21 Nov 2017

Dim Sum Meet



While meets that involve simply gathering together to eat seem to be the most common kind (usually focusing on afternoon tea), I find that my comm doesn’t have them that often. Which is odd since we all like to eat and like good food. When this Dim Sum meet was initially announced, it clashed with Doki Doki, but then got rescheduled – and there was no way that I was going to miss out on yummy dumplings!

| BtSSB Sugar Bouquet Shirring Princess JSK | New Look cutsew | Bodyline
L553 bolero | Cutie Creator headbow | Baroque tights | offbrand heels and pearl
necklace | Milkribbon Misako brooch |

Nothing like cute stickers to cover up a random
person behind you.

This meet demanded one thing: full body shirring. I’m lucky enough to have three fully shirred dresses, as well as one fully shirred skirt, but somehow I decided to go with Baby’s Sugar Bouquet. The whole outfit was aimed for comfort and, ever so slightly, for warmth. I was surprised by the positive reactions to that Bodyline bolero (as if you needed further proof that their stock photos are awful) and to how well these Baroque tights held up (no need to pull them up despite walking a fair share that day). And the Labiotte lip tint – it’s a novelty wine bottle thing, but it survived all those dim sum the whole day and some of the following day even!

Whether it’s because we’re a big comm or because dim sum is a great thing, the meet was well attended with eleven of us (including myself) attending. It was nice to see some people whom I haven’t seen since London, as well as meet a couple of new faces (to the newest group member: if you’re reading this, I hope you had fun and that you will come again, even though it must’ve been a very intimidating first meet to be in a large group of people who already know each other and with an age gap).

The place we went to was called Crown Buffet which, although technically is in the city centre of Leeds, I wouldn’t have been able to find it on my own as I would’ve started doubting myself just before getting to it. It’s in quite an awkward area that looks deserted and just like dead space between busier roads. However, it was well worth visiting: the dim sum selection was big and reasonably priced, with the cheapest being around £3 and the most expensive around £4.20 mark, as well as pretty tasty. There were some that were a miss, like the mixed veg dumplings (which looked like something out of Blue Planet and, to be honest, tasted like that too) or the beef balls (I didn’t have them, but the friend who did was defeated by how dense they were). But for the most part we enjoyed the food and the atmosphere, just being able to chat about anything and everything, from the most random to the most serious.

Those were just the first few dishes that arrived!

Love me some gyoza!

Because I have to get plain rice - forgetting that Chinese rice
isn't the same as Japanese rice. Still nice though.

After filling up our stomachs (and waiting a little before actually being able to stand up) a group of us headed for the Christmas market which had just opened in Leeds recently. This is also where we took advantage of the last of the daylight. However, by the time we were done with the outfit shots, we decided that the wind had picked up a little too much and we’d rather go for a hot drink and cake. We ended up in a bubble tea place where all the cake had finished, so we just had tea (which was probably for the better as I wasn’t exactly hungry, so just tea and no cake was better on the waistline). You know that time after the official meet has finished and there’s only a few of you still about, just chatting? These tend to be my favourite parts of the meets, everyone’s a lot more relaxed then and feel that sense of trying to keep the good time going before we all go back to our daily routines. Some really good meet ideas were thrown about there, which would be incredible if they happened, so let’s hope that one day they will.

Where we were was more fun fair than market.

Still looks cute though. All my other photos
turned out blurry. :(

It was so pretty, but ended up so blurry.

Upon regaining energy we all ended up going to Lush – mainly because I needed to go, but there were others whose ears pricked up at the sound of the word “Lush”. It was on the way to the train station anyway, so why not take advantage of the convenience? I wish I could say that the £66 I dropped there was all for me in a serious bout of Treat Yo’ Self Syndrome, but most of it was presents for other people. Still very satisfying to carry a Lush bag this heavy with goodies. Our last stop was Wilko, where I picked up some plastic gift bags – and a friend bought the biggest pink plush unicorn I’ve ever seen for a mere bargain of £30! All Despicable Me references were very much appropriate and the way I see it: we all wanted to buy whatever toys we wanted when as kids we thought of what our adult lives would be like, so if someone’s actually living that, then I applaud that!

