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Tuesday, 22 March 2022

What I Bought in London | Haul

Hey Everyone! Happy Spring!! I'm so delighted that the season of flower growth and newly-emerged butterflies and blue skies and cute baby animals is here :) Goodbye season depression, and hello days of being able to read outside in the mild sunshine. I cannot wait to get out and about more with my camera in nature, and for the stores to start filling up with cutesy pastel things! What are you most looking forward to this Springtime? 

At the beginning of February, I went on a trip to London with my best friend and her family. It was my first time properly visiting the city. I went there once with my university to go to the Natural History Museum (which is fantastic, by the way!), but it was a straight-there, straight-back kind of trip and I never got to explore the surroundings. This time round I was actually able to experience London, and despite hearing how much of a nightmare it can be for people with social anxiety, like myself, I was surprised by how similar it was to other cities I've visited with regards to how crowded it was (well, apart from how busy the restaurants were!). Even the infamous London Underground wasn't the hellish experience I had tried to prepare myself for, but I didn't actually have to do any of the navigating myself, so that helped a lot! If you're like me, I recommend going this time of year, and also planning where exactly you want to go beforehand, because London is massive and it can be so overwhelming. But this isn't a post about how to survive London as an anxious wreck of a person, so on with the topic at hand, haha :D

I personally love a good haul post, and so I thought I'd share one of my own, for those who are curious to see what I spent my money on whilst visiting the capital of my country. I hope you all enjoy reading anyhow! 

A photo showing a pin badge of a Moomintroll

So, I didn't actually pick up many things whilst I was in London, or go to many shops for that matter, because that wasn't the main objective of our trip. We were there to go to the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour, and we were only staying down south for the weekend, so ended up with just a couple of hours to actually shop. My best friend & I chose to head to Covent Garden, because it's just one of those places that's an iconic part of the city, and I was curious to see it with my own eyes. Plus, ARTBOX is there and as a lover of all things kawaii, I felt it would be atrocious for me to not go! There are not many stores dedicated to 'kawaii culture' in the UK, ones that sell only officially licensed goodies from Japan and Korea, so I wasn't about to miss an opportunity to visit. Now that it's obvious that I went to Artbox, I guess I'd better show you what I picked up from there first :) 

A photo showing two blind boxes by the company Re-ment. There are tiny figurines of hamsters inside from the anime series Hamtaro

The first thing that went into my little basket was one of these Hamtaro Re-ment blind boxes!! I have been a fan of this super adorable anime since I was a kid, and this was my first time ever encountering official merch in person. I could have cried with excitement, and it didn't take me long to circle back around after browsing the store to pop another into my basket, haha! If you want to read more about my love for the anime, and are just a fellow fan of this adorable bunch of hamsters, check out my previous post all about my new Hamtaro nendoroid :) 

If you've never heard of Re-ment before, it is a Japanese company that makes miniature toys. Their most well known products are blind box series, like the Hamtaro ones I bought, containing a selection of tiny set ups, which once all variations are collected can be display together to create a scene. This series in particular will allow you to create the perfect little Ham-Ham Club House, with all the furniture and accessories needed to add character to the scene. The ones that I was hoping most to get where set 4 with the little sunflower-print bed & hamster slippers (featuring the characters Howdy & Dexter), and also set 1, which comes with ham-ham desserts and a tiny figure of the main man himself, Hamtaro. To be honest, I would have been happy to unbox any set because I would love to complete the entire scene some day. I'll show you guys the two sets I had inside my blind boxes later on in the post :) 

I seriously cannot go anywhere without buying a new notebook! And London was certainly no exception. I picked up this super sweet hamster notebook because how could I not when I had hamsters on the brain? The design is so eye-catching, and the back of the notebook shows the little ham-ham's butt, which made me laugh. It's blank inside so I can use it for anything: a journal, a small scrapbook, a sketchbook for crappy doodles, and it was less than £2 if I'm remembering correctly. 

As I rarely get the chance to buy blind boxes by Japanese brands in person unless I'm at Comic Con, I was determined to get a few different ones in Artbox. If I'm honest, I was expecting there to be a lot more selection in store, considering their website is packed full of goodies, but I discovered the shop was small and they didn't have a lot of the products I was hoping to see. I was sure I would be leaving the store with a big plush, and also some Pusheen blind boxes, but that didn't happen. I admit I was a little sad about this, especially because we had to queue outside for half an hour just to get into the store! Nevertheless, it was still fun to finally be able to visit Artbox, and I love the things I picked up, including this Sanrio My Melody & Friends keychain blind box. I kind of regret not buying another one now after seeing how pretty the keychain was!! Have you ever been to Artbox in London? If so, I'd love to know what you bought, and also what your thoughts about the store itself were. 

Before I share my unboxing finds with you all, I wanted to talk about the other store that was at the top of my list of places to visit in Covent Garden, The Moomin Store! When I was really young, I adored watching The Moomins cartoon, and still know all of the words to its lovely theme song (which I now have to take a momentary break from writing to sing and get out of my system so I can continue... oops!). I have only ever found a few official Moomins products whilst out shopping, so I was very much looking forward to the array of products I would find in the London boutique shop, and it did not disappoint! Sure, the store is super small and very tough to get around with lots of people also in there trying to squeeze past one another down the narrow 'aisles', but I feel like the size of the store gave it more character. It was so cute! And I adored the way that they decorated in the entrance and up the stairs leading to the boutique. It was really difficult to choose what I wanted to take home with me! 

I decided as soon as I walked through the doors that I was leaving with a plush of Moomintroll. He just looked so small and cuddly and precious; I couldn't resist :) I love the simplistic design of these iconic hippo-esque trolls! Who else is a Moomin fan? I'm pretty sure that they had a few other plushies available, but I can only remember Moomintroll and Snork Maiden for definite. I am super happy with this new addition to my plushie collection! He's so smooth and fantastic quality, and he wasn't overly expensive. I was expecting everything to be super overpriced because I've heard that's commonplace in London, but all the items were priced similarly to what I've seen online. 

