I Feel Pretty, Oh Sew Pretty

Lovelies, I’m now the very proud owner of a dress and blouse that I made myself.

As someone who only a few months ago was still suffering with severe anxiety, panic attacks, with symptoms of depression and agoraphobia… I’m sure you realise just how significant this moment is.

Through doing this I honestly feel as though I’ve reached an important milestone in my mental health journey and the healing process. I know that if I’d have attempted this a few years ago or even back in February I would have told myself I was untalented, worthless and I shouldn’t even bother because what’s the point?

It’s a very different story to how I feel right now.

Making clothes is something I’ve always imagined myself doing; my eclectic fashion taste unfortunately doesn’t lend itself to the high street and I find reproduction clothes although gorgeous they can also be extremely expensive! So this was always an option I wanted to explore, but knew I wouldn’t be able to get to this point without looking after my mental health first.

In making my own clothes I’m able to find patterns that not only suit my personal style, but I’ve been lucky enough to find that my nearest vintage store has heaps of beautiful vintage fabric! So at the end of the day, I not only get a garment made to fit my petite yet curvaceous body type (finding clothes to fit exactly can indeed be a challenge, anyone with me?) But in order to achieve this I’m not using newly made fabric in the process; therefore being sustainable and having a truly vintage garment as the result. I mean, can you say win-win?

However instead of using the phrase “I tried to run before I could walk”, I think it’s fair to say I ran the London Marathon before I could even crawl and decided I would make this dress with it only being my third time using a sewing machine! I’m one of those that seems to learn better when doing and if I need to learn a specific stitch I’ll have trusty YouTube tutorials at my side to guide me through. I definitely don’t recommend this for everyone, I’m just extremely stubborn… and as I type that I can hear a distant echo saying “YES SHE IS!” from my loved ones haha.

So I’m trying not to steamboat ahead… Y’know like I did when I started all this, but I have some major plans for the future and where I’d really like to take this skill. Honestly I’d love nothing more than to take my cosplay game to a whole new level, making lavish costumes on the scale you’d see at New York Comic Con. As well as creating an entire wardrobe of reworked and personally made clothes and making me true feel like I’ve walked out of Sterling Cooper (Draper Price)… You know I have to mention Mad Men at least once!

Ok, I’ll freely admit that these garments are far from perfect! Nevertheless I personally think it’s pretty nifty being able to see my whole progress right before my eyes and what I’ve achieved so far. I’m teaching myself a completely new skill and I’m prepared for the fact it’s going to look at little ropey for a while yet!

During these last few months have you happened to pick up a new skill, or did you rediscover a love for an old skill? Or, have you been thinking about it but haven’t tried it on for size yet? Take it from me lovelies, if you’re thinking about learning a new skill, whether it’s sewing or something completely different I feel you should absolutely go for it! It might just be the beginning of something truly special.

Comic-Con with a cuppa tea, you say?

Hello there my lovely chums!

How are we all? Please do let me know, wherever you are how you are all feeling at this time.

Now I know that this year has been an interesting one to say the least and a lot of us are sat here wondering “oh my goodness, whatever next” and although there are places opening for business here in the UK, I’ll be perfectly honest I’m just not prepared to go back to normal yet… Not that I’ve ever known what that was to begin with having dealt with severe anxiety, staying indoors had become my new normal a couple of years ago. But right now, aside from my walks in the park and feeding the squirrels (yes, I’m that person) I genuinely enjoy staying at home; I designed it to be somewhere that I’d want to spend a lot of my time and therefore love it.  

So you can imagine my sheer delight when San Diego Comic Con suddenly announced that they’d be doing a virtual comic con, everything as it would be just online. A place where everyone (no matter where you are in the world) could access all the panels online and the event wouldn’t be ticketed; simply tune into YouTube log onto the Comic-Con international YouTube page and enjoy 4 days of virtual panels!

Amazing, right!?

Now I know what you’re thinking and I hear you! I understand that this doesn’t give you a proper idea of what comic-con is usually like. It’s difficult because you can’t replicate the comic con atmosphere via a screen and there’d be no real buzz from the comic con floor. Sadly there’d be no meeting new people and being able to marvel at each other other’s cosplay’s in person.

