Does my bum look big in this?


On the way to a meeting, I was standing in front of this poster on a tube platform. It’s nice enough – the locations all look quite appealing, especially when you’re waiting on the underground. I wouldn’t normally pay much attention to it but, on this occasion, I had time to stop and stare and couldn’t help but notice that the young lady on the left has 2 bums!


It’s a weird distraction (for the few that even noticed) but it wouldn’t stop you getting a South West train to the beach so I hope they weren’t too hard on the people responsible. After the stomach dropping realisation, there’s an opportunity to look at why it happened, improve some procedures and move on.

Incidentally, I came across this while trying to find out how far underground I was standing. 150 fascinating Tube facts I didn’t find out how deep the eastbound platform at St. Pauls is but I did find out there is only one tube station which doesn’t have any letters from the word ‘mackerel’ in it!

Live and learn.


The day I gatecrashed Art

I didn’t mean to. Well, I did, but I wasn’t entirely sure it was Art. It was a group of innocent looking people standing around above the Turbine Hall in the Tate Modern. They weren’t talking to each other. They were just standing, on their phones or reading, leaning on the railings by the stairs. They could all have been just waiting for other people, but the smallest clue was that they were all facing the same way. There was no door or exhibition entrance or anything to queue for, but I’m British – I know a queue when I see one, so I went and joined it (at the back, obviously)!

Turns out, they were performers so I hope I didn’t offend anybody by joining in (apparently one of them gave me ‘a look’ as I walked away). I can’t have been the only one to do it, can I? Anyway, here’s why they were there:

Roman ondak – Good Feelings Good Times




Aaargh…that is the noise I made when I dropped my phone into a full glass of water on the way downstairs this morning.

It is also the name of my new favourite font!

I love it so much, I want it for my brand and for my new logo. Here is how it’s looking so far (current on the left, new one on the right)…progress-sharing-030516

However, life (and design) does not always run smooth. After some early feedback and a second look, there are issues.


One being that my name sounds a bit like the department store, John Lewis. And now it also looks a bit like it. Obviously it’s not the same and their green isn’t my colour but they are similar. I haven’t decided yet if that matters.
If my name was John I would definitely steer clear but it’s not and we’re not in direct competition so I could probably get away with it.

A more pressing issue is that the font I love is lacking an essential element (so early in our relationship!). There’s no £! So, while I still love it, I’m going to hop back over to fontsquirrel (for starters) and see what else is out there.


Here are some other variations I tried on the way. Work in progress…



Control and choice

I read a post on facebook today that asked people with websites to please make their links open in a new window. I was nodding in agreement until I read some of the comments. There was some interesting feedback suggesting this isn’t the correct thing to do.

Firstly, if the link opens in the same window, the reader can choose to open it in a new tab/window by right clicking. It’s an extra click but they have a choice.

Secondly, it is better for SEO not to send people away from your site.

Thirdly, if you send the reader off to a new tab/window, they can’t use the back button.

Apparently, the only time you should use a new window is where the reader is on a shopping basket page or when filling in a form and won’t want to lose their place. Or if the link is taking them to a file or attachment and not to another url.

You can read more about it in Smashing Magazine’s article. The comments under the post continue the debate as people argue the case back and forth. The article can be found by clicking the link below but, be warned, it will open in a new window because I’m still not convinced. Personally, I like a new window.

Should links open in new window?

Seems there are two types of web user – which are you? Vote with #samewindowortab or #newwindowortab

I wonder where this road goes…

I’m on an exciting journey.

I’m adding retouching to my Design Services but just knocking up an extra page on the website isn’t enough. Looking at how to share this exciting news is proving to be a fascinating journey.

I’ve been making any number of excuses not to share my retouching work because it’s new. I’m quite comfortable with design and art direction as I have lots of experience and lovely testimonials to back me up. In contrast, I only have one client who uses my retouching skills. She says I’m great and is behind me all the way and always encouraging me to get it out there but you don’t just wake up one morning, braver. Luckily, some perfectly timed podcasts have introduced me to some tools that are helping.

A friend told me about the Being Boss podcasts last year and I’ve been listening in for a while now. In one episode, they interviewed Brene Brown and she talked about being vulnerable and her book ‘Daring Greatly’. I don’t have a self-help section in my book case, nor do I have much time for reading, but I found it as an audio book and have been listening to it while I work. She makes some very good points about ‘being enough’ and owning it when you’re not, so I have started to Dare Greatly.

The other tool I found is a book called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I got hold of a copy from 1995 but I think it’s timeless. I heard about it via The Jealous Curator. I love her weekly inspirational emails ‘Art for your inbox’ but this was from one of her artist interviews in her podcast ‘Art for your ear‘. Anyway, back to the book – I just started reading it without realising it’s a 12 week course with exercises. I’m only on week 2 and already have some new habits. My favourite is the morning brain dump or ‘morning pages’. Write three pages, long-hand, stream of consciousness, grammatically incorrect outpouring of whatever’s on your mind that nobody is ever going to see. You don’t even have to worry about your hand writing because even you are not supposed to re-read it. I’ve been throwing them away (which in itself I’m finding quite liberating!). I have already had some interesting new thoughts and have made notes on the side to keep so I’m fascinated to see where I am in 12 weeks.

