#FashionFridays

Hallo, Ich heisse Lieselotte!

I don’t normally do Facebook quizzes (I’m very much not interested in “Finding out which Disney Princess” I am as I believe it would be of great detriment to my relatively well-working brain) but recently one popped up on my feed called “What is your 1920s German name?”, how could I resist? So after answering a series of very thought provoking questions I was told that my 1920s German name is Lieselotte, which understandably I was over the moon about (no one wants to end up with Helga…or Adolph). This test also gave me the excuse (not that I really needed one) to dress up for the day.

I recently made a 20s style dress out of an old bedsheet (I’ve also made a shirt out of the same material, you may remember from a previous #FashionFridays post).

#FashionFridays homemade 1920s style dress Continue reading “#FashionFridays”

Book Review…

…The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Alan Bradley

This was another one of the books that I read on my Scottish honeymoon, it was recommended to me at a ‘Book Spa’ experience (if you haven’t been to one – go to one, it’s like therapy but with literature and tea…and cake), basically because I said I was a bit of an Agatha Christie fan and this book is indeed a murder mystery but a murder mystery with a bit of twist.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Alan Bradley, Flavia de Luce review

Continue reading “Book Review…”

#FashionFridays!

This week I’ve gone and gotten a little bit wartime on myself (that sounds like a dodgy euphemism).

As I have previously mentioned I am not buying any new clothes this year, I am allowed to buy second hand and vintage and I’m allowed to make my clothes, the problem with this being that I’m too poor to buy vintage clothes and whilst I’m a pretty good sewer I’m certainly not good enough to furnish an entire wardrobe. So I decided to set myself a challenge – I would make a shirt! A shirt without sleeves (there is such a thing as too much of a challenge)! However, this being the first shirt I’d ever made and my patience levels being naturally quite low, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on nice fabric when it could all potentially end up in an oddly attached mess and/or covered in my tears.

This is where the wartime bit comes in, I bought an old bed sheet from a charity shop for £2 in lew of expensive fabric and lo, I did make a shirt!

Recycle a bedsheet into a shirt

How to make a shirt from a bedsheet #FashionFriday

That’s me with Vera by the way, she’s my new bestie.

Recycled bedsheet into a shirt #FashionFridays

Also I have enough bed sheet left to make a dress! And I found a really lovely pattern that was only 75p in a bargain box because it didn’t have an envelope – not altogether sure what the finished product will look like but I’m sure as going to have fun finding out!

It also means that with all included, interfacing and buttons and things, I think I’ve probably managed to get myself a new shirt and matching dress for about £10. I’m really enjoying this whole No New thing!

Make your own shirt

Moral of the story: less money on clothes, more money on fizz. Ooooh yeeeeeh.

How To…

…Plan a wedding when you couldn’t give a shit about weddings.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for two people celebrating their love in the traditional way of getting  married and most weddings I’ve been to I’ve balled my eyes out and had a great time with everyone else but in today’s “Which Disney Princess Are You?” society, I feel that weddings have kind of lost all sincerity about them. People seem to get married because they want a wedding not because they want a marriage, which is why the wedding industry has become worth a huge £10 billion in the UK alone and why the average wedding costs around £21k, because who cares about a deposit for a house, I want to wear a Cinderella dress!?

I’m digressing…and also getting married. It’s nearly two months away now and I really haven’t had that much to do with the planning, so far I’ve felt like my wedding is happening to me instead of me feeling like I’m actively participating in it, but that is nobodies fault but my own. I’ve wanted to marry Chris since our fourth date and I always just thought we’d decide the time was right, call up our immediate loved ones and say something like “are you free next Wednesday? We’re getting married” but then when we actually did get engaged (and that’s a whole story in itself) it turned out that actually what everyone else wanted (I must say including Chris) was a big, family wedding. So here we are with two months to go, a day-time guest list of 80 and having to come up with a table plan so that the ones who don’t like each other don’t have to look at each other, and the ones who are really fussy are sat exactly next to the people they want to be.

A couple of weeks ago I realised that I was so un-excited by this prospect that it was genuinely depressing, I was excited to be married, just not to get married, so I’ve decided to take control, I’m getting my wedding-on.

In case anyone else is feeling disillusioned about their forthcoming nuptials, I’ve put together 5 top tips for planning a wedding when you actually couldn’t give a shit. Enjoy:

  1. Realise that your wedding is not for you. People will constantly tell you that what you want for your “big day” is the most important thing, they’re lying to you. You’re getting married for you, you’re having a wedding for those who want to celebrate with you, and actually the more people you have in your life who want to celebrate your love with you, the luckier you are, so embrace it, do it for them, it’s a hella better reason than doing it because you’d like to be an animated “princess” for a day.
  2. Delegate. I’m really lucky because I have a sister and a mother who are AMAZING at this sort of thing. The amount of times when they’ve asked me a question like “what about favours?”, seen my blank and blinking expression and said “don’t worry, I’ll sort that out.” Literally would be having a reception in a completely blank room with no decorations or seating plan without them to help me.
  3. Choose good music. Now this is where I would say to anyone to really go for what YOU want. So many couples’ relationship and memories of each other and of special points in their lives together, are based around a love of certain songs. Use those songs, tell the relative who’s telling you to walk down the aisle to Pachelbel’s Canon to shove it and walk down to whatever means the most to you as a couple. Those moments really are just for you two, so make sure you stick to your bridal guns.
  4. Make things! Emotionally invest in the things you would never normally care about by making them yourself, that way when you see them hanging somewhere in your venue or on your tables you’ll feel really good about them, instead of thinking of them as the useless little touches that no-one cares about anyway. Plus it’s WAY CHEAPER. All the invitations for our wedding have been handmade (although, alas it would be an untruth to tell you that I did them – I provided comedy and alcoholic support).How to plan a wedding when you don't care about weddings Now I’m on to bunting and attaching vintage chandelier crystals to things (too many things probably). Getting into it.
  5. Try. Even if table plans make you roll your eyes and you’re quickly loosing all respect for the guests who instead of having thanked you for the invite, have gotten their knickers in a twist because you haven’t invited their other half (who you’ve NEVER MET before), just try to be excited. Focus on the stuff you are excited about; seeing the person you’re marrying standing at the end of the aisle waiting for you, having a glass of fizz and getting ready with your nearest and dearest, having a good old dance with your mates. Forget about the people who have pissed you off, you don’t have to spend any time with them on the day if you don’t want to anyway. Bridal prerogative.Handmade wedding invitations

I hope these have helped! Let’s go get hitched (not you and me…that would be weird)!

#FashionFridays!

IT’S FRIDAY! Well done everybody for getting through the week. I shall now attempt to provide light entertainment by talking about today’s outfit. Sit back, relax, don’t forget the fizz – the fizz is important.

There is one character in my life who gets me through the tough times, the good times, the onesie times, the knitting times…all times really. It is of course the wonderful Miss Marple. I love her with a most ardent passion and my admiration often prompts some dress up, as is my way.

Miss Marple Dress up Costume

When I’m feeling good, or need a bit of gumption I do a little Post-Modern Marple. This must at all times involve tweed, luckily for me I have quite the collection…

Tweed collection, vintage clothing

What kind of self-respecting Marple wannabe would I be without it?

This particular costume does, however, pose one intensely troubling problem – which hat?

Miss Marple Felt Hat Dress-up

Big bow?

Miss Marple Sleuthing hat!

Nothing says “sleuth” like a wide brim.

Miss Marple dress-up hats

FEATHERS!

Of course the torment of choosing the right hat does add a certain drama to the daily task of dressing ones self, however, what kind of Post-Modern Marple would I be without some serious drama in my life?

After much soul searching this is the choice I ended up with…

Miss Marple Costume

And of course the legendary Miss Marple wouldn’t be caught DEAD (couldn’t let that pun pass me by) without a warm knitted scarf and a nice pair of leather gloves.

Wearing this most tweedy of outfits I ventured off to visit my Oma in her care home thinking her and her fellow residents would enjoy it, old people are after all my kind of people, however as soon as I walked into the lounge the particularly feisty Edith pointed and laughed. Ouch. But my Oma loved it and wherever Agatha Christie is I’m definitely sure does too!

Happy Friday!

#FashionFridays…

…got resourceful!

So, bit of an announcement: off the back of my 2014 “stuff” epiphany I have made a very important decision about this the year 2015; I have decided not to buy any new clothes for a whole year…I know.

I can buy second-hand clothing, I can make any clothes I need, but I cannot buy any new items of clothing. Now there are two ‘genres’  of clothing that are exempt from the rule, but only because I have neither the machinery, expertise or equipment to produce them, these are shoes and underwear – but I’m only allowed to buy these if I need them, which is unlikely because I believe that bras are the work of the devil and I have really awkwardly shaped feet.

I made this decision for two reasons:

  1. I have way too many clothes already. I go shopping to buy black jeans (which I actually do need) and come back with 3 occasion dresses (I do not go out often enough to warrant these – can’t stand club crowds). So now I have a wardrobe full of beautiful dresses and nowhere to bloody wear them. In the meantime they clog up my wardrobe and I spend most mornings and evenings trying to force the clothes I actually do wear into tiny spaces in-between slowly rotting chiffon and a strange neoprene dress with fluorescent orange and turquoise flowers on (this always gets a laugh from my nearest and dearest but I bought it when Chris was in Thailand during the military coup so I claimed temporary insanity when I bought it and now whenever I put it on my mental illness provides the perfect excuse – get in!).
  2. I’ve decided that I should be as environmentally conscious as I can possibly manage, which means (among many other things) staying away from the disposable fashion items that fill every high street shop – arriving at the store wrapped in copious amounts of packaging (which is rarely made from recyclable materials), as well as the clothes themselves which can be produced in either environmentally harmful ways, or in morally questionable working conditions. And it seems that what were once cheap disposable fashion items are now cheap expensive disposable fashion items. Have you been into Primark recently? I actually I haven’t because I’m trying to avoid locations that induce panic attacks but the last time I went there I was pretty shocked that the quality of the clothing (stitching, materials, finishings) seemed to have dropped but the prices seem to have sky rocketed. And don’t even get me started on H&M which stocks what appears to be exactly the same clothing made from exactly the same materials and exactly the same standards for twice the price. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve bought some clothes from both these shops in the past that I love and wear often, but I’ve gotten to the stage in my life where I don’t want eight nylon mix, highly flammable, made in Bangladesh and mass-produced jumpers; I want one or two organic fabric, handmade, less flammable, unique jumpers – which is surely the better option? Luckily for me I’m not a follower of trends and fashions so I won’t be in the position where I see something I like and then by the time I’ve managed to find a pattern and some reasonably priced fabric and made the item myself, the damn thing will be out of fashion again, although I don’t believe that anything that could go out of fashion in that amount of time could possibly have been worth buying and wearing in the first place. So there.

Fluro dress, cats, recycling clothes, fashions, dress-upI have quite a few important events and weddings coming up in 2015 (including my own ‘big day’) but I have a wardrobe full of lovely dresses and can make anything new if I feel I don’t already have the right outfit somewhere in my house (unlikely). I’m actually a bridesmaid in September and have obtained permission from the beautiful bride to make my own bridesmaid dress (we could both end up regretting that one). I haven’t bought a new wedding dress, a lovely and very talented lady who I know is making it instead. I do need a new pair of wedding shoes although I am considering dying a pair of shoes that I already own purple and sticking gold stars on them instead of going out and buying a new pair (I’m coming up against some opposition on this particular style point but they’re my feet and it’s my wedding – I reserve the right to dress them in the way I see fit, and purple starry shoes are fit).

Anyhoo I shall be documenting this year of No New for your reading pleasure, as I’m sure I’m going to come up against challenges and temptations as well as exciting discoveries and style ideas.

If anyone has any helpful tips on the above, whether it be sourcing organic sewing materials or just living a life of less rubbish please let me know!

#FashionFridays…

… got themed.

I was going to say that this week is a vintage week, however, I’ve realised that pretty much every time I dress up its in the past and in fact this week is about as modern as it’s going to get:

dress up, fashion fridays, 1980s, gypsy, suburban

It’s the 80s! To be precise I am dressed as an 1980s suburban gypsy. I’m wearing hooped earrings and everything.

gypsy, costume, 1980s, suburban, dress-up, fashion fridays

You can’t really see in these rather blurry photos but those are red boots! RED BOOTS (in your face people who say I can’t colour coordinate)! Actually I’d just like to take this moment to thank my amazing photographer for doing such a wonderful job of these Fashion Friday photos…

weekend drinking!

Then I started to feel just a little bit too up to date (scary) so here I am being a 1950s suburban gypsy:

1950s suburban gypsy dress-up fashion fridays

Dressing up as a gypsy of any kind fills a particular happy place in my heart – a magical place. Normally I want to be dressed up as some sort of medieval sorceress and I have most of the garb I need to fulfil this (I’m currently working up to the sewing skill to produce some kind of velvet, bell-sleeved number – with train, obvs). However, I have to say that it’s not so practical with modern living, for example, have you ever tried to drive in a velvet hooded cloak? It gets complicated. So when I’m being a gypsy I can still be a little magical and a little bit practical, which is a pretty good combination in my book!

dress up as a 1950s suburban gypsy

One thing you will never catch me dressed as – a 2000s gypsy. No way, no how.

1950s suburban gypsy dress up fashion fridays
Cats n’ Boots, Boots n’ Cats

Happy Friday!

#FashionFridays…

…got Vintage.

This is a big moment for me – I’ve finally managed to achieve a vintage yet not-that-jewish-looking Fashion Fridays! Not that there’s anything wrong with looking Jewish – I’d be thoroughly screwed if there was. It’s like my mum with hair dye – no matter what colour she dies her hair it’s always ginger a few days later; no matter who or what I’m dressed as I’ve always got that certain Je ne sais chutzpah about me.

But not this time:

The only cast member who wouldn't sleep with Donald Draper
Back off Mr Draper

I’m dressed as the only member of the Mad Men cast (because in my head I am indeed one of the sassier ladies of the Mad Men contingency) who definitely wouldn’t sleep with Mr Donald Draper. He and his smug, casual infidelity can bugger off.

Two particularly wonderful things about this outfit:

Beautiful vintage-looking satin shoes

THE SHOES! Might even bust these bad boys out for the old wedding day.

And:

Backless vintage dress

Backless dresses are THE greatest excuse not to wear a bra! Something that I hate doing but feel that I should do, for modesty’s sake if anything; I – again like my dearest mama – have the most excitable nipples and it normally takes a few layers to keep them under wraps (pun). However, in a backless dress you’ve just got to go with it and ‘it’ feels excellent. Won’t be busting these bad boys for the old wedding though – shame.

And of course my Mad Men outfit would be nothing without a Mad Man…

My Mad Mad

The question is my Mad Man or just a mad man – bit of both is probably the answer there. Chris is actually getting quite into Fashion Fridays now so expect to see a little bit more of him in the future.

I’ve mentioned the excellent Mama G at a few points in this post because I have her to thank for this outfit. We found this dress in an old suitcase underneath her bed a few years ago, I believe it belonged to a friend of hers, who made it sometime in the 70s to meet her boyfriend’s parents for the first time, and ended up finishing it on the train on the way to where they lived (this could all be bollocks of course – she’s not got the best of memories, but what does that matter with the most terrific of imaginations?). It’s made of stretchy jersey material and has one pocket on the right hand side and whoever the wonderful woman who made this dress is, I just wanted to say thank you, I love this dress and have had more good times in it than I could possibly count (meeting my Parent-in-Laws wasn’t one of them – nipples would have been highly distracting in that particular scenario).

Find other #FashionFridays here.