Little Viking Vintage: Interview

Little Viking Vintage for those of you unaware is a little treasure cove nestled in the heart of St Albans, full of vintage dreams. If you’re visiting the area, or indeed live in St Albans and have even a mild interest in fashion (especially vintage fashion) I suggest you check it out. I was lucky enough to interview the owner of the shop, Maria who discussed her collection, which I imagine is fashion heaven, as well as her adventures across the globe scouring for vintage fashion. Expect to come out of reading this interview feeling inspired, and wanting to go down to the pub in full on extravagant vintage attire. Because you know when you hear about someone’s life, and it feels like it’s you’re actually reading about a character’s life in a really cool novel; that’s what this interview will feel like to read.

Little Viking Vintage 2

That velvet top is calling my name… Photograph taken outside Little Viking Vintage. 

How did Little Viking Vintage start? 


It started out wanting to wear what nobody else had and creating an individual style. Back in the day when charity shops provided good hunting grounds for 1920-70 items it was easy to start a collection and I still have lots of these in my private collection. The first item I bought that is sort of the root of my passion (read evil) was a 1980s ball gown in black satin with puff skirt covered in rhinestones and I used to wear this just down to the pub with dm’s* and a biker jacket. Would love to show you a pic but unfortunately it is at my storage and out of reach. You just have to imagine full on 80’s!

Little Viking Vintage 3

Inside Little Viking Vintage.

What’s your favourite piece that you’ve ever come across?


Oh hard to choose!! It’s been so many but to narrow it down: In a Vintage boutique in New York I found this Museum quality 1930’s gown with ballerina pattern and probably paid way to much for it but it is in pristine condition and it has ballerinas, I love ballerina patterns! I am yet to wear it so for now hanging on my bedroom wall. The second item would probably be a 1920’s pongee tissue silk kimono robe that I rescued last year. I was at an appointment in London buying and this lady was just going to chuck it out as it needed a bit of tlc** so managed to grab it for just a £5! I have had it fixed and it is now hanging too on my bedroom wall. These pieces are the base for my vintage inspiration and keeps me motivated that you just never know what you are going to find next!

Ballerina dress

Photograph provided by Little Viking Vintage. 

20s kimono

Photograph provided by Little Viking Vintage. 

Do you have a favourite place in the world to look for vintage finds from?


It varies wildly, a few years ago I was going to NY a lot scouring markets and shops but lately I have started  going to the South of France as they have a different view on which vintage is desirable so manage to snap up a few bargains every time I go. As I am Swedish I also go to Stockholm a lot and if there is a local barn sale I’ll be the first one in!

What advice would you give for someone whose interested in vintage fashion and wants to start collecting?


Buy with your heart and don’t care what other people say! There are so many different eras and styles to explore! I hear a lot people saying, “but when would I wear it” when trying on in store, I say ‘Just Wear It,’ or just hang it on the wall and admire it like a piece of wearable art! Don’t spend too much money in the beginning but ‘work your way up’ until you have found where your heart lies.

Little Viking Vintage Store

I need that cardigan in my life! Photograph taken inside Little Viking Vintage. 

What’s your personal style like and how do you feel it reflects your stock?


My style changes between full on vintage to contemporary modern fashion. One day I will wear a 1930’s gown and the next a jumpsuit from Zara. I’m a firm believer in just wear what you want, anytime you want! As there are so many different styles and eras; the possibilities are endless! As my style changes so does the stock as you are automatically drawn to the stuff you like to wear and end up sourcing for the shop, at the moment it is all about Kimonos!

Little Viking Vintage 4

Inside Little Viking Vintage. 

Where are you favourite places to look for vintage finds from in the UK?


I love hunting in Norwich and Brighton as there are lots of good vintage shops and emporiums. I try not to buy too much from stores as you pay retail prices but for one off’s it’s great! I mainly buy from markets and private sellers that i have connected with over the years.

If you could only keep 3 pieces from your collection, which would you keep?


My 1930’s Embroidered Japanese Kimono that I found a few years back but only just realised it’s true beauty and rarity. My beaten up old biker jacket would be the first thing I’d throw out of the window if there was a fire! It has taken me 20 years to wear it in and it is just perfect!! Thirdly probably my 1980’s quilted Chanel Bag in Gold Leather!

Gold Chanel Bag

Photograph provided by Little Viking Vintage. 

Do you have a favourite fashion era?


I just love the elegance and style of the 1930’s but am also an old punk at heart so anything Vivian Westwood did in the 70’s!

Have you ever sold a piece and then regretted it?


Always!! But you can’t run a business without being able to let go….

What’s your favourite season?


I don’t really have one, but a sunny Autumn day like the other day when you can still wear your summer dress but layering it with a cozy knit is always nice.

Little Viking Vintage

Inside Little Viking Vintage. 

What inspirations do you draw your style/ aesthetic from?

It normally starts by me finding a new item that I wouldn’t have looked at before and seeing it’s potential in a different light and then it just takes on a life of it’s own, adding similar pieces or matching it with something I have not done before. For example my recent passion is Kimonos and i love bringing them in to a wearable garment as a dress or jacket and introducing this to customers!

Do you have any style icons?

Everyone walking down the street! I love looking at what other people wear and how they create their style.

What is about vintage fashion that has you hooked?

You just never know what you are going to find next!!!!!!!!
* Dr Martens for those who aren’t down with the lingo just yet.
** Tender Lovin’ Care (ok you could probably write it without the ‘ but I can’t help but imagine it’s Elvis saying it)
🍂April🍂

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Feminist Reading Journey: Alice Walker ‘The Color Purple’

Image: The Kawaii Kollective

I don’t know what it’s like to be poor (sure, my family were not what I would have called ‘well off’ but we were far from poor); I don’t know what it’s like to be black; whether I’m ugly or not is subjective and my cooking skills can be pretty decent depending on my mood. But basically what I’m trying to say is my situation in life is quite far away from that of the main protagonist of Alice Walker’s infamous novel ‘The Color Purple’; however that is the reason I started this whole journey. To read and learn about experiences other than my own.

One of my favourite traits in a person is when they can be empathic to other people. When they can push past whether something ‘offends’ them and see why it might offend others. Something, which is still lost on a lot of people. As, for example a few weeks ago I saw three men dressed up as the Jamaican bob sled team from the film Cool Runnings complete with black face, pop up on my Facebook feed, and a lot of the comments I saw focused on how it was just a ‘laugh’ and people should get over it. They concentrated on how it didn’t offend them, so people it did offend must just be oversensitive. I think this is a good example of racism in Britain works, and why people do not point to it as much as racism in America. It’s less blatant except when something like this pops up, and people cannot understand why their behaviour would cause offence. See also this brilliant article on how golliwogs are viewed in Britain today for this in action. Now, don’t get me confused, I am FAR very from being qualified to be the voice of racism within Britain. Not least, because I live in a privileged position that means I’ve never been the victim of it.

