Sunday, 29 August 2010

Fleur Fans

In the wake of what shall go down in Diary of a Vintage Girl history as VaGgate (har har, lol, snort, etc) (yes I am a child), I have received many positive emails and lovely messages from people. Unsurprisingly, I have not received any negative emails, because short of making a fake email profile (which, thank goodness, no one has been sad enough to do) there's no way of staying cowardly anonymous in an email. Thank you everyone who has sent me a message of support - I think I have kept up to date with thank yous, but I will check today. In all honesty, the whole thing really got me down, so I'm very grateful to you all.

Clearly, the people behind Goodwood haven't been remotely bothered about my personal review of their event, and my image has subsequently appeared in articles about it as far away as Australia! I had one old school friend send me a copy of the Sydney MX, and then, a reader who happens to work for the company that produces the Melbourne MX sent me the spread!

Courtesy of the Herald & Weekly Times Ltd.
Amusingly, the caption reads 'Fashion label of the '60s and '70s, Biba, walks again.'
That's not 60s or 70s, that's a 1930s outfit! Honestly.

Not only that, but my mug can be found on the VaG website, and their newsletter, and has apparently just gone out in the latest Goodwood Revival newsletter, the subject of which is 'How to get the look' (if anyone wouldn't mind forwarding a copy to the email address on the left, I'd be most grateful). I think it's great that they're using me as an example of how attendees should look. Kind of reinforcing my point about making an effort, don't you think? Oh, and by the way, I think I am actually going to pop along to the Revival now, on the Friday. So if you see me, don't shy away from saying hello, or coming to say your negative things to me face to face!

I will be going to help Shona from Heyday promote the new fabrics for the Fleur dress, which we will hopefully have just in time. But this brings me to the good things I mention in my title. Here comes some more effusive gushing chaps... be warned!

Because I will say it here, for the record, genuinely and honestly (because you could argue I'd say this anyway, but...), I absolutely LOVE the Fleur dress design. It was inspired by the cut and shape of one of my very favourite homemade Swirl-a-likes, and wearing it just makes me feel so happy. It fits and flatters the figure perfectly, it's so feminine, so vintage, and really quite demure, yet far from being drab with its bright and cheerful print. I must be the luckiest girl in the world to have had this opportunity from Shona, and being the angel that she is, she did me a really huge favour the other day.

The New Sheridan Club summer party, which in all the drama I completely forgot to tell you all about, had a sort of colonial/Asian theme this year, and I wanted to wear something new for the occasion. I asked Shona if I could pay her to make me a special, custom Fleur dress in an oriental-print fabric. And not only did she say Yes, but she told me to do some work for her instead of paying. Yippee! We found a simply smashing Japanese fan-print cotton, and made it up. And, after a long day at Tart, I put on my new frock, gold sandals and matching accessories and had a splendid time at the Far Pavilions.

Here is a photo of me with Lisa and Darhling, taken by the wonderful Stephanie Wolff. I have some great Tart pics taken by Stephanie that I'll show you soon, but if you'd like more photos of the NSC night, have a squizz at Marco Mega's blog.

But since I adore the dress, I felt it needed another outing. So, I wore it again yesterday to the wedding of two wonderful friends.

The one-of-a-kind Oriental Fleur dress, accessorised with vintage Mah Jong bracelet, made with yellow/orange bakelite no. 1 Bamboo tiles and red glass beads, yellow bakelite hoop earrings and a brown, amber lucite and gold-trimmed 50s wicker handbag. Not shown are my little gold sandals (which match the bag and are currently on sale!). Also accessorised with super stylish friends, including Red Legs looking like a flame-haired goddess in her emerald satin Vivien of Holloway ensemble. Photos kindly taken by Clayton Hartley of the NSC.

