re:story - The Vintage Issue

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Art deco revival

Getting into the swing of the glamorous 1920s


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We did it. We jumped that all important hurdle and took re:story from a bright idea and a one-off publication into its second issue – with hopefully many more to come. Getting creative projects off the ground isn’t easy, and yet in our own backyard we see inspiring, creative women achieving impressive feats of business savvy every day – whether selling vintage clothes (page 6), renovating furniture (page 15) or crafting leather belts (page 17). Not that I’m surprised by the achievements of these amazing local women – I meet women every day whose courage and determination to turn their lives around never ceases to astound me. Women like Mandy, whose story on page 28 should act as a reminder that domestic abuse can happen to anyone at any time – and that there’s help available. We at North Devon Against Domestic Abuse (NDADA) might provide the shelter and services for women like Mandy to find freedom from domestic abuse – but taking that first step in admitting there’s a problem and making the call to do something about it is the hardest part, and yet thousands of courageous women make that call to us every year. My sincere hope is that we can continue to provide the services they need. We can’t do it alone – we need your help. Find out how you can support NDADA on page 38 and help raise awareness by getting involved with our White Flower Field Project, culminating in a petal launch in Barnstaple this November (page 20). As a final celebration of our 40th anniversary year we will be joined by Erin Pizzey, the founder of the refuge movement, at our AGM as well as looking back at that time through photographer Christine Voge’s lens as she brings her evocative exhibition from its current home at the South Bank in London. I hope you enjoy this issue of re:story and find plenty to entertain, inform and intrigue you. As always, thank you for your support on behalf of the team at NDADA and re:store. Susan Wallis CEO NDADA Summer 2015

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What’s inside FASHION 06 12

Art deco revival Déjà new

BEAUTY 24 My fair lady FEATURES



15 18



Breath of fresh air Be golden

White flower launch


Favourite things

26 28 32

Hidden faces my:story Online safety


Wheely good coffee


How you can help

On the cover: re:store volunteer Ruth Thank you: Salt Media; Simone Kesseler and Alessia Sheldon for creation and direction; Steve Nuth Photography; Brewer Harding and Rowe; Emy Lou Photography; Rosie Anderson Photography, Donna Flower Vintage; Penny Blower; Furniture Magpie; Jane Stanley Private Collection II; The Bike Shed Cafe; Queens Theatre Barnstaple; Sarah Farrell-Roberts; Atlas Packaging; re:store volunteers Ruth and Mandy; Boots Barnstaple make-up counter No. 7. re:story is available free of charge at selected retailers, salons, children’s centres and waiting rooms, and is funded by our advertisers. For copies or to advertise, email or call 01237 472939. Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of North Devon Against Domestic Abuse, and products and services advertised are not endorsed by the charity or its trustees. THE VINTAGE ISSUE

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Art deco revival to Barnstaple’s queen of vintage, Donna Flower, about the ins and outs of 1920s fashion

Photo by Steve Nuth Photography

re:story speaks


rom flapper girls dancing the night away to the era’s style icon, Coco Chanel, the roaring ’20s are seeing a popular revival.

The fashion of the 1920s embodied a modern shift away from the more formal Victorian and Edwardian eras to a modern, youthful bohemian lifestyle and a taste for adventure and travel to far-flung destinations.

explore beautiful bits and pieces from bygone eras – stacks of fabrics, racks of vintage knits and ladies’ dresses ranging from Edwardian through to 1970s. There are busts donning 1920s cloche hats, original framed faded black and white photographs, soft jazz music in the background and a bottle of Chanel No 5 available for a complimentary spritz to take some of that vintage spirit with you into the real world.

‘The 1920s look was exotic and dramatic. The period was all about travel’

‘The 1920s look was exotic and dramatic,’ says Donna Flower, of Donna Flower Vintage on Gammon Walk in Barnstaple (pictured, above left, with her daughter and store manager Jasmine Diamond). ‘The period was all about travel – from long train journeys across the continent to the Far East and deep-dark Africa, to Egyptian inspiration with the discovery of Tutankhamun,’ she says. So, as well as the classic flapper look, think statement Egyptian collars and flowing oriental silks.

Donna’s store, which opened in September 2014, was her first endeavour in “bricks and mortar” after establishing a successful online vintage fabric business 15 years ago. The shop is a quiet place on the edge of the high street in which to linger and 6 re:story THE VINTAGE ISSUE

Donna Flower is just one example of the vintage craze that’s hit North Devon. This summer on June 13, Saunton Sands Hotel is holding its first ever summer ball which will be 1920s-themed in homage to its art deco heritage (page 11), and we also held a special photoshoot at re:store to show you how to get the look on a budget (page 10). To get into the swing of 1920s fashion, you can either go all-out, or channel the look with a few simple accessories, says Donna. ‘Look for dropwaisted dresses, long strings of pearls, lace head bands or put a feather in your hair. Long scarves and gloves and Mary Jane style shoes are also key to the look,’ she says. ‘Choose dramatic colours, silk, crepe and chiffon.’

Lace wedding dress with a typical 1920s sunburst design, accessorised with an ostrich feather fan, silver dance shoes and tiara.


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Model Becca wears a 1920s silk satin gown with a long string of pearls and a silk crepe neck scarf.


A 1920s silk satin bias-cut dress is worn with 1920s silk and feather coat and silver dance shoes.

Styling and clothing by Donna Flower Vintage; Photography by Emy Lou Photography; location Huntcham Court near Exeter; model Becca Hinchcliffe THE VINTAGE ISSUE

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re:store springs into swing Not wanting to miss out on the latest craze for all things 1920s, we wired North Devon’s style expert Penny Blower, who hot-footed it down to re:store to style our jazz age-inspired photoshoot. The results are the bee’s knees

‘These tasselled and lacy black dresses were accessorised to create a feel for the swing era’s love of energetic dancing and partying,’ says Penny, who created the look using clothes from re:store and her own collection. ‘Everything had to move as they shimmied,’ she adds. ‘The flappers’ headgear was pure frivolity – beads, feathers and headbands, all easy to find, adapt and wear. Cascading pearls, armlets, glittering bracelets, rings and brooches all added to the feeling of movement. Finally, a pair of Mary Jane shoes completed the look.’ As for makeup, think moody is Penny’s advice: ‘Go for the smokiest eyes possible with your reddest lipstick for pure drama.’

Styling by Penny Blower; Photography by Steve Nuth; clothes from re:store and Penny Blower; models re:store volunteers Mandy and Ruth; make-up Boots Counter No.7


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Colour, Fashion and Fun

Saunton Summer Ball The most glamorous party North Devon has ever seen is coming to Saunton Sands Hotel on June 13 ‘The bar is in full swing, and floating rounds of cocktails permeate the garden outside, until the air is alive with chatter and laughter …’ That was the quote from The Great Gatsby that inspired the team at Saunton Sands Hotel near Braunton to create the first ever Saunton Summer Ball this year and to choose a roaring ’20s theme to match the art deco period of the hotel. Feasting tables, vintage cars, flapper girls, swing bands, gin bars and champagne fountains, lit up gardens and lounging in the speakeasy will all be part of the experience. Visit or phone 01271 890212 for more information.


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Déjà new

Photo by Steve Nuth Photography

What’s old is new again, says North Devon fashionista Jane Stanley, owner of bijou boutique Private Collection II on Holland Walk in Barnstaple


esigners often look to the past for inspiration and while the 1950s, ’60s and ’80s are all points of reference this season, it’s the ’70s that designers – from Gucci to Chanel – have embraced. So this summer will see a revival of the free-spirited silhouette of the era. However, wearing pure ’70s runs the risk of veering into fancy dress. A wise haute hippy would do well to simply make a nod to the trend. It may be the decade that’s “staying alive”, but dodgy perms, man-made fabrics, oversized flares and stripy tank tops are not everybody’s cup of Campari.


Instead, think loose jersey layers mixed with the romance of broderie anglaise, chiffon, bohemian handkerchief hems, long skinny scarves, maxi dresses, halter necks, long beads and oversized sunglasses. Colours include khaki on tan, tobacco, navy and cream with mountains of white. Add snakeskin and lots of gold bangles and oversized earrings, platform shoes or – this summer’s favourite – the designer espadrille in leather or sequins. Make with the cheese and pineapple, dig out your fondue set and live it up like Margot from The Good Life!

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Photos by Steve Nuth Photography

Breath of fresh air Samantha Baines, owner of Furniture Magpie in Barnstaple, breathes new life into living spaces


p until a year and a half ago, Samantha Baines was in the armed forces, living mostly on military bases around the country. So, when she and her partner decided to make a lifestyle change and move to Devon, Samantha says she had nothing with which to furnish her new home, and had to start from scratch.

stall and then, in September 2013, Samantha opened Furniture Magpie in Barnstaple, selling renovated second-hand furniture (mostly sourced from within a 50 mile radius) along with other products from small, independent producers – all designed and made in the UK.

‘If you love every piece in your home, it’ll all come together’

‘I didn’t like what I found on offer on the high street,’ she says. ‘There wasn’t the quality to match the prices they were asking.’ So Samantha started frequenting local second-hand charity shops, antique stores and auctions, buying pieces she loved and then breathing new life into them with a lick of paint or new upholstery where necessary. ‘I just taught myself and learnt as I went along,’ she says. What started as a hobby developed into a market

Samantha’s ethos is that you don’t need to have deep pockets to create living spaces in your home that you love and which make you happy. ‘There can be pressure from magazines to follow trends, such as neutral palettes or certain styles, but if you love bright and bold colours, for example, then be confident in using them,’ she says. ‘I always say that if you love every piece in your home, whether it’s something you’ve discovered or something with sentimental value, then it’ll all come together and work.’ »


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Breath of fresh air

Art deco living Samantha’s secrets for ’20s-inspired interiors ‘Think bold colours and prints, sleek interiors with monochromatic lines, metallics and subtle candy pastels,’ says Samantha. ‘Not to mention the artwork of Tamara de Lempicka, the art deco travel posters and the explosion of furniture designers such as Eileen Gray and Charles Rennie Mackintosh,’ she adds. ‘These iconic designers are now beyond most of our budgets, but reproductions and prints will instantly give your home that touch of 1920s glamour.’

