5 Happy Things: April 2020

I’m not ok – and that’s ok. I’m coping, basically. Nesting in duvet when I need to, answering the emails I can, doing the work I can. Trying to keep my head above water and just let myself have my limits.

I’m still raging, though. I hate being ill. I hate my head. I hate not being capable and able to work as much as I want to; I hate letting people down. BAH.

But it is what it is, and I’m grateful that I am safe, and healthy, and in the best position that I can be. I’m making a few changes to try to help (coming off a medication, trying to make sure I eat and exercise, being open about my limits) but mostly I’m just getting through each day – and that’s fine.

So, happy things!

1.New games

I’ve been playing a game called Sagrada – I’ve got the Android version, but there is a physical board game too! You choose dice to make up a pattern, and it’s so pretty – as well as involving enough thought to make it quite complex at times.

I’ve also been playing a silly set called Gnomes Garden on PS4 – it’s all timing of tasks and it’s quite fun!


He’s been enjoying morning snuggles while I read a book… he’s not quite doing laps yet, but will put his front paws on you while the back end stays firmly on the sofa. That assists with requesting scritches, of course.

And he has the tiniest blep!

3.Easter Eggs

I’m not doing chocolate very well at the moment, but we got some lovely Easter eggs from Wicked Chocolate (who were doing delivery over Easter! Not sure about currently though…) and they were small and perfect and nommable. Om nom nom.

I also got a whole bag of extras, and delivered them round our close – I was trying to be sneaky, but at least two of our neighbours saw me (the problem of a cul-de-sac!) but hey ho, it still resulted in chocolate for everyone!

4.The garden

Progress! More fence, a garden bench and some makeshift decking.



5.Friends and Neighbours

The kindness of a neighbour letting us borrow tools. A far-away friend sending a silly gif. A parcel with a wonderful teacup and teas arriving. A ridiculous pun from a terrible person. Check-ins from work colleagues and friends. Cute animal videos from a work friend. Dog and yoga updates from my aunt. Daily life updates from my best friends.

I am finding it hard to send things back out, but everything is received and read and appreciated. Thank you <3

Five Happy Things: March 2020

We’re in lockdown now; I’m working from home (and that’s going about as well as can be expected, between my mental health and a cat who yells when he wants attention) but I’m trying to find positives. And there have been lots this month!


Well, obviously: cat time!

2.The Weather

Blossoms and blue sky

Sunshine! We got out in the garden last weekend, and I was really enjoying my quiet bike rides in. Currently, the view out of the front window is blossoms and blue sky, which is beautiful – and it’s lovely to see them developing over the past week of sunshine!

I’ve shifted a pot of Narcissus out to the front of the house too, and it’s lovely to get the splash of yellow every time I go to the front door.


Speaking of the garden, I got a whole bunch of pallets a month or so ago, and we’re finally putting them to use:

Kate leaning on a pallet fence in the sunshine

Most of the fence came down in the storms about six months ago (which, incidentally, meant they didn’t come down in the two or three storms since… there’s a bright side, eh…) and we’ve been plotting what to do. We eventually settled on pallets as a cheap and recycling-friendly option, and a couple of weeks ago, I got a van-load! It’s been nice to actually build something, and also to get a project started now that the weather’s a bit nicer. Our plan is to add another layer, and then fill the gaps with plants – ivy, honeysuckle, herbs, roses, and whatever else would do ok as a wall plant or climber. The nice thing about the pallets is that they can either be a wall garden or a trellis, so we’ve got lots of options!

4.Our Community

We had a tea-break yesterday that consisted of most of our small cul-de-sac standing on their doorsteps in the sunshine and yelling at each other! It was hilarious and heart-warming and lovely, and really nice both to get out in the sunshine and see people. We’ve got a couple of community chats going; a couple of us have been picking up multiple veg boxes from Roots in Osney Mead (if you’re in Oxford, they’re open 10-3 weekdays for huge boxes of fruit or veg, £10 cash each) and delivering them to anyone in isolation; and it’s been really lovely to wave at people from windows and be able to check in on the chat to see if anyone can pick up whatever someone needs. We’re also planning a party for when we’re allowed out again…

5.Little Things

Playing Azul with my partner. Drinking tea while watching the kite float over the Close, checking for its breakfast and annoying all the crows. Sending seeds to friends, and getting cat pictures back. Watching the local tabby do its best to get close to the jackdaws, who are having none of it. Enjoying the physical feel of a book in my hands as I read. The smell of fresh cherry tomatoes. Cuddles with a Bobble-cat.

