| History

Having a Grape Old Time!

It’s about time I took a foray back into the more distant past for a fresh King’s Ginger adventure. Luckily enough, I have had one up my sleeve for a few months, ready to unleash on my loyal readers at the most opportune moment! This particular story revolves around sparkling wine (and horses), and what better time to enjoy such things than in the lead up to Valentine’s Day? Well, sparkling wine, not horses. Though what you do with your own time is no business of mine.

Onto the tale!

In stories gone by, I have written about King Edward VII’s big love of horse-racing, and taken a trip to Goodwood. He visited racecourses all over the place, of course. But he was a regular visitor of one in particular – the Stockbridge Races. Stockbridge Racecourse itself no longer exists, having sadly been forced to close in 1898, before our hero even ascended the throne. More on this later. In its time, days at the Stockbridge Races were described as ‘among the pleasantest of the whole season’, with none of the ‘bustle and excitement of Epsom, Ascot and Goodwood’. While the aforementioned other races were quite graced with the presence of his Highness, the Prince of Wales, so he frequented Stockbridge too, quite often with famous mistress Lillie Langtry in tow.

Stockbridge Racecouse – the Bilbury Grandstand, 7th July 1898

The Prince and Lillie were only together three years, from 1877 to 1880 (though they remained friends for decades), but he was so taken with her that they were almost inseparable in that time. He even built her a house, which I visited a few years ago. As you can imagine, due to their celebrity couple status, her appearances at Stockbridge were quite the event, but what’s interesting is that the reverse was obviously quite true as well. In 1885, she bought a stable of racehorses and was variously involved with racing her horses, winning prestigious cups (under the name Mr Jersey) and even trying to breed them. She was eventually obliged to sell up by, you guessed it, a chap. She married in 1899 and later that same year, it was reported,

Mrs. Lily Langtry, known in racing circles as “Mr. Jersey,” under which name her horses are nominated in English stakes, is about to dispose of her racing stable and to wash her hands forever of the turf. She will do this at the expressed wish of her husband, Mr. Hugo Gerald de Bathe, who does not think It Is a woman’s province to own a Race horse.

I digress, because despite winning cups at Ascot and Goodwood among others, she never won anything at Stockbridge with her horses. And neither did the Prince! In 1881, he apparently said,

“I have only won one race myself under Jockey Club rules, but far from being discouraged, I still continue racing, and hope one day to own a Derby winner of my own breeding, although I really think, at the present time, my luck is so bad that if a horse of mine were winning a race, it would drop dead before passing the winning post.”

In 1886, he entered the Stockbridge Cup with his horse, Counterpane. Perhaps the name was an omen, because after a very flat performance, the poor horse limped in last and promptly keeled over dead at the finish line. Apparently, ‘souvenir hunters pulled out every hair of the horse’s tail. Gruesome!

Tom Cannon


Chose this picture of Tom for obvious reasons

While attending the Stockbridge Races, the Prince very often stayed at nearby Danebury House (in the perfectly-named Nether Wallop) as a guest of the owner Tom Cannon. Tom was described as a ‘natural jockey’ (which presumably means a short fellow), albeit one who occasionally overindulged and had to ‘don several large woollen sweaters and run around the Racecourse’ to cut down to optimum jockey weight! He’s also great-grandfather to Lester Piggott, so clearly a good jockey gene in the family. He rose from a young stableboy and jockey, to the master trainer of the Danebury Stables, and later, after marrying the owner, John Day’s daughter Kate in 1865, became the owner upon the death of Day in 1883. He won an astonishing 1,544 times in his career.

So, what happened to Stockbridge Racecourse? The above ruin is all that remains of the Bilbury Grandstand from the top photo, taken at the last ever meeting. It sadly caught fire in 1973, having stood empty and unloved for nearly a hundred years.  Sadly, it was all the fault of a lady who can only be described as a killjoy!
The owner of part of the land over which the racecourse ran, Sir John Barker Mill, died in 1860, his widow in 1884. A distant cousin, Marianne Vaudry, then inherited the estate. She was highly disapproving of gambling, racing and betting, not to mention drinking. She gave all the local pubs over to ‘The People’s Refreshment Association’, who sold food, and no booze. She believed drinking alcohol led inevitably to vice.
She sued Tom Cannon for trespass, claiming he unlawfully training horses and playing cricket and other games on his property. He won the suit and was allowed ‘right of recreation’ on the land, but could no longer train racehorses there. In order to stop anyone gambling there, Vaudry then withdrew the lease on her bit of racecourse and the major sponsors their meetings moved to Salisbury Racecourse. It was nearly the end. But not quite! Apparently, from Days at the Races:

She had to give notice to the club that she was going to sell it, and the Prince of Wales, afterwards King Edward Vii, sent an equerry down there, with an open cheque to buy Stockbridge racecourse. But she tore it up and threw it in the fire. There’s a strong willed woman…

Apparently, she later said that if she had realised the harm her actions would cause, she wouldn’t have closed it. The three days of racing made some Stockbridge residents enough to last a year. But it was done.

Fittingly, one of the last ever events held in the Grandstand was a supper dance to celebrate the Coronation of King Edward VII, on 23rd June 1902. Guests feasted on lobster, beef and veal plus ‘Tipsy Cake’ and everyone danced until 7am the following morning. What a fitting end!

Nowadays, Danebury is a private home, but the clockhouse building in the photo above dates from the racecourse’s heyday. The site was used for testing Spitfires during WWII. Racehorse stables are still there, but (Marianne Vaudry would be horrified to know) the estate is now a Danebury Vineyard, which was planted in 1988. They produce a fantastic sparkling wine, Cossack, which goes fantastically well with… The King’s Ginger!

I brought my own bottle along, of course.



Apart from my fabulous KGL carrier, the starring part of my outfit is from the wonderful Ally Fashion. She will make you this if you ask!

As I said above, Cossack sparkling wine goes brilliantly with King’s Ginger as a Valentine’s cocktail – the Royal King! It’s crisp and light, perfectly complementing the sweetness of the liqueur. I took it upon myself to sample it at Danebury and, while I only had a very small glass of the cocktail as I was driving, it was definitely to be repeated. And what better way to wake up on Sunday 14th February than with decadent breakfast cocktails? All you need is a couple of fingers of King’s Ginger, topped up with fizz. Here’s one I didn’t prepare earlier, by Instagram legend Symmetry Breakfast:

Pancakes… booze… happy Valentine’s Day! You can buy Danebury Cossack online – The Drink Shop carries KGL as well – hurrah!

Fleur xx

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From Hobby to Career – Becoming a Vintage Seller

In the second of my two posts for Shurgard‘s blog, I am asking: so, you think you have a good eye for
vintage clothing and accessories? Perhaps, after many years devoted
to your own collection – honing your eye for a bargain – you
realise you prefer hunting down vintage and antiques more than your
actual job. Well… why not try and make a living out of your hobby?
Seriously! You’ll have to get used to early mornings, become a
photographer, get to grips with social media marketing and, most
importantly of all, genuinely have a passion for what you’re doing.
But the rewards are so worth it! 
Keep your eyes peeled
The casual collector scours eBay and
Etsy and probably frequents vintage sales, charity shops and
carboots. But the serious stock sourcer needs to think bigger. You
can find big lots on eBay if you look, but it’s being first through
the door at sales of all kinds that reaps the rewards. Pro sellers
are the ones lining up at opening time, sweeping through and leaving
before the hobbyists have even got out of bed! You can even try going
to proper vintage clothing auction houses like Kerry
to battle it out with other dealers,
hitting foreign flea markets or making friends with local house
clearance companies.
Promoting your collection 
When you’ve acquired some stock, what
then? Sure, you can book spots at fairs, boot sales and so forth, but if you don’t have transport, it can be difficult. Selling online is the answer, but it’s an art all in itself. Taking decent photos is
key. A decent camera (or cameraphone), a plain backdrop (or
bedsheet!) and a cheap mini tripod are good to have. It’s definitely
fair to say that the better your photos are, the more you are likely
to sell, and potentially command higher prices.
For clothing, you can model the pieces
yourself (check out Butch Wax
, who has mastered pinning larger pieces
on herself) or use other models (see Atypical
who does both), or get an adjustable
mannequin (like Advantage
in Vintage
). Making sure everything is
ironed/steamed (the latter is so much quicker) is crucial! With
jewellery, an uncluttered background is good. You don’t need to
invest in expensive light boxes, you can DIY
these things with a bit of effort! Whatever you are selling, you need
to go over each piece with a fine-toothed comb to make note of any
flaws. Fix, sew and clean anything you can yourself!

