As several members of Jason’s extended family have moved to the Norfolk area, we have visited the area a lot. The problem is most of our visits coincide with family events (weddings or birthdays). So our time in Norfolk involves seeing family and not enjoying the countryside.
On our most recent visit to Norfolk we wanted to this visit to see more of this county. When planning our trip we set aside two days for exploring along with catching up with family. We figured one day we would visit and stately home and the other plan a visit to the beach.
I did some research into stately homes in Norfolk, the obvious house to visit would have been the Sandringham Estate, as it is the Queen’s country home. However, after our research we decided we wanted to visit Houghton Hall, because of its collection of modern art.
The inside of Houghton Hall has several state rooms for you to visit including Sir Robert Walpole’s library. The grounds contain a deer park and beautiful walled garden. Hidden among the garden where a beautiful rustic temple made of wood, beehives and a mini orchard.
Our real reason to visit the Hall was the amazing collection of Contemporary Sculptures in the gardens. The artwork includes one of James Turrell’s Skyscape pieces, Waterflame and Scolar Rock.
Norfolk has some amazing beaches, based on recommendations from our family we decided to visit Wells next to Sea. The beaches are beautiful like a picture postcard, a wide open space with miles sand, views over the bay and multicoloured beach huts.
The Wells also has a working harbour. You can talk a leisurely walk along the harbour wall or get the mini train to the town. We took a slow walk playing Pokemon Go along the way. We looked around the town, watched people crabbing and brought some sticks of rock candy. Before treating ourselves by having fish and chips for our dinner, and eating ice cream on the walk back to the car.
Once again, I am behind at writing my coffee drinking adventures, as part of my 100 cups of coffee project. Most of these coffees are from the spring.
On a rare occasion in early May, Jason and I had a weekend meeting in near London Bridge. This was the perfect chance to visit Borough Market and do a little shopping. No trip to the market is complete without a visit to Monmouth Coffee!
I have mentioned before that I love the @breakfastlondon instagram account, and use it for recommendations for new brunch spots. As Ling and I hadn’t met up of a while we thought we would try one of these places and have a fabulous spring brunch on the terrace of Urban Pantry.
May (along with November) is Birthday month in our family. As much as I love buying presents for my family, I also find it stressful, so I tend to treat myself during a successful shop, to a break and cake!
When I was reading Rebel in the Sands, I was looking at photos of the book on Instagram, and I noticed a lot to mentions of Artisan Coffee Shop. This is one of my favourite coffee spots, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover the book was part written in the shop.
Finally, at the end of May to celebrate my sister’s birthday (and my successful present buying skills). We went for lunch at Valentina’s. Our favourite Italian restaurant have a bottomless lunch on Sundays, after drinking several glasses of prosecco I needed a coffee!
What is #100cupsofcoffee? You can read about the project here.
You can see all the photos from the #100cupsofcoffee project on Instagram.
For this months 6 on 6 as always I had to include a Tsum Tsum. Originally, I only planned to collect the Star Wars or Marvel versions. However when I saw the “Dory” version Disney released to conjunction with the release of Finding Dory, I had to change my mind.
When I posted my 6 on 6 photos for March, I mentioned I acquired a collection of Star Wars tins. This R2D2 version has moved around over the years. First it was in my bedroom for a while, holding odd buttons, then ear-rings and odd ear-ring backs. Now it is on my desk holding paperclips.
As you may know Batgirl is my favourite character. So I adore buying anything Batgirl themed (yes I own Batgirl knickers and pyjamas), the very first Pop Vinyl figure I brought was Batgirl. It is also my favourite Pop Vinyl. Shortly, after buying her I also brought the Dorbz and Mopeez versions.
Another blue cowl. I love Pez dispensers, but don’t really like the sweets. This year, I have found several stores are selling geeky Pez dispensers. So far I have brought a Darth Vader, Minion and several Marvel comic characters including this Captain America one.
As I Londoner I always carry around my trusty Oyster Card. (The contact-less payment system used on public transport in London). I know I could use Apple Pay or credit card, but I love my Oyster Card. Maybe one day they will offer Oyster Card Nails.