For all of that fun I managed to return home at a reasonable time, just past 7pm, although since it’s November, it was dark for good three hours prior to that, making it feel as if I returned very late. The next meet will be Winter ILD, so having something more casual just before that was absolutely lovely and very much needed. And it just felt nice to say “Goodbye! See you at ILD!” to people. ^^

Have you had any nice casual meets recently? Or a genuine need for full shirring to be able to handle all of the delicious food? It’s fine though if you’re hibernating because November can be a bit miserable – what do you do to keep the frill connection at a time like that?

17 Nov 2017

Miel Magazine Review



If you follow any of the Lolita Updates, you probably know by now that there’s another Lolita and kawaii fashion focused magazine on the Japanese market called Miel. It was officially released this Monday, November 13th, and I got my hands on a copy, so let’s see what it’s like!


14 Nov 2017

Lolita takeover of Doki Doki Manchester

As anyone who knows me will be aware of, I’m not a massive fan of manga or anime. I’ve read/watched something occasionally and I’ve nothing against these or people who like them, they’re just not a major part of my life and have little to do with my interest in Japan. This translates onto avoiding most Japan-centred cons and events, since their dominant target group are manga and anime fans and otaku, however, last weekend I made an exception and attended Doki Doki Manchester.

Since C.L.A.M. was going to have a table for Lolita and other J-fashion, as well as do a little fashion show, makeovers for charity and even a fashion panel, I thought that this would be a fun thing to do. It just happened that my boyfriend had the weekend free, so he joined me and I took advantage of his closer location to Manchester and his car to bring the two things together that weekend.

| Angelic Pretty Sweet Cream House round collar JSK | Axes
Femme blouse | Innocent World Lauretta OTKs | Sosic Shop
heels | Amavel bag (seen in a later photo) | Taobao hairclips |
Milkribbon brooch | Etsy/Twinkle Kitty Boutique rings |



Closeup of my accessories.

As I’m on a quest to wear the pieces I haven’t worn in a long time (or at all yet), it was time to whip out AP’s Sweet Cream House round collar JSK. Although this cut is super not boob friendly and I can only wear it with the corset lacing taken out and when wearing a sports bra, I can’t help but love it, I feel it’s a flattering cut for my body shape. This was the closest I’ve ever come to creating a chocolate coord and I will reluctantly admit that I enjoyed being all chocolate-y for a day. I keep fluctuating between expanding my actual Sweet wardrobe and wanting to go more Classic and florals, so I end up getting more Sweet-Classic/mature Sweet/light or even pastel Classic pieces and having a wardrobe that straddles the two styles. And AP’s recent releases aren’t helping me make up my mind, but that’s a topic for another day.




The doors for Doki Doki, which was held in a literal sports hall at a local sports centre, opened at 10am and we got there around 11:30am. This was still early enough that we could see and do everything on the schedule that we wanted, but didn’t have to get up at the break of dawn (although I still had to wake up earlier to get ready). Sadly, shortly after entering I must’ve lost one of my hair clips whilst taking my jacket off, which I didn’t realise until a little later. RIP, little chocolate clip, you are dearly missed (especially now that I discovered that the Taobao shop I got it from no longer stocks it).

