Brunswick In The Blitz – A Treat For Vintage Fashion Fans

Brunswick Park is a gorgeous green space in the heart of Wednesbury. It was opened in 1887 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, and it retains a wonderful air of calm, a perfect place for a picnic, to walk your dog or just to spot local wildlife. But on Saturday and Sunday last week, the park was alive with the sounds of Big Band tunes, and awash with colourful 1940s fashion as it played host to the first ‘Brunswick in the Blitz‘, transporting the park and its visitors back to the heady days of 1940s.

The beautiful bandstand, which is usually closed, was open once again, as the Ashby Big Band played the tunes of Glenn Miller, Frank Sinatra and Cole Porter. The sun shone for at least part of the afternoon, as couples dressed in 1940s dress, from military uniform, land girl garb and more glamorous tea dresses, enjoyed dancing to the memorable tunes. There was also a sing along of wartime songs from another conflict, with ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’ particularly enjoyed.

A red Routemaster bus provided the perfect bar for refreshments of the alcoholic kind, whilst more refined tea and coffee could be found at the Blitz tearoom, which was also stocking a range of delicious homemade cakes and cookies.

Brunswick in the Blitz had a range of stalls that offered information about the 1940s, from ‘Dig for Victory; and growing your own, to the reality of rationing. I was fascinated by the false and elaborate wedding cake that was made from cardboard, and housed a rather more modest fruit cake underneath. There were beautiful vintage cars to enjoy, and military vehicles too. And then there were stalls, selling a range of beautifully curated vintage fashion and homewares, all at very reasonable prices, and totally adding to the authentic feel of the event. From retro furs to glorious hats, and beautiful leather handbags and vintage cake stands, this was a treasure trove that would delight vintage lovers of all ages.

Brunswick in the Blitz was a fantastic event which I hope will happen again very soon. It was simply lovely.

 

TK MAXX OPENS IN WEDNESBURY.

 

TK Maxx store at Castlepoint

Image via Wikipedia

 

Fashionista‘s of Wednesbury rejoice! You have a new fashion emporium on your doorstep. Today was the day of the grand opening of the new TK MAXX store on the Gallagher Retail Park, and Fashion Mommy was invited along to take a look.

There was already a long queue of eager fashionista’s waiting for the store to open when Fashion-Mommy arrived. They had been lured with the promise of a free goodie bag for the first 500 lucky customers through the doors, along with a £10 gift voucher to spend in store. Lots of the waiting crowd were yummy-mummies who had rushed from the school run to take a look around the new store.

There was a countdown to the cutting of the ribbon, and then the crowd flooded into the new store, each claiming a goodie bag and voucher on the way. The goodie bag was a cute shopping survival kit, complete with gel pads, a mirror and a bottle of water – we all know that shopping is thirsty work!

The new store is amazing. Bright and airy, it is well laid out and crammed full of coveted items. The handbag selection is full of designs by Lulu Guinness, Fiorelli and Kathy Van Zeeland. There are perfect Christmas presents including boxed Calvin klein gift sets and designer purses. I found a gorgeous Lulu Guinness ‘poodle parlour’ cosmetic bag/purse in a trademark lilac candy striped box for less than £20, at least a third less than RRP.

All ages are catered for, as the clothing sections are divided into classic lines and modern trends. French Connection, Fenn Wright Manson and Gharani Strok were all on sale in the store. In addition, there is an excellent ‘plus-size section which had items up to a size 26 available.  In addition to the endless rails of clothing, there are sections devoted to shoes and underwear, and also a fab selection of tights and hosiery, including amazing, multi-coloured tights and leggings from Jonathan Aston.

Upstairs is devoted to menswear and childrenswear. There are also toys, stationary, books and stylish homeware. Mini Fashionistas were kept occupied by the bright red balloons that staff were handing out.  I was delighted to find a great book about ‘Fabulous Frocks’ for less than half the RRP. I also took a present home to Baba and my sister, who is turning into the best baba sitter in the business.

I was most impressed with the store staff at this branch of TK Maxx. They were friendly, approaching customers to talk about their purchases, and to offer advice about styling. They were knowledgable about the items on sale and added to the general shopping experience.

There were a myriad of bargains on offer to even a seasoned fashionista, and Fashion-Mommy’s arms were laden with goodies by the time I went to purchase my shopping. I reluctantly decided against a complimentary head massage from the ‘Five minute Angels’, it may have lulled me into buying even more stuff in my relaxed state, so I joined the queue, where chocolates were being handed out by the retail assistants.

