Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Think about yourself for once

I think at this point I'm going to stop apologising for the lack of updates/posts on this blog because it's more of a "personal" blog at this point than anything else and there's no point in stressing over things like updates and posts or whatever. 

I wanted to post about doing something for yourself today. If you know me in real life or follow me on social media, you may know that I decided to start a Floristry course! It's been wonderful so far and I've really enjoyed creating things with my hands again (something I haven't really done since high school). But the reason I'm telling you all this is because I decided to do the course for myself. I didn't do it because I want to make a career and be incredibly successful out of it (though, that would be awesome) but simply because I wanted to. 

A quick posy I put together with flowers that I didn't use in class: From my Instagram- @maddiejaydee

Majority of my friends are studying at university, which is awesome and I'm so proud of how well they're all doing, and how hard they're all working, but I know a few who are just at university because their parents want them to be there, or because they think that studying at university is the only way to be successful in this day and age, or because they were pressured into a degree they hate but are too scared to drop out of now (all of which are completely understandable). But it makes me think about life in "the long run". 

Who cares if you're still at university when your twenty-six because you decided to keep dropping and changing your degree? Who cares if you're only a first year at twenty-eight because you had no idea what you wanted to do with your life until now? Who cares if you dropped out of university after one year because it was too stressful? Certainly not me. Sure, people will ridicule you and constantly question you about the choices you've made but in reality, it really doesn't matter because really, it's none of their god-damn business. 

That's what leads me to discuss my floristry course and why I decided to just go ahead and do it. I'd been interested in floristry and flowers for a long time but never thought to really do anything about it. Because I decided not to return to university after my spinal surgery, I took the time to simply work a bit and do my best to recover. It was during this time that I decided it was something I could really enjoy and soon enough I had enrolled. A few people I know questioned whether it was something I could do with the rest of my life and all that jazz, and maybe it's not. But it really doesn't matter. I'm going to be doing something I enjoy. At this moment in time, all I really care about it being the best me I can be (that sounds so cheesy) and doing something for myself. 

I have definitely felt a lot happier doing something I actually enjoy and doing something that will be rewarding for myself rather than for those around me. I'm not trying to tell you to drop everything you're doing and start looking for something else you want to do, I'm just trying to let those of you that are a little confused, lost or scared know that it's okay. You don't have to rush into anything. Take your time figuring it out. You may never find something you want to make a 'career' out of and that too, is okay. It's all okay. Just try to stress less (easier said than done, I know) and take things one step at a time, think about yourself for once and what you would possible like to do.

As per usual, I'm not too sure where this post is headed so I think I'll leave it here. 
Thank you for reading!
Love from Maddie ♡♡♡

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

A little more about scoliosis (6 month post-op update)

Hello, hello everyone! Long time no post I know, but I'm not feeling all that creative or inspired lately and haven't been able to conjure up enough energy to make a post! Back in December I wrote a post about my scoliosis and the spinal fusion surgery I under went to correct it (you can read A post about Scoliosis here). I thought I would take the time today to write a small update post (more for myself and self-documentation than anything else) but I hope some of you read it all the same. 

My scar as of May 2015

Last Monday (the fourth of May) marked exactly six months since my spinal fusion surgery. As you'll know from my previous post, it was a very risky surgery but I was lucky enough that everything went well (besides a few set backs when we discovered I was allergic to majority of the drugs and pain killers I had to take). 

I'm happy to say that in the five months since my last post I've improved a great deal. In that post I mentioned that I had only been home for two weeks and was struggling to get out of the house. This continued for another four or so weeks and I was terribly bored throughout most of it but two of my lovely friends came to visit me at home a few times and we even managed to go out for lunch or dinner too! I went back to work mid-December (in retail) and managed to deal well with the Christmas crowds and general hussle and bussle of the city during such a busy time. 

