Expect the unexpected

Expect the unexpected

Well, so much has happened since my last blog! I remember attending the Craft and Flea market https://www.thecraftandflea.com/at Sheffield Cathedral in February and being worried about Storm Dennis but who knew that March would see us in Lockdown! I don’t want to blog about the pandemic here even though I have to say there have been some heart-warming stories amongst the sadness.


At the beginning of January I was approached by the author Ruth Drury and asked if I would illustrate her first children’s book. After I read the story, I immediately agreed. I like the fact that Ruth was tackling issues of anxiety in children and exploring ideas for dealing with emotions that had worked with her daughter. She also covered this in such a fun way – by talking about pants! As I work with children with SEN, I see a growing number of youngsters displaying social and emotional health (SEMH) issues so this is another reason the book appealed as I could imagine some of the children I teach enjoying it. Even though the illustrations were a far cry from my usual animal drawings I felt it was too good an opportunity to miss.


Fast forward to the end of April and Ruth’s book Too Many Pants was published. I found the commission tricky to start with – trying to imagine what the characters would look like and painting illustrations which would complement the storyline was such a daunting task. Equally, ensuring that the character’s features remained constant in each illustration proved challenging. The book has been selling really well and I have to say that I quite like the fact that my name is on the front of a book! Click on the link below to see it read by Briony Williams and signed in BSL.



Now the summer holidays are here and I am still keeping busy with my doodles. Pre and post-pandemic, I have gained a few stockists of my cards (see stockists page). It’s been fantastic to see my cards on display in shops and I am truly grateful to each stockist for displaying my cards in their shops.

I’m also working on another book; this time for the children’s author Lucy Finch. Lucy also covers the different emotions children experience and helps them to understand how these feelings might manifest themselves physically. It’s such a fun book and is written about a young dinosaur called Dinky. I haven’t yet finished the illustrations for this book but I’ll leave you with a sneak peak of one of the illustrations. I cannot wait for the book to be published. I think kids will absolutely love it!

Dinky the Dinosaur https://www.mrsreedwarbler.co.uk/


The Living North Christmas Fair

Well, November came and went in a flash and my main focus was the Living North Christmas fair. The event took place at York Racecourse over four days. I loved the event itself but was SO TIRED by the end of it!!! I thought I’d share with you some of the highs and lows:


Putting my stall together and taking stock of all the work that went into it. I had stressed so much about this event but once my stall was up, I just couldn’t believe I’d put it all together and was so chuffed (and relieved) to have got there.

Meeting customers who loved my work enough to buy cards, prints, notebooks and framed originals. Every sale really did make me do a ‘happy dance’ (inwardly, obviously). Finding out who customers were buying for: some were buying for themselves and others buying as gifts for friends or family members. I just loved the fact that they chose to buy something from ME! In fact the last customer of the event bought a framed print of ‘Snuggle time’ (see below) for her son. I had only put that particular frame up as I had sold a different one and there was space on the wall. She described how much the picture and its name would be a perfect gift for her son who loved art. The funny thing is that I don’t think she was even looking for a piece of art for him but it caught her eye. The sale was right at the end of the day and she left happy with her purchase and I was so buoyant with the thought of her giving her son the gift on Christmas Day that it got me through my long journey home.

I must mention the other fantastic stallholders who happened to be my neighbours for the four days: Glen Anthony Watches, Popolo Ceramics, Eleanor Tomlinson Art, the Phodographer and Lister and Bruce were so friendly and supportive. They really did help the long days more bearable!

Finally, my wonderful friend who put me up in her lovely home and fed me for four days so that I didn’t have to make a 3 hour round trip each day just made my time in Yorkshire so much easier.



Leaving work in Derbyshire at 16:00 to arrive in York at 17:30, unpacking the van, loading everything up to the first floor of the Ebor Suite, setting up and leaving the racecourse at 19:00 to arrive at my friend’s at 20:00 with the prospect of getting up at 06:45 the next day just left me absolutely exhausted. I have to mention though that I did get some help from students with the unloading (which I was so grateful for) and my friend greeted me with a glass of prosecco – just what I needed!

