christmas Tag

*Update- this is the third post I’ve tried uploading but it keeps on not saving my progress!*

A snowy January.

Hello everyone and I hope you’ve all had a nice start to the last month of 2021. I swear every year time speeds up so quickly- it’s absolutely terrifying! I’ve started most of my Christmas shopping, but there’s lots of other bits and bobs I need to do before I’m done. Oh, and get those Christmas cards out as soon as possible! I’m really looking forward to finally spending some quality time with our families as I honestly can’t be doing with another lock down Christmas. Being pessimistic for me has always been difficult as I generally find it easier to have a negative outlook, we’ve all had a really tough year and it has made it hard to make solid plans. I’m going to try and have more of a positive outlook in 2022, take things slowly and be grateful for what I have. 

I look back at the last two years since the pandemic started and it’s made me re-evaluate what I really want to do with my life. Covid has thrown a spanner in the works for sure. It has also made me treat friends and strangers with more contempt and kindness. My friendships have slowly been rekindled even if it’s been a quick grab food and drink after work, it’s been so precious spending time with my friends. This year we went through some of our own personal shit (which I won’t discuss as it’s private), however, I have realised that we are resilient and adaptable to life changing events. We find our own way of dealing with whatever we are doing through and having a strong family and network of friends to keep you going through the dark times is indescribable.

I always look forward to writing this post as I can reflect on the year as to what I have done, achieved, learnt, and continue to grow as a person. With that let’s get started!

Designed Graphics for Doncaster Central Learning Centre

I was so pleased to hear from Lai, who runs Doncaster Central for Learning Centre, about designing artwork for their exhibition about dementia and identity called ‘This is Me’. It really evokes lots of complex questions about your own identity in terms of how others see you i.e. how would you define yourself, not just by your job, but are you a mother/father/daughter etc. What ‘role’ do you play in your circle of friends and family? Do your own experiences and memories create the person you are or will become? And what happens if you no longer have the capacity to care for yourself, does this change who you are as a person?

It throws up so many interesting discussion points depending on which angle you look at it.

Driving Lessons

I finally started my driving lessons again at the start of spring and they’re going pretty well. I took my theory test last October just before the (second?) lockdown and I was waiting for months to start my lessons again. It is a small stepping stone for me as it’s been on and off over the past 10 years and I keep telling myself I need to get it done. I feel like it comes to a point where I can’t ask my parents to pick me up from the train station (although they are more than happy to1). I’ll continue my lessons until next spring if I can get a test booked closer to home. Please have your fingers crossed for me guys!

Art and Illustration

This year I’ve not made as much artwork as I intended to. All my shops have been super quiet since I decided to no longer ship abroad (thanks Brexit!). I just didn’t know whether it was worth my time to do all the admin side of things so that I can ship overseas orders. Maybe I shot myself in the foot and limited my customer base? There are no answers to these questions, perhaps this is why I’ve not had much motivation to make any new work.

Honestly, it hasn’t been a great year for me and I’m not sure what I’ll do next year: whether to continue or to gracefully bow out. I’m a bit gutted that I missed out on loads of markets too as I haven’t been organised- oops!

I’ll see how the next few months go, it makes me really sad but sometimes you have to let things go when the going gets good. If there was anything in particular I would like to do is to take part in more art markets and collaborative exhibitions. I’ve really missed working with others in putting a show together. So, we’ll see.

Started a Fundraiser… But Never Happened!

Like most people, I was completely appalled by the targeted racism against South and East Asian communities during the height of the pandemic. It made me sick to the stomach. I can never understand the mindset of those who have that set of mindset- there is simply no excuse for racist behaviour. 

I wanted to raise some money for DCLC as the money would be used to fund them in many ways such as continuing with more workshops. Unfortunately, the fundraiser never garnered much interest which was a real shame. You try things out but even though you might not follow through with it, I say, never give up. Keep going with what you started.

In the New Year I would like to get it running again as I feel like it’s such an important cause to raise awareness and give a voice to a community who has been battered by the pandemic.

Catching up with Friends

Delicious Japanese breakfast at Koya, Soho. My friend Emma came to visit us a few week sago.

Everyone has been through this; not seeing someone for the last two years. The conversation always starts off with ‘I’ve not seen you since 2019’. Oh 2019. It’s been so nice to see my friends again, especially for such a long period of time not being able to spend some time with them. You really value and cherish those friends- no matter how long you’ve been apart for you’ll always have each other’s backs. 

