Thursday, 30 October 2014

Dream Dresses Obtained! Now what?

I found myself in a bit of a strange position recently. I had just one dream dress left to obtain. To me, a dream dress is a lot more special than any ordinary lolita dress. A dream dress is much more exciting and you can't wait to wear it and come up with all sorts of outfits for it. I could never imagine selling my dream dresses and they have a special place in my wardrobe. Obtaining your dream dresses can sometimes be quite an adventure. I have experienced a lost of heartache whilst tracking down some pieces! So I had this one last dream dress to obtain and due to an unexpected surge in money, I decided to ruthlessly hunt this last dress down.

And... I got lucky! AP's Sweetie Violet in pink was the last dream dress on my list and as you can see, I now own it. I was so excited, that when the box arrived, I even managed to slice open my thumb because I was that eager to open it (no brand dresses were harmed!). 

But there is also now this great emptiness because... what exactly do I do next? My wardrobe is so full it is threatening to burst and I just haven't been getting as excited whenever I see a good deal.

The way I see it, I have a few options-

1. Upgrade all the dresses which I maybe am not so happy with- Sometimes when you are hunting for dream pieces, you may find yourself settling for stuff. Like for example, you might get hold of your dream print, but it isn't in your top colour choice or you may have settled for a different dress cut. A prime example from my own wardrobe is my pink Starry Night Theatre JSK. I have always wanted the blue, but the blue SNT always felt so ridiculously expensive because it was the most popular colour and the auction prices reflected this. Now I am not spending out on any big stuff, I am considering upgrading my pink JSK for the blue. There is also my navy Dream Sky skirt. I have always felt that the JSK would be easier to co-ordinate and the short mini skirt doesn't really fit the lolita aesthetic. 

2. Collect all the smaller items on my dream list- stuff like jewellery and socks don't take up that much space. I have been so focused on dresses recently that I feel I may have forgotten how cute lolita accessories can be! The majority of my Facebook wishlist isn't dresses any more and perhaps I should now focus on all the non-dresses on there.

3. Brainstorm further outfit ideas- I love my dream dresses and want to wear them in as many different ways as possible. To do this, I could hunt down different accessories to give old outfits a fresh twist. They don't have to be expensive either. Some really good Taobao stores have popped up in more recent times. I could even go around local charity shops and vintage stores to find more unique pieces.

4. Wait for future dream dresses- Inevitably, there will be dresses that come out in the future that I will want to add to my wardrobe. How do I know this? Because every time I feel I have made some real progress with my collection and narrowed down my wish list, I always end up finding new stuff I want! I am still as passionate as ever about the fashion and I love discovering new stuff.

5. Focus a little more on my other hobbies- I don't really talk about these much because this is a Japanese fashion blog, but I have lots of hobbies and interests outside of this fashion. If I am being honest, there have been times where I have neglected my other hobbies for the sake of lolita and I really regret it. There have even been times where I have been shopping and have refused to buy something because I have wanted to save up for lolita related stuff. Although I love lolita, I feel there is so much more to me than just this one passion. In all honesty, there are times when I need a break from the frills too, so having other interests keeps me happy. I am really glad that I will now have the chance to explore this other part of me.

Getting to the stage where I feel my wardrobe is "complete" doesn't mean that this is the end. If I were to suddenly fall out of love with the fashion just because I had all the clothes I wanted, it would be more like a shopping addiction rather than a hobby! Perhaps now I will have more of an opportunity to truly enjoy the clothes I love and focus on what I already have, rather than what I could have. It would be pointless to buy more new stuff just for the sake of it. Besides, I am sure my bank account is now breathing a sigh of relief!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Magical Moonlight by Metamorphose

Today I am looking at Magical Moonlight (or Magical Starry Sky) by Metamorphose. This series includes 3 dresses, 4 hair accessories, wrist cuffs, socks and tights. This series is also one of the ones that got unveiled at Revelry, so I have seen this print up close, in person as well!

This is the High-Low Tailed Pinafore JSK. The bodice is very well fitted with a smart shape to it. The straps are a decent width and are decorated boldly with gold braid. I think Meta maybe could have gotten away with the straps being a little bit thicker. The braid used is very pretty and striking. The bodice features 2 frog buttons. I was a little unsure about whether the dress really needed these frog buttons, but I guess the dress would look quite simple without them. It is a shame the frog buttons are not the same bold shade of gold like the gold braid though. The under-bust neckline is topped with 2 detachable chiffon ruffles. When I first set eyes on this dress I thought the chiffon looked like a bra, but it has since grown on me and I think it is an interesting addition. It wont suit everybody though and I think you need a certain amount of bust to truly make the chiffon parts work. That is why it is so good that they are detachable. With the chiffon bits detached, this dress would be a good excuse to bring out a blouse with a very frilly jabot or with some of of striking detail to it. The back has a panel of shirring which is concealed neatly by a ribbon corset. I absolutely love the skirt of this dress. Although it is not as noticeable in the stock photos, the skirt is slightly shorter at the front. It makes for a very interesting shape. The stock photos show the skirt has lots of volume and I love the very rounded shape the skirt has. The skirt design is kept free of cluttering details and the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off with more of the gold braid and a line of gold lace as well. 

