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Thanks 2017, you were cool

A little later than intended, but I wanted to do a quick run down on how 2017 was for me. Personally, this year was pretty good. It saw some sad endings, but there were enough happy beginnings to balance it out. Here are the highlights:

Jan-March

* Took a trip to the London Dungeons, which were creepy but fun.
* For Matt's birthday we went to the Science Museum in London and a viking rooftop bar.
* Attended MCM Birmingham for the first time and got my photo taken with Starsky and Hutch!

April-June

* Attended Secret Cinema presents Moulin Rouge! Which was amazing.
* Started my new job as a Data Engineer!
* Won the pub quiz at Bristol Anime and Gaming con.
* Went to Disneyland with Matt and had a great time!
* My choir celebrated it's 10 year anniversary with a concert.
* My car broke the day before MCM London, but because of that Sel took me and I got to hear Hamilton for the first time.
* Ben's Birthday BBQ in Southampton.

July-Sept

* For Sel's birthday we went to the London Anime and Gaming Con.
* Said a sad farewell to the Hobgoblin, my favourite pub in Bath.
* Went to the Doctor Who Experience for the last time.
* Attended MCM Manchester for the first time. Lovely city.
* Went to Kitacon and cosplayed for the first time at an anime con.
* Took Matt to the Dorset Steam Fair. He loved it.
* Joined Sarah at the Gloucester Comic Con.
* Went to the Harry Potter Studios with Matt (his first visit, my third) and spent a day in London taking a cruise up the themes.

Oct-Dec

* Phoebe celebrated her first birthday. Growing up too fast!
* Helped out at Sel's table at Ponycon. (And bought three care bears)
* Attended MCM London dressed as the Hogfather.
* Went to the Royal Albert Hall to hear Final Fantasy music played by an orchestra.
* Attended MCM Birmingham dressed as the Hogfather and saw the german market.
* Won tickets to see Hamilton live in London during the previews.
* And having Christmas free to see friends and family.
* Spending the last day of the year playing games with my favourite people.

While I don't have a lot planned for 2018 there are a few things I'm looking forwards to including being an Auntie for the first time. Any day now!

Also just having new adventures and saving a little money for other adventures in the future.

I also want to read more, blog more and take better photos, which will happen once I buy a new camera.

Merry Christmas



I hope everyone's had a very Happy and enjoyable Christmas.

This is the first Christmas since 2011 where I haven't had to work over it including no early start on Boxing Day and I'm loving this season just for that. On Christmas Eve I had Matt round and we spent the whole day watching Christmas movies and specials. It's a tradition I started years ago and don't always get to uphold because of work, but luckily Christmas eve was a Sunday.

We watched Home Alone, Muppet's Christmas Carol, Christmas Vacation, Father Ted's Christmas Special, Blackadder Christmas Carol and The Night Before (which I didn't enjoy much). I also baked shortbread for my nan.

Christmas day itself was pretty standard. I went over my mum's place for Dinner where it was just Tony, Mum and I, which was the same last year. I headed over to my nan's after 3pm to see her and my dad, which was nice. It's a little weird not having my brother around at all, but he's got his own little family and I'll be seeing him today which will be nice.
I then went back to my mum's to watch Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge. I still enjoy it over all though I found a few bits a little more boring than the first time.

Present wise I got a few things:
Mum: A handmade bobble hat and a boxset of Game of Thrones books. I have a lot of reading to do next year.
Dad: Money that will go towards buying a new camera.
Matt: A steampunk book, a lovely top that's a bit big, a book on Hamilton's love affairs and a cuddly Porg which is so cute.

Because I don't go back to work until Jan 2nd I have a few other things planned, including a trip to London to see my friends and a trip to Bath to see The Greatest Showman with Sarah.

All in all it's been a good Christmas and it's nice that it's not over yet so plenty more fun to come.

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I was in the room where it happens

Something happened last week which was amazing and probably the best early Christmas present.

So, one of my new favourite musicals is Hamilton. I've listened to the original cast recording so many times and it's now up there with Les Miserable. Also, it's just opened in the West End last week, but it's been sold out for a long time and even when they released more dates, they still sold out too quickly. Tickets now are like £200+. However, there is a way to win tickets by entering a lottery. You download an app, enter for the following days performance and if you win you can buy up to two tickets for that performance for only £10 each. Well, I downloaded the app, entered and...

...I WON!!!!!

No kidding, it was a total surprise, I rarely win anything. It was all a whirlwind from there. I bought the two tickets, for me and Selena because she was the one who introduced me to it and loves it just as much as me. The performance was the following day, thankfully a Friday so I didn't have to worry about work the next day. However, I did have to get out of work at 4 so I could get to London in time for the 7:30 start. By coming in early and working through lunch I was able to get out on time and I pelted it down the motorway. I parked at Slough because I didn't want to venture into London, but the direct train from there takes 20 mins.

