It's true!! Ahhh! A Christmas 09 collection including accessories and lingerie, in 1,500 stores worldwide, AND a Spring 2010 collection for women and girls in 250 stores. Ohlala! Bring on the knits.
I was highly inspired by this Pop editorial posted at the marvy Cheapskate Chic (thanks Miss Woo!) that I nearly bought the magazine for £10. I just ordered over Elle UK at £12 though so maybe I shouldn't be frivolous with magazines! But there's nothing like holding the original pages in your hands right? Well I saw these pictures and thought wow I wish I had lilac hair. Wouldn't the world be better...
...which got me browsing through my inspiration archives for other pastel haired beauties. I'm a bit hesitant to do inspiration posts as often I don't know where the pictures come from. So some of these are just google searches and the rest from the fashion spot. Points if you can name the shows above! Originally- unsure where the snaps are from!
So like I tweeted, I am a woman of action and also armed with student loans, so I went and bought some lilac hair! This was quite coincidental as I spotted a random hairdressers with a window of rainbow hair extensions a few days before. When I was in my teens, I used to love the spray-in colour that Boots used to sell. I used to go in with my friends and test them but I eventually bought a pink bottle, I bet I could dig up a photo of me with random pink curls! Bright colours seem to look best with black or blonde hair though as they are base colours to start with, but I want some colour action too! So I popped in and bought a few pieces. Now what to do... what to do... plait it in? Curl them and clip them in? Dye some hair for real? An Asian girl in my fresher year had the ends of her hair dip dyed a turquoise-green colour which was too cool.
For now I am pretending I am an Alexander Wang girl with a chunky side plait. Major trend prediction yes!
I have found a great way to take outfit photos! And it only involved balancing my camera on my toothbrush. Quite ingenious really! So this is sort of my first Swedish outfit. I'm not wearing denim hot pants and putting my hair in a bun just yet, but these are the shorts I got in Weekday. I always buy a skirt for autumn that I throw on religiously, but as soon as I saw these shorts I thought, yes these will be my autumn staples! Something about being high waisted and turned up, and not tooo short but still short enough for my usual liking. They remind me of the Chloé shorts from last season with the wavy hems. The best thing about them is they are made of a very light, thin suede, so they're super soft and a muted black. Black fabric used to make trousers and shorts usually has a sheen to it, so these feel more expensive! In fact they were- about £40- but they are great quality and I had Weekday blindness. I would have worn them with the amazing suede boots, but as I said before, they are SOLD OUT. Argh. Also, not sure what to do with the waist tie? Tuck it in or leave it down. Hmmmm.
Since Balenciaga sent polkadot tights down the runway it seems they are making a cool come back, rather than a 50's vibe. A girl working in Weekday had on a long, over-sized shirt with ablack shorts, polkadot tights, and wedge lace-up boots, which looked amazing. It's also unbelievable to have such a downsized wardrobe! I can now see the appeal of selling your own old and last season clothes, as I like to hoard things and so often the thought of my wardrobe is scarily chaotic. But having only a few skirts, tops and dresses, and then an array of tights, is a welcome luxury. Although in October I will definitely bring a suitcase of clothes back over!
I swear I do the three same poses all the time. Lace top is from Monki a while ago through Filippa's shopping service and Debenhams polka dot tights.
The Mexican party on Friday was pretty fun; we missed the food but there was plenty of tequila and salsa dancing, not that I know how! We spied an Indian party in the next flats though and popped over for some food! We stayed about ten minutes because it was about 30 guys and maybe two girls, although they did put on the Spice Girls for us and the food was niiice! On Saturday was the opening night of the only club here called XoY, which was about a tenner to get in and £8 for doubles. Scary! We walked in and didn't know where to go, and suddenly a boy came through a random door and said something in Swedish, to which I said 'umm we're english!', and he shouted 'ah, I love you!!' and ran off! Not too bad! People pre-drink heavily here because of the prices and there is much crazy dancing. The Swedish girls will dance and bump into you and not acknowledge it at all, just keep doing it! The boys still all dance in big groups and are seriously all blonde. It felt like the student night because they all looked so young, but all the guys I spoke to had jobs and were at least 25! The student night is on Thursday, which should be interesting as I have classes at 8.30 on Friday and quite a few people are planning to party in Gothenburg that night and stay awake at the train station until the first bus comes on Saturday morning...
Today I was invited by the Taiwanese girls for tea at a seriously cool cafe along the river called Viskan, where many people sit outside under black umbrellas or inside among the flamingo illustrated wallpaper and strange light fixtures. The food here is so good, and eating out or even having lunch is a really drawn-out affair. In coffee shops in England it is easy to overstay your welcome, but here a 'fika' is to have a coffee and a cake, as the Swedes love coffee! And it can last for ages, you are encouraged to chat and lounge around. They have some amazing cakes, bakes, muffins and deserts, not to mention the sandwiches!
