I was recently tagged in a post called ‘20 Facts about My Disney Life’ by the lovely Hannah from Courage and Kindness and it got me thinking. I’m really quite new to the, uh, Disney life. I mean, I visited the parks as a kid, my parents took me to Disney World a few times and I’ve been to Disneyland in California a few of times, too. And of course, I’ve always been a huge fan of the movies! But I think I only really discovered the Disney ‘life’ a few years ago, on my second visit to Disneyland Paris.
It’s really weird looking back on my previous times at other Disney parks. My friend and I went to California years ago, and we went to Disneyland, but I don’t remember much about it. I hadn’t done obsessive amounts of research. I didn’t bore him with trivia about the park, and I didn’t know the tips and tricks necessary to make the day as queue-free and smooth as possible. I forget where we ate, or what it was and, shockingly, we didn’t even think about going into California Adventure! I read that it was mainly food few rides and that was enough to convince me it wasn’t worth the time or money.
What the heck??
Nowadays, I’d know California Adventure like the back of my hand before I even went in there. I’d know where to queue and where to eat and I’d know what was worth the fastpass. I know exactly how to make a trip to Disneyland the very best it can possibly be, and we’d strike with military precision.
So what’s changed?
Well, honestly, it’s the internet - or specifically, the Disney community. I went to Disneyland Paris with Moose last year for our anniversary and it was the most magical time ever. Before we went, I threw myself into planning and research. We’d done DLP before, but only for one day back in 2012, so planning a week long break was a whole new ball game for us. I found forums and communities and vloggers and before long I was making Disney friends on Twitter and Instagram. I learned that there was so much more than the week or two weeks of a Disney vacation - that it all extends so much further through the community, and it’s so great! I won’t get back to Disney World for a long time yet - we’re trying to be sensible and save for a mortgage instead - but I can still live the Disney magic through vloggers and bloggers! Watching people vlog their experiences, even the mundane parts like checking into the hotel or the journey on the bus, brings me such joy and anticipation! Someday that'll be me! And until then, I get to live vicariously through others, and share their joy and adventures. It's great!
So yes, while I'm quite new to the Disney Life, as it were, I've certainly thrown myself into it big time! I can safely say this blog is going to start focusing just a little too much on a certain Mouse! And so, without further ado, I present to you, 20 Facts About My Disney Life!
I am so lucky to live where I do! The Vintage Nostalgia Festival is right on my doorstep and I couldn't be more excited! The Vintage Nostalgia Festival has now become one of my absolute 'must do' events on my calendar and I am so glad it doesn't clash with MCM Expo, which is usually the weekend before!
The Vintage Nostalgia Festival is a three day event here in Wiltshire covering all things vintage and retro, with a heavy emphasis on mid-century goodness! So, y'know, exactly my cup of tea! I've been there the past two years and I was so excited to go back this time. I keep saying I'll camp there for the whole weekend experience because I bet the night life is incredible, but so far we've only managed to visit for a day trip. One day!
The event covers everything, from vintage cars, musicians, dances and dance classes to, of course, a ton of stalls selling all sorts of vintage and reproduction clothing, home-ware and other goodies. I fell in love with pretty much every dress I saw, but ended up only bringing home these two lawn flamingos, whom I've named Dotty and Lola! They'll be perfect for when Moose n' I get our own place together!
Here are some lovely photos from the day! Dad usually comes along with us but this time it was just me and Mum, sadly. We ate burgers and drank beer and I even competed in a sack race! This event is so much fun! We're so lucky to live so close to it. I can't wait until next year!
Oh man, you guys.
After our last Secret Cinema event, Doctor Strangelove, left us rather disappointed, Moose and I said we'd only go again if we really liked the film they were showing. When Secret Cinema announced that their next event was going to be 28 Days Later we didn't think twice before booking tickets. We both love 28 Days Later, and this time we dragged three friends, all Secret Cinema virgins, to the showing, too.
