Monday, 29 September 2014

These moments given are a gift from time

Back in March, when the tickets for Kate Bush's live shows went on sale, my friend Claire and I were both poised online to try and buy some. We agreed that in the unlikely event that one of us was successful, we'd let the other have a ticket.

The tickets sold out in a 15 minute frenzy, leaving many, many fans disappointed, and I am still amazed that I was one of the lucky ones. 

So on Saturday, off we went to London for the gig of a lifetime. 

But first;

we spent a couple of happy hours strolling around the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The cafe is a delightfully grand space.

It appears I only took photos of ceilings and lights... Oh well. 

Art is not a mirror to reflect the world. Rather it is a hammer with which to shape it. 

A meal; then on to the Apollo in Hammersmith for Before The Dawn.

Kate Bush is an artist I had never expected to see perform live, since she famously toured just once before, in 1979. 

I am so, so delighted to have seen this concert; there are countless reviews available online, but I thought I would link to this one by Tracy Thorn, since Claire spotted her in the audience on Saturday night. (I didn't; typically, I was at the bar when she walked past.)

So did Before The Dawn live up to the hype? 

Completely; it was wonderful, the best live performance I have ever seen. 

Bush's voice is beautiful. The quality of musicianship, the imaginative staging, the story telling, the powerful and passionate music, all these elements guarantee that those who were there will never forget the experience. This was never going to be a Greatest Hits kind of gig; here is an artist who has always taken creative risks, and continues to do so.

Next day, we got back to Kings Cross/St Pancras in plenty of time before our train home, and sat in the sunshine enjoying the redevelopments in the area. 

Regent's Canal.

I'm still trying to discover my One Thing.

Railway architecture, both Victorian and modern. I love it. 

I thought I should throw a frock in the mix - it's expected!

1970s Mackerness cotton maxi dress - Ebay
Denim jacket (sorry, I know it gets boring), shoes, necklace and bangles - charity shopped
Carpet bag - gift
Charlie - hand-me-down

So it's back to earth now; back to the routine, the day-to-day, the drill.


Some moments that I've had, some moments of pleasure.

Thanks, Kate.



Thursday, 25 September 2014

As graceful as a swan

I've been giving my homemade dresses a whirl this week.

Formerly a 1960s sheet and a 1950s curtain respectively, I am happy to have been the agent of transformation. You can tell by my smug face.

 I'm also feeling pleased (and smug) about finding these unworn Clarks wedges in a charity shop, they cost just £1.49. 

I am trying to be judicious about buying things to sell, since I already have a lot of items waiting to be listed on Ebay, but I couldn't resist this dress when I saw it in the local hospice charity shop;

a beautiful 1950s Peggy French Couture velvet dress, sadly too small for me. All the beading and embroidery is intact, and the dress is in great condition. There are just some small spots where the nap of the velvet looked a little flat, but a brush has sorted that out.

Not just any old brush, of course - a 1960s Swanbrush, which can usefully double as a table decoration. 
It was a gift from Vix, and I love it; removing lint and fluffing up velvet has never been so much fun.
Dress - made it myself
Cardigan, tights, shoes and bangles - charity shopped
Carpet bag - gift

Dress - made it myself
Cardigan, belt, bangles and necklace - charity shopped
Vinyl bag - flea market
Boots - retail (sale)
 I took advantage of the beautifully sunny weather yesterday, and strolled through Endcliffe Park to meet an old friend. The sun and shadow play was lovely, as was the company. How good to be able to sit outside, catching up, drinking coffee, watching the world and its dog go by.

Tonight I am at our PTA's AGM (sorry about all those initials...) We have a new headteacher at school, so it will be interesting to see if that changes the dynamics of our group at all. How groups/teams operate is endlessly fascinating to me, I think it's the ex-mental health professional in me.

And on Saturday, I'll be heading down to London with my mate Claire to see Before The Dawn, Kate Bush's stage show. To say I am looking forward to it is an understatement. Kate Bush falls in the category of musical genius for me, and having been a fan since her 1978 debut, I am delighted to have the opportunity to see her perform live. 
Hope everyone has a brillaint weekend!

Monday, 22 September 2014

The long and the short of it

As always, you are a very encouraging bunch, and I feel cheered on by your enthusiasm for my selling plans. So far, it's going well, and I have met my target for September already.

What's more, I am finding I can let go of clothes with little fuss or regret.

So that's good to know.

Autumn was definitely in the air over the weekend, and these two outfits seem to have something of the season about them. Mel says it's the time of year when people wear clothes the colour of detritus, decay, mould and fungus.

Oops, am I guilty as charged? Oh well.


1970s dress, denim jacket, belt, shoes and bangles - charity shopped
Bag - gift
Pendant - gift from Joni

This dress has a fragile, floaty appeal which makes it a keeper, despite the fact that soft painterly prints in delicate pastels are not usually my thing. I think as long as I ground it with darker shades of blue, green or brown (ie. decay, mould and fungus), I won't feel too washed out.

The pendant is a piece of Limoges.

1970s maxi dress - Ebay
Hat, belt and bangles - charity shopped
Cardi/shrug - free from clothes swap
Necklace - gift
1960s wicker/vinyl bag - vintage fair
Sandals - retail (sale)

This maxi managed to sneak through my current buying ban as the print caught my eye, and it was dirt cheap.

Actually, I'm not really thinking of this phase as a buying ban. That would be the kiss of death, I'm too contrary to do as I'm told (even when it's me doing the telling). No, it's just a period of clarifying, of thoughtful and cautious spending.

