Sunday, 1 December 2013
This weekend I was without the car, but still determined to attend the Love Lane Vintage Midwinter Fair so I hopped onto the tube all the way to Waterloo then got the fast train to Haslemere, followed by a taxi ride to Cowdray Hall. I had timed my journey well as I arrived just as people were starting to queue for entry to the fair. I was not disappointed as it looked absolutely beautiful, the only downside for me was that I had to restrain myself quite a lot as I had to carry my purchases back on the train and tube!
Outside, Laura of Wild Willow had put together a beautifully festive display with lots of red berries and dark evergreens. The paperwhites were gorgeous and the wreaths were lovely, I could imagine them adorning a little Sussex cottage door and looking very festive and pretty!
Inside, there was a veritable cornucopia of delights! Jill, from Rosiebud Decorative Vintage was there with her stall styled beautifully.
Lots of pretty china, silver and sparkly cut glass and crystal as well as handmade stockings, advent calendars and lavender bags! It was very difficult to continue to exercise my self restraint!
I also saw Helen from Hellish Designs, but didn't get a chance to say hello. Her lampshades were absolutely lovely and I was kicking myself that I had forgotten to measure up my brass lamp base in the sitting room so check what size shade it could accommodate!
Krystyna from Parkminster Products was also there, I absolutely love her candles. They look lovely and the fragrances are delicious. I would much rather one of her candles than a Jo Malone one any day! She also fills vintage bowls and teacups with her candles and makes bath foams and bath salts all in pretty glass bottles.
I also saw Emma from Velvet Ribbon, but unfortunately didn't manage to get any good shots of her stall as it was so busy!
It was really a lovely day out, I had to go alone as everyone I invited to come with me already had plans but once I arrived I quite forgot as I was saying hello to people I knew and had some nice chats with Emma and Jill. Plus, I actually got recognised from my blog which was very flattering! Next time though, I definitely need the car so that I can load it up with vintage goodies!
Posted by Charlotte at 11:00
Sunday, 24 November 2013
Last weekend, my friend Caroline and I made a grand plan for an Amersham Ramble. For me, this also involved two bus trips over to North-West London and a journey on the Metropolitan Line up to Amersham. I had found the details of the Old Amersham Tube ramble a while ago and it had been on my to-do-list for ages. When Caroline, who lives nearby, mentioned she was partial to a weekend wander I immediately suggested a trip to this Buckinghamshire village.
I had high hopes of Amersham (especially since it is included in my top fantasy villagey places to live that are still close to London!) and I wasn't disappointed. We took the route from Amersham Tube station through Parson's Wood and down past the curiously named "field full of flint" which had us both wondering whether flint was indeed a crop!
There were quite a few people out taking either post or pre-Sunday lunch walks with family and four legged friends in the crisp November air.
We wended our way along lanes lined with old brink and flint walls until we got to the Market Place in Old Amersham. There were lots of fancy shops and really it would have been rude not to pop in to a few on our"ramble". One of the shops we visited was practically dripping in Christmas decorations! It was amazingly laid out and all in a very old, atmospheric shop with several floors. The top floor was laid out like a bedroom with the original little leaded window looking out onto the crooked red tiled rooftops of Amersham with an old sloping floor and slightly wonky ceiling.
We wandered the entirety of Amersham High Street and then about the side streets as well, before a cold wind made us head up the cobbled street to the Seasons Cafe where we wrapped out chilled fingers are steaming hot mugs of warming spicy tea and hot chocolate. The perfect end to our November ramble.
Posted by Charlotte at 17:41
Saturday, 16 November 2013
There have been a few more additions to the cottage lately ; the culmination of a couple of plans that have taken their time to bear fruit!
From before we bought our cottage, I had three large dark brown woollen cushions on our sofa which for a while I have felt were just too dark. Plus I already knew that due to my penchant for cushions, there were probably a few too many on the sofa already so I wanted to replace the three brown ones with just one pair. After months of watching and waiting, I saw these two lovely mossy green cushions made of vintage velvet at Caroline Zoob's it seemed much too serendipitous to pass up!
So now there is also one less cushion on the sofa; giving guests a place to sit! I am also always on the lookout for kitchen storage (I have a lot of flour!) And I just happened to spot a lovely old canister curiously labelled "Orge" at the Christmas Country Living Fair. After a bit of Googling "Orge" turns out to be French for barley. But as I don't use a huge amount of this ingredient in my cooking it will make a perfect flour tin especially as it is just the right size to hold a large bag.
Another of my slow-boilers was kitchen clock, ever since our old one mysteriously stopped working a year or so ago. I really like the old French tin bistro clocks and after looking at a few reproductions I decided that I would really much prefer the real thing. After searching on eBay and eBay.fr (and seriously testing my high school French!) I finally found one that I really liked and was within my price range. We probably need to raise the nail it is hanging on so that the bottom of the clock doesn't overhang the kitchen knives but I'm really pleased with the overall overall. My husband was a bit surprised at its size (it is 32cm in diameter) but I think it adds a bit of character to our kitchen!
Blog readers who have had a look at my favourite blogs in my sidebar will no doubt have had a perusal of May All Seasons Be Sweet To Thee. I've been an admirer of Dawn's blog for a while which has recently been recording her and her little family's wholesome life in the Austrian countryside. Dawn's latest post which mentions how competitive and sometimes artificial blogging can be really stuck a cord with me. I made a decision when starting this blog that it was going to be a haven from the real world with my cottage, garden and interests at it's centre and practically no reference to the outside world what-so-ever! So, that is my disclaimer that I would like to attach to pretty much everything I post here. Nothing is ever as perfect as it seems which is also something that I need to keep foremost in my own mind when viewing other blogs as well! (And just to prove my point in the above kitchen photo I forgot to remove a plastic container from my little french herb rack before I took the shot!)
