Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Nostalgic Loveliness at Vintage Lindy Lou's

When you first think of vintage tea rooms, images of quaint villages and little nooks come to mind. The last place you expect to find such a place is in the suburbs of London. Whilst the South East is not particularly well known for its love of vintage, it seems to have gathered quite an interest in the past year, with shops popping up all around areas such as Sidcup and Bexley.

Although these places are technically London areas they have Kent postcodes, but this is not rural Kent, far from it. Amidst the hubbub of Bexley and its surrounding towns lies an exceptional oasis, known as Vintage Lindy Lou's Tea Rooms.

I visited this dear little cafe after spending a few long hours Christmas Shopping in the adjoining town of Bexleyheath and I needed somewhere to relax. I had heard about it from a relative and it seemed the perfect time to experience it for myself. I drove to Crayford, not really recognised for its "vintage" interests and parked up, looking around for the tea room, which exists right in the centre of a small park with the address as "Waterside."

From the outside the tea room isn't much to look at. A brick building previously used as a pop in parlour doesn't exactly excite anyone, but take a step further, open the door and you step into another world.

This is the era of the late 1940s and early '50s, where tea is served in china cups and tempting cakes await under glass domes. I fell in love with it at once.

The actual building encompasses a dual purpose as a tea room and vintage/memorabilia shop which sells everything from kid gloves, to glassware and vintage novelty cards, I even spotted an Enid Collins bag high up on the shelf. This was an exception to the low-end pricing for the items, at £75, which is to be expected from such a famous designer.

There were also two dresses on display which I was told later had belonged to the owner's mother who came from Italy. The dress is in simply stunning condition and I was very moved by the story that went with it. Another dress stands on a mannequin by the window with a hand painted floral design, it is truly a work of art.

Still, I was there to have the full experience so I settled myself in a large comfy sofa covered with a hand knitted blanket and waited patiently for someone to attend on me. It took about five minutes but was definitely worth the wait. My order was taken, swept into the kitchen and planted on the table barely a few minutes later. What service!

Now, I'm a bit picky when it comes to eating in independent restaurants and cafes. I am generally very cynical of anything that says "home-made" but I can honestly say that the sandwiches (I chose cheese and ham) were lovely and fluffy with hand grated cheese and even a little garnish on the side. The tea was served in a fine old china teapot with a mismatched cup and saucer. This seems to be the theme of the entire room, as everything is very cleverly put together. It is very clear that a lot of thought has gone into the design, and you can't really go wrong with Laura Ashley wallpaper! I also noticed that the owner has paid homage to tradition with portraits of Her Majesty the Queen as many shops used to do back in the 40s and 50s.

I was told later that almost every item on display has either been brought from the owner, Linda's personal collection, or donated by customers. This really does make a difference, and gives the whole place a real sense of home and comfort. I could have gladly sat on the sofa all day with a good book, but alas I didn't have much time so after two pots of tea (the hot water was replenished twice at no extra cost) and a slice of gorgeous Victoria sponge I was approached by the owner who told me all about the venture and plans for next year. All I can say is, make sure you visit during the summer!


A pot of tea
Ham and Cheese sandwiches (served with garnish)
A slice of Victoria Sponge (big slice)

Came to a grand total of £6!

Afternoon Tea at its Finest!
Not only does Lindy Lou's offer great service and delicious treats it is also great value for money!

I would recommend anyone to visit this lovely place, its worth bringing a few friends along to get the full "tea party" experience. They also offer Birthday Parties, Children's Parties and other events can be booked upon request.

It's worth the trek, and definitely worth every penny!

Holly x

You can find Lindy Lou's at the following:

The Willows, Waterside Gardens, Crayford Way, DA1 4JJ Kent, United Kingdom

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Sunday, 24 November 2013

Goodies Galore at The Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair

It's been a while since I last attended a vintage fair and I was determined to make sure that I made an effort for The Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair, which is one of my favourites. The theme for this particular event was Winter Wonderland and although I didn't exactly feel festive in my Horrockses dress and pink 1980s does 50s shoes, as soon as I walked in I knew.

I've been trying to save money recently and only make purchases when necessary but this proved very difficult as there was simply so much to see. First of all I met Alexandra from Alexandra Vintage and purchased a pair of red gloves, before noticing a book on St Michael and the History of Marks and Spencers. For me, this was like hitting the jackpot. I am actually an employee of the company in a retail capacity so it was a great opportunity to read up on the background!

Since it only cost £5 I wasn't too worried about spending too much, until I walked into the next room and spotted small shoes!
As anyone who knows me will say, I have very small feet that aren't suitable for the big bulky shoes found on the modern day High Street and this seemed like a great investment. First of all I tried on a pair of gorgeous boudoir slippers, which looked like actual shoes.

I'd caught the attention of the trader by this time and she began to suggest some items from her collection. I particularly liked a pair of white shoes but they were ever so slightly too narrow. I was thinking of moving on to the next stall by this time and then I saw them. A pair of stunning chestnut 1920s shoes with a thin strap and popper clasp. It took about five minutes to get the poppers to snap open and I tentatively stepped into them. The thrill of knowing that they fit instantly was overwhelming and I couldn't help but try a few moves from The Charleston in them. The trader then explained that the shoes had come from the attic of a former shoe shop on Bond Street and the owner had locked them there when he retired. He'd kept all the original boxes so naturally the shoes could be bought with the original box.

There was no question by now-I simply had to have them. Luckily I have a very generous Dad who bought them for me as I couldn't quite afford them on my own and I wandered off with them in a bag. I couldn't resist showing them off!

I decided recently that instead of indulging in any more dresses or skirts I would concentrate on vintage accessories and as a result have been buying a lot to compensate for the lack of new dresses! These have included a 1950s Jane Shilton handbag, some gorgeous 1950s peach gloves with pearl beading and a couple of scarves and brooches.

So, with this in mind I made my way around the stalls, looking around hopefully for 1950s sweaters or jumpers. They were few and far between, but fortunately I can always rely on the lovely Ginny at Retrouve to provide some of the very best in vintage. Ginny is particularly selective of her stock, she even has a superb woollen Sambo dress which is just slightly too big for me, but I hope it finds an owner soon! She had a lovely array of items, including three gorgeous 1950s sweaters! I tried on a pretty floral jumper and a beaded cardigan before settling on the cardigan sweater, which is exactly what I've been looking for!

Not bad for Vintage on a budget!

Holly x