Raiin Monkey

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Monday, 15 July 2019

Kenji & Flying Tiger Haul

Hi everyone! Happy Monday! I hope you're all having an awesome start to the week :) Today, I have been trying to endure this sweltering weather! And catch up on my favourite shows, so its been one of those 'lazy' days. I thought I better try to do at least one productive thing today, and finally share a post that so many of you guys requested. If you follow me over on Instagram, you might have seen my posts about my day out on Thursday last week, when I went on a shopping spree in Preston city with my best friend. I was super looking forward to visiting some stores that unfortunately my local town centre doesn't have, and as a consequence I got a little overexcited and spent more than I probably should have. Oops! Although to be honest, I was very much in need of a dose of retail therapy, and I picked up some lovely things. The stores that I was most enthusiastic about going to were Flying Tiger/Tiger and the most adorable store called Kenji, and after seeing me share video snippets on my story, lots of my wonderful friends said that they would love for me to do a haul post, so here we are! Enjoy! 


I absolutely adore both of the stores who's products I am featuring in today's post, mostly because they sell unique and quirky items, that can be more difficult to find unless you shop online. When it comes to the kinds of cutesy stuff that I like, I usually have to purchase them via the internet so it's a lovely change to be able to get them in store, and enjoy the experience of browsing the shelves and filling up a basket. Plus my best friend gets a good laugh out of watching my reactions apparently XD I tend to get very giddy and 'squeeee' a lot when I am surrounded by pretty stationery and adorable products! 

Flying Tiger or just Tiger as it used to be called, is a Danish company that reminds me of Ikea, selling a range of products, from stationery and kitchen and bathroom ware, to children's toys and games, and all kinds of really useful items. Something that very much appeals to me about the store is how many novelty-style products it sells... for example, the first time I visited, I bought a tin case with a handle that was shaped like a tomato with a cute face on XD Yeah, those sorts of things are right up my street! 

Kenji on the other hand is a newer and less-well known company, with only four shops in the North of England, including Preston, Manchester, Warrington & Bury. It is another store that sells a multitude of items, such as kitchen products, accessories, giftware, plushies and my favourite, stationery! And all of them are Japanese inspired. I am just in love with this store, and I really hope that they become more popular and can expand throughout the UK. 

I'll show you all what I picked up at Tiger first! 


How flippin' cute are these two notebooks that I bought!? 

There goes my temporary notebook ban out of the window... I knew it wouldn't last long :D I have so many notebooks that I haven't even written in yet, and I told myself I had to stop buying new ones, but I cannot resist. I just love them so much! I am always writing, but with the amount of notebooks I have, it still seems impossible to use them all. Although, I do have several that I have some sort of attachment to and cannot bring myself to write in them. My fellow notebook hoarders, please tell me I'm not alone in this :') 

My attention was instantly grabbed by the hamster notebook, which is actually an exercise book style of notepad. There were several designs and it was pretty difficult for me not to just buy them all but I was trying so hard not to come home with too many notebooks...what is too many though ;) I chose the yellow one because I am a big fan of the colour, it's so happy and bright, and I love the pink and yellow combo. The main reason I was drawn to this notebook is because seeing it hit me with a wave of nostalgia. If you've ever seen the anime series Hamtaro, then you'll remember the scene on either the first or second episode (but don't quote me on that) when the main human character of the show is shopping for notebooks with hamsters on. Well, seeing this hamster exercise book made that scene immediately pop into my mind, and I had to have it.

I bought the small notebook with beetles on the cover because a) the nature geek in me loves insects, and b) because I'm a sucker for anything colourful. There was actually an entire range of products in store, found across all the different sections, with these beetles on, but I fought the urge to buy more and just stuck to the notebook. Those fabulous rainbow pens were from the LGBT+ Pride section. It was fantastic to see a pride section, selling flags and colourful dinnerware for hosting pride parties. I wanted to pick up something and chose these pens (one for me and one for my friend), because just look at those pom-poms and vibrant colours!!



Just look at that bunny bead set! Yes, I'm 26 years old and yes, I had no second thoughts about putting this bead set straight into my basket :D When I said that I was a fan of novelty-shaped things, I meant it. The fact that the beads came in a rabbit-shaped container is what made me have a mighty need; getting all of those lovely, bright beads is just an added bonus. I'm looking forward to sitting in the garden in the sunshine making bracelets, and I love that I can re-use the container for storing little bits and bobs after. 

Something cool about Tiger is that it has a snacks section and there's some really interesting things available that I need to try some time, but as soon as I spotted a pack of six stroopwafels for just £2, I couldn't say no. If you've never tried these scrumptious Dutch caramel wafers before, you really need to! 

I've been after some food shaped erasers for a while now, to use for my toy photography hobby. For anyone who's new to my blog, I am a collector of vinyl figures and toys, and alongside that I do toy photography. I have a dedicated Instagram if you'd like to check it out here. I want to start creating my own set-up's with props, and I thought that novelty erasers could be incorporated into this, e.g. for a picnic scene. I love that this little set from Tiger came in a container too, so I won't loose them. I used to own quite a few of these cute erasers as a teenager but I lost them all! So the plastic tub will definitely come in handy. 


