Friday, July 25

For the love of... vintage suitcases!

I adore vintage suitcases! They have such character and charm and often tell a story, I have a couple of military trunks with the soldiers name and rank on them and they make fabulous coffee tables with the added bonus of a huge storage space within. 

Love this blog!

Ebay is a great way to source them as well as vintage shops and markets; Blighty always has a wide selection to choose from.


Suitcases piled by size make great tables, I have a few of these dotted around my home, unfortunately my house is far too untidy today to take pictures but I can show you this lovely little stack from my daughter’s home, she uses these as a bedside table; don’t they look fab!

Amy at Blighty Boutique

One of the easiest and most effective projects is to cover suitcases in your favourite papers or fabrics. These look amazing!

 My little Chihuahua, Betty would love this bed although George my scottie would struggle to fit into it!

Suitcase seating works so well, this is one of my favourite suitcase upcycles…

Loving the Barkcloth Seat!

…closely followed by the fabulous suitcase tables with legs!

From twisted sifter

Boom box suitcases are really popular at the mo, I love the idea that I can play my ipod through one of these babies!

Boom Boom!

One of the best things about suitcases at the moment is the fact that after the huge demand for these beauties for weddings drove the prices up to silly money; prices really are on their way back down!

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Sunday, July 13

For the love of... pictures!

Whoever said ‘less is more’ probably didn’t have a passion for collecting! My personal motto is ‘why understate when you can overstate’, this is particularly true with leopard print and big earrings, but I digress!

Today’s passion is pictures; not single carefully placed art pieces though, oh no, leave that type of thing to art galleries! I love walls that are swathed in the stuff! Fortunately I don’t even have to visit Pinterest for this as two of my very good friends share my passion and have generously allowed me to use pictures from their homes to tempt your palette. Their tastes are totally different but both manage to make their walls look flippin amazing!

Holly's fabulous wall!

The lovely Holly from the talented duo that is Nicholas& Steele is a self-confessed pretty, floral and shabby chic girl at heart. Her interior designs are the stuff of magazines. Holly has used an eclectic selection of frames, from quite plain plastics right through to heavy, detailed gilt. The melody is floral and this soooooo works Hols! I am totally in love with this layout.

Vix's wall of misery!

Anyone who knows Vix who blogs as Kinky Melons will expect the extraordinary and her walls totally deliver on this! Vix has put together the most marvellous ‘Wall of Misery’ using popular prints from the 60’s and 70’s, of rather glum looking children! Vix also has a passion for gypsy ladies, which is for me a perfect analogy of the gorgeous vintage gypsy queen herself!

Vix's fabulous wall!

My own collection, ‘the wall of God’ brings together my assemblage of Biblical quotes and vintage Rosaries. Popular in the early 1900’s as samplers, the commercial prints were very popular in the 1930’s and 40’s. I love my hymn board too (that’s my date of birth on there) yep I too am pretty vintage in years, antique dare I say! 

These are in my spare bedroom and look down on me as I apply my daily slap! I have figured that with such a wall, I can probably get away with a few sins!

What do you cover your walls with and more to the point, what would you like to cover them with?

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Thursday, July 10

For The Love Of... Mirrors!

Mirror mirror on the wall... I love mirrors, not in the singular though, a single mirror is utilitarian, even when it is a real beauty. Now give me a collection, a gaggle, a gang, a flock of them and I start to get excited! 

From a woman who barely looks in the mirror, as my Medusa style of hair-do will attest, for me, mirrors are to be gazed at and not into! Anyway let's move away from that scary prospect... This is one of my own mirror collections. 

My own mirror collection!
Mirrors look fabulous as a collection. I have been hoarding these 1920's and 1930's mirrors for a while now. They are pretty heavy, with wooden backs and a metal hanging chain and so need to be attached to a strong screw so as not to bring the house down! I started off my collection when they were no 'in fashion' and paid around £5 each for them. These days you would be lucky to pay less than £20 for a plain one, art deco designs go for a lot more. I moan all the time about the prices but given that they are over 70 - 80 years old and don't suppose it is too bad a deal, I am just tight!

I love this
I think this will be my next mirror collection, the problem is that you have to build your collection before being able to display it beautifully and I only have two hand mirrors at the moment! Gutted! I will probably do a post in a decade when I have enough of them!

Pinterest link as full link is missing!

This smaller collection is really effective though! I might manage to collect this many in only a few years! 
Another dead Pinterest Link!
1960's Sunburst mirrors look fabulous and are pretty easy to source. I love this collection, the gold really does look fab against the bright reflection of the glass!
This is another favourite! And I have hall table lust too, isn't it flippin gorgeous!