All in all, I am a lucky person to have such lovely, caring, generous and downright angelic people in my life. Talking of which, a final photo from Stephanie featuring my lovely mum (who is wearing the aforementioned Bella Pacella headband I bought her from VaG...and a photo in the spirit of the lovely Vixen Vintage's recent outtakes post, a silly, between poses photo of me, basically just being me - unpretentious and not the unnaproachable poser I may sometimes appear to be. ;)

Enjoy the rest of your long weekend (Brits) and Sunday (Former Colonials)!

Fleur xx

Monday, 23 August 2010

Some waffle followed by pretty pictures

Well I've now become fed up of editing my last blog post to say in several different ways that I was only reviewing my personal experience of Vintage at Goodwood, that I was working and not there as a visitor, and my disappointment was in the organisation, not the hard working volunteers. I apologise to all for not having given a well-rounded review of the event from the other side of the fence, but the fact is that I wasn't there as a paying visitor or a guest. I am not a festival-goer. I like weekenders where you get to stay in a kitsch chalet and everything is included for a fraction of the cost of a big commercial music festival. I like day trips and nights out at events full of like-minded people. This is why I don't go to football matches or trendy nightclubs.

I'd just like to say that this blog is still, as it has only ever been, a sort of documentary of my life, or rather, the more interesting things in my life. And my personal opinion on them.

Sponsored posts aside, I only blog about the things I want to blog about, and this of course also applies to sponsor posts since I only accept sponsorship from companies that look or are fabulous, and vintage. A lot of my posts are effusive and full of gushing praise. This is because the things I am praising are pleasing to me. If I have a crummy experience, you can be darned sure I will be honest. The old adage says that if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all. I wholeheartedly concur, which is why my review of Vintage mentions the bits I did enjoy as well as those I didn't. I give praise where it is due, and I am not a sycophant. I am not afraid to say it like it is - if I was, then I'd have just reviewed the fun bits for fear that I will not be invited back next year. I have plenty of other things going on in my life to think about, both good and bad, without worrying whether I'll be welcomed back to something that wasn't particularly my cup of tea the first time round. I am sorry if the other hard working people there were hurt by my criticism of the event as a whole, but I can't make stuff up about things I didn't see or do; and I was unprepared to make myself tired and miserable by staying until the bitter end every night and really taking it all in, to give a 'fair review' for my blog. I am not an events reviewer so I didn't have to.

This leads me to point out that I write this blog as a hobby. It's a hobby that's taken off in more ways than I could have ever imagined, and become something akin to a job in itself, but ultimately, it is still something I do essentially for fun. It's why the time between posts has been stretching out longer recently - because the things I do to make myself enough money to live have been taking up more and more of my time lately. I try to be witty, I try to be entertaining and I try to be honest. I talk to you all as if you're my friends and I'm telling you a story, and keep you interested; but the one thing I will not do is sell out, or bite my tongue about certain things. I am constantly turning down offers of money and partnerships from companies who either don't fit with the tone of the blog, or who don't gel with me as a person who is passionate about who I am and what I do. So I will not stand for being accused of being unfair or biased - yes I support lots of people, but only because they have integrity and a similar ethos to myself. I also don't harbour grudges and would always love to have my opinion changed, so it's disappointing to me when this doesn't happen. I am sorry if people have been put off going by my blog. I would hope that they would form their own opinions based on the entertainment on offer, the prices and suchlike; and wouldn't be so easily swayed by a critical review of an event from the point of view of a volunteer, not a visitor.

