Monday 25 August 2014

Into the blue

We seem to have bid a hasty farewell to summer here in the UK and been plunged unceremoniously into autumn; wind, chill, rain and all.

I'm a little sad about that.

I am waiting in vaguely doom-laden anticipation for the nights to draw in, the temperatures to drop, and the imminent return of the relentless school routine. Getting up early is going to be a real shock to the system, for all of us.

There were still some lovely blue skies on Saturday as I went to see my hairdresser Kirsty; she worked her customary magic, amid plenty of coffee and chat.

I refused to be daunted by the rain this morning, and pottered into the garden as usual to take my photos. The shoes - wonderful though they are - were obviously a foolish choice, I just wanted to see how they looked with the dress.

1960s mini dress - Second to None, Walsall
1970s shoes and tights - charity shopped
Umbrella - gift
1960s bracelet - local vintage/retro shop

Well, I think they look pretty good, but you can hardly see for the montbretia.
That's the level of my professionalism - I've been photo bombed by a plant.

My sister Sabena gave me the Missoni umbrella for my birthday. I love it, it's the only modern designer item I own, but I am slightly worried that I'll leave it on the bus one day and be forever gutted.

The woolly hat came with some hand-me-downs for Claudia from a friend's daughter - she rejected it, so I swooped. I have a feeling I'll be needing it.

But we did have a lovely summer with plenty of sunshine.

 Here are some photos from a trip to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park last month which I didn't get around to posting. It's one of my very favourite places.

 One & Other - Anthony Gormley 
 I love this; it reminds me of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square, but an Everyman version standing on a tree.

An exhibition of work by Ursula von Rydingsvard.

This is called mama build me a fence. It's huge, and beautiful.

Sitting - Sophie Ryder

Molecule Man 1+1+1 - Jonathan Borofsky

Ten Seated Figures - Magdalena Abakanowicz
(Plus one seated Nina.)

Buddha - Niki de Saint Phalle
I thought of Vix and Krista, must be the wonderful colours.
Large Owl - Thomas Houseago 

 There is something refreshingly accessible and unpretentious about sculpture in the open air...

and in such a beautiful setting.

An annual visit is good for the soul; in fact, I'd like to go more frequently, that would be even better.

And look, Henry Moore's Draped Seated Woman is still here. She hasn't moved back to Tower Hamlets in London after all, or been sold off (as I wrote about here) and I have to say I am very glad to see her.
It is, isn't it?
And I'll be connecting with Patti and co at Visible Monday as usual.
After that, I'm off to my sister's in Buckinghamshire for a last blast of holiday fun.
See you when I get back!

Friday 22 August 2014

Blow and glow

The wanderers have returned from South Wales, everyone was delighted to be reunited (that rhymes), and we have the Bank Holiday weekend coming up - excellent!

In a last hurrah before the girls came home, Owen and I went out with friends to Bakewell, another of the Peak District's picturesque towns.

It's a lovely place, with plenty of attractive buildings and architectural details to catch your eye...

but the River Wye, with all its water fowl and fish, is the real star of the show.

The five arch bridge over the river was originally built in the 14th Century, though obviously it has required a little reconstruction since then.

 I feel rather autumnal in this outfit. which reflects the weather; there's a definite chill in the air.

 The sequins on my sheer top seem to echo the honesty seed pods, don't you think?

Or am I being fanciful?

1970s homemade maxi dress - Ebay
Sequin top - jumble sale
Shoes, bangles and pendant - charity shopped
Striped bangle - gift from Fiona

Charlie and Willow kept me company in the garden.

The cats line up in an organised row for their meals. They aren't as well behaved at other times.

On the way home from Bakewell, Joanne took us through a car wash. 

Cue singing (of course)...

 and maybe a bit of giggling.

And that, my friends, is how you accommodate Bakewell, cats, and 1970s disco in the same blog post.

Enjoy the weekend! xxx


Monday 18 August 2014

I was born standing up and talking back

I consider myself an equal opportunity vintage lover.

I am quite happy to wear clothes from any decade, although I confess the late 1960s/early 1970s have my heart.

But I am a big fan of dresses from the late 1970s/early 1980s too, like these two beauties.

They remind me so much of my mid/late teenage years, and the 1950s revival at that time.

Grease, Happy Days, and the inexplicable success of Showaddywaddy, Darts and Shakin' Stevens - you remember, don't you?

1980s C&A dress - Ebay
Belt, shoes, sunglasses, bangles - charity shopped 

I love this dress - it has a built-in net petticoat and a fabulous print.

1970s dress - Ebay 
Belt, bangles and necklace - charity shopped
Sandals - retail (sale)

Fashion always references earlier styles; I'm no purist, I am as happy wearing a 1970/80s-does-50s dress as a 1950s original.

But I'm adding a little 1950s authenticity with my delicious Marie Moore brocade jacket...

which has the loveliest beaded buttons ever!