By February I was ready to start getting back into the swing of things and started taking 40 minute daily walks. My surgeon told me not to bother with physio (other than what help I received in hospital when learning how to walk again etc.), so I was a little concerned I wasn't doing enough physical activity or rehabilitation. My muscles were constantly sore and I was still almost completely numb on the right side of my torso and back, along with the underside of my right arm.  *Note to my fellow scoliosis sufferers; I doubt this is the same thing every neurosurgeon recommends to their patients so ensure you follow directions given to you by your surgeon and not what you read about other people's experiences on the internet. But as the month wore on I found that a small walk each day was all it was taking for my muscles to adjust to the rods attached to my spine and for the muscle to start building back up. 

I started a new job in March and as I assisted with the opening of a new store I was working full time hours, despite being a casual employee. Whilst I greatly enjoyed working so much and having quite a bit more money than usual I had to ask for my hours to be reduced a little as I couldn't cope with so many hours on my feet. I would return home from work only to find that my back muscles could barley move and the only thing that could help with that was lying down and resting. The rest of the month and April both flew by. It's a little weird being able to physically improve a little bit each and every day but that's exactly what happened! I gradually got a lot more movement in my arms and shoulders as well as my back. Some of the numbness started to go away and now my right arm feels completely normal! 

At the end of April (and the beginning of May) my family and I travelled back home to Tasmania to visit my great-grandmother for her one hundredth birthday! Unfortunately for me, the position of the rods in my spine made it nearly impossible to get even a little bit comfortable when sitting on a plane. The flight to Melbourne wasn't too bad as I was able to recline my seat a bit to accommodate to the fact that my upper body can't 'bend' to fit in the seats but the flight we took from Melbourne to Devonport (thankfully only an hour long flight) was pretty excruciating as the seats were unable to be reclined. I'm a pretty nervous flyer to start with so this really didn't make things any easier for me but as I mentioned, the flight was very short and I was able to stretch my poor back again as soon as we landed. The different temperature down in Tasmania really effected how my back felt too. With the colder weather I could literally feel all the muscles around my rods (including the ones that are still numb) tense and become rigid. Naturally, this was pretty painful but I couldn't do anything about it and it was almost comical how much I felt my muscles relaxing nearly as soon as I made it back to warmer temperatures. 

Updated x-rays I received on the 11th of May 2015. Left; pre spinal-fusion. Right; 6 months post-op

Yesterday (Monday the 11th of May) I finally had the opportunity to have my "six-month" post-op appointment. As I expected, everything went well and we managed to confirm that I grew exactly four and a half centimetres taller after my surgery (I went from 165cm tall to 169.5)! I had a few concerns to ask my surgeon about but he assured me that it was all normal and that I can now start trying to get myself a little fitter by "bulking it up" at the gym (his exact words, it was pretty hilarious). Obviously, my movement is still fairly restricted and I'm going to have to be a lot more careful than I would have in the past but I'm looking forward to finally getting fit again! I also discovered that I shouldn't still be numb on the right side of my torso and back, which is a little concerning but I've been assured it's nothing I should be worrying about just yet. It's normal to still be numb in the middle of my back where my scar is and it's normal the be a little numb on the side you've been 'pulled' across, but as I was 'pulled' back to the left side of my body and not the right it's a little weird.  Never fear, I'm sure it will eventually go away (hopefully)! 

I hope that wasn't too boring to read but it feels good to finally be posting again! If any of you suffer from scoliosis and have any questions about the surgery and all that jazz please feel free to comment below or email me! 

Thank you for reading, love from Maddie (❁˘◡˘❁) 

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

A little about Mamoru Hosoda and his films (My favourite anime directors part 2)

I've finally managed to write the second part of what I'm planning on making three-part series. Finally, I bring you a post all about Mamoru Hosoda and some of his films. Be sure to check out my previous post about Makoto Shinkai and his films here and keep an eye out for my post all about Hayao Miyazaki (though I know we're all already well associated with his films). 

When I was thirteen a fellow anime fan at my school recommended that I watch The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. At the time, I agreed to 'check it out' and I presumed it would be a rather enjoyable film but that would be the end of it. But let me tell you, that one film (that I now cherish and will happily recommend to anyone, anime fan or not) began my love for Mamoru Hosoda and his creative, exciting and adventurous films. 

