Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Luna's adventures at the MCM Expo May 2011!

I am finally getting around to writing my Expo post! The MCM Expo is held twice a year, usually on the last weekend of May and October. I attended on the Saturday only. The expected visitor numbers were 63,000 and figures show that about 60,000 people attended over the whole weekend. However, despite this number the expo seemed a lot less packed this year. When I went in May 2010 I could barely move but I did not have that problem this year. I arrived at around 8.40am (it opened at 9) and the queue was a reasonable length. When we joined I was just a few meters away from the ticket scanner area. Plus, I got my hands on one of the goody bags!

The items in the goody bags are mainly donated from Forbidden Planet. In previous years there have been DVDs, game demos, stickers, posters and lots of leaflets. I was a little disappointed with the goody bag this time. There was a 10 disc DVD box set of a show called Xcaliber but it looks so awful I am not surprised they are having to give it away! We had the usual expo event schedule leaflets, a sticker album based around London with 2 sticker packs, a sampler book with tasters from 5 books and posters for the new Green Lantern, Batman and X-Men films. James and I ended up throwing away a lot of leaflets and junk. We have decided to watch one of our Xcaliber box sets just to see how bad it is!

When the expo was held last October, it was decided that there would also be a fringe festival held outside the ExCel Centre. Unlike the stage events inside, the Fringe festival times and locations were easy to find online before the event. This year the fringe festival included a lot of photoshoots. Off the top of my head I remember a Pokemon battling and trading event, Panty and Stocking photoshoot, a CLAMP photoshoot, a Sonic the Hedgehog photoshoot, a Vampire Knight photoshoot and lots more. In previous years there have been a lot of people who have not paid to go inside and would photograph cosplayers in the hall. So the fringe festival was meant to provide some additional entertainment. However, I have read online that a member of the ExCel staff asked one photographer to move on because they had not paid to go in. So it looks as though some people had to leave.

And so, on to my outfit-

I was very ill and got about 1 hour sleep so I spent most of the day in a daze. Somehow, I managed to get dressed up but I had to do my make-up on the train! I decided to wear Wonder Cookie by Angelic Pretty. The bolero and shoes are Bodyline, the star clip is Chocomint (I finally got my hands on one!) and the Pocky bag is a previous expo purchase!

There were a few groups of lolitas going about. I took some pictures of a few girls and I also had my photo taken by some people. A majority of the lolitas there were wearing off-brand. The main colour combinations were black and white, pink and white and blue. I noticed that the 'old-school' style of lolita was very popular. From what I saw, gothic was the most popular style. I actually felt a little out of place! I also saw one or two of my blog followers (hello!) and I think I heard somebody call out my name somewhere. Sorry if I missed you but I was so exhausted and I left at about 1.30pm.

There were 4 stages with different shows going on. Some of the cast of Futurama were present, there were cosplay shows (I missed the main masquerade in the afternoon), anime and manga panels, movie previews and lots more. I am devastated that I was unable to watch the steampunk show. They were on stage for an hour and were answering questions and giving insight in to what steampunk was about. From what I have heard from other people, the show was really good. Thankfully they also had a stall. I wish I could have photographed all the beautiful hats and jewellery. It gave me a bit of steampunk lolita inspiration too.

One of the guests on the cosplay stage was Beckii Cruel. If you don't know who Beckii Cruel is, she is a girl who posted videos of herself dancing to popular J-Pop songs on Youtube. She was then spotted and gained loads of fans in Japan. She gets to go to Japan a lot and starred in a BBC3 documentary. Sadly, the pot plant kept getting in the way of my view! To be honest, I am not a fan of Beckii but I do admire what she has achieved. I think her popularity is starting to wane now but I noticed the seats by the stage were full.

There were lots of stalls selling anime and manga related merchandise but a few loli-able pieces were on offer. There were quite a few Hangry and Angry pieces such as plushies and keychains being sold. I got a keychain (I think it was Angry) but I came close to buying the plushies too. They are so cute! Lolita inspired sweets jewellery and stationary were popular items. I enjoyed the Tofu Cute store http://www.tofucute.com/ , Dragon Dreads had some realistic looking biscuit items http://www.dragondreads.co.uk/ , I got a pudding ring from the Tanabata stall and there was another cute stall called Saya Cafe.

