Saturday, 5 March 2011

Happy Shopper!

That's me, not the source of dodgy booze from His Lordship's misspent yoof.

I was starting to get rather cynical. Starting to think that in London, Vintage had to cost, and even in charity shops there was someone behind the scenes sorting the M&S pullies from the St Michaels knits. For the record, I will happily buy second-hand (as in last year's M&S) as an environmental and thrifty choice: I think those who attend charity shops simply for vintage, and smirk at me as if I lack discernment, are missing a trick themselves. A £2 Topshop Maxi with beads and platforms hits the 70s spot without months of hunting for a 70s one which may need repairs: re-used, recycled, and Gokked up to the max. But I do so miss the days when I picked up wonderful 60s faux-furs for a fiver and flares for fifty pee. Nowadays my usual source of a true bargain is ebay, and I go charity shopping for repro, things to 'style' vintage or with a wad in my pocket, willing to pay that bit more for genuine items. 'Tis now the way in London.

I popped out, with a crisp £20 in my purse and the tail end of a killer cold- just one bus-stop on from my usual charity shop high street. I was just a bit stir-crazy after my cold bug and wanted to pop out to buy the new Barry M instant effects nail varnish. £2.99: bought it, took a few steps towards the bus. Time to go home? We...elll, maybe just a bit of a browse, they come along every 10 minutes:

Owl cushion: £3 Tiger
OK... technically not a charity shop find but so cute. Had to be done.

It was just a warm-up though, and, being an owl he brought me wisdom. The wise owl said: 'Gooo to Cancer Research... Gooo'

Aw, clip-on-monkey's holding her hand
This was the moment I felt like a winner. The kind of winner who makes a fule* of themselves all over Twitter yelling TIGERBLOOD. In my case, considering it was an owl-influenced win I'M A WINNER: OWL PELLETS!. Doesn't have the same ring to it but it reminds me of my days in the Young Ornithologists' Club finding little bones. Life before t'interweb.

Aaanyways, back to the dress. I think it's a bridesmaid dress, or at the very least evening. It's got a washing label, but no brand label: it says to handwash it and the 'hand' symbol looks 70s (logical considering the fact it's an uber 70s dress). It's thick crimplene and that wonderful toothpaste-blue that reminds me of my early childhood. Empire-cut with a wide waistband, leg-o-mutton sleeves and a really rather racy neckline:

See that split? Ooh la la! Clip-on-monkey likes a foxy dresser!
It was mis-labelled - on the shop tag- 'Medium: Size 14' (it has no sewn-in size label- making me think it's made by a bridal/eveningwear company to be fitted-upon-sale) but I think it was based on the weight, full skirt and the fact it was unzipped on the hanger making it look bigger. It fits me fine and I take modern 8 in maxis. It was also only £5! Not quite in the genius league of jumble genius Vintage Vixen but pretty good for a London find!

I also snagged a modern Miss Selfridge blouse for £3. The ditsy print and cute gypsy style could be styled Kawaii, 60s/70s with flares or a maxi, or even tucked into a circle skirt or overalls for a 50s gypsy look. Tres versatile!

Not an amazing pic: it has pockets and some interesting panel work,
giving a 'folksy' look.

A better view of the print and cute little pockets
 Finally, of course, I added to my cook book collection. But these are no novelty buys: I have been searching for two Marguerite Patten books in particular for years. Patten books are gold dust, yes they may have hilariously coloured pictures and terribly 70s garnishes: but the recipes work. Like Elizabeth David and Delia Smith, a vintage Patten book is likely to have a newly printed version out there somewhere: slicker photos, same recipes. As a kid, I had a huge box with flip-through recipe cards (painstakingly collected by someone between 69-74, judging by their dates). Sadly in a moment of madness, I gave it to a mate's mum when I went off to uni, as it was too big and fancy. I have been kicking myself ever since, as the 'supper and dinner party' and 'everyday' sections were superb. Well! Today I found the 'book versions' of both card sets: one in Oxfam, one in Cancer Research. Whoop! All the recipes and in a compact, not-tripping-over-the-big-blue-card-box form! I also found a Roald Dahl 'recipe' book, which is more a collection of musings on food and should make wonderful evening reading:

All three books: £3
What a fab haul, I feel utterly spoilt, and all those bargains came in at less than one new cookbook or top. I used my change to utterly ruin my thriftiness by having a Costas coffee. Tsk tsk, I'm spending like a 60s pools winner.

