2019 festival round up!


So, the festival season is officially over, I know, I always get a little wistful this time of year when the nights start drawing in and it is colder thank when I was sat in a field in my flip flops, cold cider in my hand, listening to some local artist play the sun down.

Nevertheless, we had a wonderful festival season and if you missed it here is a run down of what we got up to – and also, some festivals to add to your list for next year!

First up we traded at Vintage Nostalgia in Stockton, Wiltshire. Now I had never been there before but I was blown away by their set up – so many vintage traders, you could hardly move for retro cars and campervans, vintage tents and picnic set ups, old fashioned music and classic dance classes to entertain and plenty of secondhand and vintage inspired shopping to be had.


The rain didn’t put the heeled and coifed off at all! Out came the gorgeous umbrellas and the party carried on!


We were lucky enough to get a spot in a pre erected marquee in the heart of the venue – it was bigger than our oo arh! marquee and we could hear the bands on at the main stage! Out front there was a large circle of hay bales upon which the vintage clad families sat for picnics and drinks – such a lovely, oldy worldy sight to see!


And we had a lot of vintage customers who loved the upcycled clothing idea and incorporated it into their retro style – how great does this sari skirt look over this lovely lady’s vintage petticoat?!

We will definitely be returning to Stockton, and maybe looking into some more vintage festivals for next year!

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The next festival we attended was called Beacon Fest and it was held in the hills of Watlington – again, never been there before, we had driven through Watlington a fair few times but never noticed the beautiful rolling hills beyond the lovely village.


And it was indeed on the hill, so much so they had to create a flat stage for the actual stage to go on which was a sight in itself!

A small yet effective festival, we love the smaller, local ones because you tend to recognise more people over the weekend than the larger ones – it feels more intimate. There was always music on, when one stage was active, the other one would be being set up for the next band so the transitions were seamless and constantly entertaining.

We were one of a handful of non food traders so we had a lot of foot fall and stayed open until very late with the help of our new light so we could enjoy the festival with everyone else!


We were very lucky with the weather, still chilly in the evenings but the sun was glorious and everyone was enjoying themselves! It was a festival of denim jackets – don’t these friends look amazing in their unique upcycled garments?! It’s funny how each festival is different and some things don’t sell, but others do surprisingly well!


We’d love to take oo arh! back to Beacon, we have never been to a local festival before and it was so lovely to meet some fellow Buckinghamshire/ Oxfordshire people!

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Fairly soon after that we went to Nibley in the heart of beautiful Gloucestershire – we were expecting a small village festival, since the village it is based in is lovely and small, but, as we got taken to our pitch the staff explained where the stages (yes there was more than one!) what the other fields were used for and we were blown away – they had planned everything so well that the traffic flowed, the kids had their own area but there was stuff for the grown ups there too, and the main stages were not too close to be affected by each other, but an easy walk for us punters!


Unfortunately I do not have many photos of our time there because my phone was playing up but we were one of 10 non food traders which was amazing, we had lovely weather again (we were spoilt this summer for nice trading days) and we were well entertained – The Sugar Hill Gang were there…I know…how? Why? But they were which was crazy AND we got to be at the front for The Correspondents which really made our weekend special because we love seeing them live!

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And of course, it wouldn’t be festival season without trading at WOMAD – we have been doing it for so long we know exactly what to do, the processes they use and where to go – it’s like going home! This year my Mum and Stepdad hired a motorhome and stayed the whole weekend which was lovely to see so much of them and it get random glimpses of my brother as he passed with a massive group of friends!

As you may remember that weekend was the hottest of all that summer – the Thursday in particular was so hot we spent the majority of the day out the back of the stall, with all the doors and windows open, desperately trying to conjure a breeze to cool us all down! Which I think most people were doing because the Thursday and Friday were so slow I started to get worried but it picked up towards the end of the weekend.

This was also our first festival with out new tent – we used to have a 2mx2m cheap marquee but this is a super duper upgrade! We had shade and privacy and a lovely space for Matty to sleep!


We had a great WOMAD, we always do, and this year we had more returning customers than ever – lots of them came to say hi, wearing their unique oo arh! items, bringing friends and family along, and to find another upcycled garment – it was so lovely and it is those moments which really mean so much to me because it is easy to forget the previous customers because there is always another event and more to sew. It is so humbling to be reminded of you all out there!


