December seems to have flown by and I can’t quite believe we’re only five days away from Christmas! I’ve barely had time to catch my breath over the last few weeks and as well as a fantastic trip to London to see the Meadham Kirchhoff V&A Fashion In Motion show, most of my time has revolved around hitting the big 3-0. Now that I’ve almost recovered from an epic birthday weekend which included a go on a helter skelter (because that’s what grown ups do isn’t it?!), I thought I’d share some of the gorgeous presents I was given.
After blogging about it way back in June, I finally got my hands on an a-england ‘Rose With Thorn’ necklace in rose gold. It’s so beautiful and delicate in real life and definitely a piece I will treasure forever. A grown up birthday also demands a slightly more grown up wallet than my current Liberty Print Hello Kitty one so this Biba leather wallet is perfect!
Once a Manic Street Preachers fan, always a Manic Street Preachers fan so this Babycham gift set from one of my oldest friends (who’s also in the ultracool band Pris) really reminds me of my misspent youth. Coupled with an amazing mix CD (including a cover sleeve feature some of my more dubious outfit choices), this was the perfect nostalgia present.
It’s always lovely receiving presents on my ‘a bit too indulgent to justify treating myself to’ wish list so I felt like a very lucky girl this year. I’m a sucker for a good red lippy with MAC’s ‘Lady Danger’ being my go to shade (nothing like a strong lip to distract from you looking like death, a trick I employed over the days spent recovering from my birthday!) so I was glad to receive a new one to replace the rapidly running out tube in my handbag. I was also given the slightly darker matte red shade ‘Ruby Woo’ which I always debate buying when the weather turns autumnal but can never decide between it and ‘Russian Red’. I’m glad my sister took the dithering out of my hands and picked this shade on my behalf as it makes me feel very glamorous which is just how you should feel on your birthday!
Another brand I have trouble with is Jo Malone – there’s just too much choice! My friend who really knows her way around the range got me a bottle of the gorgeous smelling ‘Earl Grey & Cucumber’ cologne and my heart leapt at the sight of the little black and white box tied with their distinctive ribbon.
I’m not sure when owls became my thing (although I possibly kicked it off after buying a fantastic Lea Stein Buba Owl Brooch on eBay) but now most birthdays seem to feature them. For my 30th I was given this cute silver owl necklace from the shop at Manchester Art Gallery which matches a ring I have. I love a good art gallery or museum gift shop and my new necklace proves what amazing treasures you can find!
Completing the glam theme is this stunning Karen Mabon silk scarf. Again this is a brand I’ve previously blogged about and I utterly love Karen’s quirky designs. I’ve now got my fingers crossed that the Midnight Feast scarf from her winter collection is waiting for me under the Christmas tree…
I think it’s fitting that my final gift combines both my love of literature and, er, hot men… Pulp! The Classics is a new imprint which gives classic novels retro looking pulp fiction covers with a twist. Whether you like your Pride And Prejudice with a side order of Colin Firth’s ‘Darcy’ or, like me, the eternal youth of Gosling as Dorian Gray, the eight novels in the collection will not only brighten up any bookshelf but are also guaranteed to raise a smile from fellow commuters during the rush hour slog!
As the contents of my wardrobe and book shelves will attest, I have something of a love affair with charity shops. The hunt for a bargain and the thrill of discovering buried treasure amongst the tat is hard to beat although since the explosion in ‘vintage’ fashion emporiums, unless you’re prepared to trek to some far flung towns (I’ve always found Yorkshire east coast seaside towns the best) it’s become difficult to regularly strike gold. Plus, if you’re looking for something specific then charity shops aren’t always the best route (or generally open at 3am in the morning when you decide after a few drinks that you simply *must* own cocktail glasses covered in pink flamingos for example. Drunk eBay purchases are probably a whole different post actually…). Thankfully, since 1995 (which means it turns 18 this year) eBay has been filling all your drunk/ difficult to find purchasing needs!
