Stuff I’ve Bought Lately and Stuff I’ve Not Bought.

A few days ago I was in Forever21 with my cousin and to be honest I didn’t see anything that appealed to me. Partly because, I will admit, I am a bit of a snob towards Forever21 and Primark. Partly because it all looks crap.

Surely it is not possible that clothes could be made that cheaply without exploitation along the line somewhere. There is the cost of the cotton, the cost of labour, the cost of transport, the cost of floorspace and shopstaff and profit; how could that amount to a pair of leggings at £4? Given that your average profit calculation for retail is cost x 2.9 (not 2.9% actually 2.9!) that means those leggings cost £1.30 to make. Surely that is not right.

I try and weigh up the moral choices a lot of the times when I buy things, when I can. When you’re a uni student with no money it’s a little harder to be moral but when I have paying jobs I try my best to buy from somewhere reputable, but to be honest it’s harder to even find that our or understand it these days. I love buying clothes from Ted Baker, looking into their ethics they’re signed up to a program called MADE-BY, but Primark is also signed up the same program? I know Primark have a bad reputation for ethics, so how can I trust this? If I wasn’t writing this post at 11pm I would probably look into it more, but as I am let’s save some better research on ethical fashion for another day – I’ll do my best to do some proper ethics research on all my favourite brands so look forward to it! For now, lets look at what I’ve bought lately, and conversely what I’ve not bought!

First up – these cute sandals from Office! I like a good 70’s looking shoe and these will be my third pair of silver shoes to date. When I think about cute 70’s style, I always think of Miu Miu. Since I can’t afford Miu Miu, and that pair of Ash sandals I saw at outlet were out of stock in my size, these will do! They’re comfy and cute and you only have to paint three of your toes! Isn’t the trend to wear them with socks now anyway? I actually bought them on sale in Chester while I was there the other day, but I was too busy talking about what a nice day I had to mention these shoes.

Next, this dress from Dr Martens. I tried it on in the shop in Liverpool the other day and I felt adorable but also super punk. My way of dressing constantly wavers between adorable and aggressive and this is the perfect line between the two. I own that stupid “suck a fuck jumper” from Drop Dead and I love it. Plus, red is my colour and it was on sale! Actually the quality of the dress is really beautiful, the resin dip dye up top is very textural and lovely and for me the fit is great! The only problem I have with Dr Martens clothes, which are generally very well made, is that the sizing can be inconsistent. I own three Dr Martens dresses including this one, two are L and one is XL but I suppose you can’t have it all…

Stuff I didn’t buy – this dress from Ted Baker outlet. It’s unbearably cute and sits lovely on me but I can’t find it undamaged or not covered in make-up stains! Plus, it wouldn’t go with anything I own except those sandals. I really don’t like to buy stuff for the sake of it, I have to really like something to put down the money for it so I just didn’t buy it. This is a particular pet peeve of mine about shopping in and around Liverpool; anything light coloured is always covered in make-up stains. Saying that, this dress made me feel like an adorable 60s starlet, but for £99 I would prefer to have a dress which I really love. C’est la vie.

Is there such thing as a Spinaversary? My Top 5 Reasons to Love Spinning!

I think that I have been attending spin classes between two to three times a week for just over a year now. Two or three days a week of this exact sight, but I really don’t get bored of it. Head below the cut for my top five reasons to love spin, and some spin tips from your spinsei! Ugh nobody let me write comedy…


Okay it’s not ridiculously loud but you get so involved in the music and atmosphere that your stress does melt away for about 45 minutes and you are just focused on your survival. I think there have been points where I have just prayed that my legs will carry on just for a few minutes more, and then there is a break, a breath, and then the music and the prayer starts again. By the end I am so tired that I drag myself home listening to something mellow and I’ve long since forgotten what I was mad about before. While I wouldn’t listen to dance music if I was sat at home, I love it out at the club or during exercise because that’s where it’s meant to be listened to! It’s there to get you pumped! Also – thanks to the music time flies and you’ve done 45 minutes of exercise before you even realise it.

NUMBER 4: The classes are primarily women

This could be a pro or a con depending on who reads it but I really like that the classes are mostly women. The atmosphere is so friendly and supportive and not competitive at all. Men do come and they are totally welcome but you never feel like the only woman in a room full of men, which is nice because gyms are usually full of tall, muscular guys and I am weedy as hell but in a big group of women you will make friends whether you came to or not. So far all of my teachers have also been female and we have each other on Facebook and the whole attitude of the class is just really upbeat and friendly!

NUMBER 3: You get sick legs and buns

One of the things I get the most compliments for is my legs! Personally I am not the biggest fan of my chunky thighs, but getting a lot of love for my legs definitely helps me feel great about them. Since starting I have definitely noticed a change in my legs, especially the lower legs which now look really toned and great. In the classes you will spend most of your time stood up cycling, and then either doing dips or going back. The best way I can describe it is something like doing squats while running. It sounds immensely hard and at fast speeds it is but your levels of cardio fitness will improve so much and it is a low impact exercise which wont take it out of your knees and ankles like jogging will! I actually started doing spin because jogging was really hurting my knees, shins and ankles and I’ve built up strength in those areas so much that I can jog most of the way home from the gym now without too much damage.

