Last week’s weakness

My weakness is shopping. Actually, not just shopping. My weakness is shopping, thrifting, collecting….I can’t drive past a car boot sale without dropping in, I can’t visit a new town without thrifting through the charity shops, I can’t ignore a sign saying “Garage Sale” be honest I can’t even drive past a skip without meer-catting my neck up to see if there’s any bounty inside.

So maybe I should share with you my fact here is last week’s weakness.

I simply fell in love with this 1950s dress last week and had to buy it. It will be perfect for a wedding I have in a few weeks time.

It is a chiffon feel material and layered over a lining so the main part is not see through. The colours are roses which is such a classic look.

I love the rolls over in a wide neck at the front and forms a V back. The collar points at the back which is a really nice detail.

The bodice is tight with a nipped in waist. The skirt flares out and looks great with my petticoat which matches!

The sleeves are 3/4 length, sheer with slight puffed shoulders. The cuffs are folded.

It is in stunning condition and will complement Mr YVL’s vintage navy 3 piece suit perfectly.

Not sure which bag to choose to accompany it…how about my 50s American barrel box bag?

What do you think?


Tin Tastic!

I love vintage tins…it is official. It has probably a lot to do with the fact that my parents had a tin business for many years where they designed, imported and manufactured tinware.

I also love storage, my belief is everything should have a home (something the rest of my family sometimes struggle with!). However, I think this home should be vintage too…don’t go out and spend a fortune on stacking boxes when there are so many things you could use.

Here are some of my favourite old tins….

I collect Coronation tins: they hold buttons, sewing bits, the money from selling eggs and this one holds business cards and postcards I collect from fairs and events. They are really useful to remember people by but also to give you ideas when you are designing your own!

This one has the kids chalk in. It has a really pretty design on and some of it is silver too which is quite unusual

I have quite a few Quality Street tins..this one is packed with buttons.

This Edward Sharp sweet tin is great for the kids…it has all Herbie’s ink stamps in!

Mr YVL hasn’t escaped the tin bug either! He has lots of old tobacco tins for his drill bits and screws

But as much as tins are tintastic……here are some other storage ideas for you.

Kitty’s toys in her bedroom are stored in a vintage blanket box. They can all be shut away and tidy and the box is so pretty too!

Old baskets and hampers are great to store stuff in. The kids cafe toys live in this one (much to my slight annoyance as I would like it!)

I store my jewellery in this old sewing box. Don’t panic, not my special stuff (they live in glass trinket boxes)..this is some modern, loads of hairclips and vintage plastic. You can imagine it’s every little girls dream to rummage through so it is kept away from Kitty!

Suitcases, trunks and vanity cases are ideal for storage. I have a cupboard full of them holding photos, swimming costumes, makeup and, of course handbags!

The sheds don’t escape this obsession with storage. My YVL found these for more of his bits and bobs (carpenters have a LOT of nails all at varying lengths!)

Even the potting shed is full of retro 70s orange veg storage for all the wire, hooks, seeds etc

Gosh I’m looking a tad obsessed with storage and I havent even got to the bathroom (old 50s planters for the bath toys) or inside the cupboards with all the pasta in retro Kilner jars.

One day I will get a pantry and have everything lined up in old tins and jars just like my Grandma. A girl can only dream………….

Coming soon!

We are really looking forward to the months ahead here at Your Vintage Life.

We have loads of Christmas and winter clothing waiting to be photographed for our eBay shop. There are faux furs, knits and some real sparkly gems all at great prices.

We are so excited to say that in just a few weeks our new ASOS boutique will open its doors, packed to the rafters with vintage accessories: handbags, scarves, jewellery, ties, hats….ooh the list goes on!

Then there’s our new monthly stall at Spitalfields vintage market….from November 5th we will be selling out beautiful boutique dresses as well as some knits, blouses, handbags, coats…..think vintage glamour!

