It’s only Promotion but I like it!

They say ‘one good turn deserves another’ and quite frankly, who am I to disagree?

I am referring to two ladies who have been kind enough to give me a little plug lately.
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First off is the lovely Michelle Hatcher from http://www.thevintagegirlie.com. I signed up to her newsletter a few months ago and have enjoyed every offering that’s dropped into my inbox. It’s a great round up of fairs and events around the UK and really does give you a flavour of what’s going on. Michelle kindly agreed to include my review of the Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair in Southampton recently and I loved attending and reviewing the event. I must admit I squealed super loudly on the bus when I saw my review as part of her newsletter! Michelle also produces a magazine which I must get round to purchasing as I really do enjoy the newsletter – thanks Michelle!

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Another plug that came my way was in the shape of a shout out from http://nailsdownsouth.wordpress.com. This is my friend Tat who is Tiny, a mean dancer and on a journey of ever increasingly complicated manicures! Visit my fellow wordpress blogger mate to discover stamping, feature nails, dotting tools and much more. There’s more to nail varnish than I ever imagined. If only I had the patience and dexterity!

It is with increasing traffic I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…

It’s only Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair but I like it!

I have been so jealous these last few years as I have diligently followed all the various Vintage Fair purveyors on Facebook. Watching them make visits to places I used to reside, seaside towns I love and knowing I could not be there because I was stuck out in the desert. Imagine my delight to find that Lou Lou’s were holding a fair right here in Southampton and my glee at being given free entry by lovely Jess ( http://www.ladyofvintage.com/ ) if I reviewed it on my blog.

I decided to use it as an opportunity to dress up – well why not? There’s not often an occasion for victory rolls in day to day life, more’s the pity. Saturday morning found me swearing into my curby grips as my hair refused to do what I wanted despite being 2 days without a wash, doused in hairspray and recently dyed. I managed to avoid getting cross with Dr P (He was in any case, innocent) as I sweated and made myself late to meet Mrs JMP ( http://www.mrsjmp@wordpress.com ) and her lovely friend Jess (different one!).

The fair was held in the Guildhall, which is a large venue and felt spacious, giving room for the stalls and visitors even when it got busy. The first stall I spied was Rescue and Revive (https://www.facebook.com/RescueandRevive?ref=ts&fref=ts ). Mrs JMP had already purchased from them when I arrived. I have made several orders from their Folksy shop recently and love their hand stamped vintage spoons  – such a lovely gift, I chose a spoon for everyones stocking last year and there were oohs and aahs of delight all round on Christmas morning!

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There were of course, lots of clothing retailers and if you were in the market for a new item for your vintage wardrobe you wouldn’t have been disappointed.

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Fake furs seem to be in this season – I’ve noticed lots of high street shops stocking them too. I do like the look I think and I’m working up to purchasing something small – maybe a little shrug? – to wear to a wedding this winter.

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A new discovery we made was Curlie’s Vintage. I think all three of us made a purchase from here – some gorgeous little earrings, hair slides and other pretties, most of them very reasonably priced at a pound – at that price it seemed rude not to!

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It was soon time to stop for tea and cake, all provided by a lovely lady called Lauren. I didn’t catch the name of her cake providing company but I did fall in love with her Vegan ginger and cola cake. Jess and Mrs JMP gave the lemon polenta and carrot cake rave reviews too. There are few things in life I enjoy more than really good cake, so I was particularly pleased with this part of the experience!

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As we dug into our cake we were entertained by Jules and Cassie  – better known as The Diamonds ( www.vintageduo.com ). These polka-dotted lovelies entertained us with songs from the 40s and 50s and really added to the ambience. Mrs JMP and I did have a little sing along to ‘Sisters’ by the Andrews Sisters – the old ones are the best!

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I have to include the photo of this cutie who was getting into the spirit of the event and trying on all the vintage millinery she could lay her hands on – good girl!

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On the way out we paused to take a few photos in the square and found this lovely Buick waiting for us. It is moments like this I realise I am serially terrible at posing for photos!

