Thursday, 31 May 2018

May 2018 Kawaii & Geeky Wishlist

Hey everyone! How is it the last day of May already? Why the heck is this year going by so fast!? The sunny weather isn't helping matters, not that I'm not enjoying it for the most part, but does anyone else feel like each day just seems to blend into one never-ending day when its hot? The months might be speeding by but at least it's getting closer and closer to my favourite events of the year! Early this month, I spotted an ad on facebook for The Rasmus' 2018 Tour and I was hit with so much nostalgic giddiness! I was super happy when my best friend said that she would go, and booked the tickets right away, even though I was supposed to be on a spending ban in the days leading up to my holiday (oops!). Who else was (and still are) a fan of this Finnish rock band? I have them to thank for bringing rock music into my life and igniting the alternative part of my personality when it comes to music and fashion! I was just entering that part of your life when you are starting to develop our own interests and quirks when I saw 'In The Shadows' on MTV (back when it was still dedicated to music, it feels ages since then!) and I was pretty captivated! Anyhow, before this post becomes an essay about the dawn of my alternative awakening (hahaha XD that sounds like a title of a novel written by an emo teen!), I need to get on with my monthly kawaii & geeky wishlist. It was actually pretty tough to put together this time round since most of what I'm lusting over right now are gig/show tickets! Enjoy! 

May 2018 Kawaii & Geeky Wishlist

1. Funko Star Wars Vulptex Pop Vinyl Figure I absolutely adore foxes and so when I was watching the new Star Wars movies and spotted these gorgeous intergalactic fox-like creatures, I fell in love! These crystal foxes remind me of Pokemon (which my regular readers will know I love!) and are magical-looking, like something I could imagine living in the forests of the Studio Ghibli movie Princess Mononoke. I would just really like to add this figure to my Pop collection! 

2. AMUSE Usadama Chan Touch Plushies HOW CUTE ARE THESE GUYS!!? I neeed one! I especially love the grey & white one because it reminds me of Malakai & Jacob, two of my own bunnies  Amuse is one of my favourite brands when it comes to plushies, they are always such fantastic quality and super squishy and soft! I have a lot of plushies from this Japanese company, of all sizes and species, but they keep bringing out more and more awesome designs including these bunnies. Usually Amuse rabbits have floppy ears, however these have pointed ears and I just have a mighty need! 

3. Sumikko Gurashi Desk Chest of Drawers One of my favourite things to do when I should be getting on with my to do list instead is to watch YouTube videos :D I very much enjoy watching people's bedroom tours and desk tours, and having a nosey at their stationery and homeware collections. I am always a little jealous whenever I see people's desks decorated with the lovely kawaii mini drawers. The Sanrio and San-x ones are really  nice, I want some! These Sumikko Gurashi desk drawers are so sweet and look like they could fit quite a bit of stationery inside the drawers. When my bedroom decorating is all complete and I have my new desk set up, they would look great on it!

4. Harry Potter Hedwig Enamel Pin I love magic & I love owls, so its no surprise that I love Hedwig the Snowy Owl from the Harry Potter books. I feel like in the books we get to see a lot more of Hedwig's cheeky personality, VS in the movies when we just get glimpses of Harry's owl delivering mail or sitting in her cage. She's adorable and I would be very happy to wear this pin out and about! 

5. Harry Potter Luna Lovegood Enamel Pin There's so many of these official chibi character pins available on the Grindstore website and to be honest, I want them all but for now, I'm just including my favourites. I can't believe they are only £4.99 each! Luna Lovegood (and Severus Snape) are my best characters from Harry Potter and even though I wish that Luna was dressed in her lion outfit VS this one, I still want it for my pin collection :) 

6. Harry Potter Hagrid Enamel Pin I don't see much merch of Hagrid and he's such a fabulous character! I can relate to him so much because I love animals too, especially the ones that other people tend to dislike. He's so sweet and caring, and I love how loyal he is to his friends and he also looks like he'd gives great hugs! Who else really wants to hug Hagrid? So yeah, I'd like some more Hagrid merch in my life and this pin is a good place to start. 

7. The Passage by Justin Cronin After reading the Hunger Games back in 2010, I discovered that I really like the post-apocalyptic/dystopian genre and started to look for books in this category that were aimed at adults rather than children. Since then, I've read a few books that are set in a dystopian world with extreme regimes, governments and/environments, and I thorough enjoy them. Season 2 of The Handmaid's Tale has not long started, and so I have this genre on the brain right now, which reminded me that I would like to read another popular book of this topic. A search of Amazon brought Justin Cronin's The Passage to my attention, and after I've finished reading the Harry Potter series, I'm hoping to move on to this book. It's even better that this book is the first of a trilogy so I will have several books to read. Have any of you guys read it before? I'd love to hear what you thought of it & whether you'd recommend it or not :) 

8. Pokemon Centre Kanto Pokemon Doll Plushies I had to put this entire collection of newly released plushies from The Pokemon Centre onto my wishlist this month, because I am really struggling to just choose one that I like the most! They are all so flippin' cute and even though Mew is one of my top 5 Pokémon, I just can't get over how sweet the expression on Squirtle's face is and I love the cheeky expression on Gengar's face too! Omg how do I even pick just one! How about you? Can you choose your favourite of the bunch? I really like the Pokemon doll style and there are so many that I would love to own. 

