I found this panther-ized pot ages ago at the Salvation Army store in West Ealing. I loved the canny cat-erization of traditional tableware but I knew my new-found feline friend would one day wander. I bought her fully aware that I'd eventually acquire a pal who required this kitty's company far more than me. That pal is Brigitte, the young woman who founded a growing theatre company, Written Foundations CLICK HERE, and who's taken a shine to my theatrical writing. In late March at Hen & Chickens Pub Theatre in Islington, Brigitte and her crew will stage my play, Re:Tale, a quirky little drama about a corral of women who inhabit a local dress shop. I'm inspired by Brigitte's energy, courage and unabashed desire to make theatre. In addition to the stage, she's a passion for teapots so it was easy to pass this tabby on to her for Christmas. I've enjoyed brew cat's company but it's time for her to purr (and pour) elsewhere. In 2015 create a "gift kitty" - a collection of quality charity shop stuff but be sure to scatter the booty about your house for your own temporary enjoyment. Fab future gifts at your fingertips! Pussy pot kept me in the black at just £5.
Wednesday, 31 December 2014
Tuesday, 30 December 2014
I find my mates clever style sirens -- this, for example, from my friend and actress Alma Costa (follow her @alma_costa). Perfect project pre-NYE! Take it away Alma -
"If you don't have an unlimited budget it's easy to get the blues as the party season approaches. Shop windows are filled with beautiful, sparkly things, your inbox is stuffed with all the latest holiday fashions from all your favourite shops and as you do your best to find presents for your loved ones, it becomes an exercise in will power as you try to avoid the "one for me, one for you.." trick.
So I decided to quit sighing, take matters into my own hands and bring some sparkle into my wardrobe.
I got the idea from some fancy Jigsaw shoes CLICK HERE and applied it to a boring pair of black court shoes that needed updating.
All you need is some wood glue/PVA, glitter (make sure it's the finer type as the bigger type doesn't work as well) and a little bit of time.
Mask the bits of the shoe you don't want to cover in glitter, this is important because the stuff gets everywhere! Use masking tape for a better result, I didn't have any so my masking looks awful but it did the trick.
1. Lay some paper down to limit the mess.
2. Cover the heel in a layer of glue using a paint brush (the flatter the brush the better).
3. Shake that glitter all over the heel and don't be stingy! Any glitter that doesn't stick to the shoe will just end up on the paper and you can pour it back into the glitter pot, limiting waste. Make sure the whole heel looks covered.
4. Repeat point 3 once the first layer is dry.
5. Once the second layer is dry (I did this the following evening) cover the whole thing with one final layer of glue. It will look all white, but don't panic! It will dry clear and leave you with a gorgeous glittery heel.
Party heels sorted without BUYING another pair of shoes. Happy New Year to you!"
Monday, 29 December 2014
I found these 2 gorgeous handbags at the Avenue Vintage & Antiques Market in West Ealing near the Drayton Court pub & hotel. The top bag from Ferragamo is soft leather with a fabulous braided handle. In 1923 the young, talented Italian Salvatore Ferragamo bought out the Hollywood Boot Shop in Santa Barbara California. And the rest is history. The bottom bag is from Whiting & Davis CLICK HERE, an American company founded just outside Boston in 1876. By 1880 an errand boy, Charles A. Whiting had joined the company, quickly rising through the ranks.
In 1892 the boy Whiting would weave the company's first metal mesh bag, a fashion sensation that would make the firm's name. Among W&D's many stylish partnerships is their creation of mesh bags for Elsa Schiaparelli starting in 1937, their release of accessories inspired by Cleopatra starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in 1963 and the leather bomber Michael Jackson wore in 1983 in the video for Beat It that featured ring mesh in the shoulders. Today the company primarily makes jewellery - ensuring collectible status for its mesh bags. And indeed both bags came from a personal collection. The wonderful, chatty stallholder was selling off some of her obsession. I assured her these pretty purses were going to a good home. The two together cost only £55. I'm looking forward to visiting her stall again, the last Saturday in January. See you there?
