April 28, 2014

17/52 + 27/40

It's week 17 and no one can stop these two from moving around, one inside and the other out! We had a busy and tiring week, a bit stressful on the work side, but enjoyable on the family side.

This is you chasing "papus" (as you've been calling dad lately) in Richmond Park
Olivia: she has been unstoppable, running around, shouting and singing out loud. She seems to be having a really good time, interacting with other children, being more and more independent whatever she does. I let her jump into muddy puddles on Friday afternoon after nursery, and although she was wet from top to toe, I think she had the best time. Shame I don't have any pictures of that.
Baby boy: this tiny baby is a very active one. I had my appointment with the midwife this week, and although she couldn't find the heartbeat straight away, she could clearly see him moving! his head is still high up, basically in the upper right side of my rib cage, and that's probably why sometimes it gets a bit uncomfortable when he moves. 

April 22, 2014


It's week 16 and we feel truly exhausted after the Easter break! Our move to Rome is getting more complicated than expected (damn you Italian tax system!). Olivia has outgrown her afternoon nap, and when she does have a nap, she doesn't go to bed before 10 pm in the evening. We need some support or we'll go mental. Other than that, I hope you had a lovely Easter holiday!
This is you smiling to the camera on Easter Sunday while eating chips @Nandos

Olivia: Experiencing her tantrums to the fullest this week, but also enjoying her soft and sweet voice when she calls us in the morning after waking up. She loves getting out of her bed and quietly leave the room to go playing on her own (her latest favourite activity is to tidy up the bathroom towels on their rack). And she discovered she loves playing under the sheets, so now we are mastering the art of building blankets forts.

April 16, 2014

Pick of the Month: April // Easter crafts

1. Blue Easter eggs2. Easter bunny rolls / 3. Easter centerpiece / 4. DIY Easter eggs / 5. Easter gift tags / 6. Tattooed Easter eggs / 7. Fingerprint Easter eggs / 8. Easter handprint art / 9. Easter strawberries

This month I have been feeling very crafty, and although I have no plans, or time, to tackle any craft project, I had fun browsing on pinterest to see what other people are doing. Easter is literally around the corner and it is fun, especially if you have kids, to spend some time during the holidays and get creative (read messy!) together. Eggs painting is probably one of my favourite activities, despite not having it done before. But I bet hand printing is going to be very popular with my little miss who likes to get messy and, fortunately, clean up afterwards!

April 15, 2014

15/52 + 26/40

Let's just say that it has been a very intense week! And this late post clearly proves it.

Olivia: she keeps surprising me every single day! on Wednesday morning she told me that her dummy was broken and she was going to throw it away. I replied saying that we didn't have a new one to replace it and that if she was going to get rid of it that would have been the end of it, no more dummy! she went ahead anyway and her dummy ended up straight into the bathroom's bin. And that really was the end of it! she only asked for it a couple of times, and we simply reminded her what she has done and she was perfectly fine with our answer. I still am in disbelief, if I think about all the worries and attempts trying to get rid of the dummy. She thought me a very valuable lesson, that there is a time for things to happen naturally, without trauma and stress free. Children are ready when they are ready, I just need to trust my little girl a little bit more. On the other end, she's outgrowing her afternoon nap, and we are truly exhausted!
Baby boy: there's been a lot of movement with week, clearly visible from the outside, too! I'm just hoping it's not just a taste of what is going to be like, otherwise we'll be in trouble. This week this baby boy should be about 36cm long and weight about 750g...I guess all the weight I'm putting on it's not just because I'm eating without control!

April 11, 2014

Why I love April

April is my favourite month of the year and I can give you 10 (maybe 9!) good reasons why it should be your favourite too.
  1. spring has officially started, whether the weather knows it or not
  2. end-of-winter blues are generally over
  3. the days are visibly longer
  4. the air smells good
  5. there is colour everywhere
  6. people have a positive attitude
  7. wool clothing is no longer around
  8. you can say hello to fresh food
  9. it is ok to have ice cream outside
  10. it is my birthday month J
And to celebrate the start of the month in style, we paid a visit to the RHS Gardens Wisley last Saturday. It was a bit windy, but nonetheless a beautiful day to be surrounded by nature and spend time with friends. The gardens were beautiful and in bloom; they truly are an English love affair! And while I was having a quick solitary stroll around my dream cottage (last picture below) and neatly laid flower beds, I reminded myself why I fell in love with botanical art so much since moving to England. The love and care for the plant world is visible at every corner, everything is perfect the way it is, and the peace that that brings to the soul is almost second to none; this is the same feeling I get when I work on a botanical painting. And I’m almost certain that the trip to the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew to celebrate my birthday in a few weeks’ time will be even better.
I'll leave you with a few pics from last weekend.

April 10, 2014

Work in progress

A sneak peak at my sketchbook this month. Still very much a work in progress. I have been having fun using a new set of watersoluble pencils, thanks to Derwent Academy and their amazing monthly prizes (here if you want to play along). But also, a new subject for me to experiment with...butterflies!

