Dealing with Frenemies: Don’t Dull Your Shine!

The word ‘frenemy’ was first introduced to me, like most things, via Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City. I think for different people it has grown to mean different things, but for me especially it was that instinctive feeling that someone you know and call a friend isn’t acting as friend should. This could be in the guise of barbed comments, not so secretly revelling in bad things that happen to you or just one of those ‘all take-no give relationships’. Whatever it is, your intuition is normally correct and chances are if you feel like something is ‘off’, it usually is.

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I dealt with some really horrible people in my younger and teenage years, and at age 28, I don’t really know why this still happens. A few long chats with my other friends has determined the most likely root is insecurity on their part rather than anything to do with you. I mean, why would they be bothering with you if they didn’t like you or admire you in some way, right? Whatever the reason, I’ve written some stuff below to help you identify a frenemy and how deal with them based on my own experiences. The main basis of this post was some form of therapy for me, and to hopefully see others identify points in their own relationships and think about them and how they affect you a little more.

Spotting a ‘frenemy’

  • Whatever you’ve done, they’ve done better – we’ve all met Mr. One Upper. You’ve been to a show? They went last week. You ran 5 miles today? They’ve ran 10. You’re sick? Of course, they’re sicker.Gary_Oak

 

  • They take ‘subtle’ digs at your appearance, lifestyle, other half, etc, often using humour to do so. – Insults followed by jokes, putting you down (again ‘jokingly) in front of others, insincere compliments, stuff about you but not really (such as ‘I think tattoos are gross’, when you have one). All these are not innocent, and are said to make you feel about this big.
  • They aren’t supportive when you succeed – Regardless of if your achievement is you’ve finally found that hairband you lost down the back of the couch, or you’ve won the Nobel Prize, your friends should be who you can go to and share your joy. If you feel a frosty reception when you share success at something, or are at the receiving end of another barbed comment with an insult thrown in, you have a frenemy on your hands.tumblr_llw7hj1CeN1qdzjvr
  • You find yourself diluting what you say, and not being your true self around them– The worst thing about being bullied, which is basically what these toxic relationships are, is that draining feeling where you can’t share things through fear of the sarcastic or unenthused reaction you will receive. If you can completely and unashamedly be your true, amazing self around someone with no fear, those people are your true friends for life.

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  • They are insensitive about your feelings, secrets, life choices: Putting down or dismissing something important to you, telling your secrets to others, not allowing you to speak about yourself, etc. Best example for this for me was becoming vegan. Never had I had so many people ‘care’ about what I eat before, insensitive comments about veganism, attempts to make me embarrassed about it, and so on. Did it work? No. I’m still hella vegan and if anything, more motivated to be so.9.gif

 

Dealing with them

  • Phase them out – This is the ideal scenario, but believe me I know it can be hard. If you hang out in a group of friends with them, work with them or are even related to them, this isn’t feasible. If you are in a position to phase a frenemy out you should cut communication to a minimum, drop off the radar a little, and enjoy your new, less stressful life.rOkW6.gif
  • Speak to someone you can trust– There will be other people you can speak to, whether it be a parent, boyfriend, best friend,etc. Tell them how you are feeling and ask their advice. Even better would be someone who knows the frenemy and can give a rounded answer. Who knows, someone else might be going through the same thing.

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  • Confront them– If you’ve tried to cut them out and they aren’t getting the hint, it’s time to take a deep breath and confront them. Chances are, the cases of them being horrible to you are etched in your brain so you will have examples to show you aren’t just overreacting. Meet them face to face as things get misconstrued via text, and then just say everything you’re feeling. The person might be going through some stuff that is making them act that way, feel the same about you, or even not realise they are doing it.

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  • Ignore their attempts to make you upset – One thing I have found pretty effective is to just be quiet. The worst thing for someone trying to get a rise out of you is to not give them it. If they repeat themselves just give the most minimal, non-committal answer you can. After a while, they should get bored when they realise they aren’t having an effect.

