Friday, 17 May 2013

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

If I'm so Retro, does that mean I'm Cool??

Do you remember Aqua Manda perfume? 

If you were a child of the 60s/70s like me, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.  Aqua Manda was THE perfume of the early 70s, with its little brown bottle and flower-power hippy-chic label.  It went right along with Biba, Mary Quant hairdos, Dr. Scholl wooden exercise sandals, and The Sweet belting out Blockbuster on Top of the Pops.  I loved it, along with everyone else I knew.  If you weren't wearing Aqua Manda, you - well, you just weren't.  Full stop.

If that wasn't what you were dabbing behind your ears, what about Sea Jade?  Babe?  Tweed?  Charlie?  You mention those names now, they're a Bratz-type doll, a talking pig, a jacket your Dad might wear, and a proper one.  (think about it.)  But if they conjure up the hottest summer ever, Davis Bowie and Marc Bolan with their arms around each other ON TELLY, EEK, and dancing around your handbag of a Saturday night down a disco called Mr. Beaujangles, then welcome to what was my world.

Why the rose-tinted-retro nostalgia?  It's because the other day, as I was a-browsing eBay (I am an eBay tart) I spotted a bottle of original 70s Aqua Manda for sale.  Good seal to the lid, still had the original fragrance, so they said.  It eventually sold for £30.

THIRTY QUID!!  It probably cost 2/6 back then!

The same seller had another moment of my lost youth for sale too, but this time, one I've hung on to.  My Learn To Cook-Book.  Here's my original copy:  isn't it lovely?

And yes, I did learn to cook from it, all kinds of exotic things like Hot Dogs, Croque Monsieur and Pizza Pie.  Notice the Pie in Pizza!  We didn't have anything as exotic as actual Italian pizza back then.  It was the 70s, remember?  The most exotic foodstuff back then were Vesta boil-in-a-bag dinners, Mivvi ice lollies and pickled onion flavour Monster Munch.  Anyway, the copy of My Learn To Cook Book on eBay sold for just under a tenner. Amazing!
How things come back!  I remember pinching those wide elasticated belts my mum found in the back of the wardrobe.  She'd forgotten she had them, back in the 50s.  And when 50s fashion came around again in the 80s, I wept hot tears when she spoke fondly of vast collection of full skirts and net petticoats she'd once had and hadn't kept.  She never thought they'd come back into fashion, you see.  And now here I am, just like my dear old mum, finding the things of my youth in more demand than I ever was when I had them.
I used to be a fully paid-up, card-carrying member of the anti-70s brigade, you know.  I was of of those who truly believed it was the decade that style forgot.  But now that it's all the rage and Retro Is Cool, I'm willing to shift sides a little.  Especially as my kids are quickly approaching the age where pretty much anything their parents do is most decidedly uncool.  I'm hanging on to any wee bit of cool I might still have for as long as I can.  After all, I might never come back into fashion again.
There's a Post Script to this article.  I've since found out that Aqua Manda perfume is making a comeback!  I can't wait.  Sign me up for a dozen bottles and stick Starman on the stereo!
But I bet it'll cost more than thirty quid.  Or 2/6, for that matter!
What parts of your (mis-spent?) youth have come back to haunt you recently?

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Hello, World!

I know - it's not like me to be so quiet!  But this year so far has been a series of one thing after another, some not-so-good, some very good indeed, and all needing attention.  I won't dwell on the not-so-good - I still have sadness to deal with, but that will eventually turn into memories, the pain will ease (a little), and life goes on.

So, to the pretty-darn-good category, which mostly revolves around our house renovations.  We spent so many years renting and are so VERY glad to be out of that rut now.  It means so much to a shell-lover like me to be able to turn a house into a real home.  Not just wallpaper and paint, either, but jobs involving sledgehammers and industrial-strength drills, bags of plaster and filler, and lots and lots of labouring.  No matter how much I clean, the second I put the cloth away, another fine layer of dust settles on every surface.  The carpet is, I swear, half an inch deeper, and my vacuum cleaner thinks I'm having a laugh.  I'm not bothered, though - I can live with the extra dust in the knowledge that the carpet is the next thing to go, and we'll have our longed-for wooden floors very soon.

After a series of power cuts in the freezing cold depths of last winter, our new wood-burning stove is going to wonderful in the next one.  It's sitting in our (rebuilt) fireplace right now, waiting to be installed.  It's going to be wonderful!  Note to self, must buy toasting fork.

Much of my computer time - which is scarce enough these days! - has been spent sourcing materials.  I've found some beautiful reclaimed tiles for the hearth.  When I have them in my clammy little paws, I'll post a photograph.

It's all fun!  And of course, the best bits are the evenings over a glass of wine, when hubbie and I review what we've achieved so far, and talk about what we have ahead.  We can picture it all done and complete, right down to the wallpaper and paint I mentioned earlier.  I can see the glowing flame in the fireplace, the candles on the new mantlepiece.  It's going to be worth every minute, every penny, and every strained muscle.  Bring it on!

Of course, the writing is on a hiatus for now.  But don't worry - I'll be back soon.  Now, where's that paintbrush.....?