Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Floating like a butterfly, busy as a bee

I've had a hell of a 2016 so far, the high points have been high...Trip to Paris for research, getting more hours at work, exciting new projects, holiday with my boyfriend. And the low points have been soul crushing, included loosing 3 people I love in less than 6 months- my granddad in January, my nana in April and Marie, my dad's long-term girlfriend just last week.

I also got my bag stolen from the office at work, losing a uni library book, my passport, a notebook full of notes (mostly for freelance projects - which I had to redo unpaid), my trusty camera, and worst of all my netbook- my only computer, and a machine I hadn't backed up properly for a few months because of a fault with my external hard drive (lost on 27th April and I still wake up shaking or feel sick halfway through a conversation because I suddenly remember another file or fmily photo I've lost forever).

I'm slowly clawing my life back together, trying to finish some projects, groping around for time to pick others back up from where I dropped them, helped by 6 months off uni to redo lost thesis work. Most of the time though I feel like I'm cut adrift, floating above my own life and unable to regain control - every time I almost figure it out, life blindsides me again - the laptop I borrowed breaks and I lose more work, or someone else is gone forever.

The next week is going to be insanely busy- clearing my office at uni (taking time out means losing my desk), my cousins wedding, a big event at work and I'll be house sitting for a friend- meaning a 2 hour commute each way, every day. The next couple of days I'm trying to get everything ready, and panicking a bit. I'm really glad I found time to make cards though.

I'm not sure how well it shows but I cut the outside of the frame with scissors which created a bevelled effect, and also scored some designs in from the reverse. The butterfly stickers don't quite correspond to real species, but the ones I've written underneath are pretty close.

One of these will be for Fathers Day- my dad has had an unbelievably tough few weeks, but watching the rare butterflies in his local park has been a big solace. The other card is for my best friends birthday tomorrow, last year we celebrated with a trip to a butterfly farm.

I hope to be back soon - hopefully with a proper camera for photos too! I miss you all dear readers.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Middle Earth Weekend 2015

I've been horribly absent from Blogger again, and I'm really grateful to still have my faithful friends following me. 2015 has been another crazy busy year - and based on the number of notes scribbled in my diary for next year already... 2016 won't be any different! There's a few important images from this year I'd like to post though, I'm going to try to make at least one more post before the end of the year too because I don't have them all yet.

I have been meaning to post these since September though so without further ado, here is some of the fun I had working at Sarehole Mill during Middle Earth Weekend!


My face is super goofy here, but never mind! We were encouraged to dress-up and get into the spirit of the event... Well, I think what really happened is, me and Stephenie told out boss 'We are going to be elves' and he didn't seem to mind.... So this was my outfit for serving tea and running around like a mad thing for two days.


Posting this picture too because this is me and Jo - who is works with us sometimes when we are super busy and need a hand. Funny thing is, we are both cemetery researchers called Josephine. She used to work at my university too - and people got really confused about it when I started my PhD because she'd recently left, so we never actually met until this year. She's super lovely and has helped me so much with my research - thank you Jo!

Outfit breakdown:
It's almost the exact outfit I wore here, minus some of the jewellery and belt, I added my elf hoody too and a leaf brooch I found in a charity shop during August for £2.99.

I spent about two weeks beforehand in a panic making elf and hobbit cloaks, crowns, wizard hats and even feet for the kids dressing up. We put a donation box above the costume rack and suggested 50p towards the upkeep of the building (because it's a free event), we made about £15, so the costumes have pretty much paid for themselves, and I've already patched them up for next year (and hopefully the year after). It was a lot of fun, but very tiring. Sometimes I wish museums had some kind of budget for events... Here are some detail shots.


Gandalf and Radagast hats - of course for copyright reasons I labelled them 'brown wizard hat' and
'grey wizard hat'


A wood elf style cloak and crown of leaves.


A high elf style cloak with a wire crown. That took me so long to make. It's literally two strips of jewellery wire I made into wavy shapes, then tied together using silver thread wound all the way round and round. I then carefully glued a tiny blue star sequin over every joint. It held together really well! It did get very very bent a couple of times though - so I'll have to redesign for next year!


