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)

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.

AN OPERATIC WEEK

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It really does feel like I am spending all my time in a theatre. And it’s marvellous.

Yes, I am aware of how much energy is sapped and how I feel so unfit because my limbs ache when I do the usual daily walking et cetera – but these are the risks I chose when I desired to be a performer. My entire schedule is squiffed towards what I can do whilst I am confined to a green room and dressing room.

Well, ‘confined’ is perhaps too strong a word. But it does mean that the stage takes priority when it comes to working out how my week goes this week. I have responsibilities, and there is no way I will not uphold them.

One thing I know – or I like to hope in any case – is that the final photos will be glossy and glorious. Working on such a big stage with proper lighting and management leads to some great I know because I’ve seen it on the monitors.

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If my phone had not given up on me/y’all, I would happily have shared more photos on my Instagram… Instead, here’s a blurry-as-shots-come webcam photo of my as an Essex girl just before Friday’s dress rehearsal.

The opening night is tomorrow and I’m as worried as the obsessive perfectionist. I feel like I am aware of the little pieces that need tweaking and the acting and singing that I could be pushing myself to make even better. We had some costume adjustments for the final act – which, without giving away too much of the artistic direction – is a complete u-turn from the previous three acts, visually and socially. For anybody who knows the history of Verdi’s opera Aroldo and its previous manifestation as Stiffelio, they clue is in the additions Aroldo made on Stiffelio.

But anyway, this means that costumes have had to be changed, and with that comes an uncertainty about whether they will be there in time, whether – and, of course, whether I will have time to acquire the necessaries of my own costumes. Most have been provided, but then there are the little things that one needs to consider. For instance, in the first act, the ladies wear a lot of makeup, and of course I am set constantly wondering if what I have done is enough or even correct.

But we continue on. There is time. Even with the opening night coming up, I still have time before the performance itself to do a final costume check, tune myself up, and go back through a listing of the dance moves. Those crazy dance moves…

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There are still tickets left if you’re around in London the 20th-25th March (ie. Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday this week), 7pm at Stratford East Royal Theatre. You can get tickets here:

http://www.stratfordeast.com/wh

So, What is Up With My Phone?

I used  to think following a blog schedule was the most accessible way for me to keep blogging, but lately it has been a hindrance rather than a help, as the mind strays not only to uni and essay style posts. Not to mention the absence of inspiration for posts to share, or anything more than ordinary in my work.

Or an adequate camera for my plans.

Alas, this is becoming a regular occurrence for me. My phone is getting up to its fouth year of life now, and the life-force it demands is more than what is worth it for me to maintain. Furthermore, if the camera of the camera-phone was a highly pixelled device in the first place, it no longer is. Because technology advances so swiftly nowadays, what was a good camera is no longer satisfactory in my mind.

Basically, my phone is feeling its age, which, coupled with a problematic sim in the first place, has impeded the way I have worked with it; and it is becoming something with which I am less keen now to work. For instance, all photo quality aside, I’ve also had trouble actually taking the photos when my phone memory – despite my settings being geared towards save on the external SD card – is getting filled up From what I have experienced, there is no way to rid myself of this. My temporary data will not be removed, and that leaves me with space that is rapidly filling, no matter what I remove from my SD card.

So, no photos. Little data when I have the wifi. And barely any access to my own phone-dependent messages. My phone…has reached its little limit to its life.

To be honest, I won’t shed a tear when I don’t have to use it again. It will always be good to have a change before finding myself in a new normal.

So, for now I’ll keep pootling along, but I cannot guarantee a photo of the week like I used to. It’s no fun when the quality is not there.

Photo of the Week: Sappy

So, because of the faults with my Instagram app, lucky y’all get photos that would otherwise have been first given there.

Including this sappy collection (well, two) of cards I’m beginning to accumulate on my mantelpiece, featuring a me in the background. Yay, for mirrors! (Sarcasm) Clearly not the best of shots, but sometimes one has to make do with the bone one is thrown.

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Quick Takes: Two Weeks

I fully meant to be part of the blog-hop last week, but, somehow, it escaped me, and this I guess this is a culmination of last week’s and this week’s adventures.

Seven Quick Takes

~1~

I must say it every week, but my time is being swept away from me now, though not necessarily in a bad way. This week, I mostly focused on my schooling. Plus, I’ve not done that much.

~2~

Though, of course, it was the obligatory All Saints Day on Tuesday (1st) and Newman House, the university Chaplaincy in London held a beautiful Mass with the Bishop presiding. It was all very exciting.

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The Bishop also blessed the new cross out the front of Newman House.

~3~

As it was, I chose not to do anything for Hallowe’en. I’m not much into deliberate drinking when there’s nothing to do or no point, and I have never been into asking for gifts door-to-door. Besides, getting a costume together is something I don’t have the time for, nowadays. Everything is just too complicated at the moment.

~4~

I’ve had experimental participant credit to gather, and it recalls to me my days as a first and second year undergrad. There’s a certain vulnerability at being a participant or other people’s research, particularly if it counts towards a mark or their degree. Nevertheless, within that vulnerability of stepping into something created by someone else, for all that we are ignorant, is an inspiration for my own work. I’ve always been fascinated by the potential experiments one could create to test for all sorts of unique aspects of humanity.

~5~

Tomorrow sees me for the third year at Steampunks in Space, the unique convivial in Leicester Space Centre. With astronomy and space having always been one of my favourite sciences, I love that we get to explore this museum and its exhibits whilst also in some of our best garments.

~6~

Have I been editing? Well, yes, I have. Cathy’s now in Italia, which I suppose is progress, even if I can echo the sentiments I made on Monday about NaNoWriMo.

~ 7~

Cathy opened her eyes one at a time. Dull afternoon clouds, grey-tinged, yet exhausted now of their rain, lay above her. A second passed before she realised that the world looked sickly due to certain goggles pinching the bridge of her nose.

She willed herself to whip them off, but her arms ached. A thousand bruises pinned them to her sides.