Thursday, 21 August 2014

An Ode to Poupee Girl

Today I wanted to write a different kind of post - a post about my love of the Japanese dress-up game Poupee Girl and my immense sadness of the developers deciding not to update it any more, which happened a few months ago. This is a bit of a ramble so please, feel free to skip this post if it's not your cup of tea!   

I've been playing Poupee Girl for around 4-5 years now - I remember playing it when I lived at home with my mum but I didn't take many photos of my items and they were bad quality...once I moved in with my boyfriend, I had more time, space and a better camera at my disposal and my full love of Poupee Girl developed.

For those not aware, Poupee Girl is a Japanese dress-up game where, unlike other dress-up games where you just dress up avatars from predisposed clothing items, you earned currency called Ribbons by taking photos of your own clothing, jewellery, accessories, cosmetics and shoes and uploading them to your 'closet'. You also earned ribbons by commenting on other people's closet items and becoming Poupee friends; it became a very immersive community that had millions of users at its height and even real friendships blossomed from the site. You used the ribbons you earned to buy clothing and accessories for your avatar/dress-up doll. Poupee Girl had regular themed events in which new items were released so there was always something new to buy and save your ribbons for. They also had annual events for Halloween, Christmas, New Year, etc. and you could sell your Poupee's clothes and accessories on a marketplace if you didn't wear them anymore. They also had an in-game currency you could pay real money for, called Jewels - special events with super nice clothing and accessories were released for people to spend their jewels on and these were updated as regularly as the normal ribbon events. The website was constantly updated and thrived, up until a few months ago when the website developers announced they were discontinuing jewels and jewel items - then, around a month or so after that announcement, they announced they were no longer going to update the website with new events at all, but would not close the site entirely. Naturally the amount of users visiting the website dropped rapidly and now the website is but a shell of what it once was, with probably only a few thousand, or even hundreds, of users uploading new items to their closet, commenting on other Poupee's items and dressing up their doll, myself included.

Before Poupee Girl's 'closure', I went on it every single day. If you go on it and dress up every day, you get ribbons and a special 500 ribbon reward at the end of the month if you went on it every day without fail! My love was so strong that I felt so angry at myself if I forgot to go on it or log in at the right time (since the days went by Japanese time), thus forfeiting the monthly ribbon bonus and having to start all over again.

I even met new friends on Poupee Girl, namely my friend Suzy who I've now been friends with for years, all thanks to Poupee Girl. I also met a friend called Charlotte who participated in a joint Korean cosmetics order with me. With Poupee Girl, even if we didn't chat in private messages, seeing someone comment on your new items every day and returning the favour felt like a strong relationship bonded by Poupee Girl. I loved seeing Lolita girls' super cute new brand items, cool Goth and Punk items from my Poupee friends Nyamoo and Serarosa and finding new skincare products to try from other Poupee girls!

One of the first items I photographed for Poupee Girl compared to one of my more recent ones!

When I first started going on Poupee Girl regularly, I took great pleasure in taking photos of every single piece of clothing, jewellery, accessories, shoes, skincare and makeup I owned. I split it up into categories and would photograph skirts one day, nail polishes the next, hair accessories the day after, etc. At first I would just point and shoot but gradually I noticed other girls items looked a lot nicer and got more comments and 'Suteki' (likes), so I took more care in taking photos, waiting until the daytime to take advantage of natural light, and arranging the items to make them look the nicest. I'd then upload as many items as I could in one day. (Poupee Girl recommends you upload 5 items a day, as at some point it stops giving you ribbons and new items for uploading items.) I'd upload items until the amount of ribbons it gave me dwindled to one or two, then I'd anxiously wait until the next day so I could upload more. I loved writing descriptions of each item and telling its story and how it made me feel - it made my appreciate my wardrobe so much more and realise the renewed potential of items I'd grown bored of long ago.

