9 Happy Things

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This post is a bit late this week, sorry! I’ve been here, there and everywhere and not had chance to write anything up.

1.) E3 announcements

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Oh my god, where do I start?! Fallout 4. Doom. Kingdom Hearts 3. FF7 remake. The list is endless. All of the announcements have got me mega excited! I honestly don’t know what I’m more excited for (jokes, it’s definitely Fallout 4. My Facebook updates basically screamed this) Whichever way you look at it, the next year in gaming is gonna be a big one!

2.)  The Evil Within

This post is video game heavy! Recently, the Boyfriend-Wonder went out and picked up some new vidya games- Dragon Age Inquisition for him, and The Evil Within for me. The Evil Within is a ton of violent, gory fun. It’s the best modern survival horror I’ve played in some time, and god almighty, it scares me so much. The Boyfriend-Wonder has been keeping track of how often things make me jump, and it’s been more than I’d care to admit.

3) My Garbage Cat

Yet another video game! This one is a lot more casual and noobie friendly than The Evil Within. It’s an in-browser game where you play as a cat, whose goal is to wake up his human at 3AM. Based on the life of game dev Will Herring, who’s garbage cat wakes him up at 3AM every night, you play as his cat, knocking things off shelves and miaowing. The game is super fun and super easy, and is in 8-bit, complete with sound. Great way to kill time on your lunch break!

4) It’s Not Me, It’s You by Mhairi McFarlane

I love this book. It’s so good. It’s kinda hard to describe the story without giving anything away, but put simply; it’s about a woman called Dee finding herself. When her world turns upside down, she turns alongside it. McFarlane’s writing style is really chatty and fun, and you find yourself rooting for Dee almost straight away. I’m only 200 pages through (no spoilers, please!) but I can barely put it down! It’s described as contemporary romance, but it’s so much more than that. Yeah, there’s romance, but it’s not boring. Everything is eclectic and exciting in It’s Not You, It’s Me, and it’s a cracking good read.

5) Nerd Burger

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Isn’t Cazz cute?! I love her bright crazy fashion! The reason she’s on my list this week is tat I won a giveaway she was hosting with CelDeconail and won some cute jewellery. It comes at a good time too as I recently lost my good ring! I won the ring in the picture above and some cute loveheart earrings. I can’t wait for them to arrive! I love love love Cazz’s blog too, it’s a mishmash of 80s nostalgia, outrageous fashion and comics! Check it out!

6) Netflix

Duh.

7) Clumber Park

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For Father’s Day, I was invited out to Clumber Park for a big family picnic with the Boyfriend-Wonder, his sister and his sister’s boyfriend. Thankfully, the weather behaved for us and it didn’t rain! We walked halfway around the lake, admired the many, many dogs and took some pictures. It was such a lovely day out, and the picnic was superb.

8) Cinderella

Oh my goodness, this film was so magical. My local independent cinema (and old stomping ground!) was showing Cinderella at a Saturday matinée and I stopped round to see it. I loved the costumes and sets and thoroughly enjoyed the film. I used to watch the animated one a lot when I was a kid (sorry Dad!) so it was nice to relive the nostalgia.

9) Cats

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While being back, I’ve been able to visit my Dad and family a lot more, meaning I’ve been able to see my cats again! They’ve not forgotten who I was, and I’ve been treated to a parade of miaowing, purring and cat fur. It’s been nice.

What has made you happy this week?

An Evening with Amanda Palmer and Leeds Adventures!

As you may be aware, 2 weeks ago I spent the weekend in Leeds with the lovely Gina to see Amanda Palmer live. I’ve already written extensively on what seeing Amanda was like (spoiler: it was amazing!) but I’ve only just gotten round to sorting out my pictures and writing up my account.

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The roof lights up at night and shines different colours. It’s beautiful! 

Leeds is an incredibly fun city. There are so many awesome shops tucked away in the massive shopping centres, or just off the main street. There are crowds and crowds of people everywhere you turn, and there’s never a quiet moment. Gina and I arrived in Leeds bright and early after travelling over from Lincoln. Our first port of call was food, so lugging our many bags behind us, we called in at a Subway. From there, it was exploring!

One of our first hits was Forbidden Planet, which is 2 huge floors of nerdy awesomeness! There’s merch and clothing galore, and the second floor is populated exclusively with graphic novels, comics and manga. It’s absolutely amazing and it was a real struggle not to buy a ton of stuff. Gina picked up some Lumberjanes comics and some pins, and then we headed back out. We checked out a variety of clothes shops, both mainstream and indie (we found a pretty fab goth/alternative shop) and got completely lost in the monstrous Primark but nerded out over the huge selection of Harry Potter tees/bags/jumpers. So awesome!

