Vintage ~ Handmade ~ Homes ~ Gardens

Monday, 27 May 2013

Chelsea Flower Show

I have the builders in. If you have ever experienced this you know immediately that I have a house that resembles a building site and full of dust :-( It's hard to imagine right now but in 5 days time I will have a swanky new bathroom :-) 

I managed to escape the dust and mayhem and get to the Chelsea Flower Show last week - it was the first time for me. I don't really know why I have never got around to going before but I'm definitely going to make this an annual treat! It was soooo cold though. Honestly, May and you needed a coat and gloves! Still being British we cheered ourselves by the fact that there were only a couple of light showers.

With the chaos at home I forgot to take my Canon camera so photos on my iPhone had to do. Chris Beards show garden was attracting a lot of attention - the deep borders were gorgeous.

I managed to spot Chris in another garden preparing to do some TV presenting - he's a fine specimen I think you'll agree ;-)

Here are a few more show gardens

There were plenty of nostalgic displays to swoon over too

But what I loved most was the vast marquee bursting with the most wonderful displays of practically every specimen of flower you could think of. 

I could only marvel at the time and effort that goes in to getting the flowers ready and producing such amazing displays. A total sensory feast.

So it's back to the building site - I can't wait to show you my new bathroom!


Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Meeting Cath Kidston

Just before I went to Sweden I was lucky enough to go to a talk with Cath Kidston at Regent Streets Apple Store. Now you know when you are of a certain age when the prospect of meeting Cath is much more exciting than Richard Gere, one of the numerous celebrities appearing at the store in recent months. I'll let you into a little secret. My son is events manager for Apple - a dream job where he gets to work with some of the most talented artists on the planet - and more importantly a reserved front row seat for his Mum!

When I bought my little cottage back in 1999 Cath's early faded rose prints were my inspiration. This was back in the day when she had her first little shop in Clarendon Cross. In fact it was Cath herself who served me when I bought the wallpaper for my bedroom (I like to claim my part in her success!). I told her that I had bought my cottage just so I could decorate my bedroom with her beautiful rose pattern wallpaper.

She's come a long long way since then. It's rare to find someone who hasn't got a bit of Cath somewhere. I remember being at a business meeting and I had Cath bag which was much admired. I kid you not that every woman in that meeting produced a Kidston product from their handbag!

(Sorry the picture quality isn't great but this gives you an idea of the venue)

Cath was there to promote her new book Coming Up Roses. She talked about her childhood and how the prints from the home she grew up in influenced her work now. You couldn't help but warm to this very natural and self effacing woman. My son always takes a portrait picture of all the artists who appear. He asked Cath how she would like to be photographed - don't show it to me and tell me it's great she said modestly. 

I was fascinated to hear how she developed her business. Staying true to the brand identity is everything. She said how she was asked to do some mens pants (we're talking undergarments here US friends not trousers) but refused as she felt it would compromise the brand identity - too right!

The interview, by a reporter from the Evening Standard, ran for 45 minutes and then there followed a Q & A with the audience. There ensued much gushing from the ladies in the audience thrilled to meet there idol! At the end my son was having to gently hold back the women desperate to get her autograph - I bet Richard Gere didn't get as much adulation!!

One of the questions asked was what was her favourite print. She said how her latest always tended to be her favourite but if she had to choose it would be that early rose pattern I still have in my bedroom.

I've sometimes thought of painting over it but how could I now :-)

A video podcast was made of the event which you can download for free on iTunes. Just search in podcasts for Meet the Designer: Cath Kidston.


Saturday, 18 May 2013

Stockholm (Mamma Mia!)

Have you ever been to Stockholm? It's so beautiful you really must go (but take a sack full of krone as it's soooo expensive!) I got back with my son this week from a long weekend of beautiful sunshine - while the UK basked in cold and rain - music and sightseeing and singing (Dancing Queen anyone?) 

Not for nothing is Stockholm called the Venice of the north. This gorgeous city is made up of a collection of small islands which you cross to by bridges. Gamla Stan (old town) is particularly popular with sightseers with its cobbled little streets, pretty shops, the Palace and Government buildings . 


It was such a packed weekend that there was little time for vintage shopping (and did I mention how pricey everything is?) but these caught my eye.



I've always wanted to visit Sweden. I'm a huge fan of their interiors, lake houses - and those grisly Scandinavian detective series they show on BBC4! However those who know me well will not be surprised that the other motivating factor was the opportunity to see this fella...

The Swedes can't get enough of him selling out 3 shows at a 60,000 seat stadium at 63 years old. He's still the Boss ;-)

But of course we wanted to get a dose of Swedish culture too. The Vasa Museum holds the amazing Viking ship rescued from the bottom of the Baltic Sea. (sorry about the picture quality but it is very dark in the museum to protect the wood).

So finally, how best to finish off a trip to Sweden? There is only one word...


Yes folks, it was the opening week of the new Abba Museum and it was too irresistible to miss!

Mamma Mia - I got to be the 5th member of Abba! I love singing with Rock Choir so I raced up onto the stage (much to my sons embarrassment and the bemusement of onlookers)!


I can't wait to go back for a longer visit - although they've made me promise not to sing again ;-)


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