September Has Arrived

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September Has Arrived

Well its September yet again. September is a big month for my family and I as lots of things are happening. First there is my wedding anniversery, this year we have been married for 12 long years and to celebrate D treated me to a lovely meal in a posh resturant. The there is my birthday which is closely followed by D’s birthday. As yet we haven’t decided what to do for our birthdays yet so that story is a to be continued.

September also marks the end of the summer holidays and with A going back to school on Wednesday this week is manic. Making sure he has everything he needs has become like getting ready for a military operation. We are nown back to having to set alarms to get us up, much to D’s annoyance with the poor thing working nights I think I might have to invest in vibrating alarm bands for us. Anyway this morning we had to go for A’s induction and sign all the paperwork for him going back and all we need to do now is wait for 8.30 Wenedsay morning for school to start.

Sea Turtle

Sea Turtle Drawing

I think he is looking forward to going back to school itself as he loves it but I think both of us are dreading the early mornings which come with school. I will get back into it eventually its just going to be strange for a couple of weeks. It will be good to get back into the routine and having more time to myself as i get a few hours where D is in bed and I am free to do whatever. It will give me the chance to get back to doing my colouring and art. With it being the school holidays I have been struggling to get the time to myself to sit down and enjoy my art. Saying that though I have had some time to complete a few pictures and I even drew one! I really hope you like my turtle drawing!

In a way September marks new chapters and in this chapter I am hoping to improve my activity and try to shift some weight. I admit that I am overweight by quite a way. This is not through eating badly though. In fact I eat quite healthly but because I struggle to move like I was before I became ill the weight just piled on. I have tried dieting myself but I haven’t got anywhere. I know I have the support of D but that has not been enough to motivate me so I am going to see if I can get a referal to a slimming group to help me lose the weight. I found out that you can get referals though the doctor this morning when I was chatting about it with a friend. I have added it to the list I have for things I want to talk to the doctor about. So fingers crossed that it will go well and I will get the referal.

One last thing. I am not girly in the slightest. Never have been. I use very minimal makeup and that is only on special occasions. Well part of my anniversery treat was to get my nails done all pretty. Don’t get me wrong I love them and wish I could keep them on forever but how on earth do all you girls manage? I have had to reassess how I hold a pen and typing well that is a nightmare. Im finding that with the nails that I am always hitting the wrong keys or I am hitting extra keys. Really how do you girls cope with them on all the time?

Anyways I am going to sign off now as I have to take A to the dentist. Hope your all having a good day!

R x

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Plodding On to Get My Mojo Back

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Up up and away!

Up up and away!

It seems that I have got my colouring mojo back! Over last weekend I found that I was working on my first picture from Johanna Basford’s Enchanted Forest book despite having it for a while now. I decided to start this piece because I had got a 12 pack of Faber-Castell’s Polychromos pencils to try out. I have to say I love those pencils and I think it might be a good idea to invest in a bigger selection of them (thats if D lets me buy yet more pencils). Although the set was limited there was enough to complete the picture without having to worry about adding too much colour to it.

To complete the picture I decided to play with my pastels and make a cloud background. It turned out to be a simple yet effective background that has got me a lot of attention. I have had many requests asking how to gain this effect. So much so that I am thinking of making a video on how to do them once I work out the logistics of how to record it.

Black Cat

Black Cat

The next picture started off as what seemed like an easy picture to finish and is from the magazine Relax with Art Nature Special. I actually thought that I would of had it completed within a day but in the end it took two days to finish. It was worth waiting for though as I turned out more than happy with the results. I completed this picture using Stabilo’s point 88 pens for the incredibly fine detail and Stabilo’s point 68 for the slightly bigger areas. This picture was so full of tiny twists and turns that it took a careful hand to get into the tiny areas. It was so intricate that it actually sent me cross eyed. I was glad to finish the picture but loved every minute of colouring it. I only wish I had made a copy of it first so I could colour it again.

Personally though this week has been a nightmare as I have been plagued with headaches. For some reason my head has felt like it is going to explode so have had to fit in my colouring around that. Believe it or not it is hard to colour when you cannot focus and someone is playing drums in your head. This wasn’t helped by a 12 year old who has been behaving like he can do what he wants and screaming at his Xbox.

Ok so I am 33. Yes I have been on this planet that long but this week I experienced a first in my life. I saw a metor for the very first time. There are no words that can describe how amazing seeing something like that is. Wednesday Night was the peak night for the Perseids metor shower which can apparently be seen every year but I had never heard about it until now.  I can safely say though that I will be looking out for it next year!

