3 tech solutions to start the New Year right!

January 8, 2016 | Guides, Personal

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I’m a few days late, but – Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a beautiful Christmas and New Year and are ready to start the year fresh. I certainly am!

Do you have any New Years resolutions? I don’t normally make any, but this year I made a few. Mostly just acknowledging a few things I’ve been wanting to focus on for a while now. They’re not hard and fast resolutions, but just things I’d like to work on and be more conscious about in my everyday life. Nothing groundbreaking here I’m afraid, I think everyone’s probably made these resolutions at some point!

Here’s what they are:

– Get back on track with a budget
– Be more active – choose to get up and move, do something every day.
– Be more organised with dinners and groceries
– Don’t let toxic thoughts rule the mind… be positive :)
– Spend less time looking at my phone – maybe delete Facebook for a while?

Some of these – like looking at my phone less – are things I just have to do. But in order to achieve some of the other things, I’ve turned to good ol’ technology for help. And there are some AMAZING apps and programs and videos out there now. So many.

So I thought I’d share with you my favourite 3 tech solutions that I’ve been using to help me get on board with my resolutions above. Here we go…

NUMBER 1: BUDGET 
Solution: You Need A Budget
Cost: Free 34 day trail, $5/m after that (or $50/yr)


You Need A Budget

You Need A Budget App

This wonderful program makes keeping a budget actually kinda fun. Well, maybe not FUN, but not as dull and boring as most budgets can be. I’m using it every day and it’s working! Once you’ve signed up, you can use the software on your computer, or download the handy-dandy app that will allow you to put in your income/expenses on the fly. Mostly we use it to track how much we’re spending, and being able to enter it on our phones as we go means we’re not guessing later or digging through the bin for receipts.

NUMBER 2: BE MORE ACTIVE (AND POSITIVE!)
Solution: Yoga with Adriene
Cost: FREE!

Yoga with Adriene

Yoga with Adriene

You guys, I really love this chick. Not only is she funny and totally down to earth, she has a very well-stocked youtube channel with every kind of yoga flow you could think of – and it’s all totally free. I’m really not very good at yoga, but Adriene makes you feel capable no matter what level.. which makes me feel less embarrassed (in my own home??) and awkward. Check out the 30 days of yoga with Adriene, or Yoga Camp if you want to start a regular yoga habit, or any of the other videos really, they’re all fab. I’ve been doing yoga camp and so far I’m sticking with it! :)

NUMBER 3: BE MORE ORGANISED 
Solution: Wunderlist
Cost: Free (though you can pay to upgrade)

Wunderlist

Wunderlist

This is one of those genius apps that I’ve been using for a little while now, and couldn’t live without. I’m not using it to it’s full capacity I don’t think, but for what I want, it works like a charm. My husband and I have both installed it and were able to create a shared list (called “Groceries”) that we can both see on our phones. It updates instantly, which means we’re both able to add items that we need as we think of them, and subtract them off the list as we buy them. And because we’re both seeing the same list, it’s super up-to-date, and there’s no confusion. Brilliant!

There we go, my top 3 tech recommendations to start off 2016 :)

What tech have you been using? Would love some more recommendations!

Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2015 | Personal

MerryXmas4

Merry Christmas!

I’m sitting here in Singapore, in front of our brilliantly lit christmas tree with the tropical breeze blowing in, listening to Michael Buble carols and thinking about what an amazing year we’ve had. I just love Christmas, so much. It’s not really the same spending it here instead of at our family homes in Australia, but we’ve got some family visiting and Skype on hand, so it’ll be magical nonetheless. I’m super excited to share our second ever Christmas with Arlo too – who’ll be bombarded with gifts from around the world when he wakes in the morning. The anticipation has me feeling like a little kid along with him :)

So, Merry Christmas to you. I hope you’re all feeling warm and fuzzy about the festive season too… here’s to a fab 2016, wherever you are!

C x

Make Art That Sells – Week 3

November 26, 2015 | Design, Make Art That Sells, Personal

Oops, I’m a little behind in my MATS recaps! Last week was actually week 5, which was the last week of the course.. big sad face. But I won’t jump ahead yet (though if you’re following me on Instagram you’ll have had a peek!).

Week 3 was all about children’s book illustration. Probably not a market I really see myself in I must admit, but worth giving it a go anyway, right! We were first tasked with drawing lost of cats and creating cat characters, before being given the big assignment to either illustrate the cover, or one spread of the story The White Cat.

I had a bit of shaky start to my cat illustrations, trying to work out how a cat really looks.. but then when I made it more human like, I really got into it! I thought it was so fun sketching her facial expressions and trying different shapes and sizes for her features.

Sketching cats! By fellow fellow :)

I eventually settled on the middle-bottom one. I thought she had a nice personality :) Next onto the cover..

The story is about a white cat and a prince, and the prince rides a wooden horse.. it’s a really bazaar story actually, pretty dark and creepy, so I opted to put a lighter, more fun spin on the cover. Why not, it’s for kids after all!

Here’s what I ended up with.. I think there are a few things I’d like to keep working on, but overall I was happy I managed to complete it :)

The White Cat by fellow fellow

There was such a massive variety of designs that were submitted, all so different, and quite a number that really stood out as incredible to me. There’s some serious talent in this class!

