To Chop or Not to Chop?

I’ve been trying to grow my hair out long for a couple of years now – there was a mini disaster a while back when my hairdresser went on maternity leave, and we ended up getting a home hairdresser to come and give us all a trim (incidentally, my hairdresser is now a home hairdresser, so the moral of this story isn’t to avoid all home hairdressers). This woman turned up in track suit bottoms and not the most amazing hair herself, armed with nothing more the a pair of scissors, a comb, and a water spritz bottle. I wasn’t convinced from the outset, but there wasn’t much we could do now. Long story short, me, mum and my sister all ended up with pretty awful haircuts, but after I asked this woman to trim the feathering around my face, I ended up with chunks cut into the front of my hair. I was devastated. There was nothing I could do, even tying it up made it look awful because these chunks of hair were too short to be tied away properly, so the whole lot had to go. I got the shortest bob I’ve had in a while, and whilst I was happy with the end results, it still doesn’t take away from the fact that I had the choice of having my hair cut taken away from me.

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Fast forward a few years, a few nearly made decisions to go short again followed by mass panic to grow my hair out for the wedding, and I’m getting a bit angsty with my hair again. My hair is so thick and heavy, it always lies completely flat, and there are many times when my efforts to curl or pin in the vintage style go horribly wrong, leaving me close to tears. Whilst I love it when the whole look comes together, with the forties waves, eyeliner flicks and gorgeous dresses, I’m beginning to wonder whether it’s worth it, when I evidently struggle so much to do anything worthwhile with my hair. I just don’t seem to have the knack. Added to that, my hair is really feeling very unhealthy at the moment, tangling very easily and not looking as shiny as it has done for a while – so I thought I would look at a few ideas and see where it goes from there.

At first I thought I would look at different styles of the length my hair is – maybe just changing it up a bit would help my frustration. I found a few that I love (and I was careful not to make the mistake of falling in love with a hairstyle that was designed for naturally wavy hair) from the sleek and straight look of Kaley Cuoco in her early ‘Big Bang Theory’ days. I really like the feathering at the front, the shape is really nice, and it would still mean I’m able to attempt my vintage curls and waves. I also love the Natalie Portman hairstyle here, it’s so romantic and flowing and dreamy, the layering is gorgeous and it gives some really nice volume. That is the only issue though, as my hair never has any volume, but it might be worth finding some hair products that can give me the desired effect. unfortunately, I am lazy, and I like my sleep too much to be getting up and putting in the effort!

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As such, I thought I’d consider a lower maintenance haircut. I’ve had short bobs a few times, and there is nothing quite so satisfying as that newly cut ‘lack of’ hair feeling. One my favourite bob styles is the Rachel cut, when Jennifer Aniston cropped her hair short. I prefer the length after it had grown out for a bit, again the layering is gorgeous, nice and easy to deal with, and I could still try to work a fifties set with this length. Not something I could do with the most extreme haircut I’ve found – Kimberly wyatt’s pixie crop. I’ve nearly gone for a pixie cut a couple of times now, and chickened out each time. It’s a hairstyle I really admire, and I think on the right woman it looks really cute, feminine and sexy. I love this particular cut, but there is nothing vintage about it whatsoever. If I get that haircut, I say goodbye to retro victory rolls, vintage glamour waves and doing anything with my hair at all. but, that is kind of a plus for me! I’m so fed up with my hair at the moment, with it never turning out how I want it to, and part of me is thinking that the vintage look doesn’t have to be about the entire ensemble. I love doing the make-up, it’s something I’m quite proud of, but I’m just not sure how the modern short hair would look with a circle dress, or a pretty floral piece. I’m all up for the edgy/girly look, but that is such a massive decision, and there is absolutely no going back.

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On the other hand, if I am feeling really really brave, I could go properly vintage with the world-famous Mia Farrow pixie crop! Eek!

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So what do you think? To chop or not to chop?

Yours,

The Vintage Housewife x

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American Vintage Styling

I have been waiting a few weeks now for something very exciting to arrive in the post. I have been dreaming about some beautiful dresses from an American online store I have found called Ruche, who specialise in vintage styling with the most charming and gorgeous dresses, tops and skirts. I have fallen completely in love with everything Ruche has for sale, and the prices for their clothes are amazing, once converted into pounds. Of course the delivery and customs charges has to be taken into account, but even once that has all been calculated, they are still amazing value for money. So, I was brave, and finally took the plunge and bought my first purchase from http://shopruche.com/

After spending a few weeks browsing basically the whole website in my spare time, I had found a stunning wrap dress in a beautiful green tiled print. It was one of Ruche’s more expensive items, but fortunately it was in the sale, and still in my size! (Luckily they have a very helpful size conversion chart) I took it as a sign, and worked out that with delivery, the dress was £45, which is pretty amazing considering it’s from America. I was stung by customs charges, but fortunately it was only £15, making the dress a total of £60 including delivery and customs, which is even better – especially when you think you can pay twice as much as that for a dress from the UK.

