Stephen Fry’s ‘Planet Word’

Do you know why we call them UPPER CASE and lower case letters? Because going back to the time of the first printing presses, when the letters would be stored in cases and then assembled to make each section of writing to be printed, the larger letters were stored in the UPPER half of the case, and the smaller letter stored in the lower half of the case. How amazingly simple is that?!

I’ve always been fascinated by language, particularly since studying classical civilisations at college – looking at the origin of words, developing ‘democracy’ from the Ancient Greek demos meaning the people and thinking about Greek as opposed to Latin roots. As I grew up and met more and more people from different cultures, I became fascinated in the concept of phrases getting lost in translation, like would my friend from Hungary say the literal translation of ‘two birds with one stone’, or do they have a similar phrase which means the same thing? I could talk for hours about the idea of language and words, and listen for just as long to what others have to say. So I have no idea how I missed Planet Word first time round, but thank god for Netflix.

Stephen Fry is about as fascinating as people get, and I’m trying to make an effort to watch/read more about him than Qi repeats on Dave. And as passionate as he is about language and words, this was bound to be an incredible programme. The subject matter had me sold straight away, but the way Fry gets so passionate and excited about the things he talks about and discovers, and explains some fairly complicated ideas in a way for Joe Bloggs to understand is what makes this programme so amazing. Each episode looks at a different aspect of language – where it came from, to its uses and how it is recorded in written form. He speaks to all sorts of people as he discovers these things, not just scientists, but also comedians and authors, and people suffering with language disorders like Tourette Syndrome.

There are five episodes in the series, and they have been so interesting we’ve been watching them two at a time, and I’m said that we will be watching the last episode tonight. Whilst Fry seems to have covered all bases, including language being intrinsic to identity, and holding such power and knowledge, even to how it heralded the creation of civilisation, but there is so much more to this fascinating subject and I would gladly watch series after series, looking at each branch in greater and greater detail. It’s true what they say, that education is wasted on the young, and maybe if I had known what I now know and feel about language, I might have taken the opportunity to study it myself when I was younger, but all I can do is take interest in the information I have available to me now, and simply keep talking and keeping language alive in my own way.

I would seriously recommend seeing this programme if you get the chance!


The Vintage Housewife x

Benefit They’re Real – Push Up Liner

You know what’s ‘criminal’ about this eyeliner? The fuss everyone’s making about how supposedly difficult it is!

My last gel eyeliner was beginning to get a bit gloopy, and the brush applicator was getting stiffer, but I wanted to give Benefit’s Push Up Liner it bit longer to settle into the market, for the more sensible reviews to come through and for people to have had some real practice at this brand new applicator pen. Realistically, there is going to be a learning curve when something as different as this gel liner pen comes into play, and the very negative reviews are to be expected. I was hoping for this storm to pass, and for the reviews and tutorials to come through from the people who persevered, and trusted the saying ‘practice makes perfect’.


So, after a few weeks a perused the internet to see what the world thought of the Push Up Liner. Surprisingly, the Benefit website reviews were split right down the middle, resulting in a 3 star average rating, with people saying the expected ‘impossible to use’ as well as ‘it just takes a bit of getting used to’. You know what it’s like with reviews – you have to be choosy and pick out the whiners from those genuinely giving constructive criticism, and whilst there were a few valid points that I planned to take into consideration, most of the negative reviews fell into the former category. I also wanted to see some ‘how-to’ videos – the Benefit tutorial was fantastic, but I wanted to see someone other than a professional using it! Luckily I found just what I was looking for, and was further reassured that the long lasting, sturdy gel liner is perfect with a little practice.

So, I took the plunge, and I’m over the moon! I’ve had the liner a week or two now, and other than being beautifully aesthetic as all Benefit products are, it really is the best eyeliner I’ve ever had. It is definitely a case of getting used to a new applicator, but to be perfectly honest, it wasn’t as if I had horrifically squiggly lines or big smudged panda eyes on the first go – I really don’t know what all the fuss was about. It does take quite a few twists of the base to ‘push up’ the gel to the applicator, and you have to take it easy each time you use it to make sure the right amount twists up, but the rubber tip flexes quite nicely to your lash line, and the gel allows you to go over and fill in any gaps really easily. I’m still working on my eyeliner flick, but even though I have never been that great, my flick has never been flickier!


I absolutely love this product, and am so glad I trusted my instincts and didn’t believe the negative hype – I implore you to as well!


The Vintage Housewife x

Vecchio Vintage VIP Event

Last week I was pleasantly surprised to find a tweet from a vintage online shop I have been following for a while now, inviting me to their VIP event to coincide with the launch of their new website, and the success of their pop up shop in London. How exciting! I eagerly awaited the dates and details via email, only to find that the event was scheduled on the same day as my husband’s birthday, which we already had plans for. I had been emailing Sinead, and was very sad to let her know that I couldn’t make it, but wished her the best of luck and to let me know how it went. As it happened, the event had to be rescheduled as a few people couldn’t make it (the initial date coincided with Goodwood Revival which wouldn’t have helped!) and the new date matched up with a gig we were already going up to London for, so we decided to make a day of it!


