Sunday, 15 February 2015

It's as simple as ABC.

It's been another busy and rather stressful week, I wish it hadn't been, but on the plus side at least it means it passes quickly and I'm so tired I sleep like the dead the moment my head hits the pillow.

I've had a couple of dress dramas. For the first time in my life I actually got trapped in a frock!

Back zip fastening number that I've had for a few years and the damn zip just locked tight and refused to move. I twisted and contorted to no avail so I went downstairs and asked Himself for help. He wrenched it this way and that but it still refused to budge so in exasperation I told him to just bust it open.
Bless he was more reluctant to ruin the dress than I was.

Having said that I'm not heartbroken, it was a cheap and cheerful Peacocks frock and I've had good wear out of it, it's just a shame it had to end so dramatically.

The other well, what can I say?

I believe it was only in January I declared that I was going to stop buying random disaster frocks on Ebay?

Well behold my first disaster Ebay frock of 2015.
                                                   Looks innocent enough doesn't it?

I will be the first to admit the 99p starting price lured me in. It was listed as 'vintage' and in 'excellent condition', sadly when it arrived it became clear it was neither.

Just some of  it's holes are shown below.
Frankly it looked like someone had lost a fight with a barbed wire fence and yet the seller said they 'hadn't noticed' any damage!?!

Maybe I should suggest Specsavers.....

Whilst I'm on the subject of clothing disasters. I had shoe dramas too. Well why should it just be dresses?

First up I ordered a cheeky pair of boots from the Office website. They were reduced to £16 so I couldn't resist.
They arrived super fast which was a plus, well I say they, when I opened the box this is what greeted me
Yup there was only one boot in the box *sigh*

I have to say Office were super helpful at sorting it out and I do now have a matching pair.
Though I was somewhat taken aback when my Mother said "I like your boots" she has only ever shown dislike for spikes, studs and the like before now.

My second shoe based disaster of the week was completely self inflicted.

Yup I make the absolute rookie error of wearing a brand new pair of shoes to work on the day I was going to on the hoof non stop.
 The gorgeous new brogues I bought in January turned out to be brutal and ripped my right foot to shreds. I was hobbling and bleeding before I even reached the office!
Many plasters later, I changed into the emergency boots that live in my desk drawer and soldiered on through the day.
I will be putting the shoe stretchers in the brogues for a good long time before I wear them again that is for sure.

Now on to the title of my post. I was on the train to meet Soo for a bit of R&R in the form of chazza shopping, cake and chat.
I had my Ipod on shuffle and 'ABC - The Look of Love' came on. I must confess up until that point I didn't even realise I had that track on my Ipod but it was clearly an omen.

For the first item I purchased was a gold jacket Martin Fry would have been proud of! 
For those too young to know this is Martin Fry he is the lead singer of ABC and was famous in the 80s for his gold suit.
Here's mine
Not bad eh? Reduced to £3 too so even better. Let's hope it fits!

I also bought a pretty 1970's embroidered bag. I don't have this sort of bag in my collection so it was a happy find.
It had been reduced from £10 to £5 
but then it turned out everything in the shop was half price so I got it for £2.50 = result.

When I was cleaning it today I found this ticket inside
I'd love to know what it is.

On the subject of finding things in bags. I also cleaned the black bag with the lovely loud SNAP fastening and found this unusual black scarf inside one of the pockets. Sweet.
My final charity shop purchases were two brooches and a plate with hedgehogs on it that was in the everything half price shop so was a bargainous 65p.
I ate my toast off it this morning.

The brooches were £1.75 and £1.65 respectively. The seahorse looked just a bit familiar and sure enough
it seems I now have 2!
I bought mine with some birthday money last year from Pia ( I LOVE Pia)

I shall wear them together as a mini shoal.


Saturday, 7 February 2015

A Spot of Research and a Vintage Fair or Two.