9. Pusheenosaurus Power Bank When I was in the airport going through the security area and I had to put all of my hand luggage content into the trays to go through the scanners, I just looked at my plain old portable chargers, and thought about how much I wanted a cool one fit for a nerd! Last week, I came across this super awesome Pusheen portable charger on Truffle Shuffle and it's perfect! What's not to love about a dinosaur cat!? The little mischievous look on the face of Pusheenosaurus makes it hard for me to resist wanting to buy it too! 

Thankyou for reading! 

What is your favourite item on my wishlist this month?

Are you lusting over some items right now? Let me know what in the comments! 

If you enjoy these wishlists, you might also like the posts:
| Tokyo Otaku Mode | Kawaii-eek Boutique | The Geeky Girl Tag


Friday, 25 May 2018

Old English Company*

Hi guys! Happy Friday! Is everyone excited for the weekend? Do you have anything planned? It's been quite a while since my last blog post; for me, May has just flown by so fast and it feels like lately I have been the busiest that I've been in a long time! If you're a regular reader of my blog, you'll know that I went to Portugal at the start of this month, to Lisbon for the Eurovision Song Contest. I spent eight days in this beautiful country, the weather was fabulous and I saw so many wonderful sights. I'll have some posts up all about my holiday very soon. I can't wait to tell you guys all about it! It's been just over a week now since I arrived back in England, and I decided it was best for me to take this week to relax and get myself back into the swing of things (I haven't used that saying in forever, haha!). That turned out to be the best decision, not only was I exhausted from my travels, but I also experience the post-holiday blues quite a bit! However, I feel ready to get back to blogging, and I'm very happy to finally have a new post to share with you all :) 

Recently, I was contacted by Old English Company* to ask if I wanted to review some of their products, and they very kindly gifted me the most lovely items I've been looking forward to showing you all these pretty products and telling you exactly what I think of them. So if you're a fan of home décor, stationery and pins, then keep reading! 

Old English Company

Old English Company is a business that creates a range of products in a gorgeous yet simplistic way. They produce giftware, wall décor, planners, all sorts! All of it really pretty and photogenic, especially perfect for bloggers! Their products are hand-lettered and have the loveliest 'fonts', as you can see from the print in my photograph above. If you're looking for present for your loved ones then I recommend checking out the Old English Company website, because there's something to suite the tastes of literally everyone. The website is very easy to navigate too, including various categories to help you find the right gift for your friends and family, which is great! They also cater for a range of budgets, with some gifts available for £5 and under! So anyhow, without further ado, I'll show you all the products that I chose :) 

Old English Company

How wonderful are these greetings cards!? I am such a fan of fancy cards! I love looking through the card sections in stores, taking my time to check out all of the pretty and/or humorous designs, probably to the annoyance of anyone I go shopping with, haha. But there's just something special about cards. They help to illustrate emotions that people might not be able to fully express in their own words, and everyone knows how nice it feels to receive a card that is well thought out and seems to have been tailored with just you in mind. I have lots of fabulous, quirky people in my life that deserve an equally fabulous, quirky card! And Old English Company have some perfect examples.

I chose the 'You are fantastically brilliant!' card because the wording makes me smile, and so does the stereotypically English gentleman accompanying it. It's something different from your typical Congratulations card, and I know lots of people who would love it! The gold lettering makes it so eye-catching too. It comes with a brown envelope and I'm not sure why, but brown envelopes to me make a card feel just that little bit more fancier! Who agrees? I knew I wanted to find a nice Birthday card, and this 'You Party Animal!' one just appealed to the animal lover in me! I love Toucans; they are such gorgeous birds and they don't get near enough appreciation compared to some other birds. I adore this cartoon Toucan wearing a party hat so much and to be honest it's going to be tough for me to give it away :D The yellow envelope goes so well with the colourful card, and it is sure to brighten up anyone's special day :) 

Old English Company

I chose the last card because it's iridescent colour scheme caught my eye right away. Iridescent things are super popular at the moment and I'm lovin' it as I have always liked colours like this! They will forever remind me of something magical, and take me back to my childhood when I was fascinated with spotting iridescent colours in nature. The design of this 'Love Heart' card is very simple and pretty, and is blank inside so can be used for any occasion. In fact, all of the cards I was sent are blank inside, which is what I prefer because I like to decorate my cards with doodles and stickers and such :) This card is much smaller than the others and this was great for me as I'm a penpal and also enjoy sending care packages to my loved ones, and a tiny card like this can be easily added as a notecard. Which is your favourite card of the three above and why? They are printed on fantastic quality card and I am certainly impressed! 

As promised, the next items that I'm going to show you all are pin badges! Those who have been following me for a while now will know that I am a pin collector! I have loved pins since I was in my early teens and would pick them up everywhere I visited on holiday. So when I discovered the wonderful world of online shopping (my bank account doesn't agree, haha!), I was delighted to find that there were so many wonderful pins available. Old English Company has brilliant pins, and I am so happy to have added some to my ever-growing collection!

