Wednesday, 25 September 2013

WELL!!! I only went a did it!

Burlesque Circus!

I apologise in advance for any swearing but oh dear Lord! In February I helped with setting up a new young/fresh W.I - Herts Belles St Albans W.I- we take our Women's Institute to a whole new level.  Now...anyone who knows a little about the W.I will think jams and Jerusalem or a bunch of OAP's meeting for tea, not us!!! We make nipple tassels.
The W.I is in fact so much more, however I will not bore you with those this post, I will however tell you that they are a charity and community based fund raisers.
With this in mind I decided why not host a fund raiser for a local charity, of course this meant organising it, 5 months later we have been, seen and conquered! And golly gosh!!!It was incredible.

I started around April time looking for talented ladies and gents who would be willing to help us out  -some things to bear in mind it was our first ever event and no budget. After posting on a Facebook wall for performers I had over 80 replies. This meant sitting on Sunday afternoon and watching all the videos I was sent. Great fun!!! And also an interesting experience, I can now say I have seen just about everything that can go right, and wrong.  I  laughed hysterically at some on the home made movies where some of the girls had tripped over their props, I say props I mean knickers...knickers that had just be removed in the least sexy manner known to mankind. I do admire their bravery regardless of talent, and hey! you have to start somewhere!

So finally we agreed on 4 acts, gosh that was the hardest I thought.  I did however get 4 of my favourites, of which 1 performer I've had the privileged of seeing twice before and three that I couldn't wait to encounter.
Our line-up: October Rush, Tigerlily Wolf, Lady May Den-Voyage and Scarlet Cuffs.
We chose our theme, which meant I got to have a magician - Dee Riley and now music!
Photos taken by Dawn Elliot Photography
My nearest and dearest is a phenomenal vocalist! Think Big Mama Thornton, Etta James and Lavern Baker. All this is in a pocket sized blonde bombshell. Well after hearing Big Mama's version of Hound Dog I told her she needed to sing it! For the first time, and not the last, she listened, then got together a fantastic 7 piece band Rhythm & blues band.
So our final bit of entertainment was The Inmates.
The Inmates  Photo: by Dawn Elliott Photography

All of that plus our Pop up parlour - Bombshell Boutique Makeovers, a jewellery stall - Trouble Cat Jewellery and Vintage styled Photo Booth - Dawn Elliott Photography and of course chosen charity - St Albans and Hertsmere Women's Refuge.

We found a venue which was perfect, right in the centre of St Albans and a local business, we wanted to continue our bid to help local business by going to all the shops in St Albans asking if they would be generous enough to donate raffle prizes. We successfully gained over £600 worth of prizes and made over £200 on them.

So with that long list I had to get planning. I need decorations, schedules, sound, food, a dress! The list grew then shrunk, then grew, then shrunk, then grew, then...well you get it! Aside from the 3am wake ups,and there were 5 months' worth of those, thinking of random things like bamboo skewers and bedside lamps! I realised, as the hostess, it's only polite to say "Hi, Thank you and give us your money!" .... PANIC!!! A SPEECH?!??! Crap! B*****KS!! *grabs paper bag* I have to give a speech? Me???? I panicked, I planned, I prepared and I was still petrified! There's was even a point where I told everyone I was picturing them naked...I wasn't as that would have really thrown me and it really wasn't dark enough for that.
I managed to do it though, after meeting the Mayor of St Albans (who might I add is a bit of hot stuff, or a MILF as most of guys refereed to her) and being gifted flowers. I got up there and made them chuckle and clap - can't be all bad, eh! Right, OK, maybe I lied. She handed me flowers, I ran 'backstage' and fell apart.  Someone had to come and find me to tell me I was keeping the Mayor waiting. I had to apologise to over a 100 people for running off like a big girls blouse! Glamorous? Suave? I think not!

Eventually it all came to a close and I still don't remember much of the actual night(not so much alcohol induced) as it went so quickly. But I have gained two unforgettable traits:- one I think I may have gained a little confidence, as someone who suffers from Body Dysmorphic Disorder and severe lack of self-esteem this is a bonus! The other thing is that I am now hooked on event organising and am planning the next one. I say organising my friends would say I am looking for any excuse to get away with being a bossy, know it all Gestapo!