Anyway I best wrap up and get back to colouring my postcards for a postcard swap I want to take part in. Hope your all having a good week!

R x

Holiday Blues!

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Holiday Blues!

I have just realised it has been nearly a moth since I updated you on what’s happening. This is partly due to being without my laptop and having a lovely two weeks sun, relaxation and much needed quality time with my boys. I have invested in a little keyboard to help me with typing on my tablet which was proving to be a challenge in itself. So now I am back and have my keyboard I have no excuse.

Just before going on holiday I had an appointment with my gp where I think we made some progress. He actually listened to me for once and gave me the pain patches that I had been asking for for moths now. To start with I had the week from hell as my body got used to them. I had nausea, hot and cold sweats, very little sleep and a major ass headache. I was waking up every couple of hours with duty a hot or cold sweat. That first week wasn’t pleasant at all but now they have settled and they are actually working. I also have to see a chronic pain clinic to help me deal with having to live life with chronic pain for the rest of my life. Luckly I don’t have to wait long for this as I was told that it could take up to three months to be seen but my appointment has come through for the 25th September. Nice little birthday present for me I suppose as my birthday is the 23rd.

I will admit I have done very little colouring these past few weeks but that is down to me sweating so much I was leaving horrible sweaty suncream marks all over the paper. I have lots of he books and pencils to review for you with more coming in the next few days. At least with it being the summer holidays I will have plenty of time to colour and write reviews.

A making his mark in the sand

A making his mark in the sand

 

A beautiful sunset over Alykes beach

A beautiful sunset over Alykes beach

So on to the holiday. What can I say other than fan-bloody-tastic. It was the best holiday I have had so far. It was hot, up in the 40’s every day. It was so hot that if it had been any hotter we wouldn’t have been able to sit out. We spent most of the time chilling out around the pool and just general relaxing with A spending most of the day in the pool with his holiday friend.  A and his friend were practically inseparable and have been emailing since coming back. It looks like they are going to be good friends. It wasn’t just A that made friends either D and I did also. There were a few heavy nights in the bar drinking with these friends whilst enjoying karaoke, quizzes and a game called killer.

An endangered loggerhead turtle

An endangered loggerhead turtle

The big highlight of the holiday was for A when we went on a boat trip turtle spotting. It was an all day if a job but we was able to see two female loggerhead turtles in the wild. It was fantastic to see. A was made up! Sadly though one of the turtles was injured but the captain of our boat sent GPS settings to the local turtle rescue located in Zante called archelon who sent out a boat to rescue her and treat her.

Now were back home and it has been decided that we are going back again next year as we love the resort so the countdown has already started. We cannot wait to return and see some of the friends we met this year again. Hopefully we will have some more good nights in the bar again.

I don’t know if you noticed or not but I have added a new section. I am planning on review some of the sites that I use to earn my spending money for my arts and crafts. I am also going to use this section for reviewing none colouring items that I have been sent to give a honest review on. I have currently in the process of writing a review on the new Braun Silk Epil 9 Spa Set Epilator and a Braun Series 3 Mens shaver which I was sent through a site called supersavvyme.co.uk. I will review this site at a later date but please feel free to pop on over and see what its like.

Anyway I suppose I had better stop wittering on here and go and get some colouring done so that I can show you all something pretty!

R x

 

All the family!

All the family!

Slowly Coming Back to Myself

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Slowly Coming Back to Myself

I know I haven’t been posting much while I have been dealing with the black dog and I only hope that you can understand how hard just function during this time was let alone posting my comings and goings. I am feeling a lot better but it has just been manic at home. Just to make things worse my laptop decided it was going to give up the ghost making writing much harder.

IPicsArt_1436171575566 have been doing the odd thing while I havent bee too well. The first thing was creating the Zentangle picture on the right. It isn’t my best piece of work i will admit but it was my first every time at creating anything zentangle.  It did impress A so i am now working on another piece at his request only this time in colour.

SecondlyPicsArt_1436172204433 I have  have been finishing my work in progress from my first ever colouring book. This piece was a work in progress for a long while. It was also the first time I properly used my expensive spectrum noir pencil set. I really like this and wish I could get itPicsArt_1436171982943 out of the book without ruining the book completely because I would love to frame it. Also I completed a picture from my new favourite book Doodle invasion. This was completed using sakura koi brush tip pens I was sent to review. The review will follow soon I promise there is just a few things I need to sort out first. 

TherePicsArt_1436172541252 has also been an increase in new books being released. There is the new book from Millie Marotta called ‘Tropical Wonderland’. It is a follow on from her book Animal Kingdom and follows very much the same style just with a more tropical feel too it. I haven’t yet cracked the spine properly yet let alone started to colour in it but it is something that will be coming very soon. Also new to my collection but not new to the market are Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford. Again I haven’t started them but I am sure I will soon.

