Thursday, 28 August 2014

Second-Hand Bargains Galore

Back to what I know best - the bargains of the boot sale and charity shop!  I have been on a SPREE!  I mentioned in a recent outfit post that I had a bit of guilt in wearing an all-new outfit, so here's what I've been buying, and hence 'recycling' to help save the planet.  At least that's what I tell myself, to assuage a new kind of guilt that comes with having too-many-dresses, even if they are mostly secondhand.

Anyway, you just want to see all of the bargains I picked up, so here they are - it's very photo heavy, I warn you!  The majority is high-street, but there's a smattering of vintage.

Charity Shop Finds
Vintage novelty brooch, £1.  My best find from my recent trip to Bude in Cornwall.  I'm unsure about the date, it's got a c clasp closure and little jewels in the dangly lemon.  The colours make me think 1950s, what do you reckon?

Vintage brooch

Karen Millen dress, £1.  It's slightly too big so drapes rather than hugs my body, but I think it's nice on anyway and can see myself getting at least one party out of it.  It will also still fit if I gain weight, so that might be good for the Christmas season!

Secondhand bargains

Check shirt, 50p.  Because you can never have enough cowgirl shirts.

Secondhand bargains

Silky blouse, 50p.  I thought this might look nice tucked into a pencil skirt for work.

Secondhand bargains

Embellished shoulder top, £1.  I actually bought this just for the beads, as I have several items in my wardrobe with beads missing, and this was a cheap option to get some replacements.

Secondhand Bargains

Secondhand Bargains

H&M dress, £1.  I didn't think this would fit, so bought it with a friend in mind, but it does, hurrah, so my friend loses out on this one.

Secondhand Bargains

Pussybow blouse, £1.  No, I haven't gone all 'new romantics' and won't be wearing this with leather trousers. I have a pinafore dress I think it might look nice under.

Secondhand bargains

80s dress, 50p.  I plan to alter this one slightly, as since reading Vix's story about her accidental exposure, I am terrified of strapless dresses.  I want to cut some fabric from the hem to make shoulder straps.

Secondhand bargains

Vintage 1950's dress, £1.50 (It was on the £2 rail, but when I said to the shop assistant, 'did you know that this is quite old?', she knocked 50p off!!).  It's several sizes too big for me, so I have to do some serious sewing to get it to fit me.  I just thought I'd do the side-seams first, and then have a look at the darts under the arm to get rid of any excess fabric there that will no doubt result.  Does that sound like a good plan?  I had a look in my Vogue sewing book but that's all about construction and doesn't cover alterations.

Secondhand bargains

Secondhand bargains

Vintage Trifari necklace (late '50s to late '60s because it has a 'c' copyright logo, I learnt that after looking it up online and finding this excellent article about identification marks), 50p (!).  A couple of pearls missing, but otherwise it's a fab bit of costume jewellery, and I have been looking at 'Trifari' online and other mid-century costume jewellery brands since to research it all (thanks again to Mim for giving me a few more names to look up!).  I know what I want for Christmas, there's some cracking pieces on Etsy.

Secondhand bargains

Welsh Car Boot Sale Finds
Three dresses for my friend, two from F&F (£2.50 each) and one from Topshop (£1).  Alas they don't fit my Amazonian frame, else I'd keep 'em!  If she doesn't want them I'll Ebay them.

Car boot bargains

Car boot bargains

Car boot bargains

F&F floral dress, £1.  I wasn't 100% sure about this one, as generally don't 'do' classic florals, but I like pink and this dress looks great on, albeit naughtily short.  I will take this one on holiday to Spain.

Secondhand bargains

Pink jumper, £1.  Cosy cotton, will wear lots on country walks this Autumn.

Secondhand bargains

George tunic, £1.50.  Perfect with leggings for slouchy days around the house.

Secondhand Bargains

Asos dresses, £6 each.  These were a bit of a risk at that price, but they fit well and I can wear them to work.  I love the collars, a bit Mad Men.

Secondhand bargains

Secondhand bargains

Intimissimi dress, £2.  Blimey, this one is low cut!  I might have to layer a camisole underneath. Not one for work.

Secondhand bargains

New Look dress, £1.  I love the collar and cuffs, and could always layer a longer skirt over the top to make it work appropriate.

Secondhand bargains

Finally, a cherry-print bag for £1.  It might be my holiday bag this year.