After much, much walking and killing time, we went to our hotel. Usually, Gina and I go for whatever is cheapest on the night, and to our surprise, the Hilton happened to be the best for that night! The hotel room (and hotel itself) was freaking FANCY. All the staff members were really helpful and really pleasant, and we had a room up on the 7th floor! The view was incredible, and we could see the city centre in its entirety. However, the best thing about the hotel was the pool/steam room/sauna.

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When Gina and I made our way down to the pool, we were lucky enough to go at a quiet time and there was only one guy with his kid, so we had most of the pool to ourselves. We lazily swam laps, and for the most part, chatted and gossiped about life. It’d been a while since we’d seen each other, so it was nice to be able to catch up in such a nice place. I hadn’t been swimming since I was 16 (6 years ago now!) and boy, was I rusty. I forgot how much hard work it is, but it reminded me how much I enjoy swimming. Now I have a swimsuit again I might start going to Ponds Forge in Sheffield and making the most of the pool there!

As for the steam room and sauna… That was something else! I’d never been in either before so it was a whole news experience for me. Sadly, as I’m one of those people who are always cold, I found out very quickly that they weren’t for me. I couldn’t stay in the steam room for long, as I felt like I was breathing in cotton wool, and lasted a mere five minutes in the sauna. It was great being able to experience them for the first time, but they just didn’t work for me.

Our hotel room was absolutely lovely. It was huge; probably twice as big as the other hotels Gina and I had stayed in. The bed was incredibly comfortable, and I slept really, really well that night!  However, the best thing about the room was the bathroom. It was black tiled and mega, mega slick. The shower was a rainfall (!) shower and was nice and hot. The freebies were great to use as well, and the shower gel smelled amazing. The only issue we had is that the door handle for the bathroom broke and wouldn’t lock. Obviously, it wasn’t a huge issue, but a bit of a pain. Another problem we had with the room was the TV. It was the most over-complicated hunk of junk ever! Half of the buttons didn’t work, and the guide just wasn’t useful at all. It was the only bad thing about the room, but again, wasn’t hugely important- we only watched TV for a little while when we got back from the show, and were only there for one night.

The next day was a real long one, as Gina and I ventured out to the deceptively-sized Waterstone’s for a meet and greet/signing with the lovely lady herself, Amanda Palmer! There was a lot of waiting. Oh boy, was there. I’m really glad that I took a water bottle with me (although the Waterstone’s staff were taking out water regularly, bless them) I only wish that I’d tucked some snacks away in my handbag too. We were waiting in the queue for something like two hours. I met a fellow iggle (Hi @samanyaaron!) while queueing and looked through a lot of books I wouldn’t have otherwise looked at (boredom and standing around does crazy things to a gal) and listened to a ton of crazy conversations around me. Gina stayed (mostly) calm and managed to contain her inner fangirl, whereas I failed. I failed pretty hard. When I met Amanda I blurted out “Hithebedsongwasamazingicriedsohard” and totally embarrassed myself. I tried to keep cool, but alas, I failed. She signed my ticket from the night before, gave me a banana and posed for a picture. For a heavily pregnant lady who was probably exhausted, she was super welcoming and lovely.

Now, the crazy pictures! Gina and I have a strong belief in that toy shops are amazing, and silly selfies must always be taken.

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Mittens, Gina’s cat is adorable.

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This Homie hat was awesome.

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Baymax 4 lyfe.

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I am satisfied with my care.

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Excite!

The queue was freaking huge.

The queue was freaking huge.

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Lego me has an epic energy sword.

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Cruelty Free Chronicles

The weather here in England is starting to heat up, and for those of us who are ghostly pale and porcelain-esque, it means we have to be careful. Even the smallest amount of sunshine can leave us with bright red or pink skin which can last up to several days.

When I first started my Cruelty Free Chronicles, it was still (mostly) winter. I hadn’t even thought of sun protection. After last year’s disaster in the sun (promotion work + hottest day of the year – any sun protection = the worst sunburn I have ever had) I’ve always been super careful about sun protection. The Boyfriend-Wonder has pasty white skin just like me, so any sun lotion I get is doubled up for both of us.

After my disaster last July, I went to my local Home Bargains and picked up a handful of suncare products, most notably, Calypso Sun Protection Sun Lotion 30SPF. After the summer, I bundled it away in a cupboard, and have dug it out again at the slightest breaking of clouds. Imagine my surprise when it was £2.99 for a 250ml bottle and not tested on animals!

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As far as sun lotions go, it’s pretty good. It rubs into skin fairly quickly, and the 250ml size bottle is the perfect size to throw in a handbag. It has a pump nozzle applier which is pretty perfect, and it makes it really easy to apply, especially if you’re on the go. It’s not greasy, and absorbs quickly. This specific line only goes up to 30SPF, but there are others in the range that go up to 50SPF, and they all protect against UVA and UVB rays. There’s also specific products for children, sensitive skin, after-sun care (their after-sun is out of this world and was ideal for my burnt shoulders last year) and various tanning oils, and health-care (such as sun burn relief).

