Reading for Fun: July

Remember my ‘Reading for Fun’ New Year’s Resolution? (If no, click here) As this month comes to a close I thought I’d give you an update…

These are the books I’ve managed to read (for fun) throughout the month of July:

  • The Intimate Confessions of a London Call Girl by Belle de Jour

I really hate to say this about any book, but I hated it. You can tell from the tone she could be a great writer, but the subject matter was a bit too much for me.

  • Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott

Quaint and gentle, nothing too dramatic or thought-provoking, just some general niceness.

  • Fall Love by Anne Whitehouse

Peppered with some truly stunning descriptive passages but it seemed to go on for quite a while without that much happening. Available for free download here.

  • Dial M for Monkey by Adam Maxwell

Another one available for free on Feedbooks (here). Short stories are still not my favourite, but I did enjoy his dark, slightly twisted sense of humour. My favourite was probably ‘The Holy Face of Gary Barlow’ (surely it gets points just for the name?!).

  • The Liar by Stephen Fry

Written by a genius, but the book was not as amazing as he is. Just ok.

  • 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James

The first in the much talked about trilogy, apparently loosely based on the Twilight saga. The shock factor was the main appeal, especially to start with.

  • 50 Shades Darker by E.L. James

The shock factor had time to wear off, but still easy reading. Not a Nobel prizewinner, but an alright book for the bus.

  • 50 Shades Freed by E.L. James

My least favourite of the three, I didn’t like the fragmented ‘flashback’ style she went for in this one.

I severely doubt that I’ll be reading as many books for fun as I have such looong set books to get through before the start of September, but I’m going to try to stick to my resolution of “at least one”.

D x


Bargain Hunt!

After thinking about Car Boot Sales in yesterday’s blog post I decided that I needed to go to one… by the time I got there it was quite late in the morning, so people had already started packing up. That being said, I still managed to find some treasure:

A bunch of completely random postcards- 10p for the lot!

About 50 magazines that I’ve barely even heard of… only cost me £1 but will provide me with weeks of reading and possible years of collage materials!

Very little makes me happier than a 50p book! I love discovering new (to me) authors, and adding more diversity to my library, especially when I can do it cheap!

Two old diaries, one filled with retro black and white photos of Paris, and one with sketches of Lord of the Rings characters. A 30p addition to my burgeoning art cupboard.

Pretty AND necessary- handmade Greek coasters (at only 80p!) which will ensure I never again leave a hot cup of tea on my boyfriend’s speakers…

This is the kind of shopping I adore: finding quirky little things for home, or getting art supplies and books on the cheap. In art shops (and book shops for that matter) you can buy so many beautiful things, but I find that if I spend a fair bit on something I’ll just be too careful with it. Also, I think you’ll be introduced to so many new things if you shop at a Car Boot; I NEVER would have picked out the books I bought if I’d have gone to Waterstones!

Happy Monday everyone, don’t be too glum!

D x


Are Sundays good or bad? This was the topic of conversation brought up at the pub after work on Friday. And this is what we came up with:

The Good in Sundays-
1. Roast dinners (I think that’s an obvious one; when else is it acceptable to drink gravy?).
2. Car boot sales (Bargain books and art supplies… yay!).
3. You have the option of sleeping all day if you feel so inclined (without feeling like you’ve ‘wasted’ the weekend).
4. Looong movies (It’s the one day of the week you can just mong out, do nothing, and just stare at a screen without feeling guilty).
5. Seeing Grandma (which then leads to cake, endless cups of tea, new books and the best hugs ever).

And then the bad-
1. Hangovers.
2. It means the weekend is almost over.
3. It means Monday is only a few hours away (NOOOOOO!!!).
4. Everything shuts early.
5. Facebook becomes congested with photos of ‘fun times’ had the night before.

What do you guys think? What is the BEST and the WORST thing Sundays have to offer?

Art Journal Every Day – Week 3

So it has been three whole weeks since I started sharing my Art Journal pages online, and so far it’s not going too badly! Here’s what I got up to this week:

This is a page that has been sitting around unfinished for aaaaaages, so I’m really glad to have it done! It sort of makes me think of ye olden times when people wore those big powdered wigs… One thing that I really like is that I didn’t need a load of supplies to do it- here is how it came about:

1. Did a block of doodling on the blank page, using a black fineliner. Rubbed a green stamp pad over the rest of the page and splashed some water over it, causing the inks to run together.

