Monday, 18 April 2016

The Coastal Town That They Forgot To Close Down



When I drew back the curtains on Saturday morning I was greeted with a scene straight off a Xmas card, the garden was covered with at least four inches of snow and the purple-blue skies looked decidedly ominous. Was that going to spoil our fun? Hell, no! We dug out our thermals, pulled on our coats, jumped in the van and headed to the seaside.


Being Midlanders we couldn't live any further from the sea, which, as self-confessed beach bums, couldn't be more unfair. Our annual trips to India always involve at least a fortnight lazing on a beach but it must be almost twenty years since we'd last set foot on British sand. When we discovered that Weston-Super-Mare, our closest seaside town, had over twenty charity shops we decided to combine a vintage shopping expedition with some bracing sea air. Despite it only being a two hour drive away from Walsall, we'd only visited once before and never together. My sole visit was hedonistic night out clubbing in the early 1990s and, strangely, I can't remember much about it. 


  I'm just quoting Morrissey in my blog title, Weston doesn't really need to be shut down.
Apart from the odd '60s carbuncle blighting the skyline (what on earth were the council's planning department thinking?) the view was gorgeous and there was no evidence of the snow we had in the Midlands, the skies were beautiful, the Spring sunshine lovely and, if you kept your coat buttoned up, you hardly noticed the Arctic breeze. 


There were two branches of Wetherspoons in Weston Super Mare. We visited the Cabot Court Hotel on the seafront (on the right hand side of the photo, behind the toy train).


A 'Spoons with a view! Could this be the only Wetherspoons in the UK where you can see the sea from your table?

  
We liked the seaside themed interior which included classic naughty postcards and vintage swimwear. The beer garden looked like a fantastic sun trap (although we were horrified by the number of parents allowing their kids to wee in the prettily planted gardens rather than taking them to the toilets.)


 The Neo-Georgian Winter Gardens Pavilion opened in 1927. Some of the final scenes from The Remains of the Day were filmed here. 


Nothing more life affirming than the sound of the waves and a huge sky.


I quite fancied a ride on the Wheel of Weston but Jon put his foot down, he's terrified of heights.


There was quite a queue for donkey rides.


But by far the most popular method to travel around Weston Super Mare was by mobility scooter, obviously Somerset's answer to Benidorm (apologies to non-Brits, it's a sit-com about holiday makers on the Spanish Costas). 


You took your life in your hands trying to avoid being mown down on the pavements and had to clamber over row upon row of them parked outside charity shops. Amazing how ones ability to walk miraculously improves when there's a £1 clearance rail...


These seagulls were massive. We chose to eat in Wetherspoons, if one of these bad boys took a fancy to a bag of chips eaten on the seafront you wouldn't stand a fighting chance.


Obviously a day at the British seaside means taking home a couple of sticks of Weston rock. 


So what were Weston Super Mare's famed chazzas like? Plentiful and well priced, mostly modern stuff but a lot of it was the nicer High Street stuff - Laura Ashley, Boden, Monsoon, White Stuff - rather than endless rails of tatty fast fashion. The vintage we found was pretty good - there was a fair amount of it but we only buy what we really like not just because it's old. Not all vintage is good vintage.


Here's what we bought - an Indian block printed kaftan and some red leather clogs.


Two vintage scarves (one acetate, hand rolled & made in Japan, the other by St Michael), St Michael peasant blouse and a block printed triangle tie sun top by Indian Imports of Rhode Island, NYC.,


An Indian embroidered cheesecloth tunic, Nepali brass pendant and Nepali 100% wool poncho.


Worsted wool trousers, Bri Nylon leisure shirt, Christian Dior bow tie & Tootal scarf.


1950s photo album (makes us want to take Gilbert off to the South of France just so we can fill the album), Spanish dolls (I've got a plan) and a ridiculous album from 1964 which claims to help you to recapture your holiday memories of the Continent with tunes from Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece, France and......Calcutta (!)

