Twinwood 2017: Sunday

Pre-Miss Vintage

Sunday started off with ice cream for breakfast because you know, why not? I was quite apprehensive about Miss Vintage so my better half did his best to keep me distracted. The first part of the day involved the rehearsal for Miss Vintage. It was lovely to meet everyone involved but then I got so self-conscious about how I looked and sounded, it all became a bit of a blur!

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After all that, we met up with Beverly, Tanya, Flic, Carl and Rebecca who really helped to take my mind off things. I always love seeing how different people dress themselves under the umbrella of ‘vintage style’ – it gives me inspiration for my own wardrobe.

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My dress is from Peony Vintage in Margate. There are lots of things that I love about this dress: the mint and white stripes, the pockets, the belt and the long sleeves that I can roll up or down. It’s also really easy to get in and out of so I don’t need to panic about my hair.

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As it got closer to Miss Vintage, I met up with Carrie-Ann who was kindly lending me her petticoat. Her family had what I can only describe as the most epic of picnics – her mum is a total feeder. Flic and I happily munched French Fancies as we nattered. I need to say a very big thank you to Carrie – she’s given me loads of advice and support in the run-up. Anxiety and fear make these situations much much worse than they actually are but Carrie talked me through everything, even up to an hour beforehand – a true pal.

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All of my Miss Vintage stuff was in Flic’s tent so we headed back so I could primp my hair and double-check my make-up. I do love how calm and kind Flic and Nick were as a faffed about – I owe you two a heck of a lot!

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With all my stuff in hand, we headed back to the arena. You can read about what happened during Miss Vintage here.

Post-Miss Vintage

After all the nerves and excitement of Miss Vintage, I ended up chatting to lots of people and relaxing a little!

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Feeling much calmer, my tummy started rumbling so we went to wolf down pizza (one each – no sharing). We ended up meeting Karen, Lucy and a bunch of other lovely souls for a good natter. From there, we headed to The Nag’s Head for a few ciders and a cockney sing-a-long.

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A properly brilliant end to a full-on day. Needless to say, I slept very well that night!

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Twinwood 2017: Miss Vintage

Earlier this year, I put myself forward for Miss Vintage – you can read about my entry here.

On the Sunday of Twinwood all the finalists got together backstage ready to strut their stuff and do their thing. I was full of self-doubt and fearful of being booed/laughed at but I was there for a reason and I wouldn’t run away from it.

My Outfit

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Everyone who I spoke to about Miss Vintage really emphasised the importance of true vintage. Now I love true vintage and over a quarter of all my clothes are vintage but I wanted to wear something that was properly representative of me. I knew I wanted a dress that combined a fifties swing dress pattern with elements from my heritage – a mix of true vintage and reproduction clothing.

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Lots of buddies recommended Felicity Esme Rackstraw of Esme’s Vintage Closet so I contacted her with my ideas. She took her time and listened to me – I sent her rough doodles and then she sent me through her final sketch and I was bowled over. I’ve never had a piece of clothing made for me before and I was apprehensive about the process. Flic answered every question and kept me up-to-date. She managed to find the most stunning vintage sari on Ebay and it set the colour scheme for my entire outfit.

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Originally, the base dress was going to be a bright green but the fabric we had wasn’t working. On a day out with Flic in Manchester, she came across this stunning teal blue fabric and it was so perfect with the swatch from the sari. It came in the week before Twinwood and when I tried it on, I felt bloody fabulous!

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For accessories, I had my Rockets Originals shoes, vintage gold earrings (I swapped them with a pair I was wearing as one fell out) and a vintage beetle brooch from Hirst Antiques. I wanted some hair flowers to go with my dress too, so Flic sent some of the sari to Holly of Alternate Normality so she could create a floral piece.

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It was made up of hibiscus flowers (Fijian heritage), marigolds (Desi heritage) and foxgloves (upbringing in Birmingham). It was a true piece of art and really finished off my outfit.

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Miss Vintage In Photos

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This was a representation of my love of vintage and my pride in my culture. The bug brooch was representative of myself as a third generation immigrant – regarded as nuisance or a pest but ultimately, a beautiful and vital part of nature.

If you’d like to watch everything, you can check out the live feed videos on Vintage Life’s Facebook page. Congratulations to Dawn Trigwell who won first prize – well deserved!


I shared this post on Facebook after Miss Vintage and it pretty much sums up my thoughts.

Totally out of my comfort zone but I stood in front of a crowd and said my piece.

