Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Vintage beauty tips and tricks that are worth trying out.

Why spend hours devoting your time to countless beauty products and techniques when you could easily use a few tried and trusted vintage tips to achieve beauty perfection! Who needs a staggering amount of beauty creams, lotions and potions when you could try a few classic beauty tricks out with ease at home, you could even save yourself some cash!

If it was good enough for the starlets of Hollywood's hey day, surely it's worth trying at home. We're constantly seeing tips for beauty hacks and styling tricks, but why spend hours devoting your time to achieving beauty perfection, when a few minutes spending dabbing on a spot of vaseline could do the trick.

For every beauty problem there's an easy solution, and more often than not it's a time honoured tip that's been tried for generations. These handy vintage beauty tips and tricks aren't just old wives tales, they're tried and trusted tips that you won't know how you coped without them, and all they require is a few basic bits that you'll already have to hand!

Who'd have thought that a jar of petroleum jelly would have so many uses! Not just used for tending to scrapes and cuts, a jar of Vaseline can be used for so many things that you wouldn't have even thought of trying.

Tame those brows by using a small dab of Vaseline to shape and style, simply swipe your brows to shape once plucked. If you fancy something a little sweeter smelling I swear by Rose & Co's Rose petal salve which works wonders at taming those brows!

To prevent tried puffy eyesapplying a dab of Vaseline under your eyes before you go to sleep can also work wonders, especially if you've had a spot of tipple or two.. simply dab it under your eyes for a brighter look in the morning.

You can also use it to treat cuticles and rough patches of skin on your hands, simply dab a small spot of vaseline on the problem area and gently rub in.

Hair conditioner.
Not just used to create luscious waves, a spot of hair conditioner can also be used for a budget cutting beauty trick. Instead of investing in shaving creams and oils, apply a handful of hair conditioner to your legs prior to shaving, and wet shave as you normally would, it will help remove those pesky hairs with ease, as well as leaving your legs feeling soft.

Run out of blusher? Try using your favourite lipstick as a replacement, a tried and tested trick often used during times of rationing in the forties, simply dab a small amount of red or pink lipstick onto your cheek and rub in to blend.

Nowadays we wouldn't think twice after applying our morning moisturiser to our face, but a tried and tested vintage beauty method involved also applying that moisturiser to your neck. Instead of using your usual body lotion, why not try applying a generous dab of your face cream to your neck, guaranteed to help prevent dry skin as well as maintaining a youthful glow.

Another handy tip is to double up the use of your cold cream, if you prefer to use this as your daily moisturiser. It's an excellent make up remover, simply dab a little on to a cotton wool pad and use it to remove your make up with ease, it will also leave your skin feeling soft afterwards!

Images: Flickr Commons.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Cake for dessert! Apple and almond cake.

Is it cake, or is it a tasty dessert? Why not have both with this tasty recipe for apple and almond cake, a sweet treat that will certainly go down well and it's much easier to prepare then you'd think!

  2 bramley apples
  lemon juice
  1 tsp of granulated sugar
  175g butter
  175g caster sugar
  3 eggs
  125g ground almonds
  75g self raising flour
  1 tsp baking powder
  icing sugar to finish

Before you start preparing that baking tin start by peeling and chopping the apples, cut them into quarters then larger slices - save 2 quarters to cut into smaller slices to place on top. Place the sliced apple into a bowl and pour over 2 tsp's of lemon juice with the tsp of granulated sugar and mix well, set aside.

Prepare your baking tin, I used a 20cm springform tin with a removable base for my cake. Lightly grease and line the tin. Pre heat your oven to 180c/160c fan oven/gas mark 4.

Cream together the butter and sugar till pale and fluffy, then add in the eggs one at a time and mix.

Sift in the ground almonds, followed by the self raising flour and baking powder, and fold well to combine.

Add the larger slices of apple to your mix and fold to combine, then spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth over. Place the thinner slices of apple on top to finish, then bake for 40-45 minutes. In my fan oven this took 40 minutes to bake, this may take longer in a conventional oven.

Set aside to cool in the tin, then remove the outer ring, followed by the loose base. Place the cake on a wire rack to cool down, then finish off by sprinkling icing sugar on top.

A lovely sweet treat, you can easily make this bake gluten free by substituting the self raising flour with a gluten free flour and adding an extra egg to help with the rise.

This will last well for several days kept in an airtight container, perfect to eat as a cake or for a spot of dessert!

Recipe adapted from: Annabel Karmel.

