Making It Up as we go along Fri, 22 Sep 2017 15:08:06 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Jungle Speed – a #Bloggerboardgameclub review Fri, 22 Sep 2017 15:08:06 +0000 Buy at amazon (affiliate)

Hardly seems possible that it’s time for our second blogger board game club review, but it is. (In case you missed it, our first game was Codenames)

I was quite hopeful when I saw Jungle Speed that it would be a good game to play with the younger children – it basically looks like snap, but with a few tweaks.

The cards are nicely sized and hefty enough to feel like they’ll survive repeated games, the wooden totem is pleasingly solid. There’s even a bag you can keep it all in so it could become a camping game (it packs down a *lot* smaller than the somewhat oversized box it comes in).

However, it turned out to be a bit too tweaked to work well with the 5 year old. He couldn’t keep track of the special cards (to be honest, I could barely keep track of the special cards!) which change the rules of play when they are turned over (there are three special cards, each has a different effect on game play, and two of them look very similar which doesn’t help much either) and he kept completely forgetting to grab the totem. I’m sure with a bit more practice he would get the hang of it, and it does actually suggest 7 up as a starting age, so he is a bit young for it. I’ll try to round up Smallest for a game at some point and report back, but I was having quality time with Tigerboy which is why it was just the two of us.

Given all of that though, I’m not sure that there’s enough in the game to make it all that interesting for older players? Big did suggest it might be quite amusing after a few drinks, (no idea where she could get that idea from!) which is a possibility but I’m not sure that I’m quite going for it.

So, nice idea, well executed, just slightly missed the mark for me.

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Big details, small picture. Thu, 21 Sep 2017 22:53:05 +0000

One of the screener questions used in the pre autism diagnosis questionnaire is whether you’re a big picture or a small details person.

I have no idea how to answer that question.

As I’m sure I’ve written before (although I can’t put my cursor on where or when to link) when I was a systems programmer I held the entire system in my mind. To do that though, I had to take it apart to see how it fitted together. So I had to go down to details to follow the connections to know the system. Does that make me a small details or a big picture person? Or could it be that big pictures are made up of small details and the question is nonsensical and the fact that someone is asking it at all in a diagnostic sense just goes to show how little we all understand each others’ ways of thinking?

I know that not all autistic people are systems programmers. But I wonder if actually connections and relationships, between things, concepts, people, details and their systems that is the thing we all do?

(There’s probably research and articles on this. I haven’t looked. )

I can get lost in the details of a flower. A dewdrop. A spider’s web. Even a dust mote in light. I can sink into its beauty, its essence, the way it holds all the world in itself.

And is still just a dust mote.

‘To see the world in a grain of sand. ‘

That too.

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Drawing exercises – blind contour drawing Wed, 20 Sep 2017 22:04:12 +0000 Tonight I’m working from Draw People in 15 Minutes. (Amazon affiliate link, although I got it from the Works – there’s a banner ad in the sidebar/footer if you want to explore.)

I’m using a 2B pencil and a Cass Art sketchbook, and the exercise is blind contour drawing. The idea is that you draw in a continuous line as you look at your subject, and you *don’t* look down at your drawing.

I’m actually quite impressed with this for a first go.

Guess the offspring?

(It might have been marginally easier if said offspring hadn’t kept dissolving into fits of giggles while I was drawing! )

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How to recover a day Tue, 19 Sep 2017 22:25:48 +0000 Eat Cadbury flake ice-cream and watch a film. 

We went with Sleepless in Seattle. (affiliate link) It was good. (Yes, I’d seen it before. Big hadn’t. I had been remiss.)

You can substitute something else if you really have to, although I feel the chocolate is important 🙂

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What’s it all for? Mon, 18 Sep 2017 22:19:31 +0000 When I started blogtember, it was to kick start my writing again. And it’s worked – I’ve blogged every day in September.

It also hasn’t worked, because sitting at the kitchen table at 11 o clock at night, drooping with tiredness and yet not willing to go to bed because I haven’t blogged isn’t doing me, or you, the mythical reader, any favours at all. There are at least two posts in this sequence that are just there because I’m too stubborn to quit on a challenge.

And yet I’m also too stubborn to start some challenges. I still haven’t decluttered even the kitchen let alone the house. I wrote one article for the new business idea and then froze. The boom I started writing for write now live last year? Stalled at 20 pages.

Why am I so determined to complete things that will get me nowhere, and avoid things that might make a difference? What am I actually afraid of? Failing? Or succeeding?

I don’t really know any more. And I’m very very tired of it.

I might complete this challenge. I might decide that actually, it would be better to put the energy into something that might make a difference to our lives in terms of bringing in an income, or something that might make a difference to my self image by actually taking a shot at finishing something.

If I were you, I wouldn’t lay any bets on anything just yet. The one thing I am really, but *really* good at is is procrastination. (Anyone remember that series I was going to write on autism and burnout and all this stuff? Yeah, exactly.)

Hm. I think I might need to run through the compassion meditation I was just working through again. I seem to have let the compassion to myself bit slip through my fingers again.

This stuff is hard.

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Sunday morning coming down Sun, 17 Sep 2017 21:51:39 +0000

(From a run. A 25 minute run at that. )

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Saturday snippets 16th September 2017 Sat, 16 Sep 2017 22:20:40 +0000 {reading} the Loneliest Girl in the universe (affiliate) Which is so good! Full review in a few days when I’ve finished reading it. (The reviews on Amazon talk about a twist. I haven’t got to a twist. Will keep you posted.)