If you’re wondering what my ‘privilege’ is, basically I’m white, and I’m petite in height (this is not generally viewed as something that connotes ‘privilege’ but I’ll explain my reasoning a bit more below). And yes that means I get asked for directions a lot, as generally, people don’t see me as a threat. I’ve noticed this in airports/ in passport control, as well, where even my significant other has been treated different to me (not horribly I might add though- this experience is nothing compared to what people of colour have to go through), despite being the same level of politeness as me. However, he’s tall and some people can find the intimidating. I know this because when they realised that he was with me their whole body language towards him changed dramatically. I can only imagine what people of Asian, or black, or any other person who doesn’t present as white has had to go through.

However, forgive my rant. On to the book. Though, my rant is important because it shows just how good this book is at making you think about the racism in society that surrounds you, even though this book was set in a different time period and place to me. Also, for those not aware here is the context of the book, which I am unashamedly taking from Wikipedia: “Taking place mostly in rural Georgia, the story focuses on the life of African-American women in the southern United States in the 1930s, addressing numerous issues including their exceedingly low position in American social culture”. The woman the novel specifically focuses on however is Celie, who is poor and uneducated and living in the American South, who begins the novel with a horrible home life, followed by a disastrous marriage.

So before I spoil too much of the plot let’s get onto the main things I love about the themes of this novel:

  • Female empowerment- Celie just doesn’t give up, no matter what life throws at her- she really rises like a phoenix out of the ashes (forgive my overdone metaphor).
  • Female friendships- it’s a little worrying that I still get happy about seeing positive female friendships in books and on the screen (though I’d like to point out this is not me referencing the film because I have yet to see it!).
  • Female sexuality- this book talks about female desire, which is important (obviously), and it has LGBTQ+ representation!!!

The Color Purple

Image: @aprilisthecruellestmonth/ Instagram 

So as you can see there is a heavy focus on the female within this novel, which is not entirely surprising as I’ve dubbed it as part of my feminist reading journey. However, in my research I saw that a lot of members of the black community were upset over the representation of black men as only being barbaric and as sexual predators. Though I believe this was mostly a criticism of the film (but I’m assuming by extension also the novel). However, a lot of people also said that it accurately depicted their experience, and the film was only supposed to tell one woman’s story, and not stand for black men and women everywhere.

Also, before I go on I would also like to take this moment to warn anyone who hasn’t read the book yet that it contains depictions of sexual violence (so if that makes you uncomfortable in any way shape or form I wouldn’t recommend this novel). It’s because of the sexual content of the novel and due to it’s depictions of ‘rough language’, and ‘homosexuality’ to name just a few concerns brought up (not forgetting the novel’s ‘negative image of black men’) that the book has been banned numerous times. I don’t know about you but if a book has been banned, I immediately want to read it more. Mainly, because the very idea of banning reading of any kind disturbs me to my core (knowledge is power after all).

The Color Purple The Kawaii Kollective

Image: The Kawaii Kollective

Overall, this book is about someone who had no voice, and following their journey to them finding their voice. While they were helped to that realisation by the friendships in their life on their way; ultimately Celie finds her voice all on her own. And I challenge you to think of a more empowering message than that.

There are though instances where fighting back also just sees someone constantly beat down (which, I’m sure a lot of people can find symbolic meaning in both now and for some constantly throughout their lives). Sofia, is one such character who experiences this, and she reminds me of a lot of strong people I know. Who would never give up on what they believe in. Unless it’s stamped out of them. Instead, of taking the sorrow from this, I try to see it as an example of if you crush someone so much, even the strongest people will fall. So that is why we need to ensure this unequal system of power that allows people to succeed in this is destroyed in the first place (though I’m sure you’re all thinking, if only it was that simple- and I completely agree).

So there you have it, ‘The Color Purple’ was everything I expected it to be, and delighted me in other ways (I was genuinely shocked to see depictions of homosexuality in the book- as I’d never heard this mentioned about the book or film before- though I’m not sure if the film is as explicit). If you like being sucked into someone’s world and truly feel like you’re feeling a character’s life, this novel is for you.

If you want to know more about what I thought about particular passages, etc. please don’t hesitate to leave a comment, as I fear this blog post is not as extensive as it could be due to that I’m currently fighting back a cold.

🍂April🍂

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I’ve officially finished my Masters degree

Image: Pexels (A representation of a students life if they are way more hip than I was/ somehow have enough time to use a type writer, and like coffee). 

A short(ish) and slightly personal post ahead. This is just a warning so you know for what you’re getting yourself in for, so don’t say I didn’t warn you!!! Anyway, to the point. The other day, I got my dissertation results and I’m proud to say that my calculations come to the conclusion that I got a distinction overall for my Masters (I really hope this doesn’t come to haunt me lol and it turns out I worked it out wrong).

People who know me personally will know how much this meant to me, not least because I’m a perfectionist but also because I didn’t get the grade I wanted in my undergraduate degree. While blame can of course be blamed on me (and the demon that is procrastination- mostly fear of failing procrastination); a lot of the reason for my result was because of events in my third year of university that essentially meant I was feeling the lowest with my mental health I have ever felt in my life. Although, it has been hard; I’ve finally started to feel like there is a way out of that black hole (though I am by no means magically ‘better’) thanks to the support of my friends and Martin. And due to a whole lot of fighting on my own part. However, at that point in my life I’m not surprised now I didn’t get the result I wanted- I can barely even recognised myself in the person I was that year. I basically should have asked for help and said I was not coping. But I was too stubborn/ afraid to. So what I am saying is, if you’re struggling, ask for the help, confide in someone, I know it’s scary and feels more challenging than whatever you are going through, but it will help so much more in the long run. I honestly wish I had and should have done.

And for those like me who didn’t quite get what they wanted the first time round, I just wanted to let you know you can do it. And basically you’re going to go through a lot of things that suck, and make you feel like there is no way out. But there is, you can do it, and if you need someone to talk to message me. Alternatively, please check out the helplines just below.

Mind (mental health charity)

0300 123 3393

info@mind.org.uk
Text: 86463

https://www.mind.org.uk

The Samaritans (free support for anyone who needs it) 

116 123 (UK) (24/7 every day)

jo@samaritans.org

https://www.samaritans.org

I also want to say a big congratulations to Callie and a thank you for all your support. Ciara- you did amazing, I’m so proud even though you’re older than me lol but I’m definitely the middle aged one of the group. Mitchell- I know you’re going to do amazing. Holly, well done on your Masters, and 4 years putting up with me-we did it (again)!!!

There’s so many more people I could mention and want to but it would make this post far longer than it already is. But everyone else on my Masters course (you know who you are if you’re reading this- well done you’re all amazing).

I also want to say a longer big thank you to the long suffering individual that is Martin, thank you for actually attempting to read my dissertation- it was much appreciated. A big thank you to my mum too for always believing in me.

