Monday, 23 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

I would like to wish all of my followers and readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I hope you all have a wonderful time over the festive season.

This is officially my last blog post of 2013! I will be taking a mini break over Christmas (quality family time comes before blogging). At the moment, I am intending to be back on Thursday the 2nd of January. However, this might move to Monday the 6th. So if you don't see a blog post on the 2nd, then please check back on the 6th!

I would like to thank everybody who comes to visit my blog. Hopefully 2014 will be full of plenty of adventures that I can share with all of you.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Radiant Candlelight by Angelic Pretty

Today I am looking at Radiant Candlelight by Angelic Pretty. This series includes 2 dresses, a skirt, a headband and socks.

This is the Regular JSK. The bodice looks reasonably well fitted. The shape is simple, but looks lovely. I think the waist bow is a suitable size for the dress. The shape is pretty and the lace along the bow edges matches perfectly. It seems to sit well on the dress and doesn't appear to droop. I like how the bow is finished off with the tear drop charms too.

The straps are maybe a bit fussy looking. The halter straps could have looked okay by themselves. I wouldn't have minded the second pair of straps, but I would lose the thin ribbon bows. I am not that amazed by the pearl chains on the straps too, but at least they are detachable.

The neckline has two lines of fairly wide lace, which are then topped with cute looking bows. Whilst I like the idea, I think it maybe looks a bit too much. I would keep both lines of lace, but maybe layer them one on top of each other slightly. Then I would lose just one of the velvet bows. The back has a panel of shirring, which is concealed neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt has the potential to flare out very well. The skirt has a very plump, rounded shape to it. With the right petticoat, the wearer can create a beautiful silhouette. The skirt is kept free of clutter and the print is displayed very clearly. The bottom hem is then finished off with bow themed lace. The lace is very pretty, although I am surprised AP didn't go for custom cross or candle themed lace.

This is the Halter JSK. The bodice appears to be very well fitted, although in one or two of the stock photos it looked like the bodice material was a little loose in places. Although it doesn't appear very noticeable. The bodice has quite a simple, box-like shape to it, but the heart shaped neckline and detachable chiffon neck piece help to liven things up a little. The bodice features two criss-crossed ribbon 'ladders' running up the front. I think they are pretty and I like how the ribbon is kept thin, so they don't look too bulky. The criss-crossed ribbon is spaced out nicely too. The neckline bow is a bit on the big side, although it doesn't look too out of place on this style of dress. I would have maybe preferred it to be a little bit smaller. The bow shape is a bit simple, but it sits well on the dress. The pearl chain dangling from the bow looks pretty and suits the dress. However, I think the tear drop charm dangling from the middle bit looks a bit silly. I really adore the chiffon halter neck part of the dress. It wont suit everybody, but I think it is very elegant and mature looking. The chocker part is not too stuffy looking or bulky. The halter neck is detachable and the dress still works well without it, but I definitely prefer the dress with the halter neck attached. The back has a panel of shirring, which is concealed neatly by a ribbon corset. The skirt is again shown to have a lot of potential. It flares out well and has a plump, rounded shape to it. It will hold a decent amount of petticoat. The skirt is kept clutter free, so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is again finished off with bow themed lace.

And here we have the print close-up which shows the print comes in ivory, wine, con and black. All four colours work beautifully with the gold print. Whilst the ivory looks pretty, I am personally a fan of the deeper colours because the gold really 'pops' against the darker background. I am glad that the con and wine colours look deeper in the stock photos than they do in this print close-up. As for the print, it is very elegant and mature looking. I wasn't that fussed with it when I first saw it, but it has grown on me a lot since then. The candelabras are drawn beautifully and the dangling chains underneath really add to the print too. The use of the colour gold gives the print a very classy feel. This is a really wonderful offering for this time of year, but at the same time it doesn't look too "Christmassy", so you are not limited to wearing it for just one part of the year.

I think this is a very beautiful offering from AP, that should do very well. It is versatile enough to be worn as part of a mature sweet look, classic and maybe even gothic lolita with the right styling. I am a fan of the more grown-up look of this series. The dress designs are beautiful too. I would maybe make a few tiny tweaks, but generally I think the designs are very strong. I am always a bit reluctant to buy velveteen but I would possibly buy this series. I would go for the Halter JSK in either wine or con. The headpiece is also a good classic hair item that could be worn with many outfits, not just with this series. I would definitely recommend it.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Ox Loli Christmas meet 2013

Yesterday the Oxfordshire Lolitas had their Christmas meet. We went to the Mitre (our favourite hang-out at the moment!) for some lovely pub food and then went on to the Christmas market. Sadly, it was raining a fair bit, so we spent most of our time in the pub!

