Thursday, 30 October 2014

Professionals - Leonora Phelan, Quince Art School

Where do you live? 
Cerne Abbas, Dorset

First thing you would do if you won the lottery? 
I’d buy a lofty barn with big views and convert it into a beautiful art studio/gallery/workshop space 

Last supper? 
A barbecue on the beach at Ringstead Bay, Dorset. 
I would start with hummus and warm pitta bread, followed by char-grilled trout, pearl barley salad and stuffed potatoes… and to finish, it’s got to be Rocky Road and ice-cream

First dance song at your wedding? 
Toots & The Maytals - Pressure Drop

If you could only live with 3 colours on your palette what would they be? 
Red, yellow and blue – with these I could mix any colour. If I’m allowed white (it’s not a colour!) I’d use that to make subtle lighter tones

What is Quince Art School? 
A place to discover what you are capable of – it’s where people who want to draw and paint find out that they can

Why did you set Quince up? 
Because making art is an exciting and rewarding experience, that everyone should have access to. I am adamant that absolutely anyone can learn to draw and paint if they are only given the right tools

What is your background as an artist? 
I did an Fine Art degree after which I travelled and worked in Uganda for a year. I returned home and worked as an art teacher in a large secondary school in West London before uprooting for a quieter pace of life in Dorset and well…. set Quince up!

Where are classes held? 
Mostly in my home in Cerne Abbas - I wanted to create an inspiring yet comfortable environment where people, of all levels and experience, could relax. For my Landscape Workshops, we tend to spend a lot of time outside – the geography around the village is stunning - I often find inspiration for my own art in the nearby hills and fields

How many people in a workshop? 
No more than six people – its important to me to be able to spend quality time with each student

Do I need to have any experience as a painter or artist to attend a class? 
Not at all – my mission is to help people find the artist in themselves so my workshops are designed for all abilities

Do I need to bring all my own equipment? 
To get the most out of my workshops it’s important to continue to work on your art after the class – I encourage this by setting homework. If students invest in their own equipment it builds a more long-term relationship between the artist and their craft

Are the workshops over a period of weeks or are there shorter ones I can try out first? 
I offer a range of workshops from one-dayers to weekly. I’m in the process of developing two-day weekend workshops for people who live in London or further afield 

I am quite confident with watercolour but would like to develop my skills in acrylic - do you run courses in specific media
Yes, I run acrylic, pastel and drawing workshops. Your experience with Watercolours will help you with acrylic painting, despite the differences

How do you prepare for your workshops?
I want my students to get the most they can out of each session so I put a lot of thought into the lesson structure and the type of ‘homework’ that feels most appropriate. Each of the tasks we do during the lesson has a specific learning objective so that all the way through, the students understand why we are doing something. I also always try to share my own personal examples of the exercises we are doing 

What do you hope your students will go away with?
An inspired mind, a new confidence in their artistic abilities, and a finished piece to put up on the wall!

Where can I find out more? 
For information on upcoming workshops please visit, give me a call on 01300 342151 or check out my Facebook page

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Take a Deep Breath

Anyone who has, or has had a 2 or 3 year old will know what I'm talking about. I have had a really challenging few weeks with Lenny. A cocktail of pushing boundaries, a will of iron, a sudden boost in vocabulary and a slightly chaotic few weeks of moving and up rooting has made for some testing parenting. We have had rather too many temper tantrums, stamping of feet, growling in my face.... you get the picture.... I am a huge fan of the Time Out Step when it comes to discipline. He responds very well to being removed from a situation to calm down on a step but lately this has been failing me. My temper has been raging. I am knackered and very short tempered which is both ineffective and setting a very wrong example. I lash out right back at him and a little tussle often ends a full blown stand off. In truth, it is hard to tell who has been acting more like the toddler. A week ago I had a strong word with myself and vowed to try to be more calm, supportive and generally a better Mum - I say try as obviously there have been a few occasions where my innermost zen has failed me!! However, Lenny's behaviour as a result of this change in my reactions has made a drastic change for the better. He too is much more serene. The house is much more harmonious and everyone is much happier. Having spoken to a few friends with similar aged children I was lent a book called The Parents Tao Te Ching - it is a dip in, dip out collection of advice on raising smalls. It will not be everyone's cup of tea but I have found some bits really helpful as a reminder of what is important when parenting. Here is a taster....

                                                                                                            (pic sourced Moon and Trees)

Growing a Garden

Dealing with difficult children
is like watching a garden grow.
Resist the temptation
to pull up the plants
to check on the roots.

