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Obligatory ‘my blog has moved’ post which I probably should have done a few months back

11 Feb

Hey there

So I think that might have been an article going viral? I’m not sure – my husband asked how many view is going viral, and I think maybe 16k unique views in two days might qualify

I’ve moderated all your comments, and I thank you for all of them – yes even the ones telling me I’m wrong.

That post was never written as an ‘I am right, this is what to do’ post – my posts are merely collections of thoughts about what’s happening in my life. I’ve never had a blogpost viewed by more than 50 people before, so I’m overwhelmed and a bit weirded out.

I also don’t really blog here any more. All  my blogposts were migrated to my new website, so that article also appears there, and hasn’t been viewed nearly as many times. C’est la vie

If you’ve enjoyed reading here, why not follow on the newer website where there will be more updates, and you can read stuff that doesn’t appear here.

Thanks again for joining in


Keep your eyes on your own plate

11 Jan


Here’s a useful thought for the holidays as we get together with friends and family over food and drinks: other peoples’ food choices aren’t your business. Unless people ask your advice, keep your food judgements to yourself. I mean best yet, don’t make them, but if you make them, no need to share.

You just can’t assume you know what choices people are making or why they’re making them. It’s wrong to assume everyone is trying to “be good” over the holidays.

A parent I’m friends with on Facebook talked about teaching her children the “keep your eyes on your own plate” rule. That’s an important lesson for adults too.

Ragen Chastain
has a broader principle, not just about food, but about other people’s life choices generally. She dubs it the “underpants rule.” You’re the boss of your own underpants and that includes what goes on your plate.

Here Pesky…

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We’ve moved!

13 Mar


If you are still following this blog, I should tell you that we’ve moved! All the old posts have been transferred so if you need to find an old post, you still can, and all new posts will now be posted here

So please follow us there if you’ve been enjoying the blog here. Looking forward to your comments!

My teenage self loves the 30-something me

2 Jan

The other day I realised I have befriended not one, but THREE of my teenage idols on Facebook. Not only that, but they all know who I am, and respond to me when I talk to them. I am astonished this has happened – it’s possibly like you becoming chums with Keanu Reeves or Leonardo DiCaprio – I have no idea, at the age of 15-19 I was all about small zines and weird little comics

3. Joseph Champniss

Joseph did the illustrations on The Organ Gang on ‘This Morning with Richard Not Judy’, but I knew him before then as we were both contributors to ‘The Zine’, a mainstream magazine which attempted to behave like a fanzine. I had a conversation with one of the editors over the phone at the age of 15 as they wanted to let me know they hadn’t meant to publish my poem with my article (I specifically asked them not to publish them together as I didn’t want the subject of the poem to know how much he affected me.)

What I had on my wall

2. Lucy Sweet

Lucy wrote ‘Unskinny’, the first thing I’d ever read where you could be FAT and it didn’t matter. She talked about shops where jacket potatoes had ‘THIS MUCH BUTTER’ and I leant Unskinny to so many people I no longer have a full collection. I hate this fact, but I do still have the book she published. It’s a constant source of amazement that Lucy even knows who I am, let alone replies to me and laughs at what I say.

What I had on my wall

well not this exact cartoon, but it was from this story line. Hard to remember a time when I hadn’t heard of Ikea, but yes! I thought the names were funny! I was impressed by future husband living a five minute drive from one!!

1. Ralph Kidson

AH RALPH – I always thought we would get married. I even sent a marriage proposal to him, and Envelope opened it and replied, which became a strip in his comic. I had a custom cartoon of me as an elastic band, which is STILL framed in my bedroom. My husband, Ian, knows who ‘Ralphie’ is and doesn’t understand the humour, but lets us get on with it. He’s my husband from another dimension.

Ralph’s best characters were Envelope and Stick – Envelope being a stupid, irrational envelope and Stick a more intelligent and rational stick. It’s impossible to tell you all how much I loved Envelope and Stick.

What I had on my wall

Apart from the elastic band cartoon, I had this one. It makes me laugh so much, still to this day, which is why I think Ralph is my husband from another dimension

Vau Vau Fashion show Part ll: Fashion Circus

26 Sep


Those of you who have been following this blog, or my work in general, for a while might have already heard about Vau Vau fashion show. The last one was a great experience and this one promises to be bigger and better with more thought put into every aspect.
Following what has been described as ‘an evening of inspiration,’ Vau Vau is back by style demand and invites you to Part II: Fashion CircusSet in the picturesque Left Bank Church, guests are welcomed to a celebration in honour of all things fashion, and to a presentation party featuring the best of independent Northern talent.
Organised by Toria BrightsideIn partnership with and Urban Coco Magazine, Vau Vau includes:

– A warm welcome onto our runway for special guest Alysha Nett
– Complimentary goodie bags for the first 100 guests
– A runway show featuring award winning designers

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Paper bead making

9 Aug

I’ve been making paper beads for the last couple of months – it started because I wanted to find a cheap, simple activity to teach at a workshop, and has since developed into just me making beads because it’s easy, basically free, and I love seeing the results. I haven’t done ANYTHING with them yet, I just have a box full.

Amy taught me to make them in the first place – and also told me you can find amazing tutorials online to make more and more complicated beads. It’s basically one of those crafts which is as easy or as difficult as you want it to be, and practice only makes you better.