Wearing: 1950s Snuggle car coat (charity shop), Cotton On skinnies (car boot sale), Tootal scarf (Vintage fair), Leather Baker boy cap (End of the Road Festival), Vintage glasses (reglazed in Goa)
Weston Super Mare was super. Charity shops, cheap pubs and a beach and, if you want to stay down there, hotel rooms start at £22.50. A bargain hunter's ideal destination!

Wearing: Psychedelic maxi (jumble sale, 2010), Saluki 1970s fake fur (car boot, 2011), Leather boots (charity shop), 1960s sunglasses (Vintage fair)

Linking to Visible Monday with Patti and the gang.

See you soon.

102 comments:

  1. You've got a plan for Spanish dolls? Intrigued!
    Looks like a wonderful place to visit, even on a chilly day. xxx

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    1. It was great fun! Well worth a visit. x

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  2. I love the seaside but prefer it off season, I like moody skies and a lack of people :)

    That album looks like a proper classic, they don't make them like that anymore! Love that Bri-Nylon shirt too xxx

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    1. The skies are wonderful at this time of year. I bet Weston is mad in the season! x

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  3. Weird, I dreamed it snowed in London on Saturday but I had no idea it had *actually* snowed anywhere. What's more, in my dream I ended up at the seaside where there was no snow but the beach had lovely soft sand... how odd!

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    1. They threatened a flurry or two but I was amazed by how white it was when we got up. All gone now, thankfully - just bitterly cold! x

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  4. You guys made some sensational purchases and you have been wise: you've eaten far away from seagulls, they have become feathered bullies even in my area, ehehhe! I prefer the tender donkeys!
    But let's talk about the sea .. I love traveling, suddenly, toward the sea, when the sky turns gray; the sea, the clouds, the mountains in the distance .. is so relaxing for me!
    These photographs are beautiful, I love these places where history, outstanding architectures are mixed to the sand ... This place is really impressive!

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    1. Feathered bullies! You're not wrong there! xxx

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  5. Wearing fur on the beach, I love it! (I wear my vintage fake fur on Brighton beach and it doubles up as a lovely blanket to lie on). I haven't been to WSM since I was about 10 - glad they still have donkeys. 20 charity shops tells you a lot about the economy in the area. I regret not going to Weston super mare when Banksy had his fairground display showing - what a fabulous sight it would have been. I do love a good silk scarf and this looks like the place to find them!

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    1. Fake furs are brilliant, mine comes to Glastonbury with me every year!
      I missed Dismal-land, too, I think too many blogposts and Facebook photos spoilt the surprise and I felt like we'd been already. xxx

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  6. I'm impressed, with the fact that the tide was in at Weston! Not sure I've ever seen that before! Gorgeous dress, purple and blue is a fab colour combo. Love those vintage finds, especially the poncho, clogs and the two blouses. We are summer holidaying in Somerset, will have to steer OH towards Weston to get a look in some of those chazzas. xxx

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    1. You're right, people always say that they never see the sea at Weston as the tide's always out! Maybe coming out of season is the way to go.
      You must make a detour on your travels, I thought of you when I spotted Sea Salt & White Stuff. xxx

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  7. I'd have gone on the Wheel with you, I love heights. Those donkeys are absolutely gorgeous! Glad you weren't trudging slowly over wet sand. x

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    1. That would have been a laugh, wouldn't it?
      I love a donkey, Jon adopted one for a year for my birthday present ages ago! x

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  8. Snow! Well done to take a getaway to the beach (chilly though it may be) - what a picturesque setting and you and Jon make it all the more so. The faux fur is perfect on the beach, xox

    Patti
    http://notdeadyetstyle.com

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    1. I know! You're blogging in sandals and we're in thermals here! I needed gloves today. x

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  9. O I miss the ocean!
    Looks like you found some great vintage scores!'
    Do Britishers often let their kids wee in public gardens? I thought that was only an Indian thing?
    Bibi
    xox
    https://calmlycookingcurry.blogspot.com/2016/04/aloo-mattar-curried-potatoes-peas.html

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    1. I bet you do, you're miles away, aren't you?
      It wouldn't surprise me if the Brits introduced public weeing to India, no wonder I feel so at home when I'm there! x

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  10. I do feel sorry for you lot in the Midlands being so far from the sea. It looked like you had a brilliant time. Must investigate Weston it's not that far away. Love the pink poncho! x

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    1. Definitely good for a shopping trip.
      Yes, we squeal like kids on the way there...the sea, the sea! x

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  11. I can't imagine living that far from the sea (just 30 mins for us). We're not too far from Weston but it wouldn't be top of our list of seaside towns to visit! We are spoilt for choice with lovely south coast and North Devon beaches. Glad you had a fun day out and came home with some vintage treasures too. M x

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    1. My childhood was spent visiting gorgeous beaches in the South Hams - Dad had a boat so needed good sailing away from the crowds. Me, I like cheap beer and charity shops! xxx

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  12. That wool poncho is fantastic!
    I'm with Jon - I have fear of heights, too.
    Love that you're wearing that fur on the beach. The weather all over is insane!
    xox

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    1. This winter seems to be lasting an eternity! I'll probably be wearing that poncho in August. x

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  13. gorgeous trip!!
    you both look glorious at the beach! our next beach is a 4-5h drive away - if we do not count the sandy riverbank down from our house....
    love the deer kaftan!
    xxxxx

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    1. A riverbank by the house sounds like a fabulous alternative to the seaside!
      I love those deer, too! x

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  14. The British seaside isn't the British seaside without donkeys. Used to be 25p a ride when I was a kid...

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    1. I didn't check the price but I bet it wasn't 25p! I was surprised that the rock was only 50p though, didn't seem too bad. x

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  15. Never been to Weston Super - Mare but I pass it on the way to my best friend's in Devon. Might stop for a rummage when I go to see her in a few weeks time. I'm with Jon on the heights thing. I once went on a ferris wheel in town with oldest grandson when he was about 10 and screamed to be let off when we had reached the pinnacle; my legs were like jelly and I was white as a ghost - he was mortified!

    You picked up some brilliant items - I really like the kaftan - beautiful!

    Have a great week

    Veronica

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    1. Ha! Your poor grandson!!
      Weston is well worth a charity shop stop. I thought they'd be full of elasticated waist slacks and wolf fleeces given it's reputation as a retirement hot spot but luckily I was wrong! x

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  16. Weston-Super-Mud! I have workmates who live there. Banksy building Dismaland was the most interesting thing to happen there in decades, by all accounts. I had no idea it was so good for charity shops.

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    1. There was a sand sculpture exhibition on when we were there but at £4 each we saved our cash for a slap up 'Spoons lunch instead! Excellent chazzing opportunities, worth a taz up the road for you! x

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  17. Oh Vix, now you've got me humming Every Day is Like Sunday for a couple of days ... Four inches of snow indeed, and I was complaining that it was cold with a bit of sleet here. I do love the seaside, in any season, but preferably off-season. That 60s monstrosity though is nothing compared with the ugly skyline of Belgium's coastal towns. There's hardly any original seaside architecture left, all huge modern apartment buildings. xxx

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    1. Thought you'd appreciate a bit of the Mozza magic! Its really cold here again today, I wish Spring would stick around longer than the odd day.
      How sad about Belgium's coastal towns. 1960s clothes and cars were fabulous, the town planning sadly wasn't. xxx

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  18. Sounds like a great trip and shopping spree. Nice to rediscover some places not to far from home. I need to try to do more of that this summer.

    We had our snow about 10 days ago and today it is summer, about 29 C in the sun. Seems like spring only lasts a day now.

    Love that lacy blouse and the kaftan.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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    1. We've neglected our country for years, only visiting to work or, in Jon's case, perform. Combining work (ie., vintage shopping) and sightseeing is the ideal way to rectify this!
      You lucky thing - send some of that heat over here, will you? I'm so over thermal vests now! x

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  19. Ha, I had wondered if you were headed for Weston-super-Mud when you mentioned the place you were going had 20 charity shops. I love the chazzas in Weston - so many of them and so much to choose from. You were very lucky to see the tide in - usually it is mud, mud, glorious mud, as far as the eye can see. Every summer at least one twonk thinks they can walk across the mud to South Wales and have to be rescued by the local lifeboat! Fabulous finds - as always.

