Sunday 28 February 2016

Erstwilder and a Little Magpie Magic

It's kind of funny that I decided to write this post right when there have been a few blogs recently raving about Erstwilder jewellery. Specifically in their cases about the new picnic collection, which if I'm honest I haven't even looked at yet!

I first can across this fab Australian brand last year when I bought a brooch of theirs from our little gen of  a vintage shop in town.

 Later in the year I spotted their Hedgehog brooch in Greenwich, and nearly died at the price the chi-chi boutique it was in was charging for it.
So  I went online and ordered it and a very cute elephant brooch via an outlet store on Ebay. Both brooches and postage from Oz were still cheaper than the cost of the one brooch in London!

Towards the end of last year I spotted this brooch online
I'm not going to lie, I wanted it badly!

Cue much searching to try and track it down. I'm guessing it must have been from an older range because I could only find one via an Australian seller on Ebay. Again it worked out cheaper to buy two brooches which qualified me for free postage so I also chose this
 I have always had a soft spot for Cardinals ever since I first saw one of these amazing colourful birds in the wild in America.

The downside of the purchase was this time round I got caught with a hefty customs bill (insert much bad language here on my part) which made these two brooches a costly indulgence!

Around the time I was tracking down the pirate ship brooch I did find a website for a U.K stockist
Carnation Collectables 
I did end up ordering a couple of things there too, at a much later date than the above ones I will hasten to add, contrary to brooch buying appearances I am not made of money.

Whereas the Aussie ones took weeks to arrive plus the customs delay. The lovely lady at Carnation Collectables had my brooches to me in 2 days, and how is this for a mad coincidence?
When she emailed to say they were on their way she mentioned that not only did she only live 4 miles down the road from me, she was also the stockist for the vintage shop in town!
If I ever wanted another brooch from the website to just drop her an email and she would pop it into the shop so I could collect it and not pay postage. What a star.

So what did I buy off her?
Giggles the gorilla
and a rather gorgeous bluebird.

I know these brooches won't be for everybody. They are quite big, quirky and colourful, but frankly that is pretty much what I look for in a brooch. I wear one every day to work and I know I shall enjoy wearing these.

Whilst we are on the subject of brooches by sheer amazing good fortune I managed to find the one that I have had on my wishlist and then on my 'ones that got away list' for well over a year now.
I had been cursing myself for not buying it when I first saw it because it went out of stock very, very quickly and never came back in stock even though I kept checking regularly.
Anyway all this time later, there I was browsing the Museum Selection website for a couple of birthday presents and could not quite believe my eyes that they had my dream brooch listed as 'in stock' I ordered that baby as fast as my fingers could type in my card details! (I did buy the birthday presents too, it's not all just about me.)

 An Art Deco Magpie was there ever a more perfect combination?

I would say my brooch collection is now complete but that would be a Big. Fat. Lie.

But I think I will lay off the brooch purchases for a wee while, and just sit here admiring and stroking this one whilst holding it very tight.

My Precious.

Sunday 14 February 2016

What Vintage means to me.

I suspect this will be quite a rambling post so apologies in advance. Whilst cooking the bolognese part of a spaghetti bolognese for our dinner tonight I was stirring and pondering what Vintage means to me. 
This has been prompted by not only reading a back issue of In Retrospect magazine (yes I was very late to that party! but what a great read it is) and the book I am currently thoroughly enjoying ‘Bang Your Head – The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal by David Konow’ not an obvious link I know, but bear with me!
In the magazine they were discussing whether the 80’s and 90’s should be considered vintage and in the book we have just reached the mid 80’s where metal was becoming huge and outlandish outfits and huge hair were all the rage, and this is where my brain kicked in with it’s thought process
I have made no secret of the fact I was a huge Glam Metal (Hair Metal) fan back in the day like many of my generation on the vintage scene we have come round to vintage via rock, punk or goth.

