Friday, 26 June 2015

Drawing Challenge - Week 2

There is a lot going on in my life at the moment. I can't share it all with you yet, but you'll clearly see the hecticness in the quality of my drawings of the week! Haha! I ended up doing more doodles and rough sketches, often after having to force myself to pick up something to draw with. It was a difficult week inspiration wise too. With all else going on, my mind felt like it was on the verge of exploding. Honestly, it still does.

Anyway, I won't bore you with the details of it. You can be the judge for yourself. Here are the results.

This was Friday's drawing. I started it on Thursday and finished it on Friday (you can see the first part of it in last week's challenge post). This was a lot of fun to do, even if it took a lot longer than the allotted half an hour. I didn't want to add colour initially, but in the end, I think the bright colours rounded this one off nicely.

I doodled with eyes on Saturday. I have to be honest and admit that I focussed more on the eyeliner than anything else. :P This is pencil on paper and I stuck to the half hour timeline from this drawing onwards.

On Sunday, I forgot to draw until about half past nine in the evening. This was the result of that! She's my very first chibi drawing ever and I'm proud of her, in spite of the rough edges. :)

This was Monday. Notice the lack of interest here? I had to force myself to draw and I think you can see it. I was really just doodling while watching videos on YouTube and I went to bed right after drawing this.

It continued in much of the same manner on Tuesday. I didn't know what to draw so I googled the word 'random'. One of the images that came up was a tree and I just started drawing after that. I didn't have a reference photo, I used my imagination. :) It's very rough because I figured I could practice my cross-hatching skills. Haha! This one is in charcoal  .

This one is from Wednesday (which was one of the busiest days I've had in a long time) and I don't have much to say about it. It took me around ten minutes to draw and is titled 'Lazy'. Nuf said.

This drawing is from Thursday. I had a ladybug clasp on my desk that belongs to Kayla and I'd been looking at Celtic knots. From those two things combined, this was born, even though it looks more like a scarab than a ladybug. Oops. As you can see, it isn't very symmetrical, but I don't really care. I drew it pretty late last night, when it was long passed my bedtime. Fineliners in brown and orange.

Guys, it was a wild week and I have a lot of weeks like it coming my way. If you don't see me here that often, please understand. Until then, thanks for your patientce.

Hey! My book is out! Get your hands on the full Evangellion Trilogy NOW!! More deets here. It should be a light read for your weekend. If you've read any of the books, please be a dear and leave a review somewhere! I seriously appreciate it.

Have a good weekend!


Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Imperfect but Awesome

I watched a video the other day that made a big impact on me. I even shared it to my Facebook wall, because I thought that it might impact someone else too. Since then, it's been on my mind constantly and I realised I want to blog about it. If it can help anyone else in any way, I want it to.

It's a video by one of the nicest YouTube beauty guru's, Bubz. I've been following her for years now and I find myself drawn to her videos because she's so sweet and positive. The video is about our imperfections and accepting them. But before I prattle on more, here it is.

I think the biggest reason that this message hit home for me so hard, is because I'm personally struggling with the scars pregnancy left on me. My stomach is riddled with stretch marks now and the skin is pretty loose too. This is in spite of a variety of efforts from my side to lighten the marks and firm the skin.

I get it, you know. My body did something wonderful, a miracle. A human grew inside me and once she was out in the world, my body was able to feed her. How is that even possible? It still confounds me to think I felt her move while she was safely in my tummy. When I look at my daughter, I really don't care about my body. For her, I would have given my arm, my liver and my life. I still would, even more so after spending time with her. I love that little girl and I would do it all again to have her.

At the same time, the saggy tummy and stretch marks make me insecure. I don't really have reason to be insecure, but I am, and I can admit to that. I don't fully understand why it bothers me so much. And yet, I do.

As women, we're bombarded constantly with images of the 'perfect' woman. It's as Bubz says in the video, they want us to buy their diverse products to improve us, so they constantly brainwash us to believe we're not good enough. Meanwhile, it breaks us down. Most women, most PEOPLE, out there have a distorted body image. It sucks.

I'm not saying a single video changed my mind about my body. But I'm going to try and accept it anyway. When I'm ready, I might even share a picture or two with you here. I'm not as brave as Bubz. Yet.

