Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Vintage London: Sprizzato seduction classes

I just typed that title out and then immediately worried it might imply that this was a blog about fetishes or swinging or something. But I'm going with it anyway!

I'm currently working on an event with a new drinks brand that some of you may have seen me tweeting about on that there Twitter. It's a company called Sprizzato (new site is underway as I write) and the drink is a bitter-orange aperitivo spirit flavoured with herbs and rhubarb extract, the type traditionally drunk before a meal to kick-start the appetite. Usually it's mixed with some prosecco, though historically it's cheap nasty prosecco - the bitter orange tends to disguise it a bit. The recipe dates from around 1919 in Padua, and the bottle reflects the origins with a snazzy Art Deco lady adorning it...

We're putting on a London dating event on 13th March that aims to help lovelorn single folks discover their inner Italian don or diva. There will be free Sprizzato cocktails, Italian nibbles and, more importantly, a talk from renowned dating coach and seduction specialist Johnny Cassell. Johnny will try to instil some of that unbelievable Italian confidence in the chaps present - everything from smooth moves and smart suits, to romantic meals and sheer brazen forwardness.

Yours truly will then impart some hints and tips on channeling the bombshell screen sirens of the past, like make-up and hair techniques and coquettish flirtatious moves, turning unconfident ladies into sought-after signoras, able to bewitch the object of their affections.

You may or may not meet an eligible singleton of the opposite sex, but if you don't you will definitely pick up some tips to make your next attempt much easier!

We're holding at at glamorous London bar Central & Co, which is worth a visit either way as the downstairs, where we're doing this shindig, is a secret spirits bar. Everything they use is decanted into an unmarked bottle, with drinks selected on flavour preference rather than label. They make a mean cocktail, and even invented a special Flippato cocktail for our last event there...

The launch event is absolutely freeeee, so if you would like to come along and see what it's all about and sample some Sprizzato, then drop me an email on my special event address fleur@kapranos-pr.com.

If you can't make it to the event but would like to try the drink yourself, then I'm giving a bottle away as well. I'm using this snazzy Rafflecopter app that I saw on RetroChick, so thanks for that, Gemma!

You can enter to win a bottle in two ways - by following Sprizzato on Twitter, or by liking on Facebook - but do it through the below widget in order for it to register. I run both of the accounts and promise I share lots of awesome vintage photos as well as a bit of marketing! Plus info on all the fun events we'll be doing in the summer.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Edit: Just added an option to tweet about the giveaway for an extra entry.

Winner will be announced in one week, though once again, sorry Rest Of World, due to alcohol laws we can't send it aboard so it's UK only. We could possibly arrange to get something sent out from the factory in Italy though... Over 18s only too, obviously.

Look forward to hearing from you potential attendees by email and you booze hounds on social media.

Fleur xx

PS. For an event of a different kind of vintage (90s to be precise, ooOOooh, controversial!), check out this Empire Records film and foodie night put on by two friends at The Garrison SE1. I badly wish I could go, but I have another work event that night, rats.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

'Allergic to Cupcakes'

The other day on Twitter I did a couple of jokey tweets with the hashtag #vintagegirlproblems. They were to do with my head being the wrong shape for headscarves and my freeze-hold hairspray about to run out, but I did say in one that I was allergic to cupcakes. It was meant entirely as a joke (bless the one person who sent me a gluten-free cupcake recipe) because as everyone who has at least one eye knows, vintage and cupcakes seem to go hand in hand. But often controversially so!

I've lost count of the amount of moans I have seen online about 'cupcakes and bunting', that chintzy, frou-frou-y (it's a word) side to vintage that sees pretty afternoon teas served on antique floral china, 40s-style village fetes strewn with bunting and girls in pretty tea dresses that may or may not be actually old. Gin cocktails served in teacups. You know the drill.

Cupcakes recently served to me at Millennium Hotel Mayfair for a 'Breakfast at Tiffanys' screening...hence the Tiffany green icing! 

I like to think I'm not a fan of the concept of cupcakes and everything they represent (the popularity of my once subcultural style), hence the joke about being allergic. And actually, I do find most cupcakes pretty awful - intensely over-sweet to the point where eating one makes your teeth feel like they're jumping back from the sugar (see also: eating Cadbury's Creme Eggs... or maybe that's just me). I do usually snaffle one from any such cupcake abundant event I'm at and give it to my boyfriend, who, in a gender stereotype role reversal actually likes them a lot more than me. He was nearly defeated by one the other day though, declaring it the most sickly 'bun' (he's Northern) he'd ever eaten. But I won't lie, I do like to partake in a cupcakey confection every once in a while - red velvet ones are a favourite as the cream cheese frosting somehow isn't quite so sweet as buttercream. Plus, the ones you get at Vintage Patisserie are almost like a muffin at the bottom. I have eaten a lot of these in the last few years.

Vintage Patisserie cakes at a previous event I used to run - personalised... not too much buttercream! 

A lot of people profess to dislike cupcakes because they are, in fact, patently not 'vintage', at least not in the UK. Historically, we have been more into our Victoria Sponge, fruitcakes, scones, shortbread (among many others of course). A butterfly or modest fairycake if we must! Cupcakes hail from the United States, where everything seems a little more kitsch - some of the ones you get nowadays are sculptural piles of sugarcraft and empty calories. The English version, the classic fairy cake, is a much smaller affair, usually with only a thin layer of icing on top. At least, that's my perception of it, and my personal experience. (I did just have a look on the Wikipedia page for cupcakes, just to see if I was getting it horribly wrong, and am quite perturbed to see a picture of a 'butterfly cupcake' on it! That is so not a thing!) And I think a lot of full-time vintage girls like to be seen to rebel against the mainstream, twee version of our style that's pervaded popular culture. Most of us are more into 'authentic' looks than the trendy Cath Kidston version, after all*. But again, I do have chintzy tea dresses, curtains and china as well as lots of less girly stuff. I like a good mix, OK!