Now, last time you can read how Moose and I really didn't like how split up and lost we were during Doctor Strangelove. This time, the format was very different. Usually, Secret Cinema allocates you a role, a character you 'become' during the experience. This time, you were just "you". We didn't get a different job title, just the instructions to wear hospital scrubs and bring some necessary props (a sample of blood, for example.)
The location was the same as before, in an old printing press near Canada Water station. We joined the queue and the moment we got in line, I knew it was going to be excellent. Around us were signs warning of the RAGE virus. As we waited to enter the building, a zombie came running towards us, only to be chased away and beaten down by armed security. We were in line to get our trial vaccinations, the last hope, really, of surviving the zombie outbreak. And it was awesome.
Inside the building, we were given instructions, and our phones were secured in zip-lock bags. Secret Cinema has to remain some sort of secret, after all. We were warned of the dangers, and given a small drink to take, in the hopes that it might inoculate us from the virus. We were then lead into a room where we were instructed to lay down on the hospital beds and sleep. We'd be awoken and tested again, to see if the antidote had worked. In theory.
Instead, we were "awoken" early, by a woman with a flashlight in the dark, who instructed us to follow her. In fact, she gave us one word, one vital instruction;
And so we ran. We ran around the building like our lives depended on it - because they bloody well did! We ended up running through various rooms that had been decorated to scenes in the film, first meeting a priest and later catching our breath in Frank and Hannah's apartment. We finally found the military and, yes, the women and men were separated. The women were chatted up by a slimy sergeant while the men were forced to do physical exercises such as pushups and kickboxing to show their worth to the military. Right after that, we were given some free time to look around, grab food (including some delicious halumi fries!), have a drink and relax. We went outside to get some fresh air, and then returned to the dark apocalyptic inside world to play some games and enjoy the zombie rave that was underway.
Not long after we got back inside, the siren blared and it was finally time to watch the movie. We were escorted into a huge room where, instead of chairs, there were hospital beds. The screens were tilted on the ceiling, and we actually watched the whole film while laying down in bed! It was amazing! So relaxing after all that running around (and believe me, it was exhausting!), and so comfortable!
It was an absolutely mindblowing way to watch 28 Days Later. The atmosphere was incredible and exhilarating. There were moments when we were genuinely startled, and genuinely running with gusto to get away from the zombie menace. It wasn't quite as scary as some horror mazes you might find during Halloween, but it told an excellent story and it was a fun adaption of the movie. It made for a wonderful day out, and I can't wait to see what Secret Cinema has lined up next!
No, Moose and I aren't breaking up, don't worry! But I've been reshuffling a few things online, including this blog and my Instagram account! For the longest time, I've wanted to keep everything together; my personal life and art life, as I kind of figured they overlapped enough that it wouldn't bother people too much to see crossposting. However, I found myself feeling guilty if I posted shameless fashion posts to Instagram when people had followed me there for art, and I feel weird putting art here on my blog when people are probably coming here for Disney trip reports, haha.
That said, I used this place as my primary URL to link on my business card, so when people took my card at conventions, they'd come here, looking for art - and while I do link my art gallery and such on here, I always felt like this place's primary focus was the blog, which very rarely was about art at all! So, while my art and life kind of do overlap a lot (I only ever draw silly video game characters and all I do in my spare time is play video games, after all!), I think it makes to finally split things up a little bit.
So what does that mean? Well, basically, I've changed the URL for this place, which means Bloglovin' is currently very confused. I'm hoping to get the URL changed over soon! This place is now http://www.dreamsomehow.com, which is what I've been calling the blog, anyway. The focus here is going to be on life blogging and general nerdery, so expect game reviews, fashion posts, cosplay, adventures at Disneyland and various other fun things!
My previous URL, http://www.reaperfox.com, now links directly to a website specifically devoted to my art and crafts! I'll update the blog there too, but primarily that site is going to act as a hub for where to find my art online (Tumblr, Instagram, etc.), as well as a vaguely professional portfolio with commission information! Woo!
