Monday 30 September 2013

This much I know

You would imagine that by my age, I might know a thing or two.

And so I do, I suppose.

But it seems that what I do not know is that it is not sensible to go to a friend's birthday gathering (with good intentions of not drinking much, nor staying late, since I wasn't feeling that great, and had to be up early in the morning) and merrily proceed to get very drunk, and roll into bed at 2 o'clock in the morning.

It also appears that five delightful ladies, pillocks pillars of the community all, think it is wise to wear leotards with flowers for boobs, and to try on kids' clothes rifled from a bag of hand-me-downs.
Rolling Stones t-shirt (age 12-14) for me, boy's pants (age 10) for Trace.
I know. Shameful.
What else do I know?
I know that I leapt out of bed on Saturday morning, horribly late, because it appears I can't set my alarm properly when I am pissed.

I know that after a mini-meltdown, I was encouraged by Eldest at least to attempt to get to the train station in time, which I duly did, in half an hour. I had a blogger meet-up to get to in Birmingham, I couldn't miss it.
I know that I was the strange woman on the bus muttering shit shit shit come on come on hurry up under my breath. No one came to sit next to me...

I know that I am too old and too unfit to run through the train station to catch a train, by the skin of my barely-brushed teeth. And that is it not dignified to doze for half the journey, slumped against the window, before rousing myself to put my make-up on and dry shampoo my ratty hair.

And that when I meet my glamorous, beautifully turned-out blog friends at my destination, it probably isn't polite or ladylike to announce myself with I'm hungover as fuck!

Birmingham's Rag Market was bursting at the seams with all manner of stuff - big pants and cheap tights, fancy dress masks (don't they make a lovely couple?) and an Obligatory Blogger Deer.

Vix was the perfect tour guide. And looked a treat posing in the porn star chair.
Yes, she walked all day in those heels, arthritic hip and all. She's bloody amazing.

Everyone but me managed to find glorious bargains at the wonderful 91 Allison Street shop, presided over by lovely Sue. 
I did try, but the delicious green 1970s maxi dress I tried on was a boob squisher.
Vix, Fiona and Gisela.
Thanks goodness for lunch!
I know that chips have a therapeutic magic; Vix swore they would stop me from feeling so faint and wobbly, and she was quite right.
And gifts too, they always help; beautiful handmade cards from Fiona and a fabulous metal cuff from Vix.

We rummaged the rails in Cow, where 80s clothes go to be reborn for the cool young things of today...

...and strolled along the fascinating streets of Digbeth, checking out the vintage shops. 
That beautiful Spanish maxi coat fitted Liz perfectly, and Fiona has a petite enough head for vintage hats, unlike myself.

Pippi, Fiona, Gisela and Liz.

When Frankie, the proud owner of this beast, heard me say to Vix she was posing like a pro, he said he didn't want one of them sitting on his bike...

Fiona wanted a go too.

We stopped off for a drink in a proper old-fashioned boozer, where Figaro by the Brotherhood of Man was playing in the background, and we talked 1970s pop music and TV stars, who's had work done, vintage buying and selling, cameras, pubs, blogging and blog friends, and consulted Vix as to who was most "on-trend" with their day's purchases (that would be Fiona - a chunky Scandi jumper, and a dress and skirt, both wool, both tartan. She's such a hipster!)

This man asked Vix if his wife could take her photo. She was recognised by another lady who follows her blog too. I'm friends with a real celeb!

And that was the end of our fabulous day.

I also know that when I got home, I was exhausted, slept for over 12 hours, and spent most of Sunday snuggled up under a crochet blanket on the sofa drinking tea, accompanied by a variety of cats and children, catching up on X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing, while aching from the very roots of my hair to the tips of my fingers and toes.

So I think I am actually ill, as opposed to merely hungover (though obviously that won't have helped...)

I know I am a bit better today, although I still feel as though I have a lead weight on my chest.

I know I adore my only purchase from Saturday, a beautiful 1950-60s tapestry bag from Urban Village.

I know I will be linking my headscarf to Judith's Hat Attack tomorrow.

