Finding Dreamland

Stepping off the train into the Margate sunshine, I could see the skeletal bends of a ferris wheel amidst the skyline, its colourful carts like dangly limbs, waving in the distance.

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It took us an hour and 40 minutes to get here from London Victoria. Here being: Dreamland.

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The park had only been open for two weekends at the time so I was anticipating queues, but surprisingly, it was quite quiet. The longest queue was for the Dodgems (solo riders – what ya gonna do?) and after a quick glance, you could easily steal a siesta on the huge, pastel stripy deck chair in the entrance.

Dreamland first became Dreamland in 1920, when its scenic railway opened (which also just so happens to be the oldest roller coaster in the UK). The walk towards the entrance is decorated with walls lined in old black and white photos, taken throughout the park’s history. It’s easy to romanticise a place when you can picture men and women catching the train from London to spend a night at the ballroom, meeting lovers and then letting their cares drift away in the blinkering bulbs and stir of the sea air, mid-spin on The Twister.

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In the early 2000’s Dreamland began to decline in popularity, and by 2005 was handed over to Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company. Luckily, residents weren’t going to give up on such a special attraction that easily, and so petitioned to have it brought back to its former glory. And it worked, re-opening in June.

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The care and thought that has gone into this project is truly amazing. Every little detail of the park is magical, from the vintage arcade machines and low-lit roller disco, to the live band playing retro jams in the food court and doughnut cushion prizes (which I am still sore about not winning).

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While the exterior may seem pastel perfect, what I really loved about Dreamland was how the history of it has been kept alive. Many of the rides, if not all of them are originals to the park or date back to previous eras, having been restored to fulfil their destinies once again.

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You can read about the origins of each ride while waiting, which got me thinking about how truly amazing theme park rides are. Not only is the engineering just incredible, but also the designs. Whether the crazed charisma of an enlarged caterpillar coaster face, or the classic glittering gold of a carousel horse’s handle, it all goes towards creating this fantasy world, where for a few minutes you can just focus on the breeze against your cheeks and butterflies in your stomach.

Yet as you step outside onto the Margate promenade, you realise what a strange little place Dreamland is. This obnoxiously colourful paradise of fun and ice cream and nostalgia, sat awkwardly amidst the broken skyline of Margate.

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Dreamland has so wonderfully captured the atmosphere of escape, where you can disappear for a while into fun, into love, and into the past. Though the sky is the one reminder that nostalgia is just a feeling, and we’ll never quite capture the way Dreamland was before, and that’s ok. That was their Dreamland, this is ours.

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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

Hook Road Car Boot Sale

Hey hey,
I thought I’d finish off the Bank holiday with a quick little blog post about some of the vintage, kitschy treasures I found today at the Hook Road car boot sale.

My dad got married on Saturday, which was lovely, but I’ve felt in this permanent state of sleepiness lately. Life has been strangely busy for me and as an introverted, sloth-like soul who spends most of their time hibernating, I don’t think my body’s coping too well with having so many plans! I can’t really complain though, having spent yesterday recovering at my dads with my dog, boyfriend, cheese strings and cozy TV.

I also managed to persuade my dad to drive me to the Hook Road car boot sale this morning. He may grumble about the early start but I know that he quite enjoys perusing too! I haven’t been to very many other car boot sales, but the Hook Road one really is great. The atmosphere’s always bustling and friendly, with an ice cream van and lots of cute little dogs about (always a plus!)

Today’s car boot was the largest yet, stretching all the way to the very back of the field. An hour and a half, along with three bags of kitschy treasure later I headed back home. Here are some highlights of what I found:

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A little vintage poodle, which just so happens to match the lamp version I own. I love finding long lost sets of things!

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A set of vintage deer for just £1.

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This wally dog was sold to me by a man turning them into lamp bases. He told me about how he’d not got around to completing a lot of them so had ended up with a lot of ornaments with holes in their head! I loved his idea though so still bought one for £2 and am going to buy a vintage pleated lamp shade for it.

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It’s a little Fred Flour! He now has pride of place on the kitchen shelf, alongside all the cacti and my succulent.

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Of all my finds these are my favourite. The lady that sold them to me mentioned they used to be popular in the 70s as bedroom decor for little girls.

