Rubbery jelly plastic shoes

Willy Wonka and Violet Beauregarde have teamed up to create this fantastic Jelly and Plastic Shoes board on Pinterest. As Mary Quant explains, a lot of the shoes are made simply by pouring chewing gum into a mould!

Screenshot of Jelly Plastic Rubber Shoes Pinterest board
Screenshot of Jelly Plastic Rubber Shoes Pinterest board

OK, only kidding. I created the board to go with the latest collection of ShimmyShim Pop Prints which feature 8 pairs of my collection of over 200 dolls shoes. Because they are all made of plastic, they are more like jelly shoes than any other ‘real’ adult sized shoe. I really love the aesthetic because of the vibrancy of the colours. The actual dolls shoes are less than an inch long, but the prints are 8 inches square, so you can see the ‘patina’ of the plastic on each one. Originally they must have been sculpted in clay and then cast and mass produced, so when you look closely you can see scrape marks.

Red plastic dolls shoes close-up
Red plastic dolls shoes close-up

Red plastic court shoes for dolls

Plastic shoes – set of pop art prints in yellow orange and red

Here is the vintage film in which Mary Quant describes inventing jelly boots. I’m not sure if she was the first to use the technology or not, but her designs are certainly recognised as being at the vanguard of design. And the style of those little ankle boots is to die for!

“You just pour a kind of chewing gum into a mould… They said more or less ‘come and play with our machinery’ and this is how we started making these shoes… Just like making jelly.”

It’s sad and worrying that most real plastic shoes (let alone dolls shoes) are not biodegradable, but they can be recycled and some are described as eco-friendly.

In 2011 there was a company called Figtree Design created these wonderful looking biodegradable slip-ons, but they seem to have disappeared now. What a shame! I look forward to seeing something like this in production again soon.

This Adidas shoe sounds promising: it is made from plastic collected from coastal areas in the Maldives (presumably it once polluted the sea).

Limited Adidas x Parley for the Oceans Ultra Boost

So, it’s kind of ironic, but you can currently buy shoes that look wonderfully like dolls shoes. My favourite two companies are United Nude and Melissa.

United Nude ‘Lo Res Pump’

I can’t actually wear these shoes as they hurt my feet too much, but I love looking at them and they look great on display.

Melissa 'Dragon' shoes by Vivienne Westwood
Melissa ‘Dragon’ shoes by Vivienne Westwood

You can get the collection of Pop Shoe images as an instant download from ShimmyShimShop

Collection of 8 Pop Shoe square prints available to download
Collection of 8 Pop Shoe square prints

Jelly shoe shops list

Melissa – Vivienne Westwood designs and other cartoon princess shoes
United Nude – architectural 3D software style
JUJU – classic jelly sandals and chunky heeled sandals
Jelly Beans – classic glittery jelly sandals
Holster – flip flop type sandals with plastic gemstones
Crocs – light weight anti-hero style


Show me pictures of your jelly shoes!

And do you know of any biodegradable plastic shoes? Let me know here.

Frankie September 2017 x

70s Victoriana

Prints - 3 gingham Victoriana dresses one green, one pink and one blue

Victoriana was a trend in the early 1970s for a nostalgic fashion harking back to the 1890 – 1900 period before the first world war. Perhaps it seemed like a more innocent period.

3 gingham Victoriana dress prints available to buy from ShimmyShimShop

Gingham Victoriana prints in green, pink and blue available now in the shop Buy Now

Laura Ashley was one of the most famous designers producing Victoriana, and perhaps she associated it with a homely feeling of safety, as she had many great aunts who she remembered dressed in the old fashioned clothing during the early part of her childhood in the 1920s.

One of my favourite fashion doll outfits is Sindy’s Pinny Party – dated as a 1973 design by Our Sindy Museum. I really love it for the lurid colours. And it has a very synthetic twist on the Victoriana offered by Laura Ashley.

Yellow and pink Victoriana style smock dress for a Sindy doll.
Pinny Party Victoriana style smock dress for a Sindy doll.

Also worth a look is this Pippa dress from the Monaco Collection (if you love this take a look at more on

Pippa doll Monaco collection red hearts pinafore dress

Laura Ashley loved natural fabrics and harmonised colours with a homely feel, which she actually designed to be worn at home. She demured,

“Most of our garments are to be worn at home. They’re not… for making a splash in a dramatic place.”

