Monday, 21 December 2015

Merry Christmas From Luna!

I can't believe another year has come to an end so quickly! So I guess the last thing I need to do before I go on my usual Christmas blogging break is to wish everybody a Merry Christmas! I hope you all have a great time over the holidays.

I shall be away until Monday the 4th of January, when I will be ready for another year of J-fashion blogging. I need a bit of time off to catch up with my friends and enjoy the festivities. But I shall be back soon enough and I hope to see all of you then. Here is hoping that 2016 is a great year and I shall see you again on the 4th of January!

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Some Festive Print Ideas

So as I was writing my post about doing Christmas outfits without resorting to Christmas prints, I ended up coming up with some festive prints I would really like to see. I do love looking at Christmas prints, even though I don't own any! Some of these ideas have featured as small parts of prints, but I feel I would quite like to see these ideas used in a bigger way. So here is what I want to see from future Christmas prints.

Robins- In the UK, we love a cute little robin. They feature heavily on Christmas cards and their red breasts are a lovely burst of colour in the harsh, dull Winter countryside. In fact, earlier this year there was a survey in the UK to find what bird we would most like to have as our national bird (because we don't have one) and the robin was the winner. I could imagine a robin print having a mainly white, snowy background, so that the robin would stand out and truly shine. Maybe the bird's footprints could make a trail in the snow. Birds also have lots of quirky little mannerisms that I feel have never really been that well captured in lolita prints. Most bird themed prints either feature the birds in cages, or just have the cages with no birds at all. Earlier this year, I made friends with a little robin who came and watched me do the gardening and it would come so close that I could almost touch it. Sometimes I stopped and just watched the robin hopping about. During that time I realised just how sweet these cute little birds are. Some lolitas may love cat prints, but I am championing bird prints!

Penguins- This is another bird which I am surprised hasn't really featured that heavily in lolita. Whenever I see penguins on TV, they always look so cute, especially the babies. The babies are like little balls of fluff! Penguins would maybe not work with classic or gothic, but I could definitely picture a sweet penguin print. Come on, Angelic Pretty, you know you want to do a penguin print! Penguins love to slip and slide about, so I think a print would need to capture this, instead of them just stood in a line.

Cornucopia or Christmas wreaths- Admittedly cornucopias are a bit more Thanksgiving than Christmas, but Thanksgiving is close to Christmas, so I decided to leave it on the list anyway! I could definitely see Innocent World doing a beautiful cornucopia print. Out of all the brands it perhaps seems Innocent World would be the most likely to do one. I guess though, that cornucopias are not that big a thing in Japan, so this is probably not likely to get made. Christmas wreaths on the other hand, have featured in Christmas prints before but never as the main feature. They have always sort of been hidden in the background. Wreaths is definitely another one which I think Innocent World could make a beautiful print with.

Reindeer- There are a lot of deer prints out there! But how many deer prints feature reindeer? A lot of the prints are either fawns or this sort of generic looking deer. Maybe the reindeer is too similar to a regular deer, and the brands are worried about how many deer prints are on the market. But I personally feel a reindeer print, in the right sort of setting, could work really well for Christmas. Perhaps they could even sneak a red nose on one of the reindeer as a hint to Rudolph! A lot of deer prints feature a leafy, forest theme. But a reindeer theme could take a different route and use a snowy background. It would also be lovely to see reindeer prancing about and frolicking, as in a lot of deer prints the deer are usually not moving too much.

A festive decorated fireplace- Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, hanging up Christmas stockings... this is a popular scene at Christmas. Perhaps the fireplace could have a line of decorative holly and ivy carefully framing it. You see this scene in a lot of films and TV series at Christmas, so why hasn't it been made in to a print? I could see this idea working for Baby, who have done a lot of prints this year which feature indoors scenes.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Yet Another Print Double

And here we are- the final print double post of the year. Any more prints will have to be looked at after my Christmas break. Scroll down further to see La Priere by Alice and the Pirates.

But first, I shall be looking at Elisabeth Unicorn by Angelic Pretty. This series includes 3 dresses, a head bow and tights. It seems a pretty small series. Perhaps AP are planning to release a few bits of jewellery and stuff later on, but this was all there was at the time of writing.