One of the stalls I always enjoy visiting is the Artbox stall http://www.artbox.co.uk/ . Artbox have a few shops in London and every time I visit I want to buy the entire shop! Artbox had some of the Angelic Pretty Pullip dolls. The smaller ones were £42 and the larger ones were £169. The dolls can be found cheaper online but it was great being able to see the dolls in person. Sadly, the Artbox staff were hovering over me so I was unable to get any photographs! The Starry Night Theatre Pullip is especially pretty in person. They are incredibly well detailed and now I really want one!

And the reward for the strangest stall goes to...

Amongst the merchandise stalls there was this lady with a stall. At first I thought she was packing up but then I realised the stall was entirely dedicated to her dog! So there were all these stalls which looked the same and then there was a lady going "Come here and look at my dog!". Very strange and random but also very cute! The dog is a terrier and chihuahua cross. What a cutie! Her stall was very busy because a lot of people wanted to pet the dog.

And here is a very different sort of dog-

This is K-9 from a very popular series called Doctor Who. There is a Doctor Who stall at most of the MCM events. For £5 you could have your picture taken inside the TARDIS. K-9 and the TARDIS were autographed by cast members.

Now I would like to share a couple of my favourite cosplayers with you-

Pocky box! I felt this was a very creative cosplay. I would never have thought about doing a cosplay like this. She matches the bag I was carrying.

Black Swan. This photo does not do the costume justice. She has the full feathery wings and it was so detailed.

There were so many Pokemon cosplays. My favourite was this pair doing Entei and Suicune.

I left the ExCel Centre around 1.30pm and then went off to Camden and around some shops in the city centre. My main regret was I was unable to stay for the cosplay masquerade. And my friend Beau arrived literally just as I was leaving so I did not get to see her either! I am sorry Beau...

If I remember I will do another post with all the goodies I purchased!

I have an album on my photobucket with all the pictures I took. I have kept it unlocked and you can visit it here-

Monday, 30 May 2011

Full MCM Post coming tomorrow!

Somehow I have managed to bruise the bottom of my feet from all the walking! Just a quick note to say I will be doing a full MCM post tomorrow. I was going to do it today but time is flying so quickly. See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Items of desire- macaron maker

Sometimes I find myself getting a little too attached to fun but completely pointless gadgets. My birthday is in July and my husband usually likes me to make him a list around this time so I have been scrolling through lots of different websites. The other day I came across this-

A macaron maker! I am not entirely sure what this gadget does or whether it actually makes macarons any easier to make but it looks interesting. I am curious to see this kit in action.

It looks relatively simple. The instructions are in Japanese but it shouldn't be too hard to find a translation and the process looks straight forward anyway. Apparently a recipe book is included which also has some filling ideas. You will also need to find the ingredients which may mean looking online if your local shops do not stock them.

I may be 22 but I don't think I ever grew up! I still get suckered in by cute gimmicks. I just think the kit would make a fun addition to the kitchen.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Expo and convention prep

Today will probably be a slow week for this blog because I am preparing for the MCM at the weekend. This expo is set to be more busy than ever. 63,000 people are expected to visit the MCM Expo and in the other side of the ExCel centre there is going to be a large medical convention. Considering the venue size and the location, 63,000 is a lot of people. When I went last May about 43,000 people attended and I remember thinking the place was incredibly packed.

I have been asking just about everywhere for advice on time-saving when wearing lolita at expos. I found the advice I was given very encouraging, so thank you! As well as preparing my outfit, I have also been seeking general convention advice. So here is a compilation of advice I have found particularly useful. Some is based on personal experiences and others are tips I have found online.

Try and pick the things you want to see the most- Whenever you go to an expo it is easy to get wrapped up in trying to fit every single thing in to your day. The trouble is, if you set yourself too strict a time schedule, it will make the experience a lot loss fun. Look online to see if you can find stage show times and pick the ones you wish to see the most.

If you are ill, do not attend- This is more about being considerate to your fellow expo goers. Sweaty hot rooms and lots of person to person contact makes expos perfect breeding grounds for viruses. Of course, you probably wont see many of the people you meet ever again, but it is not exactly fair to give everybody your flu! If you absolutely INSIST on going, please take lots of tissues and maybe some alcoholic hand wash gel.

