(Very) tiny things Tuesday #8

This is a very tiny selection of things because it’s getting pretty late and I’ve spent the last 2 nights buried in tiny pieces of paper, glue sticks and collage material – assembling ellipsis #4. I’m over half way done now with the layout but I don’t know if it will be finished and copied in time to sell/trade at Sheffield Zine Fest on Saturday. ARGH!!

Here’s today mini list

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1. All change! – I got my hair chopped off on Friday in a kind of asymmetric bob. It’s cropped to ear on the right hand side and then chin length on the left. I’m still getting used to it (and not being able to tie it back at work but I think I really like it!) I also took the plunge and got my septum pierced on Saturday morning. I’d fancied the look of it for a while and decided while I was changing my hair, I may as well change that too. It’s a little tender at the moment but otherwise fine. Once it’s healed, I will probably change it out for a slightly smaller barbell.

2. A friend came to hang out with me at the weekend and brought me the Jason and the Argon Oil Lush shampoo bar. I’ve been using it since the weekend and it smells amazing (its the Rose Jam scent that I love from Lush and always get complimented on when I am wearing the perfume) it also lathers up really well and I think it can be used as body wash too – meaning I’ll probably take it next time I go camping!

3. I spent some time Sunday hanging out in Cherry Red’s in Birmingham and eating cake with Joe. I’ve been a couple of times recently and it gets bonus point from me for:

a) Being cosy

b) Not just having vegan cake, but having a selection of vegan cake for me to choose from

c) Having furniture that reminds me a lot of my Nan’s house growing up and bring back some lovely memories.

(My Nan never had a wall painted with cherries and hightops though)

The Vegan Grindhouse is back on campus this week so I’ll be treating myself to something else from their menu tomorrow. In the evening, I’m meeting up with friends in Birmingham to see this show. Hopefully I can have a lay in Sunday and then get started on all the new craft projects I have bubbling up in my head at the moment (but that I’m making myself put on hold till the zine is done)

Till next time…

Tiny things Tuesday #7

Well, I have been in an almighty grump this week. I spent most of yesterday stomping around, feeling sorry for myself and this carried on right through till I fell asleep. Today has been better. I got my printer working again so I can start printing and laying out ellipsis 4 this week.

Here’s this weeks list

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1. I brought this cute new pj set from Primark on Friday. I probably have too many sets of pjs but they get a lot of wear. It’s not unusual for me to change into them as soon as I get home from work or spend at least one day in my weekend in them (or get up, shower or bath and then put on another clean set) Anyway – these are super cute and were only £8 for the set. I love the slightly faded looked pattern on the top as well as the bright shorts. It may be cold outside but I am pretty warm blooded and seem to be warm all the time at the moment so these work well for me not overheating!

2. My first lucky dip club box arrived today and it’s LOVELY! this is one of my allowed treats per month so I was anxiously waiting for this to arrive. This month’s theme was lovehearts and lipstick. I loved the glittery brooch and the envelope necklace (and I am even breaking my no gold jewelry rule to wear it) Looking forward to finding out what next month has in store.

3. Munzees – I won’t say too much about this as I’m already planning on writing either a longer blog article about this or maybe a zine about this and Geocaching. I’ve been having a lot of fun getting out and about to find Munzees in Coventry (as well as occasionally slightly further afield) It’s given me a new way of looking at my city.

4. I went on a day trip to Bletchley Park on Saturday. I’d wanted to visit for a while and we went on the train which meant that we could get 2 for 1 tickets by showing our train tickets. Although it’s not cheap to get in £16.75 per person unless you use the deal we did) your ticket is then valid for a year so you can go back as many times as you like. This may well be something I take up because we didn’t get to see everything in one visit.

This photo was taken inside the main house in the library which was pretty crowded as there was an exhibition also in the house about the recent film (The Imitation Game) which I didn’t pay too much attention to as I haven’t seen the film yet. Along with your entry ticket, you get an interactive guide and headphones to take round with you. I think it’s essentially a touch screen ipod which you can play videos on at different locations but it was pretty interesting. None of the videos were longer than a few minutes, making it a good way of finding out more and hearing from people who were based at the park in the war.

