Friday, 30 November 2012

It's Turkey Lurkey Time : Burt Bacharach

Christmas is on it's merry way and I've been singing Bacharach tunes all day. Burt Bacharach (b.1928) is best known for his popular songs during the 50s and 60s, many of which were written for Dionne Warwick and Dusty Springfield. I love them so much that I want to share my top 5 Bacharach tunes with you complete with awesome videos. You may think you know what I'm going to play first, but I doubt you're right! You see, one of my all time favourite Bacharach numbers is this festive ditty from his hit 1968 musical Promises, Promises. I wish all office parties had choreographed songs and dances! Please, sit back and enjoy "Turkey Lurkey Time".

Written for the 1969 film, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid is the classic "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head". Here it is performed by B.J. Thomas on Top Of The Pops with practically a harem of 60s go go dancers. My my, I don't know what song they're listening to but it doesn't look like the one he's singing! See those ladies shimmy!

Now don't go running a mile when I post something related to Glee. Kristen Chenoweth is absolutely incredible and the "mash up" of "One Less Bell To Answer" and "A House Is Not A Home" is super stunning. Two of Bacharachs' heart wrenching hits intertwined together. Yum.

I mentioned that Bacharach collaborated with Dionne Warwick on many of his popular songs, especially in the 60s. This live performance of Bacharach and Warwick singing "What The World Needs Now" and "Alfie" demonstrates his versatility and sheer skill as a musician. Plus, that lurex cuffed sleeve dress Dionne is wearing is beautiful. I love me some lurex. Sparkle sparkle sparkle.

Last but not least, a song Dusty Springfield sang for the 1967 film Casino Royale. This isn't a live performance of "The Look Of Love" but an excerpt from the film. That HAT. Ultimate flamboyance and 60s glamour, I love it. But if you're mad for a bit of Dusty there are videos out there. Oh and if you didn't catch our blog post on Dusty catch it here.

I hope I've got you thirsting for a bit of Burt Bacharach in your CD collection. There's more to him than "Close To You", he's an incredible musician whose arrangements were massively ahead of their time and full of energy, with constant invention and creativity. The orchestral "oooohs" and "ahhhs" in the overture to Promises, Promises simply epitomise the 60s and then when the brass burst into the first riff you can't help but get excited! Give this overture a listen and I dare you to try and turn it off. 

Gina x

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Vintage Icon: Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly, one of the most beautiful women who ever was. A classic beauty from Philadelphia who initially struggled to make it as an actress but ended up as Princess of Monaco when she married Prince Rainier in 1956. Her style is famous for its simple elegance and she is used as fashion inspiration to this day with Kelly-esque ensembles walking down runways year after year. Despite the simplicity in her wardrobe, Kelly created trends and acted as a fashion leader so much so that she was named in The International Best Dressed List 1960 and has been ever since.

 Her acting career was comparatively short at only roughly 6 years before she married. One of the people who was distraught at the end of this career was Alfred Hitchcock who cast her in his films Dial M For Murder, To Catch A Thief and Rear Window. It is said that all of his lead actresses after Kelly were based upon her blonde waves and striking red lips; the definitive Hitchcock Blonde.

Kelly with Hitchcock (L) and James Stewart at the premiere of Rear Window.

But let's talk fashion. Crisp cotton shirts, perfectly tailored cropped trousers, tortoiseshell sunglasses, dresses with nipped in waists and modest scooped necklines all worked together to create her effortless elegance. She never had a a hair out of place, looking as neat and perfectly turned out at all times and never in anything that could be considered bad taste. 

In a simple shirt dress with her husband Prince Ranier of Monaco. 

Working a Pussy Bow blouse in 1955 at The Cannes Film Festival

A slick back bun and lace that echoes her wedding dress.

Grace Kelly championed the bags of Hermes. She was often seen with what is now called the Kelly bag covering her first pregnancy bump. Hermes were delighted and quickly renamed the bag after her. This was the first instance of naming accessories after a famous face but began a series of named bags, such as the more recent Alexa Mulberry satchel after Alexa Chung or Mulberry's Del Ray (Lana Del Ray). 

Wearing the same shirt dress from above.

The photo above is one of my Grace Kelly favourites. She was one of the first celebrities to wear sunglasses at all times, in rain or shine, indoors or out and those tortoiseshell frames are still a fabulously glam and on trend accessory to this day.

Earlier I mentioned the wedding dress. Anyone who watched the most recent Royal Wedding will have coo'd over Kate Middleton's stunning McQueen gown. There is no doubt in my mind that the design was inspired by Helen Rose's original for the Princess of Monaco. Long lace sleeves, demure neckline and veil, figure flattering waist and a prom style skirt that Kelly was often seen in.

 Here are a few picks from the high street to inject some classic simple style into your wardrobe.

Freshwater Pearl Necklace £85 from John Lewis

Kelly-esque tote bag £35 from Warehouse

Long cream satin gloves £20 Beyond Retro

The shade Grace Kelly actually wore from Estee Lauder ("Princess Grace")

1950s lace evening dress £200 from Rokit Vintage

Tortoiseshell cat eye sunglasses £12 from ASOS

Kelly Brook faux fur coat £69.99 from New Look

Low heeled bejeweled shoes £65 from Office

All of this comes just in time for the festive season. Go classic Hollywood this year to your office party to stand out from the crowd in all the most elegant ways.

Gina x

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Vintage Home: A Harem Of Peacocks

Kelly-Marie Burdekin, a vintage buyer and writer of the beautiful blog Harem Of Peacocks, appears to constantly be rummaging for oddities, curios and inspiring photography and artwork to share with the rest of us. Her blog is a mix up of her own fashion, which is diverse in it's inspirations and outcomes and posts that go to the root of her own love for the past, a plethora of inspiring visual information.

Kelly once posted a blog about her own bedroom here and I've never forgotten it, what a gorgeous Aladdin's cave of vintage trinkets. Working as a prop stylist and vintage buyer, I can imagine how Kelly's house soon transformed into the den of treasures it is over the 7 years she has lived in London. The living room has been used as the set for many photo shoots and music videos and her house is so darn cool that she was recently featured in LOOK Magazine...

Kelly has yet to do focus posts on her living room, bathroom and kitchen so I feel super lucky to be able to share these photographs with you so that they can perhaps inspire you to up the vintage in your home. 

The Bedroom

The Kitchen

The Living Room

How do you go about adding a touch of Kelly's art deco inspired haven to your own bedroom? 

  • Keep searching for other fashion, design and vintage bloggers for inspiration and ideas.
  • Learn how to rummage! Start with your local charity shops and do not dismiss the bric-a-brac section straight away. Often you must envision how the piece will look among the rest of your room. 
  • Hospice shops. These are few and far between, but they're bigger and cheaper than your high street charity shop. I have my favourite in Sheffield and I don't tell anybody about it! Soon you'll get protective over the best ones, so not everyone shares your secrets!
  • Find out where the antique centres and markets are in your city or town. They can often be found nestling beside one another in the same area. Some are fusty and full to the brim of bits and bobs, but you have to look UNDER the piles of stuff, look at what the trays of trinkets are sat upon and BEHIND the front row of ornaments. It's a game of patience guys!
  • eBay. One of my favourite things to do while I am lying in bed is to search the word "vintage" or "retro" for listings ending soon in a 10 mile radius from my house. This way, you keep on top of what is in your local area and you could grab a real bargain. I managed to get (what I think is) a gorgeous onyx standard lamp for £15 this way. Bargain. 
  • Once you catch the thrifting bug, you'll start thinking about early sunday morning carboot sales and markets and travelling to other places to find more and more pretty things to add to your collection.

P.S Do you have a vintage inspired home? Want to share? E-mail

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Go Go Glitter Nails

If you're not one for head to toe sequins but want to sparkle this Christmas and New Year then focus all that bling on your nails. There are so many glitter nail polishes on the high street these days it's hard to know which ones really will do the job so we've gathered together what we think are the very the best bunch. 

  • Let's kick off with what I think is the ultimate £5 nail polish brand. Models Own are available on ASOS as well as in Boots on the high street. They come in a vast range of colours and finishes but the glitter versions are fab. This colour is a personal favourite, Pink Fizz. 

Not only do they have your standard glitter polish, they have bigger glitter bits in a range called Mirrorball and the second one in from the left is a Hed Kandi special called Ibiza that I have seen grace many fashion and beauty bloggers instagrams! At the moment, there is a promotion on their website where if you buy three you save £3 and if you buy 5, £7! Sweet. 

