Friday, 30 October 2015

Halloween Party Look (Trial Run)

Am I spoopy yet?

Zombie punk party girl!

My friends Beth and Tom are having a party at their new house this weekend, which judging from some intriguing Instagram/Facefail posts might be involving Halloween beer pong and a spooky pinata (much excitement).

Going to spray my hair white also - this was just a practice run to get the make-up and accessories sorted. I was going to be an amusing bedsheet ghostie but I had a last minute change of heart.

Also. My workplace is doing a competition whereby everyone who comes into the store and says "I ain't afraid of no ghost," to a member of staff will be entered into a prize draw for a £20 gift voucher. This makes me very happy indeed.

Happy Halloween everybody!

Monday, 26 October 2015

Bucket List, Part Two

Continued from this post.

53. See the redwoods.
54. Dance on stage with The Cruxshadows.
55. Bathe in a hot spring.
56. Jump out of a hot tub and roll in the snow.
57. See Emilie Autumn live.
58. See The Birthday Massacre live.
59. See The Cure live.
60. Listen to cicadas.
61. Go to the island of bunnies.
62. Visit a cat cafe.
63. Visit Bornholm, where my grandmother grew up.
64. Road trip the United States.
65. Sit on a roof.
66. Go on a paranormal investigation.
67. Learn how to skateboard.
68. Try ziplining (aaargh!).
69. Learn to play guitar.
70. Visit Central Park in Autumn.
71. Go shopping in Selfridges Christmas shop.
72. Get good at gaming (am newb).
73. Learn Danish, the language of my forefathers (kinda).
74. Hitch hike.
75. Ride on the back of a motorbike.
76. Sleep on a sleeper train.
77. Drink in a haunted pub.
78. Stay a night in a haunted hotel.
79. Go to an outdoor cinema.
80. Learn to knit.
81. Visit the Harry Potter studios.
82. Drink a butterbeer.
83. Camp at a music festival with good people.
84. Go to a big big music festival.
85. Go to Whitby Goth Weekend.
86. Sing karaoke with friends.
87. Go back to Whitby and explore more.
88. Have a pet bunny.
89. Stroke an angora rabbit.
90. Visit New York.
91. Try snowboarding.
92. Try skiing.
93. Sleep on a beach.
94. Drink chartreuse.
95. Go on a meditation retreat.
96. Travel by dog sled.
97. Have a romantic dinner on a rooftop.
98. Go to a NaNoWriMo write-in.
99. Eat baklava in Greece.
100. Visit Canada.
101. Go to the USA for Halloween.
102. Sleep in a lighthouse.
103. Work as a barista.
104. Get a job in a library.
105. Live in Shakespeare and Company, the Parisian bookshop where you can stay for free.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Catch Yours Truly (well, my feet anyway) in the Carpe Nocturne Fall Issue

Hi guys! Exciting news to share with you - well, exciting for me anyway. This month I have two articles out in alternative magazine Carpe Nocturne, which covers all things other than the norm including Goth, sci-fi, fantasy and steampunk. It's fantastic to see my name in print!

Strega Fashion
A double-page spread (!) about the growing subculture strega, a visual interpretation of witchcraft-related and folkloric themes, with its roots in Goth, mori kei and boho.

"Mai's mother describes herself as a witch, and thus, Mai says, 'It's always been a positive thing for me. A witch is a strong, feminine woman and a force to be reckoned with.'"

I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to the beautiful, kind people who allowed me to pick their brains for this article - Mai AgerlinRaePsychara and Pandora. I am indebted to you all for taking part and especial thanks to Mai and Rae who also provided photographs to accompany the article. I am very grateful to all of you for your time!

13 Life Lessons Goth Taught Me
(I really never expected to see a picture of my feet in a magazine with an international readership.) Being an 'ex-Goth' is actually a pretty large part of my identity. My time in the subculture had a big impact on how I see myself and the world around me.

"Screw the 'male gaze'. If I want to wear thirty layers of impenetrable velvet and an improbable hat, I will. Similarly 'you looked so much better before you had that mohawk/piercing/tattoo/hair colour never seen in nature' is a ridiculous statement implying that what you see in the mirror should be tailored to suit other people. Nuts to that."

Carpe Nocturne is over 100 pages of strange and unusual goodness, available in both print and digital form (I am awaiting my print copy with much glee!). I am delighted to have taken part in the latest issue and would like to thank CN very much for having me.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

