Monday, 29 June 2009

The Ikea effect

This month, I have been suffering from what I like to call the Ikea Effect. You know how, if you take a trip to Ikea to get a new bookshelf and maybe a bath mat or a curtain wire, and you get to the warehouse part, having had no help from the monosyllabic employees, following 47 arguments with your partner, with a blinding headache and severe dehydration, only to discover that they don't have what you came in for at all. So you go to the till with your aloe vera plant and your bag of scented tealights (because you've forgotten about the other 3 unopened bags you already have at home) and a few 'essential' kitchen implements that you're going to get because they're only a quid each, only to find once it's been rung up that you've inexplicably spent over £100.

Headaches, arguments and frustration aside, what I mean by the Ikea Effect is the buying of 'only a few' cheap items, only to find out that they've added up to a much larger amount. And that has described my buying habits this month. Determined to save some money rather than spending, I put much smaller-than-usual bids on things I quite fancied, and to my amazement, I have won most of them! And therefore have managed to spend almost exactly the same as usual, perhaps even slightly more. Gulp! But things are going for a lot less than they used to at the moment, regrettably for sellers. Here's a quick and dirty collage I did of my latest buys:

I managed to win the yellow bakelite earrings, and I really wanted a bangle to go with them. Not expecting to win either of the bangles I put in low bids and won them for $14 each!! Even if they turn out to be fake (and I don't think they are as the sellers are seemingly reliable and experienced) and even if none of them match very well (you can never tell from photos), then I still think that is very cheap. The red bakelite earrings were a little bit more, but I wanted some red ones for ages, and they were still hardly a fortune!

Then I managed to win two Swirls (left and right, the right being deadstock) and a gorgeous cotton dressing gown with peplum, and not one was over $30. Plus I won a green pinafore dress, which is not pictured as the seller removed the pics, for the princely sum of $12. The dressing gown is particularly special, and nice and long!

I do feel bad that they are going for these low prices, but what can I do but give these gorgeous things loving homes?

Have you snagged any bargains recently? And I don't mean from Ikea!

Your (self-inflicted) impoverished friend,

Fleur xx

PS. Inspiration for this blog was brought to you by (and in fact, nicked wholesale from) discussing Ikea trips with my witty friends over at Vintage Schmintage, an irreverent new forum that has been started for people who love vintage style, but have a modern streak a mile wide.

PPS. Did you watch my hair tutorial yet? ;)

Sunday, 28 June 2009

40s hair with Hot Sticks - Tutorial!

Evening you fabulous lot!

I just got in from a lovely day with the chap, we went to see On Her Majesty's Secret Service at the cinema, which I had never seen before. And sorry, Bond purists, but I liked George Lazenby as 007! And now I want to master some 60s hairstyles. And on that oh-so-clever segue... my first vintage hair tutorial!

Finally - after quite a lot of hours yesterday spent fiddling with the little Flip camera I was lent on Friday, then fiddling with the fairly rubbish Windows Movie Maker (oh how I need a Mac for at home, or for my work MacBook to not have all the good programs removed!) and ultimately fiddling with YouTube whereupon I realised someone had already taken the name 'FleurDeGuerre', cheeky blighter - after all of that... success! My very first ever foray into interwebular video is complete!

Behold my rather silly frozen visage!

I have managed to confuse matters slightly, in the beginning assuming the video is being watched on my blog, and in the end, directing people to it, but never mind, eh? Do take a look and let me know what you think and how I can improve for my next one - I will certainly work on the final piece more when I have got to grips with editing software, better graphics and so on. And I will cut down on the waffle too, I blathered on so much that I had to cut a lot out to get it under 10 minutes!

Anyway, enjoy, and please leave me a comment below!

Good night!

Fleur xx

Edit: To elaborate slightly and answer two questions posted in my comments (both of which I actually answered in advance as I was doing the filming, but had to cut out for time, haha!

