Monday, 29 September 2014

Festival of Thrift 2014- What I wore

In keeping with the vintage/handmade ethos of the Festival of Thrift- I decided to style myself vintage. (Not that I don't try to usually try to inject a bit of retro into my daily attire)

I can't really think of much to say about this outfit- as the main components have already been featured in their own blogposts- dress and jacket. However, I decided to use my Orla Kiely shopper as my bag. British weather is unpredictable at the best of times, so I didn't want to leave without my jacket. As we left Whitley Bay, the sun was shining and it seemed that it was to be a lovely day, this soon changed as we got there resulting in my bag losing several grams of weight when I put my coat on. I went for my usual make-up, just with a slightly more defined cat eye. I also battled with a beehive to fit with my 60s vibe. Originally I was going for a complete beehive up-do, but as my hair tends to not take to back combing well, this was all I could get to work. As the day went on, it deflated a bit but spent the majority of the day looking fine. The only downturn was after I got back when me and my dad went to collect our takeaway and my hair seemed to have gone very flat and lopsided. 

I can't wait until next year when I'll get to do all this again. For any people living in the North, the Festival of Thrift is definitely something I'd recommend.

Until next time

Holly Olivia x

P.S. Unfortunately the car isn't mine
Sunday, 28 September 2014

Festival of Thrift 2014- Who I Met and What I Bought

As promised, here is my second post about the Festival of Thrift 2014- all about the inspiring people I met. I also decided to include 'what I bought' in this post as neither of them would make a very in depth post on their own.

As an avid watcher of 'Shed of the Year', I was obviously very excited to hear that two of the programmes judges would be at the event this year! Max McMurdo and Laura Jane Clark, who both work in the field of design, were there building their own shed out of scrap wood and paint tins. I felt like a complete shed nerd, when I asked for a photo with them both, but they were so lovely and chatted to us for ages. Laura's blog (linked above) showcases some of her projects and they are really incredible, she turned some abandoned toilets into a flat- how astounding?! I've also linked Max's design website where you can buy his incredible products such as his shopping cart chair and bathtub sofa- the latter of which reminds me of the film Breakfast at Tiffany's. 

The bathtub sofa in Breakfast at Tiffany's staring Audrey Hepburn

Max's own design of bathtub sofa- I want one, or three

One of the nice things about the Festival of Thrift is meeting so many people who are passionate about different fields of design- from sheds to jams. Although I highly doubt I could build a shed (without immense pain or it being like the Leaning Tower of Pisa), Max and Laura were so inspiring to talk to and made me want to crack open the tool box and build my own shed....

...or maybe I'll just make the curtains for it.

I was also fortunate enough to meet the lovely Mary Jane Baxter, who is the author of one of my favourite books- Chic on a Shoestring. She was working out of a beautifully decorated little camper van, covered in retro illustrations and patterns. Her stall was selling her two books Chic on a Shoestring and her newest book The Modern Girl's Guide to Hat-making as well as various vintage accessories, handmade hats and gorgeous 70s jumpers, which I oh-so badly wanted. She was so lovely to talk to, we chatted about style and crafts and she even mentioned featuring me on her blog and Instagram

Here I am on her Instagram- it was so nice of her to feature me, it felt a bit overwhelming. She was also kind enough to sign the book I bought from her, I've always wanted to make hats and I'm planning to wear one to the North East Blogger Awards- even if I don't make it past the nominations. 
Due to this, I found her new book very inspiring and well written. 

My only other purchase was a brooch from a vintage/handmade jewellery stall. It was beautifully packaged but the stall was so busy all day that I never got chance to find out the name of it. 

I love the retro feel to the brooch and it's beautifully made, as well as being excellent quality. I've always been fascinated by the patterns on insects wings and the amazing colours they come in, so I fell in love with this brooch as soon as I saw it. I was also on the lookout for a vintage cardigan, as the only wintery one I own is my dusky pink Primark one, but I was unsuccessful. 

I'll be back again tomorrow with my last post about the Festival of Thrift 2014- What I Wore.

Until next time

Holly Olivia x

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Festival of Thrift 2014- What I Did

For those of you who don't know, the Festival of Thrift is a vintage and craft fair held at Lingfield Point in Darlington, it's now in its second year. I went last year and thoroughly enjoyed myself, however it was bigger and better this year! I met a few people who I'd consider creative inspirations, which was amazing. The Festival this year consisted of vintage clothes and furniture stalls, handmade goods and local food produce. There were also street entertainers, workshops and experiences such as retro hairdressing and even a small petting zoo.

