I’m sorry to say that I blew my budget a bit last weekend. I’m going to use the fact it was my birthday on Sunday as an excuse, but in reality I think it had more to do with how much I bought at the Britain Does Vintage event at the Nottingham Playhouse on Saturday.
When I go to retail events I always set myself a limit to spend, normally by making sure I only have that much cash on me. It stops any out-of-control impulse buying. Well that’s the idea anyway.
The thing is, on Saturday I had set myself a budget of zero. I went to Britain Does Vintage with the single intention of going to have a look around, as I had missed it last time it was on. I was going out the next day for my birthday, and knew I’d be spending a fair amount, so wanted to save my money for then.
Despite purposely going with a purse full of shrapnel, I still managed to buy three necklaces and a belt. I just borrowed money off my friend instead. So much for my good intentions.
The problem was that there were too many pretty things. Everywhere I turned there was something I wanted to buy. It wasn’t that I was particularly in a shopping or frivolous mood either. The quality of the stalls at the fair was exceptional and, for me, there was the perfect balance of clothes, jewellery, trinkets and other accessories. At most vintage fairs I find that many of the stalls sell similar things, and once I’ve looked at a couple I get a bit bored so stop looking. At Britain Does Vintage the stalls were all really varied, and complemented each other very well.
The ones that particularly stood out for me were;
This was the first stall we visited when we got to the fair, and straight away I knew my good intention of not spending anything was going out of the window. Pretty Old Stuff sells a lovely selection of handmade jewellery, much of it using cogs and watch mechanisms, and has some pieces were really unusual. I ended up buying two necklaces from this stall, including one that had a pendant featuring an old stamp (postmark and all) displayed in a tiny frame.
It may be down to the fact that I am an absolute bookworm, but this stall had some of the most striking handmade, gift-type items I have seen to buy in a while. All of the things on The Forgotten Library’s stall were made using old books, magazines, travel tickets and other paper items. There were hair pins with small sections of a book page as the decoration, bookmarks made out of old airplane recognition cards and, my favourite, clocks made out of books.
According to their Facebook page Walton Witts source their clothing from around Asia. I personally couldn’t have guessed that was where it came from, but regardless of that they had some lovely items. My friend was on the lookout for a dress to wear to a wedding that night and ended up coming away with two from this stall. The dresses were really pretty and reasonably priced at £20. If I wasn’t spending all the cash she had bought with her I think she would have come away with a couple more.
This was another stall selling beautiful handmade jewellery. Two Penny Lane’s website describes the jewellery as being inspired by dolls houses and fairy tales, which is a perfect description of what I saw. There were Alice in Wonderland themed necklaces, miniature knife and fork earrings, and brooches of miniature musical instruments. I came away with a pendant necklace with tiny silk flowers set in resin – one of the less quirky items for sale, but beautiful and delicate like the others.
One stall that really stood out for me, more for being a great idea to have at a vintage fair rather than for wanting to buy lots from it, was Betsy’s Button Shop. This stall sold buttons, lace, ribbon, and other materials that you could use to create and customise vintage things yourself. They even sold packs of material in bundles for people to make their own bunting. It was fantastic to see something a bit different there, and judging from the small crowd around it, it proved very popular with everyone else too.
In addition to the stalls there was also a workshop offering free taster sessions to learn how to make a button posy. This was run by The H0use That Buttons Built, and again looked very popular. Every time I passed it was full, so unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to have a go myself.
There was also live music performances throughout the day. I was lucky enough to hear Jayne Darling singing. She had an amazing voice, looked fantastic, and provided the perfect atmosphere to sit and enjoy some cake in the customary vintage tea room.
The fair was spread across all three floors of the Playhouse, though apparently this is one of the smaller ones that Britain Does Vintage do. I was really surprised to find out how many fairs they run and how much of the country they cover. You can see the full listing on their website. There isn’t another Nottingham one listed for this year, but I’m quite tempted to make a day trip out of it, and go to one of the ones in Lincoln or York.