This is the Dropped Waist Pinafore JSK. The bodice seems reasonably well fitted and the shape is quite nice. I am not liking the 3 sets of straps though as it is a bit too much. The 2 printed sets of straps stick out at an odd angle too. The chiffon halter neck straps don't really get the chance to shine as they are obscured by the other sets of straps. I personally would have just liked to have the chiffon straps and not bothered with the other 2 pairs. The chiffon straps match up well with the use of chiffon elsewhere on the dress and I think the halter neck style really suits the dress. The bodice features a ribbon corset design. The ribbon used is very shiny, although it is neatly spaced out and doesn't look too bunched together. The neckline has a simple ruffle, which gives the neckline a softer, fluffier appearance. A plain, straight neckline would have looked too basic here. The neckline also features a big chiffon bow. Although the size of the bow is massive, I think it actually works here. I think it helps that the bow is made of chiffon and not the printed fabric. The bow shape is cute. What I really love about the bow though, is the pentagram charm in the centre and the little tear shaped pearls hanging from the bow tails. The pentagram charm is one of the things that first attracted me to this series. The bow is detachable if you dislike it, but I personally prefer it attached.

And once again, Meta have chosen to add a strange bum-flap! Luckily on this dress it mainly gets covered up by the waist ties anyway and looks like they are a part of them. But I really hope Meta stop pushing this whole bum-flap thing as it just looks weird. Thankfully, once again this bum-flap is detachable.

The back also features a panel of shirring which has been topped with a ribbon corset. The dropped waist area features a chiffon ruffle, which looks cute. However, I dislike it teamed with the dropped waist. Something about the waist area on this dress looks a bit awkward. The skirt shape doesn't start off too nicely either. It is not very flattering. But the skirt does have a good amount of volume to it, despite its weird shape. The skirt features 3 gathered tiers. The print is still displayed fairly well, due to it being an all-over print instead of a border print. The top 2 tiers are neatly layered, but I think the bottom tier could have been done better. However, this is probably due in part to the bottom tier being detachable. I personally feel the skirt is too short without the bottom tier though. The bottom of the main top tier is finished off with 2 small solid coloured bows. The bows are shaped nicely and look quite cute, although I am not that fussed by them. They are detachable though, which is a bonus.

Here we have the Chiffon OP. The bodice seems well fitted and the shape is simple, but looks lovely. The short sleeves have a suitable amount of puff to them and it gives them a very cute look. The neckline is a pretty shape too. The waist area has a bow, which is a bit on the big side. It is a lovely shape though, and features the pentagram charm again. The waist bow is detachable and I think I prefer the dress with it detached, as there is the 2 smaller bows on the bodice anyway to stop it looking too plain. These 2 smaller bows are located just above the waist bow and are also detachable. They are a suitable size and the shape is so cute. I would definitely leave these 2 bows attached. The entire dress is broken up in to blocks with chiffon parts and printed parts. The bodice has a chiffon part at the chest area. I quite like it, because it gives the illusion that the printed part is a high waisted skirt. It is a bit different and the shapes are interesting. The chiffon part is slightly gathered and there is a line of pearls running in the centre of the chest area. I personally think I would prefer it if the pearl line wasn't there but it isn't that much of an issue. The neckline features a solid coloured bow. I think this bow is a very good size and shape. It is detachable but I feel the neckline is a bit too plain without it. The back features a small panel of shirring which is concealed by a ribbon corset. I absolutely love the skirt on this dress. The way the printed fabric has been placed on top of the chiffon skirt is really pretty. The folds have been done neatly and it creates a lovely asymmetrical line. The chiffon layers that make up the bulk of the skirt have been layered on top of each other neatly. The wideness of the tiers is well balanced. The stock photos also show the overall skirt shape has a lovely rounded shape to it with plenty of volume.

And this is what the print looks like. This series is available in black, wine and misty blue (which almost looks lavender in some pictures, but is blue). I personally think the blue colour is a bit questionable, but the black and wine are absolutely gorgeous. I am a bit sad that they didn't do a navy blue/gold version though! As for the print itself, I am really loving the magic circles. The star shapes and text really give them a magical feel. The swan logo has also been included in a clever way. I like how the gaps between the circles have been filled with stars as well. Although this is quite a simplistic print, the end result is really pretty and I am a huge fan.

So I feel this is a series which deserves to do well for Meta. The Dropped Waist JSK is a bit of a let-down, but that aside I am not surprised this series has proven popular. Would I buy this series? Yes I would, and it is already on my wishlist! I have already purchased the tights from this series. I am hoping to get hold of the High-Low Tailed JSK in black too, but it sold out super quick and I didn't get a chance to buy it (update- I managed to get it after all! It is currently in customs, so here is hoping I can get it before Saturday!). I think it is a shame that Meta didn't release a skirt as well. Here is hoping Metamorphose decide to release more dresses, like they did with Vintage Cameo recently.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Removing The Logo From My Replica Bag

I would just like to start off by saying that it is not my aim to encourage people to buy replica bags and I am not judging people who choose to buy replicas. I just wanted to show everybody what happened when I tried to remove the fake brand logo on my bag. I tend to keep replicas in my wardrobe to a minimum but I am not 100% anti-replica. However, I personally really dislike it when replicas have copies of brand names on them. I find it dishonest (that is just my personal opinion). When I wanted a generic gold heart shaped bag, I looked everywhere but could only find replicas of the Milk heart bags. I am yet to find a replica of these bags in gold which doesn't have the fake Milk logo on them. Feeling a bit defeated, I decided to settle for the replica and then attempt to remove the logo. This is how I got on.

