Tag Archives: something borrowed something roo

Roo’s Favourite Finds: Finding Clothing Bargains in Charity Shops/Thrift Stores

This month, resident charity shopping guru/icon Roo is talking all about finding clothing gems in charity, thrift and vintage stores. Enjoy darlings!

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The last time we spoke, I was floating on the high of a relatively warm autumn down here in Brighton (I’m not kidding; I went swimming in the sea at the end of October). I’m sad to report that the temperature tables have now rightfully turned, and as a result I’ve been honing my beady eye in on stocking up my winter wardrobe to accommodate for these chillier months.

Now, apart from being a little bit skint a lot of the time, it’s also worth considering that I have a Mother who is a dab hand with a needle and thread. This has meant that I’ve grown up understanding the value of clothes – I won’t breach onto designer territory just now, because that’s a whole different kettle of fish – but I will say that nine times out of ten I’ll step into a popular high street store and be blown away by the lack of quality for the relatively extortionate price tag. On more than one occasion I have been the victim of inexplicably frayed edges, missing buttons, and ripped seams, and altogether I find it quite disheartening. That said, I do like to buy my key pieces – jeans, plain t-shirts, jumpers, etc – from high street stores, because we can all wear these things differently. If I am ever conscious of looking like a clone, I would much rather go for second-hand.

‘Second-hand’ can cover two areas; charity/thrift shops, or ‘vintage’ shops. I am also acutely aware of value for money when it comes to these two areas of retail, obviously through being a bit of a thrifting fiend, and having a sister who owned her own vintage clothing business. I’ve seen more warehouses than I can count; inspected wholesale bundles a-plenty and generally sifted through the crap, and I’m always on to a rip-off. This time around, I’m going to share with you my best new purchases of the recent month, and as ever compile a list of do’s, don’ts, how to’s and why’s, so that you might find your own good quality bargains. We’re going to focus primarily on charity shops, of course, but I’ll also be indicating where tips can seep into the vintage business too, since I feel the line between the two business sectors are blurring.

Finding what you’re looking for

As per your household/decorative items, it’s advisable to work out what you want before you leave the house. Are you going somewhere? Is it a formal do? Fancy dress? Do you need to be weather-conscious (i.e. cardigans vs sun dresses?) It’s worth being aware that charity shops (and vintage shops) set themselves out differently, so knowing what you have in mind is paramount. I’ve never worked out what my merchandising preference is, so I’ll roll with my gut and say that it’s dependant on what I’m looking for. If I know I want a new dress but I don’t mind what colour it is, then I’ll prefer shops that set themselves out by category; dresses, coats, jackets, jeans & trousers, shorts & skirts, and so on. That means that I can look through all the dresses they have at once, and compare my options easily.

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Something Borrowed, Something Roo: Finding Our Perfect Wedding Photographer

Something I am always keen to promote through Rock n Roll Bride is the importance of hiring a professional wedding photographer to document your wedding (the photos are the only thing – well except the marriage of course – that lasts after the wedding day etc etc) However not only that, I also think it is crucial to hire a professional wedding photographer that gets you. It may be all well and good that a photographer has won a gazillion awards or has shot some fantastic weddings that have been featured in magazines and on wedding blogs, but if you don’t like them as a person or they don’t understand your vision for your wedding… well they aren’t the guy/gal for you.

It warms my heart when I hear from photographers that they feel that’ve made ‘real life’ friends with their clients and that they’re going to ‘miss them’ now their wedding is over. Sure, you want to find a photographer to capture you’re day fantastically, but having a wedding photographer that can also become one of your best friends is pretty amazing. Plus…and this is a big plus…unlike a lot of wedding suppliers, this person will actually be attending your wedding. You’ll have to hang out with them for a lot of the most important day of your life. I sure as hell wouldn’t want someone I didn’t like at my wedding!

Anyway, that’s my mini-Monday afternoon rant over. Roo’s story on her hunt for her perfect wedding photographer/new best friend echos my ideals exactly. Come on then lady, spill…

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A couple of months ago, my Dad said to me, “whatever you do, make sure you have a good photographer – we had a friend do ours” – “but Dad,” I replied, “I’ve never really seen any of your wedding pictures”. He smirked and said simply, “that’s because they were sh*t”.

The UK alone is awash with incredibly talented photographers, so we figured that it would simply be a matter of leisurely scrolling through some online portfolios and choosing our favourite. Having been a successful photography student through college, I would say that I’m acutely aware of the style of photography that I like – ethereal, experimental, from the hip (see also: Lomography).

