Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Back for business!

Hi all, here I am back in London after my travels from Venice to Scotland and back home again! It's been a very busy few weeks. I meant to write something between the two but didn't get round to it. The trip to Venice was our third and it was just as wonderful as before. The weather was amazing. On our first visit there, we stumbled on an amazing bookshop which was absolutely full to the ceiling with old and new books on every subject, in many languages etc. It also had photographs, film and travel postersand postcards. The guy who owns is a very friendly welcoming chap called Luigi. This visit, we tried for ages to find it but didn't know the name. All we had to go on was that it had a gondola in the shop as well as another boat and an old bath all full of books! There aren't many of those about. Can you imagine Waterstones with a narrow boat in the middle of the shop?! Eventually a gondolier told us how to find it and that it was called Aqua Alta which means High Water, something that Venice knows only too well about when it floods.

Inside Aqua Alta bookshop
There was Luigi as friendly as ever greeting us in many languages until he got the correct one. He guided us to look at a strange 3D picture of Venice which made our eyes go funny. When he realised we were British, he guided us to a similar picture of Big Ben - I guess so we wouldn't feel homesick! The reason why I'm writing about Venice is not that I want to be a budding travel journalist but because in that amazing warren of books, I managed to find some old postcards from the 50s/60s which I had to buy for the market. They are so funny; some remind me of the old knitting patterns which are so posed. There were about eighty of them and Luigi must have thought I was either mad or had lots of friends to send them to as an alternative to the gondola postcards for sale throughout Venice! They're now on sale at Spitalfields and are providing lots of interest already.
Here are some examples:
Postcards printed in Italy but looking very 50s/60s American!

These characters are much more Italian looking but reminiscent of old knitting pattern photos!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Pop pop pop!

More from pop up
Sorry I haven't been writing much lately but I've been so busy with stalling and sorting! The pop up market at Stoke Newington is still happening on Sundays. As to how long this will continue, is anyone's guess. We only have the use of it until the new owners take possession. Meanwhile though, it's been very busy and we had another good day yesterday. I've sorted out all my old stock and have a sale table now both at the pop up and at Spitalfields on Thursdays as well as of course my usual stock. There are serious bargains to be had and they're selling fast. I'm so pleased because it makes room in my storage cupboards to justify going out to find more lovely items! The pop up will hopefully continue every Sunday until further notice.

North London Vintage Market 

Cool blue wooden handled utensils

Classic cream and green enamel candle holder and tiffin

Scrummy new finds
 I'm looking forward to stalling this Saturday 6th October at this great market. See details at: It's always a great market to do with a wonderful friendly atmosphere and lots of amazing stalls selling a variety of vintage finds including clothing, jewellery, lighting, furniture, household, textiles and of course kitchenalia! It starts at ten o'clock and there will be refreshments to sustain you as you wander around. I hope to see you there. I will have some interesting new finds. Here are a few photos of some of them to tempt you to come along.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Another pop up shop

Pop up shop Sunday 23rd September
Hi all! There is another pop up shop this weekend at the same venue as last week. See my last post for details. Sorry for the late posting but I only found out that it was happening yesterday. I'll be there together with two or three other sellers. It will be a good way of spending a rather wet miserable Sunday. I'm going to have some sale items which will be going very cheaply. I need to shift some old stock which I'm a bit tired of looking at, so there will be bargains to be had!

Before 1980
Today I was stalling at the new Interior Fair in Central Library. It was our first time at the venue and what a wonderful location! There were some really lovely stalls there with fabulous items at great prices. There was a stream of interested customers. We were so close to Upper Street where people were probably spending mega money in trendy shops around there and little did they know they could have picked up some great bargains at our venue! Well done to Amelia and Sally for all their hard work organising the event. Look out for another one in the future. It's certainly worth a visit. It was so refreshing having a fair which focused on interiors especially large furniture items, lighting etc.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Pop up Shop News

Pop up Shop
Hi there! The pop up shop went well. There were quite a lot of folk mooching around at Stokey on Sunday. Graeme who sells funky retro lamps at fantastically good prices was there,Caroline who was selling vintage clothes etc and then of cours me! We're not sure if there's going to be one this Sunday but watch this space and I'll let you know. If there is one, there'll be different people selling too which always makes it interesting and diverse. There was a great response with people asking if it was going to be on every week. We wish it was and it'd be great to get premises to use on a regular basis! I've heard that there's a site where you can find premises to use temporarily as pop up shops. I must look into this.

Before 1980 Interiors fair
Now I'm gearing up for a busy few days. Spitalfields tomorrow as usual and a new venue and fair which I've mentioned before. It's on Saturday 22nd September at the Central Library on Holloway Road. It's concentrating on interiors which is a healthy change from the miriads of vintage clothes fairs. Do come along if you can. There's more info on one of my earlier blogs with a web link. Also the pop up shop may happen. I hope I've got enough stock to keep me going!!!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Pop Up Shop Lemon Monkey!

Sunday pop up shop
Hi there, just a quick note to say I'll be doing a pop up shop tomorrow, Sunday 16th September from 11am at what was the Lemon Monkey coffee shop on Stoke Newington High Street, facing the Three Crowns pub on Church Street. There'll be about five stalls all selling interesting homeware, from Kitchenalia to retro lighting etc.It's been happening over the summer, though I wasn't there. I've heard great things about it and it's been well attended. Hopefully see you there!

Monday, 10 September 2012

My sojourns in the highlands and islands!

Back in the swing of things
Hi again. I've now done two markets since returning home and my business head is beginning to sit more comfortably on my shoulders! North London Vintage Market was great as always. There is always a lovely atmosphere, almost village-y. It's great to see old faces who come regularly and also to welcome new people. Keep you diary free on 6th October for the next market there.
I was back at Spitalfields yesterday and it was great to be back among all my stallholder friends. It really does feel like a family there with all the usual experiences of family life - sharing thoughts, moaning, sympathising, disagreeing and the whole gammet of what life throws at us. It was a good day and I brought along some of my new finds which is always refreshing for me and hopefully interesting for the customers. I tried really hard not to go off buying more stock which is what I'm infamous for. I can't help going off for a wander and always come back with something new. I often think I should be handcuffed to my stall and be forced to repeat a mantra of 'I'm here to sell, not to buy'. This week I decided I had enough new stock so I stayed by my stall which is a small miracle for me but what happened then was that people kept coming to me with goodies that I just couldn't refuse!
Look out also for a new venture called 'Before 1980', the first fair will be on 22nd September in Central Library, Holloway Road from 11am until 5pm. It promises to be a really different fair with an emphasis on interiors; stalls include furniture, lighting, homeware, fabrics and kitchenalia. More info on:

Tales from Scotland
Back to my visit to Scotland. I promised that I'd write a bit more about my time there and especially about the Artmap which happens every August in the Argyll area. It is an opportunity for local artists to advertise their work and allows people to see their studio and talk about what inspires them etc. It really  is an interesting concept and we have met many interesting people through it. One such person is Fraser MacIver, a Canadian artist with Scottish connections, now living by the Crinan Canal in a beautiful wagon with an adjacent studio. He really is a most delightful character. He swims in the canal and heats up water for his bath in an outside tub using canal water, heated by burning a fire underneath the bathtub!

Fraser's Wagon home

His subjects are a mixture of landscape and mythology, influenced by his dramatic historical surroundings.He works in a variety of media and his use of colour is inspiring.
We received a very warm welcome. The day we visited, it was pretty miserable and we were ushered into his 'guest room', a cosy wooden construction with a wonderful hearth and little wood burning stove, a great high soft bed like in the fairy tale of the Princess and the pea; it was covered in sheepskin rugs tucked into the corner and surrounded by his wonderful art work. The fire was so welcome that day and to top it all, we were lauded with 'Moscow Mule' cocktails!! His enthusiasm was infectious as he talked about his home and his work. Find him on:  Here are some photos from his studio. I hope that they convey the atmosphere of this unique personal space which he has created in his woodland wonderland! 

The lovely squishy guest bed!
 I'll have more tales of my time in Scotland soon. 

Friday, 31 August 2012

Jugs, glorious jugs!

