2018-11-10

Leta Lestrange Cosplay


Hello all you lovely people,
I am here with a new blog post about my first ever cosplay! Yay!!

For years I have been interested in cosplaying. It seems like loads of fun and I've always wanted to try it, but I've been hesitant... For many reasons. One, being that I can't sew. Well... I suppose that's not true anymore, because I did sew! I made a whole dress, from my own pattern and with a tricky fabric, and all the obstacles could still not stop me! I actually made my own dress! I can barely believe it myself.




The second reason why I've previously hesitated to cosplay was that I just never found the right character. I didn't know who to cosplay. As a woman of colour I have always wanted to cosplay a character of colour too. I wanted a character that was a woman of colour, because it is important to me that we are seen! As the massive Potterhead that I am, I've always wanted to cosplay a Harry Potter character, but there hasn't been many options (pre Black-Hermione), and the options I had I didn't quite like. Enter Fantastic Beasts! Suddenly there are many more POC in the Potterverse, and they are interesting characters!




Leta Lestrange interested me from the get-go. Her relationship with Newt is something I'm very curious about and her character seems to be a complex one (which always sparks my interest). When I saw the costume that Zoë Kravitz wears as Leta Lestrange in the second installment of the Fantastic Beasts series; The Crimes of Grindelwald, I knew I had found my character to cosplay!




With the seven photos of the costume that has been released so far I embarked on my journey of sewing myself Leta Lestrange's burgundy dress. It's a very fun design, there's a theme of triangles on this dress. The sleeves have triangular pieces and there's a cape that is attached in a triangle in the back. The dress is however softened by the circular patterns on the skirt and the elegant cape that drapes the back of the dress.




It took me a little more than a week and a half to finish the dress. I won't lie - parts of it was tricky, but it was so much fun, and I really think that sewing can become a pastime of mine. My sister and I defied the cold weather to take some photos at one of the oldest buildings in my town. It was built in the 1920's and currently holds a school. It really has a gorgeous architecture that fits nicely with the era of The Crimes of Grindelwald.




Do you cosplay? If yes, what made you start? And how do you choose which character to cosplay? I had endless fun putting this together, and I do believe I can call myself a cosplayer now. A Potterverse cosplayer, at that! As of today, it is three days left until I see The Crimes of Grindelwald (*excited*), I'm seeing it on the 13th of November and I can't wait! Are you seeing it? When, and how excited are you? And what are your hypotheses on the new characters?




So the dress is made by me, but the wig is from Amazon, and the wand is Leta Lestrange's wand from Noble Collection. The book I'm holding in some of the photos is actually a stationery set made by MinaLima, that I got at the WB Harry Potter studio tour. All the photos are taken by my lovely sister, and edited by her and me.





Much love,
Mona

2018-11-04

Magical Portrait



Hello all,
Hope you are well. Today I thought I'd tell you about my amazing experience getting my magical portrait shot by the fantastic photographer Xavier Boldú (@xavierboldu). In September my sister and I flew to London, for the sole purpose of the portrait. We did do other things in London as well, we made it into a whole trip, but the main reason for going was the portrait.

Now if you're a Potterhead and don't know about Xavier then you are definitely missing out. Xavier is a freelance photographer based in London, and is currently working on a series of magical Wizarding Portraits. I contacted Xavier after seeing his amazing portraits on instagram, to see if we could work something out, he was the sweetest and I managed to purchase a commission, and with that the excitement started.

In the process of shooting.
Photo: My sister.

Xavier and I planned the portrait together. What is so brilliant about Xavier's portraits is that he finds something about the person in the portraits to include, a characteristic, or a hobby to display. For example for my portrait we decided to go with a potions theme, and portray me as a potions master, because I'm in the laboratory a lot in my work as a cancer researcher. For other portraits he's had bakers and tailors, collectors and merchants.

"The wand chooses the wizard, Harry".
Photo: My sister.

The day of the portrait my sister and I went over to Xavier's flat to take the photo. We were met by Xavier and his assistant photographer Harry (@focusframe_), a whole lot of props, including a beautiful wand made especially for me by Brown and Lobban (@brownandlobban), and the fantastic velvet costume that I would wear for the portrait. Xavier and Harry had earlier on found the gorgeous costume from National Theatre's Costume Hire (@nationaltheatrecostumehire).

 Admiring my wand from Brown and Lobban.
Photo: My sister.

Xavier continued to style every prop in minuscule detail for ultimate perfection. And then the magic of Xavier's work started. I had the best time ever with the boys and my sister. We had loads of fun while getting the portrait up to the standards where Xavier was happy with it, and the results really speak for itself.

The whole experience was one of the best of my life, it was so much fun and magical, and I feel like I made great friends in Xavier and Harry. We had tons of fun, I'm extremely happy with the portrait and will cherish it forever.

Harry, Xavier and me.
Gif: My sister.

The Wizarding Portraits series is still in the making, so I'm leaving all of Xavier's information down here in case anyone, like me, feel the need to contact him for a portrait. I'll say this much: It was some of the most fun I've ever had,  Xavier and Harry are super sweet and the portrait is magical beyond belief. It is also possible to support Xavier's work by becoming his patron on Patreon.


Until next time.
Much love,
Mona

2018-10-14

Autumn Allure


Hi all,
I've been longing to write a bit so here comes a blog post.
In the latest post I wrote about what had happened in 2017 and the beginning of 2018, and since then really nothing has changed. I'm still waiting for therapy, I'm still on sick leave, I'm still not doing any research, and I still feel a bit hopeless. It's difficult to keep up the hope when you still have 6 months to go until you get any proper professional help.

