Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Busy Bee!

Well I've had the most darling weekend!

I kicked off the weekend on Saturday by travelling down to London to be a promo gal for Collectif Clothing (www.collectif.co.uk) who specialise in 40's and 50's inspired clothing. I had such a blast and made a new friend called Hollie and I can't wait to see her again for some more clothing promo fun, who knows maybe even a burlesque night out!

I had such fun at Collectif! As a thank you for flyering we were given the choice of a dress from their collection. I chose the "Stella Doll Dress" in a Cherry Stem print. I was having so much fun I decided to treat myself to 2 new dresses; a plain black 40's inspired flared dress and a very raunchy leopard print halter neck sarong dress!








This is how I decided to have my hair and makeup.... I have to give praise to eBay for my false eyelashes. I paid £3.99 for TEN pairs - and since I wear glasses, I have to cut them in half and only wear them on the outer corners. Which means, effectively I have 20 pairs of false lashes for £4! Which is insanely amazing value for money! I love my falsies!



And if that wasn't enough, I had to literally run for the train, as I had tickets to Hedna's The Vintage Nightclub event at the Stables theatre in Wavendon. I decided to wear my new Collectif dress, as we had very little time to change my outfit, so I thought, why not! I would have liked to have worn my R&K Originals 50's black velvet flared dress, but time sadly didn't allow it.

This is me and my Mumma at Hedna's!


Thankfully Hedna's will be back at The Stables in October! Wahooo!

On the Sunday Mumma and I drove to Northampton to visit our favourite shop A Most Marvellous Place to Shop, where we had Sunday Afternoon Tea!


Whilst having a good rummage I picked up an absolutely incredible 1940's grey wool dress. It's in such incredible condition for its age. It's too big for me, so I'm thinking of selling it, or having it altered to fit.. I haven't quite decided yet!



I also bought myself another 1950's lucite brooch with the original fitting on the back and a glass display cabinet that I've been hankering after for a while. I love putting my jewellery on display so I bought this:




 After our gorgeous extravagant afternoon tea, we decided to take a trip out to an antique shop in Amptill that is amazingly, open on sunday! I wish more shops were open on a sunday... it's such a lovely thing to do at the end of your weekend...

So I've been hankering after an evening bag for a while now so I bought myself this... it's a 1950's Austrian Crystal handbag made by Le Soir.


My piece de resistance is this gorgeous 1950's tartan day dress by one of my favourite vintage companies 'R&K Original' - I paid just twenty pounds for this dress! Incredible. I love it so much!









Just as I was writing this blog, the postie delivered these - I paid 99p for them on ebay! 3 pairs of 50's earrings for 99p, can't say fairer than that! hehe.


Monday, 20 June 2011

Londinium

Last week when I was down in London for my birthday, I booked myself in for a complimentary facial with legendary moisturiser brand Crème de la Mer. A friend of mine over at the Fedora Lounge sent me a sample of their unfusion and I've loved it ever since, so I thought I best try the whole shebang. 

The facial itself was in the Beauty Department in Selfridges on Bond Street. It lasted around 20-25 minutes and was an indulgence I shall be partaking in more and more often! It was divine. Svetlana was lovely - she was the CDLM manager who did my facial. She explained each product she was using and taught me how to apply the lotions and potions. After 20 minutes of pure bliss I was sad to have to leave the comfy chair!

So I uhmed and arghed for a while and after careful consideration I decided to treat myself to the 100ml pot of Crème de la Mer moisturiser. It's a special edition version - it usually comes in 50ml or 250ml jars, so it made sense to buy the middle sized one. Plus it comes with a cute ltd edition box!


