Monday, 20 November 2017

This Is Not Goodbye- Why I Am On Hiatus

It is with deep regret that I am informing you today that I will not be blogging on here any more... or at least not for the time being. Everything is still a bit up in the air. I honestly have no idea if I will be coming back to lolita fashion blogging or not. If you wish to know why, then keep reading. If you get to the end- congrats! Your prize is my gratitude. Otherwise, I guess I would like to say thank you for reading my blog and I am sorry it had to end.

So firstly, this blog sort of naturally ran its course. I had a list of posts I wanted to make before thinking of shutting down this blog and that list has been completed. Truth is, I could easily keep this blog going just doing print discussions, shopping reviews and outfit posts, but that is not really why I started this blog in the first place and I don't wish to become repetitive. This blog was meant to be a diary of me starting out in lolita fashion and then how I progressed. I logged my experiences and thoughts. But for a while now a lot of my growth has been going on away from the lolita fashion community. I have actually been talking about ending this blog since as far back as 2014, but then for some reason it just kept going. Whilst I am glad I decided to carry back on in 2014, I feel nothing but relief that I am ending it now in 2017. I got an extra 3 years out of this blog and I think I wrote some of my best posts during those 3 years.

Secondly, I can't go in to too much detail, but somebody close to me is very sick. It is not terminal or life shortening, but it is going to affect them for the rest of their life. They actually got officially diagnosed just before Dream Masquerade Carnival and that is why I was such a mess at the tea party. There has been a lot going on behind the scenes including hospital trips, talks with specialists etc. It got me thinking about my own health as well and back in October I finally had a test done which I had been putting off for over a decade (Yay, I was finally brave! James even treated me to salted caramel doughnuts afterwards). I have been thinking a lot about happiness and well-being and sadly, this blog does not really make me happy any more. That is not to say that I don't enjoy the activities and interacting with my readers- believe me, I love reading all of your comments and it made me happy when people came up to me at events and told me they read this blog. But the actual writing part became more of a chore than a pleasure. I want to focus on things that make me happy again. This past year I have completed a course of therapy, which was a real eye-opener. I have also been doing a lot of exercise classes, so I am physically stronger as well. In fact, I may have to sell my Bodyline OP because my biceps are bulkier now and the sleeves are a bit tight... When I compare myself to how I was even just a year ago, I am so much happier and fitter. I feel good about myself. Putting this blog on hiatus is another step on my journey to growing as a person.

Finally, this blog has unfortunately gotten in the way of me pursuing other projects. Believe it or not, even just doing 2 posts a week can get very time consuming. The print posts were not too bad, but the more personal ones took further planning and organising. It wasn't unusual for one post to take me a couple of hours, which can be hard to find when you are also juggling work and other stuff. I have been doing lots of things, such as baking and helping to run charity bake sales. Doing this made me remember how passionate I am about baking and the stalls meant I made new friends and got to help out for a good cause. The last stall made about £300 for a cancer charity and I can't wait for the next one. You will even be able to see a recipe from me in the last Tea Party Club annual. But there is another project which I have actually already started which is going to be eating away at my spare time. I don't wish to say too much about it right now, because it is still early days. The talk I had with somebody at DMC proved pivotal in me taking a big step to finally achieving this dream I have. I am really excited! Hopefully I will be able to share more on this in the future, but it probably wont be for at least another year. I also have some other small side projects which I am hopeful I can put some time and effort in to now that I wont be writing posts for this blog.

So until I figure out what I want to do and how to manage everything, this is sadly going to be my last post. Thank you all for reading and taking part. The blog is going to stay up, so you will be able to look back at any posts you want. If you wish to keep in contact with me, you can either friend me on Facebook (although please say a bit about who you are so I know you are not some random creep) or you can follow me on Instagram @t_is_for_tiffin (be aware you will get my day to day stuff as well as fashion stuff) and I will probably be keeping my Twitter for now, which is linked on the side. I don't really follow that many J-fashion people on Instagram yet, so I would really love to see some of you on there. I am not leaving Japanese fashion, just this blog. So hopefully I will be able to still see some of you and I hope we can keep in contact. If not, then thank you for being a part of this blog. It means a lot to me.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

A Few Hints About Taobao

Something I frequently get asked about in emails and on places like Facebook is about how I get my head around Taobao. To a beginner, Taobao can be a very daunting place. There are so many different shops and guides, and then you have to learn how to use shopping services. So I decided today that I would share a bit about how I got in to Taobao ordering and where to go for the right advice.

Firstly, you should really check out 4chan. I appreciate that 4chan and the cgl board are seen as quite 'dirty' words in the lolita community and nobody likes to admit that they go on there, but it is possible to go on there without getting dragged in to any drama. Use the catalog to find the latest Taobao thread and you will find in the OP post an extensive guide. It really is the most reliable Taobao guide that I have come across. It has a load of lists for shops, shopping services, FAQs and even a dictionary so that you can search Taobao using Chinese instead of English by simply copying and pasting from the spreadsheet. If you want, you can also read the rest of the Taobao thread, although the guide is usually pinned to the OP post. A lot of people post their hauls in these threads and sometimes you stumble across some really cute stuff which you may have missed. You may even be able to ask the haul buyer where they got their stuff from. Sometimes people place reviews in these threads as well or offer updated advice on how reliable certain shopping services are.

There are a couple of points that sometimes get missed in the threads if you don't check them regularly. So I decided to include a list of pointers that I have learnt from my own experiences of placing Taobao orders.

Make sure to order items such as wrist cuffs in pairs- In the lolita community it probably seems like a bit of a no-brainer that wrist cuffs always come in pairs. But sometimes you will find that some stores only send out one wrist cuff and you don't find out until they have arrived at your shopping service. Look at the price. Does it seem realistic for a pair? Perhaps try emphasizing to your shopping service that you require 1 pair of cuffs so that there isn't any miscommunication. I have actually had an experience where a store ran out of stock of wrist cuffs, and I ended up with just one cuff even though I ordered 2. If you are able to, stick a note when you place your order to make sure your shopping service knows that you want 2 or you wish to cancel this item if they don't have enough stock.

Some stores use real animal fur- This is obviously a huge issue and something you need to be aware of. If you can't tell from the item description that something is definitely made of fake fur, then don't risk ordering it. Real fur tends to feel softer than fake fur.

Sometimes wigs come in multiple sizes- This is something I only discovered very recently myself, and I had no idea! I am yet to stumble across a wig store that offers more than one size. If you do, then either ask your shopping service a question about the sizing or post in the cgl Taobao thread for further advice. This is very confusing and I will edit this post with further information if I discover anything more.

Sometimes shoe sizing charts are incorrect- I have noticed that I have had to go a size up every single time I have ordered shoes from Taobao. Even then they have sometimes been a bit small. According to a lot of size charts, I should be ordering a 39 but instead I have learnt to ignore the charts and order a 41. The shoes can sometimes be a bit narrow too. Proceed with caution, especially if you are new to Taobao.

Lots of Taobao stores will hold sales throughout the year- The biggest sale of the year is usually the one for 11/11 held on the 11th of November. This is a good time to get Taobao items for even cheaper. However, be aware that more people are realising about these sales and because of this, sometimes shopping services get a bit clogged up with all the orders.

Aliexpress can be good for smaller orders- Shopping service fees can add up, and to make the most of this you should generally try to place bigger orders to make the fees more 'worth it'. But if you only want one or two items, I would suggest trying to locate them on Aliexpress. A lot of Taobao stores also have stores on Aliexpress and generally it is cheaper to place smaller orders here. Using Aliexpress basically means you don't need a shopping service, so you don't need to take their fees in to consideration.

A lot of listings will be full of Chinese slang- Google Translate has thrown up some very weird phrases on Taobao! The most common example I have found is "fried chicken". If you see a listing that mentions "fried chicken", don't panic! You are not going to be sent a bucket of KFC. It is simply slang, which means that an item is very good.

Sometimes the colour listings can be confusing- I have seen that a lot of Taobao stores class navy blue as some shade of purple. Another common example is sax blue and mint. It can be very difficult to tell which colour you are getting sometimes.

Don't place orders around Chinese holidays- Placing orders around the time of a national Chinese holiday can be a very painful experience. Everything is slow because all of the stores close, and you wont be able to contact your shopping service when they take time off either. Be aware of placing orders around times such as Chinese New Year. Even when stores start to re-open, it can take a bit of time for service speed to pick up. Weirdly though, there are some Western holidays where you may find your shopping service is working. I remember on one Christmas morning I was messaging Ray from Taobao Spree, who had shipped out my order on Christmas Day. We wished each other a Merry Christmas!

Be careful when ordering homewares- This especially applies to kitchenware and any non clothing that comes in contact with the body *cough*sextoys*cough*. China does not have the same safety regulations as other countries and as a result, sometimes those cute little homewares can actually be quite dangerous. Besides, cute homeware is becoming more popular and although it will probably be more expensive, there are more choices available elsewhere.

Those are just a few hints that I could think of. If I think of any more I will try to add them to this list before I publish it, or I will edit the post at a later date. But chances are, you will find the answer to any questions you may have in the cgl guide or in the cgl Taobao thread. I appreciate that sometimes anonymous people can get a bit snarky if the same questions get asked over and over again, but if you genuinely can't find an answer after a bit of searching then please don't hesitate to ask.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Why Lolita Has Ruined Everyday Shopping For Me

There is nothing I love more than doing a bit of lolita-related shopping online and it's something that takes up a good chunk of my free time. There are just so many auctions and new releases to check out! But before I got in to lolita, I used to love going shopping anyway. Clothes, hobbies, some new cosmetic line... I loved going out and having a good, long shopping session. Eventually, as lolita seeped more and more in to my everyday life, my feelings towards any non-lolita related shopping changed. It no longer feels like a pleasurable experience and if I need to go out and buy something, it fills my heart with dread! I blame lolita for this, as I have found that it has completely changed my views on so many things. I have picked up these little habits and thoughts which I cannot shake off. So here is a list of the ways that lolita has destroyed everyday shopping for me!

Any concept of pricing has gone- See a nice looking blouse in town for £30? In my head that seems expensive. See an auction for a lolita brand blouse for £40 before shipping, service fees and customs? Bargain! I pay loads more for my lolita purchases but when it comes to justifying buying something for my everyday wardrobe, I find myself dithering and wondering if it is really worth it. The crazy thing about this is, I probably wear lolita about 10% of the time and yet when it comes to that other 90% I just can't seem to part with the cash so easily.

I can't buy anything with cheap looking details- Low quality lace, shiny ribbon and other things that tend to make a garment look cheap are something I actively look out for in lolita. The trouble is, I am now doing it with my everyday clothes as well. Although this may sound like a good habit, sometimes I wonder if it really matters. For example, if I wanted to buy some underwear and it had cheap lace on it, who is going to see it? Probably just myself and my husband! And I can tell you with confidence that my husband has never once looked at me and called me out for wearing cheap lace! And yet, I still can't bring myself to buy those cheap lacy undies... There is always that voice in my head telling me that lace wouldn't look out of place on the most hideous ita dress. Oh well, those cheap panties are probably super itchy anyway...

There are no stickers or other cute freebies- Anybody else like collecting those little freebies that come with their Japanese fashion purchases? Stickers, maybe postcards and even a cute shopping bag- I have loads of little collections that I have gathered from buying lolita over the years. Even the price tags are super cute! I also love the experience of visiting a stall at a big lolita event and seeing the stall owners wrap up my items in pastel coloured tissue paper, gently putting them in their cute logo shopping bag and maybe using a cute looking sticker to seal the top of the bag. Do you get that when you go to a bog-standard shop on the high street? No! Here in England you just get asked if you want a plastic carrier bag (and then they inform you that will be an extra 5 pence) and they just shove your stuff in the bag with little care or attention. There are no cute little extras here. Although you can't really blame the retail staff on the high street, as a lot of them are working long hours for a paltry wage and usually there is a big queue of people to deal with. On the rare occasions where you do get exceptional treatment, it makes me appreciate the extra effort that little bit more.

