31 May 2021

This May I have been mostly...


I visited The Meadows in Edinburgh for a second time, and the cherry blossom was looking much better!

I was preparing myself for a second year without my beloved book sale, then, the day after I mentioned it online, I discovered it was happening the following weekend, albeit in a reduced form. With jigsaws, toys and crime and sci-fi paperbacks, this was perfect for me! I was luckily near the front of the queue, and, since they only let 15 people in at a time, got a chance to have a good rummage! I came away with 4 bags full of jigsaws (and one book) in the space of 20 minutes, and left Edinburgh less than an hour after I’d arrived!

I started an online Hadrian’s Wall walking challenge with some of my old friends from school. I used to go on holiday a lot to this area as a child, so it was really interesting to “walk past” some of the places I’d visited back then.

I had afternoon tea with two of my dearest school friends in a gazebo at Balbirnie House. It felt poignant to me, because the last time I’d been there was after the funeral of another of our school friends. The company was great (it had been years since all three of us had got together), and the food was absolutely delicious! Luckily my dad drove me, so I was able to have a cocktail!

I did an online soap-making class with Edinburgh Craft Club.
Did a covid antibody test (they give you a lot of tips about how to get the blood flowing from your finger for this test, but I could have done with more tips on how to stop it flowing!).  

I've been doing plenty jigsaws, getting to the end of my gem picture, and constructed a Buildiverse kit (similar to Lego) of torii gates and cherry blossoms.


I read Sleeping with a Psychopath by Carolyn Woods, and finally read A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil by Christopher Brookmyre which my friend Katrina had recommended a few years ago.


I binge-watched the whole of Stranger Things season 3 in one day, and I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to get round to it!

The Mitchells vs The Machines was really good, and I cried even more watching it than I do watching The Railway Children, which is saying something!


I finished the music jar that I’ve been doing (picking out a random album to listen to each week), which was soundtracks and compilations. I may set up another one with all my playlists.


Yellow shoes and blue shoes from Shoe Embassy, another Buildiverse kit to add on to the one I had, Val McDermid's new graphic novel about the spread of a disease, which I plan to read on the day I get my second vaccination, a Notebook Therapy bag, pencil case and stencils, a yellow Healthy Back Bag Baglett, and some Trinny makeup.

I'm really liking the makeup, as I do like cream blusher but struggle to find any, and I'm finding cream eyeshadow doesn't irritate my eyes, so I can wear eye makeup which I usually rarely do!

30 April 2021

This April I have been mostly...


The big thing this month was my first trip to Edinburgh in 7 months! I took the train, and explored the quiet streets of the city (it was two days before the reopening of non-essential shops). I had a blueberry bun from Soderberg, which is something I haven't had in well over a year, and have been craving all through the lockdowns! The cherry blossom at The Meadows, which is what I went to see, hadn't reached its peak, but there were some spectacular flower beds in Princes Street Gardens, and I found lots of interesting places around the city to take colourful selfies.

It was my Mum's birthday, and it was a big one (won't give away her age here!). I got her a ceramic tree of life ornament from The Star and Heart, as its a motif she really loves, and made her a tree of life card.

I went on various walks, including a walk around the town art of Pitteuchar and Stenton with my friend Keith who is even more of an expert on the local art than I am!

I got a belated birthday book voucher from a colleague who is a French teacher, and I bought a book about language, a book set in a school, and a book set in France, which were all things I wanted and very appropriate choices!

I watched an online event for the Fun a Day exhibition opening night.

I wore proper trousers after a year of dungarees and leggings!

I have been reorganising my bookshelves, tidying my local history archive, and at work I have been clearing stuff out and photographing interesting old items (and posting them as  #TalesFromTheTechniciansCupboard on Twitter). The best find was a large wooden desk top with graffiti from the 80s!


I've been continuing doing lots of jigsaws, but I've also been doing a gem picture which I got from my colleagues for my birthday. It's very relaxing and meditative, and it's easy to do while listening to podcasts.

I got a lovely rainbow package from my Instagram pal @deadlysarsvirus, including a scraperboard leaf which I really enjoyed doing.

I took part in the Sketchy Bitches self-portrait workshop, which was a lot of fun, and did the Learn About Letters course with Joby Carter.

I painted some more Totoro stones, and a fish stone based on a design from a stone painting book I've had since the 80s, and left them in the park.

The tree of life card I made for Mum's birthday was based on a tutorial by Jennie Maizels.


I got two pays in one month, so it was a bumper spending month! I went on a bit of a mad earring spending spree, buying some by Julia de Klerk, Rosa Pietsch, Fizz Goes Pop, and Handmade by Loutch!

I treated myself to another Kemi Telford skirt as I was wearing my other one a lot, and I really needed a new pair of comfortable black Clarks shoes as an old pair is falling apart!

I got a Buildiverse cherry blossom lego-style kit, and ordered Joby Carter's book as I could see how interesting it would be from doing his course.

31 March 2021

This March I have been mostly...

It's been a big month for me, with my 50th birthday! I started the day with croissants in bed, then spent the morning working from home. After some French toast I went in to school, where I got flowers and presents and my desk was decorated. After work I went to Mum and Dad's (my bubble) for presents and M&S Indian food, and stayed the night there.


McDonald and Dodds, finished Killing Eve finally, Unforgotten, Ben Fogle in Chernobyl. I rented a Korean film Our Midnight from the Glasgow Film Festival.


Dyed my hair, photographed 70s walls, helped my nephew with photographs to inspire a Japanese fan which he was making for remote school, visited my parents on Mothers' Day, and had my first full day in my workplace since January.

I was really excited to finally get the blue envelope with my vaccination appointment, for the 28th March. It arrived the day after my birthday, and it was a perfect post-birthday present!

I watched an incredible number of online talks this month! Some of the most interesting were one by Sara Sheridan about Scottish women, one about the women behind the scenes of the TV series Traces, and one about thrifting clothes. I also watched talks about Scottish witches, kimonos, aunts, medicinal gardens, the architecture of Milton Keynes, and sustainable fashion.

I've spent a lot of time out and about taking advantage of the spring weather. I did my annual crocus walk, this year using the macro lens on my phone, went frog spotting at the local wildlife pond, picked wild garlic, and saw a wren in my garden.

I had some zoom calls with some old friends, which kept me up until 1am two weekends running! I dressed in 80s style for the big get-together with lots of my friends from school.


After having a good tidy out of my kitchen cupboards, I had more space in my kitchen, so treated myself to an air fryer with some of my birthday money and have been having fun trying out some recipes using it.

I ordered lunch from Savage Kitchen, which was chicken curry, cajun wedges, coleslaw, and mint yoghurt sauce, followed by Jaffa cake pancakes!


I took part in an online bookbinding workshop through Glasgow Zine Library, and made a couple of notebooks. I started on my "50 things to do in my 50s" list by making jam, I painted some stones and left them in the park, did some bullet journaling, and I brainstormed some ideas for the 100 day project I'll be starting soon.


I read the wonderful Show Us Who You Are by Elle McNicoll, Kick Back by Val McDermid, and started The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman which I got for my birthday.

28 February 2021

This February I have been mostly...


I loved the new series of The Mallorca Files, but it's a pity there were only 6 new episodes! I've been watching them all twice over. I finished watching The Serpent, and only realised afterwards that it was the same guy in it as in The Looming Tower!

I signed up to watch a couple of Mischief Movie Nights, which are improv shows by the same team as The Goes Wrong Show on tv. I'm amazed by their ability to come up with a storyline, characters, and songs on the hoof!

I watched a fascinating online talk about modernist architecture in Edinburgh by the C20 society, and had an online tour of an exhibition of typography-based protest art.


I was still reading lots in the first half of the month. I fired through a couple of the Karen Pirie books by Val McDermid, and they really made me hanker for a trip to Edinburgh, because all the restaurants and cafes I want to visit kept getting mentioned! I've now moved on to her Kate Brannigan series, and am keeping back the latest Karen Pirie as a special treat once I've finished those! I did the same with the Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series, keeping one back to read once I'd finished the Karen Pirie books, which I think I eventually ended up loving even more than the Tony Hill ones!

I read The Little Grey Men, and Down the Bright Stream, by BB, in preparation for reading Melissa Harrison's By Ash, Oak and Thorn which is somewhat inspired by them and is coming out soon (and I'm reading her At Hawthorn Time at the moment). The BB books are the last ones I remember getting out of our little local library as a child, before we started going to the main branch library because I'd exhausted the children's shelves at the small library!

I also read Lessons by Jenny Colgan (this series of grown-up Malory Towers style books was what got me into reading her books), The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas, and Daisy on the Outer Line by Ross Sayers (really weird reading a book written in Scots language, when it's something I usually only hear rather than read!).


I've done a couple of online art workshops this month. I loved the sweary typography one with Typetasting, and I also did one called Shape & Symmetry through the Northern Ireland Science Festival, about using geometry to create designs. I was particularly amused that, when I used Siri to create a reminder on my phone for this, she called it Sheep & Cemetery!

I made a face mask with 50 on it, to wear on my 50th birthday next month. And, when I posted a photo of this on my Instagram stories, someone who's been following me for ages said he thought I was about 33!


I made myself a Chinese New Year meal, and pancake breakfasts for Valentine's Day and Pancake Day (it was lovely to have so many events to celebrate in the space of one week!).

I've also been discovering the wonders of Just Eat, ordering noodles for lunch from a local healthy food place called Savage Kitchen.


I don't remember ever having a pair of wellies in my life, so I finally bought myself a pair of yellow Hunter wellies! Of course, as soon as I bought them, the snow melted, and I haven't had a chance to wear them yet!


I went for a walk to see the local snowdrops, and found the gate to the gardens of Leslie House open - I used to explore the gardens there almost every week, but since there was a fire some years ago it's been closed off.

We had the best snowfall in years, leading to a complete closure of the school where I work (it's only open to vulnerable children and children of keyworkers during lockdown, and I'm in half of each day on a rota). I had fun doing some snowflake photography, found a local igloo, and made a snow ammonite in my garden!

Mum and Dad got their first vaccinations, I finished a couple of jigsaws, and I went to the bank for the first time in about a year (I still had my birthday money from last year in my purse, along with grocery money from shopping for my parents, and Christmas money, so I thought I'd pay all that in before my birthday this year!).

I did a zoom workout with my colleagues, and had an impromptu video call with three of my friends who I've known since primary school!

31 January 2021

This January I have been mostly...


I’ve been getting really into my crime dramas, with the return of Spiral for its final series, Danish true story The Investigation, and another real-life story The Serpent. Marcella also returned, and I’m looking forward to The Mallorca Files next month. 

The Great Pottery Throwdown has been as lovely as ever, and I’m working my way through Schitt’s Creek and The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix. I introduced a friend to Call My Agent, and she’s watched it all while I’m still on the first series! 


I have been reading a massive amount this month! 

I read The Paper Bark Tree Mystery and The Mimosa Tree Mystery by Ovidia Yu, so I’m all set for when the next instalment of that series comes out this year, and I've finished reading the Marnie Rome series by Sarah Hilary.

I very much enjoyed Wintering by Katherine May, which was an ideal book to read during a winter lockdown, as was Piranesi by Susanna Clarke.

A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll was magical, and I can't wait for her new book to come out! 

I’ve read some self-care books, The Self-Care Project by Jayne Hardy and Ice Cream for Breakfast by Laura Jane Williams, and a couple of others that debunk somewhat the self-improvement genre, McMindfulness by Ronald Purser and 59 Seconds by Richard Wiseman. 

I finally, after many decades, finished reading The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. I had picked up this book as a child (maybe at someone else’s house) and only managed to finish the first few chapters, then saw up to the same point in an adaptation on TV at some point, so I’ve been waiting a long time to find out what happened in the rest of the book! 


I really enjoyed listening to the audio book of The Stubborn Light of Things by Melissa Harrison on my walks, and now I’m looking at other nature audio books to download. 

I’ve also been listening to the final series of Tracks: Abyss. It’s a bit weird as they have a different actress playing the main part, and she sounds noticeably different (I couldn’t tell Romola Garai and Hattie Morahan apart, who have played the part in the other series). 


I watched an online Burns’ Night celebration, and ate my haggis, neeps and tatties, and lots of Scottish snacks. I watched an online talk from Surgeon’s Hall Museum, A Poisonous Method: Arsenic, and, also online, the Twilight Tease Burlesque Revue. 

I started a little photo project, photographing appropriate items in front of town art and landmarks in my town. This has given me a sense of purpose on my weekend walks. 

I’ve been doing lots of jigsaws, and I ordered some more. I am working on a difficult one, a Japanese garden with lots of water, trees and sky, which is taking ages, so I’m doing others on another desk at the same time! 

I’m working in the school in the mornings, and at home in the afternoons. I’m finding this better than full days of home working, as it doesn’t feel like a whole day of isolation stretching out ahead of me. Also I can walk home at lunchtime the long way, through the park. 

I have had some cuddles with the school’s new support dog, Willow. I’ve always had bad wheezing around dogs in the past, so I’m taking things a little at a time to see how I get on around her. 

One of my closest friends made me an amazing Bernie Sanders mug!


I have finished one of my terrazzo dishes, but am still working on sanding the other one – it’s hard work! I am also doing a lot of pages in my bullet journal – it seems that this is my method for coping with lockdown, as that’s what I was doing a lot of last year too!

And I have been doing digital drawings for Fun a Day Dundee, on a theme of positivity!

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