Living the Vintage Life

As vintage becomes more mainstream, it’s not unusual to see elements of vintage/retro in peoples’ clothes or in their homes. It’s a habit I follow myself, and I’m very pleased with the elements of vintage that I’ve incorporated into my daily life. At the same time, I am not sure that I could ever embrace a fully vintage lifestyle – for a start, what decade to choose? Home-wise I mix the clean lines of 20’s Art Deco with kitsch 50’s kitchenalia, and style-wise, my taste inclines to the the thirties, but my figure best suits the forties and my wardrobe still has items I wore in the 80s.

So I am full of admiration for those people who have the dedication/obsession to set their whole life in a single decade, and to make sure that it is reflected in every element of their personal life.

People like Ben Sansum, who lives in a house retrofitted to be as close as possible to the forties:

Ben Samsun in his 40s Living Room

Ben Samsun in his 40s Living Room

His dedication to this way of life includes getting up at 4am to light his vintage range, according to the Daily Mail.

Authentic Kitchen

Authentic Kitchen

Now that’s dedication to the way of life!

A woman recently featured in the press, credits living as if in the fifties with saving her marriage!

Living the Fifties Life

Living the Fifties Life

While as a good feminist, I’m not sure I agree with all the views in the article, I have to admire the dedication that this couple have given to collecting and living with period appropriate items.

One thing I do take away from this, is that as more and more articles like this appear in the media, vintage may become more mainstream and lose some of its cachet as an alternative lifestyle. Is this good or bad? I don’t know. I welcome anything that establishes the value of original vintage, rather than some pastiche of memories watered down and made in China – now available in a chain store near you. But at the same time, does it devalue the lifestyle?

Do let me know what you think.


What’s On September


Here’s a selection of vintage events taking place during September.


I can’t recommend any of them personally, but would love to go to all of them. If you do go, let us know how you got on and if you recommend for next year!


Please check details and directions on their websites for up to date information.

Vintage by the Sea

Vintage by the Sea


Vintage By The Sea 6th & 7th September 2014



Vintage By the Sea, led by Wayne, Gerardine and Jack Hemingway and the Vintage Festival team, is to return to Morecambe for a second year this September.

For one glamorous weekend the music, fashion, film, art, design and dance from the 1920s to the 1990s that has made Britain the world’s creative and cultural hot bed is celebrated.

“We have some wonderfully evocative music, fashion, kids activities beauty, film, art, design and cocktails and food planned and the Vintage team can’t wait to put our dancing shoes on. So get your tickets and come and join us!” – Wayne Hemingway

Following a successful sell out one-day event in 2013 this year we’re back for a weekend extravaganza. Whether your thing is swing, rockabilly, mod, soul, funk, disco, ska, film, art or design – or if you just want to dress up and get an authentic makeover for a day, the Vintage by the Sea Festival is a sensual delight, a big dressing-up box, a collector’s dream and a joyous creative feast for all ages.

The fantastic setting of Morecambe’s seafront will provide the backdrop and be transformed into a multi-venue playground where, visitors can ‘learn the dances’, take in specially curated live performances, exclusive DJ sets, see evocative fashion, brilliantly conceived food and cocktails, ogle over beautiful vintage vehicles or take advantage of the decade specific hair and beauty makeovers and all the wonderful vintage shopping on offer.

The World Belly Boarding Championships

The World Belly Boarding Championships

The World Belly Boarding Championships 7th September

Chapel Porth Beach


(As seen in September’s Coast magazine)

Fancy a vintage themed day at the seaside? Join over 300 surfers – many in vintage costumes and/or belly boards at the World Belly Boarding Championship.

The World Champs is truly a celebration of British eccentricity combined with a genuine love of splashing about in the sea on little bits of mostly vintage wood ! A competition where woollen swimwear is awarded & sliding shorewards applauded , you’ll never forget it !”

