Reuse, Recycle, Relove – Sustainable Fashion

Vintage Gap jumpsuit bought on Vinted

My lovely vintage Gap jumpsuit bought on Vinted. Photo credit: Yi Ling Huang

Vintage dresser for my vintage clothes and accesories

My vintage dresser to house some of my vintage clothing and accessory finds

I have always been a bit of a hoarder, particularly when it comes to fashion. I keep clothes and accessories for years and years, and often wear a mixture of old and new pieces, lovingly matched and coordinated. I do love to be “matchy-matchy” with coordinating colours across all my clothes and accessories! I have luckily not really changed size too much since my late teens, meaning I have been able to keep and continue using old favourites and bring them back to life with some new additions to the wardrobe.

 

I also love vintage fashion and buy a lot of it online, from like-minded ladies on Twitter, where a group of us meet up every wednesday at 8pm for #vintagefindhour, organised by the lovely Sarah-Jane Hosegood (find her on Twitter at @vintagefindhour or @vintagehomeshop), through using handy apps such as Vinted and Etsy, and regularly combing charity shops, vintage and secondhand designer clothes stores for vintage bargains.

I also love a nod to vintage styles, such as historical fabrics and prints from Liberty or the V&A. I was very excited to see that the V&A had recently collaborated with Oasis, one of my favourite high street shops, on a range of stunning clothes and accessories with vintage prints. I bought a number of pretty tops – my favourite is this silky electric blue number, which I have worn and worn!

Lovely blue top from V and A and Oasis collaboration

My favourite top from the beautiful V and A and Oasis collaboration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is something that has been passed down to me through the generations: I have a very glamorous grandmother who always has beautifully matched and coordinated outfits, as well as a very impressive shoe and handbag collection – including a pair of shoes with Wedgewood heels from the 70s – with many items dating back through the years. My mum, also glamorous and youthful, also keeps her good quality items for many years and, like me, matches with new items or vintage treasures that she has a particularly good eye in seeking out.

1980s YSL jacket from a charity shop

Fab charity shop vintage find – a 1980s YSL jacket

While I love shopping and browsing fashion magazines, keeping and reusing my clothes and accessories has always been important to me. I’m a firm believer in reloving and reusing classic items and mixing fashions from different eras. And it’s stood me in good stead – everything comes back into fashion again (I knew I shouldn’t part with my super-flattering 90s flared jeans when skinnies took over – and I was right!)

These days, it is more important than ever to be eco conscious, so by reusing, recycling and reloving your clothing and accessories, this is a a real and easy way to be able to make a difference and contribute to the sustainable fashion movement. Certain high street shops are also now doing their part – H&M gives a £5 voucher for every bag donated to their textile recycling bin, where you can also – very usefully – recycle your unwanted household textiles. Marks & Spencer has a similar donation box and scheme to take your unwanted clothes. Both H&M and Marks & Spencer also offer Earth friendly ranges made from sustainable and organic fabrics.

I was recently interviewed as a case study for a national newspaper about using Vinted and some of the fabulous items I have purchased on there, taking some pictures and sharing some of my fab fashion finds – another post to follow once it’s been published! I also sell a number of items of clothing and accessories on there – adding some items every few weeks. I even managed to pay for our removals last time we moved house with the proceeds of my sales so far. There is a real sense of community among “Vinties”, and I have found it very enjoyable both hunting for bargains and selling a few of my own.

I also love the camaraderie within the vintage community. The lovely people who join #vintagefindhour each week are vintage enthusiasts across the spectrum – they all sell or buy vintage items, from antiques and upcycled furniture, to vintage clothes from the 1920s-1980s, to vintage china, crockery and homewares. I discovered this wonderful group a couple of years ago now – and, as well as finding a number of fabulous vintage bargains, have found some lovely, likeminded friends. We even try to meet together when we can for an in-person meet up, but I have yet to be able to make one of those with a pretty hectic schedule. Definitely next time, though!

Vintage patterns

Lovely vintage inspired patterns from Oasis

Vintage Chanel shoes and Oasis patterned trousers

Vintage Chanel shoes with brightly patterned trousers from Oasis

 

Until next time, why not embrace the joys of reusing and recycling your own wardrobe? It’s really good fun to rummage through your own clothes, bags, shoes, jewellery and scarves, and to rediscover past favourites or items that have come back into style. Even if you’re not interested in collecting or buying vintage clothes and accessories, by making the most of the wardrobe you already have, you may well find some undiscovered treasures, some fab new outfits, and who knows – perhaps the vintage of the future?

