Before we get into the review, of would like to ask you lovely people a favour. I’ve entered Miss Vintage 2019 and to get through to the next round, I need votes, which means Facebook likes on my photo. There’s one week left, so if you have a second, please could you click on this link and like the photo? Thank you so very much in advance! Carrie-Ann Miss Vintage 2019 entry.
I recently noticed a new vintage-style cosmetics brand on the block, Fatale Cosmetics. I started following the team on Instagram, and was instantly intrigued by the lipsticks on offer. They have the look of old Hollywood-style luxury, and coming from the women behind The Vintage Beauty Parlour, and The House of Foxy & Pretty Retro, I knew they were going to be something pretty special.
The brand has three lipsticks in its range:
Monroe red – a classic ruby red with a warm undertone
Harlow coral – a striking, warm coral-red with orange and pink undertones
Rita Rouge – a rich crimson red with cool blue and pink undertones
All three are highly pigmented, vegetarian and palm oil free, and are not tested on animals.
I spent a long time trying to decide between Monroe Red and Rita Rouge (much experimenting in the past has confirmed that coral is not the one for me). I recently got a rather bright red lipstick with my Beauty Pie subscription (blog post to come soon), so I eventually decided to plump for Rita Rouge.
Shipping was super-speedy (I received it two days after ordering), and a lot of thought and care has obviously gone into the packaging. Just look at this!
I’m a huge fan of fancy packaging, but the important bit is, of course, the lipstick itself. And this one did not disappoint.
It goes on really smoothly, with the promised highly pigmented, colour-rich look. I’m really pleased I went for the Rita Rouge, as it’s a colour I don’t currently have in my (extensive) make up box. I only needed one coat, and decided to keep the satiny look, but next time I might blot to get more of a retro matte.
And it’s got pretty impressive staying power too. I wore it on Easter Sunday, where I cooked up a storm (hosting my first family Easter get-together, which was just as stressful as I thought it would be). I ate and drank a lot, and although the colour faded (and did slightly come off on my glass), it did so evenly and I only topped my lips up once. If I’d been out for the evening, rather than positioning myself horizontally on the sofa, I’d have probably topped it up a couple more times, but still – I can see it working really well at events where I’m out and about all day.
The lipstick is slightly more expensive than I’d usually pay, at £25, but for a strong colour that has good staying power and fits perfectly with a vintage or modern look, I’d say it’s worth the money.
And, it means I can pretend to be all glamorous and mysterious, like this.
In case you’re curious, the corsage I’m wearing in this photo is the Dotty, part of the Dorothy Collection by Miss Bella’s Blooms, available on Etsy now.
Before we get into the review, of would like to ask you lovely people a favour. I’ve entered Miss Vintage 2019 (exciting yet terrifying, no?) and to get through to the next round, I need to get votes, which means Facebook likes on my photo. If you have a second, please could you click on this link and like the photo? Thank you so very much in advance! Carrie-Ann Miss Vintage 2019 entry.
A while ago now (it may have been as long as two years), I saw Miss Victory Violet wearing a Hearts and Found dress on Instagram, and filed the name away for future reference, as it looked rather lovely.
More recently, I discovered that one of their dresses is called Dorothy, and it felt like I needed it for my fast-growing collection of Dorothy outfits (which I’m sure will be a post in itself at some point).
It sounds silly, but I find that wearing something that carries her name comforting (for those of you who haven’t read about Dorothy before, she was my daughter and you can find out more about her here and here – these posts come with a trigger warning for premature birth and neonatal death).
In a lucky turn of events, Hearts and Found had a 25% off discount code to celebrate the New Year, so I treated myself. Then, when the Dorothy arrived with a discount code for my next purchase, I decided almost immediately to buy the Bonnie in emerald green, which I’d also had my eye on.
All Hearts and Found dresses are available on Etsy in sizes XS (waist 24″) to 4X (waist 44″), with a handy measurements guide under each dress listing. If you don’t match the measurements on these sizes, the Hearts and Found team will custom make one to your exact measurements, which I think is just wonderful.