I must say that I was positively surprised at the variety of activities and stalls available to the visitors. You had your usual, more weeby stuff like the anime merchandise tables, a maid café and lots of cosplayers and a cosplay contest (which we didn’t stay to see). But there were also plenty of artists, not all of whom worked exclusively with the anime style, there were some kawaii clothing and accessory shops that could be used in a variety of J-fashion styles, Black Candy Fashion with their cosplay wig range (which is a shame, I totally would’ve bought a wig from them if they brought more natural colours), but also stalls for the Japanese Railway Society, Aid for Japan, groups and apps for learning the language and kanji, as well as live performances of taiko drummers and traditional and modern singing. The modern singing wasn’t particularly good, it sounded like a bunch of cats in pain, but taiko drummers, who must’ve had an average age of around 60, were great and fun to watch (biased opinion as I love taiko drums and music played on them).



We eventually located the C.L.A.M. table, where I got to catch up with my friends and look at some dresses sent by Baby Ponytail, which were meant to be featured in a fashion show, but they sent sizes that fit hardly any of us and sent it way too late for any of us to prepare. I also signed up to do the J-fashion show, which was super fun – very different from modelling in a proper fashion show, but more like the cosplayers show where you just have fun showing off what you’re wearing. We even got little goodie bags as a thank you, which was incredibly sweet!



Overall, we probably spent maybe 2-3 hours at Doki Doki, when we’ve managed to have a wander round, buy a few little bits, get some really nice Japanese food and comment on what other people were wearing. I didn’t stay for the J-fashion panel, which I regret a little, but at the same time we were done a bit too long before the panel started and we didn’t fancy waiting around. For the pre-booking price of £10/person, this was not a bad con. Especially if you were the type to spend the whole day there, it works out a good value for money. For us it was sort of just about right, although I doubt that we’d do Doki Doki again unless there was something either of us really wanted to do.

Look at the cute mini-cakes!

Look at them!

Very lovely katsu curry with some jasmine tea.
The taste brought me right back to Japan!

Strawberry shortcake. Coincidentally it's also
the Japanese Christmas cake, so extra festive
points there!

After this we had a quick stop at Domino’s (because my boyfriend didn’t fancy any Japanese food), then at Archie’s for a milkshake (they’re seriously great milkshakes if you’re ever in Manchester or Liverpool area) and then decided to go to the cinema to see Thor: Ragnarok. We must’ve caught some sort of special offer because the tickets were only £4.99 each – usually an adult cinema ticket costs around double that, so it was a nice icing on the cake. For anyone interested, Thor was great fun, it stays within the style it set in the previous films, i.e. very funny and laughing at itself, although it probably had a bit more of that. But more importantly, there were no unnecessarily prolonged bits, it kept an even pace and we did not find a single boring moment. So if you were on the fence about watching that, I’d say go for it, although equally you won’t lose anything by waiting for it to come out on DVD.


Oreolicious and Mango Madness.


After this we headed home – although by that point my feet started hurting a bit and felt as if they wanted to cramp, but didn’t really, so the walk back to the car was a bit slower than what I would’ve liked. Still, it was a fun day and I’m glad we went, even if I don’t feel like I’d go to Doki Doki again.

Last but not least, here’s my little haul. I probably would’ve bought more, but since the other bits I wanted were Sweet-appropriate rings, which I feel like I have enough of, I stopped at these two. So it ended up being a very tiny and cheap haul, as the rosette cost £10 (it’s from a friend, she tags her shop with a #wonderboxdesigns on Instagram, but I can’t find a shop link anywhere) and the necklace from Bubblegum Emporium cost £6. And since I sold a blouse for £15 at the con, I essentially only spend £1 – because wonders of logic!

Sorry for the naff photo, November is shit for
taking any photos after work.

Have you been to any good cons recently? What are your local ones like in terms of balancing weeby stuff with less weeby stuff? Or are you not one for cons at all? 

10 Nov 2017

DIY Brooch Display Stand



In the last instalment of my Lolidrobe Reassessment I added an extra goal for the rest of this year which was to craft a brooch display and blog about it. And lo and behold, this is what’s in store for you today!


7 Nov 2017

How to Coordinate OPs?