♥ I think this tutorial will work on longer hair, but in order to get the curl going higher up on the hair, rather than just in the bottom 4 inches, you might need to take smaller sections. My hair curls better than some because it is rather damaged from the dyeing and the styling over the years, extremely healthy, lovely, shiny hair will be harder to beat into curly submission! Super straight hair might have trouble with curl staying power too, though the hot sticks do get *extremely* hot, which is what makes them so good. Doing a light, loose set overnight and then doing the hot stick set the next day would probably be the best way!

♥ My hairbrush is a Mason Pearson one which I've had for almost two decades! They are expensive but obviously you get your money's worth! Mine is a mixture of nylon and natural bristles, and I find it perfect. I've heard arguments both for and against pure nylon and pure bristle brushes, either they smooth out the hair too much, or not enough, so a bit of both is a good middle ground.

♥ To those that asked about bobs, doing this set on bob length hair (I also mentioned this in my original footage!), and not rolling it all the way to the scalp will result in a fab, 30s look. Think Ruby Keeler:

♥ Sometimes, especially if it is very dry out, no amount of brushing will tame the frizz (though serums etc help here) and leaving it for a bit before going at it again will help it settle (as NoirGirl does). You'll notice in the very last segment of the video my hair is even smoother, that's because I did it about half an hour later when I had brushed it through one more time. I often do this when I get to work of a morning!

I will add more answers as and when the questions come in! Thank you all so much for your kind words, I agree 10 minutes probably is a bit long, but I was introducing myself a bit in this one, so next time I will plunge straight in. And show the back!

F xx

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Coming soon... talkies!

I asked (on Twitter and Facebook) and ye have spoken!

I am going to procure a recording gizmo of some description, probably this one by Flip, following a recommendation from the fab Natasha Bailie and become a Noctovisual star-in-the-making!

But what would you like to see posts about? The hairstyle I am most often asked about is the faux bangs and rolls one, which is my standard 'going out' hairdo.

So that one is definitely going to be my first one, but what else? There are tons of guides to victory rolls out there, can really I add anything new to the plethora of useful information already online, or should I just do one for the sake of interest? As in, in case anyone is interested how I do it on myself, because most of us seem to do it differently. I can show how I do a quick 10 minute (5 minutes to put in and 5 minutes to brush out, not counting the cooling time) Hot Stick set in the mornings, and roller placement and results of overnight sets. Anything else? Posts of me just randomly blathering on for a few minutes? Hehe!

It'll actually be really interesting to see if the real me is anything like my online friends and acquaintances envision me to be. Usually if I meet people I have only interacted with online, such as the beautiful and stylish Darhling, whom I first met last year, they remark that I am not how they imagined at all! Not in a bad way, just different. I think she thought I would be quiet and reserved, not loud and silly as I actually am!

But I have hardly kept it a secret that I am a huge nerd, anyway, so hopefully no illusions will be shattered when I post myself on Messrs U. Tube and Co. for the whole world to see!

Please do leave any comments, suggestions, and cries of 'For the love of God, no!" below.

Yours to my last sponge roller and kirby grip (or bobby pin as you ladies in the Former Colonies call them!),

Fleur xx

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

V.I. Buys - more shoes! And today's outfit

Hello lovely readers! It's been a bit quiet on my blog recently, sorry about that. I carried on getting things done last week, got lots of stuff planted in the garden - a gorgeous yellow rose, some variegated mint, lemon verbena, thyme, petunias. The mint was delicious on the potatoes I just ate (I'm supposed to be avoiding carbs after 6pm, but I just can't resist Jersey Royals!). I saw Drag Me To Hell on Thursday and then I had a shoot on Friday, THEN I went out dancing that evening. I just found a couple of shots of me and my best friend from that night doing a stroll!

I'm in a 40s pinafore and Gemma's in a lovely Vivien of Holloway sarong.

I look like the tallest person in the room! I may have actually been (at least doing the stroll)!

This is the stroll we're doing:

Although I have to say, I don't do it nearly so stylishly. Maybe after another few years of practice! My friend and I are actually coming up to our year anniversary of swing dancing. Oh, how I wish I'd taken it up years ago! I could be as good as the ladies in the video by now (maybe)!

