How to do office wear with a vintage twist

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Office wear. The very thought used to make me sink into my kaftan on a Sunday night – what shall I wear to work tomorrow??

For women, traditionally the corporate office dress code usually meant a strict and somewhat limiting combo of shirt and Next navy trouser suit, or shirt and pencil skirt.  If you personal style is vintage, it can mean a trade off between abiding by this conservative dress code, which can leave you feeling unlike yourself or wearing something inappropriate or worse- frumpy.

Unless you work in the fashion or vintage industry, the last thing your boss wants is Janice Joplin’s sister waltzing through the office door on a Monday morning. So just how do you do tailored work wear if your usual style is more quirky than corporate?

Inspired by an editorial piece on modern tailoring by Farfetch I have defined my 4 capsule pieces for modern office wear with a vintage twist.

Today work-wear is more relaxed, tattoos are even considered more acceptable and jeans are common especially if you work in digital. Yet some sort of tailoring is still essential if you want to keep that professional edge.

Modern tailoring to me means injecting the unconventional into classic suiting and that is exactly what Farfetch want to inspire. “Rethink traditional office dress codes with a truly modern take on tailoring – relaxed yet refined and perfect all day, everyday

For me the easiest way to do work wear is by basing your look around one modern white tailored shirt. Simple and structured; it and goes with anything and everything. Then simply mix and match with different accessories, patterns and textures to give it a vintage vibe.

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Work wear inspiration and ideas

Tailoring Threads:

  1. A classic small men’s white oxford shirt from Savile row

Men’s shirts fit better than women’s and they are often better quality. Borrow your boyfriends then don’t give it back. You will look so good in it he won’t even mind.

  1. A velvet blazer in a rich jewelled colours

A vintage velvet blazer in any colour, smartens up any office look and can be thrown over more or less anything. The velvet adds a luxury twist and is a bit different to the usual black or navy. I have about 5 velvet blazers in a multitude of jewelled colours, but my favourite is this dreamy paisley pattern.

  1. A thin pure silk psychedelic scarf

If Marc Bolan worked in an office he would have worn something like this. Worn tucked under your shirt with the collar slightly open its a twist on the classic and won’t have you feeling like you are wearing your old school shirt.

  1. Masculine statement shoes

I have finished my outfit with these western pixie boots, however having a pop of colour wherever possible, just makes life (and your outfit) more interesting and where better than on your shoes. These delicious bespoke double monk shoes are ones I had made by Grenson shoes and would look just as good with this blazer and shirt combo. Who says women have to just wear a court shoe to work?

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No tailoring piece would be complete without giving my man a mention, Derek you are the king of modern tailoring. Here he is rocking double breasted luxe and versatile grey in GQ street style SS 16.  Fresh from Savile row, this cheeky snap was featured in the same shoot as model David Gandy no less!!

And gent’s there’s plenty of other dapper chaps from London Collection Men’s for plenty of suit-spiration.

Derek LCM

 

Photo: Robert Spangle GQ

 

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5 Awesome Things To Do In Florence

Mini moon part 1

The day following our wedding on the 27th August, happy but hungover, we went on the Ryanair website in the hope of a last minute deal and ended up booking a mini moon to Tuscany. Booked at 8pm that night to leave Monday morning at 8am- talk about flying by the seat of our pants!

Our trek across Tuscany started in Pisa. Pisa was a cheap destination but actually other than see the leaning tower, we found there wasn’t actually that much to do! So after travelling to Lucca for a day we spent the following two nights in Florence. There are many things to do, including the Uffizi Gallery to see Botticelli’s Birth of Venus (you know the one, the gorgeous redhead standing in the buff riding the waves in a giant clamshell) but in a bid to keep it simple, here are 5 things to do if you have 24 hours in Florence.

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Ready to explore! This was at a garden in Lucca before we got to Florence
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But relaxing was the first thing…

Morning

  1. Get Cultural: The Accademia Gallery & Michelangelo’s David

The Accademia reveals the genius of great Florentine artists and sculptures, the most renowned being the marble marvel that is Michelangelo’s David. Michelangelo carved his masterpiece from an abandoned block of marble, to create this vision of Florentine liberty. It is long debated whether our strapping chap is depicted before or after his battle with Goliath. I’d say after- he looks pretty pleased with himself doesn’t he?

