Sewing for Steampunk

Saturday – It’s Company of Legends weekend! That usually means I’m run off my feet cooking and cleaning up but thanks to COVID 19 we aren’t making a meal tonight and we have time to kill… strange. So I thought I’d write a post.

I’ve been really busy with my mum lately preparing for a friend’s (Lindsay’s boyfriend’s) wedding. There’s a steampunk theme so we have been making waistcoats, modding a skirt I bought that was far too small (that’s what I get for ordering from and most recently making an outfit for the teddy bear backpack, Max. Because even your accessories need to accessorise lol

We decided to make him a newsboy/ baker boy hat first out of some grey felt and gold lining material…

The hole in the top for his straps. He is a backpack after all

We added a strip of the material we bought for braces to the hat too as the little band, along with a couple of spare cog buttons from Etsy

The braces were made from bias binding sewn down the edges, fastened with clock buttons at the front and snaps at the back so I can get into the compartment. Max’s outfit is complete with some clothes he already had and a pair of swimming goggles with cogs superglued onto them.

I’m really looking forward to the wedding. It’s very emotional for Lindsay for various reasons but I am a step away and just happy that Paul has found a second life partner in Mary, another soul mate. Mary is cool and our polycule have a good laugh together – the wedding should be no different. Oh and of course it’s on a train. Because it wouldn’t be Paul if trains weren’t involved

Monday – well I completely forgot I was writing a blog post in my tiredness after a good natter Saturday night with a few of the guys at the event. So I’ll continue now…

Company of legends went great. People seemed to really enjoy themselves. Several that I heard were talking about when the next one, disappointed the tickets were already sold out and hoping for tickets for next year. Thanks to an early run back with a load of stuff and a mahoosive car, we managed to get all the scenery and odd bits back in one trip – that’s 13 large boxes and a couple of mats, laptop, printer, random bags of food and boxes of hand gel, etc… and I had the fun job this morning of tidying it all up in the kitchen to find, well, the kitchen!

Hobby accountability – I’ve been dallying with painting these grots for the Mek gun. They are mostly done, I just keep finding other stuff to do. Like reading. I’m a sponge with reading at the minute. We did a massive house sort and I got rid of some books to the charity shop and amalgamated a shelf of books I’ve never read and my mission is to get through it before the end of the year. Not helped by finishing my book at mums and hungrily searching for a new book to read when my eyes happened to land on Billy Connolly’s autobiography. I’m glad they did – I’m half way through and it’s hilarious. And every word is in his Glaswegian accent! Amazing how the brain works, I’ve got a little Billy in my head giving me a private concert. I love books!

As for other hobbies, other than all the sewing of outfits I’ve not picked up a crochet hook for most of the year, or my cross stitch. Maybe my mind views them as more cold weather hobbies because it seems every autumn/winter I start to crochet something new. Weird. Or it could be that my ability to stick with anything is non existent. More probable.

Mood – content, relaxed, not stressing at all about my coming holiday and it’s proximity to going away for the wedding honest!

Beverage Last Consumed – spiced pumpkin pie tea from Bird and Blend

Food Last Eaten – PB&J on whole meal toast

Show Last Watched – the last leg of Tokyo 2020

Song Last Played – lo-fi study beats

Game Last Played – Jaipur on the iPad at company of legends

Hobby Last Done – reading

Place Last Visited – Jervaux Abbey for mum’s birthday

We were eating blackberries fresh from the bush. Delicious

Current Reading – Billy Connolly Tall Tales and Wee Stories

#PaintSlam’21 –the mek gun crew are mostly finished, must get back to them now the weekend is done (model count 36/52, ork pointz 555/1000)

Tea of the moment – Bird and Blend Vicky Sponge Cake. It’s my go to black tea and a comfort drink now.

Recipe of the week – this weeks meals have been fairly simple, no new recipes or anything. The stew last night was delicious though. Nothing special, but coming in from a busy weekend to a slow cooker full of warming, comforting and tasty beef stew, well it made it into top notch cuisine!

3,000 Squats and loads more Stitches

The past few weeks have been busy. It feels like I can never catch up with the list of things I need to do and that’s never a good feeling. Constantly exhausted, I’m very much struggling right now to find the energy and time in a day to accomplish things. And there’s one big reason why…

I’m half way through my 3,000 squat challenge for the blue cross. It’s super tiring, my body is constantly aching and my legs feel like knotted jelly if that even makes sense. But I’ve made it half way. With 12 days left I’ve got 1450 squats left to do as of this moment. It’s a steep task fitting them all in – 11 days of 125 a day to look forward to – but I’ve so far been managing to keep up the pace I set myself most days. It just takes up so much of my day between psyching myself up to do a set of squats, doing them, then resting afterwards to allow my body to stop screaming. it’s also taking up a lot of my spoons understandably so there are very few reserves for tasks like laundry and cooking. It’s a difficult balancing act and it’s got me feeling quite low. A constant reminder that I can’t cope with a ‘normal’ level of activity.

I am feeling a little brighter today than I have been though. It’s a joint celebration of my parents birthdays tomorrow so I’ve been busy in the kitchen this morning making a cake. Just a simple chocolate sponge but I’m sure they will appreciate it. I love to bake, love the simple combining of a few ingredients to make something delicious, the smells that waft through the house, the feel of a freshly baked sponge as you turn it from its tin. It helps my motivation that I’ve been reading a book all about baking, Rachel’s Pudding Pantry by Debbie Johnson, which has left me craving pudding, walking in Northumberland, and baking in equal measures. Guess I’m easily led but what I read, but I don’t think anyone will complain when they have homemade cake to eat tomorrow!

I’ve also had the pleasure of sewing a lot lately too with my mum. We are making waistcoats for a wedding at the start of October – Steampunk themed! I found an amazing clock print fabric for mine whilst mum went for a green baby cord for hers with clock buttons. So I’ve spent quite a few days at mums, sat behind my nanny’s old sewing machine which she gave to me when she found out I didn’t own one. I really love this machine and it’s history.

So my waistcoat is all but finished and mums is well on the way, next up being turning a skirt I bought that is too small into a sort of wrap around half skirt that ties with a ribbon. I’m hoping it will look as good as the image in my head. The waistcoat isn’t far off.

There has been little time for other hobbies, other than a now insatiable appetite for reading which I can do when I’m resting. I managed to start painting the gretchinz that came with the mek gun but I’ve only got as far as their skin so far. It’s hard to pick up a brush after squats when your body is shaking. Still, I’ve got time to accomplish my #paintslam21 goals for this year still – I just need to paint more orks and get a wiggle on!

Cat news! We have a visitor to the garden now, despite it being cat proofed to keep ours in. We have nicknamed her Mischief, as behoves a small black kitten that is determined to break in to spend time with our cats. Jenny dislikes her and Barrington is unsure but Douggie meows at her from our side of the fence whenever she is in the neighbours garden (like she needs any encouragement) and Bonnie has made firm friends with her. Lord Barrington is enjoying a lot of fussing the past week or so and yesterday he jumped up on the sofa right next to me whilst I was meditating in search of a pet. On opening my eyes, there he was looking at me questioningly and waiting for an ear scritch. We stayed like that for ages, him settling down close by me, and it was such a wonderful moment. Slowly but surely he is getting there. He may never be a lap cat but I think one day we may yet hear him purr.

Mood – a big ball of anxiety, hope and depression

Beverage Last Consumed – mermaid matcha latte. Its a gorgeous colour, although my milk didn’t really froth

Food Last Eaten – yoghurt, berries and granola

Show Last Watched – Torchwood

Song Last Played – Study Beats

Game Last Played – Carcassonne on the switch

Hobby Last Done – reading

Place Last VisitedBaddesley Clinton

Current ReadingRachel’s Pudding Pantry

#PaintSlam’21 – The mek gun is done! I have started the skin of the crew but haven’t progressed past that yet (model count 36/52, ork pointz 555/1000)

Tea of the momentSalted Caramel Matcha from Bird and Blend. I’ve only had one cup so far but it was delicious. May have to save up for a pot.

Recipe of the week – Not a recipe as such, but I loved throwing together and eating a sausage tray bake the other day. Root veg, green beans, garden herbs and beef sausages. Tasted wonderful, very fresh and comforting at the same time.

Strike a pose – my nephew with Douggie. Douggie is his best friend apparently and Douggie doesn’t seem to have a problem with that

Expo and Exercise

I think I’m just about recovered from the weekend now. And what a weekend it was! With Michael working at the expo, me and Lindsay had the world at our feet for three days, full of anxiety and panic and hoping to enjoy ourselves despite that.

Friday we ended up at Baddesley Clinton after an enjoyable hour bullet journaling in Costa in a nearby town. The Costa was very quiet and friendly so a perfect place for a sit down and a ‘small’ cup of chai latte

Baddesley Clinton is a beautiful moated manor house originating in the 13th century with gorgeous gardens and parkland all of which was very, very wet. It rained hard the entire time we were walking around and, me and Lindsay being ever the optimists, we did not have very suitable coats for the rain. As a result we got soaked, but it was still lovely to walk around.

We did decide to shop for rain supplies on the way to the hotel however as the forecast did not look friendly for the rest of the weekend. I got a raincoat (in a surprising size, guess the healthy eating is working) and Lindsay got an amazing pink sparkly rain hat.

Queue the following day dawning pretty bright and clear, with the forecast changed and looking surprisingly clear of rain. Sod’s law strikes again, we didn’t need the rain gear at all. We headed into Nottingham and took a look around before heading to the Bird and Blend store, tea mecca in Nottingham if you ask me. From the moment we were greeted outside i was feeling relaxed and willing to chat away – I cannot say how long we stayed talking to the staff, finding the flipflop for a free tea bag of banana bread chai (yet to try that one but looking forward to it), having a drink and a mini fun photo shoot, then choosing tea of course. We spent far too much money (the overall feel of the weekend) and walked out with a lot of tea, a desire to introduce my mum to more flavours, and light hearts. I cannot say enough good things about the staff in that store. They are each and every one the most helpful, genuinely nice and lovely people that I’ve met and eased my anxiety greatly.

Raspberry ripple iced matcha – delicious

After grabbing a sandwich, we headed to the arboretum to eat. this involved another journey on the tram – something I had built myself up for but still felt waves of anxiety over. I have been anxious about public transport for a number of years now but I was working on it and coping pretty well in the before times. Fast forward to Saturday and I was taking a crash course in how to control my desire to scream and rock in place causing everyone to stare at me, and control my rising panic at the thought of that. I survived though (ok, it was only 3 stops but it felt like more) and the arboretum was beautiful. Looking back one of my favourite moments from that day was just sitting on a bench, enjoying lunch and finding myself actually people watching again. The paths felt wide enough, the space big enough and, although there was anxiety, it was so peaceful I found myself thinking of who people were and what they were doing, where they were going, who they would meet.

Then came another highlight and the reason I have the bestest girlfriend in the world – Lindsay took me to Warhammer world. We spent an hour or so hanging out in Bugman’s (CURLY FRIES) and had a good look around the store and I ended up buying something and it felt so good to be there again. I’d missed visiting and greatly look forward to going back with Michael and playing a game as the tables were all spaced out, the measures in place were top notch and I felt very safe when I was there.

The good times didn’t last though. To say the journeys that evening were a nightmare is an understatement. First the slow traffic to go meet Michael for tea, the panic attack I had over us parking, and again walking along the busy street where the bars were blaring their music and drunk people were swarming over the pavement. This I have not missed. I was terrified and a cloud of panic descended at one point obscuring everything but Michael’s hand pulling me along. To top it off Lindsay started fighting off a migraine so we ended up back at our own hotel really late, very tired and in need of a calming shower and a cup of tea. Good thing we took teabags of Bird and Blend teas with us!

Then came Sunday, and the real reason this is entitled ‘expo and exercise’. Because, despite swearing we weren’t ready for the expo and it weas too much, both me and Lindsay agreed to give it a go. We were both shaking, looking anxious and lost, but excited too. It was busier than we thought but we sat down to play Pandemic Reign of Cthulhu and that helped the panicky feelings. After a fun game, we explored more, played a couple more demo games, bought way too many stickers and shiny things, including some polyamory click clacks (dice) and a patch for my jacket that says ‘trans with battle plans’ which I stood looking at for like, 5 minutes, before getting up the guts to ask for it.