Wishing you all a bargainious weekend!

* Any fule know this is how yu spell fule. I lernt it at St Custard's skool.


  1. Grand finds indeed- I haven’t found any vintage in a charity shop for absolute ages!!!- I think you will have to take your new owl shopping again- might get some strange looks but who gives a hoot (Oh dear- just ignore me!) he found you a maxi dress!
    p.s I’m not sure I like the look of the funnily covered ham- is it even a ham? Bet it’s tasty though!
    Tups x

  2. Nice work, Missus! I'm loving the crimplene maxi dress. I've got a similar one which Jon calls my "mayor's dinner dance frock" as it's a bit on the formal side.
    Roald Dahl's cookbook? How very intruiging!xxx

  3. It looks like a ham covered in bosoms, doesn't it! No doubt underneath it is just ham though.

    Vix- I love the idea of the 'Mayor's Dinner & Dance', it reminds me of something from The Good Life, I always love Margot's style!

  4. I had a face like a face fighting G force last time I checked London's charity shop prices. I'm sorry (begins in tone indicating she is very much NOT sorry) but I refuse to pay those prices. And all the while the shop attendants watching over like hawks? And yes, they do filter a lot of the good stuff out, most...all? No. I got my out of the way rural haunts, places most people fear to tread, and I don't mind traveling miles just for the pleasure of a decent price, non snooty or suspicious shop attendants and some classics now and then.

    I was going to comment on more of what you said, since this post has really sparked my interest, but I don't want to hog your comments so might make 'reply post' myself. PS- very nice dress!!! I LOVE that shade.

  5. Hi my dear-yay, well done indeed, the dress is a perfect find and a fabulous price and the cook books were waiting for you!! Have a lovely evening! xxx

  6. I know how hard it is to resist stepping into a charity shop. I say to myself I will just have a look but not buy much and end up coming out with a bag full! Charity shops are just too tempting!

    I adore your owl cushion, so cute!

    I love looking through old cook books! The Roald Dahl one looks great!

    You deserved a but of shopping therapy after being stuck in bed feeling ill! xxx

  7. A girl needs some excersise when she's been ill! Love your finds, I had a "feeling faint" moment in a vintage shop in York a couple of weeks ago, £70.00 for a Kelly bag, and it was FILTHY! If your'e going to ask for that much at least wipe it over with a cloth! Not had any fab charity shop finds myself for a couple of weeks now....just got to struggle on!! X

  8. The dress will look great on you. The Roald Dahl book sounds interesting too. I'm so glad about what you said about Ebay because I buy so much on there and of course tell myself I am recycling. Have a brilliant rest of the weekend xx

  9. Oh what a glorious dress! I've been rummaging through the charity shops myself today and haven't found anything nearly so marvellous. I did buy a pretty print frock but am slightly regretting it now as it turns out not to fit that well. Damn it.

  10. Sounds like you had a hoot!! I love the owl, and his very wise words, the dress was a find indeed! I dont mind paying more for really beautiful and cleaned vintage pieces from shops that have really gone to an effort to hunt them out. But in charity shops I have to say it really grates at me.

  11. great score Perdita..I love your name.. you know what it means in Mexican? Perdida means lost.
    that owl is cutenest,I been wanting anything owl since I see everyone finds one.
    great Maxi dress, we want to see you modeling it.
    my face is the red flowery blouse and fab cookbooks.
    I could never resist a Charity shop,once I see one I have to go to more.


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