Monday, 29 November 2010

Good news for H Naoto fans in the US

I had to update my last post because H Naoto have now released an American website!

The information was not that clear. It looks as though they only ship to the US. If they do ship elsewhere I would love to know so I can update this post.

They are holding an opening contest where you can win a T-Shirt and a signed postcard but you need to spend $50 to be entered.

I can't say I am a massive fan of H Naoto but I did like some of the items, especially the Hangry and Angry stuff. My favourite of the two is Angry. I was expecting the prices to be fairly high but it must work out cheaper than ordering from the Japanese site. Plus some of the items feature in a monthly specials bit with reduced prices. I felt that some of the prices were more reasonable than others.

So, if you are a punk fan go take a look!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Lolita Secret Santas

Sadly I have left it a bit late for me to take part in any Secret Santas, but I know other girls are doing these. I have been a bit busy lately! If you would like to take part in a lolita secret santa, I know members are holding one (the deadline for gift sending is the 12th of December. You will need to check if they are still letting people join so be quick). There may be others around that you can join or maybe there is a Secret Santa going on in your workplace.

I don't really know any lolitas well enough to swap presents with. I hope that by next year, this will have changed. However, I have been thinking about the sort of presents I would like to give others so I decided to make a wish list.

Please note that I live in the UK so these items may not be available in your country. I have tried to include international friendly items too. Remember you will need to add shipping costs if you can't visit the actual store. Pictures have been taken from shop websites.

£0-£5 price range-

1. Cinders Bath Ballistic £1.95
2. Humming Cat Letter Set £4.20
3. Jelly Belly Toasted Marshmallow Scented Candle £4.99
4. Bodyline keychains (range from $1-6. The one in the picture costs $2) Add some to your regular order or do a group order so you are not hit by huge shipping charges.

Other ideas-
-Claire's Accessories Gift Voucher (any amount starting from £5, foreign countries should check minimum amount in store)
-Mini jewels or stickers for deco nails
- Hair accessories

£5.01-£10 range-
1. False Eyelashes- the ones in the picture cost about £6 by Eylure. Not suitable for sensitive eyes.
2. Cute Plush Pirate Bunny Plush Doll $15
3.Cute Plush Kira Kira Rainbow Bunny Necklace $12
4. 6%DokiDoki Marshmallow Hair Clips 945yen
5. Kera Magazine Back Issues (around £10)- try Ebay, Egl Sales Community and other auction sites. In England you can visit the Japan Centre or order here

Other Ideas-
Secret Shop Socks (try Egl Sales Community)

£10.01-£15 range-

1. Bodyline skirt (one pictured costs $19) Many styles start from $19, some punk styles start from even less
2. Imogen Rose perfume prices start at £10 for a solid perfume

Most Secret Santas have a low price limit but here are some more expensive items I found randomly whilst searching for inspiration-

1. Elizabethan Ring £19.99
2. Toxic Candies Designer Toy $50
3. H Naoto keychain 2800yen or the American shop
4. Fuwa Fuwa Mousse Chan paper clay kits (around $32) from various locations (try
5. Ghostlove Screaming Violins Choker $35

I always get a great buzz when I know somebody really loves the present I gave them. I hope my nearest and dearest will get a nice surprise at Christmas. I have finally finished my Christmas shopping. Sorry, if this post is a little too late for you!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

I am joining the Lucky Pack rush next month

Before I started wearing lolita, I researched lolita for a few years. I generally stood back and admired the fashion and came across some great people. But on the blogs I kept hearing about this thing called Lucky Packs. After researching them a little bit I was really keen to get my hands on one. I was lusting after the bargains.

But what I am not looking forward to is the stress that comes with it. The waiting for the Japanese clock to count down to midnight, hoping the site doesn't crash and waiting for the confirmation email to come through... it sounds like hell!

I have decided I am still going to go ahead and try to get one. If anybody has any advice on how to combat lucky pack stress I would love to hear it.

