Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Heroes & Villains Fan Fest 2018 - Sunday

Once again, I took advantage of the copious croissants at the hotel breakfast buffet. I drank a bunch of orange juice and thieved more Babybels. I checked out of the hotel, but left my backpack in the luggage room so I was unencumbered by it during the day. Originally, I planned to go out to Highgate Cemetery to wander and take some totally gothic photos, but the Northern Line was partially down and I was just too tired to deal with a million rail replacement buses.

So, using the pass that Adam/Harvey Bullock had given me the day before, I decided to go back to the con. Holly and Ali were really excited when I told them that I was heading over, which made me feel like I'd made the right decision. I waited for them to arrive and drifted around, looking around at the cosplayers. I saw the COOLEST Negasonic Teenage Warhead - this girl honestly looked exactly like her, so amazing! When my pals arrived, they were dressed as Jonathan 'Scarecrow' Crane and Jervis 'Mad Hatter' Tetch, and looked brilliant!

I made a snap decision to go and see Robin again, simply because I won't see him for another year (at least). Ali joined me in the queue. We got to the table as Robin was grabbing a tissue. He said, "I'm gonna blow my nose." and I was like 'um ok, you do that'. He said, "We're old friends now, so I can do this in front of you." I said, "Yeah, we go way back." and made his manager man laugh. He asked what we'd been up to last night, and I told him all about the lovely Italian restaurant we visited. Ali and I regaled him about Holly leaving her bag at Cory's table the day before, and let him know that he was going to have a photo op with her, Cory, and Ali shortly. He said, "I'll say 'where's your fuckin' bag?'" and we all fell about laughing. I asked Robin if he'd make a little video for Caz, who had asked me if that could be done. Of course he obliged, being the nicest man ever. She's still not over it!

My foot was hurting because of the falling-apart boots and the Nightmare Blister, and Ali's feet were hurting from her shoes the previous day, so we were grumbling and Robin said, "Aww, so you're just limping everywhere?" I said, "Yes, it's entirely your fault." and he said, "It's ok, we'll all limp into the future together!" I then explained that I hadn't liked the nice selfie we took on Saturday - "It's nothing to do with you, you look gorgeous but I look really weird and miserable. I'd like a photo where I look like I actually want to be here, instead of like 'oh yeah, just taking photos with this guy I hate'." and made Robin laugh again. We took another nice one and another ugly one.

He told me I'm beautiful (lol u blind) and gave me a great big hug before I left. His manager collared me and said, "I like your jacket, has Robin seen it?" (I was wearing my Banned umbrella cardigan) and Robin said, "I was just checking that out! It's beautiful!" I said, "Well, it'd better be, it cost thirty quid." His manager said, "You should come to America, something like that'd cost $100!" I quipped, "Well I can't go to America because I've spent all my money on him." and pointed at Robin, who looked sufficiently guilty. I added, "You're wurf it though." and then left, both of us blowing kisses and saying 'love you' to each other. Why is he so nice and fab ALL THE TIME?

Ali popped to the ladies' and Holly and I were loitering at Brandon Routh's table so Holly could eye him. A man who was working at the con was loving Holly's costume and chatting to us about our weekend. He pretended to become hypnotised by Holly's pocket watch, and accidentally walked into a passing man, which was extremely hilarious.

Holly and Ali had their photo op not long after that. I decided to just walk in with them, and somehow wasn't stopped. Sean passed us because he'd just done his photos ops, and I waved at him like the Queen, which made him laugh. I said, "Oh, I love Sean." and Holly asked, "Would you die for him?" (I've recently gotten into the habit of saying I'd die for people and things, and she'd picked up on this the day before), which I totally would. I saw the amazing Negasonic Teenage Warhead again, and pointed her out to my pals as I'd been raving about her earlier. We got her attention and told her how cool she looked. We also saw Cory go by to get to the photo ops, and I commentated, "Ah yes, here comes a long man.. He has sunglasses on, what a douchebag." You must understand that the meaner I am about someone, the more fond I am of them.

