The Awra Amba Experience

Help my friends achieve amazing things …


Paulina Tervo and Serdar Ferit, are a filmmaking couple of Finnish / British / Turkish Cypriot origins, who in 2005 founded Write This Down Productions, a UK-based film and digital production company with the aim of telling meaningful and beautiful stories from around the world.

Their relationship with Awra Amba started nearly ten years ago. Since then, they have visited a number of times, shooting their first documentary there in 2008.

The idea for The Awra Amba Experience was conceived in 2010 following long discussions with Zumra Nuru and other members of Awra Amba. Now their team has grown to an international mix of professional filmmakers, writers, designers, illustrators, animators, web developers, musicians, sound designers and translators, who all share the enthusiasm for the philosophies and values of the community.


Watch their story and support them here:


1950s: Gil Elvgren’s Pin-Up Girls: Before & after

1950s: Gil Elvgren’s Pin-Up Girls: Before & after
1950s: Gil Elvgren’s Pin-Up Girls: Before & after

Gil Elvgren was and continues to be one of the best pin-up artists of all time. Some of his paintings have become iconic images of the period. But not everyone knows that he painted his pin-ups from staged photographs. As you can see there is definitely a little ‘photoshop’ action going on!

Check out the blog from which details this technique and has loads more before and after pictures for you to have a look at. Who doesn’t love a pin-up girl?!

Farewell to a 1930s icon

Shirley Temple 1928 – 2014

Shirley Temple IMG_3114 IMG_3115 IMG_3116 IMG_3118 IMG_3121



The images used in this blog’s posts are found from different sources all over the Internet, and are assumed to be in public domain and are displayed under the fair use principle. I provide information on the image’s source and author whenever possible, and I will link back to the owner’s website wherever applicable. If you are the owner of the images and you believe that their use on this site is in violation of any copyright law, then please contact me through this form, and I will get back to you as soon as possible to resolve the issue. This blog is meant to share the best images I find on the Internet with other bloggers and vintage enthusiasts, and is not meant to deliberately infringe on the rights of the image owners. I respect all the intellectual property of the owners, and will modify the posts or remove the images at the owners’ request.

Small Town Glory

Many years ago I was the Hair & Makeup Designer on a short Film called Small Town Glory Starring Therese Bradley, Jack Roth and Dermot Keaney and directed by Mary Nighy.



However now there is an exciting news because for a limited period of time US Vogue is hosting Small Town Glory on their website in conjunction with a fashion film Mary Nighy has made for them.  NFTS have agreed to show the full film on the site for a limited period and I think it’s great that more people will get to see it.

So if you would like to see the full film, here’s the link :

Feel free to share it with anyone you’d like to see the film, too. Enjoy!

Count down to Mad Men

Mad Men is back on our screens on the 10th of April and it definitely can’t come soon enough!

We will be able to catch up on the exploits of Joan, Peggy, Megan, Don, Roger and Pete as well as take in all the stunning hair styles, costume and set which make this show so beautifully watchable.

Mad Men Avatar
Mad Men Avatar

But if you can’t wait that long then AMC have a treat in store for you … Visit the Mad men home page and you can create your own Mad Men avatar or click on the link below to take you straight there.

So get out your inner flirty 50s or swinging 60s selves and get creating!


Omo makes whites bright!

In the summer I did a photo shoot with the amazingly talented Louise Holgate at the Avoncroft Museum. We released a sneak peek back in Aug but due to our busy schedules we have only just got around to editing them. Included in our final selection is one where our model Helena is showing off a packet of OMO washing powder which is definitely shouting out to be made into one of these amazing adverts ….







Watch this space to find out how we get on trying to recreate our own vintage style OMO advert!


Bella Rox

When Sam from Bella Rox asked me to join this amazing team of creatives I couldn’t resist. We designed the shoot to be a romantic romp through the decades from the 1920s through to the 1960s. Victory rolls and big beehives were teamed with beautiful vintage dresses, styled by Jessica Williams, and stunning floral creations, by Blush Floral Design. Creating the perfect show case for Bella Rox’s new range of hair accessories and jewellery and Liz Rose van Bokhoven was there to capture it all on camera and produce this mesmerising collection of photographs. And not forgetting our gorgeous model Frankie Holah.

Here are just a few of my favourites …

Bella Rox

To see the full collection of photographs see my Portfolio pages.

We have also been lucky enough to for the photographs to be featured on the award winning Love My Dress Blog. You can see more details of this on my Press pages.

Recreating the look

For you 1960s lovers – if you want to try and recreate the beehive at home here is my how-to-get-the-look guide. If you prefer the glamour of 1950s here is my guide to getting the glamourous 1950s makeup look.

Let me know how you get on!

