March Favourites 2018


In the same vein as beauty bloggers, and inspired by Frannerd, I thought I’d start sharing some of my favourite things each month, starting with a handful of the things I enjoyed during March.

  1. Winsor and Newton Flesh tint gouache paint
  2. The Making Obama podcast (and before this the Making Oprah podcast)
  3. Quinoa porridge
  4. The new Seawhite of Brighton Watercolour Travel Journal
  5. Season 1 of This is Us on Amazon Prime

ME Awareness Day 2017

Today is M.E Awareness Day. M.E (sometimes known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or C.F.S) is a physical illness that I’ve lived with for around 12 years. It’s a relapsing and remitting illness but the symptoms, which include fatigue, exercise intolerance, brain fog, headaches and muscle pain are always there to some degree. There is no treatment for M.E and it’s often unpredictable.

For example, over the past few days I’ve been experiencing quite a bad relapse of my symptoms. It’s not the worst I’ve ever known but it’s the worst in a long time, and has left me with very bad headaches, dizziness, worsened fatigue and muscle aches.

Looking at a screen doesn’t help too much either so I’m trying to write this as quickly as possible. I’ve not been doing anything out of the ordinary that could have triggered this and I haven’t been under an increased amount of stress so it’s been a bit of a surprise.

One thing about M.E/C.F.S is that it’s an invisible illness so in a room full of people it’s unlikely that you’d be able to tell if any of them has M.E. And even if you did identify them they might still appear to be perfectly OK. They might not look tired or weak or in pain but you’ll probably only see a snapshot of their day/week.

A lot of people with M.E are able to be out in the world but not always on a regular basis. Usually a single day/afternoon of socialising will have taken a lot of planning and will be followed by a day or (usually) more of recovery time. There are also a number of people who have such a severe form of this illness that they are either house-bound or bed-bound.

Last year I wrote about a campaign called Millions Missing, which is a silent protest to raise awareness about M.E/C.F.S and to call on governments to fund useful research into a cure. That protest is happening again today all around the world and you can read about it here.

Today in London for the first time, the fountains in Trafalgar Square will light up blue to mark M.E Awareness Day, so if you are in that area this evening I think there will be people there providing information.

If you have never heard of M.E or don’t know much about it, please take a few minutes today to find out a bit more and share this post with others to help spread awareness of the illness on behalf of the millions of people in the world whose lives are affected by M.E. every day.

How Memories and Realisations Can be Sparked by a Single Drawing

Bedside table sketch

Almost every day I draw something in my sketchbook, and if I don’t do that I’ll probably be colouring a drawing in Photoshop or, more recently, carving lino to make a rubber stamp.

I’d always intended to study art, design or photography at university but, although I studied fine art and art history up to A level, I did a degree in Theology and Religious Studies.

I became a school teacher, but I didn’t teach art. Even so, I would use more “How Memories and Realisations Can be Sparked by a Single Drawing”

Drawing When You Can’t Move

Watercolour sketch of a living room and window

This is the first drawing from my tiny Moleskine watercolour sketchbook, which I did a few weeks ago. When I sketched this I was at a friend’s house looking after her cat, who was sitting on my knee fast asleep. I didn’t like to disturb her so decided to just pick up my sketchbook and pen and make use of this enforced resting time by sketching my view of the living room table and window.

I sketched it with a black Unipin 02 and then took a photo on my phone to refer to when I painted it later on at home. I seemed to get a bit heavy handed with the shading on the blind on the right hand side but never mind. I still enjoyed myself and remember little details from this day that I might have otherwise forgotten.