Thursday 27 June 2013

The heat that sails across the love ocean

Thank you thank you thank you!

For all your happy birthday wishes, and Facebook messages, and cards and gifts.

Truthfully, I was - am - a bit overwhelmed. 

But very grateful and appreciative too!

My birthday on Tuesday was a lovely day.

I'm not going to do a look at my gifts post, for fear of sounding like a acquisitive contestant on The Generation Game reciting items from the conveyor belt. And anyway, I didn't get a cuddly toy or a fondue set.

But I can happily show you this beautiful 1960-70s maxi dress, which was a gift from my dear friend Lucy, and which demanded to be worn immediately.

The prairie styling and pretty floral cotton look a lot like late 1960s or early 1970s Laura Ashley, but the dress is in fact by Just Jane, a label about which I can find no information.

No matter. I love it, and wafted about in my garden feeling like a Timotei or Cadbury's Flake girl.


The kids had all made cards for me, but Littlest added an extra note;

Spelling... hmm, not so impressive, but you can't fault the sentiment and the poetic sensibility!

So while I was out with Jo for a birthday cappuccino on Tuesday morning, we saw a poster advertising a charity vintage sale the following day. Needless to say, we returned to see what was on offer, more in hope than expectation.
I found;
a beautiful 1960s Jinty's metallic mini dress (too small for me so destined for Ebay);

two lovely Victorian micromosaic brooches (dated thanks to the Youtube video which Clare shared a while back);

and a mahogany butler's tray with brass corners (don't know the date but I would hazard a guess at 1920-30s maybe?) and a hand-embroidered tray cloth (because it fitted perfectly.) 

Now the other items are today's Chesterfield flea market haul.

It looks like that parlour game where you are shown a tray of items to memorise, then one is secretly removed and you have to recall what's missing.

1960s patterns
1960s pressed glass vase (it looks like a Dalek when it's upside down)
1950s New Hall tea bowl
four 1960-70s stainless steel rings (I keep finding them!)
1930s hexagonal Woods Ivory Ware lidded tureen

The vase, tureen and bowl were from Joseph's 3-for-a-quid box.
The rings were £3 for all four (from Joe's Mrs, Wendy).
Patterns - a quid.

I love the fact that I can spend a fiver, and have a little collection of pretty, useful, interesting vintage items. Beats shopping in Primark any day of the week.

I seem destined never to have any decent photos of the Ladies Purse in action.
We performed woefully at the pub quiz last night, but had a huge laugh.
But goodness knows what happened to the pics...

We've gone all blurry and weird; it was a work/school night so honestly, no one was over-indulging. If only - then we could blame our shambolic performance on the booze.

1970s kaftan-style dress (I think it might be a nightie actually) - Ebay
Bangles and necklace - charity shopped and gifts
Hair flowers - retail and gift
Sandals - retail
Mexican woven tie belt - jumble sale ( I know it's Mexican cos my mate Ruth spotted me wearing it and said she had donated it to our last school jumble, and that she bought it while travelling!)

I hope your week has been excellent so far.

What are your plans for the weekend?


Monday 24 June 2013

Shiny happy people

First things first;
thanks for all your advice and suggestions about what to wear for a Black Tie party, and also for your (early) birthday wishes. 
I love hearing what you lot have to say!

We all thoroughly enjoyed our Italian meal on Friday - I was overdressed, as usual.
As previously noted, I have no trouble whatsoever wearing a 1970s evening dress on the school run or out to a local restaurant, but set me the task of dressing up for an Occasion where there are Rules, and I get in a tizz.

(I've spoken to my sister about what is expected for her party, and am tizzing no longer. So that's a relief.)

Look at Eldest, posing like a good 'un. 

This is a rather more representative set of images - Eldest tucking in, Seldom Seen excited about his pizza, and Littlest pulling a face, for no reason other than that she can.

And this is a pretty typical representation of me too - hair dishevelled after mere minutes, and looking cross-eyed. Thanks to Seldom Seen for the most unflattering camera angle...

our local festival.

Despite the dire weather forecast, it stayed dry.

There was belly dancing, live music, food, loads of stalls and activities, and as always, we bumped into lots of people we knew for a chat. 

Littlest made a bee house...

...and joined in with the drumming.

I love the view of our city from up on the hill.
We bought sweets from our friend Zander (delicious) and perused the vintage wares at this lovely stall...