Friday, 26 December 2014
I found these Art Deco style earrings at the Trinity Hospices charity shop in South Ken after a visit to the Horst Exhibit at the V&A CLICK HERE. The husband was feeling festive and suggested we pop into a few shops after the museum. These are a Christmas present for my sister-in-law, Suzie. She has short spiky cropped hair and wears wild earrings with aplomb. The bigger the better. I admire her earring courage - she dons daring danglers with confidence and style. I have resolved in 2015 to make earrings a part of my look more often and to that end, these sweeties.
Extra long, and showing a bit of age, this vintage head candy will spill out of from under my dark brown bob beautifully. While they've a summertime vibe, I'm determined to make them work with a cold climate outfit. Thoughts? The Art Deco earrings were a fiver and the strings of sugared peanuts were £3. Yum.
Thursday, 25 December 2014
I found this jolly gent among a load of lovely presents from my dad and step-mom. My pop paints these little guys and gives them to friends and family throughout the festive season. Dad re-purposes bent back, 2nd-hand cheese spoons, known for their swirly edging, transforming them into smiling Santa mugs. Hey, thanks Father Christmas --
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
from Huntress London!
Wednesday, 24 December 2014
Recently I found I'd a collection of small purses. Without trying, I'd stockpiled a stylish selection of wee bags and puny pouches. Most of them have been gifts, and of course the rest I've picked up on my weekly stops at charity shops. This anthology of items tell a story, the continuing and very personal tale of birthdays celebrated and holidays with loved ones, exotic travels abroad and friends well-remembered but far away. The latest addition is a Georgian pocket mirror found at the Avenue Vintage & Antiques Market on a day out with my husband that saw us kick off the holiday season together with mulled wine and bacon baps. Silky and in remarkable condition considering its age (the purse & husband), this old bag adds gravitas to my tiny tote assortment. Like family photos, these small style icons serve as reminders of life's lovelier moments. My mint-condition mirror was just £3. Not surprising, I'm feeling reflective on this Christmas Eve.
Happy Holidays Hunters!
Tuesday, 23 December 2014
I met my friend Susan about 5 years ago at The National Theatre. Today it feels like we've known each other forever - she is a 2nd-hand style siren and I her student. Among the many stories of her life that she's quietly recalled in my company, my favourite remains her foray into dress design in the 1980s. She has more than once said, "I thought, 'well I could buy a flat in London or go on holiday to Venice.' Of course I went to Venice and when I returned, started making dresses." She shrugs her slight shoulders as if to indicate she really had no choice in the matter. Ultimately her designs were featured in Elle magazine, as well as daily newspaper style sections but sadly sales didn't follow. She's kept these fabulous frocks; fixtures in her flat that occupy large perspex boxes. Rolled up lovingly, they peer out, safe if not a little smashed. Enjoy these photos of Susan some 30 years ago wearing several of the dresses, as well as the original drawings she made of her creations. I find all of them and Susan, enchanting.
Monday, 22 December 2014
I found this huge old but perfect chocolate box at the Avenue Vintage & Antiques Market in West Ealing. A 2nd-hand Saturday sale featuring 10 to 12 stalls, it's full of fabulous, lightly loved fashions and furnishings. This is a real community-led event that offers as much chit chat as brica-braca. I snapped up my flowery box unsure of how I'd use it but certain it could bloom somewhere in my home. And it has.
It's now serving as an effective and pretty make-up tray. I've housed my slap in everything from shoe boxes to cut glass bowls, but never found a convenient and attractive way to corral my cosmetics. Until now. This flat box keeps all items on show and within easy reach - no more digging around for an elusive lippy or unseen eye shadow. Sweet! My bon bon box was just £3. Even sweeter.
Friday, 19 December 2014
I found these leather lips at the Children's Society charity shop on Pitshanger Lane, Ealing. This is the kind of American find (relocated) that puts a smile on my face. It's a lovely 'box' from the high-end Yankee department store Neiman Marcus. NM was founded in Dallas in 1907. A retailing innovator, in 1928 Nemain sold French ties and English shirtings, items rarely found outside NYC and in the 30s it placed ads in Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, the first American shop outside the Big Apple to be so audacious. While its flagship in Texas was not once but twice destroyed by fire in 1913 and 1964, the company continued to expand. Today Neimans can be found in numerous American cities but they didn't actually build their first store outside Texas until 1971.