NUMBER 2: Classes give you a sense of accomplishment and routine

I feel like it’s really easy to get to a class because they’re always on at the same time so you can plan your life around them and once you’re in a routine it’s much easier to motivate yourself to go. I found that when I was just going to the gym I’d just put it off until the last minute and not really want to go, but because the classes are at set times you get annoyed with yourself if you miss that set time. Plus, I always think that if you’re keeping up with the instructor, someone who actually does fitness for a living like it’s their job or something, then you must be doing really well! Just getting through is great, even if you have to sit down and can’t do all the moves!

NUMBER 1: You can measure your improvement without going too far

A problem that I did have at some point at the gym was going too far and doing too much. I was staying for a couple of hours a night in order to just try and squeeze a little bit more in and try to do better or take breaks that were too long between things; I would go as far as saying I had a gym addiction! With the classes there is a defined start and end point and you’re not working at your own pace so you have to push yourself. The first classes you will more likely do terribly and want to go home crying with every plaster you can find on your sore butt but the next time you’ll come back and do better and it will feel amazing! It’s definitely challenging but there are so many ways you can measure your improvement such as your ability to stay up, your ability to keep up with the moves, your stamina during the sprints or your ability to take more resistance and it feels so satisfying to get better. Plus, you know you’re in safe hands with a teacher so you won’t be doing anything that might cause you harm.

I think a lot of my five points can be applied to other classes, and I do feel them in some of the other classes I go to but the pumped atmosphere of spin class definitely triumphs over all others! Your local spin class might be different than mine, but I’d still encourage you to give your local class a go if you want to try something new.

Now for some tips:

  • Bring plenty of water, you’ll need it!
  • If you intend to go to a lot of classes buy a pair of bike shoes, they make things a lot easier
  • Don’t buy the bike shoes until you get hooked – a pair of shoes does not an athlete make
  • Don’t be afraid to go to the front, you can see your teacher much better and your form will improve
  • Nobody is judging you, be enthusiastic and do the moves to the best of your ability
  • If you need to turn your resistance down or sit down please do it, you can try and stay up for longer next time
  • Don’t let the weather put you off – the great thing about an indoor class is that you’re shielded from the elements and can work out rain or shine.

Now – on yer bike lad!

Photography Practise in Chester

For the bank holiday I went with my family on a day out to Chester. I feel like I haven’t been to the city centre in a long time, even though I probably have. It was such a lovely day and Chester is such a beautiful city. I took some time for photography practise even though I must admit I am definitely not great at taking photographs of landscapes and architecture.

This silhouette is very unusual for me, I normally don’t wear long, loose fitting layers but I was feeling a kind of grumpy 80’s nagomu girl look that day. It was also a very textural look for me and I wish I’d gotten some close ups of the glittery flecks in the beret and socks – I think I’m also wearing everything I own from Topshop in this picture! Only just noticed. I felt so comfortable all day and very much like some kind of teen movie stereotype art school girl. Although quite a feel people stopped me to say my look was “lovely” which surprised me!

Beret: Accessorize
Jumper: Urban Outfitters about 4 years ago
Body Chain: Topshop
Skirt: Topshop
Glitter socks: Topshop
Shoes: Dr Martens

The first thing we did in Chester, and the first thing I suggest that you also do is visit The Old Sweet Shop! I was torn between macarons and fudge but in the end I got a packet of caramel fudge and a bottle of Fentiman’s Curiosity Cola. I definitely felt like my schoolgirl look while shoving those into my bag. The shop itself is just so cute, with rows and rows of chocolates, different flavours of fudge, speciality sweets and local favourites. This shop also has a lot of lovely confectionery gift sets and they seem to have a good variety of diabetic chocolate too, which is always nice. I really like that the shop maintains the traditional look with wooden shelving and plenty of glass jars.
The city centre itself is of course very beautiful. While my cousin was in a few shops my dad and I sat down and watched a man play some really lovely music on his electric violin while I took some photos. It definitely had a really relaxing and classy atmosphere! We have Loli meets in Chester pretty often, since it’s not hard to get to and it is just so scenic and pretty.

I really like architecture but I am not great at capturing exactly what it is I like about it with my camera. In Chester I especially like all of the small details in the buildings and the way that a lot of the businesses have kept traditional signs in order to fit in better with the overall aesthetic of the buildings. So many of the details are so well preserved and I always like to think about how somebody stood in your place 100 years ago would see a lot of the same things as you! The buildings inside are often very narrow, but I like how shop owners have adapted their layouts around this; I like it when something is able to change and grow organically as time moves on. I am very sad to hear about the amount of old buildings and historic areas in London that are just being mowed down, especially sad to hear about Goldhawk road since that was where I lived during my time in London. I really feel like they are targeting areas with high immigrant populations or LGBTQ association such as Shepherds Bush and Camden….

The sky was a little bit grey all day, but I managed to get a couple of pictures of the sky looking fresh. To be honestly, I really ought to buy another lens for my camera, because I take all of my photos with a portrait lens which is fun as an exercise but generally not ideal. Walking along the river was so relaxing, there was live music playing from the gazebo and there was a cool, gentle breeze to stave off the heat. The band described their music style as Merseysippi, and it did have a gentle kind of southern swing to it. I felt very relaxed walking along the river, I just wished I had some kind of strapping young gentleman to link arms with!
This is my favourite photo that I took throughout the day, which was taken in Grosvenor Park by the river – another great place to walk arm in arm with a handsome young man (or handsome young lady!), Victorian style. I think I just wanted to be wearing tweed and strutting about like the landed gentry. Either that or something floaty; a friend of mine kind of looks like Hugh Grant maybe we could re-inact that part from Notting Hill where Julia Roberts is all ethereally beautiful in her Henry James role with those curls falling around her face. The opening between the two lines of trees really makes me think of “The Secret Garden” which I really adored when I was younger. I normally don’t go for centred compositions, I like things to be a little bit off but for this one I really like how that beam of blue cuts right down the middle like some kind of UFO beam or rapture. Another thing I like about this photo is that my dad is just out of frame, grinning like Garfield and attempting to ruin the shot. I really should have let him ruin one, since photos of him are so rare.

My Top 5 Reasons to Go and See Mad Max: Fury Road!

Right now I’m avoiding a family gathering much like I did in my teenage years, and taking some time to contemplate the film I saw on Sunday. I wasn’t really sure if I should go and see Mad Max, because I haven’t seen any of the previous films and I thought that a lot of it might be lost on me or I might not be able to enjoy it as much however I’d heard so many good reviews of the movie that I felt like I needed to go and see it. It did not disappoint, so have a look at the trailer if you’ve not already seen it and then please enjoy my five favourite things about this film below, no spoilers!

NUMBER 5: Traditional Special Effects
I read an interview with the supervising stunt co-ordinator for the film, Guy Norris, where it was said that audiences are getting tired of computer animated special effects sequences. It’s at a point where we can tell and it feels too fake so they decided to use sophisticated technology to do stunts that could not possibly have been done before! At some point they specially designed the front of a truck to slide back and reduce g-force to a point where they could crash it into another huge truck and the driver would come out COMPLETELY UNHARMED. Obviously there are a lot of safety measures in modern stunt works, and that only makes this more incredible to be honest. There are a lot of explosions in this film and as far as I can see online, nobody was injured and that must take an immense amount of planning. I can’t even begin to image the logistics involved, but the end result is incredible.
NUMBER 4: Interesting Mysticism!
During the film I had loads of questions that presumably could have been answered by watching the three previous films, but come on man some of those films were out before I was. Give me some time. Either way I was really interested in the way that religion and power were handled in the film. The dystopian future in the film is run by a warlord operating on some kind of Norse mythology meets Pimp My Ride deal, where pride in death during battle would open the gates to Valhalla and you would ascend “shiny and chrome.” I thought the use of chrome to represent purity was really interesting, so I did a little bit of research about teeth in Norse mythology to find out what significance shiny teeth or mouths might have. My quick search revealed Heimdallr, who had gold teeth and was described as “the whitest of the gods” and apparently it the originator of social classes in humanity. The shiny teeth and pale skin is definitely echoed in the appearances of the War boys but then again they also do just look like skulls. I live, I die, I live again. Is it Freudian? Someone should write an essay on these guys, not me though.

NUMBER 3: Sick Cinematography
There is some interesting subversion of traditional action movie shots in this film, particularly where representation of women is concerned. Particularly there is one shot of “the wives” dousing themselves with water which could have been taken as a pan up from their feet, showing their figures was instead a static shot, with no movement in the camera lustily panning up their bodies. In fact, after this there is a panning shot focusing on Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s pregnant belly, which is the closest thing to a sexual shot in the entire film. The general composition of shots in the film itself is brilliant. The shot of the vehicle troupe driving into the storm and a later shot of Furiosa in the desert are particularly noteworthy. I also really enjoyed the use of lighting behind “the wives” to make them look especially angelic, especially when they were being very capable (this is funny because one of the character’s names is Capable). I feel like this was a really nice touch to the filmmaking.
So, all of the other members of the War boys are boys. Lads and that. Maybe I’m jumping to conclusions here but you do not see any other female warriors in the background, meaning Furiosa must have been kick ass from the start, right? To come into a high position of power in this highly patriarchal society she must have had some amazing abilities. We see her do so many incredible things throughout the film, but my favourite moments are the moments of tenderness where she throws her self made arm to the ground or where she places her trust in Max. I really like characters like Furiosa, people who would have been sweet and gentle were it not for their hard lives, but they remain sympathetic at their core. I read a fan theory that Furiosa was meant to be one of “the wives”, and mutilated her arm to become imperfect and save herself from that fate. I really want to know more about her, how she met “the wives” and how she managed to rise to the most trusted position in a society that should have cast her aside.
NUMBER 1: Two Whole Hours of Tense Action Thrills!
Sometimes I love action movies, sometimes I hate them. I hate them when everything feels safe and predictable, I hate them when I know someone isn’t dead or someone is going to come back. I hate it when the characters are predictable. For the character of “the wives” the screenwriters liaised with a counsellor for abused women, so the reactions of the characters are varied and realistic and they grow and change throughout the movie. This film surprised me in places, characters made choices that I didn’t see coming from 100 miles away that drove the tension up through the roof! I spent the entire two hours in the cinema clutching my coat and hoping and praying for them all to come out safe. I was sat with two of my favourite folk and we all got really into it, including one point when all three of us sat right up in our seats and made a noise similar to someone getting hit in the groin with a football.
There’s five great reasons to go and see this movie right now! Right at this moment! Out of your chair baby, go see it! Or, stick around until tomorrow when I’ll write about a cute day out I had in Chester. Your choice.