Hi there everyone or just one! I'm definitely back home now for a few months. Scotland was wonderful and I did actually manage eventually to find a fair few great items. I always seem attracted to jugs of all shapes, sizes, colours and materials. Here are a few of my finds. One is made by Swinnerton's - a very simple, plain creamy colour, the gravy jug is a lovely shade of green and the rose one is lustreware, with a faint sheen to the glaze. The first place you'll see these finds will be at the North London Vintage Market on Saturday 1st September starting at 10 o'clock. It is in St Mary's Hall, Cranleigh Gardens London N10. It is a lovely market with lots of unique stalls including vintage clothing, lighting, furniture, homeware, textiles and of course kitchenalia! Do come along if you can. There will be refreshments too.
I've also found some of my favourite type of kitchenalia - Enamel! I've got a lovley pale blue colander and a white jug just right for a bunch of garden flowers. I've got some more great pie dishes in various colours and a couple of colourful coffee pots. I'm always on the look out for utensils, especially the lovely painted handle variety. They're getting so hard to find in good condition but I've managed to find some lovely ones. Some are very unusual and keep customers guessing for hours about what they could possibly be used for!
These fruit sets are in perfect condition and have six small bowls and a large bowl. There are two sets. One is by Meakin and the other by James Kent.
The other bits of china I've brought back with me are blue and white, similar to T G Green. There are four cups and saucers witht the milk and sugar bowl, cereal dishes and side plates allin tip top condition.  There is a fab jug in dark and light blue. I can't list all of the items but these are a few tasters. I'll try to list some more with some photos when I've finally unpacked them all. I'm frantically trying to get ready for the market tomorrow and change over some of my existing stock to the new stuff. It's always good to unveil the new bits for existing customers who come regularly to the market. I've got so much to write about from my visit up North. I went to a great event last weekend which happens every year in Argyll. It's called Artmap and it involves local artists who open up their homes and studios to the public to look at their work and chat about it. It is always so interesting to meet  people in their own environment and find out what inspires them. We met some very interesting friendly people. More of that to come. I must go and rise to the challenge of getting my stalling head back on, which involves looking in boxes and deciding what must stay and what must be replaced for tomorrow. When stock is replaced I then have the unenviable task of trying to find somewhere to store it all until it goes back to market again some time in the future. It's a constant juggling act and I dread doing it but here goes................................

Monday, 30 July 2012

Back from the wilds of Kintyre for a bit!

Hi there! I'm back in London for a couple of weeks for my son's wedding and we're very excited about it all! I didn't manage to post a blog while away as computer access is difficult while we're there. Nothing very much to write about except that I've managed to buy a few purchases for the stall for when I get back to Spitalfields in early September. A couple of very pretty vases, one with roses, a fab enamel jug in white with blue trim and a wonderful green coloured gravy jug. I've also found some new utensils including a lovely old wirework slotted spoon. A lovely old pale blue colander is among my finds too.They're currently in my shed in Scotland until I get back up there to hopefully add more to my treasure trove. There have been some lean pickings recently but I'll still have a few weeks up there to find more. However for inspiration I went to see a really excellent vintage fair in Scotland called West Coast Living. If you're in the area of Ardfern near Oban, I highly recommend a visit. It's on until 5th August in conjuction with the Craignish Arts Festival. Katie and Sarah do a great job of sourcing beautiful items for the home including wonderful large vintage cupboards, hand built garden benches and seats using original cast iron ends; troughs, watering cans, mirrors, china and linen. For this event it is set in the rural setting of Barbreck Farm in a few light airy marquees. I'm kicking myself for not having my camera with me so that I could share it all with you. Well as they say in Scotland ta ta the noo! Actually I never hear anyone saying this! See you in September back at Spitalfields and also on September 22nd 11am - 5pm at Central Library, Fieldway Crescent, Holloway Rd, North London a new venture called 'Before 1980' Put it in your diary and I'll give more info nearer the time. It should be great and full of delicious retro items of furniture, homeware, lighting etc etc....I leave you with an image of a beautiful sunset over Kintyre on the west coast of Scotland. I really do have to drag myself away from it. In between Scotland, finding treasures, getting organised for the wedding, we're off to the Olympics tomorrow!!!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

North London Vintage Market - this weekend!