In 1982, the Dallas store was granted historical status and it is indeed a beautiful building, a merchandising museum of sorts. NM has a reputation for exceptional customer service and while I haven't shopped there in years, I'm thrilled to get hold of this first class kisser. It was a jaw-dropping £3.49.
Thursday, 18 December 2014
I found this little curiosity at the Avenue Vintage Fair & Antiques Market last weekend (CLICK HERE). If you live in West London, I can't urge you enough to visit this lovely, low key 2nd-buyers' bonanza. Located outside the shops around The Drayton Court, an Ealing institution, you're sure to find a pre-owned pleasure that piques your interest. La Semaine de Suzette was a children's magazine founded by Henri Gautier in 1905 after the Church had separated from the State. The aim was to entertain children, in particular young girls, while instilling morality and charity. Girls living abroad, often the daughters of doctors, engineers and diplomats, read the magazine in an effort to improve their French. It published for 55 years, only taking a break during the war.
This velvet & leatherette circle is in fact a handbag mirror, the sort of promotional item a newsagent gave to the girl who bought the magazine in an effort to keep her custom. Today glossy fashion magazines are often accompanied by complimentary cosmetics tucked inside soulless plastic sleeves. While modern freebies can be enticing, none are as tempting as this tiny, shiny, beveled luxury. I'm thrilled to be giving it to my fashionable friend Susan for Christmas. She speaks impeccable French and perpetually inspires my style eye. On reflection this all around wonder was a steal at just £10.
Avenue Vintage & Antiques Market is usually the last
Saturday of the month thru March CLICK HERE
(the Dec market was held earlier)
Wednesday, 17 December 2014
I found these Gap khaki trousers at the Scope Charity shop in Wimbledon. Two things I find wildly frustrating: styling khaki trousers and dressing for a long haul flight. While I consider myself a creative, fearless and problem solving stylist, if I start an outfit off with khaki trousers, I always end up resembling a UPS delivery man. United Parcel Service advertisements once asked "What can brown do for you?" Nothing man, I just can't do tan! And when jetting to America, I'm burdened with one gnawing thought. What will I wear? I've tried donning a dress on an international flight but found the loose frock gradually morphed into maternity gear. I worried non-stop that someone on my travels would ask me when I was due. So trousers then? Right. I don't do leggings (ever) or trackie bottoms (outside the gym). What about jeans then? No, thank you. A waistband embedded and reprinted on my skin leaves me feeling like a branded cow. Wool trews? Linen slacks? No, no, no, I need all weather bottoms. Who knew delivery man chic would solve my flight plight? These floral khakis are out-of-this-world but easily paired with a cotton jumper or denim shirt. They're soft, loose but close cut, with no killer denim rivets and wearable in varied weather conditions. BA? It's Huntress, I'm ready to depart! These packable pants were just £8.99.
Tuesday, 16 December 2014
I find beauty products wildly enticing but often disappointing, not to mention expensive. I've 5 cheap and cheerful winners - one that I even picked up recently in a charity shop.
DRY BRUSHING - This a time-honored way of exfoliating. An invigorating way to start the day, you'll experience increased circulation and smoother skin. Body brushes are widely available and far more economical than jars of goopy, gritty exfoliating products. Dry brush your pins before shaving for super smooth, glowing limbs.
PALMERS COCO BUTTER - A luscious cream that comes in any number of formulations, I prefer the super concentrated stuff. Palmers does what it claims and smells like a Butter Fingers candy bar, a favourite sweet that I stock up on when visiting the ole' USA.
L'OCCITANE SOAP - When did soap become retro? When over-perfumed, wasteful shower gels hit the market. Nothing makes me smile in the shower more than a newly unwrapped cake of bubbles. I stock up on preferred brands - L'Occitane and Claus Porto - when I find them on sale. Soap lasts and lasts, making it highly economical. The 2 tiny brand new bars here were actually found in the Cat Charity Shop on Pitshanger Lane in Ealing for 50p. Talk about pre-owned pleasures!
