A Little Catch Up & Some Thoughts On Vintage Wedding Dresses (Yes, a bit girly!)

Afternoon everyone!

I have been neglecting my blog for far too long, apologies for that – I need a good catch up on what you have all been blogging about.  There have been some exciting and busy times happening on my front.  My course is well underway and I think it is one of the best decisions I have ever made, I have been blogging for the Huffington Post UK (need to do a lot more of that) and trying to get a vintage wedding guide up and running.  I even got a feature published in the Oxford Times last week *Eeeeep*, discussing vintage bridal lingerie.

Even more exciting, is that we have officially booked our wedding – on Midsummers Day, 21st June 2014, how ROMANTIC! I know that I do not need to even try to convey how excited I am about this.  So commence the hunt for the perfect dress…

What do you think of this one?  It is inspired by a 1950’s Dior dress, I think it is utterly beautiful.  It is by Angels Carrying Savage Weapons, an amazing new bridal range here in the UK.  I love it, you can have the option of a coloured petticoat and it comes with a bolero too, possibly a little shorter would be even nicer…

Vintage inspired silk 1950s wedding gown christiane

This one is also gorgeous, and is budget friendly leaving me more money to spend on shoes!  It is by Kitty & Dulcie.

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As for shoes…Irregular Choice have a fabulous selection – the shoes in the picture above are by them! So quirky! Love pops of colour!

Anyways, back to work now!

Have a wonderful day, whatever you are up to, until next time xx

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Post Christmas Blues & A Laugh Out Loud Book Reccomendation

Hello everyone!

I hope you all had a truly magical Christmas and were surrounded by loved ones, delicious food, bubbly and mince pies oh and that Santa left you some beautiful gifts! I was utterly spoilt by my friends and family.  So thankful to all of them 🙂  As always, Christmas is over waaaaay to quickly. It is my most favourite time of the year and I cannot help but feel somewhat sad that it is over.  Our beautiful Christmas tree is still standing proud in our lounge and it will be such a shame when it is time to take it down.  I asked Daniel if we could keep it…he said he wasn’t keen on have just a stick in the corner of the room with decorations on it after all the needles have fallen off! 😦 fair point! haha!

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We got to spend our Christmas in a village in the Cotswolds that resembled the type of scene you would see on a Christmas card… so, so enchanting!  Had the chance to sit by fires and read, watch films – I watched The Snowman & The Snowdog – OMG if I hadn’t of been sat in front of so many people I would have sobbed my heart out! I got to bake mince pies with my niece, watch her and my nephew prepare for Santa’s arrival, offering him beer (lucky devil!), mince pies and of course Reindeer food & water.  How lovely 🙂  Seeing their excitement upon recieving their gifts was so special. Awwwww…

Cute niece leaving mince pies for Santa!

Cute niece leaving mince pies for Santa!

Anyway, over Christmas I read a great book by Caitlin Moran, “How To Be A Woman”.  I highly recommend it.  I laughed out loud, made my fiance read passages again and again from it, read passages out loud frequently and smiled at the situations she found herself in while growing up as they echoed my own experiences.

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For anyone, male or female who fancies reading a comical yet honest account of what is like to grow up as a woman while also questioning how feminism stands today, I suggest you read it.  I found this an easy and relaxing way of learning more about being a woman in today’s society through this than always academic texts, which can be somewhat heavy to digest at times.

Anyone else had any good reads over Christmas?  I am now on to “Build A Business From Your Kitchen Table” by the two female founders of notonthehighstreet.com.  Really interested in female entrepreneurship, so if any of you out there have started your own business, I would love to hear alllll about it!

Have a great weekend, and if I don’t get a chance to blog before… HAPPY NEW YEAR! xxx

Christmas treats…and some red lippy for me! Oops!

I braved the high street yesterday, bustled through the stressed crowds to finish off my Christmas shopping.  It never ceases to amaze me how crazed people seem to get at this time of year, people push and shove, grab at items in the shop.. it can be like Armageddon out there.

Anyway, despite this.. I do adore shopping (when I have the money to do so, that is) I never tire of looking at clothes and thinking how I “just don’t have any clothes” and really need to get that dress because I could dress it up AND down… ha! I always seem to have to justify my spending my money on myself in that way.  I did, however, hold back and really enjoyed finding gifts for my family and friends that I hope they delight in.  I love seeing people open their gifts and be pleased with what they have received.  That, for me is the best part of Christmas, seeing people happy.  I can just see it now how excited my niece and nephew will be at the prospect of opening the gifts that “Santa” has squeezed down the chimney to leave for them…

So while on my Christmas shopping experience I thought I may just treat myself too (eeek!).  I have been after a red lipstick for ages and since there were offers in House of Fraser, I bit the bullet and went to the Bobbi Brown counter for some advice – Red is the festive colour, so it was clealry a must *ahem*.  I am blonde, blue eyed and fairly pale, tend to focus on my eyes with eyeliner, lashings of mascara and opt for a pale pink gloss or lip balm.  Crossing the territory to red lipstick felt daunting… I felt I couldn’t just choose any.  The make-up assistant seemed so pleased to introduce me to array of reds that would suit my skin tone (apparently there are blue tones, pink tones…) so there I sat with that harsh department store lighting beaming upon me and she applied ‘Red Carpet’ (1st picture) – a rich bright red.  It looked wonderful, a bit of a shock at first but I really liked it.  Totally changed my look.  It was fairly bright and so as a more subtle option she tried a slighty darker lipstick, ‘Burnt Red‘ (2nd picture), this time with a gloss on top.  Perfect. The gloss worked really well with both lipsticks as it obviously wasn’t as matt then.  So…I HIGHLY recommend going to a Bobbi Brown counter and having them try out different colours on you.  A bit of a splurge but hey ho… at least the lips will look good! When I wear it I will post a picture!

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I have always looked at Marilyn Monroe, Scarlett Johansonn and the gorgeous Gwen Stefani and thought how they rocked that look and never thought I could.  So.. I thought I would share with you the lipsticks that worked on me (I may just save up for the other one now!)

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Now to work out how not to get it on my teeth…that would SO ruin the look!

Have a great Friday everyone xx

My Huffington Post UK Blog! – A response to Carla Bruni

Greetings my dear wordpress pals!

I hope this blog finds you all well?  Ok, as I have mentioned before, in September I started a Research Masters in journaism – looking at women’s magazines and feminine vintage.  While researching I am coming across new things everyday and have shared a few of them on here so I thought I would share this with you to see what you think and what you thought of it… My very first official blog post for the Huffington Post UK.  I felt so nervous about this being published as it feels more official than my blogs on here, maybe I am just being silly.  Anyway, enough of me rambling on – here it is *sharp intake of breath* hope you like it x

 

How Wrong You Are Carla, We DO Need Feminism!

‘Feminist’ a word that conjures up images of a hard, single and bitter woman who due to her beliefs has had to forgo a happy marriage and children, oh and has hairy armpits and continually rants on about women’s rights…am I right? Yep, thought so.

‘Feminism’ has become a vilified and dirty word and according to Carla Bruni in the French Vogue last week, “We don’t need to be feminists in my generation”. Oh Carla, this could not be further from the truth. While it can appear that a substantial amount women share Carla’s view and I may be generalising here but I question if those who tend to be wealthier and have more privileges can somewhat overlook the need for feminism.

If there is no need for feminism then explain the following. Women are STILL having to protest against The Sun’s ‘Page 3’, STILL unable to become Bishops, STILL having their reproductive rights challenged, a survey by the Guardian found that women STILL hold a measly 14% of the position on executive boards, have only had 1 female Prime Minister and STILL not earning equal wages? I could go on, but you get my gist. By ignoring the facts, the hard work undertaken by feminists is being undone. Granted, we have come a long way but there is still much more to achieve.

