I'm a few days late, but that’s okay. I figure 2019 doesn’t really start until next week, as we’re still eating leftovers and we’ve refused to take the decorations down until today. It was such a wonderful Christmas this year, I don’t really want to say goodbye to it just yet. The next few months are very long, and very dull and Summer is far too far away.
Still, I have good feelings about 2019! I guess I go into every year an optimist, making resolutions and setting goals. I love New Year's Resolutions. It’s a fresh slate. I love making lists and having concrete plans. I know New Years is an arbitrary date, but it’s as good a time as any to put a plan in action, right?
Every year I set myself the same resolutions; I’m going to draw more, blog more, vlog more, lose some weight, save some money. I’d be lying if I said those weren’t still my resolutions this year, but I think I’m going set some new ones, too. They’re very simple and humble.
I’m going to watch more movies. I’m going to play more games.
Over Christmas, I spent a lot of time in the living room on my new PS4, playing Red Dead Redemption 2. It was so nice disconnecting from my PC for a while, where I spend most my time as a digital artist and as a gamer. Even though I was still staring at a screen playing a video game, it was nice take time away from constant browser tabbing, Facebook checking and notification popping. I very, very rarely play single player games anymore. My evenings are spent in Teamspeak, playing League of Legends or Destiny 2 or some other multiplayer game with my friends. It’s awesome, and I love it, but it means I rarely take time out to play something new.
I also took time out to watch a lot of movies this Christmas. Even though I go to the cinema very often thanks to our lovely Cineworld Unlimited cards, I very rarely sit down at home and dedicate two hours to a film. It’s just easier to watch an episode of something on Netflix, a Youtube video or even a Twitch stream than it is to sit still for two hours and focus on a movie. So, I’d like that to change this year, too.
Otherwise, I’m just plain excited to see what 2019 brings. Last year I finally got on top of my financial situation by paying off my credit card and overdraft which had both been looming over me since my student days. Now is the time for savings, so that Moose and I can finally get a place together and start a new chapter of our lives. I know I said this last year, too, but with my debts finally cleared, I think this is the truest and most real it’s ever been! Bring it on, 2019!
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!
As somebody who regularly attends comic conventions and often immerses herself in other worlds, there's really no greater thrill than dressing up and playing 'let's pretend' for a little while. I'm always thrilled to find new ways in which us grown ups (apparently) can let our hair down, dress up in silly clothes, and leave the real world behind far behind. One of my absolute favourite ways to do that is by attending the 'Secret Cinema' event that take place each year in London.
I adore Secret Cinema. I've attended five of their events now - Star Wars (The Empire Strikes Back), Dr. Strangelove, 28 Days Later, Moulin Rogue and now I've just come back from their 2018 offering; Blade Runner.
In short, the whole event was incredible, but I've honestly come to expect nothing less from Secret Cinema. After watching Luke Skywalker land above us in a life-sized X-Wing, after evading zombies while running through the streets of London, and after drinking absinthe in a bohemian cafe on a dark Parisian street, I had faith that this event would be just as immersive and exciting as the others. I'm a sucker for cyberpunk and urban dystopia, and while I wasn't immediately familiar with the movie (we all made a point of watching the film before attending Secret Cinema, as I believe your experience is heightened if you know what's going on and who the key players are), I knew that Blade Runner was the granddaddy of the genre, and I couldn't wait to see what they would do with it.
What they did with it was incredible. If you aren't familiar with Secret Cinema and how it operates, it's pretty much a fully immersive interactive experience that puts you smack bang in the middle of the movie. Prior to the event, you get given a character and role to play that all unfolds on fully themed and completely authentic-looking websites and social media pages. They advise you on costume choices, but generally you can wing it a little so long as you look the part and as long as you wear a few key items that help their actors identify your role. When you actually get to the event, everybody, and I mean everybody is in character, from the security team to the barmen, and sometimes it's even difficult to tell the actors from the more dedicated attendees.
