Isolation sketches

Aly’s blog –

I stopped being a full time artist about 10 years ago as life took me down a different path working as a community engagement worker. I loved my job but at the end due to a variety of reasons I left seven months ago and am now focusing on art again. I have rediscovered my love of Matisse and he has helped me fall in love with drawing again. It’s like I am picking up where I left off a decade ago…. still a long way to go though….

Each ink sketch is on acrylic paper. 25.5cm x 17.5cm, signed.

Top left hand corner ‘For Poppy’.

Isolation Sketch ‘For Poppy’.

£15.00 includes p&p to the UK.


Right hand side ‘Flowers for Caitlin’.

Isolation Sketches ‘Flowers for Caitlin’.

£15.00 includes p&p to the UK.


Bottom left hand corner ‘Red Roses’.

Isolation Sketches ‘Red Roses’

£15.00 includes p&p to the UK.


Fanny Flowers

Blog from Aly – As the isolation continues we are painting pictures that are affordable and can be posted at little cost. Mick has painted these flowers that we have named ‘Fanny Flowers’ , the reason  being all in the eye of the beholder! These wee oil paintings are on canvas board, 7″ x 5″, signed and are £20 each or 3 for £50. The postage is £3 to the UK.



Fanny Flowers

These wee oil paintings are on canvas board, 7″ x 5″, signed and are £20 each or 3 for £50. The postage is £3 to the UK. Available pictures are shown above please email preference, to More in the pipeline.....


When Mick fell asleep….

Blog by Aly –

I have been knitting wee flowers to launch my art project #1in100 (more details on launch) which will be a response to my bipolar.The project will consist of 100 art pieces which will be exhibited in galleries or online, each exhibition having 100 art pieces within it. I reckon I can do this over 20 to 25 years so better cut down on the cake and get healthy as I am almost 50 now!

The premise is that 1 in 100 of us have bipolar which I think is quite a high number and it’s about time we came out of our mental health closet and let the world know we are here and are nothing to be scared off! Disclaimer – I expect some of us are a bit scary -I probably am sometimes after to much whisky!

Anyhow more of that on launch ….. meanwhile in other isolation madness…..

Mick fell asleep the other afternoon and I turned him into ‘Ophelia’ by John Everett Millais…..


Knit Knit Knit….

I have a pile of knitting books and patterns and have decided to break up the projects that I am working from by taking the one on top and making something random from it. Then putting it on the bottom and so on so on…. first choice today was this wee keyring. Great fun to make.

Knitted keyring from Cute & Easy Knitting by Fiona Goble. Published by Cico Books.

Accidental Daal

Running low on provisions is quite normal for us at the minute as we have been managing on ESA and UC for a while now and with the Virus we have been careful to only go to the local shops when we really need too. Yesterday’s lunch was a cobble together and it tasted amazing. Proper comforting.


Accidental Daal recipe –

Serves 2

Ingredients – This is what we has in our cupboard so adapt as necessary.

Red lentils – we had approx. an 8th of the bag so used all of that.

1 tin coconut milk

2 chopped cloves garlic

1 large diced spud

1 heaped tsp of turmeric

1 tsp black pepper

1 heaped tsp chilli flakes

Pinch of salt

Water to top up if needed.

Method – 

Put everything in a pan, bring to the boil and then simmer – it took about 40 minutes to get really creamy. We added a bit of water near the end to prevent sticking. That’s it!








The Adventures of Isolated Aly & Mick – Hacksaw Haircuts and Isolation Flapjacks


So alongside all of us in the UK we are isolating as much as possible and it seems a perfect opportunity to relaunch this blog… only been a couple of years! Everyone now has to cut their own hair and unless you are self-isolating with a hairdresser (lucky you) we predict the new trend will be hacksaw hair cuts. #hacksawhaircut  will be trending soon!

At this time we me and Mick are trying to remain positive – no issues with bipolar thank goodness – nice and level – but we have had all our expected income put on hold as we can’t carry out the art workshops we had lined up. We are trying to live off Universal Credit and will attempt to get some portrait commissions in.

On the plus side Mick asked to learn to bake as he has never done so before and at the age of 58 thought it was about time.

This recipe was meant to serve 12 however Mick has made it into 6 portions as is the  cook’s prerogative! We are vegan so if you fancy making some vegan flapjacks here’s the recipe –

Mick’s Vegan Isolation Flapjacks – 6 to 12 portions depending how much of a gannet you are –

Ingredients –

250g porridge oats (we used Morrison’s Savers oats – under a quid a big bag)

125 g margarine (we used Flora vegan marg.)

