Love Vintage?

A beautiful blog about all things vintage. Made with love x

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Shattered glass, shattered heart

My prized possession- my 50p pocket watch which I wear as a necklace- died a horrible death this week. Whilst out for dinner with my friends, I noticed the glass had cracked a bit more and the next time I looked at it, the glass had totally shattered! Not only that, but one of the hands has dropped off! I'm distraught! Although no other will be the same, I loved wearing that clock so I've been snooping around to see if I can find a replacement. So far, not so good, but I have uncovered a couple of gems along the way which I thought I'd share with you.

Betsey Loves is a lovely online boutique specialising in vintage style jewellery. Their style is very feminine but quirky- a nice combination if you're after something eyecatching. Their prices are really reasonable so you might find yourself putting more than one thing in your basket, although I'm sure you won't regret spoiling yourself a little.Another name to look out for is Natasha Bailie who has a lovely online boutique selling everything from Vintage wedding dresses to vintage style jewellery. Her style is similar to that of Betsey Loves but I love this sweet teapot necklace. Very cute and very cheap at just £19.

Fancy a night out..?

Whilst browsing for things to do during an upcoming trip to London, I stumbled across a clubnight which sounds like a lot of fun. To all you Londoners, sorry- I may be totally out of date with this one, but it's the first I've heard of it! Shake, Rattle and Bowl is a monthly get together at the Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes in Euston which bravely combines bowling with drinking and clubbing! The music varies from Mowtown to Rock n Roll, Ska to Soul, so something to suit most musical tastes. The next night is on the 6th February and you can buy tickets from ticketweb- a snip at just £7!
Another great night out, this time, in Brighton is Born Bad which takes place at the Komedia on Gardner Street. It's great fun and everyone goes to town with their retro and vintage outfits, dancing to Rock n Roll and Rockabilly music. It's a really popular night and voted Brighton's best night by The Guardian so it's well worth buying tickets in advance from the Komedia website. The next Born Bad is on the 19th February and tickets are £5/£6. x

High Street Treats

As a seasoned charity shop and vintage store shopper, I know how frustrating and tedious it can be when you're searching for the perfect item. Vintage and charity shops can be great for stumbling upon surprise items but when looking for something specific, it can be disheartening when you spend days rummaging to no avail.
This is when the high street can help. I've been really pleasantly surprised over recent weeks about some items I've found on the high street which could (and have) passed as being vintage. The trick is with accessorising and how you wear your clothes. After all, it's not what you wear, it's how you wear it!
As we all know, Primark is a goldmine for bargains and during a recent visit with a friend, we managed to pick up some great bits. Their dresses have some lovely details on them and a lot of their basics are perfect blank canvases if you fancy getting a little creative. How about buying a long sleeved stripe top (£2.50) and from the centre of the neckline, sewing a few vintage buttons for a faux blouse look? Gold buttons look lovely and fit with the nautical theme but use pastels if you fancy a softer look. Team it with a high waisted black skirt to make a sweet vintagey outfit.
The thing I would always encourage with Primark is to try on before you buy- I know it's cheap but there's no point buying something a size bigger than you would normally simply because it's a steal!
A store I was really surprised with recently was Warehouse. I had previously enjoyed a sense of pride about the fact I have never bought anything from Warehouse, Miss Selfridge or Topshop (shock horror!) but it seems - with Warehouse at least - I have to admit defeat. I went in through utter desperation in search for a black dress and to my disbelief, there reduced from £65 to £15 was the most beautiful black silk dress. Had I seen it in a vintage shop, I would have thought it was from the 40's or 50's due to it's pretty details. The dress has a full length sleeve with buttons along the cuffline, nipping the sleeve in at the wrists. The shoulders puff slightly and from the middle of the rounded neckline, there are three pleats, adding a nice detail to an otherwise plain dress. It was so pretty I bought it in black and in a claret red.. well it was only £15! Their sale has stopped online, but pop in to your local branch for a few last minute bargains.
As I mentioned before, it's not where you buy your clothes from, if you want to achieve the vintage look convincingly, invest more in accessories than clothing. Making your own accessories or hunting around for accessories which are unusual is the best way to achieve that sought after "non- mainstream" look. Invest in vintage style shoes, leather gloves, a pretty hat and some red lippy as your staples and build from there. E-bay is the best place to look for cheap vintage jewels- try searching for a "job lot" and you'll get lots of choice. x

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

The perfect British Summer

I don't know about you but it's the thought of the Summer which is getting me through this long and freezing Winter! The long, dark days, layers of clothes, and lack of social activity is all getting a bit much too bear and the thought of being able to leave work when it's light and drink in a pub garden all night seem like luxuries too far away. Despite this incessent cold, Spring will soon be here but as it seems so far away, here are a few things that might help you through the remaining bleak weeks of winter.
Going for a picnic is a great way to waste an afternoon and some fantastic vintage baskets can be found on the internet or in vintage shops. If you really hunt around, you can find some with the original (and beautiful) china plates, cutlery and thermos flasks. If the thought of using something that old to eat off of freaks you out a little, you can find some convincing reproduction picnic baskets from Country Cottage Chic.