But I love comic-con and although we can’t physically be in the room together I still have to applaud the way it was laid out and the variation of panels that were given screen time. For me personally there were many panels dedicated to cartoons and the voice acting community spread across the 4 days, including a wonderful 80th Bugs Bunny Anniversary panel and if you know me you’ll know that I was completely in my element; all of this gave me such joy to be able to participate.

Especially since I’ve never been to San Diego Comic Con and trying to afford a single day ticket (let alone a 4 day ticket), accommodation and flights; it was always highly unlikely I’d ever be attending! But I still count myself immensely lucky to have been given the opportunity to go to New York Comic Con last year. So for my nerdy self over 5000 miles away, to be sat across the pond with a cup of tea and a cinnamon roll to be in with all the comic con feels, it’s a wonderful thought for all of us to feel included.

One of the things I flippin’ adore about comic con season… y’know aside from everything I’ve mentioned so far is having the opportunity to shop for comic con exclusives, including some of my favourite vendors Loungefly and NECA and they definitely came through with some amazing pieces this year… Unfortunately, as always with Loungefly the term ‘you can look but no touchie’ still applies as we have to wait for their items to be available in the UK via Truffle Shuffle/Shop Disney/Zavvi websites… But y’know oh well!

Incase you missed out on San Diego Comic Con at home and you want to see what went down, don’t fret it’s still available on the comic-con international Youtube and if it peaks your interest there are now other comic cons following suit. There will be a comic con dedicated to all DC properties called the DC Fandome which will have all of its content available on DC’s website; this will occur August 22nd only – I can’t tell you how excited I am for this one. Did I mention that it’s a full 24hr immersive event?! I’ll get the coffee in now, shall I? Ahem, but before that excitement unfolds (breathe Quinn breathe) ReedPop (the company behind NYCC and MCM Comic Con here in the UK) they have their online convention on August 15/16th on the NYCC youtube channel. However they’ll have a mixture of free panel’s, pre-paid virtual signings and chinwags with their guests available to choose from. I will most definitely be watching all the panels made available to me, I like to have options!

Although all of this nerd culture content makes me insanely happy and it does (honest)! I will also stress to you all that I cannot wait for the day where it’s safe for us all to be at comic con again, I miss it dearly but right now it’s just not the right time. So grab a cuppa, bake some treats; download Bill and Ted 3: Face the Music on VOD and enjoy having comic con at home!

A Pinny For Your Thoughts

Afternoon luvvies! How are we all? I do hope you’re eating plenty of treats, drinking much tea and looking after yourselves.

Now during these times I am fully aware that some of us… Ok probably a lot of us are living in realm of lounge wear and pajamas, including myself! Comfy worn-in joggers and slouchy jumpers have become the new office attire; let’s face it even if you’re working from home in these times and have to take a conference call who says that you can’t be put together on the top half and cosy on the bottom? You’ve totally earned it! But if you do happen to wake up one morning and the notion of getting dressed presents itself then do it, sometimes putting on an outfit I really like can make a huge difference to my day and I genuinely feel more productive simply just by getting dressed.

One of my favourite pieces in this scenario is (you may have guessed by the title!) The pinafore!

Now I’ll be honest I steered away from buying a pinafore for years, out of fear that I’d end up looking a bit like a child and let’s be honest I wouldn’t be worlds away with my haircut and collection of peter pan collars… However when I started to plan my outfit choices for a holiday to Scandinavia, ordering one by chance completely changed my mind and it has now become a major staple in my wardrobe.

I got this navy blue one from Joanie Clothing (my favourite online store I might add) and much like Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamcoat, I honestly wish I had this pinafore in so many different colours and shades (hint hint)! It’s versatile and one of those timeless pieces that can get you through any season.

When it gets a little chilly in the air a cute jumper with a collar works perfectly with a pair of opaque tights. Fast forward to the height of summer, now you can ditch the tights altogether and opt for a basic tee or an adorable blouse with all the frills imaginable. What made me fall head over heels with this pinafore in particular was just how much you can do with it! It can be casual one minute or dressed up if you’re going out for a lovely lunch somewhere. One of my favourite places to where this item is when travelling, specifically on a train journey. I find it comfortable and effortless; it’s a no-brainer outfit! I for one cannot rock lounge wear out and about in public it simply doesn’t suit me, so something like a pinafore is fantastic.