I just kind of floated into the photo 'studio' and no one stopped me when I explained I was Holly and Ali's 'bag lady' and would just sidle through. Robin spotted me and blew so many kisses, which I returned with interest. He's so cute, and I will never get over it. They got into their chosen photo position, and Holly asked Cory to be hypnotised by her. He suddenly started Acting, and was really convincingly dead-eyed and slumped over. It was pretty amazing to witness, and their photo came out so brilliantly!

Coming out of the photo op section, we again saw Andelle and Adam and had a catch-up with them about their day. I thanked Adam profusely for the pass he gave me as I was having so much fun. I told them about seeing Robin again and Ali chimed in, "Yeah I was kind of worried he was gonna, like, abduct you." which I honestly wouldn't have had a problem with. We also wandered around the lovely stalls at the con - I was Very Skint by this point, so I didn't buy anything but there was a limited edition Pennywise Funko that I would have died for. Maybe someday I'll obtain him. Holly got a couple of cute pairs of earrings and was informed that there was a 3 for 2 deal on, so she let me pick something for myself! It was so kind of her, and I got a black pendant with a green Riddler question mark on it. So, so cute! The man at the stall also gave us a lollipop each, which soon became a running joke with Holly and I because I ended up holding her lolly a thousand times as she took photos with people. It was hilarious after a while.

We saw the people we'd met the day before, and took some more mad photos, as well as with some new people we'd met. We also saw the one and only Jim Gordon cosplayer of the weekend, who looked amazing. They had the Ben McKenzie 'yikes face' completely down, and it cracked me up. A significant amount of time was spent all yelling "GCPD!!" at each other. One of our favourites was a guy who was dressed as Scarecrow, complete with a noose around his neck. We'd seen him wandering around the day before, and had to approach him again to take photos and tell him how cool he was.

Ali was leaning against this dividing wall thing that Cory's table was behind. She leaned a bit too hard and it MOVED. We were all screaming and laughing because she could have squished Cory, which would have been hilarious of course. Holly wanted a version of their photo op printed out, so we went to a stall that was doing printouts of people's photos (really good idea, actually - they must've made a killing). While up there, we looked down onto the main floor to spot our friends and we saw a dinosaur randomly walking/dancing around. It was someone in one of those dinosaur suits, and it was so entertaining. The printing place also had some digital artwork on the walls and Holly was agonising over a Deadpool piece. I eventually convinced her by yelling, "Nihilism is good! Get the Deadpool poster!"

We eventually had to leave the con because we were all heading home that evening. I went back to the Hilton with Holly and Ali so they could grab their bags, as we needed the same train for a couple of stops. As Holly emptied and re-packed her entire suitcase, I heard a pair of German people discussing something, and eavesdropped because I like to practice listening to native speakers to improve my own German. I figured that they needed a restroom and quickly said, "Oh, did you need a bathroom?" then directed them to the nearest one. They were really grateful, and I felt like a Really Nice Person.

When I'd said goodbye to my pals, it was really sad because we'd had such a blast and we don't really get to see each other normally (though we're hoping to see Venom together later this year - yaaaaas Tom Hardy). I told them I adored them a million times, then hopped off of the train. I picked up the Backpack of Holding from my hotel and got over to Victoria. I had a McDonald's and read on my phone to pass the time until my coach was due.

The ride home was equally as painless as the journey out. I felt so content and pleasantly sleepy. Reflecting on the weekend, I felt really happy because I could notice the difference between this year and last year. Last year, I was in the midst of my horrible depression and I was quieter, not really acting like myself. It was a testament to how well I've done with recovery so far that I was so much more like my usual self, charming people and making everyone laugh. I enjoyed everything so much more, and was more determined and able to get to all of the guests I wanted to meet this time. I'm also so full of love for Holly and Ali, who were just fab, hyping me up and keeping me company. They kept saying that they loved having me around, which is always such a nice thing to hear. Their presence helped to make this year's HVFF a million times more fun and exciting, I adore them!

When I finally got home, exhausted and happy, the Nightmare Blister had gotten bigger. On that pretty disgusting note, my London trip ends. I miss the city already, as I always do. Here's a link to the HVFF website, by the way!

