Tag Archives: homelife

5 Happy Things: Some Stats

I’ve been doing 5 Happy Things for two years now!

The idea originally came from my friend at Pastry & Purls, and I’ve done 19 posts over the two years; I missed July, September & November 2017, and February 2018…and that’s it! Some were double month posts, but otherwise – two straight years!

I definitely have trends for the things that make me happy…Happy Things graphs

My “other” includes dating, dancing, hot tubs, house-hunting, Christmas decorating, my Grandma, tidying and languages…

I’ve also noticed, though, that I do ‘big’ posts about a lot of the things that make me happy; crafts, or books, or writing. So I think those areas would be likely to bulk up even more if I looked at wider trends.

5 Happy Things has been a really fun thing to do – and I think it’s good for me, too, as every month it at least makes me think about what I’ve been doing, and what things have made me happy. It extends further than just the one post, too, as I’ll try to collect things during the month; taking pictures of the cats or baking or my walks, or thinking of things that I could add. It’s definitely a mindfulness thing that’s added to my happiness, and it’s also been fun!

Roma!

I’m just back from a holiday in Rome – although actually, I didn’t see much of Rome itself! We stayed near the Forum, but went to Ostia Antica one day, and Pompeii (via Vesuvius) the second day – and then that was it!

I’ve already geeked out at Otter about the classical things (poor Otter…although they’re thoroughly used to it by now!) so you’re spared the overdose of comments – but both places were very interesting, if hot. Ostia Antica was busy but once we got through the entrance, actually very quiet; and Pompeii wasn’t too bad, although we were one of the tourist groups cluttering the ruins! I want to go back to both with additional time to spare, and maybe spend a day or two just wandering.

Both places were also very eerie, and so so interesting – it’s really nice to be able to see more than just a floor plan! Most of the buildings would have gone to a second or third story at least, and I loved being able to see the shop-fronts. The plaster and marble coatings were also fabulous – and so bright!

Vesuvius was fun (har har…but at least my travel companion didn’t push me in, so that’s a benefit!) and wandering around Rome on the first evening was nice; we ambled over to the Forum and Colosseum, and I got to geek out a little over that. Hopefully if I go again I’ll be able to spend some more time there!

We also at So. Much. Pizza, and possibly quite a lot of gelato. It was AMAZING. #holidaywins

Back in sunny ol’ England now (it SNOWED? SERIOUSLY?!) and staring at my pile of work… but I did get some reading done on the flights at least!

5 Happy Things: April 2019

April April April April. Happy things!

1.Books, manuscripts and amazing stories!

Specifically – that moment when you come out of a story and don’t even realise you’ve been sucked so deep into it; when you’re looking around, blinking, wondering which world you’re in…

(Yes, I am trying to convince work to buy it!)

2.Oxford

Otter and I went to a lecture at the National History Museum – which was good, if a little alien for me; microbiology is not my field! I already love the Ashmolean late nights, and have just started looking at what else I can do; I unfortunately missed a talk by Emily Wilson at Blackwells, but we have a couple of other events lined up already…

It’s also been great exploring Oxford itself – we took the cut-through next to the Lamb&Flag, which Otter hadn’t been through before. It’s great fun to find the little nook and crannies, or be introduced to the good places to sit above the High Street, or find where does the best milkshake (G&Ds, by the way).

3.Carcassonne

Carcassonne app loading screenI’ve got the app for Android, and have been playing with my partner, and also with friends. It’s been fun to stretch my wings with it – for the past year it’s been an off-and-on game with the games group at work, and they’ve been playing for so long that they know all the tricks! But – they’re also incredibly supportive, if only in the name of helping you so that you can screw over another player…

And it’s very satisfying to see that translate into game knowledge when I’m teaching someone else, and also seeing them win!

Re. the app, I am mostly liking it; the graphics are nice, you can turn expansions on and off, and the interface shows moves and possibilities very nicely (eg. it shows your fields!) The major frustration is how slow the AI is. I’ve had points where I’ve been doing something else in addition to playing the game, which doesn’t make for a snappy session! But overall, mostly a positive experience.

