Lou Lou’s Gold

Hi there ladies and dandies,

Last Sunday, I attended Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair in Cardiff, and I’m back with some impressions, suggestions, prices, and a few examples of what you can find there.

As I said in a previous article, Lou Lou’s is completely different than your ordinary vintage fair. They don’t use the kilo system, it’s massive, and there are traders from all over the UK. You can actually register as a trader on their site, which I think is really cool. The diversity of products is amazing; you can find everything from stamps and vinyls – to accessories and vintage Burberry trench-coats. It’s worth mentioning that you’re not going to find only vintage items, but there are also little shops that sell new products.

The atmosphere was created by the girls from “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” singing in the background, while shoppers were roaming frantically. The light inside didn’t really help my photography, and because it was a very rainy day, the light coming from the windows was no good. Still, I’m happy I had the opportunity to get into the City Hall building, it is majestic. My first experience at Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair, in a sentence, would be – stylish people, old and new, treasure hunt, rainy day, delicious food and a desire to come back.

I didn’t have time to pamper myself with a retro hairstyle at the Lou Lou’s salon, but I took a short break for some exquisite carrot cake, and coffee served in vintage coffee cups you can probably find in your nan’s kitchen. (I always felt that anything tastes better in those cups). Overall, it was a nice experience, I’m satisfied with what I found, and I’m happy to come back to Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair.

For photographs of the event, click here!

I went there hoping to recreate one of Grace Kelly’s outfits from “Real Window”, but I couldn’t find anything similar. In all fairness, I picked the hardest task ever.

  • As you can see, I was a in a bit of a pink fever. I found a 50’s style top which I intend to wear with a pair of high waist skinny Levi’s. As for the dress, I was inspired by Emma Stone’s pink dress in Lala Land – I am pretty happy with this choice (both items purchased from Dogs & Daisies Vintage). Total = £20

  • This pair of shoes is the actual gold I found at Lou Lou’s. They’re real vintage shoes, from an 80’s Salvatore Ferragamo crocodile skin collection. In my defence, before you judge me for wearing crocs on my feet (pun intended), I want you to know that I had  no idea what I was purchasing. I only knew the designer, and that I was stunned by their excellent condition. I am sure that Marilyn Monroe didn’t feel bad wearing Salvatore Ferragamo shoes, and I don’t regret anything – they’re the comfiest shoes I’ve ever had, and they’re designed after the unique pattern of Ferragamo. Total = £6

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  • Blue is the warmest colour, or not, but it’s definitely one of my favourite colours. I bought this bright blue retro top from the Goldbrush Vintage Clothing. I think it’s 60’s inspired, but I recall seeing it a lot in the 80’s style as well. The trader was really nice, and gave us an offer we couldn’t refuse – the dark blue and dark grey summer shirts for £15. I have no idea what kind of prints I’m dealing with,  I can only see cave man drawings. Total = £23

  • A girls gotta do what a girls gotta do – especially when it comes to jewellery. I have never found a pearl necklace that looks so authentic, and this one was made in the 50’s. Its condition is impeccable, and I already have a ton of ideas for it. (since we’re in the age of the “choker”, I’m going to wear this royally).
  • The brooch pin is from the 60s and it’s gold plated. (it actually has this engraved on the back, but it’s too small to photograph – I need a macro lens). I got it for almost nothing, considering what it’s worth, and it makes me think of the Elven jewellery from Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings. Total = £25

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  • Finally, I had to feed the geek in me, and so I purchased these vintage pins. The airplane is from the Soviet Union time, and it has CCCP written on it – which is basically USSR in the cyrillic alphabet.
  • The little flower pin reminds of the Edelweiss, which is the national flower of Romania – so rare that is protected by law.
  • As for the triangle, I have no idea what’s portrayed in there, I think it’s written in Arabic. The reason I got it is because of the picture you see on it, it’s actually painted, which I find amazing.
  • The Wallace and Gromit one doesn’t need any explanation; I actually got it for Rowan, who’s a big childhood fan. Total = £4

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  • If you know me personally, then you know that my all-time favourite movie is “Empire Strikes Back”. 2 weeks ago I met Darth Vader – Dave Prowse, and when I found this “Look-In” magazine from 1980, I couldn’t say no. It has an exclusive interview with Dave + you can also see Mork & Mindy on the cover, which is the first gig ever for Robin Williams, which we all adore.
  • I have been a postcard collector for 3 years now, thanks to my friend Tomas Amaro, who is always sending me one from every one of his travels. So, when I bumped into a vintage postcard collection at Lou Lou’s, I was in heaven. I don’t know the artists unfortunately. Total = £4

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Thank you for stopping by, and hope to see you again!

