Thursday, 30 May 2013

List of Vintage, Antique and Collectable Fairs for June 2013

Bit late this month with the list of fairs so apologies for that especially as so many are happening this weekend!  Hopefully you'll still have time to plan your weekend though :)

First of all is:

Village-Vintage, a huge 2 day event at Plumpton Racecourse in the Sussex countryside.  Doors open at 10am Friday 31st May until 5pm and reopen at 10am Saturday 1st June.  This promises to be a great event that will have something for everyone and as the sun as promised to make an appearance. it will make a great day out.

On the same weekend is The Floral Fringe Fair held in the beautiful surroundings of Knepp Castle in West Grinstead.  This is another 2 day event with doors opening at 10.30am Saturday 1st June.  A slightly different vibe to this fair as it is described as:
The Floral Fringe Fair is a quirky, foodie, arty , plantaholics wildlife event with a vintage twist! 
There are over 100 stalls and wildlife is a very important theme at the fair. The Bat, Bumblebee, Endangered Species and Wildlife Trusts, Amateur Entomologists and Ancient Trees and Countryside Restoration Trust will be there plus lots of local food producers, many nurseries selling a range of plants, art and craft stalls, woodland products, willow weaving and some fabulous alternatives for eating. A vintage pop-up tearoom, wood-fired oven pizzas, vegetarian bhajis and pakoras, 40 different coffees and teas, lots of cakes, a steak burger barbecue, real ale tent and ice creams plus much more! We have some folk music to entertain you and Mythago Morris dancing on Sunday. There are butterfly walks and talks. There will also be classic cars on show. Anyone coming in a pre-1975 car gets a small discount on their ticket. The private walled garden will be open to visit and lastly Home Front History will be meeting and greeting as 1940's policemen!

I'm exhausted just reading that but it sounds like a really great, unusual event so try and make it if you can!

Also this weekend is the Farnham Maltings Vintage Festival.  Doors open at 10am on Sunday 2nd June.  I've never been to this fair but it sounds like great fun and my friends Lizzie aka The Washerwoman and Jean aka Shrimpton and Perfect will be there with their fine selection of vintage goodies so do go and say hello.

The Sandown Park Antique and Vintage Fair is on Tuesday 4th June and doors open at 11am.

I found this flyer at one of the fairs and I thought it looked really interesting. The Old Spitalfields Antiques and Vintage Flea Market is what interests me as there weren't great reviews of the Covent Garden Antiques Market but you can't believe everything you read so its always best to try them out for yourselves.  The Spitalfields Market is every Thursday and opens at 8am, a very respectable time I think!

Another well known London Antiques Market, Bermondsey Antiques Market.  I've never been but it sounds like an experience especially in the old days when it was still a Marche Ouvert meaning the provenance of the goods could not be questioned! Open every Friday from 5am.

The Wealden Times Midsummer Fair is a three day event at Hole Park, Rolvenden in Kent.  It starts on Thursday 6th June, doors open 9am and finishes on Saturday 8th June at 4.30pm. 
As well as 200 stands selling vintage and contemporary finds for home and garden, there will be a fabulous Food Arena with stands selling locally produced food and drink and a Street Food area with gorgeous vans feeding their hungry visitors!  There will also be cookery demonstrations and Hole Park estate is also a working farm so something for all the family.  My friend Caroline from Harriett's Attic a Place of Vintage Treasures is having a stand there so do pop by and say hello!

Tues 11th June sees the first Sunbury antiques Market of the month.  Held at Kempton Racecourse, entry is free, parking is free and doors open at 6.30am.

Saturday June 15th sees a new event for the Vintage and Handmade Vintage Jumble Sale.  This time it is at Selwyn Hall, Box, Corsham, Wiltshire, SN13 8NT.  Doors open 11am until 2pm so get there early to get the bargains!

The largest Antiques fair in the South East, Ardingly is on Tuesday 18th June, doors open 9am and Wednesday 19th June, doors open 8am.  So much to see that you need the whole day just to get round!

The Cuckfield Vintage Emporium is on Friday 21st June and doors open 11am.  Homes and Antiques will be there and so will I as I love going down and spending a couple of hours chatting, drinking tea and of course buying!  A lovely, relaxed monthly fair with some great sellers.

The Sussex Brocante is back this month after taking a break in May and will be on Saturday 22nd June.  Doors open 11am and as usual there will be a mix of wonderful sellers selling, vintage, antiques, country furniture and much more besides.

