My personal blog as a 'grown-up' Goth and Romantic living in the Highlands of Scotland. I write about the places I go, the things I see and my thoughts on life as a Goth and the subculture, and things in the broader realm of the Gothic and darkly Romantic. Sometimes I write about music I like and sometimes I review things. This blog often includes architectural photography, graveyards and other images from the darker side of life.

Goth is not just about imitating each other, it is a creative movement and subculture that grew out of post-punk and is based on seeing beauty in the dark places of the world, the expression of that in Goth rock. It looks back to the various ways throughout history in which people have confronted and explored the macabre, the dark and the taboo, and as such I'm going to post about more than the just the standards of the subculture (Siouxsie, Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, et al) and look at things by people who might not consider themselves anything to do with the subculture, but have eyes for the dark places. The Gothic should not be limited by what is already within it; inspiration comes from all places, the key is to look with open eyes, listen carefully and think with an open mind..

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Adorable Cat Pictures

This is completely irrelevant to anything Goth. I just like cats.

My neighbour's cat is really friendly, to the point where "Friendly Puss" has become her nickname. She  waits on a window ledge for passengers coming from the bus stop and comes charging over to glomp anyone she thinks will give her some cuddles and affection. She's been on this blog before, sitting on my neck/head/shoulder. 

This was the best photo. Photographing her was really hard,
mostly because she wanted to wriggle and chew the basket.

I commute to work and back (and town, and other short journeys) by bicycle. Initially this meant me having to make some emergency stops because she leapt out in front of the bike to accost me, then after a couple of times I just dismounted well ahead of where she'd wait so that I was not in danger of accidentally hitting her with the bicycle, and now it has progressed to where she sits on the wall by the road and climbs into my cycle basket. If the cycle basket has my bag in it, she climbs onto me. I won't ride the bike with her in the basket because I am worried that it would frighten her, or that she'd try and leap out while it is moving, so, I just let her sit. Trying to get her OUT of the basket again is always a challenge, as if I pick her up and put her out of the basket, she tried to jump straight back in! She likes chewing on the bits of the basket that got broken when I had the accident before Christmas.

She's taken up following me (and other gullible folk) around, to the point where I once had to dissuade her from trying to follow me onto a bus. She follows me home, but isn't allowed in our apartment because of a very strict "no pets" rule. She does however play in our garden. 

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Charity Shopping Tips For Goths

A few months back, Juliet's Lace wrote ::this:: really helpful article on charity shopping. I've tried to think up some of my own, more Goth specific tips. 

♲ Look for haberdashery and sewing supplies.
Some of the more sensible charity shops strip clothes they can't sell (torn, damaged, stained, for example) for buttons and ribbons and sell those, and also take donations of spare sewing and craft supplies. Check if the charity shop you are selling has a section or shelf dedicated to these sorts of things, as you might find beads, buttons, ribbons and suchlike, and maybe useful sewing patterns. These are often at very reasonable prices - I've found patterns sold at 50p each, and buttons for pennies (compare that to a pair of new buttons at HobbyCraft!). Black ribbon, silver buttons, scraps of nice fabric - these can all be the basis of some snazzy Goth accessories. 

♲ Imagine wearing things in ways that differ from their intended way.
That floaty black shirt four sizes too big might make a brilliant deliberately oversized, loose dress when cinched at the waist with the right belt, that scarf might look better around your hips and waist than around your neck,  etc. etc. There are things that you may not want to wear in the way the designer originally intended, but may look really good worn in a different way - try seeing how many different ways you can wear one thing, and how many of those ways look good. 

♲ Look for things that can be easily altered.
If something is cheap, it's less of a financial loss if you try modifying it and it goes wrong. Use cheap things as practice for modification. Also, a I find a lot of things that don't fit quite right, but which can easily be taken in, and things that are hideous made of lovely material that I want to chop up and turn into something else. Don't think of charity shop finds as always having to be "ready made" fashion, but as a source of inspiration and material for crafting projects. 

♲ Check around Halloween
If you live in an area where Halloween is widely celebrated, it is worth while looking in charity shops around that time. A lot of shops hold back their "witchier" and more Gothic items, including some made-for-Goth items, until Halloween because they are more likely to sell, and sell to a wider audience, at this time of year. Of course, you may have to rummage through festive tat, but you are likely to find diamonds in the rough, so to speak, and pick up a few wonderfully Gothic pieces our of all the more mundane black and the costumes. Be wary of quality, and try and steer away from most items designed as costumes, although some pieces are good enough quality to wear every day. 

♲ Donate your old Goth clothes to charity.
I understand that some may feel under financial pressure to sell on things that might no longer fit or be appealing, but if you can spare it, donate your old Goth clothes to charity shops, where not only can other Goths on a budget pick up a sought-after bargain, but where your donation is raising money for a good cause. Of course, pick your charity shop wisely, as some are better run and more directly helpful than others. 

