Friday, 19 June 2015

On Your Bike: How to Keep Vintage Hair Whilst On The Move

Many of you know our head honcho has travelled the world and her plan when she left was to back pack around with her usual vintage style that she had at home, see her blog for more. Knowing this dilemma would be one other vintage styled ladies would have we thought we would share with you her top 7 hair styles she utilised whilst she was away and wanting her vintage look. These are the perfect styles for when you are away from your amities, including holidays but also think festivals, camping trips or even just the moments of "I can't be bother" on a Monday morning.

Before we begin...
There are a few things you will need in your tool box to make sure you can do these styles, they aren't not much but they will become your very trusty companions.

You will need:

  • 100 or so Kirby Grips/Bobby Pins. These will be your most loved and hated tool. Loved as they can really do any style you need, hated as you will never be able to find them, that's why we've said bring 100
  • 10 Hair bows/ties. Again great for most styles and also brilliant for a quick "I don't care what it looks like" pony tail. Number is again for losses.
  • Vintage Head Scarves. We've got a lot of love for these as they hide a multitude of sins and instantly vintage up an outfit. You can never pack too many.
  • Dry Shampoo. Perfect for freshening up your hair when its looking a bit lank, and you can get little travel sized ones which are perfect.
  • Hair Spray. This is great for finishing off styles and just making sure all your hard work stays. Again you can get it in small bottles.
  • A mirror. It doesn't have to be a big one, a compact can do but you just need to check all the bits are in place, a trusted friend could also do this job.
Other bits to note before we share the styles, we would recommend practising these before you leave for the trip of a life time or a weekend festivalling as although they are simple enough, it can take time and repetition to make them perfect and you don't want to be doing that in a damp tent without a large mirror.

The Styles
Pin Curls
These are a must to learn if you want curls without heating wands and magical electronic things. They are also great if you're lazy like us in the office and don't want to space the hour in morning with the curling tongs but still want beautiful vintage locks.

Pin curls are probably the oldest form of hair curling but they hit it big in the 1930's when everyone wanted the wave look. The number one reason, we think, they have survived so long is the fact they are so easy and relatively quick once you know what you are doing.

Step by Step:

The picture above is one we found on the net (originally from the book Vintage Hairstyling) and we've used it instead of doing our own step by step for the first part as it really is a comprehensive list to getting a good curl. Though we couldn't miss out adding a few pictures of our boss with her prep and curls.

At the end of the steps above:
Once your curls are set its really up to you how you style them. If you loosely brush the curls with your fingers you will get some tightish ringlets that look great swept to the side, like below to the left or you can brush them a little more vigorously and give yourself a perfect 50's wave which you can tease or add victory rolls to, like the right.

Note to remember:
These do take practise to make sure the curls are uniform and you don't make odd shapes, but do stick at it as once you've got it, these babies will become your lifesaver.

The Quiff

This style has certainly come back in fashion the last few years. From the catwalk to the high street, everyone is wearing one and its ease has got to be one of its perks.

It looks great mixed in with victory rolls (we're coming to victory rolls in a bit) but also with a pony tail, bun, hair down...the possibilities with this one are a bit endless. We love it because it's a great way to very, very quickly vintage up your hair.

Step by Step:
1. Section off the front of your hair. How we normally do it is to take the hair in between your temples and about an inch or so back. Or if you have a fringe normally, your whole fringe.

This next bit will be split in to two parts for long and short

2. Brush your hair upwards and hold it vertical. Start to wrap the end around two fingers, making a circle and then take out your fingers.
3. Roll the circle towards your head, it will widen as it goes down but you want that so your quiff is a good size.
4. When you have hit your head, pin into place with some kirby grips and hair spray if needed, voila. 

Too Short to roll?:
2. Brush your hair upwards, and back comb slightly to give you some shape.
3. Twist the end slightly and then pin back to your head, making sure you don't pull it too tight so the quiff isn't flat. Voila.

Note to remember:
This style actually works better on slightly dirty hair as its got a bit more give. If you need some more strength to it, don't be afraid to use some hair spray.

Victory Rolls up and down dos

You can't talk about vintage hair styles without mentioning victory rolls. They became popular in World War 2 and they are said to have got their name from two things, one from a manoeuvre from the fighter planes, where they rolled in the sky causing an exhaust trail in a roll behind then and two, that the style looks like a Victory V on ones head causing patriotic people to don them in their droves.

They are a such an easy way to vintage up your hair once you know how to do them, they are definitely the ones that need most practise but once you have them you will use them in so many styles that you won't know how you survived without them.

Step by Step:
There are so many videos online for these that we thought we would include our favourite beginner one instead of fumbling around and doing our own. 

