Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Love through the decades - our unique vintage wedding project

Here I am, on the other side of the wedding an official Mrs! The wedding was fantastic, but more will come on that later. Excuse the uncharacteristically corny post title - it's all going to become clear... Before all of our wedding pictures come in (we've seen a preview already and I just can't wait), while I don't have a lot to share, I thought now would be a good time to show you all what was probably the most unique aspect of our wedding day! It's actually harder than you think to come up with something that hasn't been done before for a wedding... or at least, that if it has, no one in your circle of friends - or theirs - has memory of seeing at another 'do.

It all started for us with a special conundrum of our particular reception venue - it had 17 A1 photo frames to fill, around the roof, that usually housed posters for their upcoming theatre shows. We could have left them, but it seemed a good opportunity to give our decor more of a personal touch without simply covering them up. However, I just couldn't for the life of me figure out what to put into these portrait-orientated frames, at first. I kept going down the 'seaside scenes' route, but my best ideas looked better in landscape. It was actually B that triggered the idea for what we then did, following a conversation about our wedding music. We put together our whole wedding playlist song by song and we wanted it to nod to vintage and be essentially  'songs through the decades' - starting in the 50s, we played songs from each decade in order (we thought about mixing them, but liked them all in their sets in the end). We then had the idea to put together a selfie photo station with a set of props from each decades and B said 'what about if we do something that ties with the decades theme for the photos?' and bam! We thought of the idea of putting us into the decades.

So, we set off on a long project to capture ourselves as a couple from each era for our picture frames! Many Sunday mornings over a series of weeks were spent dressing up and snapping portraits in our living room with my camera, studio lights and tripod. It was important to me that each look felt quite authentic - i.e. that we actually did look like a real young couple from each time, wearing clothes we could have seen ourselves wearing, rather than that we were wearing costumes. That's actually harder than you realise until you start trying to build six different era-appropriate outfits that look obviously like the time they're from. Fortunately we only had to worry about from the waist-up, as this project got rather expensive as it was!

So, here they all are - we had to get two photos from each (3 frames were reserved for other messaging) and I decided in one we would look the same each time and the other would be a posed 'of its time' posed shot. I genuinely don't think the internet has seen me looking the way I do in some of these photos ever before!! Brace yourselves...

Love through the decades wedding project - 1950s couple portrait

Love through the decades wedding project - 1950s couple portrait

This might surprise you, but the 50s look was one of the ones I struggled with most for my own costume! Partly this was because I wanted us to look like a couple and the most obvious way to go for B was a greaser style so I wanted to look like a fitting rebel girlfriend. Partly because I realised that while I have oodles of 50s-inspired pieces in my wardrobe, ones that looked more authentic were few and far between. I also find it very difficult to get my long hair into era-appropriate curls. So, ironically, I bought both a new top and a wig for this look and used nothing from my existing arsenal other than the makeup and it was actually the most expensive to put together here. I've written about this wig before and now you know what started that series off - I've also worn it in an outfit post too. Anyway, I find it hard to choose a favourite set from all of these but this one's up there because I think we nailed the 'silly' shot!

Love through the decades wedding project - 1960s couple portrait

Love through the decades wedding project - 1960s couple portrait

There was no contest when deciding where to go for the 60s! There's so many fun youth sub-cultures to take inspiration from, but it was mod all the way for us. This was again easier to do for B - he had all of his component parts already. I, again, struggled with my hair. I have lots of hair but its length doesn't an easy beehive make - and honestly I'm a bit rubbish at proper ones. So I decided to go in a different direction and use this wig, coupled with some volume-boosting sponges, to make this Cilla Black inspired bob with a hairband. I was really pleased with how it turned out. The top I picked up for cheap from Collectif's Bright & Beautiful outlet line on eBay. But the real clincher for these photos was my Photoshop skills. I managed to trim B's hair into a more mod-ish shape and gave more of a boost to my bob too. I also created that 'cigarette' for B, which isn't a cigarette at all, it's a rolled up receipt (you'll be able to tell now I've said)... I'd like to point out neither of us smoke and don't endorse it, it's merely a prop!

