Monday, 31 August 2015

Squeezing the last drop out of summer with Sass and Belle*

Sass and Belle are always my first choice when it comes to gifts, party and homeware (I've featured them in a few of my student guide posts) - they have some stunning vintage and shabby chic inspired items that myself (and my mum) are slowly collecting!  Now, the weather this bank holiday weekend isn't looking too pretty and with forecasts of rain and showers across the UK I thought I'd bring summer indoors! 

I've chosen some of my favourite Sass and Belle items to create a gorgeous tea/garden party vibe in my own living room! 


I am in love with this cute Arrow Chalkboard  and when I saw it online I instantly imagined 'Tea Party This Way' scribbled across it!  I think it would look great nailed to a tree or a garden wall but hanging it off a door handle or entwining it with a floral garland works just as well. I think chalk boards are such a cute but useful tool and you can use them to remind yourself of everyday errands or spread positivity - I recently bought my mum this Wooden Heart Chalk Board and my cat-loving best friend the Cat Chalkboard.
Talking about floral garlands Sass and Belle do some real stunners! I picked out this Cream Rose Garland as I think it will be versatile during all the seasons - I know it's a bit early but I'm thinking with some fairy lights the cream roses will look very festive!

Another way of bringing the garden indoors is by using bunting and this Meadow Floral Bunting does not disappoint. It is absolutely gorgeous and would brighten up even the plainest of walls - string it up on a garden fence or around the kitchen table, you really cannot go wrong with a bit of bunting. There are plenty more patterns and shapes on their online store, I have my eye on the British Birds Bunting because it's so different from anything I've seen before and I know my mum would love the Green Owl Bunting



I'm a firm believer in that it's not a party until there's cake and despite my somewhat "rustic" cake decorating skills this Bohemian Cake Stand steals the show. The Bohemian range is not something I'd immediately go for but I have definately been won over by the bright patterns and colours. The best part is that this cake stand even has my boyfriends seal of approval! 
You can now see why I don't run a food blog right?


Last but definately not the least are these cute Hanging Hearts which are perfect for subtly adding a vintage twist to any room! You can hang these off of door/cupboard handles, in your window or just display them similar to how I have done on my cake stand. Sass and Belle have such a great range of these little hang-y things and they're perfect for gifts too - I think I have bought my mum every single hang-y owl that they sell! Pictures above is the Vintage Floral Hanging Heart in Pink and Cream and the Audrey Mini Hanging Hearts.

I hope this post inspired you to bring your summer garden party's indoors whilst the weather is miserable and I hope that you're all enjoying your bank holiday weekend! 

Lastly a huge thank you to Sass and Belle for allowing a very loyal customer to review some of their items, it has truly been fantastic!

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Monday, 17 August 2015

Shpock - The flea market at your fingertips!

Don't get me wrong, it doesn't get much better than losing an afternoon wandering round a vintage fair or market, but as adulthood is slowly creeping up on me I find I have increasingly less afternoons to spare. So naturally I was very interested (not to mention excited) when I heard about the fairly new app Shpock 'The boot sale app in your pocket'. This amazing app allows you to float through a world of pre-loved items whether you are on the train or scrolling through your phone at 4am with one eye open.

Since launching in March 2014, Shpock has helped 1 million people in the UK alone give their unwanted items a new home - everyone's a winner! You can view items in your local area and chat with sellers instantly to agree a price or collection. 

Shpock Selections
Listing an item takes less than 30 seconds

But it's not all about buying; listing an item is also simple! All you have to do is take a picture of what you're selling, write a little bit about it and it becomes instantly visible to Shpock users in your area! I'm finding it very useful after having a huge clear out of clothes this summer. A recent study has shown the average British household hordes a £517 worth of stuff* - that could be used for a holiday, a whole new wardrobe or this months rent?! 

My favourite feature of this app has to be its free listing - yes you heard correctly, Shpock does not charge you at all - the app is free, selling is free and listing is free! Talking about free, the app also has a 'Free Stuff' section!

Find vintage gems in your area

So if you need to earn some cash or just love vintage I would definitely recommend Shpock - it's available on the App store and Google Play!  

*according to a study completed by YouGov and commissioned by Shpock.