Firstly I want to say thank you for all the kind comments on my last post. It's been a roller coaster week with my Dad, he had a major setback last weekend but since then progress has been slow and steady.
My Mum rang me on Wednesday to say he was out of his coma. She only knew because she was sat by his bed doing a crossword and decided to read the questions out loud and Dad suddenly answered!

She said I asked "Who was Victoria's husband?" and Dad said "Albert".

I cracked up laughing and she said "why are you laughing?" so I explained that when she said who is Victoria's husband? my first thought was David Beckham! I hang my head in shame.

Prior to Dad getting ill I had arranged to go to Reading last Sunday for a vintage fair with my friend Charlotte from work. In the end I decided I'd still go, I agree with the those who say having some me time is vitally important when your life is full of drama. I certainly felt the need for a break.

Sunday dawned and was bitterly cold, even the short walk from the train station to The Hexagon was enough for me to lose all feeling in my nose and ears, it was a most welcome relief to dive inside. 

The fair was free which was a bonus and bigger than either of us had expected. It was called 'The Real Vintage and Fine Food Fair'.

Odd combination but each to their own.

 I had assumed the food would be in one area and the clothes in another, but no, they were all mixed up together. Not such a happy mix if I'm honest, as there was not just one but two cheese stands which lent an extremely pungent aroma to proceedings!

I'm a little bit miffed because I was convinced I took more pictures whilst I was there but when I checked my camera I only seem to have taken two - bah.

I was very taken with the unusual tan bag below but it was £25 which I felt was just a bit too much in it's condition which was well loved.

I also resisted a gorgeous black beaded 1940's evening dress which had a very tempting price tag but I just knew I wouldn't get the wear out of it, and as I had already bought a glitzy dress at another stall I put it back.
So what did I buy?
First item was this gold tone bird brooch for £4
Last item was this wee elephant on wheels for £3. I actually spotted him as soon as I entered the room but walked round the whole fair before going back to get him.
The lady who owned the stall was thrilled as apparently her husband thought it was rubbish and no one would want it. She pointed and laughed and was like "Ha! see, SEE, I told you someone would buy it!" all of which he accepted with very good grace as I stood there patiently with the elephant in one hand and £3 in the other.

Finally my other purchase was this glorious, glorious frock.

 You know me and green frocks....

At £25 this just had to be mine, it is handmade and beautifully done, I love it.

Once we had given the fair a thorough going over we headed back through town and out the other side of the train station to go to Fanny's on a spot of research for a possible future outting.

Yes you read that right, there is a wee antiques emporium in Reading called 'Fanny's' 

(I dread to think what kind of web searches this is going to bring to my blog!)   

Based in an old back street abattoir, indeed the hooks and pulleys from this gruesome trade still run round the ceilings of the whole building. It is packed full of randomly priced treasures, I say randomly priced because I saw some things that were frankly dramatically over priced and others that seemed very reasonable. There was no rhyme or reason. 
We had a good poke about though, there were some really lovely pieces of furniture to be had as well as all the other sorts of odds and ends you get in house clearance places.
This rather odd picture of teddy bears did make me laugh.

I had read on the Queens of Vintage website that the upstairs was full of vintage clothes, especially evening dresses. 
I've no idea how old their article was, but sadly there were no frocks, evening or otherwise, to be seen. 
We both left empty handed but I would probably go back there again, it's close enough to the station to make it a no brainer and I'd be interested to see what new things they have in and who knows? they might get some clothes back in.

It seemed appropriate to get some cake next, if nothing else we were both frozen to the bone and in need of a hot drink, and you can't have tea without cake right? 
Charlotte lives in Reading so whisked me off to Workhouse Coffee where I wedged myself against a radiator to drink tea and eat delicious baked cheesecake. Blissful.

My second vintage fair was today and completely unexpected. I was walking into town with Himself, he was heading to the station, I was heading to Sainsburys to do the food shop, when he pointed out a teeny tiny sign saying 'Vintage And Retro Fair Here Today' next to the civic hall. 

