Popular by Maya Van Wagenen – Launch Party and Review

19 Jul

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Penguin Books about Popular, a book written by American Teenager Maya Van Wagenan. Maya had been struggling with the hierarchy at her middle school and felt herself languishing at the bottom of the social ladder. One day she discovered a guide to popularity written by former model Betty Cornell in 1954.

She decided to spend her final year of school following the advice from the book and seeing if Betty’s ideas worked. Subjects covered included; clothing, appearance, figure, meeting people, and earning money amongst other things. My first instinct would be to question the need to be popular, or to have to change yourself to please others. As an adult it’s easy to forget how hard school can be and how much you just want to fit in.

I didn’t think there was much I could learn from reading the experiences of a 13-year-old learning about popularity. However very early on in the book I realised that Maya is a very special person. She is clever and articulate, she writes beautifully and she is wise beyond her years. Her dedication to the project was commendable, she tries things that I wouldn’t have dared to at school. I won’t give much away because I want people to just experience the book with out me telling you what happens, but she learns so much about herself and those around her. It’s inspirational and emotional and important.

I love the way she works with Betty Cornell’s slightly dated advice and works into her own life. She works out what she can take from it, all the while working things out for herself and learning so much along the way.

At times the book is funny, and others touching. Maya should be every teenage girls best friend and I can’t wait for my daughters to be old enough to read this because I know if I had read it at 13 and taken more risks and tried new things I would have enjoyed school more. As an adult I felt inspired by Maya and I would recommend this book to everyone.

Sorry if this wasn’t much a review, but I really just wanted to say how much I love the book and Maya.

I was invited by Penguin Books to attend a launch party for the book at their offices in London. It was such a fun event with adorable mini burger and hotdog canapés, a pop up vintage salon and an array of fabulous vintage stalls. It was nice to chat with some of my other favourite vintage and book bloggers and to discover lots of new ones. The two pictures above are the only ones I managed to take (bad blogger) as I was having such a great time and didn’t stop chatting to people all night. How amazing is the view of the Thames from Penguin’s offices! Penguin did send me this picture of Maya and Jo to include though!

Not only was Maya there to introduce her book and answer our questions she was also joined by Jo Elvin the editor of Glamour magazine, who talked about the book and gave Maya a fantastic interview. Maya is even more wonderful in real life, and I was delighted to hear that she is currently writing her first novel which I can’t wait to read.

We were each gifted a lovely Popular canvas bag with some goodies inside including both Maya and Betty’s books as well as some treats from the stall holders at the event and a copy of Glamour. I haven’t read Betty’s book yet, but will definitely be reading and reviewing it in the future as well as enjoying the other treats from my goody bag.

You can buy the books on Amazon here…

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek (A Memoir)

Betty Cornell Teen-Age Popularity Guide

Dot Com Gift Shop Christmas Blogger Preview

17 Jul


Dot Com Gift Shop is one of my all time favourite websites. If a shop could be designed just to appeal to me this would be it. Think retro toys, floral kitchen wear, cute sewing sets, fairy lights and stationary and you have all my favourite things in one place. Naturally I was delighted to be invited to their christmas blogger event. It may be summer but in the world of retail christmas planning starts early!

The evening was an absolute delight with lovely hosts, a wonderful venue at Different Gallery in London and lot’s of other lovely bloggers to chat to. We were also treated to a hugely informative talk on blogging from journalist and blogger Jenny Wood.

Needless to say all the stock on display was fabulous and I now want it all. Highlights included some beautiful glass bottles and jars, pretty baking sets and everything you could possibly need for an old-fashioned sports day. I spotted suitable gifts for everyone I know, including lot’s of cycling related goodies for my bike mad dad, pretty girlie stationary for Jessica, a cardboard farm store for Lila and some pretty sewing tins for me! When it comes to christmas shopping this year I know where I’ll be heading.

I love these antique style cosmetic bottles – perfect to display in a bathroom.

I love it when everyday things are made to look pretty, these gorgeous sewing pins would take pride of place in any sewing box.

These lovely ribbons are really similar to some of my vintage ones.

The children’s range was a real highlight for me. I loved how simple and traditional everything was. I now desperately want to go and fly a kite!

More prettiness – you can tell I like haberdashery can’t you!

My children need this in their life! We have loads of play food in our house and I feel this would bring out the girls entrepreneurial skills, as well as pass many a happy hour!

There was a huge range of things to hold a retro sports day, including medals. Perfect for kids who need to get outside for a run around.

I love nostalgic board games, but don’t really own any. I love the packaging these traditional games come in which remind me of playing with my lovely grandma and granddad when I was little.

Fall in love with Dot Com Gift Shop as much as I have and check out their website here.

