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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

How to: Learning to let go of DIY projects

I love making things with my own hands; there's something about knowing that you've created an item which produces a special meaning. I'm not alone in my love of DIY and crafting, and it's easy to understand why - not only can it be cheaper and produce objects you might not be able to buy, but it's enjoyable and there's a certain pride in getting to use something and say 'I made this' to queries.

However, sometimes crafting projects can become more trouble than their worth. Occasionally, the task might be more difficult than previously thought, you can't get the materials you need or you just lose interest. Any of these reasons can lead to unfinished pieces, and you are left in flux about what to do. Do you soldier on and wait it out, or do you cut your losses before you waste any more time?

I'm the world's worst for leaving projects once my enthusiasm has faded. I also have a bad habit of forgetting I may not have the tools or skills for the job, and it can be demoralising to have to accept defeat on something I was determined to make. Whilst it's something I have improved at, I think every crafter should learn when to recognize that something isn't getting finished and is preventing you from moving on to other projects.

So, is a project worth sticking with? Run it through this check list -

  • Have you lost interest? Do you feel obligated to finish it so you can move onto other craft projects, but just can't face doing so?
  • Are you lacking the means to finish it? Can you get the materials to finish it soon, or does the lack of affordable and appropriate lace for the edging on your bell skirt mean that you have to wait it out until something appears?
  • Have you realised you don't have the skill level to finish it? Did you forget in your enthusiasm that making your own furniture is harder than it looks?

Accepting your defeat doesn't have to be associated with negative emotions; I often find it freeing to admit that, no, I am probably not going to finish making those goggles, and I should stop fretting over them. To best help you let go of DIY projects, there are a number of steps to follow -

  • Remove them from your craft space. Before you do anything, separate the projects you aren't going to finish from those you are. If they are hanging about your craft space doing nothing but making you guilty and causing clutter, there is no point to keep them hanging about. Out of site, out of mind.
  • Decide whether to bin or to store. Some projects are just failures, whereas others you might want to store in case the situation changes and you want to take it up again. Storage obviously also depends on the space available to you, and before putting in the bin consider if you can cannibalize the resources used for other purposes.
  • Review stored projects annually, or however often is appropriate for you. If the situation changes, and maybe you're a bit more experienced with needle felting now or have finally bought the machine part you didn't realise you'd need when starting, you can always pick it up again.

Hope this helps!

Fiona C.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmas Reading: Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture


An early present for you readers - no sales, no fashion; a book.

We've just had the solstice, and Christmas is (somehow) tomorrow. For me anyway, winter feels like a time when everything sleeps; trees are bare, everything closes up for the season, and I hibernate. But like a cell's interphase, it's also a period of preparation, and development for the future - plenty of rest is needed, and maybe also some time to catch up on reading material.

Given the obvious pagan roots of Christmas, for those also planning on devouring some words one of my favourite queer feminist texts springs to mind; Arthur Evans' seminal 1978 text Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture. Looking at the intersection of queer culture, witchcraft, feminism, and oppression through the centuries, Evans' work - though flawed, and now somewhat dated in its language - has had a massive impact on academic discourse regarding these areas, and yet is almost impossible to find. Luckily for you, some kind soul uploaded the entire text online for free, and it can be found in PDF form here.

Particularly with regards to the recent occult revival, I feel like this is an important book for anyone to read - pagan, queer, feminist, or historian alike. It's contains the history of the oppressed, so often ignored or smothered, and analyses the very prejudices and assumptions of its own contemporaries in anthropology and history. It's also extremely readable, and avoids the jargon and impenetrability of academia - and, most importantly, produces the kind of excitement you only get from learning to see the world with new eyes.

This year's holly piece.  

Merry Christmas, readers! Hope you're all nurturing your brains.

Fiona C

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Two month Catch-Up

Oh my - has it really been a month since I last posted? And two since I posted regularly? A holiday was taken, it seems.


Apologies to everyone for the unexplained absence; I must admit that with university life, blogging fell by the wayside. It's good to see that the internet world moves on without me - keeps my ego in check.

Nonetheless, thank you to those of you who asked where I've been; I do have answers! I've been doing a lot of this -

I could post a video featuring lots of aerials and fast footwork, but the reality is most of the dancing we do is social. 
Which, in some ways, is much nicer. 

Some of this - 

Pastel, A4. Accepting name suggestions (The Uncaped Crusader currently in the lead).

And unfortunately this - 

It's not all bad; I got to study psychiatry this year, which reaffirmed my desire to specialize in the field.