If I’m honest, I’m actually finding it very difficult not to compare my work to everyone else’s! There are so many wonderful illustrators that sometimes I can’t help but feel a bit overwhelmed.. BUT I’m also really proud of myself for getting through each task as it comes and creating great work even if I’m initially stumped by the idea. I’m proving to myself that I can do it, and that’s worth a lot I reckon :)

Read about week 1 and week 2 here.

Make Art That Sells – Week 2

November 2, 2015 | Design, Drawn, Make Art That Sells, Personal

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Phew, week 2 of Make Art That Sells was a doozy! In a good way, of course ;-)

This week was all about the Home Decor market, and we were tasked with using Staffordshire Pottery as our drawing inspiration. If you don’t know what Staffordshire Pottery is (like I didn’t), do a google search and you’ll find some of the weirdest, scariest, and definitely not-to-my-taste ceramic figurines. Huh, crap. How was I meant to get inspired by a subject matter I didn’t find very attractive?!

Luckily I don’t think I was alone in feeling this way – it seems like a lot of the people in my class were also struggling with it a little bit which made me feel reassured! Nevertheless I managed to get over myself and find some time while Arlo napped to try sketching a few of these funny figurines without being too self conscious of the outcome (kinda tough for me!). The idea is to experiement after all. And whaddayaknow – I actually started to enjoy it. So then I moved onto watercolour and it only got better! Wha. Amazing – and the funny thing is, because Staffordshire pottery is already kinda quirky, I found that the less precise my illustrations were the better, and the fat watercolour strokes seemed to just fit right in.

claire dalgliesh MATS PartA

Yay! So now that I had some icons to work with, next up was to tackle the main assignment for this week, which was to create a set of 4 ceramic plates using our Staffordshire illustrations. By now I was really loving the assignment, so had fun putting the plates together :)

Here’s my final piece.

CLAIRE_DALGLIESH_SECRETGARDEN

So despite the slightly unsettling start to this week, I’m really happy with where it ended up! :) And looking at our class Flickr group I’m blown away by just how varied our work is. All 200 (or so) of us got the same brief, and no one’s work is even close to similar, it’s kind of amazing!

This week we’re onto Children’s picture books… bring it!

IKEA Project 4: Kitchen – Organising the Pantry!

September 28, 2015 | Personal, Singapore, Sponsored

Disclosure: This is a sponsored collaboration with IKEA, however all ideas, opinions, and thoughts are my own. 

I can’t believe this is the last of my IKEA collaborative posts! Big sad face. It’s been so fun, I don’t even know where the last 4 months have gone.

For this last challenge we were tasked with doing something fab in the kitchen. Yeaaahh kitchen! I love cooking. Well, I used to anyway, before I had a fussy toddler who throws my lovingly homemade meals on the floor, preferring a peanut butter sandwich over 8-hour slow cooked lamb tagine. Phht.. whatevs, his loss.

Instead of cooking for this challenge though, I decided to attack a problem area in our kitchen – the pantry. Uhh, the pantry. In my head, the perfect pantry is a gorgeous walk-in number, with plenty of shelves to hold rows of jars with little labels and scoops… like these:

dream pantryLeft: Emerson’s Pantry via Apartment Therapy  Right: NEAT Method pantry via Arianna Belle

Ahhhhh, perfection.

Back in reality though, our pantry is just a large cupboard in our kitchen, with 4 very deep shelves. Don’t get me wrong – I’m in no way complaining.. our last apartment didn’t even have a ‘pantry’, just a few small cupboards we’d deemed good for food storage. So the one we have now is actually pretty amazing.

Exceeeppptt.. we had no order. It was madness! Just look at this embarrassment… try not to shudder.

Pantry disgrace

Finding anything took a lot of time, and we would buy double-ups of things because we didn’t realise we had them in the first place.

Pantry disgrace Pantry disgrace

Uhh, look away! Needless to say this pantry needed a makeover like, yesterday.

So off to Ikea I went. And I bought about 50 (not kidding) of their 365+ food containers in all 3 sizes. And I got some very strange looks. And Arlo was super embarrassed by all my containers and got angry and loud. But I was excited because I was going to have an organised pantry!

I particularly liked the 365+ containers because they have a flip lid on one end, making it easy to pour the contents out without opening the whole lid. Win!

Then when I got home, I unpacked the pantry and repacked it into my wonderful new containers, labelled them all and stacked them back into the shelves in all their organised glory. I’m glossing over this part because it actually took a while and was a bit messy, especially with a toddler thrown into the mix. But we got there, and it was absolutely worth it!

Bask, in my pantry…

Pantry perfection

And side-by-side:

Before and After

Perfection! And, no surprises – it’s SO MUCH EASIER to find things now!

Pantry perfection

The bread-making box.

Pantry perfection

High-use foods.. rice, cous cous, quinoa…

Pantry perfection

And on the top shelf I even managed to get some baking ingredients in that were previously stored elsewhere!

It’s still not like those spectacular Pinterest pantries I started the post with, but it’s the greatest pantry I’ve ever had – and I love it. I’ve found that when I organise things around me, in our house, I feel a bit like I’m organising my brain.. I feel better, lighter, clearer. Less highly strung. And it was the same with the pantry, it’s a happy place now :)

So a huge thank you to Ikea for making my life easier in the kitchen – and the rest of our house for that matter. We’re big fans over here, and I feel so lucky to have been able to work with them on this series. Thank you!