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Friday, 28 November 2014

Claudia's Story by Ashley Marie Witter / Anne Rice

For my birthday I received this stunning comic adaption of Interview with the Vampire from my grandparents. Can I just say now, that this is the most beautiful graphic novel or manga that I've ever read! Everything about it was so wonderfully executed, and the artist's style is absolutely gorgeous!

From the illustrations, to the (of course, as it was written by Anne Rice) brilliant story, and even the presentation of the book itself was excellent; a sleek, hardback book with a blood red dust jacket.

The drawings are done on a pale sepia background that is textured, almost although aged with time, in monotone shades with the frequent splattering of red blood. Naturally, there are many chrysanthemums included throughout the pages - one of the symbols fans associate with Claudia. The endless reams of delicate, intricate clothes and bonnets and jewellery are a pleasure to look at, and honestly, I think I may have drooled once or twice... In literally every couple of pages, Claudia has a change of wardrobe, and every time I am left amazed and incredibly envious of both the artist's talent, and Claudia's own wardrobe!

I have no holes to pick whatsoever in this adaption of the story, as it was just flawless, giving details about Claudia's innermost feelings that the book did not reveal, as it was all from Louis' point of view. The language was dead on, and everything about it - including the eloquent tone - was just perfect.

This book would make a beautiful edition to any Vampire Chronicles lover's bookshelves. I just love it; 10/10! 

Monday, 24 November 2014

Luna, my new kitten!

My uncle's cat had unexpectedly given birth to a litter of kittens, so as he was having trouble finding homes for the kitties, my family decided to get one for my younger sister. I just thought I'd show her off on my blog because she's so darn adorable!

Abi decided to call her Luna after Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter, but I liked it also because of Luna the black cat from Sailor Moon! Luna is settling in well - and surprisingly I'm not having any allergies - but is rather wary of my big silly dog, Indy, who only wants to have a sniff at her. But I'll really feel sorry for her when Cleo comes to visit!

Sewing: Pink and White Bloomers

As I'm currently looking to boost my sewing skills at the moment (and because I've decided that I have enough ill-fitting brand in my wardrobe!) I've decided to sew some Lolita items, starting with the iconic undergarments first; bloomers!

I used a Simplicity pattern, called Arkivestry 2777 to create these bloomers out of pure white cotton and two types of pink ribbon, plus broderie anglaise lace with a ribbon motif.

I've never had bloomers before, and they're not so hard to make, so it was a very pleasant experience for me!

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Leave it to Psmith by P.G. Wodehouse

Here is another really funny, brilliant Blandings novel by P.G. Wodehouse! I have to admit, this series is growing on me really fast, especially the character of Lord Emsworth! In this particular book we can expect more dark plots - this time to steal a necklace from Lord Emsworth's sister, Lady Constance - many strangers and imposters on the grounds of Blandings Castle, and doubtlessly, plenty of silliness.

Another character was introduced in this book, Psmith - with a silent 'P'. He seems very confident (except for when the dreaded topic of fish is introduced) and amiable, even going so far as to put an add in the papers for any kind of job, hence the title of the book. At first I found him very agreeable and funny, especially the way he goes off on a tangent about every single subject, so people have to tell him to shut up most of the time - but after a while, his chattiness can seem a little bit irritating, especially where Eve Halliday is concerned.
He is completely in love with her, but because of his rather large ego - in my opinion - seems to go a bit far, just like Freddie Threepwood, in proposing to her. They make a nice couple when Eve finally gives in to all his proposals, probably like most girls in the early 20th century, and I think he would be a lovely husband, I just think that some aspects of their relationship was a tad forced; especially where Psmith impersonates a guest of the castle just so he could chase after her and see her more often, as he knew she was working there... Plus, at one point Eve breaks in to his house because she suspects he stole the diamond necklace (which she was actually trying to steal for the same reason as Psmith; to help the same friend!) and completely tears the whole cottage apart looking for the thing, as well as coming across as very hostile towards him. And when he finds her there... which was a very scary moment for a usually light-hearted P.G. Wodehouse novel... he points a revolver at her, terrifying her half to death, as well as poor love-struck Freddie hiding up in the attic!