I can’t stop listening to The Dispossessed by Spoonboy this week. It gives me the shivers (as does the video) in the best way.

Lastly – Marching Stars distro is closing. Lizzy who runs it is such a wonderfully supportive person. Please go check it out and place one last order before she finally closes.

Till next time…

Tiny things Tuesday #6

Ahh, it’s payday! Always a highlight in the month. Despite spending my weekend in bed with a cold, I have woken up in a good mood the past 2 days. I’ve spent today on a mission to GET STUFF SORTED!

Tonight’s post is a bit rushed as I went to see a friend after work but that’s ok. I need to accept this for what it is. The pictures will always be a bit dodgy and taken on my camera phone with less than ideal lighting but that’s also ok.

So on with the list…

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1. I found this vegan friendly chilled latte in Asda yesterday and grabbed one to have for my breakfast today. I wasn’t really sure how the coconut milk would work with coffee but it’s not a very strong taste along side the coffee. I think it’d probably be even nicer over ice but being that this was drunk on the bus to work today that wasn’t happening! There are a couple of others in this range so I will be sure to check those out too. At £1.69 it wasn’t super cheap but hey, it’s good for a treat and it’s still cheaper than getting an iced latte from a coffee shop.

2. I spent last night laying out pages for a split zine that I am sending to my co-contributor for assembly. Hopefully it’ll be ready for Sheffield Zine fest which I purchased my train ticket for today as well. The fact that I finally pulled my finger out and got this finished is a mini victory for me because I have been putting it off for so long. I was pleased how quickly I got back into the flow of doing the layout when I got started last night. It was a nice way to spend a Monday too specially as I watched 2 episodes of the latest seasons of The Great British Sewing Bee while I did it.

3. On Friday I went to see ONSIND at Ort cafe in Birmingham. They were touring with Spoonboy and Jesus and his Judgmental Father who were also very good and well worth a listen. The venue worked really well for this gig and there was a really good atmosphere. I really wish I was more articulate about this stuff but I’m not at the moment . It’s just good to hear people singing about things that matter to me and know that I’m not half as alone as I would have had myself believe.

4. If you are wondering what this is even a photo of, well I wouldn’t blame you – what this represents is the financial overhaul that I’ve been working on over the last week or so. I’ve changed to a SIM only phone deal, cancelled my monthly unlimited bus pass and switched to one that is about a 5th of the cost which will do for getting me to work and back. It’s got to the point where I don’t want to be paying out for stuff just for the luxury of being comfortable and feeling I had all of the available options, all of the time. It feels a little scary if I am honest to be making these changes but also quite empowering.

I also found out that because I work at a uni, I can get an NUS extra card for £12 a year even though I am not a student myself. Baby steps, but this year is about change and this means changes must be made.

Anyway, I have more things to do before it’s bed time, so till the next time…

Tiny things Tuesday #5

Oh hello Tuesday! here we are again. I think writing these each week is starting to help me. I find that throughout the day I am thinking more about what I may write about in these posts and what pictures I have taken in the last week. I think the key to increasing gratitude is to practice being actively grateful so this is a good step for me.

Here’s this weeks list

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1. Pancakes! I’m not Christian so I don’t really celebrate pancake day in the sense of using up my sweet items before Lent starts but I do love pancakes and often make them on weekends for breakfast (specially if I have visitors) so any excuse ‘eh? Vegan pancakes are really easy to make and I have had a fair few compliments on the recipe I use. It was one (that I use with a few tweaks) from this book. I’m gonna scribble down my recipe here for anyone who is interested

– 1 cup of plain flour (white seems to work best, I have had weird and oddly rubbery results with wholemeal)
– 1/2 cup of soya milk
– 2/3 cup of cold water
– A dash of vegetable oil or a bit of melted vitalite (or other non-dairy spread)

Whisk all this together in a bowl, stick it in the fridge to chill for 20 mins. When you take it out, add a little more water if it’s too thick (I aim for a single cream type of consistency) and then go for it! I just try and use a bit of spay oil to slightly grease the pan and then spoon around a ladle full in and swirl the pan to spread it out. Once the bubbles have appeared in the batter and the edges have started to lift, I flip it over.

