Monday, 30 July 2012

Olympic Dreams

There's a little event going on in London Town that you may have heard about. It's the 'Other' Olympics - not those far superior games that make up the Chap Olympiad, but the Games of the XXXth Olympiad, also known as London 2012.

It's fair to say that opinion has been divided around the games. I don't live in East London, though I spend so much time there that I'm soon to move. Many of those who do live there were dreading the transport chaos that would greet the games, as well experiencing other hassles along the way. And there are plenty who've just been thoroughly killjoy-ish about it all. They're the same people who've been boring everyone who will listen (which is not many) about how much they've hated the Royal Wedding, the Jubilee and anything else fun that's happened in the last few years. Whilst still taking full advantage of the free bank holiday though, naturally.

For me, it's all been exciting. I can't really fathom how it can NOT be exciting, even in some small way. It's the Olympics! It's a huge extravaganza of colour and energy! I can still remember Freddie Mercury and that large Spanish lady singing 'Barcelona' in 1992, and how excited I got. And I spend every Tuesday at 1948 (named after the last London Olympics) for Run Dem Crew. It's a part of our global culture and yes, it's expensive, yes it's put a strain on our transport system and all that other boring stuff. But it is still a big, nay, massive, deal. And therefore I was glued to the Opening Ceremony along with the other one billion (estimated) viewers worldwide.

And with the exception of Macca doing the lametastic Hey Jude singalong at the end, I loved every cheesy minute.

I also got up early the next morning to watch the men's cycling road race, which oh so conveniently passed the top of my very own road.

Lots of locals turned out for the race - from union jack-wearing Brits to members of the large Italian community round these parts...

Eyes in the sky and jolly high-fiving Police escorts made the waiting more exciting!

And after the breakaway group whizzed past several minutes earlier, it was super exciting to cheer and snap the future Sir Bradley of Wiggins at the head of the peloton... even if it was over in seconds. And that was my Olympic action on Saturday. No pictures because I couldn't EVEN be bothered  tohave a shower before I went to watch.

Sunday was a slightly different story though. It was the day I have been waiting for for actual weeks - the one where I got to actually go inside the stadium. Yes! And perform. Double yes! And be silly. YES!

Apocryphal tales of the Olympics brand police had me secretly a little bit worried that 'The Chap Olympiad' would be banned, or worse, the magazine sued for spurious copyright infringement. So I couldn't have been more surprised and pleased when rather than being banned, we were actually INVITED to take part in the Games - by performing at the Olympic Park.

Here's how it went.

We were escorted by some lovely, helpful Gamesmakers.

We played Hop, Skip & A Cup Of Tea.
There was Moustache Wrestling

Surrealism was personified in Bowler Hat Tossing

Last but not least, the Tug of Hair went down brilliantly, with loads of people taking part in
the six or so rounds we did!

As the only two Chapettes, Bethan and I enjoyed showing up the boys,
and posing on the coloured dots and in front of the Orbit.

This is definitely not the BEST dress I own by any stretch, but it is the most appropriate. It's a 1970s Swirl, made by Geoffrey Beene - hence the GB on the chest pocket. When I saw it, I had to have it. TEAM GB!

The amazing hat is by Kezia Argue Designs and lent for the occasion. Perfection! Look out for a competition to win one similar, coming soon.

And, before I get a repetition of my Tuscany photos with a round of, 'Yes, your dress is niiice.... but Bethan's outfit is OMG AMAZING', Bethan's outfit was OMG AMAZING ;) - a 40s gree skirt suit with bolero. Let's just take a moment to appreciate it in its full glory.

You have my permission to praise it effusively.

It was an amazing day out, and the crowd watching got involved and had fun, asked us about the Chap and went away happy and entertained. This is exactly the aim.

But like the Olympics as a whole, this exercise has also greatly divided opinion among the Chap's readers, fans and even staff. You can see from the comments left on the website post that the decision to take up the Committee's offer was not universally approved. There have been multiple criticisms on social media as well - people proclaiming that to refuse the offer would have been more fitting with the 'Movement' and that we'd be a laughing stock and point of ridicule. Talk about missing the point. Let me just make something clear...

The Chap is a satirical magazine. The Chap Olympiad is a comedy event. The main people involved in the staging of it, such as the compere and the 'Foreigner' in Shouting at Foreigners are actors and performers, either actual or aspiring. The latter is itself a metaphor for the Chap as a whole - poking fun at old conventions and ways of life. There are a lot of people for whom Chappism does indeed seem to be a kind of 1930s upper class character Cosplay (as one commenter pointed out), and the sense of fun about it all is being lost amid the criticism.