As the museum is home to some of the finest works of Renaissance artwork in the world, lines to enter are long. You can however reserve a ticket down the street and bypass the entrance lines easily.

 

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  1. Marble marvel: Duomo Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore

10 minutes from the Gallery you will find Florence’s main cathedral with its magnificent Renaissance dome. The exterior is covered in a decorative sweetshop mix of candy pink, white and green marble which looks stunning when lit against the night sky. Entrance into the cathedral is free, which is one of the reasons why you’ll usually find a long queue (Eugh). And like the length of time you appear to be in the queue- apparently it took two centuries for the cathedral to be finished.  We say only visit the inside if you really want to see it, your time here is probably best spent going to the top for the view or sat in the square listening to the talented buskers and taking it all in…

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  1. Find a Thrift Store in Florence: Melrose Vintage

Any vintage shopper worth their flares needs to seek out new groovy threads in a new city. Make a retro pit stop at Melrose Vintage. This quality thrift store is well worth a visit if you have time and is close to the Duomo. Find it here: argo 50123, Largo Fratelli Alinari, 8, 50123

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In my new vintage purchase from Melrose Vintage! Who knew a tablecloth would work so well as a skirt…

 

 

Afternoon

  1. Escape the crowds: Garden di Boloboli

Located just 10 minutes from Ponte Vecchio, this sculpture park offers a welcome break from the bustling crowds. You could probably spend all day wandering aimlessly around this park and exploring everything it has to offer. Statues and fountains are scattered around the park, and there is a breathtaking view from the top. Being Italy it was blazing hot, so pack lots of water oh and factor 50 if you’re a lily white Brit like me.

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Evening

  1. Watch the Sunset: Piazzale Michelangelo

Finish the day with this beauty. A short (ish) walk from the gardens, this 19th century piazza has undoubtedly the best panoramic view of Florence. Watch the sunset with a bottle of wine, and dream of a city apartment, before you hit one of the restaurants back in the centre. Just be warned – this is a tourist hot spot, at peak season prepare to push your way through a hundred students with selfie sticks just to get a spot.

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Unusual things to do on a budget: Maize maze

Maize glasses

So what do you do when you are on a budget because you’re saving the pennies for a wedding, or cutting back simply because it’s flippin’ well expensive being an adult with responsibilities.

If you are looking for things to do and a cheap and cheerful day out this summer, I would recommend getting lost in one of the many giant maize mazes around the UK. Although it’s a great day for families, you don’t have to have kids with you; a maize maze can be a low cost alternative to a walk in the country and a great way to get some exercise too!

We decided to try the Maize Maze in Cawthorne, West Yorkshire.

Getting lost in a Maize Maze

Right from the start you are surrounded by rows upon rows of giant maize plants, towering over you either side. As the sun moves higher in the sky and the minutes tick by, you quickly realise that you have arrived back at your starting point… Every turn could be a dead end and every stop could leave you alone… OK, so I am being a tad dramatic but it is big enough and tall enough to get lost in for a little bit, which is kinda fun! That said, I wouldn’t like to be here alone at night. But for those of you who don’t mind being spooked, they do night walks.. venture forth if you dare.

On entering the maze you’re set a challenge to complete 8 questions. Currently it’s on this summer’s Olympics, and the only way to find the answers is by discovering the posts hidden throughout the maze. I had hoped for the glory of achieving the full set of answers, but the giant maze mistress had us defeated and after walking for about an hour we ended up with a mere 3 out of the 8 answers…Pathetic I know! But trust me- it is not as easy as it looks!

Located right next to Cannon Hall and perfectly decked out with food stalls, vintage lawn games, I thoroughly recommend a visit to a Maize Maze if you want to do something a bit different and you are on a budget. Its only £6.50 for adults and £3 parking.

Groovy Threads:

  • Vintage green 70s jumpsuit, this is the mothers, borrowed then claimed (as you do). This is a seriously good hand-me down
  • Granny squares fringed waistcoat- Ebay
  • Black men’s trilby- Vintage
  • Vintage round sunglasses- Mad Alice in Leeds Corn Exchange

Spacehopper

Derek Maize

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12 go Speed Friending for the Lighthouse Union Autism Charity

What would it be like to have an important conversation at work or at a party and not be able to read the other person’s emotions?