Vivian, on the right, got this huge muffin, it was the biggest I've ever seen! And they say many people in Taiwan have blogs for photos, Vivian's is here! I asked why Asian people always pose doing the peace sign and they gave a few answers; it seems you can't pull a cheesy grin for all the many photos they love to take so you can do a peace sign as a smile instead! It also makes it obvious you are having your photo taken so you don't get trampled in the busy streets! If you remember that far back, I was originally going to apply for the Hong Kong exchange but my course didn't offer it this year sadly, so I feel really lucky to learn about some Asian culture here too! The girls are so sweet, I really hope to visit there some day. And their English is amazing, we were talking about models and Gossip Girl! Anybody who is a fan of Jessica Stam and Chuck Bass is a friend of mine! If any of you are about to start back at uni, I encourage you to talk to the Asian exchange students, in fact all the international students!
Phew I am so tired! I've had lectures all day long this week but have been so shopping-starved that I did trek to Gothenburg today! This day might have been a different story as I literally made the bus by about 10 seconds. There are only a few around every 2-3 hours and I woke too late to get the morning bus and just made the lunchtime journey after spotting it as my normal bus pulled into the town centre and running across the street to jump on! If not I would have had to wait around for a few hours and probably would have gone tomorrow instead.
So I was counting my lucky stars as the coach set off on the hours trip, while tuning into some crazy Swedish radio on my non-working phone (thanks Orange). To give you an idea of the music, they played Lady Gaga's Disco Stick followed by The Pretender's Stand by you, then, without any hint of irony, the Venga Boys' Boom Boom Boom Boom. Seriously?!
For some odd reason it was actually a really sunny day! Made a difference to my first visit on Friday where it was extremely windy and drizzled all day. For a Thursday, the town was busy and bustling. The atmosphere is more relaxed because there is no traffic and noise pollution; there are trams and buses and very slow cars, but that's really it. The cobbled streets and river form a stark contrast to the large malls.
I doodled on a little map in a free Gothenburg guide last night to make sure I hit everywhere, even though last time I discovered where the shops I already knew were. The main attraction is the biggest mall in Sweden which is basically like every other mall... lots of random European shops that aren't too special. I went backwards to the Friday visit and started off by walking through here and into H&M. I think the three stores here in Boras definitely don't stock everything and I had a proper mooch; pretty impressed by the goodies they've got in the trend section, lots of long blazers and tapered trousers and shiny stuff.
I quite like this big woolly coat and am having pangs of longing for my coat all the way at home. The weather here is so different every day that there's not much need for wrapping up yet, although there are some great coats around. Are you one of those people that just can't buy certain things? I never buy tops, cardigans or jackets. Something in my mind just bypasses them, maybe because they feel like smaller purchases that I would wear out more quickly.
I spotted this mock-suede dress way up high in a bright purple/mauve that was love at first sight and an SA reached it down for me; Swedish people are all speak literally perfect English, it's great! I was browsing quite slowly as I had just over three hours to kill and there were so many good things that I tried on a whole bunch and ended up with a stack on my arm. H&M always reaches out to less wearable trends but somehow tones them down into something more understated.
Trying on the above velvet harem pants was kind of an experiment. What is it with velvet and velour at the moment that is SO appealing!? It is the nicest fabric to wear. But I remembered that harem pants and me just don't mix. I had a bit of a dilemma about the dress because the fabric is amazing and the purple is really deep and rich, it's just beyond a high street dress. But I'd have to wear some kind of bra with it or else it would just fall down, and my top half is a bit skinny so I never really wear strapless stuff. It was only about £30 anyway and I have a rule that if I'm umming and ahhing over something, I'll just walk away. But I bought it anyway, I can always return it if I do change my mind! I was conscious that I might come home empty handed, which is always a lethal thought when shopping! In fact I bought quite a few things!
Ah I wore the shirt H&M kindly sent me with the huge sleeves with a H&M lace skirt and, for once, plain black tights. I've been looking for some flats everywhere but tbh, EVERYTHING in the shops right now is exactly the same!!! Everything is black, studded, tight, cut-out, one shoulder or sequined. Argh! Every single shop has the same versions or everything, it's really annoying!!
An exception to this is Topshop! At least they have some variety. A few people said the Gothenburg branch was small, but I think it's perfect! It's got two floors and has all the best selling stuff and the whole range of basics. The shoe department is a decent size and they have the Kate Moss stuff too. I doubt they'll have the Christopher Kane range but at £75 for leggings, maybe it's best for me that they don't!
