A New Year Full of New Things

A New Year Full of New things | Christmas 2014 was lovely but it's time to move on!

I have been a very absent little blogger ever since I started my “short” hiatus in October, and I thought what better time to return to the land of blogging than on the first day of the new year? For those of you who don’t know me particularly well, Christmas is my jam. I get excited in the lead-up to the holiday, I love buying gifts for people and adding a personal touch where I can, and I especially love the excitement on Christmas morning (not to mention all the delicious food!). Christmas did pass by a little too quickly and was over before I was truly ready, but I’m going to tackle the beginning of 2015 with as much gusto as I can manage.

I’m not really one for New Year’s Resolutions in the traditional sense; you know what I mean — lose weight, quit smoking or drinking, stop biting nails etc. But that’s only because I know that I’m pretty bad at keeping to them! But this year I will set some goals for myself that I really aim to achieve, and I’ve kept them in the area of nerdiness!

A New Year Full of New Things | Hello 2015

Hello 2015, I am ready for you! This year, I want to accomplish more in my nerdy life, just as much as in my non-nerdy life. Here are a few of the things I intend on doing.

01. Complete more games off my list!

I have a terrible habit of not completing games, as I get sucked into other games before the end, or end up sinking so much time into my multiplayer games that I neglect the singleplayer games I still have yet to finish. So this is a list of a few of the games I’d like to at least attempt to complete:

The Witcher Series, Dishonored, Batman: Arkham Asylum & Arkham City, Borderlands 2, The Walking Dead Season 1 & 2, Mass Effect Trilogy (second & third playthroughs), Dragon Age: Inquisition (and perhaps DA2 as well), Divinity: Original Sin.

02. Read at least 25 fiction books.

I frequently fail these as, despite being a huge lover of books, I don’t make enough time for them these days. Work takes up so much of my day that when I get home I just collapse into my chair and play games for an hour or two before bed. I want to make that change, so I will aim for 25 books this year. I’m also an incredibly slow reader so 25 might actually be a bigger challenge than I realise!

03. Learn more things.

If Christmas’ session of Trivial Pursuit taught me anything, it’s that I need to learn more about a wider variety of topics! Granted, it was a 1980s version of the game from South Africa so take from that what you will! Even if I only learn more about my area of work and things that feed into that, I will feel like I’ve made an accomplishment.

04. Have at least one writing session per week, aiming for short daily sessions.

If I ever want to make something of my writing, I need to commit more time to it. To do this, I will either write once per week for a solid hour or two, with the intention of pulling that up to shorter sessions every day. Perhaps every morning before work?

05. Stream at least three times per week.

I’ve been kicking up my streaming schedule lately, and I want to keep that going. I will aim to stream at least three times a week, including my usual Saturday night horror gaming. While I primarily stream to hang out with people I’ve met through gaming and streaming, I’d love to make something of it. I don’t mean to earn money from it, I just want to feel like I’ve made an accomplishment with it, like I did when I took part in the Elite: Dangerous launch event and had over 130 people hanging out there! That felt amazing, and I’d love to do it more, even if it scared the hell out of me!

I also have some game specific goals, such as jobs to level in FFXIV and reaching Elite in Elite: Dangerous, but those are for another day and another post! Do you have any nerdy goals for 2015?

Gaming & Blogging Goals for 2014

Goals for 2014! Goals for 2014!
Source: We Heart It #1, #2

I’m not a resolutions kind of girl, mostly because I don’t have a lot of vices that I feel the need to quit. Usually, it was trying to stop biting my nails but I’ve managed to stop that and grow my nails out so I don’t have anything any more! Except…maybe my addiction to energy drinks needs to be curbed…Anyway! I have some goals for this year! Primarily they’re gaming and blogging goals, but I’ve also included a few personal goals at the end.

Gaming Goals

» Reach level 50 in Bard, Summoner/Scholar, Culinarian and Fishing in Final Fantasy XIV.
» Start an EVE Online business with Mz Dazy.
» Complete my second playthrough of the Mass Effect trilogy, this time pure Paragon.
» Finally finish Outlast and, dare I say it, Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Maybe even A Machine for Pigs!
» Try being friendly in DayZ for more than about five minutes.

Blogging Goals

» Blog at least two to three times a week.
» Set up another editorial calendar and stick to it.
» Start tracking my writing via the blog, and share some of my writing. See more writing goals below!
» Track my FFXIV gameplay through a specific blog. Again.

Personal Goals

» Return to the gym, twice a week. Continue training at home.
» Start learning proper swordplay. Practise, often.
» Participate in National Novel Writing Month in November. Win.
» Complete my first novel, Drifters, and the short stories I’ve been planning.

What are your goals and resolutions for 2014? Will this be “your year”?

Thinking back over 2013

I’ve seen a lot of delightful 2013 recaps, so I thought it was worth reviewing my own year, and seeing what I could come up with. Props to my friend Tilly at LoveTilly.com for her lovely 2013 review in photos! Sadly, no beautiful photos from me, but except some camera phone snaps below!

Thinking back over 2013...

As I mentioned in my Christmas 2013 Recap post, I’ve been stressed out almost every Christmas holiday, including New Year, for the last few years. This has generally been self-inflicted, but almost always linked to work. This year has been different, and in fact, I’ve noticed a vast improvement over my entire year!

The beginning of 2013 was a bit rough with some family troubles and my uncle ended up in hospital, but he made a full recovery, which is the positive side of that story! I moved into a documentation/technical writing position at work, which involved writing FAQs and helpful guides for players with issues who visited our support website. I got to do a lot more writing which was great! I also dyed my hair bright purple, which I loved and hope to return to sometime.

Thinking back over 2013...

I did a lot of travelling and events with work this year. I attended ArcadeCon and hosted our work event with a colleague in front of a crowd of about 30 to 50 or so. I even got to meet Virginia Hey from my favourite series, Farscape! In August I went to Gamescom and got to not only host a lot of the contests on stage (in front of much larger crowds than at ArcadeCon!) but also cosplayed as Pentakill Sona as part of the Pentakill band performance. It was so exciting.

I also visited the Caribbean for the first time on a trip to Punta Cana. It was absolutely beautiful; we stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel which was all-inclusive. I really want to get to a point in my life where I can feel like I can walk into any restaurant and just eat, without worrying about the cost. Even if I simply go on more all-inclusive holidays to get that feeling! Waking up at 6:00am to the beautiful sunrise, eating a lovely breakfast and swimming in the pool before relaxing on the beach, sipping complimentary cocktails all afternoon, was just one of the most wonderful experiences of my life, especially as I got to share it with T and some good friends.

Thinking back over 2013...

Towards the end of the year, I found the wonders of Final Fantasy XIV, got horribly addicted, and reached level 50 as a white mage with my Relic+1. I’m now in a wonderful Free Company called Cake with some of the nicest people I’ve ever met in gaming. I genuinely enjoy hopping on for shenanigans with them, and helping them out whenever I can as they’ve done the same for me! Now all I have to do is convince T to join me and I’ll be pretty chuffed.

I made peace with an old friend and embarked upon a whole new friendship that I really appreciate! I also got promoted to Associate Project Manager at work, so I’m looking forward to digging in on that when the new year hits. It’ll be an entirely new experience and I can’t wait to get started! I took part in some fantastic training in the last few months as well, all of which have helped me to overcome my stress levels more, learn how to leave work at the office, and helped me improve my own time management and people skills. I foresee 2014 involving me honing those skills further, getting more focused with my writing, and potentially starting to plan a wedding, as last week we agreed on a provisional date!

Christmas 2013 Recap

Christmas 2013 Recap: Family's Christmas decorations.

Christmas 2013 Recap: Getting in the spirit with a mini Santa hat! Christmas 2013 Recap: Glamorous decorations in the most glittery bathroom ever!

Christmas has always been my favourite holiday, but for the last few years I haven’t been nearly as excited as I used to be as a child. Part of me thought it was me growing up, but now that I’m less stressed than I’ve ever been I’ve noticed that this year I was practically bubbling over with excitement! Santa was coming, and I physically couldn’t wait til he did! I spent my Christmas with my family as I normally do, and it was delightful. I even got to spend a few extra days with them, which was definitely much needed.

I travelled up to visit them on the Saturday before Christmas. Our plans were simple. Sunday was shopping and Christmas markets day in Belfast (no, I hadn’t finished my shopping until then…don’t judge me!). On Monday, I went for a joint massage with my mum and it was amazing. I had never had a back massage before, so it was a real treat, even if I was a bit nervous because I had never done it before!

Christmas 2013 Recap: Out for coffee with my sister and mum.

While I love receiving gifts, of course, giving gifts is an unbelievable joy and I think I’m pretty good at it. I picked up some really personal gifts for most of my family, and I got my fiancé a host of small nerdy gifts, including a Dungeons & Dragons starter kit so we could play with figures etc, instead of just with books. It had a starter dungeon and means we don’t need a DM, which was our biggest problem before! I was really excited to exchange gifts with him and his family, and I was completely spoiled.

Some of my favourite gifts I received this year include the Farscape complete boxset from my Tristan. He knows me well, and I was extremely excited when I opened it! He’s promised me a rewatch starting tonight, so I’m looking forward to that. I got a lot of lovely clothing, but one of the highlights from my family was a gorgeous bronze unicorn statue, which I’ll share with you when I can get a nice photo of it! His name is Björn. I’ve always joked with my dad that I want him to buy me a unicorn, so this year, for Christmas, he did!

Christmas 2013 Recap: The cutest onesie I ever did see! (excuse messy bed hair) Christmas 2013 Recap: Being a bed ninja because it's so cold here!
Apologies for the low quality photos; I’ve had to use a phone camera as I don’t have an actual camera!

Getting in the festive spirit with The Christmas Tag!

The Christmas Tag, courtesy of HelloElla.co.uk!

Ella over at Hello Ella has started a lovely Christmas tag. I’m one of those types who absolutely adores Christmas. I do think the world has gone a bit batty with Christmas decorations up before Halloween has even finished, but as soon as it hits 1st December I am well and truly in the festive mood! I’ve decided to take part to motivate myself to get my shopping done, and have tagged a few of you lovelies to join in. Feel free to participate if I didn’t tag you too, I’d love to see what you’ve written!

What time of the year do you start your Christmas shopping?
I always say I’ll start around June/July, but I generally start in November and end up getting pretty frantic by Christmas Eve when I usually have a few bits and bobs that still need buying…For shame!

Do you have any festive recipes for food or drink you limit solely to the Christmas season to share?
I am the worst cook in the world, but I do have some festive foods I limit solely for the Christmas season! Namely a strong cheese with smoked bacon in it that I get at the Christmas markets in Belfast every year. However, my mum makes ginger wine every year which is absolutely delicious. Pity I don’t know how to do it myself!

Tell me how Christmas goes down in your home.
I travel up north to spend Christmas with my family. Every year, I get ridiculously excited on Christmas Eve and go to bed early. My sister still believes in Santa, which means I get to believe in Santa and get Santa presents too. Every year my dad (who also gets ridiculously excited) and I wake up at 6:00am (no earlier, no later, mind) and wake my mum and my sister. We sneak downstairs and open presents, then have a nap after marvelling at the lovely gifts Santa brought. I absolutely adore it.

Do you have any Christmas traditions?
Every year my parents pretend Santa might not have come yet. Every. Year. Since I can remember. We also have a mini-Christmas breakfast with fried turkey, ham and stuffing and well-buttered toast, as well as a big glass of milk. Don’t judge me, it’s ridiculously delicious! We visit my grandparents in the early afternoon then return home for a feast together. Christmas Eve, however, is spent with my fiancé’s family, and Boxing Day is when he comes to mine. Then we return back to our apartment to have a good ol’ few days of gaming before work starts up again. When I was younger, we always went to visit all my dad’s family to give out presents, but nowadays we only visit one or two households.

Do you have a favourite festive coffee?
I’m a gingerbread lover, for sure! Though I usually lament the loss of pumpkin spice, as it reminds me of Christmas for some reason.

What’s your favourite Christmas song?
Shamefully, All I Want for Christmas is You. What can I say, my dad got me listening to it as a child!

What do you do on Christmas Eve?
It starts with visiting my fiancé’s family, playing board games, and eating a big roast beef dinner. Then I come home and watch Independence Day or Gremlins with my dad, listen to my sister try to convince my parents to let her open a present, then go to bed early. Gotta be asleep when Santa comes!

What’s your Christmas wrapping strategy? Do you have a strategy?
I’m awful at wrapping. I just sort of wing it. But it’s really important to me to have matching paper, preferably in black and silver! I also help my dad because he’s utterly useless at wrapping. So we struggle through together, tape attached to faces and tangled in hair, and potentially injuring ourselves with scissors.

What’s your dream gift this year?
Unicorn My super dream not-going-to-happen gift is a new Kindle. Maybe a Paper White or Fire. But that’s not going to happen. My parents have a knack for knowing exactly what I want and need though, so I’m not worried! They always get me lovely, thoughtful gifts.

Describe your Christmas tree. How tall? Real or artificial? How is it decorated?
We have a tiny artificial, stylish black tree at the apartment, decorated very simply with white fairy lights and silver tinsel. One year my fiancé, who hates Christmas for whatever reason, made a giant tinsel heart and put it over my PC monitor. I was so delighted! Back home, my parents have a lovely big artificial tree, usually decorated tastefully with metallic baubles and tinsel.

Do you decorate just the tree or other areas of your house e.g. windows, bannisters?
Usually I’m lazy, but this year I foresee fairy lights everywhere! Back home I usually use a smaller tree in my bedroom.

What do you wear to Christmas parties and what do you wear on Christmas day?
The only party I go to is my work Christmas party, and it’s usually a fun outing so it’s not practical to dress up! One year we went iceskating and had a meal in a log cabin style arrangement, so it was wooly jumpers, thick trousers, and a big thick coat. For Christmas Day, I generally wear something new I’ve received. I’m quite a boring sort when it comes to clothing, I just love oversized sweaters and cosy scarves.

Tagging: Yuna, Tilly, and Heather, as well as anyone else who would like to do it. Please let me know if you do, I’d love to read it!

Remember to make sure to check out Ella’s blog, and let her know if you participate by tweeting her!

Halloween make-up: Ichigo from Bleach

I’ve not posted a recap of my Halloween so now seemed like a good time! Y’know, before it’s already December and utterly foolish to recall Halloween… Large photo below showing my make-up for Halloween night.

My Halloween make-up featured Ichigo from the anime/manga, Bleach!

My make-up featured the character Kurosaki Ichigo from one of my favourite anime/manga series, Bleach! I started out following some guides but honestly they didn’t help all that much, so I winged it using a screencap from the series. I picked up some water-based white, red and black costume make-up, and utilised some of my regular everyday make-up for things like outlines and shadowing. It was a little bit sloppy in the end, because I was in a rush for a meeting, but it was a lot of fun! The contact lens is from a set of wildcat contacts, which were incredibly easy to put in and remove. I had a really hard time with another set I purchased from a costume shop, so I was a bit nervous!

The night was spent in the office having a costume contest and some spooky themed food. When I got home I was pretty tired, but on Friday night I had my Halloween stream which went really well! I had the most consecutive viewers I’ve ever had (30 at one point, which may not seem like a lot but was pretty wonderful to me!) and played a bunch of games. I even played a little bit of Outlast before it made me want to die.

Hope you all had a lovely Halloween as well!

Spooky Halloween stream!

You are invited to the Psyche Plays Halloween stream!

You are cordially invited to join me on Friday 1st November at approximately 9:00pm GMT (time to be confirmed) for a spooky Halloween stream! The stream will run “until late”, meaning I will basically stream until I fall asleep or all my viewers have run off to bed. I was originally planning on this being an all-nighter stream, but as I’ll be going up to visit family the next morning I’ll need to get a little bit of sleep for the journey!

Streamed Games:

» League of Legends (Harrowing skins only!)
» Diablo III
» Outlast
» Stop It, Slender!
» Don’t Starve

I may add more creepy games (Nightmare House 2 is a distinct possibility!) as the night goes on, but this is the list for now. To take part, simply go to my Twitch.tv channel, and make sure to click “Follow” if you want to receive a notification when I go live! I would love it if you’d come hang out with me! Feel free to leave a comment below or tweet me your game suggestions.