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time: scenery

Like Makoto Shinkai, Mamoru Hosoda is one of Japans most popular film directors today. His animation has attracted people all around the world and he continues to provide us with a range of colourful and adventurous tales that leave all of us feeling at least a little inspired. If you think you've never watched a Mamoru Hosoda film before, think again. As well as his very own films, he has directed Digimon Adventure (1999), Digimon: The Movie- Eight Years Ago (2000) , Digimon Adventure: Our Water Game (2000),  Digimon: The Movie- Four Years Later (2000) One Piece: Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island (2005) and a large range of short films and anime episodes, along with various anime openings. As well as his directing jobs, Hosoda's art may also be recognisable as he was the key animator for Dragon Ball: The Path to Power (1996), Dragon Ball Z: Broly- The Legendary Super Saiyan (1993), Dragon Ball Z: Broly- Second Coming (1994), Galaxy Express 999 ~Eternal Fantasy~ (1998), YuYu Hakusho The Movie: Poltergeist Report (1994) and my personal favourite, Sailor Moon Super S: The Movie (1995). 

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time: Chiaki & Makoto

Like I mentioned earlier, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time was my first Mamoru Hosoda film and it continues to be my all time favourite. Hosoda's adaption is loosely based upon Yasutaka Tsutsui's 1967 novel of the same name. We follow the story of base-ball loving, high school student, Makoto Konno, who mysteriously gains the power to travel through time or 'time leap'. Makoto learns that she can use this power to fix and improve seemingly everyday problems and at first nothing seems astray. That is until she discovers that not everything in her high-school life is as it first seems. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time never fails to make me both laugh until I feel my abs coming out of hibernation and cry until my eyes are drier than the sahara desert and whilst it may not be as emotional an experience for you as it was (and continues to be) for me, I have no doubt that many of you will enjoy this film just as much. 

Summer Wars

As soon as I managed to get over the practically hysterical emotional episode I endured after watching The Girl Who Leapt Through Time for the first time (slight exaggeration, but you get my point) I made my way online to learn more about Mamoru Hosoda and his films. At this point in time, I learnt that not only had he been a director for the beloved first season of Digimon but he also had a new film coming out later that very same year, Summer Wars (I can't believe it's been six years since I first made this 'discovery' of mine). Needless to say, when Summer Wars became available for me to watch, I pounced on it and immediately settled down to enjoy what is now arguably one of Hosoda's most popular films.

Summer Wars is the story about a timid, socially awkward eleventh-grade math genius named Kenji Koiso and his journey to Ueda after being asked to accompany a twelfth-grade student, Natsuki Shinohara for her grandmother's ninetieth birthday. As we expect, things don't quite go to plan and Kenji is framed for the hacking of the virtual world relied on by nearly everyone in Japan. Kenji, along with the help of Natsuki and her family, must find a way to not only clear his name, but repair what has already been damaged before the callous artificial intelligence, Love Machine, makes matters worse for everyone. 

Wolf Children: Yuki, Ame and Hana

Wolf Children is the story of Hana, a normal college student studying and slowly learning how to live life as a young adult. Not everything goes to plan however, when she falls for a man we simply know as 'The Wolfman' and they end up having two half werewolf children together, shortly before 'The Wolfman' is killed. Left to her own devices and with little information or experience on parenting normal children, let alone children with werewolf DNA, Hana is at a loss on how to raise her children without the help of their father and we follow the small family's story as they learn and advance together.

I don't know why, but I never really felt overly emotional in any film where parental issues are concerned. It's not like I'm completely oblivious to how emotionally and physically exhausting being a parent would be (I think I've always been way too aware of the difficulties of parenthood, hence my usual "don't touch or come near me" stance towards children under the age of twelve) but nevertheless, I found myself undeniably sobbing over Wolf Children. I'm not sure why, this story obviously isn't super realistic or anything (wolf children, anyone?) but I think Hosoda really captured the struggles of a single parent in a constantly changing society. I know, I know, that sounds super serious and depressing but this film is simply a must watch, anime fan or not.

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it! I'm positive that if you haven't had the chance to watch some (or all) of these films already, you will enjoy them just as much as I did! I at least hope you do, anyway. Be sure to keep a look out for Mamoru Hosoda's next film, The Boy and the Beast, set to be released later this year!