Samantha’s other suggestions for breathing new life into your interior spaces include giving the walls a fresh coat of paint, choosing a feature wall to be decoratively wallpapered, rearranging and repurposing your existing furniture. And if you’ve found a second-hand piece that could do with some extra love, pop into Furniture Magpie and chat to Samantha about how to bring it back to life. As well as selling 20th century furniture, handmade products and natural paints for at-home projects, Samantha also holds occasional craft workshops to teach and inspire local people. ‘It’s easy for me to forget that it can be intimidating to do the things I take for granted, like painting chairs, so I always love it when people come into the store and show me photos of the pieces they’re renovating,’ she says. ‘Usually it sets them on course for more creativity, and before long they’re painting murals in their children’s rooms and having so much fun!’ – Gemma Chilton


Like us, people in the 1920s wanted to show their taste and aspirations through their design choices, Samantha explains. ‘They embraced their Edwardian and Victorian heirlooms, invested in modern pieces and updated their wall hangings and soft furnishings,’ she says. ‘Their colour choices and inspirations were not far from our trends almost one hundred years later.’ For local examples of glamorous art deco interiors, check out the Saunton Sands Hotel, Coleton Fishacre and Burgh Island Hotel. How does Samantha recommend bringing the ’20s into your home, on a budget? ‘The art deco style was copied and reproduced throughout the 20th century,’ she says. ‘If you wanted to paint or renovate a piece of furniture, then use the iconic colours – red, blue, black, orange and teal – or find a piece with similar lines to instantly set the tone.’

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Be golden Local leather worker and mother of three Louise Middleton of Golden Bear Belts creates original, wearable masterpieces from her studio in Bideford


limbing the stairs to Louise Middleton’s lofty, sun-lit workshop seems a world away from the hustle and bustle of Bideford’s historic pannier market. The high-ceilinged space with white walls and exposed beams is that perfect balance of creative chaos and quiet productivity. Recently finished leather belts adorn the walls, while in a far corner Louise’s 16-year-old dog Ketchup is resting her weary bones on an oversized bed. Long work tables are covered with hand tools, stamp blocks and colourful paints – and Louise’s co-worker Jo is busy laying delicate sheets of gold leaf onto freshly cut leather. Louise takes me straight to her latest design, embossed with the phrase ‘Be Golden’ – referencing not only her four-year-old company’s name, Golden Bear Belts, but also her mantra. ‘It’s aspirational,’ she says. ‘It’s about being your best self. Signs, symbols


and mantras adorn all of our belts, filling the wearer with positive vibes every time they buckle into their trusty pair of jeans.’ After selling a successful swimwear design company, Louise set up Golden Bear Belts four years ago. ‘I wanted to make something that everyone needs – men, women and children. A one-off. Something that will last a lifetime,’ she says. Louise has hit on a winning formula and Golden Bear Belts is taking the fashion world by storm. Stockists now include Tucker NYC, Celestine 11, Donna Ida, Liberty London, By Marie, Wolf and Badger London, Edition Japan, Art Wednesday and Secret Emporium. All of the belts originate here in Devon though, made by hand in the Bideford studio, using local materials and traditional techniques. Hand-drawn

Photos by Rosie Anderson


illustrations are embossed and carved into leather, with details handstamped and painted, then gilded in gold, silver and copper leaf using a traditional Spanish technique.

‘Signs, symbols and mantras adorn all of our belts, filling the wearer with positive vibes’

All of the hides are British sourced, some from Tapeley Park, the ecologically sustainable estate just two miles from the workshop. From there, they are transported in the Golden Bear truck to the local tannery – one of the last remaining in the UK, located on the banks of the River Coly in East Devon, which still uses processes unchanged since Roman times.

before the leather is dried, rolled and hand finished with oils and tallow, which prevents cracking and keeps the leather strong and rich in colour,’ Louise explains.

As well as selling her seasonal collections, Louise and her team of craftswomen offer a bespoke design service. Customers can visit the studio to talk through their design ideas, what colour leather and type of buckle they’d like, and any special personalised messages to be embossed on the underside of the belt. – Gemma Chilton

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White Flower Field Art Project Inspired by the Tower of London poppies, an installation designed by local artist Sarah Farrell-Roberts will fill one side of The Square in Barnstaple this November to mark 40 years of the Women’s Refuge. Handcrafted by women all over North Devon and further afield, it will be a moving tribute to victims of domestic abuse – and you’re welcome to join in


arah Farrell-Roberts says she clearly remembers attending the Petal Launch ceremony in Barnstaple last year. ‘It was a moving experience,’ she says. ‘People shared poetry and readings and everyone took a handful of petals which we scattered into the river as we all gave thought to the men, women and children affected by domestic abuse.’ This year, Sarah has been invited to design a whole art installation called the White Flower Field Art Project for NDADA’s 40th anniversary. For the project, we have appealed for people to get involved and help handcraft 4,000 white flowers to be displayed in The Square in Barnstaple. ‘A pair of open hands will be nestled amongst this field of white flowers,’ explains Sarah. ‘The hands represent the support that is there for victims and the relief they can feel once they have broken their silence.’ The number of flowers represents the number of enquiries received each year by specialist domestic abuse services in Devon, and is also an estimate of the number of individuals the North Devon Women’s Refuge has helped over the past 40 years.


