08 November 2013

A plea to sponsor the lovely Kathy B: Cuffed for Cancer

My amazing love of my life blogger Kathy B, who I will happily marry one day and make as many cakes for as she can eat, is raising money for an incredibly worthy cause. On the 18th November her and a friend are going to be handcuffed together for a whole 24 hours, to raise money for the Tuesday O'Hara fund, which help support young adults, while they are fighting Leukeamia and other horrible cancers.
The cause is very close to Kathy's heart as her dear friend Emily has been diagnosed with Leukeamia for the second time in just a few years. I remember when Kathy first tweeted that her friend had been diagnosed and I was upset to hear that Emily had been diagnosed again. Kathy wrote an incredibly moving letter on her blog to her friend, which proves even more how much of an amazing and beautiful person Kathy is.
When you have a serious illness, some people around you don't know how to deal with it and act like you're a zombie. It really does show you who your true friends are, who treat you exactly the same as before and it means so much that they are there for you and supporting you. Luckily for Emily, she has Kathy to help her fight like hell against this nasty illness, with a smile on her face and a tummy full of chocolate.
The Tuesday O'Hara fund was set up after Tuesday lost her four year battle with Leukeamia in 2007 aged 21. Tuesday's parents set up a charity in their beautiful daughters honour to support other families and sufferers. Their aim is to raise funds to help cancer sufferers under financial hardship and their families and friends, in any way they can.
Their ultimate aim, is to raise enough money to facilitate the Pevensey Ward/ Proposed adolescent unit located in Eastbourne District General Hospital, with equipment that will make young people between eighteen and thirty stay in hospital as comfortable and homely as possible. You don't need Terry Wogan in a spotty suit to tell you that it's a worthy cause.

Cuffed for Cancer takes place between 18th-24th November, which Kathy and her friend are taking part in. Please please please donate some money to this incredibly worthy cause, even if it just a small amount. You can do this here. As Tesco say, every little helps. None of us know when we are going to need the support of charities like this, for our loved ones and even ourselves. When battling an illness it can make people feel so alone, so any help from people that know and understand what you're going through is greatly appreciated.

Plus if you donate some money, tweet about the cause or share it on your blog, I'll happily give you a big squeeze and some homemade cupcakes.
Now that is an offer surely no one can refuse.

Second Hand Rose


17 October 2013

Dita Von Teese Von Follies: Not a pair of Granny pants in sight

Now if you have read my blog for a long time, you will know that along with me being obsessed with Rock Hudson and being very fond of eating pickled onions, whilst having a bubble bath, I have quite a big girl crush on the delectable Dita Von Teese.
I wrote ages ago about the clothing line that she bought out two years ago, but now Dita has added, to her very gorgeous Von Follies lingerie range with a new collection.
The AW13 Sheer Witchery collection is inspired by Halloween, but you won't be seeing a white sheet with holes in anytime soon. The collection has vampish black lace overlayed on nude satin and sheer mesh sections on the bra cups. Corsets, bras, thongs, briefs, slips and garter belts are available, so you can add some va va voom to your underwear draw.

Dita is obsessed with lingerie and has been collecting pieces since she was 16. Her collection has been very popular and was even included in Paris Fashion Week, with models from Alexis Mabille's show wearing one of her fabulous bras, lucky models.

The collection is exclusive to Asos and Debenhams, with prices ranging from £9 in the sale to £70 for an amazing lace corset, more reasons for me to exploit my bank card.
Dita designed her range so that women of all shapes and sizes could feel amazing about themselves. When her range was first unveiled last year she had a runway of her pieces in Australia, which included very beautiful and healthy models of different sizes looking amazing. The range is available in sizes UK8-16 and from an A to E cup, I've fallen in love with the woman even more.
Dita says that "Every woman should have a really great set of lingerie, especially in black" Now even me with my monkey pyjamas, can channel my inner Dita for a day, but ever so slightly less elegantly.

