Monthly Archives: January 2011

50s style floral skirt from Primark

All the fun of The Vintage Fair

Bristol Vintage Fair
This weekend has been a busy one and not particularly gentle on my wallet! Before freezing my fingers off at the Gok’s Clothes Roadshow catwalk I had some time to kill so I popped into Primark and came out with a brown paper bag.

I felt a little guilty making an impulse purchase just before seeing the man that claims women can survive with just 24 key pieces in their wardrobe, but I couldn’t resist. Heavy cotton skirt with a voluminous black net underskirt, covered in a watercolour of poppies, this skirt is truly a work of art and unlike anything I’ve ever seen the fast-fashion retailer before.

After watching Gok and Co. I got an early night in preparation for yesterday. An early morning makeover courtesy of the Benefit concession in Debenhams kicked things of, before S and I hit the Bristol Vintage Fair in Portland Square. Sadly we peaked a little too soon, falling in love with a pleated cream dress and polka dot playsuit within the first ten minutes, thus blowing our budget an forcing us to dig around in our bags and purses to find enough cash for a cheeky cupcake.

Half an hour of Benefit later we were ready for the fair

Half an hour of Benefit later we were ready for the fair


A selection of gorgeous vintage bags

A selection of gorgeous vintage bags

Circomedia on Portland Square was the perfect venue for a vintage fair

Circomedia on Portland Square was the perfect venue for a vintage fair


Clothes swapping fun at Goldmine on Stokes Croft

Clothes swapping fun at Goldmine on Stokes Croft

The fair itself was fantastic though, with some quality sellers in such a beautiful location. My pictures, below, don’t really do it justice but if you missed it fear not – apparently there are plans for another fair in three months time, or visit their online calendar for upcoming fairs across the country.

After the fair we went long to the Goldmine clothes swapping party, armed with some pre-loved treasures to swap. The event kicked off at 4pm and when we rocked up not half an hour later we joined what can only be described as a frenzy of eager girls who looked like they had walked straight of the set of Skins.

I suddenly felt quite old as I rummaged through the rails looking for some vintage gems but S and I did come up trumps with some elasticated skirts (perfect as summer dresses) and 80s jumpers. By 5pm we were done and headed out with some fantastic finds and we had spent less than a fiver between us : )

Today I made use of the gorgeous winter sun to shoot some of my new (and old) finds…

50s style floral skirt from Primark

50s style floral skirt from Primark

 My stunning new pleated cream dress that I found at the fair...

My stunning new pleated cream dress that I found at the fair...


... with a mocha coloured bow and shoulder panels

... with a mocha coloured bow and shoulder panels


Two of the vintage skirts I picked up at the Goldmine clothes swap

Two of the vintage skirts I picked up at the Goldmine clothes swap

Something for The Weekend… Bristol Vintage Fair & Goldmine Launch

vintage fair circomedia

I love the period leading up to the new season – magazines, blogs, boutiques and events organisers get in on the action and at the moment Bristol has a busy hub of events and fashionable happenings taking place.

First up, I know I’ve been banging on about it this week, but don’t forget that the weekend kicks off tomorrow evening with Gok Wan’s catwalk show at Cabot Circus (it starts at 5pm , don’t be late!) Gok will be showing of his high street finds and competing against Brit Smith-Start’s designer outfits for his new Channel 4 show, Gok’s Clothes Roadshow.

On Saturday the Vintage Fair comes to town. Joining the likes of Blind Lemon and Gimme Shelter, the Bristol Vintage Fair, above, is the new kid on the block as far as all things vintage go. Originating in Birmingham, the fair has been running at cities across the country since 2009 and came to Bristol for the first time back in November. This Saturday the fair is back at Circomedia in Portland Square and as well as lots of vintage goodies for sale it promises cupcakes, a vintage tea party and even a travelling hair and beauty salon – perfect if you want a beehive ‘do to match your Mad Men style outfit. The event starts at noon and entry is £2 or £1 with an NUS card.


Just as the Vintage Fair is winding down, the fun (and vintage bargains) continue on Stokes Croft. You may remember that Shop Dutty opened The Goldmine last summer, a pop-up shop on Stoke Croft full of vintage clothes a a bargain price, not to mention a DJ booth, comfy sofas and plenty of tea and biscuits. All good things must come to an end and although The Goldmine closed just before Christmas, it has now been reincarnated as a permanent fixture in the basement of Shop Dutty on Cheltenham Road and will open to the public on 2nd February.

To celebrate it’s new home, The Goldmine will be hosting a massive clothes swap, on Stokes Croft (opposite Pieminister) from 4pm with DJ sets, swapping and a few vintage bargains thrown in too. The festivities are due to go on into the night and if you want to take part simply bring some unwanted clothes to swap, or browse their clearance stock – bargains start at just 50p! For more info check out the Facebook page here.

Don’t forget that La Freak Boutique in Montpelier will also be closing its doors for the last time this weekend, but not before every last vintage wonder is sold. The store will be open as usual on Saturday and also from 12-4pm on Sunday.

Behind the scenes: Gok’s Roadshow

Gok Wan filming Quakers Friars

This afternoon I found myself in a disused shop in Quakers Friars, watching a camera crew and production team flutter around a cute set full of colourful clutch bags, towering multi-coloured heels and quirky high street finds. It was of course all for Gok Wan’s new Channel 4 show, Gok’s Clothes Roadshow.

A twist on the original Gok’s Fashion Fix format, Gok’s Clothes Roadshow sees Gok and designer obsessive Brix Smith-Start are taking their high street vs high end battle on the road and Bristol is the latest city to get a visit, along with the likes of Birmingham, Liverpool and London.

