Thursday, July 28, 2011

Birthday fever!

I have celebrated so many birthdays this month! It has been a fun time toasting my summer baby family and friends, and is set to continue with more birthdays (including mine!) in August. I have no idea how I will celebrate on the day this year, as mine falls on a Monday...too bad my sweetie wont be with me either!

So this month has been filled with cake, champers, dancing, dinners and wonderful company. Here's a glimpse...

Parisian birthday....

What better way to celebrate your birthday than in beautiful Paris? Sipping champagne whilst cruising on the Seine followed by macaroons and relaxing in Jardin du Luxembourg - parfait!

Sweet 18th birthday....

My niece is all grown up! I can't believe how time flies - and I also can't believe how yummy this birthday cake was!

Birthday prom...

I am now convinced that more days should be spent in prom attire, as everyone looks so good all dressed up in frilly frocks and flounced tuxedo shirts. It's also especially nice to see a room full of big fluffy skirts twirling around the dance floor!

Birthday by the water...

Dinner to celebrate one of my favourite ladies at the Narrow Boat pub which opens right onto a canal. Perfect place to chat with friends in the summer, with a nice chilled out vibe.

What a month!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tweety Pie - @MelBlonde

After much toing and froing, I've begun my ascent to get with the blog networking times and joined Twitter.

Yes, you heard right - I've done it! can follow me on @MelBlonde (I have yet to add a Twitter button to the blog, but will most likely put that up in the not-too-distant future).

Please bear with me though, as I have absolutely no idea what I am doing....

Any tweet tips welcomed!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Vintage Life Magazine

I finally managed to get hold of the July edition of Vintage Life Magazine this week. It's available online or at WHSmiths, and is a fab little mag full of articles about fashion, events, people, beauty & styling, crafts, home, music and more - all with a vintage and nostalgia theme.

I hadn't purchased VLM before, but after my fellow blogger Lottie over at Lottie Loves informed me that she had spotted a photo of me and and my sweetheart featured in an article about Viva Las Vegas, I had to sneak a peak at our five minutes of fame!

The article gives a recap of the 15th VLV rockabilly weekender which took place in April, and provides an overview of the event as well as a few snaps to illustrate. Along with our photo, another San Francisco based couple whom we are friends with are also featured, and our good friends The B-Stars get a shout out for being one of the musical highlights of the weekend (which they most definitely were)!

Coincidentally, this July edition happens to feature a couple of articles on vintage weddings and dresses, which was of particular interest to me, what with my own wedding on the horizon...*grin*...

All in all a fun read for lovers of vintage. If you want to get hold of this month's issue in-store you have a few days left, or you can buy online, where it's also possible to get previous issues. So grab a copy and start turning those pages!

Friday, July 22, 2011

It's not summer until you've eaten watermelon...

Well, ironically, less than 24 hours after my rant about needing an umbrella in summer, the sun had his hat on today - hip-hip-hip-hooray!

So what better way to celebrate, than with the quintessential messy summer fruit, the watermelon?

The Dirty Dancing inspired blog post I carried a watermelon...?! written by moi last summer, was rather popular it seems (according to the stats, dontchaknow!) - either that, or my readers are quite fond of melons *ahem*...

Maybe as I am feeling fruity I might try to make some watermelon ice cubes for a refreshing summer drink with a twist, or perhaps spike a watermelon for one of your five-a-day with a kick!

Be warned, as this delicious fruit is made up of around 91% water, prepare to make a few trips to powder your nose and spend a penny....and on that note, I've gotta dash!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Al fresco frolics!

It's currently drizzling all over London, which means that I am not at the City of London Festival, dancing to the Jive Aces in New Street Square. It is said rain which also stopped me from checking out the vintage music and dance event at the Bandstand in Battersea Park last weekend. Disappointing.

I've said it once and I'll say it again - I absolutely love London in the summertime. I love how it stays light out until around 10pm, I love all of the outdoor festivals and events, I love wearing summery clothing and not being weighed down by a coat (scarf, umbrella, gloves etc), I love my home town being painted in sunshine, and I love the general good vibes and people being in a happy mood. Soggy summertime, on the other hand, I am not so fond of.

The so-called Great British Summer definitely gets a big fat fail for this past week, and, it seems most likely, for the week to come. We were tantalized with a taste of fun in the sun, and in fact, just the weekend before last, I was dancing around Kensington Palace Gardens, enjoying the beautiful surroundings and basking in the hot weather.

It was the perfect day out dancing and prancing, complete with covered dance floor and £2 glasses of wine...

The gardens are so well manicured, it almost felt decadent to be lounging around on the lawns of this little oasis in the centre of town.

London can be a real tease, and this hint of al fresco dancing was enough to leave me wanting long as the surroundings are not damp!

Thinking ahead to various outdoor events over the coming months, such as the swing dance picnic, Notting Hill Carnival, the Thames Festival and so on, I am hoping for a repeat of last year's merriment, and am keeping my fingers crossed that the weather perks up in time....