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Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair 19/03

Hello ladies and gents,

I’m starting my new job for House of Fraser on the 1st of April, and I’m trying to fill the remaining time in a productive way, so you’ll probably hear from me excessively over the next 2 weeks. As you well know, I recently started to nurture my passion for all things vintage, and I’m happy to tell you about this upcoming event happening in Cardiff on the 19th March – Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair. This is my 3rd Vintage Fair in the last month and a half, and I’m really lucky to be getting the opportunity to work in this environment. I will be writing about my experience there, and I will provide you an insight into the biggest vintage fair in the UK. It really sounds overwhelming when you put it like that 🙂

A few days ago, I went exploring vintage shops in Cardiff, and I bumped into Sobeys Vintage Shop in the  Royal Arcade. I met a very lovely girl there who really knew her vintage. She told me about Lou Lou’s and what to expect, and also gave me a few tips about other events and boutiques happening in Cardiff. (She has now inspired me to start a real treasure hunt and expand to other areas – Bristol, here I come!). I will write about Sobeys as soon as I get my first pay-cheque, because I want to spend some serious money in there. (so clean and neat..yummm)

So far, I learnt that Lou Lou’s is not your regular vintage fair, and the system is a bit different than the ones I have encountered before. It’s definitely not a kilo sale, and it has independent traders from all over the country. They are making this experience different by collaborating with artists, creating an atmosphere by providing music, food and beverages. I am excited about trying some gluten free vegetarian pastry – yummm! Also, they will have a beauty salon, where you can get a vintage-inspired look. I don’t know prices yet, but I will let you know as soon as I get back.

From the reviews and photos I’ve seen on the site, I expect nothing but quality service. The first 2 vintage fairs I attended had the kilo sale system, which meant I could get 2 to 4 kilos without making a hole in the budget. (£15/kilo). I don’t yet know the prices for Lou Lou’s, but luckily, I got my pay-cheque from a film extra job I had in January. I am thinking to spend a maximum of £100 (including the treats). Somehow, I think it’s better because it makes me think more than twice about what I buy, and shuts the impulse buyer in me in a little golden cage.

‎So, as you know, every time I attend a vintage fair, I choose an iconic look to recreate. This time, my muse is Grace Kelly, who I feel in love with in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window”. I will never be able to pull a Grace Kelly, since that woman’s beauty was out of this world, but I will at least try to build her look. I am hoping to find something similar to her well known dress, which, I think, inspired the Christian Dior ‘Ligne Corolle’.
Grace Kelly (“Rear Window” dress)

I am realistic about this – there’s a chance I won’t find the dress I’m looking for, or I won’t afford it, so I’m going to choose as a back-up the mint green suit she wears in the same film. (this makes me think of another Hitchcock muse – Tippi Hedren – she wears a similar green costume in “The Birds”)

Grace Kelly (“Rear Window” Mint Costume)

Tippi Hedren (“The Birds” Mint Costume)

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Wish me luck and hope to see you there!

To sleep or not to sleep

Hi there my fellow insomniacs,

Today I attended a sleep workshop at the Central Library in Cardiff, organised by the National Centre for Mental Health. The reason for this was my bad sleep pattern, which I have been trying to change for ages, but can’t seem to succeed. I’m somewhat frustrated by the eternal dark circles around my eyes and the absence of vitamin D that comes with the territory, but I’m keeping my mood up and trying not to let the “mean reds” get me.

