Monday, 30 September 2013

Tea towels to drawstring bags

My tea towel draw runneth over, so I have been saving my nicest, new tea towels to repurpose them as drawstring bags. I find them so useful when I'm packing, to separate my underwear, for laundry, to keep delicate items protected or to put shoes in. Another use is as a gift bag. Whatever the purpose, I always like to have a stash on standby.

Here are my latest two - so easy to make, as the fabric is already hemmed. Follow the same instructions that I used to make these drawstring bags, using woven cotton tape as the drawstring. 

{a stripey number}

{tea towel £1 from vintage shop}

Friday, 27 September 2013


So some of you may remember my post long ago about my fake fur jacket, which has been a huge success in my wardrobe. I have for sometime been after a sleeveless version, and the moment of opportunity came when Liverpool Lou was having a clear-out before her big move to Marrakech. She was giving away this vintage fake fur from Debenhams, which had a hole in the sleeve - not a problem, seeing as my main aim was to make this jacket armless.

{remodelled vintage fur coat = new gilet} 

{vintage Debenhams}

This was a super easy take - I just removed the buttons, which were a little too 70's for my liking, and whipped out my quick unpick to remove the sleeves. The only laborious part was then hemming the armholes - more time consuming than tricky.

{70s buttons - attached with a hook and pin}

{unpicking the sleeves took just a couple of minutes}

{all sewn up}

I wore it on a recent trip to London to see Little Legs, which was a mistake seeing how my last fake fur went down with her. But it performed excellently, and is the perfect transitional autumn item. There are loads of fake fur and shearling gilets in the shops, but to be honest, anything which doesn't look too cheap costs a fortune. So I'd recommend going down the vintage route. You can find loads of fake vintage furs in the charity shops or on ebay, and the vintage stuff is much better quality that the new fake fur that's around today. If you're not interested in the sewing aspect of this project, then just take it along to your local alterations shop - you're looking at around £20 for them to do something like this.

{left-over sleeves}

I've now got two sizeable sleeves left over, and have been wondering what should become of them. I've noticed a lot of fur collars or tippets around, and have been thinking that I'd have a go at making one, or use it as a possible trim for my currently fur-less parka.

{got a fur collar on my mind}

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Trip down Devon

I've already done another trip to Devon before I managed to post about this one a while back now, but the summer's been so good, it seemed rude not to take advantage. I just pottered about with mum, doing the usual - here are the highlights.

{dinner with a view (and a G&T) at ODE cafe}

{sunset in Shaldon}

{stopped off at my favourite chazzy in Babbacombe}

{cheese scones at Angels tearooms}

{vintage pyjamas}

A note about these pyjamas - I've had them since I was fourteen years old. The t-shirt started life as part of my regular wardrobe, and only got relegated to the pyjama league many years later. I remember getting the t-shirt as a birthday present (along with a vintage over-dyed navy blue Levis denim jacket) and going shopping with mum to get it, from a vintage shop on Slater Street in Liverpool. I think it must have been one of my first vintage items. Mum had to leave the shop after a while - because of the smell! - it was no John Lewis. So, vintage shops have come a long way since then, and so has this t-shirt. Little did I know that when mum moved from Liverpool to Devon, she packed up this old favourite pair of PJs so that I could sleep in them when I stayed over.

{ice cream at the famously award winning TasTe of Sidmouth}

{an afternoon spent with a magazine and a deckchair at Meadfoot beach}

{at The Telegraph Ways With Words festival, Dartington Hall}

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Lost in transition

Having just returned to the UK after leaving this country in the midst of a heatwave, experienced both oppressive heat and humidity coupled with a typhoon in Japan, arriving back to rain, rain and cold, mixed in with some sunshine, I can safely say that the idea of being in season transition is ringing true.

And that's why I'm finding my eye being caught by open-toe sandals and knitwear in the same glance. Here are a few purchases of late. I had vowed to avoid Zara as much as possible, after a bit of a shocker with their customer service department, but a glimpse at their Autumn/Winter lookbook had me falling for a couple of items. And I hit the last of the sales too, to unearth a few bargains.

{navy blue leather leopard print flats, £39.99 Zara}

I've hardly had these shoes off my feet - they go with everything, and are perfect with jeans (minus tights) whilst the weather is just warm enough. I bought the neon clutch as a present for a friend - couldn't resist its neon-ness.

{neon leather and canvas pouch, found in the GAP sale}

{stones and flower necklace, £29.99 Zara}

I spied this necklace in the window of the Zara in Fukuoka in Japan, and worked out after a painful conversation using my nonexistent Japanese that they were out of stock. So I ordered it on the UK website whilst I was still on holiday and it was waiting for me when I got home.

{crepe textured tunic, £34 Topshop}

The Topshop tunic top was my holiday flying outfit, along with a pair of slim-leg navy trousers and ballet pumps. And yes, the next photos is yet another statement necklace. Somebody help me.

{orange statement necklace, Topshop sale, similar here}

{tartan-ish check drawstring joggers, from the H&M Conscious range}

The trousers are one of the most comfortable things I've ever worn, and I'm sticking with them, despite the Prince of Bel Air references from Popeye. I can't find them on the H&M website but they are still available in store.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Grey suede skirt

My latest vintage find ranks as one of my all time top scores. I'd been after a full skirt in leather or suede for ages, inspired by the many street style photos I'd seen going for this look. Then I stumbled across this one in grey, which is vintage M&S. As it comes just below the knee, I can still get away with bare legs on better days, and also pair it with tights when the weather gets a bit cooler.