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    1. Super-Mud, ha! Can't believe the tide was in for our visit. Judging by the idiotic behaviour in 'Spoons I can imagine the lifeboat is on constant alert! x

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  20. Bloody fab! You two look great and I do love a bit of Weston. It was always the Mystery Trip destination when I was a kid or it seemed so to me. I recall being attacked by ladybirds in the Great Ladybird Invasion in the Seventies and always riding a donkey! Funnily enough, Matt and Me were on about going there for the day for old time's sake. I'd defo be up on the Wheel of Weston!
    Nifty haul too. Love that frock and the photo album is wonderful.
    Loves ya!
    xxxxx

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    1. I've just remembered Dudley has a wheel, too. One of my mates says she'll ride it with me.
      You and Matt definitely need a day trip. Get there before May and the dog's allowed on the beach, too. xxx

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  21. I love Weston Super Mare, we regularly pop there for a weekend in our campervan. I can't wait to go there again in a few weeks. I have never really had the chance to check out the charity shops. Looks like you got some great finds. I especially like the block print kaftan and cheese cloth top!

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    1. You should check out the chazzas when you're there although if you find loads you might be struggling for space in the camper! x

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  22. Feck the snow and head to the beach. Hahaha! It looks like a scene from a British film or TV series, which is as close as I've ever come to the real thing. Love the view from the restaurant, and you scored great stuff. Glad you had a good time. This trip seems to have paid off on all fronts.

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    1. Oh yeah, the seedy glamour of the British seaside, you've got to love it! xxx

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  23. I love seaside resorts in the off season! I've only been to Weston Super Mare once and that was when I went to Dismaland so I didn't get to really see it properly, you've tempted me to pop on the train! You've found some wonderful things, I'm intrigued by your plans for the Spanish dolls.

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    1. I loved your Dismaland post, Freya. It made up for not getting there ourselves.
      A great trip out, plenty of chazzas, chips and ice cream on every street corner and even a vintage shop. xxx

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  24. I'm amazed there are 20 charity shops there!!!! Glad you got some bargains! There are so many places in England that I just have no idea about!!x

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    1. Me, neither. I know South India better than I do the UK! x

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  25. I am getting more and more into solely doing my clothes shopping in charity shops and vintage stores-when I start buying again. For now, I'm trying to learn more what exactly is vintage and what is just old and outdated-not retro classic, what is quality and what is "tat". (Did I use the expression right?) I think I'd like Super Mare.

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    1. Some vintage traders still haven't learnt that lesson, Sam! x

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    2. Ps Tat is short for tatty, so you're on the right track!

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  26. I'm so landlocked here we don't even have a proper lake to swim in (and the Platte River is so shallow you can wade across it). I haven't seen the ocean in 15 years.

    Twenty charity shops! Is that a record? The caftan was a great find, and the clogs too. I'm a little disappointed we didn't get to see you riding a donkey, or mowing down youngsters on a mobility scooter. We get the drunk teens using our yard as a urinal, but parents encouraging children to do so is a bit sad.

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    1. 15 years? No! I think I'm hard done to seeing it once a year.
      Twenty is pretty good going, isn't it? We missed one of them, not spotting it until we were in the van on the way out of town. Jon drew the line at stopping off, he'd reached charity shop saturation point by then. xxx

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  27. love all your adventures! remains of the day is one of my favorite movies!

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  28. love all your adventures! remains of the day is one of my favorite movies!

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  29. love all your adventures! remains of the day is one of my favorite movies!

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  30. Snow must be strange for people on Island. Living in North Idaho I've seen plenty of it and haven't yet been tired of it.
    Today it was in 70's and my tulips are in bloom.
    Coffee is on

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    1. Not sure which island that is but 70 degrees just about sounds perfect! x

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  31. Snow in mid April?! Oh no! We're having over 80 F (90 in the valley), you'd love that. Glad you played in British sand instead of British snow! That kaftan is really pretty, and the photos of the sea and the sky, and the beautiful architecture are amazing. Hugs to you. Stay warm! :)

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    1. Send us some of that delicious warmth over here, it's freezing! xxx

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  32. The scooter hire is my favourite ... can totally see me on one of these granny scooters driving around ... with my petticoat blown over my face because of the stiff breeze.

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    1. You'd be the world's most glamorous mobility scooter driver! x

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  33. What a gorgeous day out! I love all your vintage finds, and those seagulls are massive! I chuckled at your mention of mobility scooters and pound rails, as my father mentioned the very same thing recently, when he visited Port talbot. Lovely, lovely images, so nice to see blue skies, and you both look as fab as ever! xx

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    1. They're beasts, aren't they? Wouldn't argue with them!
      Maybe the mobility scooterists use them so they can save their energy for fighting in charity shops? xxx

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  34. It looks like heaven: fabulous finds on a fabulous day nearby the sea!! that's my kind of outing!, and you look pretty relaxed!
    Lovely maxi dress and furry jacket, you're gorgeous and Jon is looking so cool as usual!!
    besos

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    1. Thanks, Monica! I do like to be beside the seaside! xxx

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  35. Nice and beautiful place, lovely photos and wonderful finds, I especially like that Indian caftan. You both look fantastic!

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  36. Ooh I feel like I've had a great day out at the seaside thanks.
    The purchases look better than we found in Southport. I like the man's top and the kaftan.
    I'm so busy messing with my purchase from Wales I haven't had time to blog yet. Xxx

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    1. I can't wait to see your purchases, Lynn - get blogging! x

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  37. What a lovely place for a little day-trip! The town looks like it was packed with charming sights. And great finds at the thrift-stores.

    We plan to take a few day-trips this summer. It's so neat to feel like you've been away on vacation, when you've really just taken the car out for a drive!

    I like your line "Not all vintage is good vintage"! So true, lol.

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    1. Can't wait to read about your explorations, Loulou, your photos are always fabulous. x

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  38. Looks like a spectacular place to combine a seaside adventure with vintage shopping. Although I know that vintage shopping is its own adventure. Gorgeous photos, and I see that you found some amazing pieces. I love exploring England through your blog!

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    1. You're right, Judith, vintage shopping is always an adventure but coupled with a beach it's blooming brilliant! x

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  39. What a pretty little town - near the ocean AND 20 charity shops make it even better! I very much enjoy making these little trips vicariously through your posts. I really like the Indian block print dress you scored, and I do have a thing for flamenco dolls (I have a few as well).

    I can't believe parents let their children pee in the gardens - WTF???

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    1. I do love an Indian block print - my radar is tuned to them! xxx

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  40. Thanks for the tour of Weston Vix, I've never been and it looks and sounds great (apart from the kids weeing in 'Spoons beer garden... whose parents, no doubt, are the same ones that frequent Tesco in their pyjamas) I laughed about the clearance rail being responsible for so many miracles. I see it all the time at the airport, they can't possibly walk 100 yards...until they have to wait for twenty minutes, then they miraculously find their feet. So pleased to see the donkey rides, as I read in a newspaper last week that the council of one seaside town had revoked the licence of the owners for the coming season saying they have fallen out of fashion. What's your plan for the senoritas then? xxxx

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    1. The miracle walkers are particularly prevalent at airports, aren't they?!
      Yep, the parents who slother around Tesco in their onesies with an energy drink welded to their hands. I know them well. xxx

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  41. It's years since I've been to Weston. It doesn't look any different though. What glorious weather though, wish we could get a bit of that up North. Xx

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    1. Have you had Spring today and yesterday? We have. Not looking great for the weekend (again!) xxx

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  42. Thank you for posting those lovely pics of the seaside view. Ah, to live only a few hours from the coast must be bliss!!!

    I love how you manage to look so stylish, yet stay warm. I'm glad you and Jon found lots of vintage treasures. I know they'll go to good homes!!

    happy thrifting ;)

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    1. ..and we don't take advantage of this at all, waiting once a year to visit India's coast instead...must do better! xxx

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  43. There is some so charming about seaside towns. I like the slightly worn ones, like this. I must go. x

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    1. You must, a typically British seaside fun. x

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  44. we have a rule: we can't live more that 3 hours from the beach. The Doctor's got to surf (he's doing that today, while I'll be at work). Snow? In April? It's hitting the high 80's here today! You found more Spanish dolls and have a plan for them.....can't wait

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    1. That's a good rule. I'm insanely jealous of your heat! x

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  45. One of the dancing weekenders I go to is in Weston, I've only been to the sea front briefly but I know what you mean about the mobility scooters! It was the same when I went to disneyland Florida, they would go to the front of the queue and then get off and walk on to the ride! By the sounds of it you and Jon had a great day, I can't wait to see what your plan is for the Spanish dolls. xx

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    1. Fancy Disneyland being the same. What is the world coming to? xxx

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  46. Your recent posts do remind me of Chicago, Vix. The 12th Street Beach next to the museums' campus definitely requires a heavy jacket this time of year, and the enormous, aggressive gulls make a sturdy umbrella/weapon of choice an essential accessory. The comments about the mobility scooters also struck a nerve: I've seen scooterists called out by folks behind them in the queue at the airport when they dismount and amble easily to board. "Hallelujah! Healed! A miracle, y'all!"

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    1. I've always fancied Chicago, Beth. I'd definitely feel at home with the weather!
      The speed at which air travelers regain their ability to walk when they realise that they are back of the immigration queue in India never ceases to amaze us. xxx

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  47. I loved seeing your Super Mare adventures - loved the charity shop finds especially the clogs (I just bought a pair of red clogs!!) We have such different beaches here in Australia that I find it fascinating seeing English ones.

    Melissa

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    1. Hello, Melissa! My brother traveled to Australia a couple of years ago and still waxes lyrical about your beautiufl beaches. Red clogs are the best ,these are sadly a bit too wide for me and a sprained ankle is the last thing on my wish list! xxx

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  48. I never got near the charity shops when we went but we did go to the same Wetherspoons!

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    1. I think we need a bloggers weekend at the seaside! xxx

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  49. Excellent finds! That vividly hued caftan practically took my breath away. How lovely that you guys (fellow ocean lovers) were able to zip off for a much needed spot of fun in the, if not quite sun, then at least seaside air all the same. Here's to hoping spring kicks into high gear for you pronto!

    ♥ Jessica

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    1. I love a caftan, that blck print is stunning, isn't it?
      We've got sunshine this morning, your good wishes must have worked! xxx

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  50. One of my favourite Morrissey songs - can you hear me singing?!
    Weston-Super-Mare looks like a great place for a day trip, with plenty to enjoy. A Spoons with a sea view? Who knew such a thing existed? Loving the big coastal skies, the beach - and of course the mobility scooters!
    You and Jon look as cool as ever - sometimes a faux fur is the only way to cope with breezy seaside temperatures! And what a lot of treasure you found, loving that kaftan, the clogs and the cheesecloth top.
    You're venturing to all sorts of new places for your chazzing expeditions, it's whetting my appetite for a day out...
    Love you! Xxxx

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  51. This looks like a fun day out and I do love visiting the beach in winter! This may sound weird but when I was a kid I ALWAYS wanted to visit a beach like this - with all the rides and everything. I always thought it would be so much fun. That kaftan is epic!

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  52. You've been to Somerset! You're getting all over the place at the moment, it's fantastic. We used to go to Weston as kids. It's not the most glamorous place in the world but with 20 charity shops that is worth the trip. I think we might have gone on those donkeys! Wow you did well. I love that triangle Indian top, beautiful. Oh, you've got to go to the south of France in Gilbert. That would be amazing. Xxx

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Love from Vix
xxx