Inspired by the poppies at the Tower of London last year, the installation will be in place from November 9–27, so it will be there for National Domestic Violence Awareness Week which starts on November 23 with the NDADA annual Petal Launch ceremony, when the whole community is invited to scatter petals into the River Taw in remembrance of victims of domestic violence. ‘As the White Flower Field Art Project moves on and the number of flowers grow, there are so many different individuals and groups making them up and down the country, from a range of materials – clay, plastic, wool, cotton, netting and more,’ says Sarah. ‘The flowers are unique and varied, which is significant as there are no stereotypes in how or where abuse occurs.’ We need to make 500 flowers every month up to October to get the installation ready in time for November. Flowers need to be 10cm x 10cm, and can be made out of any material you choose – provided it will withstand the weather conditions of November (so no paper or cardboard, and nothing with bits

Sarah Farrell-Roberts’ art studio in Westleigh decorated with some of the first white flowers that were made.

that might blow away). Wool, felt, fabric, clay, porcelain and recycled plastic will all work well. Flowers must be all white (no coloured stamens), but you can design any kind you like, either based on something real (e.g. a daisy, poppy, rose) or something imaginative. Detailed specifications for flowers and groups you can join are available in an information pack, which you can get on request at

If you can’t get them to us in Barnstaple, deliver them to Simone Kesseler at Mystique, Graynfylde Drive, Bideford, EX39 4AP. The White Flower Field Art Project will be accompanied by an exhibition at Barnstaple Museum for the month of November, where you can purchase a white ribbon in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Week.

‘The flowers are unique and varied, which is significant as there are no stereotypes in how or where abuse occurs’ ‘I hope all these flowers in one place will show victims there is help for them,’ says Sarah. ‘They should stand proud and feel no shame and, looking across the sea of flowers, realise that they are not alone.’ Flowers can be delivered to the re:store charity shop in Barnstaple – just pop them in a bag or box marked ‘White Flower Field Art Project’ – please include your name and details.

If you would like to join in and make some flowers, request an information pack by emailing or find us on Facebook – search White Flower Field Art Project for NDADA. To join our annual Petal Launch on November 23, email for details.


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A R T S & C U LT U R E

Favourite things Alan Dodd, director of the North Devon Theatres Trust, shares his cultural ‘it’ list

Fringe TheatreFest


ince becoming involved in the arts in North Devon, director of North Devon Theatres’ Trust, Alan Dodd has seen the inception of many great events in the area. ‘Having run the North Devon Festival for many years, it’s great to see some fantastic legacies still going. As a charity, we at North Devon Theatres are dedicated to providing a wide set of arts experiences for everyone, and we are extremely proud to be part of them,’ he says.


FRINGE THEATREFEST Now in its ninth year, the Barnstaple Fringe Theatrefest is a celebration of theatre in all its varied forms. The 2015 dates are Thursday, June 25 to Sunday, June 28, when 33 companies will be presenting a total of 105 performances. The Queen’s Theatre is the hub, but many other Barnstaple venues are involved. There’s everything from a pocket musical on a pre-West-End tour to a tailor-made adventure for young people in and around Barnstaple Library.

SUNWEST BEER AND MUSIC FESTIVAL There is something for everyone to enjoy over the August Bank Holiday weekend at the annual Sunwest Beer and Music festival at the Landmark Theatre in Ilfracombe. Come along, sup on a pint of one of the many real ales on offer, try some delicious food and relax as the children join in the family fun on offer outside – or simply enjoy free admission to see live performances from some of the region's best bands. landmarkbeerfestival

‘There is serious drama, outrageous comedy, biting satire and celebratory dance, and there are shows to appeal right across the age-range,’ says Alan. This year includes, for the first time, Story Quest – a story trail where you pick up the story from any of the Fringe TheatreFest venues and then start your adventure at St Anne’s on Paternoster Row. ‘Follow the clues and you can save the seven secret stories of Barnstaple from evildoers and aliens!’

