Friday, 25 May 2018

I Can't Stand The Rain


Waking up to torrential rain and grey skies this morning after the glorious sunshine of the last two weeks sure put a damper on our mood. Our first Oriental poppy of the Summer finally burst forth only to be battered into submission hours later, the cats dashed outside to explore what had happened in the garden overnight and immediately sought shelter under the van, balefully looking at us as if the inclement weather was of our making and the silk jumpsuit and fabric boots I'd intended to wear for my stroll into town were put aside in favour of something less flimsy and more watertight.

WEARING: Vintage Van Allen maxi (eBay, 2006) , birdcage umbrella (inherited from Mum) , psychedelic bag (Vintage Village at Stockport market hall), gold space boots (retail)

Out came one of my beloved Van Allen corded cotton maxis (I've also got one in green). I bought them from eBay over a decade ago. The seller had enclosed a note in the parcel, telling me how, in the late Sixties when she'd been a sixth former she got a Saturday job in Van Allen and had bought the dresses using her staff discount. She'd worn one of her dresses to see Jimi Hendrix perform at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970. Every Summer I get them down from the suitcase on top of the wardrobe and fall in love with them all over again. The early '70s birdcage umbrella was my Mum's. I've got quite a collection of vintage brollies and for some reason I've never used this one - until today. What was I thinking? It's the best umbrella ever, it covers my shoulders, I can see out of it and it can withstand wind, unlike modern umbrellas than turn inside out if you sneeze at them.


Walsall is getting more and more depressing, we made the national news last night because of the huge problems we have with fly tipping and the number of boarded up shops in the town centre is horrendous - made even worse by yesterday's news that Marks and Spencer, which has stood in our high street for 84 years, is set to close down. I got what I needed to from Wilko and Beauty Queen Cosmetics (their Ardell eyelashes are half the price of Superdrug, there's a Bollywood soundtrack and the extremely helpful all-male staff are super friendly and, unlike every other shop I go in, always smile and ask how I am rather than bark "wanna carrier bag?" at me without even making eye contact). The remaining four chazzas, which unless you're a fan of Primark & George at Asda, are usually pretty grim but today I managed to snaffle a few vintage gems - a 1970s French-made gingham and lace-trimmed midi dress, a ditsy print cotton maxi, an early 1960s cotton shift labelled "Wynne - A quality product of the British Empire" and a 1930s silk bed jacket from Woollands Ltd of Knightsbridge, a lingerie company founded in 1869 which served the aristocracy, including Edward VII's mistress, Alice Keppel.


Talking of labels thanks to my friend Sarah, I'm now the proud owner of a rather slinky vintage silk dress by Travilla, the designer behind Marilyn Monroe's iconic white dress in the Seven Year Itch. Despite us never having met she has a knack of finding clothes that fit me perfectly, this dress being no exception.

WEARING: Travilla silk dress with panelled skirt (present), vintage Ted Lapidus sunglasses, 1960s chain belt and TopShop platforms (all charity shopped)

Look at that sunshine. It's hard to believe this photo was only taken a couple of days ago although the BBC reckon we're getting Summer back tomorrow. Hooray!

Away from the misery of a wet Friday in the Black Country lets see what's going on in Gothenburg, shall we?


Here's Liv and Axel. As it's a bank holiday on Monday they're making the most of their weekend and they're off out on the town tonight. Liv's beauty routine - like mine - includes a glass of wine while she's getting ready and Axel, ever the obliging partner is happy to keep her topped up.


Excited that the World Cup is less than a month away Axel's resplendent in the colours of his national side. Being the proud Swede all of the furniture in this room (including the bearskin rug, '70s sewing machine and lamp) is vintage Lundby.


If like Liv and I you dress almost exclusively in vintage clothes it's a good idea to keep a sewing machine close at hand as you never know when you might need to make an emergency repair.


Liv's hem needed urgent attention this evening.


Liv & Axel's bedroom is papered in one of Josef Frank's classic prints, Catleya, created in 1930 and based on an orchid grown in the rain forests of South America. The cushions were handmade from vintage fabric scraps, the reading lamp flexes are knicker elastic and the suitcase is made from a matchbox. As you can tell from her bedside reading, like all the best people, Liv is obsessed with doll's houses.


The religious picture is taken from a devotional pendant - also from Sarah. The centre light is a ping pong ball, Linda's brilliant idea.


Liv, Axel & I say Cheers, all! Have a fabulous weekend whether or not it's a long one.

63 comments:

  1. Love your dollhouse stories! Nice to meet Liv and Axel!
    You look adorable in your dresses, and I need a birdcage umbrella for my collection!!
    Have a wonderful weekend! <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Natalia! You do need a birdcage umbrella, I'm almost embarrassed to admit that's mine's been unused for so long, it's just brilliant. x

      Delete
  2. It's so unusual to see you in a shorter dress, as well as in pants (I see the picture on the right from Instagram)!! Yay to variety!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is, isn't it? I don't know what's come over me! x

      Delete
  3. That Travilla silk dress looks freaking amazing on you! Wow wow wow. Love the bearskin rug haha

    ReplyDelete
  4. I wasn't surprised when they made the decision to close the walsall M & S , I think they knew about it when they opened the new food store at junction 9 , The clothes have been so boring in there stores from sometime some of the per una stuff was not too bad when it first came out but now that is just as boring , I think they are only any good for underwear , If we go to walsall now its poundland and wilko parking by the railway then going home , Love the silk dress xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, M&S undies are great, trouble is they last so long I only buy them every few years - not enough to sustain a shop!
      I expect Debenhams will be next, it's so grim in there, like Soviet Russia. xxx

      Delete
  5. Walsall sounds like Rochdale near us and your weathers the same too.
    Liv and Axel are a scream, I want to live in their world.
    Just waiting for the wandering welder to appear he went to Margate Wednesday then straight upto Selby yesterday. its not looking like we will make the Sarah Millican gig in Manchester later. What a day. Your lovely post has made me smile though and you look stunning in the Travilla dress x x x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our old working class towns are dying on their feet, aren't they? Not that we're much use, always buying second-hand stuff!
      What a pain that you missed that gig, the Wandering Welder needs to cut back those hours. xxx

      Delete
  6. Our weather's been acting strangely this week. It's warm but very humid, and we've had some thunderstorms and hail as well. I need a brolly like your! Loving the maxi and the Travilla dress Sarah found for you. As Natalia pointed out, we do not often see you in a short dress, but you've certainly got the legs for it! I'm loving Liv and Axel's bedroom, although by the looks of it Liv has had more than one glass of wine! xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's very strange again today, gorgeously warm but very dull and cloudy. I want sunshine.
      Liv's a one, isn't she? xxx

      Delete
  7. I don't know about Axel keeping Liv topped up he looks like he's drunk the whole bottle! Look how lean he is - if the door wasn't there he'd keel over. Liv has also had a bit too much; she's tipped her wine glass up all over the bed in the last photo! They clearly know how to enjoy themselves...

    The doll's house is just fabulous; why Gothenberg? Did I miss a post or something?
    The suitcase made of a matchbox is amazing - it even has travel labels on it...

    You look wonderful in your outfits and I really like the Travilla dress with those killer heels! The umbrella is so cool' I had no idea they were called birdcage umbrellas. Every day's a school day!

    Such a shame about all the boarded up shops in Walsall and the closure of M&S. We still have ours but there a lot of boarded up shops in our high street, too. We have a Beauty Queen cosmetics too. I get the grandson's hair stuff from there and my lipsticks. Our's has lovely staff, too.

    Have a fab weekend.
    xxx




    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This model of doll's house is the Lundby Gothenburg, so named after the style of houses popular in the Gothenburg area. I've just become the proud owner of a Stockholm and very swanky it is, too!
      Fancy Beauty Queen Cosmetics being down by you, I thought they were just a West Midlands thing. they really are a pleasure to visit. xxx

      Delete
  8. Cheers to you and Liv! Your Travilla dress is fabulous, I love silk. The shoes you are wearing with it are fabulous too. Yes, sad news that M&S is closing so many stores, but as more shopping is being done online now it was inevitable. Think they should make more use of Twiggy, she was great for their branding, proper vintage :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Betty and cheers to you, too.
      I think M&S are forgetting their demographic, the older generation. That's why Twiggy worked. The should stick to good quality basics rather than poorly made fashion - you can get that anywhere. xxx

      Delete
  9. That is such a shame that you're losing an anchor store like M&S (Victoria's closed in 1999, I think, but I used to love going in there). Some good finds on those labels! Isn't it fascinating to dig up the history on those old ones?

