Tuesday 28 February 2012

Memories of Wallis and Hazel

                     I found this 1980s Wallis frock in a charity shop a while ago, but hadn't worn it - till today.

   I'm rather enjoying rediscovering 80s fashion - much maligned but I'm learning to love it all over again!

   I was 16 in 1980, and that decade from being 16 to 26 is a defining one in most people's lives, I guess.

First loves, leaving home, college, independence, trying to discover who you are, negotiating relationship dramas, making lifelong friends, first forays into work - a lot went on, wish I could remember more but I've had a few pints since then....

                                                                   Batwing 3/4 sleeves? Check.
                                                                   Floral print? Check.
                                                                   Bold shoulder? Check.
                                                                   Midi length? Check.


I probably would have loved this dress in the early 1980s, but Wallis was way out of my league on my Saturday job wages. It cost me £6.99 in Age Concern a few weeks ago.

While I was in sixth form doing my A levels, I worked as a shop assistant in a bakery and sometimes filled in as a waitress in the coffee shop upstairs, and was paid £7.50 for a 9 hour day. That was the most money I had ever had! I vividly remember the wonderful feeling of that first wage packet and planning what to spend it on.

Shamefully, it was on the Breaking Glass LP by Hazel O'Connor... Which of you UK lovelies remembers Our Price record shops? And what on earth happened to Hazel O'Connor?

Second purchase was a pair of banana yellow peg trousers from Etam - deeply unflattering on my broad hips and thighs, but to my credit, I wore them with an antique silk blouse which my mum gave me, and a 1960s silk scarf tied around the waist. (Debberoo, if you're reading - remember the bananas?!)

                 A little flash of leg never goes amiss! At 16, I would have been mortified - now I don't care!

                               So while I'm in a nostalgic mood, here's Hazel paving the way for Gaga!


Sunday 26 February 2012

Queen of the Jumble

                                                    Would you buy jumble from this woman?

                                                         Sure you would - if it was 20p an item!

We had a mad Friday afternoon setting up and sorting. There was a point at which I wasn't sure it was all going to fit in the school hall, we had so much jumble, but it's amazing what can be achieved with a willing band of hard workers.

                                                                  Bric-a-brac and linens.

                                                            Women's clothes and accessories.

Kids' clothes

                                                                         Cuddly toy corner!

                                                                   Wonderful display of cakery.

                                    Don't worry, the spelling mistake was corrected before we opened!

  Ruth might not be the best speller, but she was rocking her grandma's 1960s Harrods housecoat and pearls!

Underneath the manic make-up, housecoats and headscarves are my lovely friends the Guymer sisters, Tracey and Karen. Tracey made all the cakestands for the cafe, and both of them worked so hard.

           I don't have a housecoat, so I went with a 1970s bright red flirty frock from St. Mary's vintage market.

                                                       At least I was noticeable in the crowd!

 1970s frock (vintage market), boots (Ebay), bangles, denim jacket and tights (charity shops), belt and hair flower (retail, sale)

It was an incredibly busy event, I really enjoyed it, but got a little irritated with a couple of women, clearly dealers, who grabbed armfuls of stuff and were not a little aggressive to other customers and helpers alike.

                                                                    Picture the scene;

Me: [to a dealer who had huge bagfuls of stuff, all at 20p an item] "That's £5.40 please."
Woman: "Shall we make it £5?"
Me: "Shall we make it £5.40?"

Good grief, she's going to make a ton of money at a carboot or market with that stuff, and she's haggling over 40p!

But for the most part, everyone was delightful, there were loads of punters (not many in hats, sadly) and although we did have a lot of items left at the end, we sold sold sold like women possessed.

                                  Grand total? Why, that would be £1200. Not bad, not bad at all!

I came home with bits and pieces, I didn't really have time to rummage myself, and there was nothing vintage to speak of, but I did spot this.


                    A rather battered but very delightful 1956 copy of Fun with Dick and Jane - cute, no?

And my favourite thing of the day? There were many, but when Tracey popped round at teatime with a bottle of wine and this card, I felt the warm glow of success!

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Black and blue

It's a colour combination I like. The skies over Sheffield have been much the same, blue skies slowly yielding to black cloud this afternoon.

This longline waistcoat is proving very useful, I wear it a lot, it slims down a flared skirt and toughens up a girlie frock.

                                          Minnie goes with the colour scheme, so she's allowed.

                                    1980s pleated dress (99p, Ebay), tights and waistcoat (charity shops), suede ankle boots (Ebay)

The cold/flu/plague continues to be a pain in the arse but I have things to do, I don't have time to be ill. There's a jumble sale to organise - and jumble waits for no (wo)man!

