Halloween Special: Closet Costumes

October is the month of costumes and masks. Why?
Well, there’s the ever growing popularity of the super-Americanized Trick or Treat Halloween… and on top of that, October is the month of the autumn MCM expo in London.

In fact, these two events literally occur a week apart this year- last weekend was the final of the 3 days of the MCM Expo and Halloween is just around the corner.

I didn’t get to go to the expo this year, but I’ve seen a lot of friends uploading their pictures of the intricate cosplays and perfect character make up that took over the ExCel centre for three days.

I’m a poor student so money and time limit any chance I have of creating such a high quality costume in time for Halloween… But that’s not going to stop me.

With items only from the house wardrobes, I’ve put together a few costumes with minimal effort and time to share.

Please note that I have literally no fashion photography skills and do not hold it against me.


The Velma / Penny Proud

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The Velma is relatively simple and very recognizable. All you need is a red skirt, red shoes and an orange jumper. I already have glasses so I didn’t have to purchase any costume frames. Jinkies indeed.

Alternatively, with this same red skirt and shoes, you can pair a pink cardigan and a white blouse to emulate The Proud Family’s protagonist Penny Proud. You’ll be cute and loud and have it going on!!!

BBQ Uncle (tongs optional)

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No BBQ is complete without an Uncle at the grill who brings the best marinade to the table. You’ll need are a pair of light brown cargo shorts, some funky looking slippers or sandals (mine are my house Birkenstocks), a flatcap and a casual shirt.

If you raid your utensil drawer for some BBQ tools they will complete the look and your BBQ skills will increase by 2300 XP.

Mickey Mouse

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To create your own Disney Spokes-animal costume you need all black almost everything! You have to, of course, incorporate Mickey’s bright red shorts. White gloves and yellow shoes optional. I’m sure the second you have your ears on (hair in double buns work just as well) people will know exactly who you’re supposed to be ha-ha.

Princess Serenity aka Serena/Usagi aka Sailor Moon

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“Moon Crystal Transformation!”

Flashback to the nineties when a nine-year old child decided she was going to be a magical girl, defender of love and justice with the powers of the moon princess! Instead of the sailor senshi get-up, I’ve gone for classic Princess Serenity (pre-reincarnation Serena/Usagi). I just pulled out my most flowing white summer dress and you can mimic the character’s signature meatball head hairstyle very easily. You can age it up replacing white sandals for sparkly heels to upgrade to Neo Queen Serenity.

Uptown Funk Bruno Mars

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Too hot. Hot damn. You’ll make dragons all around the world retire in this super easy outfit. What do you need? White T shirt. Pink Pastel blazer. Black jeans (or leggings) and some chucks (or knock off converses). Pull the whole thing together with some sunglasses and pink hair rollers (or a fedora).

Persephone (pre and post-pomegranate)

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Pre-pomegranate Persephone, the goddess of springtime and maidenhood, Demeter’s beloved daughter. Get decked out in an all floral print ensemble and a goddess braid. Let’s encapsulate the image of a girl standing in the meadow that caused the God of the Underworld’s heart to race so quickly he spirited her away for a marriage that caused the first autumn/winter because Zeus forgot to tell Demeter he OK’d the wedding between her child and his brother.

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Post-Pomegranate Persephone will built up from the previous costume. I’ve got a dark navy cloak that is semi-opaque, you can still see the flowers of the dress peeking through the dark filter. More intense make up particularly around the eyes, contoured cheeks and a dark lip to give a show of the power of the woman who rules the underworld side by side with her adorable husband. Carry a pomegranate (or other fruit if you can) to symbolise the choice she made when she willingly entered the one of the most equal marriages in Greek Mythology.

Suggestion: Start off as pre-pom Persephone then change halfway through the night!

Wednesday Addams

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They say Wednesday’s child is full of woe. The Wednesday Addams outfit is literally so easy to put together and a real Halloween classic. If you have black tights and shoes, a black dress or shirt with white detail combo, all you need are the braids… and maybe a decapitated doll from your childhood.

Lara Croft  

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The first video game babe. While her original proportions are nigh impossible to achieve- her costume is not! You need a pair of khaki shorts, a grey vest and some hiking boots. To add to the costume you can get some really cheap toy guns and holsters from your local 99p shop or Poundland.

Netflix and Chill

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The ultimate in lazy costumes. I stole my brother’s house clothes, white vest shirt and tracksuit bottoms. Combine with a console controller or a Netflix title screen print.I’m keeping it rated U for universal, so there’s not a “five minutes into Netflix and chill he gives you this look” vibe.


Hopefully I’ve planted some creative costume seeds in the minds of my fellow skint students.

Comment below and share your own closet costumes!

W’happening Weekend

So other than what I hope will be weekly posts on things in general (updated every Wednesday), I’ve decided to do a weekly round-up of what I’m readng, watching, listening to and attempting for the first (or second… or third) time.