They also have a pretty large Beyond Retro section downstairs! I'm not so much into this kind of vintage anymore, it all feels a bit samey and musty. But it was stocked to the brim with all kinds of dresses and hats and tutus.
I tried on a few things for fun, and took in the long sleeved, tight black dress with the pointy ruffles on the shoulders that seems to be a signature piece but didn't even try it on in the end. It's no fun when you wear something so blatant and I know a lot of girls have this dress! I tried on this skirt as I haven't bought a skirt in forever, but at £45, I left it. As I said, my top half isn't my best feature so I don't have too many little tops to wear with little skirts. Stick to dresses I say!
I thought the mannequin display was pretty crazy too, but they're going for a witchy theme this season right? I wandered into FACE and saw an amazing neon green nail polish but didn't see any eye shadow colours that grabbed me so wandered on!
On the hunt for Weekday, I popped into BikBok. I might be wrong but I think there's one on Oxford Street in London? I wasn't expecting much but this shop is actually pretty good! It's got all the things the other shops have but the prices are more reasonable, and it has a few hidden gems like these great suede skirts that are SO soft. They have velvet leggings for only about £9 too. I actually bought this dress with the leopard print but I'm having second thoughts as the picture isn't so great. In real life the whole dress is black so you only faintly see the leopard print, and the pattern is in a thin velvet. I got the next size up by the way, I don't want a show-cha your chocha moment!
I also bought some legging with cut out plaits up the side, which come in handy when there are so many parties to go to here that I want to dress up for, but don't want to wear an outfit I would wear to a club. Then onto the main dream of the trip: Weekday. Namely for those Weekday boots, but we'll get to that sad, sorry tale in a minute. Weekday is INCREDIBLE! Elisabeth you would love it!
The larger store has this huge, open door with crazy wallpaper either side of the entrance and a few steps...
Then inside it's almost like a gallery. In fact I think there is a gallery in the middle? Anyway the first section of the shop is like a huge gallery. The clothes are laid out clearly but there are a good few sizes of each item and some are hung in a decorative way. It almost has the coolness of a boutique or really expensive store, but with non of the scariness or intimidation because it's big enough to get lost in and browse freely without it being silent and awkward, and you are free to browse through a small rail for your size and carry a few items around to try on. The people in there are so COOL. The people who work there are insanely dressed, they just look amazing. Classic Swedish style, really tall girls with even taller boots. And then the people that shop there dress so well too. The groups of boys shopping in there are divine! But it's not scary because everyone in Sweden minds their own business and are so polite.
As you get to the centre of the shop, there is the gallery-type bit that is all painted white and had some strange newspapers hung in some kind of artistic manner (haha, what do I know?!). Then you come into the larger part of the store at the back, with all these hanging metal structures and loads of clothes. They stock the whole Cheap Monday range and at first I couldn't work out which side was the boys and which was the girls because it's pretty similar!
The clothes are incredible. Really well-cut, well structured clothes in beautiful fabrics. The fuss is in the details rather than obvious embellishments. I never thought to much of it before and wavered towards Monki, but Weekday is a great shop. It's the kind of place that would satisfy your needs and has enough stock to have a really good browse. I was looking for those boots that I showed in the previous post, but in black suede. I didn't even see any in here so I decided to go back to the smaller branch where I had first seen them after. They have loads of the patent kind but they're just not the same! Now I'm kind of swaying towards them but I'm not sure when I'll go back. I loved the lacing on these dark blue boots but thought the white fur was kind of random?!
Also thought these cardigans with the draped picture of a fox around the neck were pretty cool, they have it as a jumper too.
But most things were typically cool Swedish style; black, plain, and well-cut. I found a floor length skirt!! Sadly it was a crazy £35 and was literally a length of material, so I could probably make one myself even? I can only imagine wearing it with those suede boots anyway, so c'est la vie! The changing rooms were certainly an experience. They're at the back of the shop with white shiny doors, if you could call them that. You know in a wild west movie and the saloon has those doors that are head-height and have a metre of free space at the bottom. Well the double changing room doors are like that. If a slightly tall man walked by, he would be able to look over! And they are a diamond shape, so in one mirror it feels like you have no space, but in the other they feel like a decent size. And everyone can see your legs. Very strange!! I bought some very light suede shorts that are extremely soft and very Chloé. I thought it makes a nice change to skirts all the time, and shorts look great with polka dot tights and wedge boots. Argh I need those boots!!!!!!!!!!
Here's a little pic of Din Sko, black boots as far as the eye can see! I have black boots at home though so am hesitant to buy more but they are such decent prices!
