Monday 31 March 2014

Fair's Fair

Lots of women are so put off by the size printed in clothes that they won't even consider trying anything on with a label different to the norm. I've had a lovely dress on my rail for ages but whenever anyone spots Size 16 woven on to the label they put it straight back. I'm tempted to cut it out but it would spoil the pretty vintage label.

Me? The stuff I'm wearing today ranges from a UK size 6 to a vintage 14 and I couldn't care less. Who sees the labels when you're wearing them anyway? Size ain't nothing but a number, if I like it I'll wear it and get round the fitting issue by being inventive.

A waistcoat hides a gaping waistband, a zip that doesn't quite reach the top or a saggy bodice a treat until I can be arsed with getting the sewing machine out.

Even at three sizes larger than I'd regularly wear, there was no way I was going to let this psychedelic Sherman maxi skirt (from Samuel Sherman's pre-Dollyrockers days) pass me by when I clocked it on another stall on Saturday.

The trouble with Kiki & Honey's fairs is that the women behind them have similar taste to me so book traders with a flair for the fabulously groovy so it's inevitable I fall in love with something on every stall. HERE are some photos of the fab merchandise on offer!

Crochet goddess Claire with Fifi
 I was thrilled to win this amazing pink poodle from my new friends at Create Some Time

I couldn't resist snapping these up.

Or these vintage patterns on the Mary Stevens Hospice charity stall.

And because my me-made sunflower culotte suit got so much love when I wore it on Saturday,

Photo by Kiki & Honey
I thought I'd knock up a cape-tain from the rest of the Francis Price screen-printed curtains and the 1973 pattern on the far left.

And, 'cos so many of our fellow traders are now dear friends, I got given these, too.

Insane Spanish souvenir keyring (worn as a necklace today), another poodle for the parlour, a stash of vintage patterns and a fabulous Spanish scarf (which I'll make into a halter neck top)
Spoilt or what?! (There's something else to share but I'm still in the process of remaking it.)

Gormless expression courtesy of anti-inflammatories.
Apparently the UK's going to be hotter than Spain this week, hence today's Flamenco vibe. Must be bastard freezing over there then 'cos it ain't too warm here.

Fringed bodysuit (Age UK), Sherman maxi skirt (Stourbridge Vintage Fair), Flamenco bag (Cancer UK), Hair flower (Scope), Denim waistcoat (Acorns Hospice) customised with a cross stitch bought from a jumble sale.
Linking to Bella's Shop Secondhand First 'cos I do! 
We'll be celebrating our unwedded anniversary tomorrow by charity shopping, home-made South Indian curry and Lidl's white rum. It's a formula that's worked for 22 years, why change now?

See you soon.

Friday 28 March 2014

Vintage Rocks - No Excuses

Tomorrow we'll be taking a van load of Kinky Melon stock over to Stourbridge for Kiki & Honey's Mad March Fair. Much as I adore selling vintage to the general public if I had a quid for the number of times I had the following conversations I wouldn't be leaving the pub early tonight for an early start in the morning.

Its okay for you, I never go anywhere to dress like that. How do you think I spend my time? I might dress like I'm on tour with the Rolling Stones circa 1969 but actually it's a pretty ordinary life. This was what I wore yesterday to visit Dad in his nursing home and to pop to the hardware shop for coat hangers and a new bucket. Dress for the life you'd like rather than the one you live.

Snapped by a street photographer whilst shopping.
I can't deal with people looking at me. So you own a cloak of invisibility? I've got news for you, people look all the time. It doesn't matter if you're bare faced in a wolf fleece and jeans, in top-to-toe high street or in full-on psychedelia, you are always on show. Better to be looked at and remembered than glanced at and forgotten.

Contemporary + customised 1960s + Indian tribal jewellery + jumble sale finds = my own style
I've got nothing to wear it with. The rest of your wardrobe, silly! Unless you're taking part in a re-enactment you don't need to wear a historically accurate outfit - in my opinion slavishly following a vintage look is no better than being a modern day fashion victim. Mix it up, clothes and accessories from any period that takes your fancy (including the 21st Century). 

47 year old in a micro mini and go go boots, quick, call Trinny & Susannah!
I'm too old for vintage. Listen love, there's no limit, its not like the labels in children's clothes which state the age they're suitable for. If it fits and you like it then bloody well wear it. Stop being brainwashed by moronic "style" experts and newspapers trying to boost their ratings by being controversial about age.

Crop tops - wore them in the 1980s, still wear 'em now.
I remember it the first time round. And? Unless you're talking about a baby grow or a school uniform what's the problem?

Even my charity shop Ossie Clark maxi went in the washing machine
I haven't got the time to look after vintage. Almost everything I own gets chucked in the machine on 30 degrees or hand-washed with a dollop of baby shampoo. Unless you're talking about museum pieces you don't need to be precious. Its already lasted over 30 years, its a damn sight tougher than most of the crap manufactured today.

I've tried it on, I love it but my boyfriend/husband/partner doesn't like it. Simple, buy the dress, dump the mate. 

Bit feisty today, aren't I? Blame the arthritis, when I need help getting my boots on I'm inclined to get a bit lippy. No wonder I was the boss from hell pre-hip replacement. I'll be my usual smiley self once I've dosed up on painkillers.

Look what arrived in the post from the lovely Jo, me as art!

Have a brilliant weekend. I'm off down posh Wetherspoons for Liz & Adrian's joint birthday tea.

See you soon!

Wednesday 26 March 2014

The Mid-Week Trip - Pondicherry and Pom Poms

Hooray! I was so excited to rediscover some photos stashed away in my long-forgotten Photobucket account that I thought I'd bore you  share a few with you. A bit of an image heavy post I'm afraid, so do feel free to scroll through and just admire my pom poms if you're short on time.

Gazing at a map of India years ago I fell in love with the name, Pondicherry. I did some research and decided that we needed to visit so we did, first in 2006 (for my 40th) and again in 2010.

The Union Territory of Pondicherry was ruled by the French from 1674 until eventual re-absorption back into India in 1954.

You may know it as the location for Yann Martell's Life of Pi

This was Pi's school in the Life of Pi, in reality a sewing academy for destitute women.
Half the city is typically South Indian, a bustling metropolis heaving with vegetarian restaurants, chai stalls & intricately carved Hindu temples on every street corner. 

But cross the river and the other side remains forever French, wide leafy boulevards, gendarmes directing traffic in kepis and white gloves, blue enamel street signs & restaurants with baguettes, croissants, steak and fine wines on the menu. French is still widely spoken and visible on street signs. Like Goa, beautiful houses waste away, locked up and abandoned due to complicated inheritance laws.

Several have been reclaimed and turned into exquisite boutique hotels.

One of the many gorgeous heritage hotels
Did we stay in one of these beautiful establishments? Us?! Why pay £100 for a room when you can enjoy the same view for £6? 

The Qualithe, Pondicherry

We chose the inappropriately named Qualithe Inn, a shambolic 18th Century lodging house overlooking the Presidential Square. 
The hotel was mental but we spent hours on our rickety balcony watching the street below.
The Indian equivalent of the dodgiest British pub ever, at 13p for a quadruple rum, the place is littered with drunken casualties, patrons and staff alike. We'd find ourselves locked out and have to climb through a downstairs window when the receptionist was too wasted to remember we weren't back and our sleep was frequently disturbed by the manager banging on our door asking Jon to go drinking with him. 

The days were spent exploring around the city, joining organised walking tours run by well-informed locals or chilling in the Art Deco cafe on the sea front sipping pastis and watching the world go by.

Pondicherry still bears the scars of the 2004 tsunami, which made 30,000 people homeless and killed 104.

Another time we took a bus to the Auroville Ashram, the utopian society set up in the 1920s by an enigmatic French woman known as The Mother and Shri Aurobindo, a Tamil Bengali freedom fighter (thanks, Tanaya, no excuse, I've read his memoirs) . The Matrimandir (Sanskrit for temple of the sacred mother), where the chosen few can meditate, reminded us of something from Star Trek. Read more about it HERE.

The domestic tourists on the bus were far more interested in capturing us than the sights of Pondicherry. Whenever the bus came to a halt we were instructed to stand in front of various monuments and smile. Jon & I adorn hundreds of holiday albums throughout the subcontinent.

If you haven't read (or seen) The Life Of Pi then do, its wonderful, although it was actually based Trivandrum Zoo in Kerala (and that's another post). A House In Pondicherry is another must-read if you're interested in discovering more. To get there you'll need to fly to Chennai (Madras) airport, Pondi is just a short ride up the coast.

Wearing - me-made dress created from a vintage sheet, Walsall market pom poms and a 1967 dress pattern (from her royal Helga-ness), 100 denier opaques ('cos it's bastard freezing) also from Helga. 
Hope you enjoyed your trip.
See you soon!

Monday 24 March 2014

Kinky Afro

When I was in the Sixth Form the only people to bring a briefcase to school were the keenos, the girls who, unlike us, who didn't run off to the Butts Tavern at lunchtime for a game of pool and a swift half of Brew XI or fall asleep at the back of the classroom during double history as they'd been dancing to Tin Tin's Kiss Me till the early hours with some bloke wearing eye liner and winkle pickers at Max's Night Club.

In case you're wondering I'm 7 rows from the front, eighth from the left. Too much eye liner, big hair and a vintage man's granddad shirt I'd bought from a jumble sale - some things never change.

Back then our bag of choice was a canvas haversack from the Army & Navy Stores on which we'd stencilled The SmithsEcho & The Bunnymen and I love Morrissey in black marker pen.

Check out Polly Piglet snuffling about in the undergrowth, classy just like her mother!

These days I still love Morrissey but with a credit card reader, a tablet, a flask of coffee, scissors, tape measure and cheese cobs and all the other paraphernalia associated with running a pop-up business I need something studier to carry my tat about.

So when I snaffled this vintage German-made vinyl briefcase from Saturday morning's jumble I gave Jon strict instructions to funk it up along with some other bags I'd picked up last week. 

Didn't he do well? Kinky Owl's already found a new home. The others will be making their way to  Kinky's website & Saturday's vintage fair at Stourbridge.

The rest of the jumble wasn't much cop, the guy who swears I'm Cher still does and Stephen Squirrel loves his blingy denim collar. 

1970s Richard Shops maxi dress (Courtesy of Liz), customised 1960s green leather jacket (details HERE)
In hindsight, those short sleeves were a bit of a mistake, it's bloody freezing out!
See you soon.

Linking to Patti and the rest of the gang for Visible Monday.