The website is super easy to navigate and splits the products into 4 categories so they can be easily found; product type, kids/sensitive, after sun and health care. There’s also a guide to the sun, including info such as recommended SPF usage, and information on sun burn, skin cancer and tanning. Under the FAQ tab is a pretty extensive Q&A about suncare, tanning and burning which is really useful to have on hand!

Tips on Surviving Moving Back Home

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This bit from Bridesmaids hits a bit close to home!

This post is a bit of a personal one, and will be part of a new series, where I give out advice or tips based on student life and post-grad life. Hopefully it goes down well!

To begin with, I’m technically homeless. I currently live with the Boyfriend-Wonder at his parent’s house, and have been staying here since the end of May. I get my post directed to my Dad’s address, and am currently living away from my beloved city, going back only for things like job interviews.

I’ve only been back for about 2 weeks, but there’s a lot of things that have had to change in my life and how I act in general. Moving back home hasn’t been easy- after university, I assumed I’d get a cushy job and live in a nice apartment in town. Clearly, that hasn’t happened! Not everything goes according to plan, and sometimes, you have to learn this the hard way before you appreciate it.

I know of quite a few people who have gone to uni, graduated and then come back home. After 3 years living an independent life, it can be quite jarring to return to a lifestyle where things are done on a whim! During this two weeks (and likely more) that I’ll be living under someone else’s roof, I’ve come up with some helpful tips to make life easier for both you and your family/friends/whoever you’re moving back in with!

1) Tidy up after yourself

It sounds obvious, but when you live alone or with friends, you get into bad habits. The pots go days without being washed. Clothing amasses in piles around your bedroom. You think that mug under the table in is growing a new species. Unless you now live with people of a similar mindset, chances are your parents/family/whoever won’t stand for it, and for good reason! While you’ve been away, they’ve got used to living a certain way, and now you’re back, you’ll have to change for it too. So simply put- wash pots after you’ve used them, if you make a mess clean it up, offer to help with chores, and don’t grow foreign bodies in their crockery.

2.) If they set rules, follow them

Back in my student digs, I’d stay up until silly AM marathoning shows and getting lost on the internet and wouldn’t rise until the late afternoon. It was a fun time, but I can’t really do that now! My boyfriend’s family have a strict 9.30 rule, where everyone has to at least be awake by 9.30. It’s done wonders for my sleeping pattern, and helps keep things calm, so I’ve gone on with it. It makes for an easier life, and that’s all you really want when you’re home for an undisclosed period of time- you don’t want family yelling at you for missing an important parcel or someone at the door because you were asleep.

3.) Got beef? Bury it

It can be very, very easy to get into horrendous fights with your family before you leave and let them stew once you’re gone. After all, you won’t be there to put up with your sister’s awful taste in friends or your brother’s terrible music any more. You can yell, bicker and swear as much as you want, but if and when you come back, it’s gonna be there to greet like you like a secret boss in a video game. That’s why it’s so important to get over whatever the problem is. If you sit down and talk it out or offer to make a compromise, you’ll find life that little bit easier. Also, who knows- you might end up finding out you have something in common.

4.) Make the most of being back

This is a much more fun tip! It’s pretty broad as well- life with your family and in your hometown is a lot different than in your university city, and sometimes that’s a good thing. For instance, as a student, when was the last time you had salad? In your kebab or burger doesn’t count! It’s always been a common thing with family to serve plenty of veg and have fruit on hand so you should definitely enjoy it. Fruit and veg are super good for you, and much better than whatever food it is you were living off at uni. Not just this, but you can take time to visit hometown friends and family members. Not everyone chooses to go to uni, and it’s great to reconnect with old friends.

5.) Don’t get complacent, but don’t overdo yourself either

I’ve been in my hometown for two weeks, but it feels like a lifetime. In that time, I have spent day after day after day looking through job adverts and houses on Rightmove and Zoopla, and I gotta say- it’s really depressing seeing the same stuff over and over again. I’m in a unique situation, and not everywhere is willing to accept or work around it. Don’t overdo yourself and get worked up over this- sometimes, it’s just the way it works. You might not find your ideal place straight away, but it’ll jump out sooner or later. By the same merit, don’t get so disheartened that you don’t bother; it’s not the end of the world, and there will be a way out. Keep at it!

My next post will be next Monday, and will be about the things I wish I’d known as a student. Stay tuned!

Do you like my new feature? What advice would you offer for someone coming back home?

9 Happy Things

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Yes, it’s that time of the week! Here are 9 things that have made me happy:

1.) The weather… Well, prior to the weekend

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Bar the weekend, this week’s weather has been incredible! Super warm, but with a nice breeze rolling through, and it’s been a welcome change to all the fog and overcast-ness! On Thursday afternoon, the Boyfriend-Wonder and I went to see our friend Robin and have a catch up. We ended up sitting in the garden, drinking ice tea and fussing his adorable dog Harley. It was such a lovely way to spend the afternoon, and signalled the start of summer!

