Friday, 19 April 2013

30 ways to save £1...or maybe more...

Just a quick one today. As you know I love shopping in charity shops and sewing things partially (mostly) because it's fun, but also because it saves me a bit of hard earned dosh. Which is always a good thing.

Money supermarket have launched a competition to get 1000 tips to save £1 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of said pound. All you have to do to win £30 (a pound a tip) is to write a blog post with 30 tips to save a pound and send them a link to it.

All their details are in the link below.

Anyway, here's my list!

1) meal plan, take a shopping list to the supermarket and don't shop when you're hungry. Those extra biscuits and sweets definitely add up to more than a pound!
2) instead of throwing out slightly damaged clothes and buying new ones, learn to sew and repair them.
3) if you do need new clothes, try the charity shops first! I've had brand new (with the tags still on) jeans, dresses and shoes from them at bargain prices.
4) try going shopping at a later time of day and shop the "quick sale still fresh" shelves. Bread for 9p and meat at a hugely reduced price!
5) get your shoes re-heeled. Much cheaper than a new pair (and you've already worn them in! No blisters for you!)
6) when you're cooking, plan to make more than one portion and freeze the other(s), you'll use no more energy cooking and if you defrost without the microwave, much less energy to hear it through.
7) when using things like mince, bulk it out with grated carrot (which absorbs all the juice and is tasty), lentils and other veg which is much cheaper than meat and helps your portions go further.
8) cut meat out of some dishes altogether. I make shepherds pie using beans, lentils and chunks of veg, it does us six meals and costs much less than the meaty version.
9) if you've bought a bunch of fresh herbs, chop it all up in one go and freeze a pinch in each cube of an ice cube tray with some water. Perfect for adding to meals and no waste!
10) take packed lunch to work. And make your own tea/coffee.
11) try and drink only water. It's better for you, and practically free from the tap!
12) buy cheaper cuts of meat and cook them low and slow in a stew or similar. Tastes amazing for half the price.
13) heading away from the kitchen....make sure anything electrical you have is never left on standby. This gobbles electricity with no gain for you!
14) use everything to its full potential. If you have the heating on, hang socks to dry on the radiators. If you're done with the oven, leave the door open to warm the kitchen. (maybe that needs some sort of health and safety disclaimer....don't burn yourself please!) If it's warm outside (ha!), open the windows to warm and air your house. Don't leave lights on in rooms you're not in. If there's two of you in separate rooms reading a book, try sitting in the same room! Simple.
15) turn the heating down, or preferably off. Stick on another jumper, a hand knitted scarf (maybe a hat!) or snuggle up under a blanket.
16) instead of watching tv/going to the gym/paying to do anything, go for a walk. It's free, if you're lucky with where you live it could be beautiful and it saves you money on gym membership, plus it'll warm you up Nd help with number 15!
17) if you have pets, try a discounted food brand. Our old dogs favourite was bakers which was much cheaper than others which are supposed to be better. This applies to your food too. Check our the value brands. I can't tell the difference most of the time!
18) if you see an item you use all the time or you have a coupon (for more than a pound obviously...), stock up. It'll save you money in the long run, and if you have a tight month, you'll know you have supplies.
19) oops, back in the kitchen! Use up odds and ends of everything. Make soup. Make breadcrumbs. Make pies. There's no point spending the money on it if you're going to waste it!
20) and this applies to toiletries too. I cut the tips of bottles of foundation to scrape the last out with a cotton bud. A little bit of water in your mascara will make it last for another good week or so. Rinse out your shampoo/conditioner/bubble bath bottles and use the remnants.
21) I don't buy kitchen towel anymore. I invested in some micro fibre cloths. Tesco value. Pretty cheap. They're perfect for wiping up in the kitchen with any extra (expensive) chemicals and they just get thrown in any old wash when they're used.
22) laundry. Try and wait till you've got a full load before you run a wash, but don't overload as this makes the washer inefficient.
23) line dry your washing. Even in the winter. Tumble driers are ridiculously expensive. Outside in the summer and I hang my things inside in the winter.
24) drive more efficiently. Plan ahead, drive a little bit slower, don't brake hard or accelerate hard. Plan your route. If you have lots of stops in town, don't zig zag back and forth but go to each one in turn. This saves you fuel and time!
25) use your local library. You might have to wait for a book sometimes (or even a DVD or blu-ray, how modern) but this could save you a lot. And save space in your house. Maybe for shoes!
26) keep things you might just throwaway. Newspaper is GREAT for cleaning windows and mirrors. Streak free for free! I use the free paper that comes round each week... It's also great as parcel packaging. Toilet rolls can be used as planters, holders, and sometimes I make cat toys with them...
27) use freecycle. You might not always get what you want, but when you do, it's freeeee! And that's always good.
28) Re-use gift wrap. The paper if you're very careful with it, don't use it if you've already shredded it! Mostly gift bags. Keep them, re-use them, they're expensive. Have a giggle when you forget who gave it to you and you give it back to them! Sometimes I cut up pretty cards I've been given to make gift tags.
29) make sure you have decent heavy curtains to cover your windows in the winter. Don't let that heat escape. Draft excluders are also your friend.
30) keep your freezer full. Sometimes I put in scrunched up newspaper to plug the gaps. Your freezer is more efficient when it's not trying to freeze large lumps of air. It also stops it from filling itself with ice. Try and plan what you're getting out of the freezer so you don't open the door too much either. This applies to all appliances. Keep them well maintained and they'll work better and last longer.

