Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Dum Dum De Dum

 Every girls nightmare is finding an outfit, making sure its enough or not too much, that its suitable and yet stands out. Having not been to a wedding since I was about 8, I really wasn't sure what sort of outfit was right for a wedding from ceremony to reception. My partner and I were invited to a wedding-someone Ross works with. I was struggling to find anything and had my heart set on a jumpsuit. Soon I was told that it wasn't going to be a fancy wedding, that nobody was really going to dress up and that it was more casual. This just made it worse, what on earth is nice and yet casual enough for a wedding!? You can just imagine the chaotic scene can't you? Picture this...me pulling item after item, with one hand then the other, taking only seconds viewing each before casting them off over my shoulder eliminating them from my options, leaving me surrounded by a pile of useless-and may as well be, rags!
Of course I scowered the charity shops in hopes of a bargain find, I was up and down Canterbury and Hythe high street like a chid from the 20's playing with a stick and hoop! Unfortunately I found nothing, I guess when your looking for something in particular, you miss the gems that are really there. I found a beautiful royal navy jumpsuit on ebay which I won for £10, however, when it arrived and I tried it on, it gave me an unfortunate...camels feature that I wish not too divuldge into detail about. You can only imagine the ridiculous look. Again began the big search. This time, I gave in and searched the high street shops. Primark had just come to Canterbury so all the highstreet stores were having sales, only to compete I could guess.  I decided to look for a long dress, something that could be dressed up or down. I pulled a few items from the sale rail at Zara, one of which was a pale blue dress with dark blue flowers printed on it, something I would never have picked and the pattern made me think of my Aunty Nene and a blouse or dress that she would have worn. I tried it on anyway and funnily enough, it was perfect. the straps were a fraction too long cutting close to revealing too much side of my chest. But nothing that my sewing machine couldn't fix.

The day was beautiful and I certainly was not too over dressed neither underdressed. I had plenty of room for all the food in my floaty gown too. Plus the champagne everyone kept giving me as they didn't like it, who doesn't love bubbles! Plus, did you know that it has been discovered, we English were the founders and creators of the first intentional Champagne to have been made! Pardon Le Francais.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Returning to my Keys

My fellow followers, readers, friends. I have been so unorganised and lacked the motivation to write that I have left an open wound, a gap, not just to my blog but to myself. So much has happened and changed and so many bargains have been found since New Years, there is just simply, too much to tell.
After Christmas and New Years, still working at Reiss, the team entered into a competition through the company to put forward our idea, of how we convey passion, focus drive and our thoughts of how we perseve their slogan 'I am Reiss'. At first it was a subtle joke of making a music video and writing our own rap which soon turned into creating a music video to Pharell Williams 'Happy' where we just danced on the shop floor but also included the full Reiss service to a customer (who also joined in on the dancing) The idea we all had was the scene in 500 days of summer, where Joseph Gordon-Levitt dances through the city and more and more of the public join in. Our minds were ambitous and determined to win this competition. A good friend of mine happens to be a photographer and film maker who agreed to help us in our little quest. After spending one evening after closing time, eating nibbles and having a few drinks, making this music video with everyones ideas merging together, we finally created our entry for the competition.
The announcement of the winner was to be made at the managers conference where every store manager from all over, Spain, France etc... would be there. Unfortunately our entry wasn't in the final 6. However, it had been recognised as motivational inspiration for all staff who ever felt down or lost to be picked up and feel lifted. Therefore it had been shown in the conference for everyone to enjoy. The response was better than winning, we were legends. Everyone wanted to vote for us but couldn't. There was never going to be a second or third prize, but due to the reaction of our video, they decided to award us with a bottle of champagne and a cheque for a night out. A free meal was a great way to spend the evening with the team. Especially as by the time we organised the date for the meal, I was leaving to start a career for a company called Spicers of Hythe, a hamper company where I would help in the selling, advertising and marketing of the products, even getting involved in the photography which interested me very much.
However, almost 6 months into my probation period, I found myself lost and unsure if working in an office was what I wanted anymore. Sitting at a desk doing paperwork and making/taking phone calls was such a shock to the system after having spent so long back in retail, working with customers face to face. It was no longer what I wanted to do, photography as a profession was no longer the career for me. It was a drastic decision but one Im glad I chose to make. I decided to follow my skills in massage, and want to specialise in this area. Looking back to last year and the short course I did, as cheesy as it may sound, I have never felt like I've been in quite the right place as much as I do when I'm giving a massage. So, for not quite a bargain or maybe it is (depending how you see it), just a little more than £3000 of my savings, I am back at college and getting my NVQ level 3 in Spa and Therapy. One of the best decisions I have made. I hope to qualify and start my true career in a beautiful Spa. It just sounds so much more interested than 'I work in an office selling hampers'. People asking me what I do now, I can say with pride 'I am a Massage Therapist'.
 I would just like to thank a particular person who I befriended on my course, who sparked up my motivation to start writing again. Never have I clicked with someone so fast before apart from maybe when I was little and would approach any girl at nursery, school, at the beach, at a park, maybe the infamous rotunda upstairs playroom with the classic line from any child "Hello, my name's Ami, do you want to be my friend?" So, thank you Claire, I have returned to my little black keys after blowing away the cobwebs.