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All in all, we had a lovely couple of hours here – it was Jess and Mrs JMP’s first vintage fair and they both made purchases and were excited by the possibility of vintage clothes. Job well done Lou Lou’s – we’ll be back…

It is with a hand on my hip I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…

It’s only perfume but I like it…

Smell is the most sensitive of the senses. It is the sense most linked to emotional recollection and one study showed that people could recall scents within 65% accuracy after a year whilst visual recall is about 50% within 3 months.

With this in mind I think the choice of scent to go with my vintage attire is very important. My first thoughts about vintage scent were the bottles of Yardley perfume my Gran always had in her handbag. My Gran sadly suffered a stroke when I was just 4 and she remained house ( well, chair) bound for over 14 years following that. Next to her chair she always kept her handbag – as though she may be called upon to leave the house at any moment. It contained – amongst other things- lipstick, perfume and, I seem to recall, a love letter my Grandad sent her when he was serving in Burma during the Second World War. There was a perfume called Tweed, a blue bottle containing a perfume called Blue Lace and possibly others. The smells were not pleasing to my little nose, a bit cloying perhaps, but I still loved the feel of the cool glass bottle, the shiny material which formed the drawstring purse it came in and I longed to arch my neck and spray clouds of quickly dissipating loveliness on my skin. It seemed so grown up.

I toyed with a rose scented perfume a few years back. The Body Shop’s Moroccan Rose to be exact.

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Most of my friends dismissed it as ‘Granified’ but I liked it’s old worldly charm. Paul Smith has a nice rose scented perfume – a little more musky, but delicious.

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But it was on a recent shopping trip I decided to try a new shop. I have passed the odd Jo Malone store on my travels but never really delved in. I visited the store in John Lewis in West Quay, Southampton and had a very nice experience. I explained I was looking for something floral and vintage-y and the assistant was very helpful. She showed me several different scents and sprayed them onto cards for me, then let me wander and sniff until I’d made a decision.

In the end I plumped for the English Pear and Freesia, finding it floral with a hint of sweetness.

I’ve mentioned my penchant for nice packaging before and this was definitely a box I could tick!

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The cream and black packaging is very classy and two samples of other scents were popped into my ribboned bag, which was stuffed with scented tissue paper.

An even nicer end to this story is the lovely card I received in the post a few days later.

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I’m very happy with the perfume. Dr P says he likes it. My Mum was less impressed. She said it was too strong, but I must admit I sprayed a lot on when I dressed for the wedding (see previous post). It’s a good quality perfume and doesn’t need as liberal an application as I gave. At £45 for 30ml it’s more than I’d usually spend but I think it will go a long way because of its intensity.

On reflection I like the scent, received great service and would definitely recommend a visit – if only for a little spray and sniff!

It is with an arched neck I say:

It’s only Vintage but I like it…

*Disclaimer – this was my own vintage adventure, I paid for all products reviewed!*

It’s only Upcycling but I like it!

So I am back to school and the new term has been its usual flurry of triumphs, hard work and a few tears. I’m trying to establish a routine for my evenings and one of things I want to do is to blog regularly. I heard a comment in a film the other day, something along the lines of ‘Go to work, but everything outside of that should be spent doing what you love’. I liked that phrase and it made me want to value my time and achieve things that are important to me in my spare time too.

Today I’m going to share a little upcycling project with you. At least I think it’s upcycling. It may actually just be a repurposed item. I’m not sure. Anyway.

I has a list of things I needed to make Dr P’s kitchen vaguely functional and one of those things was a kitchen roll holder. I checked Amazon, I googled, I ebayed. I couldn’t find one I liked (I am very fussy). And then I had a closer look at the eBay search results and noticed that one of listings was for something called a Copper Posser.

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This slightly UFO-like item is apparently used for agitating your washing in your copper. I decided I liked this chunky copper plunger and it would be perfect for kitchen roll. Within a few days I’d found one and bid until it was winging its way to me! It was the strangest shaped parcel I’d ever received!