Ultimately though, if you put me in front of an afternoon tea, ten out of every ten times, I will go for the savoury foods first. Sandwiches, good. Quiche, good. Pork pies, gooooood. Scotch eggs... I could go on. I snapped some photos at the Vintage Mafia do at the Blacksmith last week that illustrates my fondness for stodgy English classics. At least insofar as I had no inkling of writing this post at the time, I just wanted to photograph some pies.

Pastry-tastic pies.

Smashing Scotch Eggs

I actually ate two of the homemade Scotch eggs above, they were that good. Tasty saisage and a perfectly hardboiled egg with just a hint of runny yolk. Excuse me while I dribble (and sorry veggies). My taste for savoury stuff also translates into a love of bitter cocktails - I'd rather have a Negroni than a fruity thing, any time.

I don't really know what point I am trying to make with this post, so do forgive me for just rambling away. I like cupcakes to a point, but they are not my favourite thing and so it does get a tiny bit annoying that they are so ubiquitous on the 'vintage scene'. Give me a slice of Vicky sponge any day! While I probably won't turn one down, I might not always eat it myself. But if you offer me a finger sandwich, pastry and meat-based product or other savoury snack item (or, as I've mentioned on here before, a burger), I'll probably eat it, and your actual fingers holding it out as well.

What say you, readers? Cupcakes or pork pies? There's only one way to find out... fiiiiight!

Fleur xx

*I'm sure I don't need to say this but I'm not trying to open the debate about who's more vintage again... you may only row about the two food items above ;) Go team pork pie!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The Vintage Mafia's Valentine Ric Rac!

Last weekend was the instalment of the Vintage Mafia's Ric Rac Club at our new venue, The Blacksmith and the Toffeemaker. It was a Valentine's themed extravaganza - designed for those looking for love and loved up alike to basically just have a good old knees up in a really nice pub that serves delicious drinks and pies. And it was exactly that.

I did take some photos, some of which I might show at the end, but since Mr Hanson Leatherby is pretty much unrivalled when it comes to vintage event photography, then I will let his superior snaps show the night in its full glory. There are lots, beware!

We had glamorous guests.

Amazing Pandora.

The Valentines! 

Lovely Katie! 

Mai & Zack

Perdita, Holly Vintage Girl and Liz Tregenza

The glamorous ladies of The Vintage News!
We had dancing.

We had games.

And we had the famous Ric Rac Raffle as hosted by me, with prizes from What Katie Did and Hummingbird Bakery! 

But more importantly still, I did my first ever DJing! 

With a little help from Bethan...

And Jeni! 

My fabulous dress came from my sponsor Miss Bamboo - it's The Soutache Sandy!

Luckily we had the real pros in too, in the form of Auntie Maureen...

And Mr Lee.

All in all it was an amazing night and we do believe all our guests had a fantastic time. We'll be announcing the next one before you know it, as well as some more super exciting projects for The Vintage Mafia

If those enough photos for you, you can find more on the Vintage Mafia Facebook page!

As for Valentine's proper, no photos. But it was amazing. <3 nbsp="" p="">

Fleur xx

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

See you at Rick's?

Last week, courtesy of Future Cinema I went back in time to 1942 Morocco. Casablanca to be precise. There, I hung out in Rick's Café Americain, a swinging joint full of laughter and partying.

(Plus some very Dr Who-esque lighting effects at the Blue Parrot, as seen above.)

There were dancing girls.

And beautiful Moroccan singers.

And dashing gents galore...

Spirits were running high. There were even arrests, as the gendarmes caught wind of members of the resistance. Rick stood by, his neutrality unswayed!

As with every Future Cinema production, it was an immersive experience full of performances and little pockets of activity to be discovered around the venue. Upon entering, the man and I were subjected to an interrogation by the gendarmes. He had to go and face a wall, then produce his ID papers, while one man lost his nerve and ran away at a fast lick, with the police chasing after him! After we went inside, as we made out way down a shadowy corridor lined with tropical plants, a shifty man sidled up to us. It was the man above, the leader of the Resistance. He told us to come to the Blue Parrot Cafe after the 'Sand Dance'.  We did, and he gave us a rousing speech, dishing out song sheets for later...

During the next few hours there were clandestine meetups...

Encouragement from Rick to enjoy ourselves...

The was a brief interruption from the dastardly Nazis singing Die Wacht am Rhein before the entire auditorium burst out with a rousing version of The Marseillaise, as initiated by our friend above.

The man and I were joined by Jeni Yesterday, Lisa Snoodlebug (and their menfolk), as well as the Vintage News Team. Sadly, my camera doesn't capture very well in the low light and I didn't manage to get anything good of the two girlies, either standing or dancing. Here's Lisa's boob, I mean amazing 40s brooch instead. And the back of a conga line.

Since you're all DYING to know what I wore, here it is! ;) I'm officially fed up with winter, and so, I decided to break out a semi-retired, 1940s cotton dress for the occasion. Unfortunately I forgot my slip, so I was a little chilly. Who cares! 

1940s Victory Rolls were de rigueur, of course. Have you ever seen my Victory Rolls video tutorial? Just noticed it has had nearly 100,000 views, crikey!

The initial run of Future Cinema's Casablanca sold out very quickly so I was really lucky to get to go. But this very lunchtime, not even half an hour ago as I type, they released tickets for the next run. Go and get yourself involved, it was a truly wonderful night.

Unfortunately, the man and I did not manage to secure exit papers, so it looks like I'll be in Casablanca indefinitely. See You At Rick's indeed!

Fleur xx

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