The physicians, that only contact me by telephone, keep changing my medicine because I'm still not doing well, but in reality they know, just like me, that the best treatment for depression and OCD is CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). The problem is that there aren't enough resources for mental illness. There is so much more funding for research of physical illnesses than there is for mental illnesses. I, myself, work with cancer research, but even I think that more money needs to be put into mental health/illness research rather than physical illnesses. I'm not saying that physical illnesses are unimportant, but if we keep saying that mental health is as important as physical health, but then do nothing to validate this saying the stigma attached to mental health issues will never ever come to an end.



Luckily I have the support of family and friends, and I'm dancing a lot to try and help me get out. I've also noticed that going into woods is very soothing. Anyone that knows me at all, knows that I am not an outdoorsy type of person not in the slightest. I much prefer to sit in my armchair at home with a nice book or a cuppa. However, autumn has a unique allure that draws me out into the woods.


Just a week ago my sister and I went out and photographed a bit. I was wearing my Son de Flor dress that in itself has an allure that can't quite be described. This dress makes me want to twirl to the end of the world and back. It a magical dress from an equally magical brand.






Dress: Son de Flor (here)
Cardigan: Lindex (old)
Belt: Can't remember
Scarf: Through LootCrate's Wizarding World Subscription Box (here)
Boots: A sporty shop in London that I can't remember the name of

Which season has an allure to you? For me, it is always autumn. The colours of the trees, the crunching of the leaves under your lace up boots. The cold sharp air and the pale sun, all have a special place in my heart.




I hope you are all enjoying the season. Much love,
Mona

2018-08-07

Dungaree fun



Hello everyone,

Last week I posted a mini blog post with a fun little video that I had made, but I thought I’d write a proper post today. Not regarding the previous post as a “real” blog post the latest post was in the end of July of 2017. So, what has happened since?

Well, to be honest, a lot has happened, the most noticeable would be that my hair is now lighter and shorter. In the post back in 2017 I wrote that I am having a hard time fitting blogging into my life, and I wrote I didn’t know if it was a lack of time, inspiration or content, and now in hindsight I can say that  it was all three with the addition of a deteriorating mental health. At the end of last summer my depression was creeping back, and I was frustrated that it was back. It got quite dark and I once again questioned my being alive, as I often do when the depression is back. I had ended all my medication, but had to see a doctor to get help, because I was very quickly slipping into a very very dark place. I was once again started on new medicine. I did not get better and that took it’s toll on my relationship with my then-boyfriend. I spent the better time of the autumn getting on and off different medication and basically crying. Feeling like life was, once again, really tough. I was lucky to have the support of beautiful friends, and the undying love from my family (that I could not live without). I also started seeing a therapist, which is expensive but was very much worth it at that time. In December I broke up with my then-boyfriend, and post-Christmas things started getting a little better. I got a medicine that worked a little bit better and things weren’t black as night, but more of a grey.





For most of the spring I don’t feel like I quite did anything at all. I was very busy though. My dearest sister got her PhD degree and spring sprung like springs do. I busied myself with dancing. Dance has been one of my life’s saviours. When I dance I am so focused that I am completely in the moment. There is no time to worry about the future or thresh in the past, it is only then and there. It is only now. I feel like I am completely in the moment and completely gone, all at the same time. It is nothing quite like it and I love it. Dance is a great therapy for me.

In march I found out that it will take one year before I will be able to see a psychiatrist. I am currently in the queue, waiting for that. And in the meantime I feel like my life is on hold. I write a lot, about how I feel and updates on Instagram (@curlsncake). I wrote a post on Instagram about my current feelings only a couple of days ago. Like I already mentioned, I feel like my life is in a pause. I’m not well enough to do my research, and am on sick leave from that. The research itself is bad for my health as it is a very highly demanding job and it gives me anxiety. I doubt my abilities and I feel like I will never be good or smart enough to manage my research, so I worry. I worry about who I am, if I am not a scientist. I worry about what my future holds, if anything at all. And I worry about my worth. I feel worthless and stupid. My depression however is better. I have bad days, but most are okay. Not good, but manageable. It’s just that my anxiety is so high and I feel like there isn’t one thing that I’m not worried about. I feel very unsure about everything…

I try to be creative though, with baking and makeup. Coordinating outfits and dancing when I can. I feel very tired very often, and most often than not I need breaks to be able to finish something, because my energy is low. I meet up with kind and good friends that give me joy, and I hang a lot on Instagram. I’ve noticed that being creative helps. It gives something to the soul that truly nothing else can give you. And that, my friends, is why this blog is back in business. I think I need this blog now more than ever. If you are reading this, then I am so happy that also you are back here. Thank You!



Finally, on to this outfit. I adore these dungarees from Lucy & Yak. I saw these dungarees in lilac on Instagram worn by none other than the gorgeous Magnus, and she suggested I get a red pair. As the faithful follower I am, I got a red pair, and I am in LOVE! These dungarees are the comfiest thing I’ve ever worn, and it’s super duper cute too. I just love them so much. I wore it with a t-shirt from Monki and I was good to go. My sister and I shot these photos and I had so much fun. These dungarees make me sillier than what I am, and I just felt like a happy, playful child in them!


T-shirt: Monki (here)
Dungarees: Lucy and Yak (here)
Shoes: Ecco (old)

What do you think about dungarees? Are they in or out? Would you wear them, and if yes, in which colours?




Once again, I want to thank you so much for reading this. You really are wonderful people made of diamonds and pure gold, and I think you are all wonderful.


Much love,
Mona