I must say a HUGE thanks to my partner in crime and dress maker Emma for helping me organise, and everyone from our W.I - you gals rock! Also to Dawn, of Dawn Elliott Photography. What a brave gal taking on the photo booth and taking photo's of those delinquents - The Inmates before their gig.

From Left to Right: Tigerlily Wolf, Vintage Vi, Scarlet Cuffs, St Albans Mayor, October Rush, Dee Riley
and Lady May Den-Voyage.
Left: Me and some of the gang     Right: Me in my Oh Sew Vintage dress - photo by Pyramid Clicks

Monday, 11 March 2013

Vintage fashion and frocks

Hi, I'm Vi and I am a Frockoholic...

 It's true! I really am!
If you asked me (now or when younger) "Vi, when you grow up, what do you want to be?" I would reply "A Costume Designer!!!"...I say reply, I mean shriek! It's my ultimate dream, I absolutely love dresses, skirts, blouses, knitwear - oh my heavens! KNITWEAR!!
My aunt once told me as a young girl, I made a comment at a family do, apparently I was utterly offended at the sight of her in trousers "Girls don't wear trousers Shona!" I stated quite rudely.
I have grown up a lot in the last few years since making this statement however I still only have two pairs of trousers in my massive collection of garments although I absolutely adore swing trousers! I digress.
In the last 2 months of 2013 I have attended 3 gorgeous exhibition, so I thought I would share some of my thoughts and rather sneaky photos.

6th January 2013 - V&A London :  Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950

The exhibit was displayed over two floors in the V&A's fashion gallery and featured over sixty designs of gorgeous dresses since the 1950's, including Princess Diana's 'Elvis' Dress.

The dresses were displayed on simple white mannequins with some ambient lighting although I found the props used made the whole setting feel some what cheap. In the display cases were large cardboard cut outs of vintage costume jewellery and antique furniture all in a dull purple tone. The write ups seemed to be more suited to these props rather than where the designs had been featured or on who.  Upstairs all the mannequins were arranged on 'a string of pearls', a wonderful idea but the delivery left it looking a little more high street window then what one might expect to find at the V&A.  Saying that it luckily did not deter focus from what was being displayed - the Dresses! The selections were gorgeous, starting with some beautiful coral 1960's pieces to help you forget that it was grey and wet outside, through to Vivienne Westwood, some gorgeous bags by the ever talented Lulu Guinness and then just before you departed was Diana's 'Elvis' dress. I loved the array of variety, some numbers left you pondering the inspirations for the designs as they were so intricately bizarre and wonderful, others were perfectly delectable oozing sophistication and pure femininity. Needless to say I left on the right kind of fashion high.

I must admit I fell hopelessly in love with the Victor Steibel, I stood drooling over this gorgeous mint green number for at least 15 minutes, hoping my lovely friend at Oh Sew Vintage could help me make something of similar beauty. 

Wednesday, 6 February 2013


Hi, I'm Vi! 

How did I get here well I honestly think my mind is stuck in a bygone era!
I fondly remember being 5 years old when my dad said to me "here listen to this” and all of a sudden I heard this incredible music, my eyes widen, my senses tingled and my tiny feet tapped. I was in love!
"Who is it paps?" I asked. "Roy Orbison" he replied.
That was it I was hooked, from this day forth I tried to Lindy Hop alone - Not possible, just in case you wondered! I loved staying at my granny's house because I dressed in her 40-esque tea dresses, heels, gloves and accessories. I used her perfume bottle and stared at her wedding photos from 1956 all whilst donning a serviette tied around me neck.
My Grandparents setting off on their Honeymoon

About 9 years ago I got the courage to change my style completely and every day, after desperately trying every alternative style there was, I finally realised that I love the femininity and beauty of the past eras 1900 -1964, the hems lines decreased a little too much for my taste in the 1960’s as did morals.
Since then I have never felt comfortable in 'normal' clothing. A simple 40's style tea dress is my denim equivalent.

I decided to take up the art of Cameo when someone dearest to my heart said that she would love a Wallace Hartley cameo but couldn’t find one…..well I thought; I can do that! And I did.
Since then I have enjoyed creating and designing vintage inspired jewellery preserving the beauties of the golden era and photos of loved ones.
Some Customs made by me

You can often see me bopping around the Hertfordshire, London and sometimes Essex Rockin / vintage scene.

Want to know any more about me – ask away.

Toodle Pip
     x Vintage Vi