Sunday, 22 December 2013

Merry Christmas one and all!

This will be my last post before Christmas so I just wanted to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a fabulous New Year!  

Next year I am going to concentrate more on my blog and start writing again as I have missed it.  I have been having fun creating little scenes to photograph for Facebook but that means I have sadly neglected my blog so next year things will change.

Having photographed said scenes I thought I would share some of them here for you to enjoy too.  I am normally a bit of a bah humbug when it comes to Christmas and just about put a tree up .  This year though I've become a bit obsessed and started creating lots of little Christmas scenes all round our home.  Never mind that it now looks like Santa's grotto due to all the fake snow flying around at least it looks festive!

It all started when I bought a little snowy cottage from my friend Simone at Ayres & Grace.  She had handmade it and I loved it as soon as I saw it, I want to live there. It gave me the idea to create a wintery scene and it went from there, there was no stopping me after that!

She then made the snowman to accompany the cottage and I added the background, fake snow, robin and little street lamp.  After completing the cottage scene I then came up with the idea to create an ice rink on a frozen pond.  Considering I never make anything myself I wasn't too sure how it was going to turn out.

Fake snow was involved again and I used a mixture of new and vintage accessories.  Doing these scenes has opened up a whole new world to me, Dolls House Miniatures.  Oh my goodness there is literally ANYTHING your heart desires!  I enjoyed doing these scenes so much that I have discovered you can actually take part in miniature workshops to learn how to create these scenes.  Guess what I'm going to be doing next year ;)

Then along came Father Christmas who was checking his postbox to see who had sent him a letter and whether they had been naughty or nice.

Christmas isn't complete without a production of Swan Lake.  Not sure where the reindeer appear in the original version of Swan Lake!

My Christmas angel.  He doesn't look too impressed with his new angel wings.

"A fairy is for life not just for Christmas especially when there's a cat involved" Faded RoseVintage 2013.  My beautiful Queen of the Fairies handmade again by Ayres & Grace.  Her name is Mildred and she is always with her faithful companion Tabby the cat.

My favourite one to create was this: 

 'Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro' the house not a creature was stirring not even a mouse'

The idea came after I bought the beautiful fairy fireplace from Jane Chapman at Fairy Furniture.  I then added some dolls house miniatures, printed the wallpaper and flooring and asked Jane if she could create a bookcase to complete the scene.  She even made me a mini book of the Night before Christmas.  I love this scene as it allows you to believe that Father Christmas really does exist!

I am looking forward to sharing any new adventures with you in 2014 and I would like to say a HUGE, GREAT BIG THANK YOU to everyone that follows and supports my blog, it means a lot

On that note I will say

'Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night' xxx

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Vintage by - Among Vintage & Friends book review

Back in April I reviewed Nina Hartmann's first book, Vintage by Nina which you can read here.  Her next book was much anticipated and when it finally arrived I was excited!  This time it was in English so not only could I look at the photos but I could also read about and understand Nina's philosophy.
Once I got my mitts on the book I gently put it away to be read another day.  Already I could feel that this was different to the last book.  It feels more luxurious, expensive and the quality of the binding and paper in my mind feels better.  I have to be in completely the right frame of mind to look at a book like this because I feel it deserves time and attention lavished on it.  I want to savour all the images and completely absorb myself in Nina's world, not missing a thing.  So I did! I found an afternoon free and sat with the book enjoying every page then I took photos of the book and enjoyed the images all over again.

 In this book Nina has taken her readers on tour through Denmark, Sweden, Holland and Belgium to the homes of seven of her friends and colleagues.  She took photographer Peter Erlandsson along for the ride and I have to say that I think he captured and bought to life all the homes and finds extremely well.  As Nina said this book is more of a picture book about vintage and antiques rather than a traditional interiors book and I completely feel that.  I am motivated and inspired by the photos and the visions Nina and her friends have for their homes.

One of the things I love about this book is seeing some of the risks taken by decorating with certain objects and not sticking to convention.  Taxidermy lamb anyone? Or how about a flamingo in amongst the soft, faded fabric boxes?  These quirks are just wonderful and a pleasure to see because it feels like they are doing exactly what they love rather than being dictated to by fashion or what the magazines say.  All of the friends and Nina really have a style all of their own and that is very refreshing.

A huge bonus with this book is that you know Nina and her friends live with these objects day in and day out.  They haven't just come along and styled a room to tell us how it should look.  It is within their soul to look and hunt for these objects and in the book Nina says that everything is chosen with her heart.  I can completely relate to that and the fact that everything is old and copies and new objects are banned is like music to my ears.

I am obsessed with old Pierrots, old dolls and just about anything old and whimsical to be honest which is why these are some of my favourite photographs.  These photos make me want to go out and find my own beautiful and unusual objects and display them in a display case so I can look at them everyday and imagine who owned them before and the life they led.