Other events which I don't have photos for - becoming a god-auntie, Rocky Horror Party Mark II (photos were taken, but apparently they were so awful the camera actually broke before I could download them), authorship of an introductory guide to womenswear of the 1920s, the purchase of my first corset, and attendance at the Edinburgh Welcome to Nightvale live show.


What's been happening in internet land, however? 

- Viktoria Modesta, who I wrote a feature on a few months ago, has paired up with Channel 4 in their campaign 'Born Risky' to promote her new single Prototype. I wish her the best of luck!
- That gum you like is coming back in style.
- One of my favourite bloggers and artists, Eliza Gauger, officially left the internet this month. Fortunately, she's still running Problem Glyphs, and you can keep up to date with her via her newsletter.


Now that I'm back, I hope to be back for good; I probably won't be posting much over the December period on account of a certain revamped Pagan celebration, but I'm hoping to write more for the new year. Due to previously mentioned camera problems, although I have plenty to shoot there won't be any personal fashion on here until that particular issue is solved, but expect plenty more. 

Happy holidays to all, and have a good new year!

Fiona C. 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

The Universal Soldier

"He's five foot-two, and he's six feet-four,
He fights with missiles and with spears.
He's all of thirty-one, and he's only seventeen,
He's been a soldier for a thousand years."
- Donovan, Universal Soldier

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Fashion Inspiration: Welcome To Night Vale

Like a collective hallucination from the minds of conspiracy theorists worldwide, Welcome to Night Vale emerged out of the depths of Tumblr to storm the iTunes charts. A podcast in the form of a spoof local radio show from the imaginary desert town of Night Vale, it features everything from hooded figures to angels in a place where every conspiracy theory is true.

I've been suffering from an addiction to the show for some time now, and purchased tickets to see them in Edinburgh tomorrow; to deal with my excitement, I've spent my time organising Welcome To Night Vale inspired outfits on Polyvore. Creating outfits on a Night Vale theme has been popular for a while now, and The Everyday Goth released her suggestions for gothic Night Vale fashion this summer(she's apparently quicker at finishing posts than myself), but I thought that I'd add my suggestions to the mix.

WTNV: Violetta

Station Intern
Cecil's sweater-vests have been adopted as unofficial canon by the fandom, but I wanted to experiment more with the look; this is probably what I'd wear for a casual nod to the show. The occult, purple, eyes, and tentacles all feature prominently, but I feel like this is a little bit different from most of the inspiration sets out there.

WTNV: Hooded figures

Hooded Figures
The Hooded Figures, associated with the dog park (and stealing babies), are a gift to nu-goth and the ninja goth trend; harem pants, flowing dresses, unnatural heels and oversized hoods. Though it's a very androgynous look, I've also included a more hip-hop inspired outfit - I love that conventional rappers like Jay Z and Kanye West are taking an interest in dark fashion, and fully support black goths using aspects of black culture in their style. Ben also suggested quite astutely that if you're a fan of Victorian goth, long, black lace veils would be an interesting take on this inspiration.

WTNV: Americana

Americana gone wrong

One of the main themes in Night Vale is normal American culture, but gone horribly, horribly wrong - this ties in with the absurd creepy humour of the serious, as normal is made creepy and creepy is made hilarious. Here, I've taken inspiration from recurring characters Old Woman Josie, John Peters (you know, the farmer?) and others for this set.

Has anyone else seen the Night Vale live shows, or listens to the podcast? I'm so excited for tomorrow!


Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Skinny Privilege

Content warning: discussion of body shaming. 

Unless you've been living under a rock, you will probably have noticed that, regarding fashion industry, the increasing consensus is that the overuse of young, white and above all skinny models is a bad thing. There's been a big move towards body positivity in fashion and in society over the past several years, which is great news and something I really support. I think it's important that we show all women in media and celebrate each and every one of their physiques, and recognise that healthy isn't just the one image. Unfortunately, this is also where I differ from a lot of supposed 'body positivity' proponents, because I think all physiques should be celebrated.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Osteology Wishlist

Top - Scottish Ram Skull, Roe buck mount. Bottom - mole skull, Harbour seal skull.
Product images from The Weird & Wonderful and The Fox Den Shop; products no longer available. 

My birthday is swiftly approaching and, though everyone I know who is nice enough to spoil me has already organised themselves, If I could afford to be decadent I'd get something from the above list and treat myself.

Taxidermy, though I can appreciate it, has never really been my thing; it's always been bones. Skull are so stripped and matter-of-fact - there's no room for the fripperies of decoration that taxidermy delights in. Only the bare essentials are visible. (I'd perhaps make an exception for a muntjac mount, however.)