The above photos were of a miniature garden stall, I didn't stay long as I just briefly noticed it as we arrived, but I think people were able to help out in the making of it. It was so lovely to see so many families involved with little things like this. 

There were so many stalls selling beautiful vintage pieces like the ones above, If only that sewing box was big enough for all of my bobbins and buttons- sigh.

My favourite Tynemouth Market regular stall was there, Browne's Temperance Bar, run by Steven Philip Brown, he sells home-made cordials out of vintage suitcases as well as some sweets and his new idea- shaved ice. Everything about his stall is perfectly fitting for his 'vintage' image, even his very impressive moustache! My favourite cordial flavour is the sour cherry and hibiscus, so I had to get a glass of it today. If you're ever in Tynemouth, his stall is definitely worth checking out, he also does refreshments for events such as weddings.

I absolutely loved the petting zoo! I took the photo of the chicken for my sister as she is obsessed with them, for some reason. I also loved the goats, although I didn't manage to get photos of them. 

These two are my new idols. They rode around on their tricycle? whilst dancing to 'Don't Stop Me Now' by Queen. Later, they also hosted a charity auction and managed to make it one of the most entertaining things at the event, by their eccentric personalities. 

I also became a carrot, which was obviously my dream. My mum said I made a glam carrot- a glamrot?

The only workshop/activity I participated in was make a Terrarium, which was held on a stall and run by Lucy Smith. Here is a link to her site and details about her workshops. It only cost £1.50, so was very affordable for such an exciting activity. We used decoupage to decorate the jars with vintage paper shapes and planted a succulent in amongst soil and gravel, for drainage. 

There was artwork popping up all the time by Francisco de Pajaro AKA Art is Trash, a Spanish born artist who works with junk to create his part sculpture- part paintings. They made a really fun and quirky addition to the event and I loved watching him work on his new artwork around the grounds. 

I'll be back tomorrow with my second instalment in this series of posts about the Festival of Thrift where I'll be talking about who I met. 

Until next time

Holly Olivia x
Sunday, 21 September 2014

Thrifted jacket re-style

On my way home from sixth form last Wednesday I passed  a charity shop and couldn't help noticing a mustard yellow jacket on one of the rails. I absolutely love mustard yellow and the jacket had a 60s vibe about it, which I couldn't resist. When I went into the shop, however, I noticed it was a size 14, so three sizes too big. As I was so enamoured with the style and colour, I decided to buy it and restyle it to fit me.

Credit to floral background- retro wallpaper 

Above is a photo of the jacket on beforehand, as you can see it was way too big and the buttons were a bit dull. I also included the main tools I used to restyle the jacket. (Minus my sewing machine) I followed the tutorial in Dawn O'Porter's book 'This Old Thing' about altering jackets to bring my jacket down to a better size. The shoulder pads also had to be cut down as they made my small shoulders look non-existent. To bring in the bulk of the garment, I unpicked the lining and turned it inside out. I then pinned a new seam going straight along the sleeves and body of the jacket. This restyle would be so much easier on lightweight jackets as my underarm seams ended up a bit wonky, although that could also be because my sewing machine doesn't seem to get on well with bulkier fabrics. I further decided to change the plain buttons for some blue, circular ones which I had in my button jar already. The jacket cost £4.99 and I only had to buy thread so the whole project cost under £7! (Unless you want to be smart and factor in electrical energy used for powering the machine and lights) Here are some photos of the finished jacket!

I wore the jacket with my Mary Quant inspired dress as I think the blue buttons
match the flower print and the mustard yellow colour compliments the colour in
the flower centres. 

I also wore my new mustard yellow Primark tights and my Doctor Marten shoes
(these shoes are a couple of years old and I can't find any similar ones to link)

Note- Thank you to my sister for taking the photos

Until next time

Holly Olivia x

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

How I style jeans- part one

Disclaimer- this post was meant to show a few ways to wear different jeans, but I was fed a dodgey carvery and have spent the past two days feeling rubbish, so I'm splitting the post into parts.

On this post, I will be showing one of the ways I like to style these jeans from Zara. Although these jeans aren't as fitted as some styles, I think they are flattering and the denim feels so soft! I love the look of the jeans with the cuffs rolled up and with a leather belt. As I have a very slim frame, I often find it difficult to get belts that fit me, so I usually use my embroidery scissors or my stitch unpicker, to make extra holes in the belt. There's nothing like a bit of professionalism!

