Friday, May 22, 2020

Anxiety Check: Back to the Real Life

Hey there, stranger. 

It's Mental Health Awareness Week and I wanted to check back on you about how you're doing with all this COVID-19 situation. I believe that the excess of information that the media has been bombing us for more than two months is not only confusing the population but putting us all at risk.
Today, citizens are unable to interpret themselves about what type of mask is the most suitable to use, how and when to go outside or how de-escalation works. And it seems that nobody understands the fact that we are facing a new, unique situation that has not happened before.

It frustrates and generates a lot of anxiety to see people not keeping safe distances. Here in the Netherlands, there has been an "intelligent lockdown", but I have seen from the beginning many, many inconsistencies and reckless behaviour that, of course, politicians will deny.

I am aware that this situation is not only confusing here but in more countries such as Spain (where I am from), Belgium, UK, Germany, Finland or Japan, places where I have good friends with whom I speak quite often.

And while chaos continues to prevail, how can we cope with the anxiety that loss of control generates in people with anxiety and mood disorders?

In my personal case, I have already returned to work and I have to take public transport frequently. In addition, after weeks of "calm", the shops in Alkmaar have also reopened and it is common to find the streets of the city centre crowded with people walking carefree. I have seen people bypass the safety rules of establishments, enter without any protection and without disinfecting their hands, etc. This has generated me some peaks of anxiety that I did not expect since impotence and frustration are quite palpable.

How do I deal with all this? Well, trying to follow the safety rules as closely as possible. I try to go shopping alone and in quieter hours, I try to always carry disinfectant liquid and gloves just in case, I try not to touch many things in stores and I'm sewing masks for myself and Thijs (since from June 1 it will be mandatory to wear them on public transport). But perhaps most importantly, I constantly repeat to myself that the unconsciousness of others is not my responsibility, and I try to focus all that anxiety and stress on "being safe" by choosing certain schedules or certain routes when running errands.

I wish I could explain to everyone that this is a problem that affects EVERYONE, not just a few and that we must act effectively to counter the effects. Also, I would like people to understand how this whole situation affects people with mental health problems like mine, perhaps in order to generate a little extra empathy and everyone to be more careful.  

"Normality", as we knew it, is gone; And I don't think it's a good idea to go back since it was a very unsustainable normality. But it is in everyone's hands to create a new normality that is beneficial to all, a normality in which we are all included and in which it is easier for us to live.

Hopefully they understand soon, that the only way out of this is kindness. Being kind to everyone (especially the ones in need) and to ourselves.  

There is no way back.

 Please, take care and stay safe.


Sunday, May 17, 2020

Looking for The Primary Colors (A Trip to London, Part III)

Hey there, stranger. 

My last two days in London a year ago were all about walking around and visiting fantastic places. After partying hard at the Cave Club the night before, Saturday was all about comfort food and visiting Camden Town. After 10 years without visiting there, you can imagine that the shock was quite big. 

When I was in Camden ten years ago the first of the big fires that destroyed part of the hood had happened, and I remember it as a sad day. Also, you could see how the place was changing little by little, from the alternative and underground hood to a tourist trap where the punks, hippies and goths didn't have a spot anymore. 

I really felt very sad that day, since the Camden I knew and loved was not there anymore. Now there is only a place full of people who ignore how alive this hood was, how transgressive and life-changing when I visited it for the first time in 2002. My Camden is no longer there, but it still well alive in my memory.
The good thing about that day is that Helena took me to my favourite spot in town: Lost Boys Pizza. A place where you not only can eat a delicious black charcoal pizza and enjoy cocktails but also you can appreciate the nice music and fantastic decoration.

I was leaving back to The Netherlands on Sunday evening, but in the morning (and following the advice of my beloved Jairo) we went to visit the Barbican Centre, one of those places I've always wanted to visit from London but never had the opportunity to go. And oh my, what a place it was!

The Barbican was a project of staggering scale and complexity. It took almost three decades to design and build; involved the design of over 2,000 flats, two schools and an arts centre. It was designed by Chamberlin, Powell & Bon, three of the most important modernist and brutalist architects nowadays. When you visit The Barbican, you can understand why: the technique used to create this concrete piece of art is not only unique, but also full of laborious work. After the concrete had dried for at least 21 days, workers used handheld pick-hammers or wider bush-hammers to tool the surface and expose the coarse granite aggregate, all by hand. 
One of the most iconic features of the Barbican are their gardens, which is home to exotic fish, terrapins and over 1,500 species of sub-tropical plants and trees. I was fascinated by its beauty and never expected to find a place full of sub-tropical plants in the middle of London!