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Finally we went all the way to Devon for Beautiful Days! We had heard a lot about this famous festival from friends who had been and worked there but had never thought we’d get a place because of it’s size. However, this changed when I found out that it fell over our birthday weekend and one of our favourite bands were playing – I had to at least email and see if they had any free pitches! And I got a call from one of the organisers saying they’d love to have us!


We were in the perfect place – in the middle of the main field, off a concrete track which ran through the whole festival and right next to stage where nearly ALL the bands we wanted to see were playing! The perfect place to celebrate out birthday!

The only down side was the weather – yep, from the hottest weekend for WOMAD to the wettest, so we had to get creative with out tarp!

We managed just fine and didn’t lose too much business because of it, I think most of the punters had some prepared for the weather  and were more than happy to come and shelter and chat and browse. Overall, we loved it and felt very welcome although it was a long way to go for an event, even though we did get to see more of Matty’s life in Exeter and spend lots of time with him, we will just have to weigh it all up when the applications come round again.

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So, that was our 2019 festival season, it felt extremely busy but we loved every minute of it. I’m so lucky to have a husband who supports and believes in me this much, and who actually wants to come on these crazy adventures even when he has already had a whole week of work himself! I’m humbled by the support my customers give me, don’t stop sending your feedback and advice on more upcycling projects and where else to trade (some of my best suggestions come from you guys!) and let’s keep upcycling, finding more ways of using our preloved clothes and change the way we look at out shopping habits.

Here’s to the 2020 festival season – the marquee has gone into hibernation and I’m back behind my sewing machines! xx


Second Hand September

Construction, Festivals

We met some lovely Oxfam volunteers at WOMAD this year who told us all about the new Oxfam campaign to bring awareness to the affect our clothes and the way we view fashion are having on our planet. Of course, we jumped at the chance to sign our names up and to be involved through oo arh!

Second Hand September strives to get consumers thinking about where their clothes come from, the carbon foot print and climate change are some of the larger issues but we also need to consider the human aspect, how and by whom are clothes are made and in what conditions. 

We can make a huge difference by thinking twice about where we choose to shop for our clothes – now, obviously, there are some things one would not want to purchase second hand (underwear, swimwear, to name a few) and also there is no shame in buying new, sometimes we have to – the weather changes quickly and suddenly and you need another layer, you have seen the perfect dress for a friend’s wedding, you need a new pair of work shoes that just need to be comfy.

But when everything in a charity or vintage shop is cheap, already made, carries a negligible carbon foot print, and the money you pay goes towards a good cause it is worth taking a second to think whether you really need that new garment? Will it make you happy? And even if we cannot stop climate change completely by changing the way we shop, we might be able to slow the turning wheels.

Here are some helpful illustrations of the impacts of fast fashion:Figure-9.-Damaging-effects-on-society-and-environment

It’s amazing when you actually break the processes down – especially when we, as the consumers, are not fully informed of the exact systems our clothes go through! And it is important to remember that when you put something in the bin at home, it ends up in a landfill and, especially if it is a synthetic garment, it will take years to breakdown. There are other places to place your unwanted garments – charity shops, clothes bins, etc. So, make a simple change to help the ‘after use’ process with our clothes.


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It is mind blowing – this is one pair of jeans!


I know it is mind bending but it helps to take stock sometimes of our individual carbon foot print, we will not be able to change the flawed system over night but small alterations in our own lives will make a difference and it is all about spreading awareness. Take a look at Kate Watson’s blog for more tips for reducing, reusing and recycling your clothes.

Another way of looking at the Second Hand September challenge is to take a look at your own wardrobe – have you worn it in the last year? Does it hold sentimental value? And can you do anything to make it more appealing to you?

Even simple alterations can make a huge difference – recently I came upon a dress I had bought at a festival which I no longer wear and all it needed was the sleeves chopping off and now it is a garment I can wear to work!

Similarly, I used to wear this striped skirt all the time at university but my style has developed and changed so, tada, it is now a top! Now I have two new garments in my wardrobe without needing to buy any new ones – surely that is a victory over climate change worth celebrating!


oo arh! is built on second hand garments – the pleasure of taking a preloved garment and giving it a new lease of life with embellishment, alterations or transformations! I like to think that even a ‘new’ garment from oo arh! is helping in it’s own small way to combat climate change and help people think differently about where their clothes come from.

Here are some photos of my friends, customers and family wearing their own unique oo arh! items – it is so good to see so many happy faces wearing preloved revamped garments!

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If you want to find unique, second hand garments given a new lease of life with a love of upcycling look no further than the oo arh! Etsy shop xx