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Day-to-day living with a gothic vibe, striking a balance between wonderful, garish Halloween kitsch and practical family life.

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Spooky Kids Books For Halloween (Toddler/Preschool) Updated on September 16, 2019

Looking for a spooky book to share with your toddler or preschooler this Halloween? Here's a list of books suitable for 2, 3 and 4 year olds which my girls have liked reading. Nothing too scary, and more fun than creepy, including a couple of children's classics.

Halloween Homewares (TK Maxx 2019) Updated on September 17, 2019

This year, TK Maxx is one of the first UK shops to start stocking Halloween items, with some for sale in store and online. Their range so far includes glass, ceramic and paper pumpkins, spooky ornaments and candleholders, tea towels and snowglobes.

Outfit Of The Day, 29 June 2019 Posted on June 29, 2019

It's been the hottest day of the year so far in the UK. Today I've worn a 'Lucina Layered Mesh and Leatherette Dress' by Necessary Evil, and a 'Peepers Blouse' by Hell Bunny, accessorised with a 'C U In Paradise Wallet' by Killstar, and a plain black hand fan.

Dripping Candles Posted on June 28, 2019

You can buy candles designed to drip artfully. The ones I've seen and bought were marketed for Halloween and to lovers of spooky decor. Red on the inside, and black or white outside, they are supposed to give the impression of blood streaming down the candle as it melts. I tried a few.

Etsy Shop Launch - Halloween and Gothic Jewellery Updated on July 14, 2019

I've been talking about selling my jewellery for twelve years or more. Finally, I'm going to give it a try, starting with stocking an Etsy shop. I've got a selection of spooky-themed necklace and earrings sets listed for sale, with more to follow.

Purple-Black Tulips (Paul Scherer) Posted on April 29, 2019

Tulips are common spring garden flowers in the UK, and they come in a huge array of colours and shapes. There are a few dark varieties, and one of the very darkest is the award-winning purple-black Triumph tulip: 'Paul Scherer'.

My Favourite Hobbyist Necklace Designs (So Far) Posted on April 17, 2019

There are a few necklaces I have constructed over the years which have become much-loved favourites. They are more solidly-made than my earlier attempts, and better achieved my design aims: big, distinctly gothic-styled, and something no one else had exactly.

Dark Lipsticks (NYX) Posted on April 16, 2018

NYX Professional Makeup is an affordable brand of cosmetics. It's not quite the cheapest but its widely available, and everything I've tried - mostly their lipstick - has been good quality. It's a solid choice for everyday wear, without costing a fortune.

Purple-Black Hyacinths (Midnight Mystic®) Posted on April 10, 2019

Continuing my quest to find the darkest flowers I can successfully grow at home, I planted some Hyacinth 'Midnight Mystic'® bulbs last year. They've been flowering throughout March, and have produced some really pretty purple-black blooms.

My Oldest Hobbyist Necklace Designs Posted on April 05, 2019

Many of my early gothic jewellery purchases were from the Alchemy Gothic range. Although fantastic and gorgeous, their designs are immediately recognisable. Around 2007 I started to construct my own necklaces to produce something unique, but with a similar feel.

Gothic Printed Tops as Sleepwear Posted on April 01, 2019

I don't often wear printed t-shirts as daywear because I prefer more formal outfits. Some of the prints available from Restyle, Killstar and others are really nice though, and it's a shame to miss out on them entirely. That's why I wear them as sleepwear instead.

Gothic Umbrellas Posted on March 19, 2019

The British are famous for talking about the weather, and we do it because it's so changeable (and a bit unpredictable). To be prepared for random rain showers at this time of year, we need umbrellas. Nice umbrellas. Handbag-sized and wind-resistant ones are useful, but large ones can be dramatic.

ThouShaltNot's The White Beyond, Live at the Piano Posted on March 12, 2019

This album is an acoustic piano-and-vocals interpretation of the 2003 album The White Beyond from October 19 2018. It is performed by the album's songwriter/lead vocalist, Alex Reed.

Gothic Pins Posted on February 19, 2019

Pins are a quick, easy and affordable way to customise a jacket or a bag. There are lots and lots of designs available from a variety of retailers, and they only cost a few pounds each. Recently I've amassed a collection of my favourites.

Nail Polish (Rimmel, Rita Ora Shades of Black) Posted on February 05, 2019

I nearly always opt for a plain black nail varnish, as I know it's going to match whatever I choose to wear. Dark reds, purples and blues are a good alternative if I have a specific outfit in mind, and this collection has them all.