So the journey continues. I have a portfolio to pull together, a website to realign and some social media channels to refocus. Watch this space. In a bit (how brave am I!).

Crock Pot

To begin with, this post was going to be about getting what you pay for. The pot pictured below is a similar style to a Le Creuset pot but isn’t one. A genuine Le Creuset would be 4 times the price but that’s because they’ve been making kitchenware with care since 1925 and their cast iron pots come with a lifetime guarantee. That’s what you’re paying for. Experience and care.

This supermarket sells it’s own alternative version for those with smaller budgets. That’s fair enough and ordinarily, you might pick up the weighty iron lid and wonder what’s the difference. Where they’ve gone wrong this time is having this one out on display with great chunks of coating missing before it’s even seen a kitchen! What’s worse than it no longer being value for money is that it’s damaging their brand. You can see from the tag that this is Sainsburys but the same would apply in any store. If a product on display appears to be badly made, we lose trust in that brand.

Maybe it was dropped in the last 5 minutes and the staff haven’t noticed yet. I didnt have time to find a member of staff to point it out to or to go back and check on it. I did have time to take a quick snap on my phone though and now I’m sharing it to demonstrate that sometimes, a higher price is worth paying, but also to say take care of your brand. Your reputation is priceless.


Dagenham Art is back

The Dagenham Art I wrote about last year is back with this new piece, called ‘Picnic’. The original post is below…




Dagenham Art No.1. ‘Juxtaposition’ Aug’14

This piece is reflective of the local culture – the importance of brand labels in an area with limited incomes. The packages are vulnerable and open to the elements, yet sheltered by leafy pillars either side. Each bush has its own paper Primark bag to protect. The Nike box, however, is more exposed. Perhaps, by being stronger and well established, it can afford to exist without such protection. But with its confident orange shell, it draws our attention to the unassuming brown bags which may otherwise have gone unnoticed, thereby exposing them further.

And what of the contents. Is it simply the old and rejected in the discarded wrappings of the new or something more sinister? We’ll never know. This installation was on show for a limited period and is no longer available.




Dagenham Art No.2. ‘Anonymity’ Sep’14

These bags of gifts were left for the taking in early September. Despite claiming to be an anonymous piece, it’s all too brief appearance so early in the year doesn’t fool us. With that infamous red and white branding, this is clearly Santa’s work. We look forward to seeing more from him later in the year.


Dagenham Art No.3. ‘Black and Blue’. Dec ’14

This work has both sobriety and energy. There is something reassuring about the solid black bags sitting so heavily beneath the tree, yet the loose piece breaking free from the 3rd sack suggests drama and an insecurity in its desire to escape. The blue bag on the left juts out uncomfortably. It doesn’t seem to fit at all but despite being smaller than the black bags, demands our attention. Then what of the discarded tin to the right? It is so far removed from the rest of the work, one might wonder if it is even part of it. This is probably intentional and is, in fact, a clever distraction device, placed just far enough away to create discomfort as our attention is torn. This artist’s popularity is declining locally and critics have slated this piece as unimaginative and lazy, but is it simply misunderstood?


21 again

Here’s another little repair from my family archive.


This is my mum, sat on my Dad’s lap at her 21st birthday party. I love this photo.

And just for fun, here’s me at college, in a Maidstone cocktail bar, celebrating my 21st birthday. I haven’t got any photos of my actual 21st birthday party but it was a riot! It was in my student house and I had a jelly and ice cream party (in contrast to the grown up cocktails night out!). My room was on the top floor. There were four other bedrooms between me and the bathroom and kitchen at the bottom. I had a bean bag which I carefully hid on top of a cupboard out of harm’s way. Unfortunately, somebody found it and poked their finger into a tiny little gap in one of the seams. The hole got bigger and a few polystyrene balls escaped. Then a few more. Before I knew it, a single mattress with a student on top was surfing down the stairs on a sea of polystyrene beads, all the way to the trifles at the bottom. The next day, after a mammoth clean up, we were spotting the little beads in the streets down in the town centre. Turns out somebody thought it would be fun to put the beads in all the pockets in the coats room too. A few days later, they did have a whip round though and bought me a replacement bag of beads to repair it. Can’t say fairer than that!


For the bottom draw


This is my mum and dad’s engagement party in 1959. In those days, as well as wedding presents, you got gifts on your engagement too, for your bottom draw (a place where valuables are stored, especially the linen, etc., that a ‘woman’ might store in preparation for her marriage). That’s a big drawer to hold all this booty!

These gifts were mostly household items and included towels, a toaster, glassware and an alarm clock. I know for a fact they still use the cutlery that’s behind them on the table and mum says they still have the glass coffee jug and some of the glasses. They celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 2011.

I showed mum this photo to check some details. She said she loved the retouching but could I just make the tablecloth longer to cover the packaging stored underneath. I said no, but perhaps I will, another day! Here’s the original photo below.