Lady Constance Keeble was also introduced in this novel, and I didn't think she was so bad until I watched the Blandings TV series with Jennifer Saunders as an actress; she is very scary then! I do feel sorry for her that her necklace was stolen from her, even though it was to raise money for her family member to own a farm with her husband, as Constance previously refused to support her because of said husband. Also, through this novel, I find that my opinion of Baxter was quite justified; he is annoying in this novel, also, to the point where Lord Emsworth and Psmith thought he had gone mad.

Overall, I thought the second book in the Blandings series was fun and entertaining, even with some suspense in places, but next time I would like to see a more different plot line, as in the previous book something was stolen also...

Saturday, 22 November 2014

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Although I absolutely adore the Victorian period of English history and own many books about the Victorians, usually I find it hard to read books written during that time, as the language is sometimes difficult to understand as it's very different to what writing styles are like nowadays... Surprisingly, this was not the case, and I absolutely adored this novel by Charles Dickens! The language was straightforward enough for me to read without getting a headache, and the story was a lot more interesting than I had been expecting. In fact, it has made its way into my list of favourite books!

We were studying the novel for English Literature in my school, so that's where I was told to read it, as there's no reason why I would read a "Christmas" novel in the middle of November. Still, it was most enjoyable, and more of a morality tale, and even a ghost story, really. Dickens was renowned for writing books about the awful conditions the poor people suffered as a result of the rich Capitalists, as he himself had suffered a terrible childhood full of poverty. So we got to learn about the background of the story, as well as looking into the staves in great detail, analysing every little detail about how Scrooge is changing over the course of the book. 

Scrooge is a miserable, selfish old man who lives alone and keeps every penny to himself; he hates Christmas and detests the poor, saying that if they were going to die, then let them do it and "decrease the surplus population"... He was a terrible man that had no compassion at all, and was often described as having hard, cold features, but after terrifying, enlightening visits from four spirits, he changes his attitude for the better and becomes a truly wonderful, happy, caring man.

Some parts are really frightening, some are terribly sad - namely where Scrooge becomes aware of all the mistakes he made and breaks down crying - but at the end of the book I am left feeling very touched, as well as a lot more knowledgeable about just how hard it was being a Victorian person living in poverty. I had watched the Jim Carey version of the film when it first came out in the cinema, which was brilliant, but I think you should really read the book, too, to get a feel for Victorian literature.

I know Scrooge was at first perhaps the most contemptible character ever written about (except for Voldemort, maybe...) but I find him incredibly fascinating. He must be one of my favourite characters too, as he is so deep and complex, which contributed to the awful personality he gained over all those years. However, it gives me a LOT to analyse - which I like to do - so I found him very interesting. His past is very intriguing, and so is his completely wrong view of live, in my opinion. Even through his bitterness, even when he was feeling complete terror, in a way he was rather amusing, with a lot of character. "There's more a gravy than a grave about you," made me laugh, as he was in denial about Jacob Marley's apparition. And when he gradually changes through the course of the book, I'm so happy that he finds happiness and joy, as well as a love for Christmas and compassion towards all the poor, especially the Cratchits. He is truly wonderful when he changed, almost as jovial as Father Christmas himself!

My favourite scene was where Scrooge had just gotten home from work and was about to settle down for the evening, when he gets a warning from his old friend and partner, Marley. Scrooge can't believe that the ghost is real, so he has a conversation with the ghost about not believing in him. The part where Marley drags himself, wrapped in heavy chains, throughout Scrooge's dark, empty house created an incredible tension for the reader, and my heart actually started beating faster when I read it! Also, in Stave 1, I enjoyed the part where Marley flies back out into the night through Scrooge's window, where Scrooge suddenly becomes aware of all the spirits in the world and how they're all tied down by chains. It was a really spooky moment, especially as I was listening to Sonata no. 2 in b. flat minor, OP. 35, Grave "Funeral March" by Chopin at the same time!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Today's Co-ordinate, Lovely Sweet Room!

