Pinup Picnic In The Bar 2017 In Photos

Since 2015, The British Belles have hosted an annual charity pinup meet-up. Last year, I attended my first BB event in July at Kanaloa, which was followed by their Tiki Christmas event. This year, the lovely Charlotte organised another meet-up to raise money for Shelter. Supported by Minky and Zoe, Charlotte hosted yesterday’s event at Barrio in Shoreditch. While mass meet-ups can be overwhelming due to the sheer number of  people, it’s a great opportunity to catch up with familiar faces and to get to know new folk.

This post begins by looking at my outfit, then moves on to the meet-up in photos.


This dress was the only vintage dress I bought when I went to Viva Las Vegas back in April. The different colours, the leaf pattern, the diamanté detail and the scalloped collar all screamed ‘buy me’. As the meet-up was originally a picnic, I felt it lent itself well to the theme.

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The Event

I’ve referred to everyone by their IG name (unless they don’t have one) but I’ve not linked them as it would take faaaar too long! If you want to find someone, just search the captioned name from the photo.

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This is generally how I look most of the time
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My gorgeous buddy kellycupcakex in a dress she made herself!
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boobrown and secretplusizegoddess

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myrockabillysummer, Clare, vivorchid and sugar_bettie

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miss_anita_simpson and myvintageme
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I always crack up around miss_leigh-bam

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The stunning and colourful Clare
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Chatting with Marge as era_go_again spies something
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soda_fontaine and thepinupwhofelltoearth

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thevintagegirl in green, Sonia in the middle and atom_bomb_baby on the end

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Hostesses with the mostess(es) misspeachykeen_jellybean and thevintagegiraffe

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I will always share drinks with Kelly – I just won’t look good doing it!

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miss_vintage-pagan (minus roller skates)

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essbeedee with Marge

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The beautiful Ruby in the middle
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The lovely Helen on the left

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As always, incredibly over-excited to see ladyeccentrikb
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Love these ladies – ladyoram, missleighsboudoir and theurbanpinup. Don’t we look fancy!

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missjosiecottoncandy at the back

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New peeps – the.quirky.flaneuse and Stephanie

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Squishy baby!
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Another organiser of the event the_glamour_advocate on the left
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Fellow pin-up teacher and hard nut bintymustard

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Our trek in the rain

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All aboard!
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This fella likes to impress friends by bringing them large marrows – hope you made something yummy!

If you’re not quite sure about a coming to a massive meet-up, try some smaller get-togethers beforehand. Prior to yesterday, I’d had quite a few one-to-one and small group meets. – it can help you to get to know others over a longer period of time and in a quieter environment. That works for me generally. However, whether you’re mingling with the masses or chilling on your sofa, do whatever makes you happy and comfortable. I’ll be doing a follow-up post later this week regarding my journey with anxiety over the past few years.

Thanks to Charlotte, Zoe and Minky for organising everything – not an easy feat! I got to know some more faces and had time to properly natter too. As always, I’m definitely looking forward to the next one!

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All photos in this post were taken on my better half’s (@darktechsupport) or my camera but he edited every single image. Thank you so so much – you’re a brilliant human!

Female Fabulousness In London

I think it’s safe to say that 2017 has marked a massive turning point in my social anxiety. In time, I’ve learned to say no to things that make me unhappy and yes to new experiences. Since January, I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone, met new people and formed solid friendships. It’s not always been easy; panic and self-consciousness eat away at me before meet-ups then after I feel drained and I analyse the day obsessively. Why put yourself through that though? It’s pure escapism when I’m actually engaging with others – I relax with giggles and jokes, forget my worries exploring new places and lose myself in deep conversation. My life feels all the richer for it.

Last Saturday was another new meet-up with someone I’d spoken to for all of two minutes. A few weeks ago in Margate, I was stopped by the lovely Jennifer who let me know she followed me on Instagram. Awkwardly, I said hello and flapped a bit before I headed off for dinner. A few messages later, we met in London for a power brunch at Dishoom.

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OOTD: dress from Vivien of Holloway and brooch from Small Victories Handmade

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Sometimes meeting new people can be a little uncomfortable and there can be strained moments. With Jennifer, it was like being with an old friend – snug and content. Twinned brunches of chilli cheese toast with fried eggs were washed down with copious amounts of chai as we chatted for England. By the end of it, I felt as if we could start a new world order and tear down the patriarchy. Jennifer is one woke, reflective and honest gal, she just glows with it.