From there, the night is up to you and entirely dependent on how much you want to put into it. You can absolutely go straight to the bar, find some food and sit back to enjoy the atmosphere, but I really would recommend just plain throwing yourself into the moment and having a little fun. At first, you might feel silly talking to actors (who are all incredible and put up with even the most reluctant attendees), but it really doesn't take long to shed your regular self and become your new persona. I put that entirely down to the sheer talent and improv skills of the actors, as well as the detail to every set you'll encounter. And boy, were the sets in their Blade Runner event amazing.
My role was a 'professional friend', a companion or, as Hannibal Chew addressed me, 'sex lady'. My partner, Moose, and my friend Sarah were both Tannhauser Industrialists while my friend Luke was a Tannhauser Technician. In the paperwork we were sent before the event, we were all sent a contact to find (each one a key character in the movie), and items to bring that we might use to interact with them. I won't spoil too much of what we did in the evening, because the event is still running and I really don't want to ruin it for anybody else, but it was all absolutely incredible. We spent most of our time running between the Snake Pit (one of the bars in the film) and Chew's laboratory, tasked with various activities that we got so involved with that we ended up taking a moment out just to plan how best to manipulate it all to suit us and our individual roles best. I ended up with a hilarious interaction with Mr. Lewis (the owner of the 'Snake Pit' bar) that set me off into hysterics (while Mr. Lewis himself was 100% professional, in character and incredible, despite my completely melting down on him in an uncontrollable giggle-fit at my own poor performance.)
I can't speak too highly of the event. The atmosphere inside was thick and loud and neon, just as you would imagine the atmosphere of a futuristic dystopian L.A might be. They advised us to bring umbrellas and raincoats to protect us from the 'acid rain', and boy, did it rain - even though the whole event took place inside (apart from the queuing area, which is the only place you were allowed to take photos as, per every Secret Cinema event, cameras and phones are strictly forbidden and you're forced to seal them away in baggies before you enter).
Secret Cinema is Disney World levels of stage design, actor professionalism and immersion. People wince at the prices (this latest event had three ticket tiers, £48, £60ish and VIP passes at around £100) but when you compare the night to a trip to the theatre, it really isn't that extortionate. For that money, you get an interactive show, a game that lets you completely lose yourself in the moment, and, of course, a movie screening at the end of it all.
I'm not actually a huge fan of Blade Runner - it's 'okay', and I'm grateful for what it did for the cyberpunk/dystopian genre (uh, y'know, by creating it) - but it's not a movie I'd actually plan to ever see in the cinema or make any special arrangements to view again. However, because I love the setting and the world it presents, I loved this Secret Cinema event just as much as the others, even despite not being the biggest fan of the film. That's all down to the sheer level of work and attention to detail that the Secret Cinema company puts into their productions.
Honestly, if the show wasn't entirely sold out, I'd go back. I'd go back if only to experience the world they've managed so successfully, yet again, to create. Let's face it, where else in this world can I dance in acid rain or eat noodles under a neon soaked sky?
You may remember a while ago I mentioned that I'd started using the Zombies, Run! 5K training app to try to bring a little fitness into my otherwise very sedentary life. I really enjoy the Zombies, Run! story but unfortunately, after a really busy March full of conventions and associated prep, the weekly training kind of petered out. Once I'd lost the rhythm for it, I found it really hard to get back into - there was always an excuse, some dumb reason why I couldn't start training again. You know how it is... why do today what you can put off until tomorrow? Only, for this lazy broad, tomorrow never came.
But, I had my heart set on entering the Zombies, Run! Virtual Race, and even though my training had taken a complete nosedive after week four, I still had the virtual run in the back of my mind. So I signed up and paid, which forced my hand in actually taking part and completing the run - otherwise, it would be a complete waste of money, right? And I'd own a medal for no good reason, because what on Earth is the point in lying to yourself?
Well, I'm so proud to say I achieved it! I actually ran the race twice, but I had my step counter and pacing off the first time, so the app finished before I'd actually completed the 5K according to the treadmill. On my second attempt, I used the treadmill's settings to run a session that was exactly 5K long. I'm not going to lie, it was a real slog. My time ended up being 50:14, which I know is incredibly slow for a measly 3.1 miles. But y'know what? I'm still really proud of myself! I didn't stop, even though I experienced a stitch for the first time since P.E lessons at school!, and even though my calves were really unhappy about the whole affair. I came off the treadmill sweaty and out of breath and feeling so accomplished! In all the training I'd done, I never felt so absolutely exhausted, but I did it! And now I have a bar set for improvement!