FLORIDA WATER - This 19th century invention was made for men and women, so its scent is spicy, citrus and fresh. It's what was once referred to as an After-Bath-Splash, and is particularly refreshing in summer after being cooled in the fridge. The name refers to the fabled Fountain of Youth said to be located in Florida. I found this at the Ealing AfroEuro Hair & Beauty Shop at 209 Uxbridge Road (available on Ebay and Amazon too).
HOLLYWOOD FASHION TAPE - These double-sided pre-cut strips do one thing really well. That bra-revealing gap in your button-up shirt? This keeps it closed, letting your shirt lay against your bosom flat and happy. I buy loads when I'm in the US but it's easily located online too.
Monday, 15 December 2014
I wish I could claim I found this necklace washed up in the beach. In fact, I found it in the seaside town of Deal on the Kent Coast. And it's indeed one of my favourite places for a great deal of fun and relaxation. From the Astor Theatre CLICK HERE to The Royal CLICK HERE, from The Ship CLICK HERE to The Sarecans Head CLICK HERE, from the 2nd-hand shops in the Old Town to The Fox & Spindle CLICK HERE where I bought a huge hand-knitted scarlet scarf, Deal may be small but it's sensational. The Pier offers lovely views and both Deal and nearby Walmer Castles reveal the area's naval history.
On our last visit we stayed at Dunkerleys CLICK HERE, a friendly, family-run hotel on the seafront that was comfortable and spotlessly clean. But the highlight of the weekend - Harriet's of Deal CLICK HERE. Quite simply the best tea room I've ever been in. The banana cake rivaled my grandma's. I found this old necklace at a house clearance business on Sondes Road - it sat on a huge piece of brown furniture, that sat among dozens of pieces of huge brown furniture. Don't let furniture put you off. House clearances often include boxes, drawers and bags of old, forgotten bits of chic 2nd-hand, but you've got to be in it to win it. So go inside and LOOK. These white-washed hand-knotted glass beads were £15.
Friday, 12 December 2014
I found these little scarves at the Avenue Vintage & Antiques Market, near West Ealing Station and the Drayton Court. They'll serve as perfect pressies for friends on my Christmas gift giving list. The selling spree where I found them is a welcome addition to the area's 2nd-hand scene - a vast variety of pre-owned items, friendly traders, situated on a lovely street. What's not to like? Generally held on the last Saturday of the month, the Christmas sale celebration is TOMORROW, Saturday 13 December, from 9am. The scarves were a fiver, but all the fun is free of charge!
Thursday, 11 December 2014
I found this Breton pullover at the Trinity Hospice charity shop in Putney. This work shirt turned style staple, thanks to Coco Channel, has been worn by everyone from F. Scott Fitzgerald to James Dean, from Audrey Hepburn to Patti Smith. This one is made by Hublot, an elusive brand in fact. It's the name of a high-end watch manufacturer, but this Hublot garment doesn't seem at all connected to the tickers. Never mind, it's a quality item. Bretons are now ubiquitous, every Tom, Primark & Harry are cranking out cheap stripy tees. The heavy fabric, classic cut and creamy colour makes THIS one a classic keeper, as well as an example of quickie chic shopping. When I'm pressed for time but can't resist the charms of a charity shop, I narrow my search. First I scan the rails for Breton strips and denim shirts, both versatile wardrobe heroes for me. Then I quickly peruse the shoes, only looking for my size. Quick step and go! Finally, I eye the spines of 2nd-hand books on offer in search of fashion reads. That's it, I'm out. Sure, there may be other pre-owned pleasures I've missed, but when time is of the essence I edit my hunt to a few fab faves. This sea-worthy shirt, spotted and striped, was just 3 quid.
You've only got 10 minutes. What 3 items would you
look for in a compellingly well-stock charity shop?
Wednesday, 10 December 2014
I found Women in Clothes on the 2nd-hand book-seller tables under Waterloo Bridge. This newly-released title was top of my Christmas wish list, but no more. I generally have a quickie peak at vast array of used books on offer outside the British Film Institute on my way into The National Theatre where I work. It's a reader's treasure trove but new titles are not the norm. Women in Clothes claims to be "a book unlike any other. It is essentially a conversation among women...on the subject of clothing..."