With the help of Katie Lewis, a researcher from the National Centre for Mental Health, and the main speaker of the event, I have learned and reinforced a lot of important tricks, which I’m now going to share with you:

  1. Try to eat every day at the same hours, and definitely no food for 4 hours before going to bed;
  2. In order to set your sleep clock, you have to compromise and wake up at the same hour every day. For example – if you wake up at 7am during the week, and chose to wake up at midday during the week-end, your sleeping pattern is going to suffer the equivalent of a five-hour jet lag;
  3. It has been proven that exercising helps a lot, but avoid doing it 2 hours before bed;
  4. Your bed is for sleep only. It’s important to transform your sleeping place into a sanctuary, a place where you feel relaxed and safe;
  5. When you can’t sleep, don’t waste your time in bed tossing and turning. Get up, go and read a book, or watch tv for 15 minutes and try to sleep again later;
  6. Write down whatever is on your mind when you go to bed, so you won’t worry or anticipate. This can be your general mood or thoughts, or errands for tomorrow;
  7. Avoid, as much possible, the blue light coming from your LED electronics (laptop/phone/tablet) – a few hours before going to bed, reduce the brightness, or download apps that get rid of the blue light;
  8. Try to block street lights/noises out as much as possible. Distance yourself from artificial light, and try to get as much natural light as you can during the day;
  9. Pets can easily disturb your sleep, so no matter how cute and fluffy they are, it’s better not to let them sleep next to you;
  10. Find the relaxing sleep routine that’s best for you: read a relaxing book, meditate, listen to chill music, watch something easy.

(It is worth noting at this point that these tips may not apply to everyone, but they are a good reference to try and tailor to your own individual sleeping cycles)

I’m now going to tell you what losing sleep did to my mind/body:

  • It made my skin look sickly and irritated;
  • My vision was constantly blurred, and I now have to change my glasses because they don’t help anymore – I also developed photosensitivity;
  • It made my hair fall off;
  • It affected my self esteem and made me lose confidence in my looks;
  • It made me hate the sun and avoid getting out of the house during the day time, unless completely necessary;
  • I lost my ability to focus on conversation, and I had the attention span of a goldfish;
  • I lost the drive to do anything that made me happy – hobbies, meeting up with friends, walks on the beach, etc;
  • It gave me irrational fears, panic attacks and anxiety;
  • Through all this, it made me feel very helpless and useless.

These are only a few of the things that my mind and body have gone, and still to this day go through, but I’m doing way better nowadays. I learnt that I’m not alone in this, and I’m slowly gaining control over my life – trying to befriend Morpheus and let him take me to dreamland every night.

Part of the workshop was a fun and engaging activity, where you answered questions about your own sleep cycles and habits, which then gave you a score out of 20. If you scored high, you were a lark, which tells you that your sleep patterns are and relaxed. If you scored low, you were an owl and in the middle, there was the hummingbird which can have tendencies from both. It seems that I am an owl and Rowan is a hummingbird. (no surprises there)

I think that going to this event is the start of something, and it really gives me hope that I can live a normal life. For now, I have to change my thyroid treatment because I developed an allergy to it, so fingers crossed!

For future events and general info, you can have a look on the National Centre for Mental Health website here 

Photo copyright Laura Iancu

Cardiff Film & Comic Con

Hey guys,

Last weekend I attended the Film & Comic Con event that took place in Cardiff at the Motorpoint Arena. It’s something I anticipated for a long time and I’m very excited to share my experience with you – along with a photo album of cosplayers.

A few weeks ago, I talked about how easy cosplay can be with a little bit of imagination, and this event was living proof of how a few ideas can transform something simple into a unique and inventive costume.

For me this event was all about Dave Prowse (the original Darth Vader). Since I haven’t been to a Con since The Force Awakens, I chose the Star Wars theme for my costume. At first, I wanted to create Leia’s white dress, but I realised that I wasn’t ready to look at myself in the mirror looking like someone who’s death I’m not over yet. Whenever I saw a classic Princess Leia, I turned around and walked on an opposite direction. (I promise you, I’m not insane).

I was on a budget, so I couldn’t go as far as creating a more complex look like Boba Fett or even Queen Amidala, so I picked Rey. (btw, I know the general opinion about Episode VII, but I think people are missing the fact that it has to be looked as a tribute to George Lucas. I will write an article about this soon). I adore Rey, she’s a very powerful character and I have high hopes when it comes to her development through the next films.

I started building my costume a few days before the event, and luckily I made friends with a woman who owns a costume shop not far from where I live. This is because she ordered the official Star Wars Rey costume for me and we got to talking afterwards. (You can find the costume online for 45, I payed 30). I knew from the start that it was going to be far from what I wanted. I mean, it’s pretty obvious considering the price, but it was a starting point for building on. I didn’t have time to do anything about the size, but I managed to modify it in a way that it didn’t look too baggy on me.