CINDERELLA PANTOMIME ‘This year we will be co-producing Cinderella with Imagine Theatre,’ says Alan. ‘This new partnership means that the set, the costumes and the script will be bigger and better than ever before, along with a talented cast of professional actors and dancers – not forgetting our brilliant home-grown team of musicians, junior company and staff who make it such a brilliant experience. ‘Panto is often one of the first experiences a child has of the theatre and we want this to be so wonderful and spectacular that they will be inspired to come back again and again. It really is a wonderful show for all the family and a fantastic British Christmas tradition.’ Panto starts on Saturday, December 12. THE VINTAGE ISSUE

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My fair lady As we come around to the ‘20s once again, let’s make the latest beauty trend a celebration of what makes us unique


ave you ever fretted your feet weren’t small enough, as the foot-bound ladies of ancient China must once have done? Or bandaged your chest to meet the boyish figure your 1920s sisters admired? Probably not, and yet you may have, at least once, thought it might be nice to sport an on-trend thigh gap – even though your Victorian ancestors might have worried you’d descended into abject poverty and starvation. ‘People have always wanted women to look a certain way, right back to antiquity,’ says UK historian and broadcaster Bettany Hughes. An expert in ancient history who has featured on several BBC documentaries and written books on the subject,

Bettany uses Cleopatra – the last Pharaoh of Egypt – as an example of how our perception of beauty not only changes, but can be skewed over time. ‘Cleopatra is famous for being one of the most beautiful women who ever lived, but we know from coins minted at the time that she was probably quite jowly, with a hooked nose and a low forehead,’ she says. In other words, Cleopatra may not have fit the bill for what we’d call a “classic” beauty, let alone beauty of mythological proportions. So what was it about this ancient Egyptian ruler that caught history’s imagination? ‘We think when people were talking about Cleopatra’s beauty, they were actually talking about her power,

100 years of beauty Fashion trends – and the definition of what is beautiful – have changed with almost every decade of the 20th century


World War II

Most women would have squeezed into restrictive whale bone corsets that lifted and accentuated busts and cinched waists to a tiny 20 inches or less (ouch!).

For the first time, women in the Western world started wearing ‘slacks’ or trousers as mainstream fashion – inspired by their changing roles as they entered the workforce and were often required to wear masculine uniforms.

Roaring ’20s


The 1920s saw the rise of youth culture and a golden age of travel, sport and leisure. Girls defied their mothers by opting for a youthful, boyish silhouette and shorter hemlines – enabling them to Charleston the night away.

With men back from war, there was a push back to more traditional feminine roles and looks. This was also the baby boom era, so a wholesome, child-bearing look was coveted.


which gave her a magnetic charisma.’ says Bettany. In a similar sense, Helen of Troy was described as having “the beauty of a Goddess” and “the face that launched a thousand ships” – but again this is more likely to relate to her power, particularly over men, according to Bettany. ‘There was a kind of trembling respect for these women. They didn’t necessarily have nice lips or fluttery eyelashes, but they had an attractiveness from being in control,’ she says. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with expressing yourself through fashion, and staying fit and healthy, but taking a look through how wildly different concepts of beauty have been throughout history – even the 20th century alone (see below) – can act as a reminder of why these looks are so often unrealistic and unattainable; from corsets accentuating full hips

and tiny waists to sporting shoulder pads that put your male boss’s A-frame silhouette to shame … What if, instead of society establishing beauty trends and all of us trying to adjust to them, we instead celebrated our differences? As we come around to the ’20s once again (the 2020s, that is), let’s make this the latest beauty “trend” – and one that lasts! That is, by defining beauty by what makes you, you – which means choosing clothing and cosmetics that help make you the best version of who you are – including the years of wisdom and experience you’ve accumulated. As the saying goes, ‘I’m not beautiful like you. I’m beautiful like me’.

‘They didn’t necessarily have nice lips or fluttery eyelashes, but they had an attractiveness from being in control’

Swinging ‘60s–70s

Noughties to now

A strong counter-culture movement characterised this era – anti-war, civil rights, free love, flower power – which saw a radical revolution in not only fashion, but society in general. Fashion trends became more individualised and changed among subcultures – from mods and rockers to hippies, and later disco and punk.

1980s Career women of the ’80s used fashion (think power suits with shoulder pads and big hair) to elevate their status in a male-driven workforce. This period also saw a health and fitness craze, with taut and tanned bodies flaunted in fluorescent leotards.


While trends come and go (including many with a nostalgic nod to bygone eras), rules and norms are perhaps fewer than ever before. Actresses and catwalk models remain controversially thin, however there is also a push away from this with curvier pop culture icons.

From the glamazon supermodels of the ’80s, catwalks became dominated with almost alienthin, androgynous women. But that’s not all that defined beauty in the 90s. Who could forget the “Rachel” haircut? THE VINTAGE ISSUE

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Hidden faces When a domestic abuse victim escapes their situation, they often live in fear – too scared to even show their face in public. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have a voice. Six brave women share their experiences with re:story

‘It’s like a huge game of hide and seek only it’s not a game.’ Julie* ‘If I see a man who resembles my ex-partner while I’m out, I freeze at first, feel sick to the stomach and feel all colour drain from my face. I go into a panic attack and try to find somewhere to hide until I can get my breath back. Once I am a little calmer, I get home as quickly as I can and lock all the doors and windows. It can take two or three days before I can leave the house again. I rarely go very far. I’m terrified of him finding us, so I’ve mapped out some different escape routes in the area in my head so if he appears somewhere I can get away before he can get to me.’ Lauren*

