I saw this tag over on A Geek Girl's Guide by Michelle and I thought it'd be really fun to take part! Fandom is my life. I'm a complete and utter fangirl, I'm somebody who completely wears her heart - and her fandoms! - on her sleeve. Being involved in fandom has been such a world changer for me. Heck, I wouldn't be an artist if it wasn't for fandom, and I sure as heck wouldn't have the circle of friends I do now without it, either!
Have you ever made fan art?
Um... yeah. It's kind of my job, haha.
Have you ever written fan fiction?
I have! I've written fanfic my whole life. When I was a kid I used to use Dad's old Amstrad to write Sonic the Hedgehog stories! I mainly write 'drabbles' - stories limited to just 100 words - due to my very short attention span. You can find some of my fanfic over on my A03 page - it's mostly Doctor Who and Yuri on Ice! (and I'll warn you, though none of my fic is adult, I am a bit of a slasher... ahem!)
Have your ever gone to a special event for a fandom? (midnight releases, etc.)
Assuming we don't mean conventions, because boy, I've been to a lot of those, I've attended quite a few fandom events as well! I am fortunate enough to live right next to Wincanton, a small town that regularly hosts Discworld events such as Hogswatch, and I went to the midnight release of Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows, too (and I won cinema tickets for best fancy dress!)
Have you ever been active in a fandom community online?
Very much! I used to roleplay in the old days, and as a dedicated fanartist, I'm always sharing my creations with the world. I'm really active on Twitter, in Discord communities, and on forums (yes, some still exist!)
Have you ever made friends because of mutual fandoms?
Heck, most of my friends these days are through fandom in one way or another, either because I met them at cons, or through my art, or in an online video game. I'm a lifer, man.
I've been digging through my old Livejournal recently, a relic of the Internet’s past that I miss so much these days. I miss when blogging was personal, where people posted online diaries about their lives without a care to how messy they seemed, without ads or constant sponsorship. So many of my old entries are terrible, of course, teenage drivel complaining about friends or relationships (or the lack thereof!), lusting over celebrities, fawning over fandoms. But a lot of my old entries are digital time capsules, reminding me of songs I loved, places I visited, shows I watched.
One post I found that stood out was my old bucket list. Written back in 2012, it’s so interesting to see what mattered to me back then and compare it to the things I consider important now. It’s also quite inspiring to see how many things I have actually achieved since writing it. I thought I’d go through it now and see how many things we can cross off together… and I think I’ll draft up a new bucket list for the person I am now, eight years later.
Learn to surf, or at least give it a go [Nope, but I’d still love to try!]
Get married, and have a small, wonderfully themed wedding ('Autumn' or 'Luau') [Nope, sadly, but I’m still dead set on those themes!]
Go on a cruise down the Thames (a nice evening cruise especially, with wine and music) [Yes! I actually did this! Moose and I went on a Thames cruise with his parents as a sort of double-date anniversary gift! It was lovely!]
Take a flight in Concorde* (it'll never happen now, but I've wanted to do this since I was a kid, so it stays on my bucket list.) [fair]
Holiday on a canal boat [Yes! And you can read about it here!]
Publish a comic [Still no, but hopefully someday!]
Get featured in an anthology of comics or art [see above!]
Sell art at a convention [Yeah, I kind of nailed this one]
Visit the remaining Disney parks I haven't yet been to: [prior to 2012!]
--California Adventure Park
--Disneyland Park, Paris [Yep! I’ve actually been six times now! You can read about them in my Disney tag!]
--Walt Disney Studios Park [See above!]
--Hong Kong Disneyland
--Tokyo DisneySea [Yes! Earlier this year! I’m still in the process of writing it up!]
Go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida [Big plans to finally return to Florida finally in 2022, fingers crossed!]
Meet Danny Elfman [Sadly, still no. I've tried several times, though!]
Visit the Valve studios in Seattle [I’d still love to go, but Valve don't seem to be the same company they once were :(]
Own MOC (mint on card) My Little Pony 'Gypsy' [Nope - but someday!!]
