Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Shopping and strange reminiscences

Busy times here at Used-to-Bees headquarters - with Mr U-t-B away, 
Miss U-t-B and I have been playing!
(So this is partly so he can see what we've been up to.  Let's see what sarky comments he can come up with this time!)

Much of this (for me) has been some concentrated sewing and creating, which I'll get  round to photographing sometime soon!  Maybe...  
I have also been freshening up some vintage dresses and fabric, ready for the vintage fairs in May and June, and also saying 'yes' to an invitation to a new 'Artisans' Market' (get me!) which is being held at the nearby, historic Tweaseldown Racecourse.   

This is the best photo I can find of sweet little Tweaseldown on the internet!  I will have to rectify that situation when I go there for the fair (last Saturday in May!)

Miss U-t-B has been dancing, sleeping over (then in), tidying up and turning out, which might not sound like fun, but it sort of is, isn't it?

Day before yesterday's entertainment was a rather-unusual-for-me foray into the world of clothes shopping (I generally avoid this, not because I don't like clothes, but because I find trailing round shops boring and I hate choosing!)  
However, with the guidance of my trusty fifteen year old personal shopper, I managed to find a lovely dress for an upcoming wedding...

Lovely dress, but I bet you feel sorry for me now you've seen the orange wardrobe!
And that on top of the shots with the woodchip wallpaper last week...

some tops for the summer...

 and even a pair of not-blue, black or white trousers!  

The shopping was done in Reading, which meant reminiscences to the fore for me, as it was where 'big' shopping was usually done when I was a child.  I regaled Miss U-t-B with tales of family lunches at 'The Golden Egg' with my Mum's saved-up-from-work Luncheon Vouchers, and of how I dreamed of having a Knickerbocker Glory, but was always dissuaded, in favour of a Banana Split.  I recalled the nightmare of shoe shopping with my poor sister and her lovely slim feet, the toy shop where I went on my 9th birthday for a nurse's outfit and the excitement of pre-first-holiday-abroad (Ibiza, 1971) shopping in Marks and Spencer...

Who needs Instagram when you can have proper, ropey-looking old photos like this?

St Michael's best swimsuit, left.  I can't remember the boy's first name but I still have his address in a little notebook where I used to write stories.  He is 'Master Rowe' in this book, and I have to admit that my seven year old self thought I might grow up and become Mrs Rowe! By the looks of it, he was keener on my sister!

Me and my brother and sister with a Dutch girl we befriended in spite of the language barrier, outside the hotel we were staying in.  This wasn't actually the one we were booked into, which had been built so close to the flight path for the airport that it had been blown up and was a pile of rubble not far only a few hundred yards away from where we ended up staying.  So very picturesque!

Sunbathing cerca 1971.  Imagine, if you will, the smell of lemon juice and olive oil,  for this is what I was basted in before being allowed out to fry.  It's was what was sold as sun lotion! Luckily, I have skin that must be the result of many generation of good peasant stock...

I digress...

Shopping included a whole new experience for me - 'Hollister'.
Strikes me that the youngsters who work within this chain's hallowed walls are going to be the modern equivalent of pit ponies.  

It's like a coal mine in there!
(Only with comfy armchairs and a chandelier or two...)  
I hope that all the beautiful people who slave over the tills will not find that, like pit ponies, their eyesight has been rendered weak by the dimness of their working environment, and their hearing has been dulled by the loud music...

(Don't worry, I wasn't buying for myself in there!
Californian surf chick I am not!)

Actually some of the music was rather good...

Imagine Dragons

Miss U-t-B is a little perplexed by my enthusiasm for this song.  
She didn't say it, but she thinks I am too old.
I told her that reminded me of my Granny who, at the tender age of 71, loved what she called 'The Come and Go Song' - more popularly known as 'Karma Chameleon' by Culture Club.  I think she quite liked Boy George too!

I also managed to buy a cute pair of pumps...

