Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Fun Days in February 🌞

Hi everyone! I thought I'd chat to you guys about a couple of recent social outings I've had. The title is a teensy bit inaccurate as one of said outings actually happened in late January, but that's all right! Well, let's get into it.

Last month, I got together with Maddie and had a really lovely day out in a very chilly Oxford. I ended up somehow getting the train times wrong despite looking everything up beforehand online, and found myself rushing to the train platform, only to find I had plenty of time, and didn't even need to take the long winded route I'd initially planned in order to arrive at the correct time. Oh well-- better to have time to spare, I suppose! 

Oxford is a city I find to be far too busy considering how small so many of the eateries are, but Maddie introduced me to a cafΓ© where we were able to get a seat, order some food, a hot drink, and talk in the midst of the hustle and bustle around us. I'd not had a proper catch up with her in so long, so it was great to talk in depth about life, our interests, things we've done, things we want to do, and everything in between. I went for scones with jam and cream, and some Earl Grey-- the perfect companion to a confab. The cream to jam ratio was incredibly odd, though (I got plenty of cream but only a dab of jam in a tiny packet), and I wasn't offered any milk for my tea. It's a good thing I like tea with or without milk!

After a while we decided to go for a little wander, visiting a cute sewing shop where we were complimented on our lolita coats, and into the covered market which I don't think I've ever been to before. Back on the street, I couldn't help finding the masks in the party shop hilarious, particularly due to the fact the Dumbledore one came with its own little spectacles. I was also very tickled by Voldemort's teeth.


We rounded off the day in the warmth of a Costa, drinking hot drinks to warm ourselves up from the cold, before heading back to the train station. 
It was a very relaxed, peaceful day out, and I am so glad I got to know Maddie better. Passing conversations at meets or events definitely aren't a patch on sitting down with someone one on one and sharing different aspects of yourselves. I am really looking forward to seeing her again soon, and watching where her artwork and creativity will take her. 

🌞     πŸŒž     πŸŒž

Last weekend brought more festivities in the form of a day out to London with a few friends whom, once again, I'd not had a real catch up with in so long. The wonderful thing about old cycles ending is the way new ones begin. Hindsight is a powerful thing, and I've been able to fully process the extent to which I had been held back. After feeling unfulfilled socially for longer than I wanted to admit here, or even to myself given how isolated and trapped I had been made to feel, I'm so pleased I've been able to begin building a real network of friends. I'm really excited to be reconnecting with some lovely people, deepening friendships I hadn't had the chance to before, and having more fun than I've had in ages.

Some bad luck
The day started out pretty terribly. I had issues driving down the steep hill that leads to my local station and finally arrived with the sense that I'd probably earned myself a speeding ticket (reviewing my dash cam footage later revealed it seemed unlikely, but I was too busy panicking about other things like being late to think rationally at the time!) I took too long parking and the parking payment machine was aggravatingly slow to process my card. I was just paying for my train ticket when the train I needed pulled up at the platform... on the other side of the bridge. I began running up the stairs and at the top step, my boot got caught and time seemed to go into slow motion. I saw my ticket sailing through the air, my keys springing from my unzipped AP bag, and I watched as I came crashing towards the gravelly ground. I stuck my right hand out, and my body twisted to the right. Most of the impact was caught by my right thigh and my middle finger.

Shaking, I scrambled to pick up my things, taking a split second to marvel about the fact neither my bag or Baby coat were damaged, and continued to run across the bridge, figuring it would all be in vain. As I hobbled down the stairs, the train conductor seemed to be stalling even though the train doors had shut already. "You getting this train?" he called to me. "Yes, please!" I said, and he unlocked the doors for me. Not quite believing my luck, I yelled out a thank you, and clambered on, before collapsing into the nearest seat available, and feeling so grateful that the conductor had been kind enough to wait for me to reappear on the other side of the bridge to make sure I wasn't about to miss the train I wanted. 

When I got to my connecting station a few minutes later, I hesitated on the platform. Maybe I should simply stay on the slow, stopping service, especially as the fast train would likely to be very full and wouldn't have seats available. I got back on my train and patiently sat through a long winded journey, googling to see if my numb middle finger was something to worry about. It wasn't, various websites assured me, and the feeling gradually came back into it over the course of an hour.

By the time I made it to London, I was running late to meet my friends. The circle line wasn't running to the station I needed, so I had to do a bit more long-winded travel. For all intents and purposes, I should have had a very easy journey that day but sometimes, things decide to work against you!

The good bit
Despite all these setbacks, like having an awkward limp all day, and spending the following day in bed to recover from the injury, I was so glad I went on this day out. I met my friends, Emmy, Sabeela, and Taylor, at King's Cross, before heading off to Bibimbap for some food. I'd never been there before and hadn't had much in the way of Korean food yet, so it was an interesting experience for me. I ordered tofu bibimbap, and when it came, I stirred it as instructed by Emmy so that the heated bowl it was served in could distribute the warmth to everything evenly. 
The tofu was cooked to perfection and the vegetables were delicious! I've often had really disappointing vegetarian meals in western style food places like pubs, so this was a wonderful change of pace, and I really enjoyed my food! The prices were also really good for London, and I'd definitely visit again.

Having a good old chat with everyone was so lovely. We'd been part of a lolita community together that sort of disbanded due to people leaving lolita or simply never coming to another meet. We ended up staying in touch, and have now vowed to meet up amongst ourselves as regularly as we can manage even though two of our group have moved to different areas. We reminisced about past meets and strange experiences we'd had in the lolita community, as well as updating one another on our work lives, love lives, and whatever else was new since we'd last talked. Chatting to them about even personal things felt natural and easy. It was really nice feeling so comfortable and un-judged.

After lunch, we headed to Japan Centre, where I thought it would be nice to get some matcha chocolate. I picked up a couple boxes of biscuits that looked promising, but were to turn out to be absolutely ghastly! I should have kept it simple and got some Pocky and melonpan instead!

Taylor, despite the fact it was literally snowing, decided to get matcha ice cream from a stall outside. It admittedly looked heavenly but it was way too chilly for me to indulge! Perhaps in warmer weather I'll give it a go! The colour looked gorgeous and she confirmed that the texture was perfect. 

We warmed up in a cafΓ© for a little while, then had a look around Primark. Emmy walked past some band t-shirts and commented on how cringey it was the way these bands had essentially become brand names... before doubling back and buying two of them herself! I love it when people can poke fun at themselves! After checking out, we headed back to a tube station so we could begin to make our way home.

I loved how we all came wearing a different style! Sabeela looked super classy in her fluffy coat, Taylor went for a casual goth look, and Emmy went for a comfy alt outfit.

I suppose the feeling I have right now is gratitude. I'd gotten to a point where I was so afraid of trying to reconnect with certain people due to low self esteem,  and convincing myself I would seem strange... and yet so many people have welcomed me with open arms when I asked if they wanted to hang out, and I am overwhelmed by the love and support they have shown me. Yeah, not everything in my life is where I want it to be, but I feel so much better for having had a ton of fun, interesting conversations with some amazing people, and knowing that I'm finally in the place I needed to be to allow this positivity into my life. I've been kicking my anxiety in the arse and it makes me want to do a happy dance. I've got more days out to look forward to in the near future, and for now at least, things are good.

Had any fun days out recently? Ever gone through a process of rebuilding your social life? Do you like Korean food? How about matcha products? I'd love to hear all about you guys in the comments! Thanks for reading and I'll see you next time 

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

My Wardrobe 2017

Hey everyone!

I really left things until the last minute here, but it wasn't really until the last minute that I realised I did want to do a wardrobe post after all! I've been completely out of the livejournal loop (not that I've missed a whole lot. January is the only time it's truly active on egl, after all!) and am going to set aside some time to look at other people's wardrobes, write some comments, and generally soak up those happy, pretty clothes vibes.

My wardrobe went through minimal changes this past year, outside of the addition of more accessories, a handmade main piece and my dream dress acquisition!

