Monday, 28 February 2011

She Wore Blue Velvet - outfit post

... whoa... whoa..... Bluer than velvet were her eyes....

No they weren't. My eyes are hazel.

 Anyway.... now -  I shall be honest. Although this is vintage and only cost me £11.57 on eBay -  I am not sure it is actually "me", that it suits me or looks nice? It is a more peacock blue than this pic would suggest. Its is a 70's M&S velvet dress, that is very roomy and comfortable. And, more importantly for the inbetweeny Spring weather we are headed for, warm. I don't own many dresses with long sleeves, so this amount of warmth from one garment was a revelation to me.  

I decided to team it with red accessories, thus creating a very patriotic red, white and blue theme. The white is from my hideous bare legs. This is on account of me ripping an un-ignorable hole in the calf of my tights. And laziness when it came to taking a photo when I got in from work. It does do all the way up to the neck -  but I felt like I was being garroted. Not nice. Unless you like that sort of thing.

So -  what do we think? I am not convinced. The Beard is -  but he is biased.

Comments if you will......

Friday, 25 February 2011

The Grey Zone - Review

It has taken me a while to write this review. Mainly because I have spent as much time as possible trying not to think about this movie. Not because it is a crap film. The exact opposite.

Based on the true story of the only inmate uprising staged at Auschwitz in 1944, this film makes Schindler's List look like a walk in the park. And that film made me weep.

The Grey Zone however left me numb. And outraged. And weeping. Nay. Sobbing.

The perfection and poignancy of this film are something that I have not experienced before. And it taught me more that I had been expecting. There are things that, in my reading, I have not come across. Or my brain had failed to piece together. How did the bodies get into the ovens, for example? This film tells all.

If this were not enough, then there is suspense. And palpable anxiety. However, through it all, there are the smallest glimmers of hope that shine.

If you want to see things for how they were, without all the polish and finesse that has been afforded to other movies of the same genre, then please, rent or buy this movie.

It needs to be seen so that we never forget that sometimes a glimmer of hope is all you need to try and make you think past the unthinkable.

A 9/10 from me!

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Get Set! - a Setting Lotion Review

Last week I stopped whinging about how using setting lotion never works on my hair and decided to give it another go. I wanted to see and to document how well it lasted. So.. here goes.

 I picked up a bottle of "Stay Set Extra Hold" from Superdrug for a under £2. I googled this stuff, as I could not find it on line to give you the link. But in my searching, I came across this interesting article.

Anywho, before Yule I received my copy of "Style Me Vintage" by Belinda Hay, which has been wonderfully reviewed by Retro Chick. I had had my beadies on it for a while, but was thankful for the honest review before I parted with my rubles.     

I decided to go for the "Marilyn Set" as I wanted something definitely curly. This is my feeble attempt... stop laughing.

I can never do the back of my head properly. NEVER.

 I used the product neat on to freshly washed, dry hair. I know that you are "meant" to use it on "damp" hair  -  but my barnet takes a long enough time to dry as it is. I also used the product from a small spray bottle that I had decanted it into. Much easier than that comb malarky.

It's a little bit higgeldy-piggeldy at the sides

And I should have rolled the front bits going back over my head.

Sans makeup and confidence that it will all be alright in the morning.

I applied about 10 mins of low heat from the hair dryer all over. I leafed through a mag whilst waiting. Like in a proper salon. Once cooled, I covered it over with a head scarf and went off to the land of nod.

Day 1  -  morning
Don't look too close. My bags are packing puffed up suitcases.

Ta da!!! I must say that I was proper chuffed with how this came out. It was all even (something I struggle with) and the curls were tight. I am not a brusher-outer. My hair is waaaay too thick for that. I would look ridiculous and I just don't have the time to deal with the aftermath. Which would be bad. Trust me. I have tried.

I bundled the curls up in a hat for my commute to work. It was drizzly-mizzly-bleugh when I left the house and I didn't want the curls to drop before they had a chance to make me feel suitably glam.

Day 1 -  evening
Oh. Lots of droppage. But this on account of my hair weight.

Now. My hair does like to drop. Which is a right pisser. I have pondered the idea of having it cut into a midi, but it depends on how good I get at setting it as to whether I would go the whole hog. But it is still a lot shorter than normal. I pinned it up and re-covered it for bed. Thus ended Day 1.

Day 2

This is me at the end of Day 2. I swapped my headscarf for a hat and didn't unpin my hair until I got to work. I only lightly went through it with my fingers. I was suitably impressed with how this had lasted. Granted -  I coulda, shoulda, woulda done more in the styling department before I took the picture in the evening -  but I was not in the mood. Trains delayed due to "rain" are liable to do that to a girl.

