Papow Ponders #3: Pin-up Confidence

It is a common misconception that when someone appears confident on the outside, they are also confident on the inside. While I accept that this may be the case some of the time, it isn’t the case ALL of the time.

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At the Pin-up Picnic In The Park

I am someone who has become very good at putting on a mask of confidence when it’s needed: I put it on at work, on shoots, in times of crisis, at meet-ups and so on. With my mask on, I smile, joke, laugh, organise, support, and generally try to seem like a normal human being.

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Underneath my mask, it’s a completely different story: I second guess every decision I make, I wonder what terrible things people are thinking about me, I obsess about how I look and sound and I convince myself that I am utterly pointless.

Over the past few months, I have been working hard to combat these huge bouts of anxiety. This is not just because it’s ruining things for me, it’s also started to impact those closest to me. I can become snappy, withdrawn, obsessive, frustrated and grouchy when I’m anxious and this is only really seen by people I feel most comfortable with. When I’ve been to events where there are lots of new people, Flo or my better half are usually there – which is hugely comforting and helps me calm down. Some might see this as me being clingy or insecure but it gives me a safe breathing space away from unfamiliar faces.

My support crew

Little bit by little bit, I hope to quiet down those worrisome, negative voices – though I know they’ll never completely disappear. I know that there are lots of people out there experiencing similar issues so I know I’m not alone in my struggles.

Dressing in pin-up/vintage style is something I adore and makes me so happy, it just doesn’t cure all. How do you cope with anxiety? What has helped you?

Time For Tea with Peggy Lee

Sketch Afternoon Tea_IMG_5169.jpgOh Vivien of Holloway – why must you keep making such gorgeous dresses? I was doing so well on my shopping ban; I’d lasted a month and twenty-two days! Then, I saw the Peggy Lee dress and I had to give in.

Sketch Afternoon Tea_IMG_5165.jpgAs described by VOH,

Peggy Lee is making her return with some very dramatic prints.
By demand we have brought back this great Day Dress.
Just like the Kitty she has a relaxed fit and nice big pockets.
The style is complimented with contrast collar and pocket cuffs.

Sketch Afternoon Tea_IMG_5174.jpgThis dress comes in a variety of prints, from bold novelty to subtle pattern. Even though I’m a pattern queen, I’d love to see this style in bold block colours too. The Peggy Lee has a slightly casual feel to it so I’d be happy to wear this to work or out and about during the day. When I saw the dresses, I instantly fell in love with the teapot and nautical prints – I knew I’d get lots of wear out of them!

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In terms of fit, I went for a 16 – unlike the Lana dress, this style is very much true to size. The waist nips in nicely (I don’t feel the need for a belt) and the skirt flares out in an A-line, there’s plenty of room in the arms too.

Sketch Afternoon Tea_IMG_5173.jpgThe print of this dress is so adorable. Green is my favourite colour but there are so many other colours in the pattern too – you can pick out blue, black, teal, purple or white to wear with this. I paired it with dark purple tights and shoes as the weather in London wasn’t great. If I could change one thing about this dress, I’d get the pattern  to match on the pockets and skirt but it’s only a minor detail.

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Birthday present from my mum

For my birthday afternoon tea celebration, this dress was perfect! I got compliments from so many people as I walked around the city.

Sketch Afternoon Tea_IMG_5178.jpgDo you have a Peggy Lee? How do you wear yours? We’d love to see!

Stamps in Settle

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Earlier this year, I did a post on the Kitty dress by Vivien of Holloway. Since then, I’ve fallen head over heels with the style!

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If you flick through my Instagram, you can see that I just adore prints; I rarely wear plain block colours. You can imagine my joy when I saw that VOH was going to release a stamp print in the Kitty. The print was so unusual with lots of different colours – I had to have it. However after a busy day’s teaching, I was horrified to see that the dress of my dreams had sold out.

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All was not lost though! I am a member of the ‘I have a Vivien of Holloway dress and love to wear it’ group on Facebook. This page is for sharing photos in your lovely dresses, advice about clothing care, styling and also swapping and selling dresses. The members of this page are really wonderful – I don’t have a single bad word to say (apart from the group having too many shopping enablers in one place). One of the group members was considering selling her stamps Kitty so I called dibs the first chance I got. Some time later, she was ready to sell and I finally got my dream dress! The dress came in perfect condition and I was one happy bunny – thank you Amanda.

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To do this garment justice, I took it on my walking holiday to Settle, Yorkshire. My better half loves the station there so we thought it would be a good opportunity for a little shoot.

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I styled this outfit simply with a red elasticated waist belt and brown shoes – the print is the main focus. My hair is leftover from my amazing pin-up makeover at Le Keux Vintage Salon by Diablo Rose – it lasted four days! For make-up, I just added classic winged eyeliner and red lips.

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I loved the location of this shoot and, as always, @darktechsupport did a brilliant job.

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Afternoon Tea at Pennyhill Park


Afternoon tea is a great love of mine – I wish there was the opportunity for it every week! When I do have the time, I try to visit as many different tea rooms as possible, in order to find the ultimate afternoon tea.

Last week, I met up with two friends from my first teaching job. As it was the summer holidays, we had time to faff about with our hair and make-up before stepping out. I only really style my own hair so it was quite interesting having a go with other ladies. Jen had more of a soft, smooth style, whereas Sophie had a fun curly style.

