To us, Autumn feels like a warm up round for New Year; summer holiday vibes dispelled by the ‘back to school’ buzz when we all reboot for the run up to Christmas.Temperatures drop and evenings become longer so indoor joy inducing activities are a NECESSITY!We’re all feeling the clock change at the weekend. What better time to take up something new and invigorating to brighten the chilliest, darkest evenings. Right now may not be the traditional time for New Year resolutions, but it feels like as good a time as January to fire up and crack on! We’re not talking read more, cook more adventurously, go to the gym, see more plays, keep the house tidy. We’re talking about something that keeps you fit without you even realising it, distracts you from the biggest of worries, keeps your mind nimble, releases oodles of happy hormones, brings people together AND makes you feel like Fred Astaire:TAP DANCING.
Have you watched the spectacular tapping in 42nd Street, currently on in London’s West End?Was there part of you that wished you could do it?Have you, like us, lapped up MGM tap films, mesmerised by the rhythms and mystical way it works?If you have…STOP what you are doing, SEARCH tap classes in your area and SIGN UP!
We met performing in Mack and Mabel, which features Jerry Herman’s show number Tap Your Troubles Away.Herman didn’t lie when he wrote those lyrics; the focus required in tap class, combined with the rhythmic sounds, and joy of dance does melt away troubles for the duration.
Tap is as invigorating as it appears in dazzling 42nd Street when fifty dancers descend in shimmering gold.Even the simplest of tap steps have therapeutic value; tap dancing is good for mind and body.
No one is too old to put on tap shoes, however, it’s important you get the right pair.Opt for a low heel as a beginner, despite temptation to go for an elegant show shoe!
As highlighted by the show Stepping Out tap dancing is sociable and we’ve met some glorious characters on our tap travels.Tap attracts and breeds FUN!There is something unique about audibly moving in tandem with a group, creating the same rhythms with your feet to music you love.Over the years Tootsies have taught routines to groups set to our own toe tapping tunes!We have tapped our whole lives and simply love it. We value its broad, rarely acknowledged, benefits.Tap is for everyone.
So, as Autumn eases out, don’t let yourself settle into your sofa… it’s a new season, resolutions start here. It the immortal words of Judy Garland (sort of): get tappy!
It’s our favourite time of year! Christmas inspires nostalgia and perks up traditions like no other time. Our Tootsie hearts are all a flutter at the sight of twinkly lights and the smell of mulled wine. Our feelings for the season are unwavering… Christmas, we adore you!
We are particularly excited about Paddington 2 (the M&S Christmas ad has done a marvellous job of whetting our appetites ahead of the film) and Love Actually accompanied by live orchestra! Not to mention the usual favourites: Ice skating at Somerset House or The Natural History Museum, Leading the carols at Ascot Racecourse, and singing by the prettiest tree in town at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
We love how it’s more evident than ever at this time of year that rituals are carried from generation to generation. This conversation got us chatting about family Christmas traditions, where they originate, and what new traditions we have unknowingly introduced in more recent years. Do you have the answers to these questions about your own Christmases?
We also found ourselves reflecting on the year passed, wondering if the words ‘tradition’ and ‘traditionally’ have lost some of their positive connotations in the age we live in? Christmas aside, traditional behaviours and routines are frequently questioned and instinctively remodelled. We are huge believers in mixing the best of the old with the best of the new. Learning from the past to optimise the present. Is it more common to defy ‘traditional’ expectation than comply these days? Or is it simply easier to question and be heard? People have always questioned the norm, however social media has played a huge role in facilitating people speaking out: exercising their voice with confidence and not only that, often garnering wide support for their beliefs. Traditionally, it would have been much harder to do so in such a far reaching way. This year has certainly felt the power of the hashtag, and seen the rise of Instagram stories.