On the subject of me being a vintage snob, yes I suppose I am. But not in the way I was accused. As mentioned earlier, I like to spend my precious spare time with likeminded people. I don't like going to events full of people in afro wigs. I am not a dog in a manger though - I love it when 'normal' people tell me they have had a wonderful time at a big 40s themed event and want to get more into dressing vintage. I love it when new people get into it - this is partly what my blog is for - to share information to help people get the look. As one of my anonymous commenters said, it's getting new people into the scene that keeps it going. But you won't find me going to these sorts of events for fun, because it turns into work. I'll be asked 100 times about my hair and outfit, the chaps will be stared at and asked if their facial hair is real. When you dress like this every day, you take your chances on the street, to be ridiculed or admired, you don't want to go out and be harrassed even more! I am always, always happy to share tips on hair, makeup and clothes, but as my vintage friends will vouch, 'normal' people don't want to hear about pincurls, about how it took several years of practice to get my victory rolls so perfect, about how good vintage takes dedication to track down and can be an expensive minefield. The eyes just glaze over. Though please don't think for a second that I get huffy and annoyed and cry, 'God, all these compliments, it's driving me mad!' or ignore people because I always try to be helpful and friendly to those who are genuinely interested. I've seen firsthand enthusiastic people become crestfallen by daring to speak to unfriendly but perfect-looking vintage girls who don't want to share their 'secrets'. But that is not to say that I don't end up wanting run away after a while. And this is why I don't go to these events, aimed at normal people who can get dressed up and have a laugh. I applaud them and the people who go, but I don't want to go myself.

That said, I have never and will never use the term 'more vintage than you' in a negative way, because that, quite frankly, is a steaming heap of horse doings. I'm not saying anyone did, but it's come up before. There's no competition in vintageness, my best friend of 12 years is perfectly 'normal' and gets dressed up only for dancing events, which we go to together. I love that she is interested in it enough to ask my advice and let me help her buy things so she looks fabulous. I've been through enough image transformations of my own and have enough alternative friends to be tolerant of anyone who goes out of their way to be 'brave' or 'different'. But please, for goodness' sake, have a bit of imagination! Don't just buy your costume from the Party Shop!

And after all, being snobby with tongue firmly in cheek is what The Chap is all about, and that's all I was doing by remarking upon the 'awful costumes' at Vintage. This is what happens when the promoters are struggling and end up putting advertising billboards on Elephant and Castle and leaving piles of flyers in random pubs all over the kingdom. The festival had wide appeal because of the music, and you always get people in silly costumes at music festivals. There were a number of amazing outfits there too as I saw in the photos afterwards, but not nearly as many as you see at the Revival. Once again, I could only relay what I saw while there, and the afro wigs stood out more than the real vintage, sad to say. There will be more criticism in my Chap column, because that is what it is all about. Sorry.

I just wish everyone would put more effort into their appearance, but then not everyone is quite as sad and anal as me. I am just going to have to live with that ;)

So instead of more negative things, how about something nice and positive to look at instead?

I haven't yet posted these beautiful photographs taken at Tart by the very talented Celine Chaplin, but aren't they just wonderful? I quite wish I was getting married or something as I would love to have a photographer as amazing as this record that momentous occasion! She has really managed to capture the glamour of both Tart and 40 Winks... and all the attendees of course! If anyone would like to come to Tart, then do send Mr Carter an email through the 40 Winks website. I shall be there again on September the 18th, preparing the day before and recovering the day after, so if you're reading this Lord March, and you'd like to forcibly eject me from the Revival, you'll just have to wait until next year instead. ;)

Until next time!

Fleur xx

Monday, 16 August 2010

Vintage - the Good(wood) & the Bad

Well, this post has now been in draft for a week, while my life has been a big whirlwind of work, from Vintage Patisserie parties to my new part-time job as a film extra! But finally, here it is, my Vintage at Goodwood story. Before you start reading, let me just clarify that this is a review of my weekend working at Vintage. Not visiting as a paying punter, nor as a press person, not even really as a blogger. I always meant to write about it, but I did not go there to review the event in its entirety. What you have here is an account of the weekend as seen through my eyes, and all the limits that come with being a single person with two eyes and a body clock that means I get tired after getting up early and being on my feet all day. I am not a die-hard music fan, nor am I especially bothered about burlesque (my own performer friends excluded), and there was no one on the bill who persuaded me that it would be worth either staying for or going back to see later. This is essentially a review of what I did. And how I found the experience. So with all that in mind, please read on!

This is a tale of ups and downs, highs and lows, sunshine and heavy showers... and it is a long story, so if you're not interested, you may wish to scroll, scroll and scroll past!

Let me begin at the very beginning.

