Woodthorpe Tropical House

I forgot how I found out about Woodthorpe Tropical House, but I can remember how excited I got! The park is about 15 minutes drive away. So last weekend, despite the rain there was a window of few hours’ sunshine and I grabbed the opportunity to head over and give it a good exploring…

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The Joy Of Walking

hat & socks c/o RMBLR

Walking is becoming one of my favourite things. Especially in parks and nature reserves where I can enjoy the wonder of nature. I have always liked walking – when I lived in Queens Road Peckham I would often visit Peckham Rye Park for a good few hours. But my love of walking has definitely grown since I moved to Nottingham, with Wollaton Deer Park almost down the road. And since I got a car last year, I have been able to visit the Peak District and any other nature reserves as much as I want.

Walking for me is fun and calming in equal measure. It is mostly where inspiration strikes, given that nature is the biggest subject of my art. It also gives me an opportunity to really stand back from my business and life in general, as well as doing some self reflection. I resort to walking if I am stifled with a creative rut or extreme stress, especially to new places for a change of scenery. The fact that I also get some exercise is a bonus!

There are parks and nature reserves in mind I want to visit this year and I am excited to check them out, collecting ideas and having a happy time!

Experimenting With Clay Part 3

In January, I decided to make at least one clay piece per month, and here they are! I don’t love all of them, I’m particularly unsure about the mushroom ones but as always I had a lot of fun making them start to end.

Last year I tried a few different air dry clays – FIMO Professional, DAS, and Claydium – and this time I used Scola clay, which is definitely the best of all so far. It is a clay that can be both air dried and fired – although it is not designed as a firing clay. The clay feels like a really good quality clay, with the right amount of moisture and great pliability. My only complaint is that they don’t have natural white or cream toned clay – I would really love those! They only have terracotta and buff clays, and the latter comes out quite dull in colour. The terracotta one is really lovely though especially when being varnished with a gloss sealer. I am pleased with my terracotta pots and dishes – I love their simple patterns and they look lovely together!

Because this clay has a better consistency than others I’ve tried, I finally mastered the coiling method and while it was time draining, it was enjoyable and a good way to make flat bottomed pots.

This mushroom pendant is made with FIMO Air, which after a lot of experimenting I really love. I also used it for my clay jewellery that I sell on the shop.

I am ready for my next batch, and I will try to post work-in-progress pictures over on Instagram before I finish them! This is more of a personal project than business, so I keep forgetting to share.

I hope you like them, and if you have used an air dry clay before I would love to know what you made!

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!