Friday, 28 September 2012

Suits You! My Corporate Past & A Parcel of Joy

Here's me today.................

and this was then...suited, jewellery-free and blonde!

Because you asked so nicely I thought I'd share these, Corporate Vix from the bad old days. Behind that smile my eyes were dead.

Here's another, me winning some prize and pretending to be thrilled. You'd have found these pictures in the leading trade magazines back in the 1990s, I was contract catering's poster girl.

Every morning I wake up I still thank whoever's up there for giving me the guts to escape that life and just be me.

Happier things now! My darling Helga sent me a parcel of joy and here's some of the contents- a groovy 1970s bikini ready for my next trip, hair feathers and a cute ethnic purse, three pairs of loud opaques, a mad card and a book set in Cuba and a fabulous frilly lurex blouse.

Here's a suit I can handle, a 1970s Butte Knit, New Zealand wool two piece & another treat. Jon's been chasing me round the kitchen in this, I think red's made him a feel a bit frisky.

The amazing chain-mail statement collar was a giveaway prize from Glynis. I only found the package this morning, our postman's always tucking parcels away in secret places and forgetting to leave a note.
My eyes are suffering from the dust at yesterday's jumble sale. I'll reveal more about that soon!

These are the second pair of platforms I bought for £5 last Friday. Hopefully it'll stay dry enough to wear them out this evening.

New-to-me maxi worn with a denim waistcoat (£2.45, Acorns Hospice), Alfred Tricker Crafts Ltd., 1970s fake snakeskin and steel choker (£1.50, car boot sale), Dip-dyed bag (Free and pimped up by me)

Helga's parcel also contained this groovy maxi skirt, made of crimplene, the most underrated fabric known to woman!

She bought these wedges from Trade Me but they didn't fit her dainty feet!

Hoorah for whopping hooves and for fabulous blogging buddies!

I'm off to catch up with some blog reading before I get tarted up for the pub, you could fry chips in my hair & my nails are appalling (the downside of jumble sales, dusty church halls and mingling with the great unwashed).

Have a fab weekend and see you soon.

PS Don't forget to pop over and enter Helga's giveaway, a chance to win a book with me (and some fabulous vintage clothes) in it!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

What's Cooking? The One Where I Share A Recipe

How about something completely different? I thought I'd talk you through how I make my vegetable lasagne.  

(Yes, I am wearing 6 inch heels in the kitchen, our stone flags may look pretty but they're horribly cold on my poor feet!) 

In case you're wondering what a vintage fashion blogger can tell you about cooking I'd better fill you in on my past. 

In a previous existence I trained as a chef and pâtissier and after qualifying was head-hunted and fast-tracked into a management position with the one-time largest contract catering company in the world. For years I lived a double life, a corporate suit-wearing whore by day and party animal by night. I managed a large staff, was solely responsible for a budget of over a million quid, catered for over 2000 people on a daily basis including a fine dining facility for high ranking MPs, government ministers and royalty and worked over 90 hours a week. Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm the easiest-going woman in the world so putting on the persona of tough boss by day coupled with being on my feet for over 18 hours at a time with an undiagnosed skeletal deformity nearly destroyed me. At the time I earnt more money than anyone else I knew but hated every minute of my existence and was a nightmare to be around. The bravest and best thing I ever did was to admit enough was enough, clear my desk, resign and reclaim my life. 

I doubt whether I'll ever earn as much I did back then but spiritually I'm richer & no longer living a lie and that's all that counts.

 Anyway, enough about me, here's my recipe for Veggie Lasagne.

What you'll need: 

1/2 pint milk
2oz olive spread (or butter)
2oz plain flour
2 small red onions - roughly chopped into 1inch chunks
3 cloves of garlic - chopped
Tin of tomatoes
A handful of cherry (halved) or 2 standard sized tomatoes (quartered)
5 Mushrooms (replace with 1/2 tin of butter beans if, like Krista and Lucy, you're a hater)
1 whole pepper, thickly diced (or half a pepper & a small courgette)
A generous pinch of Herbes de Provence
8 pre-cooked lasagne sheets
4oz vegetarian cheese (grated)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
A glug of red wine (optional)
1 teaspoon of English mustard (optional)

What do you mean? Cheese sauce mix and ready-made ragu? Over my dead body!