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The accessories provided with the costume looked pathetic, so if you think of ordering the costume, I suggest burning them and be inventive. If you’re not a professional cosplayer, you don’t want to spend a lot of money, so you have a look in charity shops. They’re wonderful for accessories and very cheap (I spent less than a fiver for 2 belts, a small bag and 2 white scarfs – which I used to complete my look). Also, I replaced the sleeves from the costume with actual bandages ( 1 pound from every pharmacy ).

If you want to do a Rey cosplay, it’s important to keep it real. For example, I used some grey and dark brown make-up on your costume, to make it look more realistic. (she’s from Jakku, working as a slave, which means she’s going to look a bit dirty). As for actual make-up, you will want to look tanned since you live in a desert, so go with some bronzer. The rest has to be all natural, maybe just a bit of mascara and you’re ready.

However, you can always follow the example of these guys below and think outside the box with your costume.

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Rey’s hairstyle is very simple (it took me less than 5 minutes to recreate) – section your hair in 3 and just tie them in buns. I didn’t want to make them very tight, so they loosened up a bit over a few hours, but I still rocked it.

…and because I knew I was going to be there for hours, I didn’t bother getting a weapon. Kinda regret it now.

I could speak about the event for pages, but I will just tell you why you should go to a Comic Con whenever you have the chance to:

  • THE PEOPLE – cosplayers or film&comic fans, you have the guarantee that you will meet the best crowd;
  • you have the chance to see and speak to the writers/actors/directors of your favourite series/books/films – I cried my ass off after hugging David Prowse;
  • you get to see/buy merchandise and collectibles at very reasonable prices;
  • you have access to the newest information, and you get to share opinions with people you have a lot of common interest with;
  • you get to meet and support local artists (illustrators, photographers, designers, etc);
  • you will experience waves and waves of happiness;
  • and last but not least, you are a rockstar for a day.

“It was my first ever Comic Con and I thoroughly enjoyed. I have always loved films, series, animes, comics and cartoons, but have always felt it a bit of a taboo getting in costume and walking out in public like that. Within minutes I was asked for a photo with Wolverine – and it didn’t stop there. You will see Kylo with a few unexpected friends in the photos, who he would never have met unless he went to a Comic Con.” – Rowan Edwards

I put together an album with cosplayers, for more photographs, click here!

Vintage Weigh & Pay – Review

Hi there ladies and gents,

As promised, I’m back with impressions from the Vintage Weigh & Pay event.

First of all, I will start by saying “always go for the early bird tickets”. Luckily, I was there at 9:30, so I could take photographs of the venue and the racks of clothing before the mayhem began, or else I wouldn’t have had time to shop. I did my shopping quickly and started to take photographs soon after the doors were open for the public.

I couldn’t believe the numbers. The queue was constantly forming outside and the flow was amazing. It was my first large vintage event, and I’m happy I was there as a photographer, because it offered me a complete perspective on such events. I think it’s amazing that they do a proper tour all over the UK, stay tuned!

At first, I thought that the lack of windows was going to be a problem, but I found out that it didn’t bother me at all in the end. They used the venue’s badass stage lighting, which actually helped a lot with my photography, and they definitely helped with seeing if the colours of the clothes were authentic. The staff was friendly and very helpful, and I met a lot of people with whom I shared the passion for anything vintage.

All the clothes, accessories and shoes were organised very logically, which made the overall shopping experience fairly easy. Everything was diverse, from size to style and fabrics, so no matter what you were looking for, there was a big chance you would find it at one of the Vintage Weigh & Pay events.

Rowan and I went there on different missions, but we both achieved what we wanted. It’s usually about the vintage designer clothes and recreating classic outfits, but this time I was a very impulse buyer, proof that you can find literally everything there.

We left the fair with almost 4 kilos, and we want some more!  I can only describe what we bought as an affordable fantasy (we both really like the rockstar look, and after seeing “Almost Famous”, we had our minds set on the Penny Lane coat). I’ll write a post with everything we got as soon as we can take them out for a spin in the sun.

For now, I’ll leave you with this slideshow with photographs I took at the event. Enjoy and hope to see you at one of the next vintage events – I will keep you posted!

For more photographs, click here!

Vintage Weigh & Pay 5/03

Hello miladies and gentlemen!

