Upsides to the Falling Pound: £4.08 a Month Could Buy you a Dramatic Reading of this Very Sentence.

Good news!


I’ve really struggled to make my Patreon profile something that’s distinct from my other pages, and to think up rewards and goals that are fun for everyone. I don’t have any distinct reasons for having a Patreon at the moment; it used to be up there to fund research projects specifically or admin fees specifically but I realised I was probably overthinking things (this has been a theme in my life lately). So, as my life plans are no longer concrete and I’ve decided not to stress out about work any more – at least not to the point I used to, where I would have such high expectations for a blog post that a five thousand word essay wouldn’t cut it – my page is currently a tip jar. If you like my work, pledge a dollar. Cancel it the next month if you want to. I’m not sure what I’ll be making in the near future, but you’ll be helping me make it… especially if making that thing  requires an overpriced train ticket, overpriced printer ink or an overpriced evening class.

As I don’t have any particular plans, the goals section is now about you guys, which it should have been all along. If we reach five dollars a post I’ll do a dramatic reading of an old blog on the tubes; if we reach fifty I’ll read an old fan fiction. If it ever reaches a hundred I’ll make dramatic blog readings a thing indefinitely. I do not completely understand the ins and outs of the pound’s recent fall in value, but I do know that if you pledge today in sterling you could watch me read this out loud for less than the price of lunch at Costa Coffee.

It’s a no brainer, innit.

If you have any ideas for good rewards, let me know what you would entice you and I’ll see if I can add it in!

So Marie Kondo Probably Has Competition

It’s been a week since I last blogged oops. I’ve got a genuine reason instead of the usual ‘I couldn’t think of anything to say and that GWay gif is wearing thin’; I’ve been so busy the week has flown by. And because I’m feeling smug, here are some of the things I’ve been up to lately:

Getting really well acquainted with my local postbox

I’ve had the busiest week on Etsy since February… there’s just something about Halloween that makes people very open to stickers which include the phrase witch ‘n’ bitch.

Francesca's Words Hell's Belles Halloween stickers

Clearing out ridiculously overstocked bedroom cupboards

I can’t show you a photo of my newly organised shelves, because I don’t really want to admit how many toiletry bags I own, but let’s just say that binning a handful of broken hairbands and two years’ worth of Private Eyes (don’t worry, I recycle), putting one adhesive hook into a wardrobe and buying a couple of plastic filing cabinets is both good for your mental health and ridiculously tiring. I’ve even put an empty box in my room to fill with things I don’t need any more, and as a natural hoarder I’m quite surprised (and totally ready to #humblebrag) that I’ve filled and emptied it about four times. I’ve still got clothes to go through, a couple of cupboards that I’m not brave enough to look at yet and way, way too many socks… but I highly advocate browsing Pinterest for cute storage ideas and going through your shit occasionally.

Oh I went dancing

Solid tens. Also, I won a pamper day in a raffle. Pretty sure it’d take more than a day to rescue all my cuticles, ease out the knot in my shoulder and cleanse my inner soul, but you gotta start somewhere…

Reading Game of Thrones

So now I understand the fuss about Ned Stark.

I must dash, I have stickers to post. Oh and if anyone has any tips for getting a lot of storage out of a small space, hit me up.

Turns of Phrase That Can Go Fuck Themselves (part one, probably)

Look, we all hate certain words and phrases. Here are some that make me automatically loathe the person using them.

The word ‘poorly’

One is ill, or sick, or unwell, or puking, or suffering from a mild boat of putrid throat. I don’t think one is ever really poorly, because it only seems to be brandished about when well-meaning adults want to tell you about a serious illness but don’t want to frighten you with actual details.

We got it at school when teachers told us how ‘Michaela is feeling a little poorly today’. Translation:  ‘Michaela recently drank chemicals from the science kit in the toy box and is now vomiting blood but we don’t want you to panic.’

‘The dog’s a bit poorly at the moment, he’s in with the vet.’ Translation: ‘we’ll probably have to euthanise but we don’t want you to cry until it’s absolutely unavoidable.’

