Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Christmas swag

 I hope you had a great Christmas! I've been a terribly lazy pudding and have done very little, but given how hectic the first part of December was, I think I've earned it. Considering my extremely basic outfit this morning, which didn't even include jewellery or perfume, I thought: Goody and Vix would NOT approve of this, and then I thought: but they're big on dressing to please onesself, and if I want to spend a week in slobwear, they'd probably say, 'Go forth and slob, O Mim.'

As always I got thoroughly spoiled, though I didn't get so much vintage stuff this year.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Outfit post: 90s goth

I dunno, you wait months for an outfit post and then I do two on the bounce. I'm not sure this qualifies as vintage, though some people seem to slap the v-word on 90s stuff nowadays, but it definitely is 1990s because that's when I bought this dress, from a stall on Snetterton Market.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Outfit post: secondhand special

Yeah, that's a scratching post
On my way into work this morning it hit me that I wasn't entirely convinced with this outfit. I had a yearning for something different, so got out a deadstock St Michael skirt I bought from a charity shop over the summer. I haven't worn it before as I really don't think it's me, but you know what it's like when you see 20th-century deadstock, you pick it up anyhow - or is that just me? It's got an elastic waist at the back, and I'm not a fan of those, but I decided the pale sage green top (BHS, also deadstock from a chazza but 21st century) would cover that. It would give me a reason to break open the khaki tights, till today still packaged in my drawer.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Crinoline Robot's vintage week

Woohoo! We've got the tree up and I'm finally feeling Christmassy - when the cats aren't driving me towards mogslaughter, that is. I've had to replace branches already thanks to Pippin hauling her fat furry arse up the Christmas tree. This is why I have unbreakable baubles. I miss putting up my glass baubles, but hopefully in a few years' time the cats will have grown up a bit and I'll be able to enjoy them again.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

My five favourite Bond films

Sean Connery as James Bond
This time of year makes me think of Bond films*. Once Christmas gets here, then it'll be time for Muppets' Christmas Carol (the rare version with Belle's song!), It's A Wonderful Life (Mr Robot's annual hankiefest) and the Lord of the Rings special editions, but before then something about the season makes me long for Bond, James Bond. That said, when ITV does show them – they seem to go through spells of being on ITV3 or ITV4 – the lot are shown in succession and there are some I always watch, and others I always miss. Frankly, life's too short to bother with GoldenEye. Here are my must-sees.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Up the Albert

At the weekend I got to go to the Royal Albert Hall! We were the guests of one of Mr Robot's business contacts; it was very kind of them to invite us.

Friday, 25 November 2016

1930s advice on colours

This morning I was doing some scanning from a 1930s book for a friend, and flicked through another book in the same box, Modern Beauty Culture. It was given to me back in the very early days of the robot, when I moved magazines from Simply Knitting to N-Photo. (Recently I moved again, to Official PlayStation Magazine. Stay versatile, stay lively!) I was flicking through it and thought you might like what it had to say about colours in clothing. One thing that I found fascinating was that in all discussions on colours, whether changing hair colour or choosing clothes, the eyes were the most important thing: "the colour of the eye must be considered, and never made to appear washed out. Beyond that, with a little skill and practice, the skin may be encouraged to meet almost any colour half way."

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

How to fix vintage photos

A pile of minimags
Erm, still haven't sorted out photos from my mum's party on Saturday, but I can share a photo of the surprise I made for her: little 'mini-mags', with a cover design similar to 1960s Jackie magazine. I got her to send me some old pictures but didn't say why, and then spent a bit of time fixing them up in the morning before work, then put them into a little magazine and paid Digiprint to print them out. It occurred to me that it might be useful to other people to know how I fixed the photos, as lots of us have old family pictures that have got a bit battered. So, here goes...