Photography credit: Samuel Higginbotham

For me, good photography is all about capturing and representing your subject in an honest way, whether it be animal, mineral or vegetable. Everything has its own personality, but personality is something that can rarely transcend to a photograph – unless, of course, you find a good photographer.

This little epiphany taught me the valuable lesson that plucking a photographer from the ether just wasn’t going to cut it. We needed someone talented, sure, but there was more to it than that; we needed someone who could understand us both as people, and what it is about us as individuals that makes us work as a couple.

I have a few very talented photographer friends, but none of them had ever wandered into wedding territory before, and this phased me. I am incredibly blessed that this internship has opened up many doors of opportunity to us that were previously off limits – namely, meeting the most talented of wedding photographers both up and down the country, and from across the pond. I’m a strong believer in fate, and I don’t consider it an accident or coincidence that the first photographer I met was Lisa Jane Brown.

Photography credit: Lisa Jane Photography

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A Sunday Kind of Love: We’re Going Through Changes…

This Week’s Love List…

♥ Berocca ♥ first g&t in 34 days. For the record, it was bloody lovely ♥ Starbucks Christmas coffee ♥ getting website bugs fixed ♥ getting my bugs fixed ♥ Pan Am & Christina Ricci’s bottom ♥ Wah nails ♥ charity shop browsing ♥ wine ♥ giggles and gossip ♥ having a Roomance ♥

Best of the Rest…

Gareth has been a busy little bee this week. We have some pretty exciting new ideas for the blog (it’s just a matter of him now implementing these grand plans, so watch this space over the next few months!) but this week he’s been thinking about the bottom of the blog. Scroll down and take a look…

Firstly, he’s added page numbers for easier archive surfing (which I’m not entirely sure is actually a good thing, most of my early blog posts are SHOCKING!) He’s also added social media links (now including Pinterest) to the footer of the blog. We’ve also added the much overdue subscribe/RSS button.

The QR barcode will take you to the mobile version of the site if you scan it with your phone. Fancy huh?

Hopefully these new changes will make your surfing of Rock n Roll Bride that much easier. You’re welcome. Happy Sunday!

Roo’s Favourite Finds: Terrariums

Roo is pretty awesome you know. So she called me last week with an idea for a blog post which I loved so much I asked if she’d like to make it a monthly addition to the blog. Which I’m pleased to report she did.

As a bit of a charity shop/thrifting fiend, Roo’s idea was to share some of her favourite charity shop finds as well as showing you how she is using said finds in her wedding. These posts are going to be the perfect antidote to a wedding industry that tries to convince you that you have to spend a bomb to have a beautiful wedding. All you really need is a little imagination and not a lot of cash. Hurrah!

I just know you guys are gonna love this…

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When I say I love charity shops, it is purely with conviction and entirely without shame. I don’t know when it started, but I do know that having a very vintage-savvy mother helped in launching the love affair. My first charity shop-owned item was bought for me by her; a pair of calf-high, low-heeled tan boots costing just £3, from a very unknown shop in our suburb that supported the local Christian community. I wore those boots with everything, all the time; eventually, I wore those boots until they literally caved in on themselves. I don’t think I could say that those boots got me addicted, but seeing my mum come home with vintage suitcases full of antique lace and fabric samples certainly stirred my interest. I’m twenty-four now, and the stirring continues – dizzying, you might think, maybe even nauseous, but I’ve never stopped loving or being excited by it. I’m so pleased to share my best finds of these upcoming, pre-wedding months with you – not to mention a few “how-to” guides on finding your own dream buys. But first, a little prequel…

When I was twenty years old, going on twenty-one, I lived in Exeter for a brief period and fell in love with an antique shop called Otto Retro. I spent hours haggling with the owner (or, more accurately, she spent hours haggling with me – she would never let me pay full price for anything) and I ended up furnishing half my bedroom with some truly amazing pieces – take, for example, this desk and chair set – complete with globe, Anglepoise lamp, bird cage (plus mechanical birds) – all for £120.

