Thursday, 28 July 2016

My music: Babybat days

I thought it would be fun to see how my music taste has evolved during the years, so today we're traveling back to 2005 when my babybat days were in full swing (flight?). I started thinking of songs that I could not get enough of at the time and those that shaped my music taste into what it is now. Looking back on it, I listened very little to what is considered goth but it all had its purpose. (Mind you, this was also when music was not easily available for everyone like it is now, and most of the alternative music I was exposed to was through a friend.)
So here are five of my biggest babybat anthems from around 2004-2005:

1. The 69 Eyes - Lost Boys

To be honest, this could have been the entire The 69 Eyes discography. They were my absolute favourite band at the time and they were my gateway to goth and metal music and the alternative scene in general.

2. Cradle of Filth - Nymphetamine Fix

Even though their music is not particularly goth and definitely not classic goth rock, Cradle of Filth was one of those bands that was considered essential for goths to listen to in the mid-2000s Finnish goth circles. It came with a catch though: if you openly stated that you actually liked their music, you were a poser. I thought this was stupid even back then and did not care one bit. Cradle of Filth was the first metal band I loved and it lead to me finding so many other great bands and Midian is still one of my favourite metal albums.

3. HIM - Join me (in Death)

Growing up in Finland you could not escape HIM even if you tried. But I didn't: I love - and still love - this song.

4. Dimmu Borgir - Puritania

The story of Dimmu Borgir is very similar to that of Cradle of Filth. For some reason it was considered an essential goth band to know (I have no idea where this started from and why) but you could not openly like them, unless you wanted to be labeled a poser, of course. Bah humbug, this song is still great.

5. Within Temptation - Jillian (I'd give you my heart)

Within Temptation was hugely popular in Finland when The Silent Force came out and played on the radio all the time. When I was still in the stages of wearing make-up and dressing up only when I had come home from school, I used to blast Within Temptation and Evanescence while lip syncing in front of a mirror in my long lacy skirt, fashion corset and crimson lips. Makes me laugh thinking of that, but I still quite like the album.

As a babybat bonus, here's a picture of me with Jussi69 (the drummer of The 69 Eyes) at a publishing event for their book Route 69 back in 2006. As you can see I was yet to learn how to do make-up but luckily I've grown up a lot and learned more in the past decade, haha!
Stay spooky!

Friday, 22 July 2016

Goth on a Budget

This is another request post and a question that I get asked frequently: how do I build a good wardrobe with little cost?
I don’t have much money, so I don’t buy clothing too often and definitely shop on a budget. So here are my tips (tried and tested) on creating the best outfits you can!
(Because I've lived in the US, the UK and Europe, some of the clothing prices switch between dollars, pounds and euros. Bear with me.)

Know where to look

Second hand stores, flea markets, recycling stores, bargain stores, online auctions, and closets of friends and family are gold mines. They are full of hidden treasures if you just have the patience to look. If your local stores don't sell the kind of clothes you're looking for, you can look things up online. eBay is great and there is also a website called Velvet Garden which sells second hand goth clothing.

A huge part of my wardrobe is second hand but here are some of the best examples:

Left: The vest was 8 euros and bought second hand. The lace jabot I made myself out of lace I had lying around. The cameo was originally a ring I turned into a brooch with some glue and a pin. The headdress I made myself.
Middle: Very basic strap top from H&M under a Lip Service shirt I got from my friend who did not fit into it anymore.
Right: The same basic top under a lace shirt I got at the recycling centre for 1.5 euros. The headdress is again by me.

I have also found an amazing light striped jacket, numerous skirts, and jewellery to name some. Recycling centres tend to be cheaper than charity based second hand stores because they want to get things back into use rather than gather money, and I'm so saddened that the one near me is not operating anymore. (But maybe this is a Finnish thing; We recycle like crazy anyway.)

Goth being a phase for some people also comes in very handy for those of us who stick with it, because the (expensive) clothing they wish to get rid of usually ends up going for way below the retail price. This also goes for accessories like shoes.
These shoes were mostly either discounted or second hand.
In the top photo, from left to right: Demonia Gothika 200s bought from an online store that was having a sale. I also had a discount code so they came down from their original price of about $90 to $34! (They also offered free shipping.) New Rocks I found from a German flea market for 30 euros and saved about 200 euros in the process. The other big boots were from a German second hand store and cost 10 euros. Pleaser ankle boots (ELECTRA-1020) cost 12 euros at a Finnish second hand store. These ankle New Rocks were new from Camden Market but they are still as good as new after 6 years of heavy use and were well worth the money. The boots on the right were also second hand.
In the bottom photo: The big platform shoes by Demonia (BEAR-202) were given to me by my friend who no longer wears alternative fashion. The Demonias and Pleasers are the same as in the top photo. The skull creepers were from TK Maxx/TJ Maxx in London and cost £10.
And last year I bought second hand New Rocks from eBay and ended up buying them for £28, once again about £200 less than the retail price for a new pair.