For reference, both my Dorothy and Bonnie dresses are 2XL, and fit like gloves. Well, actually, they fit like dresses, but you know what I mean. The dresses also come in a range of lengths – above knee, knee or tea length. My Dorothy dress is knee length and my Bonnie dress is tea length.
The Hearts and Found team is based in Vietnam, and as the dresses are made to order, it of course takes a little longer for them to arrive in the UK. However, both times I’ve ordered, the dresses have arrived earlier than I was expecting, which has been a lovely surprise; the team has also sent me updates about how my dresses were progressing, which I appreciated.
I know I shouldn’t get so excited about packaging, but I was one of those teenage girls who used to buy the cheapest thing in a shop with nice carrier bags, just so I could carry one around. I feel like this is the adult equivalent. And look how adorable it is! They also both came with tape measures, which are incredibly useful – I tuck them into my handbag for any measuring emergencies (read: a vintage dress that I’m not sure will fit) while I’m out and about.
As the dresses are made to my measurements, it’s probably no surprise that they fit better than just about anything else in my wardrobe, but the colours were a pleasant surprise; they’re just gorgeous in real life and the photos don’t do them justice. The Bonnie is a real jewel green in real life, and is very striking, while the Dorothy is in a beautiful soft mauve – I chose it because it’s a colour I associate with our Dorothy.
They’re a lovely midway point between casual and dressy – I can wear them with flat shoes and a cardigan for a casual lunch (or a more formal lunch) or with heels and a cardigan (I wear a lot of cardigans) for something fancier.
If you’re thinking of buying yourself a Hearts and Found dress, I would definitely recommend taking the plunge. The price is comparable with many mid-range reproduction brands (although shipping is, of course, pricey), but the quality and fit makes Hearts and Found stand out for all the right reasons.
Just before Christmas, my husband and I went to see Mary Poppins Returns, and I adored it. So, a week later, I went to see it again with my mum and sister, and I still adored it.
Of all the things I loved (the songs! The penguins! Emily Blunt!), I think I loved the costumes most of all. As well as humming the songs to myself for most of the last two and a half months, I’ve been building myself a little Mary Poppins Returns-style wardrobe, and last weekend, my husband and I headed to the park – not to go fly a kite (although it was certainly windy enough) – but to take some photos of me in my Mary-inspired finery.
I already had a dress that looked Poppins-esque, which I bought from Gingermegs Vintage a couple of years ago, so the first part of the outfit I found (and actually the start of the whole idea) was a pair of red gloves, chanced upon during a trip to my local Primark.
The red shoes are the Donna style from Hotter, and are practically perfect in every way. They are hands down the most comfortable things I’ve ever had on my feet (and I’m including slippers in that statement). I bought them in black first, and when the red ones went into the January sale, I decided it was fate, and bought a pair.
The hat is from the lovely Karen at The Heritage Milliner. She makes beautiful hats, and I was browsing her website when I found a style (Elaine) that looked like a great tribute to the Mary Poppins look, while being something I could wear again. Karen agreed to make one for me, and kindly sent fabric samples so I could match the hat to my shoes and gloves. I accessorised the hat with a festive corsage from Pin Up Curl, which I bought a couple of years ago (try as I might, I just couldn’t find any robin-themed millinery accessories that fitted the bill, but again – I like the way this pays tribute to Mary Poppins, without being an exact replica).
The bag was an absolute bargain (£10!) on Etsy, which I found by searching for Mary Poppins bag.
And, to finish off the look – my bird umbrella. My husband and I went to Edinburgh a couple of weeks ago, and I spotted one as we were having a mooch around the shops. Unbeknownst (isn’t that a great word?) to me, he ordered one online, to make sure it would be surprise present. He’s very kind. And hasn’t even minded when I’ve talked to it and pretended it was answering back.
Put it all together and I think it’s a pretty supercalifragilisticexpialidocious look (sorry, had to get that phrase in somewhere – I think I’ve been quite subtle at sneaking the other references in, but that was always going to stick out like a…well, like an amazing and ridiculous made up word).