Lamastre, France.

Back in October we went to Lamastre to visit our friends who will be leaving to go to New Zealand. It was lovely catching up with them but also sad to see them go. The photo above doesn’t do it’s justice- it’s such a beautiful and quiet part of the world where will be visiting again in the future for sure.

The New Year I will continue to see folks and keep those precious memories- even if it’s a quick coffee somewhere after work. 

New Year’s Resolutions

Probably the most important one is to pass my driving test as my theory runs out in October- doesn’t seem long but the waiting time to get a test booked is bonkers. Plus, I’ve spent so much money now there’s no going back!

Other than that, I would like to do some more cooking and get skilled up. Bye spag bol and hello biang biang noodles!

Thanks so much for taking your time on reading this and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Let’s hope that 2022 will be a better year for us all.

I’ve always been writing an overview of the year as it’s nice to look back and reflect on the things that I’ve done, experienced and places that I have visited. I don’t think anyone would’ve expected that this year there’d be a global pandemic and that we’ve all had to press the pause button. It’s just been one weird year where we’ve all had to adapt in the way we live, interact and work. For a lot of people though, the pandemic has exacerbated hardship in terms of loss of employment, mental health, loss of education and an uncertain future in that certain plans have had to be put on hold for the time being. It has also shown the widening gap in poverty and life chances, especially the North and South divide, not forgetting that BAME groups have been completely marginalised in comparison to their white counterparts.

The Black Lives Matter movement has probably been one of the most important social movements of the year; a reaction to the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor (of course, not forgetting the countless innocent lives taken away by police brutality and systematic racism) it sent shockwaves across the world. How in modern America is this still happening? It’s like the clocks have turned and they’re going backwards. Social activism has sprung up through social networks organised through grass root communities and organisations- unity and love has been the light through this dark tunnel . It has been a real eye opener, against the backdrop of Covid-19, that solidarity and support is shown no matter where you are in the world. In the summer myself and Ivy raised money in solidarity with Black Lives Matter together with some other artists and illustrators who were kind enough to donate a piece of artwork to the cause. We both felt frustrated by what was happening in America, and though I didn’t go to any protests, sometimes the smallest actions can have a major impact.

During the period of lockdown I had spent a lot of time weaving and throughly enjoyed it. This’ll definitely something I’ll be continuing and I have plans of buying a larger loom.

 

I took part in lots of virtual craft markets during the summer, made sales through them, and will do more of them as they arise in the future. The pandemic has shown that creatives and businesses have had to adapt in the uncertainty of the coronavirus, although not the same as walking through a market, I think it’s been fantastic that so many people have grouped together in support of one another.

As well as taking part in online life drawing lessons, Sam and I have had the time to cook far more interesting dishes which we wouldn’t usually have the time for. We made cheese (at one point it was mega hard to get hold of cheese), bao buns, sushi (made this twice now), lots of Japanese food in general plus good old wontons which I can’t see to get enough of right now!

As lockdown was easing we went camping for a couple of days and that’s been our holiday; no plans of going away either. We’ll spending Christmas here in London as it’s way too risky to be visiting family members. Once vaccinations have been on the roll-out I’ll be making my way up North as I haven’t seen my folks since July. I also miss my grandparents but it’s just not worth the risk to be seeing them over the Christmas period. I miss conversing with them in Cantonese, eating my Grandma’s traditional and home cooked Chinese food… all of those things I’m really craving right now but I keep reminding myself that one day we’ll be able to spend proper quality time as a family. So we’ll be having a quiet: watching lots of films, eating cheese and chocolate, making artwork in my own time and hanging with the cats.

I’m going to end my post here and I wish you all a festive Christmas and see you on the other side. Since I last updated this post, London and all of South East of England are now in tier 4 which means no mixing with other households, people cannot leave tier 4 areas unless permitted (i.e. for work)… generally staying put then.

(A rather ambient version of WHAM’S Last Christmas to get you into the mood- Enjoy!). x

Hi Friends!

Hope you’re all keeping well. I spent the last few days designing some new Christmas cards which will be available in my Etsy, Folksy and Urban Makers shop very soon.

The cards will come in a pack of five and they’re blank inside for you to write your own personal message. Who knows what this Christmas will look like, whether we’ll be able to spend Christmas together or if it’ll be a Zoom Christmas Day? For now though, keep in touch with your loved ones by sending them a Christmas card.