Thank you for reading, love from Maddie ╰(*´︶`*)╯♡

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Three anime series with amazing animation (part 1)

A few weeks ago I published a post about three of my favourite manga artists, so I thought it was time for me to choose three anime series that have some amazing animation and art (at least in my opinion). For this list I won't be including films by directors such as Hayao Miyazaki, Mamoru Hosoda and Makoto Shinkai as they will all eventually have their own posts (you can see the post I've already published about Makoto Shinkai here). I've limited myself to just three series for this post as I might write a few more in the future and want to save a few favourites for then. 

Kyoto Animation: Free! Iwatobi Swim Club (2013) & Free! Eternal Summer (2014)

Free! Eternal Summer- episode 12: Haruka Nanase & Rin Matsuoka

Whilst I had enjoyed many of Kyoto Animation's series in the past (Lucky Star (2007), Clannad (2007 - 2008), The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (2006 & 2009), etc.) it wasn't until they brought us both Hyōka (2012) and Tamako Market (2013) that I began appreciating their animation, not just their series plot lines or characters. Then, KyoAni announced their summer anime of 2013, Free! Iwatobi Swim Club (humbly referred to as "Swimming Anime" at the time) with a short trailer to show off their animation skills that sent anime fans wild (you can watch that trailer here). To be honest, I was pretty negative about the whole series at the start. Sure, the trailer's animation was pretty amazing but the anime would no doubt be a whole bunch of fan service and not much else. Of course, everything changed when the first episode aired and I was instantly hooked. Plot about swimming, goals and friendship aside, the animation is seriously amazing. I definitely think Kyoto Animation takes the cake when it comes to animating water because boy, do they know their stuff! The animation is very clean, clear and refreshing and I'll happily recommend this series to anyone that enjoys an anime with fantastic animation (fan-service plot aside). 

Production I.G: Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle OVA's- Tokyo Revelations (2007 - 2008) & Spring Thunder (2009)

Spring Thunder- episode 1: Fai D. Flourite

I'll be the first to willingly admit that Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle probably had one of the worst anime adaptions of all time. Bee Train Animation did an atrocious job with CLAMP's characters, storyline and art. Luckily enough, CLAMP wasn't too impressed with Bee Train's adaption and quickly pulled the plug before we had to suffer a third season. Eventually, Production I.G. bought us two OVA mini series in 2007 and 2009, Tokyo revelations and Spring Thunder. Basically, these OVA's are exactly what the anime should have been like and I was so impressed with Production I.G's efforts the first time I watched them (and to this day I'm still impressed). The animation is beautiful, the characters look like their manga counter-parts, the backgrounds are stunning and the music is phenomenal. I, along with many other Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle fans, are hoping that maybe one day, Production I.G. will decide to animate a re-boot of the original anime and have the series looking as amazing as it should (we can only hope). 

Bones: No. 6 (2011)

No. 6 Opening song "Spell"- Nezumi

No. 6 is a series that I only recently watched and I definitely regret not watching it sooner. We all know Bones for series such as; Fullmetal Alchemist (2003 - 2004), Ouran High School Host Club (2006), Darker than Black (2007), Soul Eater (2008) and Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (2009 - 2010) and they definitely didn't disappoint or lower their high standards with No. 6. Set in a dystopian future, No. 6 is an eleven episode anime that will not be easily ignored or forgotten. Based on the visual novels by Atsuko Asano, the series explores a utopia that exists upon the foundation of government lies and secrets. Whilst I am yet to get my hands on the visual novels, it has been said that whilst the anime adaption is amazing, the novels explore the plot in a lot more depth and the anime became a little rushed with the eleven episode limit. Despite this, many of the visual novel fans have praised this series and believe that Bones has done a wonderful job at brining No. 6 to our screens. As with majority of Bones works, No. 6 is incredibly detailed and the animation is spectacular, definitely a series you must watch if your a fan of fantastic animation and anything within the sci-fi/dystopian genre.