I actually have to try stuff on to check it fits- Usually with lolita clothing I have a pretty good idea if something will fit or not before it has even arrived. And there is always the shirring and waist ties as well. If something really doesn't fit, I have the confidence of knowing I can probably sell it on and get most of my money back. When I go out shopping for stuff like jeans, for example, I have to try them on in the store with no exceptions. I am not sure what clothes stores are like in other countries, but here in the UK we have a big problem with 'vanity sizing'. So you could be a size 8 in one store but a size 10 or 12 in another. And in the cheaper places like Primark, 2 items that are supposedly the same size could in fact be completely different sizes. So it is vital to try things on. That means queuing for ages for an available cubicle, and sometimes the cubicles are not the most clean of places. It all feels like a complete hassle. And the only reason I do it is that I know that if I walk out the store with something that doesn't fit, I will then have the hassle of queuing at the returns counter and wasting more time. Even then, I may get store credit instead of getting my money back.

I have no idea what sort of everyday clothes I even like any more- I know what themes I love in lolita and when I am not wearing lolita I have this sort of casual 'uniform' of jeans, a t-shirt and a hoodie. I live in a town where if you wear anything other than jeans, you really look out of place. So a lot of the time when I don't wear lolita, I usually tend to just 'blend in' and I look the same a lot of the time. I work from home too, so I don't usually get much of a chance to dress up usually, because there doesn't seem to be much point. Most of the time, this is fine. However, when a special event comes up, I usually have to go and buy myself a new outfit. And when this happens, I usually don't have a clue what sort of clothing I like. It's been so long that I have brought anything other than casual clothes or lolita, that when I look at all these fancy non-lolita dresses it is a real shock to the system. I had to go outfit shopping for James' work Christmas do last year and I almost had a complete breakdown in the middle of a busy shopping centre! It is because I have become a creature of habit and anything that takes me out of my comfort zone causes panic.

I am always trying to 'lolify' everything- Even when I am trying to switch off the lolita part of my brain, it still has a habit of popping out when I go shopping. I find myself asking if it matches the colours of my lolita wardrobe, even if I have no intention of wearing it as part of a lolita outfit. And accessory shopping is a pain too. I look at stuff and think "If I add a bit of lace to that, it could maybe work for lolita...". As much as I love lolita, I feel the need to take a break from it every now and then and I try not to let it dominate my life. Sadly, I can't always tell my brain to stop thinking as a lolita would!

Even sales don't seem that great any more- Because nothing will ever compare to the Mr Yan Happy Birthday 50% off Everything Sale of September 1st 2011. My friends and I still tell tales of that epic sale to this very day...

"I could be spending this money on brand!"- And finally, what is possibly the most frustrating point on this entire list! I am out shopping and I have finally convinced myself that I really want this item I found... I get to the queue to pay when that voice inevitably creeps in- "What if some amazing bargain has just come up on the Japanese auctions?". And when you are looking for a dream dress there is always the paranoia that as soon as you part with any money, it will suddenly pop up and you no longer have the money for the dress. This feeling of dread has plagued me the entire time I have been in to lolita and to be fair, this fear is well founded. Only a few weeks ago, I was buying something online and something from my wishlist happened to pop up for sale a day later. One of the most important lessons a lolita has to learn is how to get over "the dress that got away".

Something tells me that if or when I leave lolita, these little habits and thoughts are not just going to just go away. To be fair though, lolita has also taught me some really positive things about shopping. I had to teach myself how to budget and be responsible with my money. I take a lot more time to think my purchases through now and if I am having a dilemma about buying something, I will usually ask a friend to talk me through whether I actually want it or not. Well, I hope you enjoyed me sharing my shopping experiences with you all. Maybe you empathised or laughed, or perhaps you completely disagree with me. The important thing is, that despite these little rants in today's post, I still look at my beautiful lolita wardrobe and feel it was all worth it.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Mollie Makes- Cute Crafting

One of the more interesting aspects of having therapy (which I have now completed! Yay!) is the random discoveries that you make during your journey. A task that I had to complete every single week (and still do now afterwards, because I find it fun) was to do 5 relaxing things every week. Sounds easy, right? Well it can be surprisingly difficult to make time to simply relax and plan what activities you are going to do! As part of this, I decided that I wanted to explore a little bit more the things which I have previously enjoyed, but sort of got pushed aside. A part of this involved going to a store with a huge magazine selection and browsing the general interest section. It was during this time that I stumbled across a magazine called Mollie Makes. The free gift that issue was this cute biscuit keychain. I made a note to myself to buy the magazine the following day when I had more money, but it turned out it was that day that the new issue was coming out. Typical! So I decided to take to Ebay and the like, in search of Mollie Makes issues. I discovered that they could be somewhat relevant to the Japanese Fashion and general Kawaii Community.

So I got this issue of Mollie Makes because the cover photo looked very promising. I was not disappointed. It gives clear instructions on how to make cute stuff, such as the felt macarons you can see here. These would not look too out of place on a lolita accessory. I am having fun coming up with ideas on how I can use this macaron pattern as a base for future crafting projects.

There is also simple embroidery and it talks you through the basic techniques. I think this could be a useful magazine for anybody looking to extend their crafting knowledge or those who dream of selling their own accessories. There is a range of big and small projects- there is a crochet skirt and other clothing as well- and a wide range of variety. Some of the projects will probably not be related to your interests at all, but there is a great deal of potential here as well. There are also interviews with members of the crafting community. It gives a fascinating insight in to the day to day life of your typical crafter. It gives you an idea of where their inspiration comes from.

I am really looking forward to buying further editions of Mollie Makes in the future. In fact, I may delay publishing this so I have a chance to get all the past issues I want! But there are also online patterns and projects if you do not wish to commit and buy a physical copy. I just wanted to give the magazine a bit of a signal boost because I think it could be a useful tool. Out of all the craft magazines I have come across this is one of the best ones I have discovered. I can't wait to make the macarons!

Monday, 6 November 2017

Zodiac Lolita- The Water Signs

Time for another Zodiac Lolita post! Today's post is about the water signs.


My star sign! Cancers are soft and put on a hard shell to protect themselves from the big bad world. I feel a bonnet would be a good hair accessory to act as Cancer's shell, as well as long, flowing hair. Cancers tend to have a hard time parting from their favourite items and will hang on to them for ages and wear them lots. With this in mind, vintage pieces and pieces passed down the family are good choices for Cancer Lolitas. They are likely to love pearls or silver jewellery. Seafoam green is a colour often associated with Cancer, so I feel this Pina Sweet Collection dress was a suitable choice, with its soft, feminine layers.