Monday, 29 August 2016

A vintage gem in the Cheshire countryside : Blakemere Village.

Who'd have thought that you could take in a spot of vintage shopping in the middle of the Cheshire countryside?! Blakemere Village is a delightful hidden gem that's home to several independent shops and a tea room to boot, with plenty of finds to keep you busy throughout the day.

Set in the historic location of Blakemere Hall, where better to spend a few hours away in the country to take in some shopping, dining and much more. Blakemere Village is set around the hall's historic stable block, first built in 1878, which now houses several shops, a tea room and even a cupcake shop!

Blakemere Hall has certainly seen it's fair share of activity over the years, taking in some historic parties, to housing troops during WWII. Whilst the hall itself may have long been demolished, it's quaint stable block has remained intact and it's become the focal point for this picturesque countryside getaway.

Now home to several shops and outdoor activities,Blakemere Village is the perfect setting for a spot of vintage shopping, boasting several specialist antiques and vintage shops around the village. 

Whatever era you prefer your bound to find something that takes your fancy, from stunning furnishings and home wares, to collectables and costume jewellery in the village's specialist shops.

A visit to the Antiques emporium is a must, with several traders offering a broad range of vintage finds your bound to find a hidden gem or two. If it's home furnishings that you prefer, take a peek inside Pegotty's attic for a wonderful array of finds.

But it's not just home to some astounding vintage finds, you'll also find some wonderful crafts, jewellery and home wares stores amongst the village. From the quaint vintage inspired décor and home wares inside Heirs and Graces where you can also take in a spot of tea, to delightful sweets and treats from The chocolate box (where you can also snap up some free from treats) to a sweet cupcake shop Fairy dust cake shop, where you can build your own cupcake.

Certainly a delightful little getaway to spend a few hours shopping and dining, where better to spend your summer in vintage style with several events on at the village including a bank holiday extravaganza.

Blakemere Village is located off Chester Road in Sandiway, Northwich, CW8 2EB. Simply follow the signposts and you can't go wrong! Open daily from 10am – 5pm with free parking on site. Visit to find out more.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Shopping vintage on a budget.

There are times when we've all got to cut our shopping budgets down, whether your saving those pennies or simply a little more strapped for cash than usual, but that doesn't mean that you can't treat yourself to a lovely new vintage find, vintage shopping needn't cost the earth and you can snag yourself a great budget find, or two, if you look in the right place!

Shopping vintage needn't be as expense as you'd think, you can pick up a great sale find at many vintage shops across the country, as well as at specialist fairs. Places like Judy's vintage fair for instance are perfect for finding those vintage sale pieces, billed as more of an affordable fair, a lot of their stallholders will be selected specifically for their budget vintage finds, so you'll be bound to pick up a great piece whatever era you like! Look out for sale rails and boxes on stalls, here you'll find plenty of reduced items, from £2 hats to £5 frocks, perfect to stick to any budget!

Shopping on the high street you'll find plenty of budget vintage items, shops like Oxfam have dedicated vintage sections, especially in larger cities, where you can be sure to snap up a great vintage find. Mostly concentrating on clothing, rather than accessories, you can find a great selection of hand picked vintage finds on the rails, just dive in and have a good look.

Keep an eye out for sale rails at your favourite vintage shops, most shops tend to stack their rails by clothing type, so keep an eye out for any reduced tags amongst the rails where you can snap up a bargain. Don't be afraid to stick to the basics either, items like accessories are a great way to dress up your favourite outfits and give them a new lease of life, vintage finds like scarves, gloves and jewellery are perfect to dress up any vintage look, and they needn't cost the earth either.

If you find yourself without a nearby source for vintage shopping, turning online to source those vintage finds is a great way to pick up a real bargain, so you can easily stick to your budget. Sites like Etsy are a great starting point for unique vintage finds, with many vintage sellers taking to the marketplace to sell their wares. Remember to take postage and import prices into account when shopping online for those vintage finds.

Just because your shopping on budget, doesn't mean that you can't find affordable vintage clothing or accessories to brighten up your wardrobe. Take the time to source those bargains out, whether your shopping online or at a fair, you never know what you'll find and you could end up spending far less than you'd initially imaged!

Images: Flickr Commons

Friday, 26 August 2016

Boozy Baileys brownies.

The classic treat gets a cheeky makeover with a tasty addition of baileys in the mix! These chocolatey treats are perfect to bake up for the weekend, or whenever you fancy a cheeky little treat.

