Monday, 30 May 2016

Rose Muse by Baby the Stars Shine Bright

Today I shall be looking at Rose Muse by Baby the Stars Shine Bright. This series includes 3 dresses, a skirt, a blouse, several hair accessories and socks.

First up we have the OP. The bodice seems well fitted, although it is hard to tell with all that floaty material going on. The large ruffles that make up the sleeves and shoulder area are quite dominating and I dread to think how this will look on somebody with wide shoulders. It does create a very interesting shape, but I am not convinced by it. I feel it makes the dress look a bit top-heavy. The ruffles are at least very neatly lined with some good quality lace. I think the lace used along the neckline is especially pretty. There is also a small bow in the centre which uses some very nice ribbon. The waist line is topped with a belt, which nips in the waist nicely. The lace overlay on the belt and bow is lovely. I am not sure about the bow that is a part of the waist belt though. It is very big in size with very long tails and I don't like the way it sits on the dress. I am also not sure the large bow works teamed with the bodice ruffles. Thankfully, this bow is detachable, and I would definitely consider detaching it. The back offers no shirring, so size flexibility is very limited. I also think the way the ruffles are done on the back is weird looking. The stock photos show that the skirt is very full and flares outwards plenty. There should be enough petticoat room to hopefully create a nice skirt shape to help balance out that bodice. The skirt is generally kept quite simple, so the print is displayed well. The bottom hem is then finished off with an over-stitched chiffon ruffle and lace. Usually I would prefer the ruffle to be under-stitched, but I don't think it looks too bad here. It gives the bottom a nice, soft and floaty look. 

Here we have the Palyi JSK. The bodice material looks a bit loose and puckered in some of the stock photos. I am also not sold on the bodice shape. This style of straps is not exactly wide shoulder friendly either. The waist is topped with a thin line of gold ribbon, which I don't think really adds anything to the design. The main part of the bodice is then kept plain. I suppose with all the neckline and shoulder details, you ideally want the bodice to be simple. However, I don't think that some very subtle thin lines of lace would have been too distracting and would at least have broken up that large, plain area. The neckline and shoulder ruffles have been gathered well and the use of gold braid and lace is lovely. The ribbon bow in the middle is cute too, and an okay shape and size. However, the roll of lace material with gathered areas topped with pearls, looks terrible in my opinion. It makes the inside of the neckline look too fussy. I also don't think the gathering of this lace material has been done well and the pearls sit awkwardly on the top. I wouldn't have bothered with this particular detail at all. The back has a panel of shirring which has been topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt is very full and and flares outwards beautifully. I love the plump, rounded bell shape of the skirt in the stock photos. The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed excellently. The bottom hem is then finished off with a line of sparkly gold ribbon and a lace-lined ruffle of organdie. Whilst I love the organdie ruffle, I think the sparkly ribbon is a bit cheap looking and looks a bit out of place. 

This is the Babydoll JSK. The bodice seems well fitted and the shape is quite interesting. The straps look a suitable width and very supportive. I really like the organdie ruffles which lines the outsides of the straps. What I am not so keen on is the way the lace goes part way along the neckline and then goes down the bodice in a harsh V shape. I feel this line of lace could have been done a lot softer and maybe a bit more rounded. It is a shame, because I think the lace used is very pretty, and it could have looked really good. The line of lace then goes back outwards, which creates an odd little shaped area above the waist line. I feel this makes the waist area look very odd, especially when you have the smaller ribbon bow and the large waist bow. The waist bow is again very large and I don't think the shape of this bow is that good either. It sits on the dress strangely. The good thing is that the waist bow, as well as the smaller ribbon bow, is detachable. I would definitely detach the waist bow, although I would keep the ribbon bow and place it on the neckline, as it is positioned in the photo above. The V shape at the top of the bodice is filled with lace, which gives an interesting texture. Overall though, I feel the bodice design is very confusing and it does not appeal. The back is fully shirred, which means plenty of size flexibility but exposed shirring, which is not that appealing looks-wise. The stock photos show that the skirt is very full and flares out generously. It should hold more than enough petticoat and there is the potential to create a lovely shape. The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed really well. The bottom hem is then finished off with several over-stitched organdie ruffles. The ruffles are layered fairly well and it creates a very soft and interesting looking bottom hem.

