Tuesday, 29 October 2013

A trip to the Vintage Home Show in Manchester

On Sunday, Michael and I went to the Vintage Home Show in Victoria Baths in Manchester.
Victoria Baths dates from 1906, and was a bathing and leisure complex described as "the most splendid municipal bathing 
institution in the country" . 

It was open until 1993, when it closed due to lack of funds. 

It was famously featured on the BBC's 'Restoration' programme, 

where it won the award for funding to be refurbished, in 2003.

Now in its 10th year after the re-opening, 

the building is absolutley stunning, and I would recommend 

anyone in the area to pop in for a visit! It is the perfect venue for a 

Vintage Home Show anyway, and we had a great day out!

Inside the building where the pool once was - fabulous architecture! 

At the vintage fair in the other room

View from the balcony

One of the stalls - 20th Century Crox. I wanted everything on here, so much cool 50s stuff! 

More cool stuff! And onto the buys....

Vintage concave baubles - still boxed! Well, the season is coming!

Deadstock 50s wall mounted planters - just need some plants now...

And, some wood and plastic shelving....again, need things to put on these! Am currently hunting....
The next show is already in my diary for next year :)

Friday, 6 September 2013

You CAN have multiple fabulous prescription glasses AND go to the ball, with I Need Spex!

Hello all! Firstly, I will start off this post by stating that it is a sponsored post, but that I Need Spex is a company whom I have been using for many years, who have provided exceptional service and quality and have enabled me to have many pairs of amazing eyewear and so I am thrilled to be promoting them! I would absolutely not recommend or endorse in any way any company who I would not use myself. You can see from quite a few of my earlier (and non sponsored posts) that I have raved about I Need Spex for years now!

Those who follow this blog, and indeed my Instagram feed (@dollycooljewels) will know that I love my funky frames! I love matching my glasses to my outfits and have now accumilated quite a collection of frames over the past few years. I favour vintage 50s cats eyes and search high and low for the perfect ones. When I first started wearing glasses 14 years ago, I only had one pair for about 3 years and got really bored with the same look, but as they were so expensive to get my prescription fitted in other frames, I just put up with it.
That was until I discovered I Need Spex online opticians!

I was a bit apprehensive about sending off my frames to somewhere I had found online, and had never heard of, so I just got some cheap frames from a charity shop, and sent them off with my prescription. At only £15 to fit prescription lenses, I thought it was worth a go. I was amazed when only 4 days later, my specs came back in the post and were absolutely perfect. I was hooked and began searching for more frames!
Here are just some of the frames that I Need Spex have done for me over the past few years....
My latest frames - hot pink glitter Betsey Johnson. I picked these up for £12 at TK Maxx. What a bargain! Oh, and they match my new pink hair too!

Lulu Guinness Polka Dot Sunglasses - I absolutely cannot live without my prescription sunglasses. They are only a few pounds extra for sunnies on top of the £15, absolute steal! This was taken at this years Hotrod Hayride festival. I was a bit excited at having a ride in a 50s car! 

Picked up these vintage cats eye frames at a charity shop for £2. Making the total cost for a pair of  prescription specs = £17! Wow!

These are my favourite ones....vintage red polka dot cats eyes. From the USA, from Etsy. I wear these ALL the time!
Another Etsy pair - think they were only $10. They are 50s vintage and have aurora borealis crystals set in them. Sparkle Sparkle!

This is from about 3 years ago, and I got these for Christmas off Michael. Think he got them off Ebay.
Another of my faves - My Vivienne Westwood ones. Picked up for a steal on Ebay, think about £20, and glazed for £15 from I Need Spex = £35 designer specs. Don't mind if I do!

And my 50s Cool Ray Polaroid Sunglasses. Another must have pair!
I actually have more than this! I just can't find pictures of them all. As you can see, I Need Spex have enabled me to have a huge selection of glasses, for the price that most people only have 1 or 2 pairs. 
The business is a small operation run by two qualified opticians. They provide such a great personal service that you just don't get with the big companies, and I strongly recommend that you give them a go for your next prescription frames. They are UK based.

I Need Spex are going to be having a stall at the Goodwood Revival next weekend, the 13th-15th September 2013. 

They will be located in the 'Over The Bridge' Vintage Village, and are stall 315.
They will be more than happy to discuss your requirements, and take your orders on the day (you can bring your prescriptions with you, or send them on later, but please remember that they must be under 2 years old as is required by law)
As a special offer, I Need Spex are offering a fantastic discount of 50% off any prescription sunglasses to anyone who buys frames at Goodwood. All you need to do is mention you saw the offer on the Dolly Cool Blog :)
They also have a range of Vintage frames available to buy, and are also looking for any deadstock frames/job lots that they can purchase, so if you have some to sell - please take them along. You can also contact them on: info@ineedspex.co.uk if you have any frames you are looking to sell - this goes for people worldwide too!
Thats all folks! I'm off to go and look for my next vintage frames....I'm thinking confetti or blue ones..... :)

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Latest thrifty finds, and creative pursuits!