  250g butter
  250g light soft brown sugar
  100g caster sugar
  3 eggs
  100g self raising flour
  50g cocoa powder
  2 shots of Baileys

Pre heat your oven to 180c/160c fan/gas mark 4, grease and line a square baking tin (mine is 20 x 20cm).

Melt down the butter to start, this will help to add a lovely soft touch to your brownies.

In a large bowl mix together the two sugars, adding a mix of caster and brown sugar will make for a lovely crunchy touch to the finished bake! Then sift in the flour and cocoa powder and mix.

Pour in the melted butter and mix well to combine, then add in the eggs one at a time and bring the mixture together, it should be rich and runny at this stage.

Finally, add the 2 shots of Baileys and mix together, the mixture will be very runny at this stage but don't worry! The addition of the Baileys makes for a lovely boozy bake, you'll certainly want to sample the left overs on the spoon!

Spoon the mixture into your baking tin, then bake for 30 - 40 minutes till a cake skewer comes out clean.

Leave the brownies in the tin to cool for 30 minutes, then slice into squares and remove from the tin. If you've used baking paper you'll find this stage a breeze, it certainly makes cutting and removing the brownies from a tin incredibly easy!

Place the brownies on a wire rack to cool for an hour then eat, they'll have the delicious taste of Baileys with the squishy, cake like texture inside, yum!

To finish off my boozy brownies I topped mine with mini marshmallows, you could try adding chocolate chunks for a truly indulgent bake!

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Choosing quality over quantity.

How often have you picked up a lovely new dress only to find that it's made from a rough, scratchy and flimsy fabric? You don't want to be wearing that for too long! It's sadly an all too common occurrence these days with a lot of clothing companies appearing to be jumping ship on quality, going for quantity and fast fashion instead.

All is not lost though, but it's an all too common trend these days, with austerity still a much talked about buzz word in business, it would seem that many high end fashion houses, as well as high street chains, are starting to cut corners where they can, including on the very elusive garments themselves.

A high price doesn't necessarily mean good quality, but what do you look for in a well made piece of clothing, and why is it so important to have a good fitting garment?

You wouldn't want to wear a tight itchy wool sweater for hours on end, so why should you have to put up with a rough, scratchy low quality fabric on that new dress. A good quality made garment is incredibly important, you don't feel good wearing an ill fitting dress, or an over sized top, so why skimp on the quality when it comes to clothing.

A low price doesn't necessarily mean poor quality though, and the same goes for high end labels too, just because your paying a high price, that doesn't mean that your necessarily getting a well made garment. Take the time to really get a feel for those new purchases, does the fabric feel of good quality, is it a good fit, and does it look perfect when you try it on?

Really get a feel of the fabric quality with new items, just as much as you want to check the fit, a simple touch of that dress will reveal the fabric texture and quality, if it doesn't feel right, leave it, even if you have been lusting after it for weeks.

Examine the quality of the stitching and shape too, especially when shopping on the high street. Fast fashion can often be just that, check the stitching for gaps and thin thread, or missing segments on the seams. But just because it's a low price, that doesn't always mean that they've skimped on the quality, some mass produced, big high street labels have some amazing quality items, you just need to look!

We often forget to check the finish and feel of clothing in the rush to get that new item, but an extra minute checking over that new dress could unveil all sorts. Go for good quality items, no matter where your shopping, and you'll have a long lasting new addition to your wardrobe, after all it's just as important to have a garment that you look and feel great in.

Images: Flickr Commons

Loosen those purse strings with these astounding budget beauty finds!

A good beauty buy doesn't always have to cost the earth, or leave you whimpering as you splurge for another lot of cosmetics on your credit card. You don't always have to pay a high price for a truly amazing beauty product, and you could end up saving towards something a little special instead as you invest in some of these amazing budget beauty finds.

Take it from someone who really has tried a lot of cosmetics over the years, for every expensive wonder product there's a cheaper equivalent that's just as good, if not even better, that will leave you with far more cash left than you realised compared to your usual designer beauty essentials.

From face creams, to mascaras, and face powders to lipsticks, I've tried most, if not all over the years, and some have left me incredibly surprised at the results. You don't always have the money to over indulge on a designer beauty fix, and there are times when you could do with cutting corners, maybe even saving a little towards those gorgeous shoes that you've been lusting over.. and that's where some of these wonder budget beauty finds come in handy.

The wonder mascara
As someone who's often been left a little disgruntled with most mascaras it can be hard to find that perfect wand that leaves your lashes looking great. Whilst it's not a massive inconvenience to buy at the higher end of the market, I have been surprised at the similarities between my usual mascara and a budget equivalent. My old firm favourite used to be Max Factor's Masterpiece mascara, which at £9.99 a tube isn't exactly robbing you blind, but after trying W7's Lashtastic mascara I was incredibly pleased with the results, they could almost be one and the same! And at £2.99 per tube it's a little saving that could go towards more beauty essentials.

A great cover up
Concealer is once of those essentials that you really can't do without, and when you find the perfect one it's worth latching on to it firmly!! My favourite concealer was No7's Match Made concealer, it's handy tube formula is incredibly easily to apply and blend and at £7.50 it's a snippet compared to the high end equivalents on the market, but then I decided to try MUA's Pro Base concealer after hearing wonderful things about their budget beauty products.

At £3 per tube it's just under the half the price of my usual concealer but that small saving has become a new essential in my make up bag, it's light, creamy formula is incredibly easy to apply and blend, it's a wonder at covering dark circles and highlighting, I don't know I lived without it!

The bright and bold lipstick find
High end lipsticks have often left me a little disappointed with the results, so when I stumbled upon Limecrime's colourful cosmetics several years ago I was beside myself with glee, their My Beautiful Rocket lipstick in it's bright orange shade became a favourite of mine, at an average £12.75 per tube it was worth it alone for the pretty unicorn packaging, but when they stopped distributing to UK stockists last year I was left a little disheartened, so I set out to find a similar shade that I could buy a little closer to home without the expense of import tax. Make up revolution's colourful range of lipsticks was my savior, and it was far cheaper at a mere £1! Their Vice shade is just as beautifully bright and orange, it may need an extra application to reach the bold shade of Limecrime's lipstick, but for the price it's a wonderful find.

Amazing face cream
Then there's some essentials that you just can't do without, a good face cream is worth it's weight in gold, and after trying several different creams for sensitive skin on the market I've ended up stumbling upon an amazing budget find.Nivea's face cream has always been a go to essential for the colder months, but their Rich moisturising day cream has gone even further, it's a much lighter formula but just as nourishing. At an average of £3.99 per tube it's a great budget find that's just as good as the high end equivalent.

Treat those feet
Forget all the pricey foot care treatments and spas, you can easily do without them thanks to a handy tube of Soap & Glory's Heel Genius. This wonder tube could save you hundreds, whilst also working miracles on hard, dry skin. This handy tube could last you for years, admittedly as a yearly hoarder of their star buy gift sets at Boots every Christmas I've never been short on supply of this stuff, but it really does last for ages, so you won't need to buy it often. A small dab goes a long way and at £5.50 per tube it's a wonderful little find.

There's no need to turn your nose up at these tried and tested budget beauty finds, they'll go a long way in your beauty kit and you won't know how you lived without them!

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

How to clean and maintain your Melissa shoes.

Unlike ordinary shoes these wonder footwear products have made their mark on the fashion industry, with their innovative plastic shoes that are as stylish as they are remarkably comfortable. But how you care for these unique shoes without loosing that remarkable sheen and sweet scent that they're so known for?

As an avid hoarder, sorry shopper.. of their wonder shoes, I've got more pairs that I could possible wear at once, but that hasn't stopped me from buying more when an amazing new design is released. Just what is it about these shoes that makes them so remarkable? Unlike traditional shoes, Melissa uses their innovative plastic, jelly like material to mould and shape their shoes, making for a flexible piece of footwear that has countless possibilities when it comes to design.

At first, you wouldn't expect a plastic moulded shoe to be so stylish and comfortable, but they've turned their eco friendly rubber shoes into a remarkable piece of footwear that's as much a joy to wear as they are to look at, take it from a keen hoarder of their designer shoes!

With such a unique material for their shoes, you often wonder how you should take care of them. Unlike traditional leather shoes, you can't go applying layers of polish and cream to these shoes, you'd end up doing far more harm than good, so just how do you clean your Melissa shoes?

After years of wearing their plastic dream shoes I've thankfully found an incredibly easy and handy way to keep those Melissa shoes looking as shiny as the day you first bought them, and it doesn't require any special techniques or products, just a couple of items to help clean and polish them up.

Those face wipes that you use to remove your mascara can also come in handy to clean up your Melissa shoes. Don't go for a harsh face wipe (so please don't use your exfoliating wipes on these shoes, you will end up doing more harm than good!), just a simple, fragrance free, and alcohol free face wipe will do. I've used Simple's 'Kind to skin cleaning facial wipes' and Boots 'Essentials fragrance free wipes' on my shoes, both are alcohol free which won't damage your shoes.