Not that she’ll be reading this, but thank you very much to the young woman who walked past shouting to her friend “Look! It’s Mary Poppins!” as we were taking photos. I appreciated it very much.
I will start this post by saying that I am in a fortunate position – my workplace, managers and colleagues have been very supportive and caring since Dorothy died. I am aware that not everyone has the same experience, and I’m sorry if you’re finding returning to work difficult outside of the usual reasons.
In the UK, if your baby is born alive at any gestation, you are entitled to your full maternity leave. I took four months, where I painted furniture, dyed my hair pink, watched a lot of TV, started jogging, and attempted to begin putting myself back together again.
Once I’d painted all the furniture I could get my hands on and the pink in my hair started to fade, I began to think about my return to work. My workplace had been very good, checking in occasionally but leaving me firmly in control of when and how I wanted to return. After a couple of meetings where they gently told me I was coming back very soon (it didn’t feel like that from my sofa), we decided I’d return to work on 21st September, almost four months after Dorothy died.
My first day was a big team meeting, where we were having CPR training. I insisted I’d be fine, then had a flashback when I saw the dummies we’d be practicing on and quickly left the room. It was phenomenally unpleasant, and I’m incredibly grateful to my colleague-who’s-also-a-friend who took me back to the office where we chatted about inconsequential things (I seem to remember celebrity gossip featuring heavily).
Since then, my head has mostly settled down, but – despite everyone doing all they could – it hasn’t been easy. In the hope that someone may stumble across this post and find it helpful (or even just be comforted that they’re not going through it alone), here are some things I’ve learned about returning to work after you lose a child.
Advocate for what you need
If your workplace doesn’t ask what you need, tell them. Whether it’s a phased return, flexibility to work from other locations, time off for counselling or just a bit of space – they won’t know if you don’t tell them.
And if what you need changes after you’ve been back for a day, a week, or a little while, tell them.
Send out an email before you return to work
This was actually advice in one of the Sands booklets we were given by the hospital, and it was invaluable. It was hard, but it helped to write things about Dorothy that I wanted people to know. A few people in my team told me it was helpful for them to know that I was happy to talk about Dorothy, but understood if they found it upsetting, which was nice.
But on that note…
People may not ask you about your child
Or they may ask once, and then move on. That’s ok, of course, but it’s something to prepare yourself for. Not everyone wants to hear about other people’s children, and others might find the situation too sad or difficult (maybe they have children themselves and feel guilty or awkward).
You’ll have plenty of feelings about this (I certainly did), but I urge you to try to be understanding; it’s not about you, or your child. And hey – it doesn’t stop you from talking about your child if you want to.
People may ask where you’ve been
Especially ones who you don’t speak to regularly and/or haven’t seen for a while. The first few times someone asked me where I’d been were awful. I hated their sympathetic head tilts when I told them, I stumbled over my words and spent far too long apologising for having to tell them. Now, I explain that I had a daughter and that she passed away, accept their condolences and move on.
And then spend the next 45 minutes worrying that I sound callous or flippant.
There isn’t a magic set of words to make it better (if there is, I’ve yet to find it), but it will become easier the more you do it.
Other people will get pregnant
It will hurt, and I’m truly sorry about that. I don’t have any advice other than it’s ok to be sad and angry that it’s not you.
And if anyone asks you if and when you’ll be trying for another baby, it’s absolutely fine to stumble through an answer while wanting to stab them in the eye with a hot poker. That’s what I usually do, anyway (this has come up much more than is reasonable – or, indeed, appropriate – in the workplace, although not with anyone in my team, I hasten to add).
You will hear insensitive things
Particularly if you work near pregnant people, but also just in general. Some conversations that have set me off since I went back to work:
Are all new-born babies ugly?
School plays and concerts
A joke between two colleagues (one pregnant) about whether it bodes well if the pregnant one can’t even keep plants alive.
