An old fashioned Sunday afternoon!

IMG_1410I spent a delightful Sunday afternoon at the Symphony Hall in Birmingham where there was a screening of the film LaLaLaLand accompanied by a live orchestra.

I have already seen the film twice and own it on DVD and yes, I have the soundtrack!  I also previously wrote a blog article on the delightful clothes featured in the film so I suppose you could say I am just a tiny bit obsessed!

Anyway, back to the Sunday afternoon; myself and resigned hubbie arrived to find a hoard of people looking forward to their cinema afternoon.  I love clothes spotting and noticed that there were even a handful of the Emma Stone canary dress copies!  I myself wore a 1950’s pink and white gingham check dress and some slingback kitten heels so I felt the part at least!

IMG_1411An interval drink ordered and then time to proceed to our seats.  The venue was completely packed out with cinema fans alike.  The orchestra came on stage and started to warm up.  Then the main event started.  The widescreen CinemaScope peeled back and LaLaLand finally started.

I had no idea what to expect.  How were the orchestra going to fit in with the film etc?  I needn’t have been concerned as everything was perfect!  I remember seeing the film for the first time and knew during the opening sequence that I would love it.  Watching it again for the first time in months, just reminded me of that first feeling.  The prescence of the orchestra just heightened the whole spectacle.

I loved the old fashioned feel of the event from the overture (written on screen) to the intermission (likewise on screen) too!  I wondered how they were going to ensue a seemless interval in the film and I loved how they did. The first half of the film ended on a close up of Emma Stone’s face which then faded out in a circle, just like the old films that I love.  I couldn’t wait to return after the interval  and was not disappointed.

When the film finished, I lost count of the encores and everyone was standing up clapping.  It was a very special afternoon and a fantastic atmosphere.

Please can we have more afternoons like this?  I would love to watch some of the old films, the Gene Kelly and Fred Astaires with the addition of a live orchestra.  Judging by the popularity of this Sunday afternoon, I wouldn’t be the only one!

Many thanks to the Novello Orchestra who are currently on tour with their production  I hope to see them again in the future

http://www.thenovelloorchestra.com

@NovelloOrch @THSHBirmingham


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My Cath Kidston bathroom!

I decided a few weeks ago that I wanted to make changes to our downstairs loo.  It was ok really, not long ago painted but it needed a loving touch and some freshening up!  I was shopping in Homebase and picked up a paint catalogue and saw a lovely fuschia colour paint which I thought would certainly cheer the downstairs loo up.  I said to my husband, “would you mind if we had a pink loo?”  He reluctantly replied, “well, we already have a pink fridge, so I suppose so”. I thought I would ask my handyman friend to start on this after Xmas so didn’t think any more of it.

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Then I saw that Cath Kidston had a Xmas sale on.  That was that! http://www.cathkidston.com/fcs/content/home-furnishing/wallpaper/

I love Cath Kidston and their fabric is lovely.  However, I always see if I can pick up a bargain in their sales.  Fortunately for me they had one pattern of wallpaper, “Rainbow Rose”, reduced to half-price, so I measured up and ordered a couple of rolls (we have a fairly small downstairs loo!).  It came a few days later and I loved it.  Its extremely chintzy! My handyman friend came over last week to decorate.  It took him a couple of days (fiddly pipework) but the effect is amazing!  Its a real “in your face” bathroom!  No subtlety spared.  I love it!  Even my husband likes it and admits its striking!

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Unfortunately the pink and green colours in the wallpaper don’t match the colours on the existing splashback.  No fear.  A bit of quick research on google and you can buy tile paint. in pink gloss!  A quick trip down to B&Q and said paint purchased.  Along with a pink chandelier!  (the existing blue lampshade doesn’t match either).  Ta-dah!  A brand new bathroom for not a lot of money.  Plus a real talking point for those visitors who need to use the facilities!IMG_0637

I am now looking on what I can decorate next!  In the meantime every time I open the bathroom door I smile!

A Potteries day out; Emma Bridgewater

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Fed up of the continual rainy Saturday’s in Birmingham (and everywhere else I think!) we decided to have a day out in Stoke and visit the potteries. An hour from Birmingham, so basically on our doorstep, it was somewhere I wanted to visit, especially after watching BBC’s The Great Pottery Throwdown.

I collect vintage teacups (see previous blog) and love looking for crockery and bits and bobs at antique and vintage fairs however this was where my understanding of pottery started and finished! So I decided to watch the Pottery Throwdown and got hooked!

People growing up in the 1970’s like me may well remember Margo Leadbetters efforts at pottery in the BBC’s The Good Life and indeed all my experience of pottery came from this! However, after watching the Pottery Throwdown, now I can talk convincingly to my husband about glazes, biscuit firing and fine bone china! Therefore I was really looking forward to a day trip to the potteries.

We started off at The Museum of Pottery, which hadn’t that much to interest my 7 year old and was a bit fusty, just like museums used to be. So after a quick tour round we decided to visit the Emma Bridgewater factory nearby. This also had the attraction of a vintage style cafe and so hot chocolate was enjoyed by all. We visited on a weekend so unfortunately we were unable to participate in the factory tours as these are only held on weekdays. However the seconds shop more than made up for it!  In the end I opted for a pretty rose flower vase and a spotty oven glove but I could have spent a fortune (some people did!). http://emmabridgewaterfactory.co.uk/

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Next stop was the Gladstone Museum of Pottery. This had excellent reviews on Tripadvisor plus a nice cafe! (always a must!). We must have spent 3 hours there it was so interesting and well laid out. The 7 year old was fascinated by the bottle ovens and the old processes that they used. There was even an exhibition on the history of the toilet which he loved!  Including the smells that went with the sewage; pre-toilet era!

