drEAming, fashion, general chit chat, mEAndering, out and about

mEAndering…down memory lane in 1970’s Cheltenham

Here is part 2 of our trip down to Cirencester and Cheltenham…

For anyone that doesn’t know Cheltenham it is a Regency spa town and this is an example of the houses you will find there – usually painted and quite often adorned with wrought iron balconies and canopies – from my first visit when I attended my interview for the fashion course I fell in love with Cheltenham and this house was always one of my favourites just off the town centre – I love the intricate iron work.

 

As we wandered through the town we were surprised at how much we remembered –  we walked down the famous Promenade…

 

– it felt very much as it always did with Cavendish House (now House of Fraser) at the top of the street –  but many of the other shops along the stretch had changed.  It is a shame the trees are bare at the moment it looks quite splendid when they are in full leaf.

Habitat was at the very bottom of the street in the 70’s – our favourite shop because it was so modern and different then – but now long gone.  I remember that on a Saturday morning it was usual to see many of the wealthy shoppers parading the Promenade and Montpellier in their furs and jewels accompanied by their Afghan hounds and other beautifully groomed long-haired pedigree dogs.  Such a contrast to my home town of Huddersfield where the shoppers were much more about a bargain from a mill shop or the markets.

 

Behind the Promenade lies Regent Street with the Everyman Theatre – this has quite rightly received the Heritage Award for the complete refurbishment in 2011.

 

We eventually came to the High Street – the old HSBC bank (then the Midland) is still on the corner – I had my first bank account here and ran up an overdraft of £10 in my first term and was called in by the bank manager who looked at me sternly from across his desk and told me in no uncertain terms that overdrafts were a definite no no – putting the fear of God in me I went straight out to get the local paper and found myself a weekend job at the nearby hospital to pay it off and then went to bank with the Co-op where the two ‘old’ ladies on the counter upstairs always addressed me by my christian name and enquired after my progress on the course.

This is quite a famous pub because of the lovely old tiled exterior – it was never our local but it is good to know it has survived demolition.  Our local was still there but I expect the owners have long retired.

Further along the little old fashioned jewellers shop is still in business (surprisingly it looks just as it did then) – this is where we chose my engagement ring –  a diamond between to deep blue saphires and cost a hefty £28.  I still have the handwritten receipt and of course the ring!

 

Turning off the High street into one of the many side alleys we just had to go and see where our second rented house once stood – now demolished and the site occupied by a Lidl supermarket.  This picture is all that is left of 30 Grosvenor Terrace.  (I am the one on the bike and as you will notice beards were very much in fashion then!)

 

Our previous house called simply ’58’ was out on the Prestbury Road, which back then was a rather fine row of large semi-detached Regency properties with our very shabby student house letting the side down.  It now stands looking very grand and much more in keeping with its well maintained neighbours who have managed to keep their beautiful wrought iron canopies intact.

This house holds very special memories –  this is where I met both my life long friends and my husband – this is where we packed more fun into the few years we lived here than the rest of my life.  In all the time we lived here we never had a key – there was no lock to the front door so the occupants and everyone else just walked in and out – quite unbelievable now but I can assure you as poor students on very frugal grants we certainly had nothing of value to pinch so it was never a problem!!

 

 

The Art College at the top of Pittville near the racecourse has been demolished in places and rebuilt – this is how the fashion block looked when I was a student there from 1972 to 1975 …

Google image University of Gloucestershire

 

…and this is me leaning out of one of the upstairs windows – being young and slim I always got roped in to modelling both my own and other students creations for photo shoots and shows so I thought it might be fun to show you fashion in the seventies.

 

 

 

It was usual during our course to be involved in projects with fabric manufacturers like Courtaulds promoting their new fabrics.  We would be sent rolls of various fabrics and had to design outfits to suit.  This one was a hit with ICI fibres and was featured in the trade magazine Fashion Weekly – I remember that seeing my outfit in print was quite exciting – I think I even wore the coat a few times afterwards.

 

 

Below was a project for Heathcote fabrics in fine wool crepe and I made the coat for myself afterwards in grey wool for a trip to London – I thought I was the bees knees at the time!

Oddly whilst we were in Cheltenham I actually saw someone wearing an almost identical coat (now 40 years later – which just shows how fashions just keep coming around).

 

As well as the very stylised line and ink drawings I was very much into experimenting with pastels back then and drew large A3 sized freehand drawings onto coloured pastel paper which were so different to my fellow students that I worried the examiners might frown upon them.

 

 

Luckily not – but all my drawings do seem a bit crude now – with all the latest technology Fashion students today produce work that looks much more professional.

When I started work at New Look patterns in Bradford I was asked to design a simple range of patterns for the fabric manufacturers Landau Sekers to team up with our Special Offer patterns – I found these old drawings the other day.

