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