I'm still allowed the odd indulgence - like a wonderful old Church Gresley Gripstand mixing bowl (£4), vintage fabric (£5 - and there's loads of it), and 1960s emerald green gloves (99p). 
Who could refuse?
(Sorry about the crappy photo; the PC is being sticky and awkward, and I would go to the trouble of taking a better photo, if it were not for the fact that it has taken me forever to get the images uploaded in this post, and I am losing the will to live, never mind blog.)

Claudia and I went to have a look around St Mary's vintage and craft market on Saturday.

Homewares and kitschy bric-a-brac galore, dolls, beautiful hats, and a saggy old chest.

And then we all went out for Chinese.

I am The Walrus. 

 Hurray, the sun put in an appearance.

I'll be taking my autumn leaf, Stilton, and mushroom colour palette over to Patti's for Visible Monday; and in case I don't remember to wear a hat before October 1st, I'd better link in advance to Judith's Hat Attack. I'll also be at Sacramento's Share in Style, since the theme is Autumn.

So organised. Ha!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Making your mind up

I'm usually a fairly decisive person.
I'm not a ditherer, a waverer, or a fence-sitter.
I don't fanny about.

I hope I do think carefully about the stuff which is important, but the insignificant decisions around the edges? A rule of thumb to assess whether something is worth sweating over is to ask myself the question, am I going to be worrying about this in a week/month/year from now?

No? Then it's time to get my head out of my arse and stop wittling*

So, with that in mind, I am approaching my current pruning of the wardrobe with a hardened heart and a sensible head.

When in doubt - try it out.

These two 1970s dresses were on my make your mind up pile.
In true X Factor judge style, I have made my decision.
One stays, one goes.

That's my decision-making face. Don't mess with me when I've got that face on.

Blogging is a useful tool for me when it comes to deciding whether an item of clothing has earned its wardrobe space. Looking at photos makes it easier to see myself with a more objective eye.

And I spy with my objective eye an unflattering dress. It's not that I don't like the print (I do) and the colours (I do), I just don't like the shape on me. It's got that empire line maternity wear look about it, and lacks the waist definition which suits me best.

Don't look so sad - it's only a frock. Back to Ebay with it, from whence it came.

I look much more streamlined with a waist. 
This polka-dot dress isn't showy or colourful, but I really like the shape, and with a bright cardigan and tights and a funky faux fur, I can jazz it up through autumn/winter.

1970s St Michael pussy-bow dress, denim jacket, 1970s shoes and bangles - charity shopped
Fishnets and belt - retail
1960s tapestry bag - vintage shop in Birmingham (bought on a bloggers' day out)

Faffing with my pussy bow, while pulling another daft face. I have quite the repertoire, just ask my kids.

Ooh, 1970s patent leather, round toes, stack heels and slingbacks - does a shoe get any better? And bought from a charity shop too, bonus.

The two Midwinter mugs are Jessie Tait's Spanish Garden design, very popular in the 1960s. And still very popular with me, I have a few pieces, and spotted these at a local vintage market on Sunday. I was restrained; I only bought the mugs and the 1960-70s duvet cover behind them, a huge spend of £3 all told.

The cat and the flowers, I already own, and the raindrops came for free. 

My plan is this; to sell sell sell as much clothing as I can between now and Christmas, thereby avoiding the selling of my soul to the retail monster that is Meadowhall. Working at Debenhams as a Christmas temp last year was OK, but I reckon I can make the same money through my own sales, without standing at tram stops in the rain late at night and having to work on Boxing Day.

I might have a stall at our school Christmas fair selling some vintage homewares, knick-knacks, linens, and accessories too. We will see whether the local community shares my love of retro tat, and is prepared to buy it off me!

Wish me luck!
*Wittling is a northern dialect word for worrying, fretting. Not to be confused with whittling. Although there is clearly a metaphoric connection.)


Saturday, 13 September 2014

Fruit and flowers

I very much enjoyed and appreciated your comments on the issue of names - mine, yours, and that of your cats. It's one of those subjects about which everyone has experience and opinions. We all have names, right? Although whether we like them or not is another matter.

I think I value blogging most of all when a post happens to strike a chord and gets people talking; so thank you for that.

And now you are all pronouncing my name correctly, even if it's only in your head!

We're having sharply chilly autumnal mornings followed by last gasps of warm summer weather, so I am finding that my customary mix of a short-sleeved maxi with a cardigan or denim jacket is just right.
That's lucky, since it's what I love to wear anyway. 

1970s maxi dress - vintage market
Necklace, bangles, shoes and denim jacket - charity shopped

There are little splashes of colour left in the garden.

I have no idea how I got this photo (my photography skills extend no further than point and press) but I really like it.

And I like this too;

a Mexican vinyl shopping bag, spotted and snapped up for a fiver on Chesterfield flea market.

I'm not sure of its age, I just liked the quirky fruit folk, and its useful size and sturdiness.

Other finds;

Fabric - £2 a piece
1960s English-made Lythos steel and abalone shell pendant - £1

And a 1980-90s Sport Missoni sweater, a crazy bargain at £1.49.

Too small for me, and round neck sweaters are not my thing, but I couldn't leave Missoni behind, could I? I'll find it a home.

I have noticed this beautiful woman at the flea market before, it's impossible to miss her incredible style.

We found ourselves browsing at the same stall this week, and got chatting. She agreed to a photo, told me she is 80, has a large hat collection, and has been collecting and wearing 1940s clothes nearly all her adult life.

Clearly she has no intention of sacrificing her style and her visibility with age.
 Good for her.

(Incidentally, that long purple dress hanging up on the left is Biba. Lovely, but too plain and too pricey for me.)

Oops, hem coming down...
It's fixed now.

Charlie likes to join me for a photo shoot.

Sir Bubble, with what the kids call his lucky freckle on his nose.

A quiet weekend here, but none the worse for that.

How about you? What are you up to?