Friday, 8 March 2019

Ain't No Sunshine...


Our false Spring's over and the trusty sheepskin hat is back out of hibernation although, to be fair, it's the first time either my chocolate brown or the cream one have made an appearance since last year when the UK was mauled by the Beast from the East.


 I've worn my Anokhi riding coat almost constantly since I returned from India. It's one of the most expensive garments I've ever bought but if I got paid each time someone on the street admired it I'd probably be owed money by now. 


Beneath the coat I'm wearing the dress I also bought from the Anokhi shop in Jaipur (last seen on the fateful day when we visited the monkey temple). 




I'm not used to buying clothes from a proper shop so having fancy cardboard labels attached to a garment are a real novelty. I've kept them in my travel journal for posterity. The shop tag says:

This textile has been created with traditional recipes and techniques used in India for centuries.
Natural black comes from a mixture of scrap iron, molasses and water. Rust is from printed alum. Both are developed in an alizarin dye bath.

Gold and silver printing as a decorative finish was a common feature in Indian textiles and is still a very popular way to embellish both printed and dyed fabrics. Using a brass stencil & plunger, the motif is hand printed onto the cloth with a gum paste and dusted over with a cotton pouch. The powder adhers to the fabric wherever the paste is present.

An early Twentieth century Peshwaz, on permanent display in the National Museum of India in New Delhi. I wish it was in my wardrobe!

The Anokhi tag describes this dress as a Cotton Peshwaz, which was said to be one of the most opulent forms of Moghul clothing for women. Originating in Persia, it was introduced to India during Babur's reign (1483 - 1530) and comprises of a fitted bodice with a full skirt which fastened at the waist (mine has a side zip). Due to the way the dress was cut at the front, women were required to wear a choli (blouse) underneath, my modern version came with a black cotton camisole top.


I've certainly been getting my £5 worth from last week's charity shopped Mjus boots. I can understand why they're so expensive to buy new, according to the website the interior has cold padding, providing both cushioning and warmth so they're so cosy and comfy (and there's bargain pairs to be had on eBay).

So where is the sunshine?




Vronni, the headscarf rockin', avid readin', charity shoppin', ramblin' superstar who blogs at Vronni's Style Meanderings nominated me for a Sunshine Award. Those of us who've been blogging for a while (it'll be ten years this year!) will be familiar with the blogging awards that used to do the rounds way back then - the rules are that you accept your award, link back to the person who nominated you, answer the questions, nominate four more bloggers and ask them to answer your questions.


Here's Vronni's questions and my answers:


1) Why did you start blogging? A girl I used to chat to on a forum asked if I blogged. At first I thought What a ridiculous idea, who wants to look at photos of me or read my ramblings? Then I thought, Why not? The only blogs I ever came across were 20-something kids showing off their Primark hauls or posting wish lists or bossy women my age telling the over-40s to cut off their long hair, cover their knees and/or arms whilst promoting ludicrously overpriced clothing that turned everyone into a sad clone. Even if everyone laughed at my blog at least I was offering an alternative. 

2) Has your blog changed since you started it? Not a lot. The content's pretty much the same (vintage finds, trips to festivals, our travels in India, stuff I've made, our house and garden) but I only post a couple of times a week these days as opposed to every day. Hopefully my photography has improved.

3) Blogging is time-consuming - what are the challenges you find in finding the time? When I started blogging there were a lot of blogs out there and I'd only be happy publishing a new post once I'd caught up and commented on all my virtual friends' blogs (ever the polite Brit!) which made the process extremely time-consuming. Sometimes I'd be up at 6am just to play catch up. These days a lot of the bloggers I used to follow have defected to IG so it doesn't take half as long to read and comment on those in my blog list. Over the years I've learnt not to beat myself up if I don't comment on every single post especially if it's someone who posts every day or if it's a blog about a subject that doesn't resonate. It's not because I don't like the blogger, it's just that I have nothing noteworthy to contribute to the discussion.

Writing a blog post doesn't take too long - probably around an hour - unless it's one of my travel posts which can take an age to whittle down the photos and to recall the fascinating facts I've scrawled in my travel journal!


4) When do you write a post - in the morning or the evening? Usually in the afternoon, after I've done all my tasks and before it's too dark for photos (a nightmare in the depths of the British Winter).

5) What is your favourite topic? India! Not only does it help prolong my trip but the feedback I get via social media and email is amazing. One of the best things ever was bumping into a lady in the Indian Visa office in Birmingham who told me she'd been inspired to achieve her lifelong dream of visiting India after reading my blog.

