Back from the Wilderness

Well I have made it back from Wilderness Festival. Looking like some kind of slightly sunburnt reject from Woodstock, but most definitely more relaxed and refreshed. I didn’t want it to end.

Wilderness is 15,000-capacity festival set in the stunning grounds of Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire, and brought to us by the same minds behind the Secret Garden Party. Over four days, it brings together music, food, wellbeing, debate, nature, literature, vintage, crafts. Kind of like a mini Glastonbury. I was in my element!


Not a seasoned camper, I was kind of dreading spending my nights in a field, but my friend Emma is a pro and her bell tent served as a cosy home for four of us for the weekend. It was even better once I’d bought some earplugs. Plus, we weren’t too far from a hot shower, bonus! (I did have to pay for it, but some luxuries are worth it, no?)


Wilderness lived up to it’s name, totally taking us back to nature, including strolls through fields, woods and a morning swim in one of the on-site lakes. After the initial shock of jumping in a lake, it was actually a really beautiful experience.


By day, the festival had a sort of village fair kind of feel to it, with tons of stuff going on at stalls and tents. Particular favourite spots included the free guided meditation sessions, listening to some local acts in the folk tent, and to debates in the Secret Forum.

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By night, the festival turned into a magic moonlight party. There were headline gigs from Metronomy and London Grammar, plus I managed to catch some pretty stunning sets from Jessie Ware, Joan as Policewoman and Gregory Porter.



But the best thing was stumling upon parties in the woods where you could dance until dawn.


Thanks to some stunning weather (it only rained once, how lucky!) I managed to wear most of the vintage outfits I took with me. By far my favourite was this gorgeous 80s Susan Freis dress I found for a mere £10 in a charity shop.

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I accessorised with a sequined butterfly mask borrowed from my 5-year-old niece and a can of Tetleys. Pure class, I think you’ll agree!

If you’re looking for a festival to go to in 2015, I can definitely recommend Wilderness. Brilliantly organised (if not a bit strict on the booze limits) and in beautiful surroundings, it’s the perfect mix of partying and chilling out.

Did you go to any festivals this year? Which is your favourite?

P.S. Thanks to Emma who took most of these photos!

Music Monday: Burt Bacharach

I love an old tune or two, and there is really no one who wrote them like they used to than Mr Burt Bacharach. It’s actually amazing once you start looking at which songs he wrote, how many classics are in there.

I’m off to Wilderness festival later this week and the great man himself is playing (along with more modern acts like Metronomy and London Grammar – I cannot wait). This prompted a rather hilarious game of guess the Burt Bacharach song at work the other day as my colleague hummed everything from The Carpenters to Dionne Warwick.

But here for your listening pleasure (thankfully not hummed) are two of my favourites…

Some great 70s styling in that first one!

Thrifty Thursday: Sun Dresses

I’m lucky enough to live in a town with an awesome vintage fair. Vintage Village takes place in Stockport’s Victorian market hall on the second Sunday of every month and it really is one of my favourite fairs. The quality is always so high, and there is always a bargain to be had.

I was super lucky last Sunday to score, when I had just gone for a browse of course, two beautiful sun dresses. The red dress on the left is a 100% cotton number from Germany (I can’t remember whose stall it was from) and the one on the right is a 1980s Next dress from Lace and Liquor Vintage.


After a little bit of hemming (as always, everything I ever buy is too long for me) these two beauties will be coming on holiday to Amsterdam with me. Now, let’s just keep our fingers crossed for a bit of sun for me to wear them in!

DIY Fashion: Update an Old Blouse

Sometimes you find a vintage or second hand item that has the best colours, pattern and some sweet features (hello collars!) but the style is just a little, well, frumpy.

Recently I was lucky enough to hit the motherload of discounted Japanese vintage blouses. I love everything about this one, but the arms are too long and the whole thing just swamps me a bit.


If you have a top or blouse that fits the bill, today I’m going to tell you how to give it a quick update – NO CUTTING or machine sewing involved. There’s just a little bit of hand sewing, so it’s totally reversible (good if you’re just borrowing it, hehe).

