Saturday, 11 June 2016

♪♫ Guess I better wash my mouth out with soap ♫♪

Yesterday, I got my Cry Baby album in the post. 

I remember hearing about Melanie Martinez ages ago through the lolita community, because she'd been known to wear lolita clothing. I was surprised to find that I actually liked her music, even though her fan base is a little... intense (and surprisingly young, given the mature and gritty lyrical content of her work). I came across many criticisms about her aesthetic and the themes in her music, which many people believed to be sexualising towards children. I read various articles and interviews about Cry Baby, and found out that it was a concept album based very loosely around events in Melanie's childhood, with the titular Cry Baby character being a kind of alter-ego. With this context in mind, not only did the album make a lot more sense to me, but I found that I didn't interpret the content in the same way as the nay-sayers.

It's only recently I got round to listening to the album in its entirety, and I loved it. It's so depressing and haunting and magical, with lyrics which cleverly entwine metaphors so layered that at a first glance, you don't notice the consistently dark undercurrent of the songs. I was hooked, with "Soap" and "Training Wheels" being the standout tracks for me. Naturally, I decided to check out her web store and see which formats the album had been released on. When I saw that it came on vinyl, it was a no-brainer, really. I purchased the 12" through the Amazon Marketplace to save a few quid. 

 I've kind of got a thing for album covers and this one really does it for me.
 The album comes in a gatefold sleeve, and the artwork is so incredibly detailed. 

There's even more art, too, in the form of a storybook based on the concept album itself. I'm in love.

 I'm so reminded of a vintage nursery rhyme book of my childhood. The colours are stunning.

The artist is Chloe Tersigni, and her style has such a lolita vibe to it. Her instagram is definitely worth a peruse.

I also have a lot of love for the back cover. It reminds me a little of the back cover of one of my favourite albums, Jellyfish's Spilt Milk.

One thing I do find to be a glaring oversight, though, is that there isn't any lyrics booklet. I can't help thinking that the storybook should have had the lyrics printed in full, as opposed to the little summaries at the bottom of each page. Still, this is only a small qualm as it's very easy to find lyrics for songs online. The record comes with a code and a link to follow, which enables you to download a digital version of the album, too. I always love when this is offered, as it means that not only do you get a gorgeous physical copy, but you can also listen to it at your convenience or on the go. I'm one of those people who still uses an iPod, so Cry Baby went straight onto it.

In summary, this is by far the most beautiful vinyl package I've ever bought. The artwork throughout is a delight to look at, and musically, it's quite a triumph. I get the impression that an awful lot of work went into producing all of this, and I'm particularly impressed (and vaguely depressed) to find out that Melanie is younger than me! I need to go and achieve some more things in life, methinks. 

This album was worth every penny and I absolutely recommend it! Go check out Cry Baby. It'll either not be your thing at all, or you'll fall madly in love with it like I did.

So... are any of my readers Melanie Martinez fans, too? Do any of you like to collect vinyl records? I'd love to hear about your music adventures in the comments. Thanks for reading, and I'll catch up with you next time 

Monday, 6 June 2016

Convention Prep & the Highs and Lows of International Lolita Day

I've not been feeling very inspired to write lately because I've not been in a great place mentally.

I've had that whole "numb" feeling going on for longer than I'd like. I sat and wrote and edited an entire post and never posted it because my heart just wasn't in it. I figured it would be better to leave a long gap in between posts, rather than to use some filler content I didn't feel strongly about. I'm feeling a little more enthused today, though, so I'm taking the moment of inspiration that presented itself to me, and running away with it in case it disappears again!

So, what's been going on lately? Same old, I guess. I've been working a lot on crafting lately, in preparation for my upcoming convention, Hyper Japan. I've even gotten a couple of commissions lately which has been really nice. My days have been spent at my sewing machine working on bloomers (often with Melanie Martinez playing in the background. Yep. I'm such a lolita stereotype), hand stitching accessories, gluing on hair clips, buying supplies, planning my table display... it's been a bizarre rush of all these little details which will hopefully come together in time.


