Happy Jubilee

Yup, here in the UK we’re enjoying the second of our two public holidays, celebrating our wonderful Queenie’s jubilee! I am a royalist through and through, loving the royal family, the heritage they provide and the tether they give us to our fantastic and varied history. So inevitably I got right into the jubilee spirit, and booked a table at the Jubilee Vintage and Handmade Fair in Birmingham city centre alongside the lovely Charlie of Charlie Button Knit Kits.

Sunday’s outfit: dress & belt: charity shops;
cardi: Monsoon; shoes via ebay

Unfortunately, Sunday was dreich! I have never seen Birmingham quite so deserted…

Even the floozy in the jacuzzi looked stroppy! The highlight of my day was running into a familar face in the shape of the lovely Louise & Peter, on their Bebopaloulou Vintage stand.

And bringing Charlie home to one of Dapper’s famous cottage pies!!

Monday was much brighter – so much so that my Mum, who stopped in for the day, was able to take some proper outfit shots on the streets of Brum:

Victoria Sqaure was looking much livelier:

As were the decorations!

Even the floozy looked far happier!

And guess who won a HUGE box of chocolates for her Jubilee inspired outfits?

You can see a round-up of the fair and some more photos over on Down the Garden Path. But do leave m a comment and tell me, how did you utilise your free days off?

Easy entertaining…

Dress: M&S via charity shop; cardi: Dorothy Perkins; hold-ups: Charnos; headband: Claire’s Accesories; belt: charity shop; shoes: M&S

This last week has mostly been about entertaining folks we’ve barely had the time to see since Christmas, and getting over an inevitable bout of holidayitis. For this reason, combined with recent weather conditions, we have managed to complete exactly none of the trips we had planned for the break. We have climbed no mountains, visited no historical high streets, enjoyed no extended country walks… In some ways, a disappointment, although more, I think, for you guys than for Dapper and myself!

But I’m happy to say that every hosting occasion has been an absolute delight. I’m so pleased we managed to squeeze so many people in, despite both feeling pretty darned shoddy for a lot of the week. And Dapper cooked his famous stuffed marrow on more than one occasion, neatly splitting the cooking duties in two and therefore halving my workload – a definite bonus!

I have also taken advantage of the moments between guests, rain showers and coughing fits to really get the herb and vegetable garden going. We have a lovely little suntrap right outside the bedroom door, ideal for pot plants and hanging baskets.

Headscarf: was my Gran’s; navy dress & lambswool jumper: charity shop

I began growing various fruit, veg and herbs from seed last month, and have now transferred seedlings to the great outdoors to see how they fare. Fingers crossed they do well, and we’ll have a variety of fresh herbs, spinach, radishes, beetroot, strawberries, tomatoes, rocket, shallots, etc etc in the months to come!

Meanwhile, maybe next holiday we’ll manage that munro…

Vintage hotspot: The Wear House

We stumbled across The Wear House in Ludlow quite accidentally, and lost three hours inside. It was like falling down the rabbit hole into Wonderland, with three floors of vintage, antique and independently designed goods ready for the perusing.

There is so much choice, a good balance of vintage and antique, clothing, bric-a-brac and interiors, and ladies and gentleman’s fashions. It’s not over-priced, as is often the case – for example, I tried on a gorgeous 50s lime chiffon dress, full-skirted and off the shoulder, in perfect condition for £55. Cheap at the price for something unique that has lasted so well for so long, and half the price of many cotton vintage repro dresses in the high street just now.

Thankfully, after all that browsing, the back-room and garden take their turn as a delightful tea-room, with generous pots of tea (-for-two: £2.50), delicious homemade cake, and if you’re really lucky, one of the regulars, John, to offer advice for the discerning gentleman on where best to make necessary clothing purchases. You know – panama hats, summer weight linen suits and the like…

A jolly fine way to spend a Saturday!

Wishlist: Dolores

Dolores floral sleeved dress, £89 from Lady Jojo’s boutique

Perhaps it is the cool summer we’ve been “enjoying” this year that has turned my thoughts to longer sleeves, but I think this dress is utterly beautiful! A lovely spring/summer fabric, but alleviating the need for a cardi – particularly in air conditioned offices. And the collar detail is just adorable!

I’ve been saving my pennies for my summer hols, which will doubtless include a trip to the ‘burgh and into Lady Jojo’s boutique. If she’s in stock, I may just have to try…

Filmspiration: North by Northwest

On Sunday afternoon, Dapper and I curled up under blankets on the sofa to watch the Hitchcock classic, North by Northwest. There’s no denying that Eva Marie Saint is a beauty, but some of her clothes in this film are simply divine. Take this dress as the most obvious – and stunning – example:

Betty Draper, eat your heart out!

Whilst this is certainly my favourite of her dresses, she actually sports some delightful costumes throughout:

“Don’t shoot!” Note the little boy in the background covering his ears in anticipation.

A simple but elegant day dress

Eve Kendall would almost certainly never leave the house without her hat and gloves – indeed, in the film’s climactic scene, even having kicked off her shoes, she still clings to the cliff edge in her wrist gloves:

We’ve discussed before the etiquette of dressing to show respect for those around you, of taking pride in your appearance as an extension of respecting yourself, and it occurs to me more and more frequently that, for all our girl-power feminism, we’ve lost the strength, poise and self-respect that women of this era were brought up to embody. And with them, so many beautiful but subtle rites of flirtation.

I have also begun to notice certain little gestures made by the gentlemen in movies such as this: the hand to the centre back to ensure a lady passes first, a subtle open-armed sweep to bring his lady escort into a conversation, or a hand taken to lead her forward to introduce someone. I have begun to notice them for the simple reason that they are the kinds of gestures Dapper adopts, and to which I am learning to adapt: because if you aren’t used to having chairs pulled, coats proffered and car doors opened for you, you all to often find yourself directly in the way!

That 50s look

Not long ago I mentioned that I would be working the 50s look for weddings this summer. So when I saw this dress on the Monsoon website I just had to point you towards it! It would look party-tastic with silver platforms , festival funky with gladiator sandals and a slouchy cardigan , and christening appropriate with strappy pink, mint, coral or lilac shoes. At £48 I think that makes it a bargain!

50s pretty

Fusion Oriental Garden Dress: £48

ASOS Inspiration

This was in my daily ASOS e-newsletter this week. It’s just the sort of styling I’m planning for this summer’s weddings, so I had to share!

50s-asos

Also, it allows me to indulge another girl crush – the lovely lady Scarlett!