I feel a sense of completion, in that I have no dream or holy grail items left to chase. There used to be more I really wanted but over time I lost interest or become apathetic towards them. I never really worked that hard to get my dream dress, which is why it took so long. I think deep down, I liked always having something left to want, and now that the quest is over in that respect, it's bittersweet. Still... I occasionally come across pieces I do like and would enjoy owning, so I'd like to think I'm not at the end of the road just yet.

Exploring other fashions has been good for me because even though I do have a decent number of main pieces, I don't have the sizable collection that some lolitas do, so naturally my pieces were getting worn in fairly heavy rotation during my daily lolita phases. I do like my lolita wardrobe but I was starting to get bored of wearing the same things all the time! Breaking up the cycle a bit has been nice, and it's stopped me from entangling my personality/identity with a particular style or subculture. I keep wanting to make a YouTube video about that-- about how one can eventually lose themselves in something that was supposed to help them find themselves, but I never get round to it. Maybe this year! It would be fun to use my channel some more.

Anyway, the wardrobe post is done, and January is over. This month hasn't quite gone to plan (does life ever!?) but there has been some progress, and of course, there's still 11 months of 2017 to go!

Did any of you make an egl wardrobe post? Link me to yours if I've not commented on it already!
How has your January been? Feel free to chat to me about it in the comments!

Thanks for reading and I'll see you next time 

Sunday, 15 January 2017

πŸ“ Rainy Day Looks and Wintry Frills πŸŽ€

Hey everyone! I'm getting some good vibes from this year already, and this is reflected in the surge of creativity I've had these past couple of weeks. I find myself writing lists and coming up with new designs and concepts for my business, as well as beginning to work towards some more personal goals already. The year is so young but... so far so good!

One way in which my creativity has come back full force is where putting together outfits and taking proper outfit pictures is concerned, so I thought I'd share a couple with you!

This first outfit was for running some errands and being my mum's personal chauffeur to her hairdresser's appointment. She can't drive, so it's really nice to be able to take her places after all those years in which she accompanied me via public transport or on foot when I needed moral support. It was a grey, rainy day, so I wanted to wear something dark, but with a little whimsy to cheer me up. I've also started to do my makeup differently, which has been a fun experiment as in the past I've mainly gone without makeup at all, or put on the absolute minimum. Hopefully I will get better at photographing it as time goes on!

No glasses-- what a rarity! I'm not actually used to seeing myself without glasses as they've been such a staple part of my look for a long time now, but it's been a nice change! I'm tempted to get different styles of glasses for different outfits, though.

The skirt was an absolute bargain on eBay. It caught my eye because it reminded me of a Meta print I own. I figured it would be cool to own a miniskirt with a very sweet lolita-esque print and I was right. I teamed things up with a Fall Out Boy t-shirt which matched the print, and some lolita flats.
The slogan really tickles me, and only adds to the charm. I'm so into monochrome with splashes of colour recently.
Cardigan: Lazy Oaf
Top: Blue Banana
Skirt: Lazy Oaf
Shoes: Bodyline

Next up, a lolita coordinate. I had more errands to run, including posting out shop orders, which always puts me in a good mood. I feel so much like myself again for the first time in a long time, back to those days where I can just throw on a lolita dress for a mundane outing. I think that's my favourite time to wear lolita, though, with no pressure or expectation from anyone else, and the freedom to enjoy the clothes entirely on my own terms. I'm definitely a lone lolita at heart!
This is one of those jumperskirts that I somehow forget to wear. I'm glad I remembered about it on this occasion, though! I find it so cute and old school, and I like the retro feel of the polka-dots. 