April 09, 2014

ONE LITTLE WORD // March Reflections

March has gone by very quickly, hardly giving me time to pose for a minute and address what has been going on. I don’t feel like I’ve made huge steps forward, but surely things are evolving, and for the better. I have been feeling more and more tired in the evening, and when it happens, I feel very much overwhelmed and not ready to cope with any of the day-to-day things, let’s not mention dealing with my two-year-old who has also been dealing with her tantrums lately. 
My painting plans are going very well, although I seem to concentrate my efforts in just a few days rather than spreading it throughout the month. But this ok, too. I have been trying to change my relaxation time and slot in some time in the mornings, but that has not been happening as planned. 
Where I feel I have been making some progress is in reading and following my most favourite current book “Creating a life worth living”. I have been already talking about it last month (here), but the more I read it, the more I think is the book I needed at this time in my life. As per last month’s assignment, I didn’t do it as I should have. But I tried; I laid down some plans and took notes, but still wasn’t feeling ready. So, instead of giving up completely, I did it my way, I did what I felt was right; a mix of quotes, words, charts, definitions, all in my OLW book.
I found a lot of inspiration by just googling the word CREATIVE. While doing so, I stumbled across Alice's website The Lost Girl and her work on creativity that really gave me some ideas and things to brainstorm on.
Already excited about April's assignments! It will involve lots of pictures taking, but also working on something deeper and more meaningful. We are only four months in and this project is giving me more than I thought it could.
If you want to read any of the previous posts just click on the big banner on the right side of the page. 

April 08, 2014

Fruits of the womb // week 25

I truly cannot believe it's week 25 already! We are in the middle of the second trimester and I started to sleep less and less, and I keep tossing and turning during the night, trying to find a comfortable position every time I turn.  When pregnant with Olivia I didn't have any problems sleeping on my left side (as highly recommended just so women get stressed out even more with do's and don'ts!). With this baby boy the only comfortable position seems to be sleeping on my back, which apparently is not good for the baby. But no matter how much I'm trying, I found myself back in that position every morning.
This week the baby is supposed to be the weight of an average rutabaga (aka swede in UK), about 700g, and is roughly 34 cm long from head to heel. 

Seasonal palette

Once in a while, more often than not, I get the so called creative block. I stare at a blank sheet of paper and just wonder.  I feel the urge to paint, don’t get me wrong, but the ideas just do not flow and my brain feels numb. Over the years I have learned to overcome this lack of inspiration in different ways, taking advice from fellow artists and discovering what really works for my brain to function again. 

One thing I like to do to get the creative flow back is to play with colours and create palettes. It is a nice and relaxing way to use paint; the urge to paint get satisfied and at the same time you are not committing to paint anything specific. Plus you can do this simple exercise while sitting on your couch (or at least this is what I did!). You can tackle this subject in several ways; making a chart of all your pans and tubes, mixing greens or browns, categorising all your paints by colour.
This time I went for a seasonal palette, trying to combine several colours to recreate the seasons and possibly use them in a landscape painting. I store all my palettes in one transparent sleeve, ready to be used when inspiration does strike!   

April 07, 2014


It's week 14 and we are making the most from our week spending time outdoor as mush as possible!
This is you enjoying taking pictures at the RHS Garden Wisley.

Olivia: Spring is taking its toll on her sleep patterns. She started to drop the afternoon nap, but still doesn't seem to be tired enough to go to bed early in the evening. But she woke up at 9am on Sunday morning after going to bed at 10.30pm the night before!

Linking up with Jody from Practising Simplicity.

April 05, 2014

Fruits of the womb // week 24

It's 24 weeks and the baby is the size of a ear of corn. He is now almost 30 cm long and has gained about 100g since last week, weighting a total of approximately 600g. As it's still April, I did find it impossible to find fresh sweetcorn, so I went for two large courgettes!
I have been feeling the baby's movements a lot this week, especially as soon as I lay down in bed in the evening. I guess I'm not giving him the attention he needs during the day, and trying to make up for it at night time, when everything is quiet and more relaxing.

April 04, 2014

Sketchbook #1 // blossoms

March has all been about blossoms! The trees are full of delicate flowers, whites, pinks and reds dominate over the greens of the new leaves and everything seems to be awakening from the long winter sleep. This is another of my favourite botanical subjects, but for this subject I went for a more illustrative technique using a black ink pen besides my watercolours.
My main source of inspiration has been this book, but I also enjoyed flicking through my many botanical art books. And that is one of the reasons why I'm very tempted to tackle a proper botanical painting of a branch of cherry blossoms or prune for my April's project, but not sure I will have enough time to get it done!
Looking forward to illustrate birds or butterflies this month (I still haven't made a decision), either way it will be a real challenge.

April 02, 2014

My Personal Blogging Editorial Calendar

It has only been this year that I started to blog more regularly and started planning in advance my blog’s posts. The switch happened after reading an article from Kam of Campfire Chic in her ‘better blogging’ archive (this one). Before then, I never really thought myself as a blogger, and still don’t to be honest, but reality is I have been blogging since 2009 and that makes me a blogger. I don’t want to start talking about the reasons why I blog, that is a possible subject for another post, but I started to enjoy the weekly tasks, the coming up with a topic and, most of all, the record of things I have been building up during the past five years.
My editorial calendar is very simple and flexible. Since I’m using the Moleskine 12-month diaries this year, I have downloaded one of their free templates (the weekly notebook alternative template in pocket size, here). I have printed out 13 pages to cover the 52 weeks in a year and folded each in 3 pieces to nicely fit at the back of each monthly diary.
The tedious part was writing down the month/week/day on each page, but I did that while watching some tv and didn’t take too long after all.
Since my planning is more or less on a weekly basis, I tend to shift things around very often, especially is something comes up at the last minute and I want to blog about it. For this reason I use post-it notes, the index ones, as they perfectly fit in the space allocated for each day. I write down the topic and I stick it on the planner, and eventually move it around.
I was originally planning to use a colour coding system since I have some recurring topics I write about, like The Pick of the Month, the 52 project, and so on, but it wasn’t worth the effort so I just stuck to orange for the 52 project blog posts, which go live every (!) Monday and to green for all the posts that goes into my other blog SketchingIn Colour (Tuesdays and Thursdays only!).
So far this method has worked wonderfully for me; it gives me the flexibility and organisation I need to stick to my plans and gives me time to plan and schedule in advance, especially when I’m too busy or on holiday.

How do you plan your blog posts?
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