Tiny things Tuesday #39

I think I may finally be starting to shake of this cold/cough that I feel like I have had for months. Plus, I’m going to see The Spook School this week so things are looking up

Here’s this weeks things;

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1. I came home from work last night and felt full of energy so I made a vegan chilli (which I enjoyed this evening) as well as this spicy coconut and butternut squash soup. I like making soup but I do find that I tend to stick to my old favourites. This is one of those. For anyone that fancies the look of this – my vague method is as follows;

  • Cut a medium size butternut squash in half, scoop out the seeds and roast it in the oven until it’s soft and squishy.
  • Leave the squash to cool slightly and fry a chopped medium onion in some oil until it’s soft. If you feel like it, add in some garlic too.
  • Once the onions are cooked, stir in 1-2 tablespoons of Thai curry paste depending on how spicy you like it. I have used green and red types before. The one I picked up from Tesco this week is vegan friendly and doesn’t have any fish in it. It’s probably better to add less at this point and then add more after the final stage if you want more of a kick
  • Scoop out the cooked squash flesh and add that into the pan and give it a mix around
  • Empty in a whole can of coconut milk and stir well to mix all the flavours together
  • Simmer for 5-10 mins and then use a hand blender to (carefully) blitz your soup

Last night I decided to be fancy and I roasted the squash seeds that I had set aside and sprinkled these on top of the soup before serving. I’m not entirely sure it worked as they quite chewy but it looked good!

2. I read this book this week. I’d wanted to read it for a while but the shipping had always worked out super expensive where ever I saw it online until I realised I could get it as an ebook. Without going into too many details, it was both a happy and sad story. After reading “A little Life”, I thought this would be a softer and gentler read and in some ways it was but…oh, that ending. I’m glad I finally got to read it though.

Right, I have another Japanese speaking assessment tomorrow, so I’d better carry on revising.

Till next time…

Tiny things Tuesday #38

Ah, I can’t believe this is only the second one of these that I’ve written in November. It’s been a month full of germs, blankets and hibernating for me. For this post my photos really reach a new low because it’s pretty dark in here and I’m feeling wahy to lazy to try and get good shots of these things. Sorry, but not really because who really gives a crap about the quality of pics on here. No-one.

Here’s this weeks things

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1. New boots! I finally decided it was time to stop shelling out for new boots every winter that would fall apart by spring and reverted back to my 13 year old self and brought these beautiful vegan purple Doc Martens (they were in the sale too as an added bonus). You can’t see on the photo but they are 14 hole ones. I’ve just ordered some ribbon laces to pretty them up with. It’s taken me a few weeks of wearing them at home to ease them up a bit but I’m now ready to unleash them into the world.

2. A little life – I got this absolute brick of a book out of the library on Friday after hearing a few friends rave about it. I knew it was going to be a bit of a tough emotional journey but I don’t think I quite expected it to be this tough. That said, it was beautifully written and something I have been thinking about on and off since I finished it. It did feel like a perfect winter book to curl up with. I have a feeling parts of this story are going to keep coming back to me. I also really enjoyed finding this instagram inspired by the book that the author and another person maintains.

3. One of the advantages of not having a next gen console is that I can pick up very playable and engrossing games for under a tenner (or in a lot of cases, under £5) I’m currently playing Fallout 3 as seemingly the rest of the world is playing the newly released 4th game. It feels like such good value because I’ll get 30+ hours of entertainment out of this game so it’s defintely helping me to save some cash! I’m finding it a pretty relaxing way to spend time when I get home from work, wandering around the post apolcalyptic wasteland, scavenging for items and fighting other dwellers.

4. New vegan friendly snack alert! Found these in Sainsburys tonight in the Christmas section. They taste just like I remember tangy toms crisps tasting like from when I was a kid. Have had to stop myself eating the whole bag as I have a takeaway being delivered soon (ah pay day luxury!)

and on a final note, I stumbled across Kimya Dawson’s beautiful cover of “Game Shows touch our lives” on the Tallahassee turns ten album. If it wont play on that website, you can hear it here as well.