And here we can see the print. This series comes in ivory, pink, apricot and blue. All 4 colours seem to work well with the print and I am especially impressed to see an apricot colour, as this is something rarely seen in lolita. However, if you take a look at the photos of the dresses, it would seem that the print is a lot more washed out than this print close up would suggest, which is very disappointing. As for the print itself, I think some parts definitely work better than other parts. I absolutely love the arched windows with the muses in each window at the bottom. The muses are all drawn with flowing hair and different musical instruments. The roses surrounding the windows with the muses look very pretty and very conveniently fill in the gaps in a very pretty way. I also love the stained glass windows and think the glass has some very interesting uses of colour. However, I am not really feeling the bit in the middle with the massive sheet music pages and half-violins on either side. I just don't feel it fits in as well with the rest of the print. It is also a bit dull just having some flat sheets of paper just placed in the print with nothing much going on with them. To be honest, I would have been quite content if this print had just had the bit with the muses at the bottom.

So overall, I can't say I am really sold on either the print or the dress cuts. As I was going through this series I found myself wondering what Baby were thinking with a lot of their choices. I also don't like how the stock photos suggest that the print is going to look really washed out and faded. Here is hoping it looks a lot better in person. I think it is safe to say I wouldn't buy this series. I guess my top dress choice would be the Palyi JSK in apricot, but I would much rather go for the skirt. It is a shame, because I feel the print could of had a lot of potential.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

The Secret Kawaii Lifestyler

I recently got a message from a friend of mine asking what I had been doing over the weekend and whether or not I had dressed in lolita at all. Considering I had been doing some DIY around the house that weekend, I think it is safe to say the frills stayed in the wardrobe that day! But it did get me thinking a bit about how different my weekend life is to my weekday life, and also about how it isn't always possible to wear lolita every day. Despite being self-employed and working from home, you are more likely to find me wearing my pyjamas whilst working, rather than lolita. But although I may not have much experience working in an office, I can appreciate that it is not an appropriate lolita environment. You have to at least appear professional a lot of the time but also, I think sometimes the idea of having to explain lolita or a love of all things kawaii to colleagues is a bit embarrassing! Some of James' colleagues found out about me wearing lolita last year. As it turned out, they were quite positive about it, but there was still this initial fear of being 'caught out'! I guess what I am trying to say is, I may love cute things, but at the same time I want to maintain some level of maturity in public, especially when I am not dressed up. It is not just work environments where lolita is not appropriate. I don't know of any lolitas who think wearing their frills to the dentist is ever a good idea, for example. But there has to be a way to add those little touches of cute to everyday life without it being overbearing. Here are some ways I have thought about adding a touch of cuteness to everyday life or trying to maintain a 'lolita lifestyle' when it is not always possible.

First things first, I feel that even if you do work in an office environment, it is important to have your own space and express yourself in a way that is still appropriate. It could be something as simple as having some cute stationery on your desk. Obviously if you are off to a serious business meeting it is probably a good idea to have some smart stationery to hand, but for your desk and more casual interactions, what is the harm in going a bit cuter? There are so many different stationery stores out there that offer cute choices. Off the top of my head, we have Artbox, Tofu Cute, Blott and Paperchase here in the UK. I am pretty sure those of you not from the UK can at least think of one store. Cute stationary can add a touch of fun without being too much. Some of these stores also carry stuff like mugs, which can brighten up a work's kitchen area.

