My desire for vintage clothing was ignited when I moved down to London at 18, with a case full of generic clothes and an ambition to 'find myself'. Three months and several trips to Camden and East London later, I arrived home to Scotland for my first holiday and my mum exclaimed "What on earth have you come dressed as?!"
After a series of mysterious fires and the unrelated launch of a mega-mall nearby, Margate turned from beloved tourist destination to ghost town - practically overnight. Despite the efforts of high-street hero Mary Portas and the valiant rejuvenation of the Old Town, Margate continues to reek of recession and disrepair.
I was first bitten by the vintage bug in 1983, borrowing my grandma's 60s kitten heeled sling backs - they had toes so pointed you could have impaled anyone you kicked. I carefully borrowed a few of grannie's pieces - mostly shoes, jewellery and handbags to add to my puff ball skirts, explosive hair and wrist to elbow silver slave bangles.
Even 'fast', 'cheap' fashion can seem a bit unjustifiable when we hear news of a 'double dip' recession. I, for one, feel a bit sheepish hauling bags of clothes home while worried about what the future holds (never mind that I also have to find a way to sneak it all in without my husband noticing!).
Once upon a time, long before I moved to London, I used to enter Oxfam with a heady sense of adventure about the the delights I was sure to discover. And discover I did, knocking aside the elderly in my greedy quest to rifle through the rails, gathering great swathes of questionable but utterly brilliant items into my arms.
As someone who spent almost every major school holiday in Yorkshire, I should have visited York at least a handful of times by now and yet my visit earlier this year was my very first - shameful, no? So it was with great enthusiasm and excitement that I accepted an invite from Visit York, to discover 'Britain's most beautiful city'.