Wednesday, 1 June 2016

May 2016

I am feeling so much better.
And you why that is? It's because we've finally got a LIFE PLAN.

If you know me IRL you probably know that me and Alex have been talking about leaving Brighton for, literally, years. It's too expensive down here and we just don't feel that we'll be able to build the life that we want, in the long term. I think Alex is also pretty much 'done' with Brighton the place... I still have a lot of fondness for this wonderful city, but I'm ready for change too.

However, I've been searching for jobs in Manchester and Leeds, (and even widening the net to Sheffield, Glasgow, Edinburgh) for a long time now, and not getting anywhere.

On my low days, I tell myself my lack of success is down to my utter failure to adult, my inherent unemployability, and maybe I'm not cut out for this design malarkey after all.
On good days, I know it's because I'm too fussy. I am good at what I do, but I really want to work for an agency, and no agency will hire me with only in-house experience (unless I had some kind of contact there or other way of proving myself to them).

So, the good news. I still love my current job. The only reason I want to leave is because we want to get out of Brighton. My friend Jess suggested I ask them whether I could work freelance, remotely... I assumed that the answer would be an absolute no... but actually, it was a 'maybe, yes'.

So, from late next January, me and Alex are going to be relocating to Hebden Bridge. I am going to be working three full days a week at my current job (remotely), and for the remaining two days a week (plus evenings, weekends, whatever I need to do!) I will be seeking design and illustration freelance — hopefully, picking up work within studios in Manchester or Leeds. Either with a view to continuing to freelance long term, or ultimately, finding a position within an agency/studio, having hopefully made new friends/contacts by actually living in/near the places I want to work.

So that's the news. I am SCARED/EXCITED/SCARED/EXCITED mostly EXCITED. January is far enough away that I've got plenty of time to mentally prepare. I'm really excited about freelancing/working from home (with accompanying fear that I will get no work and life will become one big hellish steaming stress pot), and I'm super excited about getting to know new places, and being closer to lots of friends I don't get to see so often (with accompanying sadness about leaving so many people behind in Brighton). (Move up North everyone, it's the future! Northern Powerhouse, etc!)

Anyway, without further ado, May. Optimistic May.

May has two bank holidays, which I always forget about. It's GREAT. First one was spent curling my hair, eating delicious greasy junk food, going to a garden centre/nursery (for the first time in my adult life), planting herbs, burning stuff, and making Alex and Justin watch Lemonade (they loved it more than I could even have hoped). So good.

The other great thing about bank holidays is that what feels like a Monday is actually a Tuesday. SWEET.

These two are my faves. Trying to persuade Justin to come up North with us so as not to break up the institution.

It's 'votin time! (Is anyone else freaking out about the referendum?! If we leave the EU can I leave the UK? Can Scotland become independent so we can go there? Or am I going to have to go to the Netherlands? Or Germany? But if we leave the EU then I won't even be able to?! Aaauuurggghhhhnooooo if you're undecided please vote stay in for me?!)

Summer summer summer time

Oh gosh that vegan taramasalata is SO GOOD. (If you're in Brighton it's called 'taramalg' and you can get it in the fridge in Infinity foods)

Lay on Alex's bed with light evening sunshine coming in through the window soaking up the new Radiohead. Haven't listened to it since TBH, but I enjoyed it at the time. (Alex wishes it to be noted that this picture is partly fictionalised because there's no way they'd allow me to rest my leg on their hair like that)

Been enjoying 'Suburbia' a lot, a hex-based urban planning themed boardgame.

If you enjoyed Eurovision, this next section is for you...

I do enjoy doing these Eurovision drawings although my ability to draw people is still sadly lacking...

I've had kind of a bad back for a couple of weeks. It's getting better now which is a relief, because I was freaking out for a while there.

Stayed at Stina's house for a few days to look after Lump the dog while she was away.

One of the best ways Alex defuses my hormonal grumps is by coming up with increasingly comical affectionate insults.

Have you tried the cocoa butter solid formula that comes in a tub? It's unbelievably good, I didn't realise it was possible to be this excited about a moisturiser. They're not even paying me to say that. (Hey Palmers, would you like to pay me in like cocoa butter?)