Second Hand Rose

12 October 2013

Cakes, Writing and a hunky man in a pink apron

I was meaning to blog last week about Fashion month, but I have had four deadlines for Vintage Life recently, as I have been writing two articles for the November issue and ones for Christmas. Nothing like writing about pigs in blankets to get you into the Christmas spirit. I fancy watching one of those awful Christmassy movies now with actors you've never heard of, that even Jasper would refuse to watch with me. If it doesn't have Bradley Cooper in, he's not interested.
If you have read one of my latest posts about Mr. Boyfriend staying over, I am thrilled to announce that I did not burn the house down whilst cooking him a romantic-ish meal. Although I will admit, that a washing up bowl and a plate was harmed in the process (oops, the parents don't know about that one yet).
I did rather enjoy trying to be a domestic goddess to be honest and it was nice to know that after work Mr. Boyfriend was coming home to me, god I sound like I'm in one of those trashy Christmas movies, I've watched far too many.
While desperately trying not to lose my newly painted nails to the dreaded cleaning products, I made a cake for my parents anniversary. I decided to make a lemon and blackberry sponge, from all the thousands of blackberries that have been collected on one of my family's many foraging trips.
I had Mr.Boyfriend as my helper looking very dishy in a bright pink apron if I don't say so myself, peeling and squeezing lemons. I've got use his muscles to my advantage somehow.
To cover the cake I used a new technique that I haven't tried before. I made a lavender coloured Swiss buttercream that was lemon flavoured. Unfortunately, my helper had to go at the most vital point of the process, so I had to whisk eight egg whites over a pan of water by myself, that really was a work out and a half.
After nearly not being able to use my arms ever again, I had to mix in tiny cubes of butter one at a time, which was certainly a labourious task and difficult when you've just done the most exercise, that you've done in three years.
It was going perfectly and then I added the lavender colour along with some lemon juice and both my heart and meringue sank. The stupid thing became this purple dotted slimy mess, any baker knows that this is incredibly frustrating.
I thankfully carried on mixing it and the beautiful food mixer worked its magic and the mess suddenly transformed into this beautiful light and fluffy lavender buttercream, my cake fairy godmother was definitely helping me out that day.
I filled the cake with the filling and gave it a slight covering, so the decoration would go on easily. I piped the buttercream on the cake, well what was left of it anyway, after I'd eaten a load of it.

I'd never done this technique either, but it was surprisingly easier then it looked or I thought it would be. Don't you just love things that aren't as difficult as they look?

Unsurprisingly I ran out of some buttercream for the centre, so I decorated the top of the cake with red fondant roses that I had made in the evenings, whilst watching Ronnie come back to the square in Eastenders and had Jasper snoring in my ear. I also made around 30 rose petals, which I decorated the board with.
I was very happy with my cake and couldn't wait to give it to my mum and dad. I went in with my brother, sister and Jasper to buy them a Fortnum and Mason's Afternoon Tea voucher, which came all wrapped up in a gorgeous box.
It's safe to say that Mummy and Daddy Second Hand Rose along with the rest of my family and Mr. Boyfriend were very happy with the cake and it even got Jasper's approval, as he loved the buttercream, this was evident by his slight purple beard after stuffing his face with it.
Talking of Jasper, he has gone from strength to strength after his little bug and is back to full health, happily eating everything in sight and lapping up all the attention. He was given liver last week as a treat and then went on strike the next day and wouldn't eat his Gourmet salmon and shrimp food, because he wanted more of the liver, he's a total diva.
The latest Vintage Life magazines have come out and I have written all about hats through the decades for Her Vintage. I was very happy to receive the new His Vintage Life, because it's the first issue that an article I've written has featured in the His edition.

I was very excited when Postman Pat put it through my letterbox last Friday, he's such a cool dude. Plus all the hunky men in it did make it an added bonus, especially for Grandma Second Hand Rose who spent a very long time reading it.

