Wednesday, 30 May 2012

A Lovely New Dress

Luckily I work near one of my favourite sources of vintage clothing - Lili Bizarre on Hardman Street. It's actually a fancy dress shop but they have a few rails of vintage clothing in stock, left over from when they had a vintage shop and once that's gone they won't get any more in. Their vintage stock is lovely with some really good quality and unusual pieces. The staff are wonderful and very friendly and helpful too.

New Dress! From Lili Bizarre, £45
Working so close to them means I can pop in on my lunch break, much to the detriment or my purse. Today I picked up this beautiful 1950s dress that I'm sure must have been expensive when it was originally made - the quality is great. You can probably tell from the picture above that it's quite structured - the skirt is actually interfaced with another fabric to stiffen it a little. You can also see by the straining at the bodice (I've come over all Mills and Boon there) that it's quite a heavy dress too.

Close up of the print
I've only ever seen this style of print on dresses online and even then not many, so I know they're not common and I was really pleased to find one for myself. I love the painterly print and the unusual colours and of course the great big bow which makes me think of it as quite princess-y.

Close-up of the bow detail on the front

It's not an every day dress, so it's perhaps a bit of a frivolous purchase but my excuse is that quite a few of our friends seem to be getting married or having babies, so I'm sure we'll be invited somewhere I can wear it :)

Nikki x

Monday, 28 May 2012

What a Day!

Oh my word what a day!

Wake up, do a few chores, clean up cat sick, let cats out. Hear cats come into living room meowing, Juno drops something from her mouth. It’s a frog, motionless presumed dead. Go get moist kitchen towel to pick up frog – it’s not dead, just stunned. Put it in bathroom sink and lock door. Find a box, put wet kitchen towel in it and make air holes in it, with aim of taking it to the park. (God knows where it came from, we live in a terraced house – there are only high-walled yards here).
Get dressed, go back into bathroom – frog has gone! Find it under sink, try to catch it – am unsuccessful despite screaming like a tiny little girl every time it jumps. Make panicked phone calls asking for advice/help. No one can come round. Pull self together, get big cardboard box with wet kitchen towel in and go back into bathroom. Frog has disappeared! Assume it is behind bath and as not prepared to dismantle bath, decide that is A’s job when he gets in, but will check periodically. Also leave cardboard box there in vain hope that it will jump in of it’s own accord.
Do a few things in meantime, hear a noise in bedroom and go in to find Juno lying panting on the floor like a dog and she growls when I come near her (very out of character). Google ‘panting cat’ – not a good thing, can be all manner of terrible things including a heart condition “owner noticed cat panting within a week it was dead” or “could just be too hot”. Helpful. Decide to ring vets for advice – “probably just too hot – anything else unusual?” check Juno and she has some blood by her claw – looks like it’s shattered, make late appointment so A can take us after he finishes work, but will take her in earlier if she doesn’t stop panting within half an hour. Faff about for a bit, keeping an eye on Juno. Notice she has more damage to her paws, make earlier appointment for vets. Make more phone calls seeing if anyone can take me but they can’t so book cab.
Phone A to update, hear strange noise “It’s just a drill, I’m in work” “no, it’s my end”, investigate whilst on phone, is coming from downstairs, trace it to gas meter cupboard – gas meter for downstairs flat is vibrating, panic and hang up with an “oh god” and freak A out. Realise downstairs’ washing machine is on and when it slows down a bit, the gas meter stops vibrating – weird. Go back upstairs and forget about it and later have to reassure A I’m ok.
Cab due for 2.10pm, so at ten to try to get Juno in cat box. Fail miserably, stress us both out and get upset. Cab arrives, run down to ask him to wait, knock on downstairs neighbour’s door for help (luckily a cat lover). No answer, but there’s music on – is she outside? Check out bedroom window – yes she is! Shout her for help and she comes round, after a couple of attempts get Juno in box and run out to cab (nice cabbie – said he would’ve helped me get Juno in box, why didn’t I ask him?).
Arrive at vets flustered, more damage to paws than I’d thought, they’re bloody and a few seem to be missing - might’ve been hit by a car! No broken bones, but need to do fluoroscopy to check for ruptured diaphragm. Wait for results, all ok, probably fell out of tree/off wall and scrambled causing damage to claws. Just needs painkillers as she will be in quite a bit of pain. Costs nearly £80, but relieved not serious.
Get cab back, let Juno out who hides under sofa all afternoon. Check on frog, still missing. Watch crap on computer to chill out and wait for A. Realise have had no food, but no energy to cook, so eat 2 biscuits. A gets in, we dismantle bath, still no frog – where the hell is it? For a second wonder if I could have hallucinated it, then put bath back together. Have tea, faff about. Hear cry of “Here it is” from A. Turns out frog has jumped into box OF IT’S OWN ACCORD! A shoves lid on box, we leg it to Calderstones Park. Feel guilty walking into park at 9pm with a cardboard box and assume everyone thinks we’re drowning kittens or something. Find the perfect sheltered spot and Froggy is released into bog garden (A has named him The Baron - Danger Mouse reference). We stay to make sure he’s ok and then wave him goodbye, looking like nutters. (He watches us leave).