Social media is key
Mastering social media is the next step
to selling world domination! Have an Instagram, Facebook and Twitter
account so that whatever your customers’ preferred platform, they can
follow you. Even if you aren’t a big user of all three, you can use
many great automation tools to take the hard work out. Check out
and Schedugram,
and if you’re not a natural social media addict, spend half an hour a
day and schedule your updates, then you won’t have to be a slave to
it the rest of the time. Plus, you can use Instagram to sell direct, with no fees or on Facebook groups like Ooh La La Vintage Swap & Sell, as mentioned in my last post.
Making space
Finally, in order to stop your new job
and supersized collection taking over your life, especially if you
wear vintage yourself, consider hiring some external storage. Even if
you have space at home, it can be useful to keep your work separate
and your spare room, you know, spare. Better than sticking your
precious things in a damp loft or an unsecured outhouse, professional
storage places like Shurgard are completely safe, with PIN entry &
24-hour CCTV coverage. Plus, they offer the flexibility to store
things for the short or long term, perfect for when you’re just
starting out as a vintage seller and you’re still working out which
sales methods or events are going to be the best for you.

Good luck!

Fleur xx

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Starting a Vintage Collection: Beginner’s Basics

Collecting anything, but especially
vintage clothing or accessories, can vary from being a casual hobby
to an all-consuming compulsion. As a collector of everything from
Beanie Babies (as a kid) to vintage housedresses (ongoing), I have
experience at both ends of the spectrum! I was asked by Shurgard Self-Storage to write a piece about said experience for their blog and was only too glad to oblige. I can waffle on a bit as any regular readers know, and I kept it more concise there. So here, in full are some tips to
kickstart your collecting career.
Starting out
Firstly, and most importantly, decide
what you want to collect! You do need to pick something that
genuinely interests you, or you’ll lose the passion for hunting it
down. Go for vintage clothing that you want to wear yourself or
restore and preserve; things you will use and enjoy, like mid-century
costume jewellery, bakelite bangles, art deco china tea services or
CC41 furniture. I collect clothing and deco china but Naomi Thompson,
who wrote the book Style Me Vintage Accessories with fellow collector extraordinaire Liz Tregenza, says that vintage jewellery is the ‘lazy’ collector’s
‘I grew tired of mending, washing, storing and protecting
delicate vintage clothing. That pool is getting smaller. Now,
jewellery is democratic. It doesn’t matter what size, shape or age
you are, everyone can enjoy jewellery.’

Looking for bargains and real steals
Heading to top end vintage and antique
fairs is a good first step for any budding vintage collector. The
experienced sellers will have genuine wares that will help you get to
know what you’re looking for. Examine fabrics and fastenings, labels
and makers stamps. Once you know what the real thing looks and feels
like, you can keep a better eye out in charity shops and car boot
sales. The vintage world is unfortunately replete with reproductions,
knock-offs (especially bakelite) and 80s pieces masquerading as
earlier. Naomi says, ‘Car boots and charity shops are still good
pickings. It is still overlooked. Everyone is looking for vintage
clothing. Plastics are a great example of this. I keep on finding
1920s celluloid in the 20p basket in my local charity shop. Always
look in those cheapie baskets. I also love a good jewellery job lot
on eBay.’
Once you know what you’re looking for,
online shopping for vintage items is relatively easy. Head to eBay or
Etsy, find sellers on Instagram or (top tip) join Facebook groups
specific to your era. The largest by far (and therefore most
competitive) is Ooh La La! Vintage Swap And Sell Shop, which is
mainly for 1940s and mid-century clothing, accessories and
collectibles. For all online browsing, if you are searching by
keywords, always try slight misspellings too. Items with terrible
photos are sometimes great scores in disguise – take occasional
risks as they can pay off!
Storage & maintenance
Storage and maintenance of a vintage
collection is extremely important. Any time a button comes off or a
seam goes, repair it. Don’t wear, wash or dry-clean it until it’s
been fixed! Invest in some padded hangers to keep delicate dresses
and coats from straining their seams. Knitwear and heavy beaded
things are best in boxes or cases. Acid-free tissue paper is the
recommended padding of dealers! Whatever you do, don’t store things
long-term in vacuum bags, the lack of air can wreak havoc on delicate
fabrics. Inside wardrobes, closely piled shoes or tightly-wedged
clothing can get mouldy and costume jewellery can tarnish and chip if
bundled together. 
Selling stuff is obviously an option,
but as time marches on and vintage and antiques become more scarce,
you’ll find that your collection’s value may grow… better to hold
onto it a little longer and reap the rewards in coming years and
decades! How do you decide what to keep in circulation and what to
store? Naomi advises, ‘I keep novelty plastic, anything to do with
hands and bugs, anything bright and colourful. The thing about being
a collector is you are constantly editing your collection. Things
come in, so others have to go out.’ If your home is bursting at the seams, do consider looking for an affordable storage facility to keep your finds safe and dry. Shurgard offers units from 10 to 240 square feet, so even if you just need to store one or two boxes full of precious things, it’s a great option.
Happy collecting!