Friday, 18 November 2016

Five style lessons I've learned from The Avengers

Which show do you think is/was the most stylish on telly? Mad Men always seems to get a lot of votes, and I loved the look of The Hour - but those are programmes made now and looking back. Costume designers have had a chance to cherry-pick the best aspects of a decade's style and ignore the dodgy stuff. What about programmes set when they were made? Usually TV programmes are more down-to-earth than movies, but adventure series seem to be the exception. Even in a real-world setting, derring-doers are allowed to look glamorous. And so I reckon The Avengers has to be a contender for most stylish vintage TV programme.

As I'm still obsessed with the outfits Linda Thorson wears as Tara King, I thought I'd share some fashion tips gleaned during my watchings...

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

New Edwardian-style fireplace

What is happening to Casa Robot? It's actually starting to look pretty good!
This cat: Pippin. Note droopy, melancholy posture.
Our new fireplace has finally been installed. Yesterday the crummy old stained and chipped stone thing was taken away, and this lovely cast iron and tile one put in its place. I am VERY pleased. For one thing, we've had large bits of iron all over the living room for weeks, getting in the way. We had the chimney swept and got a safety certificate a few weeks ago, so we can use this one straight away.

We used to have lots of things on the old hearth - a jar for pennies, a laquerware tea dish from Burma - and a couple of candlesticks with everything else on the mantlepiece, but I'm reluctant to clutter the new one up. I'll definitely find somewhere for the tea dish, but the candlesticks may go in the attick for now. (I wouldn't get rid of them as they were a wedding present from a friend who has since passed away.)

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

The 1948 Ideal Home

The Oxfam bookshop in Bath has been quite disappointing for some time – green Penguins, the vintage crime ones, seem nigh-impossible to find nowadays, and I've started to suspect they are all being creamed off for the !*£@ing 'vintage' Oxfam store. However, I still feel the call of the shop every once in a while, and yesterday I turned up a couple of goodies that the staff clearly don't think count as particularly collectable. My big find was this 1948-49 Ideal Home Book.

My other bookshop find, a Dover book of recreations of adverts from 1920s Sears catalogues is less 'wow', but still incredibly interesting.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Crinoline Robot's Vintage Overload

Come back to our screens, Beresfords, please!
Actually, I think I'm overloaded with everything BUT vintage right now. Having got over the lurgy, I feel as though I'm up to my ears in things to do yet again, which is all my own fault because I hate saying 'No' to anything.

While I was poorly I did finish the knitting for my It Cannot Fail To Please 1930s jumper, though I still haven't sewn all the bits together. Perhaps the coming cold snap will encourage me to do that - being chilly is a good motivator for sorting out knitting, I find. Having rewatched Partners in Crime from last year on my sick days, I'm really hankering for some more deco-to-midcentury telly. I suppose I can always rewatch The Hour, I Tivoed that one.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Wonder Woman goes VINTAGE


Have you seen the trailer for the forthcoming Wonder Woman film yet? I missed the early announcement that three films were planned. Well, the first one was rumoured to be set in the 1920s, though that doesn't look the case to me. There's the line 'War to end all wars', which would suggest the First World War, as indeed would the costumes in the dress shop scene at the end of the trailer, and the badges on the planes. (I was a bit baffled by the way that all the planes in the trailer appear to be monoplanes; some were used in WWI though biplanes were more common.) I am so up for Edwardian Diana Prince!

If the rumours are still vaguely accurate, the next film is going to be set in the 1930s/1940s, which would be likewise brilliant. My only regret? That Wonder Woman is DC and Peggy Carter is Marvel. A Wonder Woman/Peggy Carter 1940s-set movie would be just about my favourite thing ever.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Happy Halloween!

Halloween cake
Halloween's my favourite holiday; I don't care if it's not something we've traditionally celebrated in Britain. I had planned to do a monster spread (literally) for work this year, but then I got ill last week. I soldiered on for three days, but on Thursday and Friday completely lost my voice and couldn't do anything.

I hate being ill. Hate it. It's so unproductive. I have no end of admiration for the bloggers I see who keep on going despite chronic illnesses. I just lay around on the sofa feeling sorry for myself. (On my sick days rewatched Partners In Crime; I'm more annoyed than ever that both that and Jekyll and Hyde got cancelled. There's very little in the way of decent deco-era programming on telly at the mo.)

Anyway, here's this year's Halloween cake, which draws on 2013's pumpkin patch and 2014's Martian - both those were pretty successful, so instead of being adventurous I went with what worked. I made a load of monster cupcakes too. I hope your celebrations, if you're celebrating, went more to plan than mine did. My piping skills (I piped the bones and tombstones from white/ coloured white chocolate) are improving to the point where I'm thinking of asking Santa to bring me some acetate and a chocolate thermometer so I can make patterned 'collars' for cakes. That's not at all a vintage technique, but I suppose I could turn some of my favourite vintage embroidery patterns into chocolate collars.
Monster cupcakes

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

The Mystery of Tunnel 51 [books]

Oh, what a refreshing surprise this 1920s adventure story was! The first in Alexander Wilson's series of Wallace novels, it begins with a mystery: a soldier carrying the plans for the British defences in India is murdered on his way to deliver them to the Viceroy, and the plans are stolen by the Russians. With no idea how the plans were taken from him without anyone noticing, let alone where the plans might now be, the Viceroy calls in the head of the Secret Service, Sir Leonard Wallace, and his second-in-command, William Brien. They fly across from England to solve the mystery. Car chases, secret tunnels, and even the occasional bomb all follow as Wallace pits his wits against the nefarious Levinsky.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Snapshots from the 60s

I want that dress. MUM Y U NO KEEP THE DRESS?
My mum turns 70 next month, so my brother, his girlfriend, Mr Robot and I are throwing her a party. This is the first time we've had the money to throw her a proper party, and I'm not sure if she's ever had one organised for her before by anyone else. Even her wedding to my dad was a fairly small-scale event. Because of that I want to make it really special, and so I asked her for some old photos, though I didn't say why. I can't say why here yet, in case she's reading this.

(Mum, if you're reading, stop snouting.)

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Tellybox roundup time

Have you been watching Victorian Slum? Two episodes have been broadcast so far, and see a group of intrepid individuals moving into a slum in the East End of London, living through conditions decade by decade, Back In Time For Dinner-style. I was a little surprised that Michael Mosley was presenting as he's not a historian, but he is very entertaining. So far the 1860s and 1870s have been broadcast. The people taking part include a tailor and his family, an extended family, a single mother, and a couple from the country running a shop, so a broad spectrum of the social groups who would have lived in a slum area is covered. One participant is an amputee, and says he took part to get an idea of what life was like for poor people in Victorian London.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Gisela and Mim get Kinky!

Three women in front of a vintage clothing stall
Gisela, Vix and me
Yesterday the splendid Gisela (Miss Magpie) came to Bath as Vix was in town - Kinky Melon were trading at Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair and we both fancied a bit of shopping. I met Gisela from her train, and we both headed off to Bath Guildhall for the fair.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Five killer plants from outer space

Audrey II from The Little Shop of Horrors
Feed me, Seymour!
Okay, not all these plants are from outer space, but that headline had you hooked. It did, didn't it? As it happens, two of these monster plants are from outer space, one's from the lab (in Soviet Russia, PLANTS eat YOU) and two have simply evolved to kill people because they're inherently mean little buggers (probably provoked by vegetarians - you never hear of cavemen having to worry about man-eating plants while chasing down woolly mammoth, now, do you?).

Here are five excellent lean, mean, chorophyll-green killing machines...

Sunday, 9 October 2016

1960s beaded bag from Bristol

Yesterday I met up with one of my steampunk chums in Bristol. She lives in South Wales and I live in Wiltshire, so Bristol makes a great meeting point - and the Gloucester Road has some fab charity shops (including a couple of specialist vintage ones) and all sorts of interesting places to eat, so that was our destination. It looks like there might be some interesting steampunk stuff going on later in the year, so hopefully I'll have some fun things to write about.

