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Monday, 29 July 2013

July Blog Round Up


Bleh, this blog round up was a chore. No idea why, as there was plenty of excellent posts to feature this month, but I really couldn't be arsed this time around (even the post image was a pain to do - I eventually gave up and settled for this, but I plan on changing it in future). I'll see how I feel about doing it next month, and see if I want to continue doing the round ups (seeing as I'm blogging as a hobby, I'd rather not make it a chore).

Anyway, onto the summary of the month!

  • Fly, Songbird compiles her selection of plus sized fashion bloggers, and these ladies look amazing. Look Sharp, Sconnie posts on a similar body positive note, addressing size and human bodies in fashion, and how she plans on dressing to make herself happy.
  • Sary Walrus at The Walrus Room wrote about the lessons the be learnt from awesome alternative characters. The quote from Elvira, in particular, is one I've always loved.
  • VictorianKitty of Sophistique Noir posted her club outfit for a dark eighties night, and dat corset. Unf. (I also seem to have a thing for boat necklines? Hmm.)
  • Madam Noire of Make Up Artist Madam Noire posted this night sky lip design, which - as someone who loves night skies - I really want to try. She also did this Twin Peaks inspired eye make up design, which I'm equally fond of. 
  • My friend Ben (from IRL, shock horror) reviews the video game Alan Wake at his blog I should be paying attention to this lecture in what is probably his best post yet. He's only recently started blogging, so be nice to him. (Or don't. He wouldn't be nice to you.)
  • Juliet's Lace has an article on the basics of 50s women's wear and where to buy here.
  • Ms. Lou of the Neo-Victorian Parlour writes about the Victorian fascination with 'fasting girls', and relates this to current diet and body image trends.  
  • A Thrifty Mrs compiles the best summer DIY projects, which can be edited as pleased to match your own aesthetic preferences.
  • I love Victorian Mourning traditions. Gothic Tea Society has written about some of the weirdest ones here, including post mortem photographs, hair jewellery and coffin alarms.


Aaaaand that's all for this month!


Fee


Friday, 26 July 2013

Bothwell Castle and Elena, with extra outfit post


The weather has been so nice here in Scotland that I'd be forgiven for mistaking it for the South of France. The heat tires me out something awful, and my wardrobe is all but useless, but regardless I just love the warmth (not without sun cream, though. Got to have sun cream). 

The lovely Elena.
I took a trip with Elena to the nearby Bothwell Castle for a picnic recently, and on a whim decided to mix up my outfit post with a more unusual setting. Irritatingly, I've noticed blogger deleted my last outfit post - no idea why, but it's really annoying. Blogger has been causing me too many problems recently with deleted posts (you guys may have also noticed an older post of mine reappearing as new - how this happened, I know not), and I've been considering shifting over entirely to another service; until then, I'll rewrite it so you guys can see it properly.




Bothwell Castle is a lovely medieval sandstone castle from the 13th century (apparently the largest from then in Scotland!), which I haven't been inside for years. Despite it being started in the 1200s, building was halted by the Wars of Independence (apparently King Edward I of England himself laid siege to it!), but it still remains a valuable example of medieval architecture.


This outfit, like a lot of mine, relies heavily on the shorts/tank top combination (it's so comfy and versatile that I keep coming back to it), but the feature of note is the hand me down jacket from my brother that I finally remembered to put badges on. I'm tempted to stick on a few patches on it as well, but as I value versatility in my wardrobe they likely won't be permanent and will be removable in case I change my mind or need to smarten up the jacket.


Once she got the hang of my camera, Elena took so many good photos of me that I was spoilt for choice.
  • Shorts - River Island
  • Necklaces - both gifts (bat one from Osiris in Glasgow)
  • Hair clip - Claires
  • Boots - Office, in the post Christmas sales
  • Jacket - Hand me down from my brother
  • Badges - assorted
  • Parasol - Amazon 


It also marked my first proper outing for my parasol! I ordered this beauty back in June, but only got to use it now due to the changeable weather here. The battenburg lace is really pretty, and mixing it up with more punk and deathrock inspired clothing makes me wonder about parasols in a similar vein. Maybe stretching a pair of ripped tights across the surface of the parasol, or adding badges or slogans?


It was wonderful seeing Elena again, who, as she studies down in Auld Reekie*, and we both have such full schedules, I rarely get to see during term. We can talk about life, friends, politics, ethics, periods, love and anything together, and she is one of the people I love most in the world. Whilst I have missed friends from uni terribly over the holidays, I have appreciated the ability to see old ones that uni has separated me from.

In love with my friends and the entire world.

Anyway, it's back onto srs bzns topics on the next post! I'm still trying to write up tonnes of posts like a madwoman for queuing, but I've got a lot of other things to do before I go back to uni. A lot of you may have seen posts (finished or not) that have been posted and quickly taken down. This is because I have been reorganising myself on here and usually do it when tired, and I am a tit.


