The busiest week (and a half)

A little catch up on some things I have been up to lately. It was my birthday on the 27th of May and I turned 35. It was a good but incredibly busy week socially on top of a really busy week at work so everything that wasn’t sleeping, already arranged social engagements and finishing up stuff ready for North West Zine Fest fell by the wayside.

Some highlights of my birthday and surrounding days
(I didn’t really take many pics so there wont be many in this post)

☆ I went to see the Alice’s Adventures Underground play in London which was really fun and well put together. It was part play and part interactive experience. We went in at our specified time spot and then got separated off further into smaller groups. Each group had a different story although there was a lot of cross over. I would definitely recommend checking it out while it’s still on. The location under London Bridge works really well too.

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☆ I went to see the Julie Ruin (also in London) The gig was wonderful – it has been so inspiring to see this band and Sleater-Kinney play this year and to be reminded that there is nothing at all stopping me making music except for my own fear.

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I managed to not see anyone else I knew who was going though sadly and we had to dash off very fast after the gig to make the last train back to Coventry (on which we had a fairly eventful journal speaking to a lovely lady from New York who then missed her stop – eek!)

☆ I went to Birmingham with Joe and ate at Café Soya, brought stamps and browsed bookshops (aka my favourite type of day out)

☆ I went to NWZF and debuted my new zine (Rebel Rebel) I didn’t make it to any workshops in the end. I heard really good stuff about them all though. I had a lovely day hanging out with old friends and chatting to some new people. I really enjoyed tabling in between Emma Jane and Emily (who writes D&D virgin) so thanks to both. I shared my table with my friend Sarah who was selling her zines and some super cute brooches she made. She gifted me her last one at the end of the day so it wouldn’t be a lonely typewriter on it’s own.

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I found my scrappy list of possible things to do this year on my phone earlier and one of the items was having a zine fest in Coventry. Going to NWZF made me want to do this. I did go to a zine fest in Coventry this year BUT it wasn’t really a positive experience for me. It came over as more of a self publishing/small press fair and I was looking for something more DIY/radical/not for profit. I can’t relate to events where an A5 photocopied zine is being sold for £5.

☆ On my actual birthday I had to work but look at allll the vegan chocolate and sweets that my work colleagues gave me. They also got me a lovely coloring book, new pencils and some Alice stickers and post-its. I felt really spoiled and also like they very much get me!

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☆ and finally, I went to see the Moomins on the Rivera film which was lovely. The voices seemed a little weird at first but I soon got used to them and it was just a lovely relaxing film to watch on a Sunday morning.

Tiny things Tuesday #20

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1. I got these headphones for my birthday and they are excellent. The sound quality is really good – lots of bass and they feel comfortable to wear. It’s actually making old songs sound new because I can hear different parts that my old crappy headphones didn’t pick up on.

I also love the bright orange colour of them. I have found myself really drawn to orange and yellow accessories and stationery lately – more so that I have ever been before.

2. I was meant to see No Ditching at the weekend but their Birmingham gig fell through so I was feeling a bit glum. Luckily my friend Sarah visited for a sleepover and craft session. On Sunday we spent a few hours at a guinea pig and rabbit rescue cleaning out the piggies and cuddling some of the babies. I love the noises that guinea pigs make. It’s so cute to hear them chatting away to each other. It was so lovely and relaxing and I’m looking forward to going back to the rescue again soon to help out again.

3. Sarah also taught me how to DIY screen print at home using muslin, an embroidery hoop, acrylic paint and grease proof paper. I made this little print of a silver Totoro outline last night when I got home and I’m pretty happy with how it came out. I haven’t had much luck attempting to add further details on top yet but I need to experiment further I think. Learning new skills (especially ones that I can do at home for little money) really energises me. I have been thinking about other ideas since the weekend.

4. There is yet another free Moomin app out and this one can be used to add cute Moomin themed borders and pictures to photos. I will of course be decorating all my pictures this summer using this app.

(also, the link says it’s coming soon on iOS but it’s now out)

Till next time…

Tiny things Tuesday #19

There was no post last week for reasons I will explain in my next post (the short version – I’ve been really busy) I missed writing in here though. I have lots of ideas for things to write about and changes I would like to make to this website but I lack the time to properly sit down and do them.

