Vegan, detox smoothie.

Now it's warming up in the Northern Hemisphere, here's a detox smoothie you might like to try, which I've been enjoying whilst living in Byron Bay.  It contains many of the ingredients I have included in other smoothies before but this one has a couple of new additions that help with detoxing, add extra health benefits, and is totally vegan.  Most of all it's quick and easy.  

INGREDIENTS - organic wherever possible

(1 T is 1 Tablespoon & 1 t is 1 teaspoon)

Half a glass of almond milk or coconut water

1T blueberries or one small banana

1T golden flaxseeds - rich in Omega 3 & phytoestrogens for happy hormones

1T psyllium husks - cleans your bowel & moves them, big time!

1T raw protein powder.  I have been using this one in Australia

1T blackstrap molasses - a fantastic source of iron for vegans

1T coconut oil - a really important fat for weight loss & health

1t cinnamon - good for helping cholesterol & blood sugar levels

1t turmeric - the best anti-inflammatory spice I know of

1t kelp - supports the thyroid, big time

1t green powder - include wheat grass, chlorella & spirulina for a detox.

1t matcha tea powder - for a big natural caffeine kick!

That's it, throw them all into your blender, whizz up and drink immediately.

The coconut oil is made up of Medium Chain Fatty Acids which produce energy instead of body fat.  It's also 50% made up of lauric acid, which strengthens the immune system & is good for the gut.  It's an all round good fat and will keep you going for hours.

While I've been here in Australia, I've gone onto the 16:8 way of eating, nearly ever day, instead of the 5:2 plan twice a week.  This is another form of intermittent fasting that is proving very popular, has plenty of scientific research behind it, (check out Professor Longo here) and seems to be very successful for weight loss and, more importantly, the body's health. 

Because it's so hot here all the time and I've never been a big fan of breakfast, I have found it really easy to have my supper at 7.00 pm. and then not eat again till 11 or 12 the next day. (Drinking plenty of liquid, of course.) Most days I am only having two meals a day, with plenty of exercise in between eating whatever I like at those meal times, as long as it's healthy, and does include Prosecco from time to time!

I will report back, with photos, when I return to the UK in April and get my b.p., cholesterol, visceral & body fat measured at the doctors and the gym.  Then you'll be the first to hear whether my intermittent fasting has had the desired effect on my health!

As ever, let me know if you do intermittent fasting and whether it's benefited your health. Would love to hear. 

See you soon,

Napier, New Zealand.

I had to renew my visa for Australia before my three months was up, so thought visiting two places in New Zealand I hadn't been before would be a great excuse to leave and re-enter Oz. After too short a time in Wellington (that's another blog, another time) I hit Napier the Art Deco centre of New Zealand, somewhere I have always wanted to visit. The centre of the town was destroyed by an earthquake in 1931, and later rebuilt in the Art Deco style so popular at that time.  Now, the architecture, along with vintage costumes and cars, is a major tourist attraction that people from all over the world come to visit.

Napier, Ne Zealand.  The Art Deco mecca of the Southern Hemisphere.

Napier, Ne Zealand.  The Art Deco mecca of the Southern Hemisphere.

Every year, Napier throws open its doors to thousands of visitors for the world famous Tremains Art Deco Festival. I couldn't find anywhere to stay for this year's event so went the week before to catch the build up as the town got ready for its biggest annual party. It was a great time to go because I got to see the best Napier has to offer, without the crowds, and I still got to dress up!

Anyone who loves Art Deco will find the architecture just awesome, just make sure your camera battery's fully charged!

It's not just about the amazing Art Deco buildings everywhere, it's also about the vintage cars tootling around town and the fact that the locals love to dress up in vintage 20s & 30s outfits for the visitors.  I was lucky to be running around town with my camera the day a cruise ship came in and the sun came out..... so the costumes and cars were out in force.

I stayed at the Art Deco Masonic Hotel, really central and handy for the museum, beach, cars & shops.....especially Charleston Chic, right next door, where I spent a lot of time!

