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I HEART Colouring Books Competition



I HEART Colouring Books Competition


With the release of I HEART Unicorns, I HEART Mermaids and I HEART Drag Queens; my newest colouring books published by Trapeze Books; and to celebrate I HEART Unicorns already reaching over 2000 sales worldwide(!); I have decided to run an exclusive giveaway for all of my lovely friends, family, supporters and colourists.



And, considering the themes of these gorgeous books – the prizes are suitably glittery, sparkly and all things fabulous!

The grand prize for this giveaway is A SPARKLY COLOURING BOOK GOODIE BAG! 

This includes…

1 copy of I HEART Unicorns

1 copy of I HEART Mermaids 

1 copy of I HEART Drag Queens

PS… Get Lippy Holographic Collection: Fantasy (Containing holographic liquid lip gloss, lip liner and glitter)

PS… Holographic Unicorn Tears Nails with Self Adhesive

Pack of 12x Crayola Coloured Pencils

Primark Home 10x Unicorn Hanging Photo Clips

PS… Unicorn Horn Make Up Brush Set

White chocolate coins

PS… Rainbow Highlighter Powder


contest


Runners up will also receive a smaller goodie bag themed around either mermaids, unicorns or drag queens (only 3 runners up will be chosen). In order to enter, all you have to do is sheck the RaffleCopter giveaway Widget at the bottom of this post. Each entry in the competition will count as a raffle entry and the raffle will be drawn on the 12th December.

Terms and Conditions (Please read…)

I Heart Unicorns/Drag Queens/Mermaids published by Trapeze (an imprint of the Orion Publishing Group)

This contest is run by Anastasia Catris and is in no way associated with Orion, Trapeze, Crayola or Primark.

All prizes were provided by Anastasia Catris. Anastasia Catris takes no responsibility for any ingredients within the PS… range of toiletry products or white chocolate coins. Contestants use these items at their discretion in accordance with the ingredients dictated on the packaging.

According to Primark’s website, their make up does not conduct and does not commission any animal testing. They also state that their terms of trade with their suppliers make it clear that cosmetic products and their ingredients must not be tested on animals. Nor do they have stores or outlets in China which requires animal testing by law.

Please note that attempts will be made to contact the winner on the day of the raffle draw (12th December). If I hear back from them before the last post on the 13th December, and the winner’s residence is in the UK, Royal Mail advise that they should receive their prize before Christmas. Please note that people entering the contest from outside of the UK, where it is based, may not receive their prize before Christmas due to holiday post closures and restrictions.


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I REALLY Heart Drag Queens



I REALLY Heart Drag Queens


I didn’t know what a Lesbian was until I was 14. I had heard the term Gay, but only when used for men and even then it was in the confines of a pretty Catholic upbringing. I had no Gay friends (as far as I knew). I didn’t know or understand the term Bisexual until I watched the film ‘Chasing Amy’ when I was 16 and even then it didn’t exactly bring up anything particularly constructive beyond the usual stereotypes of Bisexuals making a ‘choice’ to be Straight or Gay depending on who they were with at the time. Even Willow, one of my teenage role models from ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, always considered herself having discovered being a Lesbian rather than just admitting to the fact that she had loved Oz, a cis-gendered male, before loving Tara. Queer role models were not exactly easy to find for a relatively sheltered Catholic school girl from Cardiff.



I started going out and drinking with my friends when I was 16. I managed to get a relatively realistic looking fake ID and was super proud that a couple of the establishments in town would fall for it. For this purpose (even though it was half a lifetime ago now), I won’t mention the bars or the people working in them by name as I would hate for them to get into any trouble (it was a really good fake ID… and having been a bartender since then I know how difficult it can be to age-guess sometimes).

We only had one rock/alternative bar at the time. And it was only worth going to on a Wednesday when the drinks were ridiculously cheap, and that was a school night. So Fridays/Saturdays were for extreme cheese. 70’s, 80’s and 90’s hits and even some musical mash ups. Think Steps, S Club 7 and all of the wonderful glory in its heyday. So a group of us underage, naive girls would head to our local Drag Club. Of course we would flirt and drink, not really thinking of the dangers that could come out of it. But we were young and stupid. There was something about being in a Gay bar which made us feel like we were free to dance and have fun without any of the usual come-ons and awkward conversations which would follow when we explained to these older guys that we were too young and not interested.

We managed to make friends and I slowly got to know people outside of my sheltered Catholic upbringing. Soon we were meeting up on Fridays with larger groups of people. We were talking about Gay rights, Pride, drag and I was slowly learning about the importance of pronouns, prejudice and checking my language (I am still learning. We all are). It was the best learning I received from my final year in High School.



