26 June 2012

Finding Mr. Right 1920's style: Be prepared to get your bunsen burner out

A couple of weeks ago the lovely Emily kindly let me do a guest post on her blog. While she was getting a nice tan and staring at some hunky waiters (you lucky thing you), I wrote all about dating tips from the 1930's and updated them for the modern girl. You can read all about it and see some funny black and white pictures here. I enjoyed learning about the old dating techniques and it sort of made me want to be on the dating scene again, just so I could try them all out. Although you can't beat a weekend of Dad's Army, cake and cuddles with Mr. Boyfriend.

Bizarre matchmaking: The article from a 1924 edition of Science and Invention magazine recommends smelling your partner's scent via a hosepipeAfter doing this post I did some more research into old dating tips and found some great but very funny advice. Recently an article from a 1924 edition of Science and Invention magazine has been discovered. The article gives some bizarre methods on how to test a couple's compatibility, so if you are wondering whether you've found your Mr Darcy or not, then you may want to try out these techniques.

These so called 'basic' tests consist of four unusual experiments, including the body odour test, the nervous disorder test, the sympathy test and the physical attraction test. Now beat that Match.com.

Test your mettle: If at least one person in the couple stays calm when they hear a gun go off beside them, then they are compatibile In the body odour test one person should place themselves in a large capsule with a hose attached and then their partner takes a big sniff off the smell. If it is not found 'too objectionable' then the match is 'safe'. This sounds as bad as smelling your man's feet. Warning: This test may make you rush to Boots to buy them some deodorant. Thank god for the 3 for 2 offer.

The aim of the nervous disorder test is to find out whether at least one half of a couple can be calm under pressure. The test imagines a man shooting a gun into the air with the reactions from you and your partner recorded. If both of you pee your pants and run screaming to the biscuit tin then you apparently shouldn't get married.

Finding the perfect couple: In the sympathy test, the woman watches her partner giving blood and her reaction is measured to see if she's sympathetic enoughThe sympathy test is done to find out whether a husband or wife is sympathetic to their partner when they are in pain. One of you must watch your partner go through something mildly traumatic, such as giving blood. In my opinion finding the Asos dress you desperately wanted out of stock or your man watching England lose at the football is equally traumatic. Whoever is watching the test has their heart rate and breathing measured. If the rates increase then they are thought to be a 'sufficiently sympathetic partner'. What this test does not take into account is the 'sympathy' and transformation into Florence Nightingale us ladies have to go through when our poor darling has man flu.

Is it love? The physical attraction test measures pulse and breathing when a couple embracesThe final test is the physical attraction test and according to the magazine it is the most important factor in any marriage. Well who really wants to be stuck with a Sideshow Bob lookalike the rest of their lives? I'd have Rock Hudson over him anyday. The test is done by measuring the couple's pulse and breathing rate when they embrace. If both heart rates increase when they hug or kiss, this is then 'scientific evidence' of attraction. Your man jumping on you even when Top Gear is on might be a sign as well.

The magazine says that the tests are vital for establishing a happy relationship and for finding out if a couple should have children together. It says 'We take extreme care in breeding horses, dogs and cats, but when we come to ourselves we are extremely careless and do not use our heads, nor the means that science puts in our hands for scientific breeding.' Um ok, these tests sound interesting, but charm, a sense of humour and kindness does it for me I don't know about you ladies. Obviously muscly arms and a six pack is a pretty big bonus too.

Second Hand Rose

20 June 2012

Father's Day and the man that is my idol

Before I start let me apologise for my blog turning into an episode of Who Do You Think You Are? I apologise to my new and old followers that I have done two posts in a row about my adoring family. I promise I'll be back to gushing about old Beetles and 20's dresses very soon.

On Sunday the country and a lot of the world clubbed together to celebrate Father's Day. Earlier in the year I blogged all about Mother's Day and the fabulous woman that is Mummy Second Hand Rose. You can read about it and see all her fabulous cake creations here. Now for this post it's Daddy Second Hand Rose's turn, get ready to learn more about the legend.

