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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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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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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Hello Kitty Topshop Pop Up Shop Mini Haul

As you have all probably realised by now I have a serious weakness for Hello Kitty. If you are new welcome, my name is April, and be prepared for a lot of Hello Kitty. So this haul all started because I was scrolling my Instagram and saw on the official Hello Kitty Instagram that they had a pop up shop in Topshop till the 1st July.

Knowing that I had missed out on this last year from watching videos from a Youtuber called Princess Fancypants (if you love Lazy Oaf or Hello Kitty she is the Youtuber for you and has posted some really useful videos like what it is like going to a Lazy Oaf sample sale) I decided I couldn’t miss it this year. Especially as the theme this year was Hello Kitty gang themed (and I like to pretend I am sassier than I am).

Despite wanting pretty much everything they had there I was able to restrain myself and only got 3 items, and in my defence for one of them I actually needed it!

The first thing I got was this adorable customised Hello Kitty phone case (and the only thing I actually needed). They had two different designs to chose from and you could choose whether you wanted a white or black ring around the edge. I went for white just because I thought it would match my phone better.

For a Iphone 6S phone case customised it was £18.00, and took about 10 minutes to complete. You are able to have your first name (or whatever name or word you want to be fair) at the top and then at the bottom above the words ‘Hello Kitty Gang’ you can have up to three initials.  I ended up having three initials so I could include my middle name, as I think it looks classier somehow (don’t lie you can totally see those initials on a satchel bag looking swanky).

Apri Hello Kitty Phone Case

Here’s a picture of all the other options, and if I hadn’t chosen the one I did I would have definitely gone for the one of the Hello Kitty with her hands on her hips and a ‘Milk’ sweatshirt (which if they sold I would have definitely bought not going to lie).

Hello Kitty Phone Case Options

The only other clothing I got was the pink oversized hoodie, which was a debacle in itself. As basically I wanted the biggest size so a size large because I wanted it to be super big and comfy so I could just live in it essentially but all I could see was mediums. So I went to the till and I paid for my medium and my phone case.

This was an event in itself because I went to one of the tills, and kept being told I could buy the hoodie there and then getting told I couldn’t because that particular till (the jewellery counter on Topshop Oxford Street on the ground floor) didn’t process clothing. However, because it was part of the pop up they eventually let it go through. I then went back to the Hello Kitty stand to show I’d paid for the phone case so she could get to work, and then noticed that there was in fact a large hoodie. Unfortunately, I couldn’t refund it at the till I just paid at but had to go to the bottom floor (-2) to get a refund, though they also let me buy the pin badge that I forget to get the first time. By the way quick side note I’ve started collecting pins so be sure to watch this space!

So by then Martin who had graciously went with me was probably dying as he hates clothes shops because he hates large crowds of people, which I totally sympathise with but my love of clothes usually wins out. Also, I’m not recalling this story to call out the Topshop staff, as they were totally lovely the entire way through- I just wanted to share my stress with you all!

Anyway, getting back on point the hoodie was £28.00, which while not cheap I didn’t think was too bad for a hoodie, and it is super cute and comfy. I know that screen printing might not be a lot of people’s preference, and its definitely not as well made as the Lazy Oaf collection but I needed an oversized hoodie that was not stolen from my boyfriend, and for some reason that shade of pink really suits me.

Hello Kitty Hoodie

Hello Kitty Hoodie 2

Here’s what it looks like on. I will get better pictures soon I promise but wanted to get this post up as soon as possible so people would still have a chance to visit the pop up before it leaves. I had the hoodie on because it was pouring it down with rain and for the first time in forever (yes that is a Frozen reference) I was cold.

My final purchase as already mentioned was the Hello Kitty pin, which basically proclaims you as a member of Hello Kitty’s gang. This was £5.00, which is not bad and I highly recommend that everyone gets one so we can all identify each other as fellow gang members.

