Vintage Inside & Out: Oooh Betty

Hello reader and welcome to our forth installment of Vintage Inside & Out, showcasing some of the people on the vintage scene in Manchester. This time we have Emma who runs Oooh Betty and is a crockery aficionado! Read on to find out more…

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Emma. I am a collector and seller of vintage homewares and collectables. I sell at various vintage events, my favourites being the Vintage Village in Stockport and Magpies & I in Altrincham. I also write a blog that I am absolutely passionate about. My blog and business is called Oooh Betty!

I also enjoy the crafty side of life. I spend much of my spare time with my crochet and I love to collect and sell vintage haberdashery supplies on Folksy, Etsy and craft events. I have 3 sons and even more cats!

What changes to your home have you made in order for it to reflect you?

We have lived in our current home for 4 years and have been gradually doing bits to it as we can. Before we moved in it was owned by a couple that had no children so since we arrived on the scene it has become more of a family home, messy and relaxed is probably a good description most of the time.

We made the hall into an office area so that my other half can be in the middle of the mayhem whilst he works (he actually came up with this crazy idea??). All of our rooms are painted white so that I can add as many patterns, pictures and collectables as I like.

We have moved rooms around to accomodate a family TV room, there is only a certain amount of Pingu any sane adult can take! What was once the living room and the biggest room is now a family kitchen. It is modern in design as we love to cook but I have a large cabinet that I house and display all my vintage pottery.

We have reinstated Edwardian fireplaces (our house is Edwardian) in the main rooms and this is not only an instant focal point but gives me even more places to display my collectables. I have a desk in our living room so that I can sew, create etc whilst being with my family and maybe sneak in a bit of TV time too.

Which piece, or room, sums up your style?

The living room is definitely all me. Living with 4 males I have to stamp my feminine authority somewhere. Because I use this room the most and my desk is situated there it has gradually become more eclectic than any of the other rooms.

Over time I’ve added anything that I find beautiful and that makes me smile. I have florals (cushions and artwork). There are vintage toys that I love dotted here and there. Old furniture that I have restored and painted houses my haberdashery supplies and I have a little cabinet that I put my favourite things in including pottery, match boxes and other bits that I have accumulated or inherited.

I love this room and the best thing is that it is so lovely that the boys seem to keep it tidy…..result.

What is your favourite era and why?

I think the basis for me liking and buying old things has developed from being of a thrifty nature. I have always shopped for second hand when it comes to furniture and it has just continued on that basis. I am attracted to 60s and 70s design and pattern but I love the turn of the century style as it fits the bones of my house.

Without sounding cheesey I think the era we are in now is just so lovely in the fact that anything goes. Vintage is out there, flea market style is big (thank god) and we are all just buying what we want and love.

Where does your interest come from? What or who is your inspiration?

I have always loved interior design and believed that my home should be full of things I love. I spend a lot of time at home so I have to be inspired by the things around me. I read a lot of blogs in my spare time and find a lot of inspiration in other peoples ideas and thoughts. I prefer reading blogs to watching TV.

My family is very creative and have always supported me in the things I want to do. My dad was a professional artist and my mum has always been a ‘maker’. I think the crafting is in my blood. When it comes to collecting it is all about the buzz. I am always on the look out for that ‘heart stopping’ item. It is not about the value of the item, it is about how it makes me feel.

Can you give any tips in collecting, restoring or sourcing vintage items (clothes/furniture etc)

Just buy the things you love. I put a lot of time into sourcing great stuff to sell and whilst I do this I find things that I call keepers, things for my collections. I think if you love it, others will too.

I also source useable items that are still relevant to todays homes and i think this is very important from a business point of view. Retro storage jars, everyone has tea bags. Cups that are the right size for a cappuccino, mugs that are perfect for tea. Toys that are still cool, baking accessories (everyone loves a cupcake) and good quality fabrics that people can use for cushions.

Because I am a very visual person I do put a lot of importance on the appearance of my stall so I buy things that will sit well together and have impact. I love colours and patterns, great graphics and quality design.


When it comes to furniture I look for classic items. I have a beloved Ercol sofa that I sit on every evening and don’t think I will ever be parted from. Think out of the box too, I have an old stationary cupboard as a wardrobe. I have painted it turquoise and put vintage wallpaper behind the glass doors.


When restoring pieces it is all about the paint, brushes and prep. Sand, sand and sand a bit more. Buy the best paint and brushes you can afford. Most of all I think it is important to just go for it. I have made loads of mistakes along the way with my home (mustard walls) and with my business but I am now happy with most of my choices and if I make a mistake it is not the end of the world because I am loving what I do and I never invest huge amounts as I am just too thrifty!

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Tom Wright is a Manchester based Photographer who runs the Impossible Workshops in the Uk and Europe. He champions Polaroid film through the Workshops and his ethos harks back to the days when we treasured photographs, not thought of them as disposable. “Down with snapshots, Up with memories!” is his motto. He prefers to work with film when possible.

You can find out more about him at Tom Wright Photography or follow him on Twitter @un-frame

If you’d like to be considered for “Vintage Inside & Out” then drop us a message hello@vintagemanchester.com

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4 Comments

  1. May 6, 2012 / 2:47 pm

    Again another great read and amazing photos. Fab house and good advice. Perfect pass time for a sunday afternoon and a cup of tea. Cam’t wait to read the next one! xx

  2. May 7, 2012 / 2:34 pm

    Super feature, love your china display cupboard Emma, I’ll look out for you and come and say hello sometime at a fair…Gwyneth

  3. May 7, 2012 / 6:51 pm

    A girl after my own heart! Gorgeous interior and photography too! A very stylish home if ever I saw one. 🙂