Lindy Bop Ophelia Dress – The Holy Grail of Dresses

This post is a little late in the making too – but I’ve been AWOL so long I figured I’ve got a little catching up to do ;p

A few months ago I was in Brighton with a friend, shopping through The Lanes. I was trying to help her find a (possibly) vintage outfit for a wedding she had coming up, and wasn’t particularly planning on buying anything myself. Unfortunately for her, we were finding that day that anything wedding worthy was a little out of her price in the vintage shops, but we did find her a gorgeous Grecian style mint dress from a little indie store that suited her perfectly. But that’s no reason to go home especially as we were only one street in to The Lanes!

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We made our way to one of my favourite shops in The Lanes, Snooper’s Paradise. Its a huge building, full of more antique/vintage/bric-a-brac than you can imagine – I’ve seen everything from a stunning piece of Japanese style cork art (snapped up for my dad’s birthday present!) to a full suit of armour?! They also have a wonderful upstairs section called Snooper’s Attic, with unique handmade jewellery and vintage clothing. But today, it was the funky repro stalls that caught my eye – my friend was rummaging through some of the bright floral Hearts & Roses dresses on display, and that’s when I found IT – the Lindy Bop Turquoise Floral Ophelia dress, THE Holy Grail of Dresses.

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Not only is this dress stunning to behold anyway, but because it is so gorgeous it is very rarely in stock – as soon as Lindy Bop got more in, the sold out straight away. Now as gutting as this was, I completely understood, this dress was THAT special. I kept a healthy eye out for it, but I never really expected to own one, instead settling for staring unhealthily when I saw a woman wearing one at a foodie festival I’d been to earlier in the year… sorry :s

So you can imagine my unadulterated excitement when I found the dress tucked in-between all sorts of black & purple forested goth dresses, AND IT WAS IN MY SIZE?!?!?! I did retain an amount of sensibility and tried it on – never letting it out of my death grip for a second, and when it fitted more beautifully than I could ever have imagined, I whacked it straight on the credit card. I’m not the kind of person that amounts a pile of debt buying things that I can’t afford, and this is the one and only time I have ever done the ‘buy now, worry later’ thing. But at £35 for the Holy Grail, you can’t really say no can you?

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I’ve worn it a few times now, and the amount of compliments I get is quite overwhelming. I wore it to work once (it’s a bit bright for regular office wear, but I was so excited I didn’t care!) and everyone loved it – one friend even stopping me every time he saw me to say how amazing he thought the dress was! I also wore it to the BBC Good Food show this winter, and so many complete strangers stopped me to ask where I got the dress from, and how wonderful I looked, it was incredible! I’m so happy to finally own this stunning outfit (and also very pleased with how nicely it goes with my copper locks) and it’s so so lovely to hear all these amazing compliments!

I am always trying to find excuses and places to wear the dress as much as possible, and I think now that summer is slowly on its way it will be getting a fair few more outings 😉

Yours,

The Vintage Housewife x

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Vintage Heartbreak

I have to say, whilst I adore my ever increasing passion and enthusiasm for vintage and the whole new side of me it has opened up, there is definitely a fairly large downside to the whole thing. It’s not to do with the slightly trickier way of shopping, or the higher costs involved. Both of those can be outweighed by the positives – shopping becomes an experience, it’s fascinating learning about the history and digging through so many wonderful prints, and of course we all know the point of vintage is paying a little bit more for classic, better quality items that if well cared for, will last and last.

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No, what I’m struggling with is the regular heartbreak that comes discovering a stunning piece, and having to drag yourself through an almost breakup period every time someone else buys it before you 😥

Those who are still getting into the vintage scene may not quite understand what I’m going on about, but I’m certain I’m not the only one who feels this way. It’s not so bad when you’re out and about shopping, because generally on those occasions you are passing up items in view of something else – you are out to buy something and are favouring to buy one thing over another, so you will normally be satisfied with your decision. The problem comes when you browse through your favourite websites of an evening, just to see what’s new and keep up to date.

I dread to think how many items I’ve got saved to my Etsy favourites list after scrolling through – some items are ones I like, hoping that they’ll still be around when I decide I need to add a 70s silk shirt to my collection. Others are spectacular pieces that I can only dream about, and save them just to sigh wistfully and look at because they’re pretty. Then there are the items that fall in between, and these are the real heartbreakers. The pieces that you fall head over heels in love with, because they are beautiful yet realistic – in price and wearability – but you can’t quite do anything about them at that moment.

