A Very Etsy Halloween

Much like everyone else I LOVE Halloween. I don’t even love it for the parties, just for the vibe. Seeing people dressed up. The spooky snacks. Feeling like a witch the entire month of October. The decor. I want to swim in a pool filled with all of these things. It would hurt but I’d be happy.

It’s been a while since I’ve done any kind of wish list so here is a list of all the fun things I found on Etsy* recently which have made me happy and I want to buy… perhaps I will…

Halloween ring
I know it’s silly but I LOVE THIS! From RockCakes
Hocus Pocus Pin
I could not be more in love with this pin. I could build a whole collection around this pin. From TeesAndTankYouShop

 

mouse with pumpkin
WHY DON’T I OWN THIS ALREADY? Sadly this is sold out but check out all the others From  HappyMouses
Halloween mask
This mask is perfect – I’m a Slytherin, in case you were wondering. From GoblinsHoard
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I will always have a lifelong obsession with halloween prosthetics. From prettygrimmFX
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This headband glows in the dark. I’ve just realised the seller is local. IN LOVE. From JanineBasil
Ghost t-shirt
I’m pale enough to be… From IrekApparel
Witches be trippin
I love t-shirts so much. Witches are always trippin’… people with their brooms. From ByBellaRooCreations
Pumpkin t-shirt
Pumpkins are my spirit animal. From KoolstuffdesignsCo

 

Skeleton Dog
If I could get Juno to dress up…! From EllieEllieltd

 

 

Hope you enjoy this beauties. Some of them I think I’ll just HAVE to buy… I don’t think I can live without a tiny felt mouse any longer!!

Happy Halloween!

Sam

*Note; these are affiliate links. Nothing untoward is going on; just the usual! If you want to buy something I’ve linked I will get commission. Saving up for Christmas, guys! 😛

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Food Shopping / Saving Money

I’m a terrible adult. I know this is the truth. The main reason? I spend most of my money on food. That’s pretty much my only outgoing after all the other adult bills I have and to say it’s gotten out of control is an understatement. I’m embarrassed to even tell you how much I spent on food a few weeks ago. It was a one off, or so I like to believe, but it made me realise I have to stop.

When I decided to phase into a minimalist lifestyle [slow going but I’m going…] I stopped buying things I didn’t need. Clothes shopping is now something I’ll only do when I know I’m cleaning out old stuff and I want to invest in my wardrobe with an item that will last me a long time. I stopped buying books and started using the library – I just started thinking about the way I spend, or overspend.

Because I don’t have many outgoings [I don’t go out drinking or socialise at all, really, because I’m old and bitter] I always spent freely on food but it also meant I was going to the shops almost EVERY DAY and buying food I didn’t need, it also encouraged me to buy snack food and junk. Blargh.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been doing something about it and, whilst this is obvious and you might think I’m dumb for blogging about it, I started planning my meals…?!

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Yes, some of these have meat – they are for my Boyfriend. I make vegan versions 😛 Note: Friday nights are my fave… 

I would normally know what I was going to eat during the week but I’d still get to 7pm on a random week night and think to myself ‘what do I feel like’. An hour later I’d run to the shops and come back with two bags full of stuff; one dinner might have cost me over £20. Eek. Like I said; bad adult.

My new thing is working out my weekly dinners on a Saturday night, writing them down, and then my weekly shop on a Sunday has more focus. I’m stocking my fridge every week with stuff I’ll eat until it’s gone. My vegetable consumption has gone up a butt load and my junk food consumption is way down. At the end of the week I am finding I don’t have much left in my fridge because it’s all been used up, which is perfect; less waste! I’m also making soup out of any left over veg [if there is any] – I love soup!

Here are some lovely shots of my fridge. I think you’ll be impressed at how much fruit and veg there is. This is my entire week’s shopping! Also… I enjoy condiments more than anyone should.

 

It really does sound like a silly thing to say but preparing the week’s meals in advance, mentally, means I am in control of my nutrition and my money and it’s great! Really. I used to try to do this but always failed; turns out having it written down in the kitchen makes it a whole lot easier to follow!

What simple adult hacks do you implement?

Sam

My Day Job

I don’t know about you, but I love to know more about the bloggers I follow. Particularly what they do during the day. Whilst I know some bloggers are able to make this into a full time job [whuuut?] there are many who just do this as a hobby [like lil’ ol’ me] and hearing about other people’s lives is a big interest of mine – I mean, that’s what blogging is all about, right?