Its all in the detail and those details matter.

How I aspire my whole house to look like above!

The book wouldn't be complete without a cat!

Among Vintage and Friends is a triumph and I don't say that lightly.  If you thought her first book was amazing then be prepared to be blown away by this one.  Everything about it screams quality and the fact that Nina and her friends have all taken a huge leap to follow their dreams and do what they are passionate about is hugely inspirational.  Nina doesn't come across as someone who thinks she's god's gift to interiors.  She comes across as someone who just absolutely loves what she does and that its in her soul to live like this.  That is rare in this day and age when its all about, look at me, look what I've got, aren't I great and that's what makes this book such a pleasure and inspiration to read.  The fact that I want EVERYTHING in the photos helps too!

Copies are limited and once they've gone that is it so make sure you get your copy soon especially with Christmas coming up.  You can order your copy from Betty & Violet who also stocks the beautiful Jeanne d'Arc magazine and from various other retailers. 

Put it at the TOP of your Christmas list!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

If I ever mention I'm going glamping, slap me!

Those that know me will realise, even if I haven't told them, that I am probably not the person you would associate with glamping.  I think if I told anyone that I was thinking of 'glamping' at the weekend I would be met with an incredulous stare and possibly a snort of laughter.   Unfortunately that didn't happen four years ago when I decided that Mark and I simply HAD to do glamping.  If it had then I may have re thought my quite frankly ridiculous idea and settled for a little cottage in the Scottish Highlands.

I had seen a lovely B+B in a magazine called La Rosa in Whitby.  It looked exactly like my type of holiday, quirky, quaint, old fashioned seaside fun, vintage and in the location that Bram Stoker wrote Dracula so steeped in history too. 

Robin Hood Bay
Robin Hood Bay

I set about looking it up on the internet, found the website and saw that there was a SPECIAL OFFER.  Now I love special offers as it means you have money left over to spend on something else and you get more bang for your buck so to speak.  Excitedly I looked at the offer and saw that you got one night free at La Rosa's sister site, The Campsite Extraordinaire.  I should have stopped there.  I didn't and with visions of my other beatnik, bohemian self, I imagined myself at one with nature, cooking marshmallows over the camp fire, wearing my shorts with a chunky knit cardigan and light vest with my green hunter wellies and long blond hair looking ethereal in the late summer sun, laying in the outside bath looking at the stars with a flower bando on my head.  My bohemian self ignored the very large warning sign that I shouldn't be booking this holiday when my eyes glanced at the words COMPOST TOILET.  I, for some reason completely chose to ignore this and I think just thought that of course there will be proper toilet facilities but what a quaint idea a compost toilet is.  I duly booked a night in the vintage Roma full of beautiful etched glass and 2 nights actually at the b+b in Whitby.

I always know when Mark thinks something is a ludicrous idea because he tells me.  When I informed him of our little break, the look on his face and the silence that followed should have told me he didn't think it was a good idea.  If I wasn't getting it from those clues then the incessant questioning of whether I thought it was a good idea as "You know what you're like" should have made it perfectly clear.  It didn't so off we set and as soon as we got to the campsite I knew I was in trouble.

The honesty Caravan where you could buy sweeties

It had been raining and I only had my Birkenstocks and it was muddy, very muddy.  After gingerly walking over the crates to save you sinking in the mud we got to our van and I have to say that it was gorgeous and exactly what I wanted, very gypsyesque and romantic especially as it had the wood burner.  Okay, so this is alright I'm thinking, it smells a bit damp and the sheets feel a bit damp but that's what us bohemians do, who needs perfectly dry sheets.  Then we found the toilet.  The only toilet on the campsite and yes, they hadn't been joking, it really was a compost one.  The fixed smile slowly slid from my face and completely slid off when I saw the communal showers with no curtains or any privacy for when you want to wash your bits.  The outside bath wasn't quite as romantic either as it was next to the washing up tap so that was out.  Remaining positive we went to the pub through the woods and had a lovely evening.  We got back and even though I was slightly scared to put my arm under my pillow in case I came across a Spider and her babies and Mark's asthma started playing up because of the damp, it could have been worse.

Our Roma

The entertainment tent

The entertainment
Someone was happy

It got worse at precisely 4 o'clock in the morning when I needed to go to the toilet.  I lay there thinking that I could just hold it as it was dark, I doidn't want to get dressed and I really, really really didn't want to use the compost toilet in case something popped up and bit me on my bum.  There was no way I could hold it and as Mark was asleep I realised I was in it on my own.  Well I was until I started huffing and puffing and quietly sobbing and sitting on the end of the bed for 10 minutes hoping I'd wake Mark up without actually waking him if you know what I mean.  My plan worked and all of a sudden I heard Mark say "Are you okay?"  Well of course I turned round and told him that I wasn't really as I really needed the loo but was too scared and couldn't cope any more with the compost situation and that I hoped I hadn't woken him.  Mark told me later that he had lain there
awhile listening to me, pretending to be asleep and hoping that I'd deal with it on my own.  That was never going to happen and I would have sat there and probably nudged him until he woke up.

