⟢ THE CELEBRITY SEAL OF APPROVAL ⟣
Following Brad Pitt's Golden Globe win earlier this month, I shared my Inglourious Basterds illustration on Instagram - which you can buy a limited edition print of, at A3 size and in super high-quality, by clicking here. This drawing features Brad Pitt alongside B.J. Novak during the final scene of Tarantino's 2009 movie. Fans know it as the last, striking shot of the film, just before the credits start rolling. Much to my surprise, notifications suddenly bombarded my phone as the likes started sky-rocketing. I knew something was up. As it turns out, someone had kindly tagged Novak (@picturesoftext) in the comment section and he actually responded?!
B.J. Novak has liked that same drawing of mine when I posted it on Instagram in the past, but I was so taken aback to see my work on his Instagram Story, captioned: 'Definitely my favorite picture of Brad Pitt'. In all honestly, I sobbed a little bit on my living room rug after rushing downstairs and gathering my family and my boyfriend to share the news; I could barely get the words out of my mouth. The 8th of January will certainly go down in my books as a lucky day.
⟢ MEET MY NEW PUP ⟣
On the 20th of January, after spending the day puppy-proofing and cleaning, she became the newest addition to our family at around 5PM. A chestnut-coloured cross-breed, her mother was a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and her father a Toy Poodle; so she looks just like a teddy bear. Wrapped in a blue blanket at 10 weeks-old, she took a car journey to her new home and, naturally, she was slightly shaken to arrive in her new surroundings. In no absolutely time, she came to greet us all with happy tail-wags.
Ruby has been with us for one week now and I am so happy to share that she is doing amazingly well. Growing into a happy and confident puppy, she is becoming really curious about our home. Being rather food-driven, she is proving easy to train. She is so responsive to commands and she is learning to use the puppy mats; she even entertains herself with her toys. Because we have been laser-focused on making her feel safe and comfortable during her first week, she has had company downstairs at bed-time.
It is so amazing to see her learning to become more independent though. Ruby is still too young for her first walk but, since she's in her prime for socialisation, we've been exposing her to all kinds of brand-new experiences. So, she has met plenty of visitors to our house, including a young toddler and another dog with whom she did great. She has since met the hoover (which she is not a fan of) and the exercise bike - and she's doing incredible! Watch your fingers and toes though, Ruby is teething right now.
⟢ A CHECKLIST FOR CELEBRATING! ⟣
With so many of you itching to feel festive this year, I sold lots of my brand-new Christmas Countdown lists. These jam-packed checklists included 42 family-friendly activities to do during the most wonderful time of the year. Why? Well, my lists had a clear Christmas message. Each one personalised for individual children, they were written and designed mindfully. Most of the activities centred around spending quality time together, encouraging imagination and kindness, and they were budget-friendly for parents!
Being the big kid that I am, I saved one for myself. While all 42 activities don't apply to adults (like writing a thoughtful letter to Santa Claus), I substituted those suggestions for other must-do activities, like shopping with friends, enjoying festive dates with my boyfriend and finding cute, cosy places to have a drink!
⟢ TIMELESS TRADITIONS ⟣
As the great thinker Ferris Bueller once said, 'Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.'
Age is just a number! No matter how old you are, December is the month of excitement - so why not make the most of it? After all, everyone loves to unwrap a gift, sit down for a hot dinner, and we all cross our fingers to wake up to that white flurry of snow! From my official Christmas Countdown list, I managed to cross off 24 activities. Some of them simply went without saying, I enjoy making hot chocolate with marshmallows every year and I always decorate the Christmas tree - but trying my hand at festive baking and going to a Christmas lights display were totally new to me, and that's not all...
⟢ FINISHING THE DECADE WITH A BANG ⟣
So, with the aid of my Christmas Countdown list, I was fully inspired to celebrate the final bit of the decade wholeheartedly. What did I get up to? Tons! Black Friday shopping ended with seeing Last Christmas at the cinema with my friend. The decorations were put up promptly on the 1st of December. Date night saw my boyfriend and I wrap up warm for a winter walk around the park, and we were blown away by our local lights display! It was truly magical. Cut to gift-wrapping to Christmas tunes, watching Jacqueline win I'm A Celebrity, and then going for a drink in a toasty tipi with a fire pit and live music.
Mid-month, we ventured out to Durham for a chilly walk and to light candles in the spectacular cathedral. I snuggled up for a pyjama day and watched loads of my festive favourites, and we put on The Nightmare Before Christmas which I had never seen before! By the winter solstice, the family celebrations began with many gift exchanges and house parties. We enjoyed not one, not two... not even three, but four family games nights in between Christmas and New Year. And as the festive season unwinds, my boyfriend and I went on a cinema date to see Jumanji: The Next Level yesterday which was absolutely brilliant! Christmas well spent? I think so.