I hope that you can start to accept the imperfectly perfect you too. All of us are beautiful in our own way and I think it's time to spread THAT message. So that when the big companies come with their products to improve us, we have the confidence to accept we're (im)perfect already.


Friday, 19 June 2015

Drawing Challenge - Week One

If you missed the post about this new thing, read more here. You might want to do that, since, you know, this is week one of the new thing. :P

Since it's part of the first week, I'm including the first two drawings again. This is simply for the sake of keeping the different weeks grouped together. More about them in the link above.

Day one
Day Two

Day three

On the third day (this was Monday) I felt more colourful and whimsical. I didn't know what I wanted to draw, so I started to doodle. It may not be the best drawing in the world, but I had fun doing it, and that's the purpose of this whole challenge. It's just an assortment of fineliners, shapes and lines. 

Day four

This is just a very rough and very quick sketch of a chameleon. Tuesday was a public holiday in South Africa, which means Jan was home too. We went shopping and spent the day together, leaving me with less time to draw. This one is charcoal, black and white pastels, pencils, black and white pens and graphite. I really need to work on my charcoal skills. I'm kind of struggling with it at the moment, but heck, that's what this is about. Getting better and having fun!

Day five

It may look simple, but I spent a longer time on this one than the allotted half an hour. I was looking at henna tattoos, which is also the inspiration for the next doodle, and randomly decided to draw a bird. The one you see here is the second attempt. The first had way too many details and I didn't like it, so I started again. It's fineliner and pencil. If I ever get a tattoo, this might just be what it looks like!! This and a dandelion. I'm still obsessed with those.

Day six

As I said above, henna tattoos inspired my creativity. I loved the way the designs flow into one another, so I wanted to draw something like that. At first, I didn't know what to do, but then I thought of writing an inspiring word or something. What's more inspiring than my kid's name? Haha!

I spent about two or so hours on it and then had to force myself to stop when my hands started to cramp in the cold. :D I'll finish it today and share the complete thing with you next Friday. More fineliner and pencils. I have no idea what I'll do with this one when I'm done, but it's been therapeutic and, believe me, after the week I've had, it was nice to unwind.

If you've read The Queen's Fury, do me a great favour and review it online! Tell your friends! It's a nice read for the weekend!!

Have a good one and stay warm if you share my half of the world! It's freezing!


Wednesday, 17 June 2015

The True Price of Beauty

We've got a guest blogger on the Couch today! Nicola Winters wrote a post on behalf of Hudgell Solicitors about the dangers of using untrustworthy salons and also how to find a good one. This is really worth the read, because it's very informative.

I've written some posts in the past on how to treat salon disasters (read more about wax rashes here and hair dye disasters here). Personally, I avoid salons for a very simple reason. Most of them don't use cruelty free products and I just can't bring myself to use products that were animal tested for personal beauty. However, back before I went cruelty free, even I had a bunch of bad experiences with salons. I've had to have haircuts fixed more times than I can honestly count and I've had strange looking eyebrows and itchy rashes too! You know me so much more personally now, don't you think? :P

So, without further ado, I'm giving over to Nicola.

The True Price of Beauty – What you should know
Chances are a trip to the salon is a well-established feature of your beauty routine, and chances are it’s also a feature of your mum’s, your best friend’s, your boss’s – maybe even your boyfriend’s, beauty routine too. It’s a thriving £17 billion industry and on average, you’ll probably spend about £2,000 on beauty treatments and products every year (sadly as a bottle blonde, you can probably add another grand).
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So it’s no surprise that despite the economy, beauty salons are still popping up all over the place and with demand increasing, many are offering minor cosmetic treatments like botox and lip fillers, all done on your lunch break, hassle free. Well, that’s what they say….
For an industry growing as quickly as this one, and with procedures becoming more and more advanced you’d imagine there was some kind of governing body, right? Wrong.
The beauty industry remains totally unregulated and with customers after fast results at cheap prices, many salons are taking on unqualified or untrained staff to carry out a range of procedures using illegal or unapproved chemicals.
Common Complaints
Some of the most common complaints, seen by Hudgell Solicitors, happen during standard procedures carried out by unqualified therapists. Things to be wary of include:
  • Hair damage after dying
  • Bleaching or burns from waxing
  • Laser treatment injuries
  • Allergic reactions from chemicals
  • Scalp damage from hair products or equipment
  • Eye injuries as a result of eyelash treatments
  • Tanning injuries