Black Perfume (Lady Gaga Fame) Posted on February 05, 2019

There is no single brand of perfume which is the definitive gothic scent. There are a few which include patchouli, clove or incense aromas which can make you think of funerals, but choosing which to wear, if any, is a very personal thing. However, there is at least one perfume that's black.

St Stephen's Church, Ipswich Posted on January 13, 2019

The medieval church of St Stephen's in Ipswich now functions as the town's tourist information centre, but it retains many decorative elements from its time as a place of worship, including impressive monuments to the deceased.

Black Pasta Posted on January 13, 2019

Fancy a lunch as dark as your soul? Try some black pasta. It gets its colour from squid ink and is traditionally paired with or filled with seafood.

Gothic Christmas Baubles (Killstar) Posted on December 15, 2018

Dreaming of a black Christmas? If you aren't prepared to ease off on the spooky life for the festive season, you have a few options for your tree in the form of gothic baubles by Killstar and other brands.

Halloween Candles (Yankee Candle) Posted on December 14, 2018

Yankee Candle is one of the best known producers of scented candles for the home, selling worldwide. Their catalogue of available fragrances changes with the seasons, and for the past few years they have included a Halloween selection.

Halloween Melamine Plates, Bowls & Cups Posted on December 01, 2018

If you think you'll be celebrating Halloween every year, it's nice to buy some decent quality tableware which can be reused over and over again. Lighweight and affordable Melamine plates, bowls and cups are a good option when you have young children.

Gothic Ornaments & Figurines (Nemesis Now) Posted on December 01, 2018

Ornaments and figurines aren't just the rosy-cheeked, pastel-coloured porcelain statues you see on the Antiques Roadshow. There are plenty of modern decorative items which would suit a dark home perfectly. Nemesis Now has a huge range to choose from.

Musée Rodin, Paris, France Posted on November 22, 2018

Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) is best known for his sculptures including The Thinker and The Kiss. The Musée Rodin at Hôtel Biron in Paris is home to these and many of his works. There is also a must-see version of his fantastic Gates of Hell.

Halloween Chocolates (Hotel Chocolat) Posted on November 08, 2018

There's more to Halloween confectionery than fun size multipacks marketed for trick-or-treat. Some retailers make the effort to produce sweets that are far too nice to hand out to kids. One of my favourites is Hotel Chocolat.

Pumpkin Pie Posted on November 06, 2018

Pumpkin Pie is a popular Thanksgiving treat in the USA, and making it is a good way to use the flesh from carved Halloween Jack-o'-lanterns. It's really easy to do, but it can be an incredibly sweet and calorific dessert. We used a basic no-frills recipe.

Growing Pumpkins Posted on November 06, 2018

Pumpkins are inescapably associated with Halloween, and are therefore spooky and fitting plants for any dark garden. This year is the first time I've tried growing them. I had some success, but I couldn't compete with the huge ones in the shops.

Halloween-Themed Food Posted on October 31, 2018

Retailers in the UK have started to treat Halloween as a special event, selling more themed products every year. Alongside decorations and costumes there is an ever-growing range of food marketed specifically for Halloween.

All Saints' Church, Colchester Zoo Posted on October 17, 2018

On a recent family trip to Colchester Zoo we visited All Saints' Church. Unused and ruined for centuries, it now sits inside the zoo's grounds, beyond the Orangutan enclosure. Not much remains but it was an interesting and unexpected find for us.

Notre-Dame de Paris, Paris, France Posted on September 24, 2018

Notre-Dame de Paris is a world-famous landmark and renowned as an outstanding example of Gothic architecture. The cathedral's ornate stained-glass rose windows are perhaps its best known features, but it is filled with wonderful statues and details.

Dark Houseplants Posted on September 07, 2018

Houseplants can lift the mood of a room as well as adding decorative interest. If the mood you're aiming for is on the dark side, however, you might want to look for dark houseplants. They can really stand out in a room, especially when they're positioned against lighter-coloured walls.

Snapdragon Skulls Posted on September 05, 2018

Snapdragons are fun flowers. My Nan used to have some in her garden, and when I was small I would squeeze them to make the 'dragons' open their 'mouths'. I only recently learned their sinister secret (possibly because I used to pick all the flowers before they had a chance to go to seed).

Black Magic Sunflowers Posted on September 05, 2018

Growing sunflowers is a rite of passage for many young children in the UK, competing with siblings to see whose flower can grow the tallest. My girls are too young to appreciate it this year, but I thought I'd do a test run anyway. Especially when I heard that you can get black sunflowers.