Friday, 23 June 2017

Sunny afternoon

Just a few pictures from Whitley Bay last Sunday :) 

Health and happiness,
Marti xxx

Friday, 16 June 2017

What's new?

Hello! I'm going to be perfectly honest and tell you that this post has not been planned and is completely spur of the moment. You know those times where you just feel like writing but you're not sure what to write about? Yeah, that's me. All the freaking time.

Today I went to the library and picked up some reservations I'd completely forgotten about. I also treated myself to Cathy Cassidy's new book, Love from Lexie, from the little book shop (hopefully a review will follow next week).

At present, I'm surrounded by tissues and icky cough sweets. I feel like the only human in the universe capable of getting a cold in summer. Last night I went roller skating with three of my friends and didn't fall over once!  I'm also looking forward to tomorrow, Father's Day in the UK, as we are going up to see my brother Charlie. 

I think that's just about everything- although there is one little treasure I've been keeping a secret...I'm writing a book! I'm not sure how long it'll take me, and I'm not setting myself any deadlines either. I'm writing it purely for the enjoyment of writing it and nothing else. 

Now it's your turn. Tell me about your weekend!

Lots of love,
Marti xxx

Friday, 9 June 2017

The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night.

Just a few pictures I caught of the world being beautiful these last few days. 

Health and happiness,
Marti xxx

Friday, 2 June 2017

Sun, rain and erm, rain...

Remember my last post where I said that I wanted to make the most of this half term? Well, that I did, and currently I'm writing this post as opposed to doing the maths homework I neglected all holiday. The pleasure is all yours ;) I thought it'd be nice to share with you some of the things I got up to as a little follow up from my last post. So sit back, perhaps get yourself a tea and enjoy; it's going to be a long one! Also, I hope somebody brought cake. All this not doing homework is making me very peckish...

I think it's time to start wearing the knee pads.
Saturday and Sunday were pretty odd weatherwise. My sister came home for the day on Saturday so we walked into town- dressed for clear skies and sunshine! That we got until we ventured home  and were faced with the midst of a thunderstorm! After getting home and peeling off our clothes, most of us got in our pyjamas (mum and dad went out for the night to a David Bowie tribute) and I read the first Clarice Bean book. That night we played this game called Heads Up (which I proved to be terrible at) and binge watched awful Saturday night TV. 

Ella went back home on Sunday morning but I managed to persuade her to do my hair before she left. I also coloured in her tattoo, which personally, I think looks much better. After that, I went out on my roller skates with Fin before going to the car boot. I managed to grab some rather unattractive but life saving knee pads and some books from the Ruby Redfort series. We sat in the sun with my nana for a while as my grandad is quite poorly. At my gran's house I played football in the garden with my darling little brother. He kept getting angry at me because apparently I'm too good (yeah right, I know haha!).

On Monday we went to Haworth which was home to the Brontë sisters in the 1800s. There was a beautiful graveyard that we looked around before going to the parsonage museum. I absolutely loved looking around the house and would recommend it to anybody interested in this era of literature. We ate chips in paper during anther downpour which was surprisingly enjoyable. There were lots of quirky shops in the town to look around and an old fashioned sweet shop where we bought rosy apples. I haven't an awful lot to say about Tuesday other than it was another day at the pen shop. It was quiet, but some very interesting customers...

Two of my good friends invited me to go to York with their family on Wednesday. It was a truly fabulous day. We got the park and ride bus to the city and first went to York Dungeon, which I enjoyed profusely. The actors made you feel as though you'd travelled back in time and were pretty good at knowing how to scare people! We ate at the Bar Convent (again, I'd recommend) before heading to the Railway Museum. Although I don't have a great passion for trains, I still enjoyed marvelling at their splendour.  

Me and my babes
On Thursday I seriously needed to catch up with some homework, so I spent most of the day doing Science revison (yay!). Mum, dad, Fin and Jay headed to the pet shop and came home with two fishies! They are absolutely adorable and we agreed to name them Bert and Ernie after everybody's favourite muppet pair. I also started watching this series called Fat Doctor which I am hooked on (guilty as charged!).

That leads me to today. I'm not going to lie; this blog post consumed a lot of my time, but at least it's productive :) This morning we went to town to pick up some shopping and between then and now, I've been reading. It's so hot but I'm considering closing my window becuase the house opposite is blaring 'I Gotta Feeling'. Give me strength...

What have you been upto?
  Lots of love,
Marti xxx

P.S. They're playing 'I Need a Hero' now ahahhaha 

Friday, 26 May 2017

Sun, sun, sun!