The next thing on my to-do list was to visit Christian Louboutin to have a good ogle at the most incredibly self-indulgent shoes on the planet (other than Manolo Blahnik of course!). I tried on a pair of black suede pumps and I swear, one day, they WILL be mine! They were called Ron Ron 85 and they were amazingly beautiful. Plain black suede pumps with a 3 inch stiletto. My Grandma Iris would have be so proud of me!
As I was trying on my next pair of shoes to be, Mumma got talking to a lady about her daughter who was also trying on the Louboutins. She was telling Mumma that her daughter was going to spend THREE THOUSAND POUNDS on a pair of Louboutins to get married in!!! She looked younger than me!! Her Mum was so shocked and dismayed at her daughter spending that much money on shoes - but what amazes me is that she still went to Christian Louboutin with her daughter to buy them! Why? If she was so against it, why condone it by accompanying her? There's no way I'd spend £3k on a pair of shoes to get married in - and I certainly wouldn't expect my Mumma to come with me - that's like pouring salt on a wound surely?

Well, that's what young people have credit cards for I guess. I can say with my hand on heart that I've never had a credit card and don't intend to. I don't live above my means. It's as simple as that.


These, but in black suede, methinks!

Brighton!!

Well, I've been a busy bunny this past couple of weeks; what with the wedding, my 25th Birthday and finally a trip to Brighton. It's been a very busy few days but absolutely golden. I went to stay with my best mate Claire and her flatmate Arran who are both such amazing people.

I am planning on moving down to Brighton as soon as I can. It's just so vibrant. It's an incredible town. The shops are insanely fantastic. They have an array of vintage shops that I spent a rather a lot of money in! I can't seem to help myself I am a self-confessed shopaholic! It's fantastic!

I managed to pick up a few things in a shop called Bric-a-Brac and upstairs is a vintage clothes shop called Snoopers' Paradise. In there I managed to pick up the most beautiful cream silk shirt. Probaby made in the 40's. It fits a treat and is a perfect replacement for the silk shirt that has a massive massive hole in it. I'm thinking of having it repaired but am dreading how much it's going to cost to have the hole sewn up - that's if they say yes in the first place, doubtful. Anyway one can live in hope!!

The next thing I bought was a gorgeous fifties 2 tier cake stand, to replace the one I have at home that I've managed to crack! I'm so gutted! It's so beautiful but at least if it gives up the ghost I do have a replacement.

All the while I'm shopping in antique shops I'm on the lookout for a hair tidy. I've seen ONE hair tidy in 4-6 shops! It's insane. Obviously they're a rare item - unlikely to make it through so many generations in 'one piece' as it were (or rather, two pieces!).

One thing I did manage to find was a pair of 1940's Mary Janes! They're gorgeous, and have the cutest heels. Very true to the age. They're black, of course, but that's a given.

I also borrowed a copy of Some Like it Hot thanks to my most gorgeous new friend Arran, and bought myself a copy of Style Me Vintage - a very quaint little book about vintage hairstyles that has some lovely pictures in it.




Friday, 10 June 2011

Impromptu is not the word!

Well I never! We were in Selfridges in Birmingham looking at the Creme De La Mer that I want to buy myself (thanks to a lovely lady called Moira on the Fedora Lounge forum) when we're handed a leaflet saying there's a vintage tea party happening on the floor above!

So we make our way up there to see what the fuss was about and based around a franchise of Folli Follie jewellery and watches, there's flashbulbs going off, makeup mirror lights with ladies having their hair done, ladies all dressed up to the nine's in 40's garb handing out cups of 'Gin Tea Cocktails' in mismatched crockery, cupcakes and a makeup artist from Benefit recreating makeup from the 40's!

We had no idea what was going on but thought we'd get in on the tea and cake action. I thought 'ah, why not' to having my hair and makeup done as I was already dressed in my usual 1940's wardrobe, but hadn't bothered with the hair and makeup. Perfect!

They seemed to have taken a liking to my look, as I ended up being asked by the photographer for the event to pose for some photos in front of the Folli Follie cabinet and pose as though I was trying on the jewellery whilst having a cup of tea poured for me.