I spent all my childhood summers on the bleak and windy north-east coast, where if I was careful and kept my eyes open I could find tern skulls and sheep bones. My current collection features a variety of bones (sheep, deer, seagull and cow) and some fantastic skulls (deer, rabbit, seagull, tern), but I'd love to add some more unusual pre-cleaned pieces - possibly carved skulls, a jacob's ram skull or perhaps some reptilian pieces, but these are the bare bones (pun unfortunately intended) of what I'd like. How cool are mole skulls? A full skeleton would be amazing, but let's start small.


Sunday, 5 October 2014

The Bionic Life


What do you know? After running an article on real-life bionic girl Viktoria Modesta some weeks ago, this week I not only found one article on Haute Macabre about interesting prostheses - or even two - but three. They've also covered The Alternative Limb Project, which I mentioned in my last post.

Prosthetics are exciting. Rather than the traditional model of disability, where your potential is seen as reduced (however untrue), prosthetics carry the possibility of your flaw becoming an asset; you are more than before. From the cellist to the fashion model, this new generation of prosthetics allow the incorporation of one's interests and visions into the very fabric of one's body.

Prosthetics are personally exciting to me also because there is a chance that these developments will significantly improve the lives of my future patients. Despite my rhapsodising, amputation is a serious and upsetting event for most patients, and not to be taken lightly. These developments, however, offer a means of making the road to recovery just a little bit easier.


Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Sophistique Noir's Monthly theme: Black and White

We wear a lot of black. We've been wearing black since the eighties. Hence, in the same way that friends and family are surprised and compliment me when I wear anything that doesn't make me look like I jumped in a coal bunker, the alternative fashion community is increasingly stirring to the sound of what could arguably considered our antithesis: white.

Lady Amaranth, photographed by Kestrel Photography.

The Mutant Stomp Friends correctly marked white as the colour of the year back in January, but it's been invading dark fashion as well; I first noticed this on instagram, with the stunning Torture Gardens' penchant for ghostly victorian frocks, but it's showing elsewhere; on the other end of the scale, pastel goth has been rocking this since its inception. I'm hesitant to call this a trend, as we've been playing with the concept through 'Ice Goth' for years - hell, Ra was rocking it back in 2012. Perhaps I'm just waking up to how common it really is?

Patience Kingsley of @Torturegardens.

We dark fashion fans like white for the same reasons we like black; whilst black has obvious funereal and occult connotations (as well as being the colour of fashion designers), white is associated with purity and the ethereal side of death. Its religious use at communion and weddings lends it an unearthly quality, which works well in horror.

Image from tumblr: source unknown. Harness by Creepyyeha

 In some ways, white is almost more indulgent than wearing all black; it takes balls to wear an ivory dress for an entire day. It also makes you stand out more - lots of people can wear all black, but white really turns heads. White can alternately lend a crispness or softness, but it's when it's paired in harmony with black that, for dark fashion, it really comes into its own; a leather harness, dark lipstick or other signifiers of your normal style can really make an otherwise bleached outfit. I anticipate most outfit posts on this month's black and white theme will be predominantly black with white touches, so I figure this is a nice alternative suggestion.

Me? I think white is lovely, and there's a wonderful clean optimism about it... but then my gaze drifts back to my wardrobe, and I just want to take out my velvets and my silks and my leather, rub my face into their fabric and drown in a Fitzgerald-esque pile of luxurious decadence. I am haunted by black. 

Plus, it hides stains far better. 

Fiona C.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Music: She's Lost Control

It's certainly not an original pick for a Joy Division song, but I was finishing some work late last night (to blame for this late post), and 'She Lost Control' came on. It's a good song, even if I tend to avoid it because of how overplayed it can be, but this time, given my current teaching block is neurology, it made me pause.

Curtis was a well known epileptic, and contrary to popular belief actually wrote this song about a girl with epilepsy whom he saw fitting, and later discovered had actually died as a result of a seizure. His own condition being poorly controlled, I can't imagine how terrifying that was for him.

I had to tell a (simulated) patient on thursday that he had to give up the job that was keeping his family of six out of debt because he wasn't safe behind the wheel of his van. Like psychological illness - which Curtis also experienced - epilepsy is perhaps more frightening than any physical illness because it is your own brain turning against you; you are utterly alone. This is even before you factor in the stigma faced by patients, or the all the limitations placed on them. It's disabling and isolating, which really comes across in the song. I wish it could have gone better for him.


