Sunday, 31 March 2013

Pearlescent Paradise and Victory Rolls to Boot

Hello Ladies and Gents,

My vacation has finally arrived and one of the best ways to start the break is a trip to Rockalily Cuts. After not going for 17 weeks last time I thought I would not leave it so long to banish my root growth - so I booked an appointment for a colour and a rough blow dry a mere eight weeks from my last appointment.

So, I arrived and was greeted by the lovely Emma, Ryan and Emily (Ree Ree and Lucie are currently in Las Vegas, VLV16 - the lucky ladies). Emma was just finishing off another clients hair and then it was my turn in the hot seat. Emma applied the colour to my roots and I was left to cook. After 40 minutes or so my roots were completed and it was time to add the toner. Now, after my last experience I thought I would never hear myself say it but I asked for a different toner to be applied to my hair. I normally have a blonde toner, but instead I went for a pearlescent one to make my hair have a lilac/ pink tone to it. Emma applied this and my hair turned a super colour - and with no added drama this time.

Whilst I had my toner on I asked if Emily would like to style my hair to give her
the opportunity to practice some vintage styles. She jumped at the chance so when my toner was rinsed off I had my hair dried and styled by Emily. Let me tell you a bit about Emily. Emily is a 21 year old young lady from Weymouth who is currently at Rockalily Cuts for work experience. She is training to be a hairdresser and by the looks of things a very successful one! Emily curled my hair and then put in two victory rolls.... I was very impressed and loved her enthusiasm - this lady will go far.

Again, I can not express how much I love Rockalily Cuts. It truly is a great salon   - welcoming, friendly and relaxing - with a very skilled and talented team of stylists.  I can't wait for my next visit!

Thanks to Emma, Ryan and Emily for a great afternoon... see you soon x

Emily and my new doo...

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Hosiery... mission complete

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

With the weather still being horrific, I have had plenty of extra time to surf the world wide web and look at things all weird and wonderful. It was during one of my random searches that I stumbled across a brand of hosiery I've not heard of before called 'Silkies'. 

Now this is where my dilemma starts... hosiery and my legs aren't a match made in heaven. For years I have battled with it -  either they ladder as soon as you put them on, the gusset is down to my knees, hold-ups and stockings only end up at my knees, it says it fits size up 160 lbs and they don't, etc, etc - I just don't understand why sizings aren't more uniform! My legs are 32" long and my thigh is 24" wide - which I'm unsure if this is unusual or not, but finding hosiery seems to be a mission... until now.

So by considering the dilemmas I thought 'what the hay' and bought the 'Silkies' in a size large. A couple of days later the tights arrived - I ripped open the bag to try them on and I was amazed - it was like these tights were made for me. Snug, good bum support, sheer and a good colour (taupe) - the sizing on the packet actually was right! 

Because of my elation I thought I would share with you the other hosiery items I have had great success with...

Silkies (size large)
I think I have gone on about these enough. The only snag is that they are an American company so need to buy these online or if you find them in a store in the UK please let me know!

Tabio (size medium/ large) - my favourite store is in Covent Garden.
I love tabio opaque tights. These are a great every day tight and they fit really well and the elastic holds even after 100's of washes! I wear the 60 denier opaque black tights to work and they have never let me down. In all my years of wearing them they have worn out before they laddered so this, to me, is an awesome thick tight. They also do great footless tights which I wear in the summer and along with some cute socks.

Wolford (size medium to large) - my favourite store is on Regent Street.
Now these are a great tight for body shaping. I have a pair of their footless tights and they hold you in at at all the right places. They also do great hold ups (which I wore to my wedding) and other sexy undergarments.

What Katie Did (size large in stockings/ size extra large in hold ups) -  Portabello Rd, Notting Hill
This shop will not only satisfy your lingerie needs, but will also complete your hosiery requirements. As mentioned in a previous blog, they have sadly discontinued their hold ups but they were a perfect fit and I still have three unopened packs in storage! For stockings the large fits me like a glove and I love the fact you can wash them and they don't snag even on a thin denier.

I think the key to hosiery shopping is to know your body. This may sound simple, but I know this is where I have fallen into the trap. I have now taken to measuring every part of my body so I stop making mistakes and wasting my hard earned cash. If it just says 'to fit 160 lbs' I'm going to resist the bargain (that is always followed by disappoint) and just buy what I know looks good and feels right OR thoroughly look into the size guide before purchasing.

Happy Hosiery x

P.S. I'm going shopping for thread today so I can continue on my sewing journey...

Friday, 15 March 2013

'Lindy Lou's' - Belle of the South-East

Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

Earlier in the week, when my long weekend was fast approaching, Husbandy and I were wondering what to do. Husbandy was looking at eBay and noticed I had put some vintage clothes in the 'watch list' (or hint list as I like to call it!). He started to look at what they did more closely and contacted the seller to see if they had a shop and to our delight they do! So yesterday, I phoned 'Lindy Lou's' to see if they were open and when they said 'yes' we were ready and heading East to Rayleigh, Essex. 90 minutes later we arrived at the quaint town of Rayleigh and wondered around and at the top end of the high road there it was, 'Lindy Lou's'.

