Second Hand Rose

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March 18th, 2015 · Uncategorized

Its hard to believe I was in two foot of snow last week, now I’m sat typing in the early Spring sunshine! But my boyfriend and I were most definitely in Reykjavik for four nights!

We stayed at the super stylish Kex Hostel that’s housed in an old biscuit factory looking over the sea. We were super lucky to get that sea view!

It cost us around £60 a night for a private room and we can highly recommend staying here, the restaurant and bar is a collaboration with DILL the swanky high end eaterie in the city so as you can imagine the food was delicious but more affordable!

Now had there not been so much snow we had planned to hire a car but having heard one too many near miss tales of driving in winter around Iceland we unusually took a couple of coach trips! Quite a novelty to be driven around and told what to do! It worked out great for the Blue Lagoon as we went straight to this warm day dream straight from the airport, what a way to shake off the jet lag (not that there is any as there’s no time difference with the UK!) 

Now this is quite a funny spot as its actually s bi product from the power plant, it is geothermal water but it isn’t naturally occurring like other hot water spots in Iceland but it’s clean and amazing and actually helped my eczema in one visit! This is a must visit! Even though it’s mega touristy the place is super well run with an air of luxury, I was super impressed with everywhere in visited organisation wise. This nation is cool, calm and collected!

Reykjavik is the smallest easiest to navigate city, but yet has more interesting coffee shops, restaurants and bars than many places, truelly spoilt for choice! We went to Reykjavik Roasters and I had a great iced coffee that was a double espresso shaken like a cocktail over ice

The weather was pretty much a novelty, I was well prepared in my snow suit so we just enjoyed the deep drifts rather than dread it!

It was only a problem on our other coach trip, with Reykjavik Excursions, the famous Golden Circle that was to end at another geothermal spa…however the weather got extreme so we were marooned in a hotel for 5 hours while the roads recovered from the storm! We missed the spa (annoyingly no refund or alternative offered) but our driver kept us safe, thank god we weren’t driving, unless we’d been driving the above beast! I’d definitely say drive yourself if you can because some tours aren’t worth your precious time on a city break with the waiting around and chance of unrefunded cancellation, this is just my opinion and I understand Iceland relies greatly on its tourist trade but always good as a visitor to think outside the box. 

Don’t get me wrong I love a tourist spot, those bubbling geysers made me giggle at ever explosion!  I completely fell in love with Iceland,  I can’t wait to go back in the summer to see the landscapes green rather than white, hopefully drive around camping. 

It’s no secret my boyfriend and I love eating, we always pretty much plan ever meal location before we get to our holiday destination so I’ll write again about our Reykjavik eating experiences!

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Wrap up of 2014

January 20th, 2015 · Uncategorized

The later half of 2014 saw some events that will remain lifelong memories, obviously the physical shop shutting was a biggy, but as with many of life’s biggest decisions it kind of made itself and just felt ‘right’, the hard work and packing/unpacking of the Silver Bullet (my van) continued throughout the summer, first festival was the picturesque L’eroica in Bakewell. Traditionally in Italy this cycling festival was so unique and we’ll run, like a glamourous village fete, it’s in the diary for this year and it was free entry!


Bumped into the chap in this picture who was a SHR regular, he was cycling in the event on the oldest bicycle! A tandem no less! He was also sporting original wool cycling shorts, we loved his extra efforts for authenticity!
After this brief workung holiday it was heads down for the launch of Fancy Pants. This was something I am most proud of, curating an exhibition was a great experience, working with the museum, managing the right budget of Council run institutes, creating themes and displays that flowed and didn’t run away from the brief. The celebration of 20th Century Style means we could have put in so many pieces and covered many fashions so we had to keep reminding ourselves of what we were trying to achieve, this applies to so many things in life, so easy to get carried away!




The exhibition was a real success, the museum had great attendance and the gorgeous gowns finally saw the spotlight they deserved!
To accompany the exhibition we organised a 40s fashion show ‘Puttin’ on the Blitz’ we went for a 40s theme, we had Forces TV along to interview us and record the days activities, it was great fun having Hannah along!




We’ve organised a few fashion shows in our time and this was definitely the best, we had a game bunch of models who looked fab in their outfits!
Busy as usual we went up and down the country doing festivals, having great fun and selling lots of true vintage! Just So Festival, Vintage By the Sea, Goodwood Revival , then finally the Festival of Thrift filled out weekends nicely!