What you’ll need

  • Blouse (of course!)
  • Matching cotton or polyester thread
  • Sewing needle

For mid-length sleeves, the ultimate quick update you can do to give it a slightly more contemporary edge is roll the sleeves.


  1. For an even turn up, fold the hem back on itself on itself once, then as many times as necessary to achieve the length you want. It can help to get someone to do this for you whilst you’re wearing it, then pin to make sure you don’t forget.
  1. Now to get it to stay in place. Take a length of thread and tie a double knot in the end and thread your needle.


  1. Find a spot on the centre top of the sleeve where the back of the cuff meets the sleeve. Sew from the inside of your sleeve out – so your knot is hidden – going through the top of the cuff and back down. It only needs to be a tiny stitch, so it’s barely noticeable. Repeat this 2-3 times. When the needle is threaded inside for the last time, tie off with a double knot.
  1. Repeat on the underside of your sleeve.
  1. Then repeat 1-4 on the other side.


Finally, another nice touch for summer is to take your blouse in at the waist with a simple knot. If, like mine, your knot won’t stay in place, put in a few small stitches to hold it.

Et voila! One fresh and funky (not frumpy) new blouse to stay cool in this summer.


I must say, this one looks particularly lovely with my mint green Ladybird Likes heart collar clips.


Thrifty Thursdays: Two Thrifty Frocks (and some other stuff)

I’ve been a busy thrifting girl recently, and you know I like to share my finds.

The warm, sunny weather is drawing me towards pastel colours and I had two great finds at my local charity shop; one peach polkadot Eastex dress and a Lanz (US label) floral dress. They need a little bit of work doing to them, and I’ll show you when I’ve done them up.


I’ve also had some luck with finding more vintage sheets, including this pretty.


But the best thing I’ve found recently has to be this pair of tiny Dutch studs in a delft style with a windmill design – perfect for my upcoming trip to Amsterdam!


Have you had any great thrifty finds recently? Link up in the comments below if you’ve blogged about them.

Music Monday: Led Zeppelin

One of my highlights from this weekend’s Glastonbury Festival (watched from the comfort of a nice dry sofa, though I kind of wish I’d been in a wet field to see this) was watching Robert Plant.

He is one of my all time favourite musicians; his appreciation for and explorations of all kinds of music, from blues to world music to triphop and blue grass, is just fascinating. And he just seems like a really nice guy to boot. I even have a soft-spot for his ‘My Love is a Freeway’ phase! But it’s Led Zep that we all first know and love him for, so I couldn’t resist a bit of Ramble On to fill this Monday’s music slot.



TV Review: This Old Thing

It’s not very often that people make television programmes about things I’m really interested in, like yoga, or cats. And I definitely never imagined that someone would make one about vintage clothing!

But with the rise and rise of the craft movement, Kirstie Allsop making do and mending all over our TV screens, and the popularity of The Great British Sewing Bee, it shouldn’t really have come as much of a surprise that upcycling clothes was next on the cards.

Step forward Dawn O’Porter, TV presenter and vintage clothing lover, whose new show This Old Thing: The Vintage Clothes Show debuted on Channel 4 last night (25th June).


Dawn is a gal after my own heart. Dressed impeccably in vintage with her 60s bump ’do, she wants to show the world how repairing, reinventing and revamping your clothes is a viable alternative to shopping on the highstreet. She wants us to buy less but value what we wear more by investing in a few key, unique items. And learning handmade skills to fix up our old threads along the way which, I have to say, ticks all the right boxes for me.

For the main part of the show, Dawn tried to convert a couple of vintage-phobic shoppers, who looked like they’d rather walk down the road naked than wear something someone else has worn before them.

“Old is not good” one of them exclaimed. “They might have diseases on” said another. But both wanted to look unique. And despite spending all their money on current trends, they (quel surprise) didn’t feel like it reflected their individual sense of style… especially when they walked down the street seeing someone else wearing the same outfit as them.

This was a handy segue into some vintage shopping tips – to step outside your comfort zone and just get stuck in, look for patterns and details you love, try everything on you like. And if you love it, buy it, there’s a chance you’ll never see it again (though word of warning, this is the reason I have 50+ vintage dresses!!)

