Phone Box Thursday: Durham Cathedral

This week’s phone box is the first one I found in the North East of England, outside Durham Cathedral.

Red phone box
Red phone box, Durham Cathedral, 1st May 2015.

When I took this one, I remember Geth going on a big rant about how there was this beautiful medieval cathedral right in front of me and there I was, taking a photo of the phone box.  An older lady who was walking past backed me up, saying ‘they don’t make them like that anymore!’  They most certainly don’t.  Anyway, I did take a photo of the cathedral as well:

Durham Cathedral
With bonus traffic cones.

But frankly, you can see pictures of Durham Cathedral any time you like (given that it has a Wikipedia page and everything), and you can’t say that about the Durham Cathedral phone box.

New addition to my flower tattoo

As promised…

Iris tattoo
The newest bit of the ever-growing flower garden on my arm.

I had an iris flower added to my collection, coming down onto my forearm.  What I absolutely love is that my old butterfly tattoo from 2002 had a reworking!  It wasn’t the best quality tattoo in the world to begin with, and after sixteen years it had become a bit of a blur:

Old butterfly tattoo
Yes, that was a butterfly once upon a time.

My arm as a whole is looking pretty floral now:

Floral arm tattoo
All the flowers and insects! I’m so happy with this piece.

Thanks to Raven at Sakura Tattoo for my flower garden.  I’m sure I’ll be in again when the tattoo itch next strikes…

Post-tattoo tiredness

So I finally had the not-so-badly-timed-after-all tattoo appointment this afternoon.  I have a beautiful new addition to my arm piece that I will be telling you all about tomorrow, after I’ve cleaned it up and taken some pictures.

I’m super happy with it but also super tired now – three hours around the elbow will do that.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get a nice early night and a good sleep after a few days of staying up late.

My history of excursions into ’80s fashion

There have been a few periods in my life where I’ve tried to fit in with the prevailing fashions of the day, but in all honesty, I’ve never really succeeded, and when I look at photos of myself during those periods, I always think I look uncomfortable and not quite right.  The style of the ’80s has always felt ‘correct’ to me; it gives me a strong sense of ‘these are what clothes SHOULD look like’, and later fashions just look dowdy and unstylish to my eye.  I’m not sure whether I just internalised it really strongly when I first came into the world, or whether I’ve just come to love that aesthetic by chance, but thirty years later it’s still what I’m drawn to, and I think I always will be.

So, my history of being an ’80s fashion throwback, then.  I don’t think it counts as being a ‘throwback’ when you’re still in the actual ’80s, but that’s where it began, and clearly my toddlerhood was the best dressed era of my life:

Clothes I wore in the '80s
Check out that lookbook! I will never come close to being this stylish ever again.

I wore so many different (and AWESOME) outfits during this era.  I guess most toddlers go through lots of different clothes, due to the whole rapid body growth thing, but looking at pictures it really seems like in my five short years spent in the ’80s I wore more clothes than in the rest of my life put together.

Shame they couldn’t all have grown with me.  Especially the moon ‘n’ stars nightdress in the bottom right corner, my favourite nightdress of all time.

The ’90s, meanwhile, were probably my most difficult decade fashion-wise.  Due to a combination of hand-me-downs from family friends, thick curly hair that utterly refused to be browbeaten into the poker-straight trend it was supposed to be following, and a stubborn fully-developed taste that meant I was already gravitating towards the styles of the ’80s, I spent the whole decade doing the awkward ‘dated by quite a few years, but not enough to be retro or vintage yet’ look:

Clothes I wore in the '90s
Looking a bit ’80s in the ’90s.

Jeans, especially, I found so awkward – I was drawn to high-rise straight-leg styles, but as the decade went on, they became more low-rise and bootcut – that it put me off them for a long time, and nowadays I don’t own any blue jeans at all.  When I reach my target weight, I’ll maybe give them another go.

The ’00s were better (not in general fashion terms – I think the trends of the ’00s were the absolute nadir of fashion in my lifetime so far – but for me personally in terms of style).  My teen years, 1998-2004, coincided with the first big wave of ’80s nostalgia in pop culture (The Wedding Singer!  The BBC’s I Love The ’80s series!  The accompanying CD that I got for Christmas in 2001!  Bergerac repeats on BBC2 every day while I was on school exam leave!  Websites such as Like Totally ’80s starting up!  ’00s indie bands aping ’80s indie bands…now I’m nostalgic for a period of nostalgia.  I’ll stop there), and so it was then that I first became conscious that I loved the ’80s so much – that the music was better, the films and TV shows were better, the fashion was better.  (I also had a brief flirtation with the early ’70s due to my love of glam rock.  You can’t beat a pair of silver glitter platform boots.)

