Monday, 26 August 2013

A world of wonders in Wickham

On Friday I rushed from work, keen for the Bank Holiday weekend to begin, dodged the tourists on Oxford Street and jumped onto the train South. Visiting my Mum and Dad is one of my all time favourite things to do so I'll always leap at the chance for a trip home and beginning my week off with some time in the Heath seemed the perfect way to start.

With our planned carboot rained off on Saturday morning, Mum and I hit Whiteley Village for a spot of girlie bonding before meeting up with Dad for a trip to Wickham, and one of my favourite shopping destinations, Chesapeake Mill.

This treasure trove of all things vintage never fails to leave me dreaming of either a) having my own home to buy antiques for, or b) wanting to open a shop of my own. Maybe one day.

Wickham is not really the place to go if you're feeling particularly skint as the entire village is packed to the rafters with candy box cottages that would make even the most city slick woman dream of a country lifestyle.
Chesapeake Mill is full to the brim of treats - if you don't appreciate the world of vintage I would suggest you look away now...
I think this crockery is absolutely gorgeous and would look amazing on a wooden dresser, or as a signature piece in an otherwise plain kitchen or dining room.
 Although these two dogs are kind of....hideous, I actually love them!
Not everything in the Mill is old, some items are reproductions or boutique items in a "shabby chic" style, which I also really like - as long as these pieces are combined with some older bits and bobs.
Everywhere you look there are patterns and colours to draw you attention.
This cocktail cabinet could look amazing in the right type of house.

On this occasion I came away empty handed (which was more to do with having to catch a train back to London than anything else) but I know I'll definitely be back - Christmas in particular is a great time to visit, especially if you're in search of present inspiration.

To find out more about Chesapeake Mill, visit their website here.

A very spooky Sunday

Last month, The Boy and I did something we've been wanting to do ever since we moved to the area two years ago: visited West Brompton Cemetery to tour one of the Catacombs.

A five minute walk from the flat, we couldn't resist the once in a year opportunity to visit the Catacombs at West Brompton, which run underneath the colonnades around the edge of the cemetery and are usually closed to the public. The Catacombs were used for burials in the 1800s but proved unpopular and most in the cemetery remain almost empty - most people probably don't even realise they exist just metres beneath their feet.

We joined the first tour of the day, led by David Beauchamp, and descended into the almost pitch blackness with some trepidation. The cobwebs, candlelight and just general eeriness were a completely amazing experience and one I'll never forget.

Floral wreaths which were placed on the coffins of loved ones more than 100 years ago remain intact, the flowers dried but keeping their shape, and wooden and metal coffins lie side by side.

Unfortunately we weren't allowed to take pictures in the Catacombs but visiting them was a magical experience and one I won't be able to forget next time we're wandering the cemetery.

Brompton Cemetery is one of the Magnificent Seven Victorian cemeteries which were built in London's surrounding countryside when burials were banned in the centre of the city in 1830s and is now the only government owned cemetery in the country and forms part of the Royal Parks.

The Boy and I love a weekend stroll in the cemetery, it's overgrown in places but that just adds to its charm.

If you'd like to find out more about West Brompton Cemetery you can do so here.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The Love list: What a girl* wants

My thirtieth birthday is drawing near and I'm being nagged on an almost daily basis by various friends and relatives with the question "what do you want for your birthday?".

The honest truth is I really don't know. Now that I work full time I tend to buy myself the things that I want as and when I save up enough money to afford them so, really, I want for nothing. I'm trying to not really spend, am saving for a both a house deposit and a holiday so basically I'm trying to think through my purchases and not be too impulsive with my shopping.

That being said...there's always the odd treat that catches my eye, so here's what I'm loving lately for all you wonderful people considering buying me something - however, your presence alone at my birthday celebrations is enough of a treat for me.

1. Jewellery
I'm 29 and I'm still wearing costume jewellery. The one piece that I own that doesn't turn my skin green is my watch which The Boy bought me for Christmas and I know I'll cherish and wear forever.

I've been after a pair of gold studs for a while now to replace the pair I wear currently but other than that I like my jewellery to be a little bit different. Not your usual Elizabeth Duke affair.

Here are some of the items I've currently got my eye on.

