Thursday, 27 October 2011


I bloody love a bit of bug.

Well, most bugs. Too many legs creep me out - those centipedes are just not ideal. Would certainly not like to meet a centipede in a dark alley, that's for sure. Butterflies, however, are a different matter. When I was a mini Bella one of my favourite activites was popping to the 'Butterfly House' - a spot just outside London. It was completely magical - gorgeous colours & shapes all around in a hot & humid greenhouse. Too exciting. It's been about 15 year since mini Bella's butterfly excitement, but when I found out there was a greenhouse filled with Butterflies outside the Natural History Museum I felt quite the same amount of joy as I did 15 years ago. The exhibition was called 'Sensational Butterflies' & was filled with all these fab fellas hanging out in their man made jungle. A winding path led round the space which I gliding along in a euphoric state as the butterflies fluttered all around.
My friend Natalie joined me on this adventure which was pretty brave of her (although she didn't have much choice in the matter to be honest - if she'd said no I'd probably sunk into a deep depression...) I say 'brave' because Natalie admitted her life long fear of the fluttering fellas. For her, meeting a butterfly in a butterfly house parallels my fear of meeting a centipede in a dark alley. 
So there was me, about to explode with excitement, while Natalie quaked in her boots, especially when a massive one landed on her...Natalie deserves serious credit I must say - she powered through & decided at the end that they weren't so bad. A butterfly convert! Ideal.
Yes, I'd say they are probably the most inoffensive creatives on the planet. except sloths, but they r just lazy.

I called this one Fred...

...and this is Margret


Last week there was a green bug in my bathroom. Hanging out. He was a funny looking guy - bright green with long legs which I presume he used to hop & jump all over the show. He was there whenever I went into my bathroom - sometime half way up the wall, sometimes chilling on the mirror. It was slightlu disconcerting to have him around when I was on the loo, but I presumed he was more interested in his reflection in the mirror than me so it was ok. Anyway, as the days progressed & he was still there I began to worry about his lack of food & water & just when I thought I should definitely do something about it - I went into my bathroom for a bit of a toothbrush - to find him dead on the floor. So sad I didn't act quicker on the food & water issue, I feel awful. I could have spared his life.

Sorry little green guy.

Feeling so bad about how I neglected the green guys basic needs, I decided to give him a last bit of life before saying goodbye for good. In his dead state, I introduced him to my toucan, a few beaded crocodiles I made, & an owl that chills by my bed. 

I know he wasn't alive, but I'm sure his soul appreciated it.

Sunday, 23 October 2011


I've always lead a rather busy life...popping here & there & somehow being in a few places all at once. Namely last year when I had a job at SNOG in London, a part-time photography degree in Newcastle & a sociology degree in Durham...oh.
I do rather thrive on rushing all over the show, packing as much into each day I can. My chum Lavinia goes about her life in much the same way & so when the two of us were in Florence we didn't have a second of unplanned activity. However, there was something different about being busy in Italy...less pressured perhaps? The air in Italy seems somehow calmer. There's more time. Time for long siestas. Time to drink lots of wine & enjoy long meals. One thing I noticed in particular is the lack of take-away coffee cups. Instead of grabbing a Starbucks on the go, why not give yourself the time to enjoy it by the bar? Getting off the Gatwick Express at Victoria, I was immediately struck by people rushing around like mentalists. What are they doing!? I cried. Honestly, take a chill Londoners, stop this frantic business. The world isn't going to end if you miss that train!

Spending time in Sestri Levante after Florence was one long take-away coffee cup-less enjoyment. It's so wonderful there - people spend their days walking slowly in the water - a sort of acqua-aerobic activity for the over seventies. I spent lots of time photographing & drawing these fine folk.
They were wonderful.


So back in busy London, I admit I've already given in to the take-away coffee cup - despite best intentions. However, have been looking for other ways to slow down. Lots of drawing class...lots of naked people. Then there's music. Relaxing, de-stressing music. One particular musician I relate particularly to a coffee cup less life is Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu.
Gurrumul is an Australian aborigine from Galiwin'ku off the coast of Arnhem Land, Northern Australia. He was born blind & plays the drums, keyboards, guitar (a right hand-strung guitar left-handed) & didgeridoo. His voice is completely magical.

I found out he was playing at the Barbican which was almost too exciting. I bought two tickets & persuaded by brother to join me. He's not such a music fan, but he found my description of an 'Australian aborigine who was born blind & sings about crocodiles' intriguing enough to come. He bloody loved it - & when Gurrumul sung 'I was born blind' we were both weeping like there's no tomorrow.

A little sketch I drew of the chap...

If your interested in a bit of Gurrumul -

Monday, 17 October 2011


Find an Italian on a vespa. He'll say ciao Bella! & we'll disappear off into the sunset. Ideal.

Finding an Italian on a vespa & eloping to a gorgeous Italian spot with my new hunk has always been the plan for my future. So, last year when I was in Durham I realised it was time to set the foundations of the plan in motion and signed up for an evening Italian class - 2 hours, once a week. I usually arrived in a fluster, having been caught in a gust of wind, fallen over in the street or dropped half my possessions into the gutter, but whatever the circumstances of my arrival, I was always thrilled to be there. Grammar. Irregular verbs. Greetings. Ordering a coffee. I loved it. Bella means beautiful, after all.

Unfortunately two hours, once a week was not quite enough to ensure the fluency I was hoping. I had the idea that I'd do the course & by the end of the year I'd be chatting away in Italian in the same manner as I chat away in English. For this to be possible it would of course have required a lot of work on my part which somehow didn't quite happen. But Italian in the language of love, so when I find my hunk I doubt I'll need to say much. Anyway, after my recent few weeks in Italy I am once again very inspired to keep learning & have bought various beginners books - 'Italian for Dumbies' a particular favourite. So at the moment, since returning for my future Motherland, I've been reciting verbs like there's no tomorrow - morning, noon & night. Amare. To love. Amo, ami, ama, amiamo, amate, amanto. sorted.

Why is this my life plan? Because I am completely & utterly in love with Italy. The culture, the vibes, the way of life, the food, the was made for me. I've been all over the place in Italy but my favourite place is Sestri Levant where I've been going every summer for my own life. It's the most peaceful, wonderful, therapeutic place I know. A few photo's to give you an idea...

A one star hotel called Isabella? How great does that sound! No air-con, dirty mattress, communal bathroom...but at least it's called Isabella eh.

This duck chap was so funny - he wanted to make chums with people! He'd pop into the sea & come right up & chill with the swimmers! I gave him a bit of my croissant one day but he was unamused. Apparently it was not his pastry of choice.

Calming & beautiful. I sat & draw. Relaxed & just enjoyed every minute.

Thursday, 13 October 2011


I've been considering the matter of perfectionism recently. Being a perfectionist, is it a good or bad thing?

There is no doubt that I am a perfectionist through & through. Not only does my behaviour suggest this to be the case, my Virgo star sign reinforces it - They are said to have a talent for projects which require precision & detail & to excel at skills & crafts which require patience & exactitude. On the negative, they are highly sensitive to perceived criticism & can appear to worry unduly about the need to make things as perfect as they can be. Gosh, this is me! I am very focused on detail - always noticing people's jewelry, hair cuts, love bites...and then all the details that surround me in life. The details I tend to focus my photography work on in fact. Detail & colour. Snap.Snap.
The 'worry about the need to make things as perfect as they can be'. When I was a little Bella I struggled quite a bit at school as I'm dyslexic & just wanted to get things right. These days my perfectionism can drive me crazy - with work & essays I want them to be peeerfect & so I quite frankly end up going a bit mad. How can anything be perfect? Except Cheryl Cole's hair, of course.

After spending two weeks at Charles Cecil drawing school in Florence where perfectionism is glorified (our tutor has been working on a painting for 27 years. It's still not finished. Seriously) I cruised along to spend some time by the sea. Oh the sun, sea, sand and SHELLS! I bloody love shells. One of my favourite activities when I'm at the seaside is collecting shells. I know that most girls my age would be talking about sunbathing right now, but for me, it's always been shells. I wear factor 50+ suncream anyway so more poor body doesn't even know the sun exists.

I went first to Forte dei Marmi where I always stay with friends & I must tell you - the shells on this beach are quite frankly out of this world. They are tiny & white with a little hole in them! It's remarkable. I guess the sea creature that once lived inside the shell made the hole, but I kid you not, it's a perfect little hole - completely ideal for sticking some string through & making bracelets.

There are also these pretty funky fruits which hang out on cacti. The colour! I almost passed out it's so amazing. I cut one up & had a munch. Rather tasty in fact.


After a few relaxing days, some holey shells & a bit of a cactus, I hopped on the train to Sestri Levante - my second home. I've been going there with my fam since I was born & I just love it. Tiny weeny shells there.
I just sat, drew, enjoyed the view, breathed the fresh air & collected the teeny weeny shells. It was complete bliss.
They are so teeny weeny I can barely see them. As small as a grain of rice, my perfectionism is rife & I spend hours searching in the sand.
They are perfect. Even more perfect than Cheryl Cole's hair - and that's saying something.