Friday, 29 July 2011

Keep Calm and... Whatever

It's Friday, and I can't be bothered. No, more than that, I both can't be bothered and I'm really very irritated. Honestly, everything is an effort, the smallest job becomes the most onerous task and pretty much everythiong is prompts vast eye rolling and huffiness. I need a big sign to stick behind my desk, something that will inform anyone who approaches exactly the mix of lack-lustre/hair-trigger I'm feeling today so they can modulate their tone appropriately.

This poster is adorable, I love the colour and vintage typography as much as the message, £16.66 with delivery from Bear & Robot

I know the Keep Calm and... poster format has been done to death in recent months, but the above is just a little different and I appreciate the sentiment. On a day like this, I think a huge blast of fuschia may just make things a little bit better, though if that's a little too happy for your sad days, it's available in a range of other colours. Only £8.18 from tallistreasures

There's nothing like an insult couched in beautiful print to make you feel better about your bad mood. This Douglas Adams quote print by Chatty Nora is only £8 including free delivery!
But i think the winner of the prints has to be Oh, Dear Molly with the following wonderful bits of wisdom
The Lion King "Dress In Drag & Do The Hula" A3 Poster for £10.62

Tarzan "Okay It's All Fun And Games Til Someone Loses An Eye" A3 Poster also £10.62

Nintendo Mario Kart "Choose Your Weapon" A3 Poster for $14.40

There's a rumour going round the office about free ice cream. I must go and investigate immediately!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Summer Style Guide - Mauve & Tan

I bought myself some amazing pale tan wide leg trousers from the Zara sale the other week. I didn't hold out much hope, as Zara is classically cut for women with no hips and ridiculously long legs but these just so happened to fit like a dream when they arrived. I think it's the wide leg cut, which my not-quite-svelte bottom fills out a touch more than it would on those elegant European types they have modelling on the site... But no matter, fit they do and they're incredably flattering and comfortable, the brushed cotton feels almost like silk, and people keep asking me if I've lost weight when I wear them. Lovely people...

I'm not 100% sure these are the same ones I bought, but they're very similar sohere's a pic for you anyway
And if you happen to be a size XS then they're now down to only £12.99

So now I have an absolute obsession with tan paired with pale, summers colours and light, floaty fabrics. I've been teaming these trousers with my *coughPrimarkcough* mauve chiffon ruffled sleeveless shirt and a taupe cropped cardigan, and killer pair of slingbacks also from the Zara sale.

So with a view to more such summery outfits I put together a little summer style guide treasury on Etsy.

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Hope you like it. I wish I hadn't chosen quite so many higher budget pieces though. Now I want them all!

Treasury Goodness

It's always such an honour to be featured in a treasury. I don't make them as often as I'd like or I should these days (I'm always on here instead!) but when I do I know how picky I am at choosing exactly the right complimentary items to put together the perfect overall look. So I was incredably proud when having relisted a few of my favourite items from my shop, I was promptly featured in two amazing treasuries!

Having dug around for the perfect way to link to them (thanks again to Dearest Jackdaw, I didn't know about Craft Cult until reading your blog!) here they are!

I feel Nauti by Frenchonion

Measure TWICE... Cut Once by creativemummy (who's currently selling some amazing Orla Kiely fabrics which I'm totally in love with)

Thanks for featuring me lovely Ladies! I'm off to make a treasury of my own now...

Friday, 22 July 2011

Feel Better

It strikes me that hangovers just aren't getting any easier as I get older. Gone are the days when I could pickle myself on sugary spirit and mixers (remember Taboo?) and still bounce out of bed the next morning. These new hangovers also seem to be dividing themselves into more distinct categories, you'd expect different levels of consumption to affect the evilness and logevity of a hangover, even the kind of alcohol consumed, but at the moment even the day of the week on which the hangover falls seems to have a marked effect on how godawful I feel.

The worst of these new kind of hangovers? The All-Day-Friday-As-A-Result-Of-Thursday-Wine-Consumption hangover. Weeknight drinking always seems ever so ritzy and blase at the time, but hangovers on a Friday are dreadful, and wine is the most dreadful of them all. You're up early when you really need to lie in, you're at a desk and concentrating when your brain is made of mush and you're restricted to an hours lunch break when all you want to do is stuff your face with stodge continuously untill the about-to-explode feeling overtakes the about-to-keel-over feeling and the shakes begin to subside. The Inycon Selezione Sangiovese Shiraz of last night was very lovely (and half price in Sainsburys at the moment from £9.99 down to £4.99) but was it really worth all this?

