It’s finally Friday. The day of the week that arrives, like a superhero clad in cape and spandex, just in time to stop us battering our colleagues over the head with a keyboard and whisks us away for two days of escapism (and hopefully a few hours of video games).
This particular Friday has been made extra special for me, as Later Levels has been very kindly tagged in the Top 10 Happies post by the lovely Imtiaz over on Power Bomb Attack. This is a nomination doing the rounds where bloggers share their thoughts on ten things that make them cheerful – not only allowing us to get to know them a little better but also putting a smile on our faces in the process. With a big thank you to Imtiaz and without further ado, here’s my very own happy list.
1. My boys
Anyone to regularly stops by this blog has no doubt read about Pete and Ethan – my other-half and ten-year old stepson. I really don’t know what I’d do without these two and they provide so much inspiration and positivity every day. Pete puts up with a hell of a lot from me and I couldn’t do everything I do without his support; and Ethan has taught me that ‘everything is awesome when you’re part of a team’. Love them both to bits.
2. Adult weekends
This entry is nowhere near as rude as it sounds! Ethan stays with us on the weekends but every once in a while, Pete and I get to have one to ourselves – aka ‘an adult weekend’. They don’t happen frequently which is what makes them so special, and when they do come around they present an opportunity for us to spend some proper time together. You can usually find us doing a few of the things on this list, with the possibility of a few G&Ts thrown in for good measure.
3. Video games
What sort of happy list would this be without mentioning video games? I’ve been gaming for almost three decades now and ever since I found The Secret of Monkey Island as a nine-year old, I’ve loved adventures in particular. There’s something great about waking up in the morning and knowing that you have nothing ahead of you for the day except that new game you’ve been dying to get stuck into; and it’s even better when you’ve got someone like Pete to play it with.
The other thing I love doing in my spare time besides playing video games is cooking. There have been several months where I’ve not been able to spend any time in the kitchen due to major renovations to the ground-floor of our house but now that it’s mostly finished, I’m able to get back out there. I’ve recently been baking at least once a week and sending Pete into work with cake for his colleagues; and the next recipe I’m planning on trying is this carrot cake (my favourite) by Terri Mae over at Sheikah Plate.
This entry is a nice follow-on from the one above: as much as I love cooking, food and the eating of it make me a very happy woman. A local restaurant does a special ‘I’ve Started and I’ll Finish’ menu where you don’t have a main course, but can order as many of their starters and desserts as you can manage. This is absolute heaven for me because I love trying a little bit of everything; and if you’re ever in Essex, I urge you to seek this place out for their creme brulee. You won’t regret it.
You don’t need to be a member of the press to get the most out of expos and there’s something addictive about that excitement of walking through the doors and seeing the crowd, the anticipation of meeting developers and talking about their work, and the happy exhaustion that comes from spending several days on your feet. I’m really looking forward to going to Kitacon next month for the first time properly, and then to EGX in September; then next year, maybe Gamescom.
7. Link and Zelda
No, I’m not referring to Nintendo’s well-known characters: I’m talking about our cats. We adopted these two shortly after moving into our house last October and they’ve become a firm part of the family since then. You’ll often find them popping up during streams and they became a feature of our GameBlast17 marathon earlier this year. And there are plenty of photos of Zelda on Instragram, as she insists on sitting in front of the television whenever I turn the PlayStation on.
8. Supporting SpecialEffect
I’ve supported this charity since meeting them at an event back in 2013 and the work they do is so inspiring. Their aim is to put fun and inclusion back into the lives of those with physical disabilities by helping them to play video games, using equipment such as modified controllers and eye-control software. If you ever have the opportunity to participate in GameBlast, volunteer for them at an expo or run as part of their team in the British 10K: just do it. It’ll be one of the most uplifting experiences you’ve ever had.
9. Blogging and the community
As well as video games, what sort of happy list would this be if I didn’t mention you lot? I’ve had such a great time since starting to blog regularly on Later Levels since the beginning of this year and I’ve learnt so much from the writers I’ve met; not only about games themselves, but also about how to become a better blogger myself and to push myself further. The biggest thank you from the bottom of my heart – you guys are awesome and you keep me smiling.
10. Nice surprises
Kim (@kissingthepixel) May 20, 2017
Nice surprises make me happy. From finding out you’ve been nominated for a blogging award by someone amazing you follow; to being mentioned in a tweet by a developer you’ve admired for a long time; to unexpectedly coming across a BioShock-inspired diving helmet at an antiques centre (true story). It’s those little unanticipated treats in life which make things sweet and interesting, and remind you that every day there’s a possibility something wondrous could happen.
In keeping with Imtiaz’s very own Top 10 Happies post, it’s now only fair to pass the baton on and find out what makes other bloggers happy. I’ve had the opportunity to work with the following writers a little more closely recently and you can expect a short collaboration post from us next week:
Even if you haven’t been mentioned above, let us know what makes you cheerful by either posting your own happy list or telling us in the comments below. Let’s keep that Friday feeling going for as long as we can!