Sunday, 30 September 2012

Charity shop haul post

I don't usually get a right lot in the charity shops, mostly because the charity shops where I live are rubbish! I've tried the charity shops in Richmond and Kensington too, but I was pretty disappointed in them too. They are all overpriced and full of primark things. In one in Richmond I saw a jersey dress that was all faded and bobbley (I wouldn't have even donated it) and they wanted £15 for it! Ridiculous. I know that the money is for a good cause, but no one wants to buy rubbish. So when I was at home I paid a visit to Stockport (about to become one of Mary Portas's Pilot towns to have their shopping centres regenerated and I'm not surprised. Apparently it has the most empty store fronts on in the northwest. As my sister says "Local Pride!"). And the charity shops have certainly improved since my last visit. I was really impressed by the Cancer Research on Prince's Street (that's the precinct round the back of the main precinct). It has a really good vintage section at the back, which has records and vintage homeware as well as clothing. There was a lot of really nice things but I got just what I had been looking for; a chunky knit jumper. This one looks homemade and was only £6. I was going to put spikes in the shoulders and dip dye it but I decided not to, since it's the kind of jumper you'd keep forever.

I also was very impressed by Stockport Mind's shop (I couldn't actually remember which shop I got these things but that it was a local charity and on the underbank and this is the only one. I have some serious detective skills) with its vintage section upstairs. I got this houndstooth pencil skirt for just £4.

And this amazing pleated sleeve blouse for £3.50. Judging by the fact it's made from polyester and the label I think it's from the 70s. I really like that they had chosen out the best vintage items and made an effort to make nice displays, use vintage wallpaper etc. I think they charge a little extra, but I don't mind for the ease of all the best bits being put together and I think it will draw new customers.

I also got this cute vintage book in a charity shop in Buxton for just 50p. I can add it to my collection.

And can anyone please recommend any good charity shops in London?

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Spiked Shoulders

My spike studs from Hong Kong finally arrived! I was waiting about three weeks, but at around £5 for 100, it was well worth it. I think by the time I'm done everything will be covered in spikes! They were really easy to do, they just screw on. The jumper (which appears to be a must have jumper...) is from H&M and I got it for just £6 with some discount codes. I have incredibly sensitive skin, so it's kinda itchy, but it's so cute that I just grin and bear it.

Monday, 24 September 2012

My first haul post

I've never done a haul post before, mostly because I don't tend to go out and buy a lot of stuff at once, I tend to either go out to buy something specific or just to look around, then I go back and buy the things I can't stop thinking about. Does anyone else do this? But when I was in Manchester I went a bit mad, especially since the vintage shops are so much cheaper than in London.

I got these two cute tops in Topshop in the Arndale (where the staff were super friendly -I kept being asked if I need any help) I love the pink tops collar. It's quite princessy.

This lacy top was only £16 and is really cute. I think I might get it in the other colours too.

I love this pink vintage dress, which I got in Retro Rehab down Oldham Street. Retro Rehab is one my favourite vintage shops in Manchester. The clothes are well chosen and nicely displayed. I always find something I like. A lot of the clothes are already adjusted to make them a little more modern (hems taken up, waists nipped in) because how many times have you bought a vintage dress, thought 'I must take up that hem' and then it sits in the sewing pile for 3 years.

I also got these three jumpers in the second hand shop at the top of Oldham Street, it used to be called Mr. Ryan's Second Hand Superstore, but I don't think it is anymore. They also sell alot of things from Ryan Vintage (I don't think it's called that anymore either) that obviously didn't sell. They were just what I'd been looking since I love this one so much.

There is a stain on it, but hopefully I'll be able to get it out. I want to dip dye this jumper.

I went to about three different TK Maxx's because as I have mentioned before, my mum is a TK addict. But she does know how to find the best bargains in there (Anyone interested in a Mama's TK Maxx Haul post?) She's had Chloe skirts and Misoni coats before all for a fraction of the price. So I got some Models Own Nail Polishes for £7.99 for 3, which is pretty good considering their individual cost price. They had a few different sets there, but this was the only set I saw where I liked all three colours. I saw these in all the TK Maxx's I went in, so there's a good chance you'll find some in yours.

In TK, I also got a new handbag since the clasp on my current one broke and kept clicking and driving me insane. This one is from Antoni and Alison and was only £59.99 reduced from £150.

I also got this really nice top from TK, which I also find interesting from a pattern cutting point of view because it's actually shaped like a big semi-circle.

I got this deer scarf in a cute boutique in Buxton, I was really pleased to find it as I saw a girl wearing one at the zoo but didn't get chance to ask her where it was from.

I also got this hairband from the sparkly jewelry shop next to Nawaab. Everything in the shop is covered in crystals and so sparkly. It looks crazy sparkly in artificial light.

So what does everyone think to my first haul post? Do people like haul posts or do you find them boring?

Friday, 21 September 2012

A Guide to Fabric Shopping In London

I've written this guide mostly because I spend a lot of time in my life telling people about where to buy fabric in London but also because when I went fabric shopping Paris, I found it really helpful to have a guide of not only where the best shops were but what they would stock.

This is by no means an definitive guide, if you have any suggestions or think I've missed somewhere major, let me know! Also all opinions on these places are based on my experiences and all of this was accurate when I wrote it but could all change.

There are two main places I go for fabrics; the Goldhawk Road in Hammersmith and Berwick Street in Soho.

Berwick Street 

Berwick Street is in the heart of Soho, if you come from Piccadilly Circus you'll get to see plenty of sex shops and a porn cinema on your way. Berwick Street is used by most of theatre land for costumes, but high central London rents mean very high prices. Don't expect to pay anything less than £15 per metre for the most basic fabrics and for the truly spectacular upwards of £100 is the norm. However if your looking for something particularly beautiful, you will probably find it here.

How to get there; You can get to Berwick Street either from Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus tube stations, depending on which tube station you use brings you out at either end of the road. 

To get there from Oxford Circus ;Just walk towards the big M&S on the side of the road opposite Topshop towards Tottenham Court Road (you could actually come from TCR and walk up towards Oxford Circus too) then you just turn off down Berwick Street. A shop called 'Miss London' is on the corner where you turn currently, but that could change.

To get there from Piccadilly; Come out of Piccadilly Circus and go towards the big Boots, McDonalds and the Trocadero. Walk up the road with McDonalds on,(Shaftsbury Avenue) past The Rainforest Cafe. Turn just after the Apollo theatre onto Rupert Street. Walk to the top and you'll see Madame JoJo's. There's a alley/pedestrian walk way, just walk up to the top of that.

There are probably about 10 fabric shops on the road as well as a bunch of jewelry wholesalers (they aren't open to the public) and some nice cafes and new things are opening all the time. My favourites are;

Cloth House
There are two Cloth Houses one at the Oxford Circus end of the road and one at the piccadilly Circus end of the road. Oxford Circus cloth house sells mostly printed cottons, poplins, ginghams and denims.

The Piccadilly Circus Cloth House sells silks, more unusual textural fabrics, silk velvet, suitings and jerseys. Both have a really stunning selection and really lovely staff. One girl once told me that all the fabrics to make the sets for Harry Potter were bought from them. 

They really have their visual merchandising down pat with the shop decorated with bunting, vintage shoe blocks and pretty displays. 

The smallest cut is 10cm (I think) and the minimum card payment is £10 which has led lead me to buy extra fabric on several occasions as there is no cash point nearby. They also do a selection of trims, ribbon and other haby.

And the all important question for students... Do they do samples? 
Yes they do, but like most places on Berwick Street they have signs up about what times you can ask for samples and how many. I've never been refused a sample because its 'the wrong time' or told I can't have anymore. As long as the place isn't crazy busy and you are polite I think most staff are happy to help you.

Borowick Fabrics
Borowick Fabric is run by your typical 'rag-trade geezer'. They are all very helpful and they sell a good selection of sequin-y fabrics as well as leathers. They do dylon dyes and selection of haby such as pins and needles. They also do samples.

Silk Society/Broadwick Silks/The Berwick Street Cloth Shop
All three of these fabric shops are owned by the same company,(based on cross overs of staff and fabrics) and go to them on a saturday and you'll see lots of brides choosing fabrics for wedding dresses. 

Lots of silks here (as the names suggest) but also heavly beaded fabrics and other textual interesting fabrics. They don't do samples (alot of them just wouldn't work as samples and would fall apart) but you can buy small amounts and the staff are super helpful.

Kleins are a trade haberdashery and therefore are only open on weekdays. I wish I'd known about this place when I was 14, they sell every kind of motif (or patches) you could possibly want as well as a big selection of moon threads, ribbons and trims. They also stock Rit dyes.

There are several more fabric shops down Berwick Street, these are just my favourites.

There is also; a great place for tea called Yumcha, the best breakfast in London at The Breakfast Club and Gosh! Comics that sells some really beautiful books.

Nearby (From Oxford Circus)

Button Queen

They sell practically every button imaginable at The Button Queen. Just choose the ones you want from the books or wall displays and ask at the counter. The staff can be a little snooty (or as I call it 'buttonyier than thou'). You can sometimes here people practicing their opera singing from outside too. It's easiest to get to Button Queen from Bond Street. Just cross the road and walk down James Street

VV Rouloux 

VV Rouloux is just round the corner from The Button Queen. Just keep following the road down. It's opposite a French Sole. VV has a great, but expensive selection of ribbon and trims. They also sell fantastic fake birds.

Macculloch and Wallis

Macculloch and Wallis is an old fashioned haberdashers over 3 floors. 

They have a huge selection of threads, bias bindings, trims, shoulder pads, lining and everything else. They do the best selection of buckram and interfacing. The staff are hit and miss and the queues can be quite long. 

To get there from Oxford Circus, walk towards John Lewis and Selfridges (away from Topshop) on the opposite side of the road to Debenhams is Dering Street which is the road Macculloch and Wallis is on. You turn at the corner with the swarofski shop on.

