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Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Blogging & Perfectionism

This probably isn't going to be a very interesting post to read, more like reading a diary entry full of rambling. I'm not sure; I'm just sort of word-vomiting onto my laptop, in an attempt to get myself back into the swing of blogging. Maybe I'll post this, maybe not. So, I haven't blogged in what feels like forever (since the start of November, to be exact!). 

You will likely know why if you follow me over on Instagram. I don't want to get into things today, but 2019 was the worst and as a result, my mental health has been all over the place- I'm constantly flitting (that doesn't sound like a real word? :D) between a deep low to a state of numbness. It's tiring... disorienting... debilitating. The way I'm feeling has seeped into all areas of my life, putting a dampener on everything. When I'm happy for a brief moment, it feels somewhat fake... I don't really know how to put it into words, sort of like true happiness is unattainable to me now. Gosh, reading back over my words, that sounds so dire. My inner emo kid has been awaking ever since My Chemical Romance announced their comeback, but bloody hell XD. Sorry to anyone reading! 

But yeah, that's how things have been going for me. My mental health has been wrecking havoc on my ability to function. I guess that leads me onto a topic for this post I'm writing today. 

A photo showing two notebooks with insect designs on the covers, a floral pen and a Moomin pin badge

Any blogger, or creator sharing their work with others, will tell you that even with the most confident of people, there are always going to be times when you critique yourselves too harshly, question whether your work is good enough, wonder if you sound silly or [insert another negative descriptive here]. It's inevitable. We are our own worst critics, as they say. However, when you struggle with low confidence on a daily basis, or live with a mental illness- the self-doubt can be intense and really affect writing (or whatever creative outlet is your thing). 

I can't put a number to how many times I've deleted posts because I wasn't happy with how it read, or left content sitting unpublished for weeks, months even, trying to persuade myself that it was good enough to share. I often have to get my friends to read my writing for reassurance, too. That's the reality of being a blogger when you deal with anxiety disorder and depression >.< 

As with all chronic illnesses, when times are tough, when life is stressful, when you're feeling under the weather and whatnot, your conditions get worse. So all of these 'symptoms', things that occur due to that relentless, judging internal voice, become amplified, more nagging, and can have a substantial impact on the criticism we dish out to ourselves. 

So, how does this tie in with my current situation? Amongst other things, something that I can only describe as perfectionism plays a huge role in my anxiety around blogging. Well, writing in any form... essays and assignments back when I was studying, the fantasy stories I enjoy writing as a hobby, even when formulating emails or having conversations online- all that I do with regards to writing is, for lack of a better word, obsessed over. It's because it means so much to me! I put a lot into my writing and it's my favourite way of expressing myself, and thus it's something I give myself a lot of pressure to do well at. And when I'm experiencing feelings like the way I am at the moment, where my inner negativity monster is seemingly winning (if that even makes sense), my perfectionism complex is raging. 

A photo showing two notebooks with insect designs on the covers, a floral pen and a Moomin pin badge

If you made it through my rambles this far and haven't clicked off my blog in boredom, then I want to say Thankyou :) I know it probably sucks that this is my first post in ages and of the New Year, but I want to share something personal with you guys, especially with my loyal readers who have stuck around even though I've become the worst blogger ever. It means so much to me! Life is tough, but it's made that little bit more bearable knowing that you all still want to visit my little corner of the internet and are interested in what's going on in my mess of a life ♥ 

Anyhow, the reason I wanted to spill my brains into this post and share with you all my dealings with the wonderful world of perfectionism is because it's this very thing that has caused (not solely, but mostly) my severe lack of posts. Self-criticism has been ridiculously peaked for me, for a while now, meaning that I just couldn't bring myself to post new content or even write it. I convinced myself that in cheerful posts I sounded like I was trying too hard to disguise the reality, that I felt really shitty. I told myself that nothing read well, everything was uninteresting or lacking something that I didn't have the ability to fix. 

Upon reflection, I know that these 'imperfections' would probably have been unnoticeable to someone reading my posts, but at the time of writing, the anxiety was overwhelming and so I just couldn't work past it. Blogging just wasn't happening :( 

I thought that this would go away as time went by, that things would get better. But I'm still feeling as crap as ever, and I can't say anything has gotten easier. I don't really know what I'm supposed to do to help pull myself out of this hole that I've fallen into. However, my blog is important to me and it's causing me so much stress that it's just sitting here being neglected. I want 2020 to be better and so I've decided that I'm going to work my butt off to get things at Raiin Monkey back to how they were. If my writing sounds rubbish or is boring or doesn't make sense, fuck it. I'm trying my best and that's all that I can do! 

So, I think I'm going to end my first post of 2020 here before I give myself the opportunity to go off on a tangent, and make anyone actually reading this never want to come back to my blog again :D Thanks again to anyone who made it this far! You're all stars & I love you!! Wishing you all an incredibly wonderful year, filled with yummy food, happy moments, good mental health days & all the motivation to get shit done! 


Thankyou for reading!

♥ 

What's something that you're looking forward to this year?

Did you set any goals for yourself? I'd love to hear what they are!


