Making It To The Miss Vintage 2017 Final

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Against every anxious voice in my head, I decided to go massively out of my comfort zone and send in my application for Twinwood’s Miss Vintage 2017. This was my reason for applying:

When I’m not teaching, I’m either digging around in my wardrobe, drinking copious amounts of green tea, blogging or discovering new places with my other half.
My love of vintage started with a dress that was handed down to me by my mum: it had a story and it fit me like a glove. I’m awkward and I’ve not always felt comfortable in my own skin but when I wear vintage or vintage repro, I feel like me.
Diversity in vintage is very close to my heart. At times, there can be an air of judgement and elitism when dressing pin-up or vintage – I would like to see this change. I would love for people to see that vintage can be for everyone – any size, any shape, any age, any budget, any race, any gender, any location. Whether you love true vintage, reproduction clothing or both, everyone should be able to feel comfortable and happy in what they wear.
I hope that entering the Miss Vintage competition will help to show people that it’s OK to be different and it’s OK to be fabulous too.

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My submission photo was taken by my other half, @darktechsupport, when we went to Goodwood Revival last year (blog post to come). I picked up this beautiful vintage dress from Gingermegs Vintage in Birmingham. Virginia was so helpful with picking out dresses – I’ll be visiting her at Twinwood!

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I’d ummed and ahhed about applying the previous year but I was in a terrible head space – Miss Vintage wouldn’t have been a good idea. In a new job and with a great deal of encouragement from my friends and family, I decided to bite the bullet and go for it.

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Having looked at previous years’ entrants and this year’s too, I am filled a lot of self-doubt. Part of me wonders if I’m totally out of my depth: I don’t wear vintage 24/7, I don’t wear make-up to work, my massive feet have never fit a pair of vintage shoes, I wear a ton of repro and I don’t have anything passed down to me further back than the seventies.

Essentially, I know I’m doing it to show another side of vintage and to hopefully encourage more acceptance in a subculture that is very close to my heart. With that mind, I’m going to have to push my anxiety and self-doubt aside. There are greater and far worse things out there in the world for sure but with this, I feel like I could perhaps do something – even if it’s only small. I’ve been given an opportunity so best I use it.

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It’s not long until August now, I’ve got four more weeks of term left and I’ve got an entire summer of lovely adventures to look forward to. I can’t wait to meet the other Mr and Miss Vintage contestants at Twinwood – well done to everyone who go through!

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Finally, I’d just like to say a big thank you to anyone who’s supported me in this venture – it may not seem like it but it means an awful lot to me.

Break Time and Blog Contributions #1

Since September, I’ve taken full-time responsibility for the blog. Since then I’ve managed to keep up with Wednesday and Sunday weekly posts. Being a teacher, this final summer term is really full on and my diary is filling up fast. With this in mind, I’ve decided to reduce my blogging to just one day a week – Sundays. There might be some sporadic Wednesday posting but it’s not going to be as consistent as it has been in previous months. I love blogging but, from the start, I’ve said to myself that it should never feel like work. It hasn’t got to that point yet but I don’t want it to!

Being responsible for the blog has made me consider taking on contributions from others. When Flo and I first started blogging, we did a guest blog post for Miss Amy May. It was a one-off but it was good to try something different. Guest blog posts can be about anything roughly linked to the Papow & Flo blog: body positivity, pin-up style, diversity, changing mindsets, anxiety etc. It would be great to feature other people – whether you fancy doing something one-off or a series, try it out! If you would like to write a guest blog, feel free to contact me on

Thanks for reading and supporting the blog – it may be a hobby but it means a lot!

Papow Ponders #11: Wonder People


I started blogging at a time of great anxiety. As time’s gone by, there have been some changes in my life: I moved school and cut down my daily commute by two hours; I’ve pushed myself to go out and meet more people and I’ve found more purpose in life. Right now I’m at pretty good place in life and I couldn’t have got here without some Wonder People spurring me on.


My mum and my sister have always been there for me through thick and thin. I can laugh, cry and argue with them, knowing that I’m loved and accepted. Both of them have fought their own battles and come out on top – we’re a tough bunch, us three.


My better half @darktechsupport is my biggest cheerleader. He can’t help but be honest and it’s just what I need. He’s pushed me to try new things out of my comfort zone and I’m so grateful for the encouragement. Even at my lowest, he never fails to try his best to perk me up.


Flo was one of the first people to show me that I wasn’t being vain for dressing up or doing my hair and make-up. She showed me the joy in having a giggle and getting dressed to the nines. I have had such fantastic times with her – no doubt more to come!

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Rhina and Kelly have brought so much fun into my life. I am never afraid to have big conversations with them, though it can be dangerous when we go shopping together. There a lot of love and laughter when we’re together and it will continue, even when Rhina moves away.

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Simone always puts a smile on my face and though we don’t see each other often, we natter like no-one’s business when we get together. She’s always tried to build me up, especially when I’ve dug my heels in.

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My buddies from uni keep me laughing, keep me thinking. We despair, we panic but we also try to uplift one another. We’ve known each other for years and we spend a lot of time apart – when we get together, we put the world to rights.


The Pinups of Color group have helped me to feel proud of my skin. They’ve made me consider my place in the world and through that I’ve worked on spreading the word about diversity in vintage myself.

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The Yesterday’s Gals group has put me in touch with some fabulous folk. I’ve found fellow teachers, geeks, loudmouths and awkward people – I love it! The group’s helped me to become less anxious and to feel more proud of who I am. Hopefully this summer, we’ll have more meet-ups!

There are SO MANY MORE Wonder People who I haven’t mentioned out there — all of them little by little have helped to dig me out of a hole and continue to stop me from falling back in. They make me feel like Wonder Woman – strong and powerful.




Who are your Wonder People? Who fights your corner on the darkest days? Who is there to hold your hand? Who is there to lift you up? Let them know who they are.

The Pinup Academy Experience

As we got more and more into blogging and pin-up styling, Flo and I started researching photography and hair/make-up packages. We wanted to try out things that we couldn’t really achieve ourselves at the time. Having gone to a Pinup Academy modelling/photography day a few months prior, Flo and I decided to bite the bullet and book a session at their studio last year (2016).

Before the shoot day, we were given a ton of advice and all of our ridiculous questions were answered fully. On the actual day, we felt ready for anything. On arrival, we had a natter over coffee and were further briefed on what we’d be up to. Si (doing the photography) and October (on hair and make-up) were incredibly relaxed and open – they really put us at ease.

Before the shoot, Flo and I went through four hours of hair and make-up – yes, that’s two full hours each. During this time, we chatted about life and October gave us a ton of tips on doing out hair and make-up – from tying a headscarf to working on eyeliner. Both of us got so much out of our time with her – thanks for all of the advice!


Once hair and make-up were sorted, it was time to shoot. Flo and I had a brief run through of the sets and knew immediately that we wanted to start off with the kitchen set. I wore an old Pinup Girl Clothing dress with old season Primark shoes and a huge poofy petticoat. To say I was very happy with the results is a massive understatement!


Next, we moved on to the living room and I changed into this lovely Vivien of Holloway set. We switched up the flowers to a scarf and had a short biscuit break.


Finally, we finished up with the Tiki bar set. Hair wizard October gave us a quick change of hair – which I managed to keep in for three days after! I popped on an old cardigan and a mix of Vivien of Holloway pieces.


All in all, it was such a great experience. October is brilliant at her craft and is a great teacher too – her posing tips were so helpful. Si was so friendly and supported us through the process too, taking time to natter to my other half too. Can’t wait to do it again some day!


Tentacles By The Sea – Part 2


During my stay in Brighton, I decided to stick with a nautical theme. Sunday’s outfit was bright and colourful but Monday’s was a little different.


As the forecast was for rain, I packed a practical outfit. When I was over at Viva, I picked up this top from Mischief Made Me. I love the quirky nautical print, the sleeve length and the softness of the material. Well, it had to come to the seaside with me


These Collectif jeans paired with my top nicely and they’re so comfortable – I have them in black and blue. As we were walking all over the place, I chucked on my walking boots (not particularly fashionable but necessary).


To give my hair a little more protection from the weather, I popped on one of my turbans from Sarah’s Doo Wop Dos. These turbans are so easy to slip on and they add a pop of colour to your outfit. As I didn’t fancy doing much with my hair, it was the perfect accessory to bring along.


We had such a lovely weekend away – I can’t wait for the next one!


One Heck Of A Day Out!

Note: Before I got into my main post, I want touch on the events of last night. Luckily, all of us got home safely as terrible events took place in London. I feel so much sadness and anger about what happened around Borough Market and London Bridge but I’m very proud of all the help and support from people around the city. Hate cannot destroy such positivity. London embraces all people and I know it will continue to do so.

Previously, I’ve written about my friendship with Kelly and Rhina. It seems that whenever we meet up, we have a seriously good time. After finding out that Rhina had only had one afternoon tea in her nine years of living in the UK, Kelly and I set out to rectify this ASAP. On our last day out, we spent our time around Kew Gardens in Richmond. This time, we swished about central London. These are a mixture of our photos.



My favourite dress from Tatyana Boutique and my new favourite pin badge from Kate Gabrielle.

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Stop 1: What Katie Did

I’ve been going to What Katie Did for five years. I love their corsets and big knickers! Every time I visit the shop, I bring someone new. This time round, Kelly and Rhina came along. Rachel and the other shop assistants are always incredibly kind and helpful – I never feel worried about how my body looks in front of them. Kelly grabbed a waist cincher (though she did like the effects of a corset). Rhina picked up a whole bundle of goodies and received a stockings lesson from Rachel.

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Kelly painted these for me and Rhina – we had no idea that she’d framed them for us!

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Stop 2: Revival Retro

I totally forgot to take photos while we were actually there (oops). I mainly wanted to go to say hi to the lovely Sarah who works there – she’s fab!


Stop 3: Sketch Afternoon Tea

The reason we were all in pink? This tea room! A great spot to tick off of Rhina’s afternoon tea list. I’d already been to Sketch for my birthday last year and I was more than happy to return. We bumped into Tanya and Boo there too! From the string quartet to the pink-suited caviar man, from the weird egg-pod toilets to the insane patisserie, we loved every single moment (apart from when I nearly smacked a full tray out of a waiter’s hand – thanks for capturing that, Kelly).

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Stop 4: Vivien of Holloway

Well, you know – it had to be done. We arrived quite late but we had the shop all to ourselves which was great. Obviously, we all ended up grabbing something. The shop girls were fantastic and made us feel welcome and relaxed even though we were short on time.

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Stop 5: The Coronet, Holloway Road

Cider is also a shared love of ours and boy, we needed a few. The Coronet is a converted old cinema a really beautiful space to sit back with a drink. As always, we talked about the good, the bad and the ugly. Such a great way to end an evening and we had chips too – perfect!

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After all our antics, we parted ways and headed home. It was one heck of a day and I loved every moment. Our girl gang is made up of some tough, smart and fabulous women!

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