2.) Netflix

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In the evenings, the Boyfriend-Wonder and I have been finding solace in Netflix. All the games and stuff we have, we’ve played to death, and all (or most) of the books I have available I’ve already read. Enter, Netflix. The Boyfriend-Wonder and I have been plumbing the depths of Netflix, and been watching a ton of comedy, including Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Chelsea Perreti stand up, Tim Minchin stand up… I’ve also been looking through the independent and cult films categories and they are gold.

3.) Seeing friends

I’ve been able to find time to see Robin (as I mentioned a few paragraphs ago) and I also went to see Lawrence on Friday! We took a drive out to Scunthorpe to pick up some garden stuff, then we spent the afternoon lounging in the garden at Lawrence’s, chatting about anything and everything!

4.) The Boyfriend-Wonder cooking!

I’ve been a lucky girl this weekend! We had the house to ourselves, so we’ve had more freedom- been able to play video games on the big TV, cook whatever we want whenever we want, and generally be lazy. Aside from this, The Boyfriend Wonder also cooked me my favourite meal- Macaroni Cheese! I loved it so much. It was mega cheesy and there was loads of it!

5.) Cuffed PJ bottoms

PJs from New Look.

It’s a pretty lame thing to be happy about, but cuffed PJs are the bomb! They keep you cooler, are much easier to roll up if you get too hot, and are available in most clothes shops. I will probably live in them for the foreseeable future!

6.) Halo

It’s a crime, but I’ve never played any of the Halo games to completion. I’ve done a few chapters here and there on all the games ranging from 2-4, but never sat down and gone through all of them- until the weekend! The Boyfriend-Wonder got the Halo Master Chief Collection for Christmas, and we sat down and played through most of the first game. It was a lot of fun!

7.) Vanilla toffee coffee

Some time ago, one of my friends on Twitter sent me some fancy American coffee. However, I haven’t been able to try it until now as I never had a cafetiere- until now. The Boyfriend-Wonder’s folks had one stashed away in a cupboard, so after some cleaning and reading and rereading instructions I got it to work and some fresh brewed coffee. It was delicious!

8.) Progress

The Boyfriend-Wonder and I are making steps- baby steps- but steps forward to get to where we want to be. It’s slow going, but any progress is progress, right?

9.) Gala Darling

I’ve been reading her blog, starting with her very first post and working my way through her archives and it’s been fascinating. Following her personal journey and how her blog has shaped has been incredible and super inspirational. I’m hoping I can learn new things to implement here!

What has been making you happy this week?

Five Fandom Friday Catch Up: Characters I’d Like to See In Their Own Series

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Lookit the snazzy new logo! Isn’t it fab? I totally love the summery colours. This week’s (or rather last week’s prompt) is from the lovely Jaym (@JaymFace on Twitter) and is pretty fab- which characters from Tv/film/comics/games etc would you want to see in their own series?

1.) Phonogram

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I’ve long been a proponent of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s Phonogram comic series and I would absolutely LOVE to see it in-the-flesh as an awesome urban fantasy TV show. Imagine the cinematography for magic and dancing! Imagine the awesome soundtrack! A close contender for this is another Gillen-McKelvie property, the Wicked and the Divine, which is being made into a TV show! I’m gonna catch up with the comic when I get chance then (im) patiently wait for news. Lucifer died for our sins, you know.

2.) Princess Bubblegum from Adventure Time

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I’d absolutely love a Peebers-centric comic miniseries… Ideally written by Kate Leth! There’s so much of Ooo to explore and I’d love to see other character’s adventures. Peebers doing Mad Science! Peebers doing archaeology and having an Indiana Jones-esque moment with a boulder! Prubs can be capable of so much more than just being the ruler of the Candy Kingdom.

3.) Sex Criminals 

It was super hard (that's what she said!) to find an image from this comic that wasn't overly NSFW.

It was super hard (that’s what she said!) to find an image from this comic that wasn’t overly NSFW.

Alright, I’m cheating majorly with this one as it IS becoming a TV show, but goddamn- it’s gonna be awesome. I only hope they keep the intricacies of the relationships in the show, and don’t be too exploitative. I hope it’ll be funny, cute and realistic, just the way the comic is. Also, I freaking pray that Chip Zdarsky’s hilarious in-jokes will be kept in.

4.) Portal, pre-Chell

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I’d absolutely love the play through the Portal games before GlaDOS takes over and goes crazy. I’d love the play through as Aperture starts taking a shift into the morally grey and ambiguous, and see the fall of the head honcho himself- Cave Johnson. Playing through a lowly employee who discovers the secrets of the company would be super fun!