AlsoPicsArt_1436172331592 there is a new magazine to the market called Relax with Art. It is a monthly magazine which costs £2.99 and has around 24 pictures in the book. So far there has been 3 issues full of animals, designs and buildings to colour. Each page is single sided also so you don’t need to worry about bleed through.PicsArt_1436172413795 They have also issued a special book for summer called The Natural World. Again the pages are single sided and it is filled with animal pictures. It’s a book I cannot wait to start colouring. 

Anyway I think that’s everything pretty much up to date. I think I had best go and start colouring in all of my new books then I have something pretty to show you all next time. 

R x

The Black Dog of Depression

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The Black Dog of Depression

There are times, like today, that I don’t want to wake up. The days when the pain is so unbearable that the slightest movement makes me want to cry. These are the days that I just want to end it all. I never used to be like this though. I used to be fit and active. I used to ice skate every week, walk everywhere as I couldnt drive back then. I want to say that I did all that when I was younger but that is a joke.

I never thought that by the age of thirty-three there would be days when just sitting up in bed takes all of my energy. The pain that goes hand in hand with the lack of energy also leaves me feeling nauseous and there are times I can be violently ill because the pain is so bad. There is times when I also need help with showering and dressing from my husband because I’m in so much pain. Sometimes these episodes can last days, weeks even.

It’s times like these that depression sets in. I am not talking about just feeling down as depression actually runs much deeper than that. There are many ways in which depression can affect a person and in each case it is different so I can only tell you how it affects me. 

Depression affects me in many ways and affects many areas of my life. Firstly And most frighteningly there is the feeling that I am not actually me, its as if I am in a dream and observing me doing tasks as if I’m not really there. Its like I have no control over my body. Another thing that gets me is that everyone around iritates me and I find it hard to comunicate with others. This then leads to the anxiety that comes from having to go out and deal with others that dont understand. I slowly cut myself of from the world around me too as it is to much to deal with. I have times when I cannot breath and my chest hurts thanks to the axiety. Thats just some of the things I deal with when the depresion sets in.

A lot of people think it is all something that is made up. There are many phrases that someone like me doesn’t want to hear. For instance things like you should just snap out of it, life is tough so just get on with it, your being to sensitive, you just need to go out and enjoy yourself, you have to stop feeling sorry for yourself, just cheer up and the one I find most iritating is that there is nothing wrong with you its all in your head. If there is nothing wrong then why do I feel this way? It’s not like I choose to feel so detached from my life cause when it comes to it who would choose to feel like that. The other phrase that irritates me most is hearing that such a body is so much worse than me. Good for them, well not good for them but you catch the drift. I don’t need to be told that I shouldn’t feel like I do because someone is much worse than me. At the end of the day I am me and what I am feeling is raw and real so accept me for me. I’m not trying to out do anybody. I am damn sure that it is not a competition too or at least it shouldnt be. 

What I do have to accept though is that I cannot do a lot of the things that I used to be able to do. I have to accept that I rely on my husband and son to help me out with most things. I hate the fact that they have to do all of the cooking and cleaning, the funny twist to this is I used to hate doing those things now I’m wishing I could do the normal things. my poor husband is now my carer and also works full time. He needs a medal for puting up with me. 

I also have to accept my depression and the fact that there are times that I cannot function and there are other times that I can plaster a smile on my face and pretend that everything is fine despite it not being fine at all.

My depression is the reason that I haven’t been around here for a while. I haven’t been functioning very well for a good few weeks. I am hoping to try my best and start posting more and more again. I have lots of new pens to review, pencils that need talking about, books to colour in, and artwork to show. 

So here is to brighter days.

R x

Lazy Days and Long Weekends

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Well its been another long weekend here in the UK as we had our spring bank holiday. I hope you all have had a nice time and to my American readers Happy Memorial Day! I have had a really long lazy weekend with the family which has come in handy as for some reason my pain levels have been through the roof. Saying that I was surprised when I got a little gift from Sakura Europe comprised of some pens and pencils for me to test out. Needless to say this improved my mood drastically and I cannot wait to review these items.

Goodies from Sakura Europe

Goodies from Sakura Europe

One thing I have noticed recently is that I seem to have been feeling my pain more and more. Which started off taking me away from my colouring and my art as I was letting it take over again but now I have started to fight back. Hopefully now we have the school holidays I can catch up on a lot of the sleep I lost the past two weeks when I was waking at silly hours of the morning.

