Monday 29 March 2021


One of the highlights of last year was the time I actually got to go outside - I live in a flat without a garden, so the first lockdown felt particularly hard - I longed for outdoor space of my own, and I've never appreciated fresh air more! When I look back at last year my best days were definitely the ones where I made an effort to get out and go exploring.

For the last 7 years (!) I've owned a Dutch-style bike (this one!). It looked very beautiful, but it was very heavy and only had 7 gears which meant I was pretty limited whenever I wanted to cycle up hills. Living in the city, it's too risky to leave my bike locked up outside at night, which means whenever I want to use it, I have to carry my bike up and down three floors of stairs - not fun!

I've been swithering for a while, but as the weather has got nicer I decided it was time to finally bite the bullet and buy a proper bike - so say hello to my new steed, a Raleigh Pioneer Grand Tour!

My beaut new bike parked outside lovely Filmhouse Cinema

I hadn't planned to buy a bike online, but I went to a couple of bike shops (which are actually open, even in lockdown) and both had barely any bikes left in stock - apparently there's been a massive demand for them since last year, and manufacturers are struggling to keep up! I knew I wanted to buy a good bike (which meant spending a bit of money), so I really wanted to make sure I wasn't settling for whatever was left in stock, and I took time to find the right bike for me.

I've always like Raleighs, I've had them before and the brand has a great rep for making high-quality bikes. I knew I wanted something light (to make lugging it up stairs a little easier), that I wanted something with a low bar (I'm pretty short and I want to be able to cycle in a skirt if I want to!), and importantly, something with lots of gears to make it easier to get around Edinburgh's hills. My last bike had been beautiful but impractical, so I was trying to look past aesthetics, but obviously I'm a sucker for a nicely designed bike. 

I also needed a bike that was good for both city cycling and country adventures - so decided that a hybrid bike was the way to go.

Looking like a happy potato

I spent AGES looking through all the options, watching videos, reading reviews, and obsessing over the difference between a 14kg bike and a 15kg bike. It was also tricky trying to work out what frame size I wanted - it would have been nice to be able to try some bikes out, but I just had to make do with sizing guides online.

In the end I took the plunge and bought the Pioneer Grand Tour in Low Step. It pretty much ticked all my boxes: it's got a light aluminum frame; 24 gears; big grippy tyres that are happy on pavements and country paths; and it came with mudguards, a pannier rack and a bell, so I didn't have to pay extra for those. It was £525, which feels quite expensive to me and was definitely the top of my budget, but I know I'll get years of use out of it (and we don't have a car, so it really is my main mode of transport these days!).

The bike is an absolute DREAM. I was worried that I'd get carried away imagining how much better this was than my old bike - like, how much difference can a few extra kgs and gears make? Turns out, it's LOADS. The gears are a life-changer! Hills are so much easier, I'm much faster, and I feel so much more confident cycling in traffic. The bike doesn't have suspension, but the seat is fitted with mega springs, so it's much comfier going over cobbles or uneven ground. It looks great too!

Now the weather's improving, I've been able to go out for a few rides already, and I love it. Such a great decision to buy! I'm really looking forward to going farther afield on warm sunny days - bring on the summer! 

Monday 22 March 2021


As you might have spotted I am a big Star Trek fan, so I am over the moon to get to be part of Women Make Trek - an amazing fan art celebration of the women in Trek!

Women Make Trek was born from a love of Star Trek, art and design, and the incredible artists who have been collectively making Star Trek art for over 55 years.

The exhibition is packed with beautiful portraits of Star Trek women - from the iconic female stars (look at these beautiful portraits of JanewayUhara and Dr Crusher), to characters who may have had smaller roles, but still made a huge impact on screen (like these beaut portraits of Keiko O'BrienEzri Dax and L'rell).

Each artwork is accompanied with a story of what the character and/or actor means to the artist, so you really get a sense of how much these cool, strong, inspiring space women have impacted people's lives. That's really the ethos of Star Trek, and why I like it so much. It's about adventure and exploration, sure, but it's also about celebrating the diversity in the universe, and using our differences to build a better future. I grew up watching and loving it, but even now as an adult I'm learning things from re-watching it that are helping me be a better boss, pal and all-round person. That's pretty high praise, isn't it? I just love it!

