Book Review: 1940s Fashion: The Definitive Sourcebook

It's absolutely impossible for to say anything about this book that could make it better, because quite frankly it's just an utter dream of a read. Carlton Books kindly sent me a copy to look at, so brace yourselves for quite a gushy review. It's just that good........

1940s Fashion: The Definitive Sourcebook by Emmanuelle Dirix, really is the most comprehensive book on 1940s fashion that I now have on my shelf, and I have quite a few.... This book at just over a whopping 500 pages is bursting with over 600 photographs and illustrations. The book covers the many elements of forties fashion, including daywear, eveningwear, outerwear, accessories and uniforms.

The intro of the book explains how the forties can pretty much be split into two halves, and interestingly the book looks at how the war effected fashions in various countries, pointing out that a thirties Germany, would of course have had it's fashions heavily influenced by the French fashion houses.

 This book will have a broad appeal, whether it's the history of fashion that you're interested in or because you're looking for the ultimate guide to add some forties style into your wardrobe. 

Looking at the pictures, it's quite hard to believes that some of them weren't taken just yesterday. With so many people seeming to have lovingly adopted touches of vintage into their wardrobe and style, it's does make me wonder what the generation who lived through the forties think of us all as we stroll around with our hair flowers and snoods etc.

My top tip: skirts shaped like these are VERY easy to pick up in charity shops, an easy inexpensive way to get a 1940s inspired  look.

This absolutely is a definitive guide to forties style, from how to dress, to how to style your hair. Lovers of hats, prepare yourself - there are some amazing examples in here! It really is an amazing journey through the fashions of the decade. 

1940s Fashion: The Definitive Sourcebook by Emmanuelle Dirix, published by Goodman Fiell, has an RRP of £30 and is available from www.carltonbooks.co.uk as well as Amazon and all good book stores.

*if the thirties is more your thing, I can also recommend the 1930s Definitive Sourcebook too! 
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Happy International Picnic Day!

Apparently June 18th is National Picnic Day. Who decides these things? Can anyone tell me when it's National Stay in Bed Day and National Let's Drink Gin Day? Anyway, I love a picnic, so I'm not knocking a day that celebrates the chance to eat, drink and be merry alfresco.

  I recently picked up a copy of a 1960s book, The Good House Keeping guide to 'Successful Entertaining'  in a charity shop. A wonderful look back at the art of entertainment with a section dedicated to picnics. This image I especially loved. A typical picnic scene for embracing outside dining and the British weather.... blanket, basket, flask of tea, jumpers cardigans.....sheepskin coat! 

The weather so far this year means that I'm yet to experience a sunny day picnic in 2013, not the type of picnic in the sense of flopping around on a blanket with a glass of something boozy, a flask of coffee and a selection of delicious nibbles anyway, but if we start to think of packed lunches as a mini picnic (even if it's for one!) then the opportunity to have a picnic several times a week becomes an option....

Dotcom Gift Shop, kindly asked if I'd like to start using one of their lunch boxes, and as I'm trying to save for a new camera at the moment, I thought this would be a great way to not only eat better with a mini picnic on the go, but would save me money too when I'm out and about. It's so disappointing when you shell out on a pre-packed sandwich and not only is it tasteless, it also has a days worth of calories in it! Not only is your purse robbed, but it feels like your tummy has been too!

I picked this cute little space boy lunch box, I'm ridiculously addicted to Mad Men at the moment, and this 50s/60s style little space boy just made me think of those times so, whilst I may aspire to be like the Christina Hendricks character, I'm probably a bit  ermm a lot more geekier than that, so this mini spaceman appealed to me. A lot. My space food of choice on the day of this picture.... pesto pasta. Yum.

So I've begun taking provisions with me on shoots, journeys, on days when I know that I'll be in between appointments around lunchtime, and even on days off, as rare as those are at the moment. I'm determined to a) save money so I can get that new camera and b) have more picnics this year. Even if a picnic is defined as eating alfresco on a park bench, or sitting in the car looking at the sea as a gale blows outside! 

If you feel more girly than space boy then there's lots of cute designs for just £4.95, to brighten up your alfresco eating. They are certainly more appealing to look at than boring plain/clear plastic tubs!

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Pretty Flamingo

For ages I've been after a shower curtain with a flamingo on it. It's just one of those home-wares I just really fancy. Whilst looking I found some amazing ones, in fact I found some amazing flamingo every things. Just call me the crazy flamingo lady! If you'd also like to add flamingos to your life then keep reading as I have some brilliant flamingo ideas for you from the gloriously kitsch (that could be my middle name) to daintily fabulous!

Flamingo fever for the home...

Shower Curtain from Cafe Press was £49 now £33.50

shower curtain from Cafe Press was £49 now£33.50
Wallpaper  Debenhams £19 
Lights dotcom Gift Shop £14.95
Jug Not on The High Street £27.50

Cup and Saucer Not on The High Street £21

Cushion Argos £9.99

For you!

Holdall Ollie and Nic £65 (use code HTOLNC20 to save 20% off full price items)

Ipad case Not On The Highstreet £19.50

Hair Bow Etsy - Alternate Normality £4.50

Hair Bows Etsy - Violets in May £5
Head scarf Etsy Dolly Cool £6.29
Dress Etsy - Uncommon Nonsense £42 How cute is this?  Love how it's been styled with the boots, would also look great with some ballet pumps. Gorgeous!

Bearing in mind the weather recently you may want to get your flamingo fix this way..............................
Totes £17

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A Vintage Inspired Home - Kitchen Inspiration

Whilst I dream of an old fashion kitchen that nods to the fifties, the truth is, that like most of us, I have a modern kitchen. It was brand new when we moved in, and really the only way I can add some vintage interest to it is with the accessories, Despite living in the house for two years, our general lack of time means that it's STILL an ongoing project to make it feel like 'us'.

