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Blue not-Disney dress.

So yeah, I should possibly have been a bit more realistic about my chances of making two dresses in a week. However I have finished the first one and am well underway with the second, so I’m to that far behind.

That blue fabric then…

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well fate intervened most decisively on what to do with this one. I had been insisting I wasn’t going to use it for anything Beauty and the Beast related, and then I go and get myself invited to a Disney themed fancy dress party! And realised that in general, having a dress in my wardrobe that can easily be dragged out for fancy dress is a really good thing. Also a heatwave has hit London and I suddenly found I was in dire need of a few more basic sundresses.

So I made Simplicity 2886 a slightly more complicated to make than it looks basic sundress pattern. I made a version of this back when I started my blog a couple of years ago (here) a time when I was a lot less good at sewing and certainly didn’t know how to take photos of stuff (better photos here) and although the dress has grown on me wasn’t too keen on the finished result.

This time when I made it, I am a lot more confident about my sewing ability and finishing ability and so was hoping it would be a breeze. Actually it wasn’t! I didn’t have any fit issues this time as I made a straight size 18. Partly because I was so relatively new to sewing the first time round I didn’t know about simplicity fit issues so had all sorts of problems trying to take in a 20. And partly because although I would usually make a 16, but scale the waist up a bit, the first time I made this nothing lined up and it ended up a lot smaller than I thought it would (even though still far too big) so I thought I better leave a little extra just incase. I was right to.

I am good enough at sewing now, and I think my cutting was accurate enough to safely say, this pattern does not line up at all. This was largely all right as its nothing I couldn’t think round. but the waist band has ended up being a bit wider on one side than the other (the way it lined up) and there are a few other little details on the bodice that are not quite perfect.

Then I made a bugger up of my own and didn’t quite get the pleats even on the front of the skirt, which is not ideal.

Anyway, despite all that, it looks remarkably presentable on…

Any not looking quite properly fitting is completely down to it blowing a gale as Jon was taking photos. However this one had to be photographed outside as inside the camera totally refuses to get the colour of the fabric anywhere near correct.

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And without the cardigan….

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I know it isn’t styled very well, but it was boiling hot and it is basically a sun dress,so not a lot else to do with it really.

I totally failed at getting my roots redone as our block of flats is being repointed at the moment and there are a load of workman swarming all over everywhere, especially outside our bathroom window, so its not really happening. I have given in and went to the hairdressers yesterday though.

I am intending to take some other pictures of this if I do end up styling it up for Belle fancy dress. At the moment I have a couple of custom size blouses, a petticoat and a wig on order from Taobao (via My Lolita Dress, which could be interesting) which I needed anyway, but which will complete the outfit, but they will not be here for a good few weeks, so I will have to find something else for the party, but thats fine, it was a good kick up the backside to just make the bloody dress.

I am halfway through the other dress I was working on and was going to finish it today, but am really not in the mood, having been out in the west end last night, and basically now I am massively sulking about the fact I just don’t fit into 90% of high street clothes, as there was loads of lovely cheap stuff I would have bought had it fitted. I enjoy sewing, and its a skill I’m glad I’ve mastered, but I don’t enjoy having to make clothes, I’d rather focus on the pretty frilly special stuff, and its really quite galling that because of my size (which is only 1-2 above normal high street, and completely caused by medication) if I want something, a sun dress or a pretty vest top (I need a load of these), my only option is to make it, where as ladies who haven’t been ill can just pop down to the high street and pick something up. I know there is stuff technically available, but in reality its either all at the Primark/tesco end of the market or all £60 a pop higher end stuff, and just being able to spend £20-£30 on something that is reasonably well made and fashionable would just be so lovely.

I’m sure I will feel more positive about it tomorrow, but today I’m going to flop around and read books and educate myself, which is what I’d do a lot more of if I didn’t have to do practical stuff the whole time! 😦

London Edge: cool stuff I saw on stalls part 3

So better extremely late than never….. a continuation of my account of the cool stuff I saw at the London Edge. The thing to remember is a lot of the coolest stuff is Autumn/Winter 2014 collections, so won’t be in the shops until August anyway. First up Golden Steampunk/Phaze, Gorgeous Steampunk gear and loads of Venetian Lace Masks, including bat shaped ones (although their prices are really reasonable I am kicking myself for not buying a lace mask when I was in Verona last year, I had already acquired 3 traditional ones, so didn’t bother, but they were basically the wholesale price over there! 😦 )