Kayleigh x

Monday, 28 May 2018

Heroes & Villains Fan Fest 2018 - Saturday

Just gonna pre-warn anyone reading this: This is ridiculously long and excitable. Also, if you haven't seen all of Gotham season 4, there may be little spoilers ahead.

I actually managed to get my ass up with more than enough time, which is unusual. So I got ready quite leisurely. Similarly to last year, I had a meltdown with my eyeliner, but eventually got it to a 'that'll do' point. I had breakfast at the hotel, as it was included in my room rate. I ate a couple of lovely croissants, drank apple juice, and then took a handful of Babybels to stash in my bag for snacking purposes.

This year, I had to use a different entrance as I'd talked to accessibility services about my knee pain and collapse last year. They were so brilliant and gave me a 'place in line' card. Essentially, I go up to the staff at a guest I want to see and ask them to write down a time for me to return to the table, depending on approximately how long the queues will take. Then I can stay mobile, or sit and rest, instead of standing in the queue the whole time. Gonna just pause the storytelling here to say that the disability service and volunteers at the con were fantastic. They were all so helpful and made my experience at the con so much easier and less painful. I enjoyed myself 100% more and didn't have a collapse this year! So a big thanks to everyone who worked at the con and made it perfect for me.

There was a bit of waiting around until we got into the building to a 'quiet room' (which was not quiet because everyone was so excited). I got chatting to a Scottish lady called Jane and her son. They were really nice and helped pass the time in the quiet room, until we were finally let loose on the con. Luckily, on my way to the quiet room, I'd walked across the con floor and knew exactly where the Gotham cast's tables were. Of course, I beelined straight for Robin's table. I decided to wait for this one because it was the beginning of the day, and I was at the front of the general admission queue. There was a cool guy behind me who got his ear talked off by me while we waited.

Robin was a delight, as he always is. When I got to him, he immediately said, "I love your hair!" I replied, "You said that last year." and he said, "I did? ... I DID." before quickly adding "Well, it's still true, I love your hair!" Nice save. I said, "Well, you're consistent Robin, I'll give you that." which made him laugh. He liked the top I was wearing because it had umbrellas on it. His management guy asked if I'd like him to take a snap of us. I explained that I'd rather take a selfie because I am particular about my photo angles and 'this face doesn't help itself' - Robin said, "Oh STAWP." and pushed my shoulder. So I pushed his shoulder back and said, "YOU stawp!" and this continued for some time. I informed him that I'm left-handed so needed to be on his left to take the photos. He exclaimed that he was also left-handed, and I told him that all the best people are. We took a couple of photos and he very graciously did an ugly one too:

I was doing a '1 Second Everyday' thing for May, and asked Robin if he'd be in my second for that day, which of course he said yes because he's fab (I posted the month's montage on Instagram). Afterwards, I thanked him profusely and said, "You're such a sunshine kid and I just want to buy you the fruitiest cocktail." he said, "I wish!" and I joked that I'd come by and drop off £20 so he could grab one. He wanted another hug before I left and said, "Ahh, you're adorable." which is hilarious coming from him, the most adorable person ever. I told him that I usually get 'terrifying' or 'gloomy', so I was stepping up in the world. Always leave 'em laughing, my pals.

Holly and Ali had arrived while I was talking to Robin, so I went to them when I was done. They immediately wanted to know what we talked about and to see the photos, and Ali said, "He looked like he was having the time of his life talking to you!" which, let's be real, he probably was because I'm charming and wonderful (jk). We wandered around the con for a while and chilled together. Holly and I made a daring mission to a cupcake stand that looked delightful and got a whole box of cupcakes (well, 4 cupcakes, a brownie, and a slab of fudge). They were glittery, and so delicious! I ate my two cakes way too quickly.

I was due to see Cory, but his photo op ran over and he got collared by media, so I quickly got a return time for Sean and Drew while I was waiting. I figured I could see them both before the panel at 3pm.

I greeted Sean with a huge hug and he said, "Oh, hello there!" He also liked my top, and asked if Robin had seen it. I told him he had and that 'it's only a Primark shirt, Sean'. He said, "It looks GOOD on you though." Oy. I told him that my Mum said hi again, and he told me to 'send her my love'. He's such a gent. We went to take selfies and I asked if he could maybe hunch a bit because he's very tall compared to me. He bent his knees until he was even shorter than me, which was hilarious. We took a lovely picture, then I explained, "So, I'm doing a thing where I'm asking everyone to do ugly faces with me, and Robin's was really good-" Guys, I didn't even need to ask. Sean just said, "Right!" and immediately pulled a face, making everyone in the queue who could see us laugh. It was magnificent.

I said my goodbyes, and went over to Drew's queue. One of the volunteers ticked off Drew's name on my card and I said, "Oh, can you tick off Sean's name too, cause I've done him now." She reflexively muttered that she'd do Sean, and we fell about laughing. There was a girl chatting to Drew when I got up there, and she seemed a bit flustered. When she was done taking selfies, she started walking off without her signed photo and can of Arizona iced tea. Drew started saying, "Hey.. Hey!" to her and I blurted out, "OMG, DON'T FORGET YOUR TEA." Luckily, she came back and retrieved her things and Drew was laughing at me saying, "Yeah, forget the signed photo! Your tea!" I was a bit embarrassed because I don't think I did any favours for the English Stereotype.

The first thing I said to Drew was, "I'm gonna miss yoooooou!" (with my hands cupped around my mouth so I didn't spoil anything for anyone). He admitted that he was gutted about Butch's death, but still did the brave-face actor thing, where they say they're still happy they got the opportunity etc. He asked where I'm from and I couldn't bring myself to say the name of my horrible town, so I said, "Oh.. Southwest.. Just over the bridge from Wales, really. But don't think I'm Welsh." He laughed, but then I remembered that Erin Richards is Welsh, so that was another awkward bit for me. I told him I was in dire straits because my Mum is watching Gotham as it airs in the UK, so she's way behind. I said, "I just want to talk to her about it, it's so annoying!" He commiserated with me about how difficult that was. I then added, "I'm going to spoil it for mother." and made him laugh again. He was so incredibly animated and excited all day, and it was really uplifting and funny to hear his booming voice and laugh throughout the con. We got into selfie business (I actually let him take them because he's tall enough to get a ~good angle~), and I said, "Now you have to do an ugly one." he said, "But.. I'm so pretty!" but he did a great job anyway.

I finally managed to see Cory after that. The guy in front of me gave him a really cool drawing that he'd made. It took Cory a few seconds, then he was like, "Wait, you drew this?? Fucking HELL!" and raved about it. I asked him to show me it, and it really was a cool drawing. I wish I could draw, man. Of course I scolded Cory a little bit for having to cancel last year, but only gently. He's really cute and quiet in real life, it took me by surprise. He let me give him a hug (had to tiptoe though because he is a giraffe), and I said I was there for selfies. "Oh my GAWSH, let's take a selfie." Cory memed rather outdatedly. As with Sean, I asked if he could bend his knees a bit because he's so tall - Cory bent his knees slowly with a really benign smile on his face and it made me laugh way too much. We took a cute photo, then I said, "So I've been asking everyone to make ugly faces.. Robin is currently winning, so you have to beat him." I hadn't actually decided who had won at that point but I wanted to coax out any competitive spirit he had. He made a gallant effort, though I am annoyed about my weird Slenderman arm in the photos.

I was later asked by my pals about the first photo of us "Why is he, like, gazing at you?" I think it's his listening face, as I was telling him about the ugly selfies at this point, while snapping away indiscriminately.

Holly, Ali and I popped back to their hotel so Ali could change her shoes and so we could all sit down and recharge a little bit before the Gotham panel was due to start. I'm glad they were staying so close to the Olympia, it was nice to sit on a comfy bed instead of the floor for a while. On the way back to the con, we spotted Sean outside having a cig. He was surrounded by staff but we still took our time drifting past making hearts with our hands.

