Lindy Bop Marlene Dress

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Taking the Lindy Bop Marlene dress out for the last glimpses of summer?!

When I saw the ‘Marlene’ dresses on Lindy Bop I was damn pleased. Usually when browsing the Lindy Bop website a girl can get a little overwhelmed! But this new style really stood out to me.

For me the Marlene style has a much more casual and less vintage feel to it. I know, I know… that goes against my typical choice but sometimes something a bit more day time is needed.

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Choosing a pattern was ridiculously hard. I’ll be buying more, most definitely (ahem my birthday is coming up) but I ruled out the tropical banana leaf print as I felt like it deserves a holiday and I don’t have one booked up at the moment. The gingham was another tough decision, especially as the blue would look really cute with my gingery hair, but having realised my wardrobe is becoming overloaded in check I thought I’d go for the ultimate girlie pink flower print instead.

The fit is good, especially with the adjustable straps. I would say that there is a slight gap around my waist but that lends itself to be more comfortable and on skinny days can be reduced with a belt.

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Despite the photos I personally prefer the dress without a petticoat but I like that you can add one to make an outfit look fancier. My only regret is that I don’t have a pink petticoat! That would have really finished the outfit off perfectly.

Marlene 1950’s Inspired Floral Day Dress, Lindy Bop
Vintage Purse, VJ Vintage

Battle Proms – Ragley Hall

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As soon as I opened the car door, the buzz of the The Battle Proms hit me. An infectious excitement was in the air. Whether that was inspired by the beautiful surroundings of Ragley Hall being drenched in sunlight, or the merry crowds snaking their way towards the entrance I couldn’t say. Whatever it was, I couldn’t wait to get in.

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The Battle Proms completed its short, yearly tour of the UK at Ragley Hall, marking 200 years since the Battle of Waterloo and offering a superb evening of entertainment. When I first came across an advert for the evening I was caught by the cannons and fireworks and I won’t lie they were thoroughly spectacular, however it was the classical music and complete Britishness of the event that really made it special.

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With laden tables of bunting, cakes and red, blue and white table runners, you could easily compare The Battle Proms to a Jubilee Street Party, only on an even grander scale! With approximately 6,000 people in attendance in Ragley Hall’s enormous parkland it was nice that they choose close proximity to the lake, which would later beautifully reflect the fireworks.

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Enthusiastically we set up our chairs and popped our Prosecco. Everyone seemed to have the same idea and the celebratory nature of the Battle Proms was wonderful. Walking around the electric atmosphere made me feel truly blessed to be part of the experience, whilst also very British what with the Jeeves and Branston food vans!

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The Rockabellas kicked off the music, in an upbeat Andrews Sisters style and I can see why the Battle Proms have asked them back for the past four years. I was initially apprehensive having seen My Favourite Things perform the weekend before, but The Rockabellas different style was equally enjoyable. They too managed to encourage some jivers to the front of their audience, as well as getting the majority of people out of their seats.

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There were a couple of re-enactment groups performing, which were particularly fun but for me the Spitfire flyby accompanied by the live orchestra was a true highlight. The music created an uplifting whilst emotional environment to watch the skies in.

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Not only was The Grace Spitfire ML407 in attendance but also the rather dashing Royal Air Force Falcons. In short, they were the parachute’s answer to the red arrows and watching them jump out into the sky and perform synchronised swirls and their impressive non-contact canopy stack was something unique and appealing, especially since I have never seen something similar done before.

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But on to the musical programme. Oh it was wonderful! Naturally the end of the second half was my favourite with highs of ‘Wellington’s Victory, – Battle Sympohny’ containing 192 cannons, musket fire and fireworks to really punctuate the sound, as well as ‘Rule Britannia’ and ‘Pomp and Circumstance March No 1’ where I don’t think a single person remained seated.

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As an audience, our voices were loud and proud, which led us all into a passionate ‘God Save the Queen.’ Flags were vigorously waved; even hats adorned with miniature flags on top could be spied all across the audience. With the firework finale, I couldn’t have spent a lovelier summer evening. I attend a lot of vintage events but this evening really stood out from them all. Plus with over £194,800 having been raised for Combat Stress: the Veteran’s Mental Health Charity by The Battle Proms, what more of an excuse do you need for a picnic concert?

Retro Festival 2015

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Retro Festival not only brags being the biggest vintage inspired festival in the UK, proven by the 200 stall holders and over 1000 vehicles, but also a thoroughly enjoyable one too!

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As already established there were loads of cars to feast your eyes upon, but what made Retro Festival unique was it’s inclusion of motorbikes, hot rods, army vehicles, helicopters, campervans and even locomotives. It was interesting to have a look at all the different things, although I will always be pretending to own cars rather than a locomotive 😉

I also really really really enjoyed the air displays. It felt like they had a lengthy time to perform and with my, never to be fulfilled, dreams of becoming a pilot I was truly mesmerised by all the loop de loops and barrel rolls.