10 Reasons I'm Thinking About Quitting Facebook

Just to be clear, I haven't done the deed yet. Quitting Facebook has been something on my mind for a while, but it's going to take *shudder* effort... I need to make sure all the right people have my email address or other contact details, I have to make sure I've downloaded and backed up all my photos, and I need to switch my Goodreads and other accounts to my email address rather than the oh-so-seductive 'sign in with Facebook' button.
This was the first photo of me ever posted to Facebook. I am as graceful and co-ordinated as ever. Like an elegant snow deer.
As a writer and a blogger, I obviously am not opposed to social media. I love Tumblr, I love Goodreads, I love Pinterest... in fact, I'm noticing that my social media tendencies lean towards anything where you don't actually have to talk to people. Just kidding! No, I prefer these accounts rather than Facebook or Twitter because they are actually relevant to my interests, instead of simply a platform for the general banalities of everyday life. So, without further ado, I'm thinking of quitting Facebook:
  1. To redirect my energy into the friendships and relationships that mean the most to me, instead of fielding notifications from twice-met acquaintances inviting me to play games fifty times a day and making me feel fed up with other people in general. I am an introvert, and although I love people (some of them anyway), I don't have enough energy to go around everyone and still feel happy and relaxed at the end of the day. I'd like to be able to focus more on specific people and, frankly, let the rest go. (I was planning to do some cord cutting at this last new moon but instead I had a lovely migraine, so that will have to wait until I shake off the post-migraine collywobbles.)
  2. To avoid self-consciousness and comparing myself to others. It's easy to fall into the trap of worrying too much about what everyone else is doing and forgetting to focus on my own life. I'm currently going through a sort of refining process, tweaking my existence into something that feels good... it doesn't have to look good from the outside and it won't necessarily look good on Instagram (although I like Instagram - I try to not take it too seriously. Mostly I post photos of books, new T-shirts or me doing daft things in public rather than trying to take the prettiest selfie or whatever. I went through that trying-to-be-Instacool phase earlier this year and it was fail). 
  3. Similarly, because I hate feeling like an image or a brand more than a person. I don't want to plaster only the best bits of my day all over the internet in the hopes of impressing somebody. Even in people's holiday photos now, you can see that a lot of us have worried more about our hair, make-up or outfit than the beautiful scenery behind us. Facebook has turned us into witnesses of our own experience - we frame things and edit them rather than throwing ourselves into them. I want to see more photos of scruffy bastards enjoying themselves. I want to BE that messy-haired scruff in the nerdy jumper grinning madly because, wow, there's a mountain behind me, not worrying about my eyebrows or the fact that my smile is too gummy and this amazing experience I'm having might not look as good to other people if I am not perfect enough (the horror). 
  4. Because it intrudes into the actual, real life that I'm living. Even if I don't delete Facefail, I will remove the app from my phone because I'm tired of having interesting one-on-one conversations interrupted by the aggressive buzzzzzz of an FB notification. Perhaps it's because I'm a bit of an old lady, but I find it inherently rude that we seem to be intended to drop whatever we're actually doing (and turn away from the person we're actually talking to) because somebody we went to school with back in the mists of time has sent us a poke.
  5. I realise this might be a bit on the passive-aggressive side, but I for one slipped easily into the habit of inviting people to an event with just a couple of clicks (a problem in itself for me, because I end up inviting all and sundry so as not to offend anyone and then having a larger group than I know how to cope with), and I kind of miss the days when, if someone genuinely wanted to see me at a gathering of any kind, they'd text or call me and speak to me about it. I want to know that if I'm invited to something it's because somewhere along the line someone has thought 'Oh it'd be nice to see such-and-such at our party', and not 'Oh but if she sees the photos and knows we all got together without her she'll be upset,' or, even worse, 'Well, the more randomers we invite the more popular we'll look.' Spoiler alert: I do not mind if I am not invited to every single thing. I have books and Tumblr and box sets of Thrones. I'm sure I'll be fine if you'd rather hang out with your other friends this time.
  6. On the flip side, feeling like crap if I can't make it to a specific event. I love you, friend, and I will try to come to your important thing, but I don't drive and I work in retail which is not a good combo for getting to things/having weekends. I don't need a case of the guilts for six weeks afterwards. 
  7. Also, sometimes I'd like to be able to say no to things that I just don't feel like doing without it being a huge deal. I know this sounds anti-social but the trouble with Facebook is that one's calendar can get a bit overcrowded, and I really need a lot of recharge time. I am the epitome of Netflix and chill, and sometimes I just need my space.
  8. Because I miss when I used to get together with buddies after somebody had been away somewhere and look through their holiday photos. That was a whole social convention that has just vanished into the ether and I know it's sad but I stubbornly miss that.
  9. To keep my private life private. Maybe it's ironic for a blogger but I don't want to fall into the oversharing trap. Some moments of my life are just for me. Or just for me and the people I'm sharing them with. I don't want the temptation to splurge these bright, shining, life-changing instants for the delectation - or amusement - of others, I want to hoard them and treasure them all to myself.
  10. I have better uses for my time. More and more often I find myself looking to my phone for entertainment when I'm waiting, travelling or on my lunch break. Uh, hello, but I have books for that. When did I get so interested in what everyone else is doing? If X friend did an awesome thing, I'm sure she'll tell me about it when next we talk. I don't have to hang my eyeballs out on FB all the time for fear of missing something.
So what do you guys think? I know I'm a cranky old lady in a twenty-four-year-old body, but how do you feel about Facebook? Would you quit? Are you addicted? Let me know. ^^

