Monday was our first true adventure! We were headed to the Beamish Museum, a huge living history museum dedicated to life in the North through the years. The name 'museum' really doesn't give credit to places like Beamish. Beamish is a huge sprawling slice-of-life encounter, where you get to live and breathe as though you're in another era. I visited this place years ago with my parents and remember loving every moment of it. I'm very glad to say it entirely holds up as an adult, and I'd truly love to go back if I lived closer to enjoy all their seasonal activities throughout the year.
Beamish is comprised of several different areas, the best of which (in my opinion) is by far the 1900s Town. You can take a tram up to it from the entrance (this museum is seriously huge), or walk to it via a 1940s Farm, but we decided to hitch a ride on the tram. C'mon, how could we not?
The 'Town' itself features a whole slew of living, breathing shops you can take a look around and buy authentic items from. We were immediately directed to the sweet shop, where the shop keeper told us he was about to be making a whole new batch of acid drops to sell and we could watch. Everything at Beamish is done as authentically as possible, and the sweet-making process was no different. We watched in amazement as he made the drops completely from scratch using original machinery and techniques, explaining each step of the process as he performed it. It was really informative, and at the end, we were all given free samples. Brilliant! Entertaining, informative and yummy!
After that, we headed over to the cafe to grab a quick drink, before exploring the rest of the town. One side of the town is entirely dedicated to a terrace block that is the living quarters of various enhabitants, all doubling as their places of work. We visited a solicitor's office, a music teacher's home and even a dentist's surgery. The chap in the dentist's surgery was very informative and took great delight in explaining just how horrible everything was back then. And you thought you hated going to the dentist these days.
After visiting these lovely homes, we looked around the rest of the town. At the pharmacists I noticed they were selling bottles of sarsaparilla and I'd never tried one, so I decided to give it a go! These bottles were great. Back before glass bottles had bottle caps, they used to put small balls in the tops to keep them fresh. The only way to open a bottle was to force the glass ball down into it. Apparently they're still quite popular in Japan, which is where Beamish now imports their bottles from. As for the sarsaparilla? Sort of like dandelion and burdock, a very medicinal taste. I kept the bottle, but probably won't go back for seconds.
We bought some lovely freshly baked bread from the bakers, and looked around the co-op shop, bank and newspaper shop. You could spend hours in this part of the museum alone, but we pressed on as we only had one day to squeeze it all in!
We decided to walk back down and not take the tram, as there are various things to do on the way. The route back to the main entrance from the town passes by a train station, a small fair ground and a warehouse full of stock ready to be placed into Beamish someday. I think I read that they're in the process of building a 1950s area to the museum, which is of course right up my street, so I might have to make a return visit once they do. The warehouses were full to the rafters of wonderful vintage household products, everything from old fashioned vacuum cleaners to magazine collections. Again, I could have spent hours in here. I'm a complete sucker for this stuff.
Further along the road back to the main entrance, we came across the 1940s Farm. This place featured a farmhouse and assorted buildings, all ready for life at war. There was wonderful 40s music belting from the radio while we explored the living room, and then wondered around outside. There was a kitchen set up outside replicating the restaurants set up by the government during the war. I tried a Spam sandwich! It was actually really delicious. And to think Spam gets such a bad rep!
Afterwards, we plodded down to the Pit Village. This was a smaller area, featuring a schoolhouse, a fish n' chip shop and a chapel. The school house was a lot of fun. We spent far too much time trying to learn how to hoop roll, because we're all adults.
We went to the Colliery after, where we took a guided tour down a mine and learned just how awful life down there was. We also had a very eye-opening chat with a man who was one in a long line of proud Northern miners and who had a lot to say about the closures of the mining industry in the 1980s. I must say, the people at Beamish were all so passionate about their roles. They were all so well informed and chatty!
After, it was finally time to meet with the rest of our group (we had split up way at the start and didn't see much of each other during the whole trip!). We arranged to meet back in the pub up in the town, but they had gotten distracted so Moose and I sat and enjoyed a beer while we waited for the last tram home.
And then we went home and slept forever! Seriously, I adore Beamish! I'm sorry for so many photos, but I couldn't narrow them down very well (I took so many!) I'm so sad it's so far away from us down here in the South because I'd love to visit more often. I really, really recommend a visit if anyone's considering the trip. It's a wonderful, informative and fun day out and I can't wait to see how their new developments pan out.
Our second day was our first full day, and we had planned to stay local and visit our nearby beach, Saltburn-by-the-Sea and grab a Sunday roast somewhere along the coast. Sadly, we hadn't done our research properly and found Saltburn completely taken over by a vintage car rally. While it would have been lovely to have looked around (I love vintage vehicles), the whole place was heaving and there was literally nowhere left to park. In the end, we decided to drive around a little bit and see what else we could find instead.
We stumbled across a lovely little village called Skinningrove, right by the coast. It was a gloriously sunny day, so we were lucky enough to enjoy a proper stroll along the sand.