Even though I've been crap at blogging, I'm still active over on my social media, so give me a follow to keep up to date with what I'm doing and such :)

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Monday, 4 November 2019

My Favourite Animation Movies

Hello & Happy Monday Everyone! I hope you are all having an awesome start to the first week of November... where has this year gone!? Only two months left! What's something that you're looking forward to for the rest of 2019? For me, I can't wait for all of the yummy foods that pop up around Christmas Time, especially lebkuchen (a traditional spiced German Christmas biscuit - I've eaten some already and it's only the 4th of November!). Before I get carried away with myself talking about food XD... Did you guys know that a week ago today, it was International Animation Day? I obviously had to show my love for the wonderful world of animation art and decided talking about my favourite animated movies would be a fun way to celebrate the occasion (albeit seven days late!). I've decided to discuss my top non-Disney movies, because as much as I adore Disney's multitude of amazing flicks, I wanted to show appreciation for some of other superb animated classics out there! I hope you all enjoy reading and that my post sparks a lovely trip down memory lane! I know it did for me, writing about the masterpieces that captivated me in my childhood. 

A photo showing two VHS tapes: Ferngully and Pokemon 2000, a Studio Ghibli image on a phone and postcard, a pikachu pokemon card and colourful paper stars

Princess Mononoke (1997) 

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you will probably already know that Princess Mononoke is one of my all-time favourite movies, or at least that I'm a huge fan of Studio Ghibli- an iconic Japanese production company that have created the most outstanding animation movies since the 1980's. I have been a lover of these epic movies since I was around fourteen, and to be honest it is very tough to rank them! They are all so good!! However, Princess Mononoke is just one that I cannot help but feel a pull towards. The nature/wildlife theme appeals to me because I'm a nature nerd through and through. Plus it is, in my opinion, the one Studio Ghibli film that is aimed at more mature audiences, although Japanese movies always tend to include more serious subject matters and content (even those who's primary target audience is children) VS western movies. Princess Mononoke includes weaponry, fighting and some mild gore, and it's just phenomenal. 

Also if you love mythology and folklore then you should totally check out this movie. Almost all of Ghibli's productions have an element of folklore because it is an integral part of Japanese culture & history, but for Princess Mononoke it is the main focus of the movie. And oh my gosh, the animation is so stunning!!

Pokemon: The First Movie (1998)

It will also come as no surprise to my returning readers that this has made it to my list of top animation movies. Pokemon has been a part of my life since I was six years old, so it has had an influence on the development of my interests for most of my life. Pokemon: The First Movie is one of the first movies that I can recall having such a big emotional impact on me (anyone who's seen this gem will know which scene in particular I'm referring to). Broke my little otaku heart :'). 

It is such a heart-warming story of friendship and doing what's right to help others. Mew & Mewtwo are fabulous, as well! Ever since watching this movie, Mew has been one of my favourite Pokemon. It's so cute!! I'm trying to keep spoilers to a minimum in this post, but I'll need to reveal some content details to tell you guys why I love each of the movies. There's a short scene in Pokemon (1998) where Mew is playing on a windmill and it's too cute, I'm gonna die!! Pokemon, the entire franchise in general, is a masterpiece and so is this movie! Fight me if you disagree :D 

FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992)

It feels even more special that this beautiful movie was released the year I was born :) When I was quite young, maybe around six, my grandma bought me the VHS tape for this movie that my parents had never heard of before, and it was spectacular! I might be biased because I've forever been a nature lover, but the storyline of this movie resonated with mini me so much and still does to this day. FernGully: The Last Rainforest seems to be one of those films that either someone has never heard of before OR anyone who has seen it, adores it. It's lesser-known and I want to do my part to fix that! It is surprising since two superb actors voiced characters in this movie; Robin Williams and Tim Curry. I grew up loving the sound of Tim Curry's voice before I ever discovered it was the fabulous actor who played Dr Frank-N-Furter in the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I have such a thing for voices though, which my best friend likes to refer to as my 'voice fetish' XD... although I can't argue with that definition, haha! Is anyone else the same? Tell me a voice in the comments that you find super attractive.

So yeah, even as a little kid, I loved the sound of Tim Curry's voice and I couldn't help but enjoy this movie... he has a song it in that is excellent! But aside from that, the movie itself is stunning! The animation, the fantasy theme (which surrounds fairies) and the message are what make it a firm favourite of mine, even as an adult. It's got a charm about it, and this is in many ways thanks to Robin William and his character Batty. Again, I don't want to say too much, but to those who've watched FernGully, I used to feel so cool that I knew all the words to a certain musical piece by Batty XD I wouldn't stop reciting it to everyone who would listen! *insert sunglasses emoji here*. 


The Pagemaster (1994) 

This movie came on TV one Sunday evening (if my memory is correct, after all this time) when I was eight or nine, and I thought it was one of the most incredible things I'd ever set eyes on. I know this post is very much nostalgia-fuelled but that shows just how good these movies are. They are timeless classics to me and will forever be treasured, never losing their magic no matter how many times I watch them. Do you have any favourite movies like that? 

So anyhow, The Pagemaster has such a unique story that is executed in a way that I've never seen in any other movie. Sure, I've seen similar concepts, but none quite like The Pagemaster. If you hadn't gathered yet from the title, this movie has a bookish theme, which as someone who has enjoyed reading and also writing their own stories since childhood, found it to be very much my cup of tea. The story incorporates so many literary classics and *spoiler alert* the Jekyll & Hyde scene really freaked me out way back when :O 

Like for most fantasy fans, there's just something so captivating (when done well) about the idea of being an ordinary sort of person living a typical, mundane existence, and then suddenly being immersed in a magical world, that is so appealing! And the events of The Pagemaster were delightful food for the imagination for kid me, so I fell in love with the movie. The characters were so loveable, too. And dragons were always my thing!  

