Moose and I haven't had an actual date, just the two of us, in a while. We're always busy doing things and going places with other people, which is awesome, of course, but I really fancied a day out that was just the two of us. I told Moose I was coming up to London and fully expected a day doing our old staple activities; a mooch around Southbank, a wander around Leicester Square and dinner in Chinatown after browsing Forbidden Planet. So, when he told me he'd found something different to do, I was intrigued! When I got to London, he told me we were going to go somewhere new, and that I was going to 'visit the mayor'. Of course, I was completely confused, and started wracking my brain for every mayor I could think of - are we riding 'Boris Bikes' around London? Goodness, I hope not!
We ended up on Brick Lane, by Old Spitalfields Market, where Moose said he'd heard there were lots of vintage stores he knew I'd like to look around. He was right! We spent an hour or so looking around a few lovely shops full of lovely vintage clothing and I resisted the urge to try on several dresses, before Moose said he thought it was time we went to 'visit the mayor'. We wandered around for a while and finally came across a little cafe/restaurant called The Breakfast Club. I decided that this was the surprise - a cafe themed around one of my favourite films? Excellent! Only as we approached, he told me that I have to tell the lady seating us that I'm here to 'see the mayor'. She greeted us and started to guide us to our table when Moose nudged me so I said, very sheepishly, that I was apparently here to see the mayor. She nodded knowingly, and then guided us into the restaurant and opened up a giant fridge. Confused, I assumed maybe I was getting a free drink for mentioning the 'mayor', only to see the waitress vanish through the fridge! Suddenly I clicked! This was a speakeasy, a secret bar under hidden behind a conspicuous fridge in a cafe! The waitress told us some rules, explaining that when we leave, we were to take a different door so as to keep the secret, and then we were lead down and inside 'The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town'!
The secret bar was small and cozy, with quirky, cat themed décor. The menu was mainly cocktails, where I opted for a very rich Bloody Mary that had a heck of a bite to it. They were expensive, but the atmosphere and experience more than made up for the price of the drinks. I got such a kick out of the whole thing! I love the knowledge that there were people in the cafe above us who had no idea that they were eating above a secret bar. It was great. It's really fun being 'in' on a secret like this, and I can't wait to check out more unusual places in London like it, now we're staring to venture off the beaten track.
It's no secret that my friends and I are all pretty big Doctor Who fans, so when Sarah suggested we all go to the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff for her birthday, who was I to refuse? I'd already visited here once before with Luke while some Australian friends of ours visited, but that was a very long time ago and so much has happened in the world of Doctor Who since then! The exhibition is actually in a new location from when we visited before and now lives in a purpose built warehouse just next to the bay. The biggest new feature was the actual 'Experience' part, which is a little guided event that happens before you enter the museum. I won't say much about it because of "spoilers, sweetie", but it was very cute!
The museum itself didn't really hold a candle to the old Earls Court exhibition a few years ago, where there were whole areas to walk around dedicated to certain episodes, giant props like the Empress of the Racnoss, and a large greenscreen where you can see yourself 'in' the TARDIS. They did have something similar at the Doctor Who Experience, but it was just a booth and you had to pay for the print. No, thanks.
Afterwards, we went for a wander around Cardiff Bay, and found the shrine to Torchwood's Ianto Jones that fans created in his memory! Sadly my camera died before I got any photos of it, but a quick Google search gives you an impression of what it is! I love that it exists, that fans are genuinely that passionate and dedicated to their fandoms, and that Cardiff City Council hasn't tried to take it away. The BBC even put up a plaque, making the whole thing quite official, though it does include a little note on the bottom explaining who Ianto was to anyone who isn't quite as Who-savvy as the rest of us!
I found this adorable Sass & Belle tin in Cardiff the other day and just had to pick it up. It's the perfect size to fit notes in, so I'm making a point of only putting £20s in it. It might be shallow to admit that most of my dreams, at the moment, are hiding behind a pay wall, but sadly that's the way life goes, sometimes. I want to be rid of debt this year by finally clearing my silly credit card, and I want to actually gather some savings for the future. Moose will hopefully be moving closer soon and, when he does, we can start planning a future together. Love may well be the most important thing in any relationship, but it doesn't pay for the deposit on a house.