So it’s my craft of the week this week, and here’s how you do it. I highly recommends trying it with children, because they can then be used another day to make jewellery with. I’m going to try and make pictures out of them eventually, so I’ll share the results when I manage that…



  • Paper – the best stuff to use is matt paper, and nothing too thick. I used a Charlie & Lola comic (is there nothing you can’t do with them?)
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • A stick of some sort – I use a wooden bamboo skewer, but a knitting needle would work. Be careful it’s not sharp if doing this with children!
  • Glue stick – you might be tempted to use another sort of glue, but I really wouldn’t recommend it to start with.

NB I don’t use the ruler, pencil and scissors any more – I cut multiple sheets of paper into the right shape using my guillotine – once you get more confident I highly recommend buying a guillotine if you work with paper a lot.  I got mine here on eBay and it’s paid for itself in time alone.


  1. First, you need to make your paper into triangles. This is what your pencil, ruler and scissors are for.  The easiest way is to measure 2cm intervals on the bottom of the sheet of paper, and then measure 2cm intervals on the top, starting 1cm in. Then you join them up at angles.This image from shows this method with 3cm intervals, but you can make it any size you like.
  2. Once you have triangles, however you want to make them, it’s time to start.paperbeads2
  3. Start by putting the wider edge against the stick, and flip it a couple of times using the stick. I’m finding this impossible to explain, but basically you want to get the end of the paper starting to roll, a bit like you do if you’re curling wrapping ribbon.
  4. Next keep rolling the paper tightly around the stick. This is probably the hardest thing to get right – at first the paper will be very loose, and keep flipping off, or it won’t roll straight and you keep getting weird shaped beads. KEEP AT IT. Some of these mistakes are my favourite beads anyway, but if you keep practising, they become more neat.paperbeads4
  5. When you get a couple of inches from the pointy end, stop rolling. Put the paper onto something you don’t mind getting dirty, and swipe the glue stick over the paper that’s left.paperbeads5
  6. Carry on rolling up, until you’ve used all the paper. Make sure it’s all straightly rolled, and press the pointed bit down hard. Then sort of roll the bead and make sure all the paper is stuck down and you’re happy with it.paperbeads6
  7. Leave it for a second or two, then take it carefully off the stick, and leave to dry completely.paperbeads7
  8. You can then varnish it if you like, but I’ve left mine all unvarnished as I’m not sure what fate awaits them yet.paperbeads8

I’d love to see what you come up with! Have a look online for other tutorials, as they’ll show different shapes of triangles. Make them as wide, or as narrow as you like, one sided for cones, square edges for tubes…


25 Jul

I met someone called Lawrence last week – he came to pick up Ian’s old wheelchair to use it for some robot project Emma is doing, which we had a brief chat about. One thing he said in passing really stuck with me though, and I’ve been formulating this blog post in my head ever since.

Lawrence said he did a workshop with some adults, and in order for them to get involved, he had to sort of cover up the fact that they were playing. They didn’t want to engage in an activity which wasn’t productive, so he didn’t refer to it as playful, even though it was.

It reminded me of how children are treated, and how in order to get them to do anything we usually cover up the learning factor, and present it as playing – in order to get children to read, we have books with pictures, we learn songs with counting aspects to learn to count.

But where does the switch come? When does it happen that we no longer want to play, but we want to be productive? Does that ever happen, or are we forced into it?

At school, playtime is built into school hours, not just to give children a break from working, but also because it’s important for children to socialise – I often hear friends with young children saying they’re sending them to nursery for this very reason. Children need to build friendships in order to become social creatures, and in doing so they become better prepared for life as an adult.

Another friend told me how she was berated at work for ‘chatting when she should be working’ – the fact she works in social media, and was talking to a client was seemingly ignored by her boss, who presumably thought she was having too much fun (you’ll be glad to know she’s left that job now). Building a relationship with clients by being friendly and engaging is exactly what playtime at school was preparing her for, and yet it wasn’t being valued by her boss.

When I worked in an office as a temp, the health and safety notes told me to take ten minutes away from my desk every hour – it didn’t say what to do, but colleagues would often used the time to have a smoke break or go to the toilet. I didn’t smoke at the time, so I’d usually wander outside and sit somewhere writing or drawing. This didn’t really go down very well, but I never understood why. The smokers weren’t told not to smoke, and as long as I got the work done, did it matter if I doodled for ten minutes?

Children have playtime scheduled into their working day, and it’s seen as a vital part of their development, but once you get a job, it’s frivolous to play, almost as if adults don’t develop beyond the age of 18. However, we continually develop, and we should be allowed to do so, otherwise we stagnate.

I firmly believe that having a creative break away from work will make employees more productive in the long run, because they will be allowed to develop and grow, as well as being happier in their working hours. I understand that some jobs mean it’s difficult to have a ten minute break at all, let alone once an hour, but it doesn’t mean you should just work through whatever break you manage to get.

There is a tendency to think, ‘it’s only ten minutes, what can I do in that time?’ – well, I’m going to give you some ideas. In the next few weeks, I’m going to time myself doing creative things, and see what it’s possible to do in ten minutes. If it persuades just one person does something creative in their tea break instead of reading Grazia*, then it’s worth it.

* other brain rotting** magazines are available
** the opinions of Pesky are not necessarily*** correct
*** usually