Almost exactly a year ago, I spent three days at the Goodwood Revival, working at the Vintage at Goodwood taster event. You can read my review of the weekend on my blog entry at the time. Now, the review I gave was a pretty positive one, because although the weekend was exhausting, it was fun; and I had high hopes at that point for a role at the inaugural Vintage at Goodwood festival. What I didn't mention was the rudeness of one particular 'curator', the complete lack of communication before and during the event, and the seemingly complete absence of appreciation of our hard work and precious time. Most of the people involved made it a pleasurable and rewarding weekend, though, one particularly super curator and our amazing friends.

Fast forward a year, and a lot of water has flowed under the bridge, taking with it all the enthusiasm for the forthcoming Vintage festival. After all our graft at the taster event, and my many offers of help to Wayne Hemingway et al, communication had broken down even further. After Naomi and I were treated to a business lunch with our lovely curator, to discuss our involvement; the goalposts were firmly repositioned each time we spoke. I must stress that this was nothing to do with the curator, she was following orders from above; but essentially, the offers went from us having a presence there, something to really get stuck into, embracing vintage, promoting ourselves and Vintage together, something we could really get behind; to us doing something vague for which our expenses would be covered; to us being there if we wanted to, under our own steam and our own expense. A lot of other people experienced similar reneging on initial exciting offers, one person experienced a degeneration from an invitation for proper involvement to an invitation to apply to pay the organisers money to sell things. And then our dear friend pulled out, very late, and we knew that she would never have dreamed of doing so if there weren't some significant creative differences. And the festival as a whole seemed to be turning into something that was not really my cup of tea - hugely money driven with big corporate sponsorship, sky high stall fees, rip-off ticket prices and incredibly expensive camping costs. Plus loads of bands I couldn't care less about (personal opinion, of course!).

All in all, my experiences during the last year left a very sour taste in my mouth, and Naomi and I had decided not to be involved in any way. This changed when The Chap was asked to take part, staging a 3 day Olympiad as part of the 1940s area, which was itself curated by a lovely couple of my acquaintance, Harry and Edna of the Home Front Friends. I thought that if I could have a free three-day ticket to see the success or failure for myself, to turn up at lunch time and be finished by tea, well, how could I refuse? Of course it turned out to be significantly harder work than that, with a Chap fashion show scheduled for Friday morning, and my assistance given to Naomi for another on Saturday!

My feelings about my treatment meant that I declined to give the festival any free advertising on my blog, but I was happy enough with my arrangements and responsibilities for the weekend. And then, just when I'd geared myself up to go, this article appeared on Amelia's Magazine, summing up all my misgivings and bringing it all back. Do go and read it, plus all the comments, to get a clearer picture of the divide in opinion about it all.

But when I have committed to something, I follow it through, and so on Thursday night, I packed up and headed to my parents' house, conveniently situated a 30 minute drive from Goodwood, and prepared myself...


Sad to say, Friday confirmed all my fears in one fell swoop. Arriving at 10.30, laden with clothes, I collected my wristbands and struggled my way to the 40s area. Harry and Edna had done a great job pulling lots of interesting things together, from Dig for Victory gardens to magazines (The Chap, Glimpse and Vintage Life) plus book stalls and food. I couldn't help but feel, however, that the whole set up was extremely badly designed. Hidden behind the vast marquee of the Tanqueray Torch, and tucked right down the end, it meant that people could not just walk by, stumble across us or even see us. I loaded myself up again, and headed to the Fashion Pavilion, pausing to be thoroughly disgusted by the existence of a Primark shop in the 'High Street'. We were promptly told we could not leave our outfits there, but if we wanted to leave them outside on the steps we could! Well, thanks very much, but I'll decline to leave my precious vintage outside in a busy area. I lugged it back.

I then realised I had not received my promised meal voucher - something that was not a problem at the Revival last year and was never for one moment in doubt in my mind. But no, I was told that despite being on site from 10.30 until at least 5 or 6 every day, we weren't entitled to any meals. I went back and gave them what for, and managed to prise some vouchers off them. For an evening meal, valid 6.30 - 8.30pm. How useful. I forked out £4 for a bacon roll.

