Friday Round Up

Friday Round Up

1. More X-Men at MCM Birmingham. 2. Rogue and Gambit

This week…so ready for this one to be done with. I started well with MCM Birmingham, which was seriously good fun. Despite the bigger hall, it felt quieter this year, which was a shame, but it was nice to be able to walk around that much more easily. Having the two halls opposite rather than next to each other didn’t quite work, causing a lot of queues in the main NEC entrance. It was a little better on the Sunday, so I’m thinking they’ll figure it out for the next one in March. As always, Rogue and Gambit were a popular combination, and we found lots of other X-Men to befriend. Lara Croft went down well for me too. Teaming up with NuRevelations‘ Annette meant we attracted quite a lot of attention. David’s Nathan Drake was a little overlooked, which was a shame, but we had a lot of fun. There’s more MCM gossip in December’s newsletter, which you can get if you sign up here.

We spent Saturday night at the German Market, filling our faces with Bratwurst and hot toffee cider (delicious, if you were wondering). Unfortunately, with the weekend done, I promptly went down with a cold, and have spent the week coughing, sneezing and feeling like death warmed up. Assuming I survive the night, I’m planning on a filming weekend to get some new content ready for you guys.

This week’s links:
What happened when Forever Amber’s husband picked her outfit. This made me laugh so much.
How to look good in photos.

Watching: David and I binge-watched Jessica Jones over the weekend and loved it. So, so good. I am now, for some reason, watching Rupaul’s Drag Race. Again.

Reading: The Time Traveller’s Wife still. It’s still good.

Listening to:
Instead of a song, here’s a cosplay music video with some idiocy from me and David. Hooray!

Friday Round Up

Friday Round Up

1. Testing out a blue eye-liner look. 2. Buffalo & Rye preview. 3. I’m in a calendar!

Friday! I am a giddy excited idiot today as tomorrow is MCM Birmingham! But that’s for the next round-up…

This week, I’ve been a busy girl. I spent Saturday on a last minute cosplay mission, which turned out to be unnecessary. I went out seeking Lara Croft guns, which I’m now borrowing from a friend, and a top for David’s Nathan Drake, which he found all by himself. Sunday was better, and was spent filling my face with burgers, hot dogs and hot wings at Buffalo & Rye. I vlogged all weekend again, and really enjoyed getting a cheeky preview of the venue before it officially opened on Monday.

I had some exciting post, in the form of the Baby Lifeline calendar. Baby Lifeline are a national charity supporting the care of pregnant women and newborn babies worldwide. It raises funds for maternity equipment, and provides training to the medical and legal professions. David and I were part of a team of cosplayers photographed for their charity calendar for 2016. I’m delighted to be involved, and the shots are great. My copy turned up in the week, after a grand tour of Birmingham thanks to Hermes (let’s not go there…) and I’m looking forward to putting it up by my desk at work. If you want your own copy, for a great cause, you can buy them here.

Otherwise, I’ve been sorting out the last bits of prep before MCM Birmingham, being confused by new bus times (thanks for that, National Express) and being confused that for the first time in my working life, I am not planning any sort of festive event. How will I even know it’s Christmas if I’m not covered in glitter, escorting panto cast to call Bingo, getting quotes on the price of hiring reindeer, or making baubles out of Maltesers for a mini Christmas tree? These are all genuinely things I’ve done for work, by the way. Marketing is weird. It’s just not right if you aren’t dying of the flu, trying to dismantle Santa’s grotto at 10pm, like I did last year. Fun times.

This week’s links:
X-Men artist brings new style to Poison Ivy.
Ant-Man and The Wasp will have a complicated female hero.

Watching: I’m watching lots of YouTubers obsessively at the moment. Currently, my favourites are Ben Brown and Estee Lalonde.

Reading: I finally finished Moriarty, and was irritated by the twist ending. I’m now reading The Time Traveller’s Wife and enjoying it way more. Finding it much quicker to read too.

Listening to:

Reflections on Yes


At the beginning of the year I wrote a post about saying yes more. 2015 was going to be the year of saying yes, in an attempt to finish getting over the rather horrible break-up that 2014 gave me, to help me settle into Birmingham and get me out of my comfort zone.

I tried to keep the goal in mind throughout the year. In a lot of ways, it was really positive. I said to yes to more blogger events, and stopped allowing myself to pull my usual trick of deciding on the day that I didn’t want to go. I’ve had a lot of fun, met some seriously talented women and it has made a difference to the offers I get for my blog. It’s also helped make me feel more a part of Birmingham. I know places and people better, and it’s been fantastic. I said yes to cosplay photo shoots and gunned hard to promote my Facebook presence as a cosplayer. I’ve just broken the 500 likes milestone on my page, and secured my first ever invite to appear as a cosplay guest at an event. I came second in Untitled Nerd Podcast’s ‘Untitled Nerd Girl of the Week’ contest and was interviewed with David for Chatting Shizz Podcast. My cosplay was featured in the Birmingham Mail, the Evening Gazette and Take A Break Magazine. I pushed the boundaries of my comfort zone by choosing to cosplay as Silk Spectre, which was mildly terrifying, until I got into the convention hall. I loved it. I love the photos of her. I felt in control, and I could not be happier.