To remove the logo I needed acetone. The best thing I could find, which I already had in the house, was nail polish remover. I am not sure how strong the acetone in my nail polish remover is, but the product I used was a cheap drug store's own brand. I found it was strong enough to do the job.

I used cotton buds to apply the nail varnish remover because I wanted to be able to control how much product I was using. I also had tissues nearby, just in case. Here is how the fake logo looked when I started.

Straight away, you can see the black paint coming off on the cotton bud.

After a while, it looked like this. It did take a bit of time to get to this stage. However, I still wasn't happy because at this point all it had done was just faded the logo. So I kept at it until I couldn't see any black left on the bag.

And this is how it eventually turned out. There is a bit of a smudge and you can see the gold is a slightly different colour now. But the logo is gone! Unless you are purposely looking for it, the smudge isn't too obvious. I experimented by taking photographs from different distances and in most of the photos the smudge doesn't show up.

I feel this logo removal was fairly successful. I could have perhaps done it a bit neater but I have never had to do something like this before. It is not too bad for a first attempt. I would still encourage people to try to track down the authentic brand bags rather than buying replicas but I understand how tricky the gold Milk bag can be to get hold of sometimes. I wasn't actively looking for a Milk replica but just a gold heart shaped bag, but I feel a lot more comfortable now I know the fake logo is gone.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Angelic Pretty Print Double

Today I am looking at 2 recent Angelic Pretty series. So scroll down to see what I think about Victorian Letter.

First up though, is Cream Cookie Collection. This series includes 3 dresses, a skirt, a parka, tights, a barrette, wrist cuffs and several pieces of jewellery.

Here we have the OP. The bodice seems a decent fit and is a lovely shape. The sleeves are adorable with just the right amount of puff. I love the contrast between the puffy bottom and the gathered cuffs. It creates a great shape. The sleeves are finished neatly with lace and the cutest cookie shaped button. The waist area is topped with a ribbon bow. The ribbon used is a bit shiny but otherwise, the bow looks good. The size suits the dress and the shape is pretty. It sits quite well on the dress too. The bodice features some discreet pleats and thin lace, which although are not that noticeable, add a bit of added texture and subtle detail. It stops the front looking too plain as well. The centre front of the bodice features slightly wider lace and a line of the adorable cookie buttons. The lace sits fairly nicely on the dress and the cookie buttons are well spaced out. The collar is a really pretty shape and the size suits the dress. It doesn't look too big or bulky. The collar is simply lined with lace around the edge. The lace sits neatly and flatly against the dress. The lace used is pretty too and is a suitable width. The collar is topped with a simple bow. Despite its simplicity, the bow really suits the dress. The back does not have any shirring and is quite plain. It also means the only way to adjust the sizing is with the waist ties. The stock photos show the skirt is very full with plenty of volume. It flares outwards beautifully and creates a really cute shape. The skirt design is kept quite simple and so the print is really displayed well. The bottom hem is then finished off with cute bow themed lace. I was a little surprised by the lace choice though. I would have gone for crown themed lace, seeing as they feature slightly in the print. But the lace used is very pretty in its own right and doesn't look too out of place.

This is the Standard JSK. The bodice shape is a bit dull and the fabric looks a bit loose in some places. I don't know if that is down to the material used though. I am really not a fan of the solid coloured bodice because the material is super shiny and having it solid coloured draws more attention to it. There isn't even that much detail on the main part of the bodice, with just 2 very thin lines up vertical lace, and it looks strangely plain. The straps are a decent width and suit the dress. They are lined neatly with thin lace as well to stop them looking too simple. The waist area has a bow, which again is made up of the solid coloured material, so it is very shiny. But ignoring how shiny it is, the bow is a good size and shape. It looks very perky and sit brilliantly on the dress. The neckline features 2 lines of wide lace, with ribbon threaded through them. The lace is cute and I like the polka dot design. In the centre, the lines of ribbon are topped with 2 small bows. The bows are cute and a good size. But I feel the more detailed neckline is a harsh contrast to the rest of the bodice, which is plain and quite honestly, boring. The back has a panel of shirring which is topped neatly by a ribbon corset. The waist ties help to conceal the shirring too, as they are quite puffy and bulky. The stock photos show there is the potential to create a really pretty shape with the skirt. There is lots of volume and the rounded shape is lovely. The skirt is again kept simple and the print is displayed really well. The bottom hem is then finished off with a ruffle of chiffon and a layer of the bow themed lace underneath. It looks very dramatic in comparison to the rest of the dress. It is a shame the bodice design seems to let down the skirt.

And this is the High Waist JSK. The short bodice is a cute shape and looks well fitted. The thin straps look a bit flimsy, but wider straps wouldn't work so well with the dress design. The straps are lined very with thin lace, which helps to liven them up a bit. The waist area features a grosgrain ribbon belt. It gives the dress a neater appearance and helps to nip in the waist area. It is strange, because in some photos the grosgrain ribbon looks a bit shiny but in others it looks fairly matte. The ribbon belt is a good idea, although I think if I was going to a fancier event I would want a more interesting belt. The ribbon belt is quite simple. The bodice features some very neat pleats an subtle lines of thin lace. It doesn't distract from the print on the bodice too much and is a nice bit of added texture and depth. In the centre, AP have again chosen a line of cookie buttons. The 3 buttons are neatly placed and well spaced out. The neckline is topped with pretty polka dot lace. The polka dot lace is nicely shaped and it sits well on the neckline. In the centre, the neckline is topped with a small bow, which looks very cute. The back is fully shirred, so will fit a wider range of sizes. However, as it is fully shirred it does mean it isn't covered by anything and is quite exposed. It is not exactly attractive, but the back is quite short anyway so it isn't too obvious. The skirt is again very full and will hold more than enough petticoat. The high waist flares out nicely and there is the potential to create a very cute shape. The skirt design is kept simple and the print is displayed very well. The bottom hem is then finished off with the bow themed lace again.