Aren't these just the best highlighters that you've ever seen? I know that they are for me! Something that's amazing about Tiger is how cheap their products are! This pack of highlighters was the most pricey individual item that I bought, and they were only £3! I have always been curious about pastel-coloured highlighters, whether the shades would be very visible and such, so I thought why not finally find out! If I didn't like them, then I could still keep these little ice lolly shaped ones for summery photography props or whatever. I am a lover of pastel colours and I like mini highlighters that are easy to fit into a pencil case, but I'd never seen anything like these before so I had to get them. Which is your favourite colour? I love the blue one, as when used it looks more like a mint shade :)




Apologies for bombarding you all with photos of stickers, but I wanted to show what each sheet looked like close up VS trying to squash all six into one shot. Who else loves stickers? They are another stationery item that I have managed to build up quite a collection of over the last ten years or so, but I do actually use them, mostly for when I'm writing letters or cards to my penpals and loved ones. Tiger have a marvellous deal, 2 for £1 which I am over the moon with, considering how many stickers you get, the quality of them and the fact that you can see how much thought has gone into their design. 

I hardly ever see stickers of sea creatures so that's the main reason I chose those, and also because they are so colourful and cheerful! I picked up the dogs for my friend, the cat sheets because cats are amazing, and the reptile one because reptiles are my favourite group of animals! Which is your favourite sticker sheet of the bunch? 

So that's everything that I purchased from Tiger (other than two things that I bought for my niece). I've just realised that I didn't tell you how much some of the items cost, so I'll list those before showing you my Kenji haul :). The Pride pens were £1 each, the erasers were £2, the hamster exercise book was £2 as well as the beetle one, too. Oh, and the bead set was £2. 


I only did a small haul at Kenji, compared to Tiger because I had spent quite a lot of my budget at this point and still had to get lunch, as well as go back to pick up some pretty desk drawers that I'd spotted earlier in the day at TG Hughes for £14.99. Again, the notebooks stole my otaku heart, and thank goodness that I had a budget as there were so many amazing ones to choose from! It was tough to choose and I swapped things in and out of my basket several times as I walked around the store, haha! 


I picked up this mini notebook with an alpaca/llama on the cover solely because alpacas have been one of my favourite animals since I was about 14, and they look especially cute in designs that are inspired by Japanese and Korean animation. Seriously, Japan makes the most fabulous alpaca products, and I have accumulated a fair few alpaca plushies by the Japanese brand, Amuse :D This notebook was £2. 

The other two notebooks that I couldn't leave the store without  were £2.50 each, and oh my gosh, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the designs/prints on their covers. The price is such a bargain in my opinion because the quality is fantastic and the covers are so incredibly sweet, and are printed on the front and back of the notebook. Also, I didn't realise until I took the notebooks out of the plastic film they were sealed in before taking these photos, that the texture of the cover is lovely. I don't know what it is about inanimate objects given cute faces, but I can't help but adore them! There was another version of these notebooks available too that I so wanted to get, a lilac one with another sky/galaxy theme on. I have a feeling that the notebooks I bought from Kenji might end up being added to the stash of ones that I cannot bring myself to use in case I spoil them. That's how delighted I am with them! 


The final items from my Kenji haul are a set of floral tealights and a tiny porcelain duck. Haha, I know that the latter is very random, but let me explain! When I was a child, I used to collect small ornaments, and I would buy them each time I visited the market in my hometown. Even though I don't collect them anymore (I still kept my childhood collection, of course!), I just think its a part of me now to be drawn to little ornaments and sometimes I can't resist buying them. I obviously needed this little puddle duck in my life and I will name him and he will be the best duckie friend ever :3 

Lastly, I picked up this pack of four flower shaped tealights candles simply because I really liked the yellow one that looks like a sunflower and at only a £1 per set, it was an offer I couldn't pass up on. I really like how each tealight has a completely different design and colour, and not only are they functional, but they also make great props. It's all about the props when you're a blogger XD Another thing that I think is superb about this product is how simply yet nicely it is packaged... I'm lovin' the flower tie. They would make great gifts :) 

Well, we've reached the end of my haul. I hope that you all enjoyed reading, even if I did get a little rambley in parts :D I cannot recommend these stores enough, they have something to suit everyone's taste. Be sure to check out the Kenji and Flying Tiger websites for more information. I'd love to know if you guys have visited either of these stores, and what you bought so please let me know in the comments! 



Thankyou for reading! 

♥ 

What is your favourite item that I mentioned in my post? 

Have you bought anything nice lately? Tell me all about it :) 

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Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Another Kawaii Haul: Mi-eau

Hey lovelies! Happy Tuesday! I hope you're all having a wonderful start to the last week of June! … As if it's the last week of June, there goes another month of 2019, the sixth month is almost through... why is time going by so fast!? Do you guys feel the same? So, there's only five more days remaining of June and this is my first post of the month, oops! The only word I can find to summarise the last three weeks is ugh; well actually, one of those weeks was fun! If you follow me on social media, you'll most likely know that I got to spend five days away holidaying with my mom and sister (and Aurora the pupper) in the Lake District. It was lovely to get away, to the countryside, and to just take a break from my everyday life and surroundings! I didn't want to come home, but alas I'm back and it's about time that I shared a post with you guys! As my title suggests, I'm going to finally get around to showing you all what I bought over a month ago (and then some) from Mi-eau! Enjoy :) 

Business card from Mi-eau, a kawaii artist

I first came across the incredibly adorable artwork by Mi-eau over on Tumblr! Tumblr may have its downsides but I have to be thankful to it for bringing to my attention so many wonderful artists and their fabulous products. As soon as I saw Mi-eau's super cute illustrations, I fell in love and couldn't resist ordering something as soon as payday came around. I can't wait to show you guys how fantastic the artwork is! You can also find Mi-eau over on Instagram and DeviantArt. So here's what I bought... Cue the cuteness overload!


A haul from a store called Mi-eau, featuring badges, stickers and a charm

*Eeee!* SO MUCH CUTE!! It's impossible for me not to squeee everytime I look at these products! I was sold after seeing the neko girl character, but I fell head over heels when I browsed Mi-eau's website and discovered the Hamtaro badges! Seeing anything Hamtaro-related hits me with all the nostalgia, because I used to be obsessed with it back when I was around 11/12. I would watch it every evening on Fox Kids after coming home from school, and I even named one of my hamsters Hamtaro :) Did any of you watch Hamtaro, too? If so, did you have a favourite character? Mine was Sandy. 

So back to the neko girl, I am a big fan of all things nekomimi and cats are just amazing in general. I also enjoy cat cosplay (and some NSFW themed dress up :p), and happen to have a blue tail and ears set, so when I saw this character with her blue outfit and dark brown hair, it instantly reminded me of myself and I had to have something with this illustration on! I wanted to purchase a phone charm with the same design, but they were sold out and thus I chose another because all of the designs were equally adorable :) 

A thankyou note from an online store called Mi-eau

Before I show you the products up-close and let you know what I think of them, I just had to mention this lovely note that Victoria from Mi-eau included with my order. How sweet! I really love when artists/companies, etc., put in personalised thankyou notes; it makes receiving orders feel kind of like getting happy mail from a penpal, and also makes it clear that the artists really appreciates their customers. I was also sent the most adorable happy Shiba Inu sticker for free along with the note! Thankyou Mi-eau!

A set of 6 button badges showing characters from an anime, Hamtaro

Let's talk about the star of the show first! I think they are AMAZING!! I love how each and every one of the Ham-Ham badges has a unique design that reflects the personality of the characters so well. The badges come in all different colours too, which I really like and there's just so much detail. There were two button badge sets available, each having six badges, and I really wanted to buy them both T_T I will definitely be picking up the other one as soon as my budget permits! The other set includes a badge of Sandy, the one I mentioned was my favourite character from the anime, however, so many of my top five were included in this pack so after changing my mind several times, I added these to my shopping cart! 

Button Badges showing characters from the anime, Hamtaro

The four badges above feature Bijou (blue), Oxnard (green), Pashmina & her 'adopted' little sister Penelope (pink), and Jingle (red). Bijou is one of my all-time favourite characters... I love the first episode that she was in, it always comes to mind straight away whenever I think about the show. I don't want to spoil it though, and recommend that you go and watch Hamtaro for yourselves. It's so cute!! I love her little pigtails and her expression is literally me everytime I see something kawaii XD As I got older, I began to relate more and more with Oxnard because he's a nervous wreck and very much loves his food... and that is me in a nutshell, or however the saying goes. I love that in the design of this badge, he is stuffing his face with sunflower seeds and looks so delighted! 

The pink badge is just lovely. The shade of pink Mi-eau has used is so pretty, and Pashmina & Penelope's expressions are super cute! (Side note: there needs to be more words for cute in the English language!) Penelope is another adorable character, she's very shy and as a result wears a yellow blanket over her head and we never get to see what she actually looks like. She also acts almost like a toddler and can only say the word 'Ukyu!'. The Jingle illustration is perfect because he looks so into the song he's playing on his tiny guitar. Which is your favourite of the four? 

A set of Hamtaro (an anime) button badges made by Mi-eau

The final two badges are of Stan (yellow) and Snoozer (blue). Stan is the twin brother of my favourite Ham-Ham Sandy, and the two are very energetic.. Stan is always dancing around and shaking the maracas that he's holding in the artwork above, and Sandy is into gymnastics, especially rhythmic gymnastics/dancing with ribbons. Stan is a cheeky Ham-Ham character, who flirts with all of the girl hamsters on the anime, so I love that he has such a cheeky and excitable expression on the button badge. My favourite thing about the design has to be the colourful confetti though! It looks like he's having the time of his life dancing away with his maracas and it makes just me happy when I look at it, haha. 

