Annabelle and Emily just love, love, love vintage. Their lives are dedicated to “sourcing” items for their artfully “curated” shabby chic homes. Both are mummies, with adorable little girls who are dressed in beautifully ironed Victorian christening gowns worn over stripy leggings. Luckily, their husbands are quite content to let their wives dash around the countryside spending piles of cash on distressed lumpy armchairs, scruffily painted dressers and reams of grubby textiles. The girls enjoy nothing more than visiting an early morning boot sale together, prising bargains from the bowels of old Volvo estates and ancient white vans. They are blissfully unaware that the canny old dealers double their prices when they approach, cooing over chipped enamel.
Their dearest ambition is to have their homes featured in Vintique Interiors & Gardens STYLE ! – the almanac of all that is best in vintage design. Having filled their homes with exquisite finds (which their husbands refer to as “old junk”), they have turned their attention to helping their friends create the same look. Their interior design business and shop is “such an exciting project”, which they can fit around the children. The clever things have found a tiny shop in the ancient village of Billingswood Green. Once an old pig sty, the newly converted shop is now dressed in Annie Sloan chalk paints, yards of bunting and fairy lights and is “so, so pretty”.
They can’t wait to open their doors for business, having bombarded all their friends on Facebook about their plans. Their husbands, Ollie and Guy, refer to the business as OldPigVintage, a reference to Emily’s childhood nickname, Piggy. The joke has worn thin as the girls struggle to find a name that represents their recherché mix of vintage finds and French style, and they can’t agree on “Kitten and Dove Vintage” or “Faded Romance”.
At last, the opening day arrives and the shop will finally open. Annabelle and Emily, clad from head to toe in Cauliflower & Posies linen accessorised with expensive jewellery, shriek with joy at the sight of a queue of eager customers. As their mummy friends crowd the shop, the snarl of off-road baby buggies make it impossible for anyone to get in or out of the door.
Champagne is served from vintage tea cups, as shoppers struggle to eat their over-iced and lavishly sprinkled cup cakes. Tiny children are crushed as their mothers vie to grab the last scented-candle-in-a-teacup – “what a clever idea!”. The shop showpiece, a cavernous French Armoire painted in Barrow & Fall’s Hare’s Scut eggshell paint, is much admired. Envious glances are cast when Caroline, the richest mummy, buys it for her spare bedroom. Along with a galvanised bucket, a set of rickety ladders, three strings of bunting, a child’s creaky rocking chair and a tiny handmade felt rabbit.
After a busy month’s trading, the girls work out they have made a princely sum of £25 profit after rent, rates, utilities, insurance and stock is accounted for. Undeterred, they head for yet another boot sale, ignoring the demands of their husbands to keep proper accounts......”so, so boring”.