Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Marilyn's chunky knitted cardi

I find dressing casual, hard!  Now that i work from home, my clothing needs to be comfy and most inportanly warm!  I have blogged before about my working from home wardrobe.  I have been on the look out for a chunky knit cardi, similar the one one Marilyn famously poses on the beach in.
The origional sold in Christie's in 1999 for $167,500 well above the $30,000 estimate!

I have even thought about getting one commissioned by one of my many talented knitter friends.  I found this 70s knitting pattern on ebay .

I was out with the dog today, walking around West Bridgford when i walked past Real Clothing.  There it was in the window, priced £129 knocked down to £38!  Yay!  I must have looked like a mad woman, came in all hot and out of breath, jibbering on about Marilyn Monroe.... i find most people don't get excited about Marilyn as much as i do.... its rather odd.

The cardi is from a French brand Aigle, no i haven't heard of them either, pretty pricey and high end, this baby was originally £129... so lets hope the quality matches!  Here is the cardi online, so you can buy it direct through them if you wish or get in touch with Real clothing, they have none on their website but there were some in their West Bridgford store.

I am pretty happy with my purchase, warm and practical unlike most things i tend to buy!  Now all i have to do is organise a naked photoshoot on the beach!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

THE Cry Baby Wanda Dress

Two years ago i blogged about Wanda.  She is one of my all time girl crushes.  Ever since seeing the movie goodness knows how many years ago, i have wanted to be her.  Her hair is amazing and her dresses are to die for! And all that with a bad ass attitude to match!

Back in 2011 i got some Foxy Locks hair extensions and cut in some bangs.  I had the hair, but needed the dresses!  This isn't the first time Cry Baby has inspired my dress making, as i have made the red 'Please Mr Jailor' dress for a burlesque performerr Rose Desire, i blogged about it here.

Despite having the gorgeous cotton sateen in my stash for years, it has taken me THIS long to get round to making me a Wanda dress!

Available to order in my etsy shop

The bodice of the dress is lined in white poly-cotton, it has boning at the front and back for support.  The cotton sateen has a tiny bit of spandex so it hugs my butt and gives a sexy shape.  The fabric is nice and thick, but i would suggest white undies -obviously!  It buttons up the front, just like the original, has the same amount of buttons too :)  you can unbutton the bottom button, depending on how sexy you wanna be.

Available to order in my etsy shop

What d'ya think?  Do you think Pepper and Hatchet Face think I've got what it takes to be a Cry Baby girl?

Available to order in my etsy shop

Available to order in my etsy shop

If you want a Wanda dress of your own,  i will happily make you one made to measure.  It is available in my etsy shop.  I didn't fancy cutting bangs in again so I rolled my fringe into faux bangs using a rat and used Foxy Locks hair extensions.  Check out Lisa Freemont-Street's new video for Wanda hair if you fancy being a bad ass!

Next project, to make the white and red, Wanda dress..

Dont cha just love the power of dressing up, one minute you can be Trixie from Call the Midwife and the next bad ass Wanda Woodward.

For all bespoke dress enquires please email me at

Friday, 22 February 2013

Public Speaking!

Engaging the audience like a boss!
 Public Speaking, those two very words are enough to scare the living daylights out of anyone.  But in past two weeks i have given two lectures/talks.  Got up there on a stage, all eyes on me, talking into a microphone, engaging a large audience, telling them my story.  If you were to tell me five years ago i would have done this i would have laughed in your face.  Believe it or not i am a shy introverted person.  But sometime you just gotta suck it up and get on with it.

I had the opportunity to talk at a Nottingham Trent University event, Fusion a couple of weeks back.  I was to give an hour long lecture about the story of my business and how i built my brand.  You can see the slides of my presentation here.  The lecture was to about 60 final year design students and it was my job to inspire and ignite passion into them!

Last night i talked at a network event organised by Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham university and the Hive, Thirsty Thursday.  An event designed to inspire young entrepreneur.  I told them my story on how my business started, with lots of cute pug photos thrown in!

I never thought i would say it but i actually love public speaking and want to do more of it!  i thrive of feedback and love engaging with the audience in their questions at the end.  And most importantly i love telling my story and hoping my story inspires others to quit the day job and be in control of their own destiny.

Some of the most important people to me, my customers - can you spot yourself?
If you would like to book me for public speaking, either about how my business started or vintage fashion and lifestyle drop me an email at

Monday, 11 February 2013

Meet the pocket sized Burlesque performer Rose Desire

Next in the series of interviews, 'meet my friends' is Rose Desire, my vintage loving, cocktail guzzling partner in crime!  Apologies for the lateness of this post, hectic weekend, full of gin and burlesque!