How anxious do I look?!

We filled one day with all the excitement, gaming, anxiety, near sickness, panic, delight and chaos of an entire expo weekend including a peaceful yet exhausted sit next to the fountain. We bought two new games too – Ticket to Ride Japan which we tried out for Michael and found we loved, and Wingspan which we have had our eyes on for a while. Looking forward to getting a game of them soon.

Did I mention that as well as everything at the expo, I began my 3,000 squats in August challenge for the Blue Cross? Yes, I’m that crazy. And it hurt like hell but I managed my first 50 fitted into that day. I’m on track so far (minus today which I haven’t even started but I will get them done) doing 50 a day on average – one day I did less but caught up the day after. I’ve got 4 days left of 50 then onto 100 a day, quite a sharp increase so we will see how I do with that. I am grappling with feeling like a fake spoonie through this – the brain weasels are telling me if I’m able to do 50 squats then how can I call myself disabled – but my version of a squat does not resemble most of the videos on the Facebook group, I’m not managing much else in the way of exercise, and I’m pretty knackered doing a few sets to get to 50 never mind the people doing 100 at once. Okay, many disabled people are not in the position to be able to do this much activity but its a real challenge to me, I need to remember that. It makes me hurt, I have to constantly be aware of what my knees are doing in case they bend too far back, and watch my back position so I don’t hurt it. It is making me feel a little more normal though – participating in a normal every day people challenge – and that is helping my confidence with exercise and dieting. I’ve also been doing update videos and so far posted one to social media but plan to post more.

Mood – battling against a wave of depression

Beverage Last Consumed – cherry pepsi max

Food Last Eaten – cherry cake

Show Last Watched – The Hairy Bikers Best of British

Song Last Played – Hit me Baby One More Time – Britney Spears

Game Last Played – Carcassonne on the iPad with mum

Hobby Last Done – reading

Place Last VisitedBaddesley Clinton

Current ReadingResistance is Futile by Jenny T Colgan

#PaintSlam’21 – I’ve found new interest in the mek gun and started painting it again. The actual gun is almost painted, I just need to do some final pieces and highlighting on it then move on to the crew (model count 36/52, ork pointz 555/1000)

Tea of the momentGuarana Chai. It’s a new discovery from the store visit and it tastes amazing. Thinking about it, I may just have to go and make a cup now…

Recipe of the week – This is where I admit that we’ve had a pretty bad week of food. Being away, we of course didn’t cook and surrounding the event we didn’t eat too well either. Last night’s enchiladas were probably the closest thing to a recipe I’ve cooked in over a week. They were delicious though

Strike a pose

My foot is the best pillow, apparently

Exploration and Anxiety

Michael is working the UK Games Expo this weekend and we don’t want him getting the train so me and Lindsay are going to Birmingham with him. We are both far too anxious to attend the expo ourselves – I can barely handle a crowded shop let alone a massive hall full of people and Lindsay is suffering a lot from post Covid fears of people – so we are staying in a hotel nearby and busying ourselves whilst Michael works then meeting him for tea.

To be frank, I’m bricking it. I have felt sick constantly for the past 3 days, its getting worse every day, and just thinking about being away from my comfort zone, my safe spaces that I haven’t had to really leave for practically 2 years now, is making me shake and panic. I really want to go. I really want to have a good time away with Lindsay and visit a few new places and chill out away from the stresses of life, but I’m just feeling so panicked and basically like hiding under my duvet until it all goes away.

The pandemic really did a number on my anxiety. At first it wasn’t noticeable – after all we were staying indoors, not coming into contact with anyone or getting close to anyone and hardly even going shopping. But then things started opening up. And I realised that, although I wanted to visit Meeple Perk (my local board game café in Newcastle) and restaurants and the cinema, all the work I’d done with my anxiety around those places was pretty much back to square one. Its so bad that if I miss a week or two going grocery shopping I end up having a panic attack the next time I’m in the store. Anything unfamiliar, anything with people, anything where I’m not surrounded by the safe and known and comfortable, and my anxiety sky rockets.

Cut to Friday morning when we will be getting in the car, driving to Birmingham and be away from the safe and known for 3 days. And I honesty don’t know at this moment in time how I’m going to cope. The only way I’ve been getting through this week is by ignoring the fact its happening but I need to prepare for this if I’m ever going to manage it. I need to find a way to make myself get in that car.

It helps knowing places we can and will go. Saturday we have decided to take a mini road trip to Nottingham. Hmm I wonder why…

3 words – Bird and Blend

The call of tea is strong, although Michael has limited us to two teas per person! How terrible! I am very much looking forward to trying a drink to go though and seeing if we can find the flip flop to nab a freebie. And if i walk out without another cold brew bottle then it will be a miracle haha! We are also going to take in a national trust property or two. I’ve maybe been to two properties this year so far and very much feel like that particular interest has been neglected (another side effect of the glorious pandemic) so it will be nice to take in some history, some art, and some nice landscaping with a walk around the gardens. I think the way forward for me, the way I will get myself into that car on Friday, is to think of the exploration of the country we will be doing. I’m a very adventurous person when my anxiety allows it and the more I think about it the more I am actually looking forward to exploring a new place however much the ‘new’ part of that fills me with dread. I might just make a list of places to visit after I’m finished here and go over it later with Lindsay, try to stave off the anxiety for just a little while.

In other news…

Michael has been doing some more work to my PC! He got me a new case, a something somethingmajig with numbers, and its gorgeous. Its white, grey accents, and came with more addressable fans so I can control the rainbow effects on all but one component in there now. I’ve also got a nifty dock for the switch so I can use my monitor as a screen for it and when Michael gets a new capture card I will get an old one of his essentially meaning I could stream myself i think… not that I really want to but I could which is cool. Now I just need to convince him to buy me one of these:

See the source image
an addressable RBG PSU cable 🙂 sooo pwetty!!!

Here’s some pictures of my PC now. It’s still living under the desk and I think that should be a crime

So. Many. Lights.

I’ve not been doing much, cough any cough, modelling or painting this month. But I have been reading like a deranged book worm with a big appetite. I’ve demolished more books in the past few months than I have in about 2 years. I worried it was just a love of reading the slightly predictable but still engaging storylines of Jenny Colgan but I took a break from Jenny to read another favourite author, Babs Horton, and I’m enjoying this book just as much. Who knows why I stopped reading, why it steadily got harder and harder to pick up a book and absorb its contents, and who knows why I woke up one day and just found that sluggish difficulty gone, but I’m glad I’m back to reading, if not as much as I used to, a decent and enjoyable amount.

See the source image

There is some big news for me. I’m doing the 3,000 squats in August challenge to raise funds for the Blue Cross! This is huge for me because as a spoonie any type of prolonged physical activity is a nightmare, committing to any activity on a particular day (let alone 31 days) is always a gamble, and I’m not that good at squats. But Ive been trying to be more active now for the past few months and found my stamina has improved a little and when i saw this challenge i though ‘why not? worst that happens is I don’t get to 3,000’. I’m chopping it up into sets of 10 through the day to make it easier but its still a mammoth undertaking for me. I’m feeling positive going into it though, if only Sunday wasn’t the 1st. Oh well, squatting at a national trust house it is lol. If anyone is able to donate to my fundraiser here is a link. Anyone who can donate to support this spoonie’s crazy endeavour and raise funds for a good cause is tops in my book.

Mood – anxious to the point of sickness

Beverage Last Consumed – Sainsburys cola xtra. Its not actually that bad.

Food Last Eaten – scotch egg and salad I knocked up for lunch

Show Last Watched – Torchwood. I needed some comfort viewing the other night so I started a rewatch

Song Last Played – coniferous forest ambient sounds

Game Last Played – haven’t been playing any boardgames recently but plan to take some this weekend

Hobby Last Done – bullet journaling

Place Last Visited – Billingham Valley Beck. A beautiful little gem my Dad discovered.

Current ReadingHoly Mackrel by Babs Horton. Its hilarious

#PaintSlam’21 –the mek gun is still sat partially painted (model count 36/52, ork pointz 555/1000)

Tea of the momentBears like marmalade cold brewed in water. Which reminds me I’ve got some to drink! I may be topping up my stash this weekend

Recipe of the weektender pork stew recipe from Sainsburys. I deviated a little but it came out absolutely gorgeous

Strike a pose

Have a Gandalf looking ever so dashing. He really is a very handsome rabbit.

Reading, Recipes and Relaxation

I finished another book! That’s 3 in about 2 months which is something of a record for me over the past few years. the first was The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern. It was really gripping and I found that, instead of experiencing my usual difficulty in reading for any length of time, I couldn’t put it down.

I followed this by finishing Birdwatching With Your Eyes Closed by Simon Barnes. Since reading it I have heard so much more to the birdsong around my area – making sense of the chaos of song and finding familiar voices in the hubbub. I’ve differentiated between thrushes and blackbirds, finding both visit near my garden, heard the scream of swift’s and looked up to see their group arial display, even been alerted to the presence of woodpeckers by noises I didn’t know were woodpeckers before. I’m ticking things off in my bird book for hearing then now too because the author makes a good point – why is hearing a bird less important than actually seeing it. Often we see them but don’t hear them and still consider that to be worth ticking off the list so why shouldn’t we stop and think ‘I’ve heard a Reed bunting. It’s somewhere in those reeds and there’s it’s call for sure. That’s one to tick off’.

This morning in the bath and then over a cup of milk oolong chai (yes, tea, I’m addicted and more specifically addicted to bird and blend) I finished my latest book, The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan. I’m also addicted to Jenny Colgan books, particularly the woman-escapes-boring-life, tries-new-out-of-the-way-location, almost-fails-but-ends-up-with-an-amazing-job-and-oh-look-a-man-too books. What can I say, it’s easy to read and Colgan writes in such a wonderfully seductive way that I just keep wanting more.

So here I am, sat in the car ordering more books which I’m sure I don’t need but at the very same time I do. I’ve refound my reading mojo, rediscovered that wonderful delightful feeling of cozying up with a book and being transported who knows where for a short while.

In other news me and lindsay sat and made a tea list. We own 77 different teas now spread out downstairs (oh, yes, and a few random bags, and a few more upstairs but let’s not count them) and have a list of what they are and how to prepare them and, most importantly, where to find them in the chaos. We aim to even make a tea menu so visiting our house will be akin to visiting a tea shop. Please, visitors, help us drink tea! There is so much tea! Except my milk oolong chai, you can’t have that.

I’m still eating healthily (mostly) and counting calories is working to shed some weight. So far I’ve lost 12kg and I think that’s something if an achievement for me having never really had much success or perseverance with these things. It’s been a bit erratic at times as these things usually are, and there have been a fair few days when I just said Sod It and didn’t worry about what I ate, but for the most part there’s a steady decline and I’m pleased about that since it’s what I’m aiming for. Lindsay is finding it harder but she is also having success and Michael wants to talk about joining us which is a big step for him and I’m so proud of him for that. Hopefully he will discover it’s not about making massive changes, and to be fair a bunch if the stuff is already changed through main meals he shares with us, and both me and lindsay are going to be there to support him.

Last month I let my regime of exercise slip. After completing my 60 day challenge and swearing to do another 30 I found it increasingly difficult to follow through. So I laid off myself, gave myself a break, and started again when I felt ready. July is my month to exercise every day. So far, 11 days in I’ve managed it with a few short walks and a night of stretching on a really bad pain day. Yesterday was my most energetic day yet – a 30 minute low impact HIIT workout. I very much did not keep up, struggled to keep consistent with using both my arms and legs in the movements, but I managed the full 30 minutes before collapsing into a chair exhausted. I honestly did not know I was capable of that. It was low impact but HIIT is what it says on the tin – high intensity. My heart was racing, my lungs hurt and I could barely breathe but I made it, I did it. So I ate cake lol. got to reward such hard work right haha.

Between exercise, reading and spending time on my bullet journal, I haven’t done much in the way of hobbying lately. The ork mek gun I started weeks ago is partly painted and I have done a little scrapbooking but nothing major. I find it very difficult to balance housework, self care and hobbying (although reading is a legitimate hobby) and I need to practice giving myself less time staring at Facebook and more time painting etc. So I feel like I have something to show for my time other than a tidier house or tea on the table.