Take snacks and drink lots of water- From personal experience, I know how bad this can get. It is amazing how quickly time can fly and suddenly you turn around to find that you have not eaten anything for several hours. There was one time where I had no breakfast and then 3pm came and I had not eaten a thing all day. We went outside the expo to eat and I was on the brink of passing out. My husband practically had to carry me some of the way to get food. Afterwards, I vowed this would never happen again.

Do a practice run of your outfit or costume- There is nothing worse than waiting until the actual day and discovering there is something wrong with what you planned to wear. I would also recommend taking a small kit with bits like safety pins, spare hair grips etc to fix any tiny outfit emergencies.

Don't get sucked in to impulse buying- As somebody who usually has to buy merchandise online, suddenly being surrounded by stalls packed with goodies is very tempting. It is a bit like a child being let loose in a candy shop. However, stalls at expos tend to overprice items you can get cheaper elsewhere. Try to be hard on yourself. What may seem like a good purchase at a convention might not seem that good when you get home. And are you really going to use the items you buy or will they gather dust on a shelf somewhere? I find that one of the worst things to buy is imported snacks. It is amazing how just a few snacks can make a dent in your spending money.

Check your transport- This is especially important in places like London where tube line closures are known to cause a lot of disruption! And it wont just be you using the transport- if a particular route is closed, people from all around the city may be using the same route. See if you can find an alternative route because a majority of expo goers will probably use the same route.

If you are meeting friends, try to make a meeting point before you go in- You cannot guarantee that your mobile signal will work inside the venue. Also, you may not hear your phone going off with all the noise around you. Turn the vibrate mode on!

Be polite- Want a photograph of somebody? Try to ask first. Although cosplayers etc are expecting their photo will be taken, they will probably co-operate better if you ask first. And remember to thank people too.

Take spare batteries for your camera- I don't think I need to explain why to do this!

Be prepared for any weather- Try to take a few different pieces you can take off or throw on.

Expect long queues- It is a pain but queues can also be a big part of the convention experience. Find something to keep yourself busy. Or you could try striking up a conversation with the people you are standing with! When I went to the MCM last May, there was a bit where the queue went in a zig-zag so we started giving hi-fives to everybody as we went past! It was a lot of fun and helped pass a little time.

Keep your belongings safe- With all the people going past it is very easy to lose your belongings. From time to time you should check everything is where it should be. If you do lose something try to contact one of the event organisers because somebody may have handed it in. If this doesn't work, you could try asking online communities related to the expo if anybody saw your item.

Hopefully these tips will help me this Saturday. My excitement levels are starting to build up now. 5 days to go!

Friday, 20 May 2011

Bodyline order May 2011

I seem to be doing a lot of Bodyline orders at the moment! I just about managed to scrape enough money together without denting my MCM Expo budget but unfortunately I had to give the new cosmetic print dress a miss this time. Of course, this was not helped by the fact that I had to use EMS instead of DHL.

The Bodyline site appeared to be moving a little quicker when I ordered. It is still slow but it is more bearable. I am sure it still gets slow during busy times but I have been very lucky recently. So, how much did I have to pay for EMS? In this order I had 2 skirts and about 9 $1 bits. I can't show you the $1 bits because it will give a surprise away! At first it looked as though I would have to pay $26 for EMS shipping but then I went to the checkout. For some reason, it jumped to $33 whilst I was in the process of ordering. That was a little sneaky and Bodyline could have done a better job at making the shipping price more obvious. If you are ordering from Bodyline soon, be careful. I am hoping Bodyline will eventually bring back DHL and the $20 flat rate shipping.

I ordered from Bodyline on Sunday evening and it arrived Wednesday evening. So it took about the same amount of time as DHL. For some reason, a lot of EMS parcels get lumped with heavy customs charges in the UK. I was lucky this time but it may have something to do with the fact that the contents value was marked down to a quarter. We don't have EMS in the UK so when it arrived in the country it was handled by ParcelForce. I am not a ParcelForce fan and I have had issues with them before. I was left waiting right until the last minute on Wednesday so it eventually arrived at 5.55pm (they close at 6pm). Bodyline packed the parcel well and the EMS postal bag feels more durable than the DHL ones. But I still prefer DHL!

My order probably wont come as a surprise. I got both the new strawberry skirt and the rose skirt. Here is the strawberry skirt-

I briefly tried it on. I was worried it was going to be a little on the short side after I saw the website pictures. It sits a tiny bit above the knee but the length is not that bad. It looks as though Bodyline have started to use firmer elastic. Despite being well within the site measurements, the elastic cut in to my waist a bit. It can stretch further but where the elastic is firm, it clings tightly. Don't buy this skirt if you are near the maximum measurements because even if you can get it on it might not be comfortable. It will hopefully cling less after a few wears.

