Current State of Work

Currently…revising. I’ve got a few exams coming up, so I’ve been in revision mode for most of my free days, though of course, with the Easter celebrations, that’s been a little more difficult to do. I’ll be on my way home from my parent’s tomorrow, so I hope to be back on track when the bank holiday is over.

I hope you all have had a blessed Easter full of family and celebration and that the commercialism and the chocolate didn’t get y’all down too much.

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Loreley Folk

I am delighted to share today for this music-y Friday, the folk duo Loreley, formed of good friends of mine, Maddy Glenn and Simon James Chisholm. Brought together in our first year of university by writing, and by subsequent modules in later years, it was clear that Maddy and Simon have a strong bond with music; and their almost dream-like arrangements of traditional fables and lyrics with the heartbeat of strings like the mandolin and dulcitar create an interesting blend of folk.

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Their newest, and third, album came out a couple of weeks ago. You can purchase THE FROZEN NORTH or listen to tracks from it on Loreley’s Bandcamp page. You can also see their stuff on their website. The duo are self-funded, so every contribution to their fabulous music counts.

100 Days to Go (AKA, I Don’t Have a Clue)

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I am eternally impressed by other bloggers. Bloggers who have time and bloggers who have panache to say the things that I kind of just flop about like a dead fish saying. The lovely Carrie-Ann Dring of Something Definitely Happened started her blog to document the British wedding. So to speak. People get married every hour of every day of every year, and no wedding is the same, of course, but less documented are British weddings (naturally, because there are less of us than of Americans) and I’m sure there are many misconceptions about what happens.

In short, you should check out Mrs. Dring’s blog backlog, where she talks about organising her wedding. Or you should check out her current blog stuff if you like pretty vintage outfits.

And I, for one, should have been doing more to document the organising I should be doing. But I suppose that there isn’t actually that much to say. It’s a learning curve, certainly, but it’s so much fun. I feel like a Sim building an implicit skill; you can’t see what I’m doing happening, you can’t see my brain churning, but it’s all there in the background, inching up that skill bar, piece by piece. I can do it. We’ll see.

It is exciting, though, because…

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It is 100 days until I am wed. I can’t tell if that’s a long or a short time. Three and a half months. 14 weeks. They’re all numbers.

And what do I have to do with such short time?

Well…

> Bridemaids’ dresses. (Don’t ask. It’s a long story.)

> Cars. An equally long story with technology’s fault at its heart. The waiting game is on again.

> Page boy’s outfit. Which is on its way.

> Cake. Or, at least, sorting the final image of it.

> Bridesmaid presents.

> Wedding rings. Uh, yeah…

> Table arrangement. But with an ironically-timed meeting with our wedding coordinator tomorrow, that will be crossed off the list as soon as all involved are concerned. And food. That comes into that, too.

> Other decorative things. Like seating cards and table names… Centrepiece candelabras. We’re good.

> Order of service.

> Flowers.

> Hair. Sorted in two days.

> Wedding fittings. But they’re coming. They’re on the will-be-done list. And I have nothing to do for the time-being.

> Invites. Without these, we will have no guests. And these, of course, have a time crunch.

And did I mention? I have three exams, three pieces of coursework, and a dissertation…

I think that’s it. It’s not really as much as it looks. But it isn’t all ‘doom and gloom’ (if it ever was at all). Our priest is wonderful and joyful and I am as confident about the ceremony, which for me is what is important, as I guess I ever will be.

(Opening photo by the lovely Vivienne Edge Photography)

Lazarus and Death in Sin

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Today’s Gospel reading is the bittersweet, and well known, story of Jesus’ raising of Lazarus. I say bittersweet because, although the miracle itself is important, we are shown a side of Jesus’ humanity that not often comes to light in The Bible: his empathy and his pain. The mere tears of Mary drive Jesus to Lazarus’ grave to weep – a very human reaction to the death and loss of a friend.

As we know, there is a joyful and poignant ending to this miracle, so, despite its importance in Jesus’ deeds, it’s not what I focused on as part of this week’s Mass readings.

All of this week’s readings have a theme, though: death through sin and life through God. Repetition was strong in emphasising just how necessarily deadly sin is. And, as we walk in life ever nearer to another Eastertide, another yearly celebration of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for our sins, the scriptures remind us just how crucial Jesus’ life and the weeks leading up to his death are.

Take, for instance, the second reading this week: from St Paul’s letters to the Romans:

“But if Christ lives in you, the spirit is life for you because you have been put right with God, even though your bodies are going to die because of sin. If the spirit of God, who raised Jesus from death, lives in you, then He who raised Christ from death will also give life to your mortal bodies by the presence of His Spirit in you.”

(Romans 8:10-11)

101 Shades of Teal

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As luck would have it, my bridesmaid dress plans are almost in as much tatters as I suspect the swatches/samples of dresses would be now.

It’s an arduous story that starts with one of Alexa’s wild ideas. Madly out of my price-range, but what if my girls were dress in shades of blues and greens, a la peacock? I have never been one to baulk at something against the norm, and nor do I see much beauty in your typical block-colour of bridesmaid dresses, so it seemed like a good idea at the time. Of course, I started thinking pragmatically as to how I could incorporate these colours into affordable bridesmaid dresses.

