Battersea Booty

Hello!
It’s that time of year again where I go absolutely crazy for visiting car boot sales every Sunday (hence the thrift-heavy blog posts of late).

Since Thursday one of my best friends has been staying with us and so I booked two days off work to hang out. It’s been really fun! On Thursday we visited Spitafield’s antique market, on Friday we went to the Horniman Museum, Saturday we ambled about Covent Garden and got Chinese takeaway, then today we went to the Battersea car boot.

I’d been doing some research into the car boot sales nearest to Peckham and loved the sound of the Battersea one for two reasons:

1. It’s a large and very established car boot
2. It’s on in the afternoon

That second reason was what really won me over. I’m really not a morning person and in truth usually only make it to other car boots right before they close! This whole afternoon thing sounded like a dream to me.

After a short(ish) bus journey we found ourselves walking into a rather large queue of fellow car booters. Luckily the weather was lovely and the queue moved quickly, so it wasn’t too bad. You pay a 50p entrance fee and then the thrifting can begin.

The first thing I spotted was these vintage roller skates:

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I haven’t used roller skates since I was about eight but have been wanting to buy some for a while now. I love the idea of roller skating places this summer (though after my attempts outside the flat earlier, It’s going to take some practice!)

The next item I found was this beautiful 1970’s vintage dress:

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Dreamiest pattern ever?

My friend managed to find some great stuff too, including a large elephant throw and a £2 St. Michael jumper. While the Battersea booty definitely led us to some fruitful treasures, there were some downsides. Firstly, it’s more expensive than your average boot sale. Most items I enquired about were selling for £5 and above, which compared to Hook Road, where most things go for 50p upwards, seemed like quite a lot.

Secondly, it’s VERY busy. This is to be expected, but the narrow lanes meant my friend and I were sometimes trapped for a while trying to get through the crowds.

I’d still definitely recommend it for anyone looking to find some unique things on a Sunday afternoon. The area of Battersea nearby also has lots of cute little shops, including charity shops filled with bric a brac (heaven!) I made one more purchase on our way back, because, how could I leave this behind?!

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Have a lovely week everyone!
Amber xx

A Place for Dreaming

If someone asked me to sketch the feeling of nostalgia, I’d sketch my aunt’s house.

P1050037It’s a little red hideout amidst the woodland of Karjaa, in Finland. This quiet location mixed with the scatterings of character inside makes being here feel like you’re lost in time, surrounded by symbols of stories and memories but not venturing their roads, just comforted by their presence.

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My aunt’s name is Viv and she moved to Finland to retire, having lived in Belgium before that.  She lives with lots of animals, including four dogs and a bull named Hannibal.

DSCN5880He may look intimidating, with those big ol’ horns and a beastly stance, but really he’s as shy as could be.

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See, look at that friendly little face.

I went to stay here for the first time about a year and a half ago now. Crazily, I hadn’t seen my aunt for about eight years until then. It felt like no time at all though, as we ate grilled halloumi and drank wine into the early hours of the morning, chatting about life and where it had taken us so far.

Just like looking through old photographs of family and trying to put together the little pieces of your heritage, I felt fascinated by everything around me. The thrifted lamp on the table, the Moomin mugs hung cutely in the kitchen, the bookcases filled with poetry books and then Viv’s art work, all around in frames or even decorating kitchen cupboards, doors and walls.

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P1050032There’s so much creativity everywhere. Outside is an old canoe that Viv painted and uses as a pond for her turtles to swim in during summer.

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And here’s a greenhouse Viv built with a friend, using only a hammer and hand saw!P1050042

I only stayed here for a week but often find myself missing it a lot when in a moment of stress. I think this is because I visited at a time when I had nowhere else to be, and felt completely free to do what I liked, hidden from the rest of the world for a while. I could almost pause time here and just be inspired, exploring and reflecting. I suppose in that way this magical little house reminds me of being in such a dreamy state of mind.   DSC_0094Hopefully I’ll get to go back some time soon. Do any of you have places that you maybe only visited once, but think of often and miss?

Cats & dogs

Hola!
Sunday’s are a good day for blog posts, and seeing as I’ve got a few new charity shop bits over the last few weeks I thought I’d do a thrifty themed post!

Much to my bank accounts detriment I’ve been shopping more at high street shops and through online stores rather than solely charity shops lately. This is partly because I’ve done some big clearing out  and realised that a lot of the things I was taking to the charity shops were originally from the charity shops :S

This can be the danger of thrifting. Sometimes you find the most incredble things, though other times you find yourself just buying stuff because it cheers you up and is a bargain that helps charity. Then you end up with a lot of things you don’t use and probably never will. This has made me a lot more weary of what I choose now, and I’ve been trying to only buy things that I’m madly in love with.

So, here are the things I’ve gathered over the past month!

Cat Jumper 

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20140119-132422.jpgIt speaks for itself really. 

Vintage Dog Perfume Lamp

20140119-132443.jpgI saw this beauty in the window of a charity shop that specialises in selling second hand furniture. I was on my way home and they were just about to close, so I ran in, thinking it was just a strange looking ornament.

As the guy got it from the display for me we noticed a big black thing attached to the back of it’s head. After some speculating I gently pulled it out to realise it was in fact, a lamp! It was almost too good to be true, especially as dogs and strange lamps are two of my loves in life.

It’s very old, and had no wire unfortunately. Luckily though, my mums partner is pretty savvy at this kind of stuff, and he managed to replace the bulb and plug for me so that it now works. When switched on the glow doesn’t exactly light up a room, but the cool thing is he’s eyes and details of chest fur glow a deep orange, which is perfect horror movie lighting I feel!

Watercolour Cat Pictures in Pastel Frames 

20140119-132510.jpgThese are probably a little bit difficult to see, as I couldn’t get a very detailed picture of them due to the light being so bright today. They’re just delicate little paintings of moody looking cats. I’m always collecting decorations for when I move out and thought that these would look lovely on a wall of other illustrations and pictures within quirky frames.

Finally, this is not something from a charity shop, but rather an awesome anniversary present from my boyfriend that I just had to share. I finally own some Tatty Devine!

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So, that’s it folks. Have a lazy-pizza Sunday!

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Jewellery Making

Hell-here-neonLet me start off this post by saying that I hate Sundays. I really, really do. Even when I’m on holiday and have no work the next day, there’s just some sort of grey blob of bleh that settles inside my stomach and makes me feel lethargic and moody. Seeing as it’s the first Sunday of 2014 though I’m going to try and distract these weird feelings through being productive!

The first thing I did when I woke up today was my usual routine of grabbing my phone and laying in bed, scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, E-mails and everything else until I could feel myself de-zombifying. During this I noticed that Tatty Devine had posted on instagram about a jewellery making workshop that they were hosting in March. Fifteen minutes later I’d booked my tickets.

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If you don’t know who Tatty Devine are, then you have to turn that around. Right. Now. They’re basically magicians of the jewellery making world. All of their items are so unique, creative and exciting. Here are a few images of my favourite Tatty pieces:

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Pretty cool, huh?

Getting crafty

I’ve had a growing interest in jewellery making over the last few years after getting obsessed with Etsy and collecting all kinds of weird and wonderful necklaces. I started searching for particular ideas to see if anyone had made something similar, which got me thinking, maybe I should try making some of the things I’d like to see available myself.

My first attempt at this was a beard necklace. I’d seen a tutorial through Tumblr for one that was in the style of hunger games’ Seneca Crane:

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Bow down all other beard owners.

I was pretty nervous making it, as although a relatively simple set of instructions I’m notorious amongst people that know me for being super clumsy. I also have very little patience with anything that requires following a set of instructions. Like cooking for example, where attempting to make a gourmet meal (or just some fairy cakes) while hungry probably doesn’t help as you end up rushing the whole thing or eating all the ingredients before you’re done.

These were troubles that I was sure wouldn’t impact my attempts at craftiness, though there was still always the risk that it could go incredibly tits up. In the end, while by no means perfect (and I’m still a little scared to wear it out, always sure it’ll fall apart at any minute) I managed to make a beard necklace that I was pretty damn proud of:

It's looking a little decrepit now!

It’s looking a little decrepit now!

I’ve even had a few strangers looking at it bemused, before asking, “Is that a…Beard?” And I’m all smug like, “yes. Yes it is.”

My next attempt was about a year later (I wasn’t being very prolific). This time I ordered some beads from Etsy and then bought some colourful string to save on costs. This necklace was an absolute nightmare to make, and involved lots of swearing and super glue (a patch of which is still stained onto my desk as a permanent reminder of the ordeal). The final product was the following, which I like to call the ‘Day of the Dead Disco Necklace’:

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yes. I did put one of the skull heads the wrong way round. *sigh*

Time to do some shit

I’m definitely one for procrastinating. I’ll even hoover my room three times in one day just to avoid doing the stuff I should be doing, in between making ten zillion cups of tea and re-watching all of 4od’s episodes of ‘The Hoarder Next Door’.

This year I’m determined to actually do the things that I’ve been wanting to do for ages. Learning how to properly make jewellery and then practicing this consistently is one of my main missions (as well as updating this blog regularly, and hopefully, at some point, getting some more readers for it!)

All this motivational spirit could end up wearing off by the end of the week, but for now it’s the first week of January and I’m trying to stay positive! Booking a place at this workshop certainly feels like a step in the right direction anyway.