6) What's the thing you love most about blogging? Connecting with like-minded women from all over the world. I'm always staggered when people recognise me in real life and bowled over when people make a special effort to visit our stall at festivals or vintage fairs just to say hello.

7) What's the thing you like least? I don't think there's a negative other than the inevitable pervy messages (which always get deleted!)

8) Where do you see yourself and your blog in five years time? Most of the time I don't know where I'll be next week, let alone in five years...hopefully alive and still having the time of my life!


I'm a bit of a rule breaker so I'm not going to nominate anyone in particular (anyone who reads my blog adds  sunshine to my life) but if you fancy answering my women-centric questions ('cos it's International Woman's Day) please feel free to do so either on your blog or if you don't have a blog either on Facebook or in the comments below. 


1. Five well-known women (alive or dead) you'd invite over for dinner (or just meet in the pub).
2. Woman you'd most like to swap places with for one day and why?
3. Which female actor would you pick to play you in a film about your life?
4. Is there a particular woman who influenced your style or inspired you somehow, and who is she? (Sheila wrote a wonderful piece HERE about her Aunt Ann) 
5. Whose wardrobe would you most like to steal?


WEARING: Anokhi dress & Anokhi quilted cotton riding coat, Banjara necklace (India), vintage Tuscan lamb hat & snakeskin effect Western boots (charity shopped)

Have a fantastic weekend & see you soon!

Linking to Patti & the gang for Visible Monday.

42 comments:

  1. Your sheepskin hat looks like it was made to be worn with that amazing Anokhi riding coat and fabulous dress! Not too bad, though, that it's the first time you've had to wear it this Winter! Let's keep our fingers crossed we're not getting a late beast! Although the gorgeous weather we've had has left us here as well, it hasn't turned really cold here yet, but we're expecting colder weather next week ... I want to wear my Spring clothes! I was nominated by Vronni as well, and will incorporate my answers in my next post. I'm relieved to read you're being a bit of a rule breaker, though, as I wasn't planning on following the rules to the letter either. I'm afraid I'm not good with rules! xxx

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    1. It sounds like we might have a late beast tonight - hold on to your hats!!
      I know we haven't had much a winter - and I escaped five weeks of it - but I'm ready for Spring now! xxx

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  2. That fab coat and dress are such wonderful ways of remembering your recent travels, art you saw and now wear.

    Those sunshine awards are a bit like the dreaded chain letters I remember as a kid. I think I still have writer's cramp from trying to write out copies of 20 letters just to avoid the bad luck associated with breaking the chain.

    We are still in the dead of winter here but at least there is sunshine.

    Suzanne
    http://www.suzannecarillo.com

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    1. Clothes from your travels are the best kind of souvenirs and, like vintage clothes, they always have a story to tell!
      Yes, those awards were like chain letters, I was always the one who burnt them when I got them at school (hope none of my old school friends are reading this!)
      After our false spring things have taken a turn for the worst, even the cats refuse to go out! x

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  3. Your Indian purchases are lovely, Vix, and the fact that you're enjoying wearing them so much makes it money well spent.

    I'd happily have the 20th century Peshwaz in my wardrobe too -it's beautiful!

    I think I'll take part in the questions too! X

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    1. Thanks Jess! I usually come back from India with very little, I'm glad I indulged a bit more this year, that coat has been so useful and has proved to be a real talking point. everyone who sees me wearing it comments.
      I'd love to hear your answers when you've got the time! x

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  4. Congrats to you and all the Sunshine Blogger nominees!
    I'd be wearing those blockprint pieces from Anokhi 'til they fell to pieces.
    A lot of my blockprint pieces have metallic printing too- glad to know it is historically accurate.
    xox

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    1. Thanks, Bibi!
      I loved the write ups on the Anokhi clothes. The care instructions that came with my Cotton Cottage purchases are ridiculously good, telling people not to send their clothes to the dhaba wallah as they'll beat everything to death! xxx

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  5. congratulations to the sunshine award!
    you look like a princess in that outfit! dress & coat are beauties on their own - but together they are DIVINE! the hat is perfect too.
    have to have a look for such boots at the bay.....
    loved to read your answers, esp. about the blogging itself (#7!)- i had seen to many posts lately (german ones that is) in which the bloggin women moan about "how time consuming and fare from real life" blogging is and that they desperately need a break etc. etc... why do they blog if its such a chore??? so thanks for the fresh air! <3
    xxxxx

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    1. Thank you so much!! That outfit was a bit of an East West mashup but it worked, hooray!!
      I always roll my eyes at bloggers who go on about how much time they put into posts. For goodness sake, if you've got nothing to say then don't post anything. To me it's an enjoyable hobby! xxx

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  6. Your sheepskin hat is adorable. That dress is a dream and it matches the coat perfectly. How interesting to read about the traditional dye methods used in India. If I had a piece like that, I'd cherish the tag as well. It is so wonderful that there are still artisans who colour clothes using natural ingredients and traditional dyes.
    Congrats on the sunshine blogger award, I just remember that I have been nominated as well and not too long ago, just haven't had the time to answer the questions yet. I started blogging when I saw one girl who had a vintage style featured in a magazine. before that I didn't even know blog existed.

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    1. Thank you so much, Ivana. I loved all the information provided on the ticket, it made the purchase all the more special. Most new garments would probably say "Made by very poorly paid workers in terrible conditions. May fall apart within a week"
      Is the girl who inspired you to start blogging still writing hers?
      xxx

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    2. No, she isn't. It's a shame. Many bloggers I used to follow disappeared. I don't know is it because of other social media or just the lack of time.

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  7. Thank you for another glamorous, fun and highly informative piece. It is great to see such intelligent and informed writing about clothes in this celebrity-obsessed world of ours. Going back to the questions, I would like to see Helena Bonham Carter play me in a film about my life as I admire her strong personality, superb acting and innovative and unique personal style. She is not afraid to express her creativity through her clothes and obviously has great fun doing so.

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    1. Oh Alysia, what a kind comment. Supportive women like yourself are the reason I don't think I'll ever stop blogging.
      Helena Bonham Carter is a great choice, not only is she talented and with a great sense of style but she hasn't followed the crowd and had any work done which makes her a wonderful female role model. xxx

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  8. There’s something so lovely about your new dress. It’s really is fabulous, more so with your jacket and boots. I love it when I find something I want to wear all the time.
    Your award write up is good and thankfully nothing like the ones that used to fly around some years ago. I dreaded having to admit to being offered one, then having to display it on my blog. This one is much better. Well done missus. It was a good read xxx

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    1. Thanks, Lynn! I've been ruthless since I got back from India and parting with loads of clothes. I'd rather wear special pieces over and over again rather than have endless variety. It was so liberating in India! xxx

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  9. In my blurry early morning reading I somehow got the impression you had your dress stolen at the monkey temple! 'last seen on the fateful day when we visited the monkey temple'
    Now that would have been something ;-)
    xo Jazzy Jack

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  10. You are indeed a ray of sunshine on the blogosphere Vix! I had forgotten about these blog awards, they used to be an integral part. Gosh that museum piece is stunning isn't it? The gold is really beautiful on it. The textiles of India really are something else. xx

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    1. Thank you!! When we visit museums in India there's often signs warning visitors that interfering with the exhibits could incur a fine of 500 rupees (around £5). I'm often tempted to risk the fine and run off with the textiles. xxx

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  11. Been reading your blog for many years and still enjoy your posts - and your style!

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    1. Thanks, Liz! That's really sweet of you to say! xx

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  12. oh yes, Anokhi overload! and more please :) I like the questions you have put for the sunshine award. I will have a go on my blog.

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    1. I'm on a mission to find more, I'm scouring Ebay for bargains on a daily basis!!
      Loved your answers! xxx

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  13. I love your Indian clothes - they're so beautiful but also so practical.

    Whose wardrobe would I most like to steal? No-one's in real life, though in the TV series The Hour, Bel had a wardrobe to die for.

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    1. Thanks, Mim! I'm so glad that I finally bought something from Anokhi. It's expensive by Indian standards but for heirloom pieces they were well worth the investment.
      Goodness me, I'd forgotten The Hour. I loved Bel's sassy but smart style. xxx

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  14. That hat is dreeeeeeeeeeeeamy! I love it!!! Your Indian clothes look marvellous and I am glad you are enjoying them so muchas they are wonderful!
    I like your answers and questions!
    Bravo on the charity shop bargain boots!xx

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    1. Thanks, Kezzie! This hat is so cosy I could probably go out in just that and a bikini and not feel the cold (I shan't try it, though!) xxx

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  15. That riding coat with the hat are *mwah* meant to be worn together! Love this gorgeous dress on you. I enjoyed your answers to the Sunshine blogger questions (and yup, I remember them from about 10 years ago). Aw, thank you so much for linking to my Aunt Ann's story, Vix! Hope you have a wonderful week ahead!

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    1. Thanks, Sheila! All those Indian block prints seem to go together, it seems a pity to dilute the impact with something plain.
      I loved the story about your aunt and how she impacted on your life. xxx

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  16. Oh yes, the riding coat! It's a gorgeous piece and it says "Vix" all over! I enjoyed reading your answers and I love your answer about where you'll be in five years: having the time of your life. xox

    Patti
    http://notdeadyetstyle.com

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    1. Thanks, Patti! I've got a feeling I'll be known as "the woman in that coat" soon, I've not taken it off since I bought it and everyone seems to comment on it! xxx

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  17. What a beautiful hat, Vix! You look lovely in it. Oh, that coat is so beautiful as well. I know you rarely wear trousers but I think it would look fabulous with big trousers, too...

    I was so touched by the story behind your dream dress. How lovely to know the back story. Wouldn't it be great to know the backstory behind all the secondhand clothes we buy? On second thoughts maybe not; some might be sad or tragic. I loved your dream dress. I had a very similar one in the early 1990s bought from Church Street market in West London along with a chambray one. I bought them both for 15.00 each; the first time I had been able to buy myself something since I had split up with the ex-husband and I wore them both a lot. Wish I'd kept them!

    Loved reading your answers to the questions. Imagine inspiring someone to go India - go Vix! Thank you for answering the questions I asked you; I really enjoyed reading your answers.

    Now to your questions:

    I'd invite Frida Kahlo; Olivia Coleman; Toni Morrison; Charlotte Bronte and Daphne Du Maurier over for a meal. I'd like to swap places for a day with a female author I admire, too many to mention, but just so as I could see how they manage to produce the magic that I love to read. I have no clue at all about a female actor to play me in a movie about myself. I'd like Miss Prynne Fisher's wardrobe, please. My inspirations for style have come mostly from women I've seen in the street throughout the years and latterly through reading blogs - more power to them all!

    Have a great week!
    xxxx

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    1. Thanks, Vronni! I wish everything came with a backstory. Sometimes you get an indication of a previous life from the contents of a pocket or a handbag but most of the time you'll forever wonder about the origins.
      What a sweet story about your liberation dresses you bought in Church Street market. I bet it was wonderful to treat yourself after such hardship.
      Loved your answers. I'm going to suggest Dame Judi Dench - not just because of the striking silver hair but she's also witty, intelligent and with a superb sense of style, just like you! xxx

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  18. The overall look is fabulous. But that coat is over the top! I'd be wearing that everywhere. I find it fascinating you can write blog posts in an hour. I only wish I could do that, which is probably why my blogging falls by the wayside a lot. I can't seem to do a post that doesn't take me a whole day, and sometimes more. Crazy, I know.

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    1. Thanks so much, Theresa! I dithered about slashing out on that coat - it was expensive by Indian (and my) standards but I love it to death!
      Writing the blogs posts are a breeze, it's the commenting that can take an age. xxx

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  19. you know that I'm loving your coat, but this dress has stolen my heart indeed!!. It's just my kind of print and my kind of colours! such a fabulous piece and it fits you so nicely!, this kind of things put a smile on my face for the whole day!
    Lovely to read about your blogging activities and Vronni is herself like a ray of sunshine!!
    besos

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    1. Thank you so much, Monica! Those earthy red colours make me happy, too! xxx

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  20. The first thought I always get when I see you wearing that hat is of a Russian Empress, and I can imagine you riding a beautiful chestnut horse in that outfit, leading a band of loyal outlaws!

    It will be 10 years this year since I started my blog as well. You post much more frequently than I do (most of the bloggers I know do), but as you mentioned, you only post when you feel you have something to say, and for me that ends up being once a month. I do post on IG a couple of times a week though. Congratulations on the Sunshine award - I remember when those made the rounds. I enjoyed reading your answers.

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    1. Now that's an image!!
      Those ten years have flown by, haven't they?
      I find that the longer I leave writing a blog the harder it is, almost like I have to write a spectacular post by way of justifying my absence.
      I struggle with IG, I can't keep up with all the posts (some people I follow share so much) I wish you could snooze accounts like Facebook so I didn't miss posts from friends like you. xxx

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  21. All clothes should have tags in it like that. It sure beats ‘made in china, cool wash, warm iron’.
    Nice to see those Mjus boots on, the first photo (in your previous post) doesn’t do them justice, aren’t they lovely?!
    It was so nice to discover your blog, I was tired of all the youngsters too, it just didn’t resonate with me. Although i wrote some of those wish lists back when I first started. I doubt many of those 20yr olds are still blogging now but yours has stood the test of time, which speaks volumes.
    Your questions are very interesting, they’ve certainly got me thinking!
    xx

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Lots of love, Vix