Wednesday, 30 January 2013

It's The Final Countdown!

Da Da Da Da.....

So from tomorrow at midnight I can finally drink again after signing up to the Cancer Research Dryathlon for the month of January.

So how has it been?

The first 10 days were really tough. I really missed wine and I found it hard to relax without a glass in the evening. I had headaches (possibly due to a gigantic post Christmas sugar crash) and i was grumpy.

After the first week or so though this eased off and I actually started to enjoy my non-drinking status. Our alcohol shelf started growing dust for the first time since we moved in and I rediscovered a love of lemonade.

I also discovered that I can have a good time without alcohol and my social events don’t need to include drinks. This came as a surprise as many of my previous social events usually included shots. I’ve lost about 5 pounds and my skin is definitely better.

The crazy thing is that I (despite how it sounds) am not that big a drinker. I can go without it. But this month has made me realise just how much I do actually drink – luckily it’s also made me realise that I can survive well without it.

I signed up to do this as a fun way to raise a few quid for cancer research. I personally know three people who have been lost to cancer in the last few years  and a Dryathlon seemed as good a way as any to raise a bit of cash. I was never after a lot but I hoped I’d hit the £50 mark which I’ve managed to do and I am so grateful.

At the start of this I had no way of knowing that I was about to have a little health scare of my own. Nothing major and nothing worth reporting but enough to bring it home that health problems can hit anybody at any age and cancer is one of the biggest health problems around today. If there is any chance that we can find a cure then we owe it to everyone we care about to grab at that chance.

So, what will happen tomorrow at midnight? Will I learn from my month and continue this streak of healthy abstinence?

Will I b*llocks. 

Bring it on!!

If anyone out there is in the mood I’ll see you at the bar. Mine will be the champagne!

Mrs P

X x x x x x x x x x x

If you are impressed with Mrs P's feat of abstinence you can donate a few quid to cancer research at

Sunday, 27 January 2013

How to Style Victory Rolls - For Beginners

Hair Styles for the Stylistically Challenged

Today I recorded a few songs with Mr P for a new project we’re just getting started. To get into the right frame of mind I decided the time was right to attempt a gorgeous vintage hairstyle from years ago. Victory Rolls were popular back in the 1940’s during the Second World War. Victory Rolls was the name of a manoeuvre R.A.F pilots would perform in their planes but the ladies back home took the name and turned it into a style to be proud of.

It was an interesting experience. I thought I’d share it here!

Step 1 
to style hair into Victory Rolls.

Step 2 
Pick up comb, feeling confident. Instantly forget everything you just read and watched.

Step 3 
Re-watch video two more times.

Step 4
Split hair into two sections. Feel proud of progress so far. Crazily backcomb first section until you look like half an electrocuted Barbie.

Step 5
Curl hair towards head. Burn fingers horribly on curling Iron. Swear lots.

Step 6 
Wrap curl tightly around one finger towards your head. Get cross at the random bits of hair. Try and tighten the curl – eventually realise you’re curling the hair the wrong way.

Step 7 
Curl the hair the right way. Lie with your head on the floor for a little bit as your arms are burning but you don’t want to let go of your curl.

Step 8 
Finally get first curl into place. Smooth it out then quickly pin it with bobby pins, spray it with so much hairspray you lose sight of the mirror.

Step 9 
Backcomb the hell out of the second section. Get comb stuck in hair. Swear.

Step 10 
Curl hair towards head. Burn fingers horrible on curling Iron. Swear... Lots.

Step 11 
Wrap curl around one finger. Tuck stray hair underneath curl using complicated manoeuvring system.

Step 12
Rest head down again. Have a little cry. Mentally count how many days are left of the Dryathlon.

Step 13
Smooth hair using bristle brush. Use so much hairspray you think you might be causing a shortage.

Step 14
Check out your progress so far. Realise you look a little like Leslie Nielson in “Dracula: Dead and Loving It”.  

Although he does look fabulous!

Step 15 
Curl back your fringe – send husband out for more supplies of hairspray.

Step 16  
Spray your fringe into place. Realise you've gassed the dog with your over-use of hairspray. 


Step 17 
Admire the finished result, feel quietly impressed with your bad self. 

Step 18 
Add red lipstick. Pout in the mirror a few times. Ask Husband to come take a photo of your new hair. Husband says your photo makes you look like Mad-Eye Moody.

Me... Apparently

Step 19 
Divorce Husband

Step 20
Wait for your alcohol free month to finish. Instantly go for Martini’s.


Mrs P

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Saturday, 26 January 2013

It's a Vintage Life

Going to the Doctors is Never Fun

Yesterday I visited the doctor and had some unpleasant tests – I would tell you about it but to be frank it’s all very boring. I’m a little tired of having things wrong with me now but fingers crossed we’re reaching the crux of the matter. In the meantime I’ve got my lipstick to keep me going.