Finally, my beloved Team GB t-shirt (and scarf), which I had to include as the Rio 2016 Olympics started this weekend. I become obsessed with the Olympics in 2012. We were lucky enough to attend several sporting events and spend a lot of time in our fabulous city enjoying the extra events laid on. (You can read about my adventures during the London 2012 Olympics here.)
Currently Watching… I have re-discovered my love of the Gilmore Girls. When Netflix began streaming the show at the start of the month I immediately started to binge watch it. It had been a few years since I watched this programme and it was lovely to re-visit Star Hallow and my old friends The Gilmore’s. Currently Playing… Like the rest of the world, this month I became obsessed with Pokémon Go! I also joined in the Pokémon Q&A on Epicfied blog, me and other geeky bloggers talk about our experiences as Pokémon fans. Currently Loving… Trailers!
San Diego Comic Con was last weekend, after all the big announcements the internet for flooded with trailers for upcoming movies. One of my favourites was the trailer for the new Wonder Woman movie.
Before I start the review of The Killing Joke, there are a few things you need to know about me. I grew up loving the Batman: Animated Series. If you ask me who my favourite Joker is, I would reply Mark Hamill. As I have mentioned before Batgirl and Robin are my ultimate OTP.
Along with Star Wars, Batman was one of my first fandom. The first graphic novel I ever read was Knightfall. When I began reading collecting comics a friend recommended The Killing Joke. To this day it has remained one of favourite books.
As you can imagine I was over the moon when they announced they were turning the story into an animated movie. I had always thought The Killing Joke (and Long Halloween), would make an amazing movie. To me the book read like a movie. My excitement for this movie was heighten when I heard the original Batman: Animated Series team would be working on this film.
The Killing Joke is infamous for two reasons it is seen as the origin story for The Joker and it is the story line that shows when Barbara Gordon was paralysed. Whether the story line part of the Batman canon varies. Pre-Flashpoint tales like No Mans Land or Hush feature Oracle (Barbara Gordon’s new alter ego), where the Batgirl of Burnside story line ignore The Killing Joke.
As you may know The Killing Joke is a short graphic novel, to counteract making a short film. They created an original story line explaining Barbara Gordon’s last days as Batgirl and why she retired her cape and cowl. As a result, almost turns into two mini movies or episodes of the TV show.
The “Batgirl” story line is just awful! Batgirl is regularly dis-empowered and shown as a sexual object. She shown as being desperate for Batman’s approval and affection. The movie begins with Batgirl explaining how she is Batman’s sidekick, there is no mention of the rest of the Bat-family. (I’m assuming this is post-Jason Todd and Dick Grayson is in Bludhaven).
This Batgirl is objectified by the bad guy, Paris Franz. He calls her hot and his special girl. A red-head prostitute explains how Franz made her wear a black cowl during sex. Later Franz manipulates Batgirl into doing his bidding just by flirting with her. Another bad guy proclaims “it must be her time of the month” after she beats him up.
Her relationship with Batman is even worse. He disapproves of her and she desperately tries to please him. When they finally do have a conversation and physical altercation it ends with Batgirl stripping off and kissing Batman.
When Batgirl isn’t shown as a sex toy of the criminals and vigilantes of Gotham she is portrayed as a love sick puppy librarian. There are several scenes where Barbara is chatting to her gay work colleague about her messed up relationship with he yoga teacher (aka Batman). This gay best friend character is based on every gay stereotype that exists.
There were a few good scenes in this part of the story. Batgirl’s fight scene whilst trying to escape from the apartment, and a glimpse of her detective skills as she hacked into the police camera to track down Franz. But for the main part it is just shows Batgirl as a weak, submissive woman.
As for the second half to the story, the one that does not include Batgirl, this does not disappoint. The pages of Alan Moore’s novel appeared on the screen, his words are transformed into the dialogue of the movie. Bruce Timm recreated many of the iconic images of Brian Bolland artwork perfectly onto the screen. Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy reprise their roles as The Joker and Batman wonderfully.
As in the graphic novel the rape of Barbara Gordon is implied at and not seen. Jim Gordon’s torture and systematic humiliation are sinister but not terrifying. The story line is still extremely disturbing, it is definitely not safe for children.