In difficult times
children may thrive on conflict.
If you take the bait
the battle rages.
Instead step back,
breath deeply,
and stay at your centre.
Battle requires two parties.
One fighting alone soon tires.

Sunday, 12 October 2014


Apologies for photo overload but I have got a bit of a backlog of snapshots from the last few weeks and as we use this blog as a diary of sorts I found it very hard to edit! It has been a homey time filled with visits to the park, pub trips, Rupert's birthday, some rambles and lots of climbing around playgrounds.....
11 o clock

reds and blues

daddy sandwich

No..... I never give my kids chocolate muffins at the never......
release the beasts 


climbing king


guess who's birthday?

Drunk Dog

searching for The Gruffalo

breakdance bounce

lemon drizzle with mint sugared blueberries


Mo Man

Lentil and me

still looking for The Gruffalo

my boyz

painting snakes

picnic breakfast

searching for pikes this time!

Mo Man playing the game

Yes, Rupert was thrilled with his Pop Up Pirate game

traffic getting into the pub carpark

wait for us

Saturday afternoon film

watch out


washing up view


running circles around him


stirring his potion that will turn daddy into a dragon - obvs.... 

Friday, 10 October 2014

Picture Perfect

This book has been on my wish list for ages. It was going to go on our Father Christmas list but lucky Lenny got given it for his birthday - thank you Rosie! It is fantastic. A feast for the eyes with every type of animal beautifully drawn and put into categories. It is very large format and hardback so a real treat -if you are looking for a pressie for someone small this is perfect. Lenny has poured over it....

Monday, 6 October 2014

Chicken Sweetcorn Chowder

This is my latest hit with the boys. Although having said this tonight they both pushed the bowls away and growled at me. Nice. Does anyone else's children show no rhyme nor reason as to food they love/ hate one day to the next?! It drives me so crazy when this happens I have to bite my lip not to completely loose my temper and walk out of the front door. When this episode was followed by grapes and yoghurt simply being thrown on the floor it was curtains to supper and a series of V deep breaths and calming thoughts for this mummy. GRRRRRRR.

Luckily is is totally yummy for grown ups too. It is based largely on a Jamie Oliver recipe from his Saving with Jamie series. Yes, he is my hero. I cannot link the recipe to his though as I only saw it on the TV once, cannot find it on the internet and do not have the book (Father Christmas?!) so he may well do things a little differently. I know he serves it with Matzo crackers but I never seem to have any to hand!

Its great a use of leftover roast chook and super quick and easy.

Left over chicken
800g Chicken Stock
100g Single cream
2 Carrots
1 Potato
1 Onion
300g Frozen Sweetcorn
6 Rashers streaky bacon
Bunch of parsley
Salt and Pepper

Sweat the onions and carrot in olive oil for 5 minutes. Cut and cube the potato and add to the pan with the chicken stock. Simmer over a medium heat until the potato is cooked. Fry the bacon until crispy and set aside. Add chicken, cream and sweetcorn to the soup and simmer for 5 more minutes. Season to taste. Serve with a chopped fresh parsley and crumble the crispy bacon on top.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Happy Birthday Lenny!

Wow. We are pooped. I know the blog has been a barren land of tumble weeds of late but we have been uprooted again and have moved out of our new house to a temporary rental for 4 months while it is knocked about and made all pretty. In theory this was going to be super easy as the rental is furnished and so we would just take 1 bag each and a box of toys but like all good plans..... turns out we need more day-to-day than I had planned! Anyway, we are in now and so let the builders loose! While this chaos unfolded Lenny turned 3 - I had thought he wouldn't really 'get' it but BOY was I wrong.... it was all "it is MY birthday tomorrow and I hope I get my pterodactyl and of course my lion cake....????!!!???!" YIKES.... STRAIGHT TO WAITROSE!! Thank you Betty Crocker you saved my bacon with your ready made icing and just-add-an-egg cake mix! As for a party I'm afraid we headed to the pub where the kids ran a muck in the garden laden with party bags and the mums and dads supped on some ales! All in all a great success!

Happy 3rd Birthday my beautiful boy. You are truly the funniest little chap I have ever known and we all love you very much.
huge balloon

the eternal wait for packaging to be figured out

breakfast battle

birthday brekka for winners
a birthday just aint a birthday without helium

gawd bless you Betty Crocker 
make a wish

before the sugar rush