I wrote about ways to Impress a Vintage Lady, providing tips on making any man seem like every ladiedream man. It was certainly different to go from writing for girls to boys and I did consider changing my name to Second Hand Roy but finally decided against it, plus it would look a bit odd in the writers section with my picture next to it.
I also now have an advert in both of His and Her Vintage Life for my blog, Twitter and eBay which I'm very excited about! Del Boy would be proud.
Within the past couple of weeks, I have been learning how to play Bridge. My fabulous teacher a.k.a my Dad has been teaching me, so I can play on a Tuesday with his Bridge babes.

Jasper loves watching us play and is my little helper and I swear he gives me signals. He's practicing his meows, exercising his paws and is making his breath extra smelly as we speak, now that really is a distraction.
Second Hand Rose

23 September 2013

Fabulous Fashionistas: Six women that are fun,fashionable and feisty

Last Tuesday Channel 4 showed the most amazing documentary, which you can catch up on 4OD on Demand and YouTube. It was called Fabulous Fashionistas and was about women in their 70s, 80s and 90's, who refuse to give up on life and keep going, one fashionable step at a time. The women featured were there own person, with amazing fashion taste and an eye for picking out bargains, plus there wasn't a bottle of fake tan or injection of Botox in sight.

Here is a little about the women featured:

Name: Bridget Sojourner
Years young: 75
Job: Ageism campaigner
Style: 'Pioneer of colour'
Shopping list: Flowing vibrant dresses, DM's, headscarves, costume jewellery.

Despite only having a pension of £100 a week, Bridget still manages to look extremely stylish with her eye-catching costume jewellery and glamourous hats. Bridget loves going to charity shops and searching through all the rails for clothes. She is a stickler for price though and when asked what her most expensive item she's bought was a £4 of Doc Martens. Four quid for a pair of DM's? The woman is a treasure finder!
With her beautiful curly hair decorated with bright scarves, she explains that 'How I look is to do with my identity and the fun of it. It's nothing to do with looking younger.'

Bridget is a lifelong campaigner and her recent project is to campaign against ageism. She does this by wanting to spread the word in magazines and by trying to find some modelling.

Bridget says: "People stop me everyday in the street, amazed that I look so stylish at my age. The insidious ageism in our society says that you become invisible as you get older and that’s what I’m fighting against visually with my clothes." "I want older women to believe they can do and wear anything. I’m still waiting for the call from Channel 4 asking me to read the news." I'd go shopping and take style tips for her anyday.

Name: Baroness Trumpington
Years young: 91
Job: Conservative life peer
Style: "Lucky if it hits the spot"
Shopping list: Anything from a catalogue.

Baroness Trumngton is the oldest of the group, but that doesn't mean she is any less stylish. She is over going shopping and is now addicted to catalogue buying. The woman is an incredibly intelligent and very witty character and became an internet sensation when a video of her on YouTube showed her giving another peer the V sign, because he was talking about her age. The Baroness makes a point of refusing to go quietly and is regularly sitting listening to the debates on the Lords' red benches, always looking stylish.

In 1989 she became the oldest ever women to be appointed a Government minister. When she became the Minister of Agriculture, she didn't have time to go shopping anymore so started ordering from catalogues and hasn't put them down since. She cheekily notes that the catalogue even has men in it!

Baroness Trumpington explains that she was brought up looking at people who wore lovely clothes. During the Second World War the Baroness worked as one of the amazing women at Bletchley Park in the intelligence sector. She says that: "You did these awful shifts and you wore whatever was comfortable. You certainly didn't bother with appearance" I doubt they were wearing trackies, hoodies and Uggs though.

Like Bridget she finds bargains cheaply, but of one of her favourite items being a three-piece wool trouser suit, that she bought from Harrods about 20 years ago. There's nothing like spoiling yourself.

The Baroness describes that: "Women have a very difficult time in politics, but I've never felt that I have to wear something specific to be taken seriously. There are some particularly odd numbers dress-wise in the House of Lords, but it has no effect on their excellent speeches." Her fashion tip is "Simplicity is the key. There is nothing like a single rope of cultured pearls to dress up something drab. They're not expensive and they're all in the catalogues." How right you are Baroness.

