10 things that have made me happy recently

img_9274I want to spread some joy, I also love writing about myself (because I am vain and I like to think I am good at it) so I thought I would combine the two. I intend to make this a regular thing. Lots of things make me happy, and it will be a nice little catalogue to look back at on my down days which could never be a bad thing.

So, here are 10 things that have done a lot for my mood recently. A lot of them are simple and random but, often, the best things are.

1. A little cat named Sergeant Pepper.

img_9155Back in December, it snowed pretty badly. We’d been feeding a cat for a while, it would come and visit us almost every day and we’d been seeing it for months and months and months. It was such a friendly little critter, and it was always really happy to see us (my boyfriend would always say “Can we have him?” and look hopefully at me when trotted over to us). We couldn’t bear the thought of our little friend being out in the snow with nowhere warm to go so we invited him up to our flat. (Though, we thought he was a she at this point and had spent many months calling him a beautiful girl. Whoops.)

img_8807He stayed with us for two weeks before we were able to take him to the vets (there were many hijinks involving cat carriers and the like). I was checking all of the lost pet pages and websites for my area just in case anyone was looking for him, and I kept an eye out for posters around our estate, but no one was looking for him, if he had a home they didn’t want him anymore. The vet scanned him all over for a microchip and, luckily for us, he didn’t have one. (Though I would have been happy to reunite him with his family, I would have been devastated if he had a chip – I fell in love with him as soon as he made it inside the flat!)

img_8658As he had been with us for seven days without anyone claiming him and he didn’t have a chip, we were allowed to keep him. Hooray! We think he’s about 6 years old, and he may have been hit by a car because his mouth is a little bit messed up (he’s having at least one tooth removed later this month), and he may have limited vision in one eye. He’s a little bit wonky and I love him very much.

I’m sure my loved ones are fed up of my constant prattling about him but he is the best and I feel so lucky to have him.

2. Vanilla Chai Tea.

Vanilla Chai is my tea of choice, to the point where I am now a little bit disappointed when I am met with a normal cup of tea because I expect it to taste and smell like vanilla chai. Spoiler alert: it never does.

It’s such a lovely flavour. It’s so autumnal and warm, with its wintry cousin Spiced Chai they are my perfect cosy drinks.

I have two honourable mentions in this section and they are thus: Coconut chai tea, my other half bought me coconut chai loose leaf tea yonks ago but I could never drink it because I cannot handle bits in my drinks and the infuser I have always leaks, luckily I found some empty tea bags on Amazon so I was finally able to try it properly (it is delicious); OGX limited edition Vanilla Chai shampoo and conditioner, this stuff smells incredible, so incredible that I panic bought some more so that I can use it for as long as possible before I have to wave a sad goodbye.

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3. Owning a slow cooker.

img_8933My lovely, lovely parents bought me a slow cooker for Christmas and it has changed my life. I am still eating the Slimming World way and I have long been wanting to try slow cooker recipes but I lacked a vital component: the slow cooker.

I’ve only cooked a few things in it so far but they have been a success and I am raring to try more. I have recently fallen in love with cooking again after several months of being lazy and living mostly on giant vats of plain pasta (I love pasta, I am a carb fiend and I always will be); since early January, I have been trying out at least one new recipe every week to try to keep things interesting while I continue on my meandering weightloss journey, and I would recommend it to everyone. Widen your food horizons, you might surprise yourself.

On a related note: my other half does not eat the same food I do, and I love not having to share my food. It is wonderful knowing that you have leftovers in the fridge. It is even more wonderful when you know with complete certainty, that they will still be there when you want to eat them.

4. My boyfriend talking in his sleep.

My other half is a very deep sleeper but if you catch him just as he’s falling asleep (which can sometimes occur while you are on the phone) you get a little insight into his pink elephant dreams and the results are often rather funny. So far in 2018, we have only had one Sleep Talking Scott moment but it was beautiful:

“Don’t let the onions and pickles [mumble mumble mumble]..”

Don’t let the onions and the pickles what? What are they doing?

“They’re trying to infiltrate my burger.”

Oh.

Sometime later after a fairly large interval of silence, he uttered but one word…

“Cheese!”

5. The End of the Day by Claire North.

img_9038The book I am slowly reading. I hit a reading slump last year which I have been struggling to get out of. I put a lot of pressure on myself to read more, and it worked for a while, I read more than I had read in the entirety of 2016 in the first few months of 2017 but then I hit a snag and haven’t been able to find anything new that I wanted to read. There are a lot of books I want to read but I had trouble finding one I wanted to read right then and there.

The End of the Day seems to be that book. It’s taking me a while but I am getting there and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I will hopefully be reviewing it in the coming weeks, or however long it takes me to finish (I refuse to rush myself) but for now I will leave you with its tagline:

Sooner or later, Death visits everyone. Before that, they meet Charlie.

Is that a hook or what?

6. High-waisted skinny jeans.

img_8134Up until recently, I never thought I would wear skinny jeans. I never thought I would wear high-waisted jeans either, I tried some on yonks ago and they looked horrendous and felt uncomfortable. When I was at my biggest, I was too scared to buy jeans because clothes sizes frightened me (and made me very, very sad) so I just didn’t try. Recently, I got to a size I was happy enough to take the chance with and now I am the proud owner of several pairs of skinny jeans, two of which are high-waisted. I love them. They make my legs look so good. I live in them now.

7. I found my first half-a-grey hair.

This is a weird one. For most people, finding a grey hair is a bad thing, and I thought it would be for me too. I don’t know whether it was because it was only half a hair or because it looked white rather than grey (and for a dark haired person, the idea of white hair is quite exciting, just think of all the bright coloured dye you could use without having to bleach your hair to death beforehand!) but it made me happy just the same.

I even saved the hair in my phone case so I could proudly show the other half when we both finished work. Oh, Elou.

8. Pepsi Max in glass bottles.

It just tastes so much better from glass. So much better.

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9. Giftcards.

I get a fair amount of giftcards for birthdays and Christmases. I ask for them because A) books are expensive and B) I am losing weight and thus want and need to buy new clothes. Adulting takes money so I sometimes feel guilty for spending mine on things I don’t need, receiving giftcards takes the guilt away from buying things I just want. So thank you to all of my friends and family for your kind, kind donations to my shopping problem. (Giftcards are why I own jeans now, they are a blessing.)

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10. The word ‘ochre’.

I wrote it in something the other day and it has been stuck in my head ever since. It is such a satisfying word. It sounds warm and rich and I love saying it.


What has made you happy recently? Feel free to join in! 

If you’re reading this, I tag you.

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I am made up of flaws

When I was younger, I wanted braces and glasses. (I always thought they looked cool.) I have glasses (and love them) and I had braces on my top teeth for six months. Childhood dreams achieved.

Now, I want freckles and red hair. Mainly because they look wonderful in photos. Red hair is the sign of a soul full of fire and freckles are the tiny marks left behind when magic has come into contact with skin. Red hair and freckles are magic made real.

I will never have freckles and I highly doubt red hair would look good on me. This is something I have come to accept. Begrudgingly.

I am not stereotypically pretty (if such a thing exists, for the sake of argument, we are saying it does). I have never been told I should model, and I have never had much attention because of the way my face looks. I am awkward; one of my eyes is bigger than the other (a thing which is alarmingly obvious in the photograph on my driving license), my hair is always scraggly and split at the ends even when I’ve just had it cut, my shoulders are wonky and my neck is slanted. I have a birthmark on my lip (which I adore) that everyone assumes is a bruise or a cut, it goes a deeper blue when I am cold. My eyebrows are very rarely perfectly plucked and I am terrible at most make-up (winged eyeliner, however, I can do… sometimes), I don’t wear it often. I don’t moisturise my face when I should, and I very rarely remember to use the fancy, expensive face stuff I bought for myself for my twenty-sixth birthday.

Sometimes I don’t brush my hair, instead, I put it in a bun or plaits when it’s wet and leave it like that for a day until it looks like I’ve put a lot of effort in to make my hair wavy or curly. My hair hates being washed too much, and certain shampoo makes it feel gummy and disgusting (now that I’ve worked out what particular shampoo that is, I avoid it). Dry shampoo is my friend.

During the week, I put absolutely no effort into my outfits, I pull a top and some leggings off of the giant mound of clothes on my bedroom floor that I really should sort through and hang up. I get up 15-30 minutes before I need to leave for work. I very rarely clean my glasses, and am permanently seeing the world through a smear. As soon as I get home, now that I own a cat who has very fluffy fur and definitely no regard for where he sheds it, I change into lounge pants and one of my designated ‘cat tops’. When it’s cold, I wear a lot of hats and my hair goes even more flat than it already is (I have very fine hair, I often wish that one day I will wake up and it will be gloriously thick and shiny but it won’t, and I will always look like I am going slightly bald even though I’m not), sometimes I wear my hats all day, right up until I go to bed, until my head feels like it’s still wearing it even an hour after I’ve taken it off.

