Friday, 14 December 2012

Clothes Show Live 2012 - The Shopping, The Haul, The Minimum Mouse Experience!

Hat shoppers at our stand, Models Own buys, JLS in the Fashion Theatre and a pretty early start!
We've spent all year looking forward to it and now it's over, we've caught up on sleep and tv, so now I'm going to give you a little round up of Minimum Mouse's experience at Clothes Show Live 2012. We set up home at the NEC once again, this time in the Offbeat Boutique area. It was a busy, bustling, loud and exciting atmosphere and we loved every minute. Our bestsellers by far were our bowler hats, we sold out of the black ones by day three! Other popular picks were vintage Christmas jumpers (of course!) cosy navajo wraps and scarves and our jewellery collection was a big hit. Scrabble rings were still a must have item and our new collection of hamsa and evil eye designs went down a storm. Thanks so much to every single one of you lovely folks who came to see our stand, stopped for a chat, maybe picked up some bits and pieces, you're what keeps us going and we're pleased to say we will be back next year. Roll on 2012!

Our stand, some of our range, a busy day.

But now on to the other side of the story- the shopping! Yes, just because I am there for work it does not mean that I don't get involved in all the fun. Being at Clothes Show for the duration of the event means it is very difficult not to end up spending every penny that you have! Not only were there so many great independent businesses exhibiting, who sell gorgeous things you won't get anywhere else (more on that later), there are big brands doing big offers! This is especially true in the beauty area, where I spent most of my money. You take your life in your hands when you walk through the beauty area, you get accosted at every turn with people wanting to do your eyebrows, demonstrate hair extensions or give you a hand massage, but if you can cope with the madness you can pick up some amazing stuff. Here are a few of my shopping highlights-
Make up from the magazine goody bags

1. Magazine goody bags. These are a great bargain buy! There were goody bags from Cosmopolitan & Company, Elle and Zest, each cost £3 (though Elle was £2 when I bought one later in the week) and in each you get two magazines (in the case of Zest and Elle, you get the current issue and the previous one) plus lots of other bits and bobs. In terms of bang for your buck, Cosmo & Company was the best, I got a drink, some crisps, sweets, shine sheets, a Rimmel eyeshadow palette, a Missguided lipgloss and an OPI shatter nail polish, and some other things I can't remember. Amazing when you consider what the magazines cost alone! The Zest bag was a similar standard but since it is a health and fitness magazine, the goodies are more along that theme (though you also got a Missguided lipgloss). With Elle you got a Jemma Kidd eyeliner, which is lovely, and a St Tropez gradual tan, so you didn't get as much but the quality of the items was high and it was still excellent value. So even if you come to Clothes Show with little money to spend, you can still get some super stuff.

2. Barry M £10 goody bag. Now this was impressive! I like Barry M anyway, I think their collection is fun and good value for money, and their choice of colours is incredible. So I was keen to pick up one of their famous £10 bags. The only issue with these bags is that you don't know what you are going to get, but that's all part of the fun and I certainly wasn't disappointed. I did get a couple of things I wouldn't use (green eyeliner pencil, turquoise mascara) but I also got lots I would and it's a fun way to try out some new colours! I got three nail polishes, three dazzle dusts, several pencils, lipgloss, shimmer powder and some other things, all in a Barry M make up bag. What is also fun is that if a few friends get one you can swap stuff, I swapped a green eyeshadow for a pink one, happy days!

3. Jelly Pong Pong goody bags. This was probably the least impressive buy in my opinion, I picked up two goody bags on the last day for £5, just for a bit of fun. For this I got four products, so still pretty good! I was a bit confused when I opened the bags and the products were all So Susan brand rather than Jelly Pong Pong, but I did a bit of research when I got home and apparently the brand is changing its name to So Susan. Fair enough. I got a Lip Cushion, which is apparently something of a cult product. It's quite nice, something like a cross between a lip balm and a gloss, and it smells lovely. I also got a Fairy Lashes mascara, an illuminating palette and a bronzing powder (which is way too dark for me, but I loved the powder puff!) It just goes to show how amazing some of the offers are that I wasn't so impressed by this one, as it really is great value. I'm looking forward to giving the products a proper try.

4. Probably the king of the goody bags - Models Own. Everyone was raving about this goody bag and it is easy to see why when you take a look at the offer. You got to choose three nail polishes, from a huge selection, and then you got a whole load of freebies, including nail scissors, a black eyeliner, red lip pencil, black nail art pen, two eyeshadows, lip gloss, lip balm and more. Again, you might get a couple of duds, I got a bright yellow eyeshadow which I can't imagine anyone wearing, but when you consider that the nail polishes are usually £5 each anyway, it really is a great deal. I also got 'Show Stopper' as part of the deal, which was the Clothes Show Live special edition nail polish which had sold out by day three. It's a glitter with silver, lilac and blue colours that is very pretty. On the last day they had run out of the goody bags but were offering five polishes for £10, so I got some more!