Unusually for us, we didn’t make our way up to London until about lunchtime – the way timings worked for the VIP event and gig, and the time it would take for us to get from one to the other, we decided to have a late lunch/early dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe before making our way to Vecchio Vintage. We’ve only ever been to Edinburgh’s Hard Rock Cafe, which we go to every year on the family holiday to Scotland, but as we didn’t make it this year we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get our annual fix! Waiting for a table is expected at a place like this, but as long as you know what’s coming, you can easily entertain yourself looking through the Rock Shop as well as the endless count of elite musical memorabilia – from a costume Elton John actually wore at a famous concert, to a Ramones bass guitar. We ended up seated next to the latter, much to Dave’s delight, and enjoyed copious amounts of fantastic food, waited upon by really friendly and helpful staff, surrounded by awesome rock music. The Hard Rock Cafe is a must, wherever you can find one, as long as you’re prepared to nurse a food baby afterwards 😉



Afterwards we made our way to Mile End Road near Stepney Green, to be greeted by owner Sharmina, Sinead and the team at the gorgeous and colourful Vecchio Vintage. The girls had done a wonderful job of decorating their pop up space with cute spray stencils of the vintage classics like Marilyn and Audrey, with beautiful fabrics draped across the ceiling. A mini party feast had been laid out, with cute nibbles and sweeties, and of course prosecco! As we sipped and munched on the gorgeous red velvet cake to celebrate the occasion, the rummaging began! We were treated to all sorts, from floral fifties dresses to eighties power jackets, cute shirtwaisters to loud playsuits.  There was also the opportunity to up the pampering even further with a retro manicure, which unfortunately I didn’t have time to sample as we had to whizz off to the gig later in the evening.


However, I didn’t quite make it out of the door without being drawn towards some sparkly gorgeousness! In a bowl of bangles, this beautiful pastel number had my name all over it – and as it fit, which is very unusual for my tiny wrists, I had to have it. I also found this cute as a button little bee, who simply had to come home with me! So sweet! 😉


We had a lovely evening with the girls at Vecchio Vintage, and I’m very excited to see their site develop and progress and watch what Vecchio continues to offer!


The Vintage Housewife x

Vintage Heartbreak

I have to say, whilst I adore my ever increasing passion and enthusiasm for vintage and the whole new side of me it has opened up, there is definitely a fairly large downside to the whole thing. It’s not to do with the slightly trickier way of shopping, or the higher costs involved. Both of those can be outweighed by the positives – shopping becomes an experience, it’s fascinating learning about the history and digging through so many wonderful prints, and of course we all know the point of vintage is paying a little bit more for classic, better quality items that if well cared for, will last and last.


No, what I’m struggling with is the regular heartbreak that comes discovering a stunning piece, and having to drag yourself through an almost breakup period every time someone else buys it before you 😥

Those who are still getting into the vintage scene may not quite understand what I’m going on about, but I’m certain I’m not the only one who feels this way. It’s not so bad when you’re out and about shopping, because generally on those occasions you are passing up items in view of something else – you are out to buy something and are favouring to buy one thing over another, so you will normally be satisfied with your decision. The problem comes when you browse through your favourite websites of an evening, just to see what’s new and keep up to date.

I dread to think how many items I’ve got saved to my Etsy favourites list after scrolling through – some items are ones I like, hoping that they’ll still be around when I decide I need to add a 70s silk shirt to my collection. Others are spectacular pieces that I can only dream about, and save them just to sigh wistfully and look at because they’re pretty. Then there are the items that fall in between, and these are the real heartbreakers. The pieces that you fall head over heels in love with, because they are beautiful yet realistic – in price and wearability – but you can’t quite do anything about them at that moment.


I recently decided that I would like to add a yellow dress to my collection at some point, and found the perfect fit pretty quickly on Etsy. It was just the right mix of cute prom dress mixed with simple day dress, and exactly the right colour. I kept an eye on it for a few months (unfortunately finances haven’t been great, so I’ve had to go a bit longer than normal before accumulating any petty cash for pretty dresses) and just in the past couple of weeks, it looks like it’s been sold 😥 I’m gutted – it fitted the image I had in my head perfectly, and any other dress I’ve found since just isn’t the same.

And this is why it’s a little like a breakup – in a very melodramatic way, I feel like I’m never going to find a dress that perfect again. It consumes me, and I’m trawling through Etsy and Loves Miss Daisy and Candy Says desperately trying to find not another dress, but that dress. I know vintage is one of a kind these days, but I can’t help but trying. Sound familiar, anyone? Luckily, I know pragmatism will eventually kick in (maybe even writing this blog post is a step towards catharsis?) and I will be able to say “It wasn’t meant to be.” Because the one will come along somewhere, somehow, that will be even more perfect than that dress. Maybe it wouldn’t have fit properly, maybe the shade of yellow would have washed me out, maybe it would have smelt of the cigarette the model seemed to be smoking…

In the meantime, I’m still falling in love with dresses and shirts whenever I look on the internet – I clearly haven’t learnt my lesson 😉 But hey, if one will have a passion!


