Friday, 23 December 2011

Christmas Charity Shop Swap

Happy Friday! 
How's everyone? Now that it's only a couple of days before Christmas, I now have the luxury to stop working and be a little be more sociable. I miss you all!

This post is to share what my partner Loll, from Toadstool Vintage, sent me for the Christmas Charity Shop Swap, organised by Lakota. I love all her items!

After all the frenzy of ebaying, this little parcel, addressed to me, got delivered yesterday when I wasn't expecting anything to arrive. Yay!

Thanks to Loll, I now have a sweet little sewing box. This one is vintage (obviously), from the 1970s and it's in perfect condition!
I'm also now the proud owner of two pretty 1960s red bell baubles, one christmas tin which can be used for coin/notes storage, one little notepad made from recycled materials and one 1950s/1960s green apron.

Thanks so much, Loll....Hmm....I better start cooking.

Have a great Christmas, my lovelies!
Keep warm, be safe, wherever you may be and may your holidays be filled with love, light and peace.

Joy x


Sunday, 27 November 2011

Diary of a Vintage Trader: When Online Buyers Misbehave

Image by Alex Drake Vintage
Happy weekend, my cupcakes!
I hope you've all  been well. I've spent a lot of time deliberating on what to do next with my new website. But because it's less than a month before Christmas, I am absolutely sure I will not be able to achieve what I'd like. Hence, I've been spending my spare time "working" as an eBay trader to earn some dosh. For the past month, I have encountered a range of buyers: a stalker buyer, friend-of-a-celebrity buyer, commendable buyer, fellow Soundclouder buyer , and a couple of tyre-kickers; i.e. time-wasters.

I thought I'd share some tips for other vintage retailers on eBay and if you happen to be a buyer, I hope you can understand why I wrote this post.

Image via

The Good Seller
1. Accurate description is the core of your trade.
Make sure every single fault is mentioned if there are any. Do not be frugal when it comes to photos. I know eBay charges sellers for this but the photos will be your ultimate evidence to further support the narrative in your description. There are other internet tools you can use like Photobucket, GaragaSale, etc which displays extra large images. This will save you a few pennies from being charged by eBay for super-sized photos.

Image via, Andy Warhol, Diamond Dust Shoes
2. Create a Fair Return Policy
I'm usually a trusting, Pollyanna kind of person. At first I thought this policy is only made by meticulous sellers. I was proved wrong!
Being an eBay Business Seller, at the start of trading, I've stated a "Returns Accepted within 7 Days" as per "Distance Selling Regulations". This entitles the buyer to return the item. But what do you do if the item was used within the said 7 days? If you're the seller, will you still accept returns? In the past when I had a retail shop, I've witnessed one girl trying to return a 1950s dress just because she changed her mind. On immediate inspection, the dress smelt of cigarette smoke and had a tiny lipstick smear. It was a Monday and she bought the dress on a Friday, just before closing time.  Very convenient as it was the weekend and the dress could have been worn at a party. Well, that was just my theory but one doesn't have to be a forensic expert to confirm that. Bottom line is that the dress was not in the original condition as when purchased. That incident made me think there really are people who live in a bubble, even online shoppers —that it's OK to buy and pay and return because "the customer is always right".

For eBay traders, have no fear. eBay will back you up if you decide not to accept returns even if you've stated "Returns Accepted". Their customer support is available via live chat and in the UK, you can call them now on 0800 358 6551. I say that's a great leap for eBay and I'm very grateful to find out that sellers are also protected.
Image via

3. Refund your buyer if you haven't described accurately and/or as per eBay's decision.
Life's going to be more complicated if you protest, especially if the buyer has blatantly won the case against you.
Sometimes, you just have to go with the flow. Selling is a business and losses should be factored in. You can always relist the item or you can claim any loss against your tax. It's not the end of the world.

4. Be vigilant.
Report any suspicious emails or offers you get from other traders especially if they have special requests like splitting your job lots or asking to change your delivery service from a Recorded Signed For to No Signature required. What, one would think, is the buyer aiming for an unsecured, untrackable item? Scary, dodgy stuff, indeed! At the end of the day, trust your instincts. Sometimes odd requests you get can be from honest traders too.

Image from Alex Drake Vintage eBay Shop
The Good Buyer
I believe in humanity's intrinsic goodness but we're all different.
1. If you're the type who likes to hunt for sellers offering a "No Quibbles Return Policy" so that you can wear items for an event only to return them thereafter, please think again. This is a distilled form of theft. You simply have wasted a seller's precious trading hours. Do you know it takes a few hours to list items on eBay? Once an item is sold or ended, eBay takes off commission and listing fees, etc. Engaging in an activity like this is taking the concept of shopping experience to a new level: the crass level. Remember: this is a form of dishonesty and sooner or later Karma will catch up. Believe me.
Independent shops and sellers depend on every sale to make a living. What makes me livid is the notion that just because one has a shop means one is "well-off".

