Keep You Like An Oath

Metamorphose JSK - Peacockalorum bolero and hair accessory - Angelic Pretty socks - Hush Puppies shoes - Syrup necklace
I meant to wear Dim Light to Winter ILD, but I've picked up a seasonal retail job...which means that weekends are mostly when I'm working now! I'm also in the process of moving out from living with my parents, so my rare days off are spent driving back and forth and putting furniture up. It'll be worth it, but I feel stretched quite thin at present (hence the lack of blogging and dressing up!).

I bought this necklace at Wicked and Whimsy, and it's so useful! I wear a lot of antique gold coloured things, but it's nice to have a brighter gold option. I also like to buy something from Syrup/RoseMarieSeoir when I can - I volunteered on the stall for Revelry and since then Ayumi has always said hello when I've been at events and I think that's really sweet of her. The first time I was surprised that she remembered me!

Speaking of volunteering at events, I was given this hairclip by Fuchsia of Peacockalorum for helping on her stall at Wicked and Whimsy...and it's such a useful clip to have! I wear it so much since getting it - either alone or to add something extra to other outfits. It's a good colour for me as it goes so beautifully with wine, and my wardrobe has expanded to include quite a few wine dresses this year, and I tend to wear pearls and cream a lot. Now I want a clip like this in every colour...

I finally have a pair of wine shoes! Wine and green were the colours I felt like I was missing most from my wardrobe, and I feel a lot happier with these - it makes wearing wine dresses a lot easier.

I can't wait for 2016 to be over. The year was a mixed bag for me. Some amazing things with incredible people happened, and so did some not-so-amazing things. I'm ending on a really positive note - I'm moving back to Nottingham, and I'm so excited to be back in a city I love and it's the right decision at the right time for me. I can't wait to see what the next year brings, but this year does feel like it's been a placeholder and I am desperate to move on and out and to bigger and better things.

So Shut Up, Nightingale {Wicked and Whimsy}

I'm more than a little late with this, but here is my outfit from the first day of Wicked and Whimsy...way back in August. I checked for photos pretty regularly and then trailed off and was really pleased when I found that photos of me had been put up! It was lovely to be reminded of how much fun the event was - I loved the photo backgrounds.

Photo by Emily Faulder Photos
Then, of course, I procrastinated in actually doing anything with the pictures or blogging about here I am in November, just putting them up! I had an excellent time on the Saturday of the event, snagging bargains in the bring and buy, admiring new and shiny things from the sellers, and meeting up with friends old and new. All the wonderful things I expect from a Tea Party Club event!

I made my dress and designed my tights - and when I say "made my dress" I actually mean "was stitching on the lace appliqué at 2am before the event". I didn't decide what I wanted to wear until two weeks before the event...and then I had to make the dress. I've had this fabric for a few years - originally it was a curtain from H&M - and it had already been a dress for a Street Fashion Europe event in 2014. Part of sewing for me is that as my skills continue to get better, I get frustrated with things I've made before, and I ended up taking the dress apart to make something new. I'm really pleased with how it came out, and I definitely think it was worth starting from scratch with the fabric.

Fantastic Grim are one of my favourite lolita accessory brands, and I was overjoyed to see that there was the perfect accessory for my dress - the colours are an incredible match! I could write paragraph on paragraph of how much I love this  book necklace - each of the books on the shelf was hand made and decorated, it's got the tiny book charms, and the wonderfully ornate handmade shelf the books sit on. It's probably my favourite thing that I bought at Wicked and Whimsy!

(I'm not counting the Carmilla dress because I bought that afterwards)

Photo by Giulia Hepburn Photography
I was also chosen to model by Baby Ponytail. I actually own Baby Ponytail's Mermaid Castle JSK, and I follow the brand on social media, so I was really pleased to be picked by a brand I really like! I'd admired this design a few times, but wasn't sure if the high waist would suit me or if I'd like the chiffon ruffle on me.

Photo by Emily Faulder Photos
It was a gorgeous design, and I really liked how the chiffon worked with the airiness of the skirt print to make a design that felt light and delicate. The length was perfect on me, and I loved the unusual minty green colour. I dithered about getting the dress, and I would like to pick the print up in the future - I think it's gorgeous, and I'm really glad I got to try it on so I could test both how comfortable it was and how much I liked it!

Chasing Ghost Trains

Spooky tales and Halloween frights:
Things that go bump in the dead of night,
Creatures creeping up to your front door,
Ghosts and tragedies from years before.

Halloween frights and spooky tales:
Strange happenings that make you quite pale,
Witch-elm victims, a giant and a curse,
A headless man seen driving a hearse.