More 1960's sunburst mirrors
And if you cannot wait to build a collection of vintage mirrors, or you simply want to do it on a budget, I love this wall. Some of these of mirrors can be picked up at car boots or charity shops, you could pretty much use any type of mirror here. They are all pulled together by a bit of a paint job and look bloody amazing too!

What do you think?

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Monday, July 7

A Serendipitous Pop-Up Boutique

Pop-up shops are literally ‘popping up’ all over the UK. This relatively new business model allows sellers to test the waters in high profile premises at hugely discounted rates using empty retail properties. Pop-ups can appear for just a day or for months, occasionally years.

Business initiatives by the likes of entrepreneurial campaigners at Start-Up Britain  and many more are making it easier to pitch to landlords of empty spaces with templates and lists of useful tips and links.

One lady who has ‘popped up’ in fabulous fashion is Tracie Bedwood, aka Serendipity Candles. Tracie, a mother of twin boys, has built a business that not only supports her but also a selection of handpicked talent under the banner of ‘The Handmade Boutique’.

The Handmade Boutique

Tracie began her journey in August 2012 when she already had an established business selling beautiful candles set in vintage glassware and china. Noticing empty premises at The Mailbox Birmingham, Tracie approached the Mailbox and asked them if they could use one of their empty shops to do a few dates for a pop-up shop. The Mailbox, located in a prime retail position, agreed and to top it they wanted the pop-up to open for a fourteen week period. Tracie excitedly agreed to what was clearly an amazing opportunity and so her pop-up journey began.

With the premises secured, Tracie now had to fill the space. “I then started contacting some of the other designer makers that I’d had at several other events and Pop-up shops and invited them all down to see the space and pitch them my proposal. I had 14 spaces in the shop and I invited the 14 designer makers in that I knew had a great product and a Unique Selling Point. ” Opening in September 2012, the Handmade Boutique was very well received and recognising a gap in the retail market for independent designer makers to showcase their wares, Tracie moved to secure more premises.

Finding permanent premises, Tracie explained “I went to see some of the empty shops in Great Western Arcade, Birmingham and immediately fell in love with no: 22. We opened there on 1st July 2013. I had most of the designers that had been with me in The Mailbox and a few new ones too. The designers all rent a space in the Boutique and are asked to work 3 days a month, they take 100% of their sales. This works really well for everyone as we are all so passionate about, not only our own work, but the other designers too. The formula of Handmade Boutique is a winning formula for myself and all of the designers that are part of it. It is an excellent opportunity or designers to sell their products in a retail outlet, a platform which would usually be unobtainable to them. We work as a great team together.”

More pop-ups followed, “In September 2013 I had a 16 week pop-up in Mel Square, Solihull. This was a great Boutique and we had lots of designers from Solihull there as well as the designers from Great Western Arcade, 27 in total. I was contacted in March by the Touchwood Centre, Solihull and they asked me if I would like to go and do a Pop-up in one of their smaller empty shops this opened in April for 16 weeks and we are due to close on 3rd August, just after Sutton opens. There are 14 designers there and it has been a huge success for them all.”

From Birmingham, Tracie looked nearer to home and in March 2014 did a 7 day pop-up in The Gracechurch Centre, Sutton Coldfield. On the huge success of this Tracie put in an offer on another shop in Gracechurch Centre as another permanent Handmade Boutique, this opens in mid-July.

From an idea for a few days’ worth of pop-ups, Tracie has built her Handmade Boutique brand into two permanent shops. “We have just celebrated our first year in Great Western Arcade and have no plans to leave there as we have built up a bank of regular customers that travel far and wide to come and visit us, as well as the local business people that are always popping in for gifts for people."

We just won an Award for Outstanding Customer Service at the Retail Birmingham Awards.” I'm looking forward to opening the doors in Sutton Coldfield in just a few weeks, then we will all be busy making our Christmas ranges and making the most of the busiest time in retail.

The Sutton Handmade Boutique has an upstairs showroom for Vintage Lovelies Furniture and also an area for workshops, as quite a few of the designers do workshops. “We will be adding to these over the coming months and all the course/workshop details are on our website.  You can find a list of Designer who showcase at the Handmade Boutique there.

Workshops include:

Teddy Bear making workshops with Burman Bears 

Furniture Painting workshops with Vintage Lovelies 

Felting workshops with Tigerlily Makes 

Textile workshops with Jennyrosemann 

Contact Tracie HERE

Friday, July 4

For the Love of... Lurex..