Teal. I could look for a print dress in a fancy, shimmery fabric in a shade of teal, versatile blue and green for The Fiancé and I both. And, for me, things that were essential for my bridesmaid dresses were short length dresses and vintage styles, preferably 50s silhouette or suggestion.

Where-else to look, then, that at vintage brands at which I have shopped and whom I support?

These thoughts I had in about September or October of last year. And so starts the slog of this post…

(For the sake of this post, and because I don’t believe it’s necessary to mention the brands—sure, their restocking techniques let me down this time, but I love their fashions no less for it—I am going to refer to them as Awesome Brand and Gorgeous Brand.)

It started simply enough, with me doing my usual browsing of Awesome Brand’s website. I guess I had an idea of the dress I was thinking of just by osmosis.

A taffeta-made dress, plain in pattern but glossy and with a sash, it was something I knew I wanted to see my bridesmaids in. It was formal enough for a summer wedding, but casual enough that it could be worn away from the wedding (if it were me, on a daily basis!). And, wonder of wonders, on sale at the moment. Little was I to know that it was an end-of-line sale as so many of them are nowadays, and the style was not going to come back in stock in the sizes my girls need.

But, at that point, I pondered it, bought myself one to try, and realised that I’d love to see the bigger sizes in real life. Awesome Brand only has a handful of physical shops, but one happens to be local from where I currently live, in Camden. So, I trotted the 20 minutes to Camden, head held high and knowing exactly what I wanted.

It turns out, though, that the online stockist is the ultimate collection of what is available across the shops, and not vice versa.

So, it was time to scratch out that idea. Bye bye taffeta.

Move on to dress #2. I’ve never been a fan of folded fabric busts, but as I started viewing the website of Gorgeous Brand that a friend had recently bought a dress from, I was starting to have thoughts I put it to my bridesmaids: my main worry was that as two of them are B-cup and under, I was worried that the folded fabric effect would not be complimentary (as it would on my plus-sized bridesmaids).

So, I bought one of the dresses in my size (if I buy a 10 by measurements, it fits me as well as two of the bridesmaids – even when we’re different across different brands’ size 10) to try on for size, comfort, and real-life colour (girls, never rely on your monitor for the true colour of fabric).

It was gorgeous and comfortable. Even the fold-over bust did not gape too much. Sure, the print ended up being a little too green for my teal idea, but I was willing to forgo that for the clockwork print.

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So, after a little discussion, we decided to go with it. I proceeded back onto the site, only to be met by sizes being out in two of my three remaining bridesmaids’ sizes. I thought I was lucky to have a brand like Gorgeous which gives you the option to subscribe to be notified when the items are back in stock in certain style. And I double checked their procedures: if the item is forever out of stock, they will not have that option to subscribe.

So, I thought.

Turns out, of course, that I was wrong/had been misled by these instructions on the website. The Devil likes to mock me in that way by giving me false hope.

I waited. And I waited. I think I waited about two or three months for any sign of the restock notification going away. I even favourited the page so I could get back to triple check as quickly as blinking. Eventually, I started to worry [more than usual], so I emailed Gorgeous Brand’s helpdesk to ask about the restock times. I waited. I know Gorgeous Brand are reliable when it comes to replying to customer service (great for someone like me who gets social anxiety when it comes to speaking via the phone), and sure enough, I received a response within two days of sending (go, Gorgeous Brand!).

Alas, it was not good news. Despite what the website implies, this pattern was no longer going to come back in stock. The helpdesk suggested I could commission the three dresses I needed in the fabric, but at a price. A price out of my range.

Time to face reality: I have to say goodbye to that idea, too.

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As it stands, currently, I’m not sure if I have a dress in mind or not. My choices lie in cost, colour, style, and brand. In that order? I’m not certain. I was not originally aiming for a vintage brand that I support like Awesome and Gorgeous, but after having turned my attention that way, I can’t seem to shake that that was a good way of doing things. On the other hand, they are fresh into the Spring-Summer ’17 seasons, so stocks—and consequently, prices—are high. There are cheaper brands, of course. I have bought some articles from Cool Brand before, but they have not been as well tailored as I would have hoped. Cool Brand is reputable, but I’m on the smaller side when it comes to their dresses, so they’re not True-to-Size, and for me, that is a clincher (when I have to get people to put hems up and sew together the back to make smaller the top, I see an issue with the brand). Furthermore, as much as like the patterns they deliver, in folded-bust and other silhouettes, they are very much reliable on colourways, rather than the quirky prints of Gorgeous Brand. For me, they aren’t my bridesmaids’ dresses.

And, thinking deeply about it, I have to re-assess the obsessive-compulsive nature behind using a vintage brand. I wanted to make Awesome and Gorgeous proud, but in the end, it’s not about being able to say “look, I used your dresses as bridesmaids dresses, thank you!”; it’s about how the dresses look on the day and the comfort for my bridesmaids. Colour over brand and cut over colour.

Which only doubly troubles the situation. Back to the drawing board, perhaps.