Tilly - painted by me!

And that brings me to Tilly! You can see my story of why I love Tilly here. I still can't quite believe that my little portrait is sitting alongside so many amazing artworks, but it's been so lovely to be part of it, and get to connect with so many cool fans. 

Alongside their amazing art showcase, Women Make Trek are doing a couple of great things: they are fundraising for Breast Cancer Research, and they are collecting letters for Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) to spread a bit more love in the universe!

Monday 15 March 2021


Our menagerie has expanded! Say hello to Beanie, our Sphynx kitten.

I didn't think I'd ever get to  be a cat owner again, as my boyfriend is very allergic to cats... but one day we started talking about hairless cats - maybe they wouldn't be so bad - which led to visiting Sphynx cats to see if he'd be okay - which led to reserving a tiny black and white kitten (because it is impossible to "just visit" kittens, without falling in love!).

So in December 2019, we paid a deposit to reserve our new Sphynx, who we would collect three months later when she was 16 weeks old. Back then, we had no idea what the next few months would hold and so alongside all the pandemic anxiety, I was also super stressed about whether we'd actually be allowed to go and get her! But we got her just in time, and it meant there was at least one upside of lockdown - we had loads of time to bond with our lovely new kitten.

It's coming up to a year (!) since we got her and she is just the perfect girl, I am utterly obsessed. I've never met a cat so friendly and brave - there is zero aloofness in this kitten! She's like a little cat-dog cross, she's super social, she loves people and other animals, she wants to be cuddled all of the time (they call Sphynx velcro lap cats and it is totally true!) and she is never phased by anything!

We have fully embraced insane Sphynx owner life, so we do treat Beanie like a mini dog. Last summer she hung out with us in the park on sunny days (she was the very best girl, saying hi to loads of surprised dogs and little kids), we went to the Highlands and even took her on holiday with us! She calmly slept through a 5 hour drive, walked on her lead on a big ramble through the forest, and even visited Urquhart Castle - much to the lols of the other tourists there.

Being hairless means she NEVER SHEDS, which is honestly a delight, and makes me wonder if I could ever go back to a moulting pet. No more endless lint rollers! 

I've always wanted a dog, but couldn't really justify it because of flat-living-life, but honestly I think Beanie perfectly fits my pet-loving heart - she's just amazing!

Owning a Sphynx is a little more high-maintenance than other cats. Firstly, she was pretty pricey - we had to save up for a long time, but it felt worth it as she was the only kind of cat that wouldn't trigger allergies (worth noting that there's no guarantee you won't react to a Sphynx if you are allergic to other cats, but it worked out for us). 

They aren't completely hairless - she's covered in a peachy fuzz which means she's super soft to touch, but she does need fairly regular baths as she gets a bit grimey! Luckily, because she's an angel, she is incredibly chill about bathtime, so it's actually pretty sweet when she gets her bubble bath. You also have to clean their ears pretty regularly (those big ol' ears get grimey too) - I just use cotton buds and coconut oil. 

Sphynx have a slightly higher body temperature than other cats (which is great in the winter, but in hot days it can feel like you have a sentient hot water bottle stalking you), but they do get cold easily which means on colder days she has to wear little jumpers to keep her cosy. 

We also feed Beanie a pretty varied diet of wet and dry cat food and raw meat - a high quality diet helps maintain the oils in her skin. 

Pints in the park with Beanie

I just could not recommend a Sphynx more, they are such brilliant creatures and she has brought so much love and joy to our lives!

If you'd like to see more of Beanie, I made her an instagram (of course I did), and you can follow along here: sphynxbeanie

Monday 8 March 2021


Three years ago I cut all my hair off and it was great! I did it on a bit of a whim (I'd lingered too long in long bob territory, and I was bored), and I didn't regret it for a second, although I was a little concerned about what a faff it would be when I fancied long hair again. 

Everyone is pretty universally agreed that growing a pixie cut out is The Worst... but I'm here today to tell you that the internet is wrong, it's totally easy, you should definitely chop your hair!

2018 vs 2021

Here's how I went from short short short to shoulder length hair (yes, lockdown helped). Hope you're ready to see loads of photos of my face! 