This is the 'brooch' I made for the hobbit cloaks. They are felt, stiffened with card and embroidered with silver thread. They attached on either side of the collar with press-studs, so there were no pins!



The Hobbit feet! I made them using adult sandals, covered in fabric and faux fur so that they would be big enough for the kids to slip their feet into with shoes on. I made the toes from felt (with embroidered toenails) and filled them with cushion stuffing. I thought they were funny but my uncle said 'hobbit feet are hairy, not furry!' and maybe he's right, however the children had fun so I don't mind =]

All the staff got into the spirit!

Stephanie made this amazing Gate to Moria design to cover one of the walls in the mill.


My boss created a full Orc camp in the woodlands next to the millpond - complete with recently abandoned fire, strewn weapons, and body parts. We were very lucky to have two real Orcs come to join in the fun and bring it to life! I kept telling small children to go see the camp, thinking it was empty. They mostly came back in tears... The Orcs stayed in character ALL WEEKEND! I offered one of them a cup of tea and he growled 'MANFLESH!' at me and left!


I'd been waiting to cut my hair for donation again, for the whole summer so that I could look more elfin! I feel this was somewhat above and beyond the call of duty! I've had long hair my whole life (with the exception of my last donation cut), but it got to a length that started to annoy even me! I should have had a trim to get rid of the split ends at least!

This is what it looked like just before Ash's sister cut it for me.


The bottom three inches were trash, so we trimmed them off. Then the next 12 inches of hair were cut off for donation, just like last time. I was really happy to be able to donate more hair this time! Last cut was only 8.5 inches =]

This is how it looked after the cut:


Sorry for the lack of makeup and sunburned face!

The last couple of months have been my own personal torture - in my enthusiasm for donating a whole foot of hair I cut my hair shorter than last time. So short in fact that I couldn't even plait it! Completely drove me up the wall until I worked out ways of getting it out of my face - especially during fieldwork. I'm rocking tiny messy 90's buns A LOT at the moment. I should really learn to do hair at some point - when it was long I could get away with just plaiting it everyday! I probably won't learn to do my hair for the foreseeable future though... I am 25 and I just finally got a 3 step skincare regime, THREE days ago. I'm just really busy all the time with my PhD and working 2 jobs, soon to be 3, possibly 4, plus teaching and more volunteering... Therefore I am not the best at looking after myself. That's also why I don't update here very often anymore - if I manage to wear one outfit that isn't jeans and a jumper in a month I'm doing well! I spent the entirety of the rest of September and October preparing for Halloween - I'll post pictures when my dad sends them to me...

How do you guys keep up self-care when you are busy?

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Channeling My Inner Susan

Susan Sto-Helit that is.

Yup, today I feel like I've somehow captured the aesthetic of Death's Granddaughter - especially of her adventures with Quoth the Raven! It's a sort of gothy governess look, because Susan discovers that 'Getting an education was a bit like a communicable sexual disease. It made you unsuitable for a lot of jobs and then you had the urge to pass it on. She'd become a governess.' (The Hogfather by Terry Pratchett). I've never seen the TV version of The Hogfather, but in my head, this is pretty close to how Susan looks. Although of course I'd need white hair with a black streak in it to really match, and my hair should also form a neat bun at will- something my hair stubbornly refuses to do - hence a french plait...

This outfit was worn for lunch and shopping with friends, which was a lovely antidote to the hectic time we've been having at work preparing for Middle Earth festival this weekend. I'll post pictures from that soon though because I'll be wearing fun things and I've made all sorts of children's dressing up clothes - including two pairs of hobbit feet!!

My hair is a bit messy and my makeup is rather tired in this photo because it was taken AFTER coming home, which you could probably tell from the horrible amount of flash used!