Father's Day isn't as old as Mother's Day and has only really been celebrated since 1916. It all began in Washington when a woman in 1908 called Sonora Smart Dodd decided to campaign for a day to honour Father's. Sonora and her five other siblings were raised only by her father. She campaigned relentlessly around Washinton finding support from shop keepers, churches and government officials.

Eventually it was made the first national statewide day in Washington to celebrate Father's on the 19th of July 1910. Slowly the holiday spread and in 1916 President Wilson marked the day by using telegraph signals to unfurl a flag in Washington. In the 20's and the 30's there was a campaign to abolish the day in favour of a Parent's Day.

Every year on Mother's Day pro-Parents' Day groups rallied in New York's Central Park to protest, you can tell the TV hadn't been invented yet can't you. Then in 1929 when the Depression hit struggling retailers and advertisers doubled their efforts to make Father's Day a 'second Christmas' for men promoting gifts such as socks, hats, pipes and tobacco, golf clubs and other sporting goods. Now they're lucky to get a 99p card from the Card Factory and a box of half price Thornton's chocolates. When World War II began advertisers argued that celebrating the day was a way to honour troops and the war effort. By the end of the war it was a national day, lucky old Daddy's.

Then in 1972 in the middle of an election campaign Richard Nixon signed a proclamation making the day a federal holiday at last. Over the years it has spread throughout the world and in a lot of countries ranging from the UK to Barbados and Zambia, it is celebrated on the 3rd Sunday of June. Lucky old Hallmark.

My dad is my number one man and compared to him Christian Louboutin would be way way down the list, well at least 4th. Like my Mum he is my rock and is always there for me when I need him. I honestly don't know how I'd be able to keep on smiling without my Dad's support and humour. I'm sure I'd probably be skint and scouring joke books just for some laughter. He is the funniest person I know and can always make me laugh even in the most awkward and terrifying times.

He retired recently, so I now have endless days of watching Only Fools and Horses and playing cards with him to look forward to. I swear that when I was a child he wanted another son. Whilst my brother was being dressed up as girl by my sister, I was being taught how to change a tyre, tile, do electrics and was the main goalie and wicket keeper. I had my very own Chelsea kit complete with scrunchies and socks. Whenever something goes wrong in the house or when something needs to be made up, I am his right hand woman. Well someones gotta stop him making a mess of it.

I've always been extremely close to him and when I was five I used to get up every morning at 6am to shave with my dad. I had my own razor and he taught me how to shave my 'beard' off, I'm just thankful I didn't actually start to grown one. We are both very alike and share mainly traits, including the same sense of humour and logical mind. Along with that we both adore old cars, so I have him to teach me all about Chevrolet's and Morris Miner's. Although he does have to physically restrain me from buying an old car every time I see one. He is a brilliant husband, father and all around fabulous bloke.

We have been on at my Dad to lose weight as none of us want to be wearing black anytime soon. As a joke present we made him a hamper up full of carrots, celery and Slim Fast snacks. As a less jokey present we got him a plaque for his retirement bench that he was given to by his lovely colleagues at work.
We deliberated for a long time about what to inscribe it with. We decided to go with 'Bunter's Bench', which I am sure has made you all have a slightly unattractive confused look on your face. Years ago he was nicknamed Billy Bunter, which has now been shortened to 'Bunter' by his three lovely adoring children. He was happy with his presents, even if they do make him grow some fluffy ears and a tail.
I bet you can guess which one is mine!

So happy Father's Day to the amazing Daddy Second Hand Rose. I'm so grateful he came home every night around 6pm and wasn't working away all the time, so I got to knew him throughout my life and we are now very close. Due to him being 'frugal' as he would put it, he has been able to retire in his mid fifties and has many years of wearing the same clothes he was wearing in my baby photos and using voucher codes for meals out to come. I look forward to spending more quality 'father daughter bonding' time with ie. him doing my nails and dying my hair, yes you did just read that right.

Our world would be a lot somber and very dysfunctional without him. I mean who else is going to teach me all those invaluable bits of trivia that I can't live without. By the way did you all know that there are no slums in Norway?

