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Bingo wings

I haven’t been to a good old Blogger event for ages, so when my lovely friend Jayne from Jayne’s Kitschen invited me to go along to a Musical Bingo night underneath Pizza East, I threw caution to the wind and said yes. Actually, when I realised the venue, it was like I was a cartoon character and my eyes turned into tiny pizzas. They are seriously good pizzas, you guys.

Anyway, Musical Bingo. I wasn’t sure what to expect. When Jayne emailed me about it, she made a remark that with our musical taste (we have actually bonded over a mutual love of 90s-2000s metal and pop punk) that we would suck at it. Well, I said, speak for yourself! I only have a radio in my car, plus I spend a lot of time in nail bars, so I’m pretty familiar with the top 40 and pop music generally.

As it turned out, we needn’t have worried since the format was dead easy.

I’m more familiar with Concrete as a club venue that hosts nights like Work It (90s R&B/Hip Hop) and others, but there was a real party atmosphere down there on the night. Lots of people out for birthdays and, I presume, hen parties and things. It is THE perfect thing for that, because it was 100% girly fun. Well, that might sound sexist, but it was definitely only ladies standing up on the table singing along to Dancing in the Street.

The whole set up was quite low-budget – deliberately, I think? Chipboard and silly prizes consisting mostly of sweets and the compere, Foxy Roxy (or was it Glitzy Ritzy?) was brought in in a shopping trolley made to look like a swan boat of love (it being Valentines week)! Brilliant. 
I was on a table with Jayne full of lovely bloggers, including The Girl Who Stole London (who I’d met before) and EpiphannieA (who I hadn’t). The pizzas were exceptional. You can see Jayne with the orange hair next to me! 
The way you play Musical Bingo, is that you have a sheet with 9 songs on it – ours were all Love themed, since it was Valentines, and the DJ plays most of (or all, if everyone is singing enthusiastically) each song for you to cross off your card. Even if you didn’t recognise the song, someone else would. They were all well known songs. If you can read this one, held by a lovely lady I didn’t actually meet, it’s Round 2 (duets) and features such classics as ‘Breathe’ by Blu Cantrell and Sean Paul, ‘I Knew You Were Waiting’ by Aretha Franklin and George Michael,  the aforementioned ‘Dancing in the Street’ and ‘Crazy in Love’ by Jay-Z and Beyoncé among others. 
It was insanely fun to sing along to the ballads. This one may have been Cher, it may have been Elaine Page. It may even have been N****s in Paris (which I actually know all the words to). 
Hahaha! 
Anyway, thank you to Costa Bingo for inviting me along, via Jayne. Read more about the night here and if you ever need something fun to do for a birthday or hen do, it is definitely personally & thoroughly recommended! Plenty of cracking songs both old and new to belt out, karaoke style. Even if I didn’t actually win a single thing. 

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

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Back to the Future (Cinema)

I’ve posted a few times about different Future Cinema events (side note: I think I’ve used the title pun before as well… oh well) but I haven’t been for a while, missing out on the Ghostbusters run they did at Halloween  (total bummer) but last Sunday, I was lucky enough to go once again! 
Read on for outfit deets! 
They’re currently doing Who Framed Roger Rabbit at the Troxy and this is the last weekend of the run, so I thought I better get my review out snappily in case anyone was thinking of going… 
If you have been to FC before (or even if you haven’t) you will know that an extraordinary amount of effort is put into the events. Being completely honest, I think they need to find a different venue than the Troxy, as while the details of each (and the film of course) are different each time, the identical venue makes them all seem slightly samey. They boyfriend, who hadn’t been before, didn’t have this feeling, obviously. Nonetheless, the whole shebang was awesome as ever.
You’re usually greeted by a neon sign for the venue. This time, since the Ink & Paint Club has a gorilla doorman, we were faced by this… a pretty snazzy piece of tech!

Onwards and inwards through a dark corridor and we were into the glamorous venue.

The acts that went on before the movie were all top-notch, as ever.

