2011, Another vintage year

We have had a fantastic year here at Your Vintage Life which we are truly grateful for!

January:

We started the year by being named Website of the Month in Period Living magazine. They described the site as “attractive and well designed” which considering I did it all myself through Create was fantastic praise.

We also launched our new category “Your Vintage Playroom” in the shop which has been so successful. It’s great to think these vintage toys are being brought back to life and being played with all over the country. Even Cath Kidston bought some from us!

February:

I was featured, alongside my vintage handbag collection in Homes and Antiques magazine! Here I am surrounded by 50s box bags, 30s bakelite and 60s Enid Collins!

We took this show on the road for the first time with Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair. Before now we had only traded at local fairs and this was definitely stepping it up a gear. 1000 vintage loving students rushed through the door at Leicester and Lincoln and we were quite simply staggered at their response. We quickly went out and hired a credit card machine!

We also moved home this month, into our patterned palace. It’s a full on renovation piece of work….nearly one year on we have finished 4 rooms (7 more to go!)

March:

We had by now been writing for Vintage Life magazine for 7 months but it was in March that our article was featured on the front cover. Spring into Action was featured alongside the amazing Kitten Von Mew!

I was interviewed in the great blog by Catwalk Creative Vintage. Louise Sleigh is well known for supporting fully other vintage businesses and I really appreciated her featuring us. Read the “Vintage Perfection at Your Vintage Life” interview here.

We also traded at our first Furniture Flea in London. This was our first real taste of selling furniture and it’s something we are keen to expand on. Bringing  mid century furniture to its former glory is addictive!

April:

Wedding Fever was in the air as we traded at our first vintage wedding fairs. Not doing things by half we did 2 in the first month. The Vintage Wedding Fair in Leamington and The Curious Wedding Fair in Norwich were great: we met excited brides and sold tonnes of vintage jewellery! Selling this gown to a happy bride in Norwich made us feel great….she looked amazing too!

May:

It was at the end of May when we had our first stall at Spitalfields Market in London. It was a great day with thousands of people walking through the market. We are excited to say we now have a stall there the first saturday of every month in the biggest vintage market of its kind.

June:

This was the month when we really embraced Twitter. Before now, we had only linked text from Facebook which wasnt engaging Twitter people at all. Since then, I can say I talk regularly to like-minded people who I havent even met. Some I would now call friends. I love you guys!

July:

July was so busy for us! We sold our vintage clothing at Lovebox festival which I can only describe as a wash out! It was so wet and cold…it felt like winter rather than a summer festival. The only good thing about the whole weekend was I met some new great friends and finally saw Blondie perform.

Then there was the Vintage Festival on the Southbank. For 3 days it was the opposite of Lovebox..it was so hot I burnt my forehead! The first day was amazing, we sold so much to buyers and designers. It was hard work but again we met some great people and sold tonnes of pretty dresses!

We launched our series of blogs this month called “Beat the Monday Blues”. It was a funny month online as there was much heated debate from vintage sellers, buyers and event managers which sometimes resulted in bad feeling. I wanted to buck this current trend and start to openly support others. So the new blog started with the idea of sharing companies and products that we love. It has been very successful and we will continue this in 2012.

August:

We took a rare weekend off at the start of August to celebrate my birthday. We all went away in the camper van to Kent and checked out all the vintage shops we could find!

Over the bank holiday weekend we had a pitch at Twinwood Festival. This is designed for lovers of 40s and 50s music, fashion and definitely dancing. WE LOVED IT! It was such a great atmosphere, and we couldn’t quite believe it was up the road from our house and we had never been there before! We will be there again in 2012.

Homes and Antiques magazine featured our 1950s products through their stunning styling feature. It made me quite simply want to restyle our lounge to this glorious look.

September:

This was an exciting month as finally re launched our eBay shop using gorgeous photos of my model Leanne. We split the shop into 3 categories: vintage, customised and boutique. We felt our eBay shop had a real disconnect to the branding on the website so now with matching slideshow, background etc we feel this has been overcome.

All the photos were taken with our 1957 Morris Oxford car (also vintage!)

October:

We launched our online blog diary called A Vintage Diary. We have been blogging for a long time but wanted a vehicle to just update you on the day-to-day things we do especially all the vintage things! We have managed musings most days! From stuff I’ve bought to things we’ve made it has been well received.

November:

We launched our ASOS boutique this month and had our first sale within a few hours! It’s a vintage accessory boutique with mens accessories still to come. We ensured it had the same look and feel as our other sites with Leanne in her purple blouse on the front page. We have taken all the photos so far against a local bright blue painted gate, with rolling hills in the background. We will be expanding this more in 2012.

