Saturday, 26 April 2014

blitzing birthday

For my Birthday this year I went to a 1940s themed club in Shoreditch called Blitz Party. I had been once before, for my 18th, and both times it was a blast! This time I went with my good friend Amy, who I'm sure you'll be seeing a lot of.
My sister kindly lent us her house as she was away for the weekend, so we had the luxury of a free night in London and hours upon hours to preen and pamper ourselves. However despite having such a long time to get ready, we were still running out of the house panting apologetically at the patient taxi man, whilst pulling up our stockings, shoving out feet into vintage heels and flinging our furs around our shoulders, all in a mist of perfume and hairspray.

The club is wonderful, it's held in The Village Underground; a vast expanse of high ceilings and red brick with the feel of a genuine wartime bunker. As you walk in, greeted by a live swing band and a sea of beautifully dressed people, it's impossible not to feel as though you have traveled back in time. The night kicks off with the haunting air raid siren which turns your blood a little cold, but then the party begins! The bunker is lit with a sultry orange glow and every corner and crevice of the place is crowded with people laughing and sipping cocktails. There is an overwhelmingly lovely atmosphere in the club, everyone is warm and friendly and smiling. I suppose it's because when you are inside, you feel as though you have taken a private trip back in time, together with everyone else in the bunker, leaving the outside world behind.

Beautiful Amy.

Horribly bright flash I know, but I was proud of my hair!

This photo was take by a kind stranger on Amy's camera, I just had to include it as it was the only photograph of the two of us and we hadn't started on the cocktails at this point so we were still holding it together pretty well!

Thank you Blitz Party, we had a rip-roaring time darling!

Friday, 18 April 2014

to the north of italy

Last Summer I took another trip to Italy with Brycey, this time we were backpacking through the North. We had fallen desperately in love with the lake we visited whilst in Rome, so we decided that a tour of the Lombardy region was in order. We packed our rucksacks, a modest amount of cash and our sense of humor (Brycey's words, made me giggle) and flew to Milan Malpensa Airport. Oh. Among the marbled floors, glitzy cafes and neatly dressed people, it seems we had somewhat misjudged the ease in which we would be able to backpack around Northern Italy. Nevertheless we persevered and journeyed to Lake Como, specifically a small town called Mennagio. We found a lovely little youth hostel where we drank wine, played music with some fellow backpackers, discovered a small private beach where we skinny dipped in the evenings, and used it as our base to take the public ferry to some of the beautiful little towns across the lake. Although we found Mennagio to be, for the most part, quite tame and far too touristy, we did however find a charming little town across the lake; Varenna. It was one of my favourite places that we visited and was not far from what I believe paradise to be.
All my photographs are shot on film unless stated otherwise, and usually on my trusted 1970s Fujica 901. I have a large collection of film cameras, however when I am travelling I take my Fujica as it has always served me well!

We swam for hours in the crystal water, soaking in the sun, jumping off the jetty (enjoying a brief encounter with an outrageously large fish) and exploring the winding cobbled streets of the town.

Feeling that we had experienced all we could of Lake Como, we travelled to the smaller and fairly unknown Lago d'Iseo (stopping first for a night of total debauchery in the small city of Bergamo, where we truly embraced being Brits abroad, but without nearly as much grace or glamour as we had hoped. Okay, so with absolutely no grace or glamour. The rest of that story is left better untold I think!)
Lago d'Iseo is a perfectly charming lake with stunning scenery, although it has a very strange feeling to it, as though perhaps you have entered a microcosm, and even sometimes a completely alternate universe (ghost towns consisting of only one supermarket, in which a very lovely, very old woman pushes herself around in your shopping trolley, collecting you things from shelves which are predominantly stacked with 1970s tins of ham.) After our first day and night being spent at a busy campsite where we recouped and snacked on our stash of old rice crackers and pesto (the only food we ate until we reached Verona a week and a half later), we then decided we would try to find a beach where we could sleep under the stars, which as well as being a perfectly romantic idea, also fitted well with our 'saving money' idea. This however proved somewhat more troublesome than anticipated, and after travelling to the island in the center of the lake on the guarantee of finding a plethora of beaches to choose from (thank you kind lady at the tourist office), some five hours later after hiking in the blistering heat...not a beach in sight. However by this time the boats leaving the island had stopped running hours before, and we were down to one solitary bottle of water, so we had to power on. Eventually we saw a sign which alluded to a beach, so trustingly followed it. Vertically downwards.

The beach was, however, completely stunning. We nestled ourselves under some trees and spent the evening swimming in the silver water, eating bruschetta which we toasted in the sun and watching the glorious sunset.