5.) Scott Pilgrim vs the World from the POV of Ramona

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I LOVE Scott Pilgrim vs the World. The film, the comic book… All of it. I totally adore it. However, I’d love to see the story (and before) from Ramona’s perspective. You’re told that she’s in a crappy relationship with Gideon Graves prior to coming to Canada, but you never really experience it. You know nothing about her, and I’d love to find out more. Ramona’s character is real, flawed and pretty honest and I think her story would make for a really interesting prequel.

What characters would you like to see in their own series?

Thanks go to Megan of The Nerdy Girlie and Kristen of SuperSpaceChick for putting the challenge together, and to Jaym for this prompt!

An Evening With Amanda Palmer in Leeds

(disclaimer: my camera is downright awful and I got very few decent pics. Sorry, this is gonna be a wordy one!)

She walks the stage, wearing a long, silk slip underneath a long black jacket. Her hair is tied back, with white flowers pinned at either side, making her look like a more human Bride of Frankenstein. On her feet, military boots cover fishnet-stocking tights. She reaches the edge of the stage, facing out towards the audience, spotlight never shifting from her figure, while her hands rest on her stomach, which protects the delicate life within. She opens her eyes, facing the audience, and launches into the first song; a lilting, mournful ballad, called The Wind That Shakes the Barley.

Then, the show begins.

Amanda Palmer is warm, funny and vibrant. Her show is part gig (with her swapping between piano and ukulele throughout the show) part reading (this tour is actually to drum up excitement for Palmer’s book, The Art of Asking) and part comedy; it’s impossible to deny that Palmer is a funny woman.

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The Leeds City Varieties Music Hall is packed to the gills; there’s not an empty seat or box anywhere. It’s a fancy, fancy venue, with a coat of arms affixed high above the stage, and with heavy red curtains framing the stage and each of the boxes. This is something she comments on, laughing about how unnatural it all is. This venue is more the type to hold intense, dramatic plays, not the do-it-yourself, punk aesthetic movement that is Amanda Palmer. However, she dominates the stage, going as far as to make a joke about the baby grand piano she’s been supplied with. She laughs, saying it has a Napoleon Complex and asks us not to judge it too harshly. The audience, enraptured by her, laughs and hollers.

After The Wind That Shakes the Barley, there’s some chatter and back-and-forth between Palmer and the audience. As is her nature, she involves everyone, taking song requests from us (to judge how likely we were to slit our wrists- it’s grim up north!) and throwing flowers. After some chatting, she settles down at the piano, kicking her shoes off, and then breaks into Astronaut (A Short History of Nearly Everything) which is a sad love song, mourning a distant lover. I’d not heard this song before. Truthfully, I’m not overly familiar with Palmer’s work, having listened to some Dresden Dolls stuff here and there, and watching a documentary on her. However, when she started playing, and singing, I felt myself stop dead; my mouth hung open, as if I’d witnessed a religious event. I feel my eyes well up with tears. The passion and raw emotion in the song got to me, and I couldn’t even bring myself to turn my camera on to take a picture. Her songwriting and performing is unparalleled, as she cram-packs so much emotion into any one song she does, and this is something I feel a lot throughout the course of the night.

Between songs, Palmer talks about her hopes and fears of motherhood. Palmer is, at this point, seven months pregnant to author Neil Gaiman. She mentions him, and experiences with him as little anecdotes throughout the show, and it’s charming and beautiful to witness such love for him. She counterbalances funny (performing a cover of Garfunkel and Oates’ Pregnant Women are Smug along with tour assistant/best friend Whitney Moses, who stuck around for a few more songs throughout the show.

Once Astronaut is over the audience go wild with applause and cheering, and Palmer smiles demurely, ever grateful for the feedback. After more chitchat, she launches into some of the more upbeat songs of the night; Ampersand, I Want You But I Don’t Need You, a Momus cover, and Vegemite (the Black Death). Ampersand is about being in a relationship and refusing to be part of a package (and a rip on catcall culture) I Want You is a song about independence and sexual freedom, veiled as a cutesy, repetitive long song; and Vegemite is a song about the most disgusting of foods; vegemite, and how Palmer hates it- a hatred which is well founded!

Then, we reach the emotional heart of the performance, as Palmer performs The Bed Song. While it’s usually Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra, Palmer opts for a simple piano performance, which makes it all the more emotive and thrilling; in a mere matter of minutes, I find tears streaming down my face, ruining the carefully painted eyeliner I’d applied before the gig. Palmer’s voice cuts right to the core, bypassing any and all walls you’ve put up. The sheer sorrow of both the song’s subject and singer is almost palpable; I found myself forcing myself to look away at some points, hiding my tear-stained face. It was beautiful, and destructive all at once, proving that Palmer is a musical force to be reckoned with.

Once the closing chords of The Bed Song have echoed throughout the Varieties Hall, it is only after a very pregnant pause that the audience can applaud… Which they do, with more vigour than fans at a football match! After the sorrow of The Bed Song, Palmer opts for In My Mind, about the unsureness of the future. It’s touching, and all the more fitting, given the journey through life that Palmer has faced, as well as the new life she’s about to face with her new child. But also, there is the reassurance that hey, maybe we are exactly who we want to be right now.

