V is for Vintage

I’m sure it hasn’t escaped anyone’s attention (least of all mine) over the past 18 months or so that vintage is back with a capital V.

From the clothes we’re wearing to the ways in which we’re choosing to decorate our homes, vintage is big news and influencing almost every single aspect of the high street and beyond.

And while I’ll raise both hands and admit that I L-O-V-E filling my wardrobe/house with as much imitation vintage gubbins as I can possibly get my hands on, I have to admit that the old saying about the originals being the best does ring true here; I’d rather pay over the odds for a chintzy china set that I’ve spent hours scouring the charity shops for than simply buy something vintage-inspired and unoriginal at the click of a button.

Which is why, when I was faced with the sombre task of having to turn down an invitation to the opening of a new vintage venture by the British Red Cross recently, I kicked myself. Hard.

Opening its doors to the public for the first time on 19 October was Shrewsbury’s answer to Aladdin’s Cave; a wealth of original vintage and retro treats  all crammed under one pretty little roof…

Staff celebrated the opening of the shop – the first of its kind for the British Red Cross – by treating their brand new customers to a vintage-style feast of tea, cake and cucumber sandwiches whilst they shopped. I won’t lie, I literally died a bit inside when I heard about this – if I’d have been able to make it up there for the day then I guarantee I would have been bashing people out the way in a bid to guzzle tea and get my mitts on that b-e-a-utiful dressing table set below. And I probably would have weighed up the pros and cons of dragging that glorious dressing table, avec contents, home on the train whilst repeating the customary ‘I regret nothing’ mantra.



In a nod to the theme, the shop also had a team of stylists dressed in full vintage regalia who were on hand for the day to help people get into the mood and pick out some glamorous gems to take home with them.

Red Cross staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly in the run up to the shop’s opening, transforming the Tudor building on Shrewsbury’s Mardol Street into a vintage-inspired shoppers’ heaven, complete with historical Red Cross posters. And judging by these pics, I’d say they’d done a pretty damn good job at doing so too.

For those of you who don’t live locally or won’t be frequenting Shrewsbury on you future travels, fear not – this is merely the first in a chain of stand-alone vintage stores that the Red Cross are planning to open throughout the country; one may be coming your way throughout the course of 2012, so keep your eyes well and truly peeled.

I wish all of Shrewsbury’s local residents and fashion enthusiasts the best of luck in rifling through that menagerie of vintage wonder, because if I ever happen to “accidentally” get on a train and not get off again until it stops in Shrewsbury then I will be buying the LOT.

All of the above images are courtesy of Nick Robinson/APEX.


The Pearly Queen

The old saying goes that you should never judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to the packaging of beauty products I’m 100% guilty of doing just that very thing. Judging. Many a product has been purchased on the premise of what it’ll look like on my dressing table much to the detriment of other products which probably work just as well, they’re just not pretty enough to make it home with me (it’s like I have beauty beer goggles, or something like that).

It’s a particularly bad practice of mine and I know I should try before I pass judgment on what’s within, but I just can’t help being drawn in by something that looks, well, nice. It’s that simple.

So when something comes along that’s just as good on the inside as it is the outside then it’s a bit like winning the beauty jackpot; shallow as it is, it almost certainly guarantees I’ll purchase it again and again.

And this is exactly how I felt last week when I was lucky enough to preview the outcome of a collaboration of products between fashion supremo Pearl Lowe and a new premium beauty brand, DP London. Pearl, as many of you may already know, is best known for her vintage-inspired line of clothes for high street favourite Peacocks, whilst DP London is a relatively new brand on the scene, and one which is definitely going to be making an impact over the next few months.

Adding to the launch of several hot new home and body products by DP London is the introduction of Pearl’s first foray from fashion into home and lifestyle with a limited edition candle collection…















And it’s not just the packaging that’s immense. The Spiced Punch candle (pictured above, the one I literally ran home with) is a lovely warming winter scent. Think rich mulled wine and you’d be there with this, which will be perfect for the coming colder months (so long Glade Plug In, your days are numbered). For £30 you can snap this up, OR for the same price you can purchase Pearl’s limited edition boxed trio collection – three miniature candles in Spiced Punch, White Flowers and Citrus Flowers. I kid you not, Citrus Flowers is literally to die for.  Plus, all of the candles are made purely from 100% natural wax and are free from palm oil and paraffin.

So now we know all about Pearl, what about DP London? Who the hell are they and why will they change your life? Now, I could sit here and give you a hundred reasons why you should go and check them out, but I’ll spare you all of that and just show you instead…

DP London Body Oil, £34 for 100ml

DP London candle trio, £25 for 3x 50g

Individual DP London candles, £28 for 190g






















My top tip? Nab that body oil right now – it’s going to be HUGE. I tried some out and unlike other body oils it sinks right into the skin without leaving that rancid greasy residue some others have the tendency to (hello, massive dry cleaning bill).

Like Pearl, DP’s main ethos is to create products that use natural rather than synthetic ingredients, thus making them better for you AND the environment at the same time. All the products are reasonably priced (considering the time and effort taken to create them) and the packaging is uber chic – sometimes less really is more.

If, like me, you constantly need to be within 5 meters of some lush looking things like this then you can get in on the act now. Visit Selfridges or ASOS.com for Pearl’s home hotties, or, if you want more of a spend up (and why wouldn’t you) then you can get everything in one hit from DP London.