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Category Archives: Health and Beauty

Farnham Maltings (August)

Heading out...

Heading out…

Yesterday I returned to Farnham Maltings for their monthly market. You might recall from a previous post that I went to the June one.

Given the slight confusion that buying earrings in guy mode caused a seller last time, I made the effort to go in girl mode this time. I wore the Dorothy Perkins dress that I wore in the photos I posted to Flickr a few weeks ago, which wasn’t ideal for photos as I like to have a different outfit in each pic I post to Flickr. But this was the dress I wanted to wear (it’s very comfortable, fits me really well, and is very flattering), so that’s what I wore. If that means I have 4 photos in a row in my Photostream with me in the same dress then so be it.

I got down to Farnham in good time, although the dual carriageway down near the station was rammed solid as usual. I must try to find an alternative route in future.

The first surprise on arriving was that the Pay & Display machines in the car park are now active on a Saturday and charge £1.30 for an hour, and £1.40 for two hours (rising to £5.40 for all day). I guess that even adding on the 50p admission fee for the Market, this is still not too terrible but is obviously a big jump from last time when parking was free.

The second surprise was that, unlike last time, the Courtyard, Great Hall, the area behind the Great Hall, and another room (whose name I forgot to note), were all closed off and without stalls. This meant that the Market was probably about half the size of June’s, which was rather a disappointment.

Art Nouveau earrings

Art Nouveau earrings

I had a good browse, and talked to several stall holders. I don’t know if it’s a case of me being more relaxed and talkative when in girl mode, or the way people (especially women) react to other women, but people seem a lot more friendly and chatty to me when I’m in girl mode. People even smile at me.

My first purchase was a lovely pair of earrings in an Art Nouveau style. The seller wanted £30 for them and wouldn’t budge on price, pointing out that the stones were topaz and amethyst. It was more than I wanted to pay for a pair of earrings; in fact I think it is the most I have ever paid for a pair of earrings. But I thought they were really special so I reluctantly agreed.

My second purchase was a figure of a lady, around 10″ in height. The age and provenance are unknown, and it feels like resin. It’s stamped Annie Rowe on the base of the casting, and on the underside of the plinth it says “The Leonardo Collection”.

Leonardo / Annie Rowe figurine

Leonardo / Annie Rowe figurine

The seller was asking £15 and reduced that to £13 when I asked if it was her best price.

Back home again

Back home again

Some research on google once I got home has suggested that, as I suspected, there isn’t much age on this and it is of this century. eBay suggests that I paid pretty much the going rate. So that’s fine.

Finally I was all done – there was nothing else that I desperately wanted so I left.

When I got home, I changed into my shorter wig as I was a bit hot and bothered, and when I looked in the mirror I liked the look it gave me, so I took another selfie.

I didn’t really do much for the rest of the day – just lounged around taking it easy and watching telly.

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Eastleigh – Charity Shop Central

If you are into clothes shopping in charity shops, then I can thoroughly recommend a visit to Eastleigh. And if you’re not, then try it – there are some ridiculous bargains on nearly-new (and sometimes actually new) clothes to be had.

There are a disproportionately large number of charity shops in Eastleigh, in the area North of the Swan Shopping Centre (on Market Street and High Street, to be precise), and they are all really large stores too. I guess the rents must be very reasonable or something.

I’ve only recently discovered Eastleigh, having had until now no reason to visit, but necessity brought me there recently and I’ve since been back twice by choice. The first time I visited, I parked in the multi-storey car park at the Swan Shopping Centre because I didn’t know any better, but it’s worth noting that the ‘Pay & Display’ on-street parking on Market Street (and possibly elsewhere, but not everywhere) lets you park for free for up to an hour from 3pm onwards. You park as normal, go to the machine, and press the green button to get a free ticket for an hour’s parking. Do check the machine first though, because not all roads do this. For example, Leigh Street (literally round the corner from Market Street) does not.

Another thing worth noting, if you do this, is that the closing times of the various charity shops vary quite markedly. Some stay open to as late as 5.30pm, but others close as early as 4pm, so it’s worth bearing this in mind and planning your visit accordingly. I’d suggest that arriving at 3pm and getting your ticket at 3.01pm would be the sweet-spot, otherwise if arriving later then prioritise the earlier-closing shops.

Without exception, I found the clothes in all the charity shops to be clean, pressed, in very good condition, ordered by size, and very cheap. Prices seem to range from £1.49 up to around £8.99 for normal day dresses, tops, skirts, etc., with prices averaging in the £3 ballpark and with it being exceptionally rare to see anything over £4.99. Some shops have higher prices than others, but overall they are all pretty cheap. Prices tend to end in either .49 or .99, although you’d be pretty tight if you didn’t put the penny straight back in the collecting tin by the till (if paying with cash, obviously).

