Silver the kitten: Two and a half months after adoption

At the end of September, I wrote about adopting this tiny ball of fluff. Silver was 8 weeks old then and only weighed 800g! I can’t believe how much he’s grown.

At 10 weeks old, he still looked so kittenish, although he’d started zooming around at such a high speed that the best (or only!) time to take a photo of him that was actually in focus was when he was sleeping.

When he had his last vaccinations, he weighed just over 1kg. He had his final kitten health check on 27th November and his weight had doubled to 2.1kg! He’s in perfect health and loves being fussed over and cuddled by everyone he meets.

I’ve started clipping his nails at home and he’s absolutely fine with it, which is great. He’s such a gentle little thing with his claws. When he was very young, my husband and I were covered in scratches from being climbed on, but it never happens anymore. Even the vet remarked on how careful he is when he’s playing. Hopefully this good behaviour will continue!

I think his eyes are now the colour they’re going to stay. They were so pretty when they were blue, but I adore the pale gold they’ve become as he’s grown older. He’s teething at the moment, so we’re being careful not to encourage him to munch on human hands (it doesn’t always work, but we’re teaching him “no and down” so he’s learning) and we always make sure he has plenty of toys to chew on.

I’d forgotten how chaotic it could be to have a kitten in the house and how no matter how well you think you’ve cat-proofed everything, you’ve never cat-proofed anything quite enough. He’s been a test of my patience at times but I’m so happy we adopted him ❤

If you want to see more photos of Silver, he has his very own Instagram!

Month in review: November 2017

November has been primarily about NaNoWriMo so I’m going to mention that first. What a wild ride! I was super excited when I hit my 50,000 word target and completed the first draft of 22 Cards. I feel like I talked about NaNo pretty much non-stop here and on Twitter, so that’s all I’m going to say about it for now 🙂

The month started with sharing my feelings about Samhain, which, as a Pagan, is my new year, and my plans for the year ahead. My goals are focused around blogging, writing, social media and well-being, and my word for the year is FOCUS (you might notice it cropping up in a lot of posts). I love setting goals because it helps me stay on track with the things that are really important to me and it gives me something to come back to every now and then to check in with my progress.

When I talk about progress, I don’t mean achieving a thing someone else says I should have achieved by the time someone else says I should have achieved it. I’m referring to feeling more confident about what I’m doing, how much I’m learning and how I feel about my work. When I decided to Do The Writing Thing™ at the end of last year, I knew I wouldn’t be following a traditional path. That meant that I wouldn’t have neat little boxes to tick to tell me I was doing things well.

In a way, it’s difficult not being able to tick those neat little boxes. It’s also kind of amazing because pushes me to think more deeply about what I’m doing and why.

My husband and I escaped from the city over Samhain and spent a couple of days doing very little (and eating quite a lot) in the very beautiful Scottish borders. I’m terrible at switching off and relaxing, so a change of scenery was just the thing I needed.

I’ve tried to bring that ability to just stop and chill out sometimes back into my everyday life and I’m still not great at it, but I’m getting there. After NaNoWriMo (I know I wasn’t going to talk about it anymore, but context) I took a few days off to clear my brain out. The first couple of days mostly involved a lot of twitching because I felt like there was something I was supposed to be doing, but then I started to actually relax. Watching favourite shows on Netflix and getting a bit more sleep at night was so good and by the following week I felt recharged.

I also shared my packing tips for forgetful people.  I’m so accustomed to planning and organising around mobility difficulties and cognitive impairments that it’s pretty much second nature to me now. I’m trying to talk a bit more online about living with a disability because I think it’s important for people to be able to find relatable content around chronic illness that isn’t inspiration porn. Every time I talk about this stuff, the response is so positive and it reminds me that some of the things I’ve learned and figured out over the last decade and a half might be of use to other people.

I made some changes to my Patreon rewards in November, making all rewards available to all tiers of supporters. I appreciate all pledges, regardless of amount, and I wanted my rewards to reflect that. I realised that I’m still not totally fantastic at promoting my Patreon because, while I have links to it here and mention it occasionally, I’m still very much finding my feet in the world of ongoing crowd funding (there’s that non-traditional path again). Patreon have lots of awesome resources though, so I’m always learning and I’m happy to be able to approach it in a way that genuinely works for me and fits with my plans, even if it takes a little more time to build.

Towards the end of the month, I got super excited about the arrival of winter and shared a post about hygge and decorating our home. I couldn’t resist including a photo of my lovely new mug and my favourite tea! I also filed my nails short again after growing them for AGES. It had reached the point where they interfered with my typing and as much as I loved how my hands looked with long nails, I can’t handle losing my speedy typing abilities.

Finally, I posted about November in my bullet journal. I’d really missed paper planning so I’m really happy to be using it again. I’m already feeling so much more organised and productive.

I hope you’ve all had an awesome month. What did you get up to in November?

Country hotel break in the Scottish Borders

From 31st October until 2nd November, my husband and I escaped the city for a short break in the Scottish Borders. We stayed in the Peebles Hydro hotel, which reminded us both of the hotel in The Shining (the way it looked outside, nothing scary!) and had the stunning view pictured above from the car park. Peebles and the surrounding area are completely beautiful, especially at this time of year.

It was wonderful to spend a couple of days together, doing very little, eating delicious food and relaxing. I’d hoped to be able to go for a bit of a walk in the forest but my health and the weather conspired against us, so we did some hardcore lounging around the hotel instead. Also, I tasted pumpkin spice Baileys for the first time and I cannot believe I managed to survive almost thirty-seven years without it in my life.

Because I get geeky about the weirdest things, I took pictures of the lamps in the hotel room. Seriously though, they were gorgeous, especially the Anglepoise desk lamp and table lamp. I have a bit of a thing for Anglepoise lamps but they’re a little out of my price range. If I ever come up with a legit reason to spend a couple of hundred pounds on a lamp, and a couple of hundred pounds to spend on a lamp, it’ll be one of those.

On the way home, we stopped at Neidpath Castle just outside Peebles. The forest there is stunning, so of course I took some pictures. Seeing all the different coloured leaves at this time of year makes me so happy.

And because I can’t go anywhere without taking close-up photos of tiny things, here are some gorgeous little pink flowers looking sweet in the sunshine 🙂

Samhain: My plans for the year ahead

As a Pagan, Samhain is when I celebrate the beginning of a new year. Although the calendar new year inspires a natural sense of looking back, Samhain is when I look forward. It’s when I feel the greatest sense of potential and possibility, when I get excited about things to come. Instead of making resolutions, I decided to set some goals for different areas of my life.

I’ve noticed other people talking about setting a focus word for the year, a concept that feeds into all their plans and goals, and a reminder of priorities when setting objectives. After a year of experimentation and discovery, I feel like it’s time to focus. So my focus word for the coming year is FOCUS. Yes, I tried to find an alternative word that meant the same thing because I don’t like repeating words in sentence, but focus pretty much hits the spot 🙂

Writing

My first big writing goal is to take part in NaNoWriMo 2017. It’s my first NaNo and my project, 22 Cards, will be the longest book I’ve written to date. Because NaNo is all very new to me, I’m aiming for the 50,000 word target but my real focus is on enjoying and learning from the experience. My other writing goal is to publish my novella, Car Thieves, in early 2018. I’m going to aim to publish 22 Cards before the end of 2018, but I’m not honestly sure what the editing process will be like for a book of this length, so this is definitely more of a guideline than a strict deadline.

Blogging

I absolutely adore blogging. It’s an outlet for non-fiction writing, a fun way to connect with other creative people, and a great platform for sharing my photography and fiction. I’m trialling a blogging schedule in my bullet journal at the moment and aim to plan my posts more in advance, with space left for spontaneous posting, rather than just posting things as they come to mind as I’ve been doing since I moved in to this site last year.

Social media

My social media goal for the coming year is to prioritise Twitter. I’ve been using Twitter since 2008 but I started to use it a lot more actively over the last few months, taking part in hashtag games and events for writers, and spending more time connecting with the writing community. It’s been so much fun sharing my work there and meeting like-minded creative people, so I’m really looking forward to what the next year will bring.

Wellbeing

My wellbeing goal is more about maintenance than new things. I recently returned to a consciously structured morning routine involving meditation, yoga and beginning the day feeling relaxed and enthusiastic. My goal for the year ahead is to maintain this routine because it has such a positive affect on how I feel for the rest of the day and my ability to be productive and happy.

So those are my goals for the year ahead. Blessed Samhain and a happy new year to all my Pagan and witchy friends

Month in review: October 2017

Last time I did a month in review was July. I’d like to say there were deep and meaningful reasons for waiting until October to do the next one, but there weren’t – I just forgot. Now that I’m bullet journalling again, I’m hopefully going to get better at not forgetting things! On the subject of bullet journalling, I shared my November set-up, so I’ll talk about that again in a few weeks and let you know how it’s going.

October was the first full month of Silver the kitten living with us (and of course he has his own Instagram). Silver likes to paw at my phone and he even opened the Instagram app by himself so maybe he wanted to check out his profile.

Autumn is in full swing and everything looks super pretty at the moment, which is great for photography. I started to reclaim my yoga and meditation practice, and even got to be an existential horror superhero, thanks to my friend Laura (who is an amazing artist).

My biggest mission of the month was preparing for NaNoWriMo. I wrote about it at the start of the month and then again at the end of the month. I also spent a lot of time thinking about writing, especially the supportive online writing community I’ve found and the value of paying creators, and I wrote some poetry too.

With Samhain at the end of October, it’s the last month of my year and I love the feeling that something new and exciting is about to begin!

Vikings and kittens (plus videos!)

The men in my life ❤

Also, a few quick clips of Silver’s first two weeks at home from my Instagram Story, and a very short video of him doing a back flip off the couch. Because the internet needs more kitten videos, right?

 

Ten weeks old

Silver the kitten turned ten weeks old on Saturday! I’ve been busily preparing for NaNoWriMo 2017 and he’s been my little writing buddy. His contribution has mostly involved reminding me to take breaks by attacking my feet, but he’s trying very hard.

New kitten (with photos!)

It felt strange not having a cat in the house, so we adopted this little cutie at the weekend. His name is Silver and he’s just over eight weeks old.

He loves the noises my camera makes and he’s an awesome model. I’m sure I’ll be taking lots more photos of him! He’ll be appearing on my YouTube channel soon too.

If you want more pictures and videos right now, my Instagram Story is all kitten, all day at the moment.

We’re so in love with the newest member of our family ❤

The loss of a furry heartbeat

Shai, my beautiful kitty, died last week at the grand old age of seventeen.

She’d been with me longer than my husband has (I got her when I was nineteen and I got him a year later), but she was kind enough to allow him to move in with us and, after a few months, even let him sit in the front seat of the car. She was a good judge of character.

She lived in two countries, two cities, two houses and six flats, and travelled in four cars and a number of boats. She was a contrary beast and, as was perfectly fitting for her personality, she waited until I’d spent £20 on a bag of stupidly expensive cat food and then promptly bit the dust.

She was my familiar, my beloved monster and basically me in cat form. We’re devastated. There’s a big empty space in our home and our hearts. We watched the sunrise together one last time, sitting in the garden with Shai wrapped in a blanket on my lap, and it was beautiful ❤

Vets4Pets at Fort Kinnaird, Edinburgh, were, once again, absolutely incredible. I phoned half an hour before they opened (we’d been up all night) and we were able to bring her in immediately. She died peacefully in my arms just after 9am on 19th September.

 

So I gave the cat a bath

Shai had managed to roll in her own vomit, cause she’s a disgusting beast sometimes, so I gave her a bath. She’s clean. The bathroom isn’t destroyed. We both lived to tell the tale. I’m counting this as a win.

If anyone else out there finds themselves needing to wash a cat, I’ve figured out how to do it. Obviously I can’t guarantee this will work for all cats, but it worked for mine.

I put a bit of warm water in the bath, then put the cat in the laundry basket and gently lowered her in. She was completely fine until she realised that she’d been tricked, but even then there was no fighting, just some annoyed noises. Keeping her in a laundry basket was at least a thousand times easier than keeping her in a bath with no other form of containment.

By the time I was rinsing her with the shower, she was happily purring. After I towel-dried her, I gave her some treats and catnip, so we’re still good (in spite of what her facial expression in the photo might suggest).

This has been a sort of public service announcement and also an excuse to share a picture of a soggy moggy 🙂