Thanks to very little traffic and no delays on the trains I managed to get to the theatre with plenty of time to spare. When Sel arrived I picked up the tickets and suddenly it was all real. It had felt too good to be true up until that point, but once I had the tickets in my hand I was finally able to relax. And we were both bouncing around, super excited.



Our tickets were at the very back of the stalls and we were sat together thankfully. We got a really good view of the stage except I did have a tall guy blocking some of my view.

The show was amazing though! I was either grinning or in tears throughout the whole things I just couldn't believe I was there, opening week. The cast were really good, I was a little unsure about seeing different actors playing the characters I loved, but they cast it really well. The guy they got to play Lafayette wasn't great, but when he played Jefferson he was prefect. Hamilton was good too, but Sel joked that all he was missing was a ponytail. I had to restrain myself from singing along to the songs.

Afterwards Sel and I queued up to buy merchandise. I bought a pin, a oyster card holder, a shot glass and Sel bought me a brochure to pay me back for the ticket.

I headed off straight home which was not as smooth as the journey up. The train back to Slough was PACKED. I think it was the last train so everyone was on it and I've never been so squashed on a train before. Once back at Slough my car took it's time starting up, possibly because of the cold weather and since it was midnight by this point I did not want any problems.

While I was prepared for a long car journey home it was made longer by a section of the M4 closed off so I had to take a diversion off the motorway and then back again. I also had to stop for petrol. I got home at 2am and I was so so happy to not have to get up early the next day.

All in all though, I'd go through it all again and worse in a heartbeat if it means seeing the musical again. I still can't believe it actually happened, it went by so fast. It was one of the best things to happen this year and I so hope I get the chance to see it again.

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MCM London Comic Con 2017

It only comes twice a year! And this one was a busy one, I was rushing around trying to get ready this year, barely having any time to myself, but it was all worth it. My Hogfather cosplay was HOT and I think I lost a few pounds in sweat, but people recognised me and said the costume was cool.



The drive down took nearly 8 hours thanks to horrendous traffic, but at least my car didn't break down this time.

We spent most our evenings in the apartment eating take away and watching youtube videos. While I spent the days sweating in my costume.

The con itself was pretty cool, there was a Voltron statue, a WWE area where you could have a picture taken in the undertakers coffin and watch wrestling matches on TV. There was a huge Marvel area with costumes from Thor and Black Panther, statues of the various characters including Hulk and Groot and huge action figure packages you could get a photo in. It was all pretty cool.



I also went to a couple of Panels, including Anthony Mackie (Falcon) who was hilarious, Bernard Cribbins and Hayley Atwell. They were all great.

In some ways it felt like a quiet expo, maybe because we only went out for one meal which was on Sunday night and we spent a lot of time chilling in the flat. Also I tried to organise a little halloween party on Sunday, which mainly consisted of a spooky game of Pass the Parcel and some Halloween themed music. Still, it was fun. Next year I'll try harder.

Catch up

Man, I have been soooo neglectful lately. I will use the excuse that I'm busy, but that's not completely true. I am very busy at the moment, but I'm hoping I can start posting a little more regularly.

First I'm going to do a little catch up. Back at the end of September, Matt and I went to the Harry Potter Studios. His first trip, my third. Fortunately they'd just added the Forbidden Forest, so there was something new for me to see. Matt loved it and while I'd happily go back again, I'd like someone else to pay. In total I've bought 6 tickets to that place over 3 years!



We also had a day out in London the following day where we jumped on the Themes cruise boat and went down the Themes, which was awesome and we checked out the Tate Modern...which was too weird for us.



I'm also trying a new thing. I've wanted to get back into vlogging for a while, but I've been searching for something to talk about and I came up with the idea of themed months. Every month has a theme and every week I post a video talking about something relating to that theme. I've recorded 3 already.



The theme this month is Halloween, which might be obvious.

Kitacon quest

And I'm not dead. Just need to do some catching up. First, I'm going to post this video where I talk about my adventures up in Warwick University at Kitacon.



It's a con I've been to three times now, this was the first time it was held at Warwick University, which is fast becoming the place to hold Anime Conventions.

For those that don't want to or can't watch the video here are some bullet points.

* I cosplayed as a character from the Anime show My Hero Academia.

There was a meet which was cool. Not many people attended and it rained, but still worth doing.

* It was the first Anime convention my boyfriend had been to and while it wasn't quite his thing he did enjoy a panel on Wrestling. The organisers are big wrestling fans.