  • Next up we have OPI. Their Rainbow Connection polish has been duplicated all over, but it's the original and the quality will definitely outshine it's followers. The polishes come in around £12 a bottle, but you can find them cheaper on beauty discount websites. OPI do so many Limited Editions and designer/celebrity ranges that often these dazzling colours sell out super quick, so you're best bet is to hop on over to eBay! (L-R Rainbow Connection, The Living Daylights, Mad As A Hatter)
Here is a photo of how Rainbow Connection looks on. Maddeningly glitzy! I advise using these bigger glitter polishes over a black base coat, if you're keeping it OPI they have a lovely pitch black called Onyx.

  • Stepping things up a notch in the "high street" range we have Nails Inc. They also have many Limited Editions and Special Effects ranges and release different collections throughout the seasons. But these three are regulars and though they aren't loopy like their OPI cousins, they're glam and will add just enough Christmas sparkle with just a couple of coats. (L-R Hatton Garden, London Bridge, Chelsea Embankment)

  • OK. Let's say you don't want to splash that much cash on a little bottle of sparkle. Well, prick up your Primark loving ears. Hop on over to this pretty beauty blog, Catherine Lou where you can find more out about this £2.50 answer to your OPI Rainbow Connection hopes and dreams! 

The only down side? Removing the damn stuff ! 
I suggest you hop on over to this amazing blog post from The Agoraphobic Fashionista and you'll never be slowly peeling off your glitter polish ever again. Clue? You'll need some foil!

If you go mad for nail art please send in your photos to and we will feature them!

Gina x

Monday, 26 November 2012

The Birmingham Vintage Fair: Party Season

We had a triple whammy of fairs this weekend. Oh yes! And not only the usual vintage fashion fairs in Birmingham and York but our Something Old Wedding fair debuted in Manchester at Whitworth Hall. But we're not all lucky enough to be getting married in a vintage wedding gown, so there were two fabulous fairs in Birmingham and York for the rest of us!

Have you signed up to our mailing list like this young lady did? Make sure you sign up when you visit us to be in with a chance of winning £50 to spend at the next fair in your city! Not bad for a couple of useful vintage information filled e-mails eh? 

The festive season is creeping up on us like there's no tomorrow and all I could see around me was sequins, pretty dresses and glam accessories. Our fairs prepare you for a very fabulous retro Christmas where you really look the part. I found you some of the gems, so take note and get planning your party get up!

A vibrant stand out beaded cover up from Marney's vintage, easily dressed up or down. But a talking point nonetheless.

This 60s sheer sleeved beauty was in the middle of being purchased as I snapped it! The little black dress will never die! Especially with that embellished low V neck. Larvly.

If black just isn't your thing, but gold is, then this little 70s dress would have ticked your boxes. All the glitz of the party dress but with a unique colour palette to boot.

Horrockses! Horrockses! I spied a beauty! Every now and then a lovely label comes our way and whoever snapped this one up did good. Monochrome late 60s maxi for the elegant party go-er.

Sticking with maxis but fast forwarding a few years to the 70s and the age of sparkly spangly lurex! I adore lurex even though it's a little itchy and (let's be honest) a tad sweaty it looks incredible! This maxi says Abigail's Party all over it. Gorgeous print.

Keeping things bling, this teal dotty shift had me all gooey eyed. An 80s repro of a late 50s style but with added sparkle! Would look classic with black courts and fur. 

But it's not allll about the dress. You need some equally festive bits and bobs to accompany it, such as this eagle necklace or this little red velvet purse. If you're wanting to channel mrs claus then this purple velvet white fur trimmed bolero screamed christmas. Rocking 50s glamour this year? Nothing like a string of pearls to set off your outfit (except maybe some red lippy!).

Bulky coats, parkas and macs just won't do for the vintage lady on her work do, oh no. But this 60s leopard print faux fur cape is ideal! I fell in love. Swoon.

Wanting something a little more day time friendly? These welsh wool capes are everywhere at the moment and a monochrome pattern is hard to come by, especially with a nifty zip fastening. A real find.

So now we've got the dress, the accessories and the glam cover up! The hair and make-up is a whole other blog post coming your way soon!

We had a few stunningly dressed visitors this weekend, but I have to say these two topped my list! Two ladies with tea and cake in Birmingham and magnificent hats! 