We will be at the Clothes Show Live in December for a whole 6 days…phew! Affordable, funky, on trend vintage will be for sale….

Then there’s all the university fairs perfect for student vintage clobber as well as some treasures for everyone else. Cambridge, Leamington, Leicester…we are coming to get you.

Gosh we also have 2 possible 3 furniture events before Santa gets here. Coffee tables galore, lighting, glassware, barware, even a shaggy rug will be available.

So, in the mean time here are a few vintage lovelies to wet your appetite which will of course be on sale somewhere near you soon!

Gorgeous purple satin 1970s dress

1970s burnt orange mohair Jaeger coat

1930s deco leather clutch with back strap and purse inside….stunning!

Eye catching 1950s clip earrings

Puffed pleated sleeved, pussy bow 1970s dress

1980s silk Escada equestrian scarf

Vintage shaggy faux fur coat

1930s Czech bird brooch

1940s green suede bag and gloves with handmade brooch: worn to a wedding during the war

Vintage rhinestone snake brooch with 2 pins

Last week’s weakness

My weakness is shopping. Actually, not just shopping. My weakness is shopping, thrifting, collecting….I can’t drive past a car boot sale without dropping in, I can’t visit a new town without thrifting through the charity shops, I can’t ignore a sign saying “Garage Sale” be honest I can’t even drive past a skip without meer-catting my neck up to see if there’s any bounty inside.

So maybe I should share with you my fact here is last week’s weakness.

I was on my usual Thursday buying trip when I decided to go to a reuse shop full of old furniture. I was browsing round, quite unexcited when I looked up and saw Tina. I have been searching for Tina for about a year. I have seen many out and about but they have always been too expensive. I have not given in to the large spend, sure that one day I will find her.

Last week I did! I texted Mr YVL “OMG,  OMG, OMG, I have found a Tina”. I, of course bought her immediately. The lady serving said they nearly didn’t accept the picture from the customer thinking it was worthless. They then went on eBay and found out they were selling for up to to £80!

So who is Tina I hear you say? She is an iconic print from the 1960s by JH Lynch.

We already have one by him called The Nymph which featured in our blog “Lounging around”.

He painted sexy women looking seductively at the viewer….dark hair, dark sultry eyes and dark skin.

Not much is known about the artist. Tina was painted in 1964 and was mass produced for stores such as Boots. Joseph Henry Lynch was born in 1911 and died in 1989.

He wasn’t recognised in his life for his work although they sold in the thousands and were hung in many, many homes. No one even knew his real name just his signature JH Lynch.

Who are these one seems to know. He painted in his Gloucestershire lounge so I’m presuming these women were in his mind. Maybe the women are all one of the same….a dark forbidden woman whom  he loved?

We don’t know much more than this. But for now I’m just so happy to finally have my Tina for a bargain price! She is hanging above our fireplace looking down over me while I work.

Beat the Monday Blues

Beat the Monday blues by checking out something or someone we love. Here at Your Vintage Life, we feel it is important to share great finds with you all as well as support local business.

So this Monday, I introduce to you the fabulous cases and bags from uoldbag!

There’s an amazing second hand shop here in Bedford which I can only describe as an alladins cave of house clearance. It’s owned by Pat who I have known for years (my mum used to own the cheese shop next door). I have been going in there forever, loving a root about in all the treasures (and some junk).

When I started the business up I kept going in asking for handbags and cases. They were always gone! To a local girl who “likes to stick things on bags” (Pat’s words). I envisaged a crafty type, sticking beads on bags for a hobby. Now there’s nothing wrong with this but I had no idea this person was creating the most amazing works of decoupage.

uoldbag! is owned by Lisa Tilley.

She lives locally and is a textile designer. She collects vintage magazines, papers, maps and  anything interesting to add to vintage suitcases and bags. The result is truly stunning and unique.

This is also done to create trinket boxes.

She also makes the cutest bags from upcycling tea cosies. The cases are real works of art and beautifuuly finished. I recognise they are not cheap…but think how amazing you will look at the airport carousel!