Name: Daphne Selfe
Years young: 85
Job: Model
Style: 'Classy funky'
Shopping List: Styles from past decades, that she has collected over the years.
If you're likely to recognise any of these women then it will be Daphne. She is the world's oldest supermodel and has appeared on the cover of Italian Vogue. Daphne is one of the faces of TX Maxx, doing several photo shoots with them and has filmed several adverts. Trust me, if you've seen the adverts, you will remember Daphne. Not for her age, but for her style, elegance and beautiful smile. Daphne has gorgeous grey locks that tumble down her neck beautifully, which get her a lot of work. She worked as a model in her twenties and stopped to have children.

When most women are sitting doing a wordsearch, at seventy years old Daphne was rediscovered and asked to walk at London Fashion Week. Ever since then she has been more in demand then ever and has walked catwalks and starred in photoshoots all over the world alongside the top models. 
Daphne has accumulated some amazing pieces and items over the years, she has a wardrobe to rival the likes of Cara Delevigne's. 

When she was eighty three, she did a photo shoot for Oxfam's Big Bra Hunt, in which she wore the iconic conical bra and corset made by Jean Paul Gaultier for Madonna's Blonde Ambition tour in 1990. Brave isn't the word and before you think 'oh there must have been loads of airbrushing done.' No there wasn't, not even a smidgin. 

Daphne explains that she "doesn't believe in being a slaved to the latest trends." Her top tip is you should wear what you love and what suits you. Daphne loved modelling again, as she loves clothes and "prancing up and down the catwalk and even better, I didn't have to wear high heels!" I bet all the younger models were uber jealous of that. 

She is an incredibly stylish lady and has a lot of wisdom about how to feel about yourself. "Now that I’m older I approach fashion and modelling differently. I’m not perfect anymore, so I don’t worry so much. It’s very liberating. Getting old really does have quite a lot of advantages." Now we can all learn from that.

Name: Jean Woods
Years young: 75
Job: Botique gift shop assistant
Style: Dr Martens with everything
Shopping list: LBD's- leather, logo and statement tees, long grungy skirts and of course her beloved DM's.

With her Mary Quant/ 20s style fringe and love of Doc Marten boots paired with flowing dresses, she completly changes the perception of how a Grandma should look. With her leather LBD's and all round grungy style, you will not see her in sensible old lady shoes and elastic trousers anytime soon. Jean explains that "I have always been interested in fashion, but more so as I have got older."

Jean definitely has the right attitude as she says " I like to dress as I want to dress. When I put something on, I don't think ' will anybody think I look good?'. "I just decide in my own mind whether I look good- I don't really care about other people."

Jean lost her husband after being married for over fifty blissful years and was completly heartbroken. She needed to find something to fill the empty days, so decided on her son's advice to apply for a job with Gap. She was hired straight away and worked there for a year as their oldest employee. Jean now works in a Boutique advising customers and almost certainly giving them lots of fashion tips and advice.m

Jean hopes her being on TV will show people that life doesn't stop the day you pick up your pension. She says that "If it shows older people that life is there for grabbing and that you have to take that plunge, then I will be happy." Jean keeps herself active by running three times a week, even though she has had an operation on her knee and is styled to perfection whilst doing it. Her grandchildren ask her for tips on how to look stylish and she says that "I’ve definitely become edgier as I’ve got older. I’m not sure I would have worn a floaty Topshop dress with Dr. Martens thirty years ago, but these days they’re my staple items." Any Grandma that wears Dr Martens is a fashion icon.

Name: Sue Krietzman
Years young: 73
Job: Artist
Style: "Don't wear beige, it might kill you'
Shopping list: Chunky bangles, costume jewellery, black clothes to wear under hand made coats.