So, its been 3 months (gulp!) since my last post....how did that happen eh? I suppose I have lost my blogging mojo a bit since moving house - just so much to do!
I promise to try and get back on track with it though and share a bit more of what I have been doing (a bit sooner than every 3 months for a catch up!)
I'm really pleased that I keep up to date with lots of you on Twitter and Instagram however, which has kind of taken over my blogging as its so quick and easy.
Anyway, for those of you not on every socail media platform going, here is a bit of a catch up on what I have been doing the last few months....
I've found some cool things as the car boot sales and boot fairs....
Pirate shot glasses, from a charity shop in Chester, £1.75
50s tea caddy, £3, Earlestown flea market
Hanky vase, £1, 
Fruit print glasses, 20p, 
60s/70s tin, 50p

50s curtains, £2 each. I bought all 4 for £8.
Washed them all, kept two for my studio, and sold the other two on Ebay for a good profit :)
Ta da! Goes perfectly with all my other 50s furniture and retro nik naks
50s card suite decanter, 50p
I've also been busy with my sewing (I go to a local sewing class/group once a week)
I've made this 50s "1 yard skirt" 3 times now. It fits me perfectly and I love it, so I chose a Hawaiian print picked up at a local bargain bin fabric by weight shop.
I made a matching tie top, which I adapted from a top I bought from the lovely Rascal, which she made for me from an original 40s pattern.
 I wore the set when I was trading at the Tattoo Tea Party Tattoo Convention earlier this year.

I also made this apron, from a modern repro pattern that my friend Jo picked up for me from a charity shop. The ladies in my class were unsure of the clashing patterns, but liked it when I had finished!!
Sorry the next couple of pics are sideways BTW!
Flamingo, atomic, binding, polka dots and sugar skull buttons.....what do you mean its clashing?!

And my latest project, and bane of my life, a dress I am making from a 50s pattern. My goodness its hard work for a novice dress maker such as me! One sheet of written instructions, no pictures = eek!
I'm getting there though with help from my fellow sewing class ladies (who are mainly all retired seemstresses, tailors and very good sewers, phew!) 
I've also taken up crochet....or trying to anyway. I can make simple squares and I'm working on making enough in different colours to make myself a blanket. Maybe it will be ready for Winter 2016?!!
I actually took wool and a plastic hook on the plane to Helsinki when we went in March. The time flew by! 
Highly recommended boring flight time filler :)
And last, but by no means least, I got a new tattoo! Its on my left calf and of a delicious Ice Cream Sundae!
The artwork, and tattoo itself is by Sheffield based Amy Williams.
Amy is the artist that also did the teacup on my arm. I really love her work and her style. Although still an apprentice, her work really stands out and is such high quality. I am thrilled to be the owner of another piece of  her art!

Friday, 26 April 2013

Recent Flea and Thrift finds!

Car boot season has *Finally* stated in the UK, although I have been a little disappointed so far at the lack of treasures that have been rather few and far between, that I have saved up my last months purchases for one post!
I suppose it is quality, and not quantity that counts though, right?! Although seeing what some bloggers and Instagram folks are snagging at their local boot sales is making me rather envious! Far too many baby clothes, last months's George at Asda and mobile phone covers at the North West 'boots for my liking! Ah well, I still have all summer to go, and I'm sure more treasures will be found! :)
Here is what I got in the last month....
50s door handles, £2

Bone China Tea Cup & Saucers, £1.50.
Because Tea ALWAYS tastes better out of white Bone China, FACT!

About a metre/yard of 60s French Fabric, 50p

Gypsy top with Mexican style embroidery, 50p
60s French drinking glasses - 20p each
50s Atomic drinking glasses - £1 the set

Vintage (70s?) wicker & embroiderd bag, £1
50s playing card glass, 20p
Here's hoping that May is a more fruitful thrifting month! :)

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

A Trip to Helsinki!

Hello All....long time no blog, I know! I have been very busy with work, and renovating our house (our lounge is now finished, hooray! - so I will be doing a post on that soon....) in the meantime, I'm going to tell you about my recent trip to Helsinki.
Last month was my birthday, and so with it falling on a weekend, Michael and I thought we would go away for a few days. After watching the Tove Jansson documentary (creator of The Moomins) over Christmas last year we were both really keen to visit Helsinki, and after some internet research and a good deal to be found on Expedia, we booked our weekend away!
By the way...this is a long and picture heavy post! :)

 DAY ONE - My Birthday!
It was blimmin' cold in Helsinki!! Day temps were around 0/-2 degrees C, night temps around -13!!
Here I am stood near the harbour. Most of this part of the sea was frozen!
As you can see here! 
We had a walk into the centre, passing the rather impressive railway station building, which dates from 1909.
There are a lot of really grand buildings in Helsinki, and interestingly, and although this one isn't , a lot of them are Russian built or inspired (they rebuilt much of it after the war).
This outdoor ice skating rink was in the town square, just across from the railway station building. I was tempted....but I'm wary to skate as my sister broke her arm doing so a few years ago, and with my job being a self employed designer...I just cant risk that!!
We then headed down to visit the flea market - Kaivarin Kanuuna, in the South of the city and this took us past a park which was frozen solid, and had people cross country ski-ing on it!
The flea market is in a cellar of sorts with lots of booths in the underground caverns....here is Michael looking at some of the treasures/junk!
Finland, as with most of Scandinavia is expensive.....even in the flea markets and vintage stores! I still managed to snag a few good deals however!
Vintage red wool skirt with navy piping, €3 (about £2.50)
Vintage cotton dress, €4 (about £3.50). 
I added the white and red Rik Rak myself when we got home as it just needed a little something extra :)
70s pin badges from the USSR - €9 (about £8.50) for 48 of them. 
The artwork on these is so cool! Think we are going to frame some, I will keep some to wear, and we will sell some too.
We then headed to some more 2nd hand/thrift stores - this chain is called FIDA and there are quite a few of them around the city.
Inside one of the shops 
Although we had a good rummage, we didn't find anything we wanted. We also travelled light with hand luggage only, so bulky items were out!
We then headed back to our hotel. We stayed at Hotel Katajanokka which is a converted former prison, which was amazing!
All the original features are still there - but its now a 4* hotel, so thankfully the accommodation standards in the 'cells' is much nicer than it used to be!!
After a bit of a rest, and a cup of hot chocolate to warm us up, it was back out in the sub zero temperatures to go out for my Birthday to the Kokomo Tiki bar!

I had a Portobello mushroom and Halloumi 'burger' with a side of sweet potato fries. Yum.
Inside the Tiki Bar
Cheers! Yes I did go out for my birthday in my flamingo jumper and long johns under my jeans...well, you have too when its -13 outside! 

We got up and had a hearty breakfast to set us up for the day. It was then off an out as were meeting up with my blog friend Ina. Ina and I 'met' online a few years ago when we both started following each others blogs. You know when you just 'click' with someone? I always found her posts about vintage and Finland really interesting, (and hopefully she felt the same way about my posts too!), and so although Ina stopped blogging a year or so ago, we still keep in touch via Facebook. I asked Ina for some advice on where to go and what to see prior to our trip (I have her to thank for the 'FIDA' thrift shop locations, amongst other things!). Some of you may have followed Ina yourself, and will most definitely have heard of, or follow one of her close friends Ulrika, from The Freelancers Fashion Blog.
Me and Ina
We went for coffee and had a good few hours chatting about all sorts of things! It was lovely to meet Ina and  I would like to say a special thank you to her for meeting up, and giving us lots of tips and advise for our trip :). 
Ina now runs a fantastic vintage shop on Etsy called Years since Yesterday, which has a great collection of Finnish and Texan vintage. Click the link above to check out Ina's store!

After our meet up, Michael and I then headed off to Kiasma  - Helsinki's museum of modern art.
It was ok, but a whole floor of exhibition space was closed (out of only 3 floors!), so a bit disappointing.
And then, off to get my Moomin shopping fix at the Moomin Shop!
Big smile, and shopping bag of goodies!
We then got the tram up the the North of the city and went to the Arabia outlet and design centre.
Arabia make fantastic ceramic products, and of course this includes a Moomin range, of which I have quite a  few pieces. Michael bought me a bowl, glass and some Christmas decorations for my birthday present.
Then we headed back to the centre and had a look round all the cool shops in the design district
And saw these cool lights outside the Craft and Design Centre
We then headed back to our hotel for the day....all this walking about and sight seeing was tiring!

We were flying home later on in the afternoon, so after our last hearty breakfast at the prison hotel and checkout, we went to see the Sibelius monument, a dedication to Finnish composer Jean Sibelius.
Don't I look tiny next to it?!
And here is one of Michael and I - Michael grew a beard especially for our trip to keep his face warm!

Then we got a tram back to the city and waited for the bus back to the airport, not before having my picture taken with the two gargoyles that we had been admiring all weekend!!
Attractive! ha ha!
Going home is usually a chore, right? But not if they have another Moomin shop at the airport it isn't!
And this is pretty much my overall Moomin haul from the weekend! Bearing in mind that this is what I spent my birthday money on :)
Towels, bag, prints and postcards, crockery, figurines, socks and stationery!
And....last but not least.....this arrived in the post about a week after we got home;
I fell in love with these Moomin scissors, but couldn't bring them back on the plane, so I posted them to myself! Where there's a will there's a way! 
I hope you enjoyed my Helsinki post. We had an amazing time, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend anyone to visit, just wrap up warm if you go in winter!