Brick Lane and Spitalfields

spittalfields market 002This is where Jane and I started the day. I’d never been to Leon before.

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The food was nice and I love the graphics and illustrations they use,

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but this is what impressed me most. A lovely postcard with this printed on the back. I think every eatery  should have them.

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Lovely original shop front over the Ben Sherman shop.

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I asked a very handsome man if I could stroke his Chiwawa. Not really my kind of dog but it was so sweet I’m sure I could be converted.

spittalfields market 007We had a wander round Rokit  vintage clothes shop

spittalfields market 011went to a little vintage market….

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saw this gorgeous street art under a bridge….

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and went to one of our favourite shops call The Shop which is full to the brim with old table cloths, silk scarves etc all very neatly folded but not in an intimidating way where you’re afraid to touch.

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Beautiful old shop drawers in The shop.

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Lovely old cinema seats….

spittalfields market 019I Can’t remember what this shop’s called but it’s on a corner and it’s worth a visit.

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This shop really did rock ! It was lovely weather like today and they were playing records on an old turntable outside.

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Downstairs were hundreds of old books nicely stacked on shelves all very cosy,

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We then stumbled upon an amazing looking huge cake shop called Kahaila and had tea and cake.

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It has gorgeous yellow walls with beautiful prints hanging.

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We went in to the famous Beigel Bakery

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where we allowed a quick look in the back room to see them making the beigels.

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They were so friendly. This is the owner who started the shop about 40 years ago.

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It was a privilege to be able to see them at work and it was so busy as usual.

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The owner of this shop told me that these photos were from the sixties magazine “Queen”, later to become Harpers and Queen.

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A street artist was painting a wall in Bacon street

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and then a bright orange neon fronted shop caught my eye.

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It was a lovely shop selling all sorts of interesting stuff and there were 4 shop cats in there ! This one just sat looking in the mirror the whole time.

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The ceiling is hundreds of plastic milk cartons upside down with light bulbs inside.

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This is their card.

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I love these little bollard lights they sell.

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Cat on the counter.

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We started walking back to the station after a lovely warm day in London,

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I was very restrained that day and didn’t buy anything much but Jane bought some lovely vintage fabric.

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I love this little flower stall on the front of the apron.

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A lot of the area in Spitalfields has been modernized and I love the trees. I’m not sure if they’re the original trees or whether new mature ones have been planted.

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The buses were on diversion when I arrived back from town so I walked home which I never do, and spotted this lilac.

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I love this old police lamp outside our partially closed old police station which I think is now run by volunteers.

spittalfields market 065This is the local pub. It’s massive and is now a gastropub  with fantastic food and a huge outside area covered with fairy lights. It’s run by George who pretends it’s a ship and he’s the captain. He’s very funny on twitter. This pub is famous because it’s where the kinks used to come and write their songs when it was a bit of a dive years ago. I saw Ray Davies in Highgate the other day.

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This is a lovely tea room and shop round the corner to me.

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Edwardian tiles outside the butchers.

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There is a house round the corner called “Fairport”. The band Fairport Convention used to rehearse there and they named their band  after the house.

That was a long blog post !!

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Filed under London, UK

Golders Green Crematorium in Spring

Photo 06-05-2013 11 43 51I’m sitting here thinking, and drinking tea and wondering. I can’t decide how candid to be on here. It was initially supposed to be about vintage fabric and what I make etc but I don’t seem to be able to stick to just that at all.

Photo 06-05-2013 11 44 24I love taking photos of flowers ( I was a florist for 10 years) and all sorts of things and I want to be able to blog about slightly more personal things too but I need to be careful, very careful.

Photo 06-05-2013 11 56 10I’m a very open person and could easily let this blog become a den of intrigue, love, hate, death, divorce, depression, betrayal and debauchery !! (no debauchery really, I made that up). But I won’t. I mustn’t.  I’d regret it. Maybe I should have another blog too but it would need to be under a made up name.  It’s tempting I tell you.

Photo 06-05-2013 12 01 28That still doesn’t help me to decide what to do about this post. I’ve nothing to hide but……right, I’ve decided to keep it very vague, for now. It feels right…..I couldn’t choose between these two duck pics as I liked them both.

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Suffice to say that for the past 9 years at the beginning of every May,  we go with friends to Golders Green Crematorium in North London to ‘see’ two very close relatives, one of whom died very prematurely  of breast cancer.

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It’s an amazing place. A sort of  huge well kept park full of trees and plants with thousands of little name plaques in the ground by the trees and shrubs that have been planted/paid for by the relatives. I’ve never been to another crem so I don’t know what others are like in comparison.

Photo 06-05-2013 12 02 56It’s a beautiful place with lots of history, my grandfather’s somewhere there as are lots of famous people such as Spike Milligan, Marc Bolan and so many more. I went there the day after Marc Bolan was cremated to see the flowers and there was a huge white swan (after his album) all made of flowers and lots of Gothy fans. I was a fan too. Loved him.