* Speaking of panels I attended a few on MLP, Red Dwarf, Anime Space Discos and anime fight scnes. And there was the pub quiz which was a lot of fun. We didn't come close to winning, but we had a good laugh. Luckily it's not all on anime.

* On the last night they had a ball which was followed up by a cheesy disco, which is actually usually a lot of fun. It's one of the rare times I stay up into 3am partying. It all ends with Bohemian Rhapsody which is the perfect end to a con in my mind.

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A farewell to The Hobgoblin

Last night a couple of my friends and I had our last drink in our favourite pub in Bath: The Hobgoblin. I've been going to that pub since I started uni in 2002.

The Hob

So back in 2002 during freshers week, I went on a pub crawl (even though I don't drink) and the first pub we stopped at was The Hobgoblin. I had just met Mel (now Matt) just an hour before. We had our drink and left, but there was something that the dark, dingy, Gothic, alternative atmosphere we liked and we found ourselves revisiting the place along with Sel. The three of us would head down usually on a Thursday I think, sit in a corner upstairs and play cards. Sometimes we'd play normally and sometimes we roleplayed, which was hilarious and made the game so much fun.



We met random people, including a guy we nicknamed Random Rob and one time I remember getting into a singing battle with a group of people the other side of the room from us. When other friends came along (Luke, DC and others) we continued to visit the place regularly. It was our pub, our local. We loved the music and the atmosphere and you could write on the walls in the toilets and no one stopped you.



Unfortunately when I moved away from Bath I didn't get a chance to visit The Hob as often however, once I was back it became my regular again. Not able to go as often as I used to, everytime I was in Bath with my friends we'd usually end up there at some point and we'd be either playing card games, chatting or playing other games that involved charades.

When we heard it was closing down we knew we had to get there one last time to say goodbye and luckily Sel, Luke and I managed it. It closed today, but we made it for one last drink and to share some memories.

I still love Bath, it will always be one of my favourite cities, but it has lost a little of it's charm from the closure of my favourite pub.



Raise a glass

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London Comic Con

MCM Expo, as I will always call it, came and went a couple of weeks ago and I think it's time I wrote about it. This one started with some inconveniences.

So, Wednesday night I was driving to my mums place and the coolant warning light came on. I told Tony about it when I got there and he had a look under the bonnet. I had some fluid leaking and he advised me to take it into the garage asap. Well, I was due to drive Sel, Luke and myself to London the next day, so I had to check it in at 9am the following morning. I prayed it was an easy fix or if not they had a car I could borrow (they've done that before) Sadly, none of those things were possible. I was stuck without a car for the weekend. So, Sel agreed to drive, but I had to get down to Warminster so she could pick me up and while Melksham has a train station it's mostly just a platform and not many trains stop at it. Fortunately I didn't have to wait long to catch a train to Westbury and then one to Warminster. It's a 20 min round trip, but it takes an hour due to waiting for a connection.



ANYWAY, on the plus side I got to listen to Hamilton on the way down which I'd been meaning to listen to. It was really good.

So, we're still doing the Air BnB thing as it makes so much more sense than cramming into a small hotel room. This year we were staying a little further away than last Oct, but it was a proper downstairs flat with actual bedrooms and it was only a 20 min walk away more or less. I slept on a proper mattress and even had little trouble sleeping. I even slept through a heavy thunderstorm someone.

As far as the convention itself, it was good. About the same as usual really. Security was pretty tight because of the terror attack in Manchester, but it didn't really make things too much longer. Just had to get our bags searched.

My costume however...didn't go as planned. My pirate steampunk outfit is still pretty cool, but the jet pack wings I made were pretty shit. I had to stick them back together a lot and the wings were pretty floppy. Not what I'd hoped, but they were a first attempt. I do plan to have another go at them. I have a few ideas for improvements.



So, the highlights of the weekend included, trying my hand a tea dualing (I failed), a dinner out at an Italian restaurant, trying out the Nintendo Switch, dinner at Bodeans and attending the panels, including one with River and Simon from Firefly. I went up to the mic to ask them what their favourite scenes they shot together, while telling them how much I really liked how they portray the sibling relationship.

To get my car back on a Bank Holiday Monday I had to let the guy in charge of the garage know what time I'd be in Melksham to pick up the car and he'd meet me there. Thanks to irregular trains I got back to the garage at just before 6:30. No one was there and it started to rain, but it was still sunny and warm with a rainbow in the distance. I also had no coat. It was...strange. I was warm and wet and staring at a rainbow. It made me laugh. Also eager to get home. He turned up only 5 mins late and I drove my car home. In Oct I'm going to have to check my car over a few days before I'm due to drive down.

