Tea, cake and charity

If you are truly most peculiar and need an excuse to drink tea and eat cake then good news, I do indeed have the perfect excuse for you. If like me you need absolutely no excuse to indulge in a cuppa then I have good news for you too....isn't this sounding like a win win situation?..............

Marie Curie Cancer Care is inviting us to put the kettle on, dust off our teapots, dig out the china tea cups (if you need quantity over style it's okay to use a mug!) and hold a Blooming Great Tea Party. The 'official' tea party season is between June 12th and July 12th (June 1st to 30th for Northern Ireland readers) However that rule book can get dusty on the shelf as far as I'm concerned, so I'm announcing it's tea party season......... when ever we like! I'm in London next week, I'll have a word with the queen, it's fine, she will understand - the worst that can happen to me for taking such an anarchist approach to breaking the tea party rules is a spell in the tower, which let's face it will save me the entrance fee and get me into the non touristy bits ...(*every cloud/silver lining*)

Marie Curie Cancer Care was established in 1948 (this is the same year as our national health service, we might knock the NHS but seriously, can you imagine life without it?) The charity provides free nursing to cancer patients and their carers. A very sobering fact on the Marie Curie website is a reference to  research that shows  65% of people with terminal cancer would actually choose to have their final days at home, in reality only 25% are able to fulfill this wish. I'm not sure if I know of anyone hasn't been effected by cancer in one way or another, everyone seems to know someone who's had the 'big C'. Such a sad fact.

So whilst drinking tea and eating finger sandwiches won't cure it over night, do know what? it just might help, as the charity funds scientists so they can carry on the research. So what better reason to get together with friends and family? Get in the kitchen and do some baking, get the bambino's involved. If baking isn't your thing or you just don't have time? CHEAT! I'm sure even Nigella Lawson and Delia Smith have been a mistress of Mr.Kipling at some point! Of course I'm not condoning fibs....... but organising your recycling is important........... so you could very swiftly pop the box in the bin?.........or if you are a terrible fibber like me then I find a wink and a grin will get you out of most situations...........

The charity's team have pretty much though of everything you might need, click here and you will be able to download things like bunting, posters and even a tea party quiz. If you don't think you can manage a tea party, then take your cakes and flask for a picnic in the park, have a cake/tea trolley at work, or you could pop onto the website and make a donation? If you are inspired to volunteer or try a different challenge to raise money and awareness then you will find lots of information to help you on the website. I know this has been a link heavy post, but it's a good cause and I would like to round up with a link that will take you over to the people who help deliver the care to the patients and families and two more that will help you keep up to date with Marie Curie events and news. So if you would like to meet the nurses who make a difference please click here.

The wonders of social media means that you can also follow the charity on Facebook and if you are a little tweeter you can follow on twitter too. Just click on the coloured links and you will be transported to those sites. The wonders of technology! It's like magic! But then I am the girl who stands at the fax machine at work exclaiming ''wow it's all so clever!' every time I use it. Yes a fax machine, people still use those! So click away and I hope you feel inspired to know more about the charity, the people who help and the people it benefits.

(*special thanks to Laura at Marie Curie Cancer Care who's emails inspired this post*)
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Buy buy baby.......

My recent treasure hunts for ''stuff'' have been pretty good lately. I've managed to bag some super little buys, the outings are always fun and feel like an adventure. Trips to the local charity shops, boot fairs and flea markets is always a step into the unknown. You never leave the house knowing what you will come home with, and you often will find something you never really knew you needed......

Like this 1950's hand mirror. It's absolutely adorable and the back is embroided lace. Now I had no idea I *needed* one of these. It was only £3 and I bought it because I thought it would look pretty on my much loved dressing table that I told you about in my previous post called 'jaw dropping drawers'. It's turned out to be something I use almost every single day to put my make up on in the mornings. Which is lovely because you can see from the handle being slightly worn that it's probably been a practical accessory all it's life.

Another super £5 buy is my late 50's early 60's  side/coffee table. *Wolf whistle* at those atomic legs. I love this so much and it's used every single day. If I ever see another one of these I will snap it up. The living room is naturally falling into a 50's theme, which is fab, I'm hoping to find a drop leaf 50's formica table, that's well and truly on the wish list. I've ordered the wallpaper today which was very exciting. Not for the faint hearted........

Just on one wall, a whole room may be too much?!