Apologies for the poor quality, it had to be compressed to fit on the blog. also you may have to quickly download flash player...it's easy, free and simple. Enjoy!

Friday, 24 January 2014

New Years... New Dress?

One of the best things about festive or special occasions, is choosing your outfit, although at the same time, it can be the most difficult and frustrating choice a girl could make. We may have previously decided what bag we're using or the colour of our nail varnish, so have to revolve our whole outfit around that. But we also couldn't possibly wear anything similar to anyone else. In the eyes' of a man... we're crazy.
Being the bargain hunter I am and having only charity shops and car boots as my sanctum, it is just that little bit harder to find ''that specific something''. I know men always say, 'you don't need another new dress, just wear what you wore before'. Which seems sensible but how horrifying for us to repulse their idea of being seen in a dress you last wore to a big occasion that everyone saw you in. Like we're not a celebrity or something... but they don't need to point out the obvious. Every girl wants to walk into a room and feel famous.
So towards the end of last year and the build up to Christmas, I had in mind something special for Christmas day, bearing in mind I had no income and the little money I was earning from my small massage business, wasn't stretching far enough. I went out shopping with the Mother in Canterbury, for a morning coffee and almond croissant-the usual, then a browse through the shops helping mum finish her Christmas shopping. One shop I rarely buy from but love to browse the sale rails is Miss Selfridges. It's one of those shops you find a rare gem in. I was rummaging around the sale dresses and found a gorgeous coral and lilac striped dress in a thin cotton material, quite see through. luckily I had a nude slip at home to wear underneath. I thought it was going to be over priced even for the sale, but it was a grand total of just £7 and my mother kindly treated me as an early Christmas present. Such a lucky girl.

My New Years dress is an entirely different story. Once again, browsing through the local carboot, searching for that one thing to jump out at me, I came across two girls, vintage looking, squat at the end of their boot with a large clothes rails to the side of them. I sieved through the items like I was taking my time reading a good book and came across a lovely black dress, another LBD to my collection. It was open at the back to allow bearing of the skin, with a halter style front and it was longer at the back creating a floaty weightlessness to the skirt, a style I really liked. The dress still had the tags on and strangely enough it was originally from Miss Selfridges like my Christmas dress. The girl only wanted £5 for it, but at the time, having recently lost my job, I couldn't justify buying it. I told my boyfriend about it when I later bumped into him scrounging through tools, a true mechanic at heart. Anyway, he wanted to see it and then the next thing I knew he was buying it, another little treat for me. Money well spent I say though. I couldn't ask for a more perfect boyfriend, almost 5 years later and the love is still sparkling...... Alright, enough of the cheese.

So, basically, hunt through your local charity shops and never knock a carboot. There are great bargains to be had!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Christmas Crafting

One of the best parts of the build up to Christmas, is the crafting, baking and making involved. In my previous post I stated that handmade gifts, when half hearted, aren't always perfectly delivered as shown in the glossy magazines. However, I discovered a unique and fun way to hand over my family and friends gifts without having to go out and buy boxes or bags to finish off the somewhat passable wrapping. Without having to go out purchasing fabric, or even salvaging for cut offs in charity shops, I used lots of material my Nona had given to me and recycled old fabrics, already saving myself the pennies. I decided to make Christmas Stockings which I could use as gift bags and also it was an extra little present, something they could keep and use for decoration next year or even to replace their own Christmas Stocking.
 All I had to do, was; 
1: Draw around my own stocking as a template on the fabric of choice creating 2 sides. Then 2 pieces of plain fabric for the inner layer, (however if you want a stronger, thicker stocking then you can use wadding). 
2; Before pinning together, I stitched the pattern or buttons onto the outer fabric so the stitching would not be seen on the inside.
3; I could then pin the inner and outer piece's of fabric together making sure they were opposite to sew together. After, trim away any excess material and frays.
4: Once each side was stitched to the inner fabrics, I could then sew the two sides together inside out, folding out after to have a complete stocking.

I must admit, I thought they looked great. The buttons and detail certainly made them very attractive and they almost had a chic style. So cheap and easy, I shall certainly be doing this again in the future. 

Another great gift idea, if you have a slow cooker, is make some chutney. I recycled old jam jars and managed to get a preserving jam/chutney kit from Tkmax for just 99p in the clearance. Bargain! I was given a wonderful Tomato and Garlic chutney recipe that I tried once before and it was spectacular, beginners luck I was thinking. But I decided to try it again as homemade chutney makes for a wonderful Christmas gift. The best time to go and shop for the ingredients is, what I like to call, a late night super market sweep around 6-7pm to get the clearance items. You would be surprised the little prices you pay. Once made, jarred,  labelled, and decorated with ribbon or pretty string tied in a bow, you have yourself a wonderful, tasty gift. 

