Sunday 28 August 2011

Chicago and Cambridge

Last night I started off my new ambition to become a regular theatre-goer (as written about in this previous post).  And it started off in style, seeing Chicago at the Cambridge Theatre.

The first thing to say is that the theatre itself was delicious.  Walking into the foyer I had a little thrill as I looked around and saw we were in a 1920s/1930s theatre.  Goody!  I suspected it must be a listed building and I was correct, so I was able to get some information about it from English Heritage's website.  Built in 1929-1930, it is apparently "a rare, complete and early example of a London theatre adopting the moderne, expressionist style pioneered in Germany during the 1920s.  It marked a conscious reaction to the design excesses of the music hall and contemporary cinemas.  Theatres looked for a new style appropriate to the greater sophistication of their entertainment and found it in the Germanic moderne forms of simple shapes enlivened by concealed lighting, shiny steelwork and touches of bright colour; this was not taken up by cinema designers until 1935."  That observation thrilled and intrigued me, it must be said.

But enough of lofty architectural history mumbo-jumbo and onto the pretty pictures!  Unfortunately I didn't have a camera on me so I didn't get any of my own - an especial shame because my little white dress I had on would have looked very comfortable in the surrounds...  BUT I found some historic pictures on the internet (on this site here) so I can share those with you:

Painting of Cambridge Theatre in 1930 (note the lovely cars as well!)

This view of the foyer is what I was first confronted with and
is what gave me "a little thrill"

Frieze by Antony Gibbons Grinling, depicting Drama

Looking back the other way to the box office and front doors

Frieze by Gibbons Grinley, depicting Music.
I just adore this one - isn't it gorgeous?

The bar

Upper Circle corridor
(note the lovely font on the light boxes)

The auditorium

I was particularly enchanted by the wall-mounted ashtrays which have been retained in the corridors, running my fingers over the cut-out lettering which read "ASHES PLEASE" in the same beautiful font as seen above.  Perhaps I attracted funny looks but what's new there?  They were exquisite, and I'm sorry I don't have a photo of that particular detail.  What was it about the ashtrays in particular that appealed to me?  After all, the font was elsewhere.  I think it was the way the letters had been cut out of the metal rather than just lazily painted on.  And also the romance of imagining 1930s theatre-goers smoking in the corridors during intervals, rather than being shunted out onto the street.  I know, I know, there are many reasons it's best not to have people smoking indoors (preservation of the building fabric being one of them!) but it is still a romantic notion to me.

Oh, and yes, the show!  There I was getting all distracted writing about the architecture, I almost forgot the reason I was there!  I thoroughly enjoyed it - the songs and choreography were great.  And it's always fun when you see a famous show for the first time and finally realise where a song is from - in this case, All That Jazz:

So it was an entertaining and amusing romp back to prohibition America with saucy ladies and charismatic men, including a troupe of lovely dancers.  I definitely approved of Roxie's way of thinking when, talking about her dream act, she said "I'm going to get me a boy to work with...  I'm going to get me a whole bunch of boys to work with!"  Well, wouldn't you?

I still think I prefer Cabaret though - just drawing comparisons because they are set in the same period, both have showgirl characters and were first performed within one decade of one another so are from the same era of theatre.  I liked the fact that Cabaret was a bit meatier in terms of plot and themes, and drew on its setting and era as part of this.  But to be fair, Chicago unashamedly has a different agenda, which it certainly achieved - that it, to "give 'em the old razzle dazzle", as they sing.

I would recommend hopping along to see it but, completely unexpectedly and unintentionally, we ended up going to the last night!  I'm not sure whether it's going to be moving to another theatre or if that's the end of the London run.  Either way, I'm glad The Cat and I managed to catch it at the Cambridge just in time!

Thursday 25 August 2011

Southbank Stash

The Vintage Festival at Southbank!  Okay, I know that a lot of people had a disappointing day but I was fortunate enough to have a friend who was too skint for the main event and talked me out of buying a ticket so I could just spend a day in the free parts with her.  I had been slightly skeptical about whether the events in the Royal Festival Hall would really be worth the cost of the ticket anyway and, from reports here in blogland, it sounds like I was right to be so.

The publicly-accessible Vintage High Street, however, amounted to a really enjoyable day.  My date had grown to be a wee bevy of girls by the time the vintage weekend swung around and we all headed down for a girly day of browsing lovely stalls, sustained by ice lollies and cream teas.  Some of us bought more, some of us bought less, some of us bought none but all of us were happy exploring.

