Getting Over The Fear of Showing off My Artwork

Someone asked me for my website address the other day. Then another person asked me for my Facebook page. I froze both times, squirming in my seat umming and arring, trying to think of a reason not to give it to them.

“Oh, it’s not finished”

“Well, it’s not very good.”

“I don’t think you would like it or find it interesting.”

Both my website and Facebook pages need some work and they may not be finished but a lot of my work is unfinished… that might just be my style, I don’t know.

And I’ll never think anything I ever do is good because I believe things can always be improved. It may not be good but it’s good enough.

And yeah, that person may not find it interesting or like it but hey, I don’t care. The truth is I’ve made these things for me.
When daft things happen, or silly scenarios occur in my head I like to put them on paper. They make me laugh.

Which is why a few of my cartoons may need explanation. They are usually inside jokes to myself. And my watercolours and all other artistic messes are just me expressing myself.  I like to play. I like to mess with paint, pens and inks and generally make a mess. I like trying to make those liquids vaguely resemble something I like the look of. It’s fun.

And who am I to say that that person won’t like them? I’m not in their head.

So, it got me thinking,

All these insecurities I have are just ridiculous they are based on a fear of rejection, a rejection that I do not care about.

For every 1 reason that someone doesn’t like my work, I can think of 5 reasons why I don’t care & why I like it and will continue to play.

Hey, I get it, people have different tastes and different levels of artistic ability and art knowledge. People will determine for themselves what is good and bad.  And I respect that.

I’m not saying I won’t take on constructive criticism because I will! My God, I will!

But for anyone that does like anything I make well that’s great! Not only will I appreciate the love but when someone likes something I made I feel a connection with them because hell, I like it too!
It’s like telling someone that you’re an Adventure Time fan and they respond with “Omg so am I!”
Like a big mental high five symbolizing you have something in common and maybe there’s a chance of you being friends? Yay! New friend!

All this jibber jabber is building up to me doing something that I’ve put off for years, I am going to attempt to build up the courage to show off more of my artwork!

See, I was building up to something.
I’m currently on a course which is teaching me loads of new tech and design skills (more details on it in a future post when I’ve done more.)
My goal is to use these new course skills, to redesign my website, bring my art to the forefront and fill my shop with goodies!
I wouldn’t bother looking at the shop just yet. My Society6 online shop has been empty for around 2 years, albeit a lonesome cat. I guess he’s a placeholder.

I encourage others to do the same and join me on this journey as I learn to get over this redundant fear and start throwing my art in all y’all faces!  Booyah!

As a very wise awesome boss babe (from the courses Facebook group) told me…

Just remember that by not sharing your gift, you’re denying other people the opportunity to be transformed by it…so share!!”

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Thank-you Elizabeth.

Taking that advice here are a few bits and pieces I’ve been working on.  When they’re finalised they may possibly …no… will be going in my shop by the end of this month!

Let me know what you think!

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jelliP.p.s Still living in and loving New Zealand.

 

Toot-ta-doot! Announcement!

Hi!

This isn’t a full blog post or anything just a little announcement.

Erin Reki is now on Tapastic!!!

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If you don’t know what Tapastic is, well simply put it is a website and app that publishes webcomics and web novels. You can read comics and books made by anyone!
That funny cartoon you found on 9gag? The creator probably publishes on Tapas.

My favourites and the most recognizable are Shencomix by Shen and Sarah Scribbles by Sarah Anderson.  I’ve also found a couple of my old favourites from Deviantart.com from back in the day on here!

And now I’ve joined them!
Since my 30th birthday and last Christmas, I’ve been saving up my pennies and finally bought a laptop! Eeee! I’ve been re-teaching myself Photoshop and how to colour them in.

I’m still learning and they’re still a little wobbly and I haven’t decided entirely on a colour theme, layout etc. But it’s a start.

The comic basically follows my journey from when I started travelling some 8 years ago, as well as some everyday nonsense and typical creative person problems.

I’ll include appearances from friends and random people I’ve met along the way.
Plus any cartoon that requires any further backstory, will be written as a little short story here.

Anyway enough chitter chatter! More toons!

Click here for the first episode.

I’d love for to subscribe, I’ll start doing little sketches for anyone that pops over to say hi!
Thank you in advance for the support xoxo

 

How to Travel with Family (and Not Go Crazy)

Some people like travelling and some do not.

And some people like travelling luxuriously and others like to travel on the cheap.

