Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Red or Dead

I got so tired of female visitors to our pitch bleating on how much they loved this coat but couldn't wear red that I confiscated it from the Kinky rails and kept it. 

Honest to god, it ain't that difficult. You put it on and go out in it, it might attract a bit of attention but it certainly won't kill you and, with a colour this cheerful, nobody is going to notice if your hair/skin/personality/IQ doesn't go with it.

It didn't stop me getting issued a six month tourist visa at the Indian Embassy in Birmingham this morning. Although Paul on the front desk did say that if we didn't know how to fill the application form in correctly after all these years then there really was no hope for us.

I packed my Goa bag on Saturday . We're not going for three weeks but I do like to be prepared. 

Clockwise from top left: Block printed maxi skirt (bought in India in 2012), 2 pairs of vintage sunglassesVintage tribal print strapless top (last seen here) ; Butterfly vest top (bought second hand from a charity sale in Goa, 2010); Jewelled leather-lined sandals (£2, car boot sale); Vintage 1970s Chelsea Girl block printed maxi skirt (last seen here); Rajasthani leather bag (£2, car boot sale); heidi klein bikini (freebie); Indian kurta (charity shop, shortened by me); Fringed bandeau bikini (new from UK Ebay seller); Vintage Miss Selfridge vest (charity shop clearance rail);  Aztec printed flip flops (50p, local sari shop sale); Vintage kaftan (seen here); 1970s Dollyrockers maxi (also seen here); Crochet rainbow bikini (UK seller on eBay); 1970s Jinty's London maxi (last seen here); Vintage head scarves (both from jumble sales); Vintage Pippa Dee maxi (last seen here);  crochet bikini (bought in Goa, 2011); Tooled leather chappals (bought  here, in Gokarna); Denim waistcoat bought in 2000 and patched with a placement to hid the holes; Mirrored Lamani tribal top (India, 2008); Buddha print vest (bought in Goa, 2012); 3 x block printed cotton sarongs (bought in India years ago); 

No surprises here - you've seen most of my holiday wardrobe before - as always mostly vintage with some old favourites bought back from my travels. Some of these pieces have been going to India since the last century (and the reek of incense is eye-watering). It goes without saying that I'll pack a shed load of cheap jewellery (and no doubt buy more when I'm there).

The toiletries: Tissues; Sudocreme; deodorant; plasters; Ibuprofen; Mozzie plug-in (refills are readily available and as cheap as chips in India); Lip balm; Facial scrub; Aloe Vera aftersun; Once a day Calypso sun cream (the cheapest and the best); Soltan once-a-day facial protection; Lush soap (for a bit of luxury) & soap dish; nail brush; magnifying mirror; shaving cream & razor; Odomos mozzie repellent (the best in India); Plug adaptor; Floss, toothpaste and brushes; Nail polish remover wipes; razor; hand sanitiser; Plug (rare in Asian countries); Lush solid shampoo & conditioner bars

Other than decent sun cream there's nothing you can't get in India, lots of well known brands and usually much cheaper than at home. The Himalaya range is particularly good, cruelty-free natural cosmetics and toiletries, often organic. We pack toiletries & first aid stuff we've already got on the go and buy more when we run out, doing our bit to support the local economy.

My beauty kit: Semi-permanent Eyelash extensions and glue (which I do myself), Barry M black eye-liner, pencil sharpener, Barry M Nail Paint, spacers (I only paint my toe nails when I'm away) and MUA pink cream blusher (£2, Superdrug.)
We'll also pack e-readers, a travel kettle, a silk double sleeping bag (bought in India years ago - a bit of luxury when you're staying in a flea pit), mosquito net, clothes pegs and rope, a padlock (never trust the one your guest house provides), two melamine cups, the Rough Guide, photocopies of our passports, duct tape (you never know when you might need it), a torch & spare batteries (power cuts are commonplace and the beaches aren't lit at night) and a cheap camera & charger.

"English Lady" 1960s leather coat (charity shop) worn with tribal print 1970s maxi, original red leather platforms (both from vintage fairs) and bastard massive silver hoop earrings (from an Indian sari shop)
This afternoon's job will be sorting out the travel insurance (we're away for over 28 days, Jon's got knackered knees and I've got a prosthetic hip, so it's never as straightforward as it should be.)

Thanks for all the birthday messages, images and emails. I'm overwhelmed. I'll leave you with this incredible piece of art my super talented friend Subhi created.

See you soon!


  1. First, beautiful portrait of you. Second, it's never too early to pack. Your colorful pieces must already have you dreaming of Goa. Have a fabulous day, stay warm for the moment and the sun is coming. xox


  2. You are so organized.

    I can assure you if I were there you wouldn't have been able to keep me from that coat. Stellar!

    I bought a floor length bright blue velvet vintage coat yesterday while thrifting and I wore my orange leather coat and boots out yesterday for the trip to the museum. Bright coats are wonderful, especially when it is grey and cold outside.

    I'm sure you cannot wait to be on the beach somewhere relaxing.


  3. I actually owned that Chelsea Girl maxi skirt that you are taking to India (well one like it...!) lovely to see it again. I used to wear it with black footless tights, espradilles and a skin tight black top. Loved that outfit. Have a great holiday xxx

  4. Too bloody right to keep it! Red rocks. I feel invincible in red which is a whole lot better than being invisible in beige. It 's a beauty too.
    I love to see your India prep, talk about having it down to a fine art.
    Hope you had a fecking awesome birthday.
    Loves ya!

  5. You look great in red! I'd worry about it clashing with my hair (not that that stops me wearing pink...) but it really does look fab on a brunette. Maybe the coat was always meant to be yours.

    It's interesting seeing what you pack. It seems a lot with the sleeping bag etc, but then you're going for a month, so it makes sense. The padlock and solid shampoo are things I'd never thought of, but make good sense. We took a full medical kit complete with sharps to Burma, but then their healthcare infrastructure isn't as developed as India's (we also got health insurance that covered med-evac to Thailand).

  6. Packing and pre packing planning are great fun! Your mind is already on holiday while you do it.
    The red coat was destined to be yours. I can't believe you even contemplated selling it! xxx

  7. It's great to wear colours you don't usually wear. Black or beige are so boring, wear a rainbow. Bet you're excited about your next trip

  8. I already looking forward to Pictures from your next trip to Goa based on your bag! Love the bikini, the red halterdress etc.

  9. LOVE the coat and I'm glad you kept it as it really suits you; you certainly have the personality bright enough to match! It's also reminded me of the green leather coat I picked up from a vintage fair in Aintree a few years ago, which I really must dig out of storage and wear again!

  10. I love a great red coat, I think everyone should have at least one! Looks like you are ready and anxious for your trip, I'm excited for you! :)

  11. another trip to India? Good for you guys. I'm also looking forward to the photos

  12. Hurray for your trip ! And for red ! I do love my red leatherjacket and your coat !

  13. I have always loved wearing red, a power color. Makes me feel like I look good in it - you certainly do! Your packing list for India is a bit like camping, no one wants to get stuck anywhere without light and the ability to make a cup of tea!

  14. I'd like to think the bright coloured coat encouraged them to give you your travel documents-who wants drab tourists ruining paradise?

    I'm headed off for a weekend holiday, and I swear I packed more than you did for a month.

  15. Lovely, lovely portrait of you.

    OMG, are you organised! I thought I was organised for travel packing but you are something else - you've thought of everything. Photocopies of passports what an amazingly clever thing to do! I do hope your crochet bikini isn't made of wool that stretches when its wet and leaves you with droopy drawers; it happened to me as a kid in a wool swimming costume and I still blush at the thought of it.

    I do not understand why people are scared to wear colour either - as you say it won't kill you and doesn't it cheer things up? You look gorgeous in your red coat,boots and I love the maxi dress too, all in all a fab outfit.



  16. I can't imagine why those women would think they can't wear red, in fact I was looking at my own wardrobe the other day and realised I wear too much red! I thought it was quite a basic colout that suited everyone. The coat looks fab on you, especially with that dress!

  17. you look amazing in the coat and your suit cases will never been stuffed with the light beautiful clothes you have chosen to wear lol, ooo la la, you wear it all beautifully,,
    I really enjoy seeing the different products in other countries, some of them we can get here but not many,,

  18. I love your observation that if you wear red nobody will notice your IQ. I think I'm going to start rocking the bright colors. I'm clearly not smart enough to figure that out on my own. Every time you and Jon head off to India I almost feel like I'm going along. I love your swoon worthy boho wardrobe and your organizational skills are impressive. You are as pretty as a a picture.

