The jury's in, you crazy kids LOVE a Vintage Style Challenge as much as I do. This isn't just another one of those run-of-the-mill 'match made in heaven' scenarios. Nuh-ah. This is the kind of match that's been dipped in awesome, covered in chocolate buttons and vomited on by unicorns wearing replicas of Audrey Hepburn's 1954 Oscars gown. While I hadn't expected to take on another style challenge so soon, when my plan for a ladies morning tea at my all time favourite vintage store (located a mere 300 miles from home) in Nottingham exploded with the news of a Judy's Vintage Fair (nay, that's Judy's AFFORDABLE Vintage Fair, to be precise) on the very same day... it would have been rude not to take up Challenge #2. Team, you know the rules: 3 hours. £30. Wildly unnecessary pauses for carb-loaded snacks. Gratuitous photographs of my watch. GO!
Part 1: The Challenge
11:00am THE WARM-UP
I like Nottingham. What ignorant Australian who knows of nothing more than: the tale of Robin Hood, the actual existence of Sherwood Forest and the fact that the 2014-2015 Sheriff of Nottingham WAS A WOMAN, wouldn't? (Seriously, is it weird that my mind is more blown by this than the prospect of a woman (or Donald Trump) becoming President of the United States?!). But, any visit to Nottingham for me really means only one thing: a (very long) trip to Hopkinson Vintage - four floors of pre-owned, pre-loved and pre-worn vintage-y goodness. What's so good about it, you say?
So, for a little pre-challenge warm up, a catch-up with my Mother-in-Law Kim (who, rather annoyingly, is absolutely delightful. Awkward / evil Mother-in-Law stories make such good schtick) and friend Julie for tea and scones, a leisurely dig through the cornucopia of vintage and a good old natter. While there, I nab a pair of £3 earrings (that oddly look like mini yellow lifebuoys) as inspiration for my day ahead...
1:00pm GO TIME!
I set about waddling from Hopkins' up to Nottingham Trent University for the fair, conveniently checking the time outside Nottingham's beautiful Theatre Royal...
I should say here that I'm not a great lover of vintage fairs. Not for any other reason than the one propelling me on this indulgent challenge in the first place... I love a bargain (which, in my experience, is usually won by having a rummage in a mouldy old box, more so than casually flipping through a beautifully curated rack of vintage perfection). Praying to the Vintage Gods I pay my £2 (I've £25 left...) to the lovely Emily, get my wrist-stamped (and begin having flashbacks to student night at The Victory) and thrust myself out into the fair.
First vendor, first rack: ALL DRESSES £25.
Second rack, I pull out a dress: £28.
My eyes dart about for a dark corner.... I pull out another dress: £14 (heart rate slows... okay...). I flip along further: £10 (size 8). Okay, okay... I can do this. I keep flipping.
And then, I see it. A vision of permanent marker on creased cardboard tag: £5. It's polyester. It's blue. It's covered in maple leaves. But.... cute sleeves, cute tie collar. No belt (meh). I let my eyes drift over it again: £5. Come to Mama.
1:40pm: The search continues...
Radiating in the glow of my bargain find, I make a beeline for Cow - a hip vintage store I'd known from my days visiting Sheffield. Now, I say this from a place of love - but nothing in the world will make you feel older than being in this store. You stand, surrounded by giggling uni students feverishly grabbing for vintage scrunchies, vintage crop denim jackets and vintage button down floral dresses ahead of their [insert any day of the week here] Night Out and try not to shudder at having owned and lovingly worn each and every one of these items what seemed like only a few years ago... I luck out on my hunt for a yellow crop cardigan or scarf but luck in with the world's most incredible carpet bag. No, there is no possible way it will style with my dress. Yes, I have completely broken the cardinal rule of the Vintage Style Challenge. No, I do not care.
From Cow, I cross the street to a very unassuming charity shop with a seemingly remarkable vintage collection in the window. I meet the awesomely knowledgable Richard (above R) - clearly something of a Nottingham institution himself - and his colleague Ryan (above L) and get a comprehensive run down of Nottingham vintage. Add to that a gorgeous lemon 1930s hat... was £30, then £15 now £10... she's a little flat and lifeless, but nothing a little bit of love can't fix. I hash out a tenner and take Richard's advice for lunch...
I pop into indy haven, Cobden Place... see a Salt Beef Sandwich with pickle and sauerkraut on the menu and know that I will never need to finish this sentence.
2:40pm Time to get serious, handbag and shoes await...
I bid Nottingham a fine farewell and jump the bus back to Derby. I'll have just 45mins to find a belt (which I never do as I already own a perfectly fine red belt... that I secretly wished was white or yellow ), shoes and bag. Just off the bus, the fine people at Cancer Research UK come to my rescue with a pair of midi heels that even Dorothy would be proud of... sure they're Atmosphere by Primark (and therefore the antithesis of vintage...) but the £4.50 price tag me has me reaching for my cash quicker than discovering advance tickets for RuPaul's 2016 Extravaganza Tour. My final stop - the ever colourful Alternatives in Lisa's home town of Spondon offers my final piece.... the cutest little picnic basket you never thought could ever pass as a handbag. DONE!
Okay, the bill??
Dress: £5+£2 fair entry @makedoandvintage via @judysvintagefair
Hat: £10 @mysightshop
Earrings: £3 @hopkinson21
Bag: £1.99 Alternatives Charity Store, Spondon
Shoes: £4.50 @cr_uk
Brooch: Seriously, haven't I over-accessorised enough??
TOTAL: £26.49 (+tea/scone +salt beef sandwich)
Part 2: The Look
So it's over to you my fine challenge loving friends! Set me a challenge below and we'll see what kind of bargain-loving goose chase you have me on...
Also on the Love Blog:
A big dollop of love from my finger tips to your screen (I promise that's not as creepy as it sounds). xx