Perhaps Carla Bruni can be seen as the epitome of the successful young modern women, or should I say fortunate woman who has full access to childcare, an indisposable income, a choice of different homes and the luxury of not having to work. However, many families struggle to find affordable childcare, juggle numerous jobs to cover living expenses, while women can be expected to run a home at the same time. Yet, they would be subjected to lower wages, looked down upon for ‘not spending enough time with the kids’ – it is just simply not as easy for most of ‘us in the real world’. Bruni comments that she is not “at all an active feminist… [she] loves family life, [loves] doing the same thing every day”. Well good for you Carla, but to demand equality does not mean you can’t “love family life”, she has totally missed the point. It may be surprising but feminists can love family life too.

Maybe we shouldn’t be too harsh on Carla, negative images of feminism are consistently infiltrated and reinforced across all forms of media. This alongside walking hand in hand with our capitalist, neo-liberal and consumer led society an act of brainwashing has effectively taken place. By endorsing social hierarchy (class, gender, race, sexuality) in our society, the process where women, regardless of their backgrounds can collectively come together to find common ground is presently, unforeseeable. Looking at life through Chanel rose tinted glasses is a better way of viewing the world, it’s far easier to ignore the desperate situations that others find themselves in when it does not affect your everyday life.

Feminism has become lost in translation to younger generations – instead it is almost as though by allowing feminism to develop, for true equality to exist for women, feminism will ultimately be the undoing of society. Perhaps the blur between the term ‘feminism’ and ‘femininity’ is another part of the problem. Demanding equality and believing in your rights as a human being regardless of gender does not mean you have to dislike men, not get married, not be ‘feminine’, be career driven and not have children. Quite the opposite, you can enjoy baking, sewing, shopping (why should it mean you can’t) – it should mean you can choose how you live your life without being discriminated against, help create a better or improved society for future generations. If you choose to stay at home and be a housewife, then so be it – it is your choice to do so, but not one that should be made for you. In fact, you can be a man and be a feminist (yes, I said man), why not? Because you are a man and believing in women’s rights does not emasculate you, in my eyes that makes you more of a man.

We need to continue the teachings of our pioneers but in a fresh contemporary way. By reinventing and interpreting the term, ‘feminism’, for younger generations, the stereotype would be distinguished and being a feminist wouldn’t be something to be ashamed of.

A few less Carla Bruni’s and a few more inspirational feminist role models in the media and I bet, within time, attitudes would begin to change. It is idealist to a certain extent but it can be achieved. This maybe just half of the battle; the other half is convincing women that pursuing feminism is actually in their best interests!

 

 

My First Instalment Of The Best Of Vintage 2012

Hello Everyone…

At this time of year there is always a sort of compilation of the year…so I thought, why not a compilation of all my favourite vintage finds of 2012. There may be a fair long list but thought you might like to take a peek at these websites!

1. Best Vintage Fair – Discover Vintage

I haven’t actually attended this one BUT I am going to and it is on my “must do” list for next year but I frequently check out the website and love what they have to offer. This eclectic vintage fair first began with founder Keely Harris’ lifelong love affair with all things vintage. Discover Vintage held exhibitions across the North of England in 2009 and has now branched out across the UK. Fill your wardrobe with vintage finds, decorate your home from furniture and home accessories, accessorize your vintage wedding, watch a fashion show, receive expert vintage expert advice on retailing vintage fashion, attend vintage talks on your favourite vintage subjects. There really is something for every vintage lover at Discover Vintage, to find out where the next fair is being held check out www.discovervintage.co.uk.

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2. Best Vintage Tea Parties & Crockery Hire – Calamitea Jane’s Tea Parties

Ok, a friend of mine but having tasted the cakes and sipped the tea at Karen’s fairs that I have exhibited at, I can tell you first hand that they are wonderful. Even so much that Karen will hopefully be hosting a tea party at our wedding! With, of course, the added extra of cocktails in teapots! Yes, cocktails in teapots 😉 Not only that, Karen also provides venue styling, prop hiring and crockery hire and workshops! www.calamiteajanesteaparties.co.uk

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3. Best Vintage Magazine – Vintage Explorer

Vintage Explorer Magazine covers the best of the vintage scene and is read by both men and women. From covering the latest exhibitions and events taking place across the country, a round up of all the latest news in vintage land to everday lifestyle and fashion. In the latest issue look to Mantiques Gift Guide, sourcing the best of the best vintage gift ideas for the man in your life and how to host the best vintage style party this festive season. Subscriptions are available from £21 per year from the website together with all their back issues www.vintageexplorer.co.uk.

