Worries and imposter syndrome

As was really the idea for this blog, sometimes I just need to put down a few thoughts. Put down the baggage and walk away… I overthink things, and I worry too much about things that worrying won’t help with. 

Tomorrow I have my annual review at work. Logically I know I shouldn’t worry, there’s been no problems mentioned, I’m doing more complicated work and I know a lot more now…but still the imposter syndrome has been hitting hard this week. Ridiculously, it was kicked off by a surprise payrise (I haven’t been in the job long enough to know if it’s a regular event and money is a thing people don’t discuss) and it’s the sort of thing that should fully reassure me that my boss likes my work and wants me to stay and will likely give me a good review as I’ve already had the reward, but…I still worry. I’m now earning more than I ever expected, and having starting with several low paying entrance level jobs it’s all feeling a bit surreal. I don’t feel grown up and professional, I don’t feel like I do a particularly good job of working or looking after myself and my home, I don’t feel like I’m achieving much, I want to travel but nothing’s happening, I have very little social life – basically I feel like I’m drifting by a lot of the time with little to show for it. I’m also in a very niche industry and I don’t know what’s normal here – I like stability so this doesn’t help. The payrises I’ve had in this job have been completely unexpected and made me worry that I now have to prove myself in some way, and really anxious that I might do something to suddenly not deserve it,  or to make people realise that’s it’s me working here – the forgetful, shy, occasionally scruffy, distracted, self-doubting mixer up of words. Oh yes, the self-doubt; the little voice wondering if I’m good enough, clever enough, fast enough, was that a stupid question, have I bothered people too much recently, is this right, should I know that? It’s a thing that’s hard to talk about, I’m not great at expressing myself and reassurances from anyone outside of work won’t do much to stop the worries, because what would they know? I’m sure my family would instantly reassure me that I’m amazing, but they may be a little biased! And what do I say? “Do I deserve what I’m earning and when I was told I did a good job was it was actually any good?” I think I only person who can answer these questions is my manager, good thing we’ve got a talk organised tomorrow… I just need to be able to ask the questions.

Birthday swaps

I find as I get older I don’t get as many birthday presents. There’s usually a few nice little things, it’s just not as big an event now (although I will be 30 next year, I’m already planning to deal with that by leaving the country…).

So this year I did a few swapbot birthday swaps. One swap was based off the other but I forget which way round now…

October birthday swap

This swap was to send one partner 3 gifts.

Sent to USA:

After a careful read of their profile I sent friendship bracelets, an adult colouring book and postcards 🙂

All wrapped up to send!

Received from USA:

I have to admit, my first reactions were ‘that’s not what the swap required’ and ‘what am I going to do with that?’ but it’s actually a beautiful handmade journal. There’s a lot of work been put in to make this an amazing travel book. Weirdly the place names used as decoration are the cities across northern Italy, the route I was daydreaming about travelling recently! (Here) Maybe it’s a sign, I would love to see those places… Or maybe she read my blog?!

 October birthday wishes

This swap was to send a small flat gift to 3 different partners.


Sent to 2 USA swappers:

Note cards and postcards because I really couldn’t figure out what else to send!

Clear stamps and botanical postcard.

The USA swaps still haven’t been rated, so I sent messages asking if the envelopes had arrived. One replied to say they’d rate once they opened it, but I can only hope for the other one… If there’s no ratings by the end of the month I’ll chase them up again.

Sent to Germany:

Stickers and bookmark, I think I might have added a postcard too before I sent it.

The swap specified a wrapped gift, because that’s how birthday presents are done. However this swapper complained she had to open it to accurately rate – I should have let her know the American technique for these situations!


Received from USA:

Yes, that is a cat (party) bus! And a Totoro bookmark. I could display them with my 4 stuffed Totoro’s! Every bookshelf needs a line of Totoro’s 🙂

Received from Canada:

Definitely useful, possibly not the most exciting gift?

Received from Luxemburg:

This gift arrived late, and I was a bit annoyed really because it was technically sent late, but then I liked it too much to be annoyed 🙂 The floral envelope contains what I think are scented draw liners, although I’m not sure about the scent… And the frames are magnetic.

Now it’s all over for another year, I just need to decide where to hide from next year’s birthday!

Snailbeach scrapbooking


One day I will catch up with my scrapbooking…but that day has not yet arrived. But I have managed another layout so I’m up to March! It shouldn’t be too hard to catch up really, I’ve had long quiet times this year due to various reasons, and it’s definitely worth recording all the little fun things – digital files don’t get viewed like albums and scrapbooks do.