Finally, here is the print close up. As the picture shows, this series is available in ivory, pink, sax blue and brown. All 4 colours suit the print really well and are pretty standard AP colour options. The sax blue offers something a little bit different to other similar AP prints though. As for the print itself, I think it is very cute. I like how the squares are made up of ribbon borders. The ribbon gives AP the chance to include their brand name in the print in a subtle way, without ramming it down our throats. The cookies in the print are so cute and look quite realistic. I always think that if you look at a food print and it makes you feel hungry, then it is definitely a success! However, I do feel the square with the mini bear cookies in it stands out a bit and doesn't fit in with the print as well as the other cookies. Apart from that, I think this is a very cute and consistent print. It has a lovely Emily Temple Cute feel to it as well.

So overall, I think this series has potential. It is not exactly new ground for Angelic Pretty but it will certainly please their fans. AP knows what sells well for them and I do think they were playing it safe here. The print is a more mature take on sweet lolita and the dress designs are generally quite pretty too. I do feel the Standard JSK lets the series down a bit though. Would I buy this series? Probably not, but only because it isn't my usual style. If I did, I would choose the High Waist JSK in ivory.

Next up, is another series called Victorian Letter. This series includes 3 dresses, a skirt, a head bow, socks, a bag, a necklace and a brooch.

This is the OP. The bodice seems reasonably well fitted. The bodice shape is interesting too, although it does make the shoulder area look wider. The sleeves are in 2 parts with the top part being attached to the bodice and the lower parts being detachable. I think the top part could do with being just a tiny bit shorter and the part where the detachable sleeves attach could have been a bit frillier. It just looks slightly plain to me. The detachable sleeves are really pretty though, and feature a pleated design and a neat ruffle at the cuffs. I am very unsure I like this style of double sleeves which makes it look like you are wearing a blouse underneath. It has just never been to my personal taste I guess. The solid coloured bodice helps break up the dress, as I think an all-over print wouldn't have worked on this specific dress. The waist area has been done very neatly with a slightly scalloped edge. I think the lace along the waist line is a bit too much, but at least it sits quite nicely on the dress. I guess the lace here does also match up with the lace on the rest of the bodice as well, so the design is quite consistent. The bodice features many neat pleats which stops the solid colour from looking too flat and dull. There are also 2 lines of bright thin lace running vertically up the bodice but I don't think they are that necessary. The collar area continues with the neat pleats and gives it a smart appearance. The lace lining the collar and decorating it is pretty and sits really neatly on the dress as well. Even the neck ruffle is nicely shaped. The bodice also has pearly buttons running the whole way down it, which have been spaced out well. The button design is very simple, although I think anything too elaborate would risk being too OTT anyway. There is also a detachable bow on the neck area which offers a nice pop of colour to the large off-white area. The bow is a bit big, but the shape suits the style of dress. The ribbon used has a peculiar but interesting pattern on it too. I quite like it though, and would leave it attached. The back has no shirring and so is quite plain and doesn't offer that much size flexibility. The collar and lace look just as tidy from the back. The stock photos show the skirt has the potential to create a very beautiful plump bell shape. It has plenty of volume and flares outwards lovely. The skirt details have been kept simple and so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is finished off with a pretty line of braid, crown themed lace and a chiffon ruffle. It is a shame the lace is a bit over-shadowed, but the bottom hem has been done in a tidy way and the materials sit well on top of each other.

Here is the Long JSK. The bodice shape is interesting. The fit seems okay, although it looks like the waist area may have wrinkled and bunched up a bit in some of the photos. The straps are a good width and they suit the dress. They are lined with lace on the outside as well, which makes them a bit more interesting, and the lace is a good width and shape as well. The bodice features 4 lines of wide lace running vertically up it. The lace used is nice, but is maybe a bit too wide and it looks a bit messy. Narrower lace would have looked a bit neater. The neckline features a large bow, with a lace jabot underneath. I think the bow is a bit big but what really puts me off is the shape. I can't quite put my finger on it, but there is something about the shape and how it droops that puts me off the bow. It is a shame it isn't detachable or anything, because if it wasn't for the bow this would be my favourite dress in the series. The lace lining the bow helps to liven it up a bit, but I am still not impressed. The lace underneath the bow seems pretty, although it is a shame we can't see more of it. Maybe if AP had made more of a feature of the lace and did a smaller, thinner bow on top it could have looked better? As it is, the bow is quite dominating. The back has a panel of shirring which is concealed neatly by a ribbon corset. The skirt shape is beautiful. I love the longer length with the dramatic bottom hem. The skirt has loads of volume and with the right petticoat this skirt has a lot of potential. The main part of the skirt is kept simple and the print is displayed brilliantly. As for the bottom hem, it features a line of crown lace and then 2 wide chiffon ruffles. This is then topped with 2 colourful bows which add a wonderful pop of colour. The layers have been layered neatly and sit well on top of each other. This bottom hem reminds me a lot of the dramatic bottom hems that Baby the Stars Shine Bright seem to favour. To be honest, I think I prefer the way Angelic Pretty does it! The bottom hem on this dress looks amazing and although I want AP to stick to their mature sweet looks, I don't mind the occasional classic series if this is what they are going to come out with.