Second Hand Rose

15 June 2012

A tribute to my treasured Grandma: You will always be loved

This is a post that is difficult for me to write. Just to write the words, is like someone twisting a knife in my heart. *Deep breath.* One whole year ago today my beautiful Grandma passed away. For six months she bravely fought through several heart attacks, major strokes and around a dozen mini strokes. There were so many times that we were told this was it and then she would just keeping getting better.

You could go see her one day and it looked like the end and then the next day she was sitting up in bed with her cappuccino telling me all about the dishy doctor, who's bum she wouldn't mind pinching. There were so many ups and downs and so much false hope.

I was desperate for her to hang on, she had so much to live for and was loved by so many. At the age of 84 she got herself a passport, so she could fly with my sister. I personally believe she just wanted to find a hunky Spanish man. Grandma died a week before my 18th birthday, which wasn't the best birthday present the birthday fairy could have given me. It was a very hard time and I hardly felt like celebrating, even though I knew that she would have wanted me to put my glad rags on, some killer heels and go and boogy my bum off.

She lived about two minutes drive up the road from my house, so one of us would see or speak to her daily. Like my other Grandma, she played a big part in my childhood and I can remember so many times sitting in her kitchen in the little gap that was just Second Hand Rose size and eating her amazing banana sandwiches, which in my opinion were her forte. I don't know what it was about them, but they tasted like no other ones I've ever tasted. The truth is I haven't been able to eat one since. Not even one with Nutella in.

I am so grateful that she was a huge part of my life and I have so many photos, videos and memories to look back on. Until she was about 79 she wore these two inch black heels every day. You could hear her coming down the drive and wherever she went she wore them. It was obvious that sometimes they were hurting her feet, but you could not take her out of her heels. That's something I've inherited from her, a love of heels!

Due to my Grandma's both having the same first name, we called her Grandma L'ily. Pronounced L-ily, not Lily. No one else called her that apart from my close little family. I still remember the times that I would walk in her house and the lovely smile and happiness she exuded, you would have thought that someone had given her a diamond ring. She loved being taken out by us for a coffee or to the garden centre and was never seen out without her precious lipstick.

Grandma was always so supportive in what I wanted to do and would love looking over my sketchbooks and seeing what I was up to. She used to love my purple lipstick and feather fake eyelashes and once told me off for coming to see her in hospital without them on. Grandma loved all my creations and proudly showed them off to whoever came to visit her. She loved this multicoloured feather dress that I made, so when we said goodbye to her I wore that with my purple feather eyelashes and coloured streaks in my hair. It might not be the usual funeral attire and I did get some funny looks, but I knew that I would have got some stick from her if I hadn't worn it.

She said my 'look' was amazing, the more extravagant the better and that she admired me for having the confindence to wear quirky clothes. She asked me to put my eyelashes on her, but sadly I never got the chance to see her with them on.

There is not an hour that I don't think about her and keep thinking to myself what she would think of things that I'm doing now. She never knew about this, she always encouraged me to do what I wanted to do and I know that she would be so proud of my little blog, even though I do ramble on an awful lot about Christian Louboutin's.
There are just little things that I'd love her opinion on, like my latest killer heels or my new lipstick. She never saw the loss of my long locks and I'd adore to see her surprised face at my short new haircut.

When she died I looked through a collection of her memories all boxed up. From pictures to anniversary cards and christening congratulations, I saw my Grandma in a new light, not just as the lovely lady I used to make cards with, but as a beautiful women who had a life full of love and happiness.

I certainly learnt through her photos that she was a right poser when she was younger and found many of her in her late teens, early twenties looking so happy and having a lot of fun. I wish I could have gone through them with her and heard all the gossip. I'm not gonna lie, I was secretly hoping to find love letters from a mysterious man or cards from a secret love child, everyone wants a family secret right? Maybe I've been watching too much Eastenders.

My grandma lives on through my family and especially my beautiful Mum. She had such a wonderful smile which has now been passed down to my mum, me and my brother and sister. My Mum has her heart and her kindness towards people, which I like to believe that I have. She was amazing at drawing and used to make cakes for people, which passed down through my mum to me.

