Saturday, 27 November 2010

5 years back...

... I met my lovely man, The Beard. We had known each other for a few years before we got together and we moved into each others lives on a permanent basis 3 years ago.

And to celebrate, said Beard organised a day out in a (windy and rainy) Londinium, which is only a 30 min train ride from us in leafy Surrey. Well, it should have been. But we were delayed. Boo hiss. I had no idea what we were doing for the day and was fretting over my outfit choice. It was fairly warm (this was on the 5th November - before the mercury shrunk in the UK!) and I had been advised to wear flats. So -  I went with this... (with a mac)

Dress - vintage from Mrs Bears... Belt - H&M ...Shoes - (just out of shot) Brown brogues from New Look

I had no idea what we were doing. None. The Beard had offered to tell me a couple of times, and I had waivered -  but the truth is, I LOVE surprises. If he had told me, I would have been slightly gutted.
Ding Dong - 1pm

So, we rocked up alongside the Thames, a little further down from my usual haunt of the Embankment and the National Theatre. I think he might have taken me on a tube ride red herring -  as we could have walked to our destination...

Oooh!

Oh yes, my dears! He had only gone and booked a river trip upon Father Thames! I have a huge affinity with this river, always have. I gaze at it longingly when I am near it and I crane my neck to see it from the car if we happen to cross it. I cannot explain it. Its just always been there. So to be gliding down it was a spot on surprise!

Don't be fooled. That is not the sun trying to brake through. It's the reflection of the camera flash.

I got to see some spectacular sights from the water, some I know and love, and some I had not seen before.

A bandaged Tower of London. Fab to see it from the Thames.

One of my all time favourite places, third only to the Imperial War Muso and Hampton Court Palace is the Tower of London. I have to admit that I went off into a little dreamy world of Anne Boleyn travelling the same stretch of water all those years ago to meet her ultimate end. Poor old thing.

The Prospect of Whitby pub

This was something I had not seen before. And I proudly refer to myself as a "Londoner". I should be ashamed . There has been a pub on this site since 1543, although the original was destroyed by fire in the 1700's. Sounds nice, no? A real piece of history to have a pint in. Alas -  on looking at their website -  the reviews are none too friendly. But -  I cannot comment as, to get to this on the day I would have had to swim across. And that would have ruined my dress.

I have no idea about this housing complex  -  but I loved it.

Does anyone know anything about this complex? I would love to know its history. The "guide" on the trip made a vague reference to it -  but he didn't know what it was called. Pants.


There were many other snippets that stuck with me from the trip. Like the fact that Waterloo Bridge is known as "Ladies Bridge" as it was rebuilt by woman after it was hit by a German bomb in 1941. It is also the only bridge to be struck by enemy bombing during the war.

And the Mayflower Pub in Rotherhithe. According to our guide, part of the pub is built from the original boards of the Mayflower that took the Pilgrim Fathers to the Americas. I am not sure if this is fact or flannel from said guide. But what is true, is the the captain of the Mayflower, Christopher Jones, is buried near by.

Such a curvesome river

The cruise lasted about an hour and a half and took us all the way down to Greenwich. It didn't cost alot (about £8.50 I think) and is a perfect way to kill time on a rainy day or perhaps a date. Or just to see the landmarks you know from a different view point.



Ah ha!! The jig is up!

So we docked at Greenwich, right next to where the Cutty Sark once stood. The powers that be are working on salvage at the moment. Such a great loss. And it seemed to turn into a day of water transporters! The Beard proved that he does know me and had booked tickets for the new Titanic exhibition at the O2.

After clapping with glee and being strictly told "no photos" by someone who was about 12, I spent the next 2 hours pottering about in amongst some very aged but surprisingly preserved artifacts from the bottom of a brr-some Atlantic. Some of the bits are questionable - but that's just me being a grumpy cynic. But. The things that blew me away were thus:- a leather cigarette case containing 4 original Egyptian smokes and one of a kind perfume samples that were being transported to New York for potential marketing. They have them open in a perforated case so you can smell them. Don't get too excited. They smell like sea. A fausty sea at that. And finally a boot. Just one. I think this is what got to me the most. I know that someones foot was in that as they walked aboard the fated vessel for a new life and ended up at the bottom of the ocean with them still in it.

A restaurant that I have often passed on my way to The National. Great service and yummy steak.

We came out of the exhibition to a veritable monsoon and so decided against trekking to the Gordon Ramsey restaurant that the Beard had booked and chose somewhere closer to the station. I have often walked past Arch Dukes on my way to other things and thought it was just a groovy jazz bar. Which I am sure it is. But we just scoffed and left after having a melt in the mouth steak.