Say safe!



Fee



* This is Edinburgh, to those not acquainted with scots slang/inter-city politics.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Question: how did you get into goth?


Apologies for the lack of activity on here! I've been rather busy on holiday, and trying to get everything on my to do list done (I need to update the one on here, as it's woefully out of date).

It just occurred to me today, partially as a result of a post I have scheduled and partially out of the blue, that I haven't actually said much about how I got into goth on this blog - I've certainly shown you how I dress, the crafts I make and the music I listen to, but very little of how I actually got started on the spooky path.

We often like to proclaim, as goths, how we've 'always been this way', and big up our weird childhood influences and whatnot, when in reality the conscious decision to start dressing in black and sway to the March Violets comes much later. However, innate nature and childhood influences do play a significant part, I suppose.

Growing up in Glasgow, probably the most diverse city I know, I've always been exposed to alternative fashion and life style. I watched goths (properly dressed up, nineties style) hang about in Glasgow Central Station holding onto my dad's hand as we passed through, I sat in the Italian café my family always used to go to - now closed - on Union Street and watched the teenagers queue up for the Cathouse, and I attended talks on manga at the Edinburgh book festival with a very elegant lady with long dark hair behind me (if she ever on the off chance reads this, I am so sorry you had to sit next to that Czech couple who sounded like they were making love in the middle row. They were bugging me too).

My dad was always of the opinion that goth was a transient phase, given that he 'never saw a middle aged goth', but I was fascinated by the otherworldliness of them, even if I didn't necessarily like the style. They lived in their own separate world, with different clubs and shops and fashions and friend groups. My taste for alternative clothing manifested in other ways when I was younger, with an Avril Lavigne phase (don't laugh) and many bizarre fashion experiments featuring (god bless my parents, enduring the tutus and trainers).

As for my actual descent into leather and lace? I've been a big fan of punk rock since I was about fourteen, and after a couple of years I got curious and started trying more of the original post punk. After discovering the original gothic rock I began reading goth blogs, and gradually my tastes began to show it. I sometimes wonder if my early 'exposures' at all influenced me, but I'm too busy enjoying my black and my bats to care. :P

So, to open this up to the floor (one of the things I love about blogging is the community that forms around it, and the in depth conversations that result), what inspired you to identify as a goth? Was it purely by chance, or had you only just realised that there was a name for what you liked?




Fee

Thursday, 18 July 2013

The Great Pregnancy Panic



Nope - before you ask, I'm not up the stick, nor am I currently worried about it. :P

I've heard from two separate people in the one week about how paranoid they are of pregnancy. Both are sex-positive, both supposedly well educated on sex and contraception. Hell, neither were sexually active, and even describing the scenarios it was obvious that there was no real risk of it.

It may seem comical to an outsider, but I can relate, having had similar, completely nonsensical late period panics (and by nonsensical, I mean 'have only just realised that boys aren't smelly antagonists). And they wear you out. I could probably count more people than I have fingers who I know have had the same worries. So why, with the massive shift that's taken place in attitudes to sex over the past century, do we still have this panic?

When I first got 'the talk' from my mum, she stressed how important it was to use both a barrier and a hormonal contraceptive method, saying how condoms can slip or break (protip: this doesn't happen if you put them on correctly). In sex ed at school, I was warned about all the STDs I could get through sex, and shown terrifying pictures that could probably have put you off sex for life. And on top of that, all media was telling me what fuck ups people who had the misfortune to have an accidental pregnancy or catch an STD are. As a result, the real question is 'why wouldn't I be terrified of sex?'.

We haven't changed enough in western society. Whilst we've relaxed our grip on how sexuality is expressed, we still have a lot of hang ups as a society about sex, and as a result we aren't educating minors properly about it. My sex education, though world class when compared to the abstinence approach of many schools in America, was quite frankly terrible. In my last sex ed class, I was essentially told "weeell, you don't have to wait for 'the one'... but it's absolutely the better thing to do". I was never told about the actual mechanics of sex, or to ask for consent, or what actually posed a pregnancy risk. I was never told where my fucking clitoris was, for christ's sake. At the same time, sex is treated as a integral part of life in popular culture and you're a prude if you don't have it. It's a thin line we are expecting people to walk, balancing the social desirability of sex with the stigma of when unintended consequences arise. Cliff over at The Pervocracy outlines it very well -


 'God we fuck up teenagers' heads.  We tell them that biological conditions are moral punishments and then we get all shocked when they don't practice rational risk management of biological conditions.  We teach them "sex is super desirable and all the cool kids do it, and it's hideously shameful and will destroy your life" and we wonder why they act an eensy bit neurotic about it.'



