Friday, 14 December 2012

Fairy dolls looking for good homes...

I shall miss them...the last little gathering of hand-made fairy dolls has been added to my website today.  These are the last ones available and are looking for trees to adorn, and loving homes ~ for Christmas and forever...

Friday, 2 November 2012

Betty & Violet's next vintage production...

The Vintage Christmas Boutique at Woburn Abbey!

Gathered together with 36 other talented sellers, we will be creating a vintage winter wonderland of beautifully displayed, original vintage & antique goods and artisan wares.  We are all like-minded souls who love vintage style, many of us creating our own original designs that cannot be found on the high street.   There will be a mixture of sellers travelling from around the country and local businesses too, all selected not only for their amazing products but for their skill and creativity in setting up magical ‘pop up shops’.  

We will have an amazing array of authentic vintage and antique goods, including fashion pieces (that can be tried on before buying) linens and textiles, furniture, homewares, accessories and jewellery.  For the vintage addict who loves to make, find haberdashery, trims and ephemera ~ vintage Christmas heaven!  Designer/makers will be showcasing their original creations, including festive decorations and gifts that are made with and inspired by vintage materials.   

Betty & Violet’s Tea Salon will be serving hot and cold beverages, sandwiches, homemade cakes and fancies, all served on elegant, pretty vintage china of course!  Flowers on the tables,  silver gilt chairs and white table linen ~ hope you get the picture!  We are also delighted to have Fiona Harrison, a costume artist and vintage style singer entertaining us with music from the 1920’s ~ 50’s.

We will be running a free prize draw consisting of a vintage themed Christmas giveaway too…

The event will be a perfect girls’ vintage style day out, shopping, music, lunch and afternoon tea ~ what more could you ask for under one roof?!

The Sculpture Gallery at Woburn Abbey is an old orangery and the building provides the most stunning backdrop; a twinkling, festive emporium for the day!

The Vintage Christmas Boutique opens at 10.00am (gate & ticket office will open at 9.30am) until 4.00pm, entrance is £5.00 on the door or £4.50 if booked in advance online via the website. 

The Sculpture Gallery
Woburn Abbey
MK17 9WA

More information can be found at

I do hope that you can come!

Ali x

Monday, 29 October 2012

The winner is...

Julie at The Cloth Shed!!

You have won a copy of the October edition of Jeanne d'Arc Living magazine!  Please email me at by using the contact me link on my sidebar with your address details and I will pop the magazine in the post for you!

Happy Reading....

Ali xx

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Jeanne d'Arc Living Magazine Giveaway...

I feel that I have neglected my blog and followers for a little while ~ too much going on!  So, as a little thank you to everyone for sticking with me I would like to have a little giveaway!

For a chance to win the latest edition of the Jeanne d'Arc Living magazine, simply leave a comment on my blog before midnight GMT on Sunday 28th October.

Good luck!
Ali x

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Creative Customers No. 1 ~ Madeleine Lee

For a while I have had an idea of writing a little series of posts about some of the talented and creative customers that I meet (in person and online via my website).  I am always intrigued and often amazed by the wonderful businesses out there and love to know how customers use the items that they buy from me.  Many purchase trims and haberdashery to finish beautifully made fashion pieces and home accessories, some are fellow dealers buying to sell on to their own customers.  I also have a growing list of customers who buy Jeanne d'Arc Living magazine and books for inspiration and a love of the French Nordic style that I also share...

Madeleine Lee is one such customer...we have never met in person but I know that if we did we would click immediately as we have done via email.  Madeleine is Creative Director of Swedish Interior Design and a UK ambassador for Swedish fashion label Ewa I Walla.   She also writes a Swedish cooking blog!  I would love to share with you some photos of Madeleine's home and her business ~ I think it is just beautiful....

I asked Madeleine where her inspiration came from and why she started her is her reply...

"My mother is Swedish and we spent our holidays in Sweden -  I have always brought the country that I love into my home.

My husband and I started Swedish Interior Design seven years ago.  It started with an 1800's antique sleigh that my father bought us for a Christmas gift that we turned into a sofa and we then decorated our Victorian apartment in Hove with antique Swedish furniture. 