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

A Charitable Christmas

Christmas, a crazy, busy time of year when people become automatically altered to a higher speed level, Towns and Cities become covered in twinkly lights, the unnatural habitat of trees becoming an indoor feature decorated in sparkly items, tinsel, lights and topped with a fairy or a golden star... in our families case, both. A fairy hanging off the tip of the star, nothing being done half hearted. However, this year, being let go from my company back in October, I found it hard to get together money for my Christmas shopping. Having normally done all my shopping by November at the latest, I certainly wasn't prepared for this. I had to think of something spectacular to achieve this year for my Christmas shopping. Home made items are always a great idea, but depending on the quality, most things never look as the image itself in the magazine, they aren't always appreciated, nay, worth the time. A case of Super Scrimping was in the line up.
Being a great bargain hunter, in charity shops and car boots, this became my solitude of Christmas shopping. I had all the time in the world to browse all the usual charity shops and the local carboot, which fortunately for me, carries on until end of November before they open up the car park on Sundays for those eager christmas shoppers. You would be surprised what you could pass on as gifts from what people assume is all used, second hand items. This is where my imagination leads before my eyes.

Luckily for me, back in September I qualified in Body Massage and set myself up at home to have a hobby on the side. It has been something I've always wanted to do and been really interested in. It was also my intention to have something to do in the future if my Partner has to move around due to work or I become a house wife... just thinking ahead. It was always a back up, incase I was ever unemployed again and needed a little extra cash here and there to help get by. I bought a bargain professional reflexology/massage couch from a friends mother for just £100, towels, paper roll, oils etc...I was ready to go. This certainly helped me towards my Christmas shopping and the first two little munchkins were the most important to buy for... my Niece and Nephew.

Walking around the Canterbury carboot, I struggled to find any single present worth giving. I had an idea of hampers to give to a few family relatives but nothing was jumping out at me. I came across this one stall where there seemed to be a few great little items. A pair of security scissors or herb scissors, depending on what you need them for, stood out to me and immediately I thought of a Herb Garden Hamper for my Father. I also spotted a hangover ice pack and for a joke, bought it for my mum. So I decided to make my mum a Pamper Hamper.
Having accumulated all the beauty products, candles, and bargain buys in Boots and clearance items at Tkmaxx, I finally filled a box of goodies for my Mother. All unused and unopened items I may add. For my dad, I proudly got together all sorts of garden items from lovely porcelain pots at a bargain of £1 for 3 to jardin hand soap, 3 pairs of garden gloves, 3 packets of 6 assorted herb seeds and vegetable seeds for just £4 and many more other items, I put together a wonderful little hamper. My favorite item in the hamper was a clever idea of recycling broken pieces of china. A lady in Hythe makes herb labels for plant pots from broken plates (for just £6) which make a wonderful gift and a clever recycling tip.
All in all, with help from my boyfriend, I set a challenge of charity shopping for Christmas presents, scrimping for great deals and I believe I succeeded massively. Not all gifts were 'second hand'. I was given a pair of shoes from next that still had the tags on. Unfortunately they did not fit me and due to my unemployed state, I  returned them to the store and exchanged them for a beautiful sparkly top for my sister. Cheeky but clever.
I think after all the savings I made this year, or rather the little amount of money I spent as I had no money coming in to save, this may be my future Christmas shopping routine and why not!? It worked well for me. I challenge everyone else reading this to next time give this ago. You'll be amazed.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

On My Travels

So, it has been a while since my last blog. Unfortunatley, a lot of situations have occured leaving me with lack of motivation on multiple occasions. A run of bad luck as I like to call it. Desite all the negative issues, it hasn't stopped me from carrying on and making the most of my time. I have been to Paris, Rome, Venice all in one year and what a positive upturn to the year it has been so far.
In Paris, my boyfriend and I stayed at a friends appartment which was great, it saved us loads. We spent 4 days wondering around like tourists, camera strapped around the neck and a phrase book in hand. The best thing about Paris, I find, is sitting in a cafe, drinking a coffee and watching the world around you fall into place. People going about their everyday chores whilst your sat enjoying the freedom of time.
My bargain of Paris was not so much displayed to me in a vintage shop or a flea market, despite having manically searched google for all the best places. However, after a wonderful dinner out followed by a rather saucy performance at the Moulin Rouge, strolling back at midnight to our appartment (perhaps a few glasses of champagne causing more of a stagger rather then a stroll), I saw leant against a tree, a few bags dumped on the kerb. As soon as I saw the shiny logo and leather material, I snatched up the beautiful handbag, not thinking as to why it was dumped there. When we got back to the appartment, we had a proper look at the handbag and Googled the name. BREE. It is a German designer handbag, which was still being sold on the website! Brand new it was £150. I felt sorry for who ever had lost their bag, whether it had been pinched, emptied and then dumped, or simply lost. However, there wasn't anything I could do about it. I use it all the time now, it is a great size and perfect for work. My boyfriend even said it was his favourite out of all my handbags.

Rome, my next destination and this time with my best friend. What a wonderful city! Although, I felt the food on our first night set us up for great expectations for the rest of the week, I was quite dissapointed but the beauty of rome certainly made up for it. The tours were great and the sights marvelling. We walked everywhere, not missing a beautiful little side street or the chance to try a secret hidden restaurant. Our hotel was directly in the middle of every tourist attraction, we were pretty lucky. My bargain buy for Rome, I found and bought a wonderful pair of Steve Madden sandals. Retailing usually around £40-50, I snatched up a bargain of only £8...oh the wonders of ebay! I wanted a stylish yet sophisticated look for Rome-not at all thinking like Carrie Bradshaw, I had only one small suitcase too instead of dozens. They were perfect and suitably comfortable.