Fleur xx

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The Seven Years of Blogging Christmas

When you’ve been blogging as long as me (8 years next year), you’ve accumulated a lot of photos of Christmases past. In the interests of nostalgia and laziness, I thought I’d take you back in time to my many and varied (and not-so-varied) vintage Christmas outfits of the past! In a vaguely chronological order…

Back in 2008, I loved swing dancing. I wore this two-piece candy-cane striped set to a Christmas swing dance, complete with holly in my hair! Can’t remember the brand, but I do know it is long gone.

The following year, I wore a repro velvet dress from Able Grable, another defunct repro brand.

This vintage inspired coat came from the high street… Oasis I think. A staple of winter for years & years!

Vintage 40s suit jacket, an ASOS jumpsuit & King’s Ginger for the first year!

A Rocket Originals jumper, which was not, in fact a Christmas jumper… but it did a damn good impression in 2011!

2012 with some King’s Ginger again, back in the velvet and a fur coat. Plus Miss L Fire shoes. 
I also did a shoot with Jeni Yesterday at the Imperial War Museum… I think it was the same year, but who knows?

A festive green jumpsuit from H&M & a Freddies of Pinewood cardi that mysteriously disappeared some time ago…
With me bro… who’s now a DAD!?

One Boxing day, when I dressed down. 😉

2013 was the first year of the Heyday Christmas Fleur! Obviously wore this 40s style wrap dress on Xmas day.

And last year – the Holly Berry Fleur dress – there are still some of these available! Though you’ve missed last post now… still.

Not sure what I’m wearing for Christmas this year – I haven’t bought anything new that’s fancy enough for ages. Not that there’s anything better than the two Heyday Fleurs above… What are you wearing?

Fleur xx

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A Horrible Halloween

There haven’t been many years since around 2008 where I haven’t thrown a Halloween party, either with my friend Ruby who owns Fontaine’s Bar in Dalston, or the Vintage Mafia. This year combined both into the Mortuary of Madness, a horror hospital-themed party the VM threw at Fontaine’s! Apart from Jeni’s costume getting lost in the post, forcing her to be a patient rather than a Great War nurse, it was a brilliant night and all our guests made so much effort. Here’s a selection of snaps by the ultra talented Hanson Leatherby, to see the full album, head to his Facebook!

I think you’ll all agree, these photos are really a bit too good!

