Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The Ric Rac Club – Girls, Gin and Gunpowder.

Yes, it is that time again, myself and the rest of the Vintage Mafia are back with the Ric Rac Club.

After a hugely successful launch in September, here is our second instalment. The Ric Rac is a club aimed at vintage aficionados and newcomers alike, with the focus on socialising rather than partner dancing. You can expect the best tunes from the 1930s to the 1960s spread over two rooms, a creative drinks menu, a soon-to-be legendary free raffle and a fun, welcoming crowd of well-dressed guests.

Specially selected guest DJs this month are Johnny Chrome and Silver, who will be spinning 50s lounge music, and All Fringe, No Knickers who will be playing 60s and Northern Soul hits, accompanied by a Northern Soul dancing demonstration.

Gemma will serenade the guests with her ukulele – playing hits of the golden era and the 21st Century and Auntie Maureen will putting together a playlist of hits from the dawn of the dance band era.

This time we also have the fantabulosa Miss Honey Bare on hand to transform you into a vintage queen with her mobile hair and make-up salon (appointments can be pre booked at

The Ric Rac club is sponsored by The King's Ginger liqueur, allowing us to provide a free cocktail for every guest. All attendees also receive a free raffle ticket, and with prizes ranging from vintage accessories, homewares, and fabulous garments from Love Ur Look and Yellow Bird Hats, booze, food and other assorted delights, no one goes home empty-handed... or at least not sober.

The Ric Rac Club – Girls, Gin and Gunpowder.

Saturday 5th November

•FREE Ginger Gunpowder cocktail on arrival!

•1930s dance band tunes to 1960s Northern Soul, spread over two floors!

•Semi-impromptu solo dancing demonstrations!

•DJs Johnny Chrome & Silver and 60s diva All Fringe, No Knickers! plus Auntie Maureen!

•Special set by ukulele lady Miss Gemma!

•Soon-to-be legendary FREE raffle with amazing prizes including food, booze and vintage!

•Smoking terrace, amazing atmospheric pub & a super time all guaranteed!

The Fox, 28 Paul Street, Shoreditch, London, EC2A

Tickets £10/£8 adv from

Monday, 17 October 2011

....and we have a winner!

Sorry for being so late in announcing the winner of the Salux giveaway.  I've been rather busy over the weekend and have only just got to this now.

The random number generator tells me that the winner is Old@heart!  Please send me your details so I can post your goodies out to you.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Cindy Sherman for MAC

I cannot tell you how thrilled I am with the new Cindy Sherman campaign for MAC. When I saw the pictures for the first time yesterday I actually gave a yelp of delight. MAC have been losing kudos for a while; with rumours flying that their products aren’t as good since the Estee Lauder takeover and with the rise of that enfant terrible of make-up houses, Illamasqua, they needed to do something to regain face.*

Frankly many of their recent campaigns have bored the pants off me – I’m a fully grown adult woman for fucks sake – not a little girl – and as such I don’t want Hello Kitty on my lipstick. Or sodding Wonder Woman – how utterly patronising. Treat me like a woman, not a child, thanks.

What I do want to know is how effective a product is, what I can achieve with it and, hell, I wouldn’t mind this being shown in an interesting and educational way. After all – the MAC motto is that make up is "Our medium of transformation."

Sherman was the perfect choice to lift the brand out of its little girl doldrums, famous for her own metamorphoses her art centres around transforming herself through clothing and make up, with an often provocative edge.
The campaign features the artist in three guises – an all American ingĂ©nue with a forced smile, a sad clown and a garish heiress, leopard print coat and all. None of them are pretty – they certainly aren’t looks I’ll be copying – but damn this campaign makes a point. Make up isn’t just for looking pretty and looking young, it can also be used to transform, to strengthen – make up can change us, camouflage is, even armour us.

Bravo MAC and bravo Cindy.

* did you see my pun there, did you, really?

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

A gorgeous giveaway!

