Friday, 30 May 2014

A Visit to Nymans House and Gardens

This time of year is lovely because there are so many bank holidays. I do wonder if we wouldn't get a bit more benefit from them if they were a little more spread out rather than in a clump through April and May, but you know, its nice to get an extra day off and know there is another on the way.

Now that my husband and I have a car in Kent we are taking the opportunity to try and explore the area.

One place we went to visit was Nymans house and gardens, a national trust property nearby.  It is a beautiful house and gardens that is a little unique. The house itself was very badly damaged by a fire so many of the rooms are preserved or restored while others are in ruins. It makes it a very strange mix thats filled with history.

I was particularly interested in the story of Anne Messel one of the Ladies of the house back in the 1920s. She was one of the original Bright Young Things. In fact her hair style was features in an article on how Ladies should wear their hair.

Anne's hair was number 2 (I think mine is more of a 7...):

Some of the restored rooms were amazing, and there were SO MANY BOOKS! One day I would love to have a room with a whole wall of books. Mine would probably be a little bit more colourful, what with all the comic books, but you know... a girl can dream.

Oh yeah, and I couldn't resist a selfie in the big old hall way mirror... I tag this one #yeoldselfie

Then we had a picnic and went for a little frolicking around the gardens. I wore a tea dress from East that I got in a charity shop and a chunky yellow cardigan.

Do you have any recommendations of places to visit in Kent and Sussex? My husband and I need places to visit :)

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Vintage Inspired Outfit: Wannabe Sweater Girl

I adore the sweater girl look. Its just so perky. I think a great casual vintage inspired look is the sweater and cropped trousers or pencil skirt, especially in spring as the weather is changing. Marilyn Monroe was one of the sweater queens of the 1950s.

So attempting to take a lead from the history style books I decided to wear a sweater and pencil skirt combo for a wander around town on a spring day.

A good friend of mine has this same pencil skirt (and has done for years) and I always though it was a great skirt; a sort of universal colour with a small print that preventing it being just a dull 'black pencil skirt'. You can imaging how pleased I was when I found it in a charity shop in Hove for £2! In my size! YEEEEES!

The sweater was from eBay and had the labels cut out so I have no idea when its from, but I love it. I think it is a perfect colour and I adore the little collar details, its so universal, I would definitely recommend this sort of pinky/peach sweater to anyone crafting a vintage style capsule wardrobe.

The only problem is, that since putting on a bit of weight my bust size has changed. I dare not admit either that I didn't get myself measured for ages and I was somehow convinced that my bust had not changed. Oh how wrong I was, by two cup sizes. So naturally my vintage inspired underwear is not really right anymore meaning that I was not able to achieve the perfect sweater girl look, but its not far off. I am now hunting for the perfect slightly larger vintage styled bra.

I've shown this satchel before on Fancy Dresscapades, but I think that the colour of the flowers goes with this outfit perfectly.

The hair in these pictures is me still getting to grips with the permed hair. But I was pretty pleased with how it turned out. 

I still haven't quite got the hang of pin placement, especially on the back of my head but I felt that I didn't do a half bad job this time around. Hopefully if I keep practising I will be able to share more snazzy hair dos, and maybe one day actually share a tutorial or two!

Jumper: Unknown/eBay
Skirt: Primark via charity shop
Tights: Primark
Shoes: Clarks
Satchel: Yoshi

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Doing a Pin-up home perm

Right then, for a few weeks I've been experimenting with my hair, and I am finally ready to share what I've been up to - I want to talk to you about permanent waves or perms.

Now I have pretty boring hair, mostly straight with a little wave at the bottom and a bit of a tendency to frizz if I blowdry. It used to be pretty curly when I was younger, but its something that's gradually dropped from my hair during the years. So the idea of a treatment that could put a bounce back into my bob (I don't have a bob but you know, alliteration...) was pretty appealing.

The only problem is, you think perm and you think... well, Julia Roberts and Meg Ryan in the 80s? Even a bit of Bon Jovi? Or how about my Mum from the late 80s?

Me and my Mum in the late 1980s

Of course, my Mum's awesome but I think she must have done something magical to achieve that sort of volume and its not exactly the sort of look I wanted...

