Tuesday, 18 December 2012
Sunday, 2 December 2012
But still, this week, I have been relegated to wearing my glasses (which weren't purchased with lots of wear in mind so don't have non reflective lenses) due to contracting a bout of viral conjunctivitis.
So, what is conjunctivitis?
Basically the conjunctiva is the lining of your eyelids and your eyeball. It is a thin membrane which is normally clear. If it becomes irritated for some reason, that is conjunctivitis. Or Pink Eye as it is often called, because of the colour the eyeball. Nearly all conjunctivitis comes with some form of itching and/or a gritty feeling in the eye.
Now there are different types of conjunctivitis and not all of them are long lasting or contagious.
Allergic conjunctivitis and irritant conjunctivitis are both caused by something in the eye, in the former it is usually something like pollen and usually gets lumped in with hayfever, and in the case of the latter, it could be a bug, or a splinter, or something chemical that may have gotten into your eye. Those types are often short lived, usually as long as the irritant or allergen is present.
Please note, if you suspect you have something in your eye which you can't get out, or you've gotten chemicals into your eye, you are best seeing a medical professional for treatment.
The other types of conjunctivitis are contagious, and they are: bacterial, viral or chlamydial. Bacterical conjunctivitis is usually characterised by yellow or green discharge and not being able to open your eyes in the morning. This can be caused by all sorts of things, including catching it from someone else as it is HIGHLY contagious. I remember having it as a kid and it spreading around classrooms like wildfire because small children don't understand that they have to wash their hands after they touch their eyes when they have it. Thankfully it is easily treatable and often only needs some over the counter eye drops. If in doubt, do see a doctor.
Viral conjunctivitis is quite common, and is usually caused by sinusitis or a bad cold. This is what I've had. I came back from Amsterdam with a bit of a bunged up head and suddenly it is sinusitis and I've got pink eye. This type doesn't always come with many symptoms, just the redness and maybe a little grey or white discharge, maybe verging on snot colour. As with most viral things, there isn't really much you can do, so saline eye baths regularly are the best thing, just to keep the eye clean and free from anything yucky. I've read timescales for clearing up ranging from 2 days to 2 weeks, so I guess it depends on the severity and how long the virus wants to stick around for!! You can also bathe your eyes with tea, either black or chamomile, mixed with a little sea salt. Make sure it has cooled first and don't brew it too strong! It is very soothing and the tea helps contract the bits that let the virus into your eyes in the first place. I still have the redness, and I'm on day 5. It has almost gone but when I look in my eye I can still see a little irritation in the very corner of my eye wherer the lower lid meets my eyeball.
I have no idea about Chlamydial Conjunctivitis - the pictures on the internet looked nasty, and you definitely don't want it. Not that anyone wants chlamydia either, so try and avoid both.... Safe sex people!
The important thing with bacterial and viral conjunctivitis is that it is contagious. So that means: no sharing towels, pillows or anything else that touches your face. Wash your hands every time you touch your eyes, with no exceptions. Do not touch anything else.
If you wear contact lenses, stop wearing them, and you will need a new pair of lenses when it is safe to start wearing them again (wait 24 hours after your symptoms have gone fully).
Also, make up is not a good idea. If you applied any make up after the start of the infection (sometimes eyes just get bloodshot and it isn't anything), then sharpen pencils, clean brushes thoroughly with anti bacterial cleanser, spray your eyeshadows and any powder products with an alcohol based hygiene spray (you want one ideally that can deal with the flu). It would also be wise to spray your brushes with the spray too. Throw out your mascara (that is a pain in the backside, especially if yours is new, like mine was). If you don't do these things, you will keep reinfecting yourself.
Most importantly, if your symptoms get worse, or don't seem to be getting any better, or if you are in any doubt whatsoever, go and see your doctor, or at the very least a pharmacist.
So, I wasn't desperate to get to the gig in time for their show, but we did, and I enjoyed it. No matter what you think about Papa Roach, I think they were one of the better of the late crop of nu-metal bands that hit the scene in the early 2000s. And they have certainly managed to endure the demise of nu-metal, seemingly constantly reinventing themselves to please audiences whilst still retaining an element of why we loved them in the first place (typing that did make me feel old though).
During their set they ripped through a load of new stuff, which I didn't know, but nodded along to nonetheless. For me the highlights were obviously tracks like "Getting Away With Murder", "Scars", "Deadcell", "Between Angels and Insects" and of course, perennial set finale "Last Resort". Mainly because I could sing along to them! As ever I was impressed at their stamina, and the showmanship of Jacoby Shaddix, who had throat surgery earlier this year. The audience sang every note in unison with the band, particularly on the more well known tracks. It wasn't quite the same as being among thousands of people at Download singing along to "Last Resort" (particularly the lad with a strong Yorkshire accent stood behind me - go on, imagine that!), but it was pretty impressive.