I shot in that very outfit, and in another Swirl dress and my yellow platforms, and I cannot WAIT to get the shots back as they were truly fantastic - the location and props were perfect. I also had a paid shoot on the Saturday which went very well. If only I got them more often!

So I haven't spent much time on the computer since my last post and I didn't manage to find any new vintage inspired clothes or shoes. But luckily I can't stay away for long! And I was informed about some great shoes at Barratts by the lovely Miss Matilda. At very reasonable prices and going up to a size 9 (11 US), these shoes are great for any gal and any budget!

The floral wedges are again reminiscent of Carmen Miranda type 40s platforms and are on sale for £30, and the 40s inspired platforms at the bottom are just £15. Go and snap some up now!

To finish, this is me today:

I'm in my repro dress from Lipstick Vogue, with a modern belt that's a bit big to be strictly period correct, but never mind. I was pleased with my hair today - it was styled with Hot Sticks and it lasted through a mile walk to the station, luckily without much wind!

That's all my news for now really! Is anyone else dying to see Public Enemies with the divine Johnny Depp? Ooh, by the way, I got my Trashy Diva dress yesterday, finally, it's lovely and worth the wait. And OH! Do you remember me mentioning a delicious black velvet 40s suit that I bought from Violetville Vintage, which vanished into the (postal) ether back in February? Here it is:

It's amazingly just turned up back at Violetville HQ! I have immediately rebought it and it's on its way over to me (again) now, keep everything crossed for it to get here safely. Yippee! Thank you lovely Tina at Violetville for being so wonderful, I don't think I've ever come across such fantastic customer service before or since!

What did I miss in my absence? I am catching up on my Google Reader now, but it may take a while!

Lots of love,

Fleur xx

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Busy as a bee

Well, I must say, this week has been a most productive one so far! I have taken the week off work, with the aim of getting some things done that have been being put off for a long time, literally years in some cases! So far I have:

♥ Serviced and MOT'd my car
♥ Mowed my lawn
♥ Finally had a new kitchen floor put down
♥ Visited my best friend, sister and niece
♥ Cleaned and hoovered the car
♥ Bought paint, brushes, sandpaper and all that paraphanalia
♥ Done about 74 loads of washing
♥ Been for Afternoon Tea
♥ Gone for a midweek drink with friends
♥ Caught up on sleep
♥ Replaced the loo seat that broke a few weeks ago
♥ Lost 3.5 pounds (er... probably not any more, since the tea yesterday!)

Many things still remain to be done, namely the painting itself, cleaning the house from top to bottom afterwards, putting away the clothes mountain that has accumulated following my washing blitz and weighing myself... but I think I'll do that tomorrow as I am off out dancing tonight!). But I am so pleased to have achieved so much, particularly the flooring job, because that's the one that has taken years. Four, to be precise. Since I moved into my flat, and pulled up the old floor, meaning I have been walking on disgusting old stained chipboard since then. But the rest of the kitchen has been decorated nicely for all that time! Behold, my finished kitchen!

(By the way, this blog entry is brought to you by my iPhone camera, since I forgot to charge my proper one!)

Not all of my blue items match, but they look nice enough together. The finishing touch will be red/white gingham curtains at the other end, and I will show you all that as soon as it's done.

The second-time-in-a-week tea trip was in honour of my mum's birthday - I was supposed to take her a couple of weeks ago, but she fell and bashed her face and had a bit of a black eye, and was generally not really feeling up to it, poor thing. We went for the Belgravia Tea, with a glass of champagne and fresh strawberries to start, and as it was the same place the chap took me last week, the staff and the piano player recognised me! Last week, he came over and complimented me on my dress, saying his mother had had one just like it (she died in the 50s apparently). I didn't take any photos on that day, but it was this dress:

It was made from in 1946 from a Simplicity pattern (or at least the pattern was published that year) and I know because I saw the pattern online! This time, he complimented my dress and my shoes, and insisted we make some requests. We asked for 'Buttons and Bows', which was sung by Jane Russell in the 1948 film The Paleface - it's one of my mum's favourites!

Here we are with our bubbly!

