Friday 28 November 2014

If we squeeze you any tighter, you might turn into a diamond

It's been a grey old week, and since grey is not a favourite of mine, I have fought back with burgundy. 

Or merlot. Or claret. Any red wine would do, I suppose.

What are we calling burgundy this year? 

Berry? Oxblood? Maroon? Magenta?

 Lord knows. But I like wearing it. 

Velvet jacket, cardigan, leather bag, beret and bangles - charity shopped
1970s dress - Ebay
Boots - retail (sale) 

That tan leather saddle bag has become a firm favourite since I bought it on our bloggers' trip to Burton on Trent.

I looked up the brand online (Grafea) and found they are an English company; this particular bag retails for £105 on their website. Nice score for £6 then. 

1960s Eclipse wool cape, 1970s Hennes crochet dress, belt and bangles - charity shopped
1950s carpet bag - flea market

Does it get any more Nanna Chic than tweed, crochet, and a carpet bag with a bamboo handle?

Of course the Welsh cape was another Burton treasure. 

  Incidentally, does anyone know when Hennes changed their name to H&M? I definitely recall Hennes shops in the late 1970s/early 1980s. In fact, in my head I still call them that, just as John Lewis here in Sheffield will always Cole Brothers (the department store which JL took over, retaining the old name for many years).

It's that Nanna thing again. My kids mock me, reminding me of how I rolled my eyes when my mum referred to the radio as a wireless when I was growing up

The charity shops have provided some interesting bits and pieces this week;

an amazing 1980s silk evening dress by Wim Hemmink. It's tiny, so hopefully it is destined to be someone else's LBD this Christmas via Ebay...

a fur-trimmed brooch (I'm guessing 1950s),
vintage gloves galore,
a 1967 jumpsuit pattern,
1950-60s glass necklace,
and a 1970s tea towel.

I have been looking for a vintage jumpsuit pattern for ages; this one is too big, but I'm hoping that reducing the size will be a reasonably straightforward task. Of course, I may be deluding myself.

Speaking of sizes (and self-delusion), after my surprise at not being able to fit into the size 20 Global dress in my last post, at least not comfortably, I've had further disappointment this week. 

Look at these beauties;

My friend Judith's mum had kept some of her dresses from the 1960s and 70s, and Judith said she was very happy to give them to me. Of course I was delighted, especially when Judith assured me that her mum had not been a teeny waif back in the day. And when she dropped these gorgeous dresses off, I couldn't wait to try them on.


I can't get into them. The turquoise maxi is the only one I can do up, but truthfully, it's too tight.


So I'm putting the dresses on Ebay for Judith. Although it's disappointing, as I would have loved to wear them, it's also true that I have a wardrobe overflowing with vintage frocks which fit me beautifully, so I'm not complaining. Well, only a little bit. 

Tomorrow is our school's Christmas fair, so I'm hoping for better weather and festive cheer. And we're back to my mate's house afterwards for a glass or two of Cava, which we will richly deserve. 

Hope you have a splendid weekend, whatever you're doing, wearing, or drinking!


Monday 24 November 2014


Just bear with me while I get the black theme out of my system, OK?
I'm obsessed with this jacket too - thanks, Vix!

I wore my new-to-me 1970s dress out for lunch with friends yesterday.

Look at The Boy posing...

Owen's a bit cocky at the moment, since his 11th birthday was marked by the arrival of his first phone, and his own front door key.

The Boy is now a Man, apparently...

and naturally this is now a common sight.

But thankfully he's still enough of a kid to do this too. 
Look, it's a Boy on a Stick.

Sunday lunch at our friends Sally and Terry's house was lovely.
Three couples, six offspring ranging from 8 to 17 years old, plenty of delicious food, booze and chat, what could be better? 

Claudia appears to have appropriated one of my denim jackets. 
Hmm, what will she borrow next, I wonder? 

I was very successful at avoiding any cooking all weekend; I love it when someone else cooks for me, and Saturday night saw me frocked up for dinner with the girls round at Sue's. 

It was a first outing for the 1970s Frederick Howard maxi dress I bought at Second to None on my last trip to Walsall.

Claud snapped one quick photo before I left the house, and I promptly forgot to take any others all evening. Oh well.

 The devil's in the detail; I love the gold braid on the dress, and how my tapestry bag is camouflaged amongst the pebbles and fallen leaves in my garden, but am ridiculously irritated by that inverted droplet on the close-up of the necklace.

Never mind, no one comes here for professional blogger photos, do they?
See what I mean?