The Art deco masonic hotel, napier, new zealand.

The Art deco masonic hotel, napier, new zealand.

Charleston Chic, run by Penelope, whose been in the vintage clothes and accessories business for over twenty years, became my new best friend and kindly introduced me to the perfect Hawkes Bay people for me to meet, as well as styling up my 20s dress for a High Tea! Here's a little Video glimpse inside her shop.

So then it was off to High Tea at Port O Call to meet another Brightonian, who now lives in Napier.  Estelle of Brighton makes gorgeous vintage bags to sell and never misses an opportunity to dress up in vintage.  Nor do I!  I dragged this 20's long dress all the way from the UK to Australia and then to New Zealand for just such an event.  And it was perfect!

 I bought the red gloves, sunnies & feather head piece really cheaply in Napier,  and Penelope very kindly lent me the gorgeous necklace and gold shoes from her shop, Charleston Chic.

As you can see, we had a ball and, hopefully, really looked the part. The tea room/shop was a pleasure to wander around and I managed to find the most gorgeous small vintage suitcase to buy......you'll have to wait for the photos, but it's going to be perfect for my 'props' box at home and so very pretty!

And that wasn't the only place I shopped. I found The Best retro boutique (very 50s, very me!) called Two Lippy Ladies, in Napier.  It's run by lovely ladies Natalie (on the left) and Karla (on the right), such a pleasure to meet.  As NZ was a bit chilly after Oz, and I hadn't brought any jeans from the UK, I didn't feel in the least bit guilty buying these awesome 50s style denim capris that were designed & made in England by Hell Bunny and were still super reasonable despite how far they'd travelled! 

If the weather's not perfect when you visit Napier, don't worry as there are loads of really interesting shops, restaurants & cafes in town so you won't be bored for a moment..... broke but not bored!  And the food's great too. You'll eat and drink so well in New Zealand that you'll need a bit of a diet, or a fast, like I did when I got home again!

And finally, thanks to Estelle, I was introduced to Matthew Bonnet (the dapper young man below), who kindly arranged for his friend Leigh Patterson to drive us around town in his gorgeous vintage car.  I felt like a very important person sticking my red gloved arm out every time we needed to turn right and waving at anyone who waved at us! Thank you so much to both of you for such a fabulous end to my Napier visit. 

I had a wonderful visit to Napier, despite the two days of rain that the area badly needed, and I was touched by the kindness and hospitality of everyone I met there who more than made up for the fact that I couldn't attend the world-famous Tremains Art Deco Festival. If you fancy going to the Festival one year, just remember that the hotels get booked up at least one year, or even two, in advance.  Or go just before or after the Festival, like I did. Napier won't disappoint, whatever time of the year you go, it's a really gorgeous town especially for lovers of all things vintage.  And the beach isn't bad either!

#vintageladyvintagestyle

My very own first hashtag has started to have the desired effect!  Thank you all you lovely ladies who have started to post yourselves on Instagram, or elsewhere, wearing what makes you look & feel great, preferably in vintage or retro.  

I now have enough photos tagged #vintageladyvintagestyle to show you my favourite 6 so please continue to use the hashtag and tell your friends to as well.  The quirkier the better.  Let's give Advanced Style a run for his money!  I need more of you to show the world how wonderful we can all look Well Over 40 and beyond. Here are the best six, photographically and style-wise.  And thank you.

The Instagram links to the sexy six are below the photos.

In photographic order:

 Janice Issitt

Estelle Pemberton

Mrs Maya Plays

Jan Wild

Peg Burke

Ana Babaian

These ladies are so interesting, for all sorts of reasons: talented, stylish and individual while refusing to lie down & become invisible.  I salute you my first gang of six and look forward to more and more of you joining #vintageladyvintagestyle. You don't have to be vintage or wear vintage, but one or other helps!

 

 

I need to have a Singles rant!