I went for another item that gets less air time than it deserves: my Teddy Ribbon coat!
It is such a warm, heavy piece, and with appropriate layering underneath, absolutely conquers those chilly days we've been having here in the UK recently. This coat is quite long on me, and covers up the entirety of whichever dress I have on underneath. I like this as it keeps me warmer, but also means I can use my coat as an outfit in its own right!
Jumperskirt: Bodyline
Coat: Baby, The Stars Shine Bright
Bag: Angelic Pretty
Shoes: Bodyline

That's all my outfit pictures for now, but I'm sure I will be posting many more this year now that I've discovered a nice corner of my bedroom that's convenient for outfit shots, and realised that the flash on my camera is actually quite nice! As well as correcting poor or uneven lighting and making up for the short daylight hours of winter, it seems to have eliminated the grainy, blurry look a lot of my other indoor pictures have had. Result!

I hope you've all had a great start to the new year, and that you enjoyed this post! A question I'll leave you with is: do you prefer to wear lolita as part of a group or by yourself? Maybe you like both? I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!

Thanks for reading and looking, and I'll see you next time 

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

The New Year's Post πŸŽ†

I'm big on closure and reflection, so imagine my frustration when my laptop died again and I was left without any means of doing the general blog-related housekeeping duties I normally partake in at the end of the year. Today I received my brand new laptop (I also made sure, for the first time, to purchase 3 year breakdown insurance for it, because I have gotten through way too many laptops at this point not to). I opted for buying something more heavy-duty than I really need it to be just in case!

Anyways, now I'm here, I suppose I ought to do some musings for the year that ended, and the one that's just beginning.

Like many others out there, 2016 sucked for me. It wasn't the absolute worst year of my life, but it was probably one of the most disappointing, though I guess that's the downside to approaching things with optimism! I started the year incredibly hopeful after a very aimless, meandering 2015. I thought that this would be the year I finally got my life together, with a career on track and the steps in place to move out of my family home. Oh gosh-- absolutely nothing went to plan! I didn't get a job in my field of interest, I still live at home, and the future currently seems to be one big experimental question mark. So... why do I feel excited for 2017!?

Maybe it's because despite the friendships that ended, the mental health struggles, and the times when everything seemed to be going a bit wrong... 2016 had its really amazing moments. Like the sense of achievement I got from pulling off my Hyper Japan adventure! 
Sometimes I still look back on pictures such as these and think "omg. I did all of that."
I got a real buzz from being a vendor at such a busy convention, and I would love to do more events in 2017! Oh, and let's not forget that I learnt to drive. Who would have thought that would ever happen!? I struggle a lot with driving anxiety, but I refuse to let that hold me back, and I'm actively working on not psyching myself out when I am a perfectly capable driver. Five years on from meeting my partner online for the first time (via Last.fm, of all places, our paths crossing due to our super musical compatibility), we went to see The Darkness in London for what turned out to be an absolutely amazing gig.
It provided a nice circularity to things, standing there, hand in hand, seeing Justin Hawkins in the flesh, bouncing up and down to the music that had initially brought us together, and reflecting on how our relationship has grown. I hope 2017 will bring more happy, carefree moments such as these.

Fashion-wise, I didn't like any of the brand releases whatsoever in 2016. I always knew lolita would continue to evolve but at this stage in its evolution, I'm just so disinterested! Nothing about the current classic-influenced, rather OTT look appeals to me, and I'm quietly glad to see that there's a growing counter-movement in which people are showing off wearable, daily outfits and trying out old school looks. I don't want to be that person who's constantly stuck in the past, but previous lolita eras were what got me into the fashion, and had an aesthetic that appealed to me. I suppose all I can do is be aware of what's current, and continue dressing the way I prefer regardless!

A happy December pic the day after the gig. This called for white tights but whatever, haha.

A brand I've been super into lately is Lazy Oaf. I've known about them for a while through seeing other friends wearing their clothing, but I never really got a chance to get into their clothes until recently, when I had some disposable income, and some time to pop into their shop and see what the quality of their pieces was like. I needn't have worried too much. I came out with a panda dress which I fell in love with (I really like pandas) and a desire to own more of their items. My collection is slowly but surely growing, and it's been really fun to experiment with my style in a way I've not done in a while. I think Lazy Oaf is a good brand for those into 90s inspired looks, Japanese street fashion, and wearable pieces with quirky details. I love that it's a UK brand, and that I can get some fairly distinctive items without having to worry about import fees!