Love through the decades wedding project - 1970s couple portrait

Love through the decades wedding project - 1970s couple portrait

These photos are the ones that every time I've shown someone they've remarked that a) it doesn't look like me at all and b) I look pretty. I'm not quite sure how to take that - I look pretty when I don't look like me?? Although, I guess, actually I do look like me here because I'm not really wearing much makeup at all. Trying to keep true to the era, I toned the eye makeup right down and upped the bronzer for that 70s glow. And actually, it didn't look as bad as I thought it would! My hair is another wig, of course, and I actually think it's pretty fun (and a friend said I had the same hairstyle as her mum used to have, so, winning!). The dress is an authentic vintage 70s dress, with a denim pinafore I already had over the top. B is also wearing a wig (and he haaaates how he looks in it) and a beautiful (lolz) 70s vintage shirt. These pictures might be our most authentic... If you haven't guessed what we were going for in the 'silly' photo, have a watch of a few Abba music videos and pretend I'm about to sing...

Love through the decades wedding project - 1980s couple portrait

Love through the decades wedding project - 1980s couple portrait

Ah, the 80s. The decade I was most dreading and the one that B couldn't wait for. Although he was less excited when I told him he couldn't just dress in a George Michael costume because most people in the 80s weren't that... 'stylish'. So for B we went for a Marty McFly inspired outfit with a hint of George in his bouffant and for me - my look is actually based on a photo of a group of women in their early 20s and one in particular who I've pretty much lifted the entire outfit of. I took the hair inspiration from Jude in St Elmo's Fire and again I was mainly aiming for everyday 80s vs OTT costume 80s, and this time I was using my natural hair. The makeup was particularly fun - I got a neon pink eyeshadow and basically stuck it everywhere. I don't think we're looking at our most beautiful here, but it's nothing compared to how B looks in the 90s...

Love through the decades wedding project - 1990s couple portrait

Love through the decades wedding project - 1990s couple portrait

See, now we've gotten to an era we both remember being around for and that made this more interesting! In this case, I wanted us to dress like we probably did back then. I know I have to now stop to acknowledge how hilarious B looks - that wig is truly horrendous. It looked even worse before I had a go at it in Photoshop, let me tell you. B has late 90s douchebag wrapped up - and he really did have bleach blonde hair and he did wear pretty much this outfit. Yikes. Good thing we didn't meet then. I was going for a Clueless vibe with my hair - and if only it had looked this straight and not like a frizzy mess pre-decent straighteners in the 90s. My outfit looks hilariously like what you see people wearing now, thanks to the 90s coming back in. In fact, my dress and choker were bought in sales from high street shops. I swear I had both back in the 90s. The makeup for this look was one of my favourites - I loved going back to brown lipstick - memories! Those eyebrows 'tho... Fear not, no eyebrows were harmed in the making of this post. I drew them thinly but I then airbrushed most of them out in Photoshop to get that 90s pencil brow. It's funny to me that though the 90s are back in right now, eyebrows are as far removed from those days as it's possible to be. Although, can you blame anyone...

Love through the decades wedding project - 2000s couple portrait

Love through the decades wedding project - 2000s couple portrait

Oh dear. Sticking with the theme of 'no, we really did used to look like this', here we are reliving our emo days of the noughties. I puzzled about what we'd do for the noughties until I thought about what I looked like back then and then this idea clicked into place. Fortunately for me, B was the same way inclined back then. We actually realised that if we'd met at the time, we probably would have had quite the crush on each other. It didn't take much to dig out my old beads (that apparently I couldn't bring myself to bin??) and one of my many hair bows and this vest top I still wear but I probably did buy back then. The hair though... yes, this is my hair, but I've given myself some layers and dyed it red in Photoshop. This is genuinely the colour my hair used to be, so it had to be red! The dog collar on my wrist? I used to wear it round my neck, actually, before I moved into the more cutesy emo years. In fact, I was wearing it in my very first 'adult' passport photo, that I then got stuck with until I was 26. Why do they let 16 year olds take passport photos?!

Love through the decades wedding project - 2010s couple portrait

Love through the decades wedding project - 2010s couple portrait

Ah, that's a bit more familiar isn't it! I wasn't sure what to do for the 'today' pictures until I realised that the day we got engaged would be a great time to anchor them to. It was strange putting all these clothes back on again, but I can't pretend I wasn't the least worried about this set of photos! You can see the full outfit from that day in my previous post.

So there you go - 7 decades in 7 sets of photos! One of the best things about taking these pictures is it was a part of the wedding prep we had to do together. It wasn't always easy using up spare time to dress ourselves one way before showering and starting again so we could actually go out in public (!), but I wouldn't change it for the world now. Otherwise, you might have gathered that I was the styling coordinator behind both our looks - so I spent a lot of time researching vintage fashion to swot up on what was costume-y versus real. I really enjoyed this part of the process, as you might imagine, so it made some of the wedding planning a bit more enjoyable!

If anyone is wondering, they went down a storm with just about everyone who saw them. I didn't catch all of the reactions because I was one of the last people to make it into the reception venue, but those I did see were just what I wanted. So many people thought we went to a proper studio/had professional help to take the shots and our hairdresser friend couldn't believe that the 00s hair was a photoshop job on my real hair... 

So tell me, what's your favourite of our looks here??



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Tuesday, 13 June 2017

The Vintage Carnival 2017 + ticket giveaway

Dropping in for my last post before the wedding with news of this year's Vintage Carnival!

Vintage Carnival 1 July 2017

Those of you who have been reading along for the past year might remember that I not only attended last year's Carnival, I was also a judge of the Best Dressed competition. The second Carnival is in Leicester in July this year and I will be back to judge the competition again :) I'm hoping for some gorgeous summery weather so that I don't have to base my own outfit around the most waterproof pair of shoes I own that aren't wellies...

Vintage Carnival 2016 Best Dressed competition entrants
Some of last year's Best Dressed entrants

CiCi Marie at Vintage Carnival 2016
These waterproof shoes are Crocs, definitely not the top of the style game...

I've again got two tickets to give away to readers, so let me convince you to enter! First of all, read my review from last year. Then it's just for me to tell you that it will feature the same great mix of vintage shopping, live music, classic cars, street food, afternoon tea, craft workshops, games etc etc. If you're anything like me, you'll be most interested in the shopping and food; this year they have over 100 vintage stalls and a promising sounding line-up of food and drink stalls from a horse box selling gin to a vintage caravan selling ice-cream. The challenge at these events is deciding what to spend your stomach room on... It was a tough choice last year. They will also again have a tea-room, which I loved last time, but it was very busy so my top tip is to book in advance here: www.bookatable.co.uk/the-wedding-cafe-leicester

Afternoon tea at Vintage Carnival 2016
This cake was good, so good

I hope to see some of you there - if you don't fancy your chances you can buy tickets at a reduced price (and they're really not expensive @ £6 each advance) at http://buytickets.at/thevintagecarnival/76536


Enter the giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and see you on the other side, a married woman! I have lots of posts lined up and that's without the wedding pics :)


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Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Outfit: cowgirly

Right, folks, listen up! There's just over a week until the wedding madness begins. I'm going to come back for one more post after this before then and then we're wedding ahoy. I've got a post I'm really excited about sharing to do with one of our big wedding projects coming after the event - it has vintage style and a lot of ridiculousness, which is actually quite a good description of me now that I think about it...

Anyway, let's not lose sight of what you're here for; today's outfit! This is actually quite an appropriate time to revisit my love of cowboy boots, because anyone reading long enough will remember when I last wore some for the blog - in a special outfit post with B. Why is that appropriate? Well, of course, apart from the fact I'm about to marry the man, this is still the only shoot we've done together (not in fancy dress!) and one of our friends said the photo of us together looked like it came straight from our engagement shoot - long before we were actually engaged. I kind of think of it like that now too and I'm so fond of the picture it's now hanging in our living room. We didn't actually have an engagement shoot - really, in the UK, it still feels like an American tradition that lots of couples skip - but there were a few reasons for that for us. 1) I'm pretty used to being in front of a camera these days and B isn't that bothered either, so we didn't need the practice, 2) I don't have another £500 lying around and 3) cringe. I'm not even sure how we're going to cope with the whole gazing-lovingly-into-each-others-eyes for our wedding photos... all I can think is that's just going to make us laugh and/or want to die. Could go either way... watch this space.

