Friday, 24 December 2010

Wishing you a Swell Christmas!

Have a Swell time!

Much love,

Swell Vintage


Wednesday, 22 December 2010

When Frankie met Elsie

Photo courtesy of Shape What's to Come

Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing the very talented and lovely Elsie Flannigan of Red Velvet Vintage for Levi's Shape What's to Come. It was so good to speak to her about her business and her gorgeous blog, A Beautiful Mess (if you haven't read it yet, I guarantee you'll fall in love with it). Elsie's story is definitely an inspiring one, and I've definitely learned a few things for my own business.

If you'd like to read the interview, just hop over here and have a look! I'd love to hear what you think about it.

Merry nearly-Christmas!

Much love,

Swell Vintage


Friday, 17 December 2010

New stuff from the house of Swell

...although I actually live in a flat!

Although I've been busy with a good few Christmas jewellery commissions recently, I've also made some new pieces that I really want to share with you. As always, I'd be grateful for any feedback or thoughts you may have about the pieces, so please sock it to me. All of these pieces will be available from in the new year.

This is my Queen of Hearts necklace. It's made from a vintage brooch, hung on vintage chain and is adorned with freshwater pearls. I am really pleased with it's simple beauty - so much so, in fact, I might even wear it to my Christmas party tonight! Turns out I'm very indecisive...

The Luck be a Lady bracelet is a bit of a bold beast, but it still has an air of elegance about it. It's made from a vintage brooch, linked on vintage chain and is, of course, adorned with freshwater pearls. I do so love a bit of wrist bling.

Inspired by everyone's favourite Quality Street treat, this is The Purple One. I do have a confession to make - this is not a new necklace. I made it a long time ago, and it was for sale in a boutique in Edinburgh. Unfortunately that boutique has now closed down, and although I am very sad about it I am very happy to have this necklace back.

So what do you think? Which piece is your favourite? What would you wear them with? Tell me what's on your mind.

Also, it's nearly Christmas! I am so overly excited about it, and I'm looking forward to spending some quality time with friends and family. What are your plans for the festive period?

Much love,

Swell Vintage


Tuesday, 7 December 2010

P-A-R-T-why? Because it's Christmas!

I love Christmas. I honestly do. Not just because it's the season where binge eating becomes a socially acceptable activity (they're known as 'mince pies', not 'mince pie'. Thus, I must eat as many as I can fit into my mouth...right?), but also because there 's always a good occasion to get up.

As mentioned a few posts ago, I recently left my full-time office job so that I could devote more of my time to Swell Vintage. It's been a couple of weeks since I left now, and while it has been amazing to explore my passion more, I do really miss the people. I worked with a lot of brilliant and wonderful people, many of whom became very close friends to me, and you just don't get the same level of social interaction when you're sat at home talking to yourself. And I've definitely tried...losing touch with reality, you say? Don't be crazy...

However, before you start playing the world's smallest violin just for me, the good news is there is some light at the end of my anti-social tunnel - the Christmas Party! I'm still allowed to go, and I fully intend to have an awesome night.

But I do need your help, my dear reader. I've got the dress, but I need help choosing a necklace to wear!

Ok, so here's the dress. It's a vintage black lacey number that I got from Vix Vintage on Etsy, and I am in love with it. It fits like a dream and definitely gets me in the mood for a party.

As you can see, the neckline is rather plunging, so I will definitely need a necklace to go with it. I personally love a statement necklace to make an outfit pop, especially with a black dress, so I'm going for something quite bold. And lucky for me, I have lots of lovely necklaces to borrow from Swell Vintage! Here are the options:

Necklace One

My 'Princess Pearl' necklace could work because it's quite striking, but the pearls add a touch of elegance to it. Also - let's face it - it looks a bit like a nipple, so it's quite fun to wear with a low cut dress!

Necklace Two

My 'Rose by any other name' necklace is one of my all-time favourite pieces, and it might be nice to soften the dress with something a bit prettier...but would it work with this dress? What do you think?

Necklace Three

I made this necklace today, and I'm really pleased with how it's come out. I've called it 'Pearl of the Sea' because the jagged shape reminds me of coral. I like it because it has a classic feel to it, and that could go really well with this dress. It will also be available to buy from as of tomorrow.

So what do you think? Which is your favourite necklace? If you could place you vote and let me know any ideas or thoughts you have in the comments box, it would be very much appreciated! Also, I'd love to hear about your go-to party outfit for the Christmas season, so please tell me all about it.

Much love,

Swell Vintage


Monday, 29 November 2010

R.I.P Leslie Nielsen

This morning I woke up to the very sad news that Leslie Nielsen had died. I am geniunely heartbroken about this. I have grown up watching his films, and I like to think that his genius first inspired my appreciation and love of comedy. I can quote nearly all of his films on demand - a fact that I am very proud of.

Another reason why this makes me so sad is because I never got to see him in person. Earlier in the year I had tickets to see him in conversation over at the BFI, but unfortunately he had to cancel. We all hoped that he'd be able to reschedule the talk at some point, but he didn't. It would have been amazing to see the man himself in the flesh, recounting stories from his incredible career, but I guess it just wasn't meant to be.

“Yes, it’s true - I’ve been called the Laurence Olivier of spoofs. I guess that would make Laurence Olivier the Leslie Nielsen of Shakespeare.”

R.I.P Leslie Nielsen, you absolute legend.

Much love,

Swell Vintage


Monday, 22 November 2010

Dear Santa

First off, I'd like to say I'm a big fan of your work. Not only do you bring joy to children and young adults all over the world every year, but you also have a very impressive beard. Kudos to you, sir.

I think I've been a very good girl this year, but I know I can be quite hard to buy for. To help you find something you know I'll love, I've put together a little list of amazing things that are available to order online right now (only 33 days to go, Nick...the clock is ticking!). So if you would kindly bring me the following presents, I'd be much obliged!

My hand NEEDS this incredible ring by Alexander McQueen, £150 from Matches

My feet require some epic shoes by issue, $225 from Olive Shoppe

My blog needs videos filmed on this Flip Video Ultra High Definition Camcorder, £109.99 from Amazon

My torso and every day life would be better with this Vivienne Westwood Anglomania Black Drape Dress, £197 from

And dream list is complete without an amazing handbag, £695 from Mulberry

But enough about me! What will you be asking Santa for this year?

Much love,

Swell Vintage


Wednesday, 17 November 2010

This could be the start of something Swell...

Roughly two years ago, I decided to give jewellery making a go. I can't remember where the idea came from exactly. I didn't have a plan or goal in mind. I just knew it was something I wanted to try.

One of my first ever pieces...please excuse the awful photography!

Since then things have moved on a fair bit. Swell Vintage has gone from a small-time hobby to being my one true passion. So much so, in fact, that I have now quit my full-time office job and will be dedicating more of myself to my Swell love. It's my last day tomorrow, and I still can't quite believe I'm doing it.

A weird mix of feelings come with taking a big leap like this. First and foremost comes the fear - what if it all turns out to be a spectacular failure? What if everyone hates the jewellery I make and it doesn't progress any further? Fortunately, this is massively outweighed by the immense excitement that has been bubbling under the surface for months. Despite any doubts that are lingering, I know I'm doing the right thing. I'm finally going to be living my dream, and I can't wait to see what the future holds.

Please wish me luck, my dear friends! I'm going to need it.

Much love,

Swell Vintage


Sunday, 7 November 2010

A tribute to my Grandma

On 2nd November 2010, I returned to my desk after a meeting to find two missed calls from my Mother. I called back straight away.

Me: Hi Mum, are you ok?
Mum: I'm ok...but you're Grandmother isn't...

Haemorrhaging had unexpectedly occured in my Grandmother's brain, and she had suffered from a lot of internal bleeding. She died two hours later.

So many people have tried to describe how it feels when you're told someone you care about has died, but few rarely come close. It may seem like an odd point of reference, but I always thought that this quote from the children's book “Lemony Snickett's A Series of Unfortunate Events” sums it up best:

It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. It's like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down through the air and there's a sickly moment of dark surprise.

Add that winded feeling you get when you've been hit in the stomach to it, and I think you get pretty close.

When I was told that my Grandmother had died, I wasn't sure exactly how to feel. While I instantly felt that gut wrenching mix of shock and sadness, a part of me felt a quiet happiness. Before you go thinking that I am a terrible human being, let me explain: for the last 40 years of her life, my Grandmother had been a professional spiritualist. This meant that she was able to communicate with spirits, and she did so every day (she maintained at all of our dead relatives regularly sat on her sofa at once. They would all merge into one, and she was only able to tell how many were there by counting their feet.).

Now, I know there are a lot of sceptics out there. You may not agree or believe that spiritualism is real or even possible, but it doesn't matter – my Grandmother did. More than that, it made her happy. Unlike a lot of people, my Grandmother had no fear of death at all. In her later years, she even looked forward to it, because to her it meant that she would be reunited with all of her loved ones and that her spirit would live on.

My Grandma at her spiritualist church

I'm sorry if this post was not what you've come to expect from Swell Vintage, but I wanted to make a little tribute to my Grandma. She was a real character with a generous heart. I will miss her enormously, but I know that somewhere she is happy and at peace. This is what she always looked forward to, and I hope that she and all of my past relatives are having one hell of a party somewhere.

Much love,

Swell Vintage


Sunday, 31 October 2010

Britain's Next Top Montage

Can you believe it's been a week since the last day of the Britain's Next Top Model Live event?! Where does the time go?

For those of you who weren't able to make it, the wonderful people at Motorola have put together a lovely video of our catwalk show:

(To get a better view, go directly to the Youtube page)

Please ignore how terrifing my eyes are! Note to self - use your small eyes when talking...

In other news, the very kind people over at So Charming, a rather fancy website that sells designer jewellery, are offering all Swell Vintage readers a generous 10% all purchases! All you have to do is head over to enter the code "charm10" into the coupon box when you're checking out. This code is good for the next three months, so bag a bargain while you can.

Happy Halloween!

Many thanks,

Swell Vintage


Sunday, 24 October 2010

Britain's Next Top Model Live and Lived

Best. weekend. ever.

I could try to paint you a vivid word picture to describe just how brilliant the whole Britain's Next Top Model Live event has been this weekend, but instead I will show you my photo highlights!

Y'all ready for this?

My amazing model

I was lucky enough to dress and style the very beautiful, and not to mention lovely, Jessica P from Models1. Jessica is one of their "new faces", and after working with her this weekend I know she is going to be massively successful. But don't just take my word for it - here's the evidence:

Getting made up.

Getting the hair 'did.

Ready to go and born to do it!

This is why Jessica is a model and I am not...

My outfit

Natasha Bailie and I were each challenged to create a vintage outfit that embodies the whole Motorola 'Geek Chic' vibe to go with the super cool FLIPOUT phone. As I said in my post a week or so ago, I wanted my look to be 70s mixed with the relaxed elegance of Chloe. Here's what I did:
  • When I was putting the outfit together, I knew for sure I wanted to feature this blouse. It's made from a really luxury satin fabric, and it screams Chloe to me - it's ultra feminine and very sophisticated. I also love the burnt orange colour, as it fits like a dream with an autumnal colour palette.
  • To spice things up a bit and give the look a sexy edge, I teamed it with a nice fitted leopard print skirt. Leopard is a classic vintage print, so there are always plenty of gorgeous items to choose from.
  • I was really happy to include this leather satchel with my outfit, as not only is it stunning, but it's also very unique and original. Let's face it - there's nothing worse than buying an item and seeing other people with the same thing! Vintage is all about feeling special, and this bag is just that.
  • For the shoes, I went for comfortable but still very cool brown leather loafers. When the weather starts to turn, it's good to have a reliable pair of shoes that will still look chic around the office.
  • To round off the look, I added some specs. They're the ultimate geek accessory.
So what do you think? I am personally very pleased with the whole look, especially considering it's my first proper go at styling for the catwalk. I would really appreciate your honest feedback, so please let me know.