If you're free this weekend pop to our Christmas fair in Sheffield where we will have even more traders ready to glam you up for the party season, vintage style. We will be at The Town Hall (next to the peace gardens) 12-5pm and if you pop down at 3:30 you might just hear me sing some of your favourite festive tunes...!

Gina x

Friday, 23 November 2012

Vintage Wedding Inspiration

In anticipation of our fabulous Something Old Vintage Wedding Fair at Whitworth Hall in Manchester tomorrow (12-5!) I have come over all romantic. Lose yourself in these gorgeous vintage wedding blogs. If these still aren't quite enough to quench your thirst for the ideal vintage wedding, then get yourself over to Pinterest and search through millions of photographs and sketches. You can even create your own Pinterest board, a sort of on-line chipboard to store all of your ideas. Oh and that includes those who are merely myself. Plan ahead I say!


A plethora of gorgeous photography, wedding reviews and useful articles to help you along the journey to your own big day. Things you might not even think about such as "Should I feed the photographer?", "How to choose the right florist." and "Is it rude to expect wedding presents?" Not that you haven't got enough to think about already...! This beautiful art deco style wedding was one of my favourites, (photography by Tino and Pip.) Looking at real wedding submissions has to be the finest source of inspiration available.

A world full of fashion, beauty and of course, weddings. Reviews of real vintage, alternative and kooky weddings to get your own creative juices flowing. This rustic wedding with photography by McKinley Rodgers, is beautifully simple and the couple's own commentary provides an extra insight into the run up to their special day. 


Less "vintage" and more for the creative couple, Ruffled is full of DIY inspiration to add your own home made touch to almost everything involved in your wedding. As with lots of these lovely wedding blogs, we have a great selection of real wedding submissions for you to peruse and steal and/or recycle other couples' fabulous tips and tricks! With photography by Rachel Grace, I thought the groom and his boys looked particularly dapper.


Browse through wedding submissions through "genre" whether it's vintage, rustic, outdoor, modern or alternative. These hippy head bands are floral triumphs and looks gorgeous on both the bride and the bridesmaids. Photography from this colourful farm wedding is by Chris Giles. This blog declares that they "hand deliver wedding inspiration everyday" and there certainly is a lot to look through!

Tomorrow we will have numerous independant retro, kitsch and individual exhibitors at Whitworth Hall. From vintage bridal gowns to rustic stationary, retro hair and make-up styling to talking point wedding props. There will be a great selection and any bride to be would be a fool not to drop by! No need to register or book, just show up at Whitworth Hall from 12pm and pay your £5 to the gorgeous girls on the door. 

Thursday, 22 November 2012

My Make Do And Mend Year: Handmade Slippers

Hello Vintage lovers,

Two months into My Make Do and Mend Year, and I know you are all desperate for another update! For the uninitiated, My Make Do and Mend Year is a challenge I have set myself to buy nothing new for a whole year (with a few obvious exceptions, like pants.) It started on the 1st September this year, and so far I have been Making, Making Do, Mending, Thrifting, Re-loving etc with gay abandon.

Highlights this month include:

  • My first mistake (more of a lowlight really)-I bought a new book. Completely by accident, when my brain was caught napping. I was mortified.
  • My first ever radio ‘appearance’-BBC Radio Wiltshire very kindly featured My Make Do and Mend Year on their mid morning show with the lovely Mark O’Donnell
  •  A visit to The Bristol Vintage Fair-I enjoyed a lovely afternoon on my birthday weekend, having a mooch around The Bristol Vintage Fair perusing all the vintage loveliness. I may have even purchased a couple of things (!) and I got to meet the lovely Gina, of The Vintage Fair blog fame.

Now I'm sorry to interrupt the update guys, but Jen has been making some fab things on her challenge and one of the more unusual ones is a home made pair of slippers! I thought this was so odd (yet brilliant) that we would share Jen's tutorial with you all. 