I didn't buy masses of stuff yesterday. I got a modern blouse - white with embroidered polkadots in black, beige and navy - that will be great next summer. And in one of the charity shops, rummaging through a basket of evening bags, I found this little 1960s number. I don't need another evening bag, but the sorry state of this one and the knowledge I could fix it fairly easily made me feel quite sorry for it. After all, if I left it behind, would another person prepared to mend the beading come along to claim it, or would it get more and more battered till it ended up in the bin? As it was only £2.50, I bought it to add to my mending pile.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Junk in my trunk

Pippin having fun on the new old trunk
Sorry about the recent silence. I always try to make October a bit special, but I moved into my new job on Monday - same company, same job title, but I'm now on Official PlayStation Magazine - and have been busy getting to grips with that (I moved in on deadline week!). In my spare time I've had a load of work from SFX and Horrorville. Busy, busy, Mim. Still, all that freelance keeps me in shoes. And, um concert tickets. I'm off to see both Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath in 2017. Is this a midlife crisis? If it is, it's bloody good fun.

It looks like Mr Robot and I are going to have a smarter, sprucer living room too by Christmas. We've been saying for a while that we'd like to get more of it sorted out – a house this old is one never-ending project – and the catalyst was finally getting the chimney swept a couple of Mondays ago. From the state of the knackered fireplace we're pretty sure a previous resident of the house burned stuff in it, even though there's no proper insert. Not knowing the state of the chimney, we've never lit a fire ourselves. From a clogged chimney catching fire to a leaky one spewing carbon monoxide into the upper rooms, fires aren't something to mess about with. We'd really feared that the chimney would need relining or repointing, but the chimney sweep said it was fine, and gave us our safety certificate, which means our plan to replace the fireplace is going ahead.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Bloofer Gent: Ralph Bates

George Phwoarleggan
I was looking for a lady for this year's Bloofer choice as we've had gents two years running, but then I watched The Horror of Frankenstein and decided only Ralph Bates would do as 2016's creeptacular crumpet. Due to his sadly early death, if you're under 40 you probably won't know who he was, and if you're in your 40s you might only know him as the star of 1980s divorce-sitcom Dear John and some biscuit adverts, but, like Led Zeppelin, Laura Ashley and kids' TV, he was in his best in the 1960s and 1970s.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

A sneaky look at my latest purchase

My latest new-to-me 60s clothes arrived yesterday - a matching skirt and top. This isn't my first 60s new-old-stock, but it is the first that will fit, so I'm going to have to remove this tag. 

Saturday, 24 September 2016

[outfit post] The woman who would be (Tara) King

I mentioned the Avengers character Tara King being one of my current style inspirations earlier in the month. Her wardrobe of brightly coloured miniskirts or minidresses and matching jackets really captures the imagination. Well, what do you know, within a couple of weeks, a very nice Taralicious crimplene dress suit had appeared on Kinky Melon's shop website for £35. And now it has appeared in my wardrobe.

I know, I know, I used to detest crimplene. I'm still not 100% convinced by how it feels under my nails, it feels a tad 'squeaky' to me, but Ann and Curtise have made me reappraise its potential, and actually, I do really appreciate some of its qualities, mainly that it won't need ironing (there is a MASSIVE pile of ironing out of view in these shots) and moths won't touch it. I spend so much of my time scrutinising stuff for moths, it's a relief to own at least one thing that won't ever be at risk of being munched. So sign me up to Team Crimplene.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Two go mad in Salisbury

Mr Robot and I celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary this week. (We've been together for 22 years now.) Usually we go away on holiday when our anniversary rolls round, but the cattery was fully booked, so instead of going away for a week we decided to make do with one night somewhere nice.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Reading round-up: Professor Elemental and more

Professor Elemental comic issue 5 - it's the final installment - came out recently. I'd had trouble with the Prof's shopping cart when I'd tried to buy issue 4, but this time it all worked well so I was able to get both at once. And what an excellent read they are. The only quibble I'd have about either one is that the text on the first story in issue 4, 'The Scarlet Woman', is often very small and I really had to squint to read it. (Loved the ending, though!) There's the usual blend of tea, adventuring, comedy and derring-do, and as always the comics are family friendly.

Look at the cover of issue 4 - isn't it fab? I love the graphic pattern all those cogs make.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

In for a penny...

Out and about in my pennies
Do you take your shoes to the cobblers? I winced a bit at my bill from Timpsons last week, as shoes repairs aren't cheap, but then I realised that for what I'd spend on a new pair of penny loafers, three pairs of shoes had been restored to a wearable state. I've been wearing my penny loafers again today, and enjoying how comfy they are.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

My current style inspirations

Some of my style icons are eternal – Morticia Addams and Her Madge The Queen – but other inspirations come and go. Here are the people who are currently inspiring my wardrobe and shopping selections. I don't deliberately pick fictional characters to be inspired by, but most real-life celebs don't have a 'look' that grabs me, Helena Bonham-Carter and Dita aside, so my influences tend to come from the television and films I've been watching.

Tara King 
When it comes to The Avengers, everyone always goes on about Emma Peel. Diana Rigg and Patrick MacNee certainly had the best on-screen chemistry and the most fun scripts, but when it comes to clothes, Linda Thorson as Tara King beats Mrs Peel hands-down. Forget colourful crimplene jumpsuits, Tara's sassy minis and knee boots are where it's at as far as I'm concerned. (That said, I'm still channelling Emma when it comes to hair.) I might actually try a pair of knee boots - one of the few good things about being an apple body type is that apples generally have decent legs.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Auntie Mim's vintage week

He's quiet. That's a good start.
I'm an auntie! My nephew Harry has arrived two weeks early. That's probably a good job as he's a hefty little monster already, and I don't expect his mum would've wanted to have an even bigger baby. I've ordered him a red cuddly dinosaur from the Natural History Museum webshop. It's washable, which will definitely be a good thing. If they're still running Dinosnores at the Natural History Museum when he's old enough to go, I'd love to take him to that. Papa Robot and I are conspiring to make sure he has plenty of steam trains and dinosaurs in his upbringing. (We'd have been exactly the same if my brother's child had been a girl. Steam trains and dinosaurs are cool.)

Sunday, 4 September 2016

The Nathan Jones Allstars Big Band Sinatra Spectacular

Yesterday Mr Robot and I had a fantastic night watching the Nathan Jones Allstars Big Band show 'Sinatra Spectacular'. I'm afraid photos weren't permitted, so I have no pictures for you, but rest assured it was great. The show doesn't recreate the look of Sinatra, rather it takes you on a musical journey through Sinatra's career, starting in the 1930s and coming right up to ol' Blue Eyes' last years.

Before each song, vocalist Vic Clements would talk a little about its history. It really was remarkable how many of the great songs were written in the 1930s. I found the talks fascinating, and it helped make the show so much more than the usual 'lookalikes' sort of artist-based production. This wasn't about faking a night with the man himself, it was about celebrating his music in a genuine and faithful fashion. The musicians were excellent. I listen to Sinatra a lot (part of my Friday iPod playlist) and I was very impressed with how they played the classic arrangements of the songs. When I first saw the instruments set out, I wondered if they really would need five saxophones. Yes, they did!

I'm definitely a fan of the first half of Sinatra's career, up until about the mid-1960s. The reaction of the other audience members suggested they preferred the later Sinatra; one lady behind us was happily singing along to 'My Way' and 'New York, New York' (which will always make me think of Gremlins 2...) The only duff note to me was the song they ended on, which is a great song, and one I love, but it's one that will forever be associated with another artist, and I wished they'd ended on one more purely Frankie, even if it had meant playing with the timeline a little.

My one other gripe has nothing to do with the show at all - it's that the theatre was half-empty. This show is selling out much larger venues in other parts of the county. TROWBRIDGE, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? It drives me nuts. People moan about how there's nothing going on, there's nothing to do in the town, but when they have the chance to see something excellent, they ignore it. And sooner or later the excellent things will stop coming to the town. THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS. Wherever you are, if something nice is happening near you, do go along if you can. And if you're in Chippenham, you'll get the chance to see this excellent show for yourself on the 10th of September.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

New 1960s bag - ta, chazza!

Last weekend Mr Robot and I had a good trawl round the charity shops. I was after midcentury china, for a little shoot I was doing for In Retrospect. As it happens I found a couple of lovely plates – both Midwinter, one Oakley and one Queensbury Stripe – that were perfect, though the shoot didn't go as well as I'd hoped so I'll be trying again this weekend*. However, the thing about charity shopping is that you can't really predict things; all you can plan is to go and look, and hope the Charity Shop Gods reward you. Shopping with a vague aim – 'midcentury china' this time – will always turn up something, but if I were to go out with the aim of buying something as specific as a particular china pattern, or a 1960s bag, I'd be disappointed 99 per cent of the time.

Last weekend was the other one per cent.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Something wicked this way comes

It's own-trumpet-blowing time again, I'm afraid – the latest publication to feature my book reviews is brand-new launch Horrorville. It's from the same stable as SFX and Crime Scene, both of which I also review for, so the editor knew I was a reliable reviewer with a genuine interest in the subject matter.* Long-term readers of the Robot will know I devote every October on this blog to things both spooky and vintage. As with crime fiction, I'm more a fan of classic horror than modern stuff on the screen, though I will read absolutely anything. I even have a playlist of vintage Halloween pop songs on my iPod! Horrorville doesn't really cater to the vintage lover, though issue 1 does have an interview with Fabio Frizzi, who scored a lot of Lucio Fulci's late 1970s/early 1980s horror films.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Stranger Things: a dream inside a nightmare

YES it's set in the 1980s and whether or not the 1980s counts as 'vintage' is a debate that will run and run till people start talking about the noughties as vintage*, but I'm going to talk about this 1980s-set horror series anyhow. In case you haven't come across it, Stranger Things is on Netflix, and the cast includes Winona Ryder (one of my all-time girlcrushes along with Helena Bonham Carter) as the mother of a young boy who goes missing.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

[outfit post] A sixties shift dress

Good lord, an actual outfit post!
You can say this for polyester – it doesn't wrinkle much.  I took these photos after a day at the office. I've got another new camera. After losing one on holiday, I got a Lumix at the end of June, and the zoom mechanism broke. It was supposed to zoom 24-75mm but wouldn't go beyond 41mm. Jessops were lovely, and replaced it like for like without any problems. So, here I am, testing out the self-timer. (Observation one: people with this many chins need to raise the camera a bit higher. Oh well...) Anyway, this isn't a camera post, it is an outfit post, though given my minimalist leanings, it's really a dress-and-shoes post.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Are you a winner?

You are if your name is SUNA! Congratulations, the random number generator picked your comment number out (there were 21, but one commentator left two, and Porcelina didn't want to be in the draw). Email your address to crinolinerobot AT yahoo DOT com, and I'll post your goodies out on Saturday, which is my next day for wrestling with the post office.

In general Mim news, I didn't make it to the steam fair as I was ill again. Headaches and nausea. Not sure what it was, but it seems to be departing along with the fair. BAH. It's Lacock at War this weekend, so I'm hoping I can persuade Mr Robot to drive us to that. I haven't made it to a single vintage-themed event this year so far, and it makes me feel quite sad - as nice as it is doing things alone, it's also lovely to be able to see people enjoying the same things too. (If you're in the Wiltshire/Bath area, click on the tab at the top of the page to see my vintage events listing for the region. There's all sorts going on.)