Sunday relaxing for the Gods.

Let’s not talk about Eurovision this year. I get so excited for Eurovision and I invited all my friends to my house and bought like £12 worth of junk food and honestly I had a great time despite it being pretty mediocre as a show. Conchita was there though and that redeems quite a lot.

During the day we took my cousin, who is staying with us at the moment, shopping in the city centre. It was a normal day in the city but I wore a really long floaty skirt so I felt super tall and beautiful. An actual pillar of beauty all day.

Top: Vivienne Westwood Anglomania (found on the floor at Urban Outfitters and bought for £30)
Skirt: River Islan
Boots: Vagabond
Bracelet: Azendi

After a somewhat disappointing night we went to my friend Amy’s house and hung out, played board games, listened to Hole and did our nails. I have never had all of my best friends in the same room before so I took some artsy photos just to prove to myself when I’m old that I was once young and had a really cool squad. I’ve left out the photos of faces, so I hope you like pictures of feet and hands. I sure do. I’m not being sarcastic.

Board games are really coming into the mainstream again now, I feel. I see a lot more board game nights at pubs or bars. The main bar I hang out in here has a selection of fun games around, including a pretty old trivial pursuit board which is far from topical, and very difficult to win for someone who was probably a baby when the questions were devised. We actually played this really interesting and fun German game from Ravensburg called Labyrinth. The board is made of movable tiles and you have to move the labyrinth each turn and try to navigate through it in order to find magic items.

When I was younger I never had female friends like this. I was unintentionally a tom boy to be honest and under that awful misapprehension that I was “not like” other girls. I’m really glad now to have such a big group of female friends, and especially my very close inner circle of amazing friends who just get each other. I definitely haven’t always had this, I would say this group has come together for the last year but I wish I’d had tonnes of lazy Sundays like this one. We made popcorn and tossed it in cinnamon sugar and salt and it was delicious. When our Hole album was finished we just played it again.

It actually made me really emotional. At some point Amanda, who is often just perfect and says all the perfect things, just stopped us all and said something to the tune of “I never really had girl friends like this to just hang out and do nails and play games and I know that might sound really shit to someone else but I am seriously having the best time.” I was having the best time. I know I say a lot that my life hasn’t turned out the way I pictured it, we all said at the day we felt like this is how life should have been when we were fourteen and yet it wasn’t that way for any of us. Most of my friends have actually had really difficult lives, but in the photos this day seems washed in bright, hopeful light. I feel like we all deserved that. These photos mean a lot to me.

In the evening we went to see Mad Max; Fury Road. Tomorrow I’m going to post a bunch of reasons why I loved that film. Staaaay tuned. ~

What are your expectations? Bingo, you’re wrong!

When you’re younger, you always have this image of who you want to be when you grow up, but then unexpected things happen and you don’t quite turn out to be the person you thought you would. Or maybe you do. It’s still a while until I hit 25, but I often wonder if younger me would be disappointed to find out that I still really don’t like coffee.

Me at 16 in my bedroom, serving some real blurry photo teenage fashion blogger poor quality image vibes.

I really wanted to have a mild London life by this point in time. Some kind of job as an artist or at a publishing company or a magazine and spending some time after work in cafés quietly drinking a coffee and reading. Well, that didn’t happen did it? Partially because that life simply does not exist. A mild, quiet life in London? Clearly I’d been watching far too much of 101 Dalmations. Not in London for sure but probably also not anywhere.

The only record of any kind of hot beverages drank during my time in London.

I lived in London while I studying for my masters and I did love every second, I felt like I’d achieved my dreams, but it was most definitely not the mild Kensington Gardens life 14 year old me had planned. Though, I did live nearby-ish. I had classes, studying, essay writing, vague attempts at extra curricular activity, about 20 hours a week of really anti-social hours for minimum wage, extra work during holidays and then housework and all that adult rubbish. I barely had a social life at all, never mind time to be sat around in coffee shops wearing a beret, nor would I have been able to pay for such haphazard beret based luxuries. When I write it down like that, the fact that I survived that seems impressive, yet for some reason in my head I’m like “yeah, but it wasn’t the life you pictured when you were 14 so did you really succeed? There are 17 year olds who write for Vogue and you write blog posts at the dinner table where you did your homework as a child.” Ouch me, that’s harsh.