After a quick set change and a second beer, it was time for the main event, the one that everyone had been waiting for. Let me tell you this - Vienna LOVES Stone Sour. At every pause, where the singer usually has a bit of banter with the crowd, the crowd just cheered. Obviously I don't know Corey Taylor personally, but through his books and his twitter he comes across as a nice bloke, and he looked genuinely overwhelmed at the audience reaction to his mere presence on stage.
This was another set full of audience participation. The new album has only been out for little over a month now, but everyone knew every fucking word of every song they played off House of Gold and Bones Part 1 and they sang them loud (me included - speaking is a little difficult today)!
The show opened with the first segment of HOGaB, the intro, "Gone Sovereign" and "Absolute Zero" and it is perfectly understandable why. The two tracks were streaming on their website in advance of the album release and have generated a lot of love across the world. I always say it, there is something utterly special about being in a crowd of thousands singing along to the songs of your favourite artists - it gives me chills.
As it is the 10th anniversary of Stone Sour, the band played a few tracks of that album, which all happened to be my favourites... "Orchids", "Get Inside" and "Blotter" all made an appearance, as well as "Bother". Although Corey reminding us that it is 10 years since the first album was released didn't help me with the feeling old part...
I think one of the best moments was Corey singing "Bother". It is such a gorgeous song, everyone sang along and in all the pauses he was cheered so much he had to stop playing! Right at the end of the song where there is a vocal split, he sang the main line and the crowd sang the split bit (you know the bit I mean right?) and he stopped and looked like he might burst with pride at any moment! Just beautiful.
Corey did say he was fighting off a throat infection, but apart from the odd moment you really couldn't tell, and his voice is just phenomenal (and when he talks he sounds like what I think my favourite chocolate would sound like if it could talk).
The energy in the crowd was phenomenal, and you couldn't help but be infected by it. We were stood quite far back (which wasn't that far, the Gasometer is quite shallow but wide) in front of the sound booth (always one of my fave spots at a gig) and the energy go us all that way back. Even The Beard was displaying a level of outward enthusiasm not usually seen from him at gigs! There was even some jumping, and I am pretty sure I jumped on someones foot - if I did, and it was you, I hope your foot is ok, and please accept my sincere apologies!
Full set list (via setlist.fm)
1. Gone Sovereign
2. Absolute Zero
3. Mission Statement
4. Hell and Consequences
6. Made of Scars
7. Rumor of Skin
10. Say You'll Haunt Me
12. Get Inside
13. Bother (preceded by Alice in Chains 'Nutshell' first verse and chorus)
14. Through Glass
I have noticed that bands seems to be doing less in the way of traditional encores these days - maybe that is just a thing here on the Continent. I'm used to bands delaying their return to stage while the crowd hypes up. Mind you, the crowd really didn't need much in the way of hyping up!!
It was a fantastic night, and Corey did say that Stone Sour would be coming back with this tour as it is a long one spanning both album releases (HOGaB Part 2 is due out in late Spring 2013 I believe), so you can bet your ass I'll be there for part 2!!
Tuesday, 27 November 2012
Meeting friends for coffee/brunch: socialising is nice!
Waiting for payday: roll on Friday!
Going to see Papa Roach/Stone Sour: again, roll on Friday!! Can't wait, especially for the latter :)
Drinking lemsip and lots of water: I've got a bit of a cold, nothing major, and I have drunk far too much beer and wine over the last 2 weeks. Time for a detox week I think!
Debating whether or not to grow my fringe out: I've only had it 2 months, not sure it should stay. Any thoughts?
Sunday, 25 November 2012
Friday, 23 November 2012
I love seeing Lacuna Coil live, they bring so much energy to the stage and really get the crowd going. They didn't disappoint on Wednesday! My friend has become a new convert I think!! I can tell I had a good time because the following day my neck was sore. I think I'm getting too hold for this level of enjoyment!!
The band played a really good mix of songs from all their albums, including classics such as Swamped and Heaven's a Lie, to more recent songs such as Trip the Darkness and Kill the Light. The acoustic set in the middle was a really good addition, I love listening to bands do acoustic versions of their stuff. Cristina Scabbia did have problems getting on the stool though!!
I had a little moment at the end when they played My Spirit, dedicating it to everyone that anyone has lost. Memories can be kind of vivid really, and catch you by surprise!
Lacuna Coil are one of my favourite bands to see live and I could go again and again ad infinitum!!
Set list for the evening:
Electric Set 1
1. I Don't Believe in Tomorrow
2. I Won't Tell You
3. Kill the Light
5. Heaven's a Lie
6. Self Deception
8. To the Edge
9. Give Me Something More
12. Within Me
13. End of Time
14. Shallow Life
Electric Set 2
15. Our Truth
16. Upside Down
17. To Live is to Hide
20. No Need to Explain
22. Trip The Darkness
24. My Spirit
Wednesday, 21 November 2012
One of our favourite things to quote at each other is Community. If you haven't seen it yet, you really should.