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There were plenty of activities for children and we enjoyed watching him throwing a pot on a proper wheel!  We were even more delighted that we were allowed to keep the pot too!  We loved it here and are looking forward to visiting again in the summer! http://www.stokemuseums.org.uk/visit/gpm/

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1950’s dresses – A brief history

imagesP86OHRPGI think sometimes that I was born in the wrong era. I feel much happier in a dress with a fitted waist and a full skirt. Not necessarily over the top with a petticoat underneath (I do the school run!) but something that makes me feel feminine at least. Jeans are comfortable and practical but they don’t make me feel good about myself.

I adore the 1950’s. Everything I like and am drawn to is mainly from this era. I love the clothes, the kitsch and the home styling!

My favourite 1950s icons include Audrey Hepburn (she will be covered in a future blog), Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly. Hollywood glamour became popular in Europe with these icons.  To me they look feminine, dress fashionably and smartly and actually have a womanly figure rather than looking like a stick insect!imagesTR07WJ6G

The 1950’s were all about the waistline with an emphasis on a thin waist, defined hips and a larger more defined bust. In short a more feminine silhouette than had been seen for many years. Dior’s “New Look” defined women’s wardrobes and women’s figures were given the illusion of an hourglass shape with a nipped in waist and a full skirt, adding definition to the body.

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With the end of World War II, came a feeling of freedom, especially in terms of fashion for women. No more fabric rationing and a new choice of material and patterns from which to have fun making clothes with. There was now an availability of different fabrics, especially in the USA. Excess fabric was used to create full skirts, pleats and petticoats etc. Cottons, linens and silks were still used but were expensive and difficult to find, hence the rise of the synthetic materials market, most notably nylon, polyester and acrylic. These new fabrics revolutionised fabric care, with even a quick wash and possibly no ironing required!

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I like the 1950s because even today it appears timeless. The return of full skirts, capri pants and flat ballet shoes all feature heavily in my wardrobe. Okay, I do admit that I tend to stand out in the school playground, amidst the jeans and parkers but then again I get compliments on how I look and so many people comment on my dresses and how they wish they could wear them! Well, why not? It’s the easiest thing in the world in the rush of a morning when you can’t decide what to wear to put on a dress in the summer and a dress with leggings and boots in the winter. I always remember one of Gok Wan’s fashion programmes in which he said that he never understood why so little women wore dresses as they were so easy and versatile to wear. So try wearing the 1950’s style dresses for yourself  and see if you are convinced!

Buttons!

imagesGFYRVV38 I love buttons!  The prettier the better, I actually love the display of pretty buttons on a button card too.  I started collecting buttons when I was a child and built up quite a collection!  Nothing vintage or historic, just a few here and there, however the fascination with buttons has never left me.

96521123869c7a7c66d9da5b300567dfApparently, one of the earliest form of buttons were “Satsumas”, a ceramic button originating from Japan in the 16th century.  There were very detailed and as you can imagine, they are highly collective and expensive!  However, evidence of buttons has now been discovered in bronze age sites in both China and Ancient Rome.  Functional buttons (used for fastening clothes) came into existence in Germany in the 13th century and popularity has grown since then.

Queen Victoria, after the death of Prince Albert, wore jet buttons as a sign of mourning.  However, jet was fairly unaffordable to the majority of people and reproductions were made of black glass.

imagesNTSX546WButtons come in different sizes and are usually collected by material, theme (scenes of country life), usage (military uniforms) or historic importance (world fairs).  They used to be made from a variety of materials, including stone, pottery, jet, bone, wood, shell, bronze and gold.  Nowadays, they are made mainly of plastic or metal, wood and seashells.

If you are new to collecting then firstly it is important to sort your buttons out by materials and separate the plastic ones from the metal ones etc.  This is because certain materials do not sit well together and may rust.  Also you could start by mounting your buttons on mat boards, which has the dual purpose of showing them off and also keeping them safe.322dae6e7756aa81f9268287b4e7f664

There are many displays of buttons in art galleries and museums across the country to inspire you.  The Victoria and Albert Museum in London has an extensive collection.  The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (local to me) also has a nice little collection too.  If you are interested in collecting buttons, then look at the website of the British Button Society, that has useful information and links.  You can check if there is a button club near you! Worth a look too is the National Button Society of America with its worldwide followers.

Pink, retro and typewriters!

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I saw this in a shop in Derbyshire and fell in love with the baby blue colour.  It’s an old Imperial 200 typewriter, all in full working order as far as I can see, although I haven’t tried it out yet.  This lovely thing currently takes pride of place upon my mum’s old welsh dresser, now adorned in Annie Sloan baby blue paint.  They are a match made in heaven.

IMG_0725My Kenwood Patissier pink mixer!  It goes very well in my retro kitchen with my pink Smeg fridge!  I love looking at it when I am cooking plus it’s a great time saver when I’m making cakes (which happens to be quite often!).  I remember growing up in a kitchen with a well used and well loved Kenwood Chef.  It wasn’t pink though!

IMG_0339Ah, the delightful Miss Penelope Pitstop.  My canvas of Penelope hangs above the TV, so when I’m bored with watching programmes, I can reminisce about my childhood favourite and how I always wanted to be like her. Any visitors to my house tend to go straight for her in amazement!  To my delight, my son now loves Wacky Races!

My bible of books

My bible of ideas!

These are just a few of my favourite books that give me pleasure just to look through them.  They are great for coming up with new ideas of things to make or just for changing a room scene.  I always watch any Kirsty Allsop craft and vintage programmes and last year I discovered the fantastic books of Selina Lake.  It started with Pretty Pastel Style and has progressed from there.  I thoroughly recommend a look.

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