7 November 2017

The story behind my latest tattoos

Hidden in the depths of my SD card lurch these photos snapped by the ever amazing Natasha I don't often walk around with cling film masking tapped to my arms but I'd waited a while to get another tribute tattoo for my late mum, I now have two dedicated around the time she passed away but six in total for her but these piece meant a hell of a lot more to me then the others. I asked the amazing Dirt Nap who is a long time friend of Lyzi from being little and came high recommend I just always knew it was him who I wanted to create this piece for Mum. 

I am a bit of a veteran when it comes to tattoos and I've got about 24 dotted on various parts of my body some done by ex's some done by me, and the majority done by my favourite artist but these two piece came with the most significance I'm not really one together sentimental tattoos but I wanted something that would be on me forever as a reminded of my Mum's battle those last few days to try and stay alive. I've spoken pretty candidly about my mothers death. You can read a little more here about my loss  and still at times now I feel that I never really had a mother at all as it's still pretty hard for me to comprehend that she wont be coming home. 

The idea behind the tattoo is really pretty simple, when my mum's life machine was switched off and she was pretty much expected to die there and then her heart kept beating for far longer then expected she had some strength left in her as we stood for three hours around her hospital bed waiting for her heart to stop beating, I got the words by Ben Howard an amazing musician that I went to Falmouth Uni with "keep your head up, keep your heart strong" which actually had a weird link to Oli the tattooist who went to college with the singer so I took that as an amazing sign. Now we had planned to have it together on one arm but at the last minute we decided to turn it into two tattoos. 

I was so over the moon and overwhelmed by the work Oli did, on the day of getting it I had it done at Parliament tattoo I just felt this lack of stress and anyone who knows me knows my anxiety levels outside of my comfort zone are just crazy but the day of the tattoo wasn't filled with any stress or dread which made for an really nice experience if you can call getting a tattoo a nice experience. 

I know tattoos aren't for everyone and my dad hates mine, its just an extension of me, sometimes I wish they weren't there so people don't look at me weirdly or question my choices but it's part and parcel I guess of being creative with your skin and barely regret them . I love the meaning and even though these photos don't show how simple and lovely they are I have them on me forever, I know my mum would tut at me and say "Ella you're sucha tit" but that brings the biggest smile to my face and at the end of the day isn't that what life is about, isn't that just the best way to remember someone with a smile and a less heavier heart then yesterday? difference is now I can wear mine on my sleeve to tell the world its ok to miss someone special. 


6 November 2017

Where to eat breakfast in Manchester - Federal Cafe

 I feel very much like an adopted northerner and Manchester has to be by far my favourite city, so last weekend when Ben said he wanted to pop into Manchester to try the goodness that is Federal Cafe of course I jumped at the chance to try something new and I wasn't disappointed. We wandered into the cafe completely unaware of how popular it was and had to wait about 10 minutes to be seated but it took us about 10 minutes to chose what we were having for breakfast as it all sounded so nice 

 The Cafe itself is pretty Diddy and obviously breakfast and lunch are the busiest times so bear that in mind when you go, I opted for the french toast and it was bloody amazing literally massive wedges of goodness. I'm not to sure what ben went for but he added a few things to his plate like extra mushrooms and bacon and he seem pretty happy with his choice. The atmosphere is very lively and it's probably not one of those cafes you could stake out and work from for a few hours as the turn over of customers was pretty high and a little hectic but it was such lovely cafe. 

I'm a massive fan of a good coffee, but I am trying to cut down for my anxieties as to much coffee can push me over the edge but I had to have two as they were so tasty, we did finish off our breakfast was a warm piece of banana bread that Ben was adamant to have with butter, I didn't manage to snap a photo of said banana bread because we pretty much wolfed it down and it might of been up there with my top 5 breakfasts ever. So I think its really worth a visit to Federal Cafe if you are in Manchester because those Australians and New Zealanders really know how to make coffee. 


5 November 2017

5 Things I didn't learn at art school

It's been a fair while now since I graduated from Art school, it was my childhood dream to attend I had studied art for as long as I had been at an education institution so I kinda know a thing or two about Art and being an Artist. 

Art school is a place of artistic experimentation, freedom and creativity but I walked away with my degree pretty deflated in one hand I gained an ok grade but in the other no real sense I had learned anything new. I often receive emails from students who are currently studying asking me for hints and tips about freelance life and how I got to where I am. I make no bones about my work, style and life, I'm an open book often when it comes to these things. I did study fine art at Falmouth University and did my foundation at Camberwell and as much as these are institutions that produce some of the top artist I did find myself questioning my life choice. Now looking back If I had the choice now I don't think I would of studied fine art, I loved it, loved the friendships I made, adored the fact I could have my own studio space and work but in the end I never felt like I learnt much from doing the 3 year course. Fear not there were some positives and I believe we do things in life for a reason if I hadn't gone I wouldn't of met my ex and I wouldn't of started this blog but I may have discovered something just as rewarding on my other path but who knows hey?!