Outfit rundown:
Jacket - Primark via charity shop while on holiday in Bournemouth £3.99
Blouse - Ebay - you've seen it before here.
Skirt - Restyle - it was a birthday present from my mum for my birthday in April but today is my first outfit with it.
Bag - Also Restyle - I got it for Enchanted a while back, and I don't think it's available anymore. Sadly the shades of grey are very slightly different and that annoys me more than it should...
Belt - I've been looking for an elastic belt with a silver buckle for ages (because I love my brass toned one so much but it doesn't go with everything) and finally got this one in a charity shop for £2.50 last week, so chuffed - searching endlessly finally paid off.
Shoes - Deichmann last year for work, I think they were about £15... Very similar to this pair, but with a simple silver buckle. They turned out to be too slippery for the floors at Aston Hall (400 years of feet achieve quite a polish), but they are really comfortable and go with a lot of things.
Hair bow - Claire's, with added brooch - I don't remember where this one came from... It may have been the Red Cross Shop? I have so many brooches now I'm loosing track...
Brooch on neck -  Another one I've lost track of... I've had it a while - I bet I could find out by checking my blog posts, but I'm lazy today.
Crow pin - RSPB stand for £1 donation - the man was really pleased that I wanted this one and the Magpie because 'they are under appreciated birds, the corvids, they don't get a lot of fans.'
Skull Earrings - Present from my colleague and friend Stephy, for no reason at all - wasn't that lovely? The pair in my second holes are tiny silver mice I got in Bournemouth, but I missed them out of the close-up photo. We'll pretend they are Rats to stick with the Susan theme though =P
Tights - One of my pairs of trusty thick black cotton ones - Primark or M&S kidswear for sure.

Do you guys ever wear something and look in the mirror and realize you look like a fictional character? Or have you ever deliberately create a look inspired by one?

I think I'll re-read The Hogfather until bedtime! Goodnight all!

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Something witchy this way comes

My lovely friend Anya arranged for us to do an room escape/locked room mystery challenge for her birthday, and although I was really tired from work I wanted to dress up for seeing my friends and having fun.

The weather has been really rubbish for the time of year, cold and kind of rainy, and so I wanted something with layers so I wouldn't have to wear a coat - because that's just sucks in August. I already wear my winter coat for at least 8 months of the year. In the end I based my entire outfit around a jersey dress, which I got a couple of years back in H&M pretty cheap - it's a hi-low hem which is tricky for me because the front is a fair bit shorter than skirts I usually wear. I'm not sure if it's shrunk since I brought it, or I've just gotten even less comfortable with my legs! A few times I've put another skirt underneath, but this time I put a skirt over instead. I don't like the waistband on that skirt so I added a belt, then threw together things which seemed to match - I didn't have a lot of time to get ready. I think the overall look is kind of witchy and fun - I guess all the dark mori and strega looks I've been seeing on my tumblr dash lately have been swirling around in my brain. I'm a sucker for adding a bit of magic to the mundane world!

Sorry for the photo quality - it's taken with my phone in the mirror at Wagamama where we had dinner after failing to escape (by about 4 minutes - we were kicking ourselves sooooo badly when we worked it out)! Yuuummmmyyy! I'm kind of glad it's not better quality though because I looked so tired and washed out!


Outfit rundown:
Dress:
H&M £9.99
Lace skirt: I don't know the brand because I cut the lining out after I found it in a charity shop pretty cheap.
Crop waistcoat: h&M £2.99 in the sale about 10 years ago. It's falling apart and I can't button it up over my boobs anymore, but it's too cute to give up on. I'll patch it up at some point.... I think it works open for extra detail to outfits anyway.
Belt: My primark one that I use for everything
Wristcuffs: Atelier Pierrot £20 at Enchanted. Extra lace is always good right?
Jewellery: I wore two necklaces - the lace choker was a present from my friend Felicity and I also wore a pocketwatch on a long chain from my friend Meera, who also gave me the dangly Cthulhu earrings on a different occasion. I also wore stud earrings that my lovely boyfriend Ash gave me.
Bag: Primark satchel, £10 ish. This is the second one I've brought because the clasp broke on the first one after a year or so- but I'm going to reuse the strap for a DIY project. The style of clasp on the new one seems more durable. There's a scarf covering most of the bag in this photo, which I brought in case it got EVEN colder - it's a lovely light infinity scarf with a lace panel - was a present from Natalie a few years back.
Hair: I quickly twisted some of my hair back on one side and plaited some on the other, then added some roses and a bow to keep them in place. The bow was from Claire's, the roses were from a local high street discount shop I think. These kind of hairstyles always remind me of my hippie youth, and also of elves for some reason.
Shoes: These are work shoes I got last summer and they used to be super comfy, but they have gone a bit funny as they've started to wear out. I really need a new pair, but shoes that fit are so hard to find. I wanted flats for comfort yesterday, but I forgot that the lace skirt would catch on the buckle bit which was annnoying. At least I don't have to worry too much about it ripping though because really strong it's pretty much full of holes anyway so the extra ones don't show (it had a few holes already when I brought it). I loved this outfit, it was so comfortable and striking. I'll probably wear something similar again soon, but maybe try to incorporate another colour too to vary things more.

