A couple of weeks ago I went to the launch party of a wonderful new shop in Hampstead. Passionate About Vintage is the perfect place to pick up the finest vintage jewellery including highly collectible and sought after pieces dating from the 1900s to 1970s.

The shop is owned by the lovely Natalie Leon, who developed a huge knowledge and passion for vintage costume jewellery while studying at The University of the Arts in London. She spent many hours researching the history of jewellery at the National Art Library while writing her thesis. This lead her to start her own business several years ago. The business has gone from strength to strength and Natalie has now achieved her dream of owning her own shop.

The jewellery is sourced from all over the world and includes a wonderful range of Trifari pieces which are simply stunning. While looking through the shops antique display cabinets I also spotted some beautiful early 20th century celluloid pieces which I fell in love with.

The shop is the perfect destination for bridal jewellery with a huge range on offer. Natalie can arrange special appointments for brides to have the shop to themselves for an hour to try on as many pieces as they like with lot’s of expert advice on hand. There is also a small range of vintage inspired jewellery designed made by Natalie herself.

Pieces from the Passionate About Vintage collection have been featured in many prestigious magazines and books including Vogue, Harpers Bazaar and Style Me Vintage Weddings to name but a few.

I absolutely loved the pretty little shop, which sits amongst other independent businesses on Mill Lane in West Hampstead. The jewellery in displayed beautifully in antique cabinets and on pretty statues which set off the fabulous sparkles beautifully. The large windows let in plenty of light to show the jewels off wonderfully.

The party itself was delightful, organised by Bettina Scarlett Presents, there were beautiful floral displays by a local florist and cakes from a local shop both also on Mill Lane. Prosseco was served in pretty vintage tea cups and Natalie was on hand wearing an elegant powder blue 1950s frock to answer all our questions and show off the lovely range.

I wore a dress from Collectif and was given this beautiful hair accessory from Rosia Alia Designs by Natalie.

All the above photos are by Hanson Leatherby

Visit the Passionate About Vintage shop at:

66 Mill Lane, West Hampstead, London NW6 1NJ

0207 431 9723

Visit the Passionate About Vintage Website.

I’ll be doing a second post in the next couple of weeks with some of my favourite pieces from the Passionate About Vintage collection so look out for that soon.

Last week we went on a fantastic holiday to the Isle of Wight. We were so blessed with the beautiful weather. It was one of the hottest holidays I’ve ever been on and so close to home. We did so much in the 5 days that we spent there and I’m going to do a few posts on our trip.

One of the highlights was a few hours spend on the beach in Yaverland near Sandown, which had a beautiful sandy beach and lovely warm water.

We got stuck in straight away building a fort in the sand and also had a lovely paddle and swim in the sea. The girls had such a lovely time and it was great to spend so much time together. I used to play on the beach loads when I was a kid as my nan had a beach hut so it’s always one of my favourite things to do. Rob always laughs at me because I take fort building and sandcastle making really seriously and always organise the kids into making them!

Spending all this time by the sea reminds me how much I love it, I have always dreamed of moving to the seaside but I also love being near my family in London. One day I would like to buy a static caravan near the seaside and spend the summer and weekends there so I can get the best of both worlds.

I’ve been so lucky to have had two lovely seaside holidays this year and I’m hoping to squeeze one more in before this glorious summer is over. I have taken so many photos and made lot’s more wonderful memories and want to spend more time enjoying adventures with my beautiful little girls.

What are your favourite things about the seaside?

I’m a bit late with this months Birchbox review yet again and I somehow totally forgot to review the June box. I’ll try harder next month I promise! For those of you who aren’t familiar with Birchbox, it’s basically a monthly subscription where you receive a lovely box of beauty products every month, based on your preferences. Each box costs just £10 and usually contains a few high-end products. I’ve been subscribed since January and have had some really wonderful products that I’ve enjoyed using as well as few that I’ve not been that impressed with.

This months box was pretty good on the whole and I took most of them on holiday with me and used them a lot. So here’s what I thought of each product…

Weleda Millet Nourishing Shampoo:

I’ve only used one Weleda product before which was their famous Skin Food, which has become one of my favourite products. I was really excited to try something else from them. This shampoo is made using organic ingredients and has a lovely natural smell. It cleaned my hair really nicely and made it look really shiny so I was very impressed. This would be great if you’re looking for a natural product which gets hair really clean. I was really impressed and would definitely consider repurchasing. The full size shampoo costs £8.95 which I think is pretty affordable for a high-end product.

Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream:

I was really pleased that this box contained an eye cream as I needed a new one. I’ve also always liked Balance Me products when I’ve tried them before. This was a pretty good cream, and although it’s not the best one I’ve used I really liked it. It felt very gentle on the skin and smells really lovely. It claims to brighten the eye area and I think it does a little. I can’t confirm whether it keeps wrinkles at bay as I’ve only used it a few times. I liked how light this one felt and the sample size should last a little while so I’ll definitely continue to use it. The full size cream costs £20.

Laqa & Co. Sheer Lip Lube Pencil in Menatour:

Hmm Lip Lube, not sure about the name, or the colour for that matter. It’s always nice to get a full size make-up product in a beauty box and I love the application and texture of this high gloss pencil. I also love how moisturising it is on the lips, however I just couldn’t get on with the colour and this probably won’t get used by me very often. I do however think I’ll be taking a look at what other colours are on offer as this is a really lovely product. These cost £14.43 each.

