Thursday 26 March 2015

Knock Knock, Who's There?

Hmm, who could I have been meeting today in Chesterfield for a browse around the weekly flea market?

Vix and Tania, of course!

There we are, posing in the Ladies after a boozy lunch in Wetherspoons while a very kind woman took photos of us. She didn't seem to think there was anything odd about that at all, and neither did we.

It was a grey start to the day; earlier in the morning, the poor market traders had set up their stalls in high winds and snow.

But friends bring their own sunshine, don't they?

Vix and Tan perused the boxes on Joseph's stall, while Joanne tried on (and bought) a Gudrun Sjoden wool waistcoat. 

Is anyone bothered about the future of Top Gear or One Direction? 
No, thought not...

There is always an eclectic mix of merchandise to be found on the market.

Ballot boxes and brooches...


1950s hand-painted eggs...

annuals from the Fifties to the Eighties...

vintage games and toys...

and the biggest packet of fags in the world.

We weren't the only Seventies-clad chicks at the market today...

but I think Tania and Vix might have been the only women trying on 1970s matching maxi skirts in the loo.


And what do you know, six hours flew by in a blur of chat, browsing, laughs and gossip, and then they were gone.

But see what I mean about good friends bringing the sun?

And lovely presents from Vix too; 1970s fabric, pattern and pendant. Thanks, love!

Not much beats a day with good pals, does it? 

Tomorrow, the family and I are heading to Manchester for a long weekend, so I'll catch up with you all on our return. 
Have fun out there!


Sunday 22 March 2015

Swan Song

It's that time of year again; our annual school jumble sale was held on Saturday, and another fine event it was too.

It wouldn't be the same if we didn't dress up in vintage housecoats, pinnies and scarves, bright colours, and maybe a wig or two.

Here I am with my buddies Trace, Karen and Joanne, and Claudia too, who is a junior member of the Jumble Sisterhood. She always helps, and likes to listen to the traditional debrief held round at Karen's house afterwards, which gets louder, sillier and more scurrilous as the prosecco goes down...

We call it the PJP; Post-Jumble Piss-Up, best part of the day!

Claudia wants you to know she's not wild about Harry.

1970s Indian cotton wrap maxi skirt, shoes, necklace and bangles - charity shopped
Vest and sequin top - jumble sale

We made £1,130, and we're delighted with that.

It may well be the last jumble we organise, so it was good to go out on a high. I've been helping to plan and run fund-raising events at school for the last five years, and I think I've reached my limit.

Time to move on and leave the new members of the PTA to do things their way. 

I did buy some bits and bobs at the jumble sale, various clothes for the kids, and these for me;

1960-70s Nimbus design fabric by Osman textiles
mad-eyed Dutch souvenir dolls 
1960s pink wool blanket
1960s tapestry and vinyl shopper
1970s Sadler pot

After a full-on day yesterday, it was good to do very little today. Reading in the bath in the afternoon is one of life's small pleasures. 

So is linking up with Patti for Visible Monday - come and join us!

I hope your weekend has been successful, whatever you've been doing.


Wednesday 18 March 2015

I was an impossible case

What do you remember about being thirteen?

Claudia's 13th birthday has prompted me to try and remember what it was like when I was her age; I have to admit, it's all a bit hazy. Who was I then?

A glance at the UK's Number 1 songs of that year was helpful in jogging my memory.


The year God Save the Queen by the Sex Pistols was banned by the BBC and allegedly (maybe apocryphally) kept off the No. 1 spot, for fear of offending the Royal Family in the year of the Queen's Silver Jubilee.

You wouldn't know it was the year of punk, the songs that made the top of the UK charts were pop through and through. Abba and David Soul reigned, Elvis died, and I Feel Love sounded like a trance-y soundtrack to some sci-fi porn film.

There were strikes, the Yorkshire Ripper murders, Red Rum and Virginia Wade won, Marc Bolan died, the National Front and anti-Nazi protesters clashed, and Rumours and Star Wars were released.

1970s maxi dress - The Queen's Drawers via local vintage shop
Wrap cardigan - gift from Tania
Ankle boots - Ebay
Beret and bangles - charity shopped

Claudia invited some friends out for dinner to celebrate her birthday.

Off we go!

They're a cool bunch of kids. Don't believe everything you hear about teenagers, some of them are just fine - polite, funny, and sweet.

They're nothing like the 13 year old me. They aren't awkward or ill-at-ease in their own skin; they have style and confidence, and a sense of belonging. I'm really glad about that, and wish it hadn't taken me so long to find those things for myself.

I don't have any photos of me from 1977. If there are any, they'll be lurking in a drawer at my mum's, which is probably the best place for them. I remember a centre parting and limp side-flicks, checked shirts, skinny fit t-shirts, flared jeans, and wedge shoes. A humdrum uniform, accessorised by shyness, social ineptitude and poor self-esteem.

I had an endlessly supportive and encouraging mum who repeatedly told me that I was unique, and uniquely great. I just thought she had to say that because she was my mum, so it didn't count. I wish I had believed her, and I hope Claudia believes me when I tell her what's great about her. I found being thirteen really tricky; she seems to be approaching her teens with an enviable insouciance.

