Monday, 22 December 2014

Help me choose my next pair of glasses! With a bit of a christmassy theme!

This week I have returned home to visit my parents and family over the Christmas season. Christmas always makes me feel super festive and I love the fact that it is the one time of the year I can wear red and green colour combinations.

(I'm also going to apologise upfront about my hair too. Its MASSIVE. Unfortunately this can't be helped sometimes...)

Now speaking of red and green, I've been wanting some red-ish glasses for some time and I've noticed that online retailer Specspost are doing some great coloured frames at the moment. Including some greens too! They're all very reasonably priced with most glasses between £12-30 including lenses. They are also having an advent calendar sale at the moment where you can get complete glasses for £12.99!!

The problem is that with so many options is that it is really difficult to choose just one pair. So really helpfully Specspost offer a home trial where you can be sent up to three pairs of glasses and then chose the best ones to keep (although they were really nice and sent me one extra to share with you!!).

So that's what I've done! I've picked mostly red hues but I did also go for one green pair so see how that would look. Please have a look and let me know which ones suit me best! 

First up I chose two frames from the colour collection and are a deep clear red. They are more of a typical geek style wayfarer frame, and not what I usually go for, but its always good to try new things. You can find them here.

I actually really liked this style. The frames were really comfortable and the frames were big enough that you didn't get red invading your peripheral vision.

Next, I tried the same style in a clear green. These glasses are insanely funky. I really like the colour, but I am worried that the colour is a little bit out there for my fashion choices. Or can I pull it off? I'm not sure. These specs are currently only £12.99 in the advent sale so its worth taking a look if you want a funky colour.

The third frame was also red and is called Bunting from the Ruby & Rose collection. I actually already have these glasses in blue rinse and although they are quite nice, I am not sure they are different enough from my usual glasses to take the plunge...

The last pair I was sent was Garter, also from the Ruby & Rose collection, and I went for this style because I have not tried a round frame before and I thought these looked really retro without being cats-eye. The exact colour was difficult to describe, a sort of redish burgundy, and I thought it was subtly festive.

So now I need to chose which pair of glasses I actually want to order. Its a really tough choice :(

I'd love to know which pair you think suits me best. Please comment and let me know - and you should totally check out Specspost I've not encountered such affordable glasses anywhere and they have really good options for customising lenses at really good prices.

So tell me, which glasses should I get?!?

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Why I love the Lily of the Valley Kitty dress from Vivien of Holloway

If you follow my instagram you will have certainly seen me in a Vivien of Holloway dress. They are one of my favourite vintage reproduction brands (although I must confess there are plenty of brands I haven't tried yet!) which is why I decided to get their Kitty dress for my graduation last summer.

Good ol' Viv then decided to remake the Kitty dress in a new, and I believe limited addition, range of fabric and I knew I had to have another Kitty. I decided to go with the gorgeous green Lily of the Valley print and I think I managed to snag the last one in my size as they are now out of stock in most of the sizes. Mind you there are plenty of other bloomin' gorgeous print dresses in the same style.
Trust me if I had all the monies I would have one in every colour!!

I ADORE this dress. Here are all the reasons why...

Pockets: It has huge roomy pockets for your gloves, trinkets, money and (in the winter) handkerchiefs. Meaning there is no need for a handbag. I love the freedom of a dress with pockets and when the print blends perfectly with the dress you simple can't go wrong.

Skirt: It has a super full gathered skirt with a length of 30 inches so it is perfect for dancing as the skirt won't swish up and for dressing with that mid-century modesty.

The fit: As with all Vivien of Holloway dresses, the fit is based on vintage patterns so the bust/waist/hip ratios are a better for someone with a 'vintage figure' (someone with more than 10 inches difference between their waist and hips). The 16 is perfect for my 30 inch waist and frankly enormous hips and I found that the bust was ample enough for my bust without gaping at the buttons.

Being a bigger girl (size 12/14/16 ish depending on the brand) I find Vivien of Holloway a magnificent way of getting vintage style clothing as I find to difficult to find genuine 40s/50s vintage in my size (just means I have to try extra hard).

