Sunday 10 August 2014

A Burley Good Show

Brace yourself - I have a lot of pictures to show you...

Last weekend, I spent a couple of days in the beautiful village of Burley in the New Forest. Every year, they put on the Burley Show, which I was delighted to discover is as close as one can get to a village fair in this day and age. It was a day of vegetable and cake-baking competitions, tombola's, tractor displays and - my personal favourite - dog shows. There was even a very impressive falconry display from the Rutland Falconry and Owl Centre! What more could you possible want from a day out?

Burley sign


Steam fair music

The Burley Dog Show

Burley dog show contestant

Doggie love

A Falcon

A falcon

A vulture

A flying vulture coming in to land

A Merlin

Following the show, we all went back to my bearded man's father's house to celebrate his wedding anniversary. They have the most beautiful garden, so I couldn't resist taking a few arty snaps of the incredible flowers and set up they have there.

In the garden

Robin and Ginny's beautiful garden

Beautiful flowers

Beautiful flowers


Magic the Border Collie

Delicious ice-cream cone cakes

If you've never been to the New Forest, I highly recommend a visit. Not only is it beautiful, but horses basically own the place and walk around completely freely! They also have some very tasty fudge.

How was your weekend?

Many thanks,

Swell Vintage


Tuesday 8 July 2014

How about tat?

Yesterday was my 28th birthday. I've never been one for big parties or making too much of a fuss on the day itself, but this year there was something I really wanted to do.

photo 1
Happy birthday to me!

If you know me in real life or follow me on any social media channels, you'll know that I love (and I'm not using that term loosely - I really do love) all things Poirot. I'm a big fan of most murder mysteries and whodunnit-based stories, but Agatha Christie's Poirot has always been my favourite. I love the books, I love the TV series and, most of all, I bloody love that brilliant little Belgian.

As the proud owner of the books, DVD collection and even a Poirot monkey (I'm not kidding), I decided to take the next step into the weird and wonderful world of fandom: a tattoo. My beautiful and amazing Nana kindly offered to cover it as my birthday present so that I will always be able to see it and think of her, making the whole thing doubly special. I found the perfect design to reflect his signature style and character, and decided to get it on my wrist facing me so I can look at it whenever I want without breaking my neck to see it.

When the big day  took myself off to Tattooland in Woking to get inked. Here are the results:

Poirot tattoo

Poirot tattoo

I absolutely love it and could not be happier. I got some amazing presents for my birthday this year and I love them all, but my new tattoo will forever go down as one of the most incredible gifts I've ever received. Thank you, Nana! I think Poirot himself would be proud.

Have you got any tattoos? Is it wrong that I'm already itching for my next one?

Much love,

Swell Vintage


Sunday 29 June 2014

A girl's REAL best friend

If you've met me in real life, chances are you've heard me talk about my two great loves in life (after my bearded man, family, friends etc., obviously). These loves are simple, but continue to be very important to me: the first is Poirot, and the second is dogs.

I love dogs. Ever since I was very small, I've dreamed of owning one, but unfortunately it's never been the right time or circumstance. My father was never a "dog person", so I wasn't allowed one as a child. Since graduating university and joining the world of full-time employment, I've only ever lived in flats with limited space and free time. People have told me I should just get a dog regardless, but I truly believe you shouldn't get any kind of pet unless you have the time, space and means to dedicate to them. That being said, I still want to be in the company of dogs as much as possible.

Enter Borrow My Doggy.

If you've never heard of it before, prepare to have your life changed. Borrow My Doggy is a brilliant website that connects people that love dogs with owners that are happy to share their furry friends, or need someone to help out with walks, dog sitting and things like that - basically exactly what I've been looking for.

I signed up straight away, and found a very beautiful Miniature Schnauzer puppy named Turtle that lived a mere 2 miles from me. I sent her owner a message, and fortunately Turtle's owner, Svezone, was just as lovely as her dog! We met up for a 'Welcome Woof' and all got on swimmingly. I'm happy to say that Turtle and I have been on a few doggy dates since then, and it's been brilliant. Turtle is so sweet and incredibly well-behaved. Even my family love it when she comes over, especially my little nephew. Whether we're going for walks, playing tug of war (usually with my slippers) or just relaxing in front of the TV, having Turtle around just makes the day better.

This whole blog post is basically an excuse for me to show off some pictures of Turtle, because I'm really chuffed to have her as my little doggy friend. Until I'm in a position to have a dog of my own (fingers crossed it'll happen in the not-so-distant future), I'm really enjoying my Turtle time.

Turtle the Miniature Schnauzer
In the park today. Green is definitely her colour. 

Turtle the Miniature Schnauzer
Stealing my slippers!

photo 2 (1)
Looking in my mirror. This picture never fails to make me smile.

