10 Secrets I Keep In My Hair

My hair is getting long and scary. I mean, it's almost long enough to be its own movie villain at this point. As we all know, hair gets longer when you add secrets to it. You're probably wondering what secrets I keep in there. And as an exercise of honesty, I'm going to tell you. Please don't laugh.

  1. I'm half spider. Yes, that's right, my dad was a spider. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I was born with only two legs. This was probably a relief to everyone.
  2. I have three tiny children in there. They are named Geraldine, Milk, and Leg. They have good lives despite their close living quarters.
  3. I cried once. I know, I know, this is a particularly shocking secret. It's hard for me to admit, but I know I can count on you not to judge me.
  4. I used to be a famous ear model until I grew my hair and changed my identity. This is the reason you've never seen my ears, because you would recognise them immediately and beg for my eartograph. That life is behind me now.
  5. I've never seen a dog. I have no idea what they look like or whether or not they're into experimental 1970s electro pop.
  6. I have two butts. I know, I hide it really well.
  7. One time I psychologically damaged a pineapple by calling it "spiky". This was insensitive and cruel of me. I've regretted it ever since.
  8. I'm allergic to the internet. Every time I post something online I break out in hives. If I stay on a webpage for too long I risk hospitalisation.
  9. I get intensely jealous of spaghetti. I know spaghetti has worked hard for its success, but I resent how far ahead of me it is. I wish I was as accomplished as spaghetti.
  10. Mario from Mario Bros. fame is my husband. We have a passion the likes of which I've never seen elsewhere. The way he traverses pipes fills me with enduring love. I hope a plant with teeth never eats him.
Ah, that feels much better. I'm glad I was able to get these secrets off my chest (and out of my hair). I hope I haven't ruined my reputation with these shocking admissions. I'm going to have to add some more secrets to my hair soon so that it keeps growing, but it's good to remove some old secrets. That's just basic haircare.

How To Be A Great Artist

Listen buddy, I have gathered all the art secrets here just for you. Please stop crying into your sketchbook for a moment, because it's all going to be okay after you read these top tips and become a super motivated, accomplished, and perpetually grinning mega-artist. I found all these tips on some stone slabs in a secluded cave near the top of a mountain, and now I am passing them on to you. 

Here they are:
  1. You don't have to ever draw the second eye, okay? Eye patches for everyone. You know Harry Styles would look better with an eye patch. And of course there's Undyne. Or you know what? Draw a cylops. Problem solved.
  2. Similarly, you can skip things that anger you. Instead of flipping your desk into the air and snapping your pencils in half in a fit of rage, just ignore the fact that elbows exist. Banish elbows from your art dimension and draw everyone with wobbly jelly hands. That's what they deserve.
  3. Sometimes you gotta just slop your materials onto a page. You gotta learn to appreciate the blob. It's a beautiful form, and I would argue the fundamental artistic shape. Precision is one thing, but don't underestimate the necessity of vague blobs either. Open your brand new, intimidating sketchbook and just throw a paint blob in there. This paint blob will be your new mascot. Your friend to cheer you on. Respect your guardian blob.
  4. Appreciate shapes and textures and colours alone. Even a universe is made of tiny components. The world wouldn't be the world without each tiny little piece of dirt. You need to love dirt. Gather a jar of dirt and display it in your room to remind you of how important and glorious dirt is, and thus shapes and lines and stuff too.
  5. Find your niche. Draw hundreds of charcoal portraits of Guy Fieri. Just do it. Then you'll be really good at that and probably well known for your very specific artwork.
  6. Don't underestimate the power of weird and initially unappealing materials either. You can draw with sticks, use gel pens, food colouring, or almost anything. Just rub a potato on a piece of paper and congratulations, you've made art. Not very visible art, in that case, but still.
  7. Most people don't remember this, but if you have ever touched a crayon even once as a child, you get a 6ft trophy that officially proffers the title of artist upon your young self. These trophies are sent by the government, and most children don't remember them because when you're very young things that are too cool for your little brain get forgotten. But you definitely already got that trophy, so don't be shy about being an artist. You already are.
  8. Ringo Starr is the greatest artist of all time and you should take inspiration from his MSPaint drawings. They are sensational.
  9. Cry. Ignore that thing I said earlier about not crying into your sketchbook and cry into your sketchbook. Forever. Or until the kettle boils.
  10. Okay now stop crying and start laughing. Laugh for hours while you paint smiling puppies, until you are surrounded completely by the puppy paintings.
I hope this advice has been helpful and good. If not, please blame the mountain instead of me. Good luck. And please email me a puppy painting if you make one.