Pisces loves to daydream and love romantic touches, such as chiffon and shimmer. They are incredibly affected by water, and tend to be very laid-back and go with the flow. So I decided for my Pisces outfit to go a bit more casual, but with a few bright, glittery pieces. People born under Pisces can be quite secretive and like to keep the dark inside, so they tend to go for pastel colours. Greenish blue and pastel colours tend to be favoured. Pisces is also a big jewellery fan and they can sometimes wear a bit too much. For some bizarre reason, Pisces rules the feet, so they usually love footwear. They are likely to have many different pairs of shoes and will go for bold shoe choices.


Scorpio is a very sexy sign but at the same time, they like to leave something to the imagination. Who knows what lurks underneath Scorpio's clothing? Scorpio is enticing and mysterious. It was a bit difficult to balance the sexiness with the typical lolita aesthetic, so I decided to go for some slight ero elements, rather than full-on ero. Scorpios love lace and the colour black. They would perhaps like burgandy as well, but I decided to go for all-black here. Sexy high heels and boots are popular Scorpio choices. They are also more likely to go for solid coloured pieces which make a statement over prints.

So those are today's zodiac outfits. Please do remember that zodiac signs are not always so clearly defined. These outfit choices could be the complete opposite of your own wardrobe. I had no idea just how difficult it would be to do my own star sign. I kept wanting to pick pieces I liked over what a typical Cancer would pick! Although I admit there are parts of my Cancer outfit that I would definitely wear, so I don't think it was a complete disaster!

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Zodiac Lolita- The Air Signs

Today's zodiac lolita post will be focusing on the air signs. I hope people have been liking my choices so far. I have really enjoyed putting these zodiac collages together.


Out of all 12 outfit collages, this one was by far the most difficult! Aquarians tend to be individuals and are very difficult to define. So this collage may not represent the typical Aquarius lolita at all. Aquarius hates boredom and likes to be original and break the rules. They will wear what they want and believe their clothing is a statement as to who they really are. I felt light grey would be an interesting choice for Aquarius, as it is a colour that is not often seen in lolita. So by my reasoning, for lolita this is a colour that makes a statement! Aquarius has a passion for history, so they are likely to go for classic lolita. Remember, Aquarius is the water-bearer with a very close association with water. Just like water, Aquarius is ever-moving and ever-evolving.


Gemini is very child-like and love styles that are funky and youth-orientated. With their dual personalities, they tend to favour more than one style and are likely to have closets brimming with clothing for any occasion. Colour and frivolity are good words to describe the Gemini wardrobe. To me, Gemini is about sweet lolita, but they could also possibly be in to fairy-kei. I kept my Gemini choices bright and eye-catching. If they can fit neon elements in to their outfits, they will. The part of the body that gemini rules is the hands. Bracelets, wrist cuffs and pretty rings are good choices for Gemini.


Libras are fashion-conscious and always strive to look their best. So whilst they like the big brand names, they are also looking for the perfect fit and good quality. Libra is a very romantic sign and Libra is drawn to lace and texture. I felt AP's Katrina OP with its lovely lacy texture would appeal to Libra! Libra is another sign that loves accessories and jewellery, but would never look over-done. Elegance and luxury is very important. Libra doesn't tend to be a flashy or gaudy dresser. They tend to get noticed because their wardrobe has real style.

So despite the problems I had with the air signs, I finally managed to finish them! Be aware, that these outfits may be completely different to your usual style. Zodiac fashion is not always easy to define!

Monday, 30 October 2017

Zodiac Lolita- the Earth Signs

Today I am back with another zodiac lolita post! This time I will be focusing on the Earth signs. So let's see what I can come up with today.


Traditional would be a good word to describe Capricorn. They choose to follow all the established rules to the letter. Capricorns like attention but tend to stay away from flashy fashions. So a Capricorn is more likely to go for understated elegance. Capricorns are the most likely to be in to old-school lolita and white/pale pink seemed a good colour choice for this sign. Capricorns desire quality and see brand names as status symbols. However, they are unlikely to go for head-to-toe brand and will choose some good quality off-brand to go with their brand. Capricorns are massive bag fans, and their bags tend to be big status symbols. They would probably go for well-known bags, such as the Milk heart bag (Yes, I know I used a replica in the collage, but I couldn't find a decent picture of the Milk one at the time). 


Taurus tends to be lazy and relaxed. They are all about being pretty, but also comfortable. They are likely to go for pieces that are soft and are pleasing to touch. Chiffon seemed a good choice for this Taurus lolita outfit. Taurus is quite nostalgic and tends to favour styles that made them feel comfortable in the past. So they will usually try to build upon the already discovered. Perhaps they have favourite pieces that appear frequently in their outfits. Taureans prefer a softer colour palette, so I went for a sage green and ivory colour scheme. The part of the body that Taurus represents is the neck, so I chose a blouse with an interesting neckline. Scarves and neck ties are also good choices for the Taurus lolita.


Observant, reliable and precise are good words to describe Virgo. The Virgo lolita needs to be neat, polished and perfectly "put together". Virgo loves brand, but don't feel the need to plaster themselves with brand logos. They choose pieces where the good quality does the talking. They like tradition, so like pieces that they know are going to last. Virgos pick timeless over trends. They don't need to go too OTT to be noticed. I would say Virgo is definitely likely to go for classic and Innocent World seems a good choice. Virgo is the most likely to choose deep browns and prefer ivory over pure white.

It will be interesting to see what people think of my Earth sign outfits. I already know one or two lolitas who are not going to agree with my choices for their signs! But this is all meant to be a bit of fun. I tried to base it on typical zodiac personalities rather than actual lolitas I know anyway!

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Zodiac Lolita- Starting With the Fire Signs!

So today I am pulling another post out of the archives that I created ages ago and never got around to publishing. Hope it is okay and not cringey!

I was going through some of the old lolita blogs I used to read and I remembered a post about zodiac lolitas, where the blog author created lolita outfits based on the personalities of the 12 Western zodiac signs. I thought this was a really fun idea, so I decided to give it a go myself. First up today is my take on the fire signs!