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Rewind of 2014

January 12th, 2015 · Uncategorized

We’re a week into 2015 and unusually I haven’t put myself under some unattainable pressures to start new projects, open new businesses and make a million by February 1st, or some such ridiculous resolutions! Having closed the physical shop last June, I spent the second half of the year trading at festivals and setting up my house as an online headquarters. Fitting a two floor shop into my already full house was tense but the decisions all felt natural and right so it was a matter of getting my head down and just doing it! The Etsy shop is set up and going well, we’re in a kind of routine with it, ready to keep our eyes and ears tuned in for new ideas, today felt a good day to look back at 2014 a year of big achievement and change!
This weekend last year we were doing a beginners course in working with neon We learnt about how a light is made, how the glass is shaped, gases used, the science of it. We certainly had fun and a better insight when ‘neon spotting’ during the year!


One of my biggest achievements of the year was co curating Fancy Pants with Jo. The prep began in February, we did the promotional shoot and started looking through the archive of costume for our display pieces!

Here are some of our initial findings in March at the Hartlebury museum archive storage, there are some fabulous pieces that had never been seen by the public so we were very excited to get things out on show where they should be!




The year started to get into motion with the first of 2014’s festivals, we traded for the first time at Festival of Vintage a well run two day event of all things authentically pre 1970s.


IMG_7507.JPG We really enjoyed this weekend, it wasn’t over run by reproduction clothing and 1990s clothes so was great fun for a proper bargain hunters rummage! We had a laugh with SHR veteran, Lewis on the second day too!
We’ll be there again this year, in the same spot, so maybe see you there?!

Before this we ‘prespent’ our takings on a trip to Israel to visit my family, I hadn’t been in around 20 years so it was like going with fresh eyes, my boyfriend and I had an amazing time, such an interesting country, obviously there are major problems there, we went at a quiet time and had ten days of exploring the dynamic cities, desert landscapes and luscious green surroundings of my families homes. We were there for Passover so enjoyed an authentic experience of the traditional dinner!


IMG_7399.JPG A great month of work and play!
May highlights were all about our vintage pals, Minimum Mouse It’s always better to work with your business ‘competition’ than against, usually everyone benefits when you put brains and brawn together in small businesses. By working with fellow vintage sellers we’ve run successful vintage fairs and traded at international festivals, many hands make light work, in many ways!
Anyway, Marianne and James got married so it was a vintage hen do and wedding extravaganza!




IMG_7552.JPGThey got married in the UKs oldest cinema in their hometown of Birmingham, they made a beautiful and funny home video that had us balling when it was projected on the big screen!
The wheels were most definitely in motion for the closing of the shop by May, once I make up my mind there’s no going back! The sorting and clearing had begun and we had a mega sale in store!

Well, June was a biggy as far as life events go, I closed the physical shop I’d been running for 8 years. It was definitely the right thing to do and I now feel more ‘free’ both physically not having to sit in the shop and mentally, feeling inspired and creative again without the routine of the ’shop front’. Sure, I miss customers and the daily ‘face to face’ thing but it was the right time to move forward with the business still going strong.

The final Saturday was a fun day too, Jo was there and Lewis came down, Loll our friend and fellow member of team WAVE brought bubbles and we all had a merry time reminiscing and getting excited for the future! Lots of dressing up of course, and the birth of the ‘Bubblegum Bitches’ yet to make their debut public performance after the first rehersal that day!



This post is pretty long already so we’ll do the next 6 months in the following blog piece, the ‘post Hopmarket shop months’!

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#Loveyourfrontdoor with Bride and Bloom

December 12th, 2014 · Uncategorized

I love a workshop, taking a few hours or days to learn a new skill, meet new people and come home with something you’ve made yourself or with a good story to tell about your new expertise! I have done a few floristry course spurred on by my fleeting job helping out in a Florist over the major flower giving festivities!
Good old Facebook worked its magic with a sponsored post of a local florist I knew about, Hannah Walker of Bride and Bloom advertising a Christmas Wreath workshop. It was timed to perfection with my Mums birthday so my one sister, Mum and me booked up to help make our doors look festive for Christmas!
I always like a theme so taking it literally donned my fave christmas blouse and of course wreath tinsel earrings!

We arrived to a very intimate class, people having cancelled due to illness meant we had lots of attention to make sure we all came home with a WOW of a wreath!



Hannah had supplied us with gorgeous foliage to fill our wreaths and I was happy to see we were creating them from scratch, not just using oasis blocks, I love mine just with the moss!


Because our host had great taste and concentrates on using British flowers we had some lovely things like dried hydrangea heads, nigella seed pods, interesting eucalyptus as well as shiny berries, glossy Holly and the use of spray paints if we fancied!
The other lady on the course, Carole is a grower of some of the British flowers and foliage Hannah uses for her business, what a dream team to have chatted to!
We all enjoyed the fact it was a very casual class, we could be as artistic as we liked, with Hannah there to help if we got stuck! oh and to ply us with wine, tea and mince pies! To top off a lovely evening, our kind tutor had also thoughtfully made my mum a birthday gift, a sweet potted crocus in a vintage cup and saucer!


Here we are with the fruits of our labour, pleased as punch as you can see..



Thanks for the photos and can’t wait for the next workshop, Hannah! Here’s my wreath in pride of place!


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Montys Deli and the Fashion and Textiles Museum, a London day out.

November 16th, 2014 · Uncategorized

I love visiting London, every month or so I plan a jam packed day to go to the exhibitions, restaurants and sites I’ve been reading about, out in the sticks, well West Midlands!
My Mum and I took the early train arriving in the big city at 10, it already felt like lunch so we hot footed it straight to Monty’s Deli for some pastrami sandwiches.
Every time I sink my teeth into a stack of cured meat I think my Eastern European routes must come through, never more satisfied than when eating something pickled, brined or boiled! The corned beef was actually my favourite of the two meats, but the star was the chopped liver. While waiting for our Reuben specials to grill we greedily slathered some of the meaty pate onto the really lovely rye bread, meaty, rich and smooth! I’ve read they brine and cook everything onsite for the weekend trading and it’s always a sell out, what a great business, we had been planning to go since hearing about the market stall, it’s grown quickly, now a unit in the arches of Druid Street it’s an inspiring example of a growing business reaping the rewards of making a great high quality product and working hard.


Mum enjoying the delicious liver and our jumbo sangas!

We definitely needed to walk off our super early feast so next stop was the Fashion and Textiles Museum for the knitting exhibition. My mum is an avid knitter, we don’t get such a look in since my sister had a baby but she did rustle up this bespoke hot dog scarf for me..

Opps, another shot of me eating, I’m guessing you’re getting the hint I like my food! This was taken at the famous Coney Dogs in Worcester Massachusetts, same hot dogs since 1922!

Anyway, back to the knitting, what a great subject for an exhibition, so current and specific, the curators could really go for it on this theme, with a lifetime of history and examples of this ever popular craft. I enjoyed the exhibition but did feel it was definitely more about knitting as a fashion texture and fabric, and could have included more on knitting as an action and technique. I really loved the old examples, it really emphasised how classic something is when it’s primarily knitted, things were hard to date, I guess because the techniques and fabrics used have been replicated for decades after, even if they are produced on machines rather than by hand. Obviously there is a huge difference between a Primark fairisle style jumper and a similar looking handknitted 1940s piece! Here are a few shots of the exhibition, I particularly love knitted swimwear as it has always seemed one of the silliest ideas ever!



I will be adding a shot of my mums own knitted cossie from her childhood, emblazoned with her name, I can just picture her shuffling along a windy seaside in a soggy suit, scratching away at the sweaty seams! Well I’ve only got up until lunchtime but will blog again about the second half of the day, it was culture-tastic so a shame to squeeze into one post!

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Let’s make Hay this winter!

November 10th, 2014 · Uncategorized

Hay Literature festival has been going since 1988, it was described by Bill Clinton as “Woodstock of the Mind” This picturesque town on the English Welsh border becomes a stage to politicians, comedians, authors and film stars to talk about their literary works twice a year.


During the summer and winter Hay thousands of people descend on this town to listen, learn and laugh at the many interesting discussions that take place, and in a few weeks you’ll be able to hear me tell my story about the writing of our book Wearable Vintage Fashion, and a whistles top tour of fashions of the 20th Century

This is such an honour to be part of this prestigious festival and we are busy planning our chat to include lots of props and pretties, mostly to distract from our waffling! Follow this link to book tickets, it takes place on 30th November at 12.30pm.
You can make it a vintage themed visit with a mooch in the Hay Does Vintage fair happening on the very same day! A little birdie told me they’re about to launch a competition for two free tickets to the talk so like their Facebook and best of luck!

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PEZ a sweet day out!

November 1st, 2014 · Uncategorized

Its been a literal warm welcome back in the UK! We got back from our East coast USA tour to the mildest Halloween on record!
My boyfriend and I have been to visit my friends in Ottawa and couldn’t resist doing a bit of a road trip, why not when you’ve already crossed the Atlantic!


We wanted to do some ‘leaf peeping during the Fall so travelled from Montreal to Burlington Vermont and drove steadily to the coast then down to NYC. The colours were intense, rich golds, browns and bright pinky reds, especially in my favourite afternoon light as a result of low, moody, grey clouds.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love nature but I am a sucker for a tourist attraction, we spent a super fun night at the Adventure Suites living out a mermaid dream…

Another tick on my list was to visit the Pez factory in Connecticut. For $5 I didn’t have the highest expectations but had always appreciated the fun cartoon dispensers and classic, timeless styling and design.