I'm not going to lie to you - while it was often rather hectic backstage, it was also a lot of fun. Why? Because I was surrounded by so many amazing people! Everyone involved, from my fellow stylist buddies to the wonderful people at Motorola and JCPR, was incredibly supportive and lovely. When we weren't running about find various bits and bobs and dressing our models, we basically spent our time dancing, singing and laughing! What more could anyone want from their job?

Me and my vintage styling buddy, Natasha Bailie

The High Fashion team, Matthew and Alize

High Street vs Vintage! Reena of Fashion Daydreams, Jenny of The Style PA, Natasha Bailie and I

The whole gang

I want to thank everyone who supported us this weekend - whether you were actually sat in the audience or you sent us a good luck tweet, it meant so much to know you were out there rooting for us. I should also have some video footage to show you soon, which should be interesting! Thanks for putting up with my constant blogging/tweeting/facebook status updating too. I promise I'll shh for a while now...

Much love,

Swell Vintage


Wednesday, 20 October 2010

There can be only one...

Woah - this is happening this very weekend! Hands up who else is coming?

Hopefully I'll see you there!

Much love,

Swell Vintage


Monday, 11 October 2010

Britain's Next Swell Model

I don't know about you, but I am a total sucker for the whole "Next Top Model" franchise. This years Britain's Next Top Model has definitely been the best season so far - the photoshoots have been more high fashion and, let's be honest, the judges were finally people who we could take seriously!

With my passionate love affair with the Top Model world in mind, I am extremely excited and overjoyed to be involved in Britain's Next Top Model Live, taking place at the London Excel Centre from 22nd-24th October. Not only does the event give you the opportunity to see the model girls up close (who doesn't love staring at models?!), but it also promises fashion, shopping and beauty brilliance.

And for some miraculous reason, the wonderful people at Motorola have invited the lovely Natasha Bailie and I to style the vintage section of what promises to be a pretty incredible catwalk show! We're going to be in great company too, as other stylists include the irresistibly dashing Matthew Zorpas, the beautiful Alize Morand, the stunning Reena Rai of Fashion Daydreams and the gorgeous Jenny of The Style PA. The theme of the show is "geek chic", in tribute to the super cool FLIP OUT phone (remember when I modelled for that? I still can't believe that happened!). The word "fun" doesn't even begin to cover it.

There will be a catwalk show every day of the event, so if you fancy the ultimate fashion weekend, why not come and join us? Not only will you get to see beautiful models in (hopefully) amazing clothes, but you'll also get to see all of us blogger types on the stage! If you're not sure who I am, look for the girl with fear in her eyes as she tries desperately not to cock up or swear...hold on, is "cock" a swear word? This doesn't bode well...

At the moment we're all desperately scrambling about to pull together our looks for the show, but I can exclusively reveal that Natasha will be dressing her model in delightfully quirky 50s chic, and I will be nerding up my model 70s style. If you come back next week, I may even show you a sneaky peak at parts of my outfit...sneakily. For now though, here's a little mood board I pulled together. This shows the kind of style and colour palette I'm going for. The inspiration has definitely been Chloe and the amazing colours that come with autumn.

(Please click the image to see the full size...Blogger is awkward)

So what do you think? Is 70s the way to go? Will you be attending the Britain's Next Top Model event? If you do, PLEASE come and say hello! I will be needing to see as many friendly faces as possible!

Until next time!

Much love,

Swell Vintage


Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Some like it swell

Joe: ...I've got this thing about girls.
Sugar: What thing?
Joe: They just sort of leave me cold.
Sugar: You mean like frigid?
Joe: Well, it's more like a, a mental block. When I'm with a girl, it does absolutely nothing to me.
Sugar: Have you tried?
Joe: Have I? I'm trying all the time. (He kisses her.) See. Nothing.

R.I.P Tony Curtis, you bloody legend.

Much love,

Swell Vintage


Tuesday, 28 September 2010

A swell winner!

My dear friends,

Upon returning from Egypt at the early hours of Monday morning, I was overwhelmed to see just how many entries there had been for my swell competition! Thank you so much to everyone that entered, I really enjoyed reading your ideas and tweets.

Unfortunately, there can only be ONE winner. The name has been chosen by a random name picker, and I am pleased to reveal that the winner is...


Congratulations, Nikki! I know you rather like the 'Oh, Sailor' bracelet, so I'll be working to create you something very similar in style to that, but it can be customed however you like. I can't wait to get started!

The Oh, Sailor bracelet that Nikki loves

I think it's also worth mention that Nikki has a rather brilliant blog that's definitely worth a read - head over to to find out about the current fashions she's coveting.

Thanks again to everyone that entered. If you didn't win this time, have no fear - I'll running another competition very soon.

Until next time...

Much love,

Swell Vintage


Sunday, 12 September 2010

A swell competition

So this is my 100th post! How time flies when you're having fun. Thanks for sticking with me all this time, it really does mean a lot.

To prove just how much this means to me, I'm having a SWELL competition (see what I did there?)! I have never done this sort of competition before, so I am very excited. The prize is, shockingly, a piece of Swell Vintage jewellery, but it won't be just any piece of jewellery. The winner will get a super-special CUSTOM piece! You can pick from either a bracelet or a necklace, and you will be able to specify the kind of style you'd like. I'll work with you, and together we will make something truly one-off.

I'm off to Egypt next week, so I'm going to keep the competition open until Sunday 26th September. To enter, all you have to do is tell me the kind of piece you'd like to win and include your email address. If you have Twitter, you can also gain an extra entry by tweeting: "I'd like to win this swell competition! @swellvintage". The winner will be chosen at random.

So what sort of piece would you like to win? Perhaps you'd like to win something pearly and sparkly - a bit like my latest piece, the Isabella bracelet, now available on the Swell Vintage shop?

Made from a vintage doo-dad, freshwater pearls and vintage chain, the Isabella bracelet will make any lady feel like a princess.

I can't wait to hear all of your ideas. Good luck!

Much love,

Swell Vintage


Sunday, 5 September 2010

Just shoot me

I'm always incredibly flattered and honoured when people say they like my jewellery. So, if ever a stylist or photographer asks to borrow pieces for shoots, needless to say I'm overwhelmed.

Recently, the very kind Murad Rm got in touch to ask if he could borrow a selection of necklaces and bracelets for a beauty shoot he had coming up. After seeing his pictures, I was definitely keen to get involved - especially when I found out that Melissa Walton, aka Loretta from Hollyoaks, would be one of the models!

Fancy a look at some of the shoots? Oh, go on then...

Melissa loves the Princess Pearl necklace

Stephanie looks stunning in the Times, they are a-changing necklace

Models: Mellisa Walton & Stephanie Tripp
Make up: Hannah Serjeant & Sally Watterston
Hair stylist: Tasha Goodhand-tait
Jewellery: Swell Vintage

What do you think? Personally I think Murad and the whole team have done an incredible job, and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank them for making my jewellery look so beautiful. Thank you, kind folks!

In other news, my next post will be my 100th! Wow, doesn't time fly when you're having fun?!

To celebrate, I will be running a little competition where you could win a special piece of Swell Vintage jewellery. If you'd like to know more, come back next week and I'll tell you all about it.

