No Fit State Circus: Bianco

Bianco

Image courtesy of No Fit State Circus

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to catch No Fit State Circus’ last night in their home Big Top before they set off on tour, and saw Bianco. I saw Bianco last summer but the show has been revamped and relaunched for 2015. The show is still directed by Firenza Guidi, but has some new performers, new acts and new design.

Last time I saw Bianco, I was utterly mesmerised. This time was no different.

No Fit State Circus

Image courtesy of No Fit State Circus

The show, which No Fit State describe as ‘an immersive promenade experience’, has the performers above and all round a standing audience. Half the time, you don’t know where to look, as there’s so much spectacular action happening. All the performers are insanely talented, and I often found myself stunned by the incredible things they mix in as throwaway moments – flips and dance moves thrown in as they move the rigging, or travel to a different part of the tent. Small moments, that take immense skill. There are no words to do justice to how wonderful Bianco is – you just have to see it for yourself.

No Fit State present Bianco

Image courtesy of No Fit State Circus

For me, the stand-out performances were some of the most physically impressive. The final act of the first half is a young guy performing on aerial silks. He was perfect. There is no other term for it. Every movement was precise and graceful, and clearly took some incredible strength and control to execute. Spectacular to watch.

In the second act, I was hypnotised by a couple performing a trapeze act. The trust involved as she was supported by his feet, or he held her up by the neck, and they moved around each other from stunt to stunt…it was quite something to watch. So often with No Fit State, the audience watch without applause, stunned into silence by the incredible feats they’re witnessing.

Bianco

Image courtesy of No Fit State Circus

I think the thing I love best about Bianco, and No Fit State Circus in general, is the sense of fun. Bianco is filled with a sense of mischief, and the performers often seem to almost be playing, showing off for each other and generally having an incredibly good time. The grins plastered all over their faces are genuine, and more than once I spotted a performer waiting to go on having a little dance to the live band or hollering in approval at whoever was currently doing their act.

I’ve decided I’m going to run away and join the circus. I’d like to do aerial silks please. Or trapeze.

Bianco is currently touring, and will be stopping off next in Antwerp. You can read more about Bianco, and No Fit State, here. Keep your eyes peeled for their return to the UK, and GO AND SEE THEM.

Friday Round Up

Links, loves and Instagrams from the last week. It’s the Friday Round Up!

Friday Round Up

1. Batman always gets in our way. 2. I am Groot. 3. Diet Coke break.

Happy Friday kittens! Apparently I didn’t take many photos this week. Sorry about that. Last weekend, I was running around in green again for the launch of Batman: Arkham Knight, which you can read about here. Otherwise this week has been a  blur of work, work and more work. I’m shattered, and beyond ready for the weekend. Anyone else in need of a couple of days of peace and quiet?

I’m off down to Cardiff tonight to see the family, which should be excellent. Bring on the gin and tonics…

This week’s links:
A cosplay experiment. Really interesting take on cosplay photography.
Gotham Cosplayers take over Game in Denton. Love this video from 2 Geeky Girls.
Can new laws stop street harassment? Interesting read!
This office has a cat library. Hello, dream job!
Expectation vs reality: dating a fellow nerd. This made me laugh more than it should have…
These lady scientists are #distractinglysexy. Fantastic, hilarious response to idiot sexism.

On repeat:

Batman: Arkham Knight Launch

Arkham Knight Launch

Cosplayers: Gotham Cosplayers UK. Photographer: John Deathstroke Cosplay

I went back to my PR roots a little last weekend, and headed off with some of the crazies from Gotham Cosplayers UK, to Game in Denton. We were invited to spend the day with Game to promote the release of Batman: Arkham Knight, which is out today for PlayStation 4. I used to do a lot of promo work in my first job, and while I am more used to doing it while dressed as a princess, it turns out it’s not so different while being Poison Ivy.

Arkham Ivy: Ivy Black. Harley Quinn: Drop Dead Joker. Poison Ivy: Caramel Latte Kiss. Catwoman: Rachel Cosplays. Photographer: Nick Marshal of Game.

