Californian treasures | how I used it

I’ve previously rambled away about finding treasures in California which you can read all about here, but for this post I’m going to focus on how I used our finds. Continue reading


Edison bulbs DIY

James and I rent our house which definitely has its advantages and drawbacks. As much as we’d love to own somewhere it’s currently not really affordable for us but we were really lucky to find our house and be chosen out of 11 couples who viewed it and expressed an interest. Anyway, being in rented means you’ve got to weigh up whether or not embarking on a DIY project is worth it as technically you’re adding value to somebody else’s property. As you’ve probably gathered our home is one of the most important things to me so personally I will always be happy to make improvements with the view that our space will become a nicer place to be. That said, I’m not willing to part with a small fortune on something we may not be able to take with us if we moved, so it’s swings and roundabouts. Continue reading

Anglepoise lamps | what I’m loving

I think my love of Anglepoise lamps probably stems from a childhood spent watching the same few Pixar movies on VHS and becoming sunconciously conditioned by their introduction with the animated jumping lamp.. Anyway, I found my first Anglepoise lamp when I was 16 at a church fête for £1 and I knew I’d got a bargain. From there my interest in them grew and they are now one of my favourite things to collect and display at home. Continue reading

James Keiller Marmalade Jars | what I’m loving

I’d been noticing these marmalade jars in magazines and vintage shops over the past couple of years but my obsession was really sparked after seeing them filled with blooms on Instagram. I love them for their simple colours, sweet leafy design and because that say ‘James’ on them <3 (cringe).

As well as being sweet to look at they’re really practical as vases, pen pots and toothbrush holders. I’ve got five at the moment which are all quite different in appearance. Some have strong black lettering, some have a paler grey design and some have the logo and design stamped in to the jar itself. My collection has come from eBay and flea markets mainly. I’ve paid £7 for my most expensive one and £2 for the cheapest.

So, here’s how I’m using them at home…

a sweet addition to any bathroom shelf
perfect for posies and garden pickings
their neutral colours work well in any display
just big enough for a bedside posy
this cutlery is too fragile to use but is too pretty not to be seen. The jars are a sweet way to display them
the discolouration on this jar comes from years of being buried
the black lettering works well with the dark mantlepiece

There are some avid collectors of these jars out there and some of the older ones can be worth quite a bit of money. Similarly, unusually large or small jars are very sought after. Quite often they are found in old landfill sites so you might hear or see the phrase ‘dug’ which literally means they were found in the earth. I like the thought of them being re-discovered and appreciated by a different generation.

As a rough guide I would say pay no more than £8 – £10 for a standard jar, unless you really want it of course!

Shepton Mallet flea market (January 2015)

As part of my birthday celebrations this year we went to Shepton Mallet Giant Flea Market as it’s pretty much my favourite place to hunt for treasure.

It’s a fairly early start for a Sunday morning as gates open at 9:30am and it’s about a 40min drive from us. We’ve gone in with the traders before (7:30am) but have found that there isn’t much benefit as people are still unpacking so you can still miss things.

We had a really lovely morning, it was crisp and dry and not too busy. Here’s what we found…

Some of my favourite finds were:

  • Golden Syrup crate | £15
  • Wooden step ladder | £8
  • Watering cans | £8 each
  • Jelly moulds | various
  • Green glass jars | £30 for 4

The crate is just so lovely with the classic Tate & Lyle branding, it’s huge as well so may become log storage next winter. The step ladder was an impulse buy but I liked it and it’s proven to come in handy since.

Here’s how we’ve used some of our finds…

A zingy thyme plant has a new home in the watering can.
the storage jars are my most recent obsession and I’m using them to store beans, seeds and pulses
the finds looked so lovely grouped together so they were displayed on some old crates for a few days
spring daffs in one of the lovely green jars
the step ladder acts as a side table for a reading corner

There’s more detail on the flea market in my April post and you can find lots of information on their website. The next one is in July if you’re thinking of going, it’s definitely worth a visit and I can’t recommend it enough. Or let me know if you’ve been, as always I’d love to see your treasures!

Paris treasure hunting

James and I tend to spend most of January recovering from the Christmas rush at work and hiding from the world. We normally feel ready to rejoin humanity around mid February and always try and book a few days away. We both love France and neither of us had ever been to Paris so we booked the Eurostar for Valentine’s weekend (I know, I know…).

As well as seeing all the normal sights I had my heart set on visiting a good few brocantes and vide greniers. We booked a teeny tiny birds nest of an apartment on Airbnb on Rue Tiquetonne and our nearest Metro station was Étienne Marcel, so we were nice and central.

We arrived on a Thursday evening and settled in then went straight out for dinner. On Friday morning we constructed a plan over breakfast of where we were going to visit. We used our old favourite website Brocobrac to see where the markets were each day and then used the Metro map to see which ones we could get to fairly easily. There are so many throughout the week and weekends so you’re certain to find some you can make no matter when you visit.

We found the best ones we visited were in the East of the city. I can’t remember the road names unfortunately but around the stations Nation and Belleville were two we really liked. They were typical long rows of slightly bedraggled fabric awnings with crates and tables laden with treasure underneath.

We visited four markets in total over three days and I was genuinely surprised at the prices. Having bought in rural France I thought that Paris would be expensive by comparison. However, we did take a peek around some of the shops in the Village Saint-Paul but I was a bit horrified at the prices. The shops and collections are beautiful though so they are still worth a visit. If you’re after a bargain and are happy to search for it, I would definitely recommend vintage markets ahead of vintage shops in Paris though. Same as the UK really!

We were travelling fairly light so couldn’t bring anything huge home so had to buy carefully. Here’s some of our treasure…

To give you an idea of prices, here’s what we paid for some of the above

  • Vintage tins | €1 each
  • Collection of mini pasty tins | €8
  • Trio of enamel storage jars (no lids, sadly) | €2
  • Green storage jar | €6
  • Enamel salt pot | €3

These were bargains because we really had to search for them. For me, that’s part of the fun but if you’re not in to that then you might want to head for the undercover markets and shops. You’ll likely have to pay more but the searching will be easier.

We just about managed to squeeze everything in to our bags and here’s how we’ve used some of these finds since we’ve had them home…

the enamel storage jars make lovely vases
I love their faded lettering
the salt pot was water tight so it’s now home to a fragrant jasmine in the porch
i’m literally obsessed with these jars and the one we found in Paris is holding some spring branches

If you’ve got any questions about Paris flea markets please let me know and I’d love to see your finds too! You can find me on Instagram (@__apothecary__).