Everyone is individual, with different tastes and desires.
This has never become more obvious to me other than when I have analysed my own family members.
None of us is similar to one another. (I maybe have my dad’s eyes, that’s about it.)

My mother is a social butterfly, that loves to do things on a whim.  My father prefers his own company and is a creature of habit.  My Nan (rest in peace) carried on as if she was the Queen of England.  And my siblings? Well, we’re all a bit mad here.

With two brothers and two sisters (not all related) through divorce and re-partnerships with a varied age range, and even more varied interests, it was impossible to imagine travelling with any one of them!

I never thought it would happen, however… over last year my little sister managed to save up enough cash to fly all the way over to Australia! Go her!
We went to Fraser Island together, travelled down a large part of the East Coast together (Brisbane to Sydney) and spent two weeks in the same car!
It’s a miracle no-one was hurt!

There were a lot of ups and downs and we learnt a lot about each other and I’m sure she learnt a lot about herself too.  Either way, I hope she enjoyed herself.

She is back in the UK now and it’s her birthday today; HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

Looking back I did everything I could to facilitate her trip without babying her but I learnt a few valuable lessons about travelling with family.

Set Groundrules & Boundaries

I don’t mean for that to sound super strict or anything, I just mean that having a chat about what you both want to do (and don’t want to do) is essential, plus what your comfort levels are with certain situations.
For example, if we went out and everyone agreed to be back at a certain time, try stick to it or at least let the other person know. Just because it’s family doesn’t mean you get away with being discourteous. There is nothing to rebel against here. The other person is worried about you, not trying to control you. They’d be just as concerned (and pissed off) if it was a friend that wandered off.

Don’t be Offended by Differences or Afraid to Do your Own Thing

Equally said, try not to get hurt if the other person is not interested in what you want to do, come to a compromise or agree to do your own thing. I know not everyone is interested in seeing art galleries the same way I’m not interested in skydiving!

Agree to Disagree

There’s no excuse for rudeness here, just because you’re related doesn’t mean that person won’t cut you out of their life. Just like you would a friend that rubbed you up the wrong way.  You are in charge of who you give your time too. If you want to maintain a relationship with that person then both of them have to realise that each other has different views, opinions, wants and needs, but you don’t have to shout about them. It takes skill to put a point across without losing your temper, but it’s worth doing.

Money

Family and money do not mix. I have been told this many times and never heeded the warnings.  It’s a tricky one because money obviously isn’t as important as family but it does make the world go round.  Try to limit these ‘transactions’ and keep your cool when it goes wrong.

Kiss & Make Up

In regards to the last point, here is where my apology comes in. Things did go a little squiffy with money and I did not keep my cool. I should have done. What happened was in actual fact not her fault and I am sorry I over-reacted.  We both should have handled it better but when you receive a massive bill for toll fines through the post in the middle of the outback when you’re about to sell your car and leave the country, cortisol levels hit the roof!

 

Nevertheless, I believe it’s important to maintain relationships with siblings and it’s not like we haven’t all made mistakes.

It hasn’t made me miss her any less or be any less proud of her for actually making it all the way over to this side of the planet!
Whatever she is up to now I hope she’s happy, having a great day and as always taking care of herself. Okay, big sister mode is switching off now!

P.s Happy Birthday!

P.p.s I will be going back to only posting once a week instead of two whilst I learn how to re-vamp my site!

Why it’s Okay to Start a Goal Whenever You Like! (Free Calendar)

Forgot your New Year’s Resolution already?
Don’t Forget your Creative and Travel Goals!
Warning
Overuse of gif’s post.

January’s Over, did your New Years Resolution survive?
So many people forget their resolutions by now and it’s only the second month!

I know I could have bought a calendar, but I decided to do the laborious task of creating one myself.  Feel free to take it here!

Watercolour Calendar


How easy would it be to discard the diet especially with the Cheese Fest going on in Manchester.

Not to mention all those sweet Valentines chocolates coming up, oh yeah then it’s Easter.

Mmmm.. chocolate anyway I digress.

Opposed to the ever on-going ‘diet’ resolution, a creative or travel goal is a bit of an odd one.
Diet and exercise is something you have to work at every day to achieve, whereas art and travel are just those things that you promise you’ll get around to doing at ‘some point’ this year.

Or at least they seem that way.

The truth is they actually need everyday work too.

A few of my goals for 2018 were to;

 -Start drawing and painting more.

 – Travel New Zealand.

(as well as lose weight…)

I don’t know about you but I woke up with a huge hangover on the 1st January 2018.
Too hungover to bother with following through on my new year’s resolutions.