Thank you for reading! Love, Maddie ♡♡♡

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Lack of Colour- The Spencer Boater

Lack of Colour - The Spencer Boater hat. Photo: My own instagram: @maddiejaydee

I've had my eye on a few hats from Lack of Colour for a little while now and I recently decided to just bite the bullet and purchase one for myself. I ended up choosing The Spencer Boater ($45.00 AUD) and I'm so glad I chose this one! This particular boater has an 8mm brim, so it's not too large and I don't look like I'm trying to accessorise for a trip to the outback (thankfully). 

The hat itself is made from natural straw and features a trimmed black bow to add a little detail into the mix. Even evident in pictures, the hat is very high-quality and definitely won't bend out of shape or ruin easily. In regards to sizing, I would definitely recommend properly measuring your head. I was feeling a little lazy and simply decided the safest bet would be to go with the middle size (you could choose either 56, 57 or 58) and I think it wouldn't have been a bad idea to go with the 56 instead. In saying that, the hat does fit me, it's just quite loose and would definitely fly off easy if things get a little windy. If you're thinking about picking up a hat from Lack of Colour for yourself, I would do it as soon as possible as they truly are fantastic (and limited edition unfortunately)!

Thank you for reading today's short post! 
Love, Maddie ♡♡♡

Thursday, 5 February 2015

A great base for a pale face

So if you haven't noticed already, I'm pretty damn pale. Because of this, I used to find it really difficult when it came to my base make-up but over the past few years I've found a few bits and pieces that really work for my pale complexion! I know a few fellow pale people that struggle with finding a decent foundation or whatever so I thought I'd make this post to give you guys some ideas of what might work for you!

1. Sunscreen: Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV Defense - SPF  50 PA+++ ($65.00 AUD)

First and foremost in any pale persons (or anyone's in general, really) make-up routine should be sunscreen, especially for those of us who live in places such as good ol' sunny Australia. To keep the freckles in check (I love my freckles but I would rather my skin not get any more sun damaged) I use the Kheil's Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF 50+ sunscreen. I've been using this sunscreen for the past few months and it's honestly the best I've ever tried! I have very sensitive skin and with previous sunscreens I either broke out in a rash (real attractive, I know) or the sunscreen was great but had an oily texture to it, which doesn't feel all that fantastic. But this sunscreen is incredibly light and non-greasy! Whilst it is very expensive, I've found it does a much better than job than every drugstore sunscreen and other high-end sunscreens I've managed to try over the years so it's definitely worth the investment. 

Next step to ensuring a fantastic base is of course, primer! You can really use any primer that you like (or none if you prefer) and I've recently been using this Too Faced Primed and Poreless skin smoothing face primer. This is similar to Benefit's POREfessional, though much cheaper, and I feel as though it does a much better job when it comes to actually keeping my make-up on through-out the day instead of just ensuring my pores are smooth. 

3. Foundation: Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation SPF 15 ($68.00 AUD) 

Foundation is usually the most difficult step when it comes to finding a great base routine for us pale people. Over the years I've tried so many foundations and every time I tried a drugstore foundation I broke out or got a rash (again, super duper attractive- thank you sensitive skin) and when it came to more expensive foundations they were usually more yellow based than pink based (which is what I need). Nearly a year ago now, I had my make-up done for a university ball and I tried the Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation in the shade Porcelain (as pale as you can get... typical) and I've never looked back. This foundation really is like a second skin, it's incredibly light, easy to blend and if you want more coverage you can easily apply more layers on top. I would recommend this foundation to anyone, but for those of you with pale skin, definitely check this one out!

4. Concealer: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer ($35.00 AUD) & Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Clearing Concealer ($35.00 AUD)

Concealer is something that not every one needs but something I find myself reaching for on a daily basis. I'm actually currently looking for a new under-eye concealer to try (if you have any suggestions please let me know) but for now I'm using the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in the shade Vanilla. This is a fantastic under-eye concealer and does a decent job at covering those charming under-eye circles without creasing but I've recently decided that the shade might be a little to yellow for me! I think I might have to give the next palest shade a try. For blemishes I use the Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Clearing Concealer and have continuously used this stuff for years. This is a very blend-able and build-able concealer that is perfect for covering those spots and dots.