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I recently decided that I would like to add a yellow dress to my collection at some point, and found the perfect fit pretty quickly on Etsy. It was just the right mix of cute prom dress mixed with simple day dress, and exactly the right colour. I kept an eye on it for a few months (unfortunately finances haven’t been great, so I’ve had to go a bit longer than normal before accumulating any petty cash for pretty dresses) and just in the past couple of weeks, it looks like it’s been sold 😥 I’m gutted – it fitted the image I had in my head perfectly, and any other dress I’ve found since just isn’t the same.

And this is why it’s a little like a breakup – in a very melodramatic way, I feel like I’m never going to find a dress that perfect again. It consumes me, and I’m trawling through Etsy and Loves Miss Daisy and Candy Says desperately trying to find not another dress, but that dress. I know vintage is one of a kind these days, but I can’t help but trying. Sound familiar, anyone? Luckily, I know pragmatism will eventually kick in (maybe even writing this blog post is a step towards catharsis?) and I will be able to say “It wasn’t meant to be.” Because the one will come along somewhere, somehow, that will be even more perfect than that dress. Maybe it wouldn’t have fit properly, maybe the shade of yellow would have washed me out, maybe it would have smelt of the cigarette the model seemed to be smoking…

In the meantime, I’m still falling in love with dresses and shirts whenever I look on the internet – I clearly haven’t learnt my lesson 😉 But hey, if one will have a passion!

Yours,

The Vintage Housewife x

The Mid Century Market by Bettina Scarlett Presents!

So after all the waiting and getting excited over the announcements of stalls and businesses to be at this one of a kind event, it’s already been and gone! And what a wonderful day it was – hardly a surprise, with stalls such as Scarlet’s Vintage Attire, Clumsy and Bamboo Bettie in the line up! Bettina worked so hard to make sure the atmosphere for the Mid Century Market was absolutely perfect, from the music, to the stalls and even the gorgeous pin up girls wandering around just to add extra glamour!

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The Hammersmith Club really was the perfect venue, a gorgeous old building on the outside with a hint of the slightly industrial in the blackened bricks, as it was tucked away out of sight. But, this was only hiding the true beauty of the interior, with a truly gorgeous ceiling and a stage that made me wish I could have been there in it’s heyday, watching all sorts of shows and performances! The fair was spread across three areas; the main hall which also held the bar/tearoom area, an upper balcony with a gorgeous view of the vintage bustle, and a stall on the stage itself. 

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After entering the venue, and taking a moment to absorb the beauty of the building, we started wandering around the stalls, listening to the funky rockabilly music played by the DJ, and being tempted by the gorgeous smells coming out of The Vintage Sisters’ Travelling Tea Rooms. There was something for everyone, from spectacular sparkling jewellery at the Hostess Hotties, to bright and colourful headscarves and tote bags at Clumsy! I walked away with a couple of headscarves myself, I’m looking forward to perfecting the cute little bow the owner had tied hers into! There was even something for the men to occupy themselves with, at Cock A Doodle Vintage selling men’s attire and Chaplin’s of London, a pop up barber shop!

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As everyone rummaged and delved through the gorgeous wares on offer, there was also a womanly camaraderie in the toilets as they doubled as changing rooms! With so many beautiful pieces, no one wanted to risk the piece they fell in love with not fitting when they made it back home! Hopefully in Market’s to come there will be a little changing room space set up, but then there would be less room for stalls! A tough choice for Bettina I’m sure!

I was one of the women squeezing in and out of the toilet cubicles, as I was drawn back twice to Bamboo Bettie – visiting the stall once I had been spellbound by the beautiful printed skirts they had on offer, and the second time round the Market I couldn’t resist any longer – I had to have one of Bettie’s gorgeous circle skirts. The lovely ladies were so helpful, understanding my indecision as to which colour way to choose – black and blue or white and red?! Luckily, they recommended I try them on, and I would know which colour I had to have straight away. I didn’t even make it to try on the blue and black! The red top with the pink flowers was perfect, and the gorgeous outfit made it’s way home with me.

