Monkeying Around

Last weekend Dan and I took a trip North to Stoke-on-Trent to visit MONKEY FOREST, part of Trentham Estate & Gardens. Full of the Barbary Macaques species of monkey that typically originate from the mountainous parts of Morocco and Algeria, Monkey Forest holds around 140 of the adorable creatures where you can observe them their habitat. If you're lucky too, you may be able to see some of the newborns climbing, jumping and interacting with you. They were possibly my favourite and I loved that at only a couple of months old they were speedier than any human at that age would be, although leading by example of some of their elders you can see why.

New in Portfolio: A Little Opulent

I am privileged to have been given the opportunity to work with the girls over at A LITTLE OPULENT, an online magazine for embracing creativity, passions and creative interests. It's a great outlet for my creativity as not only do I get to contribute features on a fortnightly basis but occasionally I also produce illustrations to sit alongside other features.

Drawing was something that I had somewhat put on the back-burner during university and for some time afterwards, but being asked to be a part of such an amazing experience and team was hard to turn down. Although I don't feel like I am quite up to the level that I used to be at, it's great to be given the opportunity to produce some work and to also keep practicing in the meantime. It's also given me the confidence to say 'yes' when asked to draw people, which I would have otherwise avoided. 

You can find a few of my other illustrations for the magazine on my PORTFOLIO which has been updated today, or if you have a bit of free time have a look at A LITTLE OPULENT for yourself. Jam-packed with content and a host of incredible writers, illustrators and photographers, you're bound to find something that takes your fancy.

Last of the Summer Bloom

With September well underway Summer in Britain is winding down – the sunny days are turning cool and the nights are drawing in. Although I love the crisp Autumn tones and the excuse to add another jumper to my wardrobe, I'm a Summer baby through and through. I am the person who secretly wishes the weather reports for an October heatwave to be true but it's not all doom and gloom in the coming months. There's still something to be said about the joy of the run up to the festive season and I can't be the only one to have a soft spot for being able to curl up by the fire with a good book or film on a cold night, right?

For me, the word Summer has always been associated with taking a holiday. Even when it was only a couple of hours away, being away from home, somewhere new to explore was what the Summer months were all about. And this Summer I made sure I did just that. I've always had itchy feet but the last 18 months has been the first time in my life where my travels have been dictated by myself (and my fella), meaning I have already widened my eyes to places I never thought I'd visit.

I feel really lucky to have had the chance to to go abroad so much this last year and I put that down to the wake-up call I experienced before Christmas. It really hit me how important our life is and this year I took ownership of it, making changes where I wasn't happy and taking a moment to appreciate all of the things we take for granted. Even though I still have one more holiday planned and my Summer still won't be over for another month yet, I'm hoping you'll be able to join me along the way, by following my TRAVELOGUE and inspire you to do the things you've always dreamed of doing. Life is hard work but if we really want something, then we'll work ourselves tirelessly to get there or at least know we've tried our best.

Peony HERE | Strawberry HERE

Lake Bled, Slovenia

One of Eastern Europe's best-kept secrets is finally getting the recognition it deserves and is no doubt one of the most spectacular lakes I have ever seen. Just half an hour outside of Slovenia's capital city, Ljubljana, you'll find this stunning destination hidden within the Julian Alps and within easy reach of mine and Dan's Summer holiday destination, Croatia, we had the perfect opportunity to hop across the border for the day to see the beauty of the lake for ourselves. 

Despite a six-hour round trip to Lake Bled, nothing could really put a downer on the day (other than wishing we could have stayed longer). Fortunately the tour we were on made sure we all crammed in as much as possible in the short time that we were there, starting with Blejski grad or Bled Castle. The castle sits atop a precipice overlooking the city of Bled and has been documented to have been around as early as the 11th Century, making its claim to be the oldest castle in Slovenia.

The castle now comprises of exhibition rooms, a restaurant, a working forge, castle cellar and the original Gothic chapel which is beautifully decorated. But for me, the castle was all about the view. It was purely breathtaking and I must have taken an average of 7 photos for each angle the castle overlooked as I just couldn't tear myself away.