Tuesday, 29 March 2016

A tale of three handbags

 They say when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade – but life seems to have a delightful habit of sending me vintage handbags rather than lemons. Last Saturday I went to a wedding, and carried a very special bag, this beautiful beaded one which was a birthday gift years ago from my friend Andrea. I'd never used it before because I was terrified of damaging it, but it's silly to have something and never use it. The wedding seemed like the perfect occasion to carry it, plus the multicoloured petit-point embroidery on the front meant it would go with whatever I wore. As it was, fairly early on I lost a row of beads from the bottom, but as they're plain black it will be a very simple repair job, and somehow knowing that had happened made me worry far less about what else might happen to the bag, so I could relax and enjoy the beautiful day.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Get Wallace! [book]

The cover of Get Wallace by Alexander Wilson
I hope you're having a splendid Easter. I've had a great time, getting big jobs like painting the garden fence done, making my own hot cross buns (more about that on Greedybots) and, best of all, seeing a couple of good friends get married on Saturday. I'll have photos of that later in the week, as Mr Robot takes much better photos than me so I'm waiting for him to process his ones. I'm annoyed with myself for missing the Shepton Mallet flea market; we want a wing chair for the living room and I'd meant to go, but then looked online and thought I saw the date wasn't till April. I suspect I was looking at the wrong event!

I've also had time to read. I spotted Get Wallace! when I was in Waterstones spending my birthday vouchers. I'd never heard of Alexander Wilson's character Sir Leonard Wallace, but the bright retro cover instantly appealed to me, and when I saw the line 'Available for the first time since the 1930s' on the back I knew I had to have it.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

The £10 Horrockses

Gosh, today has been awful – the news from Brussels overwhelms everything, and then closer to home friends have had bad news on top of that. I was in two minds whether or not to do this post as clothes seem such a meaningless thing, but lots of people wanted to see the dress. I also really believe that when things are bad, those of us who are able to need to fight that much harder to make things better, so when I get glum about NHS underfunding, I make donations to my local hospital, when I feel as though the world is full of hate I resolve to smile at strangers more and be more willing to trust people, and when the world is an ugly place, to make it a little bit more colourful and fun.

So, in the spirit of brightening things up a little, here's the lovely Horrockses I bought from Kinky Melon. 1960s, and very bright jade and white in colour. I did wonder if Horrockses had become massively less fashionable in the 1960s, as the length of the dress would have been far from trendy back then and it does feel a bit 'nanna', but I always enjoy a good bit of frump. Accidental frump is a sad and colourless thing, but purposeful frump, when you own it and stick two sartorial fingers up at the world and its expectations that you should be desirable or look available... that is wonderful.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Tape Five – 'Tonight Josephine' and Caro Emerald – 'Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor' [music]

Tape 5 Caro Emerald electroswing
I added these to my Amazon wishlist after asking for recommendations for more stuff in a Caro Emerald vein (see my review of The Shocking Miss Emerald here). Tape Five was actually recommended by Amazon. Mr Robot bought both these CDs for me for my birthday. It's probably something that happens as you get older, but I honestly can't remember the last time I got a CD without knowing most of what was on it, which is a bit sad – when I was a teen I'd gleefully buy albums (on cassette!) and get to know them. Even a song that doesn't hook you in immediately can become one you love if you hear it regularly in an album context.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

The Wife of Bath(room shenanigans)

 If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll know we've been putting some work in on the House of Robots. It's an old house and was ex-rental when we bought it, and we always knew lots of it needed work. Well, now we're contemplating one of the big jobs: redoing the bathroom.

To be honest, our bathroom needed replacing when we moved in about 15 years ago; there was a crack in the bottom of the bathtub and a whopping great chunk knocked out of the sink. But we had no money to replace these things, so we simply filled the holes with rubber sealant and lived with them. Now we can replace them, and you know what? I've been staggered by how much I dislike most modern bathroom options!

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Crinoline Robot's Vintage Week

Right! Time for a roundup of all the little bits and bobs I've been up to that don't deserve their own post. First, something that did deserve its own post, but got it over on Greedybots: on Sunday I made a couple of dishes from the 1959 cookbook Fun With Food. While the results didn't wow me, they did turn out rather nicer than I'd anticipated, and you can read my musings here. (Sorry for the lack of 1960s plates, I own no period-appropriate ones.) I'll definitely be trying some more recipes out of the book in future.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Digging in the vaults

Our battered 1990s chipboard bookcase made way for a lovely solid wood one today. (Finally, room for ALL the cookbooks.) I'm so happy that Mr Robot and I are rediscovering our love for our little home; we neglected it a bit of a few years, but I'm starting to feel proud of it again. The dining room looks lovely now, and I'm hoping to find the time and energy this weekend to make a proper retro meal from the cookbook my friend Naomi sent me. Cate blogged about the Shepton Mallet Flea Market yesterday, and I'm wondering if that will be the place to find the leather wing chair Mr Robot wants for the living room...

Of course, unlike that tatty bookcase plenty of old stuff is worth keeping, old blog posts included. I linked to an old one on perfume from Facebook this week, and it occurred to me that some of my older posts that people might like have got lost in about five years of content, so I thought I'd give you links to a few of them in case you missed them...

(From 1940s Good Housekeeping magazine)
What colours go with brown?
What colours go with navy?
What colours go with black?

A brief guide to vintage perfumes: up to 1940
A brief guide to vintage perfumes: 1940-1959
A brief guide to vintage perfumes: 1960-1989
Five fabulous flapper fragrances

How to repair torn armpits in a vintage dress

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

The Inexplicables [book]

I've just finished reading the fifth novel in Cherie Priest's Clockwork Century series. The great things about the Clockwork Century novels is that you don't have to read them in order, and as I haven't read them in chronological order I appreciate that. You can read one, or read them all. If you have read the later ones, it will give you an inkling as to what might happen in the earlier stories, but as each novel has a different protagonist and is a complete story in itself nothing's really spoiled.

This novel is set inside the Victorian city of Seattle, walled-in after a scientist's diggings released a deadly gas capable of killing people yet leaving them mobile, as shambling 'rotters'. (That's covered in detail in the first book in the series, Boneshaker.) In this one Rector Sherman, an orphan who'd got into the habit of selling and using 'sap', a drug made from the gas Blight, is too old to stay in the orphanage he'd grown up in, so heads inside the walled city to try to find out what happened to the dead friend who haunts him.