Worst of all are the tales of woe
That come from lolitas and oujis you know. 
An escaped button, a burst zip and seam, 
An outbid auction and mismatching creams. 

The MidLolis had their traditional Halloween Spooky Tales meet, which I organised - and wrote the poem for to get everyone in the storytelling frame of mind. People brought horror stories from around the region to share - my contribution was the fact that Leamington Spa is the most haunted train station in the UK, and actually has a Supernatural Liason Officer! Don't worry if you are passing through, though - the Officer assures everyone that they are nice ghosts and there are no malevolent spirits in the station. The story I find creepiest is Bella in the Wych Elm - it's still unresolved and the graffiti is still appearing over seventy years later. 

I took @rassilont to the meet as well - he wanted to see what it was all about. He got into an argument about video game dads with my friends and then they ganged up on me to try and make me get a life size Dalek in my kitchen so I hope it lived up to his expectations of what lolitas do when they're together!

Sharpen Your Teeth, Sink Into Me

It's October! Time to get spooky! I didn't need an excuse to wear my Carmilla dress, but I wasn't going to resist a chance to get dressed up in a dress I love. I reviewed the dress here!

I've styled it very similarly to how it was worn in the fashion show - lace tights, and black accessories. I've got a velvet belt on, and I love the contrast in textures between that, the chiffon dress, and the lace tights.

Peacockalorum Carmilla dress - Vivienne Westwood shoes - Innocent World belt - Fantastic Grim Jewellery
I'm wearing the dress for a meet next weekend, at the coffin works, and I'm twinning! I expect I'll be styling it in a very similar way, but a tour of a coffin museum practically demands deep red gothic perfection.

I'm not entirely happy with my choice of head accessories with this outfit, but I couldn't find anything else I liked more - I tried on my entire collection of black accessories and some wine, and decided that simple bows were the best option. I think that headbows were too cute for this outfit, and my hats were all too vintage and not quite goth enough. I'd have loved a crown of black roses - I'd best get my craft on before next week!

I am really happy with how all these photos came out - I think I caught the light right at the most flattering time of the day, and you can't tell I was running back and forth from the camera to set the self timer between shots! I'm really happy with my makeup too - it's heavier than I usually wear with a darker lip, but I feel like it fits the vampiric feel of the dress perfectly.

Peacockalorum - Carmilla Dress Review {positive}

I wasn't planning to buy any main pieces at Wicked and Whimsy - I'd just bought Honey Cake, after all, and I was happy with my main piece collection but knew I wanted more accessories to balance out my wardrobe. Then I saw Peacockalorum's Carmilla dress, and the plans went straight out with window - the dress was truly irresistible!

I am friends with the owner and designer of Peacockalorum, which meant I got to lust enviously over the dress as I helped her to pack up the night before. It's got several of the things I love - chiffon, a wine colour that suits me, and a low neckline with frills - and I was really blown away by how stunning it was. It's a non-print piece, but the details and the cut really made it stand out to me.

In the Wicked and Whimsy fashion show - photo by Giulia Hepburn
I was even more stunned by it when I saw it worn - it's such a flattering cut and, being tall, it's the perfect length for me. It looked amazing in the fashion show, dressed up to Wicked perfection, and I could already see it working with several different pieces in my wardrobe...

In the Wicked and Whimsy fashion show - photo by Giulia Hepburn
I was completely head-over-heels for this dress and needed it to come home with it did. I purchased this as a sample piece from the fashion show rather than waiting for a new one to be made, and I was lucky that it fit my measurements (it was meant to be!). I bought this understanding that it was a sample, and the "flaw" was pointed out to me that the bottom ruffles were a slightly different shade to the rest of the dress. I've put "flaw" in quotation marks because I genuinely can't see any difference in colour!

The dress an OP with a scoop neckline and a gathered underbust style. The dress is fitted at the front but elasticated at the back, and the sleeves are also elasticated, which means that it's a really comfy fit. It wasn't made to my specific measurements as it was a fashion-show piece, but I had very similar measurements to the model and I am very pleased with how this fits on me.

It's made of a duochrome-effect chiffon that is wine red but black where it catches the light - it's a really unusual effect that isn't seen much in lolita, but which really emphasises the opulence of the dress. The simple cut works well for this, as the fabric and the ruffles are the main attraction, and a dress with more going on would have distracted from this.

The ruffles are finished with a narrow overlocked edge in the same colour stitching as the fabric, bar for the top ruffle which is hemmed with a fold-over hem. The stitching is very neat, and all raw edges are finished so that the garment will last for a long time.

