Tag: Days out

Tiny Things Tuesday #50

Wow, I can’t quite believe I have done 50 of these posts. I’ve never really kept up a public blog for this long before. I took today off of work so it’s felt like a mine mid week(ish) break for me. The majority of the posts I have written are these TTT ones which has been a good exercise in itself in gratitude and reflection. It make me happy to look back over that tag and remember things

   

I read a book in bed (this one) before getting up, making myself some fresh coffee and pancakes. I then pottered around the house, playing Stardew Valley, listening to music, washing up and then made a huge pan of sweetcorn chowder (recipe is from #2 of Grub zine)

   

1. I went one a day trip on Saturday with some friends to the Cotswold Farm Park to see their baby animals. We got to bottle feed some of the lambs as well as feed some sheep, goats, horses. I also got to see some piglets but sadly didn’t get close enough to cuddle one (a long time goal that still remains unfulfilled.) The little guy pictured here was called Bear and was an orphan but he seemed to be doing well and at one point he made a bid for freedom and was frolicking around the barn on his own.

2. I got this very exciting envelope through the post yesterday – it’s the first mailing of Cryptogram Puzzle Post by the very talented Jack Fallows. I’m pretty rusty at puzzle solving so I think I need to spend some quality time with this envelope and its contents at the weekend.

I had my first drumming lesson tonight. Turns out that I sadly don’t have an amazing skills that were just waiting to come out when I sat down. However I could see myself gradually improve over the course of the lesson which was pleasing. I struggle with learning new things a lot and its hard sometimes for me to motivate myself to practice and try when I don’t see any improvement. I need to keep reminding myself that I am doing these things for fun because I can take it too seriously.

It looks like there is going to be a new Moomin TV series and it looks really wonderful. You can help crowdfund it here and get all sorts of nice looking rewards or just get excited about seeing it when its out if you don’t want to contribute.

Now my bed and another book is calling. Till next time…

Coventry Skyride 2016 – or that time I got to cycle around the Coventry ringroad

Yesterday I took part in the Coventry 2016 Skyride with my partner Joe and our friend Cait. Last year I happened to be meeting a friend in town on the day of the ride but I didn’t know much about it other than seeing lots of people wandering around in bright yellow cycling bibs.

We heart cycling text by the Godiva Statue

We really lucked out in terms of weather – blue skies, hardly any cloud but a decent amount of breeze while riding. I still didn’t manage to drink enough water though which left me feeling pretty dehydrated.

The route started at Broadgate in Coventry which is right in the centre of the city. From there, it took us round by the cathedral and some of the Coventry university buildings before leading out of the city centre to Fargo village where we had to dismount and walk through before hopping back on to cruise back into town (via a diversion through one of the Coventry university buildings which was one of my favourite parts) and then TO THE RING ROAD!

I think the idea of getting to ride around the entire ring road without having to avoid cars or be choked with fumes was part of the draw to this ride for me. As someone who doesn’t drive, I rarely go on the ring road at all so this was a chance for me to really explore the views of the city from up high.

Motor vehicles were still allowed to drive clockwise around the road, but the anti-clockwise side was given over to bikes only from 11am-3pm. There was a sprint section where people could check out their timings but I just focused on enjoying riding on such a clear wide surface.

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I don’t ride my bike very often so I was a little worried about getting round the course. In the end we rode around twice in total (although skipped the Fargo diversion the second time) I probably could have gone again but I was mindful that I needed to cycle/walk my bike home afterwards as well (and that that part of my journey started with a hill).

I haven’t ever been a fan of Sky and I think Rupert Murdoch is utter scum so I was a bit leery of attending an event that was so heavily “Sky” branded. Credit where credit is due though – the event was really well run, the signposting and marshalling were great. There were lots of other sponsors/partners too like Halfords (who pumped up both my slightly flat tyres for me before the ride) the local Council and British Cycling. I hope the council puts on some more things like this.

I liked how alternatives to different parts of the route were offered and it was great to see such a diverse crowd taking parts. There were lots of families with young kids riding, groups of teenagers, serious looking cyclist who zipped past me on the ring road with their proper gear and speedy bikes. I loved seeing so many different body sizes taking part too. I wasn’t made to feel too fat to ride or like it wasn’t an event that I wasn’t welcome at just because I wasn’t able to race around the course.

