Tag: Staying afloat

A mid-February update

Life is…life, I guess. House hunting is slow and frustrating. It’s hard to imagine what you can have when all you have been used to is renting and making do with what you can afford, where will allow pets and where you’ve managed to get your application in first. Looking for somewhere to buy seems more exciting in some senses especially as it’s all so new but for the same reason, I am also feeling a bit overwhelmed and confused about it all.

I’ve treated myself to a Spotify paid account and that’s helping somewhat. I’ve spent most of the week listening to Tegan & Sara on repeat and discovering that I enjoy Sainthood much more than I thought I did when it came out. I’ve managed to hook it up to my very neglected last.fm account so you can see what I’ve been listening to here should you want to do that for some reason.

Here’s a picture of Cabaret because too much text in a row is boring

I’m trying to get better at managing my money. I’ve got a busy weekend coming up as I’m seeing Josie Long on Friday evening and then Tegan & Sara on Saturday – both in Birmingham. I need money for the train and food and I’m squirrelling away pounds in different accounts for both.

I feel like I am weighing up how much value I get from things. I had previously deemed a Spotify membership as too much of a luxury until I a) realised I could get a student rate and b) heard the same 1 or 2 adverts too many times in a row and wanted to scream. We’ve had an office move and being slightly closer to people is a bit of a struggle in terms of overheard noises so I’ve been relying on listening to music more to help me concentrate. I guess I’m only justifying this to myself at the end of the day.

This morning I also listening to the latest episode of Pomo Pain podcast which is an excellent podcast by my friend Ingrid. If you haven’t heard it, then you should listen. It always helps me to make sense of my own thoughts and gives me a different but helpful perspective on things.

Better late than never…

I haven’t written my goals for the year here yet – a combination of trying to decide where the line is between pushing myself and setting myself up to fail by setting goals that are too strict or too ambitious plus using the majority of my energy up with working and fighting off winter germs.

I’ve also been struggling about how much I want to share of my “real” life here. This is both in terms of how vulnerable to make myself when discussing issues like my physical and mental health, but also how much I want to make certain facts public about myself.

On the flip side of that, I don’t want to present too much of a sanitised view of my life. I focus on the positives quite a bit here and a lot of what I share is only about certain topics. I guess I don’t want to give the impression that I am wafting my life away in a polka dot haze of instagram filters, whimsy and laughter. I can be twee as fuck but I also live in a pretty messy house, I can be quite lazy and slobby at times and I go through periods where it’s all I can do to scrape myself out of bed in the morning.

Anyway, on with my goals. My caveat to all of this is that I plan to buy a house this year, so a lot of my goals will be written with the knowledge that I will have that going on in the background.

Studying & learning
 I want to carry on with my Japanese study and reach level 10 on Wanikani, as well as complete the Japanese for Busy people textbook and workbook. I’m currently about half way through level 3 which is the last free level. I’ve found it a bit hard to pitch a reasonable goal here as I have no idea how steep the learning curve will be once I start on the paid for levels.
 I would like to attend at least one evening or day class where I learn a new creative or practical skill.
 On top of this, I would like to take some drum lessons as I’ve really enjoyed drumming as part of the Wasp drummers in the last few months

Travel 
 I would like to go on one short break either in Europe or the UK with my Mum
 I would also like to go away somewhere with Joe for a few nights
 I would like to visit at least 3 cities or towns in the UK that I haven’t been before

Creating
 I would like to complete the colourful crochet blanket that I have been working on. The majority of te squares are made for this, I just need to join them together and then crochet a border on them.
 I would like to finish the o-w-l-s jumper which I recently re-started after leaving my previous version half finished for ages and being unable to work out where I was at on the pattern.
 I would also like to try more general creative “stuff” by keeping a sketchbook of sketches, doodles and collages

Other
 I’ve set myself the Goodreads goal of reading 70 books this year. For context, last year I read 98 (and my goal was 52)
 This isn’t very quantifiable – but I want to cut down on the amount of time I spend on social media, particularly facebook as I find it both a time suck and something that doesn’t really aid my mood a lot of the time
 Finally, I would like to work more towards having a space to live where I feel at home rather than just somewhere that all my stuff happens to be

Tiny Things Tuesday #48

Ah January, you are kind of a bitch. I’m struggling with my mental health at the moment. It’s nothing big, just January blues (at least I think) so I am trying to set myself small goals each day, find things to look forward to and plan lots of chill out time for my evenings and weekends.