Turtle the Miniature Schnauzer and I
Me and my furry little friend

If you need a doggy in your life or have one you'd like to share, I highly recommend you check out Borrow My Doggy. If you're lucky like me, you may make some new friends - human or otherwise! 

Much love,

Swell Vintage


Sunday 15 June 2014

Simply the best

Earlier this week, I was invited to the Udderbelly Festival on London's Southbank to see show called A Simple Space. I'd never heard of it before, but the promise of "an amazing, uniquely no-frills show which champions the incredibly artistry of the human body over traditional circus gimmick" was just too intriguing to resist.

A Simple Space provides exactly what it says on the tin: there are no frills, no elaborate costumes or flamboyant sets. The show is stripped back to put the entire focus on the performers and, let me tell you, there is plenty to see. I don't want to spoil the show too much for you in case you decide to go yourself (and you really, really should), but highlights include the performers falling from insane heights, standing on each others heads, throwing and flipping each other around like rag dolls and so much more. Here's a little video of the show to whet your appetite:

Gravity & Other Myths, the creators and performers of the show, are an Australian acrobatics ensemble made up of six men and two women - all of whom are now my personal heroes. After seeing the show, I can completely understand why they have won so many awards and achieved recognition all over the world. Not only was each performer incredibly talented, mind blowing-ly strong and impossibly flexible, but they were also extremely witty and engaging. Rather than staying within the figurative walls of the stage, they would smile and laugh with the audience, inviting us to be in on the joke. It's nice to feel included, and the friendship and chemistry between each of them makes the show that much more enjoyable.

To put it simply (pun intended), A Simple Space is an incredible show. I spent the whole show with my mouth agape, occasionally muttering expletives in my utter astonishment. If you live in the London area or fancy taking a trip, I highly recommend booking tickets to see A Simple Space. They're in London until 6th July 2014, and then they'll be performing at the Edinburgh Fringe from 28th - 30th August 2014.  I guarantee you'll leave the show feeling happy, inspired and desperate to be more flexible.

Much lovely,

Swell Vintage


Sunday 18 May 2014

Meeting Maya

When I received an email from Penguin Books inviting me to attend a 1950's soirée, I was excited. When I read that it was an event to celebrate the release of Maya Van Wagenen's book Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek, I was intrigued.

I'll be honest: I'd never heard of Maya before this. A quick Google search told me that she was named TIME magazine's most influential teenager, and she recently won a major film deal with Dreamworks - pretty damn impressive, especially considering that Maya is only 15 years-old. When I was that age, my biggest achievement was customising my MySpace profile. Needless to say, my parents are very proud.

When we arrived at Penguin's stunning offices, we were met with a number of adorable vintage stalls, featuring the likes of The Secret Tea Party, There is Only One Amy Laws and Red Bird Makes. After having a browse of the various goods and enjoying a few delicious canapés, the legendary Jo Elvin, editor of Glamour magazine, chaired a Q&A with Maya. Maya's story is a fascinating one; after feeling like a social outcast for most of her young life and being bullied by the "cool kids" at the age of 13, Maya turned to a book called Betty Cornell's Teen-age Popularity Guide, which was written in the 1950s. With the help of her extremely supportive family, Maya decided to take the book chapter by chapter and follow the advice over the course of a year. From wearing pearls every day right through to wearing a girdle, Maya tried it all and kept a diary of her journey.

Jo Elvin interviewing Maya. Doesn't she look adorable?

Maya kindly signed my copy of her book. My head is high as we speak!

Hearing Maya talk about hear experience was truly a delight. Not only is she incredibly eloquent, but she also spoke with such passion, sincerity and maturity. Since the event, I have read the book. I read it in just under a week, and it was charming from start to finish. I laughed, I shed a few tears, I smiled a lot and I even dug out my old pearl necklace. Maya is talented and compelling writer, and I highly recommend you pick up a copy of her book. You won't regret it!

Much love,

Swell Vintage


Sunday 11 May 2014

Born to be wild?

Well well, look who it is...

It's ME! I'm back, after a very long absence. How's it going?

Instead of dwelling on the fact that I've been gone so long or making a load of promises that it'll never happen again (because it probably will), I'm going to tell you all about my recent trip to Scotland. 

It's no secret that I bloody love Scotland. I've only ever been to Edinburgh, so when my bearded man told me that we'd be visiting Dunbar for his cousin's wedding, I was excited to see a different part of that beautiful land. Not only that, but we booked to stay in a tree house. Yes, you read that right - a TREEHOUSE. Like a modern-day Swiss Family Robinson, but a lot less Swiss. Needless to say, I was extra excited as we set off on the long drive to Harvest Moon

But, here's the thing - none of us read the website or the booking information properly (we may or may not have been distracted by the pretty pictures...) and it turns out that despite the high-end, luxury nature of the accommodation, there was no electricity. None. Not even a smidge. Instead, we were presented with a fire stove for warmth/cooking with in the kitchen, and a number of hot water bottles for the bedrooms. I don't know if you know this, but the area by the coast in Scotland has a tendency to get rather nippy, so the fire stove soon became our very best friend. 