Photo 06-05-2013 12 02 46I wanted to stay longer and take more photos of the more poignant plaques etc but it didn’t seem appropriate and would have meant the others waiting for me. Maybe I’ll go by myself sometime and do it. Maybe in the Summer, I never go in the Summer.

Photo 06-05-2013 12 10 39We amble along slowly, chatting, laughing. Although it’s sad it’s far from morbid and the trees and flowers are so breathtaking that our sad/bad memories are readily distracted.  My friend remarked how it’s now quite a long time since we lost our “person”. For me that makes it much worse. While her passing was still quite recent I felt she was still close, still near, could hear us chatting and I sometimes imagined her uncouth and irreverent   responses to us which made me smile. Now that eight years have unbelievably gone by she seems much further away, left far behind, truly gone. I’ve got to stop this now as I’m shedding quiet tears and my kids have just come in. I’d love to go on though. S**t. Oh well.

Photo 06-05-2013 12 16 12At the far end is a little pond where we sit on benches or on the grass and eat biscuits and strawberries and feed the birds and squirrels which are very tame. It’s paradise actually like a secret garden. I love ponds so I’m in my element. There are MASSIVE fish which we feed too.

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The gold and white ones are fine but the huge brown ones which lurk in the shadows are quite eerie, (there’s one underneath this gold one) and I automatically get the creepy “Jaws” music in my head. They normally fight for our food but they weren’t impressed with my hastily grabbed stale rice crackers this year. Don’t blame them.

Photo 06-05-2013 12 07 20It’s the sort of place where you could happily spend hours on a nice day, sitting, reading, thinking thoughts you wouldn’t normally make time to think, with your face in the sun and ducks at your feet. There’s a tiny cafe in the car park which hasn’t changed since time began and is very dated. It has kit kats and iced buns I think.  Should have gone there, don’t know why we didn’t.  Photo 06-05-2013 12 06 40So after a while we start heading back and we always say we should go more often to see the trees and flowers at different times of year, but we never do.

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My next blog post will be chirpy as chirpy can be :):):) xxx

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Filed under London, UK, Miscellaneous

OMG I’m in the book !! “Pretty Pastel Style” by Selina Lake

I received my copy of Selina’s brand new book a couple of weeks ago and was completely overwhelmed  to find so many pics of my house in it. I’ve taken photos of the pages and I’m not going to write anything with them because that would make me feel silly, like when an estate agent shows you round a house saying “this is the kitchen, this is the lounge” and you just want to ask him to please go away so you can look round in peace.  The photographer is Catherine Gratwicke and the words are by Joanna Simmons.

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The lovely embroidered hoop is by Vicky Trainor

The lovely embroidered hoop is by Vicky Trainor

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Selina's bike

Selina’s bike

Thank you SO much Selina Lake, Catherine Gratwicke, Joanna Simmons and publishers http://www.rylandpeters.com

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Filed under My home featured in Selina Lake's new book !!!, Vintage Fabric

Selina Lake’s book launch and vintage fair for “Pretty Pastel Style” March 2013

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I’d had a stall at Selina’s book launch and vintage fair a year ago for ‘Homespun Style’ so I knew that this event would be lovely too and it really was. It was in Kingston Surrey in a beautiful old building called Market House in Market Place surrounded by lovely shops, fruit and veg stalls and hustle and bustle. Selina’s used a few pictures of my house in her new book so I felt quite ‘part of it’ and a bit bowled over actually.

My vintage fabric flower pictures

My vintage fabric flower pictures

Jane's vintage fabric purses and make up bags

Jane’s vintage fabric purses and make up bags

My good friend Jane Clucas came too and we shared a stall as we had also done at the last book launch.  Jane makes the most beautiful purses, make up bags, tiny animals in vintage sleeping bags and other things. She’s been a designer/ maker for about 20 and has sold to Cath Kidston, The Conran Shop, Couverture, among others and currently sells to Paul Smith.

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We’ve been good friends for 22 years ( our sons were born on the same day 21 years ago) and it’s such a treat spending the whole day together.

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When my children were small they loved her tiny knitted animals in their little sleeping bags.

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Little blue painted shelves with vintage mini bunting. I sold these on the same day in my Etsy shop.

Pretty pastel style fair 003Lovely Bambi.

There were lots of lovely stalls there.Pretty pastel style fair 005including Love Lane Vintage  who’s sister sold beautiful flowers from her stand.

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I love these paper straws by Peach Blossom . I remember paper straws when I was little. They were a real treat.  Before plastic straws there were only paper ones. We would suck up our drinks,  Nesquik if we were lucky and about half way through our drink the top of the straw would go completely  flat and soggy and close up. Who else remembers that ? I don’t think that paper straws then were treated with anything then. I’m sure they are now.

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Mable and Bird were there with lots of cushions and these adorable lavender birds.

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Anna Wiscombe  was there with her beautiful handmade wooden birds.

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Sesame and Lilly were there with some amazing cushions and other delectables.

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There was a queue  of people all day long waiting patiently for Selina to sign there books.