It's been nice to have something to focus on and be passionate about. Still, I sometimes feel a little unsure of myself, and a little directionless. By focusing on this convention, and by extension, my brand, I suppose I've taken something of a risk. I chose not to renew my old work contract, or to pursue a regular 9-5, because for whatever reason, I really just wanted to give this a go. The money I saved from my last job has gone directly into my business. Maybe this convention will go terribly, and I'll go back to job hunting as soon as I return from the convention. But maybe it'll go really well, and I'll want to continue selling at events and fulfilling online orders. I can't possibly know just yet. All I know is that I don't want to have that recurring "what if?" going round in my head in the future, because I chose not to try while I had the chance. I'm trying to block out the negativity from people around me who think I'm merely lazy-- as though working from home actually means sitting around doing nothing all day. You'd have thought the fact my tiny bedroom is bursting with newly made stock (I am seriously running out of space right now) would indicate I've been busy doing something.

Just a little over a month to go, before I set off for the London Olympia to seek my fortune. My destiny awaits...

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Saturday was pretty nice. I met up with my friends as usual. We decided to have a picnic to celebrate International Lolita Day. I went for a summery, retro-inspired coordinate based around my handmade cherry skirt. It was an overcast but really warm, and humid day. The weather is so deceptive in its looks.

It wasn't until after stocking up on supermarket foods that we discovered this huge food festival thing happening in the town centre. Luna and I took in the sight of sizzling food on a grill and let out wistful howls. We were so disappointed! 

Still, we managed to have a good time with our decidedly inferior stash, which included some rather chewy, gooey macarons. Aesthetically pleasing and appropriate for the photo-taking that occurred, but so painfully overpriced. The 50p pack of party rings turned out to be much more satisfying!

We accidentally settled ourselves down in what seemed to be a couple-zone that day. One young teenage couple was play-fighting constantly, having pretend arguments and running around after one another. Another couple looked like they were in their late thirties, and spent a few hours making out on a bench. The final couple looked like they were in their forties, and literally mounted one another a few times, giving one another massages and generally being really inappropriate considering it was a completely public park with children running around. We did our best to ignore them but it was tough going!

We ranted about life, had an impassioned conversation about a recent lolita scammer experience, and planned future outings. It was so good to catch up! I couldn't help feeling totally relaxed and content.

We finished our picnic by taking some photos together, as part of the gardens were in full bloom, and looked as though they'd be a nice backdrop. We were right!

Luna wore Lief's Gardenberries print. It's so detailed and intricate, and I love the elegant way she coordinated it.

 Sammi went for a cue and casual AP coordinate, which is definitely her specialty. I was so thrilled to see her wearing the wristcuffs I made her!

I always seem to be the only one without a hat!

Next, we headed off for drinks, where a friend of Luna and James, Will, eventually joined us for conversations that had us laughing for hours. We got on really well, and it seems I've met my match when it comes to over-sharing! Before we knew it, it was 9pm, and Sammi was due to start work at 4 in the morning (she is so hardcore). We made a hasty exit.

I went to bed fairly early that night (after crying for a while because I'd lost my front door keys), but woke up a few hours later, really nauseated and with stomach cramps. I had a fever, and my pyjamas were drenched in sweat. I spent the early hours of the morning alternating between clenching my hands and toes in bed in an attempt to deal with how awful I felt, and the bathroom. I seemed to have food poisoning. What a miserable end to what had been a lovely day. I couldn't help feeling utterly dejected. 

I checked in with my friends at a more social hour and they all seemed to be fine. They suggested it could be the alcohol I drank, as I've had weird reactions to certain drinks in the past (for example, I cannot drink cider as it causes my heart to feel like it's going to beat its way out of my chest). On this occasion, I did notice that my face felt uncomfortably hot while I drank my cocktails. I've done some reading online and apparently, alcohol can aggravate intolerance to food, plus you can be intolerant to alcohol itself. I suppose it could have been the combination of cocktails and "ready to eat" picnic foods from the supermarket that caused me to get so ill. Either way, I'm not going to risk it again, and am just going to go back to teetotal life because honestly, I don't enjoy drinking enough to bother trying to find some sort of workaround. #straightedge #sobriety #highonlife etc etc.

Thankfully, I've been feeling a lot better today, and am more or less back to eating normally now. I've been taking it easy, editing photos (which I find really therapeutic), and catching up with general social media stuff, plus blogging, of course. Maybe my next outing will pass without incident!

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As a bonus, here's a proper outfit picture, with me in all my squinty glory.
So, did you do anything for International Lolita Day? I'd love to hear about what you've been up to lately! Thank you so much for reading, and I'll see you next time!