Are you a single lady or man of a certain age, or any age come to think of it, who sometimes travels solo?  I am currently in Napier, New Zealand, hopping over from Australia for a brief holiday with the sole aim of renewing my Aussie visa and to visit two towns I haven't managed to see on previous visits.  So Napier, after Wellington, was high on my list because it's an Art Deco town, completely re-built after the 1931 Earthquake, with stunning buildings everywhere.  When the sun comes out. But I digress. My rant today is..... why does the world behave as if we are all walking two by two in happy coupledom when the number of singletons is becoming more and more the majority but treated more and more like the minority and the odd ones out.... ........

Two by two deckchairs. what do you do if there's only one of you?

Two by two deckchairs. what do you do if there's only one of you?

Never has there been more of an outcry about single supplements for single hotel rooms and package holidays. (Although it appears to be improving as our numbers swell.)  Never have there been more singles travelling the world.  (More than a third of UK holiday makers are single)  Especially Baby Boomers like me.  And never have there been more single households in Britain than now. Yet, we are still treated like an oddity & nowhere more so, in my opinion, than dining alone!  

I am on my own here in Napier for four days, staying at the Art Deco Masonic Hotel rather than self-catering for such a short time.  I am in a tourist town full of middle-aged & elderly couples. I haven't seen any singles. Not one. It's not like France or, indeed, Byron Bay, where you see single ladies everywhere enjoying a glass of bubbly and a snack on their own.

I have friends here, who I will meet up with later in the week, but for the time being, because the weather's grim, I am happily shopping, sightseeing and catching up on movies I want to see before the Oscars. Alone. Happily.  However, this evening, after a spectacular meal of pulled lamb (sorry vegetarians) in the hotel's Emporium Eatery & Bar I have to share with you how fed up I am with the ridiculous habit of the swift removal of the 2nd place setting at the table opposite you because you are ALL ON YOUR OWN! It's not just here, it's all over the world and I want it to stop!

A MEAL FOR ONE. 

A MEAL FOR ONE. 

I haven't experienced such a  dramatic removal of my invisible guests' cutlery in a long time. But what I really objected to this evening was that I had told the waitress I would like to order a local red wine to go with the lamb. The lamb arrived and was cold by the time I had attracted the attention of the manager to get a lovely glass of red wine to go with the remaining half of the dish. Then another young waitress came over, after I had completely finished my meal, asked me if everything was ok (a tad late, I fear) and then asked me if anyone was joining me, AT THE END OF MY MEAL!  She then, with a flourish, removed the second setting opposite me when I replied in the negative. Nice!

The whole point of this rant is.......surely bringing the wine with the meal is far more important than removing a spare setting?  Where was she when I wanted to order an expensive glass of red wine? And WHY is the removal of the empty place at the table so important?

Suppose I had just lost my husband, suppose I was feeling really lonely and insecure, suppose my partner had stood me up or we had had a row.........suppose, suppose.......  I think it is ridiculous that people who are eating on their own, especially at night, have their attention drawn to the fact, and I would like it to stop! The waiters have absolutely no idea of their customers' story and should be a little more discreet.  But again I ask, WHY does it need to be done at all? Can't you just leave the cutlery there?  Or, do as they do in France, and have a few tables set for singles. There are masses of us after all!

Is it just me? Does anyone else feel like this? Are the restaurants worried we will dirty their disused cutlery? Why does this removal of spare cutlery even happen?  Why is it necessary?  I can't be the only Billy No Mates out there, choosing to travel and eat on my own sometimes.  What about secret reviewers of restaurants?  I bet any restaurant removing a second setting like a magician on speed would be unlikely to receive a great write up after that!

For now, room service will have to do in my tiny room......tiny because I am a Single so obviously don't warrant a bigger room like the couples have!  So different to Wellington where I had the very best of experiences where I stayed & everywhere I went, despite the inclement weather.  

So, rant over!  My first ever on the blog.