Or it’s used during stories of when I was in an incubator getting my left lung drained. ‘Oh darling you were quite poorly!’ exclaims Theresa. Translation: Theresa is not emotionally equipped to express what she’s thinking without using the words ‘that’s completely shit and the world is fucking awful sometimes’.

Theresa, I won’t mind if you say ‘that’s completely shit’. Because, even when you are trying to prepare your nine year old for the possibility their beloved pet is about to go on his final walk, there is rarely a kind way to cover up the truth. Maybe find an alternative word for shit, though.

People who say ‘pee’ instead of ‘pence’

As in ‘the Browns have pawned their grandma’s china and earned themselves thirty four pounds and fifteen pee.’

No dude it’s written 15p

because it is an abbreviation

the word is pence

as in, Mike the dickhead governor.

The word ‘bugbear’

You could say the it’s my bugbear.

Tim Minchin Jesus Christ Superstar

I have no idea where this is from but THANK YOU to whoever made it you gem.

But seriously where did it come from? ‘Pet hate’ makes sense. We all have little, ultimately insignificant irritations in our lives that we love to moan about. We adore and cherish these little dislikes, and sometimes we cultivate them into something we’re known for, like ‘never chew with your mouth open in front of Sally’. Mine include: my neighbour who got a driveway but always parks in the space the rest of us could use, Tumblr users who forget the world exists outside their ideal of it and people who think I’ll embrace Brexit. Oh, and the word poorly. We need pet hates because they distract us from big hates, like Donald Trump’s supporters, and if we focused on them we would wish we were dead.

But bugbear needs to fuck off.

What are your most hated words and phrases? Do other people even have any? COMPLAIN BELOW.

Christmas in September, and Other Small Ways I Damn My Soul to Hell

I wasn’t sure of a lot growing up – books disintegrate in the bath some days, but on others they just go crackly and if that’s not a sign the universe is a risky place, I don’t know what is –  but I was sure of one thing: Christmas marketing in September is for wankers. There is a pure and fiery place in hell for the motherfuckers in charge of Clintons and Smiths and Sainsburys who decide to introduce Christmas stock before schools go back. Before Halloween. Before I’m ready to put my shorts away and get out my scarves.


Winter is coming, hiss advent calendars and crackers. The year is nearly over, whisper tablecloths and novelty teapots. We want to access your bank account and bleed you dry, murmur the fake Christmas trees.

DIE IN A HOLE, I retort as I browse for factor 15 or Halloween confetti or regular teapots. YOU WILL NEVER CONVINCE ME THAT CHRISTMAS SHOULD START UNTIL AFTER BONFIRE NIGHT.

I feel like this every year. It’s bad enough that Christmas is expensive and loses its magic a bit more every year; I won’t be bullied into buying cheap seasonal cushion covers. And yet recently I’ve realised that I’m well on my way to becoming a giant hypocrite. I preach, but I don’t practise.

Because here’s a fact they don’t pin to gondolas in Debenhams: when you run a shop, even a tiny one on Etsy, Christmas has to start in July at the latest. It has to. Because if you start it any later, you may as spend the rest of the year with your feet up, picturing money you’ll never hold going down the drain.

There’s stock to order and goals to set, last year’s stats to analyse and shipping times to work out. There’s Black Friday game plans and seasonal packaging, contingency plans and Instagram graphics.There’s custom orders versus regular ones, craft fair table decorations and notes on scrap paper as you calculate how much cash you can tie up in products that might sell. If you’re an artist and you carve out time in your day to make art, you carve up that part of the day to become an accountant, a marketing manager, a PR officer, an HR admin – even more than you would the rest of the year. You worry over minute photo details, because that’s where the devil lives, and rewrite product descriptions until you fall in love with a postcard you’ve seen every day for a year. You sign up to newsletters to learn about ‘streamlining your shipping station’ and ‘managing your brand’.

You actually find it kind of fun, because the aim is to earn as much money from your art as you can during the most affluent time of year… and if you were happy just to make the art, you wouldn’t have started an Etsy shop.

By the first of October, you think you’ve got it. You’ve got notes and stock and to do lists and you can picture yourself emerging from the January sales with triumphant fistfuls of profit that make those fourteen hour work days worth it.

