Pippa: 15 things

I can’t believe it, but it’s been a year since we adopted Pippa! It feels both like it was just yesterday, and like she’s always been a part of our lives. We both love her so much and love coming home to her every day.

A few months ago, Janet posted some fun facts about her cat, so I thought this was a great excuse to do that about Pippa. Enjoy!

  • R is nervous about having an outdoor cat, so Pippa is basically a housecat (the first one I’ve ever had.) I do let her go out with me when I’m out in the garden, though, and let her wander out when the weather’s warm enough to leave the back door open.
  • That said, she’s pretty determined and will happily jump out our kitchen window. I plan to use this as a long-term bargaining chip for letting her become a full-time indoor/outdoor cat.
  • Pippa is incredibly shy and will go hide under our covers any time someone besides me and R even knocks on our door. She also goes there when we’re vacuuming.
  • She enjoys sitting on R’s lap while he watches action films.
  • Pippa is waiting for us every day when we come home from work. She comes to the front door to see R, then waits by the back door when I get home a little later. Our favorite thing is when she is sitting in the windowsill when we get home, though.
  • Her favorite thing to do, by a mile, is lay on our chest/stomachs. Preferably with her bum in our face, obviously. Every day when he gets home, R goes to lay down so they can have a bit of a cuddle. P1080221
  • She’s scared of fans (we just discovered that this week during that brief spell of summer).
  • She now comes to wake us up in the morning. She just walks in & starts purring really loudly until we wake up, then jumps on the bed and sniffs our faces.
  • After ignoring her cat bed for 6 months, she suddenly decided she loves it and spends most evenings in it.
  • Pippa wouldn’t come out from under her cat bed at all when we visited her in the animal shelter.
  • She doesn’t play with a lot of toys, but we discovered she loved mint when someone spilled some in our living room. She rolled on the spot for days!
  • She also has a yellow ribbon that we play with every day. She loves it. It’s part of our morning routine – I get up, go the bathroom, get her food, get dressed, and then we play for 10-15 minutes before I go to work. It’s the best part of my day! P1070644
  • She’s always adorable, but is easily at her cutest when she lies on her back with her paws tucked up onto her chest.
  • She hates the camera, so it’s really hard to get any good pictures of her. (Hence no picture of the above pose.)
  • Pippa is R’s first cat, and she has totally converted him to a cat lover. He may deny it if asked, but his phone is full of pictures of her (he took the one below) and we now sometimes look at the adoption page on the shelter’s website together. I mean, look at her! How could he not fall for her? πŸ™‚
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5 happy things – the one with a bike basket

Well, this week has flown by! I had every intention of writing a post about Wonderwool, but that hasn’t happened just yet as I unexpectedly ended up working a couple of late shifts at work. I will get around to it soon, though.

In the meantime, here’s a recap of a few of the little happy things that are going on in my life at the moment.


  • Finally attaching my new bike basket

I know this isn’t the most beautiful of bike baskets, but I’m nothing if not practical, and this one looked easier to manage than a pretty wicker basket. It was a birthday present (that I asked for!) from R, and I’m really happy with it so far. I usually do our weekly shop using a shopping trolley as the nearest store is really too far to carry a decent amount of groceries back from comfortably. Last week I was finally able to do it on the bike, though! It was very exciting, and I’m looking forward to continuing to do so.

  • My reserved book arriving at the library

I reserved Lincoln in the Bardo as soon as I heard about it, but I was still fourth in the queue, so have had to wait ages for it. I can’t wait to get started!


  • Time outside with PippaP1080592P1080585
  • A provisional driving licence (almost)

It looks like I’m on track to get my provisional driving licence. I had to send in my passport and it’s now been returned with a letter say the licence should arrive in a couple of weeks. Driving is really not my thing, and we’ve no plans to buy a car yet, but for a whole host of reasons (both personal and professional) it makes sense for me to be able to drive here if necessary. I’m apprehensive about lessons, but excited to find out how it feels to be behind the wheel in the UK.


  • Elderflower

I spotted the first elderflower blossom of the year this week! Somehow that makes it feel more like summer is coming.


This post is linked up with Suzy’s Five Things That Made Me Happy This WeekΒ and also partially inspired by Miss Pond’s Five Happy Things, if you’d like to go read other people’s happy stuff.

