Monday, 28 November 2011

Red, white and Navy

Ahoy! This is the fourth in a series of adventures I've been sent on, by and for The King's Ginger. Think of it as a history mini-series, accompanied by pictures of me in frocks. This month, I travelled down to Portsmouth to look at boats and eat fish & chips. Sorry, I mean, to take a serious look at King Edward's relationship with the Royal Navy.

Portsmouth is a great place. I took many fondly-remembered school trips there to look around the fascinating museums and ships in the Historic Docks. Unfortunately, nowadays, you can only buy one vastly expensive ticket to enter every single attraction, and because this trip was meant to focus only on things relevant to the life of his Majesty, we didn't think there was much point in forking out. So instead I took a sneaky shot in front of the HMS Warrior.

I simply had to wear patriotic colours, of course! Red, white and blue Fleur dress, currently on sale at Heyday, and still can be worn in the autumn with a wee slip underneath! I got a fab one sent to me recently by Damart. Thanks owed to them for keeping me non-hypothermic. 

The Warrior is not as fancy as the HMS Victory, the 18th Century warship that's moored around the corner (and not visible to plebs outside). But what she lacks in glamour, she makes up for in sheer brute strength. Built when Prince Edward was a stripling of 19 in 1861, she was the most heavily armoured warship the world had ever seen. Luckily, Great Britain was going through a peaceful period, and she never saw battle... only to be removed from service a mere ten years later as new technology made her entirely redundant. But she was not abandoned before she had formed part of a naval squadron that escorted the future King and the Royal Yacht on an official visit to Dublin in 1868.

Nice white vans!

Edward was very fond of ships. In 1906, he visited Portsmouth at least twice; once to launch a revolutionary new battleship, and once to undertake a royal Fleet Review. The HMS Dreadnought was completed in February of that year, and later gave its name to an entirely new class of ship, none of which survive to this day, sadly. The BFI has a film of the day which I would love to see, showing Edward all kitted out in the uniform of an Admiral of the Fleet. He must have been in his dapper element!

He returned on the 9th of August of the same year to do one of his five Fleet Reviews - a lot given his short reign (though not compared to his mother Victoria's seventeen!), which says much about his enthusiasm for all things naval. On that day, he stood at the Spithead with Queen Alexandra to gaze upon his Royal fleet. It must have been a fine sight... one I tried to imagine, as I stood in vaguely the right area. Ish.

Still feeling patriotic, with the Union Jack flying in the background!

In the absence of anything fancier than the Isle of Wight ferry in the bay, I was instead gazing upon, not a regally mobilised fleet, but a Victorian pleasure pier.

Southsea Clarence Pier opened in 1861, and was hugely popular with residents and visitors alike. A later addition came in the form of an elegant pavilion, opened by Crown Prince Edward himself back in 1882. One can only imagine its former glory. And one has to, because the sight that greeted me instead of the above, was this.

Concrete, tat and a dilapidated roller coaster. Sigh! 

I had to have a little nip of something restorative after that horrid shock! ;)

My rather snazzy engraved leather hip flask was a present from KGL. It comes as part of a giftbox with all sorts of bits and would make a really good present for another ginger lover... available from BBR online here!

Tat aside, Portsmouth is a lovely place (as well as being home to Naomi), the Old Town is particularly gorgeous, with its cobbled streets and Georgian houses. I had a truly delicious plate of fish and chips at the Old Customs House Gunwharf Quay before heading home, with my lungs and hair full of sea breeze, and luckily not seagull poo (though I had a very close call!). I leave you with one final photo montage. One outtake of me jumping down from my vantage point, which rather splendidly makes me look like I can fly... and one of my new boyfriend, (HMS) Vernon. I'm not sure he's a keeper, though; he doesn't have much to say for himself and I couldn't get him at all interested in a shot of King's Ginger!

Until next time, wrap up warm and stay gingery!

Fleur xx

Thursday, 24 November 2011

I don't do drab.

Drab is not me. In fact, I think I am allergic to it. I have quite a few items of winter clothing in blacks, browns, tans, greys and nudes, but in order to wear them and not feel unbearably boring, I have to pair them with something very bright. Whether that's a louder garment or jewellery, hair flowers, or just red lipstick, it all helps me avoid the dreaded beigeness (both the colour and the bland effect!) or blackness that can define winter outfits. Top-to-toe black can be very chic (and indeed I'm not always averse), but let's face it, if I can inject a bit of colour into it, I will.

But all the while we're having this fairly mild autumn, I'm sticking to my jazzy jewel tones and there's nothing you can do to make me change!

I get a lot of mileage out of these (rare as hen's teeth) Vivien of Holloway dungarees. I have them in several colours: these vibrant jade green ones, red as seen on here earlier this year, and cream, which, I'll be honest, make me look like a vintage painter and decorator. It's a look... but not one I've found occasion for to date!