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After Dishoom we wandered around Carnaby Street, finishing up at Choccywoccydodah (we got free cake – score!). I’m amazed that a chance encounter led to such a perfect morning.

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Later on in the day, I caught up with some friends from uni around Oxford Circus (I try to pack a lot into my days out). Around half four, I took a stroll to Holborn to meet Kelly and Rhina. Rhina was running a little late so we decided to go for a walk. We turned the corner and found a little passageway. Both of us were sure it was private but the friendly gatekeeper invited us in. Through the gate, it turned out that there was a pretty swanky hotel. Kelly’s an art teacher and it turns out that this hotel (The Rosewood) has a an art-inspired afternoon tea…we’re definitely going back for that! Once we’d faffed about in the loos and explored as much as we could, we headed back to the tube to pick up Rhina.

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The reason for our meet-up was Rhina’s move to Germany. Over the year, we have become such firm friends and although I feel incredibly sad that Rhina is leaving, I am so excited for her new life in Stuttgart. Kelly and I are heading over there next half term – not long! To celebrate the travels of our dear friend, we booked in to All Star Lanes (a bowling and diner place with a few branches dotted around London).

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For such a special occasion, we dressed up in VOH Kitty dresses (Rhina’s pick)

Taking in our surroundings, a jovial hen party wished Rhina safe travels with a bottle of buck’s fizz – such a sweet gesture. Bowling shoes laced (velcroed in Rhina’s case), we took to the lanes. None of us are particularly gifted in the bowling department so we got the barriers up on the sides. Kelly was very much on form and won the title of King of the Pins!

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Having worked up an appetite, we settled down for drinks and munch. All three of us can safely say that we were not disappointed – seriously tasty mains and scrummy desserts all round. Full up, we waddled off home.

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As I’ve worked on my anxiety, I’ve managed to meet quite a few new people. My aim in life is not to make a ton of casual acquaintances but rather to form a couple of solid, long-standing friendships. I know I have that with Kelly and Rhina. We talk about anything and everything – we can be super serious or very silly. When we’re out in our little girl gang, I feel confident and uplifted – it’s such a great feeling. In meeting Jennifer, I found someone who embodies my beliefs and shares a lot of the same interests as me. Both of us like dresses and eyeliner flicks but we also passionately discuss intersectional feminism, dystopian fiction, drag queens and politics. Even though I’m friends with people who like to dress vintage/pin-up, I know that we would still be friends if I didn’t dress similarly. As much as I hate the internet sometimes, I am so glad it exists; without it, I would never have found such brilliant people!

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Goodwood Revival – Cacao’s Top Five Things To Do…

Early last year, Flo suggested we try out Goodwood Revival. Neither of us had been before but we’d heard lots of great things about it. Fancying a new vintage experience, we picked up tickets. In September, we packed our picnic baskets, dressed to the nines and drove off to Goodwood.

1. Dress Up (if you like)

My better half doesn’t usually dress up for events but he wanted to try a different look for Goodwood. He always looks lovely but he quite enjoyed his suit and bow tie combo. My dress was from Gingermegs Vintage – I adore the print on it!

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2. Vintage Shopping

There are lots different vendors at the Revival – some of them are incredibly high-end. Take a stroll along the stalls and you’ll be sure to find something that catches your eye.

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3. People-Watching

Goodwood is spread out over quite a large area and there’s so much to see. People dress up in a variety of styles for the event so it’s worth having a gander at everyone milling around.

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The glamorous Hettie Sky

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4. Fun Fair

Feel like a big kid when you have a giggle at the vintage fun fair. Do not do what I did – lose the skin on your right arm  going down the helter skelter.

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5. Vehicle Viewing

There are so many stunning, vintage vehicles at Goodwood. From mopeds to classic cars to aircraft, there’s a lot to look at!

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Overall, we had a fabulous day out. The tickets for Goodwood Revival are definitely  on the pricier side and it’s a busy event – at times a little overwhelming with the number of attendees and everything going on around you. We won’t be attending this year but I’m sure the mood will take us another time. If you love motors of any kind, lots of buzz and mooching about, Goodwood Revival is right up your street!

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Thanks as always to the talented @darktechsupport for his photography skills!

