♥️ A long hot bath, full of bubbles, with a good book and a big glass of wine
♥️ UK Ponycon, and the friends and silliness encountered there
♥️ Podcasts, specifically 'MBMBAM', 'The Adventure Zone', 'No Such Thing As A Fish' and 'The Way I Heard It'
♥️ Disney holiday planning. Always.
♥️ 'The Good Place' on Netflix
It's no secret that I love Autumn. I sure talk about it a lot. It is by far my favourite season, so when I saw this 'Autumn Tag' over on There Might Be Coffee, I absolutely had to give it a go!
What signifies the start of Autumn for you?
Autumn begins when the leaves start turning on the trees and the world is surrounded with rusty oranges and beautiful golden browns. It's when the shops start selling thick, woolly dresses, knee high socks and jumpers, and when the nights start drawing in earlier each day.
What is your favourite Autumn scent?
I love so many scents traditionally associated with Autumn or Winter - ginger, nutmeg, salted caramel, toffee, but my absolute favourite of them all is cinnamon, hands down. I have loved cinnamon for as long as I can remember. It reminds of me Halloweens spent in America. It's just the nicest scent in the world.
What is your favourite Autumn colour?
I'm a sucker for them all, to be honest! But I love burgundy a whole bunch. I think they all look so lovely together - burgundy and mustard doesn't sound like a winning combination, perhaps, but it is!
Are you a fan of PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte)
Honestly I'm not a huge fan of overpriced chain-store coffee shop coffees! Sure, they're absolutely delicious, but I can't bring myself to spend nearly a fiver on a luke warm drink! On the rare occasions that I do drink at a Starbucks or a Costa, though, I'll find myself opting for their gingerbread or cinnamon spiced drinks. Nothing against Pumpkin Spice - that's lovely too! - but cinnamon is where it's at.
What is your favourite Autumn drink?
I don't really have a favourite drink so much, but Autumn is for sure the time when all the flavoured hot chocolates and coffees come out to play, and even though I don't drink them often, they sure do remind me of this season! I also love love love mulled wine, but that's more a Christmas drink, I think! Can't really beat a hot chocolate topped with cream and marshmallows, though, can you?
What’s your favourite coffee shop and their drink of choice?
Like I said earlier, I'm really not a huge fan of chain coffee shops. When I'm out I'll rarely pay for expensive coffee (I'd rather get a glass of wine!), so I don't have a favourite. Some do offer some very tempting flavours though, it has to be said!
Apple Pie or Pumpkin Pie?
Apple Pie when it's completely doused in cinnamon, haha! I like them both, but I rarely get the chance to try Pumpkin Pie as it's far more of an American thing. As long as it's got cinnamon in, though, I'm good to go.
What TV show, new or old, are you looking forward to in the next few months?
The Good Place season three is coming out weekly on Netflix and it's awesome! I don't think there's much happening on regular TV lately that I'm eyeballing. Doctor Who starts tonight but I'm not very excited about it, sadly. On Netflix, there's The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina coming soon, and also The Haunting of Hill House, both perfect for this spooky month!
What is your favourite Autumn fashion trend?
I am always a fan of thick woolly tights and knee-high socks. This year, the shops are flooded with pinafore dresses which are adorable, especially with polo neck jumpers and knee-high boots. There's loads of tartan around at the moment (I may have bought myself an adorable pinafore wrap-around that looks just like something out of The Heathers) which is lovely, and I'm digging the thick corduroy flares that are starting to appear, too.
What is your favourite comfort food to enjoy in the colder months?
I mean, I'll eat all the food, all the time, but in Autumn (and Winter) it's nice to have roast dinners and stews with big thick dumplings. Yum!
What is your favourite Autumn activity?
I love going out and doing something for Halloween. Last year my friends and I were all renting an apartment in Bristol for the week so we decorated and played horror themed boardgames like Mysterium and Zombies!!! I love going out to bonfire displays in November, too. I've never been pumpkin picking - there's no local farms that offer it sadly, but it's high on my bucket list for sure!
Do you like horror movies?
