Thursday, 31 May 2012

Crystal Palace - Secondhand & Vintage Shopping Guide

Boy2 said yesterday that his favourite places were Edinburgh and Paris, which sounds very cosmopolitan for a 4 year old, but confused us somewhat, given that he's never visited the French capital. "You know, we have ice-cream there" he said, "In the park.". Turns out he was thinking of Crystal Palace - which is also one of my favourite places locally,  though we have different priorities, mine being less ice-cream based [although if I can combine a trawl of the second hand shops with a '99, all the better]

There are actually not as many charity shops as there once were, but I've chosen the Crystal Palace 'triangle' to focus on, as there are several options for treasure hunting - including a flea market, a dress agency, some fantastic vintage clothing shops, retro furniture stores and and an antiques warehouse. So, something for all budgets and all tastes. I visited this morning, so this is an up to the minute taste of what's available for savvy second-hand shoppers.

Starting at the bottom of Westow Road, we'll follow the triangle of roads in a clockwise direction, ending at The White Hart pub. 

Et Pourquoi Pas?
At number 45 Westow Road is a great dress agency Et Pourquoi Pas? (and why not?) which sells very nearly new designer and high street clothes. Some agencies are snooty about the high street - but owner Fabrice is happy to accept garments from Oasis etc as long as they are in excellent condition. When I visited there was a lot of Monsoon in stock, along with Reiss, the odd bit of vintage, and designer names such as Mulberry (denim jacket, size 10, £30). There is currently a sale rail with  50% off the already reasonable prices - and it's not unwearable (or tiny) stuff either. In the interests of research *cough* I bought a black linen dress from Armani Collezioni for £15 (originally marked at £45, then down to £30, then on the half price rail), and a completely unworn pair of Mary Jane style purple heels from Jones the Bootmaker. These were complete with box and spare heel tips, and down to £12. 
Ladies' clothing on the left, men's on the right.
open daily. hours here

Lakota in no makeup shock!
[and £15 Armani dress. Gym visit immanent]

New shoes

[Do not be the person who enquires what a mother of two small sticky children needs with a linen dress. I live in a secret dream world where I do not crease]

Cross over again, and take a left down unassuming looking street Haynes Lane  to ensure you don't miss one of South London's best kept secrets.

Haynes Lane Market
A proper ramshackle flea-market (and one of South London's best kept secrets) where you can find everything imaginable - vintage clothes, china, bric-a-brac, collectible toys (Corgi etc), records, second-hand books, kitchenalia, sewing notions etc etc. Various sellers on two floors. Some stalls arranged rather precariously - probably best not to take your rambunctious offspring with you if you can help it. Besides, you could be in here hours. 
open Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays - 11am - 5pm (6pm on Saturdays)

Continuing along Westow Street, you come to the first charity shop.

Mind Enterprise Shop
Fairly small and standard charity shop which has fairly recently opened up a back room for furniture and books. There was a vintage metal and glass hostess/cocktail trolley for a fiver (although it would need new glass for the bottom shelf), an 80s Berketex dress for £4, and some Jones black court shoes (size 5) for £5. Not much in the way of china and glass unless you count some really hideous animal ornaments (and I don't mean in a cute kitsch way). The shop dressing is a bit ropey, but it did amuse me the way they'd attempted   a (vaguely) nautical outfit, and juxtaposed it with this leering (and rather weather-beaten) ceramic pirate.
Open 10 - 4

Argh! Ye needs a new accessories adviser! But I'd still board ye!

Turn right at the top of the road, and head onto the second side of the triangle - Westow Hill. On the right is another charity shop.

Cancer Research
These are never my favourite to visit because of the amount of new 'pink ribbon' type goods they sell (I know it's a worthy cause, I just don't like the nasty handbags etc), but there didn't seem to be quite such an in your face display of this type of thing as usual. It's not the cheapest either, but it does get some nice donations from time to time. Remember that mad 80s flamenco style dress I got? That came from here. Usually has a good selection of books. Today there were some KG Kurt Geiger wedges on offer for £7, and I picked up an unusual spiked necklace for a couple of quid.

You could make a slight detour at this point and head down Jasper Road on the left. Here you'll find another hidden gem.

Crystal Palace Antiques Market
I didn't go in today as I didn't have enough time, but if you are looking for larger items there are numerous dealers over 4 floors to be found inside, whether you're looking for traditional Victorian furniture or mid-century classics. Last time I visited I was very taken with the vintage Czech circus posters.

On to the shabbiest but most interesting side of the triangle - Church Road. This has a variety of vintage and junk type emporiums, and I'll give a quick run down of the most interesting.