Use light, swooping motions across your shoes to remove any dirt, ensuring that you clean all around the shoes and underneath. Take a simple household tissue and gently wipe underneath the shoes to dry them, then place your shoes on top of the shoe box to let them air dry for a few minutes.

You can also use a light soap with water to gently clean your Melissa shoes, use a cloth to gently clean the shoes in the same manner as with a face wipe.

Once you've air dried your Melissa shoes, use a clean microfibre cloth to polish them, I use Tesco's 'Everyday value microfibre cloths' which come in a pack of 5. Gently polish each shoe, going from front to back, using light motions to bring that shine back to your shoes.

Don't be brisk with your shoes, just use gently motions to polish your Melissa shoes.

There you have it, an incredibly easy way to clean and maintain your Melissa shoes, and keep them looking as shiny as ever. Whilst this technique won't help with any scuffs or marks on your shoes, it will help to keep them looking freshly polished and shined, helping them to last for years.

Please note: As always, do take care when following these techniques, I have been cleaning my Melissa shoes this way for years to great success.

Above all, do remember to be gentle when taking care of your shoes, I cannot be held accountable for any scuffs or marks made whilst vigorously cleaning your Melissa shoes, treat them exactly the same as you would when polishing a pair of leather shoes, and take care whilst cleaning and polishing them.

Any advice and tips given here are just that, advice from a fellow Melissa shoe wearer, after years of cleaning and caring for my own Melissa shoes.

You'll also find handy tips for cleaning your shoes on the tag included in the box for your shoes from the manufacturer.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

How to host the perfect afternoon tea in vintage style.

As much as we'd all like to indulge in afternoon tea on a regular basis there are times when our purse strings just won't allow for it, but just because you can't throw caution to the wind and pop out for afternoon tea whenever you like, that doesn't mean that you can't host your own afternoon tea in style at home!

We all know how the perfect afternoon tea goes, with the perfect tea stands, crockery and pretty place mats bringing together the treats in perfect style. Piecing together the perfect afternoon tea set needn't be pricey, and when you'll be using these items time and time again, the first initial cost of buying those tea stands and sets won't be so much of a burden next time around.

Places like vintage shops and fairs are perfect to find some unique vintage tableware pieces, but many high street shops have lovingly re-created vintage styled tea sets if you'd prefer to go for a brand new set. If like me, you already have several tea sets and stands to hand, then you'll find setting up your afternoon tea a breeze. Two and three tier cake stands are perfect to place your afternoon tea selection on, but don't dismiss single tiered cake stands either, they're perfect for serving up a cake to share!

Essential items like patterned napkins and doilies are perfect to finish off the table amongst your stands and tea sets. I use paper doilies myself, as these can be easily disposed of so there's no need to worry about any rogue cake crumbs staining your best lace doilies.

For starters
Sandwiches are a must for any afternoon tea, making it yourself means that you can make your preferred selection of sandwiches, as well as catering for any dietary needs. Classic afternoon tea choices include smoked salmon with cream cheese (go for a lactose free or dairy free alternative if needed), egg mayonnaise & cress, cucumber with cream cheese and dill, but you could add you own choices instead.

The perfect sandwich for an afternoon tea is usually sliced into rectangles with the crusts removed, but you could go for a fancy twist and cut your sandwiches into triangles. It doesn't have to be just sandwiches either, try adding small sized versions of classic savoury treats to the selection, such as Welsh rarebit and mini quiches.

The treats
No afternoon tea is complete without a selection of scones! Opt to make your own, or cheat and use a packet of store bought ones (I won't scold you for cutting corners here, it does save some time!), go for classic plain or sultana scones, or add a Yorkshire twist to your afternoon tea with some fat rascals, try my recipe here. Serve them with jam and cream on the side to your taste, or if your going for the fat rascals, warm them up before serving and add a bit of butter for a tasty treat.

A selection of dainty cakes and tarts always go down well with any afternoon tea, petite bakes such as madelines are the perfect bite sized treat, alongside dainty fruit tarts. Try these damson tarts for a lovely sweet treat, they can easily be made with slices of your favourite fruit instead of damsons if you prefer. Macarons are another bite sized treat to bring to the selection, save time by buying a selection to place on your stand, but if you fancy making your own, try my recipe for Earl grey and gin macarons for a lovely light treat.

