Outfit post – cut cloth 

A few weeks ago I went to see an exhibition of feminist embroidery at the Portico library in Manchester. Since it was am exhibition, I decided to wear an art themed, rococo inspired coord. Well, never have I seen myself so accurately depicted in the medium of embroidery, check it out.

Embroidery of a woman taking a selfie

Fantastic, right?

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J-Fashion at DokiDoki in Manchester

A couple of weeks ago myself and a couple of the girls from my J-fashion community represented J-fashion at DokiDoki festival in Manchester. We were really keen to get involved with the fashion side of the convention, especially since it’s in the local area.

Our table at DokiDoki

It was actually my first time properly being behind a stand at a convention and I really enjoyed it! I drew a lot of pictures, had really nice conversations and raised a good bit of money for charity.

Our table was absolutely piled up with wigs, accessories, hairpieces, necklaces and clip on things by the tonne in lots of different styles because we wanted to give people lots of different styles to try.

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I also brought a couple of my GLB magazines with me, including the one that has my photographs inside! I still get to be proud of that, you know?

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Carousel Nostalgia

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I’ve been so overwhelmed by life lately, and my brain is so fried from seasonal work, that I haven’t been able to thread two thoughts together despite having plenty of things to write about. However, lolita has really been keeping me sane. I’ve never professed to actually be good at lolita fashion or really to do anything amazing with it; but the idea of putting items together in some sort of theme, going and hunting down the items and then putting them together is really satisfying. Naturally, much like in this photo, half of it is blown to disarray by the wind, but at some point in the day this outfit was some immensely elegant lolita granny chic. I’m really inspired by mossmarchen  and I wanted to create a nice array of brooches to emulate her style, but sadly two of the brooches broke immediately.

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You might remember this outfit from September where I wore it to Regalia in London. For that outfit I wanted to go for a more “lady of the manor” vibe, but this time I changed the blouse, hat and accessories for a vintage/granny mood instead. I really like how changing up a few items really changes the entire mood of the outfit. Would anyone be interested if I wrote some kind of co-ordinate tutorial for making flexible outfits like this?

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I really needed a break and I love my local community, so the perfect solution for stress was a meet to visit the Manchester Christmas markets. We had a lot of new members and it was another big meet for us, so I was elated! A few girls felt that they didn’t have finished co-ordinates so they were very shy about coming to their first meets so nearly dropped out, but I think this should not be an issue. As an admin for my community, I feel like it’s my duty to make everyone feel welcome on their first meet up and encourage them to enjoy the fashion, so I don’t mind at all if people don’t turn up in a full co-ordinate while they still get to learn the ropes of the fashion. It was so lovely to meet people for the first time; it makes me feel like I’m doing a good job with the community when lots of people come to meets, and even more so when they come back again!

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I loved the different styles that were visible at this meet. We had classic, gothic, old school, mori, sweet and even more otome style outfits. I even started a furry wrist cuff trend! I’ve never felt cooler or more like Regina George in my life than when half my comm loved my furry wrist cuffs enough to bag their own. We had such an eventful day of enjoying the markets, walking around Manchester and even riding the carousel! I wont lie to you, dear reader, I went back later in the week and rode the carousel again. Turns out, I just love the whimsy and nostalgia a little bit too much.

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For example, I MADE someone take this photo of me elegantly riding side saddle on my lovely horse Spice because I was really giddy about riding the carousel. I spent the whole time grinning like an idiot because I had such fond memories of riding on carousels as a child. I live quite close to Southport and we used to visit a lot when I was a child so I’ve ridden the huge carousel there many times and every time I hear the music it just makes my heart happy. It really is the simple things in life.

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The markets were so busy that I didn’t have a lot of time to really take good photos, but I did manage to get this beautiful portrait of Mo with the back light of the carousel. I think it might be one of my favourite pictures I’ve taken to this day. I was so charmed by her outfit that I just had to get some kind of photo of her, because she was an absolute vision of Momoko from Kamikaze girls. 
Lastly, a shout out to Wagamama’s in Manchester Printworks for being really great with our large party size and having really good accessibility for wheelchairs and an absolute SLAM to Prezzo and Harvester for the exact opposite reasons.

The biggest meet our tiny community has ever had!

I’ve been one of the admins for my local lolita community for quite a while now and I’m really glad that our tiny community is finally picking up some steam! We have about 60 members in total and this Wednesday a record number of us managed to make it out for a meet. In a way, this was great news, in a way it was also terrible because we didn’t really make a plan for the meet!