Is there a better way to end a lovely Bank holiday weekend than with a brilliant car boot haul? I don’t think so! I hope you all had lovely weekends too.
Now, I’m off to bed — g’night!
Amber xxx

My Kitschen

I live by the rule of, “if I need a thing I’m going to make it a cute thing.” cat Nowhere is this rule truer than with my kitchenwares. Forget the fact that I’m a rubbish cook and only have a tiny kitchen, a girl can still dream of one day opening her own diner by buying the kitschiest versions of every essential, right? Here are a handful of my favourites…. flamingo This pastel balloon patterned cocktail glass is part of a set that I found on Ebay. It’s pretty much the most adorable set ever and when I bought them I was totally visualising becoming a cocktail master, shaking up fancy concoctions at parties. bananas These banana plates are meant for banana splits. They’re another vintage Ebay purchase though I think the original make is called Carlton. I’m planning on using them for snacks mainly (and maybe an actual banana split at some point!) icecream Knowing I’m obsessed with ice cream, my mum sweetly bought me these little ice cream bowls, complete with teeny tiny spoons! babycham Next up: Babycham glasses! I think these are 1950s ones due to the style of the Babycham deer. Apologies for the grubby glass! babycham2 And here’s another picture, featuring my little Babycham figure. coffee Lastly, a Czechoslovakian pink coffee set! I found this in a dusty corner of an antiques store and managed to buy the coffee pot, 6 cups, 6 saucers and a sugar pot for £20. Bargain! Do you like collecting cute kitchenwares too?

Stuff & things.

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Last month I went to see an exhibition at the Barbican Centre called, “Magnificent Obsessions: The Artist as Collector”. Each room was filled with bits and pieces, all so strange looking within the blank spaces. I felt as though I’d walked into a locked away part of each artist’s brain, the odd details of their worlds floating aimlessly in front of me.

As I let my eye’s dart from the dusty old witch puppet to vintage pinball machine to large horse statue in Hanne Darboven’s collection, it made my heart sore. I felt like if I could just stare at each object for long enough, I might understand all the mysteries behind it: Where had it come from? What era? What was it about that old Turkish shoe that Peter Blake loved? Would Andy Warhol and I have been friends because of our similar taste in cookie jars?

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…Then you’re brought back to reality. It’s just a thing. There’s no answers or connections to be found within the ceramic structures of a mouse figurine, or the fragile wooden frame of an old chair. It’s breakable. Disposable. Nothing, right?

But I can’t follow that argument through, because I too collect things. When I was younger it was car models and limited edition chocolate bars, while nowadays it’s patterned jumpers, Babycham merchandise and vintage figurines. These are more than just things to me. They’re the narratives people have given them, and will continue to give them. They’re the still portals to different minds and different times. They’re something to focus on in the midst of worry, stress and sadness, enabling you to curate and organise your own little microcosmic worlds.

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When I think about collecting, I also think of one of my favourite films, Ghost World, in which there is a character called Seymour. Struggling to make connections with other people, he’s turned to collecting objects from the past as a way to connect with life instead. In his case, he’s not happy. It’s something that’s completely taken over his life, creating even more of a barrier between him and others.

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One of the most interesting things I read at the Barbican's exhibition was that Andy Warhol's cookie jars had been mostly found in the bags he'd bought them in, sitting in the corners of his apartment untouched. This made me think about the negative side to it too; about the ways we all try to fill our lives with meaning through stuff, and how when that stuff becomes destructive to your life it's a trait that has to go.

And so maybe I'm romanticising collections when they're just clutter, or a distraction from facing life, but I can't give up the argument completely. Because whenever someone laughs at the ridiculous amount of ornaments I have or looks despondent and weirded out by it all, I do get a little concerned, but then snap myself out of it. Because you have to be confident in your choices and trust yourself. And because everyone needs to find the things that make them happy and different, and for me that's holding still these fragments of life that intrigue me.

I like to think the things I own aren't all just things, but will rather one day be a way for others to understand a little part of me, as distant and abstract as they may seem in the larger scheme of things.

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A little spring in autumn

It’s been a while since I’ve done a charity shop post on here and seeing as I’m having a very lazy Sunday (with a Chinese takeaway on the way and pj bottoms already on) it seems like the perfect time for an update.

Over the last few months I’ve found a lot of treasures here and there, though mostly at car boot sales throughout the summer. Now that the colder weather’s set in and car boot season is over, I’m back to popping into the charity shops when I can for a quick browse. I’ll be moving from my dad’s house further into London next month too, so am making the most of my local haunts and on the lookout for any cute home wares while I’m at it!