The Compére
The Diva
Teddy & Eddie
The former got bumped off immediately after, of course, by having a piano dropped on his head by a toon…
And of course, the headline star herself…
Jessica Rabbit! 
Some very clever dress design going on here…
The Toon characters were all in movie-perfect costumes but the designers obviously took the decision not to mess about with animal masks or ears, which I thought was a bit of a shame… but I completely understood. They were totally convincing even without. The weasels and Roger character (who obviously was an expert in clowning) all moved around too fast for me to get a decent shot with my decrepit camera… here’s the only one after they knocked him out and carried him off… 
I wore a kinda Toon-inspired outfit, comprising a PinupGirlClothing Matador skirt with illustration by the talented Micheline Pitt, and a Vivien of Holloway peasant top:
Bag (just seen in my right hand): Dungaree Dolly 
Shoes: Old old old, from Freed
I adore this skirt although its construction (it buttons at the front then wraps round and ties at the back like an apron) makes it super hard to tie tight enough on my own. I have to get Sean to do it for me! 
Also, I am not a petticoat wearer, and this skirt really does need one. It means it sadly doesn’t get shown off to its maximum advantage. 
Have you been to Future Cinema? And more importantly…
What shall I save up for from Pinup Girl Clothing next?? 😉

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

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#cloglife

I’ve said it before and I will say it again – I have a problem with clogs. A cloglem, if you will. It was born when I was invited to attend the launch of Swedish Hasbeens first pop-up shop in London’s Brick Lane a few years ago. I chose a pair of nude sandals that I wore until they were too scuffed and worn to be decent.

Bottom right (but on the left)

This kick-started (get it… shoes… kick… ahaha) a problem in which I bought a couple of pairs and then had my burgeoning addiction fed with a couple of pairs of freebies from the wonderful ladies of Varg PR and Hasbeens.

Today, I was wearing a purchased pair, the only ones I have suitable for this horrible rainy weather we’re enduring. Though arguably, I shouldn’t be wearing them in the rain.

Hasbeens are most definitely not cheap, however I got these booty beauties from Spartoo, where they are still on offer.  I adore them.

Why am I posting about clogs now though, you may well ask? It’s not just to show off my Ice Baby boots, but to show you the newest Swedish Hasbeens SS ’14 range, which will seriously test my willpower. All of these are lovely but some just make my heart sing! Maybe you can guess which one(s)…

(Please note, this post is not sponsored by Hasbeens, but by my addiction to them).

 
Well actually, I’ll tell you – I adore the pastel Flora high wedges, the not yet released ‘Heart Medallion’ sandals, albeit I greatly prefer the classic heel over the curvy one (I have the crossover heart ones already in pink), and the nude/black Suzanne style (below the leggy shot)… but by far and away my favourite is the Fredrica, as seen both above and below. SO GOOD.

I think I will get a pair in nude to replace my worn to death original sandals… nude might be a bit ‘safe’ but it does go with absolutely everything.

Which is your favourite though?! And do you think they look 40s enough to wear with vintage or too 70s? I know plenty who think the latter *cough*Lisa*cough*!

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

PS I recommend following Swedish Hasbeens on Facebook and/or Instagram for lots of amazingly beautiful and stylish clog-wearing pictures (not to mention finding out when the new styles are released).

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Top 10 UK vintage date ideas

Online dating. It used to be a little bit taboo, back in’t day. I met one of my ex boyfriends online (albeit not through a dating site, but through a forum) back in 2004, and I remember during our three years together, I was rarely honest about how we met. But times change – after a few fairly unsuccessful stints doing online dating, I actually met my current boyfriend on one of said sites and we have since moved in together. We are also always honest about where we met! It’s fair to say that I now have a pretty soft spot for online dating.
Whether on or offline, it can be a challenge to keep up the originality, and plan fun and memorable dates. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with going to a favourite restaurant, traditional stuff like cinema trips or cocktail bars. It does get a teeny bit complicated when your date confesses to you he’s taken other girls to a particular place. Or if you go to an old favourite place that you frequented with an ex and find the ex there too (since it’s also their old favourite). One of the pitfalls of living in a city, even one like London is that it seems big but, in fact it isn’t. 
If you’re a serial dater, or even if you’re in a relationship and trying to keep the dating  magic alive (something that is super important!), then you might want to check out eHarmony’s comprehensive ‘Great Date Guide’, which is a compilation of date ideas from their successful couples. They cover everything from bars and restaurants to sporty things, museums and more. They got in touch and asked me to recommend my top vintage picks from the Great Date Guide and since it’s so close to Valentine’s Day, I thought, why the heck not. But boy, it was tough! There were lots of personal favourite places in there, so I have tried very hard to be impartial and pick things that are unusual or not known to me, not to mention lots outside of London. There might be a couple of slightly more obvious ones that sneaked through…
1. Bibis, Leeds
Still popular after forty years of business, Bibis in Leeds has been charming customers with their top-notch Italian food and glitzy 1920s décor for decades. The glamour of the roaring twenties has never been more popular thanks to the Great Gatsby, Boardwalk Empire et al, and apparently there’s no better place in the North East to go to experience it first hand. High quality cocktails paired with live soul, jazz and Motown music is the order of the day – the Wednesday-night Showtime event comes highly recommended!
2. Dunham Massey Hall and Gardens, Altrincham
Dunham Massey Hall is just outside Manchester – a stunning Georgian house with an amazing Winter Garden, as well as a deer park. About to reopen as Stamford Military Hospital on May 1st, it will be transformed into a fascinating recreation of a WWI army hospital so you can escape into history while enjoying the beautiful surroundings. Get cosy over an afternoon tea in the Stable Restaurant, where they try to source much their ingredients locally, including meat, plus sustainably caught fish and fair-trade everything else.There’s even a craft brewery producing small batched of undoubtedly delicious beer on  the estate. Mmm, beeeeer.
3. Aberdeen Beach, Aberdeen
Couples have walked hand in hand along beaches for centuries, so going to one is a pretty timeless date. It probably isn’t swimsuit weather yet, even all our favourite high waisted 50s numbers but if the rain stops for long enough for a romantic, wind-swept walk along the sand, then it’s a lovely idea if you reside in that neck of the woods (or fancy a trip away). As we can’t ever be sure of clement weather, it’s good to hear that Aberdeen Beach not has some lovely views, rain or shine, but also a row of little cafes to duck into and warm up with a cuppa.
4. Tulleys Farm, Crawley

