Tag Archive | vintage

The romance of film noir

Looking for a night out with a twist?  Look no further than the Evans & Peel detective agency in Earls Court, London.

My friend, who has fabulous vintage style and can always be relied upon for a good night out, announced that the theme of her birthday celebrations this year would be film noir. Apart from the obvious translation to ‘a black film’, I’m ashamed to say that I knew little else about this, but Google is always on hand to help.

Film noir is a genre, retrospectively assigned by film critics, to Hollywood crime dramas from the early 1940s to the late 1950s.  The Big Sleep, This Gun for Hire, The Maltese Falcon and Double Indemnity are a few of examples of classic film noir.  The films tended to be quite pessimistic as was the general mood in post war America.  They are usually saturated with cynicism as well as using stark light/dark contrasts and dramatic shadowing, as a visual style.

 

For the occasion, I wore a black pencil dress from Pretty Kitty Fashion with wartime seamed tights and a cream faux fur jacket from New Look.  I set the outfit off with red Sarah Jessica Parker shoes in a classic t-bar style and a black vintage frame, clip top bag which incidentally, was bought for me years back by the birthday girl.  I styled my hair using a Heidi roll tool also from Pretty Kitty Fashion and topped it off with a burgundy pill box hat from Kiss Kiss Heart.

 

On arrival at the venue, you would never guess in a million years that it was a bar.  You are greeted by a simple door with Evans and Peel detective agency written on it and a buzzer.  After pressing said buzzer, you follow the stairs down to a dark office, where you are asked to state your case.  One of our group stated that their wedding ring had been stolen and they believed the culprit to be someone in our group.  The agency agreed to take the case on, at which point, a bookcase opens to reveal the bar.  Menus in brown case file envelopes are given out which list aptly named prohibition radiator moonshine beer amongst a selection of cocktails and it’s there I’m afraid, that the theme sadly ends.

 

Not for us however, as our case had been thought up, based on prior knowledge of the evening’s events that were still to come.  Suddenly a member of our group pointed at my friend’s boyfriend and said “it was you who stole the ring!”  To this, the smartly dressed ‘doctor’ dropped to one knee and proposed to my friend who was dressed as the classic Coco Chanel.  Her expression was priceless, she was completely shocked and clearly not expecting it, but very quickly that turned to pure joy as she accepted.

 

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It was a beautiful moment between them that I feel very privileged to have been a part of.  I am so happy for my friend as she so deserves the happiness she has clearly now found.  I await their wedding in June with anticipation – I know it will be another beautifully styled vintage event.

Congratulations guys – who says film noir is dark and pessimistic – it certainly brought you guys great joy and happiness.

 

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Une Jolie Boutique

On a beautiful hot, summers day my friend and I arrived with sea legs via the Thames Clipper in leafy, historic Greenwich.  After making our way through the thriving market area with many colourful and interesting stalls, we came out on Nelson Road to discover an intriguing shop owned by someone my friend used to work with. The shop is called Joli Vintage Living (Joli being a clever combination of the owner and her son’s names) with the added bonus of being like the French word ‘Jolie’ meaning pretty. The quirky shop, selling all things vintage, opened around two and a half months ago. The owner, Jo, used to work in charity shops for Save the Children and The Maypole Project. She has always had a love for vintage things and previously had her own shop that she had to give up due to family commitments; now her son has encouraged her to once again follow her heart. She selected Greenwich for its diversity in terms of people from every nationality and a good mix of tourists and locals.

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As we entered the store the sweet sound of a baby grand piano welcomed us. You feel like you have been transported back in time as you are surrounded by beautiful furniture and crockery, some of which has been previously sold in high end stores such as Harrods. This then gives way to jewellery, bags and other accessories. As we made our way through to outside there is a back yard, harbouring many more classic items including an old highchair and pram, a stunning dolls house and a London bus stop sign as well as a rail of clothes.

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Heading downstairs via a staircase decorated with London scenes on each step; a nod to the tourist clientele as well as vintage posters down the wall such as an advert for Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s there was the distinct sound of a vintage record player, before we reached two further rooms with more furniture and a host of clothes, shoes and bags. Everything is displayed expertly, with clothes ordered by era; it is like an Aladdin’s cave – every time you look, you see something new. Jo sources at auctions mainly as well as doing commission sales; EBay is not for her as she prefers to see items in the flesh so you know exactly what you are getting.

