Tick Box Alley

I know it's the middle of the week, but I've just about recovered from the weekend! Was I burning the candle at both ends? No! The reason I've been as achy as a fitness boot camp detainee is down to working at an event ALL weekend that we had in Norwich called Tin Pan Alley. A rather splendid event that had a big twist on the flea market/vintage fair we've all become used to....

The event took over a gorgeous listed building in the heart of Norwich that's been empty for several years. Four floors of old uneven floors, flaky plaster, odd patches of wallpaper layered upon wallpaper -  it was an amazing space to work in. What was I doing there? Well for this one my recent weapon in the shape of liquid eyeliner was left in its holster and I was there with The Historical Sauces selling vintage!!

This was a massive box ticked for me. About two years ago I decided to look in to selling vintage with an online shop. I went to Business Link and they were brilliant. Really helpful but my work situation changed and the blog then took off fantastically. Offers to do other vintage projects came up and I've done some fabulous events but selling a few pieces of gorgeous vintage was a big box ticked for me!

We were up in the attic of the building which meant that we had to carry our stuff up a few flights of stairs - and why I ached this week! That was quite a work out but we had fun and it was an unusual but fab event to be part off.

We were just about ready as doors opened at 5pm on the Saturday, having got changed a few loads earlier, I finished carrying the last few suitcases up the stairs complete with beehive and 60's dress like a vintaged up delivery lady!

We were there again the next day ready for the doors to open at 11am. I have to say I woke up that morning and lay in bed feeling about eighty years old. I have total respect for vintage sellers who do events like this all the time! It's fun but my goodness, it's hard work! I would certainly do it again though.....
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Carry on camping........

I haven't been to a holiday camp since I was in middle school. We went to Butlins twice I think. Skegness, I have a few memories of it such as the fair, fab swimming pool, seeing The Chuckle Brothers - how old are they? I can't believe they are still going! Anyway the reason for this little trip down memory lane is because I recently found myself back at a holiday camp but this time it was for work not a holiday.

The Historical Sauces had been booked to do a workshop for the entertainment staff at the Mill Rythe Holiday Village, to help them prepare for a Vera Lynn stage show they will be performing for their holiday makers. We went to show them how to create a 40' style look with their hair and make up. It's quite a drive so although the workshop was on Monday, we headed down to Hampshire on Sunday and stayed overnight at the holiday park so we'd be fresh for Monday morning.

It was quite a road trip! We loaded up the car, and headed off. Lucy had her Sat Nav - who had quite a nice Irish voice, so we decided to name him Connor. Actually I think we may have had a mini debate over what we should all him, but we all agreed that if the Sat Nav voice came to life he'd be tall, dark and very handsome. We can't be the only people to think of these things? Can we?

We arrived in the evening and had a nice dinner, followed by a couple of G& T's as we relaxed from the long drive. My fellow Historical Sauce Gemma actually had several childhood holidays at this very holiday camp, so she was a bit giddy with excitement at being back there and excitedly relived tales of being crowned 'Princess of the Week' once.

I liked being back in that holiday camp environment, it reminded me of those hols in Butlins, where I'd watched the Red Coats and really rather wanted to be one for a while. I don't know what springs to mind when you think of chalets in a holiday camp but the chalets at this holiday camp are simply divine! They still have a quaint old fashioned exterior but inside it was nicer than a lot of hotels I've stayed in! The best of both worlds!

The workshop went really well, it's really interesting helping to create vintage looks and the girls looked fabulous. The pictures speak for themselves I think!

My cute hand knitted jumper is a charity shop find as is the skirt.

Picture Credit Max Barraclough
Max Barraclough from Mill Rythe also took some fabulous pictures of the workshop in action so pop over and take a peep at the Mill Rythe Facebook page

There's more Pictures over on The Historical Facebook page too.

So with Staycations seeming to be poplar at the moment I say Hi-De-Hi Campers! Will you be holidaying in your own country this year? We're planning to.
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My Night with Marilyn

 Well almost...... I've mentioned in previous posts that Norwich has recently been a whirl of events due to our very own fashion week. Well now the hairspray has settled and we all take stock (and a rest) of what an amazing week it was, I thought I'd share one of my highlights with you.