So today's lunch break blog is dedicated to all those things that would really make me feel better right about now, and perhaps if I concentrate hard enough I can absorb some of their healing powers through my monitor, like comfort osmosis.

Luckily I have half of yesterday's 3 meat pie with stuffing crust to chow down on, a very sucessful experiment made by a good friend of mine. Pastry is the king of all hangover foods, closely followed by anything that goes straight from your freeser to your oven, is brown in colour and usually either battered of breadcrumbed. Today is not the day to have food guilt.
But whilst the pull of cheap and nasty carbs is strong, a real treat can also lift the flagging spirits so my real food craving today is Rococo Chocolates Artisan Chocolate Bars. My wonderful sister buys me a couple each year for my Birthday and they're always a joy to be savoured. This years offerings were White chocolate with Cardamon, Milk with Sea Salt and Dark with Chrystaline Ginger. Each one scrummily rich and melty with a hint of something different. Totally worth the slightly treaty price of £4.25 per 70g bar. My all time favourite is their Rose Otto milk chocolate. How could such a pretty pink bar of gorgeous fail to make you feel better?

I want to be on my sofa, under a blanket, escaping from the thrumming in my head and into some other, better, prettier world where hangovers haven't been invented. Musicals are perfect feel-better-fodder but equally I'm dying to rewatch my box set of Amelie and A Very Long Engagement. I bet Audrey Tatou never gets hangovers!

It being dress-down Friday I totally could have erred on the side of comfort and worn my jeans and trainers, but my vanity got in the way as well as a desire to overcompensate for how bad I feel on the inside with how fab I look on the outside. It was good in theory, but now my feet hurt in knee high green boots and I'm constantly tweaking at the troublesome muffin top area where my skinny jeans are falling down and my vest is riding up and I've totally abandoned the gorgeous bottle green sweater with drapey shoulders because I'm roasting hot! All I really want is some comfy cosy loungewear and maybe a big white bed to sprawl on

On bad face mornings I'm usually tempted to go one of two ways: Have a misguided "more is more" moment and throw the lot on in an attempt to mask the problem, or give it all up as a bad job and wear no (well, barely any) makeup with the argument that I might as well look as dodgy as I feel. Today though I saved myself from either course and instead fell back on those few reliable products that really do help. Decently defined eyebrows (I've been using the same Body Shop eyebrow palette for yonks), a nice rosy blush to put a bit of colour back in (Mac's are fabulously sheer and worth the few pennies more than high street brands), concealer for the undereyes (the link is the classic Touche Eclat, find it cheaper on Ebay, but honestly Aldi's concealer pen is nearly as good for only £3.59) and, saviour of all saviours, Palladio Rice Powder which is brightening and anti-shine without being heavy or drying.

You know, it might be the litre and a half of water I've already poured into myself, but I really am starting to feel better. It might be worth some hair of the dog tonight just so I can indulge myself in all of the above tomorrow. Saturday hangovers are so much more obliging!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Blazer Love

Canary yellow blazer, you are the perfect colour and even though I may not be as slim as this pretty lady, I'm betting you will flatter my curves very nicely indeed. Canary yellow blazer, come payday you will be mine!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

What's in a Bag?

An awful lot if you're me! Try as I might I can't seem to cut down on the baggage I carry around with me on a daily basis (I'm talking literally not emotionally here by the way). I think it's the fact that I'm an acumulator. The lipstick I wore yesterday for example, won't be removed from my bag in favour of the gloss of today, I'll keep them both in. That piece of paperwork/shopping list/receipt won't be cleared out once used, it will langour at the bottom of the bag until constantly having my keys thrown on top of it will render it to dust. There's whole strata of unused items in the bottom of my bag that have lain undisturbed for weeks if not months until that "I'm sure I have a safety pin in here somewhere" moment stirrs everything up into a slurry of chaos.

The upshot of this is that handbags only seem to last me a year or so, and need to be rather large. I'm also of the opinion that handbags and jackets are two of the most important pieces of your wardrobe in terms of personal expression and therefore buying them is a minefield of self-analysis. What me do I want to project through my choice of bag? All this makes handbag shopping a bit of a stressful and introspective experience.