Fleur xx


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The King Across the Ocean

Hello, and welcome to the return of my now-quarterly King’s Ginger adventures! Something a little different to kick off, and certainly more far-flung than usual. I found myself in Boston this autumn and took a day to follow in the King’s footsteps from around 150 years before. He was treading the path of the American Revolutionaries of almost a century before as well, adding up to an interesting history lesson for those of us who know little about the history of the United States. Join me for the Battle Of Bunker Hill and the King’s 1860 Royal Tour of North America! 
The Battle of Bunker Hill took place in
1775, and was an early part of the American Revolutionary War – the
long and acrimonious divorce of the United States of America from
Great Britain. It’s not a war we ever get taught about in history
lessons over here, though most of us have heard of some of the key
events in the leadup – like the Boston Tea Party in 1773, which was not a
genteel gathering with hot drinks and neatly cut finger sandwiches
but a protest in which men dressed as Native Americans (thus aligning
themselves with the country of their residence and not the one of
their ancestry) dumped 342 chests of tea in Boston harbour as a
statement against the import laws and tax on tea. We probably know
about this event because of the shocking waste of tea but I didn’t know anything about its root causes, which were the
increasing tensions between the two nations (mostly because of taxes imposed by Britain and massively over-regulated trade rules – if you’ll pardon the
over generalisation), which  resulted in outright war breaking out in April
1775, between both old and New England.
Photo from the Bunker Hill Museum
The Americans didn’t have an army, but
they had a militia – also known as the Minutemen. According to that ever-reliable
source, Wikipedia, the British had about 4,000 men stationed in
Massachusetts – well-trained and well-equipped redcoats. When the
Battle of Bunker Hill kicked off in June 1775, approximately 3,000
British soldiers fought 2,400 colonial troops and, despite the odds
being stacked against them, and the eventual outcome being declared a
loss for the American side, the British Army lost far more men. The
battle’s outcome gave the Patriots (as they are referred to over in
the States) the confidence to go and take the redcoats on again and
they would eventually triumph and win their complete independence
from us (obviously!).
That’s an extremely potted history of
the Battle of Bunker Hill of course, and you may be wondering what it
has to do with King Edward? Let me fill you in.
The Prince of Wales by Matthew Brady, New York 1860 (Wikipedia)
Nearly 100 years after the famous
Battle, in the autumn of 1860, 18-year-old Prince Albert Edward of
England set off for an official tour of North America. The Royal
Family had been invited over a few years earlier by Canadian officials
(who had fought for Britain in the Crimean War), but Queen Victoria
had declined to go on the long transatlantic voyage and all her
children were too young to go in her place. According to the New York
Time, It was Prince Albert who persuaded her to send Albert Edward
not only to Canada but to America too. Thinking about it, given that
the war of independence happened less than 100 years earlier, I’m not
too surprised at her reluctance to send her eldest son halfway across
the world to meet with the revolutionary nation. However, as I have
mentioned on here before, Bertie was quite the naughty young man and
didn’t get on at all well with his mother… even before she blamed
him for the death of Prince Albert a year later. So perhaps if anyone was to be
reluctantly sent over there, it was him!
He set off on 10th July 1860, bound for Canada, where he dedicated the new Victoria Bridge in Montreal. It wasn’t until September 20th that the prince and his entourage reached America, docking at Detroit and then travelling to Chicago, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg before arriving in Washington on the 3rd of October. He did all the usual sightseeing – the Capitol Building and George Washington’s house, and attended a reception at the White House, of course.
next bit of the trip was interesting. Here’s a quote from the New
York Times

only controversy of the trip arose over whether or not to visit the
South. Sectional tensions were high in that momentous election year,
and Southern politicians hoped to gain positive publicity for their
cause through a royal visit to model plantations. The colonial
secretary accepted an invitation to Richmond, Virginia, where Edward
attended church and toured the state capital. The prince, though,
refused to visit a plantation and insisted on being driven back
promptly to Washington. From there, the royal party traveled by rail
to Baltimore and Philadelphia, and then sailed for New York City.

