You Are Lovely, Mum

This year, I am selling Mother’s Day cards for the first time! I have designed it so it is suitable for all year round, because of course, mothers around the world are awesome every single day, not just on Mother’s Day, and should be celebrated all the time!

I am starting with why my mum is simply amazing, with the most recent example. The other day, I made a mistake ordering new greeting cards, and accidentally bought 250 cards instead of 50. I contacted the printing company to amend my order and they wouldn’t let me because they had already started production. I had a mini-meltdown over how much I had just spent, thinking I wouldn’t be able to sell that many new cards.

While moaning to A, I received a how-are-you type text from Mum, and I replied to tell her what had just happened. Without question, and even with my assurance that there was no amending the order, Mum gave them a call and in the next few minutes I received an email that my order was cancelled and would be fully refunded, and I could reorder my cards in the correct amounts. I was gobsmacked, and of course very pleased! She just saved me a lot of money. How?! My mummy is magic.

This is just one of the many small things my mum does for me. More importantly, she raised me to be a strong woman and good person. I had difficult times during my teenage years due to the death of my father, who I was really close to, and she was always there for me. Even now with the ups and downs of my business, she is very supportive and gives me advice whenever I need it.

I am also grateful that she learnt sign language for me and my sister, who is also deaf, so we could communicate fully and have full access to education. We struggled to learn to speak from an early age and we wouldn’t have been able to learn without a language.

All of which is to say: you are lovely, mum!

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What I’ve Learnt Being Creative Every Day For A Year

In 2016 I created more art than ever in a year – so much that it is taking over my storage space, and my shop is overflowing with originals! I found that developing a habit of creating daily is extremely beneficial in many ways and I want to keep producing art as much as I can.

I wrote a post on what I’ve learnt being creative every day for 6 months, but now it is the new year, I want to impart the most important lessons I’ve learnt after a whole year of creating daily.

The more you create, the better your work gets

With every single piece you create, you learn and improve and better understand your skills and what you are capable of. You become braver and more confident in experimenting, and less afraid of failures. Thus your work gets better and better as you create more and push your own boundaries a little bit more with each piece.

It gets easier to get started

For many, including myself, getting started is the hardest part of creative process.

I would love to be able to wake up and feel super motivated every single day forever but it is not always like that – I have some good spells, and some bad spells. But when you are committed, you have to go and make – even if you don’t feel like it. Staying in the habit and being disciplined gets easier over time.

As Mark Twain put it –

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” 

But remember to take a break!

There will be times when you feel stagnant and run out of inspiration, and you risk burning out if you push yourself too hard. Taking a day off, working on something different, or going out for a long walk gives you a chance to reflect, feel inspired again, and give your work a fresh pair of eyes.

At other times, you might be overwhelmed by inspiration and impatient to get all your ideas down on paper! I often want to just sprint to the finish line. I sometimes found myself working days and nights in 2016, so much that I wore myself out physically – affecting my creativity in the long run, because it takes time to recover. Learn when to stop and be patient with yourself. Keep all of your ideas written down and prioritise them.


To those who followed my daily art journey last year, I think it is clear that being creative daily had a big impact on my creativity, skills, and mental health. I am lucky to be a full time artist with some of time in between commissions to focus on my own projects but I know this isn’t the case for everyone. Ultimately, what makes you a better artist is not necessarily being creative every single day, but finding the courage to explore, overcome fears, and make art when you can.

My 2017 Goals

My heart rate quickens when I start to think about what my goals will be this year. It is both exciting and scary. A new year gives me an opportunity to reflect, improve and push myself but I have that not-so-little fear where I feel I can’t do it and worry that I will do badly this year and ultimately, embarrass myself in the process.

But that is just a fear, I must face and overcome it as best as I can. It has taken me a while to really think about what I want to achieve this year. I know I want to keep improving and exploring my art. I also want to take my business to the next level. Here are my goals of 2017:

Paint every day

Like my 2016 goal, I want to continue painting (or drawing) daily and being accountable to myself on Instagram, with one change: I want to not feel guilty if I miss a day – it is not productive or necessary to be so hard on myself. In my last post, I mentioned that I am making this goal my lifelong project because during my daily art adventure in 2016 I realised how important it is to practice every day because it is simply the best way to improve at it over time!

Make at least one clay piece per month

I have always wanted to have a monthly project. There are a few things I want to do but I had to choose one due to my workload and that would be making something with clay. I will aim to make at least one piece per month, to a finished state. I will be sharing progress here at the blog and across social media. I have thought about painting a flower per month with oil or acrylic but I am incorporating this into my daily art goal.

Improve my social media presence

I am rubbish at social media. While I understand how it works and what needs to be done for small business owners, I just don’t act on it. I want to be more intentional –  posting on the go, promoting my services whenever possible and making the most of scheduling tools that are available to us. Basically, I need to put myself out there and take my business where I want it to be!

