Thursday, 29 November 2012

The Secret Garden by BABY

Today I will be taking a look at The Secret Garden series by BABY. This is quite a large series with 2 dresses, a skirt, 2 blouses, a bolero, a bag, socks, tights, a few pieces of jewellery, a hat and 6 different hair accessories. Considering the amount of items in this series, I get the impression that Baby are expecting this series to be a huge hit...

This is the Rosette Rose JSK. The bodice looks quite well fitted. The overall shape of the bodice could maybe be a bit more interesting, but looks okay. The straps are a good width for the style of dress. I like the soft looking ruffle running along the straps. It stops the straps looking too plain and softens the harsh edge of the strap. 

The size of the waist bow suits the dress well. It also has a nice shape to it and doesn't droop much. The ruffle along the bow edges add a bit of interest without making it look too OTT. I am a little unsure about the use of ribbon across the bodice. Whilst I don't think it looks bad, I don't think the ribbon line halfway down the bodice is really needed. With the waist bow and the ribbon bow on the neckline, I don't think the dress really needs another ribbon bow here. It maybe makes the bodice look a bit too cluttered. However, I think the neckline details are gorgeous. The neckline has a good shape to it and the soft ruffle compliments it well. But my favourite part is the rose corsage. I think it looks beautiful. The roses have a lovely deep colour to them and the corsage size is just about right. I also think it gives the dress a more decorative and luxurious feel, but at the same time it doesn't look too much.

The back has a panel of shirring. It is concealed very well by a ribbon corset and it is all kept very neat and tidy. The skirt has a very pretty and full shape to it. It flares out nicely and the print is displayed well. The bottom hem is finished off with 3 ruffles. The ruffles are layered softly. I think the ruffles are a good width and the ruffles on the bodice tie in well with the bottom hem. The bottom hem ruffles are then topped with matching ribbon bows.

This is the Elise JSK. The bodice looks well fitted and I think the bodice shape is beautiful. The straps are a decent width too. I love how the waist has the ribbons on the side. They are placed so well and I love the way they sit on the dress. The ribbon used is soft and floaty looking and I love the use of deep colours too. The bodice is split in to panels. The panel at the middle front has a line of pearls running down the front. It is a nice idea and the pearls are spaced out well. My only complaint is that I wished this panel stopped where the side ribbons are. I don't think it looks good continuing below the waist. The lace running along the neckline and continuing along the straps looks beautiful. On some dresses this kind of detail would be too OTT, but I think it really suits this series. The neckline is finished with a pretty ribbon bow, which matches the other ribbon bows on the dress. This bow is topped with a fake rose. I think it was right to just have one single rose on this dress. This dress has enough detail elsewhere and if it had a 3 rose corsage like the other dress then I think that would be too much. The back has a panel of shirring. It is covered by a ribbon corset, with the ribbon matching the colour of the deep coloured ribbon on the rest of the dress. Although this stands out more, it does still neaten the area and the back of this dress does look quite tidy. The skirt has a lovely rounded shape to it. It looks very full and plump. My only criticism is that I wish the skirt had a bit more length to it as I think in some of the photos it looks a bit too short.

The skirt is gathered a little on the sides and finished with more of the same ribbon bows. Some people may say this reminds them a bit too much of curtains, but I think it looks stunning! I really love this detail. Also, it is nice that it doesn't disrupt the way the print is displayed on the skirt too much. The print is still displayed beautifully, despite the gathering. The panel of lace underneath is a nice touch too, and makes the area look so tidy. The bottom hem is then finished off with 2 lines of ruffles. It maybe doesn't look as neat as the bottom hem of the other dress, but it has still been executed well and gives the bottom a softer edge. I think some people are going to find this dress a bit too OTT with all the ribbon bows and details. I personally think it works really well and has quite a decadent and indulgent appearance.

And this is part of the print close-up. This print comes in ivory, pink, mint, beige and black colours. It is hard to pick just one favourite colour, as I think they all work so well with the print! I would probably go for the ivory colour, but I would be happy with any colour. The print is so beautiful too. I love the arches adorned with roses. It is so pretty. And so much detail has gone in to the pictures inside the arches as well. I really love how it has all been done and it is drawn so well. I think my favourite picture has to be the one with the deer and rabbit with the door. It is just so pretty!

I think one of the weaker items in this series is the bag. I don't think it really suits the rest of the series. Also, the bag is essentially a flat rabbit shaped part and then has a purse stuck on the back. Whilst it looks cute from the front, the same can't really be said for the back. I am also not a fan of the chain strap, although the necklace around the rabbit's neck is a nice touch.