I’ll also be adding some more new A5 postcards too so I’ll keep you all updated about it.

Stay safe and thanks for reading!

UPDATE: New Christmas cards are now available in my Etsy shop!

Hello folks and welcome to 2020, a brand new start to the New Year! I hope you all had a relaxing Christmas and New Year, unfortunately I was struck down with the flu over the Christmas so I was sick for most of it. We went round to my mother-in-law’s neighbours house for a big fat turkey dinner and we were completely stuffed by the end of it. I was still sick up to this point but by the Sunday I had a fever for most of the day and I couldn’t even get out of the bed… flu jab for me this coming Christmas (will be on my to-do list for sure!).

I’ve been meaning to write up a post about 2019 but I didn’t have the time to do it over Christmas or the fact of the matter is that I was so lethargic last week I had absolutely no energy to do anything. I’m now feeling much better so now’s a good time to reflect on the past year. Last year was jam packed with lots of life changing moments i.e. we got married, went to Japan, a friend had a baby, Savina went back to Australia…

I took part in Art at the Deli’s artist exhibition back in late spring and I show cased previous work under the theme ‘animal menagerie’, overall it was a great success as I had lots of people commenting about my work. Plus, it was great to be supporting a local business in Doncaster as well as the creativity within the area.

Me, matching my outfit with my work.

The next big thing that happened last year is that we finally got married! We spent the whole year planning, crying, shouting, raging and more planning (not in that order but you get my drift). I had to keep going back to Doncaster for my dressings but you know what? All those mega stressful moments was totally worth it. Everyone on the day was helping out and things fell into place; folks chipping in with moving tonnes of flower decorations, Savina (the super trooper person that she is) just stepped in and orchestrated people whenever they needed to be shuffled in and out of places. Totally couldn’t have done it without her, she held me and Sam together like cement. We’ve both said we were utterly grateful for her help right from the start. She’s now back in Australia so we were hoping to visit her at some point in the future.

After the wedding, we went out our mini moon to Cornwall for a quick getaway and we really needed that time just to breathe, be away from London for a couple of days and enjoy each others company.

A couple of months later we went away to Japan for our honeymoon and it was such a memorable and fantastic trip I’d love to do it all over again. Japan, you spoilt us and treated us like kings and queens. We ate so well those two weeks I can’t stop harping on about the food. The people are absolutely lovely; really helpful folks wherever we were and everyone went out of their way to help us when there was a language gap. That didn’t stop us from doing and seeing amazing things… a long and dreamy sigh here. Japan is calling me and I plan on going there again in the future and explore more of the islands down south. Sayounara!

Myself and my friend Monica Moro who runs Cook with Amore took part in two craft markets over Christmas. It was great to get back into the swing of things and I’d love to do more craft markets this year.

The London Crafters in West London

Last year I didn’t get the chance to make much artwork, so I’m a bit disappointed by that. Fair enough we had the wedding to plan but even times when I did have the time, let’s just say that I wasn’t super motivated and kept on doubting myself. Over the past month or so my Etsy shop has been really busy, as in, busy with orders for a particular print. Like I’ve said before, I have no idea where the traffic is coming from so I’d like to say thanks to everyone who has purchased it. I feel like the universe is in our hands- no matter how tough things get you have the choice and the power to make those changes. I honestly believe and live by this quote. So this year I’d like to be more focused on my work as well as concentrating on my Etsy shop and make a proper push for it. Let’s see where things go, who knows what’s going to happen in the next couple of months but it’s great to see the momentum gaining slowly but surely.

Readers. I’m going to end it here on a high. Wishing you all good health, luck and all that jazz for the start of the year and the end of the decade. Take care and thanks for reading as always!

I have added a couple of new products in my Etsy shop in time for Christmas!

I’ll be adding more things over the next couple of weeks so keep your eyes out for more new pieces of work. I’m also doing some prep work as I’ll be taking part in two Christmas Markets in London: the first one is The London Crafters on Saturday 30th November at St. Stephens Church, W2 5QT. More information about the even can be found here on their Facebook Page.

 

The next one is The Hackney Christmas Market in the Bohemia Place Market, Hackney, E8 1DU on Sunday 8th December. I’ll be sharing a stall with my friend Monica who runs Cook with Amore (she’s a super talented chef specialising in vegan cooking and she made our wedding cake for us as well). 

Thanks so much for reading as always and enjoy your weekend!