I've now managed to spend two paragraphs not talking about this outfit... Right, so basically I bought pink cowboy boots and I adore them, but... and you're going to be really shocked about this... they're kind of hard to style. But there's nothing like a fashion blog to force you to find a way, so find one I did! I pretty much always wear these boots with denim and they're a great way to jazz up a boring jeans-based outfit, but for this look I put a bit more care in. It's pretty fun and totally comfortable and exactly what you might find me wearing of a weekend.

The only sad thing is that this skirt, that I bought second-hand through Depop, is a size too big for me. I think I just about get away with it here, but if I ever see it in an 8 I'm going to snap it right up!

Cowgirl/western themed vintage style outfit

Cowgirl/western themed vintage style outfit

BAIT Hamish western ankle boots in pink

Cowgirl/western themed vintage style outfit

Cowgirl/western themed vintage style outfit

Erstwilder bull head brooch

Cowgirl/western themed vintage style outfit

Cowgirl/western themed vintage style outfit

Cowgirl/western themed vintage style outfit

Cowgirl/western themed vintage style outfit
Cardigan: Paloma by Hell Bunny (20% off with CICIM20!%)
Brooch: Erstwilder (old)
Top: Collectif (similar)
Skirt: Collectif via Depop (similar)
Bag: Primark (old)
Boots: Hamish by BAIT via Zulily



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Friday, 2 June 2017

Outfit: pretty polka

I really don't rock a lot of polka dots - I can't get it out of my head that it's a total vintage style cliche, which makes me overlook them a lot. But not this cute Dixie dress from Joanie Clothing! I love a good pinafore style pencil dress - that square neckline gets me very time. Add in some cute scallop details and buttons and I'm so there. I also had a feeling this dress was going to be a good length on me, and I wasn't wrong!

I've found Joanie's sizing different between styles so far, albeit I've only tried two so I'm not an expert by far. I tried a pencil skirt in an 8 and only just got it done up - but this dress is an 8 and a near perfect fit. Technically, I should fit the size 10 as per the size guide, but maybe I'm getting away with this dress because it has a little stretch, whereas the skirt didn't? Oh and I need to tell you those buttons are for decoration, so my bust can't make them gap even if it tries! Sizing issues aside though, for the price I'm impressed with the quality. Joanie's styles are, generally speaking, right up my street so I'm adding them firmly to my 'one to watch' list for the future. I love it when a new clothing brand comes onto the scene that I love and it's affordable. Because, ladies, Joanie pieces are really reasonable prices and their sale items are total bargains.

The temptation with a navy and white dress is always to pair it with red accessories, but I decided to keep the original belt that came with the dress and match my shoes and bag to that, for a really comfy daytime look I'd happily wear anywhere. Isn't it a shame that my photographer forgot his second important job to check if things aren't sitting right and let me snap pictures with a twisted belt... You just can't get the staff.

The Joanie Clothing dixie navy polka dot dress review

The Joanie Clothing dixie navy polka dot dress review

The Joanie Clothing dixie navy polka dot dress review

The Joanie Clothing dixie navy polka dot dress review

The Joanie Clothing dixie navy polka dot dress review

The Joanie Clothing dixie navy polka dot dress review

The Joanie Clothing dixie navy polka dot dress review

The Joanie Clothing dixie navy polka dot dress review

The Joanie Clothing dixie navy polka dot dress review
Sunglasses: Dita by Collectif
Jacket: New Look (old)
Bag: similar
Shoes: Zulily (old)


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Friday, 26 May 2017

The best true red matte liquid lipsticks: a ten lipstick comparison

The best true red matte liquid lipsticks - a 10 lipstick comparison

Ever since it finally dawned on me that my best chance of a red lipstick that was as transfer-proof as possible was a liquid lipstick, I've been on the hunt for my best option for my wedding day. I feel like I've tried nearly all of them by this point - if I'm honest it became a bit of an addiction to keep trying more, mooooore! I did have to draw the line - not before I'd done nearly the lot though. The only most glaring omissions in this post are probably Anastasia Beverly Hills and Jeffree Star (and any 2017 launches I've missed - I started writing this post in 2016!!) - but as they're super expensive to get hold of over here I hope you'll give me that.

