Thursday, 30 November 2017

Why I Love Snailmail

Hey lovelies! I hope everyone's been having a fantastic week :) What have you all been up to? For today's post I thought I'd write about one of my hobbies. I have been writing to penpals now since I was around 14 years old and I absolutely love it. I wanted to share why, for anyone who's curious about getting involved in the hobby, and for those of you who are just interested to learn what it's all about. I hope you enjoy reading! 

Why I Love Snail Mail Penpal Letter Writing

There were so many reasons why I was first interested in looking for a penpal all those years ago. Mostly it was because of my interest in other cultures, in the customs and traditions of people all over the world. I loved and still love foreign languages and am fascinated by new places. Back in my early teens, I wanted to learn about what life was like for someone else in another place, partly due to curiosity but also because I wanted a glimpse outside of my own everyday life, which I didn't enjoy much at all (I want to keep this post cheerful though so I won't get into why that was today). I enjoyed discovering what was the same for other people my age across the globe, and of course what was different. It was a lovely, and pretty exciting, experience getting to read all about their lives: their school life, their interests, about their hometown. Answering questions about my own hometown, and about my life in general, made me focus on the positive aspects that I did like, and well that made me feel not so bad about things. It was helpful that I was able to just write about all of the things I enjoyed about my life :) 

Another reason why I was originally drawn to snailmail was down to my obsession with two countries in particular. I had always been in love with Japan, ever since I was very young and started watching anime. I adored everything about Japanese culture and I was attempting to learn the Japanese language too, so I longed to find a friend who lived there. One of my first ever penpals was from Japan and it was wonderful experience writing to her! I still have the plushies that she sent me over 10 years ago ♥ 

The other country that I dreamt of visiting and was a little captivated by was Finland. My love for this country was caused by their alternative musicians! I was just 11, maybe even 10, when a song came on a charts music channel that I was just wowed by! This song was In The Shadows by The Rasmus... anyone else remember this song? Before then, I'd never really been exposed to much rock music and thanks to the voice and style of Lauri Ylonen and his awesome bandmates thus began my journey of self discovery. That sounds so cheesy haha! But honestly, I found myself in the lyrics of rock and metal songs, they allowed me to express myself and brought so many amazing people into my life (writing this is super nostalgic! It's bringing back all sorts of memories). Anyhow, after discovering The Rasmus, I found Hanoi Rocks & HIM, thanks to my first Finnish penpal. I also learnt more about this amazing country that made me just love it even more. The forests and lakes there though! They are breath-taking! 

Why I Love Snail Mail Penpal Letter Writing

A further reason why I wanted to find a penpal was because of my love for hand-written letters. As a young teen, I obviously didn't get any mail of my own and so I wanted some! I loved pretty stamps and the excitement of not knowing what envelope my letters would come in or what kind of paper they'd be written on. It was so fun waiting for the postman to arrive each day to see if they had anything for me! For years before I started snailmailing, I would always buy letter sets whenever I went on a day trip somewhere. For some reason, I'd only ever see pretty letter sets at zoo gift shops and such! I'm not sure why, haha. I am delighted about the fact you can get them all over the place now. Maybe I just never went to the right stores or something :D Period dramas and historical-based literature have forever been one of my favourite things, and so because of the letter writing that was depicted in these, I was always fascinated by them and dreamt of corresponding with someone by post. 

I've ended up focusing most of this post about why I started to write to penpals, but to be honest these are the reasons why I love snailmail :) I love it because of how it gives me an insight into other people's lives in different countries. I will always love hearing about other cultures and the things people get up to abroad. But the main thing I love about snailmail, now as an adult* (*haha, as a 25 year old human that's attempting to adult) is the friendships I've made! I love the intimacy of letter writing, if that even makes sense. It's often easier to write than to speak face-to-face with people, well it certainly is for me that is. I feel that it allows people to become closer, especially if you've been writing to one another for a very long time. 

My penpals and I have in a way grown up together, from being teenagers to adults and been writing throughout so many of the important occasions in our lives... going to university, self discovery, moving away from home, and one of my penpals has even gotten married!! I think it's wonderful that we've been able to share these things with each other through our words, through little crafty snippets too, such as photos, leaflets, gifts, etc. It's nice just how well they know me :) I really hope that some day when I've worked on my social anxiety enough, that I can meet them 

How adorable is this little cartoon that one of my past penpals sent to me though!? 

It's definitely been tough to keep up with penpaling over the last few years for me, since I was super busy at university and then with all of the problems I've had with my mental illnesses, it's been tough to motivate myself to keep taking part in any of my hobbies, even though I thoroughly enjoy them. My penpals have been amazing; they've still kept in contact with me even though I've been such a crappy penpal! They are amazing ladies & I'm so thankful to know them :) It's my aim to get back into regular letter writing in the New Year, and also get back involved with postcrossing (which is the same as snailmail really, but with postcards). Please let me know if you've enjoyed this post and if you want me to blog more about this hobby of mine in the future. I did do a post back in 2015 in my first months of blogging, which you can check out here.

