I have to tell you about Z: the beginning of everything, this series on Amazon Prime because it may not be one you’ll discover for yourself and I have a feeling you may love it.

Because I did. I watched it when I was in New York last week, which was perfect because it was set in New York and set in an era in New York that I think I may have enjoyed. This was in the heyday in New York, when everything was just beginning. When Grand Central Station was less than 50 years old. When the Biltmore Hotel was the brand new luxury hotel in New York. When the Chrysler building was just being imagined and constructed as the tallest skyscraper in the city. I know in British terms, this doesn’t seem like that long ago, but in New York, this is the city’s history.

A beautiful era of design and stunning costumes. Dubbed the Jazz Age. Wild, flamboyant, breaking free from constraints. Which is exactly what Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald did and why she became known as the original flapper and the icon of her time.

I love the way Christina Ricci displays this character – so beautiful and yet so flawed, so bold and yet so vulnerable, so full of life and yet so prone to unhappiness. The series moves through the part of her life where she transforms from a child into a woman and becomes the wife of American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. He’s an intriguing character – a writer who struggles to write. And I mean struggles. We think of him as so successful, the famous writer of ‘The Great Gatsby’ and yet his novels are agonisingly created. Fascinating for me as a writer to see the creative process played out in this couple’s lives. Especially when he starts to steal her words and calls it ‘leaning on her for inspiration’. Zelda’s later quoted as saying ‘Mr. Fitzgerald—I believe that is how he spells his name—seems to believe that plagiarism begins at home.’

On April 3, 1920, Zelda married F Scott Fitzgerald before a small wedding party in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. I thought of them as I walked around this stunning building – although in the series, they get married in a small side room, not in the main cathedral. One of many disappointments in Zelda’s journey. This couple are married at a time when in their group of friends, there are no rules. That’s causes interesting tensions too.

Scott and Zelda became New York celebrities, as much for their wild behaviour as anything else. Their excessive drinking led to all sorts of extreme stunts. Apparently, Zelda once jumped into the fountain at Union Square. Maybe not so unusual now, but in that day and age, it was unheard of. The couple became icons of youth and success.

This series is just a snapshot of a wild period in their lives, but it makes me want to know more of this remarkable woman. I know there are mental health issues in Zelda’s future – you can already see that in these early years of her marriage. But I haven’t read on in Wikipedia or anywhere else. I want the next series to come out, if there is to be one, so I can continue the story in this beautiful setting and adaptation, rather than reading bare facts on a page.

There’s a 1970 biography of Zelda by Nancy Milford which was on the short list of contenders for the Pulitzer Prize. I think I’ll try to get hold of that. This is a story that deserves to be told beautifully. There’s something within this young woman that I feel I can relate to. I guess that’s the sign of good acting, a good script, a great series, whatever.

I just know I need to know more. And buy a dress like Zelda’s. Even if I never wear it. Just to hang up and look upon and be inspired.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Linda has already treated us to a series called ‘Live, Laugh, Love with Linda’. I’m sure you will have found inspiration to get out there and enjoy life, as I did. To keep it fresh, we’re changing it up a bit and now concentrating on some of Linda’s other main loves. We’ll discover what those are as we go along!

 

LOVE TO DRINK

I do love a good cappuccino. A quick trip to town for a birthday present was the job for the day. Always at the end of the shop was a need to sit down. The promise of coffee and cake helps to tempt the other half to come to town too. Walking back to the car, we walked past The Garden House in Eldon Gardens and stopped for a coffee … well, cake and coffee. The cakes here have never let me down! I have enjoyed healthy food here too! The cool wooden tables and garden theme are like an oasis in the heart of the city. The most delicious mocha chocolate cake and cappuccino appeared in front of me. A beautiful heart in the froth reminded me it was Valentines Day! I was touched that I had been served this. My other half had an americano and a lemon drizzle cake. Both were divine. Totally relaxed, we sat preparing to go home after chatting, cocooned from the bustle around us.

LOVE TO HAVE FUN WITH THE FAMILY

We’ve always been a board game family. Gaming has taken over as an activity and is also fun. Half term on a trip to see the firstborn and his lovely wife, seven of us met up. The first night was games night. After two games – Musical Joust and another electronic game where you knocked a circle over (which suspiciously resembled a head so not too PC), we then settled down to Rapidough in two teams. If you like Pictionary, you’ll like Rapidough. It’s basically Charades with play dough. Being somewhat competitive in our family, with comments and quickness in guessing words from cards modelled in playdough, the game progressed til cries of ‘Oh no, you’ve won!’ signalled the end. An ability to picture a word and create a replica is one skill. Teamwork is another. Games improve memory, speed, problem solving and being a good loser. Family memories are created with disasters and epic wins. Tension is a great game for all ages. Picking ten answers from a question allows many ages to take part. Jungle Speed is like an adult game of snap, with a totem pole to snatch. Cards with similar patterns make people make mistakes, causing great hilarity as they end up with more cards to get rid of! Good eye hand coordination and reaction time is improved. At present, the favourite is to play Dominoes, a classic game for all ages. Do you count the dominoes for each number or do you get rid of high numbers? Skill versus practicality? It’s all good fun and I love it!

LOVE TO TAKE A BOAT TRIP

Every time I go away, I love to fit in a boat trip. My favourite day if you find yourself near Paignton, Devon, is to take a steam train to Dartmouth. An hour or two pottering around Dartmouth is brilliant. Then this is followed by a boat trip to Totnes up river. Wild life, Agatha Christie’s house and ninety minutes of leisurely trawling along an a hot day, is so relaxing. The trip back to Paignton is made by an open top bus. I recommend the last bus, especially when the driver is late! The experience of rattling along country lanes at speed, looking like you are on the back of a motorbike with flattened cheeks, is scary but exhilarating! Even on a shopping and sight seeing day trip to York, I love to finish with a steamer along the river for 40 minutes, to chill before going home. The Lakes offer many boat trips at every lake. Coniston offers drive your own motor boats, which our children love to take over. Another local boat trip is to take the boat to the Farne Islands. A word of warning: don’t sit in the front if it is windy and choppy, unless you don’t mind cold water showering you! I just love a good boat trip.

 

Can you believe it? Pretty Vintage Life is one year old this month.

This time last year, we were caught up in such a whirlwind of excitement. It was all so new and we had so many ideas.

We produced some great articles. I look back and I’m so proud of what we have achieved.

For a start, we are still here! That’s an achievement in itself. Have a look around – most blogs don’t survive a year. It’s a really tough thing to sustain. We did good.

It’s been good to get Linda on board and I know many of you have enjoyed her tips on good places to go and eat and books to read etc.

We don’t publish as regularly now, I’m sure you’ve noticed that. It’s been a busy time with work and other projects, but it’s really reassuring to know that Pretty Vintage Life is always there. It’s a great platform to share all those things that are exciting us right now.

A year on is a time to evaluate. We’ve covered plenty of life and a fair few pretty things too. Maybe less vintage than we would have liked but I still believe that is something we are going to grow into. The possibilities are endless. I know what I admire and what draws my attention. I’m heading in the right direction. So watch this space for more vintage love!

Thanks to everyone who has joined us on our adventures, to all those inspirational women out there who have agreed to be interviewed, to those of you who have posted comments and generally been supportive.

This is a good ride. We always intended for it to have a feelgood factor and I think we’ve done pretty well at creating that vibe.

It feels good to be entering our second year. I love this space and I know many of you do too.

Happy birthday, Pretty Vintage Life!