Friday 30 September 2016


If we're friends on Facebook you'll know that we lost our beautiful girl, Polly, last Friday, hence the extended silence. Thanks to all who commented and messaged us, your kindness meant a great deal.

We're trading with Judy's at Bethnal Green this weekend and we've completely thrown ourselves into preparing for what's going to be our first vintage fair in over five months. During the Summer any spare time between festivals was spent vintage hunting so at least 80% of the stock we're taking on Sunday is completely new to us and had to be measured, priced, tagged and thoroughly rechecked. A three day job it may be but it's proved a welcome distraction.

When I was checking this 1970s John Marks for Anne Tyrell maxi I discovered a tiny hole I'd missed when we originally bought it. Whilst unfit to grace our rails it's more than welcome to adorn my body. I'm nowhere near as much as a perfectionist with my own wardrobe as I am with the Kinky Melon one. John Marks is the designer behind one of the most treasured pieces of vintage I own, my psychedelic velvet maxi coat (last worn when we traded in Bath HERE) - I'll be wearing this green dress underneath it when the weather gets colder.

I've discovered that wearing plain clothes (as opposed to those adorned with a wild print) require a bit more thought. Print hides a multitude of sins whereas large expanses of plain fabric show off badly fitting (or lack of) underwear. No chucking this dress on over my usual M&S cotton shorts, instead I had to delve deep in the knicker drawer for some non -VPL pants and an ugly, long-forgotten tee shirt bra. I'm not one of those women who spend a fortune on underwear, a multi pack of pants will last me years and I rarely bother with a bra. If I ever do get run over by a bus, the doctor would probably be appalled by what horrors lurk under my clothes but I can't imagine I'd be in any state to care.

Anne Tyrell for John Marks maxi (Charity shop), 1970s felt hat (50p, Car boot sale, 2009)
It's the first time I've owned anything made from Ban-Lon although it's phenomenally popular with our regular Mod customers when we have any on our menswear rail. It's breathable, retains it's shape and colour brilliantly, is fabulous to wear and, according to this crazy 1960s advert, still looks good after being scrumpled up in your handbag and worn after a shipwreck. It really is a mystery why still isn't being made.

Advert courtesy of  Get Some Vintage Appeal

It's Vix's law that dresses (plain or otherwise) should be accessorised to within an inch of their lives with as much bastard jewellery as is humanly possible to load on your body. The three-stone turquoise index finger ring is my latest addition - when we were out charity shopping yesterday a lady on her first day volunteering in Age UK said that she'd been told to expect me and pointed out this ring that had been specially reserved behind the counter. Obviously the description she'd been given of me and the manager's knowledge of my taste were spot on. 

If you're in or around London on Sunday it would be great to see you (you'll find all the details HERE). If not, you can check our itinerary for the rest of the year or browse the Kinky rails in our on-line shop. The gorgeous Mim did just that buying a Sixties Crimplene dress suit - she's rocking the hell out of it on her blog, HERE.

See you soon.

Linking to Judith's Hat Attack ; Patti's Visible Monday & Sydney Fashion Hunter's Fashion Link-Up

Tuesday 20 September 2016

Oh Deer!

If you visited expecting a post about V Dubs in the Valley, what was to be our last festival of Summer 2016, you'll be a tad confused. There's something I omitted from last Tuesday's "A Day in the Life" blog, while I was clearing up after our tea Jon had taken Polly Piglet to the vet as she'd completely gone off her food.

What we initially assumed would be a routine trip to the vets rapidly descended into a frightening succession of blood tests, antibiotic & steroid injections, ultrasound scans and eventually, still lethargic and not eating, an emergency admission on Sunday night for an overnight stay, wired to an IV drip. Needless to say it's been seven days of incessant worry and sleepless nights. There was no way we could have left her with the cat sitter to swan off to V Dubs in the Valley so we pulled out, requesting the organisers donate our pitch fee to a charity of their choice. After all those tests the results are still inconclusive so she's being monitored at home for 48 hours and is due back with the vet tomorrow morning. She was quite lively last night and ate well so maybe we've reached a turning point. All I can say is thank f*ck for pet insurance.

Last weekend, which now seems like a lifetime ago, I found a pair of chintzy pastoral print curtains featuring deer and dogs in one of those clearance charity shops where everything is £1.99. Bordering on granny, I thought they'd work far better as a mini dress than as a window dressing.

Nail paint: Barry M's Cancun; Vintage Murano bead & beaten brass pendant (our friend, neighbour and occasional cat-sitter, Jolene Smith)

No sooner did I make the dress then a heatwave hit Britain and it's been hanging in the wardrobe as the fabric was far too thick to wear. While I'm not exactly thrilled that it's chilly this morning,  at least the dress got its first airing.

There's not a lot else to report in the life of Vix, I haven't left the house except to visit the vet and empty the bin. When suffering from mental turmoil I've done what I always do, work until I'm absolutely knackered. Since Thursday, I've taken over 300 photos, written a hundred descriptions and, after our Summer hiatus, relaunched the Kinky website.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. We must have over a thousand pieces of vintage in the Kinky shed.

I'll be adding fresh stock every day from now on but don't worry, I won't be turning my blog into some kind of marketplace. If you are interested you can click on the link in my side bar or you can find us HERE. I've also updated our itinerary for the rest of the year so if you want to drop by and say hello click HERE or on the *Meet Kinky* link in my side bar.

Curtain Couture dress (made from 1960s Sanderson "Glade" curtains and a 1971 dressmaking pattern, a zip & some 1960s lurex braid salvaged from a tatty vintage dress); 1960s Lime green suede go-go boots (from blog reader Vonda)

Linking to Patti & the Gang for Visible Monday and sending big love to Shelley for making my day with her blog post HERE.

See you soon!

Tuesday 13 September 2016

A Day In The Life

When I'm not selling vintage at festivals or fairs, dressing up as a unicorn & being serenaded by 1980s pop stars or spending all day in Wetherspoons what on earth do I do with my time? Here's how I've spent today.

The alarm went off at 7am. After feeding the cats & the tortoise I had a 30 minute Wii Fit workout before joining Jon in the kitchen for breakfast (Lidl's Fruit & Fibre and a mug of tea). After a quick wash I got dressed, tuned into 6 Music and altered a couple of dresses from the depths of the stockroom. I turned a 1960s Crimplene maxi into a mini, using the surplus fabric to make an A-line skirt and shortened a St Michael 1970s pinafore making it less of a "my Nan used to wear one of those" to a "I'd wear of those".

Sunday was glorious and we spent most of the day in the garden, picking wild blackberries and gathering the glut of windfall apples from our trees. I printed off some labels for the jars of spiced apple chutney (recipe HERE) I'd made yesterday and then knocked up a blackberry and apple oat crumble.

Jon had been over to the mechanics to sort out a problem with our work van. When he got back we had a coffee and then walked into Walsall via Church Hill, which dates back to Medieval times. We call it the Hill of Doom. It's a killer in high heels and positively lethal if there's a frost.

The Brutalist structure  in the background forms part of the Gardens of Remembrance, designed by architect Geoffrey Jellicoe in 1952 as a memorial to the dead of the two world wars.

 As we're having a bit of an Indian Summer I dressed appropriately in an off-the-shoulder gypsy top I'd made from an old silk sari and a 1970s Chelsea Girl Indian cotton wraparound skirt block printed with images of the Taj Mahal, peacocks and holy cows bought from Tin Trunk at Stockport's Twentieth Century Stores.

Once we'd been to the Post Office and bought the AA batteries, Palmer's fragrance free body lotion, price tags and suede protector we needed we had a look round the charity shops, finding a Mr Bennett English-made dead stock 1970s plum velvet suit and a vintage Indian beaded orange tote bag.

