Last week I was contacted by Tara from Sheer Luxury Lingerie about an infographic she’s produced detailing early 20th century lingerie. As someone who has worked in lingerie I always love to see anything that talks about it’s history and I thought it was a great reference for vintage loving ladies, so I decided to share it with you.

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Purl London 5To celebrate the release of Boardwalk Empire season 5 on DVD and Blue-ray this week, I was invited to attend a mocktail master class at London speakeasy Purl last week. Purl is a beautifully furnished underground bar in Marylebone with a very vintage feel. The bar and it’s vast array of drinks pay homage to the Prohibition era, which is also the time in which HBO series Boardwalk Empire is set. In honour of Dry January the bar has released a mocktail menu inspired by Boardwalk Empire, so if you’re staying off the drink this month but love a good cocktail then this might just be the place for you.

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This was an intimate event in which Mattia our expert mixologist showed us how to make some prohibition era mocktails from their menu. It was fascinating to see how much skill and preparation went into making the drinks and the attention to detail involved in getting the ingredients just right. Matt was really knowledgeable about the history of cocktails and which ingredients where historically appropriate.

Purl London 6Mattia cooking up a warm mocktail for us.

Purl London 8The finished result was absolutely delicious. 

Purl London 9Having a go at mixing up a drink myself – not as easy as it looks!

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The speakeasy atmosphere was the perfect venue to go with Boardwalk Empire too. If you haven’t seen it yet then you are missing out, for vintage girls the gorgeous costumes and sets alone are enough to keep you watching. The series stars Steve Buscemi as ‘Nucky Thompson, season five takes place in the depths of the Great Depression in 1931. With the end of Prohibition looming Nucky is looking to legitimise himself through alliances with liquor producers.

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The bar features fabulous vintage decor and a plethora of unusual drinks behind the bar. I was really impressed when Mattia showed us some of the vintage spirits that are used in cocktails. Some of them dating from the 50s and 60s. Apparently they are really different in taste to their modern counterparts. I’d love to go back and taste some vintage gin! After we were showed some cocktails, Mattia made us a few of the bars signature drinks including and talked us through some of the bars speciality drinks.

Purl London 11Vintage Orange Bitters – one of many unusual cocktail ingredients at Purl.

Purl London 12Vintage Gordon’s Gin – I would to give this a try.

I was so impressed by the bars integrity to make authentic and original cocktails with a fair of creativity and quality that really made it stand out from other cocktail bars I’ve been to. I really can’t wait to go back.

Buy Boardwalk Empire – Season 5  from Amazon.

Thank you to Purl London for the masterclass and Premier who invited me along to this event. 

Last week I went for a wintery morning walk in Richmond Park. We went to one of my favourite parts of the park, The Isabella Plantation. Despite being freezing cold the park looked beautiful and was perfect for taking a few photos of all the pretty plants and flowers. I thought I’d share a few of them on here with you. I love to appreciate the beauty all around us and look a little closer at nature and I hope I’ve captured that here…

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Where are your favourite places to go for walks?

Cartoons

Turning 30 at the end of this year is making me feel like I may finally have become a proper grown up. This makes it totally OK to look back on the past nostalgically, especially at the toys, fashions and cartoons we loved when we were little. I spent a little too long on Youtube watching some of my favourite childhood cartoons and thought I’d share them here. I was born in 1985 so I’ve just included stuff that I actually watched myself, here are 10 intros from my favourites…

Rude Dog and the Dweebs – This was my absolute favourite cartoon ever, it has achieved cult status in my home:

Bananaman:

The Poddington Peas – Is it weird that I still know all the words to this one?

Count Duckula:

Jimbo and the Jetset – I remember singing this A LOT when I was little Jimboooooo!

Raggy Dolls – I’d forgotten all about this one until my mum reminded me of it. Now I can’t get the theme tune out of my head!

Superted – Superted is still completely awesome. I’m definitely going to watch this more with my kids.

Alvin and The Chipmunks:

The Animals of Farthing Wood: A little later than the others, but one of the best.

The Family Ness:

I hope you enjoyed watching these intros. Thank you to all the fantastic people who put these on YouTube. What were your favourite cartoons growing up? let me know in the comments and I’ll see if I remember them too!

Hollywood Fitness 1

Over the last week I’ve been on a diet, something I’ve not really done before however I felt like I needed to lose a couple of pounds. I’ve been pretty sensible and limited my calories and carbs. I’ve not gone for a crazy fad diet or limited myself too much, unlike some of the women featured in todays book review. The book in question is Vintage Secrets – Hollywood Diet and Fitness, a fantastic guide to the food and exercise regimes inflicted on the actresses of the silver screen from the 1920s to 60s.

The book works its way through the history of the 20th century diet looking at the ways some of Hollywood’s most famous actresses kept their figures in keeping with the weight limits in their contracts and the desired aesthetics of the time. The way women’s bodies are supposed to look has changed as readily as the shapes and fashions of clothing. From the boyish rake like figures of the 20s to the perfect hourglass of the fifties and this book talks us though the sometimes drastic methods that were used to achieve ‘perfection’.

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I found this book so fascinating that I couldn’t put it down and read it in two sittings. The book tells the story of diet and fitness though descriptions, meal plans and expert opinions as well as through photographs and articles from the time. What struck me was how things really haven’t changed. Many women’s magazines today are still obsessed with celebrity bodies and the latest weight loss methods and it was exactly the same 80 years ago. We are still aspiring to look like famous women however it is clear from reading this book that they struggled to maintain their perfect figures too.

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I’ve read a lot of books on fashion in the 20th Century, and reading this book really gave me a further insight into the social history of women. Having an understanding of the clothes women wore really put the book into context. The book is really well written and gives a frightening snapshot into the world of the Hollywood studios and the strict rules that actresses had to live by. If they went over the allowed weight, dietitians and fitness experts were brought in to help get them into shape. Crazy diets like the ‘Lamb Chop and Pineapple Diet’ and the ‘Cabbage Soup Diet’ are discussed as well as the first calorie controlled diets and early cosmetic surgery. The book discusses pioneering fitness gurus and actresses who embraced yoga before it became popular – all truly fascinating.

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I loved the pretty colour scheme of the book and the fact that it was printed on thick glossy paper, making it really nice to leaf through. The pictures are fantastic and the snippings from contemporary magazines put the information into context and give a great insight into how the physiques of Hollywood starlets influenced normal women though the media.

The book is really well researched and I enjoyed reading about each actress and her various struggles with body image. The book uses quotes throughout which are also really interesting. One of the most insightful things was the differing opinions of modern and contemporary experts which are used throughout.

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I’d recommend this book to women who love vintage fashion as well as those who have a deeper interest in the social history of women or just love old Hollywood. It would be a great gift for vintage loving ladies too.

Vintage Secrets – Hollywood Diet and Fitness is written by Laura Slater and Published by Plexus.

Buy Hollywood Diet and Fitness: Vintage Secrets on Amazon.