And here's the tea tray of deliciousness!

I wore my green gingham Swirl and my white Rocket Originals wedges, and took this rather poor photo in the fancy bathroom of the Lanesborough!

I'm off dancing now, but hope that I can report back that I got everything done that I wanted to this week. I have a shoot on Friday too, so do keep checking back for some new modelling pictures.

Bye for now!

Fleur xx

Friday, 12 June 2009

V.I Buys - Able Grable

Thank you all so much for your birthday wishes, they really made me smile!

I thought I'd do a bit of a special V.I. Buys today! My lovely friend Miss Matilda has just done what most of us only dream of doing, and has just launched her very own vintage reproduction line, Able Grable. The first dress in her collection is a divine 30s satin number, dubbed The Betty Amanda, and made from an original pattern.

Here's what the website has to say about it!

The one you have been waiting for. Our House Model is the Divine Miss Betty Amanda after whom our first frock is named. She's a real choice bit of calico, a flesh and blood angel!

Every gal should have a little red dress, right? Here's your little red dress with a twist.

The frock is made from satin trimmed in pure white.

Designed to accentuate your curves from a size small to an XXXL.

Every gal can be an Able Grable!

The frock has been created long. This is so you can make it shorter, as Able Grable was so fed up of short shorties!!

This way you can decide how you'd like to wear it.

Go by the bust and waist on this frock, the hips should have room so that the skirt swishes when you walk.

The cute little white belt can be adjusted also.

To order or for further information please email. Strictly first come first served so form an orderly queue gals!

This frock is strictly limited to 12, created out of the love of the past by one dedicated Lady for all you other Able Grables out there!

They will not be made again!

Payment, by paypal, UK cheques.

Postage to the UK £6.00

Overseas £10.50

Fully insured and tracked.

And here it is modelled by the unutterably perfect Miss Amanda Lee aka JitterbugDoll, Able Grable's gorgeous house model.

Do have a look here for more pictures, sizing information, and most importantly, how to get your mitts on one for yourself! Able Grable dresses are going to be strictly limited, no more than twelve per design, so you're never likely to see someone out in the same frock as you, which can be a worry at big dos. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!

Plus, if you're quick off the mark, you can enter the competition on Miss Matilda's blog to win a rather spiffing package of goodies, including a 40's vintage hat, a vintage garter made by the company that made Queen Elizabeth II's wedding garter, What Katie did Knickers, Vintage Knickers and more!

The goodie package in all its glory!

But be quick as the closing date is tomorrow morning at 9.00 GMT ... I meant to post about it earlier this week, but it kept slipping my mind (sorry Miss M!).

In other news, I got some lovely presents from my chap, including a Morticia corset from What Katie Did, and an absolutely wonderful french catalogue from 1932, which I will be sure to post some photos of. It even has a page full of little fabric swatches - it's just amazing. And the tea went without a hitch, unlike last time! But I didn't take any pictures. Never mind, it was as delicious as you might expect! Then I went to see Terminator Salvation ("How civilised!" I hear you cry!) which was entertaining enough, until the end, which was just plain silly. I am going to see Drag Me To Hell this weekend, which I have higher hopes for.

Until then, have a good weekend, dear readers.

Fleur xx

Monday, 8 June 2009

Only 5 minutes to go...

Until my birthday!

Vintage card found on creative breathing's Flickr stream

I'm off for a shopping trip to London with my best friend (more exciting for her than me since I am in London every day and she never goes!) and then for Afternoon Tea at the Lanesborough with my wonderful man.

Proper update later!

Nighty night!

Fleur xx

Sunday, 7 June 2009

A most splendid shindig!

Also known as my 28th birthday bash!

One of my many lovely birthday cards!

Next Tuesday, I will be turning a year older, and as a friend of mine, Mr Torquil Arbuthnot, was conveniently born only a few days before me, we decided to get together and throw a party to mark the occasion. It was last night, and I have just about recovered from both the fabulousness, and indeed the alcoholousness! I had the most wonderful night; so many of my lovely friends turned up and showered me with cards and pressies. I'm a lucky girl indeed!