Cheap clothing is everywhere, if you know where to look!

Know how to DIY

It never hurts to have basic sewing skills. From fixing holes to changing buttons and adding trimmings, stitching is a very good way to make an otherwise plain outfit look like you. I know, it's easy for me to say as sewing is what I do all the time, but trust me, it's a great skill to have. When you get more comfortable with it you can take it even further with painting and dyeing.

I had always wanted a spiky bra, so I bought a bra I liked from Primark for £5 and some studs from the local craft store and created the bra on the right below. (The spike necklace was also second hand.) The ripped sleeves in the photo on the left were a pair of broken tights. All I did was cut off the feet, make a hole in the crotch, and cut and rip holes in the sleeves. There you go: an effective piece for less than a pound (and some serious 80s tradgotn cred)!

You can also make outfits of your own: buy a basic dress, a frilly blouse, and a lace skirt. Take the frills out of the blouse and the lace from the skirt, attach them to the basic dress however you think it looks best and ta-dah! A whole new dress just like you like it for less than $10. You could also use that skill to make and add patches and studs to your clothes (which can also be taken from other cheap pieces of clothing.)

So always keep your eyes open, you never know what you’ll find at any store. Don’t just look for finished pieces, also look at clothing and accessories as materials you could reuse. Don’t think “this piece of clothing isn’t goth enough for me” think “what do I own/need that I could I add to this to give it a gothy look". The quality isn’t always great but if you’re on a budget it’s the look you’re after. 

Know how to accessorize and put outfits together

In my opinion, right accessories and colour matching are key to a good outfit. It’s not just what you wear but also what you wear it with. You could wear a very basic black dress, for example, and give it a gothy twist with a corset or a pair of striped stockings or a spooky hair bow.
These are some good examples of how I've mixed very basic, “normal” clothing with alternative pieces to create an outfit that looks expensive but actually isn’t:

Left: These shoes were free from the recycling centre (and so comfortable!) and the blouse (a gothic lolita brand) was 8 euros as it was second hand. The skirt is what I wore as a part of the “business casual” school dress code when I lived in the States. The jabot which is hidden among the shadow came with another blouse. The corset I bought new and even that was marked down.
Right: I dressed as Persephone for a costume party and ended up creating this. The corset is the same one as in the other photo, the harness was on sale on Amazon, the headdress was made by sewing fake flowers on a headband from Poundland, and believe it or not the dress is a beach dress (made of swimwear fabric) that cost £4 at a second hand store. Someone on Instagram asked me if this outfit was by Killstar when in reality it cost less than £20 all together (plus the corset, which cost 69 euros ten years ago and has paid itself back plenty)!

You’d also be surprised by how many nice accessories you can get from the Halloween section of mainstream stores, especially right after Halloween when they’re on sale. I even buy jewellery from places like Claire’s and then modify them if needed. (For example, I have some pieces that I have painted black with nail polish to suit my style better.) Be adventurous and don’t be afraid to mix and match basic pieces of clothing with accessories like shawls, hair clips, hats, jewellery and gloves.

Mainstream fashion also embraces goth every once in a while which shows in their collections, and even generic stores like H&M can have very gothy pieces for very little money. And eventually they end up at second hand stores for even cheaper. Both of the shirts above were given to me by my sister who worked at a very basic mainstream store and didn't want the shirts anymore. The one on the left is beautifully Victorian-inspired and the one of the right would fit any gothic lolita outfit. So don't shy away from mainstream fashion just because it's mainstream!

Even though a big portion of my wardrobe is second hand I do also have brand clothing and other pieces that I have paid full price for. The trick is in learning when the price matches the quality and it is wise to make a more expensive investment in order to save money in the future. I hope this has helped and inspired you to get creating on those beautiful wardrobes <3

Stay spooky!