1980s cotton dress and tapestry flats - Ebay
Belt, bangles, necklace and sunglasses - charity shopped
Scarf - birthday present from lovely Fiona

This much I know:

Blogging is A Good Thing.
I have met some wonderful women whose company is a real joy, and of whom I am genuinely fond. 
They are kind, funny, charming, friendly, generous and beautiful.
I would never have stumbled across them if not for doing this.

If you ever have doubts about the worth of blogging as a pastime, arrange a blogger meet-up; it will restore your faith.

And cure your hangover.


Friday 27 September 2013

Blue looks so cool on Madam...

You are such an encouraging and supportive lot!

I think my interview yesterday went well. I think the interviewer liked me.

I know she liked my outfit, because she told me so.

I won't hear the outcome for a week or two; I'll keep you posted.

Busy busy couple of days.

Meeting with the Head at school.
Coffee with a friend.
Sorting out Seldom Seen for a weekend at Cub Camp.
Joanne's birthday do tonight.
Blogger meet-up in Birmingham tomorrow.

Can't wait!

Hope you have a great weekend, and thanks again for all your good wishes.



Wednesday 25 September 2013

Are you being served?

Ground floor:
perfumery, stationery and leather goods, wigs and haberdashery, kitchenware and food.
Going up...

Would you give this woman a job?

She's fairly bright, can string a sentence together, has a smattering of social skills, turns up on time, and is willing to work for minimum wage, while smiling and burying her natural bile and sarcasm deep within for the duration of the working day.

I passed my telephone interview on Monday, and I have been invited to a Recruitment Event tomorrow, which involves group and individual interviews.

Since I usually dress like this...

... I drew a bit of a blank in my wardrobe when searching for some suitable interview wear.
So I panicked, and went and bought something new.

It still has its tags on, I might change my mind and take it back, but so far, I'm thinking it's OK.
Vix suggested wearing my green 1950s jacket, and who am I to disagree?

I know I can't go for an interview for a high street store dressed head to toe in vintage. 
And I know that if I am offered a job, I will be expected to wear a uniform. 
And I don't want them to write me off from the get-go as a maverick who can't play by the rules. 
But I also feel the need to keep just a little bit of me in the mix. 

1950s brocade jacket - Second to None
Betty Jackson Black @ Debenhams dress - retail, sale (linking cos I want a job)
Shoes and bangles - charity shopped
Micromosaic brooch - charity vintage sale

I might swap out these tights for nude fishnets or sheer black; I might take off the fabric tie belt that came with the dress and add a narrow green leather one.

Over-thinking it? 
You betcha.

The last interview I had was 3 years ago. 
It was for a job which I should have been able to do with my eyes closed, linked as it was to my old career in mental health. The role was well within my professional skill set and experience.

The panel of interviewers had a sheet in front of them where they ticked a box as I said what they wanted to hear. As the interview progressed, I was aware that they were looking at me, and not ticking anything. 
I, quite literally, did not tick m/any of their boxes. And there was me, thinking that was merely a metaphor...

So, err, yeah, I'm feeling a bit anxious. Forgive me.
I want not to care. I want to laugh about it, and be dismissive of a recruitment process which seems disproportionately intensive for the position of temporary shop assistant .  
But I also want the job. 
I want to get back into paid employment, to have half a hope of starting again as a working person, with earning potential. I want my kids to see me as able to do something other than cooking and ironing. Only Eldest (just about) remembers me as a working mum.

(As always, no disrespect to stay-at-home mums intended at all. Only speaking for myself, no judgment implied about anyone else.)

1970s maxi dress - gift from that divine cover girl Helga
1970s English Lady lurex blouse - Ebay
Sandals and necklace - retail (sale)
Bangles and belt - charity shopped 

I thought I would get my vintage colour on today, to get it out of my system before tomorrow!
The blouse was a freebie; I bought the matching maxi skirt on Ebay, and the seller included the top in the parcel, which was kind.

So here I am, pondering the elements of good customer service, what skills I have to offer, and how to sell frocks. Or bras. Or toys. Or sheets.

Wish me luck!


Sunday 22 September 2013

This weekend...

...I had all sorts of things to do.

Some necessary things, some fun things.

That Weather Witch, our darling Vix, mentioned in her comment on my last post that the sunshine wasn't over just yet, and she was proved right. Of course.

The sky was wonderfully blue as Littlest and I headed to St Mary's church for their regular vintage and craft market.

