Our holiday to sunny Cornwall was one of the best holidays we’ve had in recent years. It was the first time that I actually relaxed – truly, relaxed – and it was also the first time we didn’t have a checklist of a thousand tourist attractions to tick off. We just went with the flow and it was so much nicer. It was also incredibly hot, which I wasn’t really prepared for as I packed clothes for a cooler climate, so I had to make a lot of last minute choices whilst running around our Airbnb in a panic. But I managed to put together a few summery gyaru outfits with the clothes that I did have, so here’s what I wore during my holiday in Cornwall.
I felt like we had stepped back in time when Chewiee and I found ourselves in our pj’s watching TV and scrolling on our phones. I can clearly remember the first time we had a sleepover back when we were both students, living in/near London, and at the prime of our Gyaru days. I was so relieved to have found someone who was happy just to laze about and relax (as I get really exhausted after spending a whole day shopping in London) and it has been part of our sleepover routine ever since. This time, however, we were going to do something different… For the first time in our lives, we were going to try out manba gyaru!
‘Get wild and be sexy!’ is one of our most famous gyaru taglines, and originated from EGG magazine (a famous gyaru magazine which boomed in the 90s) and was also featured in this parapara video with gyaru goddesses Yumachi, Aina, and Yunkoro. It describes everything a gyaru should be – from our outrageous clothing to our extroverted mannerisms. But I’ve always struggled with the concept of that tagline as I’ve always classed myself as a more introverted gal, so today I’ve done a collab with the wonderful Reila from The Name I Love on what it means to us (I will drop a link to her blog post at the bottom for you to read her POV!)
I picked up the MA*RS set that had been sitting on my “to sell” pile for months and sighed. I’ve been thinking about selling this heart-print set for a while now but for some reason I couldn’t seem to let it go. The agejo style slowly diminished in my wardrobe ever since I adopted ane agejo, a more toned-down version, and so I sold most of my older prints. This one was one of the very few pieces I had left that belonged to the old school agejo style and some part of me sighed in relief when I slowly put it back into my wardrobe.
And in that moment I felt so alive.
I turned my face to check if my blusher was visible enough and of even vibrancy on both sides (it definitely was – I might as well have emptied the whole block of colour onto my face) and my eyes occasionally flickered up towards the beautiful lashes that framed them. Gosh, yes, it felt good. With one last slick of lipgloss my war paint was complete, and I was ready to tackle the world.
Isn’t this just one of the most exciting times of the year? Winter is over (although some days it doesn’t feel like it) and everyone’s looking forward to the promise of spring and sunny days. I have a huge love for this time of year so for this ‘One Item Five Ways‘ post, I’m focusing on this super cute and fluffy pink crop top that I bought from Missguided (similar here). These outfits would be perfect for spring, especially if you want to go down more of a sweeter route!
It was 8pm on a Monday evening (well, yesterday, in fact), and I was trawling through my blog archives, going back to my first year of blogging in 2011. Gosh, it was embarrassing to look at; my posts were filled with emojis, with cringey language like “lawls” instead of lol, and were sometimes no longer than a paragraph. My photos were awful (as were the blog watermarks that were plastered over them) but I was excited to be on this little corner of the internet, and it was evident in my writing. With a twang I realised that I really, really missed those carefree days where I wasn’t serious about blogging. Over the years my blog posts – although mostly cheerful – have become more carefully planned and filled with relevant jargon in order to be noticed in the online world. But back then I really didn’t care about my reach or engagement.
So what happened? Why did blogging become so serious?
I love MA*RS; you don’t need to scroll down far to see that I have a deep love for the agejo style, and even though I’ve written a one item five ways post on an older MA*RS skirt I couldn’t help but do one for this dark floral gem that I’ve had for a few years now. It’s just so versatile, and is the perfect skirt no matter if you are into the older agejo styles or the newer ane agejo – it can be dressed up or down!
So let’s look at how I’d wear this item in five different ways!
Some days my relationship with myself is a good one. Sometimes I love how my eyes aren’t quite that shade of blue but neither are they green; that my legs look as if they are never-ending; and that my ability to pull the most stupid faces brings a smile to my husband’s face (or maybe it’s a oh-god-she’s-doing-it-again-grimace).
It’s 2010; I am scrolling through livejournal, saving every picture I could find of Yui Kanno and Liz Lisa shop staff girls and dreaming of the day that I would look like that kind of gyaru. Himekaji. Casual princess. I fell in love with the pink blusher, the big curls, and the cute floral dresses. Those were the days that I went to my nearby Miss Selfridge to buy similar clothing (as I didn’t have the means to buy it online back then) so that I could feel like an everyday princess.
