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And then I went out…

Well, having stated in my post yesterday that I seldom go out, I decided to go out today. 🙂

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Pin up art, and a new purchase

In this post, I buy a reproduction of a painting by Gil Elvgren, and trace some of the history behind it. I also have to modify the painting in order to be able to hang it.

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Posted by on 10th February 2019 in Arts and Crafts, Diary, Home furnishing, Shopping

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Out shopping

I popped out to a local Antiques & Collectables fair in Hartley Wintney today.

Victoria Hall, Hartley Wintney

Victoria Hall, Hartley Wintney

Despite having far too much jewellery, I couldn’t resist this cute pair of silver earrings for £9.

Heart earrings

Heart earrings

I liked how the inner and outer hearts moved independently of each other.

I also bought yet another ring, despite having far too many already. I just thought it was unusual. In case it’s not totally obvious from the photo, the ring is formed from the word “Love”.

Love

Love

I then had a little wander round the shops, and snapped a nice little selfie in a full length mirror in a shop.

Shopping selfie

Shopping selfie

I’m wearing a dress by Atmosphere that I bought ages ago for £5, a jacket by Jane Norman (which you will have seen many times before), and a glass heart necklace that I bought on Friday for £2 in a charity shop (you can see it better in the pic at the top of the post). The bag is by Radley, and the shoes are by Rocket Dog.

 

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Lost and found

It was the Monthly Market at Farnham Maltings on Saturday, and as regular readers will know it’s something I like to go to regularly.

 

I started to put together a skirt & leggings type outfit, but it just wasn’t working, so in the end I went for jeans, boots, and a top. I chose a nice striped top by Phase 8 that I like, along with a Per Una cardigan and a jacket, and overall I think the outfit worked pretty well.

I wore one of my favourite necklaces – a 1920’s/1930’s oriental style necklace in gold or gilt silver (not sure which) with black enamel inlay and 24K gold engraving that I bought a couple of years back. I have a matching bracelet for it but since it lacks a chain I am always nervous about wearing it in case it comes undone and I lose it. But I decided to risk it.

Partway into the journey and I realised that I had lost the bracelet already. Oh no! But at least that meant that I had either lost it in the house or in the car, so there was a chance I would find it again.

I arrived at The Maltings just before midday, and started having a look around. It was quite busy!

I got talking to a seller who spotted my necklace and showed me two bracelets she had that were similar. They were gold, and very good quality, and so unblemished that they looked almost new. One was too small for me, and the other, which fitted me, was £45 which was far more than I wanted to pay. I told her that I had no doubt that it was a fair price but it was too much for me, and she asked what I would pay. I stressed that I wasn’t trying to beat her down to this price, but that I generally didn’t pay more than £25 for a bracelet. She looked rather shocked, but I went on to say that I’d spent under £30 on the necklace. She semi-seriously offered me that on the spot for it because she said it was worth far more, but I declined explaining that this was one of my favourite necklaces and I simply couldn’t part with it. After chatting a little more, I moved on.

Bracelet

Bracelet

Imagine my surprise when, in another part of the rabbit warren that is The Maltings, I found a seller with a very similar bracelet priced at £25. It fit, it had a chain, and it complimented my necklace. It also had more of a patina to it, which I liked. I don’t see this style for sale very often, so it was quite a surprise to see a total of three bracelets in this style for sale at one event.

I asked the seller if she had any movement on price, but she said she did not. So I just paid her the £25 asking price as I really wanted it and it was within budget. She even threw in a box for it, which was a nice bonus.

I also picked up a pair of tiny little silver heart stud earrings that will be ideal for work, for a very reasonable £4

Free parking

Free parking

After I had finished at The Maltings, I decided to go home via Fleet High Street, and parked up in the Council car park. I was pleasantly surprised to find that parking was free due to a “Small Business Saturday” initiative by Hart District Council. I think this is a great idea as I have long been of the opinion that one of the things contributing to the death of High Street shopping throughout the country is the cost of parking. Let’s hope that this initiative was a huge success and encourages it to become a regular thing.

My main reason for visiting the High Street was to call into Serendipity. If you’re not familiar with this shop, it’s a small unassuming shop front on the Fleet High Street that belies a large Tardis-like rabbit warren that seems to go on forever, culminating with Daisy’s Tea Room at the very back.

Drop your pants here

Drop your pants here

I didn’t find a huge amount there, but I was drawn to a cute & cheeky laundry sign. It was brand new and made in China, but at £12.50 I thought it was just about cheap enough to justify buying. I tried to get it for a tenner but unfortunately the ticket price was fixed. Oh well.