Magazine Collages: Classical & Greyscale

I completely forgot I had an issue of the Evening Standard hiding in my drawer, but I found it and destroyed it. I found a painting in a full page advert for the National Gallery and that was perfect for collaging with. There's something about taking classical paintings and doing something weird to them. I'd also quite like to dress in such a cherubic, mythical fashion. Lots of draping and translucency. Other good things: sections of bodies, Christmas tree biscuits.

I really like the colours in the painting and the greyscale of some of the photos as a contrasting detail. Greyscale portraiture is so great and gives such a particular sense of depth. I'd like to try more photographic projects that use that beautiful black and white. Maybe I should get some more black and white 35mm film. It's been a while since I shot with it.


Life is such a weird process of doing stuff, and realising that stuff was stupid, and recovering from stuff, and discovering that you hate a thing you loved and you love a thing you hated. I hate all of it, but I love it too.

I watched a beautiful video recently by Leena Norms about 'finding yourself'. She talks about how the term is effectively misleading because as a living person you'll probably at some point realise some of the self you have found is not you any more. My favourite part was this bit about love:

I want a love that asks me from the pillow each morning, "and who are you today?" and I will ask them the same, and perhaps I'll say "and actually, I kind of liked who I was yesterday, but I think I'm going to make some tweaks - here, and here, and here - because I think it gives me a better overall effect, and makes me ultimately a better person" and they'll be like "cool, I can't wait to meet you."

Change is weird, but when you love someone you should be excited to take the boat round each river-bend with them, and the same can be said for yourself. But sometimes that's hard because you've gotten stuck in a really muddy and gross part of the river, or you're long free from it but you still feel all muddy and dirty and like you're causing an environmental concern for the rest of the river and maybe you should just get out of the boat (is this analogy still working?).

Concentrate on how clear the water is and how it moves. Forget about that stupid bit of river from earlier. You know, it's the river that was muddy, not you. Keep that boat going. I'm seriously going to stop with this river analogy now.

Just don't give up, don't punish yourself for going about life in different ways at different times, and don't force yourself to eat Brussels sprouts if you hate them.

Diary: Recently Read Books, Homemade Crisps, & Forrest Gump

I've been reading a lot recently and I feel very good about it. I do want to maintain a reasonably consistent reading pace for as much of the year as possible and read lots of books! I finished the Welcome to Night Vale novel and whilst I love the weird, offhand humour, I felt like it was so relentless that it distracted from the actual plot (which honestly seemed quite thin). I don't think it worked that well for a novel and I feel like the universe and its style would be more suited to a short story collection that lets the mundane, ignorable oddness of the place the actual focus. It was definitely an interesting and unique read, though.

After that, I read Marissa Meyer's short story The Little Android because I wanted to get a feel for her writing before trying out her debut novel, Cinder. I'm not too sure how interested I am in various stylistic elements of the world, and I feel like it's a little bit outside of my comfort zone in some ways, but The Little Android was easy to read and it did feel emotionally compelling, so I do intend to check out some of her longer stuff soon.

When I was done with that I actually started reading the Pretty Little Liars series, and I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed it considering the fact that a lot of similarly-styled books annoy me and make me cringe, but this series is well written and reasonably mature in its handling of eye-rolling school drama.

