Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Outfit: Lindy Bop love - the Ophelia dress

Ok, ok, these are yet more photos that were taken when it was a fair bit warmer. However, this was a wedding guest outfit and weddings can happen anytime, right? Therefore it is totally ok.

If you think you've seen this dress before you're probably right... it's very popular and there's several good reasons for it (and do check it out on the fabulous Nora and Sammi in different colourways too). It's a bargain, great quality, seems to be universally flattering and it presents a first in repro 50s swing-style dresses to my knowledge - a petite version for short-stuff like me! I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this on Lindy Bop's site. Why has no one ever thought that petite ladies like me might want to wear a 50s style dress that doesn't finish at approximately ankle height? That's without getting to the issue of strap length, which is a personal favourite of mine to whinge about and a constant feature of my sewing to-do list. In case you're a newer reader or have stumbled on this post, I'm 5ft2", and go for a trouser length of 29" (I have no idea if that sizing applies beyond UK, apologies!). Most 50s style skirts hit me at mid calf, which added to the fact I'm relatively tiny generally, just swamps me when it's a full skirt.

Not a problem anymore, with a dress that feels like it was literally custom made for me...

Lindy Bop Ophelia dress

Lindy Bop Ophelia dress in turquoise floral
Hair flower: Retro Vixens (cream version)

I find Lindy Bop a bit hit and miss with quality - I've got another dress of theirs to post about in the future and it's nowhere near as nice as this one. But that was a slightly older one in the sale, and this dress is one of their flagship styles and I do think it's really very good value indeed. I feel like I should now buy all of their other petite styles before they change their minds and stop selling them (as so often happens)!

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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Outfit: back to 1955 (with a special guest)

So, by this point I've got a fair few posts in draft and all of them are completely out of order, so now I'm going to take you back to late August when I went to a very special event... 

I wonder if anyone's guessed it? I'm of course talking about when B and I went along to Secret Cinema's recreation of 50s Hill Valley from Back to the Future for a special screening of the film. It was amazing; we ate in the diner, we went to the Enchantment under the Sea dance, we almost got on a ferris wheel before I remembered I'm terrified of heights... Then we almost got on a chair ride, but I decided I was also terrified of their (pitiful) height (have I ever mentioned before I have horrendous vertigo?!)... They don't let you take your fancy modern cameras onto the 'set' so we picked up disposables while we were there... and when I ever get round to developing those I'll share any shots that came out ok (assuming some of them had to!). 

And as I didn't take many 'outfit' types while we were actually there, as I had more important things to do, like watch B be involved in a 20-minute long improv session including sing-a-long with some of the Peabody's Farm actors (hilarious, as it's not like he knew the words OR tune), I made sure I got some snaps before we went. It's a rare occasion where I was trying to look head-to-toe 50s, rather than borrowing elements, but I also wanted to make sure everything I wore I would wear again - I don't believe in wasting money on 'costumes' (rather, I don't have the money to waste on costumes). Nor was it necessary in this case!

Basically, one of my biggest motivators for going along was the opportunity it presented to finally buy a petticoat ;) I also took along a vintage handbag that my mum snapped up at a vintage car show from a little old lady selling off her entire life-long collection. For ridiculously low prices. This bag - £10 - and it was in mint condition right down to the light beige suede lining on the inside. And not a weird smell to be sniffed.

Ribbon: ASOS (out of stock but is just a black ribbon!)
Sunglasses: Collectif @ Aspire Style
Cardigan: Oasis (old)
Top: H&M (similar)
Belt: Marks & Spencer (similar)
Skirt: Hell Bunny @ Rockabilly Pinup
Petticoat (24"): Banned @ Sirens & Starlets
Shoes: Clarks (old)
Handbag: vintage

But wait, I wasn't the only one dressed up! Welcoming to the blog, for his outfit debut, B! So, another aspect of this whole thing was that you get given characters. I was just a high school student, so not a lot of special attire needed there, but someone got cast as a wrangler. Suddenly, I had a diva on my hands who insisted he wouldn't go unless he got to wear dungarees... Fortunately for him, we found some that fitted perfectly from an online vintage shop (a bit of a fluke) - and the whole effect turned out relatively dashing, despite the fact he's basically wearing what I wore when I was about 5 (minus the hat... and the axe).

Shirt: Topman
Dungarees: Rokit
Boots: stolen from his dad
Axe: also stolen from his dad

And in another outfit first for this blog... (slightly sickening) double outfit shots! 

And these made the 3rd and 4th photos of ourselves together ever where one of us wasn't gurning. Which certainly doesn't include the c.15 I didn't use here. (I'm not including the Valencia selfies we painstakingly took here, as remember, that happened after ;) )

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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Outfit: the tropical two-piece and the 'golden hour' (!)

Ok, the consensus seems to be that it's ok if I still post summer outfits while it's cold and rainy outside, so you asked for it... I'll at least get the most summery one out of the way, from my recent trip to Valencia.

But first (or skip this bit if you want to get straight to the outfit shots!), photographers - and bloggers - talk about the 'golden hour' for taking photos - that point when the sun just starts to set and everything is bathed in warm, but less harsh, light. Sounds lovely, doesn't it? But the truth, dear readers, is far from lovely... The truth is:

  1. Running around a busy town in Spain trying to find somewhere among the tall, shadow-casting buildings to find enough light...
  2. ... That also didn't have c.10 curious Spaniards in the background...
  3. ... or giant wheelie bins
  4. ... or really, very, very ugly graffiti that was probably also very offensive (my Spanish doesn't extend much beyond 'hola', so let's just assume it was)
  5. Holding every awkward pose without breathing for several seconds to make sure your poor camera has enough time to suck in as much light as it can and you don't have several limbs in full action blur, despite standing still
  6. Ignoring several amused passers by who stare openly at you while wondering why you're standing on one leg for what seems like a very long time, looking intently at a nearby tree (and it's not like you have the Spanish to explain what you're up to, if they asked)
  7. Racing against the clock as it gets darker with every minute, meaning photos towards the end of the batch feature ever more intently staring - i.e. full on grumpy - facial expressions
  8. Despite all this effort, still getting 'noisy', blurry photos at the end of it.
However, it wasn't actually my choice to take photos at sunset - it was more the result of poor planning as it suddenly became clear as we set out for this shoot we had no idea where a good spot would be. Turned out that place was actually about 30 seconds from the hotel, which was not at all ironic considering we'd walked for half an hour around the city to a place the map had reassured us was 'historic' (we thought that meant 'beautiful' - it did not).

Anyway, despite the slight blur and shadow issues, some of the photos did turn out well enough to share with you the Collectif two-piece I'd been waiting all summer to wear (before giving up and putting it in my suitcase instead). This set is not only very comfy cotton, the straps adjust (and have little bows!), the cups actually fit my bust for once, and the skorts are uber flattering as the skirt part skims over your tummy. The perfect outfit for an evening in the Mediterranean... and stands up wonderfully to pacing it all over a lively Spanish town.

Collectif tropical co-ords

Collectif Kiki Tropical Top

Collectif jungle set
Top: Collectif
Shorts: Collectif
Bag: eBay
Shoes: Swedish Hasbeens (try Soletrader)

Hopefully my efforts were just about worth it!

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Friday, 10 October 2014

Photo diary: Valencia - and a selfie mission

I'm back in the autumnal UK after seven days of amazing summery weather in Spain... I was keeping up with some blogs here and there when I had wi-fi, and it was so weird seeing everyone talking about rain and cold when I was so hot. And now I've now got two more sets of summer outfit photos to share here... to add to the ones I've already got that I still need to post. So maybe by the time it's summer again I'll get round to autumn/winter? Or perhaps I should keep some of them back for next year (thoughts, anyone??)...

Anyway, B and I were determined that this holiday we'd actually take some photos of ourselves - as many trips/outings/events go by where we're snap happy with the scenery, but for all intents and purposes we might as well have not been there and certainly couldn't prove we were! Ironically, considering I write this blog, neither of us really photograph well off the cuff. But if holidays give you one thing, it's time to retake many, many photos... 

So, here's 15 of my favourites, including some selfies, many from Instagram - hence the squareness and filters.


A charming 'immersive zoo' - which essentially means they've recreated habitats for the animals so that none are in metal cages, but are instead more 'naturally' fenced off by boulders etc, as my favourites, the elephants, were. You were even allowed to go into the lemur enclosure. I have quite mixed feelings about zoos and animals in captivity these days (more to come on that in a sec), but this one is as close to what I think is ok as I've seen yet.


And hence my mixed feelings about animals in captivity. I was really excited about visiting this aquarium, as I love huge tanks of tropical fish... but I wasn't prepared for how upset seeing the beluga whales and dolphins in their tanks made me feel. I wouldn't say I know a lot about this, but I just felt like some of these animals weren't happy. It might be the last time I see animals like this in captivity - and my last dolphin show (amazing action picture below taken by B).

Pretty parks

One of my favourite things to do on holiday - and B's too - is to find all the parks and (sun)bathe in their beauty. Fortunately for us, Valencia has an amazing park running through the city which is where the river used to be. It's miles of gorgeous nature and fountains and swingsets (which as I noted on Instagram, was the only way I could get a rather overheated B to quit moaning - worked a treat!)...


Not much to say here or many photos to share, but we did get a couple of days in at nearby beaches. Which involved the most harrowing bus-rides of my life to get there - Valencian buses don't offer much in the way of seats or human dignity. You basically pinball around inside until an old woman virtually mounts you to help themselves exit the vehicle. Fortunately, the beaches were beautiful and worth it.

Valencian beauty

Palaces, traditional dress and beautiful Spanish buildings for these last few photos... the traditional dress came from the last day when we realised we'd stumbled on a regional holiday celebrating Valencia. We first found out about this holiday by the loudest fireworks I've ever heard in my life at midnight the night before. B and I both thought we were going to have to grab our passports and flee to the British Embassy as a war had clearly broken out. Weirdly, they had more of these ear-shattering fireworks in the middle of the day, when it was impossible to actually see them. But there you go... Valencians love noisy fireworks.

As I say, there are more outfit photos to come from this trip... I just haven't decided when yet! If there was one good thing my being a complete spendthrift in the summer achieved, it was making sure I had plenty of choice for clothes this trip.

Hope everyone's been settling into autumn and it's not been such a big shock for you as it has for me standing on a freezing train platform last night!

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Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Checking off my autumn wardrobe essentials...

I agonised for a few minutes too long over what pun to use in my post title... Because this autumn (and probably winter, but I'm not ready to think about that yet!), I've got a bit of a problem with checks. I'm not sure if it's the recent Scottish referendum penetrating every part of my psyche (no really, I thought about it a lot!), or there's some other reason why I've bought enough tartan lately to make 100 kilts... 

Sharing with you three of my patterned purchases so far... said somewhat sheepishly as number 4 isn't present in this post, but very much is in my wardrobe and bank account. I probably don't feel as guilty about this as I should do.

Lindy Bop Meredith check wiggle dress
Dress: Lindy Bop

I make no apologies for this dress as it ticks something else off my autumn wish list too - turtle necks! It was also reduced to half price in Lindy Bop's sale, which is very much worth checking (I can't stop myself, I'm sorry) out. As is their site generally, they have some very nice things right now.

1950s Pendleton 49er style wool jacket
Jacket: vintage (Rokit)

I kind of can't believe my luck with this one. Long-time readers will know I hardly every wear vintage for reasons I've gone into before, but I took a risk with this jacket, ordering it online, as I realised no modern shop was ever going to produce a checked jacket, and suddenly it was all I ever wanted, of course. I think the only reason it hadn't been snapped up was because Rokit had listed it as having a 45" chest incorrectly. The more I looked at its photo, the more convinced I was they'd got it wrong so I emailed them and they confirmed it was actually 38". My bizarrely accurate eye for sizing from online shop catalogue pictures excelled itself (you might say I'd had too much practise - and you'd be right). Now that I've got it, it's actually more 36" which is perfect for me because it means it is still big enough to skim my hips, like it needs to. And the sleeves are absolutely spot on - I NEVER get that with modern clothes, even from so-called Petite ranges. It's one of the many Pendleton 49er copycats that were around and I think it probably does date to the 50s... it's going to be a great part of my casual autumn wardrobe.

Dress: Boohoo

This was another bargain as Boohoo are cheap and cheerful, but I loved that it's a shirt dress with a fairly full skirt. It's a fair amount shorter than your classic 50's shirt-dress, but I actually quite like that about it as it's a bit more me to have a modern spin. I got rid of the nasty, shiny free belt that came with it right away and the one you see above is a much nicer, but also free, belt from another of my dresses! It's the same shape and colour as the one that came with it originally, just won't disintegrate on first wear.

I'm looking forward to styling these on here soon! Which is your favourite - and do make me feel better and tell me if you've been on the buying rampage now that the season's changing? Anyone else got obsessed with something like I have??

Oh and this is the last post before I take a trip to Spain on a holiday I've been waiting all year for - so I'll see you all on the other side when I've regained internet access :) No doubt with a few more summery outfit posts... that I ask you to tolerate and not hate me for! Maybe readers in Australia won't mind... 

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