And this is the Tiered JSK. The bodice is well fitted and the shape is simple, but nicely done. The straps are a suitable width and look quite sturdy. The straps are lined with gold lace which is kept very thin. It lines the straps neatly, but without giving the straps a fluffy look. This dress has some very sharp lines and the thinner lace definitely works better. The waist area has this bold overlay with very defined pleats. The pleats are shaped so neatly and are very defined. This pleated overlay is also lined with the thinner gold lace as well. I really love the overlay as it is very bold and has been executed well. The bodice features a line of buttons with a line of gold lace on either side. The buttons are pretty, but kept simple in design again, which works well. The buttons are evenly spaced out too. On either side of the buttons there are a couple of pleats which gives the solid coloured bodice a bit of extra depth and texture. The only part of the bodice I dislike is the 2 lines of white coloured lace running up the bodice on both the sides. I think the white lace stands out when the rest of the bodice lace is gold coloured. The neckline has a folded over design, which is an interesting shape and I think goes well with the skirt overlay. The neckline is then finished off with a bow. The bow is such a cute and interesting shape. The size is good as well and it is very perky looking. The back is fully shirred, although the shirring does blend in quite a bit and is not too noticeable. The skirt has lots of volume and flares outwards well. Despite the tiered design, the shape looks quite smooth and not too bumpy. So the tier join has been done really well. I wish there was a bit less of the top tier and more of the bottom tier though. The thing I dislike about the tier join is that it has been lined with wide lace. The crown lace is pretty and sits nicely, but I think it looks really out of place. It is also quite a harsh white colour and stands out because there isn't a lot of white elsewhere on the dress. It isn't so bad on the ivory colour way but that is only one colour out of the 4 on offer. Despite the gathering, the print is still displayed reasonably well. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with more gold lace.

Finally, here is the print close up. This series is available in ivory, pink, green and brown. For a more classic AP offering, I think the colour choices are quite good. I wish the green was a bit deeper and bolder though. As for the print itself, I couldn't believe this was Angelic Pretty when I first saw it! It makes a nice change though. Book prints are seen quite frequently in classic lolita now but I like that AP have broken it up with other objects in the print. I especially love the glass ink bottles and the feather plumb. They have been drawn so beautifully and look so interesting. I love the letters and stamps too. The background is also full of detail but it is the border print that really stands out. I don't think there is a single part of this print that I dislike.

I am really loving the necklace from this series. I love it when AP release more classic-friendly jewellery. The feather is so detailed and I love the use of colour as well. In fact, I prefer this to a lot of the jewellery that classic brands release. I hope Angelic pretty release more stuff like this in the future.

So I think this series is a very strong offering. It is a real shock to see Angelic Pretty put out a series like this, but it makes a nice break from all the pastel cutesy prints. The print is gorgeous and I like the richer colours. AP have done a good job with the dress designs too. There are a few things I would change here and there, but overall I think they are quite appealing. Would I buy this series? I wont be putting it on my wishlist just yet, but I do really like this series. Despite not liking the bow, I would go for the Long JSK in ivory. I can't resist that beautiful bottom hem!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

September 2014 Taobao Haul- Picture Heavy!

I placed another Taobao order last month and today I shall be reviewing my order! It was quite a big order, although I wont be able to show some of the items to you all because I am hoping to do a give-away if I reach 300 followers. When I last checked I think I had about 12 followers left to go. I don't want to push people to follow me but if you know anybody who might be interested in following me, then maybe we can get this give-away started a bit sooner!

I wont be reviewing Taobao Spree as by now, I am sure you all know that I really like their service. I did have a different agent this time though. His name is Ray and I think he is a new employee. He was very friendly and his English was very good. He seems to know what he is doing as well so I was quite comfortable to have him assigned to me instead of Cici (Cici is still my favourite agent though!). We even talked about how much to declare the value of the order to customs. Taobao Spree usually mark down the value on their packages to avoid customs but as my order was a bit big, Ray gave me advice on how much I could realistically get away with. In the end, my order made it through customs without a charge, despite the higher declaration.

My order was packaged so well that I really struggled to get the box open! In the end I really had to tear the box apart. But at least I know that my package was very secure. The items inside were quite tightly packed so there was no danger of the items getting damaged by moving about.

And just to pre-warn people, this order does include a few replica items. I usually try to avoid replicas as much as possible but I sometimes make the odd exception. I don't wish to get in an argument about replicas. 

I caved in and got the replica gold Milk heart bag. It arrived wrapped in thin protective fabric and then wrapped again in plastic to help protect it.

The gold colour is lovely and the finish is quite smooth. I love how big the bag is too. There is plenty of room inside. I think the 2 hearts may be slightly mis-aligned though. It looks fine when the bag has stuff in it but when you lay it flat you can see it is a bit wonky.

The fake logo is painted on neatly, although since getting the bag I have attempted to remove the logo. You can see how I got on in an upcoming post. I was amazed at how well the original bag has been replicated. You wouldn't be able to spot the difference without some close inspection.

