A weekend of pure magic is over… and I’m looking back and sighing with happiness at every moment of it.
On Friday, The Night Circus arrived at Tea and Sympathy, my favourite place in Colchester. The dress code was black and white and circus-appropriate, with a red accent for the reveurs – those who had read the book. (And if you’ve read it, you’ll know why!) For those that haven’t had the pleasure, the theme was around the book The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern.
My red accents were my sequined shoes, scarlet lipstick and a peek of a red bra… 🙂
I don’t think I’ve ever felt more thoroughly myself, though my outfit wasn’t entirely appropriate for the multi storey car park where we put the cars when we arrived… lol. But I’ve always been fascinated by the circus – my burlesque name is a tribute to my obsession with Enid Blyton’s circus stories!
I arrived with Gabby and Chris, after the quickest house tour in the history of the world, and we wandered in a haze of happiness through the shop, up and down the tiny, twisting staircase, to hidden rooms, magic and wonder at every turn…
There were fire dancers, burlesque from Miss Fanny Darling, magicians, fortune tellers and some cocktails, which I’m told were lethal… I declined to sample them, as I quite fancied getting home without getting arrested!
Here’s Gabby and Chris, looking like they belong with the Cirque…
Miss Fanny Darling as the Raven…
And the incredible fire dancing duo (I have plans for a skirt just like that one… I LOVE IT!)
I’ll leave you with the video of the fire dancers – a little taste of the most magical evening I’ve had in a long, long time! With thanks to Tea and Sympathy for making dreams reality 🙂
Last weekend I traversed down to Reading (complete with Rusty’s vintage suitcase, pretty shoes and vintage-style party dresses) for a weekend with one of my best friends. She just happens to be behind Contrariety Rose (new site almost done! I’m working on the last bits!) and organised a vintage tea party for a few people while I was down there. It’s always wonderful to see Lou, but this was a specially exciting prospect after a fairly hideous week!
We went to a vintage fair at the Hexagon first (I bought a headscarf “for wearing in a sportscar”, said the lady at the stall. I couldn’t not buy it after that, could I?!) and Lou found this lovely little dress. Rachel found a beautiful 60s shift dress but I couldn’t get a photo 🙁
And here is Lou (first pic) and me (second pic) next to where we’d set out all the bits and pieces…
This weekend, my mum and I are going shopping. Partly for Christmas presents, and partly to find me a dress to wear to my office Christmas party.
Having recently decided to stay there another year (and signed up for a loan for a season ticket to guarantee I’ll stay there – it costs more than my car did, so I won’t be leaving in a hurry!), this is my first proper social do – I’m so busy being here there and everywhere at weekends that I rarely get a chance to spend time with my work colleagues outside of the office.
As such, I’m now freaking out about what to wear. Mum has very kindly said she will buy me a dress, which is wonderful. But I feel I’d very much like to wear vintage if possible, so I’m unique. The trouble with this is twofold. One, I struggle to fit into vintage because I have enormous, 21st century hips. I have neither the time nor the skill to alter or tweak (the party is on 9 December, eeep). Two, my ideal vintage dress is rather pin up (think Vivien of Holloway) and I think Mum and I may have slightly different ideas of what is appropriate for this party.
I have a good idea of my perfect outfit, which would be my spotty turquoise corset, a black skirt with a slit up the side and a wonderful froth of purple, turquoise and blue net underskirt, which would peek out from the slit. However, I lack the required skill or time to make this particular outfit.
So watch this space for the outfit that eventually comes together!
I feel like I should copy this post across to Project Pin Up, it was so very vintage and pin up-esque! (edit – collage pic is over there with a link back here and to Mimi’s post!)
Last Saturday, the lovely Lou from Contrariety Rose came to stay, and after a morning of revamping her website and eating chocolate, we met Mimi for our first workshop at Make Do and Mend in Chelmsford. Mimi’s lovely husband Carl drove us there, and when we arrived some of the other ladies were already there, drinking tea and chatting.