When I ordered the skirt I didn't realise the bottom part had these bows on it (shows how unobservant I am). There are a few tiny areas with some small fraying and loose threads but overall, it looks good. The bottom hem on this skirt is a lot nicer than some of my other Bodyline skirts.

The skirt also has some rose lace on it. I thought it was a weird choice considering the sweet fruity print. I really want Bodyline to use some strawberry shaped lace sometime. Despite this, I still think it looks pretty.

I was a little disappointed that this skirt did not come with a waist bow or a matching head bow. I thought it could be another situation like the waffle print where the skirt did not have a matching head bow but the dress did. It looks as though the dress does not have a matching bow either. Yes, there is a matching dress. It is viewable on the Japanese website under 'stock'. I prefer the skirt version anyway.

And here is my other new skirt-

This skirt also had firmer elastic than I am used to. The length of the skirt was around knee length. It was slightly above my knee when I quickly tried it on. This skirt comes with waist ties and a detachable waist bow.

This is a close-up of the bottom. This skirt looks very neat. There were still a few loose threads but I am very happy with it. The lace threaded with ribbon is pretty but wouldn't it have been nice if this had the rose lace from the strawberry skirt? My only real complaint is that the skirt uses black lace but the matching bag uses white lace. It would have been better if the bag also used black lace. I think when you do a series it is good to have a bit of continuation. The bag also has pink pearls on it and maybe the skirt could have had some detachable pearls on it too.

A close-up of the waist tie. It is a good length. The print is used on both sides as well, which is a bonus.

The waist bow is a little on the large side. At least it looks even. The lace has frayed in some places but it is not noticeable. This bow has pink lace. So we have white lace on the bag, black lace on the skirt and pink lace on the waist bow! At least the black lace has some pink ribbon threaded through it. It looks as though the different lace colours mainly affects the black and red versions of the skirt.

I can't show the $1 bits I purchased but I will say I am very happy with them and none of them were missing. One of my friends had missing $1 bits before but I was more lucky.

I would say that this order has been a positive experience but the service is not as good as I expect from Bodyline. They should ensure that all shipping costs are made obvious to the customer and I think Bodyline would benefit from bringing DHL back. Both of the skirts are pretty. The rose skirt could be better but the beautiful print makes up for my small disappointments.

And finally, I leave you with yet another baffling Bodyline advert-

What on earth has the duck got to do with this skirt!? It made me smile. I love how random Bodyline can be sometimes!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Luna has a dilemma!

Next weekend is MCM Expo weekend! I am attending on Saturday the 28th.

However, I have a small problem. I don't know whether to wear lolita or not. Whenever I have gone to MCM I have said I will wear lolita and then I chicken out at the last minute. I have no issue wearing lolita to conventions. It is because it will mean getting up extremely early!

The expo opens at 9am, I want to beat the queues so I am catching a train at 7am which means leaving the house at 6.40am. Sometimes getting ready takes me 2 hours so that means waking up at 4.40am or finding some time saving measures. 4.40am... ouch!

Is it too much hassle? Hardly anybody wears lolita to the MCM Expo anyway but when I am there I always regret not dressing up. It will be hot and sweaty inside as well so I will probably wilt in the heat. If anybody has any suggestions I want to hear them! To lolita or not lolita? I probably wont know until the actual day!

By the way, I know some of my blog readers will be going too. Please do feel free to come over and say hello to me even if I am not in lolita (I wont bite, I promise!). I might ask you for a picture too if you don't mind. My husband will be on hand with my camera! I can be a little shy and quiet in person but I do like meeting people. If I am in lolita I will probably be wearing my AP Wonder Cookie JSK (white colourway) or I might be wearing some of my new Bodyline (more on my latest order coming tomorrow).

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Vintage Record by Metamorphose

Two print discussions in a row! Today I will be taking a look at Vintage Record by Metamorphose. I have been waiting patiently for the photos. Considering this series is already available for reserve, you would think Meta would have released pictures sooner! This series has 3 dresses, a skirt, a hair scrunchie, ankle socks and a rounded head bow which would not look out of place on Minnie Mouse.