Summertime is great for fruit in England and there are fruit farms all over the place where you can pick as many strawberries, raspberries and gooseberries as you like to make jams, chutneys and cakes.
Jam is really easy to make, economical and very rewarding when you get a good batch. There are great jam recipes all over the place but a really good book is The Women's Institute's Book of Preserves- their list of recipes is endless and all methods are very easy to follow. You will need to invest in a Jam pan and a thermometer, though and you can pick those up from any good cook shop. Top the lids with squares of gingham fabric, secured with an elastic band to make a pretty present- give it to your Mum with a bunch of sweet peas from the garden- she'll be impressed.If jam isn't your thing, however, Summer Pudding is another great way to use up your soft summer fruits and is also extremely easy to make. I always use Delia's summer pudding recipe and it's never failed, so that'd be my recommendation but it's pretty hard to get wrong so any recipe will do!
One thing I haven't tried to make but would love to is Elderflower Champagne. There is a great River Cottage recipe online which sounds straightforward- although laborious! If you have the time, space and patience to make a batch, why not pack it in your vintage picnic basket along with some homemade bread, some cheese and homemade chutneys and a slice or two of homemade Victoria sponge sandwiched with homemade strawberry jam?! It's easily done and well worth the effort. The hardest part is finding the perfect picnic spot...

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

I wish I were in an RKO picture

I've been rather quiet on the blog for a week or so now due to pesky University deadlines but I now have two weeks off in which I intend to devote my attention fully to rooting around for some vintage gems!
The 20's, 30's and 40's are my favourite moments in history for film, fashion and music. I love the culture of that time and wish I could have been part of it! I listen to a lot of music from the 20's, 30's and 40's and always find myself daydreaming of being at a glamourous party in a cocktail dress waltzing around with a dashing gentleman in tails. Perfect!
Anyway, aside from making me daydream, the music is really relaxing and uplifting, so to help you kickstart your week, I've put a few of my favourites up. Happy daydreams! x

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Tara Starlet

I had a lovely day today made all the better by my stumbling upon the website of a vintage savvy seamstress who makes the most beautiful clothes! What I love most about this designer is that, amongst others, she really has the 40's style down to a fine art and her clothes look like originals. The 40's is one of my favourite era's for fashion because despite the requirement for practicality in female clothing at the time, style was never absent. Women always looked stylish and sophisticated whether they were popping to the shop or working in an office and Tara Starlet captivates that in her pieces. My particular favourites are the fantail skirts (as seen above) and the gorgeous Sailor Slacks. She also stocks a quirky range of swimwear on Dollydagger! Enjoy x

Friday, 15 January 2010

That's life

Many magazines nowadays have lost much of the old glamour with several of them famed for slagging off the celebrities that grace their pages. Then again, there is a different breed of celebrity these days. The rise of reality show stardom has left us overcrowded with attention seeking idiots willing to do anything to get them a spread in The Sun, or better still, Heat magazine. I agree that to some degree a lot of these "celebrities" need a good slating but who really cares what Kerry Katona or Jordan look like without their make up? (They look rough enough with it on..)
Enter Life Magazine. Read by millions, Life magazine was the symbol of class and sophistication in it's heyday and still serves it's purpose as providing a classier type of celebrity commentary. You won't find Britney revealing her privates amongst these pages, instead beautifully taken photographs of an altogether different callibre of celebrity.
The Life magazine back catalogue is now available to read online through Google Books and if you're interested in vintage photography, costume, make up or advertising, you'll find it all in these pages. Happy reading x

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Be inspired

If you would like to get into making your own clothes, it may be worth looking at this fantastic website. The Sew Weekly is a project currently underway which is documenting the handy work of a lady making her own clothes. A collector of vintage clothes patterns, she has a stock of ideas waiting to be made up and she really has created an enviable wardrobe out of some gorgeous reproduction fabrics. Take a peek if you're in need of some inspiration or like me, look jealously at what you could achieve if you had a little more time! x