Whereas her Welsh counterpart, Mary Quant was famous for clothes which cut a dash with clashing colours and op art graphics.

Laura Ashley dresses in Fashion Museum in Bath UK
1970s printed cotton dresses by Laura Ashley exhibited at the Fashion Museum, Bath, UK in 2013


Ashley on Quant:

“I’m the country one and she’s the town one. She’s marvellously urban… whereas I’ve got my roots in the country”.

Mary Quant mused:

“I think the point of fashion for women should be,

One: that you’re noticed.

Two: that you’re sexy and

Three: that you feel good.”

It’s almost as though, by accident, some of the Sindy doll outfits ended up being a crazy medley of Mary Quant and Laura Ashley designs. Take this orange and silver dress for example – it’s op art and Victoriana combined.

Op art and Victoriana orange and gold dress
Op art and Victoriana in one dress

I was 4 years old in 1971 and my young aunt Fiona got married that year. There was a big church wedding with lots of bridesmaids and pageboys, and I was one of the bridesmaids. We all wore the most amazing matching Victoriana style patchwork dresses with lace trimmed sleeves. We kept the dress which I managed to fit into for a birthday party and I remember being fascinated with it although I didn’t quite understand it. I mostly wore jeans and T-shirts by that time so a long dress with ribbons, lace and glass buttons was quite a strange novelty. After that I really got into dress-up though and it became a favourite game to dig through my aunt’s old clothes which she kept in a big wicker hamper and prance around the garden in them with my sister and cousins.

It’s a shame there aren’t any colour photos as it had lovely shades of mauve in it. I think the glass buttons were a dark purple colour. [Note – might be able to get a photo from our photo album this weekend will post here if I do]

Another childhood memory I have is watching the 1970 UK film the Railway Children

And the American show Little House on the prairie (first aired 1974).

There are some dresses called ‘frontier patchwork’ which were designed by Mattel for the 6 inch Rock Flowers dolls in the early 70s which match this.

Here is a fabulous Pinterest board by terrebella ✽ moda with a really lush selection of both Victorian and Edwardian inspired fashion.

The Laura Ashely quote was taken from this documentary about her life and business (22:20)

And the Mary Quant quote from this CBC interview (towards the end)

Red accents are fireflies in a blue room

Red dolls scarf with blue circle flower pattern

Check out these bejazzling fireflies for a second

Red in a blue room has the same effect. It sparks. It’s a catalyst for some kind of explosive event. But the whole experience  is calmed down by the blue. It’s as thrilling as fireworks, but you can live with it. Whereas a red room can be too intense: a little disturbing.

Set of 8 red square prints in a blue room


I’ve created a new Pinterest board featuring blue rooms with red accents

Includes this dizzyingly beautiful deep, deep blue room designed by Tamara Kaye-Honey (House of Honey) and featured in Rue magazine.

Tamara Kaye-Honey (House of Honey)

Compare to a plain blue room. Gives you the chills. You need a bit of fire to keep warm. A pure blue room only works if it is actually an igloo. Or an ice hotel.

Design John Bark & Charli Kasselbäck. Photo Asaf Kliger

Sindy’s Pinky

girl with Sindy doll in purple outfit

I suddenly decided it would be a good idea to take part in the Penge Jumble Trail this year about 4 days before it kicked off. If you haven’t heard of and you like shopping bric-a-brac (or searching for Sindy doll treasures), go and check it out now. It’s a really useful website where you can either organise your own jumble trail, or look for upcoming jumbles. You select an area and then invite people to join in. In America they call it a garage sale – in the UK we sometimes call it a yard sale but basically you set up a stall outside your house. Obviously it works better if other people are doing one on your street or nearby on the same day and that’s where comes in handy.

Luckily someone from another postcode was looking to partner up for a stall in my area and I had some company – not sure how I would have managed otherwise as I seemed to spend the whole day running in and out. I whizzed over to the local supermarket and bought 8 lemons and made real lemonade which went down well. The trick to the recipe is blending the whole lemon, pips, pith, skin and all. Then straining it out. With the sugar it gets that super-tangy bitter sweet taste. Since it was a blasting hot day, cold drinks went down well. My front garden is South facing with no shade, so we lashed an umbrella to a post and huddled under it.

girl on green wooden chair with Sindy doll in purple nylon

My jumble-buddy Jane (who it turned out I’d been calling Kate all day aaagghh bit dyslexic), brought her daughter and she adopted one of my Sindy dolls. I’d put a bag of rejected dolls out, including quite a nice Sindy with somewhat loose hip joints and a missing little finger. Sarah (not her real name but since I’m posting her picture) must have been around 10 years old and worked really hard on the stall with us all day and sold a lot of books for her Mum. Very patient! Instead of getting bored, she started playing with Missing Pinky and assembled a very stylish purple outfit with matching white petticoat, ballet shoes with string ties and a purple bow. It’s funny because I’ve collected over a 1,000 fashion doll clothes since February; I’ve washed and ironed and kept almost all of them except for about 20 rejects put out in the jumble sale. And Sarah managed to make 2 or 3 great little outfits out of them. Fashion designer in the making?

I also sold a Sindy with funny discolouring on her face to a local lady who turned out to be an avid Sindy collector (60s period) with an expertise in hair rerooting. So I’m going to be back in touch with her to see how she transforms the Sindy.

All in all a good day.

Pengetout rhymes with mangetout

Pengetout pop-up shop SE20

Guest slot

Pengetout shop
109 Penge High Street
SE20 7DT

July 2017

Pengetout pop-shop SE20 local artists makers entrepreneurs
Pengetout, a collaboration of local artists, makers and entrepreneurs.


Pengetout is a pop-up shop on Penge High Street. You will find it nestled amongst a fabulous selection of fried chicken shops and esteemed charity shops, next door to Press Gang printers (knock out an A1 poster at the eleventh hour) and Penge Bistro (genuine Italian nosh).

The shop was conceived and funded by Bromley Council as part of a scheme to grow business in the Penge area. They drafted in Sally Williams from Retail Revival Ltd, who is an expert in setting up pop-up shops and making them profitable. Sally has something of a no-nonsense Lord Alan Sugar approach to driving a business into profit – all to the benefit of the 9 or so traders currently selling their wares and ready to take the reigns themselves from September onwards.

I’m really happy to say that ShimmyShim has a guest slot at Pengetout throughout July.

Currently I’m trying lots of different products in the shop to see what appeals to Penge customers. Right now, you will find the full range of cards and two vintage Sindy sets (Sindy wall divider and Sindy scooter). And as already posted I’m setting up a temporary Sindy Museum on Saturday 22 July which should be fun.

OK I have to end a bit of a chicken shop diversion here to mention Chicken Shop clothing I WANT ONE OF THOSE Ts! I want to offer products that make you say I WANT ONE OF THOSE! Well certain fashion dolls, Sindy in particular certainly have that effect on some of you.

Penge Chicken Shop Clothing t-shirt

and The Pengest Munch only because it’s the Pengest. 2.5 million video views! Ordinary South London kid… Crazy.

Event – Pop-up vintage Sindy museum at Pengetout

Saturday 22 July from 10 till 5pm Sindy museum

For 1 day only!



ShimmyShim will be exhibiting as many Sindy sets as possible including:

  • Sindy TV Studio
  • Sindy hospital
  • Sindy bedroom
  • Sindy shop
  • Sindy horse and trap
  • Sindy cars
  • Sindy sun lounge and swing seat

+ lots more – might bring some of the cute wind-up toys too like the mini record player and sewing machine.


Pengetout shop
109 Penge High Street
SE20 7DT


The museum is in the workshop room at the back of the shop.


£2 adults
£1 children

Sindy Range Rover at the Big O Festival

I had the full range of Sindy vehicles at the Big O, but the Range Rover really stole the show. I guess it was a very famous car of it’s time and summed up everything about the infamous Sloane Rangers of the era.

It was amazing weather and a very friendly atmosphere. Most people came for a family day out. Very well organised and themed. It seemed to be marquees of different eras with the vintage stalls in the middle. The lady on the stall next to me did a roaring trade in hair ribbon bows. I noticed almost all the parents enjoyed buying these kinds of small presents for their kids and there were a lot of little girls with bows in their hair by the end of the day.

As with the So Last Century Fair, people were really attracted to ShimmyShim’s vintage toys, but more to look at and talk about than to buy. I keep coming back to the idea of opening a little museum!


Because the fair was featuring a vintage cars rally and a scooter parade, I decided to mirror that and I brought ALL my Sindy vehicles and dressed up some Sindys and Barbie’s rock star friend Derek from the mid 80s to go with them.

  • Red Sindy ‘Range Rover’
  • Orange Sindy caravan
  • Barbie / Sindy pink ‘cadillac’ Zima car
  • Red 80s Sindy sports car
  • White Sindy surf buggy with wave design
  • Yellow Sindy scooter
  • Sindy horse and trap (also sometimes called a Gig).

I decided to be ‘diverse’ and brought Sindy’s friend ‘Imani’. She was sitting in the pink Zima cadillac style car which all the guys (hmmm interesting I wonder why) thought was ‘Lady Penelope’s’ car. Some of them were a bit bemused that ‘Lady Penelope’ was suddenly a black woman, or at least one guy was. He said “Lady Penelope’s turned black!” but then looked a bit embarrassed. I guess he worried if he was being un-PC. Maybe he was.

A couple came by and chose the Sindy Range Rover towing the orange Sindy caravan to go in their newly decorated kitchen. I’m hoping they’ll post some pictures as it sounds like amazing decor with orange paint and a huge kitchen dresser full of vintage collectibles. I was glad to make a decent sale! Also sold some cards which were very carefully picked out by their buyers. I like to choose cards carefully too – you have to get exactly the right card for the person it’s going to and you just get a feel for it and a particular card will stand out, and you can picture your friend or loved one’s face when they see it and maybe imagine them commenting or telling a joke about it.

Event – The Big O Festival


ShimmyShim will be at The Big O Festival this weekend!

FREE entry

Saturday 1 July 2017
11:15am – 9:30pm

Priory gardens
Church Hill Orpington

How to get there

The festival celebrates suburbia through the decades. It’s billed as ‘Vintage with a Twist’ and will be a celebration of retro delights from the 1940s to the 1980s including caravans, cars and a scooter parade.

Flip through the festival brochure

In keeping with this, I’m going to exhibit a Sindy caravan, Range Rover, pink ‘cadillac’, red sports car, surf buggy and scooter with Sindy in full outfits.

Also I managed to design a new full range of cards this weekend called ‘Man Cards’ and I’ll be selling these along with my ‘On the Rails’ set.

A4 and A3 prints available in easy to carry tubes.





Man Bun Ken


Man Bun Ken (as Twitter calls him – fair enough!) AKA Distressed Denim Ken is one of Mattel’s 15 new boy dolls revealed this week. They are all called Ken.

There’s Camo Comeback Ken, Cali Cool Ken, Super Stripes Ken, In Black and White Ken and the snappy sounding Preppy Check Ken. Some of the names are a bit perplexing. Cactus Cooler Ken sounds like he either has a bum like a pin cushion on a hot day or perhaps he does all his gardening in the fridge? Get the full list at

I am impressed with the range. They do look cool. Interesting to compare with Lammily’s male doll currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter. Lammily did their own comparison with Ken, but that was a year ago – before Mattel launched this new, more diverse range.

I have to say, although I bought the first ever Lammily doll because I respected the idea of making a doll with ‘typical human proportions’, she is a bit dowdy and her male equivalent looks similar. He’s probably a really interesting guy once you get to know him, but from the outside he comes across so average that he’s bland. Real doesn’t necessarily mean average. For example, who has 2.4 children? That might be the average but it’s not real! Real people have quirks – that’s what gives them personality. Such as a man bun for example. Each of the 15 Kens has some feature which makes him interesting. There used to be one Ken trying to be a happy medium and now there are a group of dolls, like real people, with funny character traits.

Mattel’s dolls are more idealised, but then fantasy and ideals of beauty have always been around. In some ways it’s good to have an ideal body image to aim for when you’re deciding between going for a run or sitting on the sofa. So long as your sense of worth doesn’t depend on matching that ideal. Your own personal best is the ultimate ideal and Mattel’s dolls seem to reflect that. They have chiselled jaws, but somehow they seem to say more about personality.

For a fascinating insight into the Mattel team and the processes behind designing the range of Ken’s checkout this GQ article The Ken Doll Reboot by Caity Weaver with fantastic photography by Spencer Lowell.

What do you think of the 15 new Ken dolls? Bland? Idealised? Or do they have personality?