Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Maximum Glamour

If I had a mere English pound for every remark I'd heard about not having the time to be glamorous, I could retire and simply just be glamorous without having to work. But the truth is, that as an inherently quite lazy person, my secret is to look like I'm high-maintenance, without actually putting in vast quantities of time or effort. I use all sorts of cheat methods - instead of pincurling or sleeping in rollers, I had a light perm (to change the structure of my hair), and use hot sticks. You know this, if you're a regular reader.

I don't claim to be an advocate of 24/7 glamour. There are times when I have my hair scraped back in a bun and fairly rubbishy clothes on. But my 'knocking-about' clothes tend to be things like old, threadbare housedresses, old Heyday trousers that I've ripped the turnup and just safety-pinned (see above about being lazy - the motto about 'a stitch in time' doesn't figure strongly in my life!), retro-esque tshirts and so on. If I open the door to a canvasser or the postie, they probably think I'm terribly eccentric, but I at least look decently put-together in my mind. And this is hugely important to me. Glamour has been my lifeline over the last year.

Well, that's a bit dramatic. But I've had a tough year for one reason and another (still ongoing, sorry to say), and I've been, to put an amusing name to it, a bit down in the dumps! Sometimes, all I have wanted to do is stay in bed and never get dressed. But I have made an effort not to let my standards slip. I know I've talked about this on here before...several times in fact. So humour me as I bring this up again, for no reason other than justifying it to myself!

My red lipstick, vintage hairdos and extensive retro wardrobe are like my armour against the negativity. They make my life better. Because of how I look, and my obvious passion and dedication, opportunities have come my way. Which isn't to say that I don't work hard to make a living: I do. But sometimes strange and random things crop up. I believe in fate and embrace the funny things it throws at me. My look and the fact that I show it off has gained me invites to events. It's got me a part in a short film. It's got me freebies. It makes strangers talk to me. It gets me paid work. It does tend to put off men, it's true. Obviously the wrong men! But it makes me who I am. If I feel like crap, putting in my usual effort helps to offset that crapness. I am not diminished WITHOUT my vintage warpaint... but WITH it, I am unstoppable! Or so I like to think. I couldn't get this daily boost if it wasn't easy to do. If you want to lead a more glamorous life, keep it simple. Start small - you can always build up! These are the things I always try to do when I am in my most subdued mood. They work for me!
  • Wear lipstick! If you've never gone red, then embrace the pillarbox! If not, then a rose pink is suitably vintage, without being too scary. Try MAC Russian Red for the former, Boots No. 7 Classic Rose for the latter.
  • Paint your nails! Mine are in a dreadful state, but polish transforms them. OPI's Start to Finish makes my manicure last a week. Expensive but worth it.
  • Put on a nice frock, just to go shopping. I'm not talking about a ballgown or a cocktail dress, but something bright and summery. Don't save your vintage for best! And don't wear dark, drab clothes if you're feeling dark and drab. Wear colour and walk tall in it - you look smashing!
  • Drink your tea from a vintage teacup. I definitely don't do this very often as a teacup just doesn't hold enough to satisfy my addiction, but it doesn't half make you feel special when you're sipping from an art deco delight!
  • Put a flower in your hair! Even if you haven't styled it in a vintage way, give yourself a side parting and pop a bloom on the parting side. Instant pin-up!
  • Wear an armful of bright, musical bangles. Bakelite, bamboo, wood and modern plastic - they all make a wonderful noise and look splendid.
  • Go out and do some exercise. Whether it's a run, cycle, swim, or just a walk around the block. It'll raise your endorphins and the fresh air will put colour in your cheeks. Nothing is more glamorous than a glowing complexion! Finding stylish workout wear is of course a separate problem I've complained about recently... but when you've finished, you can get the aforementioned vintage frock on!
I hope this advice doesn't sound too patronising, obvious or trite. There are many people in the world who have worse problems than me, problems that can't be eased with red lipstick and hair flowers. But I have genuinely found some solace in these little things over the last year, which has honestly been pretty relentlessly downbeat in some areas.