You will need:

  • a wool jumper-has to be at least 80% wool, and keep an eye out for a handwash only symbol on the label. You will be (intentionally) shrinking it, so the last thing you want is something that has been treated to make it safe to machine wash)
  • some A4 paper and a pen
  • a ruler/tape measure
  • a marker pen
  • some scissors
  • a big needle
  • some wool-ideally in colour that match /complement your jumper
  • patches of suede or similar if you want to ‘non-slip’ the bottom-mine were from a charity shop suede skirt that I picked up for less than £5, and that will hopefully provide enough patches for all of our slippers

First, you need to felt your jumpers. This essentially means shrinking them. My understanding is that this is so that all the wool sticks together and won’t unravel when you cut it. Put your jumper into the washing machine on a hot wash. It helps if you put a pair of jeans or 2 in with it, as this bashes it about a bit more, and makes it felt better. I think I did 2 jumpers at the same time, with a pair of jeans, at 60C, with a normal speed spin etc. Then I laid them out flat to dry.

You need to take your paper and draw as best you can, around the shape of your foot. Then draw a kind of oval shape around your foot template going about 1cm wider around the sides and just a couple of mm above and below-hopefully the picture below will explain this better than I can:

For the upper pieces:
Draw around your foot again on a new piece of paper. Then draw a smooth curved line about 0.5-1cm above your toes-when you get to your little toe and your big toe continue the curve around and then draw a straight line vertically down to the bottom of the paper.
You then need to cut out a rectangle (this is where your foot will ‘emerge’ from the slipper)-mark about 3-3.5cm in from the edge of your straight lines at the bottom on either side. Then about 2/3 of the way up your foot shape, mark about 2.5cm in on wither side, and then join these points up to make a rectangle-again the picture below should help:

Now you are ready to cut out your fabric pieces!
Place your sole pattern piece on the wrong side of your felted jumper, draw around it with a marker pen, then flip the pattern piece over and repeat (to get a left and a right sole piece with the ‘pretty’ bit of your jumper showing on the outside)
Then place your upper pattern piece on the right side of you jumper and repeat the steps above so that you have a right and a left upper piece, with the nice pattern of your jumper (if it is patterned) showing on the upper side.
I wanted grippy bits in my sole pieces, as I was worried about skating around our tiled kitchen floor, and thought it would be a bit more hard wearing, so I cut 2 pieces out of suede skirt that were about 1cm smaller all around than my sole pattern piece.

Blanket stitch around the edge of the suede piece. If you never blanket stitched before, or even heard of the term blanket stitching, there is a You Tube video here (by Gulf Coast Cottage) which I think shows you far better than I could try and explain it!    I didn’t tie a knot in the end of my wool as I thought this might be uncomfortable to walk on, I just did a ‘normal’ stitch at the beginning and went over it about 3 times.
It is quite tough to go through all the layers at once with your needle, so if you are struggling, pull your needle all the way through the suede bit before trying to go into the woolly bit (does that make sense?)
Once you have done this for both soles and have 2 lined sole bits, basically pin the 2 left foot bits together (place your pins parallel to the join, not perpendicular), wrong sides together. On one of mine for some reason, I needed to stretch it slightly to get the side bits to meet at the back. So place a couple of pins at the toes and then see if your bits will meet at the back. If they won’t, then don’t panic, just stretch the wool slightly as you are pinning around and the 2 side bits should meet just fine. If on the other hand, you have too much fabric at the back after pinning, then you can simply cut a bit off each side so that they can be pinned without any overlap.
Repeat for the right foot.

Then you need to blanket stitch the two bits together.
At the beginning,I just did 2 or stitches on top of each other, but you could tie a knot, and then when you start just sew one stitch through only the top Then you need to blanket stitch the two bits together. At the beginning,I just did 2 or stitches on top of each other, but you could tie a knot, and then when you start just sew one stitch through only the top layer and then your knot would be buried in between the two layers of fabric.
Then you need to make trim bit for around the top of your slippers. Measure around the opening of your slippers. From the wastiaband bit of your jumper. Cut 2 strips that are about 2-3cm shorter than you just measured, and about 3-4cm wide. Then pin the trim piece to your upper piece right sides together, and sew together with matching wool, using a back stitch (You Tube video here from Expert Village). You have to really stretch out the trim piece as you are sewing to make it fit around and this then ensures that your foot hole is nice and snug and your slipper stays on. Then you just basically fold the trim bit upwards, et voila!
You can embellish your trim bit with buttons if you like, or just be lazy like me and leave it plain.

You can read all about what I have been up to in far too much detail on the blog:
or you can find me on Facebook by searching for My Make Do and Mend Year, or you can tweet me at @makeandmendyear

Thanks for reading!
Jen xxx