Disclaimer- There isn't a great deal of "zodiac fashion" information out there so there may be similarities to other zodiac fashion style posts. I tried to keep things as original as possible though. Also, I am not a great believer that everybody can be so clearly defined by 12 zodiac signs, so if you are not a fan of the outfit created for your star sign please try not to take it personally!


Aries tend to be go-getter leaders. They are independent, bold and courageous. Rules are made to be broken (Gasp! No blouse!) and the Aries lolita is not afraid to stand out from the crowd. The Aries lolita is one that is likely to divide opinions and will get loads of supportive comments, but is just as likely to get posted on cgl. They love bold colours, especially red. The part of the body that Aries rules is the head, so I went for a bonnet, as this is a hair accessory that usually stands out. I felt a red and gold palette was a good option for the bold Aries lolita.


Leo the lion is energetic and loves attention. They tend to go for bright colours, OTT and are likely to love sweet lolita. Leo lolitas love their brand names and if I were to pink a brand, it would definitely have to be Angelic Pretty. They love to have the latest prints and like having an audience. Just like a lion, Leos are very proud of their 'mane' of hair. Expect big hair styles, full of volume. Although Leos like to stand out, they also like praise, so they tend to stick to the rules. Leos are also big lovers of jewellery. Gold tones are a must-have for Leos, so I made sure to include plenty of gold in this outfit.


Sagittarius lolitas love freedom. They love to explore and hate boredom. Nature is especially appealing to them, so the Sagittarius lolita is probably the most likely to be inspired by mori girl. I originally considered doing an explorer themed pirate lolita for Sagittarius, but in the end nature won out! Purple is the colour associated with Sagittarius, so I knew right away which dress to choose. They also love layers, but they should be soft and comfortable. I felt the soft bustle on the front of the dress and the chiffon blouse would reflect this. Brown is another colour favoured by Sagittarius and I feel these boots were the perfect choice.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the first installment. I will try to get the other 3 installments out as quickly as possible. Although I don't follow horoscopes, I do find the zodiac signs fascinating. I really hope I captured the fire signs well.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Toy Circus by Angelic Pretty

Today I am looking at Toy Circus by Angelic Pretty. This series includes 2 dresses, socks and a head bow. Some complimenting blouses and cutsews were also released at the same time.

First is the OP. The bodice seems a bit loose and baggy, or that is at least the impression I get. I think the overall shape is interesting though. It has been designed to look like a bustier JSK with a chiffon blouse and a collar. The chiffon 'blouse' part is quite pretty. I like the amount of puffiness to the sleeves and the way the cuffs are gathered. The bows and gold trim of the cuffs looks really neat too. I just feel that the 'bustier' part of the bodice could have been better fitted. Perhaps it is because of the material choice? There is a waist bow, which I think is a little too big. It has a lot of detail to it though, and I like the fancy shape. The gold braid on the bow really helps to emphasize the intricate shape. Sadly, this waist bow does not appear to be detachable, which I feel would have been a good option to have. The bodice is broken up with some vertical lines of lace. This lace is pretty and of a good quality. It also sits well on the dress. Then in the middle we have some cris-crossed  gold braid forming a diamond pattern, which is topped with golden emblem themed buttons. These details are well executed, although I personally feel there are a few too many buttons. There is then a solid coloured collar and bow. I appreciate that the collar is meant to look like a clown ruffle, but I feel it looks too stiff. It looks more like something you would see on a nun's outfit than on a clown. Maybe if it was ruffled instead of pleated it would have worked better. I am a fan of the bow though, so I am glad that both the collar and the bow are not only detachable, but also detachable from each other. So if you wanted to remove the collar but still keep the bow, you can! That is how I would wear it if I owned this dress. The back offers no shirring, so size flexibility is very limited. The stock photos show that the skirt looks very plump and nicely rounded. It looks very full and well suited for sweet lolita. 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.

This is the JSK. The bodice material again looks a bit loose (again, I think this is down to the fabric AP have chosen) but the overall bodice shape is quite cute. The straps are a suitable width and look quite supportive. They are lined with gold lace, gathered lace and a chiffon ruffle. This sounds like it would be overkill, but I think AP have managed to pull it off. The parts are well gathered and shaped. It compliments the waistline ruffles well. As mentioned, there are indeed ruffles going along the waist, which are made of chiffon. These add quite a bit of volume to the waistline, which is why I think it is a shame that the bodice material is so loose. It would have been nice to have the contrast between well fitted and to then have these voluminous waist ruffles. But this is just a minor nit-pick. As for the waist ruffles themselves, I really love them. They are shaped and gathered perfectly and sit well on top of each other. The gold lace lining the ruffles is a lovely finishing touch too. The bodice is set out in a very similar way to the OP bodice. Again, I feel there are too many buttons, but the lace and braid is generally well set out. The neckline is finished off with a gathered ruffle of lace and a bow. This bow is a suitable size and shape. It is very firm and holds its shape well. I wouldn't have bothered with the star buttons on the bow though, as they just make the bow look a little bit fussy and crowded. The back is fully shirred, which means loads of size flexibility but also that the shirring is left exposed. The stock photos show that the skirt is really full and flares outwards plenty. I love the shape created in the stock photos and I think it has a lot of potential. Waist ruffles aside, the skirt is kept very simple, so the print is displayed wonderfully. The bottom hem is then finished off neatly with a line of star themed lace.

Finally, here we have the print. As we can see, this series comes in blue, wine, green and black. These are pretty standard colour choices for whenever AP does a circus themed print and once again they all work very well. The dark colours compliment the gold accents in the print. As for the print, it is well executed but I am getting a strong sense of deja vu looking at it. If it wasn't for the harlequin colomns in between the toys, I would have easily mistaken this for AP's Toy March print. In fact, the toys in this new print are almost identical (there is no squirrel this time though). It is still a very well drawn print though. I really like the bunny riding the moon. That is my favourite part. The biggest variation with this print is the inclusion of the circus tent tops, which serves as a great way to break up the border from the non-border part of the print, and the diamond background. I really like these details, especially the diamonds, so I am inclined to like this print a bit more than Toy March. It is still disappointing when AP keep churning out similar looking prints though.

