February 2018 Happy Highlights ~ Sunray Sister


Welcome to my monthly review and round-up of all the good things I’ve experienced and achieved in February. Below is my list (in no particular order) of ‘happy highlights’ from both my Sunray Sister world and personal life.

After that I have shared some details of my plans for March, including the new theme for my 365 day challenge, which you can follow on my Instagram and Facebook pages.

All together it has been a very snowy and creative month, in which I…

  1. Celebrated five years of being with my boyfriend Fraz!!!
  2. Enjoyed watching ‘Coco’ at the cinema, as well as ‘The Marvelous Mrs Maisel’ and ‘Witless’ on T.V.
  3. Felt very wintry and magical after a LOT of snow!
  4. Walked around Trentham gardens with Fraz, and enjoyed delicious vegan pies at Pieminister.
  5. Celebrated Fraz’s birthday; somehow I managed to cook an awesome vegan fry-up and bake vegan brownies, and Fraz made vegan burgers. Yum!
  6. Taught my first ever piano student! Hopefully lots more students will follow.
  7. Created and uploaded two YouTube videos: Origami Pen Pal Letter Tutorial and Watercolour Valentine’s Card Tutorial.
  8. Started a special client illustration project.
  9. Found some second-hand tubes of Winsor & Newton watercolour paint in the charity shop!
  10. Spent a lovely weekend with my parents, who visited us! I especially loved our outdoor adventures; first to Rudyard lake, and then to the Roaches.
  11. Started using the Pomodoro technique, which is helping me to manage my time more efficiently.
  12. Visited the Whitworth art gallery in Manchester with Rosie, Eloise & James. It was great fun, and I did some scribbling in a sketchbook which I feel like I haven’t done for ages!
  13. Signed up for a two month Skillshare trial for 70p! I’m going to follow a couple of courses on there specifically to learn more about editorial illustration. I also got a new book (using a birthday gift-card), called ‘Becoming a Successful Illustrator’ by Derek Brazell and Jo Davies. I already love it; feels like a textbook for the art degree I never did!



My new theme for my 365 day challenge is interiors. This means I will be drawing/painting/illustrating any kind of inside space, both real and imagined, every day. I also intend to experiment working digitally and incorporating previous work in a collage style, as shown in the first two days’ pieces below.

Overall in March I aim to:

  • Promote my new piano/music tutoring service, and gain some new students
  • Promote my portrait commission service more
  • Finish the current client project I’m working on
  • Do some additional personal projects to fill my portfolio – use Skillshare and new illustration book
  • Register as self-employed and get some proper business things sorted
  • Take a break from YouTube/put less pressure on uploading regularly for now
  • Celebrate the official start of Spring!? (even though there is still snow everywhere!)

I was considering starting an email newsletter, where I would share monthly news like in this blog post. Would you enjoy reading that? Would you sign up? Let me know!

What were your happy highlights from February, and what are your plans for March? I’d love to hear your story, share it in the comments, or over on Instagram and Facebook.

Speak soon, stay creative sisters!


Peace and love,

Rachel x


August Happy Highlights // Sunray Sister


August has been a jam-packed and life-changing month for me! And today I am feeling so sleepy; perhaps you will see why when you read about all the brilliant things I got up to last month below…

What made you smile and feel alive this month?

