So I’ve already conquered the world of carboots, charity shops and vintage fairs but my thirst for thrift has taken me in a new direction – salvage. Since completely renovating our new house at the beginning of the year we were left with a very blank canvas and slowly we’ve been buying nice little bits for the house and bigger bits in the form of vintage furniture. But for those ever special features like door handles, light fittings and exterior items architectural salvage is the way to go.

Programmes like Channel Four’s Kirstie’s Homemade Home and History Channel’s Salvage Seekers have brought reclamation to our attention a little more recently and I’ve certainly become aware of a few places nearby.

Today we visited for the second time an architectural salvage shop in Wimbledon. The shop is a little out-of-the-way but is one of Wimbledon’s best kept secrets. The shop is jam-packed with Victorian fireplaces and doors, but there are also some smaller bits and pieces too. Highlights included enamel sinks, over fireplace mirrors and a fabulous Victorian cash register.

We came away with an incredible Victorian etched glass window, which would have been taken from a pub. These are so hard to find now as they were all stripped out of pubs mid twentieth century but have now become very popular again so any pubs that still have them are keeping them. Our plan is to clean it as best we can and have a new door made to incorporate it. The glass was priced at £50 but we managed to get it for £40 as we were buying other things. This is an absolutely amazing price for such a rare item with so much character.

We also got a set of antique glass door knobs which we will be using on all the upstairs door of the house. These were prices at £25 per pair. I can’t wait to use our purchases in the house, they are so unique and interesting.

It’s also really important to support small local businesses and with the rise of Ebay smaller companies like this one really suffer. Nothing beats going to look and touch things before buying them and you often end up getting things at a better price.

I’m going to share the things I bought in a separate post as they’re packed away in protective paper until I’m ready to get them cleaned up.

Here are a few sneaky pics that I took in the shop…

Has anyone else found any amazing vintage and antu=ique items lately. I’d love to hear about them. If your stuck for something to do today why not visit your local salvage or reclamation yard?

You can find the shop we went to at; 83 Haydons Road, Wimbledon, SW19 1HH.

If your looking for something particular you can call the shop on 020 8543 4450

While in Brighton I visited the Brighton Museum with the sole purpose of visiting the Biba and Beyond exhibition. The exhibition covers the career of the designer behind Biba, Barbara Hulanicki. This is going to be along post so I’m doing it in two parts.

The History of Biba

Barbara Hulanicki studied art at Brighton School of Art, after finishing her studies she went on to win a beachwear design competition in The Evening Standard in 1955. Her career in fashion began when she worked s a fashion illustrator with her work appearing in numerous fashion magazines including Vogue.

Biba began it’s life as a mail order company selling her designs through newspapers, its first major success was with a Bridgette Bardot style Gingham dress which they had advertised in The Daily Mail which received 4000 the morning after the advert appeared.

As the mail order business gained in popularity Hulanicki acquired a shop in Arbington Road in Kensington in 1964 as a means of storing the stock which she could no longer fit in her home. Within an hour of the store opening all the dresses had sold out and her husband had to bring more. Biba was iconic from the offset.

Biba was especially popular because the clothes were not expensive. They appealed to young shoppers who weren’t catered for elsewhere and both the sizes and the sales staff were tiny. Biba started to get a cult following as young girls aspired to look like celebrities and they could afford to buy popular styles that emulated their idols.

Biba opened its second shop in 1965 on Kensington Church Street as well as running several mail order catalogues so that Biba shoppers didn’t have to travel to London. Another shop followed on Kensington High Street in 1969.

In 1974 Biba moved to a huge seven storey department store, which not only sold the iconic Biba fashion brand, but also men’s and children’s wear, books, home decor and store also had its own food hall. The department store was known as ‘Big Biba’. The store had a department full of Biba branded items and you could buy the logo on almost anything! The site also featured The Kensington Roof Gardens which can still be visited today.

Biba Red Lentils and Instant Coffee were amongst other branded products available at Big Biba (above)

Soap Flakes and Biba Gift Vouchers (below)

The Biba brand was solely marketed at teenagers and girls in their teens and early thirties who due to post war austerity had small frames and suited the small cuts of Biba’s styles. Biba clothes came in muted colours such as browns, plums, and rust reds, which would grow to be very popular colours during the seventies. The cuts of the clothes were tight under the arms and the skirts were very short. Hulanicki followed in the footsteps of Mary Quant and brought the mini skirt onto the high street.

