Monday 30 March 2015

On The Road Again

After spending most of Friday morning selecting stock and loading the van, we got back home only to receive an email informing us that Nottingham's vintage market had been cancelled. With festival trade pitches to pay for and Public Liability Insurance to renew, a zero-income weekend couldn't have come at a worse time. Within minutes I was Googling "Vintage events this weekend" and came up with a possible three within a hundred mile radius of home.  I dashed off some introductory emails along with photos of our set-up and stock and, amazingly, all three organisers offered to accommodate us despite the late notice.

Morris Hall
Saturday took us to the magnificent Arts & Crafts era Morris Hall in Shrewsbury, the pretty county town of Shropshire. We set off just after 7 am and the lovely organiser Hannah of Coconut Shy Events was there to greet us an hour later and, with her partner, kindly helped us unpack the van and carry our 30 sacks of vintage stock up the steps and into the venue.

Wearing: 1960s Dollyrockers Maxi (VeryVintage) and vintage white leather go-go boots (Emma Kate)

My pleading email had reached Hannah just as she was at Morris Hall marking out the floor plan. Although fully booked she measured out the space the Kinky Melon pitch required and decided to open up the stage and let us trade from there.

The Kinky pitch
My pleading email had reached Hannah just as she was at Morris Hall marking out the floor plan. Although fully booked she measured out the space the Kinky Melon pitch required and decided to open up the stage and let us trade from there.

It was the first time Coconut Shy (and us) had worked an event in the centre of Shrewsbury. The weather was terrible so we didn't really know what the expect. Happily it turned out great. Although not hugely busy, Hannah and her team had obviously targeted the right kind of people (i.e. proper vintage enthusiasts) so those who came spent money. The fellow traders were really sweet and I met a lovely lady who reads my blog and bought one of my favourite items, a 1970s Sterling Cooper fringed suedette jerkin.

Lots of fair organisers bang on about footfall. It's all very well having 1000 visitors through the door but if those people have just come to reminisce and block your rails with no intention of buying, telling you how they used to have one of those and how they'd be a millionaire if they've not sent it all to the charity shop, then a huge attendance is a pretty pointless boast.

Wearing: Skinnied-up 1950s wool trousers, Vintage Austin Reed waistcoat, Tootal scarf (all second-hand finds)
Others argue that fairs should be free to attend as it puts people off when they have to pay an admission fee. So wrong! A nominal fee, no matter how small, sorts the genuine buyers out from the time wasters, there to kill a few minutes until the next bus arrives or to shelter from the rain. If someone can't afford to splash out £1 to get in then they're hardly the target market for buying quality vintage.

I've got a share a photo of beautiful Gaia, looking amazing in a 1940s gents overcoat her Dad treated her to from our stall. With such incredible, stand-out style it's hard to believe she's just 14 years old.

After a successful day we loaded up the van and headed back to Walsall. Jon made sandwiches for Sunday while I sorted out more stock to replace what we'd sold. A quick bath, a plate of oven chips, The Voice and a couple of rum & cokes and by 9.30 we were in bed.

Wearing: Skinnied-up 1950s wool trousers, clip-on braces, Cherry red DMs, Turnbull & Asser shirt, 1970s Rackhams Blazer - all second-hand finds
The following day the alarm went off at 5am (with British Summer Time, technically 4am but we don't want to think about that) Washed, dressed, cats fed & watered and (vintage) flask filled with coffee we set off, arriving in Bristol two hours later. This time we were trading in a cattle pen at the Easter Compton Vintage Market. What a treat to drive to our pitch and unload the stock without walking miles or climbing steps! We could even park behind the pitches so, if we needed anything, we could pop back at get it.

Wearing: Vintage 1960s Cathy McGowan Boutique maxi dress (VeryVintage) and Lamani gypsy coin necklace
All set-up we chatted to the fellow traders. We'd met Deb, the organiser, at Bristol Vintage Market a couple of weeks ago. She'd brought her huge collection of early Laura Ashley dresses along. Weren't they gorgeous?

The weather was atrocious, battling the torrential wind and rain to use the loo in the stable block next door was a feat in itself, but people came. I was delighted to meet Sue, a blog reader and to see Liz of Rose & Bird for the first time in ages. At Bristol a fortnight ago I'd hit it off with a fabulous girl called Lynette. She'd seen our post of Facebook and brought her boyfriend Barry along to say hello.  Easter Compton is a monthly event and yesterday was only the second one to be held. With a car boot and produce market next door it is the perfect location for a Sunday trip out. We'll definitely be back.

Wearing: Vintage 1960s Cathy McGowan Boutique maxi dress (VeryVintage), 1960s suede & patent leather go-go boots (Kerrang Car Boot, 2011) and Lamani gypsy coin necklace
We were in bed for 9 pm last night - too knackered even to watch Indian Summers. I better get dressed, unload the van and pay the takings into the bank so I can spend a leisurely afternoon reading blogs.

See you soon!

Linking to the fabulous Judith's Hat Attack.

Friday 27 March 2015

Vests Ahoy and Ready To Rummage

So Curtise instructed when she suggested a trip up to Chesterfield. I'm glad we heeded her advice, it was freezing!

A restorative coffee and a gossip after meeting up at the train station, Tania & I were introduced to Curtise's lovely camera-shy mate, Joanne and off we went for a wander around the legendary Thursday Flea.

What a great prop this would be for Kinky Melon's Pop-up shop. Not sure that Jon's back would agree.

Curtise and Joanne rummaged through a beautifully curated stall of grown-up clothes heavy on the posh labels and muted colours.

I rather fancied this ridiculous cat-garoo for my dressing table.

 The fruit and veg was cheap and prettily presented.

Tania fondled the vintage furs.

Do you ladies like the 1970s? Asked one stall holder, 'Cos I've got a bagful of dresses in the van. What on earth gave you that impression? We replied. Curtise look a fancy to this Gillian Paul rhinestone trimmed maxi but we decided it was too big and rather tricky to adjust so let it be.

We were captivated by this early 1950s circus game.

You'll have this this freakish thing on Curtise's blog from her last trip to Chesterfield. No surprise it hadn't sold. What the hell is it?

Whippets? No Northern jokes here.

I was almost tempted to buy an old stepladder (even though I've already got several) just to carry it home on the train.

After saying goodbye to Joanne, we did headed off to Wetherspoons, the extremely busy Portland Hotel. We cackled, chatted, laughed, exchanged gifts & put the world to rights whilst tucking into gourmet veggie Mexican burgers, chips & onion rings washed down with pints of lager and a pitcher of Porn Star Martini for pudding.

A Paul Smith shirt for Jon, a perplexed poodle and a fabulously groovy St Michael maxi for me...cheers, Curtise!

A quick touch-up in the fancy lavs.

Curtise gave both Tania and I identical Horrockses 1970s teeny tiny maxi skirts. We wriggled into them in drunken hilarity, unable to do up the waistbands. Tania decided to turn hers into a sun dress but was a bit disturbed by where the pockets would be positioned. Curtise decreed that boob flaps were the in-thing.

A kind stranger offered to take a group photo in the toilet. Oh the glamour!
Check out Curtise's account of the day HERE and Tania's HERE.

After spending most of the day in the pub we had a quick dash round the chazzas before catching our respective trains and buses home. As I'm working a festival with Tom Jones headlining in a couple of months time I'm almost regretting not buying these vintage bloomers to chuck at him.

What a difference a day makes! I can get into the Horrockses maxi this morning! Just the job for a run out to Lidl in Ebbie.

Wearing: 1970s Horrockses maxi, cropped vintage leather jacket (Charity shop, £5), Mongolian lamb boa (Jumble sale, 20p), Ted Lapidus sunnies (Charity shop, £2.95)
What a fab day out. The only money I spent was in the pub (you can't take the Black Country out of this girl) and I still came back with goodies. Can't wait to hang out with more of my blog mates.

News Update Saturday's fair in Nottingham has sadly been cancelled but Kinky will be trading at Shrewsbury on Saturday and Easter Compton in Bristol on Sunday. Pop along for some authentic vintage finery, reasonably priced, pre-laundered and chosen with love!

Monday 23 March 2015

Seventies Girl - Why I'm Sticking To The Real Thing

When Dee blogged about this amazing print she found a couple of years ago several people commented that she looked a bit like me. In my dreams! 

Wearing: 1970s Dollyrockers maxi (eBay, 2010), vintage pendant (the gorgeous Em)
Image my surprise when the postman delivered her to me this morning. I might stick her in front of a mirror when I'm having a bad face day (most of last week).

This wasn't the only parcel the postman delivered. Check out my new skirt. When I say new I mean a 40 year old maxi Lucy rescued from the 10p basket in a charity shop in Pontypridd. It goes a treat with my car booted polo neck, my Swedish Hasbeens (thanks, Sarah!) and the vintage lace-up suede waistcoat Liz gave me for Xmas a couple of years ago. The whole outfit cost me 50p - bargain!

This shoot includes flares by Victoria Beckham for £235 and a chain costing £581.23!
This weekend The Guardian told of how the Seventies are "back in" and treated us to a handy How to dress like our mothers feature in the fashion pages.

While the Mums looked fabulous I can't help but be disappointed by the modern take on my favourite fashion era.

1970s - flamboyant, fabulous and full of life.

2015 - safe, mediocre and dull. Sorry Jess but the best thing about this photo is the wallpaper.

The Guardian thinks we should dress like a young Jane Birkin. Yeah, you'd have to be that beautiful to turn heads in a khaki tee shirt.
Lesser mortals like me prefer Yootha Joyce. Marabou, capes, neon brights and a great line in Jean Varon maxis. Glorious. She might not have had a bag named after her but she was on the cover of a Smiths single, which to a non-handbag worshipper like me, is the best achievement by far.
Just some of the real 1970s fashion you'll find on Kinky's website.
Mum's wardrobe of my childhood was fabulous. Jean Varon maxis, psychedelic catsuits, Indian block prints and clogs in every colour of the rainbow. Fabulous vintage 1970s fashion isn't that hard to find (and usually a fraction of the price of the modern equivalent). I don't need watered-down repro, I'm sticking with the real thing.

Thanks for all the well wishes. The evil cold has done one and I'm back on top form or I will be when I've caught up with the 117 blog posts I haven't read yet.

See you soon!

PS Linking to Patti & the Gang for Visible Monday.

Thursday 19 March 2015

Booty Call - The Return of the Midweek Car Boot Sale

It might be freezing cold but Spring is definitely in the air. The Wednesday car boot sale is back on and Jon & I can get our weekly shopping fix. Yesterday, with a pocketful of loose change and the alarm set extra early we wrapped up, grabbed our bags and headed off to the countryside in pursuit of a few bargains. 

Jon got off to a great start with a vintage car horn for £1.

Amongst a heap of shoddy high street synthetics this vintage cotton velvet & chiffon maxi dress stood out a mile. The elastic in the cuffs needed replacing but that took all of ten minutes to tackle.

It smelt a bit musty so I bunged it in the tumble dryer with a lavender bag on the delicate setting for 20 minutes and it came out much fresher. The only time we ever use the tumble drier (which we inherited) is for reviving non-washable clothing.

If you're wondering, this is the remains of the Edwardian summerhouse that stands in the garden of my parental home (more here). In my childhood it rotated to face the sun but these days I reckon one over-enthusiastic push will result in a pile of timber suitable only for the wood burner. We've removed the stained glass windows for future restoration.

Isn't this scarf gorgeous? Louis Armstrong & Louise Brooks, shame it's not my colour.

Vintage brooches galore. They'll be heading to Kinky's stall next weekend in Nottingham.

These two dresses were filthy but, despite the raw silk one having a Dry Clean Only label, I threw them in the washing machine on a 30 degree wash with a sprinkling of soda crystals and they came out fine.

As you know I'm a huge fan of Samuel Sherman's vintage Dollyrockers label. Sambo Fashions was his original line, established in the late 1940s. With the Ace side zip, this one would date from the 1950s.

Car boots aren't just about the second hand shopping, there's also bargains to be had with fruit & veg. A bagful of carrots, mixed peppers, cauliflower, red onions, potatoes, tomatoes, coriander and chillies came to a grand total of £3. Roasted veg with Lidl's Haloumi for tea last night, veggie burgers this evening, carrot & coriander soup for lunch for the next couple of days and a huge pot of Aloo Gobi (my South Indian gravy is already made and I'll add freshly cooked cauliflower & potatoes) to last us through the weekend.

Berketex maxi dress (£1, car boot sale), Victorian silver hand mirror pendant (inherited)
They weren't all great finds, though. I also managed to pick up a stinking cold, my first in years. Hopefully a heap of Paracetamol and an early night will get me right for the weekend. I don't do ill.

See you soon.