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Gorgeous padded coat hangers by Clover’s Closet 

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Selina with Debi Treloar photographer extraordinaire, who did the photos for Homespun Style and countless other lifestyle books. Debi’s lovely and I met her when she came to one of my Pop up Shops at home when Selina did a book signing there.  

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It was lovely to meet the very well known Vicky Trainor who produces the most amazing work with vintage textiles. She was there with her very good friend Jane Day from Tea with Ruby and they’d driven all the way from Cleveland (up North !) Peels of raucous laughter could be heard coming from their corner stand all day. They must have had aching tummy muscles by the end.

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More of Vicky’s beautiful creations.

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All day long the stall holders were brought cups of tea in these vintage cups and saucers by friends of Selina who helped her with the event. Chantal from HedegrowHome  brought us refills regularly and tea really really does taste better from vintage china. Something to do with the thin rims I think.

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Selina’s friend Laura froms  Cakey Bakes was in the Tea room with the most amazing homemade cakes and lemonade…….

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See the yellow and white paper straws ?

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She’d made the tallest Victoria sponge I’ve ever seen, I wish I’d measured it………

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and she made this !!!!!!!! a cake version of Selina’s book. It was stunning and everyone was taking pictures of it.

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I’ve never seen anything like it. It was unbelievable.

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Some of my vintage patchwork bunting.

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So despite the Arctic weather outside, everyone had a lovely day and went home happy and full of cake.

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Filed under My home featured in Selina Lake's new book !!!, Vintage Fabric

Three of my things on the front cover of Prima Spring Makes magazine April 2013 !!

Frans birthday 003It’s a beautiful magazine and the front page and the styling was done by Selina Lake. The floral heart (top left) and the moustache cushion  are by Thimble & Bobbin, the Aunty card is by Abigail Warner, the little floral note books are by Emma Wilson, the LOVE postcard is by Cassia Beck, the lavender card and vintage lavender pillows are by Sesame and Lilly  and the vintage embroidered hoop, lavender bag and yellow floral lavender heart are by me !!

Blimey that took ages, I’m not a natural at all this copy/paste/link business but I wanted to acknowledge all the other artists on the front cover with me.

Frans birthday 004Amongst all the beautiful pages is a six page spread about stylist/maker Torie Jayne who’s well known for her amazing blog.

Birdhouse Key rack

Birdhouse Key rack

Torie's workroom

Torie’s workroom. I love that pink chair !!

Some of her lovely things

Some of her lovely things

Her business card

Her business card.

I met Torie at Selina’s book launch a few weeks ago when she came to my stand and introduced herself. I was quite taken aback because I didn’t know she’d be there. She gave me her card and I’ve kept it safely because it’s SO lovely. One of the nicest business cards I’ve ever seen.

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Filed under Magazine Features, Vintage Fabric

Happy Kitsch and colourful Easter

Easter rabbits 001Poor mummy chick forgot to change the clocks forward and she overslept so she’s an hour behind and no time to do her hair.

Easter rabbits 002My kids think I’ve totally lost the plot ! Do I care ? No I don’t 🙂

Easter rabbits 003In fact one of my boys is sitting in the front room with his football shirt on watching a game shouting at the top of his lungs every time the ball goes near the net. God knows what the neighbours think.

Easter rabbits 004The other son has just this second phoned me to say he’s on the train and can I fetch him in ten minutes…. errr no I can’t. He seems to think that I sit here with my car keys in my hand all day and night happily waiting for his call. I don’t. He’s 21 !!!!!!!!!!!!

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My pictures, Book launch, Easter 007and now I feel like this     Ahhhhhhhh. Happy Easter everyone. Off I go to the station.

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Filed under Easter, My Etsy Shop, Vintage Fabric

Anemones and an article in Prima Magazine.

birthday cake, stork, anenomies 010I’ve always loved flowers but I remember being a small child and thinking that anemones  

birthday cake, stork, anenomies 006were fuddy duddy, musty,  dusty old lady flowers. I’ve sort of grown into them now. Oh dear.

birthday cake, stork, anenomies 007They are amazing actually aren’t they.

birthday cake, stork, anenomies 014There’s an article about me in Prima magazine, the April edition which came out about 3 weeks ago. Mags are always weeks ahead of themselves it seems.

birthday cake, stork, anenomies 018It’s quite odd seeing what you’ve said written in print. A bit surreal. It was an article with three women, me being one of them, who had shops in their houses.

birthday cake, stork, anenomies 017Gosh it’s tidy. I wish it was always like that. I’m a very untidy person.

birthday cake, stork, anenomies 013Here’s a stork on the pond in the park where I take the dog. I think it’s a stork. I know that  to people who live in the countryside it’s no big deal but for me it really is something special. It was absolutely freezing on that day last week and it just stood there completely still. I see it quite often.

birthday cake, stork, anenomies 004Lets have cake…….lemon drizzle anyone ?

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Filed under Magazine Features, My Old Victorian Garden, Vintage Pop Up Sales