This is just going to be a real quickie, but I thought it would be worthwhile sitting down and explaining what's going on at the moment. At present, it's Friday night, which means that half term has officially begun! I'm really excited because where I live we're experiencing a bit of a heatwave and the temperature hit twenty seven degrees earlier!

I'm using this break as a time to focus on my own happiness and to do the things that make me smile. That's why I've set myself a few small goals to reach over half term. These include: going out on my skates, meditating, doing yoga, reading, taking pretty pictures, drinking lots of water and writing in the sun!

I'm also going to try and avoid Facebook as I don't believe it is having a positive effect on my happiness and is probably the biggest tool for procrastinating. I have however started to use Instagram and Pinterest again for posting and sharing pictures. Make sure to drop your account names in the comments so that I can follow you! :)

What are your half term plans?

Forever health and happiness,
Marti xxx

Friday, 19 May 2017

Do you want the truth or something beautiful?

I felt very sceptical about posting this piece of writing, yet I wanted to bring forth the fact that life isn't always sugar sweet and iced with pink icing. There are times where life will chew you up and spit you back out again- it happens to everybody and you just have to live through it. It's those times that I try not to document, for better or for worse. I've never endorsed spreading negativity on the internet but I think it's important to be honest and not sugar coat reality. 

Now that brings me to my main point: what I'm sharing with you. There's a certain individual in my life who's caused me a great deal of pain. I'm not going to explain what has happened, mostly because that's a line I don't feel comfortable crossing, but also to protect the identity of said individual. The best way I've found to deal with difficult situations is creative expression- whether that be music, drawing or writing, I always feel more in contact with my feelings afterwards.

I've decided to include a small paragraph of one of the lengthy letters I've written yet never sent to this person. It was really difficult deciding whether or not to publish this, but I trusted it would bring home how strongly your actions can hurt others. 
You’ve changed me. You’ve left a bruise on my body that will drag me down far more than any I gain smacking the ground on roller skates. They’re the kind of injury that motivates you to keep trying, to beat your personal best and greatest of all, to not give up. The bruise you’ve given me is so deep, so swollen and so painful; it brings tears to my eyes. You’ve humiliated me. Made me look weak and needy in an environment I felt safe.   

Health and happiness,
Marti xxx

Friday, 12 May 2017

A new found love for derby

I remember when I first got into skating. I was about eight and I tagged along with my big sister and her friends to the ice rink. Like anybody starting out, I wasn't very good at it and spent a lot of time either on the floor, glued to the side rail or holding somebody's hand. 

After that, I nagged my parents for a pair of skates and luckily found some at a car boot sale. They were inline skates with a buckle fastening and polka dot lining. Sure, they may have been scuffed at the toes and a little tatty but they were mine and I loved them. After a few tumbles and lots of scuffed knees, I'd nailed it and could lap the block a few times.

It's been awhile since then and up until recently, I hadn't really given skating much thought. It took until one of my friends had her 16th birthday at a roller rink that I got back into skates. It was a bit weird at first and I was slipping and sliding all over the place. I suppose it's like riding a bike: you can't forget how to do it once you've learnt but you can become a bit rusty. Within an hour or so, I got the hang of it and would even do some little tricks like jump and 'whip' another person around the track. Granted I did fall over (and knock other people over- oops!!) quite a bit, but it's all fun and games right?

It was in the that moment that I realised skating made me happy. Happy in a way I couldn't put words to. I suppose it's similar for people who love to swim, or draw or play music. In that moment you're focused, determined and infinite.

 After that, I decided skating was a hobby I wanted to pursue so I saved up and bought myself a new pair of quads. Naturally that lead to my watching of Whip It  and oh my gosh- I think I may have fallen in love with roller derby! If you're unfamiliar with the sport, here is a definition I got from good old Wikipedia:

Roller derby is a contact sport played by two teams of five members roller skating in the same direction (counterclockwise) around a track. Game play consists of a series of short match ups (jams) in which both teams designate a jammer who scores points by lapping members of the opposing team. The teams attempt to hinder the opposing jammer while assisting their own jammer—in effect, playing both offense and defense simultaneously.

You've got to be sixteen to join a league which kind of sucks, but I've contacted my local team and they said they'd be happy to have me on the next new skater intake which is September/ October time.

I just thought I'd share this with you as it's something I'm really passionate about. 
Do you have any unusual hobbies?

Health and happiness,
Marti xxx

Friday, 5 May 2017

Tiny plants growing out of sidewalk cracks

Rosie shared this on her wall and it melted my heart :)
Dear friend,

The chances are, if you're reading this, I've never met you. I've never been able to tell you that you're loved, that you're appreciated and that somebody out there is dying for you to love and appreciate them. You may not believe me, but you're a truly amazing human being. 

