Friday, 30 October 2015

Hey...I'm pregnant!

Well now, it has been a long while eh? I made a decision to update the blog and get on top of it 8 and a bit months ago... and then...well, I got pregnant!
I figure I better tell you now before I just appear with a baby.

We are delighted, of course, especially after quite a long time of trying and one miscarriage. We know it is a girl and the pregnancy has gone very well. As well pregnancies go that is... with morning sickness, not sleeping (what is that about?), sore hips and endless peeing.

At Three + months in an old sample twizzle dress, rocket original shoes, Henry the cat
One neat thing about being pregnant is that some of your friends who are a bit behind you, find you safe to confide in to speak about their early pregnancy concerns, or sadly, their fertility problems. It is a dear privilege to be the one they feel they can chat to. I've been pretty open about our struggles, so that helps others to open up too. So, first off, I'm sending very big hugs to all those struggling with family issues. It's tough. You'll be ok no matter what.

I've also fielded quite a few questions about vintage maternity wear. What a minefield! I hope to give you a bit of a mini series of how I have managed my wardrobe.

There are very few real bits of maternity about. It would have simply been worn out lots, over many pregnancies then handed on and worn out more, until someone was so sick of the sight of it she cut out a babies outfit from the fabric!

You have even less choice if you already have a big bust like me or have even moderately sized biceps. Maternity patterns aren't much better and mostly come in pee-wee sizes. People married younger, got cracking with a family straight off and so were smaller perhaps. I soon realised that I could waste a lot of time fruitlessly looking for vintage, and frankly, there were too many other things taking up my energy.

At Hep Cats Holiday July around five + months, still in a Fleur dress
Instead I did quite well in the first 6 months with clothes that were just a bit more spacious, and with items from Heyday - the stretch Twizzle dress and the wrap Fleur, both in a larger size than normal.

The Judy dress was also surprisingly good in a larger size. because it doesn't have a zip, it is a bit more forgiving at the waist so you can get in it, then you can snitch it in as needed with the belt. I could have gone longer in the Judy dress but in the end I was popping out of it at the bustline more than the bumpline! The boobs kept pace with the bump until about 7 months so I really felt like I just looked fatter and fatter rather than pregnant!

Hep Cats Holiday July.  Five + months
I would really advise mums-to-be to not get too hung up on being 100% vintage. People will forgive you if you adopt other clothing and in fact, you might as well have fun with it. I danced the night away in this number for a Hawaiian theme. The bodice is all elasticated and I'd normally reserve it for summer holidays. What is great about it, is that the shirring elastic brings it in just under the bust. This is essential for making your maternity wear more shapely as your ribs become your smallest part. But warning - this is NOT very vintage! I just felt happier in something with more shape.

You can also browse high street shops for empire line dresses that flare out at the bump line. They don't have to be maternity, as it is in fashion anyway. These dresses don't suit me when I'm un-pregnant, so in a way it was fun to shop for something different, and even browse the high street for a change!

Monsoon Dress - Modern, Seven months
Hide your bump by standing front on!
These last photos were taken with many demands by Mr Heyday saying "chin down" "chin out" and so forth. He's learnt what I don't like! So here is one final gurning pic of me deliberately over-doing it. Ha ha!

I'll be back shortly with more real vintage maternity wear - just gotta find the pics!


Thursday, 19 February 2015

Fantasy Packing for THE fabulous Art Deco Weekend

It is that time of year when here in the UK we are fervently looking for signs of spring ("Come ON daffodils")... meanwhile, over in my homeland of NZ, the vintage community are sewing, packing and pressing to get themselves off to the Art Deco weekend in Napier.

This is the time of year when I wish I was at home. I've only been once to "Art Deco" as it is known. (I find it kind of neat to call it that, like it is both a place and a era of style. It's quite fitting since one does feel like a time traveller to go there). The last time I was there for the event was before we moved to the UK, and before I had a digital camera!

More recently  my Niece got married there. So here's a pic of my sister-in-law Ness and I doing the quintessential pose in the fountain.

The event is quite hard to dress for, especially if you want to be authentic. It is very very hot, there is lots of walking to do, there are LOTS of events to go to, some of which require different outfits, and of course you are dancing and sitting on the lawn. Not many of those things sit well with original vintage or being glamorous and comfy at the same time. You also really do need a sun hat if you want to get through the day without a headache from the heat and squinting. (I remember one friend packed 24 hats one year!)

So, what would be my fantasy Art Deco wardrobe? If I was going?

It would all be about BEACH PYJAMAS, big hats and a cover up for my shoulders

I like the idea of a long lightweight shawl that I can throw on when I need to hide from the sun, and a blouse would also do the trick, worn as a jacket

A strappy, nautical themed dress with a matching cover up
Patron Journal, May 1938

Necklaces made of seashells Marie Claire, June 1937

Flat shoes and a bag big enough for dance shoes and said shawl. Marie Claire, June 1937

Striped things. I love this long skirt to wear over shorts - who would have thought this was 1937 in France? But this was all inspiration though, not actual reality. The French ideas were often picked up and made overseas (USA in particular) and this meant Paris kept it's identity as a fashion leader, even if in reality they didn't have the resources to produce them at home. Note the visor! Marie Claire, June 1937

Aren't these wonderful seaside outfits? One with a very long sarong wrap and the other with a button through dress Les Jardin des Modes, June 1936

These ladies have it sorted - big hats, parasol, sleeveless jacket easy light weight jacket and flat shoes
Le Jardin des modes, July 1935

I'll be looking forward to next week when my friends will be posting pics. If you can't wait until then, check out The Dreamstress and her 2014 trip

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

National Vintage Awards 2014

A couple of weeks ago now we had the National Vintage Awards, Presented by The Vintage Directory, up in Birmingham

We nearly didn't go, as other things threatened to turn our plans upside down, but in the end I headed up the country on my own. I love travelling on my own, especially by train as I don't need to think about driving and instead I can just knit, knit, knit!

I wasn't worried as once I got there I knew I would know some people. Ah! And that would be the girls I know from Hemsby - the boogie woogie cheer gang of Sailor Cherry, Goldy Loxx, and Sarah Dunn.

I dug an old, busted up dress from my "inspiration wardrobe", mended the holes, added some darts and took it out for a knees up. All fancy dresses deserve one more night out don't you think?  I felt like Cinderella's fairy godmother in it - but in a good way

Me and Heyday! were up for two awards - TWO!! I was so pleased that our followers liked Heyday enough to get us into the finals - that was the first honour. I know it only takes a minute to vote, but when you realise that all those people took that moment and that they cared enough to do so, that's pretty neat. The event itself is really a great function, and, as well as an awards night, also a good chance to mingle and meet fellow vintage-arters from all over the country. And the outfits! Well, there are all sorts! I wish I got more photos but I'm sure there will be more coming onto the Gallery shortly

I met the lovely Miss Geeta von Tease. I sort of pounced at her when I saw she was in a lovely dressing gown! And why not, since most vintage dressing gowns have more glamour than modern cocktail frocks? And besides it goes with her Burlesque image to be so attired. We matched so a photo was required

Miss Bexi Owen opened the preceeding with a song and a surprise little fringed number (originally hidden under a full 50s skirt). You can see it's movement - such fun to wear!

The evening was presented by the wonderful Lola Lamour and she entertained us with songs in between presentations. She is a joy to watch. I spoke to her partner once and he said that she always practices with all the actions as well, and you can see that. She is never lost for words, or a fancy move, wiggle or kick to emphasis a point. I missed the high kick dammit!

At the beginning we had a special category to judge - the Best Performer finalists.

They were all very good but the Putting on the Blitz boys stole the show with their cheeky humour. (loved the little cat joke and gutted I can't remember it properly now).  I thought Miss Cherry Bomb sounded so smooth - like chocolate, and Lianna Haynes had the most fabulous Jessica Rabbit outfit!

Lola got the pin up contestants, who were all yelping it up in the seats next to me (it had nothing to do with me I swear), to come up during a sing-a-long and do the actions Doo-Wop girl style. Without hesitation they were up there: Miss Lillian Love, Coco Lopes and Sailor Cherry. Goldy Loxx joined in too (she wouldn't have been able to stay in her seat!)

The first category I was in was the best Online shop - Fashion and accessories. My competitors were Campbell-crafts Vintage and Alexandra Vintage.  Both have beautiful websites, so I really didn't feel bad when Alexandra took home the prize. She is really neat to meet in person and she agreed to this silly pic

And then we had to do a happy one so we could all tell it was a joke.

I was a bit stunned when I won the best Repro brand, but delighted too of course. I think it is natural to not EXPECT to win, since you just don't know what the judges will see in you and in others . My fellow competitors in this section were Miss Katie Cupcake and Maison De Cantern -  respectively doing jewellery and hats - so it is a wee bit hard to actually compare the businesses. Both of them do lovely work so please do check them out.

Miss Katie Cupcake took home the Best regional shop and she was neat to meet in person also (even if she is Australian ( I HAVE to, or I'll loose my Kiwi Card). Miss Kiki Deville revealed she is also Australian and she took home the Best Musical performer award.  A few more of us from down under and we would have had a Australasian domination! A goal for a future year perhaps?

The evening was a resounding success and I would say that even if I hadn't taken home an award. It was great to see so many people who are working and earning a living (even if it isn't much) from the industry and I was thrilled to notice the support people were giving each other. Sadly I heard there were some bitter comments, I gather made by disgruntled persons. I hope that was short lived, because at the end of the day, ANY competiton is just a snapshot - just how things turned out at the time and is no judgement on how long or hard you work, or if your business is profitable, or if you are living your dream, or how much love you give your customers. It has more to do with social media how bored and therefore available your social contacts were, how much time the judges had, if they liked just one thing a little more or a little less, if they had a good day or if it was a terrible day with no chocolate in the house.  I hope those entrepreneurs realise just how adventurous and awesome they are that they are even in a position to enter a vintage competition, because really, that is cool.

I hope to see more of you there next year. Lets continue to make this an annual get-together for networking and for encouraging the industry to aim for excellence.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

What Success feels like - and a dress

Thank you so much to those that commented and sent their support after last weeks post. I really appreciated the feedback. I think it is good to say "things are difficult for me right now" so that other people also realise that life is not a Coke ad for anyone, even people in bloggerspace. 

Mr Heyday and I are really self sufficient emotionally, having been through a lot together. This recent house buying mission and dealing with our lousy solicitor really did me in though. When the person who is supposed to be helping you doesn't return calls or emails, and doesn't do the paperwork she needs to do in a timely fashion and then lies about it, blaming everyone from the agent to the vendors, their solicitors, the vendors vendors, our lenders, even her email system ("Really, down for SEVEN days? You don't say! What decade is it again?"). The saga was ridiculous and we were powerless - sort of like an abusive relationship, once you realise, you've already waded into the deep end and your swim wings are a long way away.

The agent kinda gave up at one stage and developed a special laugh instead - poor guy. Shall I name and shame her once it is all done? I'm very tempted. We will definitely be talking to the ombudsman and leaving some truthful reviews online to save anyone else the stress we have gone through.

Anyway, on Friday, we finally had a break-through and exchanged on the house. This felt like passing the finish line of a marathon. I was so thrilled, pleased and excited I could hardly talk straight! We took some champagne to dancing to celebrate with and we I got a bit tipsy and quickly became a menace on the dance floor. A menace that just didn't care anymore... "Hi, would you like to dance? Only, I might be hard to steer right now".  Hats off to the brave leads that just laughed and carried on.

Valentines dress made from an Anne Adams pattern
I wore a dress that I made last year for Valentines and then didn't wear, so it is the sewing version of "one I made earlier". It is entirely made from The Stash so didn't cost anything* either. 

I omitted the back tie, because they always seem little girly for someone with boobs as big as mine, and they hide the curve of the lower back.
LOVE the old envelopes that patterns were sent in, but the lack of a date on the stamp is infuriating
I made the pockets bigger because they were a silly kind of small but kept their original shape, since it is, you know, vintage and one wants to be authentic. But I wish I had changed that too, as they are hearts gone wrong and for no good reason except for someone made them that way 70 years ago. 

Easy up do
I was very happy with it, although found at the end of the night that my petticoat had inched its way up and was wrapped around my hips. I must have looked all kinds of odd.
a close up of the print aka my bottom. That is what happens when Hubby is a bit bored and waiting to take pictures. I nearly didn't include it, but hey, you might as well know what mischief I put up with
All up, it has been a good week and by the end of today we will have the KEYS TO OUR OWN HOUSE! 
Moving tips and ideas all welcome!

Shona x

*except it's initial cost plus storage for 3..4... maybe 8 years

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Still here - Confidence boosters 101

As one person commented on my last post, it looked a little bit like I might give up blogging for a while. I wasn't too sure myself as things have just felt so HARD of late. Lets see, the short list... we've had parents struggling with their health (and we are half a world away), we've been trying to buy a house for like EVER, and last year, I finally got pregnant but then miscarried just on the 3 month mark. Gah! Add in the smaller things like accounts, Christmas, a BIG cold, broken boiler, mortgage documents etc and it has felt a bit like we are dodging cricket balls thrown by an bowling machine. Whilst blindfolded. And naked.

The unrelenting nature of "stuff" has meant I haven't feel much like writing blog posts and putting myself out there. Now I'm sort of arising from the ashes, starting to feel like doing MORE. This is a good sign eh?  It has made me think about what one needs to do to get ones confidence up when it feels like it has been trampled into the carpet. This is a topic for everyone, I'm sure. In my current situation it has been life stuff, but sometimes it is work bullies or a bad relationship, and that requires additional armour. At least I could retreat and regroup because I work for myself.

Here is what I noticed has helped so far:

Giving oneself a break - beating yourself up does not help. Some of you, like me, might be familiar with the idea that, if beating oneself doesn't work, then it is clear you need a bigger stick. Yeah, still doesn't work. Much wasted energy, no improvement in mood or situation. It took me until I was about 40 to learn this, and I still do it, though now it is cunning and sly and sneaks around so I don't notice it straight away. It is easy to spot though... listen for the word "should". The stick appears at about the same time.

Being really kind to yourself. Sometimes you need a giggle at the telly (sadly, Friends re-runs still do it for me) and an early night. Sometimes you need that for 46 nights in a row. You can't speed it up, all you can do is let yourself do it.
Friends meets Boardwalk Empire. Image here
Do something you are good at. I felt better when I picked my knitting up. I'm pretty good at it, and am now teaching myself some fancier stitches. Getting into that, especially since it didn't matter how much I did, has helped. It is nice to admire ones handiwork and go - "I did that!"

Do something for someone else. I have a little niece to knit for, and that is neat. Also, being a good listener, smiling at strangers, cooking dinner, doing the dishes. They all count.
Bootie mark 1. Too big. Growing required
Put stuff in order. A bit of clearing out, or filing, or food planning, or even just matching your socks up. It helps you feel like you can make a difference, that you have some power. It is simple, but actually, so is that neuron in your brain that needs reminding that it is capable of doing stuff.

Treat yourself like a dog. Ha ha! That means proper food at the normal time (no matter how much chocolate you've had already). A daily walk, kind words and a game of chase the stick (or something else equally enjoyable).

5 things list. Instead of a never ending to-do list, have a today list, and put just five things on it. Or three things, or just one. And do it. The never ending list can be hidden from view until you are ready for the next thing. Make the thing a one job thing. "Call Kelly" = Yes. "Redesign summer range and choose fabrics and trimmings" = No.

What's your pick up tricks? Do share! These things are really things we should talk about often, don't you think? Far more helpful than moaning about the rain (OMG the RAIN!)

My good news is we are very close to completing on the house. VERY close. I'm not giving out any info until it is done and dusted, but if you could all send some good wishes our way, that would be appreciated. Ahhh... can't wait!

Shona x 

Friday, 7 February 2014

Burlesque on Ice - First EVER!

The other night, Hubby and I headed to see Burlesque on Ice. It is the first time ever that Burlesque has been performed on ice (well, maybe it has, but not in public eh?).  A bendy friend of mine, Ruby Deshabille, is in it. That is her on the right with her foot dangling off the stage.

(You'll have to excuse my phone pics - it was dark in there and they moved fast!)
The question was in the air - how will they take their stockings off with boots on? Ha ha - well, you better get yourselves along quickly to find out as the show is only on until Saturday.

The girls have all had to actually learn to skate, so that is pretty impressive as it seems to have happened very fast. With a bit of luck, this show will go on and get bigger, so do get along if you can so you can say you saw it at the very beginning!

The show was good - fun, funny, gorgeous, professional, and fluid, with some excellent singing and presenting bJoe Morose. Here he is with Ruby.

The "ice rink" was a bit of a surprise as is really little - much smaller than we thought it would be, so we were impressed with what they managed to do without much run up - as it were. Jumps and twirls and what not.... and then they had to land, before know, ran out of ice!

Here is a bit more on it (with better pics) here and here

We got there a bit early and had a quick drink at the Dining Rooms next door - they do pre-theatre meals in case you need a feed.

And finally, to wind up, one of my favourite performers of the night: This lady kitty Glorian Gray. She was really fun and exuberant, and always up to mischief!

I really enjoy going to live performances, it lifts my spirits so much. Especially ones that are full of women having a good time! Have you been to some good performances of late - small and local or large and professional?

Shona x

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Christmas loveliness from Betsy Hatter

I had something really exciting arrive in the post last week. At first I thought it was a DVD I'd ordered, as it came in about that size box. But no, it is something far far better.

Its a lovely poinsettia hair flower from Betsy Hatter Millinery. Wow. Thank you! I totally love it. It is so nicely made that it has a real luxe quality about it. I've even been wearing it about the house, like, when I'm in my PJs even! Well, I'm a Christmas loving kinda girl.

Sofia, who is Betsy Hatter, does all sorts of bespoke millinery, so think of her next time you need a matching hat or flowers. I am now mentally going through my head adornments and thinking of what I might be missing.
I wore my poinsettia for an amble around Covent Garden which is lovely at this time of year. 
(I had actually done my hair all nice, but shouldn't have bothered because the incessant drizzle flattened that out fast)

I personally think we should leave the lights up (and the mulled wine stand) until the end of February, since the next two months are truly grey and dull in London, but, I guess, I'm not the one paying the bill! 
Here are my highlights from that area:

Massive Baubles hang from the ceiling in the market

A lego display with many famous London landmarks in it. Here's Shakespeare's globe
 And here is Santa visiting the Queen
This is what happens when Mr Heyday finds the strong salty Dutch licorice of his youth.
Next is Eros transformed into a snow globe. Neat, but somehow not as impressive as I hoped. I think the advertising lights around the bottom made it seem a bit tacky rather than groovy, but I can't think how it could have been improved since someone has to sponsor it.

I hope your run up to Christmas is going well. Stay Cool.


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