So overall, I think this series is quite a strong one. Both of the dresses are stunning and I really like how there are so many different hair accessory options. I think there is something here to keep every classic lolita happy. Would I buy from this series? Yes, I would. I would choose the Elise JSK because I love the skirt details. Choosing a colour would be a bit tricky though! I think this is the best series that BABY have released recently and hopefully it will be a success.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Hyper Japan Christmas November 2012

Apologies for the late post. Despite only being able to attend Hyper Japan on the Saturday, I had a very packed weekend in London. I was so tired and when I woke up yesterday, the last thing I felt like doing was sitting on my laptop all day!

So, as the title suggests, I attended Hyper Japan Christmas on Saturday! I would have loved to attended on the Sunday, when the kawaii fashion show was being held, but I wrongly predicted that most of the fashion stuff would be held on the Saturday. Also, it was a friend's birthday as well, so I was too busy eating Thanksgiving Biscuit flavour ice cream with cranberry sauce (I love you, Chin Chin Labs!) and admiring dinosaurs. I am very sorry for the upcoming rant, but I was not impressed by the organisation of the fashion events this time around. I understand that there were some lolitas out there who were doing their best behind the scenes to make sure that we at least had something going on at the event. I am not blaming those people at all and I am grateful for all your hard work. But I felt that one of my favourite parts of the last HJ back in February was the Bring and Buy stall, which wasn't here this time. I heard that there had been some complaints because this stall didn't pay the stall fee. I do feel it was a real shame. I think that with a bit more time to organise, we could have all grouped together to get the stall fee and got people to help run the stall throughout the weekend. UK lolitas, I say that when the next HJ gets announced, we make it our mission to get the Bring and Buy stall back! To make things worse, BABY were not there this time either. I did think that some of the BABY stall items were a bit overpriced last time, but I think they still made a lot of sales. And they had lucky packs there too. Thankfully, about 6 weeks ago, a kawaii fashion show was announced (for the Sunday only). But overall, it did feel that a lot of the fashion stuff got pushed aside. Considering the amount of publicity the lolitas gave HJ back in February (UK lolitas even got featured in Marie Claire!) I think this was a mistake. When I was walking about on Saturday there was a significant drop in the number of lolitas in attendance. A lot of people were trying to sell their Saturday tickets and I felt like there was less excitement about the event. I really hope that Hyper Japan listens to these complaints, as it could affect future attendance. Okay, rant over!

I think I will start with my outfit! I have been more drawn to dark colours lately and I decided to wear Nostalgic Chess by Meta. A lot of my outfit is similar to an outfit I wore earlier in the year, with a few little additions. I was wearing my new Secret Shop crown shoes, I had additional accessories on and I made a chess piece headpiece. Compared to my last HJ outfit, this one is pretty understated. Although, that could be due to the fact that I didn't fully carry out all of my plans. Let's just say I did have something a bit more interesting planned but I was unable to locate some materials. If I am able to get all the stuff I need together, it may be part of a future outfit...

This was the best photo on my camera of my chess headpiece. The original idea was to wear my Lockshop hime wig with this headpiece on top. Unfortunately, the hime bump sits quite close to the front of my head and when I put the headpiece on, the chess pieces all tilted forwards. I couldn't quite get it to work. So I just loosely curled my hair and fluffed it out a little bit. My hair got a little bit messy towards the end of the day so it was a shame I couldn't have worn my wig. As you can see, I picked up a bottle of peach flavoured Ramune soda from the Tofu Cute stand. I had only previously tried the original flavour, but I think I prefer the peach one now.

A jewellery close-up picture. Kyra was very pleased to see me wearing her book ring! I made myself a gold pawn ring to match my headpiece. The rest of the jewellery is from Angelic Pretty and Paris Kids. The bow clip attached to my bolero is off-brand.

There were lots of very interesting stalls this time. I think my favourite has to be the Tofu Cute stall though. Look at those giant alpaca plushies!!! I really wanted to get one but then I would have had to carry it around and I don't think it would have fitted in my luggage. In the end, I got a smaller alpaca instead. I can't get enough of these cute alpacas. The Tofu Cute stall was also stocking lots of other cute things, including loads of Chocomint accessories, more alpacas and even some Loris bags. I already have a Loris shooting star bag, so I know what to expect quality-wise. I was going to buy one, but decided against it. I am currently having storage issues and the last thing I needed was yet another bag! Maybe next time...

My favourite stage performance was the Kamui samurai sword artists. It was a really exciting and fun performance. The group leader had appeared in the first Kill Bill movie. It was an action packed show and there was even a Q&A with the group leader.

I was very pleased to see my favourite macaron makers were back again! I prefer On's macarons to Laduree (and that is a huge deal, because I love Laduree). I loved the 'Valentine' macaron, which was raspberry with a chocolate ganache. My favourite is still the peach champagne flavour, so I was glad they still had that flavour available.