In an ideal world I like to have a plan and go through with it, but we decided to just have a casual meet and sort of wing it so of course like 13 people turned up when usually we have about 6. We must have looked so terribly disorganised but it was really fun to meet people and hang out nonetheless.

The first place we went to was Richmond Tea Rooms in Manchester. Our community has been on meets here before now but I always seem to miss them so I was really happy to go! The tea rooms are really beautiful and definitely a great place for a lolita meet. The general theme is Alice in Wonderland; the front room is a really ornate red and black harlequin pattern and the back room a lovely spring green floral garden theme. It was tricky to get a good photo because I was sat in a funny corner but I got some really cute candid photos so hopefully you can see the atmosphere. The hallways between the two rooms had large tangled branches covering the ceiling with clocks hanging from them. On the walls there were large “drink me!” and “eat me!” signs. I would definitely love to go again and take some more photographs.

I think the photo above is so pretty! You get the atmosphere of the room and Fay’s face looks so lovely and elegant, it’s almost like being transported back in time. Initially there was about 8 of us but then suddenly quite a few more people turned up and we had a huge meet! I was really surprised that so many people came because there was only about 4 people listed as attending on the Facebook page.

Since there were so many new people that we decided it would be fun to go and play some “get-to-know-you” team building type games. It was a choice between Ziferblat and Nexus and we decided to go to Nexus just because we knew they wouldn’t mind having us. We played a game where you have to write three facts about yourself, two true and one false, and the rest of the group has to guess which fact is true and which is false. Here are my three facts:
1. My favourite food is lasagne (even though I’m gluten intolerant and not supposed to eat it)
2. I have a GIANT collection of beanie babies that I can’t bear to get rid of because they are too cute.
3. I once at 97 penny sweet bubblegums in a row
Have a guess which one is the lie!
A few people had to leave, so we were down to 8 again after a few hours of playing the three facts game and charades at Nexus. We thought it might be fun to go to a photo booth and take some cute pictures so we went to Fred Aldous, because they have some booths, but we quickly realised that we weren’t going to fit in there…. so we just took normal pictures. 
Georgia was wearing Dream Marine and it looked so pretty! It has some kind of tinsel flocking in little dots all over it and the back panel has a really small, sheer heart on the back panel by the zip which are gorgeous little details that you really don’t get to see in the stock pictures. I really should have taken some detailed shots so you could all see just how pretty this dress is in real life!

I am often pretty glad to be behind the camera lens for sure, especially when I get photos like this from in front of it. I look like I’m about to snatch someone’s wig off! Most embarrassing behaviour… Consider this one a bonus photo! Georgia had the really cute idea to hold up the letters C.L.A.M which is the abbreviation we use for our community to represent all the north west counties of England. A lot of people laughed at it at first, but I didn’t really mind because I could see the humour. Also my petti looks really deflated in this picture for some reason, but I promise it’s not!

Overall it was a really fun day of getting to know lots of new people! It’s funny because when you’re younger it seems scary to meet new people and socialise, I just hope as an admin for the community I can make people feel welcome when coming to their first meets.

P.S The lie was number 2, I don’t have a huge collection of beanie babies.


In which MCM Manchester was actually fun!

Last year I had a pretty miserable time at MCM; I didn’t have a really fun day, nothing at the stalls particularly interested me, I kept ending up lost and alone and I just generally didn’t have a fun time. This year was incredible in comparison! I went with way better people and had an amazing time. I also got to wear dark night guardian! I feel like we’re not seeing much of this print yet so it was fun to wear it, even if the outfit itself isn’t perfect.

My favourite part of the con, apart from hanging out with some really cool folks, was seeing Sarah Graley! (http://sarahgraley.com/) I just discovered her art a few days before the actual con so it was such a good surprise to see her there. Whenever someone makes cute webcomics I tend to assume they are American for some reason?? I ended up buying her adorable take me out pizza print!

I also bumped into this adorable steampunk couple a few times and they were so cute I just had to get a photo with them! Steampunk had such a strong showing this year and what I particularly liked were the sheer variety of people wearing the style! There were people of all kinds of ages and backgrounds and bodytypes wearing really creative handmade pieces. I thought it was brilliant to see, I love a good bit of subculture. I would love to know what it is about steampunk that appeals to people in particular about steampunk, is it the elegancem the nostalgia? Does the industrial theme appeal to us up in the North? I’d love to know more, steampunk fans please contact me and chat!