The Pebble and the Penguin (1995) 

This is definitely an underrated animation movie, but with so many awesome 90's movies, there's lots of fantastic ones that got loss in the cracks, or however that saying goes. It's such a shame! The Pebble and the Penguin is so lovely; the main character is the sweetest! It's another movie that appealed to me because of the nature theme, especially because the intro has a documentary feel to it and I watched many of those from being old enough to talk. I like that the premise of the Pebble and the Penguin is somewhat rooted in reality, and is based on the behaviour of Adelie Penguins, of which the male of the species searches for the perfect stone to present to a female in an attempt to wow her with his rock-finding abilities :D 

The movie is about a penguin who is desperate to impress the girl of his dreams, who's also being pursued by this huge bully of a penguin (voiced by the legend Tim Curry) - there I go again, subconsciously lovin' all movies featuring Tim Curry's voice XD It is another tale of friendship, love and finding your inner strength, no matter how small or insignificant you feel. The protagonist risks everything to get the most precious pebble for his sweetheart, and even though he's the misfit of his colony, he ends up on top in the end :) 'Never give up' is the key lesson of The Pebble and the Penguin, and I can't recommend it enough. 

The Land Before Time (1988) 

Not gonna lie, it was a challenge to settle on a sixth favourite because there were a few contenders. Eventually, I chose the marvellous 80's movie, The Land Before Time because of the amount of times I watched when I was younger. I have always been a fan of dinosaurs, I mean who isn't? They are amazing! So it's impossible for me not to love this movie, which is set in prehistoric times and follows a group of little dinosaurs that are separated from their loved ones and must embark on a journey writhe with dangers to be reunited with them. It is beautiful and compelling, and so heart-breaking in parts. The five dinosaurs whose journeys we follow in The Land Before Time are brilliant and we get to see their species differences and unique personalities clash as they struggle to get along but through the hardships they face, their friendships blossom and it's wonderful to see. My favourite character has always been Petrie, a tiny Pterodactyl. I didn't know that I had anxiety when I was a young child, but Petrie's character is the one I most related too and he's a little ball of nerves so I can now understand why I liked him so much! This first movie was so well-received that it lead to there being thirteen others made!! And although I haven't seen them all, the ones I have have been great! I remember having a PlayStation game based on the 9th movie, Journey to Big Water (2002), with the game being called 'Big Water Adventure'. Does anyone else remember playing it? 


So those are six of my absolute favourite non-Disney animation movies! I hope you all enjoyed reading what I had to say about them. I have two honourable mentions that I can't not list, as well. One being The Road to El Dorado, a Dreamworks production from 2000 that is so good, with two hilarious lead characters and a wonderful sound track, performed mostly by Elton John. The second being a very short but sweet movie released in 1995 by Jetlag Productions, many of whose movies were animated in Japan, including this one, so are visually beautiful, especially when it comes to the attention to detail in depictions of nature. Heidi is a classic tale that has been retold and adapted time and time again because it is so well-loved, and this version made me feel so uplifted whenever I watched it. There's a song at the beginning of the movie called 'Start with a Smile' that still makes me instantly happy when I listen to it :) I think both of these movies deserve more credit and you need to give them a watch. If my post inspires you to watch any of the movies I've mentioned, then please let me know :) I'd love to hear your opinions on them. I'm going to finish up my post here because I've already written too much! 

Thankyou for reading! 

♥ 

What are your favourite animation movies?

I'd love some recommendations! 

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Sunday, 27 October 2019

Toys For A Pound Haul

Hi guys! Here I am again, bringing you a post about another thing that I should have written ages ago. Story of my life... better late than never should be etched on my tombstone some day XD Oops, getting a little dark there... a little too much spirit of Halloween, haha! Talking of Halloween, I can't believe it's only 4 days away. *cry cry* I don't want my favourite month to end! Should we start a petition to make every month Halloween? :) My entire year is filled with lots of spooky goodness anyhow, but I want to hold off the colder months a little longer. As much as Autumn is my favourite time of year, the latter part of the season is usually dreary, the trees loose all of their fiery foliage, and the colourful leaf-littered ground becomes coated in brown, decaying sludge. Oh, and Seasonal Affective Disorder comes along just as I begin to mourn the crisp, crunchy piles of colour underfoot whenever I venture outdoors, making it easier to brave the cold. Well, this is becoming a miserable intro XD I'm sorry guys, but I'M REALLY GONNA MISS ALL THE PRETTY AUTUMNAL VIBES! T_T

So, on a brighter note, today I want to tell you all about a fabulous little online store I stumbled across earlier this year, thanks to an Instagram ad. As you have probably guessed from the title, the website is effectively a pound store, however it has some great bargains on there, a lot that I personally haven't come across in any pound stores I've visited before. I thought I'd share my haul/review with you guys and bring Toys for a Pound to your attention :) Enjoy! 

A photo showing a pack of mermaid themed confetti with the title 'toys for a pound haul'

Toys for a Pound is such a great website for picking up stocking fillers or small gifts for your loved ones. I mean, the intended audience/recipients are children, so it's mostly got toys that cater towards them; however, there are some gems on there that kids who've never grown up, like myself, will love! The standard shipping is £2.99 so it's best to only do an order if you are buying several things, in my opinion. I personally find it a great resource for when I'm looking for some goodies to fill the Christmas shoeboxes I put together for charity each year. Plus, it's nice to have access to a virtual pound store when you're living with chronic illnesses/ disabilities and don't get out as much as you'd like. 

Almost everything on the site is £1 each, although there's sections of items up to £5, but they are such brilliant deals that should be snapped up and put away ready for December :) Just a heads up... they update their stock pretty regularly so it's best to pop anything that catches your eye into your basket as soon as possible. Most of the items I'm sharing in this haul are no longer available (sorry for my delay in posting!). Nonetheless, they have many wonderful items at the moment. I actually placed another order the other day, which I have to thank for giving me the kick up the butt to finally get this post up. Proof that retail therapy has its benefits! 

Well, here's what I picked up from Toys for a Pound... 

a photo showing an order from Toys for a Pound, including blind boxes, funko, eevee ears and confetti

Look at all of this adorable stuff that I managed to get for only £10!!! How could I pass up Funko products for only a pound each... that's amazing!! I have seen a few Funko products here and there popping up in my local Pound stores and B&M for the same price but they are few and far between, as well as being for franchises that are a lot less popular nowadays. However, the ones I found at Toys for a Pound were fantastic!! And they even had Pint Size Heroes, another Funko product, too! I've never seen these in pound stores before. Have you? 

As much as I adore Funko, which you'll know if you've been a regular reader of my blog for a while (I own well over 200 products by them now, 107 of them being Pop! vinyl figures... I have a problem XD), my favourite find has to be these Eevee ears!! As someone who enjoys cosplaying, these are perfect! And Eevee is one of my all-time favourite Pokemon. They were an absolute steal at just £1... they are made by TOMY (so they are great quality) and usually retail at around £8.99+. 

Toys for a Pound Funko Toys Haul

So these are all of the blind boxes/bags that I bought; they were the main reason that I visited the website in the first place since the fact that Toys for a Pound were selling Funko products is what popped up in the ad I saw, whilst scrolling through Instagram. Some people get annoyed by ads, but to be honest, I love that they keep bringing products to my attention based on the things I search/buy online. They seem to be a lot more tailored over on Instagram, VS other platforms like Youtube. I respect why people have ads on their videos, but oh my gosh, do they get annoying! Before I go off topic, haha... I was delighted to find that Toys for a Pound had such a variety available, because I honestly expected to find maybe five products at the most. 

Since getting very into my toy photography... I mean I've always been into it but ever since finding the toy photography community over on Instagram and setting up my own dedicated account (find it here), I have found that I am happy to collect figures from franchises that I might not have bothered buying otherwise. This is because it's always nice to have a varied collection of figures to use for different photography themes, etc. I'm finding a lot of cool new figures this way, but my bank account isn't impressed :D My addiction to buying blind boxes has intensified, oops! 

Toys for a Pound Funko Mystery Minis

Here are the Funko Mystery Mini's that I found inside my boxes. This post is apparently also an unboxing, as well as a haul and review... but I couldn't not show you guys what I got! I am a big fan of fun surprises so I wasn't too bothered about which of the figures I got. Nonetheless I still had my favourites and least favourites. I am very happy with my finds when it comes to the Warcraft and Barbie boxes, but I did get the figure I liked least of all from the Suicide Squad box. Nevermind, that's the nature of blind boxes! 

I was never much of a fan of Barbie growing up, although I did love the horses and would always ask for the sets with them and then just ignore the barbie doll to play with the horse :) I did love the 'working out' barbie that I had when I was around 6 or 7, but that came with a soundtrack tape and so I was bound to enjoy it. Did anyone else have this? But yeah, I was still intrigued by these mystery minis because a) they are adorable, and b) because they have an interesting history based theme. Each of the figures in this collection are themed around a date, and are designed to resemble a barbie doll that was popular in that particular year. 

The ones I loved most were 1971 (which is the one I got!!) because she's dressed in hippie fashion, the 1980 because she is designed after the first Black Barbie doll, 1986 because she's lookin' fabulous in her 80's outfit that makes me think instantly of Cyndi Lauper, and 1992 because it would be cool to have a figure designed after the year I was born :) I feel like I'm rambling... I just get so excited about toys! 

Toys for a Pound Funko Mystery Minis: Barbie, Suicide Squid and Warcraft

As for the Warcraft blind box, I am super happy with the figure that I got because he looks wicked! If you haven't seen the movie (and played the World of Warcraft game that it was inspired by), this character is Blackhand, he's an Orc and is a warchief known as The Destroyer. The mystery mini of Blackhand is so detailed; I absolutely love it! I think it is brilliant that one of the dragons skulls on his armour has a septum piercing like he does :) I'd love to add more Warcraft figures to my collection because in my opinion, they all look epic! 

I was hoping to get one of the badass women from the Suicide Squad: Harley Quinn, Katana or the Enchantress (I like the Captain Boomerang figure, too), but I got Diablo and I just don't like his design at all. Oh well! Hopefully, I'll be able to trade him for another figure some day :) 

Toys for a Pound haul- two funko pint size hero figures

I couldn't not get a couple of pint size heroes. There were a few different ones available at the time but I opted for a Power Rangers bag & a Street Fighter one. These two franchises are super nostalgic for me! I had a lot of fun playing Street Fighter on my PlayStation back when I was a kid, and loved the Power Rangers as well. I absolutely adore the design of Funko's Pint Size Heroes! They might be one of my favourites of all the figures that he brand has brought out, and would love to see more in the future! 