I never really thought a farm would be a suitable date location but having been to the lovely little Hackney City Farm a couple of summers ago, I changed my mind. Unlike London’s many City Farms, at Tulley’s Farm there’s an added bonus of romantic countryside all around. There are plenty of animals to touch and poke (gently) at the petting zoo and a good old-fashioned tea room. If you’re more of an action-woman (or man) there’s also the chance to see the countryside at rather less leisurely pace from a 350cc quad bike. I’ll stick with the piglet poking, thanks.
5. The Old Station & Carriage, Bristol
I have always wanted to go to a hotel near my parents’ house, which is made entirely from an old steam train Pullman carriage. But as it’s near my parents’ free ‘hotel’, I never have. So I love the look of The Old Station & Carriage, where you can take your date to eat dinner in a similarly restored, disused but very beautiful Pullman carriage, complete with train seats and curtains. Based between gorgeous Bath and Bristol, the inside of the main pub, built in the 1920s is just as good, full of ace old knicknacks, memorabilia, vintage signs and other quirky things. Very much on my personal to-do (or to-date with the man) list… just look at that enormo-burger!
6. Tintern Abbey, Chepstow
Inspiration for Wordsworth, Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Ginsberg among others, a wander through Tintern Abbey’s picturesque ruins is something I have always wanted to see myself. Talk about a date location for true romantics… the foundation stone was laid in May 1131, it started decaying into ruins after the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII in the mid 1500s before it became trendy for ‘romantic tourists’ to visit in the Victorian era. How apt. Do your own romantic tour of the rolling Welsh countryside and stare at the sky through the Abbey’s open-air ceiling… rain permitting.
7. The Live and Let Live, Bringsty
The fabulous Live and Let Live is a 15th Century former cider house and the only thatched pub in Herefordshire. Worth a trip to the Midlands to sit in its cosy, antique-filled  front room with roaring fire, vintage enthusiast or no. Serving no-nonsense, down-to-earth British cuisine and delicious real ales, it seems like the perfect place for those wanting a taste of the past for an intimate date.
8. Swing Patrol Dance Classes, London
I’m a big fan of swing dancing classes, regularly attending one in London with my darling bud Bethan. Swing Patrol is the one that is included in the eHarmony guide so here it is! No longer the domain mostly of ladies, there are often more men than women in classes these days! The rotating class system is a great ice-breaker and the activity itself is perfect for daters who want to get active as well as those who want to acquaint themselves with the style and music of the past. You’ll always find at least one or two dressed in fabulous vintage clobber and, of course, you will dance to 1930s and 1940s music – the most swinging tracks of the day, by default! Recommended by yours truly. Even though my chap won’t come to swing as he much prefers jive!
9. Proud Cabaret, London
I went to a brilliant press party at Proud Cabaret last year – it’s such a decadent club that it would make a great place to take a date. The acts they book are top-notch – funny, elegant and perfectly rehearsed – so you are always guaranteed a night of brilliant entertainment, though admittedly the drinks aren’t that cheap. They are well-mixed though! Apparently they enforce a strict dress code for entry so it’s perfect if your date is a stickler for smart dressing (and darn right too)… and I must say even the lady door bouncer looked downright glam when I went – complete with carefully styled peroxide hair, false eyelashes and meticulously applied makeup! Fabulous!
10. Chatsworth House, Chatsworth
My last date idea pick is Jane Austen’s own inspiration, Chatsworth House. This historic stately home in far-flung Derbyshire is a great location for proper old-fashioned romance. Rebuilt from an earlier house in the late 17th and early 18th centuries by the 1st Duke of Devonshire, it was nearly sold to the V&A post WWII, but the Duke’s family kept a hold of it and the current family members are quite active in promoting it to visitors. The interiors sound quite magnificent, with trompes l’oeils, exhibitions (and 100 private rooms that only the family can see) and the landscaped gardens have a maze as well as fountains (plural), a temple, ponds and greenhouses. Going back to Austen, you might have seen this majestic building on the big screen as it set the scene for the film adaptation of Pride & Prejudice. 
After reading the Great Date Guide, I now have loads of excellent ideas for day trips and weekends away with my love… though we aren’t celebrating on Valentines Day itself as I am doing a do at the Churchill War Rooms with The Vintage Mafia (do come).