Has anyone else done a locked room mystery/escape challenge before? We tried this one. I thought it was really fun - but the decor was very basic and it was confusingly arranged (we wasted almost half our time trying to solve the second lock, because a clue for it was given straight away but not everything we needed to solve it, whereas the clue for the first lock was much much more subtle). There's a few other similar attractions in the city which have opened recently though, so we might try one of the others soon! I'd like to try Dr Wilson's Office, my taxi driver on the way home recommended that location - but he'd done the Room 13 one which sounded waayyy too gorey for me!

Friday, 24 July 2015

Holiday time!

Sorry I've been away for a little while again. I had a few days off work and visited Bournemouth with friends! I'm afraid I don't have any pictures of the town because I was too busy having fun! We ate a lot of good food and did some shopping. We also visited the Russell Cotes museum - which is housed in an incredible building. They also had a Mucha exhibition on, I was so happy!!

I tried to wear fun clothes on holiday so I'd have lots of outfit posts for my blog, but I completely forgot to take photos. In fact this is my only outfit snap! Ironic because it's taken in a dark room rather than a sunny beach!!


This picture was taken in the dressing room at White Stuff, just before I tried on a blouse - which fitted  really well. I'm hoping to wear it tomorrow in fact =] luckily it was in the sale too!

Outfit rundown
Dress - I got this in a vintage shop in the oasis markets in Birmingham, about 6 months ago. I haggled and got it for £15. I reaaaalllyy love the fabric.
Cardigan - It's an old New Look one. I like the tiny pockets and slight puff sleeves =]
Peter pan collar - it's a detachable one, also New Look, pretty old now so some of the pearls are loose.
Leggings - they are white fishnet with lace at the bottom - I got them on holiday in Weymouth in a shop called Limelight... about 10 years ago. They have a lot of loose elastic threads in the cuffs now, but they are so useful for warm weather and I have no idea where I'd buy anything similar today!
Socks - Primark £2 - the lace is falling off after only 2 washes, but I can easily sew them up.
Shoes - Converse - they were a present from my mum a couple years back. The shade of grey is slightly paler than the dress which is annoying me more than it should
Hair - white ribbon and a grey/black flower £1 in a high street discount shop
Necklace - Curiology bat cage design - it was a surprise gift from my friend Holly - she sent me a care package when I was ill a few months ago. Aren't I lucky?! The necklace isn't actually this long, but I liked the look, so it's safety pinned to my dress and hidden by the collar!
Petticoat - I have a very light petticoat underneath.


I hope you are all having a lovely summer! Don't make my mistake and take lots of photos!!

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Light and Airy

We have had some nice weather recently, so when I'm not wearing my work uniform (this one is royal blue - not quite so bad as the yellow), I've been trying to wear floaty things and light layers.

This is a bit a of a different look for me - because it feels a bit Edwardian or even 1920's style. I even thought the bloomers with a baggy dress belted at the waist looked a bit like early 20th century bathing costumes. This is a dress I got in a sale and dyed black a while ago - I'm sure I've shown it before. This time, I wanted to draw out the stitching colour by wearing it with cream. I picked the tights and built everything else from there.


