3-5 February: Big Sale Weekend


If it is as big a success as last year’s, I’d better hunt for some extra stock! Come down on the weekend of 3-5 February to the old church hall in Kirkton of Rayne, as there will be plenty of treasures and bargains – old or new – to be found from various local traders. Styled and displayed beautifully as usual, offering something truly special. Open every day from 10am – 4pm. Come! 

Here are a few previews of some of my items on sale:




Vintage shops in Scotland: Meet Peapod in Rosemount, Aberdeen

Buying vintage and secondhand is the ideal way to find original, quirky gifts or things for your home or wardrobe. Of course it is also a great way of shopping consciously and eco-friendly. If you are ever in Aberdeen,  Scotland, visit Peapod, the most gorgeous little vintage shop in the area of Rosemount. Today I put the spotlight on Claire Milne, who founded Peapod. I asked her about her passion for vintage and why she loves what she does.

peapod aberdeen vintage

Why did you go into the vintage trade? What made you want to start your own business?

Five years ago I decided to change track and start my own business, with help from the Retail Rocks project. You should know Nina, you were there! (Nina’s Apartment also took part in this local business startup project- this I where I met Claire first! ed). My dad is a retired joiner and my mum is a fanatical recycler so furniture recycling and upcycling is in my DNA. Peapod was initially in Torry for the first year, and we discovered I was pregnant with my second child soon after we submitted the Retail Rocks application but thought we’d give it a shot anyway. That’s where the name came from, Arthur was the pea in the pod! After a year we moved to Rosemount and we went in a more vintage direction as it seemed a logical step as I had less time for painting furniture, and my passion for quality items that were beautiful just as they are was growing.

peapod aberdeen vintage shop

What inspires you?

For us it’s more of a who than a what. Through working in the shop we meet some amazing people. Who knew Aberdeen was full of such wonderful creative people? Where were they all hiding before? We are also inspired by the other lovely vintage businesses we meet, we’re lucky their enthusiasm and knowledge rubs off on us too.

peapod aberdeen vintage shop


What has been the biggest challenge running a vintage shop?

Time. Never enough of it. Sourcing new stock, having a stall at fairs, changing the window display, social media all take time. Self-employed people don’t tend to take days off, but if you love what you do you never complain.

What is Peapod’s strength? How have you tweaked and improved over the years?

Moving with the times and our ability to stay on-trend. Most new trends have their base in something that has gone before, so we try to source the original goods while still putting our own twist on it.

peapod aberdeen vintage shop

peapod aberdeen vintage shop


Who does your window displays? They are fabulous!

We both do (Claire and her business partner June. ed.) It can take a whole day to do a window display at Peapod. That’s what we do with our “day off” so it doesn’t disrupt customers and their browsing and purchasing. Great fun, we love a new window! It’s great fun and we’ve already started on our (dare we say it?) Christmas window!

What is the weirdest thing you ever had in the shop? 

When you do this line of work the weird and wonderful appear on a daily basis so it’s hard to pick just one item, you just get used to it.

And tell us about something so beautiful that you regret you sold it.

Ah, this is an easy one. An Abel Morrall’s thimble box with glass panels that I didn’t get to enjoy long enough before it was snapped up by someone with a very good eye. Also a black gloss bar that opened up to reveal a mirror with cocktail glasses design on it and a light inside. Knowing these items went to very good homes makes it (slightly) easier to let them go, and the people who bought them loved them as much as we did.

peapod aberdeen vintage shop


Why should people buy vintage?

We at Peapod are great believers in buying what you like. All current trends have a base in a vintage past and the older items are made to a higher standard. It’s one of the greenest ways to shop and saves amazing historic items ending up being thrown out and wasted. Buying vintage can also introduce a unique twist to a home that also features high street styles.

peapod aberdeen vintage shop

What’s your plans and ambitions for Peapod in the future?

Developing a larger online presence with our Etsy shop, keeping up to date with social media and working on growing the Peapod Pinterest page.