What are your favourite date locations? Do share, wherever you are in the world!

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

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Self nostalgia?

I’m feeling kind of old at the moment. Hurtling towards my mid-thirties, few too many late nights (and shandies) lately, not enough exercise. So it was lovely to receive an unexpected email last week from the talented photographer Rebecca Parker, who I did a photoshoot with way back in the mists of time (2008).

You may remember this previously seen one, which is in fact in my sidebar as an ad for the amazing dress I am wearing, by Whirling Turban!

Rebecca had recently gone through her archives and unearthed some unseen photos of me.I just showed them to my boyfriend who told me, ‘wow, you look exactly the same!’ amd I didn’t have to bribe him with food, money or favours of any kind! Hurrah!

Whether I do look the same or not (I am definitely around half a stone heavier, that’s for sure), these photos are too nice not to share. Apparently she didn’t even edit these much! I’m glad I did lots of photoshoots when I was all fresh-faced and spritely 🙂

Also, I might be older now, but I am much happier now than I was then. Swings and roundabouts!
Check out Rebecca’s lovely work on her website.

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

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The Mafia x MyDaily

A couple of weeks ago, myself and my Vintage Mafia amigas were lucky enough to be featured on MyDaily, a site which has a regular feature called My Vintage Wardrobe. I’ve known a few people who’ve starred on there before and they are, to a woman, fabulous. So it was an honour to be asked and we said yes immediately, with none of the trepidation that can sometimes accompany an interview about ‘vintage life’. How many have been painted as time-warp loonies, after all!

We had no reservations as the previous interviews had all been awesome, and the photos top-notch too. Unfortunately, as the day of the shoot rolled round, I was feeling distinctly under-par and was also suffering from a big painful stye on my eyelid, preventing me from wearing any war-paint on my eye. A shoot without a cat-eye flick – noooo!

But I needn’t have worried about that either. I think I managed to pull it off OK, and if nothing else, the girls’ beauty shone out and eclipsed the eye of doom!

Here’s a selection of the photos and my interview questions and answers, but please do hop on over to MyDaily and read the full interview with Jeni and Bethan and see lots more photos of them looking amazing in their outfits (I only managed to bring two), in Jeni’s next level awesome, vintaged-to-the-max flat!

Tell us a bit about your style.

I’m a huge fan of early Forties clothing and hairstyles. The cuts and shapes are just the pinnacle of chic to my eye – so fun and elegant! However, in reality, I rarely wear top-to-toe authentic Forties. I have a lot of cotton dresses from the Thirties to the Sixties and I mix and match them with other pieces from the same time. I also adore the Forties gypsy/peasant look. In winter, I wear high-waisted jeans and lots of knitwear plus repro and vintage coats. I do also wear a lot of contemporary streetwear and modern with a vintage twist.


What are some of your tips for styling vintage outfits?

I’m obsessed with colour-coordination! Matching shoes and handbags, hats and earrings, hair flowers, etc – having a big range of accessories in different colours means you can dress up outfits and never look the same. They also make for a striking and more authentic look (if that’s what you’re after). Hairstyling is important too – the right ‘do makes a modern outfit look vintage and vice versa.

What are some of your top tips for scouring the best vintage pieces?

Set eBay alerts and put the time in looking. It’s getting harder to find good stuff! 

How does your Vintage Mafia wardrobe differ from your everyday style?

