Friday, 29 June 2012

the best little vintage shop in the world

A while back, I read about a new online shop that stocked vintage childrens clothing over on Hannah's blog, Seeds and Stitches. I drooled over the stock (seriously good!), bookmarked the page and then got stuck into moving house, subsequently forgetting all about it.Until the other week when an e-mail from the shops owner, Emily, dropped into my inbox.

Never one to pass up the opportunity for a good sticky beak, I asked if she'd do a little interview for the blog (I'm thinking of making this a regular thing with shops, crafters and the like), and she agreed. Hurrah!

First things first, what's your name, how old are you, and where do you live? (Not trying to sound like a gameshow host, honest.....) What do you like about your home?
I'm Emily Silverwood, 28, from New Cross in London. I love my house. I love the parks around here for walking the pup. I love having great friends nearby, although as we get older more people are moving away.

How did you come across the idea of starting a vintage children's shop? Why not just do adult clothes like everybody else?
If I had thought about it ten years ago, I would have, and I have considered it in the past. I started thinking about babies, and then my friends started having them, I thought there was a sneaky gap in the market for a little shop, and Little Vintage was born!

Where do you find all your lovely pieces? 
All over. Car boot sales, flea markets, charity shops, church sales, eBay.... basically I spend evenings and weekends searching out gems. It's a good job I enjoy it!

How do you identify which era different pieces are from?
This is a tricky one, my background in fashion helps! Generally I just follow the same rules as adults clothing, looking at fabric, trims, styling details, etc. and if in doubt I Google it.

What is your favourite era with regards to children's clothing?
I can't decide! I honestly like them all. The 80's bits are really fun, and SO cute. I just bought a 1980's dinosaur print dress, in super bright colours, how fun? It'll be in the shop soon.

Do you wear vintage clothes yourself? Where do you like to shop?
Yes! I have done for years - it came from a desire to look different to everyone else at the beginning, but now is part generally loving things old, part loving thrifting and part ethical reasons. I shop in charity shops, on eBay, at markets, I used to go to a lot of vintage fairs too. The great thing about vintage is that you don't feel the 'need' to update your wardrobe all the time, it's so classic that it transcends seasons.

What are your plans for the future?
I'm planning on a 'Handmade by Little Vintage' or 'Little Vintage Handmade' or 'Little Handmade Vintage', which will be vintage inspired handmade (obviously) clothing made using vintage patterns, fabrics and trims. I plan on starting to make stock properly in the summer holidays from school. Four weeks and counting!

If you didn't have a vintage shop, what would you be doing?
I still have my day job (which used to be as a buyer for a big department store, but I quit to work in a Primary school part time while I worked on Little Vintage as well), and being completely honest I wouldn't be doing anything extra. Any free time I have not spent on the shop is spent walking the dog, crafting or tidying. I spend A LOT of time tidying, I'm not quite sure why....

Do you have any tips for budding entrepreneurs?
It sounds cliched but just do it. If money is an issue, start saving. I occasionally work as a personal stylist for a friends company on a freelance basis and it pays pretty well, I saved up using that cash and spent it all on stock, business cards, web hosting and all that jazz. I also started collecting stock little by little, and probably collected for about six months or so before I actually set up the shop online.

There's even an accessories section, hurrah

Thank you to Emily for taking the time to answer my incredibly nosy cow-ish questions. You can find oodles of vintage loveliness in her shop, and can contact her by using the form on the website.

NOTE: I wasn't paid in any way for agreeing to feature Little Vintage, but after we'd done the interview, Emily sent me two dresses for Daisy. I was incredibly grateful, but had they not been my cup of tea, I would have sent them straight back. This is a not-for-profit blog, just a small diary of my life and the things I love, and I don't feature products or businesses that aren't in keeping with the content simply for payment. So don't ask!


Monday, 4 June 2012

beaching, babywearing, crocheting, gardening, reading, pondering

The internet, blogs, Twitter and Facebook (not to mention every TV channel apart from Challenge) have been rammed full of Jubilee coverage this weekend, and we've joined in with.... absolutely nothing. I've been loving our Sleepy Wrap (now called the Boba wrap), and there was a bit of this:

...and the boys did a bit of this...

We admired some beach huts, and I found it hard not to be scathingly jealous of the family who were gathered in one. (I've heard that they can go for up to £60,000.... insane, no?!) Portsmouth isn't great for independent shops and cafes (there are some, but not within walking distance of where we live) but I do feel pretty lucky to be only a few minutes drive away from the sea in one direction, and the country in the other. And our house, which I now lovingly call 'The Shithole' is surrounded by loads of trees and is probably as close to living in the country for now as we'll get. 

I can't describe how good it was to get out in the fresh air, away from rotting walls and faulty electrics, in clothes that didn't reek of white gloss paint. To just wander about, throw some stones and then spend a good half an hour wandering through Waterstones. (I usually buy on Amazon, but was too impatient to wait - I'd love to have a good, local, independent book shop to go to - set one up, someone?) I bought books for my Mum and the Husband, and two for myself - a fiction novel, and Cupcakes and Kalashnikovs, which I've read amazing things about. When I skimmed through the list of women writers who were included in the anthology, I got a bit excited to see the names of Daphne Du Maurier (one of my favourite authors), Nancy Mitford, Sylvia Pankhurst, Naomi Wolf and Zelda Fitzgerald on the list. There's nothing better than that excited feeling you get when you open the cover of a new book, and realise it's going to be a good one.

I've been working on the crochet blanket as well - Benjamin (I've decided from here on out to call him by his actual name - I used 'the Boy' when I first started blogging and wasn't sure just how much about my life I wanted to reveal) goes to bed at 7pm, and Daisy has already been fed by then and usually sleeps until 9pm (honestly, I still have to pinch myself when I think about what an easy baby she is - I was expecting a repeat of the first time, but it couldn't be any more different!), so I'm lucky enough to have a couple of hours to read, or crochet or whatever. I love, love, love this stitch - it's so addictive, just a double and two trebles into the same stitch, and you're away. 

I've been watching far less television lately, instead reading more and more blogs and online magazines. I've stumbled across some great feminist blogs (it's more about equality and fair treatment than burning bras these days, fact fans - I've always harped on to the Husband about how we split everything fifty-fifty, that I don't expect to be a 'kept woman' and that I'm more than just someone who irons shirts and makes casseroles), and I really enjoyed this article on 'outlaw mothers' found via the great Lulastic blog in this post. I've been reading up on activism as well, and am thinking about joining in with the Craftivism Collective's summer project of tomato jam and hand stitched lids, to support Oxfam's Grow campaign. I've never made jam before and have wanted to try for ages, so this would sort of kill two birds with one stone, plus it's for a great cause. Waste is something I plan on seriously tackling once we get sorted - that and aiming for a more vegetarian diet. Over the last few years I've eaten less and less meat, so now I just need to get my boys involved and Benjamin doesn't seem to be a great meat eater anyway (unless it's bacon!) I've been dying to try out my River Cottage Veg Everyday book, and I've got a couple of Ottam recipes bookmarked, nom nom nom.

The house is coming along - I planted out our lavender and sunflowers today, and it turns out that the previous tenants had left a carnation plant,a peony and a fuschia tree. And, more oddly, some wheat and barley - fresh cut flowers and homebrew, anyone?

Friday, 1 June 2012

the tipping point

I don't usually post about political issues on this blog - not because I'm not interested, or because I don't read up on it, but because I don't like to start internet debates that encourage angry commenting frenzies. Today, however, I've decided to join the many other bloggers and journalists to speak out about the tipping point - the recent atrocities in Syria.

49 of the innocent people slaughtered were children. Helpless, defenceless children. I don't want to reproduce the events here, so to read further details, the Times has put the article outside the paywall for today, June 1st - the day when bloggers all over the world have united to speak out against the violence and horrors.

You can find links to more posts, and speak out yourself using the #tippingpoint hashtag on Twitter, sign petitions at Avaaz and Amnesty International and read about taking more action online.

Don't just speak out, shout out.

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