The Vintage Housewife x

My Miracle Beauty Product

Now normally this kind of thing tends to be some kind of moisturiser or toner – something skin or anti ageing related. Whilst I do suffer from oily skin and blemishes, I haven’t managed to find my perfect treatment yet, and I’m not really a fan of putting too much onto your skin anyway. But, there is something I have discovered that I now feel I cannot live without – and believe it or not, it’s just a nail base coat.


Ok, so it still is to do with anti-ageing in theory – but both my mum and myself suffer terribly from ridged nails. When my mum was younger, she apparently had gorgeous, strong healthy nails, but then due to a health issue they began to weaken and break because of these ridges which were forming. Everyone has their beauty must have, the thing which is really important for them to maintain to keep feeling and looking good for themselves, and for my mum it was her nails. Luckily, she is in the position to be able to afford false nails and maintain them regularly – the fact that these are well known to be the last thing to be given up in a time of crisis is neither here nor there 😉


Myself on the other hand, didn’t quite have that luxury. Growing up – yes, I admit it – I was a biter. We tried everything, gloves at night, painting the awful tasting stuff onto the nails that was available at one point, nothing seemed to work. I even remember one time when I was young my mum telling me how important nice looking nails were, that when I got a job in a shop perhaps one day, how awful it would look if I was serving customers with nails bitten down to the quick – she even demonstrated using my Tinky-Winky Teletubby toy. None of it worked, and so eventually I also found myself in a position where I could just about afford false nails for myself, and I was over the moon.

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It was a tricky start, working out what length and shape suited me best, whilst also struggling with the fact that my hubby wasn’t in the least bit convinced of my long nails. I couldn’t see how he thought my (to me) disgusting bitten nails could possibly be better than my false nails, but my lovely hubby is all about looking natural. However, he could see how important it was to me that I had nice nails, and I wasn’t able to overcome my biting habit, so grew to accept them. I was loving being able to finally buy all kinds of nail varnish, quickly discovering a favourite in Essie – no surprise as that was what my nail technician used. I loved all the bright colours, and the fun names of too – Bachelorette Bash, Bahama Mama, Lapiz of Luxury to name but a fraction of the wide range available.

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But, my nail technician then went off to have a baby (which is great for her of course!) and in months following, I began to see how nice it was not to have to spend £15-£30 every month maintaing my nails. I was hoping that after about a year and a half with false nails meaning I wasn’t able to bite, I had kicked the habit – no such luck. As soon as the false nails came off, my ridges started splitting and I was back to being a biter. I was so upset, especially as I really felt  that my nails were ruining my ever developing vintage look, not to mention the money I had potential wasted on nail varnished that weren’t getting used. I tried stick on nails for special occasions, I tried painting my tiny short nails hoping that I wouldn’t bite them if they started looking nice – I was back to square one.


That was until I was despondently browsing through Essie’s range one day, and looked a little closer at their nail care range. They offered basic base coats, but there were also bases which offered intensive care in various forms. It made me think about what the problem with my nails really was – and whilst I don’t have ageing nails, I most certainly have severe ridges that need filling in, so I thought I would try my luck with fill the gap. I was absolutely staggered by the instant result – I wondered at first if it was more of a nail strengthener designed to slowly pad out nails like many others available, but this literally filled in the ridges of your nails, meaning that when you paint over the colour varnish the ridges had vanished! Not only that but the strength it gives nails is amazing – in the couple of months I’ve been using this I have only had one minor split. Yes, I have to keep on top of looking after my nails just to be sure – I re-do them every few days, pushing back the cuticles and file away any sharp edges as soon as I can – but that’s probably what I should have been doing anyway!


I am so thrilled that I discovered this miracle product – because Dave is right and the natural nails do look so much better, but now they look pretty and healthy and I can play with so many different colours and ideas I’ve been dying to give a go!


The good old hole punch saver trick needs a little more practice, but not bad for a first go I think! And I’ve always wanted to give matte black nails a go! I love it!


So if anyone out there is suffering from the same troubles as me, I would without a doubt recommend this miracle beauty product. It is so worth it – thank Essie for giving me back some confidence!


The Vintage Housewife x

Every year at Shoreham Airport……..

The Shoreham Airshow is coming up in a couple of weeks, unfortunately I won’t be around to see it but here’s a little taste from my mum’s blog of what to expect if you’re in the area! This year you can expect to see double as we have both our own Lancaster and the newest addition to the Lancaster fleet across the world from Canada! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see two Lancasters flying together, if you can make it to any of the shows in the UK it will be so worth it!

Live Love Travel Lots

they hold an Airshow. We have lived locally since I was a child so I have always been able to watch the planes from our garden. The best shots though are taken from the path along the River Adur.

Lancaster Bomber

This Lancaster Bomber flew so low down the river valley that you could see the pilot in the cockpit.


It really is something else seeing and hearing this massive machine roaring through the sky overhead. This year the Airshow has the Canadian Avro Lancaster, there are only 2 Lancasters left now and both will be in the UK this year. Maybe I will take another walk along the river and see what pictures I can get,

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