So -  all in all -  a top notch day out! Well done that Beard!    

Friday, 26 November 2010

Out with the old...

... in with the new. Well new-ish.

Being a tad skint after a Yule gift spend at the weekend -  well, before that if I'm honest -  I decided to recycle my old glasses. I needed new ones, but despite the offers from Mr Happy and the "you buy one, you get one free" scheme, I was not tempted. And I think that these new olds have a certain vintage look. Bonus!

Forgive the smirk.

And this is what I wore to work today. I do struggle with this sometimes. I work in a very relaxed smart/casual office, but I do worry sometimes about looking too "time warp". But not for very long.

Shirt & skirt via charity shop, belt & brogues via Primark. £20 in total.

And there you have it. New glasses and an outfit post. I realise that I don't do "today I am mostly wearing" posts very often. But I have a bunch in draft, so watch this space!

Monday, 22 November 2010

My inner Hippy

I say inner -  because she used to be a lot more outer.

Oh the years have not been kind. To be 22 again!
I am talking long peasant skirt, nose ring & bindi wearing , incense buring, general Pagan-ness. I used to mark Sabbats and the Moon with witchy abandon and read Tarot on a regular basis, mostly for charity. My biggest success with this was raising £300 for Medicines sans Frontiers after seeing a horrific news report about the rape of women by soldiers in a war torn part of the world (forgive me -  I forget where -  it was 7 years ago!) See, us pagan's don't sacrifice kiddies. The stains just don't lift from the carpets.(*wink*)

I also used to wear big floppy hats and much silver jewellery. Whilst walking around barefoot. And attending Folk music festivals.


I also used to do poke all with my hair, that once reached the middle of my back (and still did until the recent chop) except dye it various colours of red or the "crap-it-won't-fade-out-for-2-years!!" black (never again!) . I also have various discreet spiritual tattoos.

A la Vintage at Goodwood.

And then that changed. Not overnight, granted. But I do look totally different now to how I did 2 years ago. My 1940's transformation has been a gradual one. It started with hair experiments. And then clothes. And then it went full time. I had always held a love of all things WW2. I love other eras of history too - especially the Tudors, but somehow, I don't think that fashion would allow me room to move on the train. Or in fact out of the front door. And going to the lav would be neigh on impossible.


Now. Just because the obviousness of my beliefs have poofed in a puff of smoke from my daily wardrobe choices, doesn't mean that the hippyette I used to be isn't still kicking. I still hold faith with what I believe, but I don't spout about it. I also burn incense on a regular basis. Life is not complete without a bit of Nag Champa wafting about.

 But I'm focused on different things now and in a way I don't think I would be so transfixed with the Women from history, especially WW2, were it not for the feminine divinity of Paganism. And I am thankful for that -  for I honour them everyday in the way I dress.

We all must have had former lives before vintage took over -  what's yours?

Thursday, 18 November 2010

My favourite 40's frock

Well  -  40's inspired frock anyway.

Since reading Penny Dreadful's 40's tutorial and being mentioned at the bottom (unworthy! unworthy!) I thought I had better get some pics for your peepers. I have not done a proper outfit post before so I thought I would begin with this......

Do not be fooled. I am not an Amazon as I appear to be in this photo. I am but an average 5ft 6"

Originally from M&S and coming to me via a charity shop on the Isle of Wight this summer -  it is truly one of my treasures. Costing me a whopping £4.50 it is one of those dresses that I know I can wear in any season. My shoes are from Asda. Mid heel and 2 years old, they have lasted me well. I would repair them again and again if the need arose. The little bag is from a charity shop moons ago. Funnily enough I never forget a bargain and I know it cost me £2. Winner!

Earrings from Matalan of all places.

Close up shot of the hair. This is a do that I kind of made up after a bad "brushing out" session on my freshly curled hair. No matter how many tutorials I watch -  brushing out just does NOT work on my tresses. Which leads to fluffy stresses. So I just don't bother. I might occasionally just curl the bottom to limit the fluff but I usually sport what I refer to as "pre-peroxide Marilyn" curls or slightly tousled ones, a faux fringe a la Fleur de Guerre tutorial, or something like the above. I plan on working on the poodle up do soon. When I have a spare hour, lower blood pressure and upper arms of steel!

Due to the length of my hair (although I have recently had about 8 inches off!) I sculpt this up do with the help of a little bit of mousse. I tend to use "Studio" by L'oreal -  their new range is fab. This means that it is slightly damp to be able to create the rolls and it also dries hard-ish so that there are few fly aways. It also remains untouched by foggy, mizzle, cold or snow infested air! Most excellent!

And there you have it. My first outfit post. Hurrahs!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The House of Windsor ...

.... is about to get another addition! I am a fan of Royal history in general -  especially that of my very own British Monarchy. Love them or loathe them -  that is your personal choice. Me personally?  I would not be without them.  I could not give a hoot that they cost me £1 something or other a year. I would never see that money again anyway. And I am looking more than forward to the national celebrations that are sure to surround the matrimony that was announced this morning.

Miss Middleton follows in a long line of Consorts before her...

King George VI and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (aka The Queen Mother)

 
Dear old Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. Loving her jacket and brooch combo

Doomed from the beginning and too much dress for one woman!

Oddly -  I loved her outfit. I think it was classy and understated.

Ahh isn't he scrummy? I guess she can have him if she must *sigh*

Having a penchant for the Bearded fellows -  I could not resist this shot. Sorry -  drooling over now.


And a national celebration I sincerely hope it is. I can feel a tangible ripple of it now, sitting here eating a jacket potato (which I confess is the size of a small child -  NOM!!) at my desk. People are talking about it in a feverish way that only comes from excitement. Hurrah for them, I say.

We need a good street-party knees up -  one that I can actually remember. People went crazy for Elizabeth and Philip, Charles and Diana. My family photo album is littered with creased and aged photos of people toasting those happy Royals. I hope that we can do the same for Wills and Kate. 

A hearty congratulations to them both I say!

(*edited to add that this is not a post that is meant to cause offence to anyone. Nor are the comments. I have noticed that since posting I have lost a reader - which is a real shame.*)

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Moonlight Sonata

Coventry Blitz
70th Anniversary         
                                        
               

Although the focus of today for most is the Cenotaph for Remembrance Sunday, I wanted to post about a specific event during WW2 -  the destruction of Coventry.

It was not until last year that I had any idea what had happened there on a clear November night in 1940. And this was only through watching the BBC mini-drama "Land Girls" when one of the characters said that she was from Coventry. A hush fell over the group, but it was never explained. So I investigated. Now I do know - it is something that I shall not forget.

70 year ago today this ancient city was all but wiped from the map.


As the Heinkel's dropped their flares and fire starters, over 500 Luftwaffe bombers positioned themselves to drop over 500 tonnes of explosives on the city. The result was pretty much complete destruction, with over  60,000 buildings destroyed or damaged, 1,000 civilians injured and 600 dead. People did not stand a chance in amongst the old small streets to escape the firestorm that raged. The pattern of bombing was so effective that Goebbels later coined the term "Coventrated" -  meaning that another city had received the same effective bombing raid as Coventry.


Now  -  there is a myth that says that Churchill knew that the city was going to be bombed, as the whizz kids at Bletchley Park had deciphered the bombers code. But, he did not want to send any defence to intercept the raid, lest Nazi German intelligence realise that the code had been broken. There are many Churchill myths that make me raise an eyebrow -  who can say if this is fact or fiction? 


There is a new Cathedral in Coventry now, but the old one is left as a testament to what happened there 70 years ago today.


The city was the first to ever be twinned with another -  Stalingrad (now Volgograd in Russia) and later Dresden, by act of reconciliation and forgiveness. It is also twinned with over 25 other cities around the world.


In 1995, on the 50th Anniversary of the bombing, the above statue was presented to the site. "The Statue of Reconcillitaion" was carved by Josefina de Vasconcellos, a replica of which was given by the people of Coventry to the Peace Garden in Hiroshima.





Back to the cheery ranting as soon as!   
   




Thursday, 11 November 2010

Come and get it!

So. What feels like MANY moons ago - I said that I would run a give away when I hit 30 followers. Well -  waddaya know? I am currently sitting at 37 and clap with joy whenever I log in. I am thrilled that you gals & guys are interested in my waffling posts. Warms the cockles, so it does.

And what better place for me to nab some goodies than Hay-on-Wye? For those of you who have read the post -  you will know from my ventures that it is laden with goodies. 

Without further ado - up for grabs we have the following...

Vintage copy of Jane Eyre -  ooh smell its aged-ness!

Vintage steel grey suede and wool gloves -  I would say that they are a large (they must be if they fit my shovels) and are toasty warm being lined with wool! (i think its wool)

Original group shot of what I *think* are Attagirls -  but I could be wrong.
Needeless to say it is a delightful photo of women's WW2 history.



And what do you have to do to win these wholesome Hay goodies? Nothing more than follow my blog and post a comment telling me your favourite female from history and why.
It can be any era -  not just WW2.
Easy, no?

I will run the giveaway until November 30th and it's open worldwide.
There is a link at the top right hand side of my home page for easy finding.

Good luck!!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Hay! Hay! Hay!