I collect pin badges, among so many other things, and was hoping to find one I liked in The Moomin Store before I even got there, as I was yet to own a Moomin pin but also because I wanted a keepsake to commemorate the trip. I love how cheerful the design I chose is! Moomintroll looks like he's living his best life dancing in the sunshine, and I thought the quote on the backing card was sweet! It says 'I only want to live in peace and plant potatoes and dream!' And it made me instantly think this is something Samwise Gamgee (from The Lord of the Rings) would say, and I just had to have it. I bought the postcard because a) I also collect postcards XD, and b) I wanted something to display in my bedroom that I can look at and have remind me of the trip. This one caught my eye because of how colourful and vibrant it is, and also because Snufkin is on it. Snufkin, the flute-playing guy sitting in the tree, was my favourite character when I was a kid. I also love Moominpappa's top hat, aka the Hobgoblin's hat.  

Here's a closer look at the eight different designs you could get inside the My Melody Acrylic keychain blind box. I wish I knew the name of the product to tell you guys, but I think it might be something like the 'Good Friends Share' series, featuring My Melody & Piano. My Sweet Piano was this adorable fluffy little sheep characters original name and she's My Melody's best friend. The charms I wanted to get most were the first one shown, My Melody holding a tiny plushie of her bestie, and also Piano with tiny bunny ears. Am I the only one who thinks it's a little 'weird' for My Melody to be wearing extra bunny ears? I've heard that she's supposed to be a little girl dressing as a bunny, just like Hello Kitty is in fact not a cat, but why wear a bunny hood and then another pair of bunny ears? :D So that's the design that I was hoping not to get, as well as the one with Piano & My Melody's backs facing towards us, because I want to see their cute faces! Who's ready to see which one I received?

YAYY!! I got the one I wanted most! That almost never happens to me, so I was over the moon :) And I was so impressed by the size of these charms! I was expecting something tiny but this keychain charm is big and so pretty. I love the pastel lilac outline, and the way the shading has been done, with an almost airbrushed look. I don't know if that's what it's even called, but I love how the colour is faded around the edges. My Melody's rosy cheeks are the sweetest, but by favourite feature is the tiny plushie of Piano, which I feel like I need for myself in the real life now! The charm itself is thick and well-made, and features the design on both sides. It looks sturdy but I won't be risking putting it on my bags and ruining it. I don't trust those types of keychain not to come loose either. Which would have been your favourite to receive?

As for the Re-ment boxes, here's what was inside the first one I opened. I got number 8, the bench set! How flippin' cute is that bench though!? I need a life-size replica in my own garden :D Even though this set wasn't one of my favourites, I couldn't be more happy to have unboxed one that came with a tiny hamster figure!! This pigtail-wearing cutie is called Bijou, and I'm lovin' that the tiny present matches her in colour. Included with this set are some stickers to decorate the green book, however, I decided not to try to stick them on before I took the photos because I am very uncoordinated and will properly misalign the stickers and mess everything up. My favourite character from the anime series has always been Sandy, and she's one of the tiny hamsters on the pages of the book, so seeing that made me smile! Here's what I got in the final blind box...

It's number 3, which I think is supposed to be a living room type set! As you can see, you get a wooden cabinet, a little lamp(?) type decoration, a picture frame and a tiny Bijou figure! It was a bit of a shame to have gotten another Bijou, however, this doesn't really matter because it means I'm another step closer to completing the collection :) 

This re-ment came with some cut-out's instead of stickers, but again, I might ruin them so I am hesitant to try to cut them out. There are two photos to display inside the frame, and also a rug. I love that Sandy is there again, with her rhythmic gymnastics ribbon in hand! The other photo is of Hamtaro munching on a sunflower seed, and on the rug, we have the sister characters, Pashmina & Penelope. My favourite part of this set has to be the tiny Penelope decoration, which I assume is supposed to be a little lantern. What do you think? Penelope always makes me think of a little ghost, so this piece reminds me of a Halloween decoration and that makes me love it even more. For those of you who aren't familiar with the series, Penelope is incredibly shy and so she permanently wears a blanket over her head. Sometimes I feel like doing the same when I leave the house, so I vibe with Penelope, haha!

How cool do these sets look when they are displayed together!? And that's only two of them. I cannot wait to see a full completed scene. It will look marvellous! After setting up this photo, I realised how much smaller the other Bijou figurine was so I feel like one of them is supposed to be a plushie of Bijou, because why would there be two of the same character? Plushie bijou is a treasure and must be protected!! I think it's awesome that the cupboard doors can be opened and there's space inside it to store things. So much attention to detail! I need more re-ments in my life! Which is your favourite of the two sets? 

So that's all of the adorable merchandise I picked up whilst visiting London, aside from what I bought at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour. I am kind of glad that I didn't have much time to shop whilst there because I might have been recovering financially for a long while *insert embarrassed emojis here*. I am really chuffed with everything I got, and I hope you all enjoyed checking out my haul. I wish you all the loveliest of Springs, lots of yummy snacks at Easter time, and months of sunshine wherever you live :) 

Thank you for reading!

What was the last cute thing that you purchased? 

Have you ever visited London? Tell me your favourite thing about it!

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Tuesday, 8 March 2022

Hamtaro Nendoroid | Review

Hi guys! I hope you have all had a lovely start to your week. I finally got my first Nendoroid!! And I've been sooo looking forward to sharing my excitement with you all :) I waited to unbox it until yesterday because I had to move some things around and clear a space on my bookcase for the little cutie to go, and procrastination is a part of my personality at this point. But that just means the hype is fresh in my mind, so it's the perfect time to write all about it.

In case anyone is wondering why it took me so long to step into the wonderful world of Nendo collecting, it's because I literally collect so many other figures and, as many of you guys will know, Nendoroids can get pretty pricey! I was certain that when I eventually did get my first Nendoroid, it would be the Kirby one, as I've wanted it for a super long time, but then the Good Smile Company (who makes these awesome figures) announced they were releasing a Hamtaro version. So after freaking out, I knew now was the time! I couldn't be more thrilled!

The photo shows a nendoroid figure box. The figure is a character called Hamtaro, who is an orange and white hamster in Japanese anime style. The box is bright orange and has a design of sunflowers and sunflower seeds.

Before I get into my first impressions and whatnot, let's backtrack a little. I almost forgot to even explain what Nendoroids were! It's easy to assume everyone who's been on the nerdy side of the internet for a while will have seen them before... oops. But anyhow, Nendoroids, or Nendos for short, are a type of vinyl figure made in Japan. They were originally of anime characters, then game characters, and now you can get other popularised characters, such as Elsa from Disney's Frozen. They are super detailed for being figures on the smaller side, and so photogenic, too! As someone who partakes in toy photography as a hobby, this made them appeal a lot to me. Have a google of the different Nendoroids you can get after reading my post; you'll not be disappointed. 

I also wanted to introduce Hamtaro :) If you're a fellow lover of kawaii culture, then you may have come across the most adorable hamsters and not even released that there's a whole anime series surrounding them. Hamtaro: Little Hamsters, Big Adventures began airing in Japan in 2000 and didn't take long to arrive in Australia, the US and across Europe. I first watched it on the channel Fox Kids, and I was obsessed from the get-go! 

A photo showing the side of a Nendoroid figure box. The box contains a figure of Hamtaro who is an orange and white hamster. The box side features a picture of Hamtaro and a yellow sunflower and sunflower seed pattern

I remember having a sketch book that I filled with drawings of all the different ham-hams. I would record the episodes on VHS tapes and then pause them so that I could draw the characters. Can anyone relate to this? I was already a lover of Syrian hamsters, having had two as pets before I ever watched the show, and you can bet I got another and named him Hamtaro :D He ended up being the sweetest, most friendly little ham-ham I ever had the pleasure of knowing, too. I still have many of the tiny Hamtaro character pencil-topper figures I got back then, as well as two Hasbro plushies. One is of Hamtaro and the other is Bijou, a little white hamster with two ribboned pigtails and a French accent, from 2002. 

Hamtaro will always be a fond favourite of mine when it comes to anime, and of course, I couldn't pass up on getting the main man Hamtaro in Nendoroid form!! I will end up talking about my love for the franchise all night if I let myself, so here goes... brace yourselves for some cuteness overload! 

A photo showing the outer box of an Hamtaro Nendoroid figure. Hamtaro is an orange and white hamster from an anime series. The box is bright orange, and there are picture of Hamtaro all around.

As the back of the box shows, you can style this Nendoroid in four ways. The set comes with three faces: a chubby cheeks version, a standard open eyes look & a happy, closed-eye expression. You also get two body options, standing up and sitting down. There are various accessories and tiny hands that match with the different face parts, such as a hand for holding onto a tiny sunflower. This is one of my favourite things about Nendoroids! That you can style one figure in so many different ways because of all of the parts that come with it. They remind me of my Pennywise the Clown figure by Neca, but obviously a smaller, more chibified type of figure, haha! (I think I need a chibi Pennywise in my life though... *quickly google searches for horror Nendos*). 

A photo showing a nendoroid figure in its plastic packaging. The character is an orange and white hamster, and there are various head and body parts to assemble. The blog writers hand can be seen holding a small instruction manual

LOOK HOW PRECIOUS THIS NENDO IS!!!! I love him so much. He's going to be so fun to use in photography scenes and I can't wait to get creative with that :) As you can see, the colour is so vibrant, and the eyes are so expressive and eye-catching (well duh). His little tail and paws are the cutest! I love the way all the interchangeable parts were organised in the box, and was impressed by how securely everything was packaged with tape and tiny bags and such. 

A photo showing a collection of figure parts to assemble. The figure is of an orange and white hamster character called Hamtaro. The parts include several facts, bodies and accessories, such as a sunflower and seeds.

Here are all of the main pieces, not including some of the tiny additional hands. All Nendoroids come with a stand, along with a thing to connect the figure to the stand, so the figures are easier to display. I've decided to display my new Hamtaro in a sitting pose so I'm not currently using the stand, but it's still very handy to have. Honestly, collecting figures is a nightmare sometimes when slight vibrations can send a figure flying off your shelves, often knocking over several other figures on its way to the ground :D I'm looking at you Tokidoki...

One of my favourite things about the Hamtaro Nendoroid has to be the sunflower seed 'accessories'. If you watched the show or played the video games then you'll understand the significance of these seeds, they are like a bone to a dog. It's really cool that Hamtaro gets to be surrounded by one of his favourite snacks! 

A photo showing an orange and white hamster character called Hamtaro. He has chubby cheek pouches and his holding a sunflower seed. There is a pile of sunflower seeds in front of him.

I mean, have you ever seen anything more adorable in your life!? He looks so happy having his cheek pouches stuffed with yummy sunflower seeds! This is definitely my favourite of all the poses/styles, and the one that I have chosen to display my figure with. I really like the rosy hue that the designers have decided to include on Hamtaro's cheeks, because it helps to add even more character to the figure! And the point of the sunflower seed in Hamtaro's hand lines up so perfectly with his mouth, giving the impression that he's just about to devour it. So sweet! 

A photo showing an orange and white hamster character called Hamtaro. He is standing with his arm outstretched and holding in his left a sunflower

Here is another of the styles that you can arrange this Nendoroid in. Hamtaro with a gleeful expression and arms held up high, as if he's exclaiming 'I found a pretty flower! LOOK!'. The sunflower has a lovely, simplistic design to it, which I think will be great for summertime photography :) You have to attach a specific hand that has a tiny hole it in for the sunflower to sit in. And as some of you will have guessed from the gap between the base of the arm and the body, all of the parts of Nendoroids are moveable, and as I realised quite fiddly. I have never been great at assembling things. My fine motor skills are so bad. And this figure in particular has been very awkward to put together, as my friend let me know when I messaged her struggling with the pieces XD I got there in the end, although apparently not before I took this photo, haha! 

A photo showing the side profile of a Hamtaro Nendoroid figure. An orange and white hamster character standing on a clear plastic stand

This is how the Hamtaro Nendo looks when attached to the stand. The part used to secure the figure to the base looks like it was made for a robot because of the screws and I love it :D That part, too, can be a little tricky to get the hang of at first, but I like that it's clear and again, it's always good to have the option of using a stand. Hamtaro's side profile is so damn cute! Check out that tiny 'snout' and pointed nose. Awww!

A photo showing a figure of an orange and white anime hamster character called Hamtaro. He is smiling with closed eyes and has his right hand held up in the peace sign.