I decided to stick my nose in on the way home and I'm glad I did. It wasn't huge, but then to be fair the civic hall is not exactly massive. The entrance fee was a very reasonable £1 and the lady at the door very kindly looked after my shopping for me so I had my hands free to have a good rummage. 

There were a good mix of clothes, accessories and household items on the stalls as well as a jive demonstration, vintage hair dressing and teas. I'll certainly go again if they have another, it was a lovely surprise to find something like this going on in my home town. Even if this time I only came away with this fabulous brooch for £4

Friday, 30 January 2015

Life's a Bitch.

Well I had a shortish post lined up all about The Great January Charity Shop Extravaganza of 2015 but this is not quite it. In fact so far 2015 has not quite been what I was expecting either.

I had high hopes for a year of fun times, including My Dad's 80th, my Brother's 50th and Nephew Number One's 21st. I hoped to go to America on the trip that got postponed last year when my friend Ash's cancer came back, this time with bells on to celebrate the fact she was declared cancer free just before Christmas.

Yup it was going to be a good, a busy, and a clearly very expensive year!

 I was going to carry on accepting invitations and indeed tonight, right this moment as it happens, I was meant to be knocking back cocktails with some girls from work just to celebrate the fact we had survived January.
Instead I sat with my Mum next to my Dad's bedside in the dedicated stroke unit at the JR in Oxford. This after having just gone through what was possibly my worst day at the office since I started working there.

Yes I can safely say 2015 has not been panning out as I expected.

On the whole I've been a mess this week, on Wednesday we were warned to expect the worst, but you know what?
Today my Dad is still with us and fighting hard, the difference in him tonight was incredible, so I figure I will post the pictures of my purchases and blog about my day out with Soo and Melissa, because life does go on and my god you need some normality when the rest of your world has been tipped on it's head.
Oh and as far as the people at work making my life hell today are concerned they can go fuck themselves because I have more important things and people to be bothered about.

So yes last Saturday the annual January Charity Shop Extravaganza took place, and this year Soo and I took Melissa with us.
Soo and I shopped up a storm, whilst Melissa showed admirable restraint.

If I had the space in my house I would have bought the most gorgeous 1960's blonde ash chair, a huge wooden coffee table with the most stunning wood grain and patination, and finally a fab little folding table that had the added extra of being on wheels!
 Damn I wish I had the space for that, I really do.

I'm afraid I failed in my blogging responsibilities and forgot to take my camera with me, so no pictures of the various pieces of lovely furniture or the frocky horrors and ornamental china monstrosities that are always a key part of our January outtings.

Without further ado my purchases.
I really wasn't going to buy this bag. I picked it up and put it back down twice but in the end I was seduced by the £2 price tag and the thoroughly and satisfyingly loud SNAP the clasp made. I think the turquoise beads were 99p.
A Ken Messer print of Oxford High Street for £3. I bought this for my Dad because I knew he would love it. I was going to give it to him next time I saw him. Mum took it home tonight to put it up in his study.

Star purchase. A brand new Debenhams Collection winter coat for £14.

Finally after about half a dozen completely wrong purchases, I had a brain wave about the type of lampshade that would suit the Elephant Lamp of Wonder. I got this one for £1
Admittedly it's the wrong colour but I have plans.....

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Shiny Happy Things.

This is going to be a short blog post. It's been a busy week work-wise and I'm glad it's done.

The weather has been quite mad, to the point whilst walking home from the station on Thursday it rained,sleeted and snowed within 5 minutes and all whilst a gale relentlessly blew it all straight into my face. The only consolation was I was on my way home so could jump straight in a hot shower when I got there.

My new umbrella got snapped clean in half when a sudden unexpected strong gust of wind blew, I don't put my umbrella up in wind for fear of just that thing happening but this caught me unawares. It makes me very sad because it was a lovely and new (and expensive!) umbrella which I now have to replace.

I went to the cinema on Wednesday to my second film of 2015.
The first was The Theory of Everything on New Year's Day which was just wonderful and well worthy of it's Oscar nominations.