"The volume contains hundreds of stories, which is why it’s not the kind of book you’ll read straight through but is perfect for flipping around in late at night in the tub, or for giving as a gift with certain parts marked." - The New York TimesJust my style, and perfect for getting into over the holidays. I was thrilled and a little surprised to find it among the battered covers under the Bridge. And not 100 yards away, Women in Clothes is being sold in The National Theatre's Book Shop (good for them) for £24. Always write and update a mental list of things you'd like to find. Do so, and luck will follow your second-hand searching. I bagged this brand new title for a fiver.
Tuesday, 9 December 2014
Dear Tatty Devine
I found this single swallow at the Scope charity shop across the road from the Highgate tube station in North London. Only one? Aren't these sold in pairs? I've wanted a TD piece for ages, so one will do! Forgive me for taking a flyer on this pre-owned pretty, will you?
I know your founders Rosie Wolfenden and Harriet Vine were rightfully honoured with MBEs last year. They inspire me skyward when I consider their humble beginnings at Spitalfields and Portabello markets. Chelsea College of Art must be proud as a peacock - it's where the ladies both earned degrees in Fine Arts.
You make such quirky, outrageous, witty statements via your jewellery. Okay - I feel guilty for bagging this Tatty tweeter for such a knock down price but someone had to give her a good home, right? Look, since I caught this fine feathered friend for just 3 quid (yes, 3!), I vow to ask for a full-priced Tatty Devine for Christmas (CLICK HERE). Oh my, I never buy retail! But Santa does - of course.
PS - This was my lucky day! Wonder what's waiting to be found in your local charity shop?
For brooch styling ideas see Huntress London
on Oxfam Fashion's Blog CLICK HERE
Monday, 8 December 2014
I found this silk chiffon scarf at the Fara Charity shop near Turnham Green station in Chiswick. Silk + 2nd-hand + Stylish = Buy! It's a soft colour that flatters the skin, mine and many others, so while I wasn't sure if it would be added to my personal scarf collection or gifted to a lucky friend, I knew it was coming home with me. I don't advocate buying for buying's sake, but being a confident shopper is key. Ask yourself, can I imagine at least two ways to wear this quality piece of clothing? Excellent, next question. Would it make a gift I'd be proud to give? Yes, then move toward the till. Finally, is it priced up at less than a cup of coffee? Indeed, this silk stunner was £1.80. Wear your buying decisions as confidently as you wear your favourite accessory. Be bold, be stylish.
See Huntress London's latest Oxfam Fashion Post CLICK HERE
Sunday, 7 December 2014
I find jewellery the most personal of style items. Given as a gift or handed-down, it becomes increasingly meaningful, taking on more significance as it shines throughout the important days of the wearer's life. So jewellery created in small batches or as one-offs, by an emerging designer, is quite simply contemporary gold dust waiting to wrap itself round our memories. Design debutante Katherine Hitchcock credits her mum for inspiring her jewellery brand, WildKat, and tips her hat to Dolly Parton, Salvador Dali and Top Girls.
What inspires the vibe of your work?
I would definitely have to say travel, I love seeing how jewellery varies across the globe. I am particularly inspired by Native Americans. I love their use of colour, geometry and beadwork.
Favourite Music? Painting? Play?
This is the point where I could ramble on forever. I love 70s and 80s music. My parents listened to Marvin Gaye, Fleetwood Mac, Peter Gabriel and Hall and Oates to name a few and it used to drive me mad, but now I love it, it’s full of nostalgia.
As for paintings, I love Dali and my favourite is - get this for a title - Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening. It’s the painting with tigers and an elephant with stilt-like legs. Dali's paintings are so bonkers, what’s not to like?
My favourite play would have to be Top Girls by Caryl Churchill.
If you could have 3 women (dead or alive) round for dinner, who would you invite?
Well I would have to invite my mum as it would be rude not to, especially if I was going to invite Meryl Streep as we both love her. Dolly Parton would have to be there as she has a wicked sense of humour and the voice of an angel, and I'd probably throw in Joan Rivers for good measure.
