Monday, 2 March 2015


Oh February! Short and sweet! Payday comes around so fast! In some ways, February is my favourite month.

For starters, I WON A THING. I know everyone always says this, but... I don't know if I've ever won a thing before! Definitely not a thing this fun. Expect to see my design on a t-shirt at Boulder Brighton soon! (Also, I am genuinely delighted to share the winning glory with Sofia, because they just couldn't choose between us because we're both TOO AWESOME.)

We went to Torquay. I like Torquay. It feels far enough away from everything that it reminds me of where I grew up, but crucially, isn't where I grew up, so it feels like a faintly exotic adventure.

We went to visit Alex’s parents there. Alex’s Dad reads my blog (Hi Tony!) and has somehow become convinced that I'm really good at drawing people. It's not true. I'm fairly good at drawing me and Alex because me and Alex both have ridiculous distinguishing features that make us easily identifiable no matter how crude the drawing. Actual normal people? Not so. Alex's dad tried to persuade me to draw him and I did a fairly poor job. On the bright side, the drawing does look like a human man. On the downside, it doesn't look like Alex's dad. Oh well.

I still can’t even really draw myself to look like myself, but I am STILL TRYING different styles and different ways, and one day I will achieve an accurate self portrait. But not yet.

After we got back from Torquay I'd booked myself an extra day off work to relax. Days off work are great sometimes. Even when they're mundane. But Wagamama ruined it by tricking me into eating chicken, gross gross gross gross

Now is really not a good time to be a butterfly. I feel a bit bad that I chucked him out in the cold but I didn’t want him to land on my face while I was sleeping.

Why do I procrastinate even the fun things?

Bouldering is still fun. But I worry that my rate of progress is a bit slow. Maybe I’m not trying hard enough? (I am really trying quite hard though, harder than I have tried at any other sport ever I think) Or maybe I'm just not very good?! This is something I may have to come to terms with.

So a friend of a friend saw my blog about our house cook book, and asked if she could have one in exchange for something knitted. SKILL SWAP! I love skill swaps. She knitted me this amazing pair of mittens and they're SO GOOD I have basically been wearing them all the time ever since. Can't draw hands very well, and frankly barely even tried here because I was too busy concentrating on the mittens.

We got loads of delicious vegan chinese takeaway for Chinese new year. It was great. (Vegans of Brighton: ‘Oriental’ on Lewes road is a mediocre Chinese takeaway for the most part, but they offer LOADS of weird crazy vegan ‘meats’, and their vegan crispy duck pancakes are quite something.)

We and Alex missed our train home from Shoreham by SECONDS and had to spend 40 minutes sitting in cold Shoreham station late at night. We were grumpy but Ticket to Ride saved the day.

I had a really good climb that saturday which eased my bad feels somewhat. Chalk! I was previously cynical but it genuinely helps, or at the very least tricks my brain into being braver.

Half marathon! Went to cheer on three separate friends who were running it, LJ, Hannah and Marina, all of whom I was lucky enough to see, and all of whom, I’m pleased to say, looked TOTALLY CHILL, just coasting along like pros. Unlike loads of other people who looked like the might actually drop down and die. It’s a faintly distressing experience watching people suffer that much (although not nearly as distressing as it is for them, I’m sure)

Alex is getting new glasses and I am SO EXCITED. (He’s ordered them on the internet and they will be here any day now. Eeeeee!)

Baked a great orange cake. Bought an orange to go in it, and it came wrapped in this pretty tissue paper which made me oddly nostalgic. This was how my mum used to be able to trick me into eating fruit, because it came in a pretty wrapper.

Anyway, March is here now and I am SO EXCITED FOR SPRING.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Kids and the IoT

I worked with Scott Smith (AKA Changeist) last year on some TOP SECRET fun stuff which maybe I'll be able to talk about at some point in the future...

But now here's something new and altogether more visible:
A good/important read for parents, children, maybe-one-day-parents and anyone with even the slightest interest in the way that technology is going. 

I got invited to illustrate. Welcome to the future! Maybe.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Cookbook D'arc Manche

In a remarkable feat of last-minute motivation, I managed to put together a 20-page vegan cookbook/zine as a Christmas present for lots of friends who regularly visit our house. We like cooking for people and people often say kind things about our food and ask for recipes, so I figured a cookbook would be a nice (if slightly egotistical) thing to do.

People have been incredibly kind about them, and if you know me and you'd like a hard copy, let me know and I'll get one to you somehow!

Anyway, here are a selection of food illustrations from the book... They probably look a bit rubbish out of context, but I'm going to share them anyway, because I had fun doing them.

We like weird things on toast.
Talk to me about my mexican red cabbage salad. It’s fairly hard to believe raw red cabbage can taste this good.

Justin’s only recipe contribution to the book. It’s a good one though. So good I decided to give it a kale border.

And girls. Everyone. My dumplings. So good. If I do say so myself.

One of my very regular recipes is peanut and lime udon noodles with leeks, broccoli and fried tofu.

Hoi sin sauce is THIS EASY you guys.

Can't go wrong with a good aubergine. (Actually you quite easily can. But let's not talk about that.)

In addition to the illustrations, there are a whole bunch of delicious photos, including...

Whoever thinks vegans don't eat well needs to get over here RIGHT NOW and let me pile some of this onto their plates.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Hourly comic day 2015

So I don't think this year's hourly comic day is as good as last year's hourly comic day...
It's not particularly amusing, but it is in COLOUR!
So here's a typical-ish weekend day in the life of me, in far too much detail. 

In the first hour of February 1st, I was at the Cowley Club for our friend Hannah's leaving party. It was 'teen goth' themed, and the playlist was packed with all the songs people like me listened to in our mid/late teens. I got quite excited by Placebo and then got tired and went home. And then stayed up far too late watching Community because it's some of the most moreish telly out there.

Alex stayed up even later than me, and eventually fell asleep in his own room so as not to disturb me. I, meanwhile, got so cold that I slept in a horribly cramped, uncomfortable foetal position in order to keep warm, and woke up achey.

Eventually I heaved myself out of bed, shovelled a load of houmous into my mouth, and did all the drawings that had happened so far.

Then I walked to church in the sun. I've started going to Quaker church recently, instead of C of E. It feels like the right thing at the moment.

I did a fairly basic drawing of the layout of Quaker church. It’s a really nice space.
After that I started walking home…

...but became distracted by SHOPPING. First weekend after payday, innit. I'm nothing if not predictable.

Treated myself to bibimbap on the way back, then came home to eat it and catch up with drawing.

INTERNET! For a while, then started the walk to climbing. It's about an hour's walk from home, so bonus good exercise! Bumped into our friend Caroline on the way, which was nice.

At climbing I warmed up with some easy climbs...

Matthew was there too, and he egged me on to get over one that's been stumping me since day one. I was thoroughly undignified.

I tired myself out and got the train home. As soon as I got back, I got to work on making spanakopita, starting with the vegan 'feta' mix. SO GOOD. (Recipe here)

Spent the next hour on cooking tasks and cleaning the kitchen...

And then, DONE! The spanakopita was very good and that made me happy. I bathed in that happiness for a while, and then did the washing up.

Alex had a couple of friends over for boardgames, but I antisocially came upstairs to catch up on my drawings.

Spent a happy hour watching Dragon's Den and painting.

Then some more internet time wasting, downstairs for spanakopita leftovers, and shower....

Hug with Alex (who always stays up way later than me), and then to bed.