So with the kawaii fashion show being on the Sunday, us Saturday fashion attendees got to see the Marble Collection. Now, if I am being brutally honest, I was not impressed. For a large chunk of the hour, all we got to see was a video. The video basically explained what the collection was about and went behind the scenes of their most recent show. I do feel that a video was not really enough. This is the sort of thing that you could probably find online pretty easily. It lacked the 'wow' factor. After the video, the people who run the collection got to come on stage, along with some familiar faces from the UK J-fashion scene. This part was a bit more interesting as we got an insight in to the ideas behind the Marble Collection. But overall, I think this offering was bland. I did see a few people around me walking off as they lost interest. I think what was wrong with it, was that there wasn't much for the audience to interact with. I didn't feel like I was gaining any inspiration or really 'connecting' with what I was being shown. Perhaps it would have been better if we actually saw some more fashion on the stage instead of watching the video. 

I thought this stall was very cute. They were offering a Christmas present wrapping service. I love the traditional looking Japanese feel the examples had.

The Wii U console was also at Hyper Japan. When we finally got our hands on it, it stopped working! FAIL! And by the time it was working again, a bigger queue had formed. So we didn't get the chance to have a proper play with it. But from what I saw, it does look very exciting. I am not sure I really want to buy another new console though.

So I would say that this is probably the weakest of the 3 Hyper Japan events that I have attended. There were a lot of stalls to keep me occupied. I felt the fashion side of things was disappointing and I ended up enjoying the swords display a whole lot more. I picked up a load of sweets. I finally got my hands on a box of Melty Kiss chocolates and some KitKat flavours I haven't tried yet. And obviously I loved the alpaca plushies and Chocomint stuff. But I really hope that next time, there is some more exciting fashion stuff going on. I think there are still some issues with the organisation that needs tweaking. I also think that the organisers need to give their ticket buyers more of what they want. What I love about Hyper Japan is that it offers something a bit different to a lot of the anime conventions we have here. It is more focused on Japanese culture. But if it carries on like this, it will eventually become an MCM Expo clone. I do enjoy the MCM Expo, but do we really need Hyper Japan to become more like it? I would hate for HJ to lose its identity. Here is hoping that next time, there is much more excitement!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Cock Robin by Alice and the Pirates

Notice about Monday- Due to a very hectic weekend, there is a chance that Monday's post may be late.

Today I will be taking a look at Cock Robin by Alice and the Pirates. This series includes 2 dresses, a skirt, a barrette, a headpiece, a vest, pants, 2 blouses, tights and accessories.

This is JSK I. The bodice looks very well fitted. Overall, the bodice shape is nice, although I think it could have been a bit more imaginative. The bodice has this strange piping running vertically up it. It is not immediately obvious, as it blends in quite a bit. I don't think it looks particularly pretty or really adds anything to the dress. It's just sitting there, not doing much. I wouldn't have bothered with this detail, to be honest. The lace along the neckline looks pretty and of a good quality. It is a nice width and doesn't look too itchy. The neckline is finished off with a ribbon bow, placed to one side. I think the bow is a nice shape and size. It compliments the dress well and is placed nicely. The ribbon is a bit on the shiny side, but not too bad. I think the straps are a bit on the thin side. Maybe if they were a tiny bit wider it would help, although I don't think they should be too much wider, as that wouldn't suit the style of dress. The back has a panel of shirring which is concealed by a ribbon corset. The ribbon corset is spaced out very well and looks very neat. Because of the style of print, the shirring doesn't stick out too much either, and sort of blends in a bit. I am not a fan of the skirt shape for this dress. In my opinion, it looks a bit too rounded and I don't think it would look that flattering. I understand that the shape is probably affected by the gathering on the skirt, but I think the execution could have been done a lot better. There have been other dresses by AatP which have done this sort of gathering a lot better and the skirt shape has been prettier. Another complaint I have is how the layers hiding beneath the gathering look very bunched up together. This just makes the overall shape look much worse.

I was also a bit surprised by the material used for the bottom hem. I wasn't expecting it to be all sparkly and glittery. I guess what I don't understand is why such a glitzy looking material has been paired with such a dull print? I don't think this series really works with added glitter and it all seems a bit mismatched.

