Saturday 27 February 2021

The Distancing Diaries - 26th & 27th February, 2021

As forecast there was a heavy frost on Friday morning and after a quick lap of the garden the lads were soon snuggled back in bed. I put away the previous day's laundry, did the final Wii Fit workout of the week and, as it's now light before 7am, popped the free books back outside and did an impromptu litter pick of the avenue in my exercise gear. 

After breakfast I wrapped the last of the ebay purchases and Jon popped them round to the post office, calling at the supermarket for supplies on the way back. Meanwhile I took everything out of the garden shelter, weeded between the paving slabs and swept up the leaves. It's now ready for visitors when restrictions for entertaining friends in our gardens are lifted on - hopefully - 29th March. Eagle-eyed readers will see that a couple of my photos are from the Autumn, no flowering geraniums just yet!

Jon arrived back as I was taking stock photos of more menswear, a mix of workwear and casual jackets. Remember those antiqued leather flying jackets with the zip off sleeves? They were all the rage in the early 1980s. 

Friday saw the return of Thursday's vintage Anokhi embroidered mirrorwork skirt, this time worn with a 1970s Jeff Banks W1 label blouse bought from a car boot sale 20 years ago for 50p. 

The details: Vintage Gujarati amulet pendant (Kutch, 2018), 1960s-does-Edwardian lace-up suede & leather boots (car boot sale), Afghan earrings (eBay), retro sunglasses (Jaded, London sale 2018)

Jeff Banks & his then-wife Sandie Shaw, 1967 Source

Jeff Banks' W1 range is another iconic British Boutique label. Jeff Banks, who Brits of a certain age will remember as the affable presenter of The Clothes Show in the 1980s (I met him and he was lovely), founded the Clobber boutique with his business partner, Tony Harley in 1964 where they stocked clothes by such illustrious designers as Ossie Clark, Janice Wainwright and Jean Muir. The shop was the forerunner of Biba and ran out of stock so frequently that Jeff Banks, acting as designer and working with Freda Fairway, who had made clothes for both Mary Quant and Hardy Amies, launched the W1 label which was also stocked in department store Fenwicks in the 1960s and 1970s.

After uploading my stock to eBay and a break for noodles Jon and I went for a walk around the block, it was a gorgeous day but the temperature had reverted back from the balmy 17°C of the last couple of days to the more normal 8°C. I was glad of my pompom hat and scarf.

Kezzie & me, Brixton 2015

My lovely blogging friend Kezzie celebrates her 40th birthday next week and, as parties are illegal, she's hosting a virtual one instead. She's mad about Dr Who (she does a weekly cosplay, Tardis Tuesday) and has asked us to dress up in a themed outfit using clothes we have to hand. After some research I managed to pull an outfit together from my wardrobe and pose for a photo in readiness for the big day. 

We watched the government press conference, discovering that us over-50s should have our first vaccine by 15th April. Tea was a delicious Higgidy aubergine & spinach masala pie Tony had treated me to (he and Jon are still doing doorstep grocery exchanges). 


Later, fuelled by a few rum & colas, we watched the first episode of the new series of Unforgotten and a couple more of the I Can't Get You Out of My Head documentaries and both got up in the night to gaze on the beautiful Snow moon.

On Saturday morning Jon made tea & brought it back to bed where we lay and read until 8.30am. After he'd had gone downstairs I stripped and changed the bed, put away the plants I'd left soaking in the bath overnight and cleaned the bathroom. 

Richard arrived with the post which included this book I'd bought from The Guardian Bookshop. I'd read a glowing review online the other day and when my friend Elaine posted a link to an interview with the author, the co-founder of Fashion Revolution, Orsola de Castro, I decided to treat myself. 

By the time I'd loaded the washing machine the veggie sausage sandwiches were ready. It was another cold but gloriously sunny day and I'd intended to peg the laundry out on the line but halfway through, disaster struck and the dead tree we normally attach the washing line to snapped, catapulting the washing across the lawn, so the tumble drier and clothes airer got called into action instead.

I sat at the kitchen table crocheting whilst Jon investigated wooden posts and Stephen basked in a sun spot on the kitchen table. 

Although we've got a mammoth litter pick scheduled for Sunday, as we were walking around the block we just had to take a grab stick and plastic sack along with us. The disadvantage in living in a quiet part of town is that people drive here with their takeaways and throw the wrappers out of the car windows when they're done. The streets were awash this morning and Frank was very interested in the fish and chip wrappings when we got back.

Wear:Sleep:Repeat saw me wearing Friday's Jeff Banks blouse, this time worn underneath my vintage Rumak cheesecloth dress to which I added a 1970s belt (both charity shop finds) and topped with the plum fedora I'd bought from Debenhams' sale back in 2019.

The details: Bejewelled bracelet (gift from a vintage trader friend), bejewelled cuff (charity shop), Frye Campus boots (eBay, 2017), coin earrings (inherited from Mum).

I decided to give myself a day off eBay listing, instead finishing the crochet I'd started earlier and, of course, it's another hat only this one is made with my newly acquired skill...tweed stitch. My new normal life consists of taking stock photos outside, going for walks and litter picking and hopefully, in the next few weeks, some gardening - I may as well have a good selection to chose from, minimalist I ain't! 

After getting the plants down from the used-to-be-a-coffee-table shelf and windowsill in the kitchen and putting them into the sink in the utility room to soak, I sat in the lounge and finished The Knife, popping it on Jon's side of the bed for him to read (he's also a Harry Hole fan) and searched the shelves for my next book.

With darkness descending so quickly during the winter, self-care Saturday had fallen by the wayside , instead I've grabbed the odd ten minutes here and there to epilate my legs, strip off the nail paint and deep condition my hair. With Saturday's glorious sunshine streaming through the spare bedroom window I spent 40 minutes tending to myself before showering.

Tea! Tonight we'll be drinking rum, catching up with Grayson Perry and probably watching more of the mind-bending Adam Curtis series. 

48 days of Wear:Sleep:Repeat squeezed into one collage! 

Stay safe and see you soon. xxx

Thursday 25 February 2021

The Distancing Diaries - 24th & 25th February, 2021

Wednesday got off to a gloomy, grey and drizzly start but, with temperatures well above the seasonal average, the lads had a fine old time looking for mice in the rockery whilst I did my Wii Fit. I did a bit of a blog catch-up before Jon came downstairs and joined me for breakfast.

Although Jon's day for the post office run wasn't for another couple of days, I made a start on wrapping  our eBay sales to stop being overwhelmed on Friday morning. 

Wear:Sleep:Repeat saw the return of Tuesday's India Imports pinafore dress, this time worn with my vintage Ayesha Davar cheescloth blouse and a 1960s Annacat waistcoat I'd had for so long I'd almost forgotten I had.

Images: Patrick Lichfield with Janet Lyle (Get Some Vintage-A-Peel),  Patrick Lichfield with Janet Lyle of Annacat (left) and Michael Fish (centre) circa 1968 (Dandy in Aspic), 1960s advert (Get Some Vintage-A-Peel),

Known as the Biba of Brompton Road, Annacat was formed in 1965 by good friends Jane Lyle and Maggie Keswick and was backed financially by fashion photographer Patrick Lichfield (the Queen's first cousin). Annacat was "in" with the swinging London scene of the 1960s who loved their historically-influenced sexy shapes and extravagant finishing touches and was also a firm favourite with British Vogue. In addition to their own line, Annacat offered pieces by other designers (including Lichfield) and was the first London outlet to stock Laura Ashley designs in the late 1960s. In 1968 a New York branch of Annacat opened on Madison Avenue, the label began designing for wholesale in 1970 but the venture failed to take off and led to Annacat's demise.

The details: Clarks' clog boots (outlet sale), Turquoise bird earrings made by Afghan refugees (eBay), Nepalese pendant (India)

Due to the on-off rain it was another morning of kitchen photography. This time my stock theme was boots - I'm pretty sure that we haven't seen the last of winter yet. 

After a break for noodles I uploaded them to eBay, selling two pairs within 5 minutes!

As the rain seemed to have stopped, Jon suggested we walk down to Johal's as we were running low on incense sticks. It was so mild that we didn't need coats (we'd even put Jacob in the garden earlier). I took my grab stick along and by the time we'd returned home I'd managed to fill a sack with litter including a box of used masks dumped in the middle of the road and a disassembled chainsaw. We got back to discover some skanky sod had left their McD****** wrappers on our drive. 

I spent the rest of the afternoon crocheting - only to take it apart as I wasn't happy with the finished result but my time wasn't wasted as I'd mastered the tweed stitch.

Tea was pizza with salad including some Mizuna salad greens we'd planted in the cloches before we went to Crete in September. Well worth growing, they're delicious.

Later we watched three episodes of Deutschland 86 and drank rum & cola.

On Thursday it was bright enough to peg the washing out on the line at 7am. I did my Wii Fit workout, put out a box of books for passers-by to help themselves to and had just caught up with emails when Jon got up. After breakfast I wrapped up the overnight eBay sales ready for tomorrow's post office run.

It was a gloriously sunny and warm day. Jon got stuck into tidying the garden and I took stock photos outside. With several festivals now announcing plans to go ahead, my theme for today's eBay menswear listings was Festival Staples.

After a break for lunch - Baxter's Sri Lankan sweet potato soup (yum!) we both cracked on with our jobs.

Wear:Sleep:Repeat saw the return of yesterday's Ayesha Davar blouse, worn with my new-to-me vintage Anokhi skirt I'd scored off eBay last week. I need to take the waist in but couldn't resist wearing it anyway, assisted by a couple of strategically placed safety pins.

I've signed up for priority booking when my hair salon (hopefully) reopens on 12th April. After three professional trims last year I no longer get exasperated by my hair, now noticing the slightest change - one side grows a lot faster than the other hence the reason my left plait is almost an inch longer than the right. I could get Jon to level it off but I think I'll just sit tight and wait for six weeks instead.

The details: Disco ball earrings (made by Tamera, a much-missed blogger), Afghan Kuchi pendant (my fabulous friend, Ilaria Novelli), antique Afghan cuffs (eBay), Retro sunglasses (Jaded, London 2018), silver leather space boots (La Redoute sale, 2017)

Is it just me or are the crocuses particularly plentiful and vibrant this year? Our lawn is full of them.

The daffs keep coming, there's signs of tulips, snakes head frittileries and alliums, too. I even spotted an occupied nest up in the London plane tree when I was getting the washing (and tortoise) in.

I'm not getting too excited though, we've got minus temperatures and frost forecast for later.

Tea was veggie sausages, roast potatoes and parsnips, sprouts and carrots, accompanied by half a bottle of ale. We've got one episode of Deutschland 86 to watch before Deutschland 89 kicks off tomorrow night and then there's a choice of Adam Curtis's Can't Get You Out of My Head (which we still haven't got around to) or Janina Ramirez's Raiders of the Lost Past.

That's after I've decided which garment I'll be repeating tomorrow.

Stay fabulous and see you soon!

Tuesday 23 February 2021

The Distancing Diaries - 22nd & 23rd February, 2021

Monday morning kicked off with my first Wii Fit session of the week. Afterwards I braved the rain to dash out to the Kinky Shed, collect the overnight ebay sales and wrap them up then caught up with Blogland and joined Jon for breakfast. 

It was a day of new beginnings, my Wii Fit needed fresh batteries, the final bar of the Himalaya Facial Soap I'd bought in India had run out and the bristles in the bathroom nail brush were so flat they were no longer fit for purpose. In the days BC (before Covid) I'd had dashed into town to buy replacements, in this new world I now make sure that when I open something I buy a replacement immediately so I was able to change the batteries and replace the soap and nail brush from my supply.

While Jon was out doing the post office and supermarket run, I scrubbed and swept the hearth in the middle room, topped up the wood pile and swept the rugs. 

Richard the postman delivered my latest eBay find, a 1970s embroidered mirrorwork Anokhi skirt, bought from one of the many charity shops currently selling online. We chatted about what we thought BoJo might have lined up for us in his Roadmap out of Covid announcement later, something that Jon's had scribbled on the kitchen calendar in capital letters since we went into lockdown.

Jon got back and santised the shopping and, as it had stopped raining, I dashed outside for an oufit photo.

Wear:Sleep:Repeat saw the return of Sunday's vintage Papillion Indian block printed midi skirt, this time worn with my trusty thermal poloneck jumper, possibly the most hardworking garment in my wardrobe.

The details: Vintage copper and turquoise set (brought for my Mum by her ex-boyfriend Bob when he travelled through Canada in 1966), Lotta from Stockholm clog boots (eBay), Fairtrade brass earrings (at least 20 years old), Mum's brass bangles.

Lunch was the rest of the olive and beer bread, spead with Roquefort and served with a sprinkling of chilli-infused olives.

With the scutters who dumped their McD***alds trash in the avenue on Saturday night still on my mind my theme for today's eBay listings was macs, which I photographed outside whilst Jon cleaned the works van. 

Liz called for me and we went on a socially distanced walk so I could introduce her to the delights of Johal's, where she stocked up on spices, dried pulses and baby aubergines. To fit into the purple theme of my birthday presents she'd ordered me some seeds, they'd only just become available and I can't wait to get them planted up.

With BoJo's announcment set for 7pm we'd avoided the news all day, bored with the constant media speculation. We ate halloumi and roasted veg for tea accompanied by a large glass of wine and watched House of Games for the first time, which we loved. We squeezed in half a Deutschland (we're on 86 now), sat through the announcement, Jon rushed into the kitchen and scribbled Wetherspoons? on 21st June (the day that social distancing measures may finally be over) and then continued with our cold war viewing, breaking off to watch The Great Pottery Throwdown before bed.

The fabulous Leonora, I don't remember the 1980s being that stylish!

On Tuesday the sky was so amazing that I sat outside for five minutes in my vest, leggings and bare feet watching it. 

Before breakfast I did my Wii Fit workout and scrubbed the stove top with baking soda.

We were running low on mailing envelopes and soda crystals so Jon & I walked into town and stocked up in Wilkos. I'd been trying to order my Barry M mascara online from Superdrug but it had been out of stock for weeks so popped into Boots and managed to snap up the last one on the shelf. We then called into Asda to buy a bottle of rum. That's three shops I'd been in, add to that the trip to Johal's on Monday and another visit to Wilko back in January, that makes a grand total of 5 shops I've visited this year. If everything goes to plan all non-essential retail will reopen on 12th April so maybe the next time I enter a retail establishment it'll be a charity shop.

Lunch was a Moroccan vegan pasty, which after walking up the Hill of Doom in gale force winds, we felt we'd earned.

I told you that my thermal poloneck was the hardest working garment in my wardrobe, here it is again as part of my Wear:Sleep:Repeat challenge, this time combined with my India Imports of Rhode Island cotton pinafore dress, the block printed Anokhi bolero I snaffled from eBay last week and the pompom hat I crocheted at the weekend. The fishtail plait was a precautionary measure from being blinded by windswept hair.

The details: East block printed cotton mask (two came free with the embroidered poloneck I bought from them last year), fake snakeskin Chelsea boots (Urban Outfitters sale buy), Radley bag and mixed metal necklace (both charity shopped).

The afternoon was spent photographing my stash of vintage gloves in the kitchen and uploading them to eBay - no outside stock photos today, I was in danger of being blown away!

Tea was aloo mattar with rice as we had a surfeit of shrivelled looking potatoes that needed using up (I'll probably plant the rest).

Tonight, after I've nipped upstairs and sorted out tomorrow's outfit (it's supposed to reach the heady heights of 15°C!), we'll be squeezing in another Deutschland 86 before Interior Design Masters and Forensics: The Real CSI

Stay safe and see you soon!