I've included this Fair at Killerton in Exeter as it looks like so much fun!  A 2 day extravaganza bought to you by Crikey! It's Vintage.  It has 80 traders, fashion shows, live music, old fashioned fairground rides, pop up beauty parlour, jive dancing, you name it, its here!  Open 11am Saturday 22nd June and 11am Sunday 23rd June.  Tickets are only £6 if booked in advance.

The last Sunbury Antiques Fair of the month is on Tuesday 25th June.  Doors open 6.30am

A new fair is the Kentish Affair Vintage Fair held in the beautiful village of Penshurst in Kent.  It sounds like its going to be a real old fashioned vintage fair and my friends Stephen and Judy from
All Things Vintage and Beautiful will be there with their colourful assortments and my friend SJ from Home Front Vintage will also be there with her amazing escape and evade cushions, passport covers, etc all made with genuine cold war maps.  A wonderful piece of history, reused so it isn't lost forever.  The fair is on Saturday 29th June and doors open at 10.30am.

Also on Saturday 29th June is renowned Interiors Stylist, Selina Lake's Handmade & Vintage Summer Fete.  I went to the book launch of her new book Pretty Pastel Style and had a great day.  This time there will be 50 stalls all handpicked by Selina and I just know it will be a great day out.

Saturday 29th June is proving to be popular as this is also the day that the Giant Vintage Rag Market is happening.  Bought to you by the ladies behind The Vintage Bazaar,  
all the handpicked 38 stall holders will be bringing oodles of vintage textiles to sell at rock bottom prices.  Get there early to grab a bargain.  Doors open 9am

A huge 2 day Architectural Salvage Fair is held at Knebworth House on Saturday 29th June and Sunday 30th JuneSalvo Fair brings you 80 exhibitors from Uk, Belgium, France, Hungary and Italy all bringing the best of their Architectural salvage and antiques.  Doors open 11am.

The Country Vintage & Artisan Bazaar  is held at Ripley Village Hall in Surrey and is on Sunday 30th June.  Doors open 11am.  Check the Facebook page to see photos of previous fairs and all the lovely wares on offer.

As always please check websites for opening times etc and have fun exploring a fair near you.

Happy Hunting!

Friday, 24 May 2013

And the WINNER is................

I am very pleased to announce that the winner of my PARIS FLEA MARKET STYLE giveaway has been picked by my oh so glamorous assistant and it is.........Penny from Countryandchic Antiques

Well done Penny, you have won the fantastic new book by Claudia Strasser of The Paris Apartment fame.

Thank you to everyone who left a comment, they are always much appreciated and I'm just sorry I couldn't give you all a book!

Enjoy the bank holiday whatever you're doing :)

Tuesday, 14 May 2013


Claudia Strasser is an author, furniture designer, interior designer and lover of all things the Paris Flea Markets have to offer.

She started her career in 1993 when she opened a boutique in New York and today she travels to Paris several times a year taking small groups shopping and sharing resources. I have recently been lucky enough to receive a copy of Claudia's new book, Paris Flea Market Style and in even better news, I am offering a copy to one lucky reader of my blog!

If you haven't heard of Claudia then do check out her beautiful blog and website.  She has such exquisite style and years of experience decorating with flea market finds.  I often refer to it and drool.  It is what I aspire my home to look like and one day I'll get there!

Claudia's first book, The Paris Apartment, Romantic Decor on a Flea Market Budget was published in 1998 and was one of the first books I bought when I start collecting seriously.

 It still remains one of my favourite books today and if I have a quiet moment, I like to sit down and absorb all the wonderful rooms decorated with flea market finds and wonder at Claudia's ability to decorate with such finesse and attention to detail.  One of the things in the book I loved most was this photo of a doll.

It is supposed to be Josephine Baker and I LOVED it!  I wanted one and I was going to stop at nothing until I found it.  Well in the end nothing dramatic happened, I just kept looking on eBay until quite by chance I came by one.

 How wonderful not to mention lucky was this find!?  I have never seen one since and I love her pouty lips and fluttery eyelashes, not quite the same but close enough for me!

So back to the present day and Claudia's new book, Paris Flea Market Style.  Its been a long time coming but well worth the wait.  This time Claudia guides us through the mazes of the Paris flea markets and gives hints and tips on how to navigate the markets, what you'll find, how to negotiate prices and also how to get your new items shipped back home.

Claudia has taken all the photos in the book and manages to bring to life the Paris markets with her words and photography and you get a real sense of what they are about.  She finds beauty in the smallest detail and her love and passion of the markets shines through.

