Sunday 2 November 2014

My Homework - Halloween at Home

I go crazy with the Halloween shopping every year, but this year it was slim pickings - and also I didn't have as much time to shop, so my contribution to this year's Professor Z Homework assignment is very small.

I did however find one cool thing in an unexpected place. In the pet section at poundland I found these fleece blankets with spider and bat designs:

I brought 4 - 2 bat and 2 spider ones. They are really quite small so I really want to make them into a patchwork throw. I already have a black fleece blanket and some leftover purple fleece (somewhere in a box...), so I just need to buy a small amount of white fleece fabric and then I will try be able to start stitching.

This is my design, please ignore the MS Paint drawing! The spotted bits are the pattern fleece blankets.

Hopefully it will be ready for next Halloween!

Witchy fun!

Sorry for another long absence, I've been doing so many things lately.

Did I mention that I got a paid internship? I've transferred to working at the Museum Collection Centre for the next 6 months, I was asked to write a blog post about my first week by the uni. If you are interested, you can read that here =]

Another of the things I was busy with was launching my academic blog,, which I hope you'll all check out =]

I hope my Halloween outfit will make up for being away a little.

What I'm wearing:

Blouse: West One £2.50 via charity shop
JSK: Infanta £25 via egl-comm-sales
Tights: Claire's Accessories. I've had them since I was 15 lol
Bow: Handmade
Boots: New Look
Wristcuffs: Atellier Pierrot £20 at enchanted
Petticoat: ebay
Earrings: Claires and handmade.
Bag: Harry Potter Sorting Hat bag. I got it in a charity shop last year and planned the whole outfit round it's colour scheme.
Hat: Heavily modified Peacocks hat. It was £4. I took the sparkly frill off and added lace to hide the hot glue. I transferred it to a larger hairband because the kid's size one was digging into my head. I also stitched the cone into a crumpled shape and added the bat charm.

I'm going to try to do another blog post tonight too for The Professor Z's homework!

Monday 1 September 2014

Skulls and Roses

It seems I'm getting into a habit of planning an outfit on Sunday to wear on Monday, which is nice because it means I wear more interesting combinations from my wardrobe at least once a week (partly making up for having to now spend two days in YELLOW work uniform).

Today's outfit is based around this dress, which I got ages ago and don't wear very often. I find it hard to coordinate because of the shape - it's too narrow to wear with my usual a-line skirts, and slightly too short to feel decent on it's own. I have featured it on the blog before here, but I didn't actually dare leave the house in that outfit! I wanted to find something to do with it though because the print is so much fun.

Here's what I came up with:

 Some close-ups:

Sorry again about the lighting and the photo quality - I did try to clean the mirror but it's old and some of the silver backing has rubbed away!

What I'm wearing:
Dress: Topshop £10
Skirt: It's actually my velvet one, from Next, usually a corpgoth staple for me.
Jacket: Discount shop on my local high st plus lace added by me, featured many times before
Tights: £3 brought from Lizzie who had 2 pairs the same
Boot Covers: Present from Auntie Pam with lace added by me.
Boots: Doc Martins, with skull flock pattern, £90 in the sale
Accessories: Red bows from my Meta velvet skirt, Grey bow made my me for my enchanted outfit, flowers all H&M. The 'necklace' is a piece of lace I tied round my neck - I want to make chokers with this lace on them - so it's a 'does this itch?' test! 

I quite like it, although it's very odd to wear so much colour! I certainly look eccentric but I'm not sure it can be goth with so little black, even with skulls, bones and roses all over it... What do you guys think? 
Do you like to step out of your comfort zone with clothes sometimes?

Monday 11 August 2014

Of Absences and Employment

First of all I have to apologise for being away so long! I have been meaning to take outfit photos and write posts, but working 7 days a week (even if those work days are short) was far less manageable than I had hoped.

I started my new jobs on my 24th birthday (in April) and other than 1 week of annual leave (when I traveled to Yorkshire to visit my mum and go to a meeting with a fellow academic) I have been working every day since. It was tiring, never having any down time, always having to get up to an alarm, getting buses every day (sometimes 2 buses or a bus and a train in each direction). I have a confession to make, I started grabbing clothes pretty much at random from the clean washing pile (thank you so much Ash for keeping on top of the washing), thinking only of how weather appropriate they were and feeling pampered if I managed to find time to shave my legs once a fortnight!