2003 was also the year I became goth.  Goth is a wonderful subculture for ’80s throwbacks of a certain style, because the look has basically stayed the same since 1978, and all the clubs play lots of post-punk and synthpop.  Utter bliss.

As such, my ’00s look can basically be divided into pre-2004 (Madonna-style fishnet gloves, jelly bracelets and plastic beads from Claire’s Accessories in every shade of primary and neon) and post-2004 (mainly goth, with occasional disastrous forays into mainstream contemporary fashion):

Clothes I wore in the '00s
These two pictures illustrate my point; both were taken in 2004.

Which brings us to the ’10s.  The less said about the first half of the decade, the better – I was uncomfortably overweight and spent most of it hiding away in leggings, baggy t-shirts and hoodies – but now that I’ve lost most of the weight, I’m starting to remember how to have fun with fashion again, hence my recent interest in cultivating a vintage ’80s wardrobe.

Clothes I wore in the '10s
’80s-inspired looks that I’ve worn out to goth clubs recently. Those old Claire’s Accessories beads are still going strong!

I know – from reading stuff by people who are into mid-century vintage – that as time goes on, ’80s vintage stuff won’t always be as readily available and affordable as it is at the moment.  As such, I’m making the most of it, with the aim of being able to dress in clothes from my favourite decade for the rest of my life.  I hope I’ll be lucky and long-lived enough to be eighty or ninety years out of date one day!

Vintage fair haul: Newcastle Vintage & Street Food Market

A good vintage fair day today!  I went to the Vintage & Street Food Market at the Boiler Shop in Newcastle, put on by Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fairs.  I didn’t even notice any street food vendors (probably because of the overriding allure of The Shiny), but I managed to get some of the essential purchases that were on my list for this year:

Vintage fair purchases
Today’s finds, in slightly more familiar-to-my-wardrobe colours and patterns than the last haul!

From left to right: the black velvet material is a knee-length pencil skirt, which I’ve been looking for since I realised I needed to replace my old black pencil skirt with the broken zip (I got that one from Matalan in 2001, so it’s ‘not due me anything’ as my mum always says).  The silver shiny material is a lightweight vintage ’80s miniskirt that will look awesome with going-out outfits this year, and the black and blue materials with the fabulously old-fashioned gilt buttons are blouses for the spring and summer.  I’m so excited for the weather to get warmer now.  Just have to be patient for a few more weeks.

2018 Ciders #7: Hand Brake

So yesterday in the pub, I got Non-Dry February started with a pint of Hand Brake, another cider from the Rosie’s Pig line (like Flat Tyre).

Hand Brake cider logo
The Hand Brake tap in the pub. It was nice and quiet so there was nobody around to give me weird looks for taking photos of the bar equipment.

Like its stablemate (applemate? brewerymate?), Hand Brake is a pretty pinky-red colour.  The label says it’s damson-flavoured, but it tasted more like raspberries to me.

Pint of Hand Brake
My pint of Hand Brake. It’s a slightly deeper red than the rhubarb-pink of Flat Tyre.

It’s a nice flavoured pint, but I’d say Flat Tyre has the edge for me – the rhubarb is just a bit more interesting.  I wouldn’t be disappointed to find either on tap in a pub in future though!

Groundhog Day

So, I was all set for the world’s worst timed tattoo appointment!  I had plenty of water to drink and some chocolate to make sure my blood sugar levels were good.  I got all my stuff done (housework, work emails, TV catchup, watching the Groundhog Day live feed from Punxutawney – six more weeks of winter, apparently, though I’m not 100% sure how accurate these predictions are for Punxutawney, let alone the rest of the Northern Hemisphere).  I had my idea for the tattoo addition all ready in my head, and then I paced up and down for the last twenty minutes before I had to leave the house, and then I bumped into Geth on the way out to the tattoo parlour and was able to catch up about his morning at work for a minute, and then I went to the cash machine and got cash out to pay for the tattoo.

And then I went to the tattoo parlour, and my tattooist realised she’d put the wrong date on my appointment slip.  It’s actually next Tuesday.

At least I was able to start Non-Dry February a few hours earlier than planned.  New cider posts coming soon!

Phone Box Thursday: High Street, Southampton

I did threaten promise to start posting my collection of red phone box photos, so here I go!

Red phone boxes in Southampton
Red phone boxes, High Street, Southampton, 17th March 2015.

I took this photo on our last night living in Southampton; we moved away the next day.  I do also have one of me, slightly tipsy and posing with the right-hand box like a nutter, but nobody needs to see that.  I never go into phone boxes to examine them more closely (they’re usually pretty gross inside nowadays as people only really use them as urinals/bins) but the phones in these ones are at least still intact, even if they probably don’t work anymore.  When Geth and I finally paid a flying visit to Southampton last May for the first time since moving away, we walked down High Street to visit the Platform Tavern (one of our favourite pubs in the city) and the phone boxes were still standing – good to see!