Fine and dandy

Gents, if you're a stickler for fashion trends, it may be of interest to you to know that the English country gentleman look is definitely in this season. Tweed jackets, pocket handkerchiefs and driving gloves are not to be sniffed at if you want to stay bang on trend in 2010.
I have to admit to finding the country gentleman look rather hot, but there is certainly a method to pulling it off. To insert a little bit of vintage character to a tweed jacket, try teaming it with a pair of skinny jeans (blue denim) and a shirt (done all the way up!) with one button done up on your jacket. Why not go to town and combine the gent style with a little bit of cheeky geekyness? Put on a bow tie, some thick rimmed specs, your finest pair of brogues and tie it all together with a handsome satchel. A little hint, however: with the tweed, shirt, bow tie, brogues and bag- this look could easily clash. Try matching the colours as best you can- perhaps if your tweed jacket is predominantly brown, go for a deep burgundy bow tie with tan brogues, belt and bag. Finish off the whole look with slick hair in a side parting. Beaut.
Tweed jackets can be found in ample supply on e-bay, in charity shops and vintage stores but if you want the perfect fit, Hackett and Barbour specialise in tweed, although they're very expensive!
If, like me, you love the bow tie look, you can also pick these up online or in vintage shops. You can find some really unusual bow ties at certain tailors such as Gresham Blake in Brighton, but they will set you back more than one pretty penny! Pocket handkerchiefs are another great way of inserting a bit of fun, colour and personality into your outfit and being such a big trend this season, these can be found in several high street shops. If you want something a little more unusual, again, go vintage or have a look at some of Simon Carter's designs. x

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Nifty Thrifty

The Roundhouse in Camden is playing host to a vintage swap shop on 28th March. Thrift Shop is a great way to rejuvenate your wardrobe on a shoestring budget. Check out the Roundhouse website for their listings. x

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

A little something for the boys x

Sorry guys, I'll be the first to admit that this blog is directed mainly towards the girls but I do have a few ideas for you, too.
To make a gingham shirt more unique, invest in a few colourful buttons and replace the ones already on your shirt.
If your handy with a needle and thread, this may be worth a try. Take two different shirts you're bored of wearing and swap the pockets over. Unpick the stitching of both pockets, switch them over and sew them back on! Easy! Gingham works really well with denim but why not be brave and use a floral fabric? No need to limit this to shirts, try it with your jeans or sew the pocket on sideways if you fancy something cool but dysfunctional.
If you have a tendency to roll up your shirts, add some interest by sewing a line of velvet on the inside seam of the cuff. Simply turn your shirt sleeve inside out and sew the ribbon along the seam. You can pick up velvet ribbon from any decent sewing shop. Select a thin ribbon, about half a centimetre thick and pick a colour that either contrasts starkly from that of your shirt to give it an edge (like lime green with a pink shirt- it works, promise!) or go for something a little more subtle to create a cool detail. You could even sew a line of velvet ribbon on the inside seam of your collar as another interesting touch.
Some guys are good with their hair but others have no idea so heres a few tips for those of you without a clue. Firstly- it's perfectly OK to spend time in the bathroom! Experiment with your hair. If you want to build volume try backcombing your hair. Grab your hair at its tip and brush backwards from the tip to the root with a comb or brush. This is particularly good if you want to create the Elvis quiff or something similar. Once the volume is in your hair, its easy to manipulate it and create the look you want, just make sure you spritz with hairspray before going out- otherwise it won't hold. If you like the 50's slick back look, all you need is wet look gel (the cheap stuff is as good as any) and a comb. Simply run the gel through the front of your hair and from the roots at the front of your hair, comb your hair in an 'n' shape backwards, lifting the hair up with the comb as you go to create a quiff.
Finally- guyliner. Not everyone's cup of tea but here's something you may not know. Don't wear black eyeliner unless you have super dark lashes. If you're blonde, a brown eyeliner will be far more subtle than black and will still have the same effect. If you have blue eyes, try a navy liner. Whatever eyeliner you go for, make sure you blend! Just smudge the hard lines with a finger tip to create a more natural look. If you have small eyes that you want to look bigger, black eyeliner is not the way forward. Instead, use a white eye liner on the inside of the lower lid. Barry M are the best pencils and you can buy those from Boots or Superdrug. Simple x

