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Saturday, 29 June 2013

June Blog Round Up

As you've probably noticed, I am terrible at sticking to my blogging guns during term time. I was planning a relatively strict blogging schedule of monthly wardrobe features, link posts and other things, but it rather fell by the way side in the face of, you know, passing my exams.

None the less I intend to prepare early for next semester by queuing up plenty of posts, and getting back into the habit of blogging by schedule. So without further ado, here's my round up of June links!

  • Meagan over at Coffin Kitsch posted about the amazing Etsy Shop Carousel Ink, which I could almost kill her for, as despite being absolutely skint, I know that I'm going to buy something from there, very soon. :P
  • My favourite post of Sophistique Noir's Red and Black Week was surprisingly the most unexpected; The Curious Professor Z blogged on the last day of the week about the cicadas which spring up every 17 years in Staten Island to mate and die off (link not for the bug phobic).
  • Mary Rose of The Everyday Goth posted this month about one of my favourite artistic movements, Art Nouveau, and how you can incorporate it into your outfits. 
  • Sary Walrus at The Walrus Room is starting a series of interviews with plus size goth bloggers about their experience within the scene - I'm really excited for this, as it's a topic that has only recently started to be addressed and like she says, you can never have too much body positivity. 
  • On a related note, Natalie at Gothy Two Shoes posted a list of plus size online clothing stores and her experiences there of. One to add to if you have your own experiences of buying plus size fashion. :)

Until the next post!


P.S. If you're feeling like film and video game reviews with more snark than there is in a Lewis Carrol poem, my fluffy haired compatriot Ben (mentioned briefly in this post) has started up his own blog, I should be paying attention to this lecture. Just don't listen to a word he says about me.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

How To Grow Your Own Poison Garden

Now that I'm back home for the summer, I've been getting invested in gardening once again. Sadly it's not an option for me uni (though I plan on having tonnes of plants in my room next year!), but hopefully if I ever get a place of my own I might have a bit of ground to do something with.

There's lots of suggestions on the web about how to modify your garden to a darker taste; as well as some gorgeous pinterest boards, the Everyday Goth has done a fabulous post looking at horticulture for a darker colour palate. I, however, have decided to blog about something which has been close to my heart for a long time; poison gardens.

Since I was a wean I've always been interested in deadly flora; plants that trapped and ate things, plants that were used as poisons, plants where a single berry could stop your heart... I was a twisted child, I suppose. This has only increased since starting medical school - any drug, after all, can be a poison in the right quantity, and many seemingly deadly plants are used for treating a variety of conditions. The cultivation of these plants has been an art for centuries, with much folklore and many books dedicated to them, and they conjure up ideas of intrigue and mystery, of arcane alchemy. And, of course, one of my great role models is a perfect example of this -

Image from here (original source couldn't be found)

That's right! As any Addam's Family fan worth their salt knows, Morticia is an avid gardener, growing all variety of poisonous and dangerous plants in her conservatory, including her African Strangler Cleopatra. Morticia's green thumb isn't the only example of lethal botany, however; the Alnwick Gardens feature their very own Poison Garden, which cultivates over 100 varieties of both notorious and everyday plants with dangerous effects. I, obviously, am desperate to visit.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Happy anniversary, Open University!

Man, this is off topic for me. But I wanted to post this, and where better than my blog?

The OU, for those of you who haven't encountered it before, is a British long distance and research university which was first set up in 1969. They were initially controversial for their open admissions policy (no academic qualifications were necessary for enrollment), but are widely lauded for their commitment to fostering an enthusiasm for learning and opening up education. Today is the 40th anniversary of their first BBC broadcast, and since then they have grown to the largest academic institution in the UK, with over 250,000 British students and over 50,000 international students.

With a motto of 'learn and live' I am incredibly enthusiastic about the Open University's founding beliefs - where traditionally university and learning has been the preserve of the few, the Open University made education available to people who would never have dreamed of getting a degree or qualifications, and encouraged making learning an integral part of life. Their BBC broadcasts opened up the public to the arts, sciences (the social ones too), maths and many other topics, and they continue to be involved in producing programmes with the broadcaster.

I have a personal connection with the OU, as my dad got his degree there in his forties. After leaving school at fourteen to become a bricklayer, he didn't feel like he was able to get a degree with his background. The Open University gave him a place to do this and realize the importance and joy of learning - something which, in turn, he fostered in me.

I'm incredibly proud of what my dad managed to do, against all odds, and I'm incredibly thankful for institutions like the OU that make it possible. We're often dismissive of long distance courses and other non-conventional forms of learning; what we need to remember, both in the gothic subculture (which promotes free thinking and the pursuit of knowledge) and in wider society, is that opening up education and learning for it's own sake is a beautiful thing, and should not be shut down.