Pregnancy itself (and STDs too) is a scary thing, if you didn't plan it. Your body is being taken over by another force, changing beyond your control and betraying you. Why would you want to heap more blame on people for an accidental mistake? Assuming you are a normal person who doesn't believe that HIV is god's punishment on sodomites or that it's tough luck for teenage pregnancies, you're probably wondering what can we do to break this system, and there are answers - 
  • Increase access and awareness of different contraception types. Both of the people mentioned above didn't take the pill for various reasons ('fucking up my hormones' being a common one), but there are so many different contraceptive methods that are possible. This list by Scarleteen details all the options available, and helps you decide what suits you.
  • Educate on actual pregnancy risks. Again, Scarleteen has a list of all the comparable risks associated with different sexual activities. 
  • Remove stigma of STIs and accidental pregnancy, and their testing. Even with education accidents are going to happen - so stop showing the horror stories and photos, for Christ's sake, because there is no way when teenagers first become sexually active they will recognize what STIs actually look like, and they will be too embarrassed to seek medical help if they do.
  • Improve access to abortion. I understand some religious readers might disagree with this on principle, but an abortion is never something a woman wants to get. If we stop shaming people who need abortions (which includes medically necessary ones, fyi!) we will reduce the terror experienced by teenagers when they or their partner's period is a few days off. 
  • Stop telling all the 'I didn't know I was pregnant until I gave birth' stories. Seriously. That isn't going to help anyone frantically looking up stuff on the web.


Sex is fun. My mum only mentioned this as an afterthought when she saw how horrified I was after she first warned me about the risks. Maybe if we stopped making sex such a big deal, we could actually just get on with enjoying it, aware and safe.



Fee



P.s. Looking back over this post, it actually turned out far more like Cliff Pervocracy's post on the same subject than I would have intended or have hoped for, so apologies for the accidental cross over.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Summer Goals

Summer! Time of plenty, time of barbecues, time of getting out and doing things...

... Or time of staying indoors and staring at the ceiling, if you're me.

Well, it's not quite that bad. But summer has been difficult for me, in some ways - coming away from uni has made me realize how isolated I am at home when everyone is in different cities, and how I have virtually nothing to do. I had hoped to get a job this summer and work part time, but as it is I only have an ad hoc position with my local care home - and as great as they are in taking me on, I haven't had any shifts yet, and no shifts means no money to do things with. :/

Mary Rose at The Everyday Goth blogged last month about her style resolutions for the summer, and after a mild existential crisis, browsing The Curious Professor Z's Bat Fit List (whom my thoughts are with right now, as she goes through a difficult period) and talking to friends, I realized that I should probably do the same.

So, without further ado, here's my summer goals - 

  • Clear out all my clutter.   
This is an old favourite of mine in times of crises or change, but clearing out the hoard that I accumulate really does help (it ensures that I can find things and actually walk through my room freely, if nothing else).


  •  Get outside.
This shouldn't even have to be a resolution, really. Nonetheless, my lack of income, combined with how most of my work/tasks can be completed from home, has meant that I'm barely leaving the house. Even if it's only to walk up the Clyde, I'd like to resolve to do more things.


  • Revise.
Dear god, I never thought that I'd say that. Particularly considering how much work this year was. Nonetheless, though I passed my exams, it was mainly through cramming; that worked fine for secondary, but when I'm expected to retain what I've learned in 1st year through my whole career I need to reconsider my revision approach. I'm planning on better structuring my revision through next year, but until then I want to go over my notes on respiratory, cardiovascular and GI disease.


  • Work on crafts for my new room.
Whilst I do already have a lot of projects that need finishing, I might have to accept that some of them are on indefinite hold and move on to more relevant things to me right now. I'm moving into new halls of residence in September when I head back to university, and while it's not what I had wanted I've decided to make the best of it and instead focus on what I can do to make the space mine - and that means tonnes of crafting! In the spirit of resolutions I have a friend helping me out by doing the same thing for her new digs (though less bats and black and more florals and teapots) and motivating me.


  • Work on my blog.
Although my posting has been erratic - at least, during term time - I do value having a blog, and reading those of others. I've been doing a lot of work recently tinkering with the layout, pages and widgets recently (some of it you may have noticed), but I do want to focus on what I want to use my blog for and what new, original content I can provide for my readers; this is something I might post on later. I also plan on using my time over summer to stack up posts, so I can still keep consistently posting through the academic year.


  • Mix up my work out.
This is more of an afterthought, but recently I've been getting bored and uninterested at the gym, so it's probably time to rethink my exercise strategy. I'm interested in possibly taking up the Professor's Bat Fit Challenge, but other than hoping to get a liiiittle fitter I'm pretty happy with where I am in life right now, both mentally and physically.


I'll hopefully be able to post my results through the summer, and I'd hope that you'd hassle me if I don't. ;)



Fee


Thursday, 4 July 2013

Five things

I GOT TAGGED!