With each visit, my interest in antiquing was sent skyrocketing, but after I peaked, I started to feel like I wasn’t getting enough out of it. Antique shops as a rule are independent stores, and I will never stop supporting independent stores and their respective owners, but I started to draw the conclusion that I would be far more satisfied supporting a larger/wider demographic – i.e. the target groups of charitable foundations. I am totally supportive of independent sellers and would choose them over the high street 80% of the time, but I can’t shirk the pure and simple fact that for me, nothing beats the feel-good ethic of charity-shop-shopping (charity shopping? I’ve never worked out the right phrase).

I was once described by a friend as “bargain-bin chic”, mostly because every time someone complimented me on my new jumper/shoes/handbag I’d say “oh, this old thing? It’s only from Scope”. Only? Only!? The charity shop veteran that I am today is disgusted by my conduct, because as you will learn (if you don’t know already) it is highly rude to be so dismissive of a good piece of tat.

I’ve always been overly fond of homeware – china, blankets, lamps, houseplants, and so on, etc, etc, and recently my thrifting focus has shifted from threads to trinkets. I do still look for clothes, but since we started planning our wedding I’ve become horrendously obsessed with picking up bits and bobs that we can use as table decorations. One of my very most favourite weddings featured here ever is Alix & Shawn’s Natural History Museum Wedding; for so many reasons, but the most relevant to our topic right now were their terrarium table decorations.

Photography credit: Liesl from Photo Pink NYC

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Something Borrowed, Something Roo: The Hunt for the Perfect Venue

My lovely intern Roo (oh I do love her so) had, to say the least, quite the drama with the search for the perfect wedding venue. So she’s here today to share her woes and in turn reassure those of you that might be going through the same hell, that it’s all going to be fine and that you will come out on the other side!  I personally found the venue hunt the most stressful part of my wedding planning. Why are wedding venues such a pain in the…ahem.

Over to you lady…

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Like so many modern-day women, I often find that the most apt precursor to the soundest advice can only come from an episode of Friends. In this instance, I’ll refer to “The One With Ross’s Wedding, pt. I”. Open your DVD inserts to chapter 4, and we’ll begin.

So, Emily (Mrs Ross Gellar-to-be) has her heart set on getting married in the same church that her parents did, in a nod to family tradition – which is all well and good until they get there and find that it’s in the process of being knocked down. Ross suggests putting off the wedding until they can schedule a different venue; easy peasy, except for the fact that Monica gently informs him that while he’s only been planning this wedding for a month, Emily has probably been planning it since she was five years-old – “ever since the first time she took a pillowcase and hung it off the back of her head”. (Don’t panic, by the way. Ross jumps a hackney down to Homebase to buy their entire range of fairy lights, and all is saved.)

You could suppose that this impossible situation is a fantastic work of fiction, however, it saddens me to inform you that the real spectrum of wedding venues is just as fraught with disaster. You needn’t expect demolition, but you ought to expect a fair amount of difficulty and a shedload of compromise. In my experience, I thought that the search for the perfect venue was going to be easy; I was wrong.

Lamb and I don’t practise any religion to speak of (unless McDonald’s milkshakes are considered divine in other parishes besides ours). Therefore, getting married in a holy place could never really be an option for us as a couple, since it would feel wrong to exchange vows in the eyes of someone/something that we’re not entirely sure we believe in the complete existence of. We thought that this would considerably cut out the clutter that we weren’t interested in, and fling open doors of opportunity elsewhere. Again, we were wrong.

Not unusually, we’d had that initial gush of: hey honey, we like to frolic amongst flora and fauna, right? – So why not get married outside? followed by a bit of research, then: oh wait, that’s not even legal in England. The law in England and Wales states that a wedding venue “must have a roof, be moored to its foundations, and licensed by the local registrar” (a summary of our laws courtesy of The Any Campaign, who are petitioning for the right to get married any time, any place. Please, please take two minutes to sign their petition and make the dreams of an outdoorsy future bride & groom come true).

We didn’t have anything set in stone, but I’d seen the wonderful Hannah & Landon’s beach-ceremony-followed-by-boat-reception (also featured on Rock n Roll Bride here) when they first got hitched in 2006, and it always stuck in my mind. After the initial disappointment in the restrictions of our country, we took a moment to consider our options, and our first real dream was realised. We figured out that our dream wedding would be one ginormous celebration – no fannying around a dusty registry office only to arse about with traveling to a reception destination later; no need for taxis or waiting around; just one big hoedown. Our venue had to offer us the legalities of a civil marriage ceremony, plus grub and dancing to boot. With that idea written in permanent marker on the metaphorical planning whiteboard, we got our teeth into it. So where would we begin looking?

