Sunday 31 March 2013

Dancing on a Saturday night

I was out enjoying an evening of Babycham aperitifs, retro tunes, Twiglets and vol-au-vents, and of course vintage finery last night, celebrating my mate Vicky's 50th birthday.

A 1970s dress code was never going to be much of a stretch for me, was it? 
As Vicky said when I arrived, "it's great to see everyone's made the effort to dress up - and here's Curtise, wearing her normal clothes!"

Clockwise l-r;
That's birthday girl Vicky in her amazing Abba-esque outfit complete with bubble-perm wig, with Benny from Abba (aka her husband Jim) and their son doing a fab Freddie Mercury tribute;
my pals Tracey and Karen;
Terry in his original 70s Starsky cardigan (and Starsky wig) with beautiful Chris;
Claire and Kristina - one blonde is the real deal, one is wearing a wig!

I went with this fabulous orange floral zip-front maxi dress (a gift from darling Sarah) and my 1970s stack-heeled sling back shoes.

The 70s geometric tunic top Karen is wearing was a gift from me.

I should have rented out my wardrobe, I'd have made some cash!

Jim and Diana;
Kaz and Trace (the wig had swapped heads by this time);
Claire's gorgeous son sporting amazing fake sideburns (and check out the guy's snake print suit behind him!);
Zander and Ron.

I am so rubbish at hair - my waves had dropped out by the end of the night.

Yes, drink had been taken...

I had a great night, dancing myself dizzy to the exclusively 70s playlist selected by Vicky.

I had a big old lie-in this morning, I can tell you!

There's still some snow left on the decking at the end of our garden, but it's been a sunny day today.

I was taken by a whim to swap my skirts around in the middle of my photo session.

Don't know if the neighbours spotted me, but they already think I'm bonkers so I don't suppose it matters.

Without the benefit of a mirror, I didn't realise the black skirt wasn't straight. Never mind.

Which looks best?

Vest, cardigan, bangles, pink tights, black patterned tights and flower - charity shopped
Black tulle skirt - flea market (another £1.70 item from the rummage table)
1950-60s pink/black petticoat - vintage fair
Belt - retail (sale)
Shoes - jumble sale
1960s scarf - bought from Vicky's stall at the school Christmas fair last year, it was her mum's
I was working under trying conditions...

I hope you have all had a great weekend. I need a catch up session to find out what's been going on in your lives!

Linking to Patti at Visible Monday, along with all the other beautiful women who join in.


Friday 29 March 2013

Rock-a-hula Baby


Have you seen darling Vix's post, where she challenges those of us experiencing what seems to be an endless winter to throw off the woollies, the fur and the boots, and wear something inappropriate?

My lovely friend Tania and my favourite supermodel Tamera have both done it.

So have I!

OK, so I didn't follow the instruction about floatiness, but I thought a vintage Hawaiian frock would flick a cheeky two-fingered salute to the wintry conditions which have continued to engulf the UK.

And I can tell you that leopard print faux suede t-bars were definitely inappropriate footwear, my feet got soaked in the snow. How I suffer, just for you.

Flowers and feathers? Yep, and not a woolly hat in sight. 

Ooh, a little bit of sunshine? Yes please!

Love the scooped back of this dress and the extra fabric in the pleat detail.

And because it seemed like a good enough way to spend Good Friday, I had a play around with my hair (I have limited skills in this area) and the new effects on PicMonkey (easier to manage than hair).

It's my natural radiance.

Littlest liked it, so she got the same treatment!

Don't let the angelic look fool you. She can be a holy terror. 


No doubt my mother would say the same of me.

1950-60s Hawaiian dress (flea market, worth every penny of the £1.70 I paid for it)
Shoes, feather fascinator, wool shawl, 1950s carpet bag, 1980s cats' eye sunglasses - Ebay
Bangles - charity shopped
Tights and chartreuse flower - retail
Orange flower - gift from fabulous Melanie Coconut

The camellia has buds, and the mini daffs are surviving the snow.

Spring will come. Eventually.

I am fondly imagining that I look a wee bit like the beautiful Brodie of Camelias and Crinolines in these photos. 
Maybe Brodie's mum...
Or older sister, let's settle on that.

Anyway, she's gorgeous and she sews like a dream and you should check out her blog if you haven't already.

Now banish the winter blues with a burst of hula-ing Hawaiian fun from Elvis.

Go on, really move the grass around!




