Sunday, 30 November 2014


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!


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


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.