I have always had a bit of a passion for lurex, its texture, its sparkle! Add crimplene to the mix and I am truly in love! Sadly this is an unrequited love. Lurex nor crimplene lend themselves to the more rotund of figures, a giant shimmering bauble of an apparition just does not cut it, even Dawn O'Porter would struggle with this one!

Lurex Lust from Pearls and Petticoats

This gorgeous dress has been in Blighty Bazaar for a while now and is honestly my favourite clothes item in the whole shop, I regularly fondle it as I pass by! I am not a vintage fashionista, mainly because I have worked out by a process of elimination that women of size 18 and over either did not exist or if they did they wore Ena Sharple macs and pinnies (and you never saw Ena shimmying in lurex) and so this dress is destined to never be mine!

Ena Sharples, Coronation Street
Even Barbie had a selection of lurex in her wardrobe, this jumpsuit is a perfect example!

Even Barbie had a wardrobe stuffed with lurex!

PS. Lurex has been around since 1947 and so is even older than me!

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Monday, June 30

Is Vintage Getting Old?

With the huge resurgence of vintage over the last decade or two, vintage is now becoming more mainstream and people are beginning to ask if the trend for vintage can last. Working with Blighty Bazaar, a vintage & handmade shop in Leamington Spa and as fully fledged vintage addict this is a question often posed to me. In a shop with over one hundred sellers, vintage is a definition of age and not any specific style. To nail vintage to an exact era, style or memory would be sacrilegious in the extreme! Vintage is anything and everything, we all have a right to enjoy our own style and definition of it, if it is 20 years old it is vintage, love it or hate it!

Blighty Bazaar, Leamington CV32 4QS
Any business whether vintage or high street has to adapt to the market, the nature of any business is to change or die. Vintage is very eclectic and therefore caters to a very wide range of tastes with ease. Retail wise the demand for vintage can be roughly divided between a numbers of groups with lots of crossovers. Dedicated followers of vintage fashion; home-style lovers and those who like to mix vintage and modern are amongst them.

Vintage fashion is a moveable feast similar to any other consumer led commodity. This is particularly true with fashion clothes which are heavily influenced by the time of year in a similar way to mainstream fashion, prom season, Christmas Parties, the wedding season or change of season et al. Festival season brings a rush for vintage undergarments and flimsy nighties while a cold winter will totally obliterate our range of real vintage furs and welsh wool capes!  Style and tastes may change within the vintage scene but the demand from consumers searching for the individual alternative to mass produce of the high street will always be there regardless of whether it is labelled as vintage, second hand or old tat as some would have it.

Blighty Bazaar

Home-style lovers of vintage may follow vintage clothes fashion, but it is their homes that set them apart. This has a pretty wide field, from lovers of shabby chic upcycled to the mid-century modern who cannot resist a nice bit of g-plan teak.

And then there are the eclectics, this is me! My tastes are not specific to era, design school or to be honest having no rhyme or reason to them! I buy things because the remind me of good things! Early 70’s ker-knockers clacker balls of the school playground to ridiculous multi-coloured platforms because I really wanted some when I was in my teens are my driver.

Add to this the boom in handmade and you have a heady mix. Lots of artists create new from old, incorporating vintage bits into their clothes and jewellery. Old curtains become the most fabulous maxi dresses while doilies are made into beautiful lampshades. Finely detailed wedding hair pieces are carefully crafted from broken pieces of discarded brooches and necklaces. Vintage and new all rolled into one!

The Gorgeous Vintage Vix is the absolute queen of vintage, her blog is amazing too! The dress was made by Vix using a fabulous pair of curtains! Yes, really!

Vintage with a twist at Tilly-minx

We have nine year olds buying 1980’s trolls to ninety year old shopping for anything from vintage handbags, brooches to vintage china. People themselves define what is vintage; it is very personal, when buying from good memories this is particularly true. All of these are transportable and therefore always fresh and ‘new’. By definition, vintage changes with the years and something so fluid could not possibly go out of fashion!

Friday, May 16

We Have Been Nominated For Two National Vintage Awards! Yay!

We are so excited to tell you that Blighty Bazaar have been nominated in two categories in the National Vintage Awards! Breakthrough Business Award & Best Regional Shop!

Read our interview HERE! And if you love what we do then please vote for us HERE!

Don't forget to add your email, it won't be used for anything else!

We need your vote in both categories if you would be so kind! Thank You so much x