The Print: Come on. It's beautiful. 'nuff said.

So yes I absolutely love this dress...

I also think my hair ended up looking pretty good this day. I bought some nylon scarves from Vintageous on youtube and they are a great vintage style hair addition. I'm so pleased that my hair is finally long enough at the front to roll. I much prefer my hair this way than with the fringe. Would you agree?

Dress: Vivien of Holloway
Necklace: Vintage
Shoes: Doc Martens

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Working with Worbla for a Marvel Black Cat mask

So one thing that I really love about cosplay, and I'm sure a LOT of cosplayers will agree with me, is the chance to learn new skills. I've learnt how to sew, how to style my hair, paint my face and more recently I've started to explore props. Up until now I've been working with craft foam a lot but I decided to take the plunge and invest in some Worbla's finest art.

If you're new to cosplay Worbla is a thermoplastic that can be heated and shaped using a hairdryer. It comes in big sheets that you can cut with scissors and it can be sanded and painted easily. Because of this it is becoming the craft material of choice for people making armour, masks, weapons and other replica cosplay items.

I decided to make something simple and useful for my first Worbla construction. A mask. I've dressed as the Black Cat before, but she is one of my favourite characters so I thought the chance to improve it a bit would be fun, that way I could make a fairly generic mask as a first project.

So I cut two pieces of the Worbla and stuck them together. I then heated them with the hairdryer to stick them togeher. Putting two pieces together means that it was a bit more sturdy and any of the overlapping edges can be sanded away pretty easily.

I then heated the mask again and placed it over my face (once it had cooled enough). Because the plastic is still soft you can press it against your skin and really shape it so that is snug.

I then spray painted the mask with an under coat of grey spray paint to fill gaps and smooth it out.

Then I coated it in matt black spray paint. I 'glued' the mask to my face using spirit gum, it really helped that the shape fit snugly to my face so I actually didn't need a lot of spirit gum.

And here is the finished thing, what do you think?

Here is a picture without the wig too so you can really see the shape of the mask.

Aaaaaaaand finally the shot after the mask removal... It left a horrible amount of gunk on my face that I then had to peel off, sort of felt like I was painlessly peeling pieces of skin off. A very odd sensation indeed.

Do you think you would try making some props out of thermo plastic? I can highly recommend it!

Friday, 5 December 2014

Lates at Life and a costume inspired by Magenta from Rocky Horror

Howdy everyone!

Waaaaay back around Halloween (where did November go?!) I went to a Late event at the Centre for Life in Newcastle. I used to work there and worked a couple of the late events back in the day so I know how much fun they can be and I really wanted to see the exhibition they have going on right now so it was a double bonus of awesome.

Because it was Halloween it was also a dress up event and as I was travelling light visiting home I decided to work on a variation of my Wednesday Addams dress that I featured in this post.

I changed it up by adding a retro style apron to make it into a sort of retro-chic version of Magenta from Rocky Horror (although Rocky Horror is pretty retro...). I used face paint for paleness and I curled my hair, although it was a bit damp so the fullness fell out pretty quickly :(

 We had a good opportunity to look around some of the exhibits (which had changed since I worked there) and we did get to look at the Body Worlds exhibit which was absolutely amazing! Although we were not allowed to take any pictures so sadly I can't share any images. Mind you the Bodyworlds exhibition has been extended so if you're in the North East it is well worth a look.

Being a Biologist I love getting my hand on a microscope.

And my favourite exhibit that I can share was this giant book showing the DNA sequence of the X chromosome. The idea is that each of those giant books is one piece of human DNA and you have all the books in every cell in you body. It really helps you to see how much information is carried in our bodies!

I also got my hands on a chalk board before the place got busy... heh heh... and since I've been obsessing over Sailor Moon Crystal I had to draw Sailor Moon. Not that she's very spooky.

 We also saw a planetarium show, which I can't show you either, but after that we finished there we got to prance around in a smoke machine while listening to some choice tunes.