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As always with fairs like these, I also came across a beautiful dress that I completely fell in love with, but alas was not to be. At Vera Mode Vintage (where I did happen to snap up a £5 bargain fifties style sweater) there was the most -I’ve tried typing a word here several times and just completely failed to describe it’s beauty- dress, it almost made me want to cry just looking at it. I loved the cute bow ties at the shoulder, which matched so perfectly the elegant draping of the cowl neckline, and the full length of the dress was just stunning. The cream organza with slightly metallic red stripes was simply Goodwood Revival perfect – it was that kind of a dress. And to be honest, if I’d been organised enough to KNOW I was going to Goodwood this year, I would have just bought it there and then. This dress sang and called out to me, I had to reach and touch it every time I walked past, but on the day, I had to leave her for someone else who hopefully feels the same way I do and has a suitable glorious outing to show her off. (Oh dear, I’m attached. And I’ve also found the link to the Etsy shop… someone hide my purse.)

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https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/185690882/1940s-red-metallic-stripe-organza-full?utm_source=OpenGraph&utm_medium=ConnectedShop&utm_campaign=Share

The Mid Century Market was a wonderful day out, and really perfect for all the family. I have to say I can’t wait to have my own kids and start introducing them to this wonderful, colourful and friendly world of vintage, retro and rockabilly! Bettina is confirmed for a further Mid Century Market in August – I’ve got it in my diary, do you?!

Yours,

The Vintage Housewife x

 

The Classic Car Boot Sale

This weekend I travelled up to London (something I don’t do as much as I would like!) for the Classic Carboot Sale at the Southbank Centre! I have been looking forward to this for months – I love vintage fairs as much as the next next retro gal, but I thought the idea of having vintage cars alongside the wares for sale was a fantastic idea! Whilst some vintage festivals have a car show as well as the stalls, it’s definitely something different to have dresses draped over car bonnets, trinkets spilling out of the boots and processing the sale with the drivers!

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I got there pretty early, about half an hour after opening, and the atmosphere was already wonderful. The sun was yet to circle round the tall buildings shadowing the car park the car boot was parked in, but there was barley a cloud in the sky and the day was looking to be gorgeous. Overlooked by the ever watchful London Eye, the car boot was in full swing as I descended into vintage paradise. Instantly I fell in love with the old Routemaster bus, doubling up as both Bar and DJ, booming out retro music and odd snippets of old news stories which I thought was a nice touch.

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Normally it’s traditional I suppose to draw out the suspense of what the best vehicle of the show was until the end, after listing countless beautiful cars and funky camper vans and not being able to possibly choose – but my favourite was so out there and so quirky and fantastic, I can’t hold it in! Whilst the cars parked up surrounded by all the beautiful clothes and people were stunning, there was simply no beating my winner – Gloria, The Crystal Vintage Dressing Up Box, as featured in Vintage Life Magazine and George Clark’s Amazing Spaces on Channel Four! I’d read about the Dressing Up Box in Vintage Life, and thought it was an absolutely fantastic idea, but had no idea it would be at the car boot! A revamped horse box, designed as a travelling vintage one stop shop, it was so much fun clambering up the steps and rummaging through the beautiful clothes, as well as enjoying the wonderful absurdity of shopping in a horse box! Crystal Vintage has some beautiful clothes, and I’m glad we settled the matter early on that it’s great to shop by colour, not by era! Personally I would rather rummage and find something beautiful, regardless of what era the piece is from – instead of restricting myself to only the forties and fifties, for example. Imagine the stunners you could be missing out on by not looking at the sixties and seventies rails! :0 But, each to their own, it’s all about what makes you happy 🙂

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The atmosphere at the Car Boot simply magnified the longer I stayed. I wandered round once, being able to rummage and pick up a few beauties, and chatting to people a little more as there wasn’t so much of a crowd. I watched two spectacular Cadillacs turn up – I had no idea how long they really were! I couldn’t fit them into one photo! But they were so beautiful, I had to try! The a little later on, a whole gang of gorgeous vintage motorcycles turned up – very loudly. They drew an audience of basically everybody at the car boot who wasn’t halfway through paying for something, they were amazing to see! Especially seeing some fantastic looking lady riders as well as brilliant old geezers with awesome embellished jackets, it really was a sight to see and had me grinning for ages afterwards.

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After my first circuit of the cars and stalls, the crowds really started to arrive in their droves, and it was getting to be a tighter squeeze to make my way from vendor to vendor. It was great to start people watching though, just soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying seeing the people dressed up so fantastically, enjoying the day exactly the same as I was. After making a few purchases, I was beginning to get worn out by all this rummaging and decided to make my way up to the food platform, and was surprised to see even more amazing vehicles selling incredible food! I’m still not sure how I made my decision – having to choose between decadent italian rice balls from a cute turquoise truck, classic hot dogs and crispy onions from a bright red old fire engine, and tempting sugar sweet cupcakes from an equally candy coloured caravan! In the end the smell of smoking pulled pork drew me towards this cute little George-Jetson-looking trailer, and I was not disappointed!

