Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Cosplay Sightings: Somebody Stop Him - The Mask

Here is something delightful and fun I spotted on the way home from work in Newcastle!

A pair of buskers playing an eclectic fusion of a bongo and bag-pipes. Surprisingly it seemed to work, although it was very loud.

What interested me in this pair was the rather fantastic effort of the bongo player - he was dressed as The Mask from the Jim Carey movie of the same name. A slightly strange choice as i believe the mask danced at the Coco-Bongo Club rather than playing bongos, but still it impressed me.

Incidentally the scene where he dances with Cameron Diaz is one of the films I attribute my desperation to learn lindy to (that and Back to the Future part 1). Here's a clip of the fantastic scene for anyone who hasn't seen it.

The dance itself was also mimicked by Helio and Julianne in the final of Dancing With The Stars season 5 - a rather nice quickstep I believe.

I have to say that although there isn't much in the way of inspiration for ladies fashion, that yellow zoot suit has got to be an inspiration for the men. It really is iconic!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Where I Work and What I Wear

Just a little post today, as I've been busy writing my thesis, but I wanted to say a little about the other thing I've been doing lately.

While I've been writing I have another job.

I am a Science Explainer at the Centre for Life in Newcastle.

The Centre is a great place for kids and families and while some of it is traditional hands on museum fodder the rest is a brand new completely open ended interactive experience called Curiosity.

There are also science workshops where participants can get hands on with experiments, a 4D motion ride (opening soon hopefully) a planetarium and a science show.

All in all its pretty cool, especially if you're interested in science at all.

However it is a job with something I am not used to... a uniform...

Said uniform involves a red polo-shirt which I can cope with, but also a pair of cargo pants. The cargo pants are not only not my style, but they are also unisex so fit really badly around the hips - but never mind, it can be a dirty job so better those trousers than a pair of my nice ones!

Here's a picture of me from a few weekends ago with one of my favourite animals of all time - a meerkat!

I was lucky to get to give this guy a hug thanks to our visitors Jay's Animal Encounters who came to visit the centre.


I do appreciate that this is the kind of job that where I can roll my hair and no-one minds, in fact, I need to put my hair up in the labs so I am attempting to experiment with some variations on the norm. I'll post a gallery when I get enough pictures of different styles!

That's it for now!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Halfords The Tour Team Cycle Race – Durham

A little bit off topic for my blog but I thought this event was worth mentioning.

Its not often I go to live sporting events, but as a keen cyclist, the chance to see a very technical and slightly terrifying cycle race in my home town (only five minutes walk from my house!) was too good to miss.

The Tour is a series of team races that take place throughout the UK over May and June. What makes the races so exciting is the fact they take place on short circuits throughout city centres – this means lots of laps, sharp turns and plenty of crashes.

The Durham track in particular takes place over a 1.4 km course with a steep hill leading into an almost-hairpin turn and a further steep climb on a cobbled street.

While not really my usual blog fodder I thought it was worth mentioning the bright colours the competing teams wore. White was a surprisingly common colour - well surprising given how dirty they must get!

My level of cycling is far more recreational so you’ll most likely find me in a dress rather than spandex, but each to their own! For watching the event I chose to wear a red dress (a current favourite of mine) and my blue duffle coat, mainly because it had a hood and I was fairly convinced it would rain again (it didn't however). 

The race itself was incredibly exciting! My family and I managed to station ourselves close to the ‘treacherous corner’ where most of the falls and near misses occurred. Watching the competitors whizz round with such speed was quite exhilarating especially as they were so close to the pavement.

As I said we saw a fair number of crashes and near misses. More than one rider took the corner too quickly and hit the hay bails as they hit the breaks.

It didn’t take long before a clear leader of the race was established, Kristian House took a fairly early lead and just kept going until he had crossed the finish line (however his team were not the overall victors of the race).

The race is only just over an hour long and well worth the time to go and have a look, you can check out the locations of races on TheTour website. Maybe its just the thing to get you into the sporting mood for the Olympics!

Oh, and if you're interested you can watch highlights on ITV player here, you may also spot me around 23 minutes in ;)

Sunday, 13 May 2012

A Beautiful Solution to a Rainy-Day Wedding

Hello there, I believe its been a rather long time since I last posted anything about my wedding!