Peapod – address:

144 Rosemount Place, Aberdeen, Scotland
Open Tuesday – Saturday 10am-6pm

Facebook

Etsy

Pinterest

 

Discover art on your doorstep during NEOS open studios

I don’t know about you but I love art. I have run out of wall space a long time ago but I still can’t help myself when I see an artwork I really like and that would look amazing in my house. More than once I raided my bank account for a painting or print that really wasn’t something I could or should spend money on that day…but oops, I did it again! I have never regretted any of those purchases however, not like I regretted buying those shoes in the sale or another plastic toy for my kids that they only played with once. Art does not seem to go out of fashion. And if anything gives your home personality, it is those unique pieces of art that you love and nobody else owns.

neosbanner

Each year in September, now for the 14th year running, there is NEOS, or North East Open Studios, where over 200 artists across Aberdeen city and shire open their doors to the public, showing off their work and technical skills. It is amazing. Not only do you get to see a wide variety of art in all shapes and forms, you also get to speak to the artists, ask them questions and – this is what I like most – you discover places in your local area you never even knew existed. It’s like a treasure hunt, a discovery trail, an off the beaten track adventure, finding those yellow numbered signs dotted all over the North East for eight days. Oh there’s one! Keep going!

neosbanner2

People exhibit their work in the most unusual places. An old train carriage in someone’s back garden? It’s there. Whisky distilleries, village halls, sheds and of course people’s own front rooms and workshops are transformed into temporary exhibition spaces where you are invited to see arts and craft. Informal, welcoming and you often even get a cup of tea. All for free. Try that for an average day out.

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Upper Loop Studio

You don’t know anything about art you say? It’s not something that really interests you ? Nah – you’re just saying that. If you like beautiful things and getting inspired, then just give it a go. A number of artists are professionals and are doing it for a living, but most participants are people like you and me who make art in their spare time. Many of them are real talents. Flicking through the thick NEOS directory you’ll be able to select the artists you might like to visit, whose work is anything from cool abstract paintings to water colours of our local ‘mountain’ Bennachie (oh yes, loads…), wood sculptures, ceramics, photography, jewellery and contemporary printmaking. A lot of artists also give demonstrations and workshops for you to have a go yourself.

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Pick up one of the directories and go visit a few places. Pile some friends in the car and make an afternoon of it. Download a trail if you fancy ‘doing an area’. You’ll be amazed how many artists you have living on your doorstep. You may even find yourself coming home with an original piece of art or commission someone to make you one. If you still tell me you didn’t enjoy any of it after all that, then – oh well. But I bet you have a blast.

NEOS starts on Saturday 10th of September and runs until the following Sunday 18th of September.

www.northeastopenstudios.co.uk

NEOS on Facebook
NEOS on Twitter @NEOS_uk

Online Directory Flip book

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Shop vintage in Aberdeen: Old Togs New Tricks Vintage Fayre

The season of vintage fairs is starting to kick off again now the school holidays are finished and I am super pleased to be taking part in my first fair since a big fire ruined the Nina’s Apartment shop back in April this year. On Sunday 4th of September you can find me selling my quirky collection of wares at the Old Togs New Tricks Vintage Fayre in Aberdeen, in industrial cool club Underdog down in the basement of the Brewdog Castlegate pub on Union Street. It is held on Sunday the 4th of September, 12noon to 5pm. Admission free.

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I am proud to be sitting amongst some of the best vintage traders in the area, all of whom dedicate their time sourcing high quality authentic vintage, which is not that easy nowadays. Coming to a fair like this will therefore be a great opportunity to pick up that original retro lamp shade, sixties coffee set, crazy psychedelic seventies dress or just something beautiful that has no other function than to sit on a shelf and gather dust. There will be furniture, home decor, records, clothing, jewellery, ceramics and collectables. Plenty to rummage through and fill your house with, that’s for sure. And if you like your beers better than your handbags, then you can always join in with the beer tasting.

