South East Asia diaries – Laos, Luang Prabang

I am officially back from another exciting adventure and I thought it would be nice to share some of my memories. My constant search for unusual gear didn’t stop… if anything my obsession got worse (much to the dismay of my poor boyfriend). There were the most fantastic markets that I have ever seen. They were an array of vibrant colours and hand made clothing, jewellery and textiles. Laos was one of my favorite places, both for the lifestyle and the shopping. We traveled into Laos by long boat from Thailand along the mighty Mekong river. These photo’s were taken in a place called Luang Prabang which was extremely beautiful. Within each region of South East Asia the local people specialise in slightly different creative techniques. In this region they seemed to concentrate on hand embroidery and beautiful hand made silver jewellery. There was a fantastic night market and all the shops that lined the street were also filled with similar sort of things. My boyfriend found the market frustrating because… well he has created some shopping rules; 1) He can only handle shopping when there are no other people around. 2) I am always on a strict time limit for each shop or stall. 3) I am not aloud to shop in sales with him. I think the years of shopping with me have gradually made him into a broken man. This market bought it’s own additions to the rules… He moaned constantly because he is quite tall, and Asian people are quite small, so their markets reflect this. Poor Steven hit his head all the way along the length of the whole market! So now we are only aloud to shop in places that cater for tall people! 

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My thrifting has gone global!

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I haven’t written anything in a long time because I have been preparing for a long trip around South East Asia. I was going to take a break from the blog and just continue to update my thrifty finds when I returned… But as it turns out I have been shopping just as much here as at home. I have been taking some beautiful photo’s along the way so I thought I would share them… and I know my Nan looks forward to seeing my compulsive purchasing.

I only get limited internet access so my Asia updates may be somewhat sporadic, better than nothing though?

I am currently in Thailand. It is beautiful here and there are hundreds of markets selling lots of unusual local craft, as well as the shabby knock off’s. I don’t know how you feel about ‘Crock’s’  yes the  weird looking non sandal, non shoe or trainer… Although they do serve a purpose; they protect your feet but keep them cool, without being ‘cool’. Saying that they are ‘all the rage’ here. They come in every shape and form. The shoe that I would not be seen dead in (even if they are functional) comes in the standard slip on (as we recognise it), as well as a shoe (this style reaches the ankle), a boot (past the ankle bone), ones with ears, lace up, the list goes on. This style is it’s own subculture!

Although I am not sure there is a huge market in the UK for ‘New age Crock’s’… We are a spoilt bunch, with our even ground that we so flippantly walk on!  But they look great all lined up military style! I’m getting a pair with cats ears…

Remember NAFNAF?

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Ok so hear me out… I am going to wear it with high heeled ankle boots, and a mini skirt. It’s so me; retro, colourful, my mum would hate it… ticks all the boxes! I always wanted one of these when I was little but we couldn’t afford it. Well i’m having one now! 

Oxfam £3.95

Psychedelic dream

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A gorgeous dress for a £1.00. I found this bargain cast aside on the £1.00 rail. Plonked outside, almost like no one would want it. I couldn’t believe my luck! The retro print is brilliant! I love dresses with pockets too. This dress has huge pockets. I think it’s 1970’s possibly late 1960’s, but either way, a good little find.

Dress £1.00 Saint Francis Hospice

 

 

Retro prints make me happy!

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I have decided… If the weather doesn’t improve, I don’t care, I am wearing summery clothes! Although if i’m honest my cupboard is a pick and mix of prints and colour so I try to avoid the traditional subdued colours that we reach for during the long winter months we are blessed with in the UK. I found all of these printed garments in Oxfam. Typical of Oxfam, they always have vintage prints and colour, lots of colour. I try to shop in Oxfam at least once a week, even just to cheer me up. There is always an eclectic mix of garments. 

I am starting to feel like an ambassador for Oxfam! 

I need to go on a shoe diet!

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Something about shoes that I can’t resist. I think there is room for a pair in every style, colour and heel height. If I had a pound for every time my boyfriend had said to me ‘ i’m sure you have a pair like that…’ I reply ‘not with this shape heel, or not in this shade, or my ones are more day time… ‘ I stopped counting at 200 pairs…

L.K.Bennet stiletto’s £25

Ralph Lauren shoes £30

Dune shoes £10

All from Saint Francis Hospice in Upminster, Essex

All things bright and beautiful…

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While I was having a little mooch around Oxfam, I came across these little beauties. They are hand made fans from India. After doing a little research about these gorgeous accessories. I discovered that typically the fans made in India are either fixed or rotational. Meaning the fan could rotate in a full circle. This is quite different to the folding style made by the Chinese and Japanese, this being the style that we in the west are more familiar with. These particular one’s were fixed into place. I have learned that these charming pieces of textiles were made from many different textile techniques from embroidery to hand sewing and weaving. They also used lots of materials from bambo to leather and beads, to silk, grass, cayne, or feathers. Interestingly each province in India has claim to it’s own shape singular to itself. These ones that I found were woven with small silk flowers and beads hand stitched on.  If this is something that you are interested in you can go and find out more at The Fan Museum in Greenwhich. This amazing museum is exclusively dedicated to fans of all kind. I have sent the museum an email about them so hopefully I can find out some more information about these lovely creations.

Fans £2.99 each Oxfam

Please note that my research was done at http://www.thefanmuseum.org.uk/pankha.html

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