We got to know a few of the Drag performers and I’m pretty sure that they knew how old we were. Years later I spoke to one of them and they said that they often got groups of young people coming to their shows as a gateway into the Gay community and that it was safer to let them come into that bar, underage, and keep them safe from the bullying they could experience in other clubs than it was to kick them out for having a drink.

It says a lot that I only really remember three instances of prejudice from my time hanging out at these clubs (and one was on the street, not in the bar itself).

Once was when I was being chatted up by a guy while I was watching a Drag show with my friends. I told him I wasn’t interested and even went so far as to tell him my age (he was in his 20s). He proceeded to come on to me despite this and was saying things along the lines of ‘age doesn’t matter’ and ‘the more fun for me’. It was very intrusive. It was this point that one of the Drag Queens clocked the incident and swooped in like some beautiful protective mother hen. She started berating him from the stage over the microphones and calling him out for his penis size and all manner of possible inadequacies. Of course he shouted back at her calling her all sorts of triggering words which I won’t repeat here. But she just laughed and sent him on his way, using her Queenly power to summon the bouncers to escort him out. She was a bloody hero. I had seen people take on stage abuse at things such as pantomime before, but nothing like this and she just shrugged it off as just another day ‘like water off a duck’s back’ and went back to work.



The second time was while we were all dancing. The Queen on stage had a set where she would throw paper plates into the crowd and get us to all dance to ‘Zorba The Greek’. As a Greek girl myself, this was always my favourite part of the night. During this dance, a man came over and started to grind against me and my friends, groping us and generally being very touchy feely. A bunch of the guys we were hanging out with saw this and began to grind against him, making him feel very awkward. He moved away immediately but as this was a Gay club, he couldn’t exactly go and say they were acting inappropriately so he just left us alone. The power was reversed. It was a pretty special thing to watch. Especially as if something like that had gone down in any other bar in Cardiff it would have most likely ended up with a fight.

The third time I remember was when me and a few of our friends were walking back to the taxi rank. We were being wolf whistled and cat called as we walked down the street which was most commonly known at the time for housing the most gay bars. A guy started following me and trying to talk to me. One of the girls I was with held my hand and told him to back off. He proceeded to shout homophobic abuse at her and suggest that he could change us etc. etc… the usual garbage. He even suggested that we both share him. She turned around and kicked him in the groin and we all ran away laughing. I think about how I would feel in that situation if I was alone and not with a group of Queer warriors and I feel a little bit sick.

These experiences are so tame in comparison to what so many of my Queer friends have experienced. I was so lucky. I was coming from a place of cis-gendered, white, able-bodied, middle class privilege that I didn’t even know about. As I grew up I met friends who had been thrown out of their homes, abandoned by their families, beaten, abused and generally had to fight tooth-and-nail just to be who they were.

I have also had the privilege of having been a ‘passing’ Bisexual. I have known about my sexuality for as long as I knew there was a word for it (though even now the language is constantly changing – I suppose I would consider myself Pansexual now that I am more aware of Non-Binary, Intersex and Transgender people. But I identified as Bi for so long it is just a term I am comfortable with). But I have only ever introduced my family to my cis-male partners. This was not through any choice, it just so happened that many of my long term relationships were with men. As such I have never had to ‘come out’ to my family, despite all of my friends knowing about my sexuality and me never having been particularly closed off about it.



This year I became single for the first time in five years. I was single at 30 and it was actually incredibly liberating. It was at this time that I got offered the colouring book ‘I Heart Drag Queens’. As I was coming up with ideas for the book (mostly watching ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’, ‘To Wong Foo’, ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert’ and listening to the soundtrack to Rikki Beadle-Blair’s musical ‘Stonewall’ on repeat) I began reminiscing about the fun I had growing up in the gay community in Cardiff. The Drag Queens, the parties, the nights out, but mostly how safe I felt to be myself and explore my sexuality. You often hear Drag Queens described as ‘Fierce’ and you have no idea how true that is.

I knew that when the book came out I wanted to make sure there were at least a few pages dedicated to representing different genders and sexualities, as well as the different types of Queen including Bearded Queens, Androgynous Queens, Fashion and Pageant Queens and Plus-Sized Queens. I wanted to represent different races and body types as best I can and, most importantly, I didn’t want it to fall into the category of Drag Queens just being ‘guys in dresses’. I really wanted to show their fierce beauty. I hope I’ve done that in some small way as well as made it fun.



