Wednesday 30 November 2011

The Mid-Week Moan: Should I Care If I Look My Age?

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You know how I hate so-called experts imparting their advice on us, trying to make women feel insecure and unworthy? Well yesterday I came across a book called "How Not To Look Old" which made me almost apoplectic with rage. It offered this age-defying advice for us over forties:

Hair: too short bangs.. too long hair parted down the middle… high hair…an updo… too dark hair… a solid block of hair colour… grey hair…

Now I'm a stubborn old bint, if I'm told not to do something I have to go and do the opposite. I went straight to the nearest mirror, grabbed a tail comb and parted my hair down the centre, then I headed to Boots for my usual box of raven black hair dye. 

1960s Dollyrockers Maxi dress (£4.99, eBay), 1950s Scottish mohair cape (£1, jumble sale), fur collar (handmade by me), grey platforms (£5, local retail)

Skirts: skirts that are too long.. too short… the wrong shape…worn with the wrong shoes…

This had me reaching for a maxi dress like a shot. Are we supposed abandon our style, set fire to our wardrobes and queue at Marks and Spencer for a knee-length skirt as soon as we reach the magical age of 40? What's the wrong shape anyway? With my scrawny, angular frame pencil skirts and pointy shoes do me no favours but who's to say they are "wrong" if I wanted to wear them?

If I look my age then so what? I'm 45 next week, I've got crow's feet, myopia, greying temples, arthritic joints and a total hip replacement. My face bears the scars of a life well-lived, I'm proud of every line, achieved by staying out all night, sleeping in my make up, boozing, lazing on an Asian beach for months at a time and generally living life to the full. I don't want to hide the fact that I'm middle-aged, I'm proud to have got this far.

Am I odd for finding Keith Richard's hedonism-ravaged looks far sexier than Sir Cliff's clean-living ones? 

Non-Brits can learn about Cliff Richard here

Bet I'm not the only one.

I'm not ashamed of my age or the battering my body's taken reaching it. Better to have lived and lost it than never to have lived at all. 

Monday 28 November 2011

My Green Outfit

When Ceri challenged us to post an outfit featuring at least one second-hand or ethically produced item it was tough. Like the contents of our house, my wardrobe is predominantly second-hand and I wasn't sure on what to choose. 

The decision was made for me when the postman delivered this astoundingly fabulous 1960s Cumbrian-made Mohair maxi from the wonderful Miss Rayne this morning. She spotted it in her local charity shop and kindly thought of me. 

It goes perfectly with this 1960s St Michael Courtelle jumper (I know, knitwear, unheard of on me) from the 20p Man at the weekly car boot sale and the £1 suede jerkin bought from another car boot sale a couple of years ago.

The £4.99 green 1970s suede boots from the PDSA charity shop.

These Indian filigree earrings were 99p from Richard House Hospice shop.

Rings (from left) courtesy of Helga, Cancer Research and Krista. Bangles, from top, Oxfam, inherited and from Helga.

The belt (worn as a pendant) and the ring are made from out-of-circulation coins and scrap metal by the Lamani tribeswomen in India. The Accessorize wooden peace symbol bangle was from a car boot sale.

The Mac eye shadow, Sisley blusher, Lancome lipstick & eye liner and 1960s Miner's false eyelashes are all second-hand. I bought the Barry M nail varnish new but as it's cruelty-free it's ethical in it's own right.

The invalid's a lot better today, as my nursing wasn't much use your well-wishes obviously did the trick.

See you soon. x

Sunday 27 November 2011

Not Fair

This is what I would have worn to today's vintage fair if Jon wasn't laid up with man 'flu. 

 The dress is an early present from the fabulous Sarah Misfit. It's not my birthday for another week or so but it was impossible to resist tearing open the parcel when it arrived. There's another fab frock to show you, I just need to tweak it to fit.

I'm a useless nurse. It's been years since I caught a cold and therefore hopeless at empathising with a coughing and sniffling patient. It was weird staying in and sober on a Saturday night, something I don't intend on making a habit of for at least another forty years.