By this time rather peeved, we headed off for the fashion show, which was rushed and hectic, but enjoyable and, apparently, among the best in the whole weekend (according to Mr Hemingway himself). Here are some photos!

Some show shots! I pinched these off the lovely Amy Georgina (who was lovely and not remotely stalkery BTW!)

Please visit Amy's Flickr to see the rest!

I wore a vintage Swirl, hat and jacket, and an Able Grable gown. I stayed in my trouser outfit for the rest of Friday: a Revamp Vintage ensemble. Afterwards, we started to set up for the Chap Olympiad. Not far into the first game, which was poorly attended due to the position, the heavens opened and everything was abandoned. We took refuge in the Torch, wet, cold and miserable, refusing to pay £7 for a gin and tonic with no lime. At about 6pm, fed up, I decided to head for the car, sloshing through thick mud, ruining my sandals, soaking my trousers to the knee, thoroughly hungry, chilled and angry. Upon leaving, I noticed that the entire front ticketing/programme/door area was being run by children of 14. This inexplicably annoyed me even more. And that was the end of Friday. I didn't enter a single shop (with the exception of What Katie Did, where I bought a Harlow suspender belt and did my hair), see a single band, or do any dancing or anything fun whatsoever. Oh well.


As you might imagine, I was not looking forward to Saturday, especially since my sartorial choices were limited slightly...

Dressed in our vintage finery (but with me looking very early 90s in my 40s Swirl and clumpy black leather boots bought a number of years ago to wear in the snow), Naomi and I had to be there for 8.30am, and we were - complete with vintage swimsuits and props for the Bathing Beauties fashion show. The mud was slightly tempered with the application of woodchips, meaning I could change into nicer shoes, once I got inside, thank goodness.

The fashion show went off without a hitch, leaving me to head over to the Chap site. Imagine my relief to arrive and see that everything had been moved further towards the main drag, meaning people were browsing around everything and generally getting involved. Even greater relief came when Harry told me he'd secured everyone on the Chap team a lunch voucher! Finally, we were being treated properly. Sadly, this day's Olympiad fared only a little better, with a downpour interrupting play, and the substantial crowd dispersing to seek shelter. Everyone floated back afterwards though, and the games were a lot of fun. The chap who won the gold cravat did so in style, and had a splendid 'tache to boot (not as good as the Whistling Tailor's of course)! ;)

And that was Saturday. I still did no dancing, shopping or band-seeing.


Feeling fairly chipper after an OK Saturday, I was at least not dreading the final day. As it happened, I had a marvellous time! I arrived at lunchtime, took part in more games than I ever have before in the Olympiad... and won the Silver Cravat for my efforts! These included a discus 'throw' which consisted of me walking with the plate on my head before 'fainting' and being revived by a medicinal pipe; and using my womanly wiles and flashing a stocking to unseat my opponent during Umbrella Jousting. I can find no pictoral evidence of the latter, sadly, and the best photos of the former are not permissible to be linked (despite me asking the photographer nicely). So see here, here and here for more! Instead, here is an outfit photo...

And a photo of the final day's winners!

Gold Cravat winner was the one and only Mr Edward Marlowe (owner of this photo), and Bronze was won by a chap called Ben.

We soon decamped to the Torch for celebratory champagne at having survived and I then headed home with my dear mum.

The end.

You may notice I didn't do a single bit of shopping (though I walked up and down the stalls to look and the majority of the vintage was the usual not-particularly-old 70s/80s stuff you find in most UK vintage shops), nor dancing, nor did I see any acts so I can't comment on any of those. I heard some of the acts were quite good, and some laughable. I also heard the camping facilities, which I didn't use, were pretty awful. But on the whole I was very disappointed in the organisation and the treatment of the volunteers by the main organisers (and the weather, but that's by the by). The Primark store, and the abundance of ridiculous costumes disappointed me as well. For something that set out to celebrate British cool and vintage as a movement that is both eco-friendly and individual, the presence of Primark and super high-end watch brands was pretty shocking. But despite the incredibly high (for the first year of an event) ticket prices and astronomical stall fees, I would imagine they spent so very much money organising it that corporate sponsorship was the only way. I just think this vintage festival with potential turned into a way to cash in on the current trend and the end result was lacking in soul.