Speaking of tea on the table, I’ve been cooking some really tasty food. Last night’s wings were Thai spiced with chilli and garlic kale and egg fried rice. The sesame seeds on the wings were super tasty and the kale was a good substitute for the broccoli that the supermarket was out of.

At mums the others day we cooked amatriciana chicken tray bake with added green beans and red onion which was delicious. We used smoked garlic which added a subtle but amazing smokiness to the dish. I can’t wait to make this for michael and lindsay.

I’ve also been making a lot of wraps for lunch. Less calories than a sandwich, full of salad and great for this weather. Usually stuffed with ham or chicken and a flavoured humous

Mood – happy, relaxed, what is this strange feeling

Beverage Last Consumed – milk oolong chai tea

Food Last Eaten – cherry curd pancake traybake

Show Last Watched – Star Trek deep space nine. We are near the end of season 6 and just met Vic. I like Vic. I don’t like being near the end.

Song Last Played – carnivals de Paris (michael is somewhat in the football spirit)

Game Last Played – Unstable Unicorns

Hobby Last Done – reading

Place Last Visited – hardwick park. Oh help, oh no, we found a gruffalo!

Note to self – you will regret climbing this tree. But don’t let logical-brain stop inner-child from having some fun at the expense of long-suffering-limbs.

Current Reading – next book I’m lining up is the summer seaside kitchen if I can find it. Then resistance is futile, both Jenny Colgan.

#PaintSlam’21 –the mek gun is partially painted (model count 36/52, ork pointz 555/1000)

Tea of the moment – milk oolong chai from bird and blend. Great on the first brew, even more complex on the second somehow. Both delicious.

Recipe of the week – gnocchi with summer vegetables

Strike a pose – here is Lord Barrington, enjoying the new cat bed we have. It has seal of approval from 3 out of 4 cats. Douggie has yet to go near it.

Abbeys and Anxiety

Hello sun! You are really making my joints hurt like hell but since you are here we may as well try to enjoy you. And today that means getting out in the fresh air and seeing something old (other than my parents of course).

We went to Easby Abbey near Richmond which is beautiful and peaceful, filled with birds nesting in its nooks and crannies and mosses and flowers growing on its ancient stones. Dad managed to cross another abbey off his list that he wants to visit this year and me and mum came away with a lovely sense of calm and happiness from wandering amongst the ruins while he snapped his photos.

Lunch was had at the ruin of another abbey in Richmond – friary tower and gardens. The gardens are absolutely stunning but by that point I could do little more than sit and stare from a shady spot as my legs were letting me know It was medication time. I hate that – the high flying enjoyment of a nice place being suddenly brought back to earth by pain and the limits of my spoonie body. It is what it is though and today, at least, the depression of reality didn’t swallow me whole.

Depression and anxiety, especially anxiety, have been constantly at the forefront of my feelings in the past week. As more things open I want to go places; some part of me is longing for a Nando’s, a trip to the cinema, to go play warhammer with Michael at Battle Bunker. But I’m stopped by a massive wall, indeed a gigantic battlement, of anxiety over the outside world. Take today – I knew not many people would be around but I was still anxious and looking around me, when people got close on a pavement I freaked out and froze stiff, and relaxing takes longer in a new environment like today than it used to no matter how peaceful the place is.

Lindsay is much the same and we decided enough was enough and we needed to start the process of battling against this battlement. And so the siege begins – we went to Starbucks! Armed with iPads, bullet journals and lanyard/mask we set off to get there early when we hoped the place would be empty. We chose the one at Thinford which we thought got little foot traffic inside and turns out we were right about the quiet nature. I was so nervous I was shaking but slowly we relaxed and started to enjoy ourselves, getting engrossed in our journals and paying not as much mind to the people around us. Every time someone came on I got a bit of a flutter of anxiety, new troops for the fight, but I managed to stay calm and in my seat. We actually got carried away and spent longer there than planned, poor michael. The key thing is that we did it. We won the battle and we can win the war, it will just take time to get back to where I was before. Probably a long time but I’ve got plenty of support around me to help. Next step is that game of 40k. I’m hoping getting distracted by the game will greatly help. Hopefully.

Let’s face it, you read this for the cat updates – Lord Barrington esquire jumped up on the sofa next to me and purred very very loudly! He joined me for my daily meditation and I knew it was him from the way he landed but then the purr! So I opened my eyes and just sat there staring at him, blinking slowly to show I loved him, spending a lovely moment with him. Douggie has been a bit skittish the past few days and he’s shedding fur like crazy. We really need a reusable lint roller haha. He’s also been playing more, I’m going to get the worm on a stick out later and see what he thinks. The latest cat proofing is proving successful and Bonnie hates it, and Jenny is just, well, Jennying. She’s always the same just happy to be around and getting love when she wants, sleeping a lot and maybe batting a toy once a week. Then there’s Gandalf. He luckily hasn’t chewed anything new and has been rather sweet this week. I can tell he’s really hot because he keeps pancaking himself out to get cool bless him. Must get a piece of tile for his cage.

Well, here’s mum and dad now. I should probably put the kettle on to revive them. Why is it hot drinks are meant to make you cooler? I’ve always found that just plain weird…


Well I’m clever. I just realised I didn’t post this yesterday. Sometimes I swear I’ve got as many brain cells as Bonnie, which is approximately one. I’ll post now.


Mood – optimistic for once, in pain as usual

Beverage Last Consumed – peach and raspberry squash

Food Last Eaten – picnic of a cheese and pickle sandwich and an orange.

Show Last Watched – dad has some car program on. They buy and sell cars or something. Anyway the car they bought is naff and needs a bunch of work and that’s the point of the program I think.

Song Last Played – rainbow by Kesha is playing on my head today

Game Last Played – apples to apples

Hobby Last Done – historying lol

Place Last Visited – easby abbey

Current Reading – the book of tomorrow by cecelia ahern (I’m really getting through it. Good going for me for once)

#PaintSlam’21 – riff and faff and the hugglers from stuffed fables are complete. Currently in the table is a part built ork Mek gun (model count 36/52, ork pointz 555/1000)

Tea of the moment – cherry bakewell from B&b

Recipe of the week – Greek chicken wings. So herby and great with pitta, humous and a salad.

