. Blame them. Lets see if I actually can get this written and posted by Friday shall we? Game face ON!

Lady What Lunched... Again!

Crikey this is becoming a bit of a habit! I only went and socialised again. Alright it was with the eldest but I don't see her that often so I reckon it counts. We decided to meet each other roughly half way between the two of us which was Faversham. We both haven't been for years and we decided to have a day hitting the boutiques. (Charity shops.) It was lovely, we walked, we talked, we shopped, we found some bargains. I was particularly chuffed to pick up this ceramic pen pot, originally from Tiger but found at the back of a shelf in the Shelter shop. £2.00! I love the squished up jar shape of it.
Whoopidooings: Charity shop bargain! Tiger Stores ceramic scrunched jar found in a Shelter shop.

We ended up in Wetherspoons, just in time for breakfast. Devvie convinced me to try the Eggs Benedict and we added a bowl of fruit to share between us. It was one of their "under 500cals" meals. We accompanied it with some refillable coffees and ate and chatted and ate and chatted some more. We polished our healthy halo's and then ordered  a squidgy cookie dough cake and ice-cream each! 
Whoopidooings: Wetherspoons Eggs Benedict - Cookie Dough cake & ice-cream

... I tell you what. I lost 2lbs this week! Judge me not! It obviously works ;)

So we ate and chatted and ate and chatted some more! The food was absolutely lush, that Eggs Benedict, so good... never tried it before. Would definitely have it again.  And I don't need to tell you how good the cake was. We were stuffed and groaned our way around the rest of the walking we did.

To top it off. As well as babysitting the kiddo's, when I got home Phe presented me with a cuppa and one of the rice crispy cakes they'd made while I was out.
Whoopidooings: Cuppa and rice crispy cake
Did I mention I lost 2lbs this week? I did!

Public Transport

I've been using the train a lot more over the past few weeks. I've decided that when it's just me travelling it's probably cheaper in the long run when you factor in parking costs... and stress levels. I used to adore driving, it used to be one of my favourite things in the world. Not any more. Drivers round here seem to have got really aggressive and angry lately, they take unnecessary risks, jump lights, cut you off on roundabouts... is it really worth that extra few seconds? I can remember doing Rocking Friday posts where I was champing at the bit to do the drive up to Scotland. Not just the getting to Scotland but I loved the pure act of driving up there, seeing the scenery change, hearing the accents change at the rest stops. The thought fills me with apprehension now. It makes me sad and a bit angry that other people have taken that away.

However, the positive in this is that I have rediscovered train journeys. OK - there is the waiting around and the delays occasionally - particularly on some lines there has been terrible disruption . It probably does take longer in some cases to get where I want. But on the two journeys this week I think there wouldn't have been much difference. Other than I got to sit there and read my books instead of having my eyes everywhere. In fact I nearly missed my stop on the way to see Devvie, I was so into my book. It was a particularly good bit!

Also, where I'm not sleeping well still, it feels a bit safer to take public transport where I can. I am honestly thinking that when the kids are older I will probably be happy to do away with the car - better for the environment too. I'm going to be driving all the time during the week in a month or so - it's nice to have that break. And no - it's not feasible to train to uni. Not if I have to be leaving at lunch time to be sure of getting back for the kids.  It wouldn't be worth my going. I wish I could.

The books? Of course. I'm glad you asked. I finished the Dreams & Shadows one and now am about half way through Heart Shaped Box. Both so good. Thoroughly recommend. Heart Shaped Box nearly made me miss my stop. If anyone wants to read Dreams & Shadows give me a shout, I'll send it on.
Whoopidooings: Books read and reading: Dreams & Shadows C.Robert Cargill - Heart Shaped Box Joe Hill

Naughty Purchases

I finally saved enough for my camera this week! So that was my second train journey and my second socialisation. A friend has been kind enough to do me a good deal. It takes lovely photos, he demonstrated it all and ran through all the functions of the many, many buttons... and I promptly forgot it all the minute I walked away. It no longer takes lovely photos. It mocks me even as I talk to it nicely. However, once again Youtube is coming to my rescue. Amazing what you find when you type in your subject and "for dummies" into Google. There is a whole world out there, uploaded just for me. I do like the chchchchch sound it makes. I might have sung Lady Gaga; Paparazzi while trying to make it work... could be why it mocks me. The machines - they know.