In the run up to the Clothes Show Live we were featured in their fashion blog. Frankie says Shop! loved our flutter pleated skirts so much she wore 3! It really helped at the event as many girls came to see us especially for them!

December:

The Clothes Show Live finally arrived and boy was it busy! 6 full days of excited girls, loud dance music and selling vintage meant we were seriously pooped afterwards! We loved it so much we will be returning next year!

It has been a tough year with people spending less all over retail but with a late surge of sales in December we can now have a rest! We look forward to 2012, trading at new events and meeting more of you all. With our look to the year ahead article being featured in January’s Vintage Life magazine I’m sure next year will be even better than this one!

Happy New Year to you all!

Advertisements

10 things that changed our lives…

or at least our homes!

This is our latest article for Vintage Life magazine….the top 10 countdown of things that impacted our homes and therefore our lives.

Number 10: The Duvet

Originating from Europe in the 17th century, the feather filled duvet changed the look of our bedrooms, increased our comfort as well as saving our time back in the 1960s. Discovering them on our travels, we rejected the stifling blankets and eiderdowns of our parents, choosing instead the ease of less washing, the speed of making the bed and the warmth it provided.

Number 9: The Shower

Before the shower arrived to make our mornings quicker, families used a pastel coloured plastic plug-on shower head fitted to the bath taps. Washing your hair took an age and when you turned the water faster it flew off the taps. Invented in Roman times, based on a waterfall, its quite amazing it took until the 1970s to change the face of our bathrooms.

Number 8:The Fitted Kitchen

Before the 1950s, kitchens contained large free-standing cupboards which left little room to work in let alone eat in. The fitted kitchen revolutionised homes providing a sleek and efficient workspace for the 50s housewife. Originating in Germany, the focus was on ergonomics as well as a great design. Worktops were made from Formica, easy to clean and came in a variety of bright colours. As space had been freed up some families added a table to create a social eating space although most had a hatch between the kitchen and dining room to pass food through. American appliances became popular, creating a state of the art look with fridges and blenders. By the 1960s everyone had one and kitchens have never looked back.

Number 7: The Freezer

Strange to think that before the 1970s the only frozen food we had was in the small compartment at the top of the fridge. The introduction of pre cooked frozen food had a huge impact on the working woman, who before now shopped daily and cooked from scratch every night. She could now cook in advance and store it or just choose quick TV dinners with ice cream to follow.

Number 6: Plastic

After the Second World War the boom in manufacturing meant we had better, stronger plastics and melamines to fill our kitchens with. In the 1950s, the introduction of Tupperware enabled women to leave the kitchen to host parties as well as keep their food fresher longer. Outdoor dining became popular with brightly coloured Melaware plates and bowls used, heralding the move away from bone china even on your picnic.

Number 5: The record player

The portable record player in the late 1950s changed teenagers lives forever. Sitting in their bedrooms with all their friends, dancing to rock and roll and comparing vinyl, it gave them a sense of belonging and increased popularity due to the size or content of their collection. Singles were loaded in stacks to ensure continued play with the Dansette being the most popular. Before this, bedrooms were just a place to sleep, with all music listened to on the family’s gramophone downstairs.

Number 4: The washing machine

The biggest status symbol in the 1950s wasn’t a handbag but a twin tub! The washing machine saved housewives precious time as previously they had to hand wash everything, using a washboard and mangle. Life became even easier in the 1960s with the introduction of man-made fabrics which could be thrown into the tub for the first time. Adverts popped up, promising freedom to women with slogans such as “The neighbours are beginning to talk about me!” (now that she can cavort around town due to having a washing machine). However, in reality most women were actually in a launderette until the late 1970s.

Number 3: The telephone

Imagine life before the telephone (and internet for that matter)…having to write a letter or visit someone to have a chat. The telephone not only changed the way we communicated but also the purpose of our hallways. The first home phones in the 1930s were black and serious with later models designed in brighter colours and modern shapes. Located in the hall, often on a special telephone table, they were positioned in a place that ensured everyone could hear your conversation yet were far away enough to not interrupt your family meal.