I had mine with the following combos of toppings
– hot cherry pie filling and schlagfix (aka vegan squirty cream from Vx)
– banana, blueberries & maple syrup
– salted caramel sauce (from a vegankind monthly box) and dark chocolate sauce

2. Serial podcast – I listen to a lot of podcasts and have done for years. I used to commute for 4 hours a day when I first moved to my current house, so many hours on train passed with me staring out of the window and listening to comedy based podcasts This is the first podcast series I have listened to though (as well as the first non comedy podcasts) and it quickly had me gripped. I don’t want to say too much about it because I think it’s kind of hard to really describe what it is about without going into a lot of detail but I would really recommend it for a thought provoking and interesting listen. I’ve already persuaded a colleague/friend to listen to it as well so I’m looking forward to having someone to discuss it with. You can download episodes as well as look at supporting information at their website. I look forward to seeing what they do with series 2 which is due later this year.

3. I am having another Pinterest spree at the moment. I’ve been looking for inspiration for a new blanket to make. I have the yarn but as yet not a fixed idea of what to make with it (other than “blanket”) so I’ve been saving ideas on Pinterest. Which then leads me right down the Pinterest rabbit hole and I have been adding things to my other boards as well. There goes another hour…

The majority of my boards are for storing craft ideas or hacks, but I also have boards for home, travel, tattoo and clothing ideas as well as one where I pin items I would like to treat myself to one day. This has proved quite a good idea as I periodically re-visit it and see if I still want those items or if they were just spur of the moment urges.

4. We’re slowly working on making our house more cozy. Last night my partner came home with this lampshade which we have put up in our room. I really like how it looks and it makes the light so much less harsh in our room than the one that was there previously. I keep getting disheartened sometimes at how much left there is for me to sort so it’s good to remember what a difference something small can make.

Other random bits and pieces from this past week;

I read this article today. It helped. I struggle with thinking of myself as lazy a lot and worrying about whether that is how I am perceived. The results is that I often burn out while trying to be everything to everyone*

I went to see Josie Long on her most recent tour last week. It’s the 3rd or 4th time I have seen her and I always find it a real life affirming experience. Her support this time was Heidi O’Loughlin who told some amazing stories based on Beauty and the Beast and Snake 2 from Nokia 3310.

I have lots of other exciting plans coming up over the next few weeks as well as a few things that have already happened that I hope to write about here in more detail.

Till next time…

(*Everclear reference only half intended)

My Wednesday, powered by hotdogs & milkshake

I swear the main thing that got me to this point in the week was knowing that I would finally get to try food from The Vegan Grindhouse today as they were having a stall at the monthly market at the university where I work.

I’d had a bit of a look at what kind of things they offered online yesterday but I didn’t know until I got there what I would be in the mood for. In the end I settled for a Reservoir Dog (9″ tofu hotdog topped with mac & ‘cheez’, crispy onions and ‘bacon’ bits) and a cherry milkshake.

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The hotdog was AMAZING! I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a meat based hotdog before but I love vegan ones and this was one of the best I have had. The mac and cheez was nice, although maybe not as cheesy as I would have hoped. The milkshake was a bad choice on such a cold day as I ended up with one very icy hand from clutching the cup. They weren’t super thick shakes but it was a pretty good mix of coconut milk, ice cream and syrup. The hotdog was £6 which seemed pretty good value considering the size and how filling it was. The shake was £3.50 which was maybe a tiny bit on the pricy side but I would probably still have another one (specially if it was a warmer day today)

Overall verdict – not something I could afford to have all the time (and it’s lucky for me wallet that they aren’t on campus all the time) I would definitely go back to try out more of their menu though and I think it’s great that they are going to so many places in the West Midlands. Check out their facebook or twitter to see where they are going to be next.

Tiny things Tuesday #4

Hello again. Tuesday seems to have come around fast this week. I have Friday off as annual leave so I guess this means I’m already halfway done with my working week.

Here’s this weeks tiny things

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1. Although I’ve already mentioned nail varnish in TTT #2, I’m not actually that into painting my nails. I’m certainly not someone who always wears nail varnish. I tend to prefer nail stickers to polish and I loved these ones I wore at the weekend that I brought from Wilkos. The black and white colours also meant they matched with whatever I have flung on for work this week. They are a bargain at 99p and easy to apply, it’s just a case of sticking them on and then filing the excess parts of the stickers off with an emery board. Wilkos do a couple of different designs in these stickers as well as some non gel ones. I really liked these ones though for the hearts, hounds tooth and glasses motifs especially.

2. I tidied my bedside table! This was inspired by meeting up with my lovely friend Sarah at the weekend and belatedly exchanging Christmas gifts. She brought me a lovely cat dish, and the bunny night light. It’s made my bedroom feel cozy in the evenings when I am sitting up here reading, or watching programs on my laptop.

3. I came home today to two pieces of lovely post from friends. I love getting post and sometimes coming home to a door mat covered in letters and packages can be the high point of the day. It also justifies me buying so much stationery to use in my replies.

4. I cast on these new mitts today. They are the Black Lodge Mitts, which are of course inspired by Twin Peaks. I’ve been trying to use up yarn I already have at home and this was an ideal make as I had enough of all 3 colours left from other projects. I’ve been working on the chevron part tonight while watching “The Secret World of Lewis Carroll” on iplayer. It’s really interesting but a little unsettling, although it hasn’t told me much that I didn’t know. I didn’t realise there was an Alice day each year in Oxford though, so this has been added to my list of things I want to do.

I’m home alone this evening, so I’m off to cook my tea (vegan pie and mash) and carry on knitting now.

Till next time…

Tiny things Tuesday #3

This week has been a bit of an odd one and I found myself feeling pretty glum on my way home tonight. I feel a little better now I am home and cosy for the evening. Tuesdays seem to feel like Mondays for me lately and I wonder if Monday night I am just full of euphoria at making it through the ‘worst’ day.

Anyway, here’s this weeks list

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1. I’ve been getting a new bus to work for the last few days and it means I can leave the house slightly later and no longer have to change in town. The only issue is that the times it arrives seem to vary a bit so I need to get it for the whole week to see if it (generally) gets me to work on time. I already get the same bus home in the evenings and it made a huge difference to my day when I discovered it. It means my journey time was cut in half and I’m in favor of anything that gets me home quicker!

2. This was actually supposed to be a photo of the totoro drinking flask that I got as a Christmas gift but has actually turned into more like a picture of a personal corner of my desk. I have 2 calendars up – the one you can barely see is the ‘my sad cat’ calendar. If you aren’t familiar with the twitter account @MYSADCAT, then I suggest you check it out. If you want to know a little more about the melancholy cat behind the pictures, he goes by the name of the Bear and there is a wonderful piece about him by his owner Tom here. Also pictured is my solar powered owl, who swivels his head around all day long, a postcard from Stay Home Club and my other calendar – a sheep one that came in a previous kawaii box. The drinking flask has been great because a) it has a handy strap to carry it with so I don’t have to juggle that, a hot cup of coffee and trying to scan my ID card to get back into my office b) it’s not too big (400ml) so it doesn’t feel like a struggle to finish and I keep keep track of how much I am drinking by tracking on my fitbit and c) IT HAS A TOTORO ON IT!