I used a lot of my time in the evenings to fill in job applications and do research for the local history group and tried to stay on top of my PhD reading on quiet days at work. Luckily for me, the job applications have paid off and I've landed another part-time museum job! But 'Wait!' I hear you cry, 'How does having MORE jobs help? Wasn't 3 enough?!'. The new job is only two days a week but the museum has longer opening hours, so I do 15 hours over 2 days. This means I can cut down to 6 days a week, and eventually down to 5 days a week (I'm needed more during the summer holidays). Hallelujah! Also this job isn't seasonal so I won't be completely unemployed in November!! I also have an interview in September for a paid internship which would be a big step forward in my career =]

I celebrated my first real day off yesterday (Sundays are my new day off) by lounging around in bed for hours, watching bad TV and FINALLY putting my clean washing away. Such luxury. I even planned an outfit for today =]

Here's the outfit:

I was working with the local history group this morning, and they are completely used to my odd clothes, so I could dress how I liked.

I forgot my camera so please excuse the phone camera pics. The light in my room at dad's isn't great either. Do you like my glow in the dark skeleton friend? I have 3 on different mirrors around my room =]

What I'm Wearing:
Leggings: Carousel Ink on Etsy (reducing to $25 due to one leg being an inch shorter than the other)
Bloomers: Bodyline £11.65 (yen trick + free shipping sale)
Blouse: Miss Selfridge via charity shop £4.50
Waistcoat: Dorothy Perkins via charity shop - I've lost track of what I paid for each faintly identical black waistcoat but it was probably around £3
Boots: New Look £20
Pentagram Necklace: Alchemy Gothic, present from my brother
Poison Bottle Necklace: Claire's accessories, present from my friend Bethany

Feels so good to look and feel more like myself again. Also I tidied my room at dad's as well so I now have order and serenity wherever I stay! The photos were taken after I found the floor under the piles of paper but before I put my 'bedtime reading' stack of books back on the shelf! What do you like to do on your days off  to pamper yourself?

I hope you are glad to see me back, I've missed reading all your blogs! I promise it won't be as long before my next post!!

Sunday 20 April 2014

Cat Tights!

So since I last posted I've completed my job training for the museums, endured turning 24 (nice family meal and presents though) joined a gym (to use the swimming pool) and survived my first week of working 3 jobs. I've had a wonderful time although I'm really tired! I've been a bit too rushed in the mornings to take photos of my Goth in the 'Office' clothes, but I promise I'll take at least one this week.

Instead here is the outfit I threw together when I woke up from a nap I wasn't supposed to be having and realised I was late to meet my friends at the pub for their birthdays (twins) on Saturday night. It's the result of a 5 minute mad dash around the bedroom. The photo isn't great but I didn't have time to take another one.

I really wanted to wear the Cat Tights I brought at Enchanted! I hadn't planned anything, so I made it up as I went along.

On closer inspection I realised the tights have grey stripes on the back, so I decided to have a go at wearing the same OP I wore to enchanted, but with different jacket and accessories. The jacket matched a little better in real life, the tights look a bit washed out here because of how bright the flash was! I had my hair half up with a black bow in the back because I REALLY can't do hair when I'm in a hurry!

I went for antique gold/brass toned jewellery, including a beautiful lace choker Flick and Ed got me for my birthday, added the star brooch to go with the tights and the cat too (although I wish it wasn't silver for this outfit). I wanted to wear my pearl bracelet too, but I couldn't locate it quickly.

Here is a collage of close-up shots of the tights which show the true colour a little better. They are so detailed and fantastic. I think my favourite thing is the fact that they have cat feet on the bottom at the front and then on the sole of the foot there is a paw pad! So cute =]

What I'm Wearing:
Dress: Innocent World via egl-comm-sales
Jacket: From charity shop - originally brown but I dyed it black
Shoes: Deichmann, just got them for work with birthday money (£17.99)
Tights: Lilly via Lorina Liddell stall (available online here)

I'm still not very confident with matching colours, especially more than one at a time...The curse of a monochromatic wardrobe? It's fun to try though! How do you think I did?
Do you ever buy something new and then want to wear it the first chance you get, even if you haven't thought it through? Maybe it's just me... Patience is not my strong point!

I hope you all had a lovely Easter! I'm off to sleep now, but I'll try to post again next week!

Monday 7 April 2014

Enchanted Event

I attended Enchanted in London at the weekend - such a wonderful event. Got to see lots of friends and meet new people. I was in a fashion show too! I got an email about 10 days before the event to say that one of the models couldn't get a visa, and was I still free to do it. I jumped at the chance - despite being very scared about doing all the make-up and buying scary things like brown shoes!

In the end I didn't need the brown shoes, and a very kind lolita MUA helped me with the false eyelashes and retouching my lip gloss. My sister in law had helped me curl my hair too but in the end the designer had a wig for me for wear anyway. I really liked this wig - I want to buy one like it!