Allergic Reactions
These are one of the most common side effects of beauty treatments and are usually caused by hair dyes or fake tans. The problem is that a lot of dyes contain an unsafe chemical called PPD (para-phenylenediamine) which can also be found in henna tattoos, and an allergy can flare up even if you’ve had the treatment done before.  It can be tempting to forego a patch test, but they are crucial as skin sensitivity can change; if you do react badly it’s important to visit your GP immediately as they can refer you to an expert in order to identify the exact cause of the problem.
Permanent Damage
Whilst we all want long, thick eyelashes, eyelash extensions and eyelash serums are one of the most problematic treatments you can get. The complaints from eyelash procedures are pretty worrying and range from darkened skin around the eye, to irises turning dark brown and even permanent, noticeable damage. Many dyes used by beauticians have not been approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Association) and are actually dangerous for use on humans. Again, if you do react badly, contact your GP immediately and do not use any cosmetics on the area until totally cleared.
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So what can you do before booking your treatment?
  • Do your research. Don’t just go to the first salon you find online.
  • Check if the salon is registered with the British Association of Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology (BABTAC) to prove their qualified
  • Check the salon is insured to carry out the treatment
  • Always have a consultation appointment. This shouldn’t be a 10 minute chat, this should be about 45 minutes
  • Request a patch test 24-48 hours before your treatment – it’s more important than you think!
  • Ask for the level of qualification your therapist has, a level 3 qualification is ideal
But what if the worst does happen? What if you do react badly to a dye or get a burn from waxing? Well it’ll probably come as surprise to hear that a botched beauty treatment is actually classed as a personal injury and depending on the injury you sustain, you’ll be able to make a claim. It’s not just about financial gain, but businesses need to be held accountable and prevented from doing so again.
Please see and share this infographic for more information.

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Thank you, Nicola, for that great post!

Just a last note before I call it a day. Remember to get your hands on your very own copy of The Queen's Fury now! If you haven't heard the news yet or you're new here, I'm a novelist. The Evangellion Trilogy is my first series and you can officially read all three books! I'm also preparing for the launch of a new series in November. Watch this space.

Have an awesome day!


Monday, 15 June 2015

New Challenge

The usual gifts between myself and Liani involve bags. For a very long time it only meant handbags and purses, but then at some point baby-related bags were included. Every year, there's a new bag. :P Anyway, this year for my birthday, Liani didn't give me a bag. She gave me a small book, some pencils and an unspoken challenge : 'type less, draw more.'

Her gift to me was a drawing journal and a pencil set. I absolutely adore it! I'm honestly the first person to admit that I've been neglecting art in any form. For a long time, I only did digital art (I haven't done a digital painting in more than 6 months anyway), but lately, I've been missing the feel of a pencil in my hand. I am working on a map for the Salamander Series in pencil and markers, but I need to draw more. 


I've been following an artist on Deviant Art, Picolo-kun, who basically does a least one drawing a day. Last year, it was only doodles in black and white. This year, he picks a colour every month and does water paintings according to his colour of the month. It's amazing and inspiring. 

Basically, I want to attempt the same thing for a year. I want to commit to doing at least one drawing a day, in any media my hands itch for. Then I want to try and share the week's drawings here on Fridays, so you can see I didn't slack off on the challenge. It also forces me to keep up my end of the bargain, because I seriously don't want to look bad in front of the entire internet. :P

I have two drawings so far (I got the gift on Friday, so I have a drawing for Saturday and Sunday). I don't want to spend more than half an hour on a drawing. After all, typing is my first love and I've got novels to complete. But, drawing really helps my thought process, so this might just be the oomph my writing needs too. 

They're far from perfect, but I'm certain that they'll get better as I practice again. Or I hope so. 

I've recently been obsessed with stained glass. And stained glass is very unanimous with Beauty and the Beast in my mind! So this is a rose in a stained glass panel. This drawing is in pencils.

I suddenly had the urge to draw a very scruffy cat. I hope you can see it's a cat and not a dog! Haha! This one is in charcoal, pencil and pastel. 

I'll share the rest of the week's art on Friday. That means this challenge has made me commit to two things ; to draw every day, as well as blogging on Fridays. Does that make you happy? It makes me happy.

