Wednesday, 30 May 2012


I'm just finishing off the final bits of Tom Gates GENIUS IDEAS (mostly). So am trying not to get too distracted with other stuff. Which is VERY easy to do.(Especially when the suns out.)
But LOADS has been happening.

I went to FOYLES in the MASSIVE shopping centre WESTFIELD last Thursday 29th May (for the first time) and did two events with children from schools who were part of a special reading scheme set up with the MAYOR OF NEWHAM Sir Robin Wales.He was fantastic. Especially when he asked the kids if they liked his "Bling".

Sir Robin Wales Mayor of Newham. Check out the kid in the glasses
who looks delighted at being FORCED to hold a Tom Gates book.
Foyles had donated Tom Gates Excellent Excuses (mostly) to all the children in the scheme and volunteers from WESTFIELD shops (Waitrose/John Lewis and others) have been going into schools to read with the children.
First sighting of

GREEK FOOD = holiday.

 Catherine (publicity queen) took me to a Greek restaurant - where I could see the OLYMPIC STADIUM in the distance. I got very excited.

We've got tickets to see...drum roll..... Synchronised swimming
AND woman's Volleyball. We watched the test event beach volleyball last year.(Which my husband enjoyed.) 

Then Friday I headed off to OXFORD BOOKFEAST - to the PITT RIVERS
Museum of Natural History. The glass Victorian building had hit 90 degrees and was like an oven. On an NON scorching day it's a fantastic place to visit, full of amazing exhibits, creatures, skeletons even shrunken heads! AND...David Attenborough was there filming.It was like a royal visit.
Also I bumped into the wonderful Michael Rosen who was funny, charming as ever always full of very good advice for me.  

TEAM Bookfeast! The fabulous organizers.

My school event was probably the LOUDEST I've ever done! I had loads of Tom Gates FANS in the audience who had all read the book
and knew all the characters.It was GREAT! I had a really good time
VERY keen children kept me WELL busy.
and it was the first time I'd used a VISUALIZER too. I showed the children my specially painted Tom Gates nails which went down well.
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE who worked so hard organising BOOKFEAST along with Blackwells bookshop who we kept busy!

Did and interview with Oxford Radio and THIS MUG was on the desk in the office. I took it as a sign.

Terrifying FEET of a T-Rex


Add your own caption.....


OK- here's the thing. It IS a wonderful    Hotel, don't get me wrong. Very posh and    all that. But it WAS a prison and rather than hide that fact, they decided to roll with it. Which try as I might, I found it all a bit odd.

The INSIDE of the doors are complete with dents.

I woke up at 4am and this is what I saw as I'd forgotten to close the top window with the shutters.... 

My prison cell view at night.

Catherine being cheerful.

Prison doors.

The DENTS in the doors

Saturday I was at the OXFORD Pegasus Theatre which is a lovely space.I drew the oddest monster I think EVER. With a dogs body and a fish head. Met SO many lovely people too. And one little girl (Grace) turned up with a letter I'd written to her to show me! This week I've had emails from Australia and New Zealand.
So Tom Gates is travelling well.

Then home to watch (and tweet about) EUROVISION. Which was fun.
but not for poor old Englebert.
Sunday we met up with friends for a trip to the beach. 

Lily dancing at eurovison.

I SWAM in the SEA in the morning.It was BALTIC and there was a man coming out of the sea wearing a WET SUIT.So I only have myself to blame. 
More friends came round for a BBQ later. Harry (with arms on head) writes the BRILLIANTLY funny Clare In The Community which appears in the Guardian as a cartoon and on radio four (with Sally Phillips.)
 It was Geri's (next to Mark) birthday on Tuesday. Happy Birthday Geri!I painted their daughter Mini with Tom Gates toe nails. Mini had a look round my shed too (which was a mess) as she's keen on the books, so it's like a sneak preview for her.
Penny Dann is also a wonderful illustrator-(next to Harry.) There are SO many illustrators in Brighton. 
Fabulous friends for BBQ.
We did eat despite there just being
bottles on the table.

very early (9am). Which I'm really looking forward to.

My friend Sue Hendra is there this Saturday with her marvellous books Barry The Fish With Fingers and Wanda the Alien.
(She wrote DAVE which I Illustrated.)
Told you there was a lot on.

Friday, 18 May 2012


Brilliant World Of Tom Gates is SHORTLISTED for the Southwark Book Awards
Last week I sent off the first draft of Tom Gates GENIUS IDEAS (mostly) which is scarily already on AMAZON and WATERSTONES. No rest for the wicked.