I caught up with her last week and she was good enough to answer some of my questions.

Where did the name uoldbag! come from?

A lot of people love the name and think there’s some special story behind how I came up with it, but actually it just came really easily. I knew it had to be something around old bag and I thought of a few different versions and did some research and found other companies called things such as ‘the old bag company’. It was finalised by talking through ideas with my partner and he came up with the ‘u’. I wasn’t sure about it at first but then after some more discussion we decided ‘uoldbag!’ was the way to go.

Describe your bags/cases in 5 words

Nostalgic, Fun, Young, Original, British!

What does a typical day look like?

I don’t really do typical days, whilst setting up my business I worked in many different jobs to fund it, which meant I had very different days and no routine. I am currently working full time on my own business which feels great and I’m finally able to focus purely on my own work, but I don’t think I’ll ever have a typical routine. I do what needs doing; I have periods of making and then periods of photographing the products and preparing the images and products for sale.

Then I’ll have periods of admin work, where I’ll upload the products to sites and market them. I’ll also be working at selling them, speaking with shops, organising delivery of sales, sourcing materials and everything else that needs doing. You have to have many heads, which keeps the work varied and I can’t see me ever getting bored. I love the making the most of course but the rest comes with it.

Whats your biggest achievement to date?

 My main achievement to date with my work is creating a range for Paris and Milan fashion week for Paul Smith which were displayed in the shop windows. My main personal achievement would have to be what I’m doing right now, working on my own business full time. I come from a very poor, large, single parent family where I helped raised my brothers and sisters, I was never expected to become anything, but I was determined to make a life for myself and hopefully in the future I’ll be able to help make the lives of others when I’m able to expand and employ people.

Where do you want to be in 5 years time?

I’d like to still be doing what I’m doing full time, be making a comfortable living from it and to hopefully have taken staff on to help me. I hope to have my own shop combined with a studio some day, preferably in London. This is one of my main aims and I hope that this will turn into many uoldbag! shops, but we’ll see. I like to walk before I can run.

And finally, what’s great about Bedford?

Bedford’s a great place to live because it’s quite close to lots of places, the most important being London. London’s great for creatives and an exciting place to live, but is very expensive and a bit manic for me. I love it in small doses but when I spend time there, I love getting off the train in Bedford and feeling the peace and ease. I like the fact, Bedford has the necessary things you need and then if you need something more you can just jump on the train. I also love the parks and river and I especially like the area my studio is based in, which is Castle Road. For a small town, Bedford is quite arty and the creative network is building all the time. I love the River festival and that it’s free and think the council should invest in more events like these that would attract more people to Bedford.

I’m sure you will agree her work is stunning. These are some of my particular favourites.

Check out the website, her etsy shop and join her on Facebook and Twitter.

One thing’s for sure…this is the perfect way to travel and no one will ever pick your case up by mistake!


I have spoken earlier in the week about visiting my late Great Aunty Joan’s home to collect some treasures for us to keep and remember her life by. It was not an easy day by any means but I wanted to share some of her things.

You will see that both her and my Great Uncle Jack had great taste. They kept everything, valuing its function and it’s worth rather than spending loads of money on new un-needed things. I suppose they were frugal, but what they had was of great quality and probably not cheap. Their house was full of mid-century furniture in immaculate condition. They looked after their things which for me is fantastic….as I have some real treasures that can continue to live in my home and be appreciated by my family going forward.

My Aunty Joan was very intelligent, she had a degree in Horticultural Studies…which back then was rare for women to be educated. She worked for ICI using her studies as well as enjoying her garden in her spare time. She was a private lady, enjoying reading and her cats. What was interesting in her home was the lack of flamboyant “stuff”. There was not hoards of handbags and shoes, makeup and jewellery..which means the items that were there were treasured and used.

