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)

Tiny things Tuesday #31

Ah, it’s another of those Tuesdays that’s masquerading as a Monday. I had a really nice long weekend. I didn’t do anything yesterday aside from stay home, read some zines from my huge to-read pile, did some de-cluttering, watched lots of episodes of the office and worked on my crochet blanket.

I’m half excited about it being September and the imminent arrival of autumn, which is a season I love but also wishing for a little more sunshine and a little less rain. Still, I’m off on holiday soon so that should help.

Here’s this weeks things;

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1. I really like this photo I took of myself at the weekend. I mainly took it to show off the lovely new bee necklace that I treated myself to from punkypins. I wore this both times when I went out over the weekend as well as to work today and got so many compliments on it. It’s a really well made piece too and I’m impressed at the quality and price. Looking forward to buying some more stuff from their site.

2. If it wasn’t really obvious – I LOVE stationery. More specifically kawaii stationery. I’ve treated myself to a couple of parcels of stuff from some Japanese shops over the last few months. I used to get the monthly kawaii boxes from blippo but I got a bit tired of them as although there was usually something cute that I liked in each months box, overall there was a lot of stuff that I wasn’t mad about and it felt quite wasteful especially when I could just pick out something I actually loved each month instead. There is a still a surprised element as the sellers I have brought from have included a few extra items each time. The two shops that I have brought from on etsy and recommend are Pikwahchan and Geluk. It’s so nice to get home to a cute package of pens, stickers, post-it notes and washii tape ♥

3. I went out a couple of times over the weekend to hang out with various people. On the Saturday the Vegan Grindhouse had a van at Fargo village in collaboration with Twisted Barrel taphouse. I had this excellent burger with pineapple, bacon, cheese, various sauces and a side of BBQ beans. All vegan, all delicious and eaten in the sunshine.

4. I read this book today and it made me cry. Without going into too many details or giving away spoilers – I saw a lot of parallels to my own life. The last part of the book made me cry a fair few times but also gave me a lot to reflect on in terms of loss, growth and creativity. It also really made me want to start taking photos with my proper camera of tiny, beautiful details again.

Till next time…

Indietracks 2015

Indietracks 2015 was a lot of fun – although the rain was a bit more of a theme than I was hoping for. I haven’t really been one for going to festivals as an adult. My experience has been pretty much limited to one ATP weekend, day visits to things and some all-dayer or weekend events where I have stayed in hostels/kipped on people’s floors. I went to indietracks for the first time last year and I had such a good time that I pretty much decided I would be going again the next year (and booked my annual leave as soon as the dates were announced)

I travelled to Derbyshire with Joe and one of my best friends, Kate on Friday morning. Kate has a car which means we could lug a lot more stuff than some of our campmates so I took advantage of this to pack every possible thing I thought may be of use. A light packer, I am not.

We arrived at Golden Valley campsite at around 1pm and met up with Sarah who had also just arrived. We put up out tent while it was spitting with rain but thankfully didn’t get too wet. We spent a few hours lazing around and making a nest of sleeping bags on the big double airbed in an attempt to get warm while waiting for the others to arrive. Aside from the School, I hadn’t heard much of any of the Friday night bands but they were all good.

Hanging out in the bedroom of our tent.  Cozy!
Hanging out in the bedroom of our tent. Cozy!
Me and Kate, enjoying the sunshine (not pictured) on Saturday
Me and Kate, enjoying the sunshine (not pictured) on Saturday

Saturday morning we woke up pretty cold but to sunshine! I headed off to get a shower and then lazed around on the grass with the others drinking coffee and chatting. I wandered back up to the site to see Lost Pets who I had seen play in London before.

Lost Pets on the Church Stage
Lost Pets on the Church Stage
Bill & Paul from Allo Darlin sharing their problems with Niall
Bill & Paul from Allo Darlin sharing their problems with Niall

There was a lot of good bands playing on Saturday – we saw Desperate Journalist who blew me away, Coleen Green who I enjoyed despite not being able to her her set every well, Tigercats who were great fun and made me want to dance and Steven James Adams who closed the Church Stage on Sunday and lead us all outside for a final sing-along on the climbing frame. I also got some life coaching advice from Niall from Spook School in his workshop which involved celebrity appearances and throwing skips at people.

Jo from Desperate Journalist
Jo from Desperate Journalist

The pains of being pure at heart were lovely to watch as the sun went down and I had a bit of a dance at the disco before heading back to the tent to have a maple bourbon night cap before bed.

