I’m feeling in the mood for a little Jane Austen at the moment. So I’m going to be writing about anything Austen related be it books, films, biographies of her and even a little Austen fan fiction. So watch this space!

I usually prefer to buy vintage clothes in person. It’s nice to be able to feel and have a good look before buying. Having said that nothing can beat the convenience of shopping online. Traditionally the best places to look for a wide range of vintage from many sellers have been Ebay and Etsy, but I have found a new love for the more recent ASOS marketplace.

ASOS Marketplace is in many ways similar to Etsy, only have many more British sellers and is more user friendly. Vintage traders can have their own online shop, with a blog and people can follow particular shops that they like. There is also a feedback rating system similar to Ebay. There is quite a personal touch to the site and it does feel like lots of individual traders with the added benefit of being able to search for a particular item across all the boutiques.

ASOS have a policy where all the stock must be photographed on real people in natural daylight. So no mannequins and no Photoshop. As a buyer this is brilliant as its gives a much more realistic impression of how a garment will look and how the fabrics hang. From a sellers point of view I can see this being tricky. You need a decent model and camera, not to mention a great location to take the pictures. Many sellers have an amazing selection of pictures, others completely fail.

As with everywhere there is a total lack of anything pre 1950s. I’m actually starting to worry that the vintage industry is running out of really old stuff! But I saw lots of lovely 1950s frocks.

As I’m a little obsessed with coral at the moment here are my favourite dresses from the site.

ASOS Marketplace Links…

Jarvis and Janis 

Bohemian Rose Vintage

Once Upon a Time

This week I watched a new programme on Channel 4 called Get Your House in Order. The programme is basically about hoarders, whose lives have been taken over by all their belongings. Everything that is cluttering their lives and filling their homes is then moved into a warehouse so they can see the extent of the problem and also see their houses empty of all their things.

This weeks episode saw 26-year-old shopping addict Amie face up to her addiction to shopping. Amie’s beautiful Georgian cottage which she shared with her fiance was literally buried under clothes, shoes and handbags. It was actually really sad to see how much her habit had taken over their lives. They were due to get married and yet she had squandered all their money spending over £100 a week shopping!

I really liked the concept of the programme, and the idea that making the person’s house look amazing will help them not to sink back into their old ways. It’s basically ‘How Clean is your House’ meets ‘Changing Rooms’!

I think it’s a great mentality to sell all the stuff you don’t use anymore, give the rest to charity and spend any money you make on creating a beautiful home, or going on holiday. Belongings are just another burden on many people.

I moved house recently and got rid of a huge amount of stuff, but really this is something we should all do as often as we can. A good clean out and spring clean every six months is a great way of never letting your clutter mount up.

Luckily it was a happy ending for shopping addict Amie who saw the error of her ways and managed to raise enough money getting rid of her ridiculous volume of clothing to have three rooms of her house revamped.

I cant wait to see next weeks episode, in which Sylvia faces up to over a £100,000 worth of shopping that has accumulated in her home!

You can watch this weeks episode on 4OD here

I have been hard at work for the last few months planning my first vintage fair. Frocks and Frills will be Wimbledon’s first ever vintage fair. It’s being held on 14th April.

It’s been so much fun finding some amazing stall holders. I have designed the website myself and all the advertising. Now I’m just hoping the day is a huge success.

It’s something I had wanted to do for ages, I have been selling vintage for a few years now. I love the vibrant atmosphere of vintage fairs, and all the interesting quirky people. I love seeing a room full of beautiful one off clothes.

I also love meeting all the other stall holders. All these people have taken it upon themselves to start their own business, source beautiful clothes and create something amazing. And it really inspires me.

I have had so many lovely messages from people who have heard about the fair, and I’m now wishing I’d chosen a bigger venue as I’ve so many extra requests for stalls.

The good news is that I’ve already booked a slightly larger venue for our second fair on 28th July so all the people I’ve had to say no to for April will be able to come next time.

Now I just need to keep everything crossed and hope loads of people come in on the day.

You can find out more by visiting my website here

As a child I spent many an hour sitting in my Grandmother’s shop in Pimlico. The shop sold all sorts of curiosities, antiques, bric-a-brac and lots of Victorian lace items and clothes. The shop had been passed down to my grandmother by her mother who had been a market trader, then shop owner and avid collector of Victorian clothing.

Gertrude Lee, born 1886 my great-grandmother had a very interesting life. She started her working life as a variety artiste, singer and dancer on the stages of London in the 1910s and continued on the stage until after the first world war. She used the stage name ‘Betty Lambert’ I have this early picture of her with the other stage girls, it’s so fascinating to see her and be related to her.

One of the most amazing pictures we have of her is this postcard from the first world war, which was sold to raise money for tobacco for the men on the front line.

Following the first world war Mrs Lee supported her family with her love of costume and antique clothing by trading under the famous clock tower in Caledonian market, and in the markets of East Street, London.

By the 1950s she had expanded her business and was running three London shops in Camberwell, Covent Garden and Pimlico. The shops specialised in fine lace from Honiton and Bruges as well as antique clothing, and costume from stage and screen.

Here is a picture of her in her shop in 1953 with the actress Jean Marsh, who later starred in Upstairs Downstairs

And another picture from the 1950s

She was a hoarder and as well as running the shop she owned a massive collection of Victorian and Edwardian clothing, some of which was later donated to the Victoria and Albert museum, where funnily enough my brother now works!
She continued to run the shop until 1977 when she died at the age of 91! She only took time off for a trip to Soviet Russia in the winter of 1966 for her 80th birthday, and to travel to the United States and Mexico where she crossed the Atlantic Ocean on the world’s largest ocean liner Queen Elizabeth 1.
Here she is outside her shop
After her death my Grandmother Marjorie and her husband Jack took over the running of the business until she retired in 2006 well into her 80s!
I think having the influence of these amazing women is the thing that fuelled my love of vintage and inspired me to collect and sell it. I only wish her collection of clothing had stayed in the family as I would have loved to have seen it.
I will try to dig out some more pictures of her and put them on here as soon as I can.
These pictures may not be reproduced under any circumstances without my prior written permission. Thank you.