I’m lucky that I have a laptop and a mobile phone, so when conversations that make me feel uncomfortable are happening, I can take myself off to work somewhere else. Usually, by the time I come back an hour later, everyone’s moved on and I can get on with my day.
If you have the option, I would definitely recommend it. And if you don’t? Take yourself off for a walk, or pop to the ladies.
Take your time
I started back at work on a phased return; three days a week initially, building up to four (with one of those from home) and I’m now back to full-time (one day a week from home). Again, I’m aware that I’m fortunate to be able to do this but even if you need to be in every day, take your time; find out if you can work some half-days, or take some time off, but make sure you’re going at your own pace.
If your own pace is a million miles an hour (like mine), make sure you’re not burying yourself in work to put off dealing with big feelings. Otherwise, when you finally stop, it’s going to hurt that much harder.
It’s ok to cry
I don’t do it in front of colleagues (if I can possibly avoid it), but – particularly in the first few weeks back – if I knew I could cry in the car on the way home, it made getting through the day a little bit easier.
And there’s no time limit on it. A couple of weeks ago, I had a great off-site meeting and felt really good about it, then full on sobbed for the 45 minutes it took for me to get back to the office, just because I realised the meeting wouldn’t have happened if Dorothy was still here.
If you want a photo on your desk, put one there
I decided not to, for reasons that I’ll probably go into more detail about on another post, but essentially – Dorothy was a beautiful little girl, and I don’t like watching people steel themselves to look at photos of her. Instead, I have a sweet little doll from Lotty Lollipop on my desk, and I carry her photo in my handbag.
Ultimately, do what’s right for you
And set appropriate boundaries. I have a couple of trusted colleagues who I talk to, who will sensitively pass things on if they need to.
Don’t pressure yourself to move on too quickly. Grieving any loss is a process, and what you’ve been through is indescribably sad and painful. Give yourself a break.
Do what you need to do to get through the day (provided you’re not hurting yourself or others). In case no-one told you today – you got out of bed and you’re upright, which is an incredible achievement and I’m proud of you.
Going back to work since Dorothy died has been difficult, challenging, interesting, thought-provoking and satisfying (sometimes all in the same afternoon), but I’m glad I went back when I did. I know this won’t be the case for everyone, but I’ve found having something to focus on has helped me move forward, and I’m grateful for it.
I was really excited when Claire asked me if I’d like to collaborate with her on a collection. Each one is named after my daughter, Dorothy, who passed away last year, and for each item sold, we will be donating to a wonderful charity, Remember My Baby. The charity is staffed by volunteer photographers, who give their time and expertise to ensure bereaved parents get the chance to have photos with their child. We have some wonderful photos of Dorothy thanks to the charity and I’m honoured to be able to give something back.
The Dorothy, a peony and hydrangea hair flower and corsage set has large, pale pink peonies and lilac hydrangeas, complemented by a spray of delicate green, purple, lilac buds.
The Rose is available in pale pink and mauve, and is made of roses and rose buds, with added hyacinths, lilac and green buds, gypsophila and hydrangeas, along with a hidden forget-me-not in the leaves.
The Beverley is made of blue and lilac meadow astrantia, with small yellow daffodils, elderflower buds, yellow hydrangeas and white orange blossom.
Back in November, I headed over to Claire’s workshop, where – after I made friends with her cats and had a little squeal at all the flowers she has – we experimented with different colours and styles before she let me loose with a glue gun. I had an idea of the sorts of colours I wanted (soft, muted ones that remind me of Dorothy), and I knew I wanted something with a rose as it was one of her middle names, but apart from that I was pretty clueless!
Claire was wonderful, guiding me through the process and giving me pointers as we went along. I’m thrilled with what we’ve created!
Once we’d created the designs, I started thinking about how to style them. I had a perfect hat, which my husband bought from Elegant Era for my birthday, and had my eye on this Miss Candyfloss dress since I saw it at London Edge last year. It was sold out on the Miss Candyfloss website, but the lovely team at Revival Retro made my dress dreams come true!