On the way back from the post office this morning, I popped in to the local Barnardo's charity shop (the one where everything is £1.49), and found this little beauty nestling among the Dorothy Perkins, F&F and Atmosphere...

a late 1950s/early 1960s silver and gold brocade Global dress. 

If you can see it, the label says the dress is a size 20; I've tried it on and it's a little snug on my UK size 12-14 body. Bugger. I'm quite accustomed to vintage sizing being much smaller than the modern version, but I'm surprised a 20 isn't big enough. I'll try it again with the right underwear on and see how it looks.

(Incidentally, Tania has two gorgeous Global dresses, and she shared her research about the manufacture of clothing in the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong in the 1950-60s; you can read about it here.)

1970s pleated dress, beret, ankle boots, bangles and tights - charity shopped
1970s faux fur jacket - Kinky Melon
1950s tapestry bag - vintage shop in Birmingham
Striped bangle - gift from Fiona
Necklace - gift from Gisela

And that was my weekend, boozy and sociable and tiring and great fun.

I'm linking up with Patti for Visible Monday, and Sacramento's Black and White theme for Share-in-Style (I hope she'll allow Black and Leopard Print instead!)

Thursday 20 November 2014

Walking in rhythm

As dull as it might sound, I am a creature of habit.

My weeks have evolved into a rhythm lately, a routine, and I find I quite like it. 

Mondays; parceling up the Ebay sales and taking them to the post office, food shopping, and a cursory bit of tidying, washing, ironing, whatever.

Tuedays; as above, plus Ebay photos and listing.

Both days, I am very happy to fit in a coffee with friends, a spot of charity shopping, PTA stuff, or any additional appointments, because I'm flexible like that.


Wednesdays; volunteering at St Luke's charity shop all day.

Thursdays; free to do whatever takes my fancy.

Fridays; volunteering in school.

All my weekdays are book-ended by the school run, of course, and my evenings involve cooking, nagging supporting children with their homework and reading. and hopefully some reading of my own (books or blogs). I seem to find the space for blogging about 3 times a week, and that suits me well. 

It's hardly onerous or especially challenging, but it's a schedule that works for me just now. There's clearly no room for a proper job, is there?

I was talking with one of my lovely co-workers yesterday about the large amount of black clothing in the shop. There is some really good stock; high-end labels, party/evening wear and smart work pieces, all at rock bottom prices, but so much black

I scoured the stock room to boost the colour quota, but the palette for winter clothing appears to be overwhelmingly dark.

So as I found myself buying this dress, it was with an ironic chuckle...

I know.

The label has been cut out, and it's possibly a modern reproduction, but it certainly has that late 1970s disco era look to it, complete with tiny little shoulder pads, gold lurex braid and crinkle pleats. 

I'll road test it, then decide if it is a keeper or heading for Ebay. 

Minnie doesn't know what the problem is with wearing black.

And actually, I do appreciate the drama of black, and don't rule it out completely; I just like to wear it sparingly, and usually with some colour, feathers or sparkle to perk it up. 

I wore that 1950s Clevaline wool dress (top right) earlier this week; it was my first ever purchase from the legendary Second to None, on my inaugural visit to meet Vix in Walsall in 2012. It cost a fiver, which is ridiculously cheap even by June's highly affordable standards. 

I am toying with selling the 1970s-does-30s Dolly Day maxi dress (top left) because I don't wear it, but now I look at the photos, I don't think I can part with it.  So I'd better get it worn, right?

Everything else is still in my wardrobe, and will remain there.

1970s Wallis cropped faux fur jacket - Kinky Melon
1970s Atlantic lurex maxi skirt - Ebay
Top, ankle boots and bangles - charity shopped
Belt - retail
Necklace -gift
Beret - quiz prize 

Funny, although my week's activities tend to be humdrum and prescribed, I do hope my wardrobe choices are not.

And despite my penchant for routine and Saturday night TV, I've got a sociable weekend coming up;  I'm really looking forward to it!

Ooh, what shall I wear? Maybe a black vintage frock? 


Monday 17 November 2014

Jump to the beat

I do like a relaxing weekend, with not much on the agenda apart from going out for tea on Friday, and the winter ritual of trashy Saturday night TV.

And this was an easy-going sort of outfit to match the lazy weekend vibe.

I've almost given up on ever finding a vintage jumpsuit that fits me. 

I have tried on several, but they are always too short in the body (I am long-waisted), tight on the thighs (which doesn't flatter), and of insufficient length in the leg.

So for the time being, I am contenting myself with modern versions; this one was just £1.49. Yes, the local Barnardo's came up trumps again.