I (surprise, surprise) was one of those who bought.  Though it's a little late after the date, I've got my hands on a camera after ages without one, so I thought I'd share my finds with my readers as I was quite happy with the little stash I brought home.  It felt like a well-rounded little bundle of variety - a change from my tendency to bring home more and more dresses to my already over-flowing abundance of said clothing item.  So, without further ado...

Item 1 and 2 - white lacy gloves and blue turban:

I have several pairs of warm winter gloves and I have satiny evening gloves, but I don't have any gloves for daywear - you know, to sass up a pretty little dress whilst just out and about, as opposed to out on the town.  I thought these were lovely for that purpose and fitted, well, you know, like a glove. £3 - sold!

The turban, I didn't expect to like on me at all but one of my friends encouraged me to try it on.  It was love at first sight when I looked in the mirror!  I somehow thought it would work best on straight hair but I love the way my curls poke out from under it.  I might have to start keeping my eye out for a proper vintage one as this is a rather cheap, nasty fabric but it does the trick for now!

Item 3 - vanity case:

Luggage/an overnight bag was on my list of items for which to keep an eye out when I arrived at the Festival.  The other was furnishings of the non-essential but handy kind (e.g. coffee tables, side cupboards, that kind of thing).  I didn't end up with furniture, though I did drool over a 1930s "tub chair" which was super-comfy, upholstered in lush deep red fabric and had cute, itsy-bitsy legs so was awfully sweet and low.  But that was in one of the pricy stalls and though I did seriously consider it, I opted against it in the end.  I also eyed off a 1960s record cabinet for a little while but one of my friends was more committed to it and she got to take it home instead.  I somewhat regretted letting her take it afterwards!

But, I digress.  Back to the vanity case.  I checked out a few - some bigger, some smaller, one with decoupage on it and all the little bottles inside which was absolutely darling but damn heavy even with nothing in it.  This one I felt struck the right balance of size, weight and durability.  

Plus it has sweet checks inside:

Item 4 - blue 1950s glasses:

Well, I already mentioned these in my other brief post about the day but they are so damn cool that I thought they deserved their own close-up.  I'm really not sure how often I'll actually wear them but I couldn't resist.  I am hoping I'll find occasions and outfits for them, despite them being a tad tricky.  Anyway, they fitted in with my blue theme for the day so it was clearly meant to be...

So, that's my well-rounded stash from last month's Vintage Festival at Southbank.  But I do have to confess that I did end up with a dress as well...  Only right at the end of the day.  I'd almost made it out without buying one, the stalls were packing up, we were leaving, but I then found a lovely one in the last place we looked, just after I'd been commenting on my self-discipline in not buying one.  Spoke too soon!  Might share it some other time though as it needs a tiny bit of taking in.  It's going to be a good autumn/winter dress though so do keep your eyes peeled for an appearance in a future outfit post.  And rest assured, I stuck to my theme - it is blue!

Anyone else found any not-strictly-clothing vintage items recently?  Accessories?  Furniture?  Luggage items??

Monday 22 August 2011

Distracted at the Imperial War Museum

As part of a current work project, I've been spending lots of days at the Imperial War Museum recently.  Considering how highly I regard the museum and its collection, I must say I'm feeling pretty chuffed about getting to work on it.  It's been quite a challenge to not get distracted by the exhibits though...  And the shop...  But I've been pretty good, just buying a couple of postcards to add to the little collection of pictures which adorn my desk at work.

I'd already had this poster up for a while, long before starting on this current job:

Now I've added these two:

The one below wasn't available as a postcard or poster...  So I have to confess I ended up buying a whole little book of British wartime posters in which it features.  It never actually got used as a recruitment poster because it was considered to be too risque - the blonde bombshell, it was nicknamed - but ain't it just fab?

All that aside, one of the definite perks of my job is getting to climb onto the roofs of all sorts of buildings.  Here's the view from the top of the museum, down into the central exhibition space... except I then realised you could get the same view from the top balcony inside the building, which is accessible to all visitors.  Plus, I caught my own reflection in the glass.  Oh well...

