Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Photo diary: Back to the Future with Secret Cinema

A little trip back in time quite literally, to both earlier this year and 1955 simultaneously, when B and I went to Secret Cinema's Back to the Future event. That's right, I've finally got the disposable cameras we bought on site developed - as they wouldn't let you take in technology to keep things authentic. I quite liked that about it, it was genuinely like we were in a little 50s bubble, which is a pretty happy place for me to be (as long as I know I'll be reunited with the internet later). So the photos are not top quality images, but the grainy quality feels quite fitting somehow anyway.

Taking you now on a rough photo tour of the day... And for context, remember that as part of this event you're given characters. I was a high school student, B was a wrangler (hence the farm get-up)...

First stop: the diner

At the 50s diner, Back to the Future, Secret Cinema

At the 50s diner, Back to the Future, Secret Cinema

Always thinking of my stomach first, we made a bee-line straight for the diner. I love a burger and a milkshake, which is good as that's pretty much entirely what they were offering. There were other food places dotted about, but if I'm going back to the 50s I'm going to a diner! While I was there, an actor posing as Goldie started chatting away to me about my skirt and telling me to go over to the school once he'd clocked I was a student - if you look in the second photo you can see him in the background, before he pounced. Yes, I squirmed a lot. This 'audience participation' aspect of the event was one I was prepared for, but it's a lot more personal than you think it's going to be! Largely it's avoidable if you want it to be, but not always... e.g. later in the day as we sat down to watch the film, a diner waitress came over and made B carry a love note over to a mechanic at the garage. Did I mention we had to write the note? Cue extreme awkwardness - the phrase "you really rev my engine" did get used.

Walking about the main square

Town hall and main square, Back to the Future Secret Cinema

Shops at the town square, Back to the Future Secret Cinema

Biff's car, Back to the Future Secret Cinema

A flying bike at Back to the Future Secret Cinema

A school lesson, Back to the Future Secret Cinema

Hill Valley High School, Back to the Future Secret Cinema

Vintage cars, Back to the Future Secret Cinema

There were 'officials' constantly yelling at us to stay on the sidewalk, which was mostly because there were a handful of classic cars - including one with Biff in (the black one, you can see Biff if you look!) - and a school bus driving about picking people up. Otherwise, they'd recreated a tonne of shops and the high school, which had the Enchantment Under the Sea dance going on in the back. I actually loved just walking about, looking at everyone's outfits and dipping in and out of what was going on e.g. school lessons, salesmen pitching 'flying' bikes (you can see snaps of both above). At one point, we even ran into Doc!

Exploring further

Games at Back to the Future Secret Cinema

50s houses at Back to the Future Secret Cinema

Outside a 50s house at Back to the Future Secret Cinema

There was a whole other bit where they'd set up some little 50s style houses which were very cute, kitted out properly inside. And when we walked back later in the day there was a race going on with people on those skateboard type things you can see in one of the pictures. 

Peabody's Farm

Down on Peabody's Farm at Back to the Future, Secret Cinema

You're a Peabody now... at Back to the Future Secret Cinema

Speaking of audience participation, I previously mentioned the 20 minute (I'm not exaggerating) improv B took part in when he took a pot of jam over to them that was on his character's list of props to bring. I didn't get a great photo of this as I was concentrating desperately on not looking like I was staring so they didn't notice and involve me too, which I think is what most sensible people would have done, surely?! Fortunately there were some actual farm animals I could divert my attention to. When B finally said his goodbyes they stamped a giant red P on his head to mark his participation (to be fair, he did do a pretty enthusiastic attempt at farmer boy) - if you're wondering what the second photo's all about (we were too, when we saw it - after we'd finally finished laughing).

Goodbye, Hill Valley!

Town square, Back to the Future Secret Cinema

Hill Valley... A Nice Place To Live

The film was projected onto the town hall (behind us) and everyone parked up on the grass to watch. During key moments of the film, parts were re-enacted with some of the actors who'd been milling about during the day - and it really was incredible how they did that... I won't tell you how though (although the open door you can see in the 'screen' behind us is a clue), as I've heard Secret Cinema are bringing this event to Los Angeles next year for the film's 30th anniversary - I'd definitely recommend if the costume of it all appeals to you. In case anyone's wondering, I'm not a mega-fan of the film.  I mean, I like it enough to watch it - but that's really only one part of a pretty unique day out!