My second visit to Venice, this time with the boyfriend, staying with the same friend at her apartment in a slowly growing holiday destination called Jesolo. I knew from last time I wore my shorts and maxi dresses a lot so this time that would be all I would pack. Yet again, another great bargain buy from my local carboot, a black maxi dress from Boohoo, cost me all of just 20p! I wore it on our last night to a fancy restaurant that gets a lot of hype. Im not sure if I am hard to please but neither one of us was impressed with the food or the servce and couldnt see what all the locals raved about. Are we English too fussy? have too higher expectations? perhaps we just know how it is done?!
All in all, I am a very luck girl to have travelled to all these places. Especially three of the most romantic and beautiful Citys in the world.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Walk like a Flamingo!

 When you attach yourself to items, you can find yourself in tears when a favored piece of clothing or pair of shoes gets ruined. Quite a few years ago when I was still in Secondary school, I went out shopping with the Mother and she bought me a gorgeous, vintage looking Flamingo print cardigan. It was only from Red Herring at Debenhams, but it had such a 1940-50's charm about it. Lucky for me it was in the sale and for less then half price too. It only cost £9. It was Lambswool mixed with cashmere, a cream colour with sky blue/green flamingo print detailing, 3/4 length sleeves with gorgeous stone buttons down the front. It became my favorite cardigan, perfect in the spring or to layer up with in the winter. Unfortunately, being a big tea drinker, I spilt some down the front. I can't quite remember why I didn't get it washed straight away, but the cardigan was forgotten about until the next winter when I pulled it out from under a pile of clothing in the bottom of my wardrobe and the stain had settled. Fortunately when worn undone it wasn't that noticeable and I started to wear it only in the spring so I never had to button it up.
 A perfect example of bringing the late 1940's out of the cardigan is wearing it to a fancy dress. My boyfriend and I were invited to a friends 1950's themed birthday meal, of which my cardigan would still fit the style of that era quite nicely. The gathering was being held at a local American Diner in an original tin trailer that was shipped over from America. It created the perfected atmosphere. I was very lucky to be given an original 1940-50's dress that belonged to my Nona. A tea party dress I like to call it. There was no spilling tea down that dress for sure, I was very careful. The dress is a very pale caramel colour with faint white stripes down it, which paired perfectly with my Flamingo cardigan...obviously worn undone so the stain could not be seen. I had a really good evening at that gathering and I really felt the part.
 Unfortunately, my cardigan got further ruined than just a stain when I said I wanted to wear it to a special occasion. My mother noticed the stain and suggested putting it in the wash with stain remover. However, the stain was well over 6 years old, leaving no chance to revive it. So, frantically I changed my outfit ready for the next evening. I returned home from work the next day and my mother had a horrid look on her face as she approached me in a nurturing way. She had attempted to remove the stain by rubbing directly onto the patch the stain remover, which she then left to 'work its magic' whilst going out for a quick shop. Returning from town, she came back to find the material had strangely and unknowingly burnt away in that small patch. I was of course really upset, my favorite cardigan was absolutely no longer wearable. It wasn't like I could just go and buy another one...or could I? I was straight on to Ebay, searching and searching. Eventually A week or two later, one came up on Ebay, which I wasn't going to let slip through my fingers! I won it a few days later for £4. Another great bargain and one happy self!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Festive Finds

The best thing about festivals are the countless amount of stalls, selling things from clothes to jewellery, to feather hair extensions and the best Pork with apple sauce on a spit roast. Besides going and listening to the bands that are performing, I do often find myself hovering around the clothes stalls. One year at Lounge on the Farm, a local festival to Canterbury, The British Heart Foundation held a stall which was over flowing with vintage items. Amongst the rails and piles of clothes, shoes and bags, I found a gorgeous high waisted skirt with button detail and two front pockets. I thought it would look great for nights out or even for on holidays. Unfortunately, I didn't have the chance to wash it and wear it the next day at the festival with a t-shirt, knee high socks and my wellies for the casual look. It only cost me £2.
Another great place for vintage stalls, was Bath in Summerset. My wonderful boyfriend, for our 3 year anniversary, arranged a weekend away. It was a special anniversary for the both of us and as I had quietly arranged a weekend to Bruges and a hot air balloon ride for our 2 year anniversary, also joint with his birthday, with the help of friends who chipped in for the balloon ride, he took the reigns and totally surprised me with this wonderful weekend away. We pulled up a long drive fenced by tall trees lined in a row to the house. Ross had made a step by step guide for me to read out and direct him to our accommodation for the weekend. After parking and walking through the barn (for a split second thinking we were going horse riding) we went out across the garden and came across a rose arch. Looking through to the other garden, sat a little wooden shepherds hut, so rural and rustic. On our second day we went into Frome where there was an annual vintage market. I rummaged through a few boxes of one shop and found a lovely silk blouse, white with black polka dots. It is from HOBBS, in a size 8 and they only wanted £1 for it. It had a button missing, but I was sure I could find something similar. Of course I snatched it up and couldn't wait to wear it. Soon after our wonderful weekend away, I found the same button amongst an overflowing tin of buttons in a second hand shop, but instead of black polka dots it had red polka dots. Something a bit quirky to add I thought.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