Snoozer, as his name suggests, is characterised by the fact that he's practically always sleeping. He reminds me of a hamster version of the Pokemon Snorlax! He sleeps inside a sock like its a sleeping bag, which is just the cutest thing ever, right!? When I was younger, this inspired me to give my own pet hamsters socks, which they always stuffed into their little bed boxes :D Who do you guys like more, Snoozer or Stan? So, those are the Hamtaro button badges! They are incredible and I adore them!! I'll certainly be wearing them out and about because they are too brilliant to never be shown off, but I won't be putting them on my bags and such, like I usually do with badges, as I don't want to risk losing or damaging them. 

A sticker of a chibi-style character dressed as a cat/neko

Now it's time to discuss the illustration that first grabbed my attention! Isn't it one of the most adorable things you've ever seen!? This super cute neko girl is one of the four animal cosplay/kigurumi characters, all holding matching plushies. The others include, the Shiba Inu girl on the charm I bought, plus a rabbit and a bear one. Whilst we are on the subject of animal kigurumi, which of these animal onesies would you love to own? I've seen a flying squirrel one and a red panda one that I really want (unfortunately the majority of kigurumi aren't available in plus sizes T_T). 

I love the yellow and blue combination on this neko/cat girl illustration, those colours go so well together. The little star details are awesome too, especially the star in her eye. I think black cats are beautiful and they are definitely one of my favourite type of cats, so I like that she is holding a black cat plushie. I also love the paw gloves and how she's holding her 'paw' up, and together with the fact she's winking, just makes her look super adorable! I could go on and on about why I like this illustration, but I'll stop now before I bore you all, haha! 

A photo of a charm featuring a girl dressed as a shiba inu dog

Here's the Shiba Inu/Puppy kigurumi girl, and she's just as wonderful as the neko version. My favourite things about her design are her chubby cheek that looks like she's squishing her plushie against it! Also, the doggo paw gloves and the excited look on the plushies face. Shiba Inu's are one of the cutest dog breeds there is! 

This charm attaches to your phone via the earphone port. The back of it is blank and is made of a smooth, felt-like material, and the part that has the artwork on is raised and kind of squishy. The cord is elasticated, which is great because it makes it less likely to break if it gets caught or whatever. Whilst reading up the product info on Mi-eau's website, I found out that the smooth material is actually microfiber and can be used to clean your screen... so that's brilliant! 

A haul from a store called Mi-eau: button badges, stickers and a charm

I am in awe of how bright and cheerful all of this gorgeous artwork is!! It makes my heart happy :') Ooops, I almost forgot to tell you all how much the items cost. The charms are $5, so just under £4 each, which I think is a great price for such a cute, well-made charm that doubles as a screen cleaner. The sticker was $2.50 aka just under £2, fantastic in my opinion for a vinyl sticker that's quite large (7.5 x 7 cm) and very eye-catching. The item that cost the most was naturally the set of six button badges, priced at $8.50 or £6.69 according to Google. That is an amazing price for these stunning Hamtaro badges, and was a deal that I couldn't pass up on! The postage & packaging/shipping was just over £5, and Mi-eau is based in France so I didn't have to pay any customs fees, etc. All the pricing was in USD because I did my haul via Mi-eau's Storenvy. 


A charm made by an online store called Mi-eau, showing a shiba inu girl

So those are all of the items that I purchased from Mi-eau. I hope you guys enjoyed today's post, and apologies that I pretty much ghosted my blog for a month >.< I'm going through some tough things at the moment that are putting a strain on my mental health, but writing up this post has helped to brighten my day and I just had to share these super cute items that will hopefully brighten up your day too! I think that the Mi-eau store is taking a short break at the moment, but here is a link so you can have a look through the marvellous products. Have a lovely rest of your week! 

Thankyou for reading! 

♥ 

What is your favourite item from my haul?

Have you bought anything nice lately? 
I'd love to hear all about it!


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Friday, 31 May 2019

May 2019 Kawaii & Geeky Wishlist

Hello guys! I hope you've all been having a lovely week! Here comes the end of another month... I know I'm probably starting to sound like a broken record, but I literally cannot get over just how quickly this year seems to be flying by. Like how it is June tomorrow? HOW?? Well, since it's the last day of the month, it is wishlist time :) I have actually been lusting over quite a lot of things this month, so it was challenging to narrow them down for today's post, but I did it! And I hope you all enjoy reading! 


1. Build-A-Bear Psyduck Plushie YAY! I was hoping that the release of the Detective Pikachu would inspire the Build-A-Bear Workshop to release more Pokemon plushies! I mean, they could have been planning to make a Psyduck all along but since this little cutie was one of the main Pokemon characters in the new movie, I think it was the best time for them to introduce him to their Pokemon collection. I have always thought Psyduck was adorable, but to be honest he was a kind of forgettable character when I watched the anime series as a kid. However the one in the movie was so relatable for someone with anxiety, like myself, and I think he might actually be my spirit animal XD so now I need this plush! It's available with the sweetest little raincoat and hat too! 