Oh it was so much fun! Everyone was watching and staring while I was having my makeup done (and I met a lovely young lady called Lucy who also had her hair and makeup done) and during the shoot. If it wasn't for the gin in the tea I probably would've been too shy to have even had my hair or makeup done!

I had a chat with a lovely lady (I believe her name was Claire - I was all a bit of a fluster from the gin) who's a journalist from Area magazine - a local West Midlands magazine I believe. So, the images may be used for some sort of publication! I'm hoping to receive an email from her with a few pictures from the event.

I got in the car and just couldn't stop grinning all the way home to Milton Keynes. I couldn't believe it had all happened to me!

I'm now a semi-professional photographer, it seems.

It's been an amazing few days indeed.

I'll start from Saturday! A few months ago, I was asked to be the photographer at a friend's wedding on 4th June. I agreed, with some trepidation of course but was excited to see what I could pull out of the hat. I'd never photographed a wedding before and I can say I was definitely nervous about being responsible for the happy couples' wedding photos! They were desperate for a photographer, and as they're a young couple starting out, they didn't have the funds for a full-on wedding photographer - nor were they the sort of couple who wanted hugely staged photos. Candid shots were what they were after, so I thought 'yeah, why not!' and I agreed.

My late Grandfather (bless his soul) was a keen amateur photographer, who also owned an Aladdin's Cave junk shop where he fixed cameras and built them too. I'd grown up with a Grandfather and Father who are both amateur film photographers, so it was only natural to be curious about my own possible 'genetic' talents with a camera.

I myself don't have a massive collection of cameras - and I am now of the digital age, unlike my Dad and his Dad. So I have what I call 'my baby' - it's a Fujifilm Finepix S9000 and I love it. It takes amazing pictures. 

The wedding was lovely and after a glass of wine at the reception I found it much easier to photograph people, the Best Man even took me round the reception getting everyone to pose for me. The help was much appreciated indeed!

So I got home after the Couple had left the party, after 2 large glasses of wine and my first ever Tequila slammer (thanks to a lovely gentleman I met at the reception!) I staggered home with my camera in tow. Not very professional, but I did manage to capture some very funny moments of the bride's sister and a few party people who were very inebriated! 

The pictures came out really well, and they're sat on my computer waiting for the couple to see them and get them all printed. So, after my first attempt (and possibly my last!) at wedding photography, I can say I'm very happy with the results. I just hope Holly and Simon like them! 

So yes, this blog post is dedicated to my late Grandfather, who always inspired me as a child, and I'm sure he'd be proud of me for taking on such a huge photography project - he always turned down weddings, as he never had the courage, so Grandad, this one's for you xx

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Birthday Celebrations.

I turned 25 on 8th June and I have to say, this is one birthday I wasn't looking forward to! I know, I know, it's not exactly old by any means, but even so, I'm a woman and a year older!

My birthday last year was a totally different occasion. This time last year I was in a very happy relationship and was deeply in love. The fact that I was a year older didn't make much difference to me even though admittedly I did go on a bit about being a "cougar" as my now ex was 3 years younger than me at the time. My 24th birthday was memorable in that I was in my first relationship in my life. It was momentous.

This year, I'm single and contented for my 25th birthday. Obviously, life is a tad brighter when someone loves you, but for the moment, I've got other things to think about than love - love will come again I'm sure.

I had a chat with my Mumma and decided that for my birthday I'd like a vintage shopping day in London. So that's what we did! We trawled around all the vintage shops in the Bricklane/Spitalfields area and I was certainly underwhelmed. However, my Mumma did buy me a lovely 40's style shirt from Rokit vintage - I'm guessing by the apparent overflow of 80's clothing in Bricklane, it is in fact 80's but I believe in making something work in your favour regardless.



The second item I lusted over was this absolutely gorgeous Rita Hayworth style jacket that I knew I simply MUST have. Bought from Beyond Retro.
The picture really does not do this jacket justice at all. It's so old Hollywood glamour. It looks fabulous with a black pencil skirt, seamed tights and 40's heels. Love it.