Cool cool, cool cool cool.
Community is about a bunch of people studying at community college and the wacky things they get up to. There is Jeff, the handsome and charming lawyer who needs a real BA to continue to practice; Annie, the ex pill addict who is ever so slightly neurotic; Abed, the slightly strange film addict who observes everything; Britta, the right on wannabe activist; Troy, the ex high school football player; Shirley, the single mother, and Pierce, the old codger who is pretty much every 'ist' in the book. Together they form The Study Group, who grow to love each other and hate each other all at the same time.
Over the seasons (3 have currently been aired, with a 4th due to be aired in 2013) the group have grown to become a weird dysfunctional family who regularly have episode long arguments about who is more popular than the others. These often use classic films and well known tv shows as narrative devices, referencing pretty much everything.
Incidentally this show made me realise that I'm getting older - when I realised that I found Jeff pretty hot and he didn't appear old to me. Middle age is the new sexy right?
There is too much of this show to tell you about, so you should just watch it. I will leave you with a couple of my favourite moments (the ones I could find on Youtube at any rate...):
Monday, 19 November 2012
What a show! A visual and aural banquet, encompassing several costume changes, inflatables, guest musicians, dancers of varying ages, stilt walkers, fans, a full orchestra, a choir...
We began the evening (once I was all dressed up and made up in my dress) with a dinner in a brasserie, with a couple of beers. Then we headed to the Sportpaleis in plenty of time for the start. It's a huge venue, not unlike the NEC in Birmingham, which I've been to a few times. However, there was a champagne bar, so we decided that it was only fitting to indulge in a glass! I picked up a set of The Unforgiving comics from the merch stand which I look forward to reading at my leisure.
When we found our seats (equipped with yet more beer), I was pleased to discover that my waiting and refreshing of the page had served us well and we had an excellent view over the whole stage area.
The orchestra were first on, then the majority of the band made their entrance. Then it was time for Sharon's entrance, in the giant screen prism that was hanging from the ceiling.... it lowered to the ground, then went up again revealing Sharon in her first outfit of the night!!
This giant prism was used to great effect to bring in Robert a couple of songs in. Fans will know that he has stopped touring with the band in order to look after his and Sharon's children, but it had been announced some time ago that he would be performing at Elements. He obviously had to make a dramatic entrance as well, coming in not in the prism, but on top of it!
The outfits for the show were designed and made by Jan Boelo, a Dutch designer whose clothes are edgy and gorgeous! Sharon had several costume changes, a couple of which I wasn't that keen on, but in the context of the show they worked. I loved Robert's outfit too, metallic trousers for the win! I tried to get photos of all of Sharon's outfits, not sure if I managed it or not!! They were, needless to say, all very Within Temptation, all very fitting and of course Sharon is very beautiful and would probably look so in a potato sack!
The set list was as follows (info gleaned from setlist.fm because I was enjoying myself too much to remember it all!):
Intro to Silent Force
2. In The Middle of the Night
4. Fire and Ice
5. Our Solemn Hour
6. Stand My Ground
8. The Last Dance
9. Never-ending Story
10. Say My Name
11. Candles (ft. Ivar de Graaf on accoustic guitar)
13. Titanium (David Guetta cover)
14. Summertime Sadness (Lana del Ray cover ft. Ivar de Graaf on 2nd drums)
15. Grenade (Bruno Mars cover)
16. The Promise
18. Mother Earth
19. What Have You Done
20. Our Farewell (ft. Isabella Scholten)
21. Ice Queen
22. Stairway To The Skies
A full and packed set list that covered a great selection of songs from the band's last 15 years, and I liked that they threw in a few of the covers they have been doing for Belgian radio station Q Music (although the only one I knew was Grenade, because I don't listen to popular music at all these days!).
I am pretty sure my travelling companions enjoyed the show, and I am grateful that the attitude on the continent is a little different - we were in seats with an excellent view, but it isn't quite the same. There was no way on earth I was going to stay seated for Ice Queen, so I took the decision to stand. Thankfully so did everyone else behind me!
I leave you with the best photos that I took - I was a bit too excited and I don't have a fantastic camera for these things to get a large set, but I am all about the experience! Hopefully there will be a live DVD at some point.
|Sharon enters in outfit 1|
|Sharon and Stefan rocking out|
|Fan dancing stiltwalkers!!|
|Outfit 4 (I think this was Sinéad)|
Wednesday, 7 November 2012
Still, I've never really stopped wanting to be in 'the cool gang'. You know, how Sandy is desperate to get Danny's attention in Grease so she becomes one of the Pink Ladies in a bid to achieve her goal. And then at the end becomes a sex bomb... C'mon... look at this and tell me you don't want to be her?
|The only bit of this outfit I can't do is the curls....|
Monday, 5 November 2012
I have honestly spent the last 10 years trying to a) work out the cause and b) work out how to deal with it.