Oh well, there’s always 2019.

No. Wait a minute…
Okay, so I know that a lot of people (including myself) are guilty of this habit.
Waiting until a new year, month, Monday to start something. I know there is a certain psychology involved in waiting until a certain time to do it, whatever it is, and it makes it easier to track your progress.
But isn’t it just wasting time?

I mean waiting to start a new habit, hobby, regime until a day in the future can be good but it can also be used as an excuse.

If you want to start your diet on Monday and Monday doesn’t go so well, does that mean you’re off the hook until next Monday. You can just forget about eating healthy the rest of the week?

I know I’ve used it as an excuse… oh, I’ll start studying on Monday. Only to be busy on Monday and then tell myself I don’t have to try again tomorrow because I’ll try in a weeks time.

Nope. You try again the next day!

I’ve been reading up a little on how to make your new year’s resolutions stick, how to turn them into targets and goals rather than wish lists and dreams. Primarily so I can write a couple of new resolutions in 2019, instead of rehashing the same ones I’ve had since 2005.

First of all, if you haven’t heard of SMART goals, then this is pretty useful.

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Very basically it’s;

1. What I Want to Do and How I Plan to Do it?

For example;

I turned ‘Draw & Paint More’ into…

 I want to improve my drawing and painting by creating a large portfolio of finished work and sketches using all of my materials.

The works will range from cartoons, sketches, watercolour activities and digital artwork including landscapes and collages.
I will achieve this by drawing something small every day and something larger every weekend.

I will need to set time aside to focus on it and analysis my work.

I want to continue this practice until November when I will need to move country. 

 

2. What’s your Why?

It’s very important to be aware of and remember your why.
Why did you start this in the first place?

For example ;

Ultimately I wanted the finished pieces to go into my online store and help me raise awareness of my artwork, increase my confidence and hopefully my bank account so I can pay for my flight home with my art.

Another side benefit of this is hopefully anyone that sees or purchases my artwork will get joy out it.

 

3. Break it Down.

Deadlines and mini-deadlines really help.

So ultimately my deadline is November as that’s when I will be looking to travel back home.  That gives me 10 months. I could break that down into weeks and say I’ll have 43 finished pieces by then or to take the pressure off myself I could just dedicate so many hours a weekend to creating a finished piece and use a tracker. Or a daily tracker like with exercise!
Maybe just 15min sketching a day.

This helps you to see how well you’re doing.

There are some really cool templates online. Or you could make your own.

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For any project Gantt timelines are also a good way to see where you are at with your process, for example after 3 months of painting I might have enough art to work with to set up an online store, I could use this as a marker!

GanttPro is my favourite.

 

4. Use Challenges.

If you don’t know what to draw or paint or research use challenges.

I missed the Ink October challenge.

But I might create my own watercolour month challenge! Where I can only use certain colours or paint a certain subject (plants) every day. This way you will end up with a nice little collection at the end of the month.

For travel, you could read a travel blog article a week or note down 5 experiences you want to do and then continue to look further into them.

 

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One of my Jellies I did as part of a lil challenge. These will be in my shop soon!

 

Remember that sticking to your goals is always more effective when you’re held accountable.  This means you should tell someone, and even ask them to ask you to check up on you!

Add reminders to your phone, calendar etc.

But remember to be responsible (don’t neglect your other priorities and be sensible.  Practice self-care (if it’s too much scale it back), and maybe have a long chat with yourself if you can’t manage to do everything. Either seek more advice about time management (there are some great resources out there! I found I great tutorial on Skillshare) or work out what is really important to you. Life is full of sacrifice but that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, it means you are putting what’s most important to you first!

Also, remember to celebrate your milestones!
And finally, when you fall down, pick yourself up and start again the day after, not next Monday and definitely not next year!

P.s

Don’t forget the Calendar!

Watercolour Calendar

 

My 30th Again! This time, Barcelona!

Let me start off by saying I’m not spoilt, yes I have ‘privilege’ and I recognize that (let’s not got into that one right now) but I am not spoilt. However, the forces that be aligned in the universe to allow me to have not one but TWO awesome birthdays in 2017!

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Now I’ve been planning a trip to Barcelona since I was in school, and for whatever reasons I’ve never made it there until last June.

There was the time an ex-bf who was (I think) trying to do something nice took me to Madrid on my 20-something birthday (maybe my 21st). He got the city wrong, justifying it with “It’s in Spain.” Correct, it is. Had a great time, but right country, wrong city.