Turning our thoughts back to Christmas it seems many of our personal family traditions remain absolutely in tact. May Christmas always be a time to slow down, appreciate and reflect, acknowledging positive world developments while allowing the concerning changes to focus us on what we believe to be right, honing balance and clear priorities for ourselves. We hope that for as many people as possible Christmas is a time that centres around the simple things that really count, the unwavering traditions that will hopefully never change: togetherness, thoughtfulness, celebration, inclusiveness, nourishment, recuperation, and loved ones.
Here are some of our favourite family traditions that have been passed down through generations and are no doubt not that dissimilar to yours:
“My father always read us ‘Twas the Night before Christmas’ on Christmas Eve, first published in the 1800s. He did so with such enthusiasm and character, a truly cherished memory of mine. Although we haven’t read it in more recent years, I am absolutely certain the book will be dusted off as soon as my siblings or I have children of our own! The famous, atmospheric poem heightened our excitement as children and still does when I hear it featured in a film or on an advert. If it isn’t a gleaming example of Christmas tradition, I don’t know what is! The eloquent narration of Santa’s visit has become a worldwide institution and remains popular almost two hundred years later. I adore the idea that it was read to my parents as children and that I will hopefully be able to do the same one day.”
“In our family we have a Christmas meal tradition of “A table present”. After the excitement, and haste, with which we open our presents first thing on Christmas morning, there’s still lots more to look forward to: a Christmas meal, seeing family, singing away to Christmas songs. However, my mum always surprises us with a “table present”. Just after dinner while we’re sharing our Christmas cracker jokes my mum gives everyone in the family one last gift. They are usually small in size (in order to fit on the table and befit their name) but not in thought or value. Over the years I’ve received all sorts from my favourite CD (when music wasn’t downloadable!) to my favourite perfume. My sister and I have returned the tradition and now buy table gifts, to accompany my mum’s, for the family. A few years ago my sister received a wonderful table present in the form of an engagement ring when her boyfriend (now husband) got down on one knee after dinner and proposed to her in front of the whole family!”
“Our Christmases are a mash up of traditions from my Mum and Dad. On Christmas Eve we prepare the food for the cooking marathon the next day and drop off presents to nearby family members. This is a tradition passed down from my Mum and my Welsh grandparents who were incredibly sociable and loved the Christmas party season where they could catch up with friends and family. My Dad is from the North East and spent a lot of his childhood going for family walks and holidaying near the seaside. My parents now live very close to the Northumberland Coast and every year after opening our stockings on Christmas Day we bundle up and head out to the, usually freezing cold, beach for a long walk. However, I must admit, there is one tradition that has fallen by the wayside… my Granny would always go for a dip in the North Sea. None of us are brave enough to follow through on that one! This year we’re actually breaking a tradition and celebrating our first Christmas down in London at my sister’s house. My three and six year old niece and nephew are incredibly excited about this and as soon as the plan was made they started to brainstorm their ideas for the family walk. During the year it can be a challenge to get windows of time where all the family can get together. Christmas is a sacred time where we (almost) always manage to do this and some of my most precious memories are from these holidays. It doesn’t matter where we are as long as we’re together is what matters and I’m looking forward to celebrating old traditions and creating some new ones this year. ”
“Like Anna, our household Christmas traditions are a mixture of both sides of the family. My Dad’s family are originally from Germany, so Christmas Eve was always the big deal. I have fond memories of being at Grandma’s on Christmas Eve, decorating the tree, eating Stollen and exchanging presents a full 24 hours before everyone else. My Mum’s side of the family hail from the North of England and their traditions are altogether less conventional and more involved… Christmas morning begins very early as our most prominent ritual requires a lot of time. Presents are opened one at a time, in order of age, with the youngest family member starting first. Not necessarily a lengthy process, you might think, but then every person present whether family member close or distant, long standing friend, or foreign student far from home, is given a full stocking. Each one of us gets to see what everyone else has been given, and it genuinely instils the joy of gift-giving from a young age (as well as gift-receiving!). I remember my Grandmother’s apparently boundless joy when she opened a box of home-made chocolate truffles, stickily rolled by my pudgy 4-year-old hands and stuffed into a re-used cardboard box. A proud moment indeed. My grandparents lengthened the process even further by writing poems, rhymes and sometimes even sonnets on the outside of the presents to give a clue to the contents. Much to the relief of anyone sharing Christmas at our house, this tradition seems to have dwindled over the years!”