Oh and here are a few extra shots of the outfit:

Dress: Vintage
Apron: Home made
Boots: Clarks (borrowed from my mother)

Friday, 28 November 2014

The Vivien of Holloway Runaround Sue - For Running Around Durham

I visited my family recently and had a lovely time. Living in the south of England so far away from my family in Durham I occasionally forget how lovely the North East is.

During my visit we all had a walk into Durham and my fantastic mother decided to take some photos!

My parents live about a 10-15 min walk from the very centre of the town and the walk involves a stroll through the wooded park area near the river. I love how green and lush it is despite the fact it was well into Autumn.

For a wander around town I decided to break out my Runaround Sue dress from Vivien of Holloway. Its a dress that I got on eBay in a lucky bid and I don't think the print is available any more - although the Runaround Sue shape is a long term staple of Vivien's stock.

If I'm honest, I'm a little bit in love with this dress. I feel that I would love to have it in every colour under the sun.

I could only take one coat home with me so I had to pick something universal. I went with a black princess coat that I picked up on ebay. It has a superb shawl collar that can be folded up into a hood (useful for the usually terrible weather in the north!) and its so warm. It didn't have a brand on it, but I know it is not vintage at all. Either way, its a current favourite.

Oh I love this view near the river!

We also had a frolic around Durham Cathedral. My mum had this bizarre obsession with the cloisters and the shadows you get there so it was only natural that she wanted to take some pictures there.

 At the Cathedral they are raising money for renovations and to support the cost they have started to make a model of the cathedral out of Lego Bricks.

Which of course is AMAZING!

I was really surprised by how much they've managed to build so far. I decided to donate a brick and got to place it in one of the pillars.

I will leave you know with this image of my husband and I pretending to be Team Rocket. I'm not really sure why. We're nerds...

Dress: Vivien of Holloway
Coat: Unknown
Shoes: Doc Martens

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Mary, Mary quite contrary: The Mary skirt from Collectif

So today I want to share my favourite Autumn skirt with you! October, November and December are my favourite months of the year (mostly since I do much better with winter layers than flimsy summer dresses) and I love the fashion that goes along with them.

Now I have a huge obsession with pinafore dresses/skirts (or jumpers as I believe the American's call them). In fact I have even made a couple of my own way back when where I spoke about my desire to own the fantastical Mary skirt from Collectif (read about it here and here). 

So I set aside a little bit of my October pay cheque for a visit to Collectif in London and try on the Mary skirt. To my utter delight, it fit beautifully!

The Mary comes in a few different colours a plain black and a navy and light blue flock. Navy is my go to colour so I decided to go with the navy flock, although I must say I would very much like this skirt in black too (I should stop being greedy...).

I think the style is super flattering to your waist, although I have found that it can emphasise your bust a lot. This can of course be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your destination.

Possibly the greatest thing about this skirt is that it has POCKETS!! I always love it when designers think to put pockets in garments as that are so vastly under appreciated in women's clothing and they are so useful! Give us pockets in everything darn-it!

Also the amount of fabric in this skirt is phenomenal. 

There are also some thoughtful details to ensure a good fit to this skirt. They have multiple button holes so you can get a good fit over the shoulders. This is perfect for me as I have a really short torso. You can also wear it crossed at the back, straight at the back or even strapless. Its so versatile which makes me super happy.

Of course since there is so much extra fabric in the skirt I couldn't resist giving it the spin test and it passed with flying colours. Its super swirly! 

To complete the outfit I work a blue 70s coat and beret style hat. I also had a tartan scarf that I got from a charity shop last winter. There is something glorious about tartan in winter part of me wishes I could wear something tartan in every winter outfit.

Skirt: Collectif
Jumper: Monsoon
Hat: Beret
Scarf: Vintage
Coat: Vintage
Bag: Vintage
Shoes: Dr Martens
Glasses: Glasses Direct

What are your favourite things to wear on a crisp Autumn day?

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