Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Pansies & Greenery

I have so many awesome things to write about but in the meantime, here's just a straightforward outfit post!



Everyone knows I love a good Swirl, but I haven't bought one in ages! I just don't look that often these days, due to funds and space. But I couldn't resist this one. Pink pansies in stripes and piped pockets... I think it's one of those 'glamour' Swirls that were more dressy and had a mother-of-pearl button. This has a non-original button but it's the same shade of pearly grey as the real ones so if I were replacing a lost one, I'd do the same.


I thought I heard my shy cat's bell, who has sadly become even more shy around me :(
I didn't see her at all. Luckily my cuddly cat still gives me cuddles when I visit! 


Isn't my parents' garden a vibrant green?? I didn't do anything to enhance the colour, promise! 



Back with Chap Olympiad, 1920 styles and a fab wedding soon. :) 

 Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Last Call! A 3D printed adventure

Last Call! Mini Fleur for British Airways
Spoiler: not life size! 

About a month ago, I posted about an exciting project I was doing with British Airways for their Last Call campaign, for which they 3D printed me (!) and sent the miniature Fleur off to Istanbul to see what delights it could find. Sadly, I didn't make it to any vintage shops, should there even be any in Istanbul; but I did do some pretty awesome things, and I am delighted to be able to post the fabulous photos!

Firstly, breakfast. I entirely approve of this traditional Turkish breakfast from an awesome-looking place called Yesil Mavi Cafe, which contains all the major food groups. Cheese, eggs, meats and olives. I will eat the hell out of this when I go myself.

Last Call! Mini Fleur for British Airways

Obviously, I did my fair share of visiting the big landmarks of Istanbul. Here I am at the Blue Mosque, also known as Sultanahmet Mosque. Built between 1609 and 1616, it's called the Blue Mosque because of the tiles inside. Can't wait to go in and see!

Last Call! Mini Fleur for British Airways
BA tweeted this picture and I got trolled by an Islamophobe. Thanks, Internet.

Then, I went to see Rumelian Castle (an Ottoman fortress) & Bosphorus Bridge! 

Last Call! Mini Fleur for British Airways
And had a nice sit down on a bench... ok, I stood.

Ortakoy Mosque was next, with Bosphorus Bridge again in the background. Big ol' bridge!

Last Call! Mini Fleur for British Airways

All this standing is clearly hard work, so time for a little mid-morning break. I posted this on Instagram and Facebook making a joke about having wine for breakfast (standard behaviour for an English person on holiday) and a few people corrected me. I know it is Turkish tea... it's on the caption! ;) That's the Maiden's Tower behind me, which dates from the Byzantine era.

Last Call! Mini Fleur for British Airways
That bread circle is Simit, a Turkish street food that I can't wait to try!

Some culture? I'm at the Modern Museum of Istanbul. Those are books behind me. I like books! 

Last Call! Mini Fleur for British Airways

Back to the eating! This is Turkish coffee, made using what is probably the oldest coffee brewing method there is. It's done in a special pot, called a cezve, and is very strong and sweet. Served with Turkish Delight, obviously. I hope it's rose flavoured! 

Last Call! Mini Fleur for British Airways
Afternoon Delight! 

These below are Turkish coffee grinders! In a souvenir shop in the Grand Bazaar, which is one of the places I am definitely going to go.

Last Call! Mini Fleur for British Airways

Last Call! Mini Fleur for British Airways
And some other snazzy ceramics.
Last Call! Mini Fleur for British Airways
Mmm... baklava. From a famous place in Istanbul called Karakoy Gulluoglu.

As you can see 3D Fleur did a lot of eating, which also is standard for a holiday. Classic dinner of fish and some delicious looking sides at Istanbul's Flower Passage:

Last Call! Mini Fleur for British Airways

Last Call! Mini Fleur for British Airways

And last but not least, some desserts. How I wish this were really life sized!

Last Call! Mini Fleur for British Airways
The many Delights in the Spice Bazaar.

I'd like to say hello and thank you to my real life Istanbul guide Gulsah Peker (@berizeka) and photographer Fulya Beken (@fulyabeken) who are total babes and whom I will be asking for tips when I go there myself in September! As mentioned in the last blog, it's a complete coincidence that BA sent me there as my trip was already booked! It's just made it all really exciting.

If you'd like to get a bargainous last-minute trip to Istanbul or any of the other fab destinations on offer, check out Last Call - the places change all the time so keep clicking back and hopefully you'll go (in person) somewhere cool for a low price. Thank you British Airways for including me in this fun project... I'm now just eagerly awaiting my mini me reward to be delivered to my house so I can put her on display!

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

The Queen's Brownie!

The Queen's Camera for The King's Ginger

I'm quite excited about this month's King's Ginger blog post. It's the first time I have actually acquired a piece of genuine Edwardian royalty memorabilia. But, thanks to the lackadaisical UK postal system, the post has come a little late as I couldn't publish it without having said item in my sweaty mitts! But here it is, a new adventure into the life of King Edward VII - this time I'm talking about his good lady wife, Queen Alexandra, a most unexpected pioneer of early photography! Time to get snap happy!


The Queen's Camera for The King's Ginger

The Queen's Camera for The King's Ginger

Something which has mysteriously never come up in the couple of years that I've been doing these posts is the fact that Queen Alexandra was seriously into her photography. She was absolutely devoted to her hobby, and was the lucky owner of a Kodak No. 1, one of the first cameras ever made by American company Kodak in 1889. It was lucky she was the Princess of Wales as those little magic boxes were really quite expensive back then. An American company, they cost $25 (around $600 now) in 1889 but came pre-loaded with 100 shots - you finished the roll and then sent the whole thing back to the company to be processed and reloaded. 

The first camera they ever made was simply called the Kodak, followed by the Kodak No. 1, and it even had its first ever promotional model, or Kodak Girl, Kitty Kramer, in 1890.



But actually, Princess Alexandra pre-dated Kitty by several years. Here she is with her camera in 1889!


Apparently, Kodak founder George Eastman had opened a London shop selling his film products in 1885 but by 1891 they had also opened their first manufacturing plant outside of the US, in Harrow. Alexandra seemed committed to one brand (not that there were many around back then) at least throughout the pertinent period. In an unprecedented move for a Royal, she exhibited her work in public in the Kodak exhibitions of 1902 and 1906 and in 1908, she published a book, the aforementioned rather fabulous piece of memorabilia that I tracked down on Mssrs E. Bay & Co.

The Queen's Brownie!

The Queen's Brownie!

The Queen's Brownie!

From Glucksberg:
It contained reproductions of 136 snapshots, ninety printed in photogravure and forty-six mounted by hand on to dark green pages, to look like a real photograph album. The book, sold at 2s 6d (12 ½ p) a copy, was published simultaneously in England and America on 12 November 1908. Large orders were also dispatched to Russia, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, France and throughout the British Empire. The book had an incredible success and over thirty charities ultimately benefited from sales, giving the Queen the greatest satisfaction.
My copy also benefited a charity as I purchased it from the eBay shop of Children's Hospice South West, which I am really pleased about. But it looks originally that it was given as a birthday present in January the following year by someone's dear Granny (not in July as is crossed out... she must have been cross with herself for that)!

The Queen's Brownie!


The book itself is filled with snapshots of family life and the duties of a Queen as well. Numerous snaps of the King, their children and grandchildren appear:

The Queen's Brownie!

The Queen's Brownie!

The Empress of Russia was Queen Victoria's granddaughter, so Alexandra's neice: 

The Queen's Brownie!

The Queen's Brownie!

I thought by 'sister' she meant 'sister-in-law' as Victoria, Empress of Prussia was actually Edward's sister, but she died in 1901... so what I'm saying is, I don't know.

The Queen's Brownie!


Of course there are tons of other brilliant photos in there. Have a look at the earlier-linked Glucksberg and this post by Madam Guillotine to see a few more.

The Queen was so proud of her efforts that she even had her photographs printed onto a tea set in circa 1900!



I guess it's the 1900s equivalent of getting a mug of your own mug from Moonpig (dot commm!)? But distinctly classier.

There can be no doubt that the public support and enthusiasm that Queen Alexandra showed for photography helped make the hobby more popular for the masses. The Royal Family were the super celebrities of their day, after all! And although that first 1880s camera was out of reach of most people's pockets, Kodak introduced the Brownie in 1900. It cost only 5D or $1 and remains the most famous Kodak ever.





