Wednesday, 18 June 2014

A Thrifty Fifties Fix, Cambridge in the Summer, and a Variety of Vintage

       Dear Readers,

This week has been a whirlwind of punting down the river in Cambridge, singing Jerusalem at evensong whilst smugly putting our hymn books away (oh yes, we know all the words), reading stacks of books on trains (masters thesis? What masters thesis?) and putting our new vintage finds to the test. The weather in Cambridge was beautiful and sunny, perfect for showing off our fifties frocks. There's something about the sun coming out that always makes us bring out fifties numbers, and we've been pondering as to why this is. But there's something so wonderfully Roman Holiday about a fifties outfit; when you watch Audrey strolling around the Roman sunshine (or what we assume is the Roman sunshine, the black and white makes it hard to tell), it's hard not to want to replicate that crisp elegance. Also, because of the width of the skirts, they are really cool to wear, flattering on the figure, and not restrictive.
     Now, we have a little secret to share. Recently, Catherine and I picked up two beautiful fifties style dresses. Let's talk about mine first. A wide skirt, a nipped in waist and a sweetheart neckline, in a stunning pale blue gingham print; slightly Dorothy of Oz, but in the best way possible. Flattering, and surprisingly sultry, I paired my dress with some classic court shoes, a string of pearls, and my hair in my famous french rolls. With a white cardigan thrown over my shoulders, I felt vintage-vivacious! Catherine's dress was definitely, 100% Audrey Hepburn in 'A Roman Holiday'. A crisp white cotton shirt dress, it was full skirted and features some stunning lace detail and the hem and waist. The dress oozes sophistication, but there's a hint of English countryside to it also; its the sort of dress you'd want to be wearing when paddling through streams and running through meadows. Catherine also wore pearl earrings and teamed the dress with some divine navy blue sandals.
   So, I hear you cry (maybe not cry, but I bet you're wondering what the secret is and I hope by now you are on the edge of your seat. Sort of.), what is the secret behind these beautiful fifties frocks? What could possibly be wrong with them? Well, nothing exactly wrong. It's just these dresses have been unearthed in a place that we never in a trillion years, as self-proclaimed vintage experts, have thought it possible. These, dresses, my friends, were from PRIMARK, at a steal for £17 each. Harking back to our Twenties With A Twist post, we get so excited whenever the High Street embraces vintage clothing, because its not a cheap lifestyle; to be able to pick up dresses like this is a real perk.


 We also fell in love with Cambridge. We stayed in Magdalene College with our cousin Jane, who will soon graduate with a degree in History (huzzah!) but we spent a lot of our time exploring more of the colleges. Magdalene is stunning and sits right on the river; we loved watching the punts go by and had to have a go ourselves. We must have looked the part in our dresses because a lot of tourists stopped for photos! The history behind the city is astonishing; every corner you turn, you catch your breath. From Samuel Pepys diaries to the splendor that is Kings' College chapel, there's a treat for every time travelling history lover.

   Top tips: take prosecco with you when punting but do not feed the swans. They will come after you with a vengeance. Watch out for the cyclists; they are silent, but they are fast, and they will get you. Go to evensong; all the college chapels are gorgeous and there's no better place to belt out a good hymn. If there is any place in the world you can get away with looking so quintessentially British, it is in Cambridge. So embrace it! We did, and oh what a time we had.

Thank you to Grace for the photo of my gingham dress, to Jane and David for putting up with our excitable ways and being amazing hosts, and to Jemma, for agreeing to be in our photo. Vintage love to you all!

H & C 

  P.S An thrilling announcement! Next week we will be commencing with out 'Vintage Wishlist'. Here we review some of our favourite vintage brands and venue, places to visit, things to do, things to make, and a whole host of golden age treats! Get excited and we'll see you here next week x

Monday, 9 June 2014

Sing As We Go: A Very Wartime Weekend

This is Ramsbottom. An unassuming little town in Bury.

Last weekend, the union jack flags came out in their masses, bunting adorned the streets, Vera Lynn's We'll Meet Again floated out of every shop. Ramsbottom was transformed into a 1940's haven for their Wartime 'Sing As We Go' weekend. For us, of course, this meant a day trip on a sunny Bank Holiday Monday.
 Helen was detained at work for this one, so Catherine went it alone...