Things I do know at this point:
1. My skin hates toner. Of any description.
2. My skin is sensitive, and not in the slightest bit oily. In fact, when I was a perfectly clear skinned teen my main problem was eczema and allergies. Nothing much has changed there.
3. Make up makes no difference to the condition of my skin as long as it is mineral oil free.
4. Luckily the majority of my face doesn't scar horribly.
5. My liver sometimes can be a little sluggish, particularly after I've had a lot of sugar.
6. I am lucky enough to not have a single wrinkle, and above my cheekbones my skin is amazing.
So currently my routine consists of the following products:
Naturderm botanics Eye Make Up Remover (in German)
Rhassoul clay (in German)
Weleda Wild Rose Smoothing Facial Lotion
Weleda Wild Rose Smoothing Facial Oil Capsules
Lush Enchanted Eye Cream
Simple Spot Zapper Gel
Boots Botanics Ionic Clay Mask
and goes a little something like this....
I mix 1/2 a tsp of clay with 1 tsp warm water and leave to sit for 5 mins while I shower. Just before I step out of the shower I wet my face gently and apply the clay, massaging in thoroughly. I leave it on for 1 minute before rinsing off.
I then splash my face with cold water (it's very cold at the moment!), pat dry and apply my moisturiser. Then eye cream, and I dab Spot Zapper gel on any spots I do have.
First I mix up the same clay mix as the morning. Then I remove my make up with the eye make up remover. This is an oil product and removes everything easily and quickly. I remove the oil with cotton wool pads dampened with hot water. My skin prefers this to a face cloth as it isn't as harsh on my sensitive skin. I do have to keep going until the cotton pads are clear, but to be sure I usually go over with a hot damp flannel quickly (and gently) at the end.
Then I use the clay mix in the same way I do in the morning. Once that is rinsed off, I splash my face with cold water and pat slightly dry. I then apply 1 facial oil capsule. I finish off with eye cream and spot gel if required.
Once or twice a week I'll add a mask into the routine, either the Boots one listed above, or a mix of rhassoul clay, olive oil (or sometimes my make up remover oil) and a drop of lavender oil. Leave for 30 minutes then rinse off.
This seems to be working pretty well for me right now, with a noticeable calming of my skin within 3 days. My nose is the main indicator of how comfortable my skin is - when it is irritated it goes red. I have never been able to work out why my nose is red but just stopping the toner (natural, alcohol free, whatever) has stopped that completely.
I'm also taking a bunch of supplements, including quite a high strength daily dose of agnus castus to try and regulate my hormones. That will take a while to work, a month at least, and I'll be keeping a careful eye on my skin to see how it reacts.
Tuesday, 30 October 2012
You can see some swatches on Vampy Varnish and The PolishAholic. I think my favourites are The World is Not Enough, Live and Let Die and Casino Royale.
This giveaway is open to international readers as well, so head over there and check it out!
Tuesday, 23 October 2012
Well that was until I decided that I'd love a new pair of skinny jeans. Trouble is, even though I have lovely long slim legs, they aren't slim enough and are too long for most high street retailers. Long Tall Sally have 1 pair of black skinnies in their range, but they are very expensive, and I just don't have that kind of money right now.
|Eden Ultra Soft Jegging|
So... not knowing what size I would be (can you tell how long it is since I bought trousers!) I ordered a 16 and a 14, hoping that one would fit. I'm glad I didn't trust the Dorothy Perkins online size chart, because comparing my measurements to that put me in a size 16, and when they arrived this morning the size 14 fitted like a dream. So much so that I immediately ordered a second pair (for some reason the DPs site isn't charging me for international delivery which is even better)!
I've been wearing them today with my long grey LTS jumper I've had for years and they are supremely comfortable. And suprisingly warm! The weather has been pretty cold today in Vienna, foggy too, and walking from my class to the train my legs didn't feel cold at all.
I think these are the first trousers I have bought since Autumn/Winter 2010 (and they were work trousers), and the first jeans I have bought since Christmas 2009. I love them! I feel really different wearing them than when I wear skirts, and I think they will do well with both long tops and regular tops. They aren't obviously jeggings either, the detailing is really good, and they look as good with heels as they do tucked into my boots.
A must buy I think, for easy dressing, whether casual or dressy.
Eden Ultra Soft Jeggings, available from www.dorothyperkins.co.uk
Will try and get some outfit posts up over the next few days!
The new Stone Sour album House of Gold and Bones Part 1 is out now. A couple of tracks ('Gone Sovereign' and 'Absolute Zero') have been available for a few weeks, and anyone who was at one of Corey Taylor's solo accoustic performances over the summer will have heard the fabulous 'Taciturn'.