I really hope people enjoy the content I put out here on this blog! Now I've finally made this decision, I hope it's going to free me of the hangups I had with blogging. Crossposting art and lifestyle content might be for some folks, but I really don't think it's for me.
As for Instagram, I've split that up too! I actually wanted to for ages, but I didn't want to log in and out of accounts all the time. However, I recently discovered that Instagram actually has as really handy 'switch account' feature on their app, so that solved the problem! My @reaperfox IG account is going to be specifically for art posts and I've created a new @dreamsomehow IG to compliment this blog! Please feel free to follow either or both, I'd really love my IG presence to grow a little more now I'm finally using it regularly (especially my @dreamsomehow account, which I'm trying to update every day!)
Yeesh, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to calling it ‘MCM London Comic Con’! For the longest time this convention was called MCM Expo and that’s the name that’s forever stuck in my mind!
With another May over (hello, June!), it means that yet another London Comic Con has come and gone. For those of you who don’t know, London Comic Con (or MCM Expo) is the largest nerd con in the UK. It covers movies, television, comics and anime and it’s just getting bigger and better each year.
I’ve been selling my art there since 2010. I first started out in Comic Village, which is an area that used to be called ‘Artists Alley’ and used to be the place independent artists could sell their work. Over the years, as the con has morphed and changed, Artists Alley turned into Comic Village with a focus on independently created comics. A whole bunch of artists who sold mainly prints and crafts decided to move into the dealer’s area, and I have to say the move has been pretty favourable for me! The tables in the dealer’s section are a lot more expensive, but you certainly get what you pay for. The extra money buys you a table that is twice as large, and you get so much more room behind you for storage and movement (believe me, space at this con is a luxury!) The dealer’s section also gets way more footfall from people desperate to part with their cash, and - most importantly - you can sell pretty much whatever you like there.
This was my second time behind a dealer’s table at London MCM. I wasn’t in the best location in the world (mainly because tables sell out super fast and we had to book mine while on the Eurostar headed for Disneyland Paris, woops!) but I did well despite that! The dealers I was next to were lovely - one even gave me a little Delorean toy car as a thank you for being such a nice table neighbour! And it’s always so wonderful seeing my friends again as they come by. (Another awesome thing about having a table at conventions is having a sort of ‘home base’ that people can locate and plan around!) Friday was quite scary as sales were very, very low, and I was so worried it would be a trend for the whole weekend. Thankfully, Saturday picked up and by Sunday I had actually had one of my most successful conventions!
As usual, I didn’t take nearly as many photos as I wanted to, I didn't get to leave my table much apart from to get lunch and attend a couple of panels while Luke kindly watched the table for me. Usually, I manage to escape to see the League of Legends cosplay meet, but this year it clashed with a panel for 'Being Human' which is a show I used to adore! And they had the whole original cast there, which was pretty neat! Sarah and I went to a panel for that, and then I also went to an 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D' panel, terrified the finale might be spoiled (Moose and I haven't seen the last few episodes yet, eep!) Fortunately, the cast are all utterly professional and they didn't let anyone ruin anything for us (though a fan did manage to hint at what happens in the finale, which was annoying enough!)
This year's MCM was super smooth. Entry didn't seem like the mess it usually is, organisation was pretty much on point. Luke, Sarah, Moose and I all stayed in an apartment down the DLR line which worked out so well for us - we used to cram a bunch of us into a local hotel to keep things affordable, but the hotels have started cracking down on that and last year we got caught out. The apartment only took twenty minutes, door-to-door, and worked out not very much more than a hotel would have been. Plus, it meant we had somewhere to hang out and play games in the evening and somewhere to make bacon sandwiches in the morning. Brilliant!
This time last year, I hadn't seen any Star Wars movie. I'd somehow missed them as a kid, missed them as a teenager when the prequels came out, and never gotten around to catching up with them until Summer last year, when Moose and I were due to go to 'Secret Cinema Presents: The Empire Strikes Back'. I watched 'A New Hope' on the way to London, and then later made sure I watched 'Return of the Jedi' before we all watched 'The Force Awakens'.