It is also possible to wear items from a cute wardrobe in a more mature way. Classic lolita blouses for example, would not look too out of place in a work wardrobe, depending on your choice of blouse and how you styled it. It is well worth looking up Daily a la Mode looks online, as there are lots of outfits out there which use lolita pieces, but have a bit more of a 'normie' vibe to them. Recently, I have noticed more and more that a lot of lolitas are using high street clothing with their looks. If everyday clothing can be used in lolita, then why not the other way around?

If wearing your cute clothes in a toned down sort of way sounds too daunting, then I guess you could always resort to being even more subtle with your cuteness. How about painting your toenails with a cute pattern? Chances are, nobody is going to see it anyway. It is just a little bit of fun, and it can feel kind of sneaky, knowing you have this cute little hidden secret. You can always take pictures of your nails when you get home. You could even do your finger nails too. Nail art went through a bit of a boom in popularity, and nail salons are always popping up all over the place. I don't feel that nail art is really seen as being that outlandish nowadays and lots of people use it is a fun way to express themselves. The Spring and Summer is especially a good time if you are in to pastels.

The use of perfume is a good way to capture a favourite memory. I frequently wear perfume when I am in lolita because I feel it is a nice finishing touch. Now, whenever I wear certain scents outside of lolita, it brings me happy memories. Although I am in completely casual clothes, perfume feels like a way I can take my lolita memories with me.

If all else fails, I know several people who are frequently baking stuff like cupcakes and then taking them to work. I am not saying we should be like Momoko from Kamikaze Girls and only eat sweet things, but the odd cupcake with pastel icing and cute sprinkles is a nice way to cheer up the odd lunch time. And if you end up bringing more for others then to be honest, a lot of people are more likely to be excited about the free food, rather than how cutesy your food is! Besides, if all the trendy cupcake stands dotted about the place and all the cooking shows (like Great British Bake Off!) on TV are anything to go by, it seems cute cakes are not just for us kawaii fans. If cupcakes are not your thing, then try taking inspiration from bento boxes. There are some really good bento inspiration blogs on Tumblr which are packed full of ideas. Even shaping your lunch time sandwiches using cookie cutters can add a cute touch! (and yes, I did choose the picture above because of the duck cupcakes!)

So those are my ideas for adding a subtle touch of cuteness to everyday life. Can you think of any others? Please feel free to comment and share them!

Monday, 23 May 2016

Wrapping Cherry by Angelic Pretty

Today I shall be taking a look at Wrapping Cherry by Angelic Pretty. This series includes 2 dresses, a skirt, a hair accessory, socks, gloves, 2 bags and a yukata special set.

First up is the JSK. The bodice doesn't look that well fitted and to be honest, I think the shape of the bodice could have been a lot cuter. I really would have liked a softer neckline shape instead of this harsh, straight neckline. The straps are also very thin and look so flimsy. The lace on the straps is really pretty though, with an interesting design and being of good quality. There is a ribbon belt, which emphasises the waist area nicely. However, the ribbon used is very shiny and also has a cheap look to it. The bow in the middle has a cute shape to it and it is a nice size. I really dislike the bodice details. There is a V-shaped line of lace with a fabric heart in the middle. Although the lace is lovely, I think the way it has been used and the cheap looking heart makes it look really tacky. I also wonder how this detailing would look when worn with somebody with a larger bust. The neckline is finished off with more of the shiny ribbon and a bow, which I don't like the shape of. There is a panel of shirring on the back, which has been topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt is generous in volume and it flares outwards beautifully. The skirt is very full and I love how it looks in the stock photos. The skirt is kept simple in design, so the print is displayed excellently. Finally, the lace s finished off with some heart shaped cherry themed lace. This lace couldn't be any more perfect!