This Mickey Mouse cardigan is the cosiest, softest, warmest thing ever and I love it so much.

It's been a lot of fun to have a brand to be excited about, as I've obviously not been able to get that feeling from lolita brands in a long time! It's made me really mull over the kinds of clothing I'd like to create for my own brand, which constantly seems to be changing. I went through a short period of time where I wanted to make it specifically a lolita brand, but I don't really think there's any point. The lolita market is over-saturated, and I kinda feel that everything has been done already. Currently, I'm thinking of expanding the clothing I offer, as currently I'm a bloomers queen, with the rest of the items being accessories. It would be great to offer pieces that would appeal to lolitas/people into J-fashion/colourful alt-fashion lovers, while doing something affordable and different. I'll have to see how that goes! It feels as though 2017 is going to be my fashionista sewist renaissance and I'm so hyped for it.

I've not much else to say. I think those of us who experienced hardships in 2016 need to do our best to heal and recover, learn from our mistakes, find strength to deal with our pain, and find a way to focus our light and energy on making this year a better one for ourselves and each other. I've not set any proper resolutions for myself, but I want to work on some career and business-related goals, as well as building up some new friendships. If I get to do any travelling this year, it will truly be the icing on the cake.

How was your 2016? Have any goals in mind for 2017? I'd love to hear your New Year's thoughts!

Happy New Year!!! I hope 2017 will be everything you want it to be. 
Much love.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Season Finales and Festive Fun πŸŽ†

Last week at work was an incredibly bizarre one, filled with the sorts of unexpected twists and turns you'd find in the season finale of your favourite drama series. There was my resignation letter, followed by a tense atmosphere and retaliatory incidents at the hands of my sociopath manager that my fellow colleagues didn't deserve. There was me crying while I talked to an HR rep about the fact I couldn't bring myself to stay in such a toxic environment any longer. There was a game-changing conversation between myself and someone I never would have expected to have developed a connection with. This person... oh goodness, this person confided in me about something they hadn't told anyone else in the 9 years they'd been there. To be trusted like that was somehow heartbreaking for me, and I felt terrible knowing they'd be alone in that hellhole of a workplace once I'd gone. I was walking away, leaving with their troubled face watching me rather forlornly... and I swung back round and opened my arms and they opened theirs and we stood holding each other in an embrace to end them all. The episode ended with me running off into the dusk for the car park, where I collapsed into my yellow car and began simultaneously bawling and laughing hysterically. before driving home to Infinity On High. That night, I braided pink back into my hair and eventually fell into a restless sleep. I have no idea what happens next where that aspect of my life is concerned, so I expect I will have to tune in for the next season.

πŸŽ†   πŸŽ†   πŸŽ†

Knowing I could use some cheering up, Sammi met up with me on Saturday and we had a really lovely friend date together. We decided to head to the Thai restaurant we'd enjoyed for my birthday celebrations in September, and settled ourselves down for a couple of hours of good food and great conversation. 

So, guess who didn't even realise it was International Lolita Day!? Sammi informed me and I couldn't believe I had managed to completely forget about it. I guess fate had other ideas, though, because I had felt very positive I wanted to wear lolita that day. It felt like "coming home", after having been away for a little while. Shame this picture turned out so blurry because I rather liked that casual coordinate!

I went for a tofu dish, which consisted of some really yummy noodles and stir fried veggies. I ended up swapping and sharing food with Sammi, who had inadvertently managed to order what was basically just a plate of pork, haha. We shared a bowl of coconut rice we'd found so delicious the previous time, and laughed at the fact we'd both made attempts at home to replicate it ourselves at home!

Sammi got me this Pusheen mug for Christmas! I couldn't help squeeing when I opened it up. It's so adorable, and is the perfect shape for cupping in your hands. I'm so excited to use it!