I picked up a number of tops and dresses in my visits, from brands such as Store Twenty One, Tu, Marks & Spencer, H&M, Dorothy Perkins and Papaya. None were more than £4.99 and one was little as £1.49, with the next most expensive £2.49

Tops

Tops

Favourite pick was this gorgeous dress by Dorothy Perkins, modelled by the lovely.. um… me. 🙂
It’s a size 16, which is a size bigger than I usually go for, but it fits really well and I’m really happy with it.

Dorothy Perkins dress

Dorothy Perkins dress

The only poor choice I made was this white linen dress by H&M. It was sold as a size 14, but when I got it home and tried it on it was way too small, in both waist and chest (in fact it wouldn’t even go round my chest without any breast forms). When I looked at the actual label I could see it was a Eur 40 / USA 10, which depending on whose conversion chart you look at is a 12-14 (predominantly 12).
It didn’t cost much though so maybe I will re-donate it.

H&M linen dress

H&M linen dress

In every shop I visited, nobody batted an eyelid that I was buying ladies clothes in guy mode, and everyone was very friendly.

Anyway, I just thought it was worth sharing the knowledge.

 

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Farnham Maltings

On Saturday I popped over to The Maltings in Farnham for their monthly Maltings Market. I’ve not been to one of these before, despite Farnham not being too far away for me. But a recent advert in a magazine mentioned that it has around 200 stalls of arts, crafts, jewellery, antiques, collectables and memorabilia, and that sounded like it was right up my street.

It was a quick and easy journey and after a bit of searching I managed to find a car parking space – the car park was pretty full.

There were some sellers with trestle tables out in the car park and immediately outside the Maltings, and I started to browse them when I suddenly realised that I had come out without my wallet.

A quick search on google revealed that there was a branch of my bank nearby within walking distance, so I walked over with a view to trying to get some cash.

So without my card or any identification, and armed only with the knowledge of my account number and sort code, PIN number, telephone banking password, internet banking password, inside leg measurement, and with my mobile phone in my possession (and whose number they have on file and could ring), I asked to withdraw money from my account. The cashier said that all she needed was my signature. Which, it turned out, they did not have on file, despite me banking with them for 25 years, because they had recently gone digital and hadn’t digitised their paper records. D’Oh.

All my passwords etc. were no good to them – all they would accept was my signature which they didn’t have on file. It was all rather Last Century and it initially looked like I was out of luck. Fortunately when the manager was called, she had the good sense to ask me various questions about my account activity which I was able to answer, including recent transactions, where my monthly salary payments came from, and eventually was satisfied I was who I said I was and authorised the cashier to let me withdraw the £50 I wanted.

The fact that I was in guy mode probably helped enormously in this case as it would have complicated matters enormously otherwise, as I would have had to explain why a woman with no identification was trying to access a bank account whose account holder had a male name. I think that if I had been in girl mode I simply wouldn’t have bothered and would just have gone home.

Anyway, I walked back to The Maltings and tried again.

Once I’d browsed the outside stalls, I headed inside and discovered that The Maltings is an absolute rabbit warren. It has several halls, on several levels, and also has a large courtyard and also several side rooms. All of these were full of stalls. Some were selling the usual Antiques and Collectors Fair stuff (and, indeed, there were some familiar faces from other fairs), some were local artists selling jewellery and art that they themselves had made, there was one stall with handmade leather goods, there was vintage clothing, new clothing, art, postcards, ephemera, cakes, jams, and all sorts. And being in many different rooms and halls meant that there was quite a bit of exploration and wondering if you had found everything. I loved it and will definitely go again.

Dragonfly earrings

Dragonfly earrings

One seller had some dragonfly drop earrings which I liked. She saw me looking at them and said that she makes them herself, and without really thinking I said that I love dragonflies and butterflies, and drew her attention to the little silver butterfly stud earring I was wearing.
“So, um, are these something you’d wear then?” she asked, slightly surprised. Rather than be embarrassed or flustered at the fact that I had said something out-of-gender, I simply smiled and replied “Well, not dressed like this. I’m disguised as a guy today. But when I’m dressed in girl mode then definitely”. She didn’t seem overly bothered by this, and merely asked if I had both ears pierced to which I said I did, and she just shrugged in a sort of “fair enough” kind of way and I bought them for £9.

Another seller was selling older stuff, and was playing 1930’s music on a period gramophone. It surprised me just how much volume it was managing to kick out, despite appearing to be purely mechanical.

Necklace

Necklace

Amongst the stuff he was selling was a necklace which caught my eye (pictured). It was unusual not just because of the shape and decoration, but because it was the same on both sides. Usually necklaces have a show side and a back side, so if they turn themselves round whilst you’re wearing them then they don’t display properly.