Ain't she purty though?
I have been looking back over old work this week - getting ideas. I found an old index card face I did when I was dabbling in oil pastels. And it made my fingers itchy to try them again. My old original pack is nearly dead so I bought some more. These are my very favourite oil pastels. To be fair I've only tried two brands. These and the uber expensive Sennelier. I do like the Sennelier but, dare I say, I prefer these? These were just under £6.00 for 50 pastels on Amazon. No brainer really. Once you warm them up and work with them a bit they are lovely and smooth and creamy - they blend so well. I still felt naughty buying them after the camera but - in a good way.

This was the old image that made me want to have another go - remember her? 
Carmen Wing - Wide eyed girl portrait in mixed media - predominantly oil pastel & water colour

Summer Project

Today the uni emailed me it's welcome pack, first week timetable and... Summer Project.  We have to complete the Summer Project ready to hand in on induction week. Eight pieces - that's EIGHT pieces of artwork ready to be shown in a pop-up gallery. I may have had a mini meltdown. Alright it was a full blown freak out. A real "what the actual Hell do I think I'm doing?" moment.

But I've calmed down now. I've re-read the brief about 20 times. I think I can do this. I think I can. When it's done I'll upload it all on the arty page. So that'll be about September 11th. I've been advised by a couple of uni friends not to upload before because apparently, sadly, some people do just steal other peoples ideas off the internet. Don't really see the point of that but apparently it's rife. I might do snippets of works in progress on instagram though - that can't hurt.
Whoopidooings: So apparently I'm going to uni - at 40! Yikes. BA in Illustration & Animation here I come!
The screen - the reaction
Oh yeah - and as you can see, it has been so windy I have been cool enough to be back in my paint stained man jumpers. Yeah. Classy. Trend setter. Comfy - that's what I am ;)


I've been recommended a couple of apps this week. Well, one indirectly - I just ran with it. That one was the Peak brain training app (Android, Apple) which Virginia recommended on her Rocking Friday post last week. I am a big fan of brain training games as I think -  I hope -  it helps with my bad memory. Surely anything that keeps your mind active has got to be good right? I also already use another called Lumosity which I really recommend. (Android, Apple) Anyway - I have been enjoying Peak equally as much as Lumosity, so thanks Virginia.

The second is called Twilight (Android,  Don't think it's on Apple, unusually.) and this is one that Devvie recommended to me when we were chatting over lunch and I mentioned my not sleeping. It's an app that filters the blue light emitted on your phone. Description borrowed from the app store:  
Recent research suggests that exposure to blue light before sleep may distort your natural (circadian) rhythm and cause inability to fall asleep.

The cause is the photoreceptor in your eyes, called Melanopsin. This receptor is sensitive to a narrow band of blue light in the 460-480nm range which may suppress Melatonin production - a hormone responsible for your healthy sleep-wake cycles.

In experimental scientific studies it has been shown an average person reading on a tablet or smart phone for a couple of hours before bed time may find their sleep delayed by about an hour.

The Twilight app makes your device screen adapt to the time of the day. It filters the flux of blue light emitted by your phone or tablet after sunset and protects your eyes with a soft and pleasant red filter. The filter intensity is smoothly adjusted to the sun cycle based on your local sunset and sunrise times.

I only remembered to download it last night and it has been interesting to watch the screen start to change from about 8.30pm. It's not a BAM in your face change, it's gradual over the evening. It is more easy on my eyes tonight for sure. However, I did try and edit some photos to add to this post and it kind of makes judging colours when doing that a bit harder. So if my photos look weird - you know why. But so far - I'm hoping it will help. Something has to!

Here's a screenshot of what a Youtube page looks like on my phone with what I am guessing is the full filter on. (It's now 10.30pm) 
Whoopidooings: Example of YouTube page with the Twilight filter app on.

