As a family, our Saturdays usually involve a whole load of child-friendly activities; parks, baking, cake-based coffee shop treats – anything that doesn’t leave them a) bored or b) fidgety. This weekend, though, the weather was bright and crisp, the sun was beaming down, and there was a vintage fair on near us; I’m a huge fan of buying as many vintage and handmade gifts as possible for Christmas, so we hustled the kiddos into the car and set off.
I’ve been waiting for it to get really chilly, so I can finally wear one of the three hundred* coats I’ve found in charity shops lately, which meant I was more than happy to get up and see the frost glistening on the grass. I saw an oversized, double breasted coat in one of the high street shops a few weeks ago, but my inner tightwad scoffed at the £90 price tag – so when I saw this red one in my local Sue Ryder shop for £4.75 (£4.75! That’s less than a fiver!), I practically ran to the till with it. What makes it even better is that a) it’s the most beautiful shade of red and b) it’s pure wool, which means it’s really, really warm. I popped it over an old denim shirt, a vintage jumper and decided on some skinny black trousers; I’m experimenting with attempting to wear trousers rather than jeans lately, but to be honest, I’m not really sure how I feel about them. These ones weren’t quite as skinny as I’d hoped, but I do like the way they’re slightly tapered at the bottom – it’s nice to be able to wear a denim shirt on the top half as well, without feeling like I’ve stepped out of the eighties (I know some people do double denim, but it just looks ridiculous on me). I finished it off with a satchel by Scaramanga, some polka dot socks and bargain eBay chelsea boots.
The Vintage and Very Nice Fair was held in the Assembly Rooms in Chichester, a beautiful old building with the most incredible tiling in the foyer (I meant to get a photograph, but forgot, dammit), and exceeded all my expectations. Located on the first floor, up a winding old staircase, was stall after stall of beautiful vintage and handmade goodies; retro wooden toys and puzzles, rails of vintage clothing and accessories, antique lace and handkerchiefs, handprinted and sewn bunting, bags and brooches, homewares, kitchenalia and even homemade jams and chutneys. The stallholders were friendly and accommodating, and the whole atmosphere was really lovely; I spent a good hour wandering around, picking up bits and pieces for Christmas presents, but my absolute favourite purchase was (drum roll please)…..
…..a vintage wooden dolls cot, complete with ticking covered mattress. I honestly wish I could get across just how happy finding this made me; I’ve been looking for a dolls cot for Daisy for a few months, and was absolutely despairing at the choices available. It seems to be that you either pay a small fortune for a wooden one, or have to tolerate nauseatingly-sickly shades of pink plastic that will a) offend my eyes and b) break by the time the Queen appears on the TV on Christmas Day. So when I saw this one perched on the Maybefranc stall, I got very excited, very quickly. I umm-ed and ahh-ed a bit, pondering on whether I could carry it back to the car on my own (the Husband and kiddos had abandoned me by this point, and I already had a few shopping bags, ahem), and then quickly decided that there was no way I could leave without it. And now it’s sitting in our conservatory, waiting to be jazzed up a little in time for Christmas; I did consider leaving it that colour, but I think I’m going to strip it back and paint it white, and add some vintage decals that I’ve been trying to find a use for. Oh, and there’s definitely going to be retro bedlinen for one very lucky doll!
My other finds were just as amazing; a couple of retro toys to sit on Ben’s shelves, some Christmas presents, a couple of bits from the wonderful Matilda Wren, some wonderful gift tags (that to be honest, I don’t think I can bare to use) and some vintage scarves, fat quarters, and an amazing lace collar. There’s a special Christmas fair on at the same place on the 13th December, so I’m putting some pennies away now…..