Thursday, 30 August 2012

A ghd old giveaway

Is your hairdryer a bit tired, lifeless, lacking in power? Generally a bit rubbish?

Mine is.  It's not even that old -  a few months at most. It's because I was stingy. Cheap hairdryers aren't all that great - WHO KNEW?

 NB. Hairdryers don't work outside. Also excuse my totally casual hairdo today!

If you share my hairdryer misfortune, then today is your lucky day! Because the good people at ghd have kindly offered to sponsor a giveaway of their snazzy new Pink Cherry Air Hairdryer. It's worth £99, and it's pretty glamorous...


It has:
  • A 2,100 watt motor (powerful!)
  • Advanced ionic technology (wonderful!)
  • Variable heat and speed controls (useful!)
  • And an extra-long cable (bountiful!)
My (brand redacted) hairdryer has none of these redeeming features.

But not only does it look good, it's also for a good cause. The reason it has pink chrome bits on it, and a cherry blossom storage bag is that a percentage of the proceeds of its sales go to the Breakthrough Breast Cancer charity.

Obviously, one lucky winner will get one for free, so...erm... we'll gloss over that part. But ghd do seem to give away a lot of money from their pink products, so that's pretty virtuous.


If you would like the chance to win your own Cherry Blossom hairdryer and breathe (or rather blow) new life into your vintage hairstyling routine, then all you need to do is:
  • Leave me a comment describing your favourite vintage hairstyle and its era...
  • ...and include your email address.
Smashing!

The competition is unfortunately only open to UK residents due to plug and voltage complications. I promise an international giveaway soon!

I'll close comments one week from today (Thursday 6th September).  Good luck!

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

PS. In other news, my new shoes you can't really see in these pictures are amazing and cost £5 in the Office sale. Got to love wallpaper pumps for a fiver.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

I do Dig This!

Last week, I did a spot of modelling, for a lovely, small repro vintage company called Dig This Clothing.  While they do sell a selection of the usual suspects like Bettie Page, they also have a small range of their own designs - namely dresses and trousers. The 40s frocks are cute and practical - each comes with a buttoned belt and has a collar and cuffable sleeves, a skirt that brushes the knee and bags of style. Have a look!


The trousers are a good length, though the rise is slightly shorter than some other brands - good for shorter-bodied ladies. They were a bit too tight on me, hence the sitting down poses... kick started the diet I can tell you!


Perfect for autumn, I think. Do check Dig This out.

Oh, and by the way, don't be alarmed if this blog changes soon. I have done something very, very silly, and potentially shot myself in the foot. The next few hours are nail-biting suspense while I find out whether I have indeed well and truly ballsed everything up. Stay tuned.

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

Thursday, 23 August 2012

No See Views

Once upon a time, a week or so ago, two girls called Fleur and Bethan went to the seaside for tea, but they didn't see very much. It was foggy, you... erm... see. Yeah.

So anyway, here are some things that the fog didn't obscure.













The Blackbird Tea Rooms (and their loos) were lovely! 


The ghost pier was ghostly!


I wore: a vintage skirt
My Bali Elf bag...

Lots of bangles, including my Nike Fuelband...

 

...And a happy face!

Hope you're having great weeks, one and all.

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Olympic Cha(m)pions

Sweet mother of pearl, where have the last two weeks gone? I've been so unfeasibly busy filming an advert and being a stand-in on a film (which have both been exciting), that I've barely sat down at my computer to compose a post. As such I'm now going to be playing catchup and posting some rather old news. Hopefully visually interesting, if old, anyway.

Firstly, a recap on the Chap Magazine's Olympian adventure. I already posted about our first trip the Olympic Park, but we had two more fun days of entertaining the polyester-clad masses before they decided we were too athletically superior after all. Hopefully we'll get invited back to the Paralympics - it would be more fair.

On our glorious day two, we had a slightly higher proportion of Chapettes.




We had more lobster abuse (above) as well as bowler hat carnage..


Not to mention a nail-biting 10-yard Saunter final...


But I thought the most appropriate outfit under the circumstances was one that made me look like a Punch & Judy show. Very British.


I wore this amazing late 30s/early 40s skirt earlier this year, but this time it's paired with my Swedish Hasbeens and also my awesome Bali Elf bag which I have hardly taken off. Having your hands free all the time is a wonderous thing. Thank you, my sponsory friends!


The third and final day of our adventure saw me dressing, for some inexplicable reason, as a mexican folklore dancer. Or at least in a dress with the latter printed on it.


We stood on a plinth outside Leyton and pulled the Usian Bolt post. Or some of us tried to, anyway.



Yours truly was the victor in one match,  and happily, the Head Chap himself, Gustav Temple was there in person on this final day.