Everyone who visited asked us where they could get the stunning Swedish pieces and Mora clocks , so we thought we'd give it a go as a business and Swedish Interior Design was born.  My vision was always built around creating a lifestyle - one that we live every day surrounded by beauty, art and craftsmanship.  We use our home as the showpiece for what we do and our design ideas.  Each room has a different theme - the fairy tale white bedroom, grand Gustavian living room, country folk art kitchen, Swedish grey office, country manor house hallway etc.

We also launched a specialist bespoke workshop crafting amazing one off beds, armoires, mirrors, dressing tables, server tables and much more in antique wood with special finishes. We also make beautiful rugs and runners from antique hemp linen and soft furnishings using antique lace that we collect in Sweden.

We have around 50 antique Mora clocks in stock ~ the largest selection in Europe!  We have a beautiful 2220sq ft showroom and specialist workshop in Brighton and ship to customers all over the world."

Madeleine can be found at her interiors blog, home & fashion blog and also her cooking blog (very busy lady!)

If you want to see more photos of Madeleine's beautiful home take a look at her website and blogs.  

....saving up for a Mora clock and Gustavian bench!

I am now researching Creative Customer No. 2 ~ watch this space!

Until next time,
Ali x

Friday, 5 October 2012

Save the date...and win tickets!

For the chance to win a pair of complimentary VIP entrance tickets (normally £5 each) to The Vintage Christmas Boutique at Woburn Abbey on Thursday 15th November, simply subscribe to my mailing list by clicking here.  All new subscribers to add their details before midnight on 31st October will be entered into a draw with the winner notified on 1st November.

Good luck and hope to see you there!

Ali x

Friday, 28 September 2012

If I sit down...

I won't get up again, so I just keep going...!

This week has been a whirlwind without much time even to take a breath.  I am just about to pack the car in preparation for tomorrow's trip to Chipping Sodbury for the Vintage & Handmade Textile Fair.  This is a lovely, friendly and jolly fair brimming with vintage goodies ~ really looking forward to it.

Hope to see some of you there...

The Vintage & Handmade Textile Fair
Chipping Sodbury Town Hall
BS37 6AD

10.00am - 4.00pm 

Ali x

Thursday, 13 September 2012

On the calendar..The Vintage Bazaar

 A lovely new venue for this event at the Victoria Halls in Hartley Wintney, Hampshire.  It promises to be just as good as its established sister event in Frome ~ I'm really looking forward to it and it's not too far from home either!

I will be there with some lovely new stock ~ lots of buttons, trims and other haberdashery perfect for getting creative along with my usual array of pretty textiles, handbags, ephemera and a few sparkly bits...

I will also have the latest issue of Jeanne d'Arc Living magazine which features one of my favourite items to collect and display ~ vintage mannequins.  The home photographed for this issue is full of them!

Please do come along to the fair if you can ~ Saturday 22nd September.  Full details of the event can be found here.

Ali x

Friday, 31 August 2012

The Windsor Emporium...

I shall be attending this lovely fair for the first time this weekend on Sunday 2nd September.  Held at The Guildhall ~ a beautiful building in the centre of Windsor, it has a vintage style tea room open all day and a great variety of sellers.   

More information can be found at

Hope to see some of you there!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

This Weekend ~ The Cotswolds Vintage Fair

Just a reminder that the 3rd annual Cotswolds Vintage Fair takes place this bank holiday weekend on Saturday 25th August.

We have grown in size this year and have a fantastic gathering of over 40 specialist sellers, kindred spirits who come together because we all love vintage.  As well as the village hall, we take advantage of the gorgeous lawn at the back overlooking the pretty Cotswold countryside with a large marquee and outdoor sellers. 

There will be lots of fabulous vintage stock and artisan made goods ~ everything from the tiniest button to larger pieces of furniture.  Homewares, kitchen & gardenalia, fashion, textiles & haberdashery, ephemera, jewellery ~ something for everyone.  We take pleasure and pride in displaying our goods and hand~made wares at our pop up shops for the day.  Expect high quality, with creative displays to inspire....

