Sunday, 29 May 2011

Early Sunday Mornings...

I love Sundays.  Car boot day.  I would prefer it if the car boot sale started at around 10am but once I am up I'm fine.  We have lots of car boots around our area so Nathan goes to one and I go to another (he goes to the one that starts at 5am and I have opted for the 7am start).

To find your local car boot sale click here

  Once I get onto the field to park my car the excitement begins, there is a sudden adrenalin rush and I need to park up and get out as quick as I can.  The parking marshalls in the car park do not stand for any funny business, there are no drops off, no one is allowed until 7am on the dot.  You will park where they say even if you have got a bad leg, 5 kids and and don't speak English.  The woman who runs my car boot sale is a scary lass who you really wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of - I have seen her take down a grown man ( I have no idea what he did but he ran, she chased him, grabbed his shirt, ripped it off him and took him to the ground for the lads to deal with).  So as you can imagine I have the correct change for entry and always smile sweetly. 

Deciding which end to start at first is a tricky one.  Do I start at the back where the cars are unpacked and ready to trade or at the front where people are just unloading?  I kind of take it in turns to get the best of both worlds.  Luckily, not many people are looking for the same things I would buy so I always manage to find some good stuff. 

I look for furniture, I like buying older bits like 1960s and earlier, you can find some really cool retro bits when people are having a big clearout.  I also love buying odd plates, cups and saucers, cake stands... Anything pretty really and I have managed to fill my dresser up with these bits.  True love between me and my dresser.

The plates generally cost around 50p each, the big dinner set at the bottom cost £5 for the whole thing and we used it for our Christmas lunch - it's one of thoses things that you can just look at.  I just look at it for ages. It brings me joy for £5.  This morning I have bought another dinner service, really pretty, a Midwinter coffee pot and sugar bowl (Emma, you will love), a dinky teapot with a jug, bowl and plate.


Today I also bought a big console table, a bureau, a small table and a pine wall cabinet.   The only problem is remembering which aisle you were in when you bougtht them when you go back to collect them.  I usually end up wandering about for ages trying to remember the car or the person who sold it to me, my memory is truly awful so at 7.30 on a Sunday morning this is quite a challenge.  Nathan takes a pen and paper but I always forget the pen.

About halfway round the smell from the burger van hits me, bacon rolls smell so good, but I have learned from experience that they smell better than they taste so I avoid those, sometimes I have a hot chocolate but then you have to carry the cup round with you as they are no bins which hinders rummaging.  

I love looking through the old records, usually 20p-50p each which is such a bargain for a whole album.  You always find records at a car boot sale, and the seller always says they a belong to someone else.  I don't know why people are so cagey about their music taste!  My name is Zoe and I like The Dixie Chicks.  

I buy a lot of old curtains which I use for reupholstering chairs and stools,  I pay about £2 a pair which can do about 8 chairs, I save a lot of odd bits of fabric to one day make cushions, I want to make some patchwork cushions with lots of bits of different fabric.  That is the plan anyway!  Bunting is great for using up bits of fabric.  My Granny told me that you can use different patterns as long as you have one colour the same in two pieces next to each other.  I do use this tip and it works.

I bought these 1930s prints from a car boot sale a while ago, they are not my usual thing but I fell in love with them.  They are in their original frames, the colours and detail are just beautiful!  £5 for the 2.  Couldn't resist.  Nathan is a much better car booter than me when it comes to spending, he knows how much he will pay and won't go over that, which is how you have to be, but if I love something I will have to buy it or I will think about it all day.  Hence why I am only allowed to take a limited amount of cash with me.

           These 2 gorgeous tall bottles were £1 each, 
                     the green one is Victorian.                                   

And my very favourite thing to buy at the boot sale... clothes.  It is an illness and I cannot stop.  I can't shut my wardrobe doors, I can't find anything but on the plus side I am always finding clothes that I have forgotten about.  And if you only pay 50p for it, it doesn't matter if you only wear it once!  I buy lots of dresses, and cardigans.  I buy Daisy a lot of dresses, and books.

I feel great when I get back, I feel that I have made the most of the day, I make breakfast, we have tea and then I sit down and tiredness hits me. I feel like I have just worked a nightshift but it is definitely worth it.  

Friday, 27 May 2011

Feline Family

We have 4 cats, Polly, Pedro, Petal and Peter.  We are definitely a 'cat family', they literally are everywhere.  When you walk through they are all there to meet and greet you with meows a plenty. We got Polly from a friend who's cat had kittens, Pedro came from a house clearance and Peter and Petal were born in our old warehouse.  There is nothing better than sitting in the room of an evening surrounded by sleeping cats, we really couldn't be without them.