This is something that I have struggled with since the beginning of my journey with Lolita fashion. As someone looking for versatility and who enjoys making it look like they’re wearing a new outfit through clever coordinating, OPs were problematic for me. However, I also recognise that they’re comfortable pieces and would like to get more of them for lazier days. Some people have simply accepted that you can’t do as much with them as you can with a JSK or a skirt. But for those more like me, who would like to get into OPs, but want to avoid always wearing it the same way, here are some tips that I’ve picked up through my trials and errors, as well as observing how other people do it.

*

3 Nov 2017

Splurge or Save: Lolita Edition



Although the general understanding of Lolita fashion amongst newcomers tends to be a lot better than in the past, certain themes of questions remain the same. To answer some of these I created this little guide called Splurge or Save: Lolita Edition (inspired by a Splurge or Save video made by Cherry Dollface).


31 Oct 2017

1 Dress 4 Looks Take 16



Innocent World’s Revival Sweet Teddybear is one of those dream dresses that became a dream dress, rather than an instant love. It is also a dress that I’ve been hunting for the longest, resisting numerous temptations to buy it in brown when the blue version was nowhere to be seen. That shade of powder blue is so far impossible to match (going to have to actually get bits from Innocent World itself to get even remotely close to a match), so I’m very lucky that it goes so well with a few other colours, which has allowed me to wear it out a couple of times already (which you can see here and here).


27 Oct 2017

Create a Coord from a Fellow Frilly's Wardrobe



This was SUCH a great prompt! If you’re a Lolita who doesn’t like putting coords together, then I seriously question your commitment to and interest in the fashion. Challenges like this usually come about early in the year, after the January wardrobe post season when everything is still fresh, but I’m up for coording other people’s bits any time! (Seriously, if you want me to have a go at your wardrobe, hit me up!)


24 Oct 2017

Fancy in Florida



By now it’s been over a week since I returned from my holiday in Florida. I had a great time enjoying some actual hot weather (I didn’t even mind the humidity that much, although I realise that it’s more bearable in October), visiting all the parks (Harry Potter world!), sleeping in and spending full two weeks with my boyfriend. But amongst these there was another highlight: a reunion with my friend whom I met in Japan and along with another friend, converted to Lolita fashion.

No coord shot because the day was about the both of us.
My outfit: Baroque Repose of Queen Teatime Dress | Cutie Creator hat | Loris bag |
Rose Marie Seoir necklace | offbrand socks, shoes, bracelets and glasses |
My friend is wearing Alice and the Pirates' Rose Back Ribbon JSK.


Since I don’t like packing stuff that I won’t use, I planned the outfit in advance and set some very strict criteria as to what to wear for our frilly reunion. The dress had to be light and have as few layers as possible, since I don’t handle hot weather very well; it had to be out of a fabric that doesn’t wrinkle, because I couldn’t be bother to iron; it had to be something that I could coordinate with things I was already bringing because versatility is awesome; and it had to be one from my least worn dresses list. That pretty much pinpointed it to Baroque’s Repose of Queen OP. The rest of the coord then aimed at practicality rather than fanciness, since I also wanted to tone it down a little bit, so straw hat for extra protection, flats for comfort, minimal makeup and voila! This came to be. It’s not the best outfit that I could’ve done with this dress, but given my strict criteria and the fact that I was more preoccupied with seeing a friend I hadn’t seen in like three and a half years, I really couldn’t care less.

Even though we spent the whole day together, that wasn’t enough, we could easily have been catching up for a week missing out on sleep and still not have had enough! She and her dad picked me up and then we drove to Disney Springs for a little bit. We mostly walked around chatting, browsed the Disney shops a little bit and hid from the scattered showers whilst responding to the positive reactions of people (one person even recognised the fashion although she forgot the name of it). Seeing as I was due to return to Disney Springs with my boyfriend later during the trip, it was good that I saw it a bit first, it allowed me to spend my money a little bit more sensibly (if sensible money spending even exists at Disney Springs).