You're beautiful and have qualities that make you shine like the twinkling star that you are. Anybody that tells you differently obviously doesn't know their constellations. You have the kind of personality that's brimming with love and warmth-the kind that needs to be shared in a society that thrives on negativity!

You've done some mean things and hurt the people you love. You've done this because you're only human and your natural response to pain is inflicting more pain on other people. 

Wlive in a world where hate is thrown around like confetti and nobody talks about their feelings. If people were to only consider others for a moment before hurting them, maybe the world would be a better place.

My advice to you old friend would be to carry around a spare change of happiness with you wherever you go. You never know who may need it most.

Lots of love,
Marti xxx

Friday, 28 April 2017

Being Gay in a Heterosexual Society | An Interview with Ella

1.       Heya Ella! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions and being so open! Firstly, would you mind telling me a little bit about yourself? For example: what are your passions and interests?

My interests are playing video games, photography, writing, drawing and reading.

2.      Do you think that labels are necessary when it comes to sexual orientation? Are they restrictive or do they provide comfort and security?

I think labels can be restrictive depending on the person really. Some people like that they can name their sexual orientation and be able to tell others exactly and others feel freer without labelling. I label myself because I like be able to explain to others easily what exactly my sexuality is.

3.      When did you realise that you weren’t heterosexual? Was it something you learnt as you got older or something you’ve always known?

It's a bit of both really. I had small crushes on other girls when I was younger but I wasn't bothered about it. I was about ten when I started questioning and then a year later I realised properly.

4.      Are there ever times that you find it difficult to accept your feelings towards other people? Does society ever make you feel pressured into acting and behaving a certain way?

There have been times where I've thought being straight would be easier but I've been raised so that I know that homosexuality isn't wrong so I just accepted myself.

5.      Have you ever experienced discrimination or prejudice based on your sexuality? Do you think that it’s because we live in a society where straight people are favoured that people think it’s acceptable to belittle people who don’t fall into this category?

I have faced discrimination from people who see it as a joke. Like when someone asked me if I had a girlfriend in a very mocking tone to make fun out of me. I've also heard some girls say that they don't want me to have a crush on them.

6.      How does it make you feel to know that in some parts of the world, it’s still illegal to marry as a same sex couple?

I think it's very upsetting to be honest that people are still against it but hopefully there's going to a rise in the future of people supporting same sex marriage, especially for Australia!

7.      Is there anybody who has helped you in any way that deserves any recognition? Whether that be simply being a friend who has stood up for you or a public figure who has fought for your rights?

Well, I look up to celebrities like Ellen Page because I find it amazing that they're proud of who they are and they stick up for lgbt rights in America.

8.      Finally, do you have any advice to give to anybody reading who is either questioning their sexual preference or considering ‘coming out’?

Well, for someone who's questioning their sexual orientation, my advice would be just to wait, be patient and be proud of themselves no matter what and for anyone who's thinking of coming out, make sure you're in a safe place and your parents are accepting. If not, maybe move in with an accepting friend or extended family if you feel you are in danger or wait until you move out.

Again, thank you so much for giving me this opportunity Ella, I wish you all the best! :)

Health and happiness,
Marti xxx

Friday, 21 April 2017

Human & Horse

Just some pictures of the ponies in Iceland :)

Health and happiness,
Marti xx

Friday, 14 April 2017

My weekend in Reykjavik

“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

Health and happiness,
Marti xxx

Friday, 7 April 2017

No Smartphone? No Problem!

'Did you see Shannon's recent snapchat story?'
'Have I shown you what Lewis sent me last night?'
'Oh my gosh, you must have seen what Max posted on his Instagram!'

It's gotten to a point where I'm so confused that people still ask me these kinds of questions. I am proud to say that I do not own a smartphone and take pleasure in knowing absolutely nothing about everything as far as gossip is concerned. Granted, I do like to have the occasional Facebook stalk to see what people I was friends with five years ago are up to (guilty as charged!) but I'm pretty oblivious when it comes to who did what on social media.

I used to have an iPhone before I downgraded to something my friends won't even let me call a brick. Apparently bricks are heavy, so my phone is more of a tile. Charming! Ditching the smartphone has also resulted my abandoning the use of the majority of my social media accounts which seems to have upset my friends more than it has upset me. I love the fact that I can go out somewhere with my friends or with my family and not be interrupted by a text message. I also love the fact that I am not too easy to get hold of and people can't just message me for the sake of it. I realise that that sounds absolutely awful, but please hear me out...