For owners of Peacockalorum underskirts, this is the same style used to finish the ruffles in the standard model. The chiffon is described on the store as wine iridescent chiffon, a "deep crimson shot with black", which is a very accurate description. It's hard to photograph due to the two-tone effect!

This is the gathered part under the front bust where the bodice meets the skirt. The stitching is in a thread that matches the fabric, and is very neat and kept along the lines of the seam, meaning that the dress has a clear silhouette without excessive topstitching.

The lining! There is three layers - from left to right it is lining fabric, chiffon layer under the iridescent layer, and the fashion fabric layer with the iridescent chiffon and ruffles. I love that there's extra layers in the dress - this means that it's really full even without a petticoat, and still retains a swoosh when I walk around in it. It also means the dress is extra-opaque for days when I am wearing dark tights/a black petticoat that I don't want to show through.

The main lining fabric is hemmed to stop fraying on the fabric, and has been pressed to ensure a neat finish to the lining. Small details like this really impress me, as it's often something I skip over in my own sewing! I think it really shows the level of professionalism in the construction of the dress. All seams are overlocked/serged. This finishes the seam and stops it from fraying, which means that the garment will be sturdy and last for a long time.

The sleeve is a single layer of iridescent chiffon, which means that there is minimal bulk around the armscye and stops me from getting overheated when I wear it. The elastic is backed with tape, which means that the gathering is reinforced and stronger, which prevents the sleeves from slipping up and down my arms when I wear the dress.

I am in love with this dress. It's a really versatile cut, and the short sleeves mean that if I want to dress it up with a bolero or blouse for a different feel, I can do. The details have been made with a lot of care and attention, and - bonus - the dress is machine washable so I can feel free to wear it out and about without worrying. Even though this is a sample piece for a fashion show, the dress has been finished beautifully and feels very sturdily constructed. I'm really happy with my purchase, and the most difficult part of owning this is wondering what colour I should get next! (I'm thinking forest green, which is likely to be the Ivy colourway, described as a "deep jewel green over black". I've worn it quite a few times already, as because it's an OP it's just easy to wear when I don't want to think too hard about my outfit, and it is just as versatile as I hoped. It also makes an excellent dress for meeting guinea pigs.

I can't review the communication as I ordered it in person, but Fuchsia was lovely to deal with in person and answered all my questions, such as how to care for the dress. I have ordered from Peacockalorum before (and since!) via Facebook, and communication there has always been excellent. As I said earlier, I am friends with the owner, but I paid for this and am reviewing it honestly - and if I didn't think it was absolutely worth the money, I would not have bought the dress...or planned to buy another one in a different colour.

Edit 10/10/16 - I have just washed the dress in the washing machine (30 degree cycle with spin cycle) and hung it to dry and it has come out fine.

You're Gonna Drive This Thing Into The Ground

Princess Wardrobe. A beret.


Metamorphose JSK - Emily Temple Cute cardigan - Haenuli x TPC tights - Tarina Tarantino ring - Peacockalorum rose and bow clip - shoes and beret vintage
There's a reason this is such a go-to outfit for me though - berets suit me and are great for showing off smaller hair accessories, and Princess Wardrobe is comfy and my favourite print. I've been looking for the longer cut in this colour, but sometimes it's nice to be a bit summery with a shorter dress. I've got to enjoy the last of the sun somehow!

These tights are a Tea Party Club x Haenuli collaboration that was exclusive to Bewitched-tier ticket holders. I was stoked when I heard this - Haenuli tights are some of my favourite as I'm so tall, and it's such a lovely design with colours that work really well with most of my wardrobe.

They're a fantastic design with this dress in particular - they match the colours perfectly, and the theme of ballet shoes goes with the dresses theme of the print. I also love how my new beret matches the pink of the print, and how the Peacockalorum rose and bow clip adds a bit of extra fanciness.

I know Peacockalorum do a rose crown in the same colours as these roses and I feel like that might be a good investment for me. I own three dresses in the same print so it would match with all of them, plus my mint floral dress...ok, I admit I saw it at Wicked and Whimsy and regret not getting it and I am now looking for excuses to justify it!

I also went on a date this weekend which involved me showing off my favourite things in Birmingham, including Caffe Chino. I hope my date was impressed by the adorable and delicious cakes they sell, but he was probably still shocked by the amount of rice I managed to demolish at Cafe Soya before.

I Don't Need These City Streets

Honey Cake! Also known as my new favourite item of clothing - how could I not love it? It's a  ridiculous breakfast dress! I can put pancake ingredients on my body!