1. Heat the olive oil, add onion and garlic and cook until translucent.
2.Add tomatoes, peppers (and courgettes, if you're using them) and herbs to taste. Cover the pan and cook on a low heat for around 5 minutes.
3. Add quartered mushrooms (or drained butter beans), tinned tomatoes and an optional slug of red wine, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer.
4. Leave the mixture to reduce for around 15 minutes.

1. Melt 2 oz margarine over a gentle heat. Add 2 oz plain flour and stir until cooked through.
2. The mixture is ready when it resembles honeycomb (or to Brits, the inside of a Crunchie).
3. Remove the pan from the heat, add a quarter of the milk, stirring all the time. 
4. Return the pan to a gentle heat, gradually adding the remainder of the milk, stirring in a figure-of-eight movement to prevent lumps. The sauce is ready when the sauce in centre of the pan starts to bubble. The consistency should be thick enough to coat the back of your spoon.
5.Add grated cheese and a teaspoon of English mustard to taste.

1. Put half the vegetable mixture in the base of an oven proof dish.
2. Cover with four sheets of pre-cooked lasagne.
3. Add half the cheese sauce.
4. Repeat steps 1,2 and 3.
5. Place in the centre of 180 degree oven and bake for 20 minutes (or until brown and bubbling).

Remove from the oven and serve immediately, or, in my case, get distracted by the BBC News and cremate the top.

Linking to Lakota's Ta-Dah Tuesday

Soul boy tee shirt (Jumble sale)

Normally we'll have a glass of wine and a green salad with our lasagne but neither of us could be arsed to go out in the rain.

1970s nylon maxi dress by Pat Rogers, New Zealand (Helga the great), Afghani choker (the fabulous Tamera), Flower napkin rings & linen place mats (Sexy Sarah), Orange linen napkins (car boot sale), Kitchen table and Belfast sink unit (eBay)

Tomorrow's a big day, not only are we off for a sneak preview of the monthly jumble sale but we're also helping when it officially opens and taking the money. Heaven help us, the Black Country grannies can be brutal if they think they're being ripped off (that is, charged more than 20p for anything).

See you soon!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall.....

   You're staying with me!

Poor Diana Ross, despite being the centre of attention at Sunday's vintage fair her reputation as a demanding diva obviously preceded her and so she's still mine. If I had a quid for everyone who said they'd come back for her later I'd a rich woman. 

Despite his misgivings Jon's prepared to put up with her hanging about in the hallway for the next couple of weeks. I've booked up for two more vintage fairs (the next event's on my side bar if you fancy coming) so hopefully she'll find a loving home next month.

Is that a new frock? Oh yes! You knew I wouldn't be able to resist a teensy peek at the other traders' stalls now, would you? After all, it's loud, it's from the Seventies and, if the "experts" had their way, totally inappropriate for Autumnal dressing.

Barry M Cyan nail paint with a stack of jewellery (yellow wooden bangles courtesy of Mrs Allnut), the turquoise ring on my index finger was from Valerie.

The near-biblical rainfall scuppered my plans for a walk to the bank today so I popped over the road to my parental home to do a bit more house clearing. This is what I came back with:

Clockwise from top left: My favourite childhood card game, Oxfam's Happy Families (from 1972); a bag of my late Great-Aunt's tapestries from the 1950s; I was given this money box when I was born; Framed 1950s stylised sailing print; 1930s guest room picture; 1950s place mats and coaster set; Hand-painted Royal Winton Chinoiserie cruet; I bought this ink drinking bird from Wales in 1976; My Mum hated these crystal sherry glasses they received as a wedding gift in 1966; Detail from my kitty; These 1970s patchwork storage tins are still stuffed with paper and have the 59p price stickers on their bases; 1972 National Trust wildlife Snap (another childhood favourite); My Grandma made this door stop as a house warming gift for my parents in 1971.

I have my memories, I don't need material things to keep them alive. Hopefully some of this lot will find appreciative new homes soon.

1970s poppy print maxi (£10, Pelsall Vintage Fair), Hair flower (made by me)
Right, I better get to the bank before the rain starts.