As we were attempting to barrel into the panel, we got talking to some Gotham cosplayers who were really funny and nice. One of them had a plush penguin with a tie on, and it was so adorable. I informed them that we'd just seen Sean outside and said, "He was smoking, and he was smoking if you know what I mean." I'm so funny I can't even stand it.

The panel was great, of course. They're all so funny and cute. This year we actually managed to get seats and I went and stood in the mic line with Holly so she could ask a question (so I had a good view of the panel). My favourite bits were Drew complimenting the person typing the closed captions as they spoke and trying to bamboozle them: "Batman. Bumblebee...... Antidisestablishmentarianism.", some girls losing their minds when Cory put his arm around Robin, and Cory singing Like A Virgin.

The last Gotham cast member I had to see was David, so I got to his line sharpish and was told I could go straight in as it wasn't busy again yet. Ali waited with me in line so she could say hi to him too. I'm glad she was there, otherwise I'd have had no one to scream to when my Mum called and informed me that I'm going to be an auntie again! I was about ready to burst into tears - such a great piece of news while I'm having an amazing day!

Also in the queue, we met two cool people called Andelle and Adam - she was dressed as a femme!Penguin and he was Harvey Bullock. They looked amazing, and were super fun to talk to. They appear again throughout the weekend.

The first thing David said to me after the initial greeting was that he liked my top. I told him that Sean had said the same thing, and that 'you two should be the last people to like this top!'. Ali said, "Oh shush, it's nice." and I said, "It was six pounds. SIX POUNDS, ALI." and David was laughing about my fervor. I let him know that Douchebag Auction Bruce (S04E03 They Who Hide Behind Masks) was one of my favourite Gotham bits of all time, and how brilliantly funny he was. He was so kind and charming and confident, which enrages me because he's so young. At his age, I was both foolish and annoying (still am, a bit).

I explained the ugly face marathon to him and as I went to ask if he'd partake, David said, "If you want ugly... That's what you're gonna get. I'm just warning ya." I told him it had better be really gruesome because I had some strong contenders already. We went to take a selfie and I said, "Can you turn and face the light, Batman?" because the lighting was really iffy. He did so while I observed, rather obviously, "You're so very tall." We took a nice one, and I said, "Right, now the ugly one?" to which he became very competitive and excited, shouting, "I WILL BE THE BEST. I'M GONNA WIN THIS." It was so funny, he's such a sweetie. I went to leave without hugging him, and he put his arms out to hug me. So adorable! And the top lad gave Ali a big hug too!

Before David, I'd gotten a return time for Robin's queue again because Ali had some Dreamies that she wanted to give him to take home to his cat. So after our conversation with Mini Bruce Wayne, we went to see Robin. He said "Hey again, my love!!" when he saw me and swooped upon me for a hug. He said a big hello to Ali and hugged her, and she handed him the cat treats. He said "Dreamies!? EXCELLENT. Finn'll love them!" He was so happy about them. I said, "They are technically for Finn, but if you really want to eat 'em there's no judgement here. Eat 'em with your Penguin biscuits." (someone had brought him a whole packet of Penguin bars, which was genius), and he was laughing, saying he'd be eating cat treats on the plane home.

Ali had her adorable selfies with Robin, then invited me to be in one. I said, "I have a problem with other people taking my photo." but Ali insisted, and Robin reached over and grabbed me around the waist to pull me to his other side saying, "We want you in the photo!" After that, Ali and I got a big, rather sweaty hug from him and he said, "SO good to see you again, darling, have a LOVELY weekend!" I don't think I've ever met anybody as sweet and sunshiney as him.

Ali and I were hanging out near Cory's table because Holly was queueing to see him, and Andelle and Adam reappeared! Andelle gave me a little umbrella pin that she'd made. It was a 'Pengy Award'; she'd made a bunch of them to give to Robin and also to Penguin cosplayers, but she let me have an honorary one, which was beautiful. Adam gave me a spare 2-day pass that he had, in case I wanted to go to the con again on Sunday (spoiler alert: I totally did). That was SO nice of him, the two of them really made my weekend.