It is rumored to have been the last ride in Coventry of its kind but equally it may just be that it’s the last one under the current sponsorship. I’m really glad I did it because it showed me a different perspective of the city I’ve called home for almost 5 years. If it does happen again, I’ll be there!

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Hello June & goodbye 35

It was my birthday at the end of May. I’m 36 now which feels kinda weird. I still feel like I am in my 20’s most of the time (and it turns out most people don’t really know what a 30-something looks like and underestimate my ages by a good few years)

I managed to stretch my birthday celebrations to over a week thanks to all the lovely people I know and them offering various plans for me and them to celebrate.

First of all I went to see Slow Club play at the Warwick Art Centre. On the day of my birthday I had to work but my colleagues gave me a lovely bunch of tulips, a bag full of vegan chocolate and sweets and some lush bath bombs. The following day I went with J over to Birmingham to do a book binding workshop at the Birmingham Printmakers space in Digbeth followed by food at café soya.

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Here’s a couple of pics I took of the beautiful graffiti around Digbeth.

The workshop took us through the whole process of making an A5 codex bound book including sewing the headbands which was so fiddly but something I think I would have really struggled to pick up from a video or written instructions.

imageHere’s a rough and ready picture of my half assembled book half way through sewing my headbands.

It’s the busiest time of year at work and I’m feeling a little like I’m avoiding being online too much as a result. It’s been pretty draining being on social media lately with all the talk about the upcoming European Union vote, the awful event that happened in Orlando and coverage of the Stanford rape case all taking up a lot of space on my feeds. It’s so important to talk about these things and I feel really strongly about all of these things but it’s also useful for me to be able to step away when it all feels too much.

I’ve been hanging out on Pinterest a little more lately. Pinning ideas for organising myself/my space/my time, craft and yarn projects and other bits that catch my fancy. I have also been burying myself in books and at the end of May zipped by my goal number of reads for the year that I’d set.

Sometimes I wonder if I should push this blog a little more, write more regularly and structure my content. It can feel a bit lonely writing into the void (although I know a few of my friends do regularly read this – hi!)

I’m pretty excited about how the rest of this year is looking – two trips abroad (Luxembourg in September and Tokyo in October) a few gigs and new albums coming out, the opportunity to do something a little different from my day to day stuff at work and…

…well, I’ll figure out the other stuff when exams are over (& I have had more sleep)

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To finish this post off, here’s a picture of my 36 year old face complete with the new dress that I just brought and kitten necklace.

Tiny things Tuesday #42

I went to Weirdo Zine fest in London at the weekend. I even managed to make a tiny zine to take with me dedicated to my love of stationery.

The zine fest was a lot of fun and I’m glad I went although it did wipe me out energy wise pretty much all of yesterday. I’m so glad that I booked the day off of work to sleep and recuperate. It was really good to be able to visit DIY Spare for London too. Such a good idea and I would love to see something like this happen in the West Midlands.

Here’s this weeks things;

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1. I haven’t really had chance to read all of the lovely looking zines that I picked up yet but I just wanted to highlight this beautiful patch that I got alongside the SAD care zine from Kim Searle – there were a few designs to choose from in the patches but I loved the look of this one most of all. The other designs came on stickers in the pack though so I didn’t feel like I missed out on them.

2. Someone added me to a crochet group on facebook and I keep meaning to leave because it’s pretty high traffic but every time I do, I see loads of lovely projects and yarn so maybe I’ll keep on there for a while. A lot of people on the group have been making C2C blankets (corner to corner) and I really liked how they look especially with variegated yarns so I decided to start my own at the weekend as a more portable project that the other blanket I am working on (which uses 14 colours of yarn so isn’t that portable) I used this post and video tutorial to learn how to make this blanket.

3. As today is the start of my working week, it was good to have the added motivation of going out for a curry and catch up with some friends tonight to get me through the day. I’ve had such a craving for curry lately (possibly as I have been drooling over Jack Monroe’s Instagram feed. Everything that they make looks so delicious)

4. I got my fringe cut back in on Friday so today I have been revelling in all of the “ooh nice hair” compliments. I’m unsure if I am going to keep dyeing it purple and green shares for much longer so I combined my left over bits of dye to give myself a mixed shade new look! I feel much more “me” with a fringe again. It’s hard to explain but it just feel really right.

Wanna know what David Bowie was doing when he was your age. This website makes it easy (to realise you are wasting your life!)

