Have a great week,
Sophie from Retrovert x
On Sunday we ventured out to a new event in the area. We took our colourful vintage fashion to the village of Whittlesford for the very first Authentique Vintage and Interiors Fair.
The item that got the most love on the day was this Dollyrockers cotton mini dress. It hasn't yet found its perfect fitting partner, but I'm sure it won't be long!
Our neighbour was the lovely Sheila from Pretty Things. It was their very first fair and, living up to their name, they had a pretty pastel collection of Art Deco ceramics with unusual designs. The most striking item on their stall was a 'Bizarre' sugar bowl by Clarice Cliff. It has inbuilt sugar tongs on the lid and a rich handpainted design.
On our other side was Oxbow and Peach with a sparkling array of vintage china and decorative wares, perfect for adding a vintage touch to your home. Lizzie and Georgie have a great eye and have recently opened a shop in Whittlesford so do check it out.
Another stall that caught our eye was Molly's Vintage with a classic Seventies orange and brown display bursting with retro goodies. According to the stallholder Alyson, one of the reasons these iconic storage jars have the text on is to make them specific for a function, and not just purely decorative, which gave them a lower tax rate. They are wonderfully characterful - if you look closely you can see this Onion is even crying!
Thanks to everyone that came along! Hope to see you at our next event - Judy's Vintage Fair in the Cambridge Guildhall on May 10th.
Have a great week,
Sophie from Retrovert x
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:
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!
A couple of weeks ago I spent a day in the beautiful city of Norwich. Recently it's garnered a cult fame through Alan Partridge's Alpha Papa. I did spot a few of the locations in the film and a rather amusing giant graffiti of Alan's face, but I was rather more keen to check out the city's rich history! I wanted to share my favourite historic buildings I came across and also my tips on where to find vintage clothing and antiques in the city. So here's my top 5 places to visit in Norwich for history and vintage fans:
This 900 year old Norman castle is now home to a Museum and Art Gallery with a wide range of exhibits, from treasures from the time of Boudica, to the world's largest collection of ceramic teapots.
The Royal Arcade
This stunning example of a Victorian shopping arcade was designed by local architect George Skipper in the late 1890s. You can go and admire the Art Nouveau design as well as browsing its elegant shops.
Norwich is home to one of the largest open air markets in the country and it's been on the same site for an impressive 900 years. It's worth a visit for its selection of independent vintage traders, who can be found on the upper side near the Guildhall.
Just round the corner from the market is Goldfinches Vintage, which deserves a special mention as it is where I picked up a fabulous vintage pinny. It also had some beautiful 50s dresses and an elegant selection of handbags.
Moving further out of town, Magdalen Street is home to an array of charity shops, vintage boutiques and antiques shops. The street may look a little scruffy on the surface, but if you are prepared to hunt around you can find some gems. Retreat Vintage and Looses Antique Market are worth a visit for vintage treasure hunting. I can also recommend the Flea Market held in the upstairs of Looses on Saturday morning, where I picked up a fab pair of high waisted 70s flares for just £2.
And finally a visit to Norwich is not complete without going to the Cathedral. Another building with a 900 year heritage, the Cathedral is a beautiful example of Romanesque architecture. If you do pop in, don't miss the chance to go up the narrow spiral stairs to the treasury and check out the rare wall paintings. I can also recommend dropping by the newly built Refectory for a cuppa!
So that's a taster of my visit to Norwich. Have you ever been? Any vintage or historic places to recommend?
Well here in Cambridge it is an extremely grey and dull day, but earlier this week it started to feel like spring had sprung and I splashed out on these floral plates.
I am always on the look out for lonely china plates that I can upcycle into vintage cake stands and that's what these beauties are destined for.
Queen Anne 'Old Country Spray' c.1960s
Tuscan Bone China 'Albany' c.1947-67
Tams England 'Lismore' Art Nouveau
Tuscan Bone China 'Albany' c.1947-67
Booths 'Floradora' c.1917
I look forward to seeing these beautiful blooms not just on vintage china, but in the garden before too long. Here's to hoping we have a glorious spring where we can enjoy cakes on vintage plates out in the sunshine!
Well Mother's Day is nearly upon us and there's still time find a special something for our lovely (and sometimes maddening!) Mums.
And who better than to pick some lovely vintage pieces from our Etsy Shop to tempt you than my very own Mum!
Here's what she chose:
So those are the items that got the official Mother's Day gift stamp of approval from my Mum! Luckily I've already found a vintage gift for her, which I know she will just love.