After this, Palmer remembers what exactly she’s meant to be here for, and invites an audience member to the stage to choose a passage from The Art of Asking to be read aloud. The passage selected is about the run up to the Kickstarter hitting $1 million, and the difficulties of balancing life between sick friends and the excitement of running a Kickstarter. It’s a charged, powerful passage which is funny and touching, hiding behind the veneer of excitement… Which leads to the next song, Bigger on the Inside. Taking up her ukulele, Palmer launches into a song about ignoring hate from people, and how getting to know someone rather than hating someone’s description of them is not the way to go. It’s a response to the negative words she got after finishing the Kickstarter, and is about the most mature way one could react. Hate is hard to react to for anyone, but for someone like Palmer, who is unabashedly changing the way the music industry works and offering a new avenue for musicians.

While Palmer delivers on sad, emotional songs, she absolutely kicks ass at angry, funny and firey songs, as evidenced by her punkish outlook and process. Any show which features the audience being encouraged to yell “fuck it!” in a song about pubic hair on women as part of audience participation is absolutely a show I want to be at! The song referenced here is the hilariously funny Map of Tanzania, a one-and-a-half-minute rant on ukulele. It’s hilarious, angry, and so, so true. Palmer’s passion and anger catch the audience, as people sing along, laugh and whoop. Other funny, angry songs include Pregnant Women are Smug, Coin-Operated Boy and Leeds United (It was a given that she perform it here of all places!) which enchanted the audience, as we all sang along to Coin-Operated Boy the best way we knew how.

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She also does a series of covers, including There is a Light That Never Goes Out by The Smiths, Pregnant Women are Smug by Garfunkel & Oates, and All I Could Do by Kimya Dawson. There is a Light that becomes anthemic and climactic beneath her fingers, and All I Could Do echoes the sentiment of In My Mind. She excels at covers as much as she excels at original properties, and always brings something new to each song.

Near the end of the show, Palmer performs a devastating duet with Whitney Moses, as they both perform Delilah, with Moses providing back-up vocals, in the form of long, evocative and soulful ‘ohs’ and ‘oohs’. Palmer and Moses’ repartee is funny, blending the lines between tour staff and friends, the two seems as close as sisters, which is heartwarming to see. Even when Palmer feels a million miles away from anywhere she wants to be, she has Whitney on hand, and that’s the sweetest thing.

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Leeds United is officially the last song of the show, but knowing Palmer, she can’t leave it at just that. After rapturous applause and cheering, the lights go low, and a stagehand flits across the stage, gesturing to the audience. The lights come back up and Palmer, her face split in two by an enormously wide smile takes to hand her ukulele, first playing All I Could Do, breathing heavily into the microphone as if it were her last breath. After this came the raucously funny and upbeat Ukulele Anthem sang without a mic, just yelled to the audience, and you better believe they yelled it back! The heart and emotion in the room was at an all time high by the end of the show, with audience members putting their ukes proudly in the air, like a badge of honour, or a secret handshake.

An Evening With Amanda Palmer is an incredible event. While her music and performances are more on the vaudeville side, Palmer’s method of balancing and controlling the mood in the room through music is second to none. She’s as talented on the piano and uke as she is with people, and watching her perform is like nothing I’ve ever seen. Endlessly enchanting, funny and warm, An Evening With Amanda Palmer is an event you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

For info on tour dates, see her website.

The Dragon’s Loyalty Award!

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Huzzah! At the start of the month, I got nominated for the Dragon’s Loyalty award by Travelling in My Bookcase. Cheers! Travelling in My Bookcase always posts tons of great book reviews and their blog is a delight to read! I’d definitely recommend it!

Similar to the Liebster Award, Dragon’s Loyalty is a way to link up bloggers and is an award for frequent visitors, fans and friends!

The rules are as follows:

1   Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
2   Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and a link back.
3  You must share  7  things other bloggers may not know about you.
4   Nominate up to  15  bloggers for Dragon’s Loyalty Award, provide a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs.
5   Copy and paste the award somewhere on your blog.

1 & 2 are done!

7 things you may not know about me:

1.) I am fascinated with ghost stories, urban legends and creepy things. The creepier, the better! Tell me spooky stories and I’ll love you forever.

2.) The furthest I’ve been abroad is France and Belgium with my secondary school.

3.) If I was to get a tattoo, it would be of the origami unicorn from Blade Runner. Love that film!

4.) My two-year anniversary with the Boyfriend-Wonder is coming up next month!

5.) I initially wanted to study journalism at university. In a roundabout way I kind of managed it with my blog.

6.) I’m half-Scottish, and half my family live up in Inverness and Perth. I love going up there! Last time, I walked around Loch Ness in hunt of Nessie.