All in all it wasn't one of the best Expos, but it still had its moments.

Disneyland Trip Part Three



Thursday

For day three we roamed around both parks but we started the day with a visit from Donald at the hotel.

* We rode Crusher's Coaster, one of the mild rollercoaster I hadn't tried. It made me feel a little sick afterwards. Not good.
* Decided to check out the Armageddon Special Effects thing, which was actually pretty good. It simulates a meteor crashing into a space station.
* Matt rode the Rockin roller-coaster.
* Headed over to the main park to do Buzz AGAIN!
* Had lunch at a deli on Main Street as I'd never eaten at one before.
* Daisy had a shortish queue so we jumped in to meet her. So lovely she was.
* Did the curious maze, though the castle at the middle was closed. :(
* Hoped on the little boat ride that takes you around miniature models of some of the movies.
* We wanted to ride Ratatouille again, but it was broken and didn't reopen until the next day. So we watched Stitch Live instead. I didn't tell Matt is was interactive. That surprised him.
* Rode Star Tours again and got a different scenario and Matt rode Hyperspace Mountain.
* Caught a little of the parade to get some more photos.

So at the end of the evening we were going to eat at the Agrabah cafe and watch the fireworks one last time since it was our last evening. However, when we left the hotel after freshening up we didn't expect it to rain and it did, so instead of going back to the park we just had food at the Rain forest Cafe. It was nice food even if it took ages to get served. When we came out it was still raining and was getting cold. I caught a chill that made me feel a bit ill and I had to get back to the hotel to warm up. I wasn't up to standing in the cold rain for the fireworks so we went to sequoia lodge for a drink by the fire. A bit of an anticlimax to the end of the holiday, but it was nice we got to go back to sequoia, the first Disney hotel I stayed in.

Friday

This was our last day, but our flight wasn't until 7pm so we had time to look around the parks one last time.

* We met Pluto at our hotel
* Rode Ratatouille again and the Phantom Manor.
* Met Jafar which was one of my favourite meets.
* Watched the 25th Anniversary show. I recorded the whole thing.
* Had lunch at Hakuna Matata, a restaurant we wanted to eat at last year, but never did.

We also did most of our shopping just before we left. I bought a bowl to match my Alice in Wonderland mug and teapot I got last year, an Aztec gold medallion necklace, a cuddly Goofy and a Mickey Statue.

We were going to take the coach back, but I wasn't feeling well, so we took the bullet train, waited a few hours for the flight and got back to my house around 10pm.

The whole trip was amazing and I loved it all. I won't be going back anytime soon, but I know I'll be back one day. Next time though, it will hopefully be Orlando. *Crosses fingers*

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Trip to Disneyland Part Two



Wednesday

Before we hit the Walt Disney Studios we met Mickey in the hotel! I even got a picture on my polaroid camera which the photographers loved the chance to play with.

* We walked around a bit and then hoped on the Tram Tour which I'd never been on. It was really good.
* We met Goofy at the entrance, one of the few characters I'd met before, but he was wearing a difference outfit.
* Watched Mickey and the Magician which was a new show I'd not seen. It was really amazing.
* Met Jack Sparrow who was pretty good and liked my hobbit necklace.
* Watched the Star Wars march followed by a Star Wars tribute. It made Matt emotional.
* For lunch we headed to Earl of Sandwich and I had a very nice Meatball sub.
* The only ride I've yet to psyche myself up to ride is Tower of Terror, because of the long drop. It's annoying because I know the story attached to it is really cool. Matt went on it though and he enjoyed it.
* We headed over to the main park quickly to ride the buzz ride again because we had some time to kill before we could use our fast pass for the Ratatouille ride. Also it's a must to ride it every day. A must!
* When I first went on the Ratatouille ride last year, it made me feel ill, but this time it didn't and I got to enjoy the 4D simulator. It's very good. It's now one of my favourite rides
* We then went back to the park to get a good seat for the parade. We got a good front row position to watch the amazing floats, all new for the 25th.



Afterwards I suggested going to the Disney hotel for a drink. Last year we went around to all Disney hotels for a drink in each bar. I wanted to do the same thing with Matt, but we chose not to do them all at once. Instead, we started with the Disney hotel which is really fancy and then went for food at Annettes Diner. There was a long wait to get in and then a long wait for food, but it was worth it. Such a delicious chilli dog. So good.

To round off the night we had a drink in our hotel bar. I really like the Newport Bay bar, it's styled like a bar on a fancy cruise ship. I also treated myself to a mocktail with a flashing ice cube.

Part Three when I get back from London this weekend.

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