First up is the OP. The bodice appears fairly well fitted and the shape is lovely. I think the arms look an okay length and have a suitable amount of puffiness to them. The cuffs are finished off nicely with a ruffle, which matches the bodice details perfectly. Although I prefer the more simpler cuffs, I think AP could have gotten away with putting a subtle line of gold braid on them, just to make them a tiny bit more interesting. There is a ribbon waist bow, which is super shiny and I think it looks a bit cheap. The tails of this ribbon bow look too long and out of proportion with the top of the bow as well. I also feel this bow looks a bit 'out of place' and I don't feel it is needed at all. So I am a little bit disappointed that the waist bow isn't detachable. The bodice is taken up almost completely by a large white bib. When you have a busy print, using solid coloured parts can be a good way to help break up the business going on with the print, but I actually feel the white part of the bodice is too big. I would have liked to have seen a tiny bit more of the printed fabric on either side. The way this white part of the bodice has been done is lovely. It is really neatly set out with a cute ruffle and line of gold braid on either side. There are some pleats too, which look really tidy and well spaced out. They add a bit of texture and extra depth to the white areas as well, which could have looked too plain without the pleats. The star buttons running up the middle are spaced out really well and have a cute design too. The ruffle around the neck has been kept quite simple and it doesn't look to constricting. There is a detachable ribbon bow at the neck area. The ribbon is still a bit shiny, but the shape of the bow is cute and the sizing is okay too. I think the neck bow offers the perfect pop of colour to break up the white on the bodice. I only wish they had made the waist bow detachable instead of this one. The back offers no shirring, so sizing is not that flexible. The back generally looks quite neat, but I did feel the zip stood out quite a lot on the white part. The stock photos show the skirt is very full with plenty of volume. I really love the rounded shape. The skirt is kept simple in design and so, the print is displayed perfectly. The bottom hem is then finished off very neatly with a line of AP logo themed lace, on top of the ruffle of crepe de chine. The layers have been layered quite neatly, although I was surprised AP didn't go for a more interesting custom lace design. They could have used star themed lace or maybe carousel patterned lace, for example.

This is the High Waist JSK. The bodice looks well fitted and the overall shape is quite cute. At first I thought the straps were too narrow, but on reflection I think they are a decent width. I think the style of straps really suits the rest of the bodice. They are lined really neatly with thin lace on the outsides, which makes them look a bit less plain. Unfortunately, this dress also has the super shiny ribbon waist ribbon. It looks awful in my opinion. I also feel it looks as though it has a look of being randomly 'stuck on' the dress without much thought being put in to it. If the waist bow was detachable I would like this dress a whole lot more. The bodice features some neat pleats and thin lines of lace. The final look is subtle, but with just enough detail to stop it looking too boring. I really like the more toned down bodice on this dress. The centre has a line of the star shaped buttons, which have been well spaced out. The neckline features some lace, which has been gathered to give it a frillier, frothy appearance. This has been done really well and I like the end result. I think it looks cute. The neckline is then topped with another shiny ribbon bow. I am not overly fond of the shape of the bow, but I think the size is fairly good. It doesn't look too dominant. The back of the dress is fully shirred, which means plenty of stretch, but it isn't too attractive to look at. The stock photos show that the skirt has lots of volume and it flares outwards brilliantly. There is plenty of room for petticoat and a lot of potential to create a great shape. The skirt is again kept simple in design, so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with the AP themed lace.

Here we have the Gillet JSK. The bodice looks well fitted, but I am feeling a little unsure about the shape. I'm not sure I like the neckline shape. The straps seem a decent width. I love the use of lace and gold braid topping the straps and going along the neckline. It has been done so neatly and the choice of lace looks pretty too. There is a waist bow and I am at least pleased to see the shiny ribbon has gone! Sadly, I don't like the shape of the waist bow and the identical bow on the neckline. The rounded shape looks a bit odd and it doesn't appeal to me, personally. It doesn't look as though either of these bows are detachable either. The gillet is set out neatly. The pleat and lace add an interesting texture to the area and I love the neat gold braid border. I am a bit unsure about the star buttons though. I am not sure I like them spaced out like this, and I think I would prefer the stars to be in a single line down the centre instead. There is just something about where they are placed which just doesn't sit right with me. The back has a panel of shirring, which has been topped neatly with a ribbon corset. It looks quite tidy. The stock photos show that the skirt is very plump with lots of volume. It will hold a decent amount of petticoat. I love the really rounded shape. The skirt is once again kept simple in design, although there are these weird small flaps at the top of the skirt, and I am not really sure what the point of them is. But otherwise, the print is displayed really well. The bottom hem is then finished off with the AP logo lace.