Quickie But Still Appreciated Smiles:

  • Friends that seem to genuinely like me for being me. I sometimes can't fathom why - I don't think I bring much to the table. I feel like such a boring person - I'm not fishing I swear I'm not. It's honest truth. But somehow, somewhere along the way - I seem to have gathered the most amazing little group of friends and I'm not quite sure how it happened. True what they say it's definitely quality over quantity. 
  • Art therapy. I was not in a very good place during the week. So I pulled this canvas down, squirted some paint on and just moved it around with my hands. Added some texture eh? Lost myself for a bit there too.
Carmen Wing - Canvas - textured work in progress
  • Conversations with far away friends that make you laugh out loud. Properly, belly laugh out loud.
  • The internet for enabling such conversations to happen.
  • Talking to the train guard on the station about her unintentional new pet. A butterfly that had moved in two days before and it kept flitting playfully in front of her as she tried to print my tickets.
  • My quilt and my comfy bed. I am so tired, it looks so inviting - I'm hoping that means some shut-eye tonight!
Well, it's pretty much 1am Friday morning now - we did it! I am going to leave you with Savage Garden and also the Song of the Sea soundtrack this week. Thanks for the comments about these videos - am glad you like them. It's just literally what's on the tabs in front of me so I share what I've been listening to or watching :)
Thank you as always, for stopping by :) How has your week been? 

Rocking Your World Friday - The "Oh Crap, I Forgot!" Edition

The practise of positive thinking - retraining my brain, one smile at a time.

Sooo, it is now 11.30pm Thursday night and I have written precisely nothing to post this week! Where have the last seven days gone? Kindly tell me? OK, OK, we can do this - we can get this written and posted before Friday ends! Here we go. I would lean back and crack my knuckles if just the mere thought didn't make me want to vomit... I'll go make tea instead!

(The sub-headings were a hit last week, so they are staying.)

Illustrated London

So Saturday saw me doing a few firsts. These may not seem big things to the majority of grown-ups who do this every day without thinking. But personally, these are big milestones right here. Firstly I travelled up to London on my own, navigated the tube with a big arse giant map like the old street maps - I even walked around a tiny bit of London, got a coffee and perused the Whitechapel Gallery for a little bit, on my own. The art was a little bit over my head, but I did enjoy just mooching around at my own pace. I'm turning into my Mum, I just make comments to random strangers as I'm stood there. I also nearly nutted one of the paintings when leaning in to look at the texture and didn't realise there was a wooden bar on the floor to stop people getting to close, tripped on it and fell forward. Was nearly a very close up view! 

Luckily it was at this point that Sarah and Jay found me. Yes, this was the week that I was being sociable and getting my personal guided tour of what turned out to be a very rainy London. But oh my God what an amazing day. I think Sarah and now Jay are probably the coolest people I know - sorry everyone else, I love you dearly but they are. Their heads are just full up to the top and coming out their ear holes with artist knowledge, where to find it, when they did it, what was there before, where they've been to see other works by the same artists. I'm just like... "well, I love the one who does the birds with skull heads, whatserface, oojamaflip..." (Midge, in case you were wondering.) I wish I could remember things like they do. So the next bit may be image overload - oh, it was a visual feast I tell thee!

I'm actually finding it hard to share a select few photos - this is taking way longer than it should. They were all so good. I'm going to make a Flikr folder so if you want to see all the photos I took, click here. Even then, it's not even half of what we saw.
Whoopidooings: Street Art London July 2017 - My Dog Sighs
So chuffed to see some actual real My Dog Sighs
Whoopidooings: Street Art London July 2017
Gorgeously textured and weathered walls
Whoopidooings: Street Art London July 2017 - Phlegm
A beautiful, detailed and massive Phlegm wall.
I can see why he is Sarah's favourite.
Whoopidooings: Street Art London July 2017 - Shok-1 and ?
Two favourites because they made me laugh. The Top one by SHOK-1  is called Elvis...
Now, this one below is the stand out piece of the day. It was done during an event called Meeting of Styles and is a collaboration between several artists. Seeing it in a picture just does not convey the awe you feel when stood in front of it. That guy, who was a little obsessed with photographing that ball for ages, gives a bit of perspective on size.
whoopidooings: London Street Art - Meeting of Styles 2017 - Nomadic Community Gardens - Artists - XENZ, Tweshone, Rasmus Balstrøm, Jim Vision, Dr Zadok, NEIST
Artists - XENZ, Tweshone, Rasmus Balstrøm, Jim Vision, Dr Zadok, NEIST
If you cant zoom in and out then I urge you to look at the image on my Flikr page where you will be able to zoom in and move around the picture. It's just mind blowing how all these artists worked together to create... well, this! You'll see something different each time. I loved the distant scenery and the tiny birds flitting throughout.

If you would like to see it in real life, it was in a little gem of a place that Sarah and Jay took me to called the Nomadic Community Gardens. brilliant place - so nice to see something like that in an area where I suspect any free space is at a premium.