Another feature I adore about this figure is the open mouth expression! In the series, Hamtaro and his hamster friends speak to one another like humans do, however they also have this little ham-ham language (I think it's called 'Ham Chat'), with specific sounds and words for things. This expression makes me imagine that Hamtaro is saying 'Oopaa!', which is something the hamsters say when they see something they want and are excited. 

This is the third style that you can display your Nendoroid in. Adorable closed eyes, and paw posed in the V-sign/Peace Sign, that is so iconic in Japanese animation and kawaii culture. This style just makes Hamtaro look so precious and friendly and like he's posing for a photo. I also think it makes him look kind of shy, and with the slight rosiness of his cheeks, he could totally be blushing. What's not to adore? 

A photo showing an unboxing of a Hamtaro Nendoroid figure. There are various faces and body parts to assemble of this cute orange and white hamster character. The background of the box is an orange and white gingham pattern

Which is your favourite of the variations you can display this super cute Nendoroid in? As I mentioned, mine is the chubby cheeks, sitting down version, but I like all of them for different reasons, and think that it's awesome to have so many options. Overall, I am very impressed with my first Nendoroid, even if it is a little tough to pull apart and put back together! It has opened up a whole new rabbit hole for me and I can already hear my bank account screaming. 

I was so delighted to be able to get this figure so easily here in the UK, as I know it can be difficult to source certain Nendoroids without ordering directly from Japan. I got mine from Gamersheek, after the recommendation of a friend who preordered hers from them (shoutout of Nat, for always helping me bring kawaii goodies into my life!). The figure is available for £49.95, and there's an option to pay in 3 with PayPal, which I was very glad about. I'm pretty sure that the shipping was free as well. Thank you Gamersheek, for the quick delivery and for helping me to add this absolute gem of a figure to my collection! 

A photo showing a figure of an orange and white hamster character from the anime series Hamtaro. He has chubby cheek pouches and is eating a black and white sunflower seed.

I took SO MANY photos in preparation for this blog post, as it was just impossible not to! This smol guy deserves to be shown off, but I have done my best to refrain from filling this post with all the photos! I just had to add this one in at the end. Some final thoughts I would like to mention about this figure is how smooth the material is, the quality just feels so good, and all of the little details add so much to the finished look, e.g. the whiskers, the dash of blue in the eyes, the fluff on the edge of the inner ears. I couldn't get a photo I liked showing the front of the box, as it was too bright and the light was reflecting off the plastic screen, but the Nendoroid is No.1615. 

I hope you all enjoyed reading today's post :) It's been fun to nerd out over figures again, as I feel like I've not properly done that for a while. Let me know if you'd like me to do the same when I get my second Nendo. I'm crossing my fingers that the Good Smile Company release all of the main characters from the Hamtaro series, if not all then at least Oxnard and Bijou. Who else has watched the show? Do you have a favourite ham-ham? My favourite characters growing up were Sandy and Cappy, so I would love to see them in Nendoroid form some day! 

Thank you for reading!

Do you own any Nendoroids? Which one is at the top of your wishlist?

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Tuesday, 1 March 2022

Nintendo Direct 09.02.2022 | My Reaction

Hey lovelies! Happy March!! As you can tell from the title of today's post, I'm going to be sharing some of my thoughts on the most recent Nintendo Direct... almost a month after it aired. Better late than never, right?.... right?? I am so happy that getting a Nintendo Switch has revived my love for gaming after so many years. I mean, the nostalgic love hadn't disappeared, and I would often re-play some of PlayStation classics from my childhood, but some things that happened in my life put a dampener on gaming for a while, and I focused on my other hobbies much more. However, Animal Crossing: New Horizons ignited the spark again, and it's an awesome feeling to find myself getting hyped for new releases and updates like I used to as a teenager! So, even though I'm a few weeks behind, I still wanted to express my excitement with my fabulous readers, many of whom are likely to be game-enthusiasts themselves, and relive all that excitement again as I write :) I hope the same happens for you guys as you read along! 

First, I'm going to be discussing the games I'm most looking forward to, the ones I audibly squeee'd in reaction to when they came up during the direct. Then I'll talk about some others that peaked my interest and I feel deserve honourable mentions. I'd love to hear all about which games you're most excited about, so please let me know in the comments. 

a photo showing a pastel green and blue Nintendo Switch console, along with two games: Animal Crossing New Horizons and Pokemon Snap

I was absolutely over the moon when around twenty minutes into the Direct, a familiar pink round boi came running onto our screens! I had been keeping my fingers crossed for a Kirby game for a while, and oh my goodness, this trailer did not let me down! How brilliant does Kirby and the Forgotten Land look though!? 

If you've been following my blog for a while and read the posts featuring the Kirby Ichiban Kuji lottery games I've played, then you will know how much I adore this Nintendo character. Although, I had a Nintendo DS in my early teens, I wasn't introduced to this cute little puffball until one of my friends in high school let me have a play of his Kirby game on the computers in the IT room at lunchtime, and I immediately fell in love with the character. I would get encouraged by my friends to imitate Kirby's moves in the game all the time because apparently I was hilarious, haha! And there's just lots of fun memories for me surrounding the franchise :) 

The new game, which is scheduled to be released on March 25th, is so colourful and bright, and very much encapsulates the kawaii aesthetic, whilst presenting an action-packed and entertaining storyline. Aside from the overall appearance of the game, my absolute favourite feature has to be the 'Mouthful Mode' move and all its variations. I am particularly obsessed with Light-bulb Kirby, with Vending Machine Kirby coming in at a very close second. All of the artwork that I've seen around on twitter and instagram of Kirby-shaped random household objects and such has been fabulous! Which is your favourite of the Mouthful Modes? I cannot wait to play this beautiful and awesome-looking game! 

A photo showing a screenshot from the Nintendo Direct February 2022 of the Kirby and the Forgotten Land game, as well as a disc for the playstation 2 game: Klonoa 2 Lunatea's Veil

If you watched the Nintendo Direct and weren't ecstatic about announcements involving the character in the above photo, we can't be friends...