To anyone else reading, it’s never too late to change your path, whether it be job wise, grade wise, mental health wise. And don’t worry I’m going to stop pretending I’m a life coach now (though let’s face it you’d all buy my motivational DVD because it’d be hilarious).

🍂April🍂

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Reviewing Youtuber books: Emma Blackery ‘Feel Good 101’

For those of you who don’t know already, I’m still what I would describe as fairly new to Youtube. I remember my sisters when they were younger (and still today to a certain extent) enthusing over their favourite Youtubers, and they even went to Summer in the City (while my mum and I strolled around London doing touristy things). But, I just never really got into the Youtube phenomenon in the same way they did. I only went to Youtube to listen to music and watch music videos- I also had seen the occasional viral video from there (but still far less than anyone else). A year or so ago however I decided to actually start to check out some more channels, as Youtube was now everywhere. To be honest, I’m not really sure who I first subscribed to but I think one of the first Youtubers I watched was grav3yardgirl through a recommendation from a friend, along with Zoella (if you’re British you just cannot not watch Zoella or escape her- don’t worry Zoella lovers I’m not slating her).

It did not take long before I became completely obsessed. As not only is there some amazing content out there but Youtubers and the way fans interact with them is something I also find fascinating from an academic perspective. We also live in a place now where people’s careers can be Youtube, and consequently recently there has been more and more controversy about sponsorship, affiliate codes and how much Youtubers earn. At the same time revenue from videos has decreased, and videos are becoming monetised less and less (and disturbingly a lot of videos with LGBTQ+ also became restricted). It’s not surprising then that a lot of youtubers have also brought out their own collaborations or products not only as a source of extra revenue, but because it’s something their passionate about and because their supporters want it.

When brands saw these ranges go well, suddenly they were everywhere. But with popularity becomes controversy. Zoella’s debut novel may have been the bestselling debut novel ever, but it has been accused of affecting literacy levels, and more famously there was a massive controversy about the book being ghost written. Emma Blackery then in reaction to the outpour of Youtuber books initially hated the idea. However, with time she changed her mind, and felt that if those books made people happy, how could she get angry about that?

For those of you who don’t know Emma Blackery is a Youtuber and musician, who rose to fame initially for a series on her Youtube channel when she read out pieces from 50 shades of grey and critiqued the novel. Although, those videos eventually got taken down due to copyright claims; Blackery continued to make comedy videos and again went viral with her video ‘My Thoughts on Google +’. Recently, she released this book I’m about to talk about, and the artwork for her EP Magnetised was featured on Apple’s Keynote for the iPhone 8 and X.

However, let’s get onto the book. From the get go it’s obvious this book’s target audience is teenagers, which since that is generally considered to be the largest viewership group for Youtubers that’s hardly a shock. Plus, I picked it up in the teenage fiction section in Waterstones so if that doesn’t clue you in I don’t know what will.

Emma Blackery

Therefore, if you’re in your early twenties some of the advice and stories in this book, although they may help you reflect; are going to come a bit late for you. ‘The Brain Stuff’ section however is relevant whatever your age. We all need reminding sometimes to take better care of ourselves and look after our mental health- this book then is something that can be there when you’re feeling down and need that motivational reminder (without feeling like you’re being lectured to).

Also, for fans of Blackery there is no denying she wrote this book. It sounds and feels like she talks, which you’ll know if you’ve ever seen any of her videos. I can already predict how the audio book will sound in my head just from reading it. Prose wise this is not supposed to be something that is hard to follow, so it isn’t, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

The section ‘Sex Talk’ is another highlight, especially for teenagers considering how sexuality and consent (at least when I had sex education) were not talked about properly in schools. I also like the way in which she talked about being able to categorise her feelings with the label ‘squish’  (a crush but without sexual desire) helped. I know a lot of people argue now that sexuality labels have ‘gone too far’ and are ‘redundant’, but when you live in a society that is so quick to categorise and define you, not having that definition available for you, for many people makes them think there is something wrong with them. Yes, in an ideal world it wouldn’t matter, and it’s nice that you don’t see gender (I’m going to be honest I think there are very few people who think this way just because the effect from society is so strong), but does that mean you should slate on something that helps other people? No, surprisingly, it doesn’t.

I also appreciated how Blackery made sure not to leave anyone out from the sexuality spectrum, including those who are assexual. While there was no talk about questioning your gender (from what I can remember, apologises if there is); Blackery cannot be expected to talk about everything (though I will admit maybe she should have explicitly stated this). She made it clear she was just talking about her experiences, and what she knew (that’s why in the back of the book there is helplines for people more specialised in that subject area).

I have always as well felt like honest experiences help more than well meant, but often misleading advice. Although, in one way I wish I could have read this in my teenage years; there was some chapters such as ‘Sex Talk’ that would not have applied, as Emma’s problems came from problems with crushes, and that would have involved me actually becoming involved in that area of my life.

The ‘Education (and making the most of it)’ section of the book is going to be painful for anyone who has gone to university. I don’t mean this as a disservice to Blackery, I mean it in the sense that the job market nowadays is hard (see my post Post University Panic for more) though I do think some of Emma’s CV tips are well worth taking a look at.

Overall, the book is half memoir, half advice. A quick guide to help you along in your teenage years by someone who can actually remember them. Not to say that’s its not still useful if you’re past twenty. The mental health section is definitely a must read (and as I mentioned there are also helplines at the back of the book to help with a variety of different issues). The book shows that Emma cares about her fans, and wanted to write something they could appreciate but would also hopefully be useful for them. That is something I can definitely respect.

So will I be reading sections of this again? Definitely. Do I regret buying this Youtuber’s book? No. And I think if you take anything from this review those two statements are definitely a good start.

The book is available to purchase from Waterstones, and Amazon (and I’m sure a variety of other places but those two are my favourite book buying sites). You can also get a audiobook of the novel from Audible.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and my future reading plans at the moment include ‘Secrets for the Mad: Obsessions, Confessions and Life Lessons’ by the Youtube sensation Dodie Clark (due out the 2nd November) and ‘The Rosewood Chronicles: Undercover Princess’ by Connie Glynn aka Youtuber, and cosplayer, Noodlerella (also out the 2nd November).

Let me know if there are any other Youtuber books (or products!) that you’d like me to review. I’d love to also do a Youtuber music series to accompany this as well, so drop me a line if that’s something you’d find interesting.

🍂April🍂

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Vintage Spots: Little Viking Vintage (St Albans)

While I used to be an avid vintage collector; I have to admit over the last few years, my passion dwindled a bit. I think this was because despite being close to London where there are loads of amazing vintage clothes shops; I had lost the connection that I had with my favourite vintage shops in Lincoln. On that note if you ever find yourself in Lincoln I recommend visiting Tasty Vintage.

