Twinwood 2018 In Photos

This year’s bank holiday was spent catching up with friends, trawling through stalls and enjoying some fabulous tunes at Twinwood. Saturday was the busiest day for us – we did so much. The weather was pretty grim on Sunday so we made most of the day and rested up in the evening. On Monday, we had to head home pretty quick so we had a final stroll around and catch up. Twinwood 2018 was seriously chilled and it was bliss – a great end to the summer holidays

Saturday

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Sunday

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Monday

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Such a fabulous weekend spent with good friends – just what we needed!

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Turning 30

This summer, I turned the big 3-0. I’ve got to a point in life where I much prefer experiences With that in mind, my better half and I organised an awesome weekend in London

DragWorld

Anyone who knows me knows that I adore drag so going to a drag convention seemed like the right thing to do on my thirtieth. My buddy Kelly had been the previous year and really recommended it. I’m not that confident with make-up apart from what I do on a regular basis so I stuck to my usual style of dress and make-up. I wore a vintage dress I picked up from Brighton and earrings I got as a birthday gift from my mum.

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It was such a great day! I got to spend it doing what I love: spending time with friends, watching great performances, fangirling over drag talent and engaging in big discussions. We’ll definitely be returning next year.

The Cheese Bar

Food is another one of my great loves in life. The Cheese Bar was recommended to me by a few friends so we thought we’d give it a bash. Needless to say it was brilliant from start to finish: incredibly delicious food, good atmosphere and fantastic service.

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Club Swizzle

Before I broke up from school, I found out that my friend, Dandy, would be performing at The Roundhouse over the summer. Seeing as we didn’t have plans for the evening portion of my birthday, we booked tickets for Club Swizzle.

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It was a pretty spectactular evening of acrobatics, singing, burlesque, jazz and comedy – we bloody loved it. I hope we get the chance to see the show again.

Outsider Tart

Next morning, we headed over to Turnham Green for a yummy brunch at Outsider Tart. This place NEVER disappoints.

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It was an amazing weekend and I need to thank my better half for being the best company over the weekend and for helping to organise everything.What a great way to turn 30!

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Fierce Females: Friends, Frida and Hot Brown Honey

Ah, the end of term is most definitely a time for celebration and what better way to celebrate than hanging out with my favourite people doing my favourite things!

As it was another incredibly hot day, I went for a light but bright and bold outfit. My dress is repro and I added a turban and hair flowers to top it off. I felt both wonderful and ridiculous.

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To kick off the day, I headed to the V&A to meet up with Kelly. I arrived early so a mooched about on my own. Oddly enough, I was approached by a very desperate American tourist who was looking to get into the sold out Frida exhibition in the final few hours before his flight home. I couldn’t really say no so we took a whirlwind tour before I found Kelly. With my buddy in tow and my trusty V&A membership, we went from exhibition to exhibition and took in as much as we could.

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Seeing as Kelly and I were both on our school hols, we decided to treat ourselves to the Frida Kahlo-inspired afternoon tea at The Lanesborough in London. The space was absolutely stunning to say the least and it was so serene – just what a tired teacher needs. Tea began with a palate-cleanser, which was a refreshing hibiscus concoction. This was followed by some really scrummy sandwiches. I particularly enjoyed the cucumber one and the guacamole one. Scones as always made us very happy indeed. Now, I’m such a stickler for good cakes and patisserie – I was slightly worried that this afternoon tea would be more style over substance. Boy was I wrong! Every single morsel was utterly delicious and if I hadn’t have been so painfully full, I’d have happily eaten them all again. I should also add that the service was particularly brilliant; from the doorman to the pianist, everyone was warm and courteous. Both of us left with big smiles on our faces.

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After I said my goodbyes to Kelly on the tube, I moved on to Covent Garden to meet up with Jennifer. We chewed the fat as we always do and sat about in the sunshine. A  few months back, we heard about a Hot Brown Honey show at the South Bank Centre so we snapped up some tickets. I never fail to have a wonderful time with Jen and this was no exception. I won’t give any details but the show was pretty mind-blowing. It explored race, identity and gender in such a thought-provoking and intriguing manner. Both of us cried, shouted and laughed in the space of two hours. If you get the opportunity to see it, please do. Afterwards, we took time for a drink and post-show contemplation.

