Dark At Dusk

I took this photo back at the beginning of July but I just haven't gotten around to sharing it yet! My family and I had been out for the day and on the way home we took a slight detour to crest the hill on the way up towards Whinlatter Pass, and stopped at the viewing point to watch the clouds roll in over the peaks as the sun continued to set. The view we were rewarded with, was breathtaking, and my photo doesn't really do it justice, but I love those clouds!

I'm linking up with Sue for (Almost) Wordless Wednesday. 

Hope you all have a lovely day!



Paradise In a Flower

As most of you may know by know, I am in love with the natural world and all of it's beauty and oddities, and I am constantly fascinated by all of the different animals, insect and plants I come across. One of my favourite flowers / plants is the bird of paradise, purely because of it's interesting shape and beautiful colours, and I've been wanting to paint one for a while. So, for my creative moment this week, I decided to sit down and spend some quiet time re-creating one on paper.

I did most of this painting freehand from a photo of a bird of paradise flower, with a thin brush and my basic watercolour palette. That way I could have a bit more control over the shape and design of the flower, but, I did switch to a thicker brush for the base of the flower / stem, to create some more substantial shapes and to help with the blending. This was a fairly quick and flowing painting, and was really relaxing to do! I'm trying to make sure I do something creative at least once a week to coincide, not only, with Two Uses Tuesday, but also to act as an anti-stress mechanism, and it's working!

I particularly love the differences in colour in the main petals and re-creating these using a watercolour palette was fun - especially the blue - that was my favourite part of the painting to do! I used a mixture of blues and greens for the main stem and base of the flower, and kept it quite simple for the main petals by using a mixture of yellow, red and pink to create that coral / peach shade.

I'm really pleased with how this one turned out, and it was really relaxing too so I'm starting to make more time for just painting and really taking my time with it as well. If you're looking for a good ant-stress tool I do highly recommend drawing and painting as the process of just creating something has helped me greatly over the past few weeks.

Do you paint often?

I'm linking up with both Stella and Sarah for Two Uses Tuesday today.

Hope you all have a wonderful day!



The Earth, Air and Sea: 1 Year Anniversary!

This time last August I decided to start up a second blog over on WordPress to share some of my older photos and ones which never made it onto my main blog here, and I've been able to keep it going for a whole year, yay! The main focus was to fill it with purely all of the photos I've taken in a natural setting, hence the name of the blog, but I fear a few non-nature photos have slipped in here and there.

The button on my blog will take you straight to The Earth, Air and Sea blog, but if you haven't visited / didn't know about it until now, as I don't often talk about it or share any links, you can visit it here. I'm trying to post once a day or at least once a week but sometimes life gets in the way, so if it goes quiet for a while, don't fear, I will still be updating the second blog, just not as often as this one, especially during the week when sometimes blogging can take a backseat.

I wanted to celebrate a whole year for my second blog by sharing 5 of my favourite photos that I've posted so far, and hopefully I can keep this going until next August too!

1.  Damselfly Daydreams

Back while I was at university I had been hanging one of my t-shirts out of my window on a stunningly hot day as it was finishing off drying, and this beautiful damselfly came and landed on my top. I love their eyes and this still remain one of my favourite photos today!

2. Dash of Orange

For my very good friend's birthday while at university we went to Bristol Aquarium and I was so in love with all of the beautiful aquatic plants and fish, and in particularly, this beautiful orange fish.

3. Reflection

When my Mum, brother and I first moved up to Cumbria, we spent some time down at South Lakeland, near Carnforth, which had some beautiful pools on site, and when the sunlight hit just right, it was perfect.

4. All That Glitters

Back in 2009 we spent a holiday here in Cumbria (where the love affair with this particular beach started) and my family and I had holidayed up here a couple of times before, but this time around I finally had a camera and so I spent much of my time taking photos and most of them were of the beautiful St Bees, which is still just as glittering today as it was back then.

