Under the Sea

I felt pretty good when I put on this outfit, but now that I look at it in photos I think maybe it's too twee? Maybe there are too many whimsical components and they're all competing? I'm not sure. Every now and then I go through these stupid first-world crises where I have no idea what is ugly and what's not and I have trouble dressing myself, and I am definitely doing that now. I do know I god damn LOVE this novelty-print 1950s dress though. I bought it from House of Maryanne before I went away, and when I got back it was waiting at the foot of my bed for me. When I haven't been wearing it, it's been hanging on my wall like a piece of art. Not only is the under-the-sea print phenomenal, but it fits really well and got the perfect big pockets so I can carry all my junk around in them. Today I was feeling a little better thanks to hitting the inhalers hard, so went into town with my lady flatmates for beer and chips, and it was awesome to get out of the house after doing nothing for so long.

After she struck up a conversation about the length of my hair, I spent a good half hour trying to persuade the lovely girl who poured my pint to try going shampoo-free, which I started doing after I read about Eline's success with it. I'd like to take this opportunity to tell everyone reading this to give it a try too, as it not only does amazing things to your hair but is ridiculously cheap. I now only wash my hair once a fortnight-ish, which is totally not gross but actually really awesome. It's good for the hot water bill and good for me. If you find your hair problematic in any way you should seriously consider giving this a try, it will basically solve all your follicular problems.

As usual these photos are by the wonderful Kita!

My face looks funny in this one but I like it?

(Wearing 1950s novelty print day dress from House of Maryanne vintage, tights from H&M Kids via my mum, vintage green princess coat from Zwzzy, black t-bar ballet flats from Trademe, cane basket bag from Two Squirrels Vintage, and opshopped mustard woolen beret)


Goodbye Saigon

So I went to Vietnam, it was fun. I had university holidays coming up, and when I mentioned it to my parents, who live in Ho Chi Minh City, they suggested I met them in Singapore in a few days. So... I did. It was a really rushed trip, which lead to some delays stemming from a problem with my Vietnam visa. The problem being I didn't have one. But after some canceled flights and some begging and pleading and frantic taxi rides to the embassy and large wads of cash exchanged, I ended up in Ho Chi Minh City safely once more. Relatively safely. I had a bit of classic food poisoning, and also infected bedbug bites and the flu, which lead to a sinus infection and me losing my voice completely too. Which is fun in a country where you don't speak the language to begin with. But thankfully Vietnamese pharmacies are extremely liberal with their medications, and endowed upon me a huge pile of medications that would require actual medical assessment in NZ. It was still an excellent trip, even though I wasn't up to as much as usual.

I can always manage a drink though. The prices in Vietnam are RIDICULOUS. Thirty cents for a can of beer? Nine dollars for a litre of Gordon's? Two dollars for an amaretto sour? Don't mind if I do! My suitcase was utterly stuffed on the way home, with bottles of gin wrapped in dresses.

My mum had prepared for my arrival with this charming 5-litre cask of disgusting wine.

Excellent decor at the Reunification Palace.

I LOVE PACKING. I think a good future career for me would be a personal packer for the rich and famous. This was my initial travel wardrobe, although I managed to acquire much more on my sojourn, including some beautiful tailored pieces. We found an a m a z i n g fabric market, inside Tan Dinh market. They pretty much had every sort of fabric and trimming you could ever want, and this is where Mum and I bought fabrics to get dresses and things made at the tailor. Printed 100% cottons were around $1-$3 per metre, with velvet and linen and lace being a little more expensive. I also got an amazing lace collar for 30 cents. I also unearthed some second-hand stalls at another market, where donated clothing from China and Australia is imported and resold, where I got three awesome, possibly hideous 80s dresses. 'Possibly hideous' could describe everything I want to wear lately. I left Wellington with almost nothing in my suitcase, and came back with 10 dresses, which was actually a terrible idea because Jack just moved in with me and now I have to share my little clothes rail with him. I've had to put some of my dresses in a suitcase and store them away for a while! I will post outfit photos with some of my new things soon. But not right now. I am too sick to do much. Apparently I have asthma now, which is great fun.