Moving on from books, Elliot and I had such a nice time around the weekend making crisps. They are so easy to make if you can slice potatoes thinly enough, and they are so delicious without even adding any salt or seasoning. Elliot did experiment a bit with some seasoning and came up with a delicious flavour that reminded me of sausage seasoning, and we stood there frying crisps in a saucepan of oil for ages, drinking an amazing blue cocktail that he dreamed up too (gin and tonic and prosecco and something else - it sounds disgusting but it was really nice).

We also watched Forrest Gump, and amazingly I had never seen it properly before, even though I remember having a recorded-from-the-TV VHS tape of it. I think it's actually one of the greatest films ever, if not THE greatest film ever. It's so nice. And sad. And funny.

After the weekend my diary became an ode to Animal Crossing: New Leaf once again. I've been neglecting it for ages now, but it feels very nice to be tending to my town again, and it's done just fine without me. I don't mind villagers moving away any more because I know that means I get a lovely new villager soon enough, and I kinda love them all.

Never Shutting Up About Totoro

Totoro is such a bright, grinning imp of inspiration. My Neighbour Totoro is by far my favourite Studio Ghibli film. It's most comparable, I think, with Princess Mononoke, because of its forest spirit theme. Whilst I definitely have time for the brooding darkness and rage of Princess Mononoke, My Neighbour Totoro replaces that with this giddy, slightly eerie, and surreal humour. That's what I love most of all. The grin. The strange magic. And the near-constant vibe of being sort of on the cusp of calamity, but in a strangely removed way.

Totoro is a spirit of confusion and curiosity, of visceral satiation, of wonder at all beautiful little natural things, and of all the magic of childhood imagination. That is why I find him such a treasure and an inspiration. In a way he is like a real guide and spirit to me. I feel like he is such a great reminder and symbol of life, and living, and all the things I really care about most. Like good sandwiches, and picnics, and making funny faces. Totoro embodies a lot of really important and pure qualities to me.

I also feel like the theme of care is so apparent in the film. Totoro takes care of the children, and they take care of him. The forest and its dwellers have this beautiful relationship of curious love and exploration together. There is a community through the leaves and an atmosphere of generous mutuality and fun. It's the greatest.

In complete seriousness, Totoro is a huge influence and a great reminder for how I want to live my life: eating a big leaf and grinning.

Dungaree Dreams

Sometimes when I scan myself I like to imagine I'm in this vast empty dimension with just me in it. Empty space is an oddly calming thought. I know that I am always changing, like the things around me, but there is a reliability about my own body that isn't like anything else. I may change, but I am always here. It's comforting to rely on the presence of myself as the one thing I know for sure will always be with me, because it is me.

Maybe that's why I feel like the idea of all my belongings fitting into one bag is romantic. I remember wanting to run away with a few things in a handkerchief tied to a stick when I was very little. I liked the idea of adventure and self-sustenance and escape portrayed by that illustrative stereotype. The child with an apple and a teddy bear in a handkerchief, sleeping in fields and trees, wearing dungarees and grinning. That's what I wanted to be.

I still have those quaint English countryside dreams, but now I love the city too, and weird art shows, and the ability to buy packs of assorted nuts and a bottle of wine at the supermarket. There's a forest in the city, and a tote bag is more practical than a handkerchief on a stick. The dream is a bit different, but I still have it, and I still have me, and I can buy a dungaree dress if I want to.

100% True Facts About People Based On Their Birth Months

We all know that the month we were born can accurately divine such secrets about our personalities such as how much we crave Doritos and which Power Ranger we would be if we were Power Rangers, but most of us go about our lives in total ignorance of all the knowledge of the months as they relate to us. That's fine, but if you are doing a bit of desperate soul searching or wish to suss out whether the object of your affections is someone with whom you have a compatible personality, I have put together a handy guide to expose the secrets of the babies of each month of the year. Use this incredible knowledge with caution.

