Friday, 30 December 2011

Hackney Empire Panto

Kate Moss as classic swimsuit siren in French Vogue 2010 (Image source)

You may be wondering what Kate Moss has to do with the Hackney Empire?  Well, I went to see the panto for my work Christmas party a few weeks ago and this divine lady just happened to be in the audience!  Unfortunately, word of this didn't get around to me until we were in the pub afterwards so I didn't see her myself.  But perhaps that was a good thing as I just would have ended up distracted and starstruck instead of enjoying the show.  As regular readers have probably picked up through my lack of talking about modern fashion or celebrities, I'm not generally that bothered by modern-day models but Kate is a special case.  I think her just utterly fabulous and was rather overexcited to hear she's been in the audience at the same performance as me.

That aside though, I'd recommend the Hackney Empire panto for anyone looking for some fun, silly entertainment.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself, getting into the whole panto experience with my workmates, singing along and joining in with the fun.  It's on until 8 January, so there's still a chance to catch it if you're in London.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas Wishes

Image source

Happy Christmas, dear readers!  Hope you all have a wonderful day tomorrow with friends, family and whoever else happens along...

In the immortal words of Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol, "God bless us, every one!"

Lisa Marie x

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Sooty (and Sweep) Nostalgia

Last Sunday, my mum, my sister, The Cat and I all went off to see The Sooty Christmas Show at the Garrick Theatre.  I thought this merited a mention on here because (a) we all had a good old-fashioned fun time and (b) the show is, when you think about it, a vintage gem and classic.

I will transcribe for you the brief history of The Sooty Show as included on the label of the Sweep puppets my sister and I purchased (because, as anyone who's anyone knows, Sweep is totally cool):

In July 1948 Harry Corbett was on holiday with his wife, Marjorie, and children, David and Matthew.  While walking on The North Pier, Harry spotted a teddy bear puppet in a gift shop.  For the pricely sum of 7s6d, Harry purchased the little bear and introduced his new partner into his amateur magic act.  Such was his success, a BBC TV producer asked Harry to make an appearance on screen.  Sooty's antics instantly captivated the nation and won him a place in television history,  New members joined the Sooty family including the lovable spaniel Sweep and Soo the helpful panda.  In 1976, Harry's son Matthew took over as Sooty's right hand man, followed in 2000 by Richard Cadell.

Of course, being a child of the 80s, it's Matthew Corbett's guardianship of the three puppets that I remember.  So I'll leave you with a classic 80s scene.

Sooty's Busy Christmas (Image source)

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Love letter in the New York Times

Photo by Tomas van Houtryve for The New York Times

I've been awfully busy of late so not had much time for blogging BUT I just had to come by to tell you that my post on Oscar Wilde's tomb has been quoted in a New York Times article!  You can imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered this!  A couple of my lovely readers' comments were quoted as well, namely the lovely Superheidi who blogs over at The Swing of Things and the fabulous Miss Rosette Brune.

Also this week, I hit 50 followers, which is great news as well!  Thanks to all of you who read along and comment and who make the whole blogging lark so enjoyable.  Special thanks to Wendy over at The Butterfly Balcony for being the first brave lass to follow me!  Also to Betty Boots, who is the latest to join in the ride.  But you're all great and I look forward to (hopefully!) continuing to entertain you with my wee blog and to hearing more thoughts and comments from you.  I should have a think about a doing a special 50 followers/Christmas giveaway too...

Lisa Marie x

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Christmas Truce (and Christmas Gifts)

"An Historic Group" (Image source)

I still distinctly remember learning about World War I at school.  I would sit in class blinking back tears as we heard about the sheer numbers of lives lost, often due to the sheer stupidity of the military powers, and as we read personal accounts from people on the front and those left at home to wait and wonder.  The third battle of Ypres, otherwise known as the Battle of Passchendaele, is well known as being one of the bloodiest battles of the war.  But Ypres is also the place where one of the most beautiful and affirming events of World War I occurred - that is, the Christmas Truce of 1914.  

Thousands of British and German troops were involved in an unofficial truce beginning on Christmas Eve that year.  It reportedly started with the Germans lighting candles, singing and calling out Christmas greetings to the British soldiers.  The British soldiers begun to respond and eventually troops from both sides emerged from their trenches and crossed No Man's Land to exchange gifts with one another.  It's such a wonderful story, a perfect Christmas message of peace and humanity and trust and vulnerability.

Here's a lovely wee website where you can read transcripts of some of the letters from people who were involved in the truce.

And if you're stuck for Christmas gift ideas, there's a sweet-looking book about it at the Imperial War Museum shop.  