The second was Into The Woods which was pretty damn dreadful actually. 
Now you know me, I do like a musical, but I am most definitely not a fan of the type of musical where there are no specific songs as such, just everybody 'speak-singing' their dialogue to the same 'tune'. Sadly this was exactly that kind of musical, it was also much, much to long.
Thankfully we went on Orange Wednesday so didn't pay!   

My new brogues finally arrived
I'm pretty sure they are going to go with  all the same outfits my old brown ones did and a few more besides, another item ticked off my wish list.

Talking of wishlists.

I'm not a huge collector of vintage china but I do know what I like and will pick up pieces here and there even though if I'm brutally honest, I have nowhere left to store any more plates or teacups.

For a long while now I have had a fancy for a Lustreware teapot after having fallen for one owned by a friend but the price was prohibitive for the ones I did see.    
I'd sort of forgotten about this until I was going through some back issues of Homes and Antiques magazine and spotted a really rather lovely one.

That got me on Ebay where after many weeks of hunting and stalking I finally found one I liked at a price I was willing to pay.
The bonus is it came with a matching milk jug and sugar bowl.
I'm pretty sure this is not going to be to the taste of the majority of my readers, it is a bit in your face for a tea set!
but for some reason I love it's gaudy shining gold-ness. I have already rearranged one of my shelves to display the 3.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Sales Shopping and a Resolution or Two.

Ah yes the siren call of the January Sales.
I no longer leap into action on Boxing day and pound the pavements for hours on end in search of a bargain, any bargain, just as long as it's REDUCED!!
 I do still love a bargain however, and will venture out at some point to particular favourite shops hoping to find something lovely at at least half it's original price.

I had a small list of things I actually needed, but everybody knows I'm not going to stick to a list right?
Having said that I did manage to some things from it so clearly I can do it when I try, mostly though I just can't be arsed to try.

Anyway from my list I bought the following :
A lovely new dressing gown from M&S. I needed a new one and this one has been on my radar for a while now, but I just was not willing to pay full price for it, I was however more than willing to buy it at 60% off.
I showed it to Himself and he started smirking, I'm like "What?" "WHAAT?" and he said " Nothing, nothing, it's nice.........but it is a bit 'Margo' "
In my eyes this of course is not a bad thing so it's staying.
Next up
Snugly slippers to replace my comfy but knackered ones. These came from Accessorize and are polar bears I just loved the faces and the pompom tail.
Also from Accessorize
A new handbag for work. It might surprise you to know that whist I avidly collect vintage bags, I am ridiculously, insanely particular about the bag I take to work each day!
It has to have 2 separate zipped compartments for a start, I have been looking on and off for a new one for 2 years and I finally found this one. It's not 100% perfect and it is smaller so fitting all my 'stuff' in it is a challenge but it will do.

Another item ticked of the list are a new pair of patent brogues to replace my brown ones that split I ordered them from the Office sale but they haven't arrived yet. I couldn't get brown so I went for ox-blood as I figure they should go with most things too.

Then of course we reach the items that weren't on the list but somehow I ended up buying anyway.

Like the day I went into Oxford to buy theatre tickets and came home with theatre tickets and 2 dresses.
These two dresses to be precise. I got them both in Debenhams and they will be perfect for work (that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!)

Or the day I went into BHS looking for pillowcases and came out with a dress but no pillowcases.
It came from the Dorothy Perkins franchise in there which is so temptingly placed right by the entrance. Who can resist a bit of glitter? Not this magpie that's for sure! (I ended up getting the pillowcases from Sainsbury's after I popped in for some bananas as you do.)

As requested I add a picture of my Cath Kidston burglar dress. I haven't even tried it on yet let alone worn it and no I really have no idea why I do that with some items of clothing. It's just plain weird  and I'm the first to admit it.

