Sunday, 2 June 2013

Vintage fair alert - Bristol

The largest vintage fair in the south west of the UK returns to Bristol on Saturday June 8.

Hairdressers, accessories, vintage jewellery and tons of wonderful clothes will be on sale.

It's at The Passenger Shed, right next to Bristol Temple Meads train station. From midday to 5pm.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Populaire - the must see romantic comedy of the year!

Populaire is the feel-good new French romantic comedy of the year - not to mention the fabulous vintage fashion, it is full of 1950s chic.

It features a young naive secretary, played by Deborah Francois, who has a talent for speed typing despite being scatty at everything else. Her new handsome boss, the adorable Romain Duras, sees an opportunity for them to win the typing world championships - as long as they can train hard together.

But will spending so much time under the same roof make them realise that they have more in common than just the typing competition?

Charming, witty, chic and hopelessly romantic, this film is the new Amelie and will leave you with a smile on your face. You must watch it! 

If you like romantic comedies and French films, check out this top 10 list of must-see films:
Charming, witty, chic and hopelessly romantic

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

1920s Costume designs for new opera Lulu

Fashion - The Welsh National Opera's new production, Lulu, has gone on tour and costume designer Marie-Jeanne Lecca has shared her creations with me.

The story is set in the 1920s and revolves around free-spirit Lulu as she leaves a trail of heartbroken men in her wake. The costumes are devastatingly chic and dazzling.

Costume designs for Lulu. Welsh National Opera pictures.
Marie-Jeanne said: "Lulu is never an easy work as no-one is nice in this piece, which makes its approach quite difficult. It is based on Wedekind's plays The Earth Spirit and Pandora's Box, which is also called the Tragedy of Monsters. For me, this very title lead to the cabaret-zoo idea set roughly in the 1920s."
Marie-Jeanne Lecca's beautiful 1920s designs for new opera Lulu
"Lulu is referred to as 'The Serpent', so like a serpent, she changes her skin, her clothes, moving from one character to another, devouring them.
The male costume designs are as detailed as the women's in Lulu
"One of the ideas I had from the very start was "her" fabric  - her skin of sequins, cold, reptiliian and very figure hugging. Femme-fleur, Femme-enfant , femme-fatale.
Cabaret of the 1920s meets the zoo in Lulu. Welsh National Opera pictures.

The Welsh National Opera is on tour with Lulu, find out more at: Welsh National Opera website

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Travel: Holiday to Scotland's timeless beauty of Coll

Rolling waves, remote white sand beaches and striking turquoise waters. It's the perfect place to recharge your batteries on a remote hideaway that has hardly a mobile phone signal and only one main road.

Tottering on the edge of the Scottish Inner Hebrides, is the timeless beauty of Coll. Reachable only by ferry, the island boasts the most sunshine in all the UK, but is still one of the country’s best kept secrets.
The beautiful remote Scottish island of Coll

Before you get to the island, it is advisable to break up the journey. Glasgow is a good stop-off to savour the bustling art, shopping and cosmopolitan restaurant scene and the art deco delights of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Grand Central Hotel is a luxurious stop-off, from £79 a night, right at the heart of Glasgow Train Station and within walking distance of the city’s attractions. Close by is Charles Rennie Mackintosh's art nouveau architecture around nearly every corner in this revamped city. The designer is Glasgow’s equivalent to Gaudi in Barcelona and given a free hand to leave his stylish mark on the city’s landscape. 

Building tours of Glasgow School of Art show off the greatest amount of Mackintosh’s work but you can also see fine examples of his vintage designs in Queen’s Cross Church at Garscube Road or at the Willow Tearoom in Sauchiehall Street.

Trains leave Glasgow regularly for the coastal town of Oban and its ferry terminal, or if driving, it is a two hour journey along the scenic A82 and A85 roads. From Oban, you will need to take a Calmac ferry to Coll and Tiree ( with the price for a return passage for two adults and a car around £130.
Coll has an irresistible natural charm and untouched beauty with isolated, idyllic, sandy yet windy beaches to explore.
Most of its 23 beaches are reached by following short trails, but once there, you will nearly always have it to yourself to relax, play or picnic while starring out at the crystal clear turquoise waters. Sometimes a seal, basking shark or whale is even seen passing by.