So the figures that I wanted to get most from these blind bags were the yellow Power Ranger as she was my favourite. There's two versions of the characters available... in their full suits and also without their helmets so you can see their faces. I would have been happy with either versions of the yellow ranger. I got the green guy though, which is still cool. Green is my favourite colour at least :) For the Street Finger figures, I wanted Chun-Li or Ryu the most as I always played as them in the games. I got Guile, who I didn't really care for as I think his design is the worst one from the collection. But again, that's the catch with mystery toys, and he'll still be fantastic for photography, especially when I get some of the other characters. 

Toys for a Pound haul- super mario brothers toad keychain figure

It was lovely to find some other non-Funko blind bags on the Toys for a Pound website. As soon as I spotted these Super Mario keychain/dangler charms, I immediately popped one into my shopping cart. I was trying to keep as close to a tenner as possible or else I would have bought more of these cuties. I wish I had now! Out of all of the available keychains, I wanted Toad in the Tanooki (Raccoon/Raccoon Dog) outfit, Mario riding Yoshi, or Tanooki Mario. Toad is my favourite character from the franchise so I was over the moon that I got him!! 

Toys for a Pound super mario brothers toad keychain figure

Awww, how sweet is he!!? I really love his design with the Racoon ears and tail, and he is surprisingly detailed for such a tiny figure. I am a little scared to actually attach him to my keys or one of my bags because I feel like he'd be so easy to lose. Those chains with the little balls aren't very sturdy either. He's just going to live on one of my shelves :) Which figure would you have most liked to get in this blind bag?

Toys for a Pound Mermaid Table Confetti

The Toys for a Pound website even has a party supplies section, which is where I came across packs of the prettiest confetti ever!! It's table confetti so it's a lot bigger than other types of confetti and is made from cardboard so it's more sturdy and durable to be used on a party table where there are likely to be lots of mayhem, such as spilled drinks! I just had to get a pack of these mermaid ones (they also had fairy and unicorn themed packs), because they are so colourful and cute! You get lots of confetti too, and I've seen similar packs in craft stores for £3+.

I'm going to using them in both my photography and also to add a pinch into any snail mail I send :) I say that, but then I don't know if I'm going to be able to bring myself to use them as they are so gorgeous!! I also picked up the unicorn pack in the recent haul that I mentioned earlier... it was a bargain that I just couldn't ignore, especially after seeing how much more pretty the mermaids confetti was in person. I even picked another mermaid pack for my sisters birthday as she's a mermaid lover! 

A selection of toys from the Toys for a Pound website, funko figures, eevee ears headband, dinosaur figure

So that was my entire haul from Toys for a Pound. I was very impressed with the products that I received. They all arrived in great condition, however I feel like I was just lucky because there wasn't any protective packaging inside the box such as noodles/bubblewrap/ brown packing paper, and in my latest order, my items were sent in a much bigger box and one of the item's packaging arrived all squashed, which wouldn't have been great if it was intended for a christmas present. But based on my first order, everything was fine and I was pleasantly surprised that the Funko mystery mini boxes were in such excellent condition considering they were being sold for £1, when their RRP is anything from £4.99 upwards. I was super happy with everything I received and I would certainly recommend them! I will definitely be doing more orders in the future :) 

Oh, as usual, I forgot to individually photograph an item, and this time it was the Triceratops figure that you can see above. This wonderful little dinosaur is an official Jurassic Park figure, and sort of arrived like a mystery bag considering you couldn't choose which dinosaur you wanted on the website. I wanted a Raptor because those are my favourite species. Nonetheless, I'm glad I got a Triceratops because they hold a nostalgic place in my heart, due to the amazing Land Before Time movies. Even though Cera the Triceratops wasn't my most loved character, I loved that she had the same name as me! Although, I know now as an adult that it was spelt Cera, I didn't at the time so I thought it was fantastic! Maybe I should start spelling my name as Cera….. 

I'll finish up today's post now before I get carried away even more than I already have! Thankyou to everyone who reads my posts because I know they are long! I can't help it, it's so hard for me to stop writing once I get going :D Anyhow, I hope you all enjoyed reading all about my haul. Let me know if you place an order with Toys for a Pound, I'd love to hear all about what you buy :) Also, let me know in the comments guys.... which were your favourite items from my haul? Which of the mystery figures would you have liked to get? 

Thankyou for reading! 

♥ 

What have you been buying lately?

What's the best bargain that you've ever found in a pound store? 


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Saturday, 19 October 2019

Horror Movie Tag

Hello everyone! I hope all of you are having a marvellous weekend! It's 19 days into October and I'm only now posting something Halloween-y. This is shocking behaviour and I thought it was about time that I fixed it!! Over the last week or so, I've been trying to come up with spooky post ideas, so it was perfect timing for the lovely Kim over at Chimmyville to tag me in this Horror Movie Tag! Be sure to head over to her blog and check out her post :) I hope you all enjoy reading my answers! 

A photo showing a VHS tape of the horror movie Dracula, with horror character figures sitting on top

1. What is the first horror movie you remember watching?

When I was around 10 or 11 years old, I was hanging out at my friends house and being the weird little vampire-obsessed kids that we were back then (totally not changed much, haha!), we decided to watch Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992). I felt like such a rebel because I knew I wouldn't have been allowed to watch it at home :D In all the excitement, we then wanted to watch another horror, and ended up choosing Alien (1979) next. Are there any movies that made you feel cool when you watched it as a kid? 