Crazy Man Crazy
Men are often neglected when it comes to vintage clothes shopping, but this is a shop just for the guys. Selling 'Gentlemen's Vintage and retro clothing', you can drop the boyfriend here and hope he comes out as Don Draper.

Bambino / Bambino Volcano
Bambino is a Church Road stalwart, having been open 20 years. It's a real rummager's paradise, with all kinds of dusty (and rarely priced) stuff piled up and spilling out on to the pavement. The owner Andy is very friendly and happy to chat, and he's known for the leather jackets he's accumulated over the past 35 years. Croydon's very own Kate Moss was photographed for Vogue in a jacket borrowed from his personal collection - whilst that one is not for sale - many of them are. When I visited he was just putting out an electric parrot toy dispenser - does anyone else remember these from childhood holidays by the seaside? You'd put in your 20p and get a plastic egg containing some kind of shabby yet thrilling toy.

C'mon, how much fun would this be - dispensing wedding favours maybe?

 I got very excited and he kindly switched it on so I could hear it squawk "I love the sound of your money!" . Sadly I'd have needed to give Andy £175 of my money to give it a home. Perhaps for the best.

Ornate framed flower painting

Vintage children's books I dug out from the shelves

Kate Moss in Andy's jacket
Photo credit Mario Testino for Vogue!

The other great thing about Bambino's is that it features a boutique coffee bar - Bambino Volcano - so when you need a break from fossicking about you can grab a coffee and slice of cake. Australian barrista Anthony is just as friendly and approachable, and combines obvious passion for coffee (organic, and locally grown and roasted - who knew?) with being a handy font of 'what's on' knowledge. The flat white is the house special - I can confirm it is indeed volcanic!

Belle Coco
Stylish (and less dusty) neighbour to Bambino, this is a carefully curated shop with particular emphasis on retro lighting, glass and clocks. Really really beautiful things where I could do some serious credit card damage.

Amazing bar

Chance glass handkerchief vases

Open Weds to Sun hours here

A little further down and you come to another charity shop.

LWS - Living Water Satisfies
This place is the cheapest charity shop in the area - although you need to get in quick, as the current sale is to clear stock for a change of direction. Apparently the plan is to be a specialist second-hand bookshop, with coffee shop. Books are currently 50p paperback and £1 hardback, and the volunteer told me they hope to keep the prices low. I picked up this 80s Vogue style manual for £1.

Was closed today, but I've visited before and bought a great 70s dress. They also had some modern gifts and accessories. Worth a look.

Back at the point of the triangle is The White Hart, where you can get a well deserved pint. But what's this? There's also a VINTAGE SHOP IN THE PUB!

Vintage Hart
Did you hear that people? You can get from the bar to a tiny but perfectly formed vintage store while your husband is still ordering the crisps! How bloody amazing is that?

Highlights today were an 80s cocktail dress by Zandra Rhodes and a 60s mini dress by Miss Carnaby.
See photo for opening hours

There's currently a charity shop hop - or #charityhop - going on over at Lulastic and the Hippyshake, where everyone is linking up their best guides to charity shopping in their local area.
I'm a bit late (due to actually doing some hardcore shopping before getting round to writing this) but do go over and check out the other posts. Lucy has an awesome guide to the charity shop mecca that is Streatham. I've also linked up my post from when I visited Limerick last year.
Go - and add your own thrifty wisdom if you can!

Lakota x

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Ta-dah! Tuesday - Rock n' Roll earrings How-to

In exchange for not complaining about all the second hand shizzle I cart home, I don't whinge about the all the guitars cluttering up my house. [I pretend I mind about this, but I don't really. Who doesn't like a boy with a guitar?]. Anyway, there are usually plectrums [guitar picks] everywhere as well, and whilst they can be plain and functional and boring, you can also get them with all kinds of  logos and pictures. I found these Sex Pistols God Save the Queen ones on eBay, and thought they'd be perfect for making earrings for the upcoming Jubilee! 

Cool, huh?

[Incidentally, speaking of Jubilee crap, go and read my latest eBay post. I research these things for YOU! There's also a Jubilee giveaway on my Facebook page. It includes the chance to see Prince Philip in his long-johns Harry in his pants]

I added red white and blue beads to the the pair above, which required eyepins and cutting nippers, but the instructions below are for a slightly more simple pair, as not everyone has all the equipment. It's pretty easy to do beaded stuff and use pins - I taught myself the very basic technique off the internet - but you would need proper round nose pliers too. 

If you want to make your own earrings, you'll need:
  • Plectrums - I used these 'grave picker' skull ones from eBay
  • Jump rings and earring wires
  • pliers
  • Blue tack
  • A drawing pin, or old sewing machine needle and hammer, depending on the thickness of your plectrums.

[You could also probably use a small drill bit, but I'm all about the least equipment possible.]

  1. The only vaguely tricky part of making these is making the hole for your jump ring to go through. Plectrums come in different weights and thicknesses so you'll need to assess which method will be best depending on what type you have. If possible, have a spare to practise on first, because they're prone to cracking. The Sex Pistols ones were thin enough to enough to pierce with a drawing pin, the skulls needed a bigger needle. Either way, don't try to go all the way through in one go because you'll probably break it. Make an indent - with your blue-tack underneath to keep the plectrum steady and so you don't ruin your table - then flip it over and continue on the other side. Keep alternating sides until you break through. An old sewing machine needle worked really well for me, and I just  whacked it with the hammer as though it was a nail.
  2. Open a jump ring with pliers - jewellery ones are best, but any small enough will work at a push  - slide through the hole you made, and close again. 
  3. Open another jump ring and slide one end through the first ring, the other through an earring wire. Close up again. Ta-dah!
  4. Repeat for the matching one. Or just wear one, in edgy rock and roll fashion.

Perfect for the PTA

Slash and friends

I'd love you to link up if you have any makes, bakes, finds, or fabulous outfits worthy of a ta-dah! Please include a link to Ta-dah! Tuesday in your post, so others can join in. It would be great if you could find the time to visit some other participants too, if you don't already follow their blog.

Lakota x

I am also linking up with Liz's Jubilee Round Up.

Here's my favourite Rock and Roll nerd, Tim Minchin.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

A housewife's thrifty essentials...

I spotted one of these at North Cross Vintage in Dulwich when Mr FHCS and I were on a rare weekday out while the kids were at school. Vintage shops are often lazily described as 'an Aladdin's Cave', and I can't think of a better description for this one, but sadly you do also need plenty of the genie's cash to shop there, given its swanky gentrified location. The one they had on display was blue, but otherwise identical, and they wanted £15 for it. As it turned out, our trip was cut short by the school ringing my mobile to tell me that Boy1 had come off worse in a battle between the playground and his head, so I didn't have a chance to decide to overspend on a glorified money-box, and we whizzed straight back to pick him up.

Rent, Coal, Gas, Electricity and a blank section

The key is missing, so I can raid it whenever I like

Anyway, Boy1 is fine, and our shopping hiatus meant I could get home and browse eBay instead. And I found and won this 'thrift box' for 99p. Bargain. Sorry, but we housewives need to prioritise our spending.

And we know what's important.

 Lakota x

Don't forget to link up all your best makes, buys, outfits and achievements with Ta-dah! Tuesday tomorrow.

Red, White and...BLUE the hell thought THAT was a good idea?! The Magic and Madness of eBay part 6 - Jubilee Special!

God save our gracious Queen
God save our noble Queen
 Bids be victorious
eBay is glorious
Long to reign over us


According to children asked by ITV, our glorious monarch is married to King Charles II, favours bulldogs as her canine companions and can count Simon Cowell as part of the Royal family. But who can blame them, given their upbringing? Did you know that 9 out of 10 children in the Home Counties believe Cath Kidston invented bunting? It's sobering to realise that this could be the first time many infants have ever seen flags which aren't covered in dusky pink polka dots or spray roses on a duck-egg background. It's our patriotic DUTY to reclaim bunting for our Queen, and trawl eBay for stuff to show we appreciate how bum-numbing 60 years on the throne must have been. Gawd Bless you Ma'am - and welcome to The Magic and Madness of eBay Part 6 - Jubilee Special!


Despite the fact that you haven't even been able to post a letter since 1952 without seeing the Queen's face, it appears that there are still loyal subjects out there who seem unsure what she looks like. [Hint: it's not any of these]

Drag Queen
Guess she sorts out the 5 o'clock shadow before TV appearances

Now, what should one put on one's Jubilee cake?

Aah yes, four candles!

Dot Cotton had always suspected Willy had a taste for human blood
Hand drawn commemorative souvenir portrait - proceeds to Cystic Fibrosis Trust

It's quite something when the most lifelike representation of her I could find looked like it should be standing next to Eric Cartman:

One's going down to South Park, going to have oneself a time...

Check out the seller's Anne Boleyn too - perfect for fans of Henry VIII!

[I do genuinely love this - a first in my eBay posts!]

Ah yes, the crafters. They're out in force at times like these - refugees from RegrEtsy ensuring that the makers of red, white and blue acrylic never go out of business. Now that's the great British spirit. Let's see what's on offer shall we?

Zut alors! Ze knitted 'edgehog. It personifies les Anglais, n'est-ce pas?
As the seller says - "Something different for the celebrations"

The Duchess of Cambridge delighted onlookers with her homage to 'My Fair Lady'
"A little doll with a big surprise!" says the seller
[Asda value toilet paper not included]

The same seller supplies these beanie hats -  if you've got Jubilee fatigue already, wear one and be safe in the knowledge that you'll neither see nor hear anything of the celebrations, whilst still providing a little patriotic flair.

Do be careful about the cakes you pick up at the street party though, especially if your neighbours read Mollie Makes. You'd think the seller had done this on purpose, but I fear her baked goods have been photographed in all innocence. 

 Prince Philip couldn't wait to get his hands on my teatime treats, claimed Kirstie Allsopp

Ebay is positively overrun with corgis in union jack coats. Sadly, Monty has yet to find a family:

 Perhaps because he looks like a mutant seal with a saddle. 

Speaking of family pets, wouldn't it be an absolute travesty if they were left out of the fun? I mean, the Queen loves her dogs, and the rest of the Royals are animal lovers too. Ok, they especially love donning ridiculous clothes and shooting at them, but still. The love is there. I think you can tell from the following pictures that Liz's animal subjects are just as excited about the upcoming festivities as the rest of us:

And so Sir Walter went dejectedly to the Tower...

Send in the clowns...

I think they've earned their Jubilee Dog Treats made by Mrs Nibbles, don't you? Every bag is also 'suitable for human consumption', and is the 'perfect gift for patriotic dogs'

"I've not been up to London to visit the Queen, I'm a fucking REPUBLICAN"

"The ultimate cat collar chic for Jubilee celebrations. This is a high fashion accessory and best not worn for prolonged outside activities".

What, like being a cat?

Sadly, there was no attire suitable for my guinea-pig, but fear not - I can buy him a paper bag full of clippings from the lawn mower Guinea pig Jubilee Fun Bag! Only £2.50 and free delivery!

"Treat your piggy to a Jubilee fun bag filled with 100 % natural dried meadow, herbs, parsley stalks and dandelions. I can fill them as a mix or with your piggies herby favourite".

Guinea pig not included


Now, I know what you're thinking - these animal accessories are all very well, but what if I have a human being I want to treat to a Jubilee gift? Never fret pet - there's plenty of classy bits and pieces to choose from:

Long to rain over us....

Keep your crown jewels toasty

Hope you enjoyed that little run through the best that eBay has to offer - out-takes will be up on my Facebook page. Enjoy the celebrations - and try not to over-indulge. But if you do drink too much from the inflatable beer mug cooler - there's always the Diamond Jubilee Sick Bag!

And the prize for the least appropriate Cath Kidston backdrop goes to...

Lakota x

PS. See the rest of my eBay posts here

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Ta-dah! Tuesday - chalkboard placemats

Thanks to everyone who linked up their crafty makes, delicious bakes, awesome outfits and thrifting holy grails last week - if you missed it there are some really clever ideas to steal. If you have a something to share this week I'd love you to add your thumbnail to the linky at the end of this post.

A little while ago the Not on the High Street catalogue dropped through my letterbox, and whilst it is a lovely treasure trove of independent makers of stuff - erm, that isn't on the high street, what it isn't is cheap. Look at these chalkboard placemats - great fun, but a set of six is £64.99! Yes, you read that correctly. If you want matching coasters, the total would be £91. Blimey. Clearly 'Claire' moves in more exalted circles than I.

This is not just any strawberry cheesecake...

Anyway, last week I found these at the bottom of the kitchen drawer - I used to use them all the time but as you can see they've got a bit battered and scratched over the years so they were relegated for visiting toddler use and then forgotten about. However, if you don't have any mats ripe for a makeover you quite often see hideous ones at your Granny's house charity shops or car boot sales, you know, nasty ones with scenes of fox-hunting or twee thatched cottages.

I used a tester pot of Annie Sloan chalk paint in 'graphite' and gave each mat a few coats. It dries very quickly so didn't take very long at all. A quick scribble with my pastel pencils - I know, posh - and I had my own version ready to wow my guests.


Of course, if you're not a gastronomic wizard like myself, you can just use them for playing hangman between courses, writing instructions for your butler, shopping lists, or perhaps improving slogans for the benefit of your offspring.

What would you doodle? 

 Lakota x

Also linking up to Nifty Thrifty Tuesday