Last week I paid a visit to the newly opened Afternoon Tease
cafe in Cambridge. I first came across the lovely Jo Kruczynska (aka Afternoon Tease) at Cambridge Retro Disco, a fundraiser for the local Folk Museum. She had spent hours making a multi coloured rainbow of party rings (recipe here
) for her retro bake stall. They were displayed on old records and I just couldn't resist the temptation of their neon icing. I knew from then that with her baking talent and creative eye that she deserved to go far.
So it was with great excitement to hear that Afternoon Tease was opening a cafe in Cambridge. I followed the efforts of Jo and her team as they fitted out the cafe on her blog, and they really have made an amazing transformation. A fabulous neon sign draws you into the light cafe and you come across a counter laden with tempting cakes and other goodies. I love the retro touches to the decor - tea served in vintage cups, a 50s style kitchenette unit behind the counter and even the staff wearing kitsch aprons. The food was just great too. I can definitely recommend the crumpets and the chocolate brownie!
At 13 King Street, Afternoon Tease happens to be right next to my local Post Office, which is where I send off all my vintage from by Etsy Shop
, so I have a feeling I'll be popping in to sample more of their treats in due course!
I recently paid a visit to the beautiful Anglesey Abbey. It is quite different from other National Trust properties as it has been preserved as a home which was a condition when the last owner, Lord Fairhaven, bequeathed it. This means that the house gives a startling insight into the life and personality of the half American aristocrat who bought the Abbey in 1926.
Lord Fairhaven was an avid collector of treasures from around the world. Here a few of the items that stood out for me:
Venetian 16th century metal and ceramic hanging. Such an unusual object, I am amazed it has lasted for so long.
Exquisite raised beadwork on an antique fire screen.
Painted mirror headboard and beautiful printed bedding to complement it.
Art Deco travel clock. Such a simple design, but ever so striking.
I always love a sunburst clock and this one, with its pendulum design, is certainly the most impressive I've seen.
As you walk around the house, you feel like you gradually get to know the personality of Lord Fairhaven.
This charming sketch on his desk gives you an insight into his sense of humourous observation.
And here, a peak into his wardrobe gives you a chance to picture him getting ready for his many social engagements and outdoor pursuits. Aren't those 1930s correspondent shoes so iconic of the era (just like from the intro of Boardwalk Empire!).
And in his bedroom notice the care he takes to keep his shoes in shape...
... but when it comes to his slippers hiding under a chair, you can see he wasn't so fastidious all the time!
You can also tell he was a modern minded man by the amount of bathrooms fitted in the house, unusual for the 1930s.
If I had to choose my favourite piece from the house, it would be this curtain fabric hanging in one of the bathrooms. Not the most splendid or extravagant item, but such a striking novelty fabric and so evocative of an era gone by.
Next year they've got plans to open up more of the Domestic Wing, and are restoring below stairs back to the 1960s. You can read more about this exciting project on the Cambridge News
. Lino, retro kitchenalia and colourful cookware - sounds right up our street!
The house is still open for a couple more weeks if you fancy having a wander in its splendour. The gardens too are renowned for being spectacular in the winter. Visit the National Trust website
for more information and, of course, have a fabulous time if you do go!
It's tomorrow! Come and join us at the Cambridge Guildhall this Saturday 19th October, for another fabulous event.
I had a brilliant time at the last fair - check out my post Favourite Finds at From Cambridge With Love
to see what delights were on offer. I'll have even more vintage clothing, accessories and homewares at Retrovert's stall this time and the event looks to be even better than the last, with even more local businesses, workshops and hopefully no snow!
Here's what the organiser's say "At From Cambridge With Love
you can meet the city’s finest artisans, independent fashion designers, foody businesses, retro homewares traders and much more! Handmade meets vintage is our theme with an emphasise on locality! Think fun, unique, affordable and VERY VERY inspiring! As well as the fabulous stalls, you can devour yummy cakes in our gorgeous vintage tearoom, get crafty in our 3 great workshops (crochet for beginners, felted earrings and vintage corsage brooches - as well as sourdough demos through the day), live music and lots more!"Check out the Facebook event page and let us know you are coming. Hope to see some of you there :-)Have a great weekend,
Only two days to go until Judy's Vintage Fair returns to Cambridge! Come on down to the Guildhall on Sunday 13th October to stock up on vintage fashion perfect for this autumn.
Here is a sneak peak of my favourite items that are just the thing for staying stylish, but cosy, now the summer is over!
Alexon Red Wool Suit. So very Mad Men, wish I could keep this one!
60s Suede Jacket. Classic shape, and super soft fabric - a real winner for the chilly weather.