“My family Christmas tradition, handed down through generations, is the Crimbo eve present! It started as an assurance that you were indeed on the Good List & Santa would be visiting that coming eve. As a child I would wake up & rush to the front door – as Crimbo eve gifts came through the post box as festive power wasn’t in full swing until after dark – to see if I had gifts from the big man waiting for me! Now I’m a woman in my 30s I still receive my Crimbo eve gifts & my amazing mum still leaves them amongst the morning post as a nod to our tradition. The gifts have always been the same: a film & a pair of festive PJ’s. Once upon a time it was the latest Disney release to be watched with hot choc in fluffy Santa adorned pyjamas… now it’s a festive favourite on DVD, that is watched snuggled in White Company loungewear while enjoying the first snowball cocktail of the holiday. The smiles & the sense of excitement from the whole family haven’t changed a bit!”
When Tootsie Katy took the call to see if we were available to fly to Cannes and perform for a red carpet event on The Riveria, it took us about thirty seconds to free up our diaries and unanimously shout ‘oui, oui, oui!’
After poring over iconic Cannes Film Festival photos, we packed our glitziest frocks, largest cats-eye sunglasses, and boarded a flight a week later. Somehow we managed to do this ‘hand luggage only’ which we’re sure, Dear Readers, you will appreciate is incredibly difficult for a vintage loving girl living in a contemporary world… N.B. No petticoats were harmed in the packing of this trip. Grace Kelly would have had to charter a whole plane with her eighty pieces of luggage and a poodle on her wedding trip to nearby Monaco!
Feeling the warm sun on our pin-curls as we touched down in Nice airport was a real treat and our wonderful host Marie whisked us off to Cannes for our soundcheck followed by a potted guided tour. It felt like we had stepped back in time gazing up at the stunning art deco architecture. Authentically chic, we felt a real buzz from the locals catching up over cafe au laits in restaurants lining the waterfront. Marie told us of the great excitement that takes over Cannes during the film festival and how she has hosted events on the yacht that was once part of Grace Kelly’s wedding celebrations. Talk about a dream Tootsie party!Continue reading →
Tootsie Towers was buzzing with excitement the morning we awoke to find Royal invitations to Clarence House from Prince Charles! As proud supporters of the Walk the Walk breast cancer charity, we had been invited to celebrate their 20 year anniversary with the Moonwalk team and other keen supporters such as Jennifer Saunders and Harriet Thorpe.
The day also coincided with our 8th Birthday of being together so we felt it was a wonderful and apt way to celebrate our time together. We think the only people who were more excited than us about our Royal invites were our Tootsie Mums!
We always love seeing Nina, the founder of the charity, and her team. Such incredible people, whose passion and kindness shine out of them and make you feel better about the world. Walk the Walk has raised £113 million over their 20 years which is a staggering amount from them starting out in 1996 as 13 women walking in bras in The New York Marathon to raise awareness. Cancer touches so many peoples’ lives, including many of our own, and we are so passionate about supporting those affected by it and those who are determined to fight it!
After toasting with some champagne and nibbling on what was the most delicious salmon risotto we have ever tasted, we were introduced to Prince Charles. He was incredibly jovial and chatty, and even requested we send a CD for him and Camilla to listen to!
Walk the Walk had a huge Birthday cake shaped as a bra, Prince Charles remarked that it was the first time he had had to cut into a bra(!) and as he did we burst into an a cappella version of our song ‘Walk the Walk’ which we wrote to raise money for the charity.
