Saturday, 31 August 2019

Lolita Blogpost Roundup: August 2019

August was a blur for me. I was really sick for 2+ weeks of the month, and everything kind of fell apart a little bit. Like, I swear I read more cool blogs than the few I'm sharing here, but I forgot to drop the links into my draft posts and so they're just...not here...

But oh well. Quality, not quantity!

Dressed by Fluffy Kawaii Jo from Cupcakes and Unicorns
I love dress-me-up posts! Back when EGL on Livejournal was more active, this was often the February theme, following on the heels of January's wardrobe posts, and I really loved participating. So it was super cool to see the idea resurrected!

When life gives me lemons... from Ruban Rose
This post is just a simple sharing of some outfits, but it's so pretty I still wanted to share!

Asa Ransom House Afternoon Tea Meet-up! from In Love With a Dream
On a similar note, this post just shares a tea party experience. But for some reason it really touched on the nostalgic part of my heart, it's just so quintessentially lolita.

Animal Crossing New Leaf Oldschool Lolita QR Codes from Cynical Neo-Princessism
And now for something completely different! I've never played Animal Crossing, but even so it's very cool to see lolita designs brought to life in this game.

10 Years of Lolita Lifestyle ~ Q & A! from Petit Tomoyo
This post was an interesting personal insight into the mind of a long-term lifestyle lolita...and it made me realise that though I'm  nowhere near a lifestyler, lolita has been part of my life for pretty much exactly seven years!

If you feel like it, drop a link to your favourite recent lolita blog post in the comments - I'd love to know what you're reading!

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Tokyo 2019 Day 2: Extreme shopping in Harajuku

On Wednesday we woke up at 7.45AM, which was far too early for our still really tired selves, especially because it was a cold and rainy day - perfect for lying abed and cuddling. But we had plans for the day so we managed to get ourselves up out of bed and down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. Now, I’ve said it before but it’s still true – hotel breakfasts are one of my favourite things.

And oh my goodness, let me gush about his particular breakfast for a moment. They offered both a Japanese and a Western selection, and even though I stuck to the Western food mostly it was great to have the option. Especially because they had natto! I’d really wanted to try natto and here was my chance. The result? I did not like it at all! The flavour was okay but I just couldn’t get past the texture. But everything else was tasty – I particularly fell in love with their super thin bacon and little cream puffs. Best way to start the day.

The only bad part of breakfast was that even here we couldn’t find a coffee that James liked! He’s a mocha boy, really, and we’d now been almost two days without him being able to consume a coffee drink that he liked. See, we’d thought ahead enough to bring our own tea bags from home for our room but we didn’t think we should bring coffee stuff! It’s funny the things you think of and the things you don’t when you’re travelling.

Then it was back to our room to get properly dressed for the day because it was our Harajuku day and of course, I was going to wear lolita. I had my outfit ready in my head and was able to get ready (including make-up) in about half an hour. I was impressed with myself! We took some selfies, James filmed a silly video of me, and then we went on our way at about 11AM.

We walked to Shinjuku Station, trying not to get too wet in the drizzle, and found the right platform. Harajuku was just two stops away so in practically no time we were standing on the platform at Harajuku station!

I started leading us toward the Takeshita Dori exit when across the train line I actually caught sight of it! The foreign-yet-familiar sign at the entrance to Takeshita Dori! Of course, I had to take a photo.

It was a matter of only a couple of minutes to exit the station and then there we were! Of course, it was still raining, so our first port of call was turning right into a covered alley lined with various shops. I’ll admit, I was a little overwhelmed by all the stuff, but pretty quickly managed to buy myself a long sleeved rainbow striped t-shirt. And honestly, that’s probably the best purchase I made all trip! There were a lot of cool shirts and accessories and stuff, but I didn’t want to go too nuts right off the bat especially since some stuff also didn’t seem to be particularly good quality,

I've been practically living in this shirt all winter.

Further down the little lane we popped into another store where I found a Hello Kitty coin purse, which was exactly what I wanted! We’d actually planned to visit the Hello Kitty store at Haneda Airport after we flew in, but I kind of forgot it wouldn’t have been open that early. But I still got my coin purse and only one day later than intended! We promptly put it to good use too, we had so many coins already!

I resisted the urge to buy fake baguettes, and we headed back out to the main street.

But I will say, I now kind of regret not owning a fake baguette.

We quickly ducked into a shop that sold clear umbrellas and bought one before we continued down the street. We visited shops here and there but honestly I don’t remember what we looked at or in what order. We loved ACDC Rag! That’s one thing I can say for sure, and we bought a lot of stuff there! I also really enjoyed getting accessories in Paris Kids and Claire’s. So many more shops we just browsed and didn’t buy. There was so much to see!

We did, however, end up in the W <3 C vintage store, which was super gorgeous, and James snapped lots of pictures for me in their photo corner.

See, we had intended to do a proper photoshoot of me while we were out and about (hence me actually bothering with makeup) but the weather, combined with the fact that we were still quite tired, meant that in the end we didn’t. Poor James carried his camera all day for nothing! So I’m extra happy with these phone pics ^__^

We kept on going from shop to shop, sometimes buying things and sometimes just browsing, until we came to the Harajuku ALTA  building. We decided to go in, browse their shops, find a toilet, and maybe grab a drink. And that is exactly what we did.

We went back onto Takeshita Dori and it was Closet Child time! And oh my goodness, did I go nuts. James stayed outside while I started, because we had a lot of bags, but I called him in when I'd made most of my decisions. And a good thing too, because he found the green coat and Queen Cat ^__^

After we were done on the lolita floor we went upstairs to the punk and gothic floor. There were some truly epic clothes there, if I would have fit more and thought I'd get more wear out of them. As it was, James found an awesome belt, I got a cute and cheap bolero, and we bought a shirt as a gift for a friend (which she now wears regularly - James is great at picking clothes people will like!).

Now burdened with even more shopping bags, and feeling ever more tired, we went back to street level and followed a sign James had seen while on the Closet Child balcony. It said "Jungle Cafe" and had a cute anime girl, so we thought we'd go get some lunch.

Once we were inside and were handed a menu I quickly realised we were in a character cafe for something I had never heard of. We decided to just get some drinks instead, and sat down to enjoy all the cuteness. It turns out the cafe was for Kemono Friends, and we quickly fell in love with the Penguin characters

Our drinks were tasty and it was good to sit down again for a while. As we sat we decided that, even though we hadn't even made it through all of Takeshita Dori, we needed to go back to the hotel. So we spent our time enjoying our drinks and just resting, then bought a couple of clear files for a sturdier memento than the paper place mats, and headed back to street level.

The train trip back to Shinjuku and the walk to our hotel was uneventful. We did, however, take a silly photo of James and all our shopping once we got back.

After that, it was time for both of us to strip off for a bit and relax in our hotel robes. James was super sweet - he rubbed down my arms and legs with a hotel towel because I was cold. He is a very sweet man ^__^

We spent a while just relaxing and, full disclosure, taking photos of how great my boobs looked in the robe. We played games on our phones, cuddled, and enjoyed our rest. Also, I don't remember exactly what happened, but I have in my notes from this day a great quote from James - "I stabbed my forehead with my fucking glasses!" - so what can I say, we had an eventful rest period.

I also took photos of our purchases - I shared some of them above at the appropriate times, but here are the rest.


Paris Kid's

Kemono Friends - the things at the top are our place mats, and the little thing in the middle is a badge

My haul from Wego - the pink/purple plaid shirt is another great purchase that I've worn so much since Japan!

James's tops from ACDC Rag 

The rest of our ACDC Rag haul

After a solid three hours of rest, we started getting ready to head out again. I wore some of my new purchases straight away, and took a super trashy selfie showing them off.

Then we headed out into the dark and the rain. Our goal this time was Marui Men’s in the hopes of finding some cool clothes for James. And speaking of the man, he looked so cool walking around with his colourful hair and shirt under the clear umbrella that I made him pose for some photos on the way ^__^

Once we got there we found were a lot of lovely things, but everything was pricier than he was willing to buy. He did try on an absolutely amazing pair of jeans though, which I loved on him, but I hadn’t told him I’d seen the price tag and was okay with it, so the poor man was hearing my compliments and thinking “she wouldn’t like them if she knew how much they cost”. I felt so bad for making him worry over that! We didn’t end up buying the jeans, which probably was the sensible decision because we are not expensive jeans kind of people but hey, I was in holiday shopping mode!