Afterwards I felt hungry – and a little low – but mainly hungry. I decided to spend some time again in my favourite tea shop (Truly Scrumptious in Maldon). Sometimes being alone is lovely. I’ve never been afraid of spending time by myself. I suppose it’s one of the benefits of being an only child.

I sat and had lunch tucked in a corner of the cafe and people watched. I find sometimes that taking some time to yourself leaves you feeling quite content. It works for me anyway. I can sit and pretend to be anyone – rather than the girl who was poked and prodded I can be a glamorous movie star rehearsing lines... or a rock star recovering from the night before.

But enough relaxing...

Today we’re playing a gig at the Orsett Hotel, Essex. I’ve decided to channel a bit of a 40’s vibe for the night. 

the posh hotel background is a bonus

One of my favourite things about vintage style is how flattering it is. The dresses know how to make the most of your shape without ever going too far. Nipped in waists create a beautiful silhouette, which for me is great for hiding my wobbly tum, and petticoats can help to disguise any excess weight on the bum or hips.

What I like about these clothes is that they’re all about accentuating the positive and making you feel feminine and gorgeous. They’re also quite widely available now – this dress was a sale bargain from M&Co!

The hair is also fairly easy to do. What I’ve done tonight is curl all my hair then tease it with a bristle brush. I’ve curled my fringe away from my face, back combed it a little and fixed it with a bobby pin.

A bit of red lippy and voila – you have a vintage look in no time!

Now back to waiting for our gig to finally start.... half past nine and I don’t think they’ve even started the raffle yet – Oh the Glamour! At least this time next week I'll finally be able to have a glass of wine!

Mrs P

X x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Be Fabulous!

Be proud of me!

So I am three weeks into Burlesque and I... Love... It!

I love it love it love it. I love the things we do, the clothes, the music and – most importantly – I love the way it makes me feel!

I have my body hang ups like anybody. In fact I have quite a lot. My main one is my stomach, it’s so wobbly and pudgy – I’ve always hated it. Of course it doesn’t end there.... my arms are flabby... my bum’s not toned enough... I could go on for hours.

But who cares!

You might remember I wrote a blog post a couple of weeks ago where I talked about the fact that I scuttled off to my first Burlesque class in tights, shorts and a t-shirt?

Well last night I finally managed to summon all my bravery.

I went to class in short shorts.... no tights.... and a Basque!!

I have never been more nervous! And that includes the time I signed up to do my first gig as Connie Francis with only 4 days prep. I slunk into class wrapped in my biggest, chunkiest cardigan wondering if I’d ever manage to get brave enough to take it off.

Before facing the great strip I decided to tackle one of the other challenges I had set myself, which was to attempt to befriend someone else in the class. I quickly cornered one unsuspecting lady who was looking especially fabulous in black corset and frilly knickers. Luckily for me it turned out she was a seasoned pro who had been attending Burlesque classes for over a year.

“You’re so brave!” I said admiringly.

“You just have to let go of your hang ups,” she shrugged. “It doesn’t really matter does it? We’re all girls. Just go with it!”

She then proceeded to explain to me why it’s important to wear big industrial strength knickers underneath your frilly pants when you perform, otherwise you show a little too much.... *gulp*.

Still her words were enough to prise me out of my thick layers. One deep breath later and I was stood in my skimpy clothes ready to start the class. But – as always – once the music started I was off and there was no stopping me! I pouted, strutted and flicked my way through the next fun, fabulous hour. After one class of Burlesque I feel confident, uplifted and beautiful.

So, for all your red lipstick lovelies out there I have a challenge.

I want you to go and get on your sexiest undies, put on a bit of lippy, brush your hair and spray on some perfume. (This goes for you men out there too... you know you want to!)

Then pick a song. In our class we’re dancing to Venus Was Her Name by Shocking Blue but other good songs include I Just Wanna Make Love To You by Etta James, Fever by Peggy Lee, Candy Man by Christina Aguilera or Love That Man by Caro Emerald but really it can be anything you enjoy wiggling to.

Close the blinds turn on the music and for the next few minutes wiggle your tush like your life depends on it! You may feel silly at first but trust me – it’s worth it. You don’t have to just wiggle; you can shimmy or pop it like Beyonce or even high kick. The most important thing is that no matter what, you own it.

And remember this one thing.

You Are Beautiful.

Not just in a sappy Christina Aguilera “words won’t bring you down” kind of way but also in an awesome, bright lipstick, high kick dancing, shimmying kind of a way. You are amazing and fabulous and you can own the hell out of whatever you want.