This is the OP. The bodice seems well fitted, although the high waist is not going to suit everybody. The shape of the bodice is cute though. I like how the short sleeves are suitably puffy and the neckline is quite cute too. The sleeves and neckline are lined so well with the lace as well. I like that the sleeve lace is kept narrow and doesn't look overpowering. The neckline lace is so pretty and it sits so well on the dress. I don't like the use of lace along the waistline though. I think the dress design would look a lot smoother without the waist lace, if that makes sense. Also, I don't think it adds much to the design, as the neckline lace is already very decorative. There is also a bow on this high waistline, which once again is very shiny and cheap looking. I also don't think the waist bow has been well positioned. I wouldn't have bothered with the waist bow at all. There is a line of pearls between the waist bow the the bow on the neckline. They don't really stand out or add anything to the design. The neckline bow is cute, but I think the tails are too long. Maybe it could have been a little bit smaller in size. There is a choker, which matches perfectly, although I am not a fan of it personally. I am not really in to chokers! The back offers no shirring, so size flexibility is very limited. The lace on the back looks neat. There is also a heart design on the zip line, but I don't think it is that noticeable unless you are really looking out for it. The stock photos show that the skirt has lots of volume and it flares out really well. I think the overall skirt shape could have been a slight bit rounder though. The skirt is kept dimple in design, so the print is displayed beautifully. The bottom hem is then finished off with the cute lace again.

Finally, this is what the print looks like. This series comes in black, white, pink and red. The colours are good choices for the print, but maybe a bit too 'safe'. Drained Cherry's colours were at least a bit more experimental. As for the print itself, the cherries are adorable and I especially love the heart shaped cherries. Sadly, I think all the writing and hearts in the background make the print look too cluttered. What you have to remember, is that the cherries in the print are actually very big on the dress. If the writing wasn't there, I think the cherries in the print could have been spread out a bit more evenly. If you look at the print on the dresses, the distribution of cherries doesn't quite look right. I would keep the arrows and hearts, but maybe make the hearts a bit smaller in size. I do think the bows on the cherry stalks are cute though. 

So overall, I think this series is okay, but if I am being honest I prefer Drained Cherry. The Drained Cherry print is simpler, as are the dress designs. Wrapping Cherry feels too cluttered for me and there are certain bits of the dress designs which feel too fussy and cluttered. I also hate the use of really shiny looking cheap ribbon! Would I buy this series? No, because as mentioned, I think Drained Cherry is a lot better. My top choice would be the OP in black. Despite my misgivings with this series, I guess I can understand why this series sold so well. It looks cute enough if you ignore the alternatives, and it is always nice to see a berry print which isn't strawberries. I think AP were missing a trick not releasing this before Valentine's Day, but it doesn't seem to have affected its popularity. 

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Taobao Haul May 2016- Part 2

Today I am looking at the 2nd Taobao order I recently placed. This haul is a bit smaller because there was meant to be a dress (Le Mirroir re-released their cute bird print dress, but I literally just missed the reservation. I am still kicking myself for not placing my order sooner) and also a pair of bird earrings, which became out of stock during my order.

Taobao Ring packaged my order in quite a small box again, although as my order was smaller, this time the box size was probably more suited. And to be fair, this time my more fragile items were wrapped in so much bubble wrap. I actually struggled to get the feather clips open!

These are the feather clips I just mentioned, which were from here. Please excuse the lighting, it has been very overcast and rainy lately! I can confirm that in person, these clips are beautiful. They have lots of detail to them. The gems have been attached neatly too.

The clip on the back was a little bit stiff to open, but after opening it a few times it got a bit easier to do. The clip is secured well and seems strong enough to hold the clip in place. If I could change anything, I wish the back had a pin as well as a clip.

Next up are these Miss Moe Gloves. I got an off-white and a black pair. I was mainly curious to see what materials had been used for these sheer looking gloves. Sadly, the materials were really cheap. I had heard mixed reviews about Miss Moe before, so I only have myself to blame!

Size-wise, the gloves fitted really nicely. Usually with one-size gloves, I find the fingers are too long, but these gloves were not too bad. 