See you soon!

Monday, 24 September 2012

Fair's Fair

Would you buy a used frock from this woman? 

 Or even from this man?

Loads of people did!

 Jon managed a quick break from the selling to take some pictures. 

The community centre was packed out from the moment it opened until closing time and despite the terrible weather over 800 people came through the doors including some old mates, ex-work colleagues and school friends. 

We're worn out from all the smiling. Gilbert's still packed with stock but it's raining so hard it's not even worth considering attempting to empty him just yet.

After a couple more of these and we could be in India sooner than you think!

 The entertainment wasn't half bad but I'm glad we weren't too near the stage, I could hardly hear my gorgeous pal, Vintage Laura when I skivved off to visit her (and made a sneaky purchase whilst I was at it!)

Thanks to my old school pal, Kate, for recording the band! 

Shubette of London Go-Go suit (£11.90, Second to None), Wolf choker (50p, car boot sale), Braided headband (the dressing-up box)

Not a Victory Roll, net petticoat or hint of red lipstick in sight, I'll never be mainstream vintage, but my outfit got lots of love, I posed for heaps of photos and made a whole host of fabulous new friends.

I'm linking to Patti's Visible Monday!

See you soon!

Friday, 21 September 2012

Frock Autumn, Look At My Car Boot Buys!

 Yeah, you already know that I'm a freak because I don't embrace Autumn like 99.99% of the blogging world but you can keep your chunky knitwear, hot chocolate, dark evenings, tweed, prohibitive heating bills and stodgy stews. I'm sticking to crisp salads and pear cider and won't be swapping my neon dresses, in-yer-face eye shadow and Barry M nails for neutral autumnal hues any time soon.

Nylon's just as cosy as knitwear and the beauty of a maxi dress is that you can wang thermal undies, woolly socks and leggings on underneath and nobody's any the wiser. Thank goodness I stocked up on fake fur coats at car boot sales in the summer when they were £2 each and nobody else was interested. I've a new-to-me 1960s cropped white number I'll stick over this to the pub later.

The one good thing about this time of year is that these platforms which I'd been eyeing up since June were marked down to £5 this morning. Yes, I not only bought something retail but I bought two pairs whilst I was at it (in different colour ways), too. 

I reckon they'll look even more fabulous worn with some bubblegum pink opaques.

 Anyway, enough about the weather. Here's some of the things I've been buying from car boot sales this week.

A huge stash of 1960s and 70s dressmaking patterns including an awesome majorette costume which should be brilliant to make for next year's festival season. £1 the lot.

 Marcasite Art Deco buckle - destined for my stall at Sunday's Vintage Fair

A pile of fabulous mostly 1950s era satin scarves including one marking her Maj's coronation. How very apt! These are off to the vintage fair.

  A 1930s Wyndham Creation bias cut silk slip.

 How pretty is this rose trim? 

Two 1960s hipster belts in rainbow colours.

Unworn 1960s swimsuit, destined for the vintage fair.

Three fabulous 1960s frocks, one handmade and the other two by English Lady. I love all three but they're too big so they're off to the fair to find a home with a curvier girl.

Unworn 1960s Windsmoor woollen skirt suit. Another item for my stall.

I wore this 1960s crochet poncho today (yes, me and knitwear, who'd have thought it?)  and got lots of smiles so I'm keeping this. It was £2

A groovy psychedelic make-up bag to replace my manky Barry M one. It was 20p

This 1950s Midwinter Fashion Plate cake stand will be on my stall on Sunday.

I love this huge 1970s Diana Ross mirror but Jon hates it! What a shame, if it doesn't sell on Sunday then I'll have to keep it!

This 1930s/1940s full length gown is a work of art but not my style so this'll also be off to the vintage fair on Sunday where hopefully it'll find a loving home.

I'm off to the pub in a bit as I don't think going out on the lash on Saturday with a 9am start the following day is a good idea. I'll try and take plenty of photos of my stall (unless I'm inundated with customers!)

Cha-Cha of New Zealand maxi dress (Courtesy of her deliciousness, Helga), 1960s Vogue umbrella (£1, car boot sale)
Have a fabulous weekend!
See you soon.