Saturday, 20 September 2014

Personal Style: Dry Your Eyes

The results are in; for those not living in the UK or keeping up with its news, Scotland voted in their referendum on independence on thursday, and the vote was a no. I've been a yes supporter for a long time, and I was gutted; this issue means a lot, and I spent a fair chunk of the morning crying. Between this and a backlog of work, I've not had time for blogging. 

I took these photos maybe two weeks ago, but due to my disaster of a schedule haven't posted them until now. I'm a big fan of this jumper with everything in my wardrobe, but Dundee has been surprisingly warm and unsuitable for autumnal clothing, so it's been relegated to the top shelf for now. Maxis are also a favourite, and I've since picked up a skirt to sit beside this dress. 

When I was taking these photos, I could hear high pitched bird noises, and found that some pigeons seemed to be stuck behind a girder attached to the wall. I took pity on them and called the SSPCA, but when they arrived and called me apparently the pigeons had left and it must have been a nest I'd heard. Oops. 

I'm still feeling low post-result, but it not time to give up; 45% of Scotland is not happy, and I have to dry my eyes and join in. Yesterday was a day for mourning, but today we demand our politicians prove their accountability and give us our powers. Then, next generation, we try again. 


P.s. I realise both my header and sidebar have gone down, and I apologise for this. This is clearly my fault for being a useless coder and will try and fix it today. (Edit: header is fixed, and I'll do the sidebar later today!)

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Improbable longing: Silver leotard

First on my list of 'items so ridiculous I shouldn't want them, but really, really do'. Hell, if body suits are a thing, then why can't I wear a dance leotard out?

I've been planning my halloween costume recently (more on this come the end of October), and found this in my search for something I could modify. I take aesthetic delight in it beyond its role as a costume piece, and dream of using it as an actual part of my wardrobe in the way (IN)DECOROUS TASTE found that nude body suits are an absurdly practical staple. Polo necks have been surging through my wardrobe over the past half year and conquering ground as they go, and silver has been my go to accent for some time now. Though really, I would get it in black as well.

I'd probably wear this on a night out with big hair, a cropped jacket and obnoxious heels, because even if I wear it seriously doing so is still a crazy performance. Spaceman inspiration? I can't get enough.


Friday, 5 September 2014

Modelling: Viktoria Modesta Moskalova


Disabled models - visible or hidden disability - are a rare sight on the catwalk, but what about a model who is not only open about her prosthesis, but fully embraces it?

Meet Viktoria Modesta Moskalova; this Latvian-born, London-based musician and model is in her words a literal 'bionic girl', wearing a prosthetic leg as the result of long term health problems. Rather than let this stop her from modelling, Viktoria makes it a key feature of her image, wearing Swarovski embellished and industrial-esque prosthetics in what is probably the most perfect 'fuck you' to the ableist nature of the modelling industry I've ever seen. If I had a girl crush, she would be it.


Though her roots lie in London's underground fetish and alternative scene, Modesta has famously performed at the 2012 Paralympics closing ceremony, and has been featured in Bizarre, Skin Two, iD and Wonderland, as well as major newspapers such as the Times. As if that's not enough, she also DJs, hosts clubs, fashion events and collaborates with designers on both fashion and prosthetics, often producing a merging of the two. She represents a kind of frank and self-directed sexuality which is usually denied to disabled people, in her modelling - which she was involved in even before her amputation - as well as her own personal style and confidence.

Found on tumblr. 

Unlike the news articles which often talk of her 'overcoming adversity' she is relentlessly positive about her prosthesis, describing how it has 'added' to her and treating it as a fashion accessory, and believes her success "has been attributed to hard work and general determination in life – and not my limbs, real or not". She's also delighted to act as a conduit for the discussion of disabled beauty, however, though not personally identifying as such, stating of her performances, “It was really fascinating watching people’s reactions because most of them were speechless."

Though perhaps a future of widespread, voluntary body augmentation is still confined to science fiction, Modesta certainly challenges perceptions about disability and beauty.

Like this article? Follow An Honest Drug on Facebook or Bloglovin for more fierce and fearless art, fashion, and music!


Monday, 1 September 2014

Sophistique Noir's monthly theme: make up

Hello all! As is evident by the title of this post, I'm taking part in Victorian Kitty's monthly themed blog challenge, which this month is on the topic of make up. Make up is something I'm utterly fascinated by; it has a kind of power in how it can so utterly transform one's face, which feeds so heavily into our concepts of beauty and self-perception. Though I enjoy make up and wear it most week days, I'm happy enough in my relationship with it that I don't 'need' it whenever I leave my flat, but I also don't think that those who do are worthy of disdain, or indeed that any all or nothing opinion is the best. My only advice would be to understand what you're using, I guess.