Why on earth would we turn down the opportunity to take the Olympiad to London 2012? It was the chance of a lifetime, and I'm delighted to say I have two more chances of a lifetime to be there doing the same thing again, on the 3rd and 4th August - next Friday and Saturday. Come and find us if you're there and get involved with some real (un)sporting events.

And once again, GO TEAM GB!

Fleur xx

Tuesday, 24 July 2012


someone has to be... and having just done the intricate draw process (making sure no duff comments were left and then putting the total into the random number generator), I have drawn the winner of the Heyday Fleur dress competition

It's comment number 158, aka @THEMRWYATT, who entered for his wife - and my heart actually skipped a beat because I know them and they are lovely!! What a joyful start to my day. Get in touch please Mr or Mrs Wyatt, and let me know your address!

More giveaways to be coming soon soon.

Until next post, love to you all!

Fleur xx

Monday, 23 July 2012

Competition update

Hey y'all

First time I've ever used this blogger app so I hope it works... Fleur dress competition will be drawn & announced today - I'm off to get utterly shafted for a new MacBook charger after mine's packed up a short while out of warranty...

Stand by for a proper post later

F xx

Monday, 16 July 2012

Bridging the Gap

This is a public service announcement. What follows below is an entirely sporty post. There is only a minimum of vintage style. But it is a good one. End of announcement.

In my life as a vintage girl, writer and bloggy type, I do get invited to lots of fun things. I don't usually have to do anything to earn these invites, simply by being myself, and having a not-inconsiderable number of blog, Twitter and Instagram followers is enough. But the events of the other weekend were earned, and the amazingness of it all will stay with me for a long time!

You may recall me mentioning that I was a volunteer mentor for the RDCYoungers project - a scheme tied in with my running family Run Dem Crew. A small group of young men and women were picked to go through this project, to be trained in running and set creative tasks, with a number of older and peer mentors to offer practical advice and moral support along the way. I didn't do much actual running training with the Youngers (and in fact did barely any running training myself, not the best example to set!), but I did provide plenty of advice... and helped them in other ways. Logistics (driving stuff across London), promotion (tweets of particularly good work they do) and help with blogs and CVs. I'm not going to be modest here, helping these youngers towards achieving the potential that's well within them has made me feel really warm inside. But they put in the hard work themselves, really; and the culmination of all the effort was last weekend, which was the Nike+ British 10k race, and the second instalment of the Bridge The Gap Project... London Calling! It. Was. BIG.

The first Bridge The Gap weekend was in Berlin, when RDC and several other Nike Sportwear international running crews met up to run the Berlin half marathon. I couldn't go, and felt like I had missed something huge (mainly because I had). But being a mentor for RDCY meant I got invited to some of the super secret stuff that was taking place, from the Friday when teams arrived from eleven countries around the world' to the Sunday, when Nike put on a massive party.

We had teams from Athletics Far East (Japan), Begins (Beijing), Moskva River Runners (Moscow), Red Snakes (Milan), Tiber Track (Rome), Paris Running Club (duh), Graviteam (Berlin), She Runs LA, The New York Bridgerunners, Patta Running Team (Amsterdam) and Kanan Crew (Mexico). If you run in any of those places, look them up and join!

It's fair to say, it was a momentous occasion, and an honour to be invited to marshal them all from Shoreditch to the Leake Street tunnels under Waterloo, for a super secret drag race.

The fastest and most furious from each team attached a 'Sparq Chute' to their waists, and ran hell-for-leather down the graffiti tunnels. The She Runs LA ladies took the women's prize, and one of our own took the men's!

It was an amazing night, even though I didn't run. Have a look at the Nike Sportswear Facebook album for more, if you like!

On Saturday, as you know, I was at the Chap Olympiad, so no running for me! Sunday was the big one, though. The one I had most definitely not trained for. The British 10k! Sounds a bit weird to say I hadn't trained for a six mile race when I can do a 13-miler, but shorter distances are faster and harder. I wanted to run it in under 50 minutes. I didn't manage that, coming in in 50:34, which is still pretty good, considering how much it hurt. Had my red lippy on all the way though, despite the sweat and the rain!