Till next time…

Tiny things Tuesday #37

Just a little post this week as I’m full of cold and have been sick in bed since last week. Today was my first day back at work and it was a struggle. By the time I got home, I was pretty much just good for flopping on the bed and listening to some podcasts. I did listen to a learning Japanese one though so I felt like I had been at least a little productive.

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1. As previously hinted – I had a nice day out last Wednesday day in Birmingham looking around the shops, having lunch with a friend and then in the evening I attended a silver ring making course. It was a birthday present from my Mum as I’d fancied giving silversmithing a try for a while and this seemed like a nice introduction. It was held at the Quarter workshop which is in the Coffin Works building in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham. The tutor – Victoria was very friends and it was a small class of just 5 of us. I had such a nice time learning some basic techniques like sawing, shaping, soldering and sanding (and using a blow torch!).

I’m proudly wearing my silver ring (with a hammered decorative finish) on my little finger.

2.My friend Kerrie gave me some different teas to try when she heard I was ill. I had a cup of lime and ginger this morning and it lifted my spirits to enjoy something warm but to also know I have such caring and considerate friends around me (and for anyone who likes my mug, it was from Wilkos).

Till next time…

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…

Tiny things Tuesday #28

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;

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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!

Till next time…

Tiny things Tuesday #27

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;

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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.

Sleater-Kinney mini holiday

This week I got to see Sleater-Kinney twice in 2 different cities (a first for me as I’ve seen them twice in a week in London before) I’ve been excited about these gigs since they were announced as I didn’t know if I would ever get to see them play together again. They had been on hiatus since 2006 and I think with all the other projects they have been involved with since, I didn’t expect a new album let alone a tour. To get both was wonderful and has been something I’ve been looking forward to when I’ve been struggling.

They were probably the first band that felt properly like “mine”. I read an interview with Corin Tucker in the zine Funky Spunk when I was in 6th Form and ordered their album “dig me out” from the Virgin Megastore in Colchester. I remember it took weeks to arrive and cost me about £17. I listened to it over and over but didn’t know anyone else who liked them. When I went to university I gradually managed to pick up the rest of their album that they had out at that time. The majority of people I hung out with at uni were into metal and I never really went to clubs that played the music I loved. It was only when I started meeting people through zines and livejournal that I found other people who liked this band. I saw them a number of times in London when I was at uni and the years after and was heartbroken when I found out they had gone on hiatus. Still, there was 7 albums of theirs to listen to at that time and I soothed myself with that.

Now I’m in my 30s, I know a more people who also love them so not only were these gigs great for seeing the band, it also meant I got to hang out with some excellent people that I don’t always get to see much of. Joe wrote down the set lists so as far as I know the following is accurate.

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London set list:
Price tag – oh! – fangless – end of you – what’s mine is yours – one beat – bury our friends – surface envy – get up – no cities – rollercoaster – turn it on – no anthems – new wave – words and guitar – sympathy – entertain – jumpers encore: gimme love – youth decay – let’s call it love – modern girl – dig me out

Hearing Sympathy live was probably the highlight for me – someone uploaded a live video here. The part Corin sings at 2.52 felt like it was yanking my heart from my chest and hurling it 20 foot in the air.

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Manchester set list:
Price tag – fangless – oh – get up – surface envy – ironclad – what’s mine is yours – new wave – one beat – no cities to love – start together – light rail coyote – no anthems – words and guitar – bury our friends – one more hour – entertain – jumpers encore: gimme love – I wanna be your Joey Ramone – let’s call it love again – modern girl – dig me out

The second night was probably more fun for me because there were more people I knew there but the venue felt a lot smaller and even fairly near the back it was crowded and there wasn’t enough room to dance. The band seemed more relaxed in Manchester too and a little more chatty on stage.

Both gigs were amazing and re-energized and inspired me a lot. It was interesting to watch them play 9 years after the previous time I would have seen them and realise how relevant and important they still feel to my life.

Other than the gigs, it was really nice to spend some time away for home hanging out with Joe and various other friends. In London on Tuesday morning we spent some time capturing munzees, browsing Housmans and picking up a few bits from Vx.

Despite having visited London a lot more due to growing up in Essex, Manchester is exciting me a lot more lately. I visited on my own in December and really enjoyed mooching around the Northern Quarter. This time I stayed in Hatters hostel with Pippa and Joe. Our room was basic but comfy and situated right opposite Fred Aldous which is an amazing arts and craft shop.