We did a Secret Santa. Jenni gave me a very cute pair of Secret Shop tights. I didn't even know Secret Shop did tights... They are made of a similar material to their socks, so they are lovely and thick. Thankfully, Sammi seemed to like the presents I got for her. I was really worried about it!

The Mitre recently introduced salted caramel profiteroles as part of their festive menu. I want them to keep them all year around! They were delicious. The salted caramel really adds to the profiteroles.

Thankfully, the Christmas market was a bit more interesting than the Reading one last weekend. Although there were no knitting robots this time! I managed to grab a couple of free samples and I liked how the market was held in the traditional market style huts. There were all sorts of different products on offer, alongside the common Christmas market things like cheese and candles. We probably would have stayed around the market a bit longer, but it was raining a fair bit by this stage. We didn't even manage to get any group photos because it got dark too quickly.

I decided to wear my Milk Bunny and Snow Strawberry dress, although I am not too happy with how my outfit turned out. I was still having wig troubles from the week before and I really don't like the head bow I wore. I do have the matching bonnet for this dress, but when I put it on it just didn't look right on me. I was also having a colour dilemma because when I tried teaming the dress with pink, I looked too pale and "washed out". So in the end, I decided to make the red in the print a bit more of a feature. I don't think it looks too bad? I would say I was happy with my outfit from the shoulders down. It probably doesn't help that I forgot to take photos in the morning, so by the time these were taken my socks were mud splattered, my wig looked even worse and my petticoats had deflated!

But despite my outfit woes, I was really glad to spend time with some friendly faces. We had a good, long chat in the pub and hopefully everybody enjoyed themselves. It would have been nice to have some better weather but I still had a great day. I am feeling more positive about next year's meets now and hopefully there will be many fun adventures in the future.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Soiree of the Beginning of my Memories by Baby the Stars Shine Bright

Today I am looking at Soiree of the Beginning of my Memories by BABY. This series includes 3 dresses, a skirt, 2 blouses, 5 hair accessories, wrist cuffs and tights.

This is JSK I. The bodice is an interesting shape. The bodice material looked a little loose in a few of the stock photos, but it is not that noticeable. The straps are a bit thin and a bit flimsy looking. The lace used along the outer edge of the straps is beautiful and soft looking though. The waist bow is a bit on the big side and I would have liked it to have been a bit smaller. The shape is basic, but the lace along the bow edges helps to liven it up a bit. It looks quite perky and doesn't droop much, although it looks a little wonky in the stock photos (hopefully this wont be the case in reality). The ribbon bows on the bodice are a good size and shape, although I would have just had the one ribbon bow on the neckline. The ribbon looks of a good quality and doesn't look too shiny. However, I am not a fan of the ribbon colour used. For example, on the ivory version pictured above, I think the ribbon colour is a bit too dark and dull. I know it is meant to match the gold lace used, but the bows really stick out in my opinion. The wide lace on the neckline matches up well with the strap lace. The back has a panel of shirring which is concealed well by a ribbon corset. The stock photos show the skirt has a very good amount of volume. The shape is very full and rounded. The front of the skirt has a chiffon bustle. The bustle tiers are spaced neatly and layered well. The material looks lovely and soft. The edges of the bustle are concealed with gold lace, which keeps things neat. The bottom hem is finished off with some good quality lace.

This is JSK II. The bodice looks fairly well fitted. I think the scoop neckline goes a bit too low down for my liking though. The straps are a decent width. I love the gold lace and use of wide lace along the straps and neckline. The lace is gathered nicely and it sit wells on the dress. The lace is soft and pretty looking. However, I am not a fan of the ribbon bow on the neckline. The ribbon used is nice, but I think a smaller, solid coloured bow would have worked better when teamed with the waist bow. As for the waist bow, it is maybe a little bit on the big side. The lace used on the bow edges is pretty, but adds to the bow's bulk. The shape is simple, but doesn't look too bad and it sits well on the dress. At the time of writing, I didn't have any pictures of the back. However, the measurements would suggest there was a little bit of shirring, presumably covered by a ribbon corset. The stock photos show the potential to create a very rounded, bell shape. It looks very pretty and flares out well. The skirt is kept clutter free and the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off with a simple chiffon ruffle.