Somewhat unexpectedly, this year also taught me the power of saying no sometimes too. I said yes to as many thing as possible this year, and I got burnt out. I said yes to a hell of a lot of conventions and cosplay events. I’ve had lots of fun, and made loads of new friends and been part of a charity calendar, but by the end of September I was exhausted. A large chunk of my weekends were being spent so busy and I hadn’t given myself a break. I learnt to say no, and as of next weekend, I’m officially on a cosplay break until a certain secret plan in February. A couple of months out will do me a lot of good. After a few not great experiences, I said no to Poison Ivy. I retired the costume, and decided to start planning a new version. I’ve decided to be more selective about who I work with when it comes to cosplay. I have some great friends in the scene, but trying to help out has led to some frustrating experiences.

I think the key is balance. I did and do need to say yes more. But mostly I need to learn why I want to say no. I want to say yes instead of no because I’m nervous, or no because I think I’m not good enough. I do need though to be strong enough to say no when I need a break, or no when the experience is going to be more aggravating than rewarding.

2015 Pictures

It was definitely an interesting experiment. For 2016, I want to carry on. I want to say yes to the good things, no when I need to, and generally have more adventures and more fun! I want to keep exploring Birmingham, keep going hard on my blog and the cosplay and get even more out of 2016 than I did 2015. Without the burn-out, hopefully.

Things have definitely turned out differently to how I would have predicted. August was the one year anniversary of moving to my current flat. I’m still there, making it the longest I’ve lived anywhere since leaving home for University. After 6 months here, a year there, 6 months somewhere else, it’s wonderful to have somewhere that feels like home. I’ve nested in nicely and now I’m entering a phase of feeling proud of my place and plotting new ideas for it. I love the area I live in too. After a long time looking, I feel like I’m at home.

I’ve taken a somewhat unexpected turn career wise too. A job I loved very rapidly became a job I did not love at all, which was upsetting, but ended up being a great thing. I took quite a step up, both in job title and salary, for my current position. My contract means I can say very little, but I can say that while it may be the least glamorous industry I’ve worked in, after Arts, tech and the quirky cool of Custard Factory, but it is by far the happiest I’ve ever been in a job. It’s been a hell of a challenge too, of course, but rewarding. I’ve started studying for my Diploma in Professional Marketing, so this time next year, I’ll hopefully be writing about my exciting new qualifications!

There are more adventures to come before the end of the year. I’ve got MCM Birmingham, a 30s themed 30th birthday to go, the wedding of the first of my old school friends to get married (scary!), and plenty of fun over the festive season. I won’t pretend 2015 has been all sunshine and rainbows, but I’m winding it up happy. 2016? Bring. It. On.

Friday Round Up

Silk Spectre Cosplay

Apparently my only Instagram of the week…Silk Spectre, photographed by Martin Siggers Photography

IT’S FRIDAY! I am doing a little happy dance that it’s the weekend, as usual. I promise I love my job, but when you blog as well as work full time, it totals up to a LOT of hours staring at a screen. My eyeballs are very grateful for weekends.

Anyway, what have I been doing this week? Well, last weekend was a Northern one. I headed up to David on Friday. By the time I get there, it’s usually pretty late, so after some cuddles with the dog, I’d passed put pretty quickly. We had a lazy morning on Saturday, before paying a visit to our friends at Sub-Zero Comics. It’s around the first anniversary of the store opening, so we went along to say hi and help them celebrate. This involved me being extremely tempted by some Spike comics. The rest of the day was spent, on my part, eating Pringles and Peanut Butter Oreos while watching the original trilogy of Star Wars. Dave spent it playing Star Wars X-Wing, with one eye on the TV. X-Wing is a table-top game which makes no sense to me, but David and his best mate have become obsessed by. Sunday was equally lazy. We built a nest by pushing the two sofas in the conservatory together and spent the day in that, eating Gammon and watching Muppet movies. It was bliss. A lot of our weekends together involve a lot of cosplay – conventions, events, shoots – so it’s lovely to get the odd weekend to do absolutely nothing.

The rest of the week, I’ve been getting stuff ready for MCM Birmingham. I’ve made some tweaks to my Lara Croft, and David and I have been sourcing bits for a Nathan Drake cosplay for him to go with it. I’m excited.

This week’s links:
I’m back on the vlogging bandwagon! You can subscribe here.
My Rogue was featured on new fansite, Going Rogue.
Things Lily Melrose has learnt since starting her YouTube channel.
Harrison Ford says the new Star Wars is really good. That’s ok then!
Vicky Flip Flop on blogging for ‘exposure’. Such an important topic.
Safe Harbour and our X-Men gang are appearing at Birmingham Comics Festival 2016 as cosplay guests! Super honoured to be invited.

Watching: YouTube, mostly! I’m obsessed with daily vlogs in a big way again. I’m calling it research for my own.

Reading: Still on Moriarty…I might finish before Christmas…

Listening to:

What is Glamour?



  1. An attractive or or exciting quality that makes certain people or certain things seem exciting.
    Synonyms: allure, attraction, charm, fascination, captivation, romance, mystique, exoticism
  2. Enchantment, magic

Recently, I was given a beautiful new coat. It’s almost full-length, with a nipped in waist, a full skirt and a fur collar (faux, obviously). Sometimes I feel like a kid in a party dress and spend my time spinning round and watching the skirt flare out around me. But at other times, I feel like an ultimate glamour puss in it. Standing in the fog outside work the other night, I sent David a message to tell him that the combo of coat, fog and half-darkness made me feel like the femme fatale in an old detective noir film. He was amused, and the chat we had about it got me thinking. What is glamour anyway? What actually makes you glamorous?

The dictionary definition of glamour sounds about right to me. There is an undefinable ‘quality’ that makes one glamorous, I think. I had a think back to people in my life I view as glamorous, and tried to unstick why that is. As a kid, I was always fascinated by the idea of glamour, and what I thought was ‘grown-up’. I don’t really remember being one of those kids who tried on my mum’s shoes (ironic, considering my shoe obsession as an adult) but I was always curious about the contents of her make-up bag. A red lip still feels glam to me. Long nails were always something that seemed glamorous to me too. My great-aunt always had immaculate false nails, and I have vivid memories of being handed things and told “Open this for me, darling, my nails.” I may or may not now frequently hand things to David because my long (real) nails prevent me opening them. I couldn’t give them up though. They make me feel chicer than I actually am. As children, we understand glamour as something intriguing, and we see it in our favourite adults, and wish for it ourselves. Whether its me and the nails, or my young cousin who wanted nothing more than hair long enough to tie into a ponytail. I know kids who are fascinated by painted nails, by heeled shoes, by handbags…

But what about adult me? I still love long nails, long hair and make-up. I feel glamorous in retro styles, in dresses and heels, in good lingerie. Lizzie, of The Girl Who Cried Fashion, is someone I think is very glamorous. I’ve never seen her looking anything less than fantastic. She is, or at least appears to be, the sort of woman who is well-dressed in a well put together outfit even if she is lounging at home with a hangover. When we worked together, our regular meetings always left me in awe of her somewhat. Our morning meeting would see me tired, dressed in whatever was clean, usually with no make-up on, main-lining caffeine. Liz would have been up early, been to the gym before work and still found time for well-groomed hair, a full face of make-up and a chic outfit. The woman is class personified.

I don’t think glamour is all ‘look’ though. Glamour is in confidence, in the way you carry yourself. Glamorous women are graceful, elegant and a little bit mysterious. They’re women who dress well, but not showily, who know things about wine or good food, who are well-mannered and intelligent. But mostly I think we focus on appearance when we think about glamour. Put the word glamorous into Google image search and you get back pictures of old Hollywood beauties, high heeled shoes, evening gowns, immaculate heavy make-up, lingerie, cocktails and jewellery.

Why is it though that so many things that are seen to be glamorous are impractical? When I’m complaining my shoes hurt my feet, or I trip over the ends of my own coat going up the steep stairs to my flat, or I can’t open a tin because of my nails, I do feel a bit ridiculous. What weird brain-washing has made me idolise these things and want them, instead of a nice sensible pair of trainers? Is glamour just more beauty standards that we should be questioning? How do we decide which parts of it we do because we enjoy them, and what we do because we feel we should?



The Weekend Vlog: Safe Harbour does Star Wars

Bit chuffed that I remembered to vlog a little over the weekend, despite being away. This one is something of a Safe Harbour weekend vlog, rather than just a Caramel Latte Kiss one. Expect much geekery with Star Wars, table-top gaming and comic shopping. There’s also a lot of giggling from me, the cutest dog ever and too many caramel lattes.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel to be the first to see weekend vlogs and convention and event videos.

Friday Round Up

Friday Round Up

1. Love the bright berries around work at the moment. 2. Vampire fang jewellery for Halloween. 3. Misty start to the morning

I am beyond ready for the weekend. I’m up North this weekend with David, and I think we both need the break. It’s been quite the week at work.