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Nose jewellery

On Monday I treated myself to something I had wanted for a long time: a septum ring. Sadly it is not the real kind since I don't have the money to get proper piercings at the moment, but this will do for the time being.
So much has changed in Helsinki since I've been away that I accidentally went into a local store selling slightly hippie-ish things instead of the familiar alternative store that had moved next door to it. (The alternative store had always sold very similar clothing to theirs, but I did get a little suspicious when there was nothing but that style for sale.) Even with the mistake, I was happy with the selection I got to choose from and the ring ended up costing only 5 euros.

So far I have really enjoyed wearing it, though I keep feeling it even when it's not in place anymore! It's comfortable, it's light, it's cute, and it's not too in-your-face. (My mom isn't too thrilled with it though.) The only downside of the ring is its size. My nose is so big and the ring is so small that I feel like it gets lost in my face. As you can see from the photos it is really tiny.
The next ring I get will hopefully have a bigger design and I'm hoping to have black rings as well as more silver ones. I think those would pop out a bit more. Next time I'll also make sure to walk into the right store, so I will have a bigger and more versatile selection to choose from, haha.

I added a video on Instagram to give a little more idea on the way it looks. I think these rings are something I could start collecting, it would be like a little cheap present for myself every now and then.

Video, jonka Anna (@spookyloop) julkaisi

Stay spooky!

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Spooky places to visit

I was requested to list some spooky destinations all around the world, whether I have yet to visit them or not. I'm a morbid girl with morbid likes, so a lot of these places have something to do with death, so be warned if you do not deal well with the sight of skeletons. Here we go!

Sedlec Ossuary - Kutná Hora, Czech Republic

This place is definitely on my to-go list. It is small chapel in the Czech Republic that contains decorations from as many as 70,000 humans arranged in such way that they create beautiful decorations all around the chapel. The arrangements also show the incredible creativity of humans, as can be seen in the bird created out of human bones. My favourites are the bone chandeliers, they look absolutely stunning!

Sedlec Ossuary |    Near Prague

I must say though, I have heard of occasions where the locals running the chapel have been less than welcoming to alternative folk, so be prepared to be turned away at the doors or having to go in dressed more conservatively.

Père Lachaise - Paris, France

Frédéric Chopin, Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde are just some of the famous people buried at this beautiful Parisian cemetery. It is also breathtaking just to walk around on the old cobblestone streets as it is covered in greenery and old mausoleums. In Finland we don't get cemeteries like this (ours are much simpler as we are predominantly a Lutheran country) so I am always blown away by cemeteries that are truly old and feature lavish Gothic and Neo-Gothic elements.

Père Lachaise
Pere Lachaise
I visited here back in 2010 when I got stranded in Paris during the ash cloud chaos, but I wish to return with more time and a proper camera. I don't think any of the photos I got do the place any justice!

Whitby - England

The home of the biannual Whitby Goth Weekend and Dracula's home-away-from-home, Whitby is probably the place for goths in England. The beautiful ruins of the 7th century Benedictine Whitby Abbey are still in place surrounded by an old cemetery and can be visited by tourists. The town itself is worth a trip if you like the seaside, and of course it is also the home of the famous Whitby Jet that was widely used in Victorian mourning jewellery.

I have yet to visit this fair town, but as I now live only a few hours away, I'm hoping to visit the Goth Weekend next spring and finally acquire a piece of mourning jewellery of my own!

Whitby North Yorkshire, England

Berliner Medizinhistorisches Museum der Charité
 - Berlin, Germany

One of my favourite places in Berlin is the Museum of Medical History at the Charité. Situated in the heart of the city, this small museum features dozens of historical medical supplies, changing exhibitions on human anatomy or the history of modern medicine, as well as a room full of hundreds of wet specimens from human bodies. Lots of under-developed, deformed and damaged bones, bodies, and organs are on display with lots of information covering the basics. It can be gruesome though and it's not for the faint-hearted (I think entry to this room was forbidden for anyone under 16 at one point) but it is definitely super interesting.


If you're interested in wet specimens from the animal kingdom, the Museum of Natural History (Museum für Naturkunde Berlin) has an equally impressive room full of specimens of snakes, fish, and the like.


Salem - Massachusettes, USA

The site of the Salem Witch Trials is an interesting visit for anyone living the witchy way of life. The history of the city is sad, as 20 people were unjustly executed on suspicion of practicing witchcraft and almost 200 more were accused of it in the witch hunts started in 1692. The city has a museum dedicated to the events, which goes through the history of the trials as well as explains what witchcraft really was back then and what it is now. There is also "The Witch House" which was the residence of one of the judges who worked on the trials.

Sad past beside, this historic city is a beautiful place to visit.

Salem Witch Museum
witches eye view
I have not visited Salem, but I have multiple generations of male witches (aka healers) in my family in the 16th and 17th centuries. One of them was burned as a witch (for some reason Finns executed men while most other countries did so for women) so I am curious to understand what these witches were actually like and what drove people into such paranoia that they were seen as such threats. So maybe I will fit Salem in with the next trip I take to the USA.

So here we have some spooky destinations for you to check out. If you have any comments or want to suggest your own places, don't be afraid to leave a comment or send a message.

Stay spooky!

Thursday, 7 July 2016

7 things I wish someone had told me when I was a babybat

We all start from somewhere when we find ourselves interested in a new subculture. We don't always know where to go from there but we do know that we want to get there eventually.
I gathered up some things that I wish someone had told me when I was trying to find my way.

1. It's okay to not dress goth 24/7 365 days a year.

Fashion is often the biggest sign we look for when we want see other goths. Why? Because it's an easy way to identify someone like us. But it's not always the truth because not all goths dress the part. Some might not be able to because it would be dangerous for them. Some might not be able because it's inconvenient or forbidden to do so at schools or at work. Some might not be able because their families won't understand. Some are still building their wardrobe and finding their style, which take time. Some just don't have the time, money, energy, or even the desire. Some days you might want to go all out but the next a shirt and jeans are all you want.

This is all okay. The goth subculture is extremely diverse and fashion is only one of the things that connect us. You are not any less of a goth just because your look is not spooky 24/7, trust me.

2. It's okay to not look and act like the stereotype.

On top of not having to wear goth fashion every day, you are not obligated to look like the pale, red-lipped, raven-haired stereotype. Do not be pressured into feeling like looking like that is the only way you will be accepted.

There are goths that are not pale. There are goths that have pink hair, no hair or their natural hair. There are goths who wear hijabs. There are goths who never wear black. Be yourself. Experiment with your make-up, with your hair, with your clothes until you find what works for you. Don't let the expectations restrict you. Your comfort is the priority because you are doing this for yourself and no one else.
Same goes for hobbies. We don't all need to be musicians, authors, and painters. Do sports, bake, grow vegetables or collect stamps all you want.

3. It's also perfectly fine to look and act like the stereotype.

If the stereotype is your ideal look, rock it! The main thing is that you do not force yourself into being anything you're not. So if you enjoy writing poetry in the moonlight while drinking red wine and listening to Bauhaus with a black cat purring by your winklepickers, don't be ashamed. Embrace your clichés, it's more fun that way.

There is also no shame in being a goth with a mental illness! I have heard so many people say they feel like they need to hide their illnesses because they do not want to contribute negatively to the stereotype of a depressed, mopey goth. But it's a part of you, it's real, and it's okay. Mental illnesses can affect anyone and you will not give goth a bad name by having one.

4. It's okay not to know.

There is a huge pressure in the subculture to know its history, and the prevalent opinion seems to be that no matter what substyle of goth you belong to you need to be educated on the subculture's origins. Without taking a further stand on whether I agree with that or not, I want to point out that no one can learn forty years of culture history overnight. It takes time no matter the subject, and goth being such a widely spread and branched out subculture it is a lot to take in. Luckily it's quite easy nowadays (it wasn't back in my babybat days) but it is still a task and it is fine if it takes you time to figure it all out. You are a babybat: you are growing and learning as you go. I still am and I have been in the subculture for over a decade! So don't sweat it, no one is expecting you to be an expert right off the bat (he-he, pun intended).

5. It's okay to listen to music other than what is considered goth.

Listen to anything you like. Yes, really, anything. A few jam sessions of cheesy pop or smooth jazz is not going to change the fact that you love The Cure, so just listen to whatever makes you happy in the moment.

6. It's okay to not like the classic goth bands.

To be honest, I did not start getting into the old goth rock until my 20s. I preferred Cradle of Filth's version of No Time to Cry to the original and I preferred The 69 Eyes to Bauhaus. I knew about the classic bands and I visited them every now and then to see whether I could get into them, and one by one I eventually did. But that doesn't happen to everyone and it's not really something you can force to happen either. As mentioned in topic number 4, a lot of people will expect you to at least know the bands even if you don't like them so be prepared for that. Music is undeniably a very big part of the subculture, but there is no reason you should spend your life listening to music you don't enjoy.

