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

Besotted with: A lovely Swedish flat

The little flat we rented in Stockholm was a-maz-ing. We found it on City Living Apt. If you're going on holiday somewhere soon check it out, there are loads of gorgeous places on there.

Having a little rest.

Roller skates, a lovely jug and books. It was filled with lovely vintage finds and gorgeous parquet floors.

As I mentioned in this post - I LOVED these lamps.

A peacock rug and parquet floors.

Mirrors in the kitchen.

A globe lamp! Can I go back now instead of going to work tomorrow? Please?

Have you ever fallen in love with someone else home?

Bits & pieces 4: Chanel, beetroot and a vintage slip..

Gee whiz it's been busy lately. Some days it seems I barely have time to breathe let alone write a coherent sentence (and I write for a living). I've decided that a few treats are the only way to get by. I'm making this month brighter with:

1. New make up, and Chanel's new spring nail colour called 'April'.

2. Actually finding the time and will to paint my nails.

3. Beetroot for dinner. The bright pink vegetable that truly is the sweetest of them all. Roasted, boiled, raw, grated or baked in a chocolate cake: I adore it all. Especially when the mister cooks it for me and when it's in all shades of gold and pink.

4. A green vintage slip I bought on a day trip to Brighton recently. It's currently soaking in a bucket in my bathtub. A few minor amends and it will be as good as new in no time.

5. Breakfast. I've been making an effort to actually eat breakfast at home before work these days. This is apple, pecans, soy yoghurt and oats. Deliciousness in a bowl.

How do you cope when you are too busy to think? What little things do you do to cheer yourself up?

All photos by me.

More Bread & Butter

Here are some more photos taken on my recent weekend in Bruges, staying at the wonderful B&B  - Bread & Butter. You can see my last post about our weekend away here. Belgium chocolate for breakfast? Yes please! Fresh melon and peaches, cheeses, pastries, homemade museli and yoghurt was all served on gorgeous mismatched china, including Zara home, Wedgewood and hand made pottery pieces. Multigrain and rye breads were served in mini wooden boxes. A giant glass jar of homemade museli  sat at the end of table. All glowing golden in soft candlelight, it looked like it was straight from the pages of an interiors magazine. We sat down to a  gloriously beautiful feast each morning. Breakfast at my work desk is just not the same!

The resident cat was a bit shy but would sit safely on the other side of the doors to the back garden and watch us drinking our coffee through the glass.

This is unfortunately the only shot I have of the amazing vintage wallpaper that was in our loft bedroom.

I couldn't resist adding another shot of the bath tub.

We had amazing perfect blue skies.

We spent many hours getting happily lost in the winding cobbled streets along the pretty canals, fuelled by the delicious breakfast and strong coffee at the Bread & Butter.

Always room for one more cake stand.

My big sister arrives for a visit next week.  All the way from New Zealand. This a very small selection of her very large collection of vintage depression glass cake stands. Obviously collecting stuff runs in the family.

I know we'll be doing lots of shopping, eating and drinking cocktails.  There'll be many visits to the V&A (where she worked for a little while) and Liberty for afternoon tea.  And I may have found a junk shop with a bit of a collection of cake stands just like these... how many do you think she might fit in her hand luggage back home?

See you soon Sarah. x