Sunday, 29 September 2013

September visual diary

September has been busy. I'm not entirely sure how I've managed to keep this up this month, but somehow I have, and I think it's been good for me. I've had a ridiculous number of lovely visitors... My two major exes Martin and Huw have both been down to stay, plus old school friends Sam, Mike (and their partners Ceri and Emily), and Gareth. Uni friends Michael, Lucy and Lyall also popped down for the day. Add into the mix extremely busy work times, exciting Alex DJing night and a whole bunch of other fun stuff... I'm tired. But happy. Tired and happy. Here's to a hopefully slightly quieter (but no less fun) October.

Having said that I had a busy month, the most exciting thing to happen on September 1st was eating a bag of milky way magic stars. They're just SO GOOD though, right?

The 2nd was when Huw came to visit. He was visiting David really (our housemate and another of my best old school friends), but we roped him into eating a big bowl of risotto and playing a game of Galaxy Trucker. It was nice. And didn't play out at all like a scene from Scott Pilgrim.

 Um… brains are weird?

YAY DYMO! This one looks kind of weird because a) I'm bad at drawing and b) it's the kiddie version so it's designed for little hands. I want one. (A dymo not a child)

David is doing a cosplay in a couple of months… I don't know who the character is, but he clearly really likes belts. We spent an entertaining half hour with David stood in the middle of the living room, trying to work out how an earth it was all meant to strap together. Fun.

This is a fairly accurate depiction of the most ridiculously rained upon I think I've ever been. Me and Alex set off to cycle to Bevendean, but were rapidly thwarted by apocalyptic rain and HAIL. It actually HURT. When I stepped off my bike at the Elm Grove lights in defeat, my converse-clad foot went into a puddle halfway up my calf. It was nuts. And stopped nearly as soon as it started, so by the time we got home, drenched and miserable, the sun was coming out again!

Not sure what happened to my body. Just woke up in the middle of the night feeling horrifically nauseous, and then spent the next day feeling very mopey and miserable and gross. Boo. I love my bed though.


Picked a load of elderberries from the garden. I'm unhappy about how many spiders there are in the garden, and now Mildred has moved out (THIS IS VERY SAD but she's gone to live with her real owner in a probably-much-more-awesome coop) there's no one around to eat them!

Sometimes I worry that I'm actually really really terrible at being around people and everyone thinks I'm awful but tolerates me out of pity. This was one of those evenings. Lovely people though.

This isn't a particularly creative one, but I just want to alert everyone to the existence of the Chilli Pickle's INSANE takeaways. Alex described it as 'like a cardboard mansion where every room is a foodstuff'. This is my annotated version of the diagram that comes with it.

I don't even know if I should like Grand Theft Auto, but we watched David play it for a bit when he was first getting started and I think it's pretty brilliant.


Excitingly, at this point, I finished my first visual diary book! Which, if you're interested in what all the faint lines were in the background, was this.

I decided I liked the size, so figured I'd give moleskines a try. I like the new book - it's nice to have a thinner book which will lie flat better on the scanner, but the paper is a little thin and ink tends to bleed through (despite the paper feeling similar to the previous book). It's my own fault though, I should just buy proper sketchbook with proper thick paper, but I don't like the feel of the thicker paper. I am difficult. Anyone know of a good sketchbook which has thin paper but ink doesn't bleed through?

Anyway, first visual diary in my new book is about my boobs. YAY BOOBS.
Well, BOO BOOBS in this case, as I've always found throughout my life, whenever I put on even the slightest bit of weight, the first places it goes on are my already slightly pudgy tummy and my already far too large boobs. Miserable.
TMI, but this bra is an F cup. F!! Boys get apparently get excited about the idea of DD's, but F is almost a bit weird and gross really. Ah well. This bra makes them look normal again, rather than the dreaded 'quad-boob' which I was starting to get with some of my older bras. Gross.

Gareth came to visit so we slept in Alex's room for a few days. I like it in there but futons make me ache, and by the end of the week I was glad to get back into my own squishy(er) bed.

Fairly self explanatory, but this was an interesting puddings day. In the evening we went to Food for Friends (excellent) for David's birthday, and as well as amazing main courses, we had that rare thing where everyone ordered a different pudding, and everyone individual was really really pleased with what they had, and didn't have any pudding envy/regret upon seeing other peoples. Lovely.
However earlier on I'd tried to make some flapjacks for David because he loves cereal, so I made them out of his favourite cereal. But despite following the recipe perfectly, they stubbornly refused to come out of the pan, and in the end I just had to pry them out with a blunt knife which left me with a sticky mound of shapeless clumps of flapjack. Disappointing.
However, after doing this diary I actually tasted them and they're pretty great… and the tupperware full of clumps has disappeared into David's room, so I can only assume they're going down well.

Went over to my granny's for her 93rd birthday party. She had these great napkins so I stole one and made this. I'm still not very good at drawing people.


More next month. Hopefully no more slugs next month.

