17 Nov 2017

Miel Magazine Review



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


14 Nov 2017

Lolita takeover of Doki Doki Manchester

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

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

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



Closeup of my accessories.

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




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

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



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



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

Look at the cute mini-cakes!

Look at them!

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

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

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


Oreolicious and Mango Madness.


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

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

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

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

10 Nov 2017

DIY Brooch Display Stand



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


7 Nov 2017

How to Coordinate OPs?



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

*

3 Nov 2017

Splurge or Save: Lolita Edition



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


31 Oct 2017

1 Dress 4 Looks Take 16



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


27 Oct 2017

Create a Coord from a Fellow Frilly's Wardrobe



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


24 Oct 2017

Fancy in Florida



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

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


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

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

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






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






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



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

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

20 Oct 2017

How Did You First Discover Lolita?



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


17 Oct 2017

Musings on Style in Lolita

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

13 Oct 2017

On Bargain Hunting

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


10 Oct 2017

1 Dress 4 Looks Take 15



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


6 Oct 2017

Halloween Outfits Ideas for Non-Gothic Lolitas

Confession time: I don’t like Halloween. I don’t hate it or actively dislike it, but I do impatiently wait for the Halloween hype to pass (and to buy discounted chocolates). Part of it is to do with my (this time active) dislike of anything related to the horror-genre, however remotely, but also I’m just not into spook as is. For anyone out there who feels the same, and like me isn’t into Gothic Lolita, our dilemma is joining any comm Halloween festivities without spending money on a once-a-year kind of dress, here are some of my ideas for Halloween-themed Lolita outfits using things you probably already have.



3 Oct 2017

Lolidrobe Reassessment Post 2017.3



Spending continued as summer sales season and Dreamy Masquerade Carnival took place. But now I really will have to buckle up and stop as I have a pricey holiday coming up and, unfortunately, with my new job I don’t have enough paid holiday. Yikes!



29 Sep 2017

Compare Your Wardrobe from Your First Year to Now



As interesting a topic as this is, there really isn’t much to compare in my case. Still, I’ll try to bulk up the post somehow!


26 Sep 2017

Dress Code: Glamour



The second time of me organising a meet and this time I did something a lot more casual and less themed/event-like. Which worked out perfectly!

| AP Crystal Dream Carnival Tiered JSK | offbrand (Dorothy Perkins) cutsew |
offbrand & upcycled cardigan | Meta Lace-up Bouquet OTKs | AP Elegant
Doll
boots | Shinku Rose hair clips | Rose Marie Seoir choker | offbrand
necklaces | AP Crystal Dream Carnival pegasus ring | Twinkle Kitty Boutique
star ring | Glasses Lit glasses |


Since the theme was Dress Code: Glamour, or simply whatever makes you feel glamorous, fabulous and simply amazing, I took Crystal Dream Carnival out for a spin. This is a lot more casual than what I’d normally do with this dress, but since the print is simply magical I don’t mind. I actually enjoyed doing a more relaxed coord with this dress – with such an in-your-face border print it’s difficult to tone it down or wear it in a way that you feel you could just throw on and do something ordinary, so I’m glad I managed to achieve something like this whilst still feeling fantastic. And I managed to incorporate so many smaller elements that I haven’t had much opportunity to coord yet or at all even!

The meet was originally meant to be the one where we took a comm photo for the last Tea Party Club Annual, but since we decided to use the photo we took at DMC instead, it opened up the meet to a fewer more options. Which worked in my favour as I’ve had such a mad, hectic September that the 23rd was the only day I could host – yet this clashed with Thought Bubble, a comic book and comic artist convention that many in my local comm wanted to attend, which would’ve made for a comm photo not reflecting how massive a comm we are! Because I’ve been literally everywhere and doing everything all month, I was very close to calling it quits and calling the meet off, so I could rest, but I didn’t because I knew that once I was there I’d enjoy myself a lot and would’ve regretted not hosting a meet. So the fact that there were only four of us, myself included, helped since it was a very casual, very relaxed meet and I didn’t feel like I had to do anything beyond the usual to remain a good host.

How do I stay a good host?
(Also, check out the chandeliers!)

The theme had actually come down from the exhibition at a local crafts gallery that had the same title. What I didn’t realise until we got there was that this wasn’t much of an exhibition. We wandered round what looked like a museum shop until I asked a staff member where the exhibit was – and she pointed to literally four small display cabinets in the corner! That wasn’t going to fill the time I had allowed for it, it took us maybe ten minutes tops to see what was in the cabinets. The exhibit description suggested something a lot more lavish and bigger than that. Luckily, everyone laughed it off with me and we went to find somewhere that served tea and cake.

Lolitas as you know them.

Lolitas goofing off when you don't look.

This place ended up being Creams in Leeds’ The Core. Honestly, I’ve walked past that place so many times and never even realised what a treasure it hid! Creams had lovely, airy and elegant décor, lots of tea, desserts and even savouries at very affordable prices and more than enough room for all our poof. I’d love to go back there again – it might not be a ‘proper tea house’, but the fond meet memories have now made it one of my favourite places in Leeds! It was great to spend hours chatting, struggling with our giant cake slices (seriously, look at the size of them!) and just having a good time. Of the three attendees, I knew one from before whilst the other two were new to the comm (for one it was her first Lolita meet ever), so I sincerely hope that they’ll attend more and that they felt comfortable and welcome at the meet (they certainly didn’t look like they were keen on running away, which is a good sign).
That cake had me defeated. So much sugar!

After this we had planned a dinner at a local Japanese restaurant with some of the C.L.A.M. Lolitas joining us after their Thought Bubble adventures, but unfortunately they couldn’t make it due to getting stuck in a queue and having to rush to catch their coach home. So we proceeded just on our own to have more food, more chatter and more laughs.

I am so, so glad that I didn’t back out because I would’ve missed out on a very fun meet and probably wouldn’t have met these lovely frillies (or at least not at that time). I came home absolutely shattered, but happy. I won’t be able to make any Leeds meets until the Winter ILD (still going to some other things in the meantime), so it was great to host something small that didn’t require too much planning or energy. As nice as large meets are, small ones are fantastic too!

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