Fashion Mommy had a highly productive shopping morning in this new store. If you didn’t get chance to attend the opening, don’t worry – Designer shopping at budget prices now has a home in Wednesbury. TK Maxx is here to stay!

Wednesbury wears

accessories

I spent today in Wednesbury. For those who don’t know it, Wednesbury is a small, market town in the Black Country.  I go there for two main reasons.

  1. My mom lives and works there.
  2. It has five great charity shops with rich pickings – the missoni dress mentioned in my first blog unbelievably came from there.

I love Wednesbury for many reasons, its two great churches perched majestically on a hill named after a genuine Mercian heroine.(Queen Ethelfleda), the unusual Masonic Hall that lies hidden behind some trees and for the bargains you can find amongst the array of hardware and greetings card shops that somewhat clutter what I find a charming old town.

The weather today had forgotten that it is supposeably summer, and the fashion looks on display in the town seem to have forgotten too. Everyone had jeans on, with long sleeve tops and gasp – bodywarmers. It could’ve been Autumn, colours were dull and uninspiring, but this did match the dull, drizzly uninspiring mood of the day in general.

This leads to the puzzle;- What do you wear when Summer just isn’t Summer?

The answer to this is the Maxi dress. Not the floaty, floral efforts that look so fabulous on warm days, but the tougher, tube style efforts in jersey in tough ethnic and tribal prints. Darker shades look best, black, navy, khaki and animal prints  lookmore luxurious in jersey than brighter shades. Big belts can be added, as can thin knits for the cooler temperatures.

Today I wore my maxi dress in black, with gladiator sandals.  I confess to being late to the glad trend, always finding them to be too masculine for me. But this Summer, maybe it was the influence of Spartacus Blood and Sand, I’ve actually found a pair in black that I like. (Thank you evans for your eee fit!). I added a pretty black elastic and ruched belt to give me a more defined shape, and then accesorised with gold vintage jewelry picked up from a charity shop, a leopard print Birkin style bag from Oasis and an oatmeal cardi from New look. I was reluctant to wear the tube dress at first, my size 10 sister wears them, how could they possibly suit me? The answer is that the dress so suits curves, and with the right underwear it is possibly the most comfortable garment you will ever wear. In addition, it is impossible to ruin, despite the baba smearing chocolate all over it, and me playing for over an hour sitting on a wooden floor. In short, it is a summer miracle dress.

What did I buy today?

Well, for myself I picked up a black floral frilly vest top from Ethel Austin(soon to be renamed simply style – Ethel, we’ll miss you!). this is for my trip to Wales next week – i’ll just add jeans and flip flops in the day, or silver heels for a night in the pub.

I also got a longline, short sleeved cardigan in burn’t orange, simply because I love burnt orange, especially in Autumn(it’s a bonfire night colour!!!) and for £6 you can’t really find a reason not to buy it.

I also bought a few very early Christmas stocking fillers. I know, before I am shot down in flames, that it only August, but I have to be on the ball this year. My sister is getting married in December, and my little boy hits two a week before Christmas day, so December is a very expensive month. Anyway, these were too good to miss. I got a fantastic tulip style winter white skirt for my sister, reduced to just £4 from peacocks. I also got a pretty cotton book bag/eco shopper for my sister – in-law for just £1.50. To put that bargain into context, the average bus fare to get to Wednesbury is £1.75. I got two skinny belts for my belt mad best friend for £2. £2!!! that’s a pound a belt.

Due to all those bargains I must name Peacocks as my SHOP OF THE DAY!!!

As I have previously mentioned, I think the charity shops in Wednesbury are legendary, and I did pick up a couple of bargains today. I found a brand new Tommy and Kate nude cardigan today for just £3.99 and a pretty burnt orange (that shade again) tunic top with bell shaped sleeves fromM&Co for £2.99. Because of its loose shape, I will wear this with black, fitted trousers and heeled shoes boots. i might add a thin belt to this to create more shape.

Wednesbury Wears – good looks.

Although the weather meant that real style was hidden under cardigans today, I did see two inspiring looks that made me smile.

They were;

  1. A stylish 30something who showed how black on black can be chic and elegant, even on wet days. Black tapered cigarette pants, with a 3/4 sleeved black slash neck top and black ballet pumps. The only splash of colour was a blond pony tail and accents of silver on a severe black bag. Think beatnick Audrey Hepburn in funny face.
  2. A cute twentysomething wearing an above the knee teadress in the unusual colour combination of green and pink with neon pink flats. This shouldn’t work, but it looked so fresh with a neat brown bob.