Now that I can say I've actually completed a 5K, I'm going to ditch the training app and dive straight into the regular Zombies, Run! story, which I am so excited about listening to. I'm going to work on improving my time, with a final goal of being able to achieve 5K in 30 minutes! Wish me luck!
Here in the UK, the sun finally decided to make an appearance! We haven't had much of a Spring, but all of a sudden it feels like Summer. I'm sure this weather won't last very long, so I thought I'd make the most of it! We had a lovely day out in Dorchester where I spent entirely too much money on Summery new cosmetics (and some adorable glue-on face gems from New Look for our up-coming Secret Cinema outing!) and thoroughly embraced the new, if fleeting sunshine!
My Mum bought me this dress for Christmas and this is the first chance I've had to wear it! I absolutely adore Lindy Bop's style of dress and their prints. They have fast become my favourite brand for pretty, vintage style dresses. This one is called 'Hot Rod' in their 'Daria' style. I love the scalloped neckline, and I think it's a really flattering fit. Sometimes I'm a little wary of the skirt flaring out a little too much in swing dresses (especially as I'm a short lady with larger hips), but this one fell with just enough 'flounce' to be shapely without looking too frumpy. The fabric also has a little bit of stretch too, which is very welcome and forgiving!
I partnered the dress with a dusty pink belt, to match my hair, accessories and shoes. The dress originally came with a thin black belt, but I think pink was just perfectly suiting to the sunshine!
The shoes are from Joe Browns' amazing shoe collection - and they are unbelievably comfortable! I'm always on a personal quest to find comfortable, cute kitten heels, and finding them in cute colours in the UK is a complete nightmare (sadly, we don't have easy access to B.A.I.T Footwear over here!) Discovering Joe Browns has been a dream come true - I mean look at these! You can get lots of pretty colours and styles and I can walk in them for hours, even without tights or socks. What's not to love?
I've been unhappy about my weight and general fitness for a while now, and putting on another half stone during the Christmas period really put a dampener on my body image! As somebody who works as a digital artist with sedentary hobbies like gaming and blogging, I don't exactly have the most energetic lifestyle! Which is why, when I discovered the Zombies, Run! App, I was incredibly keen to try it out. Zombies, Run! is a podcast, a game and a running app all in one that incorporates gaming elements with a really engaging story. The basic plot outline is that you are a survivor of a zombie apocalypse and have settled in a town called Abel, and now you've joined a group of people tasked with the job of fetching supplies and scouting the local area. Runners, as they're called, are the hope and future of Abel. You are Runner 5.
As Runner 5, you run or walk while listening to the app, and the plot gets more and more involved with each episode. There are actually two versions of the app, the regular Zombies, Run!, and a 5k training mode which operates like other Couch-2-5K apps with weekly goals to help get you in shape. In the regular app, there are periodic 'zombie chases', where you're urged to run faster to escape the oncoming onslaught of zombies, and you collect 'supplies' during your run that the game tracks and monitors for you. If you don't run fast enough during the zombie chases, you risk losing some valuable supplies!
The Zombies, Run! 5K Training app doesn't include these chases, and you don't pick up in-game supplies. Instead, the app presses you with training drills, including running, walking, various exercises and stretches to increase your running stamina. Each week increases the amount of running you do and pushes you a little but further, while of course offering an engaging story to compliment your run. The goal is that by the end of week 8, you'll be able to run a full 5K, or for 30 minutes straight without stopping.
Since Zombies, Run! has become quite an important part of my weekly routine now, I thought it was about time I started tracking my process here. I've just started week four, which means I'm nearly half way through. Regrettably. I have to take a bit of a break this week, because I'm being forced to miss two of my run days to convention prep and travel, but I'm going to get back at it again next week and hope my legs don't hate me too much for the break! I thought I'd track my process each week by showing the little images the app gives you on completion of each run.