UPDATE.

I have met some delightful vintage style ladies & gents this week in Napier, and today the sun came out so I had an absolutely glorious day spotting all the vintage cars, even riding round town in one, having high tea in a vintage tea shop and meeting like-minded people all over town dressed up in 20s clothes.  So my whole mood lifted and I had an absolute ball on my last day! Watch out for the blog on Napier, coming soon.  

Meanwhile, a big thank you to the lovely people I met this week.  You know who you are, I had the best time blog-wise thanks to you, and may our mutual eccentricity just grow and grow!

UPDATE

Well, well, well! It's not just single women, just listen to this story from a male friend of mine. Pete lost his wife two years ago and is now out and about making new friends, with his lovely two dogs.  I met him on a group I joined called Dog Lovers Dating and he told me what happened to him just before a party thrown for us singletons.  These are his words:

"I  went to an Indian restaurant in Church Road, Hove, in Brighton, asked for a table for one, and was told, 'we don't do tables for one!' It was 6.45 pm and there were precisely six other people in the restaurant at the time. " Unbelievable! He was, as he described, dumb struck and just turned on his heel and walking out to find a restaurant that would accommodate him. Surely this is against the law?!

Your comments, as ever, would be gratefully received. 

 

 

Vegan/vegetarian pasta with parmesan.

Vegan ravioli. Rocket, macadamia & basil pesto.  Washed down with a glass of red wine!

Vegan ravioli. Rocket, macadamia & basil pesto.  Washed down with a glass of red wine!

I don't eat much pasta but when I come across a fresh, handmade, organic ravioli , which also happens to be vegan or vegetarian , I knew I'd found something rather special to put in the freezer for an emergency meal, unexpected guests or even a visiting vegan! I found this delicious pasta at the weekly Byron Bay Farmer's Market recently.  (How I wish we had a market like this at home!) Made by the Byron Gourmet Pasta Company, owner Tom Ahern uses only locally sourced ingredients: the vegan ravioli is made from rocket, macadamia & basil, & the vegetarian option has added ricotta cheese.  Both are completely yum!

And to bang my 'eat clean, eat local' drum yet again, who doesn't love parmesan but hates the way most of it is mass produced?  Well the local Pimp My Salad people have come up with a fab vegan alternative: cashew parmesan, which sprinkled on the ravioli made it taste like the real thing and when served with a green salad, and washed down with a glass of red wine, made the meal just perfection personified and totally vegan. (Yes, I even checked the wine!)

You can, on-line, buy the cashew parmesan & all the other vegan goodies that Extraordinary Foods make such as kale chips, coconut "bacon" bits, & seed sprinkles etc., with a special discount they have agreed to give you.  Just pop in the code SUZI15 to get 15% off at Extraordinary Foods.  Much cheaper than the shops.

Coconut parmesan completes this vegan pasta meal.

Coconut parmesan completes this vegan pasta meal.

For those of you adventurous enough to make your own ravioli, the ingredients can't be hard to put together. Macadamia nuts are used a lot here in Australia and make a very creamy cheese substitute once they're ground up.  Just add basil pesto & a bit of rocket & you've got a delicious vegan ravioli filling. And for the rest of us who want vegetarian & maybe can't source macadamias that easily, a little added ricotta cheese will do the trick.

Meanwhile, I will be hunting for a similar version of this awesome pasta once I'm back in the UK, pity I can't bring it back in my case!

Do let me know if you can find products like these in your local Farmer's Market or if you make your own pasta and fillings.  I will be extremely jealous either way!

I'm off to New Zealand for a week so I can renew my Australian visa by leaving the country & coming back in. Really looking forward to a bit of city life in Wellington & a complete change in temperature. 

See you soon,

My favourite new but vintage look summer dress.