 This is JSK II. The bodice looks well fitted and a nice shape. The waist is tucked in nicely by a line of ribbon around the waist. I like the stripy ribbon and the bow looks pretty. Although I do think the ribbon tails could maybe end a bit higher up, as they do look a bit long. The neckline has 2 lines of very wide lace running along it. In the close-up shots, the lace itself does look very pretty. However, I do think it looks far too wide and there are 2 rows, which only emphasises this further. I also think that the lace looks very droopy and sits very limply. I think if there had been just one row of this lace, it would be a vast improvement. The straps are again a bit on the thin side and could possibly benefit from being slightly wider. The back has a panel of shirring, which runs the whole way across. It is a bit exposed and not as tidy as the other JSK, but it is more flexible size-wise. The skirt shape is lovely. It has got a lovely, rounded bell shape to it. It looks very full and plump. It will hold a decent amount of petticoat too. The only slight niggle I have, is it appears to get a bit narrower towards the very bottom and so it sort of tucks in a bit. The bottom hem is finished off with more of that sparkly material used on the other JSK. I still think it looks out of place. The width of the material does match up with the wide lace on the bodice, but I still think it needs to be narrower. This bottom hem material also appears a bit limp and lifeless, which is disappointing.

And here is part of the print close-up. This print is available in bordeaux, navy and black. To be honest, I don't see much difference between the three colours. They are all dark and deep colours. When the colours are so similar, it is difficult to pick out a favourite. I guess I like the black the best, but I am not too fussed. The print itself is nice enough. When I first saw it, I thought it looked a bit like one of those generic, typical Alice and the Pirates prints. It is pretty enough, but it looks like a lot of other AatP prints. There is nothing about this print that really makes it stand out. It is drawn beautifully though. I do like the frames surrounding the pieces of text. The frames are very ornate with a lot of detail to them. I think my favourite is the one with the griffin heads and the crown. But overall, this print doesn't amaze me.

One item I do like from the series is this headdress. It does look similar to a lot of other AatP headdresses, but it looks so beautiful. I love the combination of roses and feathers. The pearls are lovely and I love the veil part too. It all comes together well and it executed brilliantly. This is definitely my top pick from this series.

So overall, I am hugely underwhelmed by this series. It looks very dull in comparison to a lot of other AatP prints and nothing about it really stands out. I also have my doubts about both of the dress designs. Unfortunately the skirt design (not shown here) is not much better, in my opinion. I get the impression that this is a bit of a 'filler' series before AatP bring out a really beautiful, must-have series. And having seen the next AatP series (Called Gloria. I am really looking forward to discussing this series!), it looks like I may be right. 

Monday, 19 November 2012

Nov 2012 Ox Loli Meet- Lolita Scavenger Assassins!

On Saturday the lovely Michelle hosted the Nov 2012 Oxfordshire Lolita meet. The theme was Lolita Scavenger Assassins and the plan was for Michelle to send us out around Oxford whilst trying to solve clues. Eventually, we would be able to find the secret base. So for this meet I decided to give Military Lolita a go.

I should point out that I didn't have much time to plan my outfit. In the end, I threw this ensemble together after raiding Primark and using a lot of what was already in my wardrobe. I think this is the shortest time I have ever thrown an outfit together! In the end, I used some basic black Bodyline items. The hat, most of the jewellery and the boots came from Primark. The bag is my beloved IW crown bag. The idea for this outfit was to combine black, wine and gold.

It gave me the perfect excuse to wear my Juliette et Justine tights! I think this picture is a good example of what they look like worn. When I review these tights on here I did say the colour looks a bit faded when worn. I wore a solid coloured pair of wine tights underneath, which did help a tiny bit. Obviously when you compare the colour to the wine bits on my blouse and bag, you can see the tights are quite a bit lighter, but I still adore the tights. I don't think they looked out of place in my outfit at all.

So, I didn't get many pictures of any actual clue solving or us rushing about Oxford. In the end, we all sort of came together and worked as one big force. This was the group going downstairs inside the Museum of History of Science to find one of the clues. Michelle had put a LOT of thought in to the clues. Some were more obvious than others. There were one or two clues that just completely baffled me! I was kicking myself when Michelle explained all the clues at the secret base location. It turned out that James had earlier guessed the secret base location! The secret base ended up being the Debenhams Cafe. It is somewhere our group ends up going to frequently because it is the only cafe that can hold our group! Oxford has so many beautiful boutique style cafes and we can never get in to them...

This was my favourite of the group photos we took. So enjoy us being creeps!

There were owls outside the Westgate Centre again! I have seen the owls here a couple of times and they were there again when we did a bit of shopping at the end of the day. They are so adorable. I really love how this little owl has such a grumpy face! I wish I could take you home with me, little owl...

It was a very fun and energetic meet. I was impressed by how well Michelle planned the scavenger hunt. It was a really great day. I think everybody enjoyed themselves. I am just glad I wore sensible boots for all that walking we did!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

The Sainsbury's Macaron Kit

So at the weekend I managed to get hold of a macaron kit from Sainsbury's. I had a few people enquiring and asking me what the kit was like, so here is my post on the kit. I apologise to my international readers as this post probably isn't relevant to you, unless Sainsbury's have extended outside the UK. 