I was a skint art student who wanted to dress like her favourite bands I couldn’t afford to buy new so I scoured jumble sales and second hand shops. Here I found gold. 
My first purchase was a fabulous turquoise satin 1930’s men’s dressing gown, oh how I wish I still owned it now! 
I regret to say have no idea what happened to it, I suspect it literally got worn to death but like to think of it making a bid for freedom one night, tired of being covered in spilt beer and fag ash, of being knocked around and sweated on in the mosh pit, it was designed for cocktails and cigarette holders and laughs round the piano after all. I like to think it is genteelly living it up somewhere safe from my mistreating clutches. 
Another item was a 1960’s powder blue lace coat that I bought along with it’s matching elegant lace dress in a thrift shop. I loved it, my Mother loathed it, I didn't realise quite how much she loathed it until she admitted many years later to deliberately washing it too hot and shrinking it. 
I haven’t a clue what I did with the matching dress and again I curse myself for my lack of forethought in keeping it safely.
Among the items I still own are a tailcoat and matching waistcoat, (now over 100 years old!) a navy pinstripe waistcoat, various white dress shirts and a drawer of accessories. 
Delicate elbow length black lace gloves and pretty scarves and shawls of differing ages, all of these items went through the ordeal of pubs and clubs, beer, cigarettes, late night chips and drunken staggers or crawls home. Not what they were designed or made for at all!  
Back in the 80’s vintage clothes were in abundance and prices were cheap, I started out buying them because it was all I could afford and ended up loving mixing old and new, studs and bullet belts over Victorian lace was what it was about for many of my friend's at the time. 
With hindsight I think that is why I still happily mix it up now, new and repro with genuine vintage, and why I don’t understand the people who have a cow when they see someone dressed that way rather than top to toe genuine pieces. 
I recall someone getting their knickers in a twist about girls walking into her vintage shop in head to toe high street their outfit hideously completed in her eyes with a gorgeous vintage bag, she refused to serve them. 
I, very politely for me it must be said, pointed out that maybe that person was simply a collector of handbags?
The owner of the store felt the only way to do such a bag justice was to only ever wear the correct era outfit when using it, I disagree, a fabulous outfit from any era, can be finished to perfection with a gorgeous vintage bag, whilst also show off that bag as it deserves to be shown.

I know I’ve mentioned before that even if I did want to dress in true vintage from top to toe my height and girth make it pretty much an impossibility, there weren’t many tall fat women in the 1930’s or 40's and the few that there were didn't wear the kind of frocks I want to wear. I will admit I probably would wear more authentic vintage if I were a teeny tiny but I'm not so there it is.

Yes I love to frock up as much as the next person, but more often than not I’m up to my elbows in a wheelbarrow of compost or cleaning the bath, and frankly jeans and a hoody give me the comfort of movement I require for these tasks,
When I do finally get off my backside I’m very much one for getting stuck in and not worrying if I rip things or cover them in paint or mud.
Also if I’m honest, quite often I simply can't be arsed. I sit here typing now in jeggings and a huge purple jumper. Why? because it’s Sunday, I’m having a lazy day and frankly these were the nearest items to hand when I crawled out of bed this morning. I haven’t even brushed my hair, mind you for some reason I always forget to brush my hair, so that’s not necessarily me being lazy. 

I feel I can express myself more wearing a mix of clothes and eras. I know I would feel horribly stilted and trapped were I to dress one way for the rest of my life. I love clothes and fashion (even if you would never guess it from the shambling mess that types before you!) I love reading the blogs I follow and seeing the writers in the amazing vintage they have found, I kind of admire the ones who are true vintage wearers 24/7 but I know it's not for me.   

Thus endeth my Sunday ramble, I'm off to do the washing up. Time and Fairy Liquid wait for no woman.

Friday 5 February 2016

Crime Uncovered and The January Sales.

I have just got back from the Enthralling The Crime Museum Uncovered exhibition at the Museum of London. The first time ever items from the Metropolitan police's 'Black Museum' were on display to the public.

All the items have been kept carefully catalogued since the 1870's when the museum was first created  by a serving policeman. (we both suspect the officer in question was really a frustrated Librarian, we instantly recognised a kindred spirit in his meticulous cataloguing!)

The museum has always been used as a tool for training new detectives and it was absolutely fascinating to be lead through the history of crime detection, via the particular cases which lead to, or individual officers who developed, the techniques of detection that are still used today.

And of course from a ghoulish voyeuristic point of view, seeing the hair (still wrapped around it's curler) of one of Dr Crippen's victims, or the gall stones of one of the acid bath victims sends a delicious shiver down the spine.

Having said that I found many items extremely sobering. The death mask cast of a hanged man where you could clearly see the imprint of the rope on the neck or the tools of the trade carefully packed into the executioner's case.
The stockings that had to be cut from a strangling victim's neck where you could clearly see that the heel had carefully darned more than once I found particularly poignant.

All in all a great exhibition.

Now onto more frivolous things!

My January sales shopping. There wasn't loads, but more than I planned when I got sucked into looking at the Collectif website. As a rule I don't shop there, After a few disasters I conclude I'm simply the wrong shape for their clothes, and yet I ended up buying a frock, I haven't tried it on yet, (even though I ordered it at the end of December it only arrived this week!) I loved the look of it and it seems a forgiving shape, we shall see.....
I also couldn't resist a couple of cardigans

 I know I'll get wear out of both of them anyway!

I bought 2 Hell Bunny dresses, I know I'm on safe ground with them.
I have this dress in 4 colourways now and this one was mine for £10.
A new summer holiday frock :)
I bought this frock for £4.99 in Peacocks, perfect for wearing to work.
Finally I bought this anchor print shirt in Sainsbury's when they had one of their 25% off all clothes deals.
 I got a bracelet from Accessorize that was broken and they didn't have any more so I ended up exchanging it for this bag.
and on the subject of bags I found this fabulous little green beauty on Ebay, it made me very happy.
lastly I shall leave you with this t-shirt Himself bought me for Christmas
Who you gonna call?