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The first Old Togs New Tricks Fayre held in May 2016 – photo: Underdog

Here’s the impressive line-up of traders:

V1 Vinyl
Nina’s Apartment
Peapod
Quinneys Antique Jewelery
Very Vintage
Curtis & Clementine
Kelly & her collection
Milly & Lucy
Grab Ur Coat UK
Re-Store
The Closet – Vintage
Louis Little Haven
Beard Oils ….

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Photo: Underdog

I have been told there will also be music, food and drinks – a welcome change from the usual pink cupcakes and tea in floral teacups served at many a vintage fair. There! I said it! Please don’t shoot me! I am looking forward to it anyway, I hope you do too.

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Photo: Underdog


Old Togs New Tricks – Vintage Fayre

Sunday 4th of September 12noon-5pm
Underdog, Brewdog Castlegate – Union Street Aberdeen
Entry free

Vintage trader of the month: Louis Little Haven

Every month we let you discover a different vintage trader in the North east of Scotland. This month we are putting the spotlight on yet another vintage shop that not everyone might have heard of: Louis Little Haven in the small village of Durno, a few miles outside Inverurie. When I think of the true meaning of ‘vintage’, I feel this shop embodies it perfectly with its pretty romantic florals, pastel colours, dainty tea sets, quirky collectables and solid old wooden furniture. This gem, tucked away in rural Aberdeenshire, is owned by Melanie Wilson who not only has an obsession with old china but is also a great lover of dogs. It was opened in 2013 and named after her beloved labrador Louis, who sadly passed away last year. Her new buddy bassett hound Briony has since joined her on her treasure hunts and can usually be found sleeping in the corner of the shop.


How did you end up having this shop, Mel? Where does the treasure hunting bug come from?

I’ve collected since the age of ten, starting off with handbags and hats and moving on to teacups where I became obsessed! My mum would often take us around Thainstone (carboot sale ed.) on a Sunday and in addition to that I come from a family who can’t throw anything out as “it could be useful”. Growing up across from my grandparents’ farm also had an influence. I loved having a “nosey” to see what treasures could be found. I still can’t help myself when I see a shed!

What makes your business special in the area?

I am breathing new life into the old village shop in Durno (we have found some great black and white photos of what it used to look like), so I feel I am bringing something to the local community here. Everyone is always welcome to pop in for a look around or just a chat.


What is the weirdest and most beautiful item you have ever had in your shop?

I have had a few strange itemd in stock as I like picking up unusual things but at the moment it is definitely a Victorian Scottish pottery spittoon in the shape of a shell. I have had lots of beautiful things as well and those are really hard to part with! I’d say two of the items that stick to mind are a gorgeous blue 1940s Paragon tea set and a stunning 19th century 8ft kitchen larder cupboard.

What is the best thing about doing this job?

I don’t consider it a job, rather a passion I have had for as long as I can remember and I feel lucky to do what I do. I love meeting new people, hearing their stories and finding out the history behind the items I’m buying. I’d like to think I am a curator of beautiful things who finds them their new home, their next chapter in life.

What is the hardest part in running a vintage shop?

Finding good quality, beautiful pieces and trying to keep them at a reasonable price.

Why should people buy vintage, in your opinion?

There is a charm to vintage items, they don’t make things anymore like they used to. Buying vintage also means buying a little piece of history. I always think that if the tea cups I sell could talk about all the stories and gossip they have heard, wouldn’t that be wonderful!

Louis Little Haven, Mel and Briony the dog can be found here:

Durno, north of Inverurie (off the A96).

Open: Friday 10.30am-3pm, Saturday 10.30am-4pm, Monday 10.30am-3pm

Online:

Facebook

Etsy

And at some vintage fairs in the area.

Vintage shops in Scotland: Louis Little Haven

I help you discover vintage shops in Scotland. This month we are putting the spotlight on yet another vintage shop that not everyone might have heard of: Louis Little Haven in the small village of Durno, a few miles outside Inverurie.