Many believe that politics and heavy issues shouldn’t be be brought up at these kinds of events. Thing is I didn’t turn up to compete with these gorgeous creatures: we checked each other’s teeth for lipstick, helped calm each other’s nerves, checked seams were straight and even dusted each other with a bit of face powder. It was a supportive and encouraging group of women, sharing their love of vintage style.

My main aim for doing this was to highlight a few things:

  1. Fashion is fun – you make your own rules.
  2. Reproduction and vintage clothing are not in competition with one another – it’s what works for you.
  3. Diversity is beautiful and immigrants are beautiful.
  4. Vintage style exists in more forms than what you see in mainstream media – we need to see more of it.

I hope I at least got some of that across. Thanks to everyone for their encouragement and support – I know I became a nightmare in the run-up as I got more anxious about being booed or laughed at. All was well on the day!


If I could change anything, I would have wanted more time to talk – it’s so difficult though as timings were pretty tight. I would had worried less (as with most things) and I would have had more of a giggle. On the flip-side though, I met some wonderful people and made new friends.

Of course, there are bigger issues out there in the world and there are so many problems to solve. I just wanted to open a door to discussion and diversity in the vintage subculture, I don’t know if I did that but I hope people continue to to spread the message that it’s OK to be different and it’s OK to be fabulous too.

Thanks to my friends and family for encouraging me, especially Nick who bore the brunt of my anxiety – you were and are wonderful!

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Twinwood 2017: Saturday

Flo and I have previously done day trips to Twinwood festival – you can read about it here. When you get through to the final ten of Miss Vintage, you’re given a pair of weekend tickets so @darktechsupport and I thought we should make the most of our tickets and stay from Saturday to Monday.

On the Saturday, we packed up the car and headed to Bedford. Once we arrived, we met up with Leanda, Rebecca and Sarah. Mooching ensued and then it was time for cake and tea. My brownie was ruddy delicious – a good choice. While sipping tea, we met up with Lucy, Tanya, Pia and Sharon too.

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Dress from Vivien of Holloway

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I have no idea what was going on here
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Tea is serious business

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Vintage ladies drink Vimto!

From here we continued perusing the vast number of vintage and repro stalls dotted along the site. I had a bit of a flap (massive flap) trying to find the right pair of shoes for my Miss Vintage outfit. Thankfully, Leanda was there to both comfort and laugh at me while Flic (of Esme’s Vintage Closet) helped me pick a pair of Rocket Originals. Sorry Nick for being a gigantic pain in the bum! More mooching about paid off, I picked up a colourful vintage dress WITH POCKETS for a tenner.

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Nick with his beloved

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Talking to Dawn Trigwell (gorgeously put-together) about how immense this jacket is
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Do I get it in red, black or mustard?
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Another break for crepes (necessary) and on we went. I went looking for some novelty brooches with some help found a fish and a flying pig. We walked and talked for ages, caught up over drinks and flitted about from stall to stall. Around five we felt pretty bushed so after revitalising pizza, Nick and I went to check into our B&B and freshen up for the evening – though I could not be bothered to change my outfit!

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Forever classy

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Back for the evening, we started off at Flic’s tent as Leanda and Rebecca got themselves preened. We all went off to meet Matt and Ella for Si Cranstoun’s main stage performance. Up on the hill, we had excellent views of the whole arena and I was able to people watch to my heart’s content. A few songs in, we got numb bums so we went to explore different areas with Matt and Ella. At the Control Tower, we saw some insane swing dancing – at the edge of a dance circle we saw legs flying in the air and feet moving fast! Next up was Le Monde Electrique for Still Moving DJs. I really hope they’re at next year’s festival as their set was so good (I loved the energy and the atmosphere!). Before we headed home, we briefly caught a bit of Champagne Charlie and The Bubbly Boys but we were too bushed to stay on.

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All in all, a great first day and to top it off the weather was glorious!

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Larking About In London

One of the best things about being teacher is having a summer break (makes the very full-on term time worth it). A few years ago I had a really lazy six weeks and felt so grumpy about wasting my time, I vowed to do more during my holidays. Last week, I met up with fellow teacher Kelly and doctor buddy Becky K. for a day of fun in London. Here’s what we got up to…


I decided to go for something bright and colourful so I wore this hot air balloon dress from Just One Look with a Vivien of Holloway cardigan. I added a green belt and my favourite Lillian Madison Designs brooch for even more colour!

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Portobello Road Market

First off, we headed to Portobello Market for a mooch. The weather was lovely so we took our time strolling through the streets. Our first stop was Hirst Antiques, a stunning treasure trove of jewellery old and new. I love brooches, especially quirky creatures, so this was the perfect spot for me – only problem was there was too much to choose from! From there we grabbed some ice cream from Morellis and maybe nibbled some cake too. After a bit more shopping, we hopped on the tube to Holborn to meet Becky B.