Day 3

Now. Day 3. First thing at work. My immediate reaction to this sight was "oh FFS!! It was all going so well!" To me, this looks like a tangled mess. But. With a bit of coaxing  -  it did become a lot less ridged and messy looking. By the evening I had some decidedly straight bits at the back. This was on account of getting rained on. So I re-spritzed those bits with a little lotion and re-rolled.

Day 4

I have to admit, that this is much better than day 3. I really like that fact that it still looks curly. But  -  as you can see, there are some straight bits creeping in at the ends.

Day 5

Thus, the week ended. In an up do and some rolls. I loved the fact the curls lasted pretty much all week and that by the end of the week, a smart-ish looking up do was instantly achievable.

And so it came for washing time. And brushing. *shudder*. I know I should  -  will! -  learn how to brush out properly. First I need a decent brush that does not fill my hair full of static, despite it promising not to.

My conclusion is that:- I need to get my hair cut. It is the weight of my hair that encourages the curls to drop so much. But, in short, I shall never be returning to using mousse to curl my hair!

Setting lotion is the way people!

Over and out!     

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Jumper of Blue - outfit post

I have had this wee 80's vintage jumper for a while. It was a steal on the Bay of E for £6 including postage. And I really do love it. It washes well and makes me feel instantly time warp worthy.  

With added holiday weight. Which is currently being banished. Poke off holiday weight. Poke off.

Yes -  I know its the same old brown skirt -  but I do get a lot of wear out of it. As advised before -  I do wash it regularly.

The Beard did not understand the seriousness of blogging. Silly Beard.

I also had a mega roll going on that day -  and curly hair. In fact -  this was Christmas eve, so I wanted my hair to be pinned up the next day.

I have an awful habit of buying headscarves when I see one I like and it is reasonably priced. Be that in a vintage or a charity shop. I don't think I have ever bought a new one. Which is great -  if I actually used them. One of my promises to myself is to wear them more -  because I like the way they look, especially this red and blue one -  which you can't actually see all that well..

Bit of a crud pic -  sorry folks.

I think I must have dismissed and relegated most of my collection of vintage headscarves when they were too small to cover my whole head in a land girl-esque way. I was a fool! Of course, they can be used in all sorts of ways. I really need to get more use out of these silky bits of material, instead of them languishing in a basket.


Sunday, 20 February 2011

Forgotten Voices of The Blitz and the Battle of Britain by Joshua Levine - Review

The blurb...
"Drawing material from the Imperial War Museum's extensive aural archive, Joshua Levine brings together voices from both sides of the Blitz and the Battle of Britain to give us a unique, complete and compelling picture of this turbulent time. In June 1940, British citizens prepared for an imminent German onslaught. Hitler's troops had overrun Holland, Belgium and France in quick succession, and the British people anticipated an invasion would soon be upon them. From July to October, they watched the Battle of Britain play out in the skies above them, aware that the result would decide their fate. Over the next nine months, the Blitz killed more than 43,000 civilians. For a year, the citizens of Britain were effectively front-line soldiers in a battle which united the country against a hated enemy. We hear from the soldiers, airmen, fire-fighters, air-raid wardens and civilians, people in the air and on the ground, on both sides of the battle, giving us a thrilling account of Britain under siege. With first-hand testimonies from those involved in Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain, Black Saturday on 7th September 1940 when the Luftwaffe began the Blitz, to its climax on the 10th May 1941, this is the definitive oral history of a period when Britain came closer to being overwhelmed by the enemy than at any other time in modern history."


I read this some time ago -  and have to say that it does become a bit much. These are real life accounts, not fiction, and it takes a little while for that to sink in. And once it does, it really hits home what happened to the UK during 1940/1941.

The format is short snaps of information that, when read continuously, can effect you quite a bit. Well -  they did me anyway. I would highly recommend it.(In fact -  any of the wonderful books in this series are brilliant. And I am so thankful for their existence. The collaboration and collective information within their pages will go someway to ensure that these people and their trials and triumphs are not forgotten by a technology obsessed and consumer driven next generation (sorry -  rant over!!)

You can dip in and out of it -  or read a section at a time. I love the fact that there are accounts from BOTH sides of the fence. Interesting to read not only accounts of Spitfire pilots but Messerschmitt ones also.

If you like your history straight from the horses mouth -  then anything from this series is a winner.

An 8 out of 10 from me.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

You know you are loved when....

... for Valentines Day The Beard makes you a card that celebrates your love for fictional vampire characters from TV.