I hope you've all enjoyed reading though and that you have a lovely weekend :) I have decided to take part in Blogmas so I am going to work very hard to keep up and get a new blog post up everyday of December. Last time I joined in with this blogging challenge was in December 2015, and I'm surprised that I've managed to think of another 30+ ideas that are different haha! Yayy, it's basically Christmas for me now since I ate my first leubkuchen today! It will soon be time to put up all the decorations and listen to Christmas songs and get all festive, and omgosh I'm excited :) 

Thankyou for reading!

Have you ever sent a hand written letter?

Do any of you guys snailmail too? 


Monday, 27 November 2017

November 2017 Pop In A Box

Hi guys! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! My life has been taken over by the new Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp phone game. It's sooooo adorable, and if you haven't been playing it you seriously need to! All of the animals are super cute & it's one of those games that are so addictive. As well as playing that every chance I get, I've also been catching up on watching various TV shows, and starting new ones including the latest season of Peaky Blinders and a completely new series starring Matthew Macfadyen, who's one of my favourite period drama actors, called Howard's End. Has anyone else been watching it? I'd love to hear what you think so far :) It's taken me too long to get this post up on my blog, to show you all my monthly vinyl figure subscription from Pop In A Box. So here it is! Enjoy! 

November Pop In A Box

If you're new to my blog or don't know what the Pop in a Box subscription is, it's a service that sends you a new Funko Pop! Vinyl each month, depending on the figures that you've selected in your Pop! wishlist on their website. You can also give a 'thumbs down' to the figures that you're not interested in and there's an option to let them know if you already have any Funko Pop's to make sure you don't get sent another of the same! You can subscribe to receive 1-12 figures, and you get money off each Pop!, more for each additional figure you buy. I get three every month and I only pay just over £20 for the figures & the postage. I think it's great value for money, and I really enjoy surprises so it's a great subscription box service for me! I'd definitely recommended them if you're a fan of Funko Pop's :) 

Since I used him for my cover photograph/thumbnail/whatever it's called, today, I'll show you my new Top Cat Pop! vinyl first... 

Top Cat Funko Pop

Top Cat Funko Pop

Top Cat Funko Pop

I really love that Funko seem to be releasing so many 80's and 90's kids nostalgia products! There's been so many new figures added to my wishlist as a result, including the new Crash Bandicoot Pop! that I shared on my latest Kawaii & Geeky Wishlist. As soon as I saw this Top Cat figure, I needed him! I used to watch the Warner Brother's edition of this classic cartoon show when I was young and I can still clearly remember this cat's iconic voice. It was an awesome show, and I'm super happy with this cutesy version of Mr Top Cat himself.

He looks so cheerful; I love his facial expression, his big smile! I think the vibrancy of the yellow they'd used for him definitely helps with that, and makes it a very eye-catching figure. His purple outfit goes so well with the yellow, and I adore how his hat has little holes for his ears to poke through, haha! I had included a photo of his tail too because I love the design of it. I am a fan of his hands-on-hips stance too, it reflects his cheeky personality so well. It's a little annoying that there's a small black mark just above his nose, as because of the brightness of the yellow, it's very noticeable, well to me anyway. Once I spotted it, I've not been able to ignore it >.< I'm just glad that there's no big paintjob errors though! Keep scrolling to read all about the second Pop! that I received this month.

Fairytail Gray Fullbuster Pop

Fairytail Gray Fullbuster Pop

Fairytail Gray Fullbuster Pop

Fairytail Gray Fullbuster Pop

How cool is this Pop! version of Gray!? If you didn't know, Gray Fullbuster is a character from the anime series Fairy Tail. Fairy Tail is one of my favourite animes and Gray is one of my favourite characters, along with Ezra. Gray for me is one of those characters that make you question why you are attracted to an animated dude! I'm sure that my fellow geeky friends can relate, hahaha! I really like how much this figure looks like Gray, and they've done such a fabulous job of his hair! My photos don't do it justice, it's awesome! 

I'm happy that Funko include his magic 'Ice-Make' which he uses for creating all of his awesome ice powers! I like the transparent material they've made it with. Overall, he's a fantastic figure and in excellent condition with messy paint errors. He's the first Fairy Tail addition to my Pop collection, and I have a mighty need to get the others now! 

And my final Pop! vinyl figure is... 

Pet Owner Blogger Problems 101: that moment when you take a decent photograph of your Funko box and realise afterwards that there's a dog hair on it... Thanks Aurora, haha! 

....Wendy Torrance! I love love love this figure! It looks so much like Wendy in the horror movie! They have even made sure to add a little colouration around her eyes to make her look really exhausted and defeated like she does through most of the story. I'm a big horror movie fan so I'm delighted to add a character from Stephen King's The Shining to my collection! I have had my eyes on the Grady Twins ever since they were released and receiving this figure has just made me want them even more! It would be awesome to complete the set of all the movie characters that have been made by Funko! Fellow horror fans, who's your favourite character from this movie? 