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Contrariety Rose – this one was quite a small business which was quite nice to see, with two girls who handmade all their stuff in England. Really good quality

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Hellbunny – this is the one point my filing system for photographs got a bit confused. What I did was take pictures of the sign for each stall before I took one of the clothes, however in this case I took a picture of the stall before Hellbunny, but didn’t take one of Hellbunny itself, so I am not 100% sure the black and red cameo dress is by them. It is also really confusing as Hellbunny is one of several brands made by the same manufacturer all of whom were sharing the same stall, so I am not quite sure which brand they are, however, as Hellbunny do not have a dedicated  online store or proper website (The link is to their Facebook) and you have to buy them through independent retailers, chances are if anything is technically a different brand, if you actually want to buy it, it’ll turn up in the same place!)

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This is Vanity Project, another made in England business who make beautiful vintage clothing. Although I absolutely love their stuff, I am in two minds about this one, as they use publicly available Alexander Henry and Tula Pink fabric, as I do quite frequently when I make stuff for myself. However the reason I make stuff like that myself is I used to see Alexander Henry fabric dresses in Camden and covet them, but I’ve always been too poor and recently too fat to buy them. However lots of my friends like the sort of things I make and like vintage dresses in general and can afford to buy stuff like this, in which case will really like this company as their stuff is gorgeous and really well made!

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This was actually the stall that got me most excited in the whole of the exhibition. They are called Tecstyle ltd and they do custom fabric printing and will make stuff up into bedding for you. Their prices are comparable to Spoonflower, but they do a minimum of 15m. The stuff on display was really good quality and their black comes out reasonably true. I think if I ever went into making dresses commercially (the little issue of Chronic Fatigue to get over first) they would be exactly what I would be looking for as great though Spoonflower is, these guys are based in Britain, so no annoying shipping or customs issues. I also quite fancy my own custom duvet sets. 🙂

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This is burleska.co.uk lots of awesome corsets, the majority with a steampunk feel…. I am rubbish at telling the quality of corsets, but these didn’t seem bad at all, and are quite reasonably priced too.

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And last of all….. La Mort Clothing, cool gothic tattoo print t-shirts.

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I really enjoyed our trip to the London Edge, I am not sure if I will do this again as although I try to update my blog as regularly as possible, the number of posts it takes to do this properly is somewhat tiring and I’m a little bit lazy! Also, you can’t buy stuff there, and you have to wait 6 months for a lot of it to hit the shops and I can’t afford lots of pretty gothic clothing anyway (hence the sewing). However it was really really interesting to see what is on offer, and what actually goes on there, as I’d heard about the London Edge for several years and was really curious. So now I know 🙂

London Edge: cool stuff I saw on stalls part 2

This was the section of the show where I got to the big boys.

First up, Iron Fist. Now this one is a classic case of the parts of the collection that shops pick to sell, not necessarily being the bit Laura would actually wear. The first picture below, of the beautiful but scarily high heel is what I would have counted most representative of what Iron Fist actually sold, that and tiny skimpy dresses there would be no chance of me fitting into. However in the show collection was loads of gorgeous sensible flat shoes and a bit larger clothing items and several (which sadly I have to wait till august for) I massively have my eye on.

The sort of shoes one usually associates with Iron Fist….

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But actually they do a wide range of more sensible shoes as well….

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Including these……omg My Little Pony trainers! 🙂 WANTS!

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Also massively liking, 80’s style unicorn top and Garbage Pail Kids Hoody!!! I had forgotten about the Garbage Pail Kids, they were like the even freaky version of Cabbage Patch Kids. I used to have trading cards when I was a little girl. Long overdue a comeback! 🙂

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Other cute stuff to keep a look out for….

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Next up was Dark Star. Now they are a brand I own several things by and am very fond of browsing through when I go up Camden and  to places like The Black Rose. Again I was really surprised at the difference between the collections I see in the shops and what was on the stall. I am a massive fan of their Victoriana and Goth stuff, but I had no idea they also had a major tie dye and hippy thing going on as well!

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Then there was a slightly less well known brand, Lindy Bop, which was another vintage style prom dress seller. Do like the yellow one though!

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Then a gentleman called Philip Wright selling loads of really awesome hats…..