After we scoured the entire Spitalfields area, we made our way to Selfridges on Bond Street for a Yo Sushi and a glass of Prosecco. How divine! hehe.

Of course, our fabulous trip into London wouldn't be complete without the obligatory cocktails in Chez Gerard in Covent Garden. My signature cocktail is the Raspberry Debonair, my Mumma's is the Mojito!! Oooer!



All in all, a fabulous (albeit soggy) birthday trip to London.

eBay is like Marmite....

You see, I'm an avid eBayer. I've used eBay since I was around 17 and not even old enough for a debit card. I buy and sell (not a business seller though) and have recently been on a bit of a vintage eBay adventure. I currently have around 30 items in my watch list that are from the 40's and 50's and there are some real diamonds in the rough. I shan't be buying most of them, but it's very handy to watch them and see what they go for in terms of cost.

With eBay, you're either standing on a goldmine, or in a sinking sandpit.You have to be a discerning shopper. There's no point in using eBay if you don't know the ins and outs of the language on the site, the rules and more importantly, your subject matter. Now, I've been into the vintage fashion world for little over 6 months and already have a bedroom full of true vintage items. Some expensive, but most bought from eBay or vintage fairs.

However, the reason I have so much vintage clothing is because I'm savvy - I buy clothing based on my measurements only. I have a 26" waist and a small bust, so I know that a coat with a 40" bust will swamp me, no matter how pretty it is. I supposed you have to be rather cut-throat. If something isn't to your measurements (too small or too big) then click the back button and forget about it.

Buying vintage is a skill, unless you're one of those traders who bulk buys bags of crap from a wholesale warehouse.(Yes, I'm a snob!) It takes time to sift through the rubbish and find the real gems. Buying things with holes or stains is a real risk. Rust is one thing that does NOT wash out of clothing so if something's got rust stains on, walk away, no matter how much you love it. You won't regret it, I promise. (Rust stains will be orange in colour and will most likely have seeped through to the other side of the fabric).

Again, holes in netting are very difficult to camouflage, as are holes in silk or satin. So avoid.

I tend to use the phrase 'true vintage' as on eBay you'll find many a seller who finds it necessary to sell brand new (or second hand) modern clothing, but describe it as vintage in their listing. It's not until you get down to the detail you find out it was bought from Primark. Again, avoid any seller who does this knowingly. It really gets my goat.

Sadly there are people out there who will bid on something without realising it's not genuine - I once saw a lovely looking tea dress described as 'WWII vintage tea dress' and it turned out to be a dress from Next. It created somewhat of a bidding war - probably due to the fact that the -albeit clever- description from the seller saying how rare it is. How rare it really was, I care not to ask!

So that's just a few bits of advice I can give to people, things I've learned along the way.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

You snooze, you lose!

Just thought I'd write a little tidbit about my difficulties in finding a pair of reproduction 1940's swing trousers! Now, I'm no dressmaker myself (starting out dressmaker at the very least) so I thought I'd buy some, to save time. Well, time hadn't really been saved after the hours I spent trawling the internet for a seemingly elusive pair of swing trousers.

Obviously, one of the first places I went to was Vivien of Holloway.
Now, I've never bought anything from them, as I'm not too keen on their style of clothing (very kitsch repro and I can spot a Vivien dress a mile away - which may be great for the company, but not for me!) but I was willing to give these trousers a try. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you see it) they were sold out. Never one to give up too soon, I phoned them and spoke to a lovely lady at Vivien of Holloway about sourcing a pair. Apparently, they weren't planning on making any more of their swing trousers any time soon. I was quite put off by the fact that they weren't planning on having any more in - they're basic swing trousers and in my opinion, any girl remotely interested in the 1940's should own a pair - so I was a bit disheartened when they told me they weren't available.

So time went on, and I finally managed to track down a pair of black 26" waist swing trousers from a company called Morellos.co.uk - which I have previously posted about. I have been totally enamored with the trousers I bought from them (made by La Riviera) so I shall definitely being buying another pair (maybe red next time?)

