Sink or Swim

posted in: Fashion and Beauty | 3

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I’ve been eyeing up Sink or Swim for a while now. Michelle is the creative founder and maker behind this brand; having begun her escapades with hair flowers and quickly turned her hand to making circle skirts for legions of pinups.

Like I said, I’d been lusting after Sink or Swim skirts for a while, what was stopping me? Well I felt that because they offered different and in some cases totally unique material patterns, that I should wait for something to come up that would be totally my own! Cue Christmas prints.

Firstly, what a genius idea, taking the definition of a novelty skirt to a whole new level. It started when I saw a post on Sink or Swim’s Facebook with a Christmas fabric image. My curiosity was instantly aroused. Moments later Michelle and I were pinging messages back and forth reviewing possible patterns (this is the moment to say thanks for all the patience).

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Photo evidence on hand, I happily went with a bright and traditional looking Christmas stamp skirt.

After a painless Paypal transaction that Michelle guided me through (I was a total Paypal newbie) the skirt arrived at the end of the anticipated two weeks, as promised.

The material feels fab and as far as I can see there isn’t a stitch out of place. There is no underskirt but the material doesn’t particularly call for one. At £35, this unique skirt was a bargain.

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I opted for a gathered skirt, which is a bit poofy around my waist but I actually like the illusion of extra shape that it gives me. If you don’t need your body enhancing you could choose a normal circle skirt, with the option for full or half depending on how much material you prefer.

The measurements I supplied match up and as I am tall I was grateful I could add a couple of inches to the skirt length at no extra cost!

All in all, whether you are a pinup on a budget, or a rich lucky lady who is sick of Pinup Girl Clothing prices; give Sink or Swim a chance. Not only is it good quality with affordable pricing; it’s a one woman escapade. Personally I love being able to support a clothing brand like that.

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Here’s to my growing collection of novelty skirts.

Plus a cheeky thanks to Frankie and Benny’s for letting me have an impromptu photo session after a delicious pancake breakfast!

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Blighty Bazaar

posted in: Fashion and Beauty | 5

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Having recently moved to Coventry I have struggled (aka been pulling my hair out) whilst trying to find ways to satisfy my love for vintage, rockabilly and burlesque. As a result, you can imagine my delight upon hearing of a vintage shop pretty local to me in Leamington Spa. Team that with the fact Blighty Bazaar was voted Best Vintage Shop in the Midlands and South in 2014 and remained a runner up this year at the Vintage Awards; my hope for some vintage loving in my life was rekindled.

Not only is Leamington Spa a cute town with regular markets and a tonne of coffee shops; being home to Blighty Bazaar means there are over 100 vintage and home-made stall holders located there. This vintage shop successfully brings together a mix of vintage, repro and kitsch all under one roof.

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I really was surprised to see vintage clothing alongside old tools, Alice in Wonderland tea-sets and knitting needles. The eclectic mix of goodies means there was something to catch my eye around every corner. I do have to admit though, I was slightly overwhelmed on my first visit! If I had known the shear volume that this wonderfully presented, almost market like space has to offer I’d have been making a lot of purchases! Consider yourself warned, it isn’t the little shop I had imagined.

From what I spied on my first visit; highlights for me included a bargain of a cowgirl shirt, a framed print saying ‘its time for champagne and dancing,’ plus a couple of ivory Viven of Holloway dresses that were again at bargain prices. In fact mostly everything I picked up seemed to be priced very reasonably or on the bargain side, which only feeds my enthusiasm for this shop. The good mix in pricing meant that you could pick up a cute pill box hat from as little as £10. For me the clothing and outfit accessories were the biggest lure. I really enjoyed the fact that an upstairs section was devoted to this entirely. However by including mens wear, tools, car models and other oddities alongside more typically girlie teacups, it meant my Boyfriend was also kept entertained here too.

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If you are hoping to support lots of independent vintage related businesses, Blighty Bazaar is an excellent choice. If you aren’t so locally conscious then no worries, but guaranteed it is a great way to spend a couple of hours on a rainy Sunday afternoon, as I did.

If you’ve read this post and know of lots of vintage delights in the West Midlands and Warwickshire area, then PLEASE drop me an email oldisnowvintage@gmail.com or gimme a buzz on social media! I need your help 😉

Happy hunting!

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Flare Path

posted in: Events | 0
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Jack Ladenburg

Flare Path delivers a no nonsense view into the 1940’s; utilising one simple yet effective set to capture Terence Rattigan’s wartime romance. With spikes of comedy throughout and a particularly joyous final scene, Flare Path does in fact unexpectedly follow a sad script.

Based in WWII, Flare Path captures the sadness and sacrifices of the men who fought in the skies, encased in Wellingtons and other battle crafts. From risking their lives in ever diminishing tour lengths, to hiding themselves away from their wives, Flare Path demonstrates a war torn Britain.

As well as the expected plight of the pilots it also demonstrates, the strange world women navigated as a romance comes into collision, but also through Miss Miller’s determined and independent pride at work and determination not to let her pilot husband get in the way of it, if she has anything to say about it – and she does… loudly! Countess Skriczevinsky, was my treasured character though. She has funny squiffy moments and touching times where she really stands up for herself whilst not being afraid to let her feelings show. I liked how distinctive each character was, a back story seemed to instantly awaken in my mind whilst each character was introduced and I enjoyed feeling included and part of the friends banter throughout.

The costumes were lovely, from polished air force uniforms to gorgeous day and cocktail inspired dresses. However it was Peter’s tweed set that was of most interest to my Boyfriend. Luckily we hadn’t managed a back stage tour or else it may have gone missing!

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I mentioned the banter and comradery between those on stage and this was just the tip of the propeller (like what I did there? ;)) The air force and 40’s slang used throughout came across as witty and charming, terms of endearment like ducks as well as tinkerty tonk goodbye’s were to be repeated by me for the next week!

Set wise, I enjoyed the voyeuristic pleasure of viewing the room as if we were hiding in the fireplace! It made for a real snooping affair. I also liked the clever way of demonstrating the flight path, although felt that more could have been done behind the window frame perhaps. That being said, the fairly bland use of the backdrop really excelled in emphasising moments when it was used.

Overall Flare Path was a good watch. It proved a pleasant change from the musically led theatre productions I usually frequent. It successfully stirs up memories for some, proves an escapism for others and for me offered a glimpse into wartime life – enforcing that I am most definitely a vintage inspired woman with a love for modern practises!

However, at times the plot seemed at odds with itself. As if it was unsure whether to take a sombre or comedic stance.

If you are looking for an easy viewing of war time characterisations, mixed with the constant threat of scandal then go and see Flare Path. I was fortunate enough to see it at the Belgrade Theatre, having not been before, and am looking forward to returning early next year for its run of Miss Nightingale.

My Vintage Guide to Barcelona

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Barcelona for me is a home away from home, well almost. My Boyfriend spent a year living in Tarragona, also in Catalunya, and we loved spending time in the amazing urban sprawl that is Barcelona. Anyone visiting Barcelona has to visit the most obvious tourist attractions including the Sagrada Familia (beautiful inside, but book tickets online beforehand to avoid the queue) as well as Park Guell, which features more of Gaudi’s work plus offers spectacular views of Barcelona. But you could read this in a guidebook. What about the vintage scene in Barcelona?

With only four days to explore the city with my family, I only had a few hours to spend shopping. If you are on a similar time frame to me then I recommend giving the following places a visit, as well as spending an afternoon mooching around El Raval, which is home to interesting and quirky shops. Without further delay, here is My Vintage Guide to Barcelona.

First up is a whole road! Online the consensus seems to be that Carrer de Tallers is the place to head for vintage shops, something Barcelona Liz kindly confirmed for me – after I sent her a whirlwind of messages once I realised I’d have some spare time in Barcelona. Carrer de Tallers can be accessed from La Rambla, making it an easy detour in any tourist’s trip. (Despite being famous for being famous, La Rambla makes its way into every tourists itinerary, mine included!) Carrer de Tallers has quite a Camden feel to it, with lots of punky looking shops cramed with studs and black, as well as a couple of record shops, each of which look at bursting point from the outside! However for vintage shops look out for:

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Camden Garage

Camden Garage

Instantly recognisable for a motorbike in the front of the shop, Camden Garage has a huge range of 90’s shirts, unisex Levis denim as well as some pretty startling corsets and bralets. Even if you don’t think 90’s is particularly vintage, take a look at those corsets, honestly some of them are straight from a sparkly hell – each to their own!

Retro City (soon to become VV – Vintage Vintage)

There was an interesting mix of clothing here for both women and men, mostly concerned with the mid-century style. I picked up a gorgeous coral cocktail dress, with the forever appreciated bra strap holders. It was priced at just 20 euros, but with a quick haggle I had secured it for 15 euros – nice! Interestingly they had a lot of military uniform from decades past, giving one wall an almost museum feel to it! Definitely worth the rummage.

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Flamingo Vintage Kilo

Flamingo Kilo Vintage

There is a lot of stock in this shop, with an upstairs section jam packed too. It has an overcrowded feel to it and they appear to stock everything from wedding dresses, bullet bras, hats, shoes and enough 80’s shell suits to make a platoon of hot air balloons. Following the usual kilo guidelines they charge by weight. They also have another store on Carrer de Ferlandina, which isn’t far from C/Tallers and might be worth taking a look in too.

Kling

Not particularly vintage, but a lovely selection of very cute outfits can be found here in the most girlie of colours! I really liked this shop but the pastels and candy colours will probably be a bit of shock, what with the other Camden-esque shops along this street.

Now to head away from La Rambla to a road called Carrer de Avinyo. Personally I used this as a pit stop on my way to the Olympic Port, which proved to be a great sunny spot, even though I visited in October.

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Wasabi

Wasabi

Just a small boutique but well stocked with reproduction brands, including Voodoo Vixen and Lindy Bop. They also had a sale rail with pretty good discounts, especially when you factor in the Euro’s to Pounds ratio! Definitely worth a quick stop in. The shop attendant was helpful and lovely.

La Veintinueve

This shop was very similar to Wasabi but also stocked Dolly and Dotty, plus Ruby Shoo. Just like Wasabi this shop had a friendly and approachable sales assistant. I also couldn’t help but notice how large their shoe selection was. As well as Ruby Shoo, they were stocking their own brand of swing dancing shoes that are made in Barcelona. There also might be plans for them to begin designing their own clothing and if their shoe designs are anything to go by, that is an exciting prospect!

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La Veintinueve

Goldie’s Clothing

Okay so not on C/ Avinyo but on one of it’s side streets (Carrer de Milan) is Goldie’s Clothing. The shop was previously called Cindy Bangs and when I visited it still had the old sign. It boasts ‘handmade gear for bombshells and greasers.’ I really liked all the reproduction clothes, but as it was the last stop before heading for my bags and making a speedy trip to the airport I sadly didn’t have much time. They do very cute bowler style shirts, accommodating for both men and women. Despite the time restraint, I still managed to get my hands on some bright red capris that are amazing. I also met Barcelona Liz who I had asked for vintage shopping advice from (leaving me feeling like an accidental stalker – I can confirm she is as lovely in person).

That is the end of my vintage shopping escapades in Barcelona and My Vintage Guide to Barcelona. There are a tonne of vintage and rockabilly style festivals in Spain as well as the Encants flea market in Barcelona, that I simply didn’t have time to fit in. Let me know if you visit any, or hell invite me to come holiday with you… I am missing the tapas already!