A truly exhilarating and wonderful day, with a lot of ‘who’d have thought it, when we met all those years ago…’ from us.
Home House was a stunning and versatile venue, with every room showcasing eclectic pieces of art which was a perfect fit for our “best of old meets the best of new” mantra.
Our Stylist Joanna Femi Ola pulled some stunning gowns and looks from an array of our favourite designers. The dress up days are certainly some of best days to be a Tootsie! She worked with each of our body shapes and personalities to make us look and feel super confident.
Charlie Wilkinson and Arabella Webster worked insanely quickly to create four different hair and make up designs for us in each look. We have spent a lot of time doing our hair and make-up during our Tootsie career and couldn’t believe the talent of these ladies. We believe there’s nothing they can’t do!
Adam Robertson is an absolute master of photography. He’s so much fun on a shoot it helps to keep everyone relaxed and at ease in front of the camera. He sent us over these shots which we absolutely adored and got us super excited for the final edits (watch this blog…)
Time for a team photo (minus the amazing Arabella)
We were so excited to see that Lady Jane Vintage has started her own cosmetics range. Not only is it beautiful to look at, the packaging is so retro kitsch and looks divine on our dressing tables, but we have found it’s also gorgeous to wear.
Here are some of our favourite products…
The foundation is free from preservatives, dyes and bismuth oxychloride. It contains
skin healing ingredients so is perfect for sensitive or blemish prone skin.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
“The foundation makes your skin feel silky to touch. I love that it’s helping my skin instead of clogging it, as regular foundations often do” Flo
COLA LIQUID EYELINER
“I LOVED the eyeliner. I’m a massive Coke fan so that helped… The brush isn’t too flimsy so helps you create a decent vintage line” Lisa
“The Cola liquid eyeliner gives a sleek line and pops a smile on your face – it’s the cutest packaging on the market!” Meg
The lavender lipsticks are free from preservatives and contain vitamin E, jojoba and lavender oil. They are packaged in super-cute bamboo cases and also double up as a cream blusher.
“The Lady Jane lipstick is a subtle colour of red perfect for daytime wear. I loved the lavender scent which made it feel incredibly soothing to wear” Anna
As many of you will know, each year, October was Breast Cancer Awareness month. To mark this year’s campaign, we were absolutely thrilled and honoured to release our first ever single, Walk The Walk. Having worked with the Moonwalk charity over the past couple of years, it seemed only fitting that our first single should continue to support their incredible work. All profit from the song is going directly to the charity. We wrote ‘Walk The Walk’ last year with Hayley Sanderson and performed it at the start of the Moonwalk to over 30,000 excited walkers.
The lyrics are inspired by all the courageous women and men who train and fundraise tirelessly, before walking a gruelling marathon through the night, to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. The tempo is a steady walking pace, to allow walkers to listen and train at the same time!
On 20th October, the song became available for download on iTunes (and went straight to the top of the iTunes Jazz Chart!), and we hope it will continue to help spread the message and raise funds.
Breast cancer affects the lives of so many people in this world. The Tootsies are incredibly passionate about supporting the fight against this potentially deadly disease. We would like to share the story of Tootsie Anna and her best friend Charlotte.
My best friend Charlotte was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, at the age of 30. It was a massive shock. She was a week away from the wedding of her dreams and no-one could believe the news.
She went ahead with the wedding which was a beautiful and highly emotional day. The vows in particular had so much weight to them and Charlotte, her husband, her family and friends all rallied together to try and make the day as perfect as she had always planned.
The day after the wedding, The Tootsies sang at The Moonwalk event in London. The atmosphere in the tent was electric with inspiring men and women readying themselves to start the walk. We sang our Walk the Walk single with the lyrics behind us which had the 30,000 strong crowd singing along with us. Nina, the founder of the Charity, led a one minute silence dedicated to all those affected by breast cancer and the individuals the walkers were walking for. Holding hands with the lovely strangers next to me, in that moment it impacted on me how many people are affected by this cruel disease. I also realised just how many people were there to support those going through it, to raise money to help beat it. I wished Charlotte had been there to hold hands with us and to feel that support and hope.