When I started making jewellery and accessories for 8th Sin, I had even more items to photograph and upload - hooray! Again, my first photography attempts were appalling but that was something that grew and evolved along with my business. I was able to upload all colour and type variations of my jewellery and accessories to Poupee Girl and gain publicity for my brand too, albeit very small.

One of my first makes and photography styles compared to my most recent ones - how times have changed! I can't believe the top item actually sold with that photography, urgh... >_>

After I photographed all the items I already had, naturally you come to buy new things with time. Every time I bought something new, I couldn't wait to get home, photograph it and put it on Poupee Girl to show my friends! I thought about what categories each item would fit into and even part of the purchase decision was made because I wanted to buy it and put it on Poupee Girl! When me and Suzy met up or talked on Facebook, we'd chat about our new items ('OMG, that new bag you uploaded to Poupee Girl the other night is so cute! Where did you get it?') and let each other know when we uploaded new items, so we could comment on them! I found Lolitas I'd met on Facebook on Poupee Girl and loved checking out their wardrobes and commenting on their items.

I even found a LiveJournal community about Poupee Girl and had so much more people to discuss new updates, items and marketplace bargains with, as well as make friends with!

When Poupee Girl announced they weren't going to sell jewels any more, I wasn't bothered in the slightest. Somehow Poupee Girl had managed to avoid creating a class difference in the people who bought jewels and the people who didn't, though Poupees dressed in jewel items always got way more Suteki's than regular outfits. I never bought jewels as I've never bought in-game currency but I know it upset a lot of the Poupee Girl Liverjournal girls. They bought up as many jewels as their paychecks could allow and went on one last splurge in the jewel events and marketplace. After Poupee Girl announced it wasn't going to update the website anymore entirely, we all were devastated. We swore we'd still go on Poupee Girl, update our closets and comment on people's items as well as find new items to buy and keep ourselves entertained with on the marketplace. Sadly though, my love for Poupee Girl waned and I'm sad to say I forget to go on it for long stretches of time. I try to go on it, update my closet and comment on other girls' items whenever I can remember. I save my ribbons and make more expensive purchases on the marketplace than I did before, in order to update my Poupee's closet and dress up with new items. The number of items in the marketplace has dropped significantly due to the lack of players, and all the prices have gone up in all but the most common items (the ones you get free for uploading closet items and for throwing shells in the Shell Spring) but there are some rare items I haven't found before and I can make more ribbons selling old items I bought years ago, because they are now rare. In order to not get bored when dressing up my Poupee, I started making new outfits with every single dress, skirt and blouse I own, starting from the very first ones I bought when I first started!

It makes me so sad remembering how much me and my friends loved Poupee Girl and how much happiness it brought us. I always hope that if at least other users and myself keep going on the website, they'll eventually restart it again, and are maybe even updating or thinking about a new direction they will take it as we speak! At least it is still alive with the people who still visit it; with us, it will never die! I am uploading new items as we speak - if you still play Poupee Girl, feel free to add me and together we can keep it alive! My Poupee Girl profile.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Review: Taobao Store Muguamugua - Vein, Fake Suspender & Bat Print Tights

Today I shall start on my Taobao store reviews! This review is for the store Muguamugua, who sell cute and Japanese fashion inspired items like clothing, accessories and jewellery. I've just checked their store and they don't have many items for sale but they may be waiting for new stock or transitioning into new lines/styles.

I ordered three pairs of tights from Muguamugua; a black pair with red and blue veins, the same pair but in nude and a pair of nude 'tattoo' style tights with black bats.


The vein tights were 18CNY each (around £1.80) and the bat tights were 9.8CNY (around 98p-£1). I bought a couple of items for my friend Betty too and domestic shipping to the warehouse for all the items was 10CNY (around £1).

Shortly after placing the order, the store owner contacted me via Aliwangwang to say that they didn't have the nude vein tights in stock and that I could have another pair of tights instead or a refund.

