Friday, 4 April 2014

It's Been a While...

So… I've totally lost my blogging mojo this year but I've still been pretty busy with events, exhibitions, making and planning things and hunting out vintage and knick knacks to add to my collection. I've mostly been sticking to Instagram as my social media of choice, so there's more pics and whatnot on there.

We've been hard at work on our upcoming vintage fashion exhibition, opening this Summer in Worcester. There's more details about this and more blogging to come at

In the meantime I've three upcoming events starting this Sunday. This weekend it's The Worcester Flea which seems to come round so quick! There will be lots of lovely vintage and collectables, handmade and upcycled items on offer. We'll be at CrownGate Market from 10.30am to 4.30pm. There's more info on the traders on the Facebook page HERE.

Next Saturday 12th April is the first Worcester Flea in Malvern, which is taking place on Abbey Road in the centre of Malvern, inside a large, open marquee. More vintage and handmade loveliness there!

Following that on Sunday 13th, the Worcester Vintage Cycling Club will be having their first ride of the year. Fingers crossed we won't experience any April showers! Really looking forward to getting back out on my bike and have more WVCC adventures planned for the Summer!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Flood, Flea and Fair!

As you may have seen on the news, Worcester has been experiencing some exceptionally floody conditions along with other parts of the country! The river Severn burst its banks reaching record levels the last week, with lots of closed roads and bridges.

Here's some pics Chris took while on a bike ride:

Flood sign in front of Racecourse gates.
Flooded roads

Huge debris build up at the bridge. You can usually get boats under the arches
which gives you a bit of an idea of how high it is!

The river should actually be somewhere behind the buildings on the left!

Luckily a few week's ago just before the river levels went nuts, we managed to have a miraculously dry and sunny day at the first Worcester Flea of 2014! 

It was such a stroke of luck which brought out some great traders and lots of customers out for a mooch in the sunshine. Lots more pics from the day in the Facebook album here.

I only made one purchase myself on the day, which was pretty restrained considering all the goodies I was surrounded by, but I couldn't resist this plaid/check wool jacket with a bit of a 50s feel, only more modern. It was only £10 and I've already worn it lots, so definitely a good purchase.

Following the successful return of our indoor vintage fairs at the end of November, I was asked by a few stallholders to organise another date, so the next one will be on Saturday 8th March at Worcester Museum and Art Gallery again, on Foregate Street. Less than five minutes from Foregate Street station if anyone fancies a visit! Free entry too and there's a nice cafe upstairs on the Balcony.

This year the Worcester Flea has been invited to trade in the lovely nearby town of Malvern. We'll be taking up residence on Abbey Road on Saturday 12th April and Saturday 7th June under a marquee. There will be 20 stalls of quality vintage, antique and handmade goodies galore, so really looking forward to that!

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Vintage Gadgets Restoration TV Show

I was emailed by a TV production company looking for people with vintage gadgets needing restoration to get in touch. Just passing on the info!

‘We’re on the hunt for ‘Old Tech’ ... Do you have a vintage gadget that you just can’t bear to throw out? A much loved classic that needs to be serviced, repaired or returned to its former glory?

As part of a new Television series we’re looking for items that our expert can fix up, restore or simply marvel at the remarkable mechanic of a design classic.

So get in touch giving details of your vintage items – anything from food mixers & vacuums to vintage cars & old lawn mowers – and let’s celebrate how great the old stuff was! Get in touch at:

Sewing Machine · Gramophone · Teasmade · Hairdryer · Vacuums · Electric Hand Whisk · Folding Bike · Camera · Record Player · Hand Crank Organ · Typewriter · Crank Phone · Pre-War Radios · Juke Box · Lawn Mower · Telescope · Sit under Hairdryer · Prams · Televisions · Food mixer · Bike and Sidecar · Retro Popcorn Machines · Radiograms · 
Gum Ball Machine · Washing Machine · Scales · Cuckoo Clock · 1964 Jaguar Etype Coupe · Concertina


Saturday, 25 January 2014

Knit For Victory - Finished Projects

As previously blogged, despite my lack of knitting skills I decided I'd join in the Knit For Victory knit along organized by the lovely Tasha of By Gum By Golly.

I kept my Knit For Victory projects simple and achievable as I knew that if I was working to a deadline they would need to be something I'd have a hope in finishing, being such a slow knitter prone to silly mistakes!

Here's my two finished pieces:

The Turban in a soft, green Rowan 4ply. The pattern was from the lovely 1940s Style for You blog.

The second project was a 1940s snood from Modern Knitting Illustrated, published by Odhams. It's also online via The Vintage Pattern Files here. Although a simple pattern of four repeated rows, it still caught me out a few times and I kept ending up with too many stitches, so I ended up starting this twice! I finished it a tiny bit shorter than the pattern to fit my own hair length as there's nothing worse than a baggy, half empty snood!

I had hoped to do a third project in the time and did start two others but my lack of concentration got the better of me! The first project which was meant to be moss stitch became a mix of ribbing and moss stitch, and the second one I tried which was meant to be knit one, purl one ribbing ended up the same sorry mix of that and moss stitch, so I've got to retry those at some point! 

Although I'm never very happy with my knitting, as despite my best efforts I never seem to make much progress, I am pleased I managed to finish two things in the time.  I've really enjoyed being part of the knit along and seeing what everyone else has been getting up to. Visit the Flickr group page HERE to see what proper knitters can do!

Monday, 13 January 2014

A Visit to Bath

Last Sunday my Mum and I had a little jaunt to Bath with a stop over, so we could leisurely take in the sights.