Last weekend was a lazy one, which I actually ended up really enjoying. I’m still getting to grips with the new job, and it’s tiring trying to cram so much new information into my brain. I’m about to start studying for a Diploma in Professional Marketing too. It’s a distance learning course, so it’ll be evenings and weekends. I must be mad…

I don’t have much to report this week, as I’ve largely come home and laid on the sofa staring at Netflix. What an exciting life I lead.

This week’s links:
21 little known facts about The West Wing. I miss this show.
Joe Cornish and Shane Black on the list of possible directors for Gambit.
DC Bombshells and being a woman in comics.
5 tips to improve blog photos.
Snikt and Bamf is working on a Safe Harbour Card necklace. Safe Harbour? With Rogue and Gambit? Sound familiar, anyone?

Watching: I’ve just finished rewatching The Mighty Boosh, because Noel Fielding. It was less bizarre than I remember it being, and I’m now concerned about what happened to me since I last watched it.

Reading: Still working on Moriarty. I should get a lot read this weekend though, with the train trips.

Listening to:

Silk Spectre Cosplay Shoot with Sandy Smith Photography

Silk Spectre Cosplay

I’ve always been a fan of darker comics. It’s the reason I’m a DC fan, there’s often more grit than the shiny world of Marvel (which I do love too, of course). One of the most famous gritty comics is Watchmen. Watchmen was a limited comic book series published in the late 80s. It tells the story of a group of superheroes, from the 40s (Minutemen) and 60s (Watchmen), who helped America win the Vietnam war. With the threat of nuclear war hanging over them, the American government outlaw costumed vigilantes in 1985, and our heroes retire or begin working for the government.

One of these heroes is the Silk Spectre. The first Silk Spectre was Sally Jupiter (the second is Laurie, Sally’s daughter), a former waitress and burlesque dancer. Sally began fighting crime in around 1938, and become a huge sex symbol, whom villains didn’t really mind being caught by.

Sally Jupiter cosplay

Sally was soon invited to join the Minutemen, after her agent placed an ad in the paper seeking other costumed heroes. More It-Girl then superhero, Sally is the only Minuteman to have an agent…

I do love a not-quite-good guy, and Sally certainly fits that. Fame hungry and calculating, Sally saw her crime-fighting career as a stepping stone to stardom. Later, she pushes daughter Laurie into training to take over as Silk Spectre.

Watchmen Cosplay

I’m fascinated by pin-up girls, so the combination of 40s pin-up icon and costumed hero makes Silk Spectre a perfect character for me. I adore the costume designed for her for the Watchmen movie by Michael Wilkinson. To me, it feels much more classic pin-up than Sally’s look in the comics. Most of this costume was bought, I’m afraid, with layers of bodysuit and waist cincher and dance tights! The yellow ‘dress’ was made to my measurements by Stephanie Kyles. Steph is actually a bridal wear specialist, which made her a great choice for working with the floaty fabrics of Sally’s costume. She did a perfect job for me. In some of these shots, you can see the gorgeous corset style detailing at the neck.

Minutemen Cosplay

For this shoot, I worked with Sandy Smith Photography. Sandy’s a good friend of mine, and I’ve previously worked with him on a Lara Croft shoot. We wanted the location to fit with the glamour of Sally’s world, even if we couldn’t find anything era specific. We ended up using the bar of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in the Docklands, a few minutes walk from the convention. The staff were great, and were quite happy for me to climb all over their furniture and distract their patrons.

Silk Spectre costume

I really wanted to create the feel of those 40s pin-up babes and Sally’s burlesque past, and spent the week before looking at a lot of classic pin-up art for inspiration, as well as concept art and other cosplayers of Sally. Sandy totally understood what I wanted, and created this gorgeous warm light, designed to create those deep shadows. The bar is actually a lot more modern than these photos suggest, but with clever lighting, it feels like the darker world of Watchmen. We worked from a selection of reference images, with poor Sandy crawling around on the floor to get the angles he wanted, and David providing posing instructions, holding a light bar and trying to watch the Rugby at the same time. Photoshoots are so glamorous…

Silk Spectre 1

Working with friends on shoots is always enjoyable, but I especially enjoyed this one. I felt much more relaxed than I usually do for shoots and had a lot of fun playing pin-up, even when we went out in the rain to get the shot above! Sandy did a beautiful job, and I love these pictures more every time I look at them. Sally will most definitely be coming back out for more shoots and conventions next year, with a few little tweaks to the costume. I actually am talking to one of my favourite cosplay photographers about a location shoot for Sally sometime at the start of next year. I won’t say any more yet, I don’t want to jinx it, but I’m so excited.

Silk Spectre Pin-Up

What do you think? How did we do?