So – my job.

I feel like it’s really important to discuss my previous education and jobs before I explain my current situation because context.

When I left school [after doing A levels] I decided not to go to Uni. I can’t remember if I’ve already blogged about my thoughts on university etc but, basically, I never wanted to go. Normal schooling as always been a struggle for me – I’m dyslexic and a visual learner so struggle with the book learning. I didn’t want any more book learning in my life and I went to work straight after school.

I didn’t stop learning stuff, though [I’ve done photography, make-up, dress making – not a book in sight!].

I have always been a technology nerd and for a long time I used to use the internet for all the cool things; being a moderator on a Harry Potter RPG website and making free graphics for people’s websites. I’ve always loved computer based art so figuring out photoshop and how websites work was play time for me. I never thought it would get me anywhere.

Flash forward 10 years of working in the same office and doing internet based projects on the side continuously [writing blogs, completing a distance-learning degree in English lit & language]. I needed a change and found a job doing digital marketing and design.

It’s a kind-of dream job; I’d always wanted to do it but never thought I had a chance as I wasn’t trained in any formal way; just through, y’know, life. So now my 9-5 is working in an office which allows dogs and making websites, looking at website stats, making graphics and re-working images… all the fun stuff.

So when I’m not working on my other dream career of becoming a published writer I’m working in a cool office where we listen to Huey Lewis and play with websites. I’d say I’m working 10 hour days, altogether, and for someone who has always struggled with her brain [I mean just write letters in the correct order, Sam!] this kind of mental stimulation is perfect? I’m currently on an upswing in life and it’s cool.

Let me know what your job is, if you work and blog, because I love knowing those things!

Sam

Drumming Circle

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Last night [Monday the 2nd October] I went to my very first drumming circle. It was… different.

My friend recently found out there was a drumming circle in our town [which is totally up my street, figuratively and literally] which has been going for 5 years and so we decided we needed to go and explore this world. I didn’t take any pictures because it didn’t seem like the right thing to do, certainly not on my first go, so this is going to be a little wordy.

I was nervous and excited to go because I had no clue what it was going to entail. I know someone who goes to a drumming group and I figured it would be similar to that – where they go and drum a ‘song’ and learn different parts. The night was in no way like that and it wasn’t a bad thing!

I would say it was more of a group therapy session, if anything. We did some drumming, welcomed the elements, and did some guided meditation. We talked about spirits animals, spirit guides and trees/nature and it was totally up my street! It was so nice to meet a group of people who believed in a more holistic approach to life, rather than worrying about the commercialised ‘own everything’ life we’re taught to believe in growing up. The people in the group were open and honest people; we all shared why we were there and it was clear we all held this same vein of thought that we could meld back into nature and ignore the materialistic aspects of the world a little bit more. Which is a struggle, right?

The drumming was bad ass; both doing it – giving into the sound and adding to it without being self-conscious – and the listening to it and how it completely enveloped me.

The group isn’t for everyone. If you’re not into therapy, talking honestly about feelings and life, or alternative aspects of life I can imagine it would be uncomfortable. Even for me, who wants to learn more about holistic living, found it hard to listen to every now and again because I have the ingrained voice of society in my mind telling me ‘this can’t be real’. But it is. I really believe we make our own worlds; what we focus on can become a reality.

I understand if this is waaay too out there for some people but if you’re into therapy and self improvement I would recommend finding something similar. I’m going back next month for sure. Whilst I was there I felt a kinship to total strangers and I felt so relaxed afterwards… Real vibes, man!

If you’re interested in reading more about what I’m talking about the group website is here – it’s an interesting read.

 

Sam

 

 

Inktober

That’s right, guys. I’m at it again!

I don’t know if you follow me on Instagram but last year I took part in Inktober which is a drawing challenge for anyone and everyone who likes to draw. The challenge is to do a drawing in ink everyday – the reason it’s ink? You can’t scrub out a line once you’ve drawn it! Inktober is all about embracing the wildness of drawing; learning, growing, learning to throw caution to the wind and just see what comes out – it’s not about perfection but practice in the face of self-censorship. I hope that makes sense!

There are daily prompts on what to drawer but you don’t have to follow them – I certainly don’t! I enjoy drawing TV and Movie stuff so a lot of my sketches are characters. I like to change up my style every now and then so sometimes I try to be more detailed, sometimes more cartoonish and sometimes I scratch the pen to the paper, hate it, and move on!