Truth is, we don’t often turn out the way we expect and I don’t think 14 year old me would be disappointed in me at all. It’s okay baby me, I’m still incredibly pretentious like you wanted I just drink loose leaf tea instead of coffee. There are some thing about yourself that you absolutely don’t see cooking up to be honest. For instance, I love shopping for other people? Yesterday I went out shopping with my cousin and I think I must have handed her about 5 different cute outfits like “go try this on, put these together, go try this” and I have so many friends who insist that I come with them and style them because I always pick out things that they would never look at. I know that I have a very shallow view of what being a personal stylist would be like, but if it’s anything like forcing your friends to try on clothes and then being really touched when they feel great about themselves then it seems like a fair deal. Meanwhile; here’s some photos of what I wore taken on my phone camera because I forgot to put an SD card in my DSLR…..

Top: Warehouse Floral Print Scuba top (not actually very flattering but comfortable anyway)
Pants: Topshop (a rare topshop purchase!) PU “leather” pants
Boots: Vagabond
Necklace 1: Creepyyeha
Necklace 2: (not pictured) Vivinne Westwood Orb Necklace
Bracelet: McQ Lazer razorblade leather bracelet 

Just realised I am wearing a couple of big names in the picture above; I am not rich at all and these were super big special purchases for me. I buy them all on sale or scrimp and save for months to get anything like that. I never pictured in my whole life that I would own any kind of Vivienne Westwood orb necklace. I also never pictured that I’d be spending my Thursday nights rushing from my Spin classes to a bingo night in one of Liverpool’s trendiest venues. But that’s exactly what I do. Bingo! The literal Mecca of the aged and dull and yet put two ridiculous white guys, one dressed as a very unconvincing old lady, on top of it and suddenly it’s the most popular night of the week. Let me attempt to explain, in the best way that words will allow, what takes place at Bongo’s Bingo.

The prizes are awful, apart from cash cash money money for a full house, and yet for some reason you really want all of them. Last night’s prizes included, for one or two lines; a plastic windmill, One Direction board game, discount chocolates and foam hair rollers. A prize of particular note include Coco Pops or Koka Noodles which are presented to the song “CoCo” by O.T Genesis. I have recorded this process to watch on my phone for when times are rough because it makes me laugh so much to see two men performing a worship dance to a box of Coco Pops. The other best prize of the evening is a piñata, which has its own theme tune and everyone in the room has to put their hands in the air and chant “Si! Si! Si” over and over before we are even allowed to see it. After game 6 there is a rave. If there is a false call you must shout “DICKHEAD” as aggressively as you can at the offender. The caller has a strong Northern Irish accent, so whenever he says the number 8, you must call back with your best Irish 8 in response. 4 or 44 means you have to knock on the table. 2 little ducks, you better quack. Legs 11 will illicit a wolf whistle. 69 generates cheers. Abusive tweets are to be sent to Gala Bingo during the breaks. If two people call for cash, they must go up against each other in the area of the dance off to determine the victor. It’s all very surreal, to a point of ridiculousness where you can’t help but love it and have a great time. My expectations of what a Bingo Night entails were definitely rocked, and imaging the marketing meeting for this event makes me laugh quite a lot. But there you go, enough dirty jokes and you can make any old, old thing fun. It’s good when life subverts your expectations.

Charlie Lyne’s Perfect Voice

Last night I finally watched “Beyond Clueless”, the found footage documentary about teenage movies by Charlie Lyne. I really wanted to see this film at the cinema, because FACT in Liverpool was showing it and then had a live Q & A with the creator but sadly I couldn’t make it on the night.