When I used apps like Facebook Messenger on my phone, people from my school (who may I add, would never have the guts to speak to me in person) would start messaging me none stop. I think that this is absolutely ridiculous. What's the point in being friends with somebody when they can't even look you in the eye outside of the internet?

Social media has made life all to convenient for people. I understand that there is a great list of advantages to using it (for one, it has allowed me to publish this post!) but far too many people are hiding behind it.

That's just one of the reasons why I'm happy to not have a smartphone. None of my friends agree with my reasonings but I hope somebody reading this might. I don't need to know what's going on in other people's lives to be happy. I don't need to update my Facebook status every two minutes to be happy. I definitely don't need to know how long it will take me to walk from A to B and which is my best route to be happy. 

It'd be interesting to hear some different views on the topic. Do you have a smartphone? Would you ever consider ditching it?

Health and happiness,
Marti xxx

Friday, 31 March 2017

Peace comes from within

I feel like I am being surrounded by toxic people. That may have been the most dramatic sentence I’ve said in a long time, but it’s the truth.

I’m having a bit of trouble finding the good in people at the moment. A few weeks ago five innocent people lost their lives due to an act of terrorism in this country. It sickens me to think of how many people have been affected by such heinous murders. Somebody will never see their child again. Somebody will never be with their wife again. Somebody will never work with their colleague again.

The worst thing of all is that these people did nothing to provoke the attack. They were completely ordinary people like you and me. We are incredibly lucky for every day we live on this earth, yet we can’t seem to grasp what that really means.

To see so much negativity and idleness in people infuriates me.  I understand that we all have our own set of problems, and I’m definitely not telling you that they aren’t an issue, but with so much conflict going on in the world around us, why can’t we all try to make peace and be positive?

Negativity is toxic and your mood rubs off on those around you. Whatever pain you are going through, however tough it may be, will end. Suffering is inevitable but like everything, is not permanent. Seek help from somebody if you need to but please, please don’t burden other people with your negative thinking.

In summary, what I’m saying is that life is way too short to be spent feeling sad.  It’s something I’ve witnessed way too much recently and something that needs to change. Please talk to somebody if you feel this way and learn to carpe diem.

Oh, and here' some links you should check out :)

Friday, 24 March 2017

Is Buddhism the Answer?

I've always had an interest in religion, but that's not to say that I've always agreed with the principles of religion.

Growing up, my best friend and her family were very religious Christians, which meant that I got to experience the lifestyle much more than some of my other non-religious friends did. I was invited to church, youth club and even bible camp with her! Although I didn't passionately believe in God, I was still amazed by the sense of community that was created by simply believing. 

However, I think it's fair to say that it became a bit difficult as I got older, especially as people started asking questions about why I didn't believe in God and if I would join them to pray. It just felt morally wrong to pretend to be something I wasn't. 

Once I got into secondary school, my relationship with the church was very irregular. I was still invited, but it felt strange to be worshipping somebody I didn't believe in. 

Up until recent years, I hadn't really given religion much thought. I wasn't encouraged to by my school either as it's non-religious. I suppose that this is a good thing as it allowed me to discover it in my own time.

That was when I discovered Buddhism. I'd heard the word tossed around a lot, but I'd never been curious enough to look into it. There's a lot of people out there who could put this better than I can but I'll try...

Buddhism is about developing the mind, finding inner peace and knowing that nothing is permanent. It's the belief in reincarnation (in many different forms) and knowing that all actions have consequences. What I find interesting about this religion is the fact that they don't believe in a God and the fact that unlike most other religions, there aren't any set rules (in the usual sense of rules). 

I have tried to incorporate the Four Noble Truths and Five Moral Precepts into my way of thinking and would love to be able to call myself a Buddhist one day. By doing so, I no longer fear the future and instead have learnt to live in the moment. Buddhism is something that I strongly believe in and feel passionate about.


Books to read:

What are your religious beliefs?
Health and happiness,
Marti xxx

Friday, 10 March 2017

Who are you?

'Who's that?' 'Who are you?' 'Who's he?'

These are all somewhat basic questions which are usually answered with a brief answer. 'That's Dave,' one might answer. 'I'm Dave,' he might reply. After this introduction, both parties tend to be mutually acquainted. 

The thing is, the assumption that by knowing the name of a person, you automatically 'know' the person is a completely appalling concept. Even after hours of small talk and 'getting to know' the person, is it really the person you know or is it their social facade? 

You might find out that his full name is David Green; he's an entrepreneur with two kids and a dog called Rover. His favourite colour is orange and he plays the flute.

That's all well and good, but you don't know anything beyond this information. What is he passionate about? Does he strive to make a positive change to the world his kids will grow up in? Is he actively supporting those who do? I'm not sure whether this makes any sense to anybody excluding myself but I thought I'd share regardless in case somebody agrees with me. 