It is best to base yourself near the main village of Arinagour, close to the ferry terminal, as this is the only site with a general store and post office, along with The Island Café and the island’s only pub and restaurant at The Coll Hotel.

Opposite the pub is the new Coll Bunkhouse ( which opened during the summer of 2012 and is a hostel with all the latest facilities, sleeping up to 16 people from £19 to £23 per person a night.

The pace of life is slow, but the tranquil atmosphere on the 13-mile-long island is something rare to find. It can bring out your spirit of adventure to explore and time to fully recharge those batteries before returning to the rat race.
Coll has to be one of the most hidden and exhilirating beauty spots in the British Isles.
For discounts on attractions in Scotland and ideas for activities, visit

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Jameela Jamil loves vintage

Hot to trot BBC Radio 1 presenter Jameela Jamil it turning out be quite the new ambassador for vintage fashion.
@Jameelajamil Twitter

When talking about her look, the model who is often snapped at London Fashion Week has described herself as "a high-street and vintage girl" adding that although she liked to wear designer from time to time, she mostly mixed and matched things with vintage pieces. "I buy to create my own look", said Jamil.

She has also launched her third clothes collection for Very, and many of her designs have a particularly vintage feel.
See the range at or watch a video for some of her designs in the JAM range here:

Latest UK vintage fairs alert

New year... new diary of vintage fairs on the horizon.

There's plenty planned for cities including Brighton, Birmingham, London and Cardiff. Here's a full list of places and times.

The Vintage Fair. York Guildhall Feb 3rd


Sheffield - Sat 26th January, midday to 5pm - Sheffield Town Hall
Hull - Sat 2nd February, midday to 5pm - Hull City Hall
Loughborough - Sat 2nd February, midday to 5pm - Loughborough Town Hall
York - Sun 3rd February, midday to 5pm - York Guildhall
Birmingham - Sat 9th February, midday to 5pm - The Custard Factory
London - Sat 9th February, midday to 5pm - Shoreditch Town Hall
Brighton - Sun 10th February,  midday to 5pm - Corn Exchange
Leicester - Sat 16th February, midday to 5pm - Leicester Cathedral
Norwich - Sun 24th February, midday to 5pm - St.Andrews Hall
Brighton Vintage Wedding Fair -Sun 3rd Mar, midday to 5pm - Corn Exchange
Nottingham - Sun 3rd March, midday to 5pm - The Albert Hall
Bristol - Sat 9th March, midday to 5pm - The Passenger Shed
Cardiff - Sun 10th March, midday to 5pm - Cardiff City Hall

Monday, 17 December 2012

Retro RoSPA posters full of nostalgic chic

I’ve got a big blank space on my living room wall that has been waiting for the perfect picture for over a year.
I had almost given up hope when I came across a wonderful hoard of nostalgic chic posters.
The eye-catching collection is from the UK’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, better known as RoSPA.

Vintage Christmas stocking poster .Copyright RoSPA.

It features a selection of its iconic vintage safety posters from the 1930s to 1970s including work from artist Tom Eckersley. He is responsible for a few of the designs such as the Christmas stocking design from 1951, which is particularly apt for the season, and a charming retro post-war piece, Warm the Child, But Guard the Fire.
Vintage road safety poster. Copyright RoSPA.
Post-war vintage chic. Copyright RoSPA.

Other famous artists producing works for RoSPA during this period are Leonard Cusden and the cartoonist George Smith, better known as Gus.

The Swarf dog. Copyright RoSPA

It turns out that during a clear-out of RoSPA’s old warehouse in Birmingham last year, more than 700 historical posters and artworks were discovered and saved from the skip.
RoSPA, the UK’s leading accident prevention charity that was launched more than 95 years ago, is selling 40 prints of its posters through

The problem now is which one to choose?

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Retro opera designs

Vintage Fashion - The Welsh National Opera (WNO) has shared designs for its upcoming Cosi fan Tutte production this autumn.
There is a very 1950s feel to the production, as you can see from these photos.
I've put the costume designer's sketches next to how it looks on stage so you can see the difference.
The WNO is currently touring the UK at theatres including Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Romantic Weekend Breaks - Hintlesham Hall

Travel - Step back into the glory of the Jacobean period for a romantic weekend getaway.

From the moment I looked up the long sweeping drive, Hintlesham Hall had me.
This decadent, historic mansion will put you under a spell with its grand façade, extravagant chimney stacks dating back to the Jacobean period, priest holes, roaring fireplaces and wooden four poster beds deep in the heart of Sussex.
Hintlesham Hall in Sussex

Then there is the fine dining dinners, afternoon tea and outhouse converted into a luxurious spa and health club.
At £35 a head for a three course meal, the chef of 24 years, Alan Ford, follows a tradition of great cooking at the venue. There's dishes like Armanac crème brulee with a fig and meringue shot that are simply irresistable.
One of the first TV chefs, Robert Carrier, bought the Hall in 1972 for a steal at £32,000 when it was a derelict ruin. Carrier renovated the old oak interior to run as a cookery school, restaurant as well as house his television studio kitchen, which is now the Cherry Orchard Suite.
Even though Carrier has since moved on, the independently-owned Hotel still holds cookery days for everything from ‘Fish Made Easy’ to cooking with chocolate or putting on an ‘International Olympic Finger Buffet’ throughout the year. Details are updated on its website regularly.
The stunning Braganza Bridal Suite at Hintlesham Hall

Among the 33 rooms, there are five different categories from a small double to the very large and lavish Braganza bridal suite, complete with its own priest hole, if you can find it.
But whatever the room, it’s refreshing that current owner Dee Ludlow has made sure each and every one has its own individual historic quality with bespoke charm, classic but modern touches plus Gilchrist & Soames toiletries.
Hotelier Ludlow bought the Hall in 2003 and set out refurbishing the dining rooms and reception back to their former glory with the Grand Salon’s eye-catching chandelier and gold leaf touches making diners always look up while dining. It’s one of the grandest rooms I have ever had breakfast in.

Hintlesham Hall Hotel has various offers depending on the season, starting from as low as £89 midweek for a double room with breakfast up to £550 for a suite. Check out website: for prices and deals, or call 01473 652334.
For details on cookery days with head chef Alan Ford, email:

Monday, 23 July 2012

Top 5 Olympic museums

Exhibitions - With the London 2012 Olympic games upon us, Retro Roaming takes a look at the best places in the world to indulge in the wonder of the games and revel in the faster, higher, stronger Olympic motto.
Olympic stamps at the Olympic Museum, Lausanne

5. Much Wenlock, Shropshire, UK.

It's no coincidence that one of London 2012's mascots is called Wenlock as this small medieval town in the heart of England is where the birth of the modern day Olympic games began, thanks to its famous son Dr William Penny Brookes.
His important role as the founder of the Wenlock Olympian Society and motivation to inspire the modern Olympic Movement features in the town's museum, which is free to visitors.
The Society is still going strong and has plenty of archives too.
Check out details at: wenlock-olympian-society 

4. Sydney, Australia

Sydney 2000 will be remembered for bringing together a nation with the success of Australian Aborigine Cathy Freeman in the 400m. Moments like that plus other memories and artefacts feature in the New South Wales Hall of Champions.
Based at Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre, memorabilia includes Melinda Gainsford-Taylor's athletics gear.
International visitors should note this museum has an Australian focus on the games.

3. Canada - Montreal and Calgary

Two sites in Canada stand out for their Olympic coverage.
First of all, the hosts of the 1976 summer Olympics - Montreal - offers a 40 minute guided tour in English at the stadium at Parc Olympique. It's a great tour by local people who have real pride in Montreal being an Olympic city and give stories on antics behind the scenes at the games plus detail the controversy over the stadium roof (at one time retractable) that has been replaced various times and cost millions of pounds.
The tour gives visitors a chance to see the impressive Olympic pools, where Canada's national diving team and synchronised swimmers now train (we were lucky enough to see them in action as we walked round), plus the stadium, which is now a concert venue. Although a little dated, there is an interesting exhibit in the entrance hall featuring all the Olympic posters from over the decades. There is also an opportunity to ride on a funicular to the top of a curved futuristic, white tower that has been built over the stadium since the games. It has a decent view of the area from the top, but is only a brief stop.
One of the advantages of this tour was seeing memorabilia, like the Olympic rings and Montreal Olympic logo left propped up in the odd corner.
Tours cost CA$9.00 adults, CA$8.00 seniors, CA$6.75 students and CA$4.50 children aged 5 to 17.
For more information, visit website: parcolympiquetour

Montreal Olympic logo seen during the tour

Olympic rings left lying around
The tower at Park Olympique, Montreal

The second Canadian venue that definitely deserves a visit is Calgary Olympic Park, where the 1988 winter Olympics was held. Its Olympic Hall of Fame and Museum is good fun with interactive exhibits, photos and plenty of details, but you can also hold the Olympic torch and pose on the original podium for a photo. This venue is full of gems inside and out for only around CA$6.00.
Visitors are greeted by a colourful entrance (pictured below) and a podium to try out. Further inside, the friendly staff are keen to answer any questions on the games and hand out an original Calgary Olympic torch. There are also computer games to experience various sports as an athlete and a photo gallery of top winter Olympic sports stars and their equipment.

Calgary Olympic Park entrance

The 1988 games is synonymous with valiant efforts of athletes who failed to win. This was the games that featured the Jamaican bobsleigh team - whose story was later immortalised in film Cool Runnings - and Great Britain ski jumper Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards', who became a national treasure despite coming last in his event.

The Jamaican team's bobsleigh. Their story was later immortalised in film Cool Runnings.

The ski jump where Eddie 'the eagle' Edwards soared to fame
Check out more about the park: Calgary Olympic Park

2. Lake Placid, USA
Host to two winter Olympic games in 1932 and 1980, Lake Placid is the centre of all things associated with the winter Olympics. Lake Placid Olympic Museum has an array of memorabilia of torches, medals and historic moments and describes itself as acting as the "proverbial keeper of the flame".
Credit: Lake Placid Olympic Museum
This historic site, which was the first winter resort in the US, recalls the Olympics from ancient Greece to modern times and features exhibits including parade uniforms, skates, bobsleighs and mascots. It also recalls the Miracle on Ice story, when against all odds, the USA ice hockey team defeated the Soviet ice hockey team at Lake Placid in the 1980 winter Olympics and went on to take gold at the Olympics.
The museum costs US $6.00 adults, US4.00 children aged 7-12 and seniors.
More information is available at: Lake Placid Olympic Museum link

1. Lausanne, Switzerland
For the ultimate in Olympic history, the Olympic Museum in Lausanne is a must. Unfortunately, it is currently closed while it undergoes a massive renovation until the end of 2013.

Despite this temporary closure, some of the treasures from Lausanne's Olympic Museum are going on display in London during the 2012 Olympics.
Torches and other artefacts will be on display at London's Royal Opera House for The Olympic Journey: Story of the Games exhibition from July 28th to August 12th 2012. 
It includes all the Olympic torches since 1936, plus video footage of great sporting moments. It's free to see from 10am to 7pm daily (last entry 6.15pm).
For those interested, read on for details on an experience at the original museum in Switzerland.

Facade of the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland
The short walk up a curved tree-lined path to the Olympic Museum is dotted with relevant sculptures until you finally see the shining white building ahead, with a flame, Olympic rings and Grecian style columns in keeping with the Games' history.
The Museum covers several floors with details of every Olympics held and artefacts. Downstairs are the torches, mascots, medals and a video montage of what makes an Olympic athlete and the most special moments. I can understand why the museum is being updated as when we visited over 18 months ago, the video was a little old and did not include Bolt's world records or competitors from the Beijing Olympics - although Usain Bolt's athletics vest was upstairs in the athletics section.
The first floor features equipment, trainers and outfits from some of the Greatest Olympians of all time. There are trainers belonging to Jesse Owens and high jumper Dick Fosbury.
There is even a study centre on the lower floor where videos of every Olympic ceremony could be viewed plus archives on the bidding process of all candidate cities and all books written about the games.
It will be interesting to see how this is updated when the museum reopens at the end of 2013.

Olympic torches on display

Artefacts include Usain Bolt's Jamaica team
Chris Boardman's speed cycle

Dick Fosbury's signed trainer

The trainer of US 1936 gold medal 100m runner Jesse Owens