Sainsbury's have just brought this kit in. I can't remember the exact price, but it costs around £2 and is meant to make about 12 macarons. The kit is available in raspberry and chocolate. I chose the raspberry.

I found the box was very easy to locate down the home baking aisle, but this is what you are looking for. To make the macarons you will need this kit, 2 egg whites, a tablespoon of milk and 50g butter. Don't worry about buying a piping bag, because it is included in the kit.

The instructions on the box were written out very clearly. I found them very easy to follow. Unfortunately, we don't have an electric whisk, so we had to whisk the egg whites by hand. It took us forever to make it go stiff and form peaks. If you have ever made meringue before, you will know what I am talking about! Then after whisking the egg whites you add the macaron mix. The macaron mix is the bigger of the 2 bags inside the kit, which wasn't clearly marked, but with a bit of common sense I knew which one was which. As you can see from the picture, the mix goes a very florescent pink! 

Next came the piping...

I had a bit of trouble with this stage! When I cut the corner off the piping bag, I wasn't expecting the mixture to come out as quickly as it did. As you can see, some of my macarons turned out very messy. The piping takes a bit of practice and at least next time I will know how quickly the mixture comes out. In the end I made 9 macarons instead of the 12 stated on the box, but that was mainly because the mix came out too fast and some macarons ended up bigger.

I followed the cooking instructions, exactly as they are written on the box. A few of the shells did get a bit burnt around the edges. The majority of the shells came out fine, albeit a bit strangely shaped. The kit also comes with instructions to make a filling. You use the milk, soft butter and the other mix bag to make the filling. In my opinion, the filling really lets this kit down. I found that the filling mix kept curdling and splitting. I was expecting a soft, creamy filling but the end result was quite runny and slightly grainy. If I were to use this kit again I would make my own filling instead of using the packet one. I know I can make a nicer filling from scratch.

So how did they taste? The raspberry flavour is very strong. I don't mind having a very sweet macaron, but I definitely ate too much at once and felt a bit sick afterwards! Both the shells and filling are raspberry flavoured. I think the shell is flavoured strongly enough by itself and the filling didn't need to be so strongly flavoured. The texture was a bit too chewy. It tasted like a macaron but the texture is not quite right. Whether this is down to my baking skills or the kit, I am unsure. It was just a bit too heavy. Maybe I needed a bit more air in my whipped up egg whites.

I would give this kit a rating of 3.5/5. I think this kit is a good purchase if you are new to macaron making, as it eases you in gently. However, the texture is not quite right. The filling that comes with this kit is awful. It tastes very nice, but I would expect nicer. But despite this, the end product was still very enjoyable. I had no complaints from my husband or mother-in-law when they sampled them. The raspberry flavour really comes out well. So whilst my macarons may not look as pretty as Laduree ones, I don't think this has been a total failure. I would try the kit again but I think in the future I would like to try and make my own ones from scratch. But for about £2 for 12 macarons, this kit is worth trying at least once.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Misty Sky by Angelic Pretty

Today I will be taking a look at Misty Sky by Angelic Pretty. This series includes 2 dresses, a skirt, socks and various hair accessories. 

This is the OP. The bodice is nicely fitted and a cute shape. I really like the overall shape of the sleeves, especially the way they are puffy at the wrists. I think the puffiness adds a bit of cuteness to the dress. However, I do dislike the double layer of lace at the cuffs. I think one line of lace here would have been enough and having 2 lines makes it look too fussy. The waist has a satin ribbon bow. I think the bow is shaped nicely, but the ribbon is too shiny. The shininess of the ribbon sticks out in my opinion and duller ribbon would have been better. 

Here we can see what the collar looks like. I like the line of lace running up the bodice, as it looks cute and very neat. The buttons are nice, but maybe the design is a bit dull. I think star shaped buttons would have suited here. I love how the collar looks so light and delicate. It matches well with the floaty style of the rest of the dress. It is very smart, but doesn't make the dress look too stuffy or formal. I really like it! The collar has a chiffon bow on it which looks suitably soft and floaty. The edges even have cute star lace too. I do think that the dress doesn't need both the waist bow and the one on the collar. I think they look a bit too much when paired together. I would probably get rid of the waist ribbon because I think the collar bow is the nicer of the two. 

The back is quite plain, with no shirring. The collar looks very neat from the back as well. The only slight annoyance I have is that the fabric join is very obvious and the print doesn't line up well here. The skirt shape is beautiful. It flares outwards well and compliments the bodice shape as well. The skirt is also very full and will hold a decent amount of petticoat. The all-over print is displayed very well because the skirt is kept free of cluttering details. The bottom hem is finished off with pretty polka dot lace. I was a bit surprised AP didn't choose lace which is a bit more on-theme with the print, but the polka dot lace is nice enough.