I procrastinate like nothing else. I get determined to do things and then find ways to sabotage myself. Updating this blog being one of those things (but in my defense, have you ever tried to blog on a computer that is attached to a giant TV across the other side of the room? I have, and it is neither pleasant nor enjoyable – now I have a beautiful little laptop which is just for blogging and writing and all manner of wordy things.), I am, once again, going to attempt to do better.

My nails are always stubby and short and bitten jagged, even though I adore the look of black nail varnish. That is another thing I am trying to curb. So far it’s working, soon my nails will be painted black and I will look that little bit more snazzy and that little bit closer to the me that I see in my head, who looks a little bit witchy and a little bit cool and like she has her life together. (Sometimes I have the oomph to look like that. Sometimes.)

When I was younger, I didn’t appreciate the paleness of my skin and the dark brown of my hair. Even though, in my more whimsical moments, I want to paint myself with freckles (I really should learn how to do the freckle make-up, another bit of girlishness that I will be absolutely terrible at), I love being pale and I love having dark hair. (But that doesn’t mean I won’t dye it again, I proabably will.) I love my face sometimes, and I love it when my hair dries just right.

I don’t know how to end blog entries, especially long overdue blog entries.

Taking my own advice

Hello (she says and her voice echoes around the internet and disturbs the spiders in their webs). How are we all? It’s been a while. Tell me lovely, interesting things you’ve been getting up to in the comments. I’ve missed responding to comments.

In my last post, I was having a bit of an existential crisis. And that’s totally okay. It happens. It is a part of life. Recognising that you’re having issues and working on them is all part of self-care.

Upon writing that post, I decided to take my own advice and have a bit of a break from blogging – I was incredibly busy with some exciting freelance work and keeping up with both paid work and blogging on top of my full-time day job was getting a little difficult. But I’ve loosened up my schedule and we are back in business.

Since I’ve been gone, I’ve mostly been marathoning things on Netflix and it’s been bliss. I also had some lovely family time, went on several dates with the other half (including a visit to the Black Living Country Museum and seeing Spider-Man: Homecoming), went to see the Addams Family at the Birmingham Hippodrome with my wonderful Mum (review to come) and spent last weekend feeling pretty fabulous with my friends while dressed as a space/moon princess. I was blind all day because I wasn’t wearing my glasses but I reckon the hazy vision only added to the otherworldly vibes of the day.

Posts will be a bit sporadic while I get back into the swing of things (you may even get two today… maybe) but we shall definitely be swinging again soon. (Oo-er.) I will also be responding to all of the emails you’ve been sending me so watch your inboxes!

Have a lovely evening, bloglings, I’ve missed you.

The Quarter-Life Crisis

I am in a reading slump. I don’t get them too often at the moment so I think I just need to switch out the book I’m reading. It’s not that I’m not enjoying it, I am, but I don’t think it’s what I want to be reading right now.

But that’s not what this blog entry is about.

When I hit twenty-five, I didn’t really have a quarter-life crisis, I was happy floating along and nothing really changed with my age. Fast forward a year.

I recently turned twenty-six (you may remember a vaguely uplifting post about it), when that happened I had a grand plan and life was good and I was feeling determined and optimistic about the future. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a plan and am feeling determined but I am also feeling incredibly anxious.

Everywhere I look, my friends from all periods of my life (from primary school through to my master’s degree) seem to have their lives together, they have great jobs, great houses/flats, some of them are buying houses. They’re going to exciting places and having exciting adventures. (Now, that last bit is something I like to observe from afar, I am a homebody and I’m happy to just chill locally – that’s not to say I never want to go on holiday but I’m more focussed on saving at the moment and that’s okay.) I see my friends getting new jobs and moving up in the world, getting higher salaries and more respected in their fields, and then the panic sets in.

Maybe, it’s just because this month is an expensive month for me, filled with various car-related payments (insurance, service, road tax – yay!). I’m not able to put anything in my savings for a while and that freaks me out. But I find myself panicking that my life is going nowhere, and thinking that I should be at the same stage as the other people I know. Now, rationally, I know that all of my friends have probably had this exact feeling despite how put together they look on the outside. I know for a fact that I have been one of the people inspiring the panic for at least one of my friends (she told me so), so I must not be doing as badly as I think but the problem is that once I think it and feel it, it’s a hard feeling to shake.

My self-confidence ebbs and flows. I can take compliments now, I am practised in the art of agreeing when people say nice things about me and not only agreeing but believing it too. But that confidence doesn’t extend to my worth as a person, I find it very difficult to imagine myself as someone who adds to the environment I am in, I know I am good at things but I never think I am good enough at those things (to be worth hiring or paying or sometimes just being around). I know that this is probably being exaggerated by my current lack of money and the worries that come from that.