Ah Monki!! Now Swedish fashion seems split down the middle of the above-mentioned tight, studded, cut-out, blackness, or anything folky (the Swedes do love nature!). Monki now seems like an odd little shop because it's quite retro and weird. Check out this girl chaining up her bike before going in to have a look round- so cool!!
The shop has crazy carpets and oddly shaped fittings at strange angles. It's quite different and cool in an almost Urban Outfitters way, but much more fun. I saw some jeans-come-leggings (not leggings with a jean pattern, eek!) that I should have tried on because now I'm pondering them. They weren't stone wash but had a print that almost looked like stormy clouds...? Imagine!
They have some fab coats and lots of stock, although it's quite pushed together so it's harder to browse. Nothing really caught my eye even though it was very new and fresh (and not black and tight and studded and cut-out and...). It's not toooo cheap but I'm a bit sick of flared skirts and cute bodies that I'm longing for new things. Bring on the fashion weeks!
I hunted through the second and smaller Weekday store but they only had the suede boots in a 38, and I'm a 39. Nooooo! They are heaven! I asked the SA, who looked amazing in a black sheer top, but she said the boots had sold out in two days and people kept ringing them up to see if they had any sizes left. Hopefully they will re-release them! Please Weekday! They're only about £50 too, and for suede wedge boots, that's pretty damn good!
I've been very curious to go to Acne, but was quite disappointed. The shop is almost like a show room and is very tiny. They have hardly any clothes and I didn't recognise anything, so only spent about two minutes in there!
I'd googled some vintage shops and there are a few here but it's all a bit samey now in vintage boutiques. There's only so many dresses and jumpers I can see!
I'd sort of avoided looking at the time all day, because there were very few buses and I thought I'd base my choice on whenever I had finished shopping. There weren't really any more shops I wanted to go to and I'd bought enough! I didn't really understand the coach station so ended up missing it anyway, so I got the train instead. And as I was checking all the newsagents at the station for bloody British Elle (where are you?!?!?!), I found the holy grail: Look magazine!!!! Sure it was last week's, but who cares! Yesss!
A young girl was waiting for the train too and said something to me in Swedish, which of course I didn't understand. She sat by me for the whole hours train journey and spoke such great English for only being eleven years old! She was so sweet and now I have another Swedish friend, haha!
Tomorrow I will show you everything I bought in detail as I will attempt to take some photos of myself! It's been so long it seems! There is a Mexican party tomorrow night and on Saturday we are actually going to a club!! Praise the Lord!! I have no idea what to wear but last week I bought some lilac hair, so it should be good! I will explain later! In the mean time, I must go to the one alcohol shop and spend £20 on a bottle of vodka, boo. In fact no, I must go to bed! My legs are killing me from all the walking! xx
I'm not one of those people who ignores trends or is inspired solely by their present desire; I love trends! Mostly to follow and browse the blogs for, but there's always the question in my mind, 'ooo can I pull that off?'. We all know shoulder pads are all over this season like the plague and I was so ecstatic to find an amazing haberdashery shop (be it a very expensive one) that it was the opportune excuse to make my own. This was sparked by a Face Hunter pic of the outfit from Vanilla Scented, who made some amazing shoulder pads from a tutorial by a lady called Elise here at Anywho.
A bit confusing but bare with me! I've tried padding the shoulders of jackets and tops when trying on outfits, but it just doesn't work if there was no room for them in the first place! So on the outside, they must go. I like them and urge you to try this because they're not the most obvious of things. Sure they are right by your head, but shoulders are quite a small part of yourself and when whipping by someone in the streets, it is not immediately noticeable. The whole point is the silhouette, which immediately makes you walk taller and feel generally cooler, powerful and owning your pavement space.
I made these in about half an hour the night before I went to Gothenburg with the Textiles school, because I had the urge all week to wear a lot of black. I only safety pinned them to the shoulders of last year's Topshop blazer and it was such a windy day that our boat tour got canceled and they kept whipping up in the air! So for a lot of the time I had vertical peaks on my shoulders, hmmm. But I found a way to subtly hold them in place, as well as keep my hair and bag under control. Also it might be useful to note the velvet leggings really make dresses ride up!
Since I went around with friends, I didn't really hardcore shop but more took in the city and got a feel for how it is laid out. Sweden is fond of malls it seems. Since the only club here isn't open tomorrow like we thought, in the morning I am taking the hour trip back there to shop myself out! I did take photos last time but tomorrow I'll take more and do a better post about the city.
For now here is how I made the shoulder pads, much like the original tutorials!