 

I wondered if any of the patterns I designed back then might still be available now and Googled vintage New Look patterns and sure enough among the hundreds that are featured on Google images there are many designs that I remember doing –  though in general they are not my drawings on the envelope fronts as we used a professional illustrator called Alan who lived near Warrington and each week we would send him a pack of sample clothes we had made with fabric swatches and colour guides and he sent the hand painted drawings back to be used on the envelope fronts.

So that is my recent trip down memory lane and it was much more enjoyable than I thought it would be – I just wish I could go back and do it all over again and yes I certainly do miss Cheltenham.

back soon x

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appEArance, beauty, fEAsible, my goals, organising, rEArranging, simplifying

Focusing on Simplifying my space update #1…

I don’t know about you but getting ready for work in a morning has to be a very smooth operation and it often feels like I am a contestant  in that well known game of Beat the Clock.  I hate to be rushed in a morning and my  preferred style of  getting ready is ‘Beautify and Stroll’ rather than ‘Primp and Scurry’ quite amusing terms I once saw in a magazine.  However I do find myself often primping and scurrying rather than strolling due to a lack of organisation.
So to help me in getting ready on time everything I need has to be in the right place.  My morning routine is very simple so it easy to stay on automatic pilot until I am fully awake.
However, there is always room for improvement and I am hoping that as my Focus on Simplifying develops my routines will become so streamlined I can sail through the day.
Of course getting up and getting ready in the morning really begins the night before when I should (note the should!) make sure my bedroom is tidy, my clothes for the next day are chosen, my bags packed, my To Do list printed, and any other errands I have to do are noted and prepared for.
One other important task is to estimate how much time I need working backwards from the time I want to leave the house and then set the alarm clock accordingly allowing for 3 snoozes before I have to get out of bed.

Organising my beauty essentials

One way of making my morning routine simpler has been to reduce the amount of clutter in the bedroom starting with my dressing table drawers.  I have been through them item by item and identified those I use everyday and those that I may only use every now and then like foundation cream and anything that I found I hadn’t used has been put on the out / use – up / charity pile. 
As I sorted I also cleaned not only the drawers but the items themselves which always adds a nice sparkle.  So I am really down to the basics now – no rummaging around and nothing in here that isn’t used at least 20% of the time, in fact I would say that 80% of the contents are used 80% of the time.

Drawer 1

Dressing Table Drawer
In the top drawer I have my skin care, makeup and fragrances –
  •  face cream 2 for daytime and two for night time
  • Nivea for really dry patches
  • Cuticle massage cream from the Sally Hansen range
  • foundation creams
  • sponges, cotton wool and towelling headbands
  • everyday makeup – mascara and lip sticks / gloss
  • makeup brushes and pair small scissors
  • eau de cologne and deodorant
Everything is neatly laid out and ready to go and kept in a series of Muji containers with a small flat box of Kleenex tissues perching conveniently on top.  I also keep my Thyroxin medication to hand in here as taking my tablet for the day is the first thing I have to to do when I wake up.
Dressing Table Drawer

Drawer 2

The items in this middle drawer are less used – perhaps weekly rather than daily – I keep
  • much reduced selection of nail polish
  • cotton buds
  • small emery boards in case of a quick repair to a snagged nail.
 
Dressing Table Drawer
This is also where I keep more specialised creams for occasional use – I find I prefer keeping them here to the bathroom cabinet as this is where I would apply them at night.
  • Calendula
  • Tea Tree
  • Traumeel
  • Arnica Gel
  • and essential oil mixes for massage
I also keep my ‘Sunday’ Thyroxin in here (which is a lesser dose) and needs to be kept separate from my main dose.
Dressing Table Drawer
I have also a collection of eye make up and blusher cases for special occasions and a mini massage roller and soft skin brush.  Again everything is contained in the clear perspex containers from Muji with movable sections.
Dressing Table Drawer

Drawer 3

The bottom drawer is where I keep my hair styling bits
  • soft rollers for a bit of bounce
  • hairdressing scissors
  • brush and comb
  • travel hairdryer
  • extra rollers hidden away at the back.
Dressing Table Drawer
The brushes just rest neatly on top of the tray which was from Ikea.
 Dressing Table Drawer      
My main stock of creams are kept in the shower room cupboard and bulky paper goods such as tissues and cotton wool in the airing cupboard – this keeps my drawers free of unnecessary duplicates.  I like the ever increasing minimal look of the drawers and feel that this is probably is as far as I can go.
Of course there are always the annoying bits and pieces that do not fit into the drawers and I have 3 of these
  • hair Mousse
  • fine pump style hairspray
  • Aveeno body lotion in a pump container Mismatch items
None of them are particularly appealing in respect of the packaging design, they do not co-ordinate in anyway and are not a pretty addition to my dressing table top and until I can come up with a solution I just have to live with them.
There are only a few days left in February and I am finding that I am not able to declutter at any speed and this months focus may just spill over into next month.  This week I am going to concentrate on the office.  After focusing on our finances I realised there are a few systems I want to change so that the finances are easier to track.
To read about my grocery spending and see what I bought this week click here and it will take you to my other blog Re-routed.
appEArance, beauty, being thrifty, fEAsible, financial focusing, my goals, trEAsury

Financial Focusing update #3

Todays Financial Focus task was to use some of my reward points and vouchers (N0 7 on the list) see the Focus 2014 tab above and click on drop down menu – January.   This will be an ongoing task as I have got quite a few for different stores.