Firstly, the film is great. Lyne’s editing just slices through the footage like the sharpened scalpel of a master surgeon. His ability to pick out similar colours and themes from hundreds of films and resew them into a cohesive tapestry is amazing. The best way I can describe it is to say that he has painted with film clips. I know he’s dealing with slick pieces of Hollywood film making, so it seems obvious that the film would be very slick but a bad editor could easily spoil great footage. There were times when I even did not realise the film being referenced had changed because the shift was so cohesive.
There is a blog on tumblr called “Where I see Fashion” which parallels scenes from fashion shows or photography with moments in art or nature. I feel like this is an incredibly special skill. Some people’s minds work beautifully like this, connecting threads again to form a woven cloth of beauty. Charlie Lyne’s mind is beautiful in this way. I know American high school films have a lot of similar tropes; scenes under the bleachers, scenes in the bedroom…Also there’s a lot of explosions and blood? However, while it is not hard to see obvious clichés and similarities it is hard to pinpoint the exact same shade of red over ten different movies and then put them all together. That’s what Lyne does, and he does it incredibly.
However, my favourite thing about the whole film, even though it was fascinating in general and gave me a lot of new films to watch, was the quality of the narrator, Fairuza Balk’s voice. It’s gravelly, but incredibly smooth and relaxing. Her voice was also perfect for the subject matter and bears the tone of the rebellious outsider characters being referenced. Given that she plays Nancy Downs in “The Craft”, which is extensively talked about in the picture, my previous point that her voice fits perfectly is kind of moot. I really don’t care. It’s the perfect voice for this movie. It is really reminiscent of Jane from Daria, a low kind of intriguing purr that makes you want to lean in and really hear what she’s about to say. You also don’t hear a female voice over so often. I can’t remember the last full length documentary I watched which had a female voice over. I’ve seen TV shows presented by women, which have a female voice over on top additionally but I really can’t remember the last feature length documentary I watched with a female voice over. If you know of more documentaries with female voices please hit me up in the comments section and let me know, but a quick Google reveals that this seems to be a prevailing problem within this subset of the film industry, which to be honest is quite a bit of a boys club anyway.
Even though the title of the film was “Beyond Clueless” I was still really happy when all my favourite girly American high school movies were referenced. I’ve never felt that these films, such as Legally Blonde, needed any validation but so many people devalue them and pass them off as trivial chick-flicks. I hate that, but I really don’t want to start a huge rant about the representation of gender in film marketing at this exact moment in time. Do you know when you feel like you’re the only person in the world that likes something and then suddenly your friend mentions that they also like it? That’s what it felt like to have all my favourite teen movies mentioned in a documentary. You end up sat on your sofa like “Yes!! I love that one!” Initiation into a secret little club that just has you and Charlie Lyne in it. You, Charlie Lyne and Fairuza Balk’s beautiful, gravelly voice.

Can’t stop won’t stop moving. Like, actually outright refusing to stop.

It’s no secret that I am a bit of a workaholic. My intention is to keep writing posts five days a week for as long as I can, but in truth I’m really not much of a talker so we’re just going to have to see what I pull out when I run out of recent events to write about. It will probably be film reviews, hope we’re all cool with that.

In real life I find talking too much really exhausting. After a long conversation I just have to breathe out and rest for a little while. Today I was watching RuPaul’s Drag Race in bed the contestants were asked what they would say to their childhood selves. This was a trend on YouTube for a while and honestly whenever this subject comes up I just cry immediately. I won’t go into a lot of detail about my life so far, but I always think that if I could say something to my younger self it would be “You’re weird girl. Run with it.”

I will  always remember this fluffy blue feather jacket that my parents bought for me when I was really young, I think maybe 14. I remember vividly being in Zara and my parents saying to me “are you sure about this? You wont wear it.” It was over the top and reminded a little bit of the cookie monster and Cher from Clueless. I had every plan to wear it with a beaded choker, crop top and platform sandals. I wanted to go full Beverly Hills beauty. I bought it and wore it twice, to family parties only. I wish I’d worn it. I wish I’d worn it all the time. I wish I’d had the courage to be as weird as I wanted to. I wish I hadn’t given a shit like I don’t give one now.

If I’d just let myself be, I think I’d be a living artwork by now. Like Marina Abramovic. Or Minori. Instead I retreated into boring t-shirts and jeans and converse, a veritable dark ages. I absorbed myself in drawing the fantastical characters that came out of my imagination. I wrote intricate and detailed stories. I channelled all my creativity somehow, but I wish I’d just let it all run free.

I am constantly in two minds about fashion as a hobby. Being an immigrant to this country as a young child means that my family has worked for everything we have. No hand outs, no savings, all graft. Sometimes, to take all of that effort and put it into something that can often seem trivial like fashion makes me feel immensely guilty. I worry that I should be saving lives or working for charity. I don’t think I’ll ever shake that guilt, but hopefully I can help someone who needs it with my words, and so I keep on writing and this vicious dichotomy does too.

Last year my parents and I packed up three huge boxes of supplies for flood relief in Bosnia. I spent the whole evening writing on every item in Sharpie so that it could be identified as a relief item and hopefully not sold off by thieves. We bought cleaning supplies, towels, blankets, children’s toys, tinned food and toiletries. I was wrought with guilt. My face crumbled, all the features falling off like Picasso’s famous weeping woman. The next day my mother found me looking at one of my lolita dresses in tears.

“Why are you crying?” She said.

“I feel guilty.” I replied. “I feel guilty that this is how I live my life when there are people starving. I don’t know if I make the world a better place.”

My mother’s English isn’t perfect, and if anyone but me ever makes fun of that I will personally burn their house down, but she always knows exactly what to say. Paraphrasing, but she said, this is your life. You work hard for the things you own and you deserve them. When you’re done with this just sell it all and go wherever you need to go next. You have your youth, so enjoy it because some people don’t get that chance. I am absolved, sort of.