Finally here is my before Christmas Ebay purchase, photographed after the toxic armpits have had a liberal dosing of the, as recommended by Vix, vodka & water spray. Neither of us drinks vodka so I bought the smallest cheapest bottle Tesco had to offer, I hope the dress won't hold that against me. Now I just need some slightly glam event to wear it too.
I'm never a fan of early January. With the Christmas decorations gone, my house seems dull and lacking in glitter so it makes me feel dull and lacking in glitter.
It's back to the painful early starts and the waiting for a train in the pitch black, freezing cold morning. Roll on the spring say I.

I do find this time of year does seem to induce a certain amount of navel gazing in me. I've said before on this blog I'm not one for New Year resolutions, I find 9 times out of 10 you fail and that's just something else to beat yourself up about, but, I do give myself a few goals to aim for.

This year I want to be a bit more proactive about my waistline. I spent last year losing and gaining and losing and gaining the same half a stone to the point where it just got ridiculous! 
I'm not as big as I was in 2013, but I didn't end 2014 as slim as I would have liked either. Much as I would love to lose a stone or 2 I know it's never going to happen, because not only do I have 0% willpower, I'm lazy to the point of coma and basically I'm a greedy pig.

So I will aim for more realistic goals like keeping that half stone off for good, and losing another into the bargain.

Also I have signed up to start a Pilates class in February. If this helps lose a little weight it will be an added bonus, but the main motivation behind it is to get some fitness and flexibility back.
Serious health issues for a couple of people close to me has really brought home the fact that as you age, unless you use it, you lose it and when it comes to both of the above I am already losing it.

 It's been 18 months since my friend Susan died so also 18 months since I did the Alexander Technique with a teacher. I miss it, and her, I practised with her for the best part of 20 years and I just can't bring myself to start again with a new teacher, it doesn't seem right somehow. That might change of course, but for now I've decided to look for something new but with similar priciples and Pilates seems to fit the bill.
The class I have found is not only just down the road from my house, but also lets you sign up and pay for 4 sessions at a time, so if I don't like it I can leave after my 1st 4 are done.
 I like the fact it starts in February, I feel somehow I will be more likely to stick with it than if I started it in January!

Other plans are to carry on with last years goal of accepting more invitations and going out and doing more, I have to say that was particularly successful.
I add to that spending more time in my garden which got sadly and shamefully neglected last year!
I also plan on upping the number of books I read, another thing like gardening, that brings me great joy and yet I never seemed to find the time or inclination for either last year.

Finally my itchy feet are urging me to travel states side again, I need an America fix, so that's another thing I need to work on.


Saturday, 3 January 2015

2014 Dress Round Up

I've been reading and enjoying quite a lot of blog round-ups so I pondered doing one for my blog.

Keeping in mind I mostly end up bleating on about things I've bought and combining this with my one 2014 New Year resolution that I did pretty good with ie; 'to shop less' I have compiled a frock round-up.

(when did I say this was going to make sense?)

Was a very restrained month and so it should have been bearing in mind that was when I made the resolution!
Delightful Purchase was :
The Hell Bunny Pirate Dress. I love this dress and we have had some great nights out together :)

Sewing Disaster :
I completely wrecked this Ebay purchase trying to take it in so it would fit me. It was just too big in size and in ambition, I had to throw it away *weeps*

This month had some great Charity shop purchases, having said that from those purchases.

Washing Disaster :
I completely wrecked this charity shop find by shrinking it in the wash. I tried turning it into a top instead but it was all twisted and weird so it also had to hit the bin too.

Frocky Horror : 
This silver and purple lurex delight was an Ebay purchase. It looked so pretty in the pictures, it looked fucking terrible on.
It went back on Ebay and winged it's way over to Poland at a slight loss to my pocket.

Shameful :
A brand new Hobbs dress for £12.99? yes please thought I. I haven't even tried it on, it's hanging in the wardrobe, it's still got it's tags on and I haven't even put it over my head. Disgraceful behaviour!

Again a very restrained month from me

Delightful Purchase :
Another Hell Bunny frock, this time it's the apple print one.