So this is the OP dress from the series. Once again I will be using the draft picture as well because the details don't show up well in the photographs when Meta shows the dark colours.

This is the draft picture for the OP. The bodice fabric looks a little generous but I don't think this dress has any shirring in it. Thankfully the waist ties help bring the waist inwards which really helps with the shape of this dress. I think the little charms on the ends of the waist ties are a cute touch. It is a shame you can't really see them! The waist ribbon is removable so if you wanted, you could give the dress a more flared appearance. This dress is very plain. The bodice has a few small ruffles. If the print was not so busy I would probably find this dress a bit dull. The bodice part looks very stretchy and the simple sleeves are pretty. I thought the skirt part could do with being a little bit wider to get that desired lolita puff. The skirt is finished with a ruffle and some thin lace. This dress is very casual and does not instantly make me think of lolita. It reminds me of the sort of dresses you would find in a rockabilly store. It is good to move away from OTT lolita but I feel this dress is lacking something.

This is the first JSK. This time the bodice is a lot more fitted but sadly, it is also the smallest dress in the series as far as the measurements go (but there is some shirring). The belt is really cute. It helps to liven this dress up and the heart shaped buckle is a nice touch. The bodice has buttons running up it but they are more ornamental than practical. I love the black folds of material. It really fits the theme of the dress. The straps are thin and a little dull. If I could, I would try tucking the straps in and wearing this as a strapless dress. I think that because of how fitted it is, this dress could support itself and stay up when worn strapless. The back part has some shirring. It is hidden by some ribbon corset detail. On this red colourway, Meta have opted to use black ribbon for this corset but I would have used red ribbon so it blends in better. The skirt on this dress has a wider shape and I think it has the best shape of this series. That skirt should hold a lot of petticoat. The gathering works well to make sure the skirt does not look too flat but at the same time it does not obscure the print details. The bottom hem is finished with a small ruffle. I think this dress looks good not having any lace on it. This dress also looks like something you would find on a rockabilly website but this dress looks more fun and lively.

This is the final JSK and it is also heavily detailed. I will be using the draft picture to show the details more clearly-

The style on this dress is probably the most obviously 'lolita' looking but to be honest, I really don't know if it works well with this particular print. The bodice part has so many details that it looks a little lumpy and crowded. It would help to add volume to a petite girl but I think this is going to look very bumpy on larger girls. Also, the back part of the bodice is a lot lower than the front which looks a bit uneven. This dress has waist ties but they don't appear that effective. The back has some shirring hidden behind a ribbon corset but the back looks very bunched up. The waist bow looks like it is a good size but it is sitting on the dress at a weird angle. I would have also preferred one set of wider straps instead of 2 thin sets of straps. However, I do love the skirt part. The waist could probably be a bit lower but the skirt looks a decent size. It will probably hold a lot of petticoat. I think the gathered front looks beautiful. Whilst it doesn't show up well in black, I think the folded bow will look stunning on the red colourway. The bow helps to lift the skirt and the folds add interest and a more 3D feel. I would like to see this style of skirt used more often, especially if it was a princess style or floral dress.

And here is the print close-up. The entire print screams 50's retro. Retro is definitely being used more in lolita now. I like the records with their different records. Polka dots are bold anyway so it was a good idea to keep the rest of the print simple and small. This print is very busy but it could have looked a whole lot more cluttered so I think Meta has got this print just right. The print comes in black, red and navy.

I think it is pretty obvious my favourite dress is the 2nd one. The main challenge with this series will be making it look lolita and not rockabilly. Accessories will play a huge part in the overall look of an outfit using this series. As for the colour- red all the way! The red colour really pops out. This series is not to my personal tastes but I know at least a few people who will fall in love with Vintage Record's retro charm. I would not buy anything from this series but it will hopefully sell well.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Honey Cake by Angelic Pretty

Today I am discussing the new Angelic Pretty print called Honey Cake.

As we can see from the advert, the main part of the series consists of 3 dresses, a skirt, a head bow and socks. There are additional items available from this series so it is worth having a look on Angelic Pretty's website.