7. It's okay to not wear expensive brand clothing.

I'm happy to say that this doesn't seem to be as big of an issue as it used to be, but I still see the topic come up every now and then. Sure Hellbunny and Lip Service clothes are beautiful as are Demonia and New Rock shoes. But they cost a lot. There is no shame in wearing outfits created from mainstream store or second-hand items. (In fact, I whole-heartedly support reusing old clothes in new creative ways. You can do magic with some do-it-yourself skills and cheap clothes from a second-hand shop.)

So there we go, 7 things I wish someone had told me when I was a babybat. I feel like a second part will be in order at some point, so let me know if you have anything you wish to be added to the list!

Stay spooky!

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Ombre lip tutorial

One of the most common questions I get on Tumblr is about how I do my lips. So today I thought I'd share a simple step-by-step tutorial on how to get ombre effect lips.

  1. Cover your lips with whatever colour you want your lips to be as normal. I often use long-lasting lipstick as the base because that way the make-up looks good even if the other layers rub off. (I also tend to use shades slightly lighter than what I want the result to be.)
  2. Line your lips with black eyeliner or lip liner.
  3. Gently blend the black line and the base colour together with lipstick. The idea is to create an effect where the black fades smoothly into the other colour. (I often use a shade slightly darker than the base at this point. So if I were doing red lips, for example, I’d have the base a “regular” bright red and do the blending with a crimson tone.) If you want to add a more dramatic effect, do the corners of your mouth darker. For extra delicate blending, use black eye shadow to really make the hue change look smooth.
  4. If you want to add depth to your lips, avoid getting the darker colour in the innermost part of your lower lip when doing step three. You can also use a lighter shade of matte lipstick, eyeliner, lip liner or eyeshadow at the same place to create a highlight and avoid having flat-looking lips.
  5. All done! Set the make-up with lipstick sealer if you wish.

Extra advice:
- If you want to prevent the colour from bleeding as the day progresses, use matte lipstick to line your lips before step one and skip step two. I’ve started doing this lately and it definitely helps keep the line nice and clean, but it can be harder to make colours pop on it.
- Remember that dark lipstick makes your lips look smaller, so you might want to experiment to find out which size and shape suit you the best.
- Without lipstick sealer this messes up quite easily when drinking and eating, so straws are a goth’s best friend when wearing this make-up. I always carry a bunch in my bag just for this, haha.

Stay spooky!


I'm Anna, a 25-year-old Finnish gothic ghoul. On the Internet I'm commonly known as SpookyLoop.

I come from a big, culture-loving family residing in Helsinki, Finland. Art has always been around me and it has been not just been enjoyed but its makers appreciated. This has clearly reflected on my career choices: I am a trained milliner (aka a hatmaker) and I have just finished my first year of studying costume design in an English university. In the future I hope to work behind the scenes of films and TV shows making costumes.
I have been lucky enough to travel and see the world: In addition to living in Finland, I have lived in the United States (Washington DC), Germany (Berlin), and London before finding my place in North East England. I don't know where I will settle in the future, but Germany holds a special place in my mind and I can see myself there in a few years time.

I have been a part of the gothic subculture since I was 14 years old. During these years my likes and styles have evolved while my knowledge and understanding of the alternative world has expanded. I do not have a fixed look: one day I'm dressed in girly dresses feeling like a Victorian lady, the next I'm wearing a harness and channeling the 80s look. I'm a firm believer in dressing how you feel comfortable, which is why I switch between gothic styles often. I am always happy to share the knowledge I have gathered with those new or interested in the subculture, and I do so on regular basis on my Tumblr.
I am fascinated by memento mori and the macabre. I find horror stories – fact or fiction – captivating and old cemeteries a beautiful inspiration.
I am hugely inspired by the Victorian era, especially its mourning culture and the romanticized “people in top hats on a foggy London street” aesthetic. I collect anatomical jewellery and almost anything with skulls on it, and I have a bad habit of hoarding black lace. My other interests include culture, history, and languages.

My life is not all doom and gloom though: As much as I love melancholic music, you can also find me jamming to Michael Jackson or eagerly waiting for Eurovision results come spring. From more alternative genres I listen to The Cure, The Smiths, The Birthday Massacre, The Sisters of Mercy, London After Midnight, L'Âme Immortelle and Rammstein, to name a few.

In this blog I wish to bring together all the aforementioned subjects in a way that is interesting and helpful to others. I will be posting make-up reviews, tutorials, Frequently Asked Questions videos, opinions, film, music, and book recommendations, as well as things that touch the professional side of my life, like DIY tips.
You can also follow me on other social platforms, all the links to which are on the right side of this page.

Stay spooky!