Tag Archives: happythings

5 Happy Things: November 2019

Happy things for November…

1.It’s nearly Christmas!

A lake where a playing field used to be...

Biscuits! Presents! Cold weather! Flooded Oxford! Food!

I don’t know why I’m quite so excited this year (possibly the drugs have something to do with it) but I’m really looking forward to Christmas. (The flooding part isn’t so great, but we live on a hill and own wellies, so meh. The birds seem to be enjoying it anyhow.)

Also, it’s time off to sleep and read – and eat biscuits.

2.Advent Calendar!

As my partner has now seen this (and helped me put the fairy lights up), I can talk about it! I made an advent calendar – it’s 24 envelopes with craft tape, all pinned to the fairy lights. I’m not going to say what’s in each envelope as I know my partner reads this (hey, you) but it’s cute, and exciting, and I really hope they like it.

They liked the calendar when it went up, anyhow, so that’s a good sign 🙂 and the lights make the room really cosy!

3.Seeing people

Portal board game boxExcellent dinner at GBK and a Beethoven & Stravinsky concert in Birmingham, catching up with Sam and playing the Portal board game,  dinner at the George Street Social with an old friend,  lunch at the Ashmoleon with my family… it’s been a busy month (and next month is due to be even busier, ARGH) but I’m coping.

Portal was ok, by the way – but we decided that you needed to play with  more than two people, and they had to be people who don’t mind being mean to each other. It’s definitely a backstab-and-steal-your-cake game.

4.Pills pills pills

Well, it’s sort of a good thing. They’re definitely helping lift my mood, but they’re also doing an absolute number on me in terms of tiredness and picking up bugs; I fell asleep on both journeys to/from Birmingham, have been going out like a light as soon as my head hits the pillow and waking up tired every morning, and spent some of this week lying in bed with a stupid bug that made me exhausted, sick and generally incapable of any thought. I’m really hoping the effects wear off soon!

But overall – they’ve been really good! I had two points last week where I could feel myself reaching the end of my energy, but I was ok: I coped, and could still function. I did have one bad anxiety attack (set off by a crowded pub) but that was ok. So yay for drugs!

5.Ridiculous games

I got Donut County, which looks like silly amounts of fun (and so far, after 5 minutes play, is silly amounts of fun!)

Donut County is a story-based physics puzzle game where you play as an ever-growing hole in the ground. Meet cute characters, steal their trash, and throw them in a hole.

See? Ridiculous! Also, it involves a trash panda, so that’s definitely win.

5 Happy Things – October 2019

No post on Monday because this weekend completely wiped me out; I didn’t make BristolCon and barely made it off the sofa on Sunday!

But, happy things for October?

1.I feel like an editor!

“Hi, [Agent]. If you’re after David, he’s probably covered in paint while entertaining a small child. It’s half term.”

“Actually, I wanted to tell you I’ve got the latest by [novellist] ready, but I need a million pounds.”

“Uhh… nope. I can draw you a treasure map, how’s that?”

“Oh, that would be a wonderful diversion. So no million pounds?”

“No million pounds. How about a hat?”

“A fabulous hat?”

We did actually get onto discussing another book – and it felt like everything was there. I could chat, knew what I wanted to ask, knew when to check with my colleagues… you know when you feel like something just clicks? It doesn’t happen often but it was really good – I felt like I knew my stuff!

2.Happy pills – literally!

I’ve been on anti-depressants for a month now; they are doing some good (I have been baking, although no small birds have been helping me yet) but I’m still feeling a bit grey. I had a discussion with my doctor about upping the dose, so I’m just going to keep trundling along for a bit and see how I do.

I can feel things slowly breaking up, though – I get flashes of what feels almost like spotlights. The sunlight through the trees, an offhand comment that sparks a moment of story or character, a brief moment of hope for the future – and then it goes again, but it gives me hope that it will lift eventually.

It is very weird feeling again when you haven’t been able to for a while, though. I’m expecting it to be a bit rocky when everything does hit in again!


Erin Lindsey’s A Golden Grave turned up in the post; I’ve finally got Kindle editions of  Three-Body Problem, Witchsign and Embers of War; I’ve started reading The House of Shattered Wings (I adore Aliette’s short stories and I’m enjoying the novel so far!); and I’ve had some wonderfully fun books at work.

Add to that my haul from FantasyCon and it’s been a good month for reading!

I need to do some reviews…


We’ve been given a bagful of pears, so I previously did a pear & almond & dark chocolate cake, and this weekend tried a pear & pecan cake – both from the BBC Good Food Cakes & Bakes book, which is one of my favourites. It’s got flour stains, folded corners, post-it notes, butter splashes and sugar in the spine. It’s well-loved, basically.

I also made sweetcorn muffins from Jack Monroe’s cookbook – I’m making more things from that, which has been fun!


It was really good to see people at FantasyCon, and it’s been lovely connecting with people on social media recently – I actually feel like I can cope with the world! (Ish). Everyone is absolutely lovely and supportive too, and it keeps making me cry (in a good way).

I’m also planning birthday and Christmas presents for various people, and that’s lots of fun! I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed it!

Also, I’m really looking forward to Christmas!

5 Happy Things: September 2019

We’ve somehow got to the end of September? ARGH! But – happy things!

1.New socks

Do I need to say anything more?

2.New books

A.K. Larkwood, oh my…

Also, an adorable (free!) short story from Jennifer Lee Rossman, who also did Anachronism, which still rates very highly on my “amazing one-liners” meter.

And one from one of my favourite authors that I can’t talk about but eeeeeeeeeeeh I ADORE IT. (The problem with submissions piles!)

ALSO! If you have already read This Is How You Lose The Time War, then Scott Lynch did the most adorable fanfic! But only if you’ve read the book – so if you haven’t read it, go read it. Bring sniper rifles and neurotoxins.


I LOVE planning Christmas presents, and I’m already having ridiculous amounts of fun planning things for my partner. I want to do an advent calendar of sorts, so 24 presents – it sounds like lots but actually they mount up fast, and I’ve had an idea that will do most of them! It’s something that’s making me very happy.

It’s also their birthday in December so I’ve been plotting for that… mwahaha. So far, they’ve been very confused by my instructions. It’s great 😀

4.Family events

My partner sitting in a sunny garden

One wedding and one engagement this month! I find weddings a bit stressful (partly because they’re bittersweet and partly because OH MY GOD ALL OF THE PEOPLE and they take ALL of my spoons) but there is CAKE and that solves everything.

Also I got to catch up with my close family on a beautifully sunny morning, meet a new puppy and fuss old puppies (one of whom is 9 and should know better, the loon!) and play board games and then sit up the garden with a book – or a sketchpad in one case – which was lovely. It felt really good to enjoy the last splash of unexpected summer sunshine.


5.Nesting & Organising

Having moved, and trying to find places to put things, and needing extra things… it’s getting little bits (a huge stockpot! Kallax shelves that fit PERFECTLY! Spice racks!) and being able to use things I already have (wrapping paper in a basket! Cushions spawning endlessly on the sofa! Crafty things away in a box!) and fitting things into the space (hidden shelf under the oven for trays!) and it makes me so happy.

A place for everything, and everything in its place.

Plus, I’m a librarian at heart. My partner’s lucky I’m not adding a classification system for everything!

5 Happy Things: August 2019

August 2019! What’s been happy this month?

1.Meeting People

We had a street party yesterday, and it was a bit scary…but not too scary! Which, for me, is a definite success. I could only manage about 2 hours of talking to people, but I did it, and talked to everyone, and met a tortoise and two cats (ok, yes, and some people.)

And I ate SO MUCH – we’ve got an incredibly international community so everyone brought a national dish (we made scones) and it was so good. I was very very full afterwards! (Pavolva is WIN.)

2.Getting Stuff Done

I’d been putting so much off until After WorldCon, because ARGH planning and stress and it was just easier to delay it. And now it actually is After WorldCon, which means I have to Do All The Things.

And I am getting them done! Or at least planning for them! Which is epic. Admittedly I put so much off that I now have a ridiculous list but still, getting a few big things crossed off is really nice. There is Progress!

3.Amazing Authors!

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette KowalSo we had Mary Robinette Kowal over to the office before WorldCon, and then Derek Künsken this past week… they were both charming, lovely, signed a whole bunch of books and kept us all entertained with witty stories! I did get to bribe Derek with chocolate and confuse him with slang, along with stealing Mary Robinette for a meeting of the World Dominations & Cake Club when we got to hear the first chapter of her new book, so I am definitely in favour of author visits.

Also, we get to give them lunch, and books. It’s a weird world in publishing sometimes… “hey, you wrote a book for us, do you want all of these – none of which are yours – to read in return?”

But then I suppose we do push books on everyone, so…

4.Aniseed Jellies

My partner and I have had serious debate about the best type of Liquorice Allsort, but I think we’re agreed that it’s aniseed jellies… and I found out a few weeks ago that they come on their own! A friend at work has been supplying me, and it’s the worst.

And the best.


5.A Happy Song

My current dance-around-the-room-while-putting-washing-away song.

5 Happy Things: July 2019

Happy things for July!


We got to put up more bookshelves, and wheeee! I enjoy doing DIY as it’s something practical and constructive and you can see the end result, but bookshelves are a favourite as it means space for more books.

Although, as a friend pointed out, those books are usually already in folorn heaps on the floor, so it’s not really more books. Just relocating those I already have.

But anyhow. It’s the brief hope of additional books that makes it all worthwhile.


Home-made scones (with clotted cream and jam). Mushroom risotto. Salads. Rye bread with poached eggs and spinach. Porridge with berries and honey. Cheeseburger and chips. Katsu curry.

When I’m not doing too well, one of the things that goes is eating: I often feel sick, and it’s hard to eat much – so it’s always a pleasure when I start feeling better, and start wanting food again!

It’s also been a pleasure to find an egg-poacher that works, and get a toaster, and make scones again (yogurt is the key – it replaces buttermilk. I want to try cheese scones with Philadelphia, too…)

3.Terry Pratchett

Otter and I have picked up Soul Music again as an audio (ok, we’re reading it) and I still adore Pratchett so much. I picked up Guards! Guards! again recently as well, and chatted to someone about Thief of Time, and… just so much wit, and humour, and pithy insights.


I’ve been picking up The Beatles, and Cats, and some old favourites from when I was a teenager: REM, Bruce Springsteen, The Pet Shop Boys, Fleetwood Mac, Smash Mouth (for which I entirely blame my colleague David!)


I’m doing more training for my SFEP Professional qualification, and it’s been quite fun to learn things again! (It’s also been very frustrating as it’s an Introduction to Fiction Editing and like, that’s my job, so… but still.)

I’m also still doing Norwegian, which is fun! I’m slowly starting to pick up more vocab and construct sentences, which has been good. My partner’s been laughing at me (mostly when I use a Norwegian noun as an English verb… spieser’ing is totally a word, right?)

Also pondering if there’s anything else I want to learn… still considering more dancing, and thinking about picking up my flute again…