I asked the price, and he said £25 and that the chain alone was worth that. I asked if he’d take £20 and he said that he couldn’t budge at all on price. And he didn’t – I couldn’t get him to drop even a penny, which is quite unusual as you can usually get something off. But I decided to buy it anyway.

I had a good wander round all the stalls and whilst there was some nice stuff, there was nothing else I wanted to buy, and eventually I headed home.

I will definitely visit the Maltings Market again next month and this time I will make sure I don’t go out of the house without my purse or wallet (delete as appropriate).

 

 

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Jewellery update

I was at one of the bi-monthly (as in, once every 2 months) Antiques and Collectables Fairs at Sandown Park Racecourse on Sunday, and was looking forward to catching up with Amita Vetta of Love That Jewellery. Amita and I had already exchanged a few emails prior so I knew that she would be attending and likewise she was expecting me to be there too.

Swallows drop earrings

Swallows Swifts drop earrings

When I arrived I saw that she was busy, and indeed this continued for quite some time although we did see each other and managed a smile and a wave. But eventually she had a moment and we were able to talk.

She was keen to see what I had done with the conversion of the Pilgrim bracelet to a necklace, and also of the conversion of the earrings from posts to fish hooks. I was wearing the earrings, and we both agreed that they sat far better like this. The Centre of Gravity was completely wrong with posts which caused them to drag downwards, whereas with the hooks they hang naturally.

Amita was also nice enough to say that the necklace looked great when I showed it to her – I wasn’t wearing it because the chain turned out to be too long for the neckline of the dress I was wearing. I will have to shorten it some time.

Whilst we were chatting I suddenly interrupted myself and said “Ooh! I like those!” as I spotted a lovely pair of enamelled metal drop earrings in the shape of Swallows. Well, I’m presuming they’re Swallows – I’m no ornithologist. At £5 they seemed like a no-brainer purchase.

Amita also mentioned that she now has a Facebook page, so I made sure I followed that. It’s at https://www.facebook.com/Lovethatjewellery if you would like to follow also.
Incidentally, it also gave me the idea to set up my own Facebook page to complement my Twitter account, so if you’d prefer to follow me on Facebook rather than Twitter then you now can at https://www.facebook.com/hayllamas

I didn’t want to take up too much more of Amita’s time, as I was very aware of how busy she was, so I let her be after that.

Also at this fair I saw an unusual Japanese-style necklace with a butterfly motif which I immediately loved. Again, I think it is enamelled metal although, unlike the Swallows, it is dull and matte rather than gloss. I don’t know what the age and provenance of it is, but I tend to buy stuff that I like rather than getting too hung up on that.

Japanese necklace

Japanese necklace

Clasp

Clasp

Even the clasp on it was interesting. It uses a spring-loaded barbed tongue into a socket and has a square of enamel on it. I’m not entirely sure it is meant to be upside-down though.

The seller had a label price of £34 on it and I asked what the best price might be. She said the best she could do was £25 and I thought that was a fair price so didn’t try to haggle down any further than that.

The only downside of the necklace is that it is very snug on me and sits almost as a choker which I’m sure it’s not meant to. It’s probably designed for a much slimmer and more delicate Asian woman rather than my fat Western neck. I’m not sure what can be done about this. Maybe if I can find some similar chain I could perhaps extend it a little.

Another necklace that caught my eye was one with lots of flowers and butterflies (are we seeing a pattern here?), predominantly in green, with green glass pendants. I was in two minds about this one, but a price of £10 swung me towards a “yes”.

Flowers and butterflies

Flowers and butterflies

Butterflies

Butterflies

I decided I had bought quite enough by now, and fortunately didn’t see much more to tempt me, so left not long after.

The only other purchase to report on was one I made a couple of weeks ago at a small Antiques and Collectables Fair in Hartley Wintney. I bought these tiny stud earrings in a butterfly design. They are Sterling Silver (although I confess I can’t see a hallmark on them, so maybe they aren’t) but at £4 I don’t really mind. What is important is that they are my new favourite daily wear studs when I’m in guy mode and I absolutely adore them.


Update:

Apparently the “Swallows” are actually Swifts. I told you I wasn’t an ornithologist!


 

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Countdown to Comic Con

London Comic Con is being held at ExCeL London Exhibition and Convention Centre on 22-24 May 2015, and I’m planning to go on Saturday 23rd.

I’ve not been to a Comic Con before, and I’ve not tried Cosplay before either, so naturally I had to dive in head-first and do both at the same time. 🙂

I’ve long liked the aesthetic of Lolita fashion. If you’re unfamiliar with this style (and many are), then your mind will doubtless be influenced by the controversial book and film of the same name and might therefore think that this is somehow seedy or unsavoury. Nothing could be further from the truth, and it has absolutely nothing to do with that whatsoever – it’s very unfortunate that they share a name and hence tainted by association.

Lolita fashion is a fashion subculture originating in Japan that is based on Victorian-era clothing, and far from being seedy is actually quite chaste and formal. There are a variety of subsets including, amongst many others, Sweet Lolita (of which, in the cross-dresser community, the Sissy look is an extreme form), Classic Lolita, and Elegant Gothic Lolita (EGL). What I have in my mind is a mix of Classic and EGL.

Just as with the lighting for Project Reorganise, I did a lot of research and drew up a shortlist of candidates. Here’s a collage of some of them, but there were many more than this that I rejected.

After an awful lot of indecision and mind-changing, I eventually settled on this dress and have ordered it from Milanoo.com. It’s coming all the way from China and, since they are made to order, you can specify your size so it has a very good chance of fitting me. I hope it arrives in time! The delivery estimate is well before Comic Con but even so I will be nervous until it actually arrives. Especially since I have only had automated replies from them so far.

Credit: AveryDance / ebay.co.uk

Credit: AveryDance / http://ebay.co.uk

I also found a Cosplay dress on eBay by Avery Dance that looked sort-of ok and was a fraction of the cost, which I have ordered as a backup in case the proper dress doesn’t arrive in time. And, if neither arrive in time, then I will just choose one of my existing dresses and do my best.

Stiletto Doc Martens

Stiletto Doc Martens

I plan to wear my rather extreme Doc Marten stiletto boots, which is what will push the outfit into the EGL area of things.

I’ve yet to accessorise the outfit, but I think some lace gloves and some kind of hair bow or fascinator will probably be the way to go. I still have 4 weeks to choose these, but I need to start looking into them soon. Milanoo did have some nice accessories but I felt that they were a little expensive and that I could source something in the UK directly without the danger of import duty and the like.

I’ll post an update nearer to the time, once everything has arrived and I have put the outfit together.

Finally, the one that got away – I really liked this dress by the Japanese brand Mary Magdalene (link goes to a Japanese language website), but unfortunately it is not a current dress and I could not find a stockist for it.

 
 

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Jewellery making

I’ve had in the back of my mind for a while now a few ideas for some modifications I wanted to make to some jewellery, and recently I decided to actually do them. My ex used to make jewellery, long before I met her, and had a box of ‘odds & sods’ which she left when she moved out, which I thought might be useful.

The project was to take the charms off a “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” Rainbow Dash charm bracelet, and use them to make a pair of earrings and a necklace. I like the charms but find the bracelet a little chunky, and thought that they would really work as a pair of dangly earrings and a subtle pendant necklace.

My Little Pony: Jewellery is Magic

My Little Pony: Jewellery is Magic

Using two pairs of needle-nosed piers, I gently opened up the rings that held each of the charms to the bracelet. Then I attached standard earring hook wires to make the earrings and then closed up the rings. It was ridiculously easy. Then, to make the necklace, I removed the pendant from one of the necklaces I was throwing out and attached the charm to it instead. Again, it wasn’t really rocket science.

I’m quite pleased with how this ended up.

This charm bracelet, and the matching necklace, are part of a bulk order I made from Claire’s USA, at a time when Claire’s UK weren’t stocking them yet, and I bought a number of each (5 or 6 of each, I think). The plan had been to get them up on eBay and cash in, but I was a bit lazy and never got round to it, and now Claire’s UK are stocking them and I’m a little stuck with them. So I might actually repeat this conversion and see if it generates interest on eBay in this form. It’s worth trying at least once to test the water. If it sells well then I can repeat the process, and if it doesn’t then I may as well hold on to them until they are out of production. We’ll see.

Bracelet and donor necklace

Bracelet and donor necklace

The second project was to convert a bracelet into a necklace. Back in January I bought a lovely earring and jewellery set by Pilgrim from Amita Vetta of Love That Jewellery, and although I love them, I really think that the bracelet would make for a much better necklace.

After looking closely at the bracelet, I could see that one side would be trivial to convert but the other side (the side with the lobster clasp) would be far more problematic as the bracelet attaches directly to it via thread.

Lobster clasp

Lobster clasp

Snipping the thread and carefully retaining the beads, I rummaged through the “odds & sods” box and found some wire. I also found an eye rod, which looked useful.

Eye rod

Eye rod

After a bit of trial and error, I came up with a fairly passable solution using the eye rod. Unfortunately, I was a little clumsy with bending it round the loop of one of the flower ‘petals’ and ended up breaking it on one side (you can just about see it in the pic) so carefully bent it back into shape and attached the rod to a different petal instead.