Go on a 'Wolf Walk' in Reading [Sadly, they no longer offer wolf walking experiences to the public! Missed the boat here, I’m afraid.]
Go diving (even if it's just a little shallow dive) [Not yet!]
--Similarly, swim around a coral reef, among tropical fish [Still waiting!]
Own a dog [One day!!]
Swim in the Pacific Ocean (I can't believe I've not yet done this) [...and I still haven’t!]
Swim in the Dead Sea
Visit the 'Wonders' of the World I hadn't yet seen:
-Great Pyramid of Giza
--Great Wall of China
--Eiffel Tower [Yep! I'm in the middle of writing up a blog post about it!]
--Leaning Tower of Pisa
--Great Barrier Reef
Go to New York and do all that crazy New York stuff [Yes!! Visited twice, once at Christmas, too, in 2014! Read about that here!]
Ride in a helicopter [Nope… not sure I really care though, now!]
Ride in an air balloon [Nope, but I’d still like to!]
Own my own place [Hah. Yeah. Maybe someday.]
Have a pony room! [See above!]
Go to an ice hotel [No! We were going to go to one in Amsterdam but it was sadly closed the week we went!]
Swim with dolphins [Nope, but I’d still love to, provided we found an ethical place to do it]
Fly first class [Still the dream]
Do a 'high ropes' course somewhere [Maybe when I lose a few stone…]
Go on a banana boat ride [I mean, sure? Haha, not sure if this is bucket list material, but sure!]
Bask on a tropical island [Gosh, yes please. Still would like to!]
Do a Caribbean Cruise [...Maybe even a Disney one and visit Castaway Cay?]
Drink out of a coconut [Yes!! On a street market in New York, which isn’t the tropical destination I thought I’d do this in, but it was great until the heavens opened and we ended up in the middle of one of the most exciting storms I’ve ever encountered!]
Cram all of my friends into a photo booth and take some dumb photos [Well, I’ve crammed some friends into a booth for photos! Not sure why this is a bucket list entry, though! Past me had pretty low expectations, haha.]
Do all the achievements in TF2 [Hah. Only 131 to go…]
Get a pentakill in League of Legends [...Do bot games count?]
Be a bridesmaid [Naw. None of my best friends seem to want to get married :(]
See the Northern Lights [I’d still love to, maybe on a cruise somewhere…]
So, there you have it! That is what 2012 me considered a bucket list! A few of those entries remain pretty solid, to me. I'd still love to visit an ice hotel, for example, and I can only dream of the day I achieve a pentakill in League of Legends! But some parts? I'm not sure why I ever thought a squished photo booth photo or a banana boat ride was that exciting. And visiting Mount Everest? Sounds a bit cold and dangerous, to me!
I'm going to write up a new bucket list. I think I'll be including quite a few things from this old one, but my tastes and priorities have changed a little since 2012, and it'll be nice to see what I can achieve in the next eight years going forward. Do you have a bucket list? Has it changed over the years? Did you manage to tick many things off?
This is actually an outfit from a little while ago, but I love it so much I felt I had to include it. In honour of it being UK Ponycon that weekend, I'd braided my hair overnight resulting in this fabulous 80s faux perm! It reminds me of how I styled my hair for Secret Cinema's 'Stranger Things' event - dang I love the 1980s and its ridiculous fashion choices.
Dress - The White Stuff
Leggings - Primark
Boots - Rocket Dog
I don't know about you, but I've been using lockdown as an excuse to devour as much media I as I can! From books, to Netflix, to games I'd not yet tried and, especially, podcasts!
Podcasts are the newest form of media to me, but one I took to super fast! In fact, I've become such a podcast fan that I rarely listen to music in my car, not even my carefully curated YouTube Music or Spotify playlists. Instead, I turn to Pocket Casts, an app perfectly tailored to podcasts. Here's my top five podcasts to listen to, but I suspect I'll find many more to enjoy before 2020 is over!