How would you feel? Confused, anxious,? Apparently 55% of all communication is body language, 38% is the tone, and only 7% is spoken.

It is the non – verbal part of communication, like facial expressions, that someone with autism would struggle with. It is common stereotype that people with autism are robotic and without emotion, they do of course have emotions, they just see the world differently.

There are less than 7% of people with a learning disability and 15% with an Autistic spectrum disorder in employment. It is situations like gaining employment that often rely on “appropriate” interpretation of these subtle communication signals.

The Lighthouse Futures Trust is a truly wonderful charity that pushes for equal opportunities for people young people with Autism. They do this by focusing on their talents, strengths and interests and directly aligns employment experiences and opportunities to showcase this, giving them a real chance to have the full and rewarding career they deserve.

Lighthouse Union Autism Charity

The mini experiment: What’s it like to have Autism

A few weeks ago I joined a diverse group of bloggers in a mini social experiment. The “Speed Friending” event was hosted by The Lighthouse Futures Trust at their new shop and café. The aim was to find out how we would get on having a conversation in a mask that showed ourselves with absolutely no expression at all (Cue giggles all round at seeing our mugshots blown up, printed and ready).

Now, of course none of us can really ever know what it is like to have Autism. I wouldn’t event attempt to try and describe what it must really feel like, but this was a way of trying to understand a little more, raise awareness online, ask questions and start an open discussion.

The result

Ok so this was a lot harder than I expected, for one it was a reminder of the learnt communication skills we take for granted, really do make simple things like having a conversation, easy.I found myself looking into people’s eyes in a desperate bid to interpret response- were they interested in what I was saying? Were they looking away? I had no idea!

During, I accidentally found myself nodding intently to what the other person was saying, like an over enthusiastic puppy as if to overcompensate for the lack of expression. At one point I had to sit on my hands at one point, I had no idea I was so animated! We all agreed this “simple thing” it was pretty hard to do without emotion.

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Planning our purchases
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Bake off eat your heart out

A brand new café and shopping experience  

Lighthouse Union Store Cookridge Leeds, itself is a natural evolution from what has started at the Lighthouse School. Warm, welcoming and with a treat selection that would make Mary Berry jealous, this new cafe, gift and charity shop makes for the perfect meeting spot. “From Prada to Primark” describes the clothes selection on their website and they weren’t wrong- there are some serious designer treasures to be found. True to form I bagged a few bargains on the evening, here’s me looking slightly optimistic for sunshine, a vintage yellow 90s frock!

Love thrift and charity shops? Check out my 7 top tips for getting the most from your bargain hunting.

90s yellow charity shop dress

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Come on Sunshine I am ready for you!
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Boho & tipi weddings: Find your venue


With mere months to go ‘til I get married, I thought it high time I started diarising some of the build up and share some of our finds with other Yorkshire Brides-to-be, (and those further afield).

Starting with our Yorkshire wedding venue. We wanted a space where we could have the creative freedom to add our own personal touches and really make it our own. If we saw any treasures and decorations we liked we could save them, build on our inspiration as we go, work with local suppliers and bring everything together, into something hopefully really special on the day.

So in August last year we concluded a lengthy quest for our Yorkshire wedding venue by making a booking at Wharfedale Grange, a seasonal farm shop and venue set in the Lower Wharfedale valley, facing the North Park of Harewood House just between Leeds and Harrogate.

Here’s our story so far and some things to look out for when searching for your perfect tipi wedding venue.

DIY Yorkshire tipi wedding at Whafedale Grange

A recent wedding at Wharfedale
A recent wedding at Wharfedale. Source Wharfedale Grange Facebook

 

Rustic and rural, Wharfedale grange provides a stunning blank canvas for couples to bring their creative vision to life.  A farm since 1939, two generations later it is still a family run farm, but in 2013 they decided to hire out their field and car park for DIY weddings/events.

“The only limit is your imagination and budget” they say on the website. “Your wedding reception can be as modest and humble or as huge and extravagant as your sensibilities allow, but one thing’s for sure…it will be unique and totally individual!” and for us at least, so far so good!

Tipi or not tipi, that is the question..