After posting my mums birthday card ready for Sunday I had a quick sprint down to Boots tonight after work as I was desperate for a new mascara and  lip gloss.  I had a £3 off No7 coupon to use and I found there is a buy one get one half price offer on make-up at present plus I also had a coupon from the Advantage card machine giving me an extra 100 points.  So I got my goods for the bargain price of £13.25 rather than full price of £20.

I don’t wear very much makeup, a little mascara and a quick swipe with a lip gloss to protect my lips from drying out this weather and thats about it.  Foundation is usually for parties and posh do’s so it lasts ages.

I also treated myself to a hair cut tonight- a bit of a trim and a blow dry and I feel like a new woman, at least it should cut down the drying time in the morning before work.  My hair gets very static in the winter and the hair dryer makes it worse.

Cost of haircut £22 plus £2 tip for Becky (the trainee).  I never know how much to tip these days – I think £2 is reasonable do you?

Had I arrived home earlier I would have plunged my tired and aching feet into a warm bubbly  bowl of water and given myself a luxury home pedicure too – but the reality was that I decided to go back into town to Sainsbury’s for a few fresh veg and necessities for the weekend and so didn’t get back home until after 8pm.  As it was getting quite late I sensibly picked up a reduced Pizza to have with salad.  My grocery spend was £30.19 and  I used £30 of my reward points to pay.

My spend today

Cash 

  • Lunch at work £2.55
  • Giving to Homeless x 2 on route to car £1. 40
  • Snack packet buttered Soreen £0.59
  • Tip £2
  • Hot Choccy treat £1.8
  • £0.19 towards sainsbury’s shopping

Debit Card / cheque

  • Hair £22.00
  • Boots Mascara and Lip Gloss £13.25

Reward Points

  • Sainsbury’s £30.00

for a grocery shopping breakdown you will need to link through to my re-routed blog but give me a day or two to get it back up and running!  It will need a bit of an update – and yes it is on the list to do asap.

So that was my Thursday – how was yours?

appEArance, beauty, mEAndering, organising, out and about, rEArranging, trEAsure

From one bin to another…

I am so excited at my new ‘find’ that I can’t wait to start packing.  These are pop up Laundry bins from Primark in a washable Nylon fabric. I decided on all white but they are available in a range of colours and they come folded up in their own handy little bags and once set free spring into these even handier open-topped containers.

This solves my problem of transporting bedding, towels and clothes from home to our beach cottage and transporting the dirty washing back again.  I should be able to pack the clean stuff into these 3 bins and then sort the washing ready for when we return.  They should travel well and are far better than suitcases, boxes or those polypropylene bags.

Before I go I would like to say thank you to the people over at the  Rio Rosa Mosqueta Natural Rosehip Oil blog http://naturalrosehipoils.co.uk/  for their lovely comment.  It is my favourite oil – I can definitely recommend it – my skin has been so much softer and smoother and the scar on my neck from my Thyroid operation is fading well.  I am hoping that with continuous use I will see a good result soon on my ever increasing wrinkles!

appEArance, beauty, being thrifty, trEAsury

Waste not… want not…

My ‘use up’ box

Below are the oddments of beauty products from decluttering my cupboards back in February and that for different reasons I am using up at the moment.  I have put them together in a Muji container on my dressing table so that I do remember to use them as I can’t bear to waste things even when I am not too happy with them.

The Umberto Giannini Shapely Body Mousse has been great it is the only aerosol I allow myself as they are not very ‘green’ but I haven’t found a natural mousse equivalent yet.  However, when I went into Boots recently for another can I couldn’t find it.  Their range now is different and all I could find is ‘Sex Bomb Massive Hair Mousse’ in an all black container – well Umberto I actually liked my pale green one with the shiny chrome top and as I cannot fit it into my drawer I am very particular about the items I have to display on my dressing table and shiny black just does not fit with the decor!.

The cellulite oil although quite nice I have already replaced with a bottle of Weleda Birch Cellulite oil that I have seen recommended in a few health magazines now and thought I would give it a try.

The tiny pot of Protect and Perfect Night cream came as part of one of those free promotional gift bags.  It is amazing how long they last and I am hoping it will last me to the end of the month.  I quite often buy the Neal’s Yard Frankincense Nourishing Cream to use as a night cream – it has excellent reviews and leaves my skin very soft and moisturised.

I bought the Bio-Oil after I had surgery to remove my Thyroid in 2008 to try and help the scar around my neck to fade. It does work quite well however I do prefer the product below – Rio Rosa Mosqueta.This is completely natural and I thought worked even better than the Bio-Oil.  I bought the Rio Rosa oil discounted from a health food shop that was sadly closing down and as soon as I have used up all the Bio-Oil so as not to waste it I will definitely buy another bottle.

The Weleda Natural Citrus Deodorant is one of my favourite buys.  I do not use it everyday as it is a wet spray which takes time to dry and quite different to the usual deodorants but I love the fresh smell and the reason it is in my ‘use up’ box is because I decant some into a small handbag size bottle to keep with me when I need to freshen up.

So there you have it my small attempt at being thrifty – I always feel quite delighted with myself when I have squeezed and scraped every last drop out of the jar or bottle.  It is a bit like using up all the left over bits of veg in the fridge and turning them into a delicious soup and gaining an extra free meal.

appEArance, beauty, drEAming, random thoughts, trEAsure

Dry heels and a lightbulb moment…

I love giving myself a pedicure – not that I have a foot fetish or anything but I like my feet to feel smooth and look good. With my family genes I have not been blessed with the best looking feet in the world and as you know at the moment I am having a lot of foot pain so pampering them does make them a bit better.

I usually do the pedicure on a Sunday evening whilst watching TV and I keep a Muji storage container handy with all the necessary tools and potions and lotions for my feet.  I quite often buy new products to try and presently I use Neal’s Yard Seaweed and Arnica Foaming Bath as a foot soak (although expensive a little goes a long way – and I always have it on my Birthday wish list) together with a sprinkle of Epsom Salts.

Recently in one of my magazines I noticed an advert for Flexitol Heel Balm which is for dry rough feet and cracked heels and thought I would give it a try.

I always prefer natural products and so I bought the Natural formula version over the usual one.  It is best to use it morning and evening and it certainly does what it says on the tin.  My heels looked smoother within days. I can certainly recommend it.

It was during this rigorous daily program that I had one of those lightbulb moments as I noticed that giving this area a lot of care and attention everyday produced quick and amazing results and that if I applied the same kind of focus to anything I did then I could not fail to see changes happening and just like applying the heel cream twice a day soon became a habit then anything else would work in the same way.

Of course I couldn’t keep adding and adding to my daily routines with everything I do as there would not be enough time during a day to do them all so I will have to figure out what are the routines that I want to put in place that will give me the quickest and most long-lasting results.

As my heels are so much better now a daily application is all that is necessary and maybe this will reduce even further to a weekly maintenance application – in a similar way I suspect that I could reduce the intensity of focus of a lot of other routine tasks once a result has been obtained.

I just need to figure out what is the best task for me to focus on next – it could be something from my household, finance, self and health or work categories or something even more general.  As usual lots to think about.

appEArance, fashion

Shop till you drop day

Shopping…shopping…shopping. 

It is the wedding next weekend and although I have my outfit and hat I have not been so lucky with the shoes.  So off to town we went and spent all afternoon in one shoe shop or another.   The problem isn’t that I couldn’t find any I liked there were plenty… but I have a problem with the ball of my feet called Metatarsal pain and I mean pain.  Heels are definitely out but how does a girl make an outfit look elegant and dressy in flats?   Not only flat but ideally ones with a wide rounded toe and thick soles.  At last just before closing I found a pair of black patent ballerina pumps with bow and with my new gel insole inserts from the Scholl shop I might just be able to get by.  All I can say is it is a good job I am not the one who has to walk down the aisle next Saturday as it might be more of a hobble.

Fancy Shoe Store

After a reviving hot choc drink in Costa and a slice of Tiffin (which of course I now regret – not the taste but the calories) and a rest for my aching feet we then headed off to Sainsbury’s to do the weekly shop.  I took advantage of one or two offers on things we normally buy which made the total spend a mighty £93…quite a bit higher than normal although it did include a box of red wine to indulge a long-suffering husband (whose feet also aching by this time!).  I also bought a few Easter decorations – the mini eggs and sprinkles kind as I hope to make everyone a small egg or decorated mini loaf or cupcakes.  I am waiting for inspiration.  I have an idea for my Easter cards but may not have the time to make them now I am back at work and busy all next weekend.

Tomorrow I must try on the whole wedding ensemble and make sure it all looks OK.  I can feel another shopping trip coming on for those little extras when I find my tights are not quite the right shade and the jewellery I have does not really go with the look.  Oh and did I mention the Hotel has a spa – will definitely need a new cossy.