2. I cut the face out of a failed portraiting-on-tracing-paper experiment that had been covered in white acrylic paint. I then tore some circles out of old book paper and stuck them haphazardly around the page.

3. Got out my AWESOME watercolour markers added some purple swirls, outlines around the face, and a bit of journaling up top. I blurred this out with water (so my secrets remain secret!) and smudged the swirls in the same way.

4. While I was unpacking I came across a big sheet of purple tissue paper that had once been wrapped around a bunch of flowers and tore it up to make my border. I smoothed on a little bit of glue so that it would stay in place, but not too much to get rid of the fab texture.

5. I felt like the two halves needed something to unify them, so I used a star stamp dipped in white acrylic across two sides of the page. I watered down my paint a bit too much so I went around the edges in black fineliner so that the shape of the star was a bit more defined.

That’s all for now guys, I hope you enjoyed this peek into my process! x

‘Out to Lunch’ Art Challenge – Two tone bricks

So welcome to my first ‘Out to Lunch’ post! For a reminder of the rules click here.

This is the photo I used as my ‘prompt’:

 (See, it can be something very unspecial)

Here’s what I made: a bunch of collage paper…

These were so, so easy to make- it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say a monkey could’ve done more. I simply sketched a brick-like pattern with a black fine-liner, added a bit of colour with my Papermania Watercolour Markers (BEST ART SUPPLY EVER) and dabbed on a bit of water. The rest took care of itself. I don’t think these are anything special as they are (although I do love the smudgy seeping of the ink), but I think they’ll look great cut up and used in an Art Journal spread.

And THAT is the point of this challenge- to just make something whether you feel like it or not.


D x

Out to Lunch Art Challenge – Setting Out

Sometimes I feel like I’m in a rut, creatively speaking. I’ve tried browsing online for tips/ideas, and everyone seems to be saying “look to your surroundings for inspiration”. Blah! I spend most of my like at work, in Nottingham City Centre, which is not the most visually pleasing of places… So I tried looking for arty challenges that I could take part in- I tend to do better work when following some sort of guideline and I couldn’t really find anything…

But as I was moseying down to Tesco during my lunch hour, I realized… I should start my own Art challenge! And what would make it a particularly challenging challenge? Using something from my less than lovely surroundings as inspiration! Perfect!

Now if anyone wants to play along with me, feel free. The rules are as follows:

  1. Go out one lunch time and pick an image from your surroundings to use as inspiration- it can be something you love, something you hate, something you see every day or something you’ve never noticed before. Go wild! OR use the image I post if you want.
  2. Make something based on your picture- it could be an entire art journal page, or homemade collage paper; it could be a scrapbook layout or a Zentangle; it could be a cushion cover, a large-scale painting, a sculpture, a stencil… The whole point is to play around, and look for ideas. And if it’s total rubbish and you hate it, so what?!
  3. You don’t have to do this every day, every week, or even every month. I’m setting myself the goal of having a bash once a week, but maybe you’re just looking for a quick jumpstart… that’s fine too.

I’ll be giving this challenge a test-run for the next two months, and we’ll see where it goes from there.

Watch this space for my first Out to Lunch experiment (which should be heading your way later today).

D x

P.S. If you do fancy joining me in my new Arty challenge, I’d love it if you would link back to me, and send me a link to whatever you create so I can have a nosey!

Rose in Bloom

Growing up, Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott was probably my favourite book. I’ve read it over and over again, dreaming about what could have happened to the characters I’d grown to love once the story had come to an end. And I always felt that it was underappreciated- none of my friends had even heard of it, despite having been bewitched by Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy in Little Women… So when I was browsing through a free e-book site, looking for Northangar Abbey, I discovered Rose in Bloom… the SEQUEL. I was so excited, the child in me had a manic giggling fit (unfortunately, as I was in public, this had to remain internal).

But if I’m honest I didn’t love it as much I was expecting to. I wasn’t particularly disappointed in the route the story took, nothing too despicable happened to my favourite characters and the ending was pretty satisfying…. the problem with closure is just that though. The story comes to a close. I can no longer imagine an alternate ending, and THAT is what stopped me from loving this book. I enjoyed my imaginary adventures with Rose and her cousins.

Can the same be said of any sequel? I’m not sure… maybe it was because I love the first installment soooo much?

It may not be what I was hoping for, but it was an enjoyable read. Louisa May Alcott has a way of creating imperfect characters that any reader can relate to and she doesn’t let herself down here. I’d definitely recommend if you’re looking for a whimsical escape to a land of courting, cousins and Campbells!