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When the dress arrived, it was one of those wonderful moments when it was even better than I was expecting. Not only was the print more stunning in real life, but I actually saw that it was a proper wrap around dress – where you thread the belt through a whole and wrap it round to tie up at the waist. How vintage is that! It means the dress fits like a glove, tightened the exact amount for my body. It looks incredible both with and without petticoat – even bearing in mind I only have a black petticoat at the moment, it would look even better with a white one. I have had so many compliments on this dress, and I’ve only had it two days! I’m thrilled to bits with my purchase, and whilst I think when buying things from America there are many things to consider – time and potential customs charges chief among them – it is something I will do more often and with less apprehension in the future. Make sure you take a look at Ruche’s website, as well as http://www.modcloth.com/, a similar American site with gorgeous vintage styles!

Yours,

The Vintage Housewife x

Brighton Tattoo Convention

Apologies for the lack of posts recently, as some of you may be aware I am currently taking a creative writing course which is taking up a fair bit of my time! But more on that later – I thought I would make use of the half term week to get back on the blogging wagon.

This weekend my sister and I went along to the Brighton Tattoo convention, based at the Hilton Metropole for the first time. We really made a day of it, getting all dressed up in our retro outfits; I wore my gorgeous heart dress as seen on this blog, and Laena wore a cute dotty crop top which showed off her stunning backpiece to perfection. It wasn’t the warmest  of days, but fortunately it wasn’t totally miserable, thought we could have done with some better signage letting us know that people with advance tickets could go straight into the warmth without having to queue for 30mins-1hr! D’oh! Either way, we eventually made it in, and at first (though I’ve never been before) we were a bit disappointed with the size. Laena said it was always much bigger at its previous venue of the Brighton Racecourse, but fortunately the further around the convention we went, more rooms and corridors opened up in the warren that was the Hilton’s conference centres.

First we walked around the traders’ hall, with stalls ranging from cute cupcakes and candyfloss, to all manner of piercing’s and jewellery, and there was even a stall for Powder Beauty Boutique who were offering nail painting and gel extensions. As I couldn’t afford to get myself a tattoo that day, and nail extensions were something I had been looking at anyway, I thought I’d get some done. The ladies were lovely, and were able to give me some really natural looking extensions that were nice and petite to match my tiny hands. It was a lot of fun people watching and just relaxing for a while, watching people come into the show and looking at all their stunning tattoos and body modifications. Once the gel for my extensions had set, I had to somehow choose what colour to go for on the nails! As I was wearing my red heart dress, and a true red goes with pretty much anything, I decided that was the colour for me to really finish off the look. I have proper nails for the first time in years and I’m so excited! Thankyou Powder Beauty Boutique, I will be back soon!

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Back to the tattoos, there was so much to see I couldn’t even begin to describe it all here. The majority of stalls were artists specializing in the various forms of old school tattoos, but each still had their own unique style. Leah Mole of Spear Studios in Birmingham had a stall, showcasing her bright and beautiful ‘new school’ work, from cutsy doe-eyed animals, to vibrant flowers and anything that’s funky in-between. There was a really interesting artist with a style I had never seen before – it was totally abstract, almost like Picasso put onto skin, and made for some incredibly impressive tattoos. The variety of styles at the convention never ceased to amaze me, with modern twists on classic designs, artwork that would impress any critic and people from all across the globe that had come to this fantastic show.

My sister fell in love with a design at the first stall we came across, with a lovely guy from America (originally Dutch) going through the designs with her. She’s wanted a dreamcatcher tattoo for a while now, and his style was somewhere between the almost cartoony old school and more traditional Native American tribal, with the colours and design being exactly what Laena was after. She thought about the design for a while, but to be honest the real question wasn’t should she, but WHERE should she! Eventually she decided on the inside of her lower leg, as she had plans for another tattoo on the outside. Once the design was drawn up, and I’d gone for a wander whilst waiting, I was amazed at the progress of this artist, as he’d nearly finished the outlining after a lap of the downstairs and a trip to get some more cash out! The work is lovely, really high quality with gorgeous colours and beautiful, bold linework. I was so jealous, I want another one!

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It was a fantastic experience, and I’m so glad I went, but I think next year, I will cross my fingers that the convention goes back to the racecourse, and will make sure I have some more money saved up so I can get myself a tattoo done at the show instead of nails! And flat shoes next time – whilst it was fantastic to go to an event like this all dressed up, and I got lots of lovely compliments, I now have a painful blister on my heel, and I dread to think how I would have handled my volumous petticoat if I had got a tattoo! Denim shorts and a cute crop top next time I think, with some cute canvas pumps! For now though, I’ll just keep saving for more tattoos to come!

Yours,

The Vintage Housewife x

Our Version of a Duvet Day…

Yeah, we’re not really very good at those! It’s been a bit of a manic week, with Dave dashing up to Essex for job networking last minute, my dad’s birthday at the end of the week – just a bit hectic! I was working Saturday, and sent Dave a messaging suggesting that Sunday we have a total duvet day, snuggled up indoors, curled up doing nothing but watching films, playing on the playstation and relaxing – I didn’t even write the shopping list Saturday night so it could be done after we woke naturally the next day! I did allow the condition however allow that if the weather was gorgeous and sunny, we would of course end up going out, and we shouldn’t feel bad about it! We’ve got to make the most of these sparing sunny days!

So we woke up, and the weather was a bit grim. A bit windy, drizzly and generally a bit grey. So as I was writing the shopping list for the week, what plans did we make? To get out, do the shopping, make a sandwich, pop out to a BMW dealer to look at a 1200gs for Dave, and head over to our local National Trust gardens for a walk! I told you we didn’t do duvet days. We’re as bad my mum and dad; they always say they’re going to book a holiday and relax by the pool, but we all know they (we) will spend more time scrambling over mountains and visiting ancient ruins than stretched out on a poolside sunbed. So, once we’d done the shopping, got home and made some delicious looking cheese and chutney baguettes for our porobably in-car picnic, we set off for the day.

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After Dave was done drooling and dreaming over his (very well priced) dream bike, we made our way towards Handcross on the A23 up from Brighton, to Nymans Gardens. This is one of my favourite National Trust locations, not just because its nearby and the easiest to get to, but it just has this perfect mix of wildness as the gardens drop away to the forest and countryside, together with the beautiful avenue of trees, carefully lanscaped rockeries and perfectly pruned topiary, with the stunning backdrop of the half ruined house, destroyed by fire in 1947 and left as a feature for the garden. There is still part of the house that is still standing and able to be viewed in the open summer months, showing the history of the family that lived in the house before the National Trust took over.

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Wandering around the gardens Sunday, fortunately the drizzle and wind eased off so we were all wrapped up in wooly hats and raincoats, and had a lovely walk. It was really nice to have so peacful time to ourselves, and it got us looking forward to better weather so we can make more frequent use of our National Trust membership cards bought for us by my sister-in-law for our wedding! The really lovely part was, going through the garden paths, we found tiny little spots of white dotting up between the grass – the snowdrops are on their way out! Spring must be on the way! The further we went around the gardens, more sprouted up, and there was a subtle scent of flowers floating through the air. It was a wonderful afternoon, and probably more relaxing for us than being stuck indoors all day getting restless and achey.

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http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/nymans/

There’s nothing like fresh air that’s good for the soul!

Yours,

The Vintage Housewife x

BBC Good Food’s Courgette Lasagne

I’m hoping to start putting up more photos of my dinners and recipes, as I have finally got a new charger for my camera which magically disappeared during the move and has not been seen for months! (Although now it has arrived, of course I’ll find it within the next week or so!) My iPhone3 does have a pretty good camera for quick snapshots, but isn’t that good at indoors pictures, as you can see from my various fashion photos. So, once I get back used to my estranged point and shoot, I should be back in business!

 

The photo for this isn’t great, but it was so wonderfully delicious I had to share it with you anyway. Fortunately it is a BBC Good Food, so I’ll also show you the professional photo from the website! Being just the two of us in the house, we tend to end up not using about half the veg we need – if a recipe for four asks for 1 aubergine, no amount of clever buying or scrimping is going to avoid the unused half going sadly into the bin. Also, something like an aubergine goes brown very quickly, so is tricky to use up the leftovers. Courgettes however, are a bit sturdier and last a fair bit longer, meaning you don’t have to have it twice in one week. I also had more than normal, because Dave bless him did the shopping on his own the other week, and bought 3 courgettes when all we needed was one! So this dinner is thanks to him 🙂

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Courgette Lasagne. I’ve never been a fan of veggie lasagne, it just seems to defeat the object to me. But as we had leftovers, and I like to vary veggie meals with meat throughout the week, to save money as well as being healthy. The recipe only takes about 30mins to cook, without the labour intensive homemade bechamel sauce my mum makes for her lasagne, or even your own tomato sauce. This is definitely a cheat’s lasagne as such, but so worth it. The courgette retained just enough firmness to not make it completely mushy, and I used a pasta sauce with pancetta which gave the flavour that extra boost. The ricotta and cheddar cheeses work beautifully together, and served with some garlic bread this was one of the nicest meals I’ve had in quite a while! Enjoy!

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http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4716/creamy-courgette-lasagne

Yours,

The Vintage Housewife x