P.S. I should say that it's also the fortieth anniversary of the foundation of the Women's Tennis Organization, a group lead by the tennis player Billie Jean King who campaigned for the discrepancies in pay between women's and men's tennis prize money at Wimbledon to end - which has only recently been abolished in 2007. I'd definitely recommend looking up more information about King and her 'Battle of the Sexes' with Wimbledon and US Men's champion Bobby Riggs. It's fascinating stuff!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Thursday, 13 June 2013

The Professor's Monthly Homework Assignment: Let's Polka!

 Woop! Professor Z's homework assignment is due in, and it's time to POLKA!

Sadly, not that type of polka. Though it is a fun dance.

The theme this month is Polka Dots - I actually adore polka dots, and think that they can work really well. Coming into popularity in the UK in the 1800s, they perhaps surprisingly don't share any connection with the eponymous Central European dance (though it's likely that the name was taken from it), and are typically worn in Spanish flamenco.

I often wear this at the hospital when we're required to dress smartly - vintage inspired outfits serve to bring a bit of my own taste into work place dress codes without getting reprimanded by the medical school. Normally I would pair this skirt with a plain black top, but surprisingly this actually went not too badly? I'd be interested to hear people's opinions on it.

I could also have used the shoes seen in this post for a more summery look, but them having recently given me blisters the idea was not appealing. Shoes are something I have hell with; with feet that are a very narrow 4.5, most shops don't cater to my size, and I'm limited to Office, M&S and Clarks. It's a good excuse for buying shoes when I find them, though.

My make up was actually more inspired by the sixties than the rest of the outfit - looking at the photo now, I realize that I probably could have used a pinker gloss, a wee bit of eyeliner below my eyes and more highlighting on my cheek bones, but it was a fun experiment.

Look who came to see me while I was taking photos!
He's recently had a hair cut and is fluffy once more.

I'm not actually sure on what my blogging plans are for the next few weeks - I'm planning some more goth oriented stuff as I've been feeling like my darker aesthetic side has been neglected recently, but other than a few unfinished posts I don't have anything specific in mind. I'm also going to try and write up more posts in advance as I'm hoping to get a second job, and uni will leave me with less time on my hands when it starts back.

I won't be blogging for the next few days as I have the gamer coming over to stay, but I can promise more posts will be coming soon (possibly something on steampunk!). Until then!


Wednesday, 12 June 2013

West End Festival: Pick of the Month

The West End Festival has recently arrived in Glasgow, and I'm really looking forward to it! The Mardi Gras Parade (details in a previous post) was excellent, and there's a lot of other interesting events to come. I'd have posted about this sooner, but my internet's been doolally recently. Here's my pick of the month -

Literature, Art and Drama




I'd give a wee explanation as to why I chose each of them, but I'm running late and the West End Festival event pages for each of them will undoubtedly do so better than me. Ta ta for now!


Monday, 10 June 2013

West End Festival: Mardi Gras

 WARNING: Picture heavy post!

Yesterday I went to Glasgow's West End Festival Mardi Gras, and damn it was good fun. It was almost going to be cancelled this year, but thanks to a sponsorship deal was brought back in full force.

I'd actually found out entirely by chance that the parade was on the night before, and dragged my mum along with me. Thanks to the combination of concrete, sun and lots of sweaty people, Byres Road was ridiculously hot, but despite that it was an awesome day.

Taking part was a crazy variety of groups; charities, the Conservatoire, dance groups, cultural arts societies, CND, nurseries, steampunks, drummers, plus many more I forget.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Red and Black Week, day 6: Contrast Make Up

I finally made it to the last day of Red and Black week! Had I been prepared and thought posts out in advance of the week, I might have found it easier, but nonetheless it was a fun week.

You can tell that my foundation is a little too dark here, but I'm in the process of saving for a new one.

While my entry to R&B week was probably my most successful post (and, had I planned the week out better, should have been my finale), I actually really enjoyed doing this make up. Other than on my lips red isn't a colour I really use in make up, so this was a new one for me - and I loved it!

I love this shot!

Although high impact, it's almost laughably simple. It was somewhat inspired by Cruella Deville, hilariously enough (101 Dalmatians was my favourite book as a child), as well as comic books (where the top lip is often coloured in black for shading - I also think in some adaptions Harley Quinn from Batman has the same thing). Lacking red eyeshadow lip crayon was used - which worked actually very well - and a thin line of eye liner stopped me looking like I'd just tried to rub soap into my eyes.