If creativity is how I’ve chosen to live my life then I just have to keep working at it harder than ever and hope it resonates with someone. I hope I can bring someone some joy with my awful, dry sense of humour, or some comfort by opening up about my dilemmas. Right now I am writing scripts so hard and fast that my fingers are on fire. I’m planning short films and YouTube videos. The craziest thing is that next month I’ll be part of a panel on Lolita fashion in Chester at Moe Moe Convention! Jayde messaged me recently just saying “by the way I’ve signed us up to run the Lolita 101 panel at a local con.” Rabbit in the headlights right here! We’re just writing the presentation and trying to do the best that we can. I’m used to giving presentations, that doesn’t scare me, I just never feel like I have the right to speak about any topic with any kind of authority.

I had never intended this entry to be so cutting and personal, to be honest. I wanted to tell you about how much hope I have for the coming months and how hard I plan to work and here I am in tears, all emotional about clothes. Typical me.

Cake, Shakes and Consent!

Sometimes in my Loli community we will plan a really elaborate structured meet with an activity and sometimes we will just throw our hands up in the air, pick a place and admit we don’t know what we fancy doing. The latter is what we did back in March! We just met up in Manchester and winged it. The last time we did this was in Liverpool and we ended up going for really nice cupcakes at a shop I’ve never even been to before, despite having lived here for over 20 years…

Here’s what I wore, I felt so confident that day! Quirk levels up to absolute maximum!!

Beret: Accessorize
Blouse: Vintage Pop Boutique
Belt: Fred Perry Amy Winehouse collection
Blazer:United Colours of Benetton
Skirt: Metamorphose Secret Library
Shoes: Rocking Horse Shoes from ANTAINA 
I think I was also carrying my Alexander McQueen at the V&A premium tote bag that day too; didn’t go with the outfit at all but it’s the most useful and cool bag ever so I did not care even the tiniest bit. Later that day my favourite picture of me ever was taken at my friend Jayde’s flat; I think I look so long and lithe! You also see the lovely sheer fabric of the blouse.
We had quite a few photos of us taken that day while we were out and about and some of them were nice and some were found online at a later date and definitely not so nice. The thing about dressing in an alternative fashion is that it does command some attention, and I have always been happy to answer any questions and provide sass to any rudeness but I just think it would be really nice if people just had a bit of respect.
For example, this photo was taken without mine or Georgia’s (YouTube’s Kittykinnss) consent.
The user on Flickr has actually disallowed people from downloading this photo. Well mate, you take my photo without my consent and I’ll take yours without your consent. Oops, I’m just as bad… Apart from showing the colours of our outfits really well, this is a horrible photo of us that was posted online without either of our knowledge. We spotted the photographer lifting his camera up which is why we both look so perturbed. I can appreciate a good candid like anyone else, but frankly I think it’s really invasive to take pictures of people without asking them, or even asking them if you can use the pictures.
Saying that, most people are really interested and complimentary. When someone comes up and asks to take my picture I feel so, so flattered and when they start a conversation with me it feels great. I’ve made plenty of friends this way! That is one of the great things about wearing alternative fashions; by being out there you get to meet some incredibly interesting people and make friends that you never would have made otherwise.
This is really not my favourite photo of myself but it holds so many happy memories that I really don’t care. Another blogger, Ghostly Tom, spotted us having a look at craft supplies in Fred Aldous and we had a brilliant conversation about Harajuku and Grayson Perry so Georgia, Jayde and I were more than happy to pose for a photo for him. That’s how you do it!
In summary; if you see someone that you think is interesting and you want to take their picture, don’t be an asshat. You are talking to a human being who deserves respect and kindness! ASK! This is a rule one should follow in every day life and all sexual encounters; CONSENT IS QUEEN!
Important life lessons aside, we decided to go to Home Sweet Home in Manchester and have some delicious cake. I’ve said before that I am gluten intolerant, but I was super naughty and ordered one of their horrifically beautiful cake slices and a milkshake. I couldn’t even finish both of them. I felt terrible because I hate wasting food, but also incredibly resplendent because it was delicious and sweet.
The cakes are so gorgeous looking and we spent the rest of the day on a ridiculous sugar high. I have an awful sweet tooth and religiously visit Bon Bon Chocolate Café in Manchester whenever I can, but I would definitely come back here. The staff are lovely, the atmosphere is really pleasant and fun and the cakes are so delicious. I would definitely recommend it for a good time, but it’s very popular so you will definitely be in for at least a 10 minute wait if not more.

This is probably my favourite photograph that I took on the day. I really like how the focus is on the cute milkshake in the corner and the colours are so saturated. The closeness and saturated colours give me this Martin Parr vibe. It reminds of one of his famous photographs from beside the beach where the figure in the foreground, smiling into the camera, is blurred and instead the background is focused and crisp. The eye is forced away from the foreground and yet somehow travels back to the blurry, smiling figure in her large, square, white sunglasses and Hollywood wrapped headscarf. Photographs that force your eyes to or away from a particular point are incredibly interesting to me.