Till next time…

Something else instead

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I went to see Martha play in Birmingham last night with Radiator Hospital and Okinawa Picture Show. I’m pretty rubbish at going out on weeknights but this was worth the effort. After a weekend of tears and feelings of “what’s the point?” I needed something to remind me that I can still feel ok, I can still feel like it’s ok to be me – awkward face, words and all. Going to gigs like this does that for me.

“Oh my heart, I try to keep it open,
Oh my heart, I try to keep it full,
There’s a world outside where I feel so broken,
But you make me feel mendable”
– six men getting sick six times

I’ve been playing this song over and over for the past few weeks. I would have loved to hear them play it last night but never mind. Go and download it here and fling ’em some cash because they are great and make things a little brighter.

Tiny things Tuesday #37

Just a little post this week as I’m full of cold and have been sick in bed since last week. Today was my first day back at work and it was a struggle. By the time I got home, I was pretty much just good for flopping on the bed and listening to some podcasts. I did listen to a learning Japanese one though so I felt like I had been at least a little productive.

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1. As previously hinted – I had a nice day out last Wednesday day in Birmingham looking around the shops, having lunch with a friend and then in the evening I attended a silver ring making course. It was a birthday present from my Mum as I’d fancied giving silversmithing a try for a while and this seemed like a nice introduction. It was held at the Quarter workshop which is in the Coffin Works building in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham. The tutor – Victoria was very friends and it was a small class of just 5 of us. I had such a nice time learning some basic techniques like sawing, shaping, soldering and sanding (and using a blow torch!).

I’m proudly wearing my silver ring (with a hammered decorative finish) on my little finger.

2.My friend Kerrie gave me some different teas to try when she heard I was ill. I had a cup of lime and ginger this morning and it lifted my spirits to enjoy something warm but to also know I have such caring and considerate friends around me (and for anyone who likes my mug, it was from Wilkos).

Till next time…

Tiny things Tuesday #36

I’ve had a really good week – at the weekend I tabled on Saturday at the first Femmington Spa Queer fest I got to chat to lots of nice people and see some great music included Cath Elms and Jesus and his Judgemental Father. On Sunday I went to the wedding of two friends and it was a gorgeous day. I felt so touched to have been included and I really enjoyed seeing lots of people who I used to skate with and haven’t seen anywhere near enough this year.

I’ve got exciting things planned for tomorrow (I’m on annual leave for the day) but I’ll leave it till next week to write about that!

Here’s this weeks things;

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1. I know almost every week it now feels like one of my things is OMG AUTUMN COLOURS! but seriously, have a look at how beautiful it was on campus yesterday. I’ve been trying to get out more on my lunch breaks (and not just so I can up my fitbit steps to compete in the working week challenge) and it’s really helping.

2. Did I mention that I’m a student (sort of) again? I’ve taken up evening classes in beginners Japanese and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve only had two lessons so far but it feels good to be learning. I’ve never had much natural aptitude for languages so I’m expecting it to be quite tough but each little bit I learn helps and there is no real pressure on me to be able to be brilliant immediately. I’ve been doodling the hiragana characters I have been learning while on the phone at work to practice my script.

3. We’ve had no internet at home for days now (thanks Talk Talk, you bunch of assholes!) so there has been no Netflix or other video streaming for me. Instead I’ve been finally listening to Welcome to Nightvale. The host, Cecil has such a soothing voice. I haven’t got to any of the parts with Carlos yes though so I’m looking forward to that.

4. I took part in an Autumn swap organised by Ingrid. I walked to the sorting office tonight to collect mine. I got this amazing package from my giftee – it contained some pumpkin shaped fairy lights (which are already up in my living room) some temporary tattoos, a spiced apple lip balm, a sparkly Alice in Wonderland pencil, a teacup shaped ring, all the ingredients to make vegan smores and a candle to melt the marshmallows over. The whole lot was wrapped up in a bright orange skull print scarf <3 it was great fun to open and I look forward to using all the things. image

As it’s national black cat day, here’s one last bonus picture of our cat – Cabaret. He woke us up at quarter to 7 by siting on Joe’s pillow and loudly licking himself. Best cat!

