Sunday, 24 February 2013

I found the perfect gift for my Dad!

As you know, Dear Reader, gifts have been the source of a bit of worry for me over the last month..... with one in particular being for my Dad.

My Dad is the kind of person that wants for nothing- it is a family joke that he would wear his clothes until they were falling off his back, if it wasn't for my Mum quickly disposing of his worn-out wardrobe and insisting he buy something new.  To be fair, she keeps him in pretty good shape but without her he might look a bit trampy (sorry Dad but it is true!).

He is so proud when he has kept something for ages; he has a pair of white leather shoes that he used to do the gardening in, which he revels in telling me and my sister that he had had them since we went to Tunisia, which is when I was 11.  So- he is a good role model for this challenge!  However, because he wants for little, he is very hard to buy for.  He doesn't have practical hobbies; he loves Rugby and the usual things- holidays, socialising etc but it is hard to think of something he might like gift-wise even under normal circumstances, let alone with the challenge.

What I have come to realise, is that when buying a gift under this challenge- it is better to just get out there and see what is on offer, rather than to have a fixed idea of what you want to buy and trying to find that particular item.  I like to think that if I have an open mind, the Second-hand Fairies provide.

And boy, did they, the other weekend!  H and I headed off to a Pop-Up Vintage Fair in Islington recently; I love these fairs- they are always super friendly and full of affordable loveliness.  Plus there is a vintage style tea service and entertainment.  We were having a little mooch and I spied a lovely little something on a stall...

A gorgeous, vintage travel razor- complete with blade holder- for £5!  I did a little research on-line and found some blades that would fit for £6 and got them delivered.  

My Dad seemed to really like the gift- he goes away quite frequently with Mum on breaks and holidays  and this is both useful and beautiful. 

So- Dear Reader, I am feeling buoyant again, after umbrella-gate.   Buying nothing new IS a great idea and does work!!

Love Alice x

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Eek....a slip?

So, Dear Reader.... I have a confession.....*takes a deep breath*  I kind of had a slip in my 365 day challenge of not buying anything new.

 I say 'kind of' because I feel like what happened could be borderline in terms of my self imposed rules.

It was Thursday, and I was on my way to Sunny Croydon for my consultancy job that I am doing at the moment for a lovely charity.  Except that it was not sunny..... and when I arrived at the station it was tipping it down with rain.   Now, I am one of those people who very rarely has an umbrella as a) I go nearly everywhere by car (you can judge, I don't mind) b)when I do own one, I pretty much always leave it on the tube- I think in total over the 12 years I have lived in London I must have lost 48 umbrellas, at least.  

Anyway, as I stood in the station, peering into the torrential down pour and lamenting the last lost umbrella on the district line 2 months ago, imagine my delight when I spied Timpson's display of reasonably priced umbrellas.  It was a complete lightbulb moment- I thought "hurrah! I don't have to get wet, I can just buy one, simples!"  And, I engaged in a lovely conversation with the nice man in the shop, a few other customers and then I JUST BOUGHT ONE.

There was a bit of me that felt I shouldn't have been buying the brolly on some level, as I handed over my money, but I put that down to the residual self-deprivator inside that sometimes wants me to go without even the basic self-care things of life and I felt proud that I wasn't listening to that voice and doing something nice for myself.   

It was only as I entered the office building that I remembered my challenge...... and I felt very annoyed.

I discussed the purchase with H and there are several ways I could justify the purchase under my current rules:

1) I bought it for work (only stands true if I don't use the brolly during non-work activities)
2) I couldn't buy a decent second hand umbrella as they do lose their structural integrity as you use them and rust etc.

But both these justifications feel a bit borderline.  The truth is that I was not prepared and I slipped into unconscious spending which is what I was trying to avoid with this challenge.  Had I been prepared, I probably could have found a recycled umbrella or a decent second hand one.  I was caught out and off-guard.

However, I do feel the self care argument is one that I haven't explored during this challenge.  What if I hadn't bought the brolly and just walked to work and got completely soaked?  This is not the sort of extent of discomfort that I am comfortable with inflicting on myself during this challenge. I have worked too much on my self-esteem to do that to myself.

So, Dear Reader, I would like to add an additional exception to my Rules, which is that purchases of new things will be allowed, in an emergency and if, without such item I would compromise the value I place on myself.  I am not saying that I am going to start saying I "need" that lovely owl shirt I saw in TK Max's window yesterday (sob!) but I am not prepared to not take care of myself, in the moment for the sake of this challenge.  So there.  It is a lesson in getting more prepared though.

There we have it, Dear Reader, a slip in an otherwise faultless month... I hope you are not too disappointed in me.  I am probably disappointed enough for the both of us but I am not going to give up- onwards and upwards.....

Lots of lovely posts coming up next week on successes on the challenge front.  The sooner we get over Umbrellagate, the better.

Love Alice x

Friday, 1 February 2013

Big news- revealed!

Very, very exciting news, my Lovelies!

I am delighted to announce that I will be opening the Handmade by You Studio;  the home of delightfully quaint craft and easy vintage glamour!

I hope that it will be a refreshing addition to London's make-it-yourself and vintage scene.

Opening in April 2013 in the wonderful Alfies Antique Market, in Marylebone, the studio is set to be an inspiring space filled with treasures and combining my two passions; craft using whimsical designs and easy vintage styling.  

I cannot wait to decorate the studio- I have so many ideas to make it so beautiful.  

For a long time, I yearned for a creative space where, after a long day, I could spend a couple of hours making something really beautiful, with everything provided for me. As you know, I love nifty craft projects that give stylish results, quickly and use pre-loved materials. I have always been attracted to vintage fashions and styling but in the beginning I didn't know where to start. My vision for the studio is that it makes both creativity and vintage glamour accessible for everyone!

The Handmade by You studio will offer an eclectic mix of craft and vintage-themed events including “Make me” sessions; offering a choice of exciting on-the-spot makes including 'Cross stitch an i-phone cover' and 'Make a vintage tea-cup pin cushion' with all materials sourced, tools provided and advice on hand if needed. 

I will of course be running my quirky workshops and craft parties with new exciting options like 'Make your own lipstick' and a variety of vintage-themed events including pop-up sales, hair and make up and easy vintage styling. On top of all of that we have lots of lovely treats to buy in the studio. 

I am looking for lovely people to run events with- if you are a vintage hair/make-up person, a fashion seller or market organiser or you are a crafty bod who makes lovely things with vintage materials, please get in touch  I would love to work with you.  

Those that know my journey will know that this has been my dream since the beginning, with lots of ups and downs and challenges along the way.  I can't quite believe it is actually happening, Dear Reader and I am very grateful to all my lovely clients who have supported me over the last 2 years and my lovely followers and partners who encourage me.  

More info on the way when I get the programme in order and definitely more blogging about my challenge (I have not forgotten about it!).

With love, 
Alice x