I'd love to start collecting jewellery by Monica Vinader and stacking rings and bracelets like these.

2. Grown up pyjamas

I feel like maybe it might be time to throw out the Primark thermal numbers I seem to have lived in since my student years and invest in some real, bonafide grown up pyjamas. These ones come in a variety of patterns and colours.

3. New kicks
I'm on a bit of a health kick at the mo so have been going out running, hitting the bike and just generally trying to get myself moving so I've naturally been leaning more towards gym kit than high fashion items. I've been lusting after some Nike Free Runs for a while now and have finally decided on this pair, perfect not only for a work out but also for the walk home.

4. Perfume
Following being told on a recent night out that my perfume looks like a bottle of Blue Nun (thanks Dan) I've decided that it might be time to change things up a little. One perfume that I've always liked but never really been able to justify buying is J'adore by Dior.

J'adore by Dior - £56 for 50ml
5. Books
My flat is piled high with books covering almost every genre but two more that I'd love to add to my collection are two books by Tim Walker - Story Teller and Pictures, and Grace by Grace Coddington.

 All available on Amazon

So there you have it, all the things I'm currently lusting after but can't really justify treating myself to at the moment, just in case anybody is feeling generous.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

New season loveliness form Mango

The Summer heatwave seems to be over and although it's still somewhat humid on the tube, I can sometimes feel a chill in the air on my early morning commute. I've been through my wardrobe, my Winter boots are at the ready and I've stocked up on September issues to see what the season has in store.

The new season preview by Mango tends to always catch my eye and this season is no different, it's all leather, plaid, oversized coats and denim. Definitely my kind of thing.

Here are some of my favourite looks (which may, or may not end up in my Winter wardrobe).

To view the full AW13 collection preview visit the website here.

Time for tea: Fortnum and Mason with Mother

I love spending time with my Mum and Dad, as my many, many trips home each year prove, but this last Thursday I decided that with Dad and The Boy at the Great British Beer Festival it was time for some quality mother-daughter bonding.

Finishing work at one, I rushed down to Piccadilly where I scooped up a rather bewildered looking Mother from in amongst the tourists and headed straight for Fortnum and Mason ready to enjoy a spot of afternoon tea.

Having been to afternoon tea in London before with my best friend last year, I knew what to expect and was sure it was an experience Mum would love, and I wasn't disappointed.

Afternoon tea at Fortnum and Mason is nothing but class, all duck egg china and grandeur, not what we're used to at all but a lovely change all the same. 

With 85 different teas to choose from, Mum and I spent a while deliberating, but I decided to start with the Wedding Breakfast Blend - made to celebrate William and Kate's wedding. How very regal.

We went for the traditional Afternoon Tea, which includes five different types of sandwich, fruit and plain scones, jam, clotted cream, and assorted cream cakes and pastries. Basically a dieters nightmare but we all deserve a treat from time to time.

Everything seemed so small and delicate but each item was delicious and filling, so maybe the second plate of sandwiches we ordered was something of a mistake!

I went for this raspberry topped beauty from the cake trolley - but took it home to enjoy later, as I was feeling well and truly stuffed. Mum took a slice of the Battenberg for Dad to enjoy on the train home.

The special touches, like this art deco tea strainer, really added to the glamour of the whole experience, especially when drinking my Black Tea with Apple which included chunks of real apple.

Our table over looked the Royal Academy and was perfect for people watch, both inside and outside the tea salon.

The Tea Salon was really a beautiful place to while away a few hours - I'll definitely be back.

We left full and happy, took a stroll around the shop and admired things we could never dream of affording, before ambling across to the Royal Academy for Mum to see the amazing textile adorning the front of the building as part of their Summer exhibition.

I must confess these pictures were taken on a different day - as the London weather decided it was time to pour down just as we headed outside, but you get the idea.

It was a lovely afternoon of nattering, delicious food and exploration in London town. We met the boys at Kensington Olympia at 6pm, having walked the whole way from Piccadilly, through Knightsbridge and along High St Kensington, for a brief catch up before Mum and Dad headed off to catch their train home.

The only downside was that the whole day felt like a Friday, which was a shock when I woke up the following morning and realised there was still one more day until the weekend. Damn it.

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