Wearing my blue V and A and Oasis top in London

Me wearing my favourite blue top out and about in London

Tea and vintage

Enjoying a nice cup of tea in my vintage Gap jumpsuit, bought on Vinted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have fun!

Rachael xx

Tea at Tiffany’s – a bite of the Big Apple in Surrey

Twinings Tea, Audrey and Cat!

Tea at Tiffany’s – actually the very lovely Warren House!

New York is my all-time favourite city and my ‘happy place’, but I love my home in leafy Surrey, too.

A classic representation of New York, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is also one of my all-time favourite films. When I was last in New York, back in June last year, I bought a number of books inspired by both this iconic Audrey Hepburn film and the mythical status of Tiffany’s on Fifth Avenue – “Fifth Avenue, 3AM” and “Summer at Tiffany’s”. It’s making me long to go back to the amazing NYC again! More on my amazing trip to the Big Apple soon…

My Holly Golightly looks

My Holly Golightly-inspired outfit – and Cat!

 

My lovely friends at The Secret Tea Society, also huge fans of both Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Audrey Hepburn, recreated the magic of the film and paid homage to the wonderful Audrey in a Breakfast at Tiffany’s-themed afternoon tea, right here in lovely Surrey!

Lovely, peaceful garden

The stunning secret grotto garden!

I was so excited to put on my little black dress (a cute little number from Anna Sui, bought especially for the occasion and based on the outfit that Holly Golightly wears when she visits Sing Sing); my black patent kitten heel Jimmy Choos (appropriately purchased in Saks Fifth Avenue during my visit last June) and some fabulous jewellery (a very sparkly choker-style necklace bought for me by one of my lovely Sisters-in-Law a few years ago) for this most elegant of teas! I even put my hair up in a bouffant bun!

Taking with me Cat (not my real cat, but a very lifelike soft toy!) and raincoat in reference to the iconic final scene of the movie, I headed over to the stunning Warren House, the venue for our special event. Greeted warmly by the lovely lady at reception and our tea sommelier for the afternoon, I headed into the stylish sitting room reserved just for the ladies of the Secret Tea Society. The sun beamed through the windows and the French doors were open onto a secret grotto – an adorable cobbled garden and fountain, which led to the statuesque grounds, where other happy guests were enjoying sumptuous afternoon teas.

Choosing our Twinings loose leaf tea

Choosing our Twinings loose leaf tea at Warren House – spoiled for choice!

After a glass of Champagne and catching up with the fabulous Secret Tea ladies, we sat down to play a few games – a prize for the best representation of Audrey Hepburn/Holly Golightly (my lovely table-mate, Clare, won with her striking Holly Golightly party look!) and a quiz to see who knew the most fun facts about the film (my table won, naturally!) Our prize was a copy of the film and, of course, some delicious tea, from Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company.

Lovely afternoon tea at Warren House

Delicious teatime treats at Warren House

Next, we chose our Twinings loose-leaf tea – I decided to try both the Darjeeling and Assam – two of my favourites and full of flavour!

 

Then we were delighted to see the fantastic spread appear before our eyes – delicate, flavourful sandwiches, dainty, melt-in-the-mouth scones, the most amazing mini cinnamon loaves, tempting cakes and sweet treats. After stuffing ourselves happily with as much as we could manage, there was stll plenty left to take doggy bags home!

The Tiffany's-inspired decorations I took home

Some of the lovely Tiffany’s-inspired decorations

We also each took home some of the beautiful decorations that our “Hostess With the Mostest”, Founder of the Secret Tea Society, Claire Worrell, had lovingly made: Tiffany-blue-green pom-poms, ladylike table flowers adorned with Tiffany-style ribbon and pearl decorations, matching feathers and shiny butterflies! I have mine proudly on display next to my Tiffany-coloured heart chalkboard in the kitchen.

What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon! I had such a good time, and it was tremendous fun not only seeing all my lovely Secret Tea friends again, but seeing everyone in their fabulous outfits. I also cannot recommend Warren House and the incredible team there highly enough.

Both an afternoon and an Afternoon Tea to remember! X

Vintage Shopper – Blogger of the Month

Vintage Blogger of the Month

We interrupt our usual programming for a shameless plug!

The lovely people at Vintage Shopper have set up the “Blogger of the Month” award – and I’m nominated for October!

Please do vote for me if you like my recent post for Vintage Shopper, all about my Vintage Tea Party!  It’s certainly been fun planning my vintage tea party and getting the opportunity to use my lovely vintage china, decorations and clothes!

You can vote here – http://www.vintageshopper.com/blog/

More tea adventures to follow soon – including tea in a treehouse, some fab new afternoon teas and lovely new teas to taste!

Until next time, enjoy your tea break!

Rachael X

Time for a Tea Party – Tipsy Tea?

  

Fun in the sun?

The beautiful summery weather at the weekend inspired me to think about summer parties – sipping cocktails and fruity drinks in the sunshine, music and a BBQ! And my visit to the Foodies Festival provided even further inspiration, tasting yummy food and sipping summery drinks in the blazing sunshine on Hampton Court Green! (A full review of the fabulous Foodies Festival will follow soon!)

And then the sky went grey, the wind started to blow, and it rained!  My thoughts turned to hot drinks – tea, of course, and also proper coffee.  I have purchased some fab vintage finds over the past few weeks, having been on several successful charity shop rummages and bagging bargains from my favourite online vintage sellers, like the lovely Seld Emrys Jones.

So, I started to think about adapting summer parties for the great British weather, and came up with some more interesting ideas!

It’s all gone a bit Gatsby…

The Roaring Twenties are all the rage again, with the release of Baz Luhrmann’sThe Great Gatsby, and Boardwalk Empire being one of the box sets of choice, so why not live it up, Prohibition style, and enjoy a British-American summer party indoors, in the warmth of the house?  I’m a huge fan of all things 1920s – the fashion, art, furniture, jewellery – and love the decadent feel.  What better way to recreate that feeling that using your vintage teacups, saucers and other tea paraphenalia for the cocktails?

Tipsy Tea Cups

I love the idea of serving cocktails in tea cups (another nod to the 20s era!), like this fabulous Absinthe cocktail from the Powderpuff Girls at the Powder Room (very appropriate for the launch of Paul et Joe’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream themed summer range last year.)There are some fab places where you can try tea cup cocktails out and about, like The Tea Box in Richmond, and I’m hoping to get more inspiration from a visit to Prohibition and the 20s architecture in New York!

But far more fun to try it at home with your own vintage pieces, using vintage cups to serve the cocktails and retro coffee pots instead of jugs.

And then I found out about the lovely people at Tipsy Tea Cups, who decided to make their own very special vintage glasses after inspiration from a stay in a fab hotel.  They use their own (top secret!) bonding technique to fuse tea cups and saucers with wine and cocktail glasses to create some really unique and eye-catching pieces, that will certainly add that vintage feel to your party.  I particularly love the shades of blue in some of these beauties, which would go very well in my dining room (particularly the pearlescent piece with matching pot – perfect for pouring those cocktails!)

And Tipsy Tea Cups or vintage tea or coffee cups and saucers can help create the right mood and atmosphere, setting the tone for the evening, filled with tealights.  Why not match the scented candles to the cocktails or food being served?  For example, rose scented tealights to go with my rose and red berry cocktail, rosemary scented candles to go with rosemary foccacia, or lavender scented to go with lavender tea?

More tea?

But why stop the tea association there? Why not make some of the cocktails with actual tea? I tried this with loose leaf tea from the fabulous Monkey Char, a Richmond based tea company who make some really unusual fruity and floral blends that work particularly well for cocktails, as well as a refreshing brew!

 

 

 

Tipsy Tea with Rachael – The ingredients…

How to make it…

Simply brew the tea, let it cool, mix with a small amount of cordial and equal parts liqueur, and serve with ice!  And why not have the bubbly version, topped up with Champagne?!  The beauty of this cocktail is that it makes an equally delicious non-alcoholic “mocktail” version as well!  (Just add sparkling water for the fizzy version!)

My other favourite year-round cocktail, Rachael’s Ray of Sunshine, mixes apple juice, ginger beer, Belvoir apple and ginger cordial, apple flavoured vodka and a twist of lime.  I’ve included a picture here of some I made last Christmas, proving it really does work beautifully, come rain or come shine!

When the weather gets better, I’ll also share some summer cocktail ideas, including Mojito and Margarita-inspired cocktails using organic fruit juices.

So, until next time, whether it’s pouring with rain or the sun is pouring in the window, pour yourself something nice.  Enjoy a tipsy tea tipple (or perhaps a warming cuppa?) when it’s time for your tea break!

Rachael X