Well hello there! I am back and have finally caught up with all the blog-tastic posts that I had missed out on whilst I was in the Beacons. You lot have been busy blogettes and I have loved every moment of my catch up over a cup of tea and a large helping of cake. Well.. I was still technically on holibobs. Nom nom nom. I apologise in advance for this shamefully pic heavy post.

So a couple of weeks ago I was mostly in Hay-on-Wye. Well -  just outside, staying in the fabulous Cae Marchog which I booked yonks ago in celebration of my upcoming 30th in December.  A group of friends, The Beard and I headed down there over 1/2 term week as one of the party is a teacher and could only do that week . Which meant that not only were we blessed with a lack of nipple-freezing cold weather (for the most part)which we would have suffered in December - but also the glorious colours of The Brecon Beacons in all it's Autumnal splendor.

View from the front door. Nice, no?

There was much eating, drinking and general merriment on the Friday night and then off to Hay for the 1st time of many over the week. It is a small town, but it is bursting with interesting things to appease a history, vintage geek such as myself. Having read Lauren's recent post over at Tea and Crumpets I was mildly excited. Who am I kidding? I was chomping at the bit.

So, first up was the wonderful Sage Femme.


I was complimented on my hair and dress (I will I never get used to that!) the moment I walked through the door and found myself inside the kind of shop I would love to own. Soft lighting and stacks of interesting bits. Some vintage, some second hand and mostly out of my price range. There was a stunner of a 1930's bag, but I could just not justify it. I left empty handed - but returned on the last day and grabbed this for just £5.


I also frequented The Olde Curiosity Shoppe, which, although rather dimly lit and bit hit and miss on the pricing side, delivered a heap of old curios to me on each visit.  Vintage gloves, magazines, cute storage boxes, linen, clothes - you name it, it's there. Be warned -  the next bit is pic-tastic.

It looks a tad naff here due to the weather - but it is a veritable trove.

oooooh, I say!

Lovely hats - totally impractical when it comes to Winter. But they sure do look puuurty!

 
Nice gloves for the summer. A bargainous £4

Yes. They are tatty. But boy are they vintage -  and a steal at £15 for the pair

I do love a bit of Royalty memorabilia from time to time. Both mine for £4. Kerching!

A veritable feast of aged adverts

The oldest magazine I could find. All the way from 1934. Most excellent.

I LOVE the advert on the back of this. Add a bit of custard and nom nom nom!

I did get a host of personalised books also -  my favourite kind of find. A seller could tell me that something is from 1921, say, -  but unless it is written in the front in a spindly hand scrawl -  you can forget it. I picked up these wonders....


I know it is a children's book -  but how could I resit illustrations like this?

Plus -  it had such a lovely inscription. Mine for £5. And there were STACKS of them.

Another children's book. I think I was channelling Enid Blyton when I bought this for £3

And oooh how I love the inscription

And then -  well -  just general pottering about in and out of the wealth of quirky shops that Hay has to offer.  I did this on and off over the course of the week. I loved the Honesty Book Shop in the Castle Grounds, along with the fantastic array of old random photos and postcards that they had for sale in their shop (scans to follow). One of which, if it is confirmed, will blow you away. I am just waiting for someone to come back to me and then I shall reveal all. Ooh.. intriguing! I shall post scans of pics separately - this post is already mammoth!

p-p-p-pick up a Penguin Classic

I love the fact that there are always fresh flowers laid in remembrance. Just as it should be.

On the Saturday night I was treated to a surprise meal which The Beard had sorted out. He had hired the lovely Beaton for Time (what a name -  love it!) to come in and cook for us. I felt very posh! And spoilt.

Had I been told to pack something dressy -  I would not be wearing this tatty old thing!


The rest of the week was spent lounging about, cooking, eating, walking and searching for and failing to find a certain book I was after *huff*.

I look happy because I made it to the top of that hill without dying.

Wild ponies. That thankfully went around us in a complete "eugh. humans" kind of way

I also frequented the charity shops. I cannot resit them. I just have to "nip" in and have a "look". You and I both know that's a crock. I usually always come out laden. These are some of my finds from Hay.

A wonderous £2.50

A steal at £3 each

A tad more pricey at £6.50 -  but I loved it too much to leave it behind

 I would definitely return to Cae Marchog, maybe in the summer with friends for some walking or perhaps for a Christmas family thing, although I am wary of being snowed in. We were told by the owner that during the bad weather last year - the road leading to the property was impassible for 3 weeks. Then again -  there are worse places to be stuck.

View from inside the converted Barn.
The main house which treated us to a rip-snorter of a roaring fire

Phew. What a post! It has been a long time in draft -  and I apologise for the delay.

Keep your peepers peeled for the giveaway
up next :)

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