Old English Company- Pumpkin Enamel Pin

Just look how flippin' adorable this pin in!! I am all about spoopy things, and will happily rock Halloween-esque accessories all year around, especially when they are this cute! I can't stop saying 'Awww!' every time I look at this Pumpkin Enamel Pin, and so I know that whenever I wear it, it's gonna put a smile on my face! I love how vibrant the orange is, and the combination of this orange with the gold outlining looks so awesome. Some people enjoy gifting their loved ones on all of the special holidays around the year, and so instead of giving them the usual sweeties/candy on Halloween, why not give them a seasonal pin? A lot of people also have to work on Halloween or don't get the opportunity to dress up in a costume, so they could wear this subtle little pin instead in celebration. Halloween is my favourite holiday, and so I'll definitely be wearing this wherever I go this October! 

Old English Company- The No Sleep Gang Pin

I really like pin badges that are relatable, that showcase something about my personality or my life that others can look at and think 'me too!'. I am a spoonie, which means I am someone who has a chronic illness. Some chronic illnesses are invisible and that means that just by looking at you, people wouldn't be able to tell that you're in pain all the time, or that you have difficulty communicating with strangers, or that you haven't had a decent night's sleep in years. Pins like this 'The No Sleep Gang' pin are a subtle way for me to express the struggles I face, and although this pin might not be directly referring to someone who has insomnia, it is still for me, my little way of reminding myself when I wear it that I am a warrior. That I am still doing things and going to places despite my health conditions. Something that makes my insomnia even more challenging is the fact that I am also naturally a night owl, so I find that I am more productive when the suns gone down. This pin speaks to me on a personal level and I like that it says 'gang' so it will help me feel not so alone if I have had a particular rough night.

Aside from what this pin means to me, I really like the shade of pink they've used. I wouldn't usually choose a pink pin because it's not one of my favourite colours, but I really like this one. The same goes for the gold outline, I'm not usually a fan of gold things, I always opt for silver jewellery for example, however I illuminates the words on the pin. I can't wait to wear it when I'm out and about in the sunshine :) 

Old English Company- Enamel Pins

Which pin do you prefer? I seriously cannot decide which is my favourite! I really like my new pins! Oh and I almost forgot to mention that these pins have rubber backs which is what I prefer because they don't rub on your skin through your clothes like traditional metal ones do. For only £7 each these pin badges are fantastic, the quality of them is great!

As promised, the next part of today's post is for my fellow stationery-obsessed people! I picked two stationery items from Old English Company, and it was so tough to decide which I wanted more because I was lusting over all of the gorgeous stationery that they have! 

Old English Company- Weekly Agenda Notepad

Old English Company- Weekly Agenda Notepad

I was over the moon when I opened my mail from Old English Company and spotted this weekly agenda pad! It's just so Instagram-worthy XD I feel like such a blogger saying that haha but it's true. This 'Brush Stroke Weekly Agenda Notepad' is lovely; it's almost too pretty to write on! But I will most definitely be using it soon because I write A LOT of to do lists. Organising helps relieve my anxiety and so I like to schedule and plan everything in my life. This is why I like structured notepads like this one, which have the days of the week printed on there. It's easy to keep track of what I have to do each day with a notepad like this, and I really love that the tick boxes are already on there for you! The lines are wide enough for it to accommodate most people's handwriting too. My favourite thing about this weekly agenda though is the design. I like how subtle it is, it's not too busy to distract away from whatever you write, but is still eye-catching. I like the different shades of grey used, it's just so aesthetically pleasing to look at, don't you think?

I always give my honest opinion about things I review, so I want to mention something that I would change about the item if I could. This might be down to personal preference, but I've never liked how a lot of weekly planners have just one box titled 'weekend' VS individual boxes for Saturday and Sunday. I know that this would mean that there would be less space for each weekday, but for me, I'd rather have at least the weekend box separated into two smaller boxes. It's not a big deal though and I still love the notepad as it is! I am happy with the thick paper that has been used for it, because it feels great quality and like I'll have no problem writing lists in fine-liner pins and felt tips, which is handy for when I want to categorise or colour-code my to do lists. The pad is A5 too so it can be easily carried around in your bag or can be tucked into a planner of the same size. 

Old English Company- Floral A6 Notepad

Old English Company- Stationery

I am a sucker for anything with a floral design, even more so when they include leaves!, so I couldn't not select this super cute A6 notepad! I know I've said this about almost every item I've mentioned but I'm such a fan of how simplistic the designs of these products are. As the Old English Company said on a sweet little notecard they added to my mail, 'there is beauty in simplicity' and they couldn't be more right! I really appreciate subtle designs, I think they look more delicate and when notepads are designed in this way, it makes me want to use my best handwriting everytime I write on it :) 

This notepad appeals to me for more reasons than it's lovely border; I love when the pages are mostly blank so that I can fill them with to do lists or notes for blog posts. Having lots more space to write on also makes these notepads great for writing letters to my penpals on. There's nothing more I can say about this notepad other than I love it! 

Old English Company- Art Prints

Okay, so trying to photograph my gorgeous new art print made me realise just how challenging it is to take a picture of something in a frame without also capturing the reflection of the entire room or yourself  with a camera for a face too! Haha! I finally managed to get a shot of the wallpaper on my bedroom's 'feature wall' to show you why I went for a baby blue print. When you order a print from Old English Company you can choose from a variety of colour options, and additionally with my print, I got to choose whether I wanted a white background with coloured lettering, or a 'reverse' option so that the background was a solid colour of my choice instead. I decided to have my print blue with white lettering so that it would match my damask wallpaper, and I'm very happy with how it looks up on the adjacent cream wall.

This art print was the first item that grabbed my attention has soon as browsed the Old English Company website, mostly because the quote has a special meaning to me. 'She believed she could so she did' became one of my favourite quotes when I was studying at university. In my final year, when my mental illnesses started to have a serious impact on my daily life, I thought that I would not be able to finish my degree that I had worked so hard to get through. I started looking for anything that would help me pull myself through each day as it came so that I would graduate, and one of the ways I did this was by starting a little journal. In it I wrote some inspirational quotes and I didn't think they would have any impact on how I felt to be honest but I jotted them down anyway. One time, when I'd had like my fourth breakdown of the day, I opened my journal and read this quote, and it was just the affirmation that I needed and somehow gave me the drive to work my very hardest to just make it to the end of an assignment I was working on. Finishing this assignment allowed me to believe that I could do it, that I could battle through what I was going through enough to complete my exams and pass my course. I graduated with a 2:1 in the end and I am still very proud of myself for that. Whenever I see this quote, it makes me think of graduation day and how much it meant to me, and the words just help me sometimes when I'm having a tough day so I think it's wonderful to finally have those words up on my wall where I can see them everyday. I have put the print up across from my bed so I see it every morning when I wake up :) 

Old English Company- Art Print

Before I get even more off topic, I'd better explain what I think about the print itself! It is another fantastic item in terms of quality, the card used is thick and sturdy, and the colour is bright. The hand-lettering is lovely and I like how it differentiates throughout the design, from curly joined-up handwriting to bold capital letters. I think the garland of leaves surrounding the quote is a nice touch too, it helps to draw your eyes to the words. The fact that the writing is in white makes it go perfectly with a white frame (which I picked up from B&M Bargains in a 3-pack for around a fiver). The Old English Company prints are available in 8x10'', A4 and A3, and I opted for an A4 size. If you're a fan of this quote too, there's not just a print available with it on, but also a coaster, a pin, a keyring and much more! It would be lovely gift for any of the ladies you know, and I personally think it would be great for a graduation present! 

Old English Company Review

So here's an overview of all of the excellent items that I was sent (except the print which was too big to fit into the shot, oops!). As you can see, they are all really pretty, with such vibrant and noticeable colouration and lettering! They were all of a brilliant quality and I was certainly impressed, so will be heading to the Old English Company website whenever I have a loved ones birthday coming up! I want to also say that I was very happy with how the items were packaged; they arrived in a big sturdy box and the company made sure that the pin badges were separated from the rest of the items so that there was so risk of them scratching the paper and card products, which I thought was a thoughtful thing to do. I hope you all enjoyed reading this post, and also Thankyou to Old English Company for working with me :) Have an awesome weekend guys! 

Thankyou for reading! 

What was your favourite item that I featured in this post?

Have I given you any inspiration on what to get your loved ones for an upcoming special occasion? 

(*) All posts/content marked with an asterisk signify that the item(s) featured have been gifted or sent to me for the purpose of review. I have kindly been sent the products featured in this post to review. See my full disclaimer here


Monday, 7 May 2018

Eurovision: First Impressions #4

Hey lovelies! I know that I said I would have this post up on Sunday, however I seriously underestimated how busy I would be yesterday... but YAYYY!! Today is Monday which means that there's only a day left until the first semi final of the Eurovision Song Contest! I am super duper excited to finally get the chance to see so many of the amazing artists that I've been following for months now performing live, with their new and improved Eurovision-finale-worthy staging and choreography! Even though I will be boarding a plane to Lisbon tomorrow, it still doesn't feel like it's really happening! And as ecstatic as I am now, I don't think I will have reached my full capacity on the excitement scale until I arrive in Lisboa and that Eurovision sign is there to greet me in the airport (there better be a sign, Portugal! There was one in Stockholm when I visited in 2016 so I'm counting on it!). Obviously the ESC is something that I love and thoroughly enjoy investing several months of my life into, but at this stage in the competition it gets kinda stressful too! This is because you know that some of the artists you love won't make it into the final... there are going to be tears guys; I'm an emotional wreck so I'm sure of it, haha!

If this is the first of my Eurovision impressions posts that you are reading or if you're not really all too familiar with this wonderful annual contest, let me explain a little of how it works :) This year there are forty-three countries participating, six of them automatically get a place in the final (because they are the host country or part of the group of countries that helps fund most of the Eurovision), which leaves thirty-seven countries to compete! There are only twenty places available (meaning there's twenty-six artists in the final) for the last show which will take place on Saturday 12th May, and the artists are separated into Semi final 1 or Semi final 2, with ten qualifying from each show. I hope I explained that well! So yeah, those semi finals are going to be both incredible and a nightmare to get though, and I'm crossing as many fingers as I can that my favourites all qualify! 

This post is the fourth and final one in a mini series I've written to share my opinions of each of the songs entered into the 2018 line-up. I've discussed my thoughts and feelings, and likes and dislikes, of ten songs in each post, in the order in which the songs were released/confirmed. I will leave some links to my three previous posts at the end of this for those of you who would like to read more on the subject. Today's post is going to include thirteen songs  though, since that's how many I have left to chat about. I hope that you all enjoy reading, and if you are a fan of the Eurovision, I hope that you all enjoy the show on Saturday night!! Let me know who you're favourite performer of the night was over on twitter too! 

Eurovision Song Contest 2018

31. Belgium- 'A Matter of Time' by Sennek

It's a shame that I have to start off today's review with a song that I'm not really keen on. It's not a bad song at all, it's just that it isn't to my personal tastes. I feel like this could be a popular song for the viewers at home though as it sounds very similar to the types of songs that do well in the UK charts; it has some definitely Paloma Faith vibes. But I don't listen to much of that style of music so I could be way off, haha :D The singer, Sennek (Laura Groeseneken) has a cool voice! However I feel like the song drags on a bit and this makes me a little bored. Because of this, A Matter of Time is placed towards the bottom half of my Top 43. 

32. Croatia- 'Crazy' by Franka

Oops, this is unfortunately going to be another review much like the one above! In fact, this is my least favourite entry in the whole of the 2018 line-up (sorry Croatia!). Franka Batelic is stunning and has a great voice, but the song just doesn't do her justice at all! The line 'I will remember, roses and horses in the rain' just makes me giggle because it's incredibly cliché, even for a love song! I'm really not a fan of the chorus either with the whole 'l-l-l-love', and to be the honest the entire song just doesn't have anything unique, exciting or catchy about it. What do you think of this song guys? 

33. Australia- 'We Got Love' by Jessica Mauboy

This song on the other hand is a fabulous entry! It's all about self love and not letting people make you feel like you have to change who you are, to never give up! A message to just spread love and get along with one another  This song is also powerful, especially with it representing Australia at Eurovision as in December 2017, the country finally passed the law to legalise gay marriage!! It feels like Jessica Mauboy is singing in celebration of this and that is fantastic, and makes the song even more special. I love singing along to We Got Love, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside :D haha!

34. Austria- 'Nobody But You' by Cesar Sampson

This is a really good song, the lyrics are sweet and I like listening it before I go to bed, because it's chilled. Cesar has a lovely voice, and sounds even better performing live from the snippets I've seen (as hard as it is, I am avoiding watching the official rehearsal videos on YouTube because I want a surprise!). I think this song was a grower for my friends, but I loved it from the start. It makes me a little sad whenever I've listened to it over the last few days because the realisation hit that it's in Semi Final 1, with so many amazing songs and even though it's great, there's definitely ten better songs! T_T Why can't everyone make it to the finals!? 

35. Ireland- 'Together' by Ryan O'Shaughnessy 

This song is beautiful, and the first time I watched the video, I struggled to hold back tears (I'm way too emotional!). The lyrics just bring back old memories and feelings for me, but that's not necessarily a bad thing; it can be very cathartic to feel so moved by a song like that. Everyone loves having a good cry along to stuff, right? Ryan O'Shaughnessy voice is so nice! Some of you might remember him from when he was on Britain's Got Talent and The Voice Ireland. The video to this song is great, mostly because it features two male dancers, and it's very refreshing to see same-sex relationships represented in more mainstream media. It is a cute video for sure! If this song doesn't make it through Semi Final 1, I'm gonna be gutted!

36. Sweden- 'Dance You Off' by Benjamin Ingrosso

My best friends & I were so invested in the Swedish National Finals this year, watching all of the shows and even having a little get together for when the winner was announced. Honestly, Sweden's Eurovision selection shows, named the Melodifestivalen or Melfest for short, just revile those of any other country! They are amazing and extravagant and the hosts, David Lindgren and Fab Freddie, were incredible! Melfest is just like one big party (across six shows: four contests, a second chance round for some of the performers, and a finale) and even though I can't understand a word of what's being said, well other than Second Chance and Yes, haha!, it's still so fun to watch. I was super happy to see the artists Samir & Viktor come back again with another awesome song, called Shuffla, so I was kinda disappointed when they didn't win, however Benjamin Ingrosso was in my top 3 so that's not bad at all. There were so so many incredible songs in the Melfest this year, including In My Cabana by Margaret and A Bitter Lullaby by Martin Almgren. The winning song is one of those that's impossible not to want to dance along to, and the staging was something different and very visually appealing, but I'll say not more about that because spoilers! 

Eurovision Song Contest 2018

37. Norway- 'That's How You Write A Song' by Alexander Rybak 

As a Eurofan, it was impossible not to get excited about Norway's song as soon as we heard that it would be performed by Alexander Rybak. He was the winner of the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest, with an brilliant song called Fairytale. Back then, we all fell a little in love with his cheeky personality, his cute Peter Pan-esque look, and his fabulous violin playing! I was super intrigued to find out what his new song would be like, and how he would sound/look 9 years later! The first glimpse of his 2018 entry that I got was when the official music video was released, and my first impressions changed as soon as I saw a live performance a few weeks after that. That's How You Write A Song is certainly catchy, but after watching the official video, I also thought it was a little too cheesy (it reminds me somewhat of the song Chico Time, who else remembers that?) and when compared his 2009 winning song, it was just too different and I wasn't sure what I really thought of it. But eventually my faith was restored when I saw the stage performance of it, Alexander Rybak has a really great stage presence and his characteristics shrine though in the way he performs! Obviously, his violin playing is a huge bonus too! It's not my favourite song in the contest, but it's still a good one. Also Rybak doesn't look like he's aged at all :D 