Sue was originally a cookery book writer, but after writing her 27th book, decided she wanted a change and became an artist and moved to London from New York. She had never tried art before and suddenly she was drawing, painting and creating amazing sculpture like pieces. Sue now has a studio and sells her creations, that are adorned with dolls, buttons, broken jewellery and anything she can find that she thinks she can use.

To say she has her own original style, is an understatement. With her bold red glasses and chunky plastic jewellery, her look is a way of expressing her art and herself. Sue wears all black, so she finds it easy to decide what to wear, but then completly overhauls the look by wearing the most amazing beautiful handmade coat style cardigans, full of symbols and bright colours.
She enjoys making her own clothes which she describes as a "release from the tyranny of fashion".

Sue definitely has her own look and owns it completely. She is an inspiration to women that no matter what age you are and no. After how successful, you can completly change your life and find a new part of your life that you love and never even knew existed.

Name: Gillian Lynne
Years young: 87
Job: Dance choreographer
Style: Miniskirts are a must
Shopping list: Dark flattering colours, brown and black clothes and miniskirts.
Dance and theatre fans may recognise her as the choreographer extraordinaire, that has worked on many shows over the years and still has an extremely packed schedule. Gillian began her career by dancing as a ballerina in the 1940s. She then used her expertise to become a choreographer and this year was awarded an Olivier award, for her amazing work in the theatre. To look at her she really does not look her age at all. She looks good for someone that is at least twenty years younger then her. 

Gillian keeps fit by stretching for 40 minutes in the morning everyday and even though she has had joint replacements and her foot is held together by metal, she is still as supple as ever and can fit into her leotards from decades ago. She still loves to wear her miniskirts and leggings, she explains that "I know people probably look at the face and go 'oh dear' ,but my legs have always been my best asset. Why should I stop showing them off. I couldn't give a toss what people think.' And yes her legs are fantastic.

Gillian's advice is that "You mustn't let the ageing process in." It bothers her that as women get older, they let their posture go. 'You see them hunched over, looking downward. Everything seems to sag. They look dejected. My training as a dancer always taught me that you stand up straight and get those shoulders back." You heard it here ladies, stand with your boobs out and when you're 87 you'll look amazing too!

When she's not working, Gillian has a very relaxed life with her husband of thirty five years, Peter. They got married when she was fifty two and he was twenty five. Peter says that he has never seen her as older then him, he just saw a fun loving person with a zest for life when he fell in love with her and she hasn't changed. 

You can tell that there is such a deep love and connection between them, however when they got married there was a lot of backlash. "My friends thought it was positively indecent when we started to see each other, but since we are still together now, how silly they look now!" She says that all the people that had a problem with it are now either dead, or have been proven wrong. It's definitely true, you're as young as the man you feel!

All these women have an immense zest for life and are determined not to give up their lives and passions, even though they are getting older. They are positive, strong women that love life and look stylish while doing so. They are women that we should look up to and see as an inspiration. They've lived a life and have experienced love and heartache, sorrow and the deepest of pain, but have come out at the end of it more determined then ever to live their lives and be themselves and that is true style and elegance.

10 September 2013

Happy Birthday to my blog baby!!