Of course!! My Mum and I are both suckers for horrors. She prefers the more paranormal spooks to the slashers and murderers, but I'll watch 'em all! I think I prefer paranormal stuff too, to be honest. You can't beat an evil house or poltergeist! But, I'll also take the silly teen screams, too. The only stuff I'm not really a huge fan of is the 'gore porn' style stuff - Hostel, House of Wax, etc. They're fine, if you're into that, but they're more 'cringe' than 'horror', to me.
Do you ever do anything fun for Halloween?
We always try to! My parents love Halloween - my Mum is especially into Halloween and Christmas - so we've always tried to do something. We've spent a lot of Halloweens in America, which is great because they go all out over there. I've spent Halloween night rocking out to my favourite band in California, we've been to Knott's Berry's Scary Farm, and we've even been to Sea World's after-hours Halloween event! (We wouldn't endorse Sea World these days, but this was a very long time ago!) I adore being in America for Halloween. I especially adore shopping in Michaels and spending my entire holiday budget on Halloween themed scrapbooking supplies. Ahem.
When we're home, we usually decorate the house but sadly these days we just don't get any trick-or-treaters to make it worth the effort. Living in a rural village is pretty boring. Because Halloween usually falls around MCM London Comic Con, we've been able to incorporate it with spooky fun, before. We had a little Halloween party there and even managed to get down to the London Dungeons for their after-hours Halloween event one year, too. Last year we had some friends visit from Europe so we all rented an Airbnb in Bristol and spent Halloween decorating and playing spooky boardgames, which was really nice. This year, my parents and I are actually going to Bristol again, this time to board the SS Great Britain for their 'Spooky Ship' event!
What was your favourite part about Halloween as a child?
Halloween as a child was magical. My parents made damned sure my whole childhood was magical, to be honest, but Halloween and Christmas were the biggies. Every year I'd dress up (always a witch!) and we'd carve pumpkins and decorate the house. We'd watch old Halloween cartoons and I was allowed to trick-or-treat to the one neighbour across the road who let us, haha. Mum would make up a special Halloween punch every year (which was alcoholic, of course, so I'd only ever be allowed a sip, haha) and the smell was just divine. Cinnamon and cloves and ahhhh. Heaven.
Are you a bigger fan of Bonfire Night or Halloween?
Halloween, for sure! But they're both a lot of fun. We got really lucky for a few years that our village actually put on a hell of a fire work show for the 5th, but lately we've had to travel further afield to get to one. I love love love fireworks. I find them exciting and so pretty and honestly a little bit romantic.
Where is your dream destination to visit in Autumn?
America! California, specifically. To me Autumn is basically Halloween and Halloween is best in America! My favourite band Oingo Boingo were once very big on the SoCal scene and they have special Halloween reunions now (sans their lead singer, sadly), so I'd go see them if I could. And I'd go do all the Disney, Universal and Knott's Berry Halloween events, too. God, I miss that place. It's been too long.
Do you always forget about the clocks going back?
Actually no! But that's mainly because they always go back on the same weekend as MCM London Comic Con, so we're all pretty relieved to get that extra hour of sleep in!
When do you usually start preparing for Christmas?
Usually any time around now, to be honest. Once Autumn hits, it's fair game. I haven't started Christmas shopping yet (as usual, I have no idea what to get anyone) but I've already bought some decorations (Primark, your Disney range is killing me.) I'm a complete sucker for Christmas. I get so annoyed when everyone's so grumpy and miserable about it! I'll be honest, I've already been caught singing Christmas songs around the house. We don't like to decorate before December but only because I wouldn't want to get used to the decorations (or worse yet, bored of them!)
This tag was fun! But of course, any chance to talk about Autumn and Halloween is good to me! I'm not going to tag anybody specifically, so please feel free to take part if you, too, love this season!!
I'm 'alternative', there's no doubt about it. I'm a [REDACTED]-something female with pastel pink hair who spends her days watching cartoons, playing video games and collecting My Little Ponies. I attend comic conventions where I dress up as fictional characters. I have a gaming PC and countless consoles. I play DnD. I wear vintage clothes. I have an unhealthy obsession with Disney.
I am not what one might call a 'regular' woman.
I am also a basic b*tch.
I love shopping. I love malls. I love buying new clothes. New Look and Primark are my weaknesses. I love scrapbooking and memory keeping. I love makeup - not the expensive, collector stuff; I love wandering into Superdrug and finding some new primer that I just have to try. I love making myself feel pretty. I love hair products.