Secondhand bargains

Cornish Car Boot Sale Finds
Red Herring tunic, 50p.  Already worn this, love it, and has great sequin detail that you can't see in this photo.  But I must remember to wear a padded bra with this one, otherwise it's a bit baggy on top!


Striped top, 50p, that turned out to be a size too small, and will go back into the charity shop bag. Didn't have a photo of that one.

More for my friend, red jumper, £1, and rockabilly style dress, £2.

Car boot bargains

Car boot bargains

Total spend on myself, £29.50, with a little more on a few things for some friends.  I am all shopped out now and need to avoid buying anything more until I've actually worn all of these purchases and haven't just flung them into the depths of the wardrobe. Because this is basically a whole new wardrobe isn't it? Oops. I went back and donated a bag of clothes to the one charity shop because I felt they might need to replenish their stock.

So, it seems I have a 'spree' about twice a year, but at least these days I'm not spending that much and running up credit card debt, like the days before I discovered the joys of vintage and secondhand.  Car boot sale season will soon be winding down and wet days will force me to stay indoors and tackle some sewing projects, which I'm quite looking forward to.

What's your favourite out of the items I purchased?  Do you feel better about secondhand purchases than buying new?

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Hartland House Retreat Spa Review

If you’re planning a holiday to Cornwall or Devon, or aren’t too far away, then consider a trip to the wonderful Hartland House Retreat on the North Devon coast.  In a stunning location, with rolling farmland views down to the sea, this countryside idyll comprises a complex of pretty stone holiday cottages and a well-equipped spa.  I was staying half an hour’s drive away, in Bude, Cornwall, and went to the spa with a family member to celebrate their special birthday.

Hartland House Retreat

Sunday, 24 August 2014

A Retro Spin on Jeggings

These photos are from the start of the summer, just before the weather went baking hot, so I didn't end up posting them.  Now that it's cooling down again, I thought I'd dig them out for you.  It shows me wearing the polkadot trainers and bracelet that I wore in my last oufit post with a denim skirt, and the vintage bag that I used as part of a festival look here - all accessories that I have worn over and over, because they're so versatile!

I know jeggings are regarded with horror in many a vintage circle, but I tried to make them a little bit '50s with the cat eye glasses, hair and colour palette.

Retro Jeggings

Friday, 22 August 2014

Book Review: Popular

In 1959, Betty Cornell published 'The Teenage Popularity Guide'.  Fast forward to the modern day, and American teenager Maya Van Wagenen decided as part of a school project to follow the advice in it for a year, chapter by chapter, and her book 'Popular' is the result of her challenge.  Her family were in on it, but Maya kept it secret from her friends and peers in order to guage their genuine reactions to her increasingly extrovert - and sometimes plain weird - behaviour.


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Vintage Guide to Bude, Cornwall

In the first week of August I was lucky enough to be invited on a family holiday to Cornwall, and we were fortunate to have a week of the sunniest, hottest weather I've ever known by the British seaside!  We stayed in Bude, a beautiful little town on the north coast of Cornwall, and I was pleasantly suprised at how much there was to interest the vintage and/or history lover.  Here's my roundup of the best bits.

Vintage Bude

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Pale Denim Pencil Skirt & A Leotard!

This outfit was supposed to be 1950's inspired when I started dressing, but somehow, by the end of it, it had lost any sense of that.  I started with the denim pencil skirt, but instead of the retro shirt I'd laid out to go with it, I changed my mind and went with a leotard.  I then chose to leave my hair loose rather than doing the intended quiff, as I was short of time.  And there you go, it's a bit more '80s.  My other half's comment was "like Jane Fonda".  I'll take that as a compliment!

Pale Denim

Friday, 15 August 2014

Book Review: Peggy Angus - Designer, Teacher, Painter

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing a wonderful coffee-table book by James Russell on the hugely gifted artist Peggy Angus.  A skilled painter, having studied at the Royal College of Art in the 1920s, Angus also created designs for wallpapers and ceramics.  I know her best for her tiles, as I am a secret tile-obsessive, and spent hours wandering the Victorian streets when I lived in Cardiff, marvelling at the individuality of each tiled porch and crossly muttering whenever I saw that the tiles had been ripped out and replaced with plain Farrow and Ball paint.

Peggy Angus

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