  1. We watched the Perseid’s meteor shower with some friends – it was the first time Fraz has seen a shooting star!!! We saw so many; it was breathtaking and so magical.
  2. I’ve been getting creative with an Instagram art journal collaboration. Will share more soon!
  3. I got a postcard from one of my new pen pals, Stephanie in Puerto Rico. It’s not even her turn to write, so it was extremely sweet of her to send a postcard on her holiday! I love snail mail so much!!!
  4. My last work shift at Colston Hall was a Flaming Lips show. I got to watch almost the entire gig, and it was CRAZY AMAZZZZZIIIINNNGG!!! There were giant balloons, a huge inflatable robot, a light-up gong, a ride-on light-up unicorn, a giant bubble that the singer was inside and used to crowd-surf, glitter and colour and flashing lights everywhere… plus their songs are so cool! Highly recommend seeing The Flaming Lips live.
  5. We got some really thoughtful leaving gifts from our @Bristol work friends, including handmade flags, cute teddies, cards and a hamper filled with vegan goodies! Plus we’ve received some lovely cards from friends and family wishing us well on this new adventure.
  6. On our final night in Bristol we watched ‘Planet of the Apes’ on the big screen outside @Bristol (in the rain), with a good friend from BIMM who we hadn’t seen for ages. It was a bittersweet night, and it still doesn’t feel like we’ve really left Bristol!
  7. We moved to Leek in Staffordshire; new to me, but old to everyone else, since Fraz grew up here! But I feel so lucky to have a cosy home already, and have so much beautiful countryside to explore.
  8. We’ve had fun sharing vegan food with Fraz’s parents, with mainly positive results! I love sharing positive knowledge and actions with people.
  9. Fraz has a car!!! It feels so weird to be able to drive anywhere, just the two of us, without needing public transport or a lift from anyone else. It’s almost as if we’re adults now…!
  10. We went to the Big feast fest in Hanley with Fraz’s brother, his fiancée, and their two children. There were some amazing street performances/theatre shows, and we found a vegan café. Great company, great entertainment AND great food!
  11. Then we all went to Peak Wildlife park the next day with Fraz’s parents too. It’s a really nice open-style zoo in the middle of the countryside, and I even took the opportunity to do some sketching from life. Find some examples in my latest Instagram post, and look out for more in a blog post soon!
  12. The following day the adventures continued, as me and Fraz visited Cannock Chase, an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ (with a GoApe course which I am super keen to go on!) It was really hot and busy, but we still had a nice time wandering around the woods.
  13. After a day off we visited Castleton in the Peak District on Wednesday. We went inside the Peak Cavern and climbed up to Peveril Castle. This little village took me back to childhood/teenage holidays in the Peak District, Lake District and Snowdonia; quiet old villages, wild rolling hills and stunning endless views.
  14. Wednesday the 30th was also my mum’s birthday! I sent her a card and gift, and had a lovely conversation over the phone. I feel so lucky to have such a wonderful mummy!
  15. I found some great creative books at Leek library; they are giving me lots of creative ideas, and are helping me to focus on what I really want to create. More on that soon too!


A selfie at Peveril Castle, Castleton

…and that was August for me. Big changes and lots of adventures. What were your best bits from August? What were all the special moments and big achievements that added up to make your happy highlights?

Share your stories in the comments below, or find me over on Instagram or Facebook! See you back here for another Dear Diary post this Sunday, and possibly a YouTube video on a Wednesday sometime this month… fingers crossed!

Have a beautiful week sisters.


Peace and love,

Rachel x

Father’s Day Surprise // Sunray Sister Sings


This week on my YouTube channel I have a special little surprise for a certain someone. I know how much my dad likes to hear me sing, so I recorded myself singing to say ‘Happy Father’s Day’! This is one of the first songs I performed solo on piano about nine years ago, so I thought it would be nice to revisit it.

What are you doing for father’s day? Share your ideas and stories in the comments or over on social media.

Remember to subscribe to my channel, like the video and leave a comment. This will really help my channel grow and get seen by more and more people!

Your support means the world to me as I develop as an artist and individual. I love sharing my journey here with you all, and hope more will join us soon.

See you back here on Sunday for another weekly catch up, followed by my next YouTube video on Wednesday. In the meantime you can find me on Instagram where I’m taking part in a daily challenge called #ColourMyEveryDay.

Enjoy the rest of this sunny week sisters!