And finally, the print close up. This series comes in ivory, pink, wine and navy blue. The colours are pretty, although the pink is a bit too sickly sweet for my tastes and I wish there had been a dark green colour, as I think that could have looked amazing. As for the print itself, it looks pretty but there is a lot to take in. The print is so busy that it is almost overwhelming. I love the emblems, but perhaps they should have just been kept along the border. The carousel horses are beautiful and so well drawn. But it does feel as though the emblems and horses are fighting for space. I think the size of the items in the print need to be changed. I love the chains and stars in the non-border part, but I feel the non-border part is far too crowded. It's like the print can't make up its mind if it wants to be a border print or an all-over print. What is there is pretty, but I don't feel it has been executed in the best possible way.

So I have to say that I am feeling some quite mixed feelings towards this series. The dress designs are okay, with just the odd thing here and there that I would change. There are aspects I like about the print as well, but it also feels too crowded in my opinion. I am not surprised to see this series sold so well though. Would I buy this series? No, because I really don't feel 100% sure about whether I like it or not. I think this is one of those series that I would need to see in person. If I were to get this series my top choice would be the High Waist JSK in either wine or navy blue, but I would definitely be removing that ribbon waist bow!

Next up today is La Priere by Alice and the Pirates. This series includes 3 dresses, a skirt, 2 blouses, 3 hair accessories, tights, pants and a long vest.

This is JSK I. Well, it's called a JSK but it's clearly verging on an OP. The bodice seems well fitted and the shape looks lovely, if a little simple. The mini sleeves are very elasticated, so this is useful if you find OP sleeves can be a bit tight. I like that the sleeves have a generous amount of puff to them, although I am not keen on how the lace has been used on the sleeves and the neckline. The lace itself is pretty in design and of a good quality, I just don't like how its been used. There is something about the way the neckline lace meets the sleeves which doesn't appeal to me. The bodice features 4 large buttons, which have a pretty design. However, I don't think the buttons work on this particular dress design. I don't think the buttons work paired with the chest ribbon and the spacing seems a bit off too. As for the chest ribbon, I like that it offers a pop of colour. If you look close enough, the colour choice does sort of tie in with the less used colours in the print, but it isn't immediately obvious. The ribbon is of a good quality and the small bow in the centre is a nice finishing touch, without looking too attention grabbing. Inevitably, this chest ribbon is not going to sit right on some wearers though. The back of the dress has a panel of shirring which has been topped neatly with a ribbon corset. Perhaps a less vibrant coloured ribbon could have been used here though, because it does stand out quite a bit and draws your attention to the shirring. The stock photos show the skirt has a decent amount of volume to it and it flares outwards gently, but enough to create a lovely A-line shape. I think the skirt shape is pretty and goes well with the bodice too. The skirt is kept simple in design and so, the print is displayed excellently. The bottom hem features a ruffle, and I only wish it had been under-stitched, rather than over-stitched. This ruffle is then finished off with some pretty lace.

Next up is JSK II. The bodice material is quite loose, but that is a part of the gathered look AatP were going for. I really hate the look of the straps/sleeves though. There is a normal set of JSK straps, with an added flap of material draping over the shoulders. It is sort of a bit like what Angelic Pretty did with the Crystal Dream Carnival tiered JSK, although AP used chiffon and the end result was a lot softer and more delicate looking. I think what AatP have done with the sleeves on this dress doesn't work anywhere near as well. Using the main dress fabric doesn't seem to work as well and I think using lace here was a mistake as well. The lace going along the neckline looks sad and limp too. There is a bow topping the neckline, which actually isn't too bad. The size of the bow seems in proportion and the idea to layer lace over ribbon is an interesting idea. The lace used has a pretty and heavily detailed pattern. Although the ribbon used underneath is a little bit shiny, you can't really see it that much. The only thing I dislike about the bow is the use of the AatP charm in the centre. It's a pretty charm but I don't think it works on this particular bow. The back of the dress is fully shirred, which means great size flexibility but not so attractive to look at. The stock photos show that the skirt has a reasonable amount of volume, although I think the overall skirt shape is lacking something. It looks a bit lifeless. Hopefully with the right petticoat, it will look a bit better than it does in the stock photos. The top of the skirt features this weird over-skirt thing, which I can't make up my mind if I like it or not. It looks a bit lifeless when you look at the dress as a whole, but weirdly, I think it helps balance out the bodice. At least the lace used to line this over-skirt looks pretty and I suppose the over-skirt does help to break up the length of the long skirt. The skirt is otherwise kept plain and simple, so the print is displayed really well. The bottom hem is then finished off with some fairly good quality lace.

