1930's cocktails and glamour

 Do I like getting dolled up to the nines? Yes. Do I like cocktails? Absolutely. Friday I stepped back in time with some full on glamour and a cocktail list to satisfy the needs of any 1930's faux socialite. This is the second cocktail party Retro Chick and Blue Skies Vintage Events have created. Yet again 'A Marvellous Cocktail Party' was a sell out, I bought my ticket as soon as it was announced. Having been to the first one I'd been eagerly awaiting another.

Operation glamour began about mid afternoon, starting with the hair. At the last event I pinned my hair into a faux bob, which went down really well with people so I decided to go with a bob again. I usually use Superdrug own brand of setting lotion, but I happened to pass a Boots so I popped in there and after several minutes of walking up and down the aisles and not finding it, I asked an assistant who informed me they don't do an own brand and that they only do one type and it's ''over by the tissues in the corner''.

Firstly I was suprised there isn't an own brand and secondly it was in such an obscure place that I'm not suprised I couldn't find it. So I bought a bottle of 'Stay Set' and I have to say, I wouldn't buy it again. It has a very strong smell when wet - really quite over powering, it was more expensive and not as good as the Superdrug brand. So lesson learned there. However, the out come was generally pretty good. I usually set my hair in rollers but this time I set my hair all in pin curls and the plan was for a finger wave at the front.....

I ended up with a wave, but it wasn't quite as wavy as I'd have liked but the pin curls came out fab. Faux bobs are really easy to do and it's a fun way to change your look. I will write a 'how to' blog post.  Maybe a video? Do you ever watch a video by a blogger and find it odd to hear their voice?! Anyway, I digress......... my bob is a bit shorter this time, I'm not sure I would want to have my hair cut into a bob again but I really really like this look so I might do it more often.

My dress is vintage style not authentic vintage. I spent many weeks looking for something vintage but couldn't quite find the look I was aspiring to. I wanted full on glam and a bright colour so I ended up buying something from the high street, which I rarely do these days. It was an absolute dream to wear, I can't wait to wear it again. My days of needing a different frock for every event are long gone. I have no issue at all being spotted in the same dress twice. So I will get a few wears out of it. Look out for me in Tesco's swooshing down the aisle!

There is no such thing as too much at these events because everyone really pulls out the stops to look fabulous. It's not a fancy dress event, it's an elegant soiree and the room just oozes glamour and glitz.

Dress from Debenhams

Why am I showing you my ear you may ask. Well because these earrings got so many comments on the night and they were an absolute bargain at just £3. I only got them from Primark on Friday, so if you are looking for some glitz for the xmas party season these could be ideal.

So, off to the party. Guests were greeted on arrival at the entrance and handed a programme of events for the evening which also included a cocktail list. These were so delicious that within 45 minutes I was on my third! I like to think I was elegantly sipping but if you were to put fellow guests on the stand as witnesses, they may say I was inhaling the cocktails rather than sipping..... so okay, I admit it- guilty as charged! Speaking of inhaling though, there was a complimentary snuff bar for guests to try, I'm really not familiar with snuff but this little pop up bar was most intriguing.

I've seen period dramas where gentlemen in fine tailoring take a pinch of snuff from a little tin, but this display was quite extraordinary. There were18 different types, including some non tobacco ones. It was very popular, girls with long nails were finding it difficult to sniff the snuff as shown in the instructions, so we resorted to using our nails as a mini scoop to dispense the snuff on to the back of our hands. We then sniffed our snuff and twitched our noses like little rabbits. It's odd stuff, not unpleasant, just odd. I don't think there was a moment all evening when someone wasn't trying it.

There were also complimentary chocolate cigarettes, which were used as fun props for photo's and then washed down with cocktails. Glamour levels were through the roof. There were floor length gowns, tassels, sequins and feathers a plenty.

Lucy from Glamourologist joins me with a chocolate ciggie

Karen and Graham from Blue Skies Vintage Events

Lucy with Gemma from Retro Chick

 Our DJ for the evening was Earl Harlem, who set the mood with 20's, 30's and 40's tunes. There was also live music in the form of a singer - Joseph Ballard and later a band - SwingBall. 

 Yet again I was unlucky with the Chinese auction. All the prizes are labeled with numbers and you pop your tickets in a numbered cocktail shaker that represents the prize or prizes you desire to win. There was a buzz of activity around the prizes as people browsed the goodies. I had my eye on the pearl necklace but sadly it didn't come home with me. For now I shall have to stick with my ever faithful Primark pearls.

It really was such a gorgeous night. Really good fun, the room was alive with chatter and dancing. Everyone was up for a good time and the atmosphere was amazing.

Of all the pictures I've ever taken, I think this one may be one of my faveourites. Ever. This is why I love candid photography.