Reading : Robin Hobb Fool’s Quest (second book of  Fitz & The Fool trilogy)

Source: Harper Collins (UK Publisher) website

Not even going to lie. I was introduced to Robin Hobb in sixth form, by then most of her books had been out for years. I was lucky enough to be gifted the first of The Rainwilds Chronicles and have collected them since. The thing I love most about Hobb’s writing is the world building (and the dragons). Hanging out in the Six Duchies; we’re picking up right where we left off spoilers: Bee’s been kidnapped and her home ransacked; Fitz and the Fool are reunited in the most chaotic manner, and with his companion so close to death’s door Fitz pushes aside his fatherly responsibilities in order to bring the Fool to Buckkeep to try and save him.

Oh my god y’all. It’s getting real. I cried reading Nighteyes’ origin passage (I didn’t realise how fresh his death was in my mind), I cried in chapter 8, because I thought this would be one of those Hero-NEVER-gets-recognition-for-his-services-and-dies-alone stories but it’s not and I’m so glad, Oh Robin I have so many feelings about Fitz you can’t simply understand.

I was sucked in so fast. I kinda devoured it, second time around I’m taking a more leisurely pace…

Watching: Chewing Gum

Source: E4 Website, promotional image for Episode 1

I was introduced to E4s new comedy series through a tumblr gifset. I knew at once that I had to watch it. It’s a follow up to writer/actress/singer-songwriter/playwright (is there anything she can’t do?) Michaela Coel’s play Chewing Gum Dreams, set ten years on from the innocence of childhood dreams of adolescence and idealised adulthood crashing and revealing the real awkwardness of being a 20-something year old in London.

It opens with the main character Tracey having a little monologue on the origin of her name, while we follow her navigating home after a prayer session with her Christian boyfriend who refuses all forms of intimacy, even holding hands! (while Tracey is gagging for some canoodling). Her best friend, super-buff Candice who is adamant that Tracey should skip the party being held that night to turn in her V-card at the age of 24, while Tracey’s  Devil-fearing sister Cynthia wants the two of them to stay in all night avoiding temptation and playing Ludo while their mum is out “evangelising”.

I find the character ridiculously relatable and the humour reminds me of days spent reading the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series, but more grown up. And I’m always down for a dark-skinned Black British female lead… who also happens to be in love with Beyoncé.

Listening: Undisclosed: The State vs. Adnan Syed

Source: Undisclosed Official Twitter

Last year I was addicted to the podcast Serial, hosted by Sara Koenig. She produced a narrative podcast focusing on the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee and the prosecution of Hae’s ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed who has spent his entire adult life incarcerated as a result of being found guilty of a crime while he professes his innocence.

The woman who brought the story to Koenig, Rabia Chaudry- the older sister of Adnan’s best friend, hosts the story with two other lawyers: Susan Simpson and Colin Miller who were active in the Serial online community. Unlike Serial which focused on the narrative of the investigation and court-case, Undisclosed focuses on the technical analysis of the investigation and the case with intent to prove Adnan’s innocence (and updating his appeals progress).

The podcast started this April, unfortunately, real life distracted me and now I’m catching up. The case is even more interesting than I thought, there is a real sense of educating listeners on the law and how the State or Adnan’s defense lawyer’s actions led to him being found guilty of Hae’s murder.

I like to think I enjoy police procedurals because I like the idea of Justice. True justice, like the guilty get punished and the victims get support and closure kind of justice I watch in my Law & Order SVU marathons. With Serial there was a sense of confusion, as Koenig’s journalistic investigation continued the more ambiguous her thoughts on Adnan’s guilt became. There is none of that is Undisclosed, Chaudry and her co-hosts dissection of the evidence collection, Adnan’s defense attorney’s and the prosecution’s performance all relate back to their belief that Adnan was not given a fair trial… To be honest, after every bombshell that’s been dropped about the case, it’s no surprise that the thousands of people who tune in for the bi-weekly episodes and addendum believe in his innocence.

Misc: I tried to cook home food…

The inspiration… 

This is a more random category. Today I’m trying to make fried bake… again. Some background? My parents are from Trinidad and I love Fried bake, even more than I love saltfish, even more than I love curried goat, probably tied with my love of hard dough bread…

Last Sunday I was home alone and I was hit with a craving. I had all the ingredients, and so I thought,, “Hey self, you’ve only ever watched mummy make the dough once before. You can totally make it with guesstimating measurements.” I was clearly lying to myself. Took me two attempts but at least the second batch puffed up!

I’m 22 now, I should know by now how to cook my favourite recipes. Apparently my mum was cooking Sunday Lunch for a large household at the young age of 12. While I’m not so sheltered enough to not know how to cook basics like pasta like some people my age, I’m not quite there with my comfort food.

Perhaps I need my own Naparima Girl’s cookbook.

I read over my most popular fanfiction. Why?

I do that a lot. Sometimes I enjoy it, most times; I cringe, I cringe so hard that I have toyed with the notion of completely deleting my account and destroying all records of my attempt at writing.