2. What is your favourite horror movie?

My more well-known favourite horror movies are A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987), Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects (2005), and 2017's IT movie (Chapter 1). I also LOVE a much lesser-known horror by Wes Craven, The People Under the Stairs (1991) and a more recent fantastic, and often underrated, movie called The Witch / The VVitch: A New-England Folk Tale (2015). Any fellow Black Phillip fans reading? :D 

3. What's your favourite horror movie genre?

I love slasher movies best. I also thoroughly enjoy a good old psychological horror/thriller, especially The Silence of the Lambs (1991). 

4. What genre scares you the most?

I don't get scared by horrors, but there's definitely things that make me cringe (and not in a 'gosh, that's bad' kind of way). When it comes to some gore, I always have cover my eyes but of course, I'm peeping through my hands because I'm too curious for my own good, haha! One scene that comes to mind is from House of Wax (2005) when a character gets their Achilles tendon cut with scissors... eeeek! 

5. What is the last horror movie you watched that actually scared you?

As I said above, I don't really get scared when watching horror. I just love them! But I've jumped a couple of times... I'm not a fan of that clown doll in Poltergeist (1982) that pulls the kid under the bed! I also once watched one of those dramatized 'based on a real story' style thrillers, called Megan Is Missing (2011) and there's a dead body scene in that which looked so realistic the first time I watched it that I jumped! Anyone ever seen this movie? 

A photo showing a pile of Horror VHS movies, with tiny horror character figures sitting on top of them

6. Who is your ultimate Scream Queen?

I think Drew Barrymore was brilliant at the start of Scream (1996)… did you know that she was originally offered the lead role but she couldn't do it, so Neve Campbell was cast? I love Neve Campbell's performance though so I'm happy it worked out that way! I'm gonna have the iconic 'Hello Sidney' line stuck in my head for ages now XD One of the best horror movie intros ever! 

Maika Monroe's role as lead character in It Follows (2014) is fantastic, too! I know it's not a movie, but Sarah Paulson is always epic in American Horror Story :) Who else watches the show? If so, do you have a favourite season? Mine's Season 4: Freak Show. I love Anya Taylor-Joy as well; she's fabulous in the Witch and Split (2017), and I can't wait to see her in more horror/thriller movies. 

7. What's a concept that you'd like to see in horror?

I'm not sure, because to be honest I am a sucker for certain tropes, even if they've been done time and time again. What can I say? I'm a creature of habit :) It's always a welcome surprise to see a unique twist to the stereotypical storyline of most slasher movies though! I love unique concepts, such as the one for It Follows, which you really need to watch if you haven't already! Oh, and I would love a good cult movie, that isn't cheesy af. I've not watched Midsommar (2019) yet... If you have, what did you think? 

I have started to enjoy sci-fi horror a lot more after discovering that they are not all about aliens... which are not really my cup of tea when it comes to horror. I enjoyed Splice back in 2009, for example. It would be great to see more like this, that have more focus on the science side of things, if that makes sense. 

8. What is your favourite on-screen kill?

Oh wow, there's so many! What horror fan doesn't have a long list of favourites!? (or maybe I'm just weird...). To name a few: the scene in Child's Play 2 (1990) when the guy gets his eyes impaled in the factory's doll production line, the end of Hostel: Part 2 (2007) when the protagonist gets her own back!, the puppet scene in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3, Paris Hilton's characters death in House of Wax, the chair torture scene in (I think) Hellraiser: Deader (2005). I could list more... but I'll stop now before you'll all think I'm weirder than you already know I am XD 

9. What's your favourite franchise?

I adore the franchise by Rob Zombie that includes House of 1000 Corpses (2003), The Devil's Rejects and I am yet to watch the newest addition, 3 From Hell (2019). RIP Sid Haig T_T. I am also a lover of all the A Nightmare on Elm Street movies. Most of the Hellraiser movies are awesome, too, as well as the first few Child's Play movies. 

10. Who's your favourite horror director? 

Wes Craven and Rob Zombie are my all-time favourites. Clive Baker too, of course, for Hellraiser. I know that Guillermo del Toro is more well-known for his creepy fantasy but the Spanish horror The Orphanage (2007) is brilliant and he's another of my favourite directors, so I'm including him anyway. Who else loves his work? 

Well, those are my answers to the horror tag! I very much enjoyed writing about my favourite movie genre, and I now want to re-watch, for probably the 50th time, the horrors that I mentioned. However, I am currently doing a Horrorthon challenge, where I watch a horror movie that I have never seen before each day of October. I'm having a lot of fun with that, and I'll be sure to blog all about it at the end of the month. Are any of you guys doing a spooky movie marathon this month, whether it's a horror one or not? Before I finish up today's post, it's time to nominate some of my fabulous fellow bloggers to join in. I tag: Jess, Natalee, Eleanor , Vikki and Kiah to do the Horror Movie Tag. I'm looking forward to reading your answers guys! Feel free to answer this even if I didn't tag you, and please send me a link so I can have a read of your post :) 

Thankyou for reading! 

♥ 


What's your favourite horror movie? 


What is the last horror movie you watched & was it any good? 



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Friday, 18 October 2019

Nerdy Stamps Galore!

Hey guys! Happy Friday! Well, blogging is going just great for me this month, isn't it? :D Oops! I've been full of a cold and the seasonal changes in temperature are starting to have an effect on me already! I feel like I have been in a constant state of brain fog this past week, and so productive Sarah has gone into hibernation and sluggish Sarah has taken over my life XD I need to find a way to get my productivity groove on again! Any tips?