Go to Tescos for bits and end up buying lots of ice cream, walking round muttering “what a fucking day” to each other.

Get in to find cat sick in bedroom, which A sorts. I write a long facebook status, as feel this day needs some record. Status seems to break Facebook and I lose it. Write whole thing out again on word just in case, then copy and paste it to blog too.

I think I deserve a drink

The Baron in his new home, just to prove I wasn't hallucinating. Apologies for the blurry phone photo.

Nikki x
P.S. The moral of the story is not to moan your life is boring and nothing interesting ever happens!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Outfit Co-ordination

I'm not great at outfit co-ordination, mainly because I tend to concentrate on acquiring the clothes rather than the accessories and items to go with them, in fact I really struggle with finding the right accessories - especially things like shoes, cardigans and bags. Because of this I don't really give much thought to my whole outfit - it is something I'm trying to change though and this year I really want to try and get build in some key items into my wardrobe.  Today, however, whilst I was reading in the garden at work, I noticed I'd somehow managed to match my book to my dress... which I was quite amused about.

1950s Dress from Pop Boutique on Bold Street, Sherlock Holmes book, part of a box set from a Car Boot

I've only actually read the first couple of Sherlock Holmes books and I loved them, so I thought I'd finally get round to reading the whole series, starting with re-reading the first two. I have seen the entire ITV series with the wonderful Jeremy Brett though (it was £20 down from £120 on Amazon - bargain!), so I know most of the stories. It always surprises me how dark they are too. I loved the BBC adaptation Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman and am really pleased when they reference the books, but put a twist on it. A and I started watching the film with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law and had to turn it off after half an hour as we thought it was appalling. Lots of other people we know thought it was a great film though. This seems to happen a lot lately - if loads of people rave about something we usually think it's pants.

Nikki x

Friday, 25 May 2012

In Praise of Polyester or Random Vintage Tip No. 2

Just a quick post to warn people who are thinking of wearing 1950s clothing – be prepared to iron! Those full skirts take forever to iron and the box pleats are a pain too. I’ve just done my ironing and I thought it would never end. I know quite a few people who love ironing and find it really therapeutic; unfortunately I can’t count myself in that camp.
So, if you hate ironing you should probably stick to the 1960s, 1970s or 1980s and be a Polyester Princess instead. I do have a bit of a soft spot for Polyester – my first vintage love was the 1970s, so I have a few polyester pieces in my wardrobe and they’re great – they dry super-quick, they don’t need to be ironed (can’t be in most cases or they’ll melt), they keep you warm and you can generate your own electricity if you layer up :). Also, Polyester is instantly identifiable as vintage and comes in so many colours and patterns. I prefer 1970s polyester as it makes no pretense about what it is – it’s thick and a bit coarse – lending itself well to the structured A-line skirts - whereas I always think 1980s Polyester is in denial and seems like it’s always trying to be another, more acceptable fabric – being lighter and floatier than 1970s Polyester and not at all structured.