...Not that she minded!
It feels rather fitting to write this blog post days after the anniversary of D-Day, and here I just want to take a moment to remember those who gave their lives 70years ago for our freedom. The fact that we are still celebrating wartime victory 70 years on just shows how significant D-Day was.

And the town was certainly in celebratory mode. Bunting lined the streets, the sun was shining, and for every person dressed in jeans and trainers, there were five dressed in military wear and tea dresses. What did I wear in the town that compromised of steep slopes? Well, this genius popped on a pair of these beauties.

Beautiful, yes. Practical, hmm debatable. They were very comfortable, and I imagine they are perfect for work, a trip to the theatre, a wander around a stately home (ahem, National Trust), but maybe just not for walking up steep and narrow streets, weaving in and out of crowds. That said, they are beautiful, well made shoes. These were purchased at Clarks - living up to the mantra my mother instilled in me from a young age...trustworthy shoes come from Clarks. And in these shoes I trust.

Moving on! We were treated to a brass band concert, an original air raid warning siren being used frequently throughout the day, and to a display of classic cars. My favourite was the one with the National Trust Membership plastered proudly onto the windshield.

My highlight of the day came in the form of the steam engine. Unfortunately we couldn't get tickets to actually take the train but just seeing it pull in and out of the station was enough. Here is my slightly geeky confession. I love steam trains. I don't know why, call me sentimental, but I think they are the most romantic things...a steam filled platform, the distant sound of a whistle and a cry of 'all aboard! - it's the beginning of an adventure.

The platform was awash with some fantastically kitted out ladies and gentlemen. My highlight was the family who arrived complete with original vintage prams. Now that is dedication. I salute you, vintage family! The joy of it all was that everyone was so happy. As the train pulled out of the station I waved my Union Jack flag, giving them a proper send off, and there wasn't a single passenger who didn't wave back, capturing the spirit of the day perfectly.

It was also a great day for a bargain. Ramsbottom is packed with fantastic charity shops and I certainly picked up a few gems. I collect coronation/jubilee crockery, from George V to Elizabeth II, and I was ecstatic to find this beautifully delicate cup (just look at the scalloped edging!) and two saucers, along with this plate, all for £10! And my mother picked up a rather gorgeous clothes brush. We also couldn't resist a bag of boiled sweets. Pear drop, anyone?

And now we come to my favourite photograph of the day. These charming chaps obliged me with a picture and it made my day.Probably my first and last time of feeling like the Forces Sweetheart!

Remember, we are now on twitter, so do follow us for more photos, anecdotes and vintage musings...

                                                                        H & C

Monday, 2 June 2014

Pretty Nostalgic

Friends and readers,

This month, we've been featured in Pretty Nostalgic, a wonderful vintage lifestyle magazine! Shelly Baker interviewed us on our vintage lifestyle and we had a smashing time getting our best glad rags on and posing for some snaps. We are over the moon about being featured and can't wait for our issues to arrive in the post- alternatively, if you want your own slice of this vintage goodness, you can pop on down to WHSmith, or order it online. 'Tis the Vogue of the Vintage Girl! 
  So, here's why we love Pretty Nostalgic. Not only is it packed with fascinating features and gorgeous things, its independent. Every issue has care and love poured into it, and that sort of thing glows on each page. If you're passionate about history and all things vintage, reading it is just like having a chin wag with somebody just as much in love with it all as you are. It's an old friend in ink, and it will continue to inspire What They Wore Yesterday. It takes us back to the make do and mend era, with their tips and tricks, and all things good for a vintage lifestyle. 
We tip our cloche hats to you, Pretty Nostalgic! 
 Please please please have a look at the website to learn more: 

In the meantime, here are one or two photos from the shoot that we did for the spread! There will also be a brand spanking new post up this week. Remember Vintage Girl Problems? And the beautiful, handpainted, 18th Century peacock wallpaper? Well, stay tuned for Helen's giddy ramblings at finding Riviera Trousers 2.0 in an almost matching print...and then some. 

Until then Vintage lovers! 
H & C