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Not bad for a Tuesday. I’m so grateful to have such awesome women in my life!

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Your Silence Will Not Protect You

After nearly three weeks in Costa Rica, I can get back into my normal routine. I’ll be returning to my usual Sunday blog posts but before that I feel I need to get something off my chest.

For most of my life, I have bitten my lip and done my best to be polite when dealing with micro-aggressions. I don’t always practise what I preach, which I find really frustrating. If I find myself angry or upset, I tend to check with others to see if my feelings are justified – I often wonder if I’m going mad so I seek validation from others. I want to challenge this pattern of behaviour and that’s why I’m writing this today.

A couple of months ago, I participated in a discussion on pin-up subculture. After the interview, I entered into conversation with my interviewer which ended up being problematic. I cannot post the conversation because the interviewer was very clear about not giving permission. I am sharing my experience and reactions to the conversation. I am sorry that the lack of screenshots and quotes removes context and meaning but I can’t risk the repercussions.

I spoke to several friends about this conversation and now I feel comfortable enough to share my opinions on the matter.

  1. I never gave permission for my information to be shared outside of the interview itself and posts on their social media pages.
  2. I didn’t feel comfortable being approached about participating in a contest when I know that many others do not receive the same treatment. It’s unfair; it gives me an advantage (even though my name wasn’t mentioned) and others a disadvantage. How is it a fair contest if some people are approached and encouraged and others are not?
  3. I have the privilege of having the time and means to share my writing with the world. My ability to write is subjective too. There are lots of people out there who can write much better than me – they’re just not able to share it. Again, that is unfair.
  4. I cannot stand the how do you improve diversity without tokenism? question. Marginalised people are not a tick-list, we are not a bloody pick ‘n’ mix. It’s demeaning to be told that they’d like a south Asian one, a trans one, etc. I think I find this question so aggravating because I know people have written to organisers with suggestions of how to make events more inclusive. Alixis Lupien of Ains & Elke StyleHaus wrote a letter with a list of suggestions from banning the confederate flag to offering hair classes for more than one hair type. Listening to POC and other marginalised groups to create an environment of inclusion will have more impact than a token tick-list.
  5. I’m tired of performing emotional labour and having to justify my feelings. There is a wealth of information online – I shouldn’t have to explain why I feel uncomfortable or what you can do to improve diversity.

I know full well that this post will not make me popular (to be honest, I never have been). Some will say I’m being over-sensitive, some will say I’m being aggressive. However, in the immortal words of Audre Lorde: ‘Your silence will not protect you’. I won’t make things better for myself or those from other marginalised groups if I remain quiet and polite. Of course, I’m fully aware that there are bigger and worse issues in the world but I’m starting here. I can’t encourage others without acting myself. I have to practise what I preach.

Marginalised people do not have to be grateful for bones thrown to them. Marginalised people must not be tokenised. Marginalised people deserve better.

Thanks to several incredibly supportive friends for giving me the confidence to write this. We fight the good fight together.

 

Ladies In Liverpool

Apologies for the lack of posting over the past two weeks – the end of term has been really full on but thankfully the summer holidays have started and I am FREE (for a few weeks at least). Next week, I’ll be heading off to Costa Rica so hopefully I’ll be able to post from there.

Amidst reports, data and getting ready for the next academic year, I’d made plans to go see my friend Steph who lives far up north. Last Friday after school, I grabbed my backpack and hopped on the train for a seriously long journey. As always, I was greeted with a warm smile, some form of gin cocktail and a home-cooked meal. You can see why we’re friends.

The next morning, we set off for Stockport to get our hair done at I Love Lucie hair salon. I was definitely in need of a good chop!

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I do envy Steph’s hair colour palette – it makes any hairstyle look even more fabulous. I went for something a little different that could withstand the breeze.