Tuesday 26 March 2013

Pretty women out walking with gorillas down my street

Well hellooooo!
 It's only just over a week or so since I last posted, and a fortnight since I did an outfit post, but in Blogland, that feels like a lifetime! I must say it felt very strange to read and comment without posting myself, so I have a lot of catching up to do.

After wading through a ton of camera reviews online, and thoroughly overwhelming the very small area of my brain which deals with technology, I finally decided on a new camera and bought it - hurrah!

No idea if the photos are any better but I am trying to get to grips with it.

Hasn't the weather in the UK been awful? End of March, and I'm still in boots, gloves and a trusty faux fur, that can't be right!
Jess and Charlie don't seem bothered by the snowy conditions. 

So here's a little catch up of some of my doings while I've been out of the blogging loop.

Mother's Day isn't really something we make a big fuss about in this family, but I did appreciate this card from Eldest;

She had her 11th birthday last week;

Littlest's spelling needs some work but she means well.

My baking apparently needs work too, I had actually made a chocolate cake but it was so flat and uninspiring, I threw it away and bought a replacement. Only a few days before, I made the Other Half a coffee and walnut cake for his birthday which was excellent (if I do say so myself!) 

Same oven, same flour, same tins, same me - I can only blame the Baking Gods for making mischief.

Yes, those are new Converse on her feet - secondhand actually, bought from Ebay, but they look virtually unworn and cost less than half the price of new ones. (Those of you who have followed my blog for a year might remember my outrage at the price of the new Converse I bought her last year.)

Her other birthday present was her first phone - the photo bottom right is now a very common sight...
Obviously I have been keeping an eye on the charity shops,and found a few bits and pieces;
1960s hanky box, £2.50
1970s Droopy and Brown's sheer angel sleeve dress, £6
1970s compilation CD, £1 (with a bizarre mix of songs which includes Thin Lizzy, Cher, Sparks, Joe Jackson and the Jam. Fabulous!)

And a 1950-60s Hawaiian cotton dress, bought from Chesterfield flea market on a 3-items-for-a-fiver rummage table. (My calculator tells me this makes it a bargainacious £1.6666666666667.)
Dress, 1970s faux fur coat, jerkin and bangles - charity shopped
Hat and boots - Ebay
Gloves - retail (sale)
I promise to visit your blogs and see what's been happening in your lives - I don't like it when I feel out of touch! 
And thanks to those who commented on my last non-outfit post (it felt odd not to do my usual "here's a frock" thing) and to those who got in touch to say they missed me, I appreciate it!


Saturday 16 March 2013

Add your voice to the sound of the crowd

Do you have a story about how you ended up being where you are?

I don't mean a metaphorical state-of-your-psyche kind of where you are. I mean your actual physical location.

I have mentioned before on this blog that I was born and brought up in rural Buckinghamshire, but have adopted Sheffield as my home town since coming here to university in 1982.

And that decision was at least in part informed by pop music. Yeah, I was (am?) that shallow...

Sheffield was home to some of my favourite bands in the early 1980s, the Human League, ABC and Heaven 17, and I am pretty sure that this gave the city extra cachet in my eyes. I was too intimidated to try for Oxford, too scared of the sheer size of London (and it was too close to home), so Sheffield, with its reasonable distance, its reassuring lack of pretension, its university offer that seemed within my under-confident grasp, its cheap bus fares, and its promise of Phil Oakey, Martin Fry and Glenn Gregory seemed perfect.

This city may have been built on the steel industry and all its offshoots rather than rock and roll, but Sheffield does have a strong musical heritage.


Legends in Fagans, by Sheffield artist Pete McKee.

Fagans is a traditional back street boozer which hosts a Sunday lunchtime folky musical play/singalong in its back room. At least it used to, I haven't been for years to know for sure if this still happens. These days, I am embroiled in a world of kids' swimming lessons and frantically chivvying them along to do their homework and cooking Sunday dinner, and therefore sadly no longer available for a pint or several of Guinness, listening to a boozy music session, and an afternoon sleep when I get home. Those were the days.

The legends of the picture are Alex Turner, Jarvis Cocker, Tony Christie, Phil Oakey and Richard Hawley.

If you want to see the Manchester legends version, it's here.

Pete McKee is brilliant, have a look around his website. I guarantee it will make you will smile. The images are stylish and stylised, yet all too human, real and recognisable.

All the illustrations in this post are his work.

(And rather neatly, he is also a musician, he plays ukelele in a Sheffield band called The Everly Pregnant Brothers.)