5 happy things – the one where I can’t stop singing Belle & Sebastian songs in my head

I think we can all agree it’s a relief that it is now officially spring, right? I am so not a fan of winter, and although this has been quite a cold spring so far, brighter days are here and that makes me happy. On a personal level, I’ve been quite stressed recently, but I’m trying not to get bogged down in that. Last week also had plenty of things to make me happy.

  • An afternoon in a sunny garden
  • We don’t have a suntrap of a garden, sadly, but I spent Saturday afternoon round at a friend’s. We drank lemonade, chatted, and ate crisps all afternoon. It was pretty perfect. And because it was sunny two days in a row, I of course spent the whole weekend singing “Another Sunny Day” by Belle & Sebastian in my head. Worse things have happened. πŸ™‚
  • Playing with Pippa in the mornings
  • I’m sorry if you’re all sick of hearing about Pippa, but she’s just so lovely. One of my favorite things right now is our morning routine: I get up, feed her, get dressed, then we spend a bit of time playing with her favorite yellow ribbon. She’s definitely getting more energetic now that the weather’s a bit warmer.
  • The daffodils opening in our garden
  • At last!
  • Submitting my application for Permanent Residency (finally!)
  • I’ve been worrying about this since long before Brexit, to the point where I got so anxious I really couldn’t think about it. I’m still convinced it’ll be rejected initially & that I’ll have to appeal. But it is a huge weight off of me to have it submitted – metaphorically as well as literally, given how much paperwork I submitted! To be honest, I probably went a bit overboard, but I am feeling super paranoid about it.
  • Booking a trip to Wonderwool Wales
  • Whoo, wool festival! This isn’t until the end of April, but I am really excited already. I’ve decided to think of it as my birthday treat to myself. My birthday’s actually at the beginning of April, but it never hurts to extend birthdays. πŸ™‚

This week I’m linking up with Suzy’s happy things. Better late than never, right?

5 happy things: a spring in my step

This is what my garden looks like at the moment. Yup, a mess. I was using the drill to put a hole in the bottom of the square pot. There are lots of positive things happening at the moment. Here are five of them.

    • It feels like spring! Not every day, but enough that I’m feeling like I’m getting a little more energy. This will be reflected in the rest of the post, I suspect. It is also wonderful to see flowers everywhere. Our daffodils still aren’t open, though, and I’m starting to get impatient!
    • My friend bought me these sheets a few months ago, but I haven’t gotten around to using them until now. They are amazing. As you can see, Pippa approves, too. The quality of fabric is pretty shocking, but I’m willing to forgive that. Can’t expect too much for Β£8 from Asda.

    • Speaking of which, my friends are incredible. I spent a lot of International Women’s Day thinking about the women who inspire me, and loads of them are people I know in person. I have male friends, too, but I have always had stronger friendships with women. I am so amazed by some of the friends I have – a poetry editor at a literary magazine, a library campaigner, a teacher trainee who’s using her time to teach refugees German (in Germany, so it is useful!), a mother of an autistic son who founded a non-profit to help him & others find employment in the tech industry, an artist who worked out a way to make music by painting, and countless friends who spend their time making and thinking about things that matter so that they (and in some cases their kids) can have joyful lives that will leave a positive impact.

    • We finally got frames for some art that we’ve had for ages. I’ve already put them up, though perhaps not in their permanent homes. One of the posters is from a concert we went to last year, and the other is from a poetry jam we helped organize back in 2009. The watercolor was done by R’s mother, who wouldn’t describe herself as an artist, but who I admire. This one was inspired by the following quote from Derek Tangye:

      There was space in the sky, and time was ours, and the air we breathed came to us from far away across the sea, and there were birds singing that we hadn’t noticed before.

    • There’s a new Fleet Foxes album coming out! It won’t be released until 16 June, but I’m already looking forward to it. I’ve been a big fan since their first album. They did a gig at the Custard Factory in Birmingham, and I can definitively say that it’s one of the best I’ve been to. It’s definitely the only gig where I actually felt like I was floating. I’m glad they’ve released the first single to tide me over:

What’s made you happy this week?

Sleepy Sunday

Hello, lovely readers. I’m sorry for the quiet blog. I’m working on a post about last weekend, as well as some ongoing projects. But just so I can say I’ve blogged, I thought I’d share this picture of Pippa, which pretty much sums up today. p1070302

This is the chest of drawers I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. It still smells musty, so I thought I’d take advantage of the sunshine to air them a bit. Pippa decided to take advantage of it as well.