Peace and love,

Rachel x


May Happy Highlights // Monthly Favourites


Around this time, every thirty days or so, I like to look back on the past few weeks and ask: what were my favourite moments, what made me smile, what were my happy highlights? And I like to share that list with you all! So here you go…

  1. Went to see ‘Wonderland’ the musical! The tickets were an awesome birthday present from Fraz.

  2. During a shift at Colston Hall I got to watch an entire Michael Kiwanuka show! (Whilst being very professional and making sure everyone was behaving themselves of course).

  3. Went on a lovely long walk with Fraz.

  4. Took a break from social media.

  5. Received some happy post from my brilliant twin big sisters! They both sent things in the same week; they must be twins!!!

  6. Wrote two letters to my new pen-pals and included some cute extras. (I’ve made a video showing what I put in one of the packages – look out for that this Wednesday!)

  7. Went on a couple of cinema dates –  first to see the new ‘Alien’ film, and then ‘Live and Let Die’ at a fantastic film club.

  8. Started using Spotify to discover new music and remember my favourites. I will share a new playlist soon!

  9. Found out Tesco do some delicious vegan bean burgers – good for the days when no one wants to cook!!

  10. There was an incredible thunder and lightning storm in the early morning on the 27th!

What were your happy highlights from May? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below or over on social media.

It would also be great to hang out on Instagram! This month I’m taking part in a challenge from @adventuresandteaparties called #ColourMyEveryDay. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s helping me get my social media mojo back!

Coming up on Wednesday will be a fresh YouTube video, this week showing you what I’ve put in a pen pal letter! Stay tuned and have a wonderful new week.


Peace and love,

Rachel x


Retreat, Reflect, Refocus // How To Not Give-up


Before we get into today’s extremely introspective post, let’s first have a little re-cap of this month’s content, in case you missed anything:


So that was then. Now things are changing….. 

I am an ever evolving creature. I go through many seasons. And as these seasons come around again, I recognise patterns. Then gradually, very gradually, I can begin to see what I need and what I want. At times like this, when the season is changing, I often miss the signs, and start giving up. That’s how I feel now. Distracted, discouraged, depressed. Ready to give up.

Or maybe just ready to change.

I think, in these bright and beautiful Spring blossoms lies something good. I want to draw again. I want to explore paint, and digital art, stories, new universes and strange and complex characters and their adventures. Maybe in six more months when the heat has become too much, I will long for the autumn when I can shed my leaves and I’ll sing songs again. I just don’t know.

I want to help others. Yet maybe all my tutorials, and ‘here’s how to do this’, and ‘you should really be doing this’, is too much ‘tell’, and not enough ‘show’. I often feel like I’ve missed out and I’m not as good as I could be in one area, because I’ve spent so much time going back and forth. And all this time, here I am.

I need to express myself, and often don’t know how, and then I just don’t at all, and everything gets blocked up. Maybe this blog could be more of a diary. Less of a telling you to do this and that, and more of a here’s how I’m feeling, and here’s something creative that I’ve been working on.

The people who know me have seen me as a musician. And to them I have now given up on music. They want me to be a musician. And I am sure they want me to be happy. I want them to be happy; happy on their own. I don’t want to have to be a musician to make people happy. Besides, I am still and always will be a musician, and I am extremely proud of the skills and passion I have, but at this present time, I do not feel a need to share it.

I’m just in a new season now. I don’t think things can truly be given up. Music has such an irreversible grip on my soul that I don’t think it could ever disconnect from me. It is also such an emotional experience for me; every time I hear or perform music, it is often overwhelming. So as a new season came last September those leaves fell, but they are rotting back into my roots, and continue to feed me every day. Some of them have blown away, but that’s fine.


So, enough of all the metaphors. Here’s the deal. Things are going to be changing in the next few months, and I don’t know what that will look like. It’s hard to enjoy the present when the future is so hazy, but I am trying.