Here are a few pics to set the scene:

Our tree house home

Our very own swing set

Our wood stove (aka our best friend/worst enemy)

One of the few rechargeable LED lights we had to guide us through the darkness

Our beautiful sink. Fortunately, there was running water. Sometimes it was hot too!

Our bedroom (excuse the mess)

The other bedroom

Our lounge area (again, excuse the mess)

Our bathing facilities

Our baaaaaa-shful neighbours. There were also chickens, rabbits and horses because...why not?

Once I got over the fact that I had nowhere to plug my hair dryer in and sorted it so I could charge my phone in the car, I was pleasantly surprised at how well I adjusted to life as a woodsman. I quickly learned how to keep a fire going (top tip: lots of wood), and even managed to cook eggy bread without setting myself alight. 

Making tea with the wood stove. Definitely worth the effort.

As you can see, the accommodation and the setting were rather stunning overall. While staying there was fun, having to build a fire and wait half an hour for it to be hot enough to boil a kettle before having a cup of tea was a bit of a faff. I'm also honest enough to admit that I am shallow, and I love my comfortable technology-filled life. Not having my hair straighteners to hand or WIFI for my phone made me enjoy the whole the whole experience a little less. I also really missed central heating, as the nights there can be bitterly cold. 

I understand that a lot of people would love having no electricity, and would consider it a welcome break from modern life, but it's just not for me. If Harvest Moon invested in a couple of plug sockets and a heater for the bedrooms, I'd consider moving in. 

Have you ever tried glamping? Could you survive without electricity for a whole three nights like I did? Tell me all about it!

Much love,

Swell Vintage


Tuesday 9 July 2013

Things I've Learned About Myself

Two days ago, I celebrated my 27th birthday. I can't say it was a shock - my birthday normally happens around that sort of time - but what has surprised me is how much has changed, and how much I've learned, in the space of a year. They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, and I never thought I'd still be learning about myself this close to my 30's. 

A photo of me with my new Alice Menter necklace, taken earlier this month

However, despite how this post may sound so far, I consider this to be a positive thing, and I want to share this with you. Here are a few things I've truly learned about myself over the last year:

  • I'm starting to grey...and that's okay. This exact scenario has happened, and continues to happen, on numerous occasions: I'm doing something in front of a mirror (brushing my teeth, doing my make-up, staring at my wonky face), and suddenly I'll see something shimmering in the reflection...something in my hair. Slowly, I comb my way through each section until I find the offending strand. I then pull it out and stare at it for a really long time, and if my boyfriend's home, I'll make him do it too (I know - what a lucky man...). But what I've come to realise is that it really doesn't matter. It's something most people go through, and it really doesn't look that bad. Plus, if Rogue from X-Men can pull it off, there's still hope for the likes of me.
  • I'm never going to be skinny, and that's okay too.
    From the first day I started to wear grown up lady clothes to present day, I've always been a size 10 - 12. My weight has fluctuated over the years, but weirdly my dress size hasn't. For years, I dreamed of being skinny, and I'd get sad because I wasn't. But this year, I came to a realisation: I love food. I love cooking it, I love eating it and, more importantly, it makes me happy. I know that I will never be a size 6 or 8, and that's just fine. I'm still not 100% happy with my appearance (far from it), but the aim now is for me to stay happy and healthy, not be sad that I'm not smaller.
  • I like to be challenged.
    This one was a real shocker for me, as I'm a pretty laid-back person on the whole. On my days off, I like to relax and do near to nothing but when I'm at work, it's a whole different story. I want to be challenged and I like to work hard for my money. Professionally, it's been a very interesting year for me, and I'm so grateful for all of the choices/mistakes I've made because I know exactly what I want to be doing and who I want to do it with. Better late than never, eh?
  • I love my nephew. 
    That probably sounds like a strange and obvious thing to say, but it's true - I love my nephew. Since he came into my life just over two years ago, it's been amazing. I've never been around a growing child before, and watching him develop over the last couple of years has been a real eye-opener. As a result of this love, however, I've found that I worry about him constantly. All the time. Even when I'm not around him. My sister laughs at me when I play in the garden with him because I shout, "Be careful!", "Get down!" and "Don't run!" the whole time. I've had a real insight into the raising of a child. and as a result, I'm in awe of all parents. Serious kudos to you.
  • I'm a big weirdo that writes self-indulgent blog posts about her boring life. 
    I think that one explains itself.
Can you relate to my recent learnings? What have you learned about yourself over the last year? Please tell me in the comments so I feel less like a crazy person...

Much love,

Swell Vintage