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I have nothing to wear…….

Oh no!!! I’ve gained a stone! Clearly it doesn’t take a genius to work out that I did this to myself but A WHOLE STONE!! Whilst I know I’ve been slowly gaining weight the full horror of my situation didn’t hit me until yesterday when I tried to get into one of my fave tea dresses from Vivien of Holloway.

I struggled with the zip and once it was up realised just how unforgiving the fitted waistline was – not to mention that I dare not breathe out too deeply as I could feel the seams straining!

As I looked at my wardrobe filled with so many vintage repro dresses and one or two truly vintage pieces, not to mention my vast collection of Freddie of Pinewood jeans the full extent of my problem hit me “I haven’t a thing to wear!” Or at least anything that makes me feel my best.

I’ve managed to gain this weight in just two months – and in truth I can’t complain as I’ve had a great time gaining it. You see for an initial eight months I’ve been concentrating on organising my wedding which of course included getting fit and fabulous for my wedding dress.

Strict diet, gym sessions and restraint were the order of the day till the big day in May. Once the wedding was over there was the week-long mini moon in London involving a lot of Prosecco, fine wines and even finer foods as my palate rediscovered forbidden foods.

That was followed by a promise to eat properly after the full honeymoon which followed in July (I know I know so I enjoyed June too!!). As that involved Slovenia and Italy including Venice I have to admitΒ  croissants, pasta, Prosecco and gelato became my firm friends….. tape-measure-around-croissant-13323058So now I’ve had that non-fitting dress shock I’m getting my bum in gear. Motivation comes on two fronts – one I don’t want to spend all of summer missing out on my fave dresses and two I’ve got a birthday in six weeks.

But no drastic measures for me – it’s sensible eating, a tad less alcohol and yes I’m going back to the gym. Unlike some people who swear by the gym I can’t say it does great things for but I persevere as it’s more about taking positive action.

I’m hanging a great dress – another VoH, but this is my circle dress which I intend to be wearing on my birthday – as a motivator on my wardrobe door.
Wish me luck!!


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Posted by on August 2, 2014 in Clothing


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Thinking about jeans? Only Freddies will do!

Anyone who knows me knows I love to dress up – it’s a joy to create and co-ordinate even the simplest outfit so that it looks effortless yet has my personal style. Make no mistake – being casual takes just as much effort as formal wear – and when it comes to jeans like many women finding the right pair can be a hunt on a par with looking for the end ofΒ  a rainbow. Until the day I discovered Freddies of Pinewood. Now that I own a total of four pairs AND the dungarees I thought I’d review them for those not sure whether they really are all they’re cracked up to be πŸ˜‰

First and foremost I can tell you that I am not affiliated to Freddies in any way – I’m simply a girl who really likes their jeans and this is my view of the trying and buying experience, how I wear them and even what they are like after a hot wash!

Classics, Utility, Jeanies, Texsuns and of course the Dungaree Dolls - there's a Freddies of Pinewood for everyone!

Classics, Utility, Jeanies, Texsuns and of course the Dungaree Dolls – there’s a Freddies for everyone!

I first encountered Freddies at Twinwood about four years ago when I practically stalked a women who was wearing a rolled up pair matched with red wedges and a red and white checked gypsy top. I was blown away by how well they fitted and once she pointed me in the direction of the clothes stalls I was like a hound on the trail of a fox!

On finding their stall I was like a kid in a Candy store. The sellers of Freddies know their stuff which is important as the styles are fitted in a completely different way to modern jeans as they are worn very high on the natural waist line. The leg measurements vary from quite slim across the bottom, stomach and legs such as the Jeanies to the wider (and darker denim) Texsuns and of course they do many of their jeans in black and some in grey as well.

With so much choice I was pretty bewildered but I was impressed that there was no hard sell – I was even told categorically that I should hold off to get the right size if I preferred the lighter stitching of the Classics as opposed to the orange of the Texsuns otherwise I’d regret it. When it comes to sizing the team has a good chart on its website and you really need to look at this and how you want your jeans to fit – or if you meet them in person they can help you choose.

I am roughly a size 12 but with a big bottom. The last two pairs of high street jeans I bought were about six years ago and one was a size 12 and the other 14. With Freddies you are measuring higher up the body and should also think about leg size (I also have chunky thighs!). Most of my jeans are 30 and the Classic and Texsuns are not as hugging as the Jeanies, which fitted better at 32. I love Freddies because that high waist line is flattering, it covers my bum but nips back in to a fitted waist and having the zip and buttons at the side means a flat front and no bulge to add to my tummy from excess material. The thighs are covered without that tight fit which some women can carry off but which can make my thighs look like two badly stuffed sausages, and most essentially wherever I go I feel great in them πŸ˜‰

Over the last four years I have to admit that I have actually owned another three pairs of Freddies but that’s because when I had a dramatic weight loss two years ago I was heartbroken that nothing fitted. I ended up trading them in and using the cash to finance some of the latest new pairs. That is the beauty of Freddies – everyone wants them even vintage shops!