Lindy Lou's shop front
We walked in and were presented with an array of vintage replica (and some original) clothes for both men and women. I was in vintage heaven as there was such a wide selection of clothes to choose from! After having a look around and selecting a few pieces to try on we started chatting to the owner. We were talking about the store (which had only been open 7 weeks) and the replica garments. The replica garments are all made in England and from original 1940s/ 1950s patterns and made by very talented seamstresses. For men the items range from trousers, shirts, jackets, hand knitted jumpers, hats and some original vintage items. For women again the range from hand knitted jumpers, cardis, skirts, blouses, dresses, head-wear and a whole range of accessories. 

I tried on some swing trousers, Freddies of Pinewood jeans, blouses, a wiggle dress and an emerald green jumper. I fell in love with all the items - especially the swing trousers  - but they were sadly too short. When the owner saw this she said that we do make made to measure so sizing is not an issue. This made my day as swing trousers always come up as ankle biters on my long legs and at last I have a solution! After trying on my items, Husbandy tried on some great pieces. In the end we walked away with three jolly spiffing things and will definitely be back for more! Afterwards we went for a wonder around Rayleigh and it has a great high street. There was a wonderful vintage cafe called 'Coles Vintage Tea Rooms' and next time we will be going in there!

With the goodies...
'Lindy Lou's' is a little gem in Southern Essex. It's a well presented shop with friendly owners who are more then happy to help. The bonus with this shop is that the clothes are made in England and by being made in England the clothes can be made to measure. There are also some great original vintage pieces. If you're into vintage, rockabilly, swing, jive - anything to do with the 1940s/ 1950s this is a great clothes shop for you and well worth the trip. Also don't forget to check them out on eBay - eBay name 'qbiffer'.

Lindy Lou's Flyer
Nearest Train Station: Rayleigh (trains leave London Liverpool Street approx. every 15 mins). Only a 8 minute walk from the station. 

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Fabric Websites, Shops & Blogs I Love....

Hello Ladies and Gents,
Bill Murray and a beaver

Today is a dull, dank and dark day with the skies full of thick grey has been so grey these last few days its been like a scene from Groundhog Day. As the weather is sooooo depressing the only thing to do is to look at fabric websites and dream about my next projects....

With my next projects simmering in the background (shower cap bloggie coming soon) I thought I would share with you websites that I truly love and have set me in good stead on my stitching journey. They will be split into four areas:

  • Online
  • Fabric shops
  • Haberdashery shops
  • Blogs & websites

So lets begin...


Fabric Rehab -
This is a great online store that sells a wide range of fabrics from lightweight to heavyweight. They describe the fabric really well and take great quality photos and try to scale where possible - they also have good offers on bundles too. The delivery of the fabric is quick and if you feel you have made a mistake there is a number you can call and they are always helpful.

Fabric shops

Tikki -
A great little shop in Kew (South West London) that specialises in quilting and patchwork and also sells an array of glorious fabrics. This shop is my nearest and I only discovered it today so definitely will be back to have a thorough look around (I only popped in today for some elastic). Its good to know I've a great shop on my doorstep (20 minute walk, or 5 mins on the bus!) as before I had to go into town if I forgot something.

Ray Stitch -
This shop in Islington (North East London) is a shop of fabric magic. It has a great selection of fabrics and a small haberdashery plus a cafe! The shop is neatly presented and the staff are very helpful. They also run classes for all skill types and I hopefully will be booking myself on one soon.

Liberty -
To me, Liberty is a truly magnificent shop - having more to offer than cosmetics and clothes. The fabric range is dreamy and I love the fact that some of it is made in UK still. The prints are wonderful and I will purchase something from here soon to make something for my husbandy...

As my passion for sewing is growing all the time I need to get my fabric fix when I can. If I know me and husbandy are going on a day trip I search the web to see if they have any sewing shops... below are some little gems I have found so far...

The Sewing Shop Canterbury -
This shop is a cutsie shop that is situated near the heart of Canterbury. Here I found some great 1950 print fabric but I didn't buy any at the time - oh well it just means I have to go back! 

The Brighton Sewing Centre -
This shop is only 5 mins from the train station. Again it has a great selection of fabrics and also the added bonus of specialising in Berina sewing machines. The shop is neatly presented and friendly staff.


Macculloch and Wallis -
Macculloch and Wallis is situated in the centre of London (just off Oxford Street) and sells a superb range of fabrics. The fabrics are totally wonderful but I love Macculloch and Wallis for it's haberdashery. If you think you can't find what you're looking for in the haberdashery world then look no further - they have more buttons, elastic, trimmings, craft tools, etc than you could possibly dream about. It always has what I want and I think it will do you for you too.

