Monthly Archives: November 2012

Hello dear readers! It’s been a while, so here is a giant update on the last month or so. Life has been busy since my ‘radio silence’ warning at the beginning of the month, so prepare yourselves for a long read…

Firstly, so many of you lovely bloggers left really supportive comments and advice when I posted about my recent break-up. Thank you very much to all of you! It meant so much more to me than I can explain here. One nugget of wisdom that really stayed with me was from Michelle, who told me to “keep creating. I really do think it helps us heal”. That pearl of advice couldn’t have been more spot on during that first emotionally tumultuous week when he behaved particularly atrociously – I filled up a whole sketchpad with doodles and words that reflected my emotional state – usually anger! It was extremely cathartic, and probably stopped me from lashing out at a friend, family member, or random unfortunate passer-by. Apologies for the NSFW language!

break up sketchbook

After working through that part of the Kübler-Ross cycle, I began sketching some drawings and patterns in preparation for a screen-printing course at Edinburgh Printmakers, a local arts studio which runs weekend courses introducing you to a range of different screen-printing techniques. I was so thrilled to be learning something new and creative, that was totally separate to the break-up and the seemingly endless flat hunting – until, that is, the course was cancelled with just a few days’ warning. I was gutted. And the stinger in the tail was that the course had been a birthday gift from the recent ex – so no chance of rescheduling, it was just gone. Cue more tears and anger! Oh the drama!

Happily though, I have some really lovely family and friends, and one, Sam, ordered me to visit her in London. And so obediently I obeyed! I took an extra day off to visit one of my sisters, Jenny, and her two boys Ben and (another) Sam. There is nothing like bringing the kid out in you like playing with actual kids. Ordinarily I’m unstoppable when there’s a wooden train set to assemble. It’s like something inside me forces me onto my hands and knees to fit all the pieces of track together in the most complicated railway route imaginable  It turns out I am worse when there’s a marble run. The resulting tower was a marble maze taller than the children, with multiple routes to the bottom and a precarious support system. Thank goodness I don’t design structures for a living, or we would all be surrounded by inter-looping train tracks, rubble, and giant glass marbles.

twins boys and a giant marble run

And so into London, where I seemed to spend a huge chunk of the weekend in various markets. I met up with Sam and Lizzie, two of my best friends in the world, and spent Saturday lunchtime together in Borough Market, the most amazing food market I’ve ever been to. We scoffed wild boar sausages accompanied by hot mead, followed by oodles of free samples of cake and cheese, taking home a chocolate brownie as dense and thick as a brick. And then on Sunday afternoon Sam and I wandered to Spitalfields and bought dinner at Brick Lane market, where even after many stallholders have started packing up you can still get delicious hot food from so many different countries, or in our case, a banana & chocolate Malaysian pancake accompanies by a cup of mulled wine. Yes, a steady stream of chocolate and hot alcohol prevailed! Not good for my Weight Watchers diet, but definitely good for the soul.

On Sunday afternoon we took a trip to the Barbican Centre to visit the Rain Room, hosted by Random International. It is exactly what it sounds like – a room where it rains – except for the fact that movement sensors can stop the flow, meaning that if you move slowly enough for the sensors to catch up with you, you can travel throughout the room without getting wet. I failed to do so, as I’m obviously impatient, so got fairly wet during my experience. But the sound and feeling of rain falling all around you was really magical (yes, more magical than just holding an umbrella), and the dramatic lighting made for some beautiful photographs. The bottom two were definite favourites on my Instagram feed!

Rain Room Barbican
Sam at the Rain Room Barbican
Me at the Rain Room Barbican

I’ve always hated London a little bit, because of how busy it is, how people surround you constantly and all the hustle-and-bustle of the streets and the tube and the shops, but finally that weekend I understood why some people just fall in love with The Big Smoke. That if you let yourself just be part of the madness and not try to push through it and seek tranquillity  it can actually be amazing. Instead of trying to compete with the crowds at the super touristy areas we enjoyed how busy the markets were. And we discovered little havens of calm, like Bunhill Fields cemetery with its seriously inquisitive squirrels, or Postman’s Park, which seems to feature on so many ‘Hidden London’ lists as well as providing a name for Natalie Portman in Closer. When we arrived at Postman’s Park we were the only people there, and only as we browsed the Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice did we realise how well timed our visit was – paying tribute to heroes on Armistice Day.

Heroes Wall

Back in Edinburgh, and flat hunting has proven to be a challenge. I have visited so many box rooms described as ‘cosy’, uninterested strangers described as ‘friendly’ and total dumps described as, well, habitable. I’m sure there are many people prepared to sleep with a noisy boiler next to their head, or in flats that reek of burned cooking oil, or who don’t care if a five-bed flat has a tiny kitchen, one bathroom and no communal living space. But I am not one of those people. Eventually, after turning down a couple of nice flats with friendly people but minor problems that meant they weren’t totally perfect, I found the home I’d been searching for. A lovely three bed flat in a quiet area half way between work and the centre of town, sharing with two friendly ladies who love films and books and tea and cake. I’m not moving in until the beginning of January, which gives me a chance to sort out and streamline my many piles of paper and clothes and ‘miscellaneous’ drawers. And I look forward to giving some updates on the new space I’ll be inhabiting in the new year! How crazy is it that 2013 is just around the corner.