 I'd considered featuring my key make up products, but due to a) losing my favourite lipstick and b) needing to change my current foundation badly, that went out the window. I also considered a tutorial, but time constraints due to life events made this difficult.

Why hello there, natural hair texture.

Though I've expanded my make up repertoire significantly over the past year or so, I do have a bad habit of falling into the same comfortable styles; whilst I like my make up and know those styles suit me, recently I've been feeling like experimentation .

Adora Batbrat's make up is usually far beyond not only my skill level and lifestyle, but also what suits my face; this eye look was heavily inspired by one of her facebook posts, however, which attracted me because of the black, grey and dark red colour scheme (my favourite for make up). I've always been a fan of dots along the line of the eye (and have been incorporating them heavily into my make up recently), though the shape and block colour of the eyeshadow was very different for me.

Ben likes this one, though I'm not so sure.

The line of dots is very 'tribal' (god, I hate the use of that word), but the dark cat's eye called for some femme fatale glam to match; my earrings were a christmas present from my parents, and I will never get tired of a sleeveless polo neck. Illamasqua's liquid liner Scribe is fast becoming a favourite in my make up bag, and using it in the corners of the eyes is incredibly effective at opening the eye and stopping them looking too small, even with a very closed dark eye such as this. The lipgloss seen here is a temporary and disappointing replacement for my treasured Lord and Berry black-red, which I managed to lose in or around Edinburgh at the fringe. Rest in peace, baby.

Although I like this, I'm not 100% sure that it suits me; the eyeshadow should have been extended out from the corners further, and some white perhaps could have been used to highlight my brow. Nonetheless, it was fun trying something radically different from my usual, and I might reuse it. Obviously, it's more of an evening look; being me, I wore it during the day time anyway.


Has anyone else wondered about trying something radically different to what they're used to? Any foundation suggestions for a greasy blob like me? 


Monday, 25 August 2014

August Round Up

Hello all! August is coming to an end, and with it summer. I'm posting this summary a few days earlier than usual to take part in Sophistique Noir's Monthly Theme Challenge, so keep an eye out for that happening over the next few days.

Until then, check out what's been happening recently -


  • I spent a lovely two weekends at the Edinburgh Fringe, watching cabaret, burlesque, comedy and dancing to big band. I also got to go up St. Giles Cathedral's clock tower and onto the roof, which you can see pictures of here
  • I've now moved back to Dundee and started university again (boo), so I'm going to be pretty busy until next summer - I will endeavour to keep up with the blog, though!
  • My room is so much nicer than last year, but was unfortunately not even remotely ready to move into; my shower has a bad leak, the floor and couches need replaced, the cooker isn't working, and the place was filthy. Nonetheless, the management have been very helpful, and I'm hoping to feature pictures here soon.

My blog

  • I'm considering changing the aesthetics of this blog, as it's feeling a little spartan; the navigation also needs to be improved. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what they'd like to see in future?
  • The plus side of returning to study is that I have boy wonder back on hand, and I can take outfit photos once again! I've bought a lot of gorgeous clothes over summer, which I'm keen to showcase. Watch this space. 
  • I've been making progress in my DIYs (though I've not been posting them, derp), and recently published a pentacle hoop earring DIY, which can be found here.


  • Dr. Marten's Bernadette sandal... boot... thing has been making waves, but not necessarily for the right reason; I'm not a big fan, but I also hated creepers when I first saw them, so I'm withholding judgement. What's your thoughts?
  • My current favourite blog is Fatshion Peep Show, which is run by plus sized gothic and retro fan Stina. She looks gorgeous enough to be intimidating in her Pentagram harness outfit post.  
  • Appropriate for returning to university, The Everyday Goth has advice for a reader who is just about to move to university and is sharing with someone who may not share her aesthetic tastes.
  • Stacey of Aesthetic Contradiction is forever my style inspiration, looking great in a floating dress and a harness. 

I'll be publishing my make up post for Sophistique Noir's monthly challenge soon, so keep an eye out for that! Until then, let me know what you've been up to and leave a comment.


Thursday, 21 August 2014

The Curious Professor's Homework Assignment: Inspiring Songs

First off, apologies for not having this up on time. I could talk about how I was seeing Fringe shows at the weekend, packing for university and working during for the week, but excuses aren't usually of interest to the reader and the reality is that the events of Ferguson really did a number on me. Anyway. Onto business.