Damage barely visible

Damage barely visible

The chain I took from another necklace that I don’t like any more and the ends of the necklace easily attached to the two ends of the bracelet. Then as a final touch I attached the “Pilgrim – Danish Design” tag to the end of the necklace.

The end result is something I’m pretty happy with, although the asymmetry of having a rod on one side, and thread on the other side, is a little annoying to me. I may yet revisit this necklace and re-do it, but for now it will do.

The earrings of the set use posts, and these tend to pull my ears and make them sore, so I made a visit to a craft shop to get some more ear hooks (since it turned out there were only 3 in the “odds & sods” box) and whilst I was there I bought some round nosed pliers. What a difference those made – a real case of a job being so much easier when you have the right tools for the job. It was a simple matter to snip off the post fittings (which turned them into a handy set of stud earrings) and then attach fish hooks using the round nosed pliers. Job done.

The finished set

The finished set

I quite enjoyed doing all this, so it’s possible that I may do more. When I visit Antiques & Collectables shows there are often entire boxes of loose jewellery to rummage through, which are sold as essentially “for spares or repair”. Also you often see loose charms from charm bracelets, which might lend themselves to earring-making too. Something to ponder on, I think.

 

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Project Reorganise: The delivery

As I mentioned previously, the bed and the furniture were due to arrive last weekend and I was going all out to get my bedroom cleared in time. Fortunately I achieved that goal and by Wednesday evening the room was cleared, hoovered, and ready. With the room clear I could see that the carpet was rather worn and could really do with being replaced but it was entirely too late by then.

On Friday late afternoon just after I got home from work, the bed arrived as scheduled and was assembled without any fuss or bother.

The furniture was due the next day and since I had ordered it in girl mode, I thought I might as well receive it in girl mode. Not that the delivery guys would have given two hoots either way, of course, but I thought it would be appropriate and fun.

I didn’t know what time they would be arriving, and decided I wouldn’t bust a gut to get up early – I would get up when I did, and if it meant that I was awoken by them arriving then I’d just pull on a t-shirt and joggers and open the door in guy mode.

Au naturel

Au naturel

As it happened, I awoke before they arrived. I decided I would just go for minimal make up – just foundation, a little eyebrow pencil, some mascara, and some lippy. Just as well really, because I had just got that done and my wig on, and was just brushing it, when the doorbell rang! If they had arrived when I was in the middle of things that would have been the worst possible scenario, and one I had not thought of.

It's going to be tight

It’s going to be tight

There were two guys, and they chose to do the hardest item first – the 7-drawer low wide chest of drawers. The route involved coming in the front door, turning right along the hallway, then a 180° turn to get up the stairs. It was very, very tight. They had to tip the whole unit vertically, and it only just cleared the ceiling on the mini-landing at the foot of the stairs (pictured). Then they had to tip it forward parallel to the stairs and there were literally millimetres of clearance on the ceiling. I’m not sure what we would have done had it not fit.

The rest of the furniture went up without any problems and in no time at all it was all done and the guys left me to it.

I did a little organising, and then decided to go out for a while. I added a little eye shadow and some eye liner to my make up, and then left the house. Whilst I was out I was a victim of rather an unpleasant road rage incident where the other driver was trying to force me to stop by trying to cut me up and block me to a halt so that he could remonstrate with me, but I don’t really want to go into that on a public forum. Sufficient to say that I eluded him each time and eventually lost him. But I learned an important lesson that it is even more important not to rile other drivers when you are a woman than it is when you’re a man. Until that incident I would have predicted that the reverse was true – that a man would be more aggressive towards another man, but it would seem not. Very scary.

Shorter, comfier

Shorter, comfier

When I got back home, my longer hair was really annoying me but I wanted to stay in girl mode, so I swapped to my older, shorter, wig which you’ll have seen many times in my photos in the past. I haven’t worn it since buying my new wigs, so it was nice to go back to it.

I spent the rest of the evening doing this & that, and then had an early night. For once I didn’t take all my make up off – I removed my foundation and lippy but left my eyes, with a view to getting back into girl mode the next day.

The next day, I got into girl mode again and headed over to Woking for a Take Five Flea & Collectables fair. Amita Vetta of Love That Jewellery was there again and she instantly recognised me, and we had a nice little chat. And the guy who does the Swing style singing was there too, only I have only ever talked to him in guy mode, which made me realise that I should really make an effort to always go to these things in girl mode even if I don’t feel like it because it is good to build up relationships with people.

Necklace

Necklace

This was especially true when I got chatting to another seller who I have previously bought a necklace from, because she remembered me buying it and also remarked how lovely the necklace I was wearing was (it was the same as on Saturday, pictured). I saw she was selling a necklace I liked the look of, and I thought the price of £15 she was asking was reasonable so bought it. I really should stop buying necklaces or I will have to declare myself a collector of those too! I told her as much and she laughed and said that was how she started as well and if I wasn’t careful I would be opening a stall like her. 🙂

I spent a lot longer at this fair than I usually do – normally I whistle round in around 45 mins – but I took far more time this time and was there for double that if not longer. Possibly because I have more I want to buy now that I am accessorising a room. I bought a couple of Art Deco / Art Nouveau style postcards. I’m not planning to start collecting, but if I get enough similar cards together I will collage them into a picture frame to hang on the wall. It doesn’t matter if it takes a while until I have enough – they can sit in a drawer until I do.

Art nouveau picture frame

Art nouveau picture frame

Another thing I managed to get was a gorgeous Art Nouveau picture frame for £5. I didn’t have the nerve to haggle on that price – generally £5 and under I don’t, although my mum definitely would. I don’t know how she has the cheek to do so, to be honest.

Fairy earrings

Fairy earrings

I also saw a really lovely pair of silver fairy drop earrings. The seller wanted £12 for them and I offered £10, which he accepted.
I particularly liked them because they are mirror images of each other – I really hate it when single-sided asymmetric earrings are identical to each other because it results in them facing in different directions when you wear them. I’m strange like that – things like this matter to me.

Eventually I was done, and I moved on to the small fair in the Village Hall at Ripley, since that’s not far from Woking. I’ve been to one of these before, although didn’t blog about it. In fact, now that I come to think of it I have been to quite a few of these fairs since I last blogged about one. I think perhaps I’ve been going to so many that I thought readers of this blog might be rather bored to hear about yet another one!

Although Ripley Village Hall is a small venue, last time I was there I got some reasonable stuff so I was hoping for the same again.

Away with the faeries

Away with the faeries

I spotted a pair of what seemed to be lead or pewter faeries for £3 each. I wasn’t too sure on them, but the seller said I could have both for £5 so I decided to take a punt. The wings are definitely lead or some other soft metal as the tips had bent and needed to be teased back into shape. The crescent moons, however, are clearly resin as the silver paint has worn off them showing the translucent resin underneath. I may touch them up with silver paint or I might just bin them. I haven’t decided yet.

Slim cabinet

Slim cabinet

I then came across a rather beat-up slim wall cabinet in a shabby chic style, whose knobs match the ones I have fitted to my wardrobes. The label price was £35, and I asked the seller what her best price was and she said she could come down to £25, which I thought was fair. However, it turned out I literally only had exactly £24 left by now, so I asked if she would accept that and she did. It’s nice enough, although it has an absolutely horrid modern white plastic magnetic catch (not visible in the pic) holding it closed. I think I might have to replace that with something more in keeping.

I looked around the rest of the hall, even though I was out of cash, but there was nothing else of interest, so left with just those items.

When I got home, I made myself a nice lunch and settled down to watch the Australian F1 GP. However, a combination of the lunch, the active morning, and a less than thrilling race, meant that I fell asleep on the sofa and missed much of the race. However, it appears that I didn’t miss much, sadly.

There’s nothing much more to report for now. I am still pondering on the Art Deco light. I have two options for making it shorter but I will leave that to another day to blog about.

Likewise I will leave it to another day to report on how the bedroom has come along this week.

 

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Take another Five

20th Century & Art Deco fair

20th Century & Art Deco fair

On Sunday I was back at the Woking Leisure Centre for another of Take Five‘s fairs, this time for a 20th Century, Art Nouveau and Art Deco fair. These are generally less packed with stalls than the “flea, antiques & collectors” markets but the sellers tend to have more expensive and larger items for sale.

I went in knowing from previous experience that I would be unlikely to find something that I both liked and could afford, and that was certainly the case. There were some lovely pieces but were way outside my price range. Rather amusingly I also saw a few items that had also been in the ‘flea, antiques & collectors’ market a few weeks previously. I guess there is some overlap between the two.

One thing that did catch my eye was an absolutely gorgeous Art Nouveau necklace, which I asked to look at. As the seller took it out of the display case to show it to me, she said it was an original Charles Horner dating from around 1908, and at that point I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to afford it.
As we chatted she remarked on the necklace that I was wearing and how pretty it was, and I mentioned that I had bought it for next to nothing. She then said that this one was going to be a little more and the very best price she could do was £220. I winced, and explained that I really just buy stuff on aesthetics and I don’t really know anything about anything, and I don’t buy to sell on; I buy to wear. She said she totally understood, and that she thought I had a very good eye given the fact I liked this necklace and also given the necklace I was wearing.

I asked if she could write down the name of the creator of the necklace for me, so I could read up on him and if I could possibly take a picture of it to remind me how beautiful it is, so she wrote down the name ‘Charles Horner’ on her business card and said that there was a picture on her website. Her name is Amita Vetta of Love That Jewellery, and when I got home I visited her website and saw that the necklace is for sale there for £285 so she really was giving me her best price and I appreciate that, and also appreciate the amount of time she spent chatting to me; a thoroughly nice lady. It’s just a shame that it was just way outside of my price range. I confess I was really tempted though. I do hope this doesn’t turn out to be another of life’s little missed opportunities.

A little disheartened, I moved on and eventually came across a necklace that I thought was quite nice, and which the seller said was probably from the 1920’s. The best price she could do was £20. I said I’d have a think and come back to her, and continued to wander around. At some point a live male singer began to sing to a backing track (you can see the microphone in the centre of the pic above if you look hard), which was really nice and gave a lovely atmosphere despite the fact we were all in a Sports Hall.

Fan necklace

Go on then

Eventually I finished my tour of the stalls, and I returned to the cheaper necklace and after a little pondering said “ah go on then” to the seller and gave her a £20 note. It was probably a little more than I wanted to pay but I consider it a consolation prize for the fact I couldn’t afford the Charles Horner necklace.

After that, it was a drive from Woking to Basingstoke, via Lightwater to the M3, because I had to take that sequin dress back and only had one day left to do so. I made good time despite the M3 being on a 50mph speed limit with Average Speed Cameras due to the extensive roadworks they are doing, and eventually I arrived at Festival Place.

I took the sequin dress back to Top Shop and they gave me a full refund for the £68 I paid for it (I notice it is now £40 in the sales) without any quibble. When the sales girl asked me if there was anything wrong with it I said there wasn’t, it just wasn’t right for me. She nodded and said that this is always the problem with t-shirt dresses and that she prefers a more fitted waist. I agreed and said that was exactly why I was returning it. So in some ways I felt quite vindicated by her comment. Which was nice.

I wandered round the shops but nothing much caught my eye apart from this awesome pop art canvas of Iron Man. I knew the moment I saw it that I had to have it, and the fact it was only £15 was a bonus. So I bought that and returned to the car to stow it, and then went back down to wander the shops some more.

Iron Man canvas

Iron Man canvas

I came across a very strange thing in one shop. It was one of those pop-up clothes shops that sells all sorts of brands and they had my ‘Gold & Grey Mesh Flower Print Dress’ that I had bought from Quiz. Only the label didn’t say Quiz; it said Stella Morgan. I’ve done a little detective work on this since, and it seems legitimate – Tesco are also selling it branded as Stella Morgan under their F&F range.
The shop had the Gold & Grey, and also a Black & Blue. My research online has shown that the usual colours are Black & Grey and Gold & Grey, but I can’t find the Black & Blue online anywhere, which is a pity as if I’d known that I might have been tempted to buy it despite it being £39.99 as it looked stunning in Black & Blue, but it might work in Black & Grey too. I notice that Tesco have just reduced the Black & Grey to £30 in their online sale so I might buy that as I really do love the Gold & Grey that I have.

I’m still a little confused by the fact that this dress is by Quiz with some sellers (including Amazon) and Stella Morgan with others. Clearly there is some re-branding going on.

Anyway, I didn’t find anything else, and decided I was done. But before I went home I took an obligatory selfie because, well, you have to don’t you? 🙂
You can see the pic on Flickr (click here), and can see the necklace I was wearing too – the one Amita complimented me on.

 

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Sequins no more

As I mentioned in a previous post, I had been planning a night out with a friend and had bought the “Two-Tone Sequin Bodycon Dress” by Top Shop in anticipation.

That night out was meant to be last Friday and was to have been the December BNO at Pink Punters, but for one reason and another I had to drop out and not go. If I’m absolutely honest, then I have to admit that cold feet was one of the reasons.

The dress

The dress

On Sunday, after I got back from the Take Five fair at Woking, I thought I should try the dress on again in order to decide once and for all if I should keep it for another time or take it back for a refund.

I tried it on, and it was really easy to get into. I particularly like the fact that the zip is long, robust, has large metal teeth which do not jam or snag, and also has a long tag on it which makes doing it up on your own quite easy. So many dresses with back zips are a real struggle to do up on your own and seem to be designed for someone else zipping you up.

Once on, it is really comfortable and fits me absolutely perfectly across the shoulders; it almost feels as if it was tailor-made for me. However, I simply can’t escape the fact that this dress simply does not flatter me and is really rather shapeless. Despite being a size 14, I think that it makes me look a lot bigger. I also feel that, although the flip effect is fun, it only takes brushing against something to alter how it looks and make it look messy. So, really, I just don’t think it’s “me” because for one thing I would be stressing about that all the time!