Lavinia's Tea Party will once again be creating a vintage style tea room and we shall have seating outside on the terrace (let's be optimistic about the weather!).  Home~made refreshments will be available all day.

We also have Sheunique with us who will be offering mini vintage style makeovers for hair and make up ~ don't forget your cameras!

Lots of free parking opposite the hall (thanks to the local farmer!)

The address to find us is:
Toddington Village Hall
Stow Road (B4077)
GL54 5DU

We open at 10.00am ~ finishing at 4.00pm
Entry £2.00 (children under 16 and OAP's free)

It promises to be a great day out again ~ hope to see you there!

All the information you need can be found at

Ali x

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

A unique vintage fair...

In case you hadn't quite got the message by now, I thought I would say it again ~  I love vintage...and I love Christmas....

So, a new and unique event has been created to combine these passions...

The Vintage Christmas Boutique will take place inside the stunning Sculpture Gallery at Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire, one of the most treasured and historic privately owned country houses in England. 

 There will be over 35 carefully selected purveyors creating a vintage winter wonderland of beautiful, original goods and artisan wares including; homewares, textiles, fashion, furniture, jewellery, kitchen and gardenalia, decorative accessories and much more…

If you love vintage…and you love Christmas, this is the event to find one~off gifts that cannot be found on the high street.  There will be a vintage fashion boutique with dressing room to try on pieces before buying and ideas for unusual festive decorations for the home.   For the vintage addict who loves to make, find haberdashery, fabrics, trims & ephemera ~ vintage Christmas heaven!  A vintage style tea room will be serving home~made refreshments to complete the vintage experience. 

The Vintage Christmas Boutique takes place on Thursday 15th November 2012 at Woburn Abbey, Woburn, Bedfordshire, MK17 9WA.   Opening times are 10.00 am ~ 4.00pm  (gate & ticket office will open at 9.30am).  Entry £5.00. 

The Vintage Christmas Boutique is a Betty & Violet production.  Full details of the event can be found at  

I have been so quiet on the blog due to working hard to get this new event up and running and of course, putting the finishing touches to The Cotswolds Vintage Fair taking place on Saturday 25th August.  

Hope to see you some of you at an event soon!

Ali x


Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The Avington Brocante 24th May

Just a reminder that the lovely Avington Brocante takes place this Thursday!

Click here for all the details...

Ali x

Thursday, 17 May 2012

A Weekend in Monaco...

I finally got something ticked off my long term 'wish list' ~ a visit to Monaco!  We had a long weekend break with some friends ~ a grown up weekend ~ the kind where you can take a neat handbag on the flight without the need for a backpack containing wipes, snacks, toys and other items to be used for bribery...

It lived up to all my expectations ~ we even stayed in a hotel on The Avenue Princess Grace.  Grace Kelly is one of my all time favourite actresses and we visited a small exhibition of some of her personal belongings including some gorgeous handbags, and clothing (sadly I wasn't allowed to take photos inside).

The buildings were beautiful ~ they reminded me of delicately iced wedding cakes with pastel coloured render and pale paintwork shutters.  I dream of having a little apartment with a front door like this one...

We didn't gamble ~ but decided to spend our money on champagne cocktails instead in the famous American Bar inside the Hotel de Paris on Casino Square ~ I was instantly transported back in time, and sat gazing at old photographs of movie stars from the 1950's sitting exactly where I was....

The whole weekend was such a departure from normal, everyday life, but sometimes it is good to escape, refresh and recharge and I feel very lucky to have even glimpsed how the other half live!  Back down to earth with a bump!

Ali x

Friday, 20 April 2012

The anticipation of a fair....

So looking forward to The Vintage Bazaar tomorrow...

Getting my stock ready...a few more price labels to write out ~ there is never enough time to get everything done!  I've got some gorgeous vintage bags, lots of sparkly bits and trims, buttons galore, fairy dolls and pretty things!  Mum will also be with me this time with a selection of fabulous vintage jewellery ~ bringing some old fashioned glamour to our stall!

This is such a great fair with a wonderful selection of stallholders ~ if you can come along, it is being held at The Cheese & Grain, Frome, Somerset 9.00am ~ 3.00pm.  A lovely friendly and fun atmosphere!   Do come and say hello...