I like how this figure of Wendy has a hunched-over, leaning slightly forward stance, like she's ready to fight off whoever tries to harm her. I'm happy that Funko decided to design her like this with a knife in hand because it just makes me picture all of the best bits from the movie. The knife could have been a better shape though, it doesn't have much detailing to it. However, it still looks great. Let's talk about how amazing the detailing on the box is!! I really like this addition to the packaging, the blood-splatter and the famous 'REDRUM' that Danny Torrance carves into the bedroom door. I literally can't stop saying it aloud to myself how he does in the movie every time I see it! I'm such a dork :D 

So, those are the three surprise Funko Pop! figures that were delivered to my door around mid-November. Usually they get shipped with, for example two figures in one box and a single figure in a separate box, but this month they all came packaged together in a big box. There's something about opening a huge box that makes it so much more fun! I am over the moon that overall my figures this month are all in very near perfect condition when it comes to their paintjobs, which hasn't been the chance with some of my previous Pop In A Box orders. I like how they are all very different in regards to genre, each reflected a different interest of mine. 

Before I end this post, I'm going to add even more photos to it (oops, my posts are always so pic heavy!) as I want to show off another new Funko Pop that I recently purchased directly off the Pop In A Box website, which also sell so many Funko products. You do get free delivery if you're a subscriber though! 

I have wanted a vinyl figure of this villainous character from the anime franchise Dragon Ball Z for ages now, and so when I had a little money free, I decided to treat myself and just buy him VS waiting on the chance that I might have some day got him in my Pop in A Box subscription. His name is Cell, and this is him in his 'perfect' form so the figure is named Perfect Cell. He's such an awesome character and the Cell Saga was certainly one of my favourite parts of the Dragon Ball Z series when I was a kid. I'm lovin' how Funko have created his spotty colouration and his insect-like body. He's an impressive little figure. They've even included his wings and sting! He has such a unique look when standing next to some of my other Pop! vinyl's, and he's just brilliant! 

Thankyou for reading! 

Which is your favourite of the figures in my post? 


Friday, 24 November 2017

Depression & Numbness | Mental Health

Hello everyone! Today's post is going to be a more personal one, about something that has been really affecting me lately. It's been quite a while since I shared a post opening up about my mental health; my last one was all about what it's like for me living with obsessive compulsive disorder. Although many people still undermine the severity of OCD, and see it as being overly cleanly or strict when it comes to organisation, there is still a lot of information about it available online. However, when it comes to a particular symptom of depression (and many other MH conditions), the symptom that my post today is about, not many people know too much about it and there definitely isn't all that much information out there. I wanted to do my little bit to change that, to share with you all about numbness, what it really means and how it impacts my life. My hope is that this post helps others who can relate to what I've written, and also that it lets people know about something they may have never heard of before reading my post 

Depression & Emotional Numbness

So you may be thinking... what do you mean by numbness? And to be honest, it's a little hard for me to put into words that really explain how tough this symptom can be.

What I basically mean is emotional numbness. The inability to process emotions, a feeling of being empty, being void of emotional response to things that used to make you feel something. When people have heard of this, it's usually focused on a situation of grief, on lost or heartbreak or deep sadness. Which is definitely part of it, but what some people might not know is that it has an effect on all of your emotions... happiness, anger, excitement. Emotional numbness can make them feel muted, like your feelings somehow don't work anymore. 'Some people describe the emotional numbness as feeling unfocused or ungrounded' - the healthline. It is a very distressing thing to live with, and it makes it tough to challenge the other symptoms of your mental health condition because you just can't seem to regain your emotions. 

It can also impact anxiety, which is just double the stress if also struggle with anxiety alongside your depression. You may be constantly worried about how your emotional reactions are viewed by others, or that they will think you are being ungrateful or cold or intentionally being awkward about something. I know that this is something that I personally get nervous about. As well as affecting your anxiety, emotional numbness can cause you to experience a serious lack of motivation, because well, your enthusiasm for things that you used to love doing may have dissolved. Where you once felt excited to get up and go do something like a much-loved hobby, you might now not be bothered about whether you do it or not. One of the most common ways in which depression affects people is by making them not enjoy things they used to love to the same degree anymore, and when this is coupled with emotional numbness, it can make everything feel like there's not much point to it anymore. 

Depression & Emotional Numbness

How has emotional numbness affected my life? 

I have always been an over-emotional, very sensitive person. I am the one who sobs their heart out at movies and TV shows. Someone who's default emotional response to any feeling is to cry, whether I feel mad or upset or really joyful. I tear up if I see something that's really adorable because I can't cope with how cute it is! Yeah, I'm that emotional, haha! Or so, I used to be... then emotional numbness came along and took ahold of my feelings. It's really strange how it progressed, like the symptom just creeped up on me and I didn't even realise how much it was affecting me for ages. At first, I was just not as excited anymore, about most things that used to fill me with happiness. This was starting to really be a problem since I had little things that would still help to cheer me up when I was having a particularly bad depression day, when my intrusive thoughts wouldn't go away, but these self care practices started being less and less effective. This left me at a loss on what to do to improve my mood. 