To counter that bout of sensible maturity, however, I'm also using the tin for fun savings! We found a ridiculously good deal on Disneyland Paris for January next year, right around our anniversary again, so we're going to go for it! Given the aforementioned plans for the future, we can't really justify a trip to Florida or California anytime soon, so Disneyland Paris is a wonderful, affordable way of getting my fix without breaking the bank. Florida will always be there. Walt Disney World is very much a part of my plans for the future, too.
I've been meaning to design something I can actually put on products, and here it is! This will be on the top of things like packs of badges and stickers and mailing labels. Hope you like it! :)
It's no secret that I'm a huge book nerd. It's also no secret that I'm a really bad book nerd. I love books, and I love reading, but I rarely actually sit down and spend time with a good book these days. It's my own fault, really. I spend all my spare time online, playing video games or reading blogs and forums, and any time I would have once dedicated to reading - on the train, in the car, in the bath, even - I now spend watching shows on my tablet. I'm a pretty bad book nerd! And yet despite that, I keep buying new books! Yes, even after I promised on here that I'd stop. I'm sorry! (Not sorry).
I've been watching a bunch of Booktubers lately and some of them have been discussing 'book guilt', lately, which is mainly the guilt of buying new books when you have an entire shelf of unread books sitting there, begging for attention. My 'TBR' (To Be Read) pile isn't so much a pile... it's more a mountain. And considering I went out yesterday and bought four more books I don't think it's going to get smaller anytime soon!
And so, with that confession already out there, I thought it might be fun to finally own up to a few other secrets I've held onto over the years!
I haven't read all the Discworld books.
I'm a huge fan of the Discworld. Living just down the road from Wincanton, a town legally twinned with Ankh Morpork, it's difficult not to fall in love with the books and the characters that live within them. I've been a huge Discworld fan since I was a teenager and read Good Omens for the very first time (not a Discworld book, I know, but it's the one that started the ball rolling!). However, unlike most of my friends who are also all big fans, I've not read all the books in the series. In fact, I've hardly read any. I have a shelf full of them, all the art books, I own THUD, the tabletop game, and I was fortunate enough to meet Terry Pratchett numerous times, but I've only read a handful of the books themselves. The ones I have read are mainly the Death and Guards-themed books. I need to actually focus on reading the others, I know, but as I said earlier, I'm really bad at reading books!
I only read 1984 because of a Phoenix Wright fanfic set in a similar world.
And in fact, it kind of started my whole love of dystopian fiction. I've always been a fan of post-apocalyptic stories, but it took a fanfic to teach me there was a whole genre dedicated to dystopia! How embarrassing is that? I can't even remember the fanfic anymore, but I remember falling in love with the horrible, oppressive feel it had, so I ran out right away to find a copy of George Orwell's 1984.
Relatedly, I had no idea how 1984 ended, despite even having a degree in English, for crying out loud!
I never read 1984 in school. Heck, we didn't even touch Animal Farm. I somehow missed this hugely vital part of the English curriculum. I knew vaguely what it was about, but I didn't know how it ended. Yes, I know it's one of the most famous endings in literature but I'd somehow let it pass me by.
Funny anecdote time! The first time I read 1984, I was on a long train journey up North to visit my friend, Katy. The train stopped outside the station for a while and I was a few pages away from the end, and I in my naive, uneducated state wondered how the heck Winston Smith was going to save the day. I know! I had a few pages left and I genuinely believed he was going to win, take down Big Brother, save the day, save the world. What I got was... well, the ending of 1984. The train pulled into Manchester and I was completely numb! I met my friend, who thankfully is a huge book nerd herself and of course she'd read 1984, and the first thing I said was how I'd literally just finished the book. With that, she put an arm around me and simply said; "right, we're going to the pub."