Angelic Pretty Honey Cake JSK - Peacockalorum underskirt - vintage blouse - handmade beret - shoes 'borrowed' off mum about four years ago
I wanted to wear the print more casually for a meet and I wanted to pair it with red because I think it really makes the print pop. Enter this blouse, which I bought in Summer 2015 and has since been hanging in my wardrobe waiting for the right occasion - this one! I'm also very pleased with how the gold underskirt matches with the print, and with the tiny red ribbons on my plaits - I feel like this was an excellent outfit for what's become an iconic print!

Not members of the Midlands lolita community, but still kinda cool.
We visited the Custard Factory again. It's a little bit of a walk out of Birmingham City Centre, but it's definitely worth it! I like that the space is constantly evolving with different installations and new shops, and that there's a wide variety of events being held. This was a chocolate themed event for Roald Dahl's 100th Birthday, which meant that there was lots of chocolate for sale...and I followed that up with all-you-can-eat sushi at Kyoto and the full back shirring of Honey Cake was very useful indeed!

Honey Cake is such a fun print to wear, it brightens up my day when I see it in my wardrobe! It also fits really well with the retro influence I try to bring in to a lot of my styling choices - I think next time I'd like a bright red lip to really make this pop.

I think it's quite a versatile print as well, at least in terms of what I can pair with it in my wardrobe. I could go simply sweet with a Peter Pan collared white blouse, or retro and polkadotty like I did this time, or bring out the brown to make a more mature outfit (as mature as pancakes can get!). I'm really pleased at all the options I have to wear with it already!

Not Honey Cake related but I wanted to show these off! I've been feeling really creative lately, and funnelled that into making some brooches. The middle bird with the fancy bow is my favourite, so I'm keeping him! I think the rest will (hopefully) be sold at our local Maker's Market. I'm feeling a lot more content lately, and I hope this means I keep getting struck with inspiration and make some more things!

Last Night’s Clothes & Tomorrow’s Dreams {Wicked and Whimsy}

My enduring memory of Wicked and Whimsy will be taking home a basket full of leftover scones.

Gazing lovingly at my secret scones
No, really! Turns out the generous provision for the afternoon tea was just too many scones to eat, even with seasoned lolitas trying their best to get through the tiers of cake and sandwiches...and turns out that taking a basket in place of a bag makes you the best-equipped person in the room to take home the leftover scones from the table.

I was really pleased with my tea party outfit, I think it was very whimsical. I decided to pull out the red roses of the print because that was very different to my previous co-ordinates with this JSK, and as my planning went on I went for a flower fairy theme - like I was part of Queen Mab's court. I did have a last minute panic that the flower crown was Too Much, but the Midlands comm reassured me that it wasn't - and that even if it was, wasn't Wicked and Whimsy the perfect time to be #teamtoomuch anyway?!

My outfit was made up of Lily of the Valley Designs Forest of the Unicorn JSK - Innocent World boots and socks - Peacockalorum bolero and underskirt - Fantastic Grim necklace - garlands "made" by me. I say "made" because mostly I just wrapped them where I wanted them and used some wire to secure - not really a complex project!

I wasn't so pleased with my makeup - I wanted to look fresh-faced, so went for a more minimal look, but it didn't show up very well in photos due to the shadow of the crown and I feel like it looks like I'm not wearing any even though I have lots on! It doesn't matter though - I was too busy having a fantastic time with some of my favourite people.

I feel like the Sunday evennts are better for relaxing and chatting - I love Saturday, and meeting people who I've only met online before - but the tea party is at a very relaxed pace without rushing to see events, and it's nice to take the time to talk and eat lots of fantastic food.

The food was excellent and Tea Party Club always do an amazing job of catering for any dietary requirements without giving what feels like a poor substitution. There was excellent vegan cake, which was very appreciated - especially when compared to to some places that just give fruit! However, it was very difficult to get tea - I think the waiters were overworked with too many teas to get around too many people - but that's not a fault of the organisers who were doing an excellent job and were giving advice on how to deal with the situation. I also appreciated a chance to look over RoseMarie Seoir and Enchantic Enchantilly's goods again, although I decided to save to make a big RoseMarie Seoir haul with a comm friend in the future.

However - best thing of the entire event was probably the venue. This venue had been used before for Frock On...which I didn't attend and was very jealous about, especially because I'd been told about the opulent bathrooms and how great they were.

They are very opulent bathrooms. They are very great. They come equipped with a chaise lounge for when the event has all become too much and you're overwhelmed by all the wonderful outfits and you just need a lie down! Sadly the chaise lounge wouldn't fit in my basket and therefore could not be taken home...