The album opens with Gone Sovereign, a strong track heavy with guitar solo, catchy lyrics and punch. I am really looking forward to seeing this track played live as it has a really punchy rhythm and I am sure it will be a real crowd pleaser. This vibe continues strongly throughout the entire album, with carefully placed slower, more accousic tracks such as 'The Travelers Pt. 1' and the aforementioned 'Taciturn'.
I'm still listening obssessively to really get underneath the songs, and if I feel like it I will come back with a fuller review at some point. My first overwhelming impressions of this album are that it is dirtier, deeper, and punchier than anything that precedes it. It has some of the grit and determination of Stone Sour, combined with the catchier hooks of Audio Secrecy underlined by a stronger and more prominent rhythm section.
House of Gold and Bones Part 1 marks a more mature sound I think, more refined and polished, but with the feeling of being stripped down and without pretension. I am definitely looking forward to hearing some of the tracks from the album played live when I see Stone Sour in Vienna at the end of November.
House of Gold and Bones Part 1 is available from the usual online retailers and all good record stores. Go buy it!
Wednesday, 10 October 2012
Occassionally I like to play along with some of the blog round robins that go on, but truthfully I forget about them a lot!
This week though, the lovely Sally at Sew and Sow was the host of Weekword and picked the word ELEMENT.
This seemed like an opportune moment to join in, because my upcoming trip to the Netherlands/Belgium next month is very much focussed around Elements... the Within Temptation concert in Antwerp that is!
This concert will be pretty awesome I think, and for me extra special because I get to share it with 2 of my favourite people; my Mum and The Beard. As soon as the gig was announced the Beard said we had to go, no question, as I didn't get to see WT at Nova Rock due to the weather.
The show, on 13/11/12, is called Elements, and will celebrate 15 years of Within Temptation. The concert will feature a live orchestra, and special guest stars. Within Temptation have done this kind of concert before, with Java Island in Amsterdam and The Black Symphony in Rotterdam, but this is promising to be bigger and better than before!
The band are keeping very tight lipped on what the Elements theme is all about, and while they are doing some try out gigs before the main event, I suspect they will just be standard gigs without all the frippery that the Elements concert will have.
Monday, 8 October 2012
Up until now I've had The Beard to talk me out of rash decisions. He was at work this morning.
This is the result.
Friday, 5 October 2012
I first got into Breed 77 when their second album Cultura was released - but the band have been around a lot longer than that. I think we'd not long had the Kerrang channel as part of our cable package and the video for 'La Ultima Hora' was playing on repeat all the time. Something about the track really appealed to and I was pretty much instantly hooked.
The band played in Exeter in July 2004 on their album release tour, and it cemented was has become a teeny bit of an obsession with the band!
|This photo is from that gig, with Paul Isola and Stuart Cavilla.|
With the impending release of their third album, In My Blood (En Mi Sangre), the band toured the UK with an album preview tour. Again they landed in Exeter and I of course got tickets! The album release was put back to September, after which they came back to Exeter to play yet another gig (supported this time by the pretty awesome i-def-i who sadly disbanded in 2008). It was at this gig that I bumped into a couple of old mates from school, who told me that the drummer currently with Breed 77 was the percussionist from the school orchestra when I first joined, the guy who my Mum remembers from the school concert in the cathedral for his drumming and percussion skills. He is that good. So that was kinda cool. The gig was absolutely amazing as usual, they always played in the Cavern in Exeter which is so tiny but so so amazing.
They then released Un Ecuentro, a Spanish language album in 2008, which featured songs from all three previous albums sung in Spanish (and at least one song which is in Spanish on Cultura is in English). Despite not being able to understand any of the songs, they sound somehow even more beautiful in Spanish.
Their fifth album Insects, was released in 2009 and is a bit heavier and less flamenco than previous albums. There is probably more of the North Africa influences on this album, and it is a lot more politically motivated, with songs like 'Wake Up' and title track 'Insects'. The album also features the band's slightly reworked cover of The Cranberries' 'Zombie' which had been a staple at live gigs for quite a while as an anti war statement.
I haven't seen Breed 77 play live since 2006. I've not been able to get to any of their gigs since then, which is a real shame. When I saw that they were playing in Vienna in December I didn't hesitate to buy a ticket!
Why do I like Breed 77? I think it is their strong rhythmic foundations. As a flamenco/metal band there is a lot of emphasis on the rhythm section and strong Latin beats. I've always been a bit of a sucker for Spanish guitar and rhythm and Breed 77 offer both things in a neat little package. With, of course, the heavier bass and guitars typical of metal outfits. When they play live there are some fantastic percussion breakdowns and the atmosphere is always electric!
Check out some of these videos, and then think about checking them out live. You won't regret it!
Tuesday, 2 October 2012
Everyone needs a coat at some point in their life, be it to keep warm when outside, or to add the finishing touch to an evening outfit. Jumpers are a bit less 'must have', as it will largely depend on the climate where you live and how warm you personally run as to whether you will consider them a necessary part of your wardrobe. Nevertheless, jumpers is where I'm going to start.