Much love,

Swell Vintage


Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Good news, good shoes

Good news, everyone! A couple of the pieces I've made recently are now for sale at the Swell Vintage shop.

The Sparrow's Pearl necklace

If you want to have a closer look and see the rest of my things, head on over. I hope you like what you see.

Also, I want to talk a bit about shoes. Who doesn't love shoes? If you're one of those shoe loving types, you'll be pleased to hear that Selfridges will soon be home to the world's largest destination for shoes - The Shoe Galleries.

As if that wasn't enough, the other good news is that the very lovely people at Selfridges are offering you the chance to win a whole years supply of shoes! Can you imagine?!

To enter, all you have to do is tell them your shoe story. Do you have a pair of killer boots that never fail to get you noticed? Do you have some simple ballet pumps that have served you well over the years? Tell Selfridges all about them, upload a picture and you could be in for the prize of a lifetime. But you may have to fight me for it...

That's all for now, folks. Until next time...keep watching the shoes.

Much love,

Swell Vintage


Tuesday, 24 August 2010

A moment of silence

My post this week isn't about fashion or jewellery, but it is about one of my other great loves.

I love silent films. I really, really do. Since studying film many years ago, the silent genre has always held a special place in my heart...and my DVD collection. My favourite? The Man Who Laughs. If you can get your hands on a copy, I highly recommend it.

So when I got tickets to see The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog, one of Alfred Hitchcock's early silent films, at the BFI with a live piano accompaniment, needless to say I was very excited. I had seen this film many years ago, but I don't think I fully appreciated how brilliant and important it was.

Loosely based on the story of Jack the Ripper, The Lodger is quite a thriller - a serial killer known as "The Avenger" is on the loose in London, murdering fair haired women. Around the same time, a mysterious man arrives at the house of Mr. and Mrs. Bunting, looking for a room to rent...could he be "The Avenger"? And is Daisy, their beautiful fair haired daughter, his next victim?

The Lodger arrives...

The Lodger gets close to the beautiful (and not to mention stylish) Daisy

If you haven't seen this film already, you must. And if you can see it with a live piano accompaniment, then all the better.

Anyway, all of this is in aid of the work the BFI National Archive are doing to "Rescue the Hitchcock 9". To quote from their website, curators of the BFI National Archive have identified a collection of films in desperate need of restoration with nine of Alfred Hitchcock's early silent films being the first to seek rescue through the Support the BFI campaign. Hitchcock's nine surviving silent films are among the most important in British cinema history. But decades of wear and tear have left them in urgent need of restoration.

These films are:

The Pleasure Garden (1925)
The Lodger (1926)
The Ring (1927)
Downhill (1927)
Easy Virtue (1927)
The Farmers Wife (1927)
Champagne (1928)
The Manxman (1929)
Blackmail (1929)

The BFI needs our help to bring these rare films back from the brink of destruction and into the digital age so that future generations can watch and enjoy. As a huge Hitchcock fan myself, I'll definitely be sparing a few pounds. Every little helps, so if you can afford to give a little something, anything, then please do.

Visit the dedicated donation page now and help save Hitchock!

Many thanks,

Swell Vintage


Monday, 16 August 2010

More from the House of Swell

I'm afraid this is going to be another quickie post, but the good news is I have some pictures to show you. And everyone prefers looking at pictures to reading words, right? Right.

I've been making more new pieces, and I've really been enjoying it. Here are a couple of my favourites:

Don't go chain-ging! This necklace is a beast. It's made from various different vintage chains, adorned with a cheeky vintage faux pearl.

Oh, sailor! This bracelet is made from an old vintage charm, linked on vintage chain and adorned with freshwater pearls.

So what do you think? Feedback is very welcome, as always. The good news is that both of these items will be available to buy through the Swell Vintage shop soon, so keep your eyes peeled.

In other news, there are some exciting things on the horizon for ol' Swell...but more on that soon.

Thanks for reading!

Much love,

Swell Vintage