My main complaint with the gloves is the wrist part. Not only are the materials cheap, but they feel cheap too. The wrist bit feels so scratchy and itchy. The material is a lot more stiff than I was expecting, which caused the wrist bits to stick out at funny angles. The ribbon bow was a bit better, with a fair quality ribbon and sealed ends.

I think this photo demonstrates how bad the wrist material is! I really struggled to get the material to sit in a way I was happy with. It was determined to stick out at this funny angle. I guess an accessory is not the best way to judge a store that sells a wide variety of items, but if I was asked about Miss Moe, I would say avoid this store.

Next up is this headband from Cutie Creator (the most recent name for Ciciwork). The adornments are generally of a good quality and are well positioned on the band. One of the strawberries did have a small mark on it though. I couldn't really see any visible glue marks. The ribbon was well gathered along the band as well.

Here is a little side view. I really like the way the white bits fill out the empty spaces.

Despite the masses of bubble wrap, a pine cone did fall off though! I did manage to glue it back on okay. It does make me a bit concerned about other bits falling off.

The ribbon is matte and I really like the crimped edges. I think the ends could have been done neater, but I am generally happy with it. The bows are a nice shape too.

Here is a dodgy worn shot. For some reason, the band was determined to lean forward. I don't see why, because the band is not particularly heavy and the hair band is big enough to fit comfortably enough for an adult head. I guess I will pin it in place. There is the odd little things I am not completely happy with but overall, I actually quite like this hair band. It is definitely worth the price paid.

Next up are these Red Maria tights which I am so glad I finally got hold of, as they previously were temporarily taken off the store. The print is so pretty, that I got them in burgandy too. The packaging included some washing advice, which is handy.

When worn, the print is still crisp, but the colours are maybe not as bold as they could be. The colours especially look faded nearer the top. It doesn't look as bad nearer the bottom, so I am glad that most people will only see the bottom half of my legs when I wear them! The size is pretty much like most Taobao tights. I found they fitted my legs (I am about 5'4'') and they felt comfortable.

I just though I would share a photo of the bottom of my legs, just to show how it looks. Despite the colour not being as bold as hoped, I am still fairly happy with the tights I got. They look better in person than they do in my photos.

Finally, I got these tights from here. I got 2 pairs because the tights are of a low denier and they looked very fragile! I have made this mistake before and then found the listing had disappeared, so I try to buy multiple pairs where I can with cheap tights. The tights are a beautiful ivory colour.

This is what the floral pattern looks like close up. It looks really pretty. The rest of the tights is a very small fishnet, but the fishnet is barely noticeable. The tights feel nice too.

This is the worn photo. I found these tights were maybe a bit too small. I managed to pull them up, but it was a bit of a struggle. The pattern looks absolutely beautiful when worn though. I am really pleased with their appearance. They were actually better looking than I was expecting.

So this order has not entirely been a success (I don't know if I am going to use the gloves or not) but has overall been very positive. With the exception of the gloves, the items I got were definitely worth the price I paid. The feather clips and floral tights are my favourites from this order. I am really looking forward to adding these items to my wardrobe.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Candy Bottle by Metamorphose

Today I am looking at Candy Bottle by Metamorphose. This series includes 3 dresses, socks and hair clips.

