Wonderful Wellies

History: In 1817 The Duke of Wellington unintentionally started a new fashion trend that has lasted centuries when he instructed his shoemaker to modify his 18th century Hessian boot to be suitable for battle and appropriate for the evening.

What was created was the Welly, named after The Duke himself, an item that has been a strong member of the fashion world ever since, surviving every trend and fad since its inception due to its practicality, versatility and classic style.

Worn By: When the ‘wellington’ boot was first created, it was worn only by British aristocrats, but today, it is worn worn by everyone from the royals and celebrities  to food industry workers and farmers.

Also Known As: Wellington boots have various names in the English language, depending on where you are in the world, such  as rubber-boots, wellies, topboots, billy-boots, gumboots, barnboots, muckboots, rainboots, Macintoshes and galoshes.

Interesting Fact: In South Africa, wellies have been incorporated into a form of semi-traditional dance, known as “gumboot music” or “gumboot zydeco”.

The dance was developed by South African gold miners in the late 19th century as a way of communicating after miners were forbidden to speak with one another while they worked.

The workers incorporated a system of communication using their native tribal rhythms and their work attire which included wellies, hard hats and chains.

Today, this dance lives outside the gold mines, even finding its name in lights in 1999 with a musical written by Richile Gumboot Dancers of Soweto Zenzi Mbuli called ‘Gumboots’. The dance is also practiced by dancers all over South Africa and the United States. We love this sweet video of children at Kliptown Youth Center doing the Gumboot Danc (especially the little boy in the front!

Our Favourites: For kids, Wellies are about practicality, but also about fun and personal style, So, we picked our favourites from the collections at www.AlexandAlexa.com for you!


HUNTER ‘Kid’s First Welly’ Boots in Fuchia, £19.00


HUNTER Original Gloss Wellington Boots in Red, £35.00


HUNTER ‘Kid’s First Welly’ Boots in Navy, £19.00


HUNTER “Original” Navy Wellington Boots, £25.00

STELLA MCCARTNEY Yellow Tammy Wellies With Side Zip, £42.00


KENZO Floral Print Wellies, £30.00



Mini Model: Eloise

Today’s mini-model post goes out to our little candy shop trooper, Eloise Stevens. It was half term when we did our Candy Shop Shoot and the gorgeous 8-year-old mini model was not feeling her greatest.

The little one had a bit of a cold, but didn’t complain once, giving us some great shots throughout the day.

We caught up with Eloise after the half term break, when her cold had gone away and she was feeling good as new!

When did you start modelling and what made you decide to do it?

I only just started modelling – my Mum and brothers thought it would be fun for me to try.

So were they right? Is it fun?

It is so much fun, I love it because I love fashion and you get to wear really nice clothes.

What is the most exciting photoshoot you have done?

Working in the sweetshop with you!

What was your favourite outfit that you wore in the Candy Shop photoshoot?

The Little Marc Jacobs silk dress because it was so soft and blue is my favourite colour. My mum bought it for me after so now I can wear it as much as I want!

Lucky girl! So what kind of music do you like to dance around to in your new Little Marc Jacobs dress?

Well I like Duffy, but JLS is my favourite band, especially to sing along to!

And what is your favourite thing to eat?

The cupcakes and candy you gave me to take home from the sweetshop

Hmmm me too! That was a lot of yummy candy we got! What was your favourite treat that you got to take home from the Hope & Greenwood?

The Lemon bon-bons…they were soooo good!

What do you want to be when you grow up? A professional candy eater?!

(giggles) Maybe, but I think I want to be a model because my Mum was one.

Well it looks like you are on the right track then! But all models  also have to be clever, so what is your favourite subject in school?

R.E. because I can explore the meaning of life!

- You can see the images of Eloise’s Photoshoot HERE in our March Magazine

* We’ve also just been told, Eloise is going to be modelling for Vogue Bambini this month, congratulations Eloise!

How To by Kota Suizu

Kota Suizu has been styling the children of our photoshoots now for the past few months. After watching him create numerous amazing hair styles, without so much as a furrowed brow from his tiny clients, we had to find out how he does it.

“Practice,” says Kota with an all knowing smile, as we coyly interview him he is braiding mini-model Cocona’s hair into an amazing French style plait for the final shot of our Dior shoot, “this is a great style, especially for little girls, “he says, “it is easy to do, you don’t need any hair products at all, and it is tidy, cute and classic…plus it keeps their hair away from the face!”