After her wedding she started her chemotherapy. The treatment was gruelling but Charlotte wouldn’t let it get her down. She set up a jewellery business to help see her through the months she needed to take off work and, in between her sessions, she promoted her gorgeous jewels which started being ordered by celebrities.
There were days when she couldn’t get out of bed, and as a friend I felt pretty helpless. Wanting to be there and being frustrated that I couldn’t make it all better. We decided to focus on the small things, in the hope that it would make her smile and make her day better. We sent her gifts, made her a video montage of all her friends telling a joke and Tootsie videos of us being silly and singing her favourite songs. Throughout it all Charlotte stayed so positive and the fight in her shone through. I am still in awe of her. She’s a real life super hero.
After a year of treatment we were absolutely over the moon to hear she had the all clear. We celebrated last week by going for a beautiful lunch at The Savoy Hotel and toasting one of the most brilliant and bravest ladies I know.
Since returning to work Charlotte has decided to donate all the profits from her Eva May Jewellery to Breast Cancer Research. Please go to her website for more information (we’re big fans!) www.evamayjewels.com
Despite all that the last year has thrown at me and my loved ones, it has for me really crystallised one idea in my mind. I am lucky.
Yes, this situation is nothing if not absurd. I just turned 30, I have no family history of Breast Cancer and I don’t smoke or drink and have never taken drugs… Things like this are not supposed to happen to people like me.
My mam kept telling me over and over again that she wished that it was her instead of me. I don’t. I am young, strong and otherwise healthy. I knew I was going to come out of this just fine.
I was also so thoroughly and completely surrounded by love, support and offers of help from the most amazing group of friends, coworkers and family that it just blows me away. Every time I get a text message from someone telling me they are thinking about me and sending good vibes and asking to help, I feel stronger. When I got scared about what the coming months would hold, I would just think about how I have easy access to all the hugs, company, good vibes, home-cooked meals, rides to appointments, pictures of puppies, hand holding, hair cuts, jokes, amazing Tootsie videos and snuggles that a person in recovery could possibly need. I knew my friends were there and I knew that I could get through whatever was heading my way because of that.
Where did this positivity come from? It comes from people like you. People who donate their time to raise money and above all show their love and support when people like me just want to be dark and defeatist and wallow in self pity. My Oncologist would always talk of new research that was happening, research that people had donated money to fund, research that was saving my life!
Now my story is just one, one of millions. It’s a sad story, a story I can’t believe is actually mine – but I have met so many women (and a few men) suffering from Breast Cancer and their stories are equally as heartbreaking. I will just be forever grateful to Breast Cancer Awareness and will spend my life helping to find a cure so that my story is never repeated and that all a 30 year old bride has to worry about is who’s getting too drunk from their free bar on their wedding day as opposed to worrying if they will actually see in their 1st year anniversary!
Our Walk the Walk single was released on October 20th, as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. All of our proceeds are going straight to the Walk the Walk Charity so please show your support and download it on iTunes today.
We’ve had some requests for the lyrics to our new single ‘Walk the Walk’. The song was inspired by The Moonwalk and all proceeds are going to the amazing Walk the Walk charity so get downloading and singing along.
On Wednesday the 15th of July six Tootsies bundled into our lovely tour bus bright and early. Now, normally we are not women that welcome an early morning… However this morning we were on our way to the NATIONAL VINTAGE AWARDS!
Over the last seven years we have seen the vintage industry grow and transition so rapidly, we could hardly contain our excitement on the way to an event celebrating our wonderful community!
After a few hours of sing-songs, snacks and chat we arrived at the beautiful Pittville Pump Room in Cheltenham. Built as a spa building in 1740, the decadent venue really could not have been more perfect to host the NTAs!