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4. Best Vintage Inspired Lingerie & Nightwear – Ayten Gasson

This delectable brand is made entirely in the UK, ethical and the collection is utterly divine pieces made of 100% silk and Nottingham Lace trimmed lingerie and nightwear inspired by a bygone era. Buying part of the collection is a different process from other online boutiques, what you as a customer gets is a personal and exclusive shopping experience. What you want is important to Ayten and that’s why before designing her most recent collection she asked her customers what THEY would like to see available, they wanted “Signature styles, such as the open backed kimono, skirted knicker and the most recognised – the silk teddy” and that’s what they got and more! www.aytengasson.com

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5. Best Website for Vintage Fashion and Crafts – Etsy

For craft and vintage lovers, Etsy requires no introduction but for those of you who have yet to discover the eclectic Etsy it is time you paid the website a visit. This is a site that I have been on frequently yet re-discovered recently and have since become obsessed! You can buy and sell an array of vintage and vintage inspired goodies – from homewares, weddings, clothing for men, women and children to art and general vintage supplies you really will find what you are after or indeed something entirely unique and creative than you first anticipated www.etsy.com.

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6. Best DIY Vintage Classes – Make Do & Mend

Based in Chelmsford, Essex, Make Do & Mend is a craft shop for creative folk who wanted to learn new skills and meet like minded people in a friendly environment and was a concept dreamed up by Hannah Elgie who wanted to establish a venue “for people to be creative together and learn from each other…for a new generation to the ways of the old generations”. Take your pick from knitting classes, high heel shoe making, upholster a footstool, make your own lampshade, fabric printing or even attend a vintage pamper party for your hen party and have a selection of vintage tea party goodies, cocktails in teapots… This is a place really worth a visit, www.makedomend.com.

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As I say, I do have plenty more to add but I am also very keen to hear what you all think you favourite vintage finds of 2012 are…

Have a lovely day xxx

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Ok, maybe not so much but I am getting in the mode of compling list of gifts that I want to get for family and friends.  I have decided this year not to go to crazy (if I had won the Euromillions on Friday or indeed yesterday, then I would do quite the opposite).  I love Christmas, I love the smell of Christmas, the tradition of it, the old films (my favourite, White Christmas), the GOOD Christmas songs, pulling Christmas crackers, seeing people enjoy their gifts, the cat trying to sleep in the branches of the tree, the festivities, the turning on of the lights in the high street, mulled wine and how can I forget… MINCE PIES! I could actually continue going on for ages… Alas, I will not put you through that!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am determined this year (as I do say every year) that I will make batches of Mince Pies.   So this year, I really am going to do it. We are getting a real Christmas tree this year and although we have plenty of Christmas decorations, I am soooo tempted to go and buy some more or even make our own…

One thing that I am sure about is that I want to buy products from local businesses, from amazing craft designers, sites like Folksy and Etsy are great, perhaps go and find some Christmas markets to attend… Out of ease and the offers, I guess it is sometimes easier to just go to the high street or your shopping mall and just purchase things from the usual shops.  However, is it not far nicer to give a gift to someone that is handmade and designed in the UK, supporting people who are not part of the big consumer driven society.  I would far rather spend that little bit more to get something more creative, individual and quirky, it shows you have put some real thought into it too.  I bet items like these are treasured more by the receiver too.

And so, the moral of my post is, buy locally, support your local businesses and craftsman and craftswoman.  So, that leaves me with one last thing to say…who knows a good Mince Pie recipie?

Have a great day everyone x

Being a busy bee and some more thoughts on feminism…

Good morning (or evening, depending on where you are in the world)!