They've got a whole selection of nice things, in fact, including lots of vintage-inspired items, prints and books.  And, as a bonus, you'll be supporting them if you buy from there.  Which means they can continue to grow their museum collection and educate people about the historic and continuing impacts of war on society and individuals everywhere.

Here's an idea of some of the things they have on offer:

This book sounds really interesting too:

Life in Britain changed dramatically as the war progressed; the annual celebration of Christmas provides fascinating yearly 'snapshots', illuminating the changes over six years of conflict.  What was the weather like? What was on the wireless? What were the popular records and sheet music of the time? What films were showing at the cinema? What about the pantomimes, shows and concerts? Parties, decorations and trees? Gifts and food are discussed with a look at the presents available, and in vogue. As shortages really took a hold, the various make-do-and-mend solutions are described, and insights are gained into how people adapted food recipes to cope.

Hope I've inspired you!  Either with goodwill towards man or gift ideas, or maybe even both!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Mid-Century Feel (A Visit to Royal Festival Hall)

Dress: Inherited from a friend.  Not my usual style or hem-length but so fun!
Beret: Inherited from a (different) friend
Scarf: Gift from The Cat's mum
Gloves: Southbank Vintage Fair 2011
Boots: Jones Bootmaker
Bag: Beyond Retro

On the weekend, I took The Cat to the aquarium for his birthday.  He's a big fan of water and fish, and neither of us had been to an aquarium in years and years so it was a fun treat.  We enjoyed watching all the different fish (and penguins!) swimming and bobbing about.  We also got to go on a behind the scenes tour.  They are introducing these next year and there will be an entrance charge when they do, but they are currently doing some free trials just to get feedback.  We happened to be in the right place at the right time (for the record - by the stingray lagoon, bemused by the stingrays' strange behaviour).  A staff member approached us specifically (perhaps as some of the few adults without kids attached...) to ask if we were interested in seeing how the aquarium operates and seeing some creatures not usually on view.  Of course we were interested!  So we got to see cute baby fishes amongst other things, and learn about how everything works and how the fishes are monitored and looked after.  There's a lot more involved than you realise, I can say that!

Afterwards, we stayed on the Southbank for dinner and then I took The Cat into Royal Festival Hall.  He's not particularly interested in mid-20th century architecture but I'm trying hard to teach him its merits.  I think this one surviving remnant of the 1951 Festival of Britain needs to be seen from the inside to be understood.  This is what I found from my own personal experience and happily, he was reasonably won over when I took him in.  Hurrah!  Perhaps now he will see it as a positive architectural piece contributing to the riverside?  I doubt he'll ever rank it above the Palace of Westminster but he may view it slightly more kindly at least.

I didn't take any external photos because I think I would have struggled with my wee camera at nighttime, but I did try to capture some of its lovely internal lines and feel with a few photos which I'd like to share with you, my dear readers.  We went in whilst a show was on in the theatre so there weren't too many people in the public areas, hence the somewhat muted and melancholy vibe of the pictures.  But still so warm and beautiful, in my opinion.  I was particularly taken with the abandoned balloon on the stairs towards the end...

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Laundry Room Pop-Up

If you're out and about in East London this weekend...

Yesterday afternoon for school, I went on a walk around Spitalfields with my class, and we got to stick our heads into the Georgian house where this pop-up shop is appearing.  I didn't want to leave.  It was a beautiful house, beautifully restored and, for this occasion, filled with beautiful, beautiful objects and art which you could walk out with (after handing over some money, of course).

At the moment we walked in, there was a buzz of people as they finished up preparations for the private opening that evening.  The wine glasses were out, there were pretty girls fluttering about making finishing touches, and older architectural historian gentleman-types dressed in tweed were lighting candles in chandeliers.  My heaven, in other words!  (Apart from the lack of pretty young men in tweed, of course.)  I should have jumped into a cupboard and waited to gatecrash the party but instead, I'll just have to head back on the weekend when the shop is open to the public for those two days.

It's well worth a look if you can make it, especially with Christmas around the corner.  Also on in the area over the weekend are the East London Design Show at Shoreditch Town Hall (Saturday and Sunday), Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair at Old Spitalfields Market (Saturday only) and the Vintage Furniture Flea at York Hall in Bethnal Green (Sunday only).  Whew!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Winter Personified

Happy December!  As promised in this previous post, I'm returning with Eugene Grasset's Winter months.  December and January are lovely indeed, but I think February might have my heart, personally.  Only in terms of the images below though because in terms of real months, I'm very much looking forward to lots of things December has in store...

So, which is your favourite lady this time round?