Tag Archives: happythings

5 Happy Things: February 2019

I’m still getting whacked by anxiety (a combination of suddenly shifting sands on something I thought was more settled, a problem that’s rumbling onwards and I just want sorted, and my brain being an arse) – so I’m going to do happy things because they make me happy!


1.Blues dancing

I’ve been learning bits of blues with my partner, and oh my goodness is it hard! I used to dance as a child – modern, ballet, tap – but learning to dance with someone else is so hard! That said…I’m getting better, and it’s so much fun. It’s taking me a little while to relax each time and we’re still struggling to put together a reliable playlist, but it’s really fun to do.

2.Ducks on the river

I get to stop and watch the ducks on the lake or the river on my walks to and from work, and they’re always entertaining. Sometimes it’s the swans attempting to fall asleep (gracefully, despite being blown around in circles) and constantly being disturbed by the moorhens; sometimes it’s the Canadian geese flying in on their daily commute;  sometimes it’s the ducks, quacking around in circles; and sometimes it’s just a bunch of geese who have Opinions about Things and want to tell each other VERY LOUDLY.

(Geese are still gits.)


It’s my colleague asking, very seriously, “So how are your weasels today?” It’s one of my best friends sending chocolate, yaoi or a snippet of her latest writing. It’s spending an hour sitting in the V&A with someone I miss dearly and don’t see often enough, just catching up. It’s my gaming group asking how I am, even briefly, before we get into the serious business of trying to thwart the purchase of coffee and then ensure that the boat is full so it can’t be traded. It’s getting a coffee from a friend halfway across the world, a tweet from an old colleague in another city or a silly cat gif from a friend across the room. I am ever grateful to have such wonderful people in my life.


So, we’ve got two methods of getting the cats to come – as, I suspect, have all cat owners. The first is a deliberate one; we use a whistle. It usually means they get a treat, so they do come…eventually.

The second is to open a packet that may, conceivably, possibly, contain cheese. However, as it’s Schrodinger’s Packet of Cheese, they have to be there at your feet to ensure that it does contain cheese until it is discovered that it does not, in fact, contain acceptable cheese.

(Unacceptable substitutes include lettuce, spinach, mozzerella, pasta, rice and cereal. Also unacceptable is not actually giving said cat any of said cheese once it has been ascertained that the packet does, in fact, contain acceptable cheese.)

Yowling of course makes the entire process go faster, and reminds the human that they are starving and never get fed and therefore that packet had better contain cheese!

Of course, if the packet doesn’t contain cheese, they never wanted any anyway and what do you mean they were yowling? No. Not us. We’re far too dignified to beg for cheese.

Cats are weird.


A vase of daffodils on a striped table

Snowdrops in the woodland, blossom on the tree outside my back door, and daffodils in a chipped mug. Spring’s coming!

5 Happy Things: January 2019

I’ve been feeling pretty down over the past week (mostly due to feeling ill…) so let’s do some happy stuff. What’s been good in January?

1. Talking to writers

My talk with Chalk Writers was great! They were all super interesting and it was very cool to be able to talk through the editing process, along with answering questions about first lines, first chapters, blurbs, hiring an editor, and everything in between! I managed to keep my cough under control for two hours too, which was great. Big thanks to everyone for being so welcoming and lovely!

2. A lovely gift

I got sent a beautiful brooch from a friend – it’s from Kittiwake Designs, and it’s a design that has a lot of meaning for both of us.  The brooch itself is a lovely piece, and I’m very honoured to have got it as a gift from this person! There have been some mixed emotions around it, but it’s been something I’ve been able to work through – which in itself has been a happy thing.

3. Duelling the Weasels

Aka. self-reflection, and being able to talk about things!  It’s something that I’ve been determined to improve, and my partner is entirely on board with it – and it’s been a wonderful, difficult, hopeful journey so far. Being able to talk about anything has helped with communication generally, but it’s also really helped with the Weasels; if I can identify an emotion, or why I’m feeling something, then we can work on fixing it! And usually, for the Weasels, it’s a previous experience, or a tangle of things, or just something my brain has decided – but it helps so much to be able to say, “This is what I’m feeling, and this is why.”

4. Reading

I’ve started editing my favourite book at work, and we’ve had a beautiful cover for an older favourite come in! I’m really looking forward to sharing them both.

I’ve also managed to do more personal reading, and I’ve been offered an ARC for a sequel that I’m really looking forward to! I’m also aiming to get through more of my personal editing list soon…

5. Being Proud of Everyone Around Me

Image from EMM.

Fox: whether or not you realise it, you're amazing. I'm proud of you.


5 Happy Things: December 2018

Happy things for December 2018?

1.Fabulous books!