Finally, I picked up a cute neon pink Casio watch from Mad Elizabeth Vintage, one of our neighbours in the Offbeat Boutique area. I love it! When you press the light button you get flashing, multicoloured disco lights! Amazing! I also picked up some amazing brooches from one of my favourite jewellery companies, Tatty Divine. They were selling off some past season designs at bargain prices, I got three sparkly reindeer and a Lolita style sunglasses brooch for just £5.

Mad Elizabeth was just one of the great companies that were exhibiting, over the years we have got to know so many great, creative people who run small businesses, and it was exciting that so many of them were at Clothes Show with us this year. If you weren't there, you must check out these guys-
  • Syd and Mallory - great collection handmade in Sheffield.
  • Second Hand Rose - a vintage treasure trove, shop online or in their beautiful shop in Worcester
  • Mad Elizabeth -  great vintage and rework selection, on ASOS Marketplace and they have a great shop in Leeds.
  • Good Morning Mr Magpie - beautifully designed sweatshirts, tops and dresses.
  • The Gingham Deer - simply great vintage.
  • Trunk Junkies Vintage - handpicked vintage - lots of sequins, bold prints and luxurious coats, find them at Mr Bird's Emporium in Birmingham
  • Roxy Valetta -  great vintage range, also in Mr Bird's Emporium
  • Bits and Bows - cute and girly jewellery, clothing and accessories, handmade and available at Mr Bird's Emporium.
Finally, the show. We saw JLS, and the catwalk show was incredible, a great mix of dancing, fashion and fun. A real highlight of the week. Can't wait for next year!

Friday, 7 December 2012

We're Supporting Christmas Jumper Day -14th December 2012

Here at Minimum Mouse we love Christmas jumpers. For a number of years we have specialised in finding the coolest, quirkiest, silliest and downright ridiculous festive knits to sell at this time of year. We sell a whole host of amazing vintage jumpers, most of which come from the US (where they do tacky Christmas silliness like no one else!) as well as our range of brand new, retro style Christmas jumpers. So whatever you're looking for, as long as you are ready to be festive to the max, we can find you that jazzy jumper or tacky tank top. Here are some examples-

Which meant that we were very excited when we heard about Save the Children's Christmas Jumper Day. On December 14th, they are aiming to 'make the world better with a sweater'. Save the Children UK do amazing work, helping children around the world beat deadly illnesses and get the basic healthcare that they need. A donation of £100 to Save the Children could provide 50 warm blankets to babies suffering from pneumonia.

So, we wanted to do something to help. From 7th to 14th December we will donate 10% of the sale price of any Christmas jumper that we sell on, on our eBay shop or through our ASOS Marketplace to Save the Children UK.

So if you are still in need of a Christmas knit, take a look at our selection.

Terms and Conditions of this offer-

1. Definition of 'Christmas Jumper' - we define any jumper, cardigan, sweater, tank top or sweatshirt which includes at least one of the following motifs as part of its design- Santa Claus, snowman, sleigh, reindeer, snowflakes, Christmas tree, presents, wreath, holly, stockings, nutcrackers. If you are unsure whether or not the item you are planning to buy qualifies, please email with a link to the item and I will be happy to assist.
2. The donation will be 10% of the sale price of the item, before any postage charges.
3. The donations will be given to Save the Children UK after the 14th December.
4. We cannot guarantee that any Christmas jumpers purchased from the 7th-14th of December will arrive in time for Christmas Jumper Day, our usual postage timescales will apply.
5. Only jumpers purchased through our website, our eBay shop and our ASOS Marketplace account will qualify for the 10% donation, offline purchases will not be included.

If you have any questions at all please email and I will be happy to answer them.

We really hope you'll get involved!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Elvis, Cocktails and Pouting Aplenty: The LeKeux Cosmetics Launch Party and Product Review

A few weeks ago a very pretty little envelope landed on our doormat, it was an invitation to a 'top secret launch' party at The Vintage Salon at the Custard Factory, Birmingham. We love a mystery, and more importantly we love a party, so we were excited to attend.

When we got to the Salon on the night of the party we were amazed, it was jam packed full of very glamorous people and Elvis was singing! Wow! There was also a cocktail bar with waiters shaking up all manner of delicious sounding drinks and there were people having their nails, hair and make up done all around. And then we realised what it was all about - it was the launch of Le Keux Cosmetics, their very own range of beautiful vintage inspired make up. There were make up artists on hand to apply the new products for the party guests, and I was eager to give it a go. A very nice pink haired lady gave me beautifully flicked out eye liner and the perfect cupid's bow, and I suddenly felt like an extra from Grease (in a good way!)

