Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Why I Haven't Blogged for Nearly a Month/The Big Project

*Hangs head in shame*

Hi guys.

I haven't blogged for nearly a month, but I have many-a-reason to justify my absence. I'm pleased to inform you that my leave has been productive and positive.

Where to begin.

My family home, where I currently reside (off to uni in September!) hasn't been decorated for over 10 years. The paintwork and furniture look shabby (without the chic), but my parents haven't had the time, or money, to spruce it up. Two rooms that we found to be particularly sad were the hall and lounge:

I will never understand the terracotta craze of the 90s, but supposedly it was the fashion at the time. Hmm.

Our lovely wingback armchairs and sofa were recently acquired on eBay for £30 (for all of them!), to replace our previous frumpy sofas. They were also, funnily enough, terracotta.

The dullest rug to ever exist. 

Very non space efficient glass cabinet.

The main issue with this room, structurally, is the terrible plaster job (the walls are wonky as anything) and the textured wallpaper used to try and hide them. Even if painted a completely different colour, the colossal bumps would still be visible.

Then there's the hall:

It actually looks alright in this photo, but the walls, once again, were plastered *terribly*

Our cat has made an absolute mess of the stairs.

The devil! We've replaced the bottom step multiple times as well. 

Old bureau in real need of a paint. 

Sun faded tapestry put up to hide lumps on the wall.

How has this impacted on your blogging, though?

At the beginning of 2013, when my family really began discussing the changes we desired, I evaluated the two issues in our way and came up with a plan:

ISSUE 1 - Time - My parents both manage very stressful and time-consuming jobs, leaving them little time to even think about decorating. Considering I would be finishing my art foundation course in May, I'd have a good four months to get really stuck into the work until uni, making things much easier for my fam.

ISSUE 2 - Money - Time is irrelevant if you don't have the money for decorating, and there's no way my parents could splash out to freshen things up. The good thing is that 10 years of not having time to decorate also meant 10 years of not having time to clear out, and that is when the idea materialised to raise money through selling unwanted belongings on eBay.

Since March, we've raised a grand total of £1082!

I kid you not.

It was tedious, and it took stamina, but it was oh-so-worth it. Only a third of that, max, was raised selling expensive items. The rest was lots and lots of small things which added up over the months. My family went through their stuff frequently, and although at first in doubt as to whether it would amount to anything, it certainly did!

At the beginning of July we only had £700 of this, so the past month has been a gloriously painful effort of finding anything and everything worthy of rehoming for a good price. We managed to raise £100 of it at a car boot sale for the less eBayable bits and bobs.

This is why I've been an appalling blogger for the past month!

Now that we have the money, we're rectifying the wrongs of these two rooms. It's majorly on a budget, but we have a plan. Check back tomorrow to see where we're at so far!

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Barg of the Week: Costume Design Books

Usually my Barg of the Week finds are second-hand bought, but from time to time I come across new items which are equally cheap-as-chips. This weeks feature is a strange case of the two combined.

So I was at the Victoria and Albert Museum on a college trip, some months after having been to see the Hollywood Costume exhibition (and The Lion King Musical!) with my mum. The costume exhibition (which was mind-blowing, might I add) had closed some weeks before, and hence the V&A shop was trying to clear the exhibition-specific merchandise. Here's what I came home with:

 These chunky, beautiful books retail at £50 (Dressed - A Century of Hollywood Costume Design) and £35 (Hollywood Costume). As I'm going to study Theatre Design at uni in September, and have a specific interest in costume for film, I had wanted these books ever since they hit the shelves...but not with those pricetags.

The one-off copies I purchased were ex display books, handled by thousands of people, creased and bent. This wasn't a problem to me...considering they were £5 and £10! Saving me a total of £70. Don't mind if I do V&A.

Quite frankly the content is invaluable. This double page spread features Liza Elliot (Ginger Rodgers) from Lady in the Dark (1994). The costume designer was Edith Head, a renowned legend in the industry.

Rose's iconic suit from Titanic (1997). Costume designer - Deborah L. Scott.

This is probably one of my favourite pages. This gorgeous dress, worn by Deborah Kerr in The King and I (1956), is undoubtedly a demonstration of the upmost skill.

And whilst we're on the subject of 1800s dress, here is the stunning Vivien Leigh as Scarlett in Gone with the Wind (a film I have a confusing love/hate relationship with). Walter Plunkett designed some incredible pieces for the movie.

And for a final peek inside these facsinating books, a double page spread on the lustrous gowns from The Mystic (1925). These elaborate pieces greatly remind me of how Alphonse Mucha's women are clothed. Aren't they divine?

For a grand total of £15 I really couldn't go wrong with these, and would recommend them to anyone with an interest in costume. Maybe I'll write a proper review someday, but for now, enjoy the eye candy!

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Wardrobe: Alterations

Hello lovely people!

Just a quick update to inform you that I'll now be making Wardrobe posts every fortnight, rather than every week. I have rather a lot of clothes, but not *that* many. Here's a nice photo of some vintage crochet blankets to say sorry:

P.S, I'm working on my first 'DIY How To' post...exciting times ahead!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Barg of the Week: Abandoned Banisters

Hey everyone!