Gilchrist and Soames English Spa Sea Kelp Extract Mineral Bath:

This was a lovely luxurious smelling bath soak, which I really enjoyed using. I love the scent and my skin felt lovely after a long soak in the bath with this. I’ve also tried some of their other bath products and loved them all. I think this would make a lovely gift as a treat for a friend. The full size product costs £11.25.

Whish Three Whishes Lavender Body Butter:

I love lavender-scented products, they are so soothing before bed and this lovely body lotion is really lovely. It smells much sweeter than other lavender-scented products I’ve tried. A bit like a lavender cupcake! I found this really moisturising and my skin felt soft and hydrated after using it. It’s quite a thick lotion so I’d recommend putting it on at night and letting it soak in while you sleep. The full-sized product costs £14.50.

Ultradex Oral Spray:

This was a bonus product in the box, I’ll be slipping this in my handbag just in case. It tastes nice and fresh and could be pretty useful after a meal out. These cost £3.65 each.

If you’d like to sign up for Birchbox yourself I have a refer a friend link which will give you 50 points (£5) to spend in the Birchbox shop when you sign up. You can find out more or sign up for Birchbox here.

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Penguin Books about Popular, a book written by American Teenager Maya Van Wagenan. Maya had been struggling with the hierarchy at her middle school and felt herself languishing at the bottom of the social ladder. One day she discovered a guide to popularity written by former model Betty Cornell in 1954.

She decided to spend her final year of school following the advice from the book and seeing if Betty’s ideas worked. Subjects covered included; clothing, appearance, figure, meeting people, and earning money amongst other things. My first instinct would be to question the need to be popular, or to have to change yourself to please others. As an adult it’s easy to forget how hard school can be and how much you just want to fit in.

I didn’t think there was much I could learn from reading the experiences of a 13-year-old learning about popularity. However very early on in the book I realised that Maya is a very special person. She is clever and articulate, she writes beautifully and she is wise beyond her years. Her dedication to the project was commendable, she tries things that I wouldn’t have dared to at school. I won’t give much away because I want people to just experience the book with out me telling you what happens, but she learns so much about herself and those around her. It’s inspirational and emotional and important.

I love the way she works with Betty Cornell’s slightly dated advice and works into her own life. She works out what she can take from it, all the while working things out for herself and learning so much along the way.

At times the book is funny, and others touching. Maya should be every teenage girls best friend and I can’t wait for my daughters to be old enough to read this because I know if I had read it at 13 and taken more risks and tried new things I would have enjoyed school more. As an adult I felt inspired by Maya and I would recommend this book to everyone.

Sorry if this wasn’t much a review, but I really just wanted to say how much I love the book and Maya.

I was invited by Penguin Books to attend a launch party for the book at their offices in London. It was such a fun event with adorable mini burger and hotdog canapés, a pop up vintage salon and an array of fabulous vintage stalls. It was nice to chat with some of my other favourite vintage and book bloggers and to discover lots of new ones. The two pictures above are the only ones I managed to take (bad blogger) as I was having such a great time and didn’t stop chatting to people all night. How amazing is the view of the Thames from Penguin’s offices! Penguin did send me this picture of Maya and Jo to include though!

Not only was Maya there to introduce her book and answer our questions she was also joined by Jo Elvin the editor of Glamour magazine, who talked about the book and gave Maya a fantastic interview. Maya is even more wonderful in real life, and I was delighted to hear that she is currently writing her first novel which I can’t wait to read.

We were each gifted a lovely Popular canvas bag with some goodies inside including both Maya and Betty’s books as well as some treats from the stall holders at the event and a copy of Glamour. I haven’t read Betty’s book yet, but will definitely be reading and reviewing it in the future as well as enjoying the other treats from my goody bag.

You can buy the books on Amazon here…

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek (A Memoir)

Betty Cornell Teen-Age Popularity Guide


Dot Com Gift Shop is one of my all time favourite websites. If a shop could be designed just to appeal to me this would be it. Think retro toys, floral kitchen wear, cute sewing sets, fairy lights and stationary and you have all my favourite things in one place. Naturally I was delighted to be invited to their christmas blogger event. It may be summer but in the world of retail christmas planning starts early!

The evening was an absolute delight with lovely hosts, a wonderful venue at Different Gallery in London and lot’s of other lovely bloggers to chat to. We were also treated to a hugely informative talk on blogging from journalist and blogger Jenny Wood.

Needless to say all the stock on display was fabulous and I now want it all. Highlights included some beautiful glass bottles and jars, pretty baking sets and everything you could possibly need for an old-fashioned sports day. I spotted suitable gifts for everyone I know, including lot’s of cycling related goodies for my bike mad dad, pretty girlie stationary for Jessica, a cardboard farm store for Lila and some pretty sewing tins for me! When it comes to christmas shopping this year I know where I’ll be heading.

I love these antique style cosmetic bottles – perfect to display in a bathroom.

I love it when everyday things are made to look pretty, these gorgeous sewing pins would take pride of place in any sewing box.

These lovely ribbons are really similar to some of my vintage ones.

The children’s range was a real highlight for me. I loved how simple and traditional everything was. I now desperately want to go and fly a kite!

More prettiness – you can tell I like haberdashery can’t you!

My children need this in their life! We have loads of play food in our house and I feel this would bring out the girls entrepreneurial skills, as well as pass many a happy hour!

There was a huge range of things to hold a retro sports day, including medals. Perfect for kids who need to get outside for a run around.

I love nostalgic board games, but don’t really own any. I love the packaging these traditional games come in which remind me of playing with my lovely grandma and granddad when I was little.

Fall in love with Dot Com Gift Shop as much as I have and check out their website here.