And if you're never intending to go or don't mind the surprises being spoilt, Secret Cinema have recently put together a video of the event that sums the magic up better than I ever could!


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Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Outfit: Lindy Bop tartan wiggle dress

Remember how I said I had another Lindy Bop dress in addition to this one, but the quality wasn't so great? Meet the not-so-great-quality, but still-quite-cute-anyway Lindy Bop dress. Oh, and finally an autumn outfit post - good things come to those who wait, eh ;) I did, at least, warn you that my wardrobe would be full of checks... this is just the first of many on a similar theme!

The heartbreaking thing about this dress is that it's so much better for everyday wear than the other one, but it's not all that comfortable and there's a bit of a problem with the straps that'll be familiar to my fellow petite ladies - they just won't stay up. I've re-sewn the buttons to shorten them - twice - and they still slip off my narrow shoulders occasionally, so I've given up on that idea now. Aside from the strap issue that could be a less common one, the other problem with this dress is that the plaid part has no stretch in it at all, so sitting down in it and eating more than soup come with a severe split warning. But, of course, a size any larger and it wouldn't have looked right, being a wiggle type - that old chestnut.

One good thing to come of owning this not-so-everyday dress is that it taught me two valuable (read: superficial) life lessons: 1) I like turtlenecks and 2) I like pinafore style dresses. Both of which I'm already investing more in for this autumn/winter. Can you believe I hadn't owned a turtleneck as an adult until owning this dress? No more cold neck for me!

Something else this outfit taught me is that while hair bows look great on some ladies, I'm not sure they're for me. It just makes me feel a bit childlike, something I'm always nervous of with my small frame and young-ish face (or am I not the only one who gets IDed for looking under 16??)...

Lindy Bop Meredith dress

Pin-up ponytail with h eadscarf






Headscarf: ASOS (available in black)
Shoes: Clarks (old)
Bag: eBay


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Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Getting Invisalign - and 10 (honest) reasons it could work for you...

So, if you read my cautionary tale several months back about not doing anything that involves your body on the cheap, you'll know that last year I got 'invisible' braces and didn't complete the treatment because the dental surgery went bust from all their cut-price deals, destroying my dreams of straight teeth in the process. As it turns out, not only did the surgery go bankrupt, so did the company who actually made the braces. So in terms of failed treatments there's no hope of ever finishing, nice job, CiCi.


It wasn't all bad, my top teeth were nearly there when it ended. The bottom are still hopeless (above!), just not now ranking on the Picasso scale of teeth appearing in parts of my gums they shouldn't. But they still bother me and I hate smiling with my teeth, so I've taken the plunge for a second time to try to sort them out once and for all. And this time, it's the proper Invisalign treatment rather than a copycat company that Invisalign sue and ultimately shut down (i.e. my first provider).

And as I embark on this mission again, it occurs to me I've learned a fair bit during my experiences with this kind of 'invisible' brace. So much so that I might even have a bit of advice for anyone considering it...

10 reasons why Invisalign could work for you

And I'll start by saying I'm in no way being endorsed by Invisalign, so this is the honest - and let's face it, sometimes disgusting - truth. I've seen other blogs write-up treatment lately but I don't feel like they've presented enough of the cons alongside the pros. Don't get me wrong, it's an amazing way to straighten your teeth and I can't wait to see the end results, but it's not going to be for everyone. 

It might work for you if...

1. You can afford it

This seems obvious, but a lot of people don't know quite how expensive this treatment is. In the UK, expect to pay a minimum of £3,500 for full treatment. I'm in no position to pay for this all in one go - and I wouldn't these days anyway as it's much more risky (eh-hem) - but most surgeries will offer finance plans. You've still got to be able to pay instalments though, so it really needs serious consideration. Unless you're a millionaire, in which case, if you feel like paying for the rest of my treatment and yours, be my guest.