Arkham Ivy: Ivy Black. Harley Quinn: Drop Dead Joker. Poison Ivy: Caramel Latte Kiss. Catwoman: Rachel Cosplays. Photographer: Nick Marshal of Game.

In short, we caused utter havoc. Game sold out of Batman merchandise as well as taking lots of pre-orders for the game, we took over the Security suite (much to the amusement of the security team), ate lots of pizza in Frankie and Benny’s, and best of all…we stole an ice cream van.

Gotham Cosplayers UK

Cosplayers: Gotham Cosplayers UK. Photographer: John Deathstroke Cosplay

There was a lot of silliness; ice cream, Batman on the tills in Boots, baseball bats…it was insane. We had serious amounts of fun, playing about alongside working hard to promote the game and entertain the confused crowds. Catwoman and I even found time for a little shopping and play fighting.

Gotham girls cosplay

Poison Ivy: Caramel Latte Kiss. Catwoman: Rachel Cosplays. Photographer: John Deathstroke Cosplay.

Poison Ivy and Catwoman cosplay

Poison Ivy: Caramel Latte Kiss. Catwoman: Rachel Cosplays. Photographer: John Deathstroke Cosplay.

Gotham Cosplay

Poison Ivy: Caramel Latte Kiss. Catwoman: Rachel Cosplays. Photographer: John Deathstroke Cosplay.

We were looked after so well all day, and I can’t send enough thanks to Nick and his team at Game, Frankie and Benny’s for feeding us, the lovely security guys of Crown Point who let us share their office, and the other shop managers who put up with the crazy people running in and out of their stores all day. And of course, huge love to everybody who came to see us. We had a blast. I hope you did too.

 

Friday Round Up

Links, loves and Instagrams from the last week. It’s the Friday Round Up!

Friday Round Up

1. World’s cutest dog. 2. X-Men Cosplay. 3. Sunshine at work. 4. Falling down. 5. Meringue pie. 6. Y?

Happy Friday, kids! Thank Christ the weekend is here. It’s been too long a week. It was too long a week on Monday, if I’m honest.

So last weekend, I was running around at Stockton Cosplay Fun Day, which you can read about here, if you haven’t already (rude!). That little fluff monster up there is Milo, who belongs to David’s sister. I’ve fallen enormously in love with him, and spent a large chunk of the rest of the weekend making a fuss of him. I must steal him. Otherwise, there was pulled pork and gin and tonics, lots of laughing and a rather excellent lunch out with David’s family. I’ll be back up north very soon, I’m sure.

Otherwise, it’s a been a week of work, networking and reading. I finally finished reading the latest Game of Thrones book, and am now waiting impatiently for the next while I catch up on the TV series. No spoilers here though, so I’ll say no more. Did we all watch Humans on Sunday night? Channel 4’s new series is already looking suitably creepy, and is very much reminding me of Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse. I’m a fan already. Otherwise, M and I have finally got round to watching The Flash, and I am all but at the point of booking holiday days to binge watch the thousand and one other series I need to watch/catch up on, starting with season 3 of Orange Is The New Black. I need a night in or six with Netflix…

This week’s links:
Top tips for an organised morning.
How colouring books are helping adults beat stress and anxiety.
The power of great superhero costume design.
9 marketing techniques for Instagram on £0.

On repeat:

Stockton Cosplay Fun Day

Last weekend, I ventured to a distant land in uncharted territory. The North. I’m a Midlands girl through and through, so it felt like quite the epic trek. Why did I embark on such an adventure? Well…

Rogue and Gambit Cosplay

Rogue – Caramel Latte Kiss. Gambit – Aces ‘N Armor Cosplay. Photographer – Spikeybwoy Photography

My partner-in-crime, David of Aces ‘N Armor Cosplay, called a few weeks ago and informed me that my presence was required at an event near him. You can’t argue with the Cajun, so off to Stockton Cosplay Fun Day I went. Hosted by the lovely gang at Beanie Games and Sub-Zero Comics, the event was a somewhat bonkers mix of cosplay, traders and…wrestling. In cosplay. Of course. I set up camp with the Aces ‘N Armor household, befriended the world’s cutest dog (belonging to David’s sister, which won’t stop me trying to smuggle him home next time I visit) and settled in for a weekend of silliness.

