Saturday, 30 October 2010

Old Allo's Eve

Hello Blogettes!
I hope you are suitably hungover from your recent visit from the Absinthe Fairy, for those of you that ventured to Don't Dali with the Devil shindig on Saturday night?
I shall be keeping a close eye out for a veritable feast of pictorial delectable!

Yes -  it's that time of year again! Thankfully I have been on holiday this past week (post to follow) and so have dodged the early (greedy) local kids who try their luck begging for sweets. I also live on the 3rd floor and so it is always a bit of a struggle for them. Maybe if they gave up the 20 Marlborough Red a day,  cut back on the chips, dressed up in more than their hoodie and were proper CHILDREN - they would receive a more welcome reception? Alas.

Anywhos. Enough of the ranting and more of the celebration that is Samhain. If you have read my "About Me" blurb at the top right of the page, then you will have spied that I am Pagan. And as such Samhain (pronounced Sah-wen)  is what I call Hallowe'en. It's not all pumpkins, trick or treat and plastic ghost outlines. There is an underlying, bona fide religious festival beneath all the commercial (but incredibly fun) guff. When I was more outwardly Pagan than I am now, I would happily decorate, carve a pumpkin or a turnip, make a pumpkin cake (never a turnip cake -  that would just be wrong)...yadda, yadda. But in my new 1940's skin, my opinions and the way I recognise the day have shifted to become a little less ... err... obvious... and alot more in keeping with how I present myself to the world.

I'm ready!!

I have always marked this day for what it is - a day to remember The Dead. For years gone by it has been family members that I have known, loved and lost. This year I have done things a bit differently.

Poppies I captured outside the Arras Memorial where my Gramps is on the wall to the Missing

On account of my image change, the WW1 trip to France earlier this year, along with the 70th anniversaries of The Battle of Britain and The Blitz  - I have gone for a more Poppy themed alter. Something that I would usually reserve for Remembrance Sunday. In fact -  I shall possibly leave this in situ until after the 14th Nov.  I shall be thinking about my G-G-Grandad who was lost in WW1 and those who fought or sheltered and died during those pivotal events in 1940.

Poppies, trench art, pic of Gramps and a WW2 enamel candle holder

I know it is not much of an alter, in fact it is just a fireplace but I have come to the conclusion that it doesn't need to be much. In fact -  the hearth is the perfect place for it. Nor does it need to be adorned in resin figures of Goddesses or Gods. Or a pentacle. Not that there is anything wrong with those. In fact -  some of them are rather nice. My altars used to be swathed in things like that -  in fact, my whole world did -  but like I said, I am more reserved about it now. I have a small permanent alter in the kitchen and for a bigger occasion the hearth gets the celebratory treatment too. And it makes me no less a Witch in doing so. This is something it has taken me a long while to realise.

 And that's me for the day.
I am celebrating and remembering those people who gave their life for us as a nation.
Be that in 1914 or 1940.
 Soldier or Civilian.

We Will Remember Them

Monday, 18 October 2010

Seeing Red....

No, not anger. I actually have nothing to rant about ("WHAT!!??" I hear you cry). 

I know.

Shocker -  but truth.

This is a post about my hair. And its recent colour change. I started to think about it after reading Ivy Black Chat's post about what to do with her own locks and it started me thinking on mine. And for me there is only ever one option when it comes to a bottle of dye, plastic gloves and a pack of baby wipes.

So. I hit Superdrug and came back with one of their own brand permanent colours. 
Its called "Hot Red"  and cost me a whopping £2.49, which probably means that they are set to discontinue it soon. BOO. Whilst it did not go the colour on the box (which I am quite thankful for) it did go red. As in you can see it from a distance red. In fact -  the red I have been dreaming of having a head of since I saw a girl with the same colour in Lyme Regis about 6 years ago.

Now -  for some reason any pictures of it do not do it justice. In fact it looks distinctly ginge round the edges. But, think Rose from Titanic all over and you are somewhere close. When I walked into work this morning people commented. In a good way. Which pleased me immensely.