One last art picture, this one was in a coffee shop and we almost walked past till Sarah remembered it was there and took me in, goes to show how similar our tastes are. I adore it and would love to know who the artist is so I can see more of their work. If you know - drop me a comment below please? Found the artist after much googling - it's Word To Mother and ALL his stuff is amazing!
Whoopidooings: London Street Art - Spotted in a cafe - artists unknown. Please drop me a comment if you know who it is, I LOVE IT!
Word To Mother
I got off the tube at noon and I got back on my train home at 7.30pm. The time spent inbetween was constant walking and drooling. It flew past, I couldn't believe it when Sarah told me the time. Even factoring in that the rain, by the end was literally running down my back, it wasn't cold and the company and scenery was fantastic. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Thank you, both.

Happy Faces...

Whoopidooings: Before and after the rain - Sarah Harris aka The Lost Dogs & Carmen Wing aka Whoopidoo
Before the rain and after - Sheltering from the rain :)
This definitely made me smile - Whenever I'm in London, I love to partake of a pasty from the West Cornwall Pasty Co stand on Victoria station. Mmmmm.  This, along with probably the biggest cup of coffee I've ever seen, definitely revived me on the train journey home.
Whoopidooings: Yummy scrumptious West Cornwall Pasty Co - Cheese & Onion pasty
Salty, delicious cheese & onion in case you're wondering.
Who am I kidding? The train hadn't even left the station and this was all gone! Cor blimey - it was good!

Self-employment Progress...

Well, there is some. Progress that is. I've half completed my business plan, fully completed and submitted a personal cash flow forecast and have still to do some other maths (urgh) related paperwork. The paperwork, I feel like I'm just repeating myself  but my 'business broker' (I prefer mentor so that's what I'm calling her) seems to think it's all going well. Apparently my tendency to waffle and expand on things is helping me on this occasion. Her words were that I'm "going to be a doddle." So that can only be good, right?

I have another appointment with the Job Centre chap next week and her again the week after and then the workshops start. She reckons I will be up and running by October. By that I think she means without her involvement - unless I need her. Yikes.

This adulting is flipping scary stuff - and it all seems to be happening around the same time - uni in September and my own boss by October. Sheesh!

Slight pause there to go make a calming cup of tea. Yes I know millions of people do this stuff every day. I do have moments of panic and massive self-doubt. Only moments, don't all jump on me for being a Negative Nelly. 100% will work my bum off to make this all work. But crikey - there's moments when I'm quaking in my size 9's.

I think it's the time element that is scaring me more than anything. Knowing where I have to be and when. Leaving uni at lunchtime every day to be back in time for school pick up, getting work not done at uni done at home, doing the self employment side of things inbetween it all and doing that well so that it sustains us... Making the most of uni, progressing and getting better. I hope I can do it. I do know I have an amazing network of support.

Some Quickie Smiles: 

  • The diary bought from Poundland last week has been brilliant for aforementioned planning and knowing where to be and when. Making much use of it. 
  • Sarah loaned me two Doctor Strange graphic novels. Whoop! Getting those read before I watch the Benedict Cumberbatch film.
  • Cooler weather - I'll take the rain... I got the little Bear out of bed to see a rainbow the other night :)
  • My workshop/studio/garage - it's finally getting used lots!
  • Danish Blue cheese on malt loaf! Joy on a plate.
Apologies for the picture, it was dark. What? It's not weird to eat blue cheese on malt loaf in the dark while binge watching NCIS! Shut up!

  • Catching up on my reading while on the train up to London. 
  • Instagram chats
This week I shall leave you with Blue October. This is one of my favourites at the moment. I enjoy singing it dramatically to Roo, complete with exaggerated breathing, wide eyes and deep voice. She hates the song. I love it. I am a wonderful mother. I will say, singing the song the same way quite loudly, alone, in a parked car at a petrol station and not realising that a) your window is open and b) there is a police car next to yours also with their window open... Well lets just say the police in my area have a sense of humour. (I happened to be at the clutching my chest,  heavy breathing and crazy eyes part when I turned and noticed them there. Um...)

Thanks for stopping by today - didn't quite make posting on Friday... but Saturday afternoon isn't so bad :) How has your week been?

Rocking Your World Friday - The Easier Layout Edition

Whoopidooings: Rocking Your World Friday - Art by Virginia Hoskings
The practise of positive thinking - retraining my brain, one smile at a time.