Have a good one!


Friday, 12 June 2015

Fun with Water

On one of the last warm days before the hectic cold hit us this season, we allowed Kayla to play outside while my father in law was watering the garden. Sunshine and smiles made the moment unforgettable, but luckily we had the foresight to bring the camera to make sure we never forget. Jan snapped some awesome shots of her having fun in the water.

Her expression says it all. In the last photo (you'll know it when you see it), she was pretty upset that it was over. She was starting to shiver by that time, wet and cold, but still wanted to play. Haha!Also, note the super saiyan hair. That's what a nap does to an 18 month old. :D

I mean, does that face not clearly say it all. It's glee captured!

I just love how her expressions are starting to develop. When she was smaller, she just smiled and cried. Now, she has a whole store of expressions. She makes her emotions well known by just the pull of an eyebrow. It's amazing how my baby has grown up.

On that sentimental note, another thing that's grown up is my trilogy. Metaphorically speaking, of course. :P The Evangellion trilogy is officially complete, and you can get your hands on the last instalment of the series here. Please have a look and support me! Tell your friends, your family and even people you don't like. Haha!

Have an awesome weekend, folks!


Monday, 8 June 2015

My Weekend In Pictures - Fancy Pantsy

I'm still kind of in shock after this one. :) It was just really hectic. In fact, all of last week was kind of hectic.

If you've been reading the blog for a while, you might remember that my grandmother was really sick two years ago. I was pregnant at the time and we were very afraid that my gran had cancer. I asked you all to pray for her and it turned out that she was cancer free, but her gallbladder had some issues. Fast forward to last week, where my grandmother was suddenly hospitalised and conducted loads of tests upon.

To keep the story short, she underwent a pretty substantial surgery on Friday, during which they removed her gallbladder and an obstruction from her gut. The doctor gave her a 10% chance of survival and we were all very afraid. It was a pretty emotional week for my family. As it turns out, 10% was all she needed. My granny is a fighter, folks. Pair that with loads of prayers and a God who doesn't work in percentages, and my grandmother is doing very well. She's still on oxygen support, but she's ok otherwise. So please pray for her still.

I don't have pictures from Friday, except for ones of Kayla's outfit. Winter is coming. And Kayla looked the part. It was freezing on Friday!!

On Saturday, we went to a black tie event at Gold Reef City. Jan's uncle and aunt celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and this was the celebratory event. I did the makeup for Jan's aunt and two of his cousins before the event, but it went pretty rushed, so I don't have any pictured of that. Jan took some shots of the venue with his phone, so here's a glimpse.

Before we went to the party, I had to get ready too. Luckily it was smooth sailing after some dress issues. It also helped that Anschke came over to do my hair and makeup. I felt so purdy!!

It was a small and intimate gathering, with only the closest friends and family. The menu was awesome overall, but the mushroom soup first course really stood out to me. Everything was made up very elegantly too! I loved the black and gold settings.

On Sunday morning, Liani and I made up a wedding party at Avianto. As I typically do, I forgot to take pictures while doing the makeup. Sorry folks, I suck at stuff like this. But I think the bridal party came out beautifully. Not to mention that it was fun to work with Liani!

Afterwards, we met up with my brother and parents at Spur to have lunch. It was my brother's 27th birthday! Woohoo! Happy birthday, boetie!

After all of that, we just chilled. Literally, too, because it's been colder in my part of the woods recently. It's all good, Winter being here and all. :P The rest of my Sunday was spent relaxing. I needed it.

The biggest news of the weekend, of course, was my brother in law's engagement to his beautiful girlfriend, Preety. Once again congratulations! Willem, I recall a conversation (when we asked you to be Kay's godfather) when you said you would never have a wife. I'm laughing at you right now. Not only did you find a gorgeous woman to spend your life with, but she's smart and witty too. :) We're so happy for the both of you!! I wish you more love and joy than you know what to do with. May your life together be and incredible journey. Welcome to the family, Preety!!

Have you checked out The Queen's Fury yet? No? Click HERE HERE HERE!! You can get the complete trilogy now for under $6, if you're in the States. The ebooks are $1.99 each. It's a little more expensive in South Africa due to taxes, but $4.99 for the ebook here in SA is still very reasonable!! Please, tell your friends about it too.

Have an awesome week everyone!