I found some very concave (or is it convex?) shoulder pads for 350SEK I think, which is about £3. Then I picked up some wool/felt like lengths of random black pattern and some fringing. I also picked up a mini sewing kit, which was pretty damn handy! All came to around £10 in the end, but I be you could get the equivalent for less than a fiver in the UK.
I just laid a strip across the middle of the pad and pinned it, then cut off the excess. I laid a piece either side, which was enough to cover the whole area, and pinned them too.
Then I pinned on the fringing, not sitting it right at the edge of the pad because I wanted it to hang off the very edge at the top of the shoulder, and the pad curves round the shoulder too much.
Then I did a poor, poor sewing job (i.e. a few botched stitches and pricked some fingers) and cut off any excess, and um, that's it!
You can kiiind of see them in this pic which I took in H&M, but I will take some better ones. I found a way to balance my camera on some shelves which is much better than a £50 tripod from here! I think they will look better with even more stuff added, so I'll revisit the sewing shop and raid everything that's black and textured.
I still have this horrible thought constantly that says 'remember, you still have LOADS of clothes at home, why are you buying more???' but it must be ignored! I'm going back for a weekend in October with an empty suitcase and coming back with a full one most definitely! Probably full of alcohol, chocolate and Look magazines but I'm sure there will be some room for more clothes!
But it's not like I'll be buying things anything like I already own so my list to look out for tomorrow is a sweeping floor or calf length skirt, some kind of chunky knit to last until I go home and can bring back my coat, any kind of jumpsuit, anything made of white or cream lace, embellished tights, and I need to check out the above Weekday boots again in suede because they were amazing and that shop is incredible!!! I wish I could fly you all to it!
P.S. Still thinking about the shopping service, but it could only be for Gina Tricot and Din Sko anyway. Will keep you posted!
Thank you everyone for reading and commenting on the last post, it really means so much! Like some of you said, changes like this and even normal life has extreme highs and lows, and I had a sudden hit of culture shock and home sickness and sickness in general all at once. This blog is one of the only tastes of normality I can actually access so I am grateful to have readers like you! You have to feel the lows to appreciate the highs right?
But this is normality now and it's only been three weeks so I've gotta like it or lump it! And despite wobbly moments, I'm having an incredible time. I think the day I wrote that post was after my first lecture day, which was strange and tiring. Who has a lecture from 8.30-5?! Well I do! And I don't know how it's possible to get through but it is! In England I'm in snoozeville after an hour but the lectures are cool here because the lecturers are extremely kind and friendly, and are in fact a married couple! The first lecture with the hubby started off by him playing a David Bowie track on youtube while we all sat confused and a little bewildered by all that makeup at 9am. But they are both lovely and it's an environment where even I might raise my hand to contribute...! There are around four breaks in the day, but it's definitely way too long to sit in one room looking at one board.
In lectures I'm hanging out with a group of really cool fashionable girls, almost all German! It makes me feel quite lazy and apologetic that everyone around has to speak English whereas I don't ever need to speak anything but. Well that's changed now since I started Swedish classes! Ah I am terrible at languages but since I'm here, hopefully it will be easier to pick up! Having trouble with sounding out the vowels and the extra vowels; å, ä and ö.
I think the picture was accidentally missed out of the post where I showed what I'd bought so far (apart from extortionate beauty products), but I found some velvet leggings in Lindex which I would live in all Winter if I could! I like wearing them with all black because everything I own in the colour seems to be a different texture. I brought one pair of trousers but they haven't seem daylight still...
As far as parties go, I joined the Warwick girls and some other Italianos and Frenchies for a birthday tea party which had games such as musical chairs and pass the parcel, where I got this dare. This was definitely one of the more modest forfeits, and later someone suggested playing pass the cucumber, which ended up being pass the ice, you know the game you might have played when you were about 15?! Haha am I complaining about exchanging ice with Italians? I think not!
On Friday I went to Gothenburg!! I'll post about this shortly as my new favourite shop is Weekday and I had a Topshop fix. Although I must say it's much like England, in the way that you have your 5ish favourite shops and the rest are just blind to you. There were a lot of filler shops, hopefully I haven't discovered all the malls yet! That night was a party in our block, which I went to for a bit but that's what sparked the post below as I felt a bit out of place. I still don't like rabbiting about myself, but now there is more common ground and things will only improve! The one and ONLY club here also doesn't open for another WEEK! The student pub is fine but there's only so many bottles of Smirnoff or Budweiser you can take! We all got dressed up on Saturday and went for a meal before hitting a bar that we thought was free, but turned out to be about £7 to get in?! I've never paid that for a club before, let alone a bar in the 'most boring town in Sweden' (apparently!). The only club 'X and Y' (hahaha) opens on Thursday and so I am counting down to then! Might bring out the playsuit, still on the hunt for Sven remember. Although Spanish is fast becoming my favourite nationality. I promise next time there is a photo of the guys here that I am in, I will post it here!