I’ll leave this to Miss Bethan to answer! 
Anytime we’re working we like to match! We also usually just wear repro when working as it would be super tricky to find three vintage matching outfits! If you see a set for us, shout!

The interview is by Jen Barton Packer (find her on Twitter)  and the lovely photographs were taken by the talented Sarah Lucy Brown (her website). Don’t forget to read what the gals have to say to these questions on MyDaily!

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

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Still a big Fan

(…of fans!)

Stop Press! It’s time for another frock announcement – if you don’t want to read about another in my ongoing series of dress collaborations with Heyday, look away now!

A long, long time ago… well alright, it was in about September last year, I modelled another limited edition Fleur dress in a beautiful fan print. The dress has just been released (actually just in time for Chinese New Year (ie. last week, but I am not on the ball) and so here I am telling you all about it.

Before I show it off, you may remember I have had a very, very exclusive Fleur dress in a similar print for a few years now. Here’s a photo of me wearing it at a wedding in 2010, being skinnier than I am now and looking somewhat perplexed about it:

Now the Fan Fleur of delight has been the object of many a gal’s admiration, but as a one-off just for me, it was sadly unavailable to anyone else. But now it is… and in a colourway that I actually think I might prefer even more… what do you think?

The green Heyday Fan Fleur is a picture-perfect 1940s/1950s wrap dress repro, made from polycotton this time and, before you gasp in horror at its inauthentic fabric, just ask yourself one thing. Do you enjoy ironing that much? Of course you don’t. This dress is incredibly easy to iron, leaving you more time for picnicking and drinking gin cocktails out of tea cups, like all us vintage girls do all the time. 
(If you do enjoy ironing that much, then maybe you should start getting out more and drinking more gin, you weirdo.)
I jest, of course, but it does save time and it stays looking relatively crease-free all day, and who doesn’t want that?
Signature round pockets are bound in plain green, and the button on the back is a white, 60s-esque plastic number. Tattoo not included! 
There are only a few of these in existence and I know that a good chunk of them got snapped up already, so if you want one then you’d better nip in quick. I know I always say that, but ’tis true! It’s an ideal spring outfit in the making. Pair with Mah-Jong bracelet for added oriental chic! I wish I hadn’t lost the yellow bakelite hoops I’m wearing in the first picture – woe! 
What a lovely branch! 
Here’s a bonus picture of me with my vintage fam The Vintage Mafia in our matching Fan Fleurs in a feature we posed for recently.. but that deserves a post all of its own. Stay tuned! 
Thanks for reading, be sure to let me know if you get yourself one of these beauties! 

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

PS Talking of the VM, if you’re a fan of actual fans too, check out The Vintage Vanity Case on Etsy. My pal Sadie making customised hand-painted fans and they are FANtastic. Pun very much intended.

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Jack the Ginger

Oh hello there!

Welcome to my latest look at the life of King Edward VII on behalf of that most warming and sustaining of liqueurs, The King’s Ginger. Now is an especially good time to year to talk about its gingery delights, mainly because it’s winter and, after my last post about how winter hasn’t been so cold this year, it’s started to cool down. Right on cue! We’re not at risk of snow yet, so it’s nothing compared to many,  but it’s still a little chillier out.

This time, it’s a more dark tale that I have for you. I’m going to talk a little about… dun dun duuuuuuuh! Jack the Ripper. *dramatic scream*

Cue the gothic opening theme music!

Now, there can’t be many people who don’t know the story of Jack the Ripper. My aim here isn’t to relay it in all its literal gory detail, but I will cover it in brief. I also tried to do a mini tour of the east London sites of each atrocity, but most of them no longer exist or have been changed into modern atrocities that don’t photograph well. Here goes anyway! Those of a nervous disposition, navigate away now!

The first murder attributed to the shadowy Jack took place on 31st August 1888. PC John Neil discovered the body of prostitute Mary Ann Nichols at 3.40am that day, lying in Buck’s Row, Whitechapel (now called Durwent Street). Polly, as she was known, left a pub on Brick Lane (now an Indian Restaurant) at around 11pm the previous evening, got turned away from her lodgings as she had apparently drunk away her boarding fee, and went off again into the night claiming she’d make all her doss money back, exclaiming, ‘see what a jolly bonnet I have!’ She was found to have been disembowelled and had had her throat cut so deeply her head was nearly severed.

The second murder was eight days later, on the 8th September 1888. Annie Chapman was found in the garden of 29 Hanbury Street, E1, another building that is no longer there, but at least the street is!