Holly came over and was showing us the photo she got with Cory. Ali said, "Um, where's your bag?" and Holly almost died with embarrassment, realising she'd left it at Cory's table. She went back to retrieve it while we all hooted at her.

We also met other cosplayers, including a picnic!Ed and Kristen Kringle who looked absolutely brilliant. A magnificent and manic photo session ensued, which was so much fun. Everyone was so nice and excited.

When we left the con, we popped back to the Hilton so that Holly and Ali could change out of their costumes (I still maintain that they should've gone to dinner in cosplay). In the lift was us, some American guy, and a lady with a cane. The American guy was asking us all about what we were wearing and where we'd been. When the lady stepped out of the elevator, the guy said, "God, I thought she was with you and I was about to ask if her cane was part of her costume. I'm glad I didn't!" I was like "Good shout, Man-Who-Looks-Like-David-Lynch." and we went on our way.

We perused Google Maps for nearby eateries, deciding not to repeat last year and do Pizza Express. We found a little place called Cacciari's, and it was absolutely lovely. Proper Bologna-style food. I had a lasagne, Holly had some salmon, and Ali had pasta and pesto. We were all sufficiently impressed by the food. Ali had a panna cotta for dessert, while Holly and I settled for a Limoncello shot each. It was such a nice meal, the atmosphere was chill, and the staff were friendly and attentive. Definitely recommend!

After I bid goodnight to my pals, I had a really nice walk back to the in the balmy night. I was full of love for my friends, for the con, and for London. I was surprised when I got into the lobby, though - they usually played generic peaceful music, but for some reason they were playing Swalla by Jason Derulo. It was really jarring and made me laugh way too much.

Back in my hotel room I discovered that my boots had begun to fall apart again (second pair in three months, bah) and that a huge, gross blister had formed on the side of my heel. No bueno. I got into bed just as an amazing thunderstorm started up. It went on for ages, and I was curled up in bed watching it out of the window. Awesome!

This is the l-o-n-g-e-s-t post in the whole world. I am so not sorry.

Kayleigh x

Looking Around London

The coach journey to London was super easy, which makes a change. I had half-price Pick'n'Mix from Wilko so I was satisfied (even though those fizzy bubblegum bottles nearly blew my head off).

I made a pilgrimage to Whitechapel to go and look at the Blind Beggar. Whitechapel is so different to my idealistic view of it still being dingy and Victorian, where many murders take place. The pub was cool though!

Next, I went over to Monument and walked to St Dunstan in the East, which is a ruined old church that they've converted into a kind of garden. It's such a pretty, peaceful place - I wanted to take selfies like a true ~millennial, but I was too embarrassed because loads of businesspeople were having lunch there. I sat for a while because it was nice and quiet, and I was fed up with hauling my backpack around (technically Caz's 'Backpack of Holding', which was SO USEFUL and roomy!).

I checked into my hotel at 3pm. It was a similar building to the one I stayed in last year, but much nicer inside. The lobby was really fancy, for a 3-star hotel. They got me sorted really quickly and I finally got to shed some baggage. I stayed in the room for a bit, checking it out (also charging my phone). The room was small but cute, fine for what I needed it for. The bed was right beside the big window, and the bathroom was really modern and nice, with great lighting.

When I'd recharged a bit, I went all the way out to the old St Pancras churchyard (which is where Mary Shelley got engaged, weirdly), to see the Hardy Tree. It's named for the author, who helped to relocate a load of remains from the old churchyard when the railways were being routed through. Left with many gravestones, Hardy arranged them around an ash tree which was out of the way. These days the tree has grown around the graves and actually enveloped some of them. It's such a pretty and striking feature.

On my way up to King's Cross station, I accidentally found London's YouTube/Google HQ. I was really confused and said aloud "Oh, it's YouTube!?" and some guy walking down the street laughed companionably at me.