(I say almost given up, because I tend to the view that if you are patient and keep looking, you will eventually stumble across pretty much anything you are after in a charity shop.)

Got my Burton boots on - they are so comfortable, I suspect they will get a lot of wear. 

Jumpsuit, sequin beret, boots, vintage necklace and bangles - charity shopped
Wrap cardigan - gift from Tania

A very cheap outfit, this one; it comes in at under a tenner.

So far, I have been quite restrained in my purchases from the charity shop where I volunteer, and it seems the things I choose to buy cause some amusement among my fellow workers.

A feather boa is a wardrobe staple, don't you think? That's what I told my colleagues anyway.

The huge brightly coloured 1950s blanket and 1970s duvet cover were both heading for the rag bag, accompanied by the sentiment well, no one's going to want those! before I swooped in to rescue them.

 £1 each (well, 90p actually, I get a 10% discount).

 I was immediately drawn to this young lady, isn't she pretty?

A bit of research (the internet is a wonderful thing) reveals that it is a lithograph (c.1920) of Herta Zuckermann, who was a pupil attending art classes for children and young people run by artist and progressive educator Franz Cizek at the School of Applied Arts in Vienna in the early 20th Century.

There seems to be some debate as to whether this work is by Cizek, or a self-portrait by Zuckermann herself.

Not that it matters, but I'm hoping the latter is true.

On the Way to Church
The Three Kings
A Christmas Feast

These works are definitely Zuckermann's, included in Christmas: Pictures by Children (1922).

 I wasn't even sure how a lithograph is produced, but there is a good description here.

Charity shopping isn't just thrifty, it's educational.

And lest you worry that I will overspend, here is a selection of the items I have sold over the last few weeks on Ebay to fund my shopping.

The alternative to flogging my guts out for Debenhams is going well. 

 I wonder what we were all looking at?

Hope you all had a great weekend!


Friday 14 November 2014

Once upon a time, there were three little girls...

Forget the police academy and Charlie;

these kickass angels were hunting for bargains, not crooks!

 There is something deliciously naughty about playing truant from the normal routine, and heading off for a cheeky mid-week trip out with your mates.

Yesterday, Vix, Tania and I descended on Burton on Trent for a day of charity shopping, chatting and laughing, with a little bit of boozing thrown in for good measure. 

But first, the very serious business of chazzing; eight charity shops, and that's without photos of the PDSA and furniture store. 

Did I say serious?

Not exactly...

Vix went home with only one of these items; try as we might, Tan and I couldn't persuade her to buy the 1990s catsuit (which looked amazing), the fleece (which didn't), or the 1960s hat.

The 1970s suede skirt, on the other hand, was perfection. If you look carefully, you can see an old chap in the background on the right; he followed us around the shop, and watched in delight as Vix tried the skirt on under her frock. All his birthdays came at once with that flash of shapely arse.

Tania took tea, then joined the Navy. And I concur, she has Great Style.

Burton has some attractive architecture around the market square...

and look, Sajid was there with his gorgeous braid and trimmings, so popular on our last bloggers' day out in Walsall.. 

As we approached his stall, he kept a very straight face and said if you want a date, Vicky, you only have to ask... 

This little fella looked pretty pleased to see such luscious ladies too. Just the right height for teeny tiny Tan; Pool Boy had better watch out. 

Balls to Christmas. I don't want to think about it yet.

Of course we hit the local Wetherspoons, and of course we took photos in the toilets.

We weren't very good at selfies, it must be a yoof thing. 

 See what I mean?

But do you know what we are good at? Apart from making each other laugh and putting the world to rights?

Well, charity shopping, naturally.

I bought;

a vintage Welsh wool cape, a tan leather saddle bag, and a pair of studded leather ankle boots.

1960-70s Eclipse wool cape, hat and bangles - charity shopped
1970s French-made Tricosa maxi skirt - antiques/collectables centre, Matlock
Boots - retail

At last; a cape I can wear without the T.Rex arms effect!

Thank to Tania for spotting it, and to both ladies for helping me work out how to wear it...

What a fantastic day. 
We talked (a lot), we giggled (loads), we browsed and shopped and ate and drank, and the day flew by. 

And the moral of the story? Don't wait for Charlie to take you away from all this, or for someone else to suggest a day out or a meet-up. Just go for it, you'll be so glad you did. And if you manage to flash a pensioner and take some rubbish selfies in the process, then the job's a good 'un!

PS. Vix's post about our day is here. Keep a look out for Tania's too - I have a suspicion there will be some classic photos featuring Deranged Face (my speciality. You're welcome.)