I've briefly mentioned a few times on my blog that I have been going through some family problems and other stressful situations over the past few months, and I noticed a difference in the way I responded emotionally to those things too. Originally, they were a challenge to cope with, but over time I started to feel numb about them, like I felt nothing at all anymore. As a result, my anxiety was heightened because I began worrying about why I wasn't bothered. I was getting all sorts of unwanted thoughts about myself because of it. This is when things started being a huge problem, and I feel embarrassed talking about how feeling emotional numbness started to make me behave :( 

I started to get into a very self-destructive mind set, in an attempt to make me feel something. I tried other things at first to try to help with the numbness, such as listening to songs that have always made me have an emotional response, you know the kinds of songs that belong on a break-up playlist. I also watched a few movies that would always be my go-to when I needed a good cry. None of these things really did much to help me, even though I did tear up to a few of them, they didn't do anything to get me out of the headspace that I was in. There are many self-destructive symptoms when it comes to depression, one of them I have already talked about on here before and its probably the first one to pop into your mind when you think about the topic. However, there are plenty of others.. for me, I would try to make myself upset. I would start thinking about triggering moments from my past or I would go over and over something in my mind that I thought would make me react. I feel really anxious sharing this online, almost ashamed at myself *insert 26 shy-faced monkey emojis*, but I just feel like it might be helpful to me to say it aloud like this, and hopefully make someone feel not so alone in their own struggles. But yeah, none of these behaviours where doing much, other than making me stressed at myself that I kept putting myself through those things. 

Another thing that my feelings of numbness seem to be causing me to do is to lose track of my days. It's not that I forget the day of the week or whatever, but there doesn't feel like there's a clear margin between each day. I don't even know if that makes sense. It's like my days are an endless blur, like one constant day filled with the same old stuff. Fellow spoonies, have any of you ever felt like this? That's another thing that is impacting me... I just feel so alone in this feeling. I know that there's people out there experiencing the same things as me, but at the time that I'm stressing about what I'm going through, I feel so isolated, like no one would understand if I tried to explain. 

Depression & Emotional Numbness

I wanted to conclude today's post with some advice, but I'm not sure I can give much because I'm still dealing with emotional numbness and I don't yet know how to help improve things for my mental wellbeing. All I can say is that I am putting in a lot of effort to stop myself getting into the habit of using self-destructive behaviours, because in the long run this might have a horrid effect on me. I might be building up all of these negative emotions that all decide to come to light when I do start to feel more again. This has already been happening a little. I've started to feel something, and then it becomes very overwhelming. I'm getting there though guys! Apologies if this post has been a miserable one to read. On a positive note, a piece of beneficial advice that I can give is to keep doing things that used to make you happy, don't give up trying to make yourself feel good, even if at the moment it may seem pointless. Just keep at it and eventually you might feel awesome :)

Also talking to someone, a mental health professional, might be something that helps you. It is believed that emotional numbness can be caused because you've endured a lot of tough things and have bottled it all up inside, so being able to express your feelings might make a big difference to how you feel. You can talk to your GP to get referred to your local mental health services. It's worth a try, even if you don't think it will have any effect, it might surprise you. Look after yourself guys!

Thankyou for reading! 

Have you ever experienced anything similar to what I've mentioned today?
Or had a loved one go through similar things?

If you have any thoughts or advice, please share them in the comments :) 


Thursday, 23 November 2017

Pin Badge Haul #2 | Kye Cheng & JennifairyW

Happy Thursday guys! Also, Happy Thanksgiving to any of my readers from the US! I hope you all have an awesome day :) I am currently typing this post up on a new laptop... I repeat A BRAND NEW LAPTOP!! If you've been a regular follower of mine for a while now, you'll know how crappy my last laptop was and how it was broken, making blogging or doing anything on it ridiculously stressful. It would take hours and hours to edit a few photographs, pages would be loading for ages and it would crash constantly. My fan had also been broken for so long, which made it make a really annoying, loud buzzing sound. Watching shows and movies was definitely a challenge when I could hear buzzing over the voices of the actors! But, I don't have to endure that anymore because I finally saved up enough to get myself a nice new machine!! And I am so excited to be using it! It's so shiny and perfect... oh my gosh and the screen is also 17'' so it's going to be great to watch stuff on. I'm not saying all of this to brag but I am just so glad that I will now be more motivated to blog and that I don't have to deal with all of those irritating things anymore. Yay! 