A Fabulous Giveaway With The Mid Century Market

15 Jul

One of my favourite vintage events to go to is the fabulous Mid Century Market. This outstanding new event is soon to return to The Hammersmith Club for the third time since it’s launch last christmas. The event was put together by Bettina Scarlett Presents and is one of only vintage fairs in London that focuses solely on the 1950s.

You can expect to find lots of fabulous accessories and jewellery, reproduction and original mid-century clothing and homewares alongside a tearoom and pop-up vintage salon. This ones not just for the ladies with plenty on offer for retro loving chaps as well.

I’ve teamed up with Bettina Scarlet Presents to offer a fabulous giveaway over on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The prize includes…

Free Entry to the Mid Century Market on 16th August.

Free Tea and Cake from The Vintage Sisters travelling tearoom.

A Free Subscription to In Retrospect Magazine.


There are three ways to enter the giveaway…

Head over to Facebook and like and share the photo, tagging either Vintage Frills Blog or Bettina Scarlett Presents.

Retweet the competition on twitter tagging either @vintage_frills or @BettinaPresents

Share the competition on Instagram with the hashtag #midcenturymarket and #vintagefrills

You can do any of the above to be entered or all 3 to be in with a bigger chance of winning.

The giveaway closes on Monday 28th July so hurry to be in with a chance of winning this fantastic prize.

Reproduction Vintage Favourites 1

12 Jul

There are so many amazing companies selling reproduction vintage clothing at the moment. Every year there seem to be more and the designs are getting better and better. If you’re a fan of clothing from the past but are scared of the price tag or the risk of damaging something precious by wearing it, then these are perfect for you.

I like to wear vintage style clothing for everyday wear as it’s easier to look after and replaceable if it gets damaged while looking after two kids. I keep my real fifties dresses for special occasions now.

I’m going to make this a regular feature on the blog, as I love supporting independent businesses and I’ve seen so many things I love that I just couldn’t fit them all into one blog post. So here are some picks from 3 of my favourite online shops…

Lana Blue Garden Party Dress £34.99 – Bella Yellow Garden Party Dress £29.99

Audrey Red Gingham Dress £29.99 – Myrtle Halter Neck Dress £29.99

Lindy Bop – I love Lindy Bop because of the affordability and the huge choice. Their designs this year have improved somuch and I love all the new gorgeous fabrics they are using. They seem to be constantly be adding new designs and I want them all! I recently reviewed a Lindy Bop dress, check out that blog post here.

Red Stripe Shirt Dress £98 – Sweetheart Top – £39 – 40s Tea Dress £99

Spring Garden Day Dress £95 – Royal Rose Swing Dress £120 – Picnic Day Dress – £98

20th Century Foxy are a little more pricey but have a really authentic feel to them. I love the attention to detail which makes their fabulous designs really look like the real thing. I’d definitely like to invest in some of their pieces to wear year after year.

Fabric Parasole £6 (sale price) – Tortoiseshell Lucite Earrings £6.50 – Bamboo Bangles £3.50-£14.50

Carmen Fruit Necklace £19.99 – Velma Pink and Green Sunglasses £8

Velma Tortoiseshell Sunglasses £8 – Bamboo Earrings £6 – Wicker Cherry Handbag £18

Bow and Crossbones have a fabulous range of vintage clothing and accessories. I particularly love their jewellery and have had my eye on their bamboo jewellery for ages. The prices are really good so it’s a great place to stock up on little bits to wear with your vintage clothing treasures.

I’ll be doing another reproduction vintage favourites post next week with some shoes and lingerie thrown in What are your favourite vintage style brands?

Baking Eccles Cakes from a 1950s Recipe

10 Jul

Over the last few weeks I’ve tried a few recipes from my 1954 copy of Women’s Journal. I found them in an article about traditionally English recipes and I just had to give them all a try. So far I’ve discovered that old recipes are hard to follow, especially with no pictures and very brief instructions. I’ve been really happy with the results so far though and this time I decided to try Eccles cakes.

Eccles cakes for some reason make me think of my grandma. I can remember her talking about them when we visited tea shops together, however I couldn’t really remember what they were like. Having given them a go they remind me a little of puff pastry mince pies only a little less heavy.

Once I’d figured out the recipe these were pretty straight forward to make. I used pre made puff pastry which made the whole thing much easier. Next time I’d give them a couple less minutes in the oven and I’d also try to round off the sides a bit more as it says to do in the instructions.

Despite them not looking exactly like the eccles cakes I’d spotted on Google Images they tasted absolutely delicious and I’ll definitely be making them again.

Check out the other 50s recipes I’ve tried, Sally Lunns and Derby Teacakes.

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