After struggling with the finances of running such a large business Hulanicki sold 75% of Biba to Dorothy Perkins and Dennis Day. After disagreements over creative control Hulanicki left the company and in 1975 the shop was closed.

Biba has been relaunched several time since it’s closure without the involvement of Hulanicki and has never rekindled its former success.

It’s actually really sad to think of a company that is so iconic to British fashion dying out. However Hulanicki has continued to have an amazing career which I will cover in Part two of this post.

Here are some pictures I took at the amazing exhibition.

Loomout for my follow up post which should be up this weekend, where I will be talking about Barbara Hulanicki’s continued career and will be sharing lot’s more pictures from the exhibition.

If you’d like to go along for yourself details can be found here

I’m a little late in writing a post about Kirstie Alsopp’s new series, although I did review the book to accompany it a few weeks ago. I’ve always been a big fan of Kirstie’s ever since the early series of Location, Location, Location and as a vintage home obsessive I love to get inspiration from her newer TV work.

If you love a bit of craft, make-do-and-mend or upcycling then this is a great programme to watch. I also love her little tips on vintage shopping which for someone new to thrifting can be really helpful. Watching Kirstie makes me want to raid skips and trawl salvage yards for perfect one of a kind pieces.

I’ve watched the first two episodes of this new series and I’ve been really inspired. I’ve been picking ap antique dining chairs at carboot sales with the aim of upcycling them. The second episode explained how to paint them and properly reupholster them and I will be following the tips from the programme when I get round to doing them. You can view the tutorial here

What I like most about the series is that it encourages us to make our homes amazing in such an individual way, without buying new.

If you’re looking for vintage home inspiration or just want to learn a few new crafts then this is the show for you.

Kirstie’s Vintage Home continues on Thursday evenings on Channel Four.

I recently read this book after it was recommended to me by @TheVintageGirl on Twitter.

I bought the book on my kindle while I was on holiday and it was the perfect book to relax and read. It was published last christmas and is very festive so I would recommend reading it in the run up to christmas. I took the following synopsis from Amazon…

Dreams can come true – it could happen to you…For the past two years, Evie Taylor has lived an invisible existence in London, a city she hoped would bring sparkle to her life. But all that is about to change. For winter has brought a flurry of snow and unexpected possibilities. Hidden away in the basement of  Hardy’s – once London’s most elegant department store – Evie manages the stockroom of a shop whose glory days have long since passed. When Evie overhears that Hardy’s is at risk of being sold, she secretly hatches a plan. If she can reverse the store’s fortunes by December 26th – three weeks away – and transform it into a magical destination once again, she might just be able to save it. But she’s going to need every ounce of talent and determination she has. In fact, she’s going to need a miracle.

 The book was the perfect read for me as it’s jam-packed with vintage fashion and oodles of nostalgia. I also used to work as a visual merchandiser in a department store, so the book brought back loads of happy memories from a job I really loved. As a Londoner I love the descriptions of the city and the role it plays within the book.

The characters are easy to relate to and the relationships between the characters are both funny and touching be it family, colleagues or love interests. The book has the right balance between the romance and the overall plot of the book, although you may find yourself shouting at the pages as Evie makes all the wrong choices! It was easy to get absorbed in the story and to really care about Evie and the fate of Hardy’s. The main focus of the story is on the department store and the story it has played out within the characters lives which works really well.

I’d recommend this book to vintage lovers, chick-lit lovers and anyone who gets very excited about Christmas. It has definitely inspired me to have a very vintage christmas this year.

Ali Harris’s new book The First Last Kiss is out early next year and I’m really looking forward to giving it a read.

You can buy the book on Amazon here

You can visit Ali Harris’s website here

I recently posted about some cake cases that I found in Poundland the other day. It’s really nice to find pretty cake cases and I made my daughter some princess cupcake as a surprise the other day.

Poundland BakingHere’s the pretty little cakes which came out lovely despite the fact that I used very little icing…

If you have a little girls party coming up I’d recommend having a look in Poundland to see if you can get some of these as you get loads in the pack and they are such a bargain.