Friday, 21 September 2012

An Intergalactic Whisky Launch with Ardbeg Galileo

A fortnight ago, I had the vast honour of being invited with a group of writers and whisky buffs to the Space Centre in Leicester for a very special occasion. Ardbeg have got together with a space research company to conduct a rather intriguing experiment - effectively putting the first whisky into space.

Well, sort of.

Sample vials of new make spirits and chemical compounds (ie bits of charred wood) from the Ardbeg distillery on the Scottish island of Islay have been blasted off, and are currently in orbit around the earth, as special guests on the International Space Station. The idea is to conduct a molecular maturation study, to see what effect anti-gravity has on the process. It all sounds highly geeky and highly fascinating! The high tech 'MixStix' vials lifted off from Kazakhstan last October, and they're going to be intergalactic for at least another year... with control samples waiting patiently in Houston and Ardbeg. Let's hope they don't bring back some whisky-loving aliens when they land back on earth!

First things first... the Space Centre is an amazing place. I've always been a little bit of a space geek, since going to Cape Canaveral as a nipper. I met an astronaut there, but I can't remember who it was. Mum, if you're reading this, let me know! But I found my brief recce around the Centre utterly brilliant. There is so much to see and do! 

From space rocks and actual bits of Mars in a glass tube, to bits of rockets, museum-worthy toys of the space era, interactive displays and films (including the very early motion picture as referenced in the movie Hugo, if you've seen it), samples of real-life food and supplies... There's stuff for science nerds AND vintage lovers. Yes, a lot of it was aimed at kids. No, that did stop us fiddling with, and enjoying all of it.

But what about the whisky? You may remember that back in March last year, I took a trip to the Glenrothes Distillery in Speyside, to learn all about this glorious, if at times challenging spirit. Speyside whisky is nothing like the same as Islay malts. The former are fresher and lighter, the latter incredibly deep, strong and peaty.

Ardbeg Galileo has nothing actually to do with space - it's a limited edition 12-year old single malt, laid down in 1999 and bottled to celebrate this unique experiment. The branding of the bottle and the packaging of the press samples we got to try was absolutely exquisite - almost art deco in design but crossed with the playful design of the 1960s - space travel's heyday!

The whisky itself is actually slightly... how can I put this... kinder than other versions of Ardbeg that I've tried. It is, as I said a moment ago, a challenging spirit, full of peaty aroma and strong flavours. Bit it's an interesting trip for my tastebuds - nothing like so experienced as those others I was travelling with.

The smell of Ardbeg Galileo is fairly gentle, considering. You can detect smokiness, but it's not overpowering. The taste is somehow creamy, powerful though - peat smoke crossed with butteriness. It somehow reminds me of the sea as well - fresh air, seaweed saltiness and ozone. My mouth didn't know what to think, but it was hugely enjoyable to test!

The Ardbeg 'Smoquito' was my favourite concoction - as one might expect, it was whisky with mint and brown sugar... tasting nothing like a mojito really, but a delicious drink in its own right.

Ardbeg is hugely popular with many men I know - ladies tend to (but not always!) prefer lighter whiskies. But many of the chaps of my acquaintance were hugely jealous of my trip. I would recommend Ardbeg Galileo as a fantastic Christmas present for the whisky lovers in your life, but beware - it's not inexpensive and it's also sold out in many places, by virtue of it being so strictly limited edition. But there are a number of places selling it on the web still.

On a side note, it amused me greatly to hear of the parallels between whisky collectors and sneaker heads - both involve camping outside shops for DAYS to be first in line to pick up the latest releases. Cray.

And finally... outfit time! Still with face scar visible... as well as my themed silver nail varnish I'm wearing my best atomic-ish print skirt especially for the occasion! I was also wearing an amazing space-themed brooch, but it broke, boo hoo.

Skirt: Topshop
Top: Primark
Cardi: handmade from 40s pattern
Shoes: Swedish Hasbeens

Moon accessory optional

Thanks for reading, do check out Ardbeg Galileo, drink more whisky generally and of course, if you find yourselves in the Leicestershire area, please go and check out the Space Centre. It's cosmic super-fun.

To infinity etc!

Fleur xx

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

The Chap vs The Goodwood Revival #2

I hope you've been on the edges of your proverbial seats waiting for this second instalment of my adventures at Goodwood Revival? No...? Oh well. Here it comes anyway!

On Saturday, I risked life and limb in my very own Chap Olympiad duathlon - Three Legged Trouser Limbo, in which Mr Marlowe and I weren't a patch on champions Russell and Sarah with their Foxtrot tactic...

And Umbrella Jousting, in which I vanquished poor Marlowe with a flash of my leg...

Miss Minna also did a marvellously elegant Hop, Skip and G&T in her vintage uniform.

Watching the Best Dressed ladies and gents was a particular highlight! Great to see the lovely Nicola getting first prize in what was surely a very difficult field of competition!

The be-cardiganned chap won first in the men's... I loved his effortless style.

I had my hair in a floral-festooned updo, due to the slight hairsaster that occurred the day before, thanks to the rain and wind. The weather was amazing however, and I instead acquired a lovely arm and dress-neckline-shaped tan! 

Vintage dress: eBay
Green shoes: Rocket Originals, ages back
40s repro bag: Greetz from Tiz on Etsy
Fakelite brooch: Acorn & Will
Assorted bangles
Amazing 1920s car: a gift (NOT REALLY)

And that is all for today! Hope you're having a smashing one.