Anyhow, as promised, here is another pin haul post for you all :) On my first pin haul post, I mentioned how I'd been getting a little overexcited and buying lots of pin badges lately, some that I'd had my eyes on for months, because I will finally be able to display them! We are currently in the process of decorating my bedroom; I used to share a room with my sister however we now have our own bedrooms and so goodbye to the days when my pins had to stay tucked away in storage. With somewhere for my pins to finally be shown off like they should be, I have been collecting some super pretty pins from independent artists on Etsy and I can't wait to show them to you all. If you follow me on Instagram, you'll have had a glimpse of them already but I still hope that you enjoy reading this post nonetheless. So here are some more of the gorgeous new additions to my enamel pin collection...

Pin Badge Haul

This post features two shiny new enamel pins, from two wonderful artists, Kye Cheng & JennifairyW. They are all reflections of my geeky interests, and are based on two of my favourite Japanese animation characters. They are both super cute pins and I'm really happy with them! I will definitely be making more purchases from these very talented ladies in the future. Firstly, I'll show you what I ordered from Kye Cheng :)

Kye Cheng Order

Kye Cheng Order

I'm a huge fan of Studio Ghibli movies, with my most favourite being Princess Mononoke. As soon as I set eyes on this amazing pin badge of Mononoke in her iconic 'wolf' mask, I just had to have it! Just look how bold and striking the colours/design of the mask are! I absolutely love it. All of the gold outlines make it so much more eye-catching too. It's just a beautiful pin! Did you know that Hime means Princess in Japanese? So, Mononoke Hime translates to Princess Mononoke basically :) Also, I really like the presentation card that this pin came on... isn't it so cool?

As well as receiving this gorgeous pin, Kye Cheng also very kindly added an adorable mini print of Princess Nausicaa and the Ohmu (an insect-like thing) from the Ghibli movie, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.  She also surprised me  with a vinyl sticker of a radish spirit from Spirited Away, which I was absolutely delighted with as Spirited Away is my second best of the Ghibli movies, however I forgot to add it to my photographs when I was taking them! I put it away with my other vinyl stickers and totally forgot to get it out, oops! It's such a sweet sticker!! Are any of you guys fans of Studio Ghibli? If you are, I'd love to know what your favourite movie is in the comments :) I really like the design of Kye's business card with all of the sweet colourful flowers and leaves; it's super cute. Keep reading to see my order from JennifairyW.

JennifairyW Order

JennifairyW Order

JennifairyW Order

I love love love my new pin badge & vinyl stickers from JennifairyW!! How flippin' adorable is that chubby little Eevee hugging it's tail though!? I adore Pokémon, and Eevee is in my top five! I have wanted one of the fabulous Eeveelution charms on Jenn's Etsy store for a while, obviously the Vaporeon one, however when I was just having a nosey on her Instagram page, I spotted this pin and fell in love! 

I am so delighted to finally have a Eevee pin in my pin badge collection! This one has gold outlines and eyes so when it's turned in the light, the gold either looks dull or shines bright. It looks very cool :) I love the simplistic colours in the pin's design too. This Eevee looks so fluffy and cuddly! I couldn't resist purchasing the matching sticker to this pin. It's a little different too which I love, as it has rosy cheeks. I think they really add to the chibi appearance of the Pokémon. It would have been nice for the pin to have this characteristic too, but I really like it how it is so I'm not  certainly complaining or anything, haha.

Since the stickers were only £1.50 each, I couldn't not get another one! I choose the magical Sailor Moon inspired bunny sticker, which has a pretty crescent moon symbol on it's forehead and a rather solemn expression that I think just makes it look even sweeter! If you didn't know, Sailor Moon's actual name is Usagi, which means rabbit in Japanese so it's awesome that this sticker is an adorable bunny! 

Kye Cheng Order

I almost forgot to mention the prices of my two new pins, the Mononoke Mask was £7.78 and is shipped from Hong Kong for just under £4, which I think is not bad at all considering I've paid £2.90 P&P for orders sent in England. My chubby Eevee pin was £7 and the store is based in the UK. 

I am so impressed with my new pins, omgosh I just love them so much! Everyone that I've shown the Mononoke pin to has said how awesome they think it is. I love that it's such a super interesting design, that no one will be able to identify unless they know the movie/character, and I can't wait to rock it! My JennifairyW Eevee is so so cute! I really hope that she releases a Vaporeon pin in the future too! Or any other of the Eeveelutions, because her charms are lovely and I imagine that the pins would be a similar design. I hope so! Well, that's it for my second pin badge haul :) I hope that you all enjoyed reading. Which pin is your favourite? I'd also love to hear if you've ever shopped at either of these Etsy shops before and what you bought :)

Thankyou for reading!

What would your dream pin badge be? Like if you could have any character or design that your heart desires, what would you choose? 

Do you prefer pins or keyrings or charms? What's your favourite type of accessory? 


Wednesday, 22 November 2017

November Kawaii & Geeky Wishlist

Hey guys! I'm super sorry that I haven't blogged for over a week now! Ugh, as much as I adore this time of year for the nature aspects of it... the pretty rust and ruby leaves also bring with them gloomy evenings, shorter daylight hours and for me, my arch nemesis, seasonal affective disorder. It's really common for this change in the environment to make people feel more tired and make their moods low, however for a lot of spoonies, this disorder makes it really tough to get through the autumn and winter months. 