The time was running out, so after walking around a little bit more, we took the bus back to Helena's neighbourhood and had some delicious Japanese food before I took the train back to the airport. After ten years, I must say that London still surprises me and I cannot wait to go back to visit all my friends and live new adventures there since there are still lots of places I need to discover or re-discover again!
Thank you, Helena, Carla and Viveka for all the good memories!

What's your favourite spot in London?

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Interview to Violet Fane, haunting our dreams

When we think of Violet Fane we automatically enter a state of nostalgia and reverie, as if we were opening an old trunk in a dusty attic where fairies live and in whose corners whispers of ghosts are heard. Its creator, Magda, is a big fan of horror stories and vintage fashion, a passion that comes from a young age when she was not yet wearing Lolita clothing but was fascinated by history and Victorian garments.

I've known Magda for many years now, and she's been always this curious girl full of great ideas and not afraid to jump out of her comfort zone. Her creativity is immense and I believe that this can be reflected in her designs, full of little details, from the prints to the jewellery, all made meticulously with care and affection.
In this interview Magda explains a little about her, her professional career with Violet Fane and about the world devised for her brand, where through unusual prints she allows us to delve into the most mysterious side of Lolita fashion.

Welcome to the world of Violet Fane.

Sunday, May 03, 2020

Nice places around Alkmaar: Sweets & Antiques

Hey there, stranger.

If there's something I miss from the "outside" world, is having coffee, some sweets and a nice chat with a friend somewhere nice. Here in Alkmaar the perfect place for that, at least for me, is Sweets & Antiques and believe me, I miss it quite a lot!

In the old town of Alkmaar, you will find the candy store of Han and Esther, a lovely little place full of curiosities and nice food that will delight those with a sweet tooth. When you enter inside, you can see yourself in an old Dutch candy store from the early XX century, surrounded by more than 200 different types of candy contained in old glass jars and vintage cans. 

Friday, May 01, 2020

Looking for the Primary Colors (A trip to London, part II)

Hey there, stranger. 

My second day in London City was a dream come true. Not only the night before I could attend a gig for which I was waiting a long time but also the weather was beautiful and I was hungry for art and culture. 

After having breakfast with Helena, I took the public transport again and made my way to The Wallace Collection, a personal matter pending between me and London for a long time now. 

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Sustainability and Lolita Fashion: are our frills gentle enough with the enviroment?

Hey there, stranger.

It's Fashion Revolution Week, a time we, as consumers, should raise our voices higher than the rest of the year to ask questions to different fashion brands and create awareness into the fashion industry. And in this time of pandemic and quarantine, what a better way to use our social media channels to ask brands who made my clothes? or what is in my clothes? (#whomademyclothes? #whatisinmyclothes? campaign). Under the pressure of all the consumers, we can make brands change and set a new sustainable path for the future of fashion.

But why do we need a Fashion Revolution Week?

(text from their website)

On the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, which killed 1,138 people and injured many more in 2013, we encourage millions of people to come together to campaign for systemic change in the fashion industry.

We are living in a climate emergency and the fashion & textiles sector is one of the most polluting and wasteful industries. The industry continues to lack transparency, with widespread exploitation of people working in the supply chain. Never before have there been this many people on the planet in slavery, and fashion is a key driver of this reality. Brands and retailers are still not taking enough responsibility for the pay and working conditions in their factories, the environmental impacts of the materials they use or how the products they make affect the health of people, animals and our living planet.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

What We Do in the Shadows

Hey there, stranger.

Since this week was released one of my favourite tv shows, What we do in the Shadows (base on the mockumentary by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement) I thought it would bee fun to show you a couple of outfits I did during this quarantine revisiting my darker side (you know, once you go black you never go back; it doesn't matter how many Emily Temple Cute dresses I have, I'm a goth at heart always).

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Looking for the Primary Colors (a trip to London, part I)

Hey there, stranger. 

Almost a year ago I visited London after 10 years since the last time I was there. The purpose of that visit? Attend to the Royal Albert Hall for a very special show: the 10th anniversary of Primary Colors, by my beloved The Horrors. 

Of course, that was the perfect excuse not only to visit the city but also to see my friends there: Helena (who gladly let me stay at her place), Viveka and Carla. But let's start for the beginning, the first day!

I arrived there in the morning without any trouble, although I forgot that at the entrance of the airport they ask you several questions and so. My flight was to Southend-O-Sea Airport, so that's about one hour away from London... But when you live in The Netherlands or in the south of Spain like me, you're used to travelling to get there, so that was more than ok. Plus the flight took less than an hour, blimey!
Once in London I went to Helena's flat and left my suitcase there. We caught up for a bit while having some food (second breakfast for me, like the good hobbit I am) and after that, she had to work (I was lucky that during my stay there that was the only day she had to work!), so I decided to walk around the city centre by myself, pretty excited since last time I did that was so long ago!