All in Good Time

There are some things of which you just can not buy. Items with sentimental value. Special pieces given to you or passed down to you by close relatives, the relatives with the big personalties that forever stay in your mind or the ones that are simply always there and stay dear to you.
I have always loved watches, almost a fascination. However, when I told a Great Aunty of mine I was in search of a little vintage, round faced watched with a simple brown leather strap, the next time I saw her she produced to me the exact watch I had been looking for. It was her own from many years ago and with me in mind, she kindly set it aside ready to pass onto me. I have worn it ever since. This is the watch on the far right of the photograph. It is real gold and works from movement, so in the morning I have to remember to set the time back 5 minutes which does make me chuckle. It is an 'Eterna Matic Golden Heart', which is my Great Aunty Nene all over, a golden heart full of character.
The watch in the middle was given to me by my Nona. An even smaller gold round faced watch with a lovely, thin, black leather strap. Around the edge of the face the glass is patterned and at a quick glance, it almost looks like diamonds framing it, but unfortunately for me, it is in fact just the glass. This is a wind up watch and having not worn it out yet, I am not sure of how long it shall last between winding. This watch is a 'Sekonda 17 Jewels'.
The watch on the far left was given to my mother by her sister, my Aunty Natalie who worked for L'Oreal in Australia. It is a promotional watch, an extremely nice promotional watch at that. It has a lovely simple flat face with Roman numerals and slim gold hands. I love everything about this watch, but unfortunately it stopped working well before I could even reach my mothers jewelry box on tiptoes.
We have tried a new battery but that does not work. So I am in search for a company who may be able to fix it at a reasonable cost.
Something as beautiful as this watch that has been treasured in a box for so long clearly means more to me then I know, otherwise it would have been cast out from my mothers jewelry box many years ago.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Permesso, Quanto Costa?

A fresh start, a new year. After the build up to Christmas and allowing the festive season to slowly fade behind me, progress and ideas for my blog bloomed in my mind and in sketch books. My new years resolution is not something to give up neither to accomplish a self achievement of confidence, I am perfectly happy with the way I am. However a little exercise to simply be healthy is on the list along with my main resolution of saving a certain amount this year to help towards my own place. Well, a place for my boyfriend and I to move in together, nothing would make me happier and I already have an over flowing 'bottom draw' from copper bottom Prestige pans to decorative items, mainly a lot of vintage. It is an exciting thought, to have a space and simply make it your own.
Last weekend, Ross and I decided to go to the local carboot fair to see how many people would be selling so soon after Christmas. We arrived to a nearly empty car park but there was still potential for bargains at the remaining stalls. After a quick whizz around, Ross had gained himself a deck chair with wonderful wooden arm rests and a new kitchen pedal bin totaling just £1. I didn't find anything to my liking until Ross showed me 3 wonderfully retro porcelain jars with metal clips around the lids. Without looking at the stamp on the bottom, they are quite clearly Italian from the style, colour and font. What a great find by my one and only. Plus, having Italian relatives from my mothers side of the family, makes these jars a little more personal to me.
They cost me only £1 each. I love a good bargain!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Just Jade

Having become a bargain hunter, I have accumulated quite a lot of items over a period of time, from clothes to jewellery, to the more potential buys' of house hold furnishings and textiles. The potential being that I do not own my own place as of yet, I just have the confidence to progress my bottom draw for when the time does arrive. My bottom draw now taking over the garage, shed and under the stairs in numerous amounts of large boxes, taking a step back, I realise I am quite prepared. However, there is no more room for clothes in my wardrobe and sacrifices must be made. My boyfriend had planned to do the last carboot sale of this year, as the one nearest him is in the Park&Ride which opens up on Sundays in December for Christmas shoppers. So I thought I would help out and sell all my unwanted items along with his Pick-up full too.
Clearing out my wardrobe was tough but I was ruthless and told myself to be serious. There were so many items I had kept just because I liked the look of them, but I never wore them. I filled 3 large bags full of clothes, chucked them in my boot and did not look at them until the morning of the carboot sale.
Arriving at 6:10am thinking only the regular stalls would be there setting up their pitches, Ross and I struggled to find a space to pull up and unload. Following in my car through the clatter of the car park, the due on the grass and mist in the air told me I had been foolish and should not have left my bed. However the excitement carried me through the morning. After finding a good spot as suggested by Ross, the sun would rise directly in front of us to keep us warm, with the help of a nicely brewed cuppa.
Not long into the morning I had made my share of the pitch cost back and a little profit. Knowing it was the last carboot sale of the year, I was itching to have a look round. Soon my make shift bumbag was weighing me down and profit was glorious...considering I was selling my junk. One persons rubbish is another persons treasure, so they say. Towards the end of my fast paced stroll along the rows and rows of stalls, I came across this beautiful bracelet. The stones look like Jade but I am not 100% sure of the authenticity of this item, considering It cost me £1 with no attempt to barter needed, I am not too fussed. I liked it so much as it matched my necklace of which I wear all the time. My necklace was bought for my mother by her best friend before I was even born. But unfortunately for her, the chain is too short and so she passed it on to me. It is real gold and has three small beads of Jade that balance evenly and shape my neck quite nicely. This necklace is to be 'recycled' and passed down to my children and so on so forth.
I now have a beautiful bracelet/necklace combo for those special evenings out.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Breakfast at Tiffanys