We first got to know Lynsey Le Keux at Clothes Show Live last year, as Le Keux Events were exhibiting next to us. Since then we have often seen each other at fairs and events and I have had my hair done at the salon once and was very impressed. So I was sure that their new range would be great quality, and I bought the Black Cadillac Eye Liner and Whistle Bait Lip Paint at the event, so that I could give them a try at home. They came with a double ended brush designed for applying both products.

I often wear lipstick so I felt pretty comfortable using the lip paint straight away. I was impressed too, it is creamy and the colour is intense so you don't need to apply lots to get a great finish. The shade of red is a really classic true red, which is what I like in a red lipstick! It also smells lovely. You can achieve three different looks with it, a straight up classic pout, a matte finish using a little face powder, or a full on glossy lip (named 'the Hollywood lip' by the Le Keux gang) by adding a little gloss.

The eyeliner was a slightly different matter, since I wear glasses I rarely go for dramatic eye make up, but I have always loved that 1950's flicked out eyeliner look, so I was keen to give it a try. Again, the product is creamy and goes on very smoothly, and is easy to build up to get that perfect jet black finish. Having said that, my first attempt was a bit of a disaster if I'm honest, but I think that is more down to my skills than the product! Then I discovered the Le Keux Cosmetics You Tube videos, where Diablo Rose gives tutorials on how to apply the eyeliner, lipstick (and also how to do the perfect pin up eyebrows). I found the videos really helpful and they are beautifully lit and shot, which makes a bit of a change from most of the make up tutorial videos on You Tube! Certainly worth checking out, the tips were very helpful and I think with a few more goes I will have 'found my perfect flick'! You can have a go yourself here-

Unfortunately I didn't manage to get any pictures from the evening, so Lynsey has very kindly allowed me to use their photos from the event, shot by Chloe Le Keux and David Morphew.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Minimum Mouse Instagram Adventures

Like the whole world and it's mother, we've recently got really into Instagram. Well, I have anyway. James has a phone like its 1999. If you're an instagrammer, you can find us at @mariannemouse. Expect many pictures of random vintage items, things we spot on our travels and lovely jewellery previews.

So here's what we've been getting up to through my iPhone lens...

1. Going through the pics from our last ASOS Marketplace shoot with the lovely Alex.
2. These new rings have been popular sellers at vintage fairs across the country.
3. AMAZING trunk of dreams we spotted at the Malvern Flea. You can read more about this here.
4. Amazing bit of wall art at the Custard Factory, Birmingham.
5. Prepping some vintage dresses for fairs.
6. Some male shoppers getting their fill of Minimum Mouse goodness at Manchester Vintage Fair.
7. The most amazing 1950's pink prom dress from Little Old Me, seen at Bristol Vintage Fair
8. Some gorgeous new jewellery pieces ready for Clothes Show Live
9. A Christmassy day out the Birmingham German Christmas Market.

Do you instagram? Let us know so we can follow you!

Friday, 19 October 2012

Shop Update: Aztec, Geometric and Quirky New Jewellery

Zip Bangles, £6 each

We had a bit of an update at the shop this week, lots of lovely new jewellery pieces available to buy now, with many more to come in the next few weeks. It was certainly well needed, if you've ever shopped at our stall at a vintage fair or festival you will know that we actually offer a much bigger range of jewellery than you can see in our online shop at the moment, and we're hoping to change that. Over the next few weeks we're hoping to have our full range available at your fingertips, all at great prices and with free UK postage. In the meantime, check out some of these cute goodies in now. Lots of on trend goodies- hints of aztec, navajo, and geometric styles with some crosses, spikes and colour thrown in for good measure. All you need for a fresh A/W 2012 look.

Aztec Triangle Necklace, £12
Geek Glasses Necklaces, £6 each
Pastel Triangle Necklace, £7

Cross bracelets, £5
Colourful Spike Necklace, £8

Watch this space for updates on mens and womens vintage clothing and cute new accessories that will be hitting the shop soon too!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Mr Bird's Emporium launches at The Custard Factory, Birmingham

Cute tops by Pretty Little Poppet and cool collar necklaces
When we heard a new shop was opening in the Custard Factory in Digbeth, being run by the folks behind Urban Village and Sutton Vintage Fair, we couldn't wait to check it out. It's always exciting when there is a new shop in town, but Mr Bird's is even better because really it's 10 shops in one!