I'm sorry for my absence over the past week, I've been extremely busy preparing for a massive house project which my entire family will be participating in this summer (details to be announced soon). As such my writing has been pushed back, but things are a bit calmer now, so I'm happy to bring you another interesting Barg of the Week:

So I was on my way back from town, after having made a trip to purchase some materials for a project. On my way to the car park, I was distracted by a large skip beside a pub, which was getting gutted out for refurbishment. For the most part when I peer into skips I just see unsalvageable junk - broken plasterboard, wallpaper strips, broken bricks - nothing too exciting.

But I was in for a surprise! This particular skip was piled high with what appeared to be the pieces of an old stair banister. Gorgeous turned wood spindles and grand end posts. It was tragic to see them cast out, destined for landfill. But no-one was around...could I just take them?

I waited for about 10 minutes, and finally two lads emerged from the building, carrying a grimy carpet. I sidled up to them, and asked with all the boldness I could muster if I could salvage the wood. The guys grinned, evidently amused that a young girl dressed in heels and a smart blazer would want an old staircase. But oh, I really did:

They even helped me load it all into the car, and stopped a passerby who thought he'd get in on the freebies from taking a handful of spindles. Sorry dude, I got there first! Skip etiquette and all that.

I've been thinking long and hard about different ways in which I could upcycle this lovely wood. Do you have any suggestions for me? I look forward to giving these interesting pieces of interior architecture a new lease of life.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Wardrobe: Teal 'Fo Real

I'm rather excited to blog about my outfit choice today, as a new coat arrived in the post from eBay - just in time! Buying clothes from eBay is always a gamble as you can't try them on beforehand, but most of the time I'm not disappointed. This purchase was no exception:

I won this vintage piece for thrupence, which is proof that searching for winter clothes in summer is a winner (not for the seller, but y'know)

Black velvet collar and delicate lace detailing on the dress.

Velvet covered buttons.

Dainty floral print.


From: eBay
Brand: Le Chateau (vintage)
Price: £13.49


From: Urban Outfitters
Brand: Johann for Urban
Price: £14.00 (sale)

Shoes (scuffed with love):

From: Banardos charity shop
Brand: Unknown (vintage)
Price: £4.00


From: Mercy in Action charity shop
Brand: Dents (vintage)
Price: £4.00

Second Hand/New: 3/4

Total Cost of Outfit:


As much as I love my new coat, I'm hoping I won't need to wear it much until at least September (pleasepleaseplease be hot, summer!)

Monday, 24 June 2013

Lovely Things: Book Storage

As impressed as I am by the technology of the Kindle, you can't beat a hard copy of a good book. And good books deserve great storage, am I right?

This symmetrical structure is so simple but has such a high impact! Not to mention a lot of room for a many-a-book.

The piano is my favourite instrument and I'm big on recycling, so as you can probably imagine this idea caught my eye immediately! Very clever.

As a rule books are displayed vertically, so this horizontal display is a really interesting alternative. The colour of the shelves are gorgeous too, reminds me of Farrow and Ball's 'Arsenic'.

This one kind of makes me feel dizzy when I look at it, but I appreciate the original design.

Upcycling a wooden reel ike this is genius!

One of those grand designs you know you'll never have but you gawp at anyway.

I love love love built in storage in alcoves - it looks so tidy and provides extra space without essentially using up any room.

You know that book storage is quality when there's a sliding ladder involved.

Colour coding never gets old!

Invisible shelving is definitely aesthetically appealing with books.

Arches are so lovely! Just makes me think of how many different things I could have made my DIY fireplace surround wardrobe into.

Repurposing objects always makes me smile. Can I call a clamp cute? Because I think it's cute.

Book storage in a staircase? That's too cool.

A straighforward design, but love the rustic feel.

Some crazy repurposing to conclude this entry. 10/10!

Sunday, 23 June 2013


As a rule I skip to the charity shops with joy in my heart, but the weather was awful yesterday (welcome to England!), and hence my enthusiasm was somewhat lacking. Luckily the weather doesn't affect the bargain forecast:

Sweet little mirrored drawers in British Heart Foundation. They have similar ones to these in Laura Ashley, and they're not cheap!

A pretty set of vintage dessert forks in a box - Dorothy House.

A very unusual vintage bag in Dorothy House, it almost looks like a doctor's kit?

I spotted these craaazy shoes in Julian House. They wanted £20 for them, which seemed pretty pricey to me, even if creepers are fashionable at the moment!

I thought that these old Clarks heels were rather pretty - I really like the cutout design in the leather.

Cow mugs with checkered saucers and general retro vibe.

I quickly did the rounds at the market, as usual. Gotta love a quality record player.

Interesting metal ram's head.

If you want to see weird crap, go to a market. It's a guarantee.

A reproduction retro coat rack in Save the Children. So funky!

I had one more charity shop to go, and felt proud/shocked that I hadn't managed to spend any money. The I got to Dorothy House No.2...

And bought this stunning art deco mirror! It was only £10, can you blame me?

I love old kitchen sets like these.

Pastel colours are great, so I was also rather partial to these ceramic plant pots.

To conclude this entry, I also now own possibly the most gorgeous top ever made:

A sheer black Lipsy top with beading and sequin detailing. It was like new and cost me a mere £6! Y'know how I'm drawn to shiny things.

Yup, definitely shiny.