11 Nov 2015

My Christmas Window appears in House and Garden

How exciting! My christmas window for Mainstreet Trading appears in House and Garden magazine this month!

It's at the bottom of this page, very small to see here, but looking great! Here is a link to some other photos of the wndow.

7 Nov 2015

Gracie Grabbit and the Tiger at Tate Britain

Tomorrow I'll be appearing at the Tate to read Gracie Grabbit and the Tiger. I am tickled pink! (Tate Britain, 1pm Sunday 8th November).

1 Nov 2015

Northumberland Coast Skies

We get some amazingly beautiful skies here on the Northumberland coast. When I lived in London I never noticed the sky, (I loved London for other reasons) but here, wow! The sky goes right up, and over, and round the back and right round the sides and stuff... massive!

I thought I'd share some pictures here.

Peggy's ears are a constant sourse of entertainmant for me! (OK, there's not the entertainment there was when we lived in London, you have to find it where you can...)

Under all her curls, Peggy is just like a miniature whippet.

23 Oct 2015


Over on Instagram I am giving away a signed copy of Gracie Grabbit and the Tiger, and the new How to Hide a Lion toy and gift set. Cloosing date 24th Oct.

20 Oct 2015

Secret Linen Store and my new club: Dirty Beds Anonymous

It was only through this interview with the Secret Linen Store that I found out I am expected to change my bed every week! Is that the rule? And on a specific day?


16 Oct 2015

Autumn Sketch

So, autumn seems to be here. There's a chill in the air, I've got my winter coat out (not that it ever really goes away on the windy Northumberland coast!) and my umbrella blew inside out. Umbrellas were not invented for the windy coast.

14 Oct 2015

Cheltenham Festival 2015

I thought I'd share a few pics of the fun we had at the Cheltenham festival this year. I did 2 shows, one for 500 over excited 5 year olds, and another for a group of 30 toddlers with their parents. (I am not sure about the rules when it comes to posting pics of children here, so I haven't posted any, except for one of Pie. But I promise there were lots of smiling children there!)

My mum, my dad, my daughter (who I call Pie) and our dog, Peggy, all decided to go, and what an exciting time we had.

The highlight for dad was when he saw Nigel Mansell, and got his signature. For Pie the highlight was a toss between giving Nigel Mansell some conkers, and coming on stage with me to show everyone that she is Iris from How to Hide a Lion. Mum enjoyed going to see Marian Keyes, Peggy enjoyed the pirate show where a lady gave her a doggy treat, and I enjoyed the lot... other than the bit where I got a coughing fit on stage, that was just embarrassing. Any tips to avoid coughing tips on stage?

7 Oct 2015

Now for a bit of Pen Porn

I use dip pens when I draw, I like how unpredictable they are, lots of nice splashes and variation in thickness of the line.

I need an ink well. I always spill my ink if I don't stick it to a bit of card (like this), but an old heavy glass ink well would be just the ticket. If I start dropping hints now, Santa might bring me one...

2 Oct 2015

Shop Windows

I thought I'd show you some bookshop windows I've done in the past.

I painted them directly on the window, it's such a treat to work at this scale.

These are images from the Christmas book I did with Michael Morpurgo, Mimi and the Mountain Dragon. I decided to draw Michael himself, no pressure there then!

And these 2 (below) are of me painting a How to Hide a Lion window. Did I tell you I'm working on another How to Hide a Lion book? This will be number 3 and, keep this under your hat, it will be set in school. Shhh...

1 Oct 2015

Publication Day!

Out today! Gracie Grabbit and the Tiger, and the How to Hide a Lion box set. Celebrations are in order! I feel a mini tour coming on, more about that soon.

30 Sep 2015

Red House School Visit

I had the pleasure of visiting Red House School in Norton recently. Look at Mr McKay, isn't he the BEST teacher in the WORLD? I love it when a teacher joins in the fun.

I had a very busy and enjoyable day, seeing every pupil in the school! My childhood friend Colette Fryer organised everything (and told the children how I used to upset my mum and dad by drawing on walls, and when I got told off, I would peel back the wall paper and draw underneath, then put the paper back.) Sneaky!