No Such Thing As A Fish
This is currently my #1 podcast! I enjoy the show so much, I've actually seen them perform it live in London twice (and was booked to see them during lockdown for a special 'drive-in' event that sadly was cancelled). No Such Thing As A Fish' is a podcast by some of the fact-finders behind the TV show 'QI', where they each tell you a random interesting fact they've researched that week. I used to love QI, but I much prefer this podcast - it feels far more authentic, rather than relying on comedians, celebrities and performances. Instead, you have four people chatting about their fact of the week, and it feels like you're just hanging out with three friends, bantering in the pub. Which, y'know, is something I've very much missed this year. You can jump in on any episode, they're all great.
The Adventure Zone
If you're into Dungeons & Dragons (or any tabletop roleplay game, for that matter), you've probably heard of 'Critical Role', and I'd say 'The Adventure Zone' was its little brother. Originally a spin-off from their 'advice' show' 'My Brother, My Brother & Me', 'The Adventure Zone' began life as a D&D adventure by the McElroy brothers and it has since become so much more than that. It's been running since 2014 and has changed form, game-play system and story many times, but I'd honestly recommend starting at the very start. In my opinion, their first season, 'Balance', is still the best story of the lot, with the best characters of the lot, and it's probably the one you've heard of if you've heard of any of them.
The Way I Heard It
I don't really know how I found this one, but I absolutely love it. Dubbed 'True tales for the curious mind with a short attention span', 'The Way I Heard' It by Mike Rowe is a podcast about real life people, and real life stories... though maybe sometimes a little... fabricated. The way he talks and spins his stories is utterly captivating, and each only ten minutes or so long, so it's perfect for a short commute. I absolutely love the reveal at the ending of so many of his tales, and so many times I've been left in awe with honest-to-God goosebumps! You can jump in on any episode, but I really recommend episode 96 - 'The Pilot and the Passenger'!
'Teen Creeps' is a podcast about young adult fiction - or specifically, about those old horror books we all loved as young teenagers. I was a sucker for Point Horror books, and R.L Stine in particular, and Teen Creeps digs right into these as well as a bunch of other books by similar authors in the same creepy vein. Sometimes the hosts are a little chatty and go on slight tangents, but they're nice and enjoyable to listen to and often make me giggle as they reveal just how dumb and silly those old books were.
Beach Too Sandy, Water Too Wet
One of my favourite pass times is reading TripAdvisor reviews on places I've been to. I particularly love reading negative reviews on places I love, because it honestly astounds me sometimes how crazy some reviewers can be! When I found 'Beach Too Sandy, Water Too Wet'. I couldn't believe my luck. A podcast devoted to unfair and often bonkers reviews of places? Sign me up! Their dramatic readings of one star reviews are genuinely a joy to listen to, but you might lose your faith in society a little bit!
(aka All aboard the Birthday Boat)
Back in 2011, my birthday was spent mostly on board a 69 foot canal boat, cruising down the Kennet & Avon canal in celebration of my many years on earth (or rather, in avoidance of it.)
The decision to go on a short canal holiday was partially my need to do something different, and partially due to my friend DC's love of such things. He had done a similar trip a few years ago with friends, and had been saying he wanted to do one again for some time. I dove at the chance, because I didn't want the emphasis this year to be on my birthday (nearing death) so much as on having fun (no death allowed).
I chose Foxhanger Canal Holidays entirely for their name, because each boat on their fleet is named after a fox or fox-related thing. Sadly, of all the Foxcubs and Fennec Foxes, on their fleet we got Fox Terrier, sister to the Fox Hunter. Irony.
Still, the boat itself was gorgeous. Nearly 70 feet of compact comfort, two double beds, a set of bunk beds and a sofa-bed in the living room. DC, Luke, Sarah, myself and Moose would all be there Monday to Friday, and the plan was that Pash would join us Tuesday evening in Bradford-on-Avon for a Savage World's roleplay and a meal in the Lock Inn, a fantastic pub-café-restaurant with a lovely owner and even lovelier food.