I have got out of the habit of writing my Tuesday posts here but I wanted to make an effort to write in here again especially when it’s not always as easy to see the small positive things.

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1. I wore this pin from Punky Pins today to work to cheer me up and remind me of the joy of coffee. If you don’t recognise the quote – it’s from Stranger Things – you can see a gif of the scene here. I’m looking forward to series 2 coming later this year and the pin is also a pretty good summation of how I like my mornings.

2. Even though I am not going to lessons any more, I am still carrying on with my Japanese study. At the moment I am using wanikani to start to learn kanji. The system they use really seems to work well and I like how from the start, you learn some useful kanji.

3. I’m still going to visit my squirrel pals when I am in the city centre. Last time I went looking for them, they were all hiding from the rain but I did see this trio of pigeons. I love their markings.

4. Look at my amazing scarf! I got it in the winter Pusheen subscription box (which was a Christmas gift) I wont go on about everything in the box but I will say that it is really good value and I’m so excited to get my other boxes through out this year.

Till next time..

Back in the UK

I’m back from my amazing trip to Tokyo. This isn’t the post where I am going to write about that though as I have been full of germs since my flight back and I’m feeling rough.

Small things that are soothing my poorly soul at the moment
♥ Wearing cozy slipper socks
♥ Burning lots of scented candles
♥ Taking warm baths with Lord of Misrule gel
♥ Knitting yet another pair of socks (this current pair I started on my flight to Tokyo)
♥ Making plans for the last 2 months of 2016
♥ Getting cuddles from a warm, fuzzy cat

I saw a short film the other night called Curmudgeons that Danny Devito directed and it really made me smile. I’ve also been enjoying browsing the animation category on Vimeo
I haven’t got great concentration at the moment but

I’ve also been enjoying the latest EP by Deathsex Bloodbath which they launched the day after I arrived back in the UK, which I may or may not have played some part in.

Now I’m back and my long planned for trip is over, I’m thinking up some survival plans for the rest of the year. I’ve booked tickets to go and see the Adventures in Moominland exhibition in London with a group of pals in December and I’m also going to the Los Campesinos! curated all-dayer in Leeds.

I also want to make another zine, sort more house stuff out and y’know…actually properly empty my suitcase which is currently still in the middle of the living room floor. Oops.

Tiny things Tuesday #46

The weather today has been ALL THE WEATHER – we’ve had sunshine, hail, snow, blue skies, snow, grey clouds and rain. I don’t know how to dress for weather than changes from one hour to the next.

At work we’re getting in to our busiest time of year so I’m gearing up for that while at the same time making sure to carve out time in the evening and on weekends to work on my own projects and to rest and recoup. I’m actually starting another Japanese class tomorrow night, but it’s only a 10 week course this time (and isn’t being assessed)

I’m looking forward to the upcoming long weekend. I’m off to Sheffield zine fest on the Saturday so I’m excited to see some of my pals there.

Here’s this weeks things;

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1. I watched this incredibly cute documentary on Netflix called Twinsters which is the true story of two adopted Korean girls finding each other online and the crazy few months they had getting to know each other and exploring their history to see if they were related. I wont go into too many details aside to say that I found the documentary so uplifting and emotional. It was wonderfully shot, I loved the music but most of all – the two girls (Samantha and Anaïs) were so charming and funny that it was a pleasure to spend time learning about them. I actually enjoyed the film so much that I brought the book that they wrote too – Separated @ Birth and finished that yesterday.