Hello Kitty Pins

I’ve taken pictures of all the other things they have on sale so you can see if there is anything else you prefer. If I’d have had the money I would have totally got one of the white t-shirts. Since I am a terrible blogger (and socially awkward) I was too nervous and forget to note down the prices for everything but hopefully the prices of the other items give you a good indication of what everything was priced at.

The other warmer option available is a grey sweatshirt with the same logo that is on the hoodie. I actually do know the price of this as it’s visible in the picture I took, so for those wondering as far as I can see this item is £25.00.

Hello Kitty Sweatshirt

Here’s a better picture from the Hello Kitty Instagram so you can see what it looks like on.

Have you joined #HELLOKITTYGANG yet? #hellokitty #topshop

A post shared by Hello Kitty (@wearehellokitty) on

Image: @wearehellokitty/ Instagram 

Looking at it now I kind of wish I had bought this shirt (below) but you know having money is also nice. It would look super cute with the gingham trousers from the Hello Kitty Lazy Oaf Collection though. I unfortunately don’t know how much this is priced at because I am a horrible blogger and didn’t look.

Hello Kitty T-shirt

Another thing I wished I would have been able to pick up is one of the caps because I suspect the heat is probably going to come back and hats really help me to well not melt in the heat and this would have been a super cute option.

Hello Kitty Gang Hats

They also had Hello Kitty bum bags but unless I am selling stuff at a car boot (which, I have done many times I’ll have you know) then bum bags are not my friend. Also, please no one call them a fanny pack around me.

Hello Kitty Bum Bags

There was also a super cute tote bag available but I have way too many of those already so had to pass but the logo did look particularly adorable on them.

Hello Kitty Tote Bag

Other merchandise included what I think are keychains (though they are massive but customisable) and mugs (which you could customise and were super cute and I wanted one but I actually needed a phone case and I don’t need a mug), as well as notebooks (which I don’t think you could customise).

Hello Kitty Key Chains

Hello Kitty Girl Gang Main Image

The collection is only available till the 1st July so if you want something I’d pick it up soon, as it’s a cute way to add a bit of Hello Kitty into your life without it being too ‘childish’ if that is not your style (though I personally don’t care at all about that). The pop up is located at the Oxford Street Topshop on the ground floor just in front of the Lola’s Cupcakes stand.

If you get a pin and want to join my gang send me a picture of you wearing it by tagging me on Instagram or on Twitter. My username for Instagram is @aprilisthecruellestmonth and for Twitter is @aprilcruelmonth.

Overall though this is a super cute collection for those who want some Hello Kitty merchandise but can’t afford anything from the Lazy Oaf collection.

Hello Kitty x Lazy Oaf ‘Photoshoot’

Or as I like to deem it the chronicles of April eating an apple (which FYI I did actually eat afterwards). Though I think after seeing this Lazy Oaf are definitely going to regret not making me the face of the collection (they really won’t).

So after seeing Lazy Oaf post pictures of just generally cool people wearing the new Hello Kitty x Lazy Oaf collection I decided I wanted to do that too with the piece I bought. So I started to contemplate what would look good with the super cute red turtleneck I purchased from the collection. And settled on a apple. Yes, a apple because Hello Kitty reminds me of school and my childhood, and I thought it would be cute. In fairness, it could have been on anyone other than me.

However, I am not cool so ended up channelling this aesthetic more:

“You’re trying to be cool but you look like a fool to me.” 

Yes, I am quoting Avril Lavigne. Do I believe she has been replaced by a body double? How knows? You tell me.

I’ve already posted the main image for this blog post on Instagram but thought I’d post some more of the pictures Martin took for me here so you can sympathise with how much I try to make my outfit look good but ruin it with my face. However, since I want to start posting more ‘outfit of the day’ type posts in the future I guess I’m just going to have to suck it up and keep practicing.

Also, for anyone who follows me on Instagram (if you don’t please consider following for more silly pictures of my face and food) you might have seen me say this already, but the background of these pictures and a lot of my pictures is the same because I still have not got over my shyness of having my picture taken outside yet! So apologises for all the spam you will be getting on here or on Instagram while I try to get more comfortable with the art of posing.