I chose a pair of chain-style suspender tights for a slightly lower price than the vein tights and the shop refunded me the difference immediately. I then purchased the nude vein tights from a different store since I loved them too much! >_< I can't, for the life of me, find a stock photo of the chain suspender tights so here they are worn:


After I chose the replacement tights, they sent out the package very quickly and it was received by the warehouse in a few days. I got the warehouse to divide up mine and my friend's items; they posted my friends items to her and saved mine for the rest of my order.

When I received all my items in the UK, Muguamugua's order was still in their original mail bag that they had sent them in. They were packaged up well and only really needed the mail bag, since they're only tights.

All the items together - the items below are free gifts Muguamugua sent me!

The package of free gifts

Muguamugua's business card/flyer, a hand mirror, hair velcro and...I think an earwax scraper? It's wooden and has a Daruma doll on the top with a small yellow yarn loop.

The hand mirror they sent me free - so cute! I gave it to a friend though, since I have many hand mirrors. It was high quality though and had a super cute, kitsch design of 'Fifi Lapin' on it.

The hair velcro was useful since I use it anyway so it was appreciated! I already have an earwax scraper and am not sure what to think of it so I discarded the wooden stick they sent me.

The black vein tights - the material is relatively thick and I'm glad to say I haven't laddered them yet. I think I've worn them once or twice but like many tights of this style, the print starts to crack slightly when you first wear them but it isn't noticeable unless up close. The tights can be pulled up to my hips and up to near my stomach area so they're not too short or thin.

The bat tights - the material these tights are made of is thinner, like normal nude tights. I'd estimate they're around 10-20 denier thickness. I haven't worn them yet but I have worn similar tattoo style tights. I laddered the similar ones (which had machine guns on them) after two wears so I'm kind of hesitant to wear these. The price is pretty good though, so I can always buy more if I really love them.

I didn't take a photo of the chain suspender tights since they were in plain packaging and looked plain black, as you can see in the photo of all items above. The chain suspender tights were made of around 10-20 denier thickness nylon and were sheer black all over, with the darker black design. They were sooooo cute and I loved them so much - I wore them twice before they laddered! I caught them on a ring I was wearing one day ;w; They were so pretty and really sexy looking so I was really sad. I want to try and find them again but I can't find them on eBay so I'll have to try and find them on Taobao again.

Muguamugua's shop sold lots of cute things when I ordered from them, their items were well packaged and survived the transit from China to the UK, and the items were good quality for the prices. The black vein tights are quite ladder-resistant because of the material but the bat and chain-suspender ones are easier to ladder. For the price, they're reasonable though. I just need to buy 5 pairs of each every time I make an order so I can get 10-20 wears out of them! They're quite a bit more expensive on eBay - around £1.50-£2 for the bat tattoo tights and I can't even find the chain suspender tights on eBay.

I ordered these items because I was doing a Taobao order of medium-heavy weight items anyway - I wouldn't recommend placing a Taobao order made solely of lightweight items, since the postage will not make it cost effective. You might as well just buy the items for a slightly marked up price on eBay. I think I calculated the postage from China to the UK to be around 20p extra for each item I bought, so it didn't really make a difference buying these items along with the items I intended to buy.

I'll give Muguamugua 5 stars out of 5 since their items are good quality, reasonably priced, well packaged, the free gifts were lovely surprises and very generous! Their customer service was very fast and polite - I sorted out the stock issue just fine using Google Translate and had no problems. I'd recommend them and hope they start selling new items soon!

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Review: Avon Color Trend Lip Stix in Brick Red

Hi everyone! Today I'm here with a short review on a lipstick I was given a while back by a friend.

Brand: Avon
Name: Color Trend Lip Stix
Shade: Brick Red
Price: £4.50
Where to buy: Avon Online, eBay
Color Trend is a cheap Avon sub-brand. Their box packaging is black with pink, blue and purple dots and the white brand name. The lipstick is in crayon-style packaging that twists up to expose the lipstick bullet. It feels very light but not really fragile, just a bit cheap. You get what you pay for, really.
On the right is just one swipe of the lipstick, and on the left is two swipes of it. The colour is buildable and relatively creamy. It doesn't drag on the skin.