(TL;DR: Self employment update, thinking about a new blog, a graduation, a book and smiles) 

Hello - how have you been this week? I've been a little all over the place. Nothing new there you might say. I have been really tired, which has made me really... odd feeling. Still not sleeping well, though thank you for all the advice and tips I received in my inbox about that. That was a pleasant surprise - as a result I am looking into mindfulness and breathing techniques.

Mentorship Meanderings...

What's happened thus far? Well I had the appointment with  the self employment mentor and after working myself up into a right old state, am now on the program. So had nothing to worry about. She is lovely and she seems to like my plan of action. I don't know why I stress like I do. It's anything remotely exam-like or testing. I should do way better but I get so worked up and then fluff it through nerves, not lack of knowledge - or my memory lets me down. But I went armed with a notepad of bullet points so I was all good there. In your face, saboteur brain . I now have four full day entrepreneur/employment workshops over the next two months. Apparently the tutor is a psychologist so gets into all the nitty gritty of running a business and the money side of things - which is what I need. I have the idea - I don't know how to extract the cash ;) Looking forward to it.

Graduation Day...

A certain little Bear "graduated" from nursery this week. Next step - big school. He's been placed in the same class as his little friend group so he is really pleased and seems to like his new teacher. The nursery held a graduation ceremony which was really lovely. The same teacher has taught three of my kids and knows the eldest as well. At the last parents chat I told her I was going on to uni and starting a career of my own. When Bear finally leaves this school altogether I will have been walking to and fro that place for 20 years! She said that will have been the length of her career there! Madness.

I am so grateful to this school for so many reasons. They recently got Outstanding from Ofsted but they have always been that to me. Teachers both past and present have gone above and beyond what they are paid to do and I'll always be thankful. It's actually one of the few reasons I have never moved away.
whoopidooings: RYWF - Bear graduation

So, About That New Blog...

I've been looking into setting up another blog - yes, that old chestnut again. Hear me out though. I've been reading up about this self employment malarkey. And when Cam reads up on things that means questions aren't far behind. So, to all those that have been at the brunt of my pester power this week - thank you for your patience and your advice. Some online advice is to keep personal blogs mixed in with your arty stuff - people like to feel they are getting to know the artiste. Thus buying a piece of you as well as art. Not sure how I feel about that... I understand it - I follow enough artists and illustrators myself, I like getting a peek into their lives. Not sure how I feel about it being me.

Others advise to have a blog - kind of portfolio style, which is more professional. Should agencies *guffaws loudly* come looking. I get that. I know I have no filter and this blog offers way more than a peek into my life. I don't want to stop these kind of posts - they really do retrain my brain... and I feel like I'm talking with friends. Which, judging by the messages I get - thank you - for the most part, I am. I've said it before, I'll say it again. Most of the people I consider my very best friends were met via Blogland. But of course, other people who come via Pinterest or however else they find me, probably don't want to be sifting through my mind dumps to find the arty stuff. Separating the two and giving the option to come and read the ramblings instead of them being front and foremost... is kind of making sense to me.

So, this is a positive. I promise, not just a ramble. The first for my pester power victims. Gotta love you putting up with the "yes but what if..." questions I throw at you. Second, dusting off the rusty (very basic) html knowledge and having a play around is really getting my brain saying "what the actual flip are you doing woman?" Been all week, all week trying to figure out websites, wordpress, wordpress templates, free vs paid blahblahblahblahblah... (Oh I love it, you know I love the research! That isn't even sarcasm - that is the sad truth.)

Youtube has been my best friend this week. So much gratitude for the free tutorials on there. So much! And also you may notice I am dabbling with sub-headings. Breaks the text up when you are a rampant waffler don't you know. Oh yes indeed, I can now drone on even longer because I have broken it down for you. With sub-headings! Don't say I'm not good to you.  What do you think? Does it help?

I'll link to the new blog when it's up and running. At the moment it is still in pieces, bare bones, scattered everywhere. Me sat in the middle going "why? WHY?" I am a bit worried about building up followers again - has to be said. But hopefully, fingers crossed, it will be a case of build it and they will come.