I'm really looking forward to next year's event, especially with the guest being announced as Angelic Pretty! Outfit plans are already being put into place, and hopefully in 2017 I will have a full outfit together with no last minute sewing or borrowed accessories to be seen.

The Seasons Escape You

Last weekend I had some lolita friends visit me and my collection of animals! Everyone enjoyed getting to meet the alpacas, especially the youngest babies.

I decided that dressing as a real life alpaca princess was the only possible option for this get-together. Magic Princess has a lot of sparkly gold accents as well, so it matches perfectly with my wellies...even if they're the only part of my outfit I usually wear out in the fields!

I made alpaca biscuits as part of the afternoon tea I made! They're vegan too - I wasn't sure if a vegan friend was coming, and I wanted to be able to offer her more than just fruit as a dessert, and it was really simple to veganise a traditional shortbread recipe because I swapped butter for a dairy-free alternative. Everyone enjoyed them, especially my family when they got the trial run!

Mako is such a handsome boy, but he was a bit skittish with new people with big skirts visiting him. The other two yearling boys had no such problems - they both love cuddles from anyone who's offering. The babies were very cute, and came over to investigate and see what was happening, but the girls were happy to completely ignore us and focus on eating grass!

Just Let Me Taste The Sky

The Midlands Lolitas went to the Yarningham wool show in Bourneville this weekend! As just about everyone who's seen me at a meet, or seen my wardrobe post, or seen how it's taken over my blog knows...this is my favourite dress, and I own it in all three colours. This one has a special place in my wardrobe because it was the first one I bought, and it was my first ever direct-from-brand purchase.

Metamorphose Princess Wardrobe JSK - Emily Temple Cute cardigan - Innocent World bow - Hush Puppies shoes - everything else offbrand
My current getting ready for meets process: try on dresses and blouses, realise it's too hot for them/I'll need to wear an underskirt/things don't look quite the way I pictured them together, and pull out one of my Princess Wardrobes to wear instead. I don't worry so much about the heat in these because I know they wash well - I assisted with the delivery of a baby alpaca in my blue-grey version, after all!

Speaking of alpacas, guess who made some new friends at Yarningham?! Like having eight at home wasn't enough, I guess... These boys are called Cookies and Cream, and they were the guests of honour. I found it really interesting to meet Cream - he's a suri, and we only keep hucaya alpacas and I've only handled pre-shearing suris, so I enjoyed getting to stroke him to feel the difference in fleece type.

I now own the pastel biker jacket of my dreams, thanks to eBay! It's an incredibly soft suede, and I really like the maturity of the dusky pink and the feminine shape the peplum gives to it.  The fit is great on the shoulders, sleeves and across the bust, and although it's a little big on the waist the belt gives definition. Perfection.

The problem is that I am now too in love with it to think about embroidering/adding patches to it and my hunt must continue for another pastel biker jacket.

Bourneville was beautiful in places, especially the Yarningham venue, which is the old Stirchley swimming baths. I bought some beautiful hand-dyed wool, which does not even remotely resemble the sparkly purple I said I was going to get but it's too beautiful to mind! There was also some gorgeous vegan and wheat free chocolate cake, which I'm pretty sure was mostly chocolate by how rich it was.

I'm also really pleased that we got in to eat at Bacchus, which is a restaurant with ornate gothic stonework decorations. I've been in for drinks, but never managed to get a table to eat, and the food was really good! I'd like to go back again, maybe wearing something less sweet to match the style.

The Prince of Any Failing Empire Knows

Fancy Egg! FANCY EGG! or, as Meta decided to call it this time around...Egg Art. 

I really liked that they released a previously unused colour, the print looks lovely in the new colourway! I debated getting the luckypack before it was released and then ended up pulling over into a car park part way through my commute and snagging it at 9.04am because I realised I really wanted it and didn’t want to risk it selling out on my journey - and I'm really glad I did. 

Metamorphose Fancy Egg JSK - Amavel blouse - Hush Puppies shoes - everything else offbrand
I have the Secret Eden LP JSK from Winter 2015, but I don't like the fabric they used for that release. I'm pleased that this one has a texture I prefer! I thought the bodice cut was the same as that release too, but when this arrived this one looks a lot better on me. As usual I'm selling the blouse because high peter pan collars don't suit me and feel constricting, but I knew that would be the case from previous LP experiences.

One thing that I have found frustrating is that the colour isn't rich enough to be a "true wine" and it's more of a desaturated, so my plans of wearing it with a deep pink to really make it pop won't work...but it matches my red Innocent World boots perfectly and I think navy will set the print off nicely, so that might be my plan for Wicked and Whimsy!