Yesterday was a cold, rainy, errand running day (not the most exciting of Saturdays!) The positive was that I found two cute hand knitted blankets, a pastel pink cardigan, vintage floral dress and little rabbit figurine. I feel like the below pictured purchases are especially spring themed, but work also as cosy items to brighten up these darker months.

IMG_0315-1.PNGI collect kitschy ceramics so was ecstatic when I found this little one at the bottom of a bargain box for 50p!IMG_0310-1.JPGI’m in love with pastel colours and the fact this cardigan is cropped too should make it perfect for wearing with high waisted trousers or over long dresses.

IMG_0317-0.PNGI think this dress will be great for wearing to work with thick black tights, boots and a chunky cardi. That’s what I love about this sort of style of floral vintage dress, they can be dressed up or down really easily and work perfectly to brighten up winter outfits. I also love how comfortable they are! The one above is a medium but fits fine, with just enough slouch without looking swampy.

So there it is, a quick little charity shop haul. Until the next post, ciao!

Keen For Greens

Green is my favourite colour. In particular, mint green and duck egg green (and any green tone with a sort of bluey-ness to it). I’ve always gravitated towards the aesthetic of things coloured in these sorts of tones, possibly because there’s a real vintage vibe to them. They’re gentle and dreamier, somehow.

It’s for this reason that a lot of my favourite home wares are in these colours, so I thought it would be fun to do a blog post to share the greeny coloured love! The following items are a few favourites that I’ve either already bought or really want to buy (and when you really want to buy stuff but can’t, making a blog post about them is the next best thing!)

Links to where you can buy these products from are included, and also take note of the great variety of names for each shade of green.

1. Granny Green Baby Lapin Lamp

378467_2121395208351_1649964275_1612091_759947843_n1I am obsessed with novelty shaped lamps. In fact, just lighting in general. I love the ambience different light can give rooms, and the way light can enhance and animate certain shapes. There’s just something more fun about things that glow!

This baby lamp would fit so perfectly into any kind of vintage setting, or just give a little character to more modern decor. It’s cheeky and cute, and comes in different colours too. I picked the amazingly named ‘granny green’ colour to share in this blog post, of course. You can buy these lamps from a variety of suppliers, though I took this image from the wonderful Retro Kids shop.

2. The RÅSKOG Kitchen Trolley

raskog-kitchen-trolley__0144044_PE304208_S4This trolley kind of inspired this post. I happened to see a picture of it this morning and fell in love. It’s by Ikea and apparently, great for storing everything from herbs and plants to beauty products, shoes, books, and as it’s intended for, kitchen utensils. (I would probably use it for cute blankets and old toys). 

3. Wild & Wold 746 1960’s Phone in Swedish Green 232466308

I’m not sure why, but I really, really needed a retro phone in my life. Even though, yes, if I were honest with myself I haven’t used our landline phone in years and anyone that wants to contact me usually does so through the internet or my mobile, yet it still felt like a very necessary purchase.

As the fortunes would have it, I recently won some John Lewis vouchers and to my delight, spotted that this baby was available on their site. Could I have bought something more practical? Eh, probably. But a landline phone sounds practical, at least. Besides, it looks so wonderful in a room, regardless of how often it’s being used.

4. Roberts Revival Radio in Leaf

230907486Ok, another one from John Lewis. I have lusted after this beautious leaf green radio for a long, long time, but just have no room for it at the moment (and am still very much in love with my peacock patterned DAB I got for Christmas when I was 14.) Once I move out and have more rooms to spread all my stuff to I have a plan that this will go in the kitchen for cooking/dancing sessions and coffee/LBC mornings.

5. Duck Egg Alarm Clock

125747546_1If like me, you’re in need of setting about ten alarms every morning to get yourself out of bed, this little alarm clock from Sainsburys is ideal. Not only does it have a rather lovely, vintage-esque look about it, it also has a mighty alarm voice on it!

6. 1970s Norsu Elephant Moneybox

shop3885700_pictures_myshop-large-OMM-norsu-elephant-mint-Always end lists on something extra cute, and this retro moneybox is so cute it could be crowned the cutest of cutesville. I mean, it’s a chubby lil’ mint green elephant! It’s also available from Retro Kids.

What are your favourite colours? Do you buy certain things that you’d never normally buy, just because they’re in your favourite colour? (I definitely do!)

Over and out for now,

Amber