Outfit rundown:
Dress: H&M dyed by me
Bloomers: bodyline
Tights: brought from a friend
Lace bolero: Forever 21
Dragonfly brooch: from Whitby present from mum
Belt: it's two bits of ribbon - one cream and one peachy pink, from my stash
Pearls: from my friend Miriam, she got them in China =]
Bracelets: New Look and Primark
Flowers: H&M
Hairband: Discount store on the local high street £1.99

My hair was being uncooperative as unusual, so my bun was messier than I would have liked but otherwise I'm quite happy with this one =]

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Missing Out

Once again I have been away for a very long time, I never meant to be gone for so long. I've been working so much, doing so many other projects, that I've really missed out on what's been going on in the blogosphere!

I haven't had much time to look after myself either. I fell back into my habit of just grabbing some clean clothes of the pile and being as comfy as possible. I got the internship I mentioned last year and it was completely amazing, but as it was a museum store I spent a lot of time wearing steel toe cap boots, jeans and warm jumpers! I had to blog about my experiences a little - you can read about it, here, here and here. That last link includes a photo of me looking especially glamourous!!!

I tried to round up outfit photos taken since my last blog at Halloween but I hardly found any. Even when I've managed to dress up nicely I haven't taken many photos! I think this is partly because I'm unhappy with the way I look at the moment - it's probably not very noticeable to anyone else but I'm out of shape - I've been eating junk and sleeping badly and it shows. I'm a little heavier than I'd like around the tummy and my skin is dreadful.

Here's the pictures I did find:



This was a trial run I did of an outfit for the Tea Party Club Calendar - 12 of the lolita comms in the UK each submitted a group photo for one month. The Midlands girls were given June so we wanted something of a picnic theme! A little hard to arrange with a winter photoshoot. We all tried to wear something food themed! In my case this was HARD. So this was my first attempt at Sweet Lolita. In the finished version have a cupcake on my necklace, an ice cream brooch and a teacup on the pink bag I made to match the outfit! I also made some pink bows too to better match my tights =] Because of the short notice, not many members of the comm could make it to the photoshoot, but it was a lot of fun anyway!

Outfit rundown
Grey and white stripe skirt: Metamorphose temps de fille, brought second hand, featured before
Grey and white stripe blouse: Miss selfridge via charity shop, featured several times too
Black pinafore dress: Miss selfridge - another old favourite
Pink tights: Primark
Boots: New Look
Wrist Cuffs: Atelier Pierrot, I got them at Enchanted
Necklace: Past times, with cupcake charm from Enchanted raffle
Headband: Primark with added pink bow
Ice cream brooch: present from my half-brothers mum =]
Other accessories: made by me.


The next outfit photo I found was one I had obviously planned to post. This was taken in January this year - It was the outfit I wore for a Saturday dong research in the library.



Outfit rundownDress: Primark, it was one of their pricier items - cost me a whole £10!
Turtleneck: New Look £9.99
Tights: probably primark or H&M
Belt: Primark - you've all seen in before.
Necklace: Present from Flick and Ed for my Birthday last year
Hair flowers: H&M

Then there is a gap - despite attending a couple of lolita meets and wearing some nice outfits for conferences, interviews and meeting friends, I didn't photograph any of them =[

I gave a talk on Death in Art for an exhibition in the Coffin Works Museum on the 6th June. Which also happened to be International Lolita day! This is what I wore:



Outfit rundown:
Blouse: Ebay - it was really cheap - I think about £4, but it did arrive very dusty so I wouldn't recommend the seller (it washed out OK though)
JSK: Funeral Procession of the Rose by Alice and the Pirates. I brought it new (my only new brand piece)
Tights: They were a Christmas present from my mum
Boots: New Look
Hair band: Ebay
Flowers: H&M and Claires
Necklace: New Look £8

I'm hoping to dress up nicely more now I've changed my job slightly - I'm working 5 days a week instead of 6 in the holidays and only weekends in term time. Best part is, it's a permanent contract!! I am so happy to have more job security - I love working at museums, but seasonal contracts suck!

I had better start making myself some dinner - trying to eat more healthily too, maybe I'll be happy with my skin again soon!