2. If you discover your eBay purchase is not right, damaged, etc, take a few Zen breaths. I've been on that side and it's generally upsetting to receive something different from what you've paid for. Next, photograph and document the item, and promptly send your seller a calm eBay message informing them of the situation. Do not wait another day as the sooner you do this, the better the chances are that you'll be refunded. You do not want your seller to concoct some theory against your favour as to why it's taken you a few days to report the problem.
If you don't hear from the seller within 24 hours (unless they've specifically indicated they're on holidays/vacation), by all means contact customer support through a live chat or in the UK call 0800 358 6551 for advice. If it makes you feel better, open a case in the Resolution Centre but be sure to message your seller and state that you're opening a case against him/her. This is one thing that eBay customer support looks at. Possibly something to do with point system if they have to decide on who should win the case.
Image via
3. If you think your seller deserves a negative/neutral feedback, then do so. Do not be surprised though if eBay customer support remove your feedback. This is only for proven cases of Feedback Extortion. eBay now investigates negative/neutral feedback threats. If you've been telling your seller you will leave negative feedback unless seller gives you what you want, e.g. a refund, full/partial, you may find yourself in an utterly disappointing and confusing place.
There are of course dishonest sellers and it's very distressing to come across them. Try and be calm at all times and when you open a case against them, make sure your messages are quite intelligible, polite, and at all costs do not be hysterical. Again, eBay customer support has evolved immensely and if you have the correct evidence (photos and narrative) and you've kept it together, they will turn the case in your favour and a refund will be given.

I can't stress enough that earning a living through internet selling is truly challenging. Unlike being in a physical store where people can touch and feel and smell your items, your online buyers will need to be able to trust that what they're buying are exactly what they have in mind. A seller must be able to provide accurate information for buyers to purchase in your online shop.

Will I stop doing it? At this point, I'm still thinking of giving up nursing practice for good. I've only just started selling regularly on eBay and already have a 'tick list' on improvement for customer-satisfaction experience. There have been teething problems but nothing that a passionate vintage trader like myself can't sort out.

Best thing to remember is that no matter how careful you are in trading, there will always be negative people who will always find something wrong with everything. If you get a negative feedback and you've done everything right, do not despair. It's just the way it goes. Tomorrow is another day.

What are your experiences on eBay? Is Etsy a good site for vintage traders? Do you think it's right to return goods bought after a few days, with or without faults? Do you support independent traders?

Until then my dear friends.
Special thanks to my eBay buyers who are now my readers. Your custom has kept me off the streets :)

Ciao! Ciao!
Joy x


Saturday, 5 November 2011

Hoot-hoot Hooray!

Happy Guy Fawkes Day!
Sounds like you've all been busy. Me too. Sadly, not in our beloved blogosphere.
Just created a little den for my pooch to help him cope with fireworks noise tonight.
I'm also working on the website. Still.
Throw in a few household jobs and I can never seem to be on top of things.
I'm sure you're all having fun whatever you may be doing.

The other day as I was opening more surplus shop stock from our storage, bagfuls of costume jewelleries spilt onto the floor and out came this little owl brooch from my 1950s collection, leading to this little post.
Alex Drake Vintage Shop, 1950s Original Owl Brooch
Large pearl, diamante, emerald and gold — they're what every stylish girl wants. Or not. It certainly looks fab on anyone's clothes.

Image from
1920s flapper-influenced costume. I bet this is great in the flesh! Roll on Christmas parties.

Image from I.
I love Pax's ensemble and this owl bag certainly completes her look.

Image via I'
This little blue owl money bank looks so cute I could eat it up. Look at those googly eyes!
('You talkin' to me?)

Image via Etsy/Black Baroque Shop
Retails at $10 on Etsy via Black Baroque. I say, what a snip! Perfect little Christmas present, don't you think?

Image via
Look at the sweater closely. Can you see the buttons? What a lovely way to complete knitted owl details. When I came across this photo my broody tendencies suddenly resurfaced. Beautiful baby. Beautiful sweater. Hmmm...maybe another baby next year? We shall see. This knitwear is called Owlet and pattern available for purchase from They also have an adult version. Get knitting!

River Island Vest
Buy stuff when you want and you can. This tasty little number is not available online anymore. I doubt if they're still in the shops. I could be wrong.