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Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Student | Make Your Student Room Feel Like Home

I was never home sick in my first year but I knew people who were. Of course a few candles and posters aren't going to replace your parents or your cat but I do believe they can go a long way to making a space your own. In most cases your bedroom at University will be the only space you can truly call your own and it will also be the space you do most things in (sleeping, eating, working, drinking, relaxing) so it is vital that you feel 100% comfortable there. Everyone has there own tastes but I've put together a few tips on how to make those peeling magnolia walls and that unidentifiable stain on the carpet feel a little less like prison!

Your bed will probably be the biggest space in your room and is probably where you will spend a huge chunk of time (sleeping, eating, working, relaxing etc) so make sure it looks great and is super comfortable. Getting bedding that you love will brighten your room whilst adding cushions, blankets and throws will make it extra cosey and comfy during the winter months. Supermarkets have really upped their game at the moment with homeware such as this gorgeous Sailor Girl Pin Up Duvet Set from George (I have this for my new house!) and Primark have some great bedding too (featured in the Picture below). 

In fact places like Primark, Supermarkets and Argos are the best places to go for University essentials. Many of the stuff wont survive your first year so keep it cheap and cheerful!
A photo posted by Courtney Farrow (@retroandthrift) on
One word. Posters. Even if you feel you have outgrown covering your walls in copious amounts of posters you may find at Uni that a few here and there will make your room feel a lot more welcoming. In my first year I had a couple of batman posters, a long with a vintage world map and my beloved 'We Can Do It' poster! I'm pretty sure most Uni's will have a poster sale in Freshers' week so be sure to pay it a visit!

A photo posted by Courtney Farrow (@retroandthrift) on

Photos are a really great way of dealing with the big move too! Be sure to take some photos of your friends and family back home with you to stick on the walls in your new room. You can add photos of your new adventures throughout the year too! There are so many printing sites online nowadays such as SnapfishFreeprints and Vistaprint and often they'll have great offers and deals when you sign up! Pinterest is full of great and cheap ways to display your memories - dedicate a whole wall to your photos, peg them up on bits of string or make a 'photo heart'!

A photo posted by Courtney Farrow (@retroandthrift) on

Fairy lights are one of my favorite ways to make a room feel cosey. They are also so easy to get hold of never mind inexpensive. Primark are always selling super cute battery operated ones (just make sure you're stocked up on batteries!) and they're a great way to decorate a desk or a headboard. I personally love my Flamingo Pary Lights from Dotcomgiftshop and Sass and Belle have some lovely Rose Garland Lights in stock at the moment. 
Desk lamps are pretty essential for all those late night essay writing sessions but it doesn't mean they cant look nice! Wilkos have desk lamps in a range of bright colours for only £4!
A photo posted by Courtney Farrow (@retroandthrift) on
Obviously keep space in mind but the odd candle here and their takes a student room from a student room to a student home! Again all supermarkets and places like Primark sell lovely candles. I also have this great device called an 'oil burner' that you put a tealight in burn wax melts I have some lovely fragrances from Yankee and Bomb Cosmetics (you can pick one up from Bomb Cosmetics themselves or have a hunt around online for cheaper deals, I think I got mine from B&M or Poundland.
A photo posted by Courtney Farrow (@retroandthrift) on
Struggling with what to take to University? I wrote a whole post on every thing you should consider packing here!

Make sure you check out my Pinterest board full of tips and tricks for students:

Follow Courtney Farrow's board UNISPIRATION on Pinterest. 
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Thursday, 6 August 2015

Student | What to pack for your first year at University!

You can never be too early to start planning for university and this time 2 years ago I was scanning the internet for helpful advice on what to take! Of course there will be something you forget – I arrived with a suitcase full of clothes but no coat hangers for example – but advice from former or current students can be a massive help all the same. I’ve assembled this massive list on what consider when packing for university from memory and my own experience (I lived in self-catered, en suite accommodation).

Some helpful advice before you start packing:
1. Check what your halls or accommodation provides/includes. E.g. if you are catered you’ll probably need less kitchen equipment that a self-catered person 
2. Aim to pack as light as possible as student rooms are quite small with minimal storage
3. Don’t spend a lot of money on new pots/pans/duvets as many of these things won’t survive the first year of Uni! Basic/Value ranges from places like Argos or Supermarket usually have a great selection of cheap student friendly items!

Read on for everything a first year could want to take with them!

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