Sunday, 19 December 2010

Let it snow

I’m just back from a blissful two weeks in Thailand only to return to blizzards and the mad Christmas rush in London. I’m trying not to let the memories of sunshine and relaxation fade by avoiding any form of high street and opting for the much less stressful experience of Christmas shopping on Broadway Market in East London. The sight of a brass band playing carols, and all the wonderful fresh produce of the market dusted with a coating of snow was the perfect festive mood lifter.

I think its really about time I announce that there’s a Vintage Baby on the way! So you may find the blog takes a new tack as I go into nesting mode. Not surprisingly, I found myself zoning in on the gorgeously retro knitted childrenswear at the Sweetheart Knits stall - where the mini tank tops, hats, booties, cardis and socks are all hand-knitted by a crack team of 35 grannies (each tag tells you which granny knitted what). 

I also love the fabulous vintage kidswear stall next door that sells a colourful array of second hand clothes, denim, stripy jumpers and crochet blankets for the nursery. 

For vintagey christmas presents, Alice Gabb’s stall caught my eye for its kitschy vintage royal-themed mugs filled with lavender-scented candles, all lovingly displayed on old wooden shelves and drawers. 

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Vintage print inspiration

As you may remember from my pre-wedding foray into wooden block printing, I’m a big fan of vintage letterpress prints. If you’re looking for a more professional finish than DIY block printing, I’d recommend East London-based letterpress studio A Two Pipe Problem, which does beautiful bespoke posters, stationery (including wedding invites and cards) and book covers. 

Everything is designed directly on the 1930s press, using nothing but old wooden blocks and metal type, some are a little worn around the edges lending the type an old-fashioned charm. 
You can also attend letterpress workshops to learn about the traditional printing process and make your very own poster. 

While on the subject of vintage-style invitations, I love this one that a colleague passed on to me - such a clever concept and so beautifully designed by the groom himself.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Vintage Vienna

I must apologise for my online absence of late - I was struck down with a winter lurgy and have since been off again overseas for work. Anyway, Vienna’s cosy cafes, cakes and hot chocolates soon perked me up - here are my favourite bits of the city:

Vintage-inspired packaging at the master confectioner’s Demel:

Modernist lighting Zeitloos and Pristine vintage treasures at Flo Vintage:

Cute and quirky haberdashery and crafting fabrics at Herzilein : 

 Art Nouveau and Secessionist design at The MAK museum:

Kitsch decorations at Vienna’s christmas markets:

And not forgetting - warm Apfelstrudel with custard (best eaten in one of the city’s grand old coffee houses such as Cafe Central):

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Kate Spade’s pop-up apartment in London

I paid a visit to New York fashion brand Kate Spade’s first UK venture last week – a pop-up apartment in a Covent Garden townhouse. The creative team have impressively revamped the space on Henrietta Street to resemble a dream pied-à-terre, crammed full of vintage furniture, accessories and eye-popping colour. There was so much home décor inspiration in there that I had to force myself to put the camera down… I particularly loved the ingenious ideas of painting alcoves matt black and wallpapering the inside of a walk-in cupboard (ideal if you can only afford one roll!)

Each room is decorated uniquely to showcase the Kate Spade product range – from gorgeous Elizabeth Taylor-style gems displayed in antique jewellery boxes to pretty journals and short story books, patent handbags and 50s-inspired clothing. Catch it before it closes on November 10th

Friday, 15 October 2010

Vintage Treasures from Budapest

If you’re planning a cultural weekend in Budapest any time soon, then you may be disappointed to discover the city’s Museum of Fine Arts has temporarily donated its works to London’s Royal Academy for its Treasures from Budapest exhibition. But there’s still plenty to inspire in this atmospheric Hungarian city.

I was there last week for work, and one of my highlights was the Ecseri flea market (Nagykőrösi út 156) – well worth the 20 minute cab fare to a less salubrious part of town. It’s not the cheapest flea I’ve ever been to, but much of the goods felt unique to the country and the culture – traditional folk embroideries, old violins, city street signs and military paraphernalia.

Plenty of wedding décor inspiration too -  glass bottles covered in colourful basket weaving that would make folksy vases, and endless piles of lace tablecloths and embroideries.