As for me, I did my usual wet-set and added some  bright lipstick. My dress is from Tatyana Boutique (currently unavailable) and my cardigan is from Lindy Bop (currently unavailable). I love the colours and print in this outfit!



Pennyhill Park is a very elegant setting for afternoon tea, though to be honest I’m more interested in the tea and food rather than the surroundings. There’s a huge range of teas, coffees and soft drinks which are all included in the price – you can change them or have them topped up as often as you like. I had flowering osmanthus and lemon verbena.

Sandwiches included smoked salmon, cucumber, egg mayonnaise and pastrami. My favourite was the smoked salmon.The bread on all of the sandwiches was soft and delicious.


Sadly, the scones were a bit of a disappointment; they were very cotton wool-y and tasted a little too much of baking powder. Scones are normally my highlight of an afternoon tea so this was quite unfortunate. There also wasn’t enough cream for all of us – more is always best!

The cakes were absolutely beautiful; they were decorated with such attention to detail. The selection included a chocolate choux bun with earl grey cream and a raspberry macaroon, a tropical panna cotta, a strawberry and pistachio tart and a little blueberry cake. I adored the panna cotta and strawberry tart – I’d happily have them again! My only issue was the earl grey cream which was far too strong so I couldn’t eat it.


All in all, we had a really relaxed afternoon. Some elements of the food were absolutely delicious but this was by no means the ultimate afternoon tea.

Rating: 3 out of 5


Papow Ponders #2: What Really Matters?

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my grandma and how she’s always loved me. She loved me when I was a chubby, round baby. She loved me when my hair was long enough to sit on. She loved me when I chopped off all my hair. She loved me when  I refused to wear dresses and skirts. She loved me when I wore only black. She loved me when I was a fifteen stone fifteen year old. She loved me when I started wearing dresses and skirts again. She loved me when I started to wear more make-up. She loved me when I lost weight on my year abroad. She loved me when I got tattoos (especially when I got a copy of hers). She loved me when I started getting into pin-up and vintage. Even now, as she fades in and out of the here and now, she still loves me – I can hear it in her words and the way she holds my hand.

Me minus any styling

It has taken me almost 28 years to realise that how I look has absolutely zero impact on the relationships I have with those who care about me. My family has always supported me no matter how I’ve looked. I have friends from many different walks of life and they have seen me in my various guises. The people who matter most stay with me. Although we have moved or changed in some way, we still make time for each other. Essentially, it’s the bonds we share that are stronger than our self-presentation.

Walking around Malham with my better half

You do you. Just remember –  be kind, be open! How you wish to present yourself to the world is your choice, it does not dictate your personality, beliefs or attitudes. We can all change whenever we want. Some days I want to dress in pin-up style, sometimes I want to sit around in my pyjamas and often I just see where the mood takes me when I get up in the morning. No-one should feel any less of a person for dressing in a certain way – the person dressed to the nines with a full face of make-up is no better or worse than the person wearing gym gear. Whatever makes you happy – go for it! Flo and I love our vintage and pin-up gear but we’re still happy to see each other without it.

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Pin-up hair and walking boots

I don’t want to come to the end of my life full of regret and woe. I am tired of worrying what strangers think of me. There is so much good in the world – go out there and embrace it. Time is fleeting; spend your life doing what you love with the people you love – that’s what really matters.

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At the spot where we got engaged five years ago

Darlings in Dungarees: Part One – Collectif Clothing


I have always loved the look of dungarees, however they never seemed to fit particularly well. When I got into dressing in a more pin-up/vintage-inspired style, I saw a few high-waisted dungarees from some repro companies and I thought I should give them a go – why not? After a fair bit of mooching, I settled on Collectif Clothing’s Pippa dungarees.

Collectif’s description:

Yeehaw! Get some country inspired charm into your wardrobe with the Pippa Denim Dungarees, the perfect pair of high waisted jeans, now with added dungaree detailing! We’ve taken the fabulous cut of our Siobhan Plain Jeans and created the ideal sister garment. Featuring adjustable shoulder straps that you can cross over at the back for comfort, the Pippa Denim Dungarees can be teamed with a multitude of your favourite casual separates.

I went for blue denim because it goes with everything. Size-wise, I chose a 14 as I always panic about clothes being too tight. The dungarees fit really comfortably when I received them, though I think sizing down would have been better for a good snug fit.


Here, I styled these blue dungarees with black Converse, a blue fluffy cropped Collectif jumper and a blue Shazam hair flower.

After falling in love with my new dungarees, I decided to purchase the black denim version (currently unavailable) – this time in a 12 for a closer fit. This pair fit like a dream – I was so pleased!


For this outfit, I teamed the dungarees with a mint green polo shirt from Lindy Bop (currently unavailable), a vintage brooch and a white Shazam hair flower. For a little variation, you can also add a cropped cardigan – I used a bright pop of fuchsia (old season Primark).


For hair, I did a simple brushed-out wet-set and I used Kat Von D’s liquid lipstick and tattoo liner for my make-up.


These dungarees are a welcome addition to my wardrobe – they are super comfy and versatile. Also they have lots of pockets! I can’t wait to try them with lots of other tops and jumpers. If you have a pair of dungarees, share your photos of you how style them – I’m always on the look out for outfit inspiration!

Next week, Flo will be looking at dungarees by Freddies of Pinewood– we had a such a fun time shooting!


Thanks again to @darktechsupport for taking another gorgeous set of images.