The lipstick on bare lips, no primer or colour alteration.
Fully coloured.

The colour is a bright, pillarbox red. I wouldn't really call it 'Brick Red', since I'd consider a brick red colour to be darker, with a wine or burgundy tinge to it.

The first (and last) time I wore this, I put a gloss over the top since it has a semi-matte finish. However, in less than an hour, it had smudged and bled terribly! I looked like I'd just finished making out with someone! Obviously the gloss wasn't a great idea but I didn't expect it to bleed so much. I haven't tried it without a gloss since I wasn't very impressed with it.
You get what you pay for with this lipstick. Some cheap lipsticks can be a great find and some can be disappointing. I've never had a lipstick bleed this much with me. I've put glosses on top of strong lip colours before but they never bled as much as this, even after a few hours. The colour is nice but it's an easy to find pillarbox red that is widely available over many brands. I wouldn't recommend it. 2/5 stars for me.

I'm working on some new posts for you guys! I'm currently trying to balance my job as a beauty consultant and my business again, especially with this position being full time, as opposed to 25 hours a week last time. I'm planning some discussion posts on my love of fashion and Poupee Girl, reviews and Taobao 101 posts! See you soon!  

Friday, 8 August 2014

Event: Hyper Japan Summer 2014 and London Adventures!

Hi all! I haven't blogged for such a long time, sorry about that! I was super busy leading up to Hyper Japan, then I was busy at Hyper Japan and then I was offered a temporary position at the beauty counter again two days after Hyper Japan! Wow! @_@ But today is my 'day off' so whilst I'm dyeing my hair, I will take the time to show you my adventures in London when I was at Hyper Japan!

I went down to London from Derby on Thursday 24th July and came back on the Monday. I stayed at the hostel I always do, Travel Joy Hostels, for four nights and stayed in London for five days, all on my own! Jayde couldn't come since she's off to Paris at the beginning of September so naturally she has to save as much money as possible for Paris AND Baby The Stars Shine Bright!

Thankfully I didn't have to get a super early coach to London as usual; I got in at 3.10pm as Fringe traders can set up their stalls from 3pm on the Thursday, the day before Hyper Japan. I got a bus from Victoria coach station to Earls Court since I didn't want to take my two suitcases on the tube! Urgh! I've done that before and it's hell!

I was right next to the Fringe Stage, towards the back of the venue and at first I was worried people wouldn't come all the way to the back but thankfully I was mistaken! There was lots going on so people wandered around all places!

I set up my stall with all the new stock I'd been making since I last finished being a beauty consultant! I didn't actually realise how much stuff I'd made/brought and there was almost too much! Some items had to be stored underneath my table until others sold haha! After I finished setting up, I couldn't have possibly fitted any more items on my table!

My finished stall! The banner arrived 10 minutes before I left for London!

Most of the chokers I'd made for Hyper Japan! There were duplicates stored underneath - I made 28 chokers in about a week for Hyper Japan and by the end of the event, I had one left!

New custom designed cameo necklaces! All the black ones sold out and almost all of the silver ones! I love the black fly one and the silver galaxy one!

Displaying earrings, bracelets and long necklaces~

Displaying rings and more necklaces! Originally I tried to display necklaces on the corkboard but there were far too many variations!

Someone took a photo of me on the Friday of Hyper Japan! I wore Rokku Gyaru with my own 8th Sin necklace and fly ring! Top and goggles are offbrand, skirt is from Glavil!

And the lovely Tartan Kawaii got a photo of me on the Saturday! I wore sort of Classic/Gothic Lolita with Innocent World's Gloria JSK that I recently got in a trade, an offbrand black lace bolero and hair garland and Crystal's necklace!

I saw old friends and met some super awesome new friends at Hyper Japan! My friend Crystal had a Fringe table opposite me with her amazingly cute brand La Petite Fille, I met my friends Suzy and Adele, I hung out with my awesome friend Jess, I met Tartan Kawaii for the first time IRL after being friends with her on Facebook for a while and my lovely friends Lisa, Roxana and Phoenix, who I also met for the first time!