Ooh, do I have a treat for you!  After my deservedly glowing post on the Salux bath cloth, here,  the lovely folk at Salux UK have sent me one to give to a lucky reader so that they can try this marvellous product too.

Salux cloths have been manufactured in Japan since 1969 but have only recently become available in the UK, just last month in fact!  These cloths really are the best thing I have found to exfoliate in the bath and shower as they can be balled up to clean your legs and arms and then stretched out for exfoliating your back too.  No need for someone to scrub you, you can do it yourself.  Though of course that isn't quite as much fun....ahem.

They really do get the circulation going and smooth the skin, helping with acne, ingrown hairs, dry skin and as a great prep before fake tanning, if you like that sort of thing.

They also last ages as they dry quickly (no mouldy loofahs here folks) and are machine washable.

This really is a product that has been a revelation to me, I only use it once or twice a week but can say, completely honestly, that my skin has never looked as good or felt as smooth.

So - to the giveaway - I have for you one Salux cloth in pink, a mini showergel and a mini pot of utterly gorgeous Soap and Glory - The Righteous Butter.  A perfect Salux starter kit I'd say.

So, what do you need to do to win?

Mandatory entry: Follow my blog and leave a comment below.

Want more chances to win? Additional entries:
  • follow @LisaSmuts on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway (including a link) and leave a comment below to confirm
  • Blog about this giveaway (including a link) and leave a comment below to confirm
  • Post this contest to your Facebook page and leave the link, with another comment here to confirm.

You have to leave separate comments for each entry. In other words, if you become a follower and tweet about the contest at the same time, leave one comment saying you're following and another saying that you tweeted it. Annoying, admittedly, but this helps me count the entries. I'm all for an easy life me.

That simple!

This contest is open to readers worldwide and will run until October 14, after that a winner will be chosen using a random number generator. The winner will be the person with the comment of the corresponding number. I will then contact the person via the email left and announce on my blog.

Ok - well good luck my dearies!

Monday, 3 October 2011

Maidenform Instant Slimmer waist nipper review

Now, every vintage loving gal knows the benefit of shapewear, it really is key to getting the right silhouette for all looks from the 30s to the 60s.  I am not blessed with a naturally nipped in waist, in fact it really is the one part of me I'm quite unhappy about, and so when Maidenform offered to send me their waistnipper for review I jumped at the chance.

This waistnipper is the pull on style, in black satin, and is boned and elasticated to really smooth out your shape.  I have to admit I'm not a huge fan of pull on shapewear, I favour long, tapered 30s style manicures and pulling on a very tight elasticated garment is always a threat to my talons.  Still, it went on without too much of a struggle  (it should have done, being sold as "Easy-Up") and certainly did the job well - my trousers definitely felt looser.

It isn't the most ornate or beautiful of garments but anything goes with plain black satin, however, it isn't something to wear if someone (read: someone you want to impress) is going to see it as not only is it a bit of a pain to remove with any decorum but on a slightly fuller figure such as mine it pushes the excess flesh to the top.  The effect being a slight under-boob muffin top.  Hot...not.  Again I think this is the result of the pull on style as I don't get a similar effect with my Rago which does up with a row of hooks and eyes. 

Still, it was comfortable on for a good 12 hours and didn't roll up or bunch as many cheaper shapewear items can tend to do. 

Also, it sadly does not come with suspenders.  Which means you either need to go bare legged, wear an additional suspender belt or, as I do, keep it for wearing with trousers.

So the good:
  • affordable at just £19
  • a good classic design if nothing fancy
  • actually does nip in the waist
and the bad:
  • pull on design
  • no suspenders
  • sizing seems a bit off

All in all it is a good basic item and definitely represents value for money, it is perfect for wearing with dresses in the summer and with trousers.  The thing is that, as a sort-of vintagista, I really do prefer something that clasps at the front and has the option of being used with stockings by having removable suspender straps - but hey, you can't have everything for £19.