After we booked the venue we hired two giant hat tipis from Totally Tipis in Barnsley. Tipis are ideal for a relaxed style of wedding we want and as you can see look stunning in the countryside setting. As the overall theme is quite boho, with ethnic touches scattered here and there, these giant tents are ideal for boho weddings. Jewel coloured patterned bunting, lanterns, home – made dream catchers and some cream veils drapes are just some of the things I have already gathered to turn our tipi into a twinkling tent of  love, laughter and memories!

Yet being left to your own devices at a place like Wharfedale doesn’t mean they aren’t there to support and provide you with everything they can to make your day special.  Clare Thomas is the main contact who will give her support along the way. As well as being super friendly, Claire is awesome at flower arranging as you can see from some of the pictures. Isn’t the hanging foliage piece on above the top table fabulous? This is simply a wooden plank suspended from the tipi poles then covered with leafy lushness!

Boho & DIY Wedding Venues – What to look out for:

  • When you are looking into rural wedding venues always make sure you are clear what areas they can help with and where they don’t. The last thing you want is to find out they don’t have staff to guide or provide info on local suppliers.
  • Its worth remembering if you’re going DIY you will want to hire props so look out for prop hire sites online. eBay is good for paper lanterns, candle bags and bunting of course, but the last thing you want is to be left with 100 candle holders.
  • Having said that, there’s always the option of hiring a wedding planner for “partial wedding planning”.  This means you have your creative freedom plus the confidence a wedding planner is there on the day to fully co- ordinate your suppliers as well as check you have all you need 6 weeks before. We have hired Angela at  http://www.event-u-ally.co.uk/
  • Check – Do they have car parking space?
  • Check – Do they have additional storage or fridges to chill your wine?
  • Will you hire a bar? If so you can get a rustic bar set up and staff for around £360. These usually work out very cost effective you pay the deposit and should your guests meet the spend threshold of day 1k you get your deposit back. We’re using http://www.barhiresolutions.co.uk/
  • Where will you have the legal ceremony? To be legally wed you must have 4 walls and a roof apparently. You cannot have a legal ceremony in a tipi but you can have a humanist one.

 

Back to Wharfedale. It’s not only flowers and a field you get when you book with them, a car park, walk-in fridges and a props to hire are all available.

Alternatively, just pop over to see them for a good old Yorkshire day trip out. Here’s a little more on what they do:

  • Asparagus & P.Y.O.fruit.
  • The Flowery Shed inc. The Potting Shed
  • Home grown Wild Flowers.
  • Festive Shed: Christmas trees, freshly made wreaths, bunched holly and mistletoe, fresh flowers, plants and centrepieces for your Christmas table, all in our up-cycled PYO shed alongside some of the most exclusive decorations available! One to bookmark for this Christmas
  • Wildflower meadow. Looking at the recent facebook post they have also posted 10 acres of wildflower meadow devoted to pick your own wildflowers that will be ready to pick in July!

I still have so much to do but fingers crossed its coming together. The invites went out in March so just waiting for the last few RSVPS. (Invites were from Jennifer Wren Designs available on Etsy- recommended!)

I will be posting how to make your own boho wedding decorations if you are having a DIY wedding including doily dream catcher and fabric garland in a few weeks as well as my trip to York based Glory Days vintage for the dress.

Photos courtesy of Wharfedale Grange Facebook page.

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Flowers and wedding decor in the teepee

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Wharfedale Grange tipi wedding
Wharfedale grange tipi wedding
Boho and rustic wedding invitation
Etsy designed boho wedding invitation
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Festival Outfit Ideas: 70s Boho Glam

When it comes to festival outfits, as much as I love the “classic festival look”, there is a risk that you can end up looking like everyone else. At festivals across the UK I expect we will see hordes of girls floating across the fields in a tried and tested uniform of denim shorts, hunter wellies and kimonos.   The other weekend we were lucky enough to go to Live at Leeds, a city festival in Yorkshire. Whilst it was sunny, it was quite chilly and therefore there wasn’t much call for denim shorts, yet, for me this presented the perfect opportunity to try a different style of festival look.
Just a bit on the festival itself, for anyone who is UK based- Live at Leeds ..well what a peach of a day! We started at midday at the O2 Academy, an intimate venue in the city to watch the Mystery Jets, who definitely delivered. They rocked out to a medley of bouncing hits like “Two Doors Down” which had us all singing along loudly, along with the new belter that is “Bubblegum.” Welcome back boys!. If like me you enjoy getting nostalgic and like to musically revisit your *ahem* slightly younger years once in a while, you can remind yourself of some classic indie anthems here
Following this, we made our way to watch Kudu Blue at Nation of Shopkeepers, who performed a rather wonderful version of Shaun Paul’s Breathe (Somebody just try and stop me trying to twerk.. No please why didn’t somebody stop me?)
Anyway enough of the music, what about the clothes you say! Here’s my top finds for doing 70’s glam at a festival.