I bought this beautiful necklace from Crystal and her brand! It's soooo pretty! I bought it on the Saturday to wear with my outfit and couldn't choose between navy or black but I figured I'd wear the black one more. It's so well made and unique! I highly suggest you check out her store for beautiful, high quality Sweet and Classic Lolita items!

I also got to meet the amazing band and fashion label Broken Doll! Kensuke, the guitarist and main organiser of the band's fashion label, came to chat to me on the Thursday whilst setting up and I met Sachi, the vocalist, too! I practised my Japanese with them and they practised their English with me too! We continued to chat over the course of the weekend and I got an awesome view of them performing on the Saturday and Sunday of Hyper Japan, being right next to the Fringe Stage!

London and Hyper Japan adventures!

I got a photo with Kensuke, Sachi and Yuu, the bassist, on the Sunday of Hyper Japan! There was a PR/band crew member there as well, a cool guy with blonde hair who was really nice too! He chatted to me lots as well and they all greeted me with 'Laura-chan!' when they saw me! >///< I bought from Broken Doll's brand on the Saturday and Sunday of Hyper Japan and Sachi gave me a special gift, a super cute Japanese chirimen phone charm, when I bought from them! OMG~!

The items I bought from Broken Doll at Hyper Japan! I got the Heart Switch ring, CD and free postcard on Saturday and I got the Heart necklace and badge on the Sunday! I got a free sticker for purchasing and the phone charm Sachi gave me as well!

The ring is so cute and well made! At first the ring looks like it isn't adjustable but rather than adjusting from the bottom of the ring, it adjusts at the top, near the base! So cool!

I got the super cool matching necklace on the Sunday! It has safety pins and studs in it with black chain!

Their special UK edition mini album with 5 songs on it - Angel Forever, I Miss You, Iikodenante Irarenai, Samishikunanka Nai and I Fear Nothing! They have more mini albums on their website, I wanna buy them all!

The free postcard I got for buying Broken Doll's CD! I got them all to sign it on the Sunday before we said goodbye >_<
Kensuke's signature

Sachi's signature

Yuu's signature

Free sticker you got with any purchase from Broken Doll!

On the Thursday of Hyper Japan I also met a very sweet, dear friend called Tina - she was representing the Joshibi University of Art & Design with two other girls. They all wore beautiful Lolita outfits and Tina has an amazing vintagey Classic/Gothic style! She saw my black fly necklace on the Thursday and said it was 'kawaii'! She then bought it along with a few more of my items over the course of the weekend! She loves insects, eyeballs, birds and lace so she bought the fly necklace, bird skull necklace, lace bird cameo ring, eyeball ring, eyeball brooch, spider hair slides and another lace ring! I gave her some white rose earrings and fly hair slides as a gift, she was so generous!

She had amazing outfits including a blouse with insects on it (I want one so bad!) and a striped navy JSK! She came to say goodbye to me on the Sunday and we didn't want to separate! She gave me so many big hugs and held my hands! We said we'd miss each other but that we'd write and I'd send her more of my jewellery! She gave me her very own jewellery that she had made - a silver eyeball ring and bronze eyeball brooch! Her brand is called Kimeya/きめや and I will treasure her items forever! I wore the ring on the Monday I was travelling back to Derby!

London and Hyper Japan adventures!
Her beautiful parting gifts ;0;

London and Hyper Japan adventures!
And her beautiful self! I will miss her very much! I want to go to Japan and see her and go to vintage stores and buy cute items together! ;w;

I went to the Hyper Japan after party on the Saturday too! It was held at Namco Funscape, an arcade in Westminster - I kept asking people where it was and they had no clue until I told them it was an arcade, to which they'd reply 'Ohhhhhh, I know where you mean!' It's over the bridge next to McDonalds!' >_>; It was super fun! I met Jess, Rebecca, Phoenix, a new friend also called Laura and Kelsey Ellison there; the after party was at a downstairs bar with all sorts of arcade machines and seating areas so I charged my phone up and watched Yanakiku, Kelsey Ellison and Broken Doll perform!

