Rise of the Redhead

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Bette Davis

Rise of the Redhead

Rita Hayworth

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Lucille Ball

Judy Garland

June AllysonBette Davis. Rita Hayworth. Lucille Ball. Judy Garland. June Allyson. What’s the common denominator? Hair. Each of them is a redhead; be it fiery orange or dark and sultry, they have beautiful red locks.

My mum’s hair is naturally ginger, yet she hates it. I remember her telling me once that when she was pregnant with me she told the doctor to send me back if I came out with ginger hair! I only wish this had been the case, but as my dad has black hair and olive skin I was destined to be mousey brown!

For as far back as I can remember, my mum has dyed her hair all shades of red, and at about 14 I started to do the same. Mainly with semi permanent colours or henna products that would make my hair a few shades lighter with a red tinge in the sun. At college, I began to experiment with different cuts and styles, with bleached parts and different coloured highlights. When I got married, my hair was a rich mahogany shade. Since then, my hair has been black. I have naturally black eyebrows and olive skin so it suits me well, plus its very low maintenance. But I have been longing for a change.

A friend of mine is a hairdresser, and I have been telling her for a long time that I wanted to be ginger. The answer was always no! So I began to research my favourite shades of red, and put together a mood board of all the ones I liked best. I spoke with my friend and we eventually agreed on the shade that would work best. She spoke to her colleague who agreed to help me. So one Sunday afternoon, I headed to Westcliff to finally become a redhead.

Step 1 – Bleach. We had to lift the black out of my hair, and this wasn’t going to be easy. I have quite thick hair, coupled with the remnants of a two year old perm and three years of black hair dye built up. The bleach was lathered on and within 20 minutes it was lifting the colour from my hair. I cannot tell you how itchy and painful it was to have bleach on my hair for so long. It was heavy and hot, and I feel for anyone who does this regularly because I hated every minute of it!

Step 2 – Colour. The dye looked the most amazing colour in the bowl, and I couldn’t wait to see how it would turn out. It was applied and massaged in and then I had to wait. The bath looked like a crime scene with the red river running through it when we washed the colour off

Step 3 – The Big Reveal. I hadn’t really looked in a mirror since the process began, other than to take the obligatory “instagram selfie” of the progress with the bleach, and so I was totally unaware of how my hair was looking. A quick trim and followed by a blow dry and I was ready to see the results. I loved it!!

I much prefer life as a redhead, and I love how it looks with my vintage clothing. Even the hubby agreed, hurrah! He said it was like having a new wife, so I hope he doesn’t want to trade me in!

I’ve attached some pictures of my inspirations, along with the selfies of the process and the finished result. I hope you like it as much as I do!



A Not So Lazy Sunday


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My outfit

PurchasesOn Saturday morning, hubby and I were running some errands when I spotted a sign for an event being held on the Sunday. It was a Military and Forties fair being held at The Lawn in Rochford. As if it was fate, we had nothing else to do on the Sunday so I swiftly made plans to meet some friends there and then began planning my outfit!

So on Sunday morning, I put on my new navy blue tea dress with red and white flowers, black canvas wedges and my black day hat. I took my wicker handbag and a green cardigan as accessories. Hubby wore a flannel shirt, jeans, a baseball cap and trainers. We could not have looked more opposite from each other.

As we turned into the long lane that leads to the venue, I could already hear the music, which just made my heart really happy. I could see so many people all dressed up, and there was even a dance floor. TI knew this would be a great day.

Walking from the car, you could see what an eclectic mix of people had gathered for the event. There were real forties enthusiasts, rockabilly couples and then normally dressed people. The Lawn had opened their terrace and they were running a tea room. Their windows had been taped to look like they would in the Blitz and they also had sandbags at the door. I thought that this was a really nice, authentic touch to the day. There were cars from the period parked out the front too in the circular driveway.

