This is the year penguins will fly.

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Travelling Peru #2 – Ash’s Favourite Park

After the passport mishap, an 11+ hour flight, and an expensive taxi ride (we were too tired and grumpy to find the cheaper ones a little away from the airport) we got to our Hostel in Lima.

We were recommended Pirawana Hostel in the beautiful Miraflores district. Immediately the atmosphere hit us, If you want party, activities and friends this is the hostel to go to. It has a beautiful roof area with sun loungers, table tennis and music, a lovely restaurant with delicious food and different activities every night!

Unfortunately for the first night we completely missed the activity (a ping pong tournament) as we were incredibly jet lagged and went to bed at around 8pm as we couldn’t keep our eyes open! Unfortunately this also meant that we (or at least I) woke up at around 4am and couldn’t get back to sleep. In fact now, on our 8th day of holiday, i think i’m only just getting over the jet lag!

Pariwana was also very clean, there seemed to be one woman who was constantly cleaning the rooms and bathrooms leaving everything spotless.

But by far the best thing about the hostel was the park right next door and completely full of cats! We spent a long time sitting watching the cats meander about.

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On the first day in Lima we wandered to the beach and chilled out after our long flight. We found some pretty shells and a sea urchin whilst we watched the waves and people surfing.

 

The next day we made the poor decision of walking 1hr30mins into Lima, with no suncream on. Needless to say we got burnt, we also got lost as I’m terrible with directions. Eventually we found the main Plaza with the presidential palace. As we were very grumpy we decided to stop for food and cocktails before meandering back to the hostel.

We didn’t actually get up to much in Lima, mostly because of how horribly jet lagged we were and unfortunately our schedule seems too full to have another good look around. However we have many more exciting adventures in peru on the way!

Claire

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Travelling Peru – A Shaky Start

For the first time in our 5 1/2 year relationship, myself and Ashley are travelling on our own, outside of Europe. This is the first time we’ve been able to afford something so big and we couldn’t be more excited!

Unfortunately this trip didn’t start brilliantly.

Initially we weren’t meant to be on our own. Ashley used to work with a Peruvian and we still all keep in contact. He was meant to be showing us the sights but unfortunately his passport never arrived (wish you were here Jose!).

Then I also had passport troubles.

My mum came to visit me a few days before I left and, whilst doing her motherly thing, noticed that my passport went out of date in May. I replied ‘Yes, and i’m travelling in April, I checked it was in date already.  The well traveled among you might have already noticed the big error here.

Your passport has to be valid for at least 6 months after you travel to Peru.

Why this isn’t a thing you are told when you first book flights etc. I don’t know. But queue a rush to ring the passport office, book an emergency appointment and pay over £100 to be able to get the passport before I traveled. Luckily all went smoothly and I picked up my passport the morning of our flight (good job we’d booked for 8pm!)

I must say, the passport office staff were amazing. They were polite, efficient and were putting up with some horrible members of the public. The lady at the door in particular was being spoken to like she was a child who knew nothing (when she clearly knew the answers to the questions, it just wasn’t the answers the people were wanting), she just grinned and bared the abuse. Serious respect to her.

Anyway, thanks to my mum, we are now sat in Peru and are having the best time. This is truly a beautiful country!

Moral of the story : Check your passport, even if it’s in date!

Claire x


Artist’s Palette up for Auction for charity CRY / Katy Jade Dobson

KATY JADE DOBSON

I am incredibly proud that the palette I used while creating my Phospenes Collection is now available to bid on to raise money for the wonderful charity CRY.

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CRY is a charity based around Cardiac Risk in the Young and supports those affected by sudden cardiac death. Undiagnosed heart conditions take the lives of at least 12 young people everyweek, a number in which this charity is aiming to lower through their fantastic research and prevention efforts. 

I was made aware of the work of CRY through a private commission requested by a family who had lost their child to a cardiac condition.

It should never be the case that a child or anyone should lose their life so suddenly over something that could potentially be diagnosed earlier on, CRY’s incredible efforts towards Young Sudden Cardiac Deaths with their research, raising awareness and prevention efforts in this field…

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The Drawing Bug

It seems like recently I have caught the drawing bug, probably largely helped by a sudden avalanche of sales for my Penguin Valentines Cards! It really has been rather exciting over here at Penguin HQ!

I’ve found that I really do love drawing cute little animals and it seems like i’m getting better and better every time i open up photoshop! I’ve even started recording my drawing process as i think it does help to watch back when i’m not concentrating on drawing, plus i think it could be quite a nice little addition to my youtube cannel that’s been lying dormant for so long! You can watch all my time-lapses here!