Here we have the OP from this series. The bodice on this dress looks like it will fit a variety of shapes and sizes. The site gives the waist measurement as 70cm but I am assuming that is not allowing for the stretchy shirring. This dress has a very large panel of shirring which spreads across almost all of the back. Sadly, the shirring has been left very exposed and in my opinion it makes the dress look cheaper. The bodice has a bib on the front. The bib has a nice shape to it and the design is relatively simple. It features pleats and has a line of lace running along the edge. There are 3 bows attached to the bib. The ribbon used matches the main colours well but I don't think they add a lot to the design. I think the waist bow looks a suitable size for this dress. It also looks very firm and a nice shape too. The sleeves look very stretchy. They look pretty but I think a little more puff in the sleeves would look good. The sleeves have bows on them too. The ribbon used for the sleeve bows is not as pretty as the ribbon used for the bib bows. Personally, I would take them off. The neck ties are a decent length and have their own detachable bow on them. I think this is cute and I would use the mini bow as a hair accessory. The skirt part has a nice shape to it. I think there are too many ruffles because it obstructs the print a bit. At least it looks as though this skirt can handle a large petticoat. Using a large petticoat will probably help to spread the print out a bit better. The bottom is nice and simple. The bottom hem has some cute lace featuring cakes and bows. I don't think it is as special as some AP lace trims but it is still very pretty.

This is the switching JSK. The bodice on this JSK is a lot more fitted and has a pretty shape to it. This dress also has a large panel of shirring covering most of the back. The shirring on this dress is also very exposed which is a shame. I like the corset on the front of this bodice. It looks tidy and well spaced and the ribbon blends well. There are also some vertical lines of wavy line lace. I would not associate this lace with your typical lolita dress but brands seem to be using this more and it actually works great with this dress. There are 2 other vertical lines which are wider at the top and get narrower near the waist. It makes the waist look smaller which is a bonus. The neckline is smart and a good shape. The waist bow is a little large. I like how the waist bow is stripy. It especially stands out on the ivory colour way. The skirt is a lovely shape. It does not look as puffy as the other dresses. Although the AP site says all the dress lengths are the same, I get the impression that this dress looks a tiny bit longer (possibly because the skirt is less puffy). The bottom of the skirt is finished in the same way as the first dress.

This is the final JSK. The bib part is pretty much identical to the one on the OP. The bodice on this dress looks a bit looser than the other dresses which is worth bearing in mind if you are petite. Unlike the other 2 dresses, this dress has a smaller shirring panel and it is hidden by a corset. However, this dress also has the smallest waist measurement. The sleeves have some smart lace running on them but are maybe slightly narrow. I don't feel there is much point me talking about the skirt because it is very similar to the other dresses. I have been noticing that AP only appear to make a few small differences with a lot of their dresses. The dress details are generally very cute but maybe AP would benefit from a little more variety.

And this is the print close-up. I do like the top part of the print but on the pink and mint it blends in to the background a lot. The ivory version is a lot bolder with the dark brown AP have used and therefore, it is my favourite colour from this series. As for the rest of the print? I dislike it a lot. I do like the bear shaped maple syrup bottle but generally it reminds me of a supermarket. It is not as cute as I would expect from Angelic Pretty. I don't think the tins and boxes are very inspired. I also can't shake off the feeling that this reminds me of Metamorphose's Honey Picnic.

Thankfully my favourite part of the print has its own T-Shirt! It is very cute and is simple enough to wear with other items.

Overall, I think the dresses are pretty but I dislike the print. I would not buy from this series apart from the T-Shirt above. If I had to pick a favourite dress I would probably say the second dress. But because the dress designs have a lot in common, I don't think it makes a lot of difference which dress I pick. I am very disappointed with this series. Apart from the maple syrup bear bottle which I think is cute, I would rather get Meta's Honey Picnic.

Friday, 13 May 2011

New banner!

Oh dear.... Blogger really screwed up earlier. In fact, I have completely forgotten what I was meant to write about today (fail!) because I spent all day unable to log in. However, all is not lost because I finally got a new banner! Hooray!

I cannot take any credit for my new banner because my awesome friend Raine made it for me! She made it because she was feeling unwell and had some spare time. Get well soon and thank you so much! Raine has included my favourite things- my ducky Ahiru-chan, my favourite print March of the Duck, yummy macarons from our recent Oxfordshire Lolita picnic meet and I am wearing what I believe is one of my best recent outfits.

I think most people will agree the new banner is a vast improvement!