{doing} one thing. My todo list is in a state of terminal overwhelm, so today I kept forcing myself back to just one thing. Which worked fairly well, I got to the end of the day with that one thing completed, and did a few other things incidentally along the way. I call it productive procrastination™. I’ll choose a different one thing tomorrow 🙂

{doodling} flamingos. Had no idea they were so popular! (See Instagram link in sidebar. Or possibly footer, depending what device you’re reading on.)

{cooking} comfort food. Yes folks, it’s that cauliflower cheese time of year.

{wrestling} with a printer that refused to recognise the new cartridges I fed it. It’s possible that one of them is faulty. It’s also possible that the original problem is actually that the router is packing up and it didn’t actually need a change of ink at all. Technology, don’t you love it?

{resisting} temptation in the form of a pattern I really really wanted to buy, but let’s face it, would probably never use. Even if I could use some of the heaps of wool blankets that seem to have multiplied around the house.


(Will have to add from phone, can’t get iPad to talk to google photos. And again I say, technology…)


Big is back into full flow of school and very focussed on her academic work right at the moment. Long may it continue. Small started college and it seemed to go OK if we move swiftly past the bit where he wasn’t on any of their lists because his enrolment form has gone astray. Hohum. Smallest was thrilled this week to get book parcels with her name on, and she’s already read the first of the two books she was sent. Tomorrow’s task is to set her up a book blog of her own 🙂 Tigerboy is feeling a bit left out by this, but not enough that he wants to put in the time to learn to read. And again, hohum.

How’s your week been?

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Colour my grey day Fri, 15 Sep 2017 21:49:56 +0000

Right now I’m really enjoying photography, and particularly sharing it on Instagram, where there are some wonderful communities you can join in with by tagging your pictures. I thought I’d share a few of my favourites here.

#colourmygreyday is for those days when you need a pop of colour. This evening’s picture, taken during this morning’s cool down was perfect.

The tag was started by Marisa, who shares gems like this hydrangea

I also shared into #outdoorsandhappy a really supportive community who recently featured my autumn leaves. This one is also great for outdoor adventures with small children, and is run by Joy

and Becky who recently featured my autumn leaves

#smallmomentsofcalm is run by Rachael Lucas and her instagram is just filled with perfect illustrations of it.

For example:

As I'm preparing the course notes for Create Courage* I'm thinking a lot about all the different ways mindfulness and creativity cross over in my life. I bake when I want to think about writing. I knit and read at the same time. I'm fascinated by the intersections of these things. In this picture there's my brand new sourdough starter (adventures in breadmaking) and this photo is the first of a collaboration series with @andrewtimothyob featuring my favourite Hornsea pottery which we have created because we love it so. Embracing your creativity doesn't have to mean writing a book. It can mean crocheting a little heart or baking a cake, styling an Instagram photo or writing in a journal. I believe that everyone is creative, and yet so many of us are frightened to try doing anything because of the little voice in our head that tells us we can't do it, which usually stems back to a throwaway comment in a classroom years ago. *do sign up for the super earlybird offer – coming soon!

A post shared by Rachael Lucas ? (@rachaellucas) on

Another lovely family of tags come from heitermagazine, and work around the heiter idea, so #beheiter #heitermoments and so on.

Look here

That had to make you heave a happy sigh, right?

Oh, and then there’s the creative tags. I started #acreativepractice and I use that to focus on fitting in regular creativity. Eg

I also like #ourcreativeselves from Shalagh – a lovely collection of her work here.

I find instagram to be a really supportive community, and love the friendships I’ve made there. Do you have any tag communities you love, or accounts you’d recommend?

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The eyes have it Thu, 14 Sep 2017 22:13:54 +0000

Sorry. I’ve had one of those days when there were too many words and ideas to be able to get focus on any of them.

Which leaves me feeling kind of worn out and pathetic.

So instead of chasing myself in circles, I’m going to go to bed and hope I wake up less cluttered in the morning.

Have a flower, before the rain.

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My top 5 movies Wed, 13 Sep 2017 22:58:29 +0000 Post comtains affiliate links
As part of the Blogtember challenge, today Katie, Hannah and I are talking movies. The suggestion was top 5 Disney titles, but I honestly couldn’t think of 5 films that I knew were Disney and I loved, so I’ve just gone for a generic top 5.

Until the middle of last year we watched a film every week, but so,show we got out of the habit, must get round to restarting. 

So, in no particular order:

Running on Empty. (Buy at Amazon affiliate) I know I’ve talked about this film before. It just ticks all of my boxes. Coming of age, family relationships, young River Phoenix, talented teen, living on the run from the authorities, music, first love, it’s got it all. And it’s been ages since I watched it, and now I want to sit down and watch it all over again.

Hidden Figures. Can’t wait to find this on a streaming service so we can watch it with the whole family. Such an eye opener of a film about the realities of life in the beginning of the space age. Computers only just coming in, and yet the way women, particularly Black women were treated was unbelievable. The women in this film are utterly incredible, and it even has a corridor marching scene (Buffy fans should know what I’m talking about here.)

Back to the Future. For a fun film that had all the family engrossed this one was a hit. It’s quite difficult to find films that everyone enjoys, given the big age gap we’ve got, but this one did it. Don’t bother with the sequels though, sometimes one *is* enough.

Mary Poppins. This was Big’s favourite film for ages. It’s just lots of fun, has songs, dancing and cartoon magic, what else can you ask for?

Can I sneak in a film I’m looking forward to? A Wrinkle in Time is one of my all time favourite books. I can’t wait to see it interpreted on screen – what I’ve read about it sounds absolutely magical, as it absolutely should be.

Don’t forget to check out Katie and Hannah’s choices!

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