So anyway, a few months ago  (yeah, it's taken me that long to share!), I bought some fabulous nerdtastic stamps!! For those of you who don't know already, one of my hobbies, that I've been partaking in ever since I was in my early teens, is penpaling/ snailmailing/ good old fashioned letter-writing. I just love it!! I mean, who doesn't love receiving fun mail? And I find a lot of joy in brightening up someone else's day with my mail! One of my favourite things about getting letters and postcards from all around the World is the fact that I get to see so many different stamps :) There are some gorgeous, excellent designs out there, such as The Moomins stamps from Finland and Disney stamps from North America! Did you know that we also have 'fancy' picture stamps available here in the UK? Today's post is going to be all about two of my absolute favourite editions of stamps that we've had since I first started this beloved hobby of mine. I hope you all enjoy reading, as much as I enjoy telling you about them! 

A photo showing a selection of Game of Thrones and Harry Potter picture stamps

I usually hold off sharing a photo of the contents of my blog posts until later in the post, so that it doesn't show up as a the cover photo/ thumbnail/ whatever it's called, and thus give away spoilers before you all have a chance to read it. However, I really love how this photo turned out so I couldn't resist! How gorgeous are these stamps though!? Keep reading to see them up close :) 

Before I talk more about these fabulous stamps, I wanted to tell you guys all about the types of stamp sets that are available on the Royal Mail website (and at some post offices) and the sort of prices you can expect. The Royal Mail release several purchasing options when it comes to their new stamp editions. My favourite to buy are 'Presentation Packs'. By buying these, not only do you get one of every stamp in that collection but also the most awesome packaging, filled with artwork and information about the stamp theme, that you can use to keep your stamps in. These cost £11.20 each, but you get fifteen 1st class stamps typically, unless the stamps in that particular collection are valued at more than a 1st class price (such as £1.25 stamps, and so forth). There is also options to buy smaller design-specific set, such as a sheet of five individual 1st class stamps from that collection. I don't know if I'm explaining that well, but I will show you guys an example in this post :) These are £3.70 (because 1st class stamps are now 70-something pence each!). 

That's enough rambling... I don't want to bore you all :D On with the stamps! 

A photo showing a Game of Thrones Picture Stamps Set

The main reason that I did this haul in the first place was to get some of the Game of Thrones stamps. I wasn't sure if there would be any left, since they had been out for quite a while by the time I had the cash available to buy them. I was very happy to discover that they were still online!! (Although I don't think they are now, sorry guys!). I already had a book of the GoT 1st Iron Throne stamps that I bought from my local post office a few weeks before to keep in my wallet and use whenever I needed to post something, but I wanted all of the picture stamps to keep and never use :) I, of course, opted for the presentation pack, and LOOK AT HOW GORGEOUS IT IS!! 

Inside this pack, you get fifteen stamps! These ten character stamps above, and also the other sheet which includes four giant stamps of the Direwolves, Giants, Dragons and The Night King and his White Walkers, plus a little standard-sized stamp of the Iron Throne. These stamps are honestly so stunning, even better in person! Every stamp is so detailed, featuring a background behind each character depicting a scene/location related to them. 

A photo showing a Game of Thrones Picture Stamps Set

My favourite are Tyrion and Arya, but I might be a little bias since they are my favourite characters from the TV series and the A Song of Ice and Fire novels. Behind Tyrion, we get artwork showing wildfire burning bright green during the Battle of Blackwater Bay. I really like that they chose this scene because even though it was tragic for those on the receiving end of it, it showed that Tyrion had great skill when it came to battle tactics and his talents really got to shine in the scene! Plus green is my favourite colour so it's nice that my favourite character has been paired with it. As for the Arya stamp, it's fantastic that she's got her trusty needle in hand and looks ready to kick some ass, haha! 

My other favourite designs are the Eddard Stark stamp because I just love that they've chosen a beautiful weirwood tree as the background, and also the Direwolf stamp because it has all six one them on there: Nymeria, Shaggy Dog, Summer, Lady, Grey Wind, and a very angry-looking Ghost. I love all of the stamps to be honest, except for the dragon one. I absolutely adore the dragons from GoT, with my favourite being Rhaegal so it's great that he's made it onto the stamp, but for some reason they haven't include Viserion, and the picture that they decided to use for Drogon is really crappy looking in my opinion, out of all the amazing CGI used for them on the show, it seems they have chosen one of the worst... he looks very unrealistic (as far as fantasy creatures can look unrealistic), and it doesn't blend in well with the overall look of the stamp. Would you agree? Aside from that one stamp, I am super impressed! 

A photo showing a Westeros map from Game of Thrones and some stamps

As for the presentation pack artwork I mentioned before, inside the Game of Thrones one you get this huge map of Westeros, which is really cool and would look great up on the wall framed! It has detailed illustrations of key landmarks and is annotated. What's not to love, if you're a fan of the franchise!? Also, poking out of the left side of the map, you can see another item that I picked up from this collection, and that is a 'First Day Edition Envelope'. I only recently discovered, thanks to someone posting their envelope haul on Instagram, that the Royal Mail sell these envelopes along with each new collection that features a illustration keeping in with the theme. It only cost me 30p and it's a big envelope! I'm definitely going to be looking out for more of these with future stamp collections :) Did any of you guys know about these envelopes? 