By the way... what is going on with Bodyline? They have removed DHL so now shipping could potentially be more expensive. I am debating whether I should go ahead with my order plans or not. I want the strawberry skirt but is it really worth it? My advice to everybody is to play around with the shopping cart and work out what items give you the best value. That is what I did earlier and I found the following example. For international orders one skirt would be approximately $19 shipping but 2 skirts was about $21 or $23. The other option is to complain and let Bodyline know that we want DHL by not ordering from them. I guess we will have to wait and see what Bodyline do next.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Night Fairy Fantasia by Alice and the Pirates

Today I thought I would discuss the new Alice and the Pirates print. It is called Night Fairy Fantasia. This series has 2 dresses, a salopette, a skirt, a double head bow, a necklace, socks, a bag and a barrette.

This is the first JSK and the bolder of the two dresses. I think the bodice on this dress is a little odd. On the right hand side of the above picture it looks like the neckline starts to slope downwards. I was hoping it was just the way the dress had been placed on the dummy but this slope appears in other photos too. Either Baby need to take more care taking their photos or this dress is wonky. Looking beyond the wonky bit, I thought the bodice was pretty. The corset detail on the front looks neat and tidy with some beautiful rose lace running along it. There is a ruffle running along the neckline but it does not look too wide or scratchy. On this ruffle there are 2 bows which are not too big and blend in well. The ribbon used matches the print colour well. There are two sets of straps but they are fairly thin so it does not look too much. It is probably not good for those who like extra support from their straps. Two lines of jewels drape from the two bows on the ruffle which suits the design of the dress.

However, I just can't get past the wonky parts. I hope this dress is nicer in person. I am also a little unsure about the skirt shape and the way it is laid out. The tulle layer sitting over the skirt is very floaty and has little glittery bits on it but I think it looks a little strange. The tulle can be buttoned up and in these pictures the buttons are being used. Hopefully you can undo the buttons too. I also thought the bustle part was a strange shape. The skirt part has too many details. It is like the designers are trying too hard. I also felt the one bow on the front looked a bit limp and lifeless.

By this stage I was hoping the second dress would be better.
And so, I move on to the second JSK. Thankfully I like this dress a lot more. This time the bodice looks like it fits better. The bodice is quite plain apart from a lace bib. Sometimes lace bib details can be very frilly and a bit too fussy. On this dress the bodice design looks flatter. Whilst this may not appeal to some people, I think the flatter design looks neater. It is finished with some simple ribbon threaded through. The lace running along the shoulder straps also looks very tidy and the straps are wider so will give better support. I felt the waist bow was a little big but it is detachable. Its size means it could make a nice head bow if you dislike the double head bow from this series. The back of the dress also looks a lot better than the first dress. There is a panel of shirring partially hidden by some corset ribbon detail. Overall, the design looks more balanced than the first dress. If I was being picky, I would say my only dislike on the bodice is the line of gold ribbon running along the outside of the bib but the gold ribbon still blends in a bit, so it is not too obvious. The skirt part looks spacious. The shape looks strange in the stock photos but I have a feeling it probably looks better in person. The bottom is finished off with a ruffle. Where the main part of the skirt meets the ruffle, there is a line of pretty rose lace. Halfway down the ruffle there is a line of the gold ribbon again. I am a little undecided about that part but it does not look too bad. And the bottom of the ruffle is finished off with some more lace. It helps liven up what could have been a very plain design.

This is the salopette. I don't want to give this a full review because I am still undecided about whether I like salopettes or not. My overview of this one is the shape looks a little flat and looks a little like nightwear. It would probably work best on petite girls. I am yet to be convinced and I definitely prefer something a little fuller at the bottom.

There is one detail on the salopette I do approve of-

Look at the cute star lace! As a girl who likes stars, I want to see more of this in the future.

There were quite a few different pictures of the actual print so I just picked my two favourites. This print will be available in 4 colours- Cloud Sky (the brown/ivory one. See the 2nd dress above), Dreamy Planet (the green version. See the salopette), Milky Way (Navy. See the second print close up below) and Starry Night (black). I think this is a very beautiful print. I love the clusters of stars and the clouds. I think it would have been interesting if this print had a little bit of glitter in it. I don't usually like glitter prints but I think it could work with this particular series.

This is my favourite part of the print. The boat looks so pretty! When I saw the name of the print I thought it reminded me of Disney. The print certainly has a Disney feel to it. The boat reminds me of Peter Pan and the fairy could be Tinkerbell.