‘I don’t think I will ever be able to feel completely safe or let my guard down.’ Claire*

‘When I heard my ex was looking for me through different agencies, I decided it would be best to change my name to hide the trail. It was a really strange feeling when it was all official – I felt sad, like I was grieving for the old me. On the other hand, it gave me the opportunity to start again and rebuild my life under another name. I felt a sense of relief because I would be invisible for a while at least.’ Elaine*


‘The fear of being found by my abuser is still very real. Even after two years and moving hundreds of miles away, I feel like it’s only a matter of time before he finds us.’ Pamela* ‘When I finally got away he threatened to kill me, got me fired from my job and tried to take my son. He recently found me and I had to flee again. I live in fear.’ Janice*

*Names have been changed THE VINTAGE ISSUE

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my:story Mandy hoped a move to North Devon would provide her family with the fresh start it needed – what she found was much more than she’d ever imagined



remember coming down the stairs in my wedding dress,’ says Mandy. ‘My mother saw me and said, it’s not too late, you know, if you want to change your mind. All I said was, “What about everybody else?” They were expecting a wedding.’ Mandy was 19 years old and living in the small West Oxfordshire town of Chipping Norton, pregnant with her first child to her fiancé – who she’d met in the local pub. Seven years her senior, Mandy’s boyfriend had made her feel special from the beginning – engaging in what she now recognises as borderline stalker behaviour. ‘He was very charming,’ she says. ‘He put me on a pedestal. And he followed me everywhere. I thought I was lucky that he wanted me. He promised me the world.’ Mandy, who had grown up as the youngest of four children – her father was a lorry driver, her mother ‘worked many jobs to keep us afloat’ – remembers feeling deflated on her wedding day. She spent her wedding night at the pub watching her husband play cards with his mates.

After one particularly violent incident, she ended up seeking refuge at her eldest daughter’s home. The police were called, and that was when Mandy first heard about NDADA (then called North Devon Women’s Aid). At first, Mandy was reluctant to accept help, having had a bad experience at another refuge 20 years earlier. Instead, she’d become accustomed to bearing the brunt of her husband’s abuse and violence, feeling that if she left either she or someone in her family would be hurt. ‘I had told myself I had to deal with the situation as best I could. And you do. You just survive,’ she says. It took several more incidents and phone calls to the police before Mandy first met with NDADA support worker Rachel. ‘We had coffee and talked, it was lovely. I could just let everything out,’ she says. Mandy was categorised as high risk by the charity and given a personal alarm – which she carries to this day. While she didn’t need to use the refuge as she had a safe place at her daughter’s house, Mandy was able to make use of NDADA’s Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) service to support her through court.

‘I had told myself I had to deal with the situation as best I could. And you do. You just survive’ Much worse was to come. Following the birth of Mandy’s first child, her partner became verbally aggressive, rapidly followed by physical violence and Mandy became trapped in a cycle of fear. Eleven years later – after the birth of two more children, and following years of abuse – Mandy divorced her husband for the first time. They were separated for six months before she decided to try again, for the sake of the family and feeling like there was no alternative. However, this was on the condition that they move away to start afresh. Mandy chose North Devon, where she had good memories of holidays with her family when the children were very young. ‘For him, family holidays were usually a chance to get rid of us,’ she says. ‘I felt at home as soon as I got here,’ recalls Mandy, adding that, as she wasn’t married when she first moved to Devon, she was ‘on equal footing’ and was therefore able to make some close friends of her own, which eventually proved a valuable support network. After settling in Devon and having a fourth child, Mandy was under pressure to remarry her husband – but the abuse had never stopped. In 2011 came the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back,’ she says.

Throughout all of this – as Mandy was trying to protect herself and her children, looking for somewhere to live and rebuild her life, while also living in fear – an opportunity arose through a friend to get involved with the launch of NDADA’s first charity shop, re:store. ‘It gave me a breather, a chance to step away from the pressure of rebuilding my life,’ she says. Mandy built up the confidence to text Alessia Sheldon, who was driving the launch of re:store. ‘Next thing I knew, Alessia was at my doorstep,’ she laughs. ‘She was so positive, so cheerful and energetic, it was like a breath of fresh air had just walked through my door.’ From there, Mandy and Alessia struck up a strong friendship and working relationship. Mandy became an integral part of the shop’s set up and operation. She is now employed in a full-time paid role as store manager and is studying Retail Management at Petroc. However, Mandy was still going through the process of rebuilding her life, and during this period she took part in NDADA’s Pattern Changing course, which she says she found incredibly empowering. ‘I think this course should be available to everyone, whether