That picture was taken at about 7k, I was in massive amounts of physical and mental pain, but with the cheering squad out in force, I mustered up a grin and a pair of gun-fingers. Never underestimate the power of race support, and encourage your family and friends to turn out to cheer YOU on if you're running a race alone. It makes SO much difference! I wish I'd paced a Younger through, I started out running with a fellow crew lady Petra, but she dropped back around halfway. So it was a lonely race with much chafing. But with aforementioned lippy intact! Sweat with Swagger!

However, don't wear shorts you've not trained in, that's my number one race tip at the moment ;)

 Charlie Dark and the Youngers give the signal

Being a VIP at a race makes such an amazing difference, though. We had a fancy hotel to chill in before and after - with food, sports massages and music. I don't want to sound too smug when all the other runners had soggy bags and a damp goody bag to take home, so let's just say it was a real honour.

The Youngers outdid themselves, and I couldn't be more proud of each and every one of them.

After the race, I actually took my sportweared self to the Chap Olympiad second day, where I took part in a little skit! I was kicked out of the Cucumber Sandwich Discus for wearing Lycra, and stretchered off to the gin tent to be given Bloody Mary from a blood bag! I can't find a good picture... boo!

Courtesy of the Chairman

The evening saw us go to the Nike Fuelfest at Battersea Power Station. I am now the proud owner of a Fuelband, which is part fancy pedometer, and part a personal challenge to be more active, that sees me bopping around my flat trying to up my activity levels enough to hit my 'target' of 3000 points per day. If you're competitive (with yourself) and want to be more active generally, I encourage you to check it out! You can hit your target in all sorts of fun ways, including at the Chap Olympiad! ;)

ANYWAY, look at the stunning photos of the Fuelfest on the Yinnyang blog, should you wish to see some (I only appear from the back and with my eyes closed, but all the shots are amazing!).

The weekend ended on Monday, when I got to noodle about the NikeiD studio at Boxpark and design my very own pair of Air Safaris, to which I have tried to add a vintage flavour. You'll have to wait and see how they turned out (as will I!), but here are some photos of me doing said noodling.

 More smoothing serum would not have gone amiss...

Me, Youngers, Run Demmers and Bridgerunners!

That's enough sportswear talk for today, I think! At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I was honoured beyond belief to have been invited to take part in this groundbreaking international event, and to have seen the change in the RDCYoungers throughout the project. Even fancy Fuelbands don't beat that feeling. I can't wait to see where they all go from here.

And I hope I get to hang out with more of the inspirational runners from across the globe who were to a person awesome, funny and GORGEOUS.

Until next time, runners...

Fleur xx

PS. Before I go, there's a new, currently very small retro ladies running club that's just started in London. There's a Twitter account @RetroRunnersLDN for you to follow, which will keep you informed of runs. If anyone out there want to join in, then get in touch. And if ANYONE has a shop, pub, cafe or anywhere open in the evening that a small number of ladies could leave a bag for an hour, please get in touch about that! It's the only problem the amazing organiser Natasha is having (and the reason I haven't gone along yet). More on this very soon.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Win a Fleur, revised

Merry Sunday everyone who reads this blog. Hope yours is smashing. Your Sunday, not your blog. Actually, if you have a blog too, I hope both are smashing in the extreme!

Now. You may have seen a competition on here, one which opened the other day. It was to win a Fleur dress as seen on myself and the VM ladies - a choice of either black with daisies, or black with roses.

The prize consisted of the dress, and two tickets to the Retro Festival, scheduled to take place in four weeks' time. The idea was to pick up the frock from the festival. Unfortunately, due to weather ravaging the site, said event has been cancelled. SAD FACE.

But, Shona Heyday and I are continuing the competition anyway! And this time, it's open to anyone in the UK. HAPPY FACE!

Please head over to the blog post detailing the competition, and enter to your heart's content - the dress will be posted to you if you're drawn as the lucky winner. Tweet and reciprocal blog post entries are still counted, all existing entries are obviously counted... but anyone else in the UK can enter.

My apologies to anyone who lives elsewhere in the world, but because everyone in this country's summer (including mine) has basically been completely ruined by the absolutely shocking weather we're experiencing, I want to cheer a fellow soggy, cold Brit up with a free frock. There will be plenty more worldwide competitions in the future, promise!

So, fellow nationals (and transplants), go and enter now

Fingers crossed!

Fleur xx

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Free frocks & ... that's it.

Oh hi!

Here begins an edit to the previous post...

It seems that, due to adverse weather conditions, the Retro Festival has been cancelled. This is a huge shame, both for the Mafia and me; and for everyone involved with the festival. Let's hope it's reinstated next year.

