It’s only (Faux) Fur but I like it…

I have a dream. I am dreaming of a winter outfit that I can wear to my Mum’s wedding on the 27th December. I have bought the dress – a delicious offering from Collectif that I feel a million dollars in. I am gutted I can’t show you, but I really want it to be a surprise on the day. The wedding is in Wales and the service is taking place in a tiny stone Church which is just a few doors down from my Mum’s house. Which is the house she grew up in and the house I knew as my Grandparent’s home.

I have a dream of a fur stole. Not a fur coat, just a stole or cape. A sliver of softness and warmth around my shoulders.

So I began my search. I tried the high street, and there are quite a few options but I didn’t feel the styling went with my vintage inspired dress. So I tried eBay. And I revelled in a host of beautiful options, lovely shapes, patterns and shades. But there was one big snag. Most of the vintage furs were real fur. So I searched for the faux furs and they just weren’t as nice. I had a long debate with Dr P and we decided it wasn’t ethical to wear real fur. I became despondent. Where was I going to find this item?

Now a little while ago I saw advertised in Southampton some Drive-in Movies organised by the people from Yellow Vintage Fairs. I squealed, messaged my sister, Mrs JMP(http://mrsjmp.wordpress.com ) and soon we were the proud owners of tickets to see Elf in December. These tickets came with entry to their vintage fair on November 30th too.

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As it happened, my Mum and two of her friends were visiting that weekend so we resolved to take them along.

A chilly Sunday dawned and all my plans to dress up 40s style melted into Just. Wanting. To. Be. Warm. I put on a thick pair of jeans, long sleeved top, thick cardi, coat and scarf. A decision I didn’t regret for a minute.

The event didn’t disappoint. I began my quest for fur as soon as I arrived and there were lots to choose from. Mrs JMP and I even found this little fella – head, legs and claws still attached!

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If I needed any more confirmation – which I didn’t – I could not wear real fur. Ever.

My Mum and I found these fetching numbers. I’m a fan of the turban and I think I can definitely pull it off! My Mum said she had a hat like this in white that she wore to a wedding in the 60s. Amazing!

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We took a much needed break for tea and cake and Mrs JMP and I did some skiing in front of the backdrop.

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Having chatted, discussed and reminisced (“Gran had that china!” “I had one of those when I was a little girl!”) we all headed back into the fray, to the sweet strains of the lovely ladies singing Andrews sisters classics, and made our purchases. I found and bought a lovely faux fur cape and a vintage handbag too. Both are perfect… But I can’t show you. It’s seriously killing me! I tried the whole outfit on just now and it’s everything I wanted it to be. Can’t wait to wear it.

So I have been on a journey. A journey of fashion. A journey of self discovery. A journey of ethics. A journey of finding new weasely friends. And it was a joy my friends!

It is with a love of animals I say:
It’s only vintage but I like it!

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It’s only Chutney but I like it…

I’m back, I’m still preserving and this time it’s personal!

i have briefly, mentioned my love of preserves and it’s ability to brighten up my vegetarian sandwiches. I love the tangy, aromatic sludge and it’s contrast with the creamy, crumbly cheddar that is still my ‘go to’ cheese despite having tried many varieties.

I started making my own chutney a long time ago now and was impressed by how easy, how cheap and how consistent it was. I have had many culinary disasters in my time but never in the chutney arena.

One of my favourites is onion chutney – a great balance of sweet and sour, rich and glossy, it’s a real palate pleaser.

I used this recipe with a few adaptations when I made some chutney recently http://realfood.tesco.com/recipes/caramelised-onion-chutney.html .

I’m not supposed to have tasted it yet, but I couldn’t wait – it’s delicious!
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I’ve a craving for some spiced apple chutney – another favourite! So that may be my next project. Until then…

It is with a watering mouth I say:
It’s only Vintage but I like it!

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 http://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’ ( http://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.

VoH purple stars

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!