I'll admit, I was the most neurotic of the bunch, because the whole trip was on my head and because the £200 damage deposit was on Dad's head, so it wasn't entirely the relaxing holiday I'd planned. Every bump or scrape worried me, and when we got stuck turning around on the Wednesday, I dang near had a nervous breakdown. While Pash, Luke, DC and Sarah kept calm and did all they could to unstick the boat, I was inside crying and panicking and drinking cinnamon flavoured whiskey while being comforted by a comforting Moose.
He said, or Sarah said, or Pash or someone said, that I'd look back on this and laugh, and he's or she or they are right, because looking back it is downright hilarious. Had anyone else organised the trip, I would have been laughing and rolling my eyes, saying 'oh god, isn't it all so typical that we should do this'.
A guy we'd met previously, who had Skipper on his hat and who, thank the gods, knew what he was doing, finally came to our aid. He jumped off his boat and helped us. He took control, told us what to do, and finally had his own boat tow us out of the Avoncliffe Viaduct shallows, towards victory. Or, at least towards Bradford.
But. I digress, because all that happened on the Wednesday, which meant we had had two days of clear sailing before we ran ashore. We stopped at the Barge Inn Monday night, which was only an hour or so from where we had originally set off. The food was average (duck eggs, ham and chips for me), the prices were high, we probably wouldn't do it again, but it was a nice way to see in the start of our holiday. The night was spent playing Cranium and Munchkin and eating my Team Fortress 2 decorated birthday cake.
Tuesday night was spent with the company of Pash in Bradford-on-Avon, and Wednesday we went further down the canal towards our final destination (after the turning-around fiasco) and ate a gorgeous lamb roast cooked up by the fabulous DC. It made the whole boat smell of mint and of love.
On Thursday, we travelled back alongside Foxcub, a Foxhanger fleet boat we'd shared most of our return journey with, and alongside whom we'd completed many locks and swing bridges. Moose and I discovered that one of the locks had been left open, and a mamma duck and her babies had swam right into it. The fact Foxcub and OUR boat was heading straight into the lock was enough to kill me, because the duck and her babies would surely be crushed by our boats if we went in. I panicked. We ushered MammaDuck and her babies out, but they didn't want to go far from the lock. A nearby peep peep peeping revealed why; she had a baby still in the bushes, the other side of the lock from where we'd ushered her. While someone else sorted out the lock, Moose and I hunted for the duckling. I wasn't going to let the duckling stay there alone, and eventually I found it hiding in some undergrowth, surrounded by thorns and nettles. I scooped him up and dropped him into the water near MammaDuck, but he kept swimming back to me, over and over. Eventually MammaDuck cottoned on and came over to him, which is just as well because I bloody well would have taken him home with me had she rejected him. Eventually he swam up to her and joined her brood. Only...
...as we walked back to the boat, I heard another peep peep peep, and someone said "I think there's another one. Eh. Mother Nature can be cruel."
Yeah, sure she can, but had I left that second peep peep to starve and die, the whole holiday would be ruined. So I searched and searched and there he was, near where I found the first, all motionless and soft and adorable. I picked him up and he didn't move. I thought shock had gotten to him, but the moment he heard his mother's quack, he squirmed and dived out of my hand, backflipped into the water and zoomed towards her. Validated, chuffed, saviour to duck-kin, I re-boarded our boat and considered the holiday a success. We headed back to the hanger where we'd picked up our boat, packed up our belongings and finally left the Kennet & Avon canal.
I loved it. It was sad to end, despite my neurosis. I'd love to do something like it again, but further afield, and perhaps without my head being on the line should we somehow break the boat.