Heading into the field where the main event was, you could see all the 1940’s military vehicles lined up with some displays of typical soldiers belongings. There was a climbing wall and a laser tag game for kids. The most stunning thing there was a spitfire! You could pay to sit in the cockpit, but my attire was not suitable! Behind all this was a range of vintage cars, not necessarily all forties, but ranging from the 1920’s onwards. There were some vintage bikes and mopeds too.

My favourite part of the event was the shopping. I bagged some right bargains! Poor hubby was dragged from tent to tent while I browsed, but he did manage to spot a couple of books for me. All in all, I walked away with: 2 books, a CD, 2 handbags and a hat.

We had attended the event with Ruth and Garry who are good friends of ours. Ruth had brought her grandmother Frances, or Nanna, as she is known, for a day out. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing her stories, and for 96 she has an incredible memory. My outfit also got the seal of approval as true to the period so that was a bonus! What a pleasure it was to hear her accounts of a period I so adore.

With just enough time for a quick dance to Annie Andrews and then The Zoltans, it was time to head home. Hubby cooked me a roast while I put my dancing feet up with a nice cup of tea.

All in all, a great weekend. I hope yours was too!


A History Revealed

My husband’s grandmother, Bella, has always been larger than life. A typical Italian matriarch, she is fiery and protective, and always wants to feed you! When I first met her around 7 years ago, I was struck by how beautiful and elegant she was, and couldn’t believe it when she told me she was 86! Bella is a term of endearment, her real name being Giovina Fioravanti. Originally, Bella  aspired to be an actress however on the outbreak of World War II Bella volunteered her services to her country. Over the years, Bella has shared many stories with me, the most memorable being that during a boat crossing from Albania back to Italy, a Bulgarian man had taken a bullet for her using his body as a shield. When I first went to her house, I was proudly shown a certificate, which was hanging in the dining room. Bella explained that this was for bravery during the War, but never elaborated on what she had done to obtain this. It was always assumed that this was an award given to all Italians who played their part in the War.

Recently my Mother In Law began to do a bit of digging into her mother’s history. With a little bit of help from some internet sites, Izzy discovered that Bella had been awarded her certificate for helping people escape from a POW camp in Italy. You can read the full article published by camp 59 Survivors here: http://camp59survivors.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/a-heroine-recognized/#more-5067

I am truly in awe of this wonderful woman, and am so proud to be part of her family. I wonder if there are others out there, who like Bella are too modest to tell their story. I hope that one day, your families will be able to say how proud they are of you.

If you recognise Bella from the War years, please get in touch. You can also speak with Dennis Hill who wrote the Camp 59 website.


Tea for Two

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Tea for Two

In the towns and villages surrounding my home, there are a plethora of coffee shops and tea rooms from the large chain variety to the small family run business. So when Coles Tea Rooms in Rayleigh opened several months ago, it went by unnoticed.

A good friend of mine, Daisy, mentioned to me a little while ago that she was working there my interest was peaked. When Daisy explained the concept of the tea room I immediately wanted to visit.

So, hubby and I ventured into Rayleigh one sunny afternoon and headed straight to the tea rooms for a spot of lunch. Set back from the high street in a quaint little building, Coles is hidden treasure. The beautiful tables outside showed customers enjoying a spot of tea served in real vintage china with tea strainers to boot. However, on this occasion we could not get a table as they were fully booked. So we left with a business card in hand and were asked to book in future!

A couple of days after this, I mentioned to tea room to my friend Fran, who drinks tea like its going out of fashion, and we immediately agreed that this was the place for our next girl’s day. I rang Coles on the Monday morning and booked the table for the following Saturday.

So the day of our tea date arrived, and I felt I should dress as a woman in the 1940’s would for a morning with a friend. I pulled on my latest charity shop find, a gorgeous blue flower print dress, some seamed stocking and my red brogues. In my hair I wore small victory rolls and a snood. This also gave me the opportunity to wear my new red hat, another recent vintage find.