Image via Interactive 2010 Journalism/vintage owl pendants
“Costume is a wonderful alternative because 
you can get the same look without the investment. 
After all, jewelry should be about enjoyment – not about being preoccupied.”
These are the words of vintage jewellery dealer H. Deirdre Geary of De Jewels (at the Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show) quoted from a post called Vintage Voyage on Interactive Journalism 2010. Wise words, indeed.

Image via Topshop
Fringe is still in, vintage still trendy and figural costume jewellery is still on the rise. Get thriftin' peeps. There are so many variations that are available for less in your favourite charity shops, flea markets and jumble sales.

Image via Lisa Jones Studio
Take a tiny step towards caring for our planet.
This tea towel is one ethical product. It's printed on 100% organic fair trade cotton. What gorgeous graphics too!

A nice little item to end this post. What a gorgeous brolly holder. I want one.

How about you? Any feathered friends in your home?

Have a great weekend my lovelies.
Ciao! Ciao!

Joy x


Sunday, 30 October 2011

IFB Weekly Round-up October 27th

Happy Sunday, my darlings!
I hope you're all having a restful weekend.
Please read the other 19 blogs as chosen by the lovely Fajr of Stylish Thought (thanks so much for including me, Fajr!).

Ciao! Ciao!
Joy x

Still Evolving

Edited by: Fajr Muhammad of Stylish Thought


I love how multi-faceted fashion blogging has become. In the beginning it was mostly celebrity style driven but has evolved to include everything from personal style, social commentary, fun fashion trends and high fashion! While blogging is becoming a staple of our everyday world, fashion blogging is continuing to push the envelope.
Fashion is converging into lifestyle and we are defining the medium and what it means to be a fashion blogger. Check out the diverse links this week that our pushing our craft to new places.
New Jackets at Shopbop: Opening Ceremony, Add Down, RED Valentino, RLX Ralph Lauren, Mackage, Jen Kao, Vena Cava, Doma, Winter Kate, Halston Heritage, Veda, Gryphon, & Ella Moss.
If you would like to submit your link for next week’s Links à la Mode, please register first, then post your links HERE. The HTML code for this week will be found in the Links a la Mode group will be published later today. ~Jennine


Thursday, 20 October 2011

Vintage Photography: Inspirations for an Online Boutique

Image via Alex Beadon Photography

Happy Thursday, my darlings!
As I've been trying to organise my vintage clothing site, I've been looking at some vintage photographs created by some wonderful and talented people I've come across on the net.

Please enjoy them....

I hope to reveal the revitalised website soon.

Joy xx

Image via David Long/Flickr
Look at Anita's shoes! Fierce or what?!

Image via Alex Beadon Photography
I love this shot and the dress. There may be a few dresses on my studio rail that certainly look like this. I'm really excited to share my collection with you...sharpish!

Image via Jessica D/Chictopia
This clever photograph is oozing with patriotic cool — if there's such a term. Check out Jessica's fab blog on You won't be disappointed!

Image via Andrea Rose/Flickr
This photo is just soothing to look at. Andrea's friend Racheal is a beautiful subject and that lovely mustard coat is just divine!
Travel in style. Have an old suitcase. And yes, don't forget your cuddly friend to warm up your lap.

Image from Lena Hoschek Postcard collections
Austrian label Lena Hoschek has been busy with showing at Berlin Fashion Week and selling online goodies. Check out her collections.

And that's it my lovelies. I hope you're all having fun.
I promise to post regularly.

Ciao! Ciao!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Links à La Mode: 20 Best Posts of the Week

Hey lovelies! Hope you're having a great weekend.
Please take a moment to read the other posts from 19 other excellent Independent Fashion Bloggers. They are quality posts and I'm lucky to be chosen for the second time this year, just when I wasn't expecting it. Special thanks to Taylor Davies of Shutupilovethat for including me in the round-up.

International Intrigue

Edited by Taylor Davies

This weeks selections for Links a la Mode take us all around the globe and back again. From vintage shopping in Paris and Istanbul to picking the best from fashion weeks abroad, our community is buzzing with news and thoughts from overseas.
Of course we couldn't leave out some more local stories entirely, so we've sprinkled in a selection of fall inspirations from som American bloggers; from menswear to DIY projects to some ethical debates in advertising and journalism.