And so this blog isn't completely image-free, let me talk about one lovely invite I got recently. Initially it was meant to be just me, but over the course of the evening, four of the Mafia ended up at this soiree thrown by St-Germain, a, elderflower liqueur. Talking of fate, the chap who created St-G was an American who had never tasted elderflower before a fateful trip to France, but who then spent his life savings trying to create an alcoholic version of the ambrosia he tasted! If we weren't all such glamourpusses I'm sure we wouldn't have been welcomed so warmly... since the other girls all came straight from the office! ;)



Here I am demonstrating use of lipstick, nailvarnish, hair flowers and bangles! ;) Running and teacups are not pictured. Thanks must go to the lovely Tina, pictured in the middle!

This was also the night that we found the venue for our big sale, since after stumbling into a local diner we'd never previously entered, we got talking to the owner (who was fascinated with our looks) and sweet talked him into letting us hold our event there. See... being glamorous makes stuff happen, ladies.


I'll fill you in on the sale soon... till then, I hope you are all feeling happy and healthy my dear readers!

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

53 comments:

  1. This post and your list of things to do when "down in the dumps" has come at the very moment I needed it. Thank you for that list! I've been going through quite the racket lately and it's nice to be reminded that the little things help. :)

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  2. I understand completely the feeling of being down in the dumps. And it's so true that knowing you look good on the outside makes you feel a litle better on the inside. Big hugs to you, and I hope everything works out perfectly very soon. :)
    Gemma x

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  3. Great tips for keeping your mood up! Works for me xx

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  4. Your summary of glamour and the reasons why you do it are perfection. I feel the same way but can never quite articulate why I am the way I am.

    I have had a difficult last two years as well, and a flower clip and dress make me feel tremendously better.

    Thank you for posting this. I'm linking it to my own.

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  5. I absolutely adore your tips...and they are so right on!! I would like to add one:

    Try drinking your water in a wine glass with a slice of cucumber or lemon wedge...you are sure to feel glam!

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  6. I absolutely love this list! I've been living by a similar list lately as well. I have chronic medical issues and I've found that just doing a few extra steps really does make a night out much brighter for me. It allows the focus of other people to go to "Oh what a cute bangle!" rather than "Oh you look sickly today." Anyways keep up the good work and I can't wait to see your post on the sale!

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  7. I always feel better when I look better. I had a bit of seasonal depression this past winter so I'm planning ahead to avoid living in ill fitting modern jeans and sweatshirts all winter. And I just adore hair flowers! So easy and they look so great!

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  8. Thank you for posting this! It's totally ok to do things that may be a little frivilous if they make us happy!

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  9. Wonderful post. Isn't it wonderful how lipstick and nail polish make you feel so much better about walking around the house even to do chores ? A smart apron also helps me. My eighty two year old mother in law advised me to always brush my hair and put on lipstick first thing in the morning. To add to that I would also advise brushing the teeth before putting on the lipstick!

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  10. I love this post! These are wonderful suggestions, thank you.

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  11. You've just restated my whole outlook on life and why I try to at least be a little vintage/glamorous every day. It doesn't take long to make it a habit. I can be up and out the door in fifteen minutes when I'm in a hurry, and still have at least some 40s flair.

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  12. I do sympathies with people who talk about not having time to look glamorous - the hair setting, making sure your stockings are clipped on straight, etc can all get too hard and time consuming! Those tend to be the steps I skip now when I am rushed, and I've made my peace with not being very glam in my support hose. I do find that being glam on a limited amount of time comes down to preparation - making sure your closet is full of good quality, easy to wear clothes that you know how to style. That way you can reach for swing pants instead of trackpants, still feel comfortable and take the same amount of time to get dressed, but look a hundred times better. A flower in the hair is also a quick remedy for forgetting to curl it the night before!

    I hope you're feeling better soon!

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  13. Hear, hear! It doesn't have to take ages to look nice. You do need to spend a little time to find your short-cuts, but when you have, well, they they work.

    I always put out next days clothes before I go to bed. Then it isn't harder to slip into something nice rather to what is on top of the heap on the chair... If I need to I can get ready in 45 minutes, including shower and breakfast, including make-up and nice hair, if I prepare for a few minutes the day before.

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  14. I also agree with the maximum glamour, minimum effort lifestyle! =D I also agree that the things you listed so often help one out of a low mood. Or at least it helps me pretend! ;]
    -Andi x

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  15. "I am not diminished WITHOUT my vintage warpaint... but WITH it, I am unstoppable!" - what a wonderful sentiment! I think you've really captured something here.