Posted by Charlotte at 11:27
Monday, 4 November 2013
My Mum and Dad's annual visit to London is always timed to coincide with the Christmas Country Living Fair so that Mum and I can rush, arm in arm around all the pretty stalls and tick off some of the names on our Christmas lists (as well as coming back with a few presents for ourselves!) My Dad tends to visibly blanch at the mention of the CL Fair so he and my husband go for a wander around Camden passage, usually enjoying a warm beverage at the Austrian coffee house, Kipferl and then they wait for us at Carluccio's.
I think I've said this before, but this fair is not for the faint of heart! It gets incredibly busy and rather fraught. Mum and I were under strict instructions not to spend all day in the fair this year as we had tickets for the first night of Jeeves & Wooster at 7pm (which was absolutely excellent!) So we quickly perused Caroline Zoob's stall which is always a feast for the eyes!
Then we whizzed off (stopping at a few stalls along the way) to see Chloe Antique's stall which is always so pretty; filled with mercury glass, delicate china and lovely linen cushions. It's always so nice to go and see Chloe and Emma, despite the swarms of busy shoppers surrounding their stall they always have a minute to say hello and have a quick chat. Mum and I left the fair, weighed down with shopping bags and ready for a nice lunch and a perusal of our goodies!
Posted by Charlotte at 07:00
Thursday, 31 October 2013
October seems to have flown by, with preparing for my Mum and Dad's annual visit to London and stay at our cottage as well getting the plans for our garden room sorted out all leaving very little time for blogging!
Today, after waving goodbye to my Mum and Dad it was Halloween central at the cottage with my undertaking of a rather ambitious pumpkin carving project. It is supposed to be the headless horseman but it did go all a bit wrong. There are more cocktail sticks than I would care to mention holding in important bits which I accidentally cut out! But it has been received favourably by the trick or treat callers so far! (They are very forgiving in these parts!)
I seem to have loads to do just now with quite a bit of preparation to do before any work can start on the garden room - we have been given the go ahead by the planning department! We also have a few ideas on putting a little porch on our cottage - just now the front door opens straight into the sitting room so I will let you know if anything progresses with that!
It seems like only yesterday the leaves where still relatively green on the trees but they are quickly changing into their usual sunset autumn hues and it won't be long until I'm out there collecting them for leaf mould (and probably wishing they were still on the trees!)
Posted by Charlotte at 17:29
Sunday, 13 October 2013
After I had see this image of a painted meatsafe I knew that my sad old brown meatsafe's days were numbered and with last weekend promising warm sunny weather it was too good an opportunity to miss. I bought the meatsafe ages ago from eBay after I realised that we needed some more storage space in our kitchen.
I had already removed the oval Bakelite handle that it came with and replaced it with an old French cupboard catch - another of my finds from eBay! It's exactly the same as the one I bought for our TV cabinet.
I gave it a good clean, then sanded it to take the sheen of the wood stain. Cleaned it again and began painting. I had originally wanted to paint it in "Pointing" by Farrow and Ball but it was proving to be a bit too light so I switched to "Stock" by Little Greene after the first coat.
Then I gave it a coat of clear wax and took the sand paper to it. I was quite subtle with my distressing - I'm not that keen on furniture where you can easily see that someone has really gone to town with the sand paper. Although looking at my photo I think it could do with a little bit more distressing!
It is almost finished and back in the kitchen, but is still a bit too "bright white" looking for me so I've ordered some of Annie Sloan's Dark Wax. I'm a bit afraid to use it though - it is very dark! If anyone has recently had any dalliances with dark wax let me know how you found it!
Posted by Charlotte at 17:10
Monday, 30 September 2013
Thank you for all your very kind and generous comments about my homemade C&R dress! Unfortunately with all the wedding excitement I actually forgot to take any photos of myself all-dressed up. But I know that we have at least one summer wedding to go to next year so I will make sure to take photos to show you all then!
Last weekend was one of the dates for Chloe Antiques Open House Sale so along I went in the car to pretty Wiltshire. The weather was nice and mild although we did get the odd splatter of rain but it didn't put off the shoppers and Chloe's house was full to then brim with people debating over beautiful Swedish secretariats and rustic Italian pottery.
I came away with a large, creamy Italian earthenware pot (which I think was used for storing olives or olive oil - Chloe did tell me but I can't quite remember!) It has lovely chunky handles on either side and looks nice propped on my little rustic stool in the fireplace.
I also spotted an usual mercury glass candlestick with pretty detailing on the candle "lip". It is my first piece of proper mercury glass so I am quite pleased with it and it looks rather nice displayed amongst my faux mercury pieces!
And finally I saw this lovely little spriggy jug, the squat little shape lends itself to being filled with roses from my own garden! These are the 2nd lot of blooms that I have had from the Harlow Carr rose I bought way back in April and I'm absolutely thrilled to bits with it.
For lunch, we wended our way along a very narrow country track through fields and woodland (I dreaded meeting another vehicle!) And found ourselves outside the Pythouse Kitchen Garden. The food is absolutely delicious and to be able to sit out in the garden near the apple trees and roses was really delightful. I highly recommend it and will definitely be returning to see it in full swing in the summer when their pick-your-own flower beds are sure to be a riot of colour.
Posted by Charlotte at 19:43