offers no reason for the prince’s refusal but since his father,
Prince Albert was a noted abolitionist, it’s fair to assume that he
was also strongly anti-slavery. Yet another reason to appreciate his
Majesty for being a thoroughly decent bloke!
In New York, there were various
adventures including parades, a lavish ball for 3,000 people, which
was gatecrashed by a further 2,000, causing part of the temporary
dance floor to collapse (luckily not with the prince on it) and other
adventures. But since this story is meant to be about Boston and
Bunker Hill, we will have to move onto this part of the trip before
it becomes a novel!
Revere House, Boston (Wikipedia)
the 17th
October, the party set off for Boston on a specially upgraded train.
It’s described in ‘The New England tour of His Royal Highness, the
Prince of Wales’ published the same year, as the
‘handsomest travelling car to ever run on rails’, with velvet sofas
and carpet, a solid silver ‘ornamental waiter’, gold goblets and even
an elegant office, complete with writing desk. Arriving to Boston at 4pm, the Prince and his
entourage then passed through various streets in the city, cheered on
by thousands of cheering men and women.
royal party stayed in Revere House, a fancy hotel which sadly burned
down in 1912. Rooms were upgraded for the Prince’s stay, of course.
It was reported while staying there that, ‘The Prince is a hearty eater but drinks very moderately’ – the 18-year-old had much
to learn, it seems.
Ralph Farnham, courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society
next morning, the 18th
October, the Prince met with the last remaining veteran of the Battle
of Bunker Hill, Ralph Farnham. Described as a ‘reluctant
‘, Mr Farnham was 104 when he was invited to Boston for
a celebration of his life. He was also put up at Revere House, where
he had a fifteen minute reception with Bertie. He wanted to pay his
respects and prove that the animosity of the past was forgotten, though he was quoted as joking, “I hear so much in praise of the Prince of
Wales that I fear the people will all turn Royalists.”
Crowd on Boston Common (YouTube)
busy day continued with a visit to the Capitol and Boston Common
(where a crowd waited for the Prince), a concert and finally, a Ball.
While this contemporary report doesn’t describe the Prince’s attire
for the evening, it does describe many of the ladies’ outfits in a
lot of excessive detail! The first outfit described the wife of Governer Banks who was ‘attired
in a rich heavy purple silk figured in gold which produced quite a
brilliant effect. The dress was worn with short sleeves trimmed with
point lace and partially covered with a point lace bertha with gold
trimmings. Diamond earrings and a headdress of white feathers with a
heavy purple velvet ribbon at the back added much to the effect of
her toilet.’ Sounds lovely. You can read about all the ladies’ outfits, should you want to know them in incredible detail here
Ball had to have a special police presence and the decoration costs
outstripped the receipts from selling tickets. But since the Prince
reportedly danced until 4am, it seems it was worth it!
following day, the Prince visited the college, and Mt. Auburn
Cemetery (which I tried to see myself but couldn’t get there) before
heading to the Bunker Hill Monument, just as I did.
The huge granite obelisk was erected between 1827 and 1843, the gap of 16 years being down to constantly running out of funds. It was only completed after Mrs Sarah Josepha Hale, the editor of a women’s magazine, had a ‘Ladies Fair’ in 1840 and raised a whopping $30,000 from Boston’s well-to-do women. The Bunker Hill Lodge at the foot of the obelisk was built later in the 19th century, and I’m not sure if it was there when the Prince visited, but the statue of General Joseph Warren (who perished in the battle) it now houses definitely was.
I got a lift there with the friend I stayed in Boston with, the
Prince was ‘conveyed hence at a speed highly complimentary to the
skill of the reinsman and the muscle of the steeds.’ And I was
disappointed to learn that he only ‘passed round the base of the
Monument admiring its lofty proportions and visited the statue of
Warren’, and didn’t, in fact, climb the 294 steps to the top (which
felt like a lot more) and pause to admire the view. 
…Not that the landscape would have look like that at the time! Still, here’s
the proof that I climbed the monument and survived the jelly legs that ensued. And also that I visited Dr Warren!
Returning momentarily to the Battle itself, which I learned about in the adjacent Bunker Hill Museum, it really wasn’t immediately clear that the British won (I had to Google it it). This was down to the fact that was really only a ‘Pyrrhic victory’ – one that came at a devastatingly high toll. We lost so many men that we may as well have lost… as we eventually went on to do. Nonetheless, it gave rise to the famous quote, ‘Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes’.
After Bunker Hill, the Prince went to visit the Library of Boston before heading to Portland and from there returned back to England, turning 19 somewhere on the Atlantic. The New York Times reported that, ‘While nothing specific had been accomplished during the prince’s American tour, Edward, Queen Victoria, and the British people were pleased by the warm welcome the United States had extended to the British prince.’ This was his first official Tour, and he went on to do more, including visiting Egypt the following year, as well as taking on many more state duties as Queen Victoria retreated further and further from public life after the death of Albert, also the following year. 
All these years later, the lucky people of America can get their hands on KGL, although it’s definitely harder to find and my host and I had to visit multiple liquor stores of suburban Boston to find a bottle! But it led me to post his question on the KGL Facebook page: how many bottles of King’s Ginger can you fit into the Bunker Hill Monument? It’s a trick question because, like so much, the bottles are bigger over there!
I hope you have enjoyed the return of this feature and my brief history of the King’s visit to Bunker Hill. His Majesty will be back again in time for Christmas! 
Back to the present day, if you;d like to try a brand-new cocktail, may I recommend this Movember special? It’s all in aid of an excellent cause.

Fleur xx

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Goodwood Revival – the 2015 edition!