2. I got sent a mystery package last week and it was a buddy box from the Blurt! One of my friends has sent it to me as a surprise. I had heard of the boxes before but this was my first time receiving one. Mine was a mini box and contained a lovely smelling foot scrub bar, some really cute bird shaped post-it notes and a cute sheep pin badge. There was also some postcards with uplifting pictures and words on. It was a really lovely thing to receive in the post.

3. My lunch today was some of this delicious smoked hummmus with some crackers. I don’t get to eat it very often because I can only seem to find it at Waitrose and that’s not my usual shop. I got to go to the store n a nearby town this week so I made sure to pick up some goodies including 2 pots of this hummus, some fancy dark chocolate and a 6 pack of my favorite soda (San Pellegrino grapefruit)

4. My Mum came to visit last week so I had a couple of days off of work. We went to the Herbert gallery to see the new exhibition of Grayson Perry’s tapestries called “The vanity of small differences“. I loved seeing all the tapestries in person and how amazingly detailed they were. I sneakily snapped a picture of this one as I was drawn to the scene in the kitchen with the mugs and cafetiere.

and now I’ve off to work on a secret craft project and watch something on Netflix.

Looking forward

I’ve been kinda fed up over the last few weeks. I’ve struggled to get myself out of a mental slump and to find things to care about. Everything just felt a bit much.

I’ve had a really nice weekend hanging out with J and some other pals as well as spending time alone. I’ve been thinking tonight about how many things I have to look forward to, so I thought I would jot them down as a reminder to myself. I may come back and add more as I remember them.

★ The guidebook to Tokyo I ordered arriving so I can start planning my trip.
★ Being able to book my flights in the next few months.
★ Seeing my Mum in April.
★ The announcement for the first lot of bands playing Indietracks in the next few days
★ New season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt in April.
★ A second album from Martha coming out at some point in the hopefully not too distant future.
★ Going to see Deadpool again on Tuesday with my friend Kate.
★ An afternoon tea at a beautiful venue to celebrate a friends birthday.
★ Working on and hopefully finishing my crochet blanket ready to snuggle under in winter.
★ Making a coffee with the freshly ground pecan flavoured beans I brought at the weekend.
★My Seed bottle arriving from the indiegogo campaign that I supported.

Now I’m going to read in bed, because I’ve spent far too much time on my laptop today.

Tiny things Tuesday #43

My laptop is back! The positive was that it wasn’t the harddrive so I haven’t lost any of my data. It’s so nice to be able to type properly and listen to all the music that I didn’t have on my ipod.

I’m finding that I have too much to do at the moment and not so much a case of not enough time but a case of not enough time to relax AND do the things I need or want to do. I’m still learning my own limits. Taking one evening a night to attend a class leaves me a little exhausted the following night so I find that I just spend evenings either at class, studying or relaxing. I feel guilty sometimes like I should be doing more but then when I try to do more, I wipe myself out.

Here’s this weeks things;

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1. I have been hoarding this unicorn horn bath bar for month now and finally used it on Sunday evening. It was lovely to relax with after a weekend of tidying and sorting. I also put on a face mask and concentrated on stretching out my achy back and legs.

2. The sad ghost club does some wonderful work around mental health support and awareness as well as making some super cute illustrations. I treated myself to one of their shirts last week and its so soft and lovely.

3. I love pancakes! They are a staple thing that I will make for people who stay over at our house (and just for me and J on a weekend if I am feeling fancy). I usually make crepe style ones but after having some amazing american style ones that my friend Sarah made, I tried making my own tonight (and last night as a practice run) I used this recipe from Edgy Veg and it worked so well. I substituted the coconut oil with standard sunflower oil and found the trick was to wait until bubbled came through the batter to the topside before flipping them over.

