Before Christmas I celebrated my birthday. Okay Okay, I admit I wasn’t 16. It wasn’t even what you would call a “big” birthday. However, this is me we are talking about here, and when does Flo ever do things by halves? In my opinion any birthday is an excuse to go completely OTT and celebrate in style. And what better an excuse to tick off a few vintage destinations I had been eyeing up for a while now? I had such a splendid day that it would be a sin if I didn’t tell you all about it!
Vintage Tea Party
I was lucky enough to receive a beautiful Singer Sewing machine for my birthday this year and Mother-Flounce has been teaching me a trick or two. After a few creative days of making some beautiful things for my home (look out for posts on this in the very near future) I decided to start my birthday celebrations off at mine with a vintage tea party. Joining me for the day were the beautiful Cacao Papow and two other friends; Miss Catherine and Miss Sara (who some of you may recognise from my previous posts).
I decorated my beautiful home with my lovingly hand made pin-up girl print bunting. My dining table was dressed with a matching tablecloth and napkins along with multiple cake stands, tea pots, cups and saucers. “Style me vintage tea parties” by Betty Blythe gave me a great deal of inspiration for the day and I highly recommend this book to anybody who would like to throw a vintage style party. It offers advice on recipe ideas and how to dress your home for a range of vintage occasions, including tea parties, 1920s speakeasy parties, 1930s cocktail parties, 1940s picnics, 1950s street parties and many more. I created a marvellous spread of ham and mustard, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, egg and cress, and chicken finger sandwiches. I spent a great deal of time baking strawberry and vanilla dolly mixture cupcakes and cherry scones to be enjoyed with clotted cream and a range of jams. There was a selection of English breakfast, earl grey, green tea…and even a cheeky bottle of bubbly!
The girls and I enjoyed lining our stomachs as we pampered and preened ourselves ready for our big day out. We threw on some beautiful Vivien of Holloway, Collectif, and Lindy Bop clothing and jumped on the train to London!
The Painted Lady
Once we were in London we headed towards our first stop of the day: The Painted Lady. This is an independent Salon in Shoreditch, specialising in vintage colours, cuts and styling for both men and women. You can even pop in for a manicure, pedicure or Shellac nail colour. The salon opens 7 days a week, so vintage lovers; there is really no excuse not to visit! I had emailed in advance to arrange our booking and the staff were so friendly and welcoming. We all decided to go for the 1 hour vintage hair style by a senior stylist (£45 each).
As two of us were getting our hair styled, the staff made sure the others were thoroughly looked after. We had our glasses regularly topped up with wine, chilled to the sound of The Smiths and even befriended a few of the girls we recognised as having modelled for Vivien of Holloway. Cacao Papow went for one of her signature fierce up-dos, Catherine had some beautiful victory rolls, wheras Sara and I opted for some sultry 1940s waves. We left the salon looking and feeling amazing…ready to continue our day in style!
All Star Lanes
Our next stop was All Star Lanes in Holborn (via a quick detour to the Collectif store en route because it would have been rude not to). All Star Lanes is an American style diner with a bowling alley along one side. You can pop in for a game, watch others as you eat…or even combine the two!
Being ladies of leisure for the day, we had worked up quite an appetite by this point and opted for the lazy option. We were there purely for the food! The restaurant serves exactly what you would expect from an American style diner; including ribs, steak and a massive range of burgers and hot dogs. You can even build your own burger exactly how you wish. I defy anybody to not be able to find something they love on the menu. I went for (and strongly recommend) the Popcorn Squid, Chilli Cheese dog with sweet potato fries, and waffles. Throughout our visit we sipped on some delicious Tiki style cocktails. I highly enjoyed this diner, and with a further 4 restaurants in London and Manchester, why not pay one a visit yourselves for a well deserved pit stop during your vintage adventures in the city?
Evans and Peel Detective Agency
Our final stop of the day was the Evans and Peel Detectives Agency in Earls Court. This was my favourite part of my entire birthday! To give you a little idea of what you are in for, take a look at what Evans and Peel say about themselves on their website:
“We are detectives Evans and Peel. We work privately with individuals throughout London and beyond, supporting them with their individual needs. Our specialist areas are blackmail, missing persons and armed personal protection. There is no case too big or too small, from missing pets to alien abductions, we’ve solved them all. Our discreet detectives use their bespoke skills to work out how to give our clients that special unique service, drop us a line and make an appointment. Be safe out there…”
To book your table at this underground hideaway one must visit their website and state your case for the detectives to solve. You will then receive an email informing you whether they are able to help you and the time and date you can come to see them. As we made our way toward the detective agency the apprehension and excitement rose in our tummies, we had read so many reviews about this place but were still unsure of what to expect. Would we be able to locate the discreet entrance? Would we even be allowed in? This, of course, is all part of the experience. Once we found the suspicious looking door, we were buzzed through and descended under ground. We were greeted by a very dapper gentleman, to whom we had to present our case. I have to say, the four of us had put together quite an impressive story which involved the murder of an ex-lover, a love triangle, and a spat between friends. After this little drama, we were allowed through the concealed entrance behind a bookcase and into the dimly lit speakeasy.
The bar staff are unbelievable friendly, making sure our drinks were brought to our tables and topped up regularly. As if the cocktail list wasn’t large enough already, they made it clear that if there was anything we couldn’t find, all we needed to do was ask and they were happy to oblige. We spent the evening sipping on delicious cocktails, nibbling chilli popcorn and bopping to the music (which was a selection of modern music and recognisable lyrics with a 1920s vibe).
Despite its concealed entrance, the agency is certainly very popular, so I advise planning well in advance if you want to pay them a visit. Also bear in mind, for parties of 5 and over they request a deposit of £5 per person when you book. I, for one, will definitely be returning!
What a birthday and one very spoilt Flo indeed?! Now…I only have 2 years until my next big birthday milestone. I better get planning now if I am going to outdo this one!