I am thankful for the fact that I have a strong concept of who I am as a person. I am not just and will never be just 'Marti' for my soul holds so many different alternate passions and dreams.

 That's one of the reasons why I'm so glad I have a unique name: I will never be defined. There will always be so much more to a person that a name or some trivia.

I hope that made some sense to somebody tehe ;)
Love, Marti xxxx

Friday, 3 March 2017

Art with Claire O'Brien!

1.  Heya Claire! Thanks so much for taking the time to collaborate with me! Would you mind starting off by telling us about who you are and what you do?
Hi Marti, thanks for having me! I live in Leeds, I’m 36 and I’m a mum of two boys. Having left my job in university administration two years ago I’m now working full time on my artwork and writing projects. I struggled for years with managing the right work-life balance as well as trying to develop my art skills so I made the decision to quit my day job to commit to it fully. I’ve recently reached a point where I’m ready to share my artwork (which is quite scary!) so I’ve now started to post some of my work online (see my Facebook page here ). So far, I’ve shared some of my traditional drawing/painting of portraits but I’m also working on moving into illustration and sequential art. 

2. What is your preferred  creative medium and why? Is it pencil and paper, sculpture, textiles or something else entirely?

When I began drawing I worked mainly with paper and pencil (or charcoal for life drawing). About 18 months ago I invested in a digital drawing tablet and it’s completely transformed the way I work. Digital is a forgiving medium which allows me to edit and correct mistakes easily but you can also play around with composition, texture and colour.

3. Where do you find your inspiration? 

 I take inspiration from all sorts of places; personal experiences, places I’ve been, things I’ve read. Film and music are important influences in my life which is what led me to start drawing portraits of musicians. I’m a huge fan of comics and graphic novels so this style informs a lot of my work.

4. Are there a specific message you are trying to communicate through your work?

In my portrait work there’s no specific message, other than showing an appreciation for the subject. But when it comes to my writing and narrative art, I take a more personal approach. A large part of my work is autobiographical so it’s just a way of putting a part of myself out there. I’m quite a shy person so being able to express myself through my art is important to me.

5. Which art movement or artist would you say influences your work most?

I was always interested in impressionism in school, not only from a visual point of view but also because my other great love in life is France (I studied French at university). I love Manet’s use of contrast, Renoir’s city scenes and Degas’ poses. At university, I took a course in photography and discovered Henri Carter-Bresson and Robert Doisneau. I was captivated by a photograph’s ability to tell a story and it made me want to create something which you look at wonder “what’s the story behind this?”. 

6. Are you working on an projects currently that excite you?

A while ago I wrote a script for a graphic novel and once I finished it I didn’t know what to do with it. At that stage, I didn’t feel like my drawing was good enough to illustrate it myself and I didn’t have the confidence to approach an artist to collaborate with me. I feel like things have moved forward since then so I’m starting to work on the art for this. It’s a big project but I’m really excited about taking on the challenge.
7. How would you define the word 'creativity'? Does a piece of work need to be admired by others to be creative or is it more about the process and ideas that have gone into it that make it creative?

Wow, great question! As far as I’m concerned creativity is the act of making something and it doesn’t matter if something never gets seen, let alone admired, for it to be creative. I have so many pieces of work that will never see the light of day but it doesn’t take anything away from them being creative. Of course, admiration for work is nice but it shouldn’t be the reason for creativity. 

8. What is the biggest challenge you face professionally?

Having a family and a career has always been a bit of a juggle and creative work doesn’t necessarily fit into a 9-5 pattern! There’s also the fact that I came to art a little later than most so I feel like I have to work much harder to catch up. It took 10 years working in an office for me to realise that what I really wanted to be was an artist!

9. You have the opportunity to invite a famous artist from the past round for dinner- who would you choose?

 I would really love to meet an American street photographer called Vivian Maier. She worked as a nanny and spent her spare time taking thousands of these incredible photographs while she was walking around the streets of Chicago. Sadly, her work wasn’t discovered until after her death. She was supposedly quite an eccentric character and had a really fascinating story. 

10. And finally, what is the best piece of advice you can offer to people who want to be more creative?

If you’re interested in in art, even if you’re a beginner, seek out local art classes you can join. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people and I found doing this increased my confidence. Online drawing tutorials are great or even just get some paper and pencils (or whatever you have!) and just draw anything: your family, friends, pets, or use your imagination to create characters. Don’t worry if you don’t feel like you’re any good straight away, keep at it and you’ll notice yourself get better every time. Art is a skill, not a talent!