Tag Archives: workinprogress

Christmas Cookies

It’s nearly Christmas and I’m thinking about baking!

(It’s close enough to Christmas that I need to do test batches and think about ingredients and do more test batches and it’s near enough, ok?)

Heart-shaped cookies.I found a recipe recently for Norwegian Pepperkake, which sound fun! I’m not a huge fan of gingerbread but some of my family are, so I figure it’s worth a try. [Image via Life In Norway]

My traditional Christmas (and other times, as they’re super easy to make) cookie is Weihnachtsgebäck, which is a traditional German recipe. There’s a couple of different recipes online – this one looks pretty good, with lemon and jam! – but my one came via a slightly different route: via a German translation exercise about twenty years ago.

(Yes, it shows – it’s well-loved!)

German Cookies recipe

You can either use cinnamon or lemon, and they have a really nice, gentle flavour once cooked: I like that they’re soft and not too sweet. They’re also really easy to make and quick to cook, so they’re often my go-to for a next-day treat. The downside of that is that I do rather like them, so will sometimes just eat them before they go anywhere…

Image of Swirled cookiesAnyhow! They’re fun, easy, and when I mentioned them to my sister she said “oh yeah, the raw batter’s great on those!” so I might make them before I go to my parents…

Also, I found a recipe for Schwarz-Weiß Gebäck, which made me squeak! [Image via German-Way.com.] My sister used to make these, and they’re amazing – but I had lost the recipe! To find it again it amazing, and I am DEFINITELY making these over Christmas. There’s also a bunch of other recipes in this list from Taste of Home that I really want to try… so consider this your warning if you know me in real life: there may be baking happening!

Mini Kate update

I’ve been on anti-depressants for about six weeks now, and they’re definitely working – happy! Baking! Singing! Stuff!

But this last week has reminded me that it’s only six weeks, and brain chemistry often doesn’t work that fast… I have all the energy and want to do all the things but actually, I’m still really tired. I’m lacking motivation. I’m struggling to turn my brain off, and when I have a moment to just try to relax, the underlying anxiety makes me restless.

(As a side note, my partner did comment on my habit of always needing to do something, and wondered where that came from. I told them it would probably take a therapist to untangle that knot!)

From what I remember, the six months after starting anti-depressants are often the most dangerous – you’ve got the energy and feel better, but the underlying thoughts haven’t yet sorted themselves out. I’m not suicidal (thank goodness) but I do kinda understand where that danger is coming from – I’m feeling better, but also still bad. It’s a weird combination.

I have been baking; haven’t been reading. Have been getting out a bit more; haven’t been sleeping well. Have had more energy and felt up to tidying and people; have also crashed badly afterwards. I still find it hard to settle, even if I’m also playing games because my mind just won’t focus. It’s made work a bit more difficult but at least I can multi-task there, whereas I often find that difficult at home.

But (but!) I am coping better. We had a hectic and chaotic day at work last week where everything went wrong, and I was ok. I had a very stressful day yesterday with family, and I was ok. So that’s been good, if weird. (It’s a very odd feeling of wanting to cry to release stress, but not being able to. Yay drugs!)

So, overall: doing better. I need to keep remembering that I’m not well, keep conserving energy, and try not to overspend my spoons even though they’re better quality spoons.

Also, it’s Christmas soon! Wheee! I can sing carols round the house! (It’s ok, work people, I’m not going to be singing them round the office. I’m not that cruel.)

Crafty update: Tardis!

I’ve now given the cushion to its recipient (aka. it’s probably being sat on by a cat…) so I can show pictures of the finished thing!

This is what it was intended to look like; it’s a cross-stitch pattern from GlueyBluey on Etsy.  I admit that even when I’ve got a pattern to follow, I still play fast and loose with everything; I chose different blues, changed the template wording, did it in my own time…

But hey ho, what’s the fun of crafting if you just follow the pattern? (It drives my partner mad when I’m cooking, I admit…)

So these were the in-progress shots:

And this is finished!

I used some of my space fabric for the sides and back, and just did a simple overlap for the back pocket. It’s worked really well!