It was great to see their transformation into vintage vixens, especially when one girl was presented with a reworked dress that used to belong to her nan; I actually had to reach for the tissues. But I’m interested to see if this concept has legs over its 6-week run without getting a bit samey. Though if anyone can do it, you get the impression Dawn can.

As well as convincing fast fashion addicts that vintage clothes don’t smell of dead people, the show also focuses on a particular fashion ‘moment’ – this time the 60s shift dress and mini.
I liked how they did actually show how such trends can be worn and styled without straying into fancy dress territory, which I know is a big fear for vintage newbies.

But, unsurprisingly, perhaps my favourite bit of the show was the bit where clothes actually got reinvented.

Of course, Dawn and her crack team of tailors, dressmakers and costumiers have the benefit of working in a lovely, light, well-stocked workshop that any seamstress would dream of, where they run a sort of walk-in clinic for the kind of eBay purchases you only make when tipsy (no? only me then).

Laura, who bought her red leather dress for a few quid on the internet is a prime example of what can happen when you get a bit eBay happy. But with a few cuts and a bit of ribbon and a zip it was turned into a snazzy little jacket and a matching clutch.

All in all I really enjoyed the show and I’m looking to see how it progresses. There’s also a book to go with the series that I can’t wait to get my mitts on, and a page over on the Channel 4 website where you can learn lots of handy sewing and dressmaking skills as well as styling tips.

Did you watch the show? What did you think?

Thrifty Thursdays: Vintage Florals

As I seem to spend every spare moment I get trawling charity shops for hidden gems, visiting at least once a week, I’ve decided to start a regular feature where I show you what I’ve found.

I love seeing what other people have found on their travels. It’s inspiring to see what cool stuff is out there just waiting to be found. But I think mostly I just like being nosy, so I hope you do too.

In the last few weeks, I’ve been trying not to buy so many clothes. But I have set myself a little goal of making a couple of pieces of clothing this summer, so I’ve been on the lookout for some fabrics.

It appeared to be fate then when I found so many amazing vintage floral sheets in the space of a week. Now my only quandary is which to cut up and which to use for their original purpose. Decisions decisions.



My best fabric find, however, has to be this little beauty. I picked it up just because I liked the mint and pink paisley pattern, and the fact that it was £3 for almost 2 metres of fabric (enough to make a small dress).


But it was only after I got it home I clocked the remnants of what looks like an old Liberty of London logo. I can’t know for sure, but what a bargain if it is!


My other collecting obsession right now, other than sheets, are scarves. In particular Jacqmar scarves.



Jacqmar was a quality British brand, though their scarves were produced in Italy. What I love about them is the shape and length, just long enough to style in a multitude of ways. Plus they come in so many sweet patterns. Their silk scarves can command tens or even hundreds of pounds, but you’re more likely to find polyester numbers like these for about £10-12 online. However, you can still pick them up in charity shops like I did for just a few quid. This is my favourite way of wearing them…


Have you picked up any vintage bargains in the charity shops recently? Let me know in the comments below, or link up to a post if you blog about your finds too.

Vintage inspiration: Festival Fashion

This week it’s really starting to feel like summer for me. The sunshine is helping, but also the Solstice and the start of Glastonbury Festival are two key events that always remind me the seasons are a changing.

Festival fashion is so classically summer, and it borrows heavily from the sixties and seventies when the festival movement began. But I also like the grungey and ethnic inspired elements that typified Glastonbury in the nineties. Now it’s a melting pot of all of the above.

I’m going to my first every festival (well, one with camping), the wonderful Wilderness in Oxfordshire in August, so I’ve been trawling Pinterest and Etsy for some inspiration…

More boho luxe looks here -


The greatest summer party ever? Woodstock Festival 1969

Stevie Nicks..bohemian Rock queen

Perfect festival look. Floral skirt, vintage style Tshirt and lots of jewellery x

PAISLEY stella fagin MAXI dress kaftan moo moo muu muu BOLD graphic print. petite fit. front zip festival dress. bohemian cool hippie dress.

Are you going to any festivals this summer? What’s your style inspiration?

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