Here we have the OP. The bodice material looks a bit baggy, although the belt helps to pull it back in and create a better shape. There is something about the bodice shape which I don't like. I think it might be that I think the neckline is a bit too wide. I also feel that the sleeves are quite an unusual length and I hate the gathering on the sleeves. Although the lace on the sleeves and the neckline has a really beautiful design, I think the width of the lace is too wide and I feel it is a bit too domineering. As mentioned, there is a belt, which is made of a wide line of ribbon. The ribbon is of a good quality and I am pleased to see it has a decent amount of length for bow tying as well. I really feel the belt is vital to help give the wearer a better shape. The material is gathered enough so that the dress has a bit of stretch to it and the waist is elasticated too, so the back of the dress does not have any additional shirring. The back of the dress is set out quite neatly and pretty much looks the same as the front of the bodice does. The stock photos show the skirt has a good amount of volume to it and it flares out quite nicely. There is the potential to create a lovely A-line shape here and it should hold plenty of petticoat. The skirt is an open-front design and the skirt parts to reveal a lovely chiffon skirt underneath. I think there is a good balance of the printed fabric and the chiffon. I just wish the ruffle along the hem of the main printed material had been under-stitched. Because this is an all-over print, the print is still displayed fairly well on the skirt. The solid coloured chiffon underneath has decently spaced tiers, which sit on top of each other well. My only concern would be the very bottom chiffon ruffle, because it looks quite see-through and ideally you would want a petticoat long enough to reach this bottom ruffle. Otherwise, the bottom ruffle is going to droop and look a bit saggy. So I would be very careful about picking a petticoat for this dress, as you would ideally want one the correct length and also the same colour as the chiffon.

And finally, the print close up. This series comes in ivory, pink, brown and black. The colour choices seem a good match for the print. I can't imagine other colour choices working quite as well as the ones AatP have selected, so I agree with the ones they have gone with. As for the print itself, I do think it looks quite pretty. I like how the print doesn't just focus on one part of a church, such as the stained glass window prints we have seen frequently from lolita brands. You have the stained glass, but there is also murals, ornate looking organ pipes and nicely detailed columns in this print. And every part of the print has been drawn really well. The way the print has been set out seems to work quite well. I like that the print has the strips of colour breaking up the softer tones in the print as well. I think that little burst of colour is needed.

So overall, I was quite surprised to find that I really like the print, even if it is not my usual sort of style. I am feeling a little unsure about the dress designs though. There are definitely things I would like to change about each dress design. Would I buy this series? Probably not, although I do think the print is pretty and I can imagine it selling really well. My top choice would be JSK I in either pink or brown. I think I would lean more towards the pink colour way.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Christmas Theme Without Chistmas Prints

Christmas is an interesting time of the year to be a lolita. I know that even at this last stage of the year, there are still many lolita meets to come all around the world and many lolitas will be getting dressed up, no matter what they are doing. But I personally have always struggled to make what I would call the perfect 'festive' outfit. I usually end up breaking out the black (because of the poor weather here in the UK). I guess I just go with what feels comfortable rather than trying to do a Christmas relevant outfit.

A lot of my problem comes from the fact that I simply refuse to buy prints that have an obvious Christmas theme to it! I have nothing against Christmas prints per say, it's just that I feel like it's not worth buying a dress you can only wear for a short period of the year. With my small wardrobe space I need dresses I know I can get some decent wear out of, otherwise they are just sitting in my wardrobe, not getting worn. So despite liking Christmas prints, like the Baby one above, a holiday print has never made it in to my wardrobe. All is not lost though. If you don't have a Christmas print, it doesn't mean you can't add a touch of festivities to an outfit.

The first thing is to think about colour. When I think about Christmas, the colours that come to mind are red, green and gold. Those are what I think would be considered 'traditional' Christmas colours, or at least they would be in the UK. Santa Claus is typically seen wearing red, or in some cases he may wear green. Gold adds a touch of glitz and sparkle. Red is quite a common colour in lolita and is easy to get hold of. Gold trims can add a subtle festive feel.