The inside of the bag is lined neatly. It also has 2 pockets inside, which is very useful. I did find the lining smelt quite bad though. I suppose that is because of the cheap materials used. 

The stitching is quite neat. I like the little heart charms used for the zip tag as well.

I think this picture shows just how big the bag is. It is a lot of depth to it.

Overall I am impressed that the bag turned out as well as it did. It could definitely pass for the original bag, although that wasn't really my aim. I just wanted a generic gold heart shaped bag. The bag feels quite sturdy and the price was good. I can tell I am going to get a lot of uses out of it.

And the rest of my order is all from Mu Fish-

First up are these sheer ankle socks I got in lavender and white. The lavender ones are quite a warm shade and I found they match quite a few of the lavenders I have in my wardrobe. The white colour is quite bright and stark but it still matches quite well with some items in my wardrobe. The bow design is very cute.

I did spot one loose thread but apart from that I found no other flaws.

And here is a worn photo of the lavender socks. The socks have a soft, silky feel to them and feel very pleasant to wear. I do worry they are going to slip down when worn though. They also feel as if they could be easy to snag. As you can see the sheer parts do have a slight shine to them but it isn't too noticeable unless you are taking photos with the flash on. The socks fit my feet fine. For reference, I usually wear a 25cm shoe (I go up a size for my wide feet). My only complaint with the size is that I wish they were a bit longer. I wish they ended higher up my leg instead of right above my ankle.

Next up is 3 pairs of ankle socks. I noticed the purple ones have a Tutu Anna label on them and I didn't realise they were replicas when I brought them. Weirdly, it is only the purple ones that have this Tutu Anna label on them. The white and purple ones are exactly the colours I was expecting. The pink are maybe a bit more peach coloured than I was expecting. They looked a bit pinker in the listing. They are still a pretty shade though.

Unlike the other socks in my order, these ones came with washing instructions, which is quite handy.

The lace is lovely and soft. It doesn't feel itchy and the ankles are nicely elasticated for a nice fit. The lace is a good quality for the cheap price and quite pretty looking.

The sock material feels soft and they sit nicely just above my ankle. At first I thought the socks had a good thickness to them, although I have noticed I can see my ankle through the sock in this photo. Overall though, I think the quality is fairly good and acceptable.

Next up are these lace patterned socks. I believe they might be a replica of the ones Baby did. I don't know how these socks compare, but it would be good to try and find out.

The socks felt quite smooth. The sheer parts are again a bit shiny. I think the pattern is quite pretty.

The thing that I dislike about these socks is that they have very little stretch to them. I wouldn't recommend these for people who have large legs as I found these clung to my legs quite a bit. The socks end quite awkwardly at my knee. If they had been just a little bit longer I would have been able to wear them as over-the-knee socks but instead I have to roll them down a bit and wear them as under-the-knee. I hear that a lot of people have had issues with the tights being too small but the socks being okay, but I found the opposite to be true. I really think the socks could do with having a bit more stretch to them.

And this is what the pattern looks like when worn. I think some of the lines could have been done a bit neater but they still look pretty good.

Next up are these trainer socks. These were a bit of an impulse buy because I thought the macaron design was so cute! These are a bit tight fitting on my feet (the packaging recommends 24cm feet maximum) but I was able to get them on okay. This is definitely the absolute maximum size though. When worn, you can still see the cute design really nicely. I love the colours. However, there was an issue I had with the product listing. When translated, the listing gives odd colour descriptions for each sock. You can see little pictures of the socks on the listing but the socks I ordered were described as "chocolate" for the colour. As you can see from my photo, there is nothing remotely chocolate coloured or themed on these socks! When I placed my order I put that I wanted the "chocolate" colour on my form, and thankfully I got the correct socks. It is just very confusing.

Finally, I got a pair of tights. I am really happy with how crisp the feather print is. And even when worn the pattern is still very clear. Even the feathers near the top of my legs were still clear.

I found the tights fitted me very well. I wouldn't recommend these for anybody taller than about 5'5''. I am around 5'4'' and am bottom heavy with fairly chunky thighs. I found the tights fitted me just right but I wouldn't want them to be any smaller. The material felt nice. The tights have a slight sheen to them.

I did spot that the tights were not entirely opaque where they stretched over the knees though.

Overall I was impressed with the quality of the bag and all of my Mu Fish items. I was a bit surprised that I had the opposite issue to some other Mu Fish customers. I found the socks needed more stretch and the tights fitted really well. I was half expecting to have to cut up the tights and turn them in to socks, so I am glad this is not the case. I would definitely order from Mu Fish again. I am really excited about the give-away items as well and hope I will be able to host this soon.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Salon de the Minette by Baby the Stars Shine Bright

Today I shall be taking a look at the latest series from Baby. This series is called Salon de the Minette. The series includes 6 dresses (1 is leopard print and another is non-printed), 2 skirt, 2 blouses, a bolero, 8 hair accessories, tights and a few items of jewellery.

This is the Caline JSK. The bodice seems reasonably well fitted. I am not fond of the neckline and general bodice though. There are 2 pairs of thin straps, which overlap each other. I personally would have preferred just one pair of thin straps. The straps look a bit flimsy though and maybe could do with being slightly thicker. The outer set of straps are lined with wide lace, which is maybe not the best choice seeing as it will make the shoulder area look wider. I am also not a fan of the lace used as it reminds me of doilies. I suppose the doily look suits the print, but I still dislike it.