Here's the training so far:
I've already completed workout one for week four but as I have to miss the next two, I'll start again next week and will post weekly updates from then on! As for my personal experience with the app, I'm finding it really fun, but it is a challenge for me! As you can see from my time and pace, I'm extremely out of shape! I used to love track and field as a kid, but even then I wasn't a long distance runner. 200 meter sprint was more my speed, so even though I'm slow and out of shape, I'm quite impressed I'm now able to run (well, alternate run/brisk walk, if we're going to be honest!) 2 miles without stopping. In fact, I don't get out of breath at all while doing these runs, even though I do work up a heck of a sweat. What I do struggle with are my calf muscles. I've been stretching every day between runs and they still feel like glass within minutes of running, even after three weeks of training. I know, I know, three weeks isn't long after decades of no real exercise, but still! They need to sort themselves out sharpish, because I'm planning on entering the Zombies, Run! Virtual Race this April! Wish me luck!
Hello everyone!! It's me again, the sometimes-blogger who often tells the world how she'll “blog more from now on” and then invariably... doesn't. Honestly, I hate to buck a trend, so I'm going to start this post by again apologising and telling you all that I promise I'm going to be more active here from now on. Honestly, honestly, hand on heart!
I hate starting a new year with a post talking about the old year, but I really feel like I owe it to 2017 to write a few words about it. The world around us had a tough time, and a lot of people are justified in their desire to say goodbye to 2017, but truthfully, from a personal perspective, I've had a pretty great year, all told. So much so that I'm going into 2018 with a huge dollop of optimism and wide, starry eyes.
In 2017 I...
… celebrated my seventh anniversary with Moose, in a gorgeous apartment in Bristol, scoping out the city we'll hopefully soon call our home.
… went ice skating a lot!
… broke my wrist ice skating, which saw an end to that!
… sold art at my first ever MCM Birmingham in March, which was so good I did it again in November.
… attended Rezzed and played a whole lot of video games.
... said a very sad goodbye to our favourite pub, The Hobgoblin, in Bath.
… sold art at the London Video Games Market.
… helped out Just Fur The Weekend as a dealers liaison and tabled there as an artist as well.
… attended the an AMAZING Secret Cinema event - Moulin Rogue!
… Attended Bristol Anime & Gaming Con – would love to sell there someday but it's always sold out!
… Sold yet again at MCM London in both May and October.
… Dressed up all pretty for the Vintage Nostalgia Show in Stockton.
… Went to London Anime Con for my birthday weekend in London!
… Attended Hyper Japan and thoroughly fell in love with it for being such a different type of show! I plan on selling there at some point in 2018!
… Broke a huge record at MCM Manchester and really levelled up in terms of confidence and pride in my art.
… Cosplayed Yuri at Kitacon, had the most AMAZING time with the most amazing people!
… Spent a couple of days at Alton Towers with Moose and completely fell in love with 'Th13rteen'.
… Attended UK Ponycon and spent the weekend with my dorky pony family.
… Had an amazing week in Bristol with my favourite people from all over Europe <3
… Finally got to a carnival, which I haven't done properly in years.
… Saw Hamilton on its very first week in London!
2017 was the first year I think I can safely say I actually worked between conventions at being an artist (as opposed to not drawing much for weeks and then panicking in the eleventh hour, heh.) I managed to produce at least one art print piece every month. Thanks to MCM Manchester, I was also finally able to pay off my ever-looming overdraft, which has been a financial hurdle to a lot of things for a very long time. I took on a few extra hours at my part-time day job, which I always considered a backward step in my quest to being an artist, but has actually given me so much back in terms of stability, freedom and flexibility. It has allowed me to take larger risks, and it has taken the pressure off from the daily hustle that being an online artist can be.
There's a lot I'm looking forward to in 2018. I don't have another convention to sell at until March, so I'm spending the next two months working on new products and new prints, and re-arranging my display a little bit for the new year. I plan on buying a banner to better promote my table with at conventions, as well as changing up my display a little to offer a bit more variety in what I sell.
2018 is the year I think I'll finally be able to gather some actual savings, which is handy as it's also the year Moose and I said we'd make a conscious effort to move in together. As of this month, we've been together eight years, and while I'm a complete home-bird that adores living here in my comfortable, safe, surroundings, it's really getting to the point that he and I need to fly the nest. Only a little, though. I'm only moving an hour away. My parents can't get rid of me that easily.
