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Kawaii Club – Back 2 School Special!


Yet another month has gone by and it is time to review my August Ookii Parcel from Kawaii Club Ookii Box, a Keep It Secret UK Subscription service.

As always, in the interest of honesty I will say that I am the Social Media & Support Manager over at Keep It Secret so I am sent these for an honest review as part of working for the company. All opinions of the items are my own though and I mostly just love showing you guys the super secret surprises that we ship off every month.

This month’s box theme was ‘Back 2 School’ and I have to say that this was my favourite box from Kawaii Club so far. I have always been a sucker for cute stationery and Keep It Secret have really out done themselves with the range of gorgeous treats on offer this month. With the launch of Kamio Stationery products over on their website, now is a great time to fill your pencil case with some cute erasers, sharpeners, pens and pencils, just in time for the start of the new school term (or, if you’re like me, for every day use and to just make you smile).


The items in this month’s box are both adorable and incredibly useful, with a mix of washi tape, stickers, stamps and pencils.



This cute masking tape measure 1.6m in all and features this adorable little bear. Needless to say some of my Etsy packages being sent out over the next few weeks will have a little kawaii love keeping them together.




This transparent wallet is A4 in size and shows a chibi picture of No-Face from Spirited Away, one of my favourite Studio Ghibli films. This wallet is ideal to keep your artwork (or homework protected) and I’m sure that little soot mote won’t get dirt on your work.



I haven’t had a secret diary in a very long time, but this Okitoki padlocked notebook might just convince me to start one again (pretty sure I’ve grown out of the AC 4 KR ((Keanu Reeves FYI)) stage, but hey he’s still a hottie).



What do you get the girl who draws colouring books for a living? Why a set of coloured pencils of course. These cute pocket size pencils are ideal for taking on long road trips, holiday or just out in the garden while you colour in your copy of Colour Me Mindful (shameless plug – not even ashamed).



I LOVED these pens when I was a kid so I am super stoked to have one again. They are just so wonderfully comfortable to use and incredibly practical, I mean, who wants to carry around 8 biro pens when you can just have one?


I only recently became acquainted with Sumikkogurashi while I was visiting London and I have to say, I am very much in love with these tiny little mochi animals. So, the fact that I can now stick them anywhere makes me very happy.


What Kawaii stationery set would be complete without the wonder that is Hello Kitty? This bento box of tiny rubber stamps is lovely and the stamps are clear and press well. A lovely way to decorate your diary so those school days don’t seem so boring.



I love Sentimental Circus and actually have a few notebooks and stickers from their brand from visiting various Japanese stores over the years, so this giant paperclip/bookmark is a perfect way to round of my collection.



Just to give you a quick sneak peek of the stamps and biro pen in action (not to mention a final little plug for Kawaii Club and Keep It Secret UKDon’t forget to sign up for next month to see what they have in store for you. I’m going to go and use these lovely gifts to help re-organise my week. 

Wednesday Wish List

Wednesday Wish List – Dread Central

As some of you may know, I recently took the plunge and finally got myself locks. I have wanted locks since I was very young. Not particularly sure what initially ignited my love for them beyond the awesome Celtic Warrior look, I just know that the idea of having dreads was always something that interested me (blue dreads – even better). As I grew older, I learned more about the link locks have with Celtic Paganism and how Celtic warriors used to wear them to strike fear into their enemies (Spartans and Greek warriors also did the same). When I was in university a friend of mine had beautiful dreadlocks which she had done when she was traveling around India, and I always wanted to try them for myself, but was put off by the stereotype that so many people put forward of them being unwashed or the idea that you had to cut them off to get rid of them (both completely untrue might I add! I wash mine almost as regularly as my straight hair and you can brush them out if you want to).

So on February 2nd I went along to a lovely lady in Bristol named Rosielocks, and 4 hours later, I was the proud owner of 42 brand new baby dreads. I had been growing my hair out for a few months prior to this, but as Rosie used the crochet method, luckily the length of my hair remained pretty much the same.


As you can see from the above photo, they turned out amazingly! And I cannot thank Rosie enough for all of her hard work. I will be writing up a post about my ‘Dreadlock Journey’ in the future, but as I am only a couple of months in there hasn’t been a great change in them just yet beyond them falling a little better and having a LOT of dark roots!

So, for my first Wednesday Wish List of this year, I decided to go along a dreadlock theme and share with you some of my favourite adornments and products that I have found online for these knotty new friends.

Dreaded Storm… Handmade Lampwork Glass Bead

Bead 1

This gorgeous hand made glass bead by Beatle Baby Glassworks on Etsy is £12.62 and it looks like it is worth every penny. As I don’t wear jewelry, dread beads are a brilliant way to accessorize; especially if it means wearing what looks like a beautiful tiny galaxy! The colours are beautifully vivid with purples, blues, greens and pinks, and the good thing about it being glass is that there is no danger of paint peeling or wood denting over time if you didn’t happen to take these beauties out for a bit.

Vital Goods – African Black Soap Shea Butter Shampoo – Grapefruit Lemongrass Dreadlock Shampoo


Just how gorgeous and luxurious does this sound? I have been experimenting with a number of residue-free, cruelty free shampoos since getting my new dreads and this one just sounds gorgeous. The grapefruit and lemongrass combo just sounds lovely and refreshing, while the little bit of Shea Butter helps the tightening process and the Black Soap leaves you with a deep clean. Hoping to get a sample of this sometime in the future once I have finished my current bottle of Knotty Boy Shampoo (will be reviewing all the products I have tried in a future post).

Luving Your Locks – Dreadlock Hair Tie


I love the winged detailing on this gorgeous dreadlock hair tie by LuvingYourLocks on Etsy. They have also created a series of beads which match this style in various colours. The good thing about this style of hair tie is that it’s not as strenuous on your locks as elastic can be (which can sometimes cut into the lock slightly). And is long enough to deal with much thicker hair. Personally I’ve fallen in love with this whole wings/leaves range and may have to invest in a collection in the future.

Dollylocks Travel Sized Variety Pack


This is an extremely good deal, especially for people like me who are only just getting started with their hair and are eager to try out new products. I love the look of all of Dollylocks products, and this is a great way to sample some of the scents and different items including the tightening spray, powders and different shampoos. Also, it means you have a surplus of travel size items ideal for holidays (or in my case for convention weekends, festivals and LAN parties). Will definitely be treating myself to this some time in the future.

Custom Tentacle Bead from Southpaw Polymer


One of the things I love about my hair so far is the fact it kind of makes me look like a mermaid. The beach and locks kid of go hand in had, so an aquatic themed lock bead like this seems ideal to me. The company makes them completely customized to your own specifications, from size to colours, and they have a wide range of colours including some lovely metallics. Even though they are made from polymer clay, they look so much more sturdy than you would think, but the clay makes them light enough to wear in your hair without feeling dragged down.

Magic Forest Bead by Knotfarfromhair


If I was going to treat myself to any one of the beads I have favourited on Etsy, this would be a definite prize. It just looks like a miniature piece of art and has a beautiful, natural feel to it. Knotfarfromhair also do some wonderful tentacle style beads which wrap naturally around the lock and they come in a variety of fun, crazy colours.

London and Baby Metal

Yesterday the mister and I traveled down to London to see Baby Metal live in concert and stopped in a few fun places on the way…

A few months ago it was announced that internet sensation and all round awesome fun feel good metal band Baby Metal would be coming to Sonisphere Festival. Now, the mister and I had already decided not to go to any festivals this year as we are saving our money for bigger exciting things, but this kind of threw us for six as we did actually really want to see them. But, being the celever so-n-so’s that we are, we figured there was no way they would be coming all the way over to the UK for one gig (on what was at the time set to be a small stage – I think they upgraded because of how popular they are). So, we waited and before you knew it they had announced another UK date in London’s Electric Ballroom. I was one of the first people to bag a ticket (before they AGAIN had to change venues to the larger Kentish Town Forum because they were so popular!) If you want to see what everyone was so excited about, check this out.

A full review of the gig will be available on Chaos Hour‘s new Music section tomorrow [Edit: Now available to read here], but for now just know that this was the most fun I have had at a gig in a long time! I could not stop smiling. The excitement of the girls was infectious and it was just such darn happy metal music with even some reggae and hip hop influences thrown in and a whole lot of tongue in cheek fun that we just had an amazing time! I ended up buying a tee shirt (which is generally a sign that I have converted to true fan – I don’t like wearing band tees for bands I don’t actively love) and we stopped off in Chinatown for some fun goodies before we headed home.

It was a long day overall. We had to get up early to catch the National Express and were met with every form of human rudeness along the way (which does nothing for your mood), not to mention not being able to sit next to each other for the 2 hour journey. But, it was all worth it. We wandered around Covent Garden and Camden and took in the sights, we even stopped into Cyber Dog, Tokyo Toys and Gekko (some of my favourite stores) and while I was adamant on not spending too much (I could always quite easily buy a new wardrobe in Camden), I did end up getting a really cute wrap around belt with pockets and attached purple/blue crocheted skirt, which will be ideal to wear over my leggings or skirts for conventions.

We ended up having lunch in Camden market and I tried some lovely Polish food. I’ve never really tried it (beyond the hot dogs/sausages you get in Polskiskleps) and it was really nice. There was a wonderful sweetness to it that made it perfect comfort food and it was in no way greasy like I expected, considering it was just meat in a bread roll. We also later had a dumpling from my favourite little dumpling-stop in Leicester Square – perfect street food for wandering around Covent Garden and watching street performers. We even managed to stop into a couple of different comic shops, including Orbital Comics which has, by far, one of the best independent comic book sections I have ever seen! We even saw a few familiar ‘faces’.

All in all it was a great day out and I would definitely go to see Baby Metal again. Hell the mister wanted to see them again as soon as they finished! A really fun gig and a lovely touristy day. Can’t wait to come back to the city again at the end of the week for London Film and Comic Con, albeit in a bit more of a business frame of mind.


I tried to get Paddy to bury the hatchet with Teemo… he wasn’t having it.


My favourite little dumpling store! I used to stop by here for dinner every now and then when I worked in London.


Spotted some of Andrew Hinklebottom’s pin up art ‘in the wild’ at Orbital Comics.


Had to take a moment when I saw this. Made me very sad for future generations who won’t even know what a Twinky is… Also… I miss Egon.


Spotted a certain comic with a familiar signature. Gods bless Fernando Ruiz – I do miss his teachings.


In true ‘blog’ tradition, I finally have a picture of my food. So – here you go!


Sadly my phone ran out of battery before the actual gig – so here are my spoils from the day.


Find of the day definitely goes to these – flavoured Oreos! Birthday cake batter (with sprinkles!) and vanilla milkshake!

Pop Up Cardiff

Today I managed to pull myself away from the drawing table for an hour or two to explore Womanby Street’s first Pop Up Event…

A few months ago, a friend of mine who is also a TV extra and happens to be the proprietor of FUEL in Cardiff (seriously check this place out – the owner is a lovely guy and the club itself plays the best music in town), mentioned that he and a few of the other club/pub owners were looking to encourage an alternative quarter in Cardiff, akin to Camden in London. This was to include independent locally sourced food and drink (as well as Vegan and Vegetarian food), art galleries, vintage clothes stores and live music events. Obviously this idea was right down my street, but also, I fell, much needed in the Welsh capitol.

Wales has always been a brilliant producer of rock talent and encouraging of punk, alternative and rock culture; so the idea of a ‘quarter’ of Cardiff dedicated to this scene would be welcome. Now, I haven’t been out and about on Cardiff’s live music scene for a while now. I used to go out all the time and even worked in a rock club myself, but sadly work has started to eat into my social time quite considerably; but anything that encourages people to appreciate food, music and art is good in my book. I also LOVE Camden. When I was a student in London it was one of my favourite places to be on the weekend, so the idea of that sort of vibrant, bohemian culture being right on my doorstep is very exciting.

The Pop Up Cardiff event was a much smaller version of the Camden vibe, but nonetheless captured the bohemian atmosphere perfectly. From the street food vendors to the galleries, hemp clothes, vintage stores, palmistry and buskers, it was like they had brought a tiny section of London to the Welsh Capitol. I turned up quite early, so did not see the crowds I would have hoped for on a Sunny Sunday, but the food vendors were still rammed with custom with queues for barbecue spilling out onto the street.

Despite the amount of social media attention this event had, it would have been nice to see some more signage around Cardiff advertising it to bring in the sun-worshipers on their way to other bars and restaurants around town. But this is probably more of a Cardiff Council issue than the fault of Womanby Street itself. The interior galleries and stores also seemed a little bit under-staffed as far as vendors were concerned and I was a bit unsure as to who owned what stall, but again this may have been the fault of coming early in the day.

I for one hope that Womanby Street keeps this sort of event up as it is a perfect place to showcase new music, art and foodie talent. I for one would love to be involved with it in the future and will definitely be returning to the Fashion Quarter when my bank balance is a bit healthier. Tomorrow however, I will be heading to the ACTUAL Camden for a gig which I have been looking forward to for a while so expect only a short post from me (probably from the bus!)










Saturday Stash

It occurs to me that I have yet to do a ‘loot’ or ‘hoard’ post, so I thought I should give it a go…

The last few weeks have been a little bit frugal, so I’ve gathered a few of my recent buys from the last month together into my first Saturday Stash. Considering I don’t go shopping that often (apart from for art supplies), this probably won’t be a very regular thing. But, as conventions are starting up again next week, you never know (I tend to do all my shopping at conventions – I mean, I’m in a hall full of geeky products, how could I not).

Starting off with my best buys for the month. The mister and I went to a car boot sale a week or so ago and challenged each other to go off and buy something for £2! I think I won because I came back with this gorgeous little art nouveau owl statue (two things I love) for only 50p (the base was broken but nothing that some superglue couldn’t fix) and 2 Zadie Smith books I have been eyeing up in Waterstones for a while, for only a £1. Leaving me with 50p for a bottle of water (it was a very hot day).



This month saw the arrival of my very first Loot Crate. It was pretty obvious what would be inside (the clue was transfrom – hello!) but I was pretty happy with the contents considering that my partner is a MASSIVE Transformers fan. He wore the shirt to work the very next day.







Probably my biggest expenditure for the month – I got my hair dyed and cut! My roots were coming through something fierce and as I am growing it long I hadn’t had it trimmed in a while. Thanks to Owen from Slunks in Cardiff I now have healthy ends with a Summery turquoise blue on top and Neon Blue underneath (Colour by Manic Panic).




I stopped in to visit my partner in his new job the other day and he happens to work opposite a Waterstones… yeah, that’s going ot be a problem. As I was waiting for him I noticed this lovely copy of the novel of Battle Royale and it just so happened to be in the ‘Buy One Get One Half Price’… it would be rude not to, right?


Finally, my copy of Afterlife Inc, the gorgeous Hard Back edition came through yesterday and it is beautiful. If you haven’t checked out Afterlife yet you seriously need to. I have been a die hard supporter of these books since I first found them at Bristol Comic Expo two years ago and have reviewed them several times for Chaos Hour as well as funding their various projects. It is a brilliant story and this new edition bundles them altogether into a wonderful hard back with a load of fun added extras in the back.


1404577240144Well, would you look at that! You have to read it now!

A Decade Ago In Film

by Anastasia Catris in Personal Comments: 6 tags: 2004, film, films, lifestyle, personal

Inspired by NaBloPoMo’s July theme of ‘Decade’, I decided to have a look at some of my favourite films from 2004(!) A whole decade ago!

If there is one thing that can make me feel old it is looking at the films I remember so well from years ago. It’s one thing to remember watching a film when you were child; but when you think of films you went to see in the cinema with your friends… which you drove to in your car… that you were actually allowed to see because you were 18 and you didn’t have to fake being older anymore… well that can get a little depressing.

Ten years ago today I was 17 about to turn 18. I would just be ready to finish sixth form college and ready for my year out. I would have just passed my driving test and be getting ready to head out onto the motorway for the first time with some of my best friends to a road trip to Tenby of all places. I had long dark brown hair which I tended to streak with bright colours or bleach the front so I looked like Rogue from X-Men, wore band hoodies, black nail varnish and Berny Skater jeans…


Green Day hoodie with tip-ex graffiti – check. Checkered sweat band (still have one of these) – check. Backwards trucker cap – check. Baggy corduroy trousers with rips up to the knees and band patches on the pockets – check.

Now, I love films. Always have. Going to the cinema is probably one of my my favourite social activities. So nothing helps me remember a year like its films. 2004 was the year we were introduced to Ron Burgundy for the first time. The world thought that Saw would be a one-off horror film. Dodgeball suddenly became a popular game in places other than America. And… actually no… no one ever thought that Catwoman was going to be good. This also saw the introduction of one of my favourite lines of film dialogue – amusingly from one of the worst films of the year. (Warning – contains expletives – don’t play if you don’t like them or something… in fact – the title of the video also contains expletives – can’t be helped… so just keep on scrolling)

So, without further ado, here are my top films of 2004. Some of them may be for sentimental reasons, others I may not actually have realized were released in 2004 until much later, but either way there are some great film memories for me from a decade ago.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Dir: Michel Gondry. Starring: Kate Winslet, Jim Carrey


Maybe it was because I loved Jim Carrey. Or Kate Winslet. Or had a HUGE crush on Elijah Wood. But I absolutely loved this film. Which is amusing considering now that I look back on it I hadn’t even been through any soul-destroying break ups at this point in my life. At the time I really just connected with the style of the film (and yes, this is one of the films that convinced me to go blue) and I began to appreciate it for its substance years later when I had grown up a bit more.

The Phantom Of The Opera

Dir: Joel Schumacher. Starring: Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, Patrick Wilson


I don’t think I had obsessed over an on-screen musical so much as this since Moulin Rouge! I had always loved The Phantom Of The Opera. It had been my favourite musical for as long as I could remember and I had always wanted to play Christine. So the idea of it coming to the cinema excited me to no end. I know a lot of MT puritans hated this adaptation, but I loved it. The costumes – the set – Gerard Butler… everything! It even made me like Raoul a lot more than I had before (I was always on Team Phantom growing up).

Shaun of the Dead

Dir: Edgar Wright. Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost.


Every now and then a film comes along that ‘defines a generation’ (to use a very cliched term) and ‘Shaun of the Dead’ was definitely one of those films. I loved Spaced. It was one of those shows I watched on repeat with my friends and I even ended up writing several essays on it for my Media Studies AS Level. I wanted to be Tim! I know it’s not much to aspire to – but a wannabe comic book artist working in a comic book shop with Bill Bailey? How would I not want to. So when I heard they were doing a film, I had no idea what a huge success it would be! Now little old Tim Bisley is Scotty in Star Trek! Who would have thought it?


Dir: Mike Nichols. Starring: Clive Owen, Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts, Jude Law


As a theatre studies student, this was one of those films that ended up defining my acting at the time. Every woman and her dog ended up doing monologues from this play and I guess I was no different… except I did Clive Owen’s monologue because it was just amazingly awesome! Again, this is a film I appreciate much more now that I am older, have read the play and had a little bit more life experience. It was still one of those films that stuck with me from 2004 as I ended up knowing the dialogue and characters so well.


Dir: Guillermo Del Toro. Starring: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair


Despite having seen ‘Blade 2’ (And actually really loving it might I add), I didn’t really start to obsess over Guillermo Del Toro until I saw ‘Hellboy’. I hadn’t really read the comics from before, but I knew the character and so this film also turned me into a Mignola fan. Thanks to this film I was later introduced to ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ – one of my favourite films. All in all, I think I owe a lot to Hellboy.

Honorable mentions also go out to ‘Kung Fu Hustle’, a film I didn’t actually watch until college but absolutely loved. It’s one of those great ‘party’ films which is fun to watch with friends over a beer. ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ also came out in 2004 and after having been introduced to Studio Ghibli with ‘Spirited Away’s performance at the Oscars the year before, solidified my position as a Miyazaki fan and Ghibli lover. ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’ came out in this year, though I wasn’t a Harry Potter fan until the book release of ‘The Half Blood Prince’ in 2005, when I quickly devoured all of the novels leading up to that one. Also a huge shout out to ‘King Arthur’, which no one seemed to like but me… Mostly because I had a bit of a crush on Tristan (Yes – Mads Mikkelsen before he became all awesome and villain-y).

What were your favourite films of 2004? An extensive list can be found over on IMDB (of course). Have any of them influenced you over the years? 

July NaBloPoMo Challenge Begins

by Anastasia Catris in Personal Comments: 4 tags: july, lifestyle, NaBloPoMo, personal, work

In a bid to try and blog more regularly I am taking on the NaBloPoMo challenge for the month of July…

Since my internet went down on May 21st (Yes, thank you BT, it was down for one month and 6 days altogether), I have been suffering a somewhat strained relationship with my computer. I use the internet every day for a variety of reasons from the social to the professional. I gather reference, update my online stores and website, download brushes, textures and fonts for Photoshop, research costumes, facts and characters, book conventions, hotels and order prints, business cards and merch… and (of course) update all of my social media… Aside from actually drawing, the internet itself can be a full time job for me.


Needless to say, the last month has been a little bit stressful. My bouts on the internet were limited to my mobile phone (when I actually left the house and had signal), the limited time I could spend in my local library (I say local – it’s still half an hour drive away – did I mention I live in the middle of nowhere?) and taking my laptop over my parents’ and partner’s houses. As a freelancer I tend to work all the hours I can and this can often be at what are considered ‘antisocial’ times. I start when I wake up and end when I literally can’t concentrate anymore – so having to limit myself to library opening hours and parents’ sleeping patterns was a bit of an adjustment. Annoyingly this meant that certain projects and commissions I hoped to complete in June took a lot longer to complete – if I managed to complete them at all (If you are one of the lovely people who has been so patient with me over private commissions – THANK YOU!).

But, here is hoping that July is the start of a new lease on life as far as work is concerned. The wonderful thing about all of this is it has really put things into perspective for me as far as organizing my time and using the facilities I do have. I have a better organized schedule; I’ve allocated hours of the day for specific jobs and I think I can safely say that I am ready for a solid month of hard work and ‘re-calibration’.

So in the spirit of getting things moving forward (and showing appreciation for having my internet back up and running) I have decided to sign up to the this month’s NaBloPoMo.

Those of you aware of my blogging history will know that I have a love for blog/writing challenges. I signed up to the amazing NaNoWriMo in 2008 and once upon a time undertook a blogging challenge (inspired by Julie/Julia) to watch the New York Times list of 1000 best movies ever made in one year! It was because of that blog that I ended up working in HarperCollins Publishers as it really helped me hone my social media skills and online writing. Sadly it was because of that exact same job I ended up abandoning the blog as I had no more time to watch films once I started working there. But hey, one day I may get back to it.

NaBloPoMo challenges you to write your blog every day for a month. I know a lot of amazing bloggers who do this already without any issue, but for me it would be a great exercise in organizing my time effectively as well as a good way to get to know more bloggers and comment-ers in the process. They do give you a theme that you can work with, but it’s mostly just for loose inspiration. July’s theme is ‘Decade’, which I suppose is appropriate considering it is my birthday month so I will be thinking a lot about age and time anyway.

Luckily I have a very busy month planned including my birthday on the 17th (and my mum’s), two conventions, traveling to London to see Baby Metal in concert, a secret screening at Cineworld, seeing Phil Jupitus’ new standup in the Sherman Theatre, watching Monty Python Live (also in the cinema – I’m not that lucky to get tickets to the real deal) and the start of a brand new Dungeons and Dragons Campaign with some good friends… So I doubt I’ll run out of things to talk about with you guys.


Until then I am going to go and organize my schedule for this week. I have a lot to catch up on and some fun new artwork heading your way ready for London Film and Comic Con on the 11th July. Not to mention updates on my progress on Cirque Du Mort! Speak to you all tomorrow!

How will you all be spending July? Anyone else taking part in NaBloPoMo? Leave a comment below and get in touch.