Although I will confess to not being a hardcore eBayer (I really should start selling as well as buying on it but I find things hard to part with on the basis that I might suddenly need one of the million vintage scarfs/ bags/ necklaces I’ve amassed over the years) I have found myself using it more and more now that the thrill of charity shop treasure is a mere distant memory. So, as a way to celebrate its 18th birthday I thought I’d share some of my favourite finds.
eBay Treasure Exhibit A – The One That Got Away:
We’ve all been there – you see something in a magazine and try to track it down but it either sells out before you can find it or when you do, it’s out of your meagre student budget. This is the story of this dress. I saw, I hunted, I failed. Or I almost failed. Because, dear reader, I not only found it but I found it IN MY SIZE and IN THE SALE. But of course that would be too easy and for some unknown reason (possibly panicked madness as it was nearly closing time) I DIDN’T BUY MY DREAM DRESS – the dress that I then spent 8 years trying to track down. 8 years of trawling charity shops, stalking ebay and buying dresses like this which although lovely still isn’t *the* dress. Whilst some people use ebay to find the most amazing vintage pieces (I just never seem to have the luck with ebay and vintage – where are all these 50p chiffon treasures which people eulogise about?!?), I use it to stalk my lost loves. So after 8 years and pretty much giving up I finally found it last week. For £2!!! And it looks as fantastic as I remember it looking and fits so well I may actually have done a little dance when I tried it on (I always have eBay fear when buying clothes I can’t return which is probably why I tend to just buy brands I tend to know my size in. I’m not sure I could take the emotional distress of finding something amazing and it not fitting…). It just proves that occasionally patience pays off and that if you see something, love it and can afford it, buy it!
eBay Treasure Exhibit B – The Cheer Yourself Up Purchase
I’ve a bit of a love for owls. I’m not sure when it became my ‘thing’ but before the mass of woodland creatures found their way on to clothing last A/W thanks to Burberry Prorsum I had a lot of owls, including the delightful little Lea Stein brooch above. This is a classic eBay ‘stumble across’ purchase (I was probably searching for ‘Owl Brooches’ trying to track down a Topshop copy of this which I didn’t realise was a copy at the time) and was bought as a way of cheering myself up after narrowly missing out on getting a job I really wanted. With hindsight I’ve probably had more joy from the brooch than I would have had from the job!
eBay Treasure Exhibit C – The Nostalgia Purchase
Thanks to a Scottish mother and a granny called Maisie, I grew up reading Aileen Paterson’s ‘Maisie’ books about a feisty Edinburgh-based Scottish kitten (obviously). The illustrations (also done by Aileen) of Maisie and her adventures were beautifully drawn and whilst searching for some copies of my childhood favourites for my best friend’s little daughter, I found this sweet little brooch of one of the characters from the books for sale. Handmade by Aileen herself and dating back to the 1970s it’s a beautiful and nostalgic addition to my wardrobe which reminds me of happy childhood days.
ebay Treasure Exhibit D – The Oh God That’s Rather A Lot Of Money But They’re My Dream Shoes Purchase
Most of my eBay purchases and bids are for small amounts but for these Miu Miu Deco Patent platform heels I slightly broke the bank (but they were considerably less than they’d originally retailed for). From their AW07 collection, I’d lusted after them for years but couldn’t afford then on my student budget. Once I had a proper job and slightly more money for lust purchases I began hunting for them in earnest. I finally tracked down a pair to an ebay seller in the US and after a lot of research to check they were genuine I took the plunge and purchased. Up until that point they were not only the most I’d ever spent on eBay but also the most I’d ever spent on shoes so I was a bit nervous but they’re honestly ridiculously comfy to wear (or at least as comfy as heels that high can be – I’m still convinced I’m going to take a tumble and break my ankle one of these days) and once you see and hold them in real life you can understand why they cost so much to begin with as the craftsmanship is amazing. I never understood when people said an item ‘felt’ expensive before I got these and I love, love, love how they make me feel when I wear them!
So that’s a brief history of my eBay purchases over the years but I’m sure there’ll be many more to come! In celebration of their 18th birthday, eBay have been putting together an ‘eBay Stories’ campaign and Sophie Ellie Bextor (owner of possibly the best legs in pop) has put together a video of some of her favourite eBay buys!