But that means 2018 should be a year of tremendous, and, frankly, terrifying change. Exciting, though, as well! I can't wait to set up an art area, to decorate our own little home, to have a nest I can call my own (well, our own, I guess, haha). It'll be surreal waking up next to the man I've dated long distance for eight whole years. I can't wait to have friends around for gaming evenings or long Netflix marathon sessions. One of the very first things I want to do is actually cook (I don't cook) a big fancy meal (I really don't cook) for my parents in my very own kitchen! Did I mention I don't cook? 2018 is going to be a year for learning a whole lot of things. Best remedies for food poisoning may well be one of them.
Shorter term, however, 2018 is off to a really exciting start with a short break to Amsterdam! Moose and I usually do something a little fun and different for our anniversary in January – and a trip away is a really fun way to shake off the post-Christmas blues. I'm not really sure why we settled on Amsterdam as a city to visit, but I'm looking forward to exploring it and taking on a few canal dinner cruises! Now we've discovered how cheap a European city break can be, I think we'll be doing a lot more of them in the future. The world is very big, and there's so much I want to see.
Resolutions? I know some folks really hate them, but I love making them, even though I'm fully aware each year that I probably won't stick to them. Because everyone else seems to hate them, though, I've taken to calling them 'goals', which sounds less guilt-laden to me. A resolution sounds like something you have to start in January and stick to, whereas a goal is something, anything, tangible you can achieve. I've set myself a bunch of resolutions, or goals, for the year – small frivolous things to larger, more exciting things, and things I downright know I won't achieve. There's lots, mind, but I figure, if I list a whole bunch of things, I'm bound to achieve at least one of them, right?
In 2018 I'd like to...
… move out with Moose (and probably Luke too, haha) into our own little nerd nest.
… continue drawing at least one print-worthy piece of art each month.
… revamp my Patreon, Ko-fi and Redbubble accounts to make them exciting and great value for my wonderful fans and supporters.
… revamp my commissions too and drum for business without the stress of actually needing it. Becoming so reliant on commissions was so stressful and horrible. I'm so glad I can now try and take on private work without that angst.
… Save more money!! Now my overdraft is paid off, I can focus on other things.
… lose weight. ha. ha.
… have my art in a zine! That'd be a fun goal. I adore fanzines so much. C'mon, me. Do the thing.
… get 1000+ Twitter and Instagram followers. C'mon, I said some of these were frivolous.
… blog more!! Hey, this is a good start, right?
… use my Youtube channel again! For vlogs, art videos, book hauls, anything. I know, I'm rolling my eyes too.
… read 20 books. I know, that's such a tiny number for a lot of bookworms, but I am a terrible, lazy person who spends every evening in video games. Speaking of...
… get rank 7 on Rakan in League of Legends.
… stream? Art? Gaming? Anything? Bueller?
… actually scrapbook the year. And catch up on the past years too. I've got several unfinished 'Project Life' scrapbooks here with half a year of memories in them. I need to sort that out.
I think that's everything I'd like to achieve. It's all the enhancements I want to make a regular thing in my life, really, not just a few limited to 2018. I really hope I can look back on this post in a year and cross off at least a few of those things, but who knows! I know resolutions don't really matter and it doesn't matter if you keep them, but it's sure fun making a list of goals anyway. Or maybe that's just the bullet journaler in me. Oh, maybe that should be another one. Start bullet journaling. Brilliant.
I'm sorry for this post that has become a major wall-of-text – call it a make-up post for all the posts I should have made throughout 2017. See, I'm already on good standing with one of my resolutions up there! At any rate, I hope everyone else had a wonderful Christmas and New Years and I hope 2018 is kind and fruitful for you all. Make this the year you achieve the best you. I know that's my goalest goal of all.
I'm Selena, an artist, blogger and gamer - but maybe not always in that order! Dream Somehow is a blog dedicated to travel, art, geeky adventures, vintage style and a little bit of Disney Dreaming! If you'd like to know a bit more about me, click here!
Adorable icon of me by Tinrobo ❤
Want to see my art? Click here to go to Reaperfox.com!