Dress + jacket

Dress + jacket

As a result, I think that it really has to go back for a refund which I will be doing ASAP as I only have until 29th December to get a refund according to the receipt. That means I either have to brave Basingstoke’s Festival Place on the last weekend before Christmas or else brave it immediately after Christmas when the sales are on. I’m not sure which will be more busy and stressful!

I also tried the Snow Leopard Faux Fur Jacket that I bought from Select Fashion. I think I will keep that because I really like it and it’s so glamourous. I’m sure I will be able to wear it next time I have a night out. It’s certainly nicer than that overcoat that I bought which I have never worn and, with hindsight, I think I probably never will either.

Dragonfly earrings

Dragonfly earrings

Finally, just as a follow-up to my post about the Take Five fair at Woking, I went on Amazon last night and found a lovely pair of Dragonfly earrings that look to be virtually identical to the ones I declined to buy at £19 at the fair (and which the seller had been asking £20 for initially). They cost me £15.20 including postage. Just shows that you have to keep your wits about you when attending fairs and know what is a bargain and what is not.


Update:

The earrings arrived today and, in fairness to the seller at the Take Five fair, I should say that these are smaller than the ones he was selling. However, they are hallmarked silver and I’m not sure if his were. But they’re just the right size and I really like them. So expect to see them in a future pic!

 
 

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Take Five

Obligatory selfie

Obligatory selfie

On Sunday I attended one of Take Five‘s flea, antiques & collectors markets. These are held roughly once a month at the Woking Leisure Centre, although some events are 20th Century & Art Deco events. You can find a calendar on their website if you are interested.

I got there just after midday, which probably wasn’t ideal as it had been open since 9am but there was still plenty to buy.

Flea, antiques & collectors market

Flea, antiques & collectors market

You enter the main hall of the Leisure Centre via the balcony (hence the angle of the photo of the hall) so whilst I was up there it was kind of obligatory to take a selfie too. 😀

Bieres de la Meuse

Bieres de la Meuse

I’d no sooner got down into the main hall and looking at the stalls when I spied my first bargain – a retro metal sign in the Art Nouveau style which was only £3 and is ideal for my Retro Wall. The sign is a little beat up, unlike my others which were all bought new, but I think it adds to the charm.

It took me a lot longer to find my next purchase. I was quite tempted by some dragonfly earrings, but the seller had £20 on the smaller pair and £30 on a larger pair. When I asked him how much he’d come down from the £20 for the smaller pair, he sucked his teeth and suggested £19. They weren’t worth that to me so I politely said I would leave them, and moved on.

As I wandered around the hall and chatted to the sellers, at least 3 complemented me on my jumper with one lady saying it was “just so cute”, which was really nice.

I also got chatting to a toy seller who, amongst other things, had a Captain Scarlett car for sale and as I was looking at it said that he had the rocket for it and that it was kept safely in a small box to be included on sale. I don’t blame him – having owned several rocket-firing toys when young (including a Buck Rogers Star-Fighter and a James Bond Lotus Esprit). I know how incredibly easy it is to lose those! I told him about how my ex’s step-son had begged to be allowed to fire the rockets on my Esprit just once, and I refused and said he’d lose them. My ex browbeat me into letting him, and sure enough he immediately lost one on just one firing.

Necklace

Necklace

My next purchase was a lovely necklace which I got for £10. It’s not hallmarked (that I can see anywhere) and provenance is unknown although the lady selling it thought it might be 1950’s. I didn’t mind because I was just buying on looks and form. I’m not a collector or a reseller – I just buy things that appeal to me and that I would wear.
I probably could have beat her down on price, but I thought that £10 was fair.

There were a few other things that I sort of liked but not enough to buy. It was quite interesting to see the range of things on sale though – after all, being a flea, antiques and collectors market you can well imagine that it was an eclectic mix. Certainly at the “flea” end of things there was some absolute tat that wouldn’t have looked out of place at a car boot sale yet at the other end of the scale there were some genuine antiques (with prices to match). But on the whole, many things were ‘reasonably priced’.
I think I will go back for the 20th Century & Art Deco fair in a few weeks although I know from experience that often these ones have a lot of stuff that is way outside of my budget.

After about an hour I felt I had seen everything on sale, so made my exit. Since I was not far from the centre of Woking I decided to try out their shopping centre as I haven’t been before. This probably wasn’t a great move. The multi-storey car park was very full, and I had to drive right up to the 9th level (out to 10) to park, then descend to the shopping area. Once there it turned out to be a vertigo-inducing multi-level mall that was absolutely heaving with people. I stuck it out for a little while but realised I really wasn’t really in the mood. Then I had to queue for ages for both the parking station and the lift back up to the car.

When I got home, I decided to take some photos for my Flickr, but I’ll leave that for another post.

 
 

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