38. Israel- 'TOY' by Netta 

Up until this point, there was none of those classic Eurovision songs, the kind that are extravagantly random and unusual, the type of songs that you can't help but love because they are so wacky and weird! They are one of the reasons that I got so into Eurovision, because you just don't hear them in many other places, and certainly not in a competition with such popularity and prestige (This is why Eurovision is truly amazing)! So, I felt until this song was released that we were missing something this year... but then we were all hit with this fabulous, quirky song!! It's brilliant and I loved it right away... Netta is absolutely amazing, she's energetic and fun and has one of those attitudes that I admire so much, she just doesn't care what people think and is loud and proud. Her social media is so entertaining and she's always bursting into random song, and getting others to sing along with her. It's also awesome to have a beautiful plus-size woman in the competition to represent! The song is not only filled with unique dance moves and lots of chicken sounds XD (yes, chicken sounds!), but it also has an awesome message! I have spontaneously sang 'I'M NOT YOUR TOY... YOU STUPID BOY' quite a lot lately! Me & my sister cannot resist getting up and imitating those dance moves everything we listen to the song too!  Omg and Netta also mentions Pikachu in her song so yeah she's my favourite person now :) Toy is the best song performing in Semi Final 1 for me, and I would really love to hear what everyone else thinks of this song, so please have a listen and let me know in the comments. 

39. Russia- 'I Won't Break' by Julia Samoylova

Julia Samoylova was an entrant of the Eurovision Song Contest for Russia last year, but she was banned from entering Ukraine (where the 2017 show was hosted) because of some confusing political rule that she broke by or when entering Crimea several years earlier. Crimea is a conflict zone but I don't know much more than that on the subject. I can't say that I was too disappointed about her not being allowed to enter the competition because I really didn't enjoy her song, but it's still a shame that in a competition that is supposed to be about unity and have no political involvement. I'm not sure what I think about her being banned from performing, I don't know enough about the situation or what she even apparently did to deserve being banned though so? Anyhow, with the show being hosted in Portugal this year, Julia Samoylova is back with another song and upon first hearing it, I was impressed by how much better it was from last years song Flame Is Burning. 2018's song has a touching theme and speaks to me on a personal level because of my own struggles with living with mental illness. It is good to sing along to as well. But then, I heard a very short clip of a live performance of the song and really didn't like it! She's had time though since then to perfect her vocals and staging, so it will be interesting to hear it live in Semi Final 2 on Thursday. 

40. FYR Macedonia- 'Lost And Found' by Eye Cue

Macedonia's entry was certainly a grower for me. When I initially heard it, it wasn't that I thought it was a bad song or anything, it's just that it didn't stand out to me and there were lots of other songs that I preferred. I felt, and still do despite me now liking the song a lot more, that Lost And Found sounded a little weird. By weird, I mean that it sounds like two different songs mashed together... basically the chorus and verses could almost be different songs with the way they sound! Originally, I wasn't too sure if they fit well together and couldn't stop thinking about it everytime I listened to the song, which was sort of distracting me from enjoying it. Nevertheless, I started to appreciate the song the more I listened to it, playing it loud in my friend's car and having a sing-along definitely helped! It has a great beat and instrumentals, and I can imagine it being played in nightclubs so I feel like younger viewers will enjoy it. I prefer the verses to the chorus but it's still overall a nice song. I'm looking forward to hearing it live, but it's in Semi Final 1 so I'm not sure how much of a chance Macedonia has of qualifying for the final this year.  

41. Lithuania- 'When We're Old' by Ieva Zasimauskaite 

I really like Lithuania's song! It was a nice change to have a song of this genre/sound after so many upbeat and energetic songs, and those with amazing high notes and full of strong emotion. This song is definitely not lacking in emotion though, it just illustrates it in a different way and is beautifully put together. The lyrics are meaningful and all about love, but not in a stereotypical way. The video is adorable too :) Ieva Zasimauskaite has a very unique voice, that is lovely to listen to and sets her apart from the other performers. Even though it's a calm and slow song, it is still lovely enough that it won't get lost amongst the crowd, and I've been told that it sounds fantastic live in the rehearsals so I feel like it has a very good chance of qualifying, despite it being in Semi Final 1.

42. Bulgaria- 'Bones' by EQUINOX

Bones is certainly different, and I've never heard a song quite like it in the ESC before. I recently discovered the music of a US a cappella group called Pentatonix and I'm lovin' this sort of music right now, which meant when I heard Bulgaria's entry for this year, I was very impressed! Although it's not an a cappella song, it reminds me of one because there's not too much instrumental input and the song relies mostly on the different vocal tones of the five singers, with a simplistic beat in the background. I just love it :) I really like how well the different singer's voices compliment each other, and I think it will be incredible to hear live... I can't wait! I love all of the space imagery, and the meaning behind the lyrics is nice too. I don't have much to say about this song other than I think it's epic and I am sure that it will quality!!