I am really torn between Meta and Baby. I want a Meta one but don't want anything from the Dark Secret series. Baby seems to be the safer option but before Dark Secret, I had my heart set on the Meta one. If I get Dark Secret, it will be difficult to re-sell. I can't get Angelic Pretty because I can only fit into certain pieces and would hate it if I got a dream print I couldn't wear. I am so confused! At least I have a bit of time to make up my mind, but if anybody has an opinion on this I would love to hear it.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Taming the Beast: Lolita Hair Tutorial Review Part 2- Sloppy Buns

I promised I would do this today and here it is! Part 2 of my hair tutorial review series! Today's hair is sloppy buns. There are so many different places where this hair tutorial has been done so I am just going to include a link to this one-

I really like Miss Lumpy! This post has some other great ideas for long hair.

The main reason why this post took longer is because I have had my hair cut. I only had 2 inches off but those 2 inches were enough to stop me doing another tutorial which suits longer hair.

No face shots today because my skin looks dreadful! I have not added any bows or accessories so you can see what it looked like underneath.

How easy was the tutorial to follow?

Well, this is pretty straight forward. The style is quite casual and it doesn't really matter how neat you are which makes things even easier. It would be quite hard to get this wrong. The problem? I never realised quite how bouncy my hair was! It was determined to ping out of place so if you have heavier hair will require strong hair ties. You will also notice I have some loose strands which you can see clearly in the first picture. For this sort of style, a few loose strands wont matter unless you like your hair to look tidy.

How long did it take?

A few minutes maximum. I got one of my buns around the wrong way the first time so I redid it.

How long did it stay in place?

When I had finished the styling I knew right away this would not last. More and more loose strands came out. About 45 minutes afterwards, so much hair had come loose that I had to redo it. To combat this problem, add some bobby pins. Try to keep the pins hidden or attach an accessory over the top to cover them up.

Was the end result as expected?

My hair looked a bit too smooth in my opinion. It would probably look good if you curl or backbrush your hair before putting it in buns. Another problem was that my freshly cut ends were sticking out and they look really obvious. Again, I would suggest using bobby pins to hide the ends. Also, my hair was determined to form a stiff loop shape instead of looking floppy. I suppose it doesn't look too bad but I would have loved my hair to look more like Miss Lumpy's hair.

Would I try it again?

I think I would. Although heavy hair will not last long with this style, which is disappointing. This look would be something I would wear around the house. If I went out wearing this I would be constantly checking and fixing it.

Rating out of 10- 6/10 It would be higher but it simply doesn't suit my thick heavy hair. I am sure all my readers can do better! :)

I really want this hat

It is such a shame I can never afford brand! (at least not at retail price!) I am not too keen on the matching jacket but I love the hat. Not that I have anything to match this with...

I can't help thinking that if Meta really wanted to do a military series, they should have taken inspiration from AP. I am getting so paranoid about getting Dark Secret in a lucky pack that I am probably getting the Baby lucky pack now. It is a shame because I would have loved a Meta one if I got something like Nostalgic Chess.

Monday, 22 November 2010

HELLo Kitty?

Neo Magazine recently alerted me to this really odd website. It is basically a hate site for all the strange Hello Kitty items you can find. I quite enjoy Hello Kitty but I found this site amusing. It is worth having a look at just to see all the weird items that have been released and made by fans.

WARNING!!! This site does contain some adult content and is not suitable for work!

I don't quite understand the sheer level of Hello Kitty hatred going on here. The people here must have a lot of spare time on their hands. This site is meant to be funny so I wouldn't take it too seriously!

I should be posting a new hair post tomorrow. It took me a while because I needed to find a suitable style. I have run out of hair spray and have just had my hair cut so I needed to factor this in. Plus I am also going to start work on my next Bodyline design contest entry. I wont say what design I am planning but it is a theme close to my heart :) Sorry, I promise there will be a proper post at some point tomorrow!

Friday, 19 November 2010

An update on Bodyline and the roses.

Do you remember me posting a coat I did for the Bodyline Design Contest? If you have forgotten you can still view the coat here-

I never heard back from Bodyline but it would appear Bodyline have at least taken some of my suggestions. Obviously I am sad that I wont be getting a free coat (well, at least not yet...) but I would like to think that my coat inspired two of Bodyline's new coat designs. I think I have been incredibly lucky because Bodyline have blatantly ripped off other people's designs after telling them their design did not get accepted. These two coats are not obvious copies but use a lot of the details I used.

The main part of my own coat design was the use of 3D rose corsages. On my design there is is a row of roses on the bottom hem. Bodyline have chosen to use a rose by the collar area. I actually think this is a great idea. I would never have come up with the collar idea. One of the main issues with my design was the roses getting crushed when you sit down. This is a lot more practical and it looks very cute.

The second coat has rose shaped buttons and rose lace. On my design I included pictures of buttons and lace as an example. In my opinion Bodyline's lace choices have improved recently. Yes, they still use cheap lace in places but I think they are making more effort to use better lace. The one thing I will say about Bodyline's choice of design here is that this is too over the top and the pink in my opinion, is a little too bright.

Who knows... it may turn out that Bodyline were planning rose coats anyway but I would like to think that I at least influenced them a little :)

I have not been put off submitting further designs to Bodyline. There is no way I would have been able to make my coat on my own and this was the easiest way to get my design out there and possibly made. If you have the skills to make your own items then I would make them yourself. Bodyline obviously have the right to change your design and you may not be happy with the end result or they may use your design after telling you that it was not chosen. I have a plan to do a skirt design. If I finish it, I will post it on here too!

Just a quick note to say that I will be doing another post for my hair series soon. I have just been a bit busy and I had my hair cut earlier today. I purposely kept my hair as plain as possible so I had a blank canvas for my future lolita hairstyles! By the way, do feel free to suggest tutorials to me. Just send me a message and give me a link to the tutorial. I will happily give them a go but for now, please try not to make them too overly complicated.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Baby's Creamy Quartet

Today I am reviewing Creamy Quartet and Usakumya has made another appearance. This set seems to have 2 dresses, a skirt, a headbow and a bonnet. The items are viewable on the reserves page.

Something that struck me whilst looking at the close-ups is the fabric doesn't look very soft. In some pictures it looks a bit cheap and like it has a strange feel to it. Also, in some places the print looks as though it has faded in the wash. I know this is meant to be a soft whimsical print but some of the print details fade into the background a lot.
So first up is the Judy JSK. This dress has a very interesting detail on the front. The bow can be removed and underneath there is a heart shaped piece of fabric. The heart can also be removed. So you can get three looks. I think this looks better with the bow on top but the heart shape does look cute. I do not like it when the heart is totally removed. It is slightly too low cut for my liking so you will need a pretty blouse to match this because a large patch of your blouse will be on show. The lace has cute strawberries running along it. Strawberries are one of my favourite items on clothing. I want to see more pieces which use this lace please! The rest of the dress has been left simple. I guess the multiple bodice choices are the main feature here.

Then we have the Sophie JSK. This one has more shirring in it. There are less details on the bodice. What you see in the photo is what you get. It doesn't look as though this dress has the strawberry lace on it which for me is a bit of a let down. It has been replaced with heart shaped lace and I think the strawberries look so much better. But my main dislike here is the straps. They appear to have taken on the appearance of rectangle headdresses and I don't think it works. It looks like you can undo the straps if you need to. I would be tempted to tuck these inside the dress and wear this strapless. I don't think this JSK works as well as the Judy one.

Here is half of the print close up-
And the other half with Usakumya on it-

My favourite is the blue bear blowing the trumpet but it sticks out a bit in the print. You have all this pink, cream and red, and then you have this tiny patch of blue sticking out. It looks out of place. They should have made one of the other animals blue too so it fits the colour scheme more. This set can be purchased in a blue colourway which will probably even this problem out a little.

I didn't include a picture of the headbow because I feel it is pointless. It looks so similar to a lot of other headbows that I don't see the point of buying this one. It would be so easy to find another bow that matches. If you already have a bow with strawberries on it, check to see if it matches this set before purchasing the bow. I know some people like to have the whole set head to toe but this bow is nothing special. The bonnet is a bit more creative and even comes with a pom pom to imitate that rabbit tail look.

And finally, there was an announcement about a Usakumya hand puppet.
It looks really sweet. This is a must-have item if you are a fan of Usakumya. It is purely a novelty item but I can imagine a sweet lolita walking around with this on her hand. This puppet may not be as practical but I would choose this over the Usakumya bags.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Yay! I have lots of lovely new jewellery!

I am so lucky to have friends like mine.

A few months ago whilst I was still getting this blog up, a friend asked me if I would like some jewellery. I made a jewellery inspiration post for Saija so she would get some sort of idea of the sort of pieces lolitas like. Well, a few days ago I got my jewellery package. I even got given a letter written on duck paper! If I ever get given something with a duck on it, you can guarantee I will be happy! :)

I shall be keeping this letter safe (I had forgotten how nice it feels to receive letters. I hope letter sending never dies out). Firstly, I got a pair of pink bead earrings and a dangly charm on a keyring. I am not sure what sort of animal it is, but it looks cute! I felt it was slightly too heavy to dangle off my phone so I will probably be attaching it to one of my bags. I also like the cute little bow on it.

I didn't realise how dark this picture came out. Here are a few of the earrings I got and a necklace which I can match with the pink earrings. Again, the large charm on the necklace is very sweet. Maybe I should dye my hair purple too...

Then I got this bracelet and another pair of earrings. I think butterflies look beautiful so I was really happy with these items. Plus I now have a bracelet with my loli name on it. I predict that this bracelet may be my most worn item.

Another dodgy photo! (It looked better when I took it!) Here are my favourites out of the lot. A starry necklace and not one, but two pairs of matching earrings. Saija said she was inspired by a post I did on Angelic Pretty's Melty Moon items. These go well with a luna theme.

It is very clear that a lot of thought has gone into these items. Not only do they have features that I personally find very appealing, but every item also has at least one other item you can match it with. I will never have to worry about if my items match. The jewellery was well made and the letter was a lovely personal touch. It was very kind of my friend to spend the time to make me these items and also make and send them for free. Overall, I am very pleased and I am looking forward to wearing my items. I am amazed at how many new pairs of earrings I have! Thank you so much Saija!

Here is a link to my friend's jewellery photo folder-

And an album for the stuff she makes and swaps at Swap-bot-

Please go and check these links out! :)

Friday, 12 November 2010

Taming the Beast: Lolita Hair Tutorial Review Part 1- Puffy Pigtails

So, here I go with my first entry for my hair experiment. I am starting with a hairstyle I have seen on a lot of girls. I thought a tutorial on Violet LeBeaux looked the easiest to follow. This is not the only place where you can find this sort of tutorial.

Note- I left out the hime pouf part because it was not to my personal taste.

Here is how it turned out (with pictures taken in the bathroom because it has better lighting!)

It doesn't quite look the same without the pouf but I think that for a beginner the result was not too bad.

How easy was the tutorial to follow?

It certainly looked easy when Violet did it. Violet's tutorials are quite straight-forward and I did find the instructions to be very clear. My main concern is the part where you use bobby pins to pin the pigtails higher up on your head. It looks as though Violet used less pins than me but I had to use extra to support the weight. Whilst I could have left out this stage, I decided I would put the effort in and pin up my hair. It took me a while to get the pigtails looking even and I had to start over a few times to get a better shape.

How long did it take?

After curling my hair and taking a few attempts to give my pigtails a desirable shape, about 50 minutes had passed. This time will probably get shorter with more practice. A majority of the time was spent re-pinning my pigtails.

How long did it stay in place?

I was not expecting this hairstyle to stay in place for very long but with all the pins and hairspray I used, I was proved wrong. My hair stayed in the same shape for 5 and a half hours which would have been longer, but I needed to take it out to go to bed.

Was the end result as expected?

I don't think my pigtails look as cute as Violet's. Even after a bit of restyling, the pigtails were not exactly even and I should have curled my hair a bit better. I am confident this style gets better with practice.

Would I try it again?

Yes but this is not a style I would do if I was in a hurry just in case I needed to re-do some steps.

How to cheat

If you pin your hair up into 2 buns then you could use some hair extensions/falls and clip them over the buns. This would give a thicker and more exaggerated appearance. The main issue would be getting extensions which are similar in colour to your natural hair. If you wanted, you could use a different colour to your natural hair for different results. Check to see if your extensions can be curled and backbrush them to make them look like the style shown in the tutorial. You may find some extensions wont work as well with this style and thicker styles would probably work better. Please note this is only a suggestion and I have not tried this on myself!

Rating out of 10- 7.5/10

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Announcing a new series- Taming the Beast: Lolita Hair Tutorial Review

I totally forgot to announce I was doing this series! I decided to start posting about lolita hair but I wanted to do it in a way that looked fresh and was suitable for my skills. Instead of making my own tutorials I will be reviewing tutorials made by other people. I am currently wearing my first style for this project which I will try to post before the end of the week. My interest is seeing just how easy these tutorials are to follow. If you are new to lolita or the thought of all that styling terrifies you, then I hope to help you! I plan to show everybody my progress and hopefully my hair will improve in the process.

So why do I make such a good guinea pig to test these tutorials on? Because my hair is really unruly and I will test these tutorials to the max! Any style that can stay in place on my head is a winner.

Here are some things that make my hair the perfect challenge-

1. My hair is incredibly thick and heavy. Gravity always ends up ruining my hair.
2. It has a life of its own and refuses to be styled unless I have a bottle of maximum hold hairspray to hand
3. It tangles easily and looks messy
4. Growing up, I was never interested in hair and make-up. I was not a tomboy but at the same time I was never girly. So I am a total novice at doing my hair. This will help to test how easy tutorial instructions are.
5. I love fidgeting
6. Living in England means that I have lovely strong wind and rain to compete with, especially now Winter is coming

So I am really interested to see how my hair turns out. All of the styles will be done by me without any help and I will be going about my daily life as normal. I plan to have a lot of fun.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

AatP Carousel Applique

I don't usually pay much attention to velveteen series. Brands seem to think "Winter is coming... I know! Let's do a velveteen series! It is Christmassy!" and then you see lots of velveteen items coming out in a short space of time. Despite this, I decided to review at least one series. Metmorphose seem to like adding lace and bows, AP like to do appliques... so what has Alice and the Pirates decided to do?

Well like AP, they have gone down the applique route but with a little less sugar. It looks like this is going to be a small series with 2 dresses, a headbow and a bag. My heart sank when I saw the first dress.
I thought about how pretty it looked. When you are using this sort of fabric I think simpler details work best because the fabric is a statement in itself. I liked the lace and the two bows at the top, the waist ribbon blended in and I liked the shape. So why did I fall out of love with this dress?

Because the mini pom poms have come back to haunt me! They are not as obvious on this dress and I think this is an improvement on some other ways they have been used. It helps that there is a layer of lace to help them blend in a little. I think I could put up with the pom poms on this dress but that doesn't mean my opinion on them has changed!

I don't like the other dress as much. The material looks more gathered and it looks a bit odd. In this picture it almost looks pleated. I don't think the top looks as flattering as the other dress. This dress also features the pom poms on it.

Alice and the Pirates have chosen a very festive green and red and there is also black. I think the applique looks a bit sweeter than their usual stuff. It is not on the same level as Angelic Pretty but it is still sweet. I like this applique a lot and I think it is one of the best I have seen.

Here is the bag which I think has the best use of the pom poms I have seen so far. The applique works well with the tartan. At first I thought the tartan was going to clash with the velvet, but somehow it works. It is an interesting clash of sweet with punk but I like it. I wouldn't mind having this bag. The only issue is that it would be hard to match with other items.

At the moment, I think the first dress looks the best and the red is my favourite colour. I would like to see how the black looks as well. I can't say I have been converted to velveteen by this series but I want the bag.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Bodyline coat review

As the colder weather started to catch up with me, I realised that I could not put off buying a coat much longer. Finding a coat that I liked was a very tiring process. I found brand coats too expensive but I didn't like a lot of the off-brand designs. So many coats looked identical to each other or had bunny ears on them (I don't think I can pull off bunny ears any more). I came very close to buying a second hand Metamorphose coat but a girl managed to get there first. I eventually settled on two coats- a Fanplusfriend coat and a qutieland one.

However, a few weeks ago I noticed a coat on Bodyline and I thought it looked interesting. Then it finally came on to the international website! Yay!

And so I purchased this coat-

And the back-

Firstly, the lighting in my living room is dreadful! The colour is a very pretty creamy colour.

This coat design has already sold out once so it will probably sell out fairly fast. This coat is L306 in off-white and it cost me $125. After adding postage on, it roughly cost me £89. Whilst the coat I received seems to be of a good quality, I think the price is too steep for an off-brand company. Is it just me or are the Bodyline gradually getting more expensive? The coat did not come in the usual Bodyline bag but was reasonably packaged. Plus I didn't get charged by customs this time! YES!!!!

The coat is very heavy. Although I am yet to wear it outside, I imagine it will keep me very toasty warm. It is not the thickest coat out there but I think it is enough to cope with English weather. The material is good quality. The fur is not the softest I have felt but is still feels really nice to touch. The fur collar can be removed if you don't like it. The sizing feels good. I am 5'4'' and this coat reaches my knee.

As far as practicality goes, I am wearing a skirt and petticoat underneath and they fit. In fact, you can just see the lace of my Bodyline carousel skirt poking out. If you would like a better shape it will require a very strong petticoat to properly puff the coat out. It would have been nice to have some sort of waist tie to help define my waist.

Some of the details may look a bit familiar to you. For starters this coat has a heart shaped patch on the back which looks similar to the one featured on Baby's Usakumya coat. The bottom hem has flowery lace which looks like the lace used on a recent Metamorphose coat. It would appear that Bodyline has been taking a lot of inspiration from the big brands.

Something I was a little worried about was the sheer amount of details on this coat. I could take or leave the 3 bows running down the front and on the arms. Since putting the coat on I have grown to love these details. My favourite part is the bows with pearl draped underneath (another detail which has been copied by Bodyline).

The coat definitely feels durable enough and I no longer need to panic about not having a coat to go over my dresses. The coat is more suited to sweet styles but at a push I will use it for classic too. I am really hopeless when it comes to Winter outfits so this coat will probably become a staple piece for me.

After the sales problems, I had no trouble with the Bodyline website this time. Yes, the server is still slow but it seems to be more bearable now. I got through to the checkout on my first attempt with no issues. The delivery was very speedy, which I think has always been Bodyline's strong point.

Overall, I am very pleased with my coat but it is a bit too expensive for Bodyline. I think their coat designs have improved a lot. They also have a sailor coat out now and I almost went for that design instead. Their coat section has a few strong designs out now so it is worth checking out if you can't afford brand. The trouble is, I now need to find the space to hang my lovely new coat!

I finally have a coat!

I ordered a coat from Bodyline a few days ago and it has arrived! I will be doing a full update later on. Now, wouldn't it be annoying if in a few days time I got an email from Bodyline saying my coat design got accepted? Oh well, I guess I will have 2 coats :)

If all goes to plan, I should soon be announcing a new series I will be running on this blog. In fact, I actually have 2 series I am planning but I am undecided if I will make it into a series too. Anyway, I am hoping to have a lot of fun.

Well, I had better go for now. I have a lot of stuff to do!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Angelic Pretty's Holy Night series

Angelic Pretty's new series is available to view on the Japanese website. I have included a link seeing as I always have problems with AP images.

Whilst I think the print has too much going on in it, I think the little details are great. I love the flag with the emblem, stripy ribbon and the star on the top. I also like the drum, the hat and the rocking horse but I still feel that the print is too crowded. As for the colours, they are a huge improvement. I was getting a bit fed up with saying "AP have released this print in (insert the same pastel shades here)". Whilst I am aware that AP will probably be going right back to those same pastel shade for their next series, I am going to enjoy this little break whilst I can. Yes, there is still pink and white and red, but you also get black and a deep blue. I was unsure what to call this shade of blue. Everybody else has been calling it teal so from now on I shall be referring to it as the teal one.

Speaking of the teal dress, this dress probably stands out the most. Here we have some military style detail on the bodice. Whilst it is an improvement on Meta's D Walkure series, I am undecided on this detail. It looks a little weak. I would prefer to have this detail on a separate fitted, cropped jacket instead of on the actual dress. I think my issue with it is that it looks a little flat. Maybe some buttons or mini emblem brooches would look better? The teal dress also has the least number of bows so will probably be most favoured by those who find AP interesting but think they are too OTT.

My favourite dress from this series is probably the pink one. It looks like it can accommodate a lot of pouf from a petticoat. Although it has a lot of bows, they are small and don't detract from the pattern. Whilst I like the neck ties on the white one, I think the neckline is too wide. I would be worried about the sleeves falling off my shoulders.

In my opinion the strangest part of this series is the inclusion of the bonnet. With the military undertones in the print, the bonnet looks too frilly and feminine. There is a strong contrast and I feel it looks out of place. Thankfully, there is also a headbow. But what I would really like is the military top hat which you can see between the black and pink dress. This hat is part of the print but I saw a model wearing this hat in a picture so I know it has been made. The actual hat has not been included in this picture. I hope it is not just a sample product for the models! I would like this hat simply because it is different. I would want to pair this with a military style jacket.

Once again, I like the socks (I am definitely going through a sock phase...) but they do look similar to other socks which have been released. If you have similar socks, there does not seem to be much point in buying these but I do like the bold colour choices used.

My colour choice here would be the teal or maybe the black. I would then buy the red socks and mini hat (if it is being released) for a bold colour contrast. If I had lots of money, I don't know if I would choose to buy this series or not. Overall, I am highly undecided. I think the series has the potential to be really strong but it would depend on your choice of accessories. I think I need to see this on some lolitas before I make up my mind.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Jam making

Out of the blue a few months ago, I decided I would like to try making jam. I found an easy, hassle free recipe and a few days ago I finally got around to making my jam. I even bought some scones in English Afternoon Tea anticipation. Sadly, I was not happy with the results but I may give it another go sometime. I could taste the liquid pectin which is not very nice. The main problem was trying to get the plums to liquidise. I liked the idea of plum jam but if anybody else would like it, you may need to removed the skins off the plums first.

The recipe I used was from a Sainsbury's magazine that came free in the post. It is very simple, freezable and requires no cooking at all. I think this recipe was designed to be used in a hurry. If you have the time, try searching for one that includes cooking.

Sadly, I am unable to find the exact recipe I used online so I shall have to type it up.

No-cook, freezer friendly jam

Makes 2 litres (you may want to halve the quantities because this makes a lot)
Once defrosted, keep in fridge an use up in 3 weeks, chances are you will need to freeze at least a little of the jam.

600g blackberries (or substitute for other soft fruits like raspberries, strawberries or cherries. If the fruit has stones you will need to allow for this)
1kg caster sugar
250 bottle of liquid pectin (found on home baking aisles of most supermarkets. I found mine by the sugar)
2tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Place the blackberries in a large mixing bowl and use a potato masher to crush them
2. Fold in the caster sugar then add the pectin and lemon juice and stir until well combined
3. Pour the jam into the sterilised containers/jars, put the lids on and stand at room temperature for 24 hours

You can freeze this jam for up to a year. Make sure the jam is fully defrosted before using.

This is a very basic recipe and for me it did not work very well but if you are feeling lazy this is probably the easiest jam recipe. Like I said, when I tried mine I could taste the liquid pectin so next time I may adjust the quantity a little. It probably didn't help that I used plums and on the pectin bottle it said it was for raspberry and strawberry jam ^_^ If I had used strawberries, it may have tasted a lot nicer so please don't be put off!

My husband James liked the jam I made. He said it was very sweet but overall quite nice. The jam set really easily and the only real hassle was mashing up some very firm plums. Next time I plan to make blackberry jam. I predict that this batch will be more successful. I hope. :)

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Meta create a Nazi lolita debate ^_^

Oh dear, Metamorphose... I have always said you deserve more love. Then you go and throw a total curve ball! Military Series D Walkure has been grabbing a lot of attention. I noticed a bit of debating going on with the EGL Community about whether it looks like a nazi uniform or not. Since then I have heard stories that Meta were going to pull this series (but the pictures are still on the Japanese website).

Here is part of the series-

If I am being totally honest I think a lot of military uniforms look similar so there was always going to be a bit of similarity to nazi uniforms. Some people commented on how they would not be able to wear this in public because of the negative response they would get. Regardless of whether you think this series is inspired by nazis or not, people wearing this are going to have to accept that some people are going to take offence. I admit that I would be a bit too scared to wear the pieces from this series together. Some of the separate pieces don't look too bad. If you wanted to add a military edge to your outfit then maybe this would be a series to look out for. It looks too much like a costume for my personal taste.

The only item I would be very wary of buying is this hat.

Although a lot of people laughed at the suggestion of nazi influences, even some of these people admitted the hat was a bit risky. I think this was a very poor design choice by Meta. It does look very similar to the nazi eagle logo. This Meta eagle looks like a generic military symbol but people will still connect this to the Nazis.

I think people may have been a little too sensitive about this but then, nazis are a highly sensitive subject. I wont be looking to buy anything from this series but if I saw somebody wearing just one item from the series instead of a complete set I wouldn't bat an eyelid. Even if the eagle was removed I would probably still hate this set because I don't think it looks that appealing. It looks quite flimsy. When I look at military style I look for sharp lines and sturdy, firm pieces. I find this series bland.