Number 2: The television

Like it or loathe it the television has impacted our homes and lives radically. Invented before the war it took until the 1950s for families to have one in their homes but even this was rare. It had a 9 inch screen with one channel, was black and white and was broadcast for only a few hours a day. For national celebrations whole streets crammed into one front room to share the experience together. For the first time the news was seen rather than heard therefore becoming more real. Nowadays it has become the focus of the home, with one in each room and dinner served on the sofa making the dining room and family meals redundant.

and at number 1: The Refrigerator

Invented in the 1920s yet not becoming popular until the 1950s, the fridge has truly impacted the architecture of our homes as well as keeping our lemonade cool. Before it, homes had a separate larder or pantry room at the back of the house to store perishable items. With this invention, the room was no longer needed resulting in many families finally bringing in the outdoor toilet to make their first bathroom. As building progressed through the 20th century, the bathroom moved upstairs leaving space for a much larger kitchen at the back of the house. A fitted kitchen was bought, a table added and all because of the humble fridge!

*******************************************************************************

Cheer up the rainy days and your autumn wardrobe with This Weeks Giveaway! This lovely vintage necklace in glorious autumnal colours could be yours….

Simply: 1. Sign up to the blog 2. Let us know which brolly you like best in last Thursdays blog by leaving us a comment 3. Tell your friends through Facebook, Twitter etc so they can join in the vintage fun!

Winner will be drawn on Thursday 29th September x

 

 

 

Turning back the clocks

Gosh, it has been a whole year of writing for the great Vintage Life magazine. A year ago we wrote this article for the autumn edition………and we never blogged it!! So here it is!

Turning back the clocks

Remember that feeling of when, as a child you started the new year at school? Full of anticipation with shiny new shoes and a packed pencil case, full of tales of a glorious summer holiday in 6 weeks of hot sun. Well now is the time to feel that optimism again. Just swap the new stationary set for bright retro home accessories that will keep you happy until you get those Christmas decorations out.

So, turn back the clocks this Autumn with our great ideas to inject colour into your life and your home.

Home Furnishings

Curtains, cushions, wallpaper and rugs all made a major design change in the 50s with the introduction of bright patterns in contrasting colours. Patterned wallpapers next to different patterned curtains with clashing bright carpets was the new style. But this was all still quite expensive and in reality only the brave had this look in their homes.

However, this all changed with the arrival of Habitat in the 60s. It brought affordable and funky style to the baby boom generation who were leaving home and discovering their own individuality. With money to spend and an optimistic outlook for a brighter future they wanted their own homes to be colourful, psychedelic and fun. Living rooms were often orange in theme with now matching accessories; the clashing style of the 50s was left behind.

With this generation marrying and settling down in the 70s, more muted tones in browns and golds with organic patterns and shapes were introduced. The art nouveau revival seen at Biba, had an impact on furniture, fabric pattern and prints which meant that William Morris designs made a major come back.

As the days get shorter, draw the curtains early evening and snuggle up on the sofa. Add a splash of colour to your lounge by hanging retro curtains and scattering cushions in bright oranges, yellows and purples. The funky flowers will remind you of summer and take you back to the days before Ikea and mass produced style. We live in a generation of magnolia walls with taupe eyelet curtains…buck this trend by injecting a burst of retro zing against a white wall to bring a smile to your face after a long day at work.

Telephones

The revolutionary design of the Ericofon brightened up Swedish homes from the late 40s. This was the first marketed phone incorporating the handset and dial together (maybe a forerunner for the mobile phone) and came in 18 colours but interestingly, never black. In Britain, however, we continued with the serious black bakelite phone well into the early 60s.

A phone was something you hired from the GPO, it was for the adults and most homes didn’t even have one. The arrival of the BT 700 series in the 60s changed the face of our communication as well as brightening up our teak telephone tables. These were called the “modern telephone” and were available in 7 colours. Only a third of us were brave enough to have a coloured version though, the popular still being black and cream. BT introduced the idea of swapping colours to bring a change to your décor but as this cost money our parents chose a safe colour. Phones continued to develop with new colours and space age shapes though the 70s and 80s with the Trimphone and the Genie, before returning back to the more serious black of phones today.

A retro phone really stands out in our modern world, a key piece of retro heaven with an old fashioned ringer. Sit and chat to your friends on the landline, remembering how this was the way you arranged to see them, long before texts and Facebook.

Vases and bowls

Handblown glass has been made for centuries, but after the war designs started to emerge in new shapes, styles and colours just like other homewares. From the 60s onwards we bought into a new funky look with heavy vases and bowls. Murano glass from Italy with its new fluid cased creations and the kitsch look of English Chance handkerchief bowls all brightened up our G Plan sideboards.

The cased Murano form from Italy has a clear glass casing that houses a brightly coloured shape within it, creating a beautiful layered effect. Adding extra colours into the mix meant that when the sun shines through it, different colours are seen reflected through. The most famous and desirable was Flavio Poli’s “sommerso” range.