After all, I’m not a creative writing student, but fanfiction has been a big part of my life since, well, I was in secondary school. I posted my first ever chapter on a forum that was called BBRae4Eva, I think. And since then, fanfiction has been an anonymously accessed, never before announced activity that I take part it. I’ve written and published online 16 fanfics of moderate success from about 2004 to 2014 (with numerous unfinished sequels, prequels and one-shots that lie in the fiction folder on my desktop).

Now, why am I dragging myself through this 90K+ worded romantic adventure between my favourite crack pairing: Naruto’s Uchiha Sasuke and Hyuuga Hinata in a 6th form AU?

I've hidden relevant identifying information. Still a bit shocked (and proud) I managed 18 chapters and 92,981 words down though.
I’ve hidden relevant identifying information & highlighted my achievements. Don’t even TRY to look for it.

I’m about to start writing again. This time, not fanfiction. 100% original plot, 100% original characters.

This year I’m taking part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo to those in the know), it’ll be the second time I’ll be participating. And unlike last year, I plan on actually reaching the 50K mark within the month. So this is like a cram revision session for next month’s “test”.

Last year, I started and got most-a-ways through a post-industrial fantasy tale, based in a little town called Silverbank. I was inspired by a friend’s short story that I had read in my final year of university: in her story, education was the class separator (and to be honest, even in our society that is the case often more than not).

In my take, I followed a large family of seven, the Darzis. Aida the mother, a fiercely jealous woman still hiding grief and taking it out on her eldest surviving child. Kamal the semi-absent father, a seemingly ordinary construction worker who hides his ties to underground political extremism with the profile of an alcoholic. Taking inspiration from my family I gave all the siblings nicknames that were so often used, their legal names were strange words they had to remind themselves to answer to, which were only brought out through vexing parental lectures and legal processes.

There was Sugar; the eldest sister, beautiful and with a tragic past & present (& possible future). Sixes; the big brother, named for the 6 facial scars on his face (punishment for stealing from an orchard) dating the identical twin brother of his little sister’s beau. Sissy; Aida’s favourite and personality twin, big appetite for romance and about to embark on a shotgun wedding. Sweets; the MC (middle child AND main character), at the ripe age of 16 (perf YA MC age), entering the workforce and trying to not get romantically distracted by the other half of the golden twins of attractiveness while getting involved in all of the sibling drama and some of dad’s extreme politics. Sparkles; the youngest daughter with crippling low self-esteem but high expectations that depend on her above-average intelligence.  Shin; the sweet baby who becomes traumatized when forced to witness the outcomes of one of his father’s plots.

As you can see, I gave myself a lot to work with. Maybe too much to work with…There was supposed to be romance, conspiracy, drama, jealousy, death, suspicion. I probably got to slightly introduce these plot devices and maybe get a bit of the Darzis’ struggles in the 42K words that I had managed to splurge out. Let me tell you, Unnamed NaNoWriMo14 was what happened when you try to cram a seven-novel series into one.

This year I’m not going to do that.

I’m going to write more simply. I know my genre: my old faithful High Fantasy… but with a twist.

Yes, it’s going to feature Medieval inspired European background. Instead of the foreign brown savages with strange customs and social structures that get introduced to the main character who becomes the very best, like no one ever was, somethings are getting flipped around perception wise. My new MC, the beautiful Kewoya’ana is transported via magical portal to a world of  stone turrets and corset-wearing courtesans, “dashing” knights, and gets to overthrow some totally un-righteous rulers in order to set up a treaty between worlds.

And now that I’ve explained the basic plot, I’m really hoping that it doesn’t end up too much like Wurst and Feist’s Empire Trilogy set in the Riftwar Cycle.

 

La Première Entrée

It’s the start of a new academic year. I want to avoid cliche’s but I truly feel as though I’m turning over a new leaf already. This time last year, I was struggling to find work and dealing with the permanent move from my university home in The North, back to London. This year? I applied for and accepted a place to study a Publishing Masters at a wonderful university close to home.

It’s been about three weeks since my induction and I am so beyond excited to be an active student again. I wonder how my student life in London will compare to my time in Cheshire, how I’m going to manage the workload of an MA as opposed to a BA, how I’m going to juggle schoolwork and actual adult work, how I’m going to cope living with my parents while studying full-time.

Well I’ll tell you this, I’m already finding myself at ease communicating my peers. I haven’t been in such a small class for a while, the higher in education you go, the smaller the classes get it seems. I’m a little relieved that I have a chance to become more intimately acquainted with my fellow 30-odd students than I did with the 100+ of my undergraduate course. Already, it feels familiar to see their faces, learn their names and go out for a cheeky Nandos between lectures(!)

So this blog?

The plan is to use it to document this new year, this new experience, my new encounters. This new me.

This has been the first entry, La Première Entrée. Fingers crossed there’ll be more.