As part of the events list, our local independent cinema show the 1953 classic Gentlmen Prefer Blondes. Once again Vintage Norwich, who I also work for, took over the bar area and helped everyone have a jolly old time with a bit of Hollywood glamour and interesting things to see and do.

My day almost went quite wrong when I was struck down with a migraine! So I took drastic action, I popped some headache tablets, took OUT my rollers - my hair wasn't even set and was still wet so this was far from ideal and I took myself off to bed for an hour. The thing with migraines is sometimes, if you can, you just have to stop everything, go somewhere dark and quite and try as best as you can to relax. I don't find switching off and relaxing easy at the best of times. I sleep with post it notes by the bed because my head always seems to be a whirl of activity however.......... an hour later I was feeling perkier and I could get on with my day.

The first mission was to work out what to do with my hair, I didn't have time to wet set it again, it was just about dry now so thank goodness for heated rollers. Mission Curl was about to begin! To give my hair the best chance possible of holding a curl (love hot rollers but a wet set with setting lotion is what works best for me) I left my rollers in as long as possible. This meant taking them out the very last minute - so about ten minutes before the event started. We still had to set up The Historical Sauce make up trolley and the Vintage Norwich items - which meant we had to meet at our office and then head a few minutes up the road to the cinema. There was only one thing for it.....I was going to have to walk there in my rollers.....

Heated rollers aren't cute little rollers you can tuck under a scarf, they are pretty big animals so there really was no missing me as I walked through town with my huge ginormous head, faux fur 50's cape and pulling a bright pink suitcase.

Waaaa! No lipstick yet! I'm looking quite pale and puffy eyed from the migraine too. My lovely stripey head scarf was a recent Charity shop find and when not covering my huge head it will be worn around my neck to nautical up my wardrobe. As I mentioned in a previous post I'm a big fan of the nautical look.

I got a few funny looks as I walked through town, most people looked away in that 'I must not stare' kind of way, if people did dare to make eye contact I just smiled back in a 'yes, I know I look a bit of a tit!' kind of way. I'm not sure these pictures demonstrate how huge my head looked - but believe me it was like a big alien head. If aliens did rollers and head scarves this would be it. I'm not sure if the cinema staff were amused or scared as I came bounding in with a cheery hello with all the boxes and bags to start setting up. Then it was back to our office to start getting ourselves ready.

Several minutes later we all emerged through a haze of hairspray looking glammed up. We don't need a smoke machine to add a music video style haze to our office - when there's three of us getting ready, hairspray does the job!

We took along a small selection of The Historical Sauce pop up library, focusing more on the Marilyn and fashion books which as always were really popular. We also took a long some of our dressing up box - which is *always* popular. It's brilliant watching people pick up handbags and hats etc and have a play with them or take a trip down memory lane. I couldn't resist having a play myself....

A gorgeous 1950s hat worthy of a First Lady ( The not me. I expect)

 When not trying on hats I was busy meeting, greeting and photographing glamourous guests so we could decide which three lucky winners would be declared best dressed. There was a lovely buzz in the bar as people arrived dressed to the nines. We also had Historical Sauce Lucy giving 'Lips and Flicks' lessons along with vintage hairstylist Flamingo Amy creating vintage hair styles.

 We arranged for a handsome Captain to welcome everyone aboard as they entered the screen (just in case you haven't seen the film, much of it is set on a cruise ship) I snapped people as they prepared to set sail and loved telling them all to have a good trip!

I sneaked in to the screen as everyone was waiting for the film to start and the party was obviously continuing! Lots of chatter, noise, and glasses clinking. I couldn't stay though, there was work to be done! We had to decide who was going to win best dressed -this was a very tough choice and it was a bit like X Factor at times as we decided which three people would be declared the winners. Once this decision was made, we could relax a little and have a well earned drink. Our captain joined us and as we waited for the film to end we played pass the hat. As you do.