1. The essential Vintage sunglasses and boho jewellery

Looking for THE perfect festival jewellery, with a touch of bohemian grunge? Look no further that Shop Dixi. I wore this pretty silver Showdown Blue Opal choker which was kindly gifted along with my everyday turquoise earrings.  I love this brand sooo much, they do an awesome mandala ring which I have my beady eye on, as well as loads of pretty silver pieces with enough moonstone gems and silvery lengths for you to  layer up, like a foxy thing and dance around in til midnight.

As it was a sunny day we donned our sunnies for a cheeky sunglasses selfie. Derek “borrowed” the bloceyewear glasses I was gifted for the day  (Well they did  much better on him than me). They looked great with his retro fur collar leather jacket, and  were actually a very good substitute for his usual Ray Bans, In fact you could hardly tell them apart they are a fraction of the price! I opted for my trusty John Lennon style rounds as they suited this style of outfit. However when I need a new pair I will be snapping up these very retro look round Bloc Eyewear Paris glasses. Very retro!

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2. Swap a floaty dress for a velvet dress

Mixing fabrics Is my favourite part of retro styling. Velvet is warm for one, so totally appropriate for UK (we’re not in Coachella ya know!) But for me velvet, along with paisley and retro bold patterns epitomises 70s style but also adds a touch of luxe to any 70s glam outfit. I wore this electric blue vintage dress circa from the (now fallen) BHS. Perhaps if they dared to do styles like this in recent times they may have survived? Like M&S and their new retro Alexa collection, being innovative on the fashion front isn’t just about an effective online presence. Alas they insisted on sticking with old lady-play-it-safe shift dresses and nightwear. *Where will we buy cheap pyjamas from now* cries the nation.. Still pretty sad though it has gone… I do love a good old British institution.

3. Make your boots metallic

I wore some gold ankle boots from irregular choice purchased a few years ago. Gold boots really ramp up the 70s glam factor. Usually heels are a definite no go, the last thing you want to do is go wondering round a a field in 6 inch heels, but as we were in the city with the different music venues so close together, it didn’t matter so much. Besides no pain no gain right?

4. Add a 70s sheepskin coat

I’d love to know what festival looks you’re going for? And whatever festival you go to this year have a peachy time! Peace xx

 

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Live at Leeds: 3 classic indie bands you need to rediscover

Live at Leeds Festival 2016

Celebrating its 10-year anniversary, the award winning Live At Leeds is back on the 30th April and Derek and I are lucky enough to be heading along, as part of The Blogger Programme.

Having played host to the likes of Bastille, Bombay Bicycle Club, Rudimental and The Vaccines over the years, each year Live At Leeds provides a snapshot of everything that is cutting edge in music right now.

I am a BIG 60s and 70s music fan (The Stones, Fleetwood Mac.. Bluesy rock is my thing) However, I do really enjoy discovering new music acts too.

Over the years I have gone to many of the big festivals. Doing the hippy trail at Glastonbury, in something floaty and flowery, will be very different to this inner city fest. The bands performing here are set to take over a multitude of venues across the city; a far cry from the rolling fields of the established venues but we are really excited to see what it has to offer and how it compares!

Topping the bill is chart fave Jess Glynne, along with many more. Some I have heard of some are new but actually, I am most looking forward to getting re- aquainted with some indie acts from the early 2000s!

So fill your cup with cider, pull on your skinny jeans and get ready to jump up and down like you are 18 years old again. Here’s my top 3 indie bands to look out for if you are heading to Live at Leeds.

  1. Mystery Jets –The uplifting single Bubblegum is currently doing the rounds on the airwaves, but this lot are known for a host of classic anthems such as Two Doors Down. Bubblegum

 

  1. We Are Scientists –New York City-based indie rock band were big in the early 2000s then disappeared along with the rest in recent years, in what became known as “indie Armageddon”. It’s good to see them back doing the rounds. Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt was a particularly catchy tune back in the day! Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt

 

  1. Band of Skulls – Brining their signature brand of raucous rock to proceedings. The hit “The Devil Takes Care of His Own” is definitely worth a listen. The Devil Takes Care of His Own

PLUS: WIN TICKETS TO LIVE AT LEEDS FESTIVAL

The Blogger Programme is offering 10 chances to win a pair of tickets to Live at Leeds

To be in with a chance to win – just enter here! http://bit.ly/1YpAPmE

Competition closes 23/03/2016. (T & Cs can be found on the link)

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Top 4 Bordeaux Flea markets & thrift stores

What is Bordeaux known for? Wine? Culture? I recently came back from a 3 day break in Bordeaux, and was pleasantly surprised to discover it’s fast becoming a paradise for vintage lovers of a different kind.

Here’s a short guide to the best spots for vintage lovers and bargain hunters as well as some of the treasures I found along the way

  1. Flea Market St-Michael

One of the better flea markets, is in the St-Michel district; a cool, bohemian area with a lively student vibe.

The flea market was one of my highlights, but there is an element of car boot sale to it. Yet, instead of your local playing field, it’s situated around a gothic church in a picturesque market square, surrounded by brasseries, where chic French women sit, cig in hand and sunglasses poised.

Search and you will find those gems.  I managed to bag Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours for 8 Euros and four fringed vintage lace curtains for 6 Euros. They will make THE perfect finishing touch to the long window in our flat once washed, covering the modern metal blind a treat!

Where: Place Duburg
When: Every day, from 7 am to 4 pm, except Saturdays and Mondays

Bordeaux flea market

 

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  1. Le passage St-Michael

Next up is real Aladdin’s cave of treasures and bri- a – brac, housed in an old banana warehouse. Here, you can find anything from mirrors, dresses and old record players to 6ft framed music posters. Many vendors do shipping now so you don’t have to worry if you find something you like. I was rather taken by this fur stole… but could never bring myself to wear real fur, so the little fella stayed put and we settled for a rather more ethical 20s, painted mirror.

Where: 14 place Canteloup
When: Open daily, noon-6pm or later

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  1. Steack and Fripes 

Tucked  away down one of the side streets is this little gem. And just like the vintage shops in the UK, retro lovers can discover rows  upon rows of genuine 60s, 70s and 80s clothing, all at affordable prices. I found a floral shirt. It’s long enough to wear as a jacket and I think it clashed with my psychedelic print scarf fabulously.

Where: 62 Rue du Mirail, 33800 Bordeaux

 

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  1. Le Centre Ville 

Don’t be fooled by this shop front masquerading as a small newsagent -inside it’s something else. Upon setting inside you will feel like you are in vintage Narnia; turquoise and silver antique jewellery, coats, hats bags and scarves are stacked high and hanging low.  I found this amazing scarf. But be warned, unlike the markets this is not the place for bartering, the owner, was having none of my advances. But this peach was too good to pass so I parted with cash happily. Sometimes you just have to give in!

Where 26 rue du Parlement Sainte Catherine, Bordeaux

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The best of the rest

France is of course not short of good cafes. With its bamboo bar, and the most delicious chai lattes, Le Tchai Bar is ideal for when you want to escape for 20 minutes. As well as chai they serve a selection of hot drinks from around the world including Mexican hot milk and Lassi and yummy healthy snacks. Stick around long enough and you may be lucky to see some live music.

Where: 49 Rue du Mirail, 33000 Bordeaux

Photo courtesy of Tchai Bar Facebook, Jérôme Victoire

One of the best things about Bordeaux is still very heavily influenced by Moroccan and African culture. You can find bright colours and ethnic threads down many a street. We popped into Cabane Indigo  where they sold imported ethnic home-wears, I bought a couple of bracelets including some Mali bracelet  from made from recycled flip flops!

For more questions answered as you travel, get in touch with @visitbordeaux on twitter.

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Cabane Indigo
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Wapentake, Leeds: A review

Where would you go if you wanted a real taste of Yorkshire in Leeds? Visit the market or perhaps drive out to a farm shop? Leeds city centre eateries are diverse and plentiful. As our palettes get more experimental, more and more interesting placed pop up, from Indian street food to Thai, we have it all.  Yet, when it comes to locally sourced, comfort food we are somewhat limited.