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And then back to the big boys with New Rock……

And again I was fascinated by the difference between what one can buy in Camden and their full collection, for example, New Rock have a massive range of trainers as well as the whole boot thing going on! I had no idea. but actually from the point of view of someone who frequently misses the nightbus or ends up walking back for an hour in the middle of the night from clubbing, I actually quite fancy a pair, they seem like a much more sensible way of displaying ones goth sensibilities……

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I did like some of the more conventional boots though, specially these patterned ones!

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Next came Toxico , they sold all kinds of stuff, including clothes, which weren’t really my style, but what did catch my eye was their range of crockery. We have broken a load of mugs recently so I might actually buy some of it!

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And lastly for this section, Kreepsville 666. Now I am already a firm fan of their devils horns and hair bows with eyeballs on, so it was really nice to see what I’m going to end up buying  is available next year. I forgot to take pictures, but they also have a range of t-shirts, I had only ever seen these online before, but I was actually really impressed by the quality and availability of slightly larger sizing options.

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So yeah, Part 3 (The final main part of this) won’t happen till middle of next week as I am going to be busy with stuff. Hopefully also including finishing the skirt I’ve been working on for the last forever so I actually have sewing stuff to post again! 🙂

London Edge: Cool stuff I saw on stalls part 1

Basically the logistics of splitting these photos up into categories and still knowing what I’m doing was going to be too much of a headache, specially as I’m up to the eyeballs with a cold (yay! Thank-you Prince!) so I’m keeping it simple and posting them in the order I saw them. With the bigger companies that do ‘collections’ this is all next seasons stock so even though I’m going to link to peoples websites where possible, stuff I’ve posted may not be available yet. Also some of the websites are wholesale only, you have to find a shop that actually sells the brand. There was a massive bias in me (and Gemma) taking the photos as to stuff I find interesting.

 

The Seamstress of Bloomsbury -pretty vintage, mainly 40’s, inspired stuff.

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Switchblade, …..this stall had some decent Rockabilly/Gothabilly stuff on it, but what I was super interested in was the baby and children’s clothes….aren’t they awesome!

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Lucky 13 …another gothabilly stall, but this one had some awesome prints going…

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Silly Old Sea Dog……. vintage inspired stuff with novelty prints.

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Rockabye-Baby LDN -more stuff for babies 🙂

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Cherryloco …..this was one of my favourite stalls of the entire fair, unfortunately she was not selling because it was a trade fair, but I will be buying the Raven necklace off her and probably a bat one as well, as soon as I get some money together. Basically its Tatty Devine for Goths if you can’t tell from the pictures…. I am also massively supportive of a small business that is based on Folksy (The uk based version of Etsy) being at an event like this!

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Barmetal Clothing...another tattoo images stall with cool T-shirt prints…

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The next stall after that was Iron Fist, and the uploader is being a little slow today, so that can go in the next post (as I took millions of pictures) which will appear in a day or two. 🙂

London Edge Part 1……overview of the trade fair.

So yesterday Gemma and I went to London Edge, an Alternative clothing trade fair held at Olympia in London.

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The obligatory selfie before the day began.

I’ve been intrigued about London Edge ever since I found out about it a year ago when a Facebook friend of mine and a blogger I follow ended up working there, and with an interest in Alternative fashion I was absolutely desperate to have a look, so I was so happy when I was given permission to blog from there this year.

I brought Gemma with me to help with the photography, and also as I am prone to getting ill at inconvenient moments so it really helps to have someone there who could take over if I was feeling flakey.

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When we arrived we signed in at the desk and collected our press passes and then were shown to the press stand where we were given a really cool big shopper bag each with some pamphlets and magazines in. We started going round the show at the back of the room because that was where the loos were, and thats where this photo was taken….

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To be honest the show was not exactly what I expected. I have been to two trade fairs in the past, a home decoration one with my mum when I was younger and a pub one, also with Gemma, a few years ago. I expected it to be a bit more like the pub one, although the primary focus of the show is trade, they would be selling samples and there would be a lot of promotion going on. Actually, although everyone was dressed up and there was cool music playing, so there was a really good atmosphere, nothing at all was for sale and it was all very professional and business like. I felt like a complete idiot for not having a business card, I had considered getting one, but I only found out I was going about a week ago and wasn’t in a position to get one done in time. Everyone was very nice to us though and although we missed taking proper photos of a stall we really liked the look of because the staff were all occupied and we couldn’t ask permission, which was a shame, everyone else we spoke to was really happy for us to take loads of photos of their merchandise.