It was old and battered and very tarnished but that gave me the chance to do something I’d not done in years – metal polishing! I flipping loved Polishing my Mum’s copper and brass ornaments as a kid and I had so much fun polishing this bad boy up til it shone.

I changed my mind about its (re)purpose at the last minute and it now resides in the bathroom. Dr P has not mentioned it. Not even once. I, for one, like it. I like the fact it had a previous life. I like the fact it bears scars. I like the fact it lives on now in retirement. Next to a toilet…

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It is with a satisfied smile I say:

It’s only Vintage but I like it…

It’s only Frilly Chantilly but I like it!

I had a wedding to go to, as is so often in the case in the month of August. In fact we attended three this summer – two were for my sister’s (http://mrsjmp.wordpress.com) nuptials and the other was my cousin Kate’s wedding. My cousin’s was a big family affair – all of my Dad’s extended family, so I wanted to look lovely and to show off my new vintage style. I needed a stunning summery dress and one night when I couldn’t sleep I had a trawl around all of the vintage clothing sites I know of. A new discovery that week had been http://www.frillychantilly.co.uk and a quick browse there soon found me exactly what I had been looking for.

Their beautiful Garden Party dress comes in two lengths and is quite reasonably priced at £45. I loved the shape of it and went to bed that night dreaming of a big floral cloud of a dress! I imagined how striking I would look placed in the rolling, Welsh fields of my cousin’s wedding reception. It was definitely love at first sight!

It arrived promptly and, it embarrasses me to say it, but I am a massive sucker for nice packaging! This didn’t disappoint.

I loved the fact in came in a nice box and the ribbon has been stashed away to be repurposed!

I went for the longer length and was very happy with the quality of the dress. It was made from a nice weight cotton mix fabric. It had pretty lapel details to the front and purple buttons at the centre. I’m a new convert to the halter neck, having previously thought it wouldn’t work due to my capacious chest! It had a zip to the back which gave me some initial difficulties, due to me being at home alone when it arrived and not being able to do it up myself. I always wondered why ladies in black and white films got their husbands to do up their dresses. Now that I own some 1940s style dresses myself I can see why – these bad boys are fiendishly difficult to do up yourself! One simply must have a husband in order to make sure one goes out properly dressed! It’s about angles and forces and I’m sure there’s an equation out there somewhere which explains it better than I could. I was almost tearful from the frustration of not being able to zip up and try on my new dress. I even considered going out into the hall and asking the lift repairman who was hard at work there to ‘do me up’, but I was worried this sounded like an improper suggestion…

Underneath my dress I put an extra long white petticoat from https://www.facebook.com/hellbunnyclothing.  I accessorised the dress with a stretchy blue belt off eBay, a simple silver necklace, a purple bag, my Retro Peepers specs and of course, a slick of Besame lipstick…

On the actual day we were too busy drinking Pimms, eating canapés and catching up with long lost rellies to take any decent pictures it would seem. This is the only one I’m sharing!

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Dr P and I took these for the purposes of illustration…

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I won the (unofficial but coveted) ‘Best Shoes’ award from cousin Huw. Irregular Choice never let me down!

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Many of Aunties ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the dress and told me tales of similar dresses they’d had in their youth. They loved the petticoat (I may have flashed it!) and said they hadn’t seen anything like it in years!

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One lady guest I didn’t know asked my auntie to please introduce her to the-girl-in-the-50s-dress so she could ask me about it. Job done as far as I’m concerned!

Had a lovely day and the dress made me feel a million dollars. Will definitely head back to Frilly Chantilly next time I have an event.

It is with a fond, hazy summer memory I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…

*All views expressed are my own and I paid for the items reviewed!*

It’s only Besame but I like it!

I absolutely must tell you about my day on Friday. I had a very nice, unexpected shopping trip in Southampton.