After browsing the whole building quickly we went back to street level to find a nearby CoCo Ichibanya, which I had really been wanting to try. I love Japanese curry, but have typical white person spice tolerance (aka none) so was excited to eat some very mild curry. On our way we passed a shrine, which looked amazing, and also stumbled across the Godzilla head…though that’s because I got us lost. In my defence, Google Maps was putting the entrance to the restaurant on the wrong side of the block!

But then we were able to sit down and order some dinner! Unfortunately I was still pretty overwhelmed by the unfamiliarity of everything and the language barrier (TBH that was a constant throughout the trip) so I didn’t put as many toppings on my curry as I’d have liked too. However, it was still absolutely delicious, and with a spice level of one (on a scale of one to ten) it was perfect for me. James got their low allergen curry, which he enjoyed too, which was great – when he likes food that I like, it means I get to eat it more ^__^

Then it was time to head back to the hotel for the night. We decided to do what was fast becoming a tradition on the way – stop in at Family Mart for ice cream and some more food. Curry was good, but kind of small portions for Westerners who hadn’t eaten a proper lunch! I also decided to get a couple of alcoholic drinks, since I had been riding the anxiety wave all day, and managed to then win an extra four in the lucky dip! And, to spoil the ending, I ended up drinking half a beer and neither of us touched any of the other drinks. At the end of our trip we just left them in the hotel…I hope the cleaner enjoyed them.

So we chilled and consumed back in our room for a bit before going to sleep. I like sleep ^__^

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Tokyo 2019 Day 1: Settling in Shinjuku

Our first stop once we entered Haneda Airport was, naturally, a bathroom. James went first while I stood with our carry-on bags and admired the early morning sun streaming through the massive windows.

I also admired the fact that in front of the toilets was a little speaker that repeated in Japanese, English, and I think another language or two, a description of the facilities. “These are the washrooms. First on the left are the ladies washrooms…” I thought that was such a great accessibility feature!

And of course, once it was my turn, I had to press all the buttons on the fancy toilet! I really loved the Japanese toilets, though I will admit that it was nice to come home to my familiar Aussie throne at the end of the trip. You wouldn’t think the height and shape of a toilet seat has much impact, but it does.

Anyway, with business taken care of we followed signs towards immigration. And oh boy, was the queue there long. We probably spent half an hour going slowly shuffling through the immigration hall, but fortunately once we were through that customs was a lot quicker. James also got a big smile from one of the staff members, who pointed to his shirt and said; ”Vegeta!” In case I didn’t mention it before, James’s travel t-shirt was a really bright and cool Vegeta one, and it really made him popular every time he wore it!

Things took a bit of a turn for the worse after we passed customs. I had looked up the airport and knew what we had to do, but had found the map confusing so was depending on signage. With both of us being really tired, it wasn’t the best way to start off. Our first port of call was the shower rooms…which turned out to have an hour long wait. That was just too much time so we didn’t get to start the trip with a refreshing shower like we planned.

Then we went to pick up our mobile wifi, where I had a panic in the line because I thought I needed my confirmation email and naturally didn’t have internet access yet. But it turns out they just need your passport, phew. Then we had to figure out how to get tickets for the Limousine Bus, which turned out to be super easy, but again it was just a stressful hole in my planning. I knew we needed to get tickets but didn’t know how! I also picked up Pasmo cards for us and with that all our prepping was done.

After all that was sorted we both tried some vending machine drinks (we got some barley tea that was utterly gross and then tried something nicer) and visited another bathroom, but unfortunately I took too long finding one and made poor James have to rush. Like I say, not my finest start to a holiday and definitely not helped by both of us being really exhausted!

But then we went down to the bus terminal and were easily able to board our bright orange Limousine Bus. I loved the fact that it was super clean and had cute crocheted headrest covers!

We got settled and took some silly photos with our drinks.

And then the bus moved out! It was actually a really nice way to start the trip, we got to sightsee out the windows and even though we were so tired, it was still really exciting. And luckily for us, the stop announcements were in English as well as Japanese, so we had no trouble knowing when our stop was coming up.

My favourite part of the bus trip was seeing Tokyo Tower out the window! I really felt like I was in an anime then, it’s such an iconic building!