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Mirror Room Afternoon Tea

Kelly and I desperately wanted to for afternoon tea at the Mirror Room ever since we had a look round there earlier in July – a meet-up of fabulous ladies seemed like the right occasion for it. I do love the location as it’s tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s such a beautiful space in which to take tea.

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The afternoon tea itself is based around artists, seen in the cake selection. It was also unlimited (the best kind of afternoon tea). The sandwiches were so delicious that we ended up having two rounds. I washed mine down with some fruity hibiscus and blackcurrant tea. Scones are my favourite part of any afternoon tea and these were so good – warm and perfectly baked. The clotted cream could have been a little softer as it was somewhat tricky to spread!

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Finally, we got to the cakes and they really were pieces of art – so stunning to look at: Yayoi Kasuma – a yummy combo of passionfruit and chocolate; Banksy – a cube of salted caramel goodness; Damien Hirst – a pastry of unknown flavour (we’re still not sure what it was); Mark Rothko – raspberry and coconut deliciousness and Alexander Calder – a pistachio and cherry mix.

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My favourites were the Kasuma, Banksy and Rothko. To be completely honest, this cake selection wasn’t really to my taste – a little too much style over substance personally. I’ve probably been spoilt by previous afternoon teas! If you love chocolate-based patisserie and interesting flavour combinations, this would be your cup of tea. The fantastic service is definitely worth a mention: all the staff we came across at the hotel were kind and welcoming – one of the reasons why we wanted to come back. Full and waddling, we said bye to Kelly and made our way to Liverpool Street.

Voodoo Vixen Party

After a faff finding buses, we met up with Tanya and set off on our way to Fontaine’s. Becky B. had kindly invited me along to Voodoo Vixen’s A/W and Miss Victory Violet Collaboration launch party and I was more than happy to tag along – thanks Becky B.! We got to peruse the new clothes and enjoy some bubbles as we chatted and mingled. Entertainment was provided by Georgia Harrup, Miss Cherry On Fire and Elle and The Pocket Belles. All I really need to say was that it was a damn good night.

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Thanks again to Becky B. for inviting me out – I definitely need to return the favour. Now to research my next afternoon tea adventures!

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Birthday Bonanza 2017

As I’ve got older, I’ve become less and less fussed about my own birthday. Being the centre of attention isn’t my idea of fun and I’d much rather spoil other people! My idea of a great celebration is being around people I love, eating yummy things and having a giggle – this year’s birthday was just that!


I love dressing up anyway but I thought I’d whip out my Vivien of Holloway Lana dress. There are lots of colours in this print so I can pair it with a variety of accessories – like my epic birthday pin from @darktechsupport. I added a teal Jenny cardigan to keep the chill off.

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Duck &Waffle

I love food – good food. My life basically revolves around what I want to wear and what I want to eat. I follow blogger @notsobasiclondon on IG and I trust all of her food suggestions, Duck & Waffle being on of them. My sister had already heard of the restaurant and was more than happy to come along. I have to say it was ruddy delicious, though I was most upset that I couldn’t finish my pudding because I was so full!

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Oh now I really want to go eat all of this again!

BOBBA Exhibition

Brick Lane wasn’t far from the restaurant at all and I knew that @burntrotimag had their ‘Beauty Of Being British Asian’ exhibition taking place there. Last week’s post was about my own feelings on being British Asian – you can read about it here. The exhibition itself was weirdly emotional, my sister felt the same way. It’s that feeling of not being alone, of finding common ground – it was welcoming and home-like. From the artwork, we were able to identify part of ourselves but also find differences from our own upbringing. I’m really glad I went, it was an eye-opening experience.

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Soofiya Andry
Shaheen Kasmani

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My sister headed back home after we mooched about on Oxford Street. My better half and I headed to The Department of Coffee and Social Affairs off Carnaby Street – a place we stumbled upon a few years ago. It was so good to sit and chat about absolutely everything for a couple of hours. After that, we strolled around Soho and had a browse in a great comic book shop. Finally we got to Cahoots! It was pretty fabulous…

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My face says delirium, his face says mildly awkward

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So many cocktails – decisions are tricky!

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Thumbs up

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This one tasted like a liquid fruit pastille
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Boozy garden in a glass

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My favourite – bloody fruity and zingy!

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Yeah – it was a great birthday, no doubt! A massive thank you to @darktechsupport and my sister for organising and enjoying everything with me. I loved every second of it.