I’m doing my best to just focus on the little things; let the anxiety go, let the grey go, and just focus on the end of the day.

I Have A New Acquisition

It’s not a book – although I do have a lot of book news to share as well! I am very pleased to announce that we have acquired a Bobble.

He is a rescue from Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary; he’s sixteen, very opinionated, and has already claimed the end of the sofa as his sleeping spot! He’s also completely chilled – he shot out of the cat carrier, investigated everything, and then promptly went to sleep. Not a care in the world, this one…

He’s also super sweet, has an extremely expressive tail (I do wonder if he’s got some Siamese in him!), loves scritches, purrs as he drops off to sleep, and has grey toe-beans. He’s going to be an indoor cat (partly because it’s easier on us, and partly because he’s already got a John Wayne swagger in his back legs and isn’t too keen on the stairs) and, I suspect, is entirely happy with this state of affairs as long as he can watch the birds out of the window (which he’s already spent some time doing!)

He has also used the cat bed we bought specifically for him! It’s his “I am not to be bothered” bed, but I’m really happy that he’s using it. It’s quite impressive!

Yes, there will be more cat pictures. No, I’m not officially a cat lady yet – Peter and Jodie are still with my housemates (and loving it) so they’re technically not mine, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it… and yes, I do have a thing for black cats. How can you not love them?!

Also – lookit the curled tail!!

5 Happy Things: Christmas 2019

Well, I was burnt out! It took a couple of hard months at work and then flu to make me actually stop… I still feel exhausted but I have a bit more life and energy in me, and I actually have the energy to blog again!

The pills are also still helping, but have also been very weird; I do feel as if they’ve stripped the fog and left me with the depression! It feels like all my emotions are under glass – I can see them but not access them. Surface stuff is fine, but… I dunno. Very odd. We’ll see what the next couple of months brings, anyhow.

But for now, I’m trying to get back into things again, and make myself work.

So what’s been happy in December?


Carrot & apple cake, blueberry muffins, veggie roast dinner, cookies (I managed Weihnachtsgebäck but nothing else yet, courtesy of a week on the sofa with flu), banana pancakes, soups… it’s been a good holiday for just puttering around in the kitchen.

2.Advent Calendar

I hung fairy lights across our room and then put up 24 envelopes for my partner, and now that they’ve opened them all, I can tell you what was in them! Each had two photos in; about half were photos from the past year of us, cats, events, more cats, places… but the other half were either silly quotes or random images that I’ve been collecting over the years. They come from all over – mostly Tumblr! – so I haven’t linked them, I’m afraid.

It was a lot of fun to choose which ones I wanted to go in, and all of them made my partner laugh, smile or hug me – so it was definitely a very fun (and cheap!) thing to do. I’ve already got ideas for next year too!


We’ve painted some more of the house, and it’s BLUE! We also got a new carpet, put up new (to us) curtains, sorted out a pile of boxes and books… it’s starting to feel more like a home now.

Of course, there are more books still to come, courtesy of a certain bookworm. And you can never have enough books!

4.Christmas Presents

I like Christmas because it gives me an excuse to be nice to people, and it’s been a fun holiday. In addition to the advent calendar for my partner, I had fun getting them random gifts (including several things that were a “oh, I wanted one of those!” which is always satisfying) and got to do some fun presents for friends. I also did a present for our cleaners at work which was well received (seriously, why do people not thank the people who spend their time cleaning our desks?!) and did cards for our street, plus spent some time with some of our neighbours (including downstairs when she lost her key!)

We also had a lot of fun with our editorial Christmas card this year, and it’s been creating  a few happy waves on Twitter, which has been nice – yes, ok, we’re geeks. We know.

5.Little Things

I’ve been trying to focus on the small things this month: a warm mug of tea and a moment to look out of the window, watching the red kite go over. The smell of cookies baking, and a chocolate coin teased from its wrapper.  A favourite tree ornament and a favourite carol. New socks, and a warm winter coat. A song I’d forgotten, and time with family.

It feels like the world is slowly tipping over into hurt and grey and miserable-ness, so it’s the small happy things that are keeping me going from day to day.

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.