I'm kinda-sorta obsessed with Sweet Valley High!
Yeah, I'm just really digging myself into a literary hole here, huh? All that stuff about 1984 and now this? Yep! A few years back, I found all my old Point Horror and Fear Street books and started devouring them! I loved them as a young adult, and really enjoyed reading through them again whenever I had a few moments. However, I found I was enjoying all the nonsense teen drama far more than the, y'know, brutal murder, so I set out to find books that focused more on that side of things. I remembered that we had a whole rack of Sweet Valley High books in our school library, so I set out to find some whenever I went to second hand stores. I found some, and immediately became hooked! I now own so many of them we have to store them all over the house! I just love the wholesome, simple tone so many of them have and I'm always flipping through them when I'm feeling down or a little blue. I read Sweet Valley High for the same reasons I love 90210 or Gossip Girl; simple escapism. I always wanted to be a teenager in an American high school as a kid, cheerleader, going to prom - and, yes, while I know these books and shows are far from a realistic example, I really don't turn to them for realism!
Back in April, we went to Longleat for the day to celebrate my friend Luke's birthday! I'm so fortunate to live close to Longleat, but I really don't visit nearly enough. As well as a wonderful safari park, Longleat has a wonderful huge hedge maze to get lost in for a few hours and some lovely gardens and manor house to explore. Frankly, though, I only care about the animals and, fortunately for us, they were all out and about! Sarah was even brave enough to take her car through the monkey enclosure despite their notoriety for causing damage to vehicles!
I thought I'd finally make a nice, simple commission price guide! Now everything's all neatly in one place, I'm going to revamp a few of my pages here and do some proper bloggy maintenance! If anyone would like a commission of any sort (website banner, personal character commission, business card designs etc.) please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org :)
With today being June 1st and MCM Expo well and truly behind us now, I figured it's about time I blew the dust off this place and actually tried some, y'know, blogging again! So much has happened in the past couple of months but I'd been so busy with art and convention prep that I just didn't have time to sit down and write about it all! So, in the next week or so I'm going to do a bit of a catch up and explain what I want to do with this little blog of mine! I'm going to make a schedule (she says) and I'm actually going to stick to it (she says.) The things I'll be recapping soon here are; a visit to Longleat, the Doctor Who Experience up in Cardiff, various trips to the theatre and, of course, a convention report about MCM Expo (London Comic Con) itself!
I've also just recently discovered a whole community on Youtube of artists and convention-goers who vlog and blog about their techniques and experiences making and selling art! Vlogging and Youtubing is something I've wanted to do for years and I've had a couple of false starts along the way in my efforts to overcome the crippling fear I have of talking to the camera! I've always felt like anything I could possibly say has been said by those far wittier, more charismatic or better looking than I, and what on Earth could I bring to the Youtubing table? All I do is draw, play video games and watch Netflix, haha, and there's really no shortage of gaming on Youtube, that's for sure.
So I discovered this side of Youtube I'd somehow missed before and it's all just clicked into place! I do have an angle! I draw, and I attend conventions selling my art and creations. When I was starting out, I remember being so daunted and terrified of the convention scene, I wish I'd had videos from people like me back in the day! It's easy to forget that we convention vendors see things from 'the other side of the fence' so to speak, and I think it might be really fun sharing that with people on Youtube! Plus, it then opens up my channel for other things, everyday nerding out, cosplay attempts (or more likely fails), trip reports and, yes, gaming. Lots of gaming.
So that's something I'm going to be trying out. The marker doodles above (taken shamefully from my Instagram account) were created this morning as I got to grips with the idea of filming an image start-to-finish! Whatever happens, it's going to be a fun little adventure! :)
I'm Selena, an artist, blogger and gamer - but maybe not always in that order! Dream Somehow is a blog dedicated to travel, geeky adventures, vintage style and a little bit of Disney Dreaming! If you'd like to learn a little more about me, click here.