This is Polly.  She is a snob in the cat world, she turns her nose up at everyone.  I can imagine she would talk rather like Joanna Lumley if she were human, we annoy her, the other cats annoy her, generally most things annoy her.  We live in a road full of cats and from what I can tell she is not one of the 'popular' girls.  None of the neighbourhood cats really talk to her and she tries to avoid eye contact.  I know she definitely feels she is meant to live in a manor house and I am half expecting to find a Louis Vuitton bag hidden in a cupboard ready for when the invitation comes.  She is not one for sitting on laps as that would involve you stroking her which would then have to be rectified by an hour long wash to remove the filth that you have transferred from your hands onto her pristine coat.  Filth.

Pedro is a loving cat, he knows he is in charge, he struts his stuff and always has the first serving of food, the kittens look up to him - he is one top cat.  In human form he would be Al Pacino.  He runs the neighbourhood gangs and the cats wait for him at the end of our path to come to play.  We have had Pedro since he was a tiny kitten, Nathan went to buy a chest of drawers one day and the seller put the cat into the deal. Pedros' mama died when he was born and he lived with 2 puppies so when he first saw Polly he was petrified but thankfully due to the amount of mirrors I have he quickly learnt that he was a cat.  He comes into our room in the morning and flicks the blind to wake us up, he is very feisty and if you walk past him and don't say hello he will swipe you to remind you of his presence.  He is always hungry, bourbons are his favourite and he will take one out of your hand if your not careful.  Pedro the dude.

Dear little Peter is a very timid thing, jumps at any noise and really likes to blend into the background.  Peter was a boy and is now a girl but the name has stuck, pretty lil' Peter. Peter likes to hang around with Polly and I am sure Polly is telling her that we are evil riff raff  so maybe this is the real reason for the avoidance. She has a beautiful sleek black coat, just the kind of cat you want to pick up and cuddle so we shall keep trying to convince her that we are nice people.  Peter hisses if you look at her for too long and she eats her food with her hands.  Even if it is dried food.  Polly will watch in despair as she elegantly eats hers with all the etiquette and manners one would learn at finishing school. 

And last but I am sure will not be the last is Petal.  Petal is wonderful.  Loves attention, loves cuddles and loves food.  Petal was a girl but is now a boy, again the name has stuck and I think he kinda likes it. He has absolutely no concept of personal space and if you are sat down he will be up in your face trying to kiss you and sit on your shoulders and rub himself against you. Petal is obsessed with Nathan, I mean obsessed.  He will not leave him alone to the point that we actually have to put him out sometimes because it all gets a bit much.  Nathan cannot watch tv or sit at the computer or eat his dinner, we have to shut the bedroom door at night because Petal is so persistent in his wooing.  Petal will also eat anything and everything that is left lying around, salad, veg, chips, crisps, biscuits, curry, noodles ANYTHING. 

He eats so fast that his teeth bang on the plates and I don't know how he doesn't choke, he talks none stop, really heart felt long mmmeeeeeeoooowwwwwws.  You feel like you have to answer after all the effort that has gone into his sentence which he then will answer to with just as much enthusiasm.  And it goes on.  Petal as a human?  I think I will go with Russell Brand.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

I Love...

We have finally outgrown our house and decided it is time for the next move.  I am so excited and I cannot wait to spread our wings that little bit more but it is funny how you don't notice the things that you actually love about where you live until its time to move on.

I am a serial decorator and every room has been changed so many times but I really think we have got it right at last.  I love colours and patterns and things that catch your eye, my house is fit to burst with 'interesting' little bits and bobs, i love tatty old enamel signs, I have bunting on every available wall and none of it matches but I think if you like it, it goes.The thing I like about our kitchen is that it is big enough (just about) for a dining table which means we can all eat together and it makes a good meeting place.  Of course I have a dresser, which is far too big for the kitchen but I actually don't care!  It's one more place for me to put my pretty floral plates and random bits of china that I will never use but can't seem to say goodbye to.

We have a big blackboard which is used for
'Happy Birthday' or 'Happy Halloween' messages,
which, depending on how long a gap there is
between events, your birthday message can stay up there for a good 4 months.  Little blackboards are a sweet way of leaving cheeky notes and seeing how long it will take someone to notice!

My favourite room has to be the living room.  It is so light and bright, airy in the summer and cosy in the winter.  I have filled it with painted furniture in blues and creams with pink floral fabric throws on the sofas to give it a pretty girly feel.  My two boys love this as you can imagine and have sworn they will only have black furniture when they are older.  We will see.