I had read on a Facebook group called ‘Southampton Vintage’ that a cosmetics company called Besame would be peddling their wares in West Quay shopping centre over Friday, Saturday and Sunday as part of their European launch. I had a quick google and was impressed to read the reviews – beautifully packaged vintage inspired cosmetics – whats not to like? I decided I must pop by for a look and though it might be an excuse to dress up a bit and have a go at a vintage hairstyle!

I watched a tutorial on youtube from Lisa Freemont ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfGWqMx81ZM ) as, it seems, this is the way to figure out these hairstyles. Lisa’s tutorial was perfect for me because she has short hair that is not cut in a traditional 1940s style, like myself. Anyway, I watched, I listened, I rolled, I pinned, I sprayed, I swore and I repeated a few times. But I have to say, it wasn’t as tricky as I’d thought and for someone like me, who is completely clueless, I was pretty pleased with the results!

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I didn’t follow Lisa’s tutorial to the letter – she curled her hair first, but that’s something I have yet to figure out!

I added this dress from Nomads which I bought a couple of summers ago and headed into town.
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I found Sharon Holloway (who I believe is one of the main UK stockists of Besame and is co-owner of VHL Emporium) and her lovely team in West Quay and had very quickly inveigled my way into their models chair where Sharon expertly applied some Cherry Red lipstick. I had been shown the range of red lipsticks (I’m a new convert to a bright red lippy!) and immediately adored this shade. Sharon applied it using a brush and gave my lips a lovely shape. She then surprised me by not giving me the hard sell but rather advised me to “Go have a wander round, pout in lots of mirrors and come back if you’d like to make a purchase”. How amazing, and so different to a recent experience where a very pushy assistant put a bag of make up in my hand and asked “Cash or card?” before they’d even finished their sales pitch!

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You’ll be pleased to know I did exactly as I was advised and took these photos in a store changing room!

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The texture of the lipstick was lovely and it smelt and tasted very natural – I remember buying cheaply made lipstick as a teenager and putting something that smells like swiftly rendered pig fat on my lips is not something I’ll repeat. Besame pride themselves on their use of natural ingredients – and boast that their mascara has just 7 ingredients! Not a claim many manufacturers could make, I’d wager…

Anyway, I wandered, I selfie’d, I purchased two beautifully printed tops and a delish perfume and then headed back to the Besame stand to claim my lippy. I had a quick chat about my blog and then paid a pretty reasonable £22 for my lovely cherry red lipstick. It comes in a lovely vintage style metal case, red velvet slipcase and pretty box. I’m a sucker for nice packaging and this doesn’t disappoint!

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I must admit that after this I ate an ice lolly, a big salad and had a few snogs with Dr P when he got in and as you can see it hasn’t budged an inch!

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If you’re interested in trying some products check the VHL website here for details: http://vhlemporium.co.uk

I’m already planning new purchases and couldn’t be more delighted with this product.

It is with a shimmering lip line I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…

*Disclaimer* I paid for these products and any views expressed are my own…

It’s only a Boot Sale but I like it…

This is going to be a regular feature. At least as regular as I can persuade Dr P – or anyone else for that matter – to take me to a Boot Sale!
I am a Booting fan and this is my first one in aaaaages. They’re not big in the Middle East funnily enough…

So today I didn’t go with anything particular in mind, which is possibly the best mindset to have. I also need to be careful, I live in a one bedroom flat and I simply cannot be buying furniture. Even though the vintage drinks cabinet with built in lemon juicer and olive picks was about the cutest thing I have ever seen. No. No no no.

So, you may have seen posters advertising the fact that it’s the 200th birthday of Coleman’s Mustard. They’ve brought out retro packaging. I love it when companies do that. And retro merchandising. Absolutely love it.

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Anyway, today at the boot sale I spied a Colman’s Mustard utensil pot which is one of the items on my list to get so, well, it just had to be done! Especially at the price of 50p…

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Another little obsession I have is these bubbly based bud vases. My Gran had a couple on her kitchen windowsill and I was always fascinated by them as a child. I have a big thing for coloured glass anyway, but the bubbles seem to add something and make these a really classic 50s/60s design for me.

