Snails And Castles


A happy bunch of snails looking for something to eat.

Hi there, how are you.

We’ve had rain here and that brings out the snails. To be honest I don’t like ‘em. They eat the berries and leaves and you can bet the minute I plant some thing lovely they join with their cousins the slugs and munch it down to the ground.


Snails are oddly fascinating.

Having said that, I do find them oddly fascinating. So before I evict them to the near-by woods (I don’t like them but I don’t want to kill them either) I take a few photo’s. I could just stand there and draw them but I find I get better detail from the photos.
These guys were drawn from my photos and one from a picture search on the internet. I’m practicing my hatching/cross hatching.


Weeping Window Poppies at Caernarfon Castle.

This week the daughter and I visited Caernarfon Castle. They were having an exhibition called Poppies: Weeping Window it’s made from hundreds of handmade ceramic poppies. Originally it was installed at the tower of London 2014 and was used to commemorate Armistice Day on 11 November.

They decided to keep the exhibition together and show it around the country so people who didn’t live in or couldn’t get to London could see it.

Thinking about what the poppies represent and seeing it in person is very moving. We would have liked to see it on the 11th but there weren’t any tickets so we waited and saw it a few days later.

There were also the tiny wooden crosses laid by members of the families of the deceased service men and women. So many lives lost it’s heartbreaking.



A picture taken from the top of one of the towers at Caernarfon Castle.


Here we are walking across the ramparts to the next tower.

Later we went on to explore the castle. It’s huge, and what my daughter calls a real castle. It’s a ruin but very well cared for. We climbed the steps to the tops of the towers and took in some stunning views, although if I had been alive back in the day standing on the top of those towers with my bow and arrows I would definitely be wearing my thermals. Oof talk about cold and windy!
Thanks for stopping by. Till next time, have fun x


Preserving Chestnuts


A shiny new chestnut has just fallen off the tree

Hello, how are you?
On a sunny autumn walk this week we stumbled across two chestnut trees.

We started to pick them. They are very spiky, quite often they fall off the trees semi open and you just have to pick the fat nuts (the skinny ones are usually empty) out of the shells . Before we knew it we both had quite the stash of nuts and brought them home. Now what to do with them?

I don’t usually bother with chestnuts, they’re fiddly and explosive. By that I mean I’ve tried to roast them before and sent them ricocheting around the oven.

This time I looked up on the internet how to cook them.

For roasting cut a slit or cross in the bottom (a small pin hole is not enough) and roast for 10-25 mins. I cooked mine roughly 15 minutes and they were just nice.

chestnut preserves

chestnut jam and preserved chestnuts.

Apparently chestnuts have a low fat content and don’t keep, so I decided to have a go at preserving them.

The first jar is chestnut jam recipe from the River Cottage book by Pam Corbin. This book has lots of unusual recipes for all kinds of preserves and is one of my go to books at this time of year.

It’s as much of a spread as it is a jam, it goes really nicely with chocolate (yes we tested that theory) it will be lovely in a chocolate cake I’m sure.

The second jar is whole chestnuts preserved in syrup, (recipe here). The syrup recipe on its own is lovely and is something I will use again, and not just for chestnuts.

We have to leave the chestnuts for at least a week before eating them, that’s disappointing, can’t wait to taste them.

Since this is a cooking post I’ve kept it on its own, it’s too confusing to put with all the drawing/crafting ones, plus it makes it easier to find next year when I forget what I did!

Thanks for stopping by, see you in the next post, thanks x


Rockhoppers, Frogs And More Inktober


Frogs and a lizard drawn in the reptile house.

Hi there. How is every one?

There has been much arting at out house this week. The sketchbook skool class continues. I’ve picked up new tips and played with old supplies.

We were supposed to go outside, somewhere public and draw something. Since we go to the zoo a lot I decided to do my exercise there. Unfortunately it rained so we nipped into the reptile house (still public right?) to draw frogs and lizards.

The man giving a talk on frogs complemented us on our drawing which was very nice of him. Usually my drawing of live beings is pretty bad but frogs etc. don’t tend to move around too much so it didn’t turn out too bad.


Inktober 11 – 14

Inktober is still a thing, both my daughter and I are still doing it but finding ideas is sometimes hard. I’ve taken a snapshot of my Instagram to show here and if any ones interested they can check them all out here.


Rockhopper penguin sketch

I was frantically searching for something to do for Inktober #12 and thought “penguins” mainly because they were black and white.

I found some pictures of Rockhopper penguins; their shaggy eyebrows and the scraggy feathers sticking out of their heads are brilliant. I sketched some out in my sketchbook to get a feel for them, and then did a small penguin in my Inktober book.

It’s a small A6 sized Windsor and Newton sketchbook, the pages aren’t that good for fine lines and ink work, the ink feathers and absorbs into the page but it’s one of the few books I have that the ink doesn’t soak through to the other side of the page.

This week has been a busy week, we’ve had birthdays and visiting and lots of arting. I’m really happy I managed to fit everything in.

Thank you for stopping by. I wish you all a happy week. Till next time, have fun x


A Trip To London


View from a train seat, sketching food.

Hi there, how are you?

This week we spent a few days in London. We have family there and we often go for a week or so. We had a good time and managed to fit quite a few things in.

The train journey can be a bit dull so we occupied ourselves with music and drew in our sketchbooks. I decided to draw what was directly in front of me, my drink and a half eaten packet of Maltesers, I would have drawn my sandwiches too but I had already eaten them.

We visited the Tate modern. There is a really good exhibition of Georgia O’Keeffe paintings. It’s well worth the money to see her amazing art work. I also saw the Wifredo Lam exhibition. He was a Cuban artist who made some strange but interesting art .


Sketch of Louise Bourgeois Spider 1994

We had a good look around the rest of the Tate, the one piece that stood out most to me was a large seven or eight foot bronze spider. I did a little sketch of it in my sketchbook with a micron pen, I find I remember things better when I draw them.


The view from the Tate Modern viewing platform.

At the top of the Tate is a viewing platform. You can see right out across London in all directions. This was a panorama picture I took on my iPod from one side of the building.


Elytra Filament Pavilion at night.

We also visited the V&A museum. We had heard the robot in the garden would actually be working and we wanted to see it in motion. (I’d seen it before but that time it wasn’t working) It collected data about the people moving around in the garden. Where they stood, their speed and motion, how many were there etc… It then translated the information into weaving large carbon hexagonal shapes which were hung and displayed in the garden

Next day we went back to the V&A at night to hear a piece of music composed by Dimitrios Skylas called abyss based on some ceramic casts from Spode factory moulds. Just before leaving we noticed the robot had been beautifully lit up, so I took a few snaps on the way out.

Of course there was shopping and eating out because, well London right? You have to do these thing properly don’t you hehe. We’re back now and I think I need a week to slow down and relax from our little weekend getaway.

Thanks for stopping by. Till next time, have fun x