5. Powder: Chanel Natural Loose Powder ($71.00 AUD)

Powder is something many people don't need in their make-up routine but it's something I use on a daily basis so I thought I would mention it any way. I was lucky enough to receive my current powder as a very generous gift for Christmas and have been loving it! The Chanel Natural Loose Powder is very light weight and sets my makeup perfectly. I never have to touch up my make-up throughout the day and have found this works wonders when trying to prevent foundation or concealer creasing.

6: Blush, Bronze & Highlight!

Last but not least is bringing a little bit of colour back into our pale complexions! I'm more of a blush and highlighter girl myself but Tayla (who's pretty much just as pale as me) loves using a bit of bronzer to have her skin looking a little warmer! She likes to use either The Body Shop Honey Bronzer Bronzing Powder ($22.00 AUD) in shade #01 or the NARS Laguna Bronzing Powder ($49.00 AUD). For highlighter and blush, I regularly like to use The Balm's Mary-Lou Manizer ($34.95 AUD) and a NARS powder blush in the shade Sex Fantasy ($39.00) which was unfortunately a limited edition shade but there are plenty similar to it in drugstores and other high-end brands.

I hope some of my fellow pale pals will have found some new products to try and please recommend any that you think I might like to try myself!

Thank you for reading, love Maddie ♡♡♡

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

A few favourite manga artists

On tumblr I was recently asked who my favourite manga artists were when disregarding the plot and characters of a series and simply just focusing on the art. Because I tend to get a little carried away when it comes to questions like this I decided I would just make an entire blog post about it. I've decided to exclude film directors from this post (such as Hayao Miyazaki, Makoto Shinkai & Mamoru Hosoda) because I eventually want to make a separate post for each of them and you can read the post I've already published about Makoto Shinkai's films here. I will also eventually have a post about my favourite anime series based purely on the art/animation of said series, so keep your eye's peeled for that one too! So that's what I've written for you today, a post all about some of my favourite manga artists. Remember if you want more anime/manga recommendations to check out myanimelist here


Nanase Ohkawa, Mokona, Tsubaki Nekoi & Satsuki Igarashi

Kurogane, Princess Sakura, Syaoran Li and Fai in Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle 

I would eagerly sell my soul to meet this group of ridiculously talented ladies (slight exaggeration- but you get my drift). These four women have been working together since 1987 to bring you old classics such as RG Veda (1989 - 1996), Tokyo Babylon (1990 - 1991) and Clamp School Detectives (1992 - 1993) along with more recent works such as xxxHolic (2003 - 2011), Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle (2003 - 2009) and Kobato. (2005 - 2011). Their extensive list of works boasts fan favourites such as Cardcaptor Sakura (1996 - 2000) and Chobits (2001 - 2002) and the group have even collaborated with various animation studios such as Sunrise to bring you the character design for the popular mecha series Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (2006 - 2007).  A full list of CLAMP's original work and collaborations can be found here

My introduction to CLAMP's extraordinary artwork was with Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle. Not even a few pages in on the first volume, I knew I had found a new favourite manga series (both for the plot and art) and it's still my favourite manga series of all time, almost six years later. I then made my way through a large amount of their works including; Chobits, Cardcaptor Sakura, xxxHolic, Kobato., Clover, Tokyo Babylon and X/1999- after reading more than one series from the artists it became apparent that their artwork really is some of the most intricate, detailed and exemplary work on the market. Their knack for re-using characters throughout different series and  breaking your heart with unfinished or "on hold" series (I'm looking at you X/1999) will have you longing for the chance to enter a world as beautifully designed and seriously detailed as these. 

Yukito Tsukishiro (originally a Cardcaptor Sakura character) in Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle

Yana Toboso

Ciel Phantomhive by Yana Toboso- Credit 

Like the group of women mentioned before her, Yana Toboso is one talented lady. At just twenty-two years old she began her career as a manga artist with Rust Blaster (2006) before finding immediate success with the mysterious Kuroshitsuji (2006 -), more commonly referred to as Black Butler in Western countries. As you can probably see for yourself from the images both above and below this paragraph, Toboso's work is simply exquisite. Most manga fans can agree that her work is some of the highest quality art available today- even if they don't personally enjoy either of her series. Yana expresses great attention to detail and a love for the Victorian era within her art which is what originally appealed to me. To be perfectly honest, when I started reading Kuroshitsuji many years ago, it really wasn't because of the plot (which sounded a little lack-luster to me) but, because of the art I had seen whilst online. I was pleasantly surprised to find the plot not only interesting, but the art as beautiful and captivating as I originally hoped. Her art simply continues to get better and better with each and every Kuroshitsuji chapter and I can't wait to see what she brings to the table in the near future. 