My regular readers will know that I suffer from insomnia and well, with SAD thrown into the equation, I'm in such a miserable place right now. I'm waking up most days at mid-day, after not being able to fall asleep until the early hours and then by the time I've  fully woken up, had a cuppa and something to eat, taken my meds and my usual intense morning fibromyalgia pain has eased a little, it's then getting dark and dismal outside and my motivation to do anything productive has almost all but disappeared. This has made blogging such a challenge! I've had ideas for posts but have been incapable of putting together the energy to type it up. I feel a little ridiculous about it to be honest, and I hope that my lack of posts hasn't been too annoying for you guys! Last night, I managed to drift off to sleep earlier (at 3:30am ish still!) and so here I am, finally sharing something. Putting together today's post has actually cheered me up quite a bit; I mean, who isn't happy looking at cute stuff and making a wishlist!? Enjoy :)  

1. Build A Bear Bulbasaur Plushie Yay! Build A Bear have finally released a Bulbasaur plushie for their Pokemon range, and I am so happy! This adorable plush is at the top of my wishlist right now and I'm seriously unimpressed that there's no Build-A-Bear workshop store closer to my hometown, or even in my hometown! I could order him online and get the online exclusive outfit, which is a super cute leaf-print hat & scarf set, but I just love the experience of shopping at the store. I will have to give in though I think and treat myself to an early Christmas present, especially since there's an offer online at the moment to save £10 when you spend £30!

2. Funko Stranger Things Mystery Minis Have you all watched the latest season of Stranger Things yet? Oh my gosh, it was so flippin' awesome! If you haven't, you neeeeed to get it watched right now! Since Stranger Things has been on my mind lately, I have a mighty need to acquire some merchandise and since I'm a big fan of blind box figures, I would love to get my hands on some of these mystery minis.

3. Funko Pop! Crash Bandicoot Figure I think I'm a little obsessed with Funko products, haha! I would really like to add this recent addition to the Pop! vinyl figure range to my collection. Crash Bandicoot was one of my favourite games growing up, and I love to own nostaglic things that remind me of happy times whenever I look at them :) I love Crash's cheeky grin on this figure too.

4. Harry Potter House Journal How gorgeous is this journal!? I was recently browsing around for some new geeky merch websites and I came across Geek Core. The first items that caught my attention were these very pretty Harry Potter house journals. They are so cool with their bold colouration and detailed flag patterned covers. Just look at those fancy house crests too! They are unfortunately pretty pricey for a notebook and I would never want to use it after paying that much; they are lovely nonetheless and I wish that I could afford to pay that for one notebook, but I thought I'd include them anyway! What's everyones Hogwart's house? Let me know in the comments :)

5. Q-Lia Bananya Sticky Notes Ever since I bought a Bananya mini plush from Tokyo Otaku Mode, I've been in love with this adorable character by Japanese company Q-Lia. How can you not adore a little cat sitting inside a banana? It's so random, haha! I love die-cut shaped sticky notes, and although there's not much space to write on these sheets... they are too cute and I just need them.

6. TokiDoki Pixie Unicorno Enamel Pin TokiDoki have some of the loveliest enamel pins and although this may sound like an excuse to justify why I want to buy one (or five!), I would love to see how good the quality and design is in person. I collect the Unicorno vinyl figures and my love for these wonderful collectibles has made me want to buy anything and everything Unicorno-related. Pixie is a gorgeous pastel coloured unicorn from the Series 3 figure collection, and until I can get the figure, this pin will do just fine :)

7. Sass & Belle Nori Cat Rug As most of you guys will know by now, I am in the process of decorating my new bedroom, well it's not a new bedroom but I no longer have to share it with my sister, and so I can make it my perfect little space which means lots of kawaii & geeky goodness everywhere! I've been searching for a small rug to go by my bed that suites my interests well, and I found this lovely cat rug from Sass & Belle. I've had my eye on several items from this shop for a while now. I'm so glad that this rug has been brought to my attention; I'll definitely be ordering it as soon as I can!

8. Eeveelution Vinyl Stickers For the last few years, after I attended my first Comic Con event where I bought my first ever vinyl stickers, I've been collecting more from different independent artists. For a long time, I didn't really know what to do with these stickers because they were too pretty to just stick on any old notebook or whatever, so they'd just sit inside a plastic wallet in my sticker drawer. Until I decided that when I looked for a new laptop, I would choose a black one and cover it with a variety of colourful vinyl stickers. Since I made this decision, I've been stocking up on more stickers in preparation. I recently discovered an artist's website called Blushsprout via tumblr, and these kawaii eeveelution stickers are my favourite things on there, although I want several other items as well! I very much like how every pokemon has a different facial expression and position, and I would love to have all nine displayed on my shiny new laptop! 