Another year and another glorious
Goodwood Revival down. For me, as you have probably read here every year, the cars and racing come
secondary to the fashion on display and this year was no
I went along on the Saturday, which is the Revival’s
Ladies’ Day. Not to get all British or anything, but we really lucked
out with the weather this year! It can be hit or miss – I’ve
shivered in a coat and worn nothing but a vintage swimsuit in
previous years, and this time round, it was sunny enough to need
sunscreen and go stockingsless… not that most of the chic ladies
went bare-legged, embracing full-on vintage glamour from head to toe.
Hats, high heels, fur stoles and period-perfect accessories were
The highlight of my day was attending
the Best Dressed competition, which takes place at the Veuve Clicquot
tent. Throughout the day, discerning ‘spotters’ go around the site,
dishing out cards to the crème de la crème of costumes, either with
a commendation or the coveted blue card, which earns the recipient a
place in the final parade. The judges (headed up by Nick Clements of
Men’s File Magazine, then deliberated and picked runners up and overall
winners. The mens’ category included best uniform, won by a chap in a
50s fireman’s outfit, and the winner was in a pristine 1940s suit
with hat and umbrella. On
the ladies’ side, a new category for best mini-skirt (to mark the
50th anniversary of Youthquake) was won by a pair of twins
in the best late 60s outfits I saw. Well-deserved! 
Nick Clements
Best-dressed chap
(Some of) the ladies!
The twins!
And Youthquake!
Back Over the Road after a stop to have
our photos taken with a Captain Birdseye-alike at the fish finger
boat (no idea), I watched two policemen battle it out on vintage
bikes in The Chap Olympiad’s Umbrella Jousting, excellently compered by Tristan Langlois
(who, as you may have spotted, does double duty on the Best Dressed)
as Spitfires flew overhead.
As for my outfit,
I conversely didn’t dress up to the nines, preferring to keep it
casual for the day in a late 1940s wrap dress and a pair of
reproduction 1940s platforms by Miss L Fire and my lovely mum wore some 1920s inspired finery. Perfect for a day of
action in the Chichester countryside!
Thanks go to BrewinDolphin for sponsoring this post. Until next year!

Fleur xx

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Goodwood Revival – a very vintage fashion guide

entering mid-August does make me feel more than a little sad that
summer is soon on its way out, there is one positive to the
inexorable creep of the year. It’s coming round to one of my
favourites events of the autumn, the most excellent Goodwood Revival.
If you don’t know about the Revival (or missed my posts from previous
years), it’s a celebration of the golden era of motor sport – the
cars and the fashion – as well as plenty of shopping to get stuck
into. But since half the fun of the Goodwood Revival, aside from the
smell of Castrol R and the people watching, is getting dressed up,
putting together a killer vintage outfit is a definite must! So, I
thought I’d put together a little guide to sourcing an authentic
outfit that fits the Revival time period of 1949-1966, whether you
want to go full vintage or modern reproduction with an authentic
if you want to find genuine vintage, try eBay and Etsy for the
biggest range of options and price-ranges from across the world (you
have just about enough time to order a bargain piece from abroad).
Buying vintage online is an article in itself, but my top quick tip
is to look for metal zips or popper fastenings and avoid anything
that’s listed as containing polyester or nylon and you won’t be
caught out with 1980s masquerading as 40s. If budget is less of a
concern, there are some fabulous vintage shops in London that would
serve as a one-stop shop for a fabulous outfit. The very top of the
list (and the budget) is the extremely high end William
, whose couture garments very often fall into the key
period for Goodwood. Scarlet
is a shop in North London with some absolutely killer
vintage at reasonable (for London) prices. Both of these shops have
online selections too. For great menswear go to Hunky
on Brick Lane. And finally, if you’re more into the later
end of the time period, check out Atypical
, which has an amazing array of 50s and 60s (and even some
amazing hippie duds if you fancy sneaking in some later 60s
outfits…why not?)
brings me onto my next subject: modern reproduction vintage. If
practicality is more of a concern, or you prefer modern fabrics and
cuts, there are some excellent repro lines around these days. Top of
the Revival favourites is Vivien
Of Holloway
, whose 1950s circle-skirted frocks can be seen
everywhere at the event which is either a pro or a con depending on
how you look at it! They do plenty of other day and eveningwear
styles, too. Atypical Girl also carrys some excellent 50s-60s
inspired pieces. The Seamstress
of Bloomsbury
is another choice for super authentic 40s and early
50s pieces that wash and wear well (from experience!). I also can’t
fail to recommend Heyday,
who make the Fleur wrap dress I’ve modelled so many times on these
pages… I might be biased but it is an excellent mid-century style
daywear piece in the loveliest novelty prints! Don’t forget to hit
What Katie Did for the right underpinnings and seamed nylons for your
vintage or repro outfit (they also have a long-established shop at
the Revival for any stockings emergencies)!
On the
accessories front, footwear brands Rocket
and Miss L Fire
are an absolute goldmine of vintage style shoes, and they also have a
range of very authentic 1950s style Lucite handbags. Betsy
is an excellent place to look for a hat to top off your
outfit, or, if the budget is a little broader, Bea
& Evie
hats and sister brand Ally
make some very high end reproductions. Think pure silk
and couture finishing – perfect for driving that vintage car
through the Sussex countryside!
there are some final things to recommend for your trip to Goodwood
Revival. Spare, sensible shoes (anything but high heels) for walking
from the car-park to the course, if you aren’t driving your classic
motor directly inside, of course. An umbrella and sunscreen to cover
both weather eventualities – I have experienced all kinds of
weather that September weekend! Hairspray to keep your beehive, 1940s
poodle or 50s waves in check. A beautiful powder compact to touch up
your lipstick and attract approximately 25 wide-angle camera lenses
and phone cameras pointed in your direction as you make an
unflattering ‘lipstick face’… maybe not that last one.