Making your own clothes

Making your own clothing is a really tricky but rewarding process. The upside is, you get custom clothing in the style and fabric you want and you'll never have to worry about turning up to a party in the same outfit as someone else. However, the down side is that it takes practice and patience so perhaps its worth waiting until you have a week off!
For those of you bold enough to give it a go, there are some fantastic websites out there that sell retro reproduction fabrics out of which you can make something truly unique. have a great selection of kitch fabrics in loads of styles. Prints range from cartoons to Japanese, floral to architectural so something to keep everyone happy.
My advice would be to a novice- start with something simple. An A-line skirt is a great place to start as the pattern is really easy to follow. After you feel comfortable with that, move on to a simply shaped dress, perhaps a shift? Whatever you do, don't start with anything too complicated, you'll just end up frustrated and disheartened.
As for the patterns themselves, you can get a simple A-line skirt pattern from any good haberdashery store- C&H Fabrics will stock them. When you feel comfortable moving onto a slightly more complex project, Amy Butler designs beautiful, yet simple clothes patterns which you can buy online.

Dulcet tones of old

Julie London

Ella Fitzgerald

Sarah Vaughn (and a rather reluctant drummer!)

The Beautiful Elvis Presley

Frock Me!

The best vintage clothing fair is without a doubt, Frock Me. A variety of vintage sellers get together on certain dates of the year in Chelsea and Brighton and hold events in these two destinations only. Frock Me invite sellers that specialise in certain era's or styles and the variety is like nothing you'll find elsewhere. You can find stunning accessories, dresses, costume, fur and lace and prices are brilliantly reasonable.
The forthcoming dates for Brighton Corn Exchange are:
28 FEB
25 APR
24 OCT
28 NOV
This years dates for Chelsea Town Hall are:
14 FEB
28 MAR
23 MAY
31 OCT
All events are held on a Sunday from 11am- 5.30pm

I love Lucy

I used to work on a Ranch in Colorado and during the Winter season I would like nothing better than coming home to a roaring fire, cup of Miss Swiss hot chocolate and an episode or two of I Love Lucy. Having a childish sense of humour, this makes me roar with laughter and if it's something you've not seen before, there are box sets available on Amazon which I highly recommend! x

Personal Presents

Through a love of sewing, I have acquired bagfuls of fabrics and buttons over the years, some fabrics i've cut into squares ready to make a quilt out of! Now that I am studying at University, the time for making quilts doesn't come my way often so I began using the fabrics in a different way.
A lovely friend of mine had her birthday the other day and being an artist, she leads an extremely eventful life, meeting wonderful people and visiting beautiful places. Consequently, she has very short amounts of time on her hands but loads of amazing mementoes so I made her a scrapbook- vintage style.
Scrapbooking is really easy and being a very personal project, there is no right or wrong way of doing it. Essentially, a beautiful book is required or an extremely plain one so that you can decorate the front. Whichever you decide upon, make sure that the pages inside are of good quality paper. Paperchase or Pen to Paper have good selections of books if you struggle to find something suitable.
On the first page of my friend's scrapbook, I embroidered a piece of gorgeous vintage fabric (4x4 inch square) with her initials. Use good quality embroidery silks for this as normal thread doesn't have the same effect. This I glued onto the page with two additional, smaller squares of fabric, (2x2 inch) a scattering of vintage buttons and some feathers to add detail. Upon the second page, I used a double spread to get her started. I selected some of her favourite pictures and stuck them on alongside some pressed flowers, train tickets from Berlin (a place she & I love), a couple of small fabric squares and a few more vintage buttons. To add a burst of colour, I found a beautiful piece of green ribbon, tied it into a chunky bow and cut the ends into upside down 'V's before sticking in place with PVA glue.
On the following pages, I left them blank, just sticking down two of the smaller squares of fabric in a corner of the page with a couple of buttons to add a bit of interest to the pages she fills herself.
It really is very easy and an enjoyable way of making a present for a special friend. It takes a lot of time and persistence but it pays off when you see how much they love it! x

Monday, 11 January 2010

Rockin' Frocks

If you love the rockabilly look and are searching for the perfect party dress, the Dollydagger Boutique may become your new best friend. With a variety of colours and patterns, there is something to suit any occasion and the dresses are perfectly priced at around £69. The dresses are generally the classic Marilyn shape; fitted to the waist before coming out in a full circle skirt. This style of dress can suit any shape. If you're an hourglass like me, it's the perfect shape to excentuate your best bits and if you're a boy shape, its brilliant for implying a curvier bottom half- if that's what you want, of course! The trick to wearing any dress but particularly one in this shape, is to wear it with confidence. It's very easy to feel overdressed but enjoy wearing your dresses and the compliments will come flooding in! Dollydagger also have a great range of rock n roll style accessories but some, in my opinion could be too much when worn with the dresses so perhaps keep your look simple; don some killer t-bars and let the dress do the talking!

