Hep Cats and Hep Ducks

Well ahoy there, blog-o-sphere!

I have just finally grabbed a moment to unwind after a weekend packed with dancing and fabulous vintage fashion, and sort out the many outfit photos that I took (or had taken, rather) and start writing a review of the wonderful event that was Hep Cats Holiday.

The reason I have so many outfit shots isn't purely for vanity, though there were some good ones in there that I definitely wanted to show off to the world! No, this past week I have been doing a seven day outfit diary for the soon-to-be-launched FashionAir.com. The project is called '7 Days of Chic' and they've sent out little cameras to people around the world that they consider to be stylish sorts, and I was lucky enough to be asked! So that was why I had a camera on which to film my first tutorial, and though I have to send it back tomorrow, don't worry, because I shall be treating myself to one of my own when I next get paid, and do the promised faux bangs how-to. I was asked to take lots of still photos for all of my outfits, and thanks to my talented friends, I got so many good ones that I have enough to do an outfit post on here, with an entirely different set left over, which I shall be sending off tomorrow. FashionAir is due to launch in September, so do watch this space for details of my 7 Days of Chic segment going live.

Anyway! Hep Cats Holiday was an absolute blast and a half, and what follows is a rather long and detailed review, so I do apologise if this is in your Reader and it takes you half an hour to scroll past!


We set off at about 2pm, and the journey there, unfortunately, was an absolute nightmare, with accidents and long traffic jams on every single motorway we needed to use. Of course we'd decided to go in my car, which has no air-conditioning, and it was about 90º on Friday. Hot and sticky was rather an understatement! But we arrived at about 5.30pm, with enough time to unpack before dinner. The chalet was as expected, slightly dilapidated, musty smelling, but clean enough, and with this holiday camp being an adults-only one (oo-er missus!) the beds were at least full-sized, unlike at Rhythm Riot et al, which are held at family camps.

Dinner was... interesting, the queuing system was completely arbitrary, with people standing at opposite ends and others just pushing in willy-nilly. But we eventually got some grub, which was nothing spectacular, but not too bad. I avoided the vegetables, though, because they had that tired, school-dinner look. You know, greyish and mushy. After dinner, we decamped to the chalet to wash and change, and headed off out to the main ballroom. We watched, and danced to, Adrian Bullers & his Sounds of Swing Orchestra, who were incredible, just like the real (and by real I mean of the Era) thing; and the Swingin' Bluecats, who were playing their first ever show outside of their native Ireland. We got plenty of dancing in, my best friend Gemma kept getting asked by a rather sweaty Frenchman in a wool WWII uniform... who'd already almost sweated through it at 9, so you can imagine what it was like at about midnight! I should add that it was absolutely sweltering in there, the small air-con units were nice to stand next to, but if you moved more than a foot away, they made no difference!

We headed off to bed at around 12, no dancing till dawn for us, especially not after such a long and hot journey. So that was the end of Friday. And here's what I wore!

Earlier: Outside our chalet in my Swirl dress, Lucky Lou Souvenir shoes
and bakelite bangles, with my Dungaree Dolly bags and M&S holdall
Later: 1940s wrap dress, green Rocket Originals wedges and bakelite bangle.
The wedges don't go terribly well, but the white ones cut through my brand new blister, ouch!


Saturday came far too early, after a restless night in our hot little room. Breakfast was a similar case to dinner, but the queues were smaller, obviously the more hardcore dancers didn't get up early enough. One cooked breakfast (ostensibly for extra sustenance and energy... had the opposite effect haha) later and we were off to our first dance class of the day. The thing that makes Hep Cats different from many weekenders is that they offered dance classes throughout the day, which was great as it distracted me from the shopping. Well, a bit, anyway. We did a 6-count Hollywood style Lindy Hop class, followed by an 8-count on, then had a break and did a Partner Charleston one. I can't tell you how much I loved the Charleston one! I have done a bit of it before, just the basic steps as a move within Swing dancing, and to do the Charleston stroll to Sing Sing Sing, but never a class of pure Charleston. I am now dying to do more of it!