Now, tell me yours! :)

My Daily Art In December

My creativity in December has been fantastic, apart from when I felt too ill to draw for few days at the end of the month. There was a spike in my confidence for some reasons, I guess I was inspired from all the festivity, and my weekend trip to Lincoln. Sometimes a change of scenery is what you need to get yourself out of a creative rut.

You would notice that I did a lot of line drawings – I replaced my fine liners with lovely new Sakura Pigma Micron drawing pens and I love them! They feel a lot smoother to draw with and the result is crisper. I don’t have the heart to chuck my old ones in the bin yet though, I’ve had them for years – no wonder they are really worn out. I really like my little drawing of thistle but I realise that it needs to be more spiky!

I also took on another challenge handlettering every day from #winterletteringchallenge prompt provided by Mhelaine, Joy and Lynne. It is really nice to go back to handlettering daily since my 100 day project – I’ve found it tricky to come up with what to write and having a prompt to follow along always help me continue developing my handlettering skills.

This will be my last monthly round up, but I will still be painting every day this year. Because I am making my daily art a lifelong project, in the spirit of exploration I will focus on just doing that and sharing what I do every day on Instagram. Of course I will still share my best work here from time to time. Thank you so much for following along and I hope you enjoyed following my art journey in 2016!

Reflecting On 2016

2016 has been great in many ways, and bad in many ways. The bad was mostly shocking political news and my endless self doubt, which I feel had hindered both my creativity and business in small ways. As always, I am staying optimistic and I want to share my highlights of the year. This reflection makes me realise how I was oblivious to my own achievements, small or big so this year I intend to reflect more regularly – maybe every few months – to list my achievements, and remember that I am not doing too badly at all!

What are your highlights of 2016? I would love to hear about them in the comments! I also want to say a big THANK YOU for reading my blog and leaving comments, which are always lovely to receive. I wish you a beautiful 2017!

My Daily Art In November

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In November I was all about mushrooms! I started a watercolour painting series of British woodland fungi. I researched the most common ones found in UK and then painted several of them. I will be turning them into a print like my British Butterflies and Culinary Herbs, if they go together well, that is!

I also did an oil painting and experimented with looser style. I am not very good at painting flowers (in my painting style especially) and this frustrates me ever so slightly because I love flowers so much that I want to be able to paint them! I like how it looked in the end but it doesn’t feel ‘me’ due to its departure from my usual style. But it is all about the process, right?

Again, like in September and October, I didn’t paint as much as I wanted – I was busy prepping for Handmade Nottingham winter market event where I was on a reserved list and got called to join with very very short notice. (It was worth the effort as my stall was a triumph!)

I try not to beat myself up for not committing to painting and sharing every single day as per my 2016 goal. My commission work and other business related committments do get in the way and sometimes I just had to pritorise them over my personal goal. I want to keep looking forward, and try to do better and better.

Follow my daily art over at my Instagram.

How To Support Small Businesses Over Christmas (And All Year Round)

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Christmas time is coming! Every year I try to shop with small businesses for presents for my family and friends. Christmas is always a critical time of year for small businesses, so here are my tips on how to support them over Christmas, and all year round, of course!

Buy from them

The simplest and most direct way to support small businesses is to buy from them rather than from big businesses that mass produce their goods. When you buy from a small business, an actual person does a little happy dance.

Store their business cards

When you get their business cards via an order or stalls, remember to keep their business cards safe so you can look them up whenever you need to buy gifts. I keep and organise all of the business cards I’ve picked up all these years and go through them every time I needed a gift. It certainly helps me to shop small rather than relying on the high street shops you see every day.

Celebrate them

Retweet their tweets, share their Facebook page, regram their Instagram pictures and bring them up in your blog or better yet, when you see your friends. Keep them in the know that you are supporting them by tagging them and using their dedicated hashtag if there is any.

Share your purchases

Take pictures of your purchases from small businesses and share on them on social media. Word of mouth exposure on social media helps small businesses a lot, helping to build their brand and creating sales. Don’t forget to tag appropriately!

Let them know

A person (or a team) behind a small business sometimes needs encouragment and a boost of confidence, so show them that they are being acknowledged and loved. It doesn’t take long to pop them a short email expressing your love for their creations. You can even send them a quick tweet too! Don’t be shy – they will truly appreciate it.

Engage with them

Especially on Instagram, where engagement matters. If you can, comment and engage. Tag your friends you think will like the certain products. It is easy to forget that (I am guilty of this!) but try to quote retweet instead of just retweet, or do both! Facebook makes it difficult for small businesses to reach their audience so make efforts to visit their page and comment on their posts.

Do you have more tips? Share in the comments! I’d like to know your favourite small businesses too :)