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It's been a long time since I posted any of my art here - and with 2020 being the way it is, I've not had many conventions to make art for lately! But, I've been slowly working on a few things here and there, and I've added a few new bits to my online shop. For those who don't follow me elsewhere on social media, I'm a pyrographer! That means I do wood-burnings. I usually burn cute animal and fantasy related subjects but when I saw these wooden coat hooks, I had to try something a little different!
The lines have been burned into the wood, and then I've coloured it in with pastels to give a really fun smooshy night sky effect. I finish all my pieces with several layers of glossy varnish to protect the colours and really make it 'pop'! This particular coat hook has been decorated with a scroll reading 'cloak hanger', which makes it for cosplayers, LARPers, or anyone, really, who might own a cloak!
As of posting this is still available in my shop! If you're interested in seeing more of my work, I have a separate website dedicated to my art and pyrography! I'd love it if you took a look and maybe had a cheeky browse around my online shop as well! I'll try to remember to post more of my art here as well as my other socials. It feels weird excluding such a large part of my life from my, y'know, lifestyle blog, after all.
For birthday way back in 2012, my friends, Moose and I all went to Disneyland Paris! It was my very first time out there - I've since returned several times! We flew out from Bristol Airport on Thursday the 5th of July and the plan was to spend one day in Disneyland Paris, one day in Actual Paris, and then flew home. It was only a quick whirlwind holiday but we crammed so much in our few days out there.
Our flight was due to leave Bristol at 4:10 but we were stuck on the ground for an hour thanks to bad weather in Paris. Fortunately, we'd come armed with Magic: the Gathering cards to play in the airport. No use sitting around bored, after all. Big tip - always take cards of some sort for airports and long journeys! Magic: The Gathering is a great one, Exploding Kittens or Unstable Unicorns are great for it too!
Landing at Paris and finding our hotel was easy as pie since my Dad had actually booked a taxi to take us directly there. I've never had someone hold my name up at an airport before! I felt Very Important. We checked in, explored our rooms (we actually had a little apartment-hotel) and then went for a wander around the local area.
Val d'Europe is an area that thrives off the Disney tourism - it was actually built in conjunction with Disneyland Paris. There's a huge American style mall there, some gorgeous restaurants and everything just looks pretty and clean and new. We had dinner in a lovely Italian restaurant just inside the mall, stuffed ourselves silly, and were pretty satisfied with a perfect end to our journey. Afterwards, we had a bit of a waddle around to walk off all the food, saw the lights of Disney's Space Mountain in the distance, and said 'ahhhh, this is already good!!'
The next day, we were up early and out the door by 8 to catch the first shuttle bus of the day to Disneyland! They officially open at 10 but I'd heard they often open the gates earlier, so we made sure we were there in plenty of time. It meant hanging out for a while outside the gates just pawing at Disneyland Studios from afar, but we didn't mind. Since the Studios close earlier than the main park, we decided to go there first. There's a ride called 'Crush's Coaster' which doesn't have a fast pass system and is unique to this park, so I was advised by Disney experts to rush straight for it as the gates opened. It was wild! The moment the gates opened, people were literally sprinting past us to hit Crush's Coaster first. The queue for the ride was totally worth it, though. In fact, it was probably one of my favourite rides in the whole two parks. It started off really peaceful and fun but the end was a swirling dark Space Mountain-esque rollercoaster that had us giggling like idiots all the way through. Totally awesome.
After Crush's, we went to get a fast pass ticket for the Tower of Terror, a ride I'd not yet been on in the American parks, and then went to ride the R.C Racer ride (which broke down as we got on it, yay!), grab food and drink and book our table at the Blue Lagoon restaurant later that evening. I asked the lady for a birthday pin even though it wasn't technically my birthday, and she obliged. There's an unwritten rule, I think, that you can have a birthday pin six months prior to your birthday, and six months after your birthday, also. Disney Magic.