I’m also going to start by showing you the images of what fashionable and cool people look like wearing this collection so you can actually get some inspiration!

Image: @lazyoafs/ Instagram 

Staying in this position all weekend…💤 #HelloKittyxLazyOaf

A post shared by Lazy Oaf (@lazyoafs) on

Image: @lazyoafs/ Instagram 

Hello Kitty Queen @charliexbarker in our pink denim jacket 💕👸🏼💕#HelloKittyxLazyOaf

A post shared by Lazy Oaf (@lazyoafs) on

Image: @lazyoafs/ Instagram 

Image: @lazyoafs/ Instagram 

So now to the photos. If anyone is interested I’m wearing just a plain black cami dress (t’s from H and M but I don’t think they sell it anymore) with my Hello Kitty x Lazy Oaf turtleneck, black tights, and Primark black ‘Vans’ like shoes (which, I’m going to be talking about in another post soon).

Lazy Oaf Hello Kitty Photoshoot 2

The contemplating my apple and life choices pose (that was purely done by accident FYI).

Hello Kitty x Lazy Oaf 3

The I would just like the apple and it’s really annoying my lipstick is not in that one spot pose. Also, apologises for my dirty fingernails, they had been thoroughly washed but I had to change a hoover bag that day (yes me life is that glamorous) and it took a few goings over before they got completely clean again.

Hello Kitty x Lazy Oaf Photo 2

The I am April and this is my apple pose. I look weirdly proud in this photograph lol, but at least my top is cute!

So there it is. Lazy Oaf I think we both know who you want your model to be for your next collection. I am not ashamed that I would work for clothes.

I am really hoping to get some more of the Hello Kitty x Lazy Oaf collection but it is selling out fast (and I am broke)! If I do expect photoshoot part 2 to come your way.

Comment with your favourite ridiculous face below! I know this seems like a bit of a weird blog post but I kind of wanted to make sure I occasionally share my fails along with my successes.

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The Hello Kitty x Lazy Oaf Collection is here

Image: Caroline from The Kawaii Kollective 

I am beyond excited that the Hello Kitty x Lazy Oaf collection is finally here. I’ve been waiting for it to come out ever since I saw a teaser for the collection on Lazy Oaf’s Instagram.

1 month Hello Kitty countdown starts now… #HelloKittyxLazyOaf

A post shared by Lazy Oaf (@lazyoafs) on

Image: Instagram/ @lazyoafs 

I mean just look at that skirt! It’s anyone who is obsessed with Hello Kitty dream! So you can bet I was over the moon when I heard that Lazy Oaf would be opening their shop on the 15th June to debut the collection, and that the first 50 people would receive an exclusive Hello Kitty bag. Now, I was not able to go to the shop myself, as I was not able to afford something from the collection and train fare to London, but my friend Caroline was able to go so I have an exclusive look at what the bag looked like!

Lazy Oaf Hello Kitty bagImage: Caroline from The Kawaii Kollective 

Isn’t it cute? But just look at the queue she had to wait in to get it!

Lazy Oaf QueueImage: Caroline from The Kawaii Kollective 

Also, Caroline was lovely enough to take some snaps of the store for me! And unsurprisingly it was the giant Hello Kitty plush in the store that excited me the most.

Hello Kitty PlushImage: Caroline from The Kawaii Kollective 

The collection itself also is just so cute, and I wish I could have seen the skirt that started the obsession for me in person but alas I’m going to have to earn some more money before that ever becomes a reality.

Hello Kitty Lazy Oaf SkirtImage: Caroline from The Kawaii Kollective 

She also got a cute snap of the pyjama style Hello Kitty top they are selling that I have to admit is not my favourite piece from the collection but looks adorable in the snap Caroline got.

Lazy Oaf Pyjama topImage: Caroline from The Kawaii Kollective 

Also, just look at the jacket!!! Before I realised that financially it was not going to happen this was the piece I was going to buy from the collection!

😍💗 😭 I want you!!!!