First up is the Puff Sleeve Dress. I think the shape of the bodice looks a bit frumpy and not that well fitted, probably due to the sheer volume of shirring. The sleeves look a peculiar shape. Maybe they need to be a little shorter in length. I also feel the way the sleeves have been gathered contributes to their odd shape. At least the lace on the sleeves and neckline has been kept quite thin, I guess. There is a waist bow, which I think is quite a good size. The bow has a cute and very defined shape, with no signs of drooping. This bow is detachable, but I think I would leave it on. The bodice details are a bit weird on this dress. The front has a panel of shirring (as if the fully shirred back wasn't enough already) which has lines of lace on either side. Then this shirring has been topped by a random ruffled panel, which seems to be held on with a line of buttons. And this random panel has also been topped with several small bows. It just looks messy and I am not really sure what is going on with this design. This ruffled panel is thankfully detachable, although there is then the exposed shirring on the front of the dress. I welcome a bit of shirring on the back, as it gives a wider range of sizing, but as a detail on the front? I don't think shirring is particularly pretty to look at, so it is not something I would choose as a design feature. I also don't think the print looks good along the shirring panel. As mentioned above, the back is fully shirred, so this dress has more than enough stretch. The stock photos show that the skirt has lots of volume and it flares outwards well. Despite the skirt being tiered, the tiers have been joined quite smoothly, in a way that doesn't create a bumpy silhouette. The skirt details are kept quite small and tidy, so the all-over print is displayed really well. The tier line is topped with gold lace and some small bows, which adds a bit of interest without being too distracting. The bottom hem is then finished off with the Metamorphose logo themed lace, which Meta seem very fond of using at the moment. 

Here we have the Lace-up Dress. The bodice seems well fitted, but there is something about the bodice shape which doesn't quite look right to me. I can't put my finger on what it is though. Maybe it is because there is the looser gathered top part and then a more fitted bottom part to the bodice, and the way this has been spaced out? The straps look a nice, supportive width, but I dislike the way they are pointing outwards. At least the straps have been lined with lace and have an additional bit of gold lace to make them look a bit more interesting. The waist line is lined with lace, which I think only adds to the clunky, unfortunate shape of the dress. The swan lace used is very pretty though. Then we arrive at the ribbon corset. The edges of the ribbon have been well concealed and the gold lace keeps the edges looking tidy. I also like that the ribbon used has a matte look to it. The ribbon does look very bunched together though. I also feel the split between the 2 halves of the bodice is quite harsh and the design doesn't 'flow' if that makes sense. The gathering of the top half of the bodice is okay, but it could have been better. This gathered section is topped with a large bow, and there are 2 further bows beneath it. I think these bows make the bodice look too cluttered. The shape of the large bow is also a bit simple and I think it is too big. This larger bow is detachable, which I think I would do. The back has a panel of shirring, which has been neatly topped with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt is generous in volume and it flares outwards a lot. I think the waistline lace is distracting me from how nice the skirt shape is though. The skirt should hold more than enough petticoat. This skirt also has a tiered design and again, the tiers have been joined together very smoothly. This time the tier join is concealed with a line of ribbon and small bows. The ribbon is a good choice, as it only has a slight sheen to it, and the bows look very cute too. However, I do feel the print isn't displayed as nicely on this dress compared to the other 2 dresses. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with the Meta themed lace.

This is the Ribbon Shirred Dress. The bodice looks really bumpy, due to the fact the entire bodice is shirred. I also don't like the neckline shape. This dress has a double set of straps, which I don't get the point of, a they are so close together that you can't even tell it is 2 sets of straps. Having one set of straps would have probably been more supportive as well. At the bases of the straps, there are 2 bows, which have a really cute shape and very firmly hold their shape. They are maybe a tiny bit too big though. There is also a waist bow, which is an okay size. The shape of the bow is quite simple, but it holds its shape really well with no signs of any sagging. This waist bow is detachable, and I would detach it. The bodice design is quite similar to the Puff Sleeve Dress, as it also has that ruffly panel going down the middle of the bodice. Unlike the other dress though, this time it seems this panel is not detachable. I think with this dress the details are a bit better thought out though. This one has heart shaped buttons and the bows seem better spaced out. I still think it is a shame that this bodice is fully shirred though, as the candy bottles in the print look so bunched up. The stock photos show that the skirt has a generous amount of volume and it flares outwards well. There is plenty of petticoat room. The skirt is kept simple in design and the print is displayed beautifully. It is at this point that I really wish Meta had released a simple skirt with this series, as I think the skirt on this dress demonstrates how good the print can look. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with the same good quality lace and some ribbon bows, which look really cute.