Here’s this weeks list;

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1. Ready Player One – this book was recommended to me by stall mate at NWZF – Emily (who writes D&D virgin) I’m absolutely loving this so far. It’s been a while since I felt so engrossed in a book and I’m reading on the bus and at lunchtimes to squeeze in any extra time I can.

2. Brooches – In the last year especially I seem to have a growing collection of brooches that I wear on my coats/cardigans/jackets. I’ve been enjoying how much these brighten up my mostly plain clothes and add a focus point to some outfits. My favorite one is this little guinea pig dude who was made by Inki Designs. Also pictured is the glittery lips brooch from February’s Lucky dip club.

3. My Stay Home Club top just arrive and I’m already wearing it. I love the design and it fits ok (despite it being my most hated “one size fits all” style) This is pretty much my motto at the moment. I’m living my days at work just looking forward to getting home.

4. I just got an order of zines from Fight Boredom distro in Canada*. With these, my haul from NWZF and all the books I got for my birthday, I am going to be set for a while. I’m feeling so fired up about zines at the moment so having loads to read, is really giving me energy, inspiration and strength.

& now, back to my book.

Till next time…

* the website is actually offline at the moment, hence no link.

Tiny things Tuesday #18

I’m so tired. I worked 6 days last week and averaged about 15,000 steps each day (7.5 miles) I just feel like I could spent a week sleeping. I’m glad we have a long weekend coming up even though I have a far few things planned for the weekend.

This weeks list…

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1. I’ve been really into making my own pesto lately. Vegan pesto tends to come only in one type – plain basil. I made some roasted red pepper pesto the other night by blending the peppers with pine nuts, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper. It went a lot further than I expected and wasn’t too expensive to make aside from the pine nuts but I probably went slightly OTT with them. I blended all the ingredients with a stick blender until it was smooth and enjoyed it over pasta with some vegan Parmesan cheese.

2. With my ever growing love of GPS based games – I needed a portable power supply that lasted a decent amount of time. Last week I went to my first Ingress meet up and found out about the wonder of Anker batteries. I got myself am Anker 2nd Gen Astro E6 and it’s very impressive. It takes a few hours to charge but then gives me more than enough power to charge my phone (iphone 4s) a few times over before running out. It’s much more powerful than other portable batteries I have had which only really gave given enough juice to half charge my phone and are good for an emergency but not really for gaming or being out for the whole day.

My Anker was reasonably priced (around £30) and came with it’s own storage pouch and a charging lead (but not USB socket). I love how it has 3 USB ports on it, so I can share it with other when I am out. I think its going to be a “must carry” piece of kit for me.

3. I spent this evening watching The Office (US) on Netflix and folding and cutting copies of my past zines to take along to North West Zine Fest at the end of the month. Who else is going? It should be a really good day with tons of my favorite people.

I’m hoping to have issues 2, 3 and 4 of ellipsis on my stall as well as my new zine about small acts of rebellion (which I really hope I can finish, copy and debut) and some felt brooches. I just need a few more hours in each day to do all of this.

On that note, sleep time for me.

Till next time…

Tiny things Tuesday #17

It’s exam season where I work, which means my days are becoming very hectic. I have been staying close to home and conserving my energy as best as I can. Being busy has actually been a blessing at work as it has made the day fly by. I have a balance of enough to do but not so much that it’s piling on top of me.

I’m still going to my mindfulness class on a Tuesday night so I am finding that I want to write these posts and then fall head first into bed. So without further delay, here’s this weeks list;

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1. Eating these type of instant noodles in their own cardboard bowl reminds me of reading Microserfs by Douglas Coupland (and writing this reminds me that I’m probably due a re-read) I got rained on at lunchtime today and was in need of something warm, comforting and cheap for my lunch. The convenience store on campus has lots of international products and I love how many of the noodles, rice crackers etc. are accidentally vegan. They also get bonus points for having added dried veggies and other exciting things that make them a cut above a bog standard pot noodle!

2. This was my somewhat immature way of cheering myself after the awful election result the other day. I’m not going to get on my political soapbox here but the result saddened and depressed me and made me worry for the future of a lot of my friends. I’m trying to counteract it with humour, good music (ONSIND, the Lovely Eggs & Against me) and thinking what I can do to help make world a little better in a local sense.