Shiba Productions fairytale books

(I've had this post queued up for ages. I'm in Vietnam! It's hot and mad and I am covered in infected bedbug bites and I have the flu. So glamorous! Pictures and things to come later.)

My mum and I are pretty mad book fiends, which must be in the blood as her family owned a bookshop/printing company in Wellington until a couple of decades ago. We're both especially obsessed with literature we loved when we were kids, which works for me because my mum kept every single one of her books from her youth. This means I was raised on more or less the same stuff as her- we're both absolute Enid Blyton and Laura Ingalls Wilder fangirls, but there is one amazing book that we both read until it literally fell apart. Mum's grandparents got it for her on a trip to the USA sometime in the 60s, and we both pored over it 30 years apart.

This amazing 3-D copy of Thumbelina was the greatest, scariest thing to me as a 6 year-old, and when we found it while cleaning out the garage, we embarked on a mission to find out more about them. A quick Google lead to tonnes of results, and it turns out we're not the only ones who were in love with this book- and there's a whole series! They were imported from Japan to the US in the 1960s. The 3-D imaging is called lenticular printing, and these books were published by Shiba Productions in the mid- to late- 1960s. This company was founded by KihachirĊ Kawamoto, who was a stop-motion artist who also designed and animated puppets for television shows. The prints in these books are technically staged photographs of dolls, but their creator refers to them as puppets, because they 'act'. Magical. Some other studios made different editions of these 3-D puppet books and other lenticular literature, but the ones we love are the traditional fairytale ones, published by Golden Press.

Wall of info, compiled from lots of different sources for anyone who loves these holographic puppet storybooks books like we do. We had to pay through the nose for some of them on eBay and Amazon because it turns out they're pretty collectable, and it's rare to find them in still-readable condition. This is the collection so far- we're still missing a couple, but we're working on it, and The Little Mermaid is currently on its way to me. We bought a second copy of Thumbelina because the original one had been over-read by too many generations and was beyond repair. Something about these books is just ridiculously appealing to me- the hyper-saturated cartoony colours, the puppets that you can see were so lovingly crafted, the weird new way of presenting these familiar stories. I love the detail in the scenes, it's so careful and complex. Anyway. I hope someone else can derive as much weird pleasure as me from these photos.



Damn, I love this coat. I love this coat so much. The story of how it and I came to be together begins with a magical dream some months ago, in which I thrifted an emerald-green princess coat with a velvet peter-pan collar. Does anyone else have dreams where they have amazing vintage luck, and wake up disappointed? Or just me? But yes, I dreamed it up, and then I set about on a lengthy quest to find it. I had almost given up, when my final Etsy search for 'green princess coat' came up with this one from Zwzzy Vintage, and it was love at first sight. Just in time for it to be a birthday present to myself too- I'm an April Fools baby. Although it is a liiiittle bit small in the bust, which I'll need to move the buttons to remedy, it is painfully beautiful and I've worn it non-stop since it arrived. The detailing is amazing, and the taffeta lining makes a satisfying swooshing noise when I walk.

I also birthday-treated myself to this embarrassingly-cheap replacement for my 1950s leather school satchel that I carry almost every day. The old one was a costume cupboard steal (literally) from my early years of high school, and it's been a truly faithful friend. It's held many a smuggled bottle of wine, been through many an airport security x-ray, and sat through many a lecture. But the stitching has almost all come undone, and the straps were wearing through and almost falling off. So I upgraded to a younger, sexier model off Trademe, and I hope it will see me through many more adventures. It was about 1/10th of the price of a new Cambridge satchel, plus has bonus vintage karma.

(Smiling like an idiot at the awesome cat just out of sight)

(Wearing 1960s green princess coat from Zwzzy Vintage, Topshop star-print silk dress circa 2007 via eBay, tooth necklace I made myself, amber ring that I never take off that I bought in Crete, t-bars from Emporium Vintage and 1950s school satchel from Trademe.)

Photos by the amazing Kita, who is not only super talented but bought me nemesis cake for my birthday, and in doing so changed my life forever.

This might be my last blog entry for a couple of weeks. I'm leaving on Tuesday for an impromptu-ish trip to Singapore and Vietnam, woohoo!
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