I will probably be okay in a few weeks but until then, I will be huddled in the corner, like Golem, whispering my precious over all of the five pence pieces I can find.


This has been a blog entry, I think. I honestly don’t know what this was but I needed to write about it, so here you go. My humble Monday-evening-but-posting-Tuesday offering.

March: Instagram Highlights

A new kind of post, hello. I’ve wanted to do these for a while, a little round-up of my favourite images from my main Instagram this month. There are lots because it was so busy! It was also my birthday, so that helps.

Highlights include: puppy cuddles, excellent books, an artsy throwback, unashamed selfies galore, an artistic accident at work, launch snippets, and birthday presents.

If you want to follow, you can do so here.

Twenty-Six

Today is March twenty-sixth. In 1824 Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis was performed for the first time (though Wikipedia says this happened in April), in 1827 he died. Britain, 1934, driving tests were introduced for the first time. In 1953 Dr Jonas Salk announced the vaccine for polio. The first royal email was sent from the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment by Queen Elizabeth II in 1976. These are all things that happened on March twenty-sixth.

There are twenty-six letters in the alphabet. A rhombicuboctahedron has twenty-six faces. There are twenty-six black and twenty-six red cards in a deck. A normal human foot and ankle have twenty-six bones. Twenty-six is the only number between a square number and a cube number, and it takes twenty-six moves or less to solve a Rubik’s Cube.

I have been alive for twenty-six years.

I’ve decided that my twenty-sixth year is the year I get things done. I will reach my target, I will take the first steps to achieving my dream (which I have been avoiding for a while now because I’ve been scared – taxes are scary), I will continue this trend of unashamed self-love I have going on at the moment (we all have our bad days but I am determined to have more good days).

I have big dreams, and more determination than I ever expected to have, and big things are coming. Twenty-six? I am ready for you.

In which I found a crack in the Universe

Or at the very least, imagined a poem by Edgar Allan Poe.

Hello, bloglings of varying shapes, sizes and mythical denominations. It has become increasingly obvious to me that I may have stumbled across a crack in the universe and now she’s trying her hardest to fill it in, to make me either forget about it or to convince me I am a little bit nuts and have made-up memories. Either way, it’s working, so here I am writing a blog post about it.

I realise that this all sounds a bit mad, so I am going to explain myself.

Circa 2011/2012 I was given a copy of the leatherbound Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe (Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions). It is a beautiful edition, which currently resides at my parents’ house due to my severe lack bookshelves and space to put bookshelves. I vividly remember flicking through this book in my bedroom the aforementioned parents’ house, I remember the room’s dark purples and limited light adding an ambience to the whole thing. I remember feeling the pages in my hands and flipping it open to a random point in the book.

I remember a very short poem. Shorter than any Poe I had ever read previously. It was about a grave/death. A woman being in the ground. I remember nothing else about this poem. I so vividly remember finding it and being so in love with it. I remember adding it to my profile on Elftown, my once upon a time internet hang-out. Naturally, I deleted it at some point so it is no longer there to find.

No one I know who enjoys Mister Poe seemed to be aware of this poem’s existence. Google searching phrases like ‘shortest Edgar Allan Poe poem’ yields stanzas upon stanzas and nothing even nearly as short as I remember. This had been haunting me for years but anytime I was near enough my copy of the book to check, I’d forgotten that it was bothering me. Clearly, the universe didn’t want me to know something.

To that, I say screw you, universe! (I’m kidding, I love you really, you contain the stars and the planets and the moon and I find all of those things fascinating and inspiring and terrible – the great unknown is always terrible – in equal measure.)

This story has a happy ending, though. I’ve had spurts of looking for this poem and failing for the last few years, and I’ve never progressed in my search. Until now. While ranting to my best friend, who humours all of my weird and wonderful ways and knows exactly when to offer sympathy even though I am being ridiculous, I suddenly had a vague flicker of memory which I have never had before. I was suddenly struck with the knowledge that one of the words in the poem was ‘earth’ and another was ‘deep’. In all my years of searching, I’ve never had any inkling of the contents except for a vague understanding of the theme (grave/death, woman – or so I presumed anyway).

The universe has finally decided I am ready.

It is with thanks to the universe (and a hope that the universe is not offended by my earlier comment), that I present to you my favourite poem which was found scribbled in the margins of the manuscript for ‘Eulalie’.

Deep in Earth (1847)

Deep in earth my love is lying
And I must weep alone.