  19. Yes to the red coat!! I don't get the whole 'can't wear red' thing!!! Glad your visa was fine!
    That is SO TRUE about the plug thing in Asian countries-they really don't!!!Xx

  20. Mwahahah, they can't wear red. Are they allergics to it???? Even if it's not a flattering color for your complexion or haircolor, obviously you can wear it, and rock it!.
    Love to see you in your red coat, such a fabulous piece, would love to find something like this in my size!!. And you look gorgeous!, lovely dress and lovely boots too!! Really, I adore everything!!! and that amazing piece of art!! fabulousness!!
    And I enjoy a lot your 'luggage posts', thanks for sharing these little details, and your very interesting advice!!

  21. My cousin's husband complimented me today on the red wet-look jacket I am wearing and even asked where I got it. (chazza... where else?) I'm also wearing a red cardi, (also chazza'ed) it's my favourite colour... why wouldn't I? Anyway I reckon you should wear more colour as you get older ...not less. Your red coat is bloody fab and looks a perfect match with those boots and may I say, the bastard massive earrings are exceptional!
    Interesting to see your pared-down India kit. Not long now.

  22. You had the best birthday card images ever. So much more interesting than normal cards. I really enjoyed seeing them all.
    I don't know what people are on about saying they can't wear a red coat, I'm on the lookout after seeing the one Curtise has just nabbed.
    Bet you are getting excited now. I would be xxx

  23. killer dress! the pattern is amazing! Vix, I want your closet!

    Inside and Outside Blog

  24. Love your holiday wardrobe, I always pack early I do love packing though and I do pack for 5 people eeeek. Hope you have a great time, as I type the rain is pouring down my window, boo! X

  25. Beautiful coat! And that is an impressive amount of sun cream. I am always impressed by your tan though so it all makes sense. Happy BD too!

  26. I'm already traveling with you in my mind. Yes-I will be bolder with color because as my dad always said, if you wear it, it goes!

  27. I shall attempt to print out a frameable version of Subhi's portrait, which I shall label "Wear Red!" (And so I do.)

    Thanks for the peek into your typically prudent and always glamorous travel wardrobe. The tub plug -- that's the item I'd have overlooked!
    I'm even squinting green-eyed at the bikinis, knowing my appearance in any of them might frighten the cows on the beach. I shall now close my envious orbs and imagine myself walking that beach in a gorgeous muumuu...

  28. I recently found a brand-new vintage red leather jacket that fit me perfectly, at the thrift store. It was in my basket faster than you can say boo. And I've been wondering why on earth it was there and why nobody had grabbed it before I did, and you have now answered that question. I've always happily worn red. You look fantastic in yours!

    I always enjoy your packing posts, and love all the clothes you're bringing.


  29. Curtise were wearing a red coat in her latest post and now you are showing off yours. I've never had problem with wearing red, used to have a red coat too but as it is too warm for a coat here in Nepal, I am limited to a red jacket. The Himalayan brand is really good and not expensive, I use some of their products too.

  30. very cheery travel wardrobe!!!
    well done with the coat - i know this complainers from my own (long gone) shop - *rolls eyes*. and it remembers me to wear my me-made red skirt suit more often....

  31. Yay for keeping the coat! I love red coats, mine always gets compliments xxx

  32. You know I love red. I've never been told that statement. Maybe Aussies are more colourful.
    You look wonderful in red with that black hair flowing!
    I admire your packing. You are definitely showing signs of having done this before!
    What a great time of year for you. I hope your hand and ankle and Jon's knee are better for the trip!!
    Xo Jazzy Jack

  33. I love red and wouldn't have any qualms about wearing a coat like that! Reckon you did the right thing keeping it.

    Bet you and Jon can't wait to up sticks to India again and I look the nosy peek through your holiday wardrobe - my favourite is the leather bag, its gorgeous!

    T'raa for now chuck, xxx

  34. That red coat would look lovely with each and every item of your 'travel capsule,' my dear. Perhaps a photo of you wearing it as such would help the buying public understand more fully that it's better to BE RED THAN DEAD. You show 'em, Vix.

  35. I cannot believe that coat wasn't snapped up - I definitely would have if I'd seen it! Anyway I think it sort of belongs on you, it looks great with that dress. It's a funny thing that worrying about something being too showy or loud, I always feel sad when someone says 'I wish I was brave enough to wear that'. It's never struck me as brave to wear colour, as you say just put it on and don't worry about the rest! If it makes you feel happy surely that's enough. Jolly exciting that you're off again. I always love reading your posts about your travels. XXX

  36. That coat is amazing! I'm not surprised you snapped it up for yourself xx

  37. I love wearing bright coats when the days are dull and grey, and what's with this rubbish about not being able to wear red? Anyone can wear red, it's all about finding the right shade! I would have fought Suzanne over this one.

    The trip preparation is underway!! Very excited for you - just get through the silly season and you'll be on your way to Goa, all of us wishing we were on the beach with you. Nice portrait of you!

  38. Hello dear Vix:
    That coat is fabulous - I would wear it! Why are people afraid of color- but then again, I don't look good in orange, so maybe that is part of it, too?
    And that portrait is spectacular!! xo

  39. You have your holiday to India packing down to a fine art. Three weeks and you will be sunning yourself in your favourite part of the world, you deserve it after your busy year. I love colour so don't quite get people not wanting a red coat, and you are right, it is really as easy as putting it on and going out!!

  40. Subhi, what a talent! I love that portrait of you, all colour, spot on. I wore bastard massive earrings today and thought of you. I'm in training under your excellent guidance, like here in those hoops. Gaaa. You are born for red - and yellow and blue and green...
    And so the packing goes, excellent. The clock counts down the seconds till you're on that plane. I'm excited for you and Jon.

  41. The portrait is beautiful, and you in your red and black outfit look stunning! Happy Birthday, Vix! I hope it went just the way you love it, with people who adore you and who you love, and lots and lots of fun! :)

  42. I do love a bit of red and wear it often but to be fair on your customers there are certain shades of red I really cannot wear because I instantly look like a grey skinned corpse risen.

    I'm so excited about your holiday just a wee bit jealous if I'm honest.....

  43. Gorgeous, red coat! I love red and have a bright, raspberry red coat. Very cheerful in the grey weather. (Christmassy too ;)) I have a purple velvet one too, that always gets positive comments.

    I'm jealous of all the Indian silver you will bring back. I do have some that was my grandmother's, so definitely vintage.

  44. I can't wear this kind of red ...
    A couple of weeks ago I soent the whole afternoon at a freinds vintage shop ... there was one Lady who tried on a green coat which looked adorable on her, but she was more like , ' ohno, I don't like this colour on me'. She took the coat of and we spotted a sweater underneath in exact the same green colour. We're still start giggling when we talk about this.... :)))))

  45. I have an amazing bright red duffle coat (£5 from a local charity shop vintage event) and a bright red rain coat (£5 from a local charity shop sale), I don't understand the red coat thing.

    Odomos - amazing stuff, works like a charm.

  46. Bugger, post vanished! I have a red winter duffle coat and a red raincoat - both charity shop bargains - what's wrong with red!

    Odomos, amazing stuff. I think packing or sorting out holiday clothes in advance is all part of the fun.

  47. I LOVE this coat. You look amazing in it. I don't know why people would say that about red. It is one of those colours that suits everyone. I am in awe of your packing/organization skills. I never take the right amount of stuff. Xx

  48. Odd isn't it- those women must have been drawn to the red coat to have commented on it. Anyway- lucky we don't all want the same thing otherwise it could be a little ugly! I've a very orange leather jacket that attracts attention and positive comments every time I wear it- including a total stranger of the male variety who as he passed me on the street said with a very nice grin ' love your jacket'. And so do I.

  49. You and Curtise are coat twins! I love red, people always notice and say nice things about red. How exciting! Honestly I think the whole of blog land is emotionally invested in your annual India adventure. I think we all travel a bit vicariously when you go. January is such a non month so your timing is perfect. If ever I go, I'm just copying your packing, so thanks in advance Vix!! Xxxx

  50. Love the portrait.
    I'm a little ashamed to admit that I would probably be one of the women saying I can't wear red ... but it's got nothing to do with attracting attention, I just feel like red hair and red clothes might be too much red ... and would be more clashing than contrasting. Maybe to wear red needs to be my New Year's Resolution :0)

  51. Really? People say they can't wear red? Good grief, why ever not?! It'll be no surprise to you that I LOVE that coat (who knew English Lady did leather?) and the frock is a beauty.
    Well done on being all packed and sorted early; I get the feeling you just can't wait to be off! And I don't blame you, the weather and the endless Christmas shite is enough to drive you crackers! Not long now.
    Love you!
    PS. Soooo sorry to be so late commenting - I can't keep up! xxx

  52. That red coat is gorgeous....and you look great! I wish you a great holiday in India...and btw I really like that illustration your friend did...I must remember to illustrate you some day too.

  53. You really deserve a good break Vix! I know you guys will have a wonderful time in India and look forward to the pictures. I also find it so weird when people are like "I wish I could wear X but I can't" - I get it if people feel like it makes them feel washed out or something...but the whole "I just can't" is weird! Colour everywhere always!!


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