There is evidence of surfing in the UK in the very early 1900s, but it became a popular beach activity in Cornwall and Devon at the end of World War I. A mixture of wealthy Brits travelling to Hawaii & learning to surf, and soldiers chatting to Commonwealth surfers in the trenches combined to create something quintessentially British.

A cup of tea, a cucumber sandwich and a spot of jolly good surf riding in the rolling Atlantic breakers became a must do activity for hundreds of men and women. Their equipment ranged from modified coffin lids to ‘Crest Riders’ made from ply with a kick in the nose.

Bellyboarding bloomed again after the Second World War as Brits returned to the beaches in their droves, and many thousands of bellyboards were made in the 1950s and 60s to service the growing demand.

It remains the same simple pleasure; an art that remained largely unchanged from the early 20th Century to the present day – being ‘hooshed’ in on the crest of wave on a simple plank of wood.”

Many of these original boards appear at the Champs and are still ridden all across the country in the same exhilarating way. The event is a true celebration of the boards, people and stories that continue to make bellyboarding a great British tradition

Goodwood Revival Logo

Goodwood Revival Logo

Goodwood Revival 12th to 14th September

Revel in the glamour & allure of motor racing in the time capsule of the Goodwood Motor Circuit

A happy marriage of golden-age motor racing and vintage glamour, the Goodwood Revival may officially be all about cars but the spectators take some beating for polished poise and classic couture. While the historic racetrack rings to the sound of vehicles that would have competed at Goodwood between 1948 and 1966, racegoers will be listening to standout music acts such as the rockabilly trio the Piccadilly Bullfrogs and “chap-hop” artist Mr B. the Gentleman Rhymer before enjoying top-end vintage shopping at the Revival Market. Some festivals celebrate “ordinary” vintage. Goodwood is the place for the truly stylish. For men it’s tweed, military uniform or channelling your favourite Sixties racing driver. For women, pick an icon – Rita Hayworth, Grace Kelly or perhaps Jackie Kennedy – and let your imagination soar

Vintage Fashions

Vintage Fashions


The Vintage Collections London Fashion Week Vintage Fashion Fair

Sunday 14th September



To celebrate London Fashion Week, Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair returns in September with The Vintage Collections. Our highly regarded vendors have sourced some of the key iconic looks from different eras to illustrate the enduring allure of vintage fashion. Come and shop for pieces that don’t merely reference an era but are actually part of it.

Over the last five years, the fair has become an essential diary date for leading fashion industry figures to attend, with the hall filling up as quickly as any catwalk show. International fashion editors, major fashion house design teams, celebrity stylists and models continue to return to source rare pieces to wear and keep them ahead of the pack or to reference in their own collections they are designing. The fair has also had an increased relevance to costume designers who are seeking original pieces, prints or weaves to add authenticity to their creations for film and stage.

So come and rub shoulders with industry insiders during London’s most celebrated event, discover more about vintage fashion & style, get inspired and soak up the atmosphere whilst perusing the plethora of amazing stock!

This September expect our tea room to once more play host to to jazz chanteuses and of course serve delicious tea & cake to revive weary shoppers.

Classic Car Boot Sale

Classic Car Boot Sale

The Classic Car Boot Sale 20th and 21st September

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park,


With over 100 vintage vehicles and traders operating from the boot of their vintage vehicles lining up, it will be a veritable treasure trove for vintage shoppers, collectors, vinyl lovers and petrol heads alike!

Salute to the Forties

Salute to the Forties

Salute to the Forties 20 – 21 September

Chatham Dockyard

While many of the larger events focus on Americana, Chatham Historic Dockyard’s Salute to the Forties is British through and through. Bordering on a slice of living history, the weekend is a family event, and while the audience is less likely to dress up than at some events, it still has the feel of a festival. Chatham Dockyard is a fitting backdrop for a dose of the Blitz spirit. Visitors can watch military vehicles cruising by, Spitfires flying overhead and a steam train trundling past the main stage. There is a range of music, in several locations, and the mood is cosy wartime knees-up, complete with Dad’s Army Home Guard re-enactors, Vera Lynn singalongs, Max Miller-style comedians and bunting galore to keep spirits going for the duration.


