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.

Anyway.

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! 

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Cake Crafting at a CafΓ© πŸ“

I think we all have those days where we want nothing more than to get out of the house and escape the stresses of the working week. That's how I felt last Saturday. I woke up to a grey, miserable-looking day, and the sense that, despite the bleak outlook, I really needed to socialise. I mentioned in my previous post that I had a job interview on my birthday. I was most successful, and started at the job on the following Monday. Disappointingly, the days there were nothing like what I'd been led to believe and I couldn't help feeling rather glum after that first tedious, mind-numbing week. I'm one of those people who enjoys being busy and having a sense of, I don't know, purpose each day, and this new role I'm in really doesn't provide that. As far as stop-gaps go, it could be much worse, but regardless, I am already on the lookout for something more fulfilling where my skills aren't going to waste.

On a whim, I decided to go to a meet with the Otome Sewing Bee, a dressmaking and crafting J-fashion meetup group in London. The workshop for the day was felt cake crafting. I quickly grabbed a few of the felt pieces I had in my fabric stash and a couple pairs of scissors on top of my regular day-out necessities, and set off for Putney. 
I somehow managed to get lost while trying to find the Putney Pantry, the cafΓ© where the meet was to take place, even though I was using Google Maps. The GPS arrow didn't quite seem to know which direction I was facing which threw me off a bit, and caused me to ignore my instincts and wind up down a slightly creepy alleyway. The accidental scenic route was not unwelcome in the end as I enjoyed my little riverside walk. 

Next, I ended up walking right past the cafΓ© before doubling back on myself and seeing that it was set a little way back from the road. Through the panes of glass at the front I could see someone in an elegant, classic dress and I knew I'd come to the right place. 

Jessica, the organiser of the comm, soon set me up with some patterns and worksheets, and I was amazed by the spread of materials and supplies she'd prepared for everyone. It's been a while since I learnt any new crafts, and I was pretty excited to try out this one.


One of the pictures Jessica took (I took very few myself, which is most uncharacteristic, but I was rather engrossed in what I was doing! I have to make do with editing the colours of this lovely candid instead). I think this might have been a few seconds before my headdress fell off. I do love a rectangle headdress but if you don't keep an eye on them, they like to make escape attempts! As you can see, we had a huge selection of materials to work with, including a rainbow of embroidery threads.

As well as being a pleasant environment for crafting in J-fashion, with lots of super friendly customers asking polite questions and seeming very interested in what we were about, the Putney Pantry also had great food. My order was simple: a cup of loose leaf Earl Grey, and a fruit scone... but my goodness, it was delicious. It was without question the best scone I've ever eaten-- melt-in-your-mouth good! The accompanying clotted cream and jam were absolutely perfect. I spent much of the workshop savouring it!

The meet was only for three hours, and it wasn't until the final one that I realised I'd not really achieved much in the way of anything. At this point I picked up a needle and thread and began frantically trying to stitch together the felt pieces to cover the cylindrical foam I was using as the base of my cake. I tried to mimic the look of the model cake Jessica had made prior to the meet, and didn't seem to be quite getting the same effect when I came to making some felt frosting for the top. Somehow, though, I managed to turn things around and end up with something I actually rather liked!

Here's my cake! I went for a chocolate and strawberry theme. I can't help thinking these would be lovely as Christmas tree decorations, and would like to make some more in festive colours for this very purpose!

After seemingly no time at all, it was after 5 o'clock and the meet was drawing to a close. Before leaving, though, I made sure to get a picture with Reina, who ended up wearing an outfit that coordinated very well with mine!

It was so lovely to have a catch up with her, as we do not meet up very often and mainly find ourselves chatting in passing at large events. Interestingly enough, Reina was the first lolita I ever spoke to in person, back in 2011, which is so surreal to think of! 

Overall, I'm glad I took the initiative and went to a meet at the last minute. Perhaps I could use a bit more spontaneity in my life. I found the crafting to be quite therapeutic, and it was nice to have something specific to do in London. 

Have you done any crafting recently? Been to any nice cafΓ©s? I'd love to hear about it! Thanks for reading, and I'll see you next time 

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to πŸŽ‚

Yesterday, I turned twenty-three. It feels a little surreal to be this age-- probably because so much of my life has been shared online and I distinctly remember having a blog and turning seventeen! This definitely isn't a "where did all those years go!?" moment because that time actually dragged rather a lot, but even so... twenty-three sounds awfully grown up.

