January has been another fun and busy month for me. So far I’ve had lots of family time, sold a lot of vintage and had a mini break away. I’ve not blogged much so far as I’ve been focussing on other things. I do have a lot to share with you over the next few weeks and one of those things is the latest offering from Birchbox. I’ve now been reviewing the monthly beauty boxes on the blog for two whole years! In that time I’ve tried so many fabulous new products and this month is no exception.

Birchbox January 2016
This months box was a collaboration with Pinterest and I loved the pretty box, I use them to store make-up and vintage jewellery so I always like it when the boxes ae interesting.

Birchbox January 2016 Contents
The contents of the box are equally lovely and I was really happy with the mix of products. The box came with a handful of pretty illustrated postcards with a new year theme, which I just love. I’m planning on putting some of them up in my blog office for a little inspiration.

Birchbox January 2016 Postcards
The first product in my box is the Benefit They’re Real Tinted Primer. I’m already a huge fan of Benefit mascaras and the They’re Real has been my top choice for a very long time. This primer is mink coloured and goes on in one coat under your normal mascara, for show-stopping voluminous lashes. I absolutely love it! the full-sized product costs £18.50 and the samples are always a pretty generous size.

Birch box January 2016 Jelly Pong Pong Lighten Up Brightener
The next product is a multi tasking brightening pencil. The Jelly Pong Pong Lighten Up Brightener is a great all round product. It’s perfect for using in the waterline for brighter eyes or to highlight your eyebrows. I love the soft bendable formula and will definitely be using this one more. This was a full site product which usually costs £14.95

Birchbox January 2016 - Cowshed Gorgeous Cow Body lotion
At this time of year I always get through loads of body lotion, so I was pleased to get a new one to try with this months box. The Cowshed Gorgeous Cow Blissful Body Lotion has a yummy spicy recent, perfect for this time of year. A littles goes a long way, so this generous sized sample will definitely last me a while. The full-sized product costs £20.

Birchbox January 2016 Parlour by Jeff Chastain Hair Products
The box included two samples from Parlor, a brand I’ve never tried before. This shampoo and conditioner are perfect for strengthening and repairing lacklustre hair. The scent of Ripe Peach and Freshly cut grass is simply divine and both products made my hair very happy. The full-sized products are £16 each.

Birch box January 2016 Absolution Cleansing Water
I love cleansing waters for removing my make-up when I’m in a rush. Although it has a clear watery consistency, The Absolution L’Eau Soir et Martin is packed with fabulous nourishing ingredients like hazelnut oil and aloe vera to keep your skin looking and feeling lovely. The full-sized product costs £27

Birch box January 2016 #NoFilter mirror
The bonus product in the box was this cute #NoFilter hand mirror, perfect for tucking into your handbag.

I was really happy with everything in the box this month and loved that every product was a high-end sample, no gap fillers here.

Birchbox Pinterest Collaboration
See how this box compares to last year’s January Birchbox.

If you’d like to receive a monthly Birchbox too, I have a refer a friend link with add £5 worth of points to your account. These can be used to buy full sized products in the Birchbox shop.


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Time to clean out your wardrobe

One of my very favourite things about wearing vintage, is the constant search for new (old) things. Most people who wear real vintage will be used to trailing vintage shops, charity shops and online to find that gorgeous unicorn piece in just the right measurements. I have never met a vintage collector who feels that their collection is complete.

I don’t think I’ll ever look at my wardrobe and decide that I don’t need to buy anymore clothes. One thing I am very aware of, is never letting my possessions become a burden. So as someone who is constantly looking out for my next amazing piece, so I must edit and curate what I already have. I never want to become overwhelmed by too many dresses, or have a wardrobe full of clothes and nothing wear.

To Keep or not to keep
Every now and then it’s time to have a cull. I thought today I’d share with you some of my rules that I use to keep on top of my vintage collection.

Does it fit?

This to me is hugely important. I have to be very honest with myself, should I keep something that is too small with the hope that I might lose weight and it will fit in the future? Personally I don’t think so, if and when I do lose weight I will reward myself with something new, until them someone else could be enjoying the garment and I could use the space for something that I can enjoy now. The same applies for items that are too big, will I ever get round to having it altered? Probably not, so again it has to go.

Do I really Love it? 