  Outfit one

Cardigan- Primark, years ago
Black vest top- Primark, this year
Striped shirt- Vintage shop in Newcastle
Flower brooch- One of my Grandma's jewellery sales
Belt- Oasis (off a skirt)
Leather satchel- Reid and Hamilton (camera bag)
Shoes- Hush Puppies

I feel like this outfit is perfect for the transition between Autumn and Winter, although I probably won't be baring any stomach in the Winter months! Layering will always be a big trend and I love the different textures to this outfit. The cardigan is definitely high standard for Primark! I've had it a couple of years and it hasn't shrunk, faded or unravelled at all! I also love the dusky pink/salmon colour of it, it looks very vintage and is so cozy. (Whilst writing this post, I've just noticed how well my belt matches my satchel, go me) I mentioned the striped shirt on my #Thriftytag post, I still can't believe it was £2! It did need a bit of restitching under the armpit seam, but that was simple. The black vest top was only cheap as well, but I think the lace detail adds a bit more interest to outfits. (as well as stopping unwanted exposure of flesh!) The brooch was from one of the charity jewellery sales my Grandma used to hold, people would donate old jewellery to her and all the proceeds went to help people less fortunate than ourselves. 

Note: all of the above photos were kindly taken by my cousin, Kate. Thank you!

I'm currently working on a DIY shirt post, which should hopefully be up this week.

Until next time

Holly Olivia xx

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Nominate me!

For the first time there is to be a North East blogger awards this year. The only category I am eligible for is 'best student blogger', as I'm under 18. However, any nominations would be appreciated. I'll be back with a 'proper post' in a couple of days!

Monday, 8 September 2014


After getting into blogging I have finally decided to attempt the Thrifty Tag invented by two of my favourite bloggers- Paige and Adora. Whilst they did it in video form on Youtube, as I am not very comfortable with the sound of my own voice, I decided to do it in blog form. So here goes!

1. Start by showing a selection of your favourite vintage/thrifted items.

The blue dress on the left is one of my most recent purchases- it was only £2.50 at Tynemouth market. The stall labelled it as Vintage but when I looked up the brand, they were set up in 1987, and the label has a website on, so the dress is just second hand. The design isn't what I'd usually pick for dresses, I tend to sway more towards 60s style shifts as they compliment my figure well but the piping detail on this really caught my eye!
The second outfit has two thrifted elements. The silk scarf was £3 from Beyond Retro and I love wearing it as a headscarf, I'll usually either wear it with a ponytail or wavy hair but I've also recently discovered how nice it looks with straight hair. The top was my Grandma's scarf which I DIYed into a floaty top. (let me know if a DIY post for doing this would be interesting/helpful!) The shorts were made by me from some fabric my Aunt gave me.

The outfit on the left is only composed of one thrifted item. I bought the skirt for about £10 a couple of years ago at Beyond Retro. I really love wool skirts, as they look equally as good in summer with vest tops and bare legs or with tights and jumpers in winter. The vest top is from Primark and the cardigan was a present.

The second outfit is almost completely made up of thrifted items. I originally spotted the print of the dress and fell in love with it, as I don't usually wear strapless things (read as never), I was planning to turn it into a skirt but as it fit so perfectly, I decided to keep it as it is. At £5.49 from The Salvation Army, it was a steal!  The top is very 60s with the gorgeous mustard yellow colour and the Peter Pan collar, but it is actually an old Topshop piece, which only cost £2.99 from the British Heart Foundation. The 'pearls' were from New Look years ago. 

The first outfit is made entirely of thrifted and vintage, except from the Rolling Stones shirt. The striped button up shirt was £2 from Small Change Vintage in the Ouseburn Valley. I didn't stay for hours as I visited the shop when I was unwell, but the shirt was a real bargain and goes so well with my leather skirt. The skirt was from a pop-up shop in Tynemouth (Bean Vintage on Etsy). The jacket was a birthday present from my mum. She found it in a charity shop with the original tags on and everything!
The outfit on the right is really cute for autumn, in my opinion. The shorts aren't thrifted, I made them myself (from the same pattern as the black shorts further up the post). I did, however, buy the fabric (1950s taffeta) for £5 at my local market, so I think that they count. The jumper was knitted by me last year and the hat is from H&M.

2. When did you first get into vintage and thrifting?

I first got into vintage clothes when I was about 14, but then lost the confidence to wear them around friends or people I knew. I had lots of beautiful pieces hidden away in the back of my drawers however, this year I started dressing more how I wanted to, so I've been slowly reinventing my wardrobe. I've always been keen on thrifting, When I was younger, I'd always accompany my mum to second hand shops to look for clothes, and, over the past few years, have become a regular visitor to my local market. 