Summer of Love

In order to combat the dark dingy days I thought it was about time to bring back a little sunshine into our lives. We have been lucky with ‘The Summer of Love’ shoot as the photographs have appeared on the front cover of Unique Bride Magazine as well as in The Boho Wedding Blog but now I get to share MY favourite shots with you all.

Summer of Love. Photograph by Louise Holgate
Summer of Love. Photograph by Louise Holgate
Summer of Love. Photograph by Louise Holgate
Summer of Love. Photograph by Louise Holgate
Summer of Love. Photograph by Louise Holgate
Summer of Love. Photograph by Louise Holgate
Summer of Love. Photograph by Louise Holgate
Summer of Love. Photograph by Louise Holgate
Summer of Love. Photograph by Louise Holgate
Summer of Love. Photograph by Louise Holgate

Photography: Louise Holgate

Hair & Makeup: Sarah Russell from SGR Vintage Hair & Makeup

Dresses:  LuxeBridal 

Flowers: Fusion Flowers 

VW campervan: Kathryn Marsh

Models: Nathan Bennett and Meghan Howard

To see the press coverage for the shoot check out the Boho Wedding Blog press page and Unique Bride press page.

To see the full collection of photographs see my portfolio

1950’s Makeup – How to get the look

If you have picked up the Oct/Nov issue of Your West Midlands Wedding Magazine you may have noticed that they had a new addition to their panal of beauty experts …. ME!

Your West Midlands Wedding Magazine Beauty Panal
Your West Midlands Wedding Magazine Beauty Panal

The question I was asked was how to create a glamourous 1950s makeup look at home, for a 1950’s inspired wedding.

Here’s the low down on ‘how to get the look’ …

  1. Chose a matt foundation a shade lighter than your natural skin tone and set with a powder.
  2. Blush was used very subtly to contour the face, choose either a peach or pink to compliment your skin tone. The aim was to achieve a peaches and cream complexion with a velvety smooth finish.
  3. Eye shadow was also very subtle. Chose a colour to match your eye colour or your outfit, pastels and browns were popular choices, but make sure it’s matt. Keep the shadow concentrated to just above the lashes and blend upwards and sidewards.
  4. Line the lash line with an eye pencil, keeping it very soft on the lower lashes. You can add an eye ‘accent’ by adding a small flick at the corner of each eye. However a more modern ‘50s inspired’ look can be achieved by using a black gel/liquid liner to create a more striking line and flick.
  5. Curl your lashes and then use mascara to enhance the upper outer corner lashes and you can also use fake half lashes to really emphasise this winged eye look.
  6. The eye brows of the 50s were shaped and penciled. Start by brushing your brows up into an arch, tweezing stray hairs if needed, then darken with a powder or pencil (a shade or two darker than your hair colour) and shape into an arch extending them at the outer corner if needed. Set in place with a brow gel.
  7. For the lips russian reds were still popular but pinks, purple-reds and orange-reds were also starting to appear by the early 50s. Chose a colour to match your outfit and then use a liner to define the shape of your lips, creating a soft rounded cupids bow and then fill in with your chosen lipstick colour, blot and add a touch of gloss if required.
  8. Add a touch of glamour to your look and draw on your own beauty mark or emphasis one you already have with a brown eye pencil.

All you need now are painted nails to match your chosen lipstick and a great pin-curl set coiffure and you’ll be the belle of the ball. Let me know how you all get on …

Stand UP to Cancer

Stand UP to Cancer Campaign. Photograph by Elizabeth Melvin
Stand UP to Cancer Campaign. Photograph by Elizabeth Melvin

Back in September I donated my time to help an amazing group of ladies from the West Midlands Cancer Research team get their hair to stand up on end for their Stand UP to Cancer campaign this October. The team were hoping to raise awareness and get volunteers involved in raising money for their Stand UP to Cancer campaign which involved a week of programmes on channel four culminating in the live fundraising show on Friday 19th October. Cancer Research are hoping that with the extra funds raised will help the break throughs seen in the lab turn in to break throughs in our hospitals. A cause I’m sure we all want to support.

For more information on this campaign, Cancer Research or details on how to donate, click here.

To see all the local press coverage that the Cancer Research team managed to get from their hair raising stunt then see my press pages.

However I thought I would share with you a couple of the pictures, from what I can only describe as one the most fun photo shoots I have done. Its not every day I get to go crazy with this much hair spray! And I can confirm that that the Schwarzkopf Got to be Glued range lives up to its name.

Stand UP to Cancer Campaign. Photograph by Elizabeth Melvin
Stand UP to Cancer Campaign. Photograph by Elizabeth Melvin


Should you want to recreate any of these looks at home all you need is a hair dryer and Got to be Glued blasting freeze spray then follow this youtube video:

Stand UP to Cancer Campaign. Photograph by Elizabeth Melvin
Stand UP to Cancer Campaign. Photograph by Elizabeth Melvin

Let me know how you get on …