Here are my first couple from this year;

 

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I’m not going to lie; I dislike them both but that’s fine with me! I have forgotten how to draw, for some reason, but need to re-learn ASAP because I have to illustrate the chapter pages for my next self-published novella… it’s fun.

Follow me on Instagram if you’d like and take part in the challenge if you want. There’s no right or wrong way to do it!

Sam

Currently Enjoying

I’ve been bunkered down, recently; working on multiple projects which are keeping me B.U.S.Y, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t had time to enjoy little things here and there which have helped break up the monotony.

Here’s what I’ve currently been enjoying:

Re-reading Harry Potter – I try to do this every year and, mostly, around autumn/winter because… well, Hogwarts is perfect at this time of year! I have the first two illustrated books so I’ve been nose-deep in those recently and really taking my time because these illustrations are AMAZING.

Autumn dog walks – you should be keeping up with my dog, Juno, on Instagram because she’s having the best time at the moment! She loves running in the leaves and getting muddy and it seems more people are out with their dogs at this time of year so she’s always finding other doggies to chase [such as this adorable Staffordshire terrier who is the sweetest dog in the world]!


The Perfect Lipstick – I stole this from my sister, recently, because it’s the best and I had to have it. It’s by Lipstick Queen in the colour Frog Prince and it’s like a lip balm, lip stick hybrid. It looks green in the tube but when you put it on it changes colour and seems to be different on everyone? Magic! It’s my perfect natural pink/red and it stays on all day. 

Writing and editing – whilst writing and editing are what have been keeping me busy, recently, I’m actually enjoying them as part of my chill-out vibe at the moment. I go to a coffee shop at lunch and work on stuff and it makes me feel relaxed. I love writing in autumn with hot drinks and cozy sofas.

New Tarot Deck – I got this new tarot deck recently and I have been enjoying dipping into it, trying to learn what all the cards mean. The illustrations are heaven!

Cooking – I always cook. In fact, I cook from scratch 6 out of 7 nights a week [because it’s wrong to not get take-away food once a week] and I find it relaxing. This time of year, though? Even better because I can make soup and stew and all the good, warming, food with all the vegetables. I’m a pumpkin addict so I’ve already made two huge batches of pumpkin soup and I even made piri piri toasted pumpkin seeds. Next? I think I might make sugared cinnamon ones? Don’t try to stop me!

 

Hope you’re all enjoying the change of seasons and finding things to break up the day with things you enjoy, should you find yourself feeling bogged down by work!

Sam

ps. I’ve also been unplugging from computers/TV/phones for long periods of time when at home just to chill out and it’s a good feeling!

 

The Race

 

Every now and then I have to break up the ‘fun’ posts with something a little more ‘thoughtful’, or else the name of this blog would be pointless!

Today I just wanted to talk about the idea, or feeling, that life is a ‘race’ that we’re all running and if you aren’t keeping up you’re not worth anything. Every feel like that? I blame the internet culture and the way we edit our lives to show the good parts and all our accomplishments but never show the struggles. When I started this blog I always had it in my mind that I would show the reality of life as a struggling writer but, recently, I’ve neglected that and have only been showing the days where I do good things because it feels good to celebrate a good job, the only problem with that is it’s not real and it makes other people see me [as an example] as someone who is doing better than them and it makes me feel like I need to keep up with this image so I’m constantly comparing myself to myself and to the other people showing their accomplishments… phew. Tiring.

I was walking to work this morning and I played my usual game; If I’d walked the other way, taken the other path, where would the other me be by now? I imagine a ghost-like version of myself walking in front of me or behind me and I race them. Is that insane? Maybe! It’s like a real life Mario Kart time trial where you’re racing against your best time and the little guy driving in front seems to be going faster than you can ever urge your little kart but you forge on, anyway, feeling the surge of adrenaline when you overtake him at the last second and come in first… again, just me?

It’s so silly because whenever I hear other people complain that they aren’t moving fast enough; in their career, with their hobbies, with their fitness etc. I tell them they don’t need to rush – life is happening at the right pace, you just need to remember you’re living YOUR life, and other people’s lives aren’t there for comparison so stop holding yourself up to them yada yada yada. Except I do it! I know I do it; I find it so difficult to keep writing when I’ve been doing it for years and years and I’m still paddling around in the shallows whereas there are a million people published every year and they’re all younger, or better, or blonder, or thinner or luckier… It’s exhausting and it’s dangerous. It makes me want to give up on my dreams which is annoying because I know the only reason people succeed is because they push through these feelings. No one [or very few people] have it easy on any path in life but you keep moving forward and either you get what you wanted or what you wanted changes and you find something else.