Till next time…

Coping

“And I’m too tired to care about it
Can’t you see this in my face?
The emphasis is on coping”

Less blue skies days and more rain has left me feeling glum. Not entirely depressed, but also not that far off. Some days I have been one bad thing away from ending up in tears. I haven’t felt up to writing recently – which is usually the times I most need to.

I want to write another zine but I feel blocked. I’ve been mulling over what the point is of me writing these when there are so many other more interesting, creative and prolific zinesters. There is no art is my sadness, I’m no good at expressing myself in any way that will give people an insight on their own condition. I suppose I just write as a form of therapy – I write to work out how I feel about things, to process my opinions and work out my own biases and weak points. I think lately I have focussed too much creative energy on the final thing I am making, rather than to look at the path I take to get there and all the benefits that brings me.

Here’s a list of tiny tiny tiny things that have been keeping me going;
♥ 150 new emojis ♥ borrowing ebooks from the library ♥ Goat Simulator ♥ Learning hiragana characters ♥ Bumping into fellow ingress players on campus ♥ Replaying Monument Valley ♥ Finding jeans that fit & are comfy ♥ Meeting friends for brunch on the weekends ♥ Listening to podcasts on the bus to and from work ♥ Trying out new Just Dance songs (I have 3 discs now) ♥ Clean sheets ♥ Finally filling my paper journal ♥ Seeing beautiful sunsets from train or bus windows

Tiny things Tuesday #35

It’s so grey outside. I don’t approve of this. I had a nice weekend where I got to hang out with my partners family, walk by the sea, eat chips, drink wine and generally relax. In work all week this week but looking forward to the weekend where the first Zero Church night is happening in Coventry and the spending some time in Manchester next Monday and Tuesday.

I’m starting a beginners Japanese course at work tomorrow, which I am a mix between excited and nervous about. Languages are not a strong skill of mine but this does feel like a tiny step towards one of my dreams of visiting Japan.

Here’s this weeks things;

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1. Autumn leaves and blue skies are making me so happy at the moment. I can’t help but take pictures whenever I see them because it feels like such a fleeting time of year. I’ve been trying to get out of my office at lunchtimes whenever I see it’s sunny outside.

2. I had a bath in this amazing tub at the weekend. I do love a good bath and I’m pretty sure this was my first time in a free standing tub. It felt very decadent! The only thing that would have made it better was the addition of some lush products and maybe a glass of something chilled!

Till next time…

Tiny things Tuesday #34

I didn’t post last week cos I felt pretty burnt out after work. It’s a busy time of year to work in a university. This week I am struggling with my mental health so I’m very much focussing on the little things that are keeping me going (like listening to this new song by Martha on repeat). I’m planning a quiet, stay at home kind of week so I can recover and hopefully get some energy back.

Here’s this weeks list;

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1. My new favourite snack! Edamame (or soya) beans. I brought these frozen from Tesco, left a portion to defrost overnight in the freezer and then added a tiny pinch of sea salt. So good! (I love them in the pods too but I can’t seem to find any locally)

2. A few months ago I watched a documentary on Netflix called Mortified Nation. I didn’t know what to expect of it from the description (adults getting up on stage and sharing their teenage diaries) but it was a really affirming and funny documentary. Fast forward to last week and one of my line managers mentioned the podcast to me. I had no idea that the people involved had done anything beyond the film so this was a nice surprise. Each podcast focuses on one person and excerpts from their journals read aloud at one of the live mortified stage events, plus there is a follow up interview with that person. They are a good mix of funny, sad, affirming and cringe worthy!

3. I’ve always been on the side of real books over e-books but I finally brought a kindle last week. So far – I love it! I’ve been using it mainly to read comics (such as Phonogram and The Wicked + The Divine) Its definitely made me want to keep a closer eye on Humble Bundle’s book section. Featured in the picture is Doll Hospital which is an excellent art and literature journal about mental health. I missed out on getting a physical copy but now I feel like I can get cosy under blankets and curl up with m digital copy.

4. I’ve been playing Just Dance 1&2 on the wii over the last few weeks as a way to get some exercise without having to leave the house. It’s a lot of fun and after about 3 songs, I am usually sweating quite a lot so it must be doing something (even aside from my lack of coordination and inability to stick to the moves)

Till next time…

Tiny things Tuesday #33

And just like that, my holiday is over and I’m back at work today.

I had a wonderful time in Barcelona and I’m planning to write at least 1 post about it (maybe 2 if I decided to do a separate post just about all the amazing vegan places I ate at)

Returning to my “normal” life, back at work today was a bit of a slog. Still…4 day week and all that!

Here’s this weeks list;

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1. I went to a BBQ at the weekend at a friend’s house – one of the other guests decided to knock up some fresh focaccia bread at the party and it was so delicious. I decided to have a go at making my own yesterday. I used this recipe and I’m really happy with how it came out. I will definitely make it again and perhaps add more seasonings/ingredients like chopped olives and sundried tomatoes it the dough before cooking it.

2. I had left over taaka daal for lunch today and it was so good. Really garlicky and comforting to eat. Made my first day back at work a little easier. I’m trying to get in the habit of not eating all of my takeaway when we have one and splitting it into two meals. I always end up over stuffed when I eat it all so this way seems better plus I get to enjoy it for longer.

3. My friend Donna went to Tokyo on holiday and sent me this wonderful package of Alice items. Thank you Donna – they are so beautiful! There is a notebook, a tiny writing set and some balm. I love the floral patterns on it.

4. I signed up to pinclub a few months ago and this was my second arrival. I really love how it’s not gold toned edging as so many pins seem to be. I also love his little grumpy face and the heart shaped bubbles. I look forward to seeing what I get next month.

A lot of the small things that I have been enjoying this week have been things that I haven’t photographed (or am not able to). Things like the gratitude I felt today when someone I only know in passing at work has offered to help fix my bike for me, returning home to a very dribbly and affectionate cat, sleeping in my own bed, working on winter survival plans, replying to letters and pinning many, many craft ideas on pinterest.

Till next time…

Tiny things Tuesday #32

It’s a busy week at work, so I feel somewhat flustered and like my attention is being pulled in a lot of different directions at the moment. I have been attempting to have a relaxing evening tonight but I still have too many things catching my attention and not enough time!

I’ve had a pretty good first week of September. I went to see my Mum and Nan back in Essex. It was nice to spend some quiet time there and to also drive my Mum’s car (I passed my test when I was 17 but I barely drive these days so it was good to remind myself that I still can)

Here’s this weeks things (only a small one tonight)

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1. This time next week I will be in Barcelona (and most likely without wi-fi access so there almost certainly wont be a TTT) I’m in holiday countdown mode at the moment and I’m enjoying planning, researching and making notes in a specially bought notebook. I’m by nature, a planner – it makes me feel organised and secure to have lists of places I want to visit, directions and other useful details jotted down. Plus, I feel like it adds to my excitement about the trip to spend time looking up where to go and what to do. I spent some time with my Mum at the weekend and she showed me photos from her trip there too. I’ve found so many exciting looking places to visit as well as a lot of vegan or vegan friendly places. I also did some of my planning while enjoying my first pumpkin spice latte of the season.

2. I have started collecting the hardback books of the Moomin stories. I only have 2 so far but there are an absolute joy to read. Wonderful stories that makes me think of bright clear skies, escapism and adventure and colourful, charming illustrations. So far I have Finn Family Moomintroll and The Moomins and the Great Flood. The pnly problem is that the latter seems to be the only one published by Sort of publishers whereas the others in the series are published by Puffin books. I do like to have series of books that match but I guess this cant be helped.

Till next time… (just maybe a week later than usual)