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The shop began with furniture and home accessories but fairly swiftly branched into clothing when the demand for it became clear. Currently 80’s and 90’s stock is flying off the rails. I asked Jo what she thought the best era for fashion was and she thought the 50’s were very elegant but the 60’s and 70’s stand out for her due to the new found freedom people had. I couldn’t resist this beautiful dress, which although new, has been made in a 1960’s style. Currently I can’t quite fit into it but there is some motivation for the diet.

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The most interesting pieces she had when I visited were the baby grand piano which attracted many a budding musician to tinkle the ivories; and some London traffic lights.

Only a short boat or train ride from Central London, a summer trip to Greenwich is a must on any tourists bucket list and this shop is not to be missed. The shop opening times are below:

Monday closed

Tue-Sat 11-6

Sun 10-6

Please visit the shops Facebook page for the latest arrivals. Happy rummaging!

A Transient Period

So 12th Jan arrived and passed and the diet had yet to begin with biscuits, nuts and chocolates still hanging around from Christmas. Even now come March, my willpower is currently at an all-time low; in the words of Homer Simpson ‘oooh doughnuts!’ Stepping on to the scales, I nearly gave myself a coronary. I’m not going to share how much I was but suffice to say, it’s the heaviest I have ever been and losing a stone would only really be scratching at the surface!

Most women will tell you that January sparks the need for a diet and I overheard plenty of conversations about it on the train home from work. There is a tendency to look for a quick fix celebrity diet and I have become victim to this before with the 5:2 diet. This year’s fads appear to include the Paleo diet – where the only foods consumed are those that are believed to have been available to the caveman in the prehistoric era and the Vegan before 6 diet which is what its name suggests. We all would love to find that magic bullet but the reality is losing weight is hard and if you want to keep it off, it’s going to mean a lifestyle change – a diet is forever. All whilst we continue to stuff our faces with fatty, sugary foods and sit on our backsides – we are snookered! (Talking of Snooker, the things you do for love. I sat through over 8 hours of live snooker with my husband at The Masters, held at Alexandra Palace which I treated him to for Christmas).

I guess if I want to get bikini body ready by my holiday in May and then maintain it, I’m going to have to start swapping the chocolate for fruit, the alcohol for water and upping my exercise routine. Now with exercise the key is to find something that you enjoy and for me that is walking. I should have extra motivation to do it, as my husband and I need to get in training for the 26.2 mile Moon Walk in May to raise money for breast cancer research.   Time seems to constantly be an issue but of course that is just a lame excuse really. I feel even guiltier when I log on to Facebook and see my sister in law’s latest plotted walk. Hopefully raising money will push me into it, so if your new year’s resolution was to think of others then here is your opportunity to fulfil that – follow the link to our fundraising page.

https://moonwalklondon2015.everydayhero.com/uk/paper-chase

I feel the start of the year has conspired against my efforts to adopt healthy eating (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!) as I have been fortunate enough to have a busy social life involving food and alcohol (the dreaded empty calories).

For my sister-in-law’s birthday, we visited Eight in Rainham. This is a lovely boutique restaurant which can accommodate less than 25 diners on the ground floor but does also have an upstairs which is used on special ocassions or can be hired out. There is black sparkly wallpaper adorning one wall, a deep pink wall with a mirror shaped as a number eight and beautiful chandeliers cascade soft lighting over the tables. The food is delicious and I couldn’t resist the camembert wedges to start and pan fried salmon for main. The puddings are a bit of a let-down so I guess it marginally helps the diet.

http://www.eightrestaurant.net/

My friend organised a cheese and wine evening round at hers and whilst enjoying the fine wine and range of cheeses, we amused ourselves with poker. I feel so grown up now we all have mortgages and opt for nights in rather than big nights out! I felt like dressing up a little for this so wore my red full midi tulle skirt purchased in the Asos sale with a black polo neck top from Oasis and some red suede heels I purchased in New Look. I accessorized with a long pearl necklace and clipped a red flower from Glitz4you, onto them.

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I then got invited to dinner at another friends to see her new home she has just purchased which is a stunning Victorian semi in Tunbridge Wells. For that I wore a denim dress from New Look which was quite Alexa Chung in style with my black suede Kookai Boots and Swarovski crystal tights. Denim is very fashionable again this season with it even being appropriate to exhibit the long standing fashion no no of double denim. Alexa Chung has designed a capsule collection this year with sophisticated denim brand, AG Jeans and the famous Levi 501’s have also had a bit of a makeover, making them more fitted than previous designs.

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Valentine’s Day came round – our first as a married couple. Now going out on the day is notoriously a let-down with restaurants cramming you in and ripping you off with a ‘special’ menu. We opted for something completely different this year and went for afternoon tea at our local garden centre, Dobbies. It was very civilised and great value at only £15 with a glass of Prosecco each.

valentines afternoon

I’m finding it hard to believe that we are already nearing the end of March and this is my first blog of the year, hence it is somewhat longer than usual – time is flying by.