January babies:
  • hate happiness
  • love tormenting insects
  • keep a picture of Jeremy Kyle in their wallet because they are secretly in love with him and need to keep his image close
  • into smelling lavender and crying
  • complicated feelings about cheese
February babies:
  • 72% chance they are thinking about Patrick Stump right now
  • they know the secret thing that you did and they are judging you
  • cannot ever remember how to play a card game
  • itchy for no reason
  • are convinced they are related to trees on some level
March babies:
  • are sorry about that time they did a thing that you didn't even notice
  • spend a thousand years in the museum even if you are begging them to leave
  • make superior spreadsheets
  • do the most terrible dancing you will ever see
  • love grinning
April babies:
  • hate you
  • hate everyone who isn't giving them a bottle of wine
  • hate wine
  • offended by the existence of clouds
  • have a lot of restless dreams about losing things and being lost
May babies:
  • are huge fans of frowning
  • angry
  • try their best
  • try to assimilate themselves into animal communities
  • secretly hate knees
June babies:
  • are partially constructed of sunlight
  • do not like when you do that thing
  • do like potatoes
  • have at least once semi-seriously considered starting a society about potatoes
  • wonder what it would be like if colours didn't exist
July babies:
  • are secretive about a very specific thing (I can't tell you what)
  • love fire
  • have looked at the sea at least one time
  • have considered joining the circus
  • cannot understand why chewing gum exists
August babies:
  • invented love
  • fancy Santa Claus
  • eat chips
  • feel some kind of way
  • mildly desire to turn into a bear
September babies:
  • get grumpy when they're cold
  • do not allow cats to get what they want
  • annoy babies
  • are grossed out easily
  • cannot stop themselves from weeping at a beautiful sunset
October babies:
  • bad
  • are very spooky
  • eat seven pumpkins a day
  • are married to pumpkins
  • pumpkin
November babies:
  • healthy scepticism when talking to dogs
  • distrust authority
  • win Scrabble every time
  • are definitely evil on some level
  • eat sunlight
December babies:
  • hold a grudge against Christmas
  • will make fun of you relentlessly
  • are good at running away from their problems
  • can't stop thinking about ducks
  • never breathe

Journal: Nervous Hearts

So many of my journal pages become pages for restless hands. I have always been a fidget. I sat in my GCSE exams and perched like a bird with my feet on the chair, shifting into a new position every five minutes. I'm sorry to any nearby kids I distracted. I remember the creeping and then rushing discomfort that came when I tried to resist the compulsion. I sat on one foot, and even tried sitting with my feet on the floor for a while, but I had to keep moving. I never understood why I got like that, but now a lot of the time it gets syphoned off through drawing. If I'm watching TV alone I have to be doing something else at the same time. I think I'm better at being calm and sitting still these days, but I'm still a fidget. I always will be, and probably for the same reasons that I yawn constantly when I'm the slightest bit nervous.

These pages are extra scribbly. Please also notice my pages full of hearts. If you are ever feeling unloved, just draw yourself lots of hearts and give them to yourself. All the hearts are for you.

An Archive Of Anonymous Tumblr Messages

I decided to clear out my Tumblr messages, and in the process I want to share some that make me feel all kinds of ways. Some of them have been gathering digital dust for years, and some are not anonymous (sorry to deceive you with my misleading post title on that one), but all of them are special to me for one reason or another. I am so grateful for all the sweet, inspiring, and silly things people have sent to me, and I'm archiving some favourites here to spread some of that joy.

People say various things about my drawings, and I am endlessly glad that other people get some enjoyment out of something I love doing so much. I also get some comments about looking young and I find it pretty interesting how those kinds of perceptions of me exist and the way people phrase it when they talk to me about it. I can't objectively look at myself and say I look age _______, so it's something I find very peculiar and cool to think about. I do think I look my age, really (currently twenty four), but I can see that I look younger too.

These encouraging messages warmed my heart so much that I had to give it a cool tropical drink with a lot of ice cubes.

This message is in reference to this drawing of a skull in a jar.

I am so flattered to be told I look like/remind someone of Remus Lupin in any way. I love him.

More little pieces of encouragement. I love the bubbles in my tea, when they're there. I think noticing and focusing on little things like that makes my life so much happier and softer and sweeter.

Moth-based comments bring me a lot of joy. Every time I see a moth I'm like: "Oh look, my brother is visiting! Hello Tobias!"