OK I own up, I came out for my four month sojourn in Australia with a half empty suitcase!  I'm sure you know by now that my absolute passion is digging around markets, vintage stalls, op shops/charity shops and independents.  Especially here where the climate is more suitable for ferreting around market stalls and where hand made clothes and vintage pieces can often be found for a song, as well as being individual & quite different to something you'd find at home.  

Love a cotton summer dress in a vintage style.

Love a cotton summer dress in a vintage style.

So this is the first dress I bought here, In Byron Bay, in a hurry 'cause I didn't have a thing to wear for a New Years Eve party!  It wasn't a bad price, for Byron, at $129 (£70), it looks vintage, is 100% cotton & I have already worn it to death as it's so cool and comfy. 

I wore it one hot, humid day to the gorgeous federation town of Bangalow, in the Hinterland, to meet a friend for lunch. With an old pair of Fitflops, vintage sunnies from Fabulous Fannies in New York, a 50 cent bangle from an op shop/charity shop and my fabulous hand-made vintage necklace from local designer Ghost & Lola, it was perfect for ambling around in the heat.

Not the best expression, but love the way the skirt blows out in the breeze!

Not the best expression, but love the way the skirt blows out in the breeze!

Thank you to the lovely girl from Woods Coffee shop who came out to admire my sunnies and got roped in to do some quick snaps on my i phone! People are so lovely here.

To dress up this simple, cotton dress, ready for a garden party or similar, I added a cheap sun hat, a belt bought for 50 cents in another op shop, a bracelet I bought in the UK for a fiver, and gorgeous little vintage booties from Trash Vintage ($80). It is now an outfit suitable for any weather (probably needing a cardi or jacket in the UK) , any occasion, and one I will get a lot of wear out of, wherever I am. So £70 very well spent, methinks!  Meanwhile, the kids are back to school this week so the sales start......and yes, I will need another big bag to bring all this stuff home to the UK!

Photography was done in and around my rental on my Olympus PEN,  by my friend Suzie, whose also a part-time photographer. Lucky!

This dress was found in a little independent children's clothes shop in Byron called, Essentially Byron, and designed by Gypsy Rose, who I cannot find anywhere on the internet! I will find out more when I can.  

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoyed this first look at of what I've been buying and I'll see you soon, no doubt with more interesting summer bargains, vintage or not, that I've found on my travels!

Hopefully, it will be chilly in Wellington when I go there next week so you get a break from the constant pictures of sunshine and tropical vegetation!

As usual, I would love to hear from you. Have a great week.

An Australia Day recipe, Coronation Chicken & Salad.

A friend at my first Australia Day party some 4 years ago!

A friend at my first Australia Day party some 4 years ago!

Happy Australia Day to all Ozzies, or, as so many of my friends here call it, 'Invasion Day!'  I thought I would post a recipe that's a suitable alternative to throwing some prawns on the barbie while quietly enjoying my intentional irony by making it a Coronation chicken recipe!

Apologies to anyone reading this shivering in the Northern Hemisphere, but this is a goodie to keep by for Summer.  First the chicken. 

My version of coronation chicken. 

My version of coronation chicken. 

INGREDIENTS

A whole cooked chicken, pulled

1 tablespoon of mayonnaise

1 tablespoon of mango chutney

1 dessert spoon of curry powder

Sultanas (optional) I just don't like them on my food!

Seasoning. I've used kale sprinkles, from the Pimp Your Salad range, by local Byron producer Extraordinary Foods (thank you Jan for introducing me to them).

HOW TO

Too easy.....and a great one to do ahead of time.......just pull the chicken off the bone, place in a bowl, and mix the rest of the ingredients in a separate bowl, adding a bit of liquid to thin it, if necessary. Mix the dressing through and keep in the fridge before serving. These ingredients are for 4 people so just double up on the sauce the more chicken you're serving. 

And if you have vegans or vegetarians coming, here's a salad they'd enjoy as an alternative.

A really healthy salad with feta, black olives and coconut bacon, which tastes like the real thing.

A really healthy salad with feta, black olives and coconut bacon, which tastes like the real thing.