And then you remember –

Halloween is in a few weeks. It’s supposed to be your dry run.

You’d better dig out last year’s stats and grab your confetti. The time for targeted marketing isn’t 6th November, it’s now.


You’re all getting little plastic bats if you order from me until the 31st. You might get little plastic snowflakes in November and December. There’s money in the nation’s pockets and I’d rather it went to me than to Debenhams.

I probably deserve to get cheap seasonal cushion covers for Christmas, but I promise I will never try to sell you a novelty tea pot.

I Got Mail and It Wasn’t Something I Ordered for My Shop

I submitted a piece of writing to a publication today and holy shit I had forgotten how stressful it is. Not the writing (okay maybe a little bit the writing) but the titling and proofing and second guessing whether you can even speak English.

I’m going to de-stress by looking at my recently-filled bank account and browsing Etsy for cute things. Speaking of cute, this arrived in my postbox the other day:

I love fan art zines and anthologies (this is going alongside Ladies of Literature Volumes I and II, and a Heroes of Olympus one). Reading them is the only time I ever wish I could draw as well as I write, because no one ever does writing zines… I guess they would be called books. Anyway thank you to Caroline who very nicely sent me this even though the project’s closed (can  I just say that the level of sleuthing required to find zines that aren’t taking orders any more but you want one anyway and were just broke and abroad when orders were open is insane).

I’m going to peruse it and play a game where I choose which artists I would want to illustrate my work… spoiler alert ALL OF THEM. Also if you have no idea which book series this zine is from you need to read The Raven Cycle immediately. I’ve even reviewed it for you, kind of.

Urgh, now I want to organise a zine where writers and artists collaborate on work. Or just organise a zine. Or just buy more zines.

I’m going to Etsy.

Happy Friday!

Look, a GoPro on a Sparrow

I keep seeing that my grammar school blog is being shared and discussed on complete strangers’ Facebook pages. I also cleared out a large part of my room this weekend and got rid of about thirty magazines that I was hoarding for absolutely no reason*  so right now I’m feeling PRETTY EFFING SMUG.

I don’t have anything political or insightful to say, though, so I also feel like anyone who’s here expecting more sage wisdom will probably be disappointed. I guess I could talk about Donald Trump, but to be honest whenever I see him or his supporters I want to stick a fork in each eye, so in the interest of my good mood I’m going to share this instead:

Is the sparrow really angry or is it dancing? I might have to get a GoPro just to recreate that. Although with my technological skills it would probably be me recreating that…

*well, maybe I would read them someday. Or that’s what I told myself in 2013.

Heart Palpitations on One, Two-

It’s been another week, Francesca. Where have you been, Francesca.

On a first aid course, that’s where. Now I know what angina is, and why the recovery position is important (do not let your drunk friends fall asleep on their back or front if they haven’t puked yet). I’ve also been writing, which is more draining than I had remembered. I need a short nap every five hundred words.

Anyway. Remember this?

My order has arrived.

I’m not ready.

I can’t believe it’s been ten years since I first heard Welcome to the Black Parade.

There’s a flag in my bedroom and I might remove a wardrobe to make room for it.

I might have to put myself in the recovery position if the music hurts.

There’s Snot in My Hair, and You Really Needed to Know That.

My body’s 21st birthday present to itself was to catch a cold, so I’m interspersing work with those violent sneezes where you projectile snot over your hair/clothes/arm/phone. I watched that Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs programme yesterday, which was also the first time I’ve taken more than one paracetamol at a time for months, so I’m debating whether just to fill a mug with hot water and some honey (we have no lemon and I can’t taste anything anyway), curl up and read about witches in Essex. The perks of being freelance, blah blah blah.

I was going to take more photos for Etsy – why hello, Halloween – but with the snot situation I think I might be better off just doing inventory… there was a point to this blog as well but I’ve already forgotten it. Maybe I will go and write thank you cards next to a box of tissues, and pray my reactions are good enough not to accidentally infect everyone I’m writing to. There’s an anthrax joke there somewhere.

Sod it, I’m going to find the honey and work out when I can safely take more paracetamol. And the witch book is for work, so I will see you when I’ve crawled back out from under a blanket…