Frocky Horror :
Another Ebay purchase. Nothing wrong with the frock as such it just looked wrong on me somehow. I kept it for a while but knew I wouldn't wear it so I resold it, happily at a slight profit. 

A remarkably restrained month for me frockwise!

Delightful Purchase :
Lovely floral tea dress from Peacocks. The neckline needed mending so it was reduced. I'm not one for pastel shades as a rule but I decided to take a punt on this because it was pretty and it was a bargain, for once this turned out to be the right thing to do and I have worn it a lot to work.

This was the month of the giant tights (seen here with an ordinary length pair to give perspective!) Proof, if any is needed, that purchasing tights in Primark is a risky business. Since then I have found many, many people say the same thing.

No horrors this month but 3 Delightful Purchases :
 2 from my trip to Molly's Den in Bournemouth. I even managed to take the burgundy one in successfully!

and one from The Bloggers Meet in Sheffield.
Is a bumper month! Maybe I have to have a splurge every 6 months......hmm

Delightful Purchases :

Include a couple of cracking Charity shop purchases and another Peacocks tea dress.

Frocky Horror :

I think I was channeling the 90s with that checked dress, and to be fair I still like the fabric but dear lord it looked hideous on, just hideous. It went back to the charity shop from whence it came.

The red and black Pearl Lowe dress  was an Ebay purchases I was very excited to add to my collection of her dresses, but it just looked completely wrong on me and was also ridiculously short, so that got listed back on Ebay, can't remember if I cut even or made a slight profit on that one.

Shameful :

This very unusual handmade dress, another charity shop purchase that still hangs on it's hanger  and hasn't even been tried on. I honestly have no idea why I have this extreme reluctance to try on certain dresses. Quite frankly it's bizarre.

The month of my birth and when you consider that meant I had birthday money to spend a gentle month. This month also showcases my first 2 successful Ebay purchases, only took me 7 months!

Delightful Purchase :

Both spotty and both lovely. (I really must get a full length shot of the purple one it's fab) The black one came from the sales the purple one came from Ebay.

Sort off Frock Disaster :
An Ebay purchase from a while ago that only got worn this month. It was very smelly when it arrived and I learned that terrible lesson that some vintage clothes hold odours even after a good wash.
A few hours into wearing and this baby started to hum! I do still plan to wear it because it is lovely but I haven't yet because I now have the fear.

Definite Frocky Horror :
Why oh why do I still buy things in white or cream?? I can't wear either colour. This one went straight back on Ebay!

Another splurge month though with mixed success.

Delightful Purchase :
2 new dresses from Peacocks

 A charity shop find, a dress from New Look's Tall collection and a lovely black Pearl Lowe number.

Frocky Horror :

Both of these checked dresses looked terrible on. The first one (from Collectif) got butchered and is now a delightful swing skirt, The second one from River Island got sold on Ebay.

A fairly successful month and another winning Ebay purchase!

For some reason I never wear midi dresses but I saw this one on Ebay and took a punt, plus another couple of Hell Bunny dresses.

Disaster :
A sad disaster indeed was this Peacocks Owl print tea dress. I wore it once and it looked lovely, I washed it and most of the colour came out :(
I took it back and it turned out they had had a problem with the fabric so they refunded me. Bah.

Not a single frock was purchased this month!?!

I did buy some bags though, and one of them in Paris no less *happy sigh*

Another fairly restrained month

Delightful Purchase :

Though the second one is still waiting to have it's armpits fumigated!

Frocky Horror :
Frankly this dress needs a woman with a magnificent bosom to do it justice and that woman is definitely not me. It will shortly be winging it's way across the ocean to someone I'm hoping will do it the full justice it deserves.

Two naughty Ebay purchases, both by Hell Bunny that were at a price to good to resist but have yet to be worn.

So what does this round up show me?

1. I have actually done pretty damn well with my shop less resolution.

2. I have a thing Hell Bunny dresses!

3. Peacocks and Hell Bunny seem to sell dresses that fit me well and suit my style and taste.

4. I really need to be much more careful about my Ebay purchases!