43. Georgia- 'For You' by Ethno-Jazz Band Iriao

The final song that was released, on Tuesday 13th March ,was from Georgia. I was super happy to discover that it was preformed in the Georgian language, bringing the number of songs sang in their native language to nine, which is fabulous. I want to see more in the future! For You is a nice song to listen to, very peaceful. I love the traditional feel of it with the ethnic sounds and instrumentals, it reminds me very much of something you might hear in a religious setting. I like how the song starts off calm with just one member of the band singing in the lead, and starts to change sound as the other members join in, adding their own unique tone to the harmony. My favourite part of the song though is two minutes in when it really picks up and the vocals get stronger, the song feels more powerful then and memorable. The seven guys that make up Ethno-Jazz Band Iriao have beautiful voices! The song will be performed in Semi Final 2, where most of my favourites from the 2018 line-up are also performing and even though Georgia's entry is lovely, I don't think it stands much of a chance when up against some of the other songs in this show. With it's unique twist on traditional music, I feel like it might not appeal to as many audiences.

So we have reached the end of my Eurovision Song Contest song reviews for 2018. There are a few songs this year that I am really not a fan of, but the majority of the songs that have been entered this time round have been great and so it has been super hard to choose which I prefer. Trying to sort my Top 10 was definitely a challenge!! These last few months have passed by so quickly, and tomorrow evening the ESC process officially begins with Semi Final 1. I still cannot believe that I will be there to witness it all. Wow! Eeeek it feels a little surreal that on Saturday we will find out who will win the entire contest; hopefully it's one of my favourites ;) I hope these posts have been a fun read for everyone, including those of my follows who don't watch the Eurovision. If I've helped you discover even one song that you enjoy, then I'm delighted :)

Thankyou for reading!

What is your favourite song that I've mentioned in this post? 
Have a listen & let me know :) 

If you watched the Eurovision finale last year, did you have a favourite song? 

As promised, here are the links to my other Eurovision 2018 song reviews: 


Saturday, 5 May 2018

Magical Maidens Pin Haul | Reviews

Hey guys! Hasn't the weather been lovely today!? Even though I'm not the biggest fan of hot weather, 1) because it effects my fibromyalgia & 2) because my wardrobe consists almost entirely of black clothing, I still enjoyed the sunshine today (mostly from the comfort of the shaded areas of my garden, haha, but still!). I had to pop into my local town centre this afternoon to pick up my eBay click & collect order... I thought it was a cool idea to purchase a Viking helmet to wear at one of the Eurovision semi finals in support of my favourite song of 2018, the Danish entry, which is all about Vikings and is just fabulous! :) Whilst I was out, I decided to make the most of it and find a geocache too, and it was such an interesting cache idea, very creative and well hidden. I ended my little outing at subway *nom nom*. Back at home, I spent the rest of my day relaxing out in the garden, playing with the dog and watching butterflies. I am so happy that I'm starting to see so many butterflies appearing! How did you all spend your day? I hope you had fun whatever you did!

Another awesome thing that happened today was that I received the most wonderful mail, including my pre-order from a super kawaii pin creator called Magical Maidens! If you've been a regular follower of mine, you'll know how much I love Studio Ghibli and so when I spotted the new Ghibli X Pokemon inspired pin collection coming soon to this great store, I couldn't resist ordering some for myself! I really wish I could have bought them all!! If you love pin badges, Japanese animation, or just all things cute, then this is a post for you. Enjoy

Magical Maidens Pins

On the adorable postcard above that I was sent along with my pins (this had a nice note from the seller on it), you can see an array of examples of the various Studio Ghibli pins that are available from Magical Maidens. There are even more  designs than these available too so you totally need to go check out their website and etsy to discover what other character pins they've created. I had been noticing more and more of these gorgeous pins popping up on my Instagram timeline, and was finding it so hard to choose which ones I wanted more!

Can you guys tell which Pokemon is also incorporated into the design of these pins? If you thought Ditto, then you are correct! These pins remind me of the Ditto transformation plushies that are available from the Pokemon centre and I absolutely adore them! I'd been putting a little bit of money aside each payday to finally add some of these marvellous pins to my collection when I noticed a special offer code... Magical Maidens were offering a free pin if you purchased five pins or more, and so I of course jumped at this chance and purchased my pins right away!! Keep reading to find out which characters I chose :)

Magical Maidens Pins

The first pin I added to my shopping cart was Calcifer, the little fire demon from Howl's Moving Castle (2004). This movie is my second favourite Studio Ghibli and Calcifer is definitely one of my favourite characters from across all of the amazing animation movies! He is so adorable, grumpy but with a big heart, and I am really happy to finally have a pin of him!! I really love the vibrant colours of this pin badge, as well as the wiggly edges/outlines of the design. I think it's super cute that Calcifer is sitting in the shovel that Sophie uses to move him around in the movie. It is a very eye-catching pin and the gold outline matches really well with the orange and yellow colouration. 

Magical Maidens Pins

Next up we have the Catbus from My Neighbour Totoro (1988), which is literally the cutest of all of the Studio Ghibli movies. It is about two little girls who move into the Japanese countryside and meet the ancient forest spirits that live there; one of them being the Catbus! It is like a bus X cat X caterpillar, which is both hilarious and adorable! It is such a random and unique creature, and I love the how perfectly this pin resembles it. Even the tiny mouse shaped headlights of the character have been included. I love the paler brown shades used for this pin, and I feel like it will go well with any outfit no matter what colour. I really like the tiny cat paw detail on the foot of the Catbus, it's so sweet! I've not seen as many Catbus pins available VS some of the more well-known Ghibli characters, so it's nice to see one this cute! 

Magical Maidens Pins

You can never have too much No Face merch in your life in my opinion! I LOVE this character & I will literally buy anything I come across featuring him, so there was no way that I would be checking out without purchasing the No Face pin! This is the only pin of this character from Spirited Away (2001) that I have seen where he's holding the gold from the movie! Without going into too much detail for those of you who might not have seen the movie yet (you seriously need to!), this character tries to bribe and trick people by offering them gold! And so it's super awesome that he's holding a pile of gold in his hands! Another thing that I like about this pin is how simplistic it is, it looks so cool just having the characters most iconic features and nothing but the gold coins to distract from his overall look, if you get what I mean. Overall, it's just a very nice pin badge :) 

Magical Maidens Pins

I'm pretty sure this little cutie was the first Magical Maidens Ditto X Studio Ghibli pin I saw and it had me lusting after the collection from then on! It's been exciting to follow the store and see all of the brilliant designs that they have come up with! Of course any Studio Ghibli set wouldn't be complete without Totoro, the character which is the logo of the company itself! He's obviously from My Neighbour Totoro, and he is a troll, a guardian of the forest and a big friendly giant basically! Am I the only one who's sad that he's not real? I wish I could give him a hug because he looks so fluffy! He is magical and can control the natural elements around him, along with his two little sidekicks, Chu-toro and Chibi-toro (I would really love to see these two as pins in the future too so I could wear all three of the trolls together!). This is another pin with a simple design, which is not a bad thing at all. Totoro is an iconic character and he is wonderful just the way he is in terms of design. I cannot wait to show him off to the world! 

Magical Maidens Pins

YAYY! I'm over the moon that Magical Maidens included a Turnip Head pin in their collection! I very rarely find pretty merchandise for this Howl's Moving Castle character, which is such a shame because he's so charming and endearing! His character is an interesting take on a scarecrow and I just think he's fabulous! This pin is so well-detailed and illustrates all of Turnip Head's best features, even down to the smallest detail like his legs and the flap on the top of his hat!! I am lovin' his bowtie, it stands out! He's in my top 10 favourite characters by Studio Ghibli, and I think he might be my best out of all of the pins I bought in my haul. When I showed my dad (who's never watched a Ghibli movie in his life by the way!) my new pins, he immediately pointed out Turnip Head as his favourite too. I think his character doesn't get as much attention as it deserves, so Thankyou Magical Maidens for creating a pin of him!! 

Magical Maidens Pins

The sixth and final pin that I chose was this Soot Sprite one! It was hard to resist it, with that huge happy grin and all of the colourful stars! These stars are actually a traditional Japanese candy called Konpeito, and they became famous worldwide amongst Japanese animation fans when they were featured on the movie Spirited Away. The soot sprites had made an appearance in other movies by the company, however they weren't focused on as key characters until we see them as the workers in the boiler room in Spirited Away. There's a scene where they are given these sweets and they are all so excited!! It's too cute! I have actually tried Konpeito myself because I was so curious about what they tasted like. You can read my review here if you're interested :) 

I love that the Soot Sprite pin has these candies in it's design because not only are they pretty but they also make me picture the adorable movie scene I mentioned everytime I look at it! I like that the shape of the Soot Sprite is also a little different than the typical design we see; this pin makes them look more like a ball of fluffy dust and adds even more cuteness to the overall look of the character! It's just another wonderful pin badge and it feels great to have it in my collection. 

Magical Maidens Pins

I wanted to show you guys this photo above because it captures how pretty the gold outlines of these pins are! They are all like that and so when they catch the light, the gold shines and makes them even more eye-catching. I've always preferred silver to gold, and I don't own many gold accessories so I wasn't sure what I would think of the gold detailing before they arrived, however I can confirm that I love love love it! I think the gold shine makes these pins look so presentable and fashionable, and it just adds that little extra something to them, especially the character pins with the more simplistic designs, like the Totoro one above. What do you guys think of the gold outline? 

Magical Maidens Pins
Magical Maidens Pins

An additional thing that I find fantastic about these pins is that they can be worn on their own because they have such bold and colourful designs that make them very noticeable, but they can also be paired up and would look fabulous together. Oh, and they also have rubber backs which I prefer, as they are less likely to rub and irritate your skin VS the traditional metal pin badge clasp. 

Magical Maidens Pins

I couldn't be more happier with my new Ditto X Studio Ghibli inspired pin badges from Magical Maidens. They are all great quality and in perfect condition, with the most beautiful designs and detailing. I think they are also such a bargain for only £7 each! At this price, I am super tempted to go back for more once my bank account has recovered after my upcoming holiday! I still cannot believe I got one of these pins for free because of the special offer, what an amazing deal! I have a mighty need to fill my life with more of the pins from this collection. I hope that you've all enjoyed having a nosey at these Studio Ghibli goodies. Do you have a favourite pin? Please let me know in the comments guys?

Thankyou for reading!

Are you a fellow pin collector?
If so, do you have a favourite pin in your collection?

Also fellow Ghibli fans, what's your favourite movie and/or character? 

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