Goldhawk Road

How to get there; It really is as easy as getting off at Goldhawk Road on the Hammersmith and City Line and turning right. It's just round the corner from the Westfield too, literally walking distance. You can walk round from Shepard's Bush Market or Shepard's Bush. Or even Wood Lane.

Want to go from goldhawk road to Berwick street? Or Oxford Circus to Goldhawk Road? Get the 94 bus, it takes about 20 minutes.

There are about 10 fabric shops down this road, so you'll probably find what you're looking for.

A-One Fabrics and Classic Textiles are my two favourites (lots of printed cottons in both), but I always look in all of them. Unique fabrics has some lovely cotton satins, Uk Textiles has the best sandwashed silks, but all of them have something worth a look.

And the all important question for students... Do they do samples? 

Most do, some don't, you have to ask.


Walter Reginald

Walter Reginald sells leather and I think is the best in London. There's a massive choice and they are reasonable priced. I paid about £60 for enough leather to make a leather jacket. You can get there from Shadwell on the DLR.

London Trimmings

London Trimming is at Whitechapel. Just turn left when you come out of the tube station, walk past the big Sainburys and round the corner. It's trade only so you'll have to give your details and they are only open on weekdays. This place has everything at very reasonable prices which makes up for the fact that you'll have to stand and clear your throat at the counter for about 20mins. A lot of the stuff you can't get out yourself you have to ask them to fetch it. They stock Moon Threads, YKK zips and RiRi zips. They also carry the metal bits at the top and bottom of zips for shortening them. Kayne West was once in the Metro for shopping here. Wonder how long he had to wait...

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Owl blouse, knitted skirt

These photos were actually taken about a week and a half ago, back when my hair was still blonde, those primark shoes hadn't yet be consigned to the bin and the sun was still shining. How quickly does time fly by?!?

My skirt is a knitted skirt with pretty pom poms that my Mum brought me back from New York about 3 years ago. My blouse was a gift from my friend Abi for my birthday and is from Select. She assures me that it looks an awful lot like a Zara one, but I just like the owl print and the studs on the collar.

I quite like this look, I was really enjoying having a blonde high pony, I felt like Emma Stone in Spiderman. My hair is long enough to go into a bun too, which is the entire reason I decided to grow it out.

Thursday, 13 September 2012


Another week, another list of things I wish I already had.
2. Magimix See Through Toaster - I have lived in my new flat for ages now and I still haven't gotten a toaster. I hate toast made under the grill, its too hard and dry. I probably won't get this toaster, what with it being £150 and all, but it's my dream toaster. Is it sad to have a dream toaster?
3. Select Black Sequin Bandeaux - I think this will look really good underneath a sheer blouse
5. H&M Coral Cable Knit Jumper - I love, love this jumper. I just can't decide whether I should stud it or not. Also I wish it came in grey.
6. New Look Leopard Print Ballet Pumps - Since my Primark leopard print shoes fell apart in less than a month (I'm tempted to buy a pair of Primark shoes, just to see how long they last except I promised myself I would never buy Primark shoes again.) I've been looking for the perfect replacement. These don't have bows but are pretty cute anyway...

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Grease is the Word; Future Cinema

I've talked on here before about future cinema and secret cinema, so I shalln't repete myself explaining what it is, but you can read a previous post here. So to briefly summarise, future/secret cinema is like stepping into a particular film. I've been twice before to Bugsy Malone and Blade Runner. So I was crazy excited when I received an email for enrolment at Rydell High.

For those of you who aren't big fans, Rydell High is the school from Grease. This was the biggest future cinema event I've seen, held on Barnes Common, with fair ground rides, burger bar, school gym (for the dance of course), Frenchy's house and a whole bunch more, all done up to look just like in the film. 

I've said previously that participation is what makes these event amazing, and dressing up is definitely part of that. I don't think 50's is a difficult theme to pull together (lots of high waisted shorts and blouses tied in a knot, simples), but some people couldn't even pretend they'd tried. I always go a bit over board on these things and really got dressed up. 

I had my hair done in a retro style at the hairdressers, since I have been looking for an excuse to have my hair done like Frenchie when she's a beauty school dropout. Which also means I'm back to pink hair. I wore a lemon top from Asos via the charity shop, a primark cardigan which my boss sewed sequins on the back for me (I don't recommend this cardigan, it literally fell apart and I had to take it back. I was going to swap it for another one the same, but all the ones on the rail either had holes or looked like they were going to come apart at the seams) and I made my own skirt from this Miu Miu lookalike fabric and my own petticoat. I wore Topshop bobby socks and my glitter brogues. I also made my aunt and my cousins skirts and petticoats.

My favourite moments were definitely dancing with Sandy and Cha Cha in the school gym and a fight breaking out between the two gangs resulting in the 'owner' of the burger bar getting whipped cream in the face. It was an open air event and I was a bit worried about my hair and the rain (I didn't have the sense to take an umbrella -clearly I forgot I live in England) as well as what it'd be like to watch the film soaked through... Fortunately the rain held off.

I had a really great time and will probably be banging on about this night for a long time to come. Did anyone else go?

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