Although I missed having a few beers and a pub lunch I'm not too fussed about foregoing the fair.
 If I'm totally honest vintage shopping loses a lot of the appeal when it's specially selected, pre-sorted and pristine. For me the fun's in unearthing a gem at a jumble sale or a charity shop and fixing any faults myself. Wading through racks and racks of period dresses is downright exhausting. Price aside, for this Vintage Vixen the thrill's all in the chase.

This is just one of my overstuffed wardrobes. The last time I went to this particular event I was hard-pressed to find anything half as colourful, or as cheap, as anything I already own.

I'm off to make the invalid another cup of tea. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Edwardian-style maxi worn with Office velvet platforms and Indian chandelier earrings

See you soon.

Saturday 26 November 2011

Wig Out!

You've seen this Bernshaw dress before (courtesy of the divine Curtise ) but what's that on my head?

..and on Jon's?

We threw a little party last night, the guests had to bring a bottle and wear a wig and rose to the challenge splendidly. During last weekend's Skype chat Krista talked me through making chilli Martinis and they went down a storm, I wish I'd made more.

The Lizs channelling their inner Hollie Golightly.

Al as Ozzie.

The party tree was decked out with seedless grapes, cherry tomatoes, mature Cheddar cheese, cornichons, silver-skin onions and various olives. The 1960s Apollo 8 vase held sesame sticks and Dee's party platter was filled with pistachio nuts, cashews and Seabrooks' jalapeno chilli crisps. The donkey cruet got his first outing.

Jon made his famous pizzas, Chicken Tikka and spiced German sausage for all but me.. my Gorgonzola, mushroom and mixed pepper one was cooked on a separate tray.

There was Greek-style salad and spicy jacket wedges, too.

Angel Delight with Smarties served in retro glass cups and a Lazy Susan filled with retro sweets.

I spotted these macaroons in the freezer at Lidl.

After a few drinks the madness started with an impromptu hairstyling session.

Stick to the day job, Liz.

Wigs got swapped around .....

...the hat cupboard got ransacked.

..and a good time was had by all.

 We're off to the pub later and visiting a vintage fair tomorrow, that's if Jon's sniffle doesn't develop into full blown man 'flu.

Have a fabulous weekend.

Thursday 24 November 2011

Achtung, Baby

I met the lovely Zoe yesterday at Birmingham's Frankfurt Xmas Market in Birmingham, the largest German market outside of Germany. 

We arranged to meet at one of Brum's most recognised landmarks, known locally as the Floozy In The Jacuzzi.

We had a couple of Glühweins to stave off the winter chill and spent a hilarious hour and a half gossiping and people watching.

The air hung heavy with the aroma of German sausage.

There was tourist tat galore.

All manner of local characters.

Talking of characters I received a surprise package from the inimitable Helga Von Trollop in yesterday's post. Check out the insane tank top. 

By bizarre coincidence I found this 1960s German-made midnight blue leather trench coat at this morning's jumble sale. It has a heady aroma of foreign tobacco and scent and I feel like a secret agent in it. 

I also snapped up this 1906 double edition of the Harmsworth Self-Educator with fascinating tips on everything from finding the correct staff to run an efficient household, how to set up a baker's shop and touring the Carpathian mountains by train (£16 10s return). 

In the Geographical Guide to England it describes my home as thus:

"Vegetation is blasted, and a pall of smoke overhangs squalid towns of mean houses, little redeemed by the fine administrative buildings and the luxurious villas of the west end - the fashionable, because, with our prevailing west winds, the least smoky quarter. Iron smelting and the iron manufacture in all its countless forms are carried in on a ring of iron towns rapidly growing into one unsightly whole - Birmingham, West Bromwich, Wednesbury, Walsall, Wolverhampton, Tipton, and others, forming what is fitly called The Black Country."

No change there, then.

Where I live might be dirty and depressing but it's probably the only place in the UK where you can pick up antique books and a leather trench coat and still get change from a quid.

Auf WiedersehenPets.