Thursday, 29 September 2011

I'm Poor but I Still Bought Stuff. Naturally.

This next post is just one which chronicles some of my recent purchases. I have been rather poor lately and have thus been sticking to charity shops, sales, second hand sections and cheap brands. I picked up some pretty cool stuff and I figured it would be fun to show what I got. I personally love these kinds of posts on other blogs so I thought I'd give it a go. I also like the idea of showing that gothy stuff doesn't have to be expensive. Alternative shops in Ireland are really over-priced, you're talking 60 euro for something by a brand such as Criminal Damage with a bit of lace on it. I used to be really bad for spending lots of money on stuff from those kinds of places but not any more! 

The red see through top was 3 euro in a charity shop
The black and white skirt was 5 euro in Penneys/Primark
The long black gypsy skirt was 4 euro in a charity shop

Emily the Strange book 8.99 euro in the second hand section of Chapters in Dublin
Bite me 50 cent in a charity shop
Interview with the Vampire 50 cent in a charity shop (I have a version of it already but this one matches the artwork on my copy of The Vampire Lestat!)

Some of my favourite quotes from this Emily The Strange comic book are:

'People often ask me why I dress in black. I say it's because nobody has invented anything darker'

When asked what's darker then dark:

'Black belt black cat ninjas in their darkest hour'
'When Darth Vader gets asked to come to the dark side by a black sheep'
'Black on black on black'
'Eating dark chocolate next to a dark crystal on a dark star'

Essence Colour & Go in 'Galactic Black'  1.29 euro
Catrice Precision Eye Pencil in 'Silver Stallone' 2.79 euro (this makes a lovely  highlight for the inner corner of the eye)
(I've had the tiny bunny for ages, he was a gift from my boyfriend. He insisted on being in the photo though;) )

The Catrice Eyeliner. Purdy ain't it?

The Essence Nail varnish. It's got sparkles in it! (Please excuse my dodgy nail painting in this photo, I'm usually a bit neater and more precise. Well. Sometimes!) 

Earrings 3 euro in Penneys/Primark (I bought them for the crosses and the skulls)
Hair clips 1.50 euro in Penneys/Primark
Tights with corset design running down the back of the leg 4 euro in Penneys/Primark (how sexy are they ?! I think I'll buy another pair and make them into a top...)

So thar ya have it lads and lassies. Some of my recent purchases. Hope you enjoyed the pretty pictures! :) My next buy will most definitely be 'Alien Vault: The Definitive Story of the Making of the Film'. I am so excited to get my hands on that book, it's kind of sad. I had a look at it in Easons the other day and the design on the inside cover is the Weyland-Yutani logo. I nearly died, how awesome is that?! (the logo, not the dying) It's quite reasonably priced at 40 euro, I expected it to be far more expensive. 

Until next time! Same cat-channel, same cat-time. 

Medieval Irish Zombie-nation. No, you read that correctly!

Zombies! Creepy picture. Ahhhhhhhh.
Image labelled for reuse under Creative Commons. Click here for the source
Hello there! The last time I posted I mentioned that my next piece would be on something kinda creepy. Well, this post is on some interesting skeletons which were discovered in Ireland between 2005 and 2009. They were featured on a British documentary a few weeks ago and are thus in the headlines once more.

What's so special about them, eh eh eh?

Two skeletons were found with large stones in their mouths, an old folk practice used to prevent the dead from rising up as Zombies! The skeletons date back to the eighth century and each was buried at a different time during the 700's.  According to Chris Read (the dude in charge of the archaeological team) the mouth was believed to be a sacred portal through which the soul could leave the body upon death.

It was also feared that the soul could re-enter the body through the mouth and reanimate the corpse or that an evil spirit could enter the body through the mouth. It is interesting that there was a belief in the undead in 8th century Ireland. 

According to an article I read on the subject, it is likely that these two men were considered to be dangerous in some way and were thus subjected to this practice, preventing them from returning as uber-dangerous undead fiends! 

Putting a stone into the mouth of a corpse to prevent evil goings-on seems to have been a popular folk practice in the days of old, not just for Zombies but also Vampires. During Plague times, around the 14th century, stones were placed in the mouths of corpses to prevent the spread of the plague. It was believed that Vampiric individuals transmitted the plague by chewing through their shrouds after they had died and running about infecting people.

In fact the skull of a woman was discovered in Italy in 2009 with a large stone shoved in her mouth. The skull dates back to the 16th century and was found in a mass grave of plague victims from the Venetian Plague of 1576. 

Cool stuff, huh? For anyone interested in Zombies there's a great documentary called 'Zombies' (exciting title, I know) worth checking out. It was made by the History channel. It's about Haitian beliefs surrounding Zombies! My Dad got if for me last Christmas along with some Vampire films, including one with Bon Jovi! Fun and hilarious times. 

Now. Have a song about Zombies. With some epic Industrial dancing. 

