Vintage revelation: inspired by wonderful people

I was feeling a bit dejected and deomoralised. I couldn’t wait for my husband to go on his business trip but then he goes and I’m left alone feeling like a spare part, rattling around in our tiny but suddenly that much bigger house. I started by sorting things that I’m going to sell at the car boot sale in Pimlico this weekend. I was overwhelmed after the first day, daytime tv never felt more appealing and I’d made a mess of our usually fairly clutter free home. There was an event in the evening to help me sort our mind out and I didn’t go. I got up the following morning feeling worse but struggled through, sorted out my emails, got through a load of other, not so urgent stuff. Anything not to go through all these things. I found some gems of course but it was an effort to list even those.

Wednesday evening came and a friend came over so we could go through my finances. We drank really rather a lot of wine, and it was suggested rather strongly that I wasn’t earning enough doing this paying hobby, that I couldn’t call it a job, and to please, accept any other job going.

The following morning was slightly better and I got around to listing a few things, it was great for an hour or so and then I got tired, it had been a late night. I ate chocolate and retired to my bed for a siesta. That didn’t really help my mindset although I did get up and list a few more things. A stunning North Face gilet, a Tommy Hilfiger Cardigan that didn’t seem that special until a girl in Finland contacted me really, really wanting it. An Argentinian polo player Handbag, stunning quality, no one will buy it I’m sure. A Gap jumper that I can’t even be bothered to list for the hassle.

Then I went to the event. A few people were brave enough to stand in front of the group and tell their stories, offer services or ask for help. And then I spoke to a few people, and asked for help in my decluttering business. I have some lovely vintage clothes that would like a good home, not just the back of someone’s cupboard because they didn’t value it because they paid too little for it. I got an absolute wealth of information. All hand written on post-it notes, mainly by Steven, thank you Steven! My request was for vintage or high end second hand clothing stores to help my decluttering business? These are the places I need to look up:

– Buy Button from Shopify ‘only buy once’ – I’ve googled it. It looks techie. I need to research.

– for furniture, there’s a place in Hull that helps to restore and resell furniture. I think this is Creations Direct Furniture Restore although their wesbsite doesn’t mention reselling.

– The Sue Ryder store in Camden sells high end second hand clothes.

– Esther Zimmer does walking tours to clothing shops. I’ve googled her, I’ll need to keep a look out for the next one, I’ve just missed one.

– there’s a vintage shop in Great Marlborough Street. I just googled that too. It’s called Beyond Retro. It doesn’t say where it gets its clothes from but that they restyle and repurpose them at their factory in India. Great idea.

– there’s also an amazing one in Goodge Street. A quick search shows it’s called Bang Bang. They accept 25-30% of their sale price. Definitely one to look into

– Blackout and Blackout 2 – great website and facebook page. I’ve ‘liked’ it, obvs.

– Time Out Magazine, I should know this, has a great little section on second hand and vintage stores.

– there’s a blog by Dawn O’Porter. Needless to say I’ll be following that.

– and Nastygal, need to look this one up

So much plastic

I spend a lot of the time listing items to sell. A lot of this time is spent looking at labels. There are so few clothes that don’t have plastic in them. Like, less than 1%. Really only the beautiful (and sometimes not so beautiful) things that are 100% silk. Everything else, every wool, cotton piece of clothing is a blend and is mixed with acrylic, polyester, rayon, viscose, polyamide, latex, lycra. If it is only a blend of these things then the lining is usually acetate, which feels like a really cheap form of satin. Soft, yeah, and silky, but plastic, and cheap. Sooo many names for a plastic product. And then there are the myriad items that boast to be 100% acrylic, the soft ones. 100% viscose, the soft, durable ones. 100% polyester, almost everything else.

I did a google search. So now I’m an expert. Obvs. All these materials are made from plastic heated ultra high, then passed through tiny holes to make threads that are then blended to make clothes. They are made from a oil, a fossil fuel, a product that is not finite, and turn into products that do not biodegrade back into soil for hundreds of years.

So I ask you this. Next time you buy an item of clothing, look at the label. Don’t buy it because it has plastic in it (you’d never buy anything) but just be aware of what’s in your beautiful jumper, that sexy bra, those flattering jeans. Buy second hand if you can, vintage if you’re cool enough, reuse and, in so doing, reduce. Love those soft clothes but just be aware of where they come from.

It’s been a year…

I don’t know why I’ve left it so long to write another blog. So this is a reminiscence of something I started a year ago – read the previous posts for what ‘actually’ happened.

I wanted to voice an idea I’ve had in my head for a few years now. It started with a pair of shoes: a specific pair, one that I’d bought to wear with a particular dress for a special party. Except, I went to the shops and tried on the shoes with socks. So I arrive at the party, head up to my hotel room, don the lovely dress, feel great, and then put on the shoes, now without socks. And I look like I’m ten years old and I’ve snuck into my mum’s closet to try on her shoes. The heels last even less time than usual and within half an hour, I’ve resorted to flats.

Back at home, the shoes get relegated to the back of the wardrobe. But they don’t hide from my mind. They appear every time I think about that dress, about parties, about shoes. They’re clogging up my personal space. It’s not just the shoes, it’s a lot of stuff.

I ask a friend to show me how to use ebay. She says yes but she’s not my most pro-active friend. In the end, I invite myself, my ipad, the shoes and a bottle of red over to hers and we get on the case. A week later and I’ve sold the shoes for £7. I get a buzz because they’d been bid up from £4.

After that, I avidly went through my wardrobe. Sweaters I’d hardly looked at in months, jeans that were too big, sports gear that was too small. Suddenly, I’d decluttered to an extent that my cupboard made sense. I could see things, everything had a place. I was hooked. I’ve been through the whole house ridding myself of anything and everything. I’m currently going through my mother’s place, and she lives on a family farm. If I wasn’t enjoying myself so much, the farm would be daunting. There’s a barn, a loft and an attic full of three generations of belongings.

The most expensive object I’ve sold to date is a ruby glass vase that none of us like, for £100. The strangest thing is probably my granny’s swimming cap, chin strap and all, from the 1950’s for £40. And probably the most boring item was a Renault keyring. All valuable to someone. And it’s not about the value, it’s about decluttering, creating a life less materialistic, with more space. There’s a sense of recycling too. It’s not going to landfill and even the packaging I use is second hand. It’s come to be a large part of my life. Let me help you do the same and you might even make a bit of cash at the same time. I’ll come to your home, help sort through things, and sell them for you.

I was just reading an interview by GQ magazine to Caitlin Moran. My mind wondered, not because I was bored, I wasn’t, I hang on Caitlin Moran’s every word, both in the Times column and in her book How to be a Woman. But I have just spent half an afternoon reading the last 4 chapters so perhaps I needed a break. And I started to think about what I was going to order for dinner tonight. I’m not feeling that great, truth be told, I had Breakfast at The Wolesley this morning, a 9 year long wish fulfilled and I had, amongst other things, a small fishcake and approximately a pint of coffee. Not sure which one it was but as soon as I got home, I went to the loo and immediately afterwards took the preventive action of popping an Imodium. But that will not stop me thinking about food. Also, we’re going out with Gunter’s friends tonight and we’re meeting in Soho and I’m hoping we’ll go Vietnamese so I can order starters.

It’s something Gunter and I don’t see eye to eye on at all. Gunter is happiest after a single course, cooked meal, either in a restaurant or, surprisingly, at home.

But I love to pick. My favourite meal consists of serving snacks and home made dips at home. Our home is so small that all sitting around a dinner table requires moving much of the furniture around and then there’s only space for 4 people. So perhaps it’s by default but a bowl of almond-stuffed olives, warmed pittas chopped like soldiers, dry-fried halloumi and my signature guacamole (garlic, salt, lemon and put the stone in the bowl) is one of my favourite things to do. I’ll select a red wine, occasionally white and away we go. Heaven.

I also love to have bread and cheese at my mum’s. It usually includes a selection of deli treats: pork pies, smoked salmon trimmings, an avocado shared, with Worcestershire sauce in the hole (a word that Gunter pronounces each syllable separately), the marble lazy susan heavy with Cambozola, Jarlsberg, Boursin and a moulding end of cheddar. Gunter will, in desperation, cook himself a pasta dish with tomato and tuna sauce.

so much action

This is fantastic. There’s so much going on. It’s almost like facebook, the more you put up there, the more comments and likes you get and the more you go on it to check and the more fun it becomes. The more addictive it becomes. Since I sold my Bench jeans, I also sold a check shirt although they haven’t paid for that yet, it’s a shame because it’s all packaged up and ready to go. I didn’t sell the Banana Republic shirt but will give it an iron before it goes back on for sale, oops.

I’ve also listed some sports gear, sooo many watchers on the stella mccartney jogging bottoms, and quite a lot of interest in the nike top. A couple of bids on the Next jeans, even though the comments included that they’d been shrunk in the wash. And a men’s snood. That’s a strange one. I got an email requesting a “buy it now” – I didn’t know what to think or do on that but with my seller’s reputation at stake, I’ve declined, hope that’s the right thing to do. It’s gone up on the bid loads, again, I’m slightly worried about the state of it but the description wasn’t wrong. Well used and well washed.

I even had good feedback: “quick delivery” (it was still only second class but I got to the post office next day) and “top ebayer” – really pleased with that one. Such a reputation I have to keep up. The pressure!

still a novelty

I have a second bid on the shoes, it’s exciting and I’m feeling the buzz. They say that both buying and selling through the bidding process is good fun and I’m feeling it. I hope for a bid on the jeans and there has been a watcher. I’m not sure it was a great idea to wear them, if they don’t sell, I’ll try again putting them on a hanger.

The highest bidder so far is a miss paddington. I hope she gets them because of her name alone. But I also hope there’s a bidding war at the end. There are 90 mins left, I’m not sure I’ll be able to stay off the internet for that time. That said, I’m procrastinating and should be listing more things on there, there’s so much to get rid of.

I’ve got a shirt out to photograph so hope to get around to listing it tonight. Thing is, I can’t remember where I bought it. I thought it was Gap but it has a different label so who knows. It’s also slightly creased, but it looks good.

I spent a while this evening checking out other stuff for sale on ebay. There is some cool stuff but the pricing is so weird, there’s no real code to follow, I guess the skill comes with time.The important thing is that I’m getting rid of stuff so if I make a bit of pocket money on the way, then great, I mustn’t get greedy.

a bid a bid

I feel like a kid in a sweetshop, I’ve had a bid. The kid’s had a bid. The shoes will have a new home. I don’t know who it is or why they want them. Not knowing conjures up all sorts of images in my head. Why is it so exciting. They have to wait over 2 days to get them for 4 quid but anyway, it’s so exciting, the clutter will go. What next…

One watch on the jeans, which is impressive considering my bum looks huge in them, bigger every time I look. Signing off for a date with a bar of chocolate.