Today a selection of Bristol’s fashion enthusiasts, students and journalists have made their pilgrimage to Cabot Circus to see Gok at work, dressed in blouses, blazers, leopard print jackets and ankle boots. I join them outside in the rain, waiting to get a first glimpse of the man himself.

Gok Wan at Cabot Circus

Gok was a hit at Cabot Circus last September

After shooting was delayed for over an hour – the morning filming session had overrun and even TV’s best loved fashionista needs to eat lunch – we were allowed to enter the shop and minutes later Gok appeared. Dressed in his trademark black outfit – casually thrown together workman boots, low hanging black jeans and casual shirt layered over a vest – he was actually shorter than I thought he would be.

I must confess I thought I would be watching Gok customising outfits behind the scenes so I was surprised to find that I would be part of Gok’s avid (on camera) audience. I can’t give away too much but it was a very interactive afternoon and I can’t wait to see the episode when it airs later this year.

Gok has no doubt had a massive impact on all the women attending his workshops and the audiences who have already flocked to see his catwalk frock-offs with Brix. If you want to see the catwalk show for Bristol then it is taking place on Friday (28th) at 5pm in Cabot Circus.

Come down to see the latest high street and designer trends and don’t forget to check out Gok’s Clothes Roadshow tonight at 8pm on Channel 4.

Something for The Weekend… Elsie Riley, La Freak Boutique & Gok Wan

la freak boutique
There are so many exciting events to look forward to in the coming weeks, not least the last of the January sales, the start of a new ethical fashion exhibition and the return of Gok Wan to Cabot Circus…

First up is the clearance sale at Elsie Riley. Run by the lovely Katie and named after her grandmother, Elsie Riley is a picture perfect boutique located just around the corner from St Nicks Market and is always so full of pretty, girlie trinkets. Whenever I walk past it I always picture myself lying on a chaise lounge, dripping in vintage pearls listening to Frank Sinatra. But that’s quite enough of my daydreams – get down there and bag yourself a bargain this weekend!

Elsie Riley

Next up there is some sad news – La Freak Boutique, top, will be closing its doors for the last time at the end of January. The Picton Street boutique is closing down after enjoying years of being Montpelier’s premier vintage emporium. Well known for showing at local vintage fairs and the £1 rummage box that entices in its shoppers this colourful shop will be sorely missed. La Freak will be open Thursdays-Saturdays until the end of the month so please visit and make the most of those crammed rails and sale boxes before their doors close for good.

Finally a little Something for The Weekend preview… next Friday Gok Wan will be returning to Bristol as part of his new show, Gok’s Roadshow. Basically Gok’s Fashion Fix with a twist, the filming of the catwalk face-off between Gok and Brix Smith-Start will be taking place at Cabot Circus on Friday 28th January. If you missed out on Gok’s last visit then be sure to head down to the runway for 5pm to watch his high street vs designer show. More details to follow…

MBTs: Walking the walk

MBT collection
As you may be aware I’m trying to get fit and with that challenge comes a whole new world of stylish opportunities; Stella McCartney for Adidas, Sweaty Betty, not to mention fitnesswear on the high street and performance enhancing footwear.


Trainer technology has advanced in recent years with the likes of MBTs, Fit-Flops and now the new Rebook Easytone trainers (with that rather distracting advert full of pert bottoms) becoming an increasingly popular choice of footwear for fitness fashionistas. The price of this type of footwear isn’t cheap and has often put me off purchasing a pair in the past, along with their reputation for unflattering shapes and styles. Much akin to how mobile phones in the 80’s resembled bricks, these kinds of shoes looked like brick strapped to your feet.

Just before Christmas I was invited to attend a body MOT in the city centre, courtesy of the folks behind MBTs, and I was lucky enough to be given a pair of my very own MBTs, below, to road test. As they arrived just before Christmas into a city coated in snow and ice, I decided to wait until the weather had mellowed before giving them a spin – my balance and coordination is an issue in regular conditions with familiar footwear – this would have been a Bambi on ice situation!

Masai Barefoot Technology physiological footwear, or MBT for short, was first developed in 1996 after researchers noticed how members of the Masai tribe walked barefoot over uneven ground. The brand was the first of its kind when it first launched in the US and its shoes aim to replicate ‘natural instability’ which in turn creates the need to balance, through a constant, rolling movement underfoot. The uneven surface forces the wearer to balance, in turn toning the leg muscles and improving posture.

Last week was my first trip out of the house wearing my pair (other than pottering around the house) and it felt so strange. The way the MBTs work forced me to balance, so I constantly felt like I was tipping forwards and convinced myself that I would fall flat on my face. Walking downhill was particularly challenging but now I’ve worn them a few more times I’m actually noticing a significant difference. I can really feel them working my calves when I walk up hills and
because of they way they make you balance, I find myself concentrating on my posture more – which is one thing I am always trying to improve. 

From a style point of view I was worried that I would look like I had shoe boxes strapped to my feet but the style I picked, while ‘sporty’ is also quite sleek. I have worn them with black leggings, boot cut trousers with dresses and skinny jeans. While I do feel self conscious wearing them it is more because of the way I need to concentrate on my walk, rather than how the shoes themselves look.

At £100+ this type of footwear should be considered an investment for your wardrobe so if you are considering buying a pair think long and hard about when you would wear them and what colour and style would best go with the contents of your wardrobe. With regular wear you could see an improvement in both your posture and muscle tone but the makers believe every wear will experience different benefits.

I’ve yet to try exercising in them but will report back when I do : )