Had a fun Saturday in London, not-spending money in Spitalfields, eating giant pizza with uni friend Michael, and catching up with Daedelus with Kneebody as Kneedelus. 
They were so good.

...and then a super busylovely Sunday, visiting Tom, Jo, Hazel, and new family addition Stanley... then a birthday roast for Fenn... then some entirely inappropriate dancing... And then more boardgames with Justin and Alex.

One thing that scares me about moving is that we won't be able to find home. This house is more 'home' to me than anywhere else I've ever lived, despite its many flaws. Alex keeps reminding me that if I can make this leaky, squeaky, filthy, mock-tudor-beamed monstrosity (sorry house) home, then I can probably make anywhere home. And anyway, it's the people, not the place that makes it. I hope so, anyway. (Two days after I drew this, rainwater started somehow leaking through the bathroom into the kitchen so maybe I will be glad to see the back of the place)

Went to see Chris Parkinson's (@oneoneoneone on Twitter) great poetry Fringe show. So much shouting. So many seals. So good. (Go see him if you get the chance)

Part of my coming to terms with leaving Brighton is trying to fall out of love with the place. One of my coping strategies is going to places I used to love and intentionally having an unfun time so I won't miss them. This may be ridiculous. Went for a walk along Lancing beach in high winds while hungry. Drew some sea kale. Decided I don't need to go back again. Success!

Onwards to June. Hopefully goodness awaits.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

April 2016

So I feel like I've been a bit gloomy this month — job hunting is depressing. I'm too fussy in my 'dream job' desires, but also the fairly limited range of people I want to work for are too fussy in their choosing (or maybe my aspirations are just too high)... If only we could all be less picky.

I've been getting pretty despondent about that, and getting even more despondent about the fact that there's seemingly no end in sight... but with May and nicer weather and lots of fun social things on the horizon I hope I'm coming out of the other end of my gloom, for now at least.

Actually April started off quite nicely. We found out Alex's job is secure for another year (but just one year), so I had a brief moment of feeling relaxed.

Stina took me out for lunch at new-ish fancy vegan tapas place Rootcandi. I’d been faintly grumpily boycotting them because they changed from being Iydea, where I got lunch two times a week, and because of the change I can’t afford to go there on the regular any more, and was very sad about this. But you know. Not gonna say no to tasty lunch, and it definitely WAS tasty. I begrudgingly recommend them.

The server went down in the office for nearly a whole day and everyone went home apart from me and James who spent hours faffing with cables.

It’s still not summer.

Jammie Dodgers are supposedly soon not going to be vegan any more (the manufacturer is adding milk to the recipe). I am very upset about this, and stockpiling the okay recipe ones to spread out over the coming months.

I did not know I had it in me to be this excited about UPVC windows, OH MY GOODNESS. This house has needed new windows for probably over 10 years. I have been gently nudging the letting agent to fix them for the entire 5 years I’ve lived here. In the days before these new ones were installed, Alex’s bedroom window was wedged shut with several very precisely measured blocks of wood, mostly rotten… The bathroom window was propped open with a successively crushed stack of toilet rolls, also rotten, and absolutely filth encrusted from years or nearby road and train station gunk.
And now, just perfection. Open, close, open, close, open, close, opencloseopencloseopenclose and SO CLEAN SO BLOODY CLEAN

They put up our rent by 10% at the same time though. Swings and roundabouts :|

Alex taught me how to read the i ching. I don’t really believe in that kind of thing (and neither does Alex, deep down), but they’ve found it a source of comfort over the years and the words can be very beautiful. My reading ‘seeking harmony in the countryside, one’s ambition is not yet fulfilled’. Seems fitting. (As we can always lead ourselves to believe)

Some days.

Alex has been a bit low this month too. BUT, Justin is finally home from nearly 6 months in India, which is very exciting! And I made this amazing sticky toffee pudding.

I know it’s a bit trashy but my goodness SO MANY FEELS

For most of my early life I thought it was 'raspberry parade'. Still my favourite. Still heartbroken.