But what pleased me more, and something I was a little worried about was whether or not it would clash with my staple red lipstick. I usually wear a cheapy, but long lasting and non chapping lippy from Asda. I am a busy girl and have to grab what I can when I can. And if that happens to be a huge supermarket chain then, regrettably, so be it.  However, on reading various posts around blog land on different war paints, I decided to branch out. Not too far though. The shade I am wearing here is called "Showbiz" (which automatically makes me want to do jazz hands for some reason) and is 17's Lasting Finish at Boots. It is nicely shaped (tilted to make me feel like a grown up!) and goes on smoothly. It can be a little dry though -  but does last all day.
Anyway - being in a autumnal type of mood and with glorious chilly sunny walking weather awaiting me and my russet barnet I headed off to enjoy the delights of a local beauty spot, Headly Heath. Me and The Beard go walking there quite a lot, avoiding the cows that always seem to be overly interested in me. The must be able to smell my fear. Horses I can handle. Cows I prefer on a plate, medium rare.

Strolling along feeling very "at one", I noticed a couple up ahead taking photos. Of me. Granted, I do not look like your average Rambler -  but an ask would have been nice. They disappeared so I never got to ask them about it. Maybe they thought they had seen a time traveller?

*Jacket & skirt via charity shop rummage*
*Jumper & Brogues via Primark*
With Memphis the-I'm-all-better-now-thanks-to-the-£120-trip-to-the-vets pushka a sleeping on the bed and a holiday at the end of the week (Hay-on-Wye won't know what's hit it -  neither will my savings!) posts shall be on the light side this week and next.

I am nearly at 30 followers which not only blows my mind, but is more than deserving of a give away.  As is tradition of blogging type persons. Once it hits the big 3-0 I shall post one.
I shall snaffle something suitable in Hay I am sure.

Hope you all had a splendid weekend? Thanks for popping over to see me!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Jam Packed - Part Deux!

 I am just about over my sleep deprivation -  possibly on account of having fallen asleep on the sofa at 4pm. I then woke up at 6pm, totally disorientated by the light levels outside and thinking it was the morning. Thus tricking myself into believing that I have had an extra full nights sleep! Most excellent.

So -  where were we. Ah yes. The rammed weekend of last.

Sunday I travelled up to Alexander Palace to attend the Knitting and Stitching Show. I had not been to anything like this before -  so was not too sure what to expect. I have to say, it scored a 7/10 from me, with a view to going next year. I don't think I have been in a place with SO many women! And we were there for so long, I am surprised we didn't all synchronise our cycles. Oh the elbow of the older lady can be sharp when she HAS to have THAT button in the little glass ramekin. If my respect for the elderly was not so high, I would have beaten her with her own walking stick (that also turned into a chair -  and possibly a broomstick)

Annnnnnnnnnyway. There were lots of lovely bits on display - and what other way to show them than a piccy or 12?

The grand entrance. There were a fair few men outside looking longingly to the horizon. Or sobbing quietly in the corner.

Not every ones cup of Tetley -  but my favourite pieces of the whole show. An inspired display conveying WW1 history and the artists creativity.

Beautiful pill hats -  oh if only the designer had not been watching - there would be a picture of me sporting one of these!

A beautiful wool dress -  which looked to me to be straight from a keen 1940's knitter with several ration books worth of yarn. Please read the below for the true inspiration...

I love this piece. So simple, but so effective.

Fully made dresses (mine never seem to get cut out on the pattern -  let alone made!) on the McCalls -  or was it Simplicity? -  stall. No danger of getting anywhere near the patterns that were for sale. Those sharp elbows were out again and I NO patience left.

Now - this I could do. Maybe. One day. If I meet a Genie and he grants me a wish.

And this? Well. I think it speaks for itself!