I'm kidding :D BUT eeeeeeeeee!! Even though I went into the direct already knowing that there would be a Klonoa mention, I still couldn't contain my giddiness about it! You see, I couldn't watch the direct until the day after it was aired, and my friends who had watched it couldn't not immediately message me about Klonoa, because they know how much I adore the character/games. And then I noticed all of the artwork filling up my timeline on twitter and I pretty much almost cried. I am not even embarrassed by my reaction. 

Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil is one of my all-time favourite games, and it forever will be! I have adored this bunny-esque character since I was around 8 years old after playing the first game, Klonoa: Door to Phantomile on my PS1. During my childhood, I would experience a lot of games via demos, the kind that you could get in gaming magazines, as my parents couldn't afford to buy me new games all the time. I would play these demo versions of certain games again and again, and very much treasured every full-length game that I did have. The first Klonoa game blew little Sarah away with its cuteness, and also its theme music. Years later, I pestered my mom so much for the sequel, the exact game I still own now, and was overjoyed when she bought it for me! 

Hearing the iconic 'WAHOO' sound not long after the Kirby announcement was almost too much to handle, I was just so happy, not only about the idea of a game but also the fanart that I know will come along with it as all the artists of the gaming community plays too. For the longest time, I have been sad about the lack of Klonoa merch available, and that will (hopefully) no longer be the case, especially after seeing all of the illustrations that popped up after the announcement! I now find it much more convenient to play games on a handheld console and barely ever play my Switch on the TV (living with chronic health conditions affects literally everything I can do nowadays!). This means that I have not played my PS2 version of the game for quite a while, so I am super thankful that the Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series will bring Lunatea's Veil back into my life, as well as allow me to play the first game all the way through. Finally! Bring on July 8th!!

A photo showing a pastel blue and green Nintendo Switch console, alongside two games: Pokemon Snap and Animal Crossing New Horizons

So, those two (technically three) game announcements are the ones that stole the show for me, but there were some others that I am tempted to check out. Taiko no Tatsujin: Rhythm Festival looks so adorable that I am drawn to the game even though I don't think I'll be very good at playing it at all. I've never been particularly good at dancing games and anything similar that involves quick moves to the rhythm of music. Not gonna lie, I feel like the look of the game might mean that I spend my money on it but then don't actually play it, haha. Can any of you relate? 

I am yet to watch the anime series Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (It's on my watchlist, with a million other shows, so I'll get around to it eventually!) but the game looked SO GOOD! The Hinokami Chronicles is due out on June 10th and I am feeling the urge to binge watch the show in the days leading up to the release and then have a play once I've completed it. We will see! Are you a fan of the anime and/or manga? 

Another game that was memorable for me was the final announcement of Xenoblade Chronicles 3. The music and story in the trailer was beautiful, as well as that icy landscape featured, and what can I say? I'm a sucker for a humanoid character with animal ears! The creatures in this game also look epic, wouldn't you agree? This game is expected to launch some time in September this year. 

The last game, only because of the order I've decided to write about them in, that caught my attention was the Kingdom Hearts collection, Integrum Masterpiece series. As someone who never got the chance to play these games when I was younger apart from one time at a friends house, and who only knows about the characters because of tumblr, I think it's wonderful that the option will be there for me to experience all three games on my Switch whenever I decide to. They are available now from the Nintendo e-shop, if you didn't already know :) 

So, that's enough of my rambling for one day! I'm never sure if my game-related posts are interesting, so I'd really appreciate if you guys could let me know if you enjoyed reading :) I hope that I was able to bring some upcoming games to the attention of anyone who missed the Direct, or maybe someone who is new to the world of the Nintendo Switch and happens to stumble upon my post in their google search. Or that I was able to get everyone else excited all over again for these games! Either way, it looks like it's going to be an eventful year for gamers, even more so after the Pokemon Direct and the trailer for Pokemon Scarlet & Violet. You'd have to be living under a rock to not have spotted the new starters on social media yet :D Do you have a favourite? They're all adorable, but I'm all about Sprigatito! Anyhow, this post is already super long, so I'll end it here. 

Thank you for reading!

What game are you most hyped about? 

Is there anything that you were hoping to see announcements about, but were left disappointed? 

If you enjoyed today's post, check out these previous posts: 

| ACNH: My First Impressions | My Favourite Video Games as a Kid

Kirby Gem Pusher Arcade Game | My First Ever Kuji!


Thursday, 24 February 2022

What I got for Christmas 2021

Hello Everyone! Let's just pretend that it's not now almost March, so I can say a Happy New Year to you all! I wish each and every one of my lovely readers a wonderful 2022!! Seriously though, how is it almost three months into the year!? It feels like only yesterday since we were celebrating Christmas... and not just because I'm only just getting around to blogging about what I got! *insert awkward-face emoji here*. I feel so loved to have received so many fantastic presents, so I couldn't not talk about them. I hope you all enjoy reading and having a nosey at my gifts. This post is not meant to be a brag or make anyone feel bad, but a way for me to express how grateful I am, and to celebrate the thought that my loved ones put into choosing presents for me (You guys are amazing!!). I'd love to hear all about what you got in 2021 for Christmas, so please let me know in the comments :) And so, without further ado, here's what I got!

A photo showing Christmas presents that the blogger received: a harry potter book, a green monster plush, two funko pops (a cactus girl and Anna, a red-haired woman from Disney's Frozen), a mug with a fox on, and two tiny Harry Potter stamps of the characters Hagrid and Lupin.

I received the majority of my marvellous presents from my sister, so a huge THANK YOU to Nicole!! After our mom passed away, my sister & I decided to help make getting through the 'most wonderful time of the year' that little bit easier, that we would spoil one another (as best we could, anyway). In the past, we basically never bought each other anything for Christmas, haha! Oops... we have sure been making up for that over the last few years! My sister did a fantastic job as always of picking out great presents for me!! And I hope she loved the things I got for her just as much :)

A photo showing a collection of christmas gifts, including a tube of After Eight Mint chocolate, two funko pop vinyl figures, a 30 Second Mysteries card game, two Sanrio character squishies, and a Harry Potter themed book

If you are new to my blog, then you won't know that I have been an avid collector of figures all my life, starting when I was a little kid. As soon as I got to the age when I had my own money to spend on whatever I liked (even though it was supposed to go on adulting things...), I have been very much into vinyl figures. Although, my main love is for blind box collectable series, with those by Tokidoki being a firm favourite of mine, I couldn't help but fall in love with Funko Pops. I own over 100+ now, and I am trying to slow down with my collecting, because I was struggling to find space to store them all, haha. Can anyone else relate? 

