It’s only a Gift Guide but I like it…

You cannot bury your head in the sand any longer. Christmas is fast approaching whether you like it or not. And I do like it as it happens. We’re big into Christmas in my family and we all love buying, wrapping and giving gifts.

One of my favourite places to buy gifts in recent years is www.folksy.com. Folksy is a marketplace for handmade things and it’s based in the UK. I love handmade things. I like the originality of having something no one else will have. I like the fact something has been designed and sourced with care and love. I like the fact my money is going to support an independent craftsperson.

With this in mind I’ve compiled a little list of gifts that can be bought from Folksy – a gift guide if you will.

I’d start with these lovely festive hair clips from Butterfly Kisses ( https://folksy.com/items/3881246-Tartan-Reindeer-Hair-Slides ):

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I just love this patterned clutch from Jiggle Ma Wiggle (https://folksy.com/items/6533699-ladies-wallet ):image

I think these simple but perfect pearl earrings would be a stylish accompaniment to many of my outfits. Find them at Deborah Jones Jewellery (https://folksy.com/items/6523959-Pearl-earrings-sterling-silver):

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As far as I’m concerned any item from Amy Laws’ ( www.folksy.com/items/5774021-SALE-Dusty-Pink-Ice-Cream-Dress ) shop would be more than welcome, but right now I’m choosing this gorgeous summery number, to keep me going through the dark months until I can bare my flesh again!

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And, I’m sorry, there’s really no point me pretending to be all sophisticated. What I really want for Christmas is one of these bauble headpieces from Hatastic (https://folksy.com/shops/Hatastic/collections/234712 ) I own several of their pieces already and I bought one of their ‘Hen’ headpiece for my sister to wear on her Hen do. Their stuff is just great: fun, affordable and completely unique!

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Of course these gifts can be for others… Or, you know, why not treat yourself? I might just do that.;-)

It is with a mischievous grin I say:

Its only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Mrs. Miniver but I like it…

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A little while ago I decided I should watch some 1940s films to get a feel for 40s fashions and see if it inspired me. I grew up watching lots of old films and as such, I don’t find them as slow or stilted as I have heard them described by many. Having a look at lists of most popular 40s films I saw the name Mrs Miniver cropping up lots. This brought back memories of watching this one Wintry afternoon as a child. I did watch a lot of war films as a child! My Dad, being a child of the 50s, must have been brought up on them I think, and he shared them with us. I liked  Miniver when I first saw it and I must say, I enjoyed this time around too.

It is not without its twee moments, surely, but I find these endearing. Dr P and I still quote over dramatic moments from Brief Encounter which we watched multiple times last summer preceding a visit to Carnforth Railway station where parts of it were filmed.

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It was nice to see a familiar face in the form of Henry Travers who you may recognise from his role as Clarence, the bumbling guardian angel in It’s a Wonderful Life.

The film centre around The Miniver family. Pre-war, Mrs Miniver has little to think of except flamboyant hats and trips to town, which she recovers from afterwards, lying on her bed with stockinged feet and chatting on the telephone. When the war hits the family is effected in many ways and this is what we focus on. Mrs Miniver’s son sees active service, her husband helps the Home Guard and she herself has a close encounter with a German.

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There’s a lot of jolly-hockey-sticks nonsense but on the whole the films shows the hardship and loss that must have been all so common a tale during the war. I even had a few teary moments, especially the final scene, when the community gather in a bombed out Church to worship together.

I didn’t pick up many fashion tips, but I came away with a bit of a crush on Mrs M. She always knows what to do. And she has a cracking line in hats…

it is with a massive case of hat envy I say:

its only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Pickling but I like it…

This post may divide my readers. Some of you will running for the bathroom giving little dry heaves, some of you will be salivating…

It is strange when you live in another country the foodstuffs from home you miss. Odd things you never ate that often, but knew they were available. Things from childhood that you had forgotten made their way into your lunchbox. Condiments that were the tiny spoonful of deliciousness in an ordinary meal, somehow making it something special.

When living in the Middle East I could get most things I wanted in the large supermarkets there. The things I couldn’t find were Garibaldi biscuits (how can you not love a biscuit named after an Italian General?) and pickled eggs. Garibaldis I used to eat quite a lot in the UK, being low in fat but a surprisingly satisfying partner to a nice cuppa and a sit down. Pickled eggs… I don’t know that I’ve ever eaten them often. I’ve certainly never made my own.

Part of the vintage ethos that I love is making things yourself instead of buying them. In the past I’ve made my own chutney, ketchup and of course, cakes and biscuits. Pickling is new to me.

I had a little google on how to pickle eggs and found this recipe on a Jamie Oliver forum (http://www.jamieoliver.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=75995 ).

Today I hard boiled my eggs, sterilised my jar (10mins in a 140c oven) and chopped up half a scotch bonnet chilli. I popped it all in a jar with some white vinegar and I can’t help but think it resembles a culinary snow globe. Really rather festive wouldn’t you say?

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The proof will be in the tasting, which can only happen in 2 weeks time when the vinegar and chilli have worked their magic on the eggs. This may be the daftest thing I have ever made given that I don’t have a high tolerance of chilli. If all else fails Dr P will eat them… I hope!

It is with bated breath I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only the Festive Season but I like it…

Do you know I am so loving being back in the UK and having seasons? Literally, consciously loving it. And of course, we are fast approaching the party season. That time when there are lots of social events. Well, if I’m honest, I’ll have a couple of things and none of them very big or posh. But still. I’ll have a work do, and, not having worked there very long, I kind of want to make a statement. The work do is a chance (in my mind anyway) to show the side of you that you don’t really show so much at work. I want to be vintage, I want to look nice, I want to be me.

So it was time for a little online shopping. This is my round up of frocks for the party season – hold on to your hats!

For starters, I’d head over to What Katie Did and grab myself some shapewear – probably this underbust corset to give me a nice smooth silhouette. ( http://www.whatkatiedid.com/product/687/vintage-1950%92s-satin-glamour-zip-underbust-girdle)

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Collectif ( www.collectif.co.uk ) has a few treats in store for us, of course:

 Dolores dress polka red new

This Dolores red polka dot wiggle dress is fun and perfect for parties.

 Dolores Doll Cherry Stem Black New

I love, love, love the Dolores Cherry Stem and I could wear a big poofy petticoat too!

As for Lindy Bop (http://www.lindybop.co.uk ), this Grace swing dress in cranberry is so cute with the little bow! It reminds me of a line from Mad Men about a Joan Holloway dress where her bow makes her look ‘like a Christmas gift’. I mean who doesn’t want Joan as their style icon?

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I also adore this Myrtle halterneck – it would seem I’m all about the red this year! The shape of that bust and the button detail is just delish!

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I’m also drawn to this black silk number called Gina. I’ve never a had black dress but this looks so luxuriant – I’m sure I’d feel a million dollars in it…

Lindy Bop Gina

Of course, if I was looking to spend a bit more, I’d love a Vivian Of Holloway (http://www.vivienofholloway.com ) dress and this black satin with purple stars number would be very charming.

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I thought writing this post would help me find a dress, but actually i think it’s made it harder to choose! What would you go for? Or have you spotted some more delights on your travels?

It is with a dress-addled brain I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s Only Workwear but I like it…

*Disclaimer: All images of me were taken by my TA Mo. Mo has many talents. Photography is not one of them.*

Autumn has definitely arrived here in Britain and having spent the last few years in the desert my tolerance to the cold has massively diminished.

This said, I have turned my attentions to how I’m going to stay warm and vintage during the week when I’m at work. I work in a Primary School so I need to look fairly smart, but also be able to take part in practical activities (papier mache, singing assemblies,PE etc).

As mentioned in a previous post I have only one Lindy Bop dress (as of now ;-)) and it’s this teal lovely which is still available on their website( http://www.lindybop.co.uk/swing-jive-dresses-c3/shelley-vintage-1950s-blue-style-peter-pan-collar-rockabilly-swing-jive-dress-p202 ).

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And here’s a dodgy selfie in my dimly lit bedroom. I like to wear it with a black cinch belt and black flats. I’m afraid I don’t wear heels to work – it can be unpleasant enough without the distraction of a burning sensation in the balls of my feet!

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It’s not machine washable but it has survived a hand wash and flat dry. I love the colour and style and the cute spotted scarf detail at the neck. A firm favourite.

This grey Collectif (www.collectif.co.uk ) dress has been mine since my visit to their Brighton store. I feel lovely in it. I do not look very lovely in this photo, but I was in the middle of teaching written multiplication methods… so, I think I can be forgiven!

collectif gray dress

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And finally, another Collectif purchase – their Franky Swing Trousers(https://www.collectif.co.uk/plain-franky-swing-trousers-p-c09110206-c-black.html ). I tried these on in the shop and loved the high waist and how they made me look. Again, these photos don’t really do much for me, but I look less grumpy at least!