Ali x

Friday, 23 March 2012

Best of The Country Living Fair

I went to the Country Living Fair in London yesterday for the first time in a couple of years ~ can I be brutally honest without offending anyone? I think I can probably count on the fingers of 2 hands; stands that were unique, British made or hand~made. I thought that those were the values of Country Living magazine or am I missing something?

There were more fashion/clothing stalls than I remember from last time; I started to lose the will to live after one too many rails of scarves ~ many of which were made overseas, and quite a bit of bought in product that actually was repeated on a few of the stalls. Hmm, so that was the bad....

Now here is the good...

There were some exceptional sellers there, with beautiful displays of lovingly handmade wares and from them, I took home lots of inspiration and a few purchases!

Wonderful handmade cushions, bunnies and lavender sachets from Chloe Vintage, handmade ceramics from Amanda Mercer, vintage ribbons from Rosie's Armoire. The Sea Garden had created once again a fantastic stand, with so much detail in it you didn't know where to start! Kitty's had a glorious, colourful display of Easter decorations and vintage treasures and Caroline Zoob's stand was so perfect I could have just moved in!

I didn't manage to take photos of very much due to the crowds of people and the lack of space, but I did quickly snap Chloe's stall and some photos of the goodies I found.

I also bought a copy of Country Living's new book, called 'Create Your Own Country Home' which is a sort of compilation of all the best bits from the magazine ~ and I love it!

In case you hadn't heard ~ The Vintage Jumble takes place tomorrow (Saturday 24th) at Rangeworthy Village Hall, Glos. Organised by Jayne & Michelle from the legendary Vintage & Handmade Fairs, it promises to be a perfect opportunity to have a good old fashioned rummage. I shall be having a stall ~ look out, I am having a workroom clearing out session!

Hopefully see some familiar faces there...

Until next time
Ali x

Monday, 19 March 2012

Jeanne D'Arc Living ~ New Lower Price!

As a very proud purveyor of the delectable Jeanne D'Arc Living magazine I am so pleased to announce that I am now able to offer my lovely customers a new lower cover price of £9.95!

From April, the magazine will also be published monthly!

As always, print runs are small and quantities are limited but I will continue to offer the magazine for pre-ordering via my website to avoid disappointment.

I have for a limited period only a special offer of a year's subscription (12 issues) at £12 per copy delivered to your door.

The next issue as pictured will be released on the 2nd April but can be reserved here.

The fabulous coffee table book 'Amazing Retreats' is now also in stock again...

Happy reading...

Ali x

Monday, 12 March 2012

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Me aged about 4

'What do I want to be when I grow up?' A question I used to ask myself a lot when I was younger, probably right up into my twenties when I changed my answer depending on my mood and how much money the job might pay! When I left school I had a clear path mapped out in my mind. My ambition was to become a make~up artist working in film and in order to keep my place open at a special college I first needed a qualification in Human Biology. So, I duly started the course ~ and hated it! Since then, I have changed direction quite a few times and stopped asking myself the question of 'what I want to be?' a long time ago.

Very recently I was watching something (I'm a closet Oprah fan) and a similar question was raised, but instead of asking 'what do you want to be?' a subtle, yet important difference was requested ~ 'who do you want to be?' I had one of those light bulb moments she often talks about.

At the recent Vintage & Handmade Fair a customer made a lovely, sincere comment. She told me that the things I make are obviously made with a great deal of love and care as it shows in the quality and detail. The way in which she spoke to me really touched me as it was so genuine and spontaneous.

I know who I want to be ~ someone who does things at work and in life with love and care.
Much more important than a job title on a business card....

Until next time...
Ali x

Friday, 10 February 2012

Scandinavian Temptation...

I do love a good recipe book ~ I cannot claim to be much of a cook, and no matter how hard I try I can't even look like Nigella in my pinny, let alone emulate her baking. My specialities always seem to be in the sugar and sweet department, preferring to make a cake or a batch of shortbread in the hope it turns out looking vaguely familiar. The reward of a finished article much like the ones shown in the glossy photograph in the book I happen to be using, seems more worth the effort somehow. Sadly, often the outcome resembles nothing like the sample or actually anything I have ever seen before anywhere for that matter ~ it's the taste that counts right?