What could be healthier and easier than a huge mixed green salad with chunks of feta and black olives and ......wait for this one.......coconut bacon bits, that taste exactly like bacon! Another yum product, that's totally vegan, from the people who make Pimp Your Salad. I'm totally addicted and we need them in the UK!

You can buy kale sprinkles, kale chips, coconut bacon, cashew parmesan & a host of other vegan treats using a special discount code that Extraordinary Foods have agreed to give you. Just pop in the code SUZI15 to get 15% off.

For vegans, just pass on the feta, add avocado to the salad and give them extra coconut bacon & kale crisps!

I've also added a little serving of Mara Seaweed, sustainably produced in Scotland., furikake is a great seasoning for any buffet dish, especially avocado, salmon & even potato salad. It's a blend of chilli, sesame & dulse, so adds a bit of a bite & a big serving of health!

So that's my effort for Australia Day. Hope you enjoy the recipe & interesting extras. I will add baked sweet potato wedges for the carb fans (frozen of course, it's far too hot for all that prep!) and that's it, let's hope someone brings the pudding & prosecco!

One of my favourite summer buffet meals: coronation chicken & a mixed green salad.

One of my favourite summer buffet meals: coronation chicken & a mixed green salad.

Let me know if you try this & see you soon,

My rental home in Australia.

You know how much I love spending the UK winter in Byron Bay, in New South Wales.  This year, as I am working so much more on the blog than a year ago, I moved from my usual rental into a place with air con.  Much needed at this time of the year!  After morning exercise outdoors: walking, cycling & swimming, I feel like I'm in a little world of my own for the rest of the day..... hiding from the midday sun till it cools down & listening to the radio from the UK (usually Chris Moyles on Radio X,  or Radio 4 or podcasts), while I work, rest or play!

My work corner........

My work corner........

......and the view from my work space: wallabies, water dragons, & birds are regular visitors.

......and the view from my work space: wallabies, water dragons, & birds are regular visitors.

So for those of you as nosey as I am, here's a little video of my lovely pad, found on Airbnb. It's just perfect, backing onto tropical bush with lots of exciting wildlife to look at, (apart from the big brown poisonous snake that came to visit one day, thank goodness all the doors were closed!) and nice and near town.

And to make up for it, ever since the snake's appearance, I have been blessed to see wallabies in the next garden, gorgeous birds, bush turkeys, cuckaburrows, lizards and water dragons, the biggest of which was this fellow who decided to come and knock on my door one night! 

How adorable is he?!  The locals tell me he probably needed water as it hadn't rained for ages, but he may have been fed by previous tenants. Either way, I've got his water ready and hope he comes back, he's just awesome.

Finally, here are a few shots of my favourite corners of this great rental.  If you like the look of it, Laura and Trent are just awesome owners and nothing is too much trouble.  Here's the link.

Hope you enjoyed a little glimpse into my home life in Byron.  

Take care and see you soon,

An easy brunch/brekkie.

I am such a huge fan of the Aussie breakfast, even more this year as it's become the most important meal of my day, while I'm here.  I am trying the 16:8 fast regime this year, instead of the 5:2.  (That's eating at 7.00 pm the night before and not eating again till 11.00 the next morning, making it a 16 hour fast.) I have to get the hell out in the morning, before it gets really hot, so most of my exercise is all done before 11.00 a.m. latest. I am swimming and cycling nearly every day.......The Best exercise, especially for us older folk, that I wrote about last year, as well as walking 10,000 steps along the beach & round Byron as often as possible. (I also do a 15 minute HIIT programme nearly every afternoon, more on that another time.)

Suffice to say that by the time I have "fasted" overnight and done at least 2 hours of exercise, I am absolutely starving. So this is my favourite, delish breakfast which gives your body everything it needs after a "work out", is suitable for vegetarians, is gluten-free, good for many who are lactose intolerant and really healthy. This is also a light meal that you can eat in the winter as well as the summer and one I will be continuing to enjoy in the UK.  

