Wednesday, 5 August 2015

I Want To Live Beautifully.

Post holiday blues aren't really something I tend to suffer from, but after my Paris trip I couldn't help feeling a bit differently about life. Not in a bad way as such, but my brain has been whirring and pondering ever since. Sitting outside a cute Japanese bakery in the heart of Paris wearing a food themed lolita dress, and savouring a rich blueberry cheesecake was truly a moment of pure bliss for me, and I realised that I don't have those moments nearly often enough.

In my early lolita days, reading lolita lifestyle blogs was perhaps my favourite pass time. I completely immersed myself in these romantic writings, soaking up each tip to guarantee me a life of beauty and elegance that I could also represent through my mode of dress... or so I thought. 

Lately, I've been going through a bad emotional slump. So many aspects of my life aren't where I want them to be, and constant disappointments have rendered me feeling a lot less positive about 2015 as we work our way through the second half of the year.

I let my passions and interests begin to fall by the wayside as I tried to tackle a whole host of new responsibilities and challenges. In life, there's always going to be dark times and stress and unpleasantries... but it's even harder to deal with them when you're not making a special effort to ensure your free time balances out the negativity and enriches your soul. One thing that's been encouraging me to revisit these romantic notions is the small but certain online stirrings of a lifestyle lolita revival. I want to now, more than ever, celebrate femininity and softness and the picturesque-- qualities I always appreciated but felt I couldn't truly express until I got into lolita, which transformed my way of seeing the world. I want to live beautifully, as often as I can.

I'm one of those overly nostalgic people who likes to take the things I enjoy and hold onto them, even if the world around me continues to change. I feel a little uncomfortable with this decade, due to the fact it seems to be killing off the very notion of subculture, and watering it down so that it becomes nothing more than a tumblr reblog away from being the subject of yet another mainstream clickbait article. With the increasing popularity of the lolita, I suppose it's no wonder some of us are developing a "get off my lawn" mentality as we see the aspects of the subculture that meant the most to us being replaced with a superficial, OTT costuming mindset. I think we miss that old livejournal, longform blogging atmosphere, which actively encouraged us to to not only wear lolita, but to be lolita-- to wear the fashion because it allowed us to express ourselves and extend or carve out our own complementary way of life, as members of other subcultures like goth or steampunk might do. 

A few weeks ago, I spent the day with my friends, having afternoon tea on board a floating tea room. This day could not have come at a better time for me, as I was desperate for a nice day out where I might be able to forget the greyness day to day life can bring, and enjoy the company of like-minded people. I don't think my friends have anywhere near the same sort of lifestyler view of lolita as I do, but us all joining egl around the same era means we have a lot in common, and enjoying meeting up for a peaceful meal in lolita is no exception.

The weather was truly glorious that day, and beyond the little windows of the barge, we could see the waves of the River Thames rippling as the boat swayed so gently it was impossible for us to feel it ourselves.

We were able to adapt the afternoon tea to suit our own tastes, which meant we got to maintain the elegant set up, but with the food and drink we personally liked best. Being a hot day, I opted not for a traditional cup of loose leaf tea, but instead sampled their elderflower cordial. It was light and refreshing, perfect for the summer heat. I deviated yet again, this time from the traditional sandwiches, and opted for a bacon one instead. This ended up being so filling I was sadly only able to devour half of my fruit scone and jam. I had a lovely time, and can't wait to try out other places which serve afternoon tea.

One of my rarely mentioned passions in life is interior design. I could (and do) watch property programmes, tours of people's homes, and DIY homeware tutorials on YouTube for hours. I currently only have a small bedroom to deck out as I please, but I still have a couple of pieces which convey the theme I'm hoping to have running through my future home.

It's an easy one to forget, but light fittings can create such an elegant focal point in a room. I did not realise this until I was gifted this one, which makes me think of an opulent bird cage. 

This difficult-to-photograph framed painting is so special to me. It used to hang in the family living room, and naturally it reminds me of my childhood. I always loved fairy imagery, so the scene depicted here enchanted me, especially due to the the glittery, shimmery, highly textured paper. I've never seen anything quite like it before, and I have no idea who the artist is or where it came from. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it turned out to be a portal to a magical realm.

A bed takes up a significant surface area in a room, so dressing it up in a nice throw can really help to create a wonderful aesthetic. A lot of lolitas seem to own this Primark patchwork print throw that I'm using at the moment, and I'm not surprised as its so soft and cottagey. Its delicate florals are not overwhelmingly cutesy, which suits me well.

A decor blog I find particularly inspiring is Fairy Nests, which is filled with images of homes which have a balance of cuteness, elegance, and historical influence that really appeals to me. There is something so inherently lolita to me about these overtly feminine homes, and I think that by simply changing up the colours and accessories, you could easily come up with the perfect aesthetic for sweet, classic, or gothic lolita dwellings.

I find that even the mundane can evoke positive feelings. Today, I had to go to the post office to send out an order from my online shop. When I woke up in the morning, it was rainy and dreary outside, and didn't exactly make me feel excited about my excursion. But rather than let pessimism take over, I showered and dressed in a simple old school inspired coordinate. By the time I was ready to leave, the rain had stopped and the sun had come out. Newly energised, I decided to take some pictures.

I'm not sure what this pose is all about, but either way, it was a lot more fun organising my own awkward photoshoot on the landing in front of my bedroom door, rather than taking a rushed, blurry mirror picture like I usually do. 

Simply putting on even a basic lolita coordinate for a brief venture outdoors never fails to brighten my mood. It's fun, it's freeing, it's ever so slightly rebellious, and it makes me appreciate how lucky I am to live in a town where I can express myself in this way without fear.

Honestly, I cannot imagine only wearing lolita a few times a year for special events. But I am glad that I can take comfort in knowing that if it had to come to that, I could still find fun little lolita-esque treats to indulge in, which for me include things like burning delicately scented candles, listening to my favourite music, reading new lolita blog posts, or keeping up with threads where I continue to be inspired by others trying to evoke the noughties egl lifetstyler sensibilities again.

A lolita lifestyle can be anything a lolita wants it to be. The aim for mine is to make my life as beautiful as it can be. As our exceedingly bizarre friend Novala Takemoto would say:

Sew frills onto the hem of your heart! 
Put a tiara on top of your soul! 
Have pride.