♲ Look for accessories as well as clothes
Some of my favourite shoes, belts, spiked cuffs and lace/mesh gloves have all come from charity shops. In fact, the purple lace gloves I am wearing right now came from a charity shop. Don't limit yourself to scouring the clothes racks, but also check amongst the accessories for sale. I get a LOT of my accessories second-hand, mostly from charity shops, but also eBay. Sometimes accessories aren't displayed as well, and are literally jumbled together in a tub or basket, so this might take some literal rummaging. 

♲ ...And Gothic home-ware.
Black wrought-iron candle-holders,  purple candles, resin skulls, dark vases and even some velvet cushions; these are all things I've found in charity shops that I currently decorate my home. A lot of house clearance stuff goes to charity shops when sorting through it and selling it would be too time-consuming for the person being rid, so all sorts of things can be found. Have a good look, always assess quality carefully and you can find some fabulous things to treasure. 

Juliet's tips are all very good tips, too. I especially wish to re-inforce the tip about hand-sanitiser. While most charity shops are pretty good about cleanliness, not all of their customers are, and when I worked in charity shops I saw some rather unsanitary customers indeed. Also, wash clothes when you get them. 

All in all, be thrifty, have fun, and I hope you all find some good bargains. 

Sunday, 2 February 2014

I Am Bad At Computers

Ok, I am not universally awful at everything computer related, but I did fail to synchronise my Google Mail account for this website/blog with my mail package, so for over a year, I have thought nobody has   tried sending me any e-mails. I do actually get a very small trickle of e-mails to it, and on checking found I had accumulated about 20 e-mails over the course of the year, some of which were interesting (and have been replied to), some were spam, and others were e-mails from Google Mail telling me about updates... So not very many actual e-mails! My e-mail address is on the contacts page in the side-bar, if you want to contact me :)  As of last night, I have begun sorting out my mail, so that I receive e-mails from ALL of my addresses to my mail package. I apologise for any inconvenience, and I apologise for anyone thinking I have been deliberately ignoring them. 

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Terrible Vanity (And Advice Request)

What is vainer than a post (nearly) entirely of selfies? 
I do actually have a reason for posting all of these selfies. As many of you know I am foraying into the world of Gothic Lolita fashion. One part I am struggling with is learning how to accessorise my hair and wigs. I've tried bows and clips before, and mini-hats, but I haven't as yet got the hang of wearing those in a way that really works and doesn't look tacky. One thing I have got quite fond of, and seem to be able to do quite well (I hope!?), is decorate my hair with fabric flowers.

These flowers are a mix of ones I've picked up in charity shops, and ones from Claire's Accessories and H&M. The two black roses I use to keep the front of my wig from sweeping and drooping in-front of my face are from H&M - they were very cheap compared to Claire's Accessories, which I think charges over-the-odds for fabric flowers by comparison. One of my big fabric black roses (the one I was wearing as a corsage on my dress... I think) was from Poundland. As far as accessories go, these ones are pretty darn cheap, which is appealing to me as I am on quite a small budget.

Lolita fashion is known for having quite elaborate hair decorations these days, and as this is not something I have done before as a part of Goth fashion, I am struggling. I've posted one of these selfies up to the Lolita Fashion Mentoring community on FaceBook, but I feel like it might be useful for me to open it up to a wider audience. Please provide feedback as to what could be done better, and what works as it is. I am finding it hard to judge what is too much ornament, enough ornament, or not enough ornament for the style. Compared to some other Lolitas, I feel underdone. I don't want to wear as many decorations as an OTT Sweet Lolita, because that's just not the style I am aiming for. 

The wig itself is from Lockshop, but I bought it secondhand from my friend Laura Sheridan (check out her awesome photography ::here::). It's the same colour red as my other previously-curly and now straightened red wig. It only looks like pale wine here because of the awful lighting in my bathroom as it was too dingy in the hall to take photos in the mirror I usually use. The wig has had the fringe trimmed, but otherwise I am not really wanting to style it further because I don't want to ruin the curls, which is what lead me to straightening my other red wig out entirely. 


Outfit Rundown: Wig: Lockshop, via Laura Sheridan. ♛ Hair Flowers: Claire's Accessories, H&M & thrifted 
Blouse: Tesco (other Lolitas may want to note that F+F is the abbreviation for both Fan + Friend and the Florence + Fred range at Tesco!) 
 JSK: Baby, The Stars Shine Bright ♛ Gloves: Claire's Accessoires ♛ Roses bracelet: H&M ♛ Bangle bracelet: thrifted.

I am looking for any suggestions and advice on better and alternative ways to style the wig and flowers, and for any good online tutorials for Lolita hair/wig decorations, especially those for Gothic Lolita style. Thank-you in advance for contributions.