We drove on a little further, and I recognised the robot looking building not too far away – we were getting near Shinjuku where we’d be staying! Very soon we were turning into the Shinjuku bus terminal (which was a massive building) where we disembarked, collected our suitcases, and went on our way to our hotel.

For this trip we stayed at the Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku, which was super conveniently located and pretty easy to find. We got to the hotel, left our luggage, and decided to explore. It was around 9AM at this point, and a lot of stores don’t open until 10-11AM, and we also couldn’t check in until 2PM. So we just walked out of the hotel, visited the nearest vending machine, then took a right hand turn, and wandered.

The vending machine right in front of our hotel.

Our first stop on our little wander? A 7/11! I had been dying to experience my first conbini so naturally we had to stop for some food and drinks. Unfortunately, I found the shop a bit claustrophobic so we were in and out pretty quickly, but then we were able to stand on a street corner and have a snack. Tried my first onigiri and one of the famous Japanese egg sandwiches, which honestly didn’t impress me that much.

I enjoyed how different the suburban streets in Tokyo were to the ones in Australia.

We then decided to head towards some of the Shinjuku department stores – which weren’t open. So we ended up going into the Starbucks in one of the buildings to rest with a drink until we could start shopping! I tried ordering a tea, but it was horribly sweet  and I threw most of it out. We discovered a new Japanese awesome thing at Starbucks though – separated trash, including a place to pour out any remaining liquids. So smart!

At this point it was almost 11AM, so we went back outside to wait to Marui Annex to open. Soon enough some staff members pulled open the doors and we could go in – and James got another compliment! One of the door staff told him he had nice hair ^__^

I’ll give you one guess what our first goal was…

Even though I was tried and overwhelmed (Japan wasn’t quite what I expected and it threw me off for a while) walking into the lolita stores still gave me a massive rush of positive feelings. It was real! I was there! Everything was right there in front of my and it was beautiful.

Weirdly, I found the lolita stores both overwhelming and simultaneously a little disappointing. I’ve been spoiled by the vast variety available online, so seeing store stocked with only parts of current series (that I know weren’t fully sold out) was a bit of a letdown. On the other hand, being able to see everything, and browse everything, was amazing. I fell in love with one of Meta’s regimental stripe series which I hadn’t liked online, and Baby’s store made my heart sing because it was all just so typically lolita.

Surprisingly, I actually enjoyed browsing Kera Shop and the Ozz Croce  stores the best – probably having a lack of expectations let me enjoy them for what they were, and being unfamiliar gave me that thrill of discovery.

I didn’t end up buying anything and we left Marui Annex after a lot of browsing to go get some lunch. With the help of Google Maps I led us to Nabezo, a shabu shabu place that does all-you-can-eat that I had read about and was keen to try!

Lunch was very good, though we were both so tired we didn’t enjoy it as much as we could have. But it was great to be able to eat some meat and loads of vegetables at our own pace.

When we were finished eating it was still too early to check in to our hotel, but we were so tired we just went back there anyway. We booked in for a massage at the in-hotel spa for later in the evening, and just sat around for half an hour until we could finally check in a 2PM.

We got up to our (tiny!) room as quickly as possible, were finally able to take a shower, and by a bit after 3PM we were crashed out in bed together – we wanted to get through the day without a nap but after not sleeping on the plane we had to.

But poor James! I was out like a light, and apparently I snored, so the poor man didn’t get much of a nap at all. So when my alarm got us up at 5.15PM I’d had say around four hours sleep in the last thirty six hours and he’d be lucky if he’d had half an hour. I’ll tell you this now – we are not going to do overnight flights again!

We got dressed and wandered down to the spa for our massage, which was very restorative. I will say that I’m totally spoiled now – the spa had heated massage tables! I was in heaven. It turns out my masseuse had visited Cairns in Australia before, so we chatted about that a little, and after the massage the staff gave us some delightful berry tea to drink.

Tired but happy!

Then we went out into the chilly evening to shop some more – this time to Closet Child Shinjuku! Even more than going to the brand stores I had been really looking forward to going to as many Closet Child stores as we could manage, and this one, around fifteen minutes walk from our hotel, was just the start.