Louis Feraud Jacket. I love it's wool and silk check fabric, and its three quarter length shape.
Lee Bender shirt. A classic tailored satin shirt by very collectible 70s label Bus Stop.
Quad cardigan. A beautifully draping fabric in a rich autumn hue.
Cute gingham 60s dress. This has fabulous beading on the collar and cuffs.
70s Cream Dress. A cosy knit with perfect pleats.
Polly Peck Maxi Dress. And finally, my absolute fave is this stunner from the 70s. Fabulous metallic fabric in a gorgeous print, combined with a striking design. What more could you want from a vintage party dress?
So that's just in a drop in the ocean of all our gorgeous Autumn/Winter stock. Further delights include 50s party dresses, an array of tempting vintage bags, gorgeous vintage brooches and, of course, the £5 bargain box!
Hope to see some of you at Cambridge Vintage Fair
Last week we had a last minute late summer break in Devon and we spent a day at Slapton Sands. I've been especially keen to go to the seaside since picking up a fabulous fifties beach outfit at Twinwood Festival
, so our little trip provided the perfect opportunity to wear it.
I love a good novelty print and all things nautical, so when I found this mid century towelling lined top and jacket I couldn't resist getting it!
I teamed it with a red elephant print scarf to tie up my hair (perfect for windy conditions) and my original 50s St Michael shorts for a paddle in the sea. As you can see from my pose it was a bit chilly, but I was brave and even went for a swim later - living so far from the sea means I don't miss a chance when I get one! I think there's something so fun and irresistible about the seaside.
The beach at Slapton Sands is stunningly beautiful, but this shoreline has a rather tragic history from World War II. Local people were mass evacuated from the area to provide a battle practice area and the beach was used as training site for D Day to prepare troops for landing at 'Utah' beach in Normandy. In the course of 'Exercise Tiger' training boats were discovered by German E boats and many hundreds of US soldiers sadly lost their lives. You can read more about the operation on Exercise Tiger Rembembered
. The details of the incident were not revealed until many years after the war and a tank recovered from the seabed now stands as a memorial to those that died.
I was very touched to discover that many of the soldiers that died at Slapton Sands are buried at Madingley American Cemetery in Cambridge, just down the road from me.
Well that was a very two sided post - happiness and sadness mixed into one day at the sea. It just shows how learning about the past, whether through the study of fashion or war, can be so enlightening and a constant source of surprises.
It's time for my final post about Twinwood Vintage Music and Dance festival and it's all about my most favourite aspect - the Dancing!
Just as the days drew to a close, out of the dark all sorts of intimate bars and clubs sprung up, from electro swing in the woodland Glade to atmospheric jazz in the Cafe de Bois de Jumeau.
By far the largest venue was the Dance Marquee where hundreds strutted their stuff to the sounds of Strollin' Steve. It was a great just to watch, with acrobatic tricks and full circle skirts twirling.
It was amazing to see a whole dancefloor brought to life, especially when they played a 'stroll', an original 50s couple dance (check out the rather amusing video to the right!) which has now been modernised into a line dance format that gets everyone dancing. It's quite amazing to see such a large number of people all dancing to the same steps, like a flash mob suddenly appearing.
My absolute favourite dance was the Charleston, full of energy and cheeky choreography. I am now on a mission to learn it properly before hitting the Twinwood dancefloor again next year. Here is a clip of jazz dance masters Al and Leon showing off their Charleston skills.
This is part two of our posts about Twinwood Festival, here's Part 1
if you missed it.
At the Twinwood site there are some fascinating museums dotted around in old airfield buildings, all offering you an insight into World War 2 and life in the 1940s.
The Fire Service Museum, the only one of its kind in Britain, paid tribute to the wartime fire service effort. A men's Dormitory, complete with pin up girl posters, a Watchroom with an original switchboard and a Messroom with original kitchenalia and even cake made to an original 40s recipe, all gave this museum an authentic feel.
The little museum was also very evocative of the Make do and Mend spirit and the age of never throwing anything away. All sorts of things had been repurposed - the bottom of an old set of stairs had become a book shelf to hold instructional manuals.
Nearby, a recently renovated hut was home to the WAAF quarters and reenactors, where you could not only see, but experience more fully what life would have been like.
Moving on to the largest museum, The Aviation Museum, was full of exhibits on uniforms, machinery and equipment, as well as engaging real life sets which took you back in time.
A 40s clothing shop set illuminated clothing rationing and provided an overview of the civilian clothing mark, CC41, and the costs in coupons of typical garments. Focus was on quality made garments and carefully selected wardrobes - a long way from today's impulse buy and throw away culture.