I think the cats approve, but it’s always hard to tell. They sniffed it, anyhow.

NaNoReMo: Novel Reading Month

Cat on the middle shelf of a bookshelf
Image via Pexels

So, I’m not doing NaNoWriMo – I still don’t have a story I want to tell, and I know from experience that if I don’t, I’ll just scribble random words and then give up. (Otter is doing it, though! I’m going to be cheering them on.)

However, I do have a very large TBR pile… and I could spend a month reading…

So, I’m going to get as far through my reading pile as I can in a month!

I’m going to list 30 books here: I don’t think I’ll get through half of them, but it’s still something! (Even I can’t do a book a day…)

  1. The House of Shattered Wings (IP)
  2. Distaff: A Science Fiction Anthology
  3. The Three-Body Problem
  4. Embers of War
  5. Witchsign
  6. Kavalier & Clay
  7. A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe
  8. Unwrapped Sky
  9. The Winter Queen (IP)
  10. The Poppy War (IP)
  11. The Green Man’s Heir
  12. Everless (IP)
  13. Sorcerer To The Crown (IP)
  14. The Written
  15. The Tethered Mage (IP)
  16. The Secret of Ji
  17. Starborn
  18. The Ninth Rain
  19. Sanyare: The Last Descendant
  20. Valley of Ember
  21. Where the Waters Turn Black
  22. Touch of Iron
  23. Spectris
  24. Shattermoon
  25. The Bone Season
  26. The Book Thief (IP)
  27. Moon’s Artifice
  28. The Adamantine Palace
  29. The Confession
  30. Dreamwalker
  31. Stranger of Tempest
  32. The Affinity Bridge
  33. Within the Sanctuary of Wings
  34. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (IP)
  35. Truthwitch
  36. Autodrome
  37. Prince Thief
  38. Ten Thousand Doors of January
  39. The Bard’s Blade
  40. The Raven Tower
  41. The Golden Grave

Ok, that’s slightly more than 30. It’s most of my TBR, anyhow! We’ll see how many I get through…

I reserve the right to add more and also decide I hate one and stop reading, and I’ll try to review them all – although it may not be as I go!

FantasyCon 2019 & Some Updates

Went to FantasyCon, had a good time, came back. Going involved loud singing and random conversation about time travel (don’t ask). Coming back involved even more singing but no time travel. It did have a traffic queue at Oxford, though.

The con itself was good; quieter than other years, I think partly due to location (which wasn’t great as it was pretty inaccessible from Glasgow city centre) and partly due to people having other commitments. It was really great to catch up with people though, and I’m starting to see more friends – which is a really nice feeling! Had some great conversations and enjoyed chatting to everyone I managed to speak to. The Redcloaks team were amazing as always and the panels that I went to were excellent and interesting, so it was worth the trip. Next year is Sheffield, anyhow, so that will be fun!

(I did have a bit of the “I’m not doing enough” and “I should be talking to everyone” and social anxiety, but it was manageable. I’m now getting kicked in the head by the backlash from that so I’m very glad I booked today off work!)

I may be trundling down to BristolCon this weekend; I admit that I haven’t actually decided yet… it partly depends on my energy levels!

In other updates… BOOOOOOOKS. I got The Ten Thousand Doors of January because I adore Alix Harrow’s writing, The Bard’s Blade was my freebie book (I originally got the excellent The Hanging Artist but I’ve already read that…), Ann Leckie’s The Raven Tower on Womble‘s suggestion, and Wonderland, which I’ve already read and will review shortly! I did also spend about an hour at the Waterstones stall, taking pictures of book covers and spamming our work thread with “THIS IS SO PRETTY” and “Foil. Foil? AND SPOT. WE NEED TO DO THIS” and driving Dee insane trying to pick a book to buy. I almost did the same at Leaf’s stall (The Portal Bookshop, and in entirely related news, I need to go to York again soon…) but unfortunately I’d read a bunch of them already. In related news to that, though, The Library of the Unwritten is great!

And also; I have a story idea! I don’t know how far it will get but David used the words “creepy as fuck” twice when I was explaining it, so I think that’s a good sign…