Sunday, 31 July 2016

Outfit: unicorn dogs

You may have noticed that I've been posting a little bit less frequently around here lately - or you didn't, in which case, consider me offended ;) - and that's because life is pretty busy right now. I bought and moved into a new house a week ago and I've moved house before, but never into my own. I just didn't know how much STUFF that would require and how much of my time and energy would go into acquiring said stuff. On the plus, I'm getting some great fodder for homeware posts, should I ever find the time to write them :D Throw into that still doing bits and pieces of arranging for the wedding and an all-new even longer commute to work and there just isn't much left of me to go round. The good news is, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! Things are beginning to sort themselves out and normal service will be resumed soon.

Now that I've explained myself, onto the outfit (which has come from my stockpile of photos, which I thankfully had prepped in advance of said move)! Before anyone gets too excited, there are no actual unicorn-dogs in this outfit post, because that would be weird. I'm, instead, of course referring to the hunt for a no-longer-sold item that is so elusive on eBay et al that it's as rare as a unicorn. It will surprise no followers of this blog to know that said item, for me, has dogs all over it. 

I've loved this Bernie dress for a long time. I love that it's red (my favourite colour) and that the print features so many varieties of dogs and not just pugs. (Seriously, I like pugs and everything, but why are they the main source of dog novelty items right now?) I've been keeping an eye out for it for a long time, but to no avail. It really is a rare one. Then I bought the Paris dress I wore for my 30th birthday and I became even more desperate to find it, as now I knew that Bernie Dexter dresses are a good fit for my frame too and it wasn't such a risk anymore. Then, lo and behold, a week or so after my birthday, there it was. But, alas, it was an XS and I am an S! Something told me to contact the seller just in case and it turned out the XS ran a whole size large. Hurrah! When does that ever happen in life? Me and this dress were meant to be.

With such a busy print, I kept my accessories to a minimum. I usually never ever wear my hair without my usual roll at the front (see every other photo of me on this blog ever), but on a lazy hair day I got it to look nice with a headscarf and some volume behind it, courtesy of my cheat hair sponges. So no, I haven't suddenly worked out the secrets of volumising, it's a total cheat. I may share it some day, in another of my vintage style life hacks type posts (although no one seemed to read that, and I was really darn pleased with it). Oh and my 'curls' are a cheat too, created with the only heat styler I've ever managed to get to grips with. Again, perhaps for another post one day, if you're up for that?

Hopefully you can forgive me for being such a phoney when I'm wearing a dress this cute...  

Bernie Dexter Chelsea dog print dress for a 50s summer look

50s headscarf and dog print sundress

Bernie Dexter Chelsea dog print dress for a 50s summer look

Bernie Dexter Chelsea dog print dress for a 50s summer look

Bernie Dexter Chelsea dog print dress for a 50s summer look

Bernie Dexter Chelsea dog print dress for a 50s summer look

Bernie Dexter Chelsea dog print dress for a 50s summer look

Bernie Dexter Chelsea dog print dress for a 50s summer look

Bernie Dexter Chelsea dog print dress for a 50s summer look
Headscarf: eBay (similar)
Dress: Bernie Dexter (no longer available)
Bag: vintage via Goody Goody Berlin


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Sunday, 24 July 2016

On living and blogging in Cambridge

While I'm in the middle of house move hell (although yay for finally home owning!), here's one I made earlier... I was recently interviewed for Modcloth's blog about what it's like to live and blog in the beautiful city of Cambridge where I live. (This is slightly ironic as this post will go up as I've literally just moved out of the city proper to a nearby village.) It occurred to me this might be interesting to my readers, most of whom are many miles away from me, so I'm sharing them here too :)

Punting on the river Cam, Cambridge

We know that Cambridge is home to one of the most prestigious Universities in the world, does being surrounded by such a history of education and academia influence the culture of the town? How has it influenced you? 