7.) I’ve been dying my hair for almost 6 years. I’ve made friends who don’t know my natural hair colour.

My nomination are:

1.) Usagi in Wonderland

2.) You Fancy Me Mad

3.) The Petticoat Pedaler

4.) Like Gwen Stacy

5.) Nerd Narration

6.) Beverbee

7.) Dorkface

8.) Cuteek

9.) Light Sabers & Lipsticks

10.) Readerly Geek 

Look forward to reading everyone’s posts! Hope you enjoy learning a bit more about me :)

9 Happy Things

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It’s that time of the week! This week has been awesome and I’ve been super busy…. But the good type of busy.

1.) Meeting Amanda Palmer!

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This was incredible! I’ll do a full write up of the event and mine & Gina’s trip to Leeds, but actually meeting Amanda Palmer has headed up my list. The gig I went to the night before the singing/meet was absolutely incredible, and I found myself crying my heart out over The Bed Song. I’ve never cried like that over a song, and it felt extremely cathartic. It’s such a sad song, and I just couldn’t stop myself. Amanda was warm, hilarious and an absolute doll to meet. She also signed my ticket and gave me a banana. A good day was had by all.

2.) Seeing family!

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I’ve been back in Gainsborough for a week (although it feels like half of that, given how much I’ve been running around between Sheffield, here and Leeds) and I spent the afternoon with my Dad and his other kids and our cats at the start of the week. Much tea was drank and I fussed my cats. My Dad and I were finally able to have a proper catch up for the first time in over a month, and it was good. I also saw my brother Jorah, who is just over a year old now. He’s super chirpy and happy, and showing him cat pictures and listening to him say “Cat!” to each one is extremely rewarding. You don’t knwo true happiness until you’ve seen something like that. Cat!

3.) Harry Potter

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Confession: I’ve not actually seen all the Harry Potter films. I know, it’s terrible. I’ve read all the books cover to cover many, many times, but never seen all the films. I got to Goblet of Fire and stopped, but I’ve also seen Deathly Hallows part one in class last year. Whenever I’ve been in our hometown, the Boyfriend-Wonder and I have settled down and watched one every night. We’re up to Prisoner of Azkaban tonight, which was always been my favourite of the books. The film is directed by Alfonso Cuaron, who went on to direct Gravity. Crazy! I also LOVE the Harry Potter fever that there is in the high street shops at the minute. The selection of Harry Potter themed tees, bags, jumpers and PJs in Primark makes me so happy… Although it would make me happier if there was more Hufflepuff (represent!) stuff.

4.) Fallout 4!

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Guys. It’s finally here. Fallout 4. I am EXCITE! I’ve been a huge fan of the Fallout franchise since Fallout 3, and spent a ridiculous amount of time playing New Vegas last summer. I (and the rest of the world) have been (im) patiently waiting for news of a 4th game for a long time, and Bethesda finally delivered at E3. There’s a trailer out and it looks incredible. I’m super excited to explore a new area of irradiated America and I can’t wait for the release. I just hope there won’t be as many teething problems as there’s been with a lot of big hyped games recently!

5.) Welcome to Night Vale

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It was just typical that tickets for the UK Welcome to Night Vale tour would go on sale when Gina and I were in transit, somewhere between Lincoln and Leeds. However, technology and muttered prayers to any deity listening meant that Gina and I were able to score tickets! WTNV is super, super popular and I’m frankly amazed we managed it! We spent our morning hunched over my phone at the back of a bus, gesturing at it and making ridiculous noises until the order went through, which must have confused the other passengers. I’m well overdue a WTNV marathon, and given that the show isn’t until September, I have plenty of time to catch up, and think of something to wear…

6.) Fentiman’s drinks

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This range of drinks is AMAZING. I’ve been a fan of it for years, back when the Victorian lemonade used to be a fixture of my house as a teenager, and I’ve managed to try most of the different drinks in the range. However, when I was coming back to my hometown after a shift at work in Sheffield, I picked up a bottle of rose lemonade from coop for lunch. It was absolutely delicious! I could honestly drink this stuff forever. The rose lemonade isn’t as sour and strong as the Victorian one, and is slightly sweeter, what with the rose essence! If Fentimans wasn’t so darn expensive I would drink it all the time. So good!

6.) My cat

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He’s a big softie and would not leave me alone when I was visiting my Dad. He must have missed me!

7.) Tea

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I had this last week too, but it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t include it again. When Gina and I stayed in Leeds, we had to ask the concierge for more tea, sugar and milk to tide us over… We were only there for one night!

8.) Kingsman: The Secret Service

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I watched this film last night and it is BRILLIANT! A friend of mine and the Boyfriend-Wonder’s recommended this to us and I really loved it. I’ve never been one for spy films (although I love the aesthetic of the cheesy 60s/70s ones!) but I loved the modern, comic-book-y twist that Kingsman used. It featured a bevvy of new and returning actors and it was absolutely hilarious. Based on the comic book of the same name written by Mark Millar and with art by Dave Gibbons, Kingsman is a funny, funny film with incredible action sequences and cool gadgets. Definitely a must-watch!