Cupcakes are a lovely way to add a pretty touch to your selection of small cakes, go for classic plain vanilla or lemon cupcakes for a light bite, during the summer months you may want to try these strawberry and cream cupcakes for a tasty seasonal treat, try the recipe here. For a really retro twist to your afternoon tea, coffee and walnut cupcakes are perfect, try the recipe here for a distinctly vintage treat.

If cupcakes aren't your thing, why not try baking a classic sponge cake to serve up for your afternoon tea, a victoria sponge cake can't be beat for an afternoon tea treat.

Adding refreshment.
You can't have an afternoon tea without a brew to hand, serve up pots of freshly brewed tea, classic breakfast blends, earl grey and darjeeling teas are perfect to accompany your afternoon tea. Serve it up in a tea pot with dainty tea cups and optional sugar and milk on the side.

If you prefer your afternoon tea with a boozy twist, go for prosecco or champagne on the side for a decadent treat. Light cocktails and boozy fizz may be more your thing though, try classic cocktails such as sloe gin or ginger fizz for a refreshing tipple, or simply add a dash of gin to some elderflower cordial and tonic water for a lovely light drink.

Serving in vintage style.
Any good afternoon tea is served in classic style on tiered cake stands, place your starters and sandwiches on the top layers of the stands, with light treats and bakes on the lower stands. If you prefer to mix it up and let your guests help themselves, why not place your starters on cake stands and small plates, with sweet treats on the tiered stands.

Place your decorative pieces nearby and around the stands, with napkins to hand and pretty vintage table ornaments. Finishing off with small plates for your guests with dainty cutlery, you could look out for vintage serving forks and cake forks to really bring a touch of vintage style to your setting, with tea cups and glasses placed at the side of the plates.

At first it may sound like a lot of effort, but you could save time by using pre made and shop bought bakes and treats for your afternoon tea, besides who has time to make an abundance of macarons and cupcakes when you could be making an early start on the tipple!

Images: Bundt cakes Aduldej/ | Serving tea Wonggy/ | Afternoon tea Apolonia/

Monday, 22 August 2016

Bringing the 40's on screen in stylish, action packed fashion : Agent Carter.

Deadly lipstick, check.., concealed camera pen, check..., flawless seamed stockings, check.. There's no denying the timeless classic style of the 1940's, but there's something that's even more stylish when the iconic look of the era gets the SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve) treatment, in a stylish covert fashion.

Peggy Carter may be leading the life of an action packed double agent, but she's also doing it in impeccable fashion, bringing a touch of classic '40's style to the screen, in what we can only hope becomes another of Marvel's long running comic series.

Peggy's look through Captain America : The First Avenger, was that of timeless wartime style, with her perfectly prim uniform, stylish low heels and effortless make up, shaping the classic patriotic uniform in effortless style. Agent Cartersees her look changing subtlety throughout the show, reflecting the change in fashion just after the war that would have seen a slow integration into the iconicnew look, as women adjusted to both life and fashion after the war.

Her look may be close to the classic wartime wardrobe at first, but Peggy's covert wardrobe is nothing short of glamourous, from sultry Veronica Lake wigs and draping gowns, to stylish swing dresses and leather jackets that make for the perfect wardrobe, whether it's retrieving stolen objects, or facing the enemy.

But her wardrobe also shows how post war, women were often mixing and matching their wardrobe, making the most of what they had, reflecting both the style and attitude at the time, as many returned to normality post war. Her wardrobe manages to stay prim and proper, especially when she returns home to The Griffith Hotel (I'm sure that returning in anything that wasn't deemed proper would have raised more than a few eyebrows!), changing to more comfortable, familiar attire for her double agent work, and home life when she's away from the prying eyes of Miriam Fry.

What makes the casts wardrobes stand out is the true to era styling that perfectly reflects the fashion and mood of the time, with many of the outfits taking inspiration from classic '40's designs and patterns, helping to create the perfect '40's mood and style throughout each episode of the show.

We may have had to wait a while longer to see Agent Carter grace our screens here in the UK on Fox tv, but it's certainly been worth the wait, I can't wait to see what they come up with for series 2, especially when it comes to the wardrobes!

- Originally published at in 2015 -

Friday, 19 August 2016

Taking in a vintage tour of the North West : Decorative Fairs Liverpool : 30th May 2015.

I couldn't think of a grander setting for the next stop off on my vintage tour of the North West, Liverpool's St George's Hall is one of the cities finest buildings, with it's magnificent column draped fronting that's been the setting of many a vintage inspired photo, leading onto the beautiful decor that awaits you inside - Decorative fairs have certainly picked the perfect building to hold their latest Liverpool fair.