Kuroshitsuji Chapter 60: That Butler, Unrest by Yana Toboso

Ai Yazawa

Miwako from Paradise Kiss by Ai Yazawa- Credit

I think I'm yet to mention any of Ai Yazawa's work on the blog but here I am ready to share my love for her art with you all. Whilst her art may not be as extravagant or as appealing to a 'modern' manga art lover as Yana Toboso's work may be, Ai Yazawa brings us a very stylised look with her art which is now nothing short of iconic. Ai Yazawa creates the most colourful, enchanting and "real" characters within her artwork which is predominantly noticeable in her two most recent series, Paradise Kiss (2000 - 2004) and NANA (2000 - 2009). Ai Yazawa has become one of (if not the most) recognisable and popular josei manga artist within the last fifteen years and her work continues to gain popularity, even today. I originally started reading Paradise Kiss a few years ago because I was interested in the graceful art work I had spotted online and was immediately interested in reading a little more within the josei genre. Needless to say, the art did not disappoint and led me to read (and watch) NANA soon afterwards. Even now, I happily refer to Ai Yazawa as my favourite josei manga artist and continue to look to her elegant and decorative work for inspiration. 

Yasu, Hachi, Shin, Nana and Nobu from NANA by Ai Yazawa - Credit 

I hope you all enjoyed this post! Who's your favourite manga artist? Please let me know, I'm always looking for a new series to read! 
Thank you for reading
Love Maddie xo

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Little Black Dress

"One is never over-dressed or under-dressed with a Little Black Dress."

Above is the now famous quote by the eminent Karl Lagerfeld; a quote which has since defined the fashion industry. Luminaries such as the acclaimed Audrey Hepburn have donned their own LBDs', further highlighting the importance of a black staple piece in ones wardrobe. 

Until recently I had never found that predominant component of my own wardrobe; I had never had a love affair with a Little Black Dress of my own, there was no 'love at first sight' for me. Everything had either been too expensive or too low cut for my liking, or even the wrong material. I was always on the search though; often wishing I had a black dress to wear to various occasions - something that was easy to wear, yet made me feel incredible. 

It wasn't until I began to work at my current place of employment did I spot my LBD. And I can tell you; it really wasn't love at first sight, but it has since grown to have the highest rank in my wardrobe. I now (and for the past 3 months or so) work in a large well-known department store, which features various brands and labels in 'concession stores' (i.e. a company or label is showcased in a certain section or 'stall' within this larger department store). Zimmermann is one of these concession stalls, and has since become one of my favourite labels. 

A co-worker had actually tried on and purchased the 'Trinity Scallop Dress' by Zimmermann in white and it looked absolutely gorgeous against her tan skin. It took a bit of convincing from my co-workers for me to try the same dress on in black. I was slightly intimidated by the revealing cut-outs of the dress, but somehow ended up in a dressing room. Recently, I had purchased another pice by Zimmermann and was very wary of the price tags. Knowing the quality of the garments was exceptional and that I had the ability to lay-by the item I slipped into the dress - it wasn't perfect; but I saw it's potential. 

Details of the 'Trinity Scallop Dress' by Zimmermann

The black didn't wash out my pale skin, the cut-outs weren't promiscuous, the dress skimmed the top of my knees and the flirty halter neck styled back enhanced my shoulders. Unfortunately, the dress was slightly big around the back and gapped when tied up. After talking to the stylist we concluded that it could be pulled in slightly and with it pinned in place I knew I had to have it. With the dress placed on lay-by I knew it was the right decision; a busy holiday period meant I was continuing to save money and surely a Christmas and New Years treat wouldn't hurt right? 