You can buy this product, and the rest of the Maidenform shapewear range at their website.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Old Movie Madness: Remember the Night (1940)

Oh, Barbara, Barbara, Barbara...she can do no wrong in my eyes.  Yes, after the disappointment of my last old movie viewing I decided to treat myself to something I knew I'd love - a 1940 movie starring the luminous and talented Barbara Stanwyck.

Our Babs stars as Lee Leander, a professional shoplifter who has just been arrested for the third time, John Sargeant (Fred MacMurray) is hired to prosecute her and, thinking that the jury will let her off because it is almost Christmas, he postpones the trial.  He then suffers a pang of guilt and posts bail for her so that she can spend Christmas out of prison.

Having nowhere else to go Lee winds up on John's doorstep and, as her family are from the same state, he offers to drop her at home on the way to his mothers.  All sorts of silliness ensues, involving minor car crashes, milking cows and a fire in a waste paper bin, which serves to cement John's view of the little lady as a petty career criminal.  He starts to change his mind after meeting her mother however, and decides to take her home with him so that she can share a warm family Christmas before sentencing.

The pair fall, rather predictably, in love and John's mother warns Lee that their relationship can only damage her sons legal career.  Lee agrees and, when John offers her a chance to escape she refuses, deciding to take her punishment. What does the future hold for them?

The film is saved from schmaltz by afine turn from Miss Stanwyck, she really excels in the bad girl doing good roles (Stella Dallas for example) and brings consierable gravity to what would otherwise be a rather frothy romcom.  It is also a joy to look at, Lee's wardrobe is stunning, including a range of incredible architectural hats which really pin the film into its 1940 date.

Take a look at these outfits:

I would kill for each and every one of those, and for this dressing gown:

There are also some lovely comedy moments, one in particular where Lee is putting on an old fashioned country style evening dress with a 19inch corset and padded bust.  Mrs Sargeant comments that in her day Lee's 25 inch waist would have been considered large.  Can you imagine?

I really enjoyed this movie, but given the female lead, I was always going to.  It also spawned the Lady Eve, which writer Preston Sturges created for Stanwyck based on her performance here. 

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Oh knickers! Paloma Faith for La Senza

As those of you who follow me on Twitter will know, I've been updating the old lingerie drawer recently.  After a long period of singledom I have decided it is time to get back out there and I've been going on a few dates and decided I needed the pants to match my new found attitude.  Those Primark cotton numbers just aren't doing it for me and certainly wouldn't do it for whichever lucky chap or chappess I decide to bestow my charms upon.

I've had a couple of little sprees at both good old M&S and the wonderful Lulu and Lush (I'll be talking more about this little gem of a shop in a  coming post) but, on reading my colleagues (not mine honest) copy of "Closer" magazine today I spotted another range I am just going to have to take a gander at.  the lovely and delightfully offbeat Paloma Faith has designed a range of silky vintage style pretties for La Senza, in aid of Breast Cancer Care.  This girl knows her vintage, and from the pictures I've seen the range shows that.  I also love the choice of colour, green being a somewhat unusual choice for lingerie.  And also, as a donation is made to charity with each purchase this is the kind of guilt free shopping I adore.

As the lady herself states:

"I'm really excited about my range of lingerie that I've designed for Breast Cancer Care this year. I've gone for a luxurious 1940s style and I can't wait for you all to see it! It's going to hit La Senza stores in October and every penny we raise will be used to help people affected by breast cancer. My Mum had breast cancer so this is a cause I am very passionate about. Without Breast Cancer Care some women would have nowhere to turn to. With one person diagnosed with breast cancer every 10 minutes, many of us will sadly know of someone dealing with the disease right now. Breast Cancer Care will use the money we raise together to ensure none of them face it alone."

Hmmmm....I am definitely going to have to get the set in green and the knickers in the black for wearing with my girdle.

I just hope I find someone to show them off to soon.  ;-)

Monday, 26 September 2011

A little thrift lift.

Well, if you read my last post (and why wouldn't you, hmmm, HMMMM?) then you will know I have been suffering with horrible flueyness for the past few days.  Well today I actually left the house.

