The Candy Files: Flea Market School Special

What's hot, what's not and what's what at my place. This week:

House Candy = Flea Market Wins

You may have noticed I've been bossing my flea market game of late? In actual fact it's been a few year's in the making, this finely tuned skill I have developed, whereby I can loot a second hand market in 15 minutes flat, returning with *mostly* covetable house candy.

Drawers, pink vase and mirrors are just a few of my "vintage" flea market trophies.

Drawers, pink vase and mirrors are just a few of my "vintage" flea market trophies.

I am in fact a self made Flea Market Pro and I don't mind sharing a few tips with you right here. 

1) Go with as much cash as you are willing to spend and nothing else. Do not be tempted to take a debit card and draw out more from the nearby cash machine. If you can't afford it, walk away. 

2) Go with an open mind. If you are looking for an old butler's sink, I can promise you that you will find everything BUT the kitchen sink come market day. Three week's later when you've sourced one near enough to the one you want on Ebay and travelled to Berwick on Tweed for it, that's when the exact mother f**ker - the sink of your freakin' vintage dreams will turn up at the local market.  So to avoid this disappointment and the associated expletives, be open to whatever treasures fate has put in your way that particular day. This week it was peacocks.

That day Peacocks were trending at the flea market

That day Peacocks were trending at the flea market

3) Don't lose out over a quid. Ok so this kind of contradicts point one above, but I have seen it happen where a trader wants £6 for a lovely old vase that has quite clearly delighted a punter. The potential buyer caresses it, they turn it upside down, frown a bit for effect and offer £4 because, of course, most market shoppers come to barter.

"Best I can do is £5", says the trader who incidentally has been there since 6am and is just trying to make a living by way of a dirty, smelly house clearance.

"Pah! says the punter, you're having a laugh!" And walks away.

And yet no one is laughing, least of all me, who has mild anxiety and promptly offers full price for the beautiful vintage vase, which SURELY will bring six quids worth of joy?

On the other hand, traders aren't dumb. When they look you up and down before giving you a price that's above what's worth arguing over, barter the hell out of 'em. That's not playing nice. See point 4) below.

4) Go in your scruffs. Look poor as a beggar boy/girl if you can and drop the posh accent. Mind your ps and qs tho. There's no excuse for bad manners is there? 

5) Pack your bags. There is no worse feeling than skipping home with the 1950s coffee jug you've been watching on Ebay and getting it home to find the lid got cracked in transit. A good market trader will wrap valuable breakables in newspaper but those sturdy supermarket shopping bags with a flat bottom?... they are arm candy for the savvy salvage hunter.

Above all, when it comes to vintage/flea market shopping, remember what my mentor Sarah Moore off of Money For Nothing just tweeted after congratulating me on the sofa scoop below. Sarah says (and Sarah knows); "You only get one chance with a one off vintage find. Don't let it get away."

Find a brief rundown of some great places for a rummage at the end of this post.

Fine and Candy = Flea Market Snobbery

The room flea market snobs love to hate

The room flea market snobs love to hate

Some people wouldn't be seen dead at a flea market; like my husband for example. I get that. My advice? stay well away. You won't like it any more than you thought you would. If you haven't got the bug already it's unlikely you'll catch it, but you may well catch something a lot more unpleasant while you're there. That said, you can always go and get a good steaming hot cuppa and watch everyone else buy someone else's dirty rotten cast offs. Some days I think it could turn into a sport.

Candy Pandy = Flea Market Fleas

It's always a concern that you get more than you bargain for with a flea market scoop. I prefer my loot to be free of any life forms and whole heartedly recommend the Bissell product range for removing stains and odours from soft furnishings. This bad boy is fast becoming my best friend.

Bought any absolute beauties at the flea market recently? I'm still plugging away with the #myhousecandy hashtag on Instagram because it would be so cool to share each other's vintage wins don't you think? Please, follow me over there, where I promise I will show you mine, if you will show me yours. Which b.t.w is generally how the vintage community jams ;-)

Happy house candy hunting all. What do you think of my scoops? I'd love to know your thoughts. Please drop me a comment here, on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Thank you to one lovely reader who asked for some recommendations on flea markets in our local area of West Yorkshire.

In Huddersfield we have a second hand market twice a week on Tuesday's and Thursdays. It's a mixed bag of house clearances and more specialist vintage-ish stalls but always very fairly priced. Check out the outdoor market in your own area for similar and don't forget to give the local car boot sales and charity shops a once over too.

Our local household recycling site has initiated a genius outlet for salvageable homewares where all proceeds are donated to charity. They basically loot the skips so you don't have to. Even I have my limits and aside from saving me the humiliation of diving in the tip after a wonky lampshade, it feels doubly good to know you are reducing land fill and at the same time donating cash to a good cause.  

