The modern collector: A bevy of beautiful brooches

A male friend once said to me that the word 'brooch' was one of the wonderful words starting with 'B' that he associated with the fairer sex. I'm pretty sure at the time, I just raised my left eyebrow at him and gave him a scathing look (as I have been known to do, ahem). But when he elaborated, I could see his point and years later, his comment has stayed with me. Like blondes, breasts and Brigitte Bardot, the brooch is undoubtedly feminine, womanly and glamorous. Brooch collection

I've been collecting and wearing brooches for longer than I can remember. I inherited my great Aunt Betty's collection of costume jewellery to play dress-ups with at the age of about 7. Later, I also inherited pieces from both my grandmothers' collections and ever since, my stash of sparkly pieces has slowly grown. Charity shops, eBay, car boots and antique fairs, are all ripe picking grounds for pretty new additions. I'm fairly selective these days, only truly sparkling pieces or unusual shapes tend to catch my eye.

The modern collector: brooch collection

I don't have any pieces that are really worth anything very much. No diamonds and pearls. Nothing that would make the chaps at the Antique's Roadshow get excited and in a fluster. But I love my little brooches all the same. I like to wear several at a time, usually a couple of bigger ones paired with a teeny one or two. I used to worry about making permanent holes in soft fabrics with the pins but then I found this handy make-up sponge tip!

Uke, brooches and owls

Pictured is only a small portion of my collection. I'm currently in two minds about how to display them. I used to hang them on these homemade Liberty fabric hoops but found they were a pain to take down when I wanted to wear them. I'm thinking a box frame like these might be the solution. At the moment they are pinned to a black velvet square in a box in my drawer.

Unlike my silk bed jackets and vintage nightwear, I do wear my brooches. Some have sadly lost a stone or two along the way but I know I'll get them repaired. I think they look best on black velvet, a heavy wool winter coat (or cape!), or dressing up a denim shirt. Do you wear brooches? Or are they too granny chic for you?

x C

P.S. Read the first and second posts in the The Modern Collector series.

The perfect birthday treats

Birthday bounty 1 I fully endorse the tradition of buying yourself a birthday present. That way you know you'll actually get something that you want. It was my birthday last Monday and after no-spend May, it was definitely time to treat myself. After a lovely breakfast at our favourite nearby cafe, I took myself off to the wedding dress exhibition at the V&A. (Gorgeous! Make sure you get there.) Then I hit the shops. After a couple of hours of not finding ANYTHING I actually wanted to spend my pennies on, I found everything at once.

From left to right, Zara embroidered fringed waistcoat& Other Stories leather sandals with tortoiseshell heels, H&M tin, Aesop resurrection hand cream, Aesop camellia nut facial cream, Charlotte Tilbury colour morphing eye shadow pencil for hazel eyes, & Other Stories dress (print version here).

Birthday bounty

I love the shoes so much that I'm going to go back and get them in the pale hue too. I think the annual birthday shop is a tradition that I'm going to have to keep up.

And here are some of the gorgeous gifts that the lovely folks in my life treated me to.

Birthday bounty

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds vinyl, Bill Callahan vinyl, vintage hat box, vintage ceramic rolling pin, My Petite Kitchen by Eleanor Ozich, Sacred Hill gin.  Lovely.

xx C

Frock Friday: The palest green dress

I've always been of the you-can-never-have-too-much-stuff school of thought. Another black skirt? It's a workwear essential. More vintage china? It's so pretty! Must-have beauty products? Totally needed. But after reading Amy's post on Experience vs. Things on DesignSponge, I decided it really was time to curb the habit. I've jumped on the no-buying bandwagon for a month and so far it's been pretty easy. I haven't bought anything that I haven't really needed to, other than a vintage wooden hand mirror, a glass dish and some old bone-handle cutlery from the local charity shop for a grand total of £6. Not too much of a slip up. I've created a 'No-buy list' over on Trello (which I love) and will review all the things I've added since 1 May at the end of the month.  My birthday is the beginning of June, so I'm going to treat myself to something special. The latest addition to my no-buy list is this: ASOS Green cut-work dress

ASOS Salon Lace Insert Smock Dress. Photo by ASOS

The palest apple green dress with pretty cut-work details over by ASOS Salon. Please don't sell out before 1 June. I'd definitely ditch the short patterned under dress and wear over a black or cream vintage silk slip. It'd be perfect for wearing to one of those summer weddings we're going to or equally perfect for frolicking about picking daises in a meadow. Paired with much sensible footwear, of course.



P.s. An equally stunning bird-embellished summer dress.