A Fashionable Day Out: Balenciaga Exhibition and What Katie Did’s Summer Soirée

My love of clothes, styling and all things fashion comes from my mum. For her birthday this year, I promised her five fabulous days out. The first one involved an exhibition of Princess Diana’s dresses and a Vivien of Holloway Lock-In. Yesterday, we met up for another day of fashion – it was a pretty good one!


Another frock from my favourite vintage emporium – Frock & Roll. This dress is full of details: pockets, a tie belt and adorable buttons!

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Balenciaga Exhibition

I can honestly say that the Victoria and Albert Museum is the museum I’ve visited the most often. Mum and I have seen the Wedding Dress, Alexander McQueen and Underwear Exhibitions in previous years and we’ve loved every one! We hopped on the train from Wokingham and headed straight to South Kensington station.

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In RuPaul style – BALENCIAGA!

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The dress of my dreams
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The only time I’ll be able to wear Balenciaga
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I prefer it as a skirt

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Me, wondering if it would be possible to sneakily take any of these pieces home – it was not

What Katie Did Summer Soirée

After the V&A, we went for lunch and a couple of much-needed margaritas. Feeling a little merry, we made our way to Portobello Road. Rachel of WKD sent me an invite a few weeks ago and I thought mum would fancy coming along too. Apologies for my gigantic face in lots of these photos. We had a blast!

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Wiggy, Hettie Sky and Miss Lillian Love

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Audrey Hipturn – a stunner!
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Dixie Delight – a good giggle (hope to see her perform in the future)

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Sarah and Zoe – beautiful and hilarious humans!
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Audrey and I with Elle (Brummie bombshell)

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Lady Eccentrik B – looking out of this world!
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Miss Sugar Rush (mum’s first experience of burlesque)
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My beloved Rhina – a vision in green

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Zoe and I with Rowena from Revial Retro
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Fellow Wonder Woman fangirls and babes
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With added Chelsea, Michele and Eva
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The Urban Pin-up (also know as Bam!, Shazam! and Damn!)

Thank you Rachel for the invite. Throughout the evening, I felt relaxed (but still terribly awkward) and I got to talk to so many lovely people. Mum found a comfy spot to sit in and ended up talking to people about the NHS, midwifery and the mysteries of life – typical her. I was also incredibly happy to see so many pin-ups of colour in one spot!

With sore feet, we headed home. I love these days out with my mum. I get to treat her like she’s always treated me and we have a good giggle. Here’s to the next one!

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Oh We Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside!

Summer has officially arrived in Britain – last week it was ridiculously hot! Carrie and Leanda from Yesterday’s Gals (a fab Facebook  group for vintage lovers) decided to organise a June meet-up by the sea. It felt quite far away but last weekend arrived quickly. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect as reports and assessments meant a break was definitely needed.

On Saturday morning, my better half and I packed an overnight bag and got the car ready for our drive to our Air B&B in Margate. As we were headed to the seaside, I had to dress for the occasion! From the back of my wardrobe, I dug out an old but firm favourite Laura Ashley dress. I love the beach hut print and also the fact the colours aren’t traditional red, white and navy. To keep off the chill, I added a cropped cardigan and my fabulous custom brooch from Lillian Madison designs.

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First stop of the day was Broadstairs. @darktechsupport and I arrived around eleven so we met up with the wonderful Leanda and the lovely Linz. As we are classy folk, we decided to get some tea and cake for breakfast at Bessie’s Tea Parlour. It was seriously good.

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After cake, we met up with everyone else and explored Broadstairs. We might have had ice cream for lunch.

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Morellis Ice Cream Parlour

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Margate was up next. We had a big old mooch around, dinner in a diner, wind-swept ciders and a good giggle.

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A chance encounter with the adorable Jennifer

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I’m really not a fan of seagulls
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In fact, I fear them

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Linz – queen of the roller disco!

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By the time it got to nine o’clock, we were pretty exhausted so we headed off for looong night’s sleep! The next day, @darktechsupport and I strolled around Margate and had some seriously yummy pizza.

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The Shell Grotto – it was spooky!

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The Greedy Cow
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Peony Vintage – might have picked up something here…

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The yummiest pizza!

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We had such a great break. The internet can be a bit of a nightmare at times but then it can also get you in touch with some great like-minded people. It’s a little odd sometimes, meeting people you’ve only ever seen on a screen but after a while you realise you’re just humans hanging out, trying to muddle through life. I’m definitely looking forward to more meet-ups with these guys!

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I’m pretty sure my husband was laughing at me while he was taking this