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There was plenty of vintage shopping on offer and I nearly considered trying to squeeze into the most gorgeous prom dress but what with the heat and knowing that only a miracle would help me fit, I came away with a top, hair flower and bandana. I think the restraint did have a lot to do with the weather, which was hot, sunny and fabulous but made tent browsing less desirable.

After lots of Prosecco fuelled antics with my girls on the Saturday we ended our evening watching Geno Washington, which was an absolute pleasure and highlight of the weekend!

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Those who didn’t hear the loud chants of, “Geno, Geno, Geno,” and run over to join the bopping might have been over at The Spitfire Cabaret. With 200 capacity and a £5 entry fee on top of the ticket price for an evening of burlesque, comedy and songs it was always going to cause some controversy, although personally I am thrilled I chose to see Geno instead, I only heard great things from those who attended. Also if this had run over two nights I’d have made sure I caught one of them.

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With a slight hangover I woke up on the Sunday wondering when my friends had left me… it was time to attend with my Boyfriend Joshua. Again lovely weather, although slightly cooler which made it more enjoyable. We heard a mini cackle fest from the Drag Racers, visited The Echelon (ex servicemen with a passion for Military History) and made our way over to the Fashion Show.

Mid route we were stopped and I was asked to take part in ‘Best Dressed,’ which was an honour and later embarrassing when on stage I admitted that my shoes were in fact from Primark! Ah well what is a broke vintage lover to do! Needless to say I didn’t win but it was fun to take part in.

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I then watched My Favourite Things set, which was another highlight of my weekend! They really know how to get a crowd whirling, and with lots of dancers taking part their Andrew Sisters style vocals were even more impressive. I caught up with them after their performance, so watch out for my following interview.

And with that my time at Retro Festival came to a close. One disappointment for me was the lack of punters dressed up! I thought what with the name Retro Festival that the majority of people attending would be dressed in all their finery, from whichever era makes them happiest… however that seemed to be very much from the millennium onwards. Despite this I managed to snap some very sharp dressers and found that this Festival had a zero snobbery vibe to the whole event, which at times can be intimidating at other festivals!

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Not only a vintage event, there was a real family vibe to the whole weekend that made for a really good atmosphere. With the fun fair, children’s corner and craft marquee there were numerous things for all, however interested in vintage they were or weren’t.

Looking for an inclusive, feel good and affordable festival next year? I highly recommend Retro Festival, and what with The Guinness Book of Records attending next year I am already intrigued as to what they have planned.

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The Vintage Optical Shop

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Having been approached by The Vintage Optical Shop I was a bit concerned as to what I could offer them as a blog post. Sure I love vintage frames and have zero qualms in wearing them at all, but not needing a prescription myself I almost felt like a bit of a fraud including them on my blog…

Enter their cat eye sunglasses collection! Being even more enthusiastic ahem obsessed, let’s be honest now, about sunglasses than bikini’s they seemed like a great choice for my blog.

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Hello gorgeous, glittery gal that is my sparkling new but old pair of cat eye sunnies! Seriously, I saw these and thought well that’s meant to be 😉 They arrived wrapped in a protective amount of bright pink tissue paper, which was highly appreciated. The suspense of unwrapping was quickly replaced with joy as they dropped out onto my bed. Putting them on I gasped with delight. These authentic vintage cat eye sunglasses were as nutty as me for all the right reasons.

They feel slightly heavy, in a luxurious way that my other cheaper sunglasses can’t compete with. Plus the glitter really does just have the wow factor, don’t you think? I also like how traditional the shape is, easily achieved since The Vintage Optical Shop stocks ‘New Old Stock’. With no imperfections, my experience with The Vintage Optical Shop has been pretty positive.

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But now for a bit of a back story, everyone loves a back story 😉

“Vintage sunglasses have a very colourful history. They date back to the 12th century, Chinese judges would wear them during court cases and while questioning witnesses in order to conceal their facial expressions from the crowd and from their peers. Later, in the 18th century, tinted lenses were used for other types of vision correction, but not yet to protect the eyes from the sun. In the early 1900’s they were common among many movie stars to protect their eyes from the powerful arc lamps used those days during filming. This stereotype of sunglasses and Hollywood still exists today, long after arc lamps are out of use. Many celebrities today are often spotted wearing cat eye sunglasses. The first instance of mass produced sunglasses for the purpose of protecting the eyes was in 1929, when Foster Grant started selling them at the beaches of Atlantic City. Cat eye sunglasses were invented in the 1950’s and remained extremely popular through the 1960’s, and making their way back today.”

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I really like that The Vintage Optical Shop offer this little snapshot of history for each of the frame style it sells on their website. It’s a nice touch and makes for an interesting yet bitesize read.

Cat eye is my favourite glasses shape, but they supply vintage frames of all shapes. I’m personally also a bit partial to their tortoiseshell rounded frames as well as all the ones with rhinestones and etchings on them.

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Bring on sunny days for my glittering specs!

Check out The Vintage Optical Shop or visit their Etsy store.