Had I been intelligent I'd have done something with my hair to match it, but ah well. I'll maybe play around with that another day. If you plan on wearing lipstick like this out, I would recommend using some lip sealant so you don't get transfer between the black and the red. I'd probably pair the look with Katelynn's nails from Life of A Baby Bat from day two of the week here.

I've really enjoyed taking part in Red and Black Week this year - I've got to meet so many amazing bloggers and take part in a general outpouring of creativity, and I've loved it. I'd like to thank Ms. Kitty for hosting the event, and all you lovely people who have commented and joined in. It's been great, and hopefully I'll see you all next year!


Thursday, 6 June 2013

Red and Black Week 2013, day 5: Walk Into The Sun

Amazingly, I've reached day five of Sophistique Noir's Red and Black week, with not a day missed! I thought I would lapse somewhere, and there have been aborted posts that didn't work out, but all in all I have managed to get entries up with some fore-planning involved. Still, there's one day left to go so I probably shouldn't be too hasty in my celebrations.

Miraculously, the weather has cooled down somewhat, but I've been left hypervigilant for the next heatwave (forgetting, of course, that the Scottish summer consists of a week of glorious weather, after which it's hideous until the following year). I'm terrible for remembering to reapply suncream, and dislike covering up because surprisingly I do actually like to feel the sun sometimes (recently, however, it's also been too warm to wear more than the bare minimum of layers).

Parasols have been used in Egypt, Greece, China and in India since the BC years, and make a fantastically effective barrier against the sun. They first came into popular use in Britain and France around the mid 17th century from China, and became particularly popular in the enthusiasm for Japanese culture and art in the 1800s.

They remain popular in various countries and subcultures, notably in Goth and Lolita fashion, but still can be immensely practical. To tie in with R&B week, I've collected my favourite red and black parasols from around the web so you photophobic goths can survive the summer months. For those of you in the southern half of the globe, fear not; many of the parasols included double as umbrellas.

£5.85, here.

This square umbrella is more modern and unusual in it's design, and would be great with a casual short and vest top look, or perhaps an elegant three piece suit.

£23.95, from here.
This Battenburg lace parasol has an unlined portion to show off the pattern of the lace, but still protects you from the sun. I'm considering getting this one!

£11.99, from here.
I've always been fond of this paper design, and I'm swithering over this one myself. Many of these on the web are decorated with cherry blossom or other designs, but this one is plain for your own decoration, if you so choose.

£36.00, from here.
This is one for the gothic lolitas out there! There's a few too many ruffles for me, but there's something charming in it's frivolity. This one also has the advantage of doubling up as an umbrella.

£14.95 from here.

I own the black version of this, and it's an excellent umbrella as well as a parasol; the classic shape works well with victorian outfits as well as providing full coverage from the bright hurty thing. I should say that the Edwardian style umbrellas don't fare in wind as well as their normal counterparts, so beware of what weather you take them out in.

See you for the last post tomorrow!


Reference - A brief history of parasols & umbrellas (now defunct, but I'll find another source).

P.S. apologies for the cheesy title. I just couldn't let pass the opportunity to reference a song from one of my favourite bands.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Red and Black Week 2013, day 4: heatwave fashion

It's day four of Sophistique Noir's Red and Black Week! I'd have liked to have shown you some of the craft projects I've been working on, but I never managed to get the fabric on time and so I'm afraid that plan had to be scuppered. So it's back to outfit posts for me!

Not seen - pair of red shoes. It was too hot to take more than a few photos.

I have to be honest and say that this one isn't my best - the temperatures peaked yesterday when I was preparing this post, and I was overheated and tired (hence the grumpy expression). Still, it was fun to play with the simplicity of the dress and the use of colour pops.

I love the heart shaped cut out on the back of this.
Also on a red and black theme is my most recent ebay purchase, which will arrive today -
Included here because it has a red lining. (Picture taken from here.)
I've always wanted a coffin bag, and I finally got myself one! :D

I do actually have more elaborate things planned for the next two days, thankfully, though I think they will be posts mainly focusing on make up. 

Until then, best wishes!


Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Red and Black Week 2013, day 3: Subtle Colour

It's the third day of Sophistique Noir's Red and Black Week, and I'm back to doing what I do best - preening and taking selfies. This one does actually qualify as an actual gothic outfit, though it's rather casual compared to some of the other posters of this week. Indeed, it is an everyday look for me, and done somewhat on the rush here. :P

This outfit is something I wear often - the dress is one I got for a school dance (it looks far better worn casually with some black tights, as here) from River Island, and the boots are from Marks and Spencer. It is indeed possible to find goth friendly clothing there! The bat necklace is a birthday gift from a dear friend from a local alternative shop.