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After a bit of sprucing, we caught the train to Liverpool for afternoon tea at The Panoramic. Steph had brought me here before for cocktails in the evening but it was great to come during the day so I could see even more of Liverpool

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We obviously had to have cocktails and they were so ruddy tasty. The afternoon tea itself was an absolute feast for the eyes. The savouries were really varied and delicious. Scones were warm and a great texture. To say we were very happy is an understatement. Finally, we got to the dainty cakes which tasted as good as they looked. At one point, I nipped to the loo and returned to find Steph with a tie. One of the waiters gifted it to her after she complimented it but she felt it was a tad overgenerous so she returned it as we stepped out.

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Post-tea, we took a stroll over to the docks to check out the Finely Tuned vintage event. There were some pretty amazing buildings en route and there was a warm and friendly atmosphere as we walked around. We also got to spend some time catching up with the Ford sisters at their stall – always a good giggle.

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Later in the evening, we popped back to Steph’s to change outfits and freshen up. Since we’ve met, I’ve known her to take these beautiful walks around the marine lake near where she lives. As I was staying over, she wanted to take me round before we headed off for dinner. Of course we dressed appropriately in nautical style. When we go to The Tapas Kitchen, we were both ready for more yummy treats.

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The next morning, we had breakfast at Steph’s parents’ cafe (so needed) before I got the train home. I also got one of her mum’s ridiculously perfect scones to keep me going on my journey. A great end to the weekend.

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Another fabulous weekend up north and I’m sure there’ll be many more to come. Thanks so much for looking after me, Steph!

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Afternoon Tea Beside The Sea

For my birthday last year, my Year 5 team got me an afternoon tea for two in Brighton. I decided to take my better half with me and we picked an absolutely gorgeous day for it last weekend.

OOTD

I picked up this dress at Retrofest last year. I had to wear it by the sea as it has subtle seaweed and starfish patterns. I also added to the sea-theme by adding a prawn brooch and vintage mussel earrings. I know I’m a bit ridiculous.

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Exploring Brighton

After our drive, we started off with coffee. We then took a long stroll through the Lanes before heading to our afternoon tea spot.

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Metro Deco

We arrived at Metro Deco on time and both of us were gasping for a cuppa. The waiting staff were really friendly and helpful; they gave use lots of tea suggestions. I went for an incredibly fruity tea and Nick went for lemon and ginger. I was particularly pleased when I found out I could have as many different teas as I wanted – I am a tea fiend. The spread was delicious and both of us left full and happy.

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The Seaside

With full tummies, we decided a long walk by the sea would be a good idea. It was also a good opportunity to faff about in my dress.

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It was just what we needed – a day to ourselves doing what we do best: eat, explore and laugh. I’m already looking forward to more of these days in the summer.

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London Eats With Northern Ladies

I met Flick last year when I needed a dress to be made for the Miss Vintage final at Twinwood. While I was over, she introduced me to her friend Steph and the rest is history. As Flick and Steph live quite far from me, we try to make the most of it when we see each other. For their trip to mine, I organised a foodie day – because we all love our grub!

Outfits

As we are somewhat ridiculous, we decided to dress in the style of some of the cakes we were going to have at afternoon tea. Flick made her own jacket (which she hand-embroidered) and trousers – she is disgustingly talented. Steph was a human rainbow: nails, hair, dress and petticoat. I went for a pink Dolores Umbridge-inspired look, wearing a vintage dress and a Pin Up Curl hair bow Flick lent me.

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Dishoom

I’d been to Dishoom once before and I totally fell in love with their brunch menu (I’ll be working my way to lunch and dinner too). As we were having a full-on afternoon tea later on, a big fry up was not on the cards. We all chose some form of delicious eggs and washed it down with chai. Epic start to the day!

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The Berkley

After brunch, Flick and I went for a mooch in Portobello while Steph went to visit her shoe church. We all met up in Knightsbridge and strolled over to The Berkeley for our ‘fashion’ afternoon tea. Steph had been before and highly recommended it so we obviously had to go. Basically, it was bloody brilliant. Great service, unlimited quality tea, cakes and sarnies and beautiful surroundings. Steph – you did good!

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Aftermath

Post-tea, we wandered over to Covent Garden and then headed to Waterloo to get the train home. It’s safe to say we were done in.

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I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: it’s amazing how you can connect with strangers online. Thankfully, it’s not long before I see these two again.

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