Annie was only a casual prostitute, she also made crocheted antimacassars (which is a word and indeed a thing that I love!) and sold flowers. She too had had her throat cut and had disembowelled, something that was now becoming the killer’s signature. This time it was even more horrific… her intestines drawn out and arranged over her and organs missing.

Tensions in the East End rose sharply after the second death. A nearby discarded leather apron which turned out to belong to a Jewish tradesman neighbour stirred up no small amount of anti-semitism, too.

(The building where Annie was found is now a big space containing things such as vintage markets! Appropriate!)

Only three weeks later, on September 30th, 1888, Elizabeth Stride was found in Dutfield Yard Berners Street (neither exist any more). Long Liz, as she was known, was not a prostitute, but a seamstress and cleaner. She was well-dressed and pretty respectable, seen with a couple of differently described men on the night before her murder. When found at 1am the following morning, she had a cut to the throat, still bleeding, with no more injuries, leading police to suspect the killer had been disturbed and fled the scene…

The result of this third murder was that police gave the East End’s prostitutes immunity from arrest if the confined their soliciting to the island around St Botolphs, a local church. Soon to be known, of course, as Prostitute’s Island!

The fact that the killer was disturbed and perhaps felt unsatisfied with his macabre work, led to another body being discovered the very same night – September 30th 1888 at 1.45am. Catherine Eddowes had been arrested earlier the same night for drunk and disorderly behaviour, and released at around 1am, bidding the Bishopsgate police officer, ‘Goodnight, old cock!’. She didn’t make it far.

All the killer’s signatures were present this time, with additional cuts to the face and nose. I’ll spare you further details in this instance! A blood-stained apron was found a few streets away, which the police suspected had been used by the killer to clean his murder weapon. This contemporary map shows the murder and the apron location (A), which actually fell into a different police jurisdiction (the City of London police on the left and the Metropolitan Police on the right).

Lastly, Mary Kelly fell victim to the killer on the 9th November 1888.

The Ten Bells pub in Spitalfields, miraculously still there and still under the same name, is where Mary Kelly spent her last evening. The house in which she met her demise, sadly, looks like this:
She was 25, younger than all the others. Hers was a particularly terrifying, gruesome death because it took place in her own home at 4am. She was even heard to scream ‘Murder!’, and was ignored. The death was the most gruesome of all, she was barely recognisable and parts of her were completely missing. I suggest if you would like to know more that you look it up yourself, the crime-scene photo is available online! 
After Mary Kelly’s death, the killings stopped forever. There were a few other, later killings that bore some, but not all, of the hallmarks, so the ‘Canonical Five’ as the above are known, are the only ‘true’ Ripper killings. 
Why ‘Jack The Ripper’? The name came from a letter sent to Scotland Yard on 27th September 1888. It reads:

Dear Boss,
I keep on hearing the police have caught me but they wont fix me just yet. I have laughed when they look so clever and talk about being on the right track. That joke about Leather Apron gave me real fits. I am down on whores and I shant quit ripping them till I do get buckled. Grand work the last job was. I gave the lady no time to squeal. How can they catch me now. I love my work and want to start again. You will soon hear of me with my funny little games. I saved some of the proper red stuff in a ginger beer bottle over the last job to write with but it went thick like glue and I cant use it. Red ink is fit enough I hope ha. ha. The next job I do I shall clip the ladys ears off and send to the police officers just for jolly wouldn’t you. Keep this letter back till I do a bit more work, then give it out straight. My knife’s so nice and sharp I want to get to work right away if I get a chance. Good Luck. Yours truly
Jack the Ripper
Dont mind me giving the trade name
PS Wasnt good enough to post this before I got all the red ink off my hands curse it No luck yet. They say I’m a doctor now. ha ha

You can read this letter and the few other possibly authentic, non-hoax letters on Wikipedia; but it was from these that the name caught on. 
We still do not know who Jack the Ripper was, why he did it and why he stopped so suddenly. The casefiles closed in 1891 with the police none the wiser. Of course, there are hundreds and hundreds of theories but there’s one in particular that’s of interest here. One of the suspects was King Edward VII’s, then still Prince Wales, very own son, Prince Albert Victor, the Duke of Clarence.
Known as Eddy to his chums, Prince Albert Victor was, totally unlike his father, something of a ladies man and party animal, participant in many a hushed-up scandal, oh no. From the Jack the Ripper casebook:

By most reports, Eddy was a “slow” child and grew up to be a rather dull adult.”Even his nearest and dearest, who were naturally bent on making the best of poor Prince Eddy, could not bring themselves to use more positive terms. Prince Eddy was certainly dear and good, kind and considerate. He was also backward and utterly listless. He was self-indulgent and not punctual. He had been given no proper education, and as a result he was interested in nothing. He was as heedless and as aimless as a gleaming gold-fish in a crystal bowl.” (James Pope-Hennessy, Queen Mary. Quoted in Rumbelow, p. 194.)