I am back to tell you about another vintage event, which I am literally counting the days for. I did my first vintage fair last week and it has awoken something in me. After doing some research, I bumped into the Cardiff Vintage Weigh & Pay, which takes place on the 5th of March at the Tramshed in Grangetown CF11 6QP. It’s the same principle as the Vintage Kilo Sale, but on a larger scale.

I am going to be photographing at the event, which will give me a deeper insight into the vintage fair concept. I will also be blogging about it as soon as I come back, so stay tuned!

You pay £15 for a kilo, so you can choose any combination from 6 TONES OF CLOTHES. Yes, you read it right! You need a big venue for such an event, and I’m happy they have chosen the Tramshed – a place I photographed before. It’s easy to get there, and there’s a lot of space to shop without bumping into each other. The only thing that I’m a bit bothered by is the lack of windows, but I suppose a fair of this proportion will need a building the size of a warehouse, and you can rarely find windows in a place like that.

As for tickets, you gotta hurry up, because they only let 600 people in per session.

It’s only £3.50 per person, and you can purchase it here.

As you know from my previous post, my goal is to find vintage designer clothes and recreate iconic looks. Last time, I recreated the Audrey Hepburn photograph, using a Ralph Lauren Oxford Shirt I found at the Vintage Kilo Sale.

This time, my main goal is to recreate some of this Jane Birkin looks:

  • A glittery floral print on a nice summers dress

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  • This american country girl look
  • A 70s short style dress with a pair of boots

Vintage Kilo Sale – Review

Hi there ladies and gents!

As promised, I’m back with an experience to share about my first Vintage Kilo Event. First of all, I would like to say that they gained a regular costumer in me. The atmosphere was chill, nice music in the background, friendly stuff, vintage passionates and natural light – coming from the huge windows of the Portland House building, which, in my opinion, was a wonderful choice. The stocks were replenished constantly, which made me stay until the end of the event. I actually saw this as a treasure hunt, and I’m really excited to come back. (I think the next one is in May, but I will keep you posted anyway)

I am amazed by how many things Rowan and I got 3 kilos, plus some other individual items. It may cause addiction, because we left there wanting some more. If you’re curious about what you can get in a kilo, I suggest you have a look on their FB page or follow their Insta, because they always post outfits they create with their items. (plus, you learn a thing or two about vintage, which is always a plus).

My main target was to find vintage designer clothes and recreate iconic looks. My inspiration were Audrey Hepurn and Edie Sedwick, and I managed to do a bit of both. I recreated this Audrey Hepburn photograph, using a Ralph Lauren Oxford Shirt I found at the Vintage Kilo Sale. It’s around £100 new, and because it was part of a kilo, it probably cost me a fiver.

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The first thing I found was a DVF wool sweater from last year’s collection. It was almost £200 new, and because it was part of a kilo, I payed maybe £5 for it. That’s what I call a bargain! Then, I found the polka dot GAP sweater below, which was £50 new, and a Ralph Lauren white hoodie from their Activewear collection (£100 on their site).


It’s worth mentioning that there was also an individual items room, where they sell reconditioned designer clothes and Converse shoes. Not sure if it’s part of the Vintage Kilo Sale Fair or independent traders. The prices start at £10 and go up to £40, but not everything is worth the price actually. Some of the stuff I wanted to buy, had stains or they just didn’t look that good. My advice would be to do a close inspection, no matter what you buy.

Still, I got 2 individual items in a wonderful condition, really well preserved – a Ralph Lauren sleeveless long shirt (£20), which I’m planning on wearing with a pair of Converse + and chavy a Ralph Lauren Polo T-shirt for Rowan (£15).


Click here for photographs from the event.

Shopping List:

  • DVF wool sweater + Ralph Lauren hoodie + GAP sweater = 1 kilo
  • A no name lumberjack wool shirt + a Fred Perry grunge style warm jacket = 1 kilo
  • The Ralph Lauren Oxford Shirt I wear in the Audrey photo + no name a pink glittery short party dress + a few silky scarfs = 1 kilo
  • Ralph Lauren sleeveless cardigan + Ralph Lauren Polo male shirt = £35

Total spent: £80

Total saved: more than £500

If you’re not convinced yet, go have a look for youself!

Thank you for stopping by,

Laura.