I am definitely guilty of having a few gap fillers in my wardrobe. Things which I’ve bought because they fit and because they were a bargain. But I always seen to pass them by for my favourite dresses. Again they are just wasting space and for the one time I might potentially wear them, they’re not worth keeping. If I don’t love them they have to go.

Is it valuable?

It is very true that with the increasing rarity of vintage and the ever-increasing prices, certain pieces are both collectible and valuable. But keeping things because one day you might sell them, might not be worth the space. From a personal point of view I collect vintage to wear and I will often pass on investment pieces so that I can buy something new that I will wear more.

Vintage Dresses
Have you Worn it too many times?

I have been known to rid myself of some of my favourite dresses because I feel our relationship has come to an end. I have so many dresses that once I have worn something, enjoyed it and photographed it, I feel it is time to set it free. The best thing about vintage is that you can easily sell it and replace it with something new without having lost any money. I love the possibilities of constantly updating my clothes and letting them pay for themselves.

Am I Wearing it at all?

This is definitely the most important thing to consider and culminates all of the above. I feel very affectionately towards my real vintage dresses, not only are they beautiful, but they are also steeped in the history of the women who wore them before me. I hate thinking of them hidden away unworn and I would prefer to find them a new home where they can be enjoyed rather than shut away out of sight.

There are serious vintage collectors who create archives of fashion and it is different. But from my point of view my wardrobe is not so much a collection, but more a place where I want to store clothes that I actually wear.

What to do with your unwanted vintage
So once you’ve pulled all the unworn pieces from your closet what should you do with them? Again there are loads of options and I do a combination of the following…

Sell them:

I often sell my better items on eBay, add them to my Etsy shop or take them to a fair or car boot sale. There are also some fantastic Facebook groups for selling on your vintage pieces. I have a great memory or where I bought my clothes and exactly how much they cost and I always try to sell them for what I paid for them or a little bit more where possible. This means I can get new things with the money.

I find eBay the quickest and easiest way to sell vintage and still get good money. Etsy is great, but can be very slow-moving, as it really is very full of vintage now. I only take items that I don’t mind getting a very small amount for to car boots sales, as everybody is looking for a bargain there too.

Useful links from the blog:

My Ebay Selling Dos and Dont’s. 

My Tips for Selling at Vintage Fairs

So you Want to Start a Vintage Business

Donate them:

I get a lot of my vintage bits in charity shops, every year it seems to become harder and harder to find good vintage though. I really believe in returning some vintage to the charity shops every year so that someone else can enjoy a bargain too. It’s also a great way to support a good cause and give a little back to the world.

Vintage Clothes
Don’t Let Anything Slip Through The Net:

My final tip would be to make sure you remove absolutely every item from your wardrobe before you begin. This is mostly so that each and every item gets seen and no unwanted items stay hidden amongst the keepers. Another good reason to get everything out is to give the wardrobe itself a good clean. Moths and other pests like dusty corners and a clean organised wardrobe can help to keep them at bay.

Only put the items you want to keep back in your wardrobe and as you put them in, make sure you check them over for any damage. As they say “A stretch in time, saves nine”.

What tips do you have for sorting through your vintage, are you a hoarder or are you strict with yourself about limiting  your vintage clothing collection? Have you ever thrown out something and regretted it later? Let me know in the comments.

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With the ever-growing popularity of wearing vintage and the vintage scene in general, there has never been a better time for a really good quality vintage magazine. Last year saw the launch of the hugely popular In Retrospect Magazine. The quarterly magazine describes itself as ‘a modern magazine for old-fashioned people’ which is a very accurate description.

In Retrospect MagazineSo far I’ve read the first four issues which are packed with a wide variety of pieces from some really fantastic contributors, bringing their knowledge from all corners of the vintage world. Variety is what makes the magazine such a great read. The audience is both male and female and it’s great to see the male element of vintage which is all too often forgotten when we talk about vintage fashion and lifestyle.

In Retrospect Vintage MagazineOver 120 or so pages of quality text and beautiful photography you can find not only fashion, but book reviews, lifestyle posts, the latest vintage events and discussion. The magazine is a wealth of information to immerse yourself in. Whether vintage is an occasional fashion choice, a hobby or your full lifestyle you’ll find something in its pages to enjoy.