We finished the weekend with a trip to the Zoo for all new students. I made friends with soft goats and some scratchy piglets, waved to a joint land of elephants, giraffes and zebras, and watched a monkey eat snot. Things are looking up!
Maybe because it's September and we are poised on the verge of a new season and new shows and new wardrobes, I've got my blog love back and find myself thinking 'ooo I'll blog about this' all day again. All your positive comments are really helping while I'm here, especially if I feel a bit lonely. I will take a video next time I spot some crazy Swedes dancing but I'm not sure I can post any pictures of the guys here, I'll try to find a valid reason!
Being here is a total rollercoaster of culture shock and new things and it's just hit me, I feel so tired. I just realised that most people who came here came with friends, or at least people they knew. Before I thought coming by myself was a good thing because I thought everyone would be in the same boat. But there seem to be so few people that did come independently and it can be a bit lonely. Being with people you know means there's always someone looking out for you, like always people who have your back. Meeting new people and going to parties is so much easier when your friends are around to always talk to you and go around with and have familiar things to talk about. And they're there no matter what. So it's hard not already having a secure group of friends or some people to chat honestly with. It's hard to sort of feel like a tag along often and always think who am I going to lectures with, who am I sitting by. Most people will speak in their groups in their own language and it can be a bit strained if they must speak english for you and it can never be as natural.
I guess you do learn about yourself when you do things like this and I don't really like to force myself upon people or 'work a room', I don't really ever force anything. In places like this I feel like if people want to chat to me then they will, but if they don't then I think they must not want to. I'm not shy but I prefer to listen and see what other people are about rather than voicing my opinions or telling stores that people don't know anything about, I don't like to assume people will be interested. It's a bit intimidating being here as I am by myself and there's no one obliged to look out for me. People have set friends already, not that they only stick with them but that they can be much more confident and act exactly how they would at home usually. It's like they still have a bit of normality and home around them and don't have to adapt. I don't have much say in what happens if I'm with a group of people and so you just have to go with their flow.
I have been so lucky though to meet the english girls from Warwick and they are so considerate and including, and a few I can see being friends for a long time after this trip. And the girls from Manchester don't live where I live but they are really friendly and I went round Gothenburg with them today. I didn't know them previously though and they are close friends so I'm not really part of their group. It's OK not to be in any group but everyone has previously formed circles of close friends, it can feel a bit desolate. I'm conscious of imposing myself on people.
I think when you arrive everyone is new and you put on you brave face and have no inhibitions as everything is new, but now you can and want to do nothing but be your natural self, and it's so tiring being on a campaign to meet people or make a mark at a party or make sure you have people to go to lectures with and go to lunch with constantly. I love doing things by myself like shopping and exploring and maybe that part of me holds me back a bit and warns me not to impose myself on others. I always think maybe they don't like me, maybe they want to be rid of me.
In freshers year practically everyone arrives alone but in my first year I did feel a bit insecure, mainly because there were so many amazing looking and confident and bright girls. Here I've never applied so much makeup in my life, I don't know if it's the water change but my skin has been terrible. I can always pick faults and never feel content right now. Avoiding mirrors totally! Things like that and even writing this here makes you want to reverse back into your shell a little and just be with yourself for a bit, which you have to scold yourself for and I think stop thinking about yourself and can't you go and be with everyone like everyone else. I think things happen for a reason and it feels like I've been here for so long already, I don't want to force anything. It's hard work. Maybe sometimes you are your own worst enemy. There was a pool party a few nights ago for all new students and as soon as I saw it on the schedule I ruled it totally out because I knew it would be more anguish than fun. I wasn't even going to contemplate 'right, this party means swimwear' because I don't actually want to send my mind into that black hole! I think I'm so tired, I've been ill with something like freshers flu and everything is constantly so new and out of control, I haven't felt totally well and comfortable yet. All these events are organised here and there's something you always seem to have to go to as there's no reason why you wouldn't want to. After being a second year and going out whenever I wanted and making group decisions with my friends as a house, it's so different. I've never gone on organised activities in the day, at home they are always clubbing or pub crawl events. I don't have a phone here as mine if locked and I have no idea how to contemplate posting anything home. It's hard when you get letters about rent and I have no idea what they mean or if I have to do something. I can't ring my bank or have access to all my clothes and things. Each day is a challenge and you don't have control. The English thing to do is almost to get drunk and throw yourself into things but I don't want to have to drink to do that. I feel a bit intimidated by the cool people here and the way they have their own songs and friends and even languages. I am having so many experiences that are unreal and am really happy to be here, I just always worry in the back of my mind.