So it is with great sadness that I prepare to retire my gorgeous and perfect Disaster Designs Dandy Handbag. Last year's birthday present from lovely fiance, this bag has served me well with exactly the right balance of pretty and practical: whimsical yet capacious, ever so very me and goes with almost every outfit. I even have the wallet from the same range and make up bag from the Paper Plane range.
Sigh, I'll be sad to see it go but as with all not quite leather items the seams are going and it's become tired looking. And though Disaster Designs have a number of other utterly gorgeous ranges, none of the handbags are quite right. These ones are GORGEOUS but for me...:

This is the closest bet but something tells me I just wouldn't feel like polkadots every day.

So I turned to that British bastion of cheap yet surprisingly tasteful accessories New Look, and there really is quite a range. Should I stick to vintage florals or have I been there done that? Multi-tonal neutrals are bang on trend but I'm a colourful person so I want a colourful handbag. Colour block structurals are fun and surprisingly forgiving, though I do despair that so many shops have taken on the padlock theme *cough-designer-rip-off-cough*.

Then I found this:

In the sale of all places! It's a great colour, has shoulder friendly handles and a removable cross body strap (because you can't carry something the weight of one on my handbags on the crook of your arm!) and a plethora of pockets, enough for even me to keep vaguely organised. Think of it, a whole pocket specifically for lipsticks and balms. Luxury! I was sold!

But then I popped into a New Look to have a closer inspection, and was completely put off by the proportions. What should be a generous, slochy, statement of a bag is actually mean and boxy-looking. Such a shame! So it's back to browsing and hope my current carry-all doesn't completely unravel before I've found a suitable replacement.

What's in a bag? Everything!

Monday, 18 July 2011

A Daunting Undertaking

You know those times when the most fantastic idea just springs into your mind, fully formed and raring to go? I do.

Then do you know the sinking feeling when you start to put said brilliant plan into action, and realise what you've taken on is actually quite a huge and scary undertaking and you're not entirely sure if you can pull it off, but you've comitted yourself to it now so you'd better try to see it through... I do.

It all started at Bygone Times. Sister company of Botany Bay and based in Chorley, I heard about Bygone Times on one of those unbearably trendy antiques shows where the buyers tell you what "objects d'art" you should be investing in, regardless of whether or not they go with your three piece suite. Bygone Times is three cavernous warehouse spaces, subdivided into small privately rented stalls and selling a huge array of stuff from genuine antiques through Retro to general bric-a-brac. It's an amazing place, with some real bargains to be had. If you decide to go, though, be aware that (if you're anything like me) it will take you at least 4 hours to see it all and long-suffering fiance will get very bored indeed!
*One of the stalls at Bygone Times selling Lava-ware vases and glass pieces*

I'd gone just for a nice day out and to find belated Christmas/Birthday presents for my Uni girls. We meet up once a year (usually around February time) for out annual tea-drinking, biscuit-dunking, present-exchanging catch-up-a-thon and I wanted to find them some nice and different homewares for presents as they're all buying/renting/completely demolishing and redecorating new places at the moment. Looknig around Bygone Times I kept spotting amazing crockery and landed on 4 different and slightly mis-matched sets to present them with. I loved each of the styles myself and enjoyed researching the makes to find out how easy it would be for my friends to add to their sets by buying from eBay for ecample.

*Treking through some unexpected snow on our one and only forray away from the kettle*

Que brilliant idea. My internal conversation went something like this:
What if instead of hiring dull, bog standard white china for the wedding buffet, I instead bought entirely vintage dinner services to both serve the food and eat it from.
Oh oh oh, and we can all drink from vintage cups and saucers!
Yeah, and the colours can all tonally match in with the theme of the wedding!
And then afterwards it can form the basis of the mis-matched dinner service I've always wanted!
It's perfect, you're a genius!

So I do some rough calculations of what it will cost me, based on buying for £1 per item or less (counting a cup and saucer as one item) and figure the total cost is workable, so off I trot on a lovely April day with Eldest Sister in tow (as my nice day out treat for her before she emigrated to NZ, more of which if future posts I'm sure), her little knowing what she was in for.

On that first fateful afternoon we spent over £100 and filled my car boot with booty. Dainty china sets with retro-modernist patterns in blue and green. Gorgeously shapely teal blue Poole pottery cups. An (almost) entire Midwinter china set with loads and loads of plates, we had quite a time. We had to trek back to the cashpoint 4 or 5 times with our precarious baskets and armfulls of breakables, always promising ourselves that we might put some back if it didn't fit with the overall theme once we came to pay.

We didn't put anything back. Not a single piece.

So since that day I've been searching high and low for every scrap of crockery I can find. At first I didn't think Ebay was going to be my friend on this. I took a semi successful trip to Failsworth Mill and got two or three slightly scrappy part sets. I was really starting to worry about the viability of the idea (time for that sinking feeling) but lately I've had the most amazing run of finds, so I thought I'd share some with you:

This Midwinter Stonwear set is gorgeous and in perfect condition. 2 tureens, 6 soup bowls, a gravy jug and stacks and stacks of plates, all for a tenner. Win!

Wood and Sons tea and dinner service. clasically beautiful and £21. Not bad as I was bidding on a smaller set of the same design the week before which went for £47!

One of my favourites so far, this matches a very random part set I found at Failsworth Mill. Pontesa Castillian, a Spanish make, this set consists of teapot, cups, saucers, milk jug, sugar bowl and cake plates for... £8! What a steal!
Royal Doulton's Frost Pine design. A very good make and the teeny tiny espresso cups will be perfect for the kids to drink from. Some damage but still a snip at £10

Gorgeous Wade pink roses design. I had noticed this seller had quite a few listings so when I went to collect this set cheekily I asked her if she had many more as yet unlisted. The amazing lady started pulling china from every nook and cranny of her house! I gave her £65 and went away with 5 or 6 sets of cups, saucers and cake plates, some with milk just and sugar bowls also, as well as a two sets of serving plate and cake plates and a number of random cup, saucer and plate trios.

My garage is currently groaning under the weight of boxes and boxes of crockery. I have it all listed on a wonderful spreadsheet wich auto-calculates what I still need as I add my purchases to it (I admit it, in the most secret parts of my heart I'm a total excell geek!). The quantity left to get is slowly coming down as the purchases stack up and I'm confident I'm actually gonig to pull off this slightly ambitious brainwave! The next step is to get it all thoroughly scrubbed and packed away clean before wondering how on earth I'm going to transport it all the way to the wedding venue! How much bribery do you think would be needed to get lovely, wonderful fiance to do some of the wasking up?

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Oh My, Oh Mary!

There are a great many sellers of Etsy who really will go the extra mile in personalised service. Whether it's a message to say thanks for purchasing and let you know your item's been shipped, or a little note on a business card tucked in to your parcel. Some may even throw in a little something extra if you've made a large order.

But I've yet to find an Etsy seller who'll go as many extra miles as Mary not Martha. I first found her way back when, selling hand dyed silk ribbons, beautiful reconstructed dyed flowers and fabulous vintage silver and gold trims. On a whim, because I couldn't decide between all the lovely things she was selling, I asked for a custom listing for a set price and let her do her thing. I've never looked back.

Since that first order her shop has absolutely exploded with stock. The most fabulous vintage velvet millinery flower and leaves, luxurious velvet and satin ribbons, heavily beaded trims and appliques, rhinestone buttons, top quality lace... I could go on! It's a wonderland to browse through, but I still can't even begin to decide what one or few things I want over the others, so I keep putting the decision in her hands, and she never, ever disappoints!

She's a joy to work with. I give her a price I want to stick to and a theme for the work I'm doing at the moment, with maybe a few links to show her stylistically what I'm after or other things I've bought that I want to work with. The first order I bought was French Renaisance and Maria Antoinette, so she sent me pink and blue silk ribbons, gold braids and some of those hand dyed flowers. The second order was Victoriana (I had some tapestry fabric which I was very keen on) so she sent me rich red and green silks, deeply coloured velvet leaves and velvet lilacs, violas irises and more.

This time there were two themes, one being based on the amazing Zakka fabrics I've been buying from RetroNaNa and Minna Fabric for hat use, and the other theme being Hydrangeas for my wedding. I asked specifically for ribbons, flowers and leaves. And after a couple of lovely messages back and forth, she really is the sweetest lady, my parcel was winging it's way to me.

And here's what I received:

A selection of thoroughly gorgeous velvet flowers. She often sends me the part bunches to keep me in budget and they're so so perfect for hats.

My iPad camera really doesn't do the colours of there fabulous silk and velvet ribbons justice!

But the real winner of this parcel is the leaves. Again, the colours here aren't a patch on real life. They're a triumph in blues, greens, lilacs, mauves, taupe, silver, you name it. Cleverly variegated in places and all in sumptuous silky velvet flock, nicely veined and well wired.