In other news, I’m learning how to knit. I joined an Edinburgh meet and make group and we enjoyed some communal craft magic over cups of tea and scones at the lovely Mimi’s Bakehouse in Leith recently. Until that point my early ventures into knitting had been entirely YouTube taught, without any success at all. Casting on seemed so difficult! But thanks to instructions from the very patient Abi of Knitnicks I will one day own a scarf that I will have made with my own two hands (and some knitting needles, and some wool).

And that’s my not-so-brief update! There is of course always much more in the works which I am busting to share, but since I fear this post will already have resulted in oh so many TL;DRs, I think that’ll do for today. See you in the not too distant future!


Shock, shock, horror, horror – two posts in one day, but I had to get this one out.

Earlier this week I mentioned in vague terms some recent eventfulness in my life. In hindsight, ‘eventful’ doesn’t quite sum it up. The last week was more than eventful, it was life-changing, intense, gut wrenching heartbreak. I’ve been thinking of how to write this post for almost a week, and I couldn’t decide between the different things I wanted to say, and how I wanted to say them. I did know that I wanted to say them though. I needed to acknowledge this huge shift in my life, and the removal of a person who has always been there in the background of blog posts, and won’t be any more. Carrying on blogging without saying anything has felt strangely empty, like I’m somehow lying to myself and anyone reading.

So, these are the different posts that have been fighting it out in my mind and my dashboard. These are the posts I wanted to write, and instead I wrote a post about those posts. It seemed logical at the time.

The simple approach
The no jokes, no ‘angle’, no photos post. Just the straight forward facts, for those who read this blog regularly to know why I might have been less creative and responsive to their kind comments than usual, and why my life is changing. And so, in brief: Last weekend, I was cheated on and I was heartbroken. After the anger and the tears, I gave him the option of working through it, of trying to rebuild our relationship and my trust in him, but he didn’t want that option, he didn’t want that relationship. And just like that, my life changed.

The dirty laundry
Is it fair to write about this topic online? My blog is not anonymous, I’ve posted about him before, by name and profession and with photos. But I don’t Facebook or tweet my blog posts, and I’ve never even revealed that I blog to any friends – mine or his. This blog was still in its early, online pals only phase. It hadn’t broken free into the real world. I was still a little shy about it. Even so, I won’t be posting any of the nasty details, the who and the where and the when. But it’s a subject that’s worth exploring – what we do and do not post, what content is too personal or uncomfortable. For most, blogs are extremely personal things, and for many it seems they are an outlet to express thoughts and feelings difficult to share elsewhere – they’re a place to vent. Like I mused earlier in the week, I’m not used to blogging about how I feel. Writing down a few of my thoughts has been extremely cathartic, but it may take some practise. It’s still just skimming the surface.

ioanna likes

lots of likes

The impact of strangers
Right after writing and scheduling that post a few days ago hinting to the ‘eventfulness’ as I had called it, my inbox suddenly became a hubbub of activity, and the WordPress app on my phone had a little freak out. It was the result of one person looking back through my archive and liking and commenting on a whole bunch of blog posts. It was Ioanna Aggelidaki, she of the brilliant name, bright, happy avatar and entertaining blog featuring blue fluffy monsters and whatnot. This flurry of new notifications was just coincidentally timed as to give me a pick-me-up right when I needed it. Someone that I loved very much had stripped me of self-confidence, and a total stranger was helping rebuild it.

The symbolism of craft

I’ve been intending to post a picture of these woollen letters for ages – a very simple craft project where I covered standard Hobbycraft cardboard letters with double sided sticky tape and wrapped wool around them until they were completely encased and soft to stroke. Now though, this D & J represent more than a simple craft project. They’ve never been used as bookends and they’ve never been out on display – the ampersand needs a few more loops of white wool up top there. The D and the J are complete, it’s just the ‘and’ that needs some work. See, so symbolic.

woollen letter bookends

What do you do with something so personal? When I look at them now I realise that the J is my favourite – it was easiest to wrap, the wool is softest, the colour most bold. But it’s the reminder I want the least. And the D? Do I really want a lonesome D?

Seriously though, I’m going to have enough trouble squeezing all my stuff into one bedroom again, and that lonesome D is unlikely to make the cut.

Speaking of which: the thing with things
At the beginning of this year I was living in a shared flat with a bunch of men. I had a furnished bedroom into which I’d brought a couple of bits of furniture and a fair amount of stuff. But everything had its own place and it all fit easily. Cut to today, and I have a lot more things. A lot more. My possessions have been allowed to sprawl over a bedroom, a living room, a kitchen, two bathrooms and a spare room, which had been in the process of transforming into a cluttered craft space. Things have multiplied. Things that had been stored at my parents’ house from old university flats and childhood have made the long journey up to Edinburgh. Things have been bought.