Pains of being pure at heart as the sun goes down
Pains of being pure at heart as the sun goes down
Beautiful Saturday night sky
Beautiful Saturday night sky

Sunday rolled around and a few of us went to get a cooked breakfast at the campsite café. So good and just what I needed at this point. Sadly, it started raining while we were in there and didn’t really stop for the rest of the day. I was pretty determined to make the best of it all the same. We headed back up to the site and took back in the quiz – we came somewhere mid table which was pretty respectable and I even got a few questions right. Here’s our quiz team – “the sea is a good place to think of the next line”

Our quiz team ponders the answers to the picture round
Our quiz team ponders the answers to the picture round

I didn’t see as many bands due to the “inclement weather” but Colour me Wednesday were great and worth braving the increasingly heavy rain for. I was sad to miss the Tuts as they were great when I saw them in Coventry but I did go to the indiepop speed dating workshop that my friends Sarah and Emily ran and that was fun. I met someone who has just moved to Coventry! thiw was actually the second person I met from Coventry over the weekend as I got chatting to someone while in the queue to the loos who turned out to not only also be from Coventry, but to work at the same place as me.

I made Kate stop in the rain so I could take this pic of her with a train.
I made Kate stop in the rain so I could take this pic of her with a train.

My favourite band of the weekend was of course Martha. I think this may actually have been the first time I have properly seen them play (last year I saw them play an impromptu set in the merch tent) they did not disappoint. Seeing them all decided to crowdsurf at the end made me stupidly happy. The train shed second stage was pretty much rammed by this point as everything had been pulled off of the outdoor stage and moved inside. After their set, we planned to stick around and watch some/all of the Go Team! but exhaustion and rain got the better of us and we headed back to the campsite to take down the outer part of our tent in the pouring rain and headed home around 11pm

Last campers standing and enjoying cans of pop, post Martha on Sunday
Last campers standing and enjoying cans of pop, post Martha on Sunday

Favourites parts; drinking shandy and eating dry roasted peanuts on the train bar, lazy Saturday morning in the sunshine, the Gopals curry I had on Saturday evening, dancing in the disco on Saturday evening, Niall from Spook School’s workshop (and later onstage performance with Martha) hanging out with pals, watching bands on the Church Stage, putting on snuggly socks at night in my sleeping bag and staying warm, singing along to Party Hard on the way home with the heaters blasting us dry.

See you next year!

Tiny things Tuesday #30

It’s been quite a nice, chilled out week. I managed to swim twice last week and to attend a yoga class. I finally feel like I am finally starting to get a little bit of energy back after being laid up for months with no energy, aches and pains from having a vitamin D deficiency.

An exciting thing that happened was I discovered my comp zine ‘rebel, rebel’ had been featured on the Zines Facebook page.

Here’s this week list;

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1. I got my first early bird box through today. I haven’t tried any of the snacks yet as I am saving them for work tomorrow but they look pretty good. I like the idea of the box giving you snacks & tea, as well as art on the box and introduction to new music via their weekly email. Apparently you can get a free box (as can I!) by going to www.earlybird.fm and entering my share code which is chili-3407.

2. As I may have mentioned before, I collect copies of Alice in Wonderland. I tend to seek out copies with different illustrations to most famous ones by John Tenniel. Only last week I became aware that Tove Jansson (creator of the Moomins) had illustrated it as well. My copy arrived today and it’s beautiful.

3. Me and Joe started filling out this book on the first of August. Although we live together, we don’t always spend that much time together during the week, so it’s been fun to spend a little bit of time filling this out and reading what the other person has written. The questions are pretty varied and there is space for two people to complete it each day for 3 years.

4. On Sunday night I was feeling a bit frazzled from a combination of that back to work feeling and various notifications appearing on various devices. Whatever I looked at on my phone, my attention kept skipping on to the next thing and it was making me feel quite anxious. I decided to shut down technology-wise for the night and spent a good hour or so playing with my ukulele and trying to work out how to play a few new songs. It was really relaxing and enjoyable and I need to remind myself sometimes how much I benefit for taking a break from the endless scrolling through updates and to focus on myself and shrink my world down to just the room I am in.

Till next time…

Zines!

I’ve finally updated the zine page on here with all of my current issues. Check it out if you are interested in buying any issues and get in touch with me if you’d like to trade.

I like perzines, stuff about mental health, recovery from addiction, some music based zines, stuff about veganism, sustainable living, queer culture and other similar bits.