Remember how we thought the year was just crawling by so slowly? Remember spring and summer? Early autumn? Remember when Halloween seemed so far away and you had months, weeks, days to make a costume? Then November crept up on you like a sleazy dude in a club, “accidentally” touched your butt and pretended it was no big deal. What the hell November? Now it’s December, with the vague promise of snow, cosy socks and hibernation. How are we in December already? What did I miss?
I thought I’d start off the month with a few of the things that have been making me smile. Or grin maniacally…
For me, December means it’s winter, and I’m that weirdo who kinda loves winter. I love snow. I love winter coats, mittens, and hats with pompoms. I love crisp, cold air. Mulled wine. Candles that smell like cinnamon and oranges and apple pie. Putting a scarf around my dog. I. Love. Winter. Do you?
My new Camera
We don’t *do* Christmas presents in my family. We don’t even really celebrate the holiday at all; around mid-November my parents ask what I want as a present, they buy it, and it’s mine to wear/use/play with. No waiting for Christmas morning, no wrapped boxes under the tree, and no one ever says “surprise me”. Last year I needed a new laptop, so I got a new laptop. It’s never anything impractical, and it’s always an item I have a specific need for but just can’t afford. This year my “Christmas present” was a new camera.
I’ve been looking at bridge cameras for awhile now, something a step up from a basic point and shoot but less bulky than a DSLR. I’d actually had my eye on the Sony A6000 for awhile, but with my new business being so new and necessary expenditures like gas, electric, broadband, and that fancy schmancy pet food my spoiled furbabies like, dropping over £450 on a camera was never at the top of my priorities. My iPhone 6s Plus had a perfectly serviceable camera, which I used both for blog photos and for my gallery’s Instagram. It did the job. Until I dropped it one too many times and suddenly, my decent phone camera became a shitty phone camera.
I’ve been playing around with my new toy for the past few weeks, and I’m still a dreadful photographer. However with this baby, I’m a dreadful photographer but my pictures are in focus. Three cheers for technology.
Tara from Cattitude & Co created a fabulous safe space on Facebook called Feminist Coven, for feminist bloggers and creatives to connect and support each other. Life for a woman online can be exhausting, especially if you are an outspoken feminist. Whether your social media platform of choice is Facebook, Twitter, or even Intagram, there will always be assholes out there who want to silence your voice. If you’re body posi, they’ll try to shame you. If you’re sex positive, they’ll call you a slut. Sometimes it can get overwhelming, because even when you’re trying to do some good in the world, someone will have something negative to say about it. It’s just awesome to have a place to discuss things without all the negative noise.
Tara also wrote a brilliant piece called “Tips for Being a Woman Online”, which is a fantastic reference point. All sorts of practical advice in there, such as always keep your finger poised over the block button ;-). Go read it. The douchebags won’t go away, but you’ll be better equipped to deal with them.
Bullet Journalling is something I’ve been doing accidentally for years, in the backs of pre-dated diaries and Moleskine notebooks. If I’m honest, I save a LOT of pictures of stunning layouts as inspiration, but they’re not exactly practical for me. I can barely draw a straight line with the aid of a ruler, and I’m way too impatient for large-scale spreads. I started my first “official” BuJo a few months ago, lost the will about two weeks in, and gave up. Started a second one, then a third. Lost one in a bookshop. Left one in a cafe. This is why I can’t have nice things. I am now on my *coughcough* fourth attempt and it’s going well.
I think the key was to plan how I would set out the planner ahead of time. I do realise that sounds a bit redundant, but hear me out. The whole idea behind bullet journalling is to customise an organisational system for your own needs, and where I would scramble for space in the back of an existing planner, with a bullet journal you can make spreads, calendars, everything to your exact specifications. Your to-do list can be 18pages long if you want. Is there room for a shopping list in there? Of course there is. What about a list of every single vegan restaurant in Toronto, or every vintage clothing shop in Glasgow? How about Christmas Markets? A wee chart to make sure you’re drinking enough water? Everything is fair game. You can go back later and doodle the shit out of your pages if you want, go wild with some coloured pens, and slap stickers on everything. My advice is not to get caught up with the graphics and the illustrated spreads (unless that’s what you’re into), and to get the basic practical layout sorted first.
We’re not a festive family. My dad reckons he bears a passing resemblance to the Grinch, my mum wants to spend Christmas day watching Chinese soap operas, and the three of us actively avoid anything close to a family gathering. Last year we had Japanese food for Crimbo dinner. We don’t do Christmas. Holy shit I don’t even want to think about how my parents would react to tinsel.
Our one single Christmas tradition is to spend the holiday skiing, and it’s ten days of utter bliss that I look forward to the other 355 days of the year. The run up to the holidays don’t mean wrapping gifts or decorating trees, but getting ready for ski season. Incidentally, it’s also a whole 10 days my parents can spend with me where I go off at 8am every morning, return at 5, and they get to enjoy blissful silence. All day long. I can almost hear the sighs of happiness already.