Fleur xx

Monday, 17 September 2012

The Chap vs The Goodwod Revival #1

This weekend saw the return of every vintage-lover's Mecca, the grand, the glorious, the downright great Goodwood Revival. I was there reprising, for what will surely be the last time this year, the Chap Olympiad, that legendary celebration of non-sporting silliness. We performed three times each day, not leaving much time for looking around, but it was super fun anyway. And, as always, it's a chance to get a nice frock out and marvel at the array of vintage and vintage-inspired outfits on display which, again as always, spanned the entire scale of sublime to ridiculous.

On the first day, Friday; Bethan and I visited the awesome old-timey Tescos, and I went and did a pose at the carousel - I can never resist the bright colours and twinkling lights, not to mention the fonts.

 The dogfighting Spitfire and Messerschmitt were a highlight!

Friday's outfit: Jitterbuggin dress
Office shoes (last season)

Sadly, I didn't see much racing, nor did I take pictures of any sexy motors for you car fans... on the wanders around I did manage to squeeze in, I didn't take my camera! Some blogger I am. 

Tune in tomorrow for Saturday's shenanigans and outfit. 

Fleur xx

Friday, 14 September 2012

Jurassic Golfing Adventure

So yesterday, Jurassic Encounter happened. It was silly amounts of fun.

Animatronic dinosaurs and crazy golf, what more does anyone need in life?

What does a vintage girl wear to play 'adventure golf', you might well ask. Let me show you!

Vivien of Holloway jeans
H&M long sleeve tee
Vintage jacket
Nike Air Max with 1940s Liberty print
Pet stegosaurus

We also did some driving, which, if you do a round of crazy golf costs only ONE POUND. Luckily, because I was rubbish.

My companion was not rubbish.

 We finished our day with a home-made BBQ pulled pork sandwich... first time I'd ever made it and it was a huge success! Pork, coca cola and a bottle of BBQ sauce - nothing else!

I'm kind of hooked on crazy golf now. Miss Minna tells me there's a pirate one in Hastings - if anyone knows of any around the London area, let me know!

In other news, I'm at the Goodwood Revival today and tomorrow, doing my Chap Olympiad thing once again. Come and say hello if you're there!

Fleur xx

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Marvellous Miss Bamboo

As I like to do from time to time, I'd really like to sing the praises of one of my fabulous sponsors today. She's been with me a wee while now, and is just a very lovely lady - super glamorous and beautiful, with impeccable taste when it comes to the dresses that she carries.

Ladies and gents (but probably mostly ladies)... Miss Bamboo!

As you can see, she is the best possible advert for her wares, looking gorgeous in a Trashy Diva 1940s style dress in tropical flowers. She carries a lot of TD dresses, which are all really good vintage reproductions. I have a couple myself. The rayon and cotton fabrics used to make these frocks is so authentic-looking (and feeling) - this black background print on Miss Bamboo herself is perfect for autumn.

Miss B & friends... I covet every one of these Tropical Birds pattern dresses!

She also does an amazing array of Hawaiian, Asian and Mexican-themed 1950s style dresses in beautiful barkcloth and cotton.

 saucy senoritas! 

 wonderful wahines! 

If dresses aren't enough for you (or, should I say if you don't want to stop at only clothing, and WHO DOES?), Miss Bamboo also carries a range of 1940s and 1950s inspired shoes, including a selection of drool-worthy Miss L Fire (SOME OF WHICH ARE ON SALE!), and accessories including Miss L Fire lucite handbags, which are a perfect repro of 1950s lucite purses.

Please go visit Miss Bamboo: as well as the site she has a Facebook page too (which I just realised I totally hadn't 'liked' yet... rectified!)

And just for good measure, here's a picture of me looking rather weirdly sad or grumpy at my best friend's wedding preparation... in a Miss Bamboo number! 

Still can't decide what to do with my fringe by the way. Keep or grow out?

Hope you're all having grand weeks!

Fleur xx

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Barbour x Goodwood Revival

A month or so back, the lovely people at Barbour kindly asked if they could send me some goodies. Having been hankering after their Liberty collaboration last season, and since their classic jackets date from my era of choice anyway, I absolutely jumped at the chance of owning something myself. And since all they required in return was a guest blog post on what to wear to the fabulous event that is the Goodwood Revival, how could I possibly say no?

I didn't, I said YES PLEASE.

Please head on over to the Barbour Blog to read my Guide to the Goodwood Revival post in full, but I thought I'd show you the pictures I took.

Vivien of Holloway gypsy top
Vintage scarf
Barbour explorer bag
Awesome Barbour picnic blanket that folds up into a bag, so useful.
Hat which for the life of me I can't remember who made (I bought it off a friend)
Barbour summer waxed International jacket in Ruby
(the International style has been around since the 1940s!)
Vintage dress

Thanks a million to Barbour - I've got so much use out of all of these bits already, and the Liberty jacket saved my life at Bestival yesterday as I queued for an hour in the rain to catch a bus! They will all be featuring throughout my autumn and winter vintage wardrobe, and I will certainly be taking my blanket and jackets to Goodwood Revival next weekend (don't forget to read my full guest blog) ... see you there?

Fleur xx

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