So why do I need so many different pairs? Whilst I am sure I could probably get by with just one pair I am a fan of jeans and want ones which fit. Indeed at one point in my life I owned more than 16 pairs of high street and “designer” jeans in my bid to find the perfect pair. Freddies may not be the cheapest but I think they are no more expensive than a really good quality pair of jeans. And as I haven’t bought any other brands since my first pair I think an average of five pairs in four years is pretty restrained shopping for me!

My choice depends on what I am wearing. My Jeanies with the slimmer legs are perfect for rolling up and wearing with wedged sandals, my classics are wider and team brilliantly with brogues, saddle shoes or my old-fashioned converse type trainers. My Texsuns are the widest and best with boots. It also depends on the tops I am wearing. I have a lot of reproduction knits mainly from Rocket Originals and the Texsuns with their bright orange stitching and darker denim are better with the warmer colours whilst the Classics with the more traditional lighter yellow stitch compliment the navy’s and blacks.

RAF Hendon, Freddies of Pinewood Dungaree Dolls

A day out at RAF Hendon in my Dungaree Dolls

The Dungaree Dolls were my first purchase and I love them because aside from a vintage event so few women are wearing dungarees. They are also incredibly comfortable. I prefer belt hooks on my jeans which my Utility’s don’t have so I don’t wear them as often as the others but I understand that the latest ones do have them. My favourite touch are the double buttons on almost all the waistlines – which are perfect for those fat days πŸ™‚

The denim is very sturdy – but do heed their warning about the dye! I once spent an afternoon on my guy’s cream fabric sofa in a new pair. Fortunately he’s very understanding and a quick whizz over with upholstery cleaner sorted it. I wash my jeans inside out on a 30 or 40 degree wash depending on what else is in the load and every time they have come out well. I line dry them rather than tumble dry and when they are almost done I use a steamer on them (right side out) to get out any creases. After all these years they still look great and I get a lot of compliments when wearing them.

And where do I wear them? Friday’s are dress down at work so out they come, every weekend they get pulled on and they are perfect for holiday flights where you need to be comfortable and relaxed. I wear them to events and gigs and to my jive classes which are pretty energetic yet am happy jiving the night away in them. And of course a pair always go in the case for weekends away – I was in Prague recently and my Texsuns looked great and were comfy with thin leggings on underneath to beat the cold and when teamed with a smart top were great for dinner. As the weather improves and I start wearing them with sandals and wedges I shall add some pics here.

Freddies of Pinewood, Rocket Originals knits, Collectif top

Stepping out in my fave jeans

Freddies has an easy to use website and I have bought tops and cardigans online and know women who buy the jeans online too. Personally I prefer to buy my jeans in person and since there are plenty of venues they tend to go to, such as Twinwood or the Rhythm Riot, I have had no difficulty getting my hands on their stock.Β  Incidentally I got my latest Dungaree Dolls at Black Rose London in Camden Town – to replace the very first pair I got at Twinwood all those years ago and then regretted trading in!

Below is a quote that could have been made specifically for Freddies I think!:

“When women wear denim it (the derriere) must look elegant. It’s the second thing every woman looks at in the mirror, but it’s the first thing she cares about. She does that half twirl, her back arched and her head craned around. If the jeans are right, the experience is transforming, like putting on a magic cloak.” ~ Ritu Kumar

These jeans may not be for everyone but I have yet to meet the woman who doesn’t look – and more importantly, feel fab in them. So there you have it, if you want jeans there’s only one place to go in my opinion, Freddies of Pinewood rocks πŸ˜›



Posted by on April 6, 2013 in Clothing, People to follow, Reviews


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Buzzing with style – The Great British Sewing Bee!

Being poverty-stricken when it comes to time I very rarely get dragged into watching television let alone a series. I made an exception for Mr Selfridge (well it is Jeremy Priven) but after accidentally catching the first few minutes of The Great British Sewing Bee I am totally and utterly hooked – and I assure you it has nothing to do with the oh so dapper judge Mr Patrick Grant πŸ˜‰

the great british sewing bee judges

Judges May Martin and Patrick Grant (Photo by Colin Bell)

As a child I attended an all girls school where sewing and cookery classes were the norm – and hated every moment of it. My mother and sister are prolific sewers – indeed my mother made my wedding dress such is her level of skill and my childhood is filled with memories of pretty dresses and pattern cutting on the living room floor. It was not until I bought my first home and developed a severe case of house pride that I picked up a needle and my love affair with soft furnishings began.

