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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Vecchio Vintage VIP Event

Last week I was pleasantly surprised to find a tweet from a vintage online shop I have been following for a while now, inviting me to their VIP event to coincide with the launch of their new website, and the success of their pop up shop in London. How exciting! I eagerly awaited the dates and details via email, only to find that the event was scheduled on the same day as my husband’s birthday, which we already had plans for. I had been emailing Sinead, and was very sad to let her know that I couldn’t make it, but wished her the best of luck and to let me know how it went. As it happened, the event had to be rescheduled as a few people couldn’t make it (the initial date coincided with Goodwood Revival which wouldn’t have helped!) and the new date matched up with a gig we were already going up to London for, so we decided to make a day of it!

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Unusually for us, we didn’t make our way up to London until about lunchtime – the way timings worked for the VIP event and gig, and the time it would take for us to get from one to the other, we decided to have a late lunch/early dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe before making our way to Vecchio Vintage. We’ve only ever been to Edinburgh’s Hard Rock Cafe, which we go to every year on the family holiday to Scotland, but as we didn’t make it this year we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get our annual fix! Waiting for a table is expected at a place like this, but as long as you know what’s coming, you can easily entertain yourself looking through the Rock Shop as well as the endless count of elite musical memorabilia – from a costume Elton John actually wore at a famous concert, to a Ramones bass guitar. We ended up seated next to the latter, much to Dave’s delight, and enjoyed copious amounts of fantastic food, waited upon by really friendly and helpful staff, surrounded by awesome rock music. The Hard Rock Cafe is a must, wherever you can find one, as long as you’re prepared to nurse a food baby afterwards 😉

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Afterwards we made our way to Mile End Road near Stepney Green, to be greeted by owner Sharmina, Sinead and the team at the gorgeous and colourful Vecchio Vintage. The girls had done a wonderful job of decorating their pop up space with cute spray stencils of the vintage classics like Marilyn and Audrey, with beautiful fabrics draped across the ceiling. A mini party feast had been laid out, with cute nibbles and sweeties, and of course prosecco! As we sipped and munched on the gorgeous red velvet cake to celebrate the occasion, the rummaging began! We were treated to all sorts, from floral fifties dresses to eighties power jackets, cute shirtwaisters to loud playsuits.  There was also the opportunity to up the pampering even further with a retro manicure, which unfortunately I didn’t have time to sample as we had to whizz off to the gig later in the evening.

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However, I didn’t quite make it out of the door without being drawn towards some sparkly gorgeousness! In a bowl of bangles, this beautiful pastel number had my name all over it – and as it fit, which is very unusual for my tiny wrists, I had to have it. I also found this cute as a button little bee, who simply had to come home with me! So sweet! 😉

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We had a lovely evening with the girls at Vecchio Vintage, and I’m very excited to see their site develop and progress and watch what Vecchio continues to offer!

Yours,

The Vintage Housewife x

http://vecchiovintage.com

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

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

100 Days is Far Too Long…

Yesterday evening I happened to look at my WordPress app on my phone – it’s on the home screen, not like it’s hidden away or anything – and my last notification was from 104 days ago. What the Face?! So optimistically, my last post was over 100 days ago, assuming that my last notification wasn’t from someone trawling through the internet and dragging something up from even longer ago. Well that’s not ok…

I wasn’t in the best of places say, 200 days ago. At the beginning of the year, I had just watched the film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Amazing film – seriously if you haven’t seen it you have to watch it. Beautiful, lovely, life-changing film. I came out crying, not at the film, but at how unhappy the film made me realise I was. I knew I wasn’t happy with my job, and had been looking elsewhere for a month or two, but this film really kicked me into realising just how and unhappy job can affect the rest of your life. People say ‘Just treat it as a job, 9-5, then focus on your hobbies.’ But that is impossible if you are so worked up about something that is upsetting you so much, how on earth can dig yourself up out of that well and shift your focus onto something that makes you happy?

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Seeing Walter Mitty was the best thing I could have done. My husband of course saw how unhappy I was, and took action as much as I did. He suggested – no, insisted – that we both think of something in the UK to do or see that was bucket list material. He had recently got a fantastic new job that lifted him up and out of a pretty dark place, and suggested I apply there too. So 100 days later, we were working at the same place, had just been to Stonehenge for me, and were planning Hardknott pass in the Lake District for him. But I’ll come back to those.

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Because it doesn’t stop there. Flash forward another 100 days, and here I am, wanting to get back into blogging because last night I helped my mum set up her own. I’ll share it in due course once she’s got used to it, but it was so wonderful to see how excited she was getting about the prospect of finally sharing all her amazing photographs and being able to talk about them. She could literally post a photo a day for the rest of her life now, not including all the photos she’s yet to take. And that’s all that matters – the photos. Not continuity, not whether her blog matches anyone else’s blog, that’s all it’s about – passion.

My mum entered an Instagram competition with @britain_talent to be UK photo of the day and she won with this picture of a waterspout from their lounge window!

My mum entered an Instagram competition with @britain_talent to be UK photo of the day and she won with this picture of a waterspout from their lounge window!

I’d spent far too long in my life trying to fit in without even realising it. I’ve discovered vintage in the last few years, and it has done wonders for my confidence. I wear my vintage and repro clothes to work, and I get nothing but smiles and compliments. But I definitely don’t fall in with the crowd. Dave also wears his Hawaiian shirts on dress down Friday – we are a little notorious for being some of the brightest people in the company, which is great. I’ve been working on my model page, getting Layla Rose out there and into the world, and whilst I think I’ve moved on from the idea of ‘making it’, it’s still a really exciting and wonderful scene to be a part of, and somewhere to share the photos I do have done because it is just so much fun.

My shoot with Hamilton Studios

My shoot with Hamilton Studios

My excitement and enthusiasm is growing every day – I recently finished watching Dawn O’Porter’s show This Old Thing, which encourages vintage virgins to give it a go, as well as offering some fantastic tips for vintage shopping. I felt so inspired to get more involved and make vintage even more a part of my life, that’s set off another little (well, if it works out it won’t be so little at all) project for me to work on. I even have a giant notebook! I’ve always been happiest when I’m learning, and if nothing else comes of this I’m happy to be gaining more knowledge and experience in one of the few things that has seriously got me passionate and inspired.

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I’m writing so much more now – over a quarter of the way through my novel, if you go by the average of 100,000 words. I don’t have to meet that target, but it’s nice to have an idea of progress. I write in weird blocks; I’ll write a couple of chapters all at once and then nothing for months, which is a little frustrating, but hey if it works, it works. I’m really excited to get back into blogging again, I’ve been feeling so content recently that I finally feel I want to pick it back up again. 

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

So I’m sorry for the long absence my darlings, and I hope to see much more of you all again very soon 🙂

This is Major Tom to Ground Control 😉

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