Once we found Closet Child (going up the stairs for it was a little…ominous) it was like stepping into a little piece of lolita heaven. Here was the variety I loved! But because I’m a sucker for delayed gratification first we browsed the gothic and punk section, where James found me a really cute Hello Kitty x Peace Now t-shirt which I just had to grab. Then I got gloriously distracted by all of the accessories! I wanted jewellery, particularly sweet stuff, and I got it in spades. I’d hoped to find some headbows and I found lots. And I grabbed a cute BTSSB capelet because why not? Impulse purchase for the win!

My Closset Child haul! The Hello Kitty t-shirt is now a staple in my everyday wardrobe ^__^

After browsing the store very thoroughly I went to pay, and the staff members encountered some kind of issue calculating my total. I have no idea what happened, but it took them a good five minutes to figure it out. Fortunately I know what “daijobu” means so when one of the shopgirls (who had the most amazing blue scene hair I’ve ever seen) said that to me mid-way through I knew it was, in fact, okay.

A sneaky photo while waiting at the register.

With shopping achieved and the two of us still being super tired, we headed back to our hotel via the Family Mart opposite to by some things for dinner. In the end, Family Mart dinner turned out to be a regular thing for us on this trip, it was just so cheap and convenient.

Back at the hotel we ate our food and relaxed. I also messaged an Aussie friend of ours, Jake, who we were going to meet up with at some undetermined point and figured that out, which involved shuffling our intended itinerary around a bit. And when that was sorted, we were able to go to bed for a proper night’s sleep.

In case I’ve never mentioned it on this blog before – I like sleep ^__^

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Tokyo 2019 Day 0: Flying high

It's been a little while now, but I've finally written up posts about James and my first trip to Japan earlier this year! It was an amazing experience, and we cannot wait to go again! So, without any further ado, let's go back in time...

Monday 8 April was an exciting day to wake up on - we were going to Tokyo! I honestly don't remember exactly how we spent the morning and early afternoon; we were already mostly packed except for a few last things and at around 2PM we were on our way!

Unlike our New Zealand trip, this time we decided to drive and pay for parking at the airport. We weren't too pleased with the shuttle service last time and besides, paying for parking worked out to be about the same cost anyway! I drove us to the airport, we entered the parking station, and managed to find a really convenient parking space. We made sure everything was in order with our car and our luggage, I triple checked that I locked the car, and then we crossed over to the international terminal.

Checking in and passing security was easier this time since we knew how to do everything, and in practically no time we were inside the airport proper. What is funny though is that James once again got selected for a full body check! Then once he came through, one of the security staff asked if his blue-and-pink hair was to match his personality, which was actually the first of many compliments James was going to get on our trip…and the first one from a random Australian man, because apparently the average Aussie guy does not like other men non-conforming!

Anyway, since we had decided to come to the airport early to avoid any chance of getting stuck in peak hour traffic, we’d booked ourselves a treat – time at an airport lounge called The House. The lounge was pretty easy to find, the lady at the front desk was delightful (especially because we arrived earlier than our booked time and ended up staying longer than the booked three hours), and when we went down from the entrance to the lounge itself we found the place practically deserted.

We barely had time to sit down and get out bearings before a really friendly waiter with a wonderful accent came over to give us an a la carte menu, tell us when the buffet would open, and take our drink orders. James got a mocha and a juice, I got a tea and a cider!

We relaxed with our drinks for a while and played games on our phones. James redid the lacing on his epic Adidas wing shoes, because those things have tricky lacing and he had figured out a better way to do it after he’d had to take them off for the security check. And of course, we took a selfie ^__^

I often tend to get really antsy while waiting, but it was really pleasant to spend time in the quiet lounge. After a little while we moved to a table in the dining area and I ordered us some food from the a la carte menu – asparagus gnocchi for me and pumpkin soup for James.

The lounge got busier as afternoon turned to evening and at around five or six the staff set up the buffet, which I really liked. It wasn’t a huge selection, but it was tasty and varied enough. Then, just as the lounge was starting to feel kind of crowded, it was time for us to head on out to our gate.

As we walked through the public section of the airport I did have to stop and take a photo of the flags above the central food court – I did it for New Zealand and now it’s a tradition!

Then it was up to the gate and shortly after on to the plane. Of course, we took a plane selfie together before we taxied down the runway and took to the sky.