Spurred on by the need for stronger drugs and the cats yowling for biscuits I bravely removed my pyjamas, donned some outdoors wear and ventured out into the wilds of Hackney.

I did have a bit of a wobble on the way, I hadn't realised how hot it was today and had to spend a good five minutes leaning over the freezers in Marks and Sparks, but after that I was fine, and managed to buy the items I needed and make a little foray into the local charity shop.

It seems the universe decided to reward me for such a valiant act and placed this little beauty in the shop:

Mmmmm, lates 50s/60s Del Boy-esque mirrory loveliness:

It is hard to see, you will have to click it, but it has a sort of willow tree thing etched on it.  Also, in this photo there is some sort of limpid pool into another world thing going on.  I haven't tried travelling through it yet, but when I have I'll be certain to report back.

I also picked up a very pretty silk (or silk-alike) scarf in the perfect colours to match a 30's knit I'm just stitching up.  You'll hopefully see more of that in the coming days, unless I get trapped in the mirror world without my laptop.

I'm off to take more flu tablets.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Old Movie Madness: Footlight Parade (1933)

Oh, I so wanted to enjoy this* - I've been saving it as I was so certain that I would but gawd, what a crock!  I can barely bring myself to write anything about it as nothing actually happens.  So here goes...sigh.

Now, I'm not a big musical fan anyway - this may have been my mistake - but I had heard so many good things about this movie that I was expecting something wonderful.  Sadly I was very much mistaken.

The film tells the story of Chester Kent, a director of Broadway musicals, whose career is being threatened by the introduction of talking pictures and so decides to branch out into prologues - short musical numbers to be performed before a film.  He has lots of ideas and a glamourous secretary, Nan Prescott (Joan Blondell). 

Of course (of course) Nan is desperately in love with him and he just doesn't see it.  This is the cliche the entire film is built around.  All that really happens is that he writes scenes, someone steals them and Nan moons about acting bitterly toward any other woman that goes near him.  Ugh.

Anyway, eventually he writes something half decent and gets a job and realises he loves Nan too, end of story.

Instead of having a real storyline the film is around 70% made up of overlong musical numbers.  these would have been fun had they not gone on for what seemed like hours.  I know a Busby Berkley film is going to be full of dance routines, but really, a 20-odd minute synchronised swimming scene, really? I had to fast forward through it.

I have nothing more to say - here are some pictures:

Yawn.  I'm bored again, off to have a bath and practise my synchronised drowning.

* This review may have been slightly affected by me having the flu, and thus the attention span of a goldfish.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Knitty update

So, I've designated September as my "make do and mend" month and am busily fixing all my damaged vintage and finishing off the many knitting projects I have stacked up and those which need to be sewn together.

Here is my latest cardigan, it is just the warmest thing!

It isn't wonky, I promise, but sadly my old mannequin is on her last legs and is held together with gaffer tape and string, bless her.

I knit this in a lovely pistachio green DK yarn and it was just a dream to make up as it is knit in one piece so had a minimal amount of the dreaded stitching up to do. 

I bought the pattern from one of my favourite sites, The Vintage Knitting Lady.

She has a great collection of patterns, the best I've found anywhere and her customer service is incredible.

This baby is going to look amazing with tweed pencil skirts throughout the colder months. 

Friday, 9 September 2011

Time (really is running) Out!

Good afternoon my lovelies,

As you may well have cottoned, tomorrow, Saturday 10 September, is the launch of the Vintage Mafia's inaugural club night, the Ric Rac Club, held at the Fox in Shoreditch.

We have all been beavering away madly to pull things together for the night and we can promise there is a treat in store for all attendees in the shape of delicious drinks, enchanting entertainments and a raucous raffle.

Prizes include:
  • A bottle of Gin
  • A Heyday Fleur dress
  • A giant pork pie
  • A set of Shirt Companions from Sharp and Dapper
  • What Katie Did frillies
  •  A bottle of Whisky
  • A fabulous, custom-made and special edition hat from Strumpet
plus some other odds and sods thrown in for good measure!

Here we are with a whole page interview in Time Out, rather exciting don't you think?

Tickets have been selling well and, judging by my math, we are getting close to capacity, so if you want to come please do book now to save disappointment.  Tickets are available from here for £8 or on the door for £10.

It would be lovely to see you!

Sunday, 28 August 2011


Hello lovely, lovely people.

I'm selling off my 50s gear on Etsy.

10% discount to anyone who reads my blog. :-)

Friday, 19 August 2011

Sunday Sale and Social - part 2

Hello my lovelies.  I hope you are all feeling better than I (stuck indoors with some kind of virus...ugh).

Anyway, I just wanted to remind those of you in London that the second Vintage Mafia/Love Shake sale and social is happening this coming Sunday.  We even made Time Out's top 5 things to do!

The Love Shake is a gorgeous little retro diner close to the vintage hub of Brick Lane in London's East end.  Myself and the girls will be selling our wares from 4pm to around 7pm and this time we have a guest seller, the lovely Redlegsinsoho who has some amazing frocks for sale.

Personally, I'm a little short of funds this month thanks to vets bills, a broken oven and just generally being a spendthrift, so I'm reducing my prices hugely.  There might even be a Swirl or two...if I can make myself part with them.

We have clothing from the '40s to the '80s, some top quality repro,  vintage bags, shoes and jewellery.  Come along and treat yourself, or even just join us for a milkshake or a hot dog.

What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon?

Monday, 15 August 2011

Birthday presence

I have to say that this year I have had the best birthday of my life so far!  My actual birthday was Friday 12th but I met up with almost all of La Maf on Thursday for art gallerying and dindins.

We went to see the very amazing Glamour of the Gods exhibition at the National Gallery, featuring some of the most stunning Hollywood portraiture from 1920 to 1960.  It was an absolute treat, especially the side by side pictures of Messrs Brando and Dean..I didn't know where to look. *fans self*

The exhibition is on until 23 October and I highly recommend it.

The girls spoilt me with a collections of amazing gifts - bakelite bracelets, a fakelite brooch, vintage buttons, gorgeous old knitting needles and a Stitchcraft I don't yet have plus a lovely roll of make up brushes to complement the course I had taken earlier that day (more about that later this week).  Just look at my present haul!  I swear I've never had as many presents before.  Thank you angels!

We then had a lovely dinner, and I broke my very strict diet.  Omnomnom.

To top it all off I went home to find a huge bundle of yarn had arrived.  I can strongly recommend Yarns4Less, excellent prices and amazing service.  Look at all my lovely, lovely yarn!

Marlon liked it too.

On my actual birthday my very dear friend Naomi took my out for dinner and wine, it was lovely.

Saturday was my birthday picnic - I met my chums in the park at 2:30 and we stayed there supping boozes and eating cake for a good long time, with the survivors heading back to mine for a party that went on until after 4am!  I'm still suffering the after effects today.

Here are some fairly civilised pics the amazing Ms de Guerre took in the park:

And here are the bottles left in my flat the next day....oops:

It was so lovely to spend the day and night with so many of my very favourite people!  Thank you all for making my birthday truly smashing.

I should write more eloquently, put more links in, crop photos etc - but I'm STILL hungover, so I'm using that as an excuse.  Sue me.  :-)

I'm off to have a bath and an early night, I'm getting on in years now you know!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

New knitting books!

Morning all!

Just a quick post here to share with you some new knitting purchases I made.  The first is one of those marvellous things, an 80's book of vintage patterns.  Some of the pictures are a little blurred, I'm still getting used to my new camera so apologies!

 Blurred but just look at that scarf set, ha!

 I might actually make this one.

A proper "Herbert"

I also picked up this original 1939 knitting book from Amazon for just £5.  Amazon is a great and cheap source of vintage knitting books - always much cheaper than eBay or Etsy where the same publication is being sold for over £20!

 I just love this book, 1939 is probably my favourite year for fashion so I cannot wait to get started on these, though I'm not sure I have the patience to knit that incredible dress!