A lover of dogs and vintage

When I think of the true meaning of ‘vintage’, I feel this shop embodies it perfectly with its pretty romantic florals, pastel colours, dainty tea sets, quirky collectables and solid old wooden furniture. This gem, tucked away in rural Aberdeenshire, is owned by Melanie Wilson who not only has an obsession with old china but is also a great lover of dogs. It was opened in 2013 and named after her beloved labrador Louis, who sadly passed away last year. Her new buddy bassett hound Briony has since joined her on her treasure hunts and can usually be found sleeping in the corner of the shop.

louis little haven

How did you end up having this shop, Mel? Where does the treasure hunting bug come from?

I’ve collected since the age of ten, starting off with handbags and hats and moving on to teacups where I became obsessed! My mum would often take us around Thainstone (carboot sale ed.) on a Sunday and in addition to that I come from a family who can’t throw anything out as “it could be useful”. Growing up across from my grandparents’ farm also had an influence. I loved having a “nosey” to see what treasures I could find. I still can’t help myself when I see a shed!

Louis Little Haven


What makes your business special in the area?

I am breathing new life into the old village shop in Durno and we have found some great black and white photos of what it used to look like. I feel I am bringing something to the local community here. Everyone is always welcome to pop into Louis Little Haven for a look around or just a chat.

Louis Little Haven


What is the weirdest and most beautiful item you have ever had in your shop?

I have had a few strange items in stock as I like picking up unusual things. At the moment it is definitely a Victorian Scottish pottery spittoon in the shape of a shell. I have had lots of beautiful things as well and those are really hard to part with! I’d say two of the items I loved are a gorgeous blue 1940s Paragon tea set and a stunning 19th century 8ft kitchen larder cupboard.

Louis Little Haven


What is the best thing about doing this job?

I don’t consider it a job, rather a passion I have had for as long as I can remember and I feel lucky to do what I do. I love meeting new people, hearing their stories and finding out the history behind the items I’m buying. I’d like to think I am a curator of beautiful things who finds them their new home, their next chapter in life.

What is the hardest part in running a vintage shop?

Finding good quality, beautiful pieces and trying to keep them at a reasonable price.

Louis Little Haven

Why should people buy vintage, in your opinion?

There is a charm to vintage items, they don’t make things anymore like they used to. Buying vintage also means buying a little piece of history. I always think that if the tea cups I sell could talk about all the stories and gossip they have heard, wouldn’t that be wonderful!

Louis Little Haven


Louis Little Haven, Mel and her dogs are here:

Durno, north of Inverurie (off the A96)
Open: Friday 10.30am-3pm, Saturday 10.30am-4pm, Monday 10.30am-3pm
Online:
Facebook
Etsy

And at vintage fairs in the area.

Treasure hunting in France: brocante!

I am just in my second week of a four-week long trip through France and boy, am I loving it! It was a long drive, but it’s great to have the car with us to go wherever we want. I am thoroughly enjoying the warm climate, the food, the old villages full of character and oh yes – the brocante. What’s brocante you say? Well, it’s basically French old junk with some real gems amongst it if you look for it. You can find rural barns, town shops and Sunday fleamarkets full of vintage, antiques or just second hand, usually advertised by a hand painted sign on the side of the road.

Brocante market near Auch,  Midi-Pyrenees
Brocante market near Auch, Midi-Pyrenees

You come across plenty ‘brocante’ signs while driving across the country, but if you really want to plan your treasure hunting while in France there is a useful website listing loads of local markets by area called www.brocabrac.fr

I have just downloaded the app that goes with it. An app? A brocante hunting app. Amazing. 

Wish I could bring home some more of the fabulous pieces I have spotted so far. Shame the car is packed full of camping gear, two kids and my husband’s racing bike in the roof box. Quelle dommage! Need to plan a future trip with a large van – on my own next time. 

Au revoir, I will keep you posted!