A post shared by TheKawaiiKollective (@carolinehorimoto) on

Image: Instagram/ @thekawaiikollective 

However, let’s get down to the collection and what I think of each piece. Starting with the Hello Kitty face skirt. I don’t really know what to say about this piece other than I love it so much though I will admit it was a struggle at first to figure out what to pair it with because it is such a statement piece. In the end I think a simple black crop top is probably the best choice.

Image: Lazy Oaf on Pinterest/ aprilisthecruellestmonth 

£65.00 (and is already sold out on the Lazy Oaf website 😦 here’s hoping they restock soon!) 

Next up is this long sleeve number that makes great use of the primary colours that are often featured in Hello Kitty merchandise (when pink isn’t). I think this would look great tucked into a red skirt or just worn with some jeans on lazy days. While I love the blue collar and red sleeve details this is not one of my favourite pieces from the collection just because some of the other pieces just stand out that little bit more to me.

Image: Lazy Oaf on Pinterest/ aprilisthecruellestmonth

Priced at £50.00.  

Next up is the piece I wanted to buy so much but is also the most expensive piece in the collection coming in at £120.00. I wanted this jacket because I am just such a fan of Lazy Oaf’s denim jackets and this jacket just ticks all the boxes of what my aesthetic is at the moment, which is pastel colours and a cute cartoon character involved in some way basically.

Image: Lazy Oaf on Pinterest/ aprilisthecruellestmonth 

Priced at £120.00.

Lazy Oaf MarieImage: Instagram/ aprilisthecruellestmonth

As you can see I already own a Lazy Oaf x Disney Marie jacket, which is one of the softest and most comfortable things I own! 

Next up is probably my least favourite item from the collection not that I hate it or wouldn’t totally wear it if someone bought it for me it just doesn’t stand out to me as much as some of the other pieces!

Image: Lazy Oaf on Pinterest/ aprilisthecruellestmonth

Priced at £75.00. 

I was so tempted to make this next top my pick from the collection. As not only is it adorable, but it has a lovely frilly neckline, which I’ve been loving on tops at the moment. However, after seeing the blogger Mariza (who was sent some items from the collection) rock a different item from the collection I changed my mind.

Image: Lazy Oaf on Pinterest/ aprilisthecruellestmonth 

Priced at £38.00. 

Ok, so recently I’ve warmed to the idea of MOM jeans but have yet to actually go down the rabbit hole of buying them. One because it’s ridiculously hot at the moment. And two because they look like they have no stretch. My butt requires jeans that stretch. If I ever do finally go for the trend these jeans with cute tiny embroidered Hello Kitty’s on them are first on my list.

Image: Lazy Oaf on Pinterest/ aprilisthecruellestmonth 

Priced at £75.00. 

Next up is the item I did actually end up buying from the collection (pictures to come as soon as it arrives!). I just fell in love with the statement turtleneck (despite the heat) and I miss having red tops in my collection so thought this would the perfect piece. Plus, it will look great with my denim pinafore from Topshop.

Image: Lazy Oaf on Pinterest/ aprilisthecruellestmonth 

Priced at £40.00.

So this is the piece I actually want the most next because it just compliments the red turtleneck perfectly! Also, I love the uniqueness of the straps as a way to incorporate Hello Kitty into the design.

Image: Lazy Oaf on Pinterest/ aprilisthecruellestmonth 

Priced at £78.60 on the Lazy Oaf website but for some reason is £75.00 on Asos.

If you want a bit more adult chic to your Hello Kitty clothing the black keyhole dress is the piece for you. It’s definitely got the style of something I’d wear on a night out but the little Hello Kitty can serve as a reminder not to do anything too ridiculous (which, for me is just wanting to dance- that’s literally all I want to do when drunk).

Image: Lazy Oaf on Pinterest/ aprilisthecruellestmonth 

Priced at £65.00. 

If you just want something cute and Hello Kitty themed to lounge around in the next piece is probably for you. As not only is this hoodie covered in loads of little Hello Kitty details it looks ridiculously comfy too.

Image: Lazy Oaf on Pinterest/ aprilisthecruellestmonth 

Priced at £75.00. 