{grey suede circle skirt}

{fitted waistband and pockets}

As the ladies show in the pictures below, let the skirt do the talking - you can pair this with something as easy as a denim shirt, plain t-shirt or vest or a thin sweatshirt.

And here are some high street options.

Clockwise from top left
Leather calf pencil skirt, £125 Topshop; Suede skirt, £40 H&M; Katia circle cut leather skirt, £325 by Whistles from Atterley Road (if this is your first order, you'll get £25 off); Pencil skirt in suede, £95 ASOS; Leather midi skirt with pockets, £120 ASOS; Black Tia leather skirt, £399 Hobbs (with 15% off until the end of the day using the code AUTUMN).

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Spaghetti Junction

The contradiction of wireless technology is that there are actually a lot of wires - ok, so they're not coming out of your laptop, but there's a whole pile of them coming in and out of your modem, hub and telephone in a dark corner of your home.

I hate the tangled mess of wires, wires and more wires which gather dust and look ugly, no matter how hard you try to hide them. And so having just moved house, I made a stab at adapting a piece of furniture to solve this problem. Bob bought me this vintage sewing table / chest a few years ago, which my sewing supplies have long outgrown. Its function since has been as a side table, with the storage element being completely unused. The position of the telephone socket in our new house determined where our modem and hub where going, and as it was in the hallway, this was the perfect neatly sized piece of furniture to fit there, complete with a little drawer at the bottom for a handy notebook and pen.

My plan involved butchering this piece of furniture somewhat, to achieve my aim, but as this piece needing a little tender loving care anyway, I didn't feel too bad about subjecting it to my inexpert attempts at DIY.

{tools of destruction}

So the plan was simple - drill a hole in the back of the chest part of the table, so I could leave the modem, hub and extension leads in the chest, plugging the phone, modem and hub into the extension lead in the chest, meaning that the only power cable on display is the one of the extension lead, going from the chest to the power socket (still with me?). And this meant taking the plug off the extension lead so I could thread it through the hole I'd drilled, and then reattach it so I could plug it into the wall - nothing that my GCSE in Physics couldn't sort.

{the hidden hardware}

{reattaching the plug}

Monday, 16 September 2013


Birkenstocks - you either love them or hate them. Personally, I'm a lover, and this black pair of their Arizona sandals never left my feet during my recent holiday to Japan. What's more, Popeye already had them, so we sported our matching footwear proudly (actually, him not so much).

My Birkenstock affair started off with this grey felt pair (which I wore and wore until they disintegrated. I am however, contemplating re-purchasing these beauties) and then the classic white Madrid style. After a day or two of initial discomfort, they quickly become old friends. And though I would like to point out that my love of this shoe has been constant, it hasn't gone unnoticed that there's been a resurgence of interest from fashion types recently. And such is the versatility of this sandal (for example, it was my footwear of choice during a Japanese typhoon) that if you embrace the sandals with socks look, they can be worn all year round. See below for examples.

{keep those tootsies warm with some woollies, like on Musla}

{with a sundress for a laid-back summer approach, as on Fashion Me Now}

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Vintage update (the one where I divulge some top charity shop location secrets)

There's been a fair amount vintage shopping going on around here lately, but not much updating you all on it, so I'll try and get it all out there with this one post. Liverpool Lou came for a visit and so the chazzing intensified, as I introduced her to my favourite spots.

Here's some of what we got - a good haul:

{green wrap dress}

{vintage Dorothy Perkins (and a bargain)}

{elegant belted silk dress}

{100% silk}

{striped nautical number}

{shirt collar}

{floral print skirt}

{cotton and broderie anglaise camisole}

{graphic tee}

{vintage Bally slingbacks}

{green vintage M&S tee}

{champagne saucers - 3 for £3}

{vintage Wallis sundress}

{pleat detail}

{bright coral full skirt (white marks are bright and beautiful sunshine, remember that?)}

{pleat detail}

And so in the spirit of sharing, I wanted to unveil to you two of my favourite charity shops. They're both in Devon, so if you're planning a trip to the south-west to enjoy the last of the summer (?!) then these could be worth a visit. 

The first one, Hannah's, has been a favourite for a while, and has just moved to a new location in the centre of Newton Abbot, which is a town filled with charity shops - perhaps allow a little more time to visit them all. Hannah's used to be based out at their huge Seale Hayne facility, which has this fantastic bistro - but there are still a few other lovely shops and gallery based out there, plus they run a series of classes and events which means I still try to head over there for a visit. They have a few charity shops spread throughout Devon, but this shop is specifically where they send their vintage style clothes.

The second one is a new discovery; the Rowcroft Hospice Charity Shop on Redenhill Road in Babbacombe, based near the famous Angels Tea Rooms. The selection of vintage clothes is amazing - the shop manager is a bit of vintage fan apparently and evidently has a great eye for it - and there are other charity shops on the same small street to call into as well.

Happy chazzing.