© IWM (D 14000)
What I loved most in this museum was the 1940s home, beautifully put together with simple utility wear from the era.
I didn't have a chance to explore all the Museums had to offer, but I know I'll be back next year to absorb more. I have a feeling that they will be constantly evolving too. If you have a chance to visit the Twinwood Museums, I thoroughly recommend them and their knowledgable volunteers. And don't miss out on the chance to have a cuppa in the NAAFI!
Check back in a few days for my final post about the festival, it's all about my favourite part - Dancing After Dark!
Have a great weekend,
It was with a bubbling mix of excitement and nervousness that we set out to our very first Twinwood festival last week. Two jam-packed cars full of 40s and 50s fashion and china were soon unpacked to create our vintage stall for the weekend. And boy did we have a great time. We can't wait to come back next year with even more vintage temptation!
One of the best things about the festival was how many people dressed in 40s and 50s style. The attention to detail and effort that people had taken with their outfits really made it feel like you had gone back in time.
I just loved helping our customers find vintage clothes and accessories that were just right for them. One girl turned up to our stall wearing a dress she bought from us the day before and it was a delight to see just how great she looked in it.
These are some of the vintage beauties we said goodbye to, but I'm delighted they went to very good homes. One is off to a very special occasion, another is going to a 40s ball. One was bought by a very nice man for his partner, and another by a very good friend that came back to get it as a present after her friend couldn't stop talking about it! Aren't people wonderful.
There were so many other fabulous vintage traders I had to seriously fight the temptation to buy as much vintage for myself as we'd sold! But there were a couple of thing I couldn't resist - a falling apart late 40s silk dress which I am going to bring back to life, a 50s beach outfit, and this fabulous midcentury apron to add to my pinny collection.
So that's how we got on at our vintage stall. Tomorrow I'll share part two of my posts about the festival, which will be all about the fascinating museums at the Twinwood site.
Yesterday I visited the Cambridge Town and Country Show on Parker's Piece. Now in its 7th year, this local event prides itself on having 'something for everybody'. Well it certainly looked to have fun, food and entertainment aplenty, but I wanted to find what it had to offer a vintage addict like me! Here's what I found:
First I spotted these vintage sewing notions to fuel my haberdashery habit. This cute little sewing box came home with me, along with a collection of buttons and an unusual double ended crochet hook.
In the craft tent I came across a rail of dress made from old kimonos. This is the one I liked best with its classic oriental print.
I also found the fabulous Tweed Vixen, fellow exhibitor from Cambridge Style Week
, and her contemporary twists on classic tweed. These colourful notebook cover were bright and modern, yet the fabric gives them a vintage feel.
Over in an outside stall I discovered this antique remnant. Isn't the jet beading exquisite? My guess is that is was a strip cut off the hem of a Victorian gown.
The same stall also had this fun flamenco table. I love pictorial coffee tables like this and I can picture it being the focal point of a retro 50s room.
The show also had plenty to offer for those fond of vintage transport. From this vintage inspired cargo bicycle...
...to this iconic midcentury microcar...
...and of course a few classic steam trains.
So as you can see the show had plenty to keep me and my vintage obsession entertained. Anywhere that you can find vintage novelty buttons gets a tick in my book!
The Cambridge Town and Country Show continues today (Sunday 9th June) so if you're local why not head on down! And don't forget to let me know how you get on ;-)
We had a blast at our latest visit to Old Spitalfields Market with our vintage wares. The theme was 'May the Fourth Be With You', as it happened to be on the 4th of May ;-) As well as the usual quality selection of vintage fashion and homewares, there was a galactic vibe and sci fi twist to the market.
Retrovert's contribution to the theme was this gorgeous little sequinned purse - full of glamour yet evocative of galaxies far, far away!
I wore my new Horrockses fruit print frock which is now a firm favourite in my wardrobe. It was impossible to resist the temptations of the other stalls and I indulged in some novelty buttons from Accessories of Old
and picked up a pair of 50s specs from the wonderful Auntie Aviator
. I just need to get some lenses for them and then I'll share them here on the blog in all their cat eye glory!
Our stall was full of spring florals, colourful dresses and an array of stylish handbags and jewellery.
My favourite sale of the day was this 60s 'pixelated paisley' dress to the lovely Amy. She looked so fabulous in it she decided to wear it straight away!
We plan to be back at Old Spitalfields Market over the Summer, but for now we are busy choosing what vintage delights we'll be bringing to our stall at Cambridge Vintage Fair
this Saturday May 18th. Hope to see some of you there!