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  • Don’t dull your shine –   This is kinda lame and corny, but I got inspired the other day while watching Gossip Girl. I just half-watch it when I’m cooking some days … LOL not really I LOVE it – amongst all the bratty kids there are some relatable messages, honest. Anyway, in this particular episode Serena realised she was subconsciously dulling herself down so her best friend, Blair, wouldn’t be threatened. She thought doing so, and keeping Blair happy was keeping their relationship going. I cannot stress enough, DON’T DO THIS. If your friends can’t handle you at your true self, they aren’t friends and you are better off without. I wish I had said this to my younger self, as I am only learning it now. It’s kind of a no-brainer that anyone who has a problem with you slaying every day is insecure in themselves and wants to bring you down to their level. Any relationship requires happiness at both ends, and if this isn’t happening, it’s not meant to be.

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This brain vomit was courtesy of L.Bhairam. Celebrate the true friends you have, and dedicate yourself to being a good friend to those who deserve it. Remember that people who are out to put you down are almost always very unhappy themselves.  Finally, if you feel you are being seriously bullied, mentally or physically, please speak to someone you trust.

Know your worth!

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LB xxxxx

 

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Kirby Nendoroid Fun

I have made myself a little deal to write each week from now on, I can’t believe it has been 4 months since my last post. So much has happened!

The most important event, of course, is me FINALLY receiving my Kirby Nendoroid from Play-Asia. I preordered him in DECEMBER and after many angrily worded e-mails, I am happy to report that he is finally here.

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The little guy retails at around £30 and comes with four interchangeable faces and three copy abilities- sword, fire and star rod. Compared to the Isabelle Nendoroid , this felt soooo much easier to manipulate and change up. As Kirby is effectively a blorp (real word), his feet and arms attach on either side with magnets instead of clipping in and his face screws on and off easily.

The copy ability hats are also magnetised and easily fit onto Kirby’s little bald head, it is so easy to change his look around that it gets quite(very) addictive.

 

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Kirby Dress is from Dolls Kill, Shoes are Converse.

 

The quality as always is excellent. My only gripe was when using the base. It works in that you attach the rods to the base, and then add Kirby and in this case, the fire part in front of him. The hole in the fire attachment was far too small, and it did not slot on until my boyfriend forcefully and angrily managed to wedge it there. This was just for photo purposes and it fell off again shortly after. I would recommend that Good Smile rectify this with future models as it kind of ruins the fun when stuff doesn’t work as it should.

Despite that, the Nendoroid is one of my favourites so far. Kirby remains absolutely adorable, the expressions are perfect and I LOVE the magnet idea.

Now for the best part, the photos.

Enjoy!

 

LB xxxxxxx

 

Sailor Moon Style: Girl Power!

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SAME.

The 90’s nostalgia is back with a vengeance isn’t it? The return of crop tops, glitter and flatforms is upon us and doesn’t appear to be leaving anytime soon.

Girl Power was one of the mottos to live by in the Nineties (way before #YOLO), and nothing conveyed this message more than anime Sailor Moon.

Venturing into the realms of geekdom here, I actually had an MSN(!) username based on Sailor Mars(my favourite) and a questionable crush on Tuxedo Mask. My cat was my Luna and I was SO EFFING COOL. In my head. Anyway, the Sailor Scouts kicked butt and left some really important messages about friendship, love and feminism along the way.

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Right?

Some loves never leave you, and many years later, I’ve picked up some cool Sailor Scout Style items that I wanted to share with you guys.

Me and my boyfriend ventured to the heath at sunset yesterday, so apologise for the lighting, I’m not really orange!

Enjoy!

LB xxxxxx

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All items can be found on Ghost Mutts.

Sailor Moon Phone case – £9.99

Sailor Scouts Motorcycle Club Tee – £20

Luna Choker – £9.99

 

Cosplay Of The Week: Sonic The Hedgehog

Hey All!

Just to show you one of the cosplays I have been working on – Sonic The Hedgehog.

Sonic the hedgehog

 

Sonic the Hedgehog games were a staple of my childhood, and the cartoon was one of my favourite things to watch. Sonic had the whole ‘attitude’ that was so popular at the time, and I wanted to be him.

Well, this is about as close as I’m going to get.