Mandatory Book Mention

Book bargain of the week is this beauty. Found in the RSPCA charity shop and priced at a mere shiny £1.
whoopidooings: RYWF - Book purchase - Collins British Birds by John Gooders, Terence Lambert
Just look at the gorgeous illustrations inside - every page is popping with full colour paintings or beautiful line work. It fell open at the crow pages when I picked it up. You know what that is don't you? That's a sign - it was meant to be mine.
whoopidooings: RYWF - Book purchase - Collins British Birds by John Gooders, Terence Lambert

Some More Smiles...
  • Meeting up with two friends from my Access course. We haven't seen each other since the course finished a year ago! It doesn't seem possible. They both went on to their different degrees and I of course deferred till Bear finished nursery, started my English GCSE instead. We haven't had the time to see each other but this week just decided to do it. We were ladies wot lunched! It was fab, like we had just seen each other yesterday. We set the world to rights and talked of all things... but mainly arty stuff. That was so much fun! We've decided if nothing else we will definitely meet up yearly. Oh what news will there be next year!?
  • My lovely neighbour offering to bring me over a pot of tea during a power cut. Apparently my tea addiction precedes me. Luckily we were only off for about an hour so there was no need. Though if you'd heard the cheers and thunder of feet as the kids ran up to my PC, you'd think they'd been without internet for days!
  • A lovely friend sending me this cool postcard and back to school ephemera package because it was "Carmenish." I love that! Carmenish... code for weird? Creepy? I loved the package and the contents so much. But equally I just love that someone could look at something and it make them think of me - especially this kind of thing. Yeah - I actually am saying that I think it's cool decomposing skulls trigger thoughts of moi. Massive smiles.
whoopidooings: Creepy ephemera from Notes on Paper via Etsy.
  • The weather cooling enough (albeit for just one day) to allow me to wear a baggy oversized man jumper. They are my snuggly comfort blankets. I don't care what they look like. They don't even belong to a man - I lurk in the mens section just waiting to spot a reduced bargain and then I buy them up. I would say my winter jumpers are probably 80% mens jumpers... so are my shoes. Why should they have all the best designs? My jeans too - about 50% ...  My socks are 100% mens  but that comes with the giant feet. I'm waffling now. I'll stop. Suffice to say - I like mens clothes - especially jumpers! And socks. And shoes.
  • An amazing thunder and lightning storm - being in the attic makes it feel like I'm in the middle of it all!
  • Poundland for their Back to School range. Got a small diary to help me keep a track of where I need to be and when in September... and in life, generally! Going to put all my calendar bits in there. I will beat you, cursed memory! Also got a humongous pencil case which will be great for carrying paint brushes and paint pens. Lovely jubbly.
  • My bank writing to me to let me know they have reduced my overdraft through lack of use. This one is actually huge. When I was younger I got into a lot of debt. Through really bad life choices and bad money management - I actually lost my house. Over time and with a lot of support (I can't stress how much) I became debt free. It took a long time. If I want something now I save for it and I save hard. I don't use credit - the exception being my student loan. But that's to help me actually get on the career ladder finally. I have now been managing my finances completely on my own for the last year and a half. And the bank has reduced my overdraft through lack of use. I can't believe it. I'm so happy. So, so happy.
On a side note - you would be amazed at how many credit card applications are coming through my door recently - I don't know if it's anything to do with becoming a student. I shred them all. There needs to be better education in schools about this sort of thing.
  • ASDA for their always quirky and unusual homewares. I was shopping for teacher gifts for the kids and this accidentally leapt into the basket for my studio. Could it be any more me?  Only £2 as well, you can buy a whole set as a dinner service but I would be to scared to eat off it for fear of scratching it. I love having this little pretty out in the workshop though.
Whoopidooings: RYWF - Beautiful illustrated Forest porcelain plate from ASDA

And Finally...

Something a bit different for you this week. I think it's down to my increasing obsession with Pans Labyrinth but I fell down a bit of a lullaby wormhole on Youtube. I started off with my usual listen to the soundtrack, then I listened to the amazing Song of the Sea lullaby. I discovered this film last year while researching selkies. Now one of my all time favourite films not only outstandingly beautiful in it's own right, both visually and musically, but it also introduced me to the illustrator Amélie Fléchais. There were a loads more songs in-between, Enya, Enigma and Era all snuck in - bit of Bing Crosby... Slim Whitman, blimey I've listened to them all this week!  But the one I keep coming back to time and again is the one below. Mademoiselle Noir. I defy you not to feel something when you watch it.

Thank you for stopping by today - how has your week been?

Rocking My World Friday - What's New Pussycat?

Rocking Your World Friday - Art by Virginia Hoskings
The practise of positive thinking - retraining the brain, one smile at a time.

(TL;DR: Phobic friendly pressie, Tom Jones and foraging fun)

Hello you. Eurgh. I didn't start writing this post until Monday night. Already I am regretting not starting straight away on Saturday, immediately after the last one. So much easier to write each evening than in a big block like this. Memo to self - don't do it again. It's been to damn hot and also I've been busy - that's a good thing though - right? Nah - am so worried for September! That's going to be chaos - so much chaos! Total utter freak out time!

Here we go - I need to set up this first smile with a little back story. Otherwise it's going to seem like someone massively insulted me when in fact it was quite the opposite. I can't remember if I've ever talked about this phobia. This one started when I was a teen, involving someone sitting behind me on a very jerky bus ride home from my youth training scheme. From that day to this I have had a very real phobia that I smell. This one particular smell. I have a problem with being to hot anyway (I know, I hide it well.) The heat thing is probably from growing up in Scotland - used to a cooler climate. However, as well as not liking being to hot - I really hate to sweat. Because sweat smells and links into this particular phobia. It got so bad at one point when I was younger, pre-children, that I was having up to 4 baths a day. One in the morning, one when I got home from work, one if I was going out and another when I got home again. That was the height of it. I am nowhere near as bad now, I have it under control these days. As long as no-one tampers with the way I make myself smell. The fragrances that give me comfort in the knowledge that if I do whiff it's of ice-cream and cupcakes. (So I've been told. By little children and random strangers who sniff me in the bank queue.) I have favourite combinations, my morning and afternoon rituals, as long as I can wear them, I have my anti-pong armour on. I'm fine.

Till maybe a company decides to discontinue one of said scents. A scent that constantly sells out I might add. Who does that? What marketing genius stops a line that is always selling out? One that should have their arse FIRED, that's who! I'm looking at you Impulse people. One of my daily scents is no more. I have messaged the Impulse people, very nice they were in suggesting one of their other beautiful aromas. *Insert crazed laughing and eye twitch* I replied that it wasn't the same. (IT'S NOT THE SAME! MUSK IS NOT VANILLA!!) And that I would be trying to buy up all their extra stock to tide me over until they realised their monumental mistake. They were very helpful, going to pass my concerns on in the hope that maybe there would be a reconsideration in the future. (And maybe to stop the crazy lady messaging them, now I think about it.)

I have been trawling the internet trying to find stocks at affordable prices because, obviously now that it's discontinued, people are charging crazy prices. Now, to my big cheesy smile. A parcel arrived, from a company I had found with limited stock. I'd ordered some last week and was hoping they would still have some in a week or two when I could afford to buy some more. But I hadn't ordered this box. There were 25 bottles of Impulse Vanilla Kisses inside. TWENTY FIVE!
Whoopidooings: RMWF Impulse Vanilla Kisses
*Angels choir*
Very long story cut not very short -- It transpired to be a very thoughtful gift from someone who knows me and my quirks all to well. I was seriously freaking out about this being discontinued, no lie. I know it's silly - I do know that. So, instead of this person laughing or making fun, which I kind of expected - they did this. I can honestly say this is one of the nicest gifts and most thoughtful gestures ever received. All safely tucked away and on ration. Thank you x
On Saturday we went to see this bloke...
Whoopidooings: RYWF - Tom Jones Canterbury
And let me tell you he blew our socks off! What an amazing, amazing performer! It was actually Devvie's idea to go! I'm so glad we did. He was one of Mums favourite singers and she would have loved it. The crowd was a real mix of ages. Devvie came back from a toilet break a little traumatised at seeing some "older" people getting a bit frisky. (Sorry, am sat here laughing as I type - just her face. Oh dear.) Safe to say - he's still got it. He was still having knickers lobbed at the stage and we were all up belting out the songs with him. Absolutely fantastic night.
Whoopidooings: RYWF - Tom Jones Canterbury
The support act was Into The Ark, the group he mentored on The Voice and they were really good too. Loved hearing it in the open air as well, have only been to one other open air concert and that was at Leeds Castle years ago when we took my Mum to see Pavarotti. She had growled at me and my friend to behave when Ole Sole Mio came on. We had inhaled deeply, ready to belt out the cornetto version and she cut us off before we could utter a peep. Flaming cheek. I had great pleasure in singing "he's only gone and had his weetabix" to Delilah on Saturday. Knowing full well she was up there, on a thundercloud, itching to slap me. Teehee. I did nearly face-plant the pavement on the way back to the car. It could've been the dodgy slabs... Or it could have been celestial revenge... Who knows.
"Get the stage in Devvie!"
I never knew they did shows at this ground and it's one of the most organised I've been to. Roads surrounding the area were closed at the end to aid people leaving. There were people with loud hailers directing where to go. It was really reasonably priced for tickets - around £45ish each. These days - that's cheap. We only paid £1 parking at the local park & ride and that included a bus to the ground and back - though it was mobbed on the way back so we walked the short distance to the car park. I will definitely be keeping an eye on their listings in future.
We found a blackberry bush laden down with fruity treasure!
Can't tell you how many a certain little Bear scoffed, more than went in his tub that's for sure!
  • Listening to Your Creative Push Podcasts. Discovered via Instagram a while ago. Different creatives - illustrators, fine artists, photographers, musicians etc giving interviews on how to be the best you can be. 'Tis really good. 
  • This plant...  Look at the bloom - doesn't it have the air of smug arrogance? Take that urbanisation. Laughing in the face of concrete. Nature win.
  • I'm not a fan of icepoles generally but I have now discovered Tip Top Freezepops! Their Pear Drops and Kola Kube flavours! Oh my! Taste of my childhood in ice form. Absolutely delish. And refreshing too. Yum! Icelands - £1 a box. Bit of a reviving saviour this week.