And there you have it. I did not leave empty handed. Oh no no no. I still had money to burn from Saturday's failed Spitalfields trip. I grabbed some crafty bits for some projects I am working and then I literally stumbled upon Mrs Bear's Swap Shop.
Now  -  I had seen a notification of this on FaceAche -  but as I didn't have anything to "swap", I didn't take all that much notice. Until I saw that they had things for SALE. A hop, skip and a swish later and I was in a changing room. £40 lighter and these beauties were mine...


I shall post me wearing them at some stage. Promise.

This weekend? I am planning one with less packing and more jam.
Preferably on a croissant.

Have a good one folks!

Scavenger Hunt!

I was tagged! Sounds like fun so I thought I would play along - plus it means I don't have to think too hard about what to write, considering I am having a fairly pap day (have been told today that we need new boiler and the cat has taken drastically ill with a week to go before I head off to Hay-on-Wye *sigh*)

So.. here goes...

Tell Everyone Who tagged You: Miss Magpie's Musings

Find and post the following items:

Your Favourite YouTube Video:Will Ferrell in The Landlord

A photo of something that will make people say 'awwwww' :

I think he's pretty "cute"? Admittedly he makes me go "oooooooooooh YUM" instead of "awwwww" (ok ok -  not strictly in the kitten or puppy catagory -  but he IS a lonely vamp with over a thousand years of history rolling round in his brain -  albeit a dead one)

A Funny T-Shirt :

Well -  it made me smile.

Something Geeky:

And my knowledge of them

An Image From Your Favourite Movie:

The Last Unicorn -  my favourite movie as a child.

The Green Mile -  my favourite movie as an slightly more grown up child.

A Link to the Newest Blog You've Discovered:-

A Picture of Something on your Wishlist:
I found out recently that my Great-Great-Grandmother was sent a "Death Penny" when my Gramps was killed in action in 1917. It is in the family... somewhere.

Tag 3 other blogs:

Happy Friday!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Jam Packed - Part 1

Sorry for the delay dear readers. I don't know where this week is going!!

Unfortunately, there was no lay in for me over last weekend. Not a chance. And I am still suffering for it. Big time.  I had a jam packed weekend -  and the result is that I feel like a zombie. My nails are painted, the lipstick is on, but no body is home. I fiercely want to be asleep.

But -  this is all because I had a super busy weekend. So this might be a "grab a cup of tea and a sticky bun" kind of post. It would seem that maybe I should not have ruled No More Ice Cream as soon as I did. The weather this weekend, for the most part was unseasonably, but more than welcomely, glorious! And I spent it bargain hunting at Camden market on Saturday, catching up with a DVD series, which kept me up until 2am -  and then up and out by 9.30am (!!!!) to the Stitching and Knitting Show at Alexander Palace on Sunday. I am now a poor, tired church mouse. *sigh*

On Saturday I headed off in good time to meet my chum at Liverpool Street -  only to be scuppered and delayed bt an hour due to a station evacuation and long delays (so the hand scrawled note on the white boards told me - get a dotmatrix board Mr Tube -  this is the 21st century!) I emerged a stressed, hot, grumpy moo. Until I saw this.....

A memorial to the children of the Kinder-Transport which enabled approximately 10,000 Jewish children to escape Nazi Germany during the 1930's. Many of them arrived at Liverpool Street station and were then placed in British foster homes.

After a calming down and cooling off period, I headed off to SpitalFields market. I had money to burn and I was ready to strike the match!  I could not wait!! I was so excited!! 
It was shut. Yes, shut. Closed. Unopen. On a Saturday?! Nothing was mentioned on the website -  and no one seemed to know why. Disappointed did not cover it. So we settled on a butchers around a local vintage/retro shop -  Absolute Vintage.

It looked promising to me from the outset and was chocka-block with items -  but with no sizing on any hangers or garments that I could see (why is that? I am noticing it alot lately? Not just there -  but everywhere? Surely measurements of S, M, L could be taken?) it made for a difficult search -  especially with Salt 'n' Pepa slamming out of the speakers. I wasted my time trying on a 4 dresses that looked like they would fit (this is where some vague sizing would come in handy -  although I notice that there is sizing on the website?) I did find a beautiful 80's does 40's jumper - but with its fixable-but-not-worth-full-price 6 moth holes and no sign of anyone budging on asking price (£18), I left empty handed.

Moving on. We decided to head off to Camden. Our usual stomping ground. The tube was working a treat, the tourists were, well, being tourists, the sun came out, and we settled down to a nice little bit of curry by The Lock. We finished up, gave our rubbish to a cheery binman and headed off to St Cyr Vintage.

I have been in there before and have always found something I liked, but not enough to buy. But this time I found not one but TWO items to love and cherish. Perfect condition, more than reasonably priced and smelling clean and fresh. AND sizing on all items. This meant that I could try stuff on that might actually have a shot of fitting. 

Oooh its SO pretty!!


This picture does the dress NO justice. It looks like a shapeless mess. I'll pop a picture up when I have taken the hem down and put it on.

But, for me, it was the wonderful gals that work there. They know their stuff, they dress the part, they love the eras and they were happy to not only zip me up but to also chat away long after they had made the sale. In all? A thoroughly stocked shop owned and staffed by ladies who know their vintage.

So -  that's the first install. I am having problems with uploading pics at the moment -  so once that has sorted itself out -  there will be
a Part Deux!
Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Land Girl Poetry

I have been known, in my time, to jot a spot of poetry. However, I would not want to lose friends and allienate people by tippy-tappy-typing it out for all to see. Oh no. I shall leave it where it is -  in a special book, on a special shelf at the top of a locked wardrobe. Its much safer there. Out of sight, out of mind.

I am here to waffle about a wonderful  recent edition to my "Aged Book" collection. When I used to live near Glastonbury, the big book shop at the bottom of the highstreet was by one of my favourite potterments. Wandering and wondering about the books on the creaking shelves was a perfect way for me to escape. And right up at the top of the store, there was a really old book section. I love books that have a name in the front, scribbled in ink in some unimaginably perfect handwritting, dedicated and dated. I have gathered many a book from there, the oldest being a 1909 copy of The Tempest. Alas, the shop closed down in the mid 00's, which I think is a great loss to the town.

Hence the upcoming trip to Hey-on-Wye -  I need an "old tome" fix. Thankfully I do not have to travel all the way way to Wales each time I get a musty book itch -  as EBay has been known to come to the rescue. And this is where the below gem surfaced from.

It is not inscribed. But it is rare. And it is green. And, most importantly, it is for Land Girls, by Land Girls. With a forward by Vita Sackville-West and poetry by women from all over the country at various points during the war -  it is one of my favourite books. I possibly paid over the odds for it -  but I don't care. It stands as a testement to their personal experiences and I am so pleased I lurked for it!!

And on such an Autumnal (ooh how I love that word!) I thought that I would share a little snippet with you all. It makes me think of days like today, when it is so lovely outside. And yet, 70 years ago, the world I love to emulate, was a different place all together. I have quoted 2 major stanzas of the poem..

October 1940
By Audrey Hewlett
East Sussex

October, with the magic of her brush,
Has washed the landscape with a thousand hues;
The grasses in the bog are green and lush,
And rosy berries cheer the sombre Yews.
The dusk falls gently as flake of snow
And silently -  until a fearful sound
With moanings fills the air that louder grow
And shatter all the peace above, around
The wailing siren with its message dread,
Is heralding the enemies of the Right,
Whose monsters come to claim their living bread
And make a phantom of the quiet night.

Makes you think, doesn't it?