One of the main things you'll notice about the city, particularly at this time of year, is that there are tourists everywhere! So actually, during the summer months especially, a lot of how the city influences my life and more specifically my blog is the constant battle to avoid the places they're congregating, so they don't keep walking in front of my camera! The unfortunate thing is that the really beautiful architecture of the colleges that Cambridge is famous for tends to be quite central and the city itself is fairly small, so it's not as simple as rocking up to King's College and taking some photos. The example I often give when I explain how tricky it can be to be a blogger shooting around Cambridge is the time my partner and I researched a quiet side street (with nearby parking - bonus!) and how seconds into the shoot a huge group of tourists appeared out of nowhere right next to us - which is when I noticed the blue plaque on the building that declared the house we were in front of was a place Darwin had occupied...! It's a beautiful city to live in for the amazing architecture and places of interest to visit, but it's not ideally sized for the amount of attention it gets... and it's an absolute nightmare for parking! Really though, I think one of the biggest impacts it's had is to thoroughly spoil me - and when we go to other places in the UK I realise how lucky I am to have it all on my doorstep.


A pretty side street in Cambridge, UK
The 'quiet' side street with the Darwin plaque

King's College, Cambridge
Tourists everywhere at King's College!

Walk us through a quintessential day in Cambridge.  

Well, you'd probably do well to start with a hearty brunch in one of the many independent cafes on the outskirts of the city centre, so you can spend the afternoon exploring the sights. If you're in Cambridge you have to see King's College, so I'd head over there via the market square, where there's loads of permanent stalls offering everything from street food to retro video games. Perhaps pick up a homemade brownie while you're there, then take in the sights of King's College and try to leave some time for walking round 'The Backs', which are the grounds behind it running alongside the river. Speaking of the river, your next stop has to be a punt on the Cam! If it's your first time, have a guide do all the work and tell you all the university's secrets (they're usually students so they know their stuff), but if you're feeling brave it's a lot of fun to punt yourself (or be punted by a hapless friend - I have been in punts where said friend has fallen off the boat, which can provide a hilarious turn to your day!). Fit in a look at some of the other nearby colleges (and more on that below) if you can and then have a big dinner at one of Cambridge's excellent restaurants, which I'll elaborate on next! If you're lucky, you might be able to finish your day with a good gig at the Corn Exchange or the Junction, where I've seen a couple of great comedy nights.

The permanent market in Cambridge, UK
The stalls on market square in the city centre

The Backs, Cambridge
View of a college from The Backs

CiCi Marie near the river Cam
With the river Cam behind me

As always, we're interested in food! Tell us more about the greatest eats Cambridge has to offer! What must we try when we're visiting? 

You're spoilt for choice really as there's a lot of great restaurants and a range of cuisines on offer in a city as diverse as Cambridge. One of my personal favourites is The Cambridge Chop House, who do a mouthwatering steak (for cheap on the pre-theatre menu), along with many other dishes, often quite British in flavour and all done incredibly well. Fun fact: it was also on the way to this restaurant that my partner tripped over a paving slab and gave himself hiccups... so you never know your luck! Other than that, one of my favourites was a tiny little restaurant down the road from me in a converted house called Backstreet Bistro, but unfortunately it closed in May this year (I'm awaiting its reopening under new management with baited breath!).

The Cambridge Chop House
At The Cambridge Chop House

You're a vintage loving lady living in a very vintage city! Which of these places are at the top of your list for visitors and where is fave place to shoot outfit photos?

That's a tricky question as there's so many great places to visit! I actually tend to love the green spaces that belong to some of the colleges as I'm not a fan of busy areas. There's a particular spot near Darwin College which is essentially a patch of grass near the main punting area, which in good weather is great for picnics because you can do some really fab people watching! Recently, we sat and watched a bride being punted down the river by her new husband. I also really love wandering around the grounds of the colleges that are freely accessible to the public and aren't guarded, but fewer people know about. I may be giving my secrets away, but one of my favourite blog photo locations in Cambridge is Magdalene College's grounds. I only found out we could easily access them because one of my closest friends studied there and it's always virtually deserted every time we're there, yet it has the prettiest view of the river and tonnes of different picturesque spots for photos.

Magdalene College, Cambridge, entrance
The subtle entrance to Magdalene College (I swear it looks more subtle in real life!)

CiCi Marie at Magdalene College, Cambridge, entrance
At Magdalene College

Hope you enjoyed this insight into my beautiful (now, sort of) home!