Feeling and looking the part, Fran and I headed into Rayleigh for our lunch. I knew through Daisy that Coles tried to keep the tea room as authentic as possible, and so the staff uniforms, music and food served was straight out of the 1940’s, although without the rationing! When we arrived we were shown to our able by Steve, who owns the restaurant with his wife. We began to talk about the teas offered by Coles, and Steve explained that they had been working on their own blends of tea which could not be sourced anywhere other than at Coles. This included a delightful smelling Strawberries and Cream and an aromatic Apple Crumble blend. All the tea served can be purchased on site too.

The inside of the tea room is beautifully decorated in shades of green and beige, with wood panelling on the lower half of the walls. Dotted around the walls are lovely framed vintage posters and some art deco accessories. In the back corner a stunning wireless is playing songs from times gone by. Although the wireless is in working order, an iPod dock is hidden behind playing the music – clever!!

The menu was full of wonderful looking meals, from the humble boiled egg and soldiers to Welsh rarebit. A homemade soup of the day was available, and there was also a choice of homemade sandwiches, or even cream teas for one or two people. Or, you could just have a slice of cake and a cup of Rosy. After much deliberation, I opted for spam fritters, served with a fried egg and bubble and squeak and a cherry cola to drink. Steve explained that all food was made from fresh by his own hands, including all the cakes on display. Fran chose a freshly baked scone and a cola, from the glass bottle naturally!

Fran and I got chatting to the lovely lady on table next to us, Barbara, who was tucking into a mouth-watering Welsh rarebit. She was regaling us with tales of the war and growing up in East London during the 40’s and 50’s. Being a real history buff, I thoroughly enjoyed our chat and both Fran and I learnt plenty! My outfit also sparked her attention, and she complimented me on my hat. She told me that while I look lovely, it wasn’t exactly authentic as women in that day wouldn’t wear make up unless they were going out. I was aware that make up was hard to get hold of during the war, and it was likely that women would only wear a slick of lipstick and also use this as rouge for their cheeks. I had only applied a full face out of vanity!

After a thoroughly enjoyable lunch, we took to the high street to do some charity shop hunting. I popped into my favourite shop in Rayleigh, the British Heart Foundation and picked up a shirt, two hat pins and a tin for holding loose tea all for the bargain price of £8.00! Bagging some rollers on my way home too brought the day to an end.

I can’t recommend Coles Tea Rooms enough for their hospitality and their food. I will definitely be visiting again soon. I’ve included a link to their Facebook page so you can see for yourselves!


Hope you’ve enjoyed reading,


A Brief Introduction

Well hello there,

I suppose I should start by introducing myself. I’m Joely and I live near Southend on Sea with my husband, my cat and my bunny. By day I commute into London to work in an office, but by night (and weekends) I am a wannabe Land Girl. I also referee for my local roller derby league, The Seaside Siren Roller Girls.

My fascination with vintage began when I was a little girl, spending time with my Grandmother. She used to show me wonderful pictures of her dancing in beautiful dresses and looking glamorous even when doing the washing. My favourite picture however was of my nan and granddad’s wedding in 1952. Her outfit was so simple and yet so stunning, my granddad so handsome in his army uniform. from then on, I wanted a bit of glamour in my life.

It6s taken me quite some time to get here, but I finally feel comfortable in my own skin. I love the feeling that I get from doing my hair in a Gibson Roll or just wearing a turban around town. I no longer care what people think of me when they see me in the street, and receive more compliments now on my style than I ever have before.

You will generally find me trawling through charity shops of a weekend, looking for new teapots (even though I have limited storage space) or pretty little trinkets that transport me to a time gone by. I live in dungarees (which my husband despises!) or swing trousers and twin sets or jumpers. I love to do my hair and wer rid lipstick. I love to feel glamorous on a daily basis, without too much effort.

I also adore the 1940’s in general. The history, the war, the country’s mentality during difficult times, the cooking.

So, this blog will follow me on my quest in all things vintage and also my life in general. I will share with you my favourite recipes from my vintage cookery books, my new charity shop finds and how infuriating a victory roll can be! But I also want to share my day-to-day life, how amazing my friends are, my derby woes and also follow my marathon training.


I hope you will continue to follow me on my journey, and I look forward to blogging again soon!