Last Tuesday my little blog blew out two candles on its birthday cake. Yes, we have now hit the terrible two's and its now turned into a toddler. I just hope it doesn't start throwing tantrums and demand to watch Peppa Pig.
I honestly can't believe that it was two years ago that I began writing on here. Blogging has become an integral part of my life and whilst my blog is not necessarily as advanced as I'd have liked it to have been, I am extremely grateful for the 174 of you that come back to read time and time again, without me even having to bribe you. I feel truly honoured that you read my writing and your comments and views really do make my day. My blogging regime this year has been pretty rubbish, along with my 'exercise' regime and New Year's Resolution to eat less biscuits. I've basically had to taken a eight month break and just blogged a handful of times, but I'm determined to get back to writing on here at least twice a week, so sorry everyone you'll be seeing a whole lot more of me!
I originally planned to blog last week, but my other baby, the furry baby (a.k.a my ghostwriter) was not very well and all my attention and time was spent looking after him. I was relinquishing my inner desire as a child to be a Vet and was trying to give him a cat rehydration drink through a syringe every twenty minutes and was even having to force feed him king prawns, we never thought we'd see the day when he turned down a king prawn.
Thankfully Jasper is back to his usual soppy, noisy, greedy self and lapping up all the attention and milking it as much as he can. He's not very happy that he's not getting tuna, fresh king prawns and Salmon Terrine to eat every day now. He's loving all the extra cuddles, kisses and grooming he is having and is fully back to doing his donkey impression every time he wants something. I was determined not to give up on my baby, even though he is twenty one and 104 in cat years! I stayed up with him all Sunday night feeding him Whiskas milk to make sure he didn't get too dehydrated before we took him to the Vet which was terrifying and Monday night I gave him electrolytes every hour. I went shopping to try and find him something that he would eat, I even bought baby food in case he fancied that instead of his normal cat food. Yes ladies and gentleman, I'm officially an old cat lady.
It was an incredibly nerve wracking and stomach clenching experience and I feel like I aged eighty years in four days, so that cat owes me some anti-wrinkle cream, big time. He slept in my room for four nights whilst I tended to his every need. I slept around him, so if he wanted to lie at the top of my bed, I was lying across my bed, soppy isn't the word. He wasn't particularly happy when he had to go back to his usual sleeping habits of sleeping in the kitchen in his 'spaceship'. He pathetically meowed at me as I was going up the stairs and I could hear him from my bedroom, how parents leave their kids at nursery I do not know.
The latest issue of Vintage Life came out last week as well and I'm excited to show you all my latest article. It's all about handbags through the decades, starting from the 1900s to the 1980s. I stop at the 80s as writing about the 90s, the decade I was born in as 'vintage' is just far too depressing. I already have Mr. Boyfriend telling me every day I'm half way to forty as it is.
I have also been baking again, what can I say I want to be Mary Berry, what with her amazing talent and fabulous Zara blazers. It was my lovely chiropractor's birthday, so I made some lemon cupcakes, filled with lemon buttercream and iced them with buttercream in all different colours on the top with an icing tip to make them look like Hydrangea's, which I'm obsessed with at the moment. I then put them in some little flower pots that I had, decorated the pot with ribbon and made some ladybirds, flowers and butterflies out of fondant to put on the cakes and to decorate the board with. All that watching Garderners World with my parents every Friday night must be rubbing off on me.
This week it's Mummy and Daddy Second Hand Rose's 33rd Anniversary. I can't believe that my mum has put up with my Dad's incessant sniffing and chucking his toe nails behind the bed and my Dad has put up with my Mum's awful time keeping for that long!! They are still very much in love and have gone away for a few days this week to feel young again, personally I think it's going to take a lot more than that.
So my sister and Inhave been left in charge of looking after King Jasper and making sure the house doesn't burn down. Jasper keeps going into my Mum and Dad's room and looking all over for them and meowing, what can I say he loves his Mummy and Daddy.
Mr. Boyfriend is also staying for a few days, so he can help me do things when my sister is busy and be here with me when she's gone to make sure me and Jasper don't get captured by the Bogey man.
Since we've been unable to have a holiday, either due to money or me not being too well, this will be the longest time in one go that we have spent together. Four days and three nights, might not seem a lot, but trust me it is when the person you are with sees everything as a toy and ends up breaking anything and everything in sight. So this is our first proper go at domestic bliss-ish. Mr.Boyfriend works Monday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, so it does mean we get a break and I can sit and watch crappy Romcoms and moan about how unrealistic they are with my sister and Jasper of course.
I am planning to cook a meal tonight, so I'm hoping it's not a complete inedible disaster and I have to call out the fire brigade, although frankly I wouldn't mind seeing some hunky firemen up close in the flesh.
So wish me good luck and oh if you see the air filled with smoke, don't worry it's probably my burnt Tagliatelle.
Second Hand Rose