I always get super excited to go back to the North East, it still feels like my home! I don't think that'll ever change. This past weekend I got to spend a lovely wintery day in Northumberland where I got a bit camera happy. These were all taken in and around Blanchland, after a terrifying night in which I was convinced the ghost of Dorothy Forster was coming for me (what had happened, in fact, was that I'd kicked the hot water bottle off my bed unknowingly, and thus was actually haunting myself, which is... absolutely as ridiculous as it sounds. Nice one, Alice.)
I really love grey squirrels. I've had a complete change of heart about them recently, having grown up being told that grey squirrels are bad and horrible - in the UK, and elsewhere in Europe, the grey squirrels were brought over here and have since mostly displaced the red squirrels as they're just... better at surviving, pretty much. We have a pretty weird nostalgic attachment to red squirrels, which are very cute. But still, grey squirrels are just little fuzzy animals doing their best. We brought them over here, it's on us. Not them.
Anyway, I had a day trip to York this past weekend and had a lot of fun with the squirrels in Museum Gardens! They're super friendly and ran right up to me when I made my mouse noises at them, I'm clearly some kind of rodent pied piper. I wasn't even offering them food. Just look at these precious little babies!
Fair warning: I'm about to get really soppy about rodents in this post. I can't help it. I am genuinely delighted every day to wake up and see three tiny little animals living happily in my house with me and I literally haven't shut up about it since we first got the hamsters. Animal people are rolling their eyes at me constantly (and this includes Gavin, who's had every rodent under the sun) but this is still super new to me! I wasn't allowed animals when I was little (with the one exception of a Syrian hamster when I was 10), I've never had family members with animals, and I didn't even know I would enjoy having animals so much.
But, um, I do. As you might have noticed. Almost as much as Piemur loves cornflakes.
Today I have rediscovering my poor, dusty Pullips! According to Flickr, the last time I took a photo of a Pullip was January 2013... yikes. I dug them out and had a little wig switcheroo to mix things up - this is my Pullip Eos wearing a grey fur wig that's usually on my Taeyang Gyro.
I had a pretty intense Pullip phase circa 2010, I think, but it's been years since I bought any new ones. I think the main appeal (and I'm sorry, Pullips, to insult you this way) was that they were a beautiful compromise between BJDs (which are expensive) and Blythes (which are also quite expensive) at comparatively cheap prices. They're so photogenic, as well! The matte plastic and their lovely face ups just photograph so beautifully. The downside: their stock wigs and bodies can be a bit iffy, quality-wise. I'm a little behind on the situation these days, but I always re-wigged mine and generally re-bodied (Eos is still on her type 4, but the legs and hands fell off twice taking these photos, so point proven!)
So I have a pretty serious growing addiction to Funko Pop figures, along with the rest of the world, apparently. It's awesome! The new(ish) Forbidden Planet in Leeds has a whole WALL of them and it is wonderful and hazardous. I let myself have a few accidents on my birthday.
I dithered for ages over whether to get the regular Princess Bubblegum, or the SDCC glow in the dark version which was a little more expensive. I went for the glow in the dark in the end, and it's MAGIC. Her entire hair piece glows and it looks awesome. I love all the Adventure Time figures - every character looks cute as a Funko Pop doll - but the Adventure Time characters are just especially precious.
The other cutie I bought was Lady Sif, because I am in love with her armour and weapons, so detailed and beautiful!
It probably won't come as a surprise to anyone that I love everything with oversized heads and eyes. Speaking of which, it was for my 18th birthday that I first ordered myself a Blythe doll! Since I just turned 25, it's coming up seven years of my big-headed toy appreciate life. Wow. Time flies when you're buying overpriced plastic and dressing it up like people, huh?
... seven years and I still haven't found a way to describe my doll hobby that doesn't sound a little bit ridiculous. It is a bit ridiculous. I love it.
Hello again! I've been very busy in my blogging absence. I turned 25 (gasp!), got my MA results back (all good!), and had an awesome weekend at Thought Bubble. I'm still recovering. Rather fittingly, here is my weekend summarized in a comic!
My (somewhat reluctant) Halloween model this year is Piemur with a tiny pumpkin we bought specially for some photo ops! He was not sure about it at all, and had to be tempted with crushed weetabix (his favourite.) He clearly wasn't feeling very spooky...
I like how by calling this post 'Lazy Saturday', I am implying that the rest of my week was super action-packed and busy, and I'm having a well-earned weekend break. Er, not so much... October always kind of throws me. It gets colder and darker and I think essentially, my inner dormouse is trying to hibernate.
The plan for today was to actually put on actual clothes, leave the house, and go on an autumn day trip. Whoops. Instead - hamster cuddles, games, slow cooker magic, and lazily-iced baking. The hamsters don't usually get up until after midnight (lazy buttfaces) but Sputnik made a special appearance! I love that cute little fluffball.
Artful drizzling of glacé icing is not a skill I possess. But also not a skill I try terribly hard at. I love piping buttercream neatly and beautifully, but glacé is my lazy go-to when I just want to get baked goods in my tummy ASAP. Sorry, glacé, I don't deserve you.
Just a few cute shots of my Pop Bobblehead Groot going incognito in the leaves after an October shower. Autumn has definitely arrived with October. September wasn't sure, but October means business. (The slanket is out of storage. I'm ready.)
So, of course, I took a doll friend with me to Bruges. I took Ariel, my Alexis Emerald, because she was a present to myself for my undergrad graduation, and it just felt kind of appropriate, given I'd just handed in my postgrad dissertation (although I won't get my marks back and actually graduate for a few months yet.) I'm so glad I snapped her up back in 2012, she's beautiful.
I still have a bunch of photos of our mini-break to share yet, but I thought I'd collect all of Ariel's one-sixth sightseeing together first!
There is a new tiny rodent living with us! His name is Piemur, and he is a six week old baby tricolour mouse. He is the cutest tiniest little poop factory I have ever had the honour of being pooped on by. He's only been here 48 hours, and he's already super friendly and excited to come out and play when we open the door of his cage. (Anne McCaffrey fans, you might recognise his name...)
Unlike any other animal I've ever met, driving him home was a dream. He curled up in his carrier and slept quite happily along the M62.
Setting up his cage has been amazing fun, because mice are really agile climbers (pretty much the opposite of the hams, who bumble about very happily at ground level.) I bought some super cute fabric with little field mice on and whipped up some fleecy hammocks for him which have gone down a treat. We're getting an even better sense of just how much he loves to climb now he's here, so we'll need to fashion more exciting things to dangle from his cage.
The breeder we got him from took a lot of photos of his litter as they were growing up, so we have a lovely bunch of photos of him in various stages of baby mousehood.
He's such a sweet little guy and I'm excited to get lots of mouse cuddles. And maybe teach him basketball.
This is probably not all that impressive, but I have successfully propagated a baby succulent! (Like I said, not terribly impressive, but I'd never done it before!) I bought the parent plant almost a year ago when we first moved in as a sort of house-warming present for myself, and I gave the baby plant to my sister as she moved into her new house this week. A chain of house-warming succulents!
For your propagating needs, this blog post is super useful. I'm actually ashamed to say I have no idea what kind of succulent the parent plant is, as it came in a cute little Ikea multipack without plant names. I think it might be an aloe? When it flowered last winter, it grew an absurdly long stem with a flower on top, which I am told is an aloe hallmark. We had to actually open up the top of our Socker greenhouse it grew so tall, it looked so bizarre (but very pretty!)
I've been a little absent from the blogosphere over the past few weeks - finishing my MA dissertation, recovering from the trauma of handing in my dissertation, and then spending the past few days on a last-minute holiday in Belgium! I have a tonne of photos to share, but for now, here are just a few from a boat trip on the canals, featuring Fidel, the famous golden Labrador that naps on a windowsill all day. What a life.
One of the magical things my student card does is get me into York Minster for the excellent price of free! It's become a habit of mine to go there after my dissertation meetings to wind down a little. Not that the meetings are stressful, my adviser is lovely and everything's gone amazingly to schedule! I just need some time out. I had my last ever meeting this week, and my last ever post-meeting Minster wind down, all the school holidays had ended and it was lovely and quiet.
York Minster is beautiful from the outside, and I'm a big fan of the grotesques. The rose window you can see in the photo above is the Heart of Yorkshire, and superstition goes that if you kiss in front of it, you'll stay together forever. (I keep trying to get a photo of myself and a packet of hobnobs outside, but I've always chickened out when the tourists start looking at me weird. One day, I will do it. I will.) The inside is probably my favourite, though. It's just so lovely!
The Great East Window is currently being restored by the York Glaziers Trust, so while you can't actually see the window itself, there is a huge bonus in that you can actually get a really close look at some of the restored early 15th century stained glass panels in the Orb. It's so amazing.