With a haul like this I won't have to go back for a while, which is a shame as she's just to lovely. But I've promised her pictures of the things I make with my purchased, so I'd better be off and get sewing!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Sideboard of Joy

I'm not the keenest of homemakers. As mentioned in my last post, I'm an incredibly messy so and so when it comes to my personal space. I've often described myself as a gas, I seem to expand to fit my surroundings. So when I was living in an attic room of a shared house I was crammed in at almost critical mass. But now I've bought a house I still manage to fill almost every horizontal surface with bits and bobs.

One of my many arguments for the continued lack of organisation of my belongings is storage space. Fellow crafters will know that hobbies generate an incredible volume of "stuff": tools, materials, part-finished projects... It all builds up. I'm also a relatively keen baker, so my kitchen in overflowing with all the accoutrements that go with that. So it was with a view to a slightly more organised future that I decided to buy a proper sideboard for our dining room, recently vacated by my working-from-home fiancé now we've finally turned one of the spare rooms into his office, which he can keep as immaculate as he'd dearly love the rest of the house to be!

There's a toss up when buying furniture as with when buying many things, shoes being the perfect example, between practicality and aesthetics. This being a 1930's house I wanted something era sympathetic and beautiful with display room for the things that want to be stored but still seen, but also spacious enough to pack away a great deal of the aforementioned "stuff". There are also budget concerns and the desire to re-use a pre loved piece rather than turning straight to brand new, so eBay seemed like as good a place as any to start.

So I looked and looked, was outbid of a few, discounted a few due to size and distance and had almost forgotten the idea and moved on when by chance one day I came across a brief listing with some sketchy photos and decided to take a punt as the starting price was so low. Hence this:

It was ready dismantled when we came to pick it up and the photos hadn't shown it too clearly but I was immediately taken by the beautiful grain and colour on the walnut veneer. It took two full car loads to get it home, lucky the fiancé drives a relatively large car as you can't fit two metre long panels in a saxo! Then came the curious task of fitting the beast together.

Let me tell you, they didn't exactly have the hang of flat pack in the 1930's! It was like a huge, very heavy 3D jigsaw and we had no more than the original grainy photo to go on, but with liberal application on common sense, a sprinkling of guesswork and just a little cursing and juggling of screws we finally got the top on without breaking a single glass shelf or door panel (luckily modern toughened glass, The original pieces have probably long since bit the dust, but we did have a couple of near catastrophes all the same)

The final piece of the puzzle was the drop down cocktail cabinet front, which the original listing had already warned was damaged. One side of the original hinge had completely torn itself apart. Trusty PVA and more jigsawing of the splintered off pieces fixed that and we added some modern but appropriate slide hinges for safety (more cursing and head-scratching accompanied these additions).

Finally it was my turn to add the finishing touches. I'm a bit of a vintage crockery fanatic as I've been collecting sets for our wedding, so filled the generous display section with a piece from (almost) all of the sets I've found so far. More of this in future posts as I've had some amazing finds in the crockery department but just look, isn't it pretty:

Then lace doilies are new but vintage syled, also an eBay bargain bought for the wedding. I keep catching glances of the display as I walk past and grinning like a loon! It's like a snapshot of my future wedding!

And the best part of all this? Even more than the enjoyment of the look of the thing, the ritzy feeling of having a proper cocktail cabinet and the added storage space? The whole thing, modern hinges included, cost me less than £30. I love you eBay!

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, 15 July 2011

Like a kitten with string

I've been hearing good things about Sari ribbons for a while now, and after reading some more about them on Dearest Jackdaw I thought I'd have a search.

Genuine sari ribbons are produced by cooperatives of women, who make some extra money for themselves tearing up old saris into strips and selling them on for craft use for a fair trade price. There's an awful lot of shops on Etsy selling them for widely varying costs and quantities, it's difficult to know where to start. But in the interest of buying local (for speed of delivery as much as British loyalty!) I found the lovely shop of Sassa Lyne who sells amazing yarns as well as mixed bags of Sari strips.

The listing was done by weight rather than total length so I didn't really know how much I would be getting, but the colours looked lovely so i took a chance. No more than a couple of days later a bulging jiffy bag landed on my doorstep and I opened it up to find a packed ziploc bag exploding with this

Now sorting and tidying my craft items is a little private joy of mine, which is ironic considering how chaotic I usually leave the space around me (just ask my fiancé, it's an ongoing bone of contention with him), so sitting down to sort and bundle my tangle of ribbons wasn't exactly an onerous task.