After sharing a warming pot of English tea, we headed off into town to have a look around the shops. We couldn't help spending some time in Paperchase, where I ummed and ahhed over buying myself a pink Christmas tree for my bedroom. In the end, I decided to leave it behind and have a think about it. We eventually ended up in TK Maxx. Sammi triumphed there and bought a gorgeous, festive duvet set. We noticed the huge mirrors in the shop and couldn't help stopping for a photo!

I really loved Sammi's outfit! It gave me something of a 90s vibe, and I love a denim mini skirt! A+

By this point, we were feeling a bit chilly and wanted to sit in a cafΓ©. On our search for one that wasn't filled to the brim, we found ourselves face to face with bright lights and fairground rides. Reading had done it again and put on yet another big themed event! We immediately postponed our cafΓ© plans and went to investigate!

Gosh, I love Christmastime. I love seeing those German food stalls that always seem to pop up, with their bright lights and festive colours and hunger-inducing smells.

We wandered around, hoping that there might be a Waltzer ride, which is a favourite of both of ours. There wasn't one, unfortunately, but we still enjoyed having a look around. We discovered bumper cars with penguin covers on them, and a proper little ice rink! 

There was so much light at this event that even though the sky was pitch black we still managed to have really good selfie lighting! I enjoy our matching cat eye glasses, and my pink hair here!

Finally, after having definitely seen all there was to see, we made our way to CaffΓ© Nero, and decided to order something off the festive menu. We both went for the salted caramel option. Sammi bought the latte and I got the hot chocolate.

The whipped cream was heavenly, and I felt so cosy and content!

We remained chatting for a few hours, about everything and nothing and back to everything again, before finally parting ways at the train station. 

It's pretty safe to say I had one of the best days I'd had in a long time, and it served as the perfect end to what had been a really tumultuous week, plus served as a way of moving on from what had been a really bad month prior. I think all this life re-evaluation has been really good for me, and I feel so much more positive and energised! 

So, some potential topics for our comment discussion! Have you ever had any really bad workplace experiences that caused unnecessary amounts of drama? Did you celebrate International Lolita Day? What sorts of things do you get up to during the festive season? I'd love to hear all about it!

Thank you so much for reading, and see you guys next time for even more yuletide cheer! 

Friday, 2 December 2016

Who Am I? Catch my train of thought and let's find out πŸš‚

November pretty much always ends up being a terrible month for me (maybe short-ass, dark-filled days are too much of a shock to the system!?) and when I end up doing a bit too much thinking. But that's me all over, really.


My relationship with lolita has changed a lot this year, and definitely for the better.

I used to use it to define me in a big way, and the reason behind that stems from a very negative adolescence. I found lolita fashion in my teenage years, and clung to it with both hands and made it the centre of my world-- an escape of sorts. As I got a little older, it became my main means of socialising and connecting with other people. I used it as a confidence boost and a way to block out the negativity of the world. But I'm in a very different period of my life now.

In a YouTube video at some point earlier on in the year, I discussed my observations on the current lolita climate, and how I felt disconnected from the community at large, which no longer felt like the cosy subculture of my teenage years. Since coming to a place of closure with all of that, things have changed for me. I began to see that there were so many other aspects of myself worth expressing, and that although lolita had been an important part of my life during some very formative years, it no longer needed to be my raison d'Γͺtre. I stopped telling myself I was somehow "cheating" on lolita by spending time wearing other fashions, and re-connecting with my own personal sense of style. I re-evaluated friendships I held and asked myself just how deep they ran. If I were to leave lolita fashion tomorrow, who would still stick around? What would we have left in common? Who actually knows what I'm about? Who's even interested? I don't plan to leave lolita any time soon but it got me thinking about the level of superficiality in a lot of my interactions, and I realised I couldn't continue using the same social-, or by extension, life-model I had been sticking to for so many years. I realised I needed some more depth in my life.

A recent lounging around at home "coordinate".  It was nice to wear Princess Wardrobe after not having worn lolita at all for ages due to work, and general blah feels. Sorry I have no nice hi-res pictures to hand!