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‘You can get through it. You can have a life, and you deserve it’ you are in an abusive relationship, have been in the past, or just need to change some aspects of your life that aren’t working,’ she says. Mandy particularly remembers receiving a print out of the Bill of Rights during the course – the first of which is: ‘you have the right to be you’. This has been one of the biggest steps for Mandy, who lived for 27 years with every aspect of her life closely controlled, from what she wore, to what she ate, read and watched on TV. Now, for the first time in her life, Mandy is able to start finding out who she is – including, for example, what she wears and developing her own individual style. Mandy also remembers how good it felt to be able to read novels guilt-free for the first time, something she now loves to do – ‘although I don’t have as much time as I’d like, I’m always so busy now!’ she laughs. Previously, Mandy had felt guilty for ever having time to herself. ‘My kids used to call me Monica from the TV show Friends, because of my obsessive cleaning,’ she says. ‘I had to be, I felt I always had to prove myself and keep the household safe and calm from an explosive situation.’ It’s not easy and very courageous for Mandy to share her story, but Mandy says she is committed to raising awareness about domestic abuse. ‘I’m willing to speak because, at the end of the day, this is always happening and it’s not going to stop without a better understanding of the warning signs and educating our children about healthy relationships,’ she says.


WANT TO TALK? If you’d like to talk to someone about issues raised in this article, please call us on 01271 321946 (office hours), e-mail: or visit:

OTHER HELPFUL SERVICES INCLUDE: Splitz Domestic Abuse Support Service: 0345 1551074. 24hr National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000247. Childline: 0800 1111. In an emergency, call 999.


Walk a mile in their shoes Come along and join us for a fun family sponsored walk in aid of NDADA this June 27 – wearing someone else’s shoes!


ut your walking shoes on (or, preferably, someone else’s!) this Saturday, June 27 and meet us at The Square in Barnstaple for a fun family walk to raise vital funds for our Refuge, now in its 40th year. The mile-long walk will start at The Square in Barnstaple at 3pm and finish with a party and barbecue at Rock Park – with live music and dancing.

The event is themed “walk a mile in their shoes” – so we hope to see participants swapping shoes with their kids, friends and partners (come on chaps, that means get those stilettos on!). Register today to join in the fun! Email us at

THE place in North Devon for superb live entertainment, theatre, films, live satellite screenings, exhibitions, workshops ... and delicious local food!

Summer Highlights Family Arts Afternoon @ Hartland Abbey Wednesday 29 July 1pm - 5pm Fun arts activities for all the family - most are free some have a small additional charge £3 Adults £1 Children

Jazz at The Abbey with Digby Fairweather’s Half Dozen & special guest Tina May @ Hartland Abbey Thursday 30 July 7pm £20/£18/£15 Bring low back seating/blankets and picnics High quality refreshments are available

See our Summer Open-air Theatre Programme - 28 events set in 10 beautiful venues throughout North Devon For more information please call our Box Office on 01805 624624 for visit THE VINTAGE ISSUE

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Online safety Modern technology allows abusers to track and spy on their victims cheaply and easily. Victims and survivors of domestic abuse who feel something is wrong should consider the possibility that they are being tracked or stalked through their computers, phones and social media accounts. These steps can help stop it

Social media In this era of oversharing, it’s easy for an abuser to gain information about his or her victim.

GPS tracking and monitoring GPS tracking devices can track and monitor objects and people in real time. Some abusers use this technology to keep tabs on their victims. Abusers may also spy on you with nanny cams or similar, which they can monitor from a remote location.


Don’t post or share anything you don’t want the world to know.

Maintain strict control over your privacy settings on all accounts.

Facebook’s privacy settings change constantly, but they do allow you to customise them to an extent. Put people into different groups and give those groups specific privileges. Change your settings so you have to review posts with you tagged in them. Go through and untag previous posts.

Ask friends not to post or share anything about you online without your permission. Stress that it could put your safety in jeopardy.

Consider unfriending people so they can’t see everything.

Consider deleting your social media accounts entirely.

Make these changes from a safe computer if you suspect your computer has spyware.



If you believe you’re being tracked or stalked, check if there’s a GPS tracking device on your car and remove it. A small device may also be implanted in your clothing, shoes or handbag. If you decide to go to a safe house or refuge, don’t wear old clothing, buy something new in case your old clothes are compromised.

Look for nanny cams and other surveillance devices in your home and at work.


Mobile phones

A type of software called spyware on your laptop or desktop computer can track every website you visit, every email you send and receive, every document you open, print and more. It can even track your keystrokes, allowing someone to discover your passwords.

Spyware exists for mobile phones too. Much of this software is marketed to parents as a way to protect and monitor their children, but some abusers use it to spy on current or former partners.

Your abuser needn’t have had physical access to your computer – spyware can be installed by online hacking or through an email attachment you or your children open. Because it can be hard to tell if your computer has spyware – which is designed to escape detection – you might have to trust your instinct. If you feel your abuser knows more than he or she should about your whereabouts or what’s going on in your life, it’s possible that he or she is spying on you via your computer.

Spyware can track incoming and outgoing calls and texts, record phone calls and more. Some software can also work like a bug – as soon as a call comes in, the phone’s microphone begins recording, even if the call is rejected or ignored. Many programmes can also use a phone’s GPS to track its location in real time.