I think I may stop the ‘regular feature’ type posts, and get a bit more honest and real with you all. I don’t get that many views on my blog yet, so I feel at liberty to be a little inconsistent, and not meet all my promises.

I constantly set up these things that I need to follow through on, such as my Love Lessons, Creative Alternatives, Happy Highlights, Random Round-up, Playtime, Idol Eyes, Artist Dates… and that’s just on my blog. I’ve had songwriting projects, drawing projects, and most recently my doll project which is what sparked ‘Sunray Sister’. I have endless little ‘project’ ideas that I variously stick to and then abandon. Once something is created, that is not enough to me. It needs to connect to something, to lead to something, to continue without end. I often don’t know when to stop; I run over deadlines and arrive late, maybe because I don’t like leaving or finishing… I’m always analysing and perfecting and finding faults.

And here I am typing all this, as Fraz tells me about how the universe was created from one single-molecule element; that I’ve seen more of the surface of the moon than I have the surface of the earth; that we live closer to t-rex, than the t-rex lived to the stegosaurs; and we never truly touch anything due to the distance between atoms.

None of this makes me sad. It actually makes me feel enlightened, because all of my overwhelming worries don’t matter anymore. That’s why I want to help others, to get out of my own troubles. But then all these global troubles – plastic pollution, homelessness, deluded politicians, murdering innocent beings – sit on my shoulders and weigh me down. So even if I am just a minute speck in this universal existence, I could at least be the brightest spark of a speck.


So that’s now, but where next?

The plan of action for Sunray Sister:

  • Retreat = Step back from all my Sunray Sister online accounts, go offline for a bit.
  • Reflect = Look at everything I’ve done, and ask what I truly want.
  • Refocus = Come back to Sunray Sister online with a new, clearer view.

The goals for this blog:

  • Less tell, more show.
  • Honest, true and personal.
  • Be organised and have posts ready in advance.
  • Fewer ‘series’ posts, but more real projects to share progress and behind-the-scenes on: characters, stories, paintings, dolls, drawings. Real work to build up a proper art portfolio.

Well, as you might expect in a long, rambling post like this, I send you thanks and congratulations for reading this far! What are your thoughts? Have you had similar struggles in your creative career? I’d love to hear how you are working through it! Let me know in the comments or on social media.


Coming this week…

  • A new YouTube video on Wednesday, find my latest one below.
  • The last week of my Etsy sale!!!
  • A post on Friday to let you know about my digital detox, and how long I’ll be offline for!


Peace and love,

Rachel x


Spring Playlist // Playtime 10

Good evening sisters! On this sunny, sleepy Sunday I had a little wander around the local market and enjoyed a delicious roast lunch, what have you been up to?

To finish off a lovely day, I’ve put together a playlist of some of the songs I’ve been enjoying recently – with a vague Spring/nature/turning-a-new-leaf theme – for episode 10 of my Playtime series!

Find the tunes in a YouTube playlist below, and full details of all songs and artists under that. Enjoy!

  1. ‘Vitamin C’ – Can
  2. ‘Fool’ – Perfume Genius
  3. ‘Silvering’ – Lone Lady
  4. ‘Die Young’ – Sylvan Esso
  5. ‘Green Light’ – Lorde
  6. ‘It Changes’ – Amber Arcades
  7. ‘Alaska’ – Maggie Rogers
  8. ‘Roscoe’ – Midlake
  9. ‘Garden’ – C Duncan
  10. ‘The Valley’ – Laura Marling


What songs are on your current playlist? Do you love any of the songs on my playlist? Let me know your jam in the comments below or over on social media.

This week I will be sharing a new YouTube video on Wednesday, my April Happy Highlights on Friday and a little life update/goals review on Sunday. Hope to see you soon and have a brilliant joy-filled week!

Peace and love,

Rachel x


Mother’s Day Playlist // Sunray Sister Playtime 9

Happy Sunday sisters! 