By all logic I should hate these chain mail memes, but oh my god I love them. I may never be able to fill them in due to chronic indecisiveness, but they're amusing all the same. I was tagged by the lovely Katelynn at The Life of a Baby Bat and also by Twisted Princess at Darkling Dreams, so many thanks to you two!


Rules


  1. Thank the person who tagged you in this challenge and post a link to their blog.
  2. Tag 5 blogs with less than 200 followers
  3. Wish them to tag more bloggers to keep this thing going!



5 Things you Need Everyday
  1. As with pretty much everyone responding to this, the internet is one of my material essentials. I use it to keep in contact with people, to find inspiration and information and to broadcast my thoughts.
  2. My friends. I'm an reclusive, neurotic person, prone to brooding and being leery of change, but my amazing friends make me get out and stop me getting too weird.
  3. A to do list and the willpower to fulfill it. I need my structure!
  4. A blanket. I'm a naturally cold-rife person (as I keep getting reminded by everyone), and I get chilly easily. A hug works too.
  5. A cuppa tea.
5 Books you Would Recommend (HOW CAN I POSSIBLY PICK FIVE)
  1. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  2. The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
  3. Sun by DH Lawrence (a short story, but incredibly formative in my teenage years)
  4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  5. HP Lovecraft short stories (hilariously racist, but he still had a massive influence on horror writing and writes incredibly well)
Other books because I refuse to believe that you can condense a must-read literature list to five items - Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine, Das Parfum by Patrick Suskind, Sandman comic series, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, all Edwin Morgan poetry ever. I haven't even started on drama, for god's sake.

5 Materialistic Wishes for Christmas Presents
  1. A fancy camera. I'm currently borrowing my father's, which I won't have access to whilst I'm away at uni, and it would be far more convenient to get my own (this isn't a particularly realistic wish, so I haven't bothered looking up specific models).
  2. Money! Hellish tool of capitalism it may be, but I need dosh for food, alcohol and clothes. My student loan could certainly stretch a bit further.
  3. Records. My record collection (supplemented by my parent's vast amounts of vinyl) is still in its baby days, having only got my own player at Christmas), and needs a bit of nurturing.
  4. Clothes! I have too many clothes. I should really be wishing for another wardrobe.
  5. Craft supplies.
5 Places you Wish to Visit
  1. Camden. For the most part I have no interest in London (waaaay too expensive and touristy), but the markets of Camden do appeal to me.
  2. France. I went when I was younger, but never really appreciated it. I'd especially love to see the architecture of Paris again, and the catacombs.
  3. Peru. Also Mexico if we're on an ancient civilizations theme - or, indeed, a Spanish conquistador theme.
  4. Egypt.
  5. Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini. This should be pretty obvious.
5 Adjectives That Describe you.
  1. Habitual
  2. Empathetic
  3. Opinionated
  4. Histrionic
  5. Introverted
Things You'd Say to People About Life
  1. If it doesn't affect you, don't criticize people for the choices they make. They might have their own reasons for being that way.
  2. Life gets better. Being young is overrated.
  3. Don't make others do things they don't want to.
  4. Don't trust teenagers to make grand statements about life.
  5. I am not the droid you are looking for.


Lastly, the meme asked me to tag five people, so I tag whoever is called five people.

Tagged People 
Unless you are Ben who has no friends, tag five people yourself! Ideally those with under 200 followers, to give less well known bloggers some publicity.




Fee



Monday, 1 July 2013

Wardrobe Feature: Birthday Bat Necklace




It's wardrobe feature time! I've not been keeping up with this at all, but I've been given so many pieces of jewellery and clothing, and have many more with personal associations that I do want to share them (and say thanks, I suppose).


This piece was a gift for my eighteenth birthday from one of my best friends Elena, and was my first genuinely gothic piece of jewellery (homemade stuff not included). As is probably obvious I am rather obsessed with bats, so this was absolutely perfect. Bats tend to be popular with goth because of their association with witchcraft, vampires and the night in European mythology, but for me their connection is through their duality; as well as being associated with death, decay, deceit and destruction, they are considered lucky in Poland, a symbol of happiness in China (I've been meaning to get some china with bats on it), and are sacred in Tonga. I tend to see bats at dusk, the turning point of twilight into the night. For me, goth is all about the interplay of beauty and ugliness, which I suppose you can see in the graceful flight of what is culturally regarded as an ugly creature.

Oh hai chin.
Mine is from local Glasgow goth shop Osiris, but a quick internet search reveals lots of these. The chain on mine is slightly too long, but every time I mean to fix it I always forget. Ah well.

BONUS: this is what I wear around the house when I actually remember that I'm supposed to be an eyeliner clad mistress of the night -

Oooh yeah, hiking socks and too small footless tights. So rock and roll.



See you all soon!




Fee