Photo by Flashes and Lashes

You are a burlesque performer, tell us more about the character Rose Desire and where the name comes from?
I chose Rose as its French for pink and I have a lot of pink in my sleeve tattoo, something that makes me stand out and I also wanted a name that can be used and recognised as an actual name. In the burlesque ‘industry’ we’re referred to as our stage names, our real names are often a mystery which I find adds to the character and the whole idea of being that alter ego on stage – the audience always want more, but can only have what you give them. A seductive circle perhaps?! Desire was originally thought up as Desire-Belle for a play on the word desirable, but I felt and found that this didn’t work as intended and so it was kept short and sweet to Rose Desire.

Photo by Flashes and Lashes

When did you get into burlesque and why?
I’ve always admired the pin up and burlesque world for as long as I can remember but didn’t have the self confidence. And then a lot of things changed and in 2008 I delved into some classes and started researching it in more depth and creating costumes. I started performing on my own in 2010. I never get tired on burlesque; it’s always reinventing itself and developing with more varied and unique performances. I can endlessly watch burlesque and gaze at the costumes and get lost in the story of the act. You can’t help but get lost in the magic of it.

Where do you get inspiration for your acts?
This can happen in so many different ways. You can get inspiration from music, movies, fashion and everyday things. My Surprise act came to me when I joked about being able to fit in a large box at work (I’m quite petite) and the idea of a jack in the box/present like act came to me.

Photo by Flashes and Lashes

Sometimes, you can hear a piece of music and hear the story of a new act evolving from it and see it happening in your mind. Whenever a new idea comes to me I quickly put pen to paper and jot it down. I have quite a few scribbles in my filofax. I love it when I get excited about a new act idea.

Photo by Flashes and Lashes

Do you have a burlesque icons?
So many! As much as the burlesque stars of now amaze and inspire me, I tend to find a lot of the classic burlesque enthralling. I can spend just as many, if not more hours gazing at their costumes in the books of black and white photographs I have as I do the modern, colour images. I love performers such as Blaze starr, Lili St Cyr, …the list can go on.

Photo by Flashes and Lashes
Any secrets or back stage gossip?
There’s always advice and passing of information floating around, keeping each other in the loop and networking of course. I’ve made some great friends in burlesque and I love being on the bill with them again as its like a friendly catch up. I’ve been able to go on some burly road trips, a car full of us off to perform somewhere together. Even as well as just sitting in our pj’s after the night before chatting the weekend away or going out and sipping cocktails. It's a lot of fun and never gets boring. 

Photo by Martyn Boston
Any secrets…? 

Hmm they would be secrets if I told them now would they!? But in all seriousness the only secrets that we tend to keep are new act/costume ideas and any bookings we can’t announce yet. But of course that is all for the benefit of the stage and you get to see it all in the end.

Photo by Grace Elkin
Making costumes is a big part of being a performer, on average how long does one costume take to make?  How many hours do you spend a night embellishing?
Soo many hours! I guess if you include everything from the initial idea sketches and then taking them to the stage, I don’t think any performer could say, but it’s a lot. To ensure no detail is left out and sourcing the right items to sewing and then choreographing can take at least a few months. And its not even over once its on stage because until you perform it to a live audience for the first time you don’t ever really know if its going to work how you want to and so there’salways tweaking after shows to ensure a garment comes off exactly how you want it to and perhaps move a few things. In my experience, nothing happens on stage how it happens when rehearsing.

Photo by Ralph Barker
You are a full time vintage glamour dame, you dress 50s vintage in your ‘real’ life too.  What is your favourite out fit to wear?

Argh, this is hard! My favourite vintage pieces I have to say is probably my yellow circle skirt and my yellow summer dress, its too hard to chose, I have some nice pieces. 
I also have a LOT of BBKC favourites of course, as they’re exactly what I dream of wearing. My glitter leopard wiggle dress my beau ordered for me when he was overseas for 7 months and knew I had my eye on the fabric and my tiki dress, I love tiki, are my top favourites though.

What’s the weirdest venue you have had to perform in?

This one is easy; I didn’t happen too long ago and was one of our burly road trips. I’d been booked along with Foxie La Roque, LuLu Belle Ferrari to perform for a World War German re-enactment group. This entailed us getting changed in a world war tin hut, which had a furnace in which we stocked with wood to keep warm and turned out to be the warmest and most spacious changing room I’ve ever had! We then had to trapes in our somewhat minimal costumes (especially my fan dance) guided by a torch in muddy gravel into another small tin hut which encased about 20 WW2 German soldiers (just to clarify these weren’t Nazi soldiers or continued anything of the sort otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to take part) anyone who knows me personally, will know this is very, very strange for me and opposite to my working life – let alone for the other girls. We then had a small and intimate space to perform in and it felt a bit like a stag party, being an audience consisting of only men. But to be fair to them, they were lively and loud which is exactly what a performer wants. It was a very strange, funny and unique experience. But thanks to our super star stage maid Soozie Floozie everything went so well and it was actually a lot of fun and the guys, once they’d calmed down, we really lovely. We all said it was hands down the weirdest ever place to perform at but it was so much fun and we all had a giggle :)