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

No more Ice Cream

... Or Pimms, late evenings where you don't realise the time or shut the balcony door until way after dark, or walks along Brighton sea front in a light cotton dress on a Saturday afternoon with the The Beard. Alas, summer is no longer dying -  I believe it has croaked. *Sigh*

But -  with all the woolen knits and lushious retro inspired coats out there, we have something left to look forward to, right gals? I am throwing myself into preparations for a trip to Wales in a few weeks and trying to plan vintage, yet warm and practical walking outfits so that I can skip around Hey on Wye in a stylish, yet warm and waterproof way. Wish me luck.

But I am digressing. This post was meant to be more a goodbye to summer. And more to the point, goodbye to my summer dresses. I went a bit dress-mental this summer. I confess. I should be ashamed, but I'm not. I thrifted all of them and saved a wodge of cash in the process whilst helping various charities (when their prices were right). Hurrah!  The obsession began when I started to lose weight at the beginning of Feb. 30 + pounds later and my whole shape has changed. Not only am I more confident, but the diamonds in the rough I find in charity shops or on ebay actually fit!

There have been my favourites which shall stand me in good stead for next summer as they can be taken in (I have another 20lbs to go until goal) ...

Apologies for the same hair do and the fact that I appear to look like a man in the last pic. I can assure you I'm not - I was squinting at the sun.

And then there are the pieces that I just didn't get a chance to wear. Reasons being that they were either a tad small when I got them and I thought "this will fit in a couple of weeks" and then promptly forgot all about them. Or I just plain forgot. And I fear that by the time next summer heaves into view, I shant be heaving myself anywhere as I will be at goal weight and the forgotten frocks will need to be adapted or re-sold. Oh for shame.

So -  in the mean time -  here are some (shoddy) pics of my favourites. Well.. obviously not that favourite -  or I would have blummin' worn them!

Way too small. Serves me right for thinking I could loose weight chomping on
Cadbury Caramel Nibbles.

Lovely yellow day dress, to be worn with belt. Didn't do up over the chestage.

One of my faves -  but could not get it done up at the back without assistance. Shall fit like a dream

My absolute fave. 1950's, I know, but how could I resist for such a good price? And it spoke to me. I had to have it. And then forgot about it *weep*

So there you have it. They have all been carefully packed away for next year. Ahh -  the joy of a vintage styling of oneself -  things are never last season!

What laments have you got from this summers frocks?

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Razed to the Sea - Hastings Pier

How sad. How very very sad. Having spent many a happy childhood holiday in Hastings -  I am appalled to hear news of the Pier being destroyed by a fire in the early hours of this morning. I know that it closed in 2006 due to safety concerns and that it was likely to be redeveloped. I for one think that was a good thing, depending on what was planned for the site.

But now it has all but gone. A huge chunk of local and national history cindered and tattered. Opening in 1872 on what was the first Bank Holiday in the UK, it has bore the weight of countless footfalls from across the ages. This is one of the things I love about old piers. The wooden slats -  especially if they are original.  I wonder about who walked there before me, how long ago? Were they enjoying a penny ice at the time? Did they drop anything through the slats and race down to the underneath to retrieve it? There they would have seen the huge construction that went into piers - once clean and new, now standing proud with billions of barnacles and other such shelled creatures clinging to its legs. And the coolness under there. There is nothing quite like it, is there?

There is some speculation over how the fire started. I am sure the truth will out. But in the mean time -  what a loss to us all. Depending on how much has been salvaged by the fire crews, perhaps it would be nice to leave it as a monument? I think this works perfectly in Brighton, where the same thing happened in 2003. Coincidentally, Hastings and Brighton West pier were designed by the same person, Eugenius Birch.  The remains now stand out to sea as a (slightly) eerie echo of the past.

And I personally would rather have something to remind me, rather than empty space.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Mark up Queens

And Kings. This is not a gender biased post. It is, however, a little ranty and a tad long. Get a cuppa.

I shop at charity shops, car boots and ebay. Mostly second hand, that to me, looks on the money for the 1940's time traveller I aspire to be. I rarely buy vintage  - unless I am knocked unconscious by its loveliness -  like my green 1950's handbag that I found at Vintage at Goodwood. £35 to me was on the "HOW MUCH???!" side -  but, when I came to, it was mine. Opps.

