Wednesday 27 June 2018

England 2 - Belgium 2 : A Trip To Attingham Park

This time tomorrow we'll be up against one another when England take on Belgium in the World Cup but today we played nicely when we met up with our friends, Polyester Princess Ann and husband Jos, at the magnificent Attingham Park in Shropshire.

If you remembered that we visited Attingham Park for my birthday then you'd be doing better than me because I'd completely forgotten we'd been! Back in December I'd worn the maxi Ann had sent me from Belgium for my birthday, today the sender of the dress was able to come with me.

Read my previous post HERE.

What a difference six months makes. On our first visit we didn't spend long lingering in the grounds as it was bitterly cold and blowing a gale. This time the mercury was nudging 30 degrees (the hottest day in the UK this year) and we could take our time.

In full bloom the walled gardens were breathtakingly lovely.

With the scorchio temperatures it felt more like the South of France than sunny Shropshire.

Not a cloud in the sky.

Ann and Jos have been holidaying the UK for years so were fully aware of how rubbish our weather usually is. Ann had hardly worn any of the cold & wet weather clothing she'd packed and was thrilled to find this maxi in a charity shop yesterday.

After a stroll around the orchard we walked five miles around Attingham deer park.

Days like today that make you appreciate how very beautiful England can be.

After lunch in the Stable tea rooms we wandered around the Georgian opulence that is Attingham Park. 

I've shared the interior before but here's a few things that caught my eye. Ann and I were in raptures over some of the vintage clothes on display. That maxi dress!!!

After exploring the house we returned to the cafe for another drink (it's thirsty work, all this sightseeing!)

After a few farewell photos we said our goodbyes - until next year. Let's hope bloody Brexit doesn't put a spanner in the works and affect our European friends being able to visit the UK.

See you soon.

Friday 22 June 2018

Are You Gonna Go My Way - Car Booty, Charity Shopping and a Night Out With a Rock God

After the relative inactivity of recent times, it's all go this week and, if trading in London and meeting the gang in Chester wasn't exciting enough, on Wednesday night we saw Lenny Kravitz on his current UK tour.  Talk about a typically crap middle-aged selfie - we could be anywhere, a gig, the bathroom,  or even sitting in 'Spoons. Here's the ticket for proof.

Blue nail polish courtesy of my friend, Jools.

If you're eagle-eyed you may notice that the tickets were complimentary - jammy sods or karma for having spent a fortnight under house arrest due to Jon's bad back? The jury's out. 

In normal circumstances I'd never choose sit down at a gig but you can't look a gift horse in mouth. Although the view wasn't bad, we felt slightly detached from the performance especially when Lenny jumped into the crowd and went walkabout on several occasions (I was massively jealous - at 54 he's a prime example of how fabulous being in your fifties can be!) 

Jon couldn't resist doing that annoying thing of recording a tune but trust me, it was the opening song and the phone was put away immediately afterwards. I can't for the life of me understand why people spend a fortune on gig tickets (apparently our seats cost over £60 each) only to watch the entire set on their stupid phones.  

The stage outfits largely consisted of bell bottoms, painted leather, caftans, embroidered waistcoats and a wizard sleeved maxi dress - worn by shaven-headed guitar goddess, Gail Ann Dorsey, who played with David Bowie for twenty years. The light show was spectacular and - apart from a couple of  middle-of-the-road Bryan Adams' style ballads halfway through the set - Lenny was a true rock god - I know he's often compared to Jimi Hendrix but both Jon and I said that he reminded us of Prince. Special mention to the support, Curtis Harding, one time backing singer for CeeLo Green. If you love Northern Soul (and if you don't then you don't deserve ears) have a listen to the track above.

On the day of the gig we spent the morning charity shopping and the afternoon glued to the football. I wore this early 1960s Jean Allen silk tea timer I bought from an antiques fair for £15 six years ago. It had been relegated to the suitcase on top of  the wardrobe when it started to get a bit tight a couple of years ago but since I kicked my increasingly bad diet into touch it's perfect once again.

WEARING: Topshop playsuit (one of last week's charity shop finds); Vintage deadstock sunglasses

Despite the late night we were up bright and early for the Thursday car boot sale. What with Jon's back injury we hadn't been for three weeks and I was massively relieved when I drew back the curtains to reveal a dry - if a little breezy - day. This 1970s deckchair I spotted a trader sitting on wasn't actually on sale but I managed to persuade her that it needed to come home with me.

Talking of things getting too tight and being relegated to the suitcase on top of the wardrobe, here's today's outfit, a 1960s silk culotte suit Pull Your Socks Up blogger Desiree sent me over eight years ago. I'm happy to report that it now zips up with room to spare and looking back at old photos fits better than it did when I was a 43 year old whippersnapper....hooray!

Clockwise from top left: 1970s quilted housecoat; 1960s wool coat; 1970s bejewelled maxi; 1960s Crimplene & Lurex caftan style maxi; 1970s layered maxi

The collages above and below were Wednesday's charity shop finds and Thursday's car boot booty.

Clockwise from left: 1970s lime green plus sized maxi: 1960s fully fashioned knit; 1970s cowl neck maxi; 1970s Indonesian batik tunic; Liberty, London straw hat; 1960s vinyl handbag; 1960s Italian beaded bag; Vintage handmade velvet bag with bamboo handles.
Ever get that feeling that you need to visit a certain town for a trawl of the chazzas? That was me this morning. We were supposed to be waiting in for a delivery but I told Jon that we HAD to go. Always trust your's just a few of this morning's finds (some aren't that exciting to look at but are guaranteed sellers and I can't go giving our trade secrets away).

Clockwise from top left: Ozwald Boateng hand finished blazer; 1950s hiking rucksack; Vintage wool flat cap; Boxed bow tie; 1980s leisure shirt; Pop Boutique lumberjack shirt; vintage Byford wool tank top

Clockwise from top left: Mexican poncho; 1970s peignoir; 1970s John Charles strapless gown; 1970s Jaeger over shirt (I used to have the matching dress to this); Hand embroidered Mexican dress

The ladies in the charity shop where I found the incredible John Charles dress tell me that seeing me in my vintage finery is the highlight of their week and insisted I tried on the dress for them. It caused quite a stir what with me flouncing around a bustling Black Country charity shop in a strapless gown at 9.30  this morning, I can tell you!

If you want to shop our rails for real you'll find us at Moseley on Sunday (I know, I know, don't remind me of what else is happening at the same time). Come on, England!!!

See you soon

Linking to Patti and the gang for Visible Monday.

Tuesday 19 June 2018

Down In The Bus Station On Monday - A Blogger Day Out

Yesterday Jon and I made the two hour journey to Chester to get together with long-time friends, Lynn and Philip and to meet Ann and her husband, Jos, currently holidaying in the UK from their native Belgium. Our Sat Nav packed up just before we reached our designated meeting point but, just as we we pulled into a lay-by to get the map out, Lynn and Philip appeared behind us so we formed a convoy to the park and ride where Ann and Jos were already waiting. After much squealing, hugging and exchanging of gifts we hopped on the bus and headed to the city centre.

Although Chester was home to my maternal Grandma and the many generations before her, other than a sixth form trip with my Classical Studies group and trading at a couple of vintage fairs, I'd never been. The bits we saw were gorgeous, ancient black and white timbered buildings, elegant covered shopping arcades and cobbled streets where Roman legionnaires once marched to war.

We took a few photos but chatting and exploring Chester's many charity shops took up most of our time.

I was excited to discover that Ann and I were the same height. With the exception of Tania and Krista, every blogger I've met has towered over me (even with my high heels and big hair!)

Other than taking photos and occasionally featuring on our blogs, the menfolk don't tend to participate in meet-ups. Like us girls, these three also got on like a house on fire.

We could have done with one of those Union Jack brollies - it's hard work keeping the six of us together in an orderly fashion.

 This street entertainer was belting out George Michael covers. Lynn and Philip had a bit of a dance when Careless Whisper started up.

Although the charity shops were plentiful, vintage was thin on the ground and the bits we found were either tatty, overpriced or of the Princess Di 1980s variety which, as I'm sure you can probably tell, ain't our bag!

Lucky Ann with her dainty size 37 feet snagged these super cute Italian made jellies in her favourite colour. Lynn and I with our less than dainty hooves were green with envy!

How much! Muttered Jon under his breath. We're not used to city prices.

We had a giggle imaging Lynn buying this settee and driving back to Lancashire with it and Philip strapped to the roof of her lime green Beetle, Frida.

We gave our Belgian guests a taste of traditional British life - a slap up lunch in Wetherspoons. There are two branches of 'Spoons in Chester, we visited The Bull & Stirrup Hotel, a four storey red brick Victorian building on the banks of the River Dee.

What are the chances? The portrait opposite our seats was of a Belgian nobleman. There were also pictures of local lad, Daniel Craig and the brilliant Ricky Tomlinson who, after attending a trade union meeting here in the early 1970s, ended up being imprisoned.

 After a long lunch we headed off in search of Chester's vintage shops, getting hopelessly lost along the way. I'd share a photo I took of the gang trying to figure out Ann's street map but Lynn says she'll kill me if I do. The first shop was of the 1990s/refashioned variety and apart from a couple of pleasant enough 1970s blouses wasn't our thing. At first glance the second shop didn't look much better - racks and racks of repro 1950s dresses & brand new Emo tee shirts but we saw a sign for "handpicked vintage" pointing upstairs and found a rail of proper vintage midi dresses all priced at a very reasonable £9.99 (much cheaper than the bland high street frocks in most of the city centre chazzas). Ann found a groovy 1970s polyester number which suited her to a tee.

With the clock creeping towards half past four we took the bus back to the car park and said our goodbyes (but not for long - Ann & Jos are staying in Shropshire, the neighbouring county to us, so plans have been made for next week). What a fab day, good weather, beautiful surroundings and brilliant company.

This is what I wore - the 1970s satin duster coat I bought last week, an antique Gujarati necklace, a psychedelic bag from Stockport's Vintage Village and a 1960s silk chiffon dress by Jean Allen (also from Stockport).

Gifts galore! Belgian Trappist beer & posh Kontichs Kontje chocolates (which I've had to confiscate from Jon as he'll demolish the lot in one sitting) and a groovy maxi from Ann & Jos and from Lynn & Philip some 1960s style books, a patchwork bag and a handmade Bits & Bobs jar and slow stitched doily (made by Lynn).

Photos nicked from Lynn - ta, love!

We made it home at 6.59 pm - a minute before kick off! After such a fantastic day out and the trauma of last night's match, the pair of us feel absolutely ruined today!

See you soon.