My favourite healthy australian breakfast: gluten free toast, persian feta, tomato salsa, preserved lemon & avocado. 

My favourite healthy australian breakfast: gluten free toast, persian feta, tomato salsa, preserved lemon & avocado. 

RECIPE

2 small slices of gluten-free bread or brushetta

1 small, mashed avocado 

A really good quality feta (Persian is really creamy) made from goats cheese

Tomato salsa (you can buy this in most delis & supermarkets)

Preserved lemon, finely diced

Paprika

HERE'S HOW

Just toast the bread, add the mashed avocado with seasoning and lemon juice or, preferably, a little of the diced preserved lemon, sprinkle the feta over the top, add the tomato salsa, serve with a dash of paprika, a bit of salad as a garnish and job done - a healthy, quick, delicious light meal. 

A big thank you to the folk at Byronian Cafe who introduced me to this brekkie so that I can shamelessly steal it and share it with you - and they have great wifi!

My favourite brekkie in Byron Bay at the Byronian Cafe. 

My favourite brekkie in Byron Bay at the Byronian Cafe. 

 

I will report back after this 3 month 'get fit, get healthier' plan of mine!  There will be before and after photos and a blog to share my experiences. Meanwhile, I'll be posting what I am up to, regularly, be it food recipes, health tips, or fashion bargains so you can all join me for a fitter more fabulous spring/summer!

As ever, please do add your comments, and tell me what you're up to this January. You know I love hearing from you.....especially now that I am so far away from home!

A vintage necklace.

I just love vintage frames, bangles and beads!  All of these were found in and around Byron Bay, Australia.

I just love vintage frames, bangles and beads!  All of these were found in and around Byron Bay, Australia.

I am like a magpie nowadays.  Always on the search for something up-cycled, re-cycled, retro and vintage.  I so enjoy owning something that isn't brand new, hasn't been mass marketed or made in China..... and something that has memories, has been put together with love and, most of all,  unique, eco and often much, much cheaper than something designer or new!

So imagine my delight when I discovered Wendy, of Ghost and Lola,  at the Byron Bay Sunday Market.  A once a month event that has always done me well when it comes to finding locally made clothes, accessories, home crafts and artisan products. I come over with an empty bag so I can bring things back to England.  Everything from bedcovers and cushion covers to vintage dresses, sunglasses & jewellery have found their way back with me on the long flight home! 

Wendy has collected vintage beads, chains and bits and pieces for decades from all over the world. And this necklace is a perfect example of how she has combined her talents as a designer and jeweller to produce this one-off, hand-crafted "Chocolate Box" necklace.  The beads and chains come from the 50s, 60's and 70s, making this a really authentic and individual piece. 

She describes some of them here: 

Vintage Lucite and copper cage beads from the 70’s intertwined on a gorgeous golden vintage chain also from the 70’s. The striped beads are Ocker from West Germany. The Chocolate Swirl beads are Japanese vintage.

I wish I was a maker and could put together something as beautiful as this.  However, I am a collector & shopper with a good eye, so I hope you enjoy posts like this to either inspire you to make wonderful pieces yourself or to look for eclectic, one-offs to buy cheaply in markets or charity shops supporting local trade & artists along the way.

I am seriously thinking of starting an on-line shop for some of my individual, vintage bits and pieces I have found in the past, so do let me know if this is something that could be of interest to you in the future.  

Meanwhile, I will continue to search every market & vintage shop I can find in the Byron Shire, while I'm here, to source more unique treasures to bring home.  I am probably going to end up like my departed mother.....she was an antique dealer but loved everything she bought so much she rarely sold anything!  Do you think it could be in the genes?  

Vintage sunglasses, vintage bangle and now a vintage necklace to complete my brown theme!

Vintage sunglasses, vintage bangle and now a vintage necklace to complete my brown theme!