14 February is fast approaching, and whether you go googly-eyed for all things Valentine’s, or are cynical about the whole thing, there’s no avoiding it. Press releases have been winging their way into my inbox since December with the dreaded V-Day subject line (seriously – could we not get Christmas out of the way first?!) and filled with hearts, pink and fluffy things and more often than not a gift guide in at least some guise. While I love flowers, chocolate and lingerie as much as the next girl, sometimes just a little imagination can mean so much more.
As one of Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair’s resident bloggers, today I took part in an extra-special Valentine’s themed blogger challenge at their monthly fair at Old Spitalfields Market. Becky Bedbug and I were tasked with compiling a ‘Love List’ of our favourite items at the fair. Armed with my ‘Love List’ sign and a red heart-shaped balloon, and with the romantic theme in mind, I set about perusing the stalls with the goal of finding and sharing with you some suitably retro gifts for guys and gals this Valentine’s.
Madame Fifi Presents is new to the Judy’s stable – it was their first fair today and they looked like they were having a great time! I was first drawn to their sparkly collection of brooches and trinkets, including this adorable owl. However, it was this beautiful men’s vanity kit that particularly caught my eye – this full set was in great condition and would be the perfect present for a well-groomed gent.
Old Pony had a fascinating collection of historical artefacts and quirky objets d’art. I was cooing over their retro crockery when I spotted vintage gold (to me anyway) – a Singer sewing machine. My Gran was a dressmaker, so sewing machines have always held a particular fascination to me and one day I would love to own a vintage Singer of my own. This one was in perfect condition and all wired up ready to go. I was SERIOUSLY tempted – if only we had the room. There was no question about it, this had to go on the Love List. I was drawn to this little owl as well – sounds strange, but it made me think of one of my friends, which reminded me that gal pals deserve some Valentine’s love too and that sometimes the best presents are those that really mean something, just between the two of you.
If you’re looking for a slightly different gift, then Vintage in Print has a beautiful selection of vintage photography, specialising in fashion photography and retro ads. In fact, for Christmas Al and I unwittingly purchased vintage prints for one another at Judy’s December fair. I blogged about the lovely Vintage in Print then too, as they really make the perfect gift for vintage photography aficionados and lovers of old advertisements alike. At the fair today this David Bailey shot of Grace Coddington (yes I’m obsessed, ok?) and stunning Helmut Newton shot of Twiggy really stood out for me.
I was spoilt for choice at the aptly named Magpie’s Attic – filled with the most beautiful jewels, trinkets and stylish retro artefacts. This lovingly-curated collection is the work of mother-daughter duo Sarah and Emilie. Each item seems to have a story and mystique about it – you really get the feeling that Magpie’s Attic want to share a piece of this magic with you. I felt their vintage jewels in particular would make a lovely gift; the high street’s mass-produced Valentine’s tat is a million miles away from this. You feel as though each piece has a history and that by owning it you would become the next part of its story. Magpie’s Attic genuinely believe that certain items are meant to belong with some people and you can’t fault Sarah’s eye! This beautiful sapphire and diamond ring and black onyx cufflinks and tie pin set made my Love List – both would make a meaningful and memorable gift.
I’ve saved the best ’til last: I couldn’t resist the gorgeous I Heart Vintage. Rebecca had truly embraced the theme with all things cute, kitsch and Valentine’s-appropriate. Along with her staple offerings of sweet knick-knacks and feminine retro homeware, there was a smattering of Valentine’s-themed objects; highlights for me included these adorable heart tins and vintage ‘Love is’ mirrors. Far from saccharine sweet, I Heart Vintage has a great sense of humour – check out those kitsch ’50s cat figurines and the cheeky Adam and Eve bottle openers that Judy’s previewed on their Facebook page. If your loved one has a penchant for florals and love hearts then you would be spoilt for choice, but I Heart Vintage has its tongue firmly in its cheek too and has some brilliant witty gifts. I bought Al some whisky glasses with sweet and funny ‘Scottish scenes’ on for Christmas and there was plenty from here on my Love List today.
I also covered the fair (and the progress of my Love List on the Judy’s Facebook page – thank you for having me Judy’s! Lastly, I couldn’t resist sharing these shots of two stylish shoppers. I liked this chic vintage-goer’s all black outfit with a pop of blue, and her two-tone hair got a lot of love on Facebook! This dapper chap caught my eye with his clever accessorising and bicycle-print shirt. What’s not to love?!
Did you go to Judy’s at Spitalfields today? What’s on your Love List?