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Papow Ponders 13#: Being British Asian

This post discusses race, culture, society and skin colour from my point of view. Apologies if it’s a bit all over the place! This is just one person’s thoughts and feelings – there are many voices out there to hear.


I’ll be blunt – I don’t really know where I belong. I live in the UK as a third generation immigrant. My family are from Fiji and I know I have a great-grandfather from Uttar Pradesh. English is my first language with German as my second. I roughly understand Hindi but I can barely speak it. My family is made up of Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims and Christians but I have no religion. Since moving to Berkshire, I have been the minority, being educated or working in majority-white institutions. Taking a step back from it all, I find myself feeling that I’m not enough anything to feel like I fully belong anywhere.

In these pictures, I’m wearing the only sari I’ve ever worn. It’s my mum’s and it’s a prized possession. Prior to this shoot, I’d worn the sari once before for a good friend’s wedding. Mum had to teach my better half and me how to wrap and secure everything. It took a lot of repetitive instruction for us to get it kind of right but my mum just seemed to do it perfectly in seconds. Before the photo shoot, it took my husband and I half an hour to get the sari to look somewhat OK (even then we were still umming and erring about it). All this faffing led me to question whether I should be in the sari at all – if putting it on doesn’t come naturally to me, do I deserve to wear it? The reason why I wanted to wear it in the first place is because it’s my only handed-down vintage piece and I wanted to celebrate it.


I have not always been comfortable discussing my culture or my skin colour. You can’t hide being brown – you’re just there for everyone to see. Some people see your skin colour as a conversation starter or it becomes your only identifier – my brown/Indian/Asian person. Fifteen years ago, I would have given anything to blend in; I hated being stared at, being asked ignorant questions or being seen as just a colour. Now I still hate all those things but I do not hate who I am because of that — I take pride in myself, even when the world doesn’t make it particularly easy. Here are some of the most common questions and comments I get from people (a selection from the last three years):

  • You’re such an exotic creature
  • You’re so beautiful for an Asian girl
  • Do you go dark in the sun?
  • I bet you make amazing curries
  • How do you eat a curry with your hands? Don’t your hands get smelly?
  • You’d prefer something spicier, wouldn’t you?
  • It’s unusual to see Asian women looking like that
  • Is your partner also Indian?
  • Did you have a normal wedding or a Hindu one?
  • What language do you speak at home?

Speaking to new people or going to new places always gets my shoulders up as it’s when these kind of things are usually said. There are so many other things to discuss than old stereotypes around a person’s skin colour. I have also been called a coconut/Oreo/Malteser (insinuating a person is white on the inside but brown on the outside) by friends and family members. It’s not a nice thing to have that said to you. It just adds to the feeling of not belonging – you’re not white enough and you’re not brown enough either, an imposter in your own skin.


I have a few questions myself:

  • Who decides who does and does not belong?
  • Have I appropriated my own culture?
  • What does it take to be accepted?
  • Who decides if I am enough?
  • What authority do I have to speak on these issues?

To be perfectly honest, I don’t have the answer to any of these questions. This post has been as close as I can get to putting my ideas out without writing a bunch of word vomit. It’s not easy to write about this stuff but I feel it’s worth discussing these issues, especially in the world we live in today.

Moving on from this, I hope to write more about these issues – sometimes thinking aloud is just what you need.

Thanks to the insanely talented Lars (Made In Eighty) for these wonderful images and to Laine (lainebeautyfx) for the brilliant hair and make-up wizardry. You guys did such a great job!

Retro Festival 2017 In Photos

Two years ago, Flo first experienced Retrofest and she loved it. Last year, @darktechsupport and I went too – you can read about it here. After a short but very full-on holiday, we had our day tickets ready for a day of fun (neither of us had quite recovered from our trip though). In this post, I’ll go through my outfit first then look at the day in photos.


My dress is from Voodoo Vixen – loved its pockets,  buttons and neckline details. Even though this was only my second time wearing the dress, one of the pocket buttons AND and top button came off during the day. Luckily, I had my Vivien of Holloway Jenny cardigan to cover me up and keep me warm. My ‘Pink Ladies’ brooch from Small Victories Handmade complimented my outfit perfectly.

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Flo looking stunning as always
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Charmaine and the adorable Archie

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The fashion show begins

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The lovely Fay with her buddy – great rolls!

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All in all a relaxing and lovely day. I loved the ever-present chilled atmosphere of the festival and, of course, all the dogs! Thanks again to my better half for these gorgeous shots – you really captured the day.