the day trip and the retrocamera

The Husband, formerly in possession of an old Nokia phone, has recently upgraded to an HTC Desire, and I am absolutely green with envy. I’m a Blackberry user, which I used to think was the most wonderful thing ever, but since the arrival of the iPhone and Android brands, I’ve grown to detest the thing. The apps are appalling, the camera is terrible and the screen is, quite frankly, minute. What I am most jealous of, however, is the Retrocamera application available for free on the HTC – the iPhone has something similar with the Hipstamatic app (which I’ve seen on many lovely blogs over the last year or so) – but Retrocamera allows you to take pictures with one of five cameras; The Barbl (1950s Germany),The Little Orange Box (1970s USSR), Xolaroid (1970s USA), the Pinhole camera (a DIY camera from the 1950s), and the Fudgecan (1960s Canada). The effects on each are really different, and I absolutely love them all.

We went out on another wandering day at the weekend – I’m absolutely desperate for a new (old) dining table and chairs, so we went on a long march of all the second hand and antique furniture shops in Southsea. The Husbands fancy-pants new phone came in very handy, as I discovered once we’d left that I’d forgotten to charge the camera, and we only managed to get a couple of outfit pictures before it died completely!

I’ve got to be honest – I’m really not keen on outfit posts. I love, love, LOVE reading other peoples, and I like posting pictures of my clothes – I’m just not so keen on appearing in them myself. My face always tends to have some sort of a small fit when the shutter is released, and I just look mostly uncomfortable / bemused / cross (which I’m not, I just happen to be really unphotogenic!). However, I’ve decided to bite the bullet and make more of an effort and less of a fuss, so here is my first proper outfit photographed for your (what I hope will be!) sartorial pleasure. The dress is 1980s vintage from eBay (£4.99), the coat is also from eBay but isn’t vintage (£15), and the bag was £4.99 from a charity shop. The cardigan is 1980s vintage, from the wonderful eBay again (£3.99), and my little boots were from Topshop a couple of years ago. I really, desperately want some little black lace up boots in the same design, but can’t find any that are just right. The coat was purchased on a whim after seeing someone on another blog wearing a coat with a fur collar – I just don’t look right in full fur coats, so this was my compromise. I love how it looks really old, but is actually just from Tesco originally – a perfect example of how you can do vintage, without having to try and track down or pay through the nose to get that look. I love everything about this outfit, apart from the terrible photograph of me in front of the garage doors!

From here on in, it was down to the Retrocamera to capture the day – and I think it performed marvelously. I love the bottom photograph of the tree – it has an almost eerie quality about it, and I love how it makes clothes look as well. 

We started off in an amazing shop called Mardi Gras, which was actually a converted old terraced house. I say converted, but actually I think they’d just decided to use the house as their business premises – there hadn’t been much conversion going on from what we saw! Not that it mattered – the whole place was so full of the most wonderful old furniture that it became difficult to remember where you were at times. It was like a maze of antiquities, turns here and there, cupboards around this corner, old glass display cabinets and vintage dressers around that corner, stacks and stacks of vintage china and cookware…. the list was endless. Upstairs there were old mattresses (yes, really!), bedding, headboards to attach to divans, sofas and armchairs – and in the corner, perched on a battered old wicker chair, was the most amazing thing. A small chair, just the right size for the Boy, with a fabulous retro print all over it. It wasn’t one of those little plastic chairs you see in Argos or wherever else, it had a wooden frame, with a cushioned back and seat. It was just immense!

I umm-ed and ahh-ed over it for about fifteen minutes, looked at the Husband, made the Boy sit in it, umm-ed and ahh-ed a bit more, and then decided that £35 for a chair which he would only be able to use for a very short period of time was a little excessive, even for an old furniture junkie like me. I’m trying to be a little more thrifty with my thrifting, as I’ve noticed from looking at the price tags that it’s all to easy to veer from ‘cheap and cheerful with character’ to ‘actual legitimate antique with a price tag to match’. One day, when I am a famous artist / sewer / crochet-er / delete as applicable, I will fill my house with 1940’s writing desks and tiny child-sized chairs.

We had absolutely no luck with a dining table or chairs (I’m cursing myself for not snapping some up a couple of weeks ago when I saw some for a fiver a piece, pah), but I did find a couple of tables (watch out for a future post on these little beauties!). We also went for a wander and had tea and cake in our favourite little cafe, which I can now tell you is called ‘Lovely’ – and it really lives up to its name, the cakes are deeeeelish and the decor is just fabulous.

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