Reflections on 2016

To anyone who has taken the slightest bit of interest in our blog over the year – THANK YOU! When Flo and I started this project in 2015, it was for us – our little bit of escapism from serious professions. Over time, our blog has given us the ability to be more creative, share a little more of our personal lives, meet/work with new people and try new things. Small though it may be, we are very proud of our blog and we are grateful for any support it receives.

Now, let’s reflect on 2016!

Three Happy Moments:

  • Summer Pin-Up Road Trip – For my birthday, @darktechsupport booked a day at Frankie and Gerry’s Retro Studio. Flo came along with us on the best road trip. We went from Reading to Newcastle, finishing up in Leeds. We had the best time just hanging out together!


  • Lucy and Steve’s Wedding – I wouldn’t really have got into contact with Flo if it wasn’t for our mutual friend Lucy. We were so excited for her and her other half. Time seemed to go so quickly and November arrived in no time. The entire day was full of love and joy – we ate, drank, laughed and danced. It was a truly wonderful day.


  • Photography Sessions With @darktechsupport – My better half and I are quite different people and our interests rarely overlap. Over the year, we have spent more time together shooting for the blog and it’s been great to have a shared hobby. We help to push each  other out of our comfort zones and that’s been positive for both of us.

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Three Most Popular Blog Posts:


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Three People I Got To Know:

  • Laila Shalimar – An illustrated pin-up of colour, writer and vintage MUAH from Perth, W.A. Although I haven’t actually met Laila, I made contact with her this year and she’s had such a positive influence on me. She speaks openly and honestly about race, religion, mental health and body acceptance. I wish I had found out about her sooner!


  • Kellycupcakex – A fellow teacher and Vivien of Holloway addict. I only met Kelly this summer and I’m really glad I’ve got to know her. She’s full of life and incredibly encouraging too. As she teaches too, I know she understands what the job entails.


  • Sue Phelps – A talented photographer based in Wokingham. Apart from my better half, Sue is the only photographer I’ve had more than one shoot with this year. She has the amazing ability to make you feel like you’ve known her for years. I’ve been over the moon with every shoot and if my mum is complimentary about the photos, they must be good. I adore her!


Three Great Events:


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Three Hopes For 2017:

  • I hope people will be kinder to themselves and others.
  • I hope to see greater diversity globally but particularly in the pin-up and vintage community.
  • I hope that there will be more understanding of mental illness and support for those who suffer.

Three Promises For 2017:

  • I will put a spotlight on pin-ups and vintage lovers from different backgrounds.
  • I will buy less and do more.
  • I will (try to) be kinder to myself and worry less about what  other people think.

How are you feeling about 2017? What has been brilliant for you in 2016? We love to hear from you!

A Well-Earned Day Out

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The autumn term is over and the Christmas holidays have finally arrived – rejoice! To celebrate this joyous occasion, I travelled to London with my fabulous friend Mone for a little retail therapy.

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Mone is a fellow teacher and she’s been a firm friend since we met during our PGCE. As mentioned in my previous post, I love it when people come into your life and change it for the better – Simone is one of those people. She’s a little cheerleader; she’s always encouraging and supporting, no matter how annoying it seems.

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On the prowl for something mulled, we started the day on the South Bank. We faffed about taking outfit pictures and took in the glorious views of the city.

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Ready to shop, we headed to Vivien of Holloway to meet Kelly. Thanks to the power of the internet, I’d managed to meet up with Kelly at the Tiki Picnic and the Vivien of Holloway Anniversary Party. It’s always good (dangerous) to meet a fellow vintage lover and Kelly never fails to make me laugh and smile. After purchasing a few items, we headed to Camden for food and mooching.

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When we got there, Mone succeeded in tracking down an important Christmas gift. To satisfy our rumbling stomachs, we wrapped our chops around some ridiculously delicious burgers from Honest Burger. Then , we fuelled up on some mulled cider and headed to Collectif.

I should never have gone in there. There was just too much stuff…it was a little overwhelming. Repeating “We are just mooching!” to myself over and over again, I ended up picking out a dress I just couldn’t say no to. Of course, my two accomplices offered me zero support and suggested I buy the dress – I did.