I packed up my stall on the Sunday after the event had finished. I took around 6-7 boxes of stock going to London and managed to fit everything that was left into 2 boxes! Yay! I'm happy to say I did quite well at Hyper Japan, I hope people remember my brand and enjoy my items! I got to sleep as much as I wanted that night, since I didn't have to get up early on the Monday! I managed to miss breakfast whilst packing though >_> I was trying to fit everything into one suitcase but I failed ;3; Checkout was at 11am and my coach wasn't until 6.30pm - I planned it so I could explore London a little more! I left my luggage at the hostel and headed to Covent Garden! My original plan was to go to Covent Garden, then Camden but I didn't have enough time to do both.

I wanted to find a vintage store called Blackout II in Covent Garden but they also had an antique market in the Apple Market too! What a coincidence!

I bought this suuuuuper awesome black and gold snake necklace from the antique market! It's from the 80s and whilst I generally think the 80s is best forgotten as an era, this is cool and tacky in an awesome, macabre way!

I also bought an antique wooden stamp of a Victorian scene from the market. After browsing the antique market, I watched a street performer juggle knives on an 8 foot unicycle and gave him some money. I then went to Laduree for some afternoon tea! Next time I definitely want to go with friends but it was very relaxing! I got called 'Madame' and asked if I would like to sit in the sun or the shade! Then leaving I got my chair pulled out for me!

Originally I wanted to order a side of French fries, a Millefeuille Praline and vanilla assam tea but somehow trying to order French fries in French got me an omelette hahahaha! The French for French fries was on the menu (Pomme pont-neuf) and I even pointed to the item but somehow it got lost in translation haha...the omelette was delicious though! It had tomatoes, mushrooms and bacon/ham in it! Although I don't usually like mushrooms, you couldn't taste or feel them in the omelette so I didn't have to be picky and pick them out. XD

London and Hyper Japan adventures!
I took lots of photos of my experience at Laduree! First I was served my vanilla assam tea!

London and Hyper Japan adventures!
'Artsy' shot of the Laduree napkin and cutlery!

London and Hyper Japan adventures!
Then came my omelette and bread rolls! I hadn't really budgeted for an omelette so I made sure to eat the bread as well haha! XD

London and Hyper Japan adventures!
And then my Millefeuille Praline! It was sooooooooo tasty! Like OMG! It was a bit messy to eat since the cream squirts out when you cut it with the knife and fork but good God it was nice. Caramalised almonds, praline cream, cinnamon, sugar... 0Q0 I got asked if I would like my Millefeuille served alongside or after my omelette and I chose after so shortly after I finished my omelette, they took it away and brought my Millefeuille! I then got to sit as long as I wanted, there was no pressure to ask for the bill or anything. I drank my tea, drank in the atmosphere and nice weather and asked for the bill. They include a 12.5% service charge to the bill so thankfully I didn't have to worry about how much to tip them. I don't normally tip services but obviously in places like that, you have to haha!

London and Hyper Japan adventures!
Of course I had to take a selfie at Laduree haha! I came into the fancy French patisserie all Gothed up with my snake necklace, leather top, studded skirt, creepers and eyeball ring! XD

Afterwards I found Blackout II, a vintage store in Covent Garden, and bought a silver belt with lots of tinkly coins on it! After that I went back to the hostel since it was about 3.30pm - I was too paranoid about timing to risk going to Camden since my coach was at 6.30pm! So I got back to Pimlico, bought some snacks for the coach journey back, walked back to the hostel with an ice lolly and chilled at the hostel until it was time to go home!

I had a really awesome time and it was actually very refreshing travelling on my own. It's definitely nice with friends too but the independence is something I definitely recommend you try at least once! Did you go to Hyper Japan?