Friday, July 15, 2011

Million Dollar Night Out!

I had the pleasure of being invited to see the new hit musical Million Dollar Quartet at the Noel Coward Theatre this week. I have been wanting to see it ever since the posters went up around London in January, so I jumped at the chance to see this jukebox show which is based on the impromptu jam and recording session between Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash on Tuesday December 4, 1956 at the Sun Record Studios in Memphis, Tennessee.

As soon as we were seated, I realised that it was going to be hard to sit still...the pre-show music was awesome, and I chuckled to myself, thinking that if Aaron was with me he probably would have dragged me into the aisles for a dance!

The stars in the show sing and play their instruments, live. They were all fantastic - the actor Michael Malarkey (what a cool name!) who played Elvis was extremely accurate both in sound and dance moves (complete with super stylin' outfit), Derek Hagen was not only a Johnny Cash sound-alike but also an uncanny look-alike, and Oliver Seymour-Marsh totally rocked out the rockabilly, Carl Perkins style. But mostly I was blown away by what a talented musician Ben Goddard, who played Jerry Lee Lewis, was. His fingers (and toes) were flying all over the keys - a very worthy portrayal and performance. Just brilliant!

This musical relies heavily on the jam session, rather than an actual story as such, so the whole show is set in the recording studio, apart from the finale, which is the flashy part featuring sparkly outfits and twinkling lights. I love the music, and they performed the hits so well that I was happy to sing along and didn't miss the genre's usual dance routines, costume changes and drama. Instead it was more like watching a gig featuring four top musicians that in reality we will never get to see perform together, but with a little suspended disbelief, felt like stepping back in time.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Paris Je t'aime

My mamma and I headed to Paris for a couple of nights earlier this month to celebrate her birthday in style.

It was indeed a bon anniversaire as we had the most wonderful time taking in the sights, soaking up the sunshine and indulging in a fair amount of wine and cheese...

The last time I went to gay Pareeeeeeeeee was around 5 or 6 years ago, and for my mum it had been even longer, so we were well overdue a visit. I have always said that Paris is a city I could see myself living in, and after this trip, I would definitely stand by that sentiment - I simply love the city of love.

Along with seeing at least 25 newlyweds posing by famous landmarks in their wedding gear over the course of the trip, everywhere we went, we were surrounded by smoochie couples! As this was a mother-daughter jaunt, and my sweetheart is on the other side of the world, the nearest I got to smooching in the city of love was with a was absolutely divine, although the nearest it came to passionate was the passion fruit and chocolate flavouring.

We walked so much and slept very little the entire time. Even using the metro was pretty tiring, as getting from train to train requires a lot of walking through tunnels and going up and down endless sets of stairs! The metro system is really useful though, as it is so quick and easy to get around, and with pretty short stops, we never had to worry about stumbling across a station if we found ourselves a bit lost. It also provided the soundtrack to our weekend, as every metro ride featured a different busker entertaining us with their melodies.

The hotel Monterosa, where we stayed, was absolutely fantastic. It was quite recently remodeled, so it is very clean, modern and comfortable. Our room was a good size with a small balcony, the bathroom was great and above all, the staff were extremely helpful and friendly. The complimentary buffet breakfasts were delicious and plentiful (my croissant craving was very well satisfied) and the free soft drinks and nibbles in the afternoons and evenings were a very welcome addition when arriving back to the hotel after a long day of sightseeing.

As well as seeing all the usuals (the Louvre, Tour Eiffel, Sacré-Cœur, Notre Dame, Moulin Rouge, Arc de Triomphe, cruise on the Seine....) we really enjoyed wandering around the beautiful Père Lachaise Cemetery, where Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde and Chopin, among many others, are buried. It's huge, and so many of the tombs look like miniature churches.

The Jardin du Luxembourg was one of my favourite places that we visited. Neither of us had ever been there before, and we were amazed at what a wonderful, well-manicured and versatile public space it is. There really is something for everyone with beautiful flower gardens, Luxembourg Palace, a pond where children can use sticks to push little toy sail boats around the water, a go-kart area, a bowls lawn, a little theatre, a humongous playground (which made me wish I was a child again!), cafés, beehives, a vintage carousel....and the list goes on. The great thing was that there were thousands of moveable chairs dotted about the whole park so you could sit comfortably wherever you liked. Great idea, and I think it's one that our parks in London should adopt.

I loved stumbling across a bridge covered in padlocks and ribbons near the Notre Dame. I had not heard about it before, but people from all over the world go there with their sweethearts and attach locks with their names on them, on to the wire on the bridge. It's quite a spectacle to behold, and we met a couple who were just attaching their own lock of love onto the bridge for prosperity. Awwwwwww!

All in all a fabulous weekend with the birthday girl, which provided countless wonderful memories to chatter about as we travelled home with a picnic on the Eurostar.