If you see anything in our shop that you think your very own Mum will love, then get your order in soon and I'll send it first class right away so it should arrive in time for the special day.
Have a super weekend!
Since I very first began collecting china, I've always been partial to items made by J and G Meakin.
The company was set up in 1851 by James Meakin and his brother George. You can see where they got the name from ; ) It produced large amounts of tableware and became one of the biggest exporters of earthenware in the late 19th century.
Where I think the company came into its own was in the 50s and 60s, with its Sol and Studio Ware designs. Strikingly shaped coffee pots, bold geometrics and stylised florals characterise the era. Here's a treasury I made on Etsy with items that I think capture the spirit of the time.
This was the very first item of J and G Meakin ware that I bought. It is their iconic 'Blue Nordic' pattern, commonly known as their onion design.
One of the favourite pieces I've found is this platter by the renowned designer Jessie Tait. I love its classic Habitat shape.
Their florals are quite possibly what I love the most. Their bright colours and bold shapes always make the room more cheerful and are great for creating mix and match sets.
If, like me, you the have a fondness for these designs, then feel free to check out my Etsy Shop to see what J and G Meakin ceramics I currently have for sale. If you have some of your own Meakin wares that you would like to find a date for then The Potteries has a useful section on backstamps. The site J & G Meakin China and Pottery also has a very comprehensive index of their patterns if you'd like to find out more.
Cook up a Storm
There's nothing like a doing a bit of baking to stay warm when it's cold outside. Get out that old recipe book and cook up a traditional winter treat.
Watch a Snow Themed Classic
Dr Zhivago, It's a Wonderful Life, Fargo, The Shining, Groundhog Day... There's plenty of snow filled films to watch while you're all snuggled up on the sofa.
Take Some Time Out for Crafting
Snowed in? Warm up your fingers by doing some knitting or get out a needle and thread for some good old fashioned Make Do and Mend.
Make a Lifelike Snowman
Get creative and sculpt some snow...
Get Your Woolies On!
Wrap up warm in some vintage wool and take a walk in the snow. Don't forget to have a snowball fight too!
What have you've been up to in the snow?
Well I hope you all had a great Christmas and are now enjoying the New Year!
Here's a little round up of the best Christmas presents I was given and gave to my family in return :
My favourite gift this year has to be this extravagant 1960s hat, which my Mum managed to secretly buy from a fellow stallholder at Pop Up Vintage Hampstead. The Bernat Klein fabric is really unusual, a herringbone weave in a slub yarn, and I just love the vibrant colours.
Mum also got me these fab tartan trousers from the lovely Rehab Vintage and I like the two teamed together for a rather eccentric look!
I got some great books too - a multitude of cookery books, a 1940s manual of stitchcraft with this gorgeous graphic cover and the lovely Vintage Fashion. This book has some seriously stunning dresses in it, so expect a review of it her on the blog soon.
Now on to the favourite presents I gave. I simply couldn't resist this 1980s Popple for my 1 year old niece. It's oh so kitsch and garish, but she loved feeding it with its bottle and unrolling it from its ball.
For my sister I made this mouse doorstop from a vintage traycloth. I love upcycling materials and transforming them into something different. In return she gave me the book ReCraft: How to Turn Second-hand Stuff into Beautiful Things for your Home, Family and Friends, which was very appropriate!
And finally for my Mum I made this 50s inspired apron from vintage barkcloth - and yes I was still sewing it on Christmas Eve!
All the family agreed that we had done very well on getting each other great gifts and I think they are things we will enjoy and treasure for years to come.
Did you give or recieve any vintage or handmade gifts? Do share...
Vintage and dance are two of my great loves and today's post combines them.
Here are some vintage dance illustrations to inspire you:
All images, apart from the last, are from Wikimedia Commons and are believed to be in the public domain.
Continuing the theme of vintage and dance, I'm looking forward to tomorrow's Cambridge Retro Disco, a fundrasier for the Folk Museum. If you're quick you might be able to snap up the last tickets. Question is do I go for 80s sequins, 70s angel sleeves or psychedelic disco top and flares?!
Just to prove not all our books are non fiction, here's an assortment of Partrick O' Brian novels from the 90s. Don't they look great all in a row. The top two shelves of our bookcases are reserved for novels. We double stack them, which makes it near impossible to find a specific book, but we can fit a lot more in!
I could go on forever listing the gorgeous and interesting books in our shelves, but I think I've already gone on too long! I hope you've enjoyed seeing some of their covers.
Are you a book hoarder too or are you more selective? What's on your shelves...