X-Men Cosplay

Rogue – Caramel Latte Kiss. Gambit – Aces ‘N Armor Cosplay. Photographer – Spikeybwoy Photography

The cosplay wrestling was one of the moat bizarre and yet most hilarious things I have ever seen. I can’t decide which made me laugh harder – Stone Cold Steve Austin taking on The Invisible Woman (why yes, he did just beat himself up for ten minutes) or the Joker fighting CM Punk. Alongside that madness, there was the usual selection of stalls and lovely cosplayers to chat with. There were some great costumes to be admired, including another Rogue (this one movie style), which always makes me happy to see.

X-Men Cosplay

Rogue – Caramel Latte Kiss. Gambit – Aces ‘N Armor Cosplay. Photographer – Spikeybwoy Photography

One of my highlights of the day was getting these gorgeous photos, working with the wonderful Chris, of Spikeybwoy Photography. Chris is an absolute sweetheart, and was a delight to work with. I think this is the longest David and I have ever lasted in pictures like this without just giggling into each other’s faces. Well done, Chris, that’s quite an achievement! I couldn’t choose which to share, so you’re going to get pretty much everything he took of us. Sorry not sorry.

Rogue and Gambit Cosplay

Rogue – Caramel Latte Kiss. Gambit – Aces ‘N Armor Cosplay. Photographer – Spikeybwoy Photography

Cosplay is always a ridiculous adventure, and last weekend was no different. Peak ridiculousness? Well, I forgot to take a spare pair of shoes, so ended up out for drinks and food afterwards in my everyday clothes, but paired with the bright yellow Rogue boots. Oops. After the event, we had a few drinks and much laughter with Chris’ group, The Geek Asylum, before rounding up SeventySix Cosplay for dinner.

Rogue Cosplay

Rogue – Caramel Latte Kiss. Photographer – Spikeybwoy Photography

My weekend up north was, in short, bloody awesome. I cannot thank the guys from The Geek Asylum and Sub-Zero enough for the wonderful welcome and the epic amounts of fun that was had, Chris for the photos (go like his page, go on) and two of my favourite boys (and dog) for the excellent company over the weekend. I’m already looking forward to my next Northern adventure.

One last picture for you. Here are all the cosplayers from the day doing the YMCA. Because why not?

Stockton Cosplay Fun Day

Photographer – Spikeybwoy Photography

Friday Round Up

Links, loves and Instagrams from the last week. It’s the Friday round up!

Friday Round Up

1. Polish sweets. 2. New shoes. 3. Amaretto Sour. 4. Pulled Pork sub. 5. Pretty windows at The Rose Villa Tavern. 6. And equally pretty floors! 7. Latte and a cake. 8. Happiness is… 9. Vintage watch. 10. Brain food. 11. Thai curry. 12. Tagine for lunch.

It’s been quite the foody week! On Saturday, M and I took ourselves into the Jewellery Quarter for lunch, which naturally turned into lunch and cocktails, with a coffee for the walk there. What else could we do? I’d never been in the Rose Villa Tavern before, and was soon busily taking photos of the pretty details of the pub, like those gorgeous windows and tiles! Sunday, we walked int0 Harborne, one of my favourite parts of the city. We decided to check out BooBoo Coffee, after hearing rave reviews. Birmingham based? Go there. Great coffee, better cake, and beers from Freedom on tap. What more do you want?

A weekend highlight was finally taking the time to dig through my Gran’s jewellery box, and find a few of her watches. M worked for a watch company for a bit, so was able to help me decipher what was what and how old some of the pieces are. I’ve been wearing the little gold number ever since, and I’m planning to have the strap replaced on a gorgeous old watch with a rose gold face, so I can wear that too.