I didn’t find anything else I wanted there, so walked up the High Street popping into the various charity shops, but didn’t get anything other than a DVD. I did get a new scarlet matte lipstick by Maybelline in Superdrug though, which I think will look nice.

Drop your pants here

I ♥ my bedroom

When I got home, I hung the new sign on the mirror in my bedroom, which is above (but to one side of) my laundry basket. I think it fits in there quite well.

I then went looking for my bracelet. It wasn’t in the car, or on the driveway, and it wasn’t in my bedroom where I had put on my cardigan (I thought perhaps this is when it might have fallen off), and wasn’t any of the places in the house that I had been that morning.

I was scratching my head by this point, and then I remembered that I had transferred the contents of my old hand bag to my new Radley one. And there, inside my old handbag, was the bracelet; it must have fallen off whilst I was moving stuff across. So that was a relief.

Clearly I needed to put a chain onto the bracelet if I was to wear it again with confidence.

I’ve been collecting this style of jewellery ever since I bought the necklace, and now have the aforementioned necklace, the two bracelets, a broach, two pairs of clip-on earrings, and another necklace which is rather clunky and has some damage and which I have never worn.

The collection

The collection

As luck would have it, the broach has a small security chain on it with a spring clip at one end and a safety pin at the other. Since I don’t really wear broaches, the chain looked ideal for use on the bracelet.

I very carefully opened up the ring securing the chain to the safety pin, removed the safety pin, and then attached the ring to the bracelet. It was a very fiddly job and took me a while, especially closing the ring up again satisfactorily, but I got there in the end. I’m quite pleased with myself for achieving it, even though I say so myself.

Added security

Added security

Before I got my makeup off, I also managed a quick photo shoot in the outfit I was wearing. I chose the spare room for this, with me sitting in the window. I was quite pleased with how it turned out, although the end of the bed does rather distract from the picture. I could have digitally removed it, but I thought it was far funnier to leave it in and lampshade it with a knob gag. 😀

Insert knob gag here

Insert knob gag here

I’m wearing my new lipstick in this pic, but you can’t really see it very well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by on 4th December 2017 in Arts and Crafts, Diary, Out & About, Photos, Shopping

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Shopping trip

Off out

Off out

Today I decided to get into girl mode and to pop into Camberley for a spot of shopping.

Looked great in the pic

Looked great in the pic

I wanted to pick up a few things, specifically a valance for my bed, and also perhaps something sexy for a photo shoot. I’d previously bought something on eBay for the purpose but it turned out to be a bit naff and also doesn’t fit (the strap across the back is non-adjustable and too tight, although perhaps I could replace it with ribbon).

First port of call was Primark. I figured that they would be the best place to get something cheap that would be good enough for a photo shoot. I wasn’t disappointed and got a really nice thong body (see later) for a very reasonable £12. I also found a really nice faux suede jacket. Due to the length of my arms and also the width across my shoulders, it’s usually quite hard to find a jacket that fits me, and I usually end up having to go several sizes too big. I picked out a size 18 (even though I am a 12-14) and it was actually too big. However, when I tried a size 16 it fit perfectly, so I was over the moon about that! At £25 it didn’t break the bank either.

I looked around for bedding, but couldn’t find that area despite venturing upstairs which is where the children’s section also is. It was so crowded and noisy with screaming kids that I didn’t last long before I had to get the hell out of there.

Biker (shabby) chick

Biker (shabby) chick

When I got to the checkout to pay, the checkout girl told me she absolutely loved my hair, that the colour was amazing, that it really suited me, and asked if it was my natural hair colour. I don’t know if she was a good actress, or genuine, and if she thought it really was my hair or realised it was a wig, but either way it absolutely made my day. 😀

I called into a few charity shops, but found poor pickings, and then into The Ark. I had changed into the new jacket by now and was itching to take a selfie, and found a nice full length mirror to take one.

Liquid eyeliner

Liquid eyeliner

Nothing much caught my eye, so I then moved on to Boots because I needed some new liquid eyeliner.

I ended up buying a Metallic Anthracite by Max Factor, and a Velvet Black also by Max Factor.

I’d been walking quite a bit by now, and wanted to go into House of Fraser (formerly Army & Navy) next, but needed a rest first, so called into the in-store Cafe Nero for a coffee and a caramel shortbread (mmmm). Whilst I was there I observed a slightly creepy looking bloke eyeing me, and when he got up and headed my way I thought “uh oh. Here we go”, but instead he went to a blonde lady seated near me. I didn’t hear what he said to her, although I can guess, but I overheard her reply “uh, thanks. That’s very kind”. I’m not sure which is worse, getting slightly creepy compliments, or not getting any. LOL.