If you would like to submit your link for next week’s Links à la Mode, please register first, then post your links HERE. The HTML code for this week will be found in the Links a la Mode group will be published later today. ~Jennine

New Boots at Shopbop: Jill Sander, Sam Edelman, Jeffrey Campbell, KORS, Ash,Costume National, Hunter Boots, Sorels, Frye, Kelsi Dagger, Juicy Couture, Minnetonka, NDC, Coclico, Vera Wang, & Joie.


Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Charity Shop Swap

This post is four months late due to logistical limitations. I sincerely apologise to Lakota who organised this wonderful swap that you always see on my sidebar since the summer, and to my swap partner Jo of Vintage Loving Librarian in 6 inch Heels, for coming up with this just now.
My items were waiting for me in England whilst I was living in Italy. And now that we're back, I finally have this post.

So here you go, ladies and gents. 

I received a lovely 1960s tea set, a knitted tea cosy, a pair of vintage pearl clip earrings, a 1960s apron, a very useful 1960s sugar shaker and a CD of my now-favourite singer from The Netherlands, Caro Emerald.

Since then, here's what I've done with them so far:

Top photo of Hotel Tatin via; Secret to a good tarte tatin: Cast iron skillet
❤ Thanks to my new apron, our kitchen's been busier with moi creating stuff. My favourite dessert is a speciality from the famous Tatin Sisters of Sologne, France called Tarte Tatin (Upside down apple tart).

Here's the recipe from France, The Beautiful Cookbook:
3 0z (90g) soft butter
1/3 cup (3 oz/90g) sugar
3 lb (1.5 kg) Golden Delicious or pippin apples or pears if you fancy
1 roll puff pastry (this is my replacement for 250g sweet pastry)

❶ Preheat oven to 425 F (215 C). Grease a 9-in (24cm) cake pan, or in my case, a cast iron skillet, with 2/3 of the butter, then sprinkle over 2/3 of the sugar.
Cut the apples (or pears) in two, peel and core them, and arrange halves upright, tightly packed in the pan or cast iron skillet. Sprinkle with remaining sugar and the butter which has been cut into small pieces.
Place the pan/skillet over medium heat and cook for 20 minutes until a light caramel forms on the bottom.
❷ Transfer the pan/skillet to the oven and bake for 5 minutes to cook the top surface. Remove from oven.
❸ Roll out the puff pastry. Place over the pan/skillet and pass rolling pin around the edge to remove overhanging pastry. The dough will sink down the sides of the pan/skillet onto the top of the apples.
❹ Put pan/skillet back into the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until pastry is well browned.
❺ Invert tart onto a serving plate and serve at once. Caution: there will be liquid in the pan so be very careful you don't get burnt.

Eat and think of me as I love this tarte!

❤ Caro Emerald CD
My fingers are quite calloused now from strumming my poor, old guitar since listening to Caro Emerald's music. I've been trawling Youtube to look at some of her videos and it's highly satisfying to see incredibly talented musicians like her. Her band has it all — vintage wardrobe, great voice, excellent double-bass player, wonderful guitar player, a DJ, and other sessionists like trumpet, sax and clarinet players. I am her newest fan and I shall be for quite a long time. I hope you agree. You'd have heard her voice on Martini adverts in Europe for those of you who think she's familiar.

I love this acoustic version of her Back it Up.

❤ Sugar shaker, tea cosy and tea set are being used.
❤ Pearl earrings reserved for a special occasion.

So, thanks so much to Jo once again.
Happy Tuesday, everyone!
Have a great day whatever it is you're doing today.

Joy x

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Autumn 2011

Happy Thursday, dear friends!
Everyone enjoying the 'heat wave' in good, old Blighty?
It's been a few marvellous days and I must say it's been great setting up home and tidying up the garden considering it's October in two days!

I've been reorganising my vintage clothing site and I hope to share it with you soon. Apart from that, I've been looking at photographs of Milan Fashion Week SS12 and it's been a fun-themed show. And as you probably already know, vintage is still on trend. I'll talk about it soon.

In the meantime, hope you like my inspirations.
Have a great weekend.


Joy x

Image from
Love Burberry Prorsum's hues for Autumn 2011. As most of you will know, I can't bear monochrome palettes. I believe bright colours make the world a cheerful place. But that's just me.

Image via
Oh wait...I think Pantone agrees.

Image via
I couldn't resist including this photo. It should be a spring photo but there's no stopping anyone to use these lovely lanterns in the garden whilst catching the last warm days of autumn - especially this week in Britain. The lanterns seem to have Pantone's colours too.

Image via
Lay your softest rug on the front room floor. Put the fire on if you have one. Snuggle up on the sofa with your favourite blanket; reach out for your warm apple and cider drink on your side table whilst you read a book...
Life is good.