We went on the Sunday so I could visit the Bath Vintage and Antiques Fair.  It's held undercover at Green Park Station, which was lucky for us with all the rain we were having, but unlucky for us on that day as there were hardly any traders! Perhaps it was a bit too close to Christmas and New Year  and traders were still away or busy - one of the reasons I don't start the Worcester Flea until February. Hey Ho! There were still some nice antiques and collectables on offer and the venue itself was great, but sadly nothing caught my eye enough to want take home with me.

Bath Vintage & Antiques Fair -
somehow only managed to take one blurry photo oops!
Our hotel offered a lovely afternoon tea with a selection of sandwiches and scones, so after a good mooch round the market and getting our bearings round the town, we went back to the hotel to 'take tea' in a very civilised fashion. I realised that this was the first time I'd ever had a posh afternoon tea served on a proper cake plate etc so was quite taken with the whole business!

Tea for Two at The Abbey Hotel

Over the two days we were in Bath we crammed as much as we could in and managed to visit all the main tourist spots and have a good look round the shops. Obviously we had to visit the famous, fantastic Roman Baths, which were so interesting! We went just as it was starting to get dark which made it look even more spectacular and atmospheric with the torches burning around the main pool. It's hard to get your head round just how ancient the site is!

The Roman Baths with the Abbey
looming large in the background

Mum taking some pics! 

The next day we went from Roman to Regency and visited the Assembly Rooms, which also houses the Fashion Museum:

The outside of The Assembly Rooms

It was changeover week for the Fashion Museum so not all of it was open, but that meant it was only £2.50 entry fee to both the museum and Assembly rooms and there were still plenty of vintage dresses to ogle. 

I quite liked how the eras were mixed up in some displays and arranged by colour or theme:

Black dresses throughout the ages, excuse the poor quality photo!

I would love to own a WWII Siren Suit and they had one in the museum display, but its styling here made it look strangely, really 80s! The corkscrew perm hair and 80s-look mannequin were the main culprits I think!

Handmade Siren Suit left

I absolutely loved this green 1930s/40s dress with a shooting star print - want!! It was really hard to get clear photos in the dim lighting through the glass, but I had a bash!

The Regency Assembly Rooms were definitely worth a peer round too, with the vast ceilings and humongous chandeliers. You could really envisage Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy taking a twirl around these highly polished floors!

From the Assembly Rooms we walked up to the famous Royal Crescent. It was super impressive with a lovely view of a private park in front and hills beyond. We couldn't help wondering how they manage to get the residents to move all their cars when they film period dramas!

All in all a super, short trip away to a gem of an English city and it was really nice spending time mooching about with my lovely Mum, thanks Mum!

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Learning to Lindyhop!

The last few weeks of December saw me break out of my carefully constructed comfort zone and do something I've aways wanted to do but didn't have the nerve - join a Lindyhop class.

I love 1930s/40s big bands and fancied being able to do more than just tap my toes along to the music, so after a chance meeting with Claire the instructor on the last Vintage Cycling Club ride, I took the plunge and went along to her new class.

Most people who know me can't quite believe I went, as only a few years ago dancing in front of other people and actually with people would have been like torture for me! I somehow managed to quash my natural introverted instincts however and found myself actually enjoying it, fancy that! It's a really small, friendly group of all ages with no dancing experience like myself, so everyone was in the same boat, which was a big help!

Just before Christmas the Lindyhop class (which is held at the Brunswick Arms in St Johns, Worcester) held a Christmas party following the class. It was open to anyone who fancied joining us for a dance to big band tunes. We'd only had four lessons by this point but had been taught a very basic routine that we could do to different songs and different speeds (Glenn Miller, Andrews Sisters etc) so we were ready to put our new skills to the test!

This was my party hair do for the evening:

As most of the other members of the class are new to vintage clothing, I lent my own stash of 40s-look dresses I've used for fashion shows etc before, and lent a hand with hair styling! I was left with my trusty 1940s evening dress to wear which wasn't quite the right look, but the skirt is perfectly flared for lindyhopping, so I dressed it down with white accessories and knitwear.

Here's the whole gang, all ladies, so just as in wartime there's a distinct shortage of chaps to dance with!

The upstairs of the pub where the class is held was decorated with flags and bunting to set the scene as we lindyhopped the evening away!

The class has just started again after the Christmas break and we're learning all new steps for a new challenge for the new year.

Joining the class has definitely inspired me to do more things that I want to do, but thought I never could/would, so that's my main resolution for 2014: be bolder, what's the worst that could happen?!

Sunday, 29 December 2013


Christmas chez Bourke is a deliberately low key but thoroughly enjoyable affair. We always look forward to our nice, quiet Christmas day at home, with our own little traditions and our veggie Christmas roast!

This year I decided to give homemade shortbread biscuits to family and friends as presents. I made over 100 in all, including wheat free and vegan versions as well as traditional all butter, and all half covered in dark chocolate. I packaged them up nicely in posh little bags and happily they went down a treat with everyone, so that was great!

shortbread in progress

I had some really lovely vintage treasures from fam and friends, so thought I'd do the obligatory Christmas presents blog post!

I had some gorgeous brooches:

A book of WWI and WWII British home front posters, the pages are perforated so they can be removed and framed which is a nice idea:

'Betty's Paper' women's magazine from 1940. I've already read the 'gripping novel' inside - it was a classic, wartime melodrama in which happily, all turned out well in the end!

I had two fantastic vintage scarves, these will be great for turbans!

An amazing hat, hand knitted from an original, 1930s pattern - can't wait for a reason to dress up and wear this!

A biography of The Great Gatsby which I'm looking forward to getting stuck into!

And last but by no means least, two fantastic knitting and sewing books with everything I need to know to improve my skills. I'm looking forward to starting some new projects in 2014 with the help of these super books!

Hope you had a lovely Christmas too!