I was considering buying a Metamorphose lucky pack at the end of the year. If I was to get this series in it, I would be really disappointed. It has really put me off buying a Meta one now. It looks like I shall be buying a Baby the Stars Shine Bright one instead.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Looking after your feet

This may sound a bit mad, but I really worry about lolitas and their feet. I see pictures of lolita closets and a lot of the shoes don't look very comfortable. Then I hear from people who moan that their shoes don't fit but they still wear them! I myself have had some foot problems. Before I was into lolita I used to be into punk fashion (in fact, 70's punk is still my favourite music). When I was 16 I decided to treat myself to some new clothes because I was entering 6th form. I hated my school uniform and now I could wear whatever I wanted. Part of this shopping binge was a pair of New Rock boots. These ones to be exact-

My mum had a massive go at me for buying these. She thought they were too expensive and they were not very practical. I ended up wearing these New Rocks to 6th form almost every single day. You know what? My mum was right and now I have problems walking long distances. It is fine when I am going about my daily business but if I am going to London for the day or if I am wearing my lolita platforms, my feet really hurt.

And so I am writing this post as a warning against foot abuse! Here are a few tips I have come up with-

1. Make sure you order the right size

This sounds really obvious but I still keep seeing posts with girls complaining they got the wrong size shoes. I think part of the problem is that some size conversion charts get it wrong. So it is important that you don't rely on these charts. If you live outside of Japan but are ordering from a Japanese website, order using your Japanese shoe size and not your European/English/American size. How? Finding out your Japanese shoe size is very easy. All you need to do is measure your feet in centimetres. My feet are 25cm long so I order a size 25 (or a 250 as it sometimes appears).

2. Use insoles if needed

So if you followed my advice from point one and you still don't think the shoes fit very well. If they are too big you could use insoles so they are not too loose. If your shoes are too small you only really have 2 options- a refund (if they are offered) or reselling them. Don't expect to get the full amount back that you paid for them even if they are brand new. It is really frustrating but please don't squeeze your feet into them. You may regret it.

3. Use plasters with new shoes

When you are breaking in new shoes there is a chance you may end up with some blisters. When I wear new shows I place plasters on areas where I think I may get blisters. I usually put one around my little toe and one on the back of my ankle. The reason I do this is not just to avoid blisters. Imagine you are wearing your favourite brand socks. Ideally you do not want to be getting blood all over them just in case they get stained. So I use plasters to save my socks as well as my feet.

4. Use shoe cushions

Sometimes when I know I have a really long day of walking ahead of me, I will insert some shoe cushions to relieve the pressure. I use Scholl Party Feet which in the UK are very easy to find. I have seen them in chemists, supermarkets and you can find them online.

5. Own at least one pair of flat shoes

You should probably give yourself a break from heels some of the time. You can find some really pretty flats. Be careful with ballet pumps because some styles have no sole on them and these can actually damage your feet too.

6. Practise walking in platforms of rocking horse shoes

Looking at the rocking horse shoe picture at the top, you will notice that the front of the shoe rises and at the back a part of the heel is cut out. It is not just these shoes that have this style of heel on them and they may be more common than you think. I have a pair of platforms like this and I know how awkward they can be. You can't put too much pressure on the front because you may end up unbalancing and falling flat on your face.

7. Check online to see if shoes have been reviewed

If you really like a pair of shoes have a look online to see if anybody else has purchased them. You may not be able to find a review of the exact pair but you will usually find lolitas commenting on how comfortable a certain brand's shoes are in general. There is a chance that you will find conflicting opinions but try and see if the general response is more postive or negative.

8. Give your feet a treat

Occasionally I like to pamper my feet. Foot scrubs are good for removing the dead skin. Like the shoe cushions, I use a scrub by Scholl. You could also cover your feet with lotion and put some old socks on when you go to bed to help soften your feet.

If you develop problems with your feet then you will notice it. It is painful and can have a massive impact on your day to day life. I can understand people wanting to wear heels because my height is average so sometimes I want a boost. Just remember that prevention is better than cure and if you start to feel pain, give your feet a rest.

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