 At a carboot sale I was given  (yes given!) this gorgeous 60's lamp, complete with original salmon pink lampshade! I was a really warm but quite windy Sunday and I picked up the lamp to look closer at it's atomic style base, the lady said to me that they were fed up of it blowing over and that she had just told her friend the next person who seems to like it could have it for nothing! How fabulous for me?! She'd had this lamp it's whole life and it still has the original wiring - which I need to check out but I like it whether it works or not, I'm thrilled with it.

 I bought these rather fab framed cigarette cards. Very glam I think. I haven't quite worked out where to hang them yet so they are propped next to the lamp until I decide. I've also managed to scoop some lovely vintage suitcases which make excellent storage on top of wardrobes and under beds. More pictures to follow but for now here's my lovely sky blue antler over night /vanity case.

It's currently storing my rollers but will make an excellent over night bag, its quite roomy. I got a really really good buy with this as this was £4.99! I've got a few days in London coming up, I wonder just how much I can pack in it?! Enough for a few nights I wonder?................
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What makes a cocktail party a marvelous one?

When it's one that transports you to another era. Last week I attended an event organised by fellow Norwich blogger Retro chick and Blue Skies Vintage Events.  The build up to the evening was mainly spent having the usual panic about what to wear and how to do my hair. Thanks to social media I knew I wasn't the only one, as Twitter was a frenzy of comments about hair being in rollers etc , which all added the build up.

After a quick dash to a few of the vintage/charity shops in Norwich that morning, I found THE most amazing green 60/70's does 30's floor length frock. Being a little on the short side, I was over joyed to be able to buy a long dress that wouldn't need a foot of material chopped off it! I was a little fearful about it being flammable so I did check with Retro Chick if there would be candles. Trust me, once you have set your dress on fire once you are always ready for the next time!

So dress sorted it was time to think of the hair at last! When I set my hair I always do it the night before but as I knew there may be a last minute dash to the shop I hadn't done so, as quite frankly I'm not brave enough to go to the shops in rollers, even with a scarf! So I was a bit panicky about doing a wet set on the day, but I got the rollers in, and as I had the day off I could sit under a little dryer hood with a pot of tea and watch Diagnosis Murder (which I adore, yes you may scoff!) So there I am with Dick Van Dyke, tea in hand, rollers in hair - sadly I have no picture of this snapshot of glamourdom. Shame I know.......(I will do a post about setting hair though so brace yourselves for some roller shots)

As it was a 30's inspired event (not compulsory but I think you will see from the pictures that everyone made a fantastic effort on the glamour front) I decided to grip my hair up into a faux bob. Which I really liked and has made me think that I now won't get my hair chopped as I had been pondering, because if i fancy a shorter look, I can just grab the rollers and grips....

Quite a loose 's' wave through the fringe/bangs - LOTS of hairspray!
Of course it rained, so out came my beloved umbrella with the blue sausage dogs on it. I don't live far from the event venue so I walked. A gauntlet of 'awight daaarlin' from white van man, 'Nice dress!' from man walking past me and 'You look luuurverly tonight, verrryy niiiice' from a taxi man eating a burger (yes eating whilst shouting across the street. Messy)

So I was ready to hit the cocktails when I arrived, and my goodness they did not disappoint! I opted for a long cocktail first, a mac daddy then I was ready for a manhattan which almost blew my head off! Then I was onto the vodka martinis. It was an impressive authentic list of 1930's cocktails and the girls behind the bar worked constantly, shaking, stirring and mixing. The bar was never empty. I wonder if their poor arms ached the next day?

It was a really nice atmosphere, everyone looked fantastically glam, I got so many fabulous pictures that I've made an album on my facebook page, so do pop over and have a look as there's too many to add to this post!

The entertainment was excellent we were very very lucky to have some fabulous swing dancers in the room! I was utterly mesmerised. I tempted to give it a go as it looks such fun.

It was lovely to meet some fellow bloggers too. On the left in the green is Retro Chick, next is Penny Dreadful Vintage, then Lady Cherry Loves and as always I'm the short one on the end! We may look composed and glam, but let me tell you, getting this shot was like herding cats, it as about midnight, several cocktails had been consumed and we were all a bit giggly. Thank you to the chaps who used our cameras to get these pics for us. It was a bit like getting papped! I expect we may have been hard models to work with and one of the last shots is one of my faves!

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Goking heck!

Gok Wan. Makeover queen, designer and possibly one of the most personable presenters to ever grace our screens? Well I think so, but then I'm out and proud as a self confessed Gok hag. For anyone not familiar, may I suggest you start by watching a few of the ''How to look good naked'' shows - but be prepared to go on an emotional rollercoaster with the participants of the programme.

