culture, entertainment, food, history, lifestyle, style, vintage

Wilton’s Music Hall

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Wilton’s – the world’s oldest surviving grand musical hall – cropped up on the telly again recently, in the BBC’s Dancing on the Edge. This place, which still holds regular theatre performances and film nights, is an East London gem. Just off Cable Street in Tower Hamlets, Wilton’s Mahogony Bar was world famous among Victorian sailors and is still fully licensed and holds live music and comedy nights today.

Many of the music hall’s original features have survived and it’s in the midst of a multi-million pound restoration. Meanwhile, performances will continue throughout the year, including The Great Gatsby, which will run until March 23. If you don’t fancy a full performance but would like a poke around and to soak up the atmosphere, join one of the weekly guided tours and grab a few pints and some delicious home-made dinner from the bar. The food’s fantastic and really good value at about £5 a plate.

Dancing on the Edge

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Me on a guided tour!

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Wilton’s is one of my absolute favourite places in London. It was the first choice for drinks with workmates back when we moved to a newsroom in Wapping and was the saving grace after we we sadly left our old place in ‘civilisation’ near Liverpool Street. It’s hidden away near St Katherine Docks, just off East Smithfield, and near some other very East London pubs. With its exposed brickwork, distressed paint and woodwork, and occasional transvestite magicians roaming the bar, Wilton’s is a true haven in a neighbourhood better known for construction traffic, the DLR and News International – not where I worked, I hasten to add.

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culture, history, vintage

Bletchley Park podcast

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This month the Bletchley Park Podcast talks to Captain Jerry Roberts about being awarded an MBE and his four-year campaign for more recognition for Bletchley Park heroes Alan Turing, Bill Tutte and Tommy Flowers.

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beauty, fashion, interiors, lifestyle, style, vintage

Vintage Vanity

Vintage Vanity

Mawi spike ring
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Magnetic necklace
$605 – astleyclarke.com

Alkemie jewelry
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Studded jewelry
$260 – johnlewis.com

Alexander mcqueen ring
$230 – farfetch.com

Alexander McQueen brass jewelry
$185 – net-a-porter.com

Fornash post earrings
simplysoles.com

Fornash post earrings
simplysoles.com

Benefit makeup
benefitcosmetics.com

Viva la diva
$18 – nelly.com

Lalique
lalique.com

Dolce gabbana perfume
saksfifthavenue.com

Christian dior
$190 – johnlewis.com

Chanel
nordstrom.com

Guerlain
ahalife.com

Estée lauder
$54 – johnlewis.com

Lulu organic
$37 – liberty.co.uk

Art Deco Dressing Table
deco-world.co.uk

Pink champagne truffles
$32 – selfridges.com

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Tuxedo cocktail

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The Oscars are nearly upon us! Time for something black tie from ‘100 cocktails: how to mix them’ by ‘Bernard’…

1 teaspoonful of Angostura Bitters

1/6 gill of Italian vermouth

1/3 gill of gin

2 dashes of absinthe

1 teaspoonful of maraschino

1 cherry

1/2 tumblerful of broken ice

The tumbler is half filled with broken ice and the Angostura Bitters added. Then add the Italian vermouth, the gin, the maraschino and the absinthe. Stir well and pass through a strainer into a small wine glass. Serve with a cherry and a dash of lemon peel juice on top.

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fashion, lifestyle, style, vintage

Bletchley Park, Pimm’s and the best flowery vintage stall at the fair

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The slight improvement in temperature over the past few days has got me yearning for summer, which reminds me that I have lots of pics knocking about of last summer’s 1940s festival at Bletchley Park.

I ran a vintage stall for the whole weekend selling clothes, 1930s and 1940s records, jewellery and home accessories. The stall was a great success and went down very well with most visitors but the Cath Kidston tent I borrowed from my friend Ruby Retro caused some unexpected controversy among the more anal re-enactors who claimed it was “not in keeping” with the rest of the park. Well, I didn’t happen to think the clothes worn by half the visitors were very 1940s and didn’t seen them getting hassle but I was too drunk on Pimm’s by lunchtime to give it much thought.

I got my hairdo on both days from Sarah’s Doo-Wop Dos, a beautiful 1940s and 1950s enthusiast, hairstylist and vintage clothing retailer who has a lovely mini salon based at Rose-tinted Vintage in Bedford.

Bletchley Park runs this fantastic event every May so you should definitely come down for it this year!

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Most of these pics are by my gorgeous friend Auriol.

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Morning cocktail

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From ‘100 Cocktails: How to Mix Them’ by ‘Bernard’ –

1/3 gill of Italian vermouth

1/3 gill of brandy

1 teaspoonful of Angostura Bitters

1 teaspoonful of absinthe

1 teaspoonful of maraschino

1 cherry

1 slice of lemon

1/2 tumblerful of broken ice

Half fill the tumbler with broken ice and add the Angostura Bitters. Then put in the absinthe, the brandy, the Italian vermouth and the maraschino. Stir well and strain into a wine glass. Serve with a cherry and a slice of lemon.

This recipe can be varied by reducing, by half the quantity of maraschino and by adding 1/2 teaspoonful of brown curaçao.

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Chocks away – Bletchley Park goes on a school trip to Cranfield

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Today some of us Bletchley Park volunteers were invited on a tour of Cranfield, another piece of our local World War Two history. A Bomber Command station at the beginning of the war before becoming a flight training base, Cranfield is still a working airport, flying school and university.

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We were lucky enough to look around the control tower, which was built in the 1950s on top of the 1940s tower. Cranfield has no radar and still uses little pieces of plastic to track the movements of aircraft.

The recession has hit the airport hard, with traffic falling by about two-thirds in recent years to about 200 take-offs or landings – or ‘movements’ – a day.

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  Tour inside a massive wind tunnel? Yes, please!

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