Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Outfit post: 1920s beach pyjamas for loafing

 Some people do really well at casual looks, but they're my big failure. I think the problem is that I go too casual: for work I have two main looks: tartan or tweed skirt with blouse and/or woolly jumper; and fitted, block-coloured dress with midcentury accessories. I take pride in my workwear, and like to look nice. (It may not be fashionable, and very few other people I encounter would want my clothes, but no-one ever denies that they're fairly smart, especially in an environment with no actual dress code.) At weekends, though, it all falls apart, when I generally find myself slobbing around in one of the pairs of polyester trousers I bought for my trip to Burma in 2013 and a T-shirt. Lightweight and drip-dry is all very well when you're living out of a backpack for a fortnight, but it's a bit tatty. And while it's good to kick back and dress like you don't care every once in a while, I find if I do it too often, I end up not caring for real. And I'm getting too old and heavy to pull off bag-lady chic, I just look like the genuine article.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Goodwill to all humans!

I hope you had a splendid Christmas, full of love and warmth. In the run up to Christmas, I just couldn't bear the news some days, it was an endless list of ways people were horrible to other people. It was nice to spend time with loved ones and realise that actually, most people are fundamentally kind and decent, it's just the awful ones who get all the attention. I look at my tree, which is covered with baubles, and remember where they were bought or who gave them to me. Each year we get one or two more; this retro robot is one of a box of three that my husband got me this year, from Paperchase. I'd really wanted them (robots are ace!) but had been really busy at work and hadn't made it that far into town. I even had to go into work on the Saturday before Christmas and was late meeting my husband afterwards, and so he'd gone and got me my robots! He is lovely. And every year I shall unpack my baubles and get a little robotty reminder of how lovely he is.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Old Square Eyes' festive telly and radio picks

With so many channels on telly and radio nowadays, it can be hard to sift out the highlights. However, there's not an immense amount of vintagey stuff on over the holidays this year. Here is my pick of the
offerings over Christmas, and most of it is on the radio.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

What I'm not knitting

Bradford-on-Avon: cute!

Gemma did a great post on Retro Chick last week on the Five Guilts of Christmas. I don't think I'm likely to provoke many feelings of guilt in others, apart from on the food front. I don't do it to be virtuous, however, I do just like cooking and eating, and I enjoy sharing it. I certainly don't expect you to do it! Every year we get together with some friends and have a real feast (Blorpfest), so if you want to see what we've been making, keep an eye on Greedybots. We've got something very special planned for 2014...

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Vintage crime for Christmas

Short of a stocking filler? Here's something I think any fan of crime novels will enjoy: The Santa Klaus Murder, by Mavis Doriel Hay. The Melbury family have all gathered together for Christmas, when the elderly head of the household is murdered. But who did it? Could it be the youngest daughter, who is forbidden to get married and leave home, or her fiance? Could it be the unhappily-married daughter, her shell-shocked husband or the man she wanted to marry all those years ago? How about the secretary? There are plenty of people who could have killed the victim – he wasn't a pleasant chap. In fact, this story is definitely a 'whodunnit'. You'll probably guess a good deal of how the crime was carried out very early on, but working out which person actually did the deed is much trickier, making this a very enjoyable read.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Crinoline Robot's unfestive week

I'm an up-and-down person and of late I've been very much UP, which means bagloads of energy and enthusiasm for everything. Frankly, in December I need it. Last week I was very grateful for it as I'd got loads of stuff done and then got ill – I suspect norovirus. Oddly, I didn't feel that bad in myself – aside from the horrible stomach problems, it wasn't as physically sapping as a cold – but there was no way I was venturing outside the house. (Last Thursday night I spent some time lying on the bathroom floor as I figured it wasn't worth leaving the room to go back to bed!) Anyway, the fact that I was ahead of myself on the shopping-and-organising front meant being confined to home wasn't such a problem, and I was able to fire up the laptop and work from home a bit too, so I wasn't letting my team down.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Looking back at Christmas

December. It's like a whole month of Mondays. To work round the schedules of people at various factories, all sorts of things get rescheduled and I usually have two print deadlines in December. At least this year neither of them clash with the work party. However, one of them is usually pretty short, and that means late nights, which is not what you want when you're trying to organise presents and food and housework too.

Go, go, gadget organisational skills...

I now have a monster to-do list covering everything from individuals to post cards to and items to shop for (Bath Christmas Market is is full swing, which means hordes of tourists, which means I try to get into town early and do my shopping bit-by-bit before starting work at 9:30 to avoid the crush). It's doable. It is doable.

Anyway, because I have lots to do and time is precious, I thought I'd waste some of it taking a look at what some of my older books and magazines suggest, giving, doing and making for Christmas.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

For sale: brand new traditions

Happy Thanksgiving, if you're in the US! I must admit, I always think of it as akin to a British Harvest Festival (probably because of the association with crops) and so the timing takes me aback every year because it's about three months later. It must be nice to have something falling in November to prevent the slide into Christmas mania; here in the UK Halloween acts as a bit of a brake, and Bonfire Night slows things down a little, but after that it's nearly two solid months of CHRISTMAS! CHRISTMAS! CHRISTMAS! and it can all get a bit much.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Doom with a view - times two!

Aren't these covers smashing? Both The Cornish Coast Murder and The Lake District Murder are from the British Library's range of reprinted vintage crime novels, and were originally published in 1935. I know it's always considered a faux pas in reviewing circles to talk about book covers, but I reckon these ones, with illustrations taken from 1930s railway posters are wonderful: appropriate for both the time and settings of the stories.

Friday, 21 November 2014

There ain't nothing like these dames!

Just a quick heads-up: Dulcie Demure (who I've been having burlesque classes with) is presenting The Queen of Neverminditsnamia, an alternative panto, this December. Burlesque has its roots in cheeky stage performance, just like panto, after all. It promises to be 'A theatrical burlesque production set in a mystical land of wigs, corsets and bloomers... and maybe the odd sausage!' Performers include Dulcie herself, Peach Schnaps, Chili Martini and Miss Cherry Bomb, and there should be a sausage-smuggling prince and a highwayman too.

I've put it on my What's on in Vintage Wiltshire page, which also covers the Somerset border area, but that's in sore need of an update so I thought I'd blog about it too. (I'll crack on with updating the events this weekend, I promise!)

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Party frock angst

One possibility - my 1960s Evans 'Tweensize set

For the past few Christmasses work have given us all a bit of money towards team Christmas meals, so I haven't whinged on the blog about partywear since 2010. Now, however, we've got a party looming, and in the very swanky Pump Room at that.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Tea set for two

I've wanted a vintage tea set for ages. I don't know why. I do actually have one tea set, which my mum collected piece-by-piece when I went to university, using tokens from the local supermarket. That's 1990s - 1992, to be precise - so I suppose as far as some sellers would go it would qualify as vintage, though I haven't noticed a growing market for 1990s homewares in the same way as I have for 1990s clothing. (Tip: basically, you can't go wrong with pine furniture and slapping sun, moon and stars designs on everything.) Anyway, I've been kicking myself for the past few years for not snapping up a gorgeous Shelley set when I saw it for sale in Rolfey's in Bath.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Adventures in Burlesque part 2: When Doubts Attack!

As I mentioned a while back, I've been having burlesque lessons. If you spend much time on anything, it starts to matter more to you, and lately as I've danced more I've been really assailed by doubts. There are the obvious ones – I am far too old and heavy to be doing it, and when it comes to dancing I'm as well co-ordinated as a colourblind clown. Then there are the worse fears, that every idea I have has been done before, usually many times and in many ways. Bride of Frankenstein? Done. 'Heart Attack and Vine'? Done. It reached the point where I just felt the best I'd manage was ripping everything off haphazardly in about 30 seconds, bellowing, “THERE'S MY GROWLER, HAPPY NOW?” at the audience and stamping off.

(I might try it. I don't think that's been done before.)

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Peaky Blinders, series 2: costumes and more

Before I go into the costumes I will say this: if you missed the second series of Peaky Blinders, you really did miss out. It was so much better than the first - and that was excellent. It's violent, and nasty, and the soundtrack may not appeal to everyone (though I think the music of Nick Cave, PJ Harvey et all works even better in this 1920s show than Jay-Z's one did in the most recent film version of The Great Gatsby), but I loved it. It covers an aspect of British history, the history of the criminal and working classes in the Midlands in the early 20th century, that usually gets plastered over by Downton Abbey-style schmaltz. The gritty industrial settings are really impressive, and make glitzy locations such as the Eden Club stand out all the more.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Fiddlehead, Cherie Priest

I read a lot of steampunk, for both work and pleasure. This is one I picked up in an office move at work, and it definitely counts as pleasure. I read the first volume in Priest's 'Clockwork Century' series, Boneshaker, for SFX magazine, and really enjoyed it, so when I saw the final volume I snapped it up (both work as standalone stories). I enjoyed them both so much I plan to buy all the others.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Crinoline Robot's vintage week

Martian cake coloured orange with green tentacles
The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one, they said...
I've really been enjoying getting ready for Halloween this week. Last year I got back from Burma a couple of days before Halloween, but was so ill with viruses that I simply couldn't do anything for it. Let's face it, the workmates probably wouldn't have welcomed a lurgy cake. This year, it's been super just to put my terracotta pumpkin lantern in the fireplace, switch on my LED ornaments and listen to some cheesy seasonal tunes. And, of course, plan The Cake. I try to make one each year. This year I took my inspiration from 50s B-movies and made a Martian cake. I'm not great at decorating, so I went for a very easy red earth look, plus some marzipan tentacles and a fondant walker. Underneath all that orange-flavoured icing is a tasty chocolate and orange marble cake filled with chocolate fudge icing.

Monday, 27 October 2014

These Ghoulish Things: Horror Hits for Halloween

I know from my Twitter and blog feeds that I'm not alone in my love of Hallowe'en as well as vintage. This CD, which I bought from the CD stall at this year's Vintage Nostalgia show, has been on constant play on my iPod since this weekend, and if you're looking for something to play at a Halloween party I definitely recommend it.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

The look of Crimes of Passion, episodes 5 and 6

Yes, you read that correctly. In Episode 5, 'Dangerous Dreams', Puck goes to work as secretary for a Nobel-prize-winning author, and presumably has to adhere to conventional standards for professional ladies' clothes, because she wears skirts. They do suit her very well. She retains plenty of her practicality, however: when the family she is staying with are all dressed up for dinner, Puck is in a plain white shirt and beige pencil skirt. When everyone's sitting down at the table, this brings her visually in line with the men at the table, rather than the women. For episode 6, 'Tragedy in a Country Churchyard', she is free of the constraints of her job and returns to trousers, though they are looser than her lightweight, summery cropped ones from earlier episodes.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Sherlock Holmes exhibition at the Museum of London

Image (c) Kasia Wozniak, used with permission of
the Museum of London. Please don't pin/reuse!
Sherlock Holmes is having a bit of a cultural moment, so it's fitting that the Museum of London should have an exhibition on celebrating one of the English capital's best-known fictional inhabitants. It's running from the 17th October 2014 to 12th April 2015, and will explore real Victorian London as well as the world of the fictional detective and his transition from print to stage and film. Entry prices are £12 for adults, £10 for concessions and £9.50 each for 'flexible family' tickets.

Monday, 20 October 2014

The BBC's Gothic season

 In my review of the British Library's Gothic Imagination exhibition, I said I'd let you know when the corresponding Gothic programmes started on the BBC. Well, they've clearly put sod-all effort into forward publicity, because it starts tonight! (Seriously, why do they plan such good programmes and then not let people know the broadcast dates more than a week in advance?!)

So, while they might be a bit awful at putting out the schedules, here is one I've put together, for your delectation. Please note that not all schedules are complete yet, so I will update the list as more information becomes available.