I also did not find a place I enjoyed that was in close proximity (and not as expensive to travel to as London). I did visit The Vintage Emporium in St Albans and found a few bits every so often, but the focus of the store (lots of different vendors make up the store so its quite eclectic) was not quite my aesthetic. I also think being a vegetarian in a vintage shop can be a little odd at times, as generally there will be real fur coats, as well as leather (I’ve discussed my stance on this a bit more in this post but generally I have no personal problem if you’re a vegetarian/ vegan and want to wear vintage items with animal products, but personally for me I just don’t feel comfortable doing so).

I however recently found myself visiting Little Viking Vintage, which is hidden away in the town centre of St Albans. And ever since going there I have found myself falling back in love with vintage again. The place may be small, but its a little treasure trove and because of the location I’ve never been in there with more than another person looking at the same time. You can tell that its more like someone selling curated pieces of a collection rather than all the stock they could possibly get their hands on (which some vintage shops I have visited have given me the impression of) by the specialness of the stock. There’s so many beautiful and unique pieces that I could spend hours there- and I’ve never once felt by any staff member that I couldn’t, as they just let you look as you please. Though on that note the owner of the shop is genuinely lovely, and a pleasure to talk with. She very kindly reserved a gorgeous top for me, as well as bought from me a faux fur leopard vintage coat I owned and loved (but sadly was just never going to wear).

Mustard 70s top(I hope to do a proper Autumn fashion lookbook soon, which will hopefully feature this top.)

Butterfly Bag

Vintage Straw Bag

Vintage(I ;ove these but they’re not my size and I feel like they are most likely leather.) 

Printed shirt

Apologises for the lack of photographs, there was someone else in the shop when I took these and although they were lovely (and I asked the owner if i could take photographs and she very graciously said I could); I still felt too nervous to do a proper job.

Let me know if you’re interested in vintage fashion and would like to see more of these kinds of posts. I also would love to do an interview with the owner of the shop so if you have any questions you’d like answering, comment below! As it will also give me an opportunity to revisit the shop and take some proper photographs of some of the gorgeous treasures they have.

🍂April🍂

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Update: What’s happening with my Feminist Reading Journey

Image: Pexels 

It’s been a lot more than a hot minute since I’ve written a post for my feminist reading journey series so I thought now would be a good time to have a bit of a catch up and discuss what’s happening with the series. So sit down, have a cup of tea (or if you are like me and hate tea, another beverage) and settle into this short and sweet post. To put it simply, I’m bringing the feminist reading journey posts back. Although, I’ve said in the past that they will be every two weeks; I think for everyone’s sanity including my own- more sporadic than that might be better but I will see how it goes.

I will be relaunching the series next week with a post about The Color Purple. I’m not sure what day the post will be out yet, but it will be an additional post to my normal Monday and Friday posts. Posts in this series I’ve decided will always be like that (apart from this one now), as I feel like putting the series in my regular content will limit my content a bit.

After that I’ve devised a line up (in no particular order) of books I’m hoping to complete by the end of the year. I’ve tried to pick up a line up from authors with a variety of different backgrounds and from different positions- as I always want the books I’m reading to not necessarily be books I know I’m going to agree with. I also think there is something interesting seeing how feminism has changed throughout the generations. The books I picked also discuss a variety of issues that I’ve not explored as of yet, including where body image stands in feminism, and I will also be looking in more detail about gender’s place within feminism- specifically looking at a novel by Kate Bornstein (a transgender author- I mention this only because it is important that transgender individuals are able to tell their own narrative), which ‘offers alternatives to suicide for queer youth struggling to be themselves’.

So without any more of my ramblings here is what is coming up. Next week when I post my The Color Purple post I will announce, which novel is coming next, and so on and so forth. So if you want to read along with me please ensure you check where I am at the end of each post. I’m also going to try to post my reading updates on my Twitter so make sure to follow me there: @aprilcruelmonth.

  • Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay
  • Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
  • My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem
  • Dragon Ladies: Asian American Feminists Breathe Fire by Sonia Shah
  • Fat is a Feminist Issue by Susie Orbach
  • Women, Race and Class by Angela Davis
  • Sex Object: A Memoir by Jessica Valenti
  • Hello Cruel World by Kate Bornstein
  • The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur (to check out my post on Milk and Honey click here.)

So there we have it. Who know if I will be able to get all of these completed by the end of the year, but here’s hoping. If you have any more suggestions, please let me know.

🍂April🍂

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My Cruelty Free Journey

Image: Pexels (so is free from attribution, but I’m putting the attribution here in case anyone wants to use the image!)

So I think it’s appropriate to start this post by saying that I’ve been a vegetarian for quite a long time now. Although, I can’t exactly remember the year I fully committed (there were a few failed attempts before then); I think it was about aged 16. So about 5-6 years of vegetarianism is probably a good estimate.

For a while I was afraid to admit this, but at the start of being a vegetarian I didn’t really at first catch on to the other animal products that surrounded me like leather, etc. I finally did however realise and started to genuinely phase leather items out, though I will admit this was not without me failing a few times because I put fashion above my beliefs. I do now though only own leather items that I bought quite a long time ago now (and are up for sale on Depop, unfortunately no one wants them). Although, I have put my items up for sale; I personally can’t just throw those items away, as that to me personally feels more like a waste; but at the same time I feel uncomfortable wearing the items.

So basically what I am trying to say is I understand the struggle, and would never call you out for what you wanted to wear. I also love vintage clothing, and can understand why people might be alright with wearing vintage leather (or even fur, though personally, although I know it is skin like leather, real fur has always felt more ‘icky’ to me). I however do not feel comfortable personally with that either, though if you’re vegetarian (or even vegan) and want to buy vintage leather items- go ahead- like I’ve mentioned I think it’s worse to just waste the suffering of the animal and throw the item away. I also think it’s ok if you like a vintage bag for example but the strap is leather (but not the main part of the bag) and tell the store to keep the leather strap to use on another bag, and then replace the strap with a faux leather one (you can find them quite cheap online). There is then always ways to make a item work. I also mentioned the bag idea, as this is something I am considering doing- if you have any thoughts on this ethically let me know, as I’d like to hear opinions.

This dilemma is also part of the reason I decided to make this post, as I am still not fully through my transition and fully cruelty free in my life. I think part of the reason is because when I started this journey I didn’t realise how many things are not cruelty free, which I will talk more about later within this post.

Clothing 

So there are a number of different materials to consider with clothing, and those are leather (and suede), silk (there is however a cruelty free silk option so make sure to always do your research), fur, and for some people wool.