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Mone tried on this little black dress, though the three of us struggled to work out what she would wear it to. I think maybe to clean the house or to go to war?

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Feeling the strain on my bank account, we headed to my favourite vintage shop in Camden – St Cyr Vintage. I really like this place because they give their clothes rough sizes so you don’t have to trawl too much and the prices are quite affordable. Having already spent far too much, I left Kelly and Mone to shop. Mone tried on a  variety of sequin dresses and I picked out a dress for Kelly. Now I pride myself on finding clothes that suit people and, needless to say, this dress was no exception. It went home with her. Mone also got a beautifully-constructed mermaid-esque dress.

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I am pulling this off!

With tired feet, we hopped on the tube and headed off home.

I love a good day out and shopping is much more fun when you have company. Though, I don’t think I should have one of these trips for a good few months!

The Reverse Bucket List 2016 – Cacao Papow

Life can be a bit pants sometimes and often, with my anxiety, I dwell on every negative moment. The great thing about life is that you meet different people and those people can help you to change your way of thinking. Flo is someone who has had such a positive impact on my life and she has little ways of perking up my down days.

Roughly around this time last year, Flo introduced me to her ‘Reverse Bucket List’. Instead of going through life with a list of everything you want to do, each year you make a list of the great things that you have done – appreciating what you’ve accomplished and enjoyed instead of worrying about what you haven’t done.

I created a list last year with my family on New Year’s Eve and I’ll be doing the same this year too. After a little discussion, Flo and I thought it would be good to share our lists on our blog too. We’ve cut our lists down to ten things each but we could easily add much more! This week is my post and Flo will share hers later.

Have a go at compiling your own annual ‘Reverse Bucket List’ – you won’t regret it, I promise.

Cacao Papow’s List

  1. I met so many of my vintage/pin-up idols: Cherry Dollface, Miss Victory Violet, Diablo Rose, October Divine, Miss Rockabilly Ruby, Vivien Wilson (Vivien of Holloway), Haili Hughes, Lucie Luella and so many more!
  2. I started a new job which radically changed my quality of life; I have much more me-time, less anxiety and I can dress like me.
  3. I have attended lots of different vintage events, making new friends, bonding with old pals and getting inspiration from new settings.
  4. I have worked with lots  of different photographers: Sue Phelps, Creativcapri, The Pin-up Academy and many others. I’ve really enjoyed my continuing work with my better half – both of us feel our skill-sets have improved.
  5. I had articles published in Onyx Vintage magazine and Vintage Life magazine. Onyx means a lot to me as I’m honoured to be featured in a publication that celebrates black and brown history.
  6. Thanks to the positive side of social media, I found out more about pin-ups of colour and vintage lovers from a range of  backgrounds.
  7. Our blogging team has spent a lot of time together eating, chatting, road-tripping, drinking and faffing about – some serious bonding has taken place.
  8. My nearest and dearest experienced huge life events – pregnancies, births, marriages and new jobs. I’m proud of all of them.
  9. I spent time with my grandma. I’ll admit it really hasn’t been easy and sometimes I feel utterly useless when I see the rest of my family despairing but I have loved every cuddle, every laugh and every smile – it’s worth the  pain.
  10. I’ve eaten and cooked a lot of delicious food with my family – soufflés with my better half, churros with my mum, teaching grandpa to only use my grandma’s masala in his curries and chocolate bread and butter pudding with my sister. Happy food memories!

Nautical Vixen With Creativecapri


Just a quick post today! The festive season is upon us and free time at the weekend is almost non-existent, so today’s post harks back to summer.


Earlier this year, I was contacted by a photographer looking to collaborate on a little project. Creativecapri is a London-based amateur photographer, who has worked on several fashion and photography projects. After looking through his portfolio, I was more than happy to arrange a photo-shoot. A few months later, we finally met up and got shooting. I’m always a tad nervous with new photographers as I’m unsure how the photographs will turn out. I shouldn’t have worried at all; as you can see, the images came out beautifully.


I did my usual brush-out on my hair, rolling the front into bumper bangs. Make-up as always was my mix of Kat Von D eyeliner and liquid lipstick.