Whilst watching this film, I kept asking myself “is this why I haven’t had a Batgirl movie?” I know producers know how to make movies with decent female characters. I have even seen female comic book characters portrayed well onscreen like Black Widow or Hope Pym. The Jessica Jones TV programme also showed a female lead comic book adaption can work. So why was this so bad.
For our last day at Star Wars Celebration, we headed to the Excel Centre early, to collect our wristbands for the Closing Ceremony. Rather than waiting in the long morning queue, Jason and I had breakfast in the local pub, where we were joined by our friend Matt. As Matt was getting inked at the Tattoo Pavilion, he too had to be at Celebrations bright and early.
Once inside the Convention, Matt had a quick chat with Adam Guy Hays (the tattooist). Jason and I chatted to a journalist from The Verge, who would be live-streaming the tattooing on their Facebook page. (You can see the highlights and finished tattoo here).
Whilst Matt was being tattooed, Jason and I meet up with his family. It was nice to experience Celebration with children, like me they adored the Lego play area. They also had a lot of fun looking at all the Star Wars themed art (they are both budding artists).
We ended the day, and our Celebration experience by watching the Closing Ceremony. I am obviously excited for the release of Episode VIII next year. It was also fun to finally get official confirmation that Alden Ehrenreich will be playing the young Han Solo.
When I began talking about my Star Wars Celebration experience I mentioned how I had Con-Envy at the when I see social media posts about other people’s convention adventures. The truth is I still had some Con-Envy even though I attended Celebration. There was so much going on we missed out on so much. Whilst we queued for the official store, our friends got to watch Mark Hamill take-over the Star Wars Livestream. We had to watch the record version of the Rogue One panel, when we got home. We even learned on social media Ash (one of my favourite bands) had played a Star Wars themed gig, as a pre-Celebration party. Whilst it was a wonderful experience and one I look forward to doing again, I guess I will always Con-Envy, as everyone experiences will be very different.
Before I start talking about our experiences on Day 2 to Star Wars Celebration. I want to talk about my outfit, I don’t normally do “what I wore today” type posts. But I felt this outfit warranted an Outfit of the Day post on Instagram.
The jacket was actually a last minute purchase from Her Universe, but when it arrived I fell in love. This outfit was meant to be wore at Celebration, it is definitely something I that will translate into my everyday wardrobe.
Now on to the actual day. Jason and I spent the majority of the day just “walking” the convention floor. The previous day we had missed out an entire section of Celebration, so our aim in the morning was to see as much as possible. We stopped by the R2 Builders Club, to see the fan built robots – including an amazing Lego BB-8. Then was watched the High-Performance RC demonstrations, where they re-enacted the destruction of the Death Star with amazing remote control ships. I would love an X-Wing model for Christmas.
Of course, one of the main things to do at Star Wars Celebration is to shop. There were hundreds of stalls selling all kinds of Star Wars merchandise. Everything from teapots to duvets, books to computer games and lots of wonderful figures. You maybe tempted into thinking shopping is a fun away to avoid queuing but you would be wrong, the average queuing time for the official Celebration store was 90 minute!
Rather than pause of lunch, we grabbed a snack and ate in the back of the Madame Tussaud’s panel. I had been to Madame Tussaud last summer, but it was interesting to hear all about the process of making the figures and sets. This also gave us the chance to preview the new Rey figure, which will be released later this year.
The big news on Day Two come from the Star Wars: Rebel panel. The re-introduction of Grand Admiral Thrawn to the Star Wars Canon. Whilst at university I used to read the Expanded Universe books, this was pre-Episode One, reading these books was my only link to the Star Wars Universe. In these books Thrawn was the perfect post-Emperor villain, so I am pleased to see him back.
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Over the years, I have had awful envy (or Con-Envy), when it comes to conventions. Whether it is San Diego Comic Con, Star Wars Celebration or D23. I sit at home and watch all the live streaming. (Which often ends up being late at night because of the time difference). I dream I could be there. I get jealous of all the exclusive clips fans there get to see, I admiring all the cosplay and I flick through the photo people share on social media, thinking one day.
Now, turn back the clock to last April. I was watching the live stream of the Closing Ceremony of Star Wars Celebration. They announced Celebration 2016 would be in London, in my home town! No longer would I have Con-Envy, I could now be one of those people posting photos online! Within 24 hours I had ordered three-day passes for Jason and I, exchanged several messages with friends about all the plans we were going to have to make and started a SWCE merchandise fund.