So waaaaay back at Easter I stumbled upon a product in Superdrug that sparked my interest. It was called Pin-up Original and it was a kit to perm your own hair at home. Something about perming my own hair appealed to me, it would save the cost of going to a hair dresser and it would mean I could set the rolls in exactly the style I wanted, getting *hopefully* the result I wanted.

I contacted the folks at Pin-up and they were really helpful, with so much advice of what size rods to use, how to treat my hair and what to do about setting it once it was permed. But even better than that they sent me a home perm kit containing rollers, waving lotion, a mixing bowl, pre-perm protection spray and their own setting lotion to try out so that I could tell all of you lovely readers about it**.

Part of the reason I was so interested in the Pin-up product specifically was that they have been making home perming kits since 1945! So I felt that if anyone understood the mid-centrury look I was striving for then they would. Check out these classic advertisements for their waving kits:

I received my Pin-Up super quick and feeling psyched up, I set aside some time on the bank holiday weekend to give it a go.

I was advised to use small rollers as they would create a firm wave that would hold a vintage hair set, although the prospect of this terrified me. Overall I used about 33 rods in my hair in 5 different sections and it was such a pain to put the wrappers on then roll the hair, but you know, after I did a few I felt like I was a bit more able and things progressed a bit quicker. Practice makes perfect I suppose.

I applied the perming lotion and it was pretty straight forward although it did smell interesting, like that smell that hair salons had in the 80s. But it only took 10 minutes to set into an S-wave which was amazingly quick.

Then came the neutralising part, this was a bit more tricky. You are meant to shake up the bottle and lather your hair, but the tube for putting it on your hair is really difficult to work with. In the end, I just shook the bottle and squeezed the foam onto my hair which was a muuuuuuuch easier way to do it.

After rinsing I would say I was pleased with how the curl had taken. It looked pretty wavy, but not too extreme, and not... erm... 80s.

Finally I had to let it dry. I misread the instructions and though that the 'do not style for 48 hours' meant I couldn't brush it or set it (oops) so I ended up with a bit of a mess if I'm honest. Knowing what I know now I would have done was wet set in in pin-curls to help the curl set, but oh well. Next time!

After 48 hours I was sort of at my wits end with it, it looked quite frizzy and I would be lying if I said I didn't start to second guess my permanent wave...

Then the magic happened!

I washed my hair and set it in pin curls and oh boy, did it turn out curly! I took two pictures one at the start of the day and one at the end. I used my usual setting lotion and didn't brush it out so I could get a clear picture of how the curls lasted.

Boy was I impressed. The curls lasted the whole day largely unscathed.

I then tried pincurl setting and brushing out and I'd say it looked pretty similar to the way it did before the perm, but the bounce just seemed to last a bit longer.

Generally I was really pleased, with how the curl is lasting and that it didn't seem to vastly change the texture of my hair (as I've heard that perms do) but I did find that I haven't had to wash it as much lately. Not that I'm complaining about that.

I also experimented with rolls and curls to see how styling worked and I found that the slight increase in roughness of the hair meant that it was easier to put up.

A special bonus was that when I take my hair out, even after just putting it up dry for a few hours I manage to get a lovely curl out of it. This is something I really, really appreciate.

The overall selling point of Pin-Up is that it is meant to be an invisible wave that just helps keep the style lasting a little bit longer. Which, lets face it, is exactly what all girls dream of, and I actually think that is what I've managed to get. Although I have taken special care not to blowdry my hair for fear of generating that 80s look. I recently ordered a diffuser so that I can use the dryer and I'll let you know how that goes another time.


So thinking back on my perming experience at the time of writing, its been 3 weeks since I had the perm done, and if I'm honest, I haven't really found that the curl has dropped that much. It has a little bit, but when I've just washed it I'm seeing roughly the same amount of wave as I was at the start.

I think I'm also more used to the ways of styling and have built a routine. I wash then curl with pin curls until it is completely dry. I then take it out and brush out or wear super curly depending on the look I'm going for. I've found that it doesn't need washing for around 4 days so that means it has become much easier to do vintage up-dos. YEY!!!

In the long run I will be interested to see how long the wave lasts, but at this point I would definitely do a perm at home again!

**Full Disclosure: The kit was sent to me free of charge

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