So this next piece is probably my personal least favourite item from the collection though I suspect a lot of people will love the bow back detail to the shirt. For me personally I just don’t know how I’d wear it and it just doesn’t fit my own personal style. I suspect though like most pieces that have even a little element of cool to them, someone a lot more fashionable than me could probably rock it.

Image: Lazy Oaf on Pinterest/ aprilisthecruellestmonth (front of shirt) 

Image: Lazy Oaf on Pinterest/ aprilisthecruellestmonth (back of shirt) 

Priced at £72.00. 

For anyone who loves Hello Kitty but doesn’t want a piece that grabs too much attention this cute simple black t-shirt with Hello Kitty surrounded by two roses is perfect! It definitely goes on my list of pieces I want to buy once I have the money, as sometimes going simple just is best.

Image: Lazy Oaf on Pinterest/ aprilisthecruellestmonth 

Priced at £40.00. 

I don’t know about anyone else but I am pale and freckly and definitely feeling the effects of the heat right now. That’s why investing in this adorable Hello Kitty baseball cap is most definitely a good idea. After all, anyone who reads my posts knows I can deal with baseball caps, as long as it is not a visor!

Image: Lazy Oaf on Pinterest/ aprilisthecruellestmonth

Priced at £25.00.

Anyone who has read any of my fashion posts before knows that I am OBSESSED with gingham so when I saw these adorable trousers I fell in love. I also think that incorporating Hello Kitty just by including her signature bow is such an ingenious tribute and makes it a wearable piece for Hello Kitty lovers and non-lovers alike.

Image: Lazy Oaf on Pinterest/ aprilisthecruellestmonth 

Priced at £70.00. 

Also, this isn’t a pairing that I’d of automatically made myself but they actually look super cute with yellow!

Bags smiling so you don't have to 🏁☹️🏁via @iamkareno sneak peeking #HelloKittyxLazyOaf

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Image: Instagram/ @lazyoafs

The next piece is something that I’d totally rock for bedtime but I have to admit I’m not into the whole nightwear for daytime look. Especially, as by looking at the description this is made of a pyjama friendly material. To be honest I’d probably end up just falling asleep in the middle of the day if I wore it.

Image: Lazy Oaf on Pinterest/ aprilisthecruellestmonth 

Priced at £55.00. 

I was so happy when I saw that this cute little heart shaped bag was not made out of real leather! Now, it can definitely go on my must buy list. Especially as I need some more bags for when I want to just take my phone and purse out (not that happens often but still!).

Image: Lazy Oaf on Pinterest/ aprilisthecruellestmonth

Priced at £38.00.  

SOCKS! If you haven’t guessed already last but not least are some frankly quite adorable socks. At £18.00 for 2 pairs I’m not going to lie they are some pretty pricey socks but if you are as obsessed with this collection as I am you could probably be convinced to part with that money.

Image: Lazy Oaf on Pinterest/ aprilisthecruellestmonth 

Image: Lazy Oaf on Pinterest/ aprilisthecruellestmonth 

Priced at £18.00 respectively. 

Overall, I am in love with this collection and definitely hope that all the pieces don’t sell out before I can buy them! I also really love the way the collection used some really inventive ways to incorporate Hello Kitty as a brand and aesthetic into some very Lazy Oaf-esque pieces. It’s not surprising to me at all that some of the pieces are already sold out and that is flying off the shelves. Lazy Oaf has definitely got it right again!

The collection is available in sizes UK 6-14 (as far as I could tell), which to be honest is a little disappointing, and my only real criticism of Lazy Oaf is that I wish they were more inclusive and would offer a larger size range. Especially as looking at their measurements their clothes tend to occasionally run quite small. Also, can Lazy Oaf please expand to shoes?!

Just think about what Hello Kitty x Lazy Oaf shoes would like…

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Living out my embroidery dreams

Well, now I’ve gotten over my fear about talking about fashion, I see no reason not to continue onwards and upwards and talk about another trend that has been gracing the high street this spring: floral embroidery (well, embroidery in general but I’m going to focus on pieces with floral motifs).