Do any of you have specific goals for the new year? Or are you just takin’ life as it comes? Either way, good luck and stay positive! 🙂

It seems right to finish this post with a few more pictures of my favourite necklaces from around the internet (by which I mean, mostly Etsy!)

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Via: Etsy

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Via: Etsy

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Via: Etsy

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Via: Etsy

I hope that you all have a splendid rest of your Sunday. If like me you also suffer from the Sunday blues then hopefully seeing so many cute necklaces will have cheered you up!

Until the next post,

ciao!xx

Characters

Writers don’t write from experience, although many are hesitant to admit that they don’t. …If you wrote from experience, you’d get maybe one book, maybe three poems. Writers write from empathy. – Nikki Giovanni

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Edward Hopper

As a writer the main thing that has always inspired me most is characters. I feel like they can come from anywhere and everywhere, whether that be a stranger you notice in the street, a lyric in a song, a manifestation of an emotion or a random strand of thought that passes through you and makes you see things from a completely different perspective.

Once you have a character, the rest can come together. Their world forms from their loves and hates, from all your wonders about the hundreds of souls that surround you every day but have no meaning, no real connection. And as their stories unravel there’s the chance to feel closer to the world, and to live out a life that is a momentary escape from your own.

I think it’s this love of characters that explains why I love documentaries about people so much. That would probably be my dream job: to interview and document the lives of strangers. Because as boring as it may seem, everyone, whether outwardly strange or not is full of secrets and fascinations. You just have to look closely enough to catch the details.

Last night I watched a TV show about obsessive collectors, which aired on Channel five. This guy was one of them:

This is Barry Kirk, and if you couldn’t guess, he’s obsessed with baked beans. He has a baked bean museum in his house, two baked bean tattoos, an alarm clock that farts when it goes off and most spectacularly, a baked bean super hero costume that allows him to transform into ‘Captain Beany’. Oh! He also has his own website.

Barry Kirk appeared on the show alongside several other collectors, including a gnome fanatic and re-born baby dolls lover. While the extremities of their collections had led to all of them experiencing a certain amount of attention, some preferred this to others. For the Gnome collector and Captain Beany it had become a positive in their lives, turning them into local celebrities. This was a position that allowed them to not only openly share their obsessions with others, but also gave them  some much needed company.

While watching this I felt as though I could make better sense of the eccentrics that live locally to me, like the Wizard man:

SU20505-01I suppose the natural assumption for most is to see someone like the above and think they’re mad, because, I guess, it’s difficult to understand why he might choose to do that everyday of his life. This is a huge generalisation though. I think instead it comes down to something else: loneliness.

There is something inherently lonely in all of us, and how we deal with it depends on who we are as people. While some may choose to be around friends all the time, others might turn to collecting, or dressing up as a wizard and walking around the shops, chatting to strangers.

I also think that it’s this loneliness which makes us so fascinated with other people. Even doing things like watching movies, listening to music, writing stories and generally losing ourselves in the narratives of the world all feel like ways to better connect with distant spirits. Art especially conjures this comforting presence amid the terrifying “what does it all mean?!” questions of being alive.

While we might not relate to everyone, I think there’s something so vital in trying to understand who others are or might be because our characters are what make us so special, whether fictional or real.

As a final note, here is an Interview Project by David Lynch, which I watched a couple of years ago and fell in love with. It seemed appropriate for this post.

I hope that you all had a lovely Christmas and have an even better New Year 🙂

Wish list!

Merry Christmas Eve Eve all! It’s officially just two more sleeps until the big day and there’s a roaring storm outside, so I thought that I’d set up camp in the living room with a cup of tea and do a quick blog post.

If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s compiling lists of stuff that I want to buy. I even have a ‘shopping’ bookmark tab that includes random links to pretty/awesome things I’ve stumbled across online. Not such a healthy habit for my bank account!

Due to being so close to Christmas I realise that this list comes a bit late. If you leave all your present shopping until the last minute, then you may be able to get some of these things in shops near you, or alternatively, you could just order them then give your loved ones a considerate “It’s on its way” card and some chocolate coins.

Of course, you could always just treat yo self.

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The New year brings with it sales and therefore the urge to spend spend spend, and at the same time, if you find yourself holding a wad of Christmas money yet somehow stuck for inspiration, hopefully some of the following will help.

NB: If like I am you are completely broke from all the festive expensiveness, I’m sorry. You probably shouldn’t torture yourself by looking through this.

Galactic Sweatshirt

b05fc8da0ef7224eThis Galaxy sweater can be found at Firebox or the Mr Gugu and Miss Go website. They make some really awesome stuff, though can be a little on the pricey side. You can get similar styles on websites such as SheInside if on a budget. I just love anything space inspired and as an FYI – holographic things go perfectly with this kind of design!