The sight of two of the most important Chaps in the world in front of the world's biggest MacDonalds was too good to ignore!

As as far as my outfit goes, I do adore this crazy dress. I must wear it more often (or maybe I shouldn't, it might make it less special...)


As I said before, it was such an honour and a privilege to have been invited to perform at the Olympic Park. Everyone I know, even (or rather especially) the sceptics, got caught up in the fun and excitement of the whole shebang. I now can't wait for the Paralympics and I suspect will feel utterly bereft when it's all finally over.

If you'd like to see more pictures, pop over the The Chap's Facebook page. And stay tuned for a trip to Brighton, a spotlight on lovely sponsor Miss Bamboo, some posts for some really big names, and lots more I have forgotten about...

Lots of love,

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

Monday, 6 August 2012

The Ginger Olympics

This month's instalment of my King's Ginger adventures is a little late, but for a very good reason. I wanted to make it topical again, and since the only thing of any note worth mentioning (according to all news channels, sites and papers) is the Olympics, what better and more topical topic could there be? Because, as you probably know, the first London Olympics was held in 1908 and presided over by his very wonderful majesty, King Edward VII. So I went off on the trail of the other most important person to do with the event, William Grenfell, the First Baron Desborough - President of these historic Games of the IVth Olympiad (and all round marvellous chap). On my marks... set... go!


Lord Desborough was a sporty young man. According to Vanity Fair, he was President of Cambridge University Athletics Club and Boat Club when there, he'd climbed the Matterhorn, twice swum Niagara, rowed across the English Channel, done two expeditions to the Rockies and been three-time Punting Champion of the Thames by the time he was 35. Not to mention having got married, been Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, fighting correspondent to the Telegraph, an MP, Justice of the Peace for two counties and Deputy-Lieutenant of Tower Hamlets.

What a guy.


In 1906, Lord Desborough went to Athens for the Intercalated Olympic Games (held between the main Games) to compete in the fencing. As he passed through Italy, he saw first-hand the devastation wreaked by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Rome was meant to be the host nation for the 1908 Olympic games proper two years later, and it was clear that they wouldn't be able to clean up the volcanic havoc in time. The Italians asked us if we would shoulder the burden. Lord Desborough and King Edward thought it over, and agreed, providing the British Sports association backed it. How could they not?

Lord D went on to win a silver medal for his fencing in Athens. He was 50 at the time.

 1906 fencing steez and LD's actual silver medal!

Back home, he now had a rather mammoth task on which to focus. Two years to organise an Olympic Games with no money and nowhere to actually do it. By luck or design, though, a huge exhibition centre was being built in Shepherd's Bush, west London, for the great Franco-British exhibition of 1908 - White City, as it was to be known (due to the colour of all the buildings). Imre Kiralfy, an amazing man who started out as a musician and folk-dancer and went on to be the greatest master of spectacle of his time, had designed White City for the exhibition, and, out of the goodness of his heart, offered to build a state-of-the-art stadium there for free. Well, in exchange for a cut of any Olympic profits (always a canny businessman that Kiralfy).

Building the stadium took ten months, and cost £85,000, but in the end there was an athletics track, cycling track, football pitch, 100m pool (none of this paltry 50m nonsense) and room for nearly 100,000 people, both sitting and standing. Unfortunately, with two weeks to go and athletes pouring in from across the globe, the money ran out.

Luckily, Lord Desborough, enterprising and popular chap that he was, appealed to the press and raised the last £10,000 in days.

King Edward opened the Stadium Games on July 13th 1908, in torrential rain. Some silly person had forgotten to hoist the American flag, which caused consternation and the US flag bearer refused to dip the Stars and Stripes to the King, the first of many such incidents of national rivalry between our two nations. The Swedish flag had also been misplaced, but the Swedes simply chose not to take part in the ceremony. But there were a total of nearly two thousand athletes present from twenty-three nations, including fifty women. A shame then, that the horrendous weather (and sky-high ticket prices) meant poor attendance for the first week of the Games!



Things improved in the second week as the weather cleared up and prices went down, but the controversies and scandals continued. The ladies' gymnastics caused a sensation thanks to the bare legs on display, and the Americans protested about a lot of things. They complained about the Tug of War team wearing boots, but refused to a re-run in stockinged feet. They also protested the disqualification of US athlete John Carpenter for jostling Brit Wyndham Halswelle in the 400m final by again refusing to participate in the re-run. But this simply meant that since Halswelle was the only non-American in the final, he ran alone around the track and crossed the finish line in automatic first.

Lots of other firsts (and onlys!) at London 1908. 'Scuse my wonky camera angle!