Do it yourself

I love jewellery, aside from cake it's probably my only real vice. Vintage jewellery is absolutely stunning and well worth investing in but if you fancy something unusual and cheap, try making your own. The two pieces I wear more than any others are my key and pocket watch necklaces which are extremely easy to replicate! Old keys are absolutely beautiful and can be found in flea markets, car boot sales or vintage shops. Tie a peice of black ribbon or a rusty gold chain to it and you have yourself a one off! Alternatively, hunt for a vintage pocket watch and do the same thing. I found a rusty old one at a market a couple of years ago which i bought for 50p and although the glass is cracked and it doesn't work, I get compliments about it almost every time I wear it. You really use anything you like. I'm currently searching for an old compass to make a necklace out of but you could use anything from little medicine bottles, pretty lockets or tiny vanity mirrors. If you're lucky enough to stumble upon a glass locket, why not fill it with a little tapestry, vintage lace or pressed flower? x

Sunday, 10 January 2010

A piece of cake

If you enjoy baking, here is the recipe for the perfect Victoria Sponge! This has been handed down from mother to daughter in my family for many years and never fails. I made this recipe the other day for a friend's birthday and to make it extra special I made a little rose out of icing to sit atop the sponge. Anyway, here is the recipe for the cake and indeed a method for the icing rose, too!

6oz self raising flour
6oz caster sugar
6oz butter
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence

Cream the butter and sugar until pale yellow and fully mixed. Break in the eggs and before beating them in, sift in half of the flour to prevent the mixture from splitting. Once mixed, add the remaining flour and the vanilla essence. The trick is to beat in as much air as you can to give the sponge it's lightness so once the mixture is fully bound, fold the mixture for another few seconds to make sure it's light as a feather.
Now spoon the mixture equally into two lined tins. I hate using greaseproof paper so I line my cake tins by rubbing a small amount of butter all around the tin followed by a spoonful of flour. Roll the flour around so it sticks to the butter and fully dusts the tin before spooning in your cake mix. This method is easier than faffing with paper and the sponge comes out just as easily!
Bake for about 20 minutes or until the cakes a springy to the touch. A good way to gauge if the cake is cooked all the way through is by inserting a skewer or sharp knife into the thickest part of the cake. If the skewer/knife comes out clean, the cake is done, if not, return to the oven and keep an eye.
Once the cake is totally cooled, it's time for the filling. I've always followed my Mum's recipe for the buttercream icing and she never measures anything but my advice would be to start with 50g of softened unsalted butter and 100g icing sugar. Bind the two together and keep adding more of each until you have the right amount- sorry it's not more exact!
Then all that remains is the jam! Don't scrimp on the jam- use something homemade if you can, if not, Bonne Maman is a good subsitute. I like strawberry best with a Victoria Sponge but you can use whatever you fancy. Pour the jam over the underside of one of the sponges so you have a nice thick spread (you want it to spill out a bit at the edges when you put the two sponges together). On the underside of the other sponge, spread your buttercream (again, quite thickly) before putting the two sponges together so the jam and buttercream combine.
A nice touch is to ice the top with plain white icing (sifted icing sugar and a little boiling water, for those of you new to baking). Furthermore, if you have the time, decorate the cake with a pretty, edible rose!
Roll out a little pre-made icing (from any supermarket) and with a sharp knife cut out four large rose petal shapes, three medium, two small and one tiny. Put the four together in a rough circle to create a base, sealing the edges with a bit of water. Make the next layer with the three smaller petals making sure that you position the middle of the smaller petals over the join of the petal below. Repeat this process for the next two layers. With the smallest petal, roll into a spiral shape and stick in the centre of the flower. Pick the whole thing up and pinch and curl the edges to make the perfect icing rose before proudly placing in the centre of the cake!
OH! And before I forget- don't put your cake in the fridge! It makes it go hard and the buttercream will return to the consistency of butter! Not good!


It's quite difficult to find fantastic vintage headbands that haven't been damaged in some way over the years. More often than not, delicate materials such as feathers, lace or diamontes are used which tend to bend, fray or fall off over time. A good way of looking after your headpieces is by keeping them seperate from all of your other accessories and if possible, wrap them in a piece of fabric or put them in a jewellery roll if you have one.
Head peices are really easy to make if you have the time. All you need is a band of elastic (you can use ribbon but the edges will fray unless you seal them) and whatever you would like to decorate it with. Peacock feathers are the obvious choice as they're so classic and beautiful but you can use any pretty feathers. Fasten the feathers with either glue or a few stitches and add some dimontes, sequins or beads to create a real showstopper. Experiment before you glue anything down and if you can bribe a friend to model it for you, it'll help you to see how it'll look when it's on.
If you don't fancy getting your hands dirty, Karin Andreasson has done all the hard work for you! Her 1920's inspired designs are a little pricey but well worth the cash as they are timeless and will add vintage glamour to any outfit. You can buy online from

Paste! With Haste!

If you fancy adding a personal touch to your walls, this 'Paint By Numbers' wallpaper by Jenny Wilkinson is perfect if you want to get creative in your home. Jenny has created a wonderful range of wallpapers in a variety of unusual patterns to suit almost any taste and she has even created children's bedroom borders for them to colour as they please! You receive the paper with the outline of the design, (as in the picture above) paste to the wall and add colour when it's up. You can use either felt tips or paint to fill in the gaps- a brilliant idea and a fantastic way to make a personal style statement on your walls. You can purchase the wallpaper and borders from Beyond The Valley (Newburgh Street in London- just behind Carnaby Street) or you can buy directly from Jenny's website.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Vintage Vision

I know of a few weddings coming up this year so I often find myself looking out for the perfect vintage wedding dress for my soon to be wed friends. I have had very little luck so far, even in the more expensive vintage shops but whilst shopping in Harlequin the other day, I found the best selection of vintage wedding dresses I have ever seen! Ranging from sweeping 1930's silk to 1900's lace gowns, there was a dress to suit every taste. One of the most stunning was a plain ivory silk dress, floor length with a subtle train at the back. On the front, the neckline was a deep V, leading in to a slightly rouched waist band. The fabrics were all in great condition and unlike many vintage wedding dresses, none of them had yellowed over time. The prices ranged from £100 to £600 depending on era and detail but all of them were totally unique. They also stock a great selection of veils and fascinators as well as some stunning bridal jewellery. So if you, or someone you know is looking to get hitched in vintage style some time soon, check out the dresses in Harlequin on Sydney Street in Brighton.

Afternoon Delight

I know the time of year for indulgence is supposedly behind us, but a sweet treat every once in a while is what makes life worth living! If cake is your vice, The Angel Food Bakery in Meeting House Lane makes the most amazing cupcakes ever! All their cakes are freshly baked and beautifully decorated on the premises by their very friendly (and stylish) staff. With loads of flavours to choose from, it'll take a fair few visits to get through their menu so why not try a few of their miniatures? If you have a party or wedding coming up, the bakery takes orders for personalised batches, allowing you to pick the flavours and decorations suitable for your occasion!
If you're unable, however to get to the bakery in Brighton, another wonderful cake place, The Hummingbird Bakery has three locations dotted around London. They also have a cookbook which is well worth a look at if you fancy a go at it yourself! If you're lucky enough to be in possession of this book already, try my adaptation to their Lemon Cupcakes...
Follow the recipe but as the cakes are cooling, make a lemony drizzle out of lemon juice and icing sugar- heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds so it's all syrupy. Into warm cupcakes, make a small 'X' incision about a cm deep in the top of the cake and pour in about a teaspoonful of the lemon drizzle (or until it begins to overflow). Ice as directed and enjoy! x

My Hat!

Whilst roaming Brighton the other day, I stumbled upon a rather beautiful shop. Rag 'n' Bone on Pelham Street can't have been there long as it is in the spot that was occupied by Pigeon a short time ago. In any case, it's a great addition to Brighton's many vintage haunts but Rag 'n' Bone has a difference in the form of hats.Taking their inspiration from the classic winter hats of the '2o's and '30's, these handmade beauties are wonderfully sculpted and bring back a touch of the glamour of those periods where purchasing a hat was something special. Made of stiff but soft felts and personalised with flower corsages or felt braids, each hat is different and really reasonably priced- well worth a look!

Get your Singer out!

It's pretty difficult to pull off your favourite LBD when you've been wearing it to death over the festive season so here are a few thrifty ideas to revitalise your look.
If your dress has one, try sewing on a velvet ribbon around the empire line. Deep crimson reds, scarlets, emerald greens and soft pinks look particularly good with black and the velvet ribbon will look especially beautiful on a silky or satin LBD. Alternatively, a little cream lace sewn along the empire line can help make a primark bargain look like a vintage must have. Lace is also gorgeous when sewn along the neckline of a dress. I wouldn't recommend doing this to a slash or round neck dress but if you have a dress with a deep V neckline, the lace will excentuate your bust and add a luxurious touch.
Shoulder pads and puff sleeves are really strong looks this season and are being carried over to Spring/ Summer. If you have a dress with capped or full sleeve, pinch together the peices of fabric either side of the seam on the shoulders, pin and tack for an instant puff! If you have time to spare, try sewing on a few sequins or beads to really add a hit of glamour.
My final hint is an idea I stole from a dress I saw on an advert a few weeks ago. Lay out a black slash neck dress and lightly mark with tailors chalk an upside down triangle from the centre of the neckline. From a bead shop or haberdashery store, pick up some large plastic gems (black on black looks really classy but add in a little colour if you're feeling adventurous). Sew the gems on randomly but within the upside down triangle and you have yourself a stunning, one off and enviable LBD.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Pretty me up

Now I know most of you have the vintage make up look down but there is a lot more that you can do than eyeliner flicks and red lipstick- not that I'm knocking it! I found this make up tutorial online and found it really useful. The model looks really fresh and kind of cartoony- I think it's a nice look. If you're curious about how to complete the vintage look but not look too "done up", then this make up tutorial might be good for you. She's used false eyelashes in the tutorial but there's no reason why you can't wear this look all day with just mascara and then put on some falsies to give your look a reboost before you go out. I'd also suggest that if, like me, you get dark rings round your eyes when you're tired, try Benefit's Boi-ing concealer around the eye area and finish off with a little Ooh La Lift (also Benefit) on the eyebone- blend by tapping lightly- not rubbing! This will give you that fresh-as-a-daisy look you so desire!


Finally, the no nonsense guide to fantastic vintage hair! I can vouch for this myself, I gave it a go and, yes, it was a little tricky but persist and the results are brilliant! Good luck!

Soup? In a bun?

Ginger Two is the most fantastic boutique in Winchester. It stocks retro homewares, quirky bits and bobs for around the house and is the perfect place to shop for presents. Better than all that is the cafe attached to the shop run by the same lovely lady. The selections of teas are endless and the coffee is perfection- made all the more wonderful by the friendly staff and cosy, homely atmosphere. The food is all homemade from original recipes and its definitely worth trying to work your way through the extensive cake menu! The most amazing thing about Ginger Two however, is the Thai Butternut Squash soup served in a bun! It is the most beautiful thing I have eaten and is highly recommended- especially in this snowy weather. Stuck in Winchester and fancy the perfect afternoon? Grab a paper, sit yourself down in Ginger Two and indulge. I promise you won't regret it.

Nine Boyces Street

Nine Boyces Street in Brighton (previously Temple Tatu) has produced some of the finest tattoos I have seen. Vintage style tattoos in my opinion are quite difficult to perfect but some of the vintage work from Nine is out of this world. The studio itself has a fantastic atmosphere, really welcoming, friendly and relaxed. I was tattooed there by Jack and I can't rave about him enough. If you're thinking of getting a tattoo, it's well worth while looking into the best artists for you- after all, it's going to be on your body forever! If you are able to get down to Brighton, Nine is the best studio but be prepared to go on a waiting list as they are in high demand! Check out all the artists on their website and prepare to be amazed.


I absolutely love vintage glasses and I have spent a long time snooping for the perfect pair. If you're unable to spend hours on e-bay or at flea markets trying to find a pair you love, I've done the legwork for you! VintageEyeGlassesOnline is a great website with zillions of pairs of vintage glasses for men and women. They have gold, silver, jeweled and plastic frames and are all reasonably priced. The descriptions of all of the glasses are really detailled, making selection a whole lot easier. The site is American but shipping costs are very reasonable at just $5.95!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

For all you magpies...

So you like shiney, pretty things with a hint of vintage? Here are a few of my favourite jewellery designers with something to suit all budgets.

Lovely, intricate, feminine designs from one of the UK's leading jewellery designers. Alex Monroe is stocked in many stores up and down the country including Silverado in Brighton and Liberty in London.
With her unusual designs starting at rockbottom prices (£12 for this necklace!) Galibardy jewellery is wonderfully affordable. Her handmade designs vary in style from quirky 1930's pieces to rock 'n' roll statements. Find her selling at the Sunday market near Brick Lane or visit her website.
Birdy Num Num offer a diverse and affordable range of accessories in their online store. If you're searching for a pretty evening clutch or some classic accessories, you can't go wrong here!

Are you listening carefully?

There are some amazing musicians out there but if you can't shake your vintage style even on the dancefloor, here are a few people who may brighten your day.

The beautful Imelda May has a great swinging style. If you like big quiffs, red lips and lots of leopard print, this feisty Irish belle may be just your cup of tea.

Taking it back a few years now. Wanda Jackson is one of my very favourite musical treasures. With her raspy, rugged country tones, her style is not for everyone but if you hear something you like, she'll become an addiction I challenge you to kick.

A sucker for beauty? Me too. Check these girls out live if you can as Peggy Sue are an even better treat live than recorded.

Laura Marling, another gem. Her album 'Alas I cannot swim' is beautiful and her vocals on the Mystery Jets track, Young Love are also well worth a listen.

Style secrets

Get Cutie is a fantastic shop based in Brighton specialising in hand made dresses made out of beautiful retro prints. The cut of their dresses are amazingly flattering and they cater for a wide range of sizes, even offering a range for those of us with fuller busts! Visit the online store or pop down to their Kensington Gardens shop in Brighton- you wont regret it!

I have spent weeks on end searching for fantastic vintage undies and at last I think i've hit the jackpot! Retro lingerie specialists, La Magia make the most gorgeous underwear ranging from sultry satins to nautical sets. Respectfully priced, too so if you fancy a treat without breaking the bank, pay La Magia a visit.

The most reasonably priced and varied vintage shop that I have come across is the brilliant Beyond Retro. Their stores (London, Brighton & Sweden) are jam packed with vintage clothing from every era. I warn you, you could be in there for days! With a great selection of accessories as well as clothing, everything is under one roof. Casual vintage dresses, skirts, coats and jackets are in ample supply as well as hundreds of theatrical outfits. A great variety of sizes are available as well as an equally well stocked mens department. It really has to be seen to be believed!

Home Sweet Home

Make your house a home with some beautiful vintage pieces. Winter's Moon is a fantastic online store which sells recycled, handmade and vintage homewares. They have everything from tree decorations to armchairs, paper lanterns to teapots. Why buy something mass produced and new when you can recycle something with charm?!

If you're passionate about recycling and are looking to save a pretty penny, then check out Freecycle. This is a fantastic scheme in operation all over the world where people 'post' online whatever items they are looking to get rid of or trying to obtain. Items range from bikes to earplugs so see what's on offer in your area!

Along the same lines as Freecyle, but sadly only available in Brighton is 'Shabitat'. Run by the Brighton based recycling firm, Magpie, Shabitat sells reclaimed items at rock bottom prices. Situated on Lewes Road, opposite the bus depot, there are hundreds of items to choose from.

Waste Not, Want Not

I think what I love most about retaining vintage values in modern life is the ability to use most things that would otherwise be thrown away. One of my Grandmother's favourite sayings was 'Waste not, want not' and no where is this more applicable than in the kitchen.
8.3 million tonnes of food are thrown away from UK households every year and this comes at a cost of £680 per year for the average family. As the "Love Food, Hate Waste" campaign notes- if we were to stop wasting this level of food, the impact on CO2 emmisions would be equivalent to 1 in 4 cars being taken off Britain's roads.
A few simple adaptaions to the ways that we consume can help us make a big difference. Here are a few recipe ideas to help you get rid of those leftovers.

The most beautiful minestrone soup...

Throw your leftovers on a pizza!

There are plenty of ideas for your leftovers. My favourite thing to do is throw it all into a pie! You can make it easy for yourself by using pre-made puff pastry and follow a basic pie recipe. Alternatively, why not try a stew? Pies and stews are pretty forgiving dishes so whatever you throw in usually works! Remember, there are no rules, experiment with your leftovers and reap the reward of a full belly and the knowledge that you're doing your bit in reducing CO2 emissions!
Sainsburys TryNation also have some lovely recipes to try!

Vintage Hairstyles

It's really hard to recreate the perfect vintage hairstyle but whilst snooping the 'net, i've managed to find a few tutorials you may find helpful. Some of them drag on a little bit but they're useful nonetheless! The tools you'll need: A comb, bobby pins or clips and a healthy dose of hairspray!

This one is in two parts and is quite thorough- I'd recommend fast-forwarding!

Part 2

Good luck girls!