How does your mum effect or inspire your work?
My mum is a huge influence on my work. She worked as an air stewardess before becoming an interior designer so our house has a very eclectic feel. She is never afraid to use colour and is always mixing old with new.
Is there a piece of pricey jewellery you'd like to own?
Oh sure! There is a whole shop of it on Portobello road called Jessie Western CLICK HERE. They specialize in Native American jewellery and the shop is stacked to the roof with pretty things.
If you weren't expressing yourself through jewellery, what would you be doing instead?
I would love to work on films as a set painter or prop maker.
What next for your brand?
More new pieces, I believe it’s important to keep evolving. I have recently released some more modern pieces, but they still incorporate my favourite material, leather, which can be seen throughout my work. I’m also continuously looking for inspiration so perhaps a cheeky little trip to Europe next!
To see more of Kat's jewellery online CLICK HERE
Friday, 5 December 2014
You hide behind cosmetic eyes,
Kiss them off with lipstick lies -
Pat BenatarMAC wasn’t the Big Department Store mainstay it is now. In those days, I could try on lipsticks with abandon, there was no MAC counter mob scrambling to get at the luscious lippy samples. While I’ve changed shades, moving from New York Apple to Ruby Woo, MAC’s super-charged Reds have stood guard in my makeup bag ever since. I left Cleveland in 1997 and moved to Africa, then on to Washington DC, to London, LA and back to London, all the while a MAC lipstick tube in tow. Peg your style tent with a few constants and daily dressing will be like coming home.
What are your fashion forevers?
Tags: stylish state of mind
Thursday, 4 December 2014
I find wrapping Christmas gifts oddly satisfying but crazy expensive. You can easily spend more on the packaging than the present. This season beautiful buttons are adding graphic spark and texture to my holiday boxes. Whether accumulated from clothing or bought in charity shops, buttons are easy-peasy, cheap as chips package toppers.
From your local charity shop scoop up old maps, sheet music and vintage magazines - it all makes for effective but inexpensive wrapping paper that can uniquely personalize a pressie. Be sure to save the coloured tissue paper often found wrapped round make-up and skincare products bought online. And I hang on to countless short pieces of ribbon, too small to tie in a bow round a box but perfect as "button bands."
Other creative coverings? A green Oxfam bag makes a festive holiday wrapper and I even pressed a piece of wax paper that covered a blood orange into service. Start collecting buttons, bits and bobs for your cheap and crafty Christmas presentations.
Wednesday, 3 December 2014
I found the Oxfam Chiswick Boutique on sparkling form when I popped in to preview their pre-owned pretties last week. If you're not sure, their Christmas Late Night Sale Celebration is TOMORROW, 5-9pm. Here, on the left, sequins a la Krystle Carrington, Dynasty style (£90). On the right, my personal favourite - Made in Hong Kong - elegant encrusted 60s sheath. It's a wool dress with the most spectacular embellishment I've ever seen (£250, and worth every penny). If you only go to the sale to see this frock, you won't regret it.
From one dynasty to another, pink pumps that are satin stunners. These Alexander McQueen sky-high heels (£60) are simply outrageous. They aren't perfect, to be sure they show some real wear and tear but honestly that's what makes them more than just a pair of trashy heels. McQueen's muse, Isabella Blow, was well known for abusing her high-end heels, wearing them on London's cobbles with destructive results. If Issy could do it, so can you! Huntress is a firm believer in a little bit of Damaged Goodness (CLICK HERE). See you at the sale --
Oxfam Boutique Chiswick Sale Night
Thursday, 4 December, 5-9pm
Tuesday, 2 December 2014
Giving Christmas presents to pals is a pleasure when I find holiday offerings I know my mates will enjoy. And with THIS clever pressie combo I think I've hit on a winter winner. I'm going to scoop up second-hand fashion books at my local charity shops (see Huntress on Stylish Reads, CLICK HERE). I'll buy up a bunch, they're often less than a fiver. Next, I'll collect a cache of 2nd-hand scarves, also easy charity shop pickings.