So we wandered up and down, annoying the stall holders, stopping to have a free shot of something or other (mine was cranberry flavoured, Gemma’s was apple)  at this awesome bar shaped like a coffin (behind us in the photo below) with a gorgeous chair with skulls on it which was sadly not for sale….

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We had lunch in Pizza Express at the corner of the hall and then watched a fashion show with clothes from  (in this order) New Rock, Bettie Page, Kreepsville 666, Phaze, One Direction – Jawbreaker and Voodoo Vixen, and Queen of Darkness.  Gemma took all these pictures…..

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Then we finished wandering round and went for a pint and a sit down before going home. In the evening we were invited to this….

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The Iron Fist launch party! I was meant to leave the house at 7pm to get there for 8 and meet Gemma there. I woke up at 7.10 having fallen asleep as soon as I got in, with Gemma texting me saying ‘Why haven’t I heard from you?’ but it took me till about 8.15 to come round properly. So Gemma ended up going on her own. 😦 I would be gutted, only I was so tired after walking round all day and a my head was a little overloaded so missing it was probably a good thing.

ANYWAY……

the bit everyone actually wants to see…..the photos we took of all next years stock from the brands…..

I was planning to do this as a couple of posts, cherry picking the best items and stuff I was most interested in into a couple of different categories (prom/wedding guest dresses, baby clothes, shoes, stuff I am intending to buy etc) however having looked at the photos. I am tempted to just do two or three big posts with all 150 or so of them, divided by brand, because 90% of them have come out brilliantly, and although I have my favourite brands and stuff, other stuff may be of interest to other people than it is to me. So what does people think? What do you actually want to see?

postscript: Massive thanks to Gemma Collins for all her help yesterday. Massive apologies for my awful awful roots, I was so busy last week and Jons working hours were a little weird so I didn’t have a day to myself to sort them out. 😦

china lady, dr who,another ladybird top and vexatious overlockers!

A while ago I know, but last time I posted I mentioned the necklace and the ceramic bust of a woman I was massively regretting not picking up from the charity shops in Beckenham. So early last week I went down there, the necklace had gone, which is sad, but I can always find another one I guess, but the woman’s head was still there…..

It is a little smaller than I thought so only my teeny tiny hat will fit it, but it is settling in nicely on my mini hat shelf….

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i thought that was it for charity shopping for a while, but our as I passed our local British Heart Foundation the other day I spotted a load of Dr Who DVD’S in the window for 99p each. There were some old series and some new series, and at first I thought each dvd was one episode they were so cheap, but for the new series it was 2 and the old series it was a complete story arc! Now I don’t mind watching Dr Who, which given I can’t really be bothered with TV is enthusiasm from me. Jon however loves Dr Who massively. So I bought them all….

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Turns out when I got them home and did a little digging on the internet, that they originally came with one of those monthly magazines, called the Dr Who Files . Anyway, when I went back the next day there were 40 odd more there. So I bought all of them! I don’t have photos cuz they are in a massive bag waiting till we can find somewhere to put them. but Jon is completely over the moon, and we are looking at it as a long term investment! 🙂

Also end of the week before last I sewed up another ladybird top….

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Same fabric, same pattern as last time….the ubiquitous Sewaholic Renfrew. Long sleeved version this time though. I’m going to try a couple more adventurous knit problems next time, however I didn’t manage to get any momentum going as despite it only taking an hour and a half to make and looking amazing on the outside, the back side of the overlocker stitch was looping/bubbling and no amount of fiddling with the tension settings would tell me what was wrong. So I left starting the next one for a week whilst I researched on the internet. Finally I found a couple of blogs which suggested the problem probably was one of the threads wasn’t between its tension plates properly (as opposed to every other blog which said rethread it entirely with  multicoloured threads and fiddle some more…not if I can get away with it!) and looking at it closely, yes one of the threads was out from its tension plates. So I’ve fixed that!

I have no idea if it has worked yet though, as the builder came yesterday to sort us with new radiators and put a power point in behind the table where I sew so I don’t have to keep long and dangerous extension cables winding across the floor to plug the machines into. So I had to put the machines away on a shelf and hopefully when I get them out again the overlocker will have been sufficiently un-jolted it will work and not need rethreading anyway! :-S

However when I got up to get a glass of water a few minutes ago I had to peel myself off the seat I’m on, so I’m not going to try anything potentially very frustrating in this kind of heat!

charity shopping… the successes and the failures

last Thursday I took my friend Liz, who has just moved into the area and is currently not working up to Beckenham for a spot of charity shopping.