Set up so that we were all around the same table, with an individual mirror and shared bottles of setting lotion and water spray, we started with pin curls and victory rolls. Hannah (who owns Make Do and Mend) showed us how to reserve a section of hair for the victory roll, and then to pin curl the rest. Once this was done (Mimi’s was most successful, Lou’s hair is very short at the moment and mine is incredibly long, thick and unruly) we wrapped our hair in scarves and let it dry. Hannah explained that usually this would be done before sleeping. Clearly, as it was mid-afternoon, sleeping was off the agenda, and more tea and biscuits while swapping stories and tips with the other girls was definitely on!
Here we are putting our pin curls in.
We then set to work on the victory roll section. Those with very short hair or a fringe had a helping hand from some of Hannah’s vintage roll-safety-pin contraptions (sadly you can’t buy these any more new) and the rest of us rolled and pinned and unrolled and rolled and pinned… and repeated. I eventually discovered, after several attempts, that I was trying to roll far too much hair at once. Ditching some of it (extra pin curl, anyone?) meant I finally got a roll/quiff type structure, which I promptly drenched in hairspray!
We then moved on to makeup, with Hannah showing us how to do a 1940s eyeliner flick. This is a brilliant concept which I really struggled with, was fine on my right eye but rubbish on my left – without my glasses I can’t see much at all out of my right eye so have always struggled (and with my day to day makeup, pretty much do it by feel). However, practise makes perfect and I at least now have the technique to work on!
Winged eyeliner, red lips and sweeps of blusher done, we were ready to unpin our pin curls. These had varying degrees of success, depending on the type of hair, the tightness of the curl and whether or not we’d actually let it dry properly (if you unwrap a damp pin curl, it will just go straight instead of springy and bouncy).
To no one’s surprise, the majority of my hair refused to curl, so I put it up in a fifties style ponytail which looked pretty good with my roll/quiff contraption. Mimi’s hair fell in soft waves, and Lou’s curled around her head in a surprisingly ruly fashion (her hair is so short in places we weren’t sure it would work at all!)
We met the lovely Karen of Essex Vintage Weddings, and lots of other ladies too – I hope to go back and do another workshop now I’ve had my hair cut and it’s a bit more manageable. Invested in some setting lotion at the weekend too so I could practise… quite when I’m going to fit this in to my ridiculous schedule I don’t know, but I’d love to be able to do vintagey hair more often 🙂
Tentatively enquiring whether our drunken ‘yeah, let’s do a rally round Ireland’ could become reality and getting a very enthusiastic response from the other teams. Hey, plans made at 3am in an obscure part of Europe under the influence of alcohol are clearly the best ones!
Spending an entire evening talking boys and horses with Lizzy
Type-writing a letter to Dan (another one – I’m improving!!)
Treasure hunting with Mum
Awesome numberplate on a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream van
Deciding we should drink the last bottle of Romanian rum and toast Rusty sometime
Starting my Vivien of Holloway dress fund.
Lunch with some of the girls from work last Friday, which was fab, as I got to speak to some of the ones I never see during work time
Going through the R2R photos again and reliving the whole thing
Mum coming round and making me soup after a truly hideous migraine on Tuesday
The sense of achievement that comes from having almost built a whole website for a dear friend
Vintage hair and makeup workshop (I really need to blog about this separately too) at Make Do and Mend in Chelmsford with the lovely Mimi and Lou, led by the equally lovely Hannah
Spotting a hedgehog under a tree on the way home from work one evening
An unexpected, glorious, sunshine-filled, warm roof-down blast round the Suffolk countryside on Sunday afternoon
Extended phone and text conversations – I have wonderful people in my life
Finally booking a haircut – I don’t want to lose any of the length but it’s long overdue, it’s lost its swish!
Lights near Bishopsgate in the evening
The general soaring happy feeling I’ve had most of this week 🙂
Fully aware I should have photos in this post but I’m absolutely shattered so may have to add them tomorrow. But really can’t go two Thursdays in a row without posting or next week’s will be utterly ridiculous!
Because I haven’t blogged with photos for a silly amount of time, because the last post was highly uninteresting to anyone but me (and possibly Mimi from Little Sips of Tea), here is a photo of me with three of my gorgeous friends who came to visit at the weekend 🙂
I’m not usually allowed to have painted nails at work. Or at least, I don’t think nail polish per se is banned, but the multicolour nails I favour (I almost always have at least two colours on my fingers and two others on my toes) are not compatible with my day job. However, as the boss is away and I am seeing precisely zero clients while he is… here goes! This is #1, done at my cousin’s house on Sunday afternoon with Avon Arabian Glow polishes. Which I forgot to take photos of. Beauty blogger fail.