Thursday 18 August 2011

Royal Festival Hall and the Museum of 51

Last weekend I went to the Museum of 51 at Royal Festival Hall, which is part of the 60th anniversary celebrations for the Festival of Britain.  Oooh, it was wonderful!  I recommend that everyone who can get there does so before it closes at the beginning of September.  It won't even cost you a penny - it's absolutely free!

I can't share pictures of the exhibits with you because I was sans camera but I can share this video which I watched with delight and was terribly pleased to find available on YouTube when I got home.  It's fairly long but if you're interested in mid-century architecture, design and spacial planning, then you should absolutely set aside some time to watch it.  Even if you're not, it's got that wonderful 1950s documentary style that just makes everything seem quaint and fascinating.

After the film finished, I pulled out a notebook to jot down some of the most interesting points from the video (yes, I'm like that) - the British not liking rhetoric in their buildings and the festival site's embracing of intimate rather than grand spaces; the subtle methods used to distinguish but also connect spaces in the festival buildings; the surprise and interest created by levels and textures and corners; landscapes coming into buildings and buildings projecting over landscapes; platforms over the Thames to connect Londoners back to the river, etc, etc.

As I wrote desperately, trying to remember all the key points that had grabbed me, the chap who had been sat near me during the film approached me and asked if I had dressed up in 1950s style to come to the exhibition.  Stunned for a second (partly because my ensemble was really more 1940s...), I responded with something along the lines, "Um.  Oh!  I guess...  Well, I just wear this kind of thing most of the time."  He was pleasantly intrigued by this and said something nice about my outfit and then walked off to let me finish my note-taking.  I like it when people are pleasantly intrigued by my style and politely ask about it but I never know what to say!  I need to come up with a simpler response to the garbled ones I usually give...  When someone asks of my outfit "Is that 1950s?" and they're some older chap, I have to remember that they probably aren't interrogating me about whether my dress is of genuine vintage but are rather just curious and asking about the overall look and inspiration!

But enough of me and back to the exhibition.  Just to sell it further, there was wonderful memorabilia to examine, including - possibly my favourite - little cards which said "Festival of Britain visitor" (or some such) with a space to insert your photo.  Oh, how I would love one of those!  There were architectural drawings for the buildings and site, sketch designs for the logo, a replica 1950s room where you could lounge on a sofa and flip through a scrap book of newspaper cuttings with period music playing (though, unfortunately, I quickly learnt as I sat there reading newspaper cuttings that it was just the one song on repeat), an old typewriter where you could type your telegramme (see above), guidelines for the unifying festival font, pretty printed silk scarfs, and lots more!

The final delightful thing to mention is the wonderful Patchwork of the Century.

Image source

This covers the hundred years from the Great Exhibition of 1851 through to the Festival of Britain in 1951 and was made by a group of women with no prior experience of needlework, led by one Lilian Dring.  It was created from scraps of material such as uniforms and blackout curtains left over from the war.  There is a bit more information about it on this web page.

As I stood there examining it, trying to work out what each square represented (there is a "cheat sheet" for those not up to the challenge, or for when you give up), I thought what fun it would be to create a patchwork from 1951 to 2011!  What would I choose for each square?  What event or person defined Britain in each of those 60 years.  I wondered idly if I could convince any fellow bloggers to join me on a quest to gather a large enough group of keen amateurs to tackle 60 patchwork squares...  Just idly wondering...

Saturday 13 August 2011

Chap Olympiad - one month on

I'm finally here with my report of the Chap Olympiad. Unfortunately none of the pictures from the disposable camera worked terribly well so I'll just have to describe what my friend and I wore...

I wore a floral dress from Beyond Retro - it's the kind of dress your mother loves and your boyfriend hates.  The Cat calls it my granny dress.  But I think it's so pretty, all floral and floaty.  I have the perfect slip to go under it which feels as though it was made for the dress because the colour is a deep red that picks up one of the colours of the flowers.  So if my skirt blows up in the breeze, my outfit and my dignity do not suffer. 

I also wore my trusty, perfectly fitted, go-to, dark gray wool jacket which I've worn before in an outfit post here.  I adorned it with a brooch which I bought off ebay when I was having a brooch-buying frenzy due to a perceived unforgivable gap in my jewellery collection.  It's a sweet sprig of leaves with deep berries.  Seamed tights and heeled brogues finished off the look.  