A photo showing a set of Harry Potter stamps

Since I was already buying stamps, I wanted to snap up some from the Harry Potter collection before they ran out. Just like with the GoT stamps, I had already picked up a couple of the stamps featuring Harry himself when I went to my local post office to send some postcards, and I had no idea that there was actually a Professors sheet available!! I bought the presentation pack as soon as I noticed this sheet, and I am delighted to add all of the others to my small collection of stamps (*ones that I want to save, which so far includes an Alice in Wonderland collection and a Beatrix Potter one). As always, you get fifteen stamps in the pack: Hagrid's Motorbike, Ginny, the Triwizard Cup, Neville, the Knight Bus, Hermione, the Hogwarts Express, Harry, Ron and his dad's Flying Ford Anglia, as well as Professor Sprout, Slughorn, Trelawney, Lupin and my main man, Snape. 

My favourite stamps are Hagrid's Motorbike, the Knight Bus, Neville, Ginny, Lupin & obviously, Snape *insert gif of Snape saying obviously* :D Even though Neville and Ginny are not my favourite characters from the franchise, I really like that they have been featured in this collection since I feel like their characters don't get a lot of representation, even though they are integral to the story. Just like many other fans, I feel like the movies really neglected Ginny, when in the books she's an brilliant character! So yeah, it's great to see her and Mr Longbottom getting some love. 

A photo showing a set of Harry Potter stamps

The reason I love the stamp of the Knight Bus and Hagrid's Motorbike has more to do with the backgrounds. As with the GoT stamps, these HP ones have very detailed backgrounds. Hagrid's Motorbike has dementors looming behind Harry and Hagrid, and the Knight Bus has a picture of the Sirius Black's Animagus form. They both feature the moon as well, and I'm a big fan of the celestial aesthetic :) 

The thing that I like most about this presentation pack is second sheet featuring the Professors. I am absolutely lovin' that the background for the sheet is the Marauder's Map and that it has the infamous line, I solemnly swear that I am up to no good. It makes the potterhead in me smile :D Like with what I said about Ginny and Neville, it's marvellous to see some of the other Hogwarts teachers getting more focus. I'd have expected to see a stamp of Dumbledore, McGonagall, and maybe Quirrell or Lockhart, or another stamp of Hagrid. Instead we get Professor Slughorn, Sprout and Trelawney (I really like that she's holding a crystal ball, too) and I think that's wonderful! If you've been following me for a while, you will know that I am a massive fangirl when it comes to Severus Snape, so it will be no surprise to you that I would immediately love his stamp. What I like most about it though is his facial expression; in typical Snape fashion, he looks thoroughly unimpressed. 

A photo showing Harry Potter information poster and stamps

The artwork inside this presentation pack is a lot more simple than the GoT one, but not any less awesome. I love the wisps of smoky purples, blues and greens throughout, and how it borders the stills from the movies, especially the train one in the centre. It has information on each of the topics/objects featured on the stamps, which means it's also great for anyone who isn't a fan of Harry Potter to buy and still be able to learn about the subject. 

I said that I would show you all an example of the individual character packs that I was trying to describe at the start of my post, so here it is. The sheet that you can see above is the set of five 1st class stamps that I bought for just under £4. I love that these stamps still come in their own little illustrated presentation card. It's very pretty! I bought these stamps to actually use on my snailmail, and I'm considering using the card afterwards to store any loose stamps that I might happen to pick up from the post office in the future. 

Before I finish up this post, there's something more I want to show you...

A photo showing a set of four Game of Thrones stamp postcards

And that's stamp postcards!! I first discovered these a few years ago in the bigger post office one town over from my hometown, and I think they are really cool! For each collection that the Royal Mail releases, they also make matching postcards! Of course, they are intended for you to use with the stamps, but I just buy them to use for my postcard swapping hobby. They always feature a huge picture of the stamp, surrounded by a pale brown shade that makes the stamp stand out even more. 

The post office in the town next-door to mine opens up the packets and allows you to buy them individually, but when you order them online, you have to purchase the whole pack. It cost me £7.20 for sixteen Game of Thrones postcards (one for each of the stamps, and then one featuring a picture of the entire sheet with the Direwolves, giants, etc.) Not bad considering that they work out at 45p each! You could send them, keep from or even frame them/stick them up on your wall. I don't know if I will be able to bring myself to use them; we'll see! 

A photo showing a haul of Royal Mail Harry Potter and Game of Thrones Stamps

So those were all the stamps and other postage goodies that I ordered a few months ago. I am over the moon with them. They always look so much more stunning when they arrive! I know not all of you will be into stamps and snailmail stuff, but I hope that you all enjoyed reading about them nonetheless. The stamps are lovely to look at, at least :) I cannot wait to see the next nerdy stamp designs the Royal Mail comes out with... I've got some Star Wars ones, and there's even been a Marvel collection this year. It would be fantastic if I was able to bring these picture stamps to the attention of whose who might never have heard of them before, so please let me know if I did! Even if you're not a letter writer, picture stamps can be a nice way to decorate an envelope when you are sending birthday cards to your loved ones and such, so it's worth looking into the upcoming collections. I am looking forward to seeing what this years Christmas stamps will look like! If only we had special Halloween stamps, don't you think? (pretty please, Royal Mail, if you're reading this!). 

I'd love to know which presentation pack you guys prefer: Harry Potter or Game of Thrones? I'm also very curious which individual stamps are your favourite. So definitely let me know in the comments :) 

Thankyou for reading! 

♥ 

Who are the best Game of Thrones characters in your opinion? 

How about Harry Potter characters? 

Also, have you ever bought picture stamps? Tell me about them! 


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