My expectations were greatly exceeded at the fascinating sweety plant.
Pez started in Austria in 1927 as a breath freshening mint to appeal to smokers, the cigarette lighter shaped dispenser was designed as an alternative to smoking..let me guess you’re thinking ‘ohhhh of course’ as you read this, so obvious when you know! Here’s a reissued copy of the original Pez packet

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PEZ comes from shortening the word PfeppErmintZ, the headquarters are now in Austria and in the USA, although it only went across the pond in 1952, the novelty packaging we now associate started in 1955 with a Santa Claus character atopping the dispenser. At the museum we saw some amazing original display merchandise





Including the super cool outfits the Pez girls would were on the streets of USA to attract adults to the minty sweet treat



It takes 3000lbs of pressure to press the sugar into the tiny brick


The original sign is the word PEZ made up of the tiny bricks and is still present on the refill packs. I never really appreciated Pez, and now I’ve looked at the company in more detail I totally understand why people collect the products, they really are a design classic, unchanged mostly for years, no wonder folks get obsessed picking up whole character series. Japan are especially crazy for the bright, graphic cartoon Pez. If you are passing through Connecticut do drop by!


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Fall into Autumn

October 2nd, 2014 · Uncategorized

In the last couple of days a fresh nip has definitely caught in the air, the leaves are changing into their rich fiery pallete and while the skies are blue I’m happy to say Autumn is here!
The last of the festivals has been and gone, very satisfactorily I might say with our jumble sale sold out by the Sunday afternoon!

Festival of Thrift was once again a brilliant success. It was really wholesome, ‘hands on’ event for all the family and free to get in, with fun activities such as making a minature garden


Having a go at black smithing

The charity shop DJs letting everyone pick from their boxes of eclectic LPs to provide a wacky soundtrack for the weekend!

The event was blessed again with the last of the summer sun so it was perfect conditions for a rumble in the jumble!
We haven’t perfected organising for events with keeping up our online so well the last few weeks, time management is a new challenge working from home. We will be getting in to October full speed now to fill our Etsy shopwith Halloween perfect picks and autumn/winter staples! I personally can’t wait to get the mohair out!


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Its that time again, let’s get ready to Jumble!

September 25th, 2014 · Uncategorized

The last two months have been super busy, since shutting the physical shop I’ve thrown myself into festivals, fairs and growing my online vintage clothing business on Etsy
I was feeling guilty about not having come up with a masterplan for the future yet but have decided to give myself a break! Apart from one week off for a family holiday I’ve been keeping the Second Hand Rose flag flying so although its easy to be hard on yourself I need to step back and pay myself on the back for keeping the momentum going and not giving myself an extended summer break which would have been tempting and easy!

This weekend is our last festival of the year, the super fun Festival of Thrift
This is a free festival in Darlington, the weather was glorious last year and our Vintage Jumble Sale went down a storm! There were lots of bargain hunting, imaginative crafty customers who appreciated our heaps of pretty textiles, whether they were dresses, curtains, knitwear or just scraps. Again we will be doing ‘fill a bag’ deals so you can while away half an hour rummaging on our tables!


If you are local or even an hour or two away I would recommend this for a day out, free entry, workshops and demonstrations at minimal cost, great food, oh and our stall pretty much giving vintage clothing away for free!

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Nice in Nice, France

September 1st, 2014 · Uncategorized

This summer has been quite a strange one having closed the shop and dived head first into selling online
Mixed in with a few festivals and experimenting at new events, last weeks holiday to Nice was a great chance to stand back and look at what was going on with SHR.


This beautiful cottage in Chateauneuf de Grasse, about 45 minutes from Nice, was home for a week, this was my morning view…


A peaceful place to take a few deep breaths.
We had a few day trips out from lounging by the pool and enjoying cheese and wine, I particularly loved Nice.



It had a very traditional seaside feel, the old architecture has been cared for along the seafront, and not over run with modern high rise and flashing neon. Although I love neon this promenade is much too calm and regal, I could just imagine Coco Chanel and friends racing along in their Breton stripes!

While I was away I read #GIRLBOSS I’d seen lots of hype about it and needed to know if I was being a good girl boss!
A lot of what I read rang true and the things I’m trying to work on on my return from France are to schedule my day better, its been tricky since working from home to feel I’ve ‘achieved enough’ by bedtime. When I’ve been used to having a workplace in the shop with a (kind of!) start and end I need to replicate this at home, I shall be more strict breaking the day up, use my diary more and make more lists, and I’ve read lots of great advice online! Sophia Amoruso also talks a lot about her concentrating on the details of her listings. Its all too easy to get complacent with letting things slip, eager just to get the items up into my Etsy shop. Although I’m pretty hard on myself to get things right, I think its important to keep looking back and going over things, being my own editor and critic!

This weekend I’m off to trade at Vintage by the Sea in Morecombe, another arm of the Hemmingway ‘Vintage’ brand. My sister got married at the Midland Hotel so it shall bring back some lovely memories! Are you going? If so, see you there!


This is a fabulous trompe l’oeil wall I saw in Nice, isn’t it amazing!


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