The most prolific of these items that you are most likely going to encounter however is leather, which nowadays is not that hard to avoid with high street clothing retailers often opting for cheaper faux-leather alternatives for their items. Higher end items however are mostly leather and a lot harder to avoid though Stella McCartney and Moschino (I don’t think this is true for all their range however but I know that some of their range is- so make sure to check!) are known for their leather free ranges. As for the high street just make sure to look up the product online before you buy it, as it will say if the product is made out of leather in the product description. Topshop, for example, are about 50/50 with their shoes though I’ve noticed unfortunately that more and more are starting to be leather- you can usually tell however by the higher price bracket before you even look at the item. Leather gloves whatever the shop always seem to be real leather so to be honest I would just avoid them.

If you’re looking for a little stress in your shopping routine Iron Fist shoes are vegan and free from leather, and they are known for their alternative designs. For vegan bags (and shoes I just recently realised) check out Matt and Nat ,who are on the pricey side but are effortlessly stylish and chic (definitely one for those times when you are trying to be all chic and Parisian). I’ve also noticed that Unif stock loads of vegan leather products (I’m not sure if they stock anything leather, though if I was going out a limb I don’t think they do- definitely check though), and are a great alternative brand- they’re a little like Lazy Oaf in execution but much more about the cleaner lines and tighter fit (they also have a bit more of a straight up 90s vibe going on). A lot of the amazing shoes stocked on DollsKill (like all the amazing Current Mood ones) are usually vegan/ not leather (but make sure to check, as I know they have a few styles that are leather). Also, if you’re like me and obsessed with Dr Martens (I do still have a pair that I saved, and saved for but that I feel weird wearing now that are on my Depop) then they do a vegan range. However,  unfortunately their collaborations are usually not vegan so no, Adventure Time (please, please, Dr Martens on the very unlikely chance you are reading this bring out vegan versions of these designs) or Lazy Oaf collaboration for me!

I’ve also noticed that in regards to brands like Vans, Converse and Adidas, and all the similar brands that are popular right now (due to sporty casual making a comeback) that some of their shoes are vegan, but some are not- so be sure to look out for that!

Makeup 

So makeup and whether or not certain brands are cruelty free is being talked about a lot recently, which is amazing. It also gets a bit confusing, as often I see one source telling me a brand is cruelty free and another telling me it is not. Therefore, I thought I’d sum up all the information I’ve gathered about what someone means when they say a product is not entirely cruelty free. Also, I’ve put skincare on a separate post, as I personally don’t tend to buy my skin care stuff from the same brand that I get my makeup from.

Ok, so first of all a brand may be cruelty free but that doesn’t necessarily mean their products are entirely vegan- so they may for example still have dyes in their eyeshadows like carmine (or cochineal), which is essentially made from crunched up insects. At the moment, my makeup bag is cruelty free (minus a few old products that I don’t use but just have not got round to throwing out/ seeing if a family member/ friends wants it) but not vegan, however I am striving to have it both cruelty free and vegan in the near future.

The other confusing bit in regards to makeup being cruelty free involves China. Essentially to sell a product in China, the makeup then has to be tested on animals (though makeup produced in China does not have to go through this testing so theoretically companies could sell in China and be cruelty free by having a factory in China to distribute products there- as far as I’m aware) so therefore retailers who sell in China are not classified as cruelty free, though they themselves do not necessarily test on animals.

To make it a bit simpler here is a list of all the companies that test on animals. However, there is then another issue that arises in regards to cruelty free. This is when a parent company, basically the big organisation that owns lots of smaller makeup brands (L’Oreal is a good example, as they basically own everything) is not cruelty free but the company itself is. An example of this is the brand Too Faced who are generally considered a brand in their own right and describe themselves as cruelty free with a lot of their products being vegan. However, in 2016 they were acquired by Estee Lauder who are not cruelty free. There is also a lot of other controversy surrounding the brand regarding the Youtuber Nikkie Tutorials, which I won’t get into but if you’re interested you can read about. Especially, as a lot of this as far as I’m aware is speculation. So brands with a parent company that are not cruelty free obviously are a bit of a grey area, as it means that your money still ends up going to a place that condones testing on animals. I think parent companies are basically up to each individual to decide on, but if you want to buy products from them still I don’t think it’s something to destroy an individual over (though just to note I don’t think you should ever aim to destroy an individual) if they are someone who says they are cruelty free.

Also, if you’re like me and a fan of some of the Japanese/ Korean makeup trends (mostly because they often do cute collaborations with Disney or Pokémon) I’m afraid these brands tend not to be cruelty free. For some interesting information regarding this see this post on Soko Glam, which also discusses how it is possible to sell some makeup products in China, without having to have the ingredients tested on animals.

If you’re looking for a list of cruelty free brands check out this list by Cruelty-Free Kitty, as it is by far one of the most definitive and informative lists out there. Basically, check out their site if you want to know more about going cruelty free and what brands are and aren’t. Personally, if you want great brands that are cruelty free I’d recommend Kat Von D and Urban Decay.

Perfume 

One thing I never thought about being cruelty free is perfume. Something, which was particularly sad for me to realise, as my favourite perfume of all time is Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel, and is actually very comforting to me. However, a while ago I finished the bottle Martin bought me (he bought it ages ago), and have decided from now on to only use cruelty free scents, which trust me is easier said than done (as unlike makeup the options are a lot fewer).

There are though options out there. Honey Pop Kisses in fact did an amazing post on this, which I suggest you look at for suggestions or again turn to the always great Cruelty-Free Kitty. Also, Kat Von D Beauty recently came out with two perfumes Saint and Sinner that I’m going to assume are cruelty free, since Kat Von D has took a very public stance on this, but I have emailed them to check and will update this post once I’ve received a response.

Nail Varnish

I don’t often paint my nails but I really want to more, and when I looked at my cupboard of ancient nail varnishes I came to the conclusion that pretty much all of them are not likely to be cruelty free. However, after a quick search I was happy to see, that a few brands like ORLY that I expected not to be cruelty free, are.

If you want to see a list of cruelty free and vegan nail polishes click here, or if you want to see 5 vegan nail polish brands (that are more UK based, and include brands like Barry M, who are cruelty free, with some of their products being vegan) click here. Both lists are definitely something which I think are useful to have with you when visiting the nail salon so you can quickly and easily make sure your selection is cruelty free!

Other beauty essentials 

Other beauty things you have to look out for are bath bombs/ general bath stuff. I’ve mentioned Lush’s policy in my latest Lush post for all those interested but there are some great companies out there (usually independents are a great place to look) like Geeky Clean that are cruelty free and vegan. The Body Shop, a old school cruelty free brand and fighter against animal testing has come under fire as they were recently acquired by L’Oréal (who are not cruelty free). However, L’Oréal recently sold the brand to Natura Cosmetics who are reportedly cruelty free (they have not been certified by a board like Cruelty Free International but as a company they have stated they are cruelty free).

In regards, to shower gel I know that Original Source products are generally vegan  and they do smell great. However, I have not found anything definitive to say they are cruelty free so I’m probably going to stop using them, but will email them if anyone would like me to!