    I think a bit of lipstick lifts the spirits like nothing else - a mere gloss just doesn't cut it.

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  16. Well you dont need to preach for the choir! I wear red lipstick to work every day, and get compliments all the time for beeing so..."carried".
    I dont see the problem, with putting some mascara on, a dress or a flower in your hair, the world would be a prettier and happier place for everyone! :D
    Tomorrow its my birtday, and I celebrate it by havin a french manicure and polishing the haircut!

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  17. Great tips Fleur and I agree wholeheartedly! I find when my hair looks good and I pop on some red lipstick and cute colourful clothes it lifts my mood a lot, not only that but I get compliments too which lifts my mood even more!

    Having said that I'm extremely dressed down today as I'm doing some house sorting!!

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  18. Inspiring and clever! I adore reading your blog. Thanks for the tips!!

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  19. I enjoyed reading this, so thanks! :o)
    I can relate to feeling ‘down in the dumps’ as it’s something I’ve had a problem with for years, but you’re right it does make you feel better if you make the effort to look better. Kaye xx

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  20. Oh Fleur, what a lovely post and *just* what I need right now! I am having a hard time fo it, am working my notice after being made redundant from a place I have worked 11 years, and one of my closest friends is suffering from depression. So far nobody else seems interested in giving me a job....sob!

    As I read your post I looked down at my nails and realised how chipped my nailpolish (red of course)! is. I agree with everyting in your post, and thought I do it all already, but I realise I have been slipping.....so its going to be a manicure and hairflower to me!

    Raising a vintage tea cup to fellow vintage girls out there, chin up all!

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  21. This is such a beautiful, heart felt post, Fleur. I do exactly the same as you when I feel down; there's nothing better than going to put my warpaint on whilst my hair is setting to get me out of a foul mood. So what men don't like it? We are strong, individual and independent women that do not need the judgements of men to succeed, and you are proof of this! The world would be a horrific place if we all conformed!

    All the best, Fleur!

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  22. Sorry to hear you've had a rough year, I know how you feel as regards not wanting to get out of bed somedays.

    I've never quite understood what's so bad about wanting to look nice for just working from home or popping out for a pint of milk. People act like there's something wrong deep within your psyche.

    Truth is, it's just nice. It makes you feel better, makes other people feel better and shows that you refuse to let the world bring you down to its occasionally scummy level.

    My failsafe is eyeliner, and two side plaits in my hair (removing them reveals perfect waves with absolute zero effort).

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  23. Our bottle of St Germain sits atop our very stylish Art Deco fireplace - it's like an ornament in itself! Such a stylish beverage :)

    Since meeting Patrick, I've not really had to cheer myself up, but for the 2 years prior to this, I was in a horrible place. The best advice I could give someone is to keep busy. Take on more projects than you can handle and don't stop to think about what's bringing you down. I know you don't need this advice, being the most in demand lady of the Vintage world, but if anyone else in a similar position is reading, it may help. Oh, and sunshine as well x

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  24. Fleur, what a great post! You have helped me make a decision & i'll try & stop doubting my choice - not a major thing but something that i wouldn't normally do & something that is quite out of my comfort zone, i too believe in fate and think i should just go with it. I don't want to get to the stage where i regret the things i didn't do.

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  25. Love this post. Just the other day I had this conversation with my man after watching some ad where a girl is depicted as being 'high maintenance'-
    him- I think your high maintanence.
    me- yeah? What makes you say that?
    him - you wear nice clothes and your hair is neat.
    me - but high maintenance means that I beg tonnes of attention.
    him - oooohh, ok well then you are very low maintenance.
    me - *satisfied smile*

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  26. Once again, a great big thankyou for such a delightful post!! Great suggestions and a very positive and uplifting read. xx

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  27. HERE! HERE! Glamour is not something that should take forever to do. It should also make you feel better about yourself. Just the other day - when "working" from home (insert sarky tone) I was makeupless. I felt like pap. I looked in the mirror and could take it no more. 2 mins later I had a bit of powder, some blush and red lippy on and I felt 100 times better!