Did you enjoy your Christmas Countdown list too? Would you like to see me create more of these action-packed bucket lists for the year ahead? For adults as well as kids? Let's make 2020 bigger and better. Happy New Year to all!
I don't know about you but eye strain is the bane of my life. That's the curse of spending your days between typing on a keyboard, staring into a computer screen, and pencilling teeny-weeny details onto a piece of paper for hours on end. At this rate, I should be a contender for the world championships of staring contests but instead I'm just a girl with headaches.
Scrolling through Instagram, I'd seen all the ads for blue-light blocking glasses but, for a while at least, I assumed that they'd work as well as those weight-loss shakes and juice cleanses. But every time I found myself feeling as though my eyes had dried up as much as SpongeBob in that one weird episode, I thought back on those supposedly magical glasses. I hummed and hawed over trying them. With a pea head like mine, there was no point in ordering the one-size-fits-all, unisex cheapies from Amazon. The more I thought about it, if I was going to wear the glasses nearly everyday, I wanted to like how they looked. So, I scoured the internet for some petite-sized, pretty glasses and resigned myself to the fact that this could well be an expensive flop.
I found Quay Australia who was collaborating on sunglasses with JLo at the time. They had a cool range of eyewear but, by true fashion industry standards, the petite section offered me a total of two pairs to choose from. Luckily, they were both cute. The website also has a try-on feature which was super helpful in giving me an idea of how they'd look in advance! I ordered the 'GOTTA RUN' glasses with clear frames for £45. They arrived with a soft, high-quality pouch for safekeeping. Keep your eyes peeled on the website for online discounts, I bought mine after noticing a price reduction code scrolling across the banner.
So, what about the results? For me, blue-light blocking glasses have worked. I'm still wearing them! According to Specsavers, the symptoms of computer eye strain include: eye discomfort, tiredness, headaches, difficulty focusing, watery or dry eyes, blurred or double vision and sensitivity to light. I ticked a lot of those boxes beforehand. Now, the only thing I suffer from is tiredness (which has reduced since before) but that is likely due to my crazy, irregular work schedule sometimes. Personally, I can only speak for one brand from my own perspective and I don't know if there are scams out there - it's definitely possible. If you find yourself having computer eye strain symptoms, maybe you should consider investing in blue-light blocking glasses too? The prices may be a little steep for some but, hey, I value my eyes more than my bank balance!
Check out Quay Australia's range of blue-light blocking glasses. Keep up to date with me and my work via my social links:
At long last! After high hopes, interrupting illnesses and weeks of waiting, I finally got to experience the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition in my hometown. Following a captivating lecture last month with Martin Clayton from the Royal Collection Trust at Windsor Castle, read my blog post here — I was expecting nothing short of amazement to see Da Vinci's works with my own eyes.
Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens certainly did not disappoint. As Martin had explained, each of the twelve cities which are holding exhibitions to mark the 500 year anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci's death received a fair distribution of the drawings held by the Royal Collection Trust. Within the exhibition at Sunderland, you can see examples of Da Vinci's portraiture, his medical illustrations, his cartography commissions, botanical drawings, costume designs and his military interests. It's clear that a lot of thought had been put into how this display was curated. There's something for everybody.
The exhibition had a clear layout, showing a visual timeline of Da Vinci's life through his works. Each piece was accompanied by a wealth of information which naturally guided us around the room. My boyfriend and I were pleasantly surprised that the exhibition comfortably lasted its full duration of one hour. Although an hour was the allocated time slot which was stated on our tickets, the gallery itself isn't too big and there was no guided tour to fill up our time.
That being said, outside of the gallery, there was a seating area with a recorded video which explained Da Vinci's technical process and delved into the background information of what was on display. This was a good spot to wait and brush up on the facts before going in. Honestly, there was no real need for a guided tour. Our mid-afternoon booking had reached full capacity and the atmosphere was relaxed and informal with visitors meandering around the room, enjoying the exhibition at their own pace.
We were so taken aback by the actual size of Leonardo da Vinci's works. His handwriting was minute. It became more cramped and messy the further he got down the page which was so relatable. In a way, the subtleties of his doodles and the faint errors in his drawings were even more magnificent than the pieces which were worked up to full completion. In every piece of work, however, his genius still undoubtedly shines through.
One man brought a magnifying glass which was a brilliant idea that I highly recommend. Da Vinci's artworks are filled to the brim with the finest of details at a scale so tiny, we were just glad there was no rope to keep us at a distance. Whether you're an art enthusiast or just curious to see what all the fuss is about, this exhibition at Sunderland is a must-see if you're anywhere nearby. After all, it's not everyday you get so close to 500 year-old drawings from one of the most well-known artists in history.
For just £2.50, don't miss out. It's on until 6th May at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens.