Friday, 14 July 2017

Aldi PANdemonium

This week instagram has gone all hearts-for-eyes over some pans.

We all crave a bit of Catherine Holm's classic and bold kitchenalia. Some of us obsess over Orla Keily's retro style homewares. But it was Aldi that got our heads spinning, thumbs double tapping and our wallets whining over their pans.

It's a standard joke that you nip to Aldi for milk and eggs and leave with a boot full of wind breakers, miniature fence panels, avocado slicers and heart shaped silicon egg poachers. I'm all in for some Aldi middle aisle action and this week I genuinely couldn't fit the windbreaker into the boot, because it was already filled with these gorgeous pans.

I first spotted them on Katie's instagram account, where she declared her love for a good bandwagon and with that, I was off! I needed eggs anyway.

Where my Aldi pan journey started

I pulled up just as I got a message from my lovely friend Jill of Alfie Robot Retro, she'd had a tough day with her new baby. But it was ok because she had just been and bought herself some new pans from Aldi. I replied, while giggling that I was just running into aldi to buy my very own. "Can you get me the roasting tin? They had ran out in mine." RAN OUT? Blimey. This bandwagon really was rolling... So I ran IN to make sure I could fulfil the mission. Pans for me. Roasting tin for Jill.

Now Jill can safely use her pretty pans without wrecking the Orla! 
Luckily for both of us there were only three items with the beautiful teal and blue flower pattern, left. Two roasting tins and one pan. That section of the middle aisle really had been sifting through to the very last pans. The plain white and mint green just weren't bonny enough for these Aldi customers. We ALL wanted the pretty blue and teal flowers, gazing at us as they scrambled our Aldi eggs.

Now, you can't buy something as beautiful as these Aldi pans without giving it a mention on instagram. Off we all went, getting giddy with delirium that the pans were selling out across the country and all us vintage lovers were busily snapping them up before your very eyes!
Delirious enough, in fact, to start some hashtagging daftness for them! #pandemonium, #aldifinds and #aldipansbandwagon (which initially caused a bit of a stir with a typo to make it #aldipansbangwagon).

I knew I was onto a sleep winner when I saw that one of my favourite #vintagegirlgang members, Jenna, had got herself some.

And tintrunk, who's one of my favourite vintage traders to follow (Cue girl gang membership coming right up!)

It was tintrunk's post that got the most comments, sparking an interesting debate about ownership of design and style.

We aren't daft. We know these pans are very clearly inspired by Orla Kiely's well known, well loved and VERY EXPENSIVE style. And it's this point that needs looking at a little bit.

My background is in the arts, where people are encouraged to be original and develop their own unique creative "voice". Orla Kiely, Little Bird, Cath Kidston; we all know their instantly recognisable designs. They are stunning and all obviously drawn to bold patterns, rich colours and childhood memories (hence why we like them so much). The thing is, they're all so bloody expensive! Not that they shouldn't be; they're highly reputable design houses selling quality products and with hundreds (possibly thousands)  of people working for them. But I want there stuff,  I want it badly... But I can't afford it *whinge bag*.

Aldi's kitchen brand, "Crofton", is making pretty design affordable for the masses, with this limited edition range. And we should be applauding them for it, not trolling them for robbing IP (intellectual property), which they have NOT, by the way.

I love mine and I wish I were quick enough to buy a load more. I'm convinced they will be collectors items in the distant future (much like my subconscious told me when I dreamt I'd read an article about this very subject). Should they be kept in their wrapping, then? Nah! I've already used mine to check out their quality for this blog post and I can confirm that the roasting tin.... Drum roll.... Roasts your vegetables.

So bring it on naysayers, I'm loving being on board the #aldipansbandwagon with all my vintage loving and creatively minded stylish mates. Now, I'm off to scramble my eggs, you want some?

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

#VintageGirlGang - Silly Gilly

If you use Instagram and you're a vintage lover, you're bound to have stumbled across the next addition to our #VintageGirlGang. 

The drool worthy Silly Gilly has been on my Girl Gang radar for ages. Her photos are glamorous, soaked in 1970s style and double-tapable until your loose perm drops out. 

Ladies, please welcome Gilly:

Talk me through your vintage journey? When did you realise that the past suits you best?

Until I was about 16 I tried to follow the fashion of the time in a bid to be 'popular'. It failed. Even as far back as the age of 12 I felt connected to 'the past'; I discovered classic films thanks to my school dinner lady lending me her recorded VHS tapes (remember those?) of the afternoon film on BBC2. I became utterly obsessed with Audrey Hepburn, Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire whilst my peers were more interested in Britney Spears. By the time I reached 17 there was a Sky Channel called Granada Plus and I became intrigued with 70's 'Coronation Street' and other British 70s shows such as 'The Professionals', 'The Cuckoo Waltz', 'Nearest and Dearest' and 'No, Honestly', to name but a few. Around the same time my mum opened a previously permanently closed wardrobe in her bedroom which was full of late 60's and 70's clothing and accessories and offered them to me. It was meant to be, and I have never looked back. 

The Cuckoo Waltz

What era suits you best and why? 

The 60's and 70's. In fact, someone asked me once what year I felt I was in, clothing-wise. I'm not a slave to any decade and I like to put my own slant on things, but I would probably say I veer from 1969 to 1971. I have tried wearing clothes from the 30's - 80's, but for my figure the 60's and 70's style just works and it holds the most interest for me print, shape and colour wise. I love how one day I can be a mod, the next a hippie, as they are styles I particularly covet. 

What's your favourite item of clothing/go to outfit? 

I have a 70's brown suede coat with a huge faux fur collar and cuffs. I adore it but I can't do it up anymore; I love it so much but try as I might, no possible replacement can match it. I think the coat is the most important part of an outfit...for a constantly frozen person like me it is the item of clothing people see you wearing the most, so a good coat is vital.

No matter what I'm wearing, I throw on this coat and I'm instant 70s chick.

What's your favourite vintage household item? 

I am slowly building my vintage household collection since being flooded on Boxing Day 2015. Much of it is reproduction but I do have one very treasured piece that was sent to me after the floods. It was a 60's orange vase in the hobnail style from Essentially Eagle Vintage's stall at Stockport's Vintage Village. My friend Lynn (A Vintage Habit) had seen how much I loved it and after our awful time bought it for me and sent it over to me to cheer me up. Every time I look at it I think how touched I was at such kindness, plus it looks blinking amazing!

We all love to look to the past for a bit of inspiration. Who's your vintage muse?
I take inspiration from lots of places, from my mum's style in the 60's and 70's (when old ladies used to shake their sticks at her for wearing short skirts!), from British 70's sitcoms, to vintage-loving friends who inspire me such as Vicky Brearley (go follow her blog, Vintage Vix!) However, it will come as no surprise to those who know me that my muse is Jefferson Airplane/Starship powerhouse vocalist Grace Slick. 

I became interested in her and her music about 5 years ago when it was suggested I resembled her in hairstyle (a fringe covers up a multitude of sins) and fashion. As soon as I watched a 60s performance of her singing 'Somebody to Love' wearing a dress she had made from a bed sheet,  I was utterly hooked. I love how she started off in her first band, 'The Great Society', wearing roll necks, mini skirts and gogo boots and then forged more of a hippie look with her kaftans before opting for 70's dagger collar shirts and flares in her latter career. In the 80's she dressed as wild as possible and didn't give a stuff what anyone thought. I love that. Nobody should feel tied down to a certain look; sadly there can be some snobbery with vintage purists. I wrote an article about Grace's Woodstock look for my husband's website, Clothes on Film.

What's your most desired item that you've not managed to get yet? 

My most coveted piece would be a 70's Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress with long cuffed sleeves and a stand collar, like the one Cybill Shepherd wears in 'Taxi Driver' (1976). 

According to my husband Christopher Laverty's wonderful book, 'Fashion in Film' (available in all good bookshops, plug plug), this type of DVF is called a 'Jeanne'. 

How do you find the people on the street receive your style? 

Really, really well. I am a primary school teacher and the children really love it when I wear crazy, bright-coloured clothes. I have educated them in all aspects of vintage! Funnily enough, when I first started at my present school one of the office staff later told me she thought we were studying a topic on the 1970s and thought my dedication to the subject was wonderful. It was only after a couple of weeks she realised it was my actual attire! It's lovely to get comments from shop assistants and every now and again someone will come up to me and ask where I purchased an item. Last month, I was nominated for and won 'York's Most Stylish Woman' run by Maude and Tommy, an independent clothes shop in my city, which was a huge honour. The best compliment though was when I was shopping in Aldi wearing my red 60s coat and yellow tights and a little old lady came up to me and told me how lovely I looked.

Where do you buy your gear? 
Anywhere cheap! My first port of call is charity shops with which I am somewhat obsessed - I can't visit a new place without checking out its chazzas. In York we have a Sue Ryder charity shop with a vintage section, in Selby nearby there is a vintage St. Leonard's Hospice and in my hometown of Stockport there is the original vintage charity shop, Barnardo's Vintage in Cheadle which is a gem of a place. They hold lots of vintage events and I was privileged to take part in one of their vintage fashion shows. In fact, Stockport has become somewhat of a vintage Mecca since I left the place in which I was brought up. There are some nicely priced vintage shops around the market place - 20th Century Stores has many fantastic sellers, including the wonderful Tin Trunk who keeps me in deadstock jewellery and Snygg has incredible 60s home ware. Also in Stockport is Pear Mill Vintage Emporium which is full of vintage sellers, some very reasonably priced. 

The highlight of my calendar however is Vintage Village at Stockport Market Hall, which takes place the second Sunday of every month. It's a super event and has the BEST sellers, including Kinky Melon's Retro Boutique, The Queen's Drawers the last! Yes, Silly Gilly Vintage made its first appearance at a vintage stall and there's no going back! I have been selling on eBay, Facebook and IG too which is where I make a lot of my purchases - myvintagebeau is great at finding me holy grail pieces like my recent pair of 70s St Michael 'Rupert' plaid flares!

This little interview with Gilly has been enlightening and a mini education. I feel honoured to be able to add her to my #VintageGirlGang and urge you all to get double-click happy on her Instagram feed.

You've well and truly earned your stripes, lady!

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Hull City of Culture - Part One - Paper City

Living over the river from 2017s City of Culture has its perks. Quick and cheap days out for a young family being the one I love the most. 

I had several people contact me about the upcoming Paper City exhibition, on account of my Masters degree in Book Arts. I hadn't known about Hull's history of creating paper until I read about this exhibition and I was intrigued by the materials suppliers being G. F. Smith, a paper suppliers I used when studying for my Masters and making books.

So, backpack packed with bundles of crisps as bribes for the boy and a Nana in tow, off we set. Over the river we went and followed the Paper City trail through the Humber Street area:

Adam Holloway's sculpture, through the handy viewfinder on the route map

"That one is for Batman, Mummy"

Lazerian's fish was so cool. The detailing was insane. 

The sections were all laser cut and these scales were beautiful 

As impressive as the fish was, Stan was more impressed with the Citro├źn HY. His Father's son. 
Made Thought's woven tapestry is MASSIVE and perfect for those happy family portraits ;)

The next piece of work was a little trickier to find, but definitely worth the hunt. Bethan Laura Wood's "Seaweed Kites" was perfection in paper engineering for me. Wood's considered the venue's history as a Smoke House, and suspended carefully made laminated and laser cut papers. They were so colourful and their lightweight forms swayed and turned in the breeze of the open door. I wanted to spend a lot of time in there, but the event was so busy we had to leave as soon as I'd taken these photos.

Richard Wood's red and white brick walls are dotted up and down Humber Street. Large sheets of paper are laminated to the walls of unused spaces. We'd seen these a few weeks before this visit, when Mr P and I went to see Primal Scream in Zebedee's Yard. But that's another story...

Stan said "This one is a touching one, mummy. There aren't any signs to say NO".

Jacqueline Poncelet's "Island Life" was in an empty shop unit. These paper folds were laid out all across the floor, leaving a thin pathway for visitors to walk through. The photo does it no justice. The colours were so vibrant they filled the room.

The bribe crisps had run out, so it was time for a bit of Stan time. He's a buzzing ball of intense about-to-burst energy, at the minute. So he needs a chance to use that energy up. Step up the permanent tilting cubes that are dotted along Humber Street:

A much needed pit stop at Thieving Harry's for scrambled eggs and Earl Grey.
We also bumped into delicious #VintageGirlGang member Gwen, who works there when she's not busy arting.

If you haven't been to Harry's, it's a MUST visit for some r+r while soaking up the Brick Lane vibes of Humber Street.

I liked this aged paper art that we found on our walk to Hull Minster
And why were we walking to Hull Minster? Well, you'll need to wait for the next Hull City of Culture blog post to find out. But it's worth the wait!

Aldi PANdemonium

This week instagram has gone all hearts-for-eyes over some pans. We all crave a bit of Catherine Holm's classic and bold kitchenalia. ...