Wow, harder to come up with thirty than you think.

And now for the ones I didn't think I could include in the original thirty. They're meant as a giggle, not to offend!

31) don't have children. They're loud they're expensive.... This applies to let's as well!
32) don't clean, it's boring and cleaners are expensive.
33) don't use the cooker. It uses electricity and is expensive.
34) have romantic candle lit dinners to save more electricity!
35) live with your parents. That's what they're there for, to look after you!

Anyway. :-) I love freebies. I'd love thirty pounds to spend on some pretty fabric I have my eye on!

If you want to do it too, here's the link again:

And here's a picture of a pound, because I like my blog posts to have pictures :-)

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Grandma's Dressing Table Set

Hello again!

Today I thought I'd share with you something I love, but unfortunately don't really get a lot of use out of.

When my grandma passed away, a number of years ago now, I inherited a few bits from her. Some more sentimental than others. This is one of the sentimental things.

All the pretty things.

It's a gorgeous dressing table set. I'm guessing thirties or forties although I really know very little about it.
I don't use the brushes really. I worry about the bristles all coming out!

I use the mirror a lot, it's perfect for seeing the back of my head when I do up dos. Or even just to make sure my curls are OK.

I used to use the powder when I was little for fun! I love the smell of it though.

Just that little thing takes me back to sitting in my grandma's bedroom with her, playing with the set on her dressing table. Which was glass topped and had loads of family photos underneath, peeking out at you from behind all the beautiful things.

Jo :-)

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Swagbucks and Retro Shaving

Slightly different kind of blog post today! Shaving and overlapping into an eco friendly kind of place!

I think a lot of people wear vintage and make their own things not only out of a love for the way things look and the chance to be individual, but also because it's a bit more world friendly. We're re-using and recycling things, wearing clothing that's lasted 60 years not six months and that was probably produced in our own countries. Although that's really another post in itself!

Anyway. I found Swagbucks (that's a referral link, if you sign up through it I get a few more Swagbucks!)through The Frugal Girl and one of her fabulous blog posts. I've been using it on and off for about six months or so and a month ago I saved up enough to get a £5 Amazon. Thee good things about it is that you can use it instead of your normal search engine and you don't have to do anything special or extra to get your points. I have the toolbar on my laptop and that's a point a day every time I go on the Internet! Not too shabby!

So, I hear you asking, what did I buy with my totally free and awesome £5 amazon voucher? I purchased myself a Shaving Factory Double Edge Safety Razor with 100 Double Edge Razor Blades. All in a nice little blue box. It's definitely at the cheaper end of the market (and there's a beautiful razor on Amazon, but it was £45!) at £14.90, £9.90 with my voucher! I didn' think this price was too bad, considering a decent disposable razor will set you back at least a fiver for you to just throw it away again. However I didn't want to spend masses in case I hate it, slice my legs open repeatedly or just plain don't get on with it!

Photo from Amazon seller here.
 There's a few reasons for wanting a razor like this. One is purely and shallowly aesthetics! It's going to look much prettier sitting on my bath than a lump of blue plastic! With a little dish for it and it's sleek chrominess (may not actually be in the dictionary...) I feel my bath time will ooze elegance!!! The second is monetary, I really resent parting with a fair bit of cash each month to buy something I know I will have to replace. The third and biggest reason is the eco friendly one. All those disposable razors end up in landfill, not so much rotting away, but sitting in the earth for hundreds of years. I try to recycle what I can and re-use where possible, and this seems the best way to do it for shaving! The blades will last a good while if cared for properly (wipe clean and a bit of oil) and when they're finished with they can be recycled with your tins! The same for the handle eventually (many many years down the line I hope!).

Photo from Amazon seller here.
  So that's going to be the subject of my first bloggy review when it turns up! A way to glam up your bathroom, save your pennies and save the planet all in one fell swoop!

Jo :-)

P.S. Disclaimer.... just using this razor will not save the planet immediately, we have a long way to go! Every little helps though!

Cherries and Stripes

Just made a typo in the title which would have led to this being called Sherries and Stripes, which may have been more interesting and definitely more drunken..... hmmm.

This is the first circle skirt I made!

Casually leaning on the bicycle....
The fabric and pattern (not totally full circle, but nearly) were presents from my Godmother last Christmas and it took the lure of Jazz to get me round to making it! I was so pleased with it. I think I spent a good ten minutes just marvelling at the fact that I put a zip in and it WORKED!!

I wore this to Jazz with a black top and a butterfly clasp belt, but I quite like it with these stripes just for fun!

I like how the stripes are horizontal at the back of the top and vertical at the front where it drapes. It's such a comfy top, I always feel very summery wearing it! Either that or just like a deck chair....

Loads of fabric!

It uses up so much fabric to make this skirt, I was a little bit shocked by how expensive it was to make when I did the Strawberry Fields one. I've got my eye on some beautiful fabric on eBay that's black with gold jazz instruments and musical notes on it. It's gorgeous and would be great for Jazz (obviously!) but it's £12.99 a metre plus postage. I need three metres and twenty centimetres.... So it'll be a save up and see job I think!

Jo :-)

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Workday Outfit

The self time makes me laugh! Also I'm sure the neighbours are wondering why the flash keeps going off in my kitchen!

So, today's outfit is the basics of what I wear everyday to work. There's a vest and thick tights layered under there! I think with one jumper this is still fairly vintage looking, but the number I end up putting on for work takes it more into the realms of "I feel like the Michelin Man!" so I've not pictured that!

Feeling sailor chic!

I love these tops from Primark. They're cheap (a staple of tops in my work wardrobe) thin enough to layer well and fairly good looking. They'll be good light long sleeved tops when it gets a bit warmer too.

Yes, I casually lean against this wall all the time....

The jeans I purchased at a charity shop yonks ago. They were too long for me so I was going to hem them but I turned them up and liked them that way, so that way they stayed. There's only a couple of stitches so if I ever want to wear them with heels I can let them down again.

Posing. Yes it looks ridiculous, but I may have got carried away!

I love my work boots. I used to wear walking boots for comfort but a) they don't look even slightly retro and b) they offered my poor toes no protection at all! These have steel toe caps and steel soles. Ain't nowt getting through there. No matter how many lead weights/spanners/trailers/random heavy objects I drop. Yes, I'm that clumsy!

Anyways, that's me. Normally. Sometimes with curled hair, sometimes with a scarf, mostly with grubby hands and broken nails and an unidentifiable splodge of something somewhere on my personage!

Jo :-)

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Finished Spring Circle Skirt

And here, for your perusal, is the finished article!

Photo by the miracles of self timers! Not included, plenty of shots of me walking back towards the camera looking confused!

Complete with (mostly) level hem. Waistband and button that actually works!

Perfect for twirling!

Complete with smug face!

Smug face not included with pattern purchase.

 As you can see it's perfect for dancing and I'm intending to wear it to Jazz tonight. I'm having so much fun at The Colchester Jazz Club. It's the best way to spend a Sunday evening!

I might have to go on my own this week. Always daunting. Wish me luck :-)

Outfit consists of:
Completely scruffy hair and no make-up, I might update instagram with the finished look before I go out!
Top: Papaya via Charity Shop in Tiptree (Bragainous £2.50!)
Skirt: Made by me using a Project Runway pattern.
Petticoat: Vivien of Holloway
Shoes: Chairty Shop Bargain (see the trend here....)

Jo :-)

Friday, 5 April 2013

New shoes?

Just a couple of quick things today....

One, I found a fabulous pair of lace up brogue high heels in black leather in a charity shop in Diss the other day for £1.95. If you follow my instagram (@ofavintageair), hopefully you'll see them soon!

Such a bargain. I've had some real brilliant finds in Diss. My favourite being a duck egg blue 50s swing coat. For £7.99. Crazy. It's got a couple of little holes in it, but mostly it's in great condition.

At the Shuttleworth Uncovered day last year. And blimey it was cold!
 Plus all of my smart hats have been charity shop finds. With feathers, and nets, and ribbon! My favourite!

Talking of finds, those of you who follow my instagram may have seen the pair of Miss L Fire shoes I found the other day. Beautiful wedges, if only they were my size! As such they're a EU36 (UK size 3) and perfect for summer. I've listed them on eBay, follow my link here. I hope someone gets a bargain. I'd love a pair of Miss L Fire shoes, but charity shop finds are all I have at the mo!

I can very much recommend the Red Cross charity shop in Diss. Their clothes and shoes are all a set price, so you can get an absolute steal sometimes. I pop in as often as I can!

Jo :-)

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Spring Circle Skirt

This isn't vintage as such, but it is a very vintage look! Especially teamed with my wonderful petticoat from Vivien of Holloway. Oh how I love that shop!

This is my second (ever!) handmade garment. The first was a cherry print skirt that I Love so, so much. I've had the fabric since Christmas but starting going to Colchester Jazz club on a Sunday evening really spurred me into making something with it.

It's a lovely simple little pattern, although I've changed the length to work with the petticoat and I seem to keep changing the waistband fastenings about! It's brilliantly full, but not quite full circle which allows a tiny bit of (mostly in my head I think) modesty when spinning about on the dance floor being twirled by some wonderfully chivalrous gents!

I just thought I'd share a few photos of it's construction and all along the way!

Cutting my pattern pieces is always scary! I hate cutting into my beautiful long swathe of fabric and constantly worry I'm going to do it wrong. Any long time sewists out there? Does this ever go away?!

Then I stitch my side seams together. You'll have to excuse the horrifically modern, absolutely tiny but awesome sewing machine I'm using. It was a Christmas present to ease me into sewing. Hopefully one or other of my old singer's will be up and running soon!

Then I insert my zip which wasn't as fiddly as I thought. Cue lots of doing and undoing as I marvel at the fact I put something together that works. This means excitement!!

Then there's some interfacing and faffing about with the waistband, hopefully long enough this time to incorporate a sensible button. There's a picture of the cherry print skirt I'm not showing you!

And that's all folks. I'd like to say it's completely finished and I got to wear it to Jazz on Sunday night, but unfortunately being a total plonker I forgot to buy the appropriate thread for the sewing machine and spent most of my sewing re threading the thing as it broke time after time after time...... I finally ran out of time and had to improvise with a whole different outfit!

There's about a third of the hem left to do, and now my vintage electric singer is installed in the corner of the living room (not it's permanent place, when the study/office/sewing room/hideaway is decorated she will live in there) hopefully it'll take all of, oh five seconds to finish.

Seriously. Half horse power motor on the thing. It's somewhat scary!!

Once it's finished I'll be sure to put a picture up!

Jo :-)