2. You're prepared for not quite invisible


Look closely at the teeth in the above picture... notice anything about one of my centre front teeth? No, my tooth isn't bumpy, or at least, it wasn't until two plastic 'attachments' were stuck to it. Invisalign keep quiet about this aspect of this treatment in a lot of their marketing paraphernalia, but pretty much everyone who has the treatment has to have these things stuck on to help rotate the teeth. I got REALLY lucky because not only do I have 18 (!) of them, two are on one of my most prominent front teeth. It takes the 'invisi' out of 'invisible' when the shiny braces are bouncing the light off your lumps. It's still subtle enough most people probably won't notice, as they're tooth-coloured, but just be prepared for this likely eventuality. They will glue them on with what smells like super glue and is a darn sight tougher. The only way those things come off is by being filed off.

3. You're able to get to schedule your entire life around bathroom breaks

One of my closest friends spends literally all day at work in meetings. Others have social lives that involve, you know, going out and eating meals/having drinks with people. My parents seem to constantly be having more fun than me on last-minute mini-breaks in Europe. If any of these conditions where you have a busy life apply, having to clean your teeth 3+ times a day every time you want to eat or drink anything other than water, before you can put the braces back in, is really going to be a huge pain. Your life with these braces is a giant schedule of bathroom breaks - at the start it will be both to take the aligners out (see dribble point below) and to put them back in... These aligners are supposed to be in 22 hours a day - I'd say anything less than 20 and you're in trouble... and it's amazing how quickly the minutes add up after eating (and you can loose nearly half an hour just on one cup of tea), but especially if you're out and about or otherwise occupied. 

4. You don't get distracted easily/aren't forgetful

If you lean towards scatterbrained, you're going to find it hard to remember to put your braces back in straight after eating - I'm not, and I still lose track of how long I've had them out. That's not really an option with these braces, don't wear them enough and your teeth won't move enough - it's pretty simple.

5. You can handle a bit of pain and/or painkillers - and having your teeth sawed

Don't get me wrong, invisible braces are probably one of the least invasive methods of orthodontics out there. I mean, you can take them out - surely that says it all. But there's a rumour that I wouldn't be surprised if a certain large invisible brace provider started that this treatment is virtually painless. Nope. Whenever you're moving teeth into places they had no intentions of going themselves, it's going to hurt. It's definitely worse when you put new aligners in - every two weeks - and after a day or two it'll settle down. And if you're really lucky the rough edges of the brace will give you a mouth ulcer or two. Oh, and if you're trying to get teeth into places they physically can't go because there's no room, your dentist might whip out a miniature hand-saw and file your teeth down in the gaps between. While this shouldn't hurt, it is as terrifying as it sounds. If you can't handle dentistry, make sure you understand exactly what each stage of the process might involve. And yes, there'll be at least ten minutes of having your mouth stuffed full of goo to create the brace molds.

6. You don't travel lightly


Say hello to my travel dental kit. If I leave the house without this now, I literally have a panic attack because without it I can't eat. It also means I have to have a bigger bag to carry it around in... Fortunately I'm someone who looks like they're going away for a week when they're just going to the post office, so it wasn't too much trouble to find a space for it, but if you like a tiny day bag you're in trouble. At all times you'll need to carry with you: the braces's case, a toothbrush, floss, toothpaste, mouthwash (ideally), mouth spray, intensive lip balm and a bottle of water. On the latter two: your mouth can get really dry with these braces in which is a weird side effect that again doesn't get talked about lots.

7. You have, or can live with having, short nails i.e. no falsies!

Neither time I've embarked on this dentistry has the dentist responsible checked to see whether or not I have long/false nails. MASSIVE oversight. If you have false nails, these braces will destroy them. Long nails and it's gonna break 'em. They can be incredibly difficult to get out, especially if you have lots of attachments. The only way I've managed to unhook the plastic from the attachments is to use my now very short, but strong, nails to inch it off. Nail varnish won't last a minute, either. This is worst at the start of a new set of braces, but as they change every two weeks you quickly give up on having nice nails until it's over. In total I've had 7 months of these braces already and although you do get a bit of a knack for maneuvering them, I'd be surprised if anyone's technique doesn't involve the 'nail wrench'.