Then for two years prior to going to Australia, I was determined to go on a solo trip, but I’d already been on a solo trip to Cyprus and that hadn’t ended so well so yes I was scared.

Then my mummy, lovely mummy, surprised me with “I’ll take you to Barcelona for your 30th!” Yay!

The problem being we were only in Europe for three months between June and August of 2017.
And my birthday is in November.

“Well, you’ll just have to have two, won’t you?”
Yes, yes I will!

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We planned the trip for the end of June going into the beginning of July, Summer, ahh, sangria in the sun, the British dream.  I was really looking forward to it, although I could already foresee some arguments about me not getting out of bed quick enough, me wanting to spend time exploring the art scene and mum wanting to stay at the beach.

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Unfortunately and very sadly, my nan passed away around two weeks prior to the trip.
Due to all the formalities mum decided it was best for her not to go, plus the shock of the news and everything else that was going on (I was supposed to be maid of honour at a friends wedding several days before the trip too!) emotions were running high and we needed to give each other some time and space. She still wanted me to go, I could have cancelled the trip but I went.
Given that it was paid for two, Sean after hearing the news about my nan came over from Ireland early and we decided he should go on the trip.
Now was not the time for a solo adventure.

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We stayed at the Rodamo’n Hostel, which was gorgeous! The beds were separate with lamps and curtains, the continental breakfast was good, the areas were clean and the terrace was so cosy.  Really quite modern and tastefully done. I recommend it!

And yes we did all the touristy things and it felt like I was trying to tick off everything, but unlike some other places, Every. Single. Thing. was worth ticking off! Even with all the other tourists there. It just felt like a whirlwind romance, and I can see why it’s so popular.

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I know that a few people have expressed their concerns about tourism destroying the city and locals not being too friendly to travellers but I didn’t witness any of that when I was there, and that’s probably a conversation for another day but today is about me and my birthday trip! (And the riot that we found ourselves in the middle of was to do with Uber not tourists.)

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  • Climbed into a space on the beach La Barceloneta,
  • Oogled at La Sagrada Família,
  • Walked past Arc de Triomf into the Parc de la Ciutadella,
  • The Gothic Quarter,
  • Wandered through Gracia,
  • Had champagne on the rooftop of Casa Batllo
  • Watched the Font Magica de Montjuic,
  • Got a free walking tour from Placa de Catalunya,
  • Struggled to get through the crowds of Las Ramblas,
  • Cheered on Barca football team at Camp Nou,
  • Ate cherries in La Boqueria,
  • Of course the Picasso Museum,
  • Tried to take selfies at Park Guell,
  • Stumbled into PlaCa Reial,
  • Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar (which admittedly I looked at for two seconds before jumping into bar to eat my body weight in tapas)…

…and many more.

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I really recommend doing the free walking tour, we only did one but it felt like we did one every day! Get good shoes and get moving.

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Forgive me if some of the names are wrong/don’t have the appropriate accents (I can’t find them in my phone). Plus any language other than English as beautiful as it is is still a mystery to me. I have tried to learn but my brain likes to reply scenes from movies rather than remember anything of any real importance.

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All in all, we had a fantastic time and did sooo much more than I’ve mentioned here!

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The moral of the story is that if you’ve been wanting to do something for a very long time, just go and do it!

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Thank you every so much to my mum for one of the best birthdays presents ever! I can’t believe I actually made it here and for my 30th too! Even better a few months later on my actual birthday, I got to go Melbourne too!

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P.s I thought now after seeing Barcelona and Melbourne that I could die happy, but I’ve now added Tokyo to my list of reasons to live, so that’s my next wish list city!

30th Part 2: GOR

All this talk of birthdays for the last week or more has got me wanting to write about part two of my 30th birthday celebration last year; The Great Ocean Road!

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After some heavy city birthday celebrations at St Kilda and the centre of Melbourne we fought the traffic and got out of the city. We went straight passed Geelong and into Torquay, where un/fortunately they had some sort of market going on. I loved it, the Irish… not so much. He said he came out of the city to see some nature, not more trinkets. Meh.

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After the market, (because yes I did get my own way and we stayed for a while) we headed past Anglesea and towards the first star on that map Split Point Lookout. As nice as Torquay is, this is where we got our first taste of the amazing scenery!

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I didn’t walk up to the lighthouse at first, not before Sean scoped it out, I think they “Beware of snakes” sign freaked me out a little. Plus I had had a terrible nights sleep so wasn’t in the best of moods. A bit of coaxing and coffee though and I finally got out of the car, thankfully I was rewarded with a great view!