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I did consider painting myself blue, but previous experience with a Mystique cosplay taught me to avoid that territory unless absolutely necessary! Plus, I think the result may have been a bit creepy to be honest.

The boots are actually boot covers, I looked into buying or making real shoes but didn’t have the bucks! I am happy with how these turned out though, and would suggest boot covers for anyone who is low on funds.

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I also considered wearing a full body leotard or morph suit, but didn’t like the results. As Sonic has his little hedgehog belly out, I decided a crop top was the way to go.

The jacket, again, was a choice. It was either wear a hat, style my hair in spikes or make a cropped jacket. I had seen this look in other cosplays and really liked it so sent some ideas to a seamstress who did an amazing job!

Please let me know what you think so far, or of any improvements! I’m working on a foam gold ring right now as a prop and then hopefully I will have some professional photos rather than just Myspace style selfies ;).

And who knows, maybe a ‘Robotnik in his bikini’ cosplay next? I kid.

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LB xxxxxxx

 

 

Monday Musing: End Online Hate!

When I realised that I hadn’t posted on here in 3 months,  I was like ‘Bloody hell where has the time gone?’. Seriously. It doesn’t feel that long ago we were working up to Christmas, and in that time I have left my job to focus on my writing(eep).

Just some Monday musings and maybe a little telling off for you all too. While trying to promote myself as a writer, cosplayer and also meet other like minded people, I have come across the biggest amount of meanness. Not necessarily towards me, but to others in these communities via social media. It is a hierarchy like school, and I don’t know why it is still prominent when we are getting older. Perhaps it is just me that wants a peaceful life, I don’t know.

As easy as it is to hate on someone from behind the comfort of your phone, regardless of if it makes you feel better or not, or even if you are just a bystander fanning the flames knowingly – please just stop and think about the consequences of what you say. People have called me names before that have probably meant zilch to them, but have played on my mind for days.

The reason why we want to promote a kind of safe space in the nerd community is because of what I mentioned before. Time. Do you honestly want to look back at what you have done this year and realised that all your effort has gone into meaningless bullying on social media? Or do you want people to look back and think ‘God, that person really ruined my life for a few days, what a tool’. A decision made in a few minutes can improve the lives of many, including yourself. Time is precious to everyone, so respect your own and respect others.

I don’t know the reasons for this bullying except stupid crap like ‘This girl has too many followers, she obviously bought them’ or ‘I don’t like how this person looks’. The best way to get over these feelings of hatred is realise that it has absolutely nothing to do with you, it doesn’t affect you. Having an opinion is great, it’s what makes the world so diverse, but picking on someone just because they do not meet your standards, or because they just simply annoy you, is not so great. The beauty of social media is you can block, scroll on and go about your day. Think about what you are trying to achieve, your online persona is actually more important and says more about the ‘real you’ than you will realise.

I speak of this trolling/bullying in the geek community because that is where I spend a lot of my time, but it can be translated anywhere.

I’ll leave you with some wise words from Meowth, and if there is one thing you do this year, BE KIND.

LB xxxxx

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“Don’t give up kid”: ‘The Peanuts Movie’ Review

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Snoopy and Woodstock wage war on the Red Baron.

When I heard there was going to be a new Peanuts movie, I was terrified. I love Peanuts. Like really, really love it. It has been a part of my life ever since I was small, and though not very popular here in the UK, I have managed to maintain this love for my entire 27 years. Why was I so sceptical? Well. Firstly, ‘modernised’ versions of my dearest childhood heroes have not washed well with me. There was Thomas the Tank Engine in 3D, Sonic Boom(the new Sonic games), and don’t even get me started on the HD series’ of The Simpsons. I know, everything has to move on, and everything has to develop. I just wasn’t sure that the Peanuts’ gang move to the big screen was going to a smooth or particularly necessary one. Secondly, as with most snotty people who know a lot about their favourite stuff, I didn’t want Peanuts to be thrown around, exploited and marketed to the point that the fantastic, original and heart warming gem Charles M. Schulz created to get lost amongst its hype.

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Lucy Van Pelt hair and Charlie Brown dress. I was SO ready!

Anyway like most things, I was wrong.
A UK release in the midst of Star Wars: The Force Awakens meant my much feared over-hype wasn’t really an option. Although posters and merchandise appeared, they were overshadowed by Disney’s multi million making machine(and that was OK by me).
Now, to the film. The company behind the Peanuts movie, Blue Sky Studios, tactfully threw in an Ice Age short animation prior to the film. Although unintentionally, it doesn’t bode well that the first thing you see is the companies’ biggest accomplishment : a tired old franchise. It just reminded me that I have never liked a movie animated by Blue Sky before, and made me shuffle in my seat with nervousness.

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Lucy continues to lend a helpful ear (for 5 cents).

Let me just make it clear that the storyline isn’t going to win any prizes for originality. Charlie Brown’s pursuit of the little red-haired girl alongside Snoopy’s take down of the Red Baron is nothing new to those who have grown up watching Peanuts, and has been done many times before. That said, it is a solid and comforting story, entertaining and a good message of hopefulness that will pull in audiences of all ages. This isn’t what I was looking for from this film though, it was the visuals and loyalty to the original comic strip.

 

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You’re a good man, Charlie Brown.

I was not disappointed. From start to finish, the movie is faithful from Schroeder accompanying ’20th Century Fox’ intro on piano, to Schulz signing his name at the end of the film. The little touches such as 2D references to the black and white strips, written sound effects (AUUGH! anyone?), and the trombone voiced adults are all tropes that I loved. Bill Melendez returns as Snoopy via recordings, and a hell of a lot of dancing goes on to the tunes of Vince Guaraldi(now remastered). The 3D transition is excellent also, understated, not too showy and just right. The characters facial expressions remain the same as in the strips and the combination of 2D and 3D landscapes are executed beautifully. The fact that they haven’t tried to be too ambitious with the animation and full throttle it into 3D means it keeps the original Schulz charm and nostalgia, providing a fresh, yet wonderfully familiar viewing experience. My only gripe with this movie, was the use of pop music in one sequence. It was a bit cheesy and kind of pulled me from the Peanuts experience we know and love. I believe this film’s soundtrack could have entirely been a piano score and that would have worked fine. That could just be me getting old though.

 

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Charlie Brown reflects on his 2D beginnings in ‘The Peanuts Movie’.

Back to the story, Charlie Brown’s pursuit of the little red-haired girl follows the normal trail of calamities and bad luck we would expect from our round headed hero. Snoopy and Woodstock’s day dreaming provides a nice dose of action and humour. All our favourite characters, Lucy and Linus Van Pelt, Sally Brown, Schroeder and Woodstock reappear alongside the other children. As always, it is a simple, no frills, smartphone free adventure in childhood, and so refreshing to see amongst a world where kids are growing up remarkably quickly. A little twist though. Charlie Brown actually comes out on top in this one. And about time too.

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Photo credit: Twentieth Century Fox & Peanuts Worldwide LLC

“You’ve really shown something new to me, you blockhead! You’re always full of surprises. Good ol’ Charlie Brown.” – Lucy Van Pelt.

A long overdue ‘About Me’.

So I basically started this page without explaining who the HELL I am. I just want to take the time to thank everyone who has followed this blog without knowing about the girl behind it, and to those who are interested.. here goes.

About Me

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  • My name is Louisa. Nicknames include: Lou, LouBear(boyfriend/best friend), Bub(parents) and, of course, Loutopia(Social media name). I came up with the name Loutopia about a year ago and it just stuck, I wish I had some smart meaning behind it, but I just liked how it sounded. Call me what you want, as long as it’s not mean.FullSizeRender
  • I live with my family and angry cat Fudge- my family are my best friends, as tacky as that sounds, and I never tire of them. I am London born and bred, but my heritage stems back to the West Indies and South India. I used to hate being mixed race when I was younger, but am now accepting that different can be good.IMG_1191
  • My love of gaming is actually thanks to my mum. She is the biggest PC gaming fan I know and has been playing games since way before I was born. Having a brother and god brother who I spent loads of time with cemented my love of consoles. My boyfriend is now my main gaming buddy and player 2: we are forever learning and broadening our passion and hope to start a YouTube channel in 2016. My favourite games include : Monkey Island series(in fact, anything Lucasarts), Earthbound and The Legend of Zelda(especially A Link to the Past).
  • I started cosplaying in 2014, and absolutely love it. I try not to get intimidated by the amount of talent out there, and just focus on my own development and progress. I set myself small goals to fulfil, so I can build up to making entire costumes on my own. I have a cosplay Instagram now – @afrocosplay if you want to see how I’m getting on!