I was always drawn to old school Harajuku Bridge street snaps of the early noughties. The coordinates were often messy, with a ton of character and personality. The un-polished look speaks to me, and is so expressive of what I want in a fashion, of how I want to feel in a fashion. I want to feel like I can be myself unapologetically, with lolita merely being an ice breaker rather than a pre-requisite for someone to socialise with me. I lost my way a bit, without even realising. I go through these little periods of introspection every year, and they are so necessary. Sometimes, you need to check in with yourself and be completely honest about how you're doing and where you're at these days. Personally, I think I'm at a stage where I feel a sense of stagnation and the need to shake things up a bit. 

Moving forwards, I want to bring so much more to the table. As well as making sure my love for lolita remains healthy and intact by making sure my relationship with it remains wholesome, I want to talk more about the range of interests I hold, instead of limiting myself to a box that's becoming ever constricting as my life changes and progresses. I started this blog with no intention of it being a lolita-focused one, and if I'm honest with myself, I think it ended up going in that direction because it seemed like the easiest thing to do at times. I got into a habit of trying not to include too many things that don't have a direct connection to lolita. It's easier to get comments and discussion going on lolita-specific posts than the other interests I've discussed in the past. But why should I worry about numbers? I write because I enjoy it, not because I have any plans to become a professional blogger!  I ought to be a little less self conscious and just go with the flow!

There's things I need to write because... I need to write them. The desire is there, and I know I will feel better for having put my thoughts out there.

I have so many ideas and interests and there are a multitude of facets to my personality that I'm really excited to share. I hope you will stay with me for the journey. It's December and yet I feel a real sense of new beginnings. Well, nobody can say that 2016 was a year that stuck to the rules!

Me on an average chilly, makeup-less, squinty Saturday at home. I had just washed my car in the freezing cold at this point, Could barely feel my fingers, but it was therapeutic. 

Maybe I ought to re-introduce myself for a start. My name is Shalisa. I'm twenty-three years old. I have a degree in English Literature, and dream of being self sufficient via owning my own business. I run an online shop in my spare time, and have thus far posted out frilly undies and whimsical accessories to people in several different countries, had a collection of my designs for sale in a boutique, and had my first taste of convention seller chaos this past summer. I am so hungry for more of that indie brand life! I adore photography, and can often be found taking pictures of trees throughout the autumn. I am a witch, and regularly do rituals, cast spells, do tarot readings, and research on different spiritual paths as it keeps me feeling positive and grounded. My music faves include Fall Out Boy, Foxy Shazam, and The Darkness (who I plan on seeing live soon!) as well as a whole host of other rock, pop, punk and alternative shite. I adore alternative fashion, and sweet lolita is my main squeeze. My bit on the side consists of colourful vintage knitwear and clashing patterns galore. I'm an over-thinker with a passion for writing and a never-ending desire to be the best me that I possibly can. It's really nice to meet you. I hope this isn't a quarter life crisis!

To end, I'd love to hear from you: Do you ever go through these self analytical phases where you question your relationship with your hobbies/various aspects of your life? Have you ever taken a break from lolita/your hobby? Did it fix the problem?

Thank you so much for reading, and I'll see you next time (which will be soon! I will be bringing the festive cheer so get ready!) Take care until then, my lovely readers 

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

πŸ‚ Autumn Updates and Joining the Cute Car Club! πŸš—

Goodness, it's been a while. This past month or so brought with it unexpected challenges and events that threw my posting schedule out of whack. As per. 

I started a new job last month and honestly, work has been super draining for me. Not in an "I'm so busy all day and absolutely shattered by the time I get home!" sort of way. More of a "Work is so menial and bland and boring that I arrive home frustrated by lack of mental stimulation" kind of situation. 