Skincare is also something to pay attention to, particularly sunscreen (click the link for some cruelty free brands) but also look up whether your moisturiser, spot cream etc. contains animal products/ is cruelty free. I’d recommend trying to avoid supermarkets and bigger chains and trying to do your skin care routine from somewhere you know to be cruelty free and clearly labels their products, as being either vegetarian or vegan, like Lush (though whether you consider Lush to be cruelty free is up to you- see this post mentioned earlier). Or of course just look up your products before you buy them, though this could end up with you having to do a bit of the emailing and probably a lot of frustration.

Deodorant is something else to look out for and one of those products that I did not even think about. I have a can that I need to finish but soon as that is gone I will be trying out some new products (let me know if a cruelty free deodorant review series is actually something you’d all want!). However, I haven’t found a definitive list of which brands are not cruelty free, so I recommend just looking up your deodorant bottle (if you want me to compile a list let me know). For now here’s a list of 5 cruelty free deodorants that reportedly work and a list helpful for those of us in the UK (since I have a Holland and Barret’s really close to where I live I definitely will be trying out Dr. Organic soon).

So there we have it! My complete list of all the things I’ve started to consider on my cruelty free journey. This post is not designed to lecture you, but as a helpful guide for those looking into being cruelty free in their ‘beauty’ routine or for those who are cruelty free. Also, if I have made any mistakes in this post please let me know, as obviously I don’t want to tell people whether things are cruelty free or not, and then that information be incorrect. If I’ve missed something important out please also let me know, as a lot of this is still very new to me!

If you’ve enjoyed this post let me know, as I’d love to do a ‘Home’ (so cleaning products, etc.) version of this post, as that for me is the next planned stage of my cruelty free journey once I’ve fully completed this stage.

🍂April🍂

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Game of Thrones (Foams) Geeky Clean Bath Haul

So I’m finally back to blogging! My dissertation is done, so I provisionally have a Masters degree, and I’ve just moved into a new flat. Everything then is still definitely all systems go at the moment but I’ve missed blogging and getting regular content out so much, and I’m hoping that I can manage to start to maintain posting twice a week! I’m thinking Mondays and Fridays so there’s one post to start the week and one to finish the week off. Also, since I want to keep my main Instagram a bit more aesthetic (blame the amazing Youtuber PixieLocks who I got the idea from) I’ve got a new Instagram just for blog content : @aprilisthecruellestmonthblog so if you’re interested check me out there. I’ll still post stuff about my every day life in my main account: @aprilisthecruellestmonth but a lot of it will mostly be in my story, and my feed content will be a lot more fashion based.

However, enough of that let’s get on with this haul/ review of Geeky Clean’s June (yes, I’m behind, I know, I’ll explain in a bit) Game of Thrones themed, ‘Game of Foams’ (I appreciate the strong pun game) crate. So first of all the reason its took me so long to get to this is because in June I thought I might be moving back home, so thought I better send the crate to my mum, and basically I wasn’t able to see her to pick it up, till like a week or two ago. I’d like to note though that I actually stupidly emailed them and asked them to change it to my mum’s address in a panic, and, they were super accommodating and replied super fast! However, since Game of Thrones is currently on air, it actually has turned out to apt time to do this review.

First of all, let’s start with a little background on the company I ordered from. So Geeky Clean is an independent bath, beauty, candles (you name it) company who specialise in products based on fandoms. All their products are cruelty free, and vegan so that gets a big tick from me. I actually first saw them at MCM London Comic Con in May, and after smelling their Harry Potter ‘Butterbeer’ candle I was obsessed so grabbed a business card, and checked out their website. It was there that I saw that they do a monthly themed crate. Each crate is £15 (shipping is then £4.50 in the UK on top of that- not saying that to bash them or anything, as I have no issue with charging shipping, I’m just making everyone aware). Each crate contains a soap, bath bomb, candle and 2 mystery items!

The crate I received contained, ‘Mother of Dragons’ body lotion (scented with dragonsblood), ‘Wild Fire’ soy wax candle (scented with smoke, wood and mist), ‘Great Grass Sea’ bath sherbet’ (scented with herbs, patchouli and sea breeze), ‘Dracarys Dragon Soap’ (scented with cedar, patchouli, vetiver and fresh pine) and ‘Stallion Heart Soap’ (scented with lily, herbs and greenery).

Game of Foams

Let me tell you first of all, that it all smells amazing. The body lotion is a particular favourite of mine, because it soaks in so fast, and doesn’t leave you with that horrible greasy lotion feeling afterwards. If they stocked it on the website I would definitely buy it again, and again. I’m not sure what dragonblood is supposed to smell like but to me it smells like a fresh, smoky scent if that makes sense (and by smoky I don’t mean like you burnt your pizza smell). In fact, all of the crate smells very ‘fresh’ and like you was just in the middle of a field after hanging out with dragons, which you know is all you would want from a Game of Thrones themed product.

I have only managed to use the lotion and the heart soap so far so I can only talk about them, but they were so good that I couldn’t wait to review the rest of the products before posting this. The heart soap first of all gets a 10/10 for being so incredibly detailed and flawless. Although, it does take a bit to later up, which is probably due to the shape, once you get it going you can get a really good lather going. It’s also perfect if you’re like me and want to just use it to recreate Game of Thrones scenes.

I’ve already discussed a bit about the order process, but I’ll just go into a bit more detail for those interested. So I ordered my crate on the 1st June, and the way Geeky Clean do their monthly subscription box is that you have a few days at the start of each month (can’t remember exactly how many sorry) where you can order the crate, and they are then delivered to you at the end of the month. So my box was dispatched on the 29th, and I think as far as I remember it arrived a few days after that.

The reason they don’t just have a ongoing subscription service is because each month as a different theme, and you just really might not be interested in a theme for one of the months. Their last theme for example was ‘Magical Girls’ (which, I am so gutted that I missed).

Overall, I definitely recommend their products for someone who likes bath stuff that is a bit different and like to support smaller, independent businesses that really put their heart and soul into what they do. Also, leave me a comment if you’d like me to do a post reviewing the rest of the crate once I’ve used it. I really want to try the sherbet especially, but I mostly take showers for speed, but  I will make the effort to have a bath soon if people are interested! I also haven’t used the dragon soap because it’s so pretty and I don’t want to ruin the pattern. If you want to see more hauls from this company let me know, as to be honest it just gives me an excuse to buy loads of their products.

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Feminist Reading Journey: Margaret Atwood ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Image: The Kawaii Kollective

Let me start this by saying no I haven’t seen the Hulu TV series yet but I fully intend to! This post however isn’t about the tv series, or the film adaptation, it’s about the novel. I actually read ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ as part of my undergraduate university degree, but I had read the novel before then because, well, because I like reading!