Painting and Pain

Hi, it’s been a while I know. But first of the month and I thought I’d try to get back to blogging regularly. Again lol.

It’s pride month!!! Don the rainbow flags (no, we aren’t celebrating the nhs, Karen) and bring out the pda to make the bigots uncomfortable. My anxiety has taken over me like weeds tangling over disused gardening tools, tying me more and more to the house and safe places and away from people, so I won’t be attending any pride events this year even if they are taking place. It’s damn annoying how I was battling so well against anxiety, getting out and handling quite crowded places, and now a quiet day in Newcastle gets my heart racing and a bus just passing me almost brings on a panic attack let alone thinking of actually getting on one.

My world feels very small lately. The anxiety is one aspect of that but the health of those I live with limiting where, when and how far we can go for walks, not just being able to go for a walk on my own, the restrictions still in place in the country, my own physical limitations – these things all have a hand in making it feel like the walls of my life are folded in around me limiting my possibilities. None of it is anyone’s fault, much of it is unavoidable and we try to work around obstacles as much as we can in this house but it’s just generally hard right now. I try my best to keep my head above the waves of depression, the warm weather and sunshine helps a lot, but I find myself wishing things could be different sometimes.

Anyway, the weekend was taken up with helping michael do a 24 hour painting challenge reasoning money for the marine conservation society (we can thank his fellow Edge of Empire podcast hosts’ obsession with manatees for that one). We didn’t quite make the challenge we set for ourselves in terms of melded painted – we were trying to get a table of scenery painted but didn’t manage to complete 19 pieces of the 83. Not bad going though because they were half way there. My hands hurt a lot yesterday even after taking breaks during the 2 x 12 hour shifts. They still aren’t great today but I do want to help complete the buildings we didn’t get finished.

I also gave myself a side challenge and that was to drink as many different teas as I could during painting time. I managed 12 on the first day – Morning kick, Easter egg nests, One in a melon, Hot buttered Rum, Vicky sponge cake, Nearly nirvana, Tea and toast, Panettone, Birthday cake, Jelly and icecream cold brew in milk, Simnel cake and Peppermint. Day two I drank less tea and repeated a nearly nirvana which I didn’t count but I did get to 7 cups; Strawberry and Nutella pancakes, Winter is coming, Breakfasts ready honey, Jelly and ice cream cold brew in soya milk, Pear cider, Carrot cake and a Lady lavender. I was told by Michael’s co-host Chris that these weren’t teas but desserts disguised as drinks (I had jelly and ice cream at the time) which I found hilarious but they contain black, green and white teas so definitely tea. Me and lindsay decided we liked the cold brewed jelly and icecream so much we bought a 300g bag – it tastes like a sophisticated strawberry milkshake and with a lot less sugar. So, painting challenge, and tea challenge, complete for another year.

Cat update – Lord Barrington is doing well. He’s settled down again with Douggie here, they are making good friends and touching noses a lot which is very cute and Barrington likes to lie near Douggie. Barrington is enjoying strokes on the sofa more often and being just as playful. He loves it now it’s warmer outside. Bonnie once again was making holes in the cat proofing – we’ve resorted to a strip of wire mesh that I dare her to get through haha. Jenny is possibly losing a tooth but she’s eating fine so I don’t think it’s bothering her too badly. And Sir Douglas is shedding like crazy, his favourite place to lie is either right in my chest next to my face or right behind Michael’s chair, and he’s learning to get to more places in the house like the dry food bowls in the den. I often call him everybody’s Cookie because he acts just like my Cookie used to but with every one and not just me.

Right, must get on. There’s so many jobs to do lately, or it feels like it anyway. The dishes are never ending, there’s always litter trays in desperate need, food to cook, washing to do. The warmer weather is nice but it has brought with it the aching and slight swelling in my muscles that comes from them being warm. Pacing is definitely my friend and I’m finding many jobs are left until the next day if Michael and lindsay can’t do them either. That’s fine, there’s always tomorrow. As long as it doesn’t rain if the washing gets left out overnight.

Mood – chilled, aching and exhausted

Beverage Last Consumed – Honey and lemon balm tea

Food Last Eaten – a delicious Weardale Brie and red pepper humous salad.

Show Last Watched – DS9

Song Last Played – listening to Lady A in the background

Game Last Played – Gretchinz!

Hobby Last Done – bullet journaling

Place Last Visited – cragside. I spent a couple days with mum and dad then we met lindsay and Paul there.

Current Reading – the book of tomorrow by cecelia ahern

#PaintSlam’21 – I’m 75% of the way there with the puppets and hugglers from stuffed fables (model count 29/52, ork pointz 555/1000)

Tea of the moment – birthday cake

Recipe of the week – Thai green curry from Slow Cooker Heaven by Lorna Brash

Cats and Cuddles

So… we did a thing

Meet Sir Douglas T Cat, also known as Douggie, who came to us yesterday evening. We weren’t looking for a 4th cat, we weren’t meant to get a 4th cat, but being a member of the Yarm Cat Rescue Facebook group is dangerous and he had no interest for adoption because he needed a specific type of home and, well, look at him he’s gorgeous and loving and perfect. His pelvis and tail were broken suspected by evil people (men) kicking him and his pelvis healed wrong so when he went to the rescue he couldn’t walk and still walks strangely. He’s unsteady in his feet and we were told he didn’t do stairs but cats love to prove people wrong and he was up and down ours no problem last night lol. He’s settled in perfectly, no sign of fear for any of us or the other cats. Bonnie is unsure but not as bad as with Barrington. Jenny gave him several good sniffs and is fine with him. Barrington gave him a good sniff and was getting pretty close curled up near him so good signs there, although he us more skittish than usual and not eating quite as much. Time will sort that out. Barrington update while I’m here – he’s lazy and now if he’s in my way I have to step over him he won’t move! great progress but difficult for me lol. He’s jumped up on the sofa for a stroke a lot but no lap action yet. Getting there slowly.

Monday we can cuddle people!!!! Trying to persuade mum to come over for a visit on Wednesday to meet Douggie and see the other cats and have hugs. She’s tired from work a lot at the moment though so we will see. But we have a few days planned together when she has a few days off work – I’m going to stay over (which I can now yay) and have some proper time together. It’s much needed. I miss my family.