So I've started a board over on Pinterest  to gather some ideas, it's a small space so whilst I'd love to rip it out and start again, the fact is that that would a) be too much expense and b) totally wasteful, it's a perfectly nice functional kitchen. Petite yes, but I'm sure little additions and accessories would sprinkle some interest to a rather mundane space. 

We've started by painting it blue, and I've picked up some nice little storage jars, one of which may say sugar but in fact holds garlic. The plan is to put up some shelves and fill them with interesting old canisters and storage jars. If you  can't wait to find old ones though then the bonus of the boom in vintage means there are lots of  'inspired' home-wares available to buy from the high street and from online retailers too.


Dotcom Gift Shop
Dotcom Gift Shop £19.95

Debenhams was £16 now £12.80
Debenhams was £28 now £22.40

Red Candy £17
Red Candy £48

Sweet and Nostalgic £11


Cafe Press £30.50

Dotcom Gift shop £19.99 (also available in Red, blue and Ivory)

Debenhams was £18 now £14.40 

Small Appliances/electricals

Debenhams £165
Debenhams was £130 now £117 (this is sooo on my wish list!)
Debenhams £429

Red Candy was £43 now £39
Have you created an interesting kitchen using accessories to add that vintage/retro interest?
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Pictures of May with Nokia

Nokia contacted me to ask if I'd like to test out the Carl Zeiss camera on the Lumia 920 model. There was a time when my requirements for a phone would be that I could make calls on it and I could text. I was a dream customer to the person in the phone shop if they just wanted simple and swift interaction, but times change and now I need to be able to easily use social media, and I want it to have a decent camera. So I took Nokia up on their offer and for two weeks used the Lumia 920 to capture the world as I saw it.

The Nokia Lumia 920 (picture source nokia.com)

"It takes a lot of imagination to be a good photographer.  You need less imagination to be a painter because you can invent things.  But in photography everything is so ordinary; it takes a lot of looking before you learn to see the extraordinary." - David Bailey 

On my iphone I've about half a dozen apps for cameras and I still don't feel any of them are 'the one'. We're all capturing our lives on a daily basis, and instead of the pictures sitting in an album occasionally getting flicked through, we're sharing them and not just with family and friends, we're sharing them with strangers. Odd thought isn't it? 

For people in the creative industry, our online images are as much of an online portfolio for us as they are a series of photos. As a blogger and a stylist I want to share my work with you. I like to show you behind the scenes action on photoshoots as it takes place and yes at times I may decide to share with you what I'm eating, although, usually it's pictures from the pub, so expect more drink than food in my uploads..... Looking back through my phone I also seem to take a lot of pictures of my mouth. It's a lipstick thing.

"Photography is an immediate reaction, drawing is a meditation." - Henri Cartier-Bresson 

I'm a social media addict. I confess. I used to work in social media and even now I still offer my services as a social media consultant to start-ups and small to medium businesses, it's a magical and powerful tool, and frankly I just love it. I may love vintage but I'm a modern girl and I combine vintage with a modern life. I think of Instagram as the social media version of a polaroid camera. You snap and you share, and I love seeing what else people are capturing.

Now at the moment of writing, the instagram app isn't available to use with this phone. Hmmm, that's a drawback as for many (including me) instagram IS an online business card for my blog and my stylist work. HOWEVER rumour has it that instagram will be available very soon, so if that is an important app for you then you might want to keep your ears open for that announcement.

In the meantime, Nokia have produced an app that shows and sends some real love to instagram. The fact I even know about this app is because someone on instagram suggested I use it and help spread the  word. The power of social media strikes again....

You'll notice these pictures have the hash-tag 2instawithlove , and whilst the filters on this app are few and you are forced to cope with a heavy crop of your pictures - for me, the filter effects are actually far superior to instagram, and now I've gone back to my normal phone and using instagram - I really miss those 2instawithlove filters. REALLY MISS THEM. 





I actually became a bit smitten with the 2instawithlove filters, which when combined with decent quality pictures for a camera phone, really transformed images in to something quite extraordinary. 



The other thing that was a slight issue for me, but if you're not Twitter obsessed you might not care, was that when I edited pictures using the general filters within in the camera (which again were few but simply fab effects) I couldn't then load the pictures in to a twitter update. Whenever I tried, I received a message that the picture was too big - but this was never an issue with those edited with the 2instawithlove app. Peculiar.

The camera on this phone IS really good, in fact it's excellent. It's sharp, it works well in bright and low light conditions and really is a good alternative to carrying a compact camera around when talking a bulky dslr isn't practical. The phone felt a little oversized at first compared to what I'm used to, but that feeling didn't last long and the benefits of having such a large screen became apparent when reading things online - could be useful for reading books on as a pocket sized alternative to a kindle.

I hold my hands up and admit that it takes me a long time to get used to a new phone, and when you're apple-ised this feels very different and at times I felt quite lost as to where to find things, but if they can get the instagram app sorted (but at the same time it would be a shame to lose those 2instawithlove filters - they really are more interesting than what instagram currently offers) and if I could easily load pics to twitter from my phone photo library that I've edited using the in-phone effects then yes, I would look at switching phones.

My contract doesn't come up for renewal until next year, so it will be interesting to see what developments the Window phone has made at that point and the camera's ability will be apart of my decision, because the  Carl Zeiss camera really is that good.

Thanks to Nokia Connects for inviting me to try out the Lumia 920. You can visit the Nokia Connect blog here 

For more details on 2instawithlove click here
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