However once we had bedded down for the night, our experience on this little beach became anything but magical. Darling James unwittingly stored his jar of manuka honey under the jumper that he was using as a pillow and we both settled in for the night (bearing in mind that the beach was not so much a beach, but more a pile of sharp, devilish rocks - as seen in the above photographs). A mere thirty minutes later and James was complaining about ants in his sleeping bag to which I wasn't really paying much attention, that was until he put on his torch and there was in fact a vicious army of giant ants swarming from under every rock and collecting triumphantly in his sleeping bag, rucksack and on his person. We then moved all our things up the beach in hope of getting rid of them all, but they were determined to make sure we had not the tiniest wink of sleep and sneakily followed us, now not satisfied with just James' belongings, they decided that I should join the party. After packing everything up and being chased by a rabid dog, we then resolved to get the hell off of that island.

We hiked through the small hours of the morning, eventually finding a sleepy little village where by some freak miracle there was a small supermarket which was partially open, and after begging the nice man to let us in we feasted on our makeshift breakfast like we had never seen food before.

Not at all sad to leave Lago d'Iseo, we headed to the station and boarded the first train to Verona.

Clever Brycey had read about a campsite enclosed in the ancient walls of Castel San Pietro and as soon as we arrived in Verona we staggered up the thousands of steps to reach it (well worth the hike). It was even more amazing that we had imagined, a whole community of travellers hidden under a canopy of trees and grape vines, with the most darling little outdoor kitchen area where you could purchase fresh eggs and bread in the mornings. Needless to say we cooked a hot meal every day after weeks of our somewhat 'limited' diet!

By day we explored the city, ate gelato, took photos and truly embraced being tourists (in the most stylish way possible, naturally).

And by night we drank in bars, ate large quantities of pizza and one evening even attended the Opera in the Amphitheater for free. It was a surreal experience in which we were outside the venue, joking with each other about how incredible it would be if we could sneak in, and at that very moment a man waved us over. He told us that two people hadn't turned up and that we could go in their place. So we climbed the steps, opened the heavy velvet curtains, and were suddenly hit with a cacophony of cheers from the vast audience, the bright stage lights and the awe inspiring roar of Italian Opera. We sat high up on one of the ancient steps, soaking in the dream-like experience (despite not knowing what the heck the Opera was about). Below is the only photograph that came out.

So despite the fatigue, the torrential rain storm that flooded our £5 tent, the almighty ant attack and the gut wrenching bout of Campylobactor (serious food poisoning) that we both got on our return home, leaving us both in hospital attached to morphine drips for a week, would I change a thing?

Nope, not a chance.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

roman holiday

In May of 2013 I took a trip to Rome to see my dearest friend James (often referred to as 'Brycey',and even occasionally as 'Hummus', but that's a long story). He was living there for a few months and I counted down the days until I could go out and visit him. I thought this would be a suitable post to begin my blog with, as why not start as I mean to go on, by sharing with you my travels. Although this trip was taken many moons ago, it remains a fond and magical memory which I cherish. This first picture was taken in the small lakeside town of Bracciano; a twenty mile train ride from Rome. It was an experience which is difficult to put into words so I shall let the photographs I took do the talking. All I will say is, it was so utterly charming and otherworldly, with winding cobbled streets and a lake that would make the Lombardy region blush. If you are ever in Rome when the sun is shining, take a trip here; you won't regret it.

Rome in black and white is simply beautiful, it seems to fit the city like an elegant glove. We spent much time gallivanting around, drinking black coffee, eating pastries, rummaging through the famous flea market and dancing through the sun drenched streets (although by the end of the first day I certainly wasn't dancing as my little ankles had swollen to roughly three times their original size and my feet were so blistered that James had to practically carry me around. Although I had decided to wear a pair of 1920s heels the previous night so it was very much my own fault!)

Our evenings in Rome were wild; the first of which saw us ending the night dancing in a fountain in nothing but our smalls!

Grazie, Roma. Ciao!

Hello and welcome to my blog! My name is Rose and I live by the coast in the South of England, I adore collecting, wearing, selling and surrounding myself with all things vintage! I have a particular love and knowledge of the 1940s and 50s, however I also adore and admire the elegance of the 20s and 30s (though garments of those eras don't find their way into my wardrobe often). Other things that make me swoon are photography, music, classic Hollywood movies, travelling, jive dancing, rummaging through boot fairs and flea markets, making ceramics, sewing, cats, cacti and other exotic plants, tea, baking cakes, making cocktails and just sharing life with the wonderful people around me.. phew! I am so excited to enter into the world of blogging and to begin this new chapter in my life!