So, 'jumper' covers a whole spectrum of styles, from cardigans to roll necks. One thing to consider with all of them is what they are made of. As lovely as wool is, if you have an allergy to it or it makes you itch, it will never be fun to wear. Stick to viscose or cotton knits that can replicate the feel of good wool without the itch factor. If you do want to wear wool, look for soft knits and silk weave wools that don't have exposed hairs. I think it is quite difficult to buy jumpers online, I need to be able to touch them and try them on. Also, the washing instructions are really, really important to observe with wool, so bear that in mind when buying jumpers - wool often requires hand washing!!
Jumpers cover pullovers and cardigans. Cardigans do not have to be the frumpy clothing choice of your grandmother; they can be chic, stylish and sexy. The key is getting the correct cut and style for your body shape. I like cropped cardigans that drape nicely over vests and t-shirts. I'm tall so I have to be careful that the sleeves are long enough, otherwise they end up looking like I accidentally washed my clothes in a hot wash, and I never ever wear cropped cardigans with short trousers! Look for interesting details on cardigans to ensure that they don't become too boring. Cardigans, particularly bolero types, are very useful for evening wear as an alternative to a jacket.
Speaking of which, even if you don't need a coat or jacket for practical reasons (i.e. keeping warm), they do really finish an outfit off. The key is getting the right sort for the the right outfit. I'd say at the very minimum a dressy jacket and something more casual is essential.
A dress jacket will typically be something in a lighter fabric, possibly more decorative. It may or may not offer anything useful in terms of protection from the elements or the cold, but it will look nice! I personally have a lovely short fitted jacket made from velvet with a massive drape collar and a hook and eye fastening. It isn't warm in the slightest. But it looks great!
Here are a few jackets that fit the bill for evening/dress wear.
For day, leather is the perfect solution. It is pretty warm, especially when layered up (I've been wearing my leather jacket every day but it is still a bit too warm), it is hard wearing, and most importantly of course, it looks tough! Leather coats come in a variety of styles, so pick one that suits you and your lifestyle. Leather can be expensive, but it is an investment. The right leather jacket will serve you well and will last a long long time.
Finally coats. For those of us in climates where the weather can hover around 0 degrees, a warm, woollen coat is almost a requirement (I did one winter without one and I survived but it wasn't that pleasant!). There are loads of different styles, so there will be something out there to suit you. My personal preference is single breasted, button to the neck, medium collar and 3/4 length. I had a full length wool coat a few years ago and it was lovely and swishy (and amazingly gothic) but I always struggled when I went to the pub! Where you do hang a full length coat? So 3/4 length for me is always better, long enough to cover all the joins in my clothing, but not so long that it is a problem when out and about.
Here are a few coats to whet your appetite:
Some of these are quite plain but basics need to be just that, basic. You can dress them up with accessories, or even customise them yourself. Next week I'll be looking at trousers.
Friday, 28 September 2012
Whilst I'm sure most of us can laugh it off, it does present an image that doesn't engender us well to the more conservative members of society.
So here I present to you three what I consider positive portrayals of goth/metal/alt. style in the media, which we should champion and celebrate so that it becomes the norm.
1. Greg Sanders from C.S.I: Crime Scene Investigation
|via C.S.I Love You|
2. Abigail 'Abby' Sciuto from NCIS
3. Janis Ian from Mean Girls
Monday, 24 September 2012
Anyway, reading her post (which was way better than mine!) made me think about expanding on it all a bit further. Thus, a weekly series of posts was born. So without further ado, let us start with Tops.
Tops cover a wide range of garments, from the formal to the informal, the comfy to the stiff.
Starting with shirts.
As you can see blouses and shirts can be quite structured or not so much, some might even be non traditional like the one in the bottom left (which incidentally I am going to go on a hunt for, it is from H&M and costs £14.99). Bear in mind that not everyone can wear a traditional button down, which is why I've included one without the buttons on the front. I am one of those people - I just look a bit stiff and uncomfortable in most button down shirts and blouses, as I have pretty wide shoulders and a relatively small bust.
So if button downs aren't your thing, then something a little formal but different might be just the ticket, particularly for those times when you need something a little more formal.
I have my eye on this top, and will definitely be going to try and track it down!
I'm not entirely sure what you'd wear that top with other than skinny jeans, but that is something to address when necessary. A top like that will serve neatly in formal situations but has enough edge to keep it different.
Next up, T shirts. T shirts are a staple part of my wardrobe, and I couldn't do without them. Patterned or plain, they are functional and can provide either the perfect backdrop for some spectacular jewellery, or display a cutting edge design that sets you out from the crowd. Or somewhere in between.