I am always looking for something new to try and am totally won over by gorgeous photographs of mouthwatering temptations, which is why when the clever girls at Jeanne D'Arc Living in Denmark announced that they were compiling a recipe book no less ~ I had to add it to the inventory at Betty & Violet.

The Best Recipes’

Gathered from the beautiful Jeanne D'Arc Living Magazine over the last three years are the most gorgeous recipes beautifully recreated in a new soft back book, with many Scandinavian dishes and bakes to try!

Here is what they say about the book; 'It contains more than 180 recipes with appealing images and inspiring dishes. There are no gourmet recipes with mysterious ingredients. Just simple dishes everybody can do, but with a great love for good ingredients.'

The book will be 160 pages, measuring 21.5cm x 30cm (the same as the Christmas book). This is the English text version translated from the original Danish.

Official date for release is 1st May 2012 and copies ordered in advance will be despatched immediately after.

It can be pre~ordered here to reserve a copy. Limited quantity available.

Off now to see what burnt offerings I can conjure up out of half a used can of baked beans, a suspicious looking bit of lettuce/cabbage/spinach? and a whole still sealed pot of very low fat natural yoghurt with a use by date of 2nd January (I am certain the same fate happens to every pot bought) purchased when I thought I might start a diet and then reconsidered....

Until next time,

Ali x

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The Winner is...

The name drawn out of the hat this morning as the winner of my little giveaway is.....

Sharon at Bluebells & Lavender!

Please let me have your address details so that I can send your copy of the Jeanne D'Arc Living magazine!

Ali x

Thursday, 26 January 2012

My gift to you ~ Jeanne D'Arc Living Treat

Long time no speak....

So, by way of a little treat to my fellow bloggers, followers and customers to say thank you for your continued support and comments, I have a little giveaway...

The current, most lovely and inspirational issue of Jeanne D'Arc Living magazine!

I have been selling this gorgeous publication via my website and at fairs for just over a year now and have built up a great following of subscribers and regular customers ~ thank you for loving it as much as I do!

This is a really inspiring issue. Sometimes I look at beautifully styled photographs of interiors and feel that they are unachievable in our real, often less than perfect lives and homes, but this week I decided to experiment and tried to re~create some of the ideas in the magazine. OK, I know my house is not on the same scale and I probably don't have the same budget either, but I wanted to prove to myself that I could take just a little inspiration from the pages and bring the concept to life. I used items that I already had in the cupboards or in stock ~ here are my interpretations of the photos...

Photo ~ Jeanne D'Arc Living

Photo ~ Ali

I have this Edwardian silk bodice already hanging on hooks in my dining room and just moved it to an old grey painted cupboard for the photo...

I loved this collection below of vintage candlesticks ~ I have a selection dotted around the house and tucked away so gathered them altogether to recreate the look...

Photo ~ Jeanne D'Arc Living

Photo ~ Ali (the fireplace in my dining room)

We have a conker brown leather sofa in the kitchen, normally piled up with old French floral pillows, but liked the idea shown in the magazine of using simpler linen cushions with old printed text and remembered what I had in stock waiting to be photographed for the website...

Photo ~ Jeanne D'Arc Living

I just need to source an old leather trunk or suitcase for a coffee table to complete the look...

Finally, I loved this feature on how to transform a printer's tray. I have a couple of these that I use in my workroom to separate beads and buttons. Before Christmas I reworked this smaller modern wooden tray and used old wallpaper, book pages and white paint.

Photo ~ Jeanne D'Arc Living

My own effort!

If you would like to win the latest issue of Jeanne D'Arc Living magazine, just leave a comment at the end of this post ~ the giveaway is open to all wherever you are in the world. To be entered twice and double your chances, just post a link back to this page and mention my blog and don't forget to let me know!

The giveaway closes next Tuesday 31st January at midnight and the winner will be announced on the 1st February.

Good luck!

Ali x