This is me on the cat walk!!! In cat tights hehe! (I couldn't resist buying a pair at the stall later on =])

(Photo taken from Lorina Liddell's twitter - follow the link on that post to their website)

None of my friends at the event recognised me under all of that make-up and hair! I put these photos up on facebook and even my own dad struggled to identify me!

(Photos taken by Hirokawa Yumi from Uplift Tokyo/Lorina Liddell, found here on their official tumblr)

Really had a lot of fun, although it was very surreal at times! Especially looking in the mirror and freaking out because the last time I had a fringe I was about 14! Maybe that's why no one recognised me, or maybe it's just that no-one really looks like themselves with this much foundation on! I've not done much facial make-up before but I think it looks OK, at least you can't see my spots!!

My co-ord for the rest of the event was very simple in comparison, but I was happy with how well my hair survived being unceremoniously shoved under a wig cap at the last second! Here are some photos Jing Li took of me and Lizzie =]. Those false eyelashes look a bit ridiculous without everything else to go with them, don't they!

All the models were really lovely and helpful and I had such a nice time seeing all of my lolita friends and meeting new ones too. I also brought a few goodies - I'll be posting about them soon! I'll be very busy for the next week though attending a friend's wedding and starting my new jobs, so you'll have to wait for a little while longer =]

Sunday 16 March 2014

New Job!

Sorry for not posting for a month, I've been mega busy...

One of the reasons for that is that I'm preparing to return to uni very soon, and I have to give a talk to my whole department a week after I get back =S, then I'm probably going to a conference a week later and giving a different talk there!

The other reason that I've been busy is that I applied for a new job, then I attended an interview day with group exercises and an interview panel. I'm immensely happy to say that I've got the job!

I'll be working for Birmingham Museums Trust in 2 of their historic properties!

Sarehole Mill
Sarehole Mill
(image source and info about Sarehole Mill here)

Aston Hall
Aston Hall
(image source and info about Aston Hall here)

The position is Visitor Service Assistant, which means I'll be doing a wide range of things including tours, 'gallery duty' (where you have to stand in one part of the museum to answer questions, assist people and make sure no one is trying to steal things!), working with school groups, working on reception and the shop and helping in the cafe. I'm working 11.45-4.30 6 days a week, my day off is Monday. I'm going to keep my other job with Moseley History Group too, so I'll be working 10.30-12.30 on a Monday. This means I'll be working a total of 27.5 hours a week, plus the 20 hours I'm supposed to put into my PhD. I think it'll be tough simply because I don't have a day off (unless I book holiday), but this job is an excellent opportunity for me to get experience of working in a museum and it's only until November, so maybe I can get something with less hours after that!

I was worried that this blog would get neglected but because I'm going to be so busy, but then I realised that I'm going to be working somewhere where it's safer/easier to wear pretty clothes and they have no dress code! I'm going to be able to wear nice things more often, which will definitely encourage me to blog more =]

Also I'm hoping that since by necessity i'll have to have a routine for getting my uni work done, so i'll have more of a clear idea of what free time I can work on DIY projects in, so hopefully I'll have more things I've made to show you all too!

Right now I'm very excited about the future! I hope you will all bear with me a little while I get settled in though; I start my new job on April 13th, so expect erratic updating until May!

Thursday 13 February 2014

Anya Jung Illustration

My lovely friend Anya, who is a supremely talented illustrator, is opening an Etsy shop selling prints and cards of some of her work! I'm so excited for her =]

I'm very proud to own one of her 'Once in a Blue Moon' prints. I've loved Anya's work for as long as i've known her (which is...oh my...10 years!), especially the black and white linework like this. Also it's a bear riding a penny farthing on a tightrope whilst wearing a top hat in the moonlight! How could such a whimsical image fail to make you smile?

If you'd like to see more, please check out her Etsy shop Anya Jung Illustration!

I'm currently on the hunt for a square frame to put this print in, so if anyone knows somewhere I can get them at a reasonable price, let me know!

Sunday 9 February 2014

What's In Your Suitcase? Conference Style

I recently attended a fabulous conference in Edinburgh on the subject of 'Death in Scotland; Medieval to the Modern' where I met loads of great people and learned so much.

I was travelling by train and only taking one small suitcase, to stay for a week, including 3 days of conference, one day exploring the city and 2 days fieldwork. The fieldwork clothes consisted of jeans, jumpers and thermals so I won't bore you with them, but here's what else I crammed into my case!
When I got to my hotel unpacked the case and laid each outfit out to make sure I hadn't forgotten anything.

Day 1

I spent the first day exploring Edinburgh. I visited Carlton Old Burial Ground, Greyfriars Kirkyard and the central library in Edinburgh.