5. Little Bird

Back I was living in Milton Keynes with my family, before we moved, I would spend most of my time in the garden. We were lucky to have a large and long garden which was fairly wild and  I always had fun trying to ID everything I came across. This blackbird fledgling was in the garden one morning, and while at first I was worried, when I left him and went back indoors I saw both the mum and the dad fly down to check on him and feed him - phew! He stayed in the garden for a few more days and when I got the chance I took a photo, and checked this little one was doing well, all with protective mum and dad watching. 

Hopefully this time next year I can share another 5 favourites!

Hope you're all well and enjoy the week ahead!



Drigg Nature Reserve & Dunes

Just over a fortnight ago now my Mum and I took a brief trip to the nature reserve and beach at Drigg, which is several miles down the coast from St Bees here in West Cumbria. There were quite a few people around walking their dogs, and exploring among the elaborate dune system down there, which I shared some photos of a couple of Wednesdays ago. That post is here if you'd like to see them, and for this Photo Friday I wanted to share the rest of the photos I took while I was there.

The area around the nature reserve is an important biological area and a SSSI with a wide range of fauna and flora. I'll definitely be going back at a later date as there was so much to explore that we didn't have time, and according to the reading I've been doing on this place it's common with birders and walkers alike, and it's easy to see why. It was also interesting to drive through the little town in Drigg, which had a very cute craft shop, as well as being the base for the low level waste repository for Sellafield, which tied into where I was last working.

As well as those impressive seas of marram grasses which were growing all along the dune system, there were these stunning star shaped plants which I found. I had to stop and look at the information board back at the little car park to find out what these were as I had never seen them before, and I discovered that these are unopened sea holly flowers! Once they've bloomed they'll have these very pretty thistle like flowers, so I'll have to come back soon to see if they've appeared. The centre photo is of the sea bindweed which was growing in amongst the marram grasses and added a pop of colour to the greenery. I see this all around the coast here and had never been able to put a name to it, so those information boards came in handy!

There were grasses growing on the reserve and the moors as you first enter it, and there were lots of cows grazing quite happily in the evening heat, as it was incredibly warm that day! When the grass is this high, and waving beautifully in the breeze, you can't pass up an opportunity to get a photo!

I noticed this little building overlooking the beach and when I got home I did a bit of research and found out that this is a gunnery observation post from the wartime era around the 1940's, there are some similar photos from Drigg here on the geograph.co.uk website, but if anyone knows anymore about them I'd love to know some more as I was very intrigued when I noticed them!

Among the grazing cows this adorable little calf was kind enough to stop and pose for them as he was grazing by this fence.

Just some of the different birds, as well as the plants and insects you can spot down here at Drigg. I always see the oyster catchers around Workington but I've never managed to get a photo of them so I'll have to come back and see if I can spot some down here.

Linking up with Jen for Photo Friday.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!



Precious Gems!

For my birthday I went down to Ambleside and visited the Rock Shop there, which has to be one of my favourite shops in the whole of Cumbria, and with it being my birthday, I did spend a little bit of money, and came away with these treasures. 

The top, dark green rock is verdite, the orange rock is crackle quartz which has been dipped and dyed to create that colour, and the final rock is called dragon's egg which I just thought was very cool, and I love the marbled appearance! I also got a green aventurine ring which you can see a photo of  here on my 365 Project and a small carved soap stone bear which will probably be featured on here at some point as well. 

Linking up with Sue for (Almost) Wordless Wednesday.

Hope you're all well!



Mermaid Pool in a Bottle!

I've started to build up a miniature collection of glass bottles, which have all come from reed diffusers, and so far I've been using them as small vases for some of the fake flowers in my bedroom. They work really well for decoration, however I've been wanting to use them in an art/DIY project for a good while now, and finally last week I got it done, and knew I had to share it for this week's Two Uses Tuesday!

This is the final thing, with a mermaid charm added to finish it off. I still need a cork to stop everything tumbling out again though!