Here's what I wore for the occasion:

It's a rather delicious black crepe dress, with a sequinned top and peplum. I had to add a belt, but will try to find a better, vintage one - this was just a new, plain satin one. I wore it with my black manhattan heel stockings and my divine Georgina Goodman shoes. The lovely lady in the photo with me is Miss Minna, Torquil's better half. Here's me with the birthday boy:

I'm trying to artfully arrange chocolate brownies, made by my own fair hand!

I managed to snap some pictures of my incredibly stylish vintage friends all looking absolutely amazing!

These three were taken by me - the rest were pinched off another friend's Facebook!

The creators of The Sophisticate's Diary,
a blog you should be reading, if you aren't already!

Please do have a look at my Flickr for more photos of the night, if you are so inclined. I leave you with a picture showing off my cards and gifts!

Oh, go on then, just one more. I know some if you think I am so classy and elegant... I beg to differ!


I'll be back again later this week, after my birthday proper. Hope you all had weekends as splendid as mine?

Fleur xx

Friday, 5 June 2009

V.I. Buys - quick picks

I am short on time today so this is a quickie...

More shoes! On sale!

These Miss L Fire Grables are down to £29 at Sniff, so if you're a size 3-7 go and snap a pair up! *curses size 8 canoes*

I have a bit of a thing for patch pockets, so I have a huge crush on this skirt at ModCloth!

The only problem is, it's only 23.5" long in the size that fits my waist, which would fall well above my knee, and I'm not sure if I can pull it off like the gorgeous skinny-legged fashionistas out there. However the dress I wore in my last outfit post just about hits above the knee and looks OK, so maybe I could? I do have an urge to invest in a very full miniskirt such as the one lovely Strawberry Koi wore yesterday. I think if I see one I shall try it on and see.

Finally, I mentioned it last week, but I had a bit of an issue with Trashy Diva's customer service, which, I'm very happy to say, got fully resolved over the course of the week. They really went out of their way to sort things out for me, for which I am extremely grateful. I am so glad because I have longed for a TD dress for years, but they were always a little on the pricey side, except for the notorious Trixie dress, which is a bit too 50s for my tastes (although my best friend received hers last week and it looks so fab on her!). But thanks to the help of Angie at TD, I am now eagerly awaiting the delivery of this beautiful red 40s dress:

I've never had a red dress before, so I'm really excited to try it on and work out the best accessories. I might try and steer clear of black, but then what? Blue perhaps? I shall do green and white at Christmas of course!

Other styles I particularly like are the aforementioned and indeed forthcoming Sweetie dress:

(flowing rayon with wood buttons and belt buckle - $110)

The short-sleeved Jenny dress which is a must-purchase for next winter for me:

(practical polyester jersey and $150)

The Ashley dress in this gorgeous silk print:

(a pure silk number at $249)

The elegant Katherine jacket:
(a reasonable $121 - if anyone has this, please let me know what it's like!)

And last but by no means least (I could go on indefinitely!), on my aetherical dream buys list, the Garbo coat:

(an eye-watering-but-worth-it-I'm-sure $420)

Anyway, must dash, do enjoy your weekends!

Fleur xx

D-Day Dancing!

There are some fantastic events on this Saturday to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Normandy landings. Unfortunately I am not going to any of them since I am having a big birthday bash that night! I will be spending tomorrow baking cakes and glamming myself up for that, and will hopefully have some fab pictures to post soon after. But if you fancy cutting a rug in honour of our war veterans, you could do worse than attending any of these fine shindigs.

First up, the Blitz Party is opening its doors for the third time, and it promises to be the best so far! From the official Facebook event page:

After the huge success of our previous events, The Blitz Party, the 1940s night that is just brimming with community spirit, returns to Shoreditch on Saturday 6th June 2009.

Coinciding with the 65th anniversary of D-Day, June’s event promises to be another fantastic night where we’ll be remembering and honouring Britain’s finest with 1940s music and dancing.

