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!
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
Here's a confession. I don't draw as much as I should.
That's not really a secret to people who know me. I'm a procrastinator. I'm a daydreamer rather than a doer. I'm determined in my goals, but not in my actions. I'm motivated in ways that do not help me and I lack gumption in ways that could push me forwards.
I find art - the act of making art - hard. Not the technical properties. Not anatomy or painting skills or perspective. I find it hard because I lack the drive. I have friends who wake up with this need to draw. They draw in the coffee shops, in class, in work, in bed. They draw, draw, draw because it's in their blood, it's their soul, it's what they do. They churn out pages and pages of sketches and designs and ideas, silly things like a new Zootopia fursona, or a sketch involving their roleplay character, or a doodle of Pikachu eating a cake, or thumbnail scenes for their latest comic idea, or anything and everything because that's what they do. I have friends who simply radiate creativity.
I absolutely, thoroughly, envy them.
I'm an artist. I know this. I knew it when I spent days drawing at the kitchen table as a child, and I know it now when somebody squeals at a print I'm selling, proclaiming their love for it, buying it to frame and hang on their wall. I know it with the same conviction that I know my name. My gender. My age. I am Selena Thomas. I am an artist.
There are people in the world who consider art a frivolous waste of time, as easy and expendable. They are so hilariously wrong. Art is not easy in the first place, and I find it even harder in my lack of creative spark. The drive to create art does not come easily to me, and for every day I struggle, for every day the work is a chore, for every day my stylus weighs a hundred tons and my brain is fluff and dumb and slow and easily distracted by social media and silly things, I ask myself if this is real. If this is me, being honest with myself. Is this what I'm meant to do?
And yet... I know the answer, because I don't actually think I'm alone. I actually think this is surprisingly common, a behind-the-scenes admission you rarely see in daylight, and that a lot of artists suffer from the same feelings as me. For every artist who emanates creativity, there are hundreds of others who struggle, who are plagued with black days and art blocks and missing muses. From the outside perspective, as the viewer, we don't see that for ourselves. We see the creativity, the results of actually doing. And I suppose to the hundreds of people who come along to my table at conventions, I must come across just as creative and productive as the best of them. I'm sure there are people who look at my art and think 'I wish I drew as much as she does. She must be drawing all the time!', because the results are there, clear as day, and they hide the struggle and self-doubt.
But the results are there. Through the struggle comes the sense of purpose, the finished pieces, the progress, the results of actually doing. So maybe I'm not one of the lucky ones who feels compelled and able to draw all the time, but I do create, and people enjoy my creations, and that's worth fighting through the art block for.
So yes, this is what I'm meant to do. Sometimes things don't go according to plan and sometimes it's very easy to be knocked back and find yourself re-evaluating your choices, but honestly it all comes back to the one honest truth in it all. I'm an artist. Sometimes it's hard, but it is always worth it.
I messed up tonight, I lost another fight
I found this adorable Sass & Belle tin in Cardiff the other day and just had to pick it up. It's the perfect size to fit notes in, so I'm making a point of only putting £20s in it. It might be shallow to admit that most of my dreams, at the moment, are hiding behind a pay wall, but sadly that's the way life goes, sometimes. I want to be rid of debt this year by finally clearing my silly credit card, and I want to actually gather some savings for the future. Moose will hopefully be moving closer soon and, when he does, we can start planning a future together. Love may well be the most important thing in any relationship, but it doesn't pay for the deposit on a house.
To counter that bout of sensible maturity, however, I'm also using the tin for fun savings! We found a ridiculously good deal on Disneyland Paris for January next year, right around our anniversary again, so we're going to go for it! Given the aforementioned plans for the future, we can't really justify a trip to Florida or California anytime soon, so Disneyland Paris is a wonderful, affordable way of getting my fix without breaking the bank. Florida will always be there. Walt Disney World is very much a part of my plans for the future, too.
It's not easy all the time. Usually, after we spend an extended period of time together, it's very hard to say goodbye at the train station, knowing he'll go back to being words on a screen or a disembodied voice through my speakers. I love that we're so similar in our habits (read; both complete nerds) that 'hanging out' online is easy and natural for us, but sometimes it just plain doesn't cut it. Real Life Moose is just so much better than Online Moose.
But, y'know, someday he won't be Online Moose anymore. There's an end in sight, now he's out of university and making plans to move closer. There are a lot of big changes coming, and the next five years could be really crazy. It's still a slow process, but it's happening, and I can't wait until the dust has settled and we'll be able to look back and realise that, yes, we survived the long distance relationship.
I met Moose online, during a game of Team Fortress 2, and honestly I think the way we met has saved us from a lot of the hardships that come with long distance relationships. He and I are gamers, and our online circle of friends (and, heck, offline friends, too) are gamers as well. We met on TF2, and grew closer because we spent every single evening, often for hours at a time, on the same silly map together. Some of my favourite people right now are people I met on that map, and most of them are still a part of my daily life, years later, because we're all part of a community that connects every day to chat and 'hang out' and play games together.
And when we're not gaming together, Moose and I talk all the time. And I'm not even really exaggerating. If we're both home, we're both on Steam, typing away. In the evenings, we'll both be on TeamSpeak chatting amongst our friends, too. If one of us isn't online, we'll be texting, Whatsapping, sharing photos and calling each other. He calls me every lunch break when he's at work, and most commutes to and from, too. With all this, I probably spend more time 'with' Moose than anybody else, even though we only get to see each other face to face a couple of times a month. We're both such a huge part of each other's lives. We both love each other's friends. We both want the same things in the future, so that's the goal. Isn't it everybody's?
In light of Moose and I celebrating our fifth anniversary as a couple, I figured it might be nice to talk about long distance relationships and how on Earth they can work. Or rather, how on Earth one seems to have worked for us. I have to preface this first by saying that I'm aware our 'distance' really isn't so bad - Moose lives currently in London and I'm down in the South West, so we're at most a three hour train journey from each other. It's not much, and it's doable even for a day trip, so we're luckier than many.
Still, we are a long distance relationship. I don't get to see him after work. I don't get to watch Doctor Who with him on live television, or eat dinner with him, or warm my hands on his belly after a long walk home. He's probably quite thankful for that last part.
This is an old post from my Livejournal, but I really like it and I think you guys might enjoy it too, so I figured I'd crosspost it here. :) I want to post more content like this on Dream Somehow as well as typical life posts and art updates, and I figured ths would be a nice way to kick-start that. :)
I saw the 'Rise of the Guardians' today in the cinema with my mum, and I'll spare you a spoilery review by simply saying that the I personally enjoyed it very much. The animation was beautiful, a particular scene near the end involving dinosaurs, of all things, was absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. The characters were a lovely spin on their original folk law/fairy tale selves, and there were no silly gags or Dreamworks!Popculture references in sight. I loved the film. It was magical.
Truthfully, though, having thought about it, it was so much more than that, to me. I spent the entire film with teary eyes and heavy heart. Yes, there were some tropes that could have been avoided and yes, the ending could have been far 'larger' and grander than it was, but there was an underlining theme to this film that forms a bit of an emotional trigger for me, and it's one that I'll happily embrace despite any flaws a film might have.
'Rise of the Guardians' is about belief. It's about that silly, 'childish' belief in magic and magical things that dissipates so quickly as we reach adulthood. That time when you believed in the Easter Bunny, in Father Christmas, or the Tooth Fairy? Those moments spent writing Christmas lists or carefully placing your tooth under your pillow? This film targets those exact moments in time, pinpoints that moment in your childhood where you believed, without question, in the existence of these beings. And that, right there - that belief in something magical, and special, and outside of our real world is something I'll defend well into my adulthood. Because it's real. They're real. All of them.
Maybe I'm at that ripe old age where I don't believe in Santa Claus anymore, but that doesn't mean he never existed. Right?
The truth is, I am highly emotional, I am extremely nostalgic and I am unreasonably, unflinchingly sentimental. Santa Claus to me was the magic on Christmas morning when I walked into the lounge and saw the pile of presents under the tree. He was the bells outside my window when I couldn't sleep, and the note thanking me for the mince pies and sherry on Christmas morning. The Easter Bunny was the mischievous sod who made treasure hunts that sent me all around the garden in the early hours, looking for eggs planted among the Spring flowers. He was the note that mentioned a 'Swedish family member', later revealing an egg hidden inside our family Volvo. The Easter Bunny, right there, is that memory; a clue I didn't understand as a child, a moment in time captured forever in that memory. I doubt my parents remember it, I doubt my dad recalls the night he wrote that particular clue. But it's here, forever, inside of me, stored away under the guise of Easter Bunny trickery. My adult self might 'know' the truth, but the memory doesn't have that knowledge. The memory never will.