Franky Swing Trousers

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These are made of a lovely thick material and are a super wide leg trouser. They have a very high vintage style waist. I’m a bit self conscious in them, worried my tummy shows up too much, but they are so warm and very comfy. I’ve teamed them up with a paperclip print blouse, blue cardi and ankle boots.

So, these are the beauties that will keep me snugly this festive season. They will add a little vintage glamour to my busy days and help me feel like me. They will remind me that there is more to me than just ‘Miss’ who works 10 hour days and ploughs through 60 books at the end of every day…

It is with a weary sigh I say:
It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Lindy Bop but I like it…

Many of my friends are getting cross with me on Facebook. You see I keep posting photo after photo of delicious dresses. No, it’s not a vintage malady but the fault of Lindy Bop (www.lindybop.co.uk) who have been giving away a dress a day on Facebook for a Few weeks now. To be in the running to win it all you have to do is ‘like’ and ‘share’ the image.

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I do try not to ‘share’ too many things of personal interest on Facebook but these dresses are just too hard to resist! The thought of winning one.. Well, it fair sets my heart a-racing!

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I’ve had several friends comment on the dresses and how nice they are. My fried Rona said she was checking out the website as soon as she was back from holiday!

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The range of dresses is certainly impressive – everyday wear, work wear and super glam party dresses. I’m impressed with the prices too, most of the range comes in at around the £30 mark! Definitely affordable…

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I only own one Lindy Bop dress as of now – this teal beauty (I LOVE teal) which I wear to work. It’s a fab fit and teamed with a black cinch belt looks smart and vintage. Massive win!

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I may have subtly pointed the Dr in the direction of the website, and he made some purchases for Christmas. So, even if I don’t win a dress on Facebook, I’ll be a winner come Christmas Day!

It is with the hope of a winning streak I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Mason Cash but I like it…

I’m a huge fan of vintage kitchenware as I’ve discussed here before. There are many items that I remember being stalwarts of my Mum, my Gran and other relative’s kitchen cupboards but none more consistently than the Mason Cash cane mixing bowl.

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It’s a basic but beautiful design – heavy based, chip resistant and well, quite frankly almost indestructible. My Mum has had hers for years and I’m sure I sent it spinning to the tiled kitchen floor on a couple of occasions when I was little and we were baking, but it’s still going strong.

I own one myself – of course – and have been very happy with it, so imagine my delight during my romp through Brighton’s North Laines the other day, to find this beauty in a home store.

hedgehog

What a beautiful updating of their iconic design! It has all the features that make the original mixing bowl so functional but with the addition of these folk tale themed creatures. It initially caught my eye because Dr P’s Mum loves hedgehogs – she bakes scones for the ones that visit her garden. I know. Scones. What can I say – she’s a generous lady!

 Anyway, on glancing at the bowl’s bottom (how rude!) I saw the immortal words Mason Cash and I was smitten.

I’ve since looked up the range – it’s called ‘In the Forest’ and you can find it here: http://www.masoncash.co.uk/Product/Products/InTheForestMixingBowls#.VFUxHFbRo1g.

I’ll admit to ordering one as a future present for Barbara (Dr P’s Mum) and I may have ordered another for myself – just to check the quality, you know… I go to great lengths for my blog, I’ll have you know!

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I’ve already used my hedgehog bowl to make an apple crumble that we ate on Halloween. It was rather delicious, if I do say so myself…

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However it seems almost cruel to separate Mr Hedgehog from his fox, owl and rabbit friends. Should I get the whole set? They’d look so lovely on the floating shelves I’m having in my imaginary kitchen in my imaginary house…

Anyway, check out this range and several others on the Mason Cash website (www.masoncash.co.uk) (the Zest range is delicious!). I guarantee you’ll love the way they have updated and played with their classic designs. And I guarantee you’ll fall in love and buy something.

It is with a forest-themed longing I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Collectif but I like it…

You may be noticing a recurring theme here – Collectif (www.collectif.co.uk)!

I just can’t help myself and what with it being half term, I took little jaunt into Brighton. I, of course, chose the rainiest day this week for my excursion. I scurried off the train and down into the North Laines, quickly ensconcing myself in Waikika Moo Kau to share a delicious Vegetarian Mezze with one of my oldest and bestest friends. We then had a wander and inevitably ended up in the lovely Collectif store. I tried on some wide leg trousers and tried to determine if I liked them, if they suited me and if I could wear them to work. More on that to follow!

Today I’m sharing a bargainous find! I had a good root through the sale stock up on the mezzanine (I’ve been lucky there before!) and found this beauty:

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I found it, I stroked it, my friend said it was flattering, and the fact that it was almost 50% off was a clincher!

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I wasn’t wearing vintage clothes for these snaps I’ll be honest – but I do think the teaming of my Tatty Devine (www.tattydevine.com)initial necklace and the coat is a winner. I’m also lucky enough to live a 2 minute walk from this yacht festooned harbour! I told the Dr I’d pick one out and he could pop it in my stocking. He seemed unconvinced…

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Being a shop soiled item, it had lost it’s belt, so I bought 2m of ribbon this morning for the princely sum of 90p. I’m not sure the colour works as well as I’d like, but at that cost I can try every colour in the spectrum til I’m happy!

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All in all, I’m happy with my purchase and I’ll think my new coat and I will be very happy together this winter!

It is with a flick of ribbon I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only Twitter but I like it…

I have been neglecting you I know, but my job is killing me – just a 12 hour day today!

Tonight all I’ve had the energy for is a little Twittering. I’ve been using Twitter for years in another guise but I decided to start this account to compliment my blog. Thought it might be a nice way to contact and share my posts with people. Anyway, please have a look and add me if you’re in the Twittersphere!

https://mobile.twitter.com/Itsonlyvintage

I’ll be back with some vintagey goodness soon, I promise!

It is with a Tweet I say:
It’s only Vintage but I like it…

It’s only a Pin-up but I like it…

After a little hiatus (I’ve been feeling a bit delicate, but all better now) I’m back and I want to share with you one of my heroines: Bettie Page.

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Bettie is a pin up from the 1950s who I’d be surprised if you didn’t recognise. She was a secretary by trade but did a bit of modelling at weekends to top up her income. She did a number of different things: modelled for photography clubs, for cult photographer Bunny Yeager and perhaps infamously, posed for some fetish photos too. The later part of Bettie’s life, post modelling, is a little messy and sad in places and not something I’ll dwell on here.

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My Bettie obsession reached a peak over the summer and I watched several films about her. The first was a documentary called ‘Bettie Page Reveals All’. This was for the most part quite disappointing. It was mostly images of Bettie interspersed with interviews with people who knew her. The background music was quite intrusive and really detracted from the whole thing. The Dr and I endured it and it does give you some insights into her life, many of them from Bettie herself.

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I also watched The Notorious Bettie Page which was a more entertaining watch, being a feature film rather than a documentary. Sources say Bettie herself didn’t like the film and said it was not an accurate portrayal of her, but hey, that’s a story as old as the hills!

So, why is Bettie one of my heroines? I’m a feminist, I’m a woman, I adore vintage. Why am I choosing a pin up girl to idolise?

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Largely I think she was just very good at what she did. She was very natural, she looked like she was having fun, and according to the people who took her photos she did love posing and having her photo taken. She was very comfortable with her body, happy to be nude and fearless in the pursuit of a good shot – even getting up close and personal with these leopards when Bunny asked her to!

She made a lot of her own swimsuits, bikinis etc. When you look at them in the light of what might have been considered decent in the 1950s you can see that they are somewhat skimpy! Bettie wasn’t afraid to challenge what was considered acceptable.

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She does what she does very naturally. I am with Caitlin Moran on the issue of nudity – if it genuinely empowers a woman to pose nude then why shouldn’t she. Bettie had an enviable figure and wasn’t afraid of it or what it could do for her. I think she looks amazing and I’d definitely aspire to a figure like that. She has great legs, an ample bosom and that high waist – I’d remove ribs to achieve it ( probably the only way I would ever achieve it)!

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All in all, I’m in awe of Bettie’s figure and her natural playfulness in front of the camera. In a world where we are bombarded with images of either physically altered models or digitally altered images I like the fact Bettie did what she did and enjoyed it. She was comfortable and natural and I think it is nor surprise that some of her most celebrated images are taken by (female) photographer Bunny Yeager.

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It is with a saucy wink I say:
It’s only vintage but I like it!