And without the little mermaid charm I added, and featuring one of my newest additions to my shelf, a little emerald green dragon from an amazing Etsy seller who you can see more of here!

I'd been wanting to create a bottled fantasy environment for a little while, as I'd been inspired by a lot of the similar miniature bottles you can buy on Etsy. I've got a couple that I bought last Christmas, which are filled with things like Unicorn's Shadow and Mermaid Scales, made using different types of paper and art materials, and I had an idea to create a bottled mermaid lagoon after I found a big pile of blue tissues paper, glitter and sand in my Mum's crafting box.

So, items I used were:

  • Small glass bottle (you can use any type that suits what you want / design)
  • Blue ribbon / fabric 
  • Blue tissue paper (colour for both these and the fabric would depend on what design you're going for)
  • Sequins
  • Ribbon or twine for decoration
  • Glitter (I chose blue, but I need to add in some white or silver to offset the colours)
  • Sand - coloured / non (I chose blue for the sake of this one)

Using the end of a paint brush I gently pushed the dark blue ribbon and some light blue tissue paper inside the bottle, before adding in some blue sand and glitter (you can see that the majority of it has stuck to the sides of the bottle!). I also cut a small line of silver ribbon lined with silver sequins on it, but you could use loose sequins, beads or buttons for this, and then dropped that inside before shaking the bottle to get it to mix and then settle in some different and interesting patterns, and voila, your very own mermaid pool in a bottle!

Next steps for this little project are that I need to get a hold of some little plastic pearls and some silver glitter to really give it a sparkling effect, but the different shades of blue together are quite pretty and I decided to add the charm after I ordered a little Mermaid Finds gift set from this Etsy store. I've also got some plans to attach some pieces of shell to this, but I need to find the best glue so that they stay - any tips, please let me know in the comments!

For the label I tore some notebook paper, added some writing and then just glued it on, but you can create some spooky or aged labels online, such as with PicMonkey, and stick those on - I just wanted something simple that wouldn't cover too much of the bottle. If you're looking for similar mermaid or fish charms to add to the ribbon / twine, I've seen a lot on websites like ebay and Amazon, but you should be able to come across these at any big crafting shop as well. However, this particular Etsy seller sells batches of charms, and their mermaid one is an exact replica for the one on my bottle!  

Linking up with Stella and Sarah for Two Uses Tuesday.

Hope you're all having a lovely day!



Relaxing by Ullswater

A good few weeks ago my Mum, brother and I went down towards Ullswater for a change of scenery and a wander around and along the stunning lake there. The roads, villages and towns which are in and around the area are always really nice to visit, and while the main route to Ambleside and Windermere was still being fixed from the December floods, it's been the nicest detour through rolling countryside and mountains, so you won't hear a single complaint from me.

Peering through the trees and vegetations growing along the cliffs and around the lake made it feel hidden and magical! I felt like I was on the lookout for mermaids and sirens by peeking out through all of this greenery!

There were clumps of heather flowers growing along the cliffs here and the pops of pink against the green was beautiful to see. Definitely an area where I think fairies would be hiding!

There were trees growing out of the cliffs and twisting this way and that as they leant out over the water. The textures and patterns on the trunks are always interesting and the different shapes they created was amazing. It always astounds me the places you find plants and trees growing in - nowhere is too much of a challenge for them!

I loved the ripples on the water in these two photos. It was really nice to sit and watch the wind play on the surface of the water for a while.

With the trees and the mountains it was incredibly calming, even with the skies sporting some darker clouds in the distance. 

We managed to dodge the rain so it was all good!

Views like these were just the kind of thing needed on a grey day!

I'm linking up with the lovely Jen for Photo Friday today.

Have a lovely weekend all!



Rolling Clouds & Mountains

I took these photos on the morning of the 26th birthday last week and knew I would have to share them on the blog at some point, so voila! I just loved the way the clouds were rolling across the peaks and the shadows they created on the mountains was gorgeous, and having this kind of weather on my birthday was the cherry on top, so thank you Cumbria. 