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On Wednesday we spent a fair amount of time browsing this shop as well as getting our photos taken in one of their vintage booths. I also picked up a few books in the Oxfam bookshops, Magma and Forbidden Planet.

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I really love all the graffiti around the Northern Quarter. There were lots of quotes set into the pavements too like in the picture above. It makes the whole area feel really interesting and alive.

As discussed with Ingrid the other night, one of the best things about visiting new places is getting to eat loads of new vegan food. I definitely got to do that on this trip. Here’s a little run down of some of the best places I ate.

Favorite places that I ate and drank
(in no real order)

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1. Inspiral (London) – – mostly raw and all vegan. We had dinner here before the London gig. I’ve had a burger which instead of a bun had a savory scone which was tasty but also felt very healthy. They also had some lovely cherry beer.

2. Look Mum, no hands (London) – This bicycle-centric cafe was on the same road as our hotel in London so we stopped here for coffee and time wasting while waiting for our room to be ready. There was a lot of things to look at inside including large tissue paper pompoms hanging from the ceiling. They also did a vegan brownie (which we tried) and some interesting looking food (that we didn’t as we already had dinner plans)

3. Oklahoma (Manchester) – We had breakfast here on WEdnesday morning. I had sourdough toast with vegan butter and black cherry jam and an excellent chocolate and peant butter brownie. It’s part of a cute craft/homewares shop too so we had a look round there after we’d eaten.

4. V Revolution (Manchester) – I ate here last time I was in Manchester and dragged Pippa and Joe back with me this time. I got a vegan slaw dog with a melon lemonade. I also picked up some spacebars and vegan marshmallows to ease going back to work the next day.

5. Tampopo (Manchester) – We ate here just before the Manchester gig. I had some excellent veggie tempura followed by noodles. There wasn’t a ton of vegan options but there was enough so that I didn’t feel like it was an afterthought.

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The above pic is me and my friend Pippa. It was so lovely to hang out with her and so many other friends who mean so much to me. Looking at this picture, I’m really struck by how happy and carefree I look. I hope I can bottles this feeling.

“No one here is taking notice, no outline will ever hold us. It’s not a new wave, it’s just you and me”
– a new wave, sleater-kinney

Sheffield Zine Fest

I had the best time on Saturday at Sheffield Zine Fest. I got my train at 8.50am so I was pretty sleepy but slowly woke up over the course of the journey. I rolled into Sheffield around 11 and as I was getting my bearings outside the station I heard my friend Lou call my name. I wasn’t 100% sure she was coming so it was great to see her.

The Electric Works where the event was held was right opposite the station so was ideally situated for me (knowing little of Sheffield geography) However it did mean I saw nothing else of the city. I’d like to go back another time and have a proper explore.

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The main thing I want to say about the Electric Works is that THERE IS A HELTER SKELTER IN RECEPTION!! I can’t express how much glee this fills me with. More buildings should have built in slides or swings.

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The actual event had stalls spread over two rooms. My newest issue was for sale on the shared table at the entrance. It was also the first official outing of the split zine I made about Indietracks with my camp mates – Ingrid and Sarah.

I spent most of the day hanging out with lots of people I know and love as well as chatting to a load of other cool people that I’d love to stay in touch with (for anyone I excitedly rambled at – hi!).

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And of course, I went down the slide. Ingrid snapped this super blurry shot of me. It was great fun, although the resulting dizziness meant I only went down once.

I covered the Vampire Sushi Distro table for a while as Tukru was running a workshop. I wish I had gone to some of the workshops too as they had some great sounding ones but on the other hand, it was fun chatting to people who came to the stall.

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I came back with so many zines to read, these two pics cover most of my gains for the day. It was nice to go to an event that seemed to skew more towards perzines and political zines rather than art zines and comics (I do like the latter as well, it’s just not something I relate to as closely)

I started to read some of them on the train coming back but 1 or two of the zines that I started were SO good that I felt like they deserved a better setting for a first read than a messy train full of people swearing at each other.

Instead I looked out the window, scribbled in my notebook, ate a vegan white chocolate Santa that Ingrid gave me and watched the sky change colour.

At Tamworth, there was a moment where pink rays of lights from the setting sun burst through a patch of cloud and made me wish my phone battery hadn’t died. I can still remember it though and I can remember feeling really really contented and peaceful. On days like this I feel so happy to be me, living my life.

I’m excited for the Northwest Zine fest in May now. I’m feeling full of inspiration at the moment so I may even have another zine out by then.