Then to more shopping. Yay!

I was quite tempted by a lovely sequinned club dress, but frankly I know I will not have the opportunity to wear it so it was fairly easy to pass on it.

Sequinned club dress

Sequinned club dress

Vero Moda jumper

Vero Moda jumper

A little harder to resist was a gorgeous soft jumper by Vera Moda. I really deliberated on this, but in the end decided that I have far too many jumpers already and passed on it – but only just! I’m still not sure that I made the right decision though. If my bestie had been with me, she’d have probably tipped my indecision into a purchase – she’s good like that. 🙂

Gigi leather handbag

Gigi leather handbag

I also popped into TK Maxx and was briefly tempted by a Gigi leather handbag, reduced to £44.99 from an alleged RRP of £110. It smelt wonderful, and I liked the exterior design of it, but the interior was really lacking – just a vast open space with a small phone pocket and nothing else. I prefer my bags to have loads of compartments rather than just being a cluttered sack, so sadly I had to pass on that. Shame.

I still hadn’t got the valance for my bed yet (I hadn’t fancied paying House of Fraser prices), so I popped into Argos. I haven’t been there in years, and it was quite the nostalgia trip. There were still the multiple copies of the Laminated Book of Dreams, the little slips of paper, the tiny pens, the tills that you take your slip to. Oh, for sure, there are now touch screens that allow you to search for stuff, which is what I used to find a suitable valance, but you still have to write down the catalogue code and take it to the till (although there there were two automated tills, but one wasn’t working, and one was in use, and even then the systems aren’t linked and you have to type in the codes). So it was off to the till, old school, with my little slip of paper, where payment was made, and I had to wait for my order to be fetched. All very retro, and not in a good way.

One last selfie

One last selfie

So, with my mission accomplished, and my feet increasingly sore, it was just time for one last selfie, and then I was done and headed off home.

Not as racey as it looks

Not as racey as it looks

When I got home, I tried on the body that I bought in Primark and it was absolutely brilliant – it fits so well, is flattering, and looks more revealing than it is due to flesh colour modesty panels; I’m really looking forward to doing a photoshoot with it. Be sure to keep an eye on my Flickr!

So, I got what I set out to buy, spent frugally, and had a really nice day. I’m calling that a win.

 

 


Update:

Pics are now available on Flickr, but you will need a Flickr account to view them as they are marked as Moderate (this one) and Restricted (this one).
 

 

 

Posted by on 28th October 2017 in Clothes, Diary, Out & About, Photos, Shopping

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Girls who do Maltings

One of the things that my various social media accounts often results in is contact with other t-girls, and one such girl is Siobhan Hapgood who regularly comments on my Facebook posts and who has become a friend as a result.

We’ve been meaning to meet up for a while, and Siobhan suggested that since the Monthly Market at Farnham Maltings was coming up and, since as a regular reader she knows I often visit that, maybe we should meet up for July’s, which sounded like a great idea to me, and so a plan was formed.

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Sunbury Antiques Market (31-Jan-2017)

Today I got up at a frankly ridiculous 5:30am, and left the house at just gone 6am heading for the Sunbury Antiques Market at Kempton Park Racecourse in Surrey and arrived at 6.40am.

Here are a few pics that I took with my phone.

 

Posted by on 31st January 2017 in Home furnishing, Out & About, Photos, Shopping

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Royal Worcester – Moments For You

Today’s Antiques Fair purchase – this lovely Royal Worcester figurine of a lady

The seller had £35 on it and said he would let it go for £30, but I pointed out a long and almost invisible hairline crack in the glaze that runs down her entire length, and he said in that case I could have it for £20 and I thought that was fair, so bought it.

It has no age to it (it was produced in 2004), but I just love the shape and pose of her.

“Moments For You” by Royal Worcester

Update: The only minor disappointment is that, whilst doing a little research on the internet to find out more about the figure, I found it for sale on Amazon brand new for £19.99. Oh well.

 

Posted by on 15th January 2017 in Arts and Crafts, Photos, Shopping

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Dear diary

Somewhat surprisingly, people actually read my blog (I know – it came as a surprise to me too) and people have been asking me what I’ve been up to, and how the job is going.

Business Casual

Business Casual

As I mentioned in my previous post, the job is predominantly based at my own home office, with most client interaction being via Skype (either voice-only conference call, or IM) and email. Up until last Friday, I hadn’t actually had any further in-person meetings, but on Friday we had a catch-up and progress meeting which I attended.