I spent the day hanging out with my lolita friends and just generally enjoying a good old love of candid photos. Conventions are a great time for these kinds of photos because you can have someone super strange and ornate sat next to someone who just came in their normal clothes just to see what all this was about.

I also saw some friends from other communities who I haven’t seen in far too long! Michaela and Beccy looked amazingly cute in these matching sailor outfits so we got a photo next to the big octopus at the CEX stand. I think these two would look great together doing a photo shoot here at the Albert Dock. It also reminds me that I need to get my own sailor outfit together.

I am having so  much fun playing about with my new lens too! I took this picture just for fun but I love all of the different textures and it really reminded me of Marylin Minter’s work with the rough and close quality of it. I love the reflection in the glasses, the messy purple strands of hair, the dusty grey of the eye shadow, the slight peeling on the lips. I’d love to do a series of really close up textural things like this, yes please!

My top 5 places to hang out in Manchester

I’ve been writing a few of these posts lately just because I’ve been travelling around a bit more and it’d been nice to go to all of my favourite haunts. I had no intentions of becoming any kind of travel writer but I guess this is a case of “write what you know.” I love Manchester’s Northern Quarter, so here’s some places you might have walked past before now, but you should totally pop into next time!


1. Bon Bon Chocolate Boutique, John Street

 Once you step into this place you’ll fall in love, I guarantee it. The smell of chocolate just makes you relax and smile immediately. It seats about 10 people and always has this lovely relaxed atmosphere, you will never feel rushed to leave. The decor is absolutely lovely, everything about this place makes me feel like I’m Amelie Poulain every time I walk in. Even the other people that go could be characters in Amelie. Have a piece of their flourless chocolate cake with a bottle of fentimans or go chocolate overdose with their own dairy free hot chocolate. Chocolate heaven.

2. Junk Shop, Dale Street

I love adorable vintage shops and this one tops my list for adorable-ness. The door handle is an old telephone, so that should give you a hint of the vibe this place has. Their selection is really cute and a lot of it is upcycled for a more modern fit. They also do sewing classes so if you’re in Manchester rather than visiting it’s a pretty cool place to be!

3. Salford Zine Library at Nexus Art Cafe, Dale Street

Zines are a thing again you know! My favourite zine/small press publication is a beautiful piece of work called “Butt Springstreen” dedicated to Bruce Springsteen’s butt. I feel like the author of this, zine, CJ Reay, and I truly connect on a spiritual level. Butts aside, Nexus art cafe is a lovely place to hang out but if you walk through it you’ll get to Salford Zine library. Sit down, chill out and pick up one of hundreds of those homespun beauties. They’re not long to read, the room is peaceful and it’s nice to take a moment away from the bustling city and just get absorbed in reading for a while.

4. Travelling Man Comics, Dale Street

So Junk Shop, Nexus and Travelling Man are actually all next door to each other which makes them seem less like hidden gems and more like a fairly obvious goldmine. We’ve discussed before that I am a big nerd and love hanging out in comic book shops and this place is one of my favourites. Reason number one that it’s my favourite is because this is where I spotted copies of Butt Springsteen available to buy and reason number 2 is that it’s a lovely, welcoming place to be. I’ve had great conversations with shop staff where I didn’t feel like my nerd credentials were being questioned and they were genuinely helpful, interesting, lovely people. Oddly enough, that’s rare. They also keep a good stuck of Pusheen plushies and nobody could ever say that was a bad thing.

5. Fred Aldous, Lever Street

This is not just a really cool three floor art and crafts shop, of which one floor is just different kinds of paper. JUST PAPER! No, no, I also got asked to take an outfit picture there one time by a local blogger. YAS. Seriously though, anything you are into making, they will have the equipment to make it. I’ve been very tempted by resin kits, candle making, handbag supplies, leather working material, ceramic paints, crochet needles…. There is not enough time in the world for all of the hobbies I potentially could take up by just being in Fred Aldous for too long. They also have a lasercutting lab and a photography studio downstairs! It’s basically a really good hub for a creativity and you will totally find 94824013 new hobbies just by being there.

Other honourable mentions: Home Sweet Home, Oklahoma and the strange little General Store on Edge Street that has all of their stock beautifully arranged in a Wes Anderson fashion.

Apologies for the lack of posts lately, I’ve been viciously applying for jobs!! No luck so far…

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.