3. Because I have been so busy with exams and walking around campus, it means I am easily hitting (and exceeding) my 10,000 step goals each day. I’ve been using my fitbit flex for a while and although it does have a few issues (like the bands snapping far quicker than I would like) it is really motivational having it on me and using it to track my sleep and movement (and sometimes water intake although I didn’t enter any today)

4. Last pay day I ordered some zines from Stranger Danger Distro in America and they arrived this week. I can’t afford to over from overseas distros very oftern because of how much it ends up costing in postage so I try and make my orders count and spent ages reading the descriptions and deciding what to buy. I think I made some good choices because everything I have read so far has been great and Heather who runs the distro included a little note to say I had picked some of her favorite titles. I’m going to eek out my reading so they last me a while. I also love the extra bits that were included like postcards and stickers.

Till next time…

Tiny things Tuesday #16

I can’t believe it’s May already. I’ll be 35 in a few weeks which I am pretty ok with, but I’m not sure my 25 year old self would believe me if I said that I would turn 35 with purple hair and a septum ring.

Only going to make a teeny tiny post today as it’s Joe’s birthday this evening and I want to spend some time with him eating Thai food rather than typing on here.

It’s been a funny week. I fell down the stairs last Wednesday and I’m still pretty sore from that. I have a fairly impressive bruise covering a large part of my right hand. I am still struggling with moods and stress but there is are still many things to enjoy in my life.

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1. Long weekends are such a welcome thing at the moment. This one was pretty great as I got to visit London and had a fairly bus day on Saturday but then a nice relaxing time on Sunday with Joe. We walked around Regents Park, collected munzees and saw some baby goslings (too small to see in this photo but they were fluffy and adorable). This followed by a visit to Vx, a cheap and tasty fry up and a sneaky visit to Paperchase at Euston before our train home. Usually London exhausts me but I came home this time feeling nicely chilled out.

2. I spent a good few hours colouring on Sunday and Monday. I’m working on this piece and it’s been really relaxing. I went to my mindfulness class this evening and we talked at the end about how beneficial colouring can be in terms of mindfulness. I never really know what to do with things I have finished because I think for me it’s more about the process than the finished piece with colouring – which is the opposite to almost every other craft I do.

Till next time…

Tiny things Tuesday #15

15 of these posts already! I’m glad that I have managed to stick to this since I started. I think it’ll be a nice thing to look back at the end of the year as well.

I’m exhausted this evening. I have started a 10 week evening class on mindfulness and although it’s very relaxing and interesting when I’m there – the 1 hour journey home makes for a long day and a tired me. I did arrive home to home nice post though so that helps.

I’ll be keeping tonight’s post short and sweet because bed is calling (as well as the pile of zines that arrived in the mail)

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1. I had to work this Saturday, but afterwards I treated myself to the latest issue of Flow and a Brightside bubble bar from Lush. They both lifted my mood and energy enough to go out in the evening.

2. There are so many dandelions on the verges by where I get the bus and the bright yellow flowers are really cheerful to see.

3. Music recommendation alert – The Max Levine Ensemble is a band I only heard about because I’ve been listening to Spoonboy (the solo project of one of their members) although the actual music hasn’t grabbed me as much as Spoonboy’s stuff – some of their lyrics have absolutely blown me away. The song – “the last of the assholes” from this EP has some lyrics that hit me very close to home. Not entirely easy reading but important stuff for people to be talking about.

4. I treated myself to these cute socks yesterday. I had been eyeing them up for a while in my local Tesco. It wasn’t until I brought them that I realised it was a pack of 2 – these with clouds on and another pair in the same blue but with white spots on. They feel so soft and cozy to wear and were the ideal bit of comfort for when I got home an hour ago.

Till next time…

Becoming a writer

I’ve been walking a lot at work lately. It’s exam season, which in my job requires me to spend time walking between building collecting and dropping off items and ensuring that things run according to plan.This gives me a fair amount of time to think while I’m walking.

23-04-15Yesterday I started wondering if I am a writer. Is that a label that fits me? Is there something specific that would qualify me to use that title.

I call my partner a writer as he writes fiction (and has been published). I on the other hand, write a journal, a perzine and this blog as well having a number of penpals. Are those writer-ly activities? or do they count as something else. Is writing a umbrella term for a lot more specific activities? If I check off more than , does that earn me that title?

I’m working on a non-perzine based project for the first time ever at the moment and it’s necessitating some research on my part both in terms of reading things, trying things out and speaking to other people about their experiences. Does engaging in these type of activities make me more of a writer than when I’m sitting at home churning out my thoughts and feelings for ellipsis?