I have had a busy few days, learnt a lot, taken on new responsibilities but I really feel like things are coming together.  Have been in the process of arranging a vintage pamper event in my hometown, arranging a photoshoot with a range of fab suppliers and starting up a wedding guide with a friend – I will get to blog about people’s wonderful weddings, have a chance to look at their gorgeous photographs and give the world inspiration for their own weddings.  This, alongside my course and of course family commitments is a lot to take on but I am so excited about it.  It is good to be busy and if your busy doing things you love, that can only be a good thing. I reckon that doing a lot of different things suits me, I love the feeling of working and accomplisment of finishing something you have worked so hard on.

On another note, I am still hard at work with learning about feminism and femininity and have had some great discussions with fellow blogger, Miss Fairchild and my mother, who is particularly inspirational.

My mother who grew up in the 60’s was told she was not womanly as she wanted to do her A-levels, un-feminine because she wanted to work, an embarassment becuase she was earning a higher wage than her father, not a good mum because she worked when she had me.  In fact, what she is, is quite the opposite.  In a time when it would have been easier to follow the crowd and stay at home and become a housewife, she had goals and a belief that she wanted to use her mind and make the most of her life and she refused to be told otherwise by anyone else.  I recall when I was growing up, how all the school mums would congregate outside the school gate to pick up their children – gossiping, making crude remarks about other women, talking about their latest handbag and so on, my mum was often the one who maybe turned up 5/10 minutes late but she was only there to do one thing, not gossip with other women about their mundane ‘so-called’, priviliged lives, but to pick me, her daughter up.  In Autumn she would take me to the woods, go hunting for leaves and conkers, go for walks with our dogs, teach me to read (I was quite a way ahead of others in my class in terms of reading – which was all credit to my mum), in Summer she would take me to the park, or in fact my dad would pick me up from school, most of all, I was loved and was shown and told how much I was loved every day.  Just because my mum worked to ensure I would have things that she never had, I never suffered from that – she gave me inspiration and my parents have always told me that what ever I put my mind to, I can do.   The other mums would not talk to my mother – they looked down on her because she wasn’t ‘one of them’, yet they were the fools because she would go out of her way to avoid having to speak to those women.  Funnily enough, from time to time I see those other mothers and they still hang around in a clique – their daughters are the exactly the same!

My reason for telling you this is due to the fact that while reading ‘The Feminine Mystique’, it made me look at those women and those girls that once bullied me at school in another light… This happens consistently around the world – women against women, instead of being encouraging, other who do not have the capability or drive to do something truly worthwhile with their lives are often the ones who try to make other people’s life difficult by being hostile towards them…

“A woman who is more than just a housewife can expect a few barbs from her suburban neighbours.  She no longer has the time for idle gossip over endless cups of coffee…she can no longer share with other wives that cosy ‘we’re all in the same boat’ illusion; her very presence rocks that boat.  And she can expect her home, her husband and her children to be scrutinized with more than the usual curiosity for the slightest sign of a ‘problem’.  This kind of hostility, howewver, sometimes masks a secret envy”

(Betty Friedan, 1963)

Written decades ago, but how interesting that these dynamics still exist today.  In fact, I read an article this morning http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/27/why-women-fight-women  – demonstrating how many women are sometimes their own worst enemy.  Why try and prevent women furthering themselves, worst of all, why prevent them when they are consequently preventing themselves to have the opportunity to have more rights?!

(Below are some images for you to peruse…)

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I feel despair reading that article, but inspired looking at those images.  However, it makes me feel even more determined to learn more about the world – ‘knowledge is power’, so my fiance often tells me.  It is time women celebrated each other.  Femininity and being a woman does not mean you cannot have equal rights, but it seems that is only half the battle, the other half is convincing women it is in their best interests.

 Have a great day everyone x

A little reflection on the simple things in life…

And so, another Sunday evening beckons.. After a full day of studying, the homemade lasagne is cooking in the oven, I am sharing a bottle of gorgeous red wine with my fiance while he works on his photography, the hound by my feet and the cats are snoozing.  I am happy.