Kota has worked on everything from kidswear shoots for us, to music videos, advertising campaigns and shows in London Fashion Week. His past clients include Ben Sherman, Nike, ASOS, Urban Outfitters, Tim Soar, Poltock and Walsh….so he clearly knows what he is doing.

Here’s how to get Cocona’s look:

Centre part the hair (for more of a girly look)

Plait each side all across the face-line, over the hem-line, to the centre of the back of the head so that the two plaits meet together

Continue plaiting the sections to the very end of the hair, then tie the tips with small elastics (preferably see through ones!)

Twist the two plaits around eachother then pin them in a bun using a U-pin



An Interview with Lilly Vanilli: When Food & Fashion Meet

If you haven’t heard of the cake sculptress Lily Vanilli, then we are assuming you have probably been on vacation in Antarctica for a very long time. 2010 proved to be a hugely successful and well publicised year for the 28 year old baker, launching her very own cook book ‘A Zombie Ate My Cupcake’ which exceeded her publisher’s expectations by completely selling out, she baked for some of last year’s most memorable events including the glitzy ‘White Tie and Tiara Ball’ organised by Elton John. She was also snapped up by the world’s finest department store, Harrods, to sell her creations in their Food Hall.

2011 is set to be just as busy, with Vanilli launching her very own cake members’ club and plenty of top secret projects on the horizon,  so AlexandAlexa.com were delighted that the busy baker could muster up some colourful cupcakes on our ‘I Want Candy’ shoot and spare a few moments for a word….

Thanks for making the cupcakes on our ‘I want Candy’ shoot; they were absolutely delicious I ended up eating three in a row, what was the inspiration behind them and what tends to be your inspiration?

On this shoot, I was inspired by Marie Antoinette and old school decadence (you can see the cupcakes on the counter above!), I’m generally inspired by things I see or read, it can be anything, like science, nature, fashion and film. I often start with either an image or a flavour – both are equally important.

You are now stocking at Harrods, for all the discerning shoppers out there, what can we get from the Lily Vanilli counters?

Up until now, we have been doing cupcakes & brownies but the new range is very focused on English classics, picnic staples and decadence. We have a beautiful Bakewell with fresh cherry and an orange pate sucre, iridescent, pink glittery scones, flapjacks and mini individual layer cakes, glitter cookies and a brownie pyramid topped with gold dusted chocolate.

You made the desserts for Elton Johns ‘White Tie and Tiara Ball’, how did this come about and what did you make?

The event organisers got in touch – the reason being that the brief was for quite experimental/unusual desserts. I ended up making nine different cake canapés;  including geometric shapes dipped in chocolate and topped with sweet almonds, bite size mini layer cakes topped with fresh cherries, gold plated carrot cakes and mini lavender sponges topped with lavender meringue and toasted almond.

I really enjoyed your recent book ‘A Zombie ate my cupcake’ can you tell me a little about that?

It’s part graphic horror novel, part cook book. For kids as much as grown ups and it’s illustrated like a comic book, by the very talented Paul Parker. It’s an introduction to cake design using lots of different techniques and the subject matter is quite gruesome: things that look grotesque but taste delicious. Marzipan beetles, severed ear cupcakes, bleeding hearts made of cocoa and red cherry.

Kids love a bit of gore and guts; does your own childhood inspire your creations?

Yes! I’ve always loved horror and science – looking in the undergrowth at what’s crawling around in there.

You have just launched a cake members’ club, how did that come about and what happens down at the cake club?

It’s a private members’ cake club – with an emphasis on pairing quality cakes and ice creams with cocktails and drinks. Each event sees a new menu with desserts such as absinthe and mint chocolate chip ice cream, Courvoisier and quince ice cream, white Russian marshmallows and lots of cake. At the moment we are exploring different venues – sometimes a cocktail bar, sometimes a home or maybe a tent at a festival.

Cupcakes are hugely popular at the moment but with all fashions they sadly come to an end, what do you envisage for the future, what happens after cupcakes?

I think cupcakes as a trend are over – although I think they made enough of a mark to stick around after the trend has died down. I notice lots of my clients who used to order cupcakes ordering things like scones or tarts instead – even ice cream. I was always a bit uncomfortable with the ‘cupcake’ label, as I never intended to have a cupcake business – as a baker I love making all kinds of desserts and pastries and cakes. I’m glad the cupcake trend has eased up and the market is open to new things (or old ones).

You also made cake sculptures for an exhibition last autumn, which you did with other members of the experimental food society, can you tell me about the exhibition and who the experimental food society is?

