Friday, 28 December 2018

I aten't dead!

 Merry Christmas!

I didn't think I'd manage to post in December, but here it is, probably the last one for 2018. I won't deny it, my December deadlines really kicked my arse. I had two three-week ones simultaneously (usually we have four weeks to do an issue), and one of those titles was new to me. Three deadlines in three weeks, in total. It was hard, and pretty much everything that wasn't work went by the wayside.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Photo fail...

I should have photos of myself in my new House of Foxy Evelyn dress for you, as I wore it to the Golden Joysticks awards last Friday, but the light in the venue was not the best! This is the best I've got, I'm afraid.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Two Lois Weber silent films, live

A rare treat for Mr Robot and I last night: we went to see two silent films at Chapel Arts in Bath, as part of the Bath film festival. We saw The Blot (all the photos accompanying this post are from that) and Suspense, both directed by Lois Weber, one of the earliest and greatest female film directors. It's not the only silent film showing for the festival, as Pandora's Box, Louise Brooks' most iconic film, is being shown tonight, but Pandora's Box is so popular I know I'll get other chances to see it on the big screen, whereas I can't say the same for Weber's films.

Monday, 5 November 2018

The retro style of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Given it was aimed at young people in the late 90s/early noughties, I'm guessing most people who read the Robot won't have watched Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I never really did - caught the odd episode here and there, but I was probably a good decade older than the target audience. Netflix has turned the old Sabrina the Teenage Witch comic books into a TV series again, and while I'm probably definitely too old to be the target audience, I really enjoyed them. Called The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, it's darker and more complex than the older series.

"C'mon Mim," you're saying, "The original comics might have started in the 1970s but is this really an appropriate topic for the Robot?"

Well, yes, actually, because one thing that really struck me is how the programme's designers have used retro styles and elements to create a strange not-modern-but-modern world.
Aunts Hilda and Zelda – Zelda channels a 1940s femme fatale.
No single element is authentically vintage styled, yet there's very little that feels utterly 21st century. Sabrina Spellman's vampish Aunt Zelda, with her Veronica Lake waves, heavy metal jewellery and slinky dresses, is a film noir femme fatale. (Quite literally fatale as she's prone to killing and resurrecting her sister.) Aunt Hilda, scatty and constantly making preserves, is a curious sort of midcentury housewife, with Yoothalicious blue eyeshadow and baby pink lipstick. You know instinctively that Zelda is the older and more dangerous, because of the vintage tropes the designers are playing with.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

The dress of dreams

We got our annual bonus at work last payday, and while I was sensible with a chunk of it, putting it in savings, and bought presents with some of the rest (work gets hectic in the run-up to Christmas so I like to prepare things early), I already had a good idea what I'd be treating myself to: the Evelyn dress in ebony crepe from House Of Foxy. Yesterday it went up on their site (I knew it was in the works thanks to their Instagram feed) and this morning I ordered one.

Thursday, 25 October 2018


Three volumes of The Pan Book of Horror Stories
Here's one to delight anyone who likes something spooky at this time of year (and if you don't, October is really not the month to be reading this blog because I love it): all next week – from Monday 29 October – BBC Radio 4 is going to be broadcasting stories from The Second Pan Book Of Horror Stories in its 15-Minute Drama slot at 10:45 am, repeated 7:45pm. There's also an omnibus of all five on Radio 4 Extra the following Saturday at 1pm.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Caro Emerald in concert

Caro Emerald live at the Forum, Bath, October 2018
Yes, I'm back! Did you miss me? (Don't answer that…) It's been a funny few weeks, and one of my magazines has been closed which made me pretty sad. When you create things, it's hard to accept they're not a commercial success, but people simply don't buy as many mags nowadays and I can see the business side of the argument. But last night Mr Robot took me to see Caro Emerald in concert in Bath, and that would cheer anyone up.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Bloofer Lady: Winona Ryder

 I'm dragging us into the 1980s and even *whispers* the 1990s for this year's spooktacular saucepot. She's still acting, of course; Stranger Things, in which she plays an uncharacteristically dowdy single mother, is a massive hit. But I want to salute the Winona we first knew, the one so many girls wanted to be, the Winona of Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands and Bram Stoker's Dracula, who dated movie stars and rock singers and wore a slip dress better than anyone before or since (and yeah, that includes Kate Moss).

Monday, 17 September 2018

Been to That London

The Liberty store, LondonSaturday saw me off to London again, to visit my friend Sam once more. Because we're about to go into my busy period at work, I probably won't see her now until the New Year. Of course, the British railways being what they are, I was sensible and pre-booked a ticket to get it cheap... and then the staff on that part of the network (South West Trains) decided to have a day's strike, so I had to get my money back and book a more expensive one with Great Western. And because part of the South West network wasn't running, everyone had to use the same route, which meant the train was heaving and I had to stand all the way to London.

I have travelled on trains in Europe, I have travelled on trains in Asia, and British trains are the worst. By far the most expensive, and definitely the least reliable.

Anyway, I got there.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

The fear of looking like a sofa

Most years at work we get a bonus; it's usually announced in September and given out in December. This year it's coming in the end of September paycheque, and it's enough that I will still spend a load of it on Christmas presents, but I can also treat myself this year. Years ago, when I worked on Simply Knitting, I used to write the 'get the look' sort of panels and trends pages (I know, someone trusted me to write fashion bits!) and still have access to a lot of press sites so can see the high street shops' big releases. Monsoon is bringing out this lovely jacquard trouser suit which I crave, but I'm not sure if the fabric – black with large blue flowers – will make someone of my squashy build look like a sofa. And the trousers are skinny, which I really suspect are a definite no-no. Augh.

Friday, 7 September 2018

New India-set historical drama for ITV

The old Cathedral in Kolkata
Yes, it's Kolkata. I haven't been to Delhi! (Yet…)
It's a little out of the usual scope of this blog, time-wise, but I know it's going to interest a fair few people who drop by the Robot from time to time. ITV's announced a new historical drama, Beecham House, set in Delhi at the turn of the 19th century before the British rule, but when there were a fair few Brits kicking around the subcontinent. It's written and directed by Gurinder Chadha, who's stated: "I grew up with Raj dramas like Jewel In The Crown, The Far Pavilions and A Passage To India. Beecham House is my chance to tell those stories from a British Asian perspective." William Dalrymple and Shahrukh Husain are acting as historical consultants, and filming started in August.

Monday, 3 September 2018

It does not fail to please

No, your eyes are not deceiving you: I have finished a knitted thing! The pattern is 'It Cannot Fail To Please', a 1930s design from A Stitch In Time vol 1. I started this back in February 2016, and finally sewed the second sleeve on last night. I guess if knitting things takes me so long, at least my hobby is good value for money...

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Simplicity 8246: the return!

 Over the Bank Holiday weekend I finally got round to finishing my second attempt at Simplicity 8246, a reprinted 1960s pattern. And this time I'm happy enough with it to wear it to work!

Monday, 27 August 2018

Cast on: a 60s cardigan

1964 knitting pattern from Woman's Weekly.
Is is a cardigan or is it a jacket? To be honest it's halfway between the two. Over the long weekend I decided I was finally going to cast something on for myself, and began this woolly from a pattern that was given away free with Woman's Weekly in 1964. They may have called it 'Clever With Colour' but I'm knitting it in mid grey with silver flecks. I thought the bobbles round the edges would acquire a 'world of tomorrow' look knitting in the slightly metallic fabric.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

A Peggy Page jacket

Last weekend I went to the Classic Car Boot Sale (see previous post) and despite promising myself I'd wait to see if my weight loss plan paid off before buying any new clothes, I couldn't resist this jacket on Kinky Melon's stall. It's actually several sizes too small – there's no way it's closing but thanks to my small bones it's fine across the back. It's very light in weight, so I plan to use it as a smart alternative to a cardigan rather than as a functional jacket. I haven't worn this dress for a couple of years as I've been worried that my tummy was too prominent in it, but looking at the photo it's not my stomach that's my most obvious feature...

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

The Classic Car Boot Sale

 Is it even a decent vintage fair if Kinky Melon isn't there?

On Saturday I popped to the Classic Car Boot Sale in London. It's held at King's Cross and Vix had said it's very good, so I was keen to go along to do a spot of shopping, see other vintage lovers and of course say "Hi" to Vix and Jon. I tried to look nice for the occasion in an original vintage dress, plus a cardigan knitted to a 90s pattern, home-made socks and black brogues. (I believe from the way the fabric handles and nylon zip that the dress is 60s, though it's more of a 50s shape. Probably means it was intended for the frumpier end of the market...)

Thursday, 16 August 2018

The Pincers of Death – Toby Frost

The latest Space Captain Smith novel has been out for some time, and I honestly don't know why it took me so long to buy it, or so much time to get round to reading it! I've reviewed all the previous books in the series (Space Captain Smith, God-Emperor of Didcot, Wrath of the Lemming Men, A Game of Battleships and End of Empires).

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Crinoline Robot's vintage week

Aha! The title is a con. I have not, in fact, been having a particularly vintage week. Like every month, I started August with all sorts of good intentions and everything fell by the wayside. Garden? A bit neglected. Home? Well, the effort that didn't go into the garden sure hasn't gone in there... I'm in one of those phases when getting up, washed, dressed in clean clothes and holding down a job is a success, and anything on top of that is jam.

So, what was the jam?

Friday, 3 August 2018

The return of Jean Patou?

Here's a little oddity for you: Fashion Network has reported that luxury fashion conglomerate LVMH is acquiring the rights to Jean Patou fragrances, and suggesting that the fashion house could be restarted.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Miss Fisher: the psychedelic years

So, we’ve a little news on the Miss Fisher front. First, the movie is going ahead! Last September I blogged about the makers of the show putting together a Kickstarter for a Phryne movie, and Screen Australia has reported that Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears will begin filming in Melbourne and Morocco this October. There’s been a real dearth of Jazz Age crime on telly in recent years, so I for one welcome that. And I know I’m not alone as the crowdfunding and money from private investors raised a million Australian dollars. There’s no release date so far.

So what will be on television now Phryne’s making the move to movies? How about a 60s-set programme called Ms Fisher’s MODern Murder Mysteries, with the central character being Miss Fisher’s niece Peregrine? Spyvibe reported on that a couple of days ago. On Every Cloud Productions' website we’re promised a stylish apartment, sports car and ‘cutting-edge wardrobe’. As for the setting, that's Melbourne, which should be interesting - I've not seen much on Australia in the 1960s.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

A day at Ickworth

Ickworth house
My friend Jenni was over from America with her youngest daughter (I'm godmother to both her daughters), so last weekend I went back to Norfolk to stay with my mum and see all of them. On Saturday we went for a day out at Ickworth, a National Trust property. We'd had really big storms (and some much-needed rain) the night before, but the day was bright and sunny, but nowhere near the 34-degree temperatures of Friday.

I'd never heard of Ickworth, but it's lovely. It's a Georgian Italianate building with a really unusual structure, two wings with a central rotunda. The interior was redone in the early 1900s, with electricity and lots of bathrooms installed. Oh modernity!

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Green with NV (nail varnish)

A few weeks back I bought some sandals because my feet swell up abominably in the heat. Then, because no-one's immune from peer pressure/the influence of the internet, I thought I'd better paint my toenails because everyone seems to think sandals with unpainted toenails are icky. Since then, they've mostly been pale blue with a blue metallic topcoat. The sandals are... need I say it, the colour that goes with everything I wear, because everything I wear is that colour... and the pale blue pairs up nicely.

Friday, 20 July 2018

Victory Cookbook

Like most of my local charity shops, my nearest Oxfam bookshop no longer seems to get in the volume of vintage books that it used to. However, it does sometimes get interesting books about history, and this cookbook caught my eye the other day. I own a copy of Constance Spry's Come Into The Garden, Cook, which was written during the Second World War, but this one was written by Marguerite Patten, a Home Economist for the Ministry of Food during the war, from a modern perspective, and I was hoping for a more... shall we say palatable selection of recipes.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Take note

Several notebooks with writing in
Do you have a weakness for notebooks? I admit, I do. A notebook full of family history notes. A holiday journal. One with the menus we’ve served when we have people round for a fancy meal, so we know what worked, what didn’t, and don’t risk serving the same people the same food every time they visit (that one hasn’t been used in ages; we’re so reclusive). A notebook for the book I’ll never finish writing. When we first bought our house, I started one for planning the garden. It’s been hardly touched since, but I’ve rediscovered some of the joy of gardening of late, and have picked it up once again to record what grew well this year, and what would be worth trying next year. I’ve recently started one to keep track of my sewing progress, complete with fabric swatches. Let’s hope it goes better than the gardening progress, eh?

Monday, 9 July 2018

Lessons from the moths

Vintage dresses in a wardrobe
It was too hot to go out much over the weekend, but that was okay because I found one of my moth traps had caught loads of the blighters last week, so I spent Saturday committing insecticide. I went through everything – not just my wardrobe and jumper cupboard, but the places I've stashed clothes I've outgrown but can't bear to get rid of, and the boxes of yarn I keep in the bedroom. I eventually found the little gits in part of my yarn store, and it was the place where I keep ball-ends from completed projects, so all in all it could have been much, much worse. Because I caught them early, most of it was salvageable.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Ready for the weekend

A tabby cat on a fence
Who's ready for a good hot weekend? I definitely am! The cats probably aren't, though at least their fur is very short. I feel quite sorry for them in winter, with their long, skinny limbs and short fur (we suspect there's Siamese or similar in their ancestry) but it probably means they're a little cooler in this weather. Even so, Ziggy picked up an infection so he's currently on antibiotics. Poor boy.

Monday, 25 June 2018

Shopping is no substitute for doing

'Shopping is no substitute for doing' is something I really need to bear in mind, as I've found myself slipping, as a novice sew-er, into a bad habit I had as a knitter: buying more things to make stuff without actually making stuff. That's why I have five plastic crates of knitting wool; I think Mr Robot will divorce me if I acquire the same amount of fabric. That said, I had to have this Liberty fabric. The pattern is called 'Rocket Dance' and I got it from Shaukat Fabrics. A few online stores have this pattern, but not many seem to have the darkest background.


Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Rolling Stones in Cardiff

The Rolling Stones on Stage at Cardiff
Last Friday* Mr Robot and I went to see the Rolling Stones in Cardiff. I've seen a few classic bands in recent years – ones younger than the Stones – and in most cases the years have taken their toll, especially on the singers' voices. On top of that, I only really know the classic songs from the 1960s and 1970s, plus the occasional hit, so expected the gig to be mostly me thinking, "That sounds good, I wish I knew it."

It wasn't like that at all.

Friday, 8 June 2018

A Quant of Solace

So, the V&A's announced its next exhibition, and it's going to be devoted to the work of a designer who shaped British fashion in the 1960s, Mary Quant. She wasn't the first to make a mini skirt, but by crikey she made them popular. She was an early worker with PVC, too - her 'Wet' collection of 1963 used it.

On the subject of 'Wet', garment from that are among the items the museum is hoping people can lend it. They're looking for stuff like early Quant with Bazaar labels, 'Wet' items, and mid-60s styles with Peter Pan collars (not sure I'll forgive MQ for making that particular piece of tweeness acceptable for adults, to be honest – did Audrey Hepburn wear one? Did Diana Rigg? That should tell you all you need to know.) Anyway, those, home-made - sewn or knitted - garments from Quant patterns, and more are all on their We Want Quant list. If you can help them, I'm sure they'd be grateful.

The exhibition is opening in April 2019. I didn't manage to make it to the Ocean Liners one (idiot Mim!) but I am definitely going to get my arse into gear and go to see the Quant one.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

New hair and bimblings

 I did it! I finally got my hair cut. I went for the Emma Peel as it's longer than the Scully, so if it didn't work out it could be cut into a Scully next time, whereas the reverse wouldn't be possible. Turns out, all it takes cut-wise is for everything to be the same length, and after that it's all in the blow drying. The hairdresser didn't get as much volume into the roots as I'd have wanted, but I did carefully watch how she did the flicks. And then this week I've been out and bought all sorts of brushes, sticky stuffs AND a hairdryer so hopefully I can recreate it myself. I've yet to try that, so today it's exactly like it was before the cut, only shorter, ie messy.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Sewing frustrations

Do you know the old saying about having to do something for 10,000 hours to be any good at it? I'm starting to fear it might take that long for my sewing to get good. And that I'm going to be making this one pattern FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Living Literature: Frankenstein

Last Friday Mr Robot and I went to an event being run as part of the Bath Festival. The Bath International Music Festival began in 1948, and the city has various other ones throughout the year - Literature, Children's Literature, Film, Jane Austen - but the music one has been rolled in with the literature one to create one mammoth multi-arts festival. The event we attended was a Living Literature one on Frankenstein. Mary Shelley polished the draft for Frankenstein in the city, and the book's 200th anniversary of publication is this year, so it was a good fit.

The venue was the city's original theatre. It became a Roman Catholic church, and has been a Masonic Hall since the mid-1800s (presumably around the time the Catholics got a proper swanky church with an impressive spire built nearby). I'd always wanted to see inside. And what I was hoping for from an 'immersive' literature event was something akin to Secret Cinema.

Er, what do I say? The event and I were not a good fit.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Off the top of my head

It’s work team photo shoot day next week, and I’m hoping to get my hair cut on Saturday. I haven’t booked anything; I’ll just see if any of the salons in town can take a walk-up, which probably says something about my general experience with hairdressers. I’m not expecting a miracle, let’s put it that way. I haven’t been in over a year, but it really is looking tatty with overprocessing and needs a cut beyond my usual ‘chop the end off a ponytail’ technique. I’m toying with asking for one of two styles this time.

Monday, 14 May 2018


Sorry about the radio silence. If you've been reading this blog for any length of time you'll know I'm prone to the occasional bout of anxiety and I've just been through one of those. Argh. A friend was having a bit of a crisis and I was doing my best to support her, and worrying about her triggered my 'WORRY ABOUT EVERYTHING!' frame of mind. Luckily I had last week off and was able to potter round at home and decompress, but I stayed mainly off social media. (Ditched about a third of the Twitter accounts I was following; that was definitely the best move.)

Anyway, there were good things in the past week or so. For starters I was able to get into one of my vintage dresses. I bought this Global shirt dress from Kinky Melon ages ago; I don't usually go into the 1970s style-wise but this is clean enough in colour and pattern to appeal to me. It feels so good to be wearing some of my original vintage again! I haven't been dieting per se, but I have cut out all snacks, tried to stick to salads for lunch at work, and have switched to herb teas (no milk) in the office, and Mr Robot did say my tummy looks slightly smaller. When the person who sees you every day notices a difference, it's got to be significant. We renewed our gym membership and one of the best ways of dealing with my anxiety is to haul myself there and drown it in treadmill-generated endorphins, so I shall try to stick to going regularly from now on.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Crinoline Robot's vintage week

The Circus, Bath

Maybe it’s the sunshine, maybe it’s finding a set of uranium glass dishes in a charity shop weekend, or maybe it's taking part in the #vintagefashionchallenge on Instagram, but I am really feeling my love of old tat right now.

 It was also Mr Robot's birthday this week, so we went for a really delicious dinner at a restaurant called Henry's, behind the Assembly Rooms (where the Fashion Museum is, if you know Bath). We both work nearer the train station and it felt like it had been ages since we went into that part of the city. It was lovely seeing the Circus in late afternoon. (If you don't know Bath, the curved terrace above is one of three forming a circular street, called The Circus, and it's just down from the Royal Crescent, probably the city's most famous street. They're not big on straight roads round here, which is ironic given how the city swanks about its Roman heritage.)

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Dusty In Memphis [music]

You know how it’s possible to appreciate the quality of something while not actually being mad keen on it? That’s how I feel about this, possibly Dusty Springfield’s most acclaimed album. It’s not bad; I can tell it’s incredibly good at what it does – Dusty’s wonderful, strong-yet-vulnerable voice soars and whispers, roars and breaks through the 11* soul tracks – but that’s not what I’d hoped for. Made in 1969, it isn’t quite the sort of 60s I love.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Uranium glass dessert bowl set

Five small green art deco uranium glass dessert bowls and one large matching serving dish.
You know when you promise yourself you're not going to get any more of something – you have enough – and then you see one you've just got to have? For some people it's bags, for others it's shoes, some people might accumulate tools or CDs or pottery frogs. For us it's plates and other food-serving items. And when we saw this uranium glass dessert set in a charity shop yesterday we just had to have it. Usually one or the other of us will be sensible enough to put on the brakes, but each of us was prepared to find all sorts of reasons why we should hand over £15 and take the bowls home. So we did.

Friday, 27 April 2018


I did some tidying to remove a couple of tags, so apologies if any old posts have turned up in your feed. Computers, eh? Rubbish.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Weekend sewing: peg bag

While I had planned to do more work on perfecting the top pattern over the weekend, on sunday I woke up and realised I'd left some laundry outside in the thunderstorm – along with the plastic ice-cream tub of pegs. Spreading the pegs out to dry, it occurred to me that for years I'd been thinking I could do with a proper peg bag, and now I have a sewing machine it should be really simple to make one.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Outfit post: here comes the sun!

And I still can't fit into my vintage, and I haven't got round to making The Top: Part II yet, so I'm wearing stuff I took on holiday, and modelling them in the oh-so-stylish setting of the fire escape at work. These wide-legged linen trousers are some of my favourites, because they're so cool and easy to wear. I don't buy into all that 'vertical stripes are slimming' nonsense; nothing's going to make me look slender, and the contrary part of me rebels at the suggestion I should spend all my life trying to be something I'm patently not anyhow. (Vintage magazines are very fond of 'slimming lines' I find, though the designs in Stitchcraft for stout figures still never go up to my size!) But I like stripes anyway.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Shiny new 60s shoes

It's no secret that I wear a lot of navy. I keep trying to tear myself away from it, but to little avail. I've got a gorgeous navy bag that Goody gave me, and for ages I've been looking for a nice pair of navy shoes. Maybe it's because I was looking in winter, but I could not find a pair I liked. (Admittedly my options were limited because I have wide feet.) Anyway, in keeping with my theory that if you don't get what you want, it's because life is about to send you something you're really going to want, a few weeks back I discovered Modshoes, and then they released their spring/summer 18 range with these beauties in. Perfect.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Go go gadget green fingers

a pile of Fothergill's seed packets, and a sausage roll on a retro plate
Planning my planting with a sausage roll...
When Mr Robot and I first got our house, we had all sorts of ideas about how we wanted it to look, and over the next 16 years or so… pretty much none of them came to anything! I even had a book where I planned out how I wanted the back garden to be planted, with lots of fiery colours accented with blue, because the garden’s south-facing and I wanted shades that would stand up to the mid-day summer sun.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Two current 1940s TV shows

Have you been watching Ordeal By Innocence? The BBC sneaked this Agatha Christie adaptation out quite quietly. I find it odd, both for the lack of fanfare and the time of year – And Then There Were None got a big Christmas push a couple of years ago. Without spoiling it for you, it's the story of a family - a couple and their five grown adopted children, one of whom is married. The mother is murdered, one of the two sons is accused and dies in prison... then, just as the father is about to marry again, someone arrives to provide the dead son with an alibi for the crime.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Sew and… no

(Apologies if you're fed up of my sewing posts; it's the only blog relevant thing I've done of of late - I'm sure you don't want to hear about the hours I'm putting in playing farming game Stardew Valley or my reread of the Dresden Files urban wizard novels.)

My Big Plan for the weekend was to get another copy of the pattern for the top I sewed recently, another fabric remnant and zip, and have a go at a full bust adjustment. I needed another copy of the pattern because for an FBA you need to cut out the pattern size to fit your shoulders, then widen it below to accomodate a large cup, and hey presto, a top with no gaping armholes or flappy fabric above the bust. But fate had other ideas...

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Jerusalem: 1940s-set espionage drama for Channel 4

Channel 4's not one I usually pay much attention to, Agents of Shield aside (and they've just taken on Gotham too, comics-to-telly fans) so I was intrigued by Double O Section's news that the channel is making a six-episode series set in the 1940s, about a British civil servant spying for the Americans. I'm guessing the series' name, Jerusalem, has more to do with the William Blake poem/popular hymn than the city, and notions of Englishness*, but with spies involved, the city could come into it, though everything I've been able to dig up on filming suggests it's being shot in England and Wales. 

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Is the vintage trend over?

As we're hoping to get a loft conversion, I've been paying more attention than usual to homewares, and it looks like the trend for shabby chic, 'twee' vintage interiors may finally be coming to an end. (Can you believe that the phrase 'shabby chic' was coined over 20 years ago?) I can't say I'm sorry to see the back of it; I nailed my colours to the mast back in 2012 when I ranted about why I hate upcycling. In case you're wondering, I don't hate recycling – taking broken stuff and salvaging the useful bits – I just can't bear people who split up perfectly good teasets to make naff candles, or cut up old books for papercraft projects, or paint and 'distress' perfectly good early 20th century wardrobes. Distress the wardrobes? It distresses me.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Little stitching projects

Did you have a good Easter? I meant to post but got sidetracked by my PlayStation. (Why yes, I am a middle-aged woman, not a 12-year-old boy, thank you for asking...) Anyway, before Easter I quickly ran up little bags with bunnies on and filled them with chocolate eggs for the members of both my teams at work, then popped them on each desk before anyone got in. On Good Friday itself I made 10 washable makeup wipes.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

New makeup for me - and for Agent Carter

Today I bought some new makeup at lunchtime. I feel slightly bad about it because I promised myself I’d use up some of the makeup I have, not buy more. But it was that or buy a doughnut, and I’m trying to watch what I eat (don’t know why, nothing I do seems to make me any less rotund), so on balance I’d probably have felt worse about the doughnut than I did about one new lippie and a new nail varnish. Then I got back to the office and discovered Besame’s Agent Carter collection has started shipping! Agent Carter was one of my favourite television programmes in recent years - female-led late 1940s-set Marvel? Bring it on - and I was gutted when it got cancelled. I guess the Besame collaboration shows people still think fondly of the series, even if the networks didn't.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

My first home-sewn garment


I've made a mostly-wearable garment using my sewing machine. No, this 1960s top is not perfect, but for a first project I think this top has turned out really well. I'll certainly be happy to wear it around the house, which is what I was aiming for. (Okay, I hoped it would be perfect and wearable outside the house, but I knew that would be asking a lot of a first project.)

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Shopping at the Vintage Bazaar

Last time the Vintage Bazaar was in Devizes I missed it - we go to the butcher in Devizes, and on that occasion we bought a bag of pricy giant prawns and I needed to get them home, so no shopping for me. Yesterday there was no such problem As I made sure we went to the Bazaar before the butcher.

Lots of the sellers had vintage fabrics and notions for sale. I hadn't expected to find fabric I liked, but I saw this blue rose fabric and liked it - then as soon as I put it down another person showed an interest and I came over all IT MINE! It's a very silky fabric, so probably won't get used much faster than the slippery silk I bought in India, but it's nice to have it for inspiration. It's got that late 50s/early 60s vibe I really love.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

The Parasol Protectorate [books]

I'd heard about Gail Carriger's 'Parasol Protectorate' quintet ages ago – it's one of the more highly-regarded steampunk series – but didn't get around to reading it till my trip to India. All that time on longhaul flights and trains meant plenty of opportunity to read, however, and I got through all five: Soulless, Changeless, Blameless, Heartless, and Timeless.

The novels are set in an alternate Victorian era, mostly in London, and follow Alexia Tarabotti, a young woman unfortunate enough to have been born without a soul. Her touch can turn werewolves and vampires mortal, and as she's soulless she's incredibly practical, lacking in imagination and able to tackle problems head-on. As she ends up passionately in love with a supernatural being, there are plenty of problems to be tackled.