This dresser is my pride and joy, I love it with all my heart!  I really don't think I will ever find anything more lovely - it is perfect and I think I will love it for the rest of my life!

I love vintage mirrors, they are just so pretty and if you hunt hard enough you will find so many different designs of all shapes and sizes, they will reflect loads of light back into the room and they really do look great in a collection together.

I have photos everywhere of my wonderful family and friends, I think photographs lift your heart and make you smile.  I also have an obsession with frames so it works pretty well!

I have photo gallery going up my stairs which makes the journey up to bed even nicer, all the frames are different and it gets added to all the time.  Need more wall space.

These two pictures make me happy and sad all at the same time, the first is of me and my lovely daddy at the zoo when I was a wee lass.  Yes, he is wearing flares and aren't they cool!  The second is of me and my Papa when I was a bit older, he was the best grandad you could wish for.  Photos of wonderful people who are no longer with us but I can see them every day.

This is the tidy corner of our bedroom.  I am not the tidiest especially when chosing an outfit for the day.
I have marked 'more wardrobe space' as high on the essentials list for the new house which I feel will enable me to be tidier.  I will let you know how it goes.

I keep everything!  Tickets, receipts, cards, invitations, I love pinboards filled with random memories.  That big playing card was from the restaurant where Nathan and I had one of our first dates :)

I love chandeliers, I have them in every room and even a spare one waiting to be hung, glass is such a beautiful material.  I think they are the ideal light fitting for a shabby chic house - they add a touch of the chic and make you feel like you live in an oppulent mansion (just look at the ceiling - not the floor covered in clothes).  The only problem with chandeliers is the amount of bulbs needed and I am useless at replacing them so mine usually are at least 2 bulbs short of fully working.

  There is a family joke that I only bring out the bulbs when we have people over, but this is not true, I am saving the planet...

This house has served us well for 11 years, through good times and bad and it will be the end of an era but the beginning of a new one, a new and very exciting one.  I hope that whoever buys my house enjoys it as much as we have, and builds the start of the rest of their lives there...

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

A Very Worthy Cause

My blog post today is actually to tell you about a wonderful charity, Sophies Appeal, to ask you to please have a read and to pass a link to anyone you know who may be able to help. 

I have been on the committee for Sophies Appeal for about 18 months, I first found out about it when I attended a fashion show that they held to raise funds and awareness of the charity.  At the fashion show Sophies mum Lin talked about her beautiful daughter Sophie who very sadly passed away from Wilms Disease which is a cancer of the kidney - she was just 6 years old.  I still find it so hard to even type this.  As a mother of 3 healthy children I feel so blessed and I simply cannot imagine the pain and complete devastation of losing your child.  Listening to Lin changed so many things for me, from that moment I wanted to do anything I could to be a part of the charity and help with the wonderful work they do.

We have lots of events throughout the year from quiz nights to race nights, pamper evenings to summer fetes. At Christmas we have The Giving Tree where local children and the community donate presents which we then take to Winchester and Southampton Hospitals and give them to the poorly children on the wards there. 

We are always open to new ideas for raising money so if you have any please let me know!

The next big event is the annual Sophies Appeal Summer Ball on 2nd July which is our main fundraiser for the year and we are desperately in need of prizes for the raffle and auction prizes.  If you or anyone you know could donate to the appeal it would be very gratefully received, if you could offer a service that we could auction (in the past we have auctioned holidays, experience days, photography sessions, sports and music memorabilia etc) or if you are a business owner who could donate some raffle prizes this really would help us to sell tickets and raise the funds need to do more good work.

The charity was actually started by Sophie in 2003 after she was diagnosed with the disease and has been carried on by her parents Mike and Lin Barringer.  Lin and Mike have become great friends of mine and I totally admire them for their strength to continually push the charity forward despite how hard it must be for them both.  They really are genuinely dedicated people who have taken the worst thing that can happen to a parent and turned it into something good.
The aims are today as they were then; to raise funds to support the social, emotional and educational welfare of sick children and their families or carers whilst being treated either in hospital or the community.

The achievements of the charity so far for a small local charity are just outstanding
Over £1/4 million has been raised to help sick children and their families
Sophie’s Place - a dedicated children’s assessment area which was funded by Sophies Appeal, helping up to 400 children every single month and providing them with a more relaxed child friendly atmosphere whilst in hospital
Sophies Appeal are a valued partner of Beyond the Moon - we sponsor dream holidays for terminally ill children and their families
Funding of research into future treatments for childhood cancers.  The research at Southampton Hospital has made ground breaking discoveries and has been published worldwide
Sponsorship of New Forest holidays for sick children and their families through Hannah’s Holiday Home 

And the next aim is to transform the rest of the children's ward, to make it just as special as Sophies Place.  A comfortable place for children of all ages from babies to teenagers and also for their parents with Sophies Magic Wand Appeal. 