You may notice I've gone red, if you follow me on Facebook you will know I've been toying with blonde or red. Red won for now....
I was super thrilled when we got to sneak in at the end of the film ready to announce the winners. I've never seen Marilyn on the big screen so catching the last few minutes of the film was just amazing for me and strangely a bit emotional! I had to pull myself together though as we then had to walk to the front of the cinema screen and present prizes to the best dressed winners. Carlton Books kindly donated three Dressing Marilyn books by Andrew Hansford as prizes and I know there were lots of looking at these, so if you didn't win but want to read my recent review of the book just click here.

I don't mind speaking in public or standing in front of lots of people, to be honest I quite enjoy it. My fear is falling over in front of them all! I'm naturally quite clumsy, as anyone who has ever met me will tell you. My drinks have a habit of jumping out of my hand, I'm forever walking in to things. I may do my hair and make up, this doesn't mean I'm Miss Graceful 2012..... However I managed to stay on my feet, despite being quite close to the edge of the stage at times. We had time for a few photos before we had to pack up, have another drink and head home for some much need sleep to recharge from such a busy but very fab night.

Just to mention that my outfit for the night came in at under £10.

My dress was a 1990s Marks and Spencer evening dress that I picked up from Oxfam recently for £4.99. I didn't manage to get a full length shot but fortunately a press photographer did, so thank you to that man! It's a lovely column dress, a bit 50's Hollywood glam.

Shoes were a chaz boutique purchase, nice point toe and flower details, very 80's does 50's £1.50

My long evening gloves were in the sale at Peacocks for £3

Total outfit cost £9.49

Pics to follow of shoes to follow!

Picture Credit: Evening News  (Here I am with Gemma AKA Retro Chick)
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Mid week link love

We haven't had one of these for a while have we? I've been ridiculously busy, you may have noticed that the blog has a few new additions....... I now have sponsors! The last time I had sponsors I think I was walking round a school field in a big circle. No doubt I was bored to tears - I hated PE. I was nearly always picked last for the team sports and I didn't really feel playing bench ball would enrich my life a much as reading a book or listening to music would. Or finding ways to save the world, I liked to try and do that as a teenager. Ironic as I probably blew a hole in the ozone layer on a twice daily basis with the amount of hairspray I used. I digress............

So meet my lovely sponsors - Blue Skies Vintage Events.

These guys really know their stuff and can help you be the perfect hostess whether you're throwing cocktail party,dinner event or even a wedding. If you're throwing a fashion show or corporate event Karen is an industry expert and can help bring to life the event you're visualising.

Next up are Sugar and Hatter

Designers of beautiful vintage inspired accessories including fascinators, jewellery and cute furry collars. The mortar board fascinators worn by The Historical Sauces are indeed Sugar and Hatter creations.

If you'd like to sponsor Missy Vintage then pop me an email. If you'd like to sponsor me personally then I'll consider activities involving alcohol and/or kissing Eddie Redmayne who is my current heart throb of the moment. Activities such as a sponsored silence are probably best avoided. Let's be honest if talking for England was an Olympic sport I would be bringing home the gold!!

So apart from Eddie Redmayne (be still my beating heart) who else is worth looking at online? As always I've found a few things that I thought you may also like too.....

A free online magazine you say? With vintage related content, history, things to make and more? Sounds too good to be true? It's all there waiting for you. queensofvintage.com  This site is well worth book marking as a favourite.

If you've been reading Missy Vintage for a while you may have seen me mention Southern Retro before. A brilliant ongoing series of photographs and short biographies of people who live the vintage way of life as a lifestyle choice. I'm desperate for Mat Keller the creator of Southern Retro to exhibit this collection in a gallery. It's a brilliantly interesting idea and he takes such amazing pictures. He's also a very nice fella so if you think you'd like to take part in the project you can contact him via his website Southern Retro.

One of the pictures of me Mat used for his project Southern Retro
Blogger A Thrifty Mrs has written a post on removing the smell of stale cigarettes from your thrifted items. If you've ever opened a vintage suitcase and almost keeled over as the smell of tobacco  hits you like a wall then this post will interest you. Read it here.

Land Girl 1980 has a super style of writing. She's funny and interesting and I would always suggest that she is a blogger worth following. This post looks at women who worked in munitions during The Great War. Read it here

Hair blog Hair Advice and All Things Nice have reviewed the latest addition to the Batiste dry shampoo range. Read it here.