I’m not big into flowers n’ stuff, but Preston Rock gardens are looking pretty great this time of year.

OH TEETH why can't I just eat what I want and do a half arsed job of brushing and everything be okay?! I am choosing to ignore this for a while longer though because I am not yet a responsible adult.

Beyonce is my hero.

Lou is also my hero. Alex and her arranged for us to go over there for dinner and then neither of them confirmed it so Lou assumed we weren't coming. Despite being in the midst of a very stressful few weeks, when we showed up she pulled this AMAZING dinner out of the bag from just whatever ingredients she had to hand and honestly it was fancy restaurant good.

It's good to have a catchup. (Also Hannah has the best glasses)

I know I'm an adult and I've been an adult for nearly 10 years but it never gets old. People are paying me to design stuff! (Okay then I have to spend it on rent and other boring stuff but still.)

Anyway, onwards into May. Talking of people paying me to design stuff, if you're looking to hire a graphic designer or artworker, and you're based in Manchester, Leeds (and surrounding areas of both), Glasgow, Sheffield or Edinburgh, HELLO THERE (let's talk)

Friday, 1 April 2016

March 2016

March has been a lovely one. It's amazing what a bit of extra daylight can do. (Although I think there's been a lot of other lovely stuff to help it along)

Our friend Lara came to visit from Haarlem in the Netherlands. Sadly she got a horrible cold while she was here, but I think she had a reasonable visit nonetheless, and we very much enjoyed having her.

I really love my nose piercing. But for a little while back there I honestly thought I was going to have to get rid of it because it JUST KEPT ON FALLING OUT. Turns out I was wiping my nose wrong and knocking it out without noticing, so I’ve had to re-learn that. Either that or the stud is just trolling me.

I went back to the Booth Museum for the first time in years. It’s an amazing little museum full of terrifying taxidermy and animal bones and other natural history curiosities. Weirdly, I used to love it, but perhaps it’s because I’m vegan now, or perhaps just older, or perhaps more sensitive, but I found a lot of the taxidermy kind of depressing this time round. I think I just anthropomorphize things too much. Makes me sad to think about those animals trapped in their poses forever, even though I know they’re just inanimate objects now. I do still enjoy looking at the bones and insects though.

My friend Hannah taught me how to make the most simple but amazing vegan brownies. But I’m not telling you how because I’m a meanie.

Wes cooked us a lovely dinner and then persuaded us to play guitar hero and it was pretty ridiculous fun although he is insanely good at it, and I was just chugging along on easy level while he shredded like a pro. Still enjoyed it a lot though.

Desk detritus.

“Some people made ‘whoop’ noises during my freestyle today, have I ‘made it’?”
Answer: probably not, because I’ve missed two weeks of dance since this and have probably forgotten it all.

We had a St. Patricks day lunch last year and it was excellent, but there isn’t a huge variety of Irish food to choose from, so this year ‘green food’ was added into the mix. I made a soda bread (moderately successful but too sweet) and a delicious giant cous cous and green veg salad, which, if I do say so myself, was excellent.

Ask me about the blood (that is no longer) in our freezer. Go on. I dare you.

Have you ever tried these things?! OH MY GOODNESS. (Even if you’ve tried other nakd things, these are like 100x better than anything else they make)

I always get travel anxious but in the end I had a SUPER FUN birthday weekend... on Thursday 24th I travelled up to London and went to see Battles (who were great), on Friday and Saturday (my birthday), I went to Mike Meyer's 'Better Letters' signpainting workshop... However because I was super busy and/or tired on these days I didn't really do them justice with visual diaries...

Then on Sunday 27th I had a wonderful birthday lunch with friends at Mildreds Kings Cross, and in the evening went to see At The Drive-in at the Roundhouse which was basically a teenage dream come true and they were incredible.

And then when I got back to Brighton on the 28th, I had a pizza party with lovely Brighton friends to celebrate lent being over. Mmmm, pizza.

We’ve been playing “Life is strange”, it’s pretty wonderful, if you’ve got a few hours to spare.

April's looking promising so far, although please tell me when we're all going to grow out of April Fools Day. Next year? Please?