Hiya, welcome to my stop on The Vintage Summer Wedding Tour.
I just happened to have spent the loveliest afternoon yesterday with best-selling author Jenny Oliver (of The Parisian Christmas Bake Off fame) where we chatted all things summery, vintagey, and (surprise surprise) wedding-y!
It was supposed to be an interview but turned into one of those chats – you know, where you go off topic and get completely side-tracked talking about absolutely anything and everything…. one of them.
Before I let you see our little one on one, I wanted to fill you in not only on Jenny, but about The Vintage Summer Wedding also.
JENNY OLIVER wrote her first book on holiday when she was ten years old. Illustrated with cut-out supermodels from her sister’s Vogue, it was an epic, sweeping love story not so loosely based on Dynasty.
Since then Jenny has gone on to get an English degree, a Masters, and a job in publishing that’s taught her what it takes to write a novel (without the help of the supermodels). She wrote The Parisian Christmas Bake Off on the beach in a sea-soaked, sand-covered notebook and The Vintage Summer Wedding is her follow up.
Follow her on Twitter @JenOliverBooks
Spending the summer uncovering hidden treasures in a vintage shop, Anna can still vividly remember both her childhood dreams; the first was that she’d become a Prima Ballerina, and dance on stage resplendent in a jewel-encrusted tutu. The second was that at her wedding she would walk down the aisle wearing a collective-gasp-from-the-congregation dress.
Years ago Anna pirouetted out of her cosy hometown village in a whirl of ambition…but when both of those fairy-tale dreams came crashing down around her ballet shoes, she and fiancée Seb find themselves back in Nettleton, their wedding and careers postponed indefinitely…
Don’t they say that you can never go home again? Sometimes they don’t get it right… This one summer is showing Anna that your dreams have to grow up with you. And sometimes what you think you wanted is just the opposite of what makes you happy…
Shall we just jump right in?
If you were planning a vintage summery picnic, what would be in your hamper?
I'd go for Spanish and have tapas - lots of olives and anchovies, fiery pimiento de padron peppers, chorizo, maybe some prawns and squid… My mouth is watering! In a dream world I'd pack it all in some sort of wicker hamper with little vintage plates and real wine glasses but probably in reality I'd be struggling out the door with a few Sainsbury's bags and a bottle of Prosecco under my arm.
We’re looking forwad to the retrrn of The Great BritishSwewing Bee! Are you good with a
Yes I'm not bad with a needle. I have a textile's GCSE so I should be alright! Not good enough to make my own clothes but I can fix things and knock up a cushion or a bag - although my seams are never as straight as they should be.
Do you like vintage/antique hunting?
Love it. When I know I'm going somewhere like Kempton Antique Market or a car boot sale on a Sunday morning I can't sleep properly the night before because I'm so excited. It's the thrill of finding a bargain. I can be trudging along row after row at a car boot sale wondering why I got up at 7 in the morning when there's nothing decent for sale and then suddenly my eye will be caught by something and the day is made! Last Sunday I bought three vintage wine glasses with hand cut flowers in the glass - so beautiful and only a pound for the three. Bargain hunting runs in my family - I've been taken to car boots since I was tiny, like Anna in THE VINTAGE SUMMER WEDDING I learnt to haggle from my dad but I'm nowhere near as audacious as him - if something's a pound he'll offer 10p and start negotiations from there.
What’s your most reassured vintage find?
I found a standard lamp on the side of the road in Brixton once when I was about sixteen. Made my parents emergency stop in the road while I ran back to pick it up. Turned out to be a Harvey Guzzini and worth about two hundred pounds.
Anna was a ballerina – did you do ballet yourself?
Only when I was very small and we wore pink leotards, our hair in buns and did lots of 'good toes, naughty toes.' I never made it to quite the level Anna did. But I did compete at a really high level in sport and know what it's like to push yourself to your very limits.
So how did you research the ballet bits?!
I go to the ballet a lot - absolutely love it and I have a lot of friends who are ballet obsessed so I picked their brains. Then I did a lot of research, reading about the lives of new and upcoming ballerinas as well as old timers who remember what it was like starting out. While I loved the fact Anna was a ballerina, it was more important to me that she had a passion which consumed her, taking away her ability to stand back and see what she really wanted in life, and ballet is the perfect sport for that. You have to give it your life.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
For years all I wanted to be was either a writer or a fashion designer and if I hadn't been struck by a love of English at school I would have gone to art college to study fashion - if I'd done that, maybe my seams would be a bit straighter!
What books inspired you to want to write yourself?
Early on - The Magic Faraway Tree and Famous Five. I wrote little books when I was tiny, illustrated them and stapled them together. As I got older I loved Judy Blume, Paula Danzingerand Lois Lowry's Anastasia books. Then my mum introduced me to Mills & Boon and my sister to Jilly Cooper and the world of romance, contemporary romantic fiction opened up in all it's glittering, shining glory and suddenly I had notebooks filled with scribbles about tall, dark, handsome polo players.
What was your favourite book when you were growing up?
Judy Blume's Are You There God It's Me Margaret. I think she's an amazing writer and have actually just bought her Fudge series for my niece.
Are you planning a summer holiday this year?
Yep at the moment we're planning to drive down to Il de Rey in France. My sister is there at the moment and Instagrammedthe apartment she's staying in - all ramshackle with glass doors that open out onto a deck covered in rambling plants - so we might snap that up for later in the year. As we're driving I'll no doubt research some antique markets, brocantes and vide greniers (French car boot sales - known as empty attic sales) to pop into on the way down (which also means we may have to buy a roof rack for our very small car as the desire to buy is always so strong!)
Thank you so much for chatting with me today Jenny, It's been wonderful.
Jenny and the lovely people at Carina have two fantastic give aways for us.
Take a look at this link http://www.pinterest.com/carinauk/the-vintage-summer-wedding-blog-tour/
Click on follow and take a look at the eight adorable vintage pieces on offer.
All you need to do is fill in the box underneath with your name, email address, the title Vintage and tell me what one you would like. It's as easy as that.
Winner will be picked at random and contacted by myself then Carina.
UK only. Ends 29/05/2014
Thanks for joining me today on The Book Geek Wears Pajamas, I hope you've enjoyed my blog stop.
Don't forget to grab a copy of The Vintage Summer Wedding.