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    My Isabelle Nendoroid getting some work in!

  • I actually don’t like the terms ‘geek’ and ‘gamer girl’. I think they’re overused, but there aren’t many other ways to describe my interests. Let’s start a new word? #ladieswhogame?

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    so.much.reading

  • My other passion is reading. My Mum proudly tells of me being the only child at nursery who could read a book cover to cover(shut up Mum). I am studying for a BA in English Literature right now, and believe everyone should make time for their brain and read. Favourite books include : A Clockwork Orange, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Requiem for a Dream- all cheery material. I also enjoy reading comics, manga and graphic novels, there will be a full section about this on the blog soon! Favourite comics/graphic novels/manga include: Maus, Rat Queens, Ms. Marvel(Kamala Khan) and Kimi Ni Todoke.
  • I am a Peanuts and Charlie Brown fangirl. It is my favourite franchise of all time and I will never every tire of it. My favourite character is Lucy, because she is grumpy like me. 🙂
  • I quote from ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘Family Guy’ daily. Me and my boyfriend have full conversations this way.IMG_1441
  • I am a vegan and animal rights activist. I am a fairly new vegan, only going full whack this year, but I am accepting the transition fairly well. It was pretty hard considering I was a hardened junk food and Big Mac enthusiast before! I don’t like to think about the amount of suffering that goes on, but it happens regardless of if we try and kid ourselves or not. I just want to help any way that I can.
  • I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression earlier this year, and am not ashamed to talk it about it now. There isn’t enough education on mental health, and it is such an issue these days. I intend on writing a section about this, and my tried and tested ways of recovery. I don’t believe I can ever ‘fully’ recover, but have made some changes with the help of my wonderful support network and am positive about the future.

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    NOTE: Ocarina’s are hard to play.

  • (MUSH ALERT)My boyfriend Kane is my everything. Best pal, boyfriend, pet(LOL). He is one of the only people in my life who has my best interests at heart always, and he has changed me for the better.
  • My dream job would be to write for a gaming site and my end goal is to produce my own adventure game alongside my talented animator boyfriend Broken Tuna. I also want to write a serialised novel for young adults. And be Queen. OK, not that last one.

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    ‘I think we’re having a real moment here’.

  • My friends compare me to Bart Simpson, Ducklett(Pokemon) and Buttercup(PowerPuff Girls). I would have preferred Beyonce but whatevs.9CE75588-2B65-4C5A-B471-04B774EDDB7E
  • Loutopia is mostly a place for nerd culture, but I try to make it more than that if I can by adding my own personal touch. If you have any ideas for what you would like to see me write, or just want to say hey, send me an e-mail at talesfromloutopia@gmail.com.

Thank you for reading, I hope this has taken some of the mystery out and you are now convinced that I’m not a fire breathing lizard or something. Although, that would be the best ever. A fire breathing lizard with access to a computer. OK, that reminds me of my last point – I often chat rubbish when my brain goes off on a tangent.

LB xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

AS WAS THE STYLE AT THE TIME: CHARACTER CLOTHING #3

My brain is absolutely fried from a lecture about the JFK shooting(about as fun as it sounds). So I decided to do a light hearted and quirky post on my latest geek style purchases.

1. ‘Nuka Cola’ Fallout Tee, £20, from Gamerprint


This was actually for my brother but ya know.. Also pictured is my Triforce necklace from ZoS.

2. Sonic the Hedgehog circle skirt,€40, from Pixels Kaya.


I love LOVE love Sonic. I’m talking megadrive days here not this ‘Sonic Boom’ rubbish. This skater style skirt is covered in sprites from the Sega days. (Wow, that was a lot of ‘s’s, try saying that after a few drinks.)

3. Don’t have a cow man! t-shirt, $14, from TeePublic and Guybrush Threepwood iPhone case, £20, from RedBubble


I am a vegan and animal rights activist, so this shirt was a must have. Also seen on fellow vegan Apu in The Simpsons. Do you need more of a fashion icon than that? Also pictured is my new iPhone 6 case featuring Guybrush Threepwood when he finds the bone in Monkey Island 2: LeChucks Revenge. You can pick the durability of the case and I chose super duper thick because my phone ends up on the floor, in the sea, etc.

4. Kerbee Tank Top,$21(SALE PRICE!) from Dolls Kill

Flashing those pins in a Kirby (or Kerbee) tank top from Dolls Kill aka my favourite place to shop. I wore this as a dress, but that’s cos I have a lot to be desired in the height department(I am short, basically). Kirby is dotted around this light pink and airy vest in his various adorable forms.

 

 5. Peanuts x Criminal Damage Co Ord (Top £30, Leggings £35) from ASOS. 
Sorry for the Crimewatch style lighting in this photo, my room is the worst place for selfies. This co-ord set was a no brainer for me as I have a tendency to buy anything with the Peanuts gang on it. The high necked top and leggings are covered in characters from the show, it’s a great ‘look like I made an effort even though I CBA’ outfit! Hopefully you get the idea, despite poor photo quality.

Have you found any amazing clothes out there for those geekily inclined? Let me know, you know how I love to spend money.
LB xxxxxx

(Any) Gamers of the world unite! : Monday Motivation

This month marks one year of this blog,  and while not much to some, I can’t believe how comfortable I have become online. This time last year, I decided to join a few social media sites in order to vocalise my passion for all things video games. I was under the impression that a hobby is an excellent way to meet like minded people and expand your knowledge, and now it is oh so easy to connect with your existing friends and make new ones. My main account was on the popular photo sharing site Instagram(I am lazy and photos seemed less effort). Once I joined, I familiarised myself with hashtags and saw what there was on offer to give me my gaming fix. When I first forayed into this online landmine with my gaming account, I was unsure of my place as a retro gamer who has never owned a next gen console and ranks Monkey Island as her favourite game. Even worse, I soon realised the typical Instagram picture of a gamer is usually someone who owns a gamer tag, belongs to a clan and is sponsored by some sort of console accessories start up. Dread. I was worried people would think I wasn’t really into video games at all, and that I might be using it for attention or piggybacking off my boyfriends interests in order to be different and ‘cool’. It made me second guess myself, as most social media does, and made me wonder if I actually am who I think I am. Confusing for you? Think how it was in my little pea head. In such a small sea of big fish, the idea of being judged and scrutinised was overwhelming.


Looking back now, I needn’t have worried. I have met a lot of people who respect and enjoy what I post, as well as those who teach me something new every day. Not even just limited to gaming, in all kinds of ways. Whether you enjoy playing mobile games, if Animal Crossing is your jam, if you can only get into Call of Duty, there is a place for you in this community. Don’t be deterred by the naysayers who say you’re the wrong gender/playing the wrong console/ditto the wrong type of game- there are enough real issues going on in the world without people taking from you what makes you happy.

Get on with it. Happy gaming and happy gram’ing.
LB xxxxxx

FANDOM FRIDAYS: ‘PEANUTS’

On my internet travels(which I conduct professionally from my bed), I noticed a lot of blog pages taking part in ‘Fandom Fridays’. I’m not going to pretend to be young enough to know what exactly a ‘fandom’ is. I just assume that it’s being a hardcore fan of something, right?

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The first ‘Fandom’ that I was ever part of was that of the Charlie Brown/Peanuts gang. My dad recorded ‘Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown’ for me in Christmas 1987, 5 months before I was born(do the maths, and then keep quiet). Ever since, I have had a bit of an obsession with everything Charlie Brown, Snoopy and Peanuts and now, with the movie still due for release in the UK, I can just see this obsession intensifying.

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I thought I would break my reasons for the love of this particular show/comic strip down into bite sized pieces instead of just waffling on. So please see the below list, and also parts of my ever growing collection in photos. Enjoy! Continue reading