You're taken on a journey, (I know some people hate that word but I 'm one of those people that uses it quite a lot....sorry!) a journey (there it is again.....) of confidence building. You watch these lovely ladies learn to feel better about who they are and how they look and really, there's only one thing I ever really wanted to change........the underwear.

Yes it was practical, yes it nipped in , smoothed them out and put curves in all the right places. It gave them confidence which IS sexy BUT once the clothes were off and they were standing in their undies, did they feel it looked sexy? Don't most of us like pretty underwear? It's pretty hard for black undies not to look gorgeous unless it seems, they come in the form of what look like cycling shorts. It really need to be sexed up in my opinion. We know it's out there, my previous post suspender arrest  gave a peep at retro vintage styles that would boost any woman's vava voom whilst avoiding the dreading VPL.

Well gorgeous Gok continues to completely pull it out of the bag (or should that be knicker drawer) with his range for Simply Yours , it just keeps getting better and better. It's a bottom spanking collection of retro style undies with colours including classic black, soft pink and hot cerise.

Gok Wan's curve controller (currently there's a sale on and it's reduced to £27.50 - that's a saving of £28.68!!!)

Seriously, how cute is this model? This is the same as above but it looks very Marilyn Monroe is white I think? Again this is reduced to £27.50

Gok's Divine outline. Oooo la la indeed. Currently reduced to £22.50
Gok's sassy slip. Currently reduced to £27.50 (cowboy hat not included...shame)
Gok's sleek shaper. I think this is so pretty and puurrrs 'vintage starlet' £50
Move over flesh coloured boulder holders and hello to a bit Gok in your drawers! ( *fights the urge to let out a Babs Windsor style Carry on snigger*)
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Fashion, charity, bubbles & history

Earlier this month I was fortunate enough to get my paws on a ticket to attend a fashion show in aid of the Darren Huckerby Trust. For anyone who doesn't know their footballers (I don't either!) Darren Huckerby is an ex Norwich City player, Darren's charity aims to help local charities and individuals, with beneficiaries including Teenage Cancer Trust and Aspergers East Anglia. Spirits were high, it was a lovely balmy evening and the show was held in the Assembly House which is one of the most glorious buildings in Norwich.

The Assembly House.( *picture taken from the assemblyhousenorwich.co.uk)
A fabulous Georgian building in the heart of Norwich city centre with stunning features. It used to house a cinema but that's a memory of the past, which is a shame. I have fond memories of going there to watch Memphis Bell for about the fourth time with my school friends. It survived the 1942 blitz despite being hit by 9 bombs, most of the buildings around it were not so lucky. Lady luck was not on it's side in 1995 when fire took hold of the building, leaving some of the roof, ceilings, entrance hall and some rooms completely destroyed. Thankfully, eighteen months later it was reopened, looking splendidly handsome and ready to greet the public again. You truly step back in time from the moment you walk through the gate. Once inside you are greeted by glistening chandeliers, spectacular fireplaces and an array of gasp worthy features.(All this history is one of the reasons I heart Norwich - have you visited? Maybe you should?)

So on with the show.....

After thoroughly enjoying a complimentary glass of fizz (I'd had a long day, so this went down extremely well, and very swiftly too, I'd drained my glass before some of the group had even raised their glasses to their lips!) it was time to take our seats around the catwalk. Now I could pretend that we all sat there as pouty as Victoria Beckham with straight serious faces in that way that celebrities do at fashion shows however..........as some of my group (including me) are total chatter boxes we actually watched the show whilst bopping around in our seats to the music (which was a very good selection and the models really worked it!). We also exchanged opinions on every piece of clothing and hairstyle. (I suddenly feel i should apologise to anyone who was sitting nearby who may be reading this!...)

There were some beautiful collections, with ranges from local boutiques including Vanilla, Ginger, Johnathon Trumble and one of Norwich's largest department stores, Jarrolds. Due to my love of the vintage look, the collection I was most excited about seeing was Daisy and Lola's. It wasn't disappointing, in fact it was superb. Some of my group were not familiar with this boutique so I had told them to pay close attention.....what did they think? They loved it! And this is why...........