Now you don't need to curl your hair for these, it just makes it a little easier, like she says, in the beginning. If you haven't got curled hair, you still start the same with making a loop around your finger. 

Notes to Remember:
Try to keep your rolls small or tight and higher up on your head to stop looking like Minnie Mouse or that you've got a set of bear ears on.

The Rolled Head scarf style

This is our favourite style for early morning fairs and it never fails to get a compliment. It can be done in a matter of minutes and looks fabulous. It's got a definite 30's/40's feel to it but will look good team with any era, even 70's or later styles.

Step by Step:
1. Brush your hair flat and then place a pre rolled scarf (see later tips on rolling your scarves) on your head, bowing it at the top.
2. Take a 2 inch section from the front of you hair on the left hand side and loop it over and through the scarf. Do the same for the other side.
3. Now comes the fun bit, stuff the rest of your hair over the scarf so it all curls around, giving a roll effect.
4. Make sure you have no gaps and then secure into place with kirby grips/bobby pins, putting them in at a horizontal angle. Voila.

Note to remember:
Silker scarves make this style a little harder so try to use chiffon or cotton if you find it slipping too much.

The Rolled Beehive
This is a bit of an alternative to a beehive which still gives you the same height but its a little more eye catching. It's also a good way to practice your pin curl rolls or make use of curly hair that's become a little too wayward to leave down.

Step by Step:
1. Start with your hair down.
2. Grab your hair into a pony tail about 3/4 of the way down your head, and twist it for a couple of turns in your hands. Then turn it up so the end of the pony tail is now sitting on top of your head and pin it into place.
3. This will now leave you with an unruly mop on top of your head, perfect. 
4. Start by taking one piece of hair about half an inch thick, from the back section of your head. Pull it lightly away from your head and then curl it like you would a pin curl. Wrap the hair around two fingers and slowly roll in to your head. Don't pin it to your head like a pin curl though, just place it on the head, pinning it at the bottom so you can see the loop.
5. Continue this process for the rest of the hair, it's best to work from the back to the front and making the back slightly larger so you create a layered effect.
6. Once you are finished and you are happy the curls have made an even shape, pop on a head scarf and voila, your finished.

Note to remember:
This style is easiest when your hair is curly as the rolls are easier to make. It's a good style to do once your pin curls are looking a bit tired.

The bow bun
This style for us in the office has replaced the pony tail in our hearts for our favourite lazy day style. It's simple but effective and makes your look like you've made an effort when you haven't. We love it!

Step by Step: 

1. Put your hair up like you are going to do a pony tail but don't pull the hair right through so you have a bit at the end that's about 2-3 inches long and wide bun at the top.
2. Split the bun down the middle so you have two buns each side.
3. Take the end of hair that you have left out and pull in back in between the two buns and tuck it into the back under the hair tie you have used for the bun. Pin if needed. Voila.

Note to remember:
Make sure you don't pull the middle bit too tight as the shape of the bow will be off.

Head Scarves
This is for when all else fails and you just need an edge without having to give yourself one. The vintage scarf!

Not only will it hide a multitude of sins with any of your styles, it also has so many other uses (see the second on headscarves in our head honcho's blog about How to Stay Vintage Whilst Backpacking) and they can be teamed with so many of the styles above to add an even more vintage edge to them.

We have compile a picture board below for inspiration of all the different styles you can have with head scarves.

Our step by step for this one is how to roll a good head scarf thinly and thickly for all the styles above.

Thickly Step by Step:

1. Start by laying out the scarf on a flat surface.
2. Fold the bottom left hand corner into the square but not completely to the end.
3. And voila, your thick scarf fold is complete. Place the folded side on the base of your head with the 3 corners meeting just above your fringe and tie together.

Thinly Step by Step:

3. Start with step 1 and 2 of the thick scarf. Fold the top right hand corner into the middle.
4. Fold the scarf in half and then voila, you are ready to tie it. Just remember to have the fold edge at the bottom when you place it on your head.

Note to remember:
Iron your scarves in the folded shapes so they are easier to do when you need them, though only do this with material that won't melt under heat (chiffon is a no no).

And there you have it, 7 simple styles (well 6 and the scarves) that will help you look vintage and spectacular whilst on your travels or just in a rush. We would love to see you with these styles, either email them to shop@whatsyourtalenightingale or tweet us at @WYTNightingale with your stylish snaps.

We have tried to credit all the pictures we have used and link back to the site we got them from. If we haven't its or haven't done it right, let us know at and we will correct it straight away. 