I went to Camden, because no trip to London is complete without it. I wandered up the High Street, feeling right at home as I always do there - it's the only place my angler fish shirt drew no notice. I'd decided to come out there for dinner, as I'd heard of a place called the CHEESE BAR, which could only be good. It's right next to the Amy Winehouse statue in the Stable's Market, and every food item has cheese in it. I had some mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce to start, and a four-cheese macaroni for my main. It was heavenly. The staff were really cool and friendly, and I took my time eating and hanging out there.

I did eventually get really sick of my own company, and my stupid Pre-Event Anxiety decided to kick in, making me worry that the weekend would be a crap waste of time and money. I told my pals Holly & Ali (who I met at HVFF last year) of my fears, and they invited me to their hotel to hang out. Which is how I ended up at the bar in the Kensington Hilton with a Cosmopolitan. We chatted until the middle of the night about Gotham, Deadpool, and tonnes of other stuff. I laughed a lot and they really helped to psych me up again for the con.

Wandered back to the hotel. The night was warm and it was a nice walk, I felt completely safe and serene. Had a hard time getting to sleep though, because I had X Gone Give it to Ya by DMX stuck in my head on a loop.

Kayleigh x

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Why I Suck At Blogging

I am crap at blogging. I post once every few months AT BEST, and even then my posts are pretty mediocre and uninteresting. When I think about getting back into it, I just feel like I have to, and that’s the worst for any kind of inspiration or creativity.

This is a relatively new phenomenon, if you can call the last 3-4 years ‘new’. I used to write all the time, without much thought or censorship. It’s a bit cringey to look back on now, but it had feeling and charm. I wrote a lot of fiction (including fanfic, GET OVER IT), and blogged more or less daily about my little life because things were fun and funny. I don’t know, I guess I thought people gave a crap about what I did that day and my opinions. Ah, the folly of youth. As an adult, though, I find myself feeling more and more insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

I have kept journals, off and on, since I was about 12. Most of them have been burned to cinders or shredded by now (purging the negativity was cathartic af), but I still write in a journal as and when the mood takes me. Most of that is insanely depressing and ranty and not something that would entertain, interest, or inform anybody else. I’m working on including positive and funny things in the journal too and being more realistic about life, but that’s a Work In (Slow) Progress.

So the question I ask myself is: Why do I absolutely suck at blogging now?

I can think of a few reasons, all of which sound like excuses to myself. Maybe putting them out there will make it easier for me to think about and tackle them. Maybe someone will have some advice for me (hint hint).

  • There’s nothing going on in my life – everything feels stupid and empty, and I have nothing to comment on or talk about. When something does happen (like Heroes & Villains, or the Harry Potter Studio Tour last year), I will write about it, but my life isn’t interesting enough to make this a regular thing.

  • Depression and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome don’t help at all. I become uninspired and unmotivated. I also feel like literally no one would care about what I have to say, which is probably mostly true but I’m sure some people might read my waffle. I occasionally write short, short things about my life on my tumblr, stuff that I can’t stretch into a ‘real’ blog, and it gets little response. But writing the stuff down helps, and writing it online makes me feel like I have some kind of outlet where people can hear me.

  • I’m a lot pickier about my writing and content than I was when I was writing blogs daily. Before, it was a free-for-all, writing about my day and whatever the hell came into my head at the time. But I’m ~grown~ now, and I want people to actually read my writing. I’m not just writing for myself now. It’s hard to come up with ideas when you feel you have to write things of substance all the time.

  • Putting myself on a schedule has a phenomenal effect on my productivity. I just stop functioning! Writing becomes a chore and yet another thing to beat myself up about. I know one of the key features of a successful blog is consistency, and I am not even slightly consistent with anything, really. Maybe I can make it seem like a cute quirk, but I doubt it.

  • I have no photos of anything anymore (see the ‘nothing happening’ point), and if I do they’re not great quality. All I have to work with is my phone – I would love to have a fancy expensive camera, but at the moment that’s not feasible. I used to take photos constantly and yes, they were crap quality, but they had spirit dammit!