Those of us who love vintage, who gave our time for free, I think are the most let-down over it all. With so much support ready for organisers who treat us fairly and who have a real passion, it could have been really wonderful. Not just a big bandwagon-jumping, commercial, money-driven affair. Because I genuinely believe something a bit more sincere would have the potential to make more money. I just hope that sellers who took the risk found it worthwhile. There were certainly more people there than I expected, and many seemed to be enjoying it, and thus were probably in a shopping mood.

All in all, if you're interested in lovely vintage clothing, fabulous stalls, swing dancing and classic cars, go to the well-established and value-for-money Goodwood Revival, that's my advice. I only wish I was going this year. If the idea of a vintage festival that seemed as though it was 'organised by the Tory Party' (quote source not known but told to me by Naomi - please let me know if you said this!) then do visit next year's Vintage at Goodwood. I, for one would not buy a ticket and won't be going next year unless I am paid to be there. A lot of fellow volunteers I've spoken to feel the same way.

Do look out for my review in the next issue of the Chap, which will focus on the positives and gloss over the negatives... sartorial abominations notwithstanding! ;)

Fleur xx

PS. Just as a final little anecdote, I was further shocked to hear from my dance teacher, Nick Kirby of Jive Connection, that he was called up by the organisers and asked if he would take a group of dancers to some southern shopping malls to promote the festival. The exchange he relayed summed up the organisers' ethos perfectly, I felt.

"OK," he said. "How much are you paying us? Oh, nothing? OK, how much will we get for expenses? Nothing. Right, well, how many free tickets will we get? None?? Goodbye!"

Edit: Firstly, in the interest of fairness and honesty, I must mention that I was taken into a stall called Bellapacella (I hope that is the right link) by my dear mum, who had found a 20s-inspired headband she loved. She bought herself one, and then after leaving, she asked me if I would buy her another one. I did so, and thus this could be counted as shopping. Let me clarify, that I didn't go off and browse through the stalls at any point, looking for vintage goodies to buy. That is what I mean when I say 'shopping' - I literally walked up and down looking at the wares on display, none of which caught my eye. So that is what I mean when I say 'I did no shopping'. I did no shopping 'for me'. Apologies.

Secondly, I am being informed that I was seen dining in the Torch, and watching an act. This is news to me. The first time I was in the Torch, I was drenched and cold, trying to get signal on my phone so I could find where Naomi was. There were some people dancing, I think to a DJ. This does not count as an 'act' which I was using to mean a band or a performer. On the Sunday, as mentioned, I was in there for approximately half an hour having a glass of champagne, after which I left to go with my mum to the aforementioned headband stall. As far as I was aware during this second sojourn, there was another DJ on - some of my colleagues went up and did a foxtrot at one point. I honestly have no recollection of a band coming on stage, and I'm sure I would have noticed? Bear in mind I was worn out and dying to go home and see my cat by this point (how rock and roll). The above blog is my own account of my own experience at Vintage at Goodwood, where I WORKED and was not there as a punter. And, as mentioned, the weekend did improve for me to the point of being bloody good fun on Sunday. I do not appreciate being accused of lying (why on earth would I), nor do I appreciate the insinuation that I am in some way bitter about not being involved with the organisation. Like my curator friend, I would probably have dropped out when I saw the direction it was taking. I still have only praise for Harry and Edna for their loveliness and hard work in the 40s area. Also, again, whether an act was on in the Torch or not, that is completely beside the point, as I didn't see any acts on the main stage (except Aswad while I was queuing for the loo), nor did I visit any of the other tents - Northern Soul, Blues, Rave, what have you. I did not make a note of the acts on offer and go and see them. This is what I mean when I say I didn't see any acts, whether one might have been playing while I was nearby... which I genuinely do not remember.