I trust myself to know the value of something. And I usually do it by trying to imagine how much something like the thing I am oggling would cost me new. And that usually makes my decision for me. It has saved me a lot of money, and nabbed me some bargains. Vintage & retro has become popular, nay, fashionable over the last couple of years. Which is great on one hand, because there is a lot more to chose from out there by way of, for example, shoes and coats for this chilly season.


But... but ... but. It also means that alot of places that used to be full of bargains galore have thought ..."hang on a cotton picking... we could make MORE out of this?!" Charity shops I sit on the fence about. I think I feel bad for not wanting to pay more for something,  my heart whispering to me that the money is going towards helping people, but my brain is screeching at me "ITS SECOND HAND!!! YOU COULD BUY A NEW ONE FROM MARKS FOR LESS!!!" And all because its 80's and had some cute beading on it. These things were donated -  not sourced. Surely-  in a charity shop -  it being older should mean its cheaper? And don't put it on a special marked up rail or shelf. That just yells "get your old overpriced goods here"

Now -  as a previous member of the self employed melee, I am all for making profit. If I had made more if it -  I would still have my membership card. So -  I waiver on proper vintage shops, virtual and on the high street. Such as Tuppance Ha'Penny's  ,  Penny Dreadful's  or Baroness Von Vintages's etsy shops (I am in no way affiliated with these ladies -  I just happened to notice that they have a good range of vintage wears for sale at realistic prices) These lovelies know their stock. They live and breathe it. I don't believe them out to dupe or cheat anyone. I have also found more than fair prices on Ebay (various shops available) and also at the plethora of vintage and retro places in the likes of Camden.

Again. BUT. There are those that mark up for marking ups sake. They find a bargain in a charity shop, take it home, clean it and then put a stupid price on it. And I mean stupid. And how do I know its from a charity shop? Because it still has the St-whatevers-Hospice tag on it, advising me that the now £65 mirror actually cost the seller £12. That mark up is so much -  I cannot even calculate it. And invariably walk away.
But its the likes of the "shabby-chic-vintage-retro" stalls and shops that sell any old toot and expect the red lippy, pin curl brigade to bludgeon their fellow vintage sisters (or misters) with their handbags (or man bag satchels) to get to their stock, that really grip my shit. Or worse. 

You are at the car boot and you overhear someone asking "how much for this cardigan" The reply is a more than reasonable "£1". You close you eyes, hold your breath and repeat the mantra "walk away from it... you don't need it... I do!" It works!!! She leaves and you pounce. You get out your gold nugget and take it over to the seller. You say "£1, yes?" and the reply is "No -  that one is £4" She smiles sweetly and says "I love your look, that cardigan would really suit you".  You realise she is being savvy because of the way you dress, and that, as a vintage gal, she thinks you will adjust your headscarf and hand over the money .You punch her and go in search of The Beard for a roll up.
Why do people assume that, because we dress the way we do, that we are unaware of the value of things? Or when we are being rear-ended? Am I to dress in joggers and a hoody just so that I am treated fairly when purchasing something? (that thought has just made me feel a little sick)

Then again, maybe it is all fair game? I was recently in a shop in a rather hoypaloy type area. For sale was an "antique patchwork blanket". So I thought "why isn't that behind glass?" and promptly strolled over to have a closer stroke. I stopped in my tracks when I saw the clearly 1970's material. And lots of it. I nearly fainted when I saw the price tag, that informed me that it was made in 1870 something and it would set me back over a grand. I was outraged at, effectively, being lied to. And then I remembered where I was and the type of money that the average customer would have at their disposal. If people don't know what they are looking at and have cash to splash, and more to the point want something purely because it is labelled "antique" or "vintage" -  is it right for them to have the patchwork pulled over their eyes?

What say you? Have you had a similar experience? What drives you crazy about  searching for a vintage life in a modern world?


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