Whether you have a modern dress sense or you want to jazz it up a little and make it look 1960’s and retro, a pinafore can work for your personal style no matter what outfit choices you have in mind.

I have yet to buy another like this and when I stumble upon the right one you better believe I’ll be buying another one… or three!

It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad TV Show!

Hope you’re all safe and sound my lovelies! Keeping sane and being creative I hope. I’m pretty good at spending a lot of time indoors, I must admit. Presently I’ve been putting outfits together and trying to be creative with my ensemble choices (y’know so I can look utterly fabulous, once I emerge from my cave of wonders) and it got me to thinking just how much of what I wear is actually influenced by what I watch! This also works the other way around too; a lot of what I watch is definitely influenced by what I wear!

This has been most apparent with Mad Men.

Yes I know! But don’t worry, I won’t spoil anything for those that haven’t watched it on Netflix yet… hint hint.

I remember when I first watched the show I instantly resonated with the wardrobe of Peggy Olson, played fantastically by Elizabeth Moss! Am I right?

Firstly, I think it’s fair to say I could easily sit through one episode and vocally express that I wanted (nay needed) every single outfit from every character… Including the supporting artists!

Yes I actually did that, if you were wondering.

Peggy’s array of bows, peter pan collars and not to mention her bangs! It was crystal clear that there was a lot I could take away from this character and already had unbeknownst to me.

Now please bear in mind sweeties I had all these clothes in my wardrobe whilst doing this blog post, I bought nothing new for the occasion! I wish! I know that these are not in any way accurate depictions or cosplay’s of Peggy’s costumes, but I found it interesting just how much of what I already owned lent itself to the iconic TV series.

As you all know (unless you’re new here, then welcome lovelies!) I have a penchant for retro and vintage clothing, particularly that of the 1950s and 60s. However when my putting these ensembles together the hair was the hardest thing to get right! Oh my goodness, no matter what I do to my hair it just naturally wants to form itself back into the 1920’s flapper bob that it is… But thanks to unwashed hair, pin-curling the night before (and a sleepless night due to bobby pins sticking into my skull), some severe back combing and a big tin of hairspray I managed to achieve (only just) this look!

What I love and adore most about the costumes created for Elizabeth Moss is that they always put her in a combination of patterns and textures and were never afraid of a pop of colour!

They clearly showed her evolution through the changes in fashion and trends at the time- I’m now going to blame the stylists for my growing obsession with the colours mustard yellow, rust and green!

These costumes creatively designed by Janie Bryant concentrated on Peggy’s journey, not only through the decades of the show but her important transition through the period of time as a woman and what it meant to be a woman in what was a male dominated world. The women on this show were (let’s face it) positively badass! They were not afraid of the men around them, to assert their authority when necessary and knew how to achieve exactly what they wanted to; they were go-getters and will always be (in my opinion) considered as some of the best written characters on TV and I think we can all agree some of the most stylish!  

A Day at the Opera (Cake)

Did someone say cake? Part 2

If you know me, you’ll know that I am what I call a cake enthusiast… Or y’know a person who just flippin’ loves cake but thinks she deserves a fancier title (is it just me that thinks Miranda Hart would strongly approve of that statement?)  

Whenever it comes to a catch up with a friend what says “let’s have a chinwag” better than cake? Nothing that’s what! Everyone can enjoy cake whether it’s gluten free, dairy free, flourless! Yasssss is what I say!

Well last week I visited the most adorable café that I simply have to share my experience with you all, just in case you ever visit London town.

Boulangerie Jade is a traditional French artisan bakery and patisserie and I know what you’re thinking “well that ticks all the boxes doesn’t it?” You’re darn tootin’ hun. I instantly felt I was back in Paris the moment I walked through the door and it was wonderful to have the feeling in the heart of London. They have four locations, all SE London and but it’s definitely worth travelling out of Central London, not only the cafes but the delightful surroundings. My dear friend chose to visit here as it was her birthday and she was keen to try somewhere new (my kind of mentality!) She decided upon Boulangerie Jade as one of the locations was in East Dulwich (which is such a pretty part of town) and it’s the only one out of the locations that does hot food.

The place felt cosy and warm and the ladies who worked there made you feel extremely welcome. It’s not a particularly large place but nonetheless there were plenty of places to sit and it was clear by the number of people it’s a popular choice with the locals (and this is always a good sign). So before I go anywhere I always tend to scour the menu beforehand, this is because I could talk for England and reading the menu when I meet up with a friend isn’t very high up on my priority list! However…Trying to narrow down a patisserie menu filled to the brim of some of my favourite cakes and pastries, this proved to be incredibly difficult and could have easily ordered 5 things off of the menu…

I didn’t however if that’s what you’re thinking! Cheeky.

I opted for the Opera cake, which is one of the most beautiful combos ever put into cake form, if you’ve never tried it and are a chocolate/coffee obsessive then honestly what are you waiting for?  Again, due to popularity (and no doubt because it’s been featured on the Great British Bake Off) there was only one of these available. But I wanted to my dear friend to have it, as it was her birthday and after all one of us had to have it!! Nevertheless my luck was in when my other favourite was in fact available, another popularised by British Bake Off fame- Millefeuille. The most beautiful flaky pastry sandwiched between layers of crème pâtissère. My idea of heaven basically! We paired it was a couple of their light and creamy coffees and we were two very happy Northern girls!

Having now tried a sampling of their cake and pastry, I would return in a heartbeat and wouldn’t hesitate to try their hot food offerings and leave enough room to try another of the cakes, tarts or pastries.

No matter where in the world you live I think we can all agree that one thing we could always have more of are lovely little cafes, where they provide comforting hot drinks and luxurious desserts that taste so good you can’t even be bothered to feel guilty about devouring.      

“Just call me Aunt Teek!”

When looking to plan a perfect day out and about; for me it would be a morning moseying around local antique and second-hand stores, a stop off somewhere for some tea and cake (or a cheeky chai latte, if it’s on offer) preferably at a quaint café where the cake is homemade, then an afternoon wandering little side streets with another coffee to walk around with.

Now I’ll be honest with you all the antique stores in Shoreditch are quite simply not my cup of tea. I think they’re overpriced and Shoreditch itself I find to be rather stressful!

When antique hunting in London I find it best to scour the internet first instead of hopping straight to Shoreditch and some of the best places I’ve found so far are in the SE London. Crystal Palace antiques and Love Atomica which has a space Croydon are fantastic, if you’re looking for vintage furnishings! Maybe you’re looking for a tea set just like your Grandma used to have and you remember it from your childhood, or a funky 1960s Mad Men style bureau. Places like this are really worth taking a look round and they won’t have you forking out so much money that you end up thinking – “was it just worth buying something similar from Ikea?”       

My favourite haunt as of lately is Mabel’s Five & Dime, in Sydenham. Now hold onto your seats kids it gets better, there’s also a cute little café next door… I know right?

However Mabel’s is only open Thursday through Saturday, but this should just further the urgency to go and visit!

It’s such a perfectly sized store and is curated beautifully. The owner handpicks everything that goes into Mabel’s (by the way if you’re curious Mabel is a cute little pup) and the way everything is displayed instantly made me personally want to spend a lot of time there, just to make sure I didn’t miss a beat. The store stocks everything from furniture, china, books, toys, clothes/accessories and plenty of vintage fabric. Even better, if you do see an item of clothing you do have your eye on there’s a changing room!

I knew as soon as I entered that I’d be walking away with something and that I did! Now would you honestly believe me if I told you that these finds came to £24 altogether? I know right! I didn’t think they would either to be perfectly honest. But it just showed me what vintage and antique stores can be like once you venture away from Central and East London, and I’m eager to find more to visit.

If you know of any fantastical vintage/antique stores on the outskirts of London that I simply must go and give some love, then please do send your recommendations my way. Or if you know of any around the country, I will make it my mission to go visit those too!