Tuesday 29 November 2022

Faith, Hope & Charity Shopping

After ticking off a few chores I spent most of Saturday messing about in the spare bedroom or, unofficially, my walk-in wardrobe which just happens to have a bed in the middle of it.

With half an ear on the football I emptied my wardrobes, gave them a clean and replaced everything I'd taken out, took down the summer suitcases from the top of the wardrobe, unpacked and refolded the contents and reorganised my vanity case of scarves, the hat and bag shelves, my boot rack and all of my jewellery storage. 

Having recently acquired a few new-to-me things, I followed my wardrobe rules of one in, three out and numerous garments, jewellery, hats and boots were moved to either the Kinky Shed or the charity shop bag which permanently hangs on the hall doorknob awaiting donations.

With the exception of an emergency coat and my wellies, everything I wear is in my two wardrobes and the two suitcases I store on top of them. 

Jon mended my vintage Stockman mannequin so she's no longer wonky and adjusted the size so her measurements match mine. I love dressing her up in potential outfits.

The vintage suede fringed waistcoat is a recent wardrobe addition. The eBay seller's description was charmingly honest:

This is my personal waistcoat from 1971.
It needs a clean as it was put away many years ago and never worn since the 70’s and I apologise for that.
Selling now as I’m moving house and need to declutter all the old things.
I’m sad to let it go - but the family don’t want it and I’m twice the size I was in 1971!

Sunday's outfit consisted of a heavy cotton block printed dress by Kharibu with my me-made tank top, vintage Rawhide charity-shopped coat and my second-hand Clarks boots. The 1960s Pakistani velvet and bullion work tote was a jumble sale find back in the last century.

We dropped off the donation bag and - needless to say - left with a freshly refilled bag containing....

A Banana Republic leather belt (made in Italy); a novel set in the favelas of Brazil, City of God by Paulo Lins (I've visited the country & seen the film twice, it's about time I read the book); A rather lovely pure silk cocktail dress; 1980s Made in India rayon maxi; Umbro day-glo swim shorts with tags attached; 1970s Tuscan sheepskin hat; 1990s suede one-shoulder top.

The hat's a keeper (I've already put three hats in the donation bag). 

Once the finds were photographed, laundered or stashed away, the rest of the day (and night) was spent watching the World Cup, armed with a crochet hook. For those of you who moan about World Cup football taking over everything, now you know how I feel about bloody Xmas...at least the World Cup's only once every four years!

This was Monday's outfit. A me-made tank top (which I crocheted over the weekend) worn with another Indian block printed dress by Kharibu and my 1960s turquoise leather coat. The vintage Indian silk screen printed scarf and alpaca beer mittens (bought from a trading neighbour at the End of the Road festival in 2014) were cast aside after my swim. I smashed my personal best and managed to average 30 seconds per lap. Next stop the Paris Olympics!

After breakfast in 'Spoons, we called into Lidl for a Waste Not box as well as some milk and a couple of pots of their delicious own-label Greek-style yoghurt. The two mile walk, half-mile swim and lugging this lot home is wonderful exercise and soon works off our indulgent Mushrooms Benedict breakfasts.

What can you get for £1.50 these days? All this. 

Monday was another day filled with World Cup football plus a bit of planning for next week's birthday adventure.

I woke up this morning sick with nerves...tonight's the night we play Wales for a place in the second round. Half an hour of planks, push-ups, side stands, jack knives, balance bridges and weights helped to calm me down. 

I wore red in support of our mighty Lions. A linen shirt and maxi skirt (both vintage Anokhi) with my secondhand Mascob for Liberty Badin jacket accessorised with a charity-shopped Aldo fedora, Medusa belt and Timberland boots and, being a match day, I wore my Nike official Three Lions leggings. Workout leggings are brilliant as underwear - they don't stick to your skirts like tights do thus eliminating the need to faff around with an underskirt. Charity shops are full of them, or at least ours are.

Talking of charity shops, this is what we found today.

This morning my lovely friend Kezzie's blog post outfit featured a pretty dress from Next's Morris & Co., collection and she mentioned how much better quality the garments were in comparison with the evil H&M William Morris range. Lo and behold, this morning I found a Next Morris & Co. top. 

How fab are these 1980s English-made deadstock sequinned satin boots? The lambswool & yak hair cardi is by Muji and currently retails at £59.95; the rose pink fake fur coat is by Miss Selfridge; there's a 1970s crochet granny square waistcoat, some suede Vans (the festival kids love them) and a 1980s St Moritz cotton dress; the velvet sombrero still has the price tag from a posh Mexican hotel attached. The 100% merino wool cardi is by East, has the original tags attached and cost £1 and it's gone straight into my woolens drawer!

In an attempt to distract myself from tonight's match, I've been baking. I've used some of the more bruised Lidl bananas in a vegan banana loaf. Yes, of course there's surf board in the kitchen, where else would we keep it?

The beer's open, the leggings are on and New Order's World In Motion is blasting out (the best football song ever made.) 


Friday 25 November 2022

Getting To The Bell-Bottom Of It (and other stories)

When we popped over to Moseley Vintage Hub last week I bought Graziella's entire stock of vintage clothes. My '70s silver lurex maxi by Bernshaw, which I'd bought from her in the past remains, to this day, my favourite festival outfit....

Most of the clothes went straight into next year's festival stash but I had to keep this stunning '60s suede mini skirt.

 I wore it on Wednesday, layered up with my trusty M&S Heatgen thermal polo neck & leggings (bought as factory seconds from eBay and now into their third Winter) along with the Timberland waxed leather boots which are rapidly becoming the new footwear favourite.

Here's a close-up of the vintage Made in Canada copper and turquoise cuff & pendant my Mum was given by her longtime boyfriend Bob after he'd visited Canada in 1966, shortly before she dumped him for my Dad. Sheila has the same pendant, I always think of her when I wear it.

Wednesday means charity shopping and this week we came back with....Y2K Levis Engineered Denim bomber jacket; 1960s beaded cocktail bag; 1970s Hepworths leather blazer; An assortment of 1980s deadstock hair clips; Dark Star (indie Goth boutique) velvet and rayon handkerchief hem maxi dress; 1970s belted leather jacket; 1990s St Michael 100% wool classic camel coat; 1970s dagger collar lurex blouse; 1980s Slik 7 anorak; 1980s Katy Baker oversized rose print shirt; lace-up & boned satin corset (a festival favourite); Red or Dead nubuck boots; Levis denim leggings

I had to giggle at a message from my friend, Wayne who'd just come back from the Walsall Society of Artists exhibition at the New Art Gallery and overheard two women discussing Liz's painting of me....

"...you mean you don't know Vintage Vix!? I was told about her from someone in America!" Internationally famous, that's me!

Needless to say, we spent the day - and night - watching World Cup football. Later, I cracked open my 71st book of the year which my friend Lynn had passed on. A chapter in and I was already captivated.

The beauty of Thursday morning's sunrise belies the sadness which lay ahead.

 The little feral tabby, Ollie, who lived in the cat colony in the old windmill until the developers moved in, hasn't been popping in as often as he had and the last couple of times we'd seen him he'd been in a poor state. Shortly after taking this photo he turned up for breakfast, wandered into the house and sat in the hallway. On the advice of the vet, we called the RSPCA who promised to come round and take a look at him but warned us that they were rushed off their feet and it might be the afternoon before they could reach us. A couple of hours later he settled into the cat box we'd left open in the kitchen which Jon promptly closed, called the vets who offered to don some protective gear and take a look at him. To cut a long story short, he was sedated for investigation and Laura, the vet, discovered that his teeth were horrendous, his kidneys had completely failed and that it was highly unlikely he'd survive surgery despite us offering to pay whatever it took to make him better so, sadly we had to let him go. The vet and the receptionist told us that we were amazing for doing our best for a poor, defenceless feral cat but we can't help but feel we've failed him. If only he'd let us get close to him when he first started turning up all those months ago.

Anyway, you don't read my blog for self-pity and misery so here's something far more cheerful - the completed granny square cardi I've been working on for the last ten days.

Worn with the previous day's Levis denim leggings. The Celtic & Co handmade suede Chelsea boots were a retail buy last winter, paid for by selling a couple of pairs of boots I hadn't worn in ages (buy quality and you'll often get your money back (and, in my case, a lot more) if you decide to sell them a few years along the line.

Last year Jon was asked by the NHS to take part in the Galleri GRAIL trial (details HERE) and has to give a sample of blood once a year. By way of a thank you he's given a £10 Sainsbury's gift voucher after each appointment which, of course, he had to spend on treats - we ate half the pizza each last night, the second half will be Friday's tea.

In the mood for more crochet I had a rummage through my wool stash and made a two-way tank top with one eye on the football, of course! 

What with Thursday's cat trauma we'd missed swimming so popped down this morning for our twice weekly half-mile. Jon turned his phone off and we successfully managed to avoid any football talk whilst out so we could watch the Wales Vs Iran match on catch-up when we got home. Poor Wales, who were run ragged by a much feistier Iran.

I wore this 1960s suede mini dress, bought from the legendary Second to None, back in 2014 along with a vintage Liberty silk scarf snaffled from a car boot sale in November 2009.

Sorry love but that's got to be two quid 'cos it's designer. Bargain!

As usual, we walked home from the baths via the market where I spotted this unworn leather jacket on a secondhand stall for £8. I know Danier from Sheila's blog as she's a big fan of the Canadian company. It was going to go in the stockroom until Lord Jon made the fatal mistake of trying it on. 

 Talking of fame, fellow Black Country girl and hippy chick Sophia recently interviewed me for a feature on her blog and her questions were brilliant. You can read her interview HERE 

Tonight's the night - we're playing the USA. I'll shortly be changing into my lucky leggings, pouring a large rum and joining my Lundby family in front of the TV. 

Come on, England!!!!

Tuesday 22 November 2022

Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.

As a dedicated charity shopper my wardrobe is constantly evolving. A few days ago I didn't own this alpaca & wool River Island polo neck or the Timberland boots or actively looked for anything resembling them but the charity shop goddess bestowed them on me and they seamlessly fit into my wardrobe.

Combined with my vintage Anokhi pinafore dress, Proper Topper fedora and Kharibu reversible block printed jacket (previously seen worn the other way around) this was my choice of attire for a trip to B&Q, the DIY superstore, on Saturday morning.

With frost forecast for next week we uprooted our geraniums, moved them into the (unheated) utility room to overwinter and replaced them with hot pink cyclamens and calocephalus, a silver rather seaweed-y looking evergreen.

As you can see, the England Crest flag is flying high, originally hoisted for the mighty Lionesses, who went on to lift the Euros trophy and is now there in support of our boys.

On Friday we'd finished watching Godless and, as Jon said that he'd never seen Jeff Daniels (who played evil Frank in the series) in Dumb and Dumber, I made him sit through it - delighted that it was still as funny as it was when I saw it in the cinema in the early 1990s.

As we need to brush up on our Spanish, we started watching the subtitled crime thriller, Bitter Daisies.

On Sunday I wore another outfit enhanced by some recent secondhand finds. Linking to Mica's Weekday Wear link up HERE.

I spotted this vintage suede jacket on eBay, the photo was awful but the applique peacock won me over and, with no other bidder but me, won it for £8. No longer trading, Ursula Sarlette produced one-off, handmade leather & suede jackets from her workshop in Mönchengladbach during the 1980s. The few I've found online sell for around £300.

The Clarks' Victorian-inspired ankle boots were £1 from the clearance charity shop last week. 

Lord Jon wore another new-to-him purchase, a Levis Engineered pinstriped denim jacket found for a fiver. His Wallabees have hardly been off his feet. Beth asked about how he kept them clean - easy, a liberal application of Kiwi Rain and Stain Protection Spray (in the UK, Wilko £4.40)

After dropping off a few bits at the clearance chazza on Sunday we had a rummage and came back with a few more. In my head I'm constantly dreaming of Summer holidays, I found this East kantha bag, a Hollister cotton sundress and a River Island shirred broderie anglaise cami (with tags still attached) which I washed and will pack away for next year when they eventually dry - a long, slow process on a wet November day!

As I'm sure you already know, I'm a huge fan of international football tournaments and we've been glued to the TV since Sunday afternoon. Whilst I'm fully aware of Qatar's appalling track record on human rights, I'd be an utter hypocrite to join the several people I know by boycotting the World Cup especially having flown with Qatar Airlines to India on numerous occasions and spent time between flights at Doha airport where a round of beer was the expensive we've ever bought.

Between matches we squeezed in a half-mile swim on Monday along with a speedy 'Spoons breakfast and a lightning fast visit to Lidl to pick up a £1.50 Waste Not box  before dashing back to watch England thrash Iran 6-2. Although the win is mostly due to our boys' incredible talent, I'd like to think that my Nike official England leggings (£1, Cancer UK)  might have helped - they certainly worked when I wore them throughout the Women's Euro Finals. We watched The Netherlands vs Senegal (disappointing result, I used to live with a girl from Dakar and hung out with some lovely Senegalese folk when she moved to Paris in the late 1980s and I went over to stay with her). This was followed by Wales vs USA. I had to hide behind a cushion when Gareth Bale took that penalty, even a stiff Sailor Jerry's and ginger ale couldn't quell my nerves!

On Tuesday, with no plans other than watching back-to-back football, I wore the same outfit as Monday - a Zara embroidered blouse (reduced to £5 in their end of season sale), a tooled leather belt bought from a charity shop last week and a vintage Ayesha Davar midi skirt. Despite wanting Argentina to win in this morning's match I was dancing for joy when Saudi Arabia won, what an amazing game!

With half an eye on the Denmark vs Tunisia match I'd almost finished my crochet but had to unpick it a couple of times due to being distracted by Tunisia outplaying their opponents. I think I've already mentioned that we were in Tunisia during the World Cup finals of 1998 when England beat the national side 2 - 0, which would have been brilliant if we'd not been watching the match in the hotel staff's quarters alongside twenty disgruntled Tunisians as the posh hotel where we were staying weren't showing the game.

Right, best dash....Poland vs Mexico's just kicked off. Apologies for being way behind with commenting but, as the late Bill Shankly said, "Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that."

See you soon!