Thursday, 8 October 2015

TILT: October

It's been a while since I last did one of these, so I figured that the time must be nigh. >.<
  • Getting ready for 'WriMo! I almost forgot November was fast approaching as I have so much going on at the moment (the responsibilities! Get them off of me!) and when I did remember I really wasn't sure whether I should add another item to my arm-length to-do list. Especially with the item being National Novel Writing Month, not exactly a small challenge. Then I decided I might as well plow my time and effort into something I love, and if some of the other crap slips by the wayside for a month then, well, so what? I can pick it up again in 50,000 words' time, right? My NaNo profile is over yonder.
  • Christmas shopping. I know, super early! But my partner and I won't have much time off work later in the season and we like to do our shopping together so we made the effort to do it this week. I love shopping together because 1) we always start with a Starbucks breakfast, 2) we always finish with a slap-up dinner and more often than not a bottle of wine, and 3) I buy more 'little treats' for myself than all the other presents put together. My boyfriend is a legend, as well. He carried all the bags and bought me a teddy bear (named Hendrik, god knows why).
A photo posted by Amy Townsend (@wildlavendergirl) on

  • The Big Bang Theory. My mum thought I needed cheering up the other week so she bought me the box set of season eight. I love my mum.
  • Finding secondhand signed books. On the last day of our Isle of Wight trip, I bought a stack of books at one shop and grabbed a very battered China Mieville at a train station book exchange on the way home. The Mieville was signed. So, I discovered later, was a Terry Pratchett book I had bought in the bookshop. Score!
  • Sweater weather. The time is now. I have an army of sweaters and scarves and a new mustard-coloured parka. My body is ready.
  • Looking out of the window when my candles are lit and it's raining outside and the leaves are yellow and I have my book in my lap. :-3 Perfect!
  • My new Batman pajamas. Thank you, Primark (also now the proud owner of not one but two Gryffindor sweaters. I wanted Ravenclaw in an ideal world but they only had Gryffindor so whatevs).
  • Signing up to a fanfiction website and being too shy to post any of my work. >.< The fact that I could fills me with glee.
  • Lush Halloween stuff. Yes, one of everything, please and thank. I mean, sparkly pumpkin bath bombs?! I bought one, but really I needed twenty.
What about you guys? What made your week? ;)

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Holiday Shenanigans

Image-heavy post!

Last month it was my 24th birthday, and my boyfriend and I went away together for a few days to celebrate, and tick some items off the bucket list. We chose our destination via the tried-and-true combo of 1) it was cheap, and 2) it was easy to get to (we don't drive yet), which is how we found ourselves on the Isle of Wight, staying in a 1942 motor gun boat converted into a houseboat. Better yet, it was a B&B, and we got served a fresh-cooked breakfast on the boat every morning. Paradise!

I loved staying on a tiny island. I got very excited on the ferry as we approached because you could see the curve of the land, showing how very small it was! The isle isn't really that far from the mainland (an hour on the ferry) but somehow it felt very remote, in the loveliest possible way. Despite the fact that from the beaches around Bembridge you could see the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth! The lights from the mainland reflecting on the sea looked beautiful at night.

Our gunboat was the Xoron Floatel in Bembridge. It's unique as one of only two surviving Fairmile C Class MGBs in the world today, and definitely the only one converted into a B&B! I'm not quite sure what I was expecting, but I was charmed by the low ceilings and sheer number of spider plants. Our cabin managed to be both spacious and cosy, with low, curved ceilings and an en suite with bath and shower.

Of course we were there during the off season, when many of the tourist attractions were closed and the weather highly suspicious. This has never bothered us; we love walking and exploring, and we certainly did plenty of both. On our first full day on the island we hiked across the downs from Bembridge to Shanklin Chine, which took us about three hours...

We kind of suck at selfies.

One of the other great pleasures of the Isle of Wight was the food. Eating is one of my greatest holiday pleasures - I love finding a new or a quirky restaurant and stuffing myself silly. The above photo is from a restaurant whose name I forget, but I'd highly recommend the Pilot Boat Inn in Bembridge (shaped, I might add, like a boat), the Driftwood bar on the beach at Sandown, and the Bandstand which is also on the beach near the Sandown zoo. It has glass walls and we ate there on a rainy day - it was fantastic. Possibly also the best meal I've ever eaten.

I just uploaded these for the facial expressions >.<
Mostly we were lucky with the weather, except on our second day when it rained fairly continually and we got soaked. It was worth it, though, to watch the huge dark clouds coming in over the sea.
On our last day we found the amazing Mother Goose bookshop in St Helen's, and I spent rather a lot of money on a heap of Pratchett, Froud, Gaiman and assorted books on witchery. Well spent, I feel.

And heading home again! 
What I always really enjoy about going on holiday with Dan is taking a break from everything. Coming back again is always a bit of a jolt; I really like who I am when I'm away and carefree, and it's hard to hold onto that in my small home town. Dan doesn't really use social media so I end up heavily cutting back on my usage and I find myself enjoying things a lot more, not worrying about how I look and certainly not worrying about what I'm wearing, as all I've got is what's in my suitcase. This was an amazing trip and a great birthday! Hoping to escape again soon :)
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