Tartan is the sort of simple print that I associate with this time of year. I don't know why, perhaps it is the festive Scottish shortbread tins you see in the shops? I don't quite know where the idea of tartan being festive comes from, but you seem to see it a lot around Winter time. But the great thing about tartan is that it can be worn at any time of the year. It looks festive, but at the same time it doesn't scream Christmas! Tartan dresses are also very easy to get hold of. Chances are, you will find a cheap tartan JSK on the Japanese auctions or on Taobao and Bodyline during most of the year. And because tartan is easily available, you can usually find a reasonably priced dress. So if you decide to save it for the Christmas period, at least you don't have to worry so much about how much you have spent on it. Tartan accessories are usually available on the high street during the Winter period too.

But just because you may be avoiding obvious Christmas prints, it doesn't mean you have to give up on prints altogether. Think of smaller, less obvious themes and your wardrobe may be more festive friendly than you think. Angels have been a popular theme in lolita this year, which would obviously be a bit of a nod to the angel in the nativity story. That was just one idea off the top of my head, but I am sure with a bit of creativity you could all come up with some great themed outfits.

Even if you don't want to splurge on a big festive print, perhaps there are smaller items that would be worth considering. A small accessory shouldn't break the bank and they don't take up too much space. Taobao usually has plenty of accessories which will add a bit of Christmas cheer. Then it is just a case of matching the accessory to something in your wardrobe. Closer to home, perhaps a local craft shop would have some nice ribbon to make accessories with.

So I still feel quite adamant that Christmas prints wont be a part of my wardrobe. There are still options out there and I wont be resorting to buying anything new. I have never been that big on celebrating Christmas and I see it more as an excuse to catch up with friends. But at the same time I am happy to get in to the spirit of Christmas, and that is exactly what I shall be doing!

Monday, 7 December 2015

Dozing Cat by Metamorphose

Today I shall be taking a look at Dozing Cat by Metamorphose. This series includes 4 dresses, a skirt, an apron, 4 hair accessories, socks, a scarf and a raschel lace detachable collar.

First up is the Bustle Pinafore JSK. The bodice looks well fitted and the shape looks lovely. The straps are a decent width and look quite supportive. They are lined really neatly with gold lace on the insides and outsides and also feature a band of solid coloured fabric. They look very detailed and interesting. There is a large double layered waist bow which I feel looks too bulky. The bow also looks quite heavy and seems to droop. I get the impression that the wearer would end up spending time trying to adjust the bows to get both of the bows to sit right. Thankfully, the waist bow is detachable and I think the dress looks so much better without it. The front of the bodice has a panel of shirring which is topped with a ribbon corset. Although the ribbon does help to conceal the shirring a little, I much prefer to have the shirring hidden away on the back. I don't feel it is that attractive to look at. Given that the back of the dress also has a panel of shirring, I really don't think the front shirring is needed and they could have just had the ribbon detail. There are 2 bows at the bases of the straps, which have some really cute details to them. They mix gold braid with more traditional looking elements. I do feel these bows are a bit too big in size though, which is a shame because I really like them. These bows are detachable and I guess if I owned this dress I would detach them. The stock photos show that the skirt has plenty of volume and it flares outwards plenty. It has a really cute shape. The skirt design is kept simple, so the print is displayed brilliantly. There are 2 small bows, but they are sitting neatly near the top of the border print, so they are not that distracting. I would maybe have preferred the bows on the bottom hem but they don't look too bad where they are. The back of the skirt has a bustle. The tiers of the bustle are well spaced out and I like how the hemlines are lined neatly with gold lace. However, judging by the pictures, the bustle seems to have a lot of volume to it and it sticks outwards quite a lot. I would be concerned about my backside looking too big! The bottom hem is then finished off with a ruffle of crepe de chine fabric, which looks quite smart and matches well with some of the other dress details. There is also a really cute cat brooch that comes with this dress, which has a pretty design that perfectly matches the print.