This year was the first year I could celebrate May the 4th - aka Star Wars Day - as someone who had actually seen the films. Go me! So, to celebrate, I made sure I finished this silly little painting I've had in my head for a while now. Most of my crossover art makes sense in the scheme of things. This one... not so much.
Hello! As you can see, BEDA kind of went by the way again! I'm sorry! I had two conventions in a row (Just Fur The Weekend and BUCK) and then during BUCK I got super sick so I wasn't really in the mood to blog for a while! However, I'm back now, and while I probably won't be continuing with BEDA, I will be maintaining regular posts from here on out. As you can see, I've spent a little bit of time revamping my blog a bit, trying to make it match my personality a bit more! Hope you like the retro-ness of it all!
Here's a new piece I doodled a while ago and finally got around to finishing up! I've called it 'Bounce n' Pounce' because both Rengar and Gnar are pretty bouncy and, well, pouncy! I'd say there's no escaping these two! I wanted a very simple background, and I ended up using some brushes from Katikut for the grass (as well as *whispers* the default Photoshop grass brush, don't judge!)
Prints are available, and I'll of course have this for sale at MCM Expo this May! I've also uploaded it onto my Redbubble site as I think it makes a killer shirt design!!
Today we celebrated Luke's birthday by heading over to Bristol Zoo and enjoying all the lovely animals they had there! I thought it'd be a good chance to enjoy my new camera (a Sony A5000) but unfortunately the lens it comes with is pretty basic and it lacks the zoom I'm used to with my old Canon. Usually, this isn't a problem, and my A5000 takes far superior photos at closer range, but zoo animals are generally a hidden a little further away and the old zoom would have come in handy. Oh well! I'll treat myself to a better lens someday!
Still, it was a wonderful day. My highlight was dancing with the penguins, as they were entranced by my hand (and then my poncho) and kept following wherever I pointed and swayed! Very cute little things, it was like playing with a kitten by dangling a piece of string. I'm so sad nobody took a video of my magical penguin encounter.
I'm really happy with my choice of dress for the day! I bought this lovely Cath Kidston dress a while ago and I just love the print! It couldn't be more perfect for a trip to the zoo. I completed the look with my Disney Couture 'Simba' necklace, which sadly became hidden by my brown tribal-print poncho (heck, it is still April, after all!)
Here's a post I meant to make a long time ago, but at the time I didn't want to mess up my Disneyland Paris blogging (which I still need to finish, eep!). Since I've now abandoned the idea of keeping those posts in any sort of sensible order, I figured now would be a good enough time to talk about Secret Cinema: Doctor Strangelove!
For those who don't know what Secret Cinema is, it's basically a live interactive theatrical event themed after a particular movie of their choosing, complete with a bar and food vendors and, of course, a showing of the actual film. You're given a character, a whole new persona for the evening, and encouraged to dress accordingly. There are actually two different types of event; 'Secret Cinema Presents', and simply 'Secret Cinema'. 'Secret Cinema' is how they started, with events that were, well, sort of secret. You'd book your tickets blindly without any knowledge as to what the film was. Weeks before the showing, they'll send you the details of your outfit, your character and any props you should bring along, but won't reveal the film.
They seemed to stop putting on events like this, in favour of their incredibly popular 'Secret Cinema Presents'. These events seem to be much larger affairs, where the movie and theme is broadcast publicly from day one, which encourages more people to go, secure in the knowledge that the night will be one they'll enjoy. This started with 'Back To The Future', which was incredibly popular and looked amazing, I'm so sad I missed out on it!. Then, they put on 'Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back', which was Moose and my first foray into the world of Secret Cinema, and you can read all about that here. Put simply, it was incredible. We had an amazing time, loved every second of it so much that when they announced their next event, we jumped at the chance to book tickets.