Finally, this is what the print looks like. This series comes in off white, green and red. I quite like the colour choices, although I sort of wish Meta had done a nice, muted pink version. I think that could have looked good. As for the print itself, it has a very otome, Emily Temple Cute vibe to it. The candy bottles look really cute. The bottles are a nice size and spaced out perfectly. I like that each bottle has a different candy in it to stop the print being too simple or repetitive. 

So overall this series has left me feeling a bit frustrated. I think the print is really cute, but the dress designs ruin it for me. I think Meta would have been better doing simpler dress designs and really playing up the otome vibe. The use of shirring throughout this series really spoils the dresses in my opinion. I so wish Meta had released a simple skirt design instead of just dresses. I would have definitely brought this series if there had been a skirt! As it is, I will not be going for this series. My top choice would be the Ribbon Shirred Dress in red, and even then I would be covering up that bodice with a bolero. This print had so much potential and I am really sad that I don't like any of the dresses.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Taobao Haul- May 2016 (picture heavy)

It is time for another Taobao haul! This is actually the first of 2 orders I have placed recently. The 2nd order is currently in the post, so you can expect that haul review soon. 

Despite hinting that I was going back to Taobao Spree, I actually ended up using Taobao Ring again. I figured I wasn't getting anything that fragile and it didn't seem like there was anything that could go drastically wrong, so I decided to risk it. I still feel that Ring need to work on their packaging. I received my order in a small box, which was smaller than a shoe box. Considering how much was stuffed in that box, it did feel a bit too small. It sort of confirmed my fears about Ring and when I opened the parcel up, I came very close to actually damaging my blouse. Despite being as careful as possible, I sliced though a bit of the inside packaging when I was opening the box up. This is not a good sign at all and I was really unimpressed.

First up are these Adios Eden wrist cuffs. Size-wise, they are quite big, but not quite as big as the wrist cuffs from Bodyline. For their size, the cuffs do have a good shape. The lace is of a good quality and it feels soft. The ribbon bows are a cute shape and the ribbon only has a slight shine to it.

The elastic is very gathered, but the cuffs feel very comfortable on. I do wonder how big the cuffs will stretch to. They certainly don't feel tight on my wrists at all, but I have very small wrists. For me, these cuffs are perfect and I am really happy with them.

I also ordered some wrist cuffs from Red Maria. I have actually ordered these cuffs previously as part of a giveaway I held, but since then Red Maria has slightly changed the design on the cuffs, now using white material for the base part of the cuffs. I feel it is important to mention that the price is for 1 cuff, so if you want a pair, you must order 2. The cuffs are very small in size, but I actually quite like that. It is a very different look to the Adios Eden cuffs! My main complaint is that I ordered the "vanilla" colour and I was expecting a nice, cream sort of colour. Instead I got a grey colour, which is the top pair in the above photo. They do not match a single thing in my wardrobe and I am so glad they were really cheap. I am probably going to sell this pair on. The other 2 pairs were exactly what I was expecting though.

The cuffs felt very comfortable on. They have a little bit of stretch, but not a great deal. The ribbon used for the bows only has a slight sheen to it. I like that the ends of the ribbon have been properly sealed. The pearl chains are nice, although I think the ends could have been hidden better.

Next up are these butterfly brooches which I got from here. These initially gave me a bit of a panic, as Taobao Ring warned me these brooches were fragile. Thankfully, they did arrive in one piece, although I didn't get the colours I wanted. The Taobao store has this very odd grid system, which makes it very difficult to work out what colour you are getting. It is a shame, because there are some really cute brooches in this store and I really want to recommend them, but you have to be so careful when ordering. And even after I spent ages carefully selecting the colours, TBR informed me that they got one of the colours wrong anyway! TBR showed me a photo of the wrong colour they sent me and as it was similar to what I had wanted, I agreed to accept it. I was annoyed though. The brooches I got were very nice. I love the retro look. The colours are gorgeous and the design is well executed.

