Monday, 24 July 2017

Outfit: the prettiest print

You might remember I recently went to the Vintage Carnival and judged the outfit competition. And if you remember that you might think the dress in this post is a little familiar... Basically, I loved the outfit that the lady who came 3rd was wearing so much I shamelessly copied her! It's the sincerest form of flattery, not the lamest form of imagination... heh.

In my defense, this print is seriously pretty. I love the cheerful colour combination and this year is kind of The Year of the Baby Blue for me ever since it played such a big part in the wedding (see below for some news on that front by the way). I can't get enough of it. This is my very first Seamstress of Bloomsbury dress and I'll be completely honest - I thought it was going to size too long for my frame. How wrong I was! I really love this dress. I don't have many dresses I put on that fall into that 'makes me feel like a princess' bracket, but this one is one of them. It just hangs so beautifully - probably thanks to how much material is in the skirt! I couldn't resist fanning it out in basically every photo here and I have zero regrets about that. (Oh, apart from the regret about how incredibly difficult it was to find a pic where I could show you how it sits naturally - nice work, expert fashion blogger.) Even B was a fan - and he doesn't usually have a lot to say about the dresses I wear. Oh and the print comes in other styles too.

I always wonder about higher-priced repro clothes - the only way I really get my hands on them is in big sales or through reviewing them for this blog, which is something I'm endlessly grateful for. I haven't always thought the prices are justified (I used to love Tara Starlet but honestly the quality was not good enough for the money), but this isn't one of those times. The fabric is top notch cotton and clearly the cut and finish are excellent. Another way you know you're dealing with quality? When the matching fabric belt has a loop, tucks down neatly and the buckle is study enough that the belt doesn't immediately start coming undone. Sure, unless there's holes it's going to move about probably whatever happens, but oh my I have much, much worse.

Oh and the matching bolero? Super cute and I love the idea. The bolero has two hook and eyes as well as buttons, so you can wear it however you like, which is a nice touch and, again - quality.

The only thing I still feel a little puzzled about is the sizing. According to the size guide for this dress, I should be a near-perfect 10, which is what I chose. The bust, though, should have been a snug but good fit, but I think I had about 2 inches of room. The waist seemed closer to the guide (slightly bigger than I needed, but close enough), but again felt on the large side. Alas I can't tell for sure now because I actually had it taken in a little before I took these pictures. I do know that if the 8 was true to the size guide I wouldn't have gotten it done up! It does seem to vary per garment though, so I would contact Seamstress of Bloomsbury if you want to be sure on something.

The Seamstress of Bloomsbury Clara dress and bolero set in seaside print review

The Seamstress of Bloomsbury Clara dress and bolero set in seaside print review

Retro cat eye gold glitter sunglasses from Unique Vintage

The Seamstress of Bloomsbury Clara dress and bolero set in seaside print review

The Seamstress of Bloomsbury Clara dress and bolero set in seaside print review

The Seamstress of Bloomsbury Clara dress and bolero set in seaside print review

The Seamstress of Bloomsbury Clara dress and bolero set in seaside print review

The Seamstress of Bloomsbury Clara dress and bolero set in seaside print review

The Seamstress of Bloomsbury Clara dress and bolero set in seaside print review

The Seamstress of Bloomsbury Clara dress and bolero set in seaside print review

BAIT Footwear Jeanine wedge sandals in yellow

BAIT Footwear Jeanine wedge sandals in yellow

The Seamstress of Bloomsbury Clara dress and bolero set in seaside print review
Hair flowers: Sink or Swim Bowtique (old)
Sunglasses: Unique Vintage (similar)
Bag: Ollie & Nic (old)


I'm also wearing my new BAIT sandals and one of those pairs of glittery sunglasses I'm obsessed with now. The sandals are currently on Zulily so they were a bargain and they're so comfortable I'm basically wearing them non-stop now!

And if you've got this far, you might be interested to know that my next post is going to feature WEDDING PHOTOS!! Yes, we got them back (ahead of schedule!) and I've been beavering away writing posts. Yes, plural. The first one is going to get the all-important part out of the way first; The Dress and my general bridal style. I can't wait! I've been teasing the odd photo on my Instagram, but I'm looking forward to showing you the details.



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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Shipping US to UK (and beyond) made easier - myMallbox review

Shipping US to UK - myMallBox review

I'm sure everyone who lives in the UK and loves vintage reproduction as much as I do has that same sinking feeling when you see something advertised by a US retailer you fall in love with... Even more so if it's e.g. Besame, who don't ship overseas (although I think they're about to change that), right?

