General

Settling in.

I'm into my third week in my new job now. It's all going well, I've hit that point where I know enough to be getting on with things but still don't know very much about anything. I got good at asking questions in my last job and that's proving very useful again now. Years ago I saw asking questions as something that other people would use to view me poorly, so I avoided doing it at all costs. In my last job though I watched, from my desk next to the supervisor's, as everyone in the team came to ask questions regardless of whether they'd been doing their job for a year or a decade. Seeing this reframed asking questions in the workplace for me, and I've brought that increased confidence into my new job too.

The other big lesson I've learned over my work life is the importance of taking proper breaks. At my old job I always stepped away from my desk for my lunch hour, part way through my time there they established a proper staff room and I'd go and escape there with my iPad and a cuppa for an hour. At this new job it works a little differently in that we get a 30 minute lunch and two 15 minute breaks. To start with I was taking the time at my desk, just shutting off my computer monitor. A colleague told me about a garden space, complete with benches, just outside our office building though and now I escape there.

It's so nice to go and sit there. It's very peaceful, and being surrounded by the trees and flowers makes for a lovely contrast to the office. I was just going there for lunch, but then realised it takes only a minute to walk from my desk to my bench of choice so I've started taking a cuppa out there for my afternoon break too.

Quite what I'm going to do when the autumn comes and it gets too wet to go out there I'm not too sure. I'm keeping everything crossed for a long, extended summer that lasts well into September at the very least!

General · Life

A list of happiness.

Over the last couple of days I’ve loved reading posts by lovely bloggers Grace and Donna, both joining other bloggers in writing a list of the things that have made them happy this week. I love this idea, I’ve talked before about how I’ve learned the value of focusing on the positive and happy in life no matter how big or small. I can’t resist joining in so here, slightly delayed, is my list of things that made me happy over the last week.

Drinking coffee in the garden before it got too hot to be out there. Making headway with catching up with some of my favourite TV shows. Getting my hair done. Refinding my reading mojo and racing through a trio of books. Friday morning coffee and cake. Putting the finishing touches on my secret knitting project. Wonderful news from wonderful friends. Building geeky Lego. Watching the Beaver Scouts conquer the climbing wall. The cold side of the pillow. Sitting in the dark watching Ed Sheeran at Glastonbury. Walking into a job interview feeling confident. Walking out of the job interview feeling confident. Getting the phone call offering me the job. 

What would be on your happy list for last week?

General

Friday Favourites

After getting back from my long weekend away I’ve spent part of this week dashing around the internet trying to catch up with my subscriptions and feeds and things. It means my collection this week is more than a little random, but then I’m quite a fan of random.

First up is a video I spotted on Tumblr. It’s so clever and well thought out.

Next up is something completely different. I’m a huge fan of Bevis Musson’s very funny and clever Dead Queen Detectives comics series so I was really excited when he said he was going to be creating a Dead Queen Detectives colouring book. It’s going to have 21 colouring pages and 13 new strips. It’s available through Kickstarter, it met its very modest funding goal within a couple of hours of the page going live so backing it now will simply guarantee your copy (and may help to lead to an upgraded final version – I saw Bevis mention earlier that he may now be able to put a hardcover on the book). The Kickstarter link can be found here.

And finally, I thought this piece in The Pool by author Nikesh Shukla was very well expressed and thought provoking.

General

Any questions?

We’ve just got in from seeing Wonder Woman (which I adored but can’t begin to gather my thoughts for yet) and I realise that I forgot to write a blog post for today. So rather than lose my streak I’m turning it over to you, I’m aiming to keep up this daily blogging but would love to know what sorts of things you’d like to hear from me. Are there any topics or things I’ve touched on before you’d like to hear more from me? Let me know!

General

Friday favourites

I’m back again today with another round up of online things I’ve enjoyed over the last week.

First up is this excellent post by author Victoria Walters about the idea that you have to write every day if you want to be a real writer. It’s an idea that seems to come around periodically and I always enjoy reading well thought out posts that counter it.