He was sadly afflicted with all sorts of problems, from mild special needs (apparently) and deafness and a long neck that endowed him with the nickname ‘collar and cuffs’, due to the extra length of his starched collars. Poor Eddy. He passed away young in the influenza epidemic of 1891-2 and thus never succeeded Bertie to the throne. During his lifetime there were lots of rumours about his mental faculties, health and lifestyle but, it was not until many decades after his death that the one about him being Jack the Ripper surfaced.
Dr. Thomas Stowell is the man who, in 1970, published an article in The Criminologist called “A Solution” with a killer referred to as ‘S’, very easily identified. It was, in fact, full of very thinly veiled accusations of Prince Eddy as the the Ripper. It unsurprisingly caused a sensation! 
The story goes that Prince Eddy was suffering from syphilis, which he caught in the West Indies and which caused him to go mad and commit the murders. Sir William Gull, star of excellent graphic novel From Hell, terrible Johnny Depp movie of the same name and the Prince’s physician at the time, apparently informed Bertie and Alexandra that their son was dying of syphilis in the late 1880s. He was alleged to have committed the first two of the Canonical Five without any reprimand, and it was only after the double murders on night of the 30th September that he was stopped. He was then, allegedly, bundled off to a private mental institution, from which he periodically escaped to kill and disembowel ladies of dubious repute (well, once more – the Kelly murder). The killing stopped because he was put away for good, subsequently dying in 1892 (in this theory of syphilis,not flu). 
The reasons this theory cannot be proven are, luckily for the legacy of our Bertie, many. Firstly, Stowell died soon after, and his family burned his original papers, unread. Convenient. Secondly, Eddy died two year after Gull kicked it in 1890, so the latter could not have written about the former’s death, from an STD or otherwise. Thirdly, court records show Eddy was not in London for any of the murders at all… which does sound a little ‘convenient’ as well…  just kidding.
Lots more dubious ‘evidence’ and crackpot theories surrounding Eddy can be found on the Jack the Ripper Casebook site, although the more I read, the less I believed and, I think it’s fair to say, no one seriously considers the Prince as a suspect. I’m also sure if he had really had syphilis, a daily nip of KGL would have sorted him right out… sadly we wil never know as it was not invented until a decade after his death. But all in all, a fun little link between true crime, my new home of the East End and everyone’s favourite Royal (and Royal libation), King Edward VII. 
So that’s my King’s Ginger story for today, here’s some atmospheric photos taken in a dark, street in Spitalfields. It’s barely changed since those sinister murders took place in autumn 1888, except that the yellow lighting would have been a pale greenish-white in the gaslamp days of Victorian London. But, you can’t have everything!
Outfit details – Skirt: vintage possibly 1980s
Boots: Office
Turban: Beyond Retro (vintage brooch)
Fakelite Dagger Brooch: Beyond Retro (did you notice how appropriate it is?)
Until next time… stay safe everyone!

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

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Summer dreaming…

Winter is interminable, isn’t it? It hasn’t even really been properly cold yet (not worn a pair of gloves at all so far) and it still seems like it’s gone on forever. It’s been a bit nippier in the last couple of days though. Brr.

As if to compound the grey misery of winter, I am currently knee-deep in tax return AND my faithful 3 year old MacBook has had a big hardware failure and can’t connect to the internet. I am writing this blog through the medium of phone tethering via bluetooth. Bloody miraculous it is… so futuristic!

Anyway, all this drizzle is making me long for summer, so I thought I’d post an outfit I just never got round to last year, that I wore in the blazing sunshine in Greece. Kind of makes sense…

Ta daaa! Summer!

As you may remember (or not), I went to a wedding of a friend and colleague in Greece at the tail end of last year. And very nice it was too.

Now, every wedding deserves a fabulous hat (not a rule I’ve ever stuck to up until now, do note) and, around a week before I jetted off, I went to Goodwood Revival and saw a hat I must have. It was on the head of the lovely Alex, aka the owner of Madam’s Vintage, a vintage eyewear emporium. It wasn’t vintage, which was lucky, but made by the talented Brit milliner Betsy Hatter!

I immediately emailed Betsy to see if I could order one to made in time for my departure, around 8 days later and I have to say, she pulled out all the stops and in a feat of amazing service got it to me in the very nick of time!