Based on previous meetings, I knew people dressed pretty casually so I chose a casual t-shirt dress by Atmosphere which had cost me the princely sum of £5 in Primark, plus the shoes and tights I mentioned buying from M&S in my previous post.

The meeting went very well, and people seemed happy with the progress I have made, my estimates for how much is to do on what I am doing, some design ideas I have, and also a roadmap for what I will work on next. It was all very encouraging.

As before, everyone was very accepting of my presented gender.

However, at one point I had the most bizarre thing happen – I’d just taken a sip of orange squash, put it down, and then a few moments later without any warning or feeling that it was about to happen, a really loud burp escaped from me. I could have died of embarrassment! I was absolutely mortified. I got teased a little bit in a good-natured (but not blokey banter) way, but was still so embarrassed. That really has never happened to me before – normally I can feel a burp coming and suppress it. What surprised me the most, though, was just how much more embarrassed I felt in girl mode about it than I might have in guy mode.

When I got home I did a small photo shoot for a schoolgirl outfit I have been working on for Flickr, but I’m not happy with any of the shots.

Butterflies and flowers

Butterflies and flowers

The next day – Saturday – it was the Monthly Market at Farnham Maltings, which I like to go to. I’ve mentioned it a few times in previous posts, and it’s an Antiques, Crafts and Collectables Fair. It’s a reasonable £1 to get in but the car park is not free and costs £1.20 for 1 hour and £1.40 for 2 hours (and more for longer obviously). I usually go for 2 hours as although I could whistle round in an hour, it’s not worth feeling rushed just for a saving of 20p.

I dressed casually in a nice butterfly top I recently got from eBay (in fact I like this one so much I now have 3 of them in different colours) and a skirt by Hollister. I wore flats in the end, rather than the wedges in the photo, as I knew my feet would get sore quickly in the wedges.

It was clear that a lot of sellers were on holiday, as the place felt very sparse compared with normal. I didn’t find much apart from a very cute silver pinky finger ring of two entwined open hearts, marked 925 silver, which the seller said was 1970’s. It wasn’t in the best of condition, but it fit me just right, and the seller wanted £10 for it. I decided that I already wear rings on both pinky fingers, so told him I’d leave it whereupon he said he’d take £8. I decided to walk away though.
I really regret doing that now. It occurs to me that I already have two rings that fit only my right ring finger, which I choose from as the mood takes me, and my pinky fingers should be no different. A missed opportunity there, because it was very cute. Never mind, maybe the seller will be there next month and still have it.

When I got home, I tried again on the schoolgirl outfit shoot, but still wasn’t happy with it.

The following Tuesday I got up super-early and made it over to the Sunbury Antiques Market at Kempton Park Racecourse, which you can read about on my public Facebook page.

Shabbytique

Shabbytique

The rest of the week was spent working from home, then on Sunday I went up to Maidenhead for the Shabbytique and eatonthehighstreet fair. I wore a pretty top by Per Una, which was one of my many eBay / Charity Shop bargains, some jeans by Autograph (also a M&S brand), and a pair of boots by DUO.

Bonus Selfie #1

Bonus Selfie #1

Bonus Selfie #2

Bonus Selfie #2

Steve Conway was singing, so it was really nice to catch up with him and his wife and was worth going just for that.

The fair itself was a little disappointing, with a mix of stalls selling crafts and the like, and an equal number of food stalls, all spread out over the length of the pedestrianised part of the High Street. It felt like slim pickings though.

However, I did manage to get the most adorable necklace from a lady who is retiring and selling her remaining stock off at half price. The necklace I bought was £10, reduced from £20, and features a Murano glass pendant with flecks of gold in it, and a Sterling silver chain. I thought it was beautiful.

After that I headed home. I didn’t feel like doing any further photo shoots and had a pretty quiet remainder to the day.

Murano glass necklace

Murano glass necklace

 

 

 

 

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A new chapter

As you may or may not know, I work on a freelance basis rather than being a permanent employee of a company, although often it is on a contract basis with just one client.

For the past 2+ years I have been having a fairly long distance daily commute to just such a client. Although it was good work, and I enjoyed working with a great team there, the commute did leave me fairly tired a lot of the time and also ate into my leisure time enormously.

Just over a month ago, they gave me a month’s notice that they wished to discontinue the arrangement, which is fine as it’s the nature of freelance work, and a flexible, dynamic working arrangement is all part of the service. More on that later.

It had been my intention to take a sabbatical after I finished there, but a week or so before my last day some new work pretty much fell on my lap. I was sought out by the owner of a small company to whom I had been recommended by two people independently – both former colleagues – and the owner of the company was keen to discuss how I could help them.