Jon treated himself to this gabardine Nicole by Nicole Farhi blazer. When we googled it when we got home it turns out that it retails at £295, not bad for £5.95!

After cheese salad sandwiches I priced the jewellery we're taking to V Dubs in the Valley, pimped up a mirror with some Poundland pom poms and did a trial run of how the display table should look at the weekend.

I hadn't unpacked the mens' accessories since End of the Road and the scarves and cravats were horrendously creased so I did some ironing in the Kinky Shed (our super duper custom built stockroom) while listening to the radio, then I set up the racking to do a dummy run of both the mens' accessories and the womenswear, double checking that everything was priced, then packed it away ready for the weekend. 

In the meantime Jon had been in the coal cellar and sorted out his stash of vintage VW car bits so he could have an auto jumble outside our pitch. I printed off a "£5 sale" sign for him as well as some replacement signs for the shop.

After tea (roasted red onion & vintage Cheddar quiche with salad) I washed up, emptied the bins for tomorrow's collection and had a shower.

Tonight we'll be eating crumble (mine with natural yogurt, Jon's with custard) , catching up with  Beck  (and the lovely Gunvald) and watching the last of  One of Us, which neither of us are particularly enjoying but as we've see the previous three episodes feel like we've got to see it through to the end. I'll read a chapter or two of The Gettin Place when I go to bed.

Tomorrow we're off to the mid-week car boot sale and then the rest of the day will be spent sorting, pricing and packing stock for V Dubs in the Valley, where we'll be heading on Thursday morning. Our last festival of Summer 2016...sob! 

See you on the other side.

Friday 9 September 2016

Inner City Blues

Of all the dresses I own this embroidered Indian cotton maxi, which belonged to Sabine's mother in the 1960s, has to be a favourite. Scared to wear it to death, I've been on the hunt for a back-up for ages. Waiting for Jon to get his arse in gear for a day of charity shopping I did my weekly trawl through eBay, finding "Long blue 70s dress" listed in a non-vintage category (the best stuff often is). The dress had a starting bid of £5 or a Buy It Now option of £8. I saved it to my watch list, went to clean my teeth and had a word with myself. You want to risk missing out on that dress for the sake of three measly quid? What on earth's the matter with you? I ran downstairs, clicked Buy It Now and less than 24 hours the postman handed it over.

The Ebay auction photo
Listed as having a few marks I chucked it in the sink with some warm water and a couple of squirts of Lidl's liquid hand soap, leaving it to soak for half an hour. I rinsed it out, folded it inside a bath towel, got Jon to help me wring it out and then hung it to dry on a coat hanger on the washing line in the shade.

When I put it on this morning it suddenly dawned on me that I'd tried on an identical dress in Dolly Mix Vintage in Leicester when Curtise, Tania & I visited back in March. I loved it but couldn't justify the £35 price tag - good things come to those who wait. 

As it's a bit on the long side I had to wear it with boots to go out this morning, not the best option as we're having a hot spell this week (hooray!) but luckily fortune was on my side and just look what I spotted in one of the chazzas we visited, 

Yep, a pair of brand spanking new £120 Jeffrey Campbell suede flatforms (as the hipsters call 'em) for a bargain-tastic £3! I'm beginning to think the Black Country is home to a legion of Imelda Marcos wannabes. 

...and just as I was handing over my three £1 coins I spotted this engraved brass perfume bottle pendant hanging up next to the counter and priced at 25p. I bought a silver one from a hippy shop in the back streets of Sliema in Malta back in the 1980s which vanished into the ether years ago so it's a timely replacement.

1970s cheesecloth maxi (£8, eBay), Vintage "Simran of New Delhi" quilted waistcoat (£1, car boot sale), brass pendant (25p) & tooled leather belt (50p) , Jeffrey Campbell flat forms (£3)
My whole outfit cost £12.75. Whilst not as cheap as my End of the Road ensemble, it proves that it's  still possible to find affordable vintage on eBay and that all charity shops aren't full of overpriced Primarni/George @ Asda tat.

Time to introduce you to Frank, a stray tom who's been visiting us for ages. He was extremely timid and very skinny when we first met him but over the months he's piled on the pounds and even allows us pick him up for a cuddle. Don't ask why he's called Frank but it's definitely a better option than Adolf, after a few people pointed out that they have a remarkably similar hair style. I didn't think shouting "Adolf" down the avenue when it's tea time would have gone down well with the neighbours.

Amazingly Polly Piglet (aka The Queen of Sheba) and Stephen Squirrel don't seem to mind him dining on the door step. 

A whole weekend off. We're dining in tonight,  I've toasted a blend of spices (using THIS recipe) for a Sri Lankan-style green bean curry (recipe HERE) and the house smells incredible. Tomorrow we're out on the town, watch out Walsall!

Whatever you're doing have a good un!

Linking to Patti's Visible Monday.

Tuesday 6 September 2016

When I Met Devendra Banhart - End Of The Road, 2016

My life often feels like a series of strange coincidences. I've lost count of how many people from Walsall we met at End of the Road, some we already knew and others who, until last weekend, we'd never laid eyes upon but had spent decades living just streets away or went to the same school. It's not even as if the festival is nearby, it's a four hour drive away (or possibly two and a half if you're not in a 36 year old VW camper van!)

So I suppose it should have come as no surprise that within days of finding Family, a glossy photography book featuring the wonderfully bohemian lifestyle of American artist, musician & pretty damned gorgeous Devendra Banhart in a charity shop, the End of The Road announced that he was going to be headlining.

At the last minute I chucked the book in my bag to show to some of the other stallholders. Several (very flatteringly) commented that I looked like I belonged in the book.

When we found out that he was appearing in the signing tent Heidi (our trading neighbour) and I decided to go and stalk him say hello. Oh wow, you're amazing, don't we know each other already? were his first words when I reached the front of the queue. I handed over my book and chatted for a minute or so before Heidi and I ran outside shrieking and bouncing up and down like a pair of giddy teenagers.

My 50p charity shop bargain suddenly became priceless.

And what of the rest of the End of the Road? Our second year of trading there went brilliantly. Sadly the weather didn't play as nicely but it didn't stop the festival goers, crew and performers from buying everything from American cowboy shirts, 1960s dresses & Harris Tweed to fake furs and handmade crop tops.

Kinky by night

Jon & his menswear department (all of his vintage Americana collection sold)
Our ninth of the season and I'm not still not jaded by the whole festival experience.

On Sunday morning I managed to explore the garden stage and walk the arts trail.

If you've never been to End of the Road then you really should, it's beautiful.

Again, we were lucky enough to be sited right opposite the main stage so we took it in turns to nip down and catch some of the headliners including the amazing Savages (a Gallic Siouxsie Sioux in silver Louboutins) who we first saw at End of the Road five years ago.

Fellow trader Adele & I joined these strangely dressed men (?) for Swedish psychedelic band, Goat.

If you were a fan of Jane's Addiction or early Stone Roses you'll love them. We did.

Another coincidence, Saturday night's headliner, Bat For Lashes (aka Natasha Khan) also featured in Devendra Banhart's book.

Devendra was wonderful, obviously. If you don't know him then check him out HERE.

We got back home at 5pm yesterday evening, had our first shower in almost a week and reacquainted ourselves with the cats and the tortoise. We've got 10 days to recharge, restock and to give Gilbert some much needed TLC before our final festival, V Dubs in the Valley, a week on Friday.

Wearing: Psychedelic late 1960s maxi (40p, from a jumble sale), Aldo leather boots (£1, car boot sale), Vintage 1970s quilted Indian cotton waistcoat (£2, car boot sale) 

Linking to Patti & the gang for Visible Monday.

PS Debbie, if you're reading this - get sewing!!