This is the Button Down OP. The bodice looks well fitted and the shape is quite smart. Judging by the worn photos, the sleeves seem a decent length with a suitable amount of puff to them. The gathered cuffs have a cute shape too and I like how they are finished off with a subtle line of lace, which I think is just the right amount of detail. There is a large waist bow, which has a cute shape. It does look a bit floppy though. I also feel the tassels attached to the waist bow are far too OTT and they look a bit silly used here. Thankfully, the waist bow is detachable and I would detach it if it was me. As the name suggests, this is a button down dress and there is indeed a row of buttons running down the centre of the dress. However, unlike previous Meta dresses in this style, the row of buttons stops before it reaches the border part of the print. And the row of buttons actually blends in quite nicely. I would say this is definitely an improvement on recent Meta dress with this sort of detail. The bodice features a square yoke. At first I thought it was wonky, but I think it is the way Meta have positioned the mannequin in the photo. I can't decide if I like the square shape of the yoke or not. On the one hand it looks quite neat and tidy, but on the other hand I think the shape looks a bit harsh. Even though the edges of the yoke are lined with a ruffle, the strong straight lines of the yoke are still very apparent. The yoke features some neat pleating and ruffles, which have been set out neatly. The buttons used are also very pretty in design. The yoke is topped with a detachable ribbon bow. The bow looks cute, but I think a better quality ribbon could have been used. This dress also comes with the pretty cat brooch, that I really like. The back features a small panel of shirring, which has been neatly topped with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show the skirt is generous in volume and it flares outwards plenty. The wearer should be able to create a really pretty shape. The skirt is kept simple in design and so, the print is displayed perfectly. The bottom hem is then finished off with a simple but neat ruffle. This is then topped with 2 bows with a fake flower in the middle of them. The bows look cute and the flower matches the print well. These bows are a bit on the big side, but it isn't that noticeable.

This is the A-Line OP. The bodice is very short and I would be concerned about how this dress would sit on the chest area, not that the dress measurements are that bust friendly to begin with. The arms look a decent length and I love the slight puffiness to them with the gathered cuffs. It looks really cute. The bodice features several lines of lace and some buttons, which are set out really neatly. I am not keen on the chest ribbon though. The ribbon used is pretty, but there is something about it which doesn't seem to suit the dress. I think it might be the soft, floaty transparent ribbon looks out of place with such a bold print. Also, the colour choices for the ribbons seems a bit off. Apparently this dress also comes with the cat brooch. The back offers no shirring, so the sizing is even more limited. The stock photos show that the very high waist skirt seems to have a good amount of length to it. It flares out beautifully, in a way that really suits the bodice. So it is a shame in my opinion, that the waist line isn't a bit lower down. There is plenty of room for petticoat too. The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a line of lace.

Here we have the Tucked Hakama Dress. The bodice looks reasonably well fitted and the shape is really interesting. I think the straps are the perfect width and look very supportive. I really love the use of solid colour and lace for the straps and neckline. It looks really bold and has been done so neatly. The bases of the straps are topped with bows and a fake flower. The bows are adorned with pearl chains and tassels. Maybe it is the style of the dress, but I actually quite like the little extras to the bows. I do wish they were detachable though, as I would quite like to see how the dress would look without them. Also, I think the fake flower used looks a bit cheap. In all fairness though, it is a good match for the flower in the print. I don't know a great deal about Hakama style dresses, but I think the waist details with the massive bow are really cute. I like how it has a traditional look, but still maintains the lolita look as well. I do wish that the bow just had the solid coloured material and not have the printed fabric as well. I feel if it just had the solid coloured fabric for the bow it would have looked a bit tidier. The back is fully shirred, which means plenty of stretch, but it isn't that attractive to look at. The stock photos show that the skirt has a lot of volume. I really love the full, rounded shape of the skirt on this dress. After seeing the photos for the dress listing on the site, I feel this skirt needs a really full petticoat to make sure the print is really well displayed. When a less full petticoat is used (like in the photo above), I don't feel the print is displayed as well. I like the little solid coloured inserts in the skirt. They seem to be spaced out quite nicely. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with some gold braid and a simple ruffle.

And finally, here is the print. This series comes in antique white, bordeaux and black. I think all 3 colours look amazing with the print. The 'bordeaux' looks more like an orange-red to me, and it gives the print a lovely retro feel. I think the black is probably the weakest colour, because the cats don't stand out as much on that version. As for the print itself, it looks really pretty. It has a kitsch, whimsical feel to it. It sort of reminds me of the illustrations you see in some older children's books. The cats are beautifully drawn and I love how they are lounging about in the print. Their movements and positions seem quite realistic. The flowers and bows add to the kitsch look and I love the bold use of colour. At first I didn't like the checkered non-border part of the print, but it is growing on me.