Thanks go to BrewinDolphin for sponsoring this post – I’m even more excited about
this year’s Revival now. Who will I be bumping into there, then?

Fleur xx

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Less speed, more Hastings

A few weeks ago, I took a trip to the seaside to the Jack in the Green festival that’s held there every year on May Day. It’s a great olde English tradition which dates back to the 16th century, which was revived in Hastings back in the 80s and the annual celebrations feature lots of pagan symbolism, green foliage and Morris dancing. Oh, and a huge biker meet.

Unfortunately, the weather didn’t play ball, but I wore traditional green regardless! Sorry that it’s paired with my uniform leather jacket, which is on here rather a lot lately. But that just reflects my life!

Outfit: A cherished Swirl dress
Vintage leather 
and my gorgeous Agneta High Swedish Hasbeens
A few snaps le boyfriend took of the biker part with my camera!
RIP this flower headband, which fell apart last week! 
Posting this as a good photo but would like to point out that as it’s not something I can remember seeing before, I looked up this rather ill-advised (IMO) black makeup that the Morris dancer on the left is wearing. Though the general consensus seems to be it started as a disguise and has largely died out for obvious reasons, I do feel the racial connotations should lead to it dying out completely as a tradition for Morris Men, sharpish.
The desolate seafront!
The old Pier, which burned down, is being rebuilt
Well nothing else to add really, since we got there late and didn’t stay massively long, so no more interesting stories… except some advice. Don’t pose for blog photos when there are hundreds of powerful motorbikes being driven down the bit of road you’re standing on… 

Fleur xx

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Sales & Socials

A couple of years ago, I used to run the Sale & Social with my Vintage Mafia gals, but alas, those are consigned to history. I did have a marvellous time selling at the East London Vintage Fair last month, though and it’s happening again tomorrow so I encourage all you vintage-loving Londoners to go along. It was really, really good. Both as a seller and a vintage lover – so many amazing stands selling top-quality things. I’d really recommend signing up as a seller if you have quality things to shift.

See the full list of sellers tomorrow on the ol’ FB event page.

Here’s Katie & I at the last one, what you can’t tell from this photo is the fact I was about to die of a hangover.

I’m not selling this time as I am helping Katie do her Clapton Jumble Trail stall, which is only a few minutes’ toddle up the road from the Round Chapel, so come see us too after you have hit the fair (and buy our vintage at low, low prices) – we’re on Hilsea Street!

In other news, it was my birthday the other day! Not a big celebration as who cares about 34? I went out for a quiet burger dinner with my other half.

Found this cute maxi dress on Etsy – not often things are long enough for lanky old me!
Always matching whenever possible! 

And the dress in full… though it was far too cold and windy to wear like this! Brrrrr.

Fleur xx