When it comes to fashion, the years and trends begin to repeat themselves. Although the styles are very defined and the decades can be identified, future generations will assume plastic vibrant hoops or Poodle net skirts were of their era. The past 5 years have been a fusion of all the different trends from the 40's to the 80's in style, colour and patterns.
I recently visited friends in Southampton who live a short walk from the town centre. Finding myself amongst the shops each day, I was having withdrawal symptoms from hunting down the local charity and vintage shops. Finding few and nothing particularly to my fancy, I was disappointed. However, walking back to the house, we past a lovely little tea room, The Art house Gallery Cafe. It appeared to have been an old sweet shop with the ascending windows from the door that you walked between before entering the shop. Only, instead of sweets displayed in jars to entice you in, there were tables and chairs in the windows to add a quirky effect. Become the window display and drink tea whilst you observe the outside as the outside observes you.
In this quirky little tea room at the back, is a large book shelf, tall glass jewelry cabinets, and a long rail of vintage clothing. Amongst the clothing I found this wonderful white and black 60's style linen dress.  A perfect christmas present for my mum. The designer is Jean Claire, I believe her to be French as it carries that 'Paris' charm.

Unfortunately, the dress did not fit my mother... lets say it did not accommodate her lady curves. Unfortunately it did not fit myself either and I had to peg it down the back to create the fitting look for my photograph. Although a 60's style monochrome dress, I have created a late 40's/50's outfit. Breakfast at Tiffanys, Hepburn would be asking in a rhetorical manor, should we have ever been girlfriends.
This is my first item that I shall be selling on ebay, It is listed as 'Jean Claire black and white vintage dress, monochrome, size UK 12, 1960's'.
To complete the outfit, I raided my mums wardrobe and found her own bargain buys. The shoes are Carvela and bought for £2 from a Hythe Boot Fair. The gloves are vintage and black velvet. The hat was bought years ago from a little shop in Sandwich where my Nona used to live, however my mum sewed on the little pearls herself to complete the look and the handbag is her Channel. 
Recreating a style is great, adding little signature touches makes it your own. 

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Pink Tea Party

I was reading a magazine not long ago and there was an article about throwing a Hot Pink Tea Party in aid of breast cancer awareness. For every photograph sent into the magazine of the readers tea parties, Avon will donate £1 to Breast Cancer Awareness. I instantly felt inspired and considering I had recently lost an Aunty to breast cancer, I wanted to do something for her that she would be proud of. Not only did I throw a tea party, but I also created activities for my guests to help raise money for the charity too.
I had a jar full of sweets of which they had to guess the amount, it was 100 sweets, but when counting them in, I ate three! I also had a clothes rail of clothes I no longer wanted and clothes donated by a few other people. A good friend of mine is a make up artist for Dior and offered her services for a donation to do mini make overs. My mother used to be a beautician and did mini manicures for donations too. I also had a raffle with lots of donated prizes and a quiz all about tea. It was such a lovely afternoon for the ladies, I thoroughly enjoyed hosting this event and whilst racing around, making sure I got round to see everyone, sorting things out, in my mind, I was planning my next charity event.
Unfortunately I was ill the week before the Tea Party and wasn't fully focused on organising for the occasion. I spent my last weekend running around the high street, in Hythe and Canterbury for vintage sandwich plates and tea cups and saucers. A mix match of everything. A fusion of colours and patterns. I went to the usual car boot on the Sunday morning in Canterbury, finding similar sandwich plates to the few I already had. A couple more tea cups and saucers, however, My partners sister has an infamous tea stool at local fairs and festivals selling special home made chair being the most popular. I borrowed a few more tea cups and saucers from her and a large earn to boil my water... I didn't fancy standing there and boiling my kettle hundreds of times that day. I managed to get 4 different sets of sandwich plates from £1 to £7, I even got a sugar bowl and a two large plates along with a set of 5 little sandwich plates. That was the set I managed to aquire for just £1! Bargain.

Anyway, Selling raffle tickets, clothes, make overs and manicures, the quiz and people guessing the amount of sweets, I raised £184 which I never thought I could accomplish. However, some people unfortunately could not make it but very kindly sent to me donations to help towards supporting this cause. My final total came to £250. I was so proud! I owe thanks to everyone that made it, helped out, made donations, brought goodies for the food table and donated items to the raffle and clothes rail. I had an amazing time organising and hosting the event, I certainly hope to do it again soon. It brings to you great pleasure knowing you made a difference, no matter how small or big that contribution may be.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Lets Twist Again...

Every girl loves a good dress up, even those girls who deem themselves to be Tom-Boys. Secretly deep down, we all like pampering and tottering around in heels we wish we could genuinely walk in. No girl can deny that. I love to wear heels, but Im never honestly comfortable in them and never wear them anywhere apart from out dancing with my friends. I can never understand those girls who wear 4 inch heels out shopping, what kind of heels must they wear out dancing!?
When I do wear heels on a slightly more casual occasion, I like to dress it down a fraction with the outfit. Despite my once boisterous character, I like to be unique with a quiet twist as to not stand too far out from the crowd for the wrong reasons.
In this photo, I am wearing a white cotton top, originally from Topshop, found and bought from a carboot (once again in Canterbury), for just 20 pence. I love the length of the back being longer than the front, It adds a quirkiness to the outfit creating my unique twist.
I am also wearing my lovely bright blue Monkee Genes, bought for £12.99 from TK Maxx, such a great bargain place for new items at a discounted price. I have seen these jeans in Fenwicks for £70.
The necklace was a gift from my best friend and adds a lovely touch to a simple outfit. Just a little more colour and sparkle.
Now, all I need to find is a bargain bag to match my shoes.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Opps I did it again?