Saltaire fair

Saltaire fair


Saltaire Vintage Fair 20th and 21st September

Victoria Hall,

Victoria Road,


West Yorkshire,

BD18 3JS

The next Saltaire Vintage Home & Fashion Fair is on Saturday 20 & Sunday 21 September 2014 – during the popular Saltaire Festival, when the village will be full of theatre, music, food, art and more… There will be so much vintage loveliness to choose from at the Fair and both days it takes place from 9.30am – 4pm . Running regularly since December 2007, we now bring you 40+ stalls of vintage treasures including 50’s frocks and Art Deco clocks, teapots and twinsets, oodles of jewellery, vintage toys and so much more, so that you can spend the whole day browsing through the different eras.

With refreshments served by Interlude Tea Room & Emporium, and music from the 20’s to the 60’s, it’s a day full of vintage goodness!


The Sheringham 1940s Weekend 20-21 September


NR26 8RA

A yearly event from North Norfolk railway Poppy Line where the whole village gets in character, dresses up and steps back in time for an authentic weekend of 40s  era entertainment.

(Note that the event itself is free to enter. There is a charge to travel there via the railway.)

A review of last year’s event can be seen here:


The event takes place at the Fabulous Art Deco venue of:

Nantwich Civic Hall
Market Street,



CW5 5DG.

Celebrate the Retro Styles, Sounds & Pastimes with entertainment featuring the fabulous multi talented:
HAYRIDERS, performing all the best Rock’n’Roll, Jump Jive & Western Swing Hits from the decades.

Lindy Hop & Swing Jive demonstrations from by the Backstep Boogie Club,
one of the best dance social dance clubs in the North West.

Plus a fantastic line-up of Retro DJ’s from around the UK, playing your favourite tunes from the 40s 50s & 60s.

Discover Retro desirables, gifts & treats
from the best vintage/retro Traders including:
Ladies & Gents Vintage Fashions,
Jewellery & Accessories,
Homeware & Furniture,
Books, Music & Collectables for all tastes.

Classic Cars, Bikes & Scooters Welcome!

Coffee Morning & Afternoon Tea, with Delicious Sandwiches, Snacks, Cakes & Treats available throughout the day.

Pay on the door – Large Dance Floor – Fully Licensed Bar
Large FREE Car Park Adjacent To Civic Hall

Admission only £3.00 for the whole day.
Free admission for children under 14yrs, must be accompanied by an adult.
Free admission for Veterans & Serving Members of the Armed Services, with Identity Card.

For Further details Telephone t: 01270 526704 m: 07412 188684
email – web:

Complements of the Season

May I wish you a very Happy Christmas?

I am spending my Christmas in the rural North, with no internet coverage.

Normal blogging coverage will resume when I return to civilisation.

Until then, enjoy the holidays

Vintage Bakes – Date and Banana Cake

Baking your Cake and Eating it

Baking your Cake and Eating it

Despite its title, this little book has a host of recipes from savoury pies to biscuits, all designed to be economical so quite appropriate for today’s austerity diets!

I was taken with the recipe for ‘Date with a Banana Cake’:

Date with a Banana Cake Recipe

Date with a Banana Cake Recipe

It was very easy to make. I needed 3 bananas to make up the weight. I chopped my dates using scissors, but you can buy ready chopped dates at supermarkets. And, finally, I used an 8 inch long loaf tin which I lined with baking parchment.

And here’s the result:

The finished cake

The finished cake

And finally, tucking in!

Cake sliced and ready to eat

Cake sliced and ready to eat


The cake turned out beautifully moist. The banana wasn’t overpowering and mixed well with the dates to give a fruity, not too sweet,  flavour. It has kept well in the fridge for a few days, but I think it will be gone before it goes stale! The recipe suggests icing the cake, but I would be inclined to butter the slices instead, but then I’m not a fan of overly sweet things.