2. Funko Pop! Vinyl Harry Potter Fawkes figure Funko have just released some new Pop! Vinyl's of characters from Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire and to be honest I want them all! It was tough to decide which to share on my wishlist, but in the end, I just had to choose the Fawkes figure, because it's so unique and epic-looking, especially with the flames! I have been hoping for so long to see Fawkes as a Pop! and when Funko started making Fantastic Beasts figures, I knew it was only a matter of time before we got Dumbledore's fabulous Phoenix. The other Pops released along with Fawkes were: Professor Trelawney, Viktor Krum, Fleur Delacour, Cedric Diggory and Harry Potter (all of the students are wearing their Yule Ball outfits!). 

3. Pokemon Detective Pikachu Plush Keychain I was considering picking up some of the new merchandise that the Japanese Pokemon Center released for the new Detective Pikachu movie last month, but I ended spending my money on playing ichiban kuji instead (it's so addictive!). After going to see Detective Pikachu at the cinema with my best friend though, I immediately had a mighty need to get myself this plush keychain, as I really enjoyed the movie! Since I already have my big Pikachu from Build-A-Bear, I just want to get myself a little plushie of the super cute detective! I hope I can buy this keychain soon :) 

4. TokiDoki Cactus Bunnies Blind Box I am in love with these new blind boxes!! If you've been a regular reader of my blog for a while now, you will know that I am a toy collector and hobbyist toy photographer, and that I have a slight obsession with figures by the Italian brand TokiDoki! One of my absolute favourite collections by them has always been their Cactus characters. In fact, I came across a Hello Kitty X TokiDoki cactus collaboration plush when I was a teenager that I adored and that is how I first learnt about the brand :) Well, TokiDoki are apparently mind-readers! I have been thinking for ages now that there should be a rabbit version of the Cactus figures, to join the cat and dog collections already available... they have finally answered my prayers. I NEED THEM ALL! 

5. Set of 3 Dragon Pin Badges How gorgeous are these pins!? They are part of a collection that was inspired by Game of Thrones, and to be honest, I would love to own all of the pins! The collection was designed as a collaboration between the Black Wanda Shop and Mongane Brret Shop, and this set of three dragons is my favourite of the lot. They are just so pretty, and I love dragons so much! They are currently out of stock, but they will be restocking soon and I really hope I manage to get them! I love how simplistic the design of the dragons are and the pastel colours used. I also think it's awesome that you get three pins for only £14, that you can wear separately or altogether. 

6. Banpresto Hermione Granger QPosket figure Aren't QPoskets just the loveliest figures!? I have always loved them, but ever since I bought my first one from Japan Award last year, I cannot resist wanting more! (If you're interested, you can check out my first QPosket here). Most of the ones I've seen have been of Disney characters, and a few DC ones, but recently, the Harry Potter ones have been brought to my attention. I wish there was a Luna Lovegood version, but Hermione is still a fabulous character and this Qposket of her with book in hand is fantastic! She's unfortunately out of stock on the website I use at the moment, but as soon as she's back in stock, I'm gonna snap her up :) 

7. Safely Endangered Comics by Chris McCoy I'm so happy that there's now going to be a book filled with the Safely Endangered Comics! These marvellous illustrations by artist Chris McCoy never fail to make me giggle, and I feel like I'm in need of something to inspire happiness in my life to look at everytime I require a pick-me-up. Who else loves the Safely Endangered artwork? If you haven't seen it, you have to check them out! You can find them on Instagram and Tumblr

8. Vans X Harry Potter Ravenclaw trainers Okay, so these shoes aren't even out yet, but ever since I heard about them, they have been on my wishlist so I thought I'd include them and bring them to your attention! I have always loved when Vans has done collaborations with my favourite franchises... I've had/have some Hello Kitty vans, Disney ones, Nintendo ones, and now they are going to be releasing a line for one of my most beloved franchises, Harry Potter :D There's going to be a different design and style of trainer for each of the Hogwarts Houses. I have to admit that I was  a little 'worried' when I first heard about them, that the Ravenclaw one would have a massive Raven printed on the side of the shoe or something... and if you're a fellow Potterhead, you'll likely be as annoyed as I am that so many companies seem to think that the emblem for Ravenclaw house is a Raven. It's super annoying! Even some of the official Warner Bros merch has a Raven instead of an Eagle... I'll stop now before I get carried away with my nerdy ranting :D But yeah, even though these Vans shoes might have a tiny Raven symbol somewhere, they are mostly safe from this mistake as far as I can see, and I am a big fan of the design they've gone for. I think they are the best shoes from all of the four House designs available, and I'm not just saying that because I'm a Ravenclaw, haha. I am in need of some new shoes, so I am looking forward to their release. 

Thankyou for reading! 


♥ 


What's on your wishlist this month? 
What have you been buying lately? I'd love to know! 