But the main point of the day was a really fancy afternoon tea. After my friend’s mum joined us, we drove to The Grand Floridian, one of the hotels of the Disney Resort group. A hella fancy hotel! On the outside it looked like a mid-nineteenth century mansion belonging to some very rich family, whilst on the inside it was a late-nineteenth/early-twentieth century hotel for the wealthy of the new world. Whilst it was still a Disney hotel, all the Disney elements were incorporated into the interior design very subtly and skilfully: a little hidden reference mosaic here, a classy monochrome statue on a table there. There was even live music, alternating between a pianist and a band, who at first seemed to play tunes from around the 1920’s or 1930’s, but then you realised that they were the familiar songs from classic Disney films. It was all so beautiful and I feel like much of what was impressive about this hotel was lost on the kids, you had to have the awareness of an adult to appreciate it.






The Garden View tea room was similarly impressive. We were treated with utmost curtesy and both our dresses really fit the bright and airy décor. They also had such an amazing selection of teas! We all picked a different one and then just kept swapping so that we all tried all four kinds we ordered. And the food! As someone living in the afternoon tea’s birthplace I find that most afternoon teas served in the UK are fairly standard and if you want it to be different or unique in some way, you have to go out of your way and pay extra. You just tend to get the same sort of sandwiches, you know there’s going to be a scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam and a few mini cakes or desserts, only quality of these will differ. So it was nice to have something truly different whilst still recognisably afternoon tea. And everything was scrumptious, I have no regrets and would be happy to eat that again!






After we were done eating and recovered a little we went for a stroll around the hotel grounds, but ultimately ended up back in the main hall since our primary goal for the day was to just talk and catch up and hang out with each other. At one point we got stopped by the official Disney photographer, who not only took some great photos for us on our own cameras and using hers, but couldn’t compliment us enough on our dresses and seemed genuinely curious about the fashion.



 
I won’t lie, I didn’t want that day to end, it was perfect from start to finish, but unfortunately it had to end sometime. I don’t know when will be the next time I’ll set foot on American soil, but she and her mum have been planning a tour de Europe for quite some time now, so hopefully another reunion won’t be so far off! 

* The selfie and food shots were taken by me. Everything else was taken with my friend's camera by her dad, but downloaded off Facebook, so sorry if the quality suffered as a result.

20 Oct 2017

How Did You First Discover Lolita?



Since I’m still fighting off jet lag and general laziness, this week’s Lolita Blog Carnival prompt was great to ease me back into writing something for the blog.


17 Oct 2017

Musings on Style in Lolita

This is a topic that I have thought about for quite a while. Lolita fashion is one that, compared to many other fashion substyles, alternative or otherwise, is quite strict in terms of what makes a Lolita outfit (‘the rules’ or strongly advised guidelines), arguably making it less friendly for personal styles (which fits with the Japanese notion of belonging to a group, but against the Western notion of individualism). Yet at the same time we often find ourselves commenting that an item is “very much me/you” or identifying the wearer of an outfit even if we can’t see their face thanks to their distinct style. This is an interesting duality that I would like to explore, although whether I’ll reach a conclusion of any sort is a mystery even to me.

13 Oct 2017

On Bargain Hunting

If I had a pound for every time I have seen someone advise others that they can get second hand brand for cheap nowadays, I’d have enough for a decent used brand haul. However, these people often fail to mention a tiny little caveat: that finding it is not always as easy as it sounds and there is a skill to finding brand bargains. Even when you know which websites to look at, there are some tips and tricks that will help squeeze even more out for your buck.


10 Oct 2017

1 Dress 4 Looks Take 15



This dress turned out to be a surprise in more ways than one. Having received it in a lucky pack this January, Innocent World’s Strawberry Tart first surprised me with the fit and how much I ended up liking it and now with how easy I found it to coordinate in new ways. My worries about reaching another writer’s block point were entirely unjustified and I ended up having to select which outfits to put here.


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