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  28. Every day is a struggle for me to get out of bed. I know what a crappy tie can feel like! If you ever need to let off steam you can always message me. I know we've only met once but sometimes ranting at a stranger can really help. xxx

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  29. Amen, sister! I have my ups and downs too (and am prone to frequent bouts of depression; my sympathies with that!), and find that keeping myself looking neat and in my own eccentric manner do help boost morale a bit. Sure, it doesn't make the problems dissappear, but a swipe of lipstick, some fabulous shoes and a pretty frock do make things a bit less bleak.

    Even on the days I go (insert faux horror gasp here) makeup-less I like to sport my favorite vintage-esque pieces and throw on a pretty scarf. What is hilarious is if I answer the door or make a quick milk run like that, I get loads of comments asking "why are you so dressed up"? Lately I've just been honest: it makes me happy!

    Anyway, all the best to your Fleur and hugs! :)

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  30. Hi Fleur

    Amazing blog! I've been enjoying this for over a year now but never felt compelled to leave a comment until now. I too have had a rather rubbish year which has climaxed with a particularly nasty break up with my boyfriend just this morning. This blog entry could not have come at a better time for me and in a silly way has reminded me that there's much more constructive, cheerful ways to face life when all you want to do is bury your head in a tub of ice cream and weep ;)

    Thank you for that xx

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  31. Just love the phrase "embrace the pillarbox"!!!!! X

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  32. I have good and bad days and have done so from my early teens (chronic fatigue) so I know what difference a swipe of lippy, a pretty frock or a curly top can do to ones outlook and mood! Mind you, some days it’s far too much effort to even put on lipstick… but that’s only when I’m at rock bottom with the fatigue! I actually think I would be worse off if I didn’t have the interest in vintage- and reading other blogs help too… Thank you for the post. Tups x

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  33. You inspire me. No amount of negativity will make you less 'Fleur'. I love that about you.

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  34. This is a great post. I'm sorry to hear that you are down and I hope that things look up soon.

    Thank you for the great ways to start looking vintage by starting small. I'll definitely be incorporating some of them more.

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  35. Just reading this lifts my spirits. I think I may print this post out and put it on my wall: ) There is something wonderfully magical about the way putting on red lipstick makes you feel better. It really is like a buffer against all that is bland,dull and grey! When I put it on I feel connected with the women of the past, who through the simple use of lipstick helped to keep morale up during the war years. It it worked for them, it must work for us too...
    So, great post Fleur, so inspiring!

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  36. Great list! I totally agree even if I'd substitute the lipstick for mascara and blush.
    I'm well know for my hair embellishments by now at work - so much that I have to give reasons if I don't sport them. ;)

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  37. I completely agree, it's the little things in life that bring us joy and we need it most when we are feeling down. I had fairly serious chronic depression and migraines in my 20s, and have been lucky that as I have gotten older, I've seemed to "level out" much more and am able to enjoy life much more. I hope that you feel better or get assistance. You are lovely, and you can only be who you are-no excuses!
    And yes, I feel prettier when I have some concealer, mascara, lipstick and a dress! So it lifts my mood automatically. No reason to apologize or justify what makes us feel happier.

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  38. It's so true that having a style you love helps build confidence, whatever that style might be. For me it's nails, hair colour (must be red)... not always lippie, but that's only because I love wild twiggy-esque eye makeup. It isn't about that magazine 'be beautiful or you'll fail' pressures, but rather a pleasure and (if I'm really moody) a 2 fingers at bad karma to cheer me up.

    As for scaring men... you probably intimidate the weak-minded amongst them by being so fabulous! IMHO personal style (whether vintage glamour, mainstream, indie child or even Ga-Ga-esque) is useful filtering system for removing small-minded males after mousy women from the vicinity (making more space for interesting quality type men).

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  39. Great list! I'm already an advocate of many of the tips; never seen without a floral print skirt, a flower in my hair or on my chest, and an armful of bangles. I love your look, but not being blessed with your 1940s figure go for 20s/30s and 50s/60s, although I'd love to wear Dior's New Look. I did the 80s the first time and am not quite ready to re-visit yet! I agree that a cup of EG in a vintage teacup is the ultimate in glamour.Do you sing? That blows the cobwebs away and makes any day special! Love elderflower so will hunt our some St Germain. Keep up the good work!