I think the main problem is that I love learning too much. I have always been thirsty for gaining more knowledge, for self improvement, for continually expanding my horizons, for feeling like I've achieved something each day. I love helping people and I love creating positive change, even if only in a small way. I love being around intelligent, interesting people who push me to better myself and whose conversations inspire me. I have the complete opposite. As it is, I can more or less do my entire day's work in maybe 2 or 3 hours, and the rest of the time, it's tough going trying to stretch this out. I don't want to look back on my twenties and realise I did absolutely nothing of value with them because I spent them in some dead end job where day in and day out I listen to people who make casual racist, sexist, and homophobic comments, and whose worldviews are entirely built upon the tiny bubble they've never felt the need to venture beyond. So naturally, I'm constantly searching for new opportunities that will get me out of the wildly unsatisfying position I'm currently in.

There are positives to my current situation, though, like the financial stability I couldn't make happen quickly enough via my indie brand, and the experience I can now add to my CV. In addition, someone on my team really came through for me and on their own time fixed my laptop, which I'd spent the last week without because a Windows 10 update pushed it over the edge. It is sheer bliss to be able to get some writing done, and I wouldn't have been able to have that sorted out so quickly had I not made the connections I have here already. Gotta focus on that silver lining!

As expected, I am really enjoying autumn. One thing I have to say about my workplace is that it's set on the most beautiful campus, where so many trees are turning shades of yellow, gold, and scarlet red.
Autumn is the season when I feel most alive, and at my most witchy. I always find myself re-reading  or ordering books on witchcraft, planning Sabbat celebrations, and watching pagan YouTubers around this time of year because out of nowhere, I feel very spiritual again. When those gentle breezes blow their way through the colourful leaves on the trees, with the sunlight jangling down towards me, it always feels as though nature is whispering something comforting and beautiful, and I can't help but turn my face upwards and listen.

     πŸš—     πŸš—πŸš—

A really exciting change I've wanted to share for a while is that on the 1st of October, one of those big life events happened for me and I got my very first car!

My next door neighbour is an elderly lady who holds what I believe is a bridge night at her house with her pals every Tuesday. On one of these Tuesday evenings, an adorable mint green car turned up outside her house, ready for the bridge club to commence. I found out that this car was in fact a Fiat 500. I've never been much of a car person, aside from being an avid player of Test Drive 5 in my childhood (my car of choice was always a purple Plymouth Hemi Cuda) but this car in particular spoke to me as soon as I saw it. Somehow, there was something so lolita about it!

With the help of my dad, I managed to track down a 500 not too far a drive away from us, in really good condition, at a decent price, and low mileage. We set off super early that rainy Saturday morning and when we got to the car dealership, I was surprised by the fact the car was a warmer colour than it looked in the photos. But as soon as I sat in the car I knew it was the one.

And here it is. Mustard yellow and absolutely fantastic.

I may or may not have worn a yellow outfit in case the car at the dealership turned out to be a keeper. I'm glad I did!

Can we talk about how cute the trim of this car is!? I adore the cream steering wheel and yellow dashboard!

My first two weeks of being a proper driver weren't the best, I must admit. I suffered from the worst sort of car anxiety, that had me unable to eat breakfast in the mornings, and breathing heavily the entire time I was behind the wheel on my commute to and from work. On one particularly stressful morning I ended up having a panic attack and had to get the bus instead because I simply couldn't face being on the road. And then... something happened. I realised that so much of the pressure I was putting on myself was hardly about driving itself, but about the place I was going to-- my dreaded work environment. I got behind that wheel again after a few days break and I was ok. I took off my P plates/new driver magnets and drove with an unexpected feeling of calm. Since then, I've gotten to a stage where I actually quite enjoy my drive to and from work! The next challenges I want to set myself include some mini road trips, and eventually I'm going to conquer motorway driving!

I can't help feeling really proud of how far I've come in all this. This time last year I was absolutely convinced I would never pass my driving test, and that I just wasn't cut out for this whole driving thing. Now I feel this great sense of freedom, and every time my skills improve or I manage to do something I wasn't capable of before, I get so excited about it! I'm so happy to have what is essentially my dream car, and in a colour that is very odd and somehow very me!

Are any of you into cars? Do you drive? Do you think the Fiat 500 is as amazing as I do!? I'd love to hear your thoughts! Thank you so much for reading, and I'll see you next time, hopefully without such a long break in between posts again!