Trunk Junkies Vintage
Full to the brim with vintage treasure, handmade goodies and exciting new stuff from independent designers, it really is shopping heaven and a refreshing change from the tired old high street. Why pay over the odds for mass produced fast fashion when you can pick up a lovely vintage one off from Trunk Junkies Vintage or Roxy Valetta?  Or how about a handmade top made just for you from Bits and Bows? Plus, upcyler and seamstress Nothing New can tweak your new purchases or existing wardrobe to perfection.

For the magpies among us there is a plethora of jewellery such as cute nostalgic pieces by Laura Loves and Prudence Collins, as well as edgier statement pieces by Evol Heist. The men haven't been forgotten either, there were great vintage pieces from Vote Vintage and stylish original designs by Boucher and Bond.

I also really liked the selection of great pieces for the home, from customised vintage telephones and lampshades to quirky prints and cosy soft furnishings. Plenty of funky stuff to feather your nest with!

If you're midlands based I really recommend a visit, the shop is open Tuesday-Saturday every week and every Saturday there is also a new market called the Custard Cream held behind the shop, showcasing even more great local businesses. The Custard Factory is rapidly becoming a really thriving centre and well worth the walk from the Bullring. And I think Mr Bird's Emporium might just be the cherry on top of the custard pie! 

Monday, 10 September 2012

Hollyoaks Stars, Freebies Galore and Thousands of Students!

We've just returned from a busy, busy weekend at UCAS Students Live, a two day exhibition of all things studenty at London Olympia. We were in the fashion area (of course) alongside fabulous jewellery brand Regal Rose, the student favourite One Piece, new fashion social media site and cute fashion brand Mela Loves London.

We met loads of great people, most of whom were off to start their uni adventure in a couple of weeks and were very excited about it. They were stocking up on new term fashion essentials- it was all about the cost knits and quirky jewellery.

We were running a jewellery lucky dip promotion, these lucky ladies each got a surprise piece of free jewellery when they signed up for our mailing list. Unsurprisingly this proved very popular, so we'll definitely be bringing it back for Clothes Show Live 2012!

We also had a couple of well known customers, namely Tom Scurr and David Atkins, who play Barney and Rob in Hollyoaks. They snapped up a couple of pairs of matching flip up sunglasses. Aww, don't they look cute!

Fancy a piece of the action? We'll be traveling across the UK in the next few weeks for freshers fairs and vintage fairs galore. You can find out where we're headed here.

Monday, 3 September 2012

A Summer of Adventures

Giant bucket and spade at Beach Break Live
With the nights drawing in and our thoughts turning to freshers fairs and cosy autumnal clothing, I thought I would take a few minutes to reflect on all the fun we've had this summer. We've certainly got about a bit! We kicked off our summer at Beach Break Festival in the beautiful Pembrey Country Park in South Wales. Unfortunately the weather didn't seem to get the message that summer had arrived and it was wet, windy and chilly! But the crowd of post exam happy students didn't let that bother them and it was a really fun weekend. Plus, as someone who has a fascination with big versions of small things (or maxitures, as I like to call them), I loved this giant bucket and spade!

Meeting a new friend on our summer photoshoot

We also had a fun summer photoshoot with our lovely model Alex, we pulled out all the stops to create a cute and girly, pastel themed collection and we made a furry friend along the way. A lovely day out!

Wilderness Festival was a real gem of a festival, a relaxing and exciting weekend, it's become one of my new favourite festivals. You could go swimming in the lake, use a wood fired hot tub, learn how to do all kinds of crafts and take part in a huge Bugsy Malone splurge fight - what more could you want from a weekend?! Plus, the scenery was a delight.

A Wilderness sunset
Our stall
The Bugsy Malone gang out for a splurge

V Festival in Chelmsford was a scorcher of a weekend, we spent it with our pals from The Vintage Fair, and being conveniently located opposite the main stage we managed to take in all the music, including highlights from the Stone Roses, The Killers, Tom Jones and Madness.

The sunnies went down a treat at the hottest event we've ever attended, literally!

Our last festival outing of the summer was at The Big Feastival, a new festival taking place at Alex James' cotswolds farm. With the emphasis firmly on good food, we were in our element. We even went to a cheese and beer tasting event and met the cheesemaker himself! It was a fun weekend, with loads of kids having hay fights and making giant bubbles, and lots of celebrities milling about. We saw Jamie Oliver ambling about and Jules Oliver had a good browse around the vintage area, as did Pearl Lowe, Gaz Coombes and Graham Coxon. Which was nice for the britpop loving teenager within me!

Another great maxiture!
Alex James telling us all about his cheese!

So now it's time for us to leave the summer behind us, it's been a blast, but we're looking forward to getting out all the autumn stock and hitting the road again for a new season of vintage events. We're kicking things off later this week at Student Live, in Kensington Olympia. Would love to see you on our travels, you can always see where we're headed next by checking our event page. See you soon!

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