The only shops there seems to be in Borås that I already knew are Gina Tricot, Lindex, Din Sko and a few other shoe shops. Din Sko is seriously cool, I'll have to take some pictures. Basically has around 20 different versions of black lace up boots. Nice!
I'm debating whether to start a service to let you guys order stuff from here that I can buy, but I know a few other bloggers do this so don't want to steal their ideas! But if you want anything from Gina Tricot, the headquarters is here in Borås and I'd be happy to help you out! Sadly I won't be buying a coat from there as mine from last year is still perfectly good and it's quite a mainstream shop, so you might see some twins around town. But you lucky Brits should take a look at their seriously cute offers.
The first time I went I got this dress, which looks quite sad in these pictures! I'm hunting for a tripod shop but still haven't found one so hold tight for outfit shots. It's just a tube dress but has cut out bows at the back and a bow print. I also got the studded bag, even though it holds nothing!! But here all I need is money, ID and makeup, as my phone doesn't work here and everyone else takes cameras out, so it's OK!
I don't think they have MAC here but the Make Up Store seems to be the equivalent and has some great products. I only bought a blending brush and some brush cleaner and it's totally on MACs price wavelength... hmmm...
The H&Ms are the same, like I said before, but sell makeup, beauty products and toiletries?! It really pained me to buy a facewash for like £8 but that's how pricey things are!
Righties, I'll cut this short because I'm starting to forget everything that has happened and need to get back to fashion very soon!! Sooo in a nutshell, since I arrived on the Tuesday afternoon, I've waffled up to the International students' party on the Friday where...
You were meant to wear the colours of your flag, but as a current theme in being here, I feel a bit too old for all these group activities! Not that I don't like themes (I love themes!), but many people are in their twenties and I feel a bit more independent after being a fresher two whole years ago? Well I wore what I wanted like I said, but as I brought a truck load of makeup I painted a little union jack on my cheek. This was looking a little more like a big, blue blob as the night went on, but at least it got people asking! The crazy dancing continued in the exchange students' party but sadly there was no bar. Being here really shows how much Brits do drink, as it was weird being in a club without having a drink. Not that I get trashed constantly, but it's just strange not to mix drinking with socialising so much. The Iranian guy from my flat arrived, though he's been here for a few years, and one of the Warwick girls and I were like yay, show us where a bar is!
We went off on a little adventure but decided not to pay 80SEK (about £7.60) to get into a bar nearby (ouch!) and so went to an open bar playing house music. It was very white, very cool, and very Swedish. We got some shots that tasted like mouthwash and a cider that tasted like fizzy squash and after a while started talking to Swedish people. Despite the guide books and lecturers saying 'Swedish people are very shy, reserved, and closed', all you need to do is say, 'hiiiii, I'm English!' and you've made lots of new friends! The moral is, Swedish people are as friendly (and in some cases, forward and a bit pervy) as you would find people in England! But with a lot more style.
As we were leaving the bar, there were two girls (with hair buns and over sized, knee length shirts and geek glasses) throwing some cer-azy moves. I thought 'heh, they are doing some cer-azy moves, how funny', but no, Swedish people have no other moves than cer-azy moves...
It's pretty cool to party with Mexicans and Spaniards. And a smattering of German, Swedish, English, etc! The difference to English parties is very apparent though. Say an English party might involve a LOT of alcohol, a sudden turn from normal conversation to many, many drunk people and crazy Skins-like behavior, people coupling off, maybe some crazy dancing, a few people passing out, and a big, old mess. Our party was mainly Spanish and Mexican and almost all guys. This meant absolutely no coupling off, sudden bursts of songs about tequila, and many, many English indie songs being played. It's very funny to hear ten Spanish boys singing Mr Brightside in their accents, and then Wonderwall. This is the thing, English boys are so forward that no one knows what to do here. What happens in Spain and Italy? Everyone seems so innocent here, my freshers week at home saw loads of hook ups but here, nothing of the sort. To conclude, there are models right in front of us but we have no idea what to do. It's not like England, the boys don't come to you! Or maybe they just don't like what they see!
By Sunday I was cream crackered (read: knackered) but one of the Taiwanese girls invited me to an Asia party over facebook! I was a bit nervous to go to a party by myself but I threw on my favourite sailor top and popped down the the 3rd floor. And to add to the amazing loveliness, the girl called Vivian ( on the left) said she had a gift for me and gave me a little Hello Kitty poster!! There are again a million photos of it so I will try to find them! The one above is from the welcome party which I stole from facebook! We went to each other's rooms and they saw the Hello Kitty fest goin' on in mine, ah they are so nice! I keep inviting everyone I meet to come to England, my Mom won't mind!
