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Testing the market!

21 May

It’s been a bumper week for bargain hunting. And just as well really. Create Vintage will be showcasing a whole range of beautiful finds this Saturday at Tweