Acosta and French – not on the same night!

Over the past few weeks I’ve had the chance to attend two amazing events. Two equally talented individuals, who have been honing their craft for many years, sharing with the audience very special, personal moments.

On Friday 7th October I managed to get tickets for my daughter and I to attend Carlos Acosta’s final classical performance – The Classical Farewell at the Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London. To say that this was a treat is an understatement – we felt so privileged to be a part of the audience that night. We enjoyed some of the finest classical performances from our favourite ballets, performed by the cream of the Royal Ballet‘s crop of amazing artists, alongside Carlos; the dancer of my daughter’s generation who will inspire her, as my idol Mikael Baryshnikov inspired me in my youth. It was purely magical.

Carlos is a true athlete, a dedicated and disciplined dancer and although I’ll never know him personally, seems to be genuinely good man. He has a passion for dance that is expressed so thoroughly in every performance and the fact that his classical career has now come to an end is truly sad, but equally exciting knowing he is moving onto more contemporary work. After many magical classical pieces including Kenneth MacMillan’s Winter Dreams, Mayerling and Requiem, George Balanchine’s Apollo, Marius Petipa’s Don Quixote  he concluded with Memoria by Rambert’s Miguel Altunaga. It was pure, ridiculously perfect and so exciting – a taste of things to come.

When the final piece,  Memoria (a contemporary piece choreographed especially for Carlos), was complete, the audience was only too aware that we had just been witness to the last classical performance by the finest male ballet dancer of his generation. It was beautiful and sad. He moved from his final position to a single chair set off centre of the stage, sat down, removed his ballet shoes and placed them in his bag, replacing them with normal, everyday training shoes. A poignant, special, moving moment –  I can only imagine what must have been going through this great man’s mind. I sobbed with sadness that his classical career was over, but the sheer excitement of what is to come is something we cannot wait for.

My second event was last night (20th Oct) at the Vaudeville Theatre on the Strand in London’s West End – Dawn FrenchThirty Million Minutes. I bought tickets for myself and my friend who had helped me out with a tricky time recently. We were excited about seeing Dawn on stage in this one woman show, but nothing could have prepared us for the story we were to hear .


She started at the very beginning, her life with her family: meeting the Queen Mother, dreams of becoming a ballerina and a pop star, BOYS, stories of angelic and naughty grannies and the day to day life of a family travelling to wherever her father’s position in the armed forces placed them. A family unit that was so strong, yet not without its sadness.

The years as an adult – marriages, children, health and all things about being a ‘grown-up’ – were dealt with a beautifully considered respect, not only for herself but for her nearest and dearest. Her personal life remails personal, but we have an insight into what makes Dawn who she is – the person we see and love on our TV screens.

There was laughter and tears in equal measure, however the tears of laughter outweighed those of sadness. Optimism and positivity in abundance.

Dawn’s ‘performance’ felt so personal, to the point where you basically forgot you were watching an actress/comedienne – it was not acting, it was story-telling of the highest degree. Entertaining, moving, funny and a damn good story – a true story and one that she didn’t have to share with us, but chose to. That’s what people who love life and are happy in their own skin do.

What else can I really say about this remarkable woman, that won’t sound contrived and patronising? We were so touched by her candid, honest accounts of the many stages of her life to date; her self-deprecating humour and ability to openly convey how she’s dealt with the trials that life throws at us. It was a sheer pleasure and again, a privilege to be a member of the audience. Congratulations Dawn, you are truly inspiring.

(And thanks for liking my Tweet!)

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50 Must See TED Talks about Creativity and Design

There’s so much inspiration from so many clever, creative people in our world. Watch a few of these Ted Talk lectures – you never know, your next moment of creative genius may be fuelled by what you see and hear.

Enjoy and smile!

(I haven’t watched all 50, so can’t comment on the content entirely – but it’s nice to know that design is out there being discussed and not just hidden away in studios and offices, then transitioned to the public domain once a brief is complete. The process of how it gets to the final point is so important and sometimes overlooked as just the boring bit in the middle, necessary to get to the end. It’s a whole lot more and is what makes a piece of design something to smile about or not.)

Source: 50 Must See TED Talks about Creativity and Design – StumbleUpon

50 Resume Designs That Help You Get Dream JobDzineblog360 – Design and all about it!

When you’re a creative and you spend hours every day working for other people, coming up with ideas to help them represent their business in the best way possible, you sometimes forget about your own business. You may find the creative juices are all used up and there’s nothing left for yourself.

Here’s a few really cool ideas for your own CV to help you get out there and be found. It’s always great to see what others are doing and be inspired by their designs. Nothing is ever original – we all take inspiration from our surroundings, there’s no shame in being inspired!

Enjoy and let me know which is your favourite. Mine has to be Sara’s – love the idea of the tree imagery – very clever.


The following samples will help you think out of the box in creating your next resume designs for dream job. Each of the sample is a creative resume designs

Source: 50 Resume Designs That Help You Get Dream JobDzineblog360 – Design and all about it!

45 Creative Social Media Marketing Tips You Don’t Hear Every Day

You can never have too many ‘tips’ when it comes to getting the best out of your social media platforms. Sometimes you have to filter through the numerous words of advice to find the gems of knowledge, but those gems might just help you make the change that has a huge impact on your business – increasing awareness and profit.

Here’s a few to kick start your day…

It’s never too late to stay something new!

Social media’s potential impact for small businesses cannot be understated. But if you’ve been using social media for awhile, then you probably already know a lot of the standard tips.

Source: 45 Creative Social Media Marketing Tips You Don’t Hear Every Day

10 Powerful Tweaks for a First Class Website | JUST™ Creative

Wise advise – not just for designers but for those looking to get their site designed by a web developer. Arm yourself with knowledge and you and your designer will be on the same wavelength from the start.

Follow these 10 practical pieces of web design advice and make your good website, great! Ensure you give your visitors the best experience while on your site.

Source: 10 Powerful Tweaks for a First Class Website | JUST™ Creative

A Quick Start Guide to Adobe XD: 8 Essential Tutorials for Experience Design CC – GraphicStock BlogGraphicStock Blog

If, like me, you use the Adobe Creative Suite for just about all your graphic design work, you might find this interesting. I’m yet to dive into Adobe😄 big time, having only had a brief look at it, so maybe if you’ve used it and have any comments about it, please feel free to let me know what you think.

Enjoy your creativity!

Source: A Quick Start Guide to Adobe XD: 8 Essential Tutorials for Experience Design CC – GraphicStock BlogGraphicStock Blog

Motivated and ready to go!

When that moment hits you, that you’re actually getting old and the body doesn’t do stuff like it used to it’s time to do something about it. Today I did just that.

I’ve been inspired by my 15 year old daughter. Every morning for the past week, she has been getting up at 6am to do her stretching & exercise regime. She’s doing this in order to achieve the maximum physical strength and agility required for her to reach her goal – being accepted on a dance course for her final two years at school. I used to be like her, ballet, & dancing in general, was my first love, it was my escape and my passion.

I’ve attempted going back as an adult several times, but always end up injured, both physically and mentally. The physical injuries leading to the mental ones – not being able to physically complete an exercise is as damaging to the body as it is to the brain. You feel deflated and fed up, and as a consequence start to wonder why you bother with the whole exercise thing. You can see a vicous circle happening here can’t you.IMG_5267

Anyway, today for the first time, I actually set my alarm for 6am. I must admit I nearly didn’t get up, I lay there for a few minutes until my daughter popped her head round the corner and said she was off to do her exercises. I then lay there for another few minutes trying to convince myself that having another half an hour in bed would be far nicer and tried to go back to sleep. I couldn’t. At that point I conquered the lazy devil on my shoulder and took up the challenge by the motivated, energetic angel on the other one; got dressed and heading out for a brisk half hour walk.

It was fabulous! The sun was shining, there was a nice breeze, and it was quiet – no chance of bumping into too many people. The odd dog walker, a man in a suit heading to the station and me.

I actually felt like I’d achieved something. There was a real buzz about that. I started my day in an energetic way and I intend on doing that every day from now on. Not sure how I’ll go once the dark days or Autumn and Winter come around, but for now I’ll do my best to remember why I’m doing this and what I’m achieving by sticking to it.

It’s as much for my health as it is for my kids – I want them to be proud of their Mum and to know that I’m looking after myself so that I’ll be around for them for as long as I can.

Happy Monday Everyone!