My outfit consists of my favourite Voodoo Vixen dress (currently available in red), a thrifted red cropped cardigan, a vintage scarf and old Primark shoes.


A huge thank you to Creativecapri for this gorgeous photos – looking forward to our next collaboration!

Sailing The Seven…Canals With Vivien Of Holloway

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The circle skirt is my desert island piece of vintage-inspired clothing. You can pair them with lots of different separates and they are wearable in all seasons. Vivien of Holloway have an array of well-constructed circle skirts to choose from. I own quite a few of them as they are such well-made garments.

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As described by VOH –

Glide into the season with a style classic- our Circle Skirts are now even more streamlined! With a high waistband, back button fastening and zip, they come in a selection of various colours. Stay toasty in our skirts teamed with a Slash Neck Top, or go for a more casual everyday look with our Rio Top. And as they’re a full circle, you can even wear a Petticoat underneath for a full, frothy effect! As with all of our clothes, these gorgeous skirts are made right here in London.
Check out our Size Guide to find your perfect fit.

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Although I do love a dress, separates offer much more flexibility with your outfit choices. This black and white Pirate print, for example, can go with tops of any colour. In summer, you can wear a simple tanks top and you can always layer cardigans or jumpers in winter.

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For this look, I added a teal VOH slash-neck top, black tights and Doc Marten shoes. As this was a more casual way of styling this skirt, I didn’t add a petticoat underneath.

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I brushed out my wet-set and pinned back one side of my hair. For make-up, I did my usual combination of Kat Von D eyeliner and liquid lipstick – I don’t know if I’ll ever break away from it!

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What is your desert island piece of vintage clothing? How do you style your circle skirt? We always love being inspired by new looks!

The Middy Cut By Lucie Luella

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A good hair day can seem to have the immortal power of Thor’s hammer: it can make you feel powerful, destroy your enemies and make lightning rain down from the sky (well, maybe not the last one!). Since I found wet-setting, good hair days have become more frequent and I’ve loved playing around with the shape and style of my barnet. However, I’ve been a little unsure about the cut.

When I was young, my hair nearly touched my bum and I’ve also had a jaw-length bob at uni. For vintage styling, I knew the best length was ‘the middy cut’. I’d heard Lucie Luella was the expert in them  but our schedules never seemed to be compatible. I asked Flo’s hairdresser Charmaine for her spin on the cut. As I hadn’t had a proper middy before, I didn’t have a clue about what the end result should look like. Though now I’ve had Lucie chop my locks, I can say that Charmaine’s take was amazingly close to the actual cut – I’ll be going back!

My haircut by Charmaine

A few months after my initial cut, I went to see my usual hairdresser to ask for the same but this time I ended up with more of a mullet! So from then on, I did my best to grow out my hair for a proper middy. The stars aligned and I was able to book an appointment with Lucie in mid-November – yay!

The day arrived and I hopped on the train to London bright and early (too early for make-up!). Then, the process began:

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Big hair needs a great deal of back-combing!

Hula Nails, where Lucie works from in London, is such a glamorous space full of friendly and stylish members of staff. I really want to get my nails done by them now! Lucie was so friendly and full of advice – she even put up with my ridiculous selfies. Even though we were running a tad late, she didn’t skimp on the preening and polishing of my cut – a true professional. With Lucie, not only do you get a fantastic cut, you also get a suitably vintage styling session out of it too! Believe me when I say this set lasted me an entire week.

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When I got to the salon, I bumped into the ever-beautiful @SecretPlussizeGoddess (Tanya) who was having her hair coloured strawberry-blonde. Eventually she was joined by the charming @thevintagegirl (Holly) and @somethingdefinitelyhappened (Carrie).

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As the salon was female-only, Carrie kindly offered to take some photos. I think she did a fab job!

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Back home, I played around with my hair and @darktechsupport took some shots too.

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It’s the cut I’ve been waiting for and I bloody love it. I really cannot wait to play around with my sets and see what else I can do with my new cut! Now, I just need to check when Lucie is next down south.

Have you had a middy cut? Where’s your favourite place to get your hair cut into a vintage style? Share your photos, we’d love to see them!