The concept behind these fairs -which run approximately every two months- is one of good quality vintage and vintage-interest stands with entertainment and (in this case, mulled) wine; on a Friday night. Essentially a combination of shopping and an evening out, from 5-9pm making it ideal for pre-or-post-dinner browsing.It's located in Ruislip, West London - easy to reach from central London via the tube (nearest Ruislip or West Ruislip) and a pretty straightforward drive with plenty of parking near the barn.
|Blondies Retro Vintage Boutique|
The barn is an attractive and historical building which makes an ideal setting for a vintage event, creating an 'old fashioned' atmosphere enhanced by musical acts appropriate to the fair (we had hits from 20s-40s musicals, but the acts vary month by month). As is the norm, there is a £2 entrance fee - it is a small fair but I'm used to paying £3 or even £4 for larger events, so I would be happy to pay £2 on future visits, especially with the entertainment. The refreshments on site are reasonably priced at £2 for mulled wine, £2.50 for some cake - one thing I would have liked to see is a stand with some savoury or more substantial food, as this might keep people there longer (indeed, we left eventually for food). There are several such stands at the Duck Pond Market - it would be nice to see one here.
|Restoration cakes; fantastic-|
check out that wedding cake!
I found the general quality of stands high; that is to say, varied and knowledgeably staffed. At the 'luxury' end of things there were Victorian diamond and emerald rings for £400, or made-to-measure replica dresses - and the other, a couple of stands had £10 or £5 'sale rails', and of course there were cute costume jewels to be hand for a few pounds. In the middle range (which was where I was looking) there was plenty of good, clean, well priced stock. I picked up a Liberty Of London dress with a Chinese-style collar for £30 (Pret A Vintage - lots of designers and brands from the 60s-early 80s) and a fabulously tacky sequined confection from the mountain of sparkle that was Blondies Retro Vintage Boutique. In addition, I picked up a sweet little enamel owl brooch (70s or late 60s, I'd say) and one of those cheat-y bandannas with wire in them (I love these).
|Amazing wall of sparkle!|
This is where I found my green top.
Blondies Retro Vintage Boutique
I scrutinised all of the rails on all of the stands (never say I ain't thorough) and I found only one stand which mislabelled (that old irksome 80s-labelled-50s ... interestingly, I was, being me, looking for 80s. I was like 'that is so 80s- and I can't get the price down without an awk-ward moment as to why I wanna halve the price...walk on...'). One of the things that had concerned me was that as a 'night out' style fair, there might be inflated prices or vague labelling. I am happy to say I was wrong; I was impressed with my shopping experience. There was plenty of interest to me there in a variety of styles - and I also saw material which would fit well into the wardrobes of purists and modern dresser friends of mine too, making it ideal for visiting with a group of friends as a unique night out.
If you fancy a night out shopping in West London, their next event is on the 27th January 2012. And...it's a SALE.