This time, the event was simply Secret Cinema. All we knew from Secret Cinema was that the film seemed very 1960s, and very Cold War-y. Rumours started to spread that it might be Doctor Strangelove, which excited me no end because I actually hadn't seen it before, despite being a sucker for the Cold War and the Cold War era. I couldn't await to be designated a character for the evening so I could start buying props and costumes - 1960s clothes, be still my beating heart!
Finally, we received the email, and I was assigned a FCD, which was an airman, and Moose was assigned DOD, another military role. I actually ended up cheating and changing my character to a GOV - Government Official, so I could wear a pretty dress rather than a jump suit - I know, I know, kind of cheating really, but I did not want to buy a whole military airman outfit! Moose was fortunate to find his outfit cheap as a fancy dress piece, and I think it looked great! But then, I might be a little bias.
Finally the day came, and we dressed up, sorted out our props (I was to bring a rose, Moose had to provide surveillance maps) and our IDs, and we went down to the secret location (Canada Water, same place as Star Wars, actually). We were assigned different entrances depending on rank and ID but fortunately, Moose and I had the same door despite being different departments. We queued up together, and the whole area had been done up to resemble a military air base. Even from outside, with the actors not breaking character at all, it was very immersive and very impressive. We were so excited!
Now, Moose and I are admittedly quite a couple-y couple, and when we were warned we'd be separated for the start of the evening due to being different ranks, it originally put a dampener on things. We'd purchased these tickets in lieu of Valentines gifts, so we actually kind of wanted to celebrate together. So, when friend Laura (who had been to the event days earlier), warned us that we'd be separated, we were determined to make the most of it despite the circumstances! She advised that we should just throw ourselves into it and meet up after we've performed the tasks our characters had been given, so we arranged to meet up at the bar, and went our separate ways.
As a Government Lady, my first task involved going into a secret bar to talk to Lola. The bar was gorgeous. The decoration and scenery was just perfect. It was sexy and dimly lit with beautiful live music, beaded curtains to little dark alcoves where people were busy conducting their business. It was amazing! I was with some other Government Officials and we stuck together like glue. A lady named Purity taught us how to dance while we waited for a cocktail, and then we spoke to Lola. She tasked us with finding a diplomat.
And then ....it kind of all went down hill.
We bumbled around, as a group, lost and unsure what we were meant to do. We milled around the bar, before deciding to go back to Lola, who was now busy with some more people. We tried to overhear what she was telling them, but it was entirely different. We tried to wait to ask her again, but by then it was obvious that we were in the way of other people. So, we went to where we saw a bunch of diplomats, who were all paying guests like us, not actors. Surely they weren't what we had to find? So ...we just ended up horribly confused. I decided to wait around in the bar for a while, because I'd previously planned to meet Moose there and figured he might turn up (and it was such a lovely bar, I could have stayed there all night, honestly!) In the end one girl decided to go find her partner, who was had been assigned a Press character, and we left the bar into the outside area.
And that's when I realised why Moose hadn't been to the bar yet... because the rest of the event was huge and open and full of people that didn't know our secret bar existed! My new Government friend and I wandered around, lost for a while, until a chap came up to us and asked if we'd spoken to the Russian Diplomat yet. What? We were so confused. He advised that we should go and talk to him, so we wandered back to the secret bar, hoping for something, anything, to happen.
And honestly, that's how we spent most the night. Lost, confused, wandering around, following people who looked like they had a lead. Eventually we found the Russian Diplomat, who told us to go and do something outside, and that's where I finally bumped into Moose again, who had had an even more disorganised time than I. He'd been originally tasked with finding some secret codes, which he wrote down, and then the group of people he'd been with had all split up and nobody knew what they were doing - one had just gone to the food area and stayed there, and when Moose asked an actor for help, he was told it was all 'top secret'. Helpful! So when he finally found me, a good hour or so later, he was pretty annoyed. We hadn't eaten yet, and hadn't known there were actually two bars - he'd been waiting in an army mess, having no clue about the secret bar I'd been in. We were stressed because we wanted to get food before the film, annoyed because we'd spent so much of the time lost and confused, and generally not very satisfied!