And finally, here is the barrette-
This grabbed my attention because it does not look like a barrette. At first I thought Baby had started making glitter stick-on tattoos because this looks more like a transfer than a hair accessory. I think this looks a little cheap and I would not pay 3000yen for it. I would use this item as a brooch rather than a barrette. Baby have not shown what the back of the barrette looks like but hopefully it will have a nice pin which can be used in many different ways.

So would I buy from this series? Yes. As soon as I saw the print I thought it was special. I would not rank this print as highly as some of my dream pieces but given the chance, I would buy the second dress. I think the print looks best in navy. I predict this series will sell well and although I have slated the first dress, I imagine it will be popular.

Monday, 9 May 2011

May 2011 Oxfordshire Lolita Meet

Oxfordshire Lolita Meet time! Despite getting about 2 hours sleep the previous night and feeling incredibly rough, I was able to attend. We had a mini thunderstorm and the weather was meant to be really bad. Our plan for the day was to go punting so the weather threatened to derail our plans. I am hopeless when it comes to the weather so it took me ages to decide what to wear. The theme was sailor and classic. I chose classic because I don't have enough in my wardrobe for a whole sailor outfit.

Skirt- Bodyline
Shirt- GLP
Bolero- Bodyline
Everything else is off-brand.

I think my outfit worked well (at least I hope it did!). If I was to be picky, I would say that I needed a bit more red to balance the colours a bit better. I could have done with a nice straw bag to match my hat too. My outfit appeared to go down well with the others and generally I was very happy with my choices.

We went to Yo! Sushi which is very popular amongst the Oxfordshire Lolitas. We always seem to end up here! We had a newcomer called Jenny (not to be confused with the other Jenni). She had to leave early so I did not have much time to talk to her. I don't think she wears lolita very often but she seemed lovely so hopefully she will attend a few more meets some time.

The weather remained sunny after all so we were able to go punting. I gave it a miss because James did not want to do it and I felt bad leaving my husband behind. So Michelle, James and I went on a very small pub crawl. I had some tasty mixed berry cider and also discovered rose flavoured lemonade. Rose lemonade is my new obsession and I want a recipe! It tastes like Turkish Delight!

Naomi also had to leave us early so I asked for a picture before she left.

I really like Naomi's take on the gothic style. The corset she is wearing is very beautiful in person and it really suits Naomi.

After stuffing my face with cake in a cafe, we decided it would be a good idea to take photos by the river. It started to rain a little but we did not let this dampen our mood. Here is the rest of our group-

Left to right we have-
Nicola (our little handmade queen!), Louise in off-brand, Sammi in Bodyline, Beau in Metamorphose, Michelle in Bodyline, Raine in off-brand and me in Bodyline.

As you can see, this meet was all about the hats!

We also made a new friend! Raine found a very tiny caterpillar so we had to introduce it to Beau's Meta dress. It is so cute when caterpillars scrunch up like that.

I had such a great day despite feeling tired. For the June meet we are off to London. I am really excited about that. I have no idea what we are doing yet but it is bound to be fun.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Valentine Thank You!

Today I got another Lolita Valentine! I am a part of a group one about UK lolitas and I am so happy. Thank you so much!

I am part of number 17-

Thank you Valentine maker!!!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Bodyline redeems itself

My faith in Bodyline has been restored! The rose print from the bag has a skirt as well as that hideous kimono (thank you to Kaihei to alerting me to this).

It pretty much looks like your average Bodyline skirt but for now I am just happy I will be able to buy more of this print after all! If Bodyline could also release a dress then that would be great!

However, it is not just the new rose print item that caught my eye today. I really want this skirt-

Bodyline's answer to AP's Triple Tart. Although a lot of people may disagree with me, I actually prefer Bodyline's skirt to Triple Tart. Triple tart had the clashing check part and the Bodyline skirt in my opinion, is better. I just wish the length was a bit longer. I am still planning to get it if my money can stretch to it (I have got a huge Expo coming up at the end of the month).

I also thought this cosmetic print was very pretty. I would lose the waist bow. I am torn between red and brown. I will probably hold out before buying this but as far as Bodyline goes, this is a good design.

Sadly, it is not all good stuff in the new items section...

Too many details and a very cheap looking matching choker. My regular readers know how much I hate those mini pom poms! Bodyline will always churn out pieces like this but at least they are releasing pretty stuff too. I am just happy that the rose print got a skirt too.
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