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Mussolini’s Villa on Rhodes


You may remember a an article I wrote for Military Reenactors Magazine about Profitis Ilias on Rhodes a couple of years back? Well this time we travelled that way once more to visit a villa built as a retirement home for Mussolini. Blimey, the amount of steep climbing we had to do to get there, I couldn’t imagine him nipping to the shop for more Tzatziki.

General Cesare Maria De Vecchi stayed there between 1936 and 1940, whilst he was the Italian Governor of Rhodes. Mussolini planned to use Rhodes as a major naval base, but luckily never set foot in his villa, which was later abandoned in 1947.

There is still a haunting grandeur about this derelict building. Blindsiding the graffiti and obvious looting, you can still see what a remarkably beautiful house this was. The view from the veranda, overlooking the roof of the Elaphos Hotel and onto the sea, is breathtaking. I managed to save a few photos to my computer before Betsy miraculously hid my camera card. Here is what I have for you!

Probably unplanned, but note how the tiled floor of the entrance way looks like an elongated Star of David pattern…

 

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Luxulite Vintage Style Jewellery


I stumbled across Luxulite on Etsy one day and ever since got combarded by tantalising adverts, thanks to Facebook’s cookie system. Gosh and darn it, I had to get me some of the colourful craziness!

Luxulite Lucky Lobsters Beachcomber Necklace

Luxulite Lucky Lobsters Beachcomber Necklace

I am a huge fan of vintage jewellery, especially anything quirky, but with a baby thinking that everything is a chew toy or something to swing on, it is too much of a risk! This stuff is authentic and easy to wear, Betsy loves rattling the necklaces when I wear them, but I know she can’t break them like my old ones! I have to say that the lobster set is my all time favourite!

Red Lobster Earrings

Red Lobster Earrings

I asked the founder Katy Crebbin a few questions about her amaaaaaazing collection:

1. Do you have a love of vintage yourself?
I do! I’ve been enjoying the vintage and rockabilly scene for many years now and love attending weekenders and events around the country – my favourite has got to be the Rockabilly Rave, but we are really lucky in the North East as we have a strong community with loads of gigs and events happening regularly around the region.

2.What is your favourite era?
In terms of design, music and fashion it has to be the 1950’s, with a little dabble here and there into the 1940’s. There’s a real sense of optimism and playfulness in popular culture and design in the 1950’s which is just too good to resist!

3. What made you start creating retro jewellery?
I think it’s a combination of a huge love for the fashion and accessories of the mid 20th Century, and the problem of being able to firstly find it, and secondly afford it! When I started out I was making the jewellery for myself to wear as you just couldn’t get good repro jewellery anywhere at that time – the vintage and rockabilly scenes were saturated with tattoo-inspired plastic jewellery (which is fine but it just wasn’t my bag!) I wanted to wear jewellery that looked like the originals from the 1940’s and 50’s. The more I made, the more friends and family wanted things and it just grew from there!

Green Chimayo Inspired Necklace and Earrings

Green Chimayo Inspired Necklace and Earrings

4. What is your favourite piece and what seems to be your best selling
I’d say my favourite piece to date is a novelty corn cob brooch with little brown glass chickens – it was a really fun piece to carve and is lots of fun to wear! It’s usually hard to pin down a best seller as I tend to make quite short, limited runs, but this year my (completely unexpected) best seller has been my Audrey II brooch which was made completely on a whim and was never expected to be such a hit!

5. Do you use anyone as inspiration?
The work of jewellery designer Martha Sleeper is a constant source of inspiration, but I also love to look at novelty prints and designs from the mid-century period – there are so many amazing (and some utterly insane) themes in fabric prints, it really is a treasure trove of inspiration. Ideas have come from all sorts of sources though, from films, places or songs, to something as simple as stumbling across an old board game in a charity shop and re-purposing the pieces to make jewellery.

Sweater Girl Hoop Earrings

Sweater Girl Hoop Earrings

6. Have you got new styles on the horizon?
I’m currently finishing off my samples for my Halloween and Christmas collections which is so much fun! I love a good old OTT tacky holiday, and Halloween has got to be my favourite! There’s also a really exciting new collaboration coming up in August with a fellow British designer, so I can’t wait to show everyone what we’ve been working on – watch this space!

 

I for one cannot wait to see the Halloween and festive collection! You must check out Katy’s shop for yourself. The brooches look fantastic on coats, jackets or blouses, so if you are looking for something to finish off the outfit or add a splash of colour on a grey day then this is your best place! They are also really affordable pieces of jewellery. You are looking at £8.50 to £16 for a brooch and up to £25.50 for some of the more crazy necklaces, so nothing that will break the bank and they make awesome stocking stuffers too!

Cherry Log Slice Brooch

Cherry Log Slice Brooch

Battles for Victory Photos 2016


Apologies for posting these so late, it has been rather hectic and trying to get onto the computer when you have a baby running around is impossible!

Well this fantastic show was held in a park. A beautiful setting with a large main stage, vintage vehicles, trade stalls, reenactors and some super eateries. I was also lucky enough to be invited aboard the P22 gunner boat, moored at Ramsgate Harbour. It had just come back from France after being used in the new Brad Pitt war film!