Guess what... Tom Gates is only on another shortlist for the 
SOUTHWARK BOOK AWARDS! Good company too. I met the author of the Doughnut Diaries in Glasgow (Anthony McGowan) his books are very funny too. 

AND I forget to say THANK YOU to all the children who took part
of The BOOK FACTOR AWARDS arranged by SIMPLY BOOKS and VOTED for The Brilliant World Of TOM GATES! I did a little video thank you and a sneaky look around my messy shed. But it's not uploading...I'll put it up another time.

Went to the very FIRST HARTFIELD STORYFEST, held in winnie the pooh country near the ashdown forest. It was lovely weather thank GAWD or the big top and fields might have been a bit soggy.

Met up with an old friend Lawrence and his partner and kids who Mark and I knew from JIVE RECORDS (where I used to work years ago in a portacabin). He was in great form! I have some good photos from JIVE days that I must dig out. The ones with the cardboard cut out of Rick Astley are worth sharing...

Here are a few pictures from Sunday which was ACE.
Storyfest and hay.
And the winners are...

Brian Moses  - writer,  poet and performer -
and I  gave out prizes to children who had
entered various competitions.
The ringmaster.
Stupidly forgot it was being held being held in a field...with mud. So left my fancy shoes to one side.

Fabulous organisers.
See if you can guess who the
organisers are from their
photos on the STORYFEST website!

SUCH a good idea! They were working very hard making
up poems to order.

Great selection of books for everyone.

I signed loads of books and met a lot of children!

Adam Stower was there too.
He got a lift withme and Mark and
Lily and had to put up with us
getting lost and a RATTLING car.
He has a NEW book out
NAUGHTY KITTY coming soon. 
The second in the
series after - Silly Doggy

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Open Houses and other creative stuff

As a freelance illustrator I was lucky enough to work for a GREAT company called CAMDEN GRAPHICS (now owned by UK greetings). Bob Borzello set the company up and now throws fantastic get
together's for all people that were part of the company. 
Bob's an amazing person and entrepreneur, who made Camden Graphics a brilliant place to be part of. Quite a few of the 
creative department went on to work on books. Like Lovely Deborah Allwright and Phil Powell who worked as a designer at Egmont books. Pip and Chris came up from Brighton too. It was great to catch up with everyone!

And I'm getting to the age where 50th Birthday parties are coming up thick and fast. Pete Greenwood's 50th a few weeks back where his wife Claire brought out a cake with some serious fireworks on. (Pete's illustrations are superb...take a look.)

Once the LADYBOY posters go up in Brighton, you know the May festival is on the way. Managed to get to a few open houses last weekend which great. And did a talk at DAVID HIGHAM ASSOCIATES (my agents) last week too. More about that below... 

The unique Bob Borzello

Pip Adams (Textile designer and artist) and me.

Lovely Deborah Allwright.
Look at all her wonderful books.
The very talented Pete Greenwood's 50th
birthday.I shared a studio with Pete at the Annex. Take a look at his work here.

Chris Scott (Pips husband) Pip and Phil.

Fredericks in Islington

Monica Willett
(and editor at Camden Graphics)
and Phil.

Deborah and Peter Kimpton
( Journalist and writer.)

There was a magician entertaining us.
I made half his head disappear.
My Mum took this photo...
My Mum - look at the WAITRESS in the mirror
and her expression!

BRIGHTON OPEN HOUSES and the festival started in May 1st.
Lots of nice houses stuffed full of all kinds of ARTS and CRAFTS. Wonderful gardens too (with tea and cake if you're lucky.)
Took my Mum to a few including this 
caravan and THE GARDEN HOUSE, which is 
huge and not what you expect from the 
outside. I bought a plant which is being eaten by slugs as I type.

Flower beds in The Garden House

Real chickens...

... not real chickens.

Lily's oil pastel drawing is very good.
(I would say that!)

The Team at David Higham Associates. 

Last Wednesday, I was asked to do a talk at David Higham Associates (MY AGENTS) about my work, how I started and anything else I could think of. Which was fine, until I walked into the room and everyone was sitting there looking at me! They were all very kind and it was so interesting listening to the other author (Victoria Routledge) talking too who writes adult fiction.Caroline Walsh (right at the back of the picture next to Alice) has been ,my agent since 1997.  She told me I'd done 30 pictures book to date. Doesn't

time fly when you're having fun?