However, you might be wondering where the red is in this one. And it's true - I don't have a lot of red in my gothic wardrobe, though I have no idea why.

Here we are! Punching my cliche card is one of my favourite hair pieces, my skeleton hair clip - also filling in the day's theme of red, black and white. I picked two of these up from Claire's around halloween, as they were about half the price of the Kreepsville 666 ones. It's not a lot of red, but it's tricky making me do colour - I wondered about making my own fake blood spattered tights to match with this outfit, but regretfully only after preparing this post (and no time to do so!). Thoughts on this?

Still, there's always my favourite scarf (which would be more appropriate were the weather cooler). Now, I'm off out to go buy my mum some cheese for her birthday (yes, you heard me), so TTFN!


Monday, 3 June 2013

Red and Black Week 2013, Day 2: The Little Things (with extra book review)

It's day two of Sophistique Noir's Red and Black week! I'm hoping to get a post up every day on a variety of topics from fashion to photography, but whether I manage that or not remains to be seen. Nonetheless, today I shall be posting about smaller ways to get into the spirit of R&B week.

As previously mentioned, Red and Black Week rather snuck up on me - I'd contemplated all kinds of plans on looking into getting more red into my wardrobe, to looking into cultivating appropriately coloured flowers, to go on massive eulogies on the symbolism of both colours. Then exams happened and I entered into the frantic scramble that is the part time job market, and suddenly it was the start of the week and I didn't have a thing prepared!

My bedroom back at home is mainly purple in colour (and not in a particularly classy way, but now I'm out the house there's no point redecorating) - regretfully this doesn't work well with R&B week, but I do love the colours for decorating and have reorganized my bedside table to better get me in the mood of the week (the owl remains because it's adorable). 

I'm also re-reading Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh right now, the cover of which actually ties in very well. For those who haven't read it or seen the film, Trainspotting is a bleak but also darkly humorous collection of short stories detailing the lives of a group of Edinburgh drug addicts, and the struggles in their lives between addiction and redemption, often held back by their own situation. While drug users are often vilified in the public consciousness as criminals or wasters, Welsh exposes the truth of Britain's 'classless society' and how difficult it is for the characters to avoid and escape their brutal lives; indeed, this novel still resonates very strongly with me and modern Glasgow, despite being written twenty years ago - I actually took my username from one of the famous monologues in novel.

Now, back to cheerier subjects, I hope to see you all again for the next day of Red and Black Week! I've loved seeing everyone's posts and interacting with bloggers I wouldn't have otherwise, and I'll definitely be posting again. 

Until then, TTFN,


Sunday, 2 June 2013

Red and Black Week 2013, day 1: In with a vintage bang!

It's the start of Sophistique Noir's Red and Black Week! Not having been blogging for long enough, I haven't had the opportunity to take part before - however, I have been looking forward to it (ironically, it still managed to sneak up on me and I had to prepare in a rush. Derp). 

Oddly enough, I  decided on vintage for my first post - despite claiming to mainly dress like an eighties reject I have now put in two submissions to events held by Sophistique Noir inspired by the early 20th century. :L Nonetheless, I do enjoy dressing vintage, and it's perfect for the surprisingly sunny weather here in Caledonia.

Surprisingly, virtually everything but the shoes, the cardie and my bracelet in this outfit are from Primark - I haven't shopped there in a long time as I'm trying to buy more ethically, but I absolutely adore this skirt; it's pretty good quality for the shop, and is glorious for summer weather.

The make up and hair are just a repeat on the same vintage look I've done before, only slapdash because I had to do it with no supplies and in a rush because I'd forgotten Red and Black week was on. :I

For me, red as in nature is like a warning in fashion, but also an invitation, which you can really see in vintage style. As a lip colour, it's a slash across the face that manages to be provocative and attention grabbing, whilst almost untouchable. It's highly feminine, but also incredibly strong and empowering (as femininity should be I suppose). I'd wear far more red lipstick if it weren't such a bloody nightmare to eat/kiss/drink/exist whilst wearing it.

Covering up in the sun is important! Stupid posing, less so.

 One of the benefits of being at home over the summer is having access to a decent quality camera, and while I'm still struggling to get a decent space to take photos in (as you can see in the awkward poses and locations) and work the timer, it's a massive relief not to have to use my phone as my primary photography device. I'm hoping to take part in R&B week (which makes it sound more like a musical appreciation week than a celebration of colour...) with not just outfit posts, but crafting, photography and other means - we'll see if I can manage a full week.

Milk bottle legs!

 Until then, I need to depart and start ironing and working on the Dundee Feminist Society website (I'm Liaison officer! I'm super excited about this and will post more about it at a later date). 

Until then, TTFN!