Image via
This book sculpture by Su Blackwell reminds me of a clear autumn night when you're just about to go inside a country house.
I love Su's art. She's the most prolific and leading paper sculptor in Britain and last year collaborated with Nicole Fahri. See the link here. For my friends in the US, you'd have seen her work on the Beringer 'Vineyard' advert in 2007.

Image via
Remember the fireflies in your back garden when you were young? For those who haven't seen them at all, fairy lights carefully placed inside a glass jar or old demijohn is close enough to the real thing. Prepare to be mesmerised...


Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Is London Fashion Week Poor?

LFW SS12  From L-R: 1&2 Matthew Williamson; 3&4 Julien Macdonald; Photos via London Fashion Week

Hello my darlings! How's everybody?
Apologies for the 2-week silence. Now that we've moved back to England and that the Internet is back just 5-minutes ago, we're back to business. Thanks to all your messages of concern. Nothing untoward has happened. Just moved house 1,200 miles away and waited for Internet connection for a few days. I am really touched by your kindness.

Today is the last day of Women's Wear at the London Fashion Week (LFW) SS12 and there has been wonderful shows. As most of you would’ve seen live presentation or live streams, I won’t be talking about them.
I did receive an invite for Day 1’s Orla Kiely show but due to domestic constraints, I couldn’t come. So where’s this post leading to?
The other day, I happened to read a week-old article in the Guardian which talked about top models avoiding the London show due to poor pay. Worse, this morning, there is another related piece on the Telegraph (both articles below). Let me share what I think of it.

As most of you will know, I've only been fashion blogging since May this year. I love the process of gaining new knowledge on just about anything interesting. I'm just beginning to understand stuff about the fashion industry.

So let me continue.
A couple of months ago, when the unconfirmed details of designers showing at LFW were released, I had a quick look and made me ask "where are the well-known luxury brands?". Then I tried reading some more to find out if it's in fact traditional for bigger brands not to show in London.

There are two things I've recently found out: One, that LFW is known for its distinctively creative shows and new designers come to showcase. Two, big brands still prefer to show in Paris, New York and Milan. This begs another question: What's wrong with London? If top models are unhappy with their pay and the logistics of getting to London whilst trying to get cast for Milan (Milan show starts soon after London show ends), then it means something’s not right.

Some observers pointed out that if companies like Topshop and Tesco are major sponsors, then LFW gives off an impression that the event is not haute fashion. But then someone needs to sponsor a big event like this.
Mary Katrantzou SS12 at LFW today via

I don't personally know anyone working in the British Fashion Council (BFC) but I do know the organisation exists as an advocate of new and established British designers. I trust that they are diligently fulfilling their duties. It’s not an easy job and as British supporters we should also do our part to promote and spread the word about LFW’s unique, unconventional and fresh home-grown designers. Maybe then we’ll be at par with Paris, New York, and Milan. Then again, maybe we do not need to be at par with anyone. Maybe we just need to be different, to be truly great at what we do. It's comforting to know that several well-known designers have all studied in the UK's Central St. Martins College. Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Stella McCartney, Christopher Kane, Jenny Packham, Katherine Hamnett, Matthew Williamson, Bruce Oldfield, Riccardo Tisci, Mary Katrantzou are among a few of these big names.

How about you? What do you think of London Fashion Week? Do you agree that LFW is better or worse than Paris, New York and Milan shows? Is London being 'bullied' by the other three shows?

Read the Guardian article here and quite a controversial piece from Fashion Telegraph here.

Hope you're all well.
It's great to be back!


Thursday, 25 August 2011

Model of the month: Ros Georgiou for Gorgeous

Meet 17 year-old Rosanna 'Ros' Georgiou. 
She started modelling in October 2010 and got a few 'double-takes' in Paris Fashion Week 2011.

  “Quando l’arte diventa vita la vita diventa poesia!”
When art becomes life, life becomes poetry.
— Gabriel Caruana, Italian artist

She is simply stunning. A true representation of poetry in motion. Blessed with an unusual facial structure and an adorable freckled skin, she's already been 'judged' by people who know models and modelling. They say she's not versatile, but not boring, and some seemingly have a clear idea already of who she is and what she can do.
I say she's young and with a mother who is also a model, her natural abilities are in  her genes so all we have to do is watch her cruise to stardom. I believe she will be a top model soon. Her looks are reminiscent of '90s Guess and Calvin Klein campaigns. I think she pulls-off the 'hipster/rock chick look' and haute fashion. But that's just my personal view.

Here are some photos I found for you....Hope you like them.
So what do you think of our newcomer?

Joy x


Photo credits: