Friday, 30 January 2015

Boulder-tastic!

So, in a fit of unusual determination/new-year-motivation, I have now been SPORTSING regularly for nearly a month.

At no point in my life before have I managed any sort of committed exercise for more than about 3 days running. I went trampolining once a week for a few years, but fairly early on it became apparent that I was never going to reach these sort of heights, so I eventually gave up...

In the last couple of years, I've also started cycling, but it's only occasional relaxing rides along the flat coastal path, or short trips to run errands, not any sort of exerting exercise.

But a few people I know have recently been getting pretty excited about indoor bouldering. I figured I'd go along and give it a try, and was surprised and disconcerted to find that I didn't hate it.

I decided, extravagantly, to invest in a month's membership to Boulder Brighton, and some cheap climbing shoes, in the hope that financial investment would inspire commitment. Possibly not the most advisable strategy, but remarkably, it's actually worked, so far. Money, apparently, can buy you a sense of guilt-induced motivation.

Despite the cold, dark, January weather, I've been dragging myself over to Boulder Brighton three times a week for around an hour at a time. And good news! I still don't hate it, I have lots of tiny gross callouses on my hands, and I'm now better at climbing things than I previously was. (I'm still pretty rubbish, struggling clumsily up the easy routes, but there has been progress, which is satisfying)

Anyway, this blog is arbitrarily meant to be about creativity, and all that was just prelude to THIS:

Boulder Brighton are having a t-shirt competition! And I was persuaded to enter by my friend Jess, on the condition that if I win, she gets one of my 5 free prize t-shirts. Good deal.

I don't think I'm likely to win, because I suspect there are some other big creative talents at the bouldering wall, but, as these sportsing types always say, it's not about winning, it's about... playing the game... drawing the drawing... something like that.

ANYWAY. I'd wear it!


Thursday, 1 January 2015

Decemberlary

I'm going to join in the inevitable flurry of year-end review blogs with this little one of my own... Although really this is more of a month end review, and I do this every month, so you should already be used to this kind of self indulgence from me... Onwards!

As you may or may not remember, November was GREAT. December was always going to struggle to match up to it, realistically...


December always starts off nicely though, thanks to me being a perpetually spoiled brat/only child, and my mother STILL humouring me with this massively labour intensive advent calendar each year. She made it when I was about 3, and as I was growing up, would put a little mini chocolate bar in the pocket for each day. Now, as a vegan adult, she nearly refused to do it for me ("you've made it too hard!"), but wonderfully managed to fill every day with a whole range of treats (mostly stationery, condiments and vegan cereal bars). (Here's a picture of it)


Apple have discontinued the iPod classic, possibly one of the only products that I genuinely feel complete product loyalty to. It seems like an incomprehensible decision to me, when all their old marketing was based around the idea of having your entire music collection in your pocket, and now none of their music players have enough capacity to hold a reasonably sized music collection (plus they all cost WAY more). Maybe it’s a push to get everyone streaming music rather than buying it, but if that’s the case, they seem to have missed the crucial point that there isn’t internet everywhere, especially not in the places where I most want to listen to music, like on remote windswept beaches (sorry nature, I’m blocking you out) or on public transport! Grumble. Anyway. If you already own one, which I did, you can still get a replacement by taking your broken one in for a service at the Apple store. Which I did. SHINY! (I feel a bit like I’m back in year 9, being challenged to draw shiny things for art class homework. Probably haven’t improved very much since then…)


My BFF Naomi started knitting me this snood over a year ago. In fairness to her, she got distracted by the birth of her niece, and the obligatory knitters desire to knit hundreds of tiny cute outfits for any new baby in the family. I was very excited to finally receive this, anyway, and the timing is perfect as it’s now FREEZING all the time. I am wearing it right now, in fact! (Plus gloves. I am typing in gloves because of David Cameron’s broken Britain) Here's a real picture!


I’ve never had a real thanksgiving dinner before. I was delighted to be invited to this slightly late thanksgiving/christmas crossover meal by our friends Kris and Jonny, Kris being total 100% fully legit American. Naively, I just assumed that thanksgiving was much the same as Christmas roast that we have in this country, but I was totally wrong! There were so many other weird delights I couldn’t even have anticipated! Admittedly it was a somewhat non-traditional thanksgiving dinner, as Kris was kind enough to make it fully vegan for me and Alex, but still, I am assured that many of these elements were just subtle adaptations of things that would normally be had. American biscuits with gravy! (Which are NOT BISCUITS) Crazy sweet potato and banana sticky casserole malarkey! Walnuts, brussels sprouts and broccoli glazed with a coca cola glaze! (Which sounds horrific but was actually amazing, although apparently a non-traditional element) Pumpkin pie! Much more!
A delicious evening with wonderful friends. Consider me suitably thankful.


At around this point, Alex became officially the longest relationship I’ve ever had. As I have experienced before and am trying to keep remembering, you have to keep learning to love the person you’re with afresh. And sometimes its hard work, because every relationship has a honeymoon period, and after that, it takes effort and thought and conscious decisions to try and keep things magic. I hope we do enough. Anyway, I still get excited when Alex asks if I’d like to go for a meander round town with him to run errands. I hope day-to-day activities carry on feeling like dates forever. (It helps that I take great joy in mundane tasks like going to Sainsburys or collecting dry cleaning.) 


INEVITABLE.


This month I finally finished a ridiculous ongoing personal project which was to design and print a mini cook book (more of a cook-zine) for our house. I might do a separate blog about it later. But anyway, this drawing of kale is included in it in a different context, but I decided to recycle it here as I made a GREAT kale-y stew.


BOOBS!
Entirely unsexy though, as I was miserable. For the last couple of months I’ve been suffering with intermittent dizziness, which most of the time is just a minor inconvenience, but has occasionally been pretty debilitating. It’s been at its worst just after I’ve had colds, which annoyingly has happened twice this month, so I’m hoping it’s something that will pass when I’m completely well otherwise. Doctor was inconclusive. Could be an inner ear infection. Fortunately it’s NOT anaemia, because as previously documented, I’m a good vegan and prolifically eat my leafy greens.


Managed to stagger my way (still quite dizzy) to Smokey’s American diner for Tristan’s birthday meal. It is a meaty meaty establishment, so as a vegan I was mainly limited to sides. But who cares, when the sides are DELICIOUS AND VAST.


My work do. A thoroughly civilised affair in which everyone else got incredibly tipsy and I looked on with faint amusement. Excellent.

The same night, however, was Alex's work do, which played out in a somewhat less civilised manner...


At around 2am, (so technically the 19th now), I awoke to the sound of voices downstairs, and not long after, Alex drunk-quietly (i.e. not quietly) came up to apologise and let me know that he’d ended up bringing some people back. I popped some earplugs in and went back to sleep, only to be woken again at 4am by sex noises loud enough to leak through my earplugs. In my confused, disoriented, half-asleep (and still dizzy) state, I staggered over to my bedroom door, to become aware that the noises were coming from Alex’s room. For a brief, paranoia filled moment, I thought Alex was having a ridiculous drunken fling with a colleague, but fortunately he emerged from the bathroom at exactly that point to confirm that, in fact, no, it was actually two of his colleagues having a ridiculous drunken (and thoroughly inadvisable) fling. In his room. Noisily. Earplugs back in, awoken again at 6 by Alex finally coming to bed, still drunk, and confused enough to fall asleep in glasses.

8am, time for me to get up and go to work! Get dressed, down the stairs for cereal and THERE IS A WOMAN PISSING IN MY GARDEN. Which, admittedly, has happened a number of times before with different women and men, as is inevitable in a house with only one bathroom and a garden, but what was so shocking was a) broad daylight, b) RIGHT by the back door, like, actually on the door mat, c) the guy she’d been having noisy sex with the night before had only gone in the bathroom five minutes previously and was just having a shower, surely any sensible person would have either asked to go in first or just asked to go for a wee while he was showering? Anyway, I was FILLED WITH RAGE and spent a moment pondering how best to express that to her, but I settled for going into the kitchen and giving her my most passive-agressive ‘good morning’ when she came back in. Looking back, I am faintly amused by the whole scenario, but still wouldn’t say she’d be a particularly welcome guest in my house in future…


So. I like to think that I’m mostly doing quite well with handling my emetophobia this year. It helps that there haven’t been so many widely publicised outbreaks of the norovirus, which typically tends to send my anxiety levels soaring… While I used to be scared of vomiting in ANY context, even something as minor as seeing it in a film could send me into near panic attack, I can now handle almost all vomit scenarios, the only thing which still scares me is being sick myself. And when I think there might be a danger of that happening (i.e. me catching something or eating something bad)? Thought spiral. Still. This time I luckily managed to hold it together and not have a full panic attack in the middle of a restaurant, and even managed to finish my meal! But my brain. It was spiralling hard.


It probably didn’t help my brain state that previous night that I was coming down with another horrible cold, which was both making me incredibly dizzy, and also generally hurting all over, plus coughs and snot. By the next day it became apparent that it was possibly something nearly approaching flu in its crippling misery-symptoms. My incredibly supportive housemates Justin and Alex, and our friend George inadvisably kept me company in my malaise (or at least, I flumped myself down in the same room as them and none of them told me to leave). Feeling too weak to draw, I asked them to take over for the day, and try to suitably express how bad I was feeling/looking. With excellent results.


Illness continues with horrific self-portrait.


Being ill over Christmas sucks. Still feeling terrible, it was concluded that I was too rough to make the journey over to Alex’s family as planned, thus rendering us stuck in Brighton. Trying to put on a brave face so that Alex’s Christmas wasn’t entirely ruined by being stuck alone with my gloom-face. Hard when everything hurts and there’s snot everywhere. BONUS! This was the day of our third anniversary. We’re going to have a do-over in a couple of weeks because this day sucked too much.


Christmas itself was a little better. Top quality present hauls for both of us, and Alex cooked an amazing Christmas dinner. We managed a little stroll down to the Level to meet a couple of friends and their baby, and Alex got to watch Dr. Who. We would have liked more people around, but it could have been a lot worse.


By the 29th I was just about feeling well enough to consistently be able to stand up and achieve things, so got on to CHORESING HARD in preparation for Christmas II the next day…

Christmas II was a long pre-planned event which was already making me feel a lot better about Christmas I being a bit of a write-off. Similar to last year, we invited a huge number of friends over for a big vegan roast and hoped that just the right number would arrive to fit into our house. And luckily, as last year, it worked, PERFECTLY.



We ended up cooking a full vegan roast for 13, which is close to maximum capacity our kitchen infrastructure will allow, so always a bit of a challenge, but Alex made it work. Christmas II was substantially better than Christmas I and I feel so fortunate to have so many bright lights to count as friends. Big meal followed by giant team games (Google ‘Two Rooms and a Boom’), and prolific pudding action, with people slowly drifting away over the course of the evening. A beautiful day, for which I feel very grateful.


Saw in the new year with a day of ridiculous quantities of washing up, and then many hours of boardgames with Justin and Alex up to midnight. Perfect.

I am finally feeling well (it feels like I’ve spent most of December feeling under the weather in one way or another), and my slightly below average Christmas has been thoroughly redeemed by the kindness and care of friends. I am ready to face 2015 with inevitable new year anxiety, but also optimism. The future is rushing up fast and I don’t know what’s coming, but now entering my third year of visual dairying, I will endeavour to keep drawing it every day.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Emma's 2014 annual-bandwagon-jumping-end-of-year-album-list

2014 has been a GOOD YEAR for music. There are so many more I could have mentioned here. But anyway, like just about every music blog out there (and I'm not even a music blogger, what nerve!) here's my roundup of all the musical things this year that made me go a bit:


Best album of 2014 to play at double speed
Todd Terje – It’s album time

When Alex first picked this up, we listened to it almost in its entirety on double speed for the first time. And we were SO into it. In fact almost faintly disappointed when we discovered we’d been doing it wrong. If you own this on vinyl, go and listen to Svensk Sås at double speed RIGHT NOW, and dance until you, possibly, pass out. If you don’t, well, you’ll just have to imagine. Thankfully it’s a brilliant album even at normal speed. (Apart from that appalling Johnny and Mary cover halfway through. Skip that.) Scandinavian disco at its finest.


Most disappointing ‘best album’ of 2014
Metronomy – Love Letters

I love Metronomy. I love that every album of theirs has been totally different. This one? Not so much up my street. Which made me slightly sad. But there’s no denying that Joe Mount is a masterful song-writer, and this album has some brilliant moments, just none which excite me in the way their moments usually do. This is still a good album, and definitely deserves at least one listen, because for you, it might be their best thing yet. ‘Boy Racers’ is a slightly hidden highlight to my mind.


Most comforting album of 2014
Taylor McFerrin – Early Riser

I first heard ‘Stepps’ on Gilles Peterson’s show and was absolutely floored. It’s just everything I love. Languid, elegant synths for about 5 minutes. The rest of the album is not what you would expect if you buy it purely based on that one track. Much more vocal driven and softer, somehow… But it all ties together so, so perfectly, and it’s been my go-to album whenever I’m low or anxious and need something to make me feel better (or indeed, when I’m already feeling good and want something to keep me there)


Best album of 2014 written by someone who once told my partner he’d ‘stamp on his face’
Mono/Poly – Golden Skies

Well that was awkward. We went to see his live show a couple of years back (which was great by the way), and at one point, Alex leaned in to say something to me, and he shouted, directly at us, that if he didn’t shut up, he’d stamp on his face. Which was charming. Regardless of whether or not he’s a nice man, this is a stunning album, and, facetious award titles aside, might actually be a contender for my favourite album of 2014. It’s everything he was doing previously, but more consistent, and all round better. Full of synth fireworks, euphoric electronic glissandos and just the loveliest track-to-track transitions, I honestly can’t fault it. It’s a bit of a masterpiece to my mind. I’d love to see it live. Might not take Alex with me again though.



Best album of 2014 that I’ve only listened to once
Thom Yorke – Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes

Sorry Thom. It’s good! It just happened to come out at exactly the same time as a lot of other really good stuff, and because you snuck it up on us so much, I didn’t have time to plan for it, and as a result, haven’t given it the attention it deserves. Still, it’s up there with his best solo work, and I will be endeavouring to spend more time with it, next time I’m in a Thom Yorke/Radiohead mood (Which admittedly happens less and less these days)



Best album for terrible culturally appropriative twerking
Big Freedia – Just be free

There’s been a lot of debate this year about whether twerking is okay, or horrific cultural appropriation. I just don’t know. Fortunately (perhaps), I’m not very good at it anyway, so you’re not going to see me throwing any of those shapes at ‘the club’ anyway. But if anything were likely to make me, it’s this. Big Freedia is the undisputed queen of twerking, and this long anticipated LP only serves to reinforce that.



Best unimaginatively titled album of 2014
Clark – Clark

C’mon Clark. You can do better than that. If your music’s anything to go by, you’re clearly imaginative enough. Title aside, this is a GREAT piece of work from the Warp stalwart (my distant claim to his fame is that I’m friends with someone who used to work in a stationery shop in St. Albans with him).
Clattery and thundery and rich and dense: stronger by far that his previous, which was already pretty great.



Best EP that I wish was a whole album
Tokimonsta – Desiderium

I don’t listen to enough female artists. A very large proportion of this list is just ‘a dude with a laptop’. Tokimonsta is a shining female beacon creating amazing electronica in LA… I adore her, and her immediately recognisable sound, and just wish this lovely EP was a little bit longer stretched into a full album.



Best album of 2014 for listening to while feeling slightly melancholy on trains
Daedelus – The Light Brigade

My love affair with Daedelus has not dissipated. This is not what I expected from him, and realistically, if you’d asked me what I hoped for in his next release, I’d have asked for something closer to his live shows: eclectic and electric and noisy and dense and heavy. This is not that. It’s historically themed, around the charge of the Light Brigade, mostly acoustic, delicate and lovely and sparse and quiet. It’s a beautiful piece that, perhaps, is more what I needed than the noisy something that I wanted.



Special Award for helping me understand why people like taking drugs (while still giving me no desire to partake myself)
Thundercat — Apocalypse

Before I get to that… This is a brilliant album. It’s another one, like Taylor McFerrin that feels right for any mood I’m in… and is a beautifully moving tribute to the sad death of Austin Peralta, whose incredibly premature passing seems to have had a creative ripple effect across a large number of LA based musicians. It manages to capture sadness, frustration, devastation, while also having moments of sheer joy, such as ‘Oh Sheit it’s X’, the track which inspired the above statement. I mean… it still all sounds horrible… “The room is spinning and I’m not winning, it’s about 3.42, and I don’t know where the bathroom is, my friends say ‘you should eat something’”… And YET, the whole song is SO joyful, so effervescently enthusiastic… I guess I get it. Well done Thundercat, for explaining to me what so many other people have tried and failed to convince me of. (But still, no thanks…)




Best album of 2014 with thanks to Gilles Peterson
Leon Vynehall – Music for the Uninvited

Gilles Peterson is great. You should listen to his show on 6 Music on saturday afternoons (but make sure you tune in at 3 on the dot, Liz Kershaw beforehand is possibly the worst thing on any radio station ever). He plays all the good things, and has set me onto so many new things over the last few years. This was one of them, and it’s definitely been a favourite this year. Danceable, intelligent, consistent and fresh. A nice treat.



Least highly anticipated album of 2014 (that turned out to be really great)
Busdriver – Perfect Hair

Busdriver is great. But his last album Beaus$Eros? Less so. In fact, I enjoyed it so little that I didn’t even remember to listen to this, his newest release when it came out… but it came up on my soundcloud because he’d streamed the whole thing on there, and before I knew it, I was pulled in, and he is back on form. All of his usual delicious lyrical complexity but with even more darkness and bitterness than usual… and musically, sublime backing. See, Bliss Point.




Most highly anticipated album of 2014 (that was every bit as wonderful as I'd hoped)
Flying Lotus – You’re Dead

I was SO excited for this. Flying Lotus is, undisputedly now, I think, a genius. Cosmogramma is possibly my favourite album of all time ever (a bold claim I know), and all his other releases are up there too. I heard ‘never catch me’ before the album came out (which also wins my award for ‘video of the year’), but determined to save the whole album for a much anticipated long train journey across Europe, during which I proceeded to listen to it three times in a row, sucking in new things each time. As with all his releases, there’s SO much in here. It will not get old. It’s another masterpiece, and he still keeps innovating. Massive hyperbole, perhaps, but I feel honoured to be listening to his music fresh and new as it comes out. Because his jazz, electronica, whatever it is he’s doing… It feels like it will be with me for the rest of my life. I can hardly even wait for more.


So there you go. What have you enjoyed this year? Have I missed anything super obvious? And what's next? I hope 2015 has plenty more treats in store.

Oh, and if you prefer your music in track-sized bites rather than whole albums, here's my still-ongoing 'best of 2014' Spotify playlist... Which contains LOADS more lovely things.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Nobember

So last year, I got really miserable in October. The darkening nights and worsening weather left me feeling generally gloomy, and it took two specific treats (a very good gig — more on that later — and a mini-break with an old friend), to lift me out of that misery.
I was worried the same would happen this year, but the weather was SO GOOD throughout October, and I was so busy and distracted that my mood remained fairly buoyant.

So I entered November with winter-mood-low trepidation, but I think it’s safe to say, it’s been GOOD! I am GOOD!


It helped that November very briefly continued to treat me to some beautiful weather.


Although that soon ended.


But I got some great treats. Including a lovely, long-promised work meal at Terre a Terre, the best vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Brighton. My work colleagues humoured me, and very kindly agreed that we could go somewhere full of treats for me, rather than the usual meat-heavy fest of most work meals. (This one was, ridiculously, to celebrate us hitting job 1000 on our file management system: we were on 210 when I started nearly 4 years ago, although we’re now a team of 7 rather than 4, so we're ploughing through them a lot faster of late!)


And then the next night I went up to London to see Flying Lotus. As evidenced by my lastFM stats, Flying Lotus is just my FAVOURITE. But I’d never seen him live before, because my body clock is brutally reliable, and I am basically incapable of easily staying up past about midnight… and all of his previous nearby shows has been ridiculous 3am affairs. But this was at the sensible hour of 9, and so I treated myself, and it was SO worth it. His current stage show is incredible.


I also spent much of November working on a super fun, but also challenging extracurricular project. I can’t talk about it yet. But hopefully soon. This was a hard day.


Ongoing winter office debate is office temperature. Apparently I’m the weird one for getting cold so easily, but I remain unconvinced. How are all these people still in t-shirts in this freezing office?!


And then, totally unexpected and uninvited, here come the Christmas feelings! The older I get, the less excited I get about Christmas, and for the last few years it’s taken until about December 15th for me to even start feeling any feelings. But this year? ALREADY FESTIVE. I think this is a good thing. It’s got to be if it lifts my mood a bit, right? I’m keeping it all inside of me anyway, I haven’t started hanging decorations or anything CRAZY like that. (I did buy some Christmas tree shaped kitchen sponges though)


I’ve been going through a bit of an experimental lasagne phase recently. I still haven’t nailed the perfect one, but I’m trying increasingly bizarre combos in search of the magic secret.


This was my happy day. As well as just being absolutely awesome at Adobe Illustrator in front of other people TWICE (one of those incidents actually earned me  a small round of applause), the aforementioned fun/tricky project reached a satisfying conclusion, and another project I’ve been involved in for nearly a year also finished up, in satisfying printed fashion…

Like TV? Like beautiful magazines? You need Sixteenbynine in your life.


Oh dear. Is this a slippery slope to a wardrobe of muumuu dresses and ponchos?


I made this simple newspaper screen print of Alex at Drawing Tiger’s first event. It does look quite a lot like him!


At the same event, I also got to go inside an amazing internally mirrored, multifaceted MDF box. Sounds fun? YOU BETCHA.





Got lucky this day! Galaxy Trucker is my current favourite board game, and I also concocted a big batch of vegan nachos for us and friends. TREATS!


Facts.


So, as we established last month, I’m a nervous traveller. For no particularly good reason. Just irrational anxiety. But that’s why I’ve decided I really need to make a point of doing it (and going places is fun, obvs) so this weekend I went over to Bristol.

I mentioned earlier that last year I got gloomy in October, but, amongst other things, I was lifted out of my moderate misery by the wonderful Daedelus, who put on an incredible show at the Green Door Store. Me and Alex also got to meet him beforehand for The Monitors… I took some fairly terrible photographs, and Alex (and occasionally I) interrogated him about a lot my favourite things like piers and keytars. The results were long but entertaining.

When I saw he was touring around this time of year again, I figured I might be in need of another winter pick-me-up, so Bristol beckoned! (Bristol has never not shown me a good time. I love the place.)

We met up for some coffee before the show at a coffee shop run by people who really know about coffee. I don’t drink coffee. The coffee man gave me some coffee beans to sniff and I told him they smelt a bit like marmite. He gave me some different ones and I told him they smelt faintly offensive to me. He stopped giving me coffee beans then. (But I did get a very nice hot chocolate)

Anyway, I later did a fairly terrible drawing of us in the coffee shop, as a further challenge in my ongoing struggle with people sitting at tables. I’ve still not got it.


Also as earlier mentioned, my body clock doesn't really allow me to happily stay up past about 12. Daedelus show started at 12.30. So I drunk half a pint of coke, and because I never intake any form of caffeine I got really buzzed and talked really loudly at people, then danced gleefully to his incredible set. Luckily I didn't need a winter mood lifter this year, but I got one regardless.

Because of the coke, I couldn't fall asleep till 4am. And woke up at 6am. This was last night. I am currently functioning on 2 hours sleep. SO EVERYTHING MIGHT BE A BIT TWITCHY. I should probably proofread this.


But the tiredness put me in a blissfully mellow state of mind for the sunny train journey home this morning, and now I’m back home and ready to face December in what could only be described as a pretty good frame of mind. Good-o.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Octnober

We went on holiday mid October. And because I am ridiculous, that is a source of immense stress to me. So the first half of this month was mostly dominated by intense anxiety, and after a brief interlude of holiday, the second half of the month was mostly dominated by intense relief to not be anxious any more. Silly brain.


In anticipation of autumn, I treated myself to some great new tights from H&M. Unfortunately H&M have a fundamental misunderstanding of how women’s clothing sizing works, and the fact that when women go up a size, they don’t just get taller whilst maintaining exactly the same stick thin legs. I’m only about a size 12 in trousers, and yet their ‘large’ tights make me feel like a vast bloated whale trying to squeeze itself into sausage casing.


BONUS guinea pig action!



So Alex has got an amazing Sherlock Holmes themed board game/RPG game… basically the idea is that Sherlock has decided to recruit some assistants to solve some of the easier crimes he has to investigate, and he’s training us up. There are 10 ‘games’ (books of text) in the box… At the start of the game, someone reads out the ‘scenario’ (using appropriate terrible character voices), and then based on that, you have to decide which locations you’re going to ‘visit’ on the map. Each location has its own text which you take in turns to read, and based on that you try and solve the crime, and you have to try and solve it by visiting fewest locations. And each ‘scenario’ has an actual fake newspaper for that day, which might contain hints and clues about the case. It’s pretty amazing and for some reason always highly amusing, particularly because they’re delightfully difficult and we usually end up visiting around 30 different locations when Sherlock (who’s your benchmark that you’re scored against) solves it after visiting about 3. Anyway, this is our crime solving team from that night, and we all fell into hysterics imagining the scene in which Justin struggles to pronounce the word ‘correlation’ wasting valuable minutes of crime-solving time.





Ahhh #GBBO.


We went on holiday to Frankfurt (and later Cologne) in Germany. There was SO MUCH VEGAN CHOICE, including an entire supermarket of vegan food which was basically a dream come true. I want to move there.


Most of my holiday doodles weren’t very good. Neither’s this one but I feel like I need to include at least a couple of holiday ones, even if it is just one of Alex lying around reading. We did a lot of that. It was LOVELY.


Cologne cathedral is massive and amazing.


Holidays are fun, but so is coming home. I’m such a loser…


I made vegan nachos and they were SO GOOD. Ask me about my vegan nachos. I will make them for you and you will (hopefully) be impressed.


Calm and well rested for the first time in what feels like months, but still not capable of doing a decent self portrait. One day! One day!


Dog sitting the adorable Henson for our friends Lucy and Angie. A golden retriever/poodle cross puppy and every bit as cute as that sounds.


I know it’s bad to feel this way, but can it hurry up and get cold already so I can get my awesome-layering-action on?


How hard can it be to fix a leaking washing machine pipe? Two months of washing machine sitting in the middle of the kitchen says VERY HARD, but we might finally have cracked it…


I am probably a nightmare to live with. A have a lot of pent up rage about very minor household improprieties, although weirdly since drawing this illustration it’s sort of got it out of my system and I’m no longer cross all the time. Therapy through illustration!



I hate halloween. I did however, do a halloween themed diary, confronting the scary things that happened to me. Unseasonably warm? Global warming. TERRIFYING. Mystery lunchtime roti, could it contain lentils? Will I eat it anyway thus subjecting myself to a day full of agonising stomach cramps because I’m incapable of showing restraint? All the cash machines are broken! Is this the beginning of the financial apocalypse? (It wasn’t) Let’s run the broken washing machine… will the hose fly off and flood the kitchen?! More than enough fear for one day.

Onwards to November. I am unseasonably optimistic.