This weekend, it’s superhero time. I’ll be at Stockton Cosplay Fun Day with David this weekend. As usual, I’ll be Instagram spamming with X-Men delights if you want to keep up with me, and I’ll be testing out Periscope (@caramelattekiss) too!

This week’s links:
How to use Twitter and Facebook to grow your blog.
5 daily tasks of productive entrepreneurs.
Should we rethink the 8 hour work day?
 Essential PR lessons from Siobhan Sharpe. Holy shet.
Why I’d like to be Patricia Arquette in True Romance.
Growing up in a polyamorous household.
DC launches Bombshells this August.

Kick-Ass Fictional Women

It’s been a little while since I posted an installment of the kick-ass fictional women list, so I thought it was time for the next ten. You can read the rest of the list in the links above. Have I missed your favourite? Let me know in the comments!

Luna Lovegood

Luna Lovegood

Harry Potter’s Luna Lovegood is one of my favourite characters. She’s a bit of an oddball, but entirely unembarrassed by it. She gets on with things, fairly unconcerned with what others think of her. She’s too busy being brave, and immensely loyal to her friends. Through it all, she remains calm, collected and unruffled. Impressive.

Galadriel

Galadriel

Lord of The Rings Elven Lady Galadriel is an interesting one. Largely recognised as an other worldly beauty, Galadriel is severely tempted by the power of the ring. She is undeniably powerful, with her ability to read minds, manipulate the minds of others, and her glimpses of the future with the Mirror of Galadriel. The ring tempts her, but she pulls back, passing the test, and sending the ring-bearers on their way with gifts that will later save their lives.

Beatrice

Beatrice

Much Ado About Nothing’s Beatrice is one of my all time heroes. She is incredibly ahead of her time, with her insistence on maintaining her independence and her approach to her relationship with Benedick. She demands to be treated as an equal. She has a mean line in witty comebacks too, and who doesn’t love that? “A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours.”

Black Widow

Black Widow

Black Widow could so easily have been the token girl in the Avengers. One of the things I love about watching her on screen is that her femaleness is never used as a ploy. We never see her stripping off, or swanning around in her underwear or a bikini for no apparent reason, nor do we ever see sent to ‘seduce’ the enemy to get information. I love that those cliches are avoided so completely. I also love her (spoilers!) relationship with Hawkeye. It is so rare, but so great, to see a platonic friendship between a man and a woman on screen, especially with their closeness. Never mind how tough she is. Can we get her on some merchandise now, please?

Minerva Mcgonagall

Minerva McGonagall

This woman is a badass. Throughout the Harry Potter series, Professor McGonagall stands up for her herself, for Hogwarts and what she believes is right. Whether it’s standing up to Dolores Umbridge, holding the fort at Hogwarts for Dumbledore, or calling the knight statues down from their pedestals, McGonagall keeps the school and her students safe, never hesitating to do what must be done.

Willow Rosenberg

Willow Rosenberg

I have a serious soft spot for Willow. Apart from the fact she’s cute as a button, and an incredibly powerful witch, she’s insanely brave. Before discovering her own power, she’s always there to help Buffy save the day, risking her life time and time again. She’s smart, often seen as the brains in the Scooby Gang, and doing lots of the all important research. Her relationship with Tara is beautiful to watch too. Personally, I’m not a Tara fan, but the love between those two was written fantastically, with no gimmicks, no ridicule, and no reliance on ‘sexy lesbian’ tropes. They’re just…together. As simple as that. “There’s no use arguing with me. Do you see my resolve face? You’ve seen it before, you know what it means.”

Daenerys Targaryen

Daenerys Targaryen

The mother of dragons. Dany finds her way out of her brothers shadow, and very quickly learns how powerful she can be. Whether she’s Khaleesi, freeing slaves, raising dragons or leading her army, Dany tries her best to firm but fair to her people. She cares deeply for those who follow her, and while she doesn’t always get it right, she keeps their best interests at heart. Her transition begins in her marriage to Khal Drogo. Sold into this marriage, she could have stayed meek. Instead, she takes her own power, first by demanding sexual gratification from Drogo, before owning her new title of Khaleesi. From there, she grows more confident and in control. She’s smart too, using her awareness that men will underestimate her to her advantage. One of my favourite moments is when she stands up to her brother. When Viserys slaps her, she clocks him right back, and says, “The next time you raise a hand to me will be the last time you have hands.”

Cersei Lannister

Cersei Lannister

It’s time for a bad girl, I think. The Lioness of Lannister is certainly tough, and unafraid to demand what she wants, and go out and get it. Frustrated by her sex hindering her, Cersei learns to play the game with the tools she has. Using her sexuality, her family’s name or her incredible powers of persuasion, Cersei lands herself the throne and carefully maneuvers everyone around her to ensure her children’s future. Her methods might be underhand, but you can’t deny her cleverness.

Rogue

Rogue

This Southern Belle is one of my all time favourite comic book characters. Of course she’s on this list. She’s a sassy smart-ass with a big mouth and the ability to kick you into next week. This girl has her struggles but she’s no damsel in distress. We won’t discuss the simpering idiot they made her in the films, but comic book and cartoon Rogue was a tough cookie, with street smarts who took care of herself (and frequently, her boyfriend too). She works around a dark past, struggles with her powers and her inability to touch to become an essential part of the X-Men team, and one of the most beloved X-Men of all time.

Nyota Uhura

Nyota Uhura

Uhura was a ground-breaking character. In 1966 a black woman in a role like this, on equal footing to white men? Unheard of. As the solo female Bridge officer, she was incredibly visible on Star Trek, and was often seen helping out on other stations, as well as her own Communications panel. She was clearly intelligent, quick to learn and efficient. The rest of the crew recognise her abilities without question. Her sex, nor the colour of her skin, are ever shown as being a problem. Very refreshing, and for the era? Incredible.

As always, please do leave me your suggestions. Who’s your favourite fictional badass lady?

 

Friday Round Up

Links, loves and Instagrams from the last week. It’s the Friday Round Up.

Friday Round Up

1. Wolverine! 2. INSANE Eton Mess Waffle from Digbeth Dining Club. 3. Feminist graffiti. 4. Fortune cookie wisdom. 5. Because what else? 6. Cosplay wishlist.

Happy Friday! I am seriously ready for the weekend. Last weekend ended up being a load of fun, with an impromptu late birthday night out on Friday. What was planned to be a few drinks turned into dancing like lunatics to Motown classics into the small hours, with a side of hilarity when we realised our mate looks exactly like the mural beside the bar. What more does a birthday need?

Summer seems to have actually realised it should be happening, and M and I have been making the most of it, with a lot of long walks around the neighbourhood. We’ve both been really enjoying getting outdoors in the evenings, especially as the area around us is quite leafy. I’m back on the running bandwagon too, working on through the Couch to 5k program. This week I learnt an important lesson. Do not save the big hill until the end of your run. My legs were not impressed.

This weekend, we’re planning on taking the camera out to play with a filter a friend gave me months ago, that we haven’t had a chance to test out yet. Hopefully the weather holds!

This week’s links:
How to walk in high heels.
How to be a super productive blogger.
The secret history of Wonder Woman.
How to be a better blogger.
Gender-swapped Avengers.

Song I’ve been playing on repeat:

Comparisons, Jealousy and Being Enough

Jealousy The internet can be a strange thing sometimes. At once, a huge community of like-minded people, but sometimes also a reminder of what you lack. I’ve been part of a few different conversations lately about the comparisons we draw between ourselves and others, and the jealousy and the feeling of not being good enough that can bring.