I think in this day in age a good quality cotton t-shirt can look quite smart with the right accompanying garments and accessories. A good quality black t-shirt that isn't faded can look crisp, professional and polished when paired with a pencil skirt, heels and a statement necklace.
Finally, something a bit different. Look for interesting necklines, detailing, textured fabrics or unusual sleeves. I have a lovely soft jersey top from French Connection which has these incredible shoulder details and a really low back. Unfortunately it is a little short in the body but it looks phenomenal with my underbust corset (and I don't have a photo of it!).
I've picked out all black and dark grey tops because that it what I do best, but of course other colours are permissible!
Next week: Continuing the upper body theme with jumpers and coats.
Sunday, 23 September 2012
Twitter seems to have changed that a lot. I don't know whether it is because people forget that Twitter is a public forum, or whether they believe that the anonymity of the internet gives them license to be rude or nasty, but there are some people out there who would do well to heed their mother's advice.
I think everyone gets to that point sometimes where they are getting annoyed by someone, and you have a choice to make when it happens. Do you a) shoot your mouth off, or b) take a deep breath, make a cuppa and come back refreshed?
I very much think b) is the better option, and I'm sure many people out there do as well. Especially because you can never be 100% sure of intent over the internet. Only 7% of human interaction comes from the words we use to communicate. The rest comes from body language, tone of voice, facial expressions and other non verbal cues. Emoticons help the internet a little bit, but you have to remember to use them. I'm terrible for forgetting, especially on Twitter where there isn't a quick and easy button to press (I use Plume, not the official Twitter app). And sometimes even when you do use them they aren't interpreted correctly. It gets easier to read Twitter when you've met the person, because then you can hear their voice, and chances are you'll know them well enough to know what they are like.
So. If you're getting wound up by Facebook, Twitter, the internet in general, do yourself a favour and go and make a cup of tea.
Thursday, 20 September 2012
Whilst being alternative/metal/goth may not be a passing phase, there may come a point when you have to make some changes in your look. The hair falls and dark eye/lip combos may have been OK when you were a student in a classroom, but they probably aren't going to cut it in the workplace (unless you have a really really awesome boss). When I was working in the UK I was lucky enough to work for an organisation that didn't have a problem with my brightly coloured hair, and even though I was the public representative for a community, they didn't have a problem with it either (it was quite a handy election tool - no one was likely to forget me!).
Finding work appropriate clothing isn't as difficult as you might think. Clothes and accessories don't have to be boring, and it is relatively easy to work an alternative/metal/goth style into even the most sober of outfits. Assuming you don't have to wear a uniform of course, or adhere to strict rules. In that case it is even easier, you just have to decide whether to take that job or not! For some it will be easier than others. For example, if in your personal style you favour a 1950's sillouhette with pencil skirts and shirts, then that is perfect office wear. You might have to make small adjustments to make it fit with the office, but nothing major. If you spend your leisure time wearing cut off shorts and faded band t-shirts then that might be trickier, but all will depend on the workplace dress code.
|While this sort of outfit won't set the world on fire, it will probably make even the most conservative boss happy. via polyvore|
But what if you are feeling like your style needs to evolve, and that the time has come, as Gala found, when the attention you get from your crazy coloured hair is not something that you want anymore, a decision that I too came to last year, oddly enough, also shortly before my 29th birthday. Or it may be that you feel that the Victoriana inspired skirts and dresses you've so proudly worn before are not really what you want to wear. Ditto bondage pants and ripped jeans.
So where do you go from there?
It doesn't have to be mainstream! You probably already realise this, but just because you don't really think that shredded Fields of the Nephilim t-shirt really suits you anymore/is suitable for the school run, that doesn't mean that your only path is beige. On the contrary, there are many options of more subtle dressing that do not involve spending all your hard earned cash in Marks and Spencers.
Just remember these three things:
1. Black is always flattering
2. Texture is key
3. Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise (and no I don't mean the relatively beige shop).
Why change a habit of a lifetime? Black is easy. It all matches (actually it doesn't but I'm not going to go there, and most of the time people can't tell) well enough. It is very flattering. Beloved of fashionistas, stylish French and Italian women and goths alike, black is a beautiful colour. Or absence of colour. Whatever. Ignore anyone who says "you'd look lovely if you just wore a bit of colour". Maybe tell them they'd look lovely if they didn't talk so much, or some other witty retort. Probably best not to do that to your Gran though. Maybe just humour her. But just in case you feel the need for some contrast, throw in a bit of beige or dark grey.
Texture is really important in an all black outfit. A lace t-shirt paired with a leather jacket and a denim skirt creates a contrast of textures that provide interest to an otherwise plain outfit. Think about the movement of a garment as well as the texture of the fabric. A full skirt with layers of lace looks marvellous with a pair of Doc Martens, the movement and softness of the skirt contrasting wonderfully with the stiffness of the boots.