I also want to quickly address for anyone following this series that I will be reading some new books soon, and the series will be continuing. It’s just on a little bit of a hiatus while I try to finish my dissertation and sort my life out. When it properly comes back I’ll make a blog post letting everyone know, and hopefully have my reading list on there in advance so people can read along with me if they want to. I also want to take more care with the authors I select so that I can actually start to read a variety of different experiences. I try and make my feminism intersectional, and I know at the moment I’m not doing my best to represent that in these blog posts. In terms of a time scale, posts will also be every 2 weeks so that they are not rushed. However, for everyone who hasn’t been reading the rest of my blog posts, sorry about that ramble, and don’t worry I’m going to get on to this blog post now.

First of all, there is a reason that ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is a classic, and for those of you who have burned before (like me) by the term ‘classic’ being bestowed upon a book because it is incredibly long and difficult to follow; don’t worry this isn’t the case here. The story (for those who don’t know) follows a woman called Offred (though this isn’t her ‘real’ name) and her life as a handmaid in the fictional dystopian future of Gilead (a military dictatorship). Her position as a handmaid in this dictatorship means that she is kept for reproductive purposes and her ‘job’ is to reproduce in an elaborate ceremony with The Commander (the male head of the household she lives at) with his wife attending (it’s as bad as it sounds).

Image: @aprilisthecruellestmonth/ Instagram 

I’m not going to say anything more about the plot than that as I don’t want to ruin anything, but think about the way reproductive rights are in the US (and continue to be in Northern Ireland, and other countries in which there are restrictions on abortion laws or abortion is illegal) and you get a sense of what is going on. Although, there was some positive news recently that women from Northern Ireland will be able to get an abortion in Britain for free. However, this verdict also came on the same day that: “Belfast’s Court of Appeal ruled abortion law in Northern Ireland should be left to the Stormont Assembly, not judges – effectively overturning an earlier ruling that the current abortion laws were incompatible with human rights laws” (Source: BBC News).

While a lot of people might argue that ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is not necessarily about abortion (which, I agree with to a certain extent); because in the tale the women desire to have a baby. However, they are still being controlled and forced into that one position- their reproductive rights are being taken away from them. I’m also not the only one to have made this link as women have been seen sporting robes similar to the ones depicted in the Hulu TV series in a number of protests related to reproductive rights and the fight against misogyny.

It for this reason that the quotation I ended up choosing is: “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. Don’t let the bastards grind you down”. And this week the quotation is very apt not only in terms of equality, but in my own life. I’m coming up to the period where I’m at a bit of a transitional period in my life where I’m not quite sure where I will end up or where I will be. There is something also truly horrible in not knowing, which I hate more than just generally being in a horrible situation. However, I know I’ve just got to get on with it and things will turn around. And at a much faster rate than if I just let life take me where it may. But it’s hard, and I know my friends are finding hard, so basically in a round about way I just want to say if you’re finding everything hard that’s ok. Just try your best to let someone know that you’re finding it hard.

As always the quotation for ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ has been beautifully illustrated by  Caroline from The Kawaii Kollective:

The Handmaid's Tale Image

Image: The Kawaii Kollective

In regards, to the quotation it is also incredibly relevant recently, as the fight for equality has felt difficult, especially with the series of headlines hitting the media regarding gender parity. Perhaps, the most famous of which is the news of the gender wage gap within the BBC, as well as the controversy surrounding the price of the morning after pill in Boots. Especially, considering Boots’ response that if the pill was priced cheaper it might mean that Boots is “incentivising inappropriate use”. Now then more than ever we need to be banding together to fight for change, while not letting these hits grind us down. And there has already been action with a number of female stars from the BBC acting together to write a letter urging the director general to fix the pay gap.

And this links to the main thing I have seen written about ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and that is that the story is not just a tale: but a warning or a sign of what is happening in our world (particularly, in the Global North, and specifically in America right now). I’ve touched on this already by discussing some of the restrictions placed on women having an abortion, but there is much more that is happening against gender equality and equal rights for everyone whatever gender they identify as (I don’t mean this remark as a flippant ‘whatever’ but as a way to include the variety of different genders people identify as) in Trump’s America.

The author of the article I just linked under ‘gender equality’ also mentions how President Trump doesn’t believe in climate change. In fact he actually pulled the US out of the Paris climate accord, which is horribly ironic considering that the reason why the majority of people in Gilead are infertile is due to radioactive pollution.

Many of the practices within the novel are also present within other countries in the world not just America, particularly regarding same sex love  (in the novel women are circumcised as a punishment for this, and this is something that is still carried out today though not necessarily as a punishment for homosexuality). This practice may be more familiar to you under the name FGM or Female Genital Mutilation, which can “lead to severe bleeding, pain, complete loss of sensitivity, complications during childbirth, infertility, severe pain during sex, recurring infections and urine retention. And in some cases it is lethal. Unlike male circumcision, female genital mutilation also inhibits sexual pleasure”.

I think then now is a good a time as ever to read ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ (perhaps the best time) and think about how the practices described are similar or the same to practices inflicted against either gender (as there is not a lot of mention in the novel of how these practices would affect people who exist outside the gender identities of male or female) within the world. Think about then how the world Atwood describes would be like for those who exist out of the 2 gender binaries just mentioned. Most of all, write, talk and protest about the injustices that too closely mirror our own.

After all, Margaret Atwood is being heralded as the ‘voice of 2017‘ so you might as well see for yourself what she has to say. As for me I’m finally going to watch the TV show, and not let anyone grind me down any longer.

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Lazy Oaf Sample Sale Haul

So I went to my first ever sample sale yesterday! All in all it was definitely crazy. I also had no sleep before so was basically a walking zombie (along with my significant other, Martin, who I dragged along). We got a 4am train into London, that’s how committed I was. I was not however first in the queue! I am though determined to be next time. For reference I got there at 6am, and so I suspect the people who got there before me had been there from about 5am. Though I couldn’t physically get there any earlier, as I left on the earliest train from where I live, so am not sure what to do for sales in the future.

However, I managed to pick up some amazing bits with the help of my new friend Ellen, and my friend Caroline (who you may know from illustrating my feminist reading journey blog posts). It was though quite terrifying. When the doors open everyone literally rushed in and by the time we got in (we were in about the first 20 people I think) half the stuff I wanted was already gone. This unfortunately included the two items I really wanted, which was the Hello Kitty denim jacket that I’d tried on in store (but had been waiting to buy, as I was hoping it would be at the sample sale because I can’t really afford it full price), and the Esther Loves You Bunny Backpack. Though I have a bit of gossip for you, apparently some of the backpacks might be restocked on the website soon!!! As for the denim jacket that’s going to take a bit of saving up for!

Hello Kitty JacketThe denim jacket of my dreams!

Image: @lazyoafs/ Instagram 

By the time I got in literally 70% of that view had already disappeared. 

There was also a few other pieces I missed out on like the rainbow cardigan (Ellen and I was glaring at everyone who had one!), as well as some of the other Hello Kitty and Esther Loves You pieces. I did however get some pieces that I kind of bought in the frenzy of the moment, or didn’t fit me when I got home so I’ve already sold them on.