Saturday morning, I was eagerly awake by 9am with a cup of tea in hand waiting for my parents to get up and get ready as they were going to a carboot at a local farm which was raising money for a charity. I of course was itching to go with them, in hopes of my next bargain find. Knowing this carboot was at a farm and regarding the recent weather hasn't exactly been great, the consideration of wearing my wellies did not cross my mind. We approached the entrance and I noticed the amount of people in their wellies who obviously had put two and two together. Struggling in the mud and trying to balance myself with my hands up in the air like I was conducting a grand orchestra, I managed my way across to the stalls. I picked up some lovely deep green, metallic nail varnish, a classic 80's white and grey shirt with stripes on one side and polka dots on the other and a CD, Britney Spears greatest hits all for 50p. Because secretly we all love Britney.
 However, my greatest find was a leather, made in Italy handbag. It's a deep green with a brown strap and shaped like it should be a CD case or a little picnic bag for your hit flask and two glasses. I bought this for £2, some would say not a great carboot price, but I know that originally, in Italy that bag would have most likely cost approximately £40. Of course I used it that evening, (You have to take these things on a test run). My partner took me out for a lovely meal and I paraded my new bag proudly.
In my photograph showing my new bag, I am wearing a favorite cardigan of mine, bought from Ebay for only £7. It has a lovely vintage style about it and can complete any outfit that maybe lacking something, as long as the colours' do not clash. The shoes are also an ebay find. Bought for £3.95, originally from River Island. The vintage brown belt belonged to my Grandfather and was salvaged from his apartment. The top has become a favorite item of mine, originally from Topshop, I bought this for just £1 from a second hand shop in Folkestone.
I do love a bargain, and if the outcome still looks nice, why should it matter that it is second hand?

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Treasured Rose

The great thing about shopping with your partner, are the many little surprises' they may produce. Once I was in Hythe browsing in a wonderful jewelry shop that also sells vintage accessories, clothing, china and furniture. It is one of my favourite shops in the high street. Its the perfect place to get a birthday present for someone special.
I had previously seen a gorgeous little brass trinket box in there but never wanted to buy it for myself. I was hoping for it to be a gift after hinting to my mum once when we were last there together. Anyway, I showed the trinket box to Ross who, as an engineer was immediately interested in the design and material of the box. On the bottom was an engraving 'Margaret Rose', of which the shop owner thought may have been the name of the woman who the trinket box originally belonged too. I researched it later when I got home and discovered that Margaret Rose is the designer and that it is roughly of the 1940's/1950's.
After stating that it was brass and well made, Ross decided he really like it and gladly waltzed over to the counter to pay for it as a gift to me because he knew I loved it. Such a wonderful partner. It's not often that I get gifts from Ross, but it makes the moments that I do extra special and greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Chloe's Find

It was beyond my imagination that I would ever own a Chloe Paddington handbag, they are just so expensive and not even a birthday present or Farther Christmas would circum to my wishes. However, I kept looking on ebay for any bargain finds, but of course I was not alone in this Chloe handbag hunt. 
I was in Hythe, a very small and not so popular high street which seems to be ever so slowly fading away. I was there for an interview of which went very well and as I was feeling confident, I decided to walk slowly back to my car, past all the shops so I could window shop. There, hanging up on a hook on the door frame of a junk shop, from the other side of the street, I saw the quality of leather and the large padlock and raced straight over to it. I lifted it off the hook, felt the weight immediately and saw the Chloe printed on the bag. Before even thinking, I had forced my way to the back of the shop and asked how much the shop owner wanted for it. To my astounding shock, and complete over joyed surprise, he replied with £20! As if that wasn't enough to convince me, he began telling me about the bag as if I didn't know what it was which kind of made me laugh. Hythe is a funny place. If I were to run from one end of the high street to the other in a banana costume, I doubt very much anyone would bat an eyelid. 
I had been after a Chloe handbag for ages, I was just looking in all the wrong places. When I took it home to show my mum all she wanted to do was sniff it to make sure it was real leather, but you could tell by feeling that it was. She was amazed that I had found it in a junk shop and was slightly confused how it ended up there as was I. My partner and I searched online to find the give aways of a fake, but everything on my Chloe ticked all the right boxes. 
 It makes me wonder though who would have thrown it out, it wasn't in any bad state when I bought it, but that was 2 and a half years ago now and I have used it everyday since then, I even took it to New York. I was quite surprised it wasn't too heavy to take on as hand luggage considering I didn't think about leaving the padlock at home. I have definitely got my moneys worth out of this bag now. Its my little designer baby.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Animal Ora