Step up, myMallBox! I'd heard of these 'interim couriers' - for want of a better phrase - before, who allow you to ship items to their US address and then they'll arrange for delivery to you in the UK (and beyond), but from what I knew of them many charge for their part of the service. Once you start adding up that fee plus the shipping cost you'd still need to pay, they become a bit too expensive for the casual user like me. What's good about myMallBox is that you don't pay a fee like this, you just pay for your shipping. Oh and that they ship to any country in the world, not just the UK!

myMallBox gave me a credit to try their service out and it didn't take long for me to spot the first US item I wanted to buy; a pair of glittery sunglasses from Unique Vintage. Side note: I've got a weird new obsession with glittery cateye sunglasses. Since buying this first pair I've bought a second and my attitude is currently Pokemon levels of 'gotta catch 'em all' - whenever I see them, I buy them. Anyway, back to this purchasing experiment! I ordered following myMallBox's instructions (a little bit buried, but I found them in the end) and about a week later I got an email alert saying my item had arrived, which was in a day of my tracking with the retailer, Unique Vintage, telling me it had been delivered. 

I went to the myMallBox website and selected my item for shipping, followed the process, but for a reason I can't remember now navigated away from the page just before I hit the 'go' button and then had a nightmare finding it on the system again as it disappeared from my 'My Packages' view. Top tip - don't do that! Anyway, eventually I found it again, went through the process and selected a cheap shipping option (you'll get a few, some faster than others) and waited expectantly for my parcel to arrive. Which it did, within a couple of weeks. Success!

I'd deliberately picked a cheap option so that I'd get to have another go with a second purchase. Having spotted yet more things I wanted from Unique Vintage, this time swimwear for the minimoon and honeymoon, another order in and I waited for it to show in myMallBox. And waited. But unlike the first it didn't go into my account for a while. I checked my Unique Vintage tracking number and saw it was delivered. I gave it a few days, then I contacted myMallBox to find out what was going on. It wasn't easy to find this contact info, which I wasn't overjoyed about. Anyway, they got back very quickly and what do you know, my package appeared in my account. I picked a faster service this time because I was hoping my items would get there before my minimoon and hurrah, they did. 

Apart from that hiccup and I still don't know what the hold-up was really, I've found this service pretty handy. The shipping rates offer more flexibility than most retailers do and where it really comes into its own is the consolidation and re-packaging service they offer. If you have several orders you can have them boxed together to save money on shipping, which is pretty handy. I haven't used this but I know someone who has and it worked swimmingly.

Despite the issue above, I've used them again for a recent order and I think it's a really good idea - particularly for getting your hands on something that only ships to US addresses.

Glittery 50s cat eye style sunglasses

Pros
  • You're not forced to stick to one expensive shipping option as per most retailers
  • You can order several different packages and myMallBox will consolidate and ship them together, or put them into a smaller parcel, to help keep costs down
  • Many companies that won't ship to the UK will happily ship to your myMallBox US address - particularly handy for cosmetics where this often applies
Cons
  • Regardless of the problem I mentioned, there seems to be a delay in terms of when the item arrives at your suite vs when it becomes available to ship. Once it's on its way it's all good, but otherwise it does add some extra time in. This isn't the option you'd pick for an express delivery or if you're impatient (which I admit to being!)
  • You'll still pay customs as per the value you declare via myMallBox, who will put it with the packing info. Of course, that's on you, but I'm not encouraging any law-breaking...
  • Not all US companies will allow you to ship to this kind of warehouse. I haven't run into one yet but I know they exist

What do you think; would you use a service like this?



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Friday, 14 July 2017

Outfit: summer favourites

I really love trying out unusual colour combinations and then realising 'whoa, they really go!' - this outfit was one of those moments. In the summer, I love wearing red (well, that's an all year thing really) and mint green, so it was only natural to put them together at some point.

I'm just really pleased at how it worked out! I've said it before and I'll say it again, I can find so many ways to be creative with summer outfits - a skill and desire that doesn't seem to stick with me into winter. The other great thing about this outfit is this top, which isn't a top at all, it's a very old dress that is far too short for me to wear without being arrested for indecent exposure. Given that I'm 5'1", I'm baffled at who could wear this 'dress' as an actual dress. As a long top though, it's doing a pretty good job and I loved wearing it like this.

The skirt was from the days when Tara Starlet was still around and they had an outlet on eBay. My oh my, I picked up some total bargains from that outlet shop that I still regularly wear. This skirt was either £5 or £10, either way given I've worn it a million times since I bought it, it more than earned the investment. The only thing about it is boy the Tara Starlet sizing was SO out of whack. This skirt is a 10 and it's smaller than all of my size 8 skirts. I can just about wear it with my waist cinched, if I don't plan to eat a huge meal. If you ever see a Tara Starlet swing skirt in this belted design come up on re-sale, do yourself a big favour and ask the seller what the waist measurement is. I've got a second style like this and it has the exact same problem.

Anyway, we've had a pretty good summer so far, for the UK at least. I mean, we always have more cloud than anyone wants, but when you're a blogger you can make the most of even those days because hello, perfect photo lighting! Ah, summer, as per usual I'll be distraught when you go...

50s inspired summer outfit with red swing skirt and mint green accents

50s inspired summer outfit with red swing skirt and mint green accents

50s inspired summer outfit with red swing skirt and mint green accents

50s inspired summer outfit with red swing skirt and mint green accents

50s inspired summer outfit with red swing skirt and mint green accents

50s inspired summer outfit with red swing skirt and mint green accents

50s inspired summer outfit with red swing skirt and mint green accents

50s inspired summer outfit with red swing skirt and mint green accents

50s inspired summer outfit with red swing skirt and mint green accents

50s inspired summer outfit with red swing skirt and mint green accents

50s inspired summer outfit with red swing skirt and mint green accents
Headscarf: eBay
Sunglasses: New Look (similar)
Dress worn as top: Jane Norman (old)
Belt & Skirt: Tara Starlet (similar)
Shoes: BAIT via Zulily (I'm selling a size 3.5/4 UK pair on my Depop - search ciciandmarie!)
Bag: Abby by Jo Totes (a camera bag!)



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Sunday, 9 July 2017

My vintage seaside wedding - the movie!

CiCi Marie vintage seaside wedding video screenshot - wedding license

I bet you didn't think that the first thing I'd be sharing from the wedding would be a fully-fledged video, did you?! But here's the deal: unlike with the photographs (which we're still waiting to get back), the video was DIY. It's also probably the best snapshot of what the whole day was like, so I quite like that it's coming first for that reason. I'll show you the details later in the photos ;)

We always knew we wanted a video, but we also knew we had the skills to do it, if it wasn't for the inconvenient fact that we had to also star in it. Such a drag. The thought occurred to us very early on that we could still edit a video ourselves, as long as we had a willing videographer who could take the footage for us on our camera. Fortunately, my bridesmaid's fiance was persuaded into it (probably partly with the promise we'd return the favour and do their video next year). After an enjoyable afternoon showing him the ropes and taking test footage (which B then edited into a video to prove to our friend he had the skillz), he knew the main principles of how we wanted the shots framed to create our usual style of authentic-looking Super 8-esque video.

CiCi Marie vintage seaside wedding video screenshot - Cromer Pier

And then on the day B was too distracted to tell the poor guy how to change a crucial setting on the camera that would have stopped a lot of over-exposure during the outdoors ceremony because, what do you know, we had perfect summer weather. I'd like to explain that we'd both planned the whole day expecting typical British seaside weather (rain, wind, cold, clouds - you know the drill) and instead we got 20 degree sunshine (ideal for wedding attire) and a gentle breeze for most of the daytime. This aside, while some of the footage wasn't salvageable, we had enough to work with. And we really couldn't complain - we always knew it was a risk of not using a skilled videographer and that the video itself was a keepsake bonus.

Oh and the battery died fairly early on in the evening and the aforementioned distracted groom hadn't thought to pack the spare battery - but honestly, given the state of some of our guests, not necessarily a bad thing ;)

CiCi Marie vintage seaside wedding video screenshot - Cromer Pier

Anyway, all of this 'making of' aside, I should just show you the video now shouldn't I?! Enjoy this glimpse into what this amazing day was like :)



I can't wait to hear what you all think!

I keep saying to B he has a career or at least a part-time job in making this style of wedding video, but he won't hear it! Long-time readers will know that last year he shot and edited the video for my best friend too. What do you all think - could he do this professionally?? Available for weddings in the East Anglia area ;)

Three more weeks until I'm expecting the photos - having the video to watch is keeping us going until then :) I will tell you a lot more about things like what I wore, the decorations etc etc when I post the photos.


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Wednesday, 5 July 2017

The Vintage Carnival Leicester & Best Dressed competition

I was super pleased to be asked back to judge the Leicester Vintage Carnival this month and I'm now going to bombard you with pictures from the day. It's a lovely day out and the lack of torrential rain this year made it all the more enjoyable!

My favourite part about it is the amazing food and drink on offer - what can I say, this girl loves feeding her face. It's terribly middle-classed of me I'm sure, but I love a good street-food stall. The first thing we did when we turned up was scoped out what was on offer. I'm still trying to eat no or low gluten because I felt so much better when I stuck to it before the wedding (I'm intolerant), so The English Indian lured us in with their promise of curried chips and deep-fried haloumi. Honestly, this is the best food I've ever eaten at a festival-type-thing. I got the half-half fried chicken and fried haloumi and it was epic. It makes me hungry just thinking about it. If you ever see these guys at an event, do yourselves a favour and make a beeline for them! We followed this with a strawberry Pimms... mmm.

The English Indian half-half

Fed and happy, we went to check out the vintage car show and it was a great display again. My favourite pink Cadillac was back, but as it didn't match my outfit this time I didn't get photos with it again ;) I think you'll agree my choices are the perfect accessories to this fab Voodoo Vixen dress, that this time I styled with red, orange and gold rather than yellow. B was annoyed I was choosing the cars to stand in front of based on what matched my dress, but then agreed it made for fab photos...

CiCi Marie at the Vintage Carnival Leicester 2017

Car show, Vintage Carnival 2017

CiCi Marie at the Vintage Carnival Leicester 2017

Car show, vintage carnival 2017

CiCi Marie at the Vintage Carnival Leicester 2017

CiCi Marie at the Vintage Carnival Leicester 2017
Hair flowers: old
Sunglasses: Unique Vintage (out of stock)
Earrings: Desperate Beatnik 
Dress: c/o Voodoo Vixen (out of stock)
Bag: Joanie Clothing (no longer available)
Shoes: Swedish Hasbeens (similar)


Side note: I have to say, these Swedish Hasbeens served me well - I was expecting them to hurt by the end of the day but they were just fine. Definitely going to bear them in mind for future summer events.

All that looking at cars got me ready for some dessert (who am I kidding, I'm always ready), so we headed to the cafe. The decor was cute and the cakes were outstanding - I had a gluten free millionaire's shortbread that was better than most standard ones I had. B had a chocolate-orange cake that was also divine. Great tea too. Only problem was the service wasn't great - too few staff for too many guests. But we weren't in a hurry so we didn't mind sitting around once we had our tea.

Tea and cake, vintage carnival 2017

Tea and cake, vintage carnival 2017

Tea and cake, vintage carnival 2017

By this point it was getting closer to when I was supposed to be judging, so we thought we'd check out the tent where it was happening. There was a lindy-hop lesson going on and my shoes were definitely not suitable (ever tried dancing in platform wooden soles?), but it was fun to watch. I used to do lessons when I lived in London, so I was itching to join in. (I'm pretty reserved usually, but for some reason have never felt embarrassed dancing to steps in public.) Having said that, I didn't do these lessons with B and I think I saved myself some trampled feet.

Lindy-hop, Vintage Carnival 2017

Lindy-hop, Vintage Carnival 2017

And onto the competition! Jess, the festival organiser, myself and Charlie Adams who contributes to Vintage Life magazine were on the judging panel, so here we are below. I think at this point the compere (Jess's mum!) had just wrongly said Charlie 'runs Vintage Life magazine' and we were all chuckling about that.

Best Dressed Competition, Vintage Carnival 2017

There were just under 30 contestants and I was particularly smitten with #1 here's Seamstress of Bloomsbury dress and Miss L Fire shoes (I've been trying to get my hands on these for ages) - and her absolutely fabulous poodle. I always think poodles aren't that flattering but she looked fantastic.

Best Dressed Competition, Vintage Carnival 2017

My favourite accessory was the adorable Theodore... 

Best Dressed Competition, Vintage Carnival 2017

Best Dressed Competition, Vintage Carnival 2017 
Best Dressed Competition, Vintage Carnival 2017

Time to judge, check out the concentration...

Best Dressed Competition, Vintage Carnival 2017

And ta-da! Our winners. 1st place in the middle we loved all of her coordination and accessories. 2nd her 40s vintage dress and fantastic hair (a gibson roll with flowers tucked in the back and pompodour). 3rd the aforementioned fantastic poodle was a big swaying factor!

Best Dressed Competition winners, Vintage Carnival 2017

It turned out I'd bought hair flowers from our second place, as she's the owner of Sink or Swim Bowtique! Our vintage-loving world is a small one...


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