Of course, if you'd prefer to get your vintage scoops pre-sourced and also all shiny and cleaned up by someone who actually knows what they're doing, specialist vintage markets are the place to go.

Check out these sites for some hot beds of pre-loved, swoon worthy house candy near you.

Claire xx

Get a room - Why it was love at first sit at The Lounge Co.

Swipe right, swipe right, swipe right… SWIPE LEFT. OMG I’m in love. 

Phoebe Sofa and George Armchair from  The Lounge Co.

Phoebe Sofa and George Armchair from The Lounge Co.

If only choosing a sofa was as simple as choosing a date. 

I mean, a date is just a date. We might be looking for Mr Perfect, but if it takes a couple of nights out with Mr Smoking Hot to get there well, y'know, so be it. 

Sofa shopping is different. There's pressure to make a long term commitment without any of the experimental phase. With sofas, there's no taking it home to meet the kids and then realising, 'lovely as you are, this is never going to work'. Unless there's something seriously wrong, you know you're kind of stuck with each other for at least the next few years.

As big house purchases go, the sofa is up there with beds and flooring - one of those investment buys that you should take time to get right or live with the consequences. Those of us who've been there, bought the sofa and had a love/hate relationship with it ever since, will be pleased to meet a fresh new player to the market.

So hello, The Lounge Co.

Here's a company that gets the emotional impact of buying a sofa. A new face on the furniture scene, yet with impressive 'previous', these guys are all about helping you find the kind of furniture you want to settle down with. They know a thing or two about ticking boxes. In fact, I'd like to think of them as kind of furniture matchmakers. Why? Because within their new and totally gorgeous range of 12 sofas, 6 armchairs and 6 footstools, there's a very good chance you will snare The One.

Here's how I got on finding the forever furniture to fit the new living room layout I'm currently working on. Like so many of you, my standards are high, but my checklist is refreshingly simple: 

1. Beauty

What? I'm just saying what you are all thinking. Good looks are top priority when it comes to some things in life and the dream sofa is one of them. No problem for The Lounge Co. who has a whole host of honeys on its books, including these head turners:


Mallory sofa in rabbit's foot from  The Lounge Co.

Mallory sofa in rabbit's foot from The Lounge Co.

Great for that Scandinavian phase we're all going through, the Mallory sofa is cool, calm and collected.

Likes: Geometrics, faux flowers, shelfies. Dislikes: Donner Kebabs


Poppy Sofa and George armchair from  The Lounge Co.

Poppy Sofa and George armchair from The Lounge Co.

Quirky, colourful, always well dressed, Poppy is one of those sofas you dream about spending a Sunday afternoon with. 

Likes: Eclectic accessories, crushed velvet, Netflicks and chill. Dislikes: muddy pups.


Florence sofa and Floyd armchair  from The Lounge Co.

Florence is all about retro shapes and vintage vibes. She's so hip it hurts.

Likes: Iconic design, travel inspired textiles, collectible art and ceramics. Dislikes: Plastic flamingos.

2) Personality

I'm not totally shallow. Good looks are one thing but I need the personality to match. At The Lounge Co. there are over 100 fabric options, with varying price bands to suit your budget. This means you can mix and match furniture pieces and fabric choices to create a combination that totally matches your individual style and personality.

In my case, I'm looking for a colourful corner sofa fit for family life. Something that looks chic, but not too precious. I want a statement armchair in contrasting fabric - both fashionable and timeless. I could also use a patterned footstool or two to throw in a bit of extra texture

You know when something between you just clicks? 

Let the sofa see the cushions!  Holly corner chaise from The Lounge Co.

Let the sofa see the cushions! Holly corner chaise from The Lounge Co.

3) Experience

Willow sofa  from The Lounge Co.

Willow sofa from The Lounge Co.

Youth is one thing, but experience is quite another. The Lounge Co. may be a brand new firm, but its founders hail from G Plan and Parker Knoll - two of the most iconic British brands in furniture making history. A passion for traditional British furniture making is therefore at the heart of the business, ensuring each carefully crafted piece feels every bit as good as it looks.

'Love at first sit' is The Lounge Co.'s most excellent strap line. And I am well and truly smitten.  

Where shall we meet?

The Lounge Co. furniture range launched on 1st September and is available to drool over at 22 UK galleries throughout the UK. Use the online Store Locator to find your nearest retailer.

That's me happily settled down for the winter, how about you? Let me know if you find The One too. You know how much I love a happy ending.

Happy September all. Remember there's only a few days left to vote in the Interior Blog Awards and it would put actual hearts in my eyes to make the shortlist. I'm in the Best Design Inspiration category, which is a super tough group, so if you have seen anything that inspires you here on My House Candy please, please do take a couple of minutes to click here and register your vote. There are absolutely no strings attached ;)

Yours truly,

Claire x