Blogs and websites

The Thirfty Stitcher -

This website really helped me on my way to start my sewing journey. The tutorials are clear and precise and offer great hints and tips on where to buy things and how to make things. Again, they offer tutorials ranging from beginners to advance so I may have to book myself on a beginners course soon!

Quilting along the Grain -
I love the style of this blog...and this is what partly inspired me to do my blog today (a good blog on grey material). This blog offers great hints and tips and is always a good read!

Handmade Jane -
This blog always makes me smile and I love the photos used....Austin Powers, Percy from Blackadder 2.... I also used her blog to make my Mother-in-Law's wash bag (which was well received so big smiles all round). Great tutorials which are clear and concise - good for beginners!

There are a lot of websites, shops and blogs in the sewing world and I have shared with you the ones I have experienced so far. If there is not one here that suits you then get googling! As I said at the beginning of this blog, these websites, shops and blogs have set me in good stead at the start of my sewing journey and hopefully they will do for you too. 

Happy Stitching x

P.S. The piccie below is taken the same time last year (10/03/12)...what a difference in the weather!

Sunny March 2012

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Beginning on the Vintage Hair & Make Up Journey....

Hello Ladies and Gents,
The other day one of my good friends was going to a 1940s/50s party and asked me for some hints and tips on how to achieve this style. I was flattered that she asked me and sent her an email with lots of useful links for hair and make-up. I then thought I could share these tips with the wider community so I copied the email (minus the gossip) and here we have it! I still use these tutorials today as although I wear it as often as I can I still sometimes get in a tangle - quite literally with the hair - and need a quick reminder on how to get the perfect victory roll. 

So, for the hair....  the best piece of advise I can give (and being tip 1) is don't wash your hair!  I know we all love clean and shiny hair but for vintage hair it makes it virtually impossible to style and hold sooo please don't wash your hair! Dirty hair makes styling so much easier and definitely creates a much better hold. My hair (being fine and blonde) needs a lot of encouragement to stay in place so I usually don't wash it and put my hair in soft rollers. This leads onto tip try and curl the hair either by using rollers or a curling ironing or some sort of item. It is not essential and not all styles need this, but the majority of them do. If you use rollers I would recommend setting them with mousse or something. I use Lottabody which I think works really well on my hair - it does pong a little but by the time it has dried it's hardly noticeable. I don't necessarily put the rollers in any order - I just make sure all the hair is in and rolled over the roller and put in a headscarf overnight or for as long as possible. And the final tip, tip 3, please allow time and be patient! Initially, these styles will take time and with practice become easier but I always allow an hour (this usually is for three victory rolls - see piccie below) just in case one of the little buggers decides to be particularly awkward!

Trio of Victory Rolls
Now the tutorials I rely on are any by Classic Retro Glamour on You Tube. They're easy to follow and not over complicated - simple is the key! Below are some of her links:

'Victory Rolls' -

'Rolling with Pin Ups' -
'Glamourous sweep to the side' -

A great thing about these styles is that you will be able to recreate them without spending a fortune on new items. If you're like me, you'll have tried and tested many styles before and have bits of hair wax and hair grips just lying around. To create these fabulous styles you'll need: a hairbrush (what ever you usually use), hair grips, hair wax or pomade (I use Layrite as it is amazing and takes care of all those pesky fine hairs) and hairspray (I use TRESemme Freeze Hold Hairspray). I use a lot of hairspray as I  like my hair to hold even if hurricane Bill arrives but I know that the rock solid look is not to everyone's taste. It maybe an added bonus to curl the hair first either by using rollers or curling iron (or if you're clever by using your hair straightners) - but this is not essential.

As for the make-up most ladies are armed with a mascara, eye-liner and an assortment of eye shadows not to mention a red lipstick that you bought but not sure how to wear -  so now is the opportune moment to use it and use it glamourouslyAgain the tutorials I rely on are any by VividMakeUp on You Tube (she also does great hair tutorials too). They are clear and easy to follow - piccie below of me after following the tutorial and here is my fav link:

'Authentic 1950s Make Up' -

Vintage Make-Up
When it comes to make up I use a mixture of brands from Benefit to Clinique. I adore the Benefit's mascara and as soon as my eye shadows run out I'm going to treat myself to the new 'Most Glamourous Nudes' set. I use MAC Blitz & Glitz Fluidline for my eyeliner as I find this the most precise to use and get magnificent flicks. I also wear their Cherry red lip liner and Ramblas Red lipstick (as well as my newly purchased Rockalily Sailors Beware lipstick).

The best advice I can give is practice. You don't need to shell out on new gadgets or products - you can use what you have to hand and add items as and when you want. In a short time you will be looking like a 1950s glamour puss and wonder why you didn't rock this look before!

Happy Glamourising!