9.) Joy in Leeds

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Gina and I found this place killing time on Sunday before our train came in, and it was amazing! The cutest dresses! Crazy home furnishings! It was like my dream shop. Come payday, I definitely plan on picking up these cute earrings (perfect for an Iggle!) this dress and maybe the Bunny lamp if I was feeling eccentric!

What have you been up to this week? What are your 9 happy things?

May Adventures!

It’s been a good month! I handed in my final assignments and passed, so I am officially graduating from Sheffield Hallam on 20th November with a BA (Hons) in film and screenwriting! All the stress and anxiety and terrible sleeping and eating habits paid out in the end, and thankfully, I never have to face it again.

May has been a strange month. I’ve either been working my buns off on my work or Relaxing. With a capital R. There has been much vidya games, blogging and guzzling fruit smoothie. I’ve been on a real health kick this month, and have not been able to stop eating fruit and drinking water. I like to think it’s my first step into becoming an actual adult!

At the start of the month, my internship sent me to another film screening day! Thankfully, this one was in town at my local arthouse cinema, so there was no long travelling times! I had a really great time and the talks were fascinating. There was a person over from the Danish Film Institute who talked about the film and school practices in Denmark, and specifically children’s films. Children’s films in Denmark are a lot different than the UK & America; they don’t patronise the audiences, and offer a realistic vision as to what kids are like- kids swear, fall in love and often deal with adult themes and practices. The audiences aren’t hidden away from this, but are shown it. It seems that the whole ‘political correctness’ thing, at least in regards to children and protecting them from the world (insert Helen Lovejoy meme here) isn’t quite as overarching as it is over here, and allows children to face mature themes. As well as the fascinating keynote I went to, I also saw a bunch of films! I saw Moomins on the Riviera (a childhood classic!) several episodes of The Big Knights and the much anticipated (at least by me) Song of the Sea. I can’t say anything about these due to an NDA, but children’s cinema is gonna be fab this year.

When I handed in my last assignment on May 7th, which was a particularly rainy afternoon, I stopped by Lush, intending to buy a bath bomb to treat myself that night. Instead, I ended up staying in the shop for over an hour getting a gorgeous vintage style make over, which was the best way to celebrate my new found academic freedom. It was a really relaxing and fun process, and I took lots of pictures and noted down all the products so I could redo it later. I really, really loved how it turned out, and I definitely plan on buying up all the products eventually (roll on payday!) and continuing my Cruelty Free Chronicles.

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My uni friends (Eleanor, Toni, Becky and Amy) and I decided to celebrate our graduation by hitting up the Graduation Ball held by my university! We all got dressed up super fancy and descended upon one of the hotels in my city for a night of debauchery! We had a slap-up 3-course meal, free wine (which I pawned off to Amy & Toni) a professional photographer (prepare for the photos!) and a DJ, who opened with Uptown Funk because of course. We had an awesome night even if we retreated to the hotel bar away from the music so we could chat about films and work and boring postgrad stuff.

Onto the many pictures!

I dressed fancy! Wearing a dress from Voodoo Vixen via Blue Banana, Golden Snitch necklace from Black Candy Alternative Fashion, cardigan from New Look forever ago.

L-R: Eleanor, Me, Toni

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L-R: Becky, Amy, Me, Toni, Eleanor. I was channeling my inner Dame Edna for this one!

Toni and Me. “You’ve got a moustache…” “I know.”

L-R: Amy, Eleanor, Becky, Toni, Me.

All professional photos courtesy of Jason Goodlad Photography! It was such a fantastic night and I’m so glad we also went out. Also, after 3 years of knowing each other, my uni friends and I finally have pictures of us all together. Huzzah!

This month, my cousin got married! The Boyfriend-Wonder and I were invited, so we spent the day at Doddington Hall, eating fancy food and enjoying the sunshine. My cousin looked absolutely gorgeous, and the ceremony was superb. I only got a few pictures (can’t believe I forgot my decent camera! Gah) but I managed to grab a few from elsewhere around the web:

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So beautiful!

I finally broke free of my awful house and even more awful landlord and estate agent. The Boyfriend-Wonder’s parents came round and helped us clean up and move stuff to storage. 3/4s of my belongings are now in storage, including the majority of my books, sniff sniff. The Boyfriend-Wonder and I are now back in our hometown, and come back to Sheffield a few times a week for job interviews and work. We’re looking for our new home now, and it’s… Going. Not good, not bad. But going. When I return this weekend after hanging out with Gina, we’re gonna jump back on. Wish us luck!

In exciting news, I got a job! I had my first shift at my new job last week! I now work in my local artshouse cinema, which is awesome. It feels like a natural progression for a film student.

How has your month been going?