The Beckenham Charity Shop Crawl has become such a popular activity for old ladies and hipsters on the weekend that I tend to avoid going there on Saturdays anymore, so Thursday was the perfect time to go.

We had a really good fun day, the weather was nice, the shops were productive and we finished with a trip to our local pub the Catford Bridge Tavern in the evening where conveniently an Unfined (vegan) Beer Festival was happening.

However I am somewhat kicking myself with what i bought/didn’t buy…..

Firstly the successes……

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This may only be small, but its a really beautiful hair clip, perfect if I was going in a Dolly Kei direction and it was only £2.50 so I am well pleased.

The complete stars of the show……

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These were only £3 each, which even by charity shop standards is ridiculously low for frames of that quality, basically because the frames were a little chipped ;nothing that a little nail varnish and a few strategic flowers or bows won’t fix!

I wasn’t interested in the pictures at first and infact was going to ditch them, when it was pointed out to me that a few strategically placed zombies or faries will make them immeasurably more interesting.:-)

It will have to wait a few weeks though as our printer is out of cartridge, and part of our next stage of house reorganisation involves replacing it with a photocopier style wireless one and I’m intending to go down the collage route rather than try to draw my own.

But I am so excited to get playing with them and get them on the walls.

Then there was the failure…..

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I was so excited when I found this…….I spent half of last year looking for a plus sized version of those Wednesday Adams dresses that were so popular last year and couldn’t find one. This one from Wallis is sized 22, large for me, but easy enough to take in and looked in good nick in the shop, hence I forked out £8 for it, which is rather a lot for me for charity shopping.

When I got it out in daylight I realised the collar and cuffs were a bit grubby so I decided to put it in the machine with a load of stain remover and it should be fine…well it worked with absolutely every other black and white garment I have ever owned!

Got it home, checked the tags and it was cold wash only. Thought that was a bit wierd, but added loads of stain remover and soaked it in a bucket of cold water for a couple of hours anyway. And then I came back and realised the water was dark grey, the collar and cuffs looked way worse than before and if I didn’t do something soon it would be a complete emergency! 

So we drained it in the bath (permanently staining our white rubber non slip bath mat in the process) and as a last resort stuck it on its own in the washing machine at 40 with even more stain remover of various types.

Funnily enough the dress didn’t seem to mind a warm wash at 40 at all! However on a dress where the contrast between the collar and cuffs and main part of the dress is the whole point of it, the white bits are now a grubby shade of grey!

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I mean really what sort of complete idiot company designs and then mass manufactures a black and white dress that isn’t actually colourfast? Grrr! And also irritation reserved for the original owner, they must have known it was a dud, in which case Don’t Send It To The Charity Shop If It’s Broken!!!!

I’m not sure what to do with it now…Part of me wants to send it straight to a fabric bank (the correct offloading point for substandard clothes) but I am tempted to cut the collar and cuffs off and use them as templates, I have a small amount of a really nice silver and black jacquard brocade I acquired off my favourite market stall that would work wonders as a replacement for them. And would be safe in the washing machine with a staining dress!

I have so many projects on the go already though!

I am also slightly gutted because I left a miniature white china ladies head behind in a shop, i looked at it, decided we couldn’t use any more ornaments and completely forgot that it was exactly the right size to store a miniature hat.

I also spent a good few minutes eyeing up a black glass bead necklace and left it behind as I got distracted when actually i desperately need one and that was quite good quality.

I am so upset in fact I may even go back tomorrow and see if they are still there after the carnage of the weekend. 

Its always the bits that you leave behind get you the most, I suppose cuz you never see them again and everything you actually buy becomes literally part of the furniture.

But I would just like to take a moment to remember the solid wood framed gold gilt oval mirror and black lacquer marquetry tissue box from when we lived in Finchley (I forgot you can buy stuff and then collect it on saturday, and my parents hurried me away) and the working ice cream maker and amazing tacky hand knitted xmas sweater from Hitchin (I was just being dopey, I thought £20 was a bit steep for a sweater, then I looked up how much they cost online these days)……never will I see their like again!