So this is quite a good series but once again, Angelic Pretty lose points for lack of originality. I personally don't feel that the changed details in the print are enough to make it different enough from previous AP circus prints. But if this does not concern you, it is a pretty decent looking series. There are things I would change about the dresses (mostly the OP) but they are generally well executed designs. This is not a series that I would buy personally, but that is because I am not really a big fan of toy prints anyway. My top choice would be the JSK in black. 

Thursday, 19 October 2017

How I Brainstorm Outfits

Firstly, I must apologise. This post was supposed to be a video instead of a text post (which would have made it easier to elaborate on my points, but I will try my best to explain everything) but due to some bad timing, I am unable to make a video. I had to come off my medication for a medical examination and as a result, I have had bad acid reflux and keep losing my voice. So it is a bit difficult to project my voice for recording a video at the moment.

So a couple of weeks back I received a question from somebody asking me how I go about creating my outfits. I figured it would be a good idea to show you the thought process I go through whenever I get a new piece. I really wish more lolitas would do posts like this. It is fascinating to see how the minds of other lolitas tick!

So today I am taking you through what I did when I received my Le Miroir bird print skirt in the mail. This is essentially how I do things for every new piece I get. In some places my brainstorm may seem a bit basic, but the point is that I have a written record that I can refer back to. Any fancy, elaborate stuff can be added afterwards when I am feeling a bit more adventurous.

So firstly, what type of lolita am I aiming for when I make an outfit with this piece? This is important because obviously if you have a dark or gothic piece for example, you probably want to be keeping those cutesy details at bay. For this skirt I have gone for sweet/classic, as I feel this skirt straddles both styles (probably leaning slightly more towards sweet). I also get quite an Otome feel from this skirt, so I added that on as a potential extra area to explore in the future.

Next, how fancy is the skirt? Some pieces are simply too plain for an OTT outfit and others are too OTT to be toned down for more casual everyday wear. So I like to make sure I know whereabouts on the Fancy scale my pieces lie. Here I have made a note to say that this skirt could be dressed up a bit, but it is leaning more towards the casual side of things (especially being a skirt, rather than a dress, which tend to have a more casual feel anyway). So I know that I could wear this skirt to something like a local community meet and on a day-to-day basis, but I would not necessarily wear it to a massive gathering with big guests where people tend to wear their best outfits.

Next I will look at the colours. I feel it is a good idea to divide the colours in to main colours and other colours (smaller uses of colour on the piece) because it helps me when I am trying to work out colour balancing. The main colours are where I will start considering items such as blouses and shoes. I will be looking through my wardrobe to see what basics match the skirt. It is also a good idea to try and find a good, solid basic colour that is typically easy to co-ordinate with. Colours like white, black or ivory fit this category. So for this skirt, I have off-white. I have a lot of off-white items in my wardrobe, so now I can go through my blouses etc to see what matches, always keeping in mind the style I am aiming for (such as sweet) in mind as I look through. Then we move on to the smaller colours. These are colours that I may consider adding to my outfit, but are not overly dominant in the outfit. So it could be that I have a small accessory that is on one of these lesser colours or a larger accessory may feature a small bit of these colours. As the birds on this skirt are very colourful, I have a fair few options to choose from! You may also see that I have added some notes next to some of the colours. For example, I have put 'dull tone' next to the gold, because that way I will hopefully avoid choosing golds which are too bright. As Otome can feature clashing colours, I could also consider what additional colours I could add to the colours I already have.

Then we move on to themes. So this skirt features birds, berries and flowers. When I am listing themes, I will see if there is any way I can extend on these themes further. So for birds, I have listed cages, feathers and wings. This is because these are things that you may typically associate with birds and so it connects back to the main theme of birds. Perhaps there is an accessory in my wardrobe that features these smaller details, such as the feathers? It is around this point that I will really start to focus on what accessories and jewelry I can add. 

Then if I am still feeling uninspired, I will look in to broader patterns and motifs on the skirt. So this skirt features vertical stripes. If I don't have any suitable bird themed items, I may consider going for stripy items instead. There are bows on the lace, so I can consider wearing items which feature bows. My shoes may have a bow on them, for example. I also added hearts to this list, but they are quite small and hidden in the print. So if I were to add these to the outfit, I would keep them small and subtle. 

Finally, I will take some photos of items laying on top of each other so I can get a good visual idea of how well they go. It doesn't matter if they don't match in these photos, because the point is that we have that visual representation to refer back to and it saves us from digging out items at a later date which we know may not match. So for this photo I have tried some leg wear with my skirt. By taking this photo I have discovered that the flowers on both pairs of socks may not be ideal for this skirt, as the pink of the skirt is a lot more dusky. But I have not completely written off the AP socks on the right, because the flowers are pale and subtle enough that I might just be able to get away with wearing them. Plus the cage on those socks goes brilliantly. These are all things to bear in mind before I go completely dismissing them. Plus, I now have this photo I can go back to and reconsider at a later date. This leg wear photo is just one example and I will sometimes take photos for all sorts of things like accessories. I have albums full of 'floordinate' shots!

So that is about the general gist of how I go from buying a piece to making an outfit. I have tried to be as detailed as possible. I am just sorry that I was unable to make a video for this. This is the method I use quite frequently and the photos offer a bit of trial-and-error. At this brainstorming stage it doesn't matter so much if things do not match. We are trying things out and at this point it can be fun to get a bit more daring and experimental. I hope you have found this helpful!

Monday, 16 October 2017

Lady Victorian Rose Jewelry by Baby the Stars Shine Bright

Today I am looking at Lady Victorian Rose Jewelry by Baby the Stars Shine Bright. This series includes 3 dresses, 6 hair accessories, 2 lace robes and 2 blouses.