I drew these seahorses as another option for valentines day, but ended up not really liking them enough to put up in my shop. I do think they’re cute but, gosh, are seahorses hard to draw! Maybe i’ll revisit them once i’ve improved a bit more.

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I started to relax into my drawing a bit more and drew this adorable Hippo! This has to be one of my favourite drawings to date! He’s wearing a cute little party hat and singing ‘Hippo Birthday’, because Hippo’s are obviously amazing singers! 😉 I think my shading improved so much on this picture and I just love the hippos character!

You can buy my Hippo Birthday card here!

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Ashley then gave me the idea of drawing a shiny-object-loving magpie stealing a ring for a wedding or engagement card and I thought it was a great idea! I wanted to add a little simple background to this one and love how it turned out although i think i will tweak my shading tomorrow as it isn’t as good as on my Hippo.

You can find my Magpie Thief card here!

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What do you think I should draw next?

I also have some other exciting plans for my youtube so do keep an eye out for more learning, projects and other fun things!

But for now, it’s time to sew!

Claire


Penguin Valentine Cards

Recently, to my surprise, my penguin valentines cards have been flying out of the shop! So much so that I’m having to get a lot more printed up and have decided to release a new design!

Pick up this new cute courting emperor penguin couple valentines card here!

I have many different designs to choose from now so you can choose the perfect one for your partner.

Does your other half make you sing and dance with joy then my ‘Happy Feet’ card is perfect for you!

If your partner is the perfect catch, maybe consider my top seller, the ‘plenty of fish’ card.

I hope you all have a great valentines with lots of pampering!

Claire x


Counting Bow Ties!

So i’ve been wanting to expand my menswear for ages and have finally done it with the arrival of Bow ties to my shop! There is only one up so far but i am planning on adding a lot more soon! (along with some other exciting products!)

This bow tie is pretty funky with it’s numerical pattern, perfect for any maths geek or just anyone who likes something a little fun and quirky!

I even pinned a fancy ball gown on Dot (my dress form is now called Dot due to her polka dot pattern) to match the bow tie, and I really really like it! (Just don’t look at the back)

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I wasn’t sure if I liked it more without the waistband or not.

I really am in love with this and can’t wait to make more, you can find it on my Etsy HERE!

I am also working on improving my ties slightly. Not only that, but I am working on some even more exciting menswear! My waistcoat pattern has been improved and I’m even looking into full suits for both men and women.

It’s all hands on deck here at The Penguin Theory! 😀

Claire x


SEW Excited it’s Christmas!

In all honesty i wasn’t really in the Christmas spirit this year and bought my presents completely last minute, not helped by my mum also not being in the christmas spirit, not even having so much as a christmas tree up in her house!

My sister and I had to buy her a tree, it may be small but at least it’s something!

But eventually i managed to feel festive, partially helped by matching christmas jumpers! Nothing quite says ‘Christmas’ like matching festive jumpers!

I received some lovely presents including (and i am so excited I can’t stop staring at it!) a dress makers form from my mum and her boyfriend! It’s adjustable and polkadot and just amazing!

I also got some fabrics, a gift card for a sewing shop and a rotary cutter! I’ve spent a lot of the day draping and pinning the fabrics I have to it. Now all I can think of doing is going back to London and making dresses!

I had my festive fabrics with me to make my family bow ties. I decided to make a festive outfit for my form! 😀

By the way, the bunting on the form above was made by my 12 year old cousin! I gave her my old sewing machine (along with essential sewing supplies!) last year and she is quick becoming a sewing whiz! I’m very impressed and proud!

The day was rather lovely too. The whole family got together at my grandparents, we played card games, drank wine, opened pressies and ate lots of food!

I’m sure tomorrow will be lots of the same!

I hope you too had a very merry Christmas!

Claire!

First Draping with Fabric from my Sister!


Expanding my Menswear Range

I find my ties are my best sellers and so have been wanting to expand my menswear line for quite a while. However, as usual, life seems to get in the way and i’ve been so busy with the day job that i haven’t had time for The Penguin Theory. However I am now again unemployed, maybe one day i can get something that’s not just temporary, and so have lots of time to sew! I finally got round to making a pattern for a waistcoat.

I chose some lovely stripy fabric, which i’ve already made a tie out of, and made the pattern myself with a bit of help from my boyfriends wardrobe.

 

I made a few mistakes along the way, figuring out how to put it all together was quite a challenge. It was quite amusing though when i put the waist ties in the lining side instead of outside! Whoops!

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I decided against putting buttons on this particular jacket as the pattern needs a little work to hang properly, but I actually think it looks pretty snazzy as an open waistcoat!