Thanks for listening, and if anyone else who enjoyed the festival would like to accuse me of lying and unsubscribe, please go ahead. ;)

Monday, 9 August 2010

Booze, Glorious Booze! Part 2

Following neatly (if not promptly) on from my last post about Gin, is today's offering, which is in fact about Cider. Those who knew me in my late teens and early twenties will know that I have imbibed a fair amount of cider in my time, particularly one memorable (or perhaps I should say dimly remembered by me but nonetheless notorious) incident involving several litres of Strongbow (also known as Wrongbow), the steps at The Dome in Tuffnell Park, and a badly bruised posterior... a photo of which was kindly photoshopped into an amusing picture by none other than Dave Gorman. But that is a story for another day ;)

No, cider holds a special place in my heart, and so, when David Carter of Tart and 40 Winks fame invited me and Naomi along to the launch of a rather stylish, fruity cider-themed event, I couldn't possibly say no. But before we get to the cider, something a bit more traditional! I had Afternoon Tea at Brown's Hotel with my dear mum!

Oh, I do love an Afternoon Tea, and it's particularly delicious at Brown's! My favourite bit is the sandwiches, my mum's the scones, clotted cream and jam. What about you?

After I'd eaten my bodyweight in sarnies and cakes, and drunk a couple of litres of tea, I swooped off to Vintage Secret Towers to get changed for the party. Suitably attired, Naomi and I then headed off to Fitrovia, to 33 Fitzroy Square, to be precise.

The Jacques Townhouse is a splendidly stylish venue, designed top to bottom by Mr Carter, filled with delicious treats and Dragon Den favourite Vintage Patisserie cupcakes, Benefit eyelashes, dressing up clothes and... Cider! The cider itself is something I have always seen in the supermarket but never tried - a fruity, fizzy draught, in two flavours, Fruits Des Bois and Orchard Fruits. I loved the Orchard Fruits variety! The idea behind the event was to introduce girls to the delights of Jacques, by getting David in to design this pop-up townhouse and hosting mini-parties several times an evening for a couple of weeks. But how about a peek inside the house?

The intricate cakes were just for show, but Angel's cupcakes and the assorted canapes went down a treat. Everywhere you looked, there was something to see, from frothy pompoms, to vintage suitcases and hatboxes, old photos and ephemera, plus a secret 'garden' filled with glowing bunnies, plush cushions and vintage tea cups.

I wore my well-loved but still fabulous Whirling Turban outfit (I wish I could get another!), while Naomi wore a smashing early 60s cotton, floor-length evening gown, which could have been made for her, it fitted so well. There were some truly gorgeous outfits on display as well, which were all captured by the official photographer. We of course, couldn't resist having a go in front of the camera!

Here we are, posing away, with a snap of the gal in my favourite outfit. It's a playsuit/overall with a very 30s look, and the girl (I think her name was Adele...) looked amazing in it. If you're curious for more, have a browse on the Jacques Facebook page for more. All in all it was a splendid night, and lovely to see some famous faces up close, including Sophie Ellis Bextor (incredibly stylish but so thin), Donna Air (also very thin) and a girl from the Sugababes. David did a wonderful job with the decor, and by all accounts the 10+ day event has been a great success. It's certainly made me very amenable to Jacques cider!

The official events were slightly different, in that each girl received two drinks and a cake, and was let loose in the house for an hour and a half. If any attendees or girls who unfortunately missed out on the free spaces are interested in something similar, hosted by yours truly, Naomi and of course, Mr David Carter, then why not come along to Tart! You get the dressing up, the makeup, unlimited food, cake and drink, plus four glorious hours of fun! You can get in touch with David for more info... and gosh do I have some wonderful photos to post very soon, to tempt you all further!

Must dash, love to each and every one of you!

Fleur xx

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