Today I am an Etsy fan!

Since I began to dream of making a living from vintage, I have been following the ‘Quit your day job’ posts on Etsy. These stories of ordinary people, who have been able to make a living following their dreams, have helped me believe that it might be possible for me to do something similar, and have influenced my decision to try and make a living through vintage.

I set out my stall on Etsy a few months ago (LadyBVintage if you’re interested) and today *dances round room in excitement* made my first sale!

I know that one sale doesn’t mean quitting my day job just yet. But, just for a few moments, I had a sense of what might be possible. And I like it!

End of an Era

Yesterday, Brother announced that the last typewriter had been made in Britain.  I can’t help feeling that we have seen the end of an era.

I grew up with typewriters, carbon paper and white-out fluid. My university assignments were written on a portable manual typewriter at a time when most of my contemporaries were writing theirs manually, and I still use the touch typing skills I learnt then.

SALE - Vintage manual typewriter turquoise / aqua blue  - Imperial

If you saw an office on TV or in a film, the sound of typewriters would have been as much a part of the background as the fug of cigarette smoke.

Of course, the advent of the computer has given us so much more than a replacement for the typewriter and it would be churlish to want to return to the days of a manual keyboard. But I wonder how long it will be before any form of keyboard is replaced by tablets, smart gloves and gesture technology? To our grandkids, a PC may need explaining in the same way today’s parents have had to explain what this model typewriter is for when I’ve shown it at vintage fairs.

Vintage Typewriter Toy

Vintage Typewriter Toy

On the hunt for new old stuff

I have been buying stock from auctions for some time now, and thought that I had all the local auctions sussed. There’s a group of dealers in the area and they all tend to keep their sources close to their chests. So I was very excited to hear on the grapevine that a new auction house had opened locally. The only problem was that no-one could/would give clear directions to the place, and it was too new to be listed in any directories.

So, on the supposed date of the auction I went hunting. Armed with a set of instructions that said ‘turn right at Morrisons’ I drove round housing estates and dead ends until I was in danger of running out of fuel, but could not find the place.

Flash forward to this week and I went hunting again. And this time – success! I turned left at Lidl and there it was. Strange how the original instructions were so close and yet so different.

And after all that effort, there were only about 100 lots to chose from, and nothing I was intersted in.

But, I will persevere. It’s only their third auction so it should get better as they get better known. But of course, then the competition will be greater. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Starting something

There’s something about starting a new venture that makes me want to go out and buy new stationery. I don’t know if it’s the memories of the new school year with a bag full of blank notebooks and that lovely clean paper smell together with the sense of possibilities ahead, or perhaps it’s the more prosaic reason that I am a disorganised worker and I am always on the hunt for that magic notebook/filing system/online solution that will suddenly make the disorder around me fall into place.

The problem with starting an online venture is that there’s no real reason to buy (invest in) traditional paper based solutions. But that doesn’t stop me from coveting things I find on the internet. Perhaps the answer is to make a virtual collection of business items to go with my virtual office!

These items would definately make it onto my wish list:

Vintage 80s Desk Organizer / Pen Holder / Stationery Stand - from Russia / Soviet Union

A vintage (80s) Russian desk tidy, from Cherryshop on Etsy. I love the Deco style eagle on the side holder.

This desk is being advertised in a magazine from the 1960s. I’d love to see it for real.

Vintage ad Cole Steel office furniture early 1960s modern desk chair Mad Men - Free U.S. shipping

Or finally, for working on the move, how about this fantastic student’s portable desk. Designed to fold out on top of a table, it’s been set out as a bar in this photo, but has compartments for stationery, a blackboard for making notes and a scrolling roll showing maps, flags, birds and other essentials. I’d say this is the closest thing to a laptop and Wikipedia that they had in 1903.

Antique Folding Student Desk Chautauqua Industrial Art Desk Unique Bar Idea with Scroll of Illustrations Map

I found this great item being sold by TheDirtyLoft on Etsy