A fair that's been on my calendar for quite some time, I couldn't pass up on the opportunity to pursue some lovely vintage finds inside the grand settings of St George's Hall, and neither could Liverpool's keen vintage shoppers, as a flurry of glamorously dressed shoppers stopped by for an afternoon of shopping.

The first thing that hits you is the beautiful architecture and decor inside the hall, with rows up rows of vintage finds laid out amongst the grand marbled columns and swooping chandeliers. There was certainly plenty to feast your eyes upon, with a vast selection of stalls to shop from, whatever your vintage tastes. Whether it was the perfect vintage accessories to complete your look, some unique vintage haberdashery supplies, or a grand vintage gown that took your fancy, there was a great mix of stalls that were hand picked by Decorative Fairs, making for a wonderful mix of vintage finds to shop from.

You really need to walk around the fair at least a few times, as some great finds could easily pass you by, and with this many stalls to shop from, it's easy to get distracted by some pretty lucite handbags or a stunning pair of vintage Louboutin heels (I did have to drag myself from cooing over them at least several times..). Any keen vintage hunter certainly needs to take the time to pursue the stalls, try those pretty finds on, and have a good shop, as I spotted some beautiful costume jewellery to snap up on my second walk around, finding some beautiful beaded necklaces and brooches to add to my vast growing collection of vintage pieces.

To round the day off there was a vintage cafe nestled in a lavish room at the side of the hall where you could take in a spot of cake with a cuppa whilst you took a break from all that shopping, making for a good pit stop to put your feet up before pursuing the aisles another time to spot those elusive vintage finds.

A great fair to visit if it's some lucrative designer vintage finds, unique pieces of costume jewellery, or some gorgeous vintage outfits that you're after. With a great mixture of vintage and period pieces across the stalls, not to mention a great opportunity to see inside the hall and admire it's beautiful decor. For future dates at Liverpool, as well as Decorative Fairs other dates across the region from Chester to Macclesfield, visit

- Originally published at in 2015 -

Thursday, 18 August 2016

The best vintage inspired beauty essentials to snap up for your make up bag.

When it comes to vintage style we're almost spoilt for choice these days, with an abundance of reproduction companies to shop from, and more well kept vintage finds than you can shake a stick at! But when it comes to cosmetics, just who do you go to for those elusive vintage inspired essentials for your make up bag? I've hand picked a few favourites to shop from, whether it's the perfect lashes, or a pin up perfect red lipstick that you fancy.

The eyes
You can't beat a good quality false lash, not for all the tubes of mascara in the world.. and The Vintage Cosmetic Company are just perfect for those luscious vintage styled lashes. A well kept secret amongst keen vintage fashionistas, they have a great selection of false lashes in vintage inspired styles, from their pretty natural styled Connie lashes, to the perfect cat eye Betty lashes, they've got a style for every look!

That perfect cat eye won't be complete without a great liner, Le Keux Cosmetic's Black Cadillac eye liner is just perfect for this look, in a handy pot just apply to your liner brush and swoop it on!

If you prefer a good ol'fashioned mascara to false lashes then you can't beat Ilamasqua's Masquara, not strictly a vintage inspired brand, but with years of experience behind the brand, they've created a great midnight black mascara that creates perfectly long fluttering lashes.

The lips
You can't beat a good classic red lipstick, and vintage inspired favourite Besame, have a great selection of them. Whether you want a brick red, or a sultry dark red lipstick, you'll find a great selection of lipsticks that are inspired by classic 1920's-1940's shades, making for a truly vintage look.

No look is complete without a good gloss to finish your look, Illamasqua have a great selection of lipglosse's, from sheer to intense, whether you want a clear gloss to cover your lipstick, or a bold coloured lipgloss in place of your usual lipstick. Snap up a tube of their Intense Succubus lipgloss for a sultry bold red gloss.

The face
This is one area where you can't beat a classic like Max Factor's Creme puff face powder, a product that's been selling for decades and for a good reason, it's perfect to complete any look, either as a setting powder, or for those 'au natural' days.

You can't beat Soap and Glory's Glow all out powder either, a simple swoop across after you've finished applying your make up to add a subtle glow to those cheeks.

Images: Besame and The Vintage Cosmetic Company

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Vintage or not? : How to tell the difference between vintage and reproduction clothing.

As the market for reproduction vintage wares has grown so much it can often be hard to tell the difference between items, that 60's style dress at a charity shop may look in impeccable condition, but is it a well looked after vintage find, or a reproduction piece?