Black Turtleneck: Miss Selfridge. Christmas Present from Mum
Black Waistcoat: Via a charity shop, I think it was around £3.
Red Velvet Skirt: Metamorphose Temps de Fille via egl-comm-sales. The bow is one of the detachable ones from the skirt.
I wore this with black tights, black boot covers and black DMs (good for muddy graveyards)

Day 2

The first day of the conference. I toned down a frilly lolita blouse by wearing it with a professional looking skirt. More velvet because it's was cold up there!

Black Blouse: RQ-BL from Sai Sai
Black Pinstripe Blazer: New Look
Black Velvet Skirt: Next
Also worn with black tights and black oxford shoes from Primark

Day 3
I decided that I could wear a more OTT skirt if I wore it with a simpler blouse, as long as I picked the  right one. The conference was held in the School of Divinity building, so I thought that the Churches on this one would go down well! I did get several compliments =]

(this photo refused to rotate the right way round, I have no idea why)

Black and White Stripe Blouse: Warehouse
Black Velvet Skirt with Church Embroidery: Handmade via egl-comm-sales
Jabot: From the RQ-BL blouse
Also with the same waistcoat as Day 1, more black tights and the same shoes.

Day 4
This outfit had to be both the most practical and the warmest because the conference ended with a  tour of Warrington Cemetery.

Black Peter Pan Collar Jumper: Muji, it was a present
Purple Velvet Skirt: I got this in a charity shop, several years ago in Weymouth
Purple Cardigan: H&M
Worn with 2 pairs of warm black tights, boot covers and my DMs.

I hung each outfit on one hanger (there were only 6) with another one for my petticoats and the final one for my coat etc.

(I don't know why these photos aren't rotating properly)

I needed a place to hang my hat, found a bulldog clip in my pencil case that was the perfect solution

(Argh! These pictures...)

I hope you enjoyed this look into my trip to Edinburgh! I'll post some photos of the beautiful graveyards soon.

Thursday 16 January 2014

Of self-doubt and looking for the courage to reach out for my dreams

Here's a wonderful Sylvia Plath quote from The Bell Jar:

“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”
This explains very well how I feel about life right now. All of my figs contain the same lifestyle (with a home and books and nice clothes and enough to eat) and relationship (with Ash), but the way of supporting myself financially in each is different. I'm scared to reach out for the fig I want though, just in case it's a figment (pun very much intended) of my imagination, and my fingers pass through as though it was as insubstantial as smoke. The fig I had intended to pick fell to the ground long before I was tall enough to reach it.
My new dream is a reaction to finding out that the 'safe' academic job I had envisagedprobably got axed in university cut-backs somewhere around the time I started my degree (hence the fallen fig), because I began my degree in 2008, just as the recession hit. This new dream might be an entirely unrealistic one, but it's impossible to tell, because no-one has tried it yet. I'd be a pioneer and that's scary. It would take a great deal of commitment, faith and hard-work.

I want to finish my PhD. I want to make a living for myself as a freelance historian and cemetery researcher. I want to market myself via a blog and social media and all the other wonders of the interneet, and raise awareness about the plight of historic cemeteries. I want to raise funds for restoration projects I could be employed in. I want to get involved with cemetery trusts/friends groups and preservation societies. I want to do genealogy research and local history projects. I want to take a Master's course in Human Osteology and work on rescue archaeology projects like crypt clearances. I want to do archival research or digitisation of cemetery records. I want to curate museum exhibits or exhibitions about funerary practice.
I WANT TO DO ALL OF THESE THINGS. Or at least as many are humanly possible! Can someone find me 3 extra hours in the day? Or the secret to immortality?

In some ways I've already taken the first steps on this road and that should give me more faith in myself, but there are days when I can't ever believe that I will finish my PhD, let alone get a job in a related field! Most days the idea of doing free-lance work of any kind fills me with so much dread that I just want to go back to bed and hide! What if I end up sponging off Ash and my parents for another 5 years because I can't support myself?

But I have to try, don't I?

It's that or give up on my PhD right now, before I waste another penny and go and get a full time soul-crushing office job...

I'm not going to lie, some days that seems like a very attractive option, especially when I feel like the fact I'm currently on a leave of absence is a sign of weakness and proves 'I can't hack academia', but then one of my friends reminded me that the last time I took a break from education was before I started school when I was 4, and that during my degree I didn't even take a proper holiday (I worked during all of them), and I felt a bit less guilty.

It's all a haze and whirl of emotion and self-doubt right now, but...

I've decided to try.

I'm posting this as a pre-emptive apology if my blog gets neglected over the next few months. I'll be busy trying to built a ladder up to the fig I'm dreaming of!