Thank you so much for reading and I am sure you will agree that this really is a very worthy cause, if you can help please email me at or through the Sophies Appeal website

Monday, 9 May 2011

My New Favourite Thing

This is my Uncle Mike (back right)  Aunty Sheila (back left) and their parents Maud and Henry.  Last weekend we went to Cornwall to clear out my uncles house for him.  He has a house just full of treasures, his parents lived there before they died and he has now moved into a rest home so it has many many years of memories and the only thing he wanted to take with him was his tape player.  It seems very sad to leave your life in a house but being an insanely sentimental horder I have brought most of it home! 

                                                         We found lovely old letters  (one from my mum when she was a little girl!).  My Uncle Mike must have kept just about everything, every postcard and thank you letter - just as grateful for the letter as the sender was. 
Charming old photos of family members who I need to find out who they were, some amazing vintage cups and plates and a few really special bits.  My lovely boy Ben had the time of his life looking through cupboards and boxes, I kept seeing his hands going into his pockets with another great find, he actually jangled when he walked back to the van.  

My absolute favourite has to be the 1950s record player that I found tucked away in the very bottom of a cupboard. And it works!  I couldn't believe it, it needed a bit of a clean but it is just so lovely.  We have spent the weekend listening to old records - I have all of my dads old records but the only ones I could get to were The Sound of Music, Annie, My Fair Lady and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!  Ha ha!  I think my neighbours have had enough of Edelweiss and Wouldn't It Be Loverly as has Nathan but he played along like a good sport.  The crackly sound of the record player is just magical and Daisy who is only 5 and has never seen music on anything but a cd thinks this is wonderful.

So this weekend I am going through the loft at my mums house to dig out all the cool records I remember my dad playing when I was younger.  I know that I will probably find a heap more stuff that I just have to bring home, I can't wait!

Friday, 6 May 2011


 I have always had a passion for anything with a history, ever since I was a little girl my interest in vintage and antique items has always been there.  Looking at things my Granny had tucked away in her house, finding items in the bottom of boxes at car boot sales and searching through my mums loft for something long forgotten was something that I would find such joy from.  And I still do.  There is no better feeling than finding something that has been disregarded as past its best and seeing the potential, whether it be painting a beautiful vintage chest of drawers or cleaning up a dirty old enamel candle holder, they all become part of the family – and I am so happy that this is a trend that seems to be here to stay for a long time.
 Painting and renovating furniture has been a hobby of mine for a very long time, it can change the look of something completely giving it character, a new lease of life and you can create your very own unique piece that only you will have.  Luckily my partner Nathan shares my passion and together we decided to start Old White (possibly as me continually painting furniture at home was wearing a little thin for him…), we started selling the things we were doing online and custom painting items and thins just grew and grew.  I think the days of flat packed furniture are beginning to fade and people want more for their hard earned 
money.  Items that have stood the test of time in quality and style are again becoming desirable, the love of vintage style is everywhere.  From clothing to weddings to your home, it is definitely back in fashion to be old-fashioned.  Speaking as a mother of 3 children, surrogate mother to 4 cats, leading a busy lifestyle the shabby chic look fits us PERFECTLY!  Pastel colours and cheery fabrics make your home a warm, cosy and inviting place were it always feels like Spring, distressed furniture means that you don’t have to worry about the knocks and bangs, an eclectic array of old plates and ornaments means that you can continually add to it without having to start from scratch when you fancy a change. 
 We search high and low to fill our shop with all the things that we love, items with a past and a history.  From sets of beautiful vintage 1930s plates to retro 1950s kichenalia to dining tables made from old Victorian floorboards we have a treasure trove of furniture, homewares and gifts – and if we don’t have it just ask and we will find it for you!  We offer a sourcing service so if you need a particular piece of furniture to fit into a specific space or you are looking for after that quirky piece to finish off your room, pop in or give us a call and we will do the leg work for you.  Our best selling items are our dresser, wardrobes and dining tables, but if you have some furniture at home in need of a bit of love we also offer a painting service – your old furniture custom painted to match your colour scheme for a fraction of the cost of buying it again.  We use the best quality paint in a vast range of colours, we can offer our advice on colour ways or finishes and can also collect and return your items for you.   We have had such a wonderful welcome in Eastleigh, Old White has had an overwhelming response and would like to thank all of our customers new and old for making our passion into the best job in the world!

Thursday, 5 May 2011


Hello and welcome to my new blog! My name is Zoe... I have a little family, a little shop and quite a few cats...