But it's rather better news for you lot! The competition to win a Heyday Fleur is now open to everyone in the UK. We're keeping it UK as the weather here has been SO VERY HORRENDOUS (see above for just one of many things it has ruined this summer) that we Brits need something to cheer ourselves up. So enter away, please. The frock of your choice will be posted to you when I select the winner.

The rest of the blog shall now continue, almost as it did before. Here it comes...!

How would you, yes YOU, like to win some stuff? I've teamed up with Heyday to offer you just that. Stuff. To win.

'What is the stuff, though?' you may be asking. Let me tell you!

You can win your very own Heyday Fleur dress in English Rose or Daisychain, so you can look just like the girls of the Vintage Mafia! Or like yourself. Up to you.

Crab claw impressions optional.

The Fleur is lovely in the black colourways, both black with daisies and pink roses: you can take your pick of the two, and your size (of course).

All you need to do to enter is to leave me a comment below (and be in the UK)!

Tweet about the competition publicly (by which I mean, don't begin the tweet by @-ing me, as only people who follow you AND me will see it), for an extra entry; but you MUST leave me a second comment to say you've done so for it to be counted. I will be matching comments with tweets, but it's all to make it easier to draw.

If you'd like a third entry, you can do a post on your own blog, but again, you must leave me a third comment to say so, with a link to your entry.

So, without further ado... get entering, gals!

Fleur x birthday

Fleurs + Gin

I'll close it a week today (19th July 2012). Good luck!

Fleur xx

PS. Please don't comment unless you're entering! Ta muchly.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The Other Olympics

Cor blimey Mary Poppins, it's been a busy week. I spent two days working for The King's Ginger at Imbibe Live, a massive annual drinks show; then this weekend dawned, which was possibly THE most epic in recent memory. I am going to be doing a massive post on the running side of it, with clear warnings so as not to trick those running-averse of you into reading it ;)

But first for the more typical day in the life of me. A day at the event highlight of my year that is The Chap Olympiad.

This rather special event needs little introduction to those that have read my blog for a while (and who have access to any kind of news source since it seems to have become fodder for international newspapers and TV stations across the world now).

But in case you haven't heard of it, here's a link.  And here's the Chap's own article on it, which I'm proud to see illustrated with a picture of yours truly and Bethan aiding a Pipeathlon competitor.

Photo I believe is by Stephanie Wolff

As you can see, Bethan and I wore matching frocks for the occasion, a blue Fleur for her and a pink one for me. After last year, it had to be done, albeit on a smaller scale.

Rocket Originals Nancies completed our ensembles!

Onto the Games. I managed to capture visual snippets of...

The Pipeathlon, with bikes kindly lent by Tally Ho, for which competitors must complete a 10 year saunter, 10 years on a bike, and 10 years without letting their feet touch the ground. See above!

Swooning, in which the chaps have induce the ladies to do just that.

Me being the ball-girl in Not Playing Tennis, where the clue is in the title.

Ironing Board Surfing (which the Mafia won last year!).

Moustache Wrestling, in which the victor is the one whose lobster weapon successfully plucks a hair from the opponent's face and...

The Briefcase Phalanx, in which I gave each challenger a message to pass to the secretary stationed at the far end... after he or she's broken through the barrier. Chuckles Younghusband of the New Sheridan Club used semaphore to try and trick the phalanx. I'm not sure it worked.

Here are some more for your viewing pleasure of the Saturday... I hope to have some to post of my rather unusual appearance at the second day, AKA the Para(lytic) Olympics on the Sunday... stay tuned!

MC Tristan Langlois, Callum Coates and Emma Bown

Bethan and Mr Wax

Chuckles & Louise XIV

Me, a dodgy fringe and lovely lovely Naomi

And finally...

It did rain off and on for the whole day (and night), and I was extremely grateful to the lovely people at Barbour for sending me this Uh-Mazing Liberty x Barbour creation. Along with my Liberty x Nikes it's my new favourite brand-mashup item! Given the constant damp and mud-tastrophe that's hitting all grassy areas in the UK thanks to the horrendous weather we're having, you'll be seeing this and the wellies which you can't really see a LOT over the coming months.

 More photographical postery coming very soon.

 Me and Vintage News... from here.

Fleur xx

PS. You may or may not know that the Chap Olympics is actually coming to the 'Real' Olympics, as we have been invited to come and perform it in the Olympics Park for a few dates in July & August. I couldn't be more excited for Chap x London 2012! ;)

Take a look!

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