High street shops are awash with vintage style clothing, when high street chain's can pick a classic 60's design and turn it into a mass produced modern piece of clothing you can see just how easy it is to find vintage style clothing on the market today. With vintage still as popular as ever the market is still booming for vintage clothing, and many an item can easily be mixed up with the real deal, but how do you tell the difference between what is and what isn't a vintage find?

The first and easiest way to date an item to see if it really is vintage, will be to look inside for a label, look at the style on the label and the lettering, a quick search for the name of the designer or company listed will tell you if it's a vintage find or not. Of course you can't always stand in a shop, or at a stall looking up the name of a vintage designer, but it gives you an idea if the find that you recently snapped up is the real deal or not.

Another way to check the age of the item is to look for fabric content listings on the label, this was introduced in the UK in 1986 as a legal requirement, so it can help to date those vintage finds if you can't find any sign of fabric content on the label. Labels like care labelling are a bit of a grey area as these have never been mandatory in the UK, but those care symbols that we commonly find on items were only introduced in 1963, so they can help to date an item in a fashion.

The sizing can be a dead giveaway, as I've discussed here before, vintage sizing can be quite different to modern dress sizes, so a small sized 18 dress is most likely a vintage find. Detailing on the item is another great way to date pieces, fastenings like zips can be a real giveaway to the items age, is it located on the back of the dress or the side? Zips were often placed in the side seam up to the 1950's, whereas pieces with a zip in the back are generally dated from the late 1950's onwards.

The construction of the item can often help to date items too. Mass produced clothing on a large scale only really came into it's own in the late 1940's-1950's, so an item that's been handmade and incredibly detailed is more likely to date prior to this period.

With such impeccably made reproduction finds and so many high street copies, at first glance it can be difficult to date that find, but a closer look at the item's labels, quality and construction will really help to date that dress or pretty top. Of course, if you love it then it doesn't matter if that find is truly vintage or not, a perfectly made reproduction piece may be in much better condition than it's vintage counterpart, or it may come in a different coloured fabric that you prefer. Either way it's a great lesson in dating vintage pieces, and will certainly come in handy when your out shopping!

Images: Flickr commons & Pinterest

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Kittens and tea, what's not to love?! The rise of the cat cafe.

Something has been stirring in Britain's cafes and tea rooms of late, or should that be purring?! As something small, furry and cute has been lurking around every hidden corner, under the table and purring over your freshly baked slice of cake, yes, an army of cute furry kittens have been taking to our cafes and they're showing no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

The cat cafe is nothing new, in fact they've been around for a number of years now, with the first cat cafe opening it's doors in Taiwan back in 1998, but it's only recently invaded our shores, as thousands of keen kitten aficionados have let an army of purring kittens nest up in their cafes, creating a unique tourist attraction and afternoon tea experience.

Who wouldn't want to sip on their afternoon cuppa as a cute kitten purrs at your feet, the cat cafe is certainly a unique experience, allowing cats to nest in their cafe home in a peaceful, contained environment that cares for the cats, as well as allowing visitors to nest up inside alongside them.

The very first cat cafe in the UK certainly drew a lot of attention, with a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign leading to the opening of Lady Dinah's cat emporium in London. A haven for the kittens for whom this unique cafe has become their home, as well as providing a unique dining experience for the visitors who can take in a spot of afternoon tea, or a cup of coffee amongst the kittens, its proved so popular that visitors have to book well in advance to secure a slot, so it's certainly something to plan alongside a trip to London.

After the success of Lady Dinah's it only seemed natural that several other cat cafes should pop up around the UK, with Nottingham's Kitty Cafe opening it's doors shortly thereafter, re-homing cats in a relaxing environment, whilst also providing a unique stop off for a cuppa. Alongside Scotland's Maison de Moggy, providing Edinburgh with a unique, kitten dining experience.

But it doesn't stop there, with crowdfunding campaigns cropping up to open cat cafes from Birmingham, to Llanduddno, with the most recent cat cafe opening soon in Newcastle, Mog on the Tyne, kittens it would seem have started to infiltrate our cafes, and quite frankly, we don't mind at all!

Of course, it's not just a fad, with each and every cat cafe the kittens are all safely integrated into each cafe, carefully looked after, and given regular rest days in-between all the visits, ensuring for plenty of happy kittens, as well as visitors.

It's certainly a unique experience, and one that's proving to be in popular demand, who knows where the next one will crop up!