We perused, we tried on, we chatted, we had cake.

Littlest looked adorable in the vintage hats, none of which fitted my big pumpkin of a head.

She spotted that the deer brooch had lost an eye, so the kind stall holder gave it to her for free.

The lemon and lavender cake was not to my taste - beautifully baked, but I just couldn't get my head round eating lavender. I don't even like the smell much, never mind the taste...

We have the Obligatory Blogger Deer, and there were plenty of Obligatory Craft Fair Owls. And bunting.
So all's right with the vintage/craft world, that's a relief.

We read the gravestones laid as a path, and contemplated the sadness of the high infant mortality rate in Victorian times.

We spotted that Sarah was 7 when she died, the same age as Littlest.

And I admit to a guilty chuckle at this...

...I know, I know, crude and mindless defacement isn't funny.

But maybe someone was scared off before they could finish writing cock and bull story on the church door?

Shadows, reflections, drawings...


swimming lesson run...

It seems very late for the brambles to be ripening, perhaps they're not going to this year?

Someone had left the bottle of Cactus Jack's outside the swimming baths; I hope that is actually apple schnapps left in it and not something less salubrious.

Divine colours.

 Here are mine.

1960s Sherman of London maxi dress - Ebay
Pretty much everything else (apart from a couple of rings) - charity shopped

The nail varnish is Revlon (£1 - what else? - from Poundland) and called Mischievous.

Such lovely light today.

Linking to the gorgeous Patti's fortnightly gathering for Visible Monday.

If I get through my telephone interview in the morning, at which I won't be visible, I'll let you know.

And calling all UK bloggers - if you're free on Saturday, come to Birmingham, there's a grand day out planned! Just email me or Vix for details.


Friday 20 September 2013

My baby's got a face like a long wet Sunday

The weather is chilly, the evenings are getting darker, but the onset of autumn doesn't have to mean a lack of colour, does it?

So the hair has had a russet-y boost...

...and my collection of tights (does a huge bag full of tights count as a collection? I don't see why not) is coming back into its own.

And before I went to the hairdressers, I wore this floral beauty, a gift from darling Helga...

...along with these boots, a recent rediscovery. 

I found myself browsing Ebay for tan ankle/work boots to wear with my skirts and dresses, just to roughen up the feminine edges a bit. 

But I had these Clarks boots all along.

They are years old, cast aside to the bottom of the wardrobe for the annoying habit of making any socks I wore with them wrinkle their way down my feet. 

I had forgotten all about them. But they will do nicely, and wearing them with tights gets around the Disappearing Sock Issue. Result!

I need a bloody good sort through my stuff, there may be all manner of items which could have a new lease of life, if only I knew they were there...

1980-90s dress - gift from heavenly Helga
Cardigan, bangles and tights  - charity shopped
Boots and necklace - retail (sale, ancient)

Oh, how the hair needed cutting.

And just look how much the red had faded up to a light coppery colour.

Kew top, Gap skirt, M&S tights, necklace and bangles - charity shopped
1960-70s suede jerkin - gift from Lady Lucy (Dinner, that is)

The jerkin saves me from being a totally high street whore/bore, but at least it was all acquired in charity shops.

Raindrops on roses...

...and whiskers on kittens.

I have been trying my hand at applications for jobs lately. 

I can't go on being an unemployed layabout forever, so I thought some weekend retail hours might work for me, then I wouldn't have to shell out all my meagre wages in childcare costs.

Various stores were advertising for casual Christmas staff, and I reckoned I might stand a chance. You know, being a mature and sensible person with many years of work, paid and voluntary, behind me.

It seems not. Not even shortlisted. Oh.

Although I do have a telephone interview with Debenhams* next week.

Well, at least I don't have to worry about what to wear. Just what the hell to say.

*For non-UK folk, Debenhams is a department store selling mainly clothing, cosmetics and homewares.

So despite my initial optimism, I am feeling a little deflated.

If I was an animal, I'd look like this.

I know - a random photo of a capybara. But isn't he gorgeous? 
We saw him in the summer, when we visited the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. I had forgotten to charge my camera battery, so this is one of the only pics from the day. 

We are off to town for an meal with the kids - they have chosen Italian, and that is just fine and dandy with me!

Buon appetito!