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Total spend: £2.25

It is with a smug smile I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…

It’s only crockery but I like it…

I’m a bit of a sucker when it comes to nice vintage crockery. My Mum will only drink out of a teacup and saucer – no mugs for her. Whilst my demands are less difficult to meet, I do love the colours and stylings of vintage crockery. I can often be found stroking floral and bird printed porcelain at car boot sales – no really!

One of my favourites is this classic crockery from Wood’s Ware. You may recognise it from ‘Land Girls’, ‘Call the Midwife’ and numerous other costume dramas and films.

Beryl

I’ve always had a bit of a crush on this stocky, dependable, turquoise hued lady, and imagine my delight on turning over a bowl (whilst staying in a peeling static caravan somewhere near Bridport) to find her name was:

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Perfect name for a utilitarian British Icon, I think you’ll agree? It was produced in the 1940s and was a cheap, hard wearing range that you’ll still find in hospital canteens, schools and village halls.

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I still regret not buying this teapot in a charity shop many years ago when I was a student. I’ve always had an old head on young shoulders and desired Beryl’s solid curves even then, when my address changed every 12 months or so and classy pottery was not high on my list of priorities. She’s definitely the one that got away and next time we meet I’m taking her home!

As you know, I’m newly moved in with my man Dr P and his taste in homeware, well it leaves something to be desired. When he moved to Southampton he chose the cheapest crockery set from Argos and ended up with this square black monstrosity.

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I looked around for some new crockery for us – I love cooking for him and I wanted some delicious, made-to-last china for us to enjoy together.
I toyed with many options but finally settled on one – mostly because it reminded me of Beryl. Of course in an ideal world I would scour junk shops, car boot sales and eBay until I had a complete set of chip-free Beryl in my cupboard, but real life encroaches and, like most girls, I am impatient in the pursuit of something I desire.

This set caught my eye when trawling Amazon one day.

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This ‘Maze’ range by Gordon Ramsay for Royal Doulton seemed to combine affordability, style and quality whilst still having Beryl’s charm. I think it comes in white and light blue, but I, of course, went for the soothing teal colour.

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For the photos I’ve teamed it up with my Cath Kidston Toadstool Salt and Pepper pots and some upcycled Grolsch glasses I bought Dr P as a gift.

I’m very happy with it. I ordered from a company called Panters on Amazon and only paid £48 for a set of 12 pieces as opposed to £60 on the Royal Doulton website. When they arrived one dish was badly chipped, but following an email to Panters they shipped out another dish pronto and I had my complete set lovingly washed and gleaming in the cupboard in no time.

It’s the first major purchase of many to bring my dining and cooking up to vintage-inspired par but I think it’s a very promising start! Now I just need to cook something delicious to eat off it!

It is with a watering mouth I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…

It’s only eyewear but I like it…

I’d been feeling like I’d lost my vintage mojo recently. I came home to the UK (as is usual) to a huge pile of parcels from Ebay, and whilst some of them were successful vintage buys, some of them didn’t work on me. They clung at the stomach or gaped at the breast or some other fashion malady. All of this combined to diminish my fragile confidence.

Then the other day I was looking through some old photos and happened upon a photo of my Gran. We’ve no idea where she was or when it was taken but she was sporting an immense pair of Cat’s Eye glasses. I saw it and straight away knew what would bring me back up to vintage par – I needed some retro eyewear!

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(This is not my Gran!)

So I started looking into it. There are lots of sites that offer genuine vintage spectacle frames. I spent a long time browsing the great range at Dead Men’s Spex but as a very short sighted everyday specs wearer I decided this wasn’t for me. I wanted something I could put on day after day that would stand up to the rigours of a frenetic life (That doesn’t mean I might not go back at some point and treat myself to a vintage pair for special occasions!).