During these past few weeks I found that people were or are questioning my disability. I had one person comment the other day when I was getting out of the car and into my wheelchair. Using the car to help me I managed to pull myself from the car to standing and then sat in my chair. They questioned if I was disabled at all. I have even had one person in the past report me to a traffic warden for using a blue badge illegally because I was too young to be disabled. I have had all sorts of comments lie the ones above and others such as your just lazy and need to try harder, your only after sympathy and the favourite of most is but you don’t look ill.

There are days where I can manage on just my crutches and other days where I need my chair to get about. It all depends on the severity of my pain although I am finding that I am needing my chair more and more. My age is not a contributing factor either. Fibromyalgia does not discriminate in any way shape or form. Comments like these still hurt though as much as I try and not let them get to me.

I would say the moral of this is that you should never judge until you have at least walked a mile in that persons shoes. You never know what that person is really going through. They may be smiling on the outside but on the inside they might be in agony and struggling to get through the day. There is a reason I say I am fine when people ask how I am and that is I don’t want sympathy I just want to get on and muddle through and not burden anybody. Its a pride thing that anybody suffering from a chronic pain condition.

Anyway I am going to sign off now as I have lots of goodies to be playing with and the night is slowly disappearing.

R x

A Week has Gone by Already

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I can’t believe it has been a week since I last posted. Time is just flying by at a scary speed lately. It is also hard to believe that it is only seven weeks from my son finishing his first year of secondary school. It only seems like yesterday that I was preparing for him starting high school and to be honest I was more scared about the change than he was. I was worried about how he would fit in and more of a worry if he could keep up. Now looking back I don’t know what I was worried about. He has really set off running and slowly begun to fly so to speak. 

When he was in primary school he was barely reaching his required targets. He didn’t really enjoy school that much and never really engaged. He was behind with his writing by about 3 years but when you consider he is dyslexic and dyspraxic its no surprise. He couldn’t really hold the pens he was provided with as they were your normal every day pen thanks to him having poor fine motor skills. They would never allow him to use a thicker pen as then the other kids would get jealous that he could use something different. He could read but it was nothing that he could really rant about. The head teacher even said that he wouldn’t amount to much.

Fast forward back to today and the change in him is really amazing. He is loving being at secondary school. He is exceeding all of his targets in the majority of his subjects. At a recent parents evening we was told that he has a reading age of a 17 year old, that he is working well above his targets, if he took his GCSE’s now he would probably pass them all with a grade C and in Maths, English and Science that he would probably pass with a grade B. His writing has greatly improved too. He is actually interested in school now and is becoming a smart, intelligent young man. In fact below is a piece of work he completed for a creativity project the other day. He coloured the picture using my Sharpies (if I am not careful he will nick those from me I swear!) and finished off using it as a centrepiece for a poster. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the finished poster to share with you but he surrounded the colouring in with lots of creativity quotes. It was a great piece of work even if I do say so myself.

Alex's picture for his creativity project

Alex’s picture for his creativity project

I haven’t been up to much as I have been spending most of my afternoons and evenings fighting to stay awake. For some reason my body has decided that my day is going to begin about half 5. Yes half 5 in a morning so as you can imagine I have been ready for bed about in the middle of the afternoon. Saying that though I have managed to put my morning to good use and have completed the first picture from my Doodle Invasion book by Ziffin and Kerby Rosanes. I love this colouring book because it is so different to most of the adult colouring books out there plus it is really cute. It is filled with lots of little cute little blob creatures and animals all doing strange things. In my picture  that I have been working on they are all sat in a jar. Its such a fun book to colour in even though I have only coloured in one picture so for but I can see this book is going to be a lot of fun so look out for the review!

Colouring page from Doodle Invasion

Colouring page from Doodle Invasion

Anyway I am going to stop waffling and go and colour another page in Doodle Invasion. 

See you all later!

R x

Decided Not to Die After All

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I am sorry I haven’t been around since the last post. I was packed off to bed and had my computer taken off me with the order of having to rest. I had a rather nasty bug that silenced me and made my glands. To most it wouldn’t be a problem, a few days rest and you would be fine but when you mix something like a simple cold with Fibromyalgia it tends to end up like your body has entered into world war 3. The best way I can describe it is you know when you have really bad flu? take that same feeling and multiply it by 4 and you will get some idea of what a simple bug can feel like to a Fibromyalgia suffer. 

During this time I have had very little chance to colour or any form of art for that matter. I pretty much just slept and ate. Over the last couple of days though I have been feeling a little better and managed to colour a picture from a book I got called Really Relaxing Colouring Book 6 – Indian Summer. It gave me chance to sample the book and once I have completed a few more pictures I will do a review on the book for you.