I'm linking up with the lovely Sue for Wordless Wednesday this week.

Hope you're all having a wonderful Wednesday!



A Galaxy Filled Sky

For a long time I have been fascinated by the night sky, the northern lights and the famous photos from places like the Hubble Telescope of the stunning galaxies and nebulas hidden within our universe. 

I've seen quite a lot of iterations of night sky paintings, and most, if not all of them, feature those stunning purples and blues that are often linked with galaxies, as well as the flickering far aways stars which add a little bit of magic to the paintings. This is something I've wanted to try for a while and since I've been getting back into painting I thought that now was the best time to try my hand at my own night sky / galaxy painting!

I began by brushing an all black canvas on, before letting it to air dry just a little. I then took some different dark shades of blue and purple and dotted those onto the canvas in various places in a cloud shape. I then added the tiniest touches of white over the top as well as some lighter shades of blue and purple, and then blended those together with a soft bristle brush.

I found using a galaxy photo for reference was a big help as I could refer back to it and I also watched a couple of tutorials to get a feel for where the galaxies or nebulas could sit and look good. 

Then, for the fun part, I got a stiff bristle brush, dipped it in white acrylic paint and flicked the ends of the brush all over the canvas for the stars. You can also use an old toothbrush, which I am going to do next time, as I think that effect works much better and it looks great when you're finished.

I added some black trees / forest and some hills along the bottom but I need to adjust the detail there and make those a bit more pronounced, but apart from that I am very happy with this one!

I'm linking up with both the lovely Stella and Sarah for Two Uses Tuesday this week!

Hope you've all had a great start to the week!




Ambleside in the Sunshine

For my 26th birthday I went for a visit to Ambleside with my Mum in the morning to do a little bit of shopping and to wander around the pretty town. Ambleside is one of my favourite places in the whole of Cumbria. It's both quaint and quirky, with intricate little alleyways peppered with hidden cafes and stone bridges, with beautifully clear streams running beneath them.

It was gorgeously hot on the morning of my birthday so being able to stand by these streams to cool off was a godsend!

At this time of year the town is alive with flowers as many of the cottages' gardens burst into life. These pretty white flowers in the photos above were trailing along someone's garden fence, whilst the bright, orange lily was outside of a cafe. The various trees that lined the streets provided some welcome shade but also filtered down the sunshine beautifully!

One of my favourite things about Ambleside is their cute little alleyways with their cobbled streets and tiny shops which are tucked away beneath creeping vines and wooden signs. This is just one of them above, which lead through to a an even smaller alleyway, coming out by two little cafes which sit by the stream. 

These little stone bridges were covered in leaves and ferns with it being the height of summer and it was easy to feel as though you've gone back in time and fallen into a fairytale realm. 

I also had to get a shot of those pub which was affectionately called The Unicorn, and beneath it, my favourite name for a cafe of all time - The Giggling Goose Cafe - I must go there someday!

These wooden signs always make me smile as I love it when towns and cities bring a little bit of charm and quirkiness back into the area instead of using the standard metal signs we see everywhere.

The Old Bark Mill mentioned above can be seen just to the right of the stream here - you can just about make out the big wooden wheel in-between the undergrowth. 

I had a lovely day out exploring Ambleside a little better and was able to pick up some brand new gemstones to add to my collection from one of my favourite shops in the whole of Cumbria, The Rock Shop. I'll be sharing photos of them at a later date, as well as a few other bits and pieces I picked up / was given on my birthday. 

If you ever get the chance to visit Cumbria I would always recommend Ambleside. It is one of the prettiest places in my opinion and always serves as a starting point for many beautiful walks throughout the Heart of the Lakes. One of my favourites is a leisurely stroll through and around Grasmere and Rydal; the last time I did this there were sheep a-plenty and the sun was shining brightly, so if you ever get the chance to do it, don't pass it up!

I'm linking up with Jen for Photo Friday today.

Have a wonderful weekend!