Great poster, designed by one of our talented parents, Joanne, who has a degree in Graphic Design. I was tempted to take credit for it, but I am far too honest...

Before school broke up for half term, there was a fairly modest pile of donations, which prompted me to have a real nightmare, in which I dreamed that the jumble sale was a disaster, lots of punters but only a few rubbish items to sell. Me, anxious? Whatever gives you that idea?

I do feel a sense of responsibility about the event, I must admit, especially as one parent insists on referring to it as "Curtise's jumble."  "No, no,"  I mildly suggested, "it's not my personal event, it's a school jumble." She stared at me, then asked me what time "my" jumble started.

                      I do hope we get a good class of rummager, I think hats should be worn as standard.

The jumble pile has now grown to dangerous proportions and is threatening to swamp the Deputy Head's desk. Good for us, terrifying for him. So we are setting up on Friday afternoon, sorting and piling and putting up signs and so on, ready for business on Saturday morning. Wish us luck!

                                                      Hope I'll be twirling with joy after it's all over.

                                                        Changing the world - one jumble at a time!

Friday 17 February 2012

I can feel the heat like a Spanish Dancer

I think the heat I am generating today is all about feverishness, and nothing to do with being a hot goddess! That will just have to wait...

So this was my frock of choice for dragging my weary limbs out to Boots and Lidl today - I know, the high life indeed.

It's a 1960s dress which I haggled for in a vintage shop - it needed repairing and had a big stain on it, so that seemed reasonable. I have taken it in at the sides and shortened it, and the stain came out really easily. But... 

... I don't know, the shape still feels kind of blocky. I tried it with a belt and didn't like that either. I know - I'm just being a grouch, aren't I?

           Now here are three things which should lift my grumpy spirits out of the Slough of Despond.

Lovely Melanie at The Folly Bird gave me a Versatile Blogger award. It comes with all the usual instructions about passing it on and giving random facts, which my brain is too mushy to manage, I'm afraid. But it's always nice to be appreciated, so thank you, Melanie, and welcome to the wonderful world of blogging.

                                             The postman rang just the once today, but with 2 parcels.

A delightful assortment of goodies from the equally delightful Loo! A push-out octopus (Youngest LB is very keen on sea creatures, so she has her eye on this), fabulous bright pink Habitat birdie pegs, a cute little canvas tote bag (Eldest LB wants this) and a button ring in a box, both made by Loo herself. All wrapped up in a chiffon scarf which used to be Loo's mum's. How gorgeous is that?

                                         As instructed, I gave the Fizz Wizzes to the kids... reluctantly.

And the other parcel contained my latest Ebay purchase. I seem to be liking red at the moment, and found a 1970s flamenco-style maxi dress for £6. Curiously, when it arrived, I was just commenting on Heavenly Helga's post featuring her new red frock; then, I popped over to check out the awesome Kitty and found yet more 1970s gypsy action going on!  If you haven't seen how spectacular they both look, go and take a look.

                   So I'm joining in. A bright red frock might be just what I need to perk me up even further.

                                                              Getting my sexy Senora on....

        ... which made the kids ask what I was doing. Very good question. Mama is having a moment.

                                                     Twirling, swishing, swooshing - I can do it all.

                                                       Yep, the legs are still there, that's a relief.

And to add to the kindness of friends, "real" and virtual, my old friend Claire who lives 4 doors down from me has just sent her son round in the rain with some homemade chicken noodle soup.

                                                                   I'm feeling much better now!

And while we are in a Spanish mood, look what I found in the same charity shop as Lucille. Do you think they may be friends?

                          Perhaps she and Lucille were pen-pals, and she came to stay and never went home.

I'm in a bit of a video/clip-posting mood, so I thought the mariachi-influenced Alone Again Or by Arthur Lee and Love might be appropriate. It's so lovely, it makes me think of warmer weather and dancing like no one's watching. We all should.

                                                       Have a great weekend. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Thursday 16 February 2012

I've got very beautiful lips

It's been a bit of a rubbish half term, with me and the Eldest LB ill with colds again. This has meant cancelling various social engagments which I am not happy about. Not happy at all.

                                                  What an old grump I am! At least I got dressed.

Cat's bum alert - Charley is showing his arse again in these shots, he obviously hates my clothes, the cheeky little sod.

                                                                                  Told you!

1960s crimplene maxi skirt, £4.99, and 1970s stack-heeled shoes, £10 (St. Luke's charity shop), 1970s blouse, 99p (Ebay) and tan belt, £1 (MIND charity shop), Charley and his ever-present bum (free).