I'm thrilled with the pictures, so I'd like say a big thank you to everyone there, you all looked so fantastic. It was a dream to photograph you all looking so gorgeous and happy! There are more pictures over on the Missy Vintage facebook page so feel free to pop over for a browse.

If you'd like to read about the last Marvellous Cocktail Party earlier this year then just click here
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Saucy goings on............

Picture credit: Denise Bradley
 I'm often writing and tweeting that I've had meetings with fellow bloggers Gemma from Retro chick and Lucy from Glamourologist. The meetings often involve serious planning, sometimes tea, usually vino. Note pads and pens are always present. We all write for Vintage Norwich, but we have also come up with a brand new idea. So I'm pleased to present The Historical Sauces.

We all share a passion for history and glamour and we have a wealth of talents between so we decided that it made sense for us to join forces and share it with people. We are are ordinary girls (can we be girls as thirty somethings?) We love a bit of glamour everyday, but we all have busy lives so if we can find a shortcut to feeling and looking nice then believe me we will!

This week one of my work colleagues very kindly said I was 'naturally glamorous'. I can only assume that my cat flick eyeliner distracted from the fact that I had some how managed to get squashed banana on my pencil skirt............

This is what I mean by ordinary, we aren't saying we're perfect - we don't look like untouchable dolls, we look like girls who like make up, hair and having fun. You might find us in a pub drinking guinness one week talking about our favourite lipsticks and the next we might be sipping cocktails and talking about politics.

We all have a love of books and the idea of The Historical Sauces was partly inspired by the pop up library we took to an event at a screening of Breakfast at Tiffanny's ( If you missed that post, you can catch up by clicking here) Between us we have an ever growing collection of books on fashion history, hair and beauty, social history and local history.

Last weekend we set up a vintage reading room at The Little Vintage Lovers Fair held in a a stunning medieval building we have in Norwich called Dragon Hall. Working with the library theme we decided that it would be fun to sport a librarian look, and quite frankly we rocked it! I decided to put my hair up and went with a beehive!! We got many comments on our style and the feedback was really positive about the library.

Lucy and Gemma swooning over some 1950's magazines

We had complimentary sweets and cakes. Of course we taste tested these ourselves throughout the day....
The beehive

 It was a brilliant way for people to get inspiration and just rest their feet. Let's be honest if you pay to enter a fair you really want to get as much out of it as possible! We had all age groups in the reading room. The hair books were really popular, I'm sure there have been some practice sessions for new styles in a few homes this week.

We were on hand to chat and share tips and I would say the question I was asked most on the day was what product I use to style my hair when I opt for curls. When I replied good old fashioned setting lotion there were some surprised looks and also some trips down memory lane as people remembered their mums/nans having a set once a week.

So that's the new venture, we have lots of things planned so watch this space. We've just been interviewed by top blogger Lena of Style High Club who put together some brilliant questions which were really fun to answer. I think it gives a really good insight in who we are and what our aspirations are. Read the interview here.

You can also find The Historical Sauces on facebook and Twitter Do come over and say hello.
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Shall I pencil you in?

 I like fashion but I'm no slave to it. Some fashions come and go, some stay. Forever. Items such as the pencil skirt for example, which is a hugely versatile piece of clothing that can easily take you from day to night. If I could only have one skirt in my wardrobe, just ONE - it would be a black pencil skirt.

 It's fab for the office and super for wiggling the evening away. It's a skirt for all seasons too. In summer team it with a light blouse or a vest top, in winter throw on some stockings/tights a little cardigan and that skirt will look after you all year round.

Skirts evolved in style during the war, rationing had a huge impact on fashion and trends. The need to get the most out of every inch of fabric available was a must. Women wanted/needed to combine smart with practical, skirts would often be teamed with smart jackets to form suits and it wasn't unusual for women to raid their husbands wardrobes and rework a mans blazer into something feminine and elegant.Women still wanted to look nice, great effort was made to look stylish - even if that meant having to fit a gas mask over a head full of pin curls.

In the late 40's rationing was still impacting on the availability of clothing and whilst many fashions do not always work well with practicality (I know I'm not the only one to have fallen ungracefully from sky high wedges) I'm sure that for a lot of women, Christian Dior's designs for a slim fitting pencil skirt were well received.

Not only did this style embrace femininity, it also worked well with the need to continue to make do and mend. It's quite likely that many of the narrower fitting skirts being sported by the everyday girl on the street around this time, had been created from a skirt they already owned. Even though clothes rationing  ended in 1949, food rationing continued until 1954, so making the most of what you had continued well into the 50's.

Christian Dior who is quoted to have said ''Zest is the secret of all beauty. There is no beauty that is attractive without zest.''

Dior pencil skirt
Janet Leigh

A popular classic that has stood the test of time, the lengths may vary but a this wardrobe staple is still as popular as ever.

Katy Perry

If you're now in the mood to go out and find a pencil skirt and you fancy going down the vintage route, then my advice before you go out hunting and rummaging is to first of all measure your hips and waist. Why? Even 80's vintage will probably have very different sizing from modern clothes of today. What the label says may not even come close to the measurements you are used to.

There is nothing worse than getting that sinking feeling of not being able to fit into something you were sure would just slip on. So use the label in vintage clothing as a rough guide. If it says a 6 and you're a 14 it's probably safe to say that's a no-no BUT if you're a 12 and the label says 16 ....don't necessarily dismiss it and don't be shy about carrying a tape measure around with you to whip out in a shop to check the measurements.

Think of that tape in your handbag as a mobile lie detector, to test that little clothing label.  In fact even if you're standing in a charity shop with two recent skirts from the high street they will probably still measure up  very differently to each other, because a Topshop 12 is different from a Dorothy Perkins 12 for example.

If you don't fancy going down the vintage or the second hand route? Well, you're spoilt for choice on the high street so here's  a few just to get you started......

New Look £19.99

Next £22
Oasis £30
You can read more about my love of pencil skirts how I wear mine in my post Getting that vintage look

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Mid week link love

Another link love post highlighting just a few of the things I've enjoyed reading in blogland lately. With so many bloggers out there writing about interesting things, you can potentially save a fortune on reducing your magazine spend which hopefully gives you more money to spend on other fun things. Clothes, music, vino etc..............

If you are looking for home made ways to spook up your Halloween, then it's all been going on over at Betty Bee Towers with hand made paper mache bowls.

If like me, you have been pondering whether to buy  the Lauren Rennells book - Retro Make up, you might like to read Glamourologist's review to help you with your decision.

I never tire of looking at images of old film stars. Lottie Loves has been writing about the very beautiful Rita Hayworth. 

For anyone in Norwich on 29th October there's The little vintage lover fair at Dragon Hall Between 10am-5pm. Entry is £2 (accompanied under 16's are free)

Dragon Hall is a stunning medieval building so it's going to be a feast for the eyes indeed with all that vintage too. There will be a tea room and music alongside rails and rails of vintage. Myself, Retro chick and Glamourologist are also going to be there, armed with our pop up library. We are setting up a vintage reading room, which we are rather excited about!

If you can make it, come and say hello! The library is an ever growing collection of fashion, beauty and social history over the decades. The reading room is there for you to come in and flick through books for inspiration, sit down and have a good reading session or just come on in and rest your feet.

We will be on hand to answer any questions you might have. Maybe you would like to know about vintage style, glamour? Tips on hair or make up? Tips on wearing vintage and vintage style clothing? Perhaps you are an aspiring blogger wondering where to start? Imagine bookworms with lipstick.................. and you just imagined us!

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Movember - fantashtic!

Move over November, Movember is almost here. What does this mean? Well chaps, start preparing to step away from your razors. Movember is all about the face hair. Hoorah! As a gal who loves a bit of face growth (see above pic....) I'm happily rubbing my hands at the prospect of working in an office with a variety of facial hair growth that embraces the love for all colours, shapes and sizes.  I'm very much ready for the whiskerfest but fellas, are you?

So what's it all about? Sponsored face hair,that's what. Chaps you grow the 'mo and we will donate the dough.... So where does the money go? The money raised goes to programmes run by Movember and their  men’s health partners The Prostate Cancer Charity and The Institute of Cancer Research.

To date Movember has globally raised over a  mahoosive (or should that be mohoosive?) £100 million for the fight against prostate cancer and depression in men. Pretty impressive for an initiative that began life in Melbourne Australia in just 2003. It's not just about raising money, it's also about raising awareness of men's health issues.

Some important facts and stats courtesy of the Movember UK website

Prostate Cancer Facts

  •  1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK – one man is diagnosed every 15 minutes 
  • A man will die from prostate cancer every hour - more than 10,000 men will die of the disease this year in the UK
  • African Caribbean men are three times more likely to develop prostate cancer. 
  • You are 2.5 times more likely to develop prostate cancer if your father or brother has had it Occurrences of prostate cancer in men are comparable to the rates of breast cancer in women
  •  Testicular cancer in the UK affects younger men between the ages of 20 and 50. There were 1,990 men diagnosed with the disease in 2007
  •  Men are 80% less likely to visit their GP and stay in touch with their doctors than women in the UK, thereby denying themselves the chance of early detection and effective treatment

Only men can get prostate cancer and the risk factors associated with it are:
    •   Ethnicity: African Caribbean men are three times more likely to develop prostate cancer.
    •   Family: you are 2.5 times more likely to develop prostate cancer if your father or brother has had it.
    •   Diet: if you have a diet rich in fat, dairy products and red meat, this may increase your risk of developing prostate cancer (and other health conditions).
    •   It is important that men of all ages are aware of their prostate and prostate cancer.