You can find Daisy and Lola's here - http://www.daisyandlolas.bigcartel.com/products  and the boutique has recently featured on the Vintage Norwich site. If you live in Norwich or you plan to visit one day then this shop is worth a look. If you fancy afternoon tea in *beautiful* surroundings then the Assembly House serves between 2.30pm-5.30pm daily but it can get busy so it's probably best to book ahead if you can. http://www.assemblyhousenorwich.co.uk

We had a great evening, in splendid historical surroundings and it was for a great cause, what more can you ask for? To know more about the Darren Huckerby Trust click on the link: http://www.darrenhuckerbytrust.co.uk
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Fit for a princess

So the Wills and Kate weddingfest is over. How did we all celebrate? My plan was to hold a mini tea party for myself and The Boy. Home made cakes served on pretty china, tea served from a vintage tea pot and sipped from my 1950's teacups. I of course, would be wearing a royal blue vintage dress and an 80's does 40's hat. It was going to be a wonderful tea party...............HOWEVER...... the evening before I popped out for a drink. Just the one. At least that was my intention. You know what happened....one drink followed another etc, etc and I woke up the next morning with a cracking headache, so all tea party plans went right out of the window. The Boy came home to witness me looking like I had been ''poisened''. Hardly the perfect 1950's housewife image I had been aiming to wow him with! Ooops.

We watched the wedding with huge mugs of tea but my vintage dress was swapped for pj's!! It was fantastic hangover telly though. I certainly felt perked up and energised with all the love and happy spirits beaming at me through the tv screen. Witnessing everyone belt out 'Jerusalem' with such passion and pride gave me goosebumps. Just wonderful.

Everyone seemed to like the dress? I thought Kate looked amazing, I loved the lace sleeves and feel that when we look back at the wedding footage in years to come that dress will still be a winner. It was so classic that I think it will date very well. How about  royal weddings of the past? Let's take a look at a few more royal blushing brides. Let's start with Grace Kelly, does the dress look like an inspiration for Kates?
Grace Kelly 1956

Princess Margaret 1960

Princess Anne 1973

Lady Diana 1981

Sarah Ferguson 1986

Sophie Rhys-Jones 1999

 However you celebrated the day, I hope you all had a supertastic time and  if you did something community based then I hope some new friendships were made as well as memories.

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It's not who you wear, it's the way that you wear it.

 Now I don't own any pieces by Dior, or any of those other big designer names. A) I can't afford it and B) If I was going to splurge over £100 in one go then I'd want at several vintage dresses and at least one new bag. I'm happy to treat myself to a £30 dress and if I got lucky and found a designer label than all well and good, but it would still have to be something I loved. A label just isn't enough is it? I would  hit the high street if I had exhausted all other avenues. I'd rather spend hours browsing vintage shops, vintage online boutiques and charity shops. If all else fails then I hit the shops and brave Primark, New look etc and the supermarkets have great ranges too. I've has some amazing dresses from the George range at Asda.

My fave Asda dress, a blue fifties style pencil dress, half price at £9.50 - I also have this in black which was also a bargain at under £10.
Why do I love vintage more than the high street? Well I have a wardrobe crammed with vintage clothes ( but yes, I always lust for more!) and they are amazing quality, brilliantly made and well cut. It's also good for the environment and I like to feel that I look a more individual. I like to feel 'me'. My love of vintage has really rather spoiled me. I wouldn't be able to afford that kind of quality from today's retailers, I just don't have that budget..... and I do get a buzz out of bagging myself a gorgeous item that I have seen potential in.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not a purist vintage obsessive. Some times that can be frowned up on, but I think it's perfectly okay to throw on your New Look skinny jeans ( Disco skinny range are fabulous) and Primark do some great budget friendly jeans too, I normally wear mine with a vintage cricket jumper or a vintage blouse. It's a great combo of old and new. How fantastic is Primark for accessories? They do amazing belts, brooches etc to liven up an outfit.

My £2 Primark necklace which I wear almost every day!
I also don't have a set era that I like either. Basically I am too greedy to stick to one! I just love fashion. I can work the 40's land girl look one day, the next I might have aspirations  to be a 50's pin up and then another day I might throw on my 80's heels and tweed blazer with my skinny jeans. If I was really really pushed to have a fave era and I mean really pushed  (i.e I'm being chased by Alfred Hitchcock style vicious birds and the only way to save myself is to make a choice)....then I would say the 50's....I love the glamour and I'm positive there is a pin up inside all of us.

At the risk of sounding ancient, I'm so glad that the youth of today seem to find it easier to be individual in the way they dress. There doesn't seem to be the same pressure as when I was at school in the 80's/90's when it was all about your trainers and your shell suit! (I never owned one of those btw! honest!) Goodness, I wonder if they will be the next thing to make a comeback?.............I certainly won't be a slave to that fashion thank you very much! Give me my granny tweed any day!
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