Surprisingly, this was a really hard challenge for me. Despite being a great music enthusiast, I must admit something I'm very embarrassed about; I haven't listened to any new music in a long time. And I do mean a very long time.

New music is a very difficult thing for me; I take a long time to warm up to anything I haven't heard before, even if I eventually grow to love it. Added to that the overwhelming labyrinthian network of bands that's out there (which I'm apparently expected to know?), and it's just too much to do.

I find the term 'inspiring' very non-specific; inspiring for what? Swing dance? Swooping about in black lace? Joining an anarchist collective and shouting about the inequality in society? Different music affects so many different facets of my life, in many different ways. However, there are certain songs which affect me in ways others can't, and make me feel like something more, an escape from reality; this was one of the things that so enamoured me about post punk when I first began listening to it. Some of these are very typical hits, but hits are hits for a reason.

Track List
Bauhaus - She's in Parties
Kuuntele Ääniä - Kuudes TuntiJoy Division - 24 Hours
Sisters of mercy - Poison Door
Sex Beat - Sex Beat
Siouxsie and the Banshees - Into the Light
Joy Division - Disorder
The Damned - Smash it up

In reality, I could write an essay on each of these selections (maybe I will sometime?), and why they are so significant, but I'll let the songs speak for themselves. The chemistry of these songs really do inspire my appearance, mindset and mood. Within them, I can find a certain synergy within myself that I can't find solely through other means. My aspiration for next year is to have added more music to this list.

I hope that this selection awakens the same feelings in you - maybe not, because of the individuality of music, but these songs represent a large part of my psyche (sorry if that sounds pretentious). I may check the order later, but I'm tired currently and may have to wait until the morning. Good night, all!

What do you find makes a song personally affect you? Any song suggestions for a musical stagnate? Please do let me know!


Friday, 15 August 2014

Tutorial: DIY Pentacle Hoop Earrings

It's been a little quiet on the crafting front, as I've been busy with work and too tired in the evenings to make myself do much. However, I've been wanting to feature more DIY projects on An Honest Drug, and even more wanting to encourage everyone else to get into crafting as well.

Not having pierced ears, other than a few ear cuffs I don't really wear a lot of earrings; outside of a few select places it's difficult to get clip on earrings and some styles aren't possible to make. Nonetheless, a few weeks ago I saw a DIY on Mooky Chick for pentagram earrings, which have been incredibly popular recently. However, I didn't want to use wool, and so devised a means of making my own pair - and just for you, followers, I turned it into a tutorial!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Photography: The Fringe, and St Giles Cathedral

I have a strange habit of gravitating towards churches wherever I go; it started early, having a father who would teach me about the architecture of vast cathedrals and visiting tiny highland kirks to see Pictish Stones, but it's never quite gone away. Whatever you think of religion - christianity or otherwise - the houses of god are beautiful ones.

My first day at the fringe was a day in which nothing went to plan, but I still had a wonderful time. I missed my first show because of a mis-communication regarding trains (my fault) and went instead to see a musical production of The Importance of Being Earnest, after which we missed every show we tried to attend. We finally managed Andrew O'Neill's free stand up show (of The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing and my mental list of 'men most likely to make me swoon'), which was cackle-worthy in all the right ways. No photos of either, but both shows were great.

It's fun knowing people with connections; a friend of mine used to work at St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh (you'll almost undoubtedly pass it if you visit the Royal Mile), and he popped in to see an old friend still working there. We were treated to a cup of tea and some chit chat, before being offered the rare opportunity to go up to the roof. The inside of the kirk is beautiful enough - curiously irregular in shape, with beautiful windows and carvings - and definitely worthy of a visit, but it was decidedly an honour to see inside the clock tower.

We weren't there on the hour, unfortunately, but we got to see the inner workings of the clocks and go up the rickety stairs, before taking some photos looking over Edinburgh. Ben, having spent several summers painting the roof of the church, had no fear in strolling along the angled lead, but I was slightly more afraid of slipping and becoming a gruesome art installation on the Royal Mile.

I'd have shown a picture of me standing in front of this, but it would spoil the view. Interestingly, no one ever looks up.

It's terribly old and rickety, and Ben was worried that in my excitement I would fall down the uneven hand-cut stairs or lean against an unstable beam, but I loved it. In someways, this dusty and most select part of the church is more hallowed than the main kirk itself. Even if only to me, and those who care for it.

"Ring the bells that still can ring 
Forget your perfect offering 
There is a crack in everything 
That's how the light gets in."