In the blogosphere, I think we do hold ourselves to impossible standards. Those of us who blog alongside a full-time job look at the full-time bloggers and worry that we’re not blogging enough, not spending enough time on social media, not reaching the kind of traffic we should be. We worry about our stats, our blog design, our photography. It can be a lot of pressure.

Even outside of blogging, the internet brings up these questions. We log into Instagram and somebody’s polished life scrolls past, with carefully cooked healthy meals, hardcore workouts, expensive coffee, capsule wardrobes…are we enough? It’s hard to feel like we are when we see these curated versions of someone’s life. We look at other people and wonder if our lives are right.

These comparisons happen in the cosplay community too. Earlier today, I read a post from a friend of mine about people asking his permission to cosplay a character that he is known for. The idea being of course, that there’s no point trying to match someone like that. There’s an edge of competition too. There are people whose aim is to be the best Harley Quinn, the most popular Iron Man, to have the most likes on your cosplay page on Facebook…it strikes me as all very unnecessary.

Cosplay, and blogging are creative hobbies. We should be supporting each other, taking inspiration from each others successes and offering advice to those further behind in the journey than we are. We don’t need to feel inferior because a cosplayer is thinner, sexier than us in their better crafted costume, or because a blogger has more hits a month, more Instagram followers and more brand deals. We’re individuals and should not measure ourselves by the success of another. Are you enjoying your work? Are you learning new skills, growing in your passion? Then you’re doing it right. Who cares what everyone else is doing?

 

 

Friday Round Up – Double Edition

Links, loves and Instagrams from the last (two) weeks. It’s the Friday Round Up!

Friday Round Up

1. View from the train to Cardiff. 2. Repping for Cardiff Blues. 3. Rugby! 4. Lots of Batman for my birthday. 5. Everything’s shiny Cap’n, not to fret. 6. Firefly cosplay. 7. X-Men derp faces. 8. Down home charm at MCM. 9. Double Rogue! 10. It takes a lot of luggage to be a superhero. 11. Wonder Woman has changed a bit. 12. X-Men cosplay.

Double edition! Birthday edition! Try to control your excitement, guys. Let’s start at the top, with the weekend in Cardiff. Gin and Tonics aplenty, of course, but we got in an afternoon at the Rugby on Saturday, which was great fun. Shocking play from our boys, sadly, but we did win, so there is that. I don’t get to go that often these days, so it’s always nice to be around when there’s a game on. That night, we went out for dinner, which ended up including Prossecco, Bellinis, a salted caramel sundae and a coco meringue the size of my head.

Next stop, birthday. I headed home to Hereford for a few days, and caught up with a load of friends, including my ex-flatmate, who was back from Canada. My birthday itself was spent in our usual pub, at what we’ve christened ‘the family table’. It’s a long time since we’ve had all those people around one table, so I couldn’t have asked for much more for my birthday.

Home again on Thursday, and M treated me to afternoon tea, which I totally forgot to photograph. I’ll hand in my blogger card now. Photos or not, I highly recommend afternoon tea at the Hyatt Regency. we had a great selection of tasty sandwiches, two huge scones each (delicious! One plain, one fruit), and three very cute cakes. The only let-down was the brownie, which was far too bitter for both of us. The selection of tea was mind-boggling. We eventually selected the Bird of Paradise tea, which was fruity and beautifully fragrant.

Onto MCM. Read about it here, or just take this away…being X-Men is my new favourite thing. And go and show some love to my partner in crime, Aces ‘N Armor Cosplay, and the babes from NuRevelations Cosplay. And while you’re in the mood for Facebook page liking, have you liked mine?

This week’s links:
Channing Tatum talks the solo Gambit movie.
Colin Hanks and his daughter sum up why Star Wars needs more female characters.
What would it be like to date social networks?
Harry Potter scenery you didn’t see in the movies.
25 things Zoe London learned being 25.
Jack Monroe’s post election post mortem.

Inside of a song I’m obsessed with, I have this cosplay music video, featuring X-Men and Firefly silliness from me. Enjoy!