Thankyou for reading! 

What's your favourite item on my wishlist?

Any geeky or kawaii items on your own wishlists this month?  

I'd really love if you guys could follow me over on my blog facebook page!


Tuesday, 14 November 2017

How To Pack a Christmas Shoebox

Hi lovelies! If you've followed me for a long time now, you will know that every year around this time since 2015, I've taken part in a Christmas charity initiative. Have you ever heard of Christmas shoeboxes? the shoebox appeal? Well if not, it's an absolutely wonderful 'project' that takes place each year, encouraging people to put together shoeboxes for children worldwide, who may not receive presents for Christmas! 

My primary school didn't do it but when I've spoken to others, they remember packing Christmas shoeboxes for children across the world when they were in school. Did you put together shoeboxes when you were a kid? If so, then you might have been sending them with the help of the Christian charity, Samaritan's Purse. Even though I'm not a Christian myself, I think that the Shoebox Appeal aka Operation Christmas Child is a fantastic thing and the charity also run so many other wonderful projects, such as 'International Disaster Relief' and 'Woman at Risk' (If you're interested there's lots of info about what they do on their website). Today's post is of course going to all about the Shoebox Appeal. I've blogged a few times now about the initiative, that I've been taking part around Christmas for the last three years, but in previous posts I've mostly just shown what I've packed into my boxes. So, this time I thought I'd focus more on what you actually need to pack into them. Keep reading to find out how to pack your own Christmas shoebox :) 

Shoebox Appeal - How to pack a shoebox

So first of all, you'll need to get yourself an empty standard-sized shoebox (preferably the kind with a seperate lid) and wrap it with adorable Christmas paper! You also need to decide who you want to send your shoebox to and print off a category label to attach to the top of your box. You can either put together a shoebox for a boy or a girl, then there are three age group categories once you'd decided on this: 2-4 year old, 5-9 year old and 10-14 year old. It's a shame because overall less boxes are packed for the 10-14 year old children, and since I found this out I've made sure that I always do a Christmas box for this age group. Once you're settled on who your box is going to, it's time to fill it. But what do you include? 

Shoebox Appeal - How to pack a shoebox

(1) Hygiene Products 

On the Samaritan's Purse website, there is a whole section dedicated to telling you what to include in your shoeboxes, however I thought I'd share this post anyway to let people know about this awesome project but also because I know that I personally prefer reading photographic guides where I can actually for myself see what someone has included. Before I pack my boxes, I watch a lot of youtube videos showing what people have put inside their own shoeboxes for inspiration, so I hope that my post can help give others some ideas too! 

The first items that I start to buy (a couple of months before the drop off deadline) are hygience ones because I can get them when I'm shopping for my own stuff. You can include a variety of hygiene essentials, so long as they are not in liquid-form since that's one of the things that are not allowed to be added! So here's what essentials I get: toothpaste, a toothbrush, soap (they have to wrapped according to the charity's rules so I buy a multi-pack with several individually packaged soaps inside), a flannel/wash cloth and little pack of tissues (great bargain because you can buy massive multi-packs of these!). For the older children, I always include a wash bag too, the one in the photograph is for my 10-14 year old box, and I usually get them at Superdrug/Savers for around a £1.

Shoebox Appeal - How to pack a shoebox

(2) School Supplies/Stationery

In many poverty-stricken countries where educational resources are very limited, a lot of children cannot go to school due to many reasons, with one of those reasons being that they cannot afford to get the supplies they need for their lessons. School supplies are thus a very important element to packing your Christmas shoebox, and everytime I try to squish in as much of it as I can! The photograph above just shows some examples of the stationery items that I gather for my shoeboxes, however I get so much more than this. I just haven't finished shopping yet!

I normally include: a colouring book and crayons. stickers, a pencil case or pouch and supplies to go inside of it such as a ruler, a rubber/eraser, a sharpener and a pencil. It's great when I come across stationery sets when I'm shopping for supplies because you get all these things in one! I found the Finding Dory ones last week at Card Factory for just 99p :) Stores like Wilkos, B&M Bargains and Quality Save are fantastic for getting individual rubbers, sharpeners, etc., for really great prices so they are my go-to. Notebooks and exercise books are fantastic to add into your Christmas shoeboxes too. It may look like a colouring book won't fit, but just a tip: you put them in last on top of all of your other items and tuck the sides down (if that makes sense) and Voila! it fits!. Some other products that the charity recommend are calculators, but always make sure they are solar-powered though as the children probably won't be able to get more batteries.