Join us in ourEast End air shelter, complete with sandbags, searchlights, blackout curtains, Kentish Ale, cocktails and rations to feed our hungry troops
Spread under two arches, The Blitz Party will host the UK’s finest live swing bands, performers and DJs.

Ladies, don your lipstick and tea-dresses and draw on those stockings. Gentlemen dust off your medals and wave your Union Jack with pride. The Blitz Party is London’s hottest night, where cocktails, dancing and neighbourly spirit are the order of the evening.

I went to the first one, and reviewed it here, so if you are in two minds about it, do have a read and let me convince you!

If you're further south, you're spoilt for choice! There's Jive Connection's D-Day Dance in East Grinstead:

And there's also the USO Field Show Swing dance down in Ashford:

Come and enjoy this outdoor special U.S.O. dance to commemorate D-Day, within a Military encampment, enjoy watching the sun going down over the Marsh and experience the lowlight lighting inside the encampment for the rest of the evening while dancing to 1940's music. A true wartime experience in itself. The dance Features one of Kents most popular DJ's Terry Tiger who will be playing hot swing all evening and with special guests Max Miller, The Clover sisters, The Kent Lindy Hoppers, Vintage Burlesque by Kitten Von Mew, plus surprise guest. U.S.O. catering includes American Liptons tea & Fresh American coffee, doughnuts, selection of American toasted sandwiches, New York Bagels, Hershey Bars & Military issue chocolate bars, American Fentimans soft drinks, orange squash etc etc. Wartime bar selling Ice cold Budweiser beer and a large selection of British Ales, Burbon, Jack Daniels etc, Lucky Strike cigarettes and gum. Tickets are £5 be quick as tickets are limited, Tel 01233 860 564 or 07850 65 905, email

There are also lots of other fab events going on around the country, from picnics to vintage fashion fairs, so do check out this page of 40s events for more.

Stand by for a new V.I Buys later on today!

Fleur xx

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

What Fleur did next...

I was terribly excited to get two rather super things through the post today. The first thing was a pair of Miss L Fire platform shoes that I raved about in my last V.I Buys post. I'm delighted with them and couldn't resist tottering around the office in them all day. My colleagues kept remarking, "You look tall today!" then realising I was wearing these 5 inch platforms, which make me almost 6'4"! Tee hee!

Only one snag, which I realised I should have foreseen - Miss L Fire's size 8s are a touch on the small size for me, as I discovered to my cost when I ordered a pair of boots a couple of years ago. And being the largest size they do, there's not much I can do about it. My platforms were also very tight around the heel, and don't have any elastic in them, just a thinner bit of leather. Still, with a bit of wear (probably around the house, with a pair of wet socks on underneath!) they are bound to stretch and probably fit like a glove in the end. Fingers crossed!

So, without further ado, here is a (terrible quality) picture of today's outfit!

I'm wearing my (previously) deadstock Swirl dress, which is all patterned in green, brown, orange and yellow flowers, and my new shoes! Here's a closeup of the dress print:

The shoes are a much brighter yellow than the picture on ASOS would suggest, and they aren't a perfect match to the yellow on my dress, but it's close enough! I accessorised with my green bakelite earrings and bangle, but I have decided I simply must get a yellow set now. I must!

Anyway, the second super thing was a packet of postcards from the lovely Katie of What Katie Did.

Here's the original:

Photo copyright What Katie Did and Tony Nylons.

I'm wearing one of the new CC09 bras and a pair of the CC09 stretch seamed stockings, plus a vintage girdle, which you sadly can't see.

I have to say I am so proud of myself for this achievement, as a pin-up model, you feel you've really 'made it' if you get to work with WKD. I was over the moon when Katie emailed me to say that she was going with her husband to Normany for the D-Day celebrations, taking the jeep I posed on with them, and that she'd had these postcards made up. I didn't know if I'd end up on any official WKD stuff, so I was chuffed to bits. And apparently the neightbours were convinced I was Dita. If only my life were one tenth as exciting as the jealousy-inspiring snippets she posts on Twitter! Still, I am pleased as punch, and I hope to have more to show off soon!

Toodle pip!

Fleur xx

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