8. Having a bit of a 'monkey mouth' doesn't bother you


Not saying this particular phenomenon is especially visible here, but it is a tiny bit as I know what my face looks like (I see enough photos of it doing this blog!). The braces are thin but they can alter the way your bite/jaw sits and if you've got attachments on your front teeth, you might notice your lips are puffing out a bit. I not-so-fondly refer to this as my monkey mouth. It's probably barely perceptible to anyone but me, but I'm the one who has to look at myself in the mirror every day, alright?! Monkey mouth also manages to ruin several outfit photos I try to take for this blog, these days.

9. You can also accept the world's worst morning breath and a bit of dribble

I'm sure this isn't just a side-effect of invisible braces, but as I've never had the 'normal' kind I'm just going to put this out there anyway for anyone who doesn't know... Your morning breath will be potent enough to knock someone out. Just started a new relationship? You might want to wait a while... Oh, and be prepared for dribble. LOTS of dribble. You've never known dribble until you've spent ten minutes at the start of your treatment trying to prize one corner of a new aligner off of your teeth. Tip: if the dentist asks you to demonstrate removing the braces in front of them, firmly decline or at least accept the fact you will transform before their very eyes into an horrendous, over-sized baby with no control over your saliva whatsoever.

10. Once you start something, you will darn well finish it!

This is probably the most important advice I can give you of all. If you are someone who can't commit to things, or gives up easily, this really isn't for you. Most treatment takes over a year - I've heard of it taking almost two (mine will be 13 months + 2 months of retainers daily, so 15). You will have to make it part of your daily routine and you will have to schedule some of your life around it to make it work properly. If you can't or don't want to do that, a permanent, fixed option would be better for you. Or don't do it at all! 


Any of you ever thought about having cosmetic dentistry before? In the UK, you might get straightening on the NHS when you're young, but they don't insist. Someone wriggled out of their NHS orthodontic appointment because they thought having frizzy hair (this was pre-hair straightening technology), glasses, puppy fat AND braces aged 15 might have been one too many boxes ticked on the 'Reasons I'll never have a boyfriend' list... 


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Thursday, 6 November 2014

Outfit: 'casually' matching again (+ glasses-wearing)

Did I ever mention that I love matching? I can't help myself when it comes to outfits. For some reason this usually manifests as a compulsion to match shoes to bags... I guess there's something kind of vintage in that approach, but really it's just the most satisfying of all the matching! Perhaps because they're always on display, even when bundled in layers of coat/knitwear?

In a prime display of my matching-mania and relentless outfit planning, here I was determined to match mustard shoes to a bag. Oh, the hunt for this bag... those are hours of my life I'll never get back. In the end the best I could do was a similar shade found on a super cheap tote from a super cheap website, and as you'd expect, the lining cheerfully detached itself from the bag within a few uses. But you don't need to ask me if it was worth it for the time it was in tact and perfectly complimenting these particular shoes... (it REALLY was.)

Something I really don't mention often is that I'm blind as a bat without my contact lenses or glasses, the latter of which rarely feature here as I don't feel 100% confident in them. But sometimes I do wear them, particularly on a weekend when I'm a bit more casual... Like I was here, strolling around a beautiful little seaside town a bit earlier this year. After seeing the touch they gave to this outfit, it made me realise I should perhaps embrace them a bit more - but what do you all think? Incidentally, whoever came up with that saying 'men don't make passes at girls who wear glasses' I'm sure has single-handedly destroyed the confidence of girls and women everywhere! Monster! (Edit: I've now looked this up: It was apparently Dorothy Parker - why would a woman say this??) 

Stripe bardot top casually styled







Lensway L748 glasses in tortoiseshell


Top: River Island (@ ASOS)
Skirt: Warehouse
Belt: Marks & Spencer (similar)
Shoes: Clarks (old, 'Serin Sing')
Glasses: Love L748 @ Lensway
Hair tie pinned on as bow: New Look (similar)


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Saturday, 1 November 2014

CiCi Marie - uncovered!


If you've ever wondered what my real name is, who's my style icon and why I'm looking a bit sheepish behind this Wii game, you might be interested to know I've just answered these such and more questions in an interview with Sammi of The Soubrette Brunette today.


And make sure you check out Sammi's blog if you haven't already, for the best in gorgeous, full-skirted dresses and amazing novelty handbags!


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