Saturday 19 March 2016

Now is the Wetherspoons of our discontent

Well, that's what Vix and I thought when Curtise turned up, scandalising us with news of a bad review of one of the three Wetherspoons we had to choose from on our inaugural tour of Leicester. If there was a bad one, we missed it. And we gave it a fair shot, visiting two thirds of their offering during our few short hours there.

Must have been someone with higher standards than us.
I love this picture of these two giggling away
In the Victorian era, Industrialisation happened in Leicester, with textiles, hosiery and footwear bringing wealth to the city. These grand buildings of the time are so impressive. On the left, the white building looks like a chateau with its external staircase, and the opulent copper door on the right is definitely meant to be seen

Leicester is one of the oldest cities in England, dating back to Roman times, and unlike many other cities, has managed to retain a large number of its historic buildings. The first one we spotted was this amazing Art Nouveau building, built in 1901, The Turkey Cafe.
Vix looked like a Russian Princess with her huge furry hat, whilst Curtise and I followed in her wake as ladies-in-waiting. My favourite example of the Vix effect on this occasion, was when one fellow came up to us and said, 'hold on, didn't I just see London Fashion Week?' We had to laugh.

When we saw this road sign, we knew we were in exactly the right place. Cheap: our motto and our byword.

When this day out was in the planning, Curtise sent me a text: 'Your mission - should you choose to accept it - is to research chazzas, vintage shopping and Wetherspoons in Leicester. Yes, I know - homework.'

Back in the early to mid 1980s, my boyfriend at the time was at Uni in Leicester, so we used to go to this market to get our fresh veg. There's Lineker's, good old Gary's family business.

One foot in the grave? No, we've got plenty of days out left in us.

Well, I'm not one to shirk my responsibilities, so I set to. Turns out Leicester has rather a good vintage selection, of which we visited three.

Our favourite was Dolly Mix Vintage. Three floors of frocks, from antique to the 1980s. The interior was rather inspiring too, with a loft style room, filled with quirky props and plenty of windows for light. I noticed a definite Eastern influence. We agreed we could happily live in a space like that.
I absolutely loved this little corner which was set up as an artist's studio with a poster of a Thai Prince above it

No day out is complete without a lunch break at the aforementioned Wetherspoons. We've become so predictable. Mexican bean burgers all round. They had a pint, I had a glass of wine. Because, as my companions like to point out, I'm a lady.

In case you were in any doubt.

Shopping fix sated, we decided to have a bit of a mooch around. We knew we wanted to visit King Richard III, who has found his forever home in the Cathedral after spending a frankly impolite amount of time kicking his heels beneath a car park.
We paid our respects, and all agreed we love the smell of a church. That mix of history, wood polish and incense.

So, what did I manage to find? A couple of 1970s German cotton cushions, with a really cute print and a fabric box were my favourite purchases. But I also came home with some great gifts from the girls. The funkiest pair of vintage Wellies from Vix, plus a zip pull for my dodgy shoulder and an enamel pendant. From Curtise, my very own Skirt Supplier, a fab 70s midi skirt and a 70s does 40s top which fits me to perfection.
In a nod to my Irish roots, I wore green and a shamrock for St Patrick's day

Such is the success of our trademark days out that my sister and I are going to do one soon. Coming to a town near you?

Monday 14 March 2016

Square eyed and lazy

After some years of trial and error, I've come to the conclusion that it is quite simply foolish to spend January and February in the Northern hemisphere. We should all just head south, in search of sunshine.

If for any reason, this isn't possible, I've come up with a pretty good Plan B.

In order to get through British wintertime, I've spent a rather scandalous amount of time in bed, propped up with pillows watching films and catch up TV. And although at times my bedroom has looked like a Tracy Emin installation piece, it has generally been very enjoyable. We had a bed picnic last week with a double episode of Trapped. Felt rather decadent.
Frida Kahlo's wonderfully colourful house in the film 'Frida'

So, what films have I watched?

The Danish Girl: lovely interiors, strong female lead and the opportunity for me to say 'I've been there' when they go out into the harbour in Copenhagen. But of course mainly it's about Eddie Redmayne's charachter going through a transformative experience, which I felt was done in a sensitive and credible way. You can see how, once an idea, which might come almost accidentally, is allowed to take hold, it can be very difficult to shake off, and whole lives can change as a result.
Image from the film 'Frida'

The Changeling: Not what I expected, in fact I was quite shocked by several aspects of this true story. I won't give too much detail in case you haven't seen it. If you haven't, but get the chance, then watch it, but prepare to be upset. Angelina Jolie put in a brilliant performance.
Image from the film 'Frida'

Frida: loved everything about this film. The costumes, the depiction of Mexico in the early 20th century and the relationship between Diego and Frida. Makes you think too, about what some people achieve even in a short life, with all the odds against them.
A vaguely Frida outfit worn last week. Cotton 1970s gypsy style skirt from the wonderfully generous Curtise.
I currently have a frozen shoulder on my right hand side, meaning I can't do much with my right hand. On the one hand, the limited movement is rendering it impossible to achieve a Frida hairdo. On the other, I'm making almost daily progress towards the Frida eyebrow.

So with that thought in mind, and the first of the Spring sunshine this weekend, I've shifted my backside, got out in the garden and started the post-Winter clear up. It was lovely. Fresh air, sunshine, seeing things come back to life. Good therapy.

Have you seen any good films lately? Please tell me I'm not the only square eyes out there?

Also, what's your favourite season and why?