The waist area has a sheer belt which doesn't really contribute much to the design and doesn't do much to nip in the waist area. There is also a waist bow which is an okay size, although could maybe have been smaller. The bow shape is interesting and it sits well on the dress. The bow is a bit wonky in the stock photos, but hopefully it wont be like this in reality. The neckline is lined with a line of gold braid. I dislike the shape of the gold braid line, as I think it looks a bit strange. The gold braid line has a bow in the centre. The bow is made of pretty sheer material and is a good size and shape. The pearl button centre is a lovely touch. I am not sure I like it teamed with the waist bow though. Thankfully both this bow and the waist bow are detachable. I think I would definitely detach the waist bow on this dress. I don't really like the rest of the chest area. Hidden away at the back, there is a panel of diamond tulle which fills in the area between the straps and neckline. But for the most part, this tulle panel is obscured by the wide doily style lace running along the neckline. The lace looks messy and a bit too OTT. The tulle panel underneath is finished off with a line of the solid printed fabric along the top, lace and 3 mini bows. The mini bows are cute, but I don't understand why the bows have little fluffy bits in their centres. I am not saying I dislike it, I just don't understand it! Overall, I feel the chest area on this dress is too overcrowded to truly appreciate all the details going on.

The back has a panel of shirring which is concealed neatly by a ribbon corset. The stock photos show the skirt has a good amount of volume to it and the length seems decent too. I feel the overall skirt shape is a bit lacking though. Perhaps with a better petticoat it will look nicer. The skirt is kept simple and the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off with matching lace.

Here we have the Macaron JSK. The bodice looks well fitted and the overall shape is quite pretty. The straps are a decent width and look very supportive. The straps and neckline are topped with diamond tulle with wide lace and gold braid layered over the top. Whilst the lace and gold braid look pretty good, I am not a fan of the diamond tulle. I think the tulle ruffles are a bit cheap looking. On the other hand, it does give the straps a really cute fluffy appearance and I suppose the lace does help to cover it up a bit if, like me, you dislike the tulle. The neckline is also topped with a sheer ribbon bow. The ribbon and pearl button used is very pretty. The shape and size is good too. I think on this purple colour way the ribbon could have done with being a lighter shade though. There is also a waist bow, which is an okay size for the dress. The shape is a bit basic but it sits quite well on the dress. Both this bow and the neckline bow are detachable, but because of the large area of bodice which is plain, I don't think I would detach either of them. The back has a panel of shirring which is concealed neatly by a ribbon corset. The stock photos show the skirt is quite full with plenty of volume. It flares outwards well. The skirt has a lovely, slightly rounded shape to it as well. The skirt design is kept quite simple and the print is displayed brilliantly. However, I find the bottom hem disappointing. Baby have chosen to over-stitch 2 ruffles of the diamond tulle here. Not only do I think that under-stitching looks nicer, I also dislike the way the tulle looks here. I think this could have been improved if a nicer tulle had been used.

This is the Creme JSK. The bodice fit seems all-right but I think the overall shape is lacking something. The neckline is a bit more interesting though. It is scalloped and although I don't like it myself, I guess it does make the bodice a bit more interesting. It sort of reminds me of cream so goes well with the patisserie theme. The straps are a bit too thin in my opinion. They could do with being just the slightest bit thicker. The straps are decorated very neatly with pleats on the outside, which is a bit different to what we are used to seeing. The pleats have been done very neatly and sit nicely. The waist features a belt design and the material used is pretty and matches up with the neckline bow. It doesn't really nip in the waist area that much, but it does break up the bodice and skirt quite neatly. I also feel the waist needs it there to keep things tidy and add a bit of extra detail. The bodice features 2 lines of vertical lace. I don't think the lace is that attractive, although it blends in to the background a bit anyway and doesn't stand out much. If nothing else, it does help fill in the empty area of the bodice. The bodice features a raised yoke-like panel. The yoke has a neatly scalloped edge. All the scallops are very even and although I personally dislike it, I feel it suits the overall theme. The lines of lace are done neatly and help to fill in the yoke with interesting details. The main focus of the yoke is the bows though. There is a larger sheer, pearl button centred bow at the top which looks pretty. It is a nice shape and size. Underneath this bow, there are 4 smaller bows and the random fluffy centres make another appearance. But the tiny bows are very colourful and spaced quite nicely considering how many there are. The main thing I dislike about the bodice is the line of pleats running along the neckline. Whilst it matches the strap pleats well, I think the neckline pleats is a bit overkill. The back has a panel of shirring which is concealed neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show the skirt flares out well and has plenty of volume. It will hold a good amount of petticoat and there is the potential to create a really pretty shape. The skirt is kept quite simple and the print is again displayed very well. The bottom hem is finished off in the same way as the Macaron JSK, but with the addition of extra bows on top. My feelings about this bottom hem is the same as the Macaron JSK, but I do feel the bows are a nice added touch.