5 happy things – the one with things to look forward to

It’s induction season at universities, and since one of my jobs is at a uni, life is pretty exhausting at the moment. I am grateful for this, to be honest. It was a rough summer and I’m glad it’s over. (Never thought I’d be glad for summer to be over, but I’m definitely there.) Nonetheless, I’m lucky there are still good things, and we’ve been planning happy stuff as well. So here are 5 ofΒ  them! Please do share yours in the comments, too.


  • Autumn bearing raspberries. The raspberries at our allotment are autumn bearing, so they are really coming into their own now. It’s fantastic, because there isn’t much else going on right now. Plus, raspberries are my favorite berry.
  • Home. We’ve been in our house since January, but to be honest we have been too lazy to do any decorating so far. We’ve finally picked the color for our spare bedroom/office/library. It’s uncharacteristically bold for me, but I’m really excited about stripping the wallpaper in there & getting it painted. The light in there’s excellent, so I really want to get it ready now that we’re into fall.
  • R’s love affair with Pippa. R was not keen on getting a cat. He grew up with a dog and it took a lot of work to persuade him to get a cat. I knew he’d be won over eventually once we had one, though, and I was right. I just hadn’t realised it would happen so quickly. He’s very much smitten, and has the cat pictures on his phone to prove it! I try not to be smug about it, but it’s hard. πŸ˜‰p1060848
  • Planning our trip to Cardiff at the end of October. The worst of induction will be over by then, so we’ve bought tickets to see Ezra Furman to celebrate. I can’t wait! Even better, it just so happens to fall on the weekend of Made by Hand Cardiff. Craft + music + Cardiff means a great weekend is guaranteed. I know it’s a long way off, but having something to look forward to makes a big difference when life is so stressful.
  • Registering to vote. I can vote, I can vote! It’s so exciting. I am really nervous about the election, but at least I can make sure my voice is heard. It’s also the first time I’ve been able to vote online, so there’s a bit of a novelty factor.



4 happy things & Poem on a Postcard

Unfortunately the last week and a half has been pretty hellish. And even worse, the reason it has been so awful hasn’t been sorted out yet, so I think there will be a couple more weeks that are nearly as bad. *sigh* Sorry for being melodramatic; I know things will get better, but I also know I’m in a rough patch for right now.

As a result, I need some cheering up. Thinking of 5 happy things usually helps, but I really struggled to come up with 5 today. So I’ve got 4 things, and 1 activity that I hope you will get involved with!

  • My tomatoes have started coming in. I had the first one yesterday & they are yummy. The variety is Golden Sunrise if you want to grow them yourself next year.P1060577.JPG
  • Pippa has settled into her new home well. Now when we wake up, she’s on the landing outside our bedroom waiting to say hello. It’s very cute. πŸ™‚ Unfortunately she hates having her picture taken, so photographic evidence is hard to come by.P1060544
  • Time off with R. I love him dearly, but he almost never takes time off. Last week we had the entire week off together, and while we had to stay in town, we did amble around all the local charity shops, watch a ton of Game of Thrones, and go to the cinema to watch Star Trek Beyond. It was lovely.
  • I am grateful that I work where I do, where I have sympathetic managers who actively encourage me to take time off when I need it. My dad’s girlfriend has been critically ill (as in, literally on life support) for the past 5 weeks, and he has had nothing but grief from his workplace for the time he has needed to take off to take care of her. I, on the other hand, have had only support from my workplaces, and also have a cushion of unused leave if I need it. It’s much needed right now.P1060537

And on to the activity, Poem on a Postcard! It’s a simple idea – if you send me your address, I will pick a poem (I am a terrible poet, so I promise not to write you one myself), write it on a postcard, and send it to you regardless of what country you live in. If you’re interested, send me an email at jennifer.howard86 at gmail dot com. Include your name, postal address, and anything else you’d like me to know – a particular topic you’d like a poem on, poets you love/hate so I can get a feel for what kind of style you like, etc. I’ll find a poem I think you might like within a month (sorry I can’t promise to do it sooner, but I think I may have trouble concentrating over the next week or two) and send it out. I always love getting postcards, so I hope a few of you will as well & will take up this offer.