This blog falls into our On Your Bike series which is all about adventures whether it's out on your bike, a vintage train day or even a themed day. It also has bike maintenance, hair styles for your adventures and more. Find out more about this series and our others at on our Overview blog or find more in the same series by pressing the "On Your Bike" tab at the top of the page. 

Thursday, 5 March 2015

On Your Bike: Hong Kong on a Budget.

As you know, What's your tale, Nightingale? is on hiatus at the moment whilst our head honcho travels South East Asia and gets a lovely tan, hard life for some. But what you might not know is that she's not just lounging on the beach, she's also blogging the whole thing as a way with keeping in touch with home and documenting all the adventures. 

Now we couldn't have her relaxing all the time, she'll get slack and we know you enjoyed the Berlin review she wrote last year so we thought it was time she did another. She's taken time out of her busy schedule (pah) to write her take on Budget Hong Kong for you to enjoy:

I'm writing this sitting on a train travelling through Thailand, being rocked from side to side and thinking that Hong Kong felt along time ago. Our trip to Hong Kong was pretty short, only 4 days but I loved (nearly) every minute of it.

Hong Kong has its own identity and is hard to compare to many other places. It does have a definite Asain feel to it, with the scrumptious smell of noodles and soy sauce that wafts through the streets to the karaoke that can be heard from the heights each night but it also has a distinct European edge to it that's hard to put my finger on. It was the second destination on adventure of 10 so we didn't have the most extravagant budget but because of that it made us search a bit harder for things to do. We made use of free museum days, cheap transport and street food and even if your budget is a little higher than £30 a day each, I would still recommend doing it all :)

One thing I would definitely recommend, even if you're only there for a day, is the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical gardens. It's near the centre of the city and the China Bank building and a bit of a hike to get there but well worth it. The hike doesn't stop once you are in, with it all being on a slope but it's really well laid out and got a nice lot of benches to rest your weary feet. It has a fabulous selection of flora including impressive trees, luscious flowers and carnivorous plants but the main attraction I think for most people, other than the facts it's free, is the animals. The park is split into two sections, the bottom is full of pretty birds, all colours and sizes. I'm quite partial to a Flamingo so was pretty chuffed to see them. The top section is where more of the monkeys and reptiles are though and seems a lot more popular, though there is a family of lemur monkeys near the children's place area in the bottom part. Up the top there is orang-utans and all manner of other monkeys and a small reptile house which has some tortoise, eager from their lunch.

If you want to get good views of the city and don't want to pay to go up the observation towers, The Peak is the perfect place to see it all. It is up the top of a hill behind all the tall 'scrapers of Hong Kong Island and gives a brilliant view (dependant on the weather) of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. You can take a very cute vintage style tram up there for about £3.50 return but being on a budget and a pair who enjoy a challenge, we walked it. Though didn't realise how epic this was until we embarked on it. Now from our starting point at the botanical and zoological gardens The Peak was only 1 mile but it took us an hour. And my god, it was the hard, hottest, most achiest walk of my life. I should have guessed it was going to be pretty steep from the walk up to the gardens and the gardens itself but I really didn't. You know it's going to be a long walk when you've already had to stop in the first 30 metres. Several stops, heavy breathing and sore legs later, we made it to the top and my, it was worth it. It's quite commercial at the top like everything is in Hong Kong with restaurants and shopping malls but it has a great, free observation deck which is perfect for pictures and also free to use telescopes. After a quick bite to each and a picture taking session on the top, we decided, in our foolishness to walk back down, which isn't without its hardships, I think my hips ached more after that than the way up.

After our up hill marathon we wander away back through Hong Kong, and experience how much one city can change from day to night. We didn't see much of the night light due to very achey limbs but even the short walk was full of the bright city lights and hustle. There is a drinking culture in Hong Kong and there are the places to do it, including Club 7/11 (literally 3 7/11 near each other). If you want to experience something a little different that drinks deals, it also has some good night markets here and a free Symphony of Lights show, where the sky scrapers of Hong Kong light to music, that you can see from a viewing point in Kowloon. It runs from 8pm daily. The blogs below break the night life down brilliantly so if you do want to experience budget HK after dark and read about it with a little more detail, these are the places to go.

If you want to see how the locals shop and eat in Hong Kong, the perfect place are the numerous markets which are dotted about the city. We saw about 5 or 6 whilst wandering and we always drawn to them. There are inside and outside ones and the smells from both seem similar with fried foods, raw fish and spices all laid out next to the New Year decorations and kids toys. Many have food stalls inside them which are really cheap to eat at if you don't mind not knowing what you are eating.