Anyhow, when Tokidoki revealed that they were doing a collaboration with Funko, I pretty much lost my shit, as the saying goes XD And now have a mighty need to acquire ALL of the Pops they made (despite the fact that the unicorno looks strange to me in Pop form....). As you can imagine, I was over the moon to unwrap one of these Pops on Christmas morning, especially since the cactus characters are my absolute favourite by Tokidoki. I mean, just look how adorable Sandy is!!

A photo showing a collection of christmas gifts: a bag of lebkuchen german spiced biscuits, a fox mug, a pack of jelly bean sweets, a skirtles selection box, and a two sanrio character squishies

Something that I really enjoy is receiving little gifts, you know the kind that are typically classed as 'stocking fillers'. And my sister always manages to find such awesome ones!! Like these Sanrio squishies! I don't know if I'm ever going to be able to bring myself to take them out of the packaging and risk ruining them because they are too cute. Are you a Sanrio fan? Who's your favourite out of the two I got for Christmas: Chococat or Hello Kitty? It's the latter for me. Hello Kitty will always hold a special place in my heart as she was the reason I got into Sanrio in my early teens. The best Sanrio characters, in my opinion, though are Kuromi and Pompompurin :) 

If you follow me over on Instagram (if you don't, you totally should), then you will likely have seen how much I was craving lebkuchen over the Christmas period! Being a spoonie, I can't get out of the house as often as I'd like to, and when I do, for example to do my monthly grocery shop, I have to try to get my shopping done all in one location, so I don't have to venture out again. As a consequence, I can't go to my local Lidl or Aldi stores to pick up all of the European festive goodies that I love so much, including the fabulous German spiced treats, lebkuchen. Oh my goodness, they are so yummy, and I was so happy to finally get my hands on some thanks to my sister. Yay!

A photo showing an array of christmas gifts, including a harry potter book, two funko pop vinyl figures, some snacks, two sanrio squishies and a big green monster plush toy

I will be forever obsessed with plushies, and there is almost never a plushie that I don't love as soon as I set eyes on it. If you want to capture my heart quickly, give me a plushie and I will love you for all eternity. Obviously it's not that simple, but you get the picture! :D HOW BRILLIANT IS MY NEW GREEN MONSTER FRIEND!? My sister came across this one-eyed, floppy-eared dude in the sale for only £3 or something crazy like that!!? I am so happy that Ugly Dolls merch became popular in the UK over the last few years, as before then, I could never get any of the figures and such, without ordering from the US. And now I have a whole ass plushie!

Isn't the cover on that Harry Potter book just stunning? Thestrals are one of my favourite creatures from the Wizarding World, and the colour scheme appeals so much to the alternative part of me. The book is filled with intricate paper cut-out art (I have no idea what the proper name for that sort of thing is, so apologises if my explanation is crap...), depicting some of the locations featured throughout the Harry Potter stories. My sister thought it would make for a collection of interesting backgrounds I can use for my toy photography hobby, and I am very much looking forward to trying it out. I wish that I was skilled at doing intricate crafts because everytime I look through the book, I want so much to have a go at creating something similar myself! Alas, I struggle to even cut in a straight line with a pair of scissors...

As you can see, I received another Funko Pop for Christmas. It has become a little tradition for my niece to choose a Funko Pop for me as a gift, and it's just the sweetest thing knowing that she chose a particular character with me in mind :) In 2020, it was a Lion King (live action version) Pop of the character Scar, and this Christmas just gone, when she was deep into her obsession with Disney's Frozen, she wanted to gift me an Anna Pop, which was perfect for wintery toy photography! Little cutie 

A photo showing a globe made by Disney, themed after The Nightmare Before Christmas. Inside the glass, there are figurines of Zero and Jack. And around the base, there are the character Sally, Lock, Shock and Barrell

This is the 'main' present that my sister got for me, and I was so surprised, in the happiest way!! My sister collects snowglobes, and so I always get her one for Christmas, or whenever I go on holiday and such. I really wasn't expecting her to go and get me one, too!! I also collect globes, but on a much smaller level. I think they are really pretty and will buy one as a keepsake from places I've travelled to. I think if I didn't already collect so many other things, I would allow myself to get even more globes, but I need to be sensible XD My life is overrun with enough things and stuff already, haha. I'm like the human equivalent of a magpie!

This Nightmare Before Christmas globe is SOOOO beautiful, and I couldn't have been more thrilled to receive it. I had been ummm'ing and ahhh'ing about getting myself an official Disney globe, but I always prioritised spending my money on adding to my various collections, so it's really nice that someone else took that step for me :) And what a phenomenal one to start with! My most favourite feature of this globe is the fact that it isn't filled with snow, or glitter, but bat confetti!! Yes, tiny little bats float around Jack and Zero when you shake it, and I think it is the most amazing idea ever! Whoever added that design needs a promotion, Disney! The detailing around the base of the globe is so eye-catching, and think of Lock, Shock and Barrell singing 'Kidnap the Sandy Claws' every time I look at it. Sally with her black cat in hand is the star of the show for me though :) Do you have an official Disney globe? I'd love to know which one(s)! 

A photo showing the box of the Happy Daze gift set by Lush Cosmetics, featuring purple, pink and yellow design with smiley faces and stripes.

My brother very kindly bought me a Lush gift set for Christmas (Thanks so much, Chris! ), and everything smells so good!! If I'm being honest, I always get a little nervous when someone says they are going to buy me a gift that involves fragrances, because I have so many sensory issues when it comes to certain scents. I can easily become overwhelmed, for lack of a better word, and so I am very 'picky' when it comes to perfume and the like. I told him that my favourite bathbomb by Lush was the peppermint-based Intergalactic, and whoever put together this Happy Daze box did an excellent job of pairing it with another bathbomb, and two bubble bars, with similar scents, in terms of their 'mildness'. 