This is the OP. The bodice is well fitted. I like the wide neckline, as sometimes I feel OPs can look a bit stuffy and uncomfortable looking. The wider neckline looks a bit more relaxed. The gathered ruffle neckline topped with gold braid is heavy detailed, but doesn't look too OTT. However, I would get rid of the large bow that tops the neckline because I think it is too much. The dress would look much better without it. It's a shame because I love the gold crown charm on the bow.

Every part of the dress is rich with detail, even the sleeves. I like the princess style of the sleeves and the sizing is good. They flare out well, but are not as massive as some other examples of this type of sleeve. I love the use of ruffles and lace. The gold braid adds a touch of class. I would lose the ribbon bow though.

The back has no shirring. The bodice opens up on the front and reveals a chiffon bustle, which goes down the whole length of the dress. The bustle size and shape is good. The bustle tiers are spaced out nicely and layered well. The use of chiffon keeps things soft looking. However, I am not a fan of all those ribbon bows on top the bustle. It pushes the OTT element of this dress a bit too far for me. I would have maybe kept the two top ones that are on the bodice, but made them a bit smaller and spaced just slightly further apart. I would also keep the 2 bows, that are at the bottom, to the sides. I would not bother with the 3 other bows that BABY have put on the dress. The stock photos show the skirt has a lovely, subtle bell shape to it. The length is good and it flares out well. All of the detail on this dress maybe takes away a bit of focus from the print. The bottom of the dress is a continuation of the bustle and it fits well with the rest of the dress.

And finally, we have the print close-up. This print is available in ivory, pink, green and black. I think all 4 colours work very well with the print but my favourite is probably the ivory. As for the print, I really love all the ladies and their heavily detailed dresses. There is something going on in every corner of the border print. It is quite attention grabbing and luxurious. I love the stair case and the chandeliers. The floral and drapes create a pretty border for the main part of the print. The non-border part of the print is also nicely detailed with the stripes and smaller floral arrangements.

So overall, I think this is a very beautiful series. The OP offers a more OTT option and the JSKs suit the more subtle fan. The print is gorgeous. Would I buy this series? Yes, I would! I would go for one of the JSKs in ivory, possibly JSK I once I removed the ribbon bows on the bodice. It wont be going on my wishlist, but I really like it. I think this is a very strong offering from BABY.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Berkshire Lolitas Christmas Meet

At the weekend I attended a meet for the Berkshire Lolitas for International Lolita Day/Christmas. The group is very new and it was very exciting to meet some new people and also see some familiar faces again.

The plan was to go to this Christmas market being held but to be honest, it wasn't that good! I did however, get the chance to meet Agnes the Knitting Robot. Agnes was VERY creepy! She did all these jerky movements... You could buy a scarf knitted by Agnes for £25, but I decided to pass.

We did a Secret Santa as part of the meet. Rosemary got me some very pretty navy and black wrist cuffs. I really love them and plan to wear them with my Midsummer Night's Dream dress. I was really nervous about my recipient not liking her present, but thankfully Victoria seemed happy with what I got her. That was a relief!

A group shot in the Forbury Gardens band stand. This brings back memories of when Shalisa hosted a meet here ages ago and we had to have our picnic in the band stand because of the rain. Thankfully the weather was better this time. As you can see, we got a decent number of people for a new group.

I wore AP's Starry Night Theater because it seemed like the most festive friendly dress in my wardrobe. I was really keen to wear these star print tights that I found in Claire's about a year ago and thankfully, they seemed to work with the dress. I went for a simple colour palette of pink, red and gold. My wig was getting on my nerves a lot during the day. I think it needs a bit of a restyle. But aside from that, I was fairly satisfied with my outfit.

We went to Tampopo for food. I went for the chicken satay with jasmine rice. I also got a passionfruit bellini cocktail, which tasted beautiful. The food was really tasty and I would definitely consider going there again.

And to finish, a Christmas tree I found by the riverside outside the Oracle Centre. It looked a lot prettier in person.

I was really happy that I got to meet a new group of people. I had been feeling a bit unwell, but everybody made me feel so comfortable. Everybody was very friendly and so pretty! I am really looking forward to seeing everybody again.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Practical Buying

A lot of us get excited about our latest purchases, but are they really as good as they seem? I know that I personally have experienced buying things and then they have been thrown to the back of my wardrobe and rarely worn. Sometimes this has been because I simply didn't like it as much as I thought, but there are other times when the clothes just didn't seem practical or the weather meant that it wasn't suitable. It is very frustrating but it has taught me to think more carefully about my purchases before I commit to buy. I am sharing my findings in the hope that it may stop at least one person from making a dodgy purchase.

Some fabrics are not suitable for wet weather- If you live somewhere that gets a lot of rain, then is it wise to buy pieces that get damaged by the rain? Velvet especially can get damaged. There was a meet where I was using my Innocent World crown bag, which has velvet parts, and it started raining. I was able to shelter my bag underneath my coat, but it made me realise how lucky I was that it was just small parts and not a dress. Velvet pieces can be gorgeous and are tempting around Winter time but if you choose to wear them then make sure to check your local weather forecast before heading out.

Watch out for prints that run- Yes, even brand can have flaws. It may be a good idea to familiarise yourself with the EGL list of prints that run and what can be washed- There is nothing worse than buying a piece and then finding out you don't know how to look after it! I have heard some lolitas find that reds and navy blues are especially tricky and are known to run.

Seasonal themed prints- Maybe it's just me, but I think wearing a Christmas themed print in the Summer is a bit strange! I personally tend to avoid prints that I am likely to only wear for a short period of the year.

Parasols and umbrellas- Some parasols are not meant to be used in wet weather. Considering how detailed some lolita parasols can be, it would be a shame to ruin them. Umbrellas may not offer the same amount of sun protection that a parasol can. Whatever weather you are experiencing, make sure you are suitably protected.

Coat Reviews- It is no good simply googling a lolita coat review. You also have to consider what climate the coat reviewer lives in. Somebody who lives in the UK for example, will probably require a thinner coat than those who live in colder, more Northern countries. So whilst that coat may be suitable for the reviewer, it may not be suitable for you. The coat review may still be very useful to you, but just remember the reviewer's location before buying that coat yourself. A coat is probably one of the most expensive pieces that a lolita will buy, so take your time.

Is that cheap auction really worth it?- Whilst something may seem like a really good deal, if you are not too keen on the item are you likely to wear it much? That cheap auction is not such a good deal if it is just sitting on your wardrobe. Also, for international lolitas looking at Japanese auctions, you should always remember to add shopping service and customs fees on top. Sometimes when you add the fees on top that bargain suddenly doesn't seem like such a great deal.

If anybody else has some advice to share, then please do. It could benefit other lolitas. I am always on the look-out for tips on better buying!

Monday, 2 December 2013

Teatre de L'errur Lost Paradise by Alice and the Pirates

Today I am looking at Teatre de L'errur by Alice and the Pirates. This series includes 3 dresses, a skirt, 3 hair accessories, a rose clip, a bag, a ring and tights.

This is the OP. There isn't really much of a bodice on this dress and I can't help but wonder how that very high waistline is going to sit on a big chested wearer. It seems a bit of an awkward place for the skirt to start and I think the bodice could have done with being a bit longer. However, I do like the bodice details, such as the pleats and the lace overlay. It looks very pretty and has been done neatly. The lace looks lovely too, and of a good quality. I am not a fan of this sort of collar, but it doesn't look too stiff and stuffy looking compared to some I have seen. The material used for the collar looks soft and like it wont be that itchy. I am still don't like it though. The front has some pearl buttons running down it. The buttons look elegant, but I think they have been placed too close together. They could have gotten away with using fewer buttons. The bow on the 'waistline' is made of ribbon which has a bit of shine to it, but I don't think it looks too bad. The shape is pretty and matches the dress well and it sits nicely on the dress too. The sizing is good too.

I like that the long sleeves have a generous amount of 'puff' to them. However, I am not a fan of the cuffs. I'm not sure if it is the length or how narrow they are, but something about the shape doesn't appeal to me, personally. The ribbon is quite shiny and looks a bit cheap. The lace is lovely though.

The back has no shirring and is quite plain, but is kept neat. As for the skirt part, it looks pretty sack-like to me. It doesn't have a great deal of shape to it. I think the bodice needs to be just a little bit longer, so the skirt starts a little lower down. It doesn't look like this dress will hold a lot of petticoat, but with this style of dress you probably wouldn't want much anyway. The skirt is kept simple and the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off with some lace. I don't think the lace used looks too bad but I don't think it was the best choice.

This is JSK I. The bodice looks well fitted and the shape is interesting. The straps are a decent width and look very sturdy. I maybe would have preferred the straps to be a tiny little bit thinner. The inside of the straps are lined with lace, which looks pretty and sits well. The waist area has this wide lace, which sits well on top of the skirt and is very soft looking.

The bodice is quite interesting. I can't decide if I like the draped design or not. On the one hand, it is a very interesting concept and a bit different to the norm. On the other hand, it reminds me of curtains and is a bit bulky looking. I'm not sure I would have included the criss-crossed ribbon, even if it does fill in the empty gap, because it looks a bit basic in comparison to the other details. I would have left it plain. The neckline is topped with a ribbon bow. The ribbon is a bit shiny, but the shape is interesting and it sits well on the dress.

The back has a panel of shirring, which is neatly concealed by a ribbon corset. The stock photos show the skirt has the potential to flare out quite well and will hold a lot of petticoat. It has a lovely, rounded shape to it. The skirt is kept clutter free and the print is displayed very well. The bottom hem is then finished off with some good quality lace.

This is JSK II. The bodice looks fairly well fitted. The bodice shape is a bit simple but looks lovely. The straps are fairly thin, but the width suits the style of the dress. The outer edge of the straps is lined with pretty lace, which makes them a bit less plain. The waist bow is made up of 2 layers of different ribbon, with the top layer being see-through with stripy details. The ribbon used is pretty, with only a slight bit of shine to them. The bow shape is lovely and it doesn't look too big. I'm not sure I would have bothered with the other bow that appears halfway down the bodice though. The dress would have worked just fine without it, or perhaps a small ribbon bow could have been placed on the neckline instead. The bodice has one of those 'raised panel' sections, which I am always a little unsure about because they seem to sit oddly on some wearers. The raised panel and neckline is lined with pretty lace, which matches up with the strap lace. The panel is then topped with pearl chains with a little charm in the centre. The chains are draped beautifully and spaced out well. The charm is pretty too. The back has a panel of shirring, which is concealed neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt has a decent amount of flare to it. The skirt has a lovely, rounded bell shape to it. The rounded shape looks a bit extreme in the photo I picked, but it looks better in some of the other stock photos. The front of the skirt opens up, to reveal a bustle. The bustle layers are soft and floaty. They are layered nicely and add a bit of depth without being too bulky looking. The materials used are wonderful. Despite the front bustle, you can still see the print reasonably well. The bottom hem is then finished off with pretty lace.

Here we have part of the print close-up. This print is available in ivory, sax blue, lavender and black. At first, I really hated the idea of teaming the colours of the print with sax blue and lavender. However, over time and after seeing pictures of the actual dresses, I have grown to like them. But my favourite by far, is definitely the ivory version. As for the print itself, I find it all a bit confusing, but maybe that is because I don't know the story behind the print and it would make more sense if I did. Why are there random boxes placed on tree trunks? I do like the tree part of the print, especially how there are snakes hidden away, slithering around the tree trunks. I just find the placement of the boxed pictures to be a bit strange. The drawings inside the boxes are beautiful and are rich with detail. It is all drawn so beautifully. But to be honest, I think I would have been happier with a simple print with the trees in it. As I mentioned, I don't know the story behind the print, and for somebody like me the print as a whole is a strange concept. 

One of the hair accessories is this beautiful veil. It is so soft and delicate looking. I do wish veils would become a bigger thing in lolita. The veil maybe looks a bit too plain on its own, but I like the site's suggestion of teaming it with the rose clip also from this series. Although I am sure some of you out there can come up with some fantastic hair accessory ideas to go with this veil!

Overall, this is a series I am unsure on. I reckon it will have some die-hard fans but to me it is a bit unusual. Would I buy this series? Probably not. If I had to pick I would go for JSK II in ivory. The lace veil is absolutely gorgeous though. This series is definitely a bit different but it is a bit too much for me.

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