It was wonderful meeting up with some familiar faces and meeting new ones alike. This really is a show that will go from strength to strength as it gets bigger. It is just a shame that there were hardly any posters around, or advertisement for the evening Blitz Ball as Im sure there were some people who missed this that would have loved to come!

Annie Riley singing some First World War tunes

Annie Riley singing some First World War tunes

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On board the P22

On board the P22

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Kitten and the lovely crew!

Kitten and the lovely crew!

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Emma and Magdalena being demure and sophisticated for the camera...

Emma and Magdalena being demure and sophisticated for the camera…

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Our hotel...Noisy but full of character!

Our hotel…Noisy but full of character!

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Le'arna Castle, beautifully dressed in period costume for the First World War stage production

Le’arna Castle, beautifully dressed in period costume for the First World War stage production

Betsy Rose stealing the show yet again...

Betsy Rose stealing the show yet again…

The ever gorgeous Mr and Mrs Brown!

The ever gorgeous Mr and Mrs Brown!

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Swingtime Sweethearts belting it out at the evening do

Swingtime Sweethearts belting it out at the evening do

The ever amazing and cheeky Viv the Spiv

The ever amazing and cheeky Viv the Spiv

Battles For Victory this Weekend!


I cannot wait to perform at this event! I will be doing a burlesque dance at the Saturday evening Dance to Victory and then a singing set on Sunday at the main event. Viv the Spiv, Swingtime Sweethearts and many more well known entertainers will be there!

The Big O Festival 2016


I will be performing at a fantastic festival in Kent on 2nd July! It focuses on the 40’s to the 80’s, with live music, fashion, cars, vintage stalls and more!

Come and watch some of my 40’s singing and a family friendly fan dance! Don’t be shy I’m asking for photos with my fans too, I may even teach you a few moves!

The Big O Fest is FREE, so come and support a wonderful and diverse vintage event.

Friar Fest 2016


Thank you to everyone at Friar Fest for making me feel so welcome! Lovely crowd singing along, very helpful organisers and superb sound team (big up to their posh coffee machine!).

We had a wonderful time and wish we had been able to sample the food stalls as those stonebaked pizzas looked incredible!

Photo by John Whitehouse

2 photos by Sean Dean

Droitwich Standard clipping 10/06/16. Photo by Sean Dean

Rocket Originals Clothing


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About 7 years back I purchased by first pair of Rocket Originals saddle shoes. It was such a relief to find flat footwear that was still vintage, looked good with skirts as well as trousers and were super comfy at events! They were also great for dancing in! This year I got some Veronica Sandals as I wanted something a little more glamorous, but still very practical. Usually very nervous about solid soled shoes, I was really surprised how comfortable these are and I cannot wait to prance around Greece in them this June!

Taken by Shona Van Beers, War & Peace 2010

Taken by Shona Van Beers, War & Peace 2010

 

At this year’s Stoneleigh Militaria I stumbled across their glorious stall and realised that I had been completely unaware that Rocket did clothing too! They had a lovely little selection of women’s tops and I will show you a couple now. Sometimes being a mum is messy work, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still want my vintage/ retro look. Rocket Originals’ knitwear is made of acrylic, fits like a dream and is easy to bung in the wash. I’ve twinned mine with Heyday trousers and Collectif capris!

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Kaye was kind enough to answer a few questions for me…

You are famed for you vintage style shoes, what made you branch out into clothing?

It’s always been a mixture of footwear and clothing.  We were first trading in 1988, and back then we sold vintage clothing we imported direct from the USA and bought from various dealers in the UK, a range of T Shirts which we screen printed ourselves and footwear.  We started having our own brand of ladies footwear and knitwear manufactured in 2006, and men’s shirts from 2008.

Everyone knows what a sucker for knitwear I am, have you a favourite piece in your range?

We don’t really have favourites, we choose the patterns carefully so they’re all styles we really like.  We particularly liked the Victory sweaters (free pattern still available on the V&A website).  Another we’ve liked is our fairisle square neck style, which we had knitted in loads of colour variations.
There are so many amazing 40’s, 50’s and 60’s styles. How did you choose what to make?

We have trouble choosing what NOT to make!  It’s easy really, out of our collection we pick the styles we like and think our customers would prefer.  We have all our own brand of shoes and clothing made as ‘limited editions’ and bring out new stock rather than remaking the same styles, because there’s still such a lot to go at. There are so many vintage shoes and patterns etc that we have in our collection and want to copy, and we’re always looking for more.
I had a pair of your super saddle shoes and couldn’t believe the comfort and quality! Do you have a favourite style?

We have loads of favourite styles. We love our saddle shoes (copied from a vintage American pair we bought), our recent Gibson style, and also have a lot of favourites among the ladies wedges.  Some of the men’s shoes are hand made in England and we like them for their quality.
What is your favourite era and why?

Our favourite era is early 50’s American.  But we love anything from the 40’s and 50’s for lots of reasons, be it music, clothing, cars and furnishings. We also love art deco homes and furniture and that was the style for our last home, but our current one is mid century modern.

 

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So make sure you head on over to the Rocket Originals website or visit their stall at events. From sandals to stripey sweaters, they really do compliment your vintage wardrobe beautifully!

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Rocket Originals white Veronica Sandals worn with Heyday skirt and blouse

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