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Still a little grumpy and tired I fell asleep on the way past the Memorial sign! Sacrilege. Luckily Sean is amazing and drove us all the way back so we could drive it again! Yep, we didn’t drive the Great Ocean Road one way, we doubled back on ourselves quite a few times during this trip. I’ll say it’s so we got to see it from the other side but really it’s just because we kept missing things out accidentally. This happened more times than I care to admit.

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We finally made it to Lorne, in the evening we treated ourselves to a fancy meal, which was nearly stolen by some brazen cockatoos!

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Speaking of the wildlife down here is fantastic! We had a dip in the sea at Port Apollo but stayed at Marengo Holiday Park just past Apollo Bay where Sean saw seals one evening whilst I was painting.  Which, was the best night of the trip aside from the spider under the toilet seat incident.
He also swam with stingrays at Port Campbell and there are huge black, red-tailed cockatoos here not just the white and yellow ones.  Be careful not to feed the wildlife though.  I don’t think it’s a great idea.

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More wildlife as we went hunting for giant carnivorous (I read flesh-eating) snails in Great Otway National Park! I preferred our earlier stop at Erksine Falls, I like the waterfalls and Otway is really dark! Very little sunlight makes it down onto the boardwalk through the forest. My imagination went a little mad.

The drive from Lorne to Marengo is my absolute favourite part of the drive, it’s practically on the coast.  Be careful, if you’re not paying attention you could go off into the sea!

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After a quick stop slightly inland at Lavers Hill, (Oh! Get your supplies in Apollo Bay! There’s very little of anything we would usually want to eat.) it was time to start ticking off the touristy rocks.

Now there’s a lot more to see than this list but these are the main ones. Words to the wise, if you have FOMO by all means go and tick them off your list but aside from the Gibson steps, I wouldn’t treat them all as a put yourself out kind of job.

I’m not saying they aren’t all fantastic, they are! But just like all the temples in Thailand are fantastic, if you overdo it you’re not going to enjoy yourself or appreciate it. Anyway’s here the list:

  • Gibson Steps
  • Twelve Apostles
  • Loch Ard Gorge
  • Port Campbell (This is just a small charming port town, this is where the stingrays were)
  • The Arch
  • London Bridge (This was one of my favourites, simply because of the name)
  • The Grotto
  • Bay of Martyrs
  • Bay of Islands (we had a beautiful sunset here)

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The 12 Apostles was funny, everywhere else was full of maybe 20 tourists or so but this place? Full of Asian tours and buses from the city! Crazy busy! Strangely enough, we bumped into a guy we had met on a previous trip around the Whitsundays! Small world.  Hopefully, all his visa stuff has sorted itself out, sounds like he was lucky to get back to Oz! All the best to him!

Finally, we arrived at the end of our journey, it took three days in total, which I think is enough (especially if it’s summer and you’re camping in the car). Even down South, it was hot.  We stopped at Warrnambool which was pretty much dead and closed by 8pm. We almost didn’t get into the campgrounds! Nearly getting turned away!

I would have like to go to Port Fairy but our time was up and I was looking forward to our comfy motel bed in Moree, plus get rid of the car in time to leave Australia.  Saying that if I was ever to come back to Australia it would be Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road.

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P.s We definitely left the best of Australia until last in my opinion.

Brighton; By Someone That Lives There

This is going to be a quick Happy Birthday post for my favourite little brother (only little brother) who lives in Brighton, UK!

Happy Birthday! See, told you it’d be quick.  Just kidding! Rather than talk about what I’m doing and what I’ve been up to I thought I’d include a quirky little post about Quirky little Brighton.

Not the New Brighton in Christchurch, New Zealand or the United States or Australia or wherever else they have a new Brighton but the ORIGINAL Brighton in the south of the United Kingdom!

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Who better to tell you than the ginger biscuit that lives there!

First of all, who are you? (cue existential crisis)
Chris Childs.
Your little bro.

What do you do for a J.O.B?
I’m the head of bookings & promotion at two music venues in Brighton, Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar and The Hope & Ruin.

What’s a typical day look like?
Answering a lot of emails, drinking a lot of coffee.

How did you end up living there?
I moved to Brighton when I was 18 to study music.  Got a degree in rockin’, then just stayed.

What do you love about Brighton?
Love living by the sea, love that there’s always stuff going on, loads of really nice bars and it’s generally a really fun place to be.

If you had to pick the top 5 places to tour guide someone around Brighton where would it be?
Urgh, I hate being a tour guide.