For those of you who did not read my previous post whenever I mention a retailer I will mention a little bit about their ethics and sustainability, not to be judgemental or anything like that, but just so you know more about the retailer you are buying from. Now, before I even started this I knew that this list of my favourite embroidery pieces was going to be dominated by Topshop and Zara. However, I tried to scour the internet for some other retailers, especially retailers with a good track record for ethics and sustainability.

As always however let’s start with my favourite:

Topshop (I think my love for Topshop is partly fuelled by that I longed after their pieces for years but they were way out of my price range so now that I can sometimes actually afford some of their stuff I get way too excited).

7/20 on the Ethical shopping guide. 

For a list of pro’s and con’s for Topshop click on this link. To summarise, Topshop is committed to the Sustainable Clothing Plan and its targets, but the brand does not publicly share the detailers of its suppliers.

First of all, I’m going to talk about this beautiful dress (£29.00) I picked up from them, purely because of the sleeve details. However, I have to admit I was a little bit disappointed to realise that it’s a bit too transparent for my tastes to wear without a white cami dress underneath. However, it would perfect for the beach (not that I am a frequent beach visitor- I’m much more of a autumn/winter person) with a swimsuit or bikini underneath. I wouldn’t have minded if it was advertised as see through or it looked see through in the pictures on the website, but it was not so I have to admit it was a little bit disappointing. Especially, as it means I have to purchase another item to make it wearable.

18362622_2248264658732685_1528254569_o        Image: April is the Cruellest Month 

As for my other picks from Topshop, they’re numerous so I thought they’d be best summed up in a Polyvore set.

Screen Shot 2017-05-08 at 20.11.16 Full set available on my Polyvore!

Top left shirt: £29.00 (clothes will now be described as seen from left to right).

I love, love, love this shirt- it’d be such a good piece for when you want to dress up an outfit (maybe a black skirt) a bit more but aren’t feeling like going ‘all out’ that day.

Cream jacket with blue embroidery: £55

At first I was not sure about this piece but I have been feeling the pastels recently, and this totally fits that vibe. It makes me wish I had pastel pink hair again to match.

White blouse with floral shoulder detail: £36 (currently sold out online but still available at time of writing in some stores).

Ok, so I am very upset that this is basically almost sold out because I only managed to discover this the other day on the Topshop website. Especially, as I’m really loving all the floral embroidery pieces with detailing around the shoulders at the moment and this blouse so perfectly fits that bill.

Black moto western borg jacket with rose embroidery detail: £85 (Petite) Available here in standard sizing (same price).

So this is quite expensive (please, please go on sale) and maybe a little out of season that is if we ever actually start to warm up here in the UK (which I’m hoping we don’t as I am not a child of the sun) but I just adore borg jackets.

Denim flatform trainers with rose embroidery: £29

I don’t know why but I’m really feeling denim trainers in all forms at the moment so these for me are a must (that is if I didn’t need to invest in some solid shoes that will work for all day everyday since all my other pairs have holes in).

White studded shoulder bag with floral embroidery and a gold strap: £25.00

I’m not going to lie I am not a fan of the gold strap but other than that I love this bag and it would look lovely with some denim.

Denim pinafore with floral embroidery on the pockets: £45

Ok, so I cannot decide between this denim pinafore or the other one shown- I love them both. I’m slightly more inclined to the other one however as I’d rather not draw too much attention to my hip area just because the way I am proportioned means it might not neccessarily flatter me.

Floral embroidered MOM jeans: £59.00

Confession time. I have yet to venture into the world of MOM jeans though they’ve grown on me over the last year, especially when they feature floral patterns like the one on this pair.

Black denim jacket with summery floral embroidery details: £65.00

I don’t know if it’s just me but I feel like these have a slight fruity vibe in terms of the colours of the florals, making this a jacket that I think (as long as the weather is not too hot) could make the transition into summer.

Denim pinafore with floral detailing at the top: £45.00

I think this pinafore just beats the other one for me, however, I’m not sure what the fit would be like for me, whereas I know what the other dress fits like (as I have a plain denim version).