After another google and a quick trawl of some Facebook groups I found Annie Towler at Retro Peepers who offers a great range of new frames with vintage stylings. These can then be sent off and glazed with your prescription lenses. Wow. I was in heaven. After firing off a quick couple of emails to Annie (who was very helpful and prompt with her replies) I put in an order for two pairs of ‘Peggy’ specs (in black and tortoiseshell):

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And, just for fun, a pair of ‘Lucy’ frames too.
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These arrived very promptly and I quickly fell in love with the Peggy frames (at a super-reasonable £12 each) but couldn’t see a space in my life for Lucy, so I sent her back to Annie within 7 days for a no quibble refund.

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Next step was to get them glazed. For this you need your prescription – I got mine from Specsavers as that’s where I last got my eyes tested. However, Specsavers wouldn’t give me my Pupillary Distance (PD) measurement unless I paid £40. I smiled sweetly and walked out. Unbelievable. You really need to provide your glazers with the PD measurement to ensure your lenses work well for you. Luckily, Ciliary Blue the glazers Annie recommends will take your PD measurement from a current pair of specs. They were also very helpful and efficient. They posted me a box and I sent off my old pair of specs and my lovely Peggy frames for reglazing. They have a range of lenses and I chose some basic ones with a UV tint which cost £20.
And here are the results:

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I was so happy with the frames and the glazing. The lenses were perfect and the styling was just what I wanted, but couldn’t find on the high street.
There was just one thing… The fit.They kept slipping down my nose. As a seasoned specs-wearers I know how important getting the frames fitted is. So I got busy on YouTube and watched some tutorials on how to fit specs.

This is probably my favourite bit of the whole thing.
I learned that if you dunk your frames in hot water, they become malleable enough for you to tease into the right shape. I decided to ty this and combined it with another very important job… A nice cuppa!
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A quick 10 second dunk into my hot tea and I was shaping away. I spent most of the morning bending, trying on, bending a bit more and gently shaped my glasses until they were a perfect fit. See here, a before and after pic!

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On the left, un-teased specs, on the right, gently bended specs.

Now obviously this comes with a disclaimer – this needs to be done gently over time. It is not my fault if you snap your specs by dunking them in a luke warm cappuccino and trying to bend them into a reflex angle straightaway!

Overall, I’m very happy with the results and have been wearing my glasses non-stop for a few days with no problems and a whole heap of compliments. I now just need to get back on eBay and see if I can find my fashion Mojo – more on that next time!

It is with an over-the-top-of-my-specs-look that I say:

It’s Only Vintage but I like It…

*Disclaimer – this was my retro adventure, I paid for all these products and services, all views are my own!*

It’s only the UK but I like it…

I’m still stuck out here in the sandpit. But not for much longer! I fly home on Saturday and I can honestly say I cannot wait. Missing Dr P, a nasty virus and the admin hell I’ve been through trying to leave here, have left me tired, deflated, unsettled and mildly unhinged.

 

I want to to come back to the UK because it is home. Because it has history. Because more and more in the past few years we have come to value the things that went before. Traditions and crafts that our grandparents would have engaged in like knitting, sewing and making things out of other, knackered, things! I really value all ethic. I think it is good and real and wholesome and a stark contrast to the ‘Throw-it-away-and-buy-a-new-one’ culture out here.

I’m setting up home with Dr P and I am so looking forward to scouring car boot sales for the perfect vintage jug, or the perfect lamp stand. I want to make my own lampshades – there are like a bazillion tutorials out there, how hard can it be? I’m longing for two key items in my eventual home – a vintage record player and an upright piano. I own the piano, but it’s in Wales so it will be a journey in itself to reunite me with it but it’ll be worth it. As for the record player, I’ll have to do some research. I have a handful of vinyl I rescued from my Dad’s house and I look forward to listening to it in a new space. 

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All of this could take some time. I’ll be in Dr P’s new build flat for the first few months and we’ll see what happens from there. But I’m excited and I’m moving in the right direction and that, I find, is always a good start.

It is with an excited flutter I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it…