For those of you who are worried about going to sample sales because they are violent and people get mean; I wanted to also share my experience in that regard. Personally while there was a lot of people (which I know can be overwhelming); the venue of the sale had quite wide walkways, which really helped. No one physically pushed or snatched anything out of my hands. If someone knocked into me they apologised. Also, for example someone grabbed a pair of the Hello Kitty jeans I wanted and said they’d give it to me if it wasn’t there size, but unfortunately for me it was, but I hope they love and enjoy them (to be honest they’d probably rock them better than me!). However, they still offered, which was still super nice.

The only thing that happened that many people might not like is that people will grab a lot of items. There was a few people who grabbed what to be honest looked like it could be 50 items, and considering that there is a 15 item limit I will admit it felt a little unfair. As obviously they weren’t able to get everything they grabbed so had to put things back, but the only way to tell would be to awkwardly hover near them. I don’t mind that people might want to decide what they want, but I will admit it was a bit excessive. However, I acknowledge that at the end of the day they got there first so I can’t really be too upset about it.

Other than that my only other complaint is that the air conditioner was not turned on until we were in the queue and already all sweaty and gross. Also, there was not that much stock. I felt sorry for the people behind me in the queue, as they only had out what was on the racks so by the time the first group had picked their stuff; there really was not a lot left.

However, enough about all the drama, let’s get to what I bought!

Lazy Oaf x Disney Cinderella Dress 

Price I paid £35.00.

Original price: £80.00 (though according to the website it do go on sale for £50.00 at one point).

My new friend Ellen very kindly grabbed this for me and I love it so much. Mainly because it’d be such a good item to wear next time I go to Disneyland (which, I’m planning to go to next year, and I can’t wait till it’s finalised so I can talk more about where in the world I’m planning to go!).

I really love the collar detail of the dress and although the fit is VERY oversized, I’m not going to lie it’s very comfy. It’s worth it for the adorable birds on the collar at the front (see the second picture) and the collar at the back (see the third picture). I think it’s also quite a good dress for walking around all day too just because it’s not restrictive in any way. I do understand how the fit wouldn’t be for everyone though, especially as the one I’m wearing is the smallest size they do.

Altogether, I personally love this dress even though Cinderella isn’t usually my go to princess at all.

Lazy Oaf Haul

Cinderella collar

Cinderella

Lazy Oaf x Disney Marie Top 

Price I paid: £20.00

Original price: £42.00

This is another purchase that Ellen secured for me (I am determined that I will make sure I get something she wants next time). I love stripe-y tops anyway but this is made even better because it has one of my Disney favourites, Marie on it. This would look so cute with some skinny jeans for a low key Disney inspired everyday look though I’m planning to wear it with some pink denim dungarees for Disney. Who knows I might even put it with my Marie denim jacket and go completely full blown with it!

The fit is also perfect for me, as it is not too long. However, I’m quite short (about 5ft 2) so for anyone tall this might be a problem. It’s also one size only so obviously it’s going to fit different sizes more oversized and less. In comparison, to the new Hello Kitty oversized black t-shirt (which, I managed to scoop up) it’s a lot shorter and a lot less oversized.

Marie top sale

Lazy Oaf x Disney Marie Cap 

Price I paid: £10.00

Original price: £28.00

So I now basically have every Marie piece bar two, which makes me very happy. Also, the reason I was so happy when I saw they had this cap (they had lots of them by the way) is because I get way too hot in the sun too easily (there’s a reason most people think I’m a natural ginger), so I like to always have a hat for hot days. And this is a lot more adorable than your usual dad cap (well it was but these kind of caps are in trend right now so I have seen some pretty cute one admittedly).

I thought this also would be a cute alternative to ears for Disneyland if it’s a bit too hot when I go! Especially, when you look at the cute ribbon detailing at the back, which just makes the hat for me (and you can use to adjust the size). The only thing I don’t like about the hat is that if you look too closely Marie looks a bit demonic, and I’m not sure if that is my hat, or if all the hats look like that.

Marie Top and Cap

Marie Trash

Being full on Lazy Oaf Marie trash and I love it. 

Marie Hat Ribbon Detailing

Lazy Oaf x Esther Loves You Crop Top 

Price I paid: £20.00

Original price: £42.00

So I just noticed that the bunny is smoking, which puts me off a tiny bit, as I’m really not a fan of smoking, but I still love this top and I didn’t notice until I noticed the item description on the original listing. Fit wise it’s about what I’d expect, but I didn’t think it’d be as super soft as it was and I think it is such a cute top for under dungarees and pinafores. Although it would also look great with a high waisted skirt or jeans too.

I’m not sure if I would have bought this if I was not just going for whatever Esther Loves You stuff that was left; but after trying it on I do quite like it so it’s still a win for me. The top is also worth it for the little Esther Loves You sticker that comes on the tag, which I’m going to spend hours debating where to stick!

Smoking bunny

Eshter Loves You Crop

Esther Loves You Sticker

Personally, I wish this was the bunny on the top, but I guess at least with the other one I’m slightly more sassy (because of it’s expression, not because of the smoking). 

Hello Kitty x Lazy Oaf Cap 

Price I paid: £15.00

Original price: £25.00

I don’t know why I really need two caps, but since I have a lot of the Hello Kitty pieces for it to go with I thought I’d get it. Plus, it was one of the few Hello Kitty items left and I really wanted to come out of the sale with some Hello Kitty bits. I actually do prefer this to the Marie one though because Hello Kitty doesn’t look sinister.

Lazy Oaf x Hello Kitty Black Oversized Top 

Price I paid: £20.00

Original price: £40.00

I have to admit this is a bit too oversized for me, and I would sell it but I think it could still look cute underneath things and I might just purposely try and shrink it in the wash a bit. I do wish it was a bit shorter because I’m a short fry as well (as it’s definitely longer than the Marie oversized top). The sizing is also confusing as mine says OS on the label which usually indicates one size but on the Lazy Oaf website they said it came in either S/M or M/L so it might just be a manufacturing error (and hence why it was in the sale).

Hello Kitty Black Top

Lazy Oaf x Disney 101 Dalmatians socks 

Price I paid: £7.00

Original price: £10.00

To be honest, this is the only thing where I feel like there should have been a bit more of a discount. I know £7.00 is a lot to pay for socks, but I’ve always wanted a pair of their socks because they’re super cute and thought this might be my only chance at a discounted rate.

Lazy Oaf Alien Tops 

Price: Free

The lovely lady at the till also put two of these alien slightly cropped tops in my bag, which although are not really my style; but are loose and comfortable and will work well for bed time. I don’t know if these were put in everyone’s bags though as my boyfriend said he didn’t see her put them in the person before or being served next to me.

Alien Top

 

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