These scrap booking pages record a walk that was rained off not long after it started, so we went down a heritage mine instead! It’s a fascinating industrial area in rural Shropshire, and there’s been mining there since at least Roman times.

It was created as two layouts because I used a pair of layout templates, but once they’re in the album the join will be hidden between the pages.The pages were created from templates from Shabby Princess, and the kit is called ‘Wandering’ from Gennifer Bursett at Pixels & Company.



Wrap-around Kindle case

Last week I bought a new Kindle, tomorrow I’m going to the Postcrossing meet-up in London which is 1 1/2 hours by train each way. Being slightly precious of my lovely shiny new toy I decided that to take the Kindle with me a case is required. Today I went to the quilt shop and purchased a stack of fat quarters for small projects, so this evening I started creating!

There were a few thoughts that influenced the design – 1) a wrap around cover provides an extra layer of protection, 2) I didn’t want to have to press poppers against the Kindle (and I love poppers much more than buttons!), and 3) I wasn’t sure if I’d get poppers through the wadding I’ve used to pad the case, so the fastening is at the side on a binding strip.

I used my new binding creator to make binding that matches the patterned fabric and the lining. Once I figured out where the fold to form the pouch would be I sewed the binding to the outer layer with a flap sticking out to hold the bottom half of the popper. The top half is attached to binding that continues from the edge of the wrap-around. 

I found top stitching around the opening difficult, it’s a sharp change in direction onto the pouch section. The outside edge isn’t the neatest either, it’s the seam I had to keep open to turn it all right way out. I’m sure a bit more time and patience would have helped! But at least it’s finished ready for tomorrow, I just need to get everything else sorted now!

Funfetti sprinkle cookies

So tomorrow is someone’s birthday, and in the strangely backwards unwritten rules of the office the birthday person should provide appropriate food. A couple of jobs back I worked somewhere with a cake club and there was a rota to make people’s birthday cakes, that was a fun system… But in current much better job (except for the occasional cake shortage) I must provide my own celebratory edibles, and the biscuits in the office vanish so fast at the moment people are refusing to buy more, so I will provide!

I found the Funfetti slice n’ bake cookies recipe a while ago, and it’s great for preparing in advance. Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction here. It’s possible to make up logs of dough and refrigerate or freeze them until you really fancy biscuits. My dough went a bit too sticky this time so the logs were hard to form and weren’t very round, but once frozen they’re easy to cut into slices and bake up fresh.

There’s a whole cup of sprinkles in these cookies! And I made some very chocolatey biscuits too. And I still have lots in the freezer waiting for my next desperate biscuit craving. Maybe I should take more into work, they’ll get eaten fast enough, but I fancy having some left for later too 🙂

Themed mailart swaps

There’s been a few themed swaps organised recently, I didn’t sign up to the bird theme but I’ve done botanical and butterflies. It’s fun to find themed items, and I’m getting better at decorating envelopes.


Sent to USA

Envelope decorated with a magazine page and various patterned tapes and a few doodles. Goodies included stickers, postcards, stationery, envelopes and a note card. I seem to have a lot of flowery items in the house!

Received from USA

I’ve got to admit I was disappointed with the envelope. The mailart was meant to be a big part of this swap. I mentioned it in my message to the swapper and she replied that she’s not an artist like some of us swappers, but if she’d just covered the envelope in those glittery leaves it could have looked great… Goodies are tags, stickers, postcards, a handmade feeling bookmark and some mini envelopes – mixed feelings about this one. Some of these swaps I’m actually feeling more happy about the sending!


Sent to New Zealand

I used scrapbook paper to create the butterfly and fitted the address on to a wing, doodled around the edge and coated it in glitter 🙂 Goodies included note cards, postcards, stickers and envelopes.

Received from USA

A fun envelope decorated with a napkin and old stamps, and the contents are bright and fun too – note card, postcard, envelope, washi and tag 🙂

I think I might focus on the couple of month long swaps I’m in during October then see what comes up a bit later on once everything has had time to arrive…

The weekend in pictures – 1st & 2nd Oct

Had to shelter from the torrential rain under a tree next to Nottingham castle and Robin Hood

It’s the start of my birthday week!

Sent on a travelling postcard, it’s heading off to a different part of the USA now. I wonder where my postcard has been so far…

The sun has been shining today, time for a lovely walk to the supermarket

Of course birthday biscuits need this many sprinkles! Lots of biscuits now in the freezer ready for baking mid-week