And there were so many others. Firecracker, the stallion in the field opposite dad's cafe. I never saw him, not really, but I'd spend ages looking for him while sat in our car, waiting for dad to finish his business, as my mother pointed out that he's just there!, can't you see? And she'd tell me to look a little closer. I nearly saw him, I think. I caught glimpses of him, at least. It doesn't matter that I now know, in my grown up-addled state, that those fields never housed horses, or any livestock, for that matter. The knowledge I have now doesn't come into it. Firecracker is as real as any other childhood memory. The dragon breath that made the clouds turn red and pink in the evenings. The first star each night that actually answered wishes, should you ask. The pegasi that flew alongside the car when dad drove me places. The mysterious land my friend Amanda and I found across the stream and down a country alley.
I remember those things, I remember them happening.
If we're lucky, we believe in these things until we're about eight, nine years old. Maybe my judgment of modern children is wrong. Maybe it's far lower than that. I'm just using a ballpark number here, based on my own, most likely skewed, perspective. And, if we're lucky, we'll live to be in our 90s, maybe even reach the ripe old age of 100. That means we have nine years, out of ninety or a hundred, spent believing in something a little more. Only one tenth of our entire life will be spent believing in magic, and fairy tales, and superheroes, and bogeymen.
Isn't that disproportionate and sad? Shouldn't that mean we prolong the moments of innocence and magic for as long as possible?
Hell, I am a grown up. There's no avoiding that now. I'm barely a 'young adult' anymore, but there's still this pinch in my heart, a tiny unreasonable, ridiculous hole in my heart that screams to my creative, artistic, dreamer's mind; what if Hogwarts is real? What if the books and the movies were written as a coverup, the ultimate doublebluff? That J.K had known that something was up, all along? The same with The Doctor and his silly blue TARDIS. Is it all just a game? A daft ruse by the BBC to convince us it's just a TV show, yet all the while giving the facts right there, in our faces? What if The Doctor really is real?
If I can't let go one-hundred percent, even as a rational, questionably sane adult, why are so many people so utterly complacent that their children are losing their fairytale dreams? Is life too fast and too busy to waste time with silly stories when the children we tell them to will inevitably know the 'truth' eventually anyway? When our time believing is so unavoidably limited to those brief few years in childhood, maybe priority should be put on enabling the dreams and daydreams of our children. Maybe time should be spent dedicated to enriching the fantasies and silliness of fairytales and superheroes.
Life is fast, and life sure is busy, but it's also pretty short in the scheme of things. Childhood is just a fraction of that, and if we can't make it last any longer, why don't we make it so much larger?
When I was a little girl, mum always told me that the red sky at night was the result of dragons fighting and blowing fire at each other in their rage. My childhood was nothing but magical, as every childhood should be. ♥
It's not too early! Anything after Halloween and Bonfire Night is fair game, as far as I'm concerned! Right guys?
I found this tag over at Milk Bubble Tea and figured it'd be the perfect way to get into the festive swing of things!
1. What is your favourite Christmas Movie/s?
Okay, I'll admit it. Of all the classics, all the musical wonders, all the animated marvels, my favourite Christmas movie in the whole wide world is 'Elf'. I don't know why! I'm not particularly a Will Ferrell fan, though I do adore Zooey Deschanel, and the humour is silly and stupid which isn't really my cup of tea... but there's something about it! For the past few years I've made it a tradition that I have to curl up and watch it, because it's just dumb and fun and 'Christmas!' Plus, I cry at the ending every single time. I almost held it together last year, but the moment the father started singing? I was gone. Retaining that childhood belief in all things magical is a real trigger for me, and anything dealing with that will set me off in a flood of tears, so even though I watch that dumb film every Christmas and I know the sleigh will juuuust manage to take off in time, I'm always a soggy mess as the credits roll.
(For the record, I'd have said The Nightmare Before Christmas otherwise, but I really don't know if I consider that one a Christmas movie or a Halloween one! So, Elf it is. Sorry Jack.)
2. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
Christmas morning! Sometimes when I was younger, I'd get a special extra little present on Christmas Eve, but generally once I went to bed I wasn't allowed anywhere near the lounge! When I was a kid, my parents would always set up the camera to record my reaction upon seeing the presents for the first time. Mum would make sure the fire was lit (even if it wasn't cold outside!) and she would have festive music playing in the lounge before I was let in, and then we'd all gather around and open presents! Heck, we still pretty much do exactly that, only now there's a lot more chocolate and alcohol involved.
3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
I have so many awesome Christmas memories - it's always such a magical, fun day! When I was a little girl, one year I walked into the lounge to find Paradise Estate, the largest My Little Pony playset ever made, all set up on display. Apparently my parents had been up for hours putting it together, right down to the little knives and forks on the table. They even put water into the swimming pool! Another year, I'd desperately asked for a rocking horse for Christmas, and when I walked into the lounge, there was this tiny, Christmas tree ornament sized rocking horse in the middle of the floor. I was devastated! Santa had gotten confused and only left me a mini toy one! You can imagine my joy when dad brought out a giant, real rocking horse later!
I think my favourite memory though is when one year I was a little older, and started wondering if Santa really did exist after all? So I cooked up a special plan! We had an old video camera that we usually used to record big moments like Christmas Day and birthdays, so I decided I was going to hook it up and hide it behind the curtain, ready to capture Santa on film! Of course, though, I told my parents all about my plan! I hid the camera, hit record and went to bed.
The next morning, I eagerly checked the film. There was Santa! Well, his legs anyway. And he was angry! I saw him as he approach the tree, get startled, and rush over to the camera, which promptly went dark! Santa had spotted my devious plan, and turned off the device and even wrote me a note telling me how I shouldn't try to capture him on film! Needless to say, I continued to believe for a long time after that, and never tried to catch him in action ever again. Even if my trick had only managed to capture him from the legs down, it was all I needed. Santa was real, 100%.
4. Favourite festive food?
While not specifically a festive food, I could eat a bucket full of little sausages wrapped in bacon and never, ever get sick of them. Ever. I also really love roast chestnuts!
5. Favourite Christmas gift?
I've had so many wonderful gifts I couldn't really narrow it down, but if we're going to think about the most important and impactful gift I've ever received? That would be my new PC that I unboxed Christmas, 2008. It was the PC that enabled me to finally play TF2, and, well, we all know how that ended.
6. Favourite Christmas scent?
Cinnamon. Hands down. I kind of associate cinnamon with Halloween, Autumn, Winter and Christmas all in one big spicy ball of loveliness. I tend to burn cinnamon scented Yankee Candles all year round I love it so much!
7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
Not really any set in stone! We have various other Christmas traditions, mum and I always decorate the tree together, with glasses of port or sherry and with some dumb music channel on TV playing a round-up like 'Top 100 Christmas Hits!' or something. Christmas Eve was always a busy time for mum as she'd prep the food ready to be cooked in the morning, but we'd always do the standard ritual of leaving a carrot, mince pie and glass of sherry out for Santa. As I got older we'd make cookies together on Christmas Eve, and sometimes we'd go out to our local town to just people-watch, to embrace the schadenfreude of watching everybody last minute panic-shop for the big day! But generally my Christmas Eve routine just involves having a big long bubble bath, putting on the cheesiest Christmas pyjamas I can find, and trying to fall asleep (and failing!)
8. What tops your tree?
A star! And only a star! I have this (admittedly really dumb) thing where I just hate angels and faeries on top the tree! It always feels so tacky and weird to me, even though some of them are really pretty! It absolutely has to be a star on top the tree. Not even room to compromise on this one! I couldn't stand to decorate a tree beautifully and top it off with an angel. Blech!
9. As a kid what was the one (crazy, wild, extravagant) gift you always asked for but never received?
Hah! Probably a pony, I'd imagine! Or a dog? Something living and breathing, at any rate.