I’ll be dressing Ashley up in it shortly for a photoshoot (i’m sure he’ll demand payment in chocolate as it’s pretty cold outside!) and hopefully i will be editing the pattern and making more as well as having some more womens wear ready soon so keep your eyes peeled!

So much pattern cutting! My hand is hurting.

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Super excited to play with this fabric!

‘Till next time

Claire x


A Trip to Whipsnade!

At the beginning of the week my friends from work and I went on a trip to Whipsnade Zoo!

This was the first time i’d ever been to Whipsnade, despite living in Bedfordshire for 4 years whilst at University, and I was super excited to see all the animals!

We started by stopping by for some lemur breakfast. The Lemurs jumped about everywhere and walked along the barriers at the sides of the path, often hitting us with their tails, as they munched away at their food. I didn’t really know a lot about lemurs and so was very excited to learn new things, including the fact that the smallest lemur is the same size as your little finger! How crazy is that?!?

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Afterwards we moved on to the chimps who also happened to be having breakfast! They were so cheeky and mischievous, especially one who kept stealing everyone else’s food. The dominant male got angry at the cheeky chimp for trying to steal food off him which led to a comical display from the cheeky chimp who threw himself on his back like he was playing dead. Sometimes the food would also fall into the moat next to their island and then the chimps showed off their intelligence by picking up sticks to hit the food towards them.

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Then we wandered to see some white rhinos and I learnt why they’re actually called white rhinos! It’s all to do with a misunderstanding on the Africaans use of the word ‘wijde’ which was in reference to this species wide mouth, but it sounded rather like ‘White’ and so the White Rhino got it’s name. The Black Rhino was named to be opposite despite neither being particularly different colours.

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We wandered about looking at the various animals and we’re extremely impressed with all the different enclosures, the paddocks were huge and decorated beautifully too, the illusive wolves had a gorgeous forest, the penguins had probably the best pool view i’ve seen and all the animals had lots of things to keep them busy throughout the day.

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A Mara, one of the free roaming animals in the Zoo.

We saw a brown bear go swimming which was wonderful to see. It bumbled through the forest and I was running along side ready for the perfect shot, my friend was hoping it would go in the water and so we all waited with bated breath. The bear was snuffing the air and definitely took it’s time, but eventually went into the cool waters and I got some adorable photographs of it having a nice soak.

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We also saw the sealion show, they were great at showing just how agile and amazing they are, they told us the difference between sealions and seals, how they train them for the vets and also how we can help them in the wild. It was really interesting as well as being pretty cool to watch.

We also saw the talk at the animal farm where they brought out many different cute, fluffy creatures for us all to stroke including baby rabbits, ferrets and pygmy goats! They even flew an owl around our heads which hovered right in front of our faces! It was so cool!

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We even took a stream train ride through the park! This is feel was rather overpriced for how long the journey was, but it was really rather fun! We not only learnt about the animals we passed but also about the steam engine we were riding. It’s definitely a fun way to go around and see the animals, i’d recommend it at least once, but maybe not more than that.

We carried on walking around seeing all sorts of different animals, but our feet were getting weary and it was nearly closing time so we wandered over to the gift shop. However the gift shop was closed before we even got there! We were not very impressed by that fact, but decided it was probably for the best anyway as we all needed to save money.

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I spent the rest of the afternoon at a friends house playing with her pet snake and eating far too much rubbish.

I had such a fun day, took so many lovely pictures and can’t wait to go again!

Claire x


Teenie Tiny Baby Monkeys!

In my last few weeks (maybe a month) of being at the Zoo there were many new arrivals! Of course I just couldn’t resist in taking pictures of them and I’m even planning on going to Whipsnade tomorrow as I hear there’s loads of babies there too! 

Last thursday I took a special trip to the rain forest exhibit to take pictures of some adorable baby Emperor Tamarins. These were only just over a week old and absolutely TINY! They’re a small enough species of monkey to fit in the palm of your hand anyway, but the babies really are miniscule. 

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There were two born as these tamarins usually do give birth to twins. When they are first born they do not have the distinctive white moustache that Emperor Tamarins are well known for, but that begins growing soon after. 

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After birth the mum gets a nice rest as it is usually the dad that does most of the carrying, just passing them back to mum when they start calling for food. In ZSL London Zoos Rainforest Exhibit the whole family help out with the babysitting duties, including some Golden Lion Headed Tamarins as well! 

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The two babies are already growing quickly and starting to be more aware of their surroundings, I will have to go back soon and document their progress! 

I can’t wait to see the wonders of Whipsnade, nor can I wait to take many photographs! 

Claire x