A meeting was arranged, discussions were had, and we established that I had exactly the skills and experience that they needed, including some business knowledge in their area, and was ideally placed to be able to help them. Furthermore, I pointed out that as a freelancer I represented a much lower financial risk and commitment compared to taking on an employee, especially as their requirements were for short-term assistance. Also discussed was the fact that their company does not have offices as such, and operates on a distributed basis, so I would be working from home with occasional meetings. And, even better, they are based quite near to me geographically so even the meetings would not be a huge problem for me.

The owner of the company is a trans woman and is also a campaigner for transgender issues, and since one of the people who recommended me had mentioned that I am genderfluid, I raised the subject of perhaps presenting as female for future meetings. She said she was more than happy for me to do this and that I could present however I felt comfortable, even if that might change from day-to-day. As you may recall from a previous post, this is a big departure for me as I have up until now presented exclusively as male professionally (although I confess that towards the end of my time with my previous client, I was mixing it up and wearing nail varnish to work every day).

We had a Perfect Storm, as far as I was concerned. Or, given that ‘Perfect Storm’ usually has negative connotations, I suppose I should say “a synergy of forces leading to a release of energy much greater than any of its individual contributors”, but that sounds incredibly wanky, so I will stick to ‘Perfect Storm’. But I digress. My point is that the timing was right, the location was right, my skills and experience couldn’t really have been a better match, and after some negotiation an agreement was reached for me to work with them for 4.5 days a week at a fee that was acceptable to both.

They were keen for me to commence sooner rather than later, so it ended up that I only had a week off between finishing with my previous client and starting with them.

Butterfly cowl dress by Purplish

Butterfly cowl dress by Purplish Fashion

So on Monday this week, I turned up for our 10am kick-off meeting in girl mode. I chose a nice Butterfly cowl dress by Purplish Fashion and my favourite black DUO boots, and wore my short wig as I thought that I might get less ‘hot & bothered’ with it. The owner and I signed the contracts, and then we were joined by two other members of staff and we got down to business, thrashing out technical details and talking about where I could contribute. Later, we all went out for lunch at a nearby pub, which was a good opportunity to get to know each other a little more, and then resumed before finishing mid-afternoon to go back to our respective home offices, having first spent time making sure my laptop was all set up to access their systems and that it all worked.

The next day was an all-hands meeting in the afternoon starting at 2pm, which gave me a great opportunity to meet everyone. It was also good to learn more about what the company did, and to see their roadmap for the immediate future as this gave me an idea of how what I would be working on fit into the bigger picture. Everyone accepted my chosen gender, and used feminine pronouns throughout, and never once got it wrong. Then from 5.30pm onwards it became a social. I felt so natural in girl mode, and much more at ease socially, and found it easy to chat to everyone which is not something I find so easy in guy mode. I also found I ended up talking to the other ladies rather than hovering on the edges of a group of guys, and felt a lot more comfortable with that and also very accepted.

'Marie' dress by Crew Clothing

‘Marie’ dress by Crew Clothing

For this meeting I wore a favourite dress by Crew Clothing which you will have read about before in a previous post.

I left around 7pm, then popped in to Maplin on the way home to pick up a “Collect In Store” purchase I had made a few days previously.

I’d ordered the item in a gender-neutral name, but unfortunately the billing details were in my guy name, and the assistant asked me if I could sign for it and what my relationship was to the purchaser. So I simply said “Actually, I am that person; I’m just presenting as female today” and he apologised and said that he would absolutely never have known and it never even occurred to him. Awesome – I’ll take that as a compliment thanks. 🙂

On the way home from there, I decided that I needed some more tights, some new undies, and some shoes. So I called into a big out-of-town Marks & Spencer’s near me. I was delighted to find that M&S now go up to a size 8 – in the past they only went up to 7½ – and this gave me a lot more choice.

Shoes by M&S

Shoes by M&S

Eventually I settled on some cute sling back shoes with a snake-skin effect block heel. And as a nice bonus, I qualified for a free pair of flip-flops too. Yay!

I also picked up a pack of tights and two 5-packs of the cutest cotton bikini briefs, but I draw the line at posting pictures of those. 🙂

Today (Wednesday) I was working from my home office and put in a really solid day’s work, took a little break every hour as prompted to by my Fitbit Alta, and walked the suggested 250+ steps each hour by using my treadmill in the next room. If anything, I think my life may actually become less sedentary due to the treadmill.

Right now I am feeling really happy and content. It’s a real change for me, especially presenting as female professionally, but I really couldn’t have asked for a safer and more accepting environment in which to do it.

 

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