What are your favourite places?
The beach is pretty nice, always gotta do the beach. The pier is pretty grim but kinda gotta do it as a tourist. I’d obviously take people to the venues I work at cos all the staff are great & they’re just really cool places. There are so many nice places to eat & drink, the Laines are cool too if you’ve never seen them.

What’s the best time of year to visit?
Dick Christmas lights apparently are a thing around Christmas…
Brighton is great in Summer, obviously, it gets really busy with people visiting but yeah the beach is really nice if you can find space. Pride is always fun, if not a bit nuts, and The Great Escape Festival in May is really cool too, so much live music everywhere

What other local events are going on in Brighton?
Washed Out Festival, a multi-venue emo/pop-punk/hardcore festival that’s in its second year this April.  May’s a great month just for all the Fringe/TGE stuff going on.

Anything else we should know?
If you come to Brighton don’t leave rubbish all over the beach you friggin’ turds.

Okay and lastly!
Can I get a free cocktail at Sticky Mikes when I come back in November?
Oh and free vegan chips at Hope & Ruin?
Wait whaaaat.
Yeah come visit whenever!

Free shit all round!

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A note from me…

Chris’s interests are obviously primarily in the music scene and all that stuff, but where there is music, art usually follows. Brighton has a cool little art scene and is brimming with really cool street art.  There’s some really nice places to eat in the Laneways and hidden squares in the city. Seriously I’ve been visiting for over 8 years and every time I go I seem to find something new.

The shopping is fantastic too, although nothing is particularly cheap, you can find unique and one-off items in the boutiques, arcades and vintage shops.  There is everything from jewellery, famous labels, bespoke artworks, antiques, pop culture trinkets and pin-up style or Gatsby style dresses!

As for more touristy type things (which may make it sound cheesy but still not to be missed) I would recommend chilling out at the 19th Century Regency Palace, Brighton Royal Pavillion, also the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery.

If you’ve only ever heard of Brighton put it on your list!  If you’ve been to Brighton, I implore you to go back and take another look, and if you live there (like Chris) I can only tell you how jealous I am.

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If you find yourself looking for somewhere to play Mario Kart with a pint, or are looking for some super tasty vegan loaded fries, swing by Sticky Mikes or Hope & Ruin and say hey to Chris Childs.

We’ll be looking forward to going back sometime later this year. Can’t wait!

P.s Happy birthday again to Chris, ye olde farte!

 

 

 

Painting on the Road, The Great Ocean Road

Being a backpacker, albeit a terrible one, means that I have or am supposed to have a limited amount of stuff in my backpack and everything deemed essential.
I’m not sure peelable masking fluid is seen as essential.

In fact, every packing list I’ve ever seen from a backpacker or even travel blog does not usually include the same art supplies I would carry.  Camera supplies maybe if you’re into travel photography but I’ve never heard of anyone packing an easel.
Maybe I’m not looking hard enough.

The materials I carry include;

  • Two small solid watercolour pans,
  • A huge 100 sheets of A4 watercolour pad of 200gsm paper from Winslow The Paper House,
  • A large set of Faber Castell watercolour crayons,
  • An assortment of paintbrushes held together with a rubber band,
  • A butt load of inking pens that I hardly ever use,
  • A few mechanical and normal pencils,
  • 3 or 4 or 5 notebooks,
  • My cartoon notebook,
  • Coloured pens and marker pens,
  • Bits and bobs like ink, sharpeners, different kinds of rubbers, ruler and cotton pads etc.

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I used to carry around some Copic markers that I never used too until I put a stop to the delusion I was going to use them and left them at home.

Usually, I have a tremendous amount of guilt in creating art on the road/whilst travelling unless I have set aside a day to do just that.  For example, if everyone else has decided to spend a day relaxing on the beach, and I mean relaxing as in sleeping/sunbathing or reading then I allow myself a few hours of painting or drawing.  Anything else and I feel I’m not taking advantage of seeing the sights, being active or being sociable and THEN I feel guilty.
I still have to get over this guilt.  It’s not as strong now if I need time off I take it, I’m more proactive in that but still feel the guilt.

The driving force that led me to paint this time during my mini adventure around the Great Ocean Road (aside from really wanting to) was that huge 100 page 200gsm pad of watercolour paper!  It’s far too big and heavy to carry!  My bag is already over the weight allowance! Not to mention my backpack has grown into a suitcase over 2017.  I need to ditch the suitcase and fit into a backpack again!  So, what better way to get rid of paper than to use it!