This is the style of the back of the brooch. I was kind of hoping it would be a pin style back, but they are stud backs. I had a bit of trouble un-doing it, until I realised you are meant to squeeze the 2 little bits together to release it!

They are not that big in size. I was expecting them to be around this sort of size though. Picture is to give a rough idea of how big they are. This one is roughly 5cm. I am really pleased with the brooches I got, but to be honest, I found the store a bit of a hassle. So I guess my advice is to proceed with caution.

Next up are these butterfly clips which may seem familiar to my long-term readers, as I have previously brought some navy blue coloured ones from the same store.

The design on the butterflies is crisp and I like that I am able to spread the wings or leave them closed. The colours are pretty vibrant too. I don't think this photo really does them justice.

They are simply stuck on to the clips with a bit of glue. Thankfully no glue is visible. I really like these clips, especially at such a cheap price. I recommend getting lots to make it more worthwhile.

I also got these socks from Baby Piggy. Sadly, they are another disappointment. I got the ones on the right thinking they were going to be gold and ivory, but as you can probably see in the picture above, they are pink and gold. And the gold colour is also a bit of a stretch, as they look a bit brown in person. I am really annoyed, as the photos on the listing do not match the colour of the actual product. The navy and white ones are a little bit better, but the navy could do with being a darker shade.

You can also see little loose threads and loops along the edges of the diamonds. Sadly, this is not just a one-off and I found almost all of the sock was like this. It is not too noticeable when worn, but it is still frustrating.

Size-wise, the socks were good. They were very stretchy and they reached mid-thigh on me (I am 5'4'' for reference). The socks were also a reasonably good thickness.

And sadly, here is another photo showing how messy the socks are. You can see all this navy thread poking out underneath the white. I think it is safe to say that I will not be ordering from Baby Piggy ever again.

Finally, I got a blouse from HMHM. My first impression was not good. As I pulled it out the plastic packaging, I realised just how thin the material was. It has a really cheap look to it. On a more postive note, the materials are very soft. The material also wrinkles very easily, which is worrying given how flimsy the fabric feels.

I really hate the lace on the blouse too. The actual quality of the lace is alright, but there is something about the way it looks which doesn't seem right. I also found the collar shape a bit awkward and the ties were difficult to tie nicely.

The gold trim is nice though. I do like the crown design on the buttons but annoyingly, they don't all face the same direction. It feels like little care was taken with the buttons.

The back has these little ties to help make the blouse smaller. Generally, the size and fit of the blouse was okay. My only complaint is the sleeves were too long.

Hopefully this will give some idea of how thin the fabric is. I wasn't expecting a completely opaque blouse, but I was expecting it to at least be a bit thicker than this.

The stitching is quite neat though and generally quite tidy.

I am a bit puff off by the cuffs as well. I guess I was expecting something a bit better fitting. And the lace completely swamps my hand. It is hard to put in to words, but it just doesn't look quite right. Originally I was intending to get this blouse in black as well, and I am so glad I held off. I went with HMHM because they are a well-known Taobao store and some people seemed quite happy with their quality. This blouse does not have me convinced. I had been eyeing up a nice looking chiffon bolero from HMHM, but now I am not sure that I want to risk it.

So this order has been a bit of a mixed experience. The blouse and the socks have been a real disappointment. I guess the smaller accessories were a bit more positive though. But as I mentioned, I did have troubles with ordering the wooden butterfly brooches and I am still trying to work out how on earth Red Maria thought that 'vanilla' was somehow a mushroom grey sort of colour. This has probably been one of my most disappointing Taobao orders. I am just really glad I didn't order more from HMHM for the moment. Oh well, here is hoping I have a bit more luck with the 2nd Taobao order.

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