Life getting in the way a bit

So i’m aware i haven’t blogged for a while but as the title says – Life’s been getting in the way a bit. In a good way though. Since moving house and in the last few weeks, i’ve read more, seen some great movies, discovered some great vintage shops/jumble sales/car boot sales in my new locale and have even picked up a crochet hook again (though less said about that, the better…). My daughter has also started School nursery a couple of afternoons which has given me time to write this.

So – recent media consumed includes:

Films –

The Descendants (Clooney, cried buckets)
Harry Potter and the last whatsit (you know, the last one – was pretty good)
A Dangerous Method (Cronenberg – Jung v Freud – Keira Knightley a revelation; Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen wonderful as always)
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (recent prequel with James Franco, Freida Pinto and John Lithgow as well as rent-a-creature Andy Serkis. Was so much better than i thought it would be. Those Apes were ANGRY)
Disney’s Brave at the cinema with TheYoungLady (twice! – as i said to someone – possibly the first Disney heroine who didn’t make me want to puke. Lots of stuff about changing your fate and i cried at the mom/daughter bit. It was good)
Volcano – (not new i know but have never seen it. Great disaster movie and Tommy Lee Jones – whaddaguy!)

Books

We were the Mulvaneys – Joyce Carol Oates. I found this a struggle as the pace is slow but it was a rewarding read.
The Hunger Games Trilogy – Suzanne Collins. Couldn’t quite believe these were kids books – glad i read them before seeing the film. Wonderful.
The Fifty Shades Trilogy – EL James. Amazingly badly written tripe. (nb – not me being prudish – there were definately some sexy bits but it was so badly written and Grey and Anastasia so unlikeable)
The Ice Princess – Camilla Lackberg. Now, i do normally love Scandi-crime but got a bit bored with this and didn’t finish it.
11.22.63 – Stephen King. Read even less of this. Time portal at the back of a diner where the protagonist can maybe chnge history and stop the assassination of JFK? Nah. Gave up.
Going to attempt some Leo Tolstoy next (War and Peace or Anna Karenina?)
I also quite like this new magazine http://www.thesimplethings.com/ and Mollie Makes Both of which are just too darned cute.

Recent thrift/bargains loot

Am heading to St Ives, Cornwall, UK for a week’s holiday soon where i’ll hopefully return from laden with all manner of artsy, hippy, surfy stuff. Looking forward to visiting Tate St Ives gallery and maybe the Barbara Hepworth museum – loads of small galleries and artists studios to visit too.

Marks & Spencers Retro shopping bag

Whilst in Marks’ today I was at the checkout (purchasing cake for daughter to take to nursery for her birthday, cards, wrapping paper and some Sweet Chilli Noodles for my lunch…) And COULD NOT resist this St Michael (M&S’s old home brand name) Retro shopping bag.
Definitely worth the 75p I paid! Love it (and yes, did make me think Mnnn – haven’t eaten a fig roll for years….)

M&S Retro Shopping bag - fabulous!

M&S Retro Shopping bag – fabulous!

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Gorgeous vintage city ads at Fab UK

These are just ridiculously gorgeous city advert prints at Fab UK resulting from a collaboration between New York gallery Americanflat and Nashville-based Anderson Design Group, “this selection of digitally-produced vintage-style prints showcases the attractions of various world cities in a stylised, advertisement aesthetic”. Too right – add a touch of Mad Men glamour to your walls…

Vintage City Ads at Fab Uk

Ikea – i’m hopeless

There used to be a character in the BBC comedy sketch show “The Fast Show” played by Mark Williams who always made me laugh for probably the wrong reasons. The character’s wife would send him to the shops for milk, bread etc and he would invariably return with completely random items like a bag of coal, a sledgehammer, a birdcage etc – you get the idea. This character made me laugh because i often feel like that’s me when i come back from Ikea (not exclusively but Ikea is the easiest shop i think for this to happen in) – ie: i go for something specific and come back with a bag of random things and more often than not, not including the thing i went out for.

Today i took TheYoungLady to Ikea to pick curtains for her new bedroom (for the impending move). We didn’t find anything suitable but did return with a doormat, a toy mouse and a pair of curtains (ok – they were at least curtains) which will be too long and too thin for our new windows but they were half price and i’m a sucker for a vaguely-1970s vintage-like print. You see? Hopeless….

(ps – no pic of the mouse as we couldn’t find it from about an hour after we got home until just before TYL’s bedtime – its now in bed with her and her Ikea toy rat).

Vintage Cacharel print top for Uniqlo

Received this gorgeous loose t-shirt/top in the post today. Bought for a few pounds off Ebay, its a vintage edition top by Cacharel for Uniqlo. Cacharel was created in Paris in 1958 by Jean Bousquet and was famed for it’s use of print and unique colour combinations. These tops for Uniqlo (other designs are available) were designed by the duo Clements Ribeiro using some of Cacharel’s vintage print patterns from its Spring/Summer 2001 through to S/S 2006.
I normally don’t do print or flowers but couldn’t resist the vintagey feel of this and the birds are super-cute. I also have never really explored Uniqlo’s clothes before but will now (www.uniqlo.com).

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Vintage 1930s and 40s British Seaside and railway travel posters

As all the legal shenanigans involved with selling/buying a house are done and dusted and we are actually moving house in a couple of weeks (eek!) i’ve allowed myself to start thinking about how i want to decorate the new house and reignite my passion for collecting tat (sorry, Vintage). I’ve also started browsing Homes and Interiors magazines – aka Middle Aged Porn – though this was not my fault! Actually the fault of my jobshare colleague who is currently having an extension built onto her kitchen after some months of trying to get the architect and builders to drop their quote by about a third, who this week gave me a ton of Homes mags she’s been ripping random pages out of.

I’ve written before about how much i love a good magazine and Homes and Antiques has managed to turn itself around in recent months (years?) from being quite a fusty and dare-i-say elitist Antiques magazine to embracing Vintage and Collectables and is really now a great read for anyone interested in such things with great listings of Retro/Vintage/Collectable Fairs (though not nearly enough in Scotland!) and some really interesting articles on the history of various aspects of antiques/vintage stuff. This month’s (July 2012) edition covers Vintage travel guides, the Newlyn School of paintings, lots of seaside-inspried home decor and 4 free Vintage British Seaside postcards which are just gorgeous. It also has a ridiculously covetable pink Pashley bicycle on the front cover. I love these bikes.

I’ve always loved this style of poster from 1930s and 40s and have a couple in my home – a huge one of St Ives, Cornwall and one of Ben Lomond, Scotland. A quick web/ebay search brings up a variety of these posters but www.travelpostersonline.com has the most comprehensive collection covering England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and also includes vintage travel posters from Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Poland and Switzerland. The site also collates those posters and designs from this genre’s pre-eminent artists Paul Henry and Norman Wilkinson (whose style i particularly like).

The not-so perfect princess and the dreaded pony

Not, in fact the start of some alt-Disney story that you may be panicking your daughter/niece/annoying children belonging to your friends/annoying mums at work/ annoying blogger talking cack etc are all about to start driving you mad with every finite detail about but in fact just today’s Charity shop loot.

I really should make a page listing with pics all the cool stuff i’ve managed to get either in charity shops, off Ebay, at some slightly manky vintage stall etc. Over the past 20 years or so i’ve picked up some great items including: 3 Tretchikoff Chinese girl pictures (Ebay but went to collect as the seller lived in Chiswick and used to have a shop in Portobello Road – i nearly died in his house – SOO much fabulous stuff); a JH Lynch Tina picture (charity shop), i did have some big-eyed kids but they creeped me out a bit so i sold them; some Troika pottery for my mum (off Ebay a few years ago – i now wouldn’t be able to afford them); a (genuine!) Louis Vuitton speedy bag (charity shop) and matching large purse in another charity shop at the opposite end of the country; a host of 1950s clocks, numerous items of clothing and handbags and recently a cracking crochet granny blanket (charity shop) and was given a wonderful 1950s knitting bag and 80s deco book for Mothers Day and my mum picked me a vintage 1940s/50s crochet hook set from an Antiques fair in Birmingham last week. In addition to the choice pieces, i also have picked up ugly clothes that don’t fit, books i’ve never read and more recently all manner of kids toys and books for TheYoungLady so its not all cool vintage stuff but i still love a rummage and once i’ve moved house (being in this process has curtailed my natural hoarding a bit!) i’ll be ramping it up again with a focus on homewares.

However, in the meantime, i’m going to start noting here what i pick up. Today i was with TheYoungLady and whilst the films of Bambi and Beauty and The Beast would’ve been the real coups of the day they were sadly on VHS not DVD. So we got a book about The Not-So Perfect Princess (who thinks dresses are rubbish for jumping in puddles or climbing trees in – right on!) and a faux My Little Pony with some serious purple dreads.

Betty, Vintage Life, Mollie Makes, Homes&Antiques

I read far too many magazines and am fairly indiscriminate across the glut of womens, health and lifestyle mags. From weekly Grazia and the occasional Heat to Health and Fitness, Zest, Womens Running and Yoga Journal via Elle, Red, Easy Living, Vogue and even Harpers Bazaar. The last three were cheap subscription deals in an attempt to save money and stop buying trashy weeklies and read something a bit more grown up. With Vogue and Harpers certainly, they do have some great essays and i feel like i do learn the odd thing about art or culture in between the millions of pounds of luxury brand advertising holding these magazines together.

The fashion and lifestyle portrayed by these magazines is however so far removed from me though – whilst i love fashion, i’m still sadly largely in mum/comfy jeans and jumpers most days still half-expecting to be covered in wee/poo/yogurt three years on and as £100 is my Ebay limit, i hardly qualify for the jet-set lifestyle required to maintain the image the glossy mags portray, and needless to say i am not quite *ahem* model size – that i have started feeling quite ridiculous for reading them and so have been looking for alternatives which are a bit more realistic, down to earth and more honestly reflecting my interests.

Before Christmas, after reading about Betty on Twitter (i think it may have been Lauren Laverne?) i ordered the Winter edition. A real treat and full of inspiring (and affordable) quirky, vintagey fashion, hair and make-up aswell as interviews with up and coming designers and great cooking recipes (i made the Tomato Chutney from their blog and it was fantastic). You should sign up to receive updates from their blog which are always lovely.

Another very recent discovery is Vintage Life, which does what it says on the tin. More gorgeous Vintage inspired fashion and lifestyle with a focus this month on Mad Men style and dressing for the rain but using vintage-bought pieces as well as affordable high street and reinforcing my love of the Mac, aswell as vintage hair-styling for the rain too. A fascinating piece on Josephine Baker, a great article on perfecting your cupcake icing (which i am Rubbish at) and some excellent event and retail listings. You can pick it up in WH Smith or subscribe.

Over the past year i have been making some (initially abortive) attempts at learning crafts and am currently on the way to finishing my first crochet blanket. So, looking for a bit of inspiration, a glance at the crafty section of WH Smiths generally leaves me feeling overwhelmed and/or old before my time. However, Mollie Makes is a beautiful magazine which includes a free crafty gift (the lst two issues have included a kit to crochet a flower brooch and some very pretty vintagey buttons). Its byline is ‘making, thrifting, collecting, crafting’ and includes inspiring interiors, projects and chats with designers, crafters and folk involved in making/finding beautiful things. The photography is just gorgeous throughout and whilst i haven’t started any of the projects yet, i’ll be keeping all the mags to give them a go in future. The current issue’s projects incude a cool beenie hat, slouchy slipper boots and a granny square cushion.

When at my folks, my mum inevitably has a pile of magazines about fantastic homes in the countryside and/or Cornwall aswell as Antiques. I normally leaf through these fairly quickly but the BBC magazine Homes & Antiques has been focussing more on vintage lifestyle and collectibles and whilst i normally just read my mums copy, i actually bought this months copy myself. Well worth picking up if you are interested in vintage homewares but also some great articles on vintage dress patterns and jewellery.

Burlesque Beauties and 1950s Housewives for your Boudoir

Browsing homewares website Achica i came across these beautiful burlesque, 1950s housewives and 1920s Art Deco glamour -inspired designs by Brighton-based company Dupenny. They produce gorgeous wallpaper, homewares and ceramics aswell as greetings cards and art prints all hand-printed in the UK. Very chic for the bedroom. Aswell as the gorgeous women, i really like the knitwear wallpaper.