My subject matter; the jellyfish.

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Here I was going to explain why the jellyfish?  But the only thing I can come up with is why not?
I painted one a while ago whilst sat outside my motel room bored waiting for Sean to come back from wherever and fell in love with the shapes, the lines and the colours I could use.  It’s mainly about the colours for me.
This time I aimed to get as many combinations as I could muster.

I set up at the end of the day after a gorgeous drive along the GOR, we found a small caravan park in a lesser known village and the owners gave us the nicest parking spot they had, overlooking the sea.
Sean went climbing over some rocks and spot some seals and I got the camp chairs and the table out and painted until the sun went down.

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I’m getting much more confident and content with saying no to certain experiences so I can allow myself the time to paint. It sounds odd as someone who loves to travel to pass up the opportunity to do or see something, but half of my heart belongs to creating art and over the years I’ve neglected that.

I’m much happier knowing that whilst Sean was wandering off down the rocks to go look at the seals I’d got paint everywhere.  Even now, the other day Sean ventured off to Arthur’s Pass, I stayed at home and finished reading a book I’d had for months.

You would think that art and travel would play a little bit nicer together in my mind.  I mean I love them both but they just seem to both be so demanding of my time.  I mean they both represent freedom but both require copious amounts of attention.

People also expect that when you combine the words ‘art’ and ‘travel’ that you paint scenery.  I don’t paint scenery.  Not that much.  Not yet.  It’s not my forte.  And you don’t need to paint scenery to be a travelling artist Have fun! Draw/paint/craft whatever you want with whatever you can carry!   I might start painting scenery.  I have a few ideas but I’ll do it because I want to.  And it definitely won’t be accurate representations of where I’ve been or where I am in a traditional sense.  I did study CONTEMPORARY fine art after all.

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P.s  I’d love to know others that create things on the road and how you manage! Feel free to comment. XoXo

 

A Day in Bryon Bay

Every time I think I Bryon Bay I smile.
What a wonderful little place.
It’s like my Australian beach version of Bakewell.
Small enough to walk around in less than an hour but full of oddities and quaint discoveries.

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Every day in Bryon can be the same or different.  If you’re unfamiliar with the place, a quick google search will tell you;

“Byron Bay is a coastal town in the southeastern Australian state of New South Wales. It’s a popular holiday destination, known for its beaches, surfing and scuba diving sites. Cape Byron State Conservation Park is on a headland with a lighthouse. Between June and November, humpback whales can be spotted from headland viewpoints such as the Captain Cook Lookout.”

But what people really come here for is “the vibe.”

Throws of backpackers, ageing hippies, health nuts and fire dancing wannabe’s will flock to this town over and over.  Some even wish to permanently relocate.  The town has grown extensively in the past several years alone according to locals and it’s not hard to see why.  Its laid-back vibe will make you feel extremely content with buying overpriced locally made trinkets and acai bowls and then spend the evening drinking and singing and the morning practising yoga (pretending your not still drunk.)
“No Helen, I’m not drunk, it’s an after yoga glow. You’d understand if you found your chi.”

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I may sound sceptical and a little mean but I genuinely do love it here, it’s just that sometimes you have to ignore/avoid a few pretentious a-holes that drift this way.  Not that it takes anything away from the all the good stuff Bryon has.

Now a day there is not nearly enough but if that’s all you have there’s still plenty you can do.  We’ve been several times for a day at a time during our two years in Australia and each has been different.

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The first time we visited we realised we needed to arrive early to get a parking spot on or even near the beach. We managed it and spent most of the day relaxing by the beach, swimming in the sea and watching people learn to surf.  We walked around the town sniffing out the best coffee, had a delectable lunch and went to the lighthouse.  In the evening we watched some street artists and buskers, had wine on a balcony bar and later stargazed for a while.  Perfectly romantic day.

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The second time I went with some girlfriends from the farm, a group of five of us and it was perfect as it fell on the day of the market! Not the small weekly one, the big funky monthly one! It took us hours to get around, longer still because we window shopped every stall and went on a bit of a spree! We tried on kimono’s, danced to a pianist, ate burritos and churros and after the market, we spilt out to the streets to find more shops and try on dungarees! Perfectly fun day.

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And since then every day has been its own mini adventure! You do what you like, so plan accordingly and make sure you have either a nice outfit, some work out gear, or /and your swimming costume!  There are changing rooms on the beach but you may be more comfortable arriving in your cozzie.   The toilets are those on a timer kind too, so the doors open to the public after a certain amount of time and if you’re caught mid change into some crazily complicated swim piece… too bad! You may end up being on show to the world.