This is the JSK. I thought that the material on the bodice was a bit loose in places. I also felt that the overall bodice shape was a bit too boxy for my personal tastes. The waist has the same kind of shiny ribbon bow that the OP has. I still think the ribbon looks a bit too shiny. It is a nice shape though and the shape suits the dress. I dislike the semi circle lace which runs vertically up the bodice as I think it is too wide and doesn't really suit the rest of the dress. I am not too keen on the 2 lines of lace running along the neckline either. The lace itself is quite nice, but it is a bit too wide for my tastes. I appreciate that this dress needs some sort of detail there to stop it looking too boring, but I don't think I like the way it has been executed. The base of the straps have 2 small, shiny bows. I don't mind these as much, as it makes the area more interesting. The straps are a good width for the style of dress. Any wider, and they would look too bulky, in my opinion. The back has a panel of shirring, going the whole way across. It does look a bit messy, but I guess it does benefit bigger lolitas. The skirt shape is lovely and flares out nicely. It will also hold a lot of petticoat. However, I think I prefer the skirt shape of the OP. The skirt is kept free of clutter so again, the print is displayed very well. The bottom hem is finished off neatly with the same polka dot lace.

There are no stock pictures showing the print, but it is pretty easy enough to work out what it looks like from the other pictures. It is basically a lot of fluffy clouds with the odd moon here and there, and then there are small shooting stars hiding in the background. This series is available in pink, con (navy), sax blue, black and lavender. The clouds are drawn beautifully. They look quite realistic and very fluffy. Also, I love anything that has moons and shooting stars on it! This should be the sort of print that I instantly want to buy, but strangely, I have been feeling very undecided about it. I can't quite figure out why I am not madly in love with this series, but there must be something about I don't like. I just can't put my finger on it. However, I do think the con, sax blue and possibly the lavender colours are quite attractive.

I do think the accessories for this series are quite average. I don't think I would want to pay AP's retail price for this ribbon, for example. It is just a bit of printed chiffon tied in to a bow with a star charm on it. It doesn't really seem worth it to me. I think I would have liked to have seen a barrette included in this series, like Dream Sky and Dreamy Horoscope have. I don't think a full head bow would suit the series though. So the hair accessories are okay, but I reckon they could have been better.

I have very mixed feelings about this series. Clouds, moons and stars are all themes that I usually fall straight in love with. Add to this the use of chiffon, and this series should mean it is an automatic winner for me. But... it's not. There is something holding me back from adding this to my wishlist. I really don't understand it! I can't put my finger on what I dislike. Maybe I was just expecting more and found this series a bit underwhelming. If I were to buy this series in the future (Which I still might, I have not made my mind up. It depends on what the resale prices are like) I would definitely prefer to get the skirt. If I did have to pick a dress I would choose the OP over the JSK. I think the JSK design is lacking something. I would go for con or sax blue, but I am also attracted to the lavender. It would be a difficult task to pick out my absolute favourite colour! I think for now I am going to hold out and see how it looks on regular lolitas instead of AP's models. Maybe then I will make up my mind as to whether I want this print or not.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Clobba and Secret Shop Review- Positive

Today I will be reviewing my latest Clobba order! I ordered a pair of Secret Shop crown shoe replicas. These shoes were already in stock, so I didn't have to wait as long as something being ordered in.

Ordering Process

Ordering from Clobba is very simple. The instructions are available on the home page, near the bottom. The instructions could maybe be placed in a more obvious place so first time users can spot it easily. I had to fill out an order form, which was simple enough to follow and I sent it back with no problems. I had no issues with this at all.


Martin responded to all of my emails every quickly. He apologised for his slow response one time, but I thought he had answered me very quickly! Martin seems to know exactly what he is talking about and I felt like I was in safe hands. The only time he slipped up was when he sent my shoes. Normally, Clobba will send you a photograph of your parcel when they give you your tracking number. Martin managed to lose the photograph for my order. I wasn't too worried because I chose EMS shipping and I have been happy with Clobba's service in the past. He was quick to apologise for this.


I placed the order on a Sunday evening, paid on the Tuesday, it was shipped on the Thursday and arrived the following Wednesday. So that was a grand total of 9 and a half days it took from start to finish. Not bad considering that included a weekend. I thought they arrived pretty quickly.

The shoes were very secure. In fact, they were so secure that it took me a couple of minutes just to get in to them with my scissors. They were shipped in a shoe box, covered in bubble wrap, covered in plastic and lots of tape. So in other words, they were very secure. There was absolutely no way that any water was going to get in there. I shook the box a little and nothing moved about inside.

My shoe box! 

On the inside my shoes were wrapped up in tissue paper and plastic and then thoroughly stuffed with tissue paper. The pearl chains were placed in a plastic bag and wrapped in tissue paper too.