Above is the heaven sent flourless chocolate cake from Bon Bon Chocolate Café. I would do some bad, bad, evil things for a slice of this cake. Or, alternatively pay about £3.50. Either or.

We also had an impromptu “photoshoot” in a shop called Kuhl Vintage in Afflecks. Georgia spotted this really beautiful 50’s prom dress and naturally we forced her to try it on. I’ve been to Kuhl Vintage a couple of times and I think their selection is amazing. The items are really well maintained and the choice of items is very unique. Last time I went in there I nearly bought a taxidermy bird fascinator. It was a narrow escape.

This meet was so fun, and writing about it makes me realise just how much of a great day I had, especially since I remember it so clearly about a month later. That is the joy of photography too, that you can just whip yourself back to that moment in the pictures.

I hope you’re reading this and thinking about a photo that is very special to you.

So, I’m jobless…

All of a sudden I find myself with inordinate amounts of free time. My time as a marketing assistant is over so I’m going to take it as a blessing and pursue my dreams of writing, drawing, making films and generally being creative.

Yes, I will miss the steady income but frankly I live with my parents and apart from a pretty hefty masters loan I don’t really have any unmanageable responsibilities. Before my job ended I saved enough money in my loan repayment account to last me for about 6 months so that is how long I have to make something worthwhile of myself.

I feel immensely lucky to be in that position right now, which is a weird thing to say. A lot of my friends have lost their jobs lately and they’ve not been in such great positions, I just got really lucky. I feel so grateful to my parents and friends for their support and encouragement. I’m hoping this will be a really positive time of growth for me and hopefully I’ll be doing something that you might be interested in! As for what I actually intend to do, well, that is a little bit less concrete. I don’t have a solid plan for this blog other than “people have told me they really like my writing and would love for me to make videos” so that’s currently the plan. Whenever someone tells me that they like something I’ve made I am just over the moon, so to hear multiple people tell me they like the things I write or draw or make in general is so overwhelming and I feel like I must deliver the goods!

I suppose, if you don’t know me, I should introduce myself. My name is Nadina, but you can call me Din if you like, I don’t mind either. I jokingly refer to myself as Liverpool’s foremost Scouse-Bosnian artist, writer and filmmaker.  I have a masters degree in Fashion Media Production from London College of Fashion and a degree in English Language, Linguistics and Creative Writing from Lancaster University. In 2008 I won Liverpool Athenaeum’s Young Writer of the Year Award and I also won a competition for Manga art with the British Museum in conjunction with UAL. That’s all the boring stuff out of the way!

I’m also currently 23, single and naturally blonde. I love fashion, especially Lolita fashion and Japanese street style; I am even an admin for my local Loli fashion community. I like to watch films in bed. I prefer to go out on my days off than stay in, but if I do stay in I like to watch movies in bed. My favourite breakfast is soft boiled eggs and gluten free toast soldiers. I am gluten intolerant and it sucks, sometimes I just eat gluten anyway and pay for it with pretty bad cramps later on. Lately I’m really enjoying loose leaf teas. My favourite subjects at school were Art and English. I am self concious about my smile, jawline, stomach and thighs. People often refer to me as sharp, witty, dry or sarcastic. When I was five years old I got a swing for my birthday. I love to sing, and own a guitar which I am terrible at playing. If I ever say anything egotistical about myself I get really nervous that people won’t realise that I’m absolutely always joking. When I tried on my current pair of glasses my father said I looked like Daria. I don’t mind being vulnerable. I’ve kept a journal since I was about 9 years old, the content improves over time but the themes are generally the same. I don’t find myself particularly beautiful, more weird and interesting looking and I mean that in a really positive way. These are the real things about me.

I look like this:

These photos were taken a few months ago by my mother at my request. There isn’t really anywhere good in our house to take outfit shots and I usually forget but I thought “hey, I’m starting a blog, may as well record my life!” I’m wearing a size 4 Ted Baker “Henne Tea for Two” pleated dress. It’s a little bit loose on me at the waist, usually I fit their size 3 but this dress is chiffon and so the shoulders are too tight in the size 3. I really like this dress because it reminds me of the kind of border prints you would get in a Lolita fashion design. I don’t usually wear pastels (I write, while wearing a fluffy pink jumper) but the print on this dress is so charming that I was really taken by it. I also like the little touch of neon. The neon piping thing is something that I feel Ted Baker does quite a lot and I always fall for it.

I’m also wearing a pair of EUGENIE Faux fur fluffy earrings from Rock’N’Rose. I actually adore the look of these earrings but everyone around me seems to find them really strange?  Whenever I wear them people always say they either like the fluffy part, or the bling part at the top but not both together. My only criticism of them is that they are a little uncomfortable to wear all day. The ball is stuffed so that they don’t squash when you lean on them, but that does mean they can get kind of stuck in the nape of your neck sometimes. They’re also quite heavy because of that.

Anyway, now you know a bit about me, my aims and also what I wore one day a couple of weeks ago and I think that’s plenty for now!

Staaaay tuned! ~