I wish I could show more photos of my visit to St. Giles, but I didn't want to clutter this post (you might see them on their facebook, however). St. Giles will soon offer roof tours to the general public, so keep an eye out for that, and consider donating to keep these old buildings alive. 


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Wardrobe Feature: DIY Vintage Winks

What do you know? I managed to pull together a wardrobe feature. Apologies that it's five days late, but writing and photographing for a post in two days was more than I could take.

Some time during the past academic year, I picked up some winklepickers from a charity shop - true winks, unlike my others (which I love regardless). Being favoured for donation by women who got them in the eighties, Dundonian charity shops have a lot of them, and though most aren't to my tastes I knew that if I waited patiently a pair in my size would show up. As predicted, after a year of keeping an eye out a pair eventually did - and, as charity shop winklepickers go, they were rather ugly.

Still, given the difficulty I have finding shoes that actually fit (and these do!), how long I'd waited and the £5 price tag, in the bag they went. The only true winklepickers I've seen new online are sold by RetroShu on ebay (no returns), Demonia (reportedly terrible quality) and Underground (expensive to the point of ridicule), so these were a golden ticket fluttering from the sky. Like a resourceful make-doer, I planned on cutting them down to ankle height and adding straps to make them them more to my taste. They then promptly sat stagnating for several months at the back of my wardrobe, because for all my optimism, am I really going to be proactive enough to do all that?

I finally pulled them out of their incubation this week and considered them. The length isn't a particularly easy one to work with, but they've surprisingly grown on me; if I could add something to form a visual break to the zip they would look far better. Two skinny belts later and I'm actually excited to wear them out now.

I sometimes wonder about people complaining that they never see anything in charity shops. It's a different state of mind from normal shopping; most are overpicked nowadays, but for all the charity shop tips on adapting and repairing and reconsidering, the most valuable tool you can have is patience.

Has anyone else found any gems in second hand shops recently? Revived something that's been lurking in the back of your wardrobe?


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Outfit: The Dog Days of Summer

I finally made an adult decision.

I admitted that wearing all black in the middle of summer is excessive. 

It's been the hottest summer we've had in Scotland for a fair few years; after mostly cool, rainy summers, I'm delighted, but not really designed to cope with this heat. Those closer to the equator will probably laugh at how poorly I cope with the rather meagre increase in Fahrenheit, but in a cloudy country which receives 4577mm of rain per year, this is sunbathing weather for most people - and exhaustive for me. The quality of light in summer is incredible - not to mention the length of it, which lends itself perfectly to sitting outside till late - but considering I nearly suffered from heat stroke when I visited St. Andrews several weeks back, I am forced to agree that to properly enjoy it one really shouldn't wear leather boots and black velvet.

Dressing for the heat is a delicate balance of colour, skin exposure and fabric type. Drinking lots of fluids is also important, and something I'm terrible at remembering even at the best of times. Though black can be okay to wear if you pick something breathable, I like how much cooler white makes me feel, and this dress is great for when I feel like wearing something more vintage inspired - in this case twenties. I love how popular sandals have been recently, and picked myself up a pair of elastic ones from M&S. Why don't more sandals use elastic? It's so much more comfortable than straps and doesn't rub.

Add a cardigan to stop my shoulders from getting any more burnt than they are (stay in the shade and wear sun cream regardless of what the sky looks like, kids) and a parasol (which you can see here), and I'm set for the last throes of sunshine. For the real dogs out there, I recommend a good hair cut and a cool bowl of water.

This post was part of The Curious Professor Z's Monthly Homework Assignment; photos by Ben, who I think really outdid himself on these ones (one day I'll become a model worthy of him). I may not have a wardrobe feature on the 1st, but I'm pleased at managing to take part in this challenge. Any other suggestions for summer?


Monday, 28 July 2014

July Round Up

Home from home.

I've been a little busy for blogging this month, sadly - I'm only just back from my holiday and I'm not feeling up to scratch, so keeping up with my feed has had to take a backseat. However, there was a lot going on this month both on the net and off, and I've summarised it below -

My life, my blog

  • I rewrote my article, The Occult Trend: Symbols for the Secular, as it wasn't quite meeting the standards I hold for my blog. Feel free to go read the edited article now!
  • I'm keeping up with my One Hundred Crafts Challenge on my Instagram, though I've got a lot of catching up to do - send any DIY ideas my way if you have suggestions!
  • Though I'm not currently able to photograph any of my own fashion, I have plenty of outfits I'm keen to share, so keep an eye out for those in future.
  • I've decided that, beginning August, I'll move back to a five day publishing schedule. Four days was fun and was good for the blog, but ultimately difficult when life got in the way (as it does). This will be continued during the coming academic year.
  • Speaking of which, I start back at university at the end of August, which I'm slightly terrified for; though there's some really interesting topics being covered, I'm worried that third year will be more difficult than ever.