Sunnyside Allotments

Record Store Day & The One Show


It was National Record Store Day on the 16.04.16 and even though I haven’t played any of my rather minuscule collection of records for many years, it was something that gave me such a feeling of warm fuzziness  inside. The pleasure of those youthful moments spent in the local record shop in my home town of Wangaratta seemingly a millennium ago, but as memorable as if it was yesterday. Dislocation, owned by local Tim Dickinson, was only a small shop, but as a teenager it was one of my go to places for an escape from my nagging mother. Somewhere to be me, enjoy whatever  music I wanted to without being asked “what’s that rubbish you’re listening to?”. (I’m sure I’m not the only one who experienced that and I must confess to now having to restrain myself to not say the same to my teenage kids every now and then. Mind you, I like most of their music, just can’t get my head round the rap stuff that my son insists on listening to sometimes.)

Skip to thirty years later and my collection of records are still in the box they’ve been in since leaving home to go to uni back in the mid 80’s. No record players to be seen in our student houses back then, it was all cassette tapes and ghetto blasters – not a ‘ghetto’ to be seen in Ballarat as such, but nevertheless, we all had our own versions of the said beasts.

My recent connection with this celebration of all things vinyl came quite out of the blue when I noticed a Tweet from the BBC One programme, The One Show. A current affairs/human interest programme that is aired live every evening at 7pm on BBC One. They were preparing a piece for National Record Store Day to be aired on Tuesday 19.04.16, asking for people who’d attempted to recreate a classic album cover, like the one that the other hugely successful BBC One programme Dr Who recreated. The classic Beatles cover for Abbey Road, replacing the Beetles with Daleks, the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and his companion (Jenna Coleman).


When I saw this, I just had to send them a few examples of a calendar I produced back in 2013 for one of the players of Northampton Rugby Club, Paul Diggin. It was Paul’s Testimonial year and the calendar was to be produced to raise money for his named charity based in Northampton called Niamh’s Next Step – raising money to fund research into childhood Neuroblastoma – an incredibly worthwhile charity to be able to help.

I was incredibly thrilled when The One Show contacted me via Twitter to say they were potentially going to feature on of my pieces of artwork. So excited! I posted my news to every social media platform that I use and got such a lovely response from friends and family worldwide. Not only did they show my work, but they chose the Take That album cover for Progress – to say I’m a die hard fan from their first time round, is an understatement. (Pretty chuffed about that – needless to say, it was one of my favourite months of the calendar.)


Thanks to the lovely Alex Jones & Matt Baker and the production team at The One Show for making my day. Also to all my lovely friends for your kind words of support.


Alex & Matt – presenters of The One Show

It’s little spontaneous moments likes this that really make me smile and realise that no matter what, there are so many more wonderful things happening in my life and kind people to share them with that the crap stuff is simply blown out of the way.

Now all I need is for some exciting new clients to contact me for some more freelance graphic design work. That would make the perfect cover to my own favourite album!

Please feel free to contact me for any of your design needs or to just leave a comment -hopefully a nice one! I’d love to hear from you.

Bigger issues


During a conversation with a friend the other day, something she said made me stop and correct her – in a nice way, not a judgemental way. We were in the midst of a discussion that was basically a tennis match of issues. Hers, then mine, then hers, then mine… you get the idea. At one point, she said to me, “…my issues are not as important…”. Wait a minute, yes they are! Why are her issues not as important as mine? Of course they are, they’re her issues, they’re important to her. There’s no comparing when it comes to sharing your issues with a friend. We all have our issues and no one can tell you that your issues are less important, and neither should you even consider that. A true friend will rate your issues as important as their own. You can help each other to get those problems out there for discussion, find solutions or simply talk your heads off with a bottle of bubbles close by to simply alleviate the stress that they cause. A problem shared and all that.

One thing I’ve learnt over the years of dealing with ‘issues’ is that you cannot put them on a scale from 1 – 10 of importance. They are all equally important. Yes there are problems that we have to deal with on a daily basis in our civilised world that might seem insignificant in comparision to those dealing with ‘third world’ issues; nevertheless, they are our problems and they cause us stress, heartache and sadness. Never beat yourself up for feeling bad about something, it’s your bad time and you’re allowed to feel crap about that. The best thing to do is find someone who you can trust to share that bad time with and thrash it out. You might not solve it, but you’ll have a damn good try and possibly find something to laugh about as well.

Happy Wednesday everyone! I’m off to drink bubbles then to the theatre to see Sunset Boulevard – with a very good friend – therapy!


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