This is my unhappy-with-venue-hunting face

It had been our dream to get married in Brighton; we fell in love here, we’ve made all our memories together here, and we’re quite certain that we want to settle here with our future buns in the oven. It all seemed so simple enough, but naturally it wasn’t. For starters, we had no idea what we were looking for. Sure, we knew what we wanted, but we didn’t know how to tell Google what we wanted. I’m not much of a search engine maestro, which became extremely telling as I found myself going around in circles until I’d ended up looking at places I wasn’t even interested in and thinking, will that just have to “do”?

I took my search to Twitter, throwing in a few cheeky hashtags to get the biters biting, and soon enough I was kindly directed towards a couple of promising links. To name my shortlisted favourites, I was shown an eco house (too small), Britain’s longest running aquarium (too fishy), and the Duke of York’s Picturehouse (too “themed”). The last is a particularly interesting tale, since it only obtained its wedding license after a couple so wanted to get married there that they bought the license for the building. At first, the idea of getting married in such a beautiful place so rich with heritage was really something else. Despite everything that it’s got going for it (I’m looking at you, can-can legs) it just didn’t feel very “us”, you know? And it has to. Above all else, it has to feel very you; both of you.

Photography Credit: Janet Cameron


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Taxidermy, Skulls, Vintage Furs & THE Most Awesome Apartment Ever = The Feather Love London Workshop

Oh my…where do I even begin? I feel so terribly ineloquent as it comes to writing the experience of the Feather Love London Workshop. Like the words don’t know how to clump themselves together in my mind to make coherent sentences…So you know what, I’ve decided not to go through the teeny details of the day. Instead I plan to inwardly digest everything I soaked up from Noa & guest speaker Emma Case that day and (probably) come back to you later with a grand old revelation.

If not, I know you’re going to just die over the styled shoot we put together as part of the workshop. Bet you haven’t seen a wedding like this before!

The whole event was a visual feast (hello, the apartment we rented was amazing and the Ava Event Styling team did a bad ass job with our table for the photo shoot.) We also drank beer, danced, ate amazing Turkish food and put the (photography) world to rights. It was quite simply a day of true inspiration and one I was honoured to be asked to be a part of.

Some of my utter favourite suppliers came on board to help Emma Case and I pull this little event together (be sure to show them some love – linked at the end of this post) and my looovely lovely intern Roo and her just as adorable fiance Lamb came to act as our models. This was their first time being professionally photographed so I thought I’d ask Roo to write a few words on her experience because I bet many of you brides and grooms-to-be a nervous about having your photos taken right?

Well after looking at the amazing (seriously I need a thesaurus) job Noa & Emma did in shooting our lovely couple I know that if you get the right photographer for you, you ain’t got nothin’ to worry about babydoll!

Ps Roo you are the cutest ever. I love this photo of you so so much beautiful girl!

Roo writes, “I am one of those irritating women that sees a photo of herself – any photo of herself – and finds something wrong with it. There’s a page on Facebook called “de-tagging photos of yourself because you look like a goat” – and you can bet that I’m a proud member. I’ve never felt comfortable posing for photographs, or even being anywhere near a camera. My mind can’t fathom anybody wanting to commit my image to print, digital or otherwise. I felt that this didn’t bode so well for me on my wedding day, so when Kat offered Lamb and I the opportunity to model for Noa & co. at the Feather Love Artists’ Workshop, I figured that practice would/could make perfect.”

“I wasn’t wrong; I dote on both Noa and Emma’s work for totally different reasons, and I do think that fact helped me loosen up for the lens. When you admire the person shooting you, you trust them implicitly to make you look f*cking fantastic – and the results speak for themselves. It’s worth duly noting this, because if you’re not bowled over by a photographer’s portfolio, then you’re not going to be a bowled over bride (or groom). There’s no getting around the voyeurism of photography, but in this instance it didn’t feel intrusive, it felt right. There was an unspoken connection between us all that bound us striving for the same artistic result. Noa and Emma let their personalities ooze into their shoots, and instead of feeling overwhelmed, we felt involved. We felt beautiful, important, and as was documented so perfectly, we felt more in love than ever.”

So…Is your mind blown yet? This has got to be another one of my favourites from the day. Ahhh it’s all just so beautiful!

The workshop attendees and suppliers. What a good looking bunch we are. I love you guys!

More photos of the styled shoot after the jump!

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