Vintage and retro brocante shop in Mirande, France
Brocante shop in Mirande, Midi-Pyrenees

Vintage trader of the month: Curtiss and Clementine

Every month we are putting the spotlight on one of the many vintage businesses around the North East of Scotland, often hidden away in corners or back alleys. This month we are showcasing a vintage trader up in the north of Aberdeenshire: Curtiss and Clementine, located inside the little treasure trove shop called HQ in the harbour of Banff. This business is owned by Rachel Kennedy, who specialises in vintage finds and collectables from sometimes as old as the 19th century. Being a historian, Rachel certainly knows her stuff and she is a star at finding unusual items with a past. If you are looking for quirky and wonderful vintage, visit Banff and make a day of it!

Rachel, where does the name Curtiss and Clementine come from?

The idea for my business grew out of a passion for history, so when it came to thinking of a name it felt right to look at my own family history and my mixed English and Scots parentage. I spent a lot of time with my paternal Scots grandmother as a child, whose maiden name was Clementine McGregor, before moving here from London ten years ago. Lawrence Curtiss was my maternal English grandfather. Sadly, I never knew him and since the Curtiss surname hasn’t carried on into the next generation, I thought it would be nice to use it as a way of remembering his side of the family.

How long have you been running the shop?

The shop where I am based is called HQ, we opened last July so we are coming up to a year. I share the space with another local business called Threadbear, who are based in Banff and make hand-made gifts and home furnishings.


What made you want to start selling vintage?

Being involved in vintage and antiques and having my own business has given me the chance to follow a dream. I’ve been a fan of vintage since the late 1980s during my art student days when I used to love visiting all the second-hand shops in Brighton, but I started collecting as a child (glass animals, then clay pipes after a bit of random digging in our front garden in London!) and ended up working in museums as a curator, so I’m probably programmed to seek out vintage objects, especially if they have a good design or are a bit unusual. I also love 20th century studio ceramics and glass and pretty much anything eighteenth century, which was my area of expertise, so selling enables me to indulge in all my interests and passions!

What makes your business special in the area? 

When I first started my business a few years ago initially from home, there were only a couple of vintage businesses that I was aware of and no vintage shops or fairs at all in or around Banff. Things have changed since then, which is great, but it has been exciting to be part of starting something new. Together with the vintage fairs that I run as well, I feel I am offering a unique shopping experience for the local community here in Banff and Macduff as well as visitors to the area. I also try and source items that have a local connection (like the vintage milk bottles from local dairies I have in HQ at the moment) which has been a nice way to offer more personal items to local customers.


What is the weirdest item you have ever had in your shop? 

Oh, that’s easy! I have in stock at the moment a miniature china figurine called a Frozen Charlotte or Charlie. It’s teensy. Made from glazed bisque porcelain with hand-painted black hair. These dolls were made in Germany from the mid 1800s to 1920s, originally as bath dolls I think, but became popular in the States after a poem called Young Charlotte, about a young woman who froze to death whilst driving in an open carriage with her beau on New Year’s Eve. These tiny dolls are now very collectable although many find them creepy – you can sometimes find them in mini metal coffins which is quite macabre.

What has been the most beautiful item you have ever had in the shop? 

I was lucky enough to find in France last year an absolutely beautiful lidded pot by Arabia Finland, in mint condition. It was hand-painted in a gorgeously rich, dark cobalt blue design onto a translucent fine white China. The design was very simple and was signed ET, for one of their most respected designers Esteri Tomula, who worked at the factory between 1947-84. From my research, it appeared to be a studio production from the 1950s which was unusual and so quite rare too. The combination of beauty, design, rarity and condition just made it a very striking thing and a lovely pot. The icing on the cake was that it was bought by an artist who really loved it.


What do you like about your job? 

Can I say everything? (Laughing) I love being independent, my own boss. I love hunting out the stock, researching it, displaying it and meeting customers. I really do learn something new every day and that keeps it all interesting and stimulating. It also gives me a chance to talk about the history of an item and to share what I have learned with customers which is very rewarding. It’s such a privilege too, to handle items that are 50, 100, sometimes even 150 years old, especially if I get to meet the current owners who know the history of these items. Hey, I’m even getting a bit fitter from all the heavy lifting of boxes that I do with my fairs..