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Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Kirby Gem Pusher Arcade Game

Hey lovelies! Okay, so this post has taken me forever to share (oops)! I have been really looking forward to writing it though, and to showing you guys what I won when I played a Japanese gem pusher game for the first time! Well, the game that Japan Award played for me :D I hope you all enjoy reading about this popular arcade game and all of my super cute prizes! 


A photo of a Nintendo Kirby keychain and some shiny plastic gems

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you'll have likely seen me posting about the awesomeness that is Japan Award before. It's one of my absolute favourite YouTube channels, filled with a mix of Ichiban Kuji ticket openings and Japanese arcade game plays. If you love all things kawaii and otaku culture related, then you have to check their channel out. Horacio and Lin who run Japan Award are so lovely and are amazing at using their 'Kuji crusher' abilities to pull all of the best prizes! I have played kuji lotteries (You can learn more about ichiban kuji by checking out my post here!) through them many many times now... I think I might be addicted XD But after watching them play the wonderful arcade games that Japan has to offer, I could no longer resist asking them to play for me! 

Gem pusher games are really popular and it's no surprise because they are filled with colourful, aesthetically-pleasing gems that are so eye-catching and tempt you to play :D They are usually themed, featuring prizes for a specific franchise, such as the Kirby one Japan Award played for me, but some are just filled with lots of different adorable things! The aim of the game is to scoop up as many gems as you can, dropping them onto a 'shelf' that works very similar to our 2p machines here in England. The more gems you pick up, the higher chance you have to pushing off the prizes! Anyway, I don't know if I'm explaining this very well, so I'll share the video to my game below so you can see how it works and what I win! Or you can keep reading, but you should totally check out the video afterwards because gem pushers are so fun and Horacio's commentary as he plays is great!! :) 




So before I show off my absolutely adorable prizes, I just wanted to tell you guys a little more information. To play the Kirby gem pusher game, I paid $30 US Dollars, which works out according to PayPal at just a little over £25! I opted to play with only 20 coins since it was my first time playing and I just wanted to experience the game :) A lot of the gem pusher machines give you one extra turn if you put 5 coins in too, so that's fantastic! So without further ado, let's take a look at my prizes!


A figure of Nintendo Kirby holding a star-wand, sitting on gems

Ta-da! Here is the first prize that Japan Award pushed off the shelf and into our winning pile! I've decided to show you all my prizes in the order that they were won, just in case you'd prefer to read VS watching the video :) How flippin' cute is this Kirby figure with his star-wand!! He's so happy and I love that he's got such a cheeky facial expression. He is the biggest and heaviest of all of the figures I won, and could totally be used as a little paper weight or something. I love how bright the yellow of the star-wand is, it stands out so much. This Kirby just looks so round and huggable, don't you think? 


A figure of Nintendo Kirby dressed as a housemaid

Cleaner Kirby to the rescue! I don't know why but this little Kirby's starry bandana reminds me of a super hero, haha! Cleaner Kirby is on his way to save the day and help out the world with their mess :D He's gonna sweep crime under the rug! I'm getting a little carried away with myself now... but oh my gosh, isn't he the cutest with his little broomstick!? Maybe he's a wizard Kirby, disguising himself as a cleaner. As you can see this Kirby sets off my overactive imagination, and I just love it so much! He has much a unique design, and I'm so over the moon to add him to my toy collection. It's a very light figure in contrast the winking Kirby above, and I think it's awesome that there's so much variety in the gem pusher machines. 


A photo of a Nintendo Kirby keychain, surrounded by gems

Yay! How amazing that I won a Kirby keychain!! I really like that it has the label too to show that it's official Nintendo merchandise. The quality of this keychain is fantastic, the rubber coating is so smooth and the keychain is just overall really well-made. I like that the chain itself is green, since that's my favourite colour. I am a little worried that these types of chains will come loose though and that my Kirby will fall off (because it is pretty heavy for such a tiny chain), if I put it onto one of my bags, so I will probably just keep it displayed in my bedroom as decoration :) I love it so much that I don't want it to get all ruined. My favourite thing about this keychain's design is that Kirby is holding his little hands up to his cheeks, and with those rosy pink cheeks, it looks to me like he's blushing and is trying to hide the fact with hands because he's embarrassed! So kawaii! It reminds me of my shy self :D I blush a lot, haha. 


Two Nintendo Kirby figures holding star-wands and sitting on plastic gems

Move over Little Twin Stars, there's a new starry duo in town! :D I got another of these brilliant star-wand Kirby's as my fourth prize, and that's okay! I'm more than happy to win two of these figures because they are so nice. I was also thinking about doing a giveaway so all of my lovely readers have the chance to win and bring some Kirby cuteness into their lives :) Let me know if you want me to do a giveaway! 


A Nintendo Kirby figure holding a pink heart

JUST LOOK HOW CUTE THIS KIRBY IS!! During Japan Award's video, Horacio called this little heart-holding cutie 'Romantic Kirby' and now I cannot name him anything else XD Say hello to tiny Romantic Kirby, who's on his way to steal your heart! All I can say about it is that he's the most adorable Kirby I have ever seen. His face looks so happy and excited, and the way his feet are designed make it look like he's running towards you to say 'look at my heart!'. This figure is another marvellous addition to my toy collection, as he will be perfect for Valentine's Day photography. Oh and he's very light and hollow too, like the cleaner Kirby. 

A Nintendo Kirby figural keychain and plastic pink gems

The sixth and final prize that Japan Award won for me is the sweet little Kirby keychain, who is the first thing you see at the start of today's post! His design is the classic Kirby that we all know and love. As much as I love all of Kirby's forms, there's just something special about the simplistic design of original Kirby. Just like the other keychain, he's made of the same high quality, and super soft, material, is very well-made and comes with the official Nintendo tag. The chain for this one is pink though, which matches perfectly with Kirby since he's pink. Something that I love about both the keychains is how bold and vibrant the colours are... especially Kirby's red feet, they really grab your attention, as well as the blue in his eyes. 


A handful of pink plastic gems, from a Japanese arcade machine

Before I conclude my post, I just wanted to mention the gems themselves! I think it's so cool that you also win a handful of these fabulous gems to take home with you along with any prizes you win. I have a bag full of them, and I know that lots of people wouldn't really know what to do with all of these random gems, but not only are they great to fill up a bowl with and sit your prizes in to display them, but as a toy photographer, I can also use them as props! They are shiny and I love the classic diamond cut shape that the majority of the gems are. Most of the gems in the Kirby machine that Japan Award found were pink, because Kirby himself is pink, but there are various colours themes and some machines include an array of different colours. I am kind of tempted to play lots of gem pusher games just to start a rainbow collection of gems, haha! What would you do with all these gems if you played? 


A row of Nintendo Kirby figures


Three Nintendo Kirby figures in a row

So here are some photos of my new Kirby gang all together! I just adore how bright and colourful and cheerful they all look lined up side-by-side, and I cannot wait to find somewhere in my bedroom to display them! It was very fun playing a gem pusher arcade game for the first time, and I think £25 for all of these figures (plus so many gems) is such a fantastic price. I feel like those Kirby keychains alone would cost at least £6 to buy online, so I'm really happy to get six lovely figures all the way from Japan! 

Being able to watch Japan Award playing live/on video is what makes the experience more fun as well, and is so much better than just buying prizes from Japanese arcades by-proxy online. Oh, I almost forgot to tell you all which figure is my favourite! It was very tough to decide, but I think it might have to be cleaner Kirby just because he is so unique, closely followed by the second keyring I won, with the classic Kirby design. Which prize do you like best? So this was my first gem pusher haul, but it definitely won't be my last. I hope you all enjoyed today's post!


Thankyou for reading!


♥ 


Have I made you all want to play gem pusher too? 

Who's your favourite Nintendo character?
Next to Kirby, mine are Toad & Yoshi! 


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Friday, 17 May 2019

Eurovision 2019 Top 5

Happy Friday! If you are  a fellow European, then you'll probably be aware that it's almost time for the biggest music event across the continent, the Eurovision Song Contest! The final will take place on 18th May, this Saturday, and will host performances from 26 countries, all hoping to be the winner of this years contest. It is being held in Tel Aviv, the second biggest city in Israel, as they won in 2018- yes, there are a few non-European countries that compete :) A lot of people across Europe tune in to watch the grand finale, but not everyone knows about the semi finals, which happen during the week leading up to the contest. Forty-one countries entered for 2019, and six of those go automatically into the final. These six include the host country's song and the songs of what fans called 'The Big 5'- the countries that make the most financial contributions to the ESC: Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Spain. All of the remaining entrants were split amongst two semi final's, seventeen in one and eighteen in the other. Only ten acts make through at the end of each semi final! This always means that us Eurofans might lose some of our most beloved songs T_T The semi finals are very stressful indeed! 

Whenever I've blogged about Eurovision in the past, I've discussed all of my favourite contenders of the year whether they've made it to the final or not, but this time round I chose to wait until the qualifiers were decided, and to talk to you guys about my Top 5 of the lot :) I hope you all enjoy reading, and that I can bring some wonderful new music into your lives! And you should all totally watch the finale, because the ESC is fabulous and is the only contest in the world where you will get such a mix of genres and styles, and multiple cultures and languages coming together It's AMAZING! 



Norway
KEIINO- 'Spirit in the Sky'




This song has been my absolute favourite entry since all of the participating countries' songs were released, and I was so relieved when they made it through Semi Final 2 yesterday... I literally screamed and managed to scare the dog XD I just love everything about the song! My favourite part has to be the traditional Sami vocals and lyrics, because they are so unique and I am a big fan of traditional/ethnic folk music. I also really like how upbeat the song is, with it being a mix of electropop and dance. It makes me feel so uplifted after I've listened to it! 

One of the singers in Keiino, Alexandra Rotan has an especially lovely and sweet voice, which is another reason why I love this song. The imagery in the official music video and in their staging, of the Northern Lights is very appealing to me, and gives the song an overall magical feel. The song even mentions fairies at one point, so you can bet the fantasy fan in me fell in love with the song because of this, as well as because of the animals in the band's logo. I have even gotten myself some cute little ears to wear in support of Norway, when I go to my best friend's Eurovision party tomorrow! 

Iceland
Hatari- 'Hatrið mun sigra'




This song is another that has been one of my favourites from the moment I heard it; its had to hold 2nd place for me just because of my love for Keiino's song, but it is very close to being joint 1st place to be honest! The genre of the song is right up my street, and is my preferred type of music in general, however we don't usually get much metal/rock/punk songs entering the Eurovision. I have Finland's 2006 entry, 'Hard Rock Hallelujah' by Lordi to thank for kickstarting my love for the contest back when I was in my early teens :) 

This song is so epic! It is a mix of electro-dance music and rock, so it's no surprise that I adore it (I am also a big fan of electro-dance music). The beautiful chorus sang by band member Klemens is so unique-sounding, I don't know how to describe what I think about it... it almost sounds surreal and otherworldly; I don't know if that makes sense but have a listen to see for yourself if you get what I mean XD The verses are very powerful and I love that it is performed in Icelandic. 

As far as the aesthetic goes, Hatari are considered to be rather controversial as they bring BDSM to the stage, and their performance and overall look is very leather/latex/bondage-filled. If you've been a regular reader of my blog for a while, you will likely have seen some of my posts related to my own sexual preferences and being into BDSM, so as you can imagine, Hatari certainly appeals to me, with their style being both kink-orientated and alternative. It's refreshing to see something different entering the contest, especially when it gets so many people talking about taboo topics and I like that Hatari are 'breaking the mould', so to speak! 

Sweden
John Lundvik- 'Too Late For Love'



Every year, my friends & I get together to watch the Swedish National finals for their Eurovision pre-selection, where the country decides who they will send to the finale to represent them. We are usually very invested in the Melodifestivalen shows (the name for the Swedish pre-selection), and watch all six shows! This year my favourite to win for Sweden was John Lundvik and I was thrilled when he won! I am so happy that he made it through the semi final stage and will be performing his beautiful song in Tel Aviv tomorrow night :) 

The song itself is fabulous! The voices of John accompanied by his amazing backing-vocalists, 'The Mamas', are stunning and sound so perfect together! The lyrics of the song have a classic theme, are very relatable and have a feel-good vibe about them! 'Too Late For Love' is another song that makes me feel really happy after listening to it, it is very soulful. I cannot help singing along at the top of my lungs. John himself is also gorgeous ;) I think this song has a very good chance of winning the show tomorrow; it is certainly high up in the odds. 

Switzerland
Luca Hänni- 'She Got Me'



One of the main reasons why I love this song is because of charisma of the singer, Luca Hänni. He has such a cheeky persona, and just comes across on stage like he's got swag :D haha, I never thought I'd use that word in a sentence! But yeah, the way he dances just puts me in the mood to dance myself and makes the song that much more entertaining! The lyrics are upbeat and it is the perfect song to party to, so I can't wait to hear it during the finals at the Eurovision party I'm attending. I guarantee that drunk me will hear it and think that I am the best dancer ever as I attempt to dance along with Luca XD

Spain
Miki- 'La Venda'



This song is just so fun! It instantly makes me want to jump up and down along with Miki and his dancers. It's so energetic and another song that just screams party time!! I really love that it is performed in Spanish, and I wish that all the songs entered were sung in their native language to be honest. The message of the lyrics is wonderful; the title 'La Venda' translates to 'the blindfold' and the song is about removing the blindfold that is prejudice and hate, to find happiness and love for others and yourself. It's a spectacular song and it has that summer-time feel to it, which just spreads joy to all who hear it! 

So those of my Top 5 favourite entries that have qualified for the Eurovision Song Contest this year and will be performing in the final (although Spain is one of the 'Big 5' that I mentioned previously, so they went straight into the final!). They are all brilliant songs and I will be routing for all of them tomorrow, especially Norway, Iceland & Sweden! I thought I'd end my post by letting you guys know the other five songs that make up my Top 10, so that you can go and check those out if you want to :) In order: Chingiz- 'Truth' (Azerbaijan), Duncan Laurence- 'Arcade' (The Netherlands), Lake Malawi- 'Friend of a Friend' (Czech Republic), Sergey Lazarev- 'Scream' (Russia), and Victor Crone- 'Storm' (Estonia). 

I also want to mention another song that was absolutely robbed and didn't qualifier for the finals, and would have definitely been in my Top 5 if it did! And that is Hungary's entry 'Az én apám' by Joci Pápai. It's such a lovely song and Joci, who has performed at the Eurovision finals before, has such a stunning voice, so I can't recommend his music enough :) Let me know guys which was your favourite song that I've featured in today's post; I'd love to hear your opinions!

Thankyou for reading! 

♥ 

Do you watch the Eurovision Song Contest?
If so, do you also watch the Semi Finals? 

What was your favourite song from last year's contest? 


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