This was all about 2-3 weeks ago now. But today, I receive a missed call on my phone, and it turns out it was  the lady from Vivien of Holloway phoning to tell me they won't be having any of the trousers in. I have to say, it was lovely of them to remember to get back to me. It's a rare thing indeed to have a clothing shop actually phone me back after I've made an inquiry. So on the one hand, I'm impressed, but with the news that they don't stock swing trousers, I'm also very disappointed.

So there you go people. It's another case of 'you snooze, you lose' - Morellos.co.uk got my custom instead of Vivien of Holloway.

After all this, I'm thinking maybe I should start making swing trousers and sell them on eBay!!!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Self-love

Thought I'd add some of my favourite pictures of myself with a vintage look.







Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Bank Holiday Rummage

My oh my! It's been a busy few days!

I recently decided to dust off my sewing machine and try my hand at dressmaking. Back when I was 19 or 20 I decided I wanted to learn to make my own clothes, so I did a 10 week dressmaking evening course. I made a skirt, but sadly, it didn't fit me and because it was a group class, I didn't really learn much! I got a bit disheartened and put my sewing machine away and it hadn't seen the light of day since.

Well, that's all changed since I went out and bought everything I'd need to make myself a pair of 1940's style swing trousers. My Mumma was a keen trouser-maker back in her teenage years, so I roped her into helping me with mine! We worked solid for 4/5 hours the first day, 4 hours the next and 2 days later, my trousers are finished - and they fit!!! I have to say, they say "very easy" on the Vogue pattern, but for a novice dressmaker like myself, I have to disagree with their definition of 'easy'. We've conquered darts, pleats, inserting a zip by hand (universal zipper foot, my arse!) and turn-ups. It's been a definite learning curve with giggles and tears along the way, but overall I'm pleased as punch with the finished product.

 


Before I decided to make my own trousers, I'd scoured the internet looking for a pair of high waisted swing trousers, even phoning Vivien Of Holloway to see if they have any in stock. Sadly, they didn't, so I carried on looking. I somehow stumbled upon a website called www.morellos.co.uk who amazingly, had a pair of plain black swing trousers - and in my size too! So I quickly ordered them and waited for them to come. 

They arrived this morning and I'm in love! They're gorgeous and the waist fits perfectly and they're the ideal length! I couldn't be happier.




Bank holidays are supposed to be warm and sunny, well that's what we hope for. Alas, this Monday was a washout. However, this didn't stop us getting the car and driving to Oxford, again! This time, it wasn't for a fair, but to visit an Antique shop in Yarnton. 

It was peeing down with rain and miserable. The set I did before we went had totally dropped out by the time we got home, but it was a lovely day! We started off with some lunch - you need sustenance before shopping, of course. The actual antique shop is inside a garden centre. It kind of reminds me of a shop in Cornwall called Trego Mills - where they sell a bit of everything in one store. Sadly, the prices weren't quite the same in Yarnton as they are in Cornwall! The prices of the antiques and things in Yarnton seem to be quite hit and miss. A 50's woolen coat, in not so great condition, was for sale for over £100. I've paid a lot less for far better, older, coats. There were so fabulous pieces of jewellery, some art deco, some 50's. A gorgeous pair of Lucite flower earrings with a screw back, but sadly were out of my price range. They were around £25, which, in my opinion, is overpriced.

I did however, find a few bargains. I bought an amazing 20's felt hat with an Ostrich feather, a pair of flocked rose clip on earrings and a pair of black faceted beaded clip on earrings.




 This is how I looked before the rain ruined my hair! Sadly the picture's not great quality - none of my pictures are, as I use my old iPhone to take piccies, but you get the idea!




I also have a few favourite shops back home in Milton Keynes. One is a second hand furniture warehouse where I picked up these two adorable trinket pots for £2 each.




 

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