Category Archives: Books

Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

I read this book while away with work at the golf Open in Deal. My godfather died during the week I was away, hence it’s taken me a while to publish the posts I wrote while I was down there.

It’s a while since I’ve read a book that’s made me smile, cry and laugh out loud. Which sounds like a cliché, but although these emotions often go through my head when reading a good book, it’s rare they escape as a snort of laughter, a smile I can feel or tears running down my face.

I’ve been meaning to read this since it came out, but it was such a favourite at the library and with book groups that it was never on the shelf for me to borrow! (I always think the highest accolade a book can have is to be forever borrowed by people, and incredibly worn from all the eager readers who have devoured its pages.)

I won’t spoil the plot for you, but suffice to say I’m also a massive fan of letters as a storytelling device. (Well, I love letters anyway – I wish my generation wrote more of them.) One of my all-time favourite books is 84 Charing Cross Road, and this is in a not dissimilar vein, of strangers finding each other and becoming great, lifelong friends through letters. (edited before posting to add that I send as many letters as I can, but I have already experienced the joy of making friends with people I have never met in person, through the wonder of Twitter. Perhaps that’s the 21st century equivalent?)

The exchange of letters, between various wonderfully-imagined characters who I dearly hope are based on real people, takes us to Guernsey just after the Second World War.

There are heartbreaking moments and moments of total joy – I urge you to go and read this book, if you haven’t already!

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Book: Contemporary Lingerie Design by Katie Dominy

So I mentioned this briefly in a previous post and promised a more in-depth look at it. It was a complete impulse buy, Lou and I wandered into this bookshop (shamefully I don’t remember what it was called, although I could walk you to it) just before we left Brighton (me to depart for Heather’s wedding, Lou to head home on the train). I wasn’t even looking for a book (inasmuch as I wasn’t looking for a specific book – I’m such an addict that I’m ALWAYS on the hunt for new books to read and to add to my collection).

 

We gravitated towards the fashion/design/craft section, as we always do, and spotted this.

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I ummed and aahhed for about two seconds, then realised I had to have it, it was one of those kind of books. Gorgeously put together, interesting and informative, and actually relevant, I’ve been thinking about expanding both Ducking Fabulous and Checks and Roses to handmade floozy knickers for ages now. I say expand… I need to actually fill the shop up before I can talk about expanding.  Anyway.

 

So inside the book are interviews with lots of contemporary lingerie designers from all over the world. The interviews are interspersed with fabulous photographs, sketchs, inspiration, mood boards and so on which gives what feels like a real insight into the design process. Obviously more detail would be even more fabulous, but a book containing the level of detail I’m after would be about 1000 pages thick!

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For obvious reasons (the skates… the SKATES!!), this is my favourite page of the entire book. But here are some more (gorgeous) spreads to give you an idea of what it’s like inside – for more you’ll have to buy the book!

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I’ve found it incredibly inspirational from a business point of view as well as a designing-pretty-things-and-knickers point of view. Would love to know if any of you have also read it and what you thought, or if there are any other similar books out there – either around the same subject, or a similar layout and approach but a different subject!

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Filed under Blogging, Books, Collecting, Inspiration and inspiring things, Photography, Reading Matter, Recording

Vintage/thrifted finds this week

A mixture of locations this week, I snuck into town while the boys were out playing golf just once during my time at the Open, but in the couple of hours I was there found an utterly gorgeous green tea dress with laced detail back. It is so unassuming on the hanger that I’ve failed to get a decent picture of it, but will put it on and shoot it soon :)

I also nearly bought a 50s tablecloth with pub signs on it from Vintage By The Sea, but couldn’t justify £25 on a tablecloth and the proprietor’s attitude changed a bit when she realised I was uncertain about buying it, which put me off. The shop, on the other hand, was so pretty I had to take photos (not very good ones, I admit):

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Then while I was out with Mum on Saturday, I found:

Polka dot work dress:

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Donkey cross stitch kit

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Vintage glass jelly mould – which is going to look awesome in my kitchen!

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Sewing book – this is both wonderfully nostalgic and completely hilarious, it has sections in it for things like ‘The Tummy-bulge Type!’ and ‘The Half-size, or Diminutive Type’ which cracked me up!

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Inside detail:

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I’m going to try and make something from this and see how good their advice is – it was published in 1958-1960 so will be interesting to see what’s changed (if anything!)

 

Also picked up a couple of particularly pretty scarves:

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and of course there are my bottles and tin from Brighton. A good week for thrifting, I’m sure you’ll agree!

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Filed under Books, Clothes, Collecting, Interiors & home accessories, Shopping, Thrifting, Vintage, Wearing

Inspiring Brighton

I adore Brighton. I don’t go very often, but whenever I do I bounce around like a lunatic before the trip, and I’m just so excited while I’m there. It’s full of the most gorgeous shops, people and things.

This time, as before I went with lovely Lou, who is also fabulously inspiring. We had somewhat of a pin-up inspired day, and I came home with three prints and two sheets of wrapping paper covered in vintage style pin up ladies (my three prints are all Gil Elvgren, I have a book of his which I also adore). Photos of these are being withheld until I’ve finished redecorating my flat in August, as they feature quite heavily!

Following the theme, I found a beyond gorgeous book just before we left, about lingerie design and construction. Which sounds quite weird, but with Floozie Friday and all, and having a couple of talented sewists in my circle of close friends, I think it’s high time we branched out into making knickers! More of that to come… but here’s the book and its amazon link, everyone who loves sewing should own a copy. It’s almost like a blog in book form, beautifully put together.

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Longer review to come :)

We found a cat in a (different) bookshop, too:

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We did some of the antique/flea markets too (although I could happily spend six weeks doing those, I swear… I never see everything!) and Lou found the perfect vintage dress, while I found a fabulous tin that once housed saddle soap, and a collection of old glass bottles (which I really hope have survived the journey home from Brighton via Kent to Essex :S) Planning to display them in my living room, possibly as vases, possibly on their own. :)

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How was I supposed to resist a glass bottle that said ‘Princess Alice’?! (centre of bottom row)

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Filed under Books, Collecting, Haul Posts, Inspiration and inspiring things, Interiors & home accessories, Reading Matter, Thrifting, Vintage