Hmm... Pretty sure my other Secret Shop shoes have their own name in them and not the brand they are replicating... But nobody is going to see that logo when I wear them.

After the challenge of getting in to my parcel, my next challenge was working out how to attach the pearl chains. It was a bit fiddly and the metal clasps didn't quite fit over the straps. I had to force them on a little bit. I am a bit concerned that they may fall off quite easily, but I have not had the chance to wear these for a long period yet. I guess I will have to wait and see.

The stitching on the shoes has been done very neatly. I really love the crown part of the shoes. The studs are pretty. I think that I would have preferred pearl studs instead of diamante ones, but these are nice enough.

The front of the shoes rise up a little bit. I think that over time, they will eventually lower.

Unfortunately, Clobba only had one size left in stock and that size happened to be one size bigger than my usual size. It did mean having to pay an extra $6. I believe these shoes were pretty popular! I ordered these shoes, knowing they would be too big and I would need a pair of insoles with them. However, I was a bit surprised by how wide the shoes were on me. My feet are about a 24.5cm, but I usually buy 25cm because I have very wide feet. These shoes are 25.5cm and I am amazed by how much room there is along the sides of my feet. You wouldn't think half a centimetre would make much difference but you can see in the photo (especially with the foot on the left of the picture, although my foot is slightly flexed) that there is quite a significant amount of space. But apart from this, the shoes are very comfortable and so far, I have not had any problems wearing them. They feel like they have been built well and will last a fair amount of time. 

So like last time, Clobba was very quick and reliable. I felt very valued as a customer. As for the shoes, they are exactly what I was expecting. I am very happy with Secret Shop's quality. I knew they would be slightly too big for me, but that is easily remedied. So this has been a very positive experience and I would recommend them.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Quintet of Fairies by BABY

Today I will be taking a look at Quintet of Fairies by Baby the Stars Shine Bright. This series includes 2 dresses, a skirt, 2 blouses, socks, a head bow, a bonnet and a violin shaped bag. 

This is the Dolce JSK. The bodice looks quite well fitted in the photos. The overall shape of the bodice is fine. The straps are a good width for the style of dress and suit it well. The lace along the straps stop them from looking to plain and soften the outer edges nicely.

I can't really see anything that I dislike about the bodice details by themselves. However, I do think it looks a bit fussy when it is all put together. There is quite a lot of different things going on here. Whilst the lace is of a good quality, in places it looks a bit too wide. I think if the lines running vertically up the bodice were a lot thinner, it could potentially look a lot better. The lace along the neckline is also quite wide, but I think if the vertical lace was narrower, it wouldn't look as bulky. I do like the use of ribbon for the lines running across the bodice and topping the lace on the neckline. The gold stripes on the ribbon are interesting and a bit different. I do wish the 2 lower bows were a bit smaller, as I think that would also help with the overall fussy and bulky appearance. I also think the bow shape could have been neater, possibly with thinner middle parts. As we can see in the photo, the middle line of ribbon looks very wonky, with the left side significantly higher than the right. Hopefully this is just a problem with the sample though, and it will be straight on the real thing. I do like the music note charm dangling from the top bow. I think it is very cute and it matches the print theme well. It is not immediately noticeable though, what with all the other details going on.

The back has a panel of shirring, which is concealed by a ribbon corset. The ribbon is done very neatly and gives the wearer more size flexibility. The skirt has a nice, subtle shape to it. It is quite a modest shape for sweet, but it still flares out nicely. It will hold a decent amount of petticoat too. The skirt is kept free of clutter, and so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom has a line of ribbon, which really smartens the bottom and also helps to tie in with the ribbon used on the bodice. The bottom hem is then finished off with some good quality lace, although the lace used is a bit dull looking. 

This is the Cantabile JSK. The bodice is a good shape. It looks like it fits well too and gives a nice silhouette. This is especially emphasised by the line of ribbon and bow running along the waist, which gives the illusion of it being belted. The waist bow is a bit on the big side. It doesn't look too out of place on this dress, but I think I would prefer it if it was a little bit smaller. The bow has quite a good, firm shape to it, especially when you consider its size. It doesn't appear to droop either and looks very perky. The waist bow and ribbon is detachable if you don't like it though.

The bodice has a raised panel with a scalloped edge. I tend to be a bit wary of scallops, as they can look a bit wonky. They don't look too bad here, but I think that the second layer of scallops underneath (here shown in brown) looks horrible. It makes it look awkward. I imagine it must be very difficult to line the 2 lines of scallops line up correctly. Baby have not done too badly here, but I still dislike it. The raised panel is topped with a ribbon bow. I am unsure I like the overall shape of the bow as I think the middle bit is too wide and the bottom bits look a bit strange. I like the idea behind the pearl chain but maybe it is slightly too long in length, as it starts to look a bit droopy. The dress has polka dot straps, which are a good width for the dress. The material matches the material used for the second line of scallops.

The back of the dress has a panel of shirring, which is concealed by a ribbon corset. I didn't think this looked as neat as it does on the other JSK but it still does its job well. The skirt flares outwards well. I did think the shape looked quite straight and a bit triangular. But despite this, I do think it suits the style of dress. It will still hold a lot of petticoat too. The skirt is kept free of cluttering details, and so the print is displayed really well. The bottom hem is finished with a ruffle made of the same polka dot material used elsewhere on the dress, so it ties in well.

And here is the print close-up. The print comes in ivory, pink, red and black. The colours are pretty standard for Baby and all of them do work well with the print. I think my favourite is the ivory, but there is not much in it. The print is very cute. I love the castle and the piano. The fairies are adorable, but they don't appear to have much detail to them. I really love their little hats with the pom pom on the top! I really love the bows at the top because they are drawn well and look pretty. It's also good how the bows have chandeliers dangling from them, which help to fill the empty gaps. I think the piano keyboard at the bottom is quite fun. I like how it is drawn in a wiggly line instead of straight because it makes it more interesting, with a lot more movement. But whilst I do think the print is very cute, I think it has a very generic Baby look to it. It is pretty enough, but it all looks like stuff I have seen before.

An issue I have with parts of this series is the shades of brown used. Whilst there are some 'warmer' shades of brown used, there is also this very dull shade of brown. I think this blouse best describes what I am talking about. The colour reminds me of dried mud and is almost grey in colour. I personally don't like this colour paired with such a sweet print. I think if I owned this blouse I would struggle to pair it with items which are not a part of this series. It gives it a very limited appeal. 

So I have very mixed feelings about this series. I do like the print, but I don't see it as a must-have series. It doesn't really stand out and grab my attention. I also think that in a few cases, the dress details are a bit questionable. If I had to pick a dress, I would go for the Dolce JSK in ivory. It is fine for what it is, but I have my doubts about it.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Creepy Jewellery Picks!

This post was meant to be published before Halloween, but it got pushed back. But I say better late than never!

I thought I would get in the spirit of all things spooky and pick out some of my favourite bits of creepy themed jewellery. I have nothing against cutesy bats or those eyeball clips, but I do feel like they get worn quite a lot. This may seem like a strange post from somebody who mainly wears sweet or classic, but here are my favourite pieces of dark jewellery that I have found recently.

I do love a bit of Stephen King. I have only read a few of his books so far, but The Shining is my favourite! I do like the movie version as well, which is where this necklace gets its inspiration from (in the book, Danny gets chased with a mallet and not an axe). One of the most iconic moments of the movie is when Jack takes an axe to the door and pokes his head through, shouting "Heeeeeere's Johnny!". For me this REDRUM necklace sums up the movie quite well. And although it is based on a movie, it is the sort of necklace that you can still wear with a normal creepy outfit.

If I were to add a bit of cuteness to Halloween, I would pick something like these Candy Corn earrings. As much as I love ghost, bat and spider themed jewellery, these are the sorts of themes that we see pretty frequently. I thought candy corn was a little bit different, but still hints at a Trick or Treat theme. Suitable for those who normally dress cute!

This time I am going a bit more gory. What I love about this necklace is the contrast between the pretty frame and the creepy looking heart. It is also interesting how the blood drips continue on to the silver frame. It looks like a heart being served on a beautiful dinner platter. I appreciate this wont be to everybody's tastes, but there is something a little bit dark and twisted about this necklace, and that is why I like it.

This is another nod to famous horror stories. This time I have chosen a raven themed cameo. It reminds me a lot of The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe. I think it is good just seeing the silhouette of the raven and the cameo frame is a nice touch. It is more of a subtle hint of horror rather than full-on creepiness. I think this is the sort of thing I would wear if I just wanted to try a bit of horror, but didn't want to go all out. This necklace is also probably a bit more versatile and wearable than the other items featured on this post.

And finally, I couldn't do this post without including a bit of Suppurate System! Whilst I am not a fan of the barbed wire style chord here (I think in this instance it cheapens the design a bit) I do love the test tube idea. Scientists are something we sometimes see in horror- just look at Frankenstein- and so it felt appropriate to include some scientist themed jewellery in this post. I like the roses trapped inside. Of course, they also have the typical horror colours of red and black as well. I think that when it comes to Japanese brands, Suppurate System does horror the best. If this is your sort of thing, then do look up the official website, but be prepared to part with quite a bit of money.

And so, those are my picks for adding a touch of gore. If anybody else has any good links to share, then feel free to comment. 

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