From 'Next', they are part of the 'Fit' range by Davina McCall.  It will remain to be seen how much fitter I am by the end of a few months with them!

And a cute pair of espadrilles for Sophia, instead of an egg for Easter!

But my absolute favourite arrived in the post, from Mr Clarks...

I like them so much (they are for the wedding and for the vintage fairs) I decided to use the 'Timer' feature on my camera and pose...

The camera clearly decided I was getting beyond myself, and made the photos fuzzy...

However, you can see how, with their wedges, they give me a lift height wise, without putting my foot at some ridiculous angle that will give me back ache for days after. Whooopppeee!

They are called 'Onslow Dance' which has got to be the most unromantic name ever thought up for such a sweet sandal, and they come in a delicious Cherry Red too...

Photo from

Do you think that now I've put them on my blog, Mr Clarks might reward me with a pair?

(I'm a six and a half, please!)


  1. Love the cute holiday snaps! Shoes and dress are lovely.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  2. oooh I LOVE those sandals, very nice! Probably see you Saturday...

    1. I thought of you when I saw them - they have a nice vintage vibe I think! Hoping to be there Saturday, though my back is playing up a bit and I'm not looking forward to a day on my feet! But as I missed last month, I really need to get back in the saddle!

  3. Fun photos! Our sun cream smelt of coconut - funny what you remember! Those sandals are just fantastic, too. We were at university in Reading. Now, when I go back, I can't recognise it - The Oracle (weird religious overtones there) seems to have taken over the whole city!

    1. Oh yes, it has changed! In the 70s there were cars down Broad Street, and John Lewis was called Heelas. Strangely, the town now seems much bigger than when I was small, but there was no 'Weetabix' smell from a brewery (I didn't know about hops, malt and brewery smells in those days, and really thought Weetabix was made there by the back entrance to Heelas!(

  4. You found some lovely clothes and shoes!
    The holiday snaps take me back - our sun lotion smelt of coconut oil too (like Floss)
    Enjoy all the sewing and Fairs!

  5. Oh Alix, I love the photos in your post today especially the ones of a little you on holiday. Love the two tops you bought and the floral pumps. Seriously lusting after the sandals.

  6. ooh Mr Clarks - I'm size six and a half too so can I also have a pair in red please ?
    I love how as children we would gabble away on holiday to any kid any language. Makes me giggle how now we lather ourselves in sunscreen when it used to be cream to get you browner !
    I hate going into Hollister ! I bought Joe a top in there & ran out as fast as I could !
    Love Sophia's new shoes x

    1. Hope you didn't trip in the darkness! I'm surprised the Elf and Safety peeps haven't shut them down!

  7. Love the old holiday snaps. I remember the coconut smelling oil, but only for on the beach! For some reason it was ok to go without when you were in the garden or out playing with friends! Happy days :)

    1. Thinking about it, I wonder whether it was that we were outside so much of the time, we were better protected, naturally, from the evil rays!

  8. Sarky, Moi, mais je ne comprends pas madame. Mr UTB

  9. It was fun following along your post. From a first-time visitor: thanks for the chuckles!

    1. Thanks for visiting - hope you'll be back!

  10. Oh my word I spent an HOUR!!!!!! in Hollister with my daughter last weekend. I should have worn a helmet torch as couldn't see a thing! My son hates it and calls it HELLISTER!
    Happy Easter

  11. Hollister is a bit like Marmite, love it or hate it.
    My sister and I have a theory that the Hollister workers must be skittish creatures who can't be exposed to natural light, shuffled from their Chelsea Tractors at the back door under a blanket straight into the dull shop. Also how do they all manage to look the same? And while Im at it they wear flip flops in winter?? Now I know Im 40 but really?! And the sizing/pricing on the labels? In the dark totally impossible to read, which is probably just as well when you look at the prices.
    There I feel strangley better for that - thank you!

    PS Love love love the shoes!!