Then finally, last week it arrived! I picked up our tickets from the event before the big day, so we could have a later start of the first day. The downside to this was that we missing out on getting wristbands for the Rogue One panel. On the plus side we avoided a lot of the queues. Although we still had to queue for over 30 minutes to get our bags searched but then we walked straight in.
Once inside we headed straight for the “Ahsoka: Untold Tales” panel. Jason and I both love The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels. Snips, is definitely our favourite character, so the idea of hearing more about her from the creators excited us.
This panel did not disappoint, they discussed the early planning stages of creating her character, where they saw the character going if The Clones Wars had future seasons and hinted at a possible return of Ahsoka. They also announced a book based on her time between, Clone Wars and Rebels (including what how she survived Order 66) and probably the most exciting thing a Ahsoka Pop Vinyl figure!
This years, Celebrations was all about Rogue One, It was the largest panel on the first day. There was also an amazing exhibition showing off all the costumes, and some props from the film (including the new TIE Stikers ships). We spend the remained of our morning looking at the exhibit and then paused for lunch.
For lunch we meet up with some friends in the bar area. There we once again had to queue, this time for over 45 minutes to get served. Then rushed eating and drinking to watch the streaming of the panel.
It wouldn’t seem right to talk about Day One without mentioning the amazing footage of Rogue One. I loved all of it especially, the clip of Canary Wharf tube station being transferred into the set overnight for filming.
Before taking my photos this month, I was chatting to Jason about the challenge complaining I didn’t have anything yellow to photograph. Immediately, he suggested Minions or The Simpsons. I remembered this Minions USB stick he brought me a few years ago. Which I have never used, it just sits in a mini box with paperclips on my desk.
Both Jason and I used to love The Simpsons, I’m embarrassed to admit I haven’t watch it in years. We used to have a lot of Simpsons merchandise, t-shirts, figures and even Simpsons magnets on the fridge. Now all I could find were the box sets of early seasons on DVD.
I love including tsum tsum in my 6 on 6 photos, when hunting in my collection for a yellow plushie. All I could find was the C-3PO. Yes I know in the movies C-3PO is golden, but this tsum tsum is definitely yellow!
Don’t you just love the expression on the little Lego figures? I adore how each little head has its own features, a cheeky smile, eyelashes or stubble.
As a stationary addict, I love looking for cute sticky notes, however there is something lovely about a classic, yellow post-its. I used them regularly, whether to write a little reminder for myself to stick to my mirror. Or to make longer lists to stick on my laptop.
I mentioned in a blog post last summer, that at this time of year, I love decorating our house with floral bunting. Or filling each room with fresh flowers. This year I have bought yellow and orange flowers to display in the Orla Kiely coffee jars I collected last year.
I planned on taking these photos last month – ready for June’s 6 on 6 challenge, but time got in the way and I didn’t get a chance to take all six photos. However, I figured I would take the extra photos and post them a late. First up I had to include something from my tsum-tsum collection, and chose fluffy Chewbacca.
One of my favourite photography blogs suggests taking photos of Lego mini-figure to improve your photography skills. Mini-figures are great for practising macro-photography, but also portable enough to carry around and add a little dimension to your everyday shots. So I am going to try to include more Lego in my 6 on 6 photos.
I have never felt comfortable taking photos of yarn, my photos never seem to show the real colour of the yarn, or the tones and texture. I have experimented this month, using different light sources and backgrounds to get the “correct” colour.
Originally, I was going to take a photo of a cup of coffee – but I figured there are enough photographs of coffee on my blog, so I included my other guilty pleasure, KitKats! One day I would love to go to Japan and try all the weird and wonderful flavours they have there.
I planned on going to the park and taking some photos of ducks, however they were all hiding this weekend, so instead I captured this wooden sculpture. “The Reach” was part of a collection of chainsaw sculptures places in London parks before the 2012 Olympics.
When I brought my camera I also purchased a black nylon bag to carry my camera. The truth is, it was ugly! When looking for lenses on Amazon, my suggested purchased included this vintage looking bag, which is more my style. It still has the padded pockets, and I actually like carrying this bag around town.