My friend's dress was a pretty little monochrome number from somewhere online (though I can't remember where) which she coupled with saddle shoes.  She'd been living out of a suitcase for almost a month at this point as she was visiting London from abroad - so to look as smashing as she did was a mighty achievement!  She'd been hoping to go shopping for a vintage dress for the occasion but had been up visiting relatives in remote parts of Scotland the week previous so didn't get the chance...

But enough of my vanity project, describing our outfits.  While I'm on the topic of the Chap Olympiad, I may as well write a little something about the day itself, despite it being hardly fresh and news-worthy by now.  In fact, the best little summary of the day can probably be found with the instigators of the day's event - over at The Chap's website.  In the picture accompanying the article, you can see my companion gasping at the excitement of the spectacle in the audience in the background - I am beside her but obscured by the legs of the "shop counter".

All the same, I'd like to share just a few photos from the first half of the day.  I'm not sure about the legalities of putting pictures of a bunch of strangers on my blog - I should probably technically, legally have people sign a release form.  But if they're going to put themselves up on a stage, I'm taking that as permission.  Besides, if I'm posting these pictures and saying they all look fabulous, I don't think they should have reason to take umbrage!  So, as I was saying, a little bit of an illustrated recording of events.

Through a sea of umbrellas, the crowd observes the Opening Ceremony and the lighting of the Olympiad Pipe:

Although my first inclination was to groan when I woke up to hear pouring rain, I definitely think it added a certain something to the proceedings.  It just made the whole thing slightly more mad-cap, slightly more challenging, and slightly more British!  I also get the impression that it put off some of the less devoted ticket-holders, who might have slightly brought down the tone through lack of sartorial efforts or proper chap spirit.  I was seriously impressed by the efforts put into all the outfits there - it was a sheer delight to see.

As the contestants prepared for the first "sport", we managed to grab some seats in the front row, from where we had an excellent view (though also a few scares in the events which saw people teetering around on bicycles, being carried aloft on ironing boards, or crashing themselves and objects around for other reasons).  From said seats, we watched a series of quirky, elaborate, amusing events such as those that feature below...

In which a walking cane is used to pitch a bowler hat into a net:

In which the ladies line up to face the chaps who must attempt to make them swoon:

In which contestants must play tennis but with the least amount of focus and effort possible, i.e. ultimately to Not Play Tennis:

A stroke of luck and/or good timing meant that the rain cleared up at the mid-event interval so a large number of people were enticed to take to the stage for a dance:

These two were absolutely amazing:

... and then I dropped my camera into the jug of Pimms at my feet so there were no more photos!  At least the memory card survived.  And, with nothing left to lose, my companion and I took to the stage to join in the dancing.  

All in all, a thoroughly excellent day was had.  This was my first Olympiad but I will undoubtedly be returning next year.  It's certainly one of the most fun and zany days out in the London calendar.  Some of the events were naturally more engaging than others but the whole thing was held together brilliantly by the MC, Tristan Langlois.

Next time, now I can promote it speaking from first-hand experience, I hope to gather a wee troop of fellow chaps and chapettes, perhaps accompanied by a picnic.  

I just hope it rains again next year...  

Tuesday 9 August 2011

Random Reasons to Love London #4

In Hackney, Clapham and elsewhere, a counter-balance to the hate and destructiveness of last night's rioting and looting, as locals come together to help clear up in the aftermath...

Source: The Guardian

Londoners do have a history of resilience, after all.  I just pray that it's not tested again tonight.  Lots of love going out to everyone else out there in this fine city.

[Post-script: Have just read the following observation in a Guardian Comment piece, which I thought worthy of quoting here: 
"The broom, raised aloft, and cups of tea carried on riot shields have become today's iconic images. How British. How beautifully British. And how very, very London."]

Monday 8 August 2011

Random Reasons to Love London #3

Photo courtesy of Fouquier via Flickr
Parts of London may be in disarray right now, with the riots which have been carrying on for the past few nights but that's just a momentary blip, involving a small minority of people.  It's a sad situation and my heart goes out to those unsuspecting people caught up in the fray, but these few days don't change the fact that London is full of wonderful people and wonderful moments.

So, I felt the need to counter all the horrible scenes that are going on across London with a nice little story.  I know that my little tale won't stop the social problems which are making themselves so evident right now, but all the same, here it is...

I was walking along the other day, dressed up in a pretty, bright frock and in high spirits as it was the weekend and I was off to meet some friends for a nice day out.  As I walked past a dignified elderly couple at a bus-stop, the man caught my attention with a polite "excuse me".  I stopped, thinking he was going to ask me directions or advice on what bus to catch.  But instead he said, "That's a lovely dress you've got on.  It's brightened up our day."  His wife nodded gently in confirmation.  I smiled with surprise and delight, and thanked him before trotting off again on my way, my mood buoyed even more than before.

Now, isn't that just the loveliest thing?  What a sweet, wonderful couple!  I may have brightened their day, but they certainly did the same for me through that brief moment we shared.

Sunday 7 August 2011

London Fringe

I have decided that I'm going to become a theatre-goer.

1940s ladies in an opera box, showing off their lovely gowns and
concentrating more on chatting than watching the show...

What's inspired this?  Well, The Cat has booked us tickets to see Chicago in a couple of weeks.  His mum said she'd buy us theatre tickets for Christmas last year and we're only just getting around to going now!  We had a major set-back and disappointment when we realised that Oliver closed months ago because we'd been hoping to see that.  But we saw Cabaret a few years ago and both loved it, so thought we'd go for something of that ilk, i.e. interwar showgirls in fishnets.  So, Chicago it is.

I absolutely adore Cabaret and think it's such a powerful story, with some smashing songs...

... I have my doubts as to whether Chicago will quite match it but I'm willing to give it a shot.  Has anyone else seen it?  In London or elsewhere?

Anyway, whilst we were investigating what shows were on, I had a look into some fringe theatre in addition to the main West End shows and came across quite a number of promising possibilities.  I generally only ever think to go to the theatre when I have guests in town or when it's for a special occasion but there's so much out there, that I realise that kind of mentality is just a crime.  Especially when you can find some really cheap and cheerful things in the fringe world.

So, just to give you an idea, these are some of the things I came across to get me excited...

This is set at the beginning of the 20th century (so, nice costumes, one imagines) and is based on the true tale of Addison Mizner and his brother Wilson who, according to the promotional material, were "two of the most colourful and outrageous fortune seekers in American history".  Don't know anything about them but it sounds like a lark.  Plus, it's at the Menier Chocolate Factory which I heard mention of for the first time recently.  Basically, old chocolate factory, now theatre, so I'd be intrigued to see how they've converted it because, you know, I'm into that kinda stuff.

Next up:

Set in the 1930s and first performed off-Broadway in the 1960s, Dames at Sea is a parody which tells the story of three chorous girls (one diva, one jokester and one small-town gal) and their sailor men.  The showgirls' theatre is going to be closed down so they talk the sailors' captain into letting them use his ship for their show. Need I say more?  Oh, yes, perhaps I should add that tickets are only £15.  Definitely liking these "fringe benefits" (pardon the pun).

And then:

The story needs no introduction, being one of Arthur Conan Doyle's most classic and well-known Sherlock Holmes episodes.  The quirky thing about this show is that it's performed as though for a radio play, inspired by live broadcasts of Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre Company of the '30s.  So I assume the audience get to see the performers, and I hope that they're in suitable period attire!  Again, this one's only £11 (or £9 advance) at Theatro Technis.

And these plays are only the ones which were the first to catch my eye (perhaps because, you may have noticed, they're all set in the first few decades of the 20th century).  They're all on only for the next few weeks but I'm sure more careful scrutiny will definitely reveal further promising shows which should keep me going for the rest of year at least.  I'm thinking I should aim for one show a month, or perhaps one every two months is more realistic?

Is anyone else a regular theatre-goer?  I know fellow blogger Miss Katie is more than a theatre-goer, she's a performer!  If anyone ever has anything to recommend (because they've seen it or are even in it!), I'd love to hear about it.

Thursday 4 August 2011

Style Hunting...

Darn it!  I didn't make it onto the Grazia website's Style Hunter page...  I guess finger-crossing didn't help.  Oh well, it was amusing to be snapped by their roaming photographers nonetheless.  And overall I think those girls that did make it onto the website looked pretty spiffing - I especially love Sophie's dress.  Though I have to confess that I don't get the 70s thing at all...  But I do think it's nice that the judges seem to have gone for a mix of styles and periods.

Anyway, I did snap some pictures of my own for an outfit post, but they're hidden away inside my handy disposable camera at the moment (no, I've not got a proper replacement for my Pimms-drowned camera yet).  In the meantime, here's one my friend took on her iphone...

I'm looking rather pleased because I'd just bought the glasses at this point, which happened to go perfectly with my outfit.  They're a bit mad, and perhaps not to everyone's taste (including The Cat's) but I just thought they were wonderfully quirky.  And really, can you blame me for not being able to resist when they complemented my '50s-style dress so well, both in colour and era??  I wonder if I would have gotten plus or minus points if I'd had them on at the time Grazia snapped me...?

I won't tell you about my other purchases just now as I'd rather wait until I can show you pictures of them.  In that case, perhaps I should stop blogging and get onto buying a new camera!

But I will just say that an excellent time was had last weekend down at Southbank for the Vintage Festival.  I had been intending to go to the ticketed event before discovering that there was a whole lot of free stuff going on by the river-front.  A skint friend talked me out of paying for a pass to Royal Festival Hall, and a group of us just browsed the "Vintage High Street" instead.  There was a good range of items and prices, and we had a lovely day browsing (with occasional purchases), people-watching, and finishing up with cream tea in the pretty refreshments tent.  The definite advantage of not paying £60 for a ticket meant that there was more money to go towards taking home permanent goodies, rather than mere fleeting entertainments!  But as I said, more on those "permanent goodies" at some later date...

Monday 1 August 2011

Blog Award! (Happy Days!)

I'm very excited to report that the lovely Wendy over at The Butterfly Balcony has surprised me with my first ever blog award!  This is the same lovely girl who, from memory, was my first follower, which was a nice boost in the very earliest days of my blog.

I'm so very honoured that Wendy thought to give me the award, not least because I really enjoy reading her blog and am rather chuffed that she likes mine just as much.

So I most graciously accept my award and commit myself to the task of telling you five random facts about myself.  Here we go...

Number 1. 
My given names are Lisa Marie.  Apparently I wasn't named after Elvis Presley's daughter, even though my mum is a big fan of his.  But I have inherited her great love of Elvis.  We had an Elvis clock in my family home as I grew up, I now have an Elvis mirror.  If you say anything nasty about Elvis, I will get angry.

Mess with Elvis and you mess with me

Number 2. 
I have a wee scar on my shoulder which I think looks kind of like a little slug.  I completely forget it's there but then people ask about it occasionally.  I got it when I leant against a window as a teenager (yes, stupid, I know) and it broke.  Fortunately I didn't fall out of it, just sustained a few cuts!

No broken bones, just a scar (Image source)

Number 3. 
I'm 27 and I can't drive... I grew up in the big city with scarce parking and lots of public transport so I couldn't see the point.  Plus, my older brother and sister could both drive and had to battle for the car as it was.  My mum never bothered to learn until someone offered to sell her a classic 1959 mint green car - I think I'm waiting for the same opportunity.

Can't get booked when you can't drive! (Image source)

Number 4. 
During my lifetime, I've worked as a sales assistant at a bakery, as a waitress at several cafes and restaurants, as an administrator for a community transport organisation, as a receptionist and as a PA (in that order).  I'm now apparently about to be promoted at work to become a professional architectural historian/heritage adviser!  Best job, hands down.  Hopefully it all comes through without a hitch!

Like Barbie, I've had many different jobs... (Image source)

Number 5. 
I live with my boyfriend of several years.  I sometimes call him "Cat".  He's agreed that if I ever mention him on this blog, I can refer to him thus.  So keep an eye out for that.  You're very, very unlikely to ever get to see a picture of him though, because he doesn't like the idea of his face being on the internet for lots of strangers to see.  He's very nice in obliging me by taking photos for my outfit posts, however!

Me and The Cat walking in the snow

And now it comes to me to pass on the torch of the award.  The five blogs I pick are as follows:

...and I know that I'm probably not supposed to choose blogs that I've seen Wendy has already given awards to but I just love these girls too much not to mention them (they can just have double awards):

Phew!  I think that's officially the hardest post I've ever written!

By the way, I got snapped by the "Style Hunters" from Grazia the other day when I was at the Southbank Vintage Festival.  I never read the magazine but (of course) I still really hope I make the cut and appear on their website!  Keep your fingers crossed, and I'll let you know when I find out!

Post-script: I've just discovered the wonderfully quirky My Name is Philippa blog and would like to add a belated, bonus, spontaneous sixth award to the lady at the helm there - Philippa (obviously).