Finally accessories maketh your outfit. If Victoriana inspired clothing doesn't really float your boat for everyday life anymore, just wear the jewellery. A plain outfit will be completely transformed by the addition of a cameo or momento mori. Striking necklaces will create interest in an outfit and I personally think they look best with a plain t-shirt or shirt, as it provides a plain background with no distractions or competition.
Above all else, have fun with your look, and be yourself.
Do you have any style evolution tips?
Wednesday, 19 September 2012
But I know autumn is on the way because I have sudden cravings for porridge!
This morning's breakfast was the first bowl of the season:
Porridge made with half milk, half water, topped with raspberries (I buy mine frozen) and a drizzle of maple syrup.
You may also have noticed that I've made a few changes to the blog. A little bit of a site redesign, I'm not sure of the background just yet but I need to trawl through about 50k photos and get The Beard to do a little editing to find something else. So this one will do for now. I've tried to streamline the content a little bit and make it easier to read, which I hope I've achieved.
I've also added some new pages. I felt it was getting to the point where a disclosure policy might be a good idea, and a separate 'About Me' page, whilst a little indulgent, allows me to write more about myself than the Blogger About Me gadget does! I also realised that my contact details weren't listed anywhere, so now they are.
So that's it really for now, I'm currently suffering with a bad head cold (although thankfully starting to get better) so there probably won't be much in the way of posts from me for the next couple of days while my brain feels like cotton wool. I have a load of things to review soon, and that mentioned giveaway will be coming up shortly.
Thursday, 13 September 2012
I'm making a few little tweaks to the layout of the blog, with the aim of making it easier to read.
So, I've made it a little wider, as it occurred to me that my posts look really long and you have to scroll a fair bit, but I'm sure the word count isn't that big. However, I'm not sure whether it is now too wide - we only have widescreen monitors in this house!
So, would you be so kind as to let me know in the comments box whether or not you have to scroll sideways please?
Also, if you have a couple of minutes, could you go and look at this post and check it all looks ok - I've increased the size of the photos as a test for future posts.
Many many thanks!
There will be some more changes coming up, and I'm contemplating some form of giveaway to go with, so keep your eyes peeled!
Friday, 7 September 2012
It got me thinking - just how many people have had their parents describe their love of metal, goth stuff, black clothes, eyeliner etc as just a phase that they will grow out of, and how many have then gone through life without changing that aspect of themselves?
I was a late bloomer when it comes to the alternative/metal/goth scene. I didn't really get into metal properly (although I'd always been into rock and prog rock) until I was about 18 when something about Linkin Park made me sit up and listen. That and Papa Roach. Say what you like about the metal/alternative credentials of those bands, for many people they have been a gateway into the genre. I went on to discover Rammstein, System of A Down, Korn (late as I said) then developed my listening further as the years went on to include bands such as Soilwork, 36 Crazyfists, Walls of Jericho and Within Temptation.
So ultimately for me this has not been a phase. I'm still, if not more of the alternative type than I ever was, even though I'm now approaching my thirties. My passion for all things metal (and music in general) has got me through my life, providing a crutch when I need it and often inspiration for my day.
I understand why parents are quick to dismiss their children's dalliances with alternative/metal/goth scenes, but really, I think it is one of the only genres that commands a huge amount of loyalty and respect for each other and the craft, and I think this should be encouraged and applauded by parents. I've been to a few clubs in my time, and the rock/metal/goth clubs and bars are always the friendliest. There is never any pretence and the unifying sense of community regardless of language, colour, creed or faith is something that is a positive force in many young people's lives. You only have to look at the reaction to the death of Sophie Lancaster - a normal average girl who was mourned by a huge community scattered all over the world.
So parents: I know the black eyeliner and make up can be a little intimidating, not least on your 15 year old son, but it is OK. Your child is not going to turn into a mass murderer just because they listen to Marilyn Manson. Your child will hopefully grow into the metal/alternative/goth world and appreciate the variations and the nuances. They will hopefully come to appreciate all aspects of the many different sub genres that exist and through this exploration will discover and learn new things every day. They will meet new friends, who will help guide them through their darkest times, like modern day village elders, providing comfort, support and praise when appropriate. They will undoubtedly have to deal with prejudice and abuse (hopefully just verbal) but it is OK, because they will learn to deal with it, and as a result become a stronger person. And on a real plus side, you won't have to worry about turning their favourite white t-shirt pink when they accidentally leave a red sock in their jeans.
It probably isn't a phase. And if it is, well, that's OK too. Just let them go quietly. But if it turns out to not be a phase, embrace it. Be interested. Join in. There is something in the metal/alternative/goth world for everyone. I'm going to see Within Temptation with my Mum in November, and I bought my Dad an Opeth CD for Father's Day, which I am led to believe he liked (and Mum definitely liked it).
Being a part of the alternative/metal/goth community is awesome. \m/
This article from the Guardian about grown up Goths makes for interesting reading.