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Z-z-z-z- zombies!

Zombies petrify me. Just throwing that out there! The idea of zombies gives me nightmares and I generally avoid them like the plague. 28 Days Later gave me bad dreams for around 5 weeks and The Walking Dead made me feel physically ill. Now. Whilst watching them in films and on television gives me the heebie jeebies, I have nothing against dressing up as one and having a hobble about the place.

What the devil am I wittering on about you ask? Well on the 29th of September Limerick County in Ireland will be host to a four day zombie festival! The event which is, rather charmingly, called 'The Outbreak' will see the streets of Limerick covered with the flesh eating undead. Pretty cool, huh? According to the website there will be flash mobs, parades, movie screenings, bands and lots of other fun things to do across the four days. Unfortunately I will be away the weekend that it's happening but if I wasn't going away I would definitely make an effort and try and make it to at least one of the days. I would probably go as a zombie Vulcan complete with green blood! I have the fringe after all...

Zombie themed events seem to be growing in popularity lately and The Dublin Zombie Walk appears to be becoming an annual event. Zombie walks are popping up all around the world and are a fantastic way to raise money for charity. There was also a zombie walk in Co. Galway during the summer. Here's a video from the 2011 Dublin Zombie walk to whet your appetite for brains: 

Looking to join in all the undead fun? Fear not! For October 29th is 'Thrill The World Day'. Thrill the World is a global event which sees people all around the world simultaneously dancing to Michael Jackson's Thriller whilst dressed as Zombies! Go on. You know you want to! 
Austin Zombies. Image obtained here and labelled for reuse under Creative Commons. 
So there you have it! Zombie may not be real (right??) but they sure do seem to be invading the world nonetheless. Over to you! How do you feel about Zombies? Any fun zombie themed events coming up that you plan on attending?

I'd love to hear from you! In the meantime I'm off to compose my next post which is on a fairly creepy subject! Come back next time, same cat channel, same cat-time! :)

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

An Early Irish Vampire Tale.

Today's post is a piece about an Irish vampire myth. The story revolves around an evil chieftain by the name of  Abhartach (pronounced ah-var-tok) and a field with suspicious goings on. Interestingly this story is often cited as one of several possible sources of inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula.

Around the fifth century the area of Derry in Ireland was composed of a series of small townlands, each with their own ruler. Abhartach was one of those chieftains and he was a particularly nasty individual with a penchant for treating his subjects very poorly. Most versions of this story agree that he was an evil ruler with a powerful command over magic. Now, considering his attitude towards the locals it should come as no surprise that they conspired with a neighbouring chieftain to be rid of him. Cathrán (pronounced coth-rawn) listened to the pleas of the peasants and figured what the hell, sure I'll give it a go. He killed the evil ruler Abhartach, buried him unceremoniously and assumed his throne.

So far so good, right? Not quite. Not at all in fact...

The next day Abhartach returned from the grave, demanding that a bowl of his subject's blood be brought to him. Cathrán found that no matter how many times he killed and buried this foul corpse, it just kept returning. Finally, Cathrán consulted with a Druid priest who told him that Abhartach was one of the walking dead and could not be killed. Instead Cathrán was instructed that he could only bind the evil chieftain's powers by stabbing him with a wooden sword and burying him upside down in a grave covered with thorns and ash twigs. Furthermore a heavy stone must be placed on top of the grave. Cathrán did what he was ordered and lo and behold the blood-drinker never troubled the small kingdom again. 

However if you believe some of the stories which surround the figure of Abhartach today, that last statement won't ring quite true. Travel through the green fields of Glenuilin in Derry and you'll happen upon a field with a thorn bush and a tree growing right beside a large boulder. The area is called 'The Giant's Grave' and is regarded with trepidation and uncertainty by locals. In 1997 workers attempting to shift the tree found that their chainsaws stopped working three times. Later on one of the saws malfunctioned and actually cut off one of the worker's hands, in turn soaking the grave of the evil Abhartach with fresh blood.... 

Sunday, 18 September 2011

TUK Kitty Shoes Review and Outfit Pictures!

This time around I decided to do a product review! One of the main reasons is that when I was in the 'will I, won't I' stage of buying these shoes, I was unable to find a decent review of them anywhere. I also couldn't find any useful pictures of anyone wearing them and showing how they can be styled, all things which are handy if you're debating over a new purchase. I saved up for these bad boys all summer and I'm glad I did. They are definitely one of my favourite pairs of shoes! :)

To start off, they look amazingly cute but aren't too in your face. I think they add a fun bit of personality and are a good conversation starter. I receive lots of compliments on them, both from strangers and from people I know, and they receive lots of second glances whenever I wear them. The shoe soles have a bone print on them and they also have white lines which go around the sides of them- all nice details. 