Next up was the Tower of Terror and I really wasn't sure what to make of it because I didn't think I'd be a huge fan of drop rides, but of course, it's since become one of my absolute favourites, even if this was my reaction:
And after Tower of Terror, we decided to venture into the Disney Village, a restaurant-retail area between the parks, to grab lunch. We headed over to get lunch at Annette's Diner, where DC took them up on their mega burger challenge, offering you the chance to win a free shake if you finish their whole multi multi multi-burgered burger. He won!
Afterwards, we headed over to the main park. Finally! As we got in, we were just in time for an awesome little parade! We watched it from the main gazebo and then it started to rain, typically! So, we decided to hop on the train and do a loop around the entire park. I never actually use the trains and such in the Disney parks, but they're as much an attraction as the actual rides, so we stayed dry while enjoying a Disney railroad journey
We stepped off in Discoveryland, grabbed a fast pass for Space Mountain later and then went straight to the Buzz Lightyear ride since it was indoors (still raining.) I love the Buzz ride. It's so simple but so, so much fun. You're on a track, armed with laser guns and have to hit the targets. You're competing with the person sharing your buggy and of course, Moose won. Why doesn't that surprise me?
After Buzz, we went to Space Mountain, but in the queue I started getting a really strange headache. It felt entirely like the precursor to a migraine which I suffer from rarely, - but when I do get them, they slay me for days. I got completely wound up and upset and worried, so we hopped out of the queue to grab some water. Honestly, I was more upset that I'd messed up our schedule or that I'd ruined our day, but after some water and a slow walk towards the castle, it eased off, thank goodness. We only had this one day in the park and everything was on such a tight schedule, after all.
We milled around a little afterwards, rode some rides and explored La Cabane des Robinson (Robinson's Treehouse to you and me), and Adventure Isle, before finally ...enduring Small World before our dinner reservation.
We had dinner booked at the Blue Lagoon (now called Captain Jacks), which is a restaurant I'd been dying to eat in ever since I'd seen the Blue Bayou as a kid (hey, they're similar.) The menu is expensive (isn't everything in Disney?) but the food was absolutely gorgeous. I've heard that the quality has gone down considerably in recent years, which is a shame, because my three courses (prawn cocktail, Caribbean chicken and something coconutty, I recall) were delicious. I guess what you're really paying for is the atmosphere, though. Set in the middle of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, Blue Lagoon shares all the dimly lit, piratey atmosphere. You even get to wave to the ride boats as they go by. It's very lovely. I had a couple of glow-tinis too (cocktails with added glowing icecubes - Disney Magic!), because this was my official Birthday Dinner after all - a girl's gotta celebrate!
By now, it was starting to get dark, so we rode a few more rides (Big Thunder in the dark is incredible) while we waited for the firework display at the end. We actually saw that Space Mountain had a five minute queue, so we quickly bolted for it, as we'd missed the chance earlier. I was so glad we were able to tick every box of the main rides we wanted to do, even if Space Mountain kind of hurts my neck and head a whole bunch.
It absolutely amazes me that we were able to squeeze so much in to just one day, considering we managed to ride pretty much all the big ones, see the fireworks, eat two sit-down dinners (Anettes and Blue Lagoon), and catch a bit of the parade! If memory serves, we managed to ride:
I've since returned to Disneyland Paris five times and there's always something new I somehow missed last time. It's worth noting that the whole Ratatouille area in the Studios didn't exist when we first went, however! I can't wait to return again, but it won't be for a little while now. I'm waiting for their big Studios renovations to finish first, and in the meantime, I have a big Disney World trip to plan for in 2022 (er, if thing's get a little more normal by then.)
Anyway! Thanks for coming on this little trip down memory lane with me. I've got a few more trips to finally write up, but I thought you'd enjoy seeing these older photos. In the meantime, why not check out my trip reports from my return in 2015 and 2016!
Hi! I'm Selena an artist, blogger and gamer!
Dream Somehow is my little corner of the internet where I talk about life, the universe and everything! Here, you'll find travel, adventures, vintage style, life in the South West of England, a little bit of Disney dreaming and a whole lot of geeky nonsense. If you'd like to learn a little more about me, click here!