First is the Long JSK. The bodice seems very well fitted and the shape is very pretty. I think the straps are a suitable width too, although I am a bit unsure about the wide lace used on the outsides of the straps and the neckline. It is of a good quality, but I think it needs to be reined in a bit, as it comes across as a bit messy. The bodice features 2 ribbon corsets on either side. Despite the ribbon being quite bunched together, I am a fan of this detail. The ribbon has a pretty design, albeit a bit shiny, and I think the final look of the ribbon corsets is quite stunning. It reminds me a lot of the bodice of one of the Fragrant Rose Memories JSKs. The ribbon corsets are lined with lace, which keeps the edges looking tidy. There is a line of pearly buttons going up the middle, which are well spaced out. The bodice is roughly divided in to two parts, with the chest area being slightly gathered. This is split with another line of ribbon and a bow. The bow shape is quite simple, but given how busy the rest of the bodice is this may actually work in its favour. It sits nicely on the dress as well. I think the gathering on the chest area has been done okay. Personally, I would have liked more gathering. I really like the ruffle along the neckline though. It is so frilly looking and has an interesting texture. The back has a panel of shirring, which is topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt has a lot of volume and it flares out reasonably well. As the name suggests, this skirt is indeed very long. It has a good amount of length to it and almost reaches Midori's ankles in the model photos. The bottom hem is raised to reveal an under-skirt underneath. I am not sure I like the shape of the line between the main dress and the under-skirt. In some of the photos it looks okay, but in others I think it looks too straight and should curve a bit more. Despite the under-skirt taking up a large proportion of the front of the skirt, the print is still pretty decently displayed. The under-skirt tiers are layered neatly and are well proportioned. I could take or leave the lacy details on the top tiers, but otherwise I think the under-skirt looks amazing. There are some small ribbon bows as well, which is a lovely finishing touch.

Next we have the Princess JSK. The bodice looks well fitted, but I think the bodice shape is a bit weird. It is almost as if the neckline is too high? It makes the dress look a bit stuffy and uncomfortable. I also think the straps look a bit too thin and they are left plain, which is disappointing. The ruffle along the neckline is beautiful though, and helps to soften things a great deal. The bodice is divided up in to panels, which are marked out with lines of thin lace with gold braid threaded through it. I think this looks quite smart, but in comparison to the details on the other JSK it feels a bit underwhelming. There is a vertical panel going up the middle, which is lined neatly with wider lace. This lace is of a good quality and sits well on the dress. At either end of this panel is a ribbon bow. Again, the ribbon used is a bit shiny, but the size of the bows is good. Although the shape of the bows is a bit simple, I think it works well. The back offers a panel of shirring, which is again topped neatly with a ribbon corset. The stock photos show that the skirt is plump with volume and it flares outwards a lot. I really love the full, rounded shape created in the stock photos. There is a bustle on the front of the skirt. I like that the bow at the waist conceals the top of it. The bustle tiers have been well spaced out, although I think the width of the bustle could have been a bit wider. I like the soft chiffon used, but the lace overlay used on the bustle looks really cheap in my opinion. It sadly looks really tacky. Also, some of the tiers have been over-stitched and I think under-stitching would have looked tidier. Despite the bustle being there, you can still see the print pretty clearly at the sides. The bottom hem is then finished off with a chiffon ruffle, which helps to finish off the bustle neatly.

This is the OP. The bodice looks well fitted and the overall bodice shape is very dressy. I sort of feel like the OP is more worthy of the name Princess than the JSK. The neckline could have been a little bit lower, but otherwise I am impressed with the shape. The sleeves are full with the chiffon parts at the bottom having an interesting bell shape. I love the use of lace on the sleeves too. My only complaint about the sleeves is the ribbon bows. There are simply too many of them and I also think they are a bit too big anyway. The bows on the shoulders really need to go. The bodice features a solid coloured opening, which then goes down the skirt with lots of layers near the bottom. On the bodice there is a line of pearl buttons on this part, which are well spaced out. There are also 2 ribbon bows on the waistline on either side of the solid part, which look pretty. I would have probably liked these waist ribbons better though if there were less bows on the sleeves and elsewhere on the dress. There is a large bow on the chest area which is made from the printed fabric. I like that this bow is made from the printed fabric, as that means it blends in to the background a bit more and so the massive size of this bow is less obvious. Despite not being a fan of its size, I do like how this bow has been shaped. It looks very interesting. It is finished off with a fake rose, which I personally feel could have been of a better quality, but it looks passable. The neckline features many lines of lace and chiffon, which are expertly layered. It looks really neat and has the most fantastic texture to it. The back offers no shirring, so size flexibility is very limited. The stock photos show that the skirt has plenty of volume and flares outwards brilliantly. It should hold an ample amount of petticoat. Aside from the opening at the front, there is also a lacy over-skirt which goes about a quarter of the way down the skirt. This lace over-skirt is my absolute favourite thing about this entire dress. It looks stunning. It is really delicate looking and pretty. I also think it compliments the neckline details well. It ends far enough up the skirt so that it doesn't conceal the print at all and it is well shaped. The opening on the skirt again features that cheap looking lace fabric, which is a huge disappointment. Some of the ruffles near the bottom have been over-stitched as well, which I am not a fan of. The chiffon going along the bottom hem is pretty though. Apart from the opening at the front, the print is otherwise displayed very beautifully at the sides. There are then some further ribbon bows near the bottom. In comparison to the bow overload on the bodice and sleeves, I actually don't mind these bows on the skirt.

Finally, here is one part of the print...

... and another shot of the entire print. This series comes in ivory, pink, green and beige. These are all quite soft, delicate colours but given the style of the print I can completely understand why Baby chose them. My only slight criticism is that I think the green is a little too bright and I don't think the grey ribbon with this colour way quite works. As for the print, it is a bit of a jumble. The border is cluttered with loads of photographs in frames and a lot of flowers. The photos and the frames themselves look okay, as do the roses, which are drawn beautifully. But there is also a lot of random clutter going on. There are feathery wings, earrings, ornate bows, small flying animals, more random feathers flying about and single rose petals. It is quite chaotic! It sort of reminds me of when you go to grandma's house or a particularly eccentric charity shop. I am not really a fan of the pearl chains on the non-border part of the print either. These chains look a bit too flat and the addition of diamantes to these chains make them look cheap. 