What was clear was that even though my Grandad died sixteen years ago, she was still deeply in love with him. She used to keep a love letter from him in her handbag with her at all times and told me many stories repeatedly about how they met, when they got married etc. I just wish I could hear them one more time.

 I can't believe it's been a whole year since my whole world changed and my lovely Grandma was taken away from us and if you're reading this from somewhere Grandma, I hope you're proud of me and sitting there with some false feather eyelashes on and some fabulous heels.

All my love your Looby-Loo

Second Hand Rose

P.s. Don't worry I will return to my usual gushing about Clark Gable and general wit and sarcasm tomorrow.

10 June 2012

60 years of the Queen's Fashion: From flowing skirts to amazing hats

First of all I'd like to ask you, no urge you, no beg you to go check out my guest post at the fabulous Emily's blog. While she has jetted off to sunnier climes (with this weather who can blame her.) she has let me do a guest post hereYes ME! So pretty pretty please with cherries on top can you check out my guest post hereThe last two weeks have been full of Jubilee mania. You couldn't move for union jack bunting or Mummy Second Hand Rose's scones and cream, seriously they are A-mazing. Everyone in the country, in fact nearly everyone in the world has been celebrating 60 years of Queen Lizzie sitting on that gorgeous gold throne with all those fabulous jewels. I'm sure there was even a man in Outer Mongolia waving a union jack and eating some coronation chicken.
The woman is officially fabulous with a capital F. At 86 years old she is still a jet setter and travels around showing off her royal wave to the world. Yes she brings millions of tourists to the country, yes she is the leader of the commonwealth and yes she has seen twelve prime ministers come and go throughout her reign, but what is the most important thing. Yes ladies her fashion.
(clockwise) Queen Elizabeth II in 2005; models wearing the designs of Italian designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana for Dolce & Gabbana during the Autumn/Winter 2008/2009 women's collections at Milan Fashion Week in 2008
You may not think it, but she is an icon in the fashion world. Five years ago she was listed alongside Kate Moss, Claudia Schiffer and Naomi Campbell as one of the 50 most glamorous women in the world. She always has a certain style about her and has in fact influenced many designers, such as Dolce and Gabanna's 2008-2009 old English Tweed look. The models strutted their stuff down the runway with below the knee tweed skirts, headscarves and big boxy bags. Thankfully there wasn't one bit of corgy poop in sight. I can't really see the models accessory being a plastic bag, can you?
Six images featuring Queen Elizabeth II wearing a variety of hatsA number one rule for the Queen is that she has to have a handbag. Where else is she going to keep her Wherther's Original? She also always has a hat which is colour co-ordinated with her outfit and they have become something of a trademark.
She's hardly going to set out wearing one of Philip Tracey's butterfly creation, but her hats are always beautifully made and help her stand out from the crowd. Like the Duchess of Cambridge now, in yesteryears if an outfit was created that was similar to hers, it was snapped up as quick as a free pack of chocolate biscuits. Personally I'd rather have the chocolate biscuits.
The other main rules for dressing the Queen are that she always wears a two inch heel and hemlines must be well below the knee. I can't see her wearing 4 inch Louboutin's and a Herve Leger bodycon dress, can you? To stop her dresses blowing up and us seeing her knicerblocker glory, coins are sewn into the hemline of her dresses to weigh them down. The TOWIE cast please take note.
I have scoured an archive of the Queen's outfits from the last 60 years and found key ones representing her style in each decade. It is fascinating to see how it has changed over the years and how she has created her own unique look. For each decade I have put an updated look together with all the items available on the high street. Not all of us can afford a £2000 Net a Porter dress sadly.