Does this strike any nerves? Sound familiar? I hope so and I hope you know that you are doing well, in whatever you’re doing. I think it’s really important we remind each other that life isn’t a race at all! Log off Twitter and Instagram for a hot second and just live life without the need to please other people with your success or the need to quantify your work with the work of others. You can do it.

Sam

Outfit of the Day // Getting Shirty

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I have been looking for a shirt dress for AGES; it’s hard to find one that feels right, y’know?

I recently went to a local store for a closing down sale [I also got the tarot deck I’ve been longing for – post about that soon] and, miraculously, this dress was on the rack! 100% cotton, ethically sourced, and down from £100 to £35. It was meant to be!

It was only available in size large; which I generally wouldn’t get [I’m ‘plus’ sized, but still would usually only get a medium, go figure…] but I love the feel of it and the colours are my colours, for sure.

When I first put it on I thought it might be too big but I quickly came to realise it was the best. I think, if it were any smaller, I wouldn’t be able to wear it as a dress? It’s quite short, as it is, because people who make dresses don’t count on women being over 5 foot 5, or something? At 5″7 most dresses turn into mini-skirt-dresses.

I’ve teamed it with tights, because autumn is my favourite time to get my legs out – forget bare legs in summer, I want tights and lots of them. It also goes pretty great with my leather jacket and converse [not pictured], if I’m feeling casual. Which I always am. But I think I could put black pumps on and look a little smarter?

Anywho; I love this dress a lot! Hopefully, one day, I’ll take some actual good pictures for these sorts of posts? It’s hard to take them yourself!

Sam

 

Juno has her own Instagram!

That’s right, I finally did it.

I am always sharing pictures of Juno on this lil’ blog and on my own Instagram account and whilst I’m sure I’ll keep posting pictures of her I have been umming and ahhing over starting her own account for… well, 3 years.

Going by @junobonbuno [because there are a lot of Juno the Beagles – who knew?] she’s now on the internet and ready to get internet-famous… or just probably more followers than me, which is cool.

I never thought I’d be THAT person but I guess I follow a lot of other pet accounts so why not join the fun?

I’m actually pretty excited about it.

In celebration here is a list of a few of my fave pet accounts:

fessermakesfaces

This little fella belongs to Kaylah [from The Dainty Squid] and all of his pictures make me laugh. He always has litter on his nose and his faces are hilarious!

 

 

osirisandfriends

Osiris is the friendliest dog I’ve ever seen! So much so, his best friends are rats. CUTE pictures, guys!

 

 

 

Belkathebeagle

Belka is a cute Beagle. I follow a lot of Beagle accounts but he’s beautiful and I can’t not have him in this list!

 

 

 

andrewknapp

 

Andrew takes beautiful photos but he also posts an ongoing series [and I’m pretty sure there’s a hard back book to boot] called Find Momo.

Momo is his Collie and he will literally sit anywhere, it seems. It’s kind of like a Where’s Wally [or Waldo for you Americans!] but with a cute dog!

tunameltsmyheart

Tuna is a Chiweeny with an overbite so, y’know, every picture is hilarious!

 

 

 

bilbolovesburriots

Bilbo… I’m not at all biased. I don’t know this dog. Never met him… OK, Bilbo is my boss’s dog and he’s VERY photogenic. He’s very cute and playful [See a previous post here] so I’d highly recommend following the account!

 

shiro_the_samoyed_fluff_king

Shiro belongs to a Youtuber I’ve followed forever. When she got him I knew he’d feature in fabulous photos because Shawna has a great eye for photography. The pictures don’t disappoint! He’s a big ball of white fluff and he should host his own interior design show.

 

shadow.beagle

Wow, what a good looking dog… again, I don’t know this one… OK, that still sounds like a lie. It is. Shadow is Juno’s older brother. He’s hilariously energetic, loves jumping and playing with tennis balls and he has the biggest tongue in the family and, possibly, the world. [he also likes to sniff food out of people’s bags… He and Juno are very alike in that respect!]

 

Yes, I know they are mostly all dogs; I do actually follow cat, fox and hedgehog accounts but I’m a dog lady so…

If you follow cute animal accounts please leave links to them in the comments!

Sam