Thursday 14 September 2023

Too Mucha Of A Good Thing


On Monday evening we met up with the gang for beers and Indian food, it was a belated celebration for Al as he & Liz had been sailing around the Ionian Islands on his actual birthday. Liz & I have know each other for more than half a century and have been friends since we were five years old so it's probably not all that surprising to discover that we both turned up wearing a yellow dress!

Last time this ochre linen chazza-shopped dress had an outing was in Corfu back in July. It's by Beaumont Organics and came with the original £270 store tag still attached, I paid £3. The python bag, made in Italy by Narducci once retailed at £395, another charity shop find, it cost me £3.50

As you can see by the bare arms, it was still deliciously warm on Monday evening. 

Jon's batik shirt was a charity shop buy back in 2019, the shorts had faded over the years so he redyed them at the weekend. William's shiny coat is all his own.

Yesterday, after several failed attempts over the Summer, I finally managed a day out with my friend Nikki who'd just come back from a holiday in beautiful Crete. We met up at Birmingham's New Street Station and said hello to Ozzy, the star of last year's Commonwealth Games residing on the main concourse since 26th July. No longer raging or breathing fire, like he was when I visited him with Annie last Summer, he's still a sight to behold.

Nikki & I caught up over pots of chamomile and mint tea in Medicine, formerly the Victorian premises for The Royal Society of Birmingham Artists.

And with the only plan being no plan, wandered around the city centre and popped into a few shops. 

In Urban Outfitters I snaffled this Indian block printed tunic from their sale rail for a tenner. Like most of the contents of my wardrobe(s), I didn't need it but I had to have it.

The parish church of St Martins in the Bull Ring

The iconic Selfridges department store.

The Bull Ring with the Rotunda in the background.

We walked across town and had a long & lazy lunch in our favourite hang-out, The Indian Brewery. Nikki's pretty midi dress is an old Dilli Grey purchase, her gilet is vintage Janet Wood for Monsoon.

This was the first time I'd worn my vintage Mexican maxi dress this year. It's such a vibrant shade of turquoise and always gets loads of love.

New to the Indian Brewery is their Pekok lager. Described as the most refreshing Indian lager beer in the world, it was certainly very quaffable. We had a couple.

Don't adjust your screens, I've got bare nails, a sight seldom seen since I quit the hospitality trade!  

Although there's loads of reasonable priced vegetarian/vegan food on the menu, we always seem to order Chaart Attack and it never disappoints.

A rare moment of calm before the hoards of office workers descend for lunch.

We were so excited to catch up with owner, Marni, a fellow member of the Fabulous 50s Club. She's off to Sorrento next week, her third half-century celebratory birthday trip this year. A woman after my own heart!

All too soon it was time to head back to the station and catch our respective trains but with plans for a meet-up next month it won't be too long before we see each other again. Thanks for a fantastic day out, Nikki! 

Today - like Tuesday - involved walking down to the swimming baths (in the rain) for our bi-weekly half-mile swim followed by breakfast in 'Spoons. This morning Jon had Eggs Benedict whilst I opted for a smashed avocado muffin with pico de gallo and a poached egg. We were so early that the shops hadn't opened and we were back home by 9.15am

I bet you've never seen anything quite like this vintage kaftan, I certainly haven't! Bearing the American/Canadian ILGWU label (International Ladies' Garment Workers Union), it was made for the Great Entertainers label and sold through Sears in the early 1970s. The print features Alphonse Mucha's celebrated illustration of Sarah Bernhardt (c. 1896) set against a background of reeds and insects.  Trippy or what? I bought these clumpy pewter sandals from the Clarks' outlet earlier in the year & the strap broke a day shy of me owning them for six months. I emailed Clarks and quite unexpectedly got a 100% refund, that's what I call service. Our independent cobbler managed to repair them for me - free shoes, can't get better than that! 

As you can see, my nails are no longer bare, I've treated myself to a gel manicure at True Beauty, my local salon. The colour, Neon Raspberry, is obnoxiously bright, the photos don't do the vibrant colour justice. As subtle as a brick, that's how my dear mum always described me. 

I've spent the rest of today finalising my packing....

Stashed in my new-to-me wheelie bag (£7.95 via the clearance charity shop) are four cotton dresses, two bikinis, a crochet beach cover-up, a long sleeved cotton tunic, a pair of Levi's denim cut-offs, my trusty Greek supermarket swimming shoes, my Teva Universal midform trekking sandals, swimming goggles, a sarong, a foldable sun hat and two pairs of sunglasses. I'm taking the bare minimum of toiletries: Lush shampoo & conditioner bars, bamboo toothbrushes and toothpaste tabs, dental floss, a bar of soap, a handful of plasters, a couple of razors, a magnifying mirror, my Tangle Tamer hairbrush, waterproof eyeliner, a selection of hair bands & grips and a packet of makeup remover wipes. In Corfu we were plagued with mosquitos so I've bought a pack of THESE Deet-free insect repellent bracelets to try. 

As we're cheapskates, we're travelling with carry-on bags only. The airline baggage allowance is 10 kg and bags are to measure no more than 56 x 45 x 25cm. My bag weighs 7kg and measures 54 x 34 x 22cm - there's room for more if I do decide to buy a souvenir. 

We're also allowed a small personal item - like a handbag - which can be stowed beneath the seat in front. In ours, we've got six 100ml bottles of decanted sun cream (shared between us) plus a lipstick, mascara and some hair serum plus our eReaders, passports, prescription specs, wallets and mobile phones. I'll carry my jewellery and put it on when we've passed through departures to save setting off the alarms. As always, Jon will make sandwiches to take with us. I'm travelling in a long sleeved dress with my Teva platforms and my gold leather tote (which doubles up as a beach/shopping bag). 

We've spent the last couple of Septembers on Rhodes but I couldn't find any reasonably priced flights so we're off to Santorini, an island neither of us have visited and, with the reputation of it being one of the most expensive tourist destinations in Greece, we'd never expected to go there either, but Jet2 had a flight advertised at such a great price that I couldn't refuse and I've found a bargain apartment on - the owner is so lovely, she's even coming to pick us up at the airport.

This is what Lawrence Durrell wrote about Santorini in 1978...

It is hardly a matter of surprise that few, if any, descriptions of Santorini have been written; the reality is so astonishing that prose and poetry, however winged , will forever be forced to limp behind. Today this still applies, and will I believe, to be so for ever more. On this Cycladic jewel of the Aegean, the line between art and reality is severely blurred. For the purity of colour and simplicity of line is food for the soul and a photographer's and hedonist's dream. She leaves me breathless, my brain laden with indelibly etched images with a deep sense of peace and serenity... for here I have tasted the life of a lotus-eater and sat on the footsteps of heaven.

It sounds like paradise but will we come back bankrupt? I'll report back in October! And don't worry about William, he's got our friend Michelle and my brother Marcus attending to his every need.

Monday 11 September 2023

I Started Something...

That something being hunting for more stock. The festival season might be nine months away but that's no reason to rest on our laurels. 

Latest finds include - a 1970s Bernshaw maxi (a keeper!), a 1970s Ann Green silk & sequin cocktail top, a 1970s belted cord coat, a vintage embroidered velvet tunic, a 1960s Jack Tabor, London Indian block print beagle collar shirt, a 1970s novelty print dagger collar shirt, a 1980s handknit jumper featuring textured sheep, a Joe Brown Welsh flannel "mountaineer shirt" from 1971 and a 1970s Emily Sue cowl neck jumper. 

A 1980s English-made jumbo cord overshirt, a 1960s St Michael all wool mini kilt, a 1980s St Denis embroidered blazer, a 1960s Frank Russell for Mansfield wool jacket, quilted batik leopard bag, 1980s House of Lavinia cotton V-back midi dress, 1970s Dunlop heeled wellies and a 1980s Classic Silks silk shirt.

1980s Champion Club Italian-made leather zip front pencil skirt, Karl Lagerfeld swim shorts, Cheap Monday, Stockholm jacket (which Jon's overdyed), vintage reversible satin brocade/embroidered kimono, Cos cotton top, Free People Indian cotton embroidered mini dress and a heavy cotton dress and jacket hailing from Northern Thailand (which has mysteriously found its way into my wardrobe!)

You know me, I absolutely love the sun and inbetween unpacking the van, reorganising the stockroom, shopping and swimming last week you'd have found me basking in a bikini on the lawn devouring books. Between Tuesday and Saturday I'd read five, all of which I'd re-donated to the charity shop on Sunday morning.

This is my current read and it's utterly mesmerising.

The UK is finally enjoying some decent weather and I've been able to give a lot of my clothes their first (and possibly last wearing) before I'm back in long sleeves, boots and jackets. This was Wednesday's outfit, my handmade 1970s seersucker maxi skirt was a recent acquisition (for the princely sum of £3) and the saffron linen tie shoulder suntop a useful charity shop find last year.

The yellow Lotta from Stockholm clogs were new in 2018, the matt black nail varnish is by Ghost and was 50p from the Ambo (Air Ambulance charity shop) as were the Zara earrings and Kashmiri beaded necklace. Ann (Polyester Princess) gave me the red bangle and the Kashmiri papier mache trio has been in my collection for donkey's years.

The abalone and Mexican silver hair slide was bought from fabulous festival neighbours, Shilpa Silver, at End of the Road. 

This was Thursday's outfit. My 1970s embroidered cotton midi dress was snaffled from my friend Molly's legendary £5 rail from her stall, Vintage Relics, at End of the Road.

The orange Lotta from Stockholm clogs were an eBay find back in 2020. I've got twelve pairs of Lottas, I think I might have a problem.

The Mexican silver earrings were from Shilpa Silver, another End of the Road purchase.

On Friday we met up with my brother & Tony for Turkish food at Salt 'n' Pepper. I didn't get round to taking photos as I was too busy eating, but here's a rare moment of calm at The Black Country Arms, where we enjoyed a few pints of award-winning real ale before dinner.

Jon wore this Indian block printed shirt he found when we were charity shopping on Wednesday. His old school Adidas were from eBay last year.I bought my Indian block print maxi dress from Anokhi's Chowpatty branch in Mumbai back in February, 2020. The 1970s Polaroid sunglasses were a car boot buy back in 2009 and the Sofia B Italian leather bag was a recent chazza fund. 

A trio of necklaces - the snake and the evil eye from Ethanasia in Corfu Town and the vintage Indian atomiser from my friend Caroline at Pilgrims. 

Sunday's outfit was a secondhand And Other Stories linen off-the-shoulder top worn with a vintage maxi skirt with an embroidered, applique hem with Rajasthani mirrorwork.  

Although it's made in India, it's got a bit of a Mexican vibe going on, hasn't it? Apologies for the blonde/silver roots, Lord Jon's just touched them up.

Today (Monday) I wore the vintage Marion Donaldson maxi skirt I'd found a few weeks ago along with an chazza-shopped orange cotton top, originally from River Island.

I found this beaded African (?) belt in a handbag when I was sorting out the stockroom & unusually for me I haven't a clue where it came from. The wooden guitar earrings were from the Migrant Empowerment Group (MEG) charity shop, a brilliant local charity which empowers displaced people by offering classes in computing, sewing & knitting skills, dance, music, English and maths.

I'll leave you with some garden and William photos. He's a handsome lad, isn't he?

I'm off to squeeze in a bit more sunbathing before we meet the gang for a cheeky beer and curry session. See you soon!