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  40. Great post! Its nice to know I'm not alone (as I see from the all above comments) in popping on a vintage frock and a swipe of lippy in order to make myself ready to face the world. Its my antidote to those days when I'd rather wallow in misery and languish in bed. Making an effort in your appearance can often provoke many unwelcome comments, but I like to think that they're all simply jealous.
    I love reading your blog, keep the inspiration coming.

    xx Fran

    www.alittlevintagestory.blogspot.com

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  41. So encouraging! Thank you for the lovely tips :-)

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  42. I couldn't agree with you more on all counts...including the point about EXERCISE as a crucial ingredient in this list of glamorous tips. Sweating seriously saves my life. I also am a lazy glamour girl and I KNOW people around here think I'm a Miss Havisham waiting to happen due to the wild ensembles I answer the door in most days. Also, I'm a big believer in the power of the red war paint!! I loved your bit at the end acknowledging that these tips won't work for everyone or every problem...so sensitive and smart of you. Anyway....you are fabulous, as if you didn't know!!

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  43. Thanks for sharing this glamorous advice! I totally agree that putting on lippy and a pretty frock can help lift your mood. I think it's quite amazing how the way we dress ourselves can change not only how others perceive us, but how we see ourselves, too. I wrote a blog post about this topic a little while ago. You can read it here if you're interested. http://www.angelaosborn.com.au/fashion-costume/
    I always love reading your blog, Fleur. You inspire me to add a little more glamor to my everyday life and I love that you stay true to your own style, rather than following every new trend. Whatever it is that's been making life tough for you, I hope it gets a little sunnier soon. xo

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  44. I'm sorry to hear you've had a rough year and do hope things improve for you soon.

    Your post is wonderful, though. You are right on each and every point! It's not that hard to look polished and smart, at the very least, if not outright glamourous—though these days, polished & smart passes for glamourous because women seem to think or be intimidated into thinking it's a lot of work. Plus looking so nice, especially retro, really brings joy to others! People always smile when they see me (other than the sullen teenagers, but...they're teenagers!).

    I can't tell you how much I hate my violent fingernail polish allergy, though. Pedi? No problem. Mani? Blood. I wear gloves! ;)

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  45. Thanks so much for sharing Fleur. I totally agree with everything you've said. I've suffered from depression for many years, and I've only just recently embraced makeup and wearing nice clothes, and it's true....it can pep you up SO much. I hope that life gets better for you soon. Big hugs :)

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  46. It puts men off, what is wrong with them?! You all look lovely and the lady in the striped blouse has amazing hair. I have a weakness for red hair.

    I suffer from quite severe depression..I loathe where I live...and have other health issues, it can be so hard. Unfortunately we only have a scabby Co op and three tourist trap rat holes in the shopping area! I live too far away from my friends or anything civilised. I tend to hide in books and films.

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  47. amen.
    i feel you are absolutely right. have to take up some physical activity though

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  48. I will add one more thing: always wear nylons:-)

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  49. Thanks for your wonderful post! I feel that any day, no matter if I'm sick or depressed or anything, can be made infinitely better with red lipstick and a smile, even if I don't feel like it right away. It's wonderful to know that there are others out there who feel the same way!

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  50. Very inspiring! I love reading this post ;)

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  51. For a long time I’ve been meaning to thank you, Fleur, for your blog, and for all the wonderful and creative things you do and say. Your July 6th post on glamour and depression really nailed it. I, too, have had a lot of crapiness in my life lately, including depression, a feeling of being adrift, and the recent death of my husband. I started playing around with the 40’s look a little over a year ago, for some odd reason, after visiting an exhibit of World War II airplanes. I was born during the 40s, and do have some recollection of it, and the 50s seem like yesterday to me. I can’t figure out why I have a hankering for recreating that era, but who cares. My Ruby Woo and Prep & Prime haven’t made me whole, but they’ve taken a little bit of the sting out of the daily struggle to get out of bed and get on with it. Thank you, Fleur, for your wit, your advice, and your continuing inspiration.

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  52. This is such a beautiful, heart felt post, Thank you for the great ways to start looking vintage by starting small.

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  53. Nice one, there is actually some great facts on this post some of my subscribers may find this useful, will send them a link, many thanks.

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