Old door hardware
Old mirrors
Old hotel letterbox

Claudia tells you how you could use these old treasures today.  For example the old hotel letterbox could be used as an organiser for an office or kitchen.  This is what I love about this book, it covers so many bases.  Not only is it showing you how to navigate the markets but also gives you ideas on how to re purpose your finds to fit in with modern day living.

Old French love? letters

As Claudia says, the Paris flea markets provide an insight into times gone by and if you love history then the markets offer unique insights into how people lived in a bygone era.  Today its so easy to press delete and erase photos and words but the old letters and photos in the Paris markets allow us a portal into lives gone by.  Who wouldn't like to go back to a time when your beloved sent you a love letter written in the most beautiful script instead of an impersonal text of today.  Claudia brings the romance of the markets alive with her photography, writing and passion for all the things the markets have to offer.

Antique chairs

She takes us on a journey round the markets showing us what we are likely to find including any type of chair you want to imagine...............

Antique pictures

Antique miniatures
.............Old pictures................

Old French linen

.............Old linens, textiles, lace and trims..................

Beautiful old silk lampshades

................Old lights and shades.

There is a separate section for each object making the book easy to dip in and out of.  There are also sections on collectibles, outdoors, architectural elements and hardware.  In fact anything you might find is in this book!

Would I recommend this book?  ABSOLUTELY!  It is well written, informative, personal and the photography is excellent.  As I've already said the passion and love of these markets that Claudia has, shines through making it an enjoyable journey for the reader.  You get sucked into the journey and it leaves you wanting more.  I just want to be absorbed by the markets and all the beautiful objets so if anyone out there feels the urgent need to pay for me to go to Paris to scour the flea markets and also give me an unlimited budget then please do get in touch, I will do my very best to fulfill that need ;)

Now how do you go about WINNING one of these signed beauties?  Well all you need to do is leave a comment on this blog post and I will put all the names into a hat and ask my glamorous assistant to pick one at random, its that easy!  There is only one book available and you have to be in it to win it so make sure you leave your comment by 7pm TUESDAY 21st MAY.


Friday, 3 May 2013

Why do I collect?

I have had this post in my mind for a long time but just haven't been able to write down what I wanted to say and I think its because this is actually quite a personal post.  I have often wondered why I have this compulsion to collect and wanted to explore the reasons why I do and where it stems from.  It certainly isn't just because I like pretty things so with that in mind I looked to when I was younger and the influences I have had.

My toy cat collection

As I started looking it became very clear that I am a product of my parents, absolutely!  My dad used to collect books and our spare room was filled to the ceiling as was the loft.  My mum and I would go out and leave my dad with his books where we would find him several hours later.  We also used to have to go into every secondhand bookshop and charity shop to look at books and I remember getting very annoyed with him because I didn't want to!  Now though, I love books and can hang around an old secondhand bookshop for hours, taking in the old books and smell.  My mum also used to collect things but everything always had its place, there was just a lot of it!   Obviously my parents had it in them to collect and you sometimes follow by example.  However that isn't the only reason why.

My Mabel Lucie Attwell collection

When I was 13 years old I decided that my pocket money wasn't enough for all the things I wanted to buy so I went and got myself a paper round 7 days a week and a job as a chambermaid at the weekends.  I think I earnt about £9 a week for the paper round and £2 an hour as a chambermaid, I was rich!  It also meant that I could buy what I liked without anyone questioning my decision on what I was buying as it was my money and I earnt it.  At university my bedroom was just full of stuff I'd made or collected, definitely not normal student digs as it was all colour co-ordinated and the items chosen very carefully.  After university I kind of lost interest, went about finding a job and becoming a responsible adult and my collecting stopped.

Some brooches

When I was 25 years old my life changed forever when my mum became ill with dementia and Parkinson's disease.  She became a different person over night and I found it incredibly hard to deal with especially as I have no other blood relations.  Luckily I have Mark and he was my rock but ultimately I was going through this on my own as she was my mum and no-one can understand the pain because its so personal to you.  Once she went into a nursing home my collecting really kicked in and I'm sure its because I was desperately trying to fill the gap my mum left behind.  I didn't have much support from the professionals and being an only child, I didn't have any siblings to take some of the pressure.  The things I collected made me feel happy and gave me some joy in an otherwise miserable time.  It allowed me to escape to a happier place.  It was a way to escape the pain and momentarily forget what was happening.   I also felt a constant need to keep on finding things and this must be because I was unable to find a solution to make my mum better.  I was continually searching and searching and once I found something, I'd go onto the next thing.
I feel that collecting gave me a consistency I so badly needed when everything else was changing around me.  The objects I collected were always there, they never left me.

Something that did make me genuinely happy at that time came when I was clearing out my mum's house.  I found a photo album from when she was 21 and in it was a photo labelled "My collection of dolls" (my big love is vintage cloth dolls, I have a large collection) not only that but there was a photo of a doll which was nearly identical to the very first one I ever bought.

My mum's collection of dolls
My mum's doll
My doll!
This made me feel very close to my mum as we had more in common than we realised, definitely a case of like mother, like daughter!  THEN I came across an album she had made when she was 21.  Again I had no idea she had done this until I came across it but what was really exciting was that I had done one in virtually the same way as her without ever realising it when I was 21!  There was one big difference though, my mum went on a cruise with her friend, I went to Bella Pasta and a club in Brighton and got hideously drunk! ( I also decided that wearing a blue velvet shirt was a good fashion choice, why did I think that, WHY!?)

Mum's cards
My cards
She stuck her birthday cards and bits of wrapping paper in her album, so did I.

Mum's entertainment
My entertainment
We included that nights entertainment.

My mum at fancy dress on the ship
Me not looking too drunk
Me feeling (and looking!) rough the morning after
And photos of us on our birthday evenings.

I also found some scrap books that my mum had put together full of old postcards.  I don't have any scrapbooks but I do have a collection of postcards.

Mum's scrapbook
My collection of postcards

Everyone used to say that I looked like my dad and took after him and I think my mum used to get a little bit annoyed about that BUT I think we were far similar than either of us ever realised.

Its clear the impact my mum's illness had on me and my collecting habits but there is also another reason and this is quite hard to admit and I'm certainly not saying it for any sympathy, this is truly how I feel.  Sometimes I don't feel very pretty.  There I've said it and it feels like a weight is lifted!  Sometimes I don't feel very pretty so by surrounding myself with beautiful things it gives me some kind of validation that I do have good taste and my home can at least be pretty even if I don't feel it.  Its certainly no coincidence that if I lose weight or feel good about myself then my collecting slows down and I concentrate more on clothes and myself.  It is also a form of escapism for me and I can transport myself back to a time that with rose tinted glasses, seems a much easier, attractive life full of the most wonderful, beautiful things.

I also have a slightly obsessive personality and get fixated by things that I just have to have or need to find. I'll also really really love something whether it be food, something to collect or a tv programme and then once I've satisfied my urge I'll move on to something else that I really really love.  Thankfully for Mark and my friends I'm not fickle at all when it comes to my relationships, just everything else!

All the things I have written above are just some of the reasons I collect but the most important thing is that I just love it!  I love the thrill of the chase, of finding that elusive item and receiving it in the post.  I love the story behind the items and how they allow me to use my imagination and take me somewhere else.

Old french fabric boxes

The fabric boxes I love because of their prettiness, fadedness and the fact that I can fill them with all sorts, go back to them a few months later and discover things I'd forgotten about so its like Christmas!

Old prints
I love old frames and prints and am particularly partial to a cherub or cupid being the romantic that I am.

Naughty French prints
And finally my little collection of naughty French prints.  I love the fact that at first glance they look just like any other print until you get closer and realise that actually they're a bit racy, ohh la la! 

I am lucky that I have a lovely husband and friends but losing my mum and dad left a huge gap in my life and I turned to collecting to help bridge that gap and ease the pain somehow.  Collecting is in my blood as can be seen by my mum and dad's habits and it somehow allows me to feel a little closer to them as though they are with me all the time.  At a young age I decided that I wanted to buy 'stuff' hence the need to get a job for no other reason than I liked 'things.'  The reason I collect is due to a number of factors some of which you may relate to albeit in different ways and some of which you won't as we all have our own story to tell.  At the end of the day though I really do love it, simple as that.  Its an addiction that gives me so much pleasure and as long as I'm not hurting myself or anyone else, I'll carry on!

I found this quote the other day from Sally at Mrs Plumbridge

People would say they are only materialistic objects but I don't know! if they add something warm to your life and make you smile when you look at them then do they, in some way develop their own soul?  for to me one of the meanings of a friend is somebody who gives you comfort and makes you happy so are they if not at the very least a little friend!!! 
I think she sums up perfectly how I feel about the objects I collect and that makes me happy!