My parents are currently away on holiday together, so I had to leave it to people outside of my family to feel those happy birthday vibes. On Saturday I met up with the usual suspects and we had a really fun day out together. It was the day of my homtown's Pride event, so there were many flags in varying rainbow stripes being waved around, lots of colourful outfits being worn, and much celebration and cheer.
I missed the parade as I ran late into town after a bit of a wardrobe crisis, but I saw the tail end of it as I arrived to meet my friends at the train station. 

We decided to try out a new restaurant called Bolan Thai, which is upstairs in a small, quiet shopping arcade. The staff were nice and the food we got was absolutely amazing. I was especially into the starters/side dishes of satays, and coconut rice, which was so rich and buttery and delightful!
The atmosphere was very relaxed, and even though the place wasn't empty, we felt very much at ease and like we had a fair amount of privacy at our table. They did not rush us to pay the bill or even seem bothered about how long we were sat there for which made such a lovely change from many of the other restaurants we've been to. I would definitely have food at this place again!

After eating our fill of some amazing food, we decided to head over to the Pride festival. It was a little disappointing in terms of content (mainly fairground rides blasting out music far too loudly, some stalls and one or two food vendors) but the LGBT talks on the main stage were interesting. I'd like to go to Pride another year specifically for the talks and joining groups etc, as it's not really a "browsing on a whim" sort of event.

After our walk around the festival, we decided to take some pictures by the river. From here we could hear a singer back at the festival taking to the stage to sing a very questionable rendition of "Teenage Dirtbag". It was distracting to say the least, but we got our pictures done, and not a moment too soon as it suddenly began to pour with rain. We rushed off to the train station, the location of a highly regarded dessert parlour. We each got ice creams and sat talking for a while, until I eventually said that the tension was killing me and I wanted to see what they'd bought me! 
I was gifted a macaron print umbrella, a lap throw, and a super soft and snuggly macaron cushion! I am super excited to have these items to brighten things up when the bad weather eventually comes. Look how lovely and vibrant that cushion is!

We went off in search of Starbucks in order to use up some drinks vouchers, but the pouring rain meant that the coffee shops were all full to bursting, so we gave up and made our way to the pub instead. We sat around having drinks, sharing a couple bowls of chips, all of us feeling tired after a long day! We decided to get a jug of water for our table and were instead presented with a single glass.
Naturally, we had to take the piss out of this moment.

All too soon it was time for us to head home!
πŸŽ‚   πŸŽ‚   πŸŽ‚

The day of my actual birthday got off to a very early start as I had a job interview first thing that morning. I put on a simple suit (which included a black Bodyline blazer, haha) and set off for the long bus journey. I was interviewed by a panel of three people, then shown around the workplace. I got on with everyone pretty well and felt that I'd really given it my all.

Afterwards, I met up with my partner, grabbed a McDonald's Happy Meal (I was so hungry by this point as the interview started late, and then I got showed round for ages, then had to get my proof of ID documents copied... most of the morning gone!) and went home. My parents called me from Jamaica to wish me a happy birthday, and we chatted for about ten minutes about my job interview, how their holiday was going, and if I was OK with them getting me a t-shirt as a souvenir even though it wasn't really my style! (I told them I definitely want the t-shirt!) I changed out of my interview clothes and into a simple old school coordinate, before it was finally time to open my presents! Many of them were super cute old school accessories, two of which I had to wear immediately!  After that, the cake!
I hope it's not breaking the rules, but I actually made several wishes when I blew out the candles! I am already on my way to working towards some of my personal/life goals so hopefully I can make them come true!

We decided to head back into town for a wander around. Sadly, my birthday was mainly overcast and humid, so we were constantly feeling sweaty and uncomfortable. Still, we remained in good spirits, and enjoyed catching up after not having had the chance to since Hyper Japan.
We checked out a couple of record shops. Nothing caught my eye, but my partner found something they wanted at each one, so I decided to treat them as the prices were cheap. They joked with me that it's not customary for the birthday girl to buy other people presents!

After a little shopping, we decided to get some nice pictures of my outfit. 
This outfit is so basic but I can't help but love how I look every time I wear this jumperskirt!

I decided to pay the ice cream place another visit so we headed there next. I had the same as last time, a strawberry ice cream cone. We stayed chatting about current affairs and house prices (truly, I am aging) for a little while, had one last wander around the shops, and finally said our goodbyes.

I had such an amazing time celebrating my 23rd birthday, and it completely made up for last year where my birthday didn't get celebrated at all. At the time I convinced myself it was fine, but it wasn't. I deserve to feel happy and important on my birthday! This year, it was wonderful to get two different days out where I felt festive and loved, and I feel so much better for it. Here's to being twenty-three!

I'm going to end with what is, without question, my favourite Instax picture so far.
Thank you so much for reading, and I'll see you next time!