Otherwise, you're going to see opinions on Nyx, Maybelline, Sephora, Kat Von D, Stila, Smashbox - with photos (all in the above picture), and further comments (because the colours I had weren't quite in the true red category) on Limecrime, Colourpop, TheBalm and Bourjois. Spoiler alert - some of these are really brilliant and one of these is brilliant enough that it's going to be my wedding day lipstick. The criteria was simple: a true, bright red that was as neutral as possible, matte or mostly matte and, vitally, kiss-proof and long-wearing, allowing easy touch-ups. Well, it sounds simple but actually it's quite a big ask!

Below I'm going to give you opinions rating the lipsticks out of 5 in various categories. There is one category that anyone who's worn a liquid matte might be looking for - I haven't rated any of these on how moisturising they are. That's because, largely speaking... they're not. The one thing I've learned from trying all of these is that you need to expect a certain out of drying from this kind of product. Some are worse than others, but pretty much all of these made my lips flake to some extent by the end of the day. I feel like how drying a formula is is deeply personal - some people will be worse with this than others, so I think if you like the look of one of these you'll just need to see if it works for you. But otherwise, hopefully the categories are fairly relatable for everyone.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Outfit: how to heart the rain

As we enter what is probably our first week of summer weather in the UK, I'm posting about the rain. Typical. I'm sure we'll be back to normal by next week though and when that day comes I've discovered the easy way to learn to love the rain - buy cute rain gear! Ok, maybe I still don't love the rain, but it's a lot of fun dressing for it when you've got a cute new mac and a heart-shaped umbrella!

Whenever I inject some 60s style into my look, I tend to get a few comments saying it suits me. I often think to myself that apart from the eye make-up (I've got a deep belief that everyone looks good in 60s eye makeup) it's because I'm quite deliberately not picking the shapes that might be less flattering. I really don't think I'm going to look good in a tent dress, for example - I don't have the height to pull it off and my bust is going to be a hindrance rather than a help. Shift styles, I find, can be hit or miss. They really have to be a good shape for my figure to not make me look bigger than I am and when you're a little curvy that can be a challenge. 

But when I find something that works, oh it's wonderful! This mac, I think, falls into the 'it works!' category and I just love that it comes in white. I found myself trying to pick a more 'sensible' colour, but actually concluded that white kind of is sensible. Firstly, this is a very light (un-lined) coat and its main purpose is to be waterproof, so it's definitely a good one for spring and white therefore feels quite appropriate. Secondly, white goes with everything in the same way black does, so it's actually a lot more practical than the red one I was considering. And for a bonus third point, it feels quite authentically mod, which makes it fun to style! Atom Retro tell me it's based on Mary Quant's original PVC rainsmock, featuring the same 'Christopher Robins collar', block colours and contrast buttons. So there you go, authentic.

And fun it was because I had just the accessory in mind. Is there a person on this planet that doesn't agree this umbrella is awesome? What I like about it is it's actually kind of subtle - when you're holding it normally you probably wouldn't particularly notice it's a heart shape, but pop it over one shoulder and it's a whole different story. If you follow me on Instagram you'll have seen that this umbrella came courtesy of my wedding props box. It's a prop I'm really hoping I don't have to use, but if I do, it's so cute I might just get over the whole rain-on-my-wedding-day thing... Maybe. Unfortunately I don't think the mac is going to work with my dress ;)

Jackie PVC white 60s rain mac by Madcap England, Atom Retro

Jackie PVC white 60s rain mac by Madcap England, Atom Retro

Jackie PVC white 60s rain mac by Madcap England, Atom Retro

Jackie PVC white 60s rain mac by Madcap England, Atom Retro

Jackie PVC white 60s rain mac by Madcap England, Atom Retro

Jackie PVC white 60s rain mac by Madcap England, Atom Retro

Jackie PVC white 60s rain mac by Madcap England, Atom Retro

Jackie PVC white 60s rain mac by Madcap England, Atom Retro

Jackie PVC white 60s rain mac by Madcap England, Atom Retro
Beret: Joy (old)
Earrings: vintage (gift)
Top: New Look (old)
Cigarette pants: Lindy Bop (old)
Shoes: Office (old)
Umbrella: eBay


In case anyone wonders, I'm wearing the size Small here and if you're an 8-10 like me that's going to be the one for you. I have rolled the sleeves up by about an inch for these photos, but I can get away with them down.


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