ASMR or maybe the Shipping Forecast? I'd love to do the Shipping Forecast (if you have seen it, please take a moment to think about the relevant episode of Black Books).

These are all nice, and I like to get artistic suggestions. I do have a great photo I took of my boyfriend mid-sandwich once.

Many nice things and cute things and weird things and funny things.

This is the sweetest and loveliest.

So is this.

This too.

The message about Facebook was when I was asking people about their early usernames and email addresses and things like that. I've had a few different Facebook accounts (one where I pretended to be Rick Astley), and I find it really interesting talking to people about their internet history and stuff. The other messages hit on things that make me very happy - dimples, and the idea of myself as an old lady.

This message is in reference to one of my two 2013 mini albums, and the concept of my music sounding like Lord of the Rings is so cute and funny to me that every time I read this I can't help but smile.

Many thanks to all the uplifting, encouraging, and lovely people out there. ♡

Minimalism: Not Just For Your Physical Possessions!

Okay, how many people do you know who stay friends with people they don't really like on Facebook? Or with family members who criticise them and stress them out? Or with exes who cause a mini crisis every time they post a picture with someone new? How many people are out there clinging on to little details of their lives and histories because they feel obligated to, or they don't want to miss out on social details, or they're scared to look bad or be ostracised? Can we please stop doing this to ourselves and the people around us? Can we please take more notice of our own fundamental needs regardless of any social/familial faux pas we might make?

I'm not saying you can cut out everything that's difficult. I get that that's not how life works. Sometimes the safest thing to do is maintain that status quo, and your head probably makes it hard to clear out your life of troubling people and memories because it's doing its best to protect you, but if you are in a position where it's possible, moving on from pieces of other people and pieces of yourself that clutter up your life and make you feel bad can be the best thing you ever do.

Sometimes to change yourself and grow as a person, you need to untangle yourself from things. Events in your life, people in your life, whatever. Things will have always happened to you, and you will have always known people, but if you can separate yourself from stuff and think of yourself as a fundamental you with or without Jeff on Facebook talking about how much he hates [insert Big Brother contestant of your choice] then you have a better opportunity to progress and be a happier and better person.

I am really into minimalism and assessing whether something you own is really necessary or useful to you, and I think it's just as important to do this with your digital possessions, your friends, and your personal history too. Obviously when it comes to memories, there's no way to delete them. I've definitely watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and the Men in Black films and wistfully daydreamed about memory-erasing possibilities like I'm sure many people have, but it's not possible at this point in time. That's probably for the best, but it is possible to cut people out of your life, to change the things currently in your life, to move locations, and to clear up your contacts. There's a lot you can do to give yourself a better, new environment for personal growth and living your life the way you want to. Don't let yourself be trapped by the weight of other people and old connections. Be the most free and happy person you can be, and to hell with your mistakes, your toxic friends, and the embarrassing jokes you made when you were fourteen. That's not you. It doesn't have to be.

Diary: Chocolate, Death, & Too Many Feelings About Soup

This week I have been eating chocolates and thinking about death. Really though, I probably thought about the chocolates a lot more than I thought about death. But death was definitely there. My main thought on death: I don't like it. My main thought on chocolate: I do like it. I hope you enjoyed that cultural insight.

For real though, I love when chocolates come wrapped in a cute little foil. Some very jazzy chocolates wear party dresses, probably. Good for you, jazzy chocolates. I guess lately I'm focusing on enjoying some stuff like that, and nice baths, and my super fuzzy blanket. I get these phases where I feel all grumpy and instinctively try to surround myself with lots of small and pleasant things. It helps (although there's definitely an inherent cartoonish grumpiness to my personality).

For some reason soup in a cup has been added to my list of comforting things, which is still weird to me because I really used to hate it. It's pretty nice to stop hating something though. I think I just had a bad one once and stubbornly avoided them since then. I'm glad to have now come some way away from my judgemental soup days. Not that I won't still ruthlessly judge a soup, but you know, it's not always black and white. You don't always have to completely rule out soup in a cup.