In Retrospect Contents PageWhat makes me enjoy it especially, is that so many of my favourite bloggers write for the magazine. It’s like an anthology of my favourite blogs in one place and as well as really enjoying leafing through the pages I’ve definitely gained so much knowledge of the past from its interesting features.

In Retrospect Collecting CelluloidOne of my favourite parts of the magazine are the useful guides to collecting vintage pieces, I was fascinated by a guide to vintage celluloid in the first issue by vintage jewellery expert Natalie Leon.

In Retrospect Are the 90s Vintage

In Retrospect Make Do and AccessorizeAdvertising is kept to a minimum with a few relevant adverts for vintage related companies scattered throughout. The bulk of the magazine is really good quality writing and for the £4.50 that each issue costs, you definitely get your moneys worth in content.

In Retrospect Trench cake

In retrospect the Tweed RunThe magazine is written by vintage lovers, for vintage lovers and I really recommend it. You can buy back issues from the In Retrospect website and also subscribe to future issues.

Find out more on the In Retrospect website.

Absolutely ages ago, back in July in fact, I wrote a blog post about a new series I’d like to write on the blog. My Vintage Favourites series was all about showing you my favourite true vintage pieces. In a sea of gorgeous reproduction vintage it’s nice to see the real thing every now and then. But in true Catherine style I wrote one post and never got round to doing another. My last post was all about my red gingham Horrockses dress. With my one and only new years intention being to share more outfits on the blog, now seems like the perfect time to start again.

Mustard Dress OOTD
Todays dress isn’t just one of my favourites, it is my very favourite vintage dress. I absolutely adore everything about it. Mustard yellow has always been one of my favourite colours and when I spotted this dress at the Classic Car Boot Sale a couple of years ago, I knew it had to be mine. I love how typically mid-century the print is and I love the big pockets and the extra details.

1950s Mustard OOTD
I’ve added my favourite cardigan, which is a hand knitted one that I picked up at a charity shop last year. I wear it with absolutely everything, but I am so happy with how well it goes with this dress. To finish off the colour co-ordivation overload I’ve worn it with my brand new Miss L Fire shoes, which were a bit spendy, but as soon as I saw them I knew they would go really well with my dress.

1950s Mustard Dress Close Up
The dress looks quite summery, but worn with a cardi and some nude stockings I quite like it as winter outfit. I’ll definitely be wearing this outfit all year round though. I love adding a little colour to a dreary rainy day.

Miss L Fire Betty Shoes Mustard Yellow

Outfit Details:

Dress – Vintage 1950s – Classic Car Boot Sale

Cardigan – Charity Shop Find

Betty Shoes – £99.99 – Miss L Fire

Do you wear bright colours in the winter, or go for darker shades?

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2015 was a pretty good year for me. My friends and family are all healthy and happy, I’ve made some amazing friends through my love of vintage and the blog has come a long way. I even won a blog award this year which was absolutely amazing. Big things aside I’ve had lots of small things which have made me happy this year and one of those things will always be settling down with a good book.

Between reading from the page and listening to audio books while doing other things, I’ve got through a big stack of books this year and I thought I’d quickly share my list with you. Theres been a great mixture of chick-lit, vintage themed books and a few older classics. I’ve recently been re-reading the Harry Potter series, which will always be a favourite of mine.

Here’s every book I’ve read in the last year…

2015 Reading 1
My most recent books include some Jenny Colgan and Lisa Jewell which I read absolutely years ago and have recently been re-reading them. I also got really into the Game Of Thrones books having watched all the series recently. I definitely broke up the heavy going GOT books with some lighter reads in between.

2015 Reading 2
This year I also read a few of the new additions to the Style Me Vintage series, I especially liked the book on accessories, which gave me loads of shopping inspiration!I also discovered the Lucia series which are absolutely hilarious and made me consider restarting the vintage book group at some point.

2015 reading 3
I read absolutely loads of the Daisy Dalrymple mysteries this year too. If you’re a fan of Agatha Christie you’ll love these. Another of my favourite books of the year was the Fashion on The Ration book which accompanied the exhibition at The Imperial War Museum. The book offered so much insight into clothing during the 1940s. You can see my review here.

I’m definitely considering starting a vintage themed book club up again this year. Would anyone be interested?

I’ve had so much fun reading last year and I can’t wait to read more amazing books this year, do you have any recommendations?

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