I have her dark green leather Ackery handbag with matching leather gloves and purse. It would have been a non showy piece back in the late 40s/early 50s. I love the colour (how rare is it to find dark green?) and grey silk lining. It oozes quality yet simple elegance.

I saved some soft toys for the children. The home-made elephant is so Cath Kidston isn’t it with its ditsy flowers on a soft needle cord. Paddington bear stands tall above the simple rag doll. I love things like this for our children: traditional and non plastic.

I have 2 pairs of curtains from their home. My Uncle Jack’s bedroom had these 1950s curtains hanging..they will go so well with our kitchen and Ercol day bed which will be in there too. I may hang them or make cushions.

I had ordered brown curtains for our new lounge from Next. But these high quality teal silk curtains are amazing in our new room. They don’t totally match the colour of the room but I think they are perfect.

This patchwork rug/throw is hand knitted and backed on to a quilted base. It was in her bedroom over a table…I think it will be lovely in my little girls room.

Then there was so much retro there too. I wrote about the 1960s bubble vase earlier, which now sits on our Arkana table. I work here so its fabulous to see in the morning when I start work. It has no chips and even its original sticker on.

The 1960s yellow glass mushroom light will hang on the landing.

And the cat, Peach, seems to have laid claim on the red vinyl footstool.

The Ercol chairs will be added to our collection (check out in our blog Ercol-lection).

She had lots of books but I was drawn to this one…what amazing reference material for my writing. I look forward to reading it.

Finally, I brought home my uncles shoe cleaning kit for My YVL. I love this old-fashioned styling.

And here are is a photo of my family. This is my Great Grandma and Granddad, my Grandma, my Great Uncle Jim and Aunty Lily and my mum aged about 10??? On the right is my Great Uncle Jack and Aunty Joan..she is the one holding the dog. My whole family. Minus my Granddad who I presume is taking the photo.

I am so glad that we took the time on Monday, however hard it was. The 3 generations of girls that are left…my mum, me and Kitty…went to see the house one last time.

I’m also so glad I am the person I am…who values possessions for their history, their style and their beauty. These treasures will live on in our home and our hearts.

Treasured things, treasured lives, treasured memories.

Spotlight on Blouses

Todays spotlight is on the blouse. A wardrobe classic, it is the perfect garment to wear with this winters 1940s look. Elegant and simple it looks perfect with a pencil skirt, wide leg trousers and even with your jeans.

And you don’t have to actually find a 1940s version..there are loads of great vintage blouses out there from all eras to help you create the look.

One of the 1940s looks was utility: crisp white blouses were worn with trousers or skirts creating a functional look. They were quite masculine in style often with breast pockets and uncovered buttons.

For a more feminine look, women wore light weight blouses with rounded Peter Pan collars. Buttons were often concealed with fine belts added to highlight their curves. Some styles were collarless with a small bow at the neckline.

They were worn at work, in the fields, baking, going out….the blouse was an everyday item long before the introduction of the basic T.

Pretty patterns were seen but nothing too bright. Polka dots and small flowers were on blouses as well as dresses.

These images come from 1940s Woman’s Own magazines.

We have some lovely ones in stock in our eBay shop at the moment and a lot more coming this week. Whether it has a pussy bow neckline, gentle padding at the shoulders, is belted, has ballooned sleeves or patterned…one thing is for sure this autumn. We all should be wearing a blouse.

Lounging around

We have finally finished our 3rd room in our house renovation. The lounge has taken a while as there was so much to do and its a double room too.

So lets cast our minds back to how it used to look.

Red swirled carpet with contrasting walls. The woodwork was all painted dark brown.

An office suspended ceiling with horrid tiles was above the whole room. Why anyone would do that throughout the ground floor of your home is beyond me. It didn’t even mask a bad ceiling.

A hatch and awful huge built-in display cupboard with brick surround was a feature. An old-fashioned gas fire and brick surround took over one half of the room. Overall it was dark and gloomy.

The plus points were the retro wall lights and starburst clock that the previous owner left for us. Check out all the original house in our blog “Our Patterned Palace”

So we ripped it all out (except the hatch). Firstly the display cabinet has become a storage cupboard that doubles up as our filing office space! We have some 70s retro filing cabinets for all our bits and bobs here too.

The walls are white except a large teal wall. We based the colour scheme around 2 Mucha prints. Mucha designed art nouveau advertising posters which became popular in the early 70s when the art nouveau look made a comeback. Homes were filled with his swirls teamed with William Morris prints. We also have one cushion with these 2 colours in, so slowly we planned the scheme.

The floors are painted cream the same as all our rooms so far. Add our G Plan teak furniture, 70s rugs and Italian glass and the rooms almost done.

Our 1960s cream vinyl and teak bar is in between the 2 halves of the room with our modern record player behind. The vintage record player is in a teak box beside it.

The swivel chairs were Mr YVLs grandmas, which she bought in 1968. The footstool goes so well which I picked up earlier this year from an antiques fair.

Some of our 1960s medicine bottles have come out of storage (there’s loads more but we havent got to them all yet!). The amber ones were also Mr YVLs grandmas. The large orange West German pot was a moving in present from me to him back in February. And yes, there’s a modern TV…one of the few modern things in the room!

Our 1950s drinks cabinet houses  my glass collection. Luckily we only had one casualty in the move..I love my collection and wouldn’t be without it! The cocktail shakers are gorgeous!

All our William Morris cushions adorn the sofa next to another Mucha print and our orange rocket lamp. We had a sofa in one of these designs back in my family home in the early 70s.

It is 150 years this year since Morris was born!

The new Arkana table and chairs looks great and take pride of place in the other half of the room. This is the adult lounge so this space is now for me to sit at my laptop in peace away from the kids. It sits under our 3 bulb white space age light and our J.H. Lynch print.

It’s called The Nymph: Herbie asked if it was me the other day!

The fireplace isn’t finished will have a wood burning stove there soon. The curtains are on order.

We have new bookshelves designed and built by Mr YVL.

I love it. It’s still a little bare but give us time it will look lived in and homely.

Thank you for the music

On Saturday night we finally found our record collection. We love our music and enjoy a good night of playing it loud!

Our tastes are very eclectic…..Mr YVL loves old Indian sitar music and a whole load of funky soul. I love rock music but also can enjoy some 80s pop.

So I thought I’d share a few of my favourites..although this list is not by any means exhaustive! I love the covers too. In fact, there’s nothing better than pulling out your vinyl and moving the arm across to get the correct groove…..waiting for the crackle, then an amazing tune!

First up is the amazing Debbie Harry and Blondie. She is, without doubt my style icon (I have had bleach blonde hair since my early teens) a man’s punk world she rocked yet also looked amazing, even in a bin bag! I collect their records always looking out for rare covers and singles. I love her outfit on this cover!

My mum introduced me to them, I remember buying her albums for her for Christmas and 30 years on here we are!

I was lucky to have a mum with also an eclectic music taste. She loved Bowie and Roxy Music,  but also disco (Donna Summer) with a bit of hippy thrown in (Joni Mitchel). This is one of my favourite Bowie records and the gatefold image is amazing! Ziggy Stardust was revolutionary: he showed a generation of men it was ok to dress up and be yourself.

She also introduced me to Barbara Streisand. Guilty is  one of my top 5 records and would be one of my desert island discs. Amazing to think this rocker would love this record. I love every song and it takes me back to my childhood in an instant.

Lets fast forward to my early teens when I was a goth. Interesting that most vintage gals started their love of fashion by wearing purple striped tights and a tonne of black make up. I loved the Jesus and Mary Chain, and this album reminds me of a time of hanging out in Bedford with my mates..all dressed the same!

Other favourites of the time were The Smiths (genius) and The Cure (double genius)

But my roots were always in pop! I loved Duran Duran like they were my gods…their pictures covered my entire 4 walls. I loved Nick Rhodes…men in make up having an impact on me as young as 11!

We went to see them in the late 80s when we were in our goth stage….we were in the front row. Possibly one of the best moments ever!

A bit of a u turn now. The Beatles Sargeant Pepper is another favourite. This is an original copy with the cut out figures still in tact inside. This is a bitter sweet album for me. My first love committed suicide in 1989 and this reminds me of him so much…..but it’s a stunner of an album. Alas I can hardly bring myself to listen to it..but after a few wines……

Onto a happier note…the Wonderstuff makes me smile from ear to ear. It reminds me of the early 90s, travelling round everywhere to see them and dancing the night away.

I love Off The Wall by Michael Jackson, so much better than Thriller in my humble opinion.

I love Sonic Youth…such an influential band..without them we wouldn’t have had Nirvana, and without Nirvana we wouldn’t have most of the rock music since. I wanted to be Kim Gordon for so long..another woman with great talent, rocking out.

Then there’s The Jam. I remember as a child not getting them, they always went straight in at number 1 but I hadn’t even heard the track. I now know why..they were bloody brilliant!

Lou Reed’s Transformer reminds me of my 6th Form. It was released ages before but I discovered it in the late 80s. He was such a wordsmith…..Walk on the Wild Side has been over played since but it’s still a great track.

Now over to Kate Bush. She is without doubt legendary. Florence Welch has clearly been influenced by her. “The man with the child in his eyes” is one of all time favourite records…so beautiful, so sad.

So in late 80s I shaved my hair (not totally off), donned my army boots and fell in love with the angst of Sinead O’Connor. Never before  had I felt that words on an album related to my feelings (teenagers huh!)

Then there’s Adam Ant…he played recently in Bedford but I couldnt bear to see the former man how he is now. He was a style genius and such a dandy highway man (that you’re too scared to mention)

Early U2 is utterly brilliant. Out of a troubled Ireland, Bono and his band emerged with raw truth and raw talent. How many of you remember him pulling those girls out of the crowd at Live Aid and wishing it was you? I ask anyone who thinks they are all about giant lemons and silly sunglasses to listen to October, War and Under a Blood Red Sky and appreciate they were one of the best bands in the world.

And I end with another stunner. Portishead’s Dummy is on the soundtrack of my life. It was on when I realised I had fallen in love with Mr YVL and it was playing as Herbie came into the world. Stunning, haunting vocals over a mid 90s bass line.

Gosh, even my music taste is vintage x

This week’s weakness

My weakness is shopping. Actually, not just shopping. My weakness is shopping, thrifting, collecting….I can’t drive past a car boot sale without dropping in, I can’t visit a new town without thrifting through the charity shops, I can’t ignore a sign saying “Garage Sale” be honest I can’t even drive past a skip without meer-catting my neck up to see if there’s any bounty inside.

So maybe I should share with you my fact here is this week’s weakness.

Well this one has to top all others and will probably top all future purchases too! This week the long anticipated arrival of our table and chairs happened. Now this isn’t just any old table and chairs…it is a gorgeous 1960s Arkana table and chairs.

I have wanted one for so long……and now they are here. I love the tulip shaped iconic of the 1960s and their love of all things space age (Check out a recent blog all about it called  “One small step for mankind, one giant leap for our homes”)

It has 4 swivel chairs with red seat pads which match our room perfectly. The table is aluminium with a melamine coated top. The chairs are fibre glass with aluminium legs. Gorgeous! As you can see there is slight chipping to the tulip base…but hey they are 50-60 years old!

Overall it needed a good clean up, but nothing a bit of cream cleaner couldn’t handle. I think the previous owner kept them in the garden (OUTRAGEOUS) so we had to scrub hard.I’m so very happy to have them! They are timelesss yet totally sum up the look and feel of the 1960s. And they are English!

Another thing ticked off my vintage wish list!