Where you spend a penny or two

The sawdust

Anyway I was happy as nothing crawled up my bum, I was feeling more comfortable and we could get a few more hours of kip before we left.  We had about about two hours sleep and were wide awake at 6.30am so we thought we'd go and have a shower before everyone else.  Well it was farcical to be honest as yet again I couldn't deal with the fact that we were not in a hotel but on a campsite.  There was a curtain at the door of the shower that didn't shut properly so Mark had to somehow pull it across as far as it would go, then put a chair in front so people would know it was occupied.  I had the quickest shower ever, no romantically washing each others hair here I can tell you. Then I dried myself in record time and I was outta there.  By 9am when we decided to leave I had had three outfit changes (I think it was the stress) and Mark had aged by 10 years.  As we left I saw my other bohemian self, without any shoes on actually, acting exactly as I had imagined myself.

The next two days were fabulous and Whitby is a really fantastic place to visit.  La Rosa is what it is and just because it wasn't what I had in mind doesn't mean that it wasn't any good. When all is said and done, we had a really good time and La Rosa definitely contributed to that.

La Rosa room at La Rosa

Two things came out of the experience
A.  I am never allowed to utter the word Glamping again and
B.  My name is Fiona and I am high maintenance

Happy Camping everyone!

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

List of Vintage, Antique and Collectable fairs for August 2013

Not sure what to do over the summer holidays?  Well there are plenty of vintage, antique and collectable fairs to keep you busy!

First up is Mainwaring's Seaside Brocante at Whitstable.  A great little fair in St Mary's Hall, Whitstable.  Doors open 10am on Saturday 3rd August.  You'll find a huge array of goodies on offer including kitchenalia, decorative antiques and collectables, vintage fabric and clothing plus much more.  Whitstable is a great town to explore with some great fish restaurants and an abundance of vintage and antique shops.  Plus the Oyster festival is on so well worth a visit.

Sunday 4th August sees the first Firle Village Vintage Fair at Firle Cricket Ground just off the A27 on your way to Eastbourne.  Can't wait for this fair as lots of friends will be there with a huge array of vintage loveliness for you plus there's an ice cream van, Prosecco and Bourbon bar and much more.  Doors open 10am.

The Homespun Summer Fair is on Sunday 4th August and doors open 10am.  This fair is held at the Portscatho Memorial Hall in Cornwall and has over 25 stallholders offering a range of wonderful vintage items.

Honiton Textile and Decorative Fair is on Tuesday 6th August at the Mackarness Hall and the doors open at 10am.  There are many antique shops in the area for you to peruse after you've had your fill at the fair.

The Country Brocante is still a firm favourite with many original stallholders as well as new stallholders filling Wisborough Green Village Hall every month.  This month it is on Saturday 17th August and as always doors open at 11am.  The Three Crowns will be there selling their organic lunches and fabulous cakes which you can ea and enjoy by the pond.  A great day out!

Love vintage fashion?  then head to Bethnal Green on Saturday 17th August for The Vintage Kilo Sale.  Held at York Hall in Bethnal Green, doors open at 11am.  Over 10 tonnes of vintage from the 1970s to the 1990s is available and you pay only £15 per kilo.  Advisable to get there early!

Europe's largest Antiques Fair, Newark is on for two days on Thursday 22nd August and Friday 23rd AugustDoors open 9am Thursday and 8am Friday.  A great place to go and rummage but be warned it is HUUUUGE so you'll probably need the two days to do it justiceYou're bound to come away with something you really love :)

The Cotswolds Vintage Fair is being held on Saturday 24th August at Toddington Village Hall.  Doors open 10am.  Lots of great stallholders will be there and you'll find an eclectic mix of vintage and vintage inspired crafts.

This sounds like a wonderful two day event at the beautiful Folkington Manor nestled in the hamlet of Folkington between Lewes and Eastbourne.  The two day event is being organised by Orange Turtle Events and is being open by Antiques expert, Michael Hogben. It is an Antique, Fine Art and Good Living fair.   It starts on Saturday 24th August and tickets can be bought in advance.  Doors open 11am.

This year the Vintage Parade are collaborating with the Arundel festival to create a vintage and retro themed area within the Jubilee Gardens.  They will be there on Friday 23rd August from 10am.  Entry is free and there will be vintage stalls, afternoon tea, hair and beauty and much more.

I am very excited about this fair as I had such a great time at the last one!  The Vintage Bazaar is back in Devizes on Saturday 31st AugustDoors open 9.30am at the Corn Exchange.  A whole host of sellers will be waiting to greet you!

As always please check websites for up to date info.

Happy Hunting :)