Plane selfie!

It was a nine and a bit hour flight, and for the first couple of hours we relaxed – James with movies and me with a book since my airline headphones weren’t working properly. And of course, ate plane food.

I also filled out our arrival forms, which were pretty simple. There was one we had to each fill out, and one that I did as "head of the household"! I got way too much amusement over that title for the entire rest of the trip ^__^

Then it was time to sleep, but unfortunately neither of us had much luck with it. I got maybe a couple of restless hours of dozing and James didn’t even manage that. I’ll tell you now – it made for a rough start to the trip!

Breakfast helped perk our tired selves up – I actually found this fruit plate surprisingly delicious.

More reading, more movies, and then the plane started to descend while we gawked at the Tokyo cityscape spreading out beneath us. We landed, took a selfie as we waited for the plane to clear, and then exited into Japan.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Review #52: Lady Sloth Verrry Berry Picnic

Late last year, Lady Sloth teased a print that I was very excited about - Verrry Berry Picnic. Not only was it a berry print (that wasn't cherries or strawberries), it came in purple! I'll admit, in the months leading up to the actual reservation I did go back and forth between the purple and the lavender but when The reservation opened in May, after consulting with the husband, I got the "casual" OP in purple, along with the matching headbow, beret, and raspberry necklace.

For a moment after ordering I looked at my bank balance and was sad, but then I tried a little experiment. Did you know that if I were to buy equivalent items from Angelic Pretty, the total (both prices converted to AUD) would have been $506 instead of $319? That made me feel a lot better about making such a  big purchase - I got everything for less than the price of a new brand OP. And besides, when have any of the big brands released a purple berry print?

When I ordered it was estimated that the series would ship in June. However, towards the end of June on Instagram they announced there was a 2-3 week delay on shipping, so I was prepared to wait a bit longer. On 3 July I received a PayPal request for the remaining fees and shipping, which I promptly paid. Then finally, just as I was contemplating messaging because it had been a while, I received my tracking number on 25 July. And then, with my impatient self checking the tracking several times a day, I finally got the package on 8 August. Everything was all wrapped together in a plastic bag inside the padded postage satchel and I had fun pull it all out and trying it all on!

I didn't put the detachable red bow and sash on for the photo, but they were included, don't worry!

First up, the dress itself. It's perfect, well-made, gorgeous cotton fabric, has two big pockets, and fits like a dream. I ordered the XL and while I can't tell you what the advertised measurements were (since the page is gone from their website) by my measurements the bust is 98-120cm and the waist is 92-114cm. So there's a great amount of give with the full back shirring.

One thing that really impressed me with the dress beyond the fact that it was honestly a really phenomenal dress, is the pattern matching at the side seams. This picture below? That was the less well-matched side!

My only small complaint about the dress is that though it comes with a sash, it doesn't have belt loops or buttons or anything to help hold it in place. Which means I'm not likely to use it because I don't like things that aren't secured properly! AKA I'm clumsy and if it ain't pinned down it ain't gonna stay on ^__^

I'm glad I got several of the coordinating pieces and in particular the headbow is really well made, I love it. The beret is also done well, but it way too tight on me! I'm pretty sure I have a perfectly average head, so be wary of Lady Sloth berets if you have any other than a small head. So I'm a bit disappointed in that, because as you know I really love berets.

I may try taking it apart a little to make it bigger, but knowing me I also probably won't get around to that for a few years ^__^

The necklace, like the headbow, is pretty darn perfect. It feels sturdy and is really pretty! I think it's lovely, and I am loving how Lady Sloth is continuing to come out with complete series like this. I was honestly tempted to get some more brooches or necklaces from this series, but in the end just went with this one.

Last of all, here are the extras that came in my package! The postcards are duplicates of what I got with my bolero earlier this year, but the sticker set is gorgeous and I think it's a super cute idea to include, and I loved seeing a sample of their new bat lace.

Overall I'm very happy with this new wardrobe addition! Yes, I am bummed about the beret but other than that everything is really great quality in all aspects - design, the fabric, the construction. I've loved seeing Lady Sloth grow as a brand and it looks like they're only going to continue producing really unique and original prints, so I fully intend to continue supporting them when they make things like this that I love ^__^