Lies Sleeping coverI got given the latest Ben Aaronovitch at a publishing Secret Santa, and I’m part-way through it; I’m also getting to read some of the best SFF from 2018, and I’m currently adoring Alix Harrow’s A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies (published in Apex in February) – it may have made me cry a little bit. At work. Possibly. (It’s just SO GOOD. And so relatable to any librarian that I really want to just quote the entire damn thing at everyone!)

I’ve also been re-reading the Etiquette&Espionage series, am halfway through The Tethered Mage, and have even managed to start Norman Davies’ Vanished Kingdoms. Hopefully I’ll have some more time for personal reading over Christmas…

2.I’m dating again!

I’ve been seeing someone for the past few months, and they’re wonderful: they make me ridiculously happy. I’m not going to go into any more detail than that simply because I prefer the privacy, but if you see me and I have a stupid smile on my face…that may be why!

3.Small fluffballs

They’re cute. (And pains in the butt. But cute.)

Jodie’s getting used to being picked up and having scritches – so we may shortly be able to get cuddle-able fluffballs! (Peter’s not so sure, which is fair. We’re not forcing it.) They are also nearly Doing Laps – or at least eating treats off laps, so there’s progress there too.

4. Winning games

Not that I’m vindictive or anything – and I’m definitely not competitive! But there’s something extremely satisfying about winning one hand of Dominion and then two games of Seven Wonders in a row – and absolutely trouncing everyone in the second Seven Wonders, HAH. Having gone from feeling fairly anxious and pretty much losing every game to actually being able to hold my own – it’s incredibly satisfying. I still routinely lose, of course – but that’s part of the fun! But I’ve obviously learned enough now that I actually have something of a chance against the power-mad gamers who regularly love to screw everyone else over with a well-placed Bandit… (love you, guys!)

5.Fabulous friends (again)

I was thinking recently about the amount of friends I’ve lost, one way or another; either life has taken us in different directions, I’ve deliberately separated myself from them, or we’ve simply drifted apart. It sometimes feels that I’ve lost everyone who has been close to me, one way or another…

And then I give the weasel a glare, and tell it to shut the hell up.

I am absolutely blessed with a whole range of friends, old and new – and I love the sheer range and diversity of communication that I have with them. Some I don’t speak to for six months and then can spill everything over a burger, and nothing’s changed; some I haven’t seen in person for ten years and yet I know I could email them with anything. Some drop by my desk at work every lunchtime, some live halfway across the world. Some I trade jokes and memes, some I’m only there when they need me – but every single one is amazing, and I love the variety of people. I know a lot of people hate Facebook, and I have some reservations about it, but I love that it lets me keep up with people I otherwise wouldn’t. I get baby pictures, holidays, day-to-day life, cats and pets…and it’s wonderful. I have so many brilliant, talented and thoughtful friends in my life, and they make it richer every day.

So that’s most of the way through December! Christmas promises to be quiet, and I hope it’s going to be filled with writing, books and cat fluff – maybe that’s a sixth thing for this month 🙂

5 Happy Things: November 2018

November! In addition to Hadrian’s Wall, cats and random music, this month has been really nice for overall random happy occurrences.

1.Frosty mornings!

It’s been gorgeous across the fields, especially with the sun rising over the rooftops and trees.


I managed to get a short piece written; I don’t know if it will go anywhere, but it’s nice to have the inspiration while I’m walking across fields. Otter’s been reading some of the Ghost stories (not that I dare add No Man’s Land to their TBR yet, but shorts they can do!) and has been gently prodding me – which has led to me, in standard Kate fashion, waving my hands and going off on random tangents as I try to explain three 70k novels, two outlines, six short stories and an entire world in as short a sequence as I can!

I was planning to do NaNoWriMo to get No Man’s Land rewritten, but that went out the window when everyone decided they wanted formatting in October and November (I love doing my freelance work, but it definitely get in the way at times). So, I’m currently planning on looking at it over Christmas and hopefully booking myself some time off in the New Year.


I feel like I’m starting to fill my outlines; starting to have more confidence in my tasks and decisions. I’m still worried I’m going to get things wrong, and I am still getting things wrong – but so far, it’s been the most wonderful, supportive and creative environment, and I still can’t believe I’m working there.

4.Baking (again!)

I’ve made natas and macarons, plum cake and pancakes, fairy cakes and muffins, cheese straws and pizza dough. I feel like I’ve got a lot of memories associated with many of the recipes; pizza dough was hard, as was leafing through my favourite cookbook – but I’m now making an effort to overlay other memories. The originals won’t sting any less, but maybe they won’t be the first thing that I think of.


ThudthudthudTHUDTHUD MEOW!


Trrrrrrlllll? Which essentially translates to, “Brother, where are you? I wish to murder you.”

“Jodie, are you trying to kill your brother again?”

*very innocent cat sitting in the hallway*

They’re both still very adorable! Leaves are The Best Thing Ever, and Peter brought a stick in the other day – which was treasured and adored until it had been chased under the coffee table fifteen times and chewed to pieces, at which point he went to find another one…