I simply adore this look, with the fitted waist and the lace, it is Second Hand Rose heaven. This look is accessorised with a matching white lace parasol, which helped keep the Queen cool during her Australian tour in 1954.
Regardless of the heat she kept her signature gloves well and truly on, the woman is clearly a legend. With the mid heel and the T-bar shoes, this is iconic of the pencil skirt dress style look. In the 50's the Queen was a style icon and certainly had an influence on fashion. Norman Hartnell who had been designing for her since the 1940's created some incredible gowns for her throughout the 50's with nipped in waists and full skirts.
Heel sandals, £25Rare London box clutch, £20John Lewis pearl bangle, £18Jon Richard pearl drop earrings, £7Jane Norman pearl jewelry, £16Long glove, $19Lace tunic, $15Talullah Tu crystal hair accessory, £20White glove, $12Miss Selfridge waist belt, $21This lace dress is a perfect way to get the look. With the nipped in waist, midi skirt and cap sleeves, it is perfect to imitate her majesty's 50's style. Accessorise it with either long or short gloves and some pearl jewellery to be a royal copycat. To make your waist rival the likes of Kylie, you can add a white belt to clinch everything in. Matching a cream lace bag and a cream pearl hairband pulls the look together with some beautiful cream T bar shoes. Finally pull of the Queen's look with a gorgeous lace parasol, who cares if it's a miserable day outside.

The Queen continued to be a style icon throughout the 60's with yet more beautiful outfits. She carried on wearing some beautiful nipped in designs with full flowing skirts, although she didn't follow in Twiggy's footsteps with a miniskirt. Now that I would like to see.
Patterns on dresses were very popular in the 60's which is shown in this print dress, that she wore during a royal visit to India in January 1961. She accesorised this outfit with gloves, pearls and another fabulous hat.

1960's Queen

Get this look with this striped colour block dress, complete with a nipped in waist and flowing skirt. Instead of white gloves, try continuing the theme of the dress with black scalloped gloves and some gorgeous yellow and black wedges. If you want to make your waist look even tinier, you can add the yellow heart belt over the waist black stripe. These gorgeous owl earrings go perfectly with it, along with the pearl circle necklace which was very popular of the time. If it's for a formal occasion, add this yellow fascinator, but if its just for posing around in Boots with add this yellow bow headband. Complete it with this great white bag with or without the chain, it will help show off the bright colours of the dress. If you want a bigger skirt you can add an underskirt, which you can find cheap on eBay. If you're a bit of a handy Mandy you can also get a piece of netting and make one yourself just by gathering the top. This whole look together is a great way to bring back the 60's bright colours and poofy skirts. Just find a Steve McQueen look alike and you'll be there.

1970'sEngland was full of hippyness with maxi chiffon dresses and tie dye. Vivienne Westwood was making her mark in King's Road with spikes and leather, but none of this was being reflected in good old Queenie's fashion. I can't really see her with spikes and leather or promoting free love, can you? This mustard and white dress was worn in Jamaica in 1975, wearing one of her most elaborate hats to date. Personally I'd happily wear that around Sainsbury's.
Mary jane shoes, £28Dorothy Perkins white handbag, $27Pearl jewelry, £20Warehouse white pearl jewelry, $21Beaded jewelry, £25Tahitian pearl earrings, $12ASOS knit hat, $8.70Leather glove, £11Warehouse leather belt, $81970's QueenThis Asos dress is perfect to replicate this style, with the print and the collar. The shorter skirt modernises it, but it still contains the Queen's trusty nipped in waist look. Turbans were popular in the 70's, so this knitted one will go perfectly with this dress along with the short peachy coloured gloves. The Queen always has a bit of bling including beautiful brooches. This one is great to add to the look and adds a hint of gold along with the necklace, bracelet and earrings. The white satin heels match the Queen's look along with the mid heel and the white clutch bag which completes it. It will go along with many outfits as well as this one. I bet the Queen is going green with envy right now.