Here in Britain in the late 50s, Chance Glass introduced the handkerchief bowl. Based on the early Murano style, these contempary versions captured the spirit of the 50s with candy colours and kitsch patterns. They were also mass produced with set patterns (gingham, polka dot, swirls, stripes and textures) available in a variety of colours.

Create a statement this autumn with a retro glass bowl in the centre of your coffee table, a group of different shapes and sizes in a cluster on a shelf or simply choose an elegant bud vase on your dining table to introduce a blast of beautiful colour to your home.

The final touches

Forget Back to School, now is the time to add some retro style to your desk be it in your home or at your office. Bridge the gap until the Christmas holidays by introducing a 60s phone, a floral cushion for your chair, a West German pot for your pens or a 50s magazine rack for your papers. Impress your work mates this Autumn with your bright accessories like you used to impress your school friends with your matching rubber and sharpener!

Enjoy….It’s not long ’til Christmas!


We’re all going on a summer holiday

Here is our latest article from Vintage Life magazine, all about the Great British holiday!

We’re all going on a summer holiday

As schools are finishing for the summer break, now is the time to get ready for your annual holiday. With so much opportunity for world travel nowadays, it’s hard to imagine life before package holidays and cheap flights. However, even though we now can explore far off lands, we are beginning to fall in love again with a simpler experience, similar to the holiday adventures which began back at the start of the 20th century.

Escaping the city

The Victorians were the first to enjoy camping holidays but it was between the 2 wars that it began to really take off. People craved  a sense of healthy, outdoor living alongside a strong desire to escape the city. With the increase in pollution due to the manufacturing boom,  urban families needed to escape to the countryside. Later, as car ownership increased and  motorways opened up new possibilities, whole families and friends all travelled together to create a real home from home. Often camped alongside the British beaches, the main objective was to get as much air as possible. Playing on the sands, collecting shells, watching Punch and Judy and riding donkeys…children were out from dawn to dusk and their parents were happy that their offspring had unpolluted air inside them. Some families by now owned a caravan; a cramped affair with no electricity but parked alongside your neighbours it helped to add to the sense of community. Mother created a little haven with her usual china and linen, still keeping up her traditional look far from home. For some, this experience was enjoyed up to the late 70s with china swapped for more practical melamine, embroidered linen for a wind breaker and a tartan blanket.

Hi-Di-Hi campers!

An alternative experience was the Great British holiday camp. The first one opened in 1906 but it wasn’t until the 30s that the holiday camp experience really came into it’s own. Butlins was a key player, opening  Skegness in 1936 which accommodated 2000 guests in purpose built chalets. It was handed over to the soldiers during the war with Butlins able to buy it back after victory. Ironically, one regimentation was swapped for another, with the red coated staff dictating when you woke and when lights were turned off. Because of this, many people rejected the camps especially the middle class who didnt want to spend their precious days off with just anybody. But for most, these holidays were fun with non stop entertainment even if it rained in the shape of Glamorous Granny and Knobbly Knees competitions. More importantly these holidays were safe, with the red
coats entertaining children all day and baby sitting all evening. For the adults (and some teenagers), this was the time to relax and take to the bar. These were often decorated with a Hawaiian theme adorned with pineapple ice buckets, hula girls and cocktails with parasols on the side.

This will have inspired families to create their own version on return home, with a free standing bar, stools and cocktail cabinet.

Viva Espania

Into the late 60s, the baby-boomers were now teenagers and wanted more excitement further a field. In 1950, Horizon introduced the first package holiday to Corsica but it took another 15 years for it to be affordable for most. Holiday makers flew for the first time to Spain to enjoy the sunshine and by all reports rather a lot of sangria! It was still quite regimented though with everyone sharing meals together in long rows. This was a real turning point for British homes as everyone brought back souvenirs to remember their good times. Suddenly Flamenco dancers, bull fighters and traditional costumed dolls adorned walls and shelves as well as again, the recreation of a cocktail bar.

Now the Hawaiian  influence had gone, replaced with a more Spanish feel with macrame hanging baskets and carafes of wine. Before this, wine wasn’t generally drunk let alone
used as a table centre piece. How many of us can recall an empty bottle of Mateus Rose with a candle burning in it?

These holidays not only changed what we drank but also what we ate. Paella and later pasta became desirable forecasting the change in the way we cooked with a need for larger saucepans and fewer roasting trays and carving knives.