Owen and I headed out for a quick food shop, cafe stop, and charity shop browse yesterday.

The local hospice chazza had some fabulous vintage stock; I suspect it had come from the same donor, since it was all the same size. Great labels, and great style - whoever owned these clothes had excellent taste and the budget to afford some classy labels.

I didn't actually buy any of it, although I enjoyed trying it on; the aqua Berkertex maxi dress was a temptation, but I just couldn't see myself wearing it.

Owen (sitting on a stool outside the changing room waiting for me) rolled his eyes and said it's a bit revealing, Mum. He wasn't wrong, I would have needed to fix the neckline so I didn't flash my bra...

I didn't buy any of these either, but I thought they were fabulous.

I did buy a 1970s copper pendant, and some thread and zips. 
£2 the lot. 
 Hey, Big Spender.

At some point during our excursion, I started singing Trouble by Elvis Presley. More to myself than to Owen, I wondered what film it was from and guessed (rightly) that it featured in King Creole.

Owen said Elvis made films?

I forget that he hasn't had the experience of all those Sunday afternoons and Christmases when Elvis films were shown; you never see them now.

We discussed the birth of rock and roll, the shock of the new, Col. Tom Parker, selling out, and whether we would play safe - take the big money, or take a risk.

I don't object to clothes which are influenced by earlier styles, and I am also happy to acknowledge that music cannot be produced in a vacuum either.

But I do like to go back to the original source sometimes.

I showed this clip to Owen when we got home; he laughed (he may have thought I was making the song up), commented that it was cool - for an old film, and marveled at the fact that my brocade jacket is about the same age as the film (1958).


They're all tied up together, aren't they, clothes and music?

But I refuse to be a vintage snob about either. If you like it, wear it, and listen to it.

Preferably sing along too!

Linking to Sacramento's Share-in-Style - it's still Summer, just about...


Saturday 16 August 2014

King of the castle

Simon has whisked the girls away to visit his sister and her family in Swansea, leaving me and Owen at home.

 There they go!


After a blissful day of peace and quiet (and uninterrupted screen time for Owen, possibly his rationale for wanting to stay behind...) we decided to get ourselves up and off this morning, and headed to Castleton, a village in the Peak District.

Texting big sis on the bus.

I'm really appreciating some one-to-one time with Owen; it's usually the girls who accompany me on charity-shopping-and-cafe missions, and it's good to shake up the status quo a little.

We headed up the hill to the picturesque ruins of Peveril Castle.
 We might have had a little rest on the way up, at Mama's request.

 The castle was commissioned by William the Conqueror and built in 1080 for his illegitimate son, William Peveril. The wooden structure was rebuilt in stone in 1175, and had a role in overseeing the King's Royal Forest of the Peak, but fell into disuse and disrepair from Tudor times.

Part of the keep and walls remain.

The views are spectacular. 

We had our picnic sitting on a bench while admiring the panorama like two pensioners - it was great! 

 Owen did Boy Stuff too...
 while I did arty-farty look at the fabulous textures stuff.

Castleton is very pretty, with a river and lovely cottages...

and the largest natural entrance to a cave in Britain which welcomes you to the Peak Cavern.
Or to use its proper name, the Devil's Arse!

It was renamed Peak Cavern in 1880, for fear of offending Queen Victoria's royal sensibilities when she came to visit, but its original local name is making a comeback - and so it should.

Castleton has a long history of lead mining, dating back to Roman times, and its four main caverns were discovered and enlarged by extensive mining activity.

It is also the only place in the world where Blue John is found, and Treak Cliff and Blue John Caverns still produce a small amount today.

 One of these days, I'll get some Blue John jewellery, but for now, these two pieces are on the Sheffield Shelf, along with various silver plated items bearing Sheffield maker's marks.

Time for coffee and duck whispering.

We noticed the same family names repeated on the War Memorial...

and again in the churchyard.

St Edmund's church is Norman, and dates from around the same time as the stone rebuilding of the castle.

Thomas Hall had his name engraved on the door of the family pew in 1661; there are Halls on the War Memorial too.

That half-face and dramatic eye is a wall painting recently revealed in the church when work began to remove the plaster. There is probably a larger 15/16th Century fresco underneath, but money needs to be raised to pay for professional conservation.

In memory of Hannah and James, the children of Ellis and Ann Needham of this place.
Hannah died the 9th of May 1816 in the 6th year of her age and James died the 7th of September 1819 in the 12th year of his age.

It was always a bit of a family joke between my sisters and I that our mum used to take us to churches and graveyards when we were kids; now I find myself doing exactly the same thing.

We got the best seat on the bus coming home - top deck, front right!

Huge skies and swathes of heather. 

Everything charity shopped.

I am an urban girl through and through, but I do love having the beautiful Peak District on our doorstep to enjoy, just now and again.

Hope you're having a great weekend!