Friday, 17 October 2014

The 39 Steps, John Buchan

I have a shocking admission to make: despite my love of vintage spy stories, I've never seen more than clips of the film versions of The 39 Steps, the novel that's often said to mark the start of the spy novel genre. My holiday gave me the perfect excuse to read it.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Outfit post: Sightseeing style

I'm not a great wearer of vintage on holiday. For one thing, I travel very light. I managed a fortnight in Burma last year with three pairs of trousers, two T-shirts and a couple of blouses. (I did use the hotel laundry. I travel light, not stinky!)

This year we're in Spain. If you've never been to inland Spain, know this: the Spanish dress well. And they are masters of co-ordination. The first time I went to Seville I was astonished by the accessory shops. The number of them, and the dizzying array of colours and prints... Here in Caceres it's quite rainy and all the ladies carry beautiful, high-quality umbrellas. I suspect they all own a selection to go with different coats! Spain is accessory heaven. Also, if you like marcasite jewellery, there's loads on sale in Spain, so you can get a 1940s look without a vintage price tag.

Here are two outfits from this week.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Adventures in burlesque

Exercise sucks. It's never actually finished. Like with housework, I find myself thinking, "What on earth is the point of doing this now when I'll only have all again tomorrow, so I might as well forget it for now and do it tomorrow." Tomorrow comes rather more often for housework than it does for exercise!

However, I do have to keep mobile or I start having trouble with my back and hips, which means I look for alternative ways of being active. For the past couple of weeks I've been having burlesque lessons. Dulcie Demure, a well-known local performer, is running classes in Bradford-on-Avon, just down the road. (I have even seen her dance, at Steamcheese in 2013.) Now the first rule of burlesque club is: you don't talk about people who go to burlesque club, so I won't mention the friend who invited me, nor say anything about the other attendees, except to say that they're all lovely, and all shapes and sizes and ages. It's a very inclusive club, and Dulcie is keen to ensure it's a safe space where everyone can feel free to enjoy themselves. Hence the first rule of burlesque club.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Get the look: Elisabet Matson's midcentury curtains

My final Crimes of Passion outfit post is in the works, but in the meantime, if you liked the look of the interiors, here's something you can actually buy!

I was really struck by some of the interiors in episode three, 'No More Murders', especially Elisabet Matson's curtains. Then, when I was flicking through Sanderson's website to see if they'd revived any more midcentury archive designs (they haven't, boo!) I realised that the curtains are from Sanderson. It's part of their '1950s Fabrics' range, it's called 'Seaweed', and was designed in 1954. There are four colourways, and I liked the teal/orange colourway used in the programme best. Sanderson fabrics aren't cheap, and the prints are large-scale so probably won't suit very small rooms (I couldn't use them in my little Victorian terrace), but if I had the space and the money I'd definitely buy them.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Bloofer Gent: Peter Cushing

If I were a vampire lady, I'd choose Cushing for my nemesis...
For the past few years, I've named a Bloofer Lady for October. ('Bloofer lady' being what the cockney kids in Dracula called the vampire Lucy Westenra, a childish version of 'beautiful'.) We've had Yvonne de Carlo, Elsa Lanchester and Fenella Fielding. This year, to even things up a little, I have decided we should have a Bloofer Gent, and have chosen one of my very favourite actors, Peter Cushing.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Wings [film]

Actor Richard Arlen had actually served as a pilot during WWI.
Today I went to see the film Wings at the Little Theatre in Bath. It was the first film ever to win an Academy Award for Best Picture. I've wanted to see it for years, and I loved what I saw - but it wasn't what I expected. Wings has always been billed as a Clara Bow film; the most popular film star in America at one point in the 1920s, Clara's name was top of the billing. However, it wasn't really Clara's film, and I think a big chunk of the Clara storyline could have been removed. Let me explain...

Friday, 3 October 2014

Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination [exhibition]

Georgian satires of the readers of Gothic sensation novels
The British Library's new exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination opens today. I went to the press day yesterday and it was wonderful. I love the British Library anyway, as I've used the India Office collections in the past for researching family history, and they've put on some seriously good exhibitions over the years. This one, as you'd expect, is all about gothic fiction, and it's about as comprehensive as you'd dare to hope for, moving from Horace Walpole all the way through to the present. I started taking notes on my phone because there were so many standout items on display I wasn't sure I'd remember them all, then I realised I was noting down almost every exhibit.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages [film, 1922]

It's October, and what does that mean? A month packed with things spooky, kooky and altogether, erm, vintage!

Haxan is a Swedish silent film with a good reputation, but it wasn't entirely what I'd expected. I'd anticipated a series of stories about witchcraft in different eras, and to a degree that's what it is, but it's a documentary with dramatic scenes rather than a succession of mini dramas akin to a portmanteau horror film. Benjamin Christensen based the film on his readings of historical books.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Embroidery complete! A pillowcase

Behold, a craft that is not knitting! I finished embroidering this pillowcase over the weekend, and while it's not perfect, I'm pretty proud of it.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

The look of Crimes of Passion, episodes three and four

It's time for another look at the clothes in Swedish midcentury-set drama series Crimes of Passion. (Here's my post on episodes one and two.) While there were some gorgeous garments for the ladies in episodes three and four, we'll come to those later, because there was much more to look at on the gents than either of the first two.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Get thee a spreadsheet!

The single most useful thing in my wardrobe is a spreadsheet. 'A spreadsheet?' I hear you say. 'That's not very vintage.' Well, you could get a proper old-school ledger book and keep a hard copy one. Whether you opt for digital or paper, though, and whether you're a gent or a lady, I promise you it will be fanstastically useful.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

The need for tweed

My favourite tweed suit. The hair's
changed, but the suit is the same!
Autumn is upon us! There are some things I really don't like about the season – mainly the rain and having to get up in the dark; I'm solar-powered and find it very difficult to get up before the sun does – but there are lots of things I love about it. There's Halloween, cold-weather foods like stew and dumplings, and the first squashes arriving in my vegbox. There's also the sheer delight of going to my wardrobe and rediscovering all my tweedy old skirts and woolly jumpers. Isn't that a delight? I certainly don't know any knitters who don't love digging out their favourite knitteds each winter; rediscovering something you spent weeks on and enjoying it all over again is a real treat. And there's nothing like tweedy trousers or a wool skirt ot jacket to pair with a favourite knit.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Random acts of shopping

New shoes and dressing gown
For someone who claims to hate shopping, I certainly seem to have been buying a lot lately, though without spending very much actual money. I've just got another dress from Boden – it was knocked down from £115 to £22 in Clearance – and is very Grace Kelly. It's a cappuchino brown broderie anglais shirt dress, and for now is providing the background to the bags in the second photo. I plan to wear it with my vintage beige Cooltimer jacket, ivory lace flats and the boxy cream midcentury-style bag, which I got for £2 in the Red Cross shop.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The look of Crimes of Passion, episodes 1 and 2

Christer, Dina, Puck and Einar (episode 2, 'King Lily of the Valley') in their wedding reception outfits
Crimes of Passion is a midcentury-set Swedish crime drama currently being broadcast on BBC4. I've seen it described as 'Midcentury Midsomer Murders', which is a bit harsh – Midsomer Murders really is the low point for me as far as crime dramas go; I love the cheesiness of things like Quincy and Diagnosis Murder but Midsomer Murders is just dire. For me, Crimes of Passion is more akin to Agatha Christie stories, which is appropriate as the books were originally published in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, though there's a bit of spice in the form of the Einar-Puck-Christer triangle. (Einar and Puck are in love, but you just know Puck and Einar's pal Christer fancy the pants off each other.)

Sunday, 7 September 2014

A trio of 1930s Oxford murder mysteries

If you love old crime novels, you'll know it's getting harder and harder to find them nowadays – it's been ages since I've found a decent stock of greenback Penguins, which used to be ten-a-penny. Imagine my delight, then, when Mr Robot and I nipped into Waterstones in Trowbridge yesterday and I saw that the British Library had started re-releasing classic crime novels from the past. There are currently eleven novels in the British Library Crime Classics series, and I hope there will be many more.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Is repro bad for vintage?

Does it have to be original?
I like reproduction clothing. It has lots of advantages: it's easy to find in larger sizes, or to get custom-made if you have special clothing needs (say, arthritis means you can't fiddle with poppers and buttons, or you need to accommodate calipers or supports). Usually it's made of fabrics that are easy to care for, and because you can get another one easily you're not going to bawl if you rip the armpits out of a garment, unlike a unique piece of vintage that took you ages to find and months to save up for.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Outfit post: looks very 1950s, is actually 2014!

A large woman in a park in a 1950s-style Boden dress
Woohoo, new dress! I got asked earlier this week if it was 1950s, and got quite a startled look when I said it was new. Yesterday I forced Mr Robot to take some pictures of me around Trowbridge

Friday, 29 August 2014

Crinoline Robot's vintage week

Another quietish week for me, with lots of vintage going on but nothing worth a complete post on its own (or worth it but lacking decent photos!) so I thought I'd do a roundup for you.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

The Coldest City [comic]

Cold War spy stories are increasingly rare these days - with the Cold War over, that's no real surprise. However, I love a good espionage story, whether on film or in a book. The Coldest City is the first one I've read in graphic novel form.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

1950s crime drama: Crimes of Passion

I am very excited that BBC4 has finally announced Crimes of Passion will be broadcast soon! I thought you might appreciate an advance warning, as it can be easy to miss good programmes coming up away from BBC1 and BBC2, and Doctor Who seems to be capturing the world's attention right now. I love Swedish crime dramas, I love old crime fiction, so what could possibly be more exciting than a Swedish crime drama set in the 1950s? That's all sorts of good things in one! And the first programme is being broadcast at the end of August.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Vintage as a pick-me-up

Sometimes I've just got to retreat into an old magazine...
Most of us get a bit down from time to time. I'm not talking about depression, which is a serious illness, more the sort of thing generally healthy people feel occasionally. I have to confess, when I'm in the sort of mood where I'm feeling like a failure, things like blogs and Pinterest can make me feel worse, because it feels as though everyone else 'out there' is just perfect, endlessly spurting forth creative marvels while holding down an amazing job and living in a fabulous home. No-one else seems to be fat, forty, and treading in cat sick on their way to make breakfast.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

A couple of Odhams 1940s knitting books

This week my friend Sarah - whose wedding cardi I knitted - got in touch and asked if I'd be interested in buying a couple of Odhams knitting books another friend of hers was selling, so I said yes. Today Sarah delivered them. She was wearing her wedding cardi! I'm so happy that she likes it so much.

These books are from the 1940s, and they're real classics. You may have seen similar ones for sale at vintage fairs or even own some. Susan Crawford has an impressive stack of Odhams knitting books. Unlike later publications I own, such as Knit With Norbury, there's a strong emphasis on knitting for men in the books I bought today, with extensive sections of jumpers, cardigans, socks, mittens and headgear for the chaps, though the war itself is never mentioned.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Goodnight, Baby

Lauren Bacall passed away on Tuesday. She was a Hollywood legend: beautiful, talented, and with Humphrey Bogart part of an on- and off-screen partnership that smouldered in many a classic film noir. The two first acted together, and she made her debut, in To Have and Have Not. That's not my favourite Bogie and Baby film, though it is possibly Mr Robot's, as he fell utterly in love with Lauren Bacall in that. Mine's a toss-up between The Big Sleep and How To Marry a Millionaire (one screen, three bombshells!). Like Katharine Hepburn, her wit and intelligence shone through in her performances, though she also had serious sex appeal – the quinessential film noir 'dame'.

In these days of endless celebrity dramas, one thing that stands out about Lauren Bacall is how notorious she wasn't. She managed her private life gracefully and privately, which is remarkable when you think she was only 20 when she first got married (to Bogart, her great love). Her fame endures not because of her beauty and talent, not her personal business. Some of today's stars could learn a lesson in graceful living from her.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

One owner since new - a couple of 1990s dresses

I was doing a bit of mothbusting today - I'd noticed a couple of the blighters in our bedroom and decided to refresh all the clothes moth killers, even though the ones I'd seen looked too large to be clothes moths - and one of the places I tidied up / checked contents for damage was my bedlinen trunk. As well as duvet covers and pillowcases, it's home to the few items of 1990s clothing I've kept.  I thought it would be fun to share a couple of favourites.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Giveaway winners / A Night at the Cinema in 1914

Trench Cake. Not in the Box of Robotness!
The Random Number Generator at has spoken, and it says the winner of the Box of Robotness is number 3, Vintagegal! Congratulations! Please email your address to crinolinerobot AT yahoo DOT com and I'll post your parcel to you. Thank you to everyone else who fancied winning. I promise I'll have another box for you next July. (Or possibly sooner, if I find enough fun things to share with you. Sharing is fun.)

Saturday, 2 August 2014

St Trinian's, St Trinian's, will never die...

Flash Harry in teddy boy garb, hanging out with the 6th form
 Ah! Mr Robot has just put up with me watching The Great St Trinian's Train Robbery*. It may be the weakest of the original films, nonetheless I enjoy it greatly. Many, many years ago, when I was just a little guttersnipe and we had only a black-and-white telly, Channel 4 broadcast the films and I loved them. That must date it to the early 1980s. Anyway, something about the anarchy of the films appealed to me, and does still to this day.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

A Night at the Cinema in 1914

Here in the UK a lot is being done to remember the start of the First world War a century ago. I've listed many of the events taking place close to me in my listing of What's On in Vintage Wiltshire, but something that's happening around the country is A Night at the Cinema in 1914. The BFI has put together a collection of archive films and newsreels to give people a sense of what typical cinemagoers in 1914 could have expected to watch on a night out.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Blogoversary giveaway: win a box of Robotness!

It’s blogoversary giveaway time again! If you’ve only started reading Crinoline Robot in the past year, here’s how the giveaway works:

To celebrate my blog lasting another year, I put together a box of stuff I really like (because if I don’t like it, why should you?). This isn’t any old tat, or stuff I’ve blagged, it’s carefully chosen old tat, and is usually bought or made by me. This year one of the items was given to me but as I already owned a copy it's going in the box. You leave ONE comment to say you fancy winning it. After the closing date, I put the number of entries into a random number generator, and the person whose number comes up gets the parcel.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Work In Progress: 1940s fair isle cardigan

As it's been a while since I shared some knitting with you, I thought I'd show you what I've been making. I'm trying to use up more of my yarn stash in order to make room for a sewing machine, and that has meant finding projects that make the most of the yarns I already own. I bought a bag of black 4ply ages ago, then realised that since letting my hair return to its natural colour, pure black is not my friend, and knitting with black 4ply is also deadly to the eyes. I decided to use the black as the base colour for a fair isle knit, as 10 balls of that plus some other colours would be enough to make a versatile cardigan.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The Man From the Diogenes Club [book]

The cover of The Man from the Diogenes Club by Kim Newman
Imagine, if you will, a blend of The New Avengers, The Prisoner, Jason King and Tales of the Unexpected. Possibly stir in a bit of Sapphire and Steel. You might just come close to imagining The Man from the Diogenes Club.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

The best museum I have visited in a very long time

Middle-class Victorian parlour
A trip to a museum is something I've always relished, and some of my earliest memories are of visiting them with my parents. When Mr Robot and I visited York recently, we visited York Castle Museum, and it is, without doubt, one of the best museums I have visited in some time.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Crinoline Robot's Vintage Week

Ooooh, I haven't shared a Vintage Week post with you in ages. I haven't finished reading a book or watched anything new to share with you, but I thought I would tell you about my general bimblings over the past week and beyond.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Bath: Georgian dresses, vintage tea rooms and a modern necklace

HOW low cut is that black dress? Ay caramba!
Today I went to Bath to meet up with my friend Andrea. The main reason was to see the exhibition of Georgian clothing ('Georgian: Dress for Polite Society) at the Fashion Museum. As you can tell from the title, the clothes didn't encompass the whole of society, just the posher end - whose garments, let's face it, are the ones most likely to have survived.