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Sunday, 17 July 2016

Outfit: radio days

You know, I'm never unhappy about being born in these times, despite my love for the fashions of the past. To me, the internet is one of the most incredible inventions there has ever been and I do love that I remember life before it - and that I didn't have to live too long without it! So no, I have no lust for the real life radio days, but I do, however, absolutely love radio and pretty much every day in my house is a radio day in terms of how regularly I listen to it.

I feel like fewer and fewer people listen to a good old fashioned radio these days, but having several of them in my home is an absolute must (although I admit I prefer the more modern DAB iterations for the huge range of stations). I listen every morning as I get ready for work and I particularly listen at the weekend - especially when B and I are pottering around in the kitchen. I'm addicted to BBC Radio 2's Sounds of the 60s show that comes on Saturdays between 8-10am - it's absolutely worth being up early for (not that this is early by my body clock's standards!). I highly recommend this show - it's impeccably well curated, full of amazing facts and plays the best music from what I think is the best era for music so far.

Anyway, all this is leading me to say that I equally love this charming radio brooch by Erstwilder. I love it even more because it was a surprise gift from them - an extra they put in my review package as a 30th birthday gift. So it will always be extra special to me and a nice reminder of a very happy day in my life - I can only thank them for that. What a cool company, seriously. It's a lovely coincidence that it's a similar colour to one of my own actual radios, so of course it had to feature in this little photoshoot. It's one of my two beloved DAB radios (other colours currently selling for £30 which is a bargain by the way - link below) and I won't be happy until every room in my house has a cute little retro DAB to fill the air with the sounds of good music!

Cute 50s inspired casual jeans outfit with Radio Shack Erstwilder brooch

Banned Winnie top and Radio Shack Erstwilder brooch

John Lewis DAB retro radio in light blue

Cute 50s inspired casual jeans outfit with Radio Shack Erstwilder brooch

Banned Winnie top and Radio Shack Erstwilder brooch

Banned Winnie top with Radio Shack Erstwilder brooch

Cute 50s inspired casual jeans outfit with Radio Shack Erstwilder brooch

Banned Winnie top and Radio Shack Erstwilder brooch

Bamboo saddle shoes from Zulily

Cute 50s inspired casual jeans outfit with Radio Shack Erstwilder brooch
Belt: free from a skirt
Radio: John Lewis (available colours)


If you've read this far, bonus fact for you: B and I waded through weeds that were up to well above my knees to get these shots...


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Sunday, 10 July 2016

15 fabulous short vintage 40s/50s style wedding dresses for £350 or less

I'm going to let you into a little secret - I've already chosen my wedding dress! And I'm going to tell you one more... I completely blew my budget. It's a long story and one that I can't tell until after the wedding next year, but before I did that I was genuinely sure I was going to have a dress that cost less than £500. And you know why? Because there are some amazing bridal dresses out there that don't cost a fortune.

If you opt for a shorter length dress, you're particularly spoilt for choice. I found so many amazing dresses that I couldn't keep them to myself and had to share them in what is my first wedding themed post. If you're already married or have no intention of tying the knot, I hope you'll indulge these pretties anyway...

I've stuck specifically to new rather than vintage for this post, but not because there aren't some amazing bargain vintage wedding dresses out there because there definitely are! Etsy is a goldmine for them. However, I'm just sticking to what I know and I think the benefit with buying new is that you don't have to fix the colour (a real concern if a dress is meant to be white and it isn't!) or any bust seams, torn lace etc. 

6 short vintage 50s style wedding dresses under £150

Isn't it incredible what you can get for less than £150? I've always loved Unique Vintage's Garden State dress, and the ivory colour way is bridal perfect. That neckline and those cute sleeves, plus the cute polka dot overlay you can't see here really make it for me. Another favourite of mine for budget but beautiful wedding dresses is Honeypie Boutique. Their styles are made to measure for a low price and you can opt to add sleeves and overlays and even make them long length. I'm not personally a fan of sleeveless dresses, but with how easy they are to customise through the site I could have happily worn the dress above with a bit of tweaking. Of course, no budget vintage style round up is complete without Lindy Bop - the cute flower appliqué on this style is particularly lovely, but another favourite of mine for amazing occassionwear for less is Chi Chi London. In fact, here's another secret - my bridesmaids'  dresses are from this shop! They often pop up on ASOS who discount them now and then, so in fact my bridesmaids dresses were a total bargain even if my wedding dress wasn't!