On New Year’s Day, my husband and I headed over to our local park to take some photos, where we ended up making friends with a dog called Jack. He was fun! Unfortunately we didn’t get any photos of the Beverley, as this is a later addition to the collection, but here’s how I styled the Dorothy and the Rose. All come with a hair clip and a brooch fastener, so you can wear them however you like.
The Christmas decorations have been packed away, I’ve watched all the festive films I usually watch at this time of year (along with several others, thanks to my sister’s Christmas24 recommendations) and I’m reflecting on the year we’ve just put to bed.
In these first few weeks of 2019, I’ll be writing about some of the things that happened last year. Some of my posts will be more serious than others, of course, but for now, I thought I’d ease us all in gently (the year is very new, after all), and talk about some of my favourite outfits of 2018.
First up, I love this British Retro dress so much that I have it in two colours. I wore the smoke grey version with a magenta vintage hat and bag set (bought at Elegant Era) at the start of 2018, and rocked the red version with a mistletoe hairpiece just before Christmas.
This outfit is all vintage – the dress is from Gingermegs Vintage, and the bag belonged to my husband’s great-aunt. She passed away over the summer and his family very kindly offered me a few of her things. Using them feels very special.
This super-duper dramatic hat and beautiful dress from Elegant Era came with me to Twinwood Festival in August. It was my first event after Dorothy was born – I was incredibly anxious, but everyone was just wonderful. I accessorised with a hair flower from Miss Bella’s Blooms and Rocket Originals.
I couldn’t not include this Eliza J dress, worn when I was maid of honour at my sister and brother-in-law’s wedding in May. It was comfortable (it had to be, I was five and a half months pregnant) and I felt mega-fancy. Bonus points if you can guess the wedding theme from my house colours-themed skirt.
This 1940s look is from Heyday Vintage – it’s such a nice look for Autumn/Winter, and I’m looking forward to pairing it with some brighter accessories when the weather perks up.
This puffin-themed skirt is from Palava, and it’s so detailed in real life. This outfit is sparkly and fun and I like it a lot.
A vintage style coat should be considered an investment, as they can be pretty pricey. But they are built to last; my Pearl coat is three years old and has plenty of life left in it, as does the rest of my collection. As a result, I really don’t need another, but some of the styles at the moment are sorely testing my resolve!
Hell Bunny always has gorgeous coats for this time of year; the Olivia is a beautiful red coat that looks an awful lot like one I had when I was five (me and my sister had matching ones, obviously). It costs £113.99.
While we’re talking red coats, the Wonderland coat from British Retro is absolutely gorgeous, and perfect for the festive season (it also comes in grey for a less Christmassy look). At £175, it is expensive, but British Retro clothes are known for being good quality (and if the faux fur is anything like the stuff on my Mrs Claus dress – also from British Retro – it’s going to be soft and just delightful).
I’ve only recently come across the Hearts and Roses Lauren coat (Hearts and Roses is a wholesale brand, meaning you have to buy from certain stockists. Starlet Vintage always has a great collection – the coat is reduced to £84.99). I love the soft grey colour, and could see wearing this somewhere sophisticated. Now I just need to find somewhere sophisticated to go…
Now, a vintage style coat wishlist wouldn’t be complete without Collectif. The pearl coat in tan is back at £216.50 (I sold mine a while ago, and it’s been a constant source of regret ever since) and is also available in black velvet, priced at £192. I imagine it would be like wearing a cloud. A warm one. The other Collectif coat I’ve had my eye on for a while (since I saw it at London Edge) is the Claudia, priced at £182. A navy coat with a matching detachable cape, it’s decorated with beautifully embroidered stars. It would be perfect for Mary Poppins cosplay, or a wintery adventure.
I can never decide what my favourite season is. Spring is green and lush, summer is glorious (when it’s not raining), autumn is crackly leaves and bonfire smoke, and winter is frosty crunchiness.
For fashion, though, I’m pretty sure Autumn’s my favourite (unless we’re talking festive fashion. That wins every time). Teal, mustard and jewel colours are in, check fabrics are everywhere, and hats go with everything.