I've been known to buy Cosmo.
I love TV. Not just Netflix. I love regular, live, TV. I love 'This Morning', and my not-so-guilty pleasure is watching Jeremy Kyle any morning I'm able. I love watching the news live, and I'm a sucker for (some!) reality TV. I love The Real Housewives of XYZ. I love Eastenders. I love The Chase. I love chick-flicks. I love romcoms.
I hate going to self-service check out counters, because I'd rather talk to a human being. I love talking to people, I work part time in a cafe and hear a lifetime's worth of stories. I hate the idea of online shopping, because I like being out and about and doing it for myself. I like meeting people.
I want to get married. I want to be somebody's wife. I want to take his surname (well, double-barrel it, at least!). If I were able to, I'd love to be a housewife. I'd love to keep the home and make all sorts of disastrous dinners and desserts. I want to own a house, and have a garden with pretty flowers in it.
And this stuff isn't always embraced in some nerdy social circles. I've seen it so often online. Only losers watch soaps. Only conceited, vain women care about their looks. Nerds are better than that! Nerds watch cult television and listen to obscure bands. The only sports nerds enjoy are esports. You can't be a nerd and enjoy football. You can't be a nerd and listen to chart music.
It's so silly! Surely nerd culture is about accepting people for who they are. A grown man who loves My Little Pony?? Sure, that's awesome! But a nerdy girl who enjoys Celebrity Big Brother? What a faker. What a Muggle! It seems that it's perfectly fine being an individual. liking whatever you want to like, until you like something considered mainstream and 'normal'. Why? Why does inclusion have a clause?
I love being alternative. I'm a big fat dork. I wear my nerdy little heart on my sleeve and proudly hoist my geek flag high. I've no shame in it, one bit.
And I also love being a basic b*tch.
Balance is the key to life, after all!
I love musicals. I've always loved musicals. From Irvin Berlin's black and white masterpieces to contemporary theatre and, of course, the occasional Disney tune. I've always been a sucker for them. However, when Hamilton started gaining traction in the theatre scene, I wasn't originally sold. Sure, some of the tracks were catchy, but I'm not really a hip hop kind of girl, and I dismissed it as a 'not really my thing'.
Gosh, how wrong I was.
A few years later, I saw some fan made anime music videos on Youtube. They featured scenes from Yuri on Ice set to various Hamilton tracks, and I suddenly found myself completely and utterly addicted to them. The songs were incredible, with sharp, witty lyrics and hauntingly beautiful numbers fuelled by a passion that made my heart ache. I found myself listening to the soundtrack on repeat for weeks. Hamilton soon found its way to the top of my list, with its inspirational story that lit a fire inside of me. It soon became the soundtrack to my convention prep work. If Alexander Hamilton could spend his days writing like he's running out of time, if he could push himself forward with such drive and determination, surely so could I? After all, I only have to paint some pieces to sell at comic conventions. It's not like I was busy, I dunno, trying to defend the newly written constitution, after all.
So Hamilton became an important part of my work process, and an inspirational mantra I'd call upon when I needed that little push.
When I heard that it was actually coming to the West End, I desperately wanted to see it. But, Hamilton is a powerhouse of modern theatre. Tickets sold out long before I even knew they were going on sale, and they were sold out until the end of time. I even looked into flying out to New York when flights came up really cheap. but Broadway prices are expensive, and again, very, very sold out.
I figured I stood next to no chance to ever see it live.
And then I did.
Hamilton has a 'lottery' app you can download, which gives you a chance to win extremely cheap tickets. The show opened previews on a Wednesday, and on Thursday I got a phone call at work. My friend Sarah, who had been playing the lottery with me, had won two tickets to see Hamilton the very next day. After a lot of screaming, crying, jumping for joy, work-shift-juggling and excitement, I was on the train on my way up to see Hamilton! On its very first Friday performance in London.
And it was amazing.
I'd initially been a little worried about seeing a different cast perform the roles I'd grown to know so well from the original Broadway run, but I needn't have been. Within moments, I was fully entranced with their performances, captivated and enthralled. I adore Lin-Manuel Miranda and I honestly don't think you could get a better Hamilton, but Jamael Westman made the character his own, too, even though he lacked the staple Hamilton ponytail. I'll forgive him. Just.