With the launch of ‘I Heart Drag Queens’ in October I knew I was going to be posting about this a lot on social media and all over the internet. So, earlier in the year, I decided to finally tell my parents about my sexuality. It was the easiest conversation it could have possibly been. I knew they had always suspected and I had never gone out of my way to hide my affections and attractions to women, but I knew that by not openly telling them I was keeping them out of an important part of who I was.

Again I note my privilege in that I know how lucky I am to come from a family of amazingly understanding and open people. Despite being a majority Catholic family, my family have always been accepting, caring and loving towards all of us and go out of their way to understand and fight for us on a daily basis. Little freedoms like not having to check my pronouns or language or hide my crushes for celebrities around them are finally gone. I could not be happier for having such an amazing family and friendship circle who is always encouraging me to be myself. If there is one thing I regret it would be waiting so long to let them know officially (even if they always had an inkling).


So, while working on a colouring book may not seem like the most enlightening or life-changing experience, I just wanted to share with you a few of the thoughts that have been floating around in my head since I started work on it earlier in the year. ‘I Heart Drag Queens’ is now available to buy on Amazon and from most local retailers. Working on this book was an honour and a privilege and I hope I did some of those beautiful, fierce and strong queens proud; because I really do ‘Heart’ Drag and everything it represents in my small little life of growing up in the LGBTQ+ community.

But mostly, I hope that the book is still fun! Fill it with rainbows, glitter and sparkle and enjoy every page. I know I did. Patreons can view preview pages from ‘I Heart Drag Queens’ over on my Patreon now. You can also view previews of pages from the book via the ‘Look Inside’ option on Amazon, or visit my Gallery here. 


Christmas Giveaway


Christmas Giveaway


How would you like a chance to win not one, not two, not even three, but ALL SIX of the ‘Colour Me Mindful’ adult colouring books released by Orion Publishing in 2015? Not only will you get copies of the most recent releases ‘Seasons’, ‘Enchanted Creatures’ and ‘Butterflies’, but you will also get American copies (yes – that’s Color without the ‘U’) of the original ‘Color Me Mindful’ ‘Birds’, ‘Tropical’ and ‘Underwater’ by Gallery Books. These books measure 22cm squared (as opposed to the UK copies of 17cm squared) with a gorgeous gloss cover and are not available in this country.

As the UK ‘last post’ date is fast approaching before Christmas, the raffle will run until 15th December so that the winner will be able to get their books before Christmas Eve (this raffle is open to you lovely lot from countries other than the UK of course, but it won’t be guaranteed that you will get your books before Christmas depending on your location).

This would be an ideal way to bulk out your stockings, great gifts for family and friends, or just a great activity for you to have fun with and relax with some mulled wine and mince pie!

And don’t forget that ‘Colour Me Mindful’ ‘Seasons’ has some great Winter images to really get in the festive mood. Why not check out the hashtag #ColourMeMindful on Twitter or Instagram to see what gorgeous holiday pictures the other colourists out there are making.

There are plenty of ways to enter the Raffle after you have entered the first two mandatory options below, from following on Facebook to posting an Amazon review (I know a lot of you have already been kind enough to do these things so, of course, your past follows count). Just follow the instructions on the simple Rafflecopter widget below and GOOD LUCK!  

 

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Colour Me Mindful Competition


COLOUR ME MINDFUL COMPETITION


I have recently received the complimentary ‘author’ (I love how it says I am an author in the introduction…) copies of my Colour Me Mindful books from Orion Publishing. They are absolutely beautiful! The team did an absolutely amazing job editing them and I love the travel-size-for-your-convenience dimensions of the books themselves, which are ideal for sticking in your hand luggage for a Summer Holiday, or keeping in your bag for when you fancy a cheeky doodle on the go.

I have really enjoyed following all the buzz that Orion are creating for the launch of these books in the UK on the 30th July (not long now!) and seeing all of the book bloggers and reviewers trying their hands at colouring them (you can see some samples here). And speaking of BUZZ (see what I did there), Colour Me Mindful: Underwater was even mentioned on Buzzfeed’s ’17 Colouring Books That Every Grown-Up Needs’, how amazing is that!

There is still chance for you to pre-order your copies from Amazon.co.uk and it seems that the hype has even extended to the next series of three books out in October!

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Colour Me Mindful: Butterflies isn’t even finished yet and already it is generating enough pre-orders and clicks on Amazon that it is a #1 New Release! Before it’s even released! No pressure or anything! This is testament to the art department at Orion’s excellent job at creating a beautiful cover out of my artwork and I cannot thank them enough. Not to mention my editor Anna Valentine who commissioned me to work on the projects in the first place.

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But, enough about the future books, let’s be mindful of the present and live in the now. The first three books haven’t even been released yet!

So here is your chance to get your hands on a copy of each: Colour Me Mindful: BirdsColour Me Mindful: Tropical and Colour Me Mindful: Underwater; each signed by myself; and an ORIGINAL PAGE from one of the books – and you get to choose which book!


HOW TO ENTER

The competition is hosted by Rafflecopter and as such is a Raffle! In order to enter the raffle, you simply have to follow the instructions in the box below. You can login using either Facebook or your email address and there are a number of different ways to enter.

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The two mandatory fields are that you have to sign up to my Blog (scroll to the bottom of this page and you will find the form in the footer) and visit my author page on Amazon. Doing both of these things will give you 10 entries into the raffle! You will also unlock a number of other ways to get more entries into the raffle – all of them pretty simple things like tweeting or visiting a Facebook page.

So get entering! The competition runs until the 24th July and the winner will be announced via Twitter and Facebook (as well as on this blog). This means that you will get your copies of the book before it comes out in the UK (post allowing). Some international entrants will be in with the chance to win these books months before they come out in your country!

Thank you so much for entering and good luck!

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True Colours


True Colours


This week saw the release of the Colour Me Mindful series of Adult Colouring Books by Orion Publishing, as review samples to Book Bloggers, Art Book Bloggers and generally awesome people on social media. Consequently I woke up to an awesome amount of tweets, Intsagram tags and mentions on July 6th with a lot of very excited colouring-in aficionados showing me their post and some of them even sharing what they had already done.

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I haven’t actually seen the books myself yet, but from the response they seem to be getting from Twitter and Instagram, I am really happy with how they have come out. I am actually pretty excited to colour them myself when I receive my comp copies! Everyone seems to be having so much fun it would be a shame not to join in! (Plus, I REALLY wanted to colour them as I was working on them!)

It is a little bit surreal seeing so many people colouring in my work – and they haven’t even been released yet! (FYI they are still available for pre-order on Amazon and are due for release in the UK on July 30th and in the USA on August 25th – note that America refers to the series as ‘COLOR Me Mindful’) But the whole experience so far has been amazing fun and it is always interesting to see what colours people choose – especially from my perspective as I obviously had my own colours and patterns in mind as I was drawing them.

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I have managed to collect a couple of different pages together thanks to the lovely folk on the #ColourMeMindful Hashtag on Twitter and I really can’t wait to see what everyone else comes up with! Each of these images are reproduced with the kind permission of the lovely people mentioned in the tweets below their pics. The header image of the physical books are also from @MamaMummyMum – Thank you all so much!

If you have links to your blog/Instagram/Twitter and would like to share your coloured pages from the Colour Me Mindful series, please comment below. I would love to see them and share them around. Don’t forget to leave your thoughts on the book on their Amazon Pages and Goodreads

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Colour Me Mindful Book Series Announced


Colour Me Mindful Book Series Announced


I  am really happy to announce that I have been working with the lovely folks at Orion Publishing Group on a new series of colouring books for adults. These things have really taken off at the moment and it is wonderful to see the amount of beautiful books being brought out by some truly phenomenal artists. I have always been a huge lover of intricate line art, so this project is a dream come true for me. If you ever thought that colouring was therapeutic, drawing that much detail is double that for me. 

The first book, Colour Me Mindful: Tropical will focus on tropical scenes, ideal for wild bursts of vibrant colour.  You can expect intricate designs including tropical plants, fish, animals, birds and insects. I absolutely love what the guys at Orion have done with the cover. The colours are lovely and tranquil with a nice pop of colour from the parrot. If I am getting this excited at my editor’s digital colouring skills, imagine how excited I am to see what you make of my designs when the book is released in July!

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The second book in the series is Colour Me Mindful: Birds and does exactly what it says on the tin. You can expect a cute and (if you have anything to do with it) colourful array of characters from garden birds to birds of prey, owls to humming birds, peacocks to kingfishers, all drawn in a unique and heavily detailed way which should encourage your imagination. I can’t wait to show you more soon.

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Finally we have Colour Me Mindful: Underwater. This is probably the one I am most enjoying as I have always loved drawing underwater creatures (See Viceroy’s ‘The Deep’ or ‘Ocean’). As you can see from the cover, we will be delving back into the tropical waters again, but you will also see sea mammals and of course fresher waters too.

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At only £4.99 each, these books are set to be incredibly affordable and you can even pre-order them on Amazon now. I really hope you like what I’ve shown you so far and can’t wait to show you more in the Summer when they are set to go on sale.