Speech Bubble Necklace

glencocoThis is the Bespoke Speech Bubble Necklace by the awesome jewellery makers Tatty Devine. You can choose whatever you want it to say as long as it’s in 40 characters. I’m still desperate to get one of these! They make such a unique gift or a good conversation starter for yourself!

Skeleton Dress

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This is the skeleton dress by Tee and Cake at Topshop. I think that this has been on sale for a while, as i’ve been eyeing it up for a loooong time but still not bought it. I seem to do that a lot with some things! Anyway, one of my obsessions is Halloween so anything slightly spooky or related to skeletons, monsters and ghouls is a must have!

Balloon Lamp

normal_balloon-lampA balloon lamp, yo! How awesome is this? You can literally use real balloons too. I like collecting weird lighting and I also love balloons so this feels like something of my dreams. You can get this here.

Flamingo Lamps

il_570xN.436274843_tdszSpeaking of awesome lamps, check out these FLAMINGO LAMPS. You can get them individually or in a pair here.

Dinosaur Brooches

il_570xN.467673146_a3jeHow could anyone not fall instantly in love with this sparkly Steg brooch?

Pug Bag

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My dog is a pug cross and in general I’m just madly in love with pugs. I sometimes just scroll through pictures of them when i’m feeling low. Yup. I recently bought the pillow from this Etsy site, but am also lusting after the bag! What better way to show the world your pug love?

Joker Converse

1922878570ex_mainNa na na na na na na na BAT SHOES. Well, they’re Joker themed converse if we’re being specific. I bought my first pair of converse about four years ago and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. They’re just so comfortable and look great, and at the moment I’m looking to get some new ones after completely wearing out my old ones! I wanted these SO much, but sadly they’re sold out in my size. Please restock, Schuh!

So, that’s it folks. Have a very merry Christmas full of delicious foods, strong beverages and good people.

Amber
xxx

Bedrooms

Ok, so this post might be a bit of a rushed one, as I’m feeling guilty about not posting anything lately and at the same time am feeling ill and have just gotten back from seeing Gravity at the cinema (which was totally awesome!)

So! This post is about bedrooms. Well, sort of. It’s mainly about my bedroom if I’m honest. My bedroom is my cave. I spend far more time hiding in here than I should, and for that reason I’ve filled it with things that make me happy. I especially love tacky decorations or random bric a brac from charity shops. Sometimes I look around my room and feel like it looks as though it belongs to a ten year old. And I’m ok with that.

Bedrooms are important too, if you think about it. When you’re growing up it’s your own space that you can shut yourself away in and use to express yourself. I’ve always been kind of fascinated by fictional characters bedrooms for this reason too, as I feel like it’s usually very much a part of them, and sometimes memorable for that reason.

My favourite character room has to be Enid’s from Ghost World. I just want everything she has.

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Next up is a famous one: Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment from Sex and The City. It’s a classic.  carrie_bedroom_thumb

Alex’s bedroom from a Clockwork Orange. The design in this movie is so unique, colourful, disconcerting and iconic. I’m not sure I’d want to sleep there, but it is very cool looking.

cwo-nightHey Arnold’s room! I grew up wishing I had a glass roof the same so that I could stare up at the night sky when in bed. I still wish I had that roof.

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While my room is in no way as cool as the above, I am pretty proud of it. Since moving back from university I’ve managed to sort through a lot of the old junk I had in here and fill it instead with new, awesome junk! Here some of it is.

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Raven lights that were bought at Halloween. I love anything associated with being spooky, Edgar Allan Poe and just fairy lights in general. I hung these above my Vincent Price themed Abertoir festival poster too, which I thought was quite fitting.

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A lucky waving cat, yo! I got this the other day, just cause. I love it, but the only frustrating thing is how noisy it is! I’d never noticed before until I tried to sleep and couldn’t escape its loud ticking as its arm swings back and fourth. Hopefully it’ll just bring me a load of luck. I think I can get over this issue then.

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Sorry about the lighting on this picture. I was being lazy and just took it quickly with my phone. This is a little holographic old school map I got in a charity shop, and then put in a charity shop frame, which I also decided to customise. Kinda regret doing that. I have no idea what possessed me to add those random swirls.

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A little green balloon made from Venetian glass. I got this when I was in Venice last February, and man was it stressful trying to get it home without breaking it! Managed though, and thank god. It’s awesome.

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I bought this quite recently actually. There’s this shop on Etsy that sells really cute banners that are inspired by vintage images. This one has images of old valentines cards and they’re just adorable.

Lastly: this magnificent seal lamp.

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So that’s it for tonight folks. I have a lot more shizzle up in here, trust me, but like I said, I’m not feeling so great today and haven’t had a chance to take many good pictures of it all. Hopefully this gives you an idea of the kind of silly things I like to collect. What are your bedrooms/apartments/homes like? Do you have any especially unusual things that have interesting stories behind them?

Night all!