10. What's the best part about Christmas for you?
Not gonna lie, as a kid it was about the presents! Not gonna lie, as a grown up they come into it still! Corny as it sounds but I do love giving them as well as receiving them, the thrill of wrapping them up and putting 'em under the tree for the morning is so exciting! Nowadays, it's mainly about just having a really fun, different day, filled with alcohol and good food (Christmas day being the one time where it's socially acceptable to drink alcohol first thing in the morning!). And also? TV specials! Doctor Who is a huge must-do tradition in this household, we plan our entire day and evening meal around it! And now Mum and I are all caught up with Call The Midwife, we'll be adding that to the mix, too. Not to mention the traditional depression that is Eastenders every year!
Well, that's that! We just came back from a day out in Bath where they were turning on the lights tonight, and yesterday I saw The Coca Cola Commercial, so I'm not even a little bit sorry! Christmas is officially here now and I love it!
It's taken me a few days now to formulate the words necessary to discuss Robin Williams, and even now I'm not entirely sure I can say anything that hasn't been said already, a thousand times over and by those far more eloquent than I. But, as the days tick by, I'm starting to realise that I just can't quite shake his death, that it's still hanging over me like a ridiculous, looming cloud. It's gotten to the point that I dread loading up Twitter and Facebook in the morning, in case I see another piece of memorial art, or read another story about how wonderful he was. I'm finding it exhausting, mentally. I just want it to all go away, to move on, to pretend it never happened, essentially.
If somebody asked me a week ago what I thought of Robin Williams, I'd have said yeah, he's cool. I like his stuff. He's done great movies, but that would have been it. I wouldn't have called myself a huge fan, necessarily. I never sent him fan-mail. I just liked his movies, he seemed like a decent guy. And so, my emotional investment in his death shouldn't be this high. But it is. Because Robin Williams was always there. He's always been there. I was a little kid when I started watching Mork & Mindy. I grew up with Hook, Jumanji, Mrs. Doubtfire, Aladdin. He was a household face, a household name, and sadly it meant that I took him for granted. I'd imagine most people did.
I don't like taking things for granted. I can't stand living on assumptions. It means I'm actually pretty cynical about a lot of things - my circle of friends could someday drift apart, my art career could dwindle away. I'm very aware that life changes, that things you love probably wont stay that way forever, so I try not to take things for granted. I've gotten pretty good at it, too.
So here comes this actor, a piece of the furniture, always there yet never really in my mind, and he kills himself. And just like that, he's gone. And suddenly he is a 'was' and not an 'is' and his movies 'were' good and they no longer 'are' good and suddenly this vibrant, brilliant human being that was so damned vivid and real is simply gone and how preposterous was I to take his role in my life for granted.
We invite celebrities into our lives through their movies or shows or music and we take them for granted. It's what they do. It's what they're here for. To serve us. To entertain us. It's all too easy to forget that they're human beings just like us, and that they are just as fragile and easily broken as any of us. And even when we lose one of them, they're still there, giving us everything they could possibly have given us. Robin Williams is no longer here, but yesterday I watched 'Dead Poets Society' for the first time, in his honour and his memory. Even in death, he gave me something new and brilliant. His gift that he shared with us will remain forever, and people will continue to take it for granted long after we stop eulogising him.
But what a legacy that man left behind! The day he died, I went to the pub, corny enough to raise a toast in thanks to the man that gave me so much laughter as a child, and around me heard no less than three separate conversations about him and his career, every one of them sad, reflectful, respectful. He left behind a world in mourning in such a way I've never seen before. Somebody on Twitter noted that it was 'like a wake' and they were right. Celebrities die, and people are sad, but the outpouring of love and remembrance that came from Robin Williams' death was absolutely unmatched by any I've witnessed in my lifetime. What an epitaph.
It was fitting, on retrospect, that I chose 'Dead Poets Society' as the film I watched to commemorate his life. I'd never watched it before, but the whole opening was a punch to the gut in light of Williams' tragic death. Life is short. We get one shot at it before the curtain call and we take for granted so much. This is the quote that grabbed me, said by Williams' character as he guides the boys to look at old photos of former students at their school:
They're not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they're destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? - - Carpe - - hear it? - - Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.
Robin Williams cut his own time here short, but even in that shortened lifetime, he gave the world so much. Life is what you make it, and I don't think you should take for granted any part of it. Give the very best you can, give the very most you can, so that someday you can look back and feel proud of all you achieved. Make it count. Make your life extraordinary.
Thank you for the laughter, Robin. You really were a shining star. Goodnight.
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.
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