Blouse: Dorothy Perkins
JSK: Lovely Sweet Room - Baby the Stars Shine Bright
Cloche: John Lewis
Corsage: Josy Rose
Tights: black with small white polkadots
Mary Janes: H! by Henry Holland
Handbag: Universal Studios

I hoped that the outfit would count as Casual Lolita with a vintage 1920s twist with my hat and old horror movie handbag. 

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Hyper Japan 2014

My sweet co-ordination
 My dad took my sister and I to the Hyper Japan Christmas Market in London this week, which was absolutely amazing! The only bad thing was that we had to get up at half four in the morning to catch the train (meaning I had to get ready on the train, and forgot my headbow), and that I unfortunately agree with Lord Emsworth about London; it's far too busy. However, we only had to join a very short, fast moving queue, so that was good.

I had fun Christmas shopping for my friends and family, buying my own Christmas presents (even an adorable Angelic Pretty handbag from the Dreamy Bows stall, a lolita sewing book, and the Black Butler art book!), people watching, drinking Japanese soda, seeing all the interesting fashion trends and looking at cute girls.

I saw quite a few other lolitas, and some of them even complimented me and asked where I got my dress from! Another kind lolita girl was asking me if I go to any meetups, and telling my dad how to sign me up to a local community in Lancashire. Plus, some other ladies who weren't lolita told me they liked my outfit, which made me very happy!

For my two school friends, Wendy and Sarah, I purchased two small plushies; a rainbow alpaca for Wendy, seeing as she's in love with rainbows, and a red-eyed bunny for Sarah. There were so many other adorable things I wanted to get people for presents, but by that time my money had run out...

There were lots of stalls for everyone, really; stationary, cakes, Japanese food, Lolita accessories, clothes that somebody like Yolandi Visser would wear (I can't remember the style name, but it was cute), kimonos, books, manga, plushes, Lolita clothes/bring-and-buy, nintendo games, and even a weapons stall! It was all very interesting. I got to see a martial arts demonstration and a beautiful Sailor Moon art exhibition, which got me interested in beginning the series - especially seeing as there looks like there is some shoujo-ai involved with Sailor Uranus and her girlfriend!

I wore:

Blouse: Baby, the Stars Shine Bright
JSK: Shirring Princess - Baby, the Stars Shine Bright
Headbow: Baby, the Stars Shine Bright
Socks: Baby, the Stars Shine Bright
Necklace: Miniature doughnut pendant
Shoes: Lonna Mary Janes - Hush Puppies
Handbag: Universal Studios.

Gorgeous cupcakes!
  When we were done at Hyper Japan we got the tube to Piccadilly Circus and saw the sights. Then we went to Liberty to buy some fudge for my mother, and then to Hamleys to get a present for my younger brother. Sadly, they couldn't come with us, as Luke was feeling ill with a high temperature, and it would have made him much worse to drag him around London for 16 hours. Also, we went to see all the poppies at the Tower of  London, which was a unique experience.

Traditional food stalls
Japanese sodas - I had the watermelon flavour.

Sunday, 9 November 2014


Out of my birthday money I bought myself a mannequin, both for dress-making and displaying my lolita clothes! It's actually a really good way to add decoration to a room!

Elizabeth Rose Design

I've just been sooo busy at school and had no time to draw recently! This picture is a fashion design I made for Textiles at school, where the theme is "Japanese Street Style". Naturally I chose lolita!

These clothes and accessories are part of my "Elizabeth Rose" series, which contains a hard Victorian bonnet, a small velveteen cape, and a skirt.

Inspiration is placed around the Queen of England, as research tells me that British things are a source of inspiration for Lolita designers in Japan.

My colour scheme is grey and white, monotone colours, to create more of a mature, sophisticated side to a fun and alternative, upbeat fashion. Also, it represents the colours of diamonds bathed in light, seeing as the Diamond Jubilee was not so long ago. The decoration is mainly sparse, for elegance and simplicity.
I've already made the bonnet and am going to make the skirt for my GCSEs. I went easy on the frills, because, well, school... 

The rose fabric I manipulated onto the skirt belongs to IKEA, as I did not draw it. And the croquis base is by Azute Thank you!