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Damp Tweed & Firm Resolve

Oh the wonderful, wet Chap Olympiad.

If you’re not in the UK and a believer in stereotypes, then you’ll probably be completely unsurprised to hear that the weather this summer has been inclement. But it really has been exceptionally so this year – worse than any in recent memory. We knew the forecast for last weekend’s Chap Olympiad was pretty dire, but having assessed the last three years, I held out a hope that the predicted heavy rain would be a few showers that would quickly pass, as they have every year previously.

But sadly, when I stepped out of the London Underground at 11am on Saturday, a biblical deluge greeted me. I had come prepared, in overalls and sensible shoes, because I was to help Chap Head Girl Bethan set up, with the aim of changing into our Olympiad outfits later. But it really was truly miserable for that first hour.

The opening ceremony was a sea of umbrellas, as the undaunted attendees crowded together to stay dry. The heavy rain had one advantage – it dissuaded any fair weather chaps from coming, or at least from arriving early and signing up to compete! Because, eventually, it did slacken off to a drizzle, which then dried up entirely for a good while. Further showers pelted us intermittently, but on the whole, the good old British spirit and a healthy array of stiff upper lips ensured that this was possibly the best Olympiad ever.

In true English spirit, I’ve now waffled on about the weather for three entire paragraphs. I don’t have a huge amount to write since I actually decided to make a video blog of my day! And it all started off so well, with me filming relevant bits to show you – the opening ceremony and Not Playing Tennis games for one. But my camera skills, angles and use of iMovie needs a lot more work, and I’m terribly sorry to say that I abandoned my project in favour of the pursuit of gin and Pimm’s, forgetting entirely to film a sign off later in the day. Nonetheless, let me present an account of The Vintage Mafia’s trip to the Chap Olympiad, and our eventual success in the field of non-sporting achievement.

Our monogrammed Vintage Mafia ‘team uniforms’ went down a storm, though we can’t wait until we can attend an event with the full Maf – Gemma’s dress just didn’t look quite as smashing on Mr Wax, though he did his best. The person we have to thank the most heartily and sincerely, though is Shona from Heyday. She organised our custom Fleur dresses in a very short space of time, and I rushed them to a local embroidery place, who did an amazing job. Thank you so, so much Shona! You’ll see a sneak preview of one of the forthcoming new fabrics when Shona gets on stage! Maybe there will be plain colours in the Fleur’s future too… watch this space!

The new games were popular and perfectly orchestrated by Bethan, Earl Kirby and their team of stewards. Compere Tristan Langlois was steadfast and extremely funny. The Butler Mr Bell provided some extra entertainment above his usual duties, confiscating a bottle of mineral water and a couscous salad during the ‘drugs test’ skit. And I danced and laughed and had a wonderful time, even though the terrible weather made it difficult to mingle. I said brief hellos to many of my vintage blogging friends, and to anyone I missed, I apologise!

Here are a few more photos of the day. Suffice to say I can’t wait until next year!

RIP my green Rocket Originals Shoes ๐Ÿ™ Walking and dancing on the completely sodden stage caused the soles to come off and the heel to separate! This is in no way anything to do with the construction of the shoes, by the way – nothing could withstand that water. More fool me for wearing them ๐Ÿ™

Not Playing Tennis. Child labour is acceptable.

Chaps in training!

Our victory in Ironing Board Surfing!

Jeni holds fast as the Secretary in Briefcase Phalanx, were the goal is to break through the phalanx and dictate a message to her.

Minna of Red Legs in Soho in the damp Shouting at Foreigners, where the aim is to best a curmudgeonly shopkeeper. The actual goal is to portray the shouter as a buffoon, not the other way round!

We pose with Tigz Rice and ReeRee Rockette!

Nomi won Silver in the Chap Olympiad, thanks to her efforts in both the surfing and the Umbrella Jousting! Her lacy parasol did not survive. We accompanied her on stage to collect her medal. For, in the words of compere Mr Langlois, ‘We are Legion’.

Thank you Shona, for making our amazing frocks. Do note the rather smashing new navy ‘Garden Circles’ fabric, which will be launched very soon, and please visit Heyday Online for a shufti at your earliest convenience!

Hope you enjoy my little video. And have a happy Tuesday!

Fleur xx

Important PostScript!