  • It's Tuesday night now and it's raining. the air smells lovely and the breeze coming in my window is sublime.
  • I've just realised I can smell the rainy air! Have developed hayfever this year (I know! At 40!) It's showing in the form of a loss of my sense of smell and sometimes taste and a bit of a cough. When I do get wafts break through it's a lovely surprise! (As long as it's a nice waft!)
  • Youtube for all the music and tutorials - I use it a lot and it should really feature every week. It really helps me discover new artists both musically and artistically and also allows me to go on long nostalgia trips. Couldn't do it if I had to buy the CD's (am so not a digital download girl!) BUT in saying that it also helps me decide what to spend those pennies on when I am buying new music. Am slowly getting all of Blue Octobers back catalogue of CD's. Where did I discover them? YouTube. I wont tell you how any books have been added to my wishlist because of reviews on there. You don't want to know.
I'm taking part in a seven day free challenge run by Amira Rahim to help people get the most out of instagram. At the time of writing this I'm only on day two but am already getting more out of it than just improving my instagram feed. Thinking about what our favourite tools and materials are and thinking how to share this in a picture... I already know that I'm a flutterbye creatively - I fall in love and am distracted so easily. Ink drawings, realistic, cartoon style, clean lines, messy - print - lino carving, watercolour (oh how I want to master watercolour... you mysterious medium, you.) Thinking about this today - I don't think I'm ever happier than when it's just me and the paint. No brushes, hands in there, smooshing it about, pushing it into the textured areas and just seeing what happens.
Whoopidooings: RYWF - Artists Hands
*Happy sigh*
No matter how I admire other peoples styles... I'm coming to realise that I am Grunge with a capital G. Usually with a creepy folkloric element.  And maybe I should just embrace that - is this me realising who I am creatively? Do I carry on experimenting with other styles? I'll probably have to at uni anyway - it's a ponder moment for sure. In a good way though. Another ponder moment - when you try and be girly for the first time in a while and put clear nail varnish on... And then you go scrunching your hands through mounds of acrylic, squeezing it through your fingers... when that acrylic then has some kind of reaction with the nail varnish and welds itself to your nails... Um... What do you do when you have an appointment with the employment mentor the next day? Any advice? I should not do the girly stuff - it never goes well. As in art, so in life - grunge!

*edit* It's OK, it's all good. I am now onto the next phase of the self employment ladder. I have been put forward for the program and by my next meeting I will have completed a business plan and financial forecast and I'm going on 4 full day business workshops. (I'm adulting! It's flipping scary stuff! But exciting!)

This week I've gone back to George Ezra. Look - I have limited CD's in my car and he has a gorgeous, gorgeous voice. Leave me be... I leave you with this one - sorry George the video is rubbish and doesn't fit the song. But the song... I might have had that on repeat this week. Just maybe.

Thanks for stopping by today - how has your week been?