What is the biggest challenge?

In today’s current economic climate, I would say being a sole trader in anything is really tough. You have got to work hard to keep motivated and be sensitive to market trends as well as stay true to your own ideas. Selling is probably the biggest challenge and I think most vintage businesses and antiques dealers feel that. I also think that although the idea of vintage is really growing in Scotland, the idea of buying second hand doesn’t appeal to many and it’s a challenge to try and change that.


Why should people buy vintage?
Actually, I wouldn’t say people should as its a personal taste but, I do believe that in today’s world of limited resources, it’s a much greener way to shop. I also think that buying vintage ensures a variety in your wardrobe or home and that has to be a good thing in my book. Buying vintage can also stimulate discussion between the generations which I love (eg where on earth did you find that? Or, I used to have one of those when I was young) and allows for self-expression too, which can be hugely creative.

——-

You can buy Vintage from Curtiss and  Clementine here:

Shop – HQ, 8b Quayside, Banff AB45 1HQ. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 10.30-4pm

Vintage fairs:

Rachel organises several fairs a year at Banff Castle:

  • Saturday 9 July, 10am-4pm
  • Saturday 10 September, 10am – 4pm.

Rachel is also a regular exhibitor at the Aberdeen Antiques & Collectors Market, which takes place every month at the Hilton Tree Tops Hotel, Aberdeen.

Online:

Facebook

Etsy

Travel blog post: colours of Cyprus

I have just come back from Cyprus and had a great time. I wanted to share a few interesting photos of things that caught my eye while walking around in various places, especially of the rich colours and patterns on buildings and in textiles. Cyprus has a rich history of different cultures all putting their stamp on the island, and of course at present it is still divided in a Greek and a Turkish part. The Greek side is more modern and developed with many large hotels and plenty of activity along the many beaches, while the Turkish side is quieter with less of that going on and more strips of beach all to yourself, though there are lots of villas being built for foreigners wanting their own place in the sun. At times it can be hard to look through all the ugly building developments, noisy bars as well as rubbish left on beaches, which unfortunately you see, but if you venture away from the beaten track you’ll soon come across the real beauty and authenticity that Cyprus has to offer – both in the South and the North. A great island all around.

 

Beautiful colours in this carpet in  the Halan Sultan Tekke mosque, Larnaca, South Cyprus
Some true vintage furniture in Bellapais, Kyrenia, North Cyprus
Glorious bougainvillea growing in an old plastic barrel, Kyrenia, North Cyprus
Various street scenes in Nicosia
fantastic handmade lace in Lefkara, South Cyprus
Rich colours, blue paint and red geranium in Lefkara, South Cyprus
Lace shop in Lefkara, South Cyprus
Striking blue wall at the local museum of Lefkara, South Cyprus

 

Sunlight and shadows on a beautiful yellow door in Bellapais, North Cyprus
Great selection of carpets in the Halan Sultna Tekke mosque in Larnaca, South Cyprus
Blue, blue blue….in Lefkara, South Cyprus
Bright yellow flower and blue furniture on the beach in Larnaca

A vintage sewing box that turned out to be a treasure trove, full of retro fabrics

Recently I bought an old sewing box from a family clearing the house of an elderly lady who had passed away. I took the box without having a proper look what was inside as I was mainly interested in the vintage style box itself. A few weeks later as I rediscovered the box and opened it up, I found the most amazing stack of 1960s and 70s fabrics, all neatly folded and in the most vibrant colours and crazy patterns, some of them by 1960s textile designers Barbara Brown and Bernard Wardle.
It made me wonder what kind of lady she was, this woman who picked those fabulous fabrics all those years ago and used them for her own creative projects. She must have loved bold colours and graphic patterns as much as I do. She sure had great taste!

I can’t wait to make them all into beautiful Summer cushions, which I’m sure the old lady would have liked very much if she she was still with us. Here are three cushions I have made so far;