After, we set out to find the Sunday roast we'd dreamed of. We read good reviews of a nearby pub, but unfortunately, it being lunch time by the time we got there, the place was packed and we had to look elsewhere. We ended up driving towards Whitby, and finally decided to park up and go on a hunt for food. We found a seafood restaurant called Trenchers. I'm not a huge seafood fan, really, and this place was exclusively fish. My Mum's allergic, so growing up I never really had it. I only started exploring the options when Moose and I started dating, so looking at Trencher's menu was a little daunting at first. I ended up opting for the simple fish and chips (I know, I'm so adventurous) with a prawn cocktail starter. Moose ordered a crab starter to share as I'd never eaten crab before - can't say I was a huge fan!
Anyway, the food was delicious (crab aside, and I don't think that was any fault of the restaurant, I just don't think it's for me now I've finally tried it), and one thing I liked about Trenchers was how they had a chalk board on the wall explaining who had caught today's fish, and where. Always encouraging to know your food is fresh and from sustainable sources!
I really like Whitby, but both times we visited were quite fleeting and it'd be nice to have a full day exploring the place. We watched some people catching crabs before heading back but didn't have very long to look around. Next time!
A couple of years ago, my friends and I all went down to Cornwall for a week, where we rented a lovely big cottage and spent the days adventuring around the West Country. This year, we decided to travel a little further. We kept it in the UK to try and keep costs down a little, but this time opted to visit Yorkshire, a good 250 miles away up north!
We found a gorgeous farm house in Guisborough, just half an hour from Whitby and only a couple of miles from the coast. This place was perfect, with two reception rooms, a huge dining table for gaming and group meals, and a self contained games room fully equipped with a pool table, table tennis, foosball and even a dart board!
Originally, I toyed with the idea of driving up, but we discovered that flying to Newcastle from Bristol International was actually pretty cheap (tickets were under £100) and the flight took less than an hour. Beats a five-six hour drive, that's for sure! The only downside was that the flights were so early in the morning - going up wasn't so bad, but having to leave our comfortable, warm farmhouse at 3am on our last morning to catch our return flight was some kind of cruel and unusual punishment. Sarah, who had opted to drive for some crazy reason, and who was able to sleep in and leave at a far more sociable hour, certainly got the last laugh on that one.
Anyway, back to the beginning! After an airport breakfast (did you know Burger King at Bristol Airport sells beer??), we boarded our flight and escaped the rain. It was actually gloriosly sunny in Yorkshire for almost the entire holiday. We were very lucky! The flight took about 48 minutes, most of which was spent playing dumb games on my phone. I gotta say, it's very strange taking a flight to another part of the UK. I associate airports with foreign holidays, of course, so stepping foot back on British soil after a flight was a new experience to me!
Joe went to collect the car while we waited with our luggage. We couldn't get into our house until 3pm, so we decided to make a day of it by driving down to Whitby for lunch. We arranged to meet Sarah, who had decided to drive up. Unfortunately, Whitby on a sunny Saturday was a very popular choice, and we ended up at a very busy Wetherspoon pub for lunch, which wasn't really our ideal start to an authentic Yorkshire holiday! Still, Wetherspoon is pretty good for encouraging local produce and I at least I managed to treat myself to some Whitby scampi and a pint of Whitby Brewery beer!
After lunch, we had a very quick look around before heading to the house. Tidkinhow Farm is actually situated up a private drive, through a working farm, and up a country lane. We were very, very secluded from the rest of the world! But, my, what a view!
That evening, we went food shopping as our plan was to eat plenty of meals at home to save a little money (plus group cooking is fun!) The rest of the night was spent in the games room, which was essentially just a giant barn full of fun things to play.
We had fajhitas and played a little Zombies!!! and celebrated the start of a very fun, busy week!
I hope you enjoy reading about our little adventure 'up North'! It all happened a few weeks ago now, so it's really nice reliving it all through blog posts and photos! We went to the Beamish Museum, Flamingo Land and Eden Camp, among other places, so if you'd like to read more about those, feel free to check back in the coming weeks!
Hello! I know, I know, it's been a while. I've no excuse, aside from the fact that I'm a terrible blogger! But there's something about Autumn, with the falling leaves and twinkly lights on crisp, chilly nights that just makes blogging feel right, so I've decided to blow the dust off this thing, crack my fingers and get to work.
October is, without a doubt, my favourite month. Autumn is, without a doubt, my favourite season. I sort of um and ah when Summer comes around, trying to decide if I like Summer the most, with its promise of sandy beaches, cold beers and evening BBQs, As the shops fill with cute little Summer dresses, slip-on shoes and fruity perfumes, I'm almost convinced that, yes, I'm a Summer girl.
But... then Autumn rolls around. And I realise now that, without a doubt, I'm an Autumn girl. I'm a pumpkins-and-cinnamon kind of girl. I'm layers and messy buns and thick, slouchy socks and chunky scarves. I'm nutmeg and hot chocolate (with a dash of rum!), and crisp sunny mornings. I'm the excitement of Halloween, the thrill of scary movies.
Autumn is absolutely my season, and October is the best month of all! Sure, Summer's nice and all, but it's got nothing on Autumn! And besides, you can still wear pretty dresses in Autumn. The colder weather just gives you an excuse to layer them up with some cute jumpers or cardigans! And who doesn't love the thick-tights-and-knee-high-boots combo?
* Photo credit
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.
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.