I wanted to have a look at an original Kodak camera myself, but the best I could track down was a Brownie in the V&A Museum of Childhood. It's from much later - 1950-1960, but the design didn't change all that much in the 50 years, it just got a bit smaller!

The Queen's Camera for The King's Ginger

The Queen's Camera for The King's Ginger

Now as that was the only old Kodak I could track down, there was little chance of me finding one to pose with. So I had to do with a very anachronistic little camera, but one that looks lovely in its own photographs - a 1950s Rolleiflex lent to me by my pal and vintage photographer extraordinaire, Hanson Leatherby

The Queen's Camera for The King's Ginger
This one taken by me! 

The Queen's Camera for The King's Ginger

The Queen's Camera for The King's Ginger
With a special guest/hand appearance by Jeni Yesterday

The Queen's Camera for The King's Ginger

The only problem with these early cameras is... it's impossible to take a selfie! ;)The Queen's Camera for The King's Ginger

I'll leave you with one thing, the most suitable recipe for the season. Enjoy one and all - I will be posting a special extra blog on behalf of the King's Ginger sooner than usual - from the Hampton Court Flower Show no less!



Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Birthday!

Last week, it was my birthday! 

I turned 33, a nice satisfyingly symmetrical albeit large and scary number! In contrast to previous years, I kept it completely low key this year, but still celebrated in two parts as is traditional - on the Saturday closest to the day, and on the day itself.

Actually, three parts, if we want to get technical.

On the Saturday before, I had all these great plans, which were systematically ruined by the British weather. I had planned to go to a brand-new crazy golf course not far from my east London flat - it's Moby Dick themed and looks amazing. Sadly, it poured all morning, so I cancelled.

This is when they were building it, but how great does this look? 
It's the Premier Inn behind the ship that really makes it, I think.

The next plan was to go bowling! Woo hoo! Who doesn't love bowling? Sadly, All Star Lanes was fully booked. Sad trombone.

So instead, I gathered the last stragglers of the group who were originally coming to play crazy golf (if there's one thing guaranteed to curse attendance of birthday plans, it's changing said plans. Apart from the weather, obvs), and we instead went for food (everyone) and a beer (me) at All Star Lanes and a mooch around Beyond Retro. Oh, and a hard milkshake (also me)!

These are all candids from phones as sometimes it's more important to enjoy your birthday than have the specific goal to turn it into a blog post!

Always have your beer with a cocktail umbrella on your birthday!

Five beautiful ladies joined me at All Star. They were: 


Jeni and Katie

Moi and Sadie



We then went to Beyond Retro where I bought some cowboy boots for £12 before decamping to the awesome (or dare I say ace) Ace Hotel on Shoreditch High Street. It's like a mid-century-ish dream in there, the food and drinks are nice, even if not cheap... and when the waitress overheard that it was my birthday, she brought me this! So nice!


More beer! Are you sensing a theme? 

That night, I met up with Bethan and a few others and headed to Last Resort, always just the best night out ever. Well, this side of 2004, anyway.


On the day of my actual birth, last Monday, I did something I have not done in nearly two decades... I went to a theme park!

Thorpe Park used to be the crapper version of Chessington World of Adventures - smaller and with no good rides. Then, they started getting all the good rollercoasters! Sadly, in the meantime I got myself a boyfriend who hates both heights and rollercoasters.


He had no problem with the more sedate, 'family friendly' rides, like Rhumba Rapids, pictured above. I did manage to persuade him to go on Colossus though. An excellent difference in facial expressions can be clearly seen! Hehe.


For the rest of the big ones, I was on my own! I queued for Swarm for the longest.


You could choose to go forwards or backwards - I went forwards!


Here you can see me (or not) plummeting on Stealth - the fastest rollercoaster in Europe. On my own, of course. 

Sean did go on Tidal Wave with me, which Jeni warned me about. You get wet through like you've jumped in a pool! That was the basis behind wearing a Fleur dress - repro for durability, cotton for quick drying! Luckily it was a beautiful day, so I wasn't drenched for long... 


Last, but definitely not least, stop on my birthday adventure was the Ace Cafe - home of the famous Ton Up Boys (and girls) and Rockers in the 50s and 60s!


The food was as could be expected but still nice and no rockers were in evidence... a DeLorean was, however! Perfect end to the day.


And that was my birthday. Who's up for a road trip to Alton Towers next year? I'll leave Sean at home. ;)

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

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