Thursday, 3 December 2015

Vintage coat (I think).


I have often dreamed of finding beautiful vintage clothing in the charity shops. I love clothes from the 30s, 40s and 50s. I was less keen on 60s and 70s fashions (having worn them first time around) but since reading fashion blogs and following some amazing bloggers, I have become more open minded regarding these decades. So, now I keep an eye open for vintage clothes whereas I never did before. I've never found anything from the 30s,  40s or 50s but I think I might have found a vintage velvet coat from the 70s. I bought this more than a year ago in a charity shop for £12.00, before I had read any fashion/style blogs and had not worn it until last Sunday night. 






This is me today wearing the coat with boots, I wore heels on Sunday night!
Last Sunday evening we went out for a birthday meal with my youngest and middle brothers; youngest brother was 58. We were going on from the meal to watch our oldest brother perform at the Derngate in Northampton. He plays with a band called Steeleye Span. You can see where they are touring in the UK here. After the performance - which was brilliant - we went backstage where my oldest brother admired my coat and asked me if it was vintage. I had to confess I didn't know and when I got home I looked at the labels.



The labels weren't in the usual place i.e. in the neck but on the left and the right at roughly at chest level. They don't look like modern clothes labels and the washing/dry cleaning instructions were sewn in along the  inside hem and did not use the symbols usually seen on wash/care labels, but had written instructions.

I went on the Vintage Fashion Guild website and found their label resource but no Bartson's or Tassa'nova. The words 'doublelure' are French for lining, as is 'futter' (German) and 'voering' (Dutch). Polyester was a material that became commercially available in the UK from 1955 and is referring to the lining. I looked up Diolen and found this on the VFG:  Diolen is a polyester based fibre, along similar lines to Kevlar which although not quite as strong in tensile strength as Kevlar, reasonably close in performance and considerably cheaper.  I'm not sure if Diolen is referring to the external material (which is like velvet) or the lining!

I googled Bartson's and came up with items for sale on ebay. One was a man's trench coat and another was a woman's raincoat but the label said something else. I found another woman's raincoat with the make Barston's, but no label was shown in the photo and it looked like a more recent coat. There is currently a company called Bartson's in Antwerp who make men and boys clothes but my coat is clearly a woman's coat. I then found a US trademark website which said that Bartson's was a US Federal Trademark registered in Antwerp in 1968 which expired in 2001. I found a Bartson Fabrics (note not Bartson's) which was established in 1917 in the US and from the 1940s imported and distributed fabrics to Europe and Asia.

My coat is a swing style coat which was fashionable in the 1960s (only we called them duster coats and they often had a matching dress) and in the 70s - I had a one when I was pregnant with my first child, so one could infer from the style and the sleeves (bell like), label etc that it is a coat from the 1970s and therefore vintage!!





What do you think? Any words of wisdom Vix, Curtise? Have I finally found and bought a vintage item?









Monday, 30 November 2015

Red and Turquoise!


Saturday was grey, damp. miserable and very cold. So, I decided to wear bright colours to dispel the wintry gloom. Red and turquoise are a lovely combination and the colours make me feel happy. Here I am wearing my red and turquoise Missoni type cardigan I got last week for £2.00 in a local Christian charity shop. My skinny jeans are from Primarni; the red camisole is from a charity shop, the red cross over top is from La Redoute in their sale earlier this year, red boots on line retailer, watch,  turquoise
necklace and bangle (which you can't see in this picture) all from charity shops.




These are the earrings I treated my self to when we went to Bath for my 50th birthday. I can't believe that was almost 12 years ago. I love this necklace - I think I paid 99p for it last year.

Don't look too closely - I've got lipstick on my teeth!
You can see the bangle in this one.

We went for a rummage around the charity shops in Wellingborough today and had a great time although it was icily cold. We visited 9 in total. I bought a red pair of, what I call, brothel creepers (the Americans call them beetle crushers - which is more polite!), these ones don't have such a thick sole as my black pair but they are such comfortable shoes. I've always wanted a pair  of brothel creepers and now I have two! These red ones cost £4.00 in an independent charity shop.


I bought this plate, cup and saucer for £1.00 in there too and these 2 sundae dishes/glasses in Extra Care for 79p each. One for each grandson - the two younger ones (10 and 5) have their own mugs and plates and now they'll have their own juice glass too!


I bough:t 3 tops (I long sleeved with black and white spots; I navy long sleeved top with puffed shoulders. and a blue short sleeved one with a design on the front) for a £1.00 each in Scope -  and a black maxi skirt for £1.00 as well.  I stuck to my £1.00 rule here but they weren't on the £1.00 rail but marked down for 'Black Friday'.  I bought 4 coffee glasses for my daughter in law for 1.99 and a pair of teal coloured tights for 99p in Extra Care. I also bought a book (a novel) but no wool!  I seem to keep buying books by authors with surnames starting with H and my H shelf is overflowing. Yes, I am so anally retentive I store my books, well the fiction, alphabetically!

My OH bought a jumper, a pair of work trousers, several books, a pair of gaiters (to protect trousers when walking) and a very useful packet of plastic bag clips. We did very well and treated ourselves to tea and cake - it also helped warm us up. Next time we might try Huntingdon (John Major's old constituency) - we haven't been there for years.

I'm going to head out now to link with Patti's Visible Monday at 'Not Dead Yet Style' here It's my first time and I'm feeling a little nervous....wish me luck!

Friday, 27 November 2015

Afterthoughts

Here I am trying to work out how to take a full length photo of myself. I know you need to focus the camera on the mirror but how do you hide yourself holding the camera? I know a lot of the professional bloggers use a tripod and a timer and some have people to photograph them. I have my other half and occasionally my older grandson or even my daughter in law but mostly it's down to me.....maybe I need a selfie stick? Who knows? I don't mind technology - it just takes me a while to catch up with it!

I took this photo yesterday evening having been to the hairdressers and got my eyebrows done. Everything I'm wearing is charity shopped (or as the Americans say 'thrifted'). The dress, the waistcoat, the earrings and my Zara leather boots, £12.00 in the Red Cross shop. I can't remember which charity shops I bought the dress and waistcoat in which is worrying as it was only about 6 weeks ago.....The heart pendant I bought from the summer Dorothy Perkins sale for 99p. It was in Bloomsbury in London and I'd gone to visit the Persephone Book shop in  Lamb's Conduit Street and visit my oldest brother. If you don't know about Persephone books they are amazing - here is their explanation of what they do:

 "Persephone Books reprints neglected fiction and non-fiction by mid-twentieth century (mostly) women writers. All of our 115 books are intelligent, thought-provoking and beautifully written and are chosen to appeal to busy people wanting titles that are neither too literary nor too commercial." 

I have a small collection:




Don't be deceived by the simple covers, they have the most beautiful endpapers and matching book marks; my two favourite authors published by Persephone so far are Dorothy Whipple and Monica Dickens.



I've put a few more on my Christmas wish list year and hope to swell my collection.....

I also collect the original green Virago books:



I do read them as well!  I started my collection back in the early 90s when I did an MA in Women's Studies and I am always on the lookout for them in the charity shops.

 Off on a major rummage tomorrow with my OH; I'm really looking forward to it but the weather is looking lousy. Oh well at least it's not going to snow!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Wednesday walking

I belong to the Ramblers UK. It's a national walking organisation and I walk with 2 of our local groups - Ivel Valley Walkers and sometimes I walk with the North Beds Ramblers who walk on Saturdays. If you're not familiar with the Ramblers you can find out more about them here Ramblers UK and find your local group. Once you join you can walk with any group. For example,  if I went to stay with my best friend in Devon and wanted to go walking I could link up with a local Ramblers group and walk with them. It's proper walking; waterproof gear, walking boots, maps and rucksacks. Everyone is very friendly and there's nothing nicer than getting out in the fresh air and seeing some of our lovely countryside. I highly recommend it.

I try to walk twice a week, usually on Wednesdays when the walks tend to be between 6 - 8 miles; sometimes on Thursdays when its called an 'amble' and is about 4.5 to 6 miles; or sometimes on Fridays which are bus walks and can be between 6 - 8 miles. The walks cover quite a wide area and if they're further than 20 miles away I don't usually go.  I do go out walking by myself and having recently completed a map reading course I like to take the map and find a route. Last Wednesday, I walked by myself for almost 4 hours; I didn't turn my walking app on (grrr!) but reckoned I did about 8 miles in total. My body certainly felt it as if it had.

Today's walk was 32 miles away so I didn't go.  However, I did go into town and looked at 2 charity shops amongst doing other things and walked almost 5 miles in total! I am going on the bus walk this Friday and my OH and I are going rummaging in Wellingborough on Saturday and will probably get a few miles in.

I'm afraid I did it again on my trip to town and bought more clothes...a Debenham's label  jacket for walking  for £2.00; a Missoni type long cardigan for £2.00, a knee length black velvet dress for £8.00 (I'm going to wear it on Christmas day), a brooch for £1.00, 3 books for £1.30 and a big pile of wool for £3.70. I've got to stop with the wool; I've run out of space to store it! I'll post pictures of the cardigan and dress when I wear them.

Today I was in neutrals mode; I wore brown leggings ( from M&S - retirement gift voucher), brown and grey tunic (charity shop), grey lightweight jacket (US on line retailer Sheinside), brownish animal print scarf (charity shop) and brown earrings (charity shop). I wore my long brown boots (Sainsburys) and also tried the outfit on with brown suede ankle boots (Christmas present from my OH) but the heel was too high for trekking around town for hours.


Long brown boots


With short brown boots
Do you like my curtains? They're from Laura Ashley and retail for £110.00 - I bought them in my local Marie Curie shop for £20.00........


I'm off to the hairdressers tomorrow - can't wait!

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Thursday's finds

I went to a small town called Ampthill on Thursday to check out the charity shops. There used to be only 3 but I was delighted to see another one has opened since I last visited. I often get in the car and visit a nearby town to trawl the charity shops and usually visit places  within a radius of 20 miles. If we ever visit any other places farther away we always try and trawl the charity shops - luckily my OH loves charity shops too!

What did I get?



A brand new cashmere jumper from Tesco originally priced at 35.00 but priced at 6.99 in Age Concern (I rarely pay this much for charity shop finds but it is cashmere).



Three items for a £1.00, a multicoloured bracelet, silver brooch and another useful plastic container in the RSPCA shop. I haven;t bothered to take a photo of it because frankly it's boring!

A ball of wool for 50p from Mercy in Action - I always look for wool in charity shops. It's often quite cheap and have you seen the price of wool lately? When I took up crocheting again after a break of 35 years, I couldn't believe it! Again I haven't bothered with a photograph - you know what a ball of wool look likes don't you? I do have an addiction to wool and it's partly the reason why I keep crocheting throws - to get rid of the wool! Then I buy more and have to crochet a throw and on it goes. I will do a post at some point about my wool stash and show how it is taking over my study......




Three books for a £1.00 in the RSPCA,  you could get up to 8 but I only chose 3; one on London in WW2, a novel and one on allotments - we're just about to get an allotment, more on that later! I have, and always have had, an addiction to books. I love the look, feel and smell of them and love to be surrounded by books. I have books in every room of my house, except the bathroom. One day when I am old and immobile, I won't have to worry about not having anything to read; I've got my own ready made library at home.



An M&S asymmetric tunic 3.99  from Dr. Barnardo's - I'll wear it with a long sleeved top underneath or it could be worn with a long cardigan, I'll wear it over jeans or leggings.





2 berets from the same shop £.199 each - we're in for a cold winter this year so I'm getting prepared!


You can see that I've already broken my vow not to buy any more clothes........

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Earrings!

Earrings - don't you just love them? I think they can make an outfit.

I didn't get my ears pierced until I was 16 - my mum wouldn't let me! Once I did, I began a love affair with earrings that continues to this day. I have hundreds of earrings ( about 400 and counting) and some of them are more than 25 years old. I display most of them on this metal grid and I sort them into colours so I can find what I'm looking for. I like dangly earrings best and source them from charity shops. car boot sales, chain stores, market stalls, e bay and some are gifts. Whenever I visit somewhere new I try to buy a pair of earrings as a memento.



I bought myself this in the sale at Debenham's in January (£5.00) and I display my most dressiest earrings here. I love the little blue birds on the tree. I have a few dressy earrings that have post backs and they live in this silver box I found at a car boot sale.





I also have dangly earrings that have post backs and are difficult to display, so they live in this box (a Secret Santa gift from my working days). I also store my real silver earrings in a different compartment in the same box. As an extra precaution against tarnishing I keep the individual pairs in mini plastic bags. I hate cleaning silver, so this minimises the need for it.




Finally, stud earrings with post backs are stored on this clever contraption but I'm running out of space...luckily I don't wear studs very often!



Every so often I have a cull and get rid of some earrings which frees up space to buy more! Below are some of my favourite earrings and why......

A present from my brother who brought them back from Spain

99p from E bay!

Charity shop recent purchase

Christmas present from my partner some years ago


Another charity shop find but lost one

Present from Grandson from Lanzarotte
Present from best friend over 25 years ago
Present from my daughter 
Bought these in Bath where we had gone for the weekend of my 50th birthday. They were £30.00 but I had birthday money to spend!










Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Going grey

Going grey seems to be a big decision for older women. My mum died at 76 and was still dyeing her hair up to a couple of months before. In a society where youth is worshipped, the spoken and unspoken advice to try and look as young as you can for as long as you can, places a lot of pressure on women. Judith of Style Crone here  has decided to let her hair go grey; she's in her 70s and found it a difficult decision to take.



I never really thought about grey hair much, until recently. I started dyeing my hair myself in my 40s, mainly to enhance my natural medium brown hair, then to cover some of the grey. I began to get it professionally coloured once a month in my 50s. I remember asking my hairdresser about letting it go grey and she said it was a horrible (her words!) grey at the back and that it takes about 10 years for hair to go white. That put me off, I can tell you.  A couple of years later I decided to bite the bullet and go grey because I was sick of worrying about grey roots coming through and sick of paying for having it coloured. I also began to see more and more pictures of older women with grey hair looking fabulous; Emmy-Lou Harris and Jamie Lee Curtis being two wonderful examples. I remember telling someone (a man) I was letting my hair go grey and he said "What do you want to that for?" As if it was a really silly decision...I'm happy to say he's changed his tune now and no, it wasn't my OH!



It's been the best decision, hair wise, I've made in a long time. It was last coloured in December 2014 and it has now been almost 11 months. It's a nice sort of silvery grey at the front and the back is darker. I've worn my hair short since 2009, and, as I have Alopecia Areata I'll be keeping it short.  Luckily, I have pretty thick hair, so the bald spots are relatively hidden.  I wash and condition it using shampoo and conditioner for grey hair, and get it cut every month. When I wash it, I use a styling smoothing product (it's curly hair with a tendency to frizz) and when it's dry I use Moroccan Argan oil; just two or three drops, and massage it through. This gives a nice shine. I've used the Argan oil for a few years now (tip from same hairdresser who is actually pretty fabulous); I used to buy it on line for about £4.00 but then I saw it in Savers - the very same oil - for 99p! Guess where I buy it now? The instructions on the bottle say to apply it to towel dried hair but I put it on dry hair, I'm nothing if not a rebel! I nearly always wear make up and in particular I wear red lipstick which goes fabulously with grey hair and helps inject a burst of colour into my face because going grey can sap your skin tone, apparently.

If I ever had any doubts about going grey, I no longer do. I have had so many compliments on it often from complete strangers that I bump into in the street or shops or the bank or the charity shops. At a family party in Ireland in the summer a woman, I had never met before, stood beside me at the bar taking photos of my hair on her phone to show her hairdresser! Despite all the compliments, I would still have maintained my grey hair even if I didn't get one compliment because if there's one thing I can't be bothered with as I get older is colouring my hair!

Have you gone grey yet? Do you think you will? Or are you dyeing until you die? Do let me know, I'd be so interested to hear your views.