These are the simple things life, but the things that make the everyday special.  I am in love, have a healthy and happy family and friends, a roof over our heads, an income, a future ahead of us.  I enjoy materialistic things, I won’t lie – I love shopping, fashion, creating a beautiful home… but really, what means the most to me is my family and close friends.  Without love, where are do we stand?  I feel so lucky that I am fortunate enough to have everything that I do.  At the end of the day, we get one chance at living our lives.  We should never take for granted what we have, say you love your partner when you want to, tell your parents you love them,your children how proud you are of them, remember to always say please and thank you.  The next time you walk past someone, smile and say “morning/afternoon/evening”, help that person who is struggling to carry all those bags, ask that lonely old lady across the street how she is…life is sacred and it is easy to get so consumed with the little worries and stresses that appear to dominate our lives.  A simple smile can make somebody’s day.

Next time I find myself feeling worried or blowing something out of proportion, I will try to remember that in the grand scale of things, that it probably is not  really worth it.  Laugh, smile, embrace love, take risks (not outlandish ones, obviously), feel alive, do not let life pass you by. You never know when you are going to go.

As the beautiful Marilyn Monroe once said (below is my all time favourite picture of her) :

“”This life is what you make it. No matter what you are gonna mess up sometimes, it’s a universal truth. The good part is you get to decide how you are gonna mess it up. Keep your head high, chin up & keep smiling coz life’s a beautiful thing & there’s so much to smile about”

Have a great evening x

Standing on my soap box about women’s rights…

Happy Sunday Everyone!

This blog may seem a bit heavy for a Sunday but this research is really helping me inform me about the world we live in.  There is still so much to learn. I have been reading Angela McRobbie’s book, “The Aftermath of Feminism” and have found myself getting so frustrated and angered by the things that I am learning.  As mentioned before in an earlier blog post, I find it alarming at how many women are somewhat ashamed at calling themselves feminist and and/or think that feminism is something that belongs in the past.

McRobbie calls this the “undoing of feminism”.   The media along with our capitalist and consumer led government has contributed to brainwashing society to associate feminism with an image of the hard, single, bitter woman who in order to succeed has to forgo a happy marriage and children – a man hater who is out for herself,  a type of vilification of the term ‘Feminism’.  It has become lost in translation to younger generations – instead it is almost as though by allowing feminism to develop, true equality to exist for women, feminism is seen as a threat to patriarchal society. To ensure society remains in a patriarchal led state, the media is infiltrated to reinforce negative images of feminism. Yes, women can vote, yes we can now work, yes we are free to choose, yes we can prove we can be like men and behave like men, but has anybody really considered why we still are not paid equally, why women’s reproductive rights are still being challenged, why there are more men in parliament and why some women feel they have to act like men to get further in life?

By endorsing hierarchy (class, gender, race, sexuality) the process where women, regardless of their backgrounds can collectively come together to find common ground is unforeseeable presently. By looking closer and reading between the lines, women’s rights and empowerment is far from over.  We need an equal society that embraces change. As Mc Robbie states “women are currently being disempowered through the very discourses of empowerment they are being offered as substitutes for feminism”. I find that statement shocking and it makes me feel angered that we as a society seem to just accept and put up with inequality (and outlandish policies across other social spheres) – what happened to our sense of fighting for what is right?  We need to reignite that passion that has been seen throughout history – the suffragettes for example.  Why do we not stand up for what is right?

There appears to be a blur between the term ‘feminism’ and ‘feminininty’. To demand equality and to believe in your rights as a human being regardless of gender does not mean you have to dislike men, not get married, not be ‘feminine’, be career driven and not have children, you can enjoy baking, sewing, shopping (why should it mean you can’t) – it should mean you can choose your own life choices without being discriminated against, help create a better or improved society for future generations, take the teachings of past feminists but look to a modern way of interpreting and reinventing it..  We all live in this world together, wouldn’t it be good to have an equal society that embraced all members of society?

Let us not undo all of the hard work past and present feminists have created, let us continue it!