By contrast, the milling around at their Star Wars event was amazing! We were free to come and go anywhere as we pleased, and while we had specific tasks to perform (trading with Jawas, for example!), it was all fun and easy and we didn't feel pressured or lost at all. We had had plenty of time to grab food and drink and meet actors and it was just generally very, very awesome. I get that with a Cold War themed movie, secrecy and deception is kind of par for the course, but when somebody who has paid nearly £70 asks for advice as to how they can get the very best out of their evening, it'd probably be nice to assist in that a little.
Reunited, we went and grabbed food, I showed Moose our secret bar and then it was time for the movie. Now, this is where the evening really was wonderful. The movie was incredible, and the actors really pulled you into the story. The film itself - Doctor Strangelove - was so so good! I'm so glad I watched it for the first time in such an amazing way - the climax ended with huge confetti canons exploding above our heads and (despite the hugely damning end to the film), we all rose and clapped and whooped for joy because it was such an amazing production. It was excellent.
We left, milled around in the rooms after that. There was an after party in the secret bar, but we decided to go home instead as it was late and the location was pretty far out from where Moose lives.
Over all, the night was... okay. The film was incredible. My night was significantly better than Moose's, I think, but simply because I was lost with other people who were also lost, which isn't a particularly great selling point, to be honest. Also, we had the secret bar, which I could have happily stayed in all evening, but it probably wasn't worth £70 to stay in the bar all night.
I cannot fault the actors at all. Everybody was great! Nobody broke character, and they were really good at pulling you in, even with small interactions that have no relevance to tasks or plot at all (a soldier got engaged in the bar and got very, very drunk, for example!) The scenery and environment was also really really great, but I'm a sucker for that stuff anyway. The biggest let down for us was that I think they were trying to do far too much with the event. Optional tasks are great fun - like I said, Star Wars was a blast! - but when you're guided into it, separated from your party and then forced to spend spend most of the evening wandering around because you missed something somewhere and have no way of fixing it... just ...eh. I heard a lot of people making the same complaint, which is quite reassuring since I was worried maybe it was just us! And it's such a shame, because I really did try to get involved and throw myself into it, and Moose did too. He showed me all the notes he'd taken and the codes he'd deciphered and I could tell he was really inspired at the start. The evening just plain became a confused mess midway through and I really hope in the future they revert back to the open-ended tasks where you can actually relax and enjoy yourselves.
The highlight of the entire evening for me was the film, because it's a great movie anyway and because the way they presented it was absolutely wonderful. The rest of the evening ...not so much.
We're eager to give Secret Cinema another try, though, since Star Wars was so danged good, maybe this one was a blip? So we've booked tickets to Secret Cinema's next production - '28 Days Later'! We're actually due to go in a couple of weeks and I am so excited! It's their first time with a horror movie and I hope it's really, really creepy! We haven't been assigned characters yet and I don't really know how they're going to go about it all, but I suppose not knowing is half the fun. It is a secret, after all!
My next event is BUCK, which is a convention dedicated to the new series of My Little Pony. I've vended there every year since it began and unfortunately this year is their last. I'm super excited to get there and sell some art, though, and here's my newest piece! I'm actually *blushes* really really behind with watching the latest series. I stopped at the start of series five and just never started up again, so I've been making a point of catching up before the weekend! One of the first episodes I saw was 'Tanks for the Memories', which I found just so touching and sad even though Rainbow Dash was acting like a bit of an idiot! So, I doodled up this! And I think it makes a really awesome looking t-shirt, too, so here it is on Redbubble!
Purchase on Redbubble!: http://www.redbubble.com/people/reaperfox/works/21427470-tanks-for-the-friendship
Here's a couple of silly phone camera wips, I need to get into the habit of taking more screenshots and photos of work in progress art because I know people find it really fun to look at.
Hey there! I'm Selena, an artist, blogger and video gamer - but maybe not always in that order! Dream Somehow is a geek, travel and Disney lifestyle blog dedicated to my nerdy little life! If you'd like to learn a little more about me, click here.