    So, you're up for the challenge? What are the rules? Well for those of you that are already sporting some lip hair - I want you to get naked.... What? It's in the rules?! The rules clearly state you must start with a clean shaven face on November the 1st.You need to register (there's a link at the bottom of the page) and you need to grow and care for your mo for a whole month. For this you will get sponsored. Donations can also be made online.

    Chaps, despite what you may think us gals want you to love your man parts. Like all good relationships it's important to get to know what feels normal, what feels right and what feels wrong. Even if you're not able to join in and grow a mo this time you still need to go over to the Movember site. It's a good resource for your health. Girls head over there too, we need to understand mens health as much as they do.

    If you are going to grow a mo then everything you need to know including how to register is on the website for you.

    Hopefully these pictures of handsome chaps has inspired your mostyle. I'd love to do a mostar gallery so email your photo and name to missyvintage@hotmail.co.uk by Dec 6th and I will create a post that is all about the marvelous Movember mofest!

    The links below are for the UK sites.

    Good luck chaps!

    For more information on Movember click here

    To go straight to the registration page click here

    You can also follow on twitter @ Movember UK and on the Movember UK facebook page

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    Imperial War Museum London - The Children's War

     On a recent trip to London I made time to visit The Imperial War Museum, this was my second visit. I loved it the first time but during this second visit I didn't just love it, I think I actually fell in love with it. I enjoy museums and galleries, this one though just has so so much to see, do and touch.Yes touch. I love that!

    I feel like I saw and experienced so much it's tricky to know where to start.... firstly a big important fact is entry to this museum is free. Tragically there are very few museums outside of London that are free entry, so to be able to enter this astonishing building without feeling like you will subsequently need to juggle your money for the rest of the month is refreshing to say the least.

    It's very easy to just wander around and lose yourself in all the history and artifacts. It's not just military machines, there is so much to explore and survey that I find it almost over whelming (in a good way) and incredibly thought provoking. It really brings to life war through the years. It's not dumbed down or prettied up. It's real, at times personal and encourages you to consider the impact of war from all sides and from all walks of life. The rich the poor, the soldiers, their loved ones, the old and the young.

    The second world war is of immense interest to me. I never stop being amazed at how people coped in such dark and terrifying times. I'm fascinated by what day to day life looked and felt like. From the day to day basics like food and clothing to the transformation of life for women as they were put into factories and fields and thrust into a mans world of manual labour. I'm intrigued by the fashions and the ingenious ways people found ways to make do and mend and this museum has an abundance of examples of life during the war. It's such an honour to be able to view such personal items that were once part of someones life.

     An exhibition that almost made my heart stop was The Children's War. This exhibition runs until the 3rd of January 2012 and I hope my words can do it some sort of justice because it's truly wonderful and I still get goose bumps when I think of it.

    The collection of photographs, posters, hand written letters, clothes and toys is such a sight to behold. I was reduced to tears. It was a very emotional experience. There's something so bitter sweet about seeing the smiling faces of children during the trauma of war. Reading letters sent to parents from children who had been evacuated from the cities were wonderful to see but heartbreaking too.

    Chaotic, spidery hand writing  becomes something so  meaningful and beautiful when it's created by a child and scribbled doodles become masterpieces. How bewildering it would have been for a child to be taken away from all they know and put into what was often an alien environment with strangers.

    Some letters chatted about what they had been doing, adventures and daily happenings. It made me ponder how I would feel as a parent reading such a letter. Of course I would feel relieved that my child was safe and well, but part of me would also fear that I would be forgotten and of course the heartbreaking thought of not seeing your child again. Horrifying.

    It all made me very teary, but the trigger for the tears to roll freely down my cheeks was a child's small suitcase. Packed just as it would have been ready for evacuation. The case was packed for a little boy and seeing the shirt, socks, braces, jumper and other items from home made me feel emotions I am not even sure I know how to express, it was incredibly moving.


    The Imperial War Museum guidebook gives the following statistics -
    •  130,000 children suffered the loss of a parent on active service.
    • 1,000,000 children were evacuated.
    • A further 16,000 children were sent overseas.
    • 7,736 children died as a direct result of enemy action.
    (The guide book was just £4.95 and was well worth it, I'd highly recommend you buy one if you visit)

     Also part of this exhibition is a life size prefab 1940's house which was absolutely fascinating to walk through, the decor is utterly fabulous.

    It's without doubt the best exhibition I've ever been too, the fact that weeks later I still feel a lump in my throat when I think of that little suitcase speaks volumes. If you go and see this, I would love to know what you thought of it.

    The Children's War and 1940's house exhibition runs until 2/1/2012. More information.

    Books you may like reading:

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