4. I haven’t finished reading the whole of “The life changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo but I liked what I have read. I’m working on overhauling my house at the moment and at the weekend I used Marie’s method of organizing clothes to sort my wardrobe and drawers. Look at all my neatly folded tops! I hope it’s something I can maintain.

Till next time…

Oh hi 2016

I’m sitting here drinking some left over bucks fizz at 3.45 in the afternoon on the first day of 2016. I had a quiet NYE at home with Joe after our plans fell through, but that was ok as I’m not really one for going out on these ‘big nights’. One of the great things I have discovered about getting older is that I can stay home when I want and the world will still keep turning. I’ll still have the same friends, I won’t miss out on anything major and even if I do, I still did what I wanted.

Today I had a huge lay in, read some of my first book for 2016 (The Seed Collectors by Scarlett Thomas) and now after a shower and an excellent late breakfast of cinnamon swirls, coffee and bucks fizz in bed, I’m here listening to the Jeffrey Lewis and Los Bolts CD that I got for Christmas.

So what of this year? What do I want from it and who am I going to be?

Unlike last year, I haven’t come to this point with a fully formed set of goals so I’m kind of winging it at this point. That’s ok though because another thing about growing up is that I’ve given up on the idea that I have to stick to goals and ideas that aren’t serving me. I can change and adapt and it will still count.

Here are some of my preliminary goals or ideas;
star_off Complete and pass my Japanese for beginners class
star_off Renew my passport and plan a trip to see my friend Lisa in Tokyo in October
star_off Grow my hair and get a fringe cut back in (I’ve tried to get away for it, but I always end up with fringe envy!)
star_off Take a second silversmithing class (This is something that I’m almost sure will happen because my Mum generously paid for this as my Christmas gift)
star_off Have a massive overhaul of my possessions and our current house (ready for the next point)
star_off Keep saving towards buying our own place
star_off Carry on writing in this blog on a regular basis
star_off Write another perzine and another issue of Rebel, Rebel
star_off Read at least 52 books (an average of 1 per week) – I read 90 last year so hopefully this one should be easy as I have LOADS that I have on my to-read pile as well as even more that I have brought in the kindle sale

I’d also like to explore the following but I’m trying to be realistic with time/money/energy constraints so some of these may end up as longer term goals
star_off Join and complete the little red tarot course
star_off Take a wood turning class
star_off Take a stained glass course
star_off Take part in the Sketchbook Club course

Above all, I want to live my best life this year. I want to spend time with people who matter to me and give my energy to those people and to myself. I want to feel healthy and mentally well. I want to create and laugh and to be the kind of adult that my younger self would think was pretty damn cool.

Coping

“And I’m too tired to care about it
Can’t you see this in my face?
The emphasis is on coping”

Less blue skies days and more rain has left me feeling glum. Not entirely depressed, but also not that far off. Some days I have been one bad thing away from ending up in tears. I haven’t felt up to writing recently – which is usually the times I most need to.

I want to write another zine but I feel blocked. I’ve been mulling over what the point is of me writing these when there are so many other more interesting, creative and prolific zinesters. There is no art is my sadness, I’m no good at expressing myself in any way that will give people an insight on their own condition. I suppose I just write as a form of therapy – I write to work out how I feel about things, to process my opinions and work out my own biases and weak points. I think lately I have focussed too much creative energy on the final thing I am making, rather than to look at the path I take to get there and all the benefits that brings me.

Here’s a list of tiny tiny tiny things that have been keeping me going;
♥ 150 new emojis ♥ borrowing ebooks from the library ♥ Goat Simulator ♥ Learning hiragana characters ♥ Bumping into fellow ingress players on campus ♥ Replaying Monument Valley ♥ Finding jeans that fit & are comfy ♥ Meeting friends for brunch on the weekends ♥ Listening to podcasts on the bus to and from work ♥ Trying out new Just Dance songs (I have 3 discs now) ♥ Clean sheets ♥ Finally filling my paper journal ♥ Seeing beautiful sunsets from train or bus windows