On the Monday was another introduction day. Then we realised that there were loads of Swedish freshers too who were just starting university, and they were hilariously being led around the city by rope! Seeing fifty students holding onto a rope in a big, snaking line is very strange and looked quite embarrassing! They all looked quite scared. There was tour of the city organised by the student reps but literally everyone went off shopping or to sleep. So the only people doing it were the Warwick girls and I who went along for laughs (and felt a bit sorry for the student reps) and the Taiwanese girlies. I might take up their habit of putting up an umbrella in the sun because those first few days were hot! Sadly now it is rain rain RAIN.
That night we knew the student pub was opening for the first time. I was wearing my white girly dress, the one I wore to Miu Miu a few posts down, and just wore that without tights. I saw some Textiles girls on the bus who said there was a textiles party, so I got off with them but we literally saw the party pass us in the street. Turns out it was for the new Textiles freshers. This meant the pub was pretty busy, with a massive queue. I learnt a few things on this night...
1. The student pub is actually more like a club.
2. Swedish people definitely get very drunk, as one of the 'leaders' for the freshers started singing Swedish in our faces, heeelp!
3. You can only buy bottles of very expensive alcopops/beer.
4. We had great trouble getting in because we didn't pay our union fee, not that we could have yet.
5. Swedish boys are so beautiful. They just look so healthy, their skin is amazing! And their clothes are so crisp and light and just stylish.
6. But they dance so strangely!!! It's all boys on the dance floor and they totally bust some moves. In England, boys might shove each other or mosh, but here they break out the dance moves and get totally into the song. People definitely dance like no one's watching, throwing crazy shapes all over the place.
7. Boys are too preoccupied with dancing so there is no grinding/pulling/pulling attempts. Apparently girls will signal to the guys if they like them because the boys are shy! What? Can any Swedish readers please explain how clubbing works here because I am very confused.
8. You will feel very under-dressed in a 5 year old's white dress and go home quite quickly!!
Tuesday was our Textiles introduction, where I found my timetable is SPARSE. Seriously, I only need to do around two classes a term, compared to about six in England. Strangely though, I am in 8.30am- 5pm for maybe one or two days a week, which sounds pretty painful!! I had lunch with some textiles girls in a very cool cafe, with a humongous sandwich and free tea or coffee! People definitely do lunch here.
During this week I also went to the supermarket a few times, where each time I managed to buy syrup gloop instead of juice. You cannot buy anything in small quantities, everything is in major bulk. I paid my rent in the bank, where you have to take a number and wait to be called. We saw a fashion show that lasted about two seconds (see above). On Thursday we went back to the student bar but made a bigger night of it. I'm quite friendly with one of the Warwick girls who seems totally on my wavelength, but we kept being left to carry on partying while everyone goes home earlier! So that night we carried on dancing and then sort of lost everyone. We did find a takeaway, and made some more Swedish friends who rang a taxi for us, but then they got in!! We got home OK though, but I am dying to go to a real club. Apparently there is only one here and it's not even open yet! We are looking at staying in Gothenburg for a night, can any Swedish readers recommend any clubs there?
On Saturday we had a forest party by the lake, which I thought would be people getting drunk in a forest, but it was more about marshmallows and jumping over the fire. Again it really highlights how the English drink a lot in social situations, that parties are immediately linked with getting drunk, at least for young people. I might have to buy some sensible clothes sometime soon as wearing a skirt to the forest got me some confused comments but hey, I wore two pairs of tights and knee high socks too!
So that's basically all up to now. Here is certainly a culture shock, but it's very refreshing to not understand anything around you. I can wear whatever I like but don't need to be afraid of what anyone thinks, as I wouldn't understand anyway! A group of teens said something to me when I was walking back to the halls and I was like 'umm, English?' and they all started saying 'hello madame, hello!' haha! At first I kept feeling like I was doing things wrong, like sitting in the wrong seats on the bus. The teens here are all scene/emo kids, and the style is very swedish and relaxed. In England people are more judgemental and form opinions of everything they encounter, but here it's more like 'live and let live.'
At some points I've felt a bit homesick, but that's when maybe it's a bit awkward because you don't know so many people. Also it's horrible to share a kitchen with so many people and have to wear makeup ALL THE TIME. Damn you hot guys!! But skype is the best invention ever so I can talk to my family and friends from home. I'm going back in October for my friend's 21st and will be bringing a full suitcase back! There are so many things I want from my wardrobe!!
p.s. I seem to have freshers/international/erasmus flu, argh!