Today my Mum was browsing in the trinket and home shop Audacia in Durham city centre for a new table. The lady who works in (and possibly owns) the shop is very friendly and always asks about the wedding.

Today she said that she hoped I had weather as wonderful as today on my wedding day and I said that I hoped so too, but that I had a plan if it was raining. I then added that I was looking for a girly full umbrella in white and incredibly usefully - she had one in the window display!

I knew instantly that this was the item I had been searching for, so that should it pour down my hubby and I will be able to stand in the rain to have pictures taken under an umbrella made for two (don't worry, I'll resist the temptation of a certain Rihanna song).

Handily this brolly is light enough that it could make a beautiful parasol on a sunny day too - and my cat seemed to like it.

This umbrella cost £26, which is the most anyone I know has ever paid for an umbrella, but is certainly seems to be very sturdy.

Do you know anyone who was married on a rainy day?
If so what did they do about it?

P.S. Here is a picture of my cat, I've been practising my animal photography.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

A Personal Story and Some Inspiration From Avengers Assemble

So, a couple of nights ago I saw for the Avengers for the second time. Something that, in itself, is not that interesting but what happened afterwards was something I have never really done before.

There are not many trains that run from Newcastle to my home town after 10pm so when the Hulk was catching a falling Tony Stark after the big battle in New York at ten past 10 and my train was at 10:21. I started to feel a little under time pressure.

So I ran. I ran for the train. It is just under a mile from the cinema to the station and I made that train with 3 minutes to spare and looking back now I can’t believe I managed it.

Now perhaps you’re thinking, she ran for a train, so what?  Well, being able to run is not something I take for granted.

I have a condition called Reactive Arthritis, it is a type of inflammatory arthritis that typically effects people acutely for a few months and then they get better. But in some people it produces a chronic condition where the sufferer will go through phases of ‘flair ups’ (sometimes it can even cause damage to organs in very unfortunate people – luckily I am not one of them).

While I have several flair ups in my teenage years, they were never serious enough to prevent me from walking, they made me nervous about running, dancing and jumping but they did not seriously limit my life (although it was a little strange trying to sit my A-levels with very swollen fingers).

My first major incident, the one that lead to my diagnosis was when I was 20. I had a huge flair up after a very serious bout of food poisoning (I still can’t eat BBQ chicken to this day). Shortly after recovering from that I noticed my ankle began to swell, and while I was able to keep walking on it for a few days after about a week it was so painful I could not longer stand up.

I didn’t understand what was wrong, I hurt so much and I was afraid of going to the doctors so it took me a couple of weeks of being house and occasionally bed bound before I gathered the strength (and a walking stick stolen from my Grandmother) before I made it to the doctors.

To cut a very long story short, with a lot of doctors, painkillers, anti-inflammatories, physiotherapy, immunosuppressants and time I began to get better.

In the following years I kept as active as possible, it’s the main reason I spent so much time dancing, but the hardest thing to get over was the fear.

I’ve never really spoken about my feelings on what I went through, I’ve always felt that so many other people go through worse things in their life-time that I didn’t really have a right to think or complain about it again.

However recently I started having problems walking and having difficulty with my hands. I don’t think its too bad, but it made me so afraid of what might happen to me, that I could end up in the same situation again.

So how does this relate to the Avengers?

Well there is just so much physical action in that movie its inspiring, everyone is running, jumping, kicking, flying… just watching it makes me want to run and jump too.

The whole time I was running to the station I was thinking, ‘Do NOT miss that train’ but also ‘Be like Black Widow, she wouldn’t be tired now'. I'm not going to lie, my ankle has been paying the price since, but I am hoping that I will be able to go out for a proper run soon (if it ever stops raining).

It was an almost out of body experience, and all I could feel was that I want to be better. I am fortunate that the type of arthritis I have actually gets better with exercise - it just takes some time. So all I can say is that if a film like this can have that kind of affect on me who else does it affect? I can only hope that other people feel inspired in the same way I was.

I have decided that I need to lose weight in order to reduce the stress on my joints and to help me get fitter. One day I'd like to make a cosplay costume of Black Widow so perhaps this is also the start of my journey to that day.