If you can be half as joyful as this girl I commend you

It really doesn't matter what shape or size you are. Whether you're as confident as The Hoff or as socially awkward as a hedgehog in a balloon factory.

You are fabulous.

And don't ever let anybody - not even yourself - tell you any different.

Mrs P

X x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Red Lips Always Work

Sometimes you might feel down. Sometimes life gets too much. Sometimes you're overwhelmed and sometimes you just want to cry.

But remember this...

Red lips are always in style X

Working hard!

Last night I gigged as the great Connie Francis so I thought I'd post this little tribute to her done in my own style.

It's not a great video but I hope you enjoy it anyway! For some reason I can't post in the actual video this time so please follow the link below: -

Monday, 21 January 2013

How to have an Awesome Wedding - The Red Lipstick Way

Love is in the Air!

Everyone seems to be engaged at the moment!

 From my experience when you’re engaged January is the month it suddenly gets real.  You go from happily thinking to yourself “I’m getting married next year!” to “HOLY CRAP I’M GETTING MARRIED THIS YEAR!! I need a cake! DJ! OMG WHERE’S MY DRESS???”

As I got married last year – and loved every second – I thought I’d share some of my experiences and tips for an awesome wedding.

#1 Choose what is important to you and stick to that.

Weddings are expensive. Mine and Mr P’s wedding was fairly modest by today’s standards and still cost a fair amount. That’s way it is extremely important that you choose what you absolutely have to have early on and prepare to cut corners a little on the less essential stuff.

For some brides it will be the dress. For some it will be the band or the catering or the cake. The fact is once you start planning a wedding you will discover how insanely expensive everything is. Unless you’re very lucky it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to have the perfect everything. So just choose one thing – always dreamt of a particular dress? Fine – get that but be prepared to be a little more flexible on the catering. Or maybe you have to get married at that beautiful stately home but you’re really not bothered about your transport – if you save money on the things you’re not worried about you have more money to spend on the things that really matter.

Speaking of transport...

#2 Be imaginative.

These days the only barrier to what your wedding can be is your own mind.

Take your transport - maybe you’ve always dreamed arriving to your wedding via horse and cart and you cannot imagine doing it any other way. Maybe you want to rock up on personalised mopeds or maybe you’ll get lucky and you can walk to your wedding (did it, loved it!).

Mr P and I really weren’t worried about our wedding transportation. I was able to walk to the church and Mr P seriously contemplated rocking up in a post office van. We started looking at posh cars to take us back to our venue and quickly discovered that for the price of a car for just the two of us we could get an entire Double Decker bus!

So we did that....

Vintage 1960's routemaster bus... it was amazing!

That way we got to ride to our reception venue with all our family and friends on board. It was memorable, fun and – most importantly – they allowed us to drink champagne on the way.  For us it was important we shared our wedding with everybody. This included the transportation – why spend a fortune on something just for yourselves when you can share it? But that was what was important for us. That and free ice cream.

Every Bride deserves Ice Cream

  Maybe yours will be a little different. The point is – cater it to you and you will never forget it.

#3 Don’t let anybody else’s idea of what a wedding “should be” rule your day.


For me this particular issue came to a head during the search for my dress. I had a rough idea of my dress in my head from day one. I wanted a dress I knew would suit me, one I could dance in – basically one that was just me.

It wasn’t most people’s idea of a “proper” wedding dress. Mainly because it was only ¾ length. But it was what I wanted. When I described my wedding dress to people they’d invariably look at me a bit askance because what bride doesn’t want to be a princess on their wedding day?

Answer: Me, I didn’t want to be a princess. I wanted to be an awesome rock n roll goddess. 

To be fair it's pretty hard to stop me...

I had one memorable afternoon with my Mum in a wedding dress shop where she kept insisting I be hoisted into more and more elaborate gowns with trains, lace and crystals galore.

“You look beautiful!” She kept announcing proudly, snapping away with the camera (possibly documenting the one and only time her daughter would ever look elegant).

“But I can’t boogie.” I kept replying stubbornly.

Anyway in the she agreed we got my fabulous dress. And the best part? Because we got the shorter dress I could totally justify getting the most amazing shoes of all time.

So the moral of this? There will be plenty of people ready to give you their idea of what you need for your wedding - usually people that aren't even involved. Ignore them – it’s your day and you can get married in a tracksuit if it’s what you really want! I myself switched to awesome converse for the evening so I could dance all night.

I added the words and the sunflower :)

And Mr P?

He wanted a brown suit for our wedding. He looked and looked but couldn’t find it anywhere. In the end he got married in his favourite suit – a vintage blue suit I bought from a retro shop for £35 as a Christmas present the year before.

And I wouldn’t change it for a second.

#4 Pick a theme and stick to it

Very early on I knew that I wanted to base my wedding around sunflowers. I wanted it to be bright, happy and colourful. The only problem with this is trying to find to find colourful wedding decorations is pretty much impossible – (why is it that getting married suddenly means a complete lack of colour?? All you can see for miles is coral, light pink and ivory!). This is when I learnt an important lesson.

EBay is a bride’s best friend!

If you know what you want you can find a million things on ebay. I found little sunflower clips to clip onto the sides of the champagne glasses, sunflower tea lights, petals to scatter on the table... all little details that helped to make our venue look magical for next to nothing. Because I knew I wanted sunflowers I was able to pick all my colours around them – we had yellows, oranges and reds and because I was able to tell the florist exactly what I wanted picking flowers was quick, easy and fairly cheap! 

I loved my beautiful bouquet!

#5 Your friends are invaluable and will help you get through your wedding with your sanity (mostly) intact.

My bridesmaids were amazing, I could just give them any job and they would do it. You really can’t overestimate the effect of your best mates on your wedding day. Your friends are the ones who will bring you drinks when you’re stuck talking to your Great Aunt Mabel and they’ll run interference when your uncle drinks too much and starts falling over. And if you're as amazingly lucky as we were - they'll all club together and order you an awesome vintage cadillac to get home in.

 And on that note...

#6 Invite who you want to your wedding – not who you’re supposed to invite.

Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to be able to invite as many people as you like to your wedding and not worry about the cost. But, if you’re like us, you’ll most likely have a limited number of “day” guests you can invite along.

We devised a simple system for ours – “Have we spent any time at all with this person in the last two years?” (Not counting funerals!). If the answer was no then they went onto the back up guest list. If there was room for them during the day after we’d invited everyone they got an invite – otherwise they had an evening invite.

Yes you may have to be harsh and yes maybe you’ll ruffle a few feathers but it is your wedding. You will remember it for the rest of your life. Make the most of it.

#7 Unless you trust them complicity do not give the groom any important jobs to do for the wedding!!

Ladies, I cannot stress this enough. Now maybe you’ll get lucky and this won’t happen to you – but in my experience the groom does not realise he’s getting married until someone physically deposits him in the church. That’s just how he’s made and you will not change that.

Think I’m exaggerating?

I gave Mr P one job for our wedding.... one job!

I trusted that he would do this job. I didn’t even feel the need to nag him or check up on him.... oh how naive I was!!

I had a phone call on the Monday before our wedding. The phone call was from the vicar...

“Oh hello.” She said cautiously. “I was just wondering... are you getting married this Saturday? Only we haven’t had confirmation so we had to cancel all the flowers?”


Luckily it was fixable but I feel that I would be amiss if I didn’t share this warning with all brides out there – heed my advice!!

#8 If possible plan a little get together with your friends and family the morning after.

Nobody ever thinks much about the morning after your wedding but it is important. If possible try and get together with a few choice people for breakfast. It gives you a chance to talk about the day and enjoy being together for a few more moments – it also keeps the party spirit going that little bit longer and you can stave off the post wedding crash that inevitably happens sooner or later (a bit like post holiday blues).

#9 Enjoy It!

I have spoken to too many brides who have got to their wedding only for it to rush past in a haze of tradition and ceremony. The fact is that this is (hopefully) the only time you will ever get married; it costs a fortune and takes up a big chunk of your life. Make sure you get every bit of enjoyment you can out of it.

I spent my wedding on the dance floor dancing with my friends and my husband. If anybody wanted to see me they knew where to find me and most of them did! I had a brilliant time and so did everyone else. Stop panicking about everyone else and get on with enjoying yourself, you’ll never ever get this day back.

And finally – and most importantly.

#10 Remember why you’re getting married.

You’re not getting married for the dress, or the cake or for anybody who wants to be involved.

You’re getting married because you’ve found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. The whole day should reflect that. Mr P and I were lucky – our entire day was “us” from the outfits, the bus, the ice cream van and The Beatles songs in the church to the karaoke later on in the evening.

Your wedding is the start of your future with your new family – whether that’s a family of two or if it’s cementing the bigger family you already have. It is the start of an amazing journey and you should celebrate that every step. Make sure you have a minute for the two of you at least once an hour where you can just look at each other and go:

“Baby! We’re married!”

If you’ve got that then who cares what goes wrong. It doesn’t matter if it rains or if the flowers are wrong. What matters is that after this day your life will never be the same again.

(Proudly) Mrs P

X x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x 

P.S. Incidentally if you are getting married and fancy some awesome music at your wedding check out or I love weddings.