Jade green goes splendidly with yellow, so when I had this cardigan knitted, back in the mists of time, I chose these shades. Luckily my psychic powers enabled me to see that I'd end up with a pair of overalls in almost the exact same shade! I've also got a ton of wear out of this H&M blouse, but I've never really worn it buttoned all the way up until recently. I think I'm going to get some ribbons to use as a sort of bow tie. Pale yellow would work wonders in this outfit, don't you think? My pale yellow plimsolls are incredibly impractical, but finish the outfit off well.

The final thing to show off is my subtle-but-definitely-there Lanzarote tan. And my huge new, 'just came back from a sports holiday' muscles. Well, okay, my arms are still weedy, let's face it. But they certainly feel firmer. I'm not quite Rosie the Riveter, but I managed to a complete a whole *cough*mini*cough* triathlon on the last day of a week of full-throttle exertion! Take that, world!

Here's to keeping some loud colours in your nearly-winter wardrobe!

Fleur xx

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Malaise et les Francaises

You know when you come back from a trip away, and everything suddenly seems so dull, so long, so beige, so much dashed EFFORT?


I did, however, have the most wonderful time in Lanzarote and will regale you with tales of my many sports as soon as I have some photos of me completing said activities. And by regale, I mean bore. But I am proud of myself!

But on my return there has been so much to get excited about. I've visited the Ideal Home Show to see my Harveys garden, and am soon to be getting my tweed on for the Saturday's Tweed Run! I'm very excited and this is beating the post-holiday blues as sure as eggs is eggs (and they is indeed eggs). Posts full of glorious technicolour photos of these will follow. But first, here's a bit about me appearing in a French national newspaper! Yippee!

This feature in Le Figaro Magazine has been eagerly awaited by myself and the VM girls since we spent several days back in April being tailed by the lovely Oliviers (Frebourg and Roques Rogery), who snapped and scribbled the entire time. As such, it was a shame to see so many of the thoroughly British scenarios we set up (punting, picnic, pie and mash shop) didn't make it into the final edition... I hope to share pictures some of them soon! But until then, here's the full spread in all its glory!

This image was shot in the What Katie Did London boutique, the girls were such good sports!

That is most definitely not me, there at the bottom; but it is of a fellow Tweed Runner... making me even more excited for Saturday!  The top shot is of me hamming it up at the Churchill War Rooms, and I owe massive thanks to Jeni for sorting it out..

 More Tweed Run action on the steps of St Paul's, the girls and I in Victoria Park, and me doing some wonderfully stereotypical tourist stuff, which I often do, of course. ;) I have sort of read the article, but Naomi will be translating it all for me. I understand it further grasses me up for having dreadlocks as a teenager and for listening to metal (among other things)... hopefully it portrays me in a good light though!

Hurrah for further European notoriety! I am most chuffed.

Hope you are all doing splendidly! Love,

Fleur xx

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Sherry Christmas!

Hey y'all.

I'm going on holiday tomorrow. But I've spent the last two days doing back-breaking manual labour and getting all grubby in the name of art. If you recall, back in March, I designed a small garden for Harveys Sherry's Ideal Home Show exhibition stand. Well, it's time for the Christmas instalment, and it's much bigger and better than before.

This is me, with absolutely no makeup on at all, standing in front of my handywork.

Would you like to go to the Ideal Home Show Christmas?  It's on from the 16th to the 20th November, and I have TEN pairs of tickets to give away. I'm not actually going to be there for the set up, so you can go and investigate my garden yourself!

The tickets will go to the first ten people to email their address to me at - no time for random draws I'm afraid. I'll have to post your tickets his evening, and I'll let you know by replying to your email.

Good luck, gang, and if I don't speak to you again before, catch you on the flip side!

Fleur xx

Edit - tickets all gone! Thanks all, David at Summer Fruit Cup has more, go get em!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Seasonal coordination

We're having a funny old autumn here in the UK. It's been one of the warmest Octobers on record, and the poor old plants really don't know what to think. I went to Wisley gardens today with my mum and aunt, as we often do in the autumn, to look at the amazing colours before they go past their best. But so many of the summer and even the spring plants are out! They think winter has been and gone, so they're all flowering in their planty confusion. It makes me sad that they'll get such a shock when the first frosts come.

Anyway, if ever there was an opportunity for a season-themed outfit and a few photos, this was it!

My autumn colours outfit consisted of a (very old) mustard-coloured cardigan top, and a pair of khaki Heyday trousers*, plus matching bangles and some pale lemon yellow plimsolls. It really has been unseasonably warm... though I was pushing it in short sleeves. I did have a jacket, of course!

This is a 1940s suit jacket with a rather smashing shoulder and hip detail. What do you think of this new paler (for me) lipstick? It's one of Soap & Glory's new Fabulipsticks in Red My Lips. I picked it up at the S&G cosmetics launch, and it's one of my new favourites. It smells lovely and lasts well... but it is very much NOT red, despite what the site and name say!

Here's me in a tree! Well, with a tree. That's all for today - I'll leave you with some more nature porn... isn't it a glorious time of year??

Happy November!

Fleur xx

* Shona is giving away a black Fleur dress on her blog! Go enter and (hopefully) win

Take a look!

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