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Refreshed and revitalised, I dived back into to crowds for one last tour of the stalls. I did make a few more purchases, but this last time I really and truly was just enjoying being there, in the sunshine, surrounded by beautiful things and fantastic people. The friendliness at events like this always astounds me – a wonderful lady I bought a beret from was kind enough to show me how they should be worn, and instilled in me the confidence that I AM a hat person and can of course wear a beret whenever I want! Everyone was happy, enjoying themselves and each other’s company, and the passion in the air for the cars, the clothes, the homewards, the music and the food… it really was wonderful. I do apologise for the amount of superlatives in this post, but even the next evening I’m still buzzing from my day out 🙂

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But, all this excitement can get tiring for even the most experience vintage enthusiast, and that certainly isn’t me! So I started to make my way back to London Victoria, taking a less direct route via St James’ Park. It was nice to be a bit of a tourist too – not that I’ve never seen the Houses of Parliament of the London Eye, but each time you visit London it’s a little bit different, and I like taking photos to preserve that. I decided to sit for a little while in the park – the day was simply too glorious not to. The sun on my face was something I haven’t felt in what feels like forever, and I wasn’t going to waste it. I sat surrounded by beautiful daffodils, and the smell was truly intoxicating. I could have easily drifted off in the sunshine, but I wanted to get home and properly look at my vintage finds!

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Watch this space for a post on my gorgeous finds of the day!

Yours,

The Vintage Housewife x

“They’re Real!” Mascara by Benefit

I have wanted this ever since it came out – I love Benefit make up and the design of the packaging and the lifestyle it represents, but let’s not beat around the bush, it’s not exactly the most purse friendly range. Whilst I would not be without my Fine One One lip and cheek tint, and I was certain the same would be true of this new mascara, I had to wait until I had a little surplus in cash flow before taking the plunge.

And oh my god was it worth it!!! There’s always a little thrill that goes along with buying a higher end brand such as Benefit, that luckily drowns out the sound of the sobs as you hand your card over, but this mascara goes way, way beyond a simple flash of cash statement. The tube itself is simple and elegant, and (this is going to sound really silly) I love the way the lid drops into place when you twist it closed!

The best way though is to show you how amazing this product is. I’ve got a few photos below of before and after mascara, and I will definitely join the facts and figures to say that this mascara works wonders! On your next windfall of a few extra pennies, seriously, go and buy this! If you don’t believe what I say, LOOK INTO MY EYES!!! 😉

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No mascara

 

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<With mascara                                                                    Without mascara>

 

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With mascara

 

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Without mascara

 

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‘They’re real!’ 😉

 

Yours,

The Vintage Housewife x

Loulou’s Vintage Fair, Brighton

This weekend the most wonderful travelling vintage fair stopped off at it’s usual haunt in Brighton, the beautiful Corn Exchange in the Dome Theatre building. I’ve been meaning to get to this fair for ages, but each time something seems to stop me, be it illness or truly horrific weather! But this time, it seemed the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time with my mum. We’ve both been ridiculously busy recently, and as she’s had a particularly stressful couple of weeks organising a move, it was the perfect excuse for her to get away from it all for an afternoon.

Oh, and of course nip into Cocoa on Queen’s street to buy a box of her favourite macarons! These really are a special treat at £13 for a box of eight, but believe me if you have the money to treat yourself they are so so so worth it! For the beauty of looking at them alone, let alone the array of drool-enticing flavours! From the classic pistachio, to luxurious salted caramel, to weird and wonderful Earl Grey and mandarine, which ones do you choose?!?!

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We stopped off for lunch after the important thing was done, at the lovely Si Signore in Sydney Street, in the North Lanes. Me and my hubby discovered this place a few months ago, and it is now easily our favourite cafe in Brighton, which takes a lot since there are so many! The atmosphere is so relaxed and friendly, with the waiters showing you to your seats even in this cosy little place with stunning black and white photos covering the walls, and beautiful wooden furniture complimenting the green olive trees, making a wonderful mediterranean escape even on the foulest of coastal british days. The coffee is excellent (a big plus point for my mum!) and the food is just to die for. To be fair, I have now had the same thing twice, but it’s just so good! The chicken and mushroom baguette with italian herbs and a sprinkling of parmesan is so incredible, mum decided to join me and have the same 🙂