So overall, I found myself liking this series a lot more than I initially thought I would. I can totally see why this series has sold so well. Some of the dress designs are definitely stronger than others though. But what I do like about the dress designs is how there is quite a wide range of styles. The dresses vary in levels of OTT-ness and it has maturer designs and cutesy designs. The print is really pretty too. Would I buy this series? Probably not, because it is not really my style. I do really like it though. My top choice would be the Tucked Hakama dress in either antique white or bordeaux. And I would just like to add a final note- I really love that Meta have done a scarf for this series! I wish they would do scarves more often.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Random Adventure in Oxford!

Over the weekend I ended up going to Oxford to see Sammi and Shalisa. We were meant to be having a meet in Reading, but a lot of the people who were meant to be coming to that couldn't go because they were at Hyper Japan. I do hope my absent friends had a good time at Hyper Japan. I haven't been to HJ in 3 years because I didn't have a great time the last time I went, but maybe I will give it a go next year again. We will see how things go.

Thankfully, it wasn't raining heavily this time! I managed to stay relatively dry until I got back to the train station and had to walk home. Oh well, it is still a massive improvement on last time, and no umbrellas died! I wore my black Queen's Coach skirt, which I obtained recently. The colours on the skirt were not quite what I was expecting, but I managed to find items the same colour as the flowers on the skirt. After looking closely at the skirt, I realised there are actually colours in the print which I had never noticed before, such as peach. So maybe I will come up with some more challenging colour combinations when I get the chance to think outfits up.

We ended up going to a restaurant we hadn't been to before called My Sichuan. I came across this place earlier this year when I went to a games board cafe nearby with friends and I happened to spot this place hiding around one of the corners. The restaurant turned out to be quite an interesting find and I liked my food. My chicken and chili dish came with a tea light candle underneath to keep the food hot. The only problem is, it was a bit tricky to eat because it was quite messy! Shalisa and I both had aprons made out of all the napkins we stuffed down ourselves and I avoided the chopsticks because I am not too confident using them. The food was well cooked though, and very tasty.

Afterwards we decided to head to the Mitre, but not before getting some fudge from the Fudge Kitchen and having a bit of a posing session. I was very glad that nobody decided to come out of the door we posed in front of! I think all of us were reluctant to take out coats off, but at least we got some photos in the end. I was really pleased with the fudge we tried as well. They have a new Pumpkin Spice flavour, which tasted so amazing that Shalisa got us a slice to share. It was an interesting take on what I am guessing is a flavour brought in to celebrate Thanksgiving. If adopting some aspects of American culture means we get tasty fudge, then I am all for it!

Sammi and I decided to get Cosmopolitans at the Mitre. They are more of a pub than a cocktail bar, so they only have a few cocktails on offer. We got given these weird winter hat shaped cocktail stirrers. I suppose they are fairly cute? I do miss the Pimm's strawberry stirrers though- I am always taking them home with me! 

Like Reading, Oxford also has a Purple Turtle bar. What we didn't realise though, was that the Oxford one isn't open all day like the Reading one is. So we went out in to the cold for nothing! I did get a picture of the Christmas lights though, but it is very blurry. It serves me right for clicking and walking at the same time. The lights look a lot better in the dark but after seeing these lights so many years in a row, I think Oxford could do with some new lights.

After our Purple Turtle disappointment and discovering a lot of the pubs were totally packed, we ended up back at the Mitre! After being out in the cold, I wanted a hot pudding, so I got a warm chocolate brownie. Every time we get this pudding from the Mitre it seems to come out different. but this time all of our desserts were identical. Sadly though, I ended up paying more than Sammi and Shalisa, because the guy who served them added a discount that they were not meant to get. I was fuming when I found out! It clearly pays to wait and get the right member of staff to serve you.

I ended up having a really great day. I was so glad that we tried a new place and I would like to go there again sometime. It was a bit busy in Oxford, but that is to be expected at this time of year. The lovely, warm food we got was comforting and it was the perfect accompaniment to our fun conversations. I am so looking forward to our Christmas meet-up. We are going to meet Sammi's new puppy Biscuit too, which I am really looking forward to!

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