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Picture from Really Relaxing Colouring Book 6 – Indian Summer

It was nice to get up on Sunday morning to find that my son was testing out one of the many colouring pages that I printed out. He had also tested out every single pen that I own. He is not normally one to sit and colour and tends to want to spend ever single waking moment on his Xbox. It was nice to see him doing something different for a change.

Alex working on a colouring sheet!

Alex working on a colouring sheet!

Lastly I wanted to share with you the latest pen porn. I got all three sets on the same day. I am sure its wrong to get so excited when Mr Amazon Courier comes a calling. Every time I know he is coming and especially when he is coming with pens or books I just get so excited. I am sure there is something wrong with me. Anyway I am going to leave you with a picture of my current pen porn!

Pen porn!

Pen porn!

R x

Review: Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom

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Review: Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom

I came across this book back in January when I was flicking through amazon looking at lots of different craft items. It caught my eye and as soon as I saw it I knew I had to have it. This was the start of my colouring book addiction and my renewed love of colouring.

Peacock from Animal Kingdome

Peacock from Animal Kingdome

Animal Kingdom, as the title implies, is a book based around animals. Millie Marotta’s inspiration for this book has come from the wildlife and nature that surrounds her home in Wales. I think she brought all of this together really well with this book as It is just jam packed with zentangle nature scenes and animals made up of flora and fauna.This book really shows off Millie’s talents as an artist and her attention to detail.

First impressions of this book was that it just screamed quality from the cover to the pages themselves. The cover is richly decorated with various little designs coloured with hints of pink, green and gold with the title of the book printed in gold also. You can also think of the front page and the back page as extra colouring pages as I am sure you could colour it in using sharpies or other pens. It is the same on the inside cover just minus the embellishments of gold but Still just as fun to colour. I am saving the cover artwork till last to colour.

An example of the little messages that Millie has left for the colourer.

An example of the little messages that Millie has left for the colourer.

The paper of the book is quite thick allowing you to colour with fineliners without fear that they are going to bleed through to the other side. I have tested some felt pens. The designs are printed on both sides so you need to be careful with the types of pens that you use as some will bleed through and spoil the image on the back. I know some people who have bought two books so that they can use their markers and still be able to colour all of the images.

Coral Reef

Coral Reef

The book contains about 70 high quality images for you to colour and some even prompt you to add more doodling. I also like the fact that at the back of the book there are a few pages that are left blank with just a message saying “Create an Animal Kingdom of Your Own”. This use of blank space and messages makes the colourer want to start doodling and filling in the blank space. Some of the images also come with cute little messages to help you understand the picture and make you feel like you are on the doodle journey that Millie took when she was drawing the images. This is just an example of how this book draws you in and makes you want to colour. A selection of the images can be seen throughout this post.

Elephant from Animal Kingdom

Elephant from Animal Kingdom

Bunny Rabbit

Bunny Rabbit

I think it is clear that I still love this book as much as when I first received it. For the £3.99 price tag you most certainly get your moneys worth especially when you consider its closest contenders are double the cost. I would most certainly paid much more for this book because of the quality of the images and of the papers. I would really recommend this book to anyone be the newcomers to the world of adult colouring or seasoned colourers. 

Stag coloured using Staedtler Triplus Fineliners.

Stag coloured using Staedtler Triplus Fineliners.

Donkey coloured using Staedtler Triplus Fineliners

Donkey coloured using Staedtler Triplus Fineliners

Flowers and Butterflies is still a work in progress. I am using Spectrum Noir Blendable pencils for this picture.

Flowers and Butterflies is still a work in progress. I am using Spectrum Noir Blendable pencils for this picture.

Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom is published by Batsford (part of Pavilion Books Group). Animal Kingdom  is available for £3.99 and can be found on Amazon.

Because You Can Never Have Enough!

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Zen Colouring

I didn’t get chance to post this yesterday as when I got back from shopping I was ordered to bed to rest. I wanted to share with you my new colouring book Zen Colouring Designs which I found whilst we were shopping.

This book sparked the row that any adult  colourer I know will be getting used to. I saw this in Tesco’s yesterday while we were shopping and put it straight into the basket. After getting past the “you have already got that book” argument, because I have the first Zen Colouring that came out, I got the most common argument there is surrounding my art collection.

D started the haven’t you got enough colouring books. Bare in mind 6 colouring books an one on its way from amazon I consider myself to not owning anywhere near enough books. D just can’t see the fact that I could never have too many colouring books in my life. I think he would have a heart attack if he saw my Amazon colouring book wish list!

R x