I can create swags and tails, triple pleat headed curtains, duvet covers and piped cushions with ease, yet two or three pieces of fabric to make a simple skirt seem beyond me. Broken needles and bedraggled fabric make it look like I’ve been using it to clean the floor and yet this hasn’t stopped me collecting a veritable mountain of patterns and fabric though! I am comforted by the fact that my mother, whilst a whizz at dresswear is equally hopeless with soft furnishings πŸ™‚

Watching the GBSB last night I was so impressed by the passion and determination of the sewers who are just ordinary people who love to sew. I found myself rooting for our dignified Ann who keeps it simple yet refined, and the underdog Martin who prefers to make costumes yet pulls it out of the hat with his contrast ladies dress. I love the fact that he’s this bloke working with trucks etc whose passion is sewing.

the sewers

Then there’s Sandra – reminds me of my mum when she describes how she continually alters clothing for her daughters. Tilly stands out because she has this passion to add her own style and is overly keen to show the judges what she can do. You get the impression that if she just got her head down and stuck to the exact task then she’d be streets ahead – But where’s the fun in that? Tilly’s style is what gives her her enthusiasm and passion and makes her one to watch. She certainly interests me enough to read her blog now although a bit worried looking at tutorials when she couldn’t spot where some extra darts were needed in that dress!

The show has your stomach in knots as you share the tension of the contestants – the rush to beat the clock puts a terrible pressure on people – I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve done a Sandra and sewed something on back to front! It was hard to watch them pick one to exit but I agreed with the choice of Michelle. If only because they had each been given the opportunity to try out their patterns (and supposedly their fabrics) at home and she hadn’t cottoned on to the issues with silk – why give yourself that handicap!! (although it’s not for everyone personally I use soft fusible on all silk edges to give them something to stick to).

The judges, May Martin and Patrick Grant, give you something to think about too regarding attention to detail. May is the epitome of that stern school teacher judging your work – and she has indeed spent years teaching at adult education courses. Patrick is an inhabitant of Savile Row – and it shows. He epitomises old-fashioned style for the modern-day man.

IMG_1331As for me I’m going to take a break from my latest haberdashery project and see if I can get this little project off the ground – the short version of the cape. If that goes well then it’s the long version to go over my circle dresses –Β  Fingers crossed πŸ™‚Β IMG_1140

And of course I’ll be tuned into next week’s GBSB – and keeping up with Twitter throughout the show – Hi to my 12 new followers who joined throughout the debate.



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All the fun of the fair….twice!

As a child when I knew there was a fair coming to town I would be on tenterhooks for days as I was so excited. Then the day would dawn and accompanied by my mum I’d clutch my precious pennies in my hand and enjoy the mad, loud, brightly coloured and mystical world of the fair πŸ™‚

So you can imagine how I felt when I’ve known for weeks that there was going to be a pop up vintage fair at Islington town hall on Sunday 24th June, particularly as this was my first pop up.Β  For some unknown reason when I got dressed in comfortable jeans, top and trainers – (I’d read somewhere it was best not to go vintage at fairs in order not to show your enthusiasm to sellers)- I found I was incredibly uncomfortable. It just didn’t seem right not to be properly dressed so out came the utility jeans, bowling shoes and fitted jumper and the outfit was completed with a tied headscarf and matching earrings – much better πŸ˜›

The fair proved to be small but well attended both by sellers and buyers/visitors. There was a good mix of clothing and jewellery and a nice smattering of oddities such as those involved in designing recycled stationery from old storybooks. I was delighted to have a chat with Jane Fairhead of Fairheads Headwear. Her hats and “frivolities” were so glamorous looking. My hair is the bane of my life and I have been looking for 1940s/50s headgear that will still be fit for 2012 living. I’ve yet to see many fine vintage examples of a particular headband design that sits at the back of the head like this or this – and so I was delighted upon Jane telling me that she can make designs to order – watch this space as I will definitely be in touch ;-).

The lovely Jane of Fairheads at Islington town hall’s Pop up Vintage Fair

Just when I was thinking about settling down to an afternoon tea courtesy of their pop up tea room, Jane mentioned that there was another fair on today! The Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair at the Old Finsbury Town Hall was just 20 mins away so how could I say no! Fortunately my sister is very long-suffering and likes clothing so was more than happy to venture forth.

Ohhhhh it was like Christmas had come early πŸ™‚ There were three rooms filled with clothing from all eras including my beloved 40s and 50s of course. Beautiful frocks – day and evening, suits, shoes and handbags to erm and ahhh over. If money had been no object I would gladly have filled my wardrobe.Β  The majority of the sellers were friendly and happy to chat although there were one or two who just seemed determined to be miserable – clearly it was all about the money with them and they just didn’t want to spend time with people just having a browse (strange attitude to take at a fair!!)

Just one of the packed out rooms of goodies at the Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair

I contented myself with those who were happy to chat and show their goodies such as the spectacles stall, or the vintage handbags and I know that I will be looking out for them again next time – and they’ll be the ones that I will want to buy something from. Having recently bought two new vintage dresses I couldn’t let the purse strings go so settled for some gorgeous jewellery accessories and resting my aching feet over a great cuppa, a well deserved toasted sarnie and some fab cream cup cakes from the tea room.

Some pretty brooches to liven up a few outfits

All in all a very good day out and I can certainly see these fairs being fixtures in my calendar!


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Posted by on June 26, 2012 in Clothing, Events, Reviews


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