This Miss Bella’s Blooms rose and hydrangea hair flower is very sweet. One of the things I like about Claire’s shop is that she only has limited runs on her flowers (there’s only one of these), so your risk of turning up wearing the same as someone else is limited.
I’ve recently discovered Revival Retro, a boutique in London, has its own range of vintage style clothes. I’m obsessed with their cape (that’s a post for another time), but I’m also loving this teal shirt dress. I’d probably style it with black tights and flats for the office, then nude tights and a small heel for an afternoon tea trip.
This next dress is almost in Christmas frocks territory (ok, it’s definitely in Christmas frocks territory), but I like it so much I’m featuring it here. The Dolly and Dotty holly dress is made of blue velvet (yep, that song’s now in my head forever), and looks lovely and swingy.
Next up…a hat! Regular readers will know how much I adore hats, and I own several from Kerry at the Little Shop of Gorgeousness & Fripperies now. This faux fur 1940s style one looks really warm and stylish. I’d wear it with my black Collectif coat and an imperious expression.
I’ve seen the Unique Vintage Lydia dress a few times over social media recently, and I think it’s absolutely flipping gorgeous. The black and white panels mean it looks a bit different to other 1950s style dresses around at the moment, and I love the look it gives. I’d probably style this pretty closely to this photo, to be honest!
I mentioned the Voodoo Vixen tartan range in my last post, and this skirt is lovely. It would go with so much stuff currently in my wardrobe that I have to keep reminding myself that I have Christmas presents to buy, and that should really come before skirts for me…
I’m loving these Rocket Originals Doris shoes. They’d work well with my warmer outfits now, but I think they’d work equally well with my summer dresses next year too.
Some of my most lusted-after items at the moment are from Voodoo Vixen (including – but not limited to – the Ella dress and Madelyn skirt).
I saw lots of things the brand has coming up when I visited London Edge, and wanted to get some more details on the inspiration behind their latest collection, and how they come up with designs.
Here’s my short interview with the team:
How do you come up with the ideas for each collection?
We design around individual mood boards, so will have a look or inspiration, which may be a trend, fabric, colour or vintage image/style and then design pieces around it. The designers (we have designers in LA and London) will also design around a pattern they have created themselves. For example, for AW19, one of the designers has created a bird print and then made different dresses using the pattern and knitwear, picking out colours from her design.
There was also a western-style mood board, so dresses, shirts and t-shirts have been designed to sit within that board.
That’s a huge amount of design work! Does everything go into production?
We design too much and then have to drop items!
I love the Audrey dress (readers, look at this print!). How did you come up with the design?
The Audrey dress was a shape we wanted to try and we had this pattern which we thought would work with the shape. Especially for the party season, we will have patterns or fabrics we love that we will design in different dress shapes, then decide when the whole collection is designed which ones to go with!
The blouse is 1930s inspired, and is designed to be tucked into things (skirts, shorts and trousers mainly, although given my clumsiness, I could very easily see myself tucking it into drawers, doors and gates too).
I set my hair using a heat set and a Lauren Bacall setting pattern; it gave a nice, soft curl, but dropped really quickly; I like the style, so I think I’ll use a wet set instead next time.
Overall, I really like the blouse; it gives a nice shape when tucked into things, without being too floaty (I’m not a fan of the ‘Michael Bolton on a beach in a music video’ look. Do I mean Michael Bolton? I have a vague memory of a man singing on a beach, wearing an open shirt that’s blowing in the wind. Wondering who this is will drive me mad). I like how it fits on my arms, but if you have smaller upper arms, it’ll be a bit roomier, adding to the blousy effect.
All that makes it easy to style with a range of outfits, and I’m looking forward to mixing up my eras; I think it would look rather lovely with a tartan circle skirt, or even under a pinafore.
The blouse is available in sizes 8-18, and is true to size. If you like a really flowing look (apologies, I meant no offence with my Michael Bolton comment), I’d recommend sizing up.
Sometimes my husband likes to photobomb me. He thinks I don’t notice.