Photo by Flashes and Lashes 
Check out Rose Desire on Facebook, twitter, blog and instagram.  For bookings check our her website

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Meet proffessional make-up Artist, Ms Moo

Ulorin Vex in Lady Lucie Latex by Miss Rain Photography
Next in a series of 'meet my friends' blog posts, is Sali Jones other wise known as Ms Moo Make up

You have put make up on hundreds of famous models and burlesque performers.  What has been your favourite face to work with?
And I’m very lucky to have worked with some of them multiple times! For facial structure, Ulorin Vex was a dream to work with. I also love working with Frankii Wilde, Anna Fur Laxis and Rayna Terror. All have some wonderful facial features, are beautiful inside and out and work incredibly hard in front of camera and behind the scenes.

Frankii Wilde for Arcanum Accessories by Miss Rain Photography

Must have product right now?
It’s been a long time favourite of mine now, but Illamasqua lipsticks are incredible. My signature colour is Encounter, but I’ve also big love for Sangers and Drench. I want more natural and neutral colours for my bridal kits, so I’ll be investing in them shortly. Illamasqua products are always so well packaged and presented too. It’s a box of loveliness!

Alexa Jay by Paul Larkins Photography. Hair by Lucille's Locks and styling by BooBoo Kitty Couture.

Sum up your personal make up style?
VERY minimalist during the day; moisturiser, primer, some pan stick foundation, blusher, eyebrows, eyeliner, mascara and lip balm or a gloss. I wear near enough the same thing every day to my day job!

Anna Fur Laxis for Arcanum Accessories by Miss Rain Photography
 Going out is something difficult – I often get stuck on what make-up I want to do, so I stick to the same style but mix up my colours. I like a varied palette, but at the moment I’m a little in love with Goldilux by Sugarpill. The perfect compliment to near enough any eye make-up.

Zara Ann by Miss Rain Photography. Bra by L.A. Roxx.

You do a lot of vintage/ pin up make up?   Have you any tips for vintage girls doing their make up?
There’s so many resources for period make-up, my best advice is to not be afraid to copy; there’s video tutorials, books and a plethora of images on sites like Tumblr and Pintrest. If you want to be a bit more experimental with your face, an hour before going out isn’t the time to learn. Sit down with your kit when you’re watching a film or something on TV during the week and mix up some eye colours or styles. Just make sure you clear off all your make-up before bed!

Photographer: Paul Larkins

You have been doing allot of bridal make up?  Have you noticed any trends in new brides?
The big trend for 2013 is going to be emerald! I can’t wait for someone to request emerald make-up, as I think it’ll look gorgeous. It’ll suit someone really pale, maybe with black hair. Yummy!

Photography by MHL Photography, necklace by Bete Noire Jewellery and dress by BooBoo Kitty Couture.

Do you have any secrets of the trade for flawless skin?
Simple; look after it! If you want 'perfect' makeup, you should start with skincare. The better your skin, the more flawless makeup will look. It’s never too early to use preventative measures now, as it’ll be too late when the wrinkles start. Think of skincare as an investment for when you’re older.

Frankii Wilde by Miss Rain Photography

Also, drink lots of water, find a primer that’s right for you and remember your skin changes colour so you’ll need at least two shades for winter and summer skin.

Paul Dale Photography
Please check out;
Ms Moo's website
Facebook Page

And if you are planning a wedding, do get in touch with her to discuss rates;

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Marilyn Monroe, forever my inspiration

This is what happens when you get five talented people together in one room, we make magic happen!  

The first shoot of the year was with Paul Larkins Photography, Alexa Jay modelling, hair by Lucille's Lock's and make up by Ms Moo, styling and dresses by me.

These two dresses were both inspired by dresses Marilyn wore.  I wrote about the gold dress here on this post.  You can see a behind the scenes shot at the bottom of the post.  The deep red dress was also inspired by a dress Marilyn wore in How to Marry a Millionaire, i blogged about it here.

Read my full blog post here
Read my full blog post here

For all bespoke dress enquires please email me at

Trixie Stop Copying me!!

I have been told by a number of different people that i look like Trixie from Call the Midwife!  Such a lovely compliment i love the show and Trixie is defiantly my favourite character.  She has such lovely outfits.  I particularly like the outfit she had on when she wore cigarette pants at the end of the ship episode, i cant find any photos of it :( will have to take a photo of the TV!

I can see similarities in how we dress, this is what i am wearing today.  You could just see Trixie in this outfit on her day off!

I don't think i purposely copy Trixie, i mean i have had hair like this for years and all my clothing i have had since before i started watching the show!

Trixie defiantly copied me on this black shirt dress, i made it ages ago! ;p

Cigarette pants and black shirt dress handmade by me!

If you are interested in having a custom made dress, drop me an email at