3. Where is your favourite place to get a bargain? 

Probably Tynemouth market, I once got a vintage lace skirt from there for £2, which I hardly took off until it became too short for me. I also really like charity shops as it's an affordable way to get nice clothes as well as supporting people less fortunate than me. Most of my thrifted items are not vintage as affordable vintage shops near me tend to be difficult to find and I try to avoid ordering online as I am very petite so often have trouble finding clothes that fit. I know, however, that if I lived in London, I'd be a regular visitor to Beyond Retro as it's such an amazing retailer. 

4. What's the most you'd spend on one vintage item?

The most I have spent so far is £20 on a red leather skirt from a pop-up vintage stall in Tynemouth. I'd say that it depends on the garment and whether or not it needs alterations. As I can sew well, I wouldn't rush to a tailor to get alterations done, unless it was a difficult job, but with tailoring, the price can mount up. If it was a dress for a special occasion such as an 18th birthday or a wedding, I'd go up to about £50, as long as I had the money! But I prefer to buy bargains so that if I don't wear them as much as I expected to, the money isn't wasted. 

5. What's the weirdest vintage item you've ever bought?

I've never really bought anything weird that I can think of, the only vintage items I've bought are skirts and head scarves!

6. What item do you wear the most?

This summer, I've been wearing my head scarves a lot, but I try to mix up what I wear, so I can't think of my most worn thrifted item. Recently though, it's been my mustard yellow top as it looks great over dresses, with my Zara girlfriend jeans or my denim skirt. 

7. When thrift shopping is there anything you do to help find good items? (tips)

Most of my tips have been stolen from Dawn O'Porter's book/ TV show, This Old Thing. Since watching her program, I've found myself trying on more items that I maybe wouldn't have usually. I also love her tip on trying things on even if it's just the fabric or lace that grabs your eye. Her book contains lots of ways to alter vintage clothes so they fit your body, which I find so inspiring. I'm now guilty of peering into the seam allowance of coats to see if I can alter them to fit me!

8. Name three things you love about thrifting?

1. When I find an item I love and the seller tells me that no one else could fit into the item because of its small size. (It makes me feel so thankful for my body shape!)
2. Finding a bargain
3.  Knowing that the item has so much history to it. 

9. Name three things you hate about thrifting?

1. When things are far too big for my frame!
2. The fact that vintage women's size six shoes are almost impossible to find!
3. When someone manages to find that amazing item before you do!

10. Who is your thrifty icon?

I'd say it's mostly bloggers. Especially Paige and Adora (who made this tag!), Rebecca from The Cinnamon Slipper and Ellie from Rose and Vintage.
Thursday, 4 September 2014

Book Review And First DIY Dress Post

I've been learning to dress-make since I was about thirteen, and during the holidays, I went to Waterstones to look at dressmaking books. Crafting isn't as popular as it used to be when my parents and grandparents were young, and it definitely showed in the 'crafts' section of the shop. I was underwhelmed by the selection of craft books and the only book containing clothing patterns that I could find was 'Famous Frocks- The Little Black Dress' by Dolin Bliss O'Shea. It was bought on a whim, I flicked through it and was sold by the mention of Audrey Hepburn but didn't properly look at the patterns or the difficulty.

The book contains twenty patterns inspired by style icons of the past 100 years, the 'icons' range from a Kate Moss to Grace Kelly and Coco Chanel. However, what caught my eye was the cover photo, a Mary Quant inspired 60s sleeved dress with a Peter Pan collar. After reading Dawn O'Porter's novel 'This Old Thing', I have come to realise that I am best suited to 60s style shifts because of my slim frame, so I knew I had to make it (I've also always wanted to have/make a dress with sleeves!)

Originally, I was set on recreating the dress in black with a white collar,as Mary Quant made her original, but when I got to my local fabric shop, I saw the most gorgeous 60s style flower fabric, which I'd seen previously on some items off the Mod Dolly website, and at £7.50 a metre, who could argue? As the sleeves required a sheer fabric, I opted for a dark blue to compliment the tones in the floral pattern. So, it became my take on a classic Mary Quant design. 

The pattern was fairly easy to construct and the book contained clear tutorials on how to insert a zip, do French seams and lots of other useful techniques. The only complaint I would have is that having to trace the patterns from the double sided pattern sheets was a bit unnecessary, when I pay £18.99 for a book, I would hope the patterns are able to be cut out straight away. All in all, it took me about six days to complete the dress, doing a few hours each day. The buttons I chose were given to me by one of my Nan's friends who was clearing out her mother's sewing box, I love how they hold so much history.

Dress- handmade by me    Shoes- Hush Puppies (in the last season sale)
Sunglasses and tights- Primark's finest     Bag- Reid and Hamilton

Until next time

Holly Olivia x