The relief I felt when I unboxed it all!! It includes The Comforter, a bubble bar that I've used before and love, and then two new-for-me items, that luckily have citrus fruits and ylang-ylang as main ingredients, which are another of my go-to's, the Groovy Kind of Love bathbomb & the Brightside bubble bar. I cannot wait to see what the bathart they create is like! Something I really like about Lush is how colourful the packaging of their gift sets are :) 

A collection of christmas gifts: a pair of sheep themed socks, a ravenclaw print from the Harry Potter series as well as an origami book and pin from the same franchise, a box of korean chocolate snacks

Now, I'm going to show you all presents that I was gifted by my friends, who are incredible and I don't understand how I managed to have such great friends as them in my life :') A shoutout to Kim, who blogs over at Chimmyville, for buying me this Harry Potter origami book off of my Amazon wishlist! It was a lovely surprise. Thank you for being awesome!! Everyone go have a read of her blog :) I received some more Harry Potter themed goodies for my best friend, Jess, who knows I love her the most-est ever ever!! We recently spent a weekend in London, and thanks to her family, I finally got to visit the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tour!! I will share some posts about it next month for those of you who are fellow fans of the book series and movie franchise, that we all know conjured themselves into existence and have no creator. Keep your eyes peeled for that (I hate that saying because of the imagery it creates, but still continue to use it. Why...). I think it's cool that my bestie chose a Hermione pin for me, since even though she's not my favourite character from the franchise, I relate to her book-counterpart so much! 

A photo showing a collection of cute christmas gifts: a cat-bee funko pop figure, two boxes of japanese chocolate snacks, two notebooks with panda and frog covers, a panda plush wearing earmuffs

My other best friend went all out and did a haul from one of my favourite stores for me!! Thank you so so very much, Aaron, for getting me so many kawaii wonders from Kenji! It is too tough to choose a favourite, because I adore everything!! Notebooks are always welcome, as they are another thing that I cannot ever get enough of. And one of them has a froggo on it!! A round amphibian buddie that's facial expression speaks to me on a personal level XD The long boi panda is so squishy and soft, and somehow my friend managed to pick two of my favourite Asian snacks, milk flavoured Hello Panda biscuits, and cookies & cream (or white cookie, a new name used for Christmas branding?) Pepero. I was in need of some cutesy snacks for some tiktok ideas I have, so what perfect timing to get these as a gift! 

Another Funko Pop from my wishlist has come into my life, and it's all thanks to my amazing blogger-bestie, Natalee, who writes over at There Might Be Coffee. Seriously, if you are of the nerdy persuasion like myself, you need to go read Nat's posts! Ever since, Funko announced that they were working with the brand Tasty Peach, I was delighted!! I have wanted a Tasty Peach plushie for the longest time, but couldn't afford to get one, so vinyl figures of the beloved characters are the next best thing, right? The one I love most of the Funko X Tasty Peach Pop's is the Queen Bee Meowchi, and now it's mine!! Eeeee!

A photo showing a funko pop vinyl figure of a cat-bee character called Queen Bee Meowchi

She might be the cutest Pop I have ever had the pleasure to lay eyes on before! I mean, LOOK AT HER! Everything about her is super sweet!! It's fantastic that she's so photogenic as well, and I cannot wait to feature her in some Springtime photography. Who else is counting down the days until Spring is here?? I enjoy Winter (even though my brain does not) but I am craving more daylight and eye-candy in the form of flowers and fresh green buds. I need it to hurry up and get here already! 

So, that's (almost) all of the gifts that I have been given for Christmas, and I hope today's post has put into words how truly thankful I am for the people in my life. I know that love isn't about material things, and my friends give me so much more with their conversation and being there to listen to me and all of my life problems (of which there's A LOT), and making my days better just by existing, but when they take the time to look for a gift that they know will make my little nerdy heart smile, it is so meaningful :') I cannot say thank you enough. Thank YOU, THANK you, THANK YOU! And that also extends to everyone who has taken the time to read today's post, because I know that I have been the world's shittiest blogger over the last several years, so it still baffles me that people take the time to check out my ramblings whenever I am sporadically hit with the motivation to share a snippet of my life with the world. You guys are the best! 

Thank you for reading!

What's something that you gave or did for someone special in your life for Christmas 2021? 

Follow me on social media, where I actually post regularly:

| Instagram | Twitter | My Toy Photography Instagram


Sunday, 31 October 2021

Pucky Monster Babies Unboxing

HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!! It's my favourite holiday of the year, the day when everybody gets their spook on! As someone who's always leaned more to the alternative side, I am a big fan of all things macabre and scary. Horror is my favourite genre and my bedroom is decorated with skulls and witchy things and other ghoulish icons all year round. I love that for the month of October, everyone joins in with celebrating all things spooky, and I can spam all of my social media with halloweeny stuff :) Not that I can't do that anyway, but you know what I mean, haha! One of the best things about Halloween Time, in my opinion, is the mash up (*instantly starts singing The Monster Mash*) of cute and spooky, aptly coined spoopy by the internet... I just adore seeing chibified versions of 'terrifying' characters, and also kawaii ones in fancy dress. What's not to love about Kirby as a pumpkin or a tiny Freddy Krueger surrounded by candy!? Today's post is going to be shouting out to the spoopy, as well as one of my most loved things ever: toys/collectable figures! I hope you all enjoy reading and have a wonderful Halloween night!! 

A box showing two blind boxes by the company PopMart, titled Pucky Monster Babies and featuring a character dressed as a pumpkin black cat

If you follow me over on instagram, you will most probably be aware of my latest obsession when it comes to blind box figures. I have known Pucky Babies existed for a while, but I didn't know you could get them fairly easily here in the UK until a few months ago. Pucky Babies are a series of super adorable characters brought to us by the company, Pop Mart. There's so many varieties of the Pucky Babies blind boxes available, and I was lucky enough to stumble upon some that are perfect for the spooky season just in time for Halloween :) I was going to blog about them earlier in the month, but I've not found the time between trying to watch as many horror movies as possible and also preparing for NaNoWriMo, which starts tomorrow! Ahhh! Anyhow, here I am now showing off the lovely figures I got inside my Pucky Monster Babies boxes!