1980'sThis look shows her pulling off her signature headscarf look that has become famous. She wore this blouse skirt combo which was worn at The Royal Windsor Horse Show in 1982. The Queen paired a cardigan with her trusty handbag and some sunglasses. She is wearing a patterned blouse that is a clash against her headscarf, kudos to Queenie.
Dorothy Perkins button up shirt, $49John Lewis purple cardigan, £18Jane Norman pleated midi skirt, £15Patent leather pumps, £30Mango shopping bag, £25Oasis white pearl necklace, $21Pearl jewelry, $25Plaid scarve, £13H&m sunglasses, £6.99Mint Bow Front Pastel Balarrina Pumps, £151980's QueenI love this look with the flared skirt and gorgeous bird print top. I've added a green tartan headscarf to the mix, which like the Queen's look clashes with the top but it isn't too over powering.You can wear this with mint coloured flats, which co-ordinate with the headscarf. You can take it up a notch and wear some nude patent heels, just like the Duchess of Cambridge does. The purple flowing cardigan goes well with all the colours and gives the look a modern twist by adding a big black bag and black sunglasses. Try the look with a pearl heart pendant and give a nod to the Queen with a crown ring. You can wear this look in the day and at night with the fabulous pastels updating the look to the modern day, perfect for walking the Corgi's with.

1990'sHere she is in the 1990's putting a twist on Tartan at a visit to Nottingham University. The dress is full of gorgeous purples and turquoises with yet another fabulous matching hat, gorgeous pearls and a trusty box handbag. I wouldn't expect anything less.
Motel t shirt dress, $24Black platform sandals, £30Dorothy Perkins black clutch handbag, $35ASOS quilted shoulder bag, $28Pieces pearl crystal jewelry, $21Dorothy Perkins white pearl jewelry, $27A Wear pearl cluster ring, £12Jon Richard cat brooch, £15Black hat, £181990's Queen

Okay I doubt the queen would go out with a bowler hat and killer heels, but remember she is in her late 60's here so is cleverly dressing for her age but with style. I love this tartan shirt, you can wear it so many ways. I've included the pearls due to her love of them and the pearl chain necklace looks great with the shirt. Black goes so well with red, so some black suede heels would go perfect with this along with the bowler hat cleverly placed on your head. I'm not saying you have to look like a banker from 1910, but it does add an edge to it. You could either wear this with a long chain quilted bag or carry a black clutch. The relaxed shirt depicts the grunge look of the 90's and all the accessories update it to the modern day.I'm definitely bookmarking it for my I can take on the world chick days.

2000'sHere is the Queen in November 2010 aged 84 rocking the pastel trend. She is at the Al Alam Palace in Oman in Asia. I love her hat and how her whole outfit yet again co-ordinates together. Her white bag, shoes and gloves go well with the lovely lilac.

This oh so gorgeous dress is a perfect match to the Queen's. It may have more shape to it then hers does, but it reflects her early signature style of the nipped in waist and flowing skirt. I've added a collar to this design, which are very hot in the fashion world right now and the pearl design continues the theme of her love of them, along with the bracelet and the ring. I love these shoes as they are subtle, yet full of design with polka dots and the glittery belt adds a hint of glamour to the dress, whilst clinching in the waist even more, Dita Von Teese watch out!

2000's QueenIf it is a special occasion you can add the purple flower to your hair, but if it's just for everyday the pearl bow headband will go perfectly. And finally to represent the Queen's signature white gloves and bag these satin ones and the white clutch would make the Queen want to go down the shops herself.So there we are six decades full of fashion. Over the years her style has evolved and has changed as she got older.

She has definitely developed a stronger style over the years and has become well known for her colour blocking with bright and light colours and her love of print.I just love how well co-ordinated she is, there isn't any brown and black worn together in site.
After looking and drooling over all her outfits, I think her love does belong in the era of when her dresses were designed by Norman Hartnell with his full skirts, sumptuous silks and duchess satin. The Queen is definitely not a slave to fashion and I somehow doubt she spends her time in fluffy pink slipper scouring over Vogue for an outfit to find for her next occasion.
The main thing to take from her outfits is that she dresses for herself. She doesn't care two hoots what Grazia or the Daily Mail say about her latest outfit. Anwyay if they did say something bad about her, she could always lock them up in the tower of London for 100 years. What we can learn from her is not to dress for anybody but yourself.Now where's my credit card?
Second Hand Rose