I feel it’s vital for me to point out at this point, that ‘The Vintage Mafia’ is not, and never has been meant to be a cliquey, exclusive thing. The six of us dreamt up the name after one fateful night out (detailed on our Facebook page). It started off as a bit of fun, but it is now simply a name for our business collective. A business collective that will be organising lots more events and fun stuff in the future. It’s not that we want to exclude any of our friends and associates, but trying to organise business stuff with six girls is hard enough as it is without more getting involved! And doing things like the above is nothing more than a fun publicity stunt to promote said business. It’s clearly working, because we’ve made it into the international press – everything from Australian morning papers to the Taipei Times! Though I think most people do realise this, just in case you all think us horrible bitches for larking about in matching frocks, it is worth saying explicitly. ๐Ÿ™‚



I'm just reading this and the sky has opened again! A very accurate sound effect indeed…

I must say part of the amusement of the day was derived from it seems ALL the chaps present trying to prove their chappish weather-forecasting skills with sage words such as 'it will clear up about 2pm'… as if they had worked this out through sheer manly grit.

Personally I used the rain as an excuse to buy a new hat, and jolly glad I was with it too.


Rain? What rain? I saw me no rain? NAWT!

Although my 1st *drenched* event – I will most certainly be returning next year. I had no idea what was going on apart from meeting lovely folk from on line. A top day out! ๐Ÿ™‚

Ashley B.

I wish Oslo had as booming a vintage scene as this! I actually haven't met one person with any old fashioned sensibilities here ๐Ÿ™

Penny Dreadful

It was my first too, and like Charly I'll certainly be back every year from now on. The only sad thing is that the rain meant we missed some events, as we were too busy huddling under umbrellas and protecting picninc baskets from the wet xx


I'd hoped you were demanding protection money from all the charity shops and hairdressers. Just being a bunch of pretty girls who do stuff together isn't nearly as interesting!

I remember the pictures from last years – such different weather!

Stephanie Lynn

Sorry about the rainy weather. The weather in the US has been unseasonably hot this year so it sounds like bad weather all around. ๐Ÿ™

Looks like you had a blast anyways. I always loving seeing what the Vintage Mafia is up to. (It does make me a bit jealous, but I'll live. ๐Ÿ˜‰ )


I love your matching dresses!!! Shona has outdone herself again! ๐Ÿ™‚ I really like seeing The Vintage Mafia's happenings and in no way thought it was exclusive. I think it's a genius idea and seeing the friendship between all of you is lovely.

Despite the monsoon weather, the Olympiad looked like a lot of fun!


I don't think it's cliquey at all. I *WISH* I had a group of girlfriends who dressed in vintage like I do. It's nice to stand out, but, it's gets lonely vintage shopping alone.

Love the dresses, and let's have a moment for the falled green shoes (which I have always loved).


Oh, I love your matching dresses!!! Wish I could've been there, it looks like such a marvelous event!
I am sorry about your shoes; they were such a great color!

Polly Garter

Inclement!!! what wonderful British understatement. it's been possitively ark building weather in the west of these great isles! howeverI do hope that one year I may migrate west to join you!!


Every member of The Vintage Mafia looks amazing! I think youยดve brightened the rainy Chap Olympiad for many chaps ๐Ÿ˜‰

Miss Marie

You ladies looked absolutely fabulous in your darling matching dresses!

I must say that I think the rain added a certain something to the proceedings. The sea of umbrellas, the determinedness and mad-cap shenanigans of the contestants unfazed by the downpours… And, as you say, it probably kept away some of the fair-weather chaps – I didn't see a single person there who hadn't made some proper effort with their outfit.

Can't wait for next year's event. Even if it's only half as good as this year's, it will still be a top day out!

Rocket Originals

Looks like you all had a great time – even with the rubbish weather! Sorry to see your green shoes have finally gone to shoe heaven, but I think we may be able to replace them as I'm sure I've seen some old stock in your size in the warehouse. I'll be in touch :o)


So sad it rained that day (we've been having quite a bit of it ourselves… Just a couple weeks ago it was so bad that my car engine nearly flooded while I was out driving in an area with particularly bad drainage! :p). But I enjoyed watching your video–so fun! ๐Ÿ˜€ And the matching outfits for the Vintage Mafia?! Perfect!!!

Rachael King

Anyone who disapproves of the Vintage Mafia as being cliquey is just silly. I've had a group of friends for years now called the Brunette Mafia – I even thanked them as a whole in the acknowledgments my last novel. It's a very handy collective noun and it started as a warning to blokes – 'if you mess with one of us you mess with all of us'. Why shouldn't a group of good friends give themselves a name without fear of jealousy?


I have to say I love all of your posts and I really enjoy the video.

By the way I would like to say something about the name you choose for your business team.
As I'm italian, the word "mafia" is something terrible for my ears…it brings to me everything bad this "society" made to my Country and it's still doing…I must say: it is not a name that I like…but maybe to english people it sounds different…



I think it's terrific to have such a good group of talented professional women who are friends AND work together well. Being friends with each other is not always easy.

I've got a trip with one of my close friends next month and we're having a great time figuring out what corsets and playsuits and shoes we are taking. It's great having gal pals!


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