After what felt like months, but was only a few weeks I had the dress off of lay-by, into my wardrobe and right back out again to the alterers. It took a few days but soon enough I had my very own LBD. I loved it; it fit me well, was flirty and girly without being too in your face and is something I could easily dress up or down. I have managed to wear the dress twice now; to an anniversary dinner with my partner and to New Years Eve celebrations. On both occasions I felt incredibly comfortable, covered, confident and beautiful. I wore the dress casually with Tony Bianco wedged heels and a colourful clutch, both of which could be switched out with black or nude accessories for a more elegant and formal look. 

♥ Photo Taken from my Instagram; @tayla_jw

I hope you're all doing well and have enjoyed a very safe and happy festive season. I just thought I'd share with you all my own LBD; do you have one?

Thanks for reading!
Love, Tayla xo

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Barbie loves Wildfox

Because I'm super lazy when it comes to outfit of the day posts and am terrible at attempting to take photos in public, outfit shots are something that rarely make it onto the blog- though I do want to try and change that.  I recently picked up a piece from the Barbie Dreamhouse collection from Wildfox and thought I might share it with you today- my attempt at a sort-of-outfit post I suppose! 

   ♥ Just being a bit silly- photo taken from my instagram @maddiejaydee 

When I first saw the promotional images for the collection it was difficult to determine which piece I wanted to buy- the pastel pinks, lilacs and mint green are right up my street and would fit nicely in my wardrobe. Eventually I decided to pick up the My Resume Hippie Crewneck Tee from Princess Polly (an Australian clothing store and official stockist of Wildfox) because whilst it was a little plain, it means I can wear it with nearly anything. 

The shirt itself is typical Wildfox 100% cotton (soft as can be) and has slight distressing to give it a real 'vintage' feel. It also happens to be scented! Yeah, you heard me- this piece smells like a candy store and it is really delightful! On this particular day I wore the tee with my American Apparel high-waist denim shorts but I'm sure it would look just as cute with a black tennis skirt or simply some jeans of any colour. 

I guess that's it for today- just a short post sharing this adorable purchase. Did you like the Barbie Dreamhouse collection? What was your favourite piece? 
Thank you for reading, love Maddie xo

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Fourteen favourite moments from 2014.

Well here we are, more than half way through the first of January 2015. 2014 was definitely the year that went by way too fast. It was a year that for me, brought along a lot of indecision and confusion- but that doesn't mean it was all bad! To start the blog posts for the year I decided to make a little list of fourteen good moments that occurred during 2014- more for myself than anyone else.

1. Getting accepted into university (January 16th)
2. Starting university (March 4th)
3. Turning 18 (2nd of April)
4. Gold Coast Supanova 2014 (April 5th)
5. Short Sydney trip away to meet Benedict Cumberbatch at a Sydney Comic-con event - I wrote a post about this which you can read here (12th and 13th of April)
6. Arctic Monkeys concert! (7th of May)
7. Attended my first uni ball! (7th of June)
8. Sailor Moon Crystal started airing- this was a big moment for me okay? I also wrote a blogpost about my first impressions of SMC which you can read here. (5th of July)
9. Made the decision to put my university studies on hold until I figure out what I actually want to do (July 16th)
10. Splendour in the Grass 2014/ Byron Bay trip! Tayla wrote a post about this which you can read here. (24th-27th July)
11. Attended my second university ball (15th of August)
12. Moved house! (16th of August)
13. Met Orlando Bloom at Brisbane Comic-con- I'm still swooning! (6th of September)
14. Finally had my spinal fusion surgery for my severe scoliosis. I wrote a post all about it which you can read here. (November 4th)

Those were the few 'big' moments that stood out to me this year but I think we should always take time to appreciate the 'little' happy or memorable moments too. I consider myself a reasonably lucky individual when it comes to the support of my family and friends and I'm glad that I've had this year to appreciate my parents, my twin sister and those friends (both old and new) that have stuck with me for the past year (or more). I know a lot of you probably won't read this but I just wanted to say a good ol' thank-you- I am very grateful.

Thank you for reading, I wish you all the best for 2015!
Love from Maddie xo