Speaking of family, we had the nephews over last weekend being as we are their childcare bubble. It was wonderful spending time with them but gods was I exhausted afterwards. Being 3 and 5 they are so full on! We played with play dough, outside in the garden, with the magnetic scrabble tiles on the fridge, taking photos and videos with my phone, and played with the bunny out for a while as well as completely investigating the entire contents of the toy box. They are good boys though and tidy up after themselves. We had a movie night too with popcorn and sweets and fruit shoots. They loved it and the eldest wanted to know when he was coming back and if there would be popcorn haha!

Michael had a chair fail on Sunday night and hurt his leg so has been confined to upstairs for the week. As a result I’ve been spending time spread between up with him and downstairs and not really touched my desk. I want to crack on with some stuffed fables minis from the oh brother expansion next week – they are all primed and I’ve painted up the bed bugs but the others have sat on my desk for weeks. I also want to start an ork project, get back on track for my goals.

I’ve kept up with my exercise challenge for 40 days now! That’s 40 days of intentional movement. Some days had been stretching, some full on high energy exercise, but every day I’ve done something. I’m so proud of myself for managing this far and I’m even considering lengthening the challenge to 90 days at the end of the 60. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy. As a spoonie it hurts like hell to push my body to move when it would much rather curl up in some odd position (thanks hyper mobility) but doing it makes me feel good in other ways even if I do feel like a pile of painful crap afterwards. It makes me feel accomplished, like I’m achieving something. Even a 1/2 mile walk with stops outside us some fresh air and a change of scenery, some stretching exercises loosen up the constant tight muscles and offer some relief, and pushing myself makes me realise that I can be capable sometimes… just not reliably or consistently lol. I’m not going to be entering any marathons, but hey I’m moving which is what’s important.

As this pandemic continues and enters its diminishing phases in this country at least if not unfortunately elsewhere in the world, I realise that this whole year and a bit I’ve been in some kind of extended fight or flight response. It seems I’m always full of energy but it’s nervous and on edge and not quite sitting right. I am never really relaxed, never properly dealing with my emotions either because if I start then it will all come unravelling and I just don’t know how to deal with that. Even when we are allowed to hug again, to spend time with each other again, eventually go back to how things were even, how do you deal with the fact you’ve missed over a year of people’s lives, the fact that things never will be the same as before because we are all very different people now, the fact that the whole world has lost a portion of its population and this new fear has entered our psyche that takes more than some scientists saying it’s safe to get past. Yes, I can’t wait to hug my loved ones. But I’m also scared of leaving the safety of lockdown and being around people, not just because my general anxiety has gotten worse with no regular exposure to people. I don’t know, the wounds may heal but the scars will remain for years to come I reckon.

Mood – cat happy world weary

Beverage Last Consumed – innocenct recharge smoothie

Food Last Eaten – yogurt with oats, seeds and strawberries

Show Last Watched – DS9

Song Last Played – when the sun goes gown – arctic monkeys

Game Last Played – Kodama duo. Beautiful game. Lindsay trounced me lol

Hobby Last Done – reading

Place Last Visited – Riverside park

Current Reading – Birdwatching with Your Eyes Closed by Simon Barnes

#PaintSlam’21 – painted the bed bigs from stuffed fables (model count 28/52, ork pointz 555/1000)

On the hook –

On the needle –

Tea of the moment – morning kick. One of my new faves

Recipe of the week – cheesy chipotle bean quesadillas, a recipe from Hello Fresh that we repeated

Respite and Restlessness

I put too much on myself. I know I do. I take the weight of the world and stack it on my shoulders because if I don’t then who will. If I don’t step up then who is going to keep things going and going and going.

The house is rife with depression right now. It’s affecting all three of us in different ways – lindsay’s motivation is non existent, michael is throwing up anything that’s not familiar, and I’m.. well it’s hard to see from the inside just how it’s affecting me but I know I’m not stable, I’m not ok, I’m not doing well. But this time, through this whole pandemic, I’ve been the one to cope best with getting things done. So I’ve put that weight on myself. I’ve taken responsibility for so many tasks, always telling myself when I feel the strain (which is often) that it’s temporary, just while things are bad.

But over a year on things are still bad. And I’m starting to crack. I try to help Michael and lindsay with their depression but there’s no one to help with mine so it goes unchecked. I try to help with everyone’s tasks but that leaves me exhausted for my own. I’m so focused on getting my partners to the next thing that I hardly stop to think about what I’m doing.

This isn’t even me complaining. I’m doing this to myself. I’m taking this on myself. And I want, I need, to stop. But how do you give up control of everything when you are so scared that things won’t keep turning, that if you let go for even a second everything will come to a grinding halt and depression will consume all of us?

Sod covid rules, I’ve come to mum and dads for a few days. In a short space of time I’ve become a carer to two and a disabled carer at that, and I needed the respite and time with my mum to heal myself. We are socially distanced so I can’t get what my heart is screaming for (a hug) but just being around her light and warmth helps. Home just feels cold and empty and like a never ending cycle of jobs I’ve got to do. Here is peaceful, slow, calming. Healing.

I hoped that giving everyone a shared goal of the exercise/intentional movement challenge would bolster moods, promote drive. It did not work. Nor has the idea of losing weight together as I think it’s added to problems. I sort of feel like everything I do to try to make things better turns bad, like I don’t get anything right any more. So all I can do right is the housework and cooking and I throw myself into that regardless of how it’s exhausting me because maybe if I’m doing that then it’s one less thing for everyone to feel depressed about.

I feel like my relationships with Michael and with lindsay are strained, distant. We exist in spaces together but I’m not really myself around them much lately. I don’t know if you two have noticed, I’m wearing masks wherever I go and they stay with me in the house, guarding my secret that most of the time I’m inwardly screaming. On a superficial level everything is ok, but I don’t feel I’ve shared anything on a deeper level with either of you for a while now. It makes me sad.

I don’t even know if I should add this to my blog. A rather self indulgent entry for all to see. But it’s an important reflection of my life with depression, anxiety, BPD too. I don’t want to put out into the world the idea that everything is good all the time. This is my dark moment. Share it with me.