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From there we wandered through the Lanes towards the Dome and the Corn Exchange. I’m beginning to realise the more I come to Brighton how lucky I am to have all these amazing and unique shops on my doorstep, as mum took me into places she discovered whilst looking for christmas presents, and we both cried over the stunning fabric and dresses in Get Cutie (crying both over the outfits and the prices!) But the time was getting on, and we made a beeline for the vintage fair, excited to see the wonders in store and get out of the god-awful weather. I’ve never been to the Corn Exchange before, and my breath was literally taken from me as I stepped into the foyer and saw the incredibly beautiful facade to the entrance of the main hall.

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Once inside, we were instantly warmed up but the gorgeous sunshine beating through the south facing windows at the back of the hall – it got too warm in fact for our big chunky outdoors layers! It was so lovely to see so many vintage sellers and enthusiasts all in one place, it’s one thing I love most about coming to vintage fairs even if I don’t have enough money to spend anything. Another thing is just seeing some of the beautiful items on offer! One stall sold a breathtaking ivory gown that would’t have looked out of place in The Great Gatsby – I especially loved how it was accessorised to show off its beauty to the fullest. I also discovered the cutest pink 60s/70s lacy dress, with a sweet little bow a layers of frills down the skirt, it was a true gem at just £45! However, that was £45 I didn’t have, so it went back onto the rails for some other lucky person to find and love.

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Apologies for the not great photo, the light was a bit weird!

The perfect ambience was added to by a group of gorgeous ladies singing fun acoustics to a group of children sitting with rapt attention, that made me smile so much! It really was the cutest thing. It was so lovely wandering around with my mum, who truth be told doesn’t quite get vintage the same way I do (the poor thing looks at some of the outfits thinking “I hated that when I was younger, I’m not going to like it now!” which I think is fair enough) but she also really enjoyed coming across the occasional piece that called out to her – unfortunately the slightly skint theme seems to be running in the family at the moment! But, we didn’t go away empty handed – we came across a stall selling bright and beautiful repro pieces called Frilly Chantilly. They had gorgeous floral circle dresses and beautiful matching petticoats, which caught my mum’s eye, but I was instantly drawn to their selection of perfect capes. I’ve been after one for ages but haven’t come across one that really captures the image I have in my head; many are too short, or too big, with material that would drown little old me. These however are the perfect shape, material and fit, and at £25 are an absolute bargain! I love it so much, and after taking this photo, was quite surprised to see my mum looking back at me!

 

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https://www.facebook.com/VintageFair?fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/FrillyChantilly?fref=ts

Yours,

The Vintage Housewife x

Bettina Scarlett Presents the Mid-Century Market

This Christmas just gone saw the introductions of Bettina Scarlett’s first Mid-Century Market at the Hammersmith Club, in London. Bettina has a wealth of experience in the vintage industry, having previously worked as a model and branched out into events planning, with huge success at the Rockabilly Rave with her Vintage Fashion Revue, showcasing the best in reproduction vintage inspired clothing. With the massive popularity of the Christmas Mid-Century Market, London’s only 1950s fair, Bettina simply had to organise another chance for people to enjoy another opportunity to browse to wonderful stalls, full of beauties from genuine vintage clothing, to retro inspired designs and gorgeous homewares fit for any vintage queen.

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The beautifully perfect Hammersmith club will once again open its doors to vintage enthusiasts and newcomers alike, for the bargain entry fee of £3 on Saturday 12th April from 10.30am, allowing shoppers and vintage lovers to browse through beautiful stalls displaying items from The Hostess Hotties, selling sparkly vintage jewellery and accessories, to the Rocking Cow, a wonderfully kooky vintage homeware brand! There’s even something to keep the boys happy at Cock A Doodle Vintage! All this and more can be viewed in the bright, friendly and exciting atmosphere, with gorgeous pin ups wandering around, vibrant rockabilly and blues music from all the best local DJs providing the perfect soundtrack to your day. And to top it all off, in true vintage fashion, there’s even a spot to have a well deserved cuppa after all your sifting and searching for your perfect vintage piece.

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Make sure you check out the Facebook page for Bettina Scarlett Presents… https://www.facebook.com/BettinaScarlettPresents and check out all the details for the Mid-Century Market, with more companies being announced all the time! I can’t wait to have a wander round London’s only 1950s fair, and I hope to see you there!

Yours,

The Vintage Housewife x