I'll let you into a secret; the skirt is too small on the waist, but the fact that I can't do the zip up all the way is oh-so-cleverly hidden by the belt. I am in love with the print on the skirt and refuse  to admit defeat, so a little bit of trickery/disguise is in order.

Sometimes I think my "look" is all about trickery and disguise, smoke and mirrors. Big old suck-it-in knickers and a maxi, it works every time.

                       And speaking of finding easy ways to solve (very minor) problems - this one is genius!

Our super-naughty always-on-the-scrounge cats have a bad habit of pinching food, especially off the kids, who are too slow to stop them (they'll learn). Ham, salami, chicken, cheese, even the bread from the sandwiches, all have been stolen off plates when we have food in the living room instead of at the table, though the cats have been known to try and swipe food from plates there too, the beasts.

    But this 1960s Dialene Better-Maid platter with attached lids has put paid to their antisocial ways, ha ha!

Other Half rolled his eyes when I came home flushed with success at my purchase, and has been heard to grumble, "It's gets more and more like the set of Abigail's Party in this bloody house!"

                                                         And he says that like it's a bad thing...

The picture on the clip clears after a bit, bear with it. Relax, and say to yourself, "I've got very beautiful lips." xxxxxxx

Tuesday 14 February 2012

The Look of Love

I don't do Valentine's Day (neither does Other Half, so we are well matched!) but nevertheless, I know a lot of you love the Lovefest, so I am dedicating this post to all you romantic souls!

                                See my miserable cynical face. No wonder I don't get a Valentine, hahaha!

This fabulous 1960s maxi was one of my St. Mary's purchases from Jill's stall. I popped in to her opening day at Sheffield Antiques Centre on Sunday, she has some lovely stock but I was sensible for once and did not buy!

                                                             Check out my new shoes, woohoo!

                  Everyone should release their inner Dusty Springfield, it's so good for the blue-eyed soul.

And speaking of blue-eye soul, here's Sheffield's ABC with their 1980s take on love. Well, I couldn't use the Look of Love as a post title and omit this one, could I?

                                         So a little 80s frock action to complement the song is in order.

I bought this dress for £2 from Chesterfield flea market; it's meant for Ebay really but I'm just giving it a little whirl before I sell it. Test driving the merchandise, it's all part of the service!

                                           What do you think? Do you like your lovin' 1960s or 1980s style?

 So for all you lovers out there, have a delicious Valentine's Day! May it be filled with hearts and flowers and Luurrrrve!


Saturday 11 February 2012

Odds, sods, bits and pieces

                                     I've found all sorts of odds and sods in charity shops this week.

Some of my blogging friends have been struggling to find much in their charity shops of late, and pricing remains an issue.

Here in Sheffield, there is a definite hierarchy, with Oxfam usually the most expensive. But it also depends where the shops are. Oxfam in a posh area charges more than Oxfam in a less well-to-do neighbourhood. I don't mind particularly, it didn't take long to work out that they clearly have a policy of targeting their prices at the local clientele, and I'm happy to hit the cheaper areas!

Sheffield's hospice shops, St. Luke's, are my favourites. I have visited 3 out of the 4 this week and found treasures in each one, at reasonable prices.

                                                              1970s (I think) gold tone brooch, 49p.

                                                                      Large fringed shawl/throw, £2

                                       Gorgeous 1950s souvenir South of France/Monaco silk scarf, £2.50

     Fabulous 1960s crimplene frock still with its original tags, £5. It's sadly too big for me so it's destined for Ebay.


                                                Super-kitsch 1960s Dalmatian salt and pepper set, £1.50 

                                                               3 unused 1970s linen tea towels, £1

1972 children's hardback book, "366 Goodnight Stories" (perfect for this leap year then) with wonderful illustrations throughout, 30p                                      


My biggest spend (about my limit) at £10 - but how could I leave them behind? A pair of 1970s claret-coloured leather stack-heeled slingbacks. They are a Ladies Shoe of Quality, you know.

Fabric remnants, £1 each. The tapestry fabric (top left) is going to be a tote bag with the gold fabric (top left) as a lining. The green floral cotton is already a skirt with a zip from which someone has removed the waistband; I might reinstate it or make it into something else, who knows? And the 50s print (bottom left) just caught my eye, no plans for it yet. Don't hold your breath for these projects though, I am painfully slow....

                                                                   So - I'm happy with that.

I'll put a photo of what I wore yesterday, though I wasn't going to bother as it was dark and the quality is even worse than usual. Oh well... Yes, I was twirling. Sometimes you've just got to, and wearing a fringed shawl is one of those times!

                                 Bit of Stevie Nicks going on, I like to think - wouldn't you love to love her?!

                                             Hope the charity shopping gods smile on you all soon.