You know he loves you even more when he buys, and then watches with you, Series 1 of Foyle's War. He even says "that was rather good" at the end. He is now hooked and we have ordered further series'.



The zenith of that love makes itself known when he takes the day off and treks to Chelsea with you to see a new exhibition that you had some vague recollection of waffling about at some time during the past.

"Wives and Sweethearts" is a new exhibition at the National Army Museum, a place I did not know existed until something popped up on my Facebook a few weeks back.

As museums go, it is no Imperial War -  but it is ok. It is a very "school friendly" museum and incredibly male orientated. Something that irked me throughout was the severe lack of the female part in the Army's history. It only touched briefly on munition workers, the ATS, the WAAF. And, there was no mention of the Women's Land Army -  which automatically switched me off to the whole thing. I'm biased like that.

However, it is right next door to where the Chelsea Pensioners reside -  and I was fortunate enough to see a couple of them. They really are very sweet men, one of which tipped his hat to me. The other looked a little surprised to see someone dressed as I.

The exhibition is quite small and very spaced out, but, there are some great artifacts included. You can't beat seeing a letter from 1834 in my book. It was heartwarming to see the human, handwritten side of conflict across the centuries.Entry is free so if you are in the area and this floats your boat - it is on until July.

Artwork by Rich Simmons

We decided to walk back from Embankment to Waterloo as I had a hankering to see this fab piece of artwork that I read about in a disguarded commuter paper. I could not get too close as there were skater-dude types whizzing about, so I had to zoom in. But, I for one, think that this is awesome!

No flowers. No chocs. Nothing red. Or pink. Perfect!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

If I could knit... outfit post

I would knit me something like this. 

Jumper & brogues -  Primark....Skirt -  charity shop

But I can't and I don't hold out any hope that I shall ever be able to do so. So, I am relegated to the high street. Which, thankfully, this season is chocka with lovely little knits. Cardys and jumpers alike. Hurrahs.

I do get a lot of wear out of this brown skirt. I do wash it in between posts, honest. I wear it so much because I love the colour and the cut -  and after over 6 months languishing in my "when-I-lose-weight" pile, it is now a little too big. So I want to get as much use out of it as I can. And above all -  it's comfy and gives me the look I like.

Oh. And it was £4 from a charideeee shop. Bargainous!

Pip pip!

Friday, 11 February 2011

Housewife, 49 - starring Victoria Wood - Review

The blurb...
Housewife 49 is set in Northern England and based on a true story about Nella Last's 'Mass Observation' diary. Trapped in a difficult marriage and dreading the departure of her beloved son who leaves to fight in the Second World War, Nella (Victoria Wood) draws strength from the diary, writing down all the things she cannot say to her controlling husband (David Threlfall). Meanwhile, the support and companionship she finds at the Women's Voluntary Service--in particular from the formidable Mrs Waite (Stephanie Cole)--bring her joy and liberation during the difficult years of the war. The film was written by it's leading character, Victoria Wood.

I saw this many years ago, long before I got into dressing the way I do now. And I thought it was good at the time. But I, for some unfathomable reason, did not realise it as based on a book. It was only recently, whilst watching a documentary about diarist's on BBC4 (the source of all my educational needs), that Victoria Wood did a piece on Nella Last and her diary keeping. This lead me to read "Nella Last's War", which I duly inhaled and reviewed.


If you have not read the book, it is not essential, but it does give you a lot more back ground on this ordinary woman and what effect World War II had on her. This adaptation is as true to the book as 93 minutes will allow. And it is a feast of costume and decor for a Forties filly such as myself.

I feel that Victoria Wood has a true and heartfelt connection to Nella Last, hence she decided to write and take the lead role in this drama. Which I salute her for. I think she plays the part wonderfully, and she managed to personify the woman I had got to know through the diary entries.

The winner of 2 Academy Television Award in 2007, and as cheap as chips in the "new and used" sections of most on line stores, this is definitely worth the pennies.

Close the curtains, pull up the arm chair and delve into a living, breathing WW2 through the eyes of an ordinary housewife, who saw the war as a chance to make a difference and use her voice.

An applauding 7 out of 10 from me.  

Thursday, 10 February 2011

A Little Bird told me...

.. about the glorious Acorn & Will.

That little bird was the The Vintage Knitter. When I saw such a delight on a coat of hers, I knew I had to nab some for my very self.

After ordering, I only had to wait a couple of days for my package to arrive.

And with such attention to detail -  I had a feeling that I was not going to be disappointed.

Just the green tissue was enough to make me clap. I am a sucker for things that are green.

Ooooooooooh! My Pretties!!! For a just £4 each, how could I have stopped at 1? That would have been foolish. My naff camera has not brought out the colours very well -  they are the Twiggy Bird Brooches in Grey, Plum and Sea Green.

On grabbing the link for this post, I have realised that I shall now be returning to order the red one too. To match my lipstick, you understand.

Could not WAIT to put one on! And this is me having a lazy week with regards to hair. This is it sans rollers.

I am not a sponsored blog whatsoever. I just like sharing things that are beautifully made and graciously priced with people I know shall appreciate them.

Hurrah for Acorn & Will!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Hat's Fabbaluss!

I am feeling a bit "meh" at the moment, despite the sunny, clear blue skies that we are enjoying today. Maybe "meh" is not the right word. GroundHog Day is more apt. *sigh*

What better way to cheer myself than some spend-age? Well, kind of.

I do so love a good voucher. Some may think that a voucher as a gift is a cop out. An unimaginative - possibly - last minute gift option.

But not me. Not I. No siree Bob!

They give me the freedom to make up my own mind about something. To pick something I know I shall like. Take this hat par example.  Like it? I LOVE it!

From the new season at M&S, our eyes crossed from afar and I knew I had to have it. And, what do you know, I just so happened to have my birthday vouchers on me. A, technically, free hat? Even better.

I just need to master getting my hair under it for my commute and it may just become a staple. So might it's grey sister.

Toodle Pips Comrades!

Friday, 4 February 2011

The Brylcreem Boys - Review

The blurb

When two enemy pilots shoot each other down over Ireland they are both captured as prisoners of war. During World War II Neutral Ireland interned all soldiers, sailors and airmen, regardless of their nationality, captured on Irish soil. What they failed to mention was that they would put them all in the same camp...

Our pilots (Bill Campbell) and Rudi (Angus MacFayden) are astonished to come face to face with each other at the entrance of the interment camp. Further surprises are in store as they discover that Commandant O'Brien (Gabriel Byrne) allows the prisoners out on day passes. They can enjoy a drink in the pub or a day out to the races as long as they give their word they won't escape.

Tensions are already rife in this extraordinary camp but when a stunning girl catches the eye of both men nothing contain their mutual distrust and hatred; but Mattie (Jean Butler) has a profound effect on these arch rivals and forces them to confront their perceptions of what an enemy really is.

Based on real-life events and situations, The Brylcreem Boys brings an unusual chapter in Irish history into the present with a highly enjoyable mix of romance, humour and adventure.


I cannot say how much this film surprised me. I watched it sans The Beard, as I thought it was going to be a bit of a lame, chic-esque flick. I could not have been more wrong.

Starring Gabriel Byrne, Billy Campell, Angus Macfadyen and introducing Jean Buder, I was hooked from beginning to end. It even made me laugh out loud, which I was not expecting.

It is a bit of history from the era that I didn't know about, which indicates I need to read more books. I had no idea about Curragh Camp which was used to hold any Ally and Enemy servicemen who landed on the coast or in the fields of Ireland during WWII. In fact I had no idea that Ireland was neutral. Call myself a history-geek? Flake more like.

Anyway -  I am straying from the review.

I loved how the relationship between the British and the Germans was portrayed and how it develops and changes between the protagonists. I was not too keen on the leading lady, Mattie, but this might have been more to do with the actress than the character. Hair of flame she may have had, but the acting has no spirit. However, she more than made up for it with her outstanding solo dance.

Set in 1941 (which I surmised from the wireless announcement about the bombing of Pearl Harbour -  unless the date was mentioned at the beginning and I blinked) it is a little golden nugget of a film. There is a fantastic scene with some traditional Irish dancing which left my mouth hanging open. I do like a bit of fiddely-dee jigging about in my movies. And anything that has Al Bowlley music as the staple soundtrack can't be at all bad in my book.

Oh, and the story, based on true events and with a documentary included in the DVD, is a stunner.

I give it a nearly-a-10-but-not-quite - 9!  

Thursday, 3 February 2011

God bless America - outfit post

I have long longed for something vintage from the U S of A. I have had some dodgy duffs in the past (although the customer service had to be battled for -  I did get a refund in the end and got to keep the dress - so I can't complain) and I have had some glorious winners.

Apologies again for the kitchen shot. It's the only relatively decent light. There is no excuse for the hat hair.

This -  for me -  is one of them. Now  - it is not strictly vintage. I say this, because it's 80's -  and being born in 1980, I take umbridge with being "vintage". That's just me. But, it is lovely! I can deal with being that. *wink*

I'm not too sure what it is made out of, but it washes well and I love the colour and the neckline. And it was a steal for £10.13 (god bless eBay lurking too)

Over and out .


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