Next up are a couple of links to reports from the handout of all of the hearts made for Manchester. I was really happy to have been involved in making a few hearts for this so seeing the hugely positive reaction to them has been lovely. They are here and here.

I spotted this on Facebook thanks to my friend Kate reacting to it, a wonderful moment from America’s Got Talent:

And finally I really enjoyed Ed Sheeran’s Carpool Karaoke which aired this week:

General

Crafting positivity.

I recently picked my papercutting kit back up and refound my enjoyment of the craft. After a couple of simple designs from the booklet I’d had free with an old issue of Mollie Makes I decided to choose something to actually make and finish that I would then use.

It took a couple of sessions of cutting (I’m both slow and easily distracted), and then another few weeks for me to order the thread and actually finish it, but the end result was this really cheery, positive bunting.

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I love the strong pastel colours of each flag, and I’m a big fan of the bold geometric letter style. I also very much appreciated the fact it was entirely straight lines to cut – I’m still trying to get to grips with cutting curves again! It’s found its home now above my desk and is making me happy every time I look up.

General

Sunday.

I’m not very sure about Sundays at the moment. I go through phases like this, when I’m not particularly busy I tend to end up feeling like Sundays are days that just get frittered away with very little happening. I’m a fan of having days spent deliberately doing little – a day with a planned boxset binge once in a while is a Very Good Thing, but days when you get to the end of them and can’t actually work out what you did definitely aren’t.

I’ve got plans for the next couple of Sundays, I’ve got a trip away planned for the coming weekend and then a day out the following Sunday. I think I need to give some thought over the next couple of weeks to the Sundays after that, I think that particularly now we’re coming properly through to the proper spring (not that today’s been remotely springlike) and then the summer I need to start making the most of them.

In the meantime I’m salvaging the end of today by a little more research for a new project while I wait for the Line of Duty finale. Ending the day right!

General

Books to buy or borrow

An occasional feature where I round up some of the books I’ve been reading. Each book gets a sentence to summarise my feelings about it and will either be recommended as one to buy or one to borrow.

This is the first time I’m doing a Books to buy or borrow post – I’m not returning to reviewing books on my blog, but in addition to on the spot mentions for books I’m reading and loving on Twitter and/or Instagram I do want now and again to do some sort of round up. This post is a little bit different in that it’s not necessarily the books I’ve read most recently – it is however all books that I’d received through NetGalley as reviewer copies.

Lost Stars or What Lou Reed Taught Me About Love by Lisa Selin Davis
A very good look at grief and coping built into a coming of age story of family and growing up. Borrow

Kids of Appetite by David Arnold
A clever, thoughtful YA read, the story is told through flashbacks as the main characters explain how they came to know each other and be involved in a murder. Borrow

The Singalong Society for Singletons by Katey Lovell
Loved this contemporary feel good adult novel filled with musicals, romance and friendship at its best. Buy

Desolation and American Monsters by Derek Landy
The second and third books in this excellent YA trilogy, gripping and exciting with Amber – a fantastic lead character at their heart. Buy

The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis
Glorious, warm and thoroughly enjoyable middle grade read about a young dragon who finds herself transformed into a girl and must navigate a whole new world in a whole new body. Buy

Britannia Beach trilogy by D.R. Graham (Put It Out There / What Are The Chances / And Then What)
A fun contemporary YA trilogy with a slightly supernatural twist thanks to the lead character’s visions. Borrow

The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn
A decent follow up to the excellent Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares, but doesn’t quite live up to its brilliance. Borrow

Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard
Not enough YA novels focus on friendship, this one does and does it in impeccable style. Buy

The Cosy Teashop in the Castle by Caroline Roberts
Fun and frothy, a great take on the woman finds her new life pursuing her creative dream. Borrow

You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan
San Francisco, Pride, teens exploring first loves and friendships? This book has them all and blends them together perfectly. Buy

The Door That Lead To Where by Sally Gardner
A brilliantly imaginative timeslip story, set in both modern day London and a historical London. Buy

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Genius! The story of Simon and Baz from Fangirl – it’s their final year at Watford School of Magicks and everything’s coming to a head, no wonder Fangirl’s Cath was such a fan. Buy