A rather different Pete, Peter Stringfellow, must be credited with putting Sheffield on the musical map in the mid 1960s. His nightclubs, the Black Cat Club and the King Mojo, have legendary status here for the acts who played there. The Beatles, The Who, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, The Kinks, Wilson Pickett, Stevie Wonder, Ike and Tina Turner, Geno Washington, and many more - the folk who got to see all these people play live in a tiny venue were fortunate indeed.

Joe Cocker had a moment or two in the 1960s.

The 1970s Sheffield music scene covered all the bases; from Tony Christie doing what he did for Maria, and Marti Caine winning New Faces in 1975 and becoming the darling of prime time Saturday night telly, to the Comsat Angels doing their bit for post-punk, and Cabaret Voltaire being Dada-ist and experimental.

I suspect these names mean little to most of you - sorry!

But my heart belongs to the 1980s, they were My Time in Sheffield.

Didn't every teenager have a copy of Dare by the Human League? I loved that album, still do.

League at the Limit

 I like all the interconnectedness between Phil Oakey and Glenn Gregory and Martyn Ware, how they all started out in the band together, before falling out and going their separate ways, with the latter forming Heaven 17. I love the story of Oakey chasing Ware down the street, throwing milk bottles from people's doorsteps at him after one of their many disagreements. Artistic differences and stolen milk, there's glamorous. And I liked the illusion of being cool I gained, or so I fondly imagined, for loving (We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang, banned from Radio 1's playlist by Mike Read before he got all hot under the collar about Relax, foolish man.

And ABC's Lexicon of Love is incomparable. All of my heart remains one of my favourite songs.
Martin Fry was actually from Manchester, but he came to Sheffield the same way I did, to study English Literature at university.

 I can't talk 1980s Sheffield music without mentioning the mighty poodle-haired rockers who were Def Leppard - Krista would never forgive me!

The 1990s were all about Britpop and the eventual stardom of Pulp and the fabulous Jarvis Cocker. I have always appreciated the man rather more than his music, which may be a heinous confession to many. Again - sorry.

 Queue, the Leadmill 

All Seeing I, Moloko (who were formed and based here for a while) and the Longpigs, all had short moments in the sun, and the latter were the starting point for another of Sheffield's favourite sons, Richard Hawley. And with more of that interconnectedness, Hawley played and toured with Pulp for a while.

When the Arctic Monkeys won the Mercury Prize for their debut album in 2006, Alex Turner said "Someone call 999, Richard Hawley's been robbed." 

Arctic Monkeys the towers

 Vix's faves Reverend and the Makers are continuing to do Sheffield proud.

(Bugger - just realised I have forgotton Paul Carrack...)

Sheffield Records

There are so many videos I could have added to this post.

I've gone with my first love.

It's 1981, I'm 17, I'm planning my escape from the country to the Big City, I see this on Top of the Pops, and I'm in love.

Thanks, Phil and co, you brought me to a good place.

What brought you to the place you live, and are there any musical heroes who hail from there?



Monday 11 March 2013

A jumbled assortment of good and bad...

I was looking forward to posting yesterday about Saturday's school jumble sale, complete with photos of all the lovely volunteers decked out in their vintage scarves and pinnies...

That was until my camera broke (for realsies this time) and I can't get any of the photos onto the computer.


So I am cobbling together a post from outfit pics taken last week, while mourning the death of my poor old camera.

1970s dress - vintage fair
Cardigan, tights and bangles - charity shopped
Boots - Ebay
Necklaces - gift from dear Krista and pinched from my mum

Mmm, blue tights!

The jumble sale went really well - not quite as many donations this time, which caused me some minor anxiety the night before, but it was busy, the atmosphere was lovely, and we raised £830.

I am happy with that.

This was my jumble sale set-up outfit on Friday.

It was raining and the photos were crap, so I wasn't going to use them but needs must!

My homemade skirt received a lot of love, and I can't tell you how proud I was to be able to say I made it myself!

So sadly, since the demise of the camera, I am unable to bring you the delights of the cake stall, the Dream Team of volunteers, the prettiness of the homemade bunting and vintage tablecloths with flowers in vases, and all the gorgeous vintage crockery used in the cafe.

You can imagine the loveliness, or check out our previous jumble sale successes here and here.

And until I can replace the camera, I probably won't be blogging - you don't want me wittering on without any photos, do you?

I agree with Alice;
What is the use of a book without pictures or conversations?

I'll be round to catch up with you all (I've been busy and got behind) and I'll keep commenting, so don't forget me during my enforced exile from blogland!

Still linking up at Patti's for Visible Monday.