So off I went, sorting and wrapping and trimming loose threads with my kitten looking on curiously. She was itching to jump straight into the centre of the pile and wreak havoc, but luckily she caught my seriously warning glance!

On and on I went, pulling more and more strips out on the seemingly never decreasing pile

It took me almost a full day, but I came out with over 60 separate strips of the most amazing variety of beautiful colours and many over a metre in length! There's some patterns, stripes and plaids often including beautiful metallic thread, and many pieces of plain but beautifully coloured silk. But the real winners are the silk taffeta pieces where the warp and weft threads are different colours, making them shine amazing hues and giving them bright contrasting frayed edges.

Overall, the purchase was a total steal. I know I'll really enjoy using these ribbons on many many hats to come in my millinery future. I think there's more here than I can use in a lifetime!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

A Moment of Calm

Work has been so incredably hectic for the last few days that in my lunch break I find myself searching for anything that can provide a moment of calm. It can be a beautiful print that you're drawn right into, a heartfealt blog that can carry you into a minute of excapism, or an object that whisks you away from your desk.

Today, and in fact also a few days ago when I first came across it, it was an object. These amazing lambs by Calabarte are true works of art, fashioned from hand grown gourds.

When unlit they look like amazing wooden sculptures:
But look what happens when you add light!

They're carved out to precisely the right depth to either block the light or allow it to translucentlyly glow through. They're then further carved and pierced to allow some light to escape, the intricate placement of this piercework throwing the most amazing fractal-esque light patterns on the walls and ceiling.

They're all individually handmade to order so not cheap (price on enquiry, I enquired and had the most lovely email back from the artist himself) but compared to the amount of love and labour that go in to each unique them they're cheap at half the price.

So now I'm imagining myself in my perfect library in my perfect house, washed all over by light patterns from one of these lamps. Throw a gin and tonic into this fantasy and now I'm very calm indeed.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Blog crush: Dearest Jackdaw

I'm going to admit it... I have a secret Blog crush!

I've perused quite a number of blogs recently as the idea of starting my own was already circulating in my mind, but then I came accross the utterly lovely Dearest Jackdaw and ended up spending the rest of the day reading her entire archive of posts.

This is the kind of girl who's so effortlessly stylish and beautiful that you want to be jealous, but writes so wonderfully that you want her to be your friend at the same time. She's an amazing photographer so every picture on the blog is gosh-darnit pretty in that classic British summer day kind of way (I think she has her own private sinshine generator) and it's full of generously detailed How To's and a few desirable giveaways as well as little slices of her day to day life. Here's a little pic of her recent How To for Bunting Greeting Cards

I urge you all, whoever's listening, to go and read this blog immediately! I think I might go and do the same myself...

Monday, 11 July 2011

Oh so lovely Jennifer Lily

I wish I were one of those people who just happened to be lucky with Charity and Vintage shops. Some of my friends can walk in there and walk out again with armfuls of bargains and be delightlfully smug with themselves that not only are they being kind to the environment, but nobody's going to be wearing the same dress as them at parties. Me, when I go into these places, I seem to be confronted with walls of mothball smelling christmas sweaters, sad looking winter coats and endless poorly tailored trousers, none of which will be remotely my size.

Vintage online can be a similar minefield, if you do happen to find something you adore which hasn't been marked up 200% by the fashion savvy opportunist, it's more than likely to be made for one of the rail thin lovelies that seemed to grace all highstreets back in the day. Honestly, I'm forced to imagine that either nobody was a "normal" size back then, or all the vintage size 16s took their clothes with them to the big swap shop in the sky.

So imagine by joy when I came accross Jennifer Lilly Clothing. An Etsy shop full of flatteringly shaped and made to measure dresses in the most adorable range of vintage print cottons imaginable and at less than high street prices (which you don't get often for hand made!)

I've already bought a couple of her vintage cardigans (swift delivery and freshly laundered, no hint of mothball here!), but now I'm swooning after this:

For only £22.49 plus about £4 postage

and this:
For the same price. Look at the lovely lace collar! There's even a choice of length for those not so confident about their knees.

Oh Jennifer Lilly, I heart you. And when I have some more pennies your dresses will be mine!