I think at this point in my life I am more of a writer than I have ever been yet I still don’t feel able to use that term. What do other people think about this?

(the other bonus to walking around campus a lot is seeing all the lovely flowers and blossom out at the moment)

Tiny things Tuesday #14

The spate of depression that I have been struggling to outrun the last few weeks finally caught up with me “properly” yesterday. Crying at my desk, not sure what to do with myself – the works. I’m not going to go into too much detail about that here because it’s not really what I want the overall focus on this blog to be about.

I debated with myself skipping todays post because my head was saying there was no point and that there was nothing tiny or large to celebrate. I’m going against my urge to skip though because I don’t think my base instincts in these cases are always the most helpful and I know that having this weekly routine HAS gone some way to improve my year so far.

I’m enjoy seeing these posts gather in a nice little bundle. This is also the most consistently I have ever kept a public blog too, so there is an elements of not wanting to break that thread.

This weeks list;

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1. Simple foods – One of my goals this month was to try out some new recipes. So far I have only managed one, which I made last night (an avocado pesto which was large constructed via guess work and needs some fine tuning). Even making myself sandwiches for my lunch can feel like an act of self care, despite it being just me slapping some vegan ham and mayo in a shop brought roll. I’ve also got a fair few of these rice snacks in my desk drawer for those days when I struggle to make a decision about what to eat and just need something I can prepare by pouring water in a mug and waiting for a few minutes. There are a lot of different flavours but I think the Mexican one is the only vegan one.

2. Being outside – where I work has a lot of lovely outdoor spaces around the campus which was part of the reason I was drawn to working here in the first place. I went outside yesterday and today at lunch and I think the break really helped.

3. Distracting games. Right now I am playing Animal Crossing – New Leaf, Pokémon Shuffle and Nekoatsume. They’re all really gentle games with no real fine motor skills or quick reactions required which is just what I need right now.

The cat game is available on Android and iOS for free but is it Japanese. It’s pretty easy to work out (Although I has to ask a friend for help!) but there is a guide here too. I am a little concerned that one of the “toys” for the cats is a plastic bag. Don’t suffocate virtual kitties!

4. (Re-)dyeing my hair – As I had some time over the weekend, I decided to try leaving the semi-permanent colour on for a lot longer than the recommended time to see if I could get a) a more vibrant colour and b) one that covered more of my grey hair.

I’m currently using Crazy Color in bright purple. I left it on for 2 hours and covered it with an old shower cap while pottering around the house during that time. Having bright hair or even just one bright streak really cheers me up when I look in the mirror or see my reflection.

Till next time…

Tiny things Tuesday #13

I’ve been feeling quite low today. Tuesday blues caught up with me early in the day. I sat outside at lunchtime to soak up some “proper” light (I work in a huge open plan office and sometimes feel like I don’t see any natural light at all from when I start to when I leave if I don’t venture out of the building on my break or for meetings) That helped a little. As did sitting on my sofa this evening, knitting and watching many episodes of Community.

Here’s this weeks list;

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1. My seeds that I planted at the start of this month are starting to sprout! This is the 4th Spring that I have lived in my current house and each year I have tried growing things on my windowsill with varying results. Coriander, chives and basil seem to work well. My tomatoes shoot upward very quickly from seeds but then seem to fail to survive when I re-pot them. I’ve managed to grow a chili pepper plant from seed once before and it produced one tiny red chili before dying on me.

This year I just have 4 pots on the go. Seeing the little green shoots get bigger each day is very heartening when I am feeling low.

2. I had a lovely day out over the weekend with some friends to Hatton Country World. I got to see sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, reptiles birds of prey and various rodents but for me the highlight was the Guinea Pig village where I got to hold and stroke two little cuties. We finished our day off with a quick visit to the Astley Book Farm, where I picked up a few books in the 10 bob barn (50p for those who don’t speak ‘old’ prices)

3. I got these zines in my last every order from Marching Stars. They were both amazing reads and I’ve ordered a few more from Clementine this week. I find it hard to articulate just what it was that I loved about them – I think it was the mix of topics written about combined with such honesty.

4. Tonight’s tea was a experiment based on finding Jus-Rol croissants reduced to 60p. I made up some vegan cheese sauce and added in chopped up mushrooms, then added some of this inside each croissant before baking them. Pretty good for a quick dinner.

Till next time…