Here we have the OP. The bodice seems a bit baggy although the overall shape is quite nice. I think the top of the sleeves have a nice amount of puff. However, I really dislike the long cuffs on this dress. I don't think it looks very appealing and would have preferred longer sleeves with short cuffs. The cuffs are decorated in a very pretty way with lots of pearl buttons and the lace has been used well. I just feel the long cuffs are far too much and I don't think it looks attractive with the cute print. The waist area is decorated with 2 ribbon bows on either side. Again the ribbon used is very pretty and although the design is simple, the bows are nicely shaped. However, I am not so fond of where the bows are placed. It makes the waist look a bit bulky and could have been placed better. The OP features a wide collar design made up of a solid part to start with and then a layer of wide lace. The first part of the collar is decorated neatly with the diamond tulle and gold braid. Despite the lace sitting quite nicely on the dress, I think it makes the collar too big. The join between the bodice and sleeves also features more of the doily looking lace which just makes the shoulders look wider. The top of the bodice features a diamond tulle panel and then joins up with a scalloped neckline topped with further lace along the join. The lace doesn't really contribute much here and just seems too fussy. In the middle there is a large bow made up of the diamond tulle material. Not only is the material not the nicest choice looks-wise, but the bow is also a odd shape. Above this bow there are 3 of those mini fuzzy middle bows that appear on some of the other dresses. I don't think the dress really needs anything there at all. The back doesn't have any shirring, so the size flexibility is limited to just the waist ties. The lace on the back also doesn't look too attractive. The stock photos show the skirt is a reasonable length and the volume seems okay too. The overall shape doesn't look too bad, but I think it could do with being a bit cuter seeing as the print is quite sweet. The skirt design is kept quite simple so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off with a line of braid and a very subtle ruffle of the diamond tulle. Although it is not as dramatic as some of the other dresses, I think it looks a lot neater.

And finally here we have one part of the print close up...

... and another part. This series is available in ivory, pink, mint, lavender and sax blue. The colours are all very soft and quite demure looking. But all the colours do seem to work with the print. The dresses feature a different part of the print on the bodice to the skirts, with the exception of the Creme JSK, which features the bodice print on the skirt. The close ups shown here are the border part of the print which features on most of the skirts. I am really not a fan of it. There is a massive contrast between the really pretty stacked cups and the rest of the print. The cups are really beautiful with fancy designs on them. Even the cat peeking out of some of the cups is cute. However, the rest of the print is too basic looking. The cakes are far too simple and the background features large empty areas of solid colour. The more detailed parts of the print contrast too much with the simplistic parts. I could draw a better cake than the peach coloured one in this print, and I am dreadful at drawing! The print on the bodice is a bit better. The plates and jars are pretty and nicely decorated. The floral background is more interesting too.

So overall, I am really unimpressed with this series. The print is a bit of a let-down and some of the materials used are a bit questionable. I feel the print on the Creme JSK looks better but it is not my favourite of the dress designs. Some of the dress designs maybe wouldn't look so flattering too. This is not a series I would personally buy. If I was made to I would want the Macaron JSK but the print set up like the Creme JSK. As for the colour, I suppose the dusky pink colour is quite nice. I don't think there is a single part of this series that I find desirable. It is a shame because the cups in the print are really pretty and could have been brilliant in another series.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Game Board Fun In Oxford

Last Saturday a few of the Oxfordshire Lolitas group decided we should go to the game board cafe in Oxford. We had been discussing having a little meeting after Revelry, and it certainly helped with my post-Revelry blues! 

I knew straight away which dress I should wear for a game board themed meet! The trouble was, the cafe is very small and it was also raining very heavily. So I had to break out the smaller petticoats and keep things casual. Despite my end outfit being quite casual, I think it turned out okay in the end. It was comfortable and I think everything worked fine together. My curled hair even lasted for most of the day! 

Thirsty Meeples (meeple is the technical term for a game piece used to represent the player apparently) is a really cool cafe that opened a year or 2 ago, quite near to the town centre. Their website brags that they have over 1000 board games in their cafe and they are not exaggerating! The staff suggested a few games to ease us in and get us started. We gave this game called Concept but I think we were all a bit underwhelmed by it.

We got the food we ordered pretty quickly. I ordered the pecan pie and it was heavenly! I really wanted another piece but I decided not to be greedy. I will definitely be coming back and having it again sometime. The others were similarly happy with their food as well.

Next up we played Articulate, which is a much better version of Concept. Unfortunately there were not enough game pieces! So Sammi and I stepped in and used our rings as extra game pieces. In the end, Shalisa won the game. I was just happy to not come in last place!

We also played this card game called Marrying Mr Darcy. It is based on Pride and Prejudice and you have to score points by marrying as best as you can. Each player scored different points depending on who their character was best suited to and who they were able to marry. I was Elizabeth Bennet so to score the highest points I had to marry Mr Darcy.

I personally didn't enjoy the game but the cards were very pretty. The text on the cards was funny too. It was written in a way that felt like it had come right out of the novel. After a while we decided to wrap this game up and play Cards Against Humanity. Although I feel bad admitting this, I did win CAH! You really have to throw any political correctness out of the window when you play that game.

Afterwards we took solo and group photos. The staff at the Fudge Kitchen said we were looking very "Parisian" because 3 of us were wearing berets! I love the staff in that shop.

Afterwards we went for dinner and Sammi gave me a cute macaron charm that matches the one Shalisa got in the Revelry raffle! Sammi knew how much I liked Shalisa's macaron and made me one especially. I was so happy! Sammi also made herself a purple one.

I hope we get to go back to Thirsty Meeples some time. It is a shame the tables are so small in there, otherwise we would have invited more of the Oxford group along with us. But the cafe is a great place to take small groups and I think we all had fun. We all enjoyed at least one of the games we played and the time slot was 3 hours long so we got a generous amount of time. The food is amazing too. I hope the Halloween meet we are having is just as fun!

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