And then... I got to do it all over again!
Early this year, they extended its run at the Victoria Palace Theatre, and with the new dates of course came new tickets. My friend Archer and I dove at the chance, because the extension went through July, which meant we could see it for our birthday! Archer is one of my very best friends, and we happen to share the same birthday. Which is super ironic, because we were both born on the Fourth of July!
It was wonderful seeing it a second time around, because this time we were able to invite our friends along for the ride. Archer's sister Becca joined us, Moose and Luke joined and Sarah's boyfriend Matt came along, too. We got a Saturday matinee because Archer and Becca had come all the way down from Sheffield for the show, and this time I came extra prepared.
There's a website I am obsessed with called Artscow, and through them you can design and make your own clothing. I already own a bunch of Artscow dresses with my own art on them (and have even sold a few at conventions), but I knew I had to make a Hamilton dress for the show. I designed a simple golden dress with the famous Hamilton star logo, teamed it with a small black cardigan (which promptly came off in the extreme heat of our Summer this year!)
I teamed my dress with a badge from H0lyhandgrenade, another artist in the UK con scene, and an official Hamilton pin I'd purchased my first time seeing the show. I'm not too modest to say that my dress got a lot of attention! While outside waiting, a guy approached me and said he loved my dress and that he loved Hamilton. He wasn't even going to the show, he just knew what my dress was about! In the auditorium I had comments from the staff and some audience members, and a guy even found me on Twitter by following the hashtag and said his daughter had fallen in love with my dress at the show. It made me so happy! I'm so glad I took the time to design it. I really, really recommend Artscow if you ever want custom clothing. They've never let me down yet.
This performance of Hamilton had a couple of cast changes, including Hamilton himself. We had a different Lafayette/Jefferson too, who I think was a stand in for the main cast member, and I honestly preferred him to the regular guy. He was so dynamic and so fancy in both roles, absolutely perfect for the part. The main actor for the part is incredibly talented, but I just think he doesn't fit the role as accurately. Lafayette, and especially Jefferson, are such huge, showy characters. By contrast, I wasn't quite feeling the substitute Hamilton. Again, that's absolutely not to rain on their abilities at all. They are all phenomenally talented, but sometimes they just missed the mark a little, in my opinion.
Hamilton is absolutely my favourite musical, and I'm blown away with how lucky I've been to be able to see it twice in such a short space of time. Technically, because I saw it first in December and then again the following July, I've seen Hamilton once a year since it opened in the UK. 2019 is just around the corner. Y'know, it'd be a shame to break a now-annual tradition...
Anyone who knows me knows just how much I love Autumn. It is absolutely my favourite season. I find the changing colours so beautiful, I love the long, cosy evenings and Halloween is second only to Christmas for fun, festivities and magic. I love big chunky jumpers, knee high socks, misty mornings, cinnamon scented candles and, so help me, I love pumpkin spiced anything. I've always daydreamed of an Autumn wedding, with tables decorated in fallen leaves and mini pumpkins, with twinkling fairy lights and flickering lanterns, Christingle oranges surrounding a bowl of warm punch for the guests to enjoy. I love Halloween, when people find joy in the spooky and macabre. It's all just so pretty, and so much fun, and it paves the way for Christmas, which is officially the most wonderful time of the year, after all.
For sure, I'm happiest between October and January. It's when all the fun stuff happens! And I mean, don't get me wrong, I love Summer, but I always find the promise of Summer (visits to the beach, cold cocktails, picnics and outdoors adventures) a little disappointing against reality, where everywhere's cram packed full of people, where we squish the entire season into our two allotted weeks of sunshine, and where I don't feel body confident enough to wear half the skimpy, adorable clothes I see on sale. Summer, I love you, but gimme the season for woolly tights and ankle boots any day.
I've taken my love of the season to mark today as a 'relaunch' of my blog. I've been focusing a lot on my personal Instagram account lately and it's really made me miss blogging. I hope to be as active here as I am on there! I've spent the past week editing links here, revamping some old posts and trying to sort out my blog categories. Things are still a little messy so please stick with me - I honestly didn't realise what a difficult task it would be. Note to future bloggers: sort your tags out before you write hundreds of blog posts with dumb categories! Your future self with thank you!
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.
Adorable icon of by Tinrobo ❤