12 Sep 2015

House Photo Shoot

We had some photographers visit our house to do a photoshoot a few weeks ago.

We felt we weren't ready for a photoshoot, so many rooms unfinished. But is anybody's house ever actually finished? And wouldn't that be a very dull house?

My editor gave me some good advice: 'Mind you, you could always play the 'artistic bohemian lifestyle' card, which I reckon excuses any kind of mess!'

We had a great day with Hannah Bullivant and Kristy Noble.  It was an interesting experience, to see our house through their eyes. They made some minor adjustments, like adding a house plant here and there, or moving the plastic toy hippo slightly to the left...

It will be interesting to see the pictures, I'll let you know when it's published.

2 Sep 2015

Lion Book and Toy Box Set

I just my hands on the new How to Hide a Lion book and toy box set, and am so pleased with it!

It will be available in the shops in October this year, just in time for chrimbo.

26 Aug 2015

How to Hide a Lion Mini Tour in Pictures

Well, the mini tour is over, although I'll be off to Cheltenham to launch Gracie Grabbit on 7th October, I'll tell you more about that nearer the time.

First I visited the Bowes Museum where we made pop-up lions, we had a rouring good time (sorry).

I have a suitcase of props that I take with me whenever I do events. It has all sorts of useful things in it, such as a felt fish, tiny keys, a swag bag, a lion's hat and a snake's egg.

After my visit to The Bowes Museum I drove home, and I realised I'd left my essential, 'can't live without it' suitcase behind. I would need it for an event in London 2 days later, and was reluctant to drive back (5 hours round trip) to collect it. But luckily, the museum stepped in and arranged a courier, phew. Panic over, I promised myself I wouldn't be doing anything as silly as THAT again soon.

My next event was in London at the Foyles Summer of Fun. I set off early Monday morning, trusty suitcase in the luggage rack...

And remembered to pick it up when I got off the train (a well done sticker for me!)

Alex T. Smith and I did our workshop/event/drawing thingy to lots of children, signed some books, had a generally good time, then I was back on the train, past my home town (a quick wave at my house), and up to the Edinburgh Book Festival.

I put my suitcase safely in the luggage rack, and found my seat on the 1. Ancient, 2. Empty train to Edinburgh. Strangely unnerving, I felt as if I was on a ghost train! But nice and quiet to read my book (Kafka on the Shore by Murakami- amazing book!)

Eventually I arrived in Edinburgh, and guess what...

I LEFT MY SUITCASE ON THE TRAIN!!! I ran as fast as I could back to the platform and there was a very nice guard carrying it to lost property. (I almost wish I'd lost it, just to read lost property's inventory of contents!)
Anyway, phew...

The next day I woke up to beautiful sunshine at the Edinburgh Book Festival.

I had a lovely time doing my event, lots of happy faces and a nice signing queue afterwards. But the highlight for me was when I went to see Nick Sharratt do his event. He asked me if I would mind taking part, and my roll was to throw a shark at his head, and act the part of a baby in a pram. My acting debut! (I'm hoping there won't be any pics of that floating around.)

I DIDN'T leave my suitcase at the EdBookFest, it's here by my feet as I type.

18 Aug 2015

How to Hide a Lion on Tour

How to Hide a Lion is doing a mini tour! On Thursday 20th August I will be at The Bowes Museum doing a reading, some drawing and a pop-up lion workshop.

Then on Monday 24th August I will be at Foyles Summer of Fun with the world famous Alex T. Smith doing a one off special Lion show. Alex has a new book out, Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion, and I'll be reading How to Hide a Lion from Grandma. I've heard rumours that there will be face painting too.

Next is How to Hide a Lion from Grandma at the Edinburgh Festival. The event is called How to Hide a Lion from Grannies, and I'll be drawing and teaching children and grown-ups how to draw lions.

Disclaimer: (No actual lions will be harmed during the making of said shows.)