Mood – running to my safe space

Beverage Last Consumed – non alcoholic cider

Food Last Eaten – enchiladas

Show Last Watched – Shadow and Bone

Song Last Played – the Revolutionary Love album by Ani DiFranco

Game Last Played – ticket to ride London

Hobby Last Done – bullet journaling

Place Last Visited – Gibside on Sunday. It was lovely walking there and I’m so glad national trust have opened their doors so to speak.

Current Reading – Birdwatching with Your Eyes Closed by Simon Barnes

#PaintSlam’21 – I’ve primed the minis for the stuffed fables expansion ready to start painting (model count 23/52, ork pointz 555/1000)

On the hook –

On the needle –

Tea of the moment – chocolate digestive from bird and blend with a dash of milk

Recipe of the week – pan haggerty cooked by my dad last night. A truly north eastern dish of deliciousness. Meat, potatoes, onions, yum.

Sunny Days and Simple Pleasures

Yesterday was a pretty good day. That’s saying something since Sunday I struggled to get out of bed and everything seemed like one disaster after another. Nothing major – but when forgetting to defrost cherries to make pancakes for breakfast causes a catatonic sit down for 45 minutes you know you aren’t having the best of days.

Yesterday on the other hand I had a lie in (unheard of usually for my anxiety which makes me jump out of bed in a panic the moment I wake up) and managed to push off the inevitable feeling that really there wasn’t much point to trying to accomplish anything because what’s the point in it all really. I spent a relaxed morning looking at what I could do with my day and the week ahead then Got On With Some Jobs, part of which consisted of trying to finish up some painting on my desk.

I’ve had a blood angels tactical squad sat on my desk for a few weeks now. This is not out of the ordinary but I promised myself I’d paint them quickly… I don’t think over 2 weeks is very quick do you? I’ve been finishing up some detail in them today, just need to do transfers and bases to call them done which I should get done tomorrow. I would have continued whilst michael streamed last night but a certain middle aged man needed some attention.

So, time for a check in on my 60 days of intentional movement/exercise/crazy moving of my body in some way through the day. I’m happy to report that I haven’t missed a day, I have done a few stretching type exercise days but every day there has been something. I’ve been outside doing Pilates in the garden which I love doing, doing functional strength training which is a killer on my muscles but probably very good for me, I’ve challenged myself by following a 1500 step YouTube video (I felt like both poo and a million pounds afterwards), and done stretching exercises too. I’ve even had a day of dancing crazily to music at random points and whilst putting away laundry. Walking to the shop now consists of going the long way too when I can manage it which is great because a) it’s more exercise and b) it avoids the steep hill which sets off my asthma and hurts my muscles like crazy. I still feel very enthusiastic two weeks in to my challenge, although it’s become a bit less of a household challenge as Michael is no longer following it with me and lindsay. I’m very proud of lindsay though who has stuck with it despite still adjusting to spoonie life.

As for the fat loss side if things, well, I’ve got into a routine of recording calories and other than questioning myself over whether I need snacks or I’m just bored/sad/anxious not much has altered other than checking on portions. I’m not going hungry, I’m not eating fad foods or subsisting on celery and tofu. I am eating cocoa pops for breakfast. And the scales tell me it’s working. I’m not banging on about how much I’ve lost on this journey here simply because I feel like that can often put people in competition with one another and it’s not about that. But there is a downward curve and I’m happy with that. In a couple of weeks I will check how steep it is and adjust what I eat accordingly but I don’t think I’ll be eating less.

One new thing this week is michael built me a PC and now I can happily play Sims and other games alongside him. My laptop is so slow and just couldn’t hack gaming so I’m glad I have a PC. A good chunk of time over the weekend a was lost to Rollercoaster Tycoon and I’m not complaining.

One thing I do need to work on personally is getting back to certain hobbies. I haven’t picked up a book all month, I’ve barely even read a web comic, and I’ve done no crochet or cross stitch. I’ve painted, but slowly. I don’t know how to find my mojo again that I had before Christmas. I feel like lockdown stole it in a way, it certainly added to my feelings of numbness and despair. But I really feel like enough is enough and I want to get back to doing things I love. Michael is trying to improve his mood through scheduling his streaming so maybe I need to do similar and schedule in which days I do different hobbies perhaps…

My fatigue lately certainly isn’t helping me feel motivated to do much. I can push myself with housework because others rely on me, I can push myself with exercise even because of the challenge I set myself, but between times I’d rather just doss on Facebook than engage with the world. Part of it is mental but it’s also physical – getting out less in lockdown has made me stiffer and more sore, even with moving more in the house. that leads to fatigue a lot. And added to that moving my right arm at the moment is extremely painful thanks to HS scaring flaring up. Sigh. Being a spoonie just isn’t as fun as it used to be. Oh wait, it was never fun. I’m hoping since things are opening, we can go more places and do more, I’ll feel less stiff and wake up a bit more.

Well, Tuesday calls full of potential. It’s sunny once more and there is laundry to put on the line. Perhaps my scheduled activity today other than finishing these damned tactical marines could be to read and I can sit out in the garden and enjoy the weather while it lasts. That’s not too high impact an ask. I’m all for the simple pleasures today – a nice cup of tea, a lovely cool breeze, birdsong and a good book for me I think.

Mood – someone put a chart of moods in a blender, pushed purée and gave it to me

Beverage Last Consumed – orange and pineapple squash

Food Last Eaten – cocoa pops

Show Last Watched – good omens

Song Last Played – short skirt/long jacket by CAKE

Game Last Played – Carcassonne with mum on the iPad on Sunday

Hobby Last Done – painting

Place Last Visited – WWT Washington with mum and dad

Current Reading – Birdwatching with Your Eyes Closed by Simon Barnes still. And I read a bit of the web comic Gunnerkrigg Court

#PaintSlam’21 –the tactical squad are just awaiting transfers and basing (model count 13/52, ork pointz 555/1000)

Tea of the moment – morning kick tea from bird and blend. I got a sample tea bag with our last order and I’m hooked. Must. Order. More. Tea (lindsay what did you do to me?!)

Recipe of the week – falafel burgers from bbc good food. These are a firm favourite and are super healthy and fresh, plus easy tans quick to prepare. We had them with wholemeal pittas, lightly pickled cucumber and lettuce along with salt and pepper wedges. Perfection.