We planted a raspberry plant last summer which we bought at RHS Hampton Court Flower Show.  The little raspberry pictured above is the first fruit from it and Steve and I went halves : ). Garden harvesting is such a satisfying activity, here are some pictures I have taken over the past month of our veg and fruit hauls.

I have had quite a busy week trying to meet a couple of deadlines, including the Not on the High Street Christmas catalogue date.  That’s right, CHRISTMAS.  I have spent every evening illustrating snowy woodland scenes which has been a struggle to get my head round.

Steve however has been busy making provisions.  Last Friday was a lovely sunny London evening so we went on a foraging mission in Ruskin Park for elderflowers.  Steve has been out twice since and we now have a fridge full of bottled cordial.

It is properly The Good Life around here.  He’s also been brewing BEER.  So exciting!!  We should be able to try it in a few weeks.  In the meantime, our first raspberry bush has fruit which is now beginning to ripen, the strawberries and salads are ready and it won’t be long before we have a garden full of flowers.  I love summer.

I really really love painting portraits.  I sometimes forget just HOW much I love it when bogged down with other things but then I start on a new project and it’s happy days again.   It’s definitely my favourite kind of commission. As well as being a hugely satisfying process, I also get to know those clients a little better as we send many an email back and forth and of course you can put faces to names (!).

Merlin and Gena booked me to do a portrait invitation back when I was first starting out with Wolf Whistle.  They are the nicest couple and were such a joy to work with. I have been lucky enough to meet them in person since finishing their stationery as they have opened up a really beautiful grocery shop in my neighbourhood.  If you are ever in Peckham, do visit General Store on Bellenden Road.  You won’t be able to help yourself in there – so many delicious things AND they make a great flat white (woo hoo!).

Hardie’s Mum Charlotte commissioned this portrait invitation for his christening.  He looks like such a sweetie in his photos and I do hope I have got his likeness.  I’m not going to lie, painting a baby is much, much harder than painting an adult!  Charlotte gave me the most amazing feedback which means so much.

The invites (and envelopes) arrived today and Iain and I are just sat looking at them now and they are fabulous, we think you’ve done a wonderful, wonderful job, have captured Hardie brilliantly and I can’t wait to send them out.  I only wish we were getting married again so you could do our wedding!!!
I really hope I can think of something else for you to do for us, we’re both so chuffed and I will be waxing lyrically about you to all and sundry!
I can’t tell you just how thrilled I was to read that!  Thanks so much to Charlotte, Iain and Hardie for such a special opportunity!

I have been planning to expand my product offering beyond wedding stationery for a while now (time!  I need more time!) and first up are these custom illustrated house portraits.

Perfect as a gift for new home owners, the images are created using a mixture of traditional watercolour and digital illustration techniques. The base of the image is painted and then scanned, with further illustrative detail being added in Photoshop.  I will illustrate the facade and any garden to the front of the house as well as a small amount of text.  There is some flexibility: I can include your spring tulips even if they are not pictured in your photo or have your black and white cat sitting on the front step.

Please get in touch if you would like to commission one – I can work to a variety of sizes and can offer prints framed or not.  I can also have any illustrations printed onto greetings cards.  Prices start at £75.

Again, my lovely product shots are by Laura Hutchinson.

I have just had a lot of my bespoke work photographed by the wonderful Laura Hutchinson and wanted to share something right away.  I did this portrait invitation for Nicola and Glyn last year (they are super organised!).  Nicola found me through Not on the High Street and I was thrilled that they decided to book in a portrait invitation.  They both have a great vintage look which really suited the invitation: Nicola wanted her hair to be painted in a pin-curl style and in all the pictures sent over Glyn was wearing this hat so that was a must.  I hope all the recipients loved opening these!

Steve and I left a snowy London a few weeks ago for a weekend visit to Paris.  We took the Eurostar – which is a joy – and arrived to a bit of hazy sunshine and a balmy 8˚c!  I was so happy – the coat came off pretty quickly.  I walked around all afternoon in this:

We had both been several times before and were not particularly interested in the Eiffel Tower, Sacrè Coeur, et al. We had a room booked at Mama Shelter which was very close to Père Lachaise Cemetery and wandered around there on our way to the hotel.  I really love cemeteries anyway, but this one is a bit special and we did seek out the ‘celebrity’ graves, the most impressive and beautiful belonging to Oscar Wilde.  No lipstick kisses any longer – there is a nasty transparent barrier keeping you off!  Jim Morrison’s grave was particularly entertaining as behind the (ineffective!) barrier there were two drunk Spanish tourists (drinking whisky out of an eiffel tower shaped bottle – classy) and sloshing their way through Light My Fire.  Weekend highlight?

I particularly liked these two:

I also wanted to check out La Campagne à Paris, a small collection of charming streets near our hotel.  It is described in guides as the countryside in Paris and I can imagine it will be even more beautiful come summertime.  A pretty good first day.

On Sunday we visited a few food markets and then wandered over to the Musèe d’Orsay via the Jardin des Plantes and St Germain. When we arrived we were tired – we had done a lot of walking and I could not believe the queue that greeted us.  The streets had seemed so quiet – this was where everyone was!  Perhaps my advice is to not visit museums in Paris at the weekend as we had a very rude encounter with the ticket cashier and the cafe kept shutting due to over crowding. This was dire as we were in quite serious need of tea… But nevermind, the museum clearly has a great collection and it was nice to see so many famous pieces of art. My favourite was the furniture collection – they had lots of art nouveau style pieces which I love.

We made our way back to Gare du Nord slightly earlier than planned and were more than happy to put our feet up when we boarded the Eurostar.

 

 

 

Nina from Butter Brown Baking Company contacted me earlier in the year to ask me to create an illustrated logo for her business.  She is based in the Hudson Valley in the US and creates beautiful wedding and occasion cakes.  She sent me some inspiration images to work with and off we went.  The idea was to create a layered image of baking icons in a simple mid-century, painted style.

You can see the image in situ on her website below.  Do go check Nina’s website and her amazingly presented cakes and pastries.


 

I think it is safe to say that I have had a rather busy 6 months. Things took off for Wolf Whistle in October last year and I have spent most evenings and weekends working on projects for some really lovely folks.  Portraits for weddings and christenings, logos, other bespoke illustrations… it’s a dream really.  My biggest problem at the moment is not having enough time to develop ideas that I have as I spend most of my time outside my job working on commissions.  At some point something has got to give, but i’ll keep on keeping on for the moment.  London is an expensive city to live in and so the job must stay!

The plan with the blog is to start to showcase some of the projects I have been working on recently and I have been waiting for a sunny-ish day in which to take photographs – fat chance!  So in the meantime – and I am really going to try to update this with some kind of frequency and not leave it for 6 months plus – my instagrams and waffle will have to do!

I took this photo of my husband Steve in Paekakariki just before sunset on our New Zealand trip.  It looks picturesque but it was blowing a gale, freezing cold and rain clouds were coming in.  The light was lovely though.

 

Perhaps I am slightly mad, but I have started a new project which I wanted to tell you about: Garden Scout.  It is a blog which I started at the beginning of July about gardening and the outdoors, but with a young, non-fuddy-duddy approach.  I hope you will pop over and have a look at the work I have put into it so far.  So I am a busy girl: day job, Wolf Whistle and now the blog.  I am also going to be doing some horticultural distance courses so who knows how I am going to keep up with it all, but I would be bored otherwise I think.  Malayka wrote a great piece recently about being a ‘scanner’… that maybe might be me, too.