Wapentake isn’t a new sushi bar, is Leeds new, deli, bakery and bar and  prides itself on being as Yorkshire as the whopping great yorkie puddings it serves.

“Wapentake” literally means – “A subdivision of certain Northern Counties” and according the writing next to the bar the word itself is “Derived from an assembly or meeting place, usually at a crossroads or river where literally ones presence or a vote was taken by a show of weapons”.

Ok, history lesson over. What makes Wapentake a must visit, is that it is big on supporting independent suppliers and brewers. The menu isn’t extensive but what they do serve is quality, tasty, local and superb value for money. There’s something rather satisfying about knowing your food is fresh and hasn’t travelled a long way to get to your plate and when it tastes good too- you’re onto a winner.

On our visit I opted for a spin on the classic, a juicy cheese burger accompanied by a rustic roll, chunky wedges and crisp side salad. Sunday lunches are on the menu too, perfect for those lazy Sundays when you don’t want to get out the roasting tray.  If you want something lighter you can try two yorkies and gravy, or something simple like pate or poached eggs on toast.

 

This pic is courtesy of Leeds Living

 

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The team even bake their own bread, we tried their own chilli loaf- highly recommended!

The decor is relaxed yet tasteful and artfully undone, slate grey, calming cream and olive greens give it a warm and homely feel, whilst quirky miss-matched touches, including a reading spot, have created a little vintage haven just off the high street.

For the musically gifted (or even the not so much) there is a piano just asking to be played on the first floor.. Just as long as the other diners don’t mind. I passed the opportunity by- I don’t think anyone wants to hear my rendition of three blind mice!

Derek and I often walk down Kirkgate on our way home from the centre, and were saddened hear about the fire a few months ago. But with Wapektake and Fred Aldos the craft store just round the corner perhaps this is the start for what is a long overdue regeneration of this part of Leeds. Here’s hoping.

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Address: 92 Kirkgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DJ.

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How to keep your creative soul

Keith Richards Acrylic on Canvas

Keith Richards acrylic on canvas

Here is my finished painting of Keith Richards. There are few things that make me happier than splashing paint around on a giant canvas. With a paintbrush in hand I am restricted by nothing other than my imagination. I wanted Keith to have a head scarf and scarf and a turquoise background and that is what he has. (I have just finished a cosmic, Bob Marley; draped in tie dye colours  and surrounded by moons- up soon).

Keith’s wit and wisdom never fails to inspire me, he is man who has lived a life on the edge and blessed with a career that has allowed him a level of freedom of expression that us mere mortals could only dream of. I am a huge stones fan anyway- and adore the 60s and 70s, I mean- what a time have been alive!  I went to see them in concert in 2008 and feel so privileged I got the chance to do so. This is my tribute to the great man. A 5 foot canvas that takes pride of place in our font room. Well…why not?

Keith Richards Acrylic on Canvas Painting

Education and creativity

I  can’t get no satisfaction ‘Cause I try and I try and I try and I try

On finishing my paining,  I felt in a reflective mood.

In school we are told are all told we should be a certain way, become a certain someone. This could only be achieved by maintaining a focus on science and mathematics. And so, uninspired by my art class, and a teacher who did nothing to cultivate creative energies, I gave up  painting soon after my A levels.

It is a shame that subjects like art, drama and perhaps even music itself are seen as secondary to the academic subjects. By pursuing them students are restricting their career choices, and sadly this means many students end up in a career that doesn’t make the most of their natural abilities. This is part of a bigger debate, but If creativity is the key to education why don’t schools really embed it?  I am so pleased I have re- discovered my painting, but makes me sad I lost out on years of joy from it. For the record I am happy in my career choice and see painting as a hobby, but I often think – what if my education had squeezed the urge to create out of me for good?

Spend more time doing what you love

A painter’s got a canvas. The writer’s got reams of empty paper. A musician has silence.- Keith Richards

Regardless of whether you like to pick up a paintbrush or not, I am a firm believer that creativity lies in everyone and we should encourage ourselves in our own way to break free of our own creative ruts.

This may be by finding inspiration in everyday things, following fashion, starting a blog, crafting, writing or music, find an outlet where you can be you channel your thoughts and visions, without restriction. Because one day you might look back and wonder- I wish I had spend more time doing what I love.

 

 

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