Shoebox Appeal - How to pack a shoebox

(3) Toys

Toys are something that makes the shoeboxes so special for the children to receive! Many parents in countries across the globe cannot afford to buy Christmas presents and so these shoeboxes are the only presents that many children will get, sometimes all year round! Christmas isn't all about presents, but you can just imagine their delight at opening a box filled with goodies! There are actually tons of videos online of the children opening their boxes and they make me cry everytime I watch them, because of the look of pure joy on all of their faces! Seeing one of these videos is what brought this initiative to my attention in the first place and I couldn't not put one together after watching it. You can read about my first shoebox here

So, what toys are recommended? A cuddly plush toy is the first toy I think about for my shoeboxes! You can include any toy as long as they are CE labelled, showing that they are safely manufactured for children. Remember not to include any battery-powered toys. As an alternative, I always look for wind-up ones and each year I find some little wind up animals, cars and these super cute robots from Quality Save and also poundshops. I get a lot of the items I include from poundshops! This year I decided that slinkies would make a cool addition to the boxes, as I loved them when I was young. Some other toy ideas: jigsaws, skipping ropes, yo-yos, balls and other sporty toys, dress-up jewellery sets, etc. I watched a video of a 10-14 year old boy from Africa earlier this year and when asked what his favourite item was, he said it was the harmonica he received and so I searched for a harmonica this year. I usually always look for recorders and xylophones for the youngest age category too. I recommend looking for surprise eggs (not chocolate ones) because they are small so you can squish them in easily. 

Shoebox Appeal - How to pack a shoebox

Shoebox Appeal - How to pack a shoebox

(4) Miscellaneous

Finally, there are quite a few other items that you can add to your shoeboxes. Sweets are an essential to my shoeboxes; you're not allowed to add chocolate and you need to make sure that your sweets last 'until at least March of the following year'. I typically opt for bags of Haribo, and you can lay them flat so they are great to fit inside the small space. I should have added my harmonica and recorder into the toy section photograph but nevermind, haha! Also the comb would probably be more fitting in the hygiene category too. The charity's website states the following items as recommendations: hats, gloves, scarves, sunglasses and sweets, but I've also seen other people include socks, books, t-shirts and water bottles. 

These hats and gloves sets are from my local poundstore, the socks aswell. You are not allowed to add any home-made/knitted items in your shoebox. I put in playdough last year for the younger children :) I always stock up on things slowly thoughout the year, if I see little items that would be perfect in sales or if I receive items in my subscription boxes that I won't use myself, I'll save them to go into the box. There was recently a flash sale on the Blippo website, the same company who created the Kawaii Box that I used to subscribe to, so I picked up quite a few items to go in my shoeboxes from there :) 

Shoebox Appeal - How to pack a shoebox

So, here's an example of one of the boxes I will be sending this year! It's not completed yet, there's still a few little bits & bobs that I need to pick up, but I wanted to show you anyway. This box will be going to a 10-14 year old boy. Last year, I spent boxes to three girls, one for each age category and one boy, so this time around I'm doing the opposite. I'll be sending three boys boxes, one for a 2-4 year old, one for a 5-9 year old and of course, the older age category. Then, I'm also packing a box for a 10-14 year girl. I know that I send a lot of boxes, but you could just pack one!

Shoebox Appeal - How to pack a shoebox

For gathering all of the supplies to pack inside your box, you will need to spend around £15-£20, although some people manage to get everything for a tenner by using charity shops and sale items. Then you need to pay £5 for the shipping donation, it used to be just £3 but they've increased it for 2017. You can add a cheque into the box or you can pay online, which is the way I do it. You print off your code and pop it on top inside your shoebox. Using this method also means that you can use their charities 'track your box' service. If you request it, you will be sent an email in the New Year telling you roughly where your shoebox has been sent to!

You or your loved ones may have some empty shoeboxes laying around your house to use but if not, you can go to ShoeZone who will be happy to help since most of their stores volunteer as an Operation Christmas Child drop-off point. My local store does, so I will put taking mine there this week. So, I've ended up sharing this post a little later than I wanted to so there's only actually a few days left to pack your shoeboxes. The deadline for you to take them to your local drop-off point is the 18th November (you can find nearby drop-off points on the Samaritan's Purse website). You could certainly put one together after a day of shopping for supplies, however if you don't fancy that, the charity offer a online version. You can pay £20 (£15 worth of supplies, plus your shipping fee) and select some items that you'd like to add via their website. Here's a video clip that shows you how and such. If you can't join in this year, there's always next year! Remember to utilise those After Christmas sales to grab some bargain items :)

Shoebox Appeal - How to pack a shoebox

So on Thursday, I'll have wrapped all of my boxes with Christmas paper and secured the print-off lapels onto top of them, displaying who the box is intended for. I'll have paid my shipping fees and added the codes inside the boxes, and then it's off to the local shopping centre. Before handing in my shoeboxes at ShoeZone, I need to pick up a few last-minute items to pop inside. I will then put an elastic band around each box to make sure it's not going to burst open or whatever, and drop them off in store. I hope that my post today has been helpful and interesting, and that it has also encouraged you to take part yourself. Let me know if you do, and feel free to tag me in any photos of your shoeboxes too because I'd love to see. Christmas is the season of giving, and it's such a special gift to give to a child to brighten up their day :)

Thankyou for reading!


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