Sunday, 1 September 2013


Well, I don't think the visual diary has gone so well this month. I wonder why? I'm going to blame being super busy at work, and hope that things get back on track next month.
It's weird, I've just been feeling quite uninspired a lot of the time. That, combined with being quite short of time has meant that a lot of them were a bit rubbish!

Oh well, here's a few of the better and/or more interesting ones...

I really enjoy cooking, and I enjoy it most of all when it's for friends. 

We travelled up to the RA in London to see the summer exhibition. It was hectic and beautiful and inspiring as always, but Grayson Perry's "The vanity of small differences" series really blew me away. I'd go as far as to say that they were the best 'art' that I've ever seen in real life. I'd seen pictures of them, but they absolutely have to be seen in the flesh to be fully appreciated.

They took up the entirety of the last room of the exhibition, and I spent longer in that room than in any of the others, despite there only being six pieces to look at. But the detail and craftsmanship was second to none, and the story running through the pieces was so incredibly executed that I had to walk round again and again, taking it all in. I did this very poor reproduction of one small section of one of the tapestries, which me and Jess were both cooing over. "It's just a tree! But LOOK at it!"
You can see it as part of the tapestry here.

I was absolutely wracked with guilt about this afterwards! I've relayed the story to several people and have been assured that the kids would have got much WORSE language if they'd been in my shoes, but still. I'm not a swearer. I felt like a monster. A big horrible pink fat monster. (I have put on weight, and am sunburnt.)

Our landlord has done nothing but emergency/essential maintenance on this house in about 8 years (and most of the house looks like it's gone a lot longer than that). So when some workmen pitched up to finally paint our rapidly crumbling windows, we were pretty amazed. Even more amazed when they didn't just paint the windows, but the entire front of the house, including shiny blue front door!
We used to direct people to our house by saying 'it's the worst looking house on the street', but no longer!

It's that time of year. Brochure season at work means ridiculously hectic days - this year especially hindered by my computer deciding that now would be a good time to start glitching and error messaging all over the place...

Oh, and a LOT of rainbow wheel. ARGH.

A new friend came over to our house last night, and after going up to the bathroom, he came back down to fetch his camera because: "Your bathroom is so amazing, I need to take a picture". He came back with an amazing panorama view.
A weird number of people have this reaction to our bathroom, which is interesting, because the first time I came to the house I was genuinely a bit disgusted by it. The ancient toilet with the horrible rust stained bowl, the mustard yellow sink and bath, the dark wood panelling and low ceiling… But I've come to see it does have it's good points. For starters, it's MASSIVE. Like, you could have a little party in there. For seconds, a series of housemates have all added their own decorative touches, which means, as my friend with the camera put it "I wanted to stay up there for ages looking at everything".

However, as this blog entry touches upon, it's never REALLY clean. Like, there's only so much you can do to tackle about 50 years of ingrained bathroom grime, no matter how determined you are. (And I am pretty determined.)

So I've started going back to Quaker church every so often. Most of their worship is in silence, but anyone is welcome to stand up and speak about anything that they'd like to share. One man stood up and talked a bit about various conflicts around the world, and he said this. It really touched me, so I decided to write it down. I decided to leave in my pencil sketch lines, even though I know they look rubbish, it just shows me how I develop things. I am annoyed with myself for spelling visitors wrong. I spelt it right in the pencil, and then spent ages staring at it. For some reason it just looked wrong, so I changed it in the ink, and it looked even worse, and then I felt like an idiot.

Everything at work eventually just turned into a blur of frantic amendments. (My senior designer did humour me by letting me include some drop shadows though. Drop shadows are my guilty pleasure.) If I get around to it, I'll post some pictures of the finished brochures. They look GREAT and it's been a while since I've shown you any 'work work'.

Alex knew everyone at work was sad and stressed, so he bought us rocket lollies. What a hero/best boyfriend ever. <3 p="">

In a brief respite from stressful work days, me and Alex spent the evening with Elly and Kitty (and Jonny and Kris) while they were dog-sitting. We went down to the beach for a paddle by Fatboy Slim's house, then boardgames back at theirs. I am definitely dog broody.

So some days, I just don't know what to draw. Nothing that happened seemed significant enough. So this day I decided to draw several small (and fairly rubbish) drawings of some very minor events in my day. The little writing in case it's too small to read…
1. Colleague Dave spent ages on the phone arguing with a Russian airline over a £10 booking fee. "It's the principle of the thing!"
2. I've had the same sandwiches every day this week and they've been great, until today when they were really disappointing.
3. I had a rant about people leaving litter around the office assuming it was Wayne, but actually it was Marina and she apologised and I felt bad.
4. Anna bought a child into the office. It wasn't hers, but it was also called Anna.
5. Decided to walk home because I had lots to carry. There were loads of flying ants.
6. David made noodles for dinner, he found them really disappointing and swore to only have cereal again from now on.

Gave blood. Fun times!

I did this at about midnight so it's pretty poor, but anyway, this is a visual review of why I don't think the Mongolian Barbecue is a very good restaurant. (I did have an absolutely lovely night though, good company made everything good!)

More at the end of September, I hope.