...where Teresa was selling all sorts of linens and haberdashery and homewares.

All so pretty - check out her website.

And look what I found;

my birth year, and gorgeous flowers on pure Irish linen - perfect as an early birthday present to myself!

Now I have to confess that the other big event of the weekend, the infamous Park Night, was not documented. I did take my camera, but got too caught up in the wine-drinking, chat, laughter and foolishness to remember to take photos.

But you can picture the scene - six respectable and responsible mums, pillars of the local community, sprawled on picnic blankets, spilling our wine, nipping off for a wee in the bushes, and cackling at our own ever-increasing levels of rudeness. We had a ball.
Probably just as well there is no photographic evidence... 
We frightened off the local youth, we're apparently a better deterrent than the Neighbourhood Watch.

I treated myself again today - to this pendant, which happened to match my dress perfectly, and to these;

a well-loved reminder of my childhood.
All charity shopped, of course.

1960s Davisella maxi dress - Ebay
Denim jacket, cardigan, pendant, bangles and sunglasses - charity shopped
Sandals - retail (sale)

I think this print makes me visible enough to join in over at Patti's usual Monday gathering, and I'll also hanging out with Jane at her inaugural Shiny T Tuesday link-up tomorrow.

I'll be catching up with your blogs this evening, I hope, a couple of days off and I am waaaaay behind with my comments!


Thursday 20 June 2013

I haven't got a stitch to wear

My week has continued to be fairly quiet, but that's no bad thing - from this weekend on, the pace hots up and I need to build myself up to it!

Eldest has her Y6 residential in Scarborough next week; five days away with school friends and teachers, she can't wait. 

My charity shopping this week has been limited to picking bits and pieces up for her, including two pairs of unworn shoes (Rocket Dog and Kurt Geiger, no less), a total of £8 for both.

On my chazzing travels, I often see designer and expensive brands - they usually aren't my cup of tea, but if you want Monsoon, Reiss, Karen Millen, Jigsaw, Ted Baker, etc, you can certainly find them among the tatty Primark and New Look.

It's my birthday next week, but we are going out for a celebratory family meal tomorrow, since Eldest will be away (and obviously doesn't want to miss out.)
On Saturday it's our local festival, including a car boot, followed by another annual tradition - Park Night!
My mates Trace and Sue always celebrate the summer solstice with a few drinks sitting on the hill in our local park. There is a magnificent view of the city from there. It will be my first year in attendance, but I am reliably informed it's a very civilised affair, no Special Brew, Thunderbird or White Lightning, since we are Ladies.

If it rains, we will be in Trace's kitchen instead...

I know - it's a glamorous life I lead, rummaging at a car boot, mooching around a little local festival, then drinking in the park.
However, in August, I will be attending a truly glamorous event, and need your advice/suggestions, ladies. 
My sister is hosting a joint party for my brother-in-law's 60th and my niece's 21st birthday. It will be A Very Posh Do, and the dress code is Black Tie. 
I have never been to a Black Tie event before, and don't know what to wear. I have dresses galore, of course, but they aren't really evening wear - or are they? Do the men have to wear dinner jackets or is a decent suit OK? 

This dress, for example - would this do?

Yeah, I know I wore it today to go to Chesterfield and do the school run - why not wear a gorgeous midnight blue 1970s evening dress to do those things?

But is it Black Tie?

I'm about to be 49 - why don't I know this stuff?
1970s Shubette maxi dress - vintage fair
Bangles - charity shopped
Peacock pendant - vintage street market
Turquoise/silver mosaic ring - Pia jewellery (sale, old)
1960-70s stainless steel/blue ring - charity shopped this week (£1.50)

Just giving you an idea of how it might look in action on the dance floor...

Apart from planning my weekend activities, dealing with stray greyhounds, bee gazing, and developing a bad case of wardrobe angst, this week brought a delightful surprise in the form of gifts from lovely Jo, who blogs at Joyatri.

A fabulous woven belt, a good read, and Men in Crimplene - perfect!

Thank you, Jo - I hope we can get together during your next stay in the UK.

You may make your own jokes about my retro bush.

(Oh dear, there go the search term stats again...)
And I look forward to hearing your thoughts, experiences and advice on Posh Dressing.