White embroidered ‘Jamie’ jeans: £59.00

I saw someone wearing these, or at least a similar pair the other day and once again I started dreaming of white denim. I don’t know why but I always loved white denim especially when I was a teenager and these jeans kind of rekindled that love in me.

Black platforms with floral embroidery detail: £34.00

These are so pretty that I might actually attempt to wear heals for once just so I can strut my stuff in these.

Zara 

I could not find a rating on the Ethical Sustainability guide for Zara. However, I found some information about their ethics here, which talks about how the company is committed to a living wage for all workers, however, the brand has been implicated in the appalling working conditions of workers in Bangalore, India.  

Ah Zara, home of embroidery. I went on the website in search of treasures, and treasures I found. Since Zara is refusing to clip onto my Polyvore for some reason I had to pin the pieces I liked to my Pinterest board. On the plus side it’s encouraged me to start using my Pinterest board alongside this blog.

Source: aprilisthecruellestmonth/ Pinterest 

This dress combines a lot of things I love. Sheer polka dot details, floral embroidery and the fact that it is a jumpsuit underneath so you do not have to worry about the perils of wearing a dress. I love it so much it’s making me wish I was going to my university’s Summer Ball this year simply so I would have an excuse to buy it.

Price: £29.99

Source: aprilisthecruellestmonth/ Pinterest 

So you know what this would go well with? Gingham! For those who are confused why I sound so excited about this it’s because in my last post I came to the realisation of how much I loved gingham and daisies together. These shorts would also look great with the gingham crop shirt from Topshop that I wore in that post.

Price: £25.99

Source: aprilisthecruellestmonth/ Pinterest 

So this shirt basically ticks all the boxes for things I love right now. Especially since I have been meaning to get a top with a built in choker neckline. I think this definitely needs to go on my birthday list.

Price: £17.99

Source: aprilisthecruellestmonth/ Pinterest 

Unsure if you love or hate this? Me too. But I figure there must be something that keeps drawing me in. I think it definitely will look amazing when its unzipped. Either way, it’s a must have statement piece for anyone looking to jazz up a normal parka.

Price: £99.99

Source: aprilisthecruellestmonth/ Pinterest

There’s some definite flapper vibes going on with this dress and I love it. It also looks like it will be super comfortable on hot days due to its flowy feel.

Price: £59.99

Source: aprilisthecruellestmonth/ Pinterest 

This is another dress that looks like a dress but is in fact actually a jumpsuit. You can’t see it on the pin but the dress has a beautiful tie up detail to the back and from the pictures on the Zara site I am pretty sure it has pockets. That’s right, pockets.

Price: £29.99

Rokit (vintage) 

Rokit is a UK based vintage clothing retailer that according to their website has recycled over a million tonnes of discarded clothing and accessories over the last three decades. In terms of sustainability vintage clothing is always a plus, as it ensures clothes are not being wasted and given a new life. 

My love affair with vintage clothing started in my teenage years. It was as I begun my vintage journey that Rokit came on my radar, despite that they specialised in denim and I was more a fan of the ‘classic’ vintage styles. While places like Rokit are great for sustainability they can be irritating in terms of sizing, as since they stock individual, unique options they might not always have your size.

The piece that I am going to showcase from Rokit will only fit the size indicated on the listing, so I chose the piece based on whether they fit the trend/ aesthetic I was looking for rather than whether they’d fit me personally or not.

The piece I am talking about is this amazing 80s blue denim sleeveless dress (perfect for nailing that Rachel from Friends aesthetic) for £40.00, which would look amazing with this long sleeve crop top from Topshop (in burgundy) for £20.00, some black tights and the pair of vegan dr. martens I am forever lusting over (£100.00).

Source: aprilisthecruellestmonth/Pinterest 

So those are my embroidery picks! I also spotted some pieces I liked at New Look so I would definitely take a look there too but there was nothing that stood out to me enough to make this list. As always if you know a good sustainable retailer I should check out please let me know!