I wanted to share my thoughts on the things I didn't learn at art school, this is from my experience and I can only speak for myself 

1. How Market yourself well

Studying for my fine art degree especially at Falmouth was very insular we were never directed on how to Market what we were doing, I understand with fine art it's very old school and being a tortured artist is great an all but when I leave I want to keep working, making and earning a living from my art. We were never truly advised on this.

2. How to draw 

Now don't get me wrong I turned up with a knowledge on how to draw but my idea of learning about art was how to learn more about techniques my naive self thought I would be shown these wonderful ways to use watercolours, oils but alas nope. 

3. To have confidence your my work

When I turned up to do my degree I had no idea what I was doing, if I was good enough. My lectures never really instilled in us a sort of confidence with our studio work. Now I am never the confident type and but my confidence in the art work was at an all time low when I was at uni because you're surrounded by super talented people and just expected to keep producing top notch work with no really boost to what you're doing. 

4. Creating a professional portfolio

During my time at uni I created over 150 sketchbook, large canvases and other mix media items, did I had any idea what to put in my portfolio? no not really, and if I'm honest I didn't use a single piece of art work created at uni in my professional portfolio I came away feeling like a failure and wanted to start a fresh. 

5. How to make a living from your art work 

This for me was my biggest disgruntle maybe it was just my uni course, but we were never directed in the way of exhibitions, contacting galleries and negotiating the art world. It was just never talked about, there were not functional style skills with the course I joined, I spoke to my illustration and graphic design house mates who had been given the low down and were offered work placements on their course. 

Look back now to a decade ago when I first started my degree, I was naive I wanted to live by the sea, as far from London as I could get, I wasn't looking to my future as an artist and in that respect it was my fault but often we don't figure out our path until a lot later on through sheer hard work, determination, stubbornness and failure do we really know how to make being an artist work for us. 

Now people will look at that list and go Ella really you should of just discovered those things yourself, should I of? if I am paying an institution who has told me I am good enough to gain a place on their course not give me something back? maybe things have changed and other peoples courses were better but I can only speak from my experience when at 16-18 we are told to make a choice that could effect the rest of our lives its tough to make an informed and right choice. But I have learned all these 5 things off the back of going to art school. I learned them in spite of my degree and even though I loved studying I was left with a very bitter sweet taste when I finally graduated with no support network when I came back to London three years of art school under my belt and this wide expanse facing me, you have to learn to navigate yourself. 

Art school is what you make of it, it gave me three wonderful years of working alongside my best friend in a studio, it taught me what I didn't want to be as an artist and it also taught me that the art world can be very cut throat but everything in life has its pros and cons. Just make sure that no matter what you do in life you work hard -  thats really all that art school taught me. 

3 November 2017

All Bar One lunch time Menu

Since finding myself in a relationship with a guy that has a big appetite I have found myself trying all different kinds of food not that I was fussy just that I didn't eat out as much, so when All Bar One contacted me about trying out their lunch time menu, I couldn't think of a more willing candidate to join me devouring tasty grub then my boyfriend. We were visiting his family at the weekend and decided to hunt out the All Bar One in Chester 

To start with the customer service whilst we was there was just fab the waitress that served us was the sweetest and I chatted to the manager about our trip to Chester so its always nice to be welcomed and made to feel comfortable. Both me and ben had eyed up the menu before had through the All Bar One app so we pretty much knew what we were going to order. Being a pescatarian they had a few options for me which is always great. 

We opted for small plates which are pretty much like starters and we decided on pan fried king prawns, garlic flat bread and butter milk chicken wings. The small plates are definitely worth it, the flat bread was my favourite and I was a little stuffed after the started. we both agreed that the sauce the pan fried king prawns came in was insanely good. 

In between munching down on our small plates and waiting for our mains I managed to stupidly trip up the stairs (thank god no one was watching) and also catch a glimpse of Shaun lock as he wandered into the bar just to use the loo so it was a Pretty eventual few minutes I must say. 

With the embarrassment of falling up the stairs I was happy to be sat in the comfort of the window seat still intact when our mains arrived I opted for the pad Thai with extra tempura seasonal mushrooms and ben went for the Mexican burger and I was pleasantly surprised by mine, I would definitely recommend getting the extra options with the pad Thai as its a little plain without. But you do get a fair amount for your money. Ben was pretty silent through the meal which is always a good sign thats he enjoying whatever he's eating.

Overall the meal was really nice, the customer service was amazing and the company was pretty fab but I am rather biased with that. I don't often eat out for lunch its mainly tea but it wasn't too much that I would be stuffed or needing a nap from far too much food consumption so I think they have the balance of food just right. Obviously there was plenty on the menu that we didn't try but I would be coming back again to try something different. 

*All views are my own this isn't a sponsored post but I was given vouchers to review the menu 

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