Turn off your phone’s GPS. Some phones have the option to allow GPS only when calling 999 – check if yours has this capability.

Use a safe computer (e.g. at the library) to change passwords on accounts you want to keep secure, then do not access them from your home computer.

Use a safe computer to create new email accounts with usernames that don’t identify you. You might want to create a separate address for your financial accounts, one for trusted friends only and one you can give to people who know both you and your abuser, in case they forward correspondence on.

If you are receiving harassing calls, consider keeping logs and saving evidence to use in any legal case against your abuser.

Talk to your children about not opening attachments in case they contain spyware.

Get a new computer if possible. Once spyware is on your computer, it may be extremely difficult or impossible to remove entirely.

If you don’t think your computer has spyware on it yet, ensure you have a secure firewall and install anti-spyware software that is set to update automatically. Keep in mind, however, that if you already have spyware, these steps won’t stop it from continuing to gather data.

If you plan to go to a refuge or safe house, it’s sensible to leave your phone behind. Even when turned off, phones can provide information. Instead, get a prepaid phone that doesn’t require a contract or identifying information.


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Wheely good coffee The coffee/cycling revolution has hit North Devon with the launch of the new Bike Shed Cafe – where even the bagels are named after local cycling clubs, Jo Rees, editor of the South West Independent Coffee Guide discovers


rom Aberdeen to Zennor, there’s a revolution going on that involves MAMILs (middle aged men – and women – in Lycra) and high grade caffeine. It’s all based around the craze for speciality coffee, where coffee beans from named sources are carefully processed and lightly roasted to show off their individual characteristics. As a result of the trend, a crop of bikey coffee shops has appeared across the land, and the scene’s just hit North Devon with The Bike Shed opening a new speciality coffee shop in Barnstaple. When Marcus Chapman (above) – who project-managed the new cafe – wanted to

find a house blend, he naturally looked to Exeter’s “cycling barista” Dave Stanton of Crankhouse Coffee. Originally from London, Dave spent more than a decade in Brisbane, Australia, where it was a love of cycling that put him on the coffee trail in the first place. ‘The whole cycling/coffee phenomenon went berserk over there,’ he says. ‘You’d get cycling clubs with more than a hundred people and at the end of the ride they’d all go off to coffee shops. That’s what really sparked my interest in speciality coffee.’ So why have the two scenes married up? ‘There are similarities between



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Wheely good coffee

Previous page: Marcus and ‘tache with today’s brew. Pictures, clockwise: Cafe manager Jo Reincke; flat white – the house favourite; there’s wheely good cake, too.

‘There are similarities between the cycling and coffee communities. I think it’s the perfectionist thing’ the cycling and coffee communities,’ says Dave, ‘I think it’s the perfectionist thing.’ Marcus has wheeled the bicycle theme throughout the cafe, with high-end bikes on display to be lusted after, a large screen showing races, and bagels (‘proper, boiled bagels’) named after local cycling clubs. The Taw Velo makes a pretty good lunch, stuffed with West Country smoked salmon, avocado, dill and chives. ‘There are loads of opportunities to do fun things in this space,’ says Marcus. ‘We want to use it for pop up restaurant nights and community events and we’ve offered the space to the Taw Velo Youth Team to use too.’


Everyone’s welcome though, from families screeching to a stop on the Tarka Trail for a Nutella brekkie bagel or cakes made by The Exploding Bakery, to serious cyclists and those who just want a good quality coffee. Be warned though, stop by for a latte, and you might just come out in Lycra.

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HOW YOU CAN HELP Your support – large and small – makes a real difference to the mums and children who need our help



AND re:store junior

4. Make a


3. DONATE TO OUR CHARITY SHOPS Your unwanted goods can find a new home and provide valuable income.


FACEBOOK Search ‘Friendsof NDADA’ and like our restore-charity-shop page for news and updates.

IN OUR CHARITY SHOPS Training is provided, so you can gain valuable work experience while having fun and meeting new people. Pop in for an application and a cup of tea.

FINANCIAL DONATION • Via mobile: Donate any amount you want, whether £1 or £20. For example, if you want to give £10, just text ‘NDAD40 £10’ to 70070 (you won’t be charged any additional fee for this service). • Online at northdevonwomensaid (one off, or follow the steps to set up a regular donation). • In cash at re:store. Tax payers can gift aid the donation, which will give us an extra 25p from HMRC for every £1 donated. • By cheque. Please make payable to NDADA and send to PO Box 141, Barnstaple Devon EX32 7YN. • Leave a gift in your will. For information about this, please contact Jane Howe 01271 321946 or email

6. Run a fundraiser Whether you’d like to hold a coffee morning or walk 100 miles – do it in aid of NDADA, and help raise vital funds. Contact us at with your fundraising idea.


Once more unto the beach, dear friends...

We’re your local, friendly surf lifesaving club. We’re for everyone whether you’re 6 or 66. So if you want to swim, paddle, surf, get fitter and have fun this year - you’re in. We’d love to see you in the pool or on the beach... Find out more, email us at or call Jenny on 01271 890101