5 short vintage style wedding dresses for £150-250

Another shop that offers made to measure dresses for bargain prices is Inspiration Bridal. I am hugely impressed by the range this shop has - I love the above dress for the detail on the bodice (it's worth clicking through on the link to see it properly), but I could have included so many of their styles in this round-up. I have no idea what the quality is like and you'd expect it's not amazing, but they sure look good in the pictures. I would have risked it would a good tailor on hand to fix any problems with fit. Two offerings from the UK high street here prove there's some great off the peg bridal ranges - and ok it's the least 'vintage' here but I love the unusual dipped hem and subtle stripes of the Coast dress (and it has my favourite kind of neckline). Trashy Diva's dresses have likely graced many a retro wedding in their time, but I would expect not so many people know about Bettie Page's new bridal range. It only has a few styles, but they're all very pretty and great for those working within a tight budget.

4 vintage style short dresses for £350 or less

I'm going to hold my hands up here and say my favourite dress is in this group - can you guess what it is? It's of course that absolute beauty by The Pretty Dress Company. It wouldn't suit every wedding, but if you wanted something quirky, yet elegant and beautiful, I don't think you can go too far wrong with this dress. I've only heard good things about their quality, despite not having any of their styles myself. Kitty & Dulcie have a great range of more 50s/60s inspired styles while Dig for Victory have some fab 40s dresses - the bust on this dress here is really lovely. Monsoon are always worth keeping an eye on for their bridal range - this dress featured is perhaps the least 'wow' in a 2D image but being made out of silk, I bet it feels lovely and drapes and moves beautifully.

So what do you think? Would you wear a budget wedding dress that's not made by a boutique bridal brand? I honestly would have gone this route if I hadn't found my dress in one (and in fact, I'd pegged this dress years before I knew I was going to get married as the only boutique dress I 100% loved!). I hasten to add I actually bought a sample on knock-down, as even I think £2k+ is mad for a dress you wear for less than a day.


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Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Outfit: pink and green

When I put this dress on, I had planned to go all out pink and white matching. It was a bit much, though, even for me. So, I pushed myself to try to be a bit more imaginative and hey, there's lots of accessories I have that I hardly ever or indeed have never worn, like that green headscarf that I bought thinking it was mint green and it turned up being a bit more neon than that (come to think of it, it was born to go with this skirt where the same thing happened)... And pink and green might just look good together...

But how do I make it look like the headscarf isn't just something I threw on so I wasn't in head to toe pink...? Ah yes, that necklace I made of my logo earlier this year! Wait a minute... pink and green... Yep, I've actually dressed like my blog's colour-scheme. I am a walking, talking, advert for cici-marie.com. My own website may have subliminally brainwashed me.

I actually think this is a really cute look, though, once you get past the brazen self-promotion. This is another dress from Collectif's Bright & Beautiful range and the fit isn't quite as good through the shoulders as on my other dress (short girl problems), but the waist is spot on and it still looks good so I think I get away with it. It's a really fun, floaty material that I've attempted to illustrate with some spinning shots below. Not always in focus kinds of attempted, but it'll have to do (in case anyone needs reminding that B and I are amateur photographers!). I do wish it was a bit shorter on me, for that proper 60s mini look, but at least at this length I'm not going to flash anyone. It's also lined, which does seem to help the skirt drape better. All-in-all, a comfy and cute summer dress that wouldn't take up a lot of room in a summer holiday suitcase, so thumbs up for that.

Bright & Beautiful Lizzy 60s sundress pink oversized gingham

Wearing the CiCi Marie colour-scheme!

Wearing the CiCi Marie colour-scheme!

Bright & Beautiful Lizzy 60s sundress pink oversized gingham

Bright & Beautiful Lizzy 60s sundress pink oversized gingham

Bright & Beautiful Lizzy 60s sundress pink oversized gingham

Bright & Beautiful Lizzy 60s sundress pink oversized gingham

Bright & Beautiful Lizzy 60s sundress pink oversized gingham

Bright & Beautiful Lizzy 60s sundress pink oversized gingham

Bright & Beautiful Lizzy 60s sundress pink oversized gingham
Necklace: me made
Shoes: c/o Sandgrens Clogs (no longer available)






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