4.”Hello, Murder Phone? Please hold, your furry black nightmare will be with you shortly.”

Jodie looking surprised

“Prrrrrrrrrrrtt? Prrrrrrrrrrt?”

“MEEEAW.”

Jinglejinglejinglejingle THUD.

“Hey, kitties. Having fun?”

Via Joel.

Ps. go check out the Campaign Trail podcast! The Campaign Trail is a Dungeons and Dragons podcast where the quest is to win a general election! Join our team of fantastical adventurers as they head to marginal constituencies and face puzzles, monsters, intrigue and maybe even a dungeon and a dragon. Exit polls. Sorcery. Economic policy. Ancient curses. It’s like no other D&D game you’ve ever heard.

5.There’s no such thing as too many books, just not enough shelf space

Woman putting a book on stacked shelvesWe’re currently trying to work out how many bookshelves are needed to fit my partner’s current book collection into their flat…

I mean, obviously more are needed, but it’s good to get the current books in for a start.

And I have had to reassure them several times that they don’t have too many books, just not enough shelves!

(Image unfortunately via Tumblr so I can’t find a source)

Things Wot I Did On My Holidays

For my Easter holidays I went to Norfolk with my family. We stayed in a big cottage. It was sunny. Things wot I did:

Image of Thornham boathouse via Andrews Walks
Image via Andrews Walks

Paddled in the sea.

Took various arty photos.

Napped.

Got drunk on very good white wine.

Didn’t get sunburned despite the beautiful weather.

Started learning Norwegian.

Chased a dog.

Didn’t see any Saxon churches.*

Took over several castles.

Called my partner a wide variety of names, mostly because they stopped me taking over even more castles.

Picked up On Chesil Beach. Read a chapter. Put down On Chesil Beach.

Ate too much, repeatedly.

Discussed microbiology, Nelson’s love life, book covers and the importance of foil, trust law, how to get to Ostia, wine regions, windmills and wind turbines, the Parthians and happy sushi… amongst a variety of other topics.

Went for various walks.

Ate quite a few chocolate eggs.

Overall, a rather nice holiday. Now back at…well, nearly full force, but I think I need some motivation! Back and here, anyhow.

 

*In comparison to last time I was in Norfolk, when I saw seven in one week. They’re apparently quite rare; my opinion after that week was that they’re not rare enough!

My TBR pile: April 2019

When I last checked in Winter 2018, I had quite a large TBR pile. And, uh, it hasn’t really got any smaller! Work isn’t helping: 13 manuscripts and counting on the slush pile, plus four personal reads (aka. friends have asked me, and I want to do a decent editorial read!) – the perils of being a speed reader are many…and include a towering submissions stack.

I either gave up on or didn’t like If Cats Disappeared from the World (too much navel-gazing and not enough cats), Your Favourite Band Cannot Save You, Vanished Kingdoms (requiring too much in-depth knowledge of specific points in history and frankly very dull despite the interesting subject matter), The Corpse-Rat King (just didn’t get on with it), The Man In The High Castle (weird but I liked it), and I think I’m going to have to give up on Broad Knowledge & Choose Wisely, because frankly they just aren’t for me. I did also read Andy Weir’s Artemis, which frankly I disliked, but I don’t have time for in-depth literary critique so just moved on – which is a shame as I loved The Martian, but there you go.

I finally finished This Savage Song (review coming soon) and started both Everless and The Court of Broken Knives; I’m still reading The Tethered Mage and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. I’ve also added Thornbound from Stephanie Burgis, which is the sequel to Snowspelled, and Not For Use In Navigation by Iona Datt Sharma (who did Sing For The Coming Of The Longest Night). I’ve also added Zen Cho’s Sorcerer To The Crown,  but I’ve actually been pretty good apart from that!

Always happy to have recommendations, even if they might end up near the bottom of the pile… and always happy if anyone wants to give me some more reading time!