Thursday, 19 June 2014

Birthday!

Last week, it was my birthday! 

I turned 33, a nice satisfyingly symmetrical albeit large and scary number! In contrast to previous years, I kept it completely low key this year, but still celebrated in two parts as is traditional - on the Saturday closest to the day, and on the day itself.

Actually, three parts, if we want to get technical.

On the Saturday before, I had all these great plans, which were systematically ruined by the British weather. I had planned to go to a brand-new crazy golf course not far from my east London flat - it's Moby Dick themed and looks amazing. Sadly, it poured all morning, so I cancelled.

This is when they were building it, but how great does this look? 
It's the Premier Inn behind the ship that really makes it, I think.

The next plan was to go bowling! Woo hoo! Who doesn't love bowling? Sadly, All Star Lanes was fully booked. Sad trombone.

So instead, I gathered the last stragglers of the group who were originally coming to play crazy golf (if there's one thing guaranteed to curse attendance of birthday plans, it's changing said plans. Apart from the weather, obvs), and we instead went for food (everyone) and a beer (me) at All Star Lanes and a mooch around Beyond Retro. Oh, and a hard milkshake (also me)!

These are all candids from phones as sometimes it's more important to enjoy your birthday than have the specific goal to turn it into a blog post!

Always have your beer with a cocktail umbrella on your birthday!

Five beautiful ladies joined me at All Star. They were: 


Jeni and Katie

Moi and Sadie



We then went to Beyond Retro where I bought some cowboy boots for £12 before decamping to the awesome (or dare I say ace) Ace Hotel on Shoreditch High Street. It's like a mid-century-ish dream in there, the food and drinks are nice, even if not cheap... and when the waitress overheard that it was my birthday, she brought me this! So nice!


More beer! Are you sensing a theme? 

That night, I met up with Bethan and a few others and headed to Last Resort, always just the best night out ever. Well, this side of 2004, anyway.


On the day of my actual birth, last Monday, I did something I have not done in nearly two decades... I went to a theme park!

Thorpe Park used to be the crapper version of Chessington World of Adventures - smaller and with no good rides. Then, they started getting all the good rollercoasters! Sadly, in the meantime I got myself a boyfriend who hates both heights and rollercoasters.


He had no problem with the more sedate, 'family friendly' rides, like Rhumba Rapids, pictured above. I did manage to persuade him to go on Colossus though. An excellent difference in facial expressions can be clearly seen! Hehe.


For the rest of the big ones, I was on my own! I queued for Swarm for the longest.


You could choose to go forwards or backwards - I went forwards!


Here you can see me (or not) plummeting on Stealth - the fastest rollercoaster in Europe. On my own, of course. 

Sean did go on Tidal Wave with me, which Jeni warned me about. You get wet through like you've jumped in a pool! That was the basis behind wearing a Fleur dress - repro for durability, cotton for quick drying! Luckily it was a beautiful day, so I wasn't drenched for long... 


Last, but definitely not least, stop on my birthday adventure was the Ace Cafe - home of the famous Ton Up Boys (and girls) and Rockers in the 50s and 60s!


The food was as could be expected but still nice and no rockers were in evidence... a DeLorean was, however! Perfect end to the day.


And that was my birthday. Who's up for a road trip to Alton Towers next year? I'll leave Sean at home. ;)

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

Thursday, 12 June 2014

A sundress of delight

This time of year, I'm surgically attached to my 1940s repro peasant tops, most of which are from Vivien of Holloway, that emporium of British-designed, British-made reproduction vintage. I recently did a rare spot of modelling for VoH, for their newest (old) creation, the Anna sundress and of course, they kindly let me have one.

I wore it out on a burger date with my love.

Earrings and bangles: Bow & Crossbones

Is it just me or is the quality of these uploads horrible? They look fine on Flickr.

I've tied her straps in knots but you can tuck the back ones away and tie as a halterneck if that's your thing (as I have in the modelling shots). 



A millisecond later, a woman walked out of a door... 



You've all seen my tattoo... right? ;)


And because you can't go anywhere without a jacket, even on a summer's day... my lovely leather one (told you I wasn't wearing anything else.

Coat: eBay

It's kinda perfect for summer wearing,

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Mini Me, you complete me!

Well this is an exciting thing.

A week or two ago, I was invited to the offices of British Airways' ad agency to do something rather different.

BA have recently launched a campaign called Last Call, a last-minute type service where you can book to jet off somewhere within the next month or so for bargain prices, and they have chosen me to appear in the creative!

Along with six other bloggers, This Must Be For You (anonymous gift-giving which looks amazing), awesome Lauren from THE GIRL WHO STOLE LONDON (who I met through Bethan), The Travel HackThe Everyday Man,  and Chris from Urban Travel Blog, I was... wait for it...

3D-printed and turned into a tiny model! Of me!


This is actually it. Well, a photo of it. Probably the coolest thing I have ever done.


Fleur

Obviously, the only correct attire to be 3D printed is a Fleur dress and Hasbeens. Immortalised forever! 

Here's a little minute-long video they made of the day so you can see how the printing works - you're scanned with a handheld device while you stand as still as a rock! Apparently it doesn't capture dark hair very well, so my head was done again separately and photos were taken just for tweaking. But it should be entirely accurate!


Remarkably, and this was not planned, the mini avatar of me is going to Istanbul, where I am going in real life in September for a 2 week holiday! I have asked them to send me to the flea markets and the Basilica Cistern, but they are also going to surprise me. Obviously I am going to recreate the poses wherever they do take me, how fun to have an action figure (albeit a stiff one) checking it out for me ahead of time!

From Wikipedia

I won't try and photoshop the avatar into this Basilica Cistern picture but it looks pretty cool, right? I can't wait to see the pictures and more importantly, I can't wait to see the avatar! I only have these photos but I do get to keep it when it comes back.

I will display it in the loo like I would an Oscar or a Grammy. ;)


I'll obviously be posting about this again soon. But isn't it so cool you, guys??

Do check out Last Call in the meantime though!

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

Sunday, 1 June 2014

The King's Mistress - Sister Agnes

Good afternoon/morning/evening (delete as applicable to timezone) one and all, and welcome to my latest King's Ginger adventure! Before I go on, there has been a big change at the KGL HQ, with distribution switching to Mangrove and this means world domination is on the horizon! Expect big things and hopefully even wider availability for all you wannabe Ginger tipplers. Hurrah!





On to the story, this time  it's about another of the King's fancy women, who was by far the most widely accepted of all his mistresses in Royal circles. She was even friends with Queen Alexandra, the King's wife. All no doubt because of her incredible altruism. Meet the amazing Agnes Keyser!


Agnes was been a very rich and beautiful young socialite of the 1870s and 1880s.

Somewhat inevitably she came to the attention of the Prince of Wales. They became friends and, later, lovers. Agnes allowed him to use her house in Belgravia for entertaining his various other friends and mistresses, including one of his most famous companions, Alice Keppel. The two formed a strong bond and their relationship lasted until the King’s death in 1910.

Agnes was by all accounts horrified by the plight of British officers returning from the Boer war, whom she discovered were mostly highly self-sacrificing, unable to pay for surgeons’ fees and consequently medically neglected. She and her sister Fanny used their own considerable funds to set up a hospital at their home in Grosvenor Crescent in 1899. Agnes used her connection to the future king to secure the co-operation of the most distinguished doctors and surgeons.  King Edward VII became the first official patron of the hospital in 1904, when it became King Edward VII's Hospital for Officers. This of course helped Agnes and Fanny get further support from many in royal and social circles.

Grosvenor Crescent, site of the original hospital

But what about the woman herself? There isn't a vast amount known about her. Agnes was born Elizabeth Agnes Keyser in July 1852 at Great Stanmore in Middlesex, the daughter of Charles and Margaret Keyser. Her father was a partner in a stock exchange firm and she lived a very comfortable life. But it's clear from her actions that this wasn't enough for her. She never married, and lived with her sister Fanny, with whom she later set up the hospital.



She nursed soldiers throughout the Boer Wars (Fanny doing so in person in South Africa), and in 1901 was made a Dame of the Order of St John. Later the same year she was awarded the Royal Red Cross Medal for her hospital work. In 1904, the hospital in Grosvenor Crescent was renamed in honour of the King and Agnes became known as Sister Agnes and used her gift for organisation to run everything. She was known for her kind yet firm ways, and gained a name for herself as a humanitarian.




Obviously when the King died in 1910, the hospital carried on in his name. During the Second World War, the site moved to Grosvenor Gardens where it remained, even after the death of Agnes Keyser in 1941 (aged 89). The same year, the building was heavily damaged by bombing and in 1948, it moved to it present location (so actually, King Edward was never present in the building, nonetheless there are lots of ties to him there). In 2000, the hospital was renamed King Edward VII's Hospital Sister Agnes and it remains so to this day. It's where the royals go to be treated themselves - Prince Philip went there when he had his infection during Jubilee year, and Kate Middleton when she had that terrible morning sickness. It was also the site of the tragic incidents when an Australian radio show prank-called the hospital when Kate was giving birth and the nurse involved later committed suicide. Very sad indeed.




Because of the above incident, the staff of the hotel are rather wary of press, and when I turned up, I only hoped they would consent to photographs, Luckily, one mention of The King's Ginger and Berry Bros. & Rudd is enough to thaw anyone and they gladly let me snap some of the details as well as the Library, which features a number of portraits of his gingery Majesty!




Forgive the light glare!

There's some good royal and Agnes-related memorabilia in a case in the Library too.


Back to the past for a moment. Agnes Keyser's affair with Edward was a private one, and she was not splashed across the papers like Lilly Langtry or Mrs Keppel. I can't help but feel she acted like more of an emotional confidante to his Majesty than someone who catered only for his desires, like the former. At least if her dedication to nursing and care is anything to go by. Sadly searches of the internet don't reveal much else about Agnes's life - if only I had had time to read this book, which lives behind the desk of the hospital!



I'd like to say a big thank you to the receptionist lady above and the gentleman who was also behind the desk for letting me snap photos and letting me take a peek at the book (though they warned me it was quite a dry read!). Apparently some bottles of King's Ginger have been spotted in the building too!

(and outside)
Check in a day or two for full outfit post!

I'll leave you with this video of me presenting the King's Ginger Cocktail sessions from a few years ago, I have never ever watched before, for reasons unknown...

Here's how to make a seasonally appropriate King's Ginger Summer Cup (recipe on the KGL site)! I didn't look as pink in real life.


Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

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