3. Speaking of cats…I was actually trying to take a picture of this blanket but my cat (Cabaret) wanted to get in the photo. He then proceeded to climb all over me and dribble. Back to the blanket though – this is actually a bit of a personal ‘hurrah’ moment because this week I finally started edging this blanket which I have been working on, on and off for probably close to 10 years. I promised myself that I would finish it this year and I’ve accepted that I can’t find anymore of the pink yarn so cannot add on more hexagons so edging time it is! Once it’s fully completed, I’ll post a proper photo of it.

4. Lastly, this is an awful photo as my bus started moving just as I took it – but it lifted me up a little to realise that it’s almost not dark when I leave work now. I wont go so far as to say that it’s light but I do seem to be catching some pretty looking sunsets which must mean it’s not fully dark.

And now I am going to go and watch more Parks and Rec, because I can’t get enough of it.

Till next time…

Tiny things Tuesday #2

Here I am again, 1 week in. I haven’t done much else with this space as yet but I have a few ideas kicking around. Just waiting for the energy and inclination to kick in.

Here are this week’s tiny things;

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1. I got this nail varnish free in my kawaii box last month and I put some on at the weekend. I must admit, I mainly picked it out because it was a fairly dark, opaque shade compared to the other polishes I have and my reason for wanting to put on some polish was that I had had a hair dye mishap and dyed my fingernails (and fingers) a rather scary shade of purple.  The MOST exciting thing about this polish was when I went to bed last night and realised it glows in the dark! What can I say, I am easily impressed!

2. One of my closest friends gave me this spoon necklace at the weekend. If you are curious as to why I would be wearing a spoon, you may wish to have a read of the spoon theory.  As a bonus, this one is special as it has a crown on it so ties into my love for Alice in Wonderland.

3. Bandcamp! this is becoming one of my favorite places to buy music from. As their tagline says – it allows you to buy music directly from the people who make it.  It also means that you can access your library of everything you have brought from there via their excellent app (I use the iTunes version but I’m sure there are other ones)  There are loads of songs you can download for free on there or just give what you like to the artist. My latest listens on there are Fashnu and Spoonboy. You can also check out the excellent Deathsex Bloodbath who I may or may not know and may or may not have performed on stage with.

4. Lastly, this feels a little like product placement but this chocolate coconut milk from Tesco is great. Before I was vegan, I was never a fan of milk so I don’t tend to have cereal, milk in hot drinks or anything else particularly milk based (aside from froothy coffees when I am out somewhere that isn’t work or home) A glass of this seems like a decent way to get calcium and other good stuff. It’s also not too thick so feels quite refreshing to drink, unlike something like a milkshake. I suspect in summer I could use it at the basis for a good cocktail too.

Till next time…

Tiny things Tuesday #1

The idea behind this post came to me earlier today so I thought I would strike while the inspiration was fresh.

I have been struggling physically and mentally lately. I thought it may do me good to look each week (or so) at the little things that have helped to make my life brighter and the small achievements I have made.

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1. I sewed my stay home club patch on my ukulele bag this week. It’s gradually getting filled up with nice things and looks less like the boring black bag I brought.

2. I’ve been using some tiny cat stickers I brought off of ebay for 99p to decorate my diary and plan for future events. My diary is by Flow and is absolutely beautiful.  It’s helped me feel more centered to have things to plan and look forward to as well as stopping those awful “have I double booked myself?” panics. I find having cute things to plan with really soothing – it appears to my stationery geek side as well as my inner administrator/secretary!

3. The new Sleater-Kinney album arrived in my mailbox today and I’m really enjoying it so far although I’m kinda letting it wash over me rather than focusing on the lyrics as yet.  I’m so excited to see them when the tour the UK in London and Manchester.

4. Libraries! Oh how I love you. I am lucky to have a couple that I can visit.  This is my currently to read/reading pile. I love being able to find stuff I never knew existed as well as things I have wanted to read for a while. I’ve been keeping a list in the back of my diary of things to look forward to. My city’s library has a really good online catalog too.

Till next time…