Well, here's something I enjoy: walking through the park in the mornings. Look at these lovely flowers! My garden doesn't look anything like as good as this, though I have at least been keeping on top of it this year so it isn't quite the appalling mess it was last year. Something to aspire to... I hope you're enjoying lovely warm weather and getting outdoors too, alone or to an event.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

A darker autumn look

Young Mim would have approved. (No, I can't
remember what the cow was for, but I still have it.)
For the first time in a very long time, I'm actually excited by what's hitting the High Street this coming season. I was looking at a press shot site earlier this week and was really chuffed to see so much stuff that Younger Mim would have adored: shedloads of Victorian-style blouses, including plenty in black, Biba-esque dresses in dark floral fabrics (Laura Ashley and Monsoon have some particularly good ones coming – that strikes me as quite funny as I'd put 1970s Laura Ashley at the opposite end of the fashion spectrum to Biba), and velvet suits. Yes, it warms what remains of my gothic heart.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Five vintage songs with Brazilian spirit

We're not going to escape a Certain Sporting Event in Brazil for the next fortnight, so in the spirit of 'if you can't beat them, join them', I thought I'd share some of my favourite vintage music with a Brazilian theme. Just click on the title of each to listen to it on YouTube.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Crinoline Robot's Vintage Week

Only the brave deserve the fair!

Yes, it's one of my favourite times of the year, the time when Carter's Steam Fair is in town. It's in Bath from the 6th to the 14th, though when I passed through the park on my morning walk yesterday they were already getting set up. Those beautiful vintage steam-powered amusements take time to put in place.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Tea Dance 2 [music]

Who's ready for another turn around the dance floor? I am, even if you're not. This is the second of the two Tea Dance CDs I bought from Past Perfect last month. (Here's my review of the first Tea Dance CD.) Stylistically, it's very similar to the first: polite, upbeat songs that suit an afternoon of tea, cake and foxtrots. However, it doesn't have the strong beverage theme of that collection.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Death on the Riviera [books]

All the other John Bude books I've read to date - all reprinted as part of the British Library Crime Classics series - were written in the 1930s. (If you want to read those reviews, I've read The Cornish Coast Murder and The Lake District Murder, and The Sussex Downs Murder.) This one was originally published in 1952, so is rather later than the others, and shows a definite shift in style. Whereas the 1930s stories were very domestic, all about murders in remote rural locations, this one sees the action transported to the French Riviera, a bit of sunshine during the post-war years when rationing was still in effect. The Riviera is beautifully described; you can almost feel the sunshine seen in films such as To Catch A Thief and it all feels almost impossibly chic.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Blogoversary giveaway!

Aha! July was NOT going to get away without a blogoversary giveaway. As always, I've got a pile of stuff that I think is cool to send to one lucky winner, to celebrate the blog making it through another year. I started it back in 2010, and it's kind of odd to think it's lasted six years. It's changed a bit, as indeed have I, but it's also still very much the same: I've tried to keep it non-commercial (if I ever lose my job, I'll probably take ads, but at the moment the Robot is run on a no-ads, no-freebies basis), and while I'll write about a variety of subjects, from SF to travel to food, I try to maintain a vintage angle on everything. And I've met so many brilliant people through blogging, it's been really wonderful. Whenever I think of giving up, I realise how much I'd miss them if they stopped blogging and wonder if they might also miss me, and so I keep on posting. Here's to another six years!

So, enough about the blog and blogging, what's in the box?

Sunday, 24 July 2016

1930s embroidery transfer brought to life

1930s embroidery transfer on a tablecloth
Okay, half-life, as it's not finished yet. I've had a hankering for a while to do some embroidery, and while doing my mothbusting I rediscovered a Wilkos tablecloth I bought to embroider. I know I should be finishing my knitted jumper, or working on some freelance, or doing housework, but yesterday I really wanted to do the embroidery, so I had a good look through my stash of vintage transfers and found one I liked the look of.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Crinoline Robot's Vintage Week

Been cooking retro food over at Greedybots again...
For once, I actually feel as though my life is vaguely under control. That's pretty rare for me. The garden isn't quite a mess, the house is more or less presentable, and I've had time to work on one or two personal projects. I've really been enjoying vintage gubbins lately, too.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Tea Dance [music]

My route into vintage was via the 1920s, and a love of silent films and the music of the era. I've dipped more into later decades in recent years, but recently felt the need for more jazz-age stuff on my iPod*. It has been literally years since I got some new-to-me music from that era. I used to be able to buy CDs from Duck, Son and Pinker, a shop in Bath that had the best selection of vintage music, and bought a lot of CDs back when I was able to browse their stacks, but since that closed down options have been limited. I'd got a couple of CDs on the Past Perfect label from Past Times when that was still going, so decided to order some more discs straight from Past Perfect.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Lady Rose Lion (Monkey Unicorn)

Have you been following Gemma's (Retrochick) #glamorousjuly project? I've been joining in when I can, if only because I think most people would welcome a bit of fun and frivolity right now. Today's challenge is to write a positive review to support a small business. And, as it happens, I've got the perfect candidate.

A lot of the 4160 Tuesdays perfumes I've reviewed have been too modern to suit my tastes, but the one I'd really wanted to try from the brand has proved an absolute corker. Many perfumistas have described Lady Rose Lion (Monkey Unicorn) as echoing the scent of a classic vintage chypre. I wanted to try it because it's got a peach note and I was really hoping that with that and the oakmoss it would be like Mitsouko.

Monday, 11 July 2016

How to moth-proof your wardrobe

Clothes moths. Horrible things. If your taste in vintage leans more to the 1960s and 1970s, when polyester and other synthetics really came into vogue, you might not care about them so much – moths have no taste for crimplene. However, if your tastes are a little earlier, or you're a knitter, or you're mad about felt hats, you will understand exactly why I hate them so much. Those tiny, flittering, harmless looking things can wreak havoc on clothes.

I'd noticed a few moths flitting about the bedroom recently, and while I wasn't 100% certain they were clothes moths, I wasn't taking any chances. I decided to give the wardrobes and drawers a proper-deep down mothproofing. It's a simple enough process, if fairly time consuming. 

Monday, 4 July 2016

Who wants a free 50s fridge?

Prestcold fridge logoSorry about the impromptu break. I didn't seem to have much to write about, and then the country went bonkers and I couldn't think of much to write (frankly, I felt like digging myself a bunker to retreat into until about 2026), hence my general silence. Unfortunately my garden was too overgrown for much excavation, so the bunker plan had to be shelved* and you're stuck with me. But I do have little things to talk about...

First up: anyone want a genuine 1950s Prestcold fridge? Pale yellow outside, turquoise inside. Though the external paint isn't pristine it's still got all its original drawers, and when we last turned it on (back in the 1990s) it still worked, though it was noisy and inefficient. We've been using it to store wine in, as it's lightproof and keeps bottles safe from temperature changes, but it's really taking up too much space for something that no longer works with our dining room design. It's free to a good home, but you'll have to be able to collect it from Trowbridge at a weekend, and you WILL need two people to move it. Contact me if you want it or have any questions at the usual email addy – crinolinerobot AT yahoo DOT com.
Prestcold refrigerator

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Looking forward in time to going back...

Are you looking forward to going Further Back In Time?
Oooh, what a feast of televisual treats we have to look forward to later this year.

If, like me, you enjoy retro-reality shows, you'll be pleased to note that it looks like the Back In Time programmes are going to continue; production company Wall To Wall is advertising for 'a fun, food-loving family to go further back in time', 'good young cooks' who are willing to 'experience working life for young women in the 20th century before the conveniences of modern technology' and a Caribbean family who 'will be given the chance to explore Black British History'. So I'm guessing that'll be at least three separate series, all of which sound exciting. The first sounds as before, but earlier, which hopefully will include the Jazz Age, but the other two could be even better, showing the working lives of young women and the everyday lives of black Britons. The latter is a subject that doesn't get nearly enough coverage, I feel, especially as light entertainment, and when black British domestic history does make it to the small screen it's all too often as an add-on to mainstream white British history.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Charity shop haul

 My local charity shops had been delivering slim pickings before I went away, and I'd started to think that they simply weren't going to have anything decent any more, but this week I felt the real urge to have a good trawl round them and it paid off.