These things were lovely when I had a home, and places to put them. When space wasn’t much of an issue, I was settled and intending to stay for a while. In bird terms I was nesting.

Now though, I am flat hunting for a bedroom in a shared flat again. So far, no luck. My things have to be minimised, space is at a premium. There is no spare room. This loss of my home is one of the hardest parts of breaking up. I have to move into a new flat with new people for the new start that I need, but that means losing some of the physical possessions that have made my flat my home. It means giving up the option to rearrange the furniture as it suits you, to paint something large and unwieldy as you watch TV in the living room, to be inconsiderate not do the washing up because you’re having a lazy pyjama day.

The silver lining
Being optimistic can be really hard when everything feels like DOOM in big capital letters. But I am thankful that these problems and characteristics surfaced now and not in five, ten or fifteen years’ time. That we rent a flat and are almost out of our lease period. I am extremely thankful to have such loving parents and sisters, and amazing friends who I know I could call day or night, even if those friends may be far away in other cities or countries. I am so, so thankful for the kind workmate who offered her spare room at the drop of a hat, gave me keys and told me to stay for as long as I need to. And all the others who have made tea, offered hugs and promised their transport and time to help with the most depressing move-out I’ll have done so far.

The DP Challenge
This weeks’ WordPress Writing Challenge to use the subjunctive “I wish I were” as the theme for a blog post is just calling for an emotionally charged and totally depressing list. Ordinarily, I would wish I were a superhero or a time traveller. Or some other character in a science fiction novel. I would wish I were more musical, I would wish I were more active, I would wish I were more ambitious. Right now of course I just wish I were happy, I wish I were someone’s other half, I wish I were enough. To say everything I really wish for, the subjunctive won’t suffice. I wish I hadn’t relied on mutual friends so much, and been more independent in forging my own after my closest friends moved away from Edinburgh. I wish I’d gone out that night instead of staying home on the sofa. I wish I had a future to look forward to which included a family and a home instead of flatmates and nights out and potentially one day, dating. I wish all this and much, much more. I still love him so, so much.

See, that blog post would have been totally depressing. So we should all be glad that one never happened. Eeesh.

The reality check

Anyone who has ever been in love or betrayed or hurt will hopefully understand why I’m now wallowing in my own misery and waking up crying, and feeling sad, angry and self-obsessed all the time. Hopefully this is understandable. But I am well aware that my current heartache pales in comparison to so many people out there, with sickness or tragedy or scarcity in their life. Some people are struggling just to survive. This is a First World Problem, even if it’s my own.

TV test

The placeholder
I need to focus on finding a place, and moving house, and forging new friendships. And after all that momentum of blogging each day for Blogtoberfest – seriously, that was such a marathon of a challenge for me that one – it’ll be strange having such an abrupt break. So this was to be a ‘do not adjust your set’ post, or a ‘radio silence’ warning. I’ll return at some point, and I’ll probably have a lot more to say. Stay tuned, dear reader, for as Arnie once so eloquently stated: I’ll be back. And fingers crossed that next time, I’ll be in a sunnier disposition, and my life will feel like it’s all in one piece again.

Debbie x

Do you see what I did there? Oh yes, hilarious. See, it’s newly November. NEWvember. Oh my, the hilarity. I know, I know, you are struggling not to roll on the floor in floods of tears. Probably the best joke you’ll hear today, right? Hey, probably the best joke you’ll hear all month! Sometimes I wonder why I never began my professional comedy career. A wasted talent, I tell you.

So, moving on, and forgetting that ever happened, the new month means:

a) the end of Blogtoberfest, and the challenge to blog every single day. It’s often been tricky to find the time, but if anything this challenge gave me more ideas for posts and projects than a normal month, and definitely introduced me to some other brilliant bloggers. I have particularly loved seeing what littlewhitedove and whattaylormade managed to blog about in their 31 days, but am finding that I’m reading increasingly more through WordPress Reader than my RSS feed, which means non-WordPress bloggers have been somewhat neglected recently!

November calendar of the month

b) another awesome Calendar of the Month from Scout Creative. I am gutted to have been away from my printer this week because this is my favourite since I signed up – a nuclear charging station and calendar all in one! What more could a girl need?

Its a Giveaway

c) the giveaway ended! This was my first time ever hosting a giveaway and it turned out to be far simpler than expected… while the giveaway announcement got a few likes and a handful of new followers (according to my stats, anyway) it only generated two actual entrants! And so, without further ado, the winners of the giveaway are officially the super creative Pillows a-la-mode and the mysterious buntyw – drop me an email at with your postal addresses if you’d like to claim your prizes!

lots of moustaches

d) The beginning of Movember, which seems to become more and more popular each year – in Edinburgh, at least. Sadly Thankfully my female face isn’t inclined to sport the facial hair, but I look forward to seeing some cool tache’s about town and will gladly sponsor anyone taking on the hairy challenge for such a good cause!

Image: Moustaches from and available for free download as vectors in AI or EPS formats. Personally I love me a good Dali.