Isn’t it lovely? It’s the Elspeth straw hat, made with my choice of ribbon and flower (she also does nice felt ones) and at £70 for a completely handmade titfer, I think that is worth every penny (did I mention the astoundingly great service too?).

Anyway, the rest of the outfit is worthy of a mention too! Here’s a photo where you can see the sunshine as well (it was actually blooming boiling).

Hat: Betsy Hatter
Shoes: Swedish Hasbeens from Office

I adore Trashy Diva and the lovely Miss Bamboo carries a great range of their frocks. My exact Trixie Sarong isn’t available any more but she has a super one in ‘Hawaiian Charm’ print. Swedish Hasbeens sandals that I bought from Office on the feet, assorted vintage bangles and a hairflower custom-made for me by Rosia Alia Designs to finish! Check our Rosie’s awesome turbans, by the way.

Bonus – a lovely pic of me and the man…

Just kidding! 

What are you most looking forward to wearing again next summer (or are enjoying wearing this summer in the southern hemisphere)?

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

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Ahoy there!

HI FRIENDS!

It’s 2014, how did that happen? And just over a month since my last post, which is the longest gap ever! But a much-needed break. Since I last posted, I have moved across London from the deepest south west – suburban Surrey where I have resided for the last decade – into (not quite) trendy east London. I now live in Clapton, which is sort of up-and-coming and sort of still a bit grimy. I have only been here three weeks (and that included Christmas and New Year, most of which I was away for) and I love it already! It’s not on the tube, but the inner London railways are much more frequent than my old service, so that is perfect for me. I’ve moved in with my lovely boyfriend, who is used to bustling North London and the tubes running every three minutes, so he isn’t so sure. Still, we have a little home which we are busy decorating and making nice!

But even despite getting rid of loads, we still have too much stuff for the space and it’s a mishmash of vintage furniture, Ikea, modern technology, repro things and lots of framed band posters/nerdy prints/all the books ever. Expect some photos when it’s done, though it will most definitely not be a Pinterest-worthy vintage design haven. Not least because Sean told me he’d seen nicer sofas than my (admittedly tatty) Art Deco ones in squats he’d visited over the years!! Thanks Sean. He’s probably right though and thus they will be hidden under throws and probably replaced at some point. I’m accommodating like that!

Anyway, I have lots of things to write about, all very overdue and I have JUST got internet at home so I am going to start with a catch-up post. I had a mostly camera-less Christmas, which was much needed. Doesn’t help that I can’t find my charger since the move… Most of these are either camera phone or the little Pentax Q7 I got recently.

First up – a trip to Mussel Men, a favourite pop-up of mine who have moved into a semi-permanent residence on Kingsland Road. I love these guys. Sean and I went along just before the Big Move. I’ve written about their previous pop-up before, and the new venue is great with cocktails, really well-cooked sea food and handpainted walls covered in weird and wonderful marine scenes.

You can also challenge an opponent to a thumb war… NB it doesn’t work as a one-player game 😉

They’re doing a Burns Night extravaganza with streetfood style haggis and neeps, a new fish chowder brand (YUM), a Ceilidh rock band and lots of whisky cocktails in a couple of weeks… I think I might have to go. Check The Burns Night Hootenanny here!

What’s next? Well, I modelled a new cherry red Fifth Avenue Coat for the amazing Heyday as one of my very last ever trip to my boyfriend’s old flat… we had to pack, then move house, THEN the following day I went Up North to spend a few days with said boyfriend’s family.

The live on the outskirts of the Moors and are really into walking. This wouldn’t usually be a problem for me but for the fact that I had no idea where any of my practical clothing was in the packing disaster and wellies are fine for muddy short walks but not rambles around actual moors. Luckily, I was saved from trenchfoot by the very lovely Chatham Marine who I’ve posted about before and who read my mind and offered to send me some waterproof walking boots! Hooray!

You’ll note my… ‘unusual’ walking outfit consisting of a dress, some running tights (for extra warmth), a highly impractical faux fur coat but some incredibly awesome and warm boots which didn’t rub a single jot despite having never been worn and then subjected to a 5 mile walk over hill and dale. Totally waterproof too. Excellent and highly recommended!

Also, in the North, I found these clouds/dogs.

What else? Well, there was Christmas (not my best one and no dressing up was done):

Boxing Day with the extended family (inc. smallest member):

And lots of glittery festive hair flowers and nails for Christmas and New Year:

I’ll stop now, but will see you all again soon!

How were your Christmases and New Yearses?

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com