Need more wardrobe space? Clever blogger Betty Bee may have the answer for you and you will still have lots of pennies left to keep buying more dresses! Read it here.

And finally, just in case you missed this when I posted it last month, here's a link to The BBC Archive - Hollywood voices. It features radio interviews with Hollywood greats including Bette Davis, Ginger Rogers, Rita Hayworth, Charlie Chaplin, Groucho Marx, Doris Day............... to name just a few! Some of the interviews are short with just a few minutes of chat others last for over an hour. It's well worth visiting.
Click here to be transported back in time and hear the interviews.

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Just another Manic Monday

 I woke up thinking that I'd treat this morning as my Sunday as I worked yesterday. Like all ideas that start off brilliantly, I then realised that may be a one lazy cup of tea would be all I'd get as I've quite a few things that I really *should* be getting in with........ So having now drained my mug of tea it's business as usual and hello Manic Monday!

The weekend has been a bit of a blur. Norwich Fashion week began last Thursday and it's been busy but very exciting so far! On Friday we were a feature of the 'Norwich lanes night out' where boutiques in an area known as 'The Lanes' of Norwich stay open late and have music, activities, flash sales etc. I was working withGemma and Lucy as The Historical Sauces and we were lucky enough to set up a beauty boutique in one of Norwich's best and most divine shoe shops Imelda's. We weren't sure how busy we would be but were astonished that the shop was soon crammed with people lining up for our 'lips and flicks' make up tutorials! It was back to back lessons all night.

I haven't got many pictures of the night as I was armed with lipstick and an eyeliner brush rather than a camera for most of the night, but I decided to swap my usual victory roll look for a bit of a beehive.....

Saturday I did get a day off and went to the coast - although the morning began with a flurry of emails as The Historical Sauces had been asked if we could step in and do a live hair demonstration the following day at an event we were already attending.... So we did indeed step in to save the day, in fact we had the scary duty of being the first demo of the day! (Which we didn't realise at the time of saying yes!)

So there I was with a Brittany Spears style microphone giving a live guide on how to get the beehive look! My first thoughts were don't try and use this moment to be a comedy wannabe and do a Brittany impersonation and the next was a reminder to myself not to swear!! Even a little mutter under by breath would have been broadcast to the entire room. Eek!

A trusty tea trolley acted as my work station, I used a vintage tea cup to hold my grips. This idea was much loved and even the Benefit girl borrowed the trolley for her demonstration. I'm pleased to say that the idea of using tea trolleys as work stations was my idea first! It is a genius idea, I can't deny it!

 If this exercise is to be repeated then I will have to learn to talk and smile at the same time because the photo's  I've seen so far (and there must be hundreds floating around as so many people were taking photo's) are bloody awful!! Talking and not looking like a crazy fool pulling faces is not an art I have yet learned!! However here are some that didn't get hit with the delete button!

The final result............

And an out take photo of the final result picture................ Oh dear!!

We rewarded out hard days work with fizz and jam doughnuts, what else?Tesco's didn't have any canapes so we opted for some reduced price cakes at the bargain price of 5 for 10p! We are not princesses, those reduced price cakes were delicious!

Wednesday Night I will be wearing my Historical Sauce AND my Vintage Norwich hat as we take over the bar at Norwich's Cinema City and host an evening celebrating the showing of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. I'll be armed with my camera taking pictures of visitors all glammed up for this amazing event. The fabulous creatures at Carlton Books have kindly given us not one, not two but THREE copies of the book Dressing Marilyn By Andrew Hansford to give away to the three best dressed folks on the night!

You can read the review of the book that's up for grabs here.

You can get more details of Wednesdays event here.

Right let's see what the rest of Monday has in store for me!
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Book Review: Dressing Marilyn How a Hollywood Icon Was Styled by William Travilla (Written by Andrew Hansford)

When Carlton Books sent me a press release about this book I was intrigued. I'm someone who had pictures of Marilyn on my bedroom wall as a teenager (nestled alongside New Kids on The Block and James Dean) and I spent many hours doodling dress designs as a young child/teen, I couldn't think of a more perfect book to have on my shelf.