Fast forward to now and I happily have an array of himekaji items in my wardrobe from a mixture of gyaru brands and Western brands. I even worked with my favourite himekaji store Kawaii Gyaru Shop, but I feel sadder than I was back in 2010.
And that reason was because there aren’t any himekaji anymore.
Can you believe that the last time I did one of these posts was in February? How long ago was that! Recently I asked you all what kind of posts you wanted to see, and some of you mentioned my ‘one item five ways‘ series… So I’m bringing sexy back and am focussing this post on my leopard print skirt.
I’ve been dying to create lots of outfits with this skirt for ages, and now that leopard print is back in fashion (yay!) it gives me more of an excuse to bring it out again. So, let’s take a look at these outfits, shall we?
If you said this to me a couple of months ago I would’ve looked at you, gobsmacked in disbelief. Hustle less and live more? Definitely not! I used to believe that good things come out of hard work – and in some instances it is true – but I took it all too seriously. I started to compare myself to more “successful” people and thought that I wasn’t good enough. ‘I had a breakdown’ was an understatement as I found myself crying in my sleep because of how ‘unsuccessful’ I was while I was on my second honeymoon in Amsterdam. Yep, on a holiday where things should’ve been super romantic and carefree.
I knew that I needed to change my mind-set about my life and the way I view the hustle as the toxic thing that it really is. Hustling has become an obsession in our society and I got caught up in it all. So here’s how I’m trying to hustle less and live more…
“What even is gyaru?” I hear people say whenever I tell them about this Japanese fashion. Sometimes I brush it off and say, “it’s just this Japanese fashion” and let them divulge at their own pace (usually they then follow it with “where you look like an anime doll?” which is very frustrating). Other times I hop onto Google for some inspiration to show them what I mean but then realise that I don’t look anything like the first few pictures of Black Diamond that pop up… And when I finally found one, the stranger has lost interest by then so I just put my phone away.
Okay, I fucked up, again. I allowed myself to get down in the dumps because my lil’ blog over here wasn’t get enough attention as I wanted it to. It got so bad that I was stressing myself out and just piling lots of things onto my to-do list, and my searches were filled with stuff like ‘how to grow your blog’ and ‘how to get more pageviews’. It was triggered when someone posted in a group “can you please help me grow my blog because I only get 200-300 pageviews a day?”.
People are right – comparison is the thief of joy and it stole all of my happiness right then. Gosh, I was so far away from that! What is wrong with my blog? Is it worth even blogging any more? I know I shouldn’t be moaning because people have different measurements of success, but it really got to me. I was lost focus of what I wanted to do because I was feeling so upset that I wasn’t good enough. Again.
top: stolen from my sister (oops)
rilakkuma: san-x store in shinjuku station
shoes: new look
That’s until I read ‘The One Thing’ by Gary Keller. I’m not really one for self-help books, but after finding it harder and harder to be multi-passionate, I decided to give this book a go. My mind was blown. My goals were back in focus and my dream future was becoming clearer.
After this I realised that I wasn’t ever going to become a full-time blogger. There were so many signs that I dismissed earlier that suddenly became crystal clear. Firstly, I never really had the time for blog events and attending blogger meet-ups weren’t really my thing unless I knew someone there. Secondly, I was secretly thankful that my inbox wasn’t flooded with sponsored emails. I just couldn’t write a sponsored/gifted post with the same enthusiasm as I would have if it was just a normal outfit post unless I truly believed in them. And thirdly, I couldn’t be bothered to learn about SEO. At the end of the day, I write posts because I wanted to, not to boost my rating or whatever.
What I do know, however, is that I do love blogging but only because it provides me a creative outlook to write down my thoughts. The more I tried to pressure myself to promote my blog and get it in front of people, the more stressed out I was. And that reflected badly on my writing. I even had to take a break from this blog (and this is my first post after said break) because I found myself crying to sleep as I lost sense of purpose. But I don’t really need a reasoning for blogging – doing it because I love it is a good enough reason.
I’m going to take it easy so that I can focus more my ‘One Thing’, which I know to be my art. It’s something that I’ve done my whole life and it’s been in the dark for too long. I want it to grow. I want to be known as a hand-letterer and be damn good at it.
So, I’m happy with just being a hobbyist blogger.
P.S. Are you a hobbyist blogger or do you do it full-time? Or are you somewhat in-between?
It’s a strange concept, isn’t it, the thought of an introverted gyaru? Gyaru are always portrayed as out-going and fun-loving in the media, but I’m so far away from that. It used to get me down quite a lot as I felt that my introverted nature meant that I wasn’t a “real gyaru”, but the older I got the less I cared. I just preferred to be in the comfort of my home with my husband and my cat than out partying, it’s as simple as that.