It doesn't matter if it rains this Saturday 7th July, come and join me, among others at the North London Vintage Market at St Mary's Hall, Crouch End. There are always lots of interesting stalls selling vintage items including furniture, clothing and of course Kitchenalia!
I managed to survive being outside at Spitalfields last Thursday and the threat of a thunderstorm passed us by, thank goodness. Saturday at Spitalfields was reasonably busy and we were back inside.I always find it fascinating how many people come to my stall, look at a  red coffee pot for example and then ask me if I've got it in blue. I always want to say 'hold on and I'll go check out the stock cupboard!' The whole idea of these items being one offs, seems to pass them by. Part of the joy of having a stall is being able to observe human behaviour and it's just as interesting as selling!
Now for new items. This is one of the few bread bins that I have at the moment. It's a great blue and white enamel with the original label still attached at the front which is amazing as it was probably bought in the 1940/50s!!!
I've also managed to buy some great T.G. Green items, the blue and white striped variety known as Cornishware. I've got a lovely pestle and mortar, two jugs, a biscuit container as well as a tea, coffee and sugar set. I had a big matching bread bin but that sold today. I've also got some fab old wide necked milk bottles which are great to use as vases. Some great new tins also. I'll have all these things with me on Saturday. After that I'm off to Scotland for a break and hopefully to find some more interesting things for the stall. I'll try to write some blogs though don't have much access to the computer while I'm up there. If you're interested in any of my items please leave a comment and I'll get back to you. If you're free perhaps I'll see you at Crouch End on Saturday. 

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Icing sets and other useful gadgets! Buy me but leave me for a little while!

Hi there. Not sure if anyone has read this blog yet but here goes anyway. I'm beginning to get the hang of this blogging. I've fiddled about and changed colours, backgrounds etc. and am enjoying learning more about it all.
I've managed to buy new stock despite the difficulty getting to car boots etc due to the weather. I've bought some lovely enamel coffee pots but sold one already. It's a funny thing when I get new stock. There's something in the air around a new item which seems to say 'buy me' and they fly off the table, (metaphorically speaking of course!). While the object of this funny old game of stalling is to sell things, it's always nice to hang onto new items just for a teeny bit to let regulars see so they don't just think, 'same old...' It makes me want to shout after them as they stroll off, 'I did have some new things but.........' Equally when I sell something which I'm just beginning to get tired of and thinking that's destined for the car boot box, it's really hard to hide one's delight that someone is finally buying it! I don't quite know why some things shift really quickly and other things hang around. These items I try to move around, leave them at home for a little rest, bring them back for another little visit to their friends, re group them with something else etc. This often works and if not they eventually go in the reject box. It's a big pink box  at home waiting for me to take it all to a car boot sale one of these days. The pink box has grown to three boxes of various colours which I fall over every time I load or unload for the market.
This Thursday Spitalfields Market will be outside, ousted from our usual indoor spot by some other event - not sure what but I won't be advertising it here 'cos I want you to come and see us. We will mostly be in Lamb Street as well as partly under cover inside the new market just for one week. Let's just hope the weather is kind to us and our stock doesn't get blown halfway down the street towards the big Red Rover bus near Carluccio's! That happened once when we were outside a couple of years ago but that's another story...... As I said I have lots of lovely new things including coffee pots, icing sets, fab new tins, a whole set of eight great orange handled utensils - very seventies retro. I've got lots of lovely pale blue things at the moment, a bread bin, storage tins, a roasting tin as well as cute pie dishes. We are also at Spitalfields this Saturday 30th June back in our usual spot under cover so come and visit us and say hi. Photos to follow.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Do you need a butter curler to make your day?

Hi there, if you've decided to read this blog. I have been thinking of doing this for ages but have never got round to it as I'm not very clever with this new way of communicating. However, spurred on by my friend's blog, I think it's a very interesting way to share what I do with all you boggers/readers. I will not be able to match the toot blog for it's wonderful way with words but I'll give it a try. I sell at Spitalfields Market alongside Jo and other interesting stallholders. I also sell at the North London Vintage Market. It's a great way of justifying wonderful buying sprees without the guilt or wondering where the heck you're going to put things when you've bought them. At first, I thought I might not be able to part with all the lubbly jubbly items I found but with my business hat on, I find it quite easy. Sometimes I keep things for a little while and then it's easier to let them move on to someone else in a while. I'll try to put photos of what I'm selling on this blog and then if you're interested, you can pop down to Spitalfields and see me or email me if you're interested in anything and you can't get to London.