Tuesday 18 June 2013

The Tale of the Bees and the Greyhound

All that black and white had me craving some bright colour, so giving this dress its first outing was timely. 

Pink! Very pink. 

I won't go on again about how I don't really like pink - it's creeping its way into my wardrobe and my heart, there's no point denying it.

(For further proof, look here.)
I have had this dress for a while, and not worn it.

I think the shape put me off more than the colour, I thought I might look pregnant in it...

And if I keep it, I will have to open up a split in the back hem so I can take my usual size of stride - the bottom of the dress is narrow, and dainty little pitter-patter steps just aren't me!
The back has a little button-up tab to pull in the waist.
I was pottering about in the garden taking photos, and caught a bee making its way into one of the foxglove bells. In fact there were loads of bees around today, which is A Very Good Thing.

Did you know that all bees have names, and they all begin with B? 

Of course you did, everyone knows that.

And doubtless you also know that scooping up a cat and burying your face in its fur is one of life's great pleasures.

For the human, if not the cat.
1970s The Switch by Martin Emprex maxi dress and Clarks sandals - Ebay
Bangles and hair flower - charity shopped
Peacock pendant - local vintage market
Miracle cross pendant - car boot sale


Red and pink garden inspiration.
Another visitor to the garden this afternoon, apart from the bees, was a large handsome greyhound.

He appeared at the back door, much to the indignation of my cats, wearing a collar but no tag with a phone number. A discussion with my neighbour (also a greyhound owner who recognised the dog from walking in the park) led to him being returned to his family up the road, who were mystified as to how he had got out. 

I am completely and utterly a cat person, but Seve was beautiful and very gentle. I could be persuaded that greyhounds make rather adorable pets.

Jess did not agree.

It's been a quiet kind of day, can you tell?

Chatting, taking photos, Ebay listing, pottering, hanging out washing in the sunshine, bee watching, dog retrieving, cat cuddling - all Good Things. 
Oh and cooking, but that's not such a good thing.

How's your Tuesday been?


Sunday 16 June 2013

Skin deep

How has your weekend been?
Good, I hope.

I spent Saturday working hard at our annual school Summer Fair.

I think it went OK; I spent all my time on food and washing up duty, so I didn't really get much of a look around. A few glasses of sparkling rose with fellow volunteers afterwards were in order and much appreciated!


This week, the lovely Tamera has been wearing black and white, and invited her followers and friends to a Black and White party, in support and recognition of those who live with chronic, long-term health conditions, and their loved ones and carers.

I had a couple of attempts at monochrome outfits, and predictably couldn't choose between them, so I am including them both here.

This isn't a vintage dress but I like its 1970s-referencing-the-30s vibe.

Dress, bangles, sandals and shorter pearl necklace - charity shopped
Sunglasses - gift from heavenly Helga
Longer pearl necklace - gift from party girl Tamera

Look - trousers!

We all know about me and my trouser issues, but I do like these silk palazzo pants a lot.

I look as though I am sneaking off for an illicit assignation, hoping no one will recognise me!

(I didn't, honest.)

 1970s peasant blouse and 1960s Chinese silk waistcoat - Ebay
Silk palazzo pants and hat - flea market
Bangles - charity shopped and gift from dearest Tania
Black beads - gift from darling Helga
Bastard massive Cancerian pendant - gift from beautiful Vix
Sunglasses and shoes - retail (old)
1960s vanity case - charity shopped

Tamera's call resonated with me.

My youngest daughter has a rare and severe skin condition, Bullous Ichthyosiform Erythroderma (BIE) or Epidermolytic Hyperkeratosis (EHK); the name depends on where in the world you live.

But whatever you call it, it's a bugger of a condition to live with - uncomfortable, visible, difficult to manage, and incurable. 

Live with it she does - we all do - and despite it being technically a disability, Littlest doesn't see herself as disabled, and neither do I. 

She's Nina. She's so much more than a mere medical diagnosis. 

She's a budding actress, or Drama Queen, take your pick!

(Previous rants on the subject of Littlest, disability and difference are here and here, if you care to read them.)

Whatever you or your loved ones may struggle with, know that there are people out there who understand.

Thanks for the party, Tamera!

I'll be linking up with another Hostess with the Mostest, Patti, at Visible Monday, though I'm sending Clementine in my place this week. I do hope she behaves herself.