So they're cute but are they practical and comfortable?? You frakkin betcha! They are actually quite sturdy, surprisingly so. I did find that the cross strap began to hurt my feet after I had been wearing them for a while but that's not a problem anymore, thankfully. I do think that the sizing may be a bit big so be doubly sure before you purchase! I wore them around the zoo the day after I bought them (we spent a lot of time around the lions and tigers  of course) and it was a good few hours before they began to hurt me. On the plus side they didn't leave any marks or anything like that. Very impressive compared to my docs which cut the feet off me almost immediately after I first started wearing them. Ouch. I used to wear layers of socks and plasters on my ankles and heels just to break them in! 

The TUK Kitty Shoes are quite reasonably priced at 49.99 Euros and are available in Dublin in China Blue in Temple Bar and in Belfast in The Doc Shop. I'm sure you can get them in other places but those are the two that I know of. Of course you can also order them online from the official TUK website and also from Ebay and other websites. They are vegan-friendly and come in a few different colours and fabrics. 

The Pros. 
They have cats on them.
They're comfortable and of a very high quality.
They go with most outfits.
They look so cute!
Miaow miaow miaow.

The Cons. 
The Kitty shoes are shocked that you would even have to ask...

Below are some photos which give you an idea of what they look like styled a few different ways. Not the most exciting of outfits but they do the trick, I think/hope! They look chunky in pictures on their own but they're rather streamlined when they're on, as you can see. I was a bit worried that the thick Mary Jane strap would be unflattering on me but I think they're actually quite nice. I have had them for over a month now and I've worn them quite a bit without any major issues thus far. The soles are holding up well and the stitching is all still intact, again the quality is pretty damned epic!  

Casual Kitty Shoes

Fancified Kitty Shoes

Shiloh from The Genetic Opera inspired Kitty Shoes

I couldn't recommend these shoes highly enough! 

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Gothy places to visit- Ardgillan Castle!

Ardgillan Castle

Oooky spooky castle shaped things and so forth! Welcome to my first post on gothy places to visit in Ireland. I'm starting off the fun with a piece on Ardgillan Castle which is located along the Irish coastline between Skerries and Balbriggan. It's a lesser known tourist attraction, in fact the bus driver (who drives the route every day) had never even heard of it. Bit worrying when you consider the fact that it's a five minute walk from one of the bus stops on his route! Now, I won't lie to you. Its not the gothiest of spots at first glance but there are plenty of dark and appealing things about this location that made me want to feature it here. I actually came up with the idea for this blog on the bus journey to Ardgillan! Fact. 

 The Georgian castle was originally much smaller and the property was extended during the 18th and 19th century to include, amongst other things, decorative towers and battlements. Home decor really was way more exciting back in the day!  The Taylor family bought the property in 1737 and retained ownership for over 200 years until it was bought by Heinrich Pott in 1962. Finally the grounds were sold to the Dublin County Council in 1982 who have retained ownership ever since. During the early days of its history the woodland area surrounding the castle was cleared by ex-soldiers and itinerants for one penny and one meal a day plus accommodation. Yikes.

The View 
The castle overlooks the sea and is surrounded by beautiful lawns and winding woodlands. It's a bit out from the city centre but so worth it. (Further info on transport is available on the  official website here. If you get the bus make sure you get the ones that go as far as Balbriggan, the one's marked with 's' beside them won't bring you to the Castle. The website doesn't tell you that and I learned the hard way)

Since it's open to the public you can take a tour of the castle and it really is beautiful. The library in the castle has copies of Vanity Fair dating back to the 1890's and one of those really cool ninja doors that resembles a stack of books. The ultimate academic camouflage! The house is furbished with both Victorian and Georgian style furniture, most of which is actually original. The inside is full of character and it's easy to imagine wandering demurely around the rooms in an elaborate and swishy dress. Speaking of clothing, there is a mirror in one of the rooms just above the floor which was used for the express purpose of checking one's shoes and the ends of one's skirts and so forth. There are also two giant stuffed bears in one of the main halls along with a stuffed eagle and some lovely shiny swords. Why the hell not.

The castle also has a Victorian conservatory and a beautiful collection of roses within its walled garden. Pause a moment and let that sentence sink in!


Not very gothy but I thought it was cute! Busy bee. 
Of course a castle ain't a castle without a good old fashioned ghost story, right? Well, there is the story of a ghostly lady who haunts the area surrounding the bridge on the main road. Indeed the road is actually known as 'The Lady's Stairs'. The bus lets you off right at this bridge and it is a bit unnerving, especially because you have to walk through woodlands to reach the grounds. We (my boyfriend and I) heard a strange creaking sound as we walked through the woods, twas creepy but also really fun! I heard one version of events which said that this woman killed herself and another which suggests that she died by the coast waiting for her (drowned) husband to return from his swim. Yet another suggests that she was killed. Regardless, you don't want to meet this ghostly figure at Halloween- according to local legend she will drown anyone who crosses her path on October 31st...