If you are just looking for my main tip, it's this: go to the hairdresser loads! More than you usually would! It might seem counter-productive, especially if you are trying to grow your hair out, but it means you'll navigate the choppy world of regrowth with dignity (and minimum kirby grips).

September 2018 / October 2018
February 2019 / April 2019

After I first got it cut I started going to my hairdresser approximately every 8 weeks, to get it reshaped and to top up the colour (I'm naturally ginger, but as you'll see, I like to just bounce around different red tones). The whole point of getting it cut short was to keep it short, and as I'd never had haircut below my chin before I was excited to try out all sorts of crops and bobs along the way.

I'd say probably most of the year (Feb - September) I kept it pretty close to the original pixie length, then in October I started to think about growing a bit more hair for winter (short hair is cold!), which meant letting the sides grow in a little for a 60ish bob. This round bob was maybe a little bit awkward (little round cheeks and little round hair combine), so I think this was possibly the trickiest stage... but really, it was totally fine.

At the time I joked about having Princess Diana hair, but looking back I really like my Feb 2019 hair! My hair is pretty thick and feels like it grows quite fast, so I definitely was saved by regular haircuts which kept it neat and in shape - if I'd just let it do it's own thing, I imagine it would be pretty terrible, but this stage was plain sailing! I kept it roughly around this length for the rest of the year.

May 2019 / July 2019
October 2019 / December 2019

Loved my summer 2019 hair! At this point I felt like I'd got through the worst of post-pixie life (which again, WAS FINE), so now I was just making my way through various bobs, mixing up the colour, sometimes wearing it straight, sometimes letting it naturally go a little wavy.

In December 2019 I figured it was time to start aiming for the long-side again, although after a couple of years of minimum styling, I was not super thrilled about having to spend ages drying my hair again.

February 2020 / May 2020
July 2020 / September 2020

Then 2020! I started the year off with a slick sharp cherry red bob, ready with loads of plans of how I could do cool dip-dyes and vibrant shades so I wouldn't be bored getting it past shoulder-length, and then lockdown kicked in. I've been working from home all year so I have properly embraced my natural wavy hair, I actually like the pale ginger it's faded to (is it my natural colour? Who knows) and it's had peace to just keep on growing, and is pretty happily past my shoulders again.

Was growing out a pixie cut much easier than I thought it would be? Yes! Is my hairdresser a superstar? Yes! (She's Linden at Dean Jones in Edinburgh, and I would highly recommend her!). Would I cut my hair all off again? Yes! But maaaaybe not when we are in total lockdown.

Monday 1 March 2021


As well as working on my painting skills, I have been trying my hand at digital drawing and it is SO MUCH FUN! I'm lucky enough to get to borrow my boyfriend's iPad Pro which has Procreate on it, a very cool digital illustration app.

When I first started drawing digitally I was RUBBISH, and seriously overwhelmed by all of the available brushes and tools. You draw onto the ipad with an apple pencil, and it has a screen cover which feels like you are drawing on paper, but it's still pretty intimidating if you don't know what you are doing. Thanks to lockdown, I've had lots of time to practice though, and while I've still got a long way to go, I'm pretty happy with where I'm going!

The beauty of digital drawing is the magical delete button. If you do something wrong, or it doesn't quite look right, just delete it! And you can copy and paste, resize, use fancy texture brushes, whatever you like! 

I've found because I've been working on using traditional media (watercolours and gouache paintings) as well as digital drawings, progress I've made in one area has really benefitted others. I've practiced anatomy and capturing likeness in my paintings, which makes faces look better in my procreate paintings. I've experimented and stopped being afraid of making mistakes digitally, which means I can take what works and apply it the next time I paint something. It's been such an amazing learning tool!

Another fun feature of procreate is that you can see a timelapsed recording of your art - which is very helpful if you, like me, are making it up as you go along, and then can watch it back to see what did/didn't work! You can see a timelapse of my Valentine drawing on insta here.

I'm a big fan of bright and bold colours and characters, so I draw a lot of cool girls, but it still feels like such a novelty to produce something that actually looks like a person. I have been trying to wean myself just off painting pinterest models (this video made me think about the references I'm using), although it is easy to get suckered in by the beautiful styling! 

I think my next challenge is trying to get more confident in digital techniques (up until now I've used the same approach, whether it's paint or on screen), and work towards finding that ever elusive 'style'.