    Your dollhouse room is so fun! I am just soaking in all the details, but I agree on the wine while getting ready! Have a wonderful long weekend, Vix!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do love a bit of label research, I don't know what we did without the internet! xxx

      Delete
  10. Gothenburg. Heh. Good one!
    How dare the rain ruin your weather-and your tan is looking so good right now!
    We had one of our department stores go under recently as well. I didn't buy much outside of underwear there, but I hate to see empty shops and all the jobs that went whit it. Enjoy your long weekend. I'll be at the pool.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, bloody weather. I like my self-employed tan!
      It's horrible to see so many empty shops, I used to be proud of showing Walsall off to my blog mates but now I'm ashamed of it. Dereliction seems to bring along the unsavoury types, it's vile to see blatant drug taking and people pissed before 9am. xxx

      Delete
  11. I love that ping pong ball light. And the other little touches like the hot water bottle and bear rug. I must admit I find sinks in bedrooms a little weird, but it must be handy to wash out those wine glasses.
    That umbrella certainly looks useful and glamorous at the same time! What's not to love?
    xo Jazzy Jack

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I wonder if sinks in bedrooms are a European thing? We had them in our house when we moved in but sadly they were both very leaky and had to go. I quite liked the convenience of them. xxx

      Delete
  12. skol!
    love your dollhouse ideas and that you spinn a story around. that polar bear rug is super cool (haha)!
    when i was a kid i always wanted such an umbrella - saw them in the mags my granny smuggled in from western germany...... you look gorgeous in both dresses!
    xxxxx
    p.s.: can i have some of your rain for my garden please??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please do have some of our rain - we'll be building an ark soon! xxx

      Delete
  13. I had to look up what fly tipping meant. I wonder where on earth that saying came from.

    I need an umbrella like that.

    LOVE the gifted dress! That colour is fantastic on you.

    I think it is wonderful when someone can include a story along with their clothing. I always enjoy the clothing more when I know the history behind it.

    Suzanne
    http://www.suzannecarillo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a strange term - I didn't realise it was unique to the UK, though!
      xxx

      Delete
  14. rain, rain and more rain around my town, too. Except it's humid as all get out. It does make outside all green and jungle-like.

    Love the Doll House Story

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've got humidity, too - I quite like it. The garden isn't quite jungle-like but it's certainly getting there! xxx

      Delete
  15. Liv looks as though she's had a little too much vino the way she's holding the glass. ;)
    Love the outfits, love the dollhouse day-cor- looks like you're having fun!
    xox

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She'll be in no fit state to leave the house at this rate! xxx

      Delete
  16. Hi Vix, I love your Van Allen dresses, they never get old. I think I ought to keep an eye out for a vintage umbrella, all the modern ones I've bought in the past break so easily.
    I saw a dollhouse book today and thought of you, your dollhouse stories are entertaining! Have a good weekend. Xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jess! Van Allen was a bit like TopShop in its day, where all the cool girls used to shop. I don't come across it very often but when I do it's always pretty fab. xxx

      Delete
  17. Love the umbrella! confess I have only every seen the queen using one of those before, but it's properly fab and suits you ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Maria! You're right, the Queen does have one. Probably the only thing I've got in common with Her Majesty! xxx

      Delete
  18. Ketterings Marks is also for the chop - it's a shame, but they've opened one in a retail park close to another town a few miles away - so it was just a matter of time I guess. The way we shop now has changed, but it's sad to see the demise of our town centres.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh dear, not Kettering as well! I can't be doing with these retail parks, sucking the lifeblood from our town centres and impossible to get to when, like me, you don't drive. xxx

      Delete
  19. I though of you when I saw the list of M&S closures such a shame. We were in Margate a couple of weeks ago and the town centre is just too depressing for words with all the boarded up shops.

    That Travilla dress is to die for!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Poor old Margate, it used to be the in place to go, as well, didn't it?
      Walsall is a shadow of its former self, truly awful. If it wasn't for Wilkos and Wetherspoons I wouldn't bother doing there. xxx

      Delete
  20. oh, oh, oh, it's just too much for me to take in. eeeee! the doll house has more people! The neighborhood is getting crowded. You're going to have to go "time share" with it. Everything about it is absolutely fabulous.
    By the way, what are the chances that both you and Melanie would have a blog post up at the same time featuring a groovy umbrella! The difference being hers is for the sun, yours for the rain. Otherwise, you're both dressed to the nines in your own unique ways. Thrilled to know ye.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great minds think alike! I'll have to get my parasol out next - if only we had some sunshine.
      I'm excited about the little people, sometimes it's all so tiring having to shrink myself down to fit in my doll's house! xxx

      Delete
  21. Tell Liv and Axel I'm coming to visit. I love the manly way that Axel holds his bottle. I LOVE your little houses. And your clothes, of course. And your umbrella. So funny that Pao noticed our umbrella twinning. You tan so well, but I don't, sigh. But I love my sun parasol. I know you have one too. Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll get Axel to get an even bigger bottle of plonk ready for you.
      I loved your funky parasol and yes, I do have a few. They're far more attractive than a greasy faceful of sun block and easier than a straw hat to keep control of if it's a bit windy. xxx

      Delete
  22. Such glorious colours Viv. You look stunning and then such fun to dive into the world of miniature.
    Your weather sounds like a spin off of ours except we are heading in winter. Already there and a month early this year. Might go get a cat or kitten tomorrow. We have been without for a few months now but will see what the weather brings as it is 50 kms to the spca.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sally! I'm excited about the feline addition to your home. One of my friends got a rescue cat this week and she's already settling in nicely. xxx

      Delete
  23. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I love those umbrellas, I had one years ago and I saw someone with a small version the other day and I want one!
    Liv and Axel sound like us, I hope they have some good music on too, to get into the swing of things.
    It sounds from the news like Walsall has had some very heavy rain, I hope your weekend has been good in spite of it. xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They really are brilliant umbrellas, no wonder it was Mum's favourite. It's a real advantage to see what's going on, with normal ones I'm always worried about taking someone's eye out! xx

      Delete
  25. There's that marvelous silk dress again! I used to have an umbrella like that when I was a kid (we called it a bubble umbrella) and it was the absolute best for keeping you dry and still allowing you to see where you're going. I would love to find another one like it.

    So sorry Walsall is losing it's Marks and Sparks. We used to have one many years ago in a shopping mall downtown and I would frequent their food department.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marks and Sparks food is lovely - a real treat - and it's the only place I ever buy underwear from. It's going to be missed.
      Birdcage umbrellas are the best, they need to bring them back! xxx

      Delete
  26. How lovely to know a little of the history of your maxi dresses. I think it makes me like them even more. The Travilla dress is a beaut!
    xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish all vintage dresses came with a back story! x

      Delete
  27. Raining here non-stop!!! I love the vintage bubble umbrella!!!! I want one so bad!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't believe I'd never used it before - I don't understand myself sometimes! xxx

      Delete
  28. Wine while getting ready to go out? Liv and Axel are my kind of peeps! Of course if my bedroom looked that groovy I might just decide to never leave it! I literally gasped when I saw your dresses. The Van Allen is stunning. Love a good border print. And a Travilla as a gift? Wow! The car wash hem is beyond fabulous.

    Theresa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All the best nights out start with a bit of pre-loading!
      I do have some fabulous friends, don't I? The cut of that Travilla dress takes my breath away! xxx

      Delete
  29. The weather's been bloody atrocious, hasn't it? I want some more sunshine now! Though I believe you've had it worse than we have.

    I think the sort of town centre we grew up with will become a thing of the past, simply because people don't buy from bricks-and-mortar shops as much. I do my best to support my local indies where possible, but a lot of people head online for everything. Even Bath has loads of closed-up shops in the centre, and that gets hundreds of thousands of tourists a year. Losing its M&S will be gutting for Walsall, I can imagine - jobs lost, and a big draw to the town centre gone. The heart went out of Trowbridge when we lost our department store.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That fortnight of sunshine really did spoil us! The cats, the tortoise and I are loving these warm temperatures today though.
      M&S shutting will the the final nail in Walsall's coffin. We've got a Debenhams which is a cheery as a Soviet era store, a massive Primarni, three Poundlands and a gazillion chicken shops - no wonder we all drink ourselves to oblivion in Spoons! xxx

      Delete
  30. I used to have one of those brollies when I was little and loved it. That maxi dress is great! Even when you do go into shops that are still open so many of the staff are miserable and unhelpful, if not downright rude - they aren't exactly helping themselves. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't stand that so many shop staff ask if you want a bag before they've even looked at you. No wonder so many people prefer on-line shopping! xxx

      Delete
  31. EMERGENCY! Oh shit, Liv needs to right that wine glass or a bitch is going to lose all that precious liquid!!!

    Love you, Vix. I still check up on you from time to time to see what you're up to.

    Sarcastic Bastard

    ReplyDelete

Don't be shy, if you enjoyed your visit leave a comment, I can come and visit your blog if you do.
Love from Vix
xxx