Carlton Books kindly gave me a copy to review and I know I'm an emotional Minnie but the books been an emotional read! So if this review feels a bit too positive because I know, I know ..........a review is supposed to have 'what you liked, what you didn't like and what you think could be better' Well I'm not going to follow a formula and try and tailor my opinion to fit it. This book has become one of my most treasured books. I've shown it to several people to get other opinions on it and without fail, everyone has been fascinated by it.

Why? What's different about this book? There's a zillion books on Marilyn isn't there? Yes there is. But there is something so very different about this one. There's a great interview with the author at the start of the book, which details how this book came about. Hansford didn't begin this as some die hard Marilyn fan who decided to write a book, he ended up immersed in the world of Marilyn, her dresses and her close friend/costume designer William Travilla by accident or may be some would call it luck. A phone conversation led to an exhibition of her dresses and the rest, as they say is history.

William Travilla was responsible for an array of costumes during his time in the film and television industry. This book has original designs of dresses and they really are the most beautiful drawings, like works of art that should be displayed. He said of Marilyn:

''My clothes for Marilyn were an act of love, I adored her''

William Travilla with Marilyn
 From the book it's clear that Travilla loved to make women look and feel beautiful. Unlike some more modern male designers, who in my opinion sometimes seem to design for women but it's about the designer NOT the women. To me it feels there can be an element of  ''I'm the designer! See me when you look at that dress not the wearer''............ controversial? May be, but I can tell you that when I discussed this book and voiced this opinion both men and women understood the point and many agreed.

This iconic dress actually only had a brief appearance in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

There are some absolutely laugh out loud moments in this book as stories of Travilla's life are shared. Anyone familiar with Mae West will know that she was a colouful character and there's a story of a very young Travilla getting to meet her. He was a huge fan but sadly hopes of working with her didn't work out. The book tells the tale.....

                    One of his all time favourite pin ups was Mae West and, when he was given the opportunity to meet her and discuss possibly deigning some costumes for her, the actress received him wearing 25-cm (10-inch) wedge heels, 5-cm (2-inch) eyelashes and a floor length negligee. According to Travilla, with a translucent swirl of red satin and chiffon straight off a movie set, she sauntered across the room, sat down beside him and, with a tantalising wink, took his hand and gently guided him towards her bare breast. Sadly for Ms West, Travilla's reaction did little to inspire her confidence in his talents as a designer and he was shown the door within ten minutes. Given that Travilla was in his early twenties at the time, this must have been an incredibly intimidating experience!

It feels a bit wrong to laugh, it sounds terrifying! Travilla himself was handsome, he was dashing and looked every bit the movie star himself. Yet he was happy to be the creator of beautiful costumes and didn't consider himself a celebrity. Of course this was back in the day when celebrity had a whole different meaning. The book goes on to detail the costumes Travilla designed for Marilyn in the various films they worked on together.  

The red sequin dress worn in Gentelmen Prefer Blondes

 The famous pink dress worn in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes  during the performance of Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend  (and imitated by Madonna in the Material Girl video)  was a last minute design and whilst it is stunningly beautiful it was actually a replacement for this costume...

Why was this costume replaced? Well during post production, the studio became aware that there were nude pictures of Marilyn in a calender. Even though the pictures were taken several years earlier, the studio still went crazy.  At the time of the nude shoot Marilyn was an out of work actress, her car had been impounded and she was paid $50 dollars to pose, enough to get her car back. The studio didn't care about that of course. Travilla was ordered to ''cover her up'' and so he had to go away and recreate some thing less revealing and more demure. 

If you love Marilyn, fashion or Hollywood history this would be a fabulous book to read. It's one of those books that you can read cover to cover or dip in and out of. I loved reading about the tales from Hollywood and the stories behind the costumes. The affection and passion Travilla had for his work is enviable and the collection of photograhs magnificent.

Dressing Marilyn: How a Hollywood Icon Was Styled by William Travilla (by Andrew Hansford,  £20, available in all good book shops and online)

Carlton Books publish several great vintage inspired titles.If you're on Twitter they are well worth following, the twitter team are fab at tweeting about new titles, what's coming up and snippets of info that might be of interest to us book lovers! Follow them here.
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