125g light brown sugar

2 to 3 tbsp golden syrup (obviously Mick put in 3 large ones!)

Method –

Preheat the oven to 200C

Melt the marg. and sugar in a pan

When that’s done stir in the oats and the syrup.

Push into a small square baking tray (ours was 18cm x 18cm)

Bake for 20 minutes

When out of oven and still hot slice into portions in the tin

Mick’s handy tip – use a pizza cutter!

Allow to cool and scoff with strong coffee and try to forget the amount of sugar you have devoured by promising to offset it with 16 weeks of isolation yoga!






Monster Mash

A year and a bit since I wrote my blog so about time I restartef…. So this year is going to be about the art. About making and creative processes. And the first completed item this year is a baby monster. It’s part of a big piece ready for my exhibition in October. It is good to be working toward something without feeling overwhelmed. Meds still working and I am trying to balance life, work etc. Feeling like I’m starting to swim rather than drown……#bipolar #knitting #monster

Happy Corbyn Day

Well, face has healed almost completely, only took about five days! I used a product called Balm Balm ( that feels like pure plant moisture and is all ethical and not tested at any point on bouncing bunnies so that’s good. I have never endorsed a product before but my Lord this stuff is amazing. Highly recommended for those hypomanic days when battering yourself against a wall or the floor is all too inevitable!

It was a pretty awful accident, and a sharp reminder that I am not indestructible but the positive love and kind words and gifts from friends and strangers (from both those touched by mental health issues and those who have not) has been overwhelming and I am in no doubt has speeded up my recovery.

Mentally I feel in a stable, warm place but am aware that again this could be the proverbial calm before the storm, so absolutely no alcohol, no going out in the evenings (boo missed Sanction This playing at the Bull last night and Tattoo the Taboo auction) as need to stay calm and safe. Good homemade food is in order and long baths and herbal tea. But I watched the last two episodes of Gotham and cooked a meal for Mr.Smith so was not a bad Saturday night and I was up early this morning feeling refreshed.

Anyhow, I have started the ‘I Love Corbyn’ Painting that has been in my head for a couple of weeks and have made a decision to paint bright and happy rather than dark and sad. Also nearly finished wee Silver Lady hedgehog to live with my friend Matthew in his Hairdressers Bijoux on Chillingham Road. Be aware, they are taking over the world…..


Where To Begin….

Oh My Lord. Did I actually write that I needed something to talk about at my next CPN vist?  I think if I was looking for an expression to describe the days since my last blog it would be WTF!

Anyhow, I have been feeling a little down but thought I better cover that to stop people worrying –

I have just had a chat with my mum about this, my Father has Depression, and she says this is worse, you need to tell your support and/or your family that this is going on so they don’t get this horrendous bolt out of the blue when the crash occurs.

Then I was feeling a little hyper (well more like a superhero – just need the pants) and to cut along story short blacked out on Wednesday evening in a back lane, luckily with my Husband, spent six hours in A & E getting x-rayed, cleaned up and conversations around bi-polar and managing my condition etc.

I am black and blue.

I feel like an idiot.

But, I don’t feel the guilt that I usually carry. I know this was an accident although it could have been prevented with talking through feelings and medication for the hypomania.

I am sorry it happened, I am grateful to the NHS again for their time and patience, I feel so bad for my husband who again with his ongoing good humour has picked me up and carried my literally and figuratively over this bump. And the kind words from my friends has helped, so has (surprisingly for me) sharing on Facebook and now by this blog. I am determined to get the face of Bi-Polar out there, to create understanding and empathy if not support.We must praise and support the partners, family, friends and health professionals who continuously shape their lives to fit into ours.

I texted my CPN on Thursday morning (don’t worry it’s his work phone – I haven’t started stalking him yet!) and we received three phone calls checking in and have an early appointment with him on Tuesday coming. I am lucky to have this support – I received a CPN for the first time in my life afer my breakdown in April and I do believe this has helped with my ongoing if not recovery but the management of my condition, the acceptance of taking medication (will still do a blog post on that eventually) and also understanding about who I am.

Anyhow, I have attached a picture of my lovely face which I have been told will heal in about three weeks bashed up  however it is what it is, and nowt can be done so think I shall go and knit a hedgehog and start sketching my Jeremy painting…..

Good Mental Health – Aly