Friday, 17 October 2014

A Song for The Weekend: Mary Lambert

Have you heard of Mary Lambert? I hadn't until this week. Turns out she's an all kinds of brilliant singer-songwriter, spoken word artist and gay rights activist, with awesome ink to boot. I particularly love this upbeat number: perfect Friday listening. She also does a kind of heartbreaking cover of Jessie's Girl, for any 80s power pop fans. 

Happy Friday y'all! 

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

That Time When I Quit My Job and Booked a Flight to Costa Rica

So, yeah. That happened.

Around a month ago, I handed in notice at an organisation I’ve worked at for just-shy of five years. My first non-temp job after moving to London in fact, started just three months after I upped sticks from the city I’d always lived in to one I knew basically nothing about, and only a handful of people in. I handed in my notice without a new job lined up. 

Over the last half-decade (Gah. I shouldn’t have phrased it that way; it freaks me out in all manner of ways) I’ve slowly eked my way up from an Administrative Assistant to an Assistant Registrar (which sounds deceptively similar, but is different I swear!). I took on line managing someone, which I never guessed I would enjoy but actually did. For two of those five years I studied for an MA in the evenings and weekends, and somehow wangled a distinction. I landed some interesting freelance through the contacts I’d made. My stubborn brain begrudgingly took on knowledge, almost without my realising it, and I find that I’ve developed a little bit of that expertise that seemed like a far-off fantasy to my recently-graduated-with-a-humanities-degree, have-no-demonstrable-skills-to-speak-of, now-what-the-hell-do-I-do self. I like the field I work in, the organisation I work for, and the people I work with, and I’ve been lucky to be allowed to learn and grow.

But at the same time: change is good.

Liking change, even perusing change, is not my default setting. I’m that douche who moans about their favourite café changing the chairs (not to the staff, obviously, but still). Or about Facebook changing their look. Or a supermarket changing its layout. Or about anything not remaining the same, forever, basically. What can I say? Consistency is kinda comforting.

But five years is a long time to spend in a small organisation, and even more so when you work in a sector that has a largely foreseeable yearly cycle. Five times through the cycle and you feel like you’ve pretty much got it down, y’know? Which is one reason why I didn’t want to move straight into a new post. I felt like I needed a break in the cycle, a complete shake up, doing something utterly, completely different.

Hence:  Costa Rica.

So in a few weeks’ time I’ll be hopping aboard my first long-haul flight in who knows how many years, and setting down in Central America to study Spanish for 6 weeks. The plan is to spend half my time in Heredia, a city about 10km from the capital, and half my time in Sámara, a small beach town on the Pacific coast. The closer it gets, the more excited but also, er, terrified I get. But I think Emerson probably had it right when he advised “Always do what you are afraid to do [unless that thing is touch a daddy longlegs]”.

For the weeks that I’m away, Knitting on Trains will likely serve as the main vehicle for keeping family and friends in the loop, sharing pictures of my freckles multiplying by the day, etc, etc. Why email when you can blog, right? But I’ll try my best to make sure that it isn’t too boring for anyone that isn’t my grandma. I'll be back in time for Christmas, which will hopefully help with the post-holiday blues + SAD combined, and aiming to start in a new job asap in the New Year. 

If you've ever been to Costa Rica (or ever wildly quit your job without another one lined up), tips/advice/general words of wisdom are very much welcomed!

Monday, 13 October 2014

Tattoo Dreaming

 Left [could not find source] / Top Right / Bottom Right

[Could not find sources]

I got my first (and only) tattoo on a whim when I was 16. An inoffensive but also rather boring and meaningless shape on my left hip. I've thought about getting another tattoo on an almost monthly basis since then and now, over 10 years on, it feels about time to put my money where my mouth is (so to speak). 

Of course, finding tattoo inspiration is a lot easier now than it was a decade ago (thank you, interwebs!) and Pinterest is such a handy tool for keeping track of ideas. I find I'm drawn to floral designs - roses, peonies, nasturtiums - but can't decide between colour and a plain black line design. There are such lovely examples of both. 

Placement wise, I like the idea of something on the back of my right shoulder - perhaps just peaking over the top (or maybe not). Long term, I like the idea of having something there plus a cover-up over the tattoo I already have on my hip in the same design - a single flower say.

Do you have any tattoos? Ever blogged about them? Share the link!  

Check out my ever-expanding Pinterest board for all my tattoo inspiration.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

The Amazing Feminist Illustrations of Carol Rossetti

When I stumbled across Carol Rossetti's frankly brilliant illustrations earlier this week, I was completely captivated. You know that feeling when you come across something that expresses something you feel so well, so articulately, so damn skilfully that it leaves you fist pumping the air and wanting to shout - yeah, what she said! That’s how I feel about Carol’s illustrations. Reading this back I can see that I'm gushing a bit, but when I find something this awesome, I'm okay with that. I think what attracts me most to these illustrations is how they demonstrate the many, many different ways there are to be 'a woman', and that absolutely all of them are okay.

These aren't all of Carol's illustrations, just a few. If you'd like to see more (you would), check out her website, twitter or facebook page.

All images reproduced with the permission of creator Carol Rossetti. 
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