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Whatever you do bring sunscreen! Aside from the sun, be careful of the surf!
Don’t get caught up in riptides and pay attention to the lifeguards and beach signs. Also, don’t go in the water with sunglasses on unless it’s super calm and they are glued to your head.  Sean lost his within minutes.

There is plenty to do here if you take the time to do it and if you’re finished with Bryon Bay’s city there are plenty of really cool day trips you can do from there!

P.s   Or if it just isn’t liberal enough you can always take a day trip to Nimbin! Remember kids just say ‘no’ to drugs!

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Moree; it’s not that bad!

It’s around a five and half hour drive from Moree to Brisbane.
Just over seven hours drive to Sydney.
The nearest big town, Tamworth, is three hours away.

With a population of just over 7,000 in 2016, it’s a small town in the middle of nowhere.
I usually wear Benefit mascara, if I run out in the UK I’m at most twenty-minute walk away from somewhere that sells it.
If I run out of it out in Moree I’d have to drive five to six hours into Brisbane and another five or six to get back! So basically two days in a car for darker lashes. I’ll do without thanks.

Okay, so mascara’s not that bad but when your searching for a bridesmaid dress in a certain colour and style it’s nearly impossible and downright inexcusably expensive. That gave me headaches for months.

However after all that was done with I got another chance to appreciate Moree for what it did have rather than what it lacked.

It is located in New South Wales on the Mehi River (which amuses me every time I hear it because it’s the sound my cat Leon makes), it has rich black soils, is famed for its cotton growing industry and is a major agricultural centre.  This means it’s quite good for rural backpacker jobs and works.
Even so, there may be work but there are no backpackers here. There’s no backpacker culture or community, it’s too far out. Too far away. And nobody in their right mind would stay here for 6+ months… we must be insane.

The main reason we stayed? And the reason I actually like Moree?

It’s on the Moree Plains of Artesian Water County, which means there are natural hot springs running through the area.
Most of them have been transformed into swimming baths and establishments.  We lived across the road from and frequented the Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre.

“Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre is the Artesian water oasis. Our facility boasts 2 external mineral-rich hot Artesian pools and a private wellness Artesian pool, program/hydrotherapy pool and 50m FINA standard pool. For the Children, let the hours pass by with our Hidroplay area and 10-metre high waterslide. Facilities also include our Moree Artesian Wellness Centre which house 7 treatment rooms where you can enjoy a wide range of beauty and therapeutic treatments from manicure, massage to acupuncture. You could just immerse yourself in the private spa retreat with plunge pool, Artesian jet beds and sauna facilities. If you would like to get the blood pumping after a long trip. Why not try out our state of the art gym and fitness centre. Equipped with a great range of cardio, pin loaded and free weights.”

– TripAdvisor.

It is well worth the visit and even better to live next too.  I’ll really miss it.  Especially with having frozen shoulder, the jet streams are really soothing.  I’ve enjoyed spending hours relaxing in the pools and pacing up and down the Olympic sized pool at night.  Plus the fact that it’s so far away from anything, means there isn’t much to spend any money on so we ended up saving quite a lot. Except when we took trips, that costs a lot in gas.

The motel we lived at Baths Motel on Warialda Street was also one of the most comfortable I’ve ever stayed at, yes the showers could do with more pressure, but with the pool across the road, I think I’ll let that slide.  The beds were soooo comfy, and the staff ever so friendly and amazing to chat too.   It became our home and the owner and his son and extended family our neighbours.  Plus they gave us free chips from the chippy when someone failed to pick them up.  Not great for the waist but ever so tasty and chicken salt, I imagine, is a close second to meth.

Speaking of drugs, there is an Ice problem in Moree, a little bit like other rural towns with a lack of police. Our place of work has been broken into around 9 times and there are frequent reports of stolen cars and drug-related violence.  Moree is not somewhere I would go out strolling at night on my own.  It just doesn’t feel that safe.

Saying that most of the townspeople we met, store owners, retail assistants etc were all nicer than the ones you meet in big cities and most of the people we lived with were pretty much down to earth, no fuss people.  They’d appreciate nice things but there was no need to stand on ceremony or be subjected to snobbery.

Everywhere has it’s pros and cons though.  It’s good parts and bad parts.  But not every town has a series of gorgeous natural hot spring pools.

P.s  If nature could just put more hot springs everywhere that’d be great.