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…

Tiny things Tuesday #12

I can’t believe it’s already April and the Easter weekend is over. It was so nice to have 4 days off of work and to just stay at home and mooch around. I made some more scones and knocked up a batch of maki sushi rolls too. I don’t always cook from scratch because I never feel like I have enough time so this felt like a luxury.

I watched a couple of films and discovered a program on Channel 4 about one of my interests – tiny houses! You can have a look at their main website here and watch some of season 1 on 4OD at the moment.

Here’s this weeks list;

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1. I’ve gotta admit that I woke up this morning feeling a little glum at the thought of going back to work. It helps to have a few nice things to take with me – like this can of drink I brought yesterday. I can take or leave the usual lemon or orange San Pellegrino that is more regularly found but I LOVE the grapefruit one. Drinking this at my desk this morning certainly eased me back into work (plus check out the latest additional to my work inspiration wall – a cute Moomin postcard from Artbox) I need to remember that sometimes, small cheap things can make a huge difference. My can of drink was £1 and the postcard was 60p. I think feeling better was well worth that £1.60

2. This total mess of a photo is just some of the pile of stuff I have to take to the charity shop. It’s one of my long running goals for this year to downsize my possessions and only keep things around that I love or are useful. I probably have 2 bin bags of stuff ready to go to the charity shop and probably binned a similar amount of stuff that was worn out or broken. Sometimes I feel like this is a never ending task and because I keep doing bits every now and then, it’s hard to see the bigger picture. I’m writing this as a reminder to myself – I’m doing it, I’m making progress.

3. The bonus of tidying up was finding a few things that had been missing in action for a while. One of those was my Animal Crossing: New Leaf game which I had been looking for just the other week. If you haven’t played any AC games, they are very relaxing and cute. After spending some time out with friends yesterday, it was lovely to come home and relax by lolling on my bed in front of a fan and fishing, rearranging my furniture and collecting shells on the beach in my virtual town.

4. This cutie turned up at our backdoor yesterday and was friendly/curious enough to have some strokes. Actually, she was so bold that later on in the day, we found her getting comfortable on the spare room windowsill and while I have been writing this, I just saw a little round head peering over the end of the bed at me. Cats are so great.

Till next time…

Tiny things Tuesday #11

I think I’m still riding high on the energy from my trip away last week. I’ve felt really positive since I got back and have also been working on channeling that energy into my time at work. I am pretty tired though so I’m glad we have a long weekend coming up (and I’ll be staying close to home for this one)

Here’s this weeks list;

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1. I made these savory sweet potato and rosemary scones last night using the recipe from here. They are delicious, specially when warmed slightly and with some vitalite on. I altered the recipe slightly as I didn’t have any nutritional yeast so I put in a heaped teaspoon of vegan Parmesan and I used dried rosemary instead of fresh.

The blog is run by my friend Sian and I’m excited to try out more of her recipes.

2. I joined the Kanken club this week after musing for months over what colour to get (so much choice!) I finally settled on this one in salvia green and it had its first outing today. I put in it everything I had in my shoulder bag yesterday and it felt so much lighter and easier to carry. I am a convert.

3. My legs are pleasingly achy after 1 hours of dancing tonight at Ego. I saw this session advertised when I was in their cafe at the weekend and thought I’d give it a go. You pay £1, say beforehand on the FB group what songs you would like to hear and then all dance for 1 hour. It was good fun, got my heart rate up and also made me think about how much less self conscious I am these days. I’m looking forward to going back next week and hopefully they will play this for me (which has been my theme song the last few days)

It’s also worth saying that Ego is amazing because it not only runs as a not for profit arts company with a lot of different things going on, its cafe/bar is the only all veggie/vegan place in Coventry. I love it!

4. I brought myself these flowers at the weekend for £1 because tulips are my favourites and I thought the happiness I got from seeing these each day was worth splashing out £1 on. I wish I could have them in the bedroom but I’m a pain in the bum for flailing around and knocking over water/wine/coffee when I’m stretching.

Time for me to get some rest. I think the dancing tired me out more than I was expecting.

Till next time…