Wednesday 30 March 2016

Lead on to Leeds

A long weekend.
A change of scene, and a destination easily accessible from South Yorkshire and the North East were required.

Solution? The West Yorkshire city of Leeds.

Here's the gang, all set to explore.

Past and present.

There is much evidence of Leeds' industrial history. Its wealth was largely built on the wool and linen trade in the 17th and 18th centuries, and further industrialisation through the development of mills and the Leeds-Liverpool canal brought great prosperity. 

The city's current affluence owes much to the financial, legal and service sectors. 
There are imposing Victorian buildings wherever you look, built to represent the city's wealth and success. 
This is the Town Hall, complete with lions and a Henry Moore sculpture. It was opened in 1858 by Queen Victoria.
This used to be the central Post Office in Leeds, now a restaurant. 

The Leeds City Museum.

The Corn Exchange, opened in 1864, is a beautiful building inside and out.

The spectacular domed glass roof was designed to allow in as much light as possible so the corn merchants could clearly see the quality of the produce on offer.  

It is still a centre for trade, albeit no longer corn-based; it houses a selection of independent shops and cafes. 

The lavish Victorian arcades are testament to the fact that a love of shopping is not a modern phenomenon. 

The setting for the shops might be stunning, but the same can't always be said for the merchandise...

Kirkgate Market is the largest covered market in Europe, and home to the original stall where Marks and Spencer started trading in 1884.
And because we all love a bit of gruesome medical history, we also went to the Thackray Museum, housed in the old Leeds workhouse next to St James' Hospital.

It wasn't all about history though.
There was also fun with wigs...

and plenty of pit stops...

and a wander around Park Square, an elegant city-centre Georgian square which now also includes a peace tree planted by the majors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 2003.   

We love our weekends away with Sabena and Gary, and Leeds didn't disappoint.
Discussions about our next destination have already begun!

Sunday 20 March 2016

Time out and about

Working full-time is certainly having an effect; the house is even more chaotic than usual, I've given up ironing, meals are variable in terms of timing and quality, and my social life has taken a nose dive.

But... by miraculous chance, Vix, Tania and I were all available on Thursday, we chose a destination we could all get to by train in about an hour, and off we went to Leicester.

There was no chance of losing these two; I just had to scan the streets for a fuck-off huge fur hat and some neon pink legs!

I'm ashamed to admit that I have never been to Leicester before, though I've travelled through the city hundreds of times on trains heading south.

There were interesting buildings and architectural details wherever we looked. 

We visited Richard III's tomb in the cathedral; there he is, shaking his tambourine, or triumphantly grasping the crown, take your pick.
The area around the cathedral was particularly peaceful and rather smart.

Of course there was shopping. The city centre has plenty of charity shops, and we spent ages in the wonderful DollyMix vintage shop.

There were lovely ladies all over the place, in addition to some spectacular clothes at reasonable prices. 

See? Lovely ladies!

Lunch is always in a Wetherspoons; this time, the rather grand venue was the old Corn Exchange building. 

Even if we didn't find anything to buy, we wouldn't go away empty-handed.

My gifts were a 1970s spotty dress and sewing pattern from Tania, and a sexy red 1960s slip, parrot earrings (to go with my parrot print frock) and Dr Martens sandals from Vix. As always, those girls get it absolutely right.

I found this 1970s cotton velvet jacket in the bargain basket in DollyMix - mine for a fiver.

And this 1970s dress was from Pink Pigeon vintage, just £10.
The print makes me ridiculously happy.

After losing a multifocal contact lens, I'm back to wearing my single vision lenses and reading glasses for close-up. One of the perils of full-time work is having problems making appointments with the optician...

I'll be joining Patti and co for Visible Monday, and catching up with your blogs soon, I promise.
However busy life becomes, I'll always make time for friends. 

Wednesday 9 March 2016

Slimosizes and unshrinkable underwear

Any British vintage lover will probably have seen a few Norman Linton dresses on their travels. 

In my head, Norman's frocks are on a par with Richard Stump's - frumpy, not that exciting, made for middle-aged housewives in the 1960-70s. Ebay listings are fond of referring to such dresses as granny (or geek) chic... 
(No insult intended to middle-aged housewives - after all, I am one. Or grannies - I was very fond of mine.)
But hey, sometimes Granny takes a trip, a middle-aged housewife rocks a psychedelic maxi, and expectations are confounded.

Because I'm nerdy like that, I tried researching Norman Linton clothing but found little information. 
What I did discover was a hilarious Pathe News clip from 1953, in which the man himself is seen measuring robust women to make an outsize dressmaker's dummies.

I wonder if the slimosizes label was intended to make ladies with generous proportions feel better about themselves? 

This dress is my first purchase from my shop; I couldn't resist the trumpet sleeves and groovy print. 

First of many, no doubt.

1960s Norman Linton maxi dress - charity shopped
1970s cropped faux fur jacket - Kinky Melon
1960s tapestry bag - jumble sale
Boots - retail (sale)
I wore my new frock to work on Saturday, followed by a trip out for tapas with the family.

Hmm, the beauty and grace of the distaff side of the family knows no bounds... 
Actually, I've already made a second purchase, driven to it by the ongoing cold temperatures;
a 1960s Wolsey vest, just what I need under a dress on a chilly day.

Wolsey is a Leicester-based heritage British label, one of the oldest textile manufacturers in the world. Known for their knitwear, Wolsey underwear was worn by Scott, Amundsen and Shackleton on their polar expeditions. If it's good enough for those conditions, it'll do me.

(Do have a look at the link, there are some fabulous photos.)

Cool packaging too.

(Vix, I know you don't really do undies, but look, it's you!)
I'm late again for Visible Monday, but luckily Patti is a forgiving hostess and lets me sneak in after hours.
Do bear with me while I try to find a rhythm for posting and commenting - I'll get there!