Before I reveal the figures, I just wanted to mention that this version of the Pucky Babies figures has 12 different ones to collect, and two hidden/mystery figures. I love when blind boxes have mystery chase variants, despite the fact that it's super irritating when you are trying to complete an entire set and can't seem to find any of them! My favourite of the ones available are the Pumpkin Black Cat (the one you can see on the box), Wolfman Poko, and the Forest Sorcerer; however, they are all so pretty and detailed that I have a mighty urge to try and collect every one of them now :D So, who did I get?? 

A photo of a figure by PopMart of a baby dressed in a pumpkin black cat costume for halloween

YAY!! It must be my lucky day! Halloween must love me as much as I love it, haha! I got the Pumpkin Black Cat figure in the first box I opened!! And isn't it a little stunner? What a eye-catching figure! I am obsessed with how vibrant it is, and there is so much to look at with all that detail. It has such a creative design! My most favourite feature of all has to be the tiny cat ears and whiskers, but of course, I can't not highlight that kitty scarf! I love polka dots, too and black and purple is such a lovely colour combination :) I really like how even though there's only two little buttons on the Pucky Babies tummy, they've made each have different coloured button holes or whatever those holes in the centre are called. 

A photo of three figure baby in blanket figures. One is green, another is pink and a third is purple, and sitting inside a pumpkin bucket for halloween

It was such a marvellous surprise to discover these miniature babies inside the box along with the main figure (even if I have no idea where I'm going to store them so I don't lose them!). It's impressive that you get three of them, so you can choose whichever one you like best to sit inside the pumpkin bucket/basket. I opted for the green one, since that's my favourite colour. It's a lovely touch that they are pastel when the rest of the figure has such bold colouration. Which tiny pastel baby would you chose? 

A photo showing a figure of a baby dressed in a black cat pumpkin costume for Halloween

I adore how photogenic Pucky Babies are and I cannot wait to share them on my dedicated toy photography instagram. You'll be seeing these little guys even after the night is through, because I'm not ready to let go of Halloween just yet :D The quality of these figures is so another thing that has me so impressed. The paintjob/finish of the vinyl is so smooth, and the figures themselves are heavy and sturdy, especially for figures that are inexpensive to buy! AWWW, just look at that tiny mouth, and little triangle nose. It reminds me of Snufkin from The Moomins for some reason, so it makes me smile whenever I look at the nose! I really like that the scarf cat has a triangular nose as well! Let's check out the other spoopy cutie I unboxed... 

A photo showing a figure of a baby dressed as a vampire for halloween.

I am obsessed with the design of the cloak/dress that this little vampire is wearing!! The pattern is gorgeous and I would totally wear a dress like that! This adorable character wasn't a favourite of mine, but he's still fantastic and I couldn't be happier about adding him to my collection :) It took me until I did my photography for this post to realise this the figure has a huge white collar and that those are tiny pointed ears sticking out of the hood. I honestly thought at first glace that he was raising his arms in the air (that his ears were actually hands), almost like he was saying 'OoOooo' :D And I thought it looked more like he was excited! But oh my god, it's a collar, which makes me love the design even more!! (Can you tell I'm tired today?) and those little pointed ears make me think of elves, which I adore just as much as the more spooky mythical creatures. Are you team vampires or team elves?

a photo of a cute vampire figure showing a black cloak covered with pastel ghosts, hearts and bats

How fabulous is this cloak/dress though!? We are used to seeing vampires in their traditional black and red outfits, so I think it's fangtastic (I'm not even sorry...) that the designers at PopMart decided to incorporate some pastel colours into the look of their vampire, but still stuck to tradition by giving him the sweetest little red bowtie, and red eyes, which make his face stand out so much. I do have to admit that I think the thick blue trimming along the bottom of his cloak is a little random, but I don't hate it. The way it flares out along with the colour gives me octopus vibes. Don't you think? Furthermore, the flare makes me feel like he's in mid-twirl whilst dancing, and now I've decided that all the figures must be attending a Halloween fancy dress party or ball. 

A figure of a baby wearing a vampire halloween costume

I know that his hood is supposed to be a vampire bat, but I think it looks more like a monster/alien, which is so precious! It reminds me of a homemade costume that doesn't quite look like what it's supposed to :D Have you ever had a homemade costume like that? The bat wings are so sweet, too! Another marvellous figure and after writing all about it, I am now 100% sure that I need more in my life! How else are we going to have a 'best dressed' competition at the Pucky Babies costume party??

A photo of two figures, one is wearing a pumpkin black hat costume and the other a vampire

These guys just look so cute together!! I love that I got two figures that are so different from one another, and I am delighted with just how intricate the designs are! PopMart figures are amazing and I can already hear my bank account screaming... but tell me, which is your favourite of the two? 

I bought these figures from a website called Scout & Co, and I just wanted to thank them for packaging the blind boxes so well! Not only were they packed securely and arrived in perfect condition (which is not something that always happens with blind boxes!), but they also made the presentation so autumnal. Autumn is my favourite season so I was over the moon to open the box and be greeted the way I was. 

A photo of box filled with brown shredded paper packaging, an autumnal fungi themed card and yellow tissue paper

So pretty, don't you think? Scout & Co have three varieties of the Pucky Babies blind boxes for sale, and they are all £11.99 per box, which is a great price :) If you want to treat yourself to some Monster Babies of your own, definitely check out their site. They have the Milk Babies, too, and the box for those is shaped like a milk cartoon!! I love that!

I hope that you enjoyed checking out these super sweet figures today :) It's been a while since I blogged about blind boxes, and I used to blog about them all the time! Those of you who have been reading my blog since I started it in 2015 will remember my tokidoki blind box posts. Does anyone miss those? Let me know if you'd like to see more posts like this again, because I am still an avid collector and have a lot that I could share with you all. That reminds me, I wanted to let those of you who love this sort of thing know that I've set up a tiktok dedicated to unboxing toys :) If that's something you want to watch, I'd really appreciate a follow. Again, Happy Halloween (or Blessed Samhain, to my fellow witchy folks)! Enjoy your candy and scary movies!! 

Thankyou for reading!

Had you ever heard of Pucky Babies before reading my post?

Do any of you guys collect PopMart figures? 

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