The Experimental Food Society is a collection of people from up and down the country who are pushing boundaries within the food industry in new and creative ways. The exhibition was a showcase of their work.

What I really like about making food sculptures is that you can make a sculpture with the extra dimensions of smell and taste. I think that often gets lost when people model from sugar paste – and the image is made at the cost of the flavour and quality of the food. For instance at ‘Cake Britain’ – The edible art exhibition I curated last summer I made an edible garden. complete with sugar flowers, and edible roots and sugar scorpions in the undergrowth, the base was a chocolate and lavender cake (covered in cocoa ‘soil’) so it smelled and tasted really earthy and floral, like a real garden.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

Myself and my partner David Wright are working on a project with the theatre company Gideon Reeling called Salon du The – recreating an Edwardian high tea ceremony which will tour the country’s stately homes. I am also developing the 180 Member’s Cake Club and planning lots of fun stuff for the rest of the year.

-Visit Lily Vanilli’s Website Here-

- See the Images from our ‘I Want Candy’ Photoshoot Here -

words and interview by Matthew Holroyd

Our Interview With Miss Hope of Hope & Greenwood

One always hears about the fabled old fashioned sweet shops, but it was not until we headed to South London vintage confectioner, Hope & Greenwood, for our Candy Shop Photoshoot, that we really understood what all the fuss is about.

Upon entry, all three senses were immediately stimulated. A vintage entry bell tinkled as we swung open the door and the sweet aroma of chocolate and boiled sugar engulfed us as our eyes feasted on shelves stacked with glass jars brimming with brightly-coloured boiled sweets and the counters bursting with handmade chocolates, truffles and fudges displayed in 1950s press glassed cake stands.

It took everything we had, as adults, not to scream with delight and run around the shop filling our bags with candy. We were there to work and once we calmed ourselves down, work we did, even if it was done with 50% focus on the task at hand and 50% focus on the splendid anachronistic post war decor and the abundance of goodies that lined the shelves around us.

Having only heard about the shops owners, Miss Hope and Mr. Greenwood, our curiosity of this shop, in which everyone’s childhood fantasy is basically re lived, left us with numerous questions for its owners and candy shop creators.

We caught up with Miss Hope to find out a bit more about Hope & Greenwood:

Did you enjoy sweets as children?

Pink Panther bars after mass for me. Pineapple cubes for Mr G.

What was your childhood like?

Daubed with tubes of watercolour, Fuzzy Felts, Gloy Glue, Flip flops, Super Mousse (frozen) and nylon pyjamas with a badly positioned ring pull.

Any funny childhood memories or stories?

None  whatsoever.  I spent most of childhood hiding in a wardrobe eating Wagon Wheels and twiddling the wheels on my roller skate (singular).

What are your favourite sweets?

Miss Hope’s Magnificent Jellies in particular Cherry Hearts.

What are your favourite chocolates?

Rose and Violet Creams.

The chocolates in store are produced exclusively by yourselves; can you tell me about what makes them different from other chocolates?

They are British, made with fresh cream, butter and proper vanilla. They are enrobed twice like wearing two cashmere scarves at once.

How many different flavours of sweets do you have?


How many different flavours of chocolates do you have?

About 40

What are the best sellers?

Champagne truffles, followed by champagne truffles, though our Oozy Caramel is truly splendid.

The most unusual sweet you sell?

Fizz! Bang Wallops! Sweets with va-va -voom.

Owning and working with sweets do you still actually enjoy them?

Unfortunately yes.

You have a very vintage aesthetic to the store, can you tell me about that?

Rose tinted glasses of a gentler time when we played knock-down -ginger, ate Vesta curry and my granny lived next door. The brand rule is ‘if my granny had it in her pantry – then we stock it.’

Do you have any children?

Jake (20) Rich (35) Vicky (32) and 4 grandchildren, we are their favourite grandparents.

If so what are their favourite sweets?

Magic Millions and all the other free sweets.

What do you enjoy most about owning a sweetshop?

Making people smile, it’s a happy place.

Easter is almost here, what sweet treat would you recommend for the occasion?

You absolutely MUST try our Strawberry truffle eggs as recommended in Delicious Magazine.

In addition to the store we held our shoot at in Dulwich and their second location in Covent Garden, you can also buy H&G confectionery in Selfridges, John Lewis Foodhalls, Fortnum and Mason, Harrods, Liberty, House of Fraser, Fenwick and Conran. You can also buy online on their site.

- Shop Online on the Hope & Greenwood -

-See the AlexandAlexa.com Magazine-

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