  • I’m hoping as I recover, and as my life becomes more interesting/fulfilling (lol), I’ll get back to a place where I can write with some regularity and write about interesting things. I do have a knack for writing, but natural talent only gets you so far. Without practice, you stagnate, which I think is what’s happening here. I’m trying my best to start practicing again – writing something, anything, most days. It’s a slow process but I hope that I’ll get back into the groove and that writing will come more easily again, like it used to. Meanwhile, if anyone has any tips or advice for me, I’d love to hear it. Seriously.

    I’ll be back again in another few months, probably. We’ll see.

    Kayleigh x

    Wednesday, 10 January 2018

    January Blues

    Ah, January. The start of a new year. All the gyms suddenly fill up, companies try to sell diet plans on the telly, and dry January becomes a thing. Everyone’s talking about their goals and resolutions, vowing to make this year the Best Year Yet. Social media is full of people talking about all of their exciting plans. I’m so guilty of this too (hard evidence as shown in my New Year Goals post); I think it’s in the back of a lot of people’s minds. It’s like the New Year fireworks were starting pistols on our aspirations for the coming year.

    Is it really good for us though? We put ourselves under enormous pressure to become immediately better – “New year, new me!” is a common phrase in January. But honestly, Christmas was only five minutes ago, and if you’re anything like me you ate a lot of a food that was terrible for you (my recently-lifted chocolate ban didn’t help matters). You probably also drank more alcohol and moved less. The weather was shite, which makes people feel miserable as it is. January is a post-indulgence slump and a weird, suspended time where people are easing back into work and everyday life. Nobody knows what day it is. Everyone feels a bit wistful because after all the months of planning, buying, and decorating, the festive period is over and everyone is grumpy again – it’s cold and we’re all skint. Looking at it like this makes me think we’re all mad for wanting to stress ourselves more with resolutions to look better, feel better, be better.

    Just because our calendars dictate that a new year has begun (I’m still pissed at Pope Gregory XIII for putting these constraints on us), doesn’t mean that you have to instantly change or attain your goals. I’m not magically well again and I need to stop holding myself up to ridiculous standards. Saying “Omg, it’s 10 days into 2018 and you’ve done NOTHING.” is really unhelpful. Quite aside from the fact that I have done things, there are 355-ish days left of the year, plenty of time to work on my list of goals for 2018. My ultimate downfall is trying to look really far ahead instead of focusing on smaller, more attainable tasks that will eventually add up to my Ultimate Goals. I think it’s an anxiety thing – constantly feeling like you’re running out of time, even though you objectively aren’t.

    It’s brilliant to have goals and to want to improve yourself and your life, obviously. But it shouldn’t come at the expense of your mental or physical health. Goals should be just that: something to work towards, and not beat yourself up over. Some things you want to do simply won’t be possible in the relatively short time of a year, and that’s ok. Part of my recovery process is learning to be a lot nicer to myself. It’s arduous as I’m incredibly, notoriously hard on myself and hold myself up to standards that I can’t possibly meet right now. Acknowledging the shitness of January and how crap I feel post-festivities, and the fact that “New year, new me!” is a positive statement and not an order, is part of my self-care. I need to make the time to feel rubbish for a bit, and get some rest.

    I think I will follow Chinese New Year (16th February) this year. I’ve decided, for my own mental wellbeing, that January is a write-off, a prep month for the actual year. Apologies to my Mum, Nan, Stepmum, best pal Lana, and everyone else who was born in January (happy birthday btw) – your month is crummy and I refuse to participate.

    I’m aware that my very sporadic blogging has been pretty negative of late, but let’s be honest - I’m not exactly in a positive place. Unfortunately you get all of me, including the shite. This post came completely by surprise; I was suddenly awash with the urge to write something about how shoddy it all is and seized that by the horns. Maybe next I’ll write about being the most half-arsed blogger of All Time. We’ll see.

    How do you tackle January blues and find motivation? How do you function like an actual person when everything’s a bit miserable? I’d love to hear your thoughts and strategies – so I can immediately nick them and try them out. Despite my moaning, I hope everyone, me included (being nicer to myself, see?), has a great 2018!

    Kayleigh x