Wish me luck, and I hope that if you’ve ever had any health or physical problems you can find something to inspire you too.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Whoop! My first Blog Award - The Versatile Blogger

Hi there! A bit of an odd post this, but a fun one (for me at least) I won an award.

My fellow blogger, the lovely author over at Graveyards and Grasslands, nominated me for the award in March this year (yes I know I'm fairly late in posting on this). This is my first blog award, so I'm very grateful to Laura for choosing me as one of the recipients of this award. Graveyards and Grasslands covers a lot about books and literature, but also film reviews and other things.

So upon receiving this award I have a few duties:

The first is to tell readers and my nominator seven unknown things about myself -

  • I have wanted to write for a long time, but I always felt so afraid to jump into it because I believed my writing was so terrible. Blogging has been very therapeutic for my dyslexia.
  • I am incredibly obsessive and compulsive, I like collecting things, completing sets etc. this is why comic books and clothing appeals to me so much.
  • I hate getting out of bed in the morning! I typically style my hair, pack things up and prepare the night before so I can maximise morning lounge time.
  • My ultimate fancy dress costumes would be Rogue from X-men and Spiderwoman.
  • As of yet I have no idea how to make the catsuits that are important parts of these costumes, but I have been trying to get as much sewing experience as possible so that one day I can.
  • Lastly, I get very annoyed at sci-fi programmes when their scientific details are so wrong it just boggles my mind. Luckily I don't chose to blog about that!
  • I try not to put myself into any box too much, I'm geeky, girly and I love dresses. I like to dress with a slightly retro style because I feel it suits my shape and personality, I hope everyone else can find their style niche too.

Lastly I need to nominate some other bloggers for this award! They're all ones I take a peek at on a regular basis. While a lot of them are female centred lifestyle blogs, there are a few others thrown in for good measure so take a look (A few are pretty big so may already have this award, but I like them anyway and still wish to give kudos).

Here they are, you can click on the names for a link to the blog :)

So thats if for now. I'll be back soon with some pics of a few things I've been collecting for my wedding!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Vintage Events: Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair - Durham

Hi folks!

So last Saturday (the 28th) I visited Judy's Vintage Fair in Durham Students Union. Now I'm not sure how long Judy has run an event in Durham, I'm just pleased that it's been long enough that the event seems to be in the swing of things by the time that I moved to the North East.

I attended one of the sister events at Brighton and while the Durham event is smaller there is no shortage of bargains to be found. (Judy has events in lots of cities - you can find a list here - scroll down)

In Durham, much like in the rest of the UK it has been raining, so I chose to wear my trusty teal raincoat, long boots (I didn't want to ruin a nice pair os shoes on the muddy lane) and a trusty navy tea dress from Monsoon.

The fair, while taking up a fairly small area in the basement of the Union, was packed with sellers and clothes rails filled with goodies. Prices varied a lot depending on age style and colour but the most expensive thing I looked at was around £65 - I dare say they were more expensive things, I probably just missed them. But there were also rails for £10 dresses and id say the average price was around £20-30.

I didn't spend much time looking at the scattered items of lingerie, or any shoes or jewellery but there was a fair selection for those interested. There were even cupcakes available for £1.50 from Cakes and all things nice.

I'd say for the £2 entry fee, or £1 if you're a student, there was lots of choice and it would be easy to spend a hour or more rummaging. Stall owners were friendly and helpful and there were a fairly good selection of sizes not just the tiny tiny items you find at a lot of vintage fairs.

So what did I get?

Well I had a fairly good day of thrifting, I bought a blue dress from the fair I believe it is probably from the 1970s but I simply loved the colour! I also bought a mushroom polka dot day dress that had all of its labels removed so I have no idea where it is from, it is made of a thick cotton fabric and some very light padding at the shoulders.

I also went on a little bit of a charity shop hunt and managed to find a lovely teal coast skirt and red polka dot blouse. Last but not least, and this is cheating a bit, is a blue and white summer dress from monsoon. Technically my mum bought this dress but she said we could share it which is convenient given that we are the same size - its just to pretty not to share!

Anywho, that's it for now, bye for now!

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