I have had the most beautiful weekend: reconnecting with nature, soaking up the sunshine and getting creative; sharing stories, enjoying food and spending time with my lovely parents! I feel renewed and energised, with a new enthusiasm for my creative projects. Spring is here! What have you been up to?

Today I would like to share a new playlist with you. Seeing as it’s Mother’s Day, I have picked some awesome songs which mention mothers/mamas/strong women! Turn up the volume and have a boogie!!!

playtime 9

What tunes would be on your Mother’s Day playlist? Let me know in the comments or on social media.

See you again this Wednesday for my next YouTube video, which will feature some of my outdoors adventures from the weekend. In the meantime remember to catch up on all my other videos and enjoy the sunshine while it’s here!


Peace and love,

Rachel x


‘No Words’ Instrumental Playlist // Playtime 8

Welcome back sisters! For today’s blog post I have put together a playlist of some of my favourite instrumental songs especially for you! From beautiful piano classics and film music, to jazz and trip-hop. Find my typewriter-written list of songs and artists below, and a YouTube playlist of all 10 songs. Perfect for a chilled Sunday evening. Enjoy!



What music would be on your wordless playlist? Send me some lovely recommendations!

Coming up next will be my third YouTube video this Wednesday. Have you watched my first two videos yet?! Find the latest video below, or head straight to my channel where you can click subscribe to be notified about my latest videos, and to support this new branch of my creative journey! I need you all and every little bit of encouragement means a lot to me!!!


Peace and love,

Rachel x


Day 3: Music Playlist Celebrating Love // Sunray Sister’s 14 Days of Love

Welcome to day three of Sunray Sister’s 14 Days of Love!

Music is a big love of mine, and I’ve already been sharing this with you in my playlist feature, Playtime. So today in episode 7 of Playtime, let’s take a moment for some damn fine tunes all about love. Find the songs in a YouTube playlist below, accompanied by my sketchbook page with details of all artists and song titles, plus some collage fun!



What songs about love, do you love?! Let me know, and also send me any other musical recommendations; I’m always on the lookout for beautiful new music.

Come back tomorrow for day 5 of my 14 day celebration of love, where I’ve got a bit of a confession for you.


Peace and love to all,

Rachel x


Day 2: My Love Story // Sunray Sister’s 14 Days of Love

Welcome back to Sunray Sister’s 14 Days of Love, a two-week daily love celebration. Today I want to share my personal story of love!

It turns out writing about your own experience of love is quite hard, so I’m going to address this to Fraz, like a little letter…

My first memory of you is your smile. A huge smile. I thought you were a bit too smiley and silly. But I was shy and a bit lost. Behind that smile I found the most caring and curious man. So I let my guard down and four years later I’m never far from your warm cuddles.

I like to think we balance each other out, and also reflect each other. You are extroverted, I’m introverted; you plays games, I make art; you play drums, I sing songs; you are messy, I’m tidy. We teach each other from our point of view: I try to get you to clean up, and you show me how to play video games! I recently became vegetarian, and you love cooking, so we’ve been able to try some amazing new meals, and I feel like my eyes (and taste buds) have been opened.

After university we moved in together! To me this was a much bigger step than moving to Bristol, because we were finally out on our own. No student finance, no lectures, no parties. It has been really, really, REALLY difficult. But you are always there, and I always need you.

Last year we went on our first holiday, which was beyond words. I absolutely adore exploring and visiting new places. And I really needed a break! Being able to share it with you was so much fun. I want to travel around the whole world with you!


For now we are in rainy Bristol: working away, paying our bills, cooking nice meals and creating endless piles of washing-up. Reading, playing, making, laughing, listening, watching, and mostly having fun together. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Thank you Fraz for four years together, I hope this lasts forever.


What is your experience of love sisters? Tell me something sweet in the comments. Come back tomorrow for day 3 of Sunray Sister’s 14 Days of Love, when it will be Playtime!


Peace and love,

Rachel x