Good for her.

Oh Charlie!

Claudia made her own birthday cake, with the help of one of her friends - it was delicious.

So what was it like for you, being 13?
And share your memories of 1977, if you have any!


Friday 13 March 2015

Oh what fun we had

Friday already? Another busy week has whizzed past in a bit of a blur.

There have been the usual Ebaying and charity shop duties, but also parents' evenings for Owen and Nina, and a musical performance at Claudia's school.

Owen is in Year 6, a year of school which has been dominated by increasingly intense preparations for SATs in May. Despite the fact that he's doing fine, either hitting or ahead of his "targets", we were told that he should be working to increase those levels still further, and that nightly revision was expected in order to achieve this.

When I was tidying up our noticeboard at home, I spotted this postcard from our trip to Oxford last summer, which reflects both Owen's and my feelings about that idea...

SATs' results matter far more to the school that they do to the kids. I know everyone at school is under pressure, but seriously, these children are only 11, give them a bloody break. Hey, teacher - leave them kids alone!

1960-70s Designed for California by Tom Jones maxi dress - vintage fair
Levi's jacket (I get it on weekdays, Claudia has weekend custody), bangles, ankle boots and scarf - charity shopped

On Wednesday evening, the whole family went to watch Claudia perform as part of the cast of Olivia! 

Claudia's costumes courtesy of my wardrobe, of course. 

 (I knew that black silk skirt from the flea market last week would come in handy.)

She sang a solo and beamed throughout, as usual.

I'm not the biggest fan of musical theatre, but I can understand why schools choose that genre for their productions. The Year 7, 8 and 9 students who made up the cast and crew did a very confident and professional job, I was impressed by the talent on display, and the level of maturity and commitment. Well done, kids!

Nina and I took photos in the interval.

I've been in school again today, doing two of the things I like most - hearing children read, and making a display of their artwork. I wish I had taken a photo, some of the drawings were really fantastic. 

But since I didn't, and since Nina hasn't had much of a look in during this post, I'll show you some of her art instead. 

Oh dear, this has all gone a bit Proud Mama, hasn't it? Please bear with me, I promise it won't happen very often.

Today's outfit for Red Nose Day at school. Not that I wouldn't wear it any other day too.

What family resemblance?

Now here's a completely random question which has nothing to do with anything else in this post; can you think any great names for a cafe?

Friends of mine are buying one and need to change its name; we've been trying to come up with ideas but nothing has been quite right so far. It will be a family-friendly venue with a breakfast and lunchtime menu, but they might open for themed evening sittings in the future. The emphasis will be on great home cooking, a classic/traditional core menu with seasonal and imaginative specials, using locally sourced produce wherever possible, and a friendly comfortable vibe. They don't particularly want to use their name, or anything which tries to be funny or uses a pun.

So come on, throw some names in the pot; if your suggestion is chosen, you'll get a free lunch! (Sadly winners must pay their own travel costs...)

Have a great weekend!

Monday 9 March 2015

There's one thing which turns this grey sky to blue

Saturday was a beautiful day, clear and bright.

Everywhere benefits from blue skies and sunshine, and Sheffield's city centre is no exception.

Kemsley House, built in 1913, was home for many years to Sheffield's newspapers, the Star and the Telegraph. Grade II listed, it now houses a Santander bank.

Sheffield Cathedral. 

There has been a church on this site since the 12th century.

(All the overhead wires are for the tram system.)

The Catholic Cathedral of St Marie, built in 1850.

I love the shape of the Winter Gardens' building; it sits on one side of Tudor Square...

opposite the Crucible theatre...

while the Lyceum theatre, with Mercury on the top, is on another side of the square.

Next stop;

 City Hall.

The foyer has the most ornate ceiling and magnificent arched windows. 

I've seen a lot of musicians play here over the years (Paul Young, Steve Earle, Glen Campbell, Elvis Costello, Robert Palmer and Richard Thompson, to name a few), and by the end of the year I'll be able to add ABC to the list.

I'm excited!

Owen was supposed to be imitating Vulcan's posture (there he is on top of the Town Hall).

It's an interesting exercise, wandering around your home town with a camera, trying to see familiar places with fresh eyes. I found more to admire than I expected. 

 Time for lunch.

She can't help herself; camera+Nina=face-pulling. 

She makes me laugh. So did this;

scrawled on the back of a seat on the bus. Never mind the antisocial defacement of property, look at that inappropriate apostrophe.

(Apologies for the blurry photo - the bus was moving, and I was laughing, and Nina was wailing Muuuuum, don't take a picture, it's rude!)

If Charlie could write, he'd probably pepper the walls in the garden with obscenities; he's that sort of cat.

1960s jacket, 1970s St Michael pussy-bow blouse, 1960s tapestry bag, belt and bangles - charity shopped
Gap skirt - found it in my wardrobe, forgot I still had it (it must have been a work skirt from the 1990s)
Boots - retail

I'll take my yellow and black outfit along to Patti's Visible Monday get-together.

Here we go for another week; hope it's a good one!