After all that hard work, it was time to do a tour of the vintage stalls, where I splurged on two fabulous 40s hats, one black straw and one wool felt. I do not own a single vintage hat, and I just couldn't decide which to get, in order to stick to my budget. So I said stuff it, and got both. Who needs food anyway? I also got two pairs of earrings, one screw-back 40s shell pair and a pair of Juliana style, red white and blue ones. No photos, but they will all make an appearance sooner or later! Watch out for one of the hats soon as I shall be wearing it to the Chap Olympiad next Saturday.

After the retail therapy came dinner, and changing for the evening entertainment. This time, we were treated to the wonderful Ding Dong Daddios and the absolutely incredible Mike Sanchez. I was so excited to meet Mr Sanchez's lady, the indescribably beautiful Miss Tayva, whose blog you all should definitely be reading! She was looking stunning in a Trashy Diva number, in the cherry print that I wanted so badly for my 40s dress. No pictures again, which is a shame as I do wish I had a record of meeting such a vintage vision and pin-up legend! On Saturday I was also absolutely delighted to have several people come up to me and tell me how they read, and love, my blog, and one adorable Italian girl asked if she could have her photo taken with me, saying that her friends at home couldn't believe they had met me! I personally can't believe that they felt like that, I am just me, not someone famous! But I had the biggest smile on my face after that, let me tell you.

We danced until about 2am, and headed off to bed. Yes, far too early, but I need my beauty sleep, and I just don't enjoy being sleep deprived! Here are my outfits for Saturday:

Earlier: Maisie blouse and trousers ensemble from Revamp Vintage Clothing,
bakelite bangles & earrings. Dancing shoes by Aris Allen.
Later:Late 40s wrap dress (really a house dress, but a fabulous one!), green Rockets,
black carved bakelite bangle and vintage Cordé handbag with lucite handles.

★ Sunday ★

So then it was Sunday, our final day. It went much the same as before, with the same cooked breakfast, the same dance classes and another browse around the shops, where I bought a pair of denim high waisted shorts from Riviera Clothing, who sadly don't have a website, and only sell at shows. And I was gobsmacked to be presented with some trousers from my wonderful, wonderful friend Shona, from her Heyday label, as a belated birthday present, and as a thank you for modelling for her. She was also a big help over the weekend, filming and photographing me for my project. So thank you, Shona, from the bottom of my heart!

My best friend got picked up by her chap in the early afternoon - she's not a vintage devotee and she's quite a shy and nervous type, so she did well to last that long really. She told me she'd had a fab time, and will come to the one next summer with me, hurrah! I intended to be on the road home myself at about 8, but wanted to get into my final outfit for a bit at least. The dress code for Sunday night was Nautical and Hawaiian, and as I did Hawaiian recently for another do, I decided to go for the former, and put on a little playsuit and skirt number which hasn't seen a lot of wear since I got it. It's not a sailor costume exactly, but it does have a nautical flavour, I felt. In typical British fashion, it started to pour down and got all chilly by Sunday afternoon, so after sweating... er, I mean glowing my way through my other outfits the previous two days, I was blooming cold in this ensemble, but never mind, eh? But here it is anyway, complete with goose-pimples!

Earlier: my new 1940s pinafore, Aris Allen dancing shoes, bakelite bangles & earrings,
and my vintage telephone cord handbag plus a chiffon headscarf & faux bangs.
Miss Hussy playsuit & skirt ensemble, red Rocket Originals wedges.
The Ford Pilot belongs to John Hammond, a famous acrylic artist. But how I wish it were mine!

So that, in a rather big nutshell, was my weekend. Other notable events included watching a poor girl duck get chased about by three mean boy ducks, no doubt wanting their wicked way with her; and mysteriously bruising the arch of my foot late on Saturday night. I have no idea how, it just suddenly started hurting after an energetic dance with Robert Austin, the organiser (along with his wife Claire) of the weekend. What follows may offend delicate sensibilities, but it is a good incentive for swing dancers to have regular pedicures ... which I do not do. I have never had one, in fact. Can you tell? ;) Foot-phobics look away now!

★ Anatomy of a Swing Dancer's Foot ★

I leave you with pictures of the swinging Hep Ducks themselves, and some shots of me at a dance class, taken by my wonderful best friend Gemma, who has barely lifted a camera in her entire life. But that, I think, you cannot tell at all!

On that note, I bid you farewell for now!

Fleur xx

PS. If you're interested in seeing the outfit photos full-size, head on over to my Flickr, which has them all individually.


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