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

Rebel on a tea plate

"She's a bit of a daydreamer", said my first school teacher. And the one after that. And then everyone who ever taught me until I left uni with an 'airy fairy' degree from The University of Cloud Cuckoo Land.

They were right of course. My dad was also right when he said that fame and fortune does not come easily to girls with the attention span of a gnat. What does come easily however, is the ability to appreciate the beauty in little everyday things that all the busy, successful people of the world are in danger of missing out on. And here's where I've found my calling. It's my job to let you know the things worth getting distracted over.

Upcycled vintage plate art is one of those things. And here's why I need to blab about it.

Blabbermouth £55 By  Alijoedesigns

Blabbermouth £55 By Alijoedesigns

I discovered Alijoe Designs on Twitter. It was the profile pic I fell in love with, which I guess is the way lots of internet love affairs begin and probably a reason why I ought to change mine.

Anyway, this is the dapper young fellow that distracted me from what might have have been the aggressive, life-changing, blog-catapulting social media campaign I have so far successfully evaded. 

Sweet isn't he? But also cool and clever and in my opinion guiding the way for the world of modern vintage up-cycling to go. In fact, I'd go as far as to say he's a rebel on a tea plate. Which kind of makes Debbie Carne - the artist behind Alijoe Designs - something of a secret Banksy of the vintage china world. Inspired by artists such as Fornasetti, Savignac, Warhol, Terry Gilliam and Schwitters, Debbie's kitsch and quirky decals are artistically defacing little pieces of British domestic history. A pretty cool achievement for another self confessed career misfit I reckon.

More tea vicar?

Mind the Gap plate set £55 by  Alijoedesigns

Mind the Gap plate set £55 by Alijoedesigns

You've got to agree that £55 is not a lot to pay for a one off piece of original artwork. Especially when you consider that the London based designer has already taken commissions for local restaurants where her work is currently being admired.

I purchased my Head in the Clouds design (for obvious reasons) and as gift to myself for Mother's Day. It felt like the perfect legacy for me to pass on to my children, one of whom has definitely inherited my daydreaming gene and will no doubt endure the same personality bashing that I got/get.

But whenever I see that dreaded D word on my son's school report, I'm going to try not to persuade him to knuckle down and become an accountant. Instead he must let his ideas and his daydreams run free. Because I know from experience that as long as his head is in the clouds, his heart will beat a little faster. 


You can grab your own piece of super cool, rocked up vintage china on Debbie's website

Have you stumbled upon any amazing art finds recently? What do you think to mine? Are you doing any cool vintage upcycles I really should get distracted over? Please leave me your comments below, I would love to hear from you. 

Claire x