Wednesday is free museum day in the city, where several of their normal paid buildings are free to go into to. The list includes: 

  1. The Science Museum
  2. Museum of Art
  3. Hong Kong Heritage Museum
  4. Hong Kong Museum of History
  5. Hong Kong Space Museum
  6. Hong Kong Racing
We went in to the Museum of Art and the Science Museum and were impressed with both. We went cultural in the first and childlike in the second, playing with all her exhibits and games and learning all about Hong Kong health and safety rules. 

Most of the museums are on Kowloon which is over the river from Hong Kong Island but with the great, regular and cheap ferry service the city offers, it's no problem at all. Each way costs you 25p and we never had to wait more that 10 minutes for one. They also give you great views of the city so I would recommend going on one, even if you just stay on for the ride back.

Keeping on the theme of transport, the best way to get to and from the city, we found, was with the buses. The station is just outside of the airport, to the right and we got a ticket for £4 each that took us just outside our hostel. The journey was about an hour was air-conned, had wi-fi and they all have a security camera on your bags, so wherever you are on the bus you can make sure they are safe. It was also very easy to get back to the airport in it and I image any hostel or hotel, like ours did, will give you directions to the nearest stop. Have a look here for timetables. 

A perk of Hong Kong being so technologically savvy (a con is they never let their phones out of their sites) is that nearly everywhere in the city has free wi-fi. From the parks to the museums, you can jump on the government wi-fi and surf till your hearts content, which was great for us to be able to check bus times and nearby attractions at the drop of a hat.

The weather was really lovely when we were there, at about 18-20c so we made use of Hong Kong pretty parks to rest and snack in. I've already mentioned the biological and zoological gardens but we also went to Wen chai park to each pastries and watch the world go by and we also spent quite a bit of time at Victoria park which was close to our hostel and took a couple of picnics and books and had a bit of a lounge. Each park we went to had not only a great place to sit but also a free fitness park in nearly every one. We noticed that HK people are very health conscious and each park we went to was full of people working out on the machines or jogging around the outside. Some also have outdoor gyms similar to what we have in the UK which seemly anyone can use and a great way to amuse yourself. We had a go on the one in Victoria park and in the Botanical Gardens but all the parks we saw had one.

Hong Kong is famed for its foot massages, with their being several dotted around the city and I, like many others would recommend it though maybe not with the muscle ache I had after the Peak. We went to the Big Bucket, so named as you get to soak your feet in a bucket of sweet smelling jelly water before they come and massage your legs, it cost us £16 for the 45 minutes job. 

Food wise in the city the cheapest way to feed yourself, as in most places, is street food and Hong Kong has a lot to offer though sometimes you might just have to eat without actually knowing what it is. There it's also a lot of cooked food market which you will see signs for as you wander round, it's just like a giant food hall really with communal seating and food sellers on the outside. The only thing I would say to look out for is the beer girls, you won't miss them in their tight promo dress and scary make up. They are paid (unsurprisingly) to sell only their beer and will deny any knowledge of any other drinks, even soft ones. Avoid, unless you want chatty up or actually like the beer they are selling. If you fancy a western fix, many of the large shopping malls have food areas which different sections and we got to indulge in our love for FroYo (A frozen yoghurt heaven) in one of them.

Talking of malls, if you do like shopping and high end at that, Hong Kong is the place for you. It is literally full of designer shops, have a look here, especially around the Victoria park area where we were staying and the malls are actually huge. The iSquare mall we were inticed into by a group of cats outside was 31 floors high and full to the brim of every shop you fancy. I even managed to spot a couple of second hand/factory second shops that I had a good look in. It's not just fashion you can buy here, it's very easy to buy state of the art technology and all accessories for it and also all manner of beauty products in many of the brightly coloured shops that litter the town.

Finally I want to rave about our hostel, which was simple called Hong Kong Hostel. It's one in the east side of the city near Victoria Park and the location is great. We were never more than 2 minutes from places to grab food and everything we wanted to see was an easy walk away. The staff are really friendly and so helpful answering any question we asked or advice we wanted, they offer free luggage storage which was great for us on our last day and they have a cat that seems to live on the reception desk so kinda perfect really. The room was small but didn't feel cramped, well decorated, and smelt free. It also had a hot powerful shower and good wifi which is always a brilliant bonus. All in all a great hostel and at only £19 a night a real bargain. I would recommend highly. 

If you want some more info about Hong Kong, these websites are great:

And if you want to keep up with where I am and what I'm doing, take a look at my blog here. 

This blog falls into our On Your Bike series which is all about adventures whether it's out on your bike, a vintage train day or even a themed day. It also has bike maintenance, hair styles for your adventures and more. Find out more about this series and our others at on our Overview blog or find more in the same series by pressing the "On Your Bike" tab at the top of the page.