I get the impression that Baby wanted to do a series similar to Fragrant Rose Memories (arguably one of their best ever and most popular prints) but a little bit sweeter. However, there are aspects of this series which slightly miss the mark. I don't think the print is quite as appealing. Also there are aspects to the dress designs which I think have room for improvement. So this is not a series that I personally would buy. My top choice would be the Long JSK in beige. It would have been the OP and that awesome lace over-skirt, but the bows really put me off choosing that dress. Still, I can see this series being somewhat successful. It just doesn't measure up to Fragrant Rose Memories in my opinion.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

September 2017 Haul- Casual Bits and Bobs Edition

Happy Shopping! Knowing that I will probably have to start thinking about Christmas present planning soon (urgh...) I decided to try and get one last haul in before all the holiday madness kicks in. The under-current of this month's haul was 'Will I, or Won't I?' because of customs fees, but I spread out my ordering so that I was always prepared to get hit. Luckily, only my Lolita Desu order got hit. Anyway, these are the J-fashion related items I purchased...

First today is a bag I ordered from Spreepicky. I would have ordered this bag from Taobao, but I was having difficulties locating it. So Spreepicky was the easier (although slightly more expensive) option. But the service was very convenient. I went for Airmail rather than EMS, because the EMS fees seemed ridiculous for ordering just one bag. This meant shipping was a little bit slower, but my bag arrived well within the estimated shipping time. The bag was well packed and there was a protective mesh bag inside for extra protection.

I absolutely adore this tarot card design! The embroidery parts are done neatly and the design is very crisp. I was torn between ordering the white or black bag, but I am happy with my choice. I like the gold colour on the white version. 

The bag is fastened with one simple popper. This is probably the biggest disadvantage to this bag. It doesn't feel overly secure and there are open bits at either end. This means that I probably wont be able to use this bag in very wet weather, as the rain will just enter the bag at the ends. 

The bag is of a reasonable size. It is meant to be a clutch bag. When fully opened up, I was able to fit 3 fingers width inside. So it is big enough to hold the absolute essentials, but not a lot else. The bag is well lined and has an inner pocket. I was also impressed that the bag didn't have any strange odors coming from it, as a lot of my Taobao bags have been a bit dodgy smelling on arrival. The little silicone packet inside was obviously doing its job well!

The strap and chain feel very sturdy and I think it will hold up well. It is a decent length and there is a bit of room for length adjustment too. I am now debating whether or not I want this bag in black... I was given a store discount coupon, although it doesn't last very long. I would say this bag was worth the price paid, even if I could have gotten it a little bit cheaper with better Taobao sleuthing. 

I also placed an order with Lolita Desu, as there were a few bits there which caught my eye. I got a few bits to make the order and shipping price more worth it. I went with Airmail again, which was just a few days longer than I would expect if I had gone with EMS. The tracking still worked, so I was happy with the service. Also, because I am a repeat customer, I got a slight discount. Nice bonus!

This order was also well padded and wrapped up. I even got a little thank you note, sticker and free candy in the order (although I purchased the Blueberry Cheesecake Chupa Chup because we don't have that flavour in the UK and it sounded nice). This made the order feel a little bit more personal, which is unusual for a company of this size.

The first thing I got was this Strawberry Jam Jar brooch which is by Swimmer. I really am going to miss Swimmer now they are closed... Their accessories were so affordable and the designs were very cute. This brooch was quite well made. The embroidery is well executed. I love the little details such as the ribbon and bow on the lid. There is even a little fake pearl on the polka dot bow. The stitching around the edge keeps things neat. As this is a felt brooch, the material is quite flimsy and bends easily. But with reasonable usage, this is not really an issue. The back has a simple badge pin. A 2-way clip on the back would have been a nice touch, but I am happy with just the badge option. I will be keeping my eye out for more Swimmer goodies on Lolita Desu in the future, as they seem to get quite a lot of their stuff and I imagine it will get harder to find as time goes on.

I also got this skirt by E Hyphen World Gallery. This was out of curiosity more than anything else, because it was super cheap and this is my first item from the brand. As I am getting in to Larme more, this is a brand I keep hearing about. The skirt is made out of very stretchy fabric. It reminds me of cutsew style material, but even stretchier and slightly thicker. The colours are really lovely. They remind me of mint ice cream.

There is no opening or shirring in the waistband, but it is so stretchy that sizing is not an issue. I had no issue stretching the skirt to get it on. It probably wouldn't be ideal for larger wearers though, even though it can stretch further. 

It is very fitted and clingy when worn. Obviously I wont be tucking my top in when I wear it properly, as it causes an unsightly bump in the fabric. I am generally quite happy with the skirt for casual wear. My only disappointment is in the length. It ended a lot higher up my leg than I thought it would and I kept having to pull it down at the back. It did keep all the essential bits covered, but I like a little bit of length at the back for added security. The skirt came with the original tags attached, so I could see how much it originally cost. It was quite cheap to begin with, but I admit I wouldn't pay full retail price for this skirt. I am happy with the skirt, but only because of the really low price it was being sold at. It is a fun design though, so I will be keeping an eye on E Hyphen in the future, even though I am not 100% convinced.

Finally, I got a F.i.n.t skirt for casual wear. I first saw this months ago, and the store discount was enough to convince me to take the plunge. The ivory colour was a bit darker than I was expecting, but otherwise I really like the colours. The material this skirt is made of is very strange though. It is very lightweight, but the strange part is that it reminds me of the material used for umbrellas. It has that sort of weird feeling when you touch it. 

I bet you can all guess what drew me to the skirt! I love the print so much. The moons and stars are well dispersed.

There is a ruffle of tulle at the bottom. I am sad that it is left unfinished. Hopefully it wont get damaged. The tulle used also feels quite cheap. This definitely seems to be one of those skirts which looks good, but when you get up close and handle it you realise it is cheap.

This skirt also doesn't have an opening, but there is shirring this time. It stretches quite far. I found I was able to pull it over my hips with ease with a bit of room to spare.

The skirt is lined. Given how cheap some of the other skirt details are, this was a pleasant surprise.

And a worn photo. The skirt felt comfortable to wear. I was surprised that it almost reached my knees. Seeing this picture, I think I would wear a light petticoat with it. It looks a bit sad and droopy here! 

And so ends another haul post without any obvious lolita in it! There hasn't been a great deal available that I have really wanted lately. I am thinking about saving up for a bag that I want, but otherwise I am focusing on casual daily wear more. But as a lover of all things strawberry related, I am sure you will be seeing the brooch in a lolita outfit from me soon!

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