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;
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)
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;
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.
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)
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)
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;
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”
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.
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
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.
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;
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.
I’m not really enjoying how non-summery the weather seems to keep trying to be lately. I am not really ready for summer to end – although September is looking good in terms of stuff to do.
Here’s this weeks list
1. (I cheated and got this from a stock photo online) After weeks and weeks of procrastinating, I went swimming this lunchtime. This time last year, I was swimming twice a week as I was based in a different office and the pool on campus was only a few minutes walk away. It’s more like 5-10 mins walk now and I’ve been using that as an excuse to drag my feet about going even though it was something that really benefited me while I was doing it. Anyway, I promised someone that I would at least try it out to see if it was do-able to have a swim in my lunchbreak and, well…it is. I’d had a really sore/stiff back all morning too and just 20 mins in the pool loosened it right up and stopped me staggering around this afternoon.
2. This is a picture from volume one of Rat Queens which I read yesterday afternoon. My friend Sara lent it to me and I really liked it. I mean, booze swilling, swearing maidens for hire? What’s not to like? Pictured is Hannah, who is a Rockabilly Elven Mage.
3. This weekend I went on a little Saturtday wander around Coventry with Joe. I finally walked over the curly blue bridge by the Transport Museum! We also ate some vegan sushi and checked out the new ice cream parlor – Creams. I had some very good blueberry and mango sorbet.
4. Now this one comes with it’s own warning – now I’m mid-30s, I can’t handle week night drinking AND staying up past midnight. Still, it was worth falling asleep at 7pm the next night to enjoy a mid week BBQ last week with some friends in Leamington. It was one of those perfect summer evenings and we even got to see a couple of meteors streaking across the sky.
Ahh, Tuesday! I’m not in my usual Tuesday mood as I had a long weekend so today is my Monday. Which means by Friday I should be pleasantly surprised by how quickly the week has gone.
Here’s this weeks list;
1. I had a nice day out on Saturday with Joe visiting the Herbert Art Gallery. We went to see their exhibition about Children’s TV from 1946 to present. I was especially happy to see Pob, as I have quite strong childhood memories of watching him and I can still hum the theme song and can remember watching various 80’s celebs following his trail of unwound wool around a garden.
There was also lots of events for the Festival of the Imagineers in the city centre. We got to see the 9m tall Godiva and her horse that’s powered by bicycle.
We topped the day off with a amaretto sour at Drapers and shared a plate of chips.
2. Last Thursday I went along to a free yoga class with a friend of mine. I used to practice yoga fairly frequently when I still lived in Wolverhampton but I hadn’t done it for years. It was really nice to stretch out and focus on my breathing again. Afterwards, I walked home rather than getting the bus and was rewarded with this beautiful sunset.
and here are some things that I don’t have pictures for…
♥ I’m still slowly working on de-cluttering and I’ve just dropped off a box of 45 CDs/DVDs/Books that we are getting rid of and have more to take to the charity shop at the weekend.
♥ I’m really enjoying spending time reading again recently and I’ve been working through books from the library and my to-read pile
♥ It’s been a tough few weeks in terms of mental health but I’m coping. I had a difficult but necessary appointment yesterday that I’m proud of myself for attending.
♥ I’m aware of feeling quite lonely at the moment but I’m trying where I can to reach out to people and I’m getting a lot of love in return.
♥ Creatively, I’m really happy with all the projects I am working on. More on this & pictures another time!
I’m feeling extra celebratory this week. Maybe because it’s been a hard week emotionally and physically so I have been extra mindful to look out for good things where I can.
Here’s this weeks list;
1. I had my first bubble tea on Sunday! I think it was slightly different to the usual ones as it was made with fruity pobbles instead of the usual tapioca pearls. I had coconut juice with lychee flavour pobbles* which was a very good flavour combination. I’m looking forward to trying more.
2. I brought yarn to start a new knitting pattern. It’s going to be a winter jumper. I’m quite a decent knitter, but I rarely make large garments and tend to stick to smaller projects like hats and mitts. I’m also pretty rubbish at doing stuff like tension squares. I bit the bullet this time and checked my tension today for this project and whaddya know – it was spot on first time!
3. It’s my firm belief that it’s not a proper fried breakfast without some kind of potato product. We levelled up our fry up this weekend with these hash brown waffles. Good hash brown taste but with pleasing waffly shape.
4. I had a lovely day out in Birmingham on Sunday looking for the big hoot owls that are all over the city. While over there I treated myself to a few nice bits including the mindfulness issue of Flow magazine which I had been planning on buying from their online store. I haven’t properly read it yet but I really like the mix of articles and ideas they have included. I also splashed out on a multipack of muji pens as I use them everyday and the multipacks had some exciting colours that can’t be brought singularly. I get a lot of pleasure out of doodling with them or making multi-coloured lists.
5. As part of our owl hunt, we walked down to the Custard Factory area of Digbeth. We only found 2 owls but there was lots of beautiful and colourful graffiti and street art there. This piece particularly caught my eye.
6. We finished off our day out with food at one of my favourite places to eat in Birmingham – café soya. I tried the mock duck pancakes for the first time and really enjoyed them (I’ve never eaten real duck so I’m not sure how they compare) It was a very generous portion they served as well, definitely enough for 2 people to share.
Till next time…
* pobbles is a very pleasing word to say but less easy to google.