  • Though white isn't a colour that makes many appearances in the wardrobe, summer breeds necessity and Love Aesthetics came out with tips on how to keep your whites white, many of which apply to other colours. She also posted her DIY kimono, which I'm tempted to try.
  • Any attempt at fitness has gone down the drain with summer approaching, but the recent health goth movement might force me into gear when autumn comes around.
  • Just in case you missed it, I wrote an article for The Pop Culture Cynic on grown up geek chic - there's a batman motorbike helmet, which is all you need to know.

Apologies for such a brief update, again; I'm hoping to take part in The Professor's homework assignment, but I'm worried that the weather won't be good enough. Until then!


Thursday, 24 July 2014

Beacon Collection by Warby Parker

A fact I don't actually think I've shared on this blog: I wear glasses. Not particularly often, as my prescription isn't very strong, and I live in constant fear of losing them. Spectacles are grossly over-expensive. I tend to dislike eyewear brands for this reason, but I'll make an exception for Warby Parker; combined with their generous home try-on option and actually reasonable pricing, their 'Buy a Pair, Give a Pair' campaign has seen them train over 18,000 men and women to provide prescription eyeglasses, and have helped provide over one million glasses in developing countries. Also, their eyewear is quite attractive.

Garret glasses.

Warby Parker contacted me to asking if I could help spread news about the release of their new Beacon Collection, which they state is inspired by 'impromptu, can't-duplicate-them all-nighters'; this, combined with the more vintage shapes, is probably aimed at the glasses wearing Portland set, but the frames are distinctly wearable and will appeal to a far wider audience.

Ingram sunglasses.

If I sound flippant, please forgive me; I am incredibly honored that Warby Parker wanted my blog as one of a select few to get the news out, and the eyeglasses are gorgeous. The very clear and well thought out concepts of the collection is replicated in the individual design of the frame styles; I like the creativity in colour choice, and would love to try styling these into my own aesthetic; measurements, a virtual try on option and suggestions on what face shapes they would suit are also included as well as the home try on to overcome the limitations of online shopping. It was hard picking my favourites.

Alas, I really don't need new glasses. But I can still look wistfully.

McKee glasses (also available in a clear colourless finish, which I adore).

The full Beacon Collection can be found here on the Warby Parker site; all opinions are my own, images provided by Warby Parker. Is anyone else a fan of Warby Parker? Any style you would you consider getting?


Monday, 21 July 2014

The Occult Trend: Non-Religious Symbols for the Secular

EDIT: I wrote this article running late for a deadline, and the end result I was unhappy with as it failed to convey the points I was trying to discuss properly; I've since overhauled it completely, though I've left the two first comments below (made below I updated the article) for posterity.

I find the current trend in alternative cultures for occult symbolism interesting; though it originates from loftier concepts of alchemy and witchcraft, it has brought fashion brands and symbols such as the St. Peter's Cross and the Sigil of Baphomet which were once derided as too 'mall goth' and intentionally provocative to wear back into popularity. From Blood Milk's dark romanticism to Killstar's pop culture blend, companies are joining in on this enthusiasm and drawing on paganism, ancient Egypt, western esotericism and witchcraft in their inspirations.

This most recent trend is just the newest in a long history of Goth borrowing from religious and spiritual movements; ankhs and crosses have become something of a cliché within the subculture. As far as I've seen the general consensus seems to be that practitioners are happy with this when done respectfully, but I know several bloggers who have stated that they don't personally feel comfortable doing so when they don't believe in the spiritual beliefs the symbol represents - indeed, many of my non-goth friends feel similar, either because they follow a religion of their own or just don't want to. There's a lot valid reasons for not wanting to adopt symbols representative of beliefs; I wear a lot of religious iconography quite happily (primarily the cross, the ankh and pentagrams, amongst others), but inaccurate usage of symbols (such as all the clothing with pentagrams and 'hail satan' slapped next to them) peeves me, as the designer has clearly not done their research, and considering this is another lens through which we view these cultures I think it's important to get them right.

So for those who have made the decision to avoid religious and spiritual iconography but still like aspects of the occult trend, I've compiled a list of alternative suggestions below -

Source one, two, three, four and five (which I've lost).