Not seeing my hubby and boys for four nights was tough. My boys are teenagers and their dad is very capable of looking after them. I think they liked the fact that they had some independence in sorting themselves out in the morning without me nagging them to get their breakfast, sort the bag out etc. but I really missed them!

The days for the event were long. Friday, Saturday and Sunday were very busy so I was shattered at the end of each day. My friend was very thoughtful and made me a packed lunch every day which meant I didn’t have to go and buy lunch (though there were plenty of stalls that sold delicious food). My neighbour, Glen Anthony was also very kind and lent me his stool from time to time (yep, I forgot to take a chair) so that helped to relieve achy legs.

Thankfully there were more highs than lows. I would recommend the event for anyone looking to have a stall there. I was overjoyed with the amount of sales I made and so grateful for every purchase that was made. I sometimes feel like this art business is a hard slog, especially as I have ‘real’ job that pays the mortgage and keeps me busy enough but knowing that customers loved my work, and some have since made more purchases, I feel  enthused to create more illustrations and continue to do what I love. Right now though, I’m ready to relax and enjoy Christmas. I wish you all a lovely, restful Christmas too xx

Where did October go?

I’ve been meaning to write my first blog post for a while and I’m currently lying on the sofa nursing a torn hamstring from playing hockey at the weekend so now seems to be the perfect time!

Out and About – Living North Christmas Fair

So, what’s been happening with Herbert and Rose? As you may already know, my day job is teaching and so I fit my artwork into evenings and weekends. I also have to juggle this with family life, like many people running their small creative businesses. I honestly feel like I don’t sit still sometimes and when I do, I worry that I should be doing something. Is anyone else like that? I’m sure it’s not good practice! Anyway, this month I’ve mainly been preparing for the Living North Christmas Fair, which takes place from 14th-17th  November at York Racecourse. I’ve been painting new illustrations, designing Christmas cards and restocking any artwork that I’ve sold. This has kept me so busy and I find it quite hard to tell myself to stop. It’s also a challenge working out how much stock to take for four days. This is a really big event for me but I have no idea how well my work will sell. I still have a few things to do for the event (mainly packing and labelling, for which I’m relying on help from my two teenage boys)! Although I am SO EXCITED about the event, I’m also quite nervous about how it will go. I just don’t want to stand there like a lemon for four days if I make no sales. I suppose it’s good to take that risk sometimes (that’s what I’m telling myself). If you are planning on going to the fair, PLEASE come and say ‘HELLO!’ I love to meet my followers and talk to customers. Plus, the event itself will be fantastic and there will be plenty of stalls to do some CHRISTMAS SHOPPING (including mine obviously)!

New products – Notebooks now available in the online shop

You can now buy A5 notebooks with exclusive Herbert and Rose designs. These A5 notebooks contain 44 plain writing pages and have a thick card cover on the back and front. They are made using FSC certified paper and board and make great gifts or stocking fillers.

They are currently available in five designs:
  • Flamingo
  • Flowers on blue
  • Flowers on pink
  • Ostrich
  • Otter

Each notebook is £4, inclusive of postage and packaging.

New Collaboration – Mrs Reed Warbler

I’ve also been working on illustrations for @mrsreedwarbler, who writes a very insightful and honest blog into her experience of adoption and how she and the missus are managing transitioning from a family of two to a family of three. I love creating the illustrations as the themes are often very different from those I usually work on. Some of these illustrations have been turned into digital prints, which can be downloaded from my website. Moving forwards, @mrsreedwarbler and I are hoping to collaborate on artwork considering adoption, though our ideas are still in the very early stages. Still, I’m really excited about future collaborations!!!

Anyway, I think that’s enough for my first blog. Thank you for reading this far. I’m going to go back to feeling sorry for myself (and my poor leg). I don’t want to admit it but I think my body is telling me that my hockey days are well and truly over!

Special offer as I relaunch my website

Thank you for your patience as I updated and improved my website. Now that my online shop is up and running, I would like to offer you all a special relaunch discount. Entering the code relaunch10 at checkout will give you 10% off your entire basket. There is no limit to how many times you can use the code and please share it with your friends. Just make sure to use it before it expires on 30th September 2019. Happy shopping!