After a collection of bargain buys have been found and the wardrobe is over flowing with wonderful items, outfits can be thrown together and fashion can be made up! Although I wouldn't say that I am particular wacky or out standing with my fashion, I like to be simple yet effective. However, I do like to play with patterns and find new shapes for my body. Here I am wearing some clothes given to me by friends. Also another great way to get yourself some bargains, instead of going shopping and spending lots of money, why not call your girlies and arrange for a night in with a bottle, or two, some pizza and have a night of swapping clothes you no longer wear.
This skirt is great, it's a lovely burgundy colour which will look great with just a t-shirt and plimpsoles for a more casual look, however I have gone for the evening look and matched the skirt with a lovely leopard print leotard. I just need to find a little black or gold bolero to wear with this outfit to complete the look.
The shoes are originally from Kurt Gieger, of course I did not buy them direct from the store, but the sticker was still on the bottom. I bought these gorgeous 1920's style shoes from a second hand shop in Folkestone. (would you believe it). The original price was £78, however, I purchased them for £10. Such a good find. These are great to wear on nights out, to a restaurant, or for work, as you can dress them up and down. They look great with a pair of black, skinny leg trousers and a white silk blouse for work.
The necklace adds a touch of sparkle, this I bought unfortunately not so cheaply, on my travels in Venice. However, the sparkle makes up for the price, plus it adds that finishing touch to any simple outfit and the bracelet adds a little bit of another colour, this I made myself. I bought the swarovski crystals' from a shop on ebay and got the elastic from a craft shop. Easy peesy. Another bargain for another day.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Laundry Service

A while ago, I went to the local carboot in Canterbury with my partner, Ross. It has become a usual Sunday morning activity for us, because further into our relationship, we are getting ever so cooler. We enjoy a good game of scrabble and love cooking...together. On my stroll around the stalls I picked up some lovely gold earrings with little coral studs for only 20p, a pair of skinny fit, black jeans from H&M for £2 and other little bits and bobs. However, that weeks biggest bargain was a Lloyd Loom washing basket, in its original colour and worn state. My partner has been on at me to get my own washing basket due to the unfortunate events' of my dad shrinking a wool jumper bought by my partner as a christmas gift and then my mum burning a hole through my favourite vintage cardigan. The woman selling the basket knew of its value and even lifted the basket to show us the original sticker on the bottom. Everyone was packing away around us and her help was throwing things into their van at the time we were observing the basket. So I can imagine the timing helped to enable this amazing bargain. Original Lloyd Looms in their true conditions go for a lot of money on ebay and most likely a lot more in auction houses. Ross produced only 50p from his pocket of which I said there is no way we could even barter the Loom down to £3 or there abouts. But he replied with just a smile and 'you never know', so we chanced it. Ross did that thing of pulling out 'all' he had in his pocket and stating that was everything he had left...in this case, that was everything he had left. The woman responded by saying she wouldn't take any less than £2. This shocked me and I was desperately seeking any hidden money on my person. I had remembered the two olympic 50p coins that Ross had earlier given me, (Another 'cool' thing I do, Is collect any special looking 50p coins). We held out the £1.50 thinking that it was hugely cheeky, but she took it and handed over the beautiful Lloyd Loom wash basket. Fabulous, another great bargain! Oh how I love the carboots. So far, 80% of my future house will have come from a carboot! I already have 5 boxes full of bits and bobs, kitchen utensils and glasses etc... ready for when I move out. My bottom draw started overflowing with my addiction and therefore moved to boxed which eventually made there way to the garage. Oh lord, Im going to be a hoarder!

Friday, 28 September 2012

The Hepburn of all.

Having mentioned the LBD (the little black dress) last post, I began to think about it probably a little too much. Soon after, I started to rummage through my wardrobe-the one that looks sneezed on, to find my little numbers. I didn't realise how many I actually had. Four of my black dresses are not little but long and the other six are lovely little dresses all with a unique style and some with a bit of glitz. I decided to have my own little photo shoot like you see in the glamour magazines' and may have got a bit carried away. First in line of my LBD's is the one I previously mentioned, bought for £5 with short sleeves and a low back. A great example of a simple yet effective black dress. Second, is one of my favourites. I wore this dress on my 21st birthday in New York. I had previously known I was being taken to New York's most prestigious night club (The Box), so I knew I had to wear something glamorous. I searched high and low for something special but unfortunately the Charity shops were not on my side and I was forced to look in the high street stores themselves. However, I stumbled across the sale in Topshop and found this dress, by Lipsy, for only £10. I already had a voucher of £5 from a friend as an early birthday gift so only had to pay £5, a bargain for me! Next, a simple, thin strapped dress, quite versatile, your Audrey Hepburn of dresses. Fourth, a lovely black dress, strapless, with a metallic silver flower print for that wonderful twist. This is another Lipsy dress, also a £5 bargain buy. I wore this for New Year into 2009. Fifth, a 20's classic of tassels and sparkle, a flapper dress. Yet again another Lipsy dress for yet again, another £5 bargain buy. There is something about Topshop sales and making all items £5 that obviously works on their customers and weakens their need for more LBD's! Last but not least, a lovely bubbles dress of elastic at the bottom to curve the dress under. With sequins around the chest, it adds a lovely feature to the dress but also enhances a small chest. Brilliant for me! I wore this dress for my 18th birthday. For someone who didn't know the clubbing fashion style, I think I got it just right.