The second set, done about ten minutes ago and drying as I type, has been done with my Marie Claire Ciate freebie (the dark purple one) and a No 7 I’ve been dying to try out, Stay Perfect in Betty Blues. It’s a very dark blue with a hint of sparkle. Photos in daylight tomorrow 🙂
The fab title of this post is courtesy of the lovely craftyguider – it made me smile all day (no mean feat!)
A mixture of locations this week, I snuck into town while the boys were out playing golf just once during my time at the Open, but in the couple of hours I was there found an utterly gorgeous green tea dress with laced detail back. It is so unassuming on the hanger that I’ve failed to get a decent picture of it, but will put it on and shoot it soon 🙂
I also nearly bought a 50s tablecloth with pub signs on it from Vintage By The Sea, but couldn’t justify £25 on a tablecloth and the proprietor’s attitude changed a bit when she realised I was uncertain about buying it, which put me off. The shop, on the other hand, was so pretty I had to take photos (not very good ones, I admit):
Then while I was out with Mum on Saturday, I found:
Polka dot work dress:
Donkey cross stitch kit
Vintage glass jelly mould – which is going to look awesome in my kitchen!
Sewing book – this is both wonderfully nostalgic and completely hilarious, it has sections in it for things like ‘The Tummy-bulge Type!’ and ‘The Half-size, or Diminutive Type’ which cracked me up!
I’m going to try and make something from this and see how good their advice is – it was published in 1958-1960 so will be interesting to see what’s changed (if anything!)
Also picked up a couple of particularly pretty scarves:
and of course there are my bottles and tin from Brighton. A good week for thrifting, I’m sure you’ll agree!
Wigs. They seem to have popped up in conversation a lot recently… people wearing them, buying them, talking about buying them, talking about wearing them.
I have been in love with the idea of blue hair (electric blue, not halfhearted blue) for years now, but have never been brave enough to attempt bleaching my very dark brown hair light enough to cope with electric blue. Then I got my current job, in which blue hair probably equals no job quite quickly!
So after asking around I had a look at Lulu’s wigs on ebay. They were very reasonable and had some fantastic colours, so I ordered one. I originally went for this one:
When it arrived,it was lovely, but I realised I should have gone for one which was the same length as my own hair, otherwise it’d be super-obvious. So I went for the longer blue – they have a fantastic policy of exchanging your wig as long as it hasn’t been worn. And I fell utterly in love as soon as the longer one arrived!
And here is me, wearing it…
Please excuse the shocking self-portrait – I’m planning a proper shoot with it soon but am short on time till mid-September 🙁
A hairdresser now working at MAC in Reading recognised it as a wig, but did ask if it was colour or a wig and said he loved it *grin* and I’ve worn it out a couple of times and think it’s realistic enough… obviously people who see me regularly realise I don’t have bangs all the time lol! But it’s fantastic fun and it’s a great way of boosting my confidence on those days where you just aren’t quite in the mood to be the life and soul of the party… 🙂
If any of you guys wear wigs… I’d love to see the results!
I'm Carla, a quirky thirtysomething with a penchant for unicorns and glitter. I believe in magic and make-believe, and the gorgeous rebellion of making your life absolutely your own. And I'm a proud multipod!
Proud to be both girly and geeky, when I’m not writing, photographing or daydreaming, you can find me dancing burlesque, riding my bicycle Bluebell, growing herbs and collecting typewriters.
Things I want to do in 2020. Partly from my Daydreams To Do list and also from my general goals for the year.
~ Steampunk events
~ experiment with film cameras
~ walk more
~ explore Colchester
~ beach time
~ kitty portraits
~ western riding
~ spa days
~ learn to make bath bombs
~ recreate Lush's Angel's Delight soap fragrance
~ work in sterling silver
~ build a catio
~ handwritten letters
~ photobook of the house project, the cats, Poppy & Dad
~ print my own photos