March 25th saw Sarah Jessica Parker turn 50 – so by way of celebration for my fashion icon, I give you my top 10 favourite outfits she wore as Carrie in Sex and the City, along with the one Sarah Jessica Parker wore to London Premier of Sex and the City 2 where I got to meet her. Carrie taught us to be confident in our fashion choices so that you can pull off anything – the candy girl outfit and pyjama/fur coat combo, illustrate this perfectly.

carrie vogue outfit

baby shower

Carrie jury service

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candy stripper

flower dress

newsprint dress

pyjAMAS

oscar de la renta

magazine clutch

At Sex and the City 2 premier in Leicester Square

At Sex and the City 2 premier in Leicester Square

One Friday night in March, I went for a friends belated birthday drinks in Camden at a bar called Fifty Five. For this I opted to wear my new jeans – in the cut of the season – flared; a nod to the 70’s fashion. I teamed it with a grey boxy t-shirt and butterfly snood all from New Look, completing the look, drawing on the purple in the snood, with some purple suede wedges that a bought a few seasons back in the Oasis sale. The one rule to remember with flares is to wear wedges, platforms or block heels as stilettos just don’t compliment them. The more observant amongst you will also notice I chose one of my 70’s vintage magazine clutches (mentioned in my previous blog and seen in one of my favourite Carrie outfit pictures) to really set off the vintage look.

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Last weekend a friend and I travelled to Ladbroke Grove/Notting Hill area for a long overdue girly catch up. For this outing I chose to wear my denim A- line mini skirt (another 70’s inspired look) with my pussy bow blouse with birds on and Ugg Boots as I knew we would be walking around a lot so opted for comfort for a change! My bag was my fast becoming favourite, magazine clutch again.  My friend kindly loaned me her Prada sunglasses which I fell in love with and now have to have a pair! I have been meaning to visit this area of London for a while, immortalised in the Hugh Grant/Julia Roberts romantic comedy of the same name. It was largely run down until the 1980s but has now become quite a fashionable and affluent area with its beautiful coloured Victorian town houses and terraces. Portobello Road is what the area is best known for, which once housed the author George Orwell and is now home to the famous Portobello Road Market. It is filled with antique, shabby chic and vintage style shops, albeit with some well-known chain stores now interwoven. We spent a good while browsing and immersing ourselves in the bohemian atmosphere; as my friend commented very like Camden without the smell of weed! We then enjoyed afternoon tea at the Biscuiteers Boutique on Kensington Park Road. This beautiful shop sells iced biscuits for every occasion and also has an icing café where you can test out your own skills. The tea was beautiful; including an array of London themed iced biscuits and was a real bargain at £24 each which included two glasses of Prosecco.

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The shop is stunningly decorated with what I would describe as blue willow wallpaper and a wall of vintage mirrors which gives a fantastic effect and is a stylish idea I might well steal for decorating any future house; which brings me nicely on to my exciting news of the month.

We finally took the plunge and put our house on the market and amazingly it sold in a matter of days to the first and only person that viewed it. This brings with it mixed emotions for me. After nearly four years of living there, it has become my home as much as my husband’s even though he purchased it long before we met. I love the history of it – it is a Victorian terrace built in 1897 and I really like all we have done to it; especially the reinstalling of a Victorian tiled fireplace in the dining room which was a great find on EBay, The North African inspired décor in the dining room, our Greek inspired patio, our sunny bathroom, our purple boudoir and my wonderful wardrobe.

The thought of a new house to decorate however is very exciting and now we have had our offer accepted on a lovely 1930’s semi, I am far more enthusiastic about the move in general. Suddenly bathrooms and wallpaper are becoming as appealing to window shop for as shoes – well almost! One thing is for sure I finally feel content to remain living in Rainham, especially now it has become somewhat of destination vintage; with a new café called Nutmeg which is very Cath Kidston inspired and does a beautiful cream tea as well as a shop called The Vintage Dove which sells various shabby chic gifts and runs craft classes upstairs.  I am hoping to try their class in Autentico Beginners Furniture Painting as I am planning to upcycle the pine table and chairs given to us by my husband’s parents.

the vintage dove

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I wanted to end with an array of pictures of what was a much loved first home. Fingers crossed sale goes through and we don’t have to start the search again as it is extremely stressful. Until next time ….

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living room

dining room

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kitchen

bathroom

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bedroom

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