This holiday trend continued to grow through the 70s with holidays to most European destinations. The 80s saw the rise of skiing trips and package holidays to Florida. With city breaks, African safaris and cheaper long haul flights since the 90s we have been able to travel where we want as often as we can afford. Now however, having developed an understanding of the environmental
impact of cheap air travel we are re-discovering the simple delights of holidaying in our own country, exploring the beautiful coastlines and countryside. It seems we’ve come full circle back to our camping roots.

Spring into action!

As Spring is almost here, Your Vintage Life has written a new article for Vintage Life magazine. It refers to the wartime campaign of “Make Do and Mend” and “Dig For Victory”, highlighting that this ethos is as relevent today as it was 65 years ago. Filled with ideas for Easter gifts and how to bring a little bit of colour into your life this sprintime…it is all you need to motivate you to Spring Into Action!

 Spring into Action 

“Make Do and Mend” was introduced during the Second World War, encouraging women to be thrifty, making the most of their limited housekeeping money. The campaign suggested ways of recycling clothing and textiles, re-knitting woollen clothes, making blouses from pillowcases and skirts from men’s trousers. They were also given tips on how to use less and save more.

 “Dig for Victory” was another campaign encouraging people to turn gardens into allotments to provide food for the family and the community. This would save money and ultimately free up valuable space on the merchant shipping convoys for war materials. Both campaigns became a way of life until the end of rationing in the 1950s.

Both are as relevant this springtime as they were 65 years ago. Spring is a time of hopeful new beginnings, with blossom covering the trees, daffodils in full bloom and the annual contemplation of de-cluttering the cupboards. Now is the perfect time to re-introduce the old campaigns, combining the recycling of vintage with the individuality of handmade and home grown.

Bring the outside inside

Enamel kitchenware has been around since the 1700’s but it wasn’t until the 1930s that it actually became fashionable. The pre-war housewife loved it for it’s easy to clean, non porous finish as well as it’s chic new look. As it came in a variety of bright colours such as terracotta, green, blue and white, always with an alternative coloured edging, she could really start to co-ordinate her kitchen for the first time. However, it’s popularity declined in the 1950s when the even easier to clean melamine was introduced.

Why not add a real home grown feel to your kitchen window sill this spring, by planting herbs and chillies in vintage enamelware? Jugs, flour jars and deep stew pots are perfect and by mixing up the colours your kitchen will have a brightness that will compliment all the flowering bulbs outside. 1950’s children made and grew an indoor garden; planting grass lawns and rockery flowers as well as making trees and benches from plasticine. Why not have a go, using a vintage enamel deep baking tray and watering regularly. Alternatively, pick bunches of home grown tulips with a vintage basket and display them in an enamel jug.

Introduce spring florals to your home

Vintage wallpaper is a great way to add nostalgia to your home as well as giving it a fresh new feel. Finding original wallpaper is not easy, however single rolls are out there to be found. Give a tired space a burst of spring energy by hanging pastel floral designed wallpaper on a feature wall. 1950’s homes were not shy of a pattern or two, with many enjoying clashing patterned walls and curtains within the same room! Don’t waste the offcuts though: wrap your favourite hardback books to protect them or to personalise a notebook for a gift this Mother’s Day. Once you have cleaned out your cupboards, why not paste eye catching wallpapers inside to offset your vintage china. It will bring a smile to your face every time you open them, long into the winter months.

Hand paint your eggs

Traditionally every Easter, children made hand crafted bonnets and decorated eggs. This year, surprise a loved one with a hand painted boiled egg in a vintage eggcup for breakfast. Lay a tray with your favourite teacups and hide the egg in a 1930’s Heatmaster egg warmer. Designed with a lid and inner felt jacket to keep it warm, this is the best vintage eggcup you will find. Imagine the smile on their face when they lift the top off! For a retro look use the Tupperware plastic version designed in the 1960s

Tea and chocolate

Supermarkets entice you to buy Easter eggs from Boxing Day but this year why not make your own chocolate treats. Home made truffles taste fantastic and make great gifts. Have a go at making them egg shaped…..it doesn’t matter if they are not perfect! Everyone will be so impressed that you spent time creating something, rather than just throwing a shop bought egg into your trolley. Personalise them even further by placing them in carefully chosen vintage treasures; a teacup, a jelly mould or a finger bowl champagne glass are all ideal. They will need to be eaten within 3 days, but the gift will last a lifetime.

We can learn a lot from the 1940’s creative thriftiness. Simple thoughtful pleasures of mending, recycling, growing, making and spending time rather than money, were the values of the day.

“Do Mend and Make” is our reworded campaign for 2011….be inventive with your home by reusing and mending vintage pieces then give them your own handmade individual twist. Just think of it as your own personal victory!