The biggest King Edward story (and story generally) of the Games that year was the tale of Dorando Pietri and the Olympic Marathon. The Marathon used to be a round 25 miles, but, the King wanted the race to start at Windsor Castle, which put the finish line in the stadium (and directly in front of Bertie) at 26.2 miles. After the Americans' refusal to dip their flag to the King, it was deemed important to restore the 'importance of the monarchy' in the whole shebang. This new distance became the official measurement forever more at the 1924 games. Anyway, the ill-fated Pietri was the most famous Italian runner of the time, and had countless long-distance wins under his belt. But, in typical English weather style, after the downpours of the previous week, the temperature had risen to unusually high levels, and, as Pietri entered the stadium to do the final lap; he collapsed. And collapsed again. And staggered the wrong way. Some officials helped the poor man up, and he passed the line in a still bloody impressive 2h 54min 46s (even more so given the lack of perfomance sportswear, energy gels and Powerade of the future - read on to find out what the athletes DID get). But the Americans spoiled it again by lodging a complaint, which was upheld and poor Dorando disqualified. So, second place Johnny Hayes was awarded the gold.

Queen Alexandra was so upset for Pietri that she gave him a special gilded silver cup (the King actually refused to attend the medal-giving), and he went on to be something of an international celebrity. So, all's well that ends well (except for his sad and early end, which you can read about, as well as seeing the famous image of him competing in 1908 here).

All these shots come from Taplow Court's Lord Desborough's Sporting Legacy exhibition. It's an amazing house, full of interesting memorabilia (not just sporting!), and comes highly recommended. Here are some more pictures, as captured by yours truly.





The most interesting piece of Edward memorabilia, though, is the visitor's book, signed by the King himself!

Top left! Plus the 'mugshot', of course.

Lord Desborough managed to respectfully deal with all the complaints during the 1908 Games, and despite the potential battering to it, his reputation as a national sporting hero remained completely unscathed. In short, he completely pulled the remarkable feat of hosting the Olympics with two years' notice! Albeit with the help of thousands of unpaid volunteers and sponsorship. Much like the 2012 Games in fact! He was made Knight Commander of the Victorian Order (KCVO) shortly afterwards.

A couple more fun 1908 Olympics facts:

OXO was one of the main sponsors. During the marathon, competitors were given no water - only Oxo and champagne were available in the stadium. Poor, poor Dorado Pietro.

Miss Gwendoline Eastlake-Smith was the first British gold medal winner of 1908, in the tennis singles.

Taplow Court was Lord Desborough's home, I believe, until he died in 1945. I have to say, the house itself, and particularly the gardens, are absolutely gorgeous. Your token outfit photos will now follow!

 Beautiful wildflower meadow with poppies and cornflowers.

 Me and my gingery friend! I went for the skater girl look (it's sporty, innit)
Dress: River Island
My awesome bag which you can't see: from my sponsors Bali Elf (seriously use it every day)

Tried to give some to Diana the Huntress, but she wasn't interested. Something about being on the wagon for training - she's a serious sportswoman you know.

Thanks to The King's Ginger (do visit them!) for humouring my hairbrained ideas for articles, the free Lord Desborough exhibition is worth a trip to the countryside fo sho.  I might've worn my Olympics pass for a bit as well. I'm proud of it, shh.


Until next time! 


Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Heyday does it again!

Well, partly me as well. We've only gone and released a brand-new, super limited edition Fleur dress made with gen-yoo-ine old timey fabric! 

We've called it the Vintage Flower Fields Fleur (try saying that five times fast), and it's a beaut.


It's got a crease-busting polycotton bodice, and an equally magically crease-resisting vintage fabric skirt. The cotton has a piqué or waffly kind of texture - it's slightly stiffer than normal cotton and it hangs beautifully. We believe it dates from around the 1960s - which is why I wore it to a Pop Art gallery launch party a while back!

Yeah baby!

It has rows of flowers and berries in shades of cerise pink, kelly green, yellow and turquoise...


 It has has the same wrapping action as all our Fleur dresses, finishing with a white plastic flower button that also shimmied straight out of the 1960s!


It also has the signature patch pockets, bound with contrasting turquoise. Shona tells me that some of the dresses also have contrasting binding (of the vintage fabric) on the bodice. Matching accessories in primrose yellow and turquoise looked good, non?


Like our other limited editions, there is a mere handful of these frocks available - only 12 were made and I have one of them. We will never make anything similar to this again - we can't, because the fabric is so old and the chances of it ever being seen again are non-existent. So, if you'd like to own the closest thing to a vintage frock as it was on the day it was made, then you should hurry to the Heyday site and snap one up. They're £95 each, which is £10 more than the usual Fleurs, simply because of the vintage fabric. Worth it I assure you!

Thanks for reading and see you all soon!

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

PS. These pics make me kinda miss not having a fringe... might grow it back out now. What do you think?

Take a look!

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