:: What I’m making
I’m hooking up a ton of these squares for two baby blanket commissions. Almost at the stitch up. Love the combination
:: Listening to
Adele’s Hello High Contrast bootleg remix. I unashamedly love Adele but I was quite frankly absolutely SICK of listening to ‘Hello’. This has refreshed it somewhat – I definitely like extremely cheesy drum and bass, I find it makes me run faster, I’m not sure this will have quite the right magic but I’m going to enjoy singing along to it with feeling as I run around Brighton (silently. with headphones)
Podcasts: I’ve listened to – The minimalists, The Mind Palace and the Slow your home podcast. All variations on the theme of intentional living.
Since my last post I finished ‘A little life‘ and ‘Being Mortal‘ – reviews to follow, both were extremely good in their own way. Following that I picked up and finished Marie Kondo’s ‘The life changing magic of tidying‘ – that lady really is the best kind of crackers. I have ‘discarded’ so much from my house this week. I think I’ve ditched close to 200 books. My wardrobe is so minimal I can barely believe it. I have always loved Karen Kingston’s ‘Clear your clutter‘ but something about Kondo’s ‘tidy all at once’ system has worked really well for me, she may have funny ideas about sock abuse (not what you think) but I do quite like her idea that things ‘want’ to be useful and are ‘sad’ if they aren’t fulfilling their purpose. Now I’m onto Alice Miller’s ‘The drama of being a child‘ and I’ve picked up Dan Millman’s ‘The journey’s of Socrates‘.
You can see all the books I’m reading, what’s on my list and what I’ve rated here.
This – if it was a snow day – this would be the way to spend it.
:: Making me happy this week
- Running – I’m doing the you vs the year challenge on the map my run app. The idea is to run 1000km in 2016. I’ve clocked my target easily this week. I just signed up for a 10k in June and I’m in the ballot to do the Great North run again in September but I’ve definitely got a place in Brighton’s Bright10. I love running and I think because I’m combining this with the Kayla Itsines workout 3 times a week, all those squats and burpees are actually making me faster. Don’t get me wrong, the first 15 minutes are always a bit crappy but then it just feels easier.
- Rocco. I’m loving our very early morning weekend walks. I tell the dog everything. And he never talks back.
- Editing the stuff in our house. I’ve spent the last week sorting, ditching and donating. I’ve got a fair bit to list and sell yet so the work is not completely done but this house is definitely lighter after all my efforts and it is feeling pretty great to have less.
- The Way of life app. This app is AMAZING. Up until I got my phone very wet on Friday and it died, I was tracking the following: that I’d had a green drink, meditating, running, writing, reading, listening to the children read, making sure I had made time to play with the kids. When I get my phone back I’ll be posting the tracking @abrilliantme on instagram. It is such an effective way to make sure you hit everything you want to do in a day, I thoroughly recommend it.
Christmas week pretty much kicked my ass – so this week, has of sorts been about getting back on my game doing all the normal life things like getting on top of the laundry, taking the kids cycling, walking the dog, making stuff, reading, Oh God! The reading… the absolute highlight, but we’ll get to that. So this is the current format for this year on a Sunday – what I’m making, listening to, reading & watching with a brief happy list and my favourite stuff on instagram.
:: what I’m making
I got serious with my baboushka blanket this week. I’ve been wanting to make one of these since I saw it on pinterest a couple of years ago and now the perfect little person has arrived to give me an excuse. I’ve crocheted baubles until I could do it no more and it’s so nice to be making something else.
First stage of the blocks – the flowers.
Next up, the leaves.
Then I bordered in blue.
A single crochet red border.
Now I’m just waiting for them to dry.
:: listening to
- kiasmos – I got to tell you, I’d been listening to a bit too much Adele in December and I’m close to puking every time I hit play on ‘hello’ now, so this is quite the electronic antidote – I like ‘swept’.
- Derek Sivers on the Tim Ferriss podcast. I listened to the first podcast Tim had with Sivers earlier in December – he’s an interesting guy. I like his story – how he went from being a musician to a circus clown to a multi-millionaire by learning to code and serving his fellow artists. I like that he has no routine to his day and that he can focus and so thoroughly lose himself in one activity alone. It’s completely antithetical to how I try to live my life but it fascinates me how other people manage their time and there’s something particularly fascinating about this man and his take on the world.
- The rest of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons – after seeing this woman speak in London during last November and reading ‘Big Magic‘ I feel like something sparked up in me. You listen to the doubt and the worry that the women have on this podcast about beginning or being good enough and you really start to realise, you just have to begin, you have to start. To get your creative work done, you have to show up consistently, everyday, even when you least feel like it or when you feel most blocked. I loved Brene Brown’s quote ‘unused creativity is not benign’ – we are all creative – when we don’t use our creativity to communicate with inspiration bad stuff manifests in our lives, guilt, depression, frustration, sadness, unhappiness. Powerful stuff, I recommend it.
- Oh My God. I am reading the best book I have read in some time, in years even. On instagram I’ve been in contact with people from Kentucky to Sydney, everyone awestruck at just HOW WELL a story can be written and how much we have all felt as a result. It is already in the top three best books I have ever read alongside ‘the god of small things’ and ‘the goldfinch.’ I picked up Hanya Yanagihara’s ‘A little life’ at the tail end of December but only began a week or so ago. I really feel as I read it, with each beautifully constructed sentence, that I have been swept away and woven into an epic story of friendship and tragedy. I feel the relationships between Jude and Willem and JB and Malcolm in a rare way that not every book manages. I feel the understandings and the incomprehension and the love, the sadness and the trauma that exists between them all. I have cried 4 times and I’m just halfway through, it’s bleak, but in so many ways hopeful. The story digs deep into each of the inner lives of the characters, who they are, how they think, why they love. I can’t describe it – I just want you to read it, all it’s fragility and all it’s disturbing content and all it’s wonder and brilliance. It is similar in tone to Donna Tartt’s ‘the secret history’ but is so entirely different it almost feels incomparable. I can’t put this work down, so much so, I worry about when and how it will end and whether I will find anything to follow it.
- Friday night lights. We’ve just done season 1. Tim frikking Riggins. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go on netflix. You’re welcome.
:: making me happy this week
- Walking up Firle Beacon with friends.
- Did I mention Tim Riggins???
- That I made George fried eggs he said were like ‘something from a film.’ High praise indeed.
- Watching Ruby paint all day long, from the morning, through to the afternoon and then well into the night because she couldn’t sleep. She was completely in the zone, it was such a joy to watch and she created piece after piece after piece, each of them wrapped up for daddy’s birthday this week. Oh, she was a complete nightmare the following day too.
- Mexican food and chats with my friend Ellie.
- My flipagram for 2015
- My 50 humble brags list for 2015. On New Years Eve between the dog walk and the tidying I wrote 50 things I was proud of during 2015 (truthfully I only managed 47) It included things like ‘kept the children going,’ ‘teaching the kids to cycle without stabilisers’ ‘running bright 10’ ‘first craft fair’ & ‘selling a blanket to the USA’. They are all small but significant reasons why the year was great.
:: Instagram account of the week
As I happened to recommend this already this week I’m going for @hotdudesreading, again, you are welcome.
:: Instaquote of the week
I shamelessly stole this from ‘A little life’ and put it onto instagram myself because it was so beautiful.