Nikki x

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Dramatis Personae

It seems only right that I should give you a proper introduction to some of the main characters of my life. These are the people (and animals) who play a huge part in my life and who I am likely to mention often.

Nikki.............. A Vintage Collector

A.................... Her partner

Juno & Luna.... Their cats

An attempt at 60s Hair and Makeup

First up is myself - my name is Nikki and I've just turned 27. I have a (temporary) full-time job which I rather enjoy, where I'm lucky enough to be allowed (and encouraged) to wear my 1950s clothing. I will probably blog about where I work at some point as it is vintage-related. I love vintage clothing and homeware and collect both as much as my purse allows. I'm a vegetarian and have been for about 3 and a half years. I'm a rubbish cook but quite like baking and have a really sweet tooth! I'm still not entirely sure what I want to do with my life - I think I'd really enjoy being a vintage seller and eventually have my own shop/Vintage Department Store and I've got a room full of stock, but so far I've never worked up the courage to make a proper go of it. This blog is a part of my plan to change all that and I'm also going to start an Etsy shop as well as start doing stalls at vintage fairs regularly later in the year when I'm not working weekends.

I'd quite like to get back in touch with my crafty side too - my degree was in Crafts-related, focusing on Ceramics and I love working with textiles too, but it's something I really let slip when I finished uni and I've not really made much since. I do have hippy-dippy type leanings too, but I'm not likely to talk about them much here.

I lack confidence and can be quite shy, so this blog is a pretty big step for me (or will be if I ever get up the guts to actually make it public :s ). I've wanted to start one for over two years as I do enjoy writing and I read and love so many other blogs. Quite a few friends have also suggested I write one too. So many times in my life people have told me I have the talent to do things, I just need more confidence, so I'm trying hard not to be so frightened and just try things (eek!). I have a good feeling about this though, which helps a lot. I also hate having my photograph taken!

Next is my partner - A, who will be mentioned often but you'll probably never see a picture of him. He'd rather not be named either, so will henceforth be referred to as 'A', 'The Photographer', 'The Mister', 'Himself' etc. We've been together for over 10 years - since we were 16 - and we live together. His degree was in Photography, but at the moment he does other things to bring in money or 'nom tickets' as he likes to call it and unfortunately works away quite often. He is a vegan and makes amazing food. I am quite spoiled as he does all the cooking, but to be fair, my cooking skills are so poor in comparison and he does enjoy it. He's not as good at baking though (by his own admission), so I tend to do all that. A's not remotely interested in vintage, apart from acquiring hideous things for the walls which he really has a talent for. He does like pootling around Car Boots and Charity Shops though and he tries to buy nearly all of his clothing second hand (socks and undies being the obvious exception here).  He drives and I don't, so he's the one who ferries us about to aforementioned Car Boots and Charity Shops. A is also wonderful at DIY and fixing/making things and even the ugliest of our pictures are expertly hung to gallery standards.
Juno & Luna - sorry this is a bit blurry, but this is the best photo I have of them together

Juno and Luna - our female cats, who've been living with us for 5 months and who we absolutely adore - also collectively known as the Puddies, the Kittens, the Kitties, the Monsters, the Beautifuls, the Fluffins, the Roamin' Goddesses etc. We got them from a rescue after Christmas last year. We've always said that 'The cat chooses the Wizard Owner', so after much waving of looking at cats we realised that these two were the friendliest in the rescue - they were rubbing up against our legs immediately and Luna even licked A! I'd had a funny feeling that we'd know we had the right cat if it gave us a lick as that's what our first cat had done, so we took it as a sign and took them home.  They came to the rescue after being kicked outside when Juno got pregnant with another litter (two timid little 14-week old boys also at the rescue who just hid). We went through loads of names, I really liked Luna but A didn't want to use Harry Potter names. A liked the name Juno after the film -the main character is named after the Roman mother goddess, which suited our Juno as she's the mother cat - so I wangled Luna for the other cat as it's another Roman Goddess name and we could pretend it was all very high brow. Also these two are omnipresent :) Our first cat together was called Penelope (hence Penelope Cat Vintage) and she was also a friendly black and white cat so it was nice to carry on the names from ancient myth theme too.

Juno Asleep - awww

Juno - also known as Juno Darling, Junington, Sweetheart, Fluffin, Sausage, StripeyFace etc. Juno is about 2 and a half and she is Luna's mum. She's quieter than Luna and a bit more wary around visitors, but she's more confident than Luna outdoors and will jump higher and explore further. She has that wonderful stripe down her nose which I think makes her eyes look bigger and makes her look quite startled and even owl-like sometimes. She's very affectionate, but has only just started sitting on the couch and can now occasionally be coaxed to spend a few minutes on a lap - although neither of them are lap cats to be honest. She purrs like mad a couple of seconds after you stroke her and she will just go on and on and on and she always waits on the stairs to greet us as we come in and rub up against us, whereas Luna will just run out of the flat door to sniff the outside door. She's more sensible than Luna, but does have occasional outbursts of mental and has been known to climb wallpaper and jump out of upstairs windows (luckily there's a slopey roof underneath them, so it's not far). She's quite feisty too and often stands up to the great big cat from up the road when he comes onto their patch. Juno is quite gentle and delicate when she plays, but can tear about like a demon when the mood takes her.

Luna - you can tell the Photographer took this!
Luna Asleep - cute but ridiculous

Luna - also known as Loony, Loonington, Luna Loony Lovegood, Loony Petuney, Fluffybottom, Oi! Stop that, Stripeybum etc. She's just over a year old, is definitely the naughtier of the two and is a fluffy little ball of bonkers. She is a lean little thing with a breastbone like a knife edge, despite being a greedy guts. She's louder and noisier and more active, she's also a bit of a nuisance but we do love her. She's a licker and for some reason enjoys licking feet and legs especially (weird). She'll try to eat anything once, if not twice (I saw her eat a tiny bit toilet paper off the roll recently, then do it again straight after just to make sure). She loves water to and always tries to play with the bathroom tap - she's even jumped in the bath a couple of times, which she didn't enjoy at all. She's daft and seems to lack sense, as well as having no sense of balance. She's always rubbing up against our legs and I couldn't tell you how often we trip over her on a daily basis. Anything is a toy and she cannot resist a wriggly piece of string or a pen - she loves pens! As I write she's playing with my lip balm that she's just knocked off the table, she's having a whale of a time. I've said it before and I'll say it again - I'd love to come back as a cat in my next life - it seems like such a good life.

Nikki x

PS I've just checked the Rescue's website and it looks like Juno's other kittens are still there - I really thought they'd have been re-homed by now! They're called Luke and Yoda (Juno and Luna were called Princess and Leia whilst at the Rescue) and one has the same nose stripe as Juno. If they're anything like these two, they'll be the most loving cats, I really hope they (and the other cats of course) get the wonderful home they deserve.

Monday, 21 May 2012

A Treasure Hunting Trip

Today's my birthday, so the Photographer and I went on a bit of a jaunt...

We went up to Blackpool to check out the charity shops as we'd been told they were pretty good and neither of us had done them before. It was a beautiful sunny day and I gave my one of my new dresses from the Speke Vintage Fair it's first outing. I'm afraid there aren't any pictures of our trip as we forgot to take the camera. We didn't get much in the charity shops in Blackpool, in fact I'm not sure I got anything, but we did buy lots of Cinder Toffee and Peanut Brittle and had the obligatory Chips on the Front for our lunch. Being the hippy-dippy type I am, I was quite tempted to get my palm read (something I've never had done, although I have had Tarot readings before) but in the end I decided against it. We didn't go to the arcades or do any of the other tourist-y stuff though, just the charity shops.

Next we went on to Lytham St Annes, which we've been to in the last couple of years and I remember us doing quite well. I got a few things, including a vintage bag which I like but I'm not sure if I'll keep it, a big lilac wool blanket which will go on the sofa in the Winter and a few books. A got a couple of bits too, including some surfer shorts which he loves - the louder the shorts the better for him! We didn't spend too long there as we wanted to head onto one last place before going home.
Vintage Vinyl Bag by Weymouth American - £5.99
I think this is from the seventies, it's pretty sturdy and big but I'm not sure I'll be able to fit all my everyday stuff in it.

Lilac Wool Blanket - £4.99
I've been after one of these thick wool blankets for a while (for no particular reason) and as you can see it goes well with the turquoise-y throw we have on the sofa.

Buttons Annual
This is to sell - I had forgotten about Charlie Chalk! The Mister and I both remember having Charlie Chalk kids' meals in pubs with our families when we were young.
He-Man Ladybird
This is also to sell, I've got a few more Ladybirds from this series already. I remember having a She-Ra one when I was a kid, but I've yet to find any of the She-Ra ones.
The Magic Paintbrush Ladybird
I've also got quite a few of these Read it Yourself Ladybirds in my Stock Room. This one is matte and is probably from the 1970s and is in good condition.

Doddles by Agnes Adams
I bought this book because of the odd rainbow cover. It's from the 1920s I think.

Next, we drove on to Lytham, which I was quite looking forward to as I had a good feeling about one of the charity shops in particular and was hoping to get another picture for our collection.  No such luck, but we did get a Count Duckula Board Game. The Oxfam had some great vintage children's books, but they were a bit out of my budget (because essentially I'm a cheapskate). We had an iced drink at the Cafe Nero to cool down too as it was quite hot.
Count Duckula Board Game
We both love Count Duckula, but I think I'll probably sell this as I don't see it getting much use with us, so it's better going to another home.
The Story of Railways
Another Vintage Ladybird, this one is from the late 1970s/ early 80s and is a re-print of a 1961 title. The page illustrations are the same, but the cover is different to the 1961 version. The illustrations are gorgeous and you can tell they're from the early 60s because of the fashions. Here's a couple of examples:

"A modern first-class compartment"

The London Underground

We got home around 6pm then went to the pub (well, Wine Bar really) and got an Indian takeaway on the way home which was lovely.

All in all a great day, but I wish I'd found more treasure to spend my birthday money on!

Nikki x

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Lazing on A Sunday Afternoon

Today the Photographer and I went to the Car Boot together. It was almost as busy as last week, despite the morning being a bit chillier. We didn't get much, but I don't always mind that as it's good to browse and keep your eye in. We got a couple of vintage postcards - the Mister has a bit of a thing for old paintings of birds for some reason and I got the Rosetti postcard mainly because it's an old Tate postcard and we've both got or had connections to Tate. 

N.Z. Centennial 1840-1940 postcard - £1
The info on the back of the postcard reads:

Brown Kaka with sprays of RATA (Metrosideros florida).

Tate Rossetti postcard - £1
This one shows Ecce Ancilla Domini! (the Annunciation) by Rossetti, which is in the Tate collection. It's a bit damaged/foxed but I don't really care.

I also got a couple of books to sell - a 1970s Ladybird that's in good nick and a My Little Pony book - it's that 80s cartoon thing again!

Out in the Sun from the Ladybird Key Words Reading Scheme
This dates from the 1970s and is in good condition, I've got quite a few more from this series in my Stock Room too.

Illustration from Out in the Sun
Ladybird illustrations are so vibrant - I love them!
My Little Pony Book
I couldn't leave this behind although I doubt it will make much. I was quite obsessed with My Little Pony and lots of people still are so vintage My Little Pony stuff tends to do well. Some of the original toys go for over £100 on eBay, so it's worth keeping an eye out.

When we got back we had pancakes and maple syrup for breakfast! (Nom nom nom.) The pancakes are vegan and come from (book) which is the Mister's favourite pancake recipe (and he's tried a few).

Then we watched a few things on iPlayer, went for a nap and went to see my mum and dad - just a nice lazy Sunday in preparation for my birthday day out tomorrow :)

Nikki x

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Deja Vu

This is starting to get a bit creepy...

When out Charity-Shopping (or Treasure-Hunting as I like to call it) do you ever get a sense of déjà vu - that the same items keep appearing in the shops you visit? I'm not talking about things like the Primark clothes that make their way into every charity shop, or a recent best-seller, as it's fairly obvious why they've been donated - I mean those other items that have no reason to be so abundant, but seem to be a constant presence in most of the shops you visit.

I usually refer to this as "being followed" and currently I am being followed by clothing from Eastex, Bill Bryson's books (not a problem as both the Mister and I love him and we've managed to get nearly all of them for super-cheap) and most prevalently the books Alias Grace and The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. I've read both books and enjoyed them, so maybe I'm more likely to notice them, but does that really explain why I've seen them in nearly all of the 15 or so charity shops I've visited recently? There were even two Alias Graces in the same shop!

Our Bill Bryson Books - 20-50p each - bargain!

It does seem to go in trends too - previously I have been followed by souvenirs from Portugal, weird ugly pottery tankards, the one exact same jacket (I saw it at least 4 times and I was always drawn to it because it looked a bit herring-bone tweed-y but on closer inspection it was weird polyester stuff) and last summer I couldn't go anywhere without seeing at least one Pierrot!

I'd quite like to know why I'm not seeing things I'd love to own all the time - where are all the Tretchikoff Prints, Midwinter ceramics, vintage Ladybird books and gorgeous 50s dresses for pennies hey?

Please tell me if you've ever had a similar experience, I'd love to know what items have stalked you whilst thrifting.

Nikki x

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The Dangers of Wearing Vintage Alone or Random Vintage Tip Number 1

Twice in the last few days I have managed to get stuck in two different dresses! The first time was at the Vintage fair at Speke whilst I was trying a dress on and the second was earlier this evening when I was changing. On both occassions it was my own dress I got stuck in and on both occassions it was the fault of the zip being jammed.

Luckily I managed to free myself, but when it happened today I was actually considering ringing someone to rescue me (the Mister is still away). As it was I nearly pulled my arm muscles - side zips you see, a bugger to get to. They jammed because the zip fabric got caught in the teeth so I have decided to take evasive action and I'm going to sew the zip fabric to the seams on all my dresses to avoid it happening again and causing damage to my dress/me to panic.

Just a tip in case the same thing happens to you!

Nikki x

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

A Tuesday Treasure Hunt

Today I had a niggling feeling that I should dig out my wheely bag and go to a particular charity shop which has a whole backroom dedicated to books. So I did just that and I'm so glad I did as I got a bumper haul of lovely books - 21 in fact!
Bob Bushtail's Adventure, Kings and Queens of England and Robin Hood
I love old children's books, especially Ladybird Books and I always enjoy finding them a new home. The Kings & Queens of England book dates from 1968-1970 and is a bit battered on the outside but the pages are fine. Bob Bushtail's Adventure is pretty trashed but I'm going to rescue the illustrations and do something with them - frame them perhaps? Robin Hood dates from the 80s I think but this series seems to be quite collectable, so I thought I'd take it home as well.

The Rubadub Mystery, The Put-em-Rights and The Rockingdown Mystery

Three Enid Blyton books - I read a lot of Enid Blyton when I was younger, so I've a bit of a soft spot for them and hate to see them languish in shops. I'd read the two mystery ones (I've always loved a good mystery story) but hadn't heard of the Put-Em-Rights before. This isn't an unusual phenomena as Enid Blyton is estimated to have written in over 600 books in her roughly 40 years of writing - that's around 15 books per year! Some sources put the total at nearer 800 books, but either way that's pretty prolific :)
The Wild Hunt of Hagworthy (purple) and The Golden Eagle and Other Tales

The Wild Hunt of Hagworthy by Penelope Lively (1971) and The Golden Eagle and Other Tales by Francoise De Piro D'Amico - I mainly picked these two up for their covers and I liked the illustrations in The Golden Eagle.

"Who are you, beautiful maiden?" Illustration from The Golden Eagle

A bit of internet research tells me the Golden Eagle was published in 1947. It includes the story "The Discontented Cabbage" which involves quite a lot of magical sex-changing and more use of the word "buxom" than you'd think was proper in 1947.

"What does your Land Majesty desire of me?" - Colour plate from the Golden Eagle

I've only glanced at the title story, but it includes the fabulous line:

"It's a paradox!" exclaimed the bat...

Which for some reason has rather tickled me.

Weird illustration from The Wild Hunt of Hagworthy

Aren't some illustrations quite creepy when taken out of context - is that a vicar wearing a deer mask? Yes, yes it is.

Using Our Language Book 3 and An Alphabet of Ancient Greece Book One: Early Days
Using Our Language Book 3 was first published in 1967 and this is the seventh impression from 1973. I bought it because for some reason I can't resist old text and educational books. Maybe it's for the nostalgia of my own learning/school days or for the insight into school life way back when... or maybe it's just the 3-colour illustrations. I'm accumulating a bit of a stash on my stock shelves and to be honest I'm not even sure if anyone even buys them. If I love them someone else must, right?  An Alphabet of Ancient Greece also dates from 1967 and was bought for the same reason. Also the illustrations are quite strange.

An example of the three-colour illustrations in Using Our Language - each page has a different highlight colour
The Letter J from An Alphabet of Ancient Greece

The illustrations in this book are mostly after examples of Ancient Greek artwork and vases etc. and use only red, blue, green and yellow as colours.

Homepride's Weekend CookBook

This little Homepride Weekend CookBook came home with me because somewhere in the back of my mind there exists the knowledge that Homepride stuff is pretty collectable (I think I might have to thank childhood Sunday afternoons with the Antiques Roadshow for that particular nugget of information). Also I do quite like vintage cookbooks - especially ones with pictures because some of the stuff looks truly bizarre (I'm looking at you Fanny Craddock). I know some people collect vintage cookbooks for the social history aspect and some with the purpose of actually cooking the recipes but I've never felt the inclination to try any. Although come to think of it I do like the idea of throwing an authentic vintage cocktail party, but as I'm vegetarian and the Mister is vegan, there's probably not a lot of stuff we could eat :)
Page from Homepride's Weekend Cook Book

Is it just me or was all food prior to the 1980s luridly coloured? Reminds me of that Dylan Moran sketch:

"You know it's a sad day when your child looks at you and asks 'Daddy, are these organic?'"
"Organic? I grew up on Angel Delight. We didn't have anything in the house if it wasn't neon!"
Northanger Abbey and The Mill on the Floss

Northanger Abbey I got because I quite liked the cover. I only gave it a quick glance really and I must admit I had it down as older than it is - I thought 1950s as I've seen similar style books from then but it's actually dated 1984. It's also very pretty under the Dust Jacket too. The Mill on the Floss was just too adorable to leave behind. It's from 1963 I think, but there's a School Library Stamp to the inside front cover dated 1967, so maybe it's from then. It has the kind of thin, tissue-paper-y pages that I associate with bibles and the copy of The Complete Works of Shakespeare my Nan gave me when I was 8 or 9 and our class performed Hamlet (much abridged of course).

Next are My Giant Book of Bedtime Stories from 1984, bought because I liked the illustrations and Rainbow Brite's Treasury from 1986, bought because I'm an eighties kid and Rainbow Brite is cool :) My sister loves Rainbow Brite actually, so I might be nice and give it to her... we'll see.

Rainbow Brite's Treasury and My Giant Book of Bedtime Stories

All Creatures Great and Small Annual 1982 and My Guy Annual 1979

Last up are these two annuals - All Creatures Great and Small was bought only because someone mentioned the show recently - and the My Guy Annual because it was so weird and kitschy and has those photo-stories in. Having read a few pages it's even more god-awful than I expected and is just really, really weird. I can't judge what age it's aimed at either. The problem pages ask about getting pregnant from kissing, a lot of it seems to be about boobs, there's lots of dodgy-sounding stuff about Holiday Romances, quizzes about your relationships or types and the choice of poster boys is really odd too. Also they call Noel Edmonds dishy! I think I'll post some of the pages at a later date so you can see what I mean. There's a bit of a coincidence going on because when I got home I remembered I'd been singing 'My Guy' all morning - even before I went out and I remember thinking it was odd because I'd not heard that song anywhere recently. Odd huh?

I got 4 books for myself too: Angela Carter's Black Venus - I love Angela Carter and I haven't read this - and a couple of new-age books to satisfy my hippyish leanings.

On my way out this morning I noticed that a new bakery had opened up on the main road just by our flat, so I treated myself to a cupcake before heading home, feeling very smug and then having a nice sit down and a cup of tea.

Nikki x

Monday, 14 May 2012

My Vintage Weekend Part 2

On the Sunday I convinced my Dad to take me to one of my favourite Car Boots (normally I'd be going with the Photographer but he's working away at the mo'). We got there for about 8:15 and there were loads more stalls than usual as it was such a lovely day. I love this particular car boot as there's so much variety - you get the House Clearance people, the Antiques Dealers, the Market Traders and the regular Car Booters just clearing out their stuff. The Photographer and I reckon you could fit your whole house out on the cheap if you so wished - there's always lots of furniture and we've even seen a bathroom sink! I've had some really good stuff from there and the best thing is if I can convince Himself to get out of bed that early on a Sunday, we can fit in a visit before I start work in the morning :).
Sweet Little Bird Tapestry - Blue Tits? £1

I didn't get masses - 3 books and a cute little tapestry to add to our gallery of kitsch on our stairs (known as the Salon de Shite).

Paint Book, The Old Woman and Her Pig and The Complete Book of Handicrafts

The vintage Ladybird and the Paint Book are to sell on and the Book of Handicrafts is to replace my own copy which got damaged. I think the paint book is from the 1930s and it's completely untouched.
"Poppies" from the Paint Book

Oh and my Dad bought me a pocket magnifying glass - handy for looking at maker's marks and the like.

After that, we went to my Mum and Dad's house to have some breakfast and after a bit I went up to the Vintage Fashion Fair at the Crowne Plaza in Speke. The hotel itself is a fab Art Deco building that used to be an airport and there's an old plane outside the entrance.

This is my favourite vintage fair as it has such good quality stuff and every era from Victorian to 1990s is covered. Also it had one or two stalls specialising in homeware, which seems to be a rarity in Liverpool, where people seem to focus on the clothes. It was £3 to get in and I wasn't disappointed (although I did note quite a few modern labels such as Monsoon dresses and once even an Atmosphere label!). I came home with two 1950s dresses - one for everyday wear and a beautiful cocktail dress which will be perfect for our friends' wedding and a fab Tina-esque print from the 1960s (I think). I'm sure I would have come home with a lot more had money been no object, but as it was I spent all my budget.

Anyway, here's what I got:
1950s Cocktail Dress - £58 from Vanessa's Vintage
It's so pretty!

This dress is lovely quality and pretty heavy, it's lined with a stiff starchy muslin-y fabric which acts as a kind of petticoat I guess, but doesn't add much volume. There's also some lovely pleating detail to the back which I've not shown. It fits perfectly too. This is the most I've ever spent on a dress, or any clothes really, but it is for A's best friend's wedding, where he will be best man, so I did think it was worth spending a bit more.
1950s Day Dress, £25 from Garbo Antiques
How sweet is the pattern?

I love this dress, it's so cute and is in really good condition - £25 is a bargain! It's a little shorter than my other dresses though as it sits just above the knee. I love the pattern, I think it's quite unusual - definitely a Summer dress I reckon.

Aaaaand finally the print, which is actually called Nina:

Nina by Van der Syde - £25 from Anne Clementson Decorative Arts

 She's a little damaged as you can see, but I'm not bothered, she's still amazing!

Hope you got some great things this weekend too,

Nikki x