Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Not the Goodwood Revival...

Ah, September.  The most vintage month of all months!  Because of course, the Goodwood Revival is on!  I love Goodwood. I love the Aero Club cafe and the interesting people you meet there, I love The Kennels, I love the statue of Douglas Bader. I even love the wind on the airfield, though it ruins my hair.  But I especially love The Goodwood Revival.  Seeing the race track & airfield done out in nostalgic fascias, with the incredible cars & planes, and everyone looking so smart in their vintage, is a wonderful sight.

My husband is a pilot, and flys from Goodwood, as his father did.  So the place has a special magic for us, and as members of the Aero Club we get to cross the barriers and be 'up close' with the planes.  Here we are several years ago at Goodwood.

Please excuse the extremely non-vintage hair here! I was just beginning!

Yet somehow, we always have other important engagements during the weekend of the Revival, and since the above photo was taken about 6 years ago we haven't managed to attend.  This year was no exception as we were invited to the wedding of an old University friend, who had decided to get married in Krakow.

I have to say, I was not completely thrilled about going to Poland.  The trip took up our modest holiday budget for the year, and I imagined it would be cold, and stark, and very former Soviet bloc, and pretty miserable overall.  I could not have been more wrong.

Krakow turns out to be a spectacularly beautiful city, with much to keep you interested.  I could easily have spent a week there and not have been bored.
There is a fanastic antique & vintage market, which was held in the main square every day of our trip:

My husband was particularly taken with this old soviet flying hat! 

Blue skies!  We had 27 degrees on one day!

The city feels really safe at night & family-friendly. Although there is obviously a seedier side to every city (particularly those which have the honour of being great stag do destinations!), it is very well hidden in Krakow.  This may be because of the influence of the Catholic church - we saw a lot of nuns!  I didn't notice any obvious red light areas, though I do know some of our party ended up in bars charging over £100 per bottles of Vodka, in return for the presence of some scantily-clad lovelies!

The bars & cafes around the main square have open-air tables, so provide blankets in the evening to ensure you don't get cold:

Since Poland has not yet adopted the Euro currency, it is cheap to eat out - more so in the restaurants off the square.  An enormous main meal, with wine & beer set my husband and I back the princely sum of £14. There are a good variety of restaurants, but my recommendation is to head for those selling local food, which is delicious.  So long as you like plenty of meat & dumplings (which with my European ancestry, I do!).
After a meal, head to a cafe for some vodka tasting...

A selection of flavoured Vodkas set us back all of £4
Then move into the main square to the cafe which sells only puddings.  Try the Sultans Spaghetti (not pasta, as you can see!).  It's made up of caramel ice cream, with figs, prunes, sultanas, tonnes of cream & various sauces.  Enough for about 4 people!

The cream clogs your arteries, but the prunes keep your regular!

I was disappointed not to be there long enough to visit Auschwitz, which is fairly nearby and very affordable to get to.  It seemed a real shame to be so close and not to take advantage of visiting such an important site, but it was not to be as we simply didn't have the time.

We took the spirit of The Revival with us, and added some good old-fashioned glamour to the weekend.

On Friday night, we met up with our friends for drinks, and one commented that we looked as if we'd stepped out of the 1940's.  Well, duh!

For the wedding,  I wore my red M'lady dress by Able Grable.  I had this made earlier in the summer, as a present for my birthday.  It was the first of the design to be made in Red silk, and I am completely thrilled by it.  I cannot sing the praises of Miss Matilda Grable enough! 

I received so many compliments on the dress, mainly of the 'ooh, wow! You look like a film star' variety,  (shh, don't tell them, but this is what I was going for!). I still have a way to go with mastering my 30's hairstyle, but it did me for the day!  I was thrilled on my return for the designer, Miss Matilda, to ask to use one of my photos on her website in October (not one shown here - you'll have to go to ablegrable.com in October to see it!)

Not to be outdone, my husband wore his grandfathers evening suit from the 40's, swapped the jacket for a vintage velvet jacket, and use his new steampunk-inspired pocket watch to time his MC duties.  He was very dashing.

We already know that next year we will be attending another wedding  which will again clash with The Revival, - but this time nearby in Hampshire, so we'll definately be at Goodwood in 2012 for at least one day!

It was a shame to miss another year at Goodwood, but really who could complain about spending a few days in such a beautiful city, in the company of good friends?  It was a thoroughly spectacular weekend - even if there were no other vintage chaps & chapettes around, and not a Spitfire in sight! 

All that remains is to say Congratulations to the happy couple - ladies & gentlement, please raise your glasses of Polish Vodka to Neil & Susannah!  Cheers!

Monday, 5 September 2011

What Katie (and Lidia and I) did....

Those of you 'in the know' will be well aware of the fabulousness that is 'What Katie Did'.  For those of you who don't know - it is the most fantastic lingerie company, specialising in retro-styled undies and lovely corsetry.  They have a boutique in Portobello Green just off the Portobello Road, an online shop, and now a new store just about to open in LA.
Knowing my prediliction for yummy undies, you can imagine my joy when I saw, via their facebook fan page, that they were having a little soiree to honour their new Autumn/Winter 2011 collection!  Quicker than you can say 'circle-stitch-bra', I pressed the 'Attending' button.  (Well, actually I pressed the 'Maybe' button, but this is my blog and I'm allowed some artistic licence).

Since it was certain to be a glamorous affair, I decided to test out a new hairstyle from my recently arrived book 'Vintage Hairstyling', by Lauren Reynolds.  After a whole hour with my hands behind my head, a lot of curling, and even more hairspray, this is what my version of 'one for the boys' looked like.

From the back...

...& from the front (sorry for the blank stare & lack of smile)

Since it was supposed to be a lovely day, I wore a recently purchased nautical dress from Collectif clothing, and some retro-styled heels bought for a fiver from a local charity shop.  And then it started raining, so I donned a leather jacket to give me a 'rock' edge.

My friend Lidia met me at Waterloo and together we circumnavigated the extensive works currently blocking up the London Underground, and arrived at last at What Katie Did.

Oh, the joy!  The yumminess that is the store!  The corsets, the peach & black undies, the stockings!  There were a lot of retro-chicks already in residence, and it was getting pretty warm from all the body heat.  So we cooled down with some Gin cocktails, natch.  Oh, and stuffed our cakeholes with the yummy cupcakes.  Any store that gives you free booze and cake is alright by me!

We watched a fashion show of some of the new A/W 2011 lines, shown off to full glory by some burlesque lovelies including Miss Miranda, who has the most porcelain skin I've ever seen.

Who wouldn't want to buy it all?
By this point I was, ahem, 'glowing', and I felt really bad about trying on their lovely undies as I was likely to get them all sweaty & grim.  However, fortified by more Gin, I threw caution to the wind & went into the dressing room. I was helped to get into the right sizes by the very lovely Vicky. 

A quick word on Vicky.  She may just about be the nicest and most helpful person I've ever encountered in a shop of any kind.   Often I find sales staff in high street stores unhelpful & judgemental.  Vicky & the other staff at WKD are the complete opposite and I don't even mind them seeing my wobbly bits.  Added to which Vicky has the most amazingly beautiful tatoos I've seen, that I just want to sit and stare at her like she's on a plinth in the Tate.


I came away with a Maitress bullet bra & a waist-cincher.  It really is worth going into the boutique to try these things on if you possibly can.  My bra size is usually a 34D, but I vary in the WKD bras between a D & DD depending on the design.  I'm a high-street size 12-14, but going by the vintage sizing on the WKD website, I should also take a WKD 16 in their shapewear.  What I've actually ended up with is a size 10 in the waist cincher (smug? moi?), and a 12 in their underbust girdle.  That said, if you can't get into the store, and you do find you've ordered the wrong size from their website (as I recently did), they are really helpful in exchanging it for the correct size. You can even email their all-female team photos of you in the item so they can help you judge the correct size.

After the delights of WKD, Lidia & I needed a brief come-down before the trip home, so we wondered around the vintage market outside the arcade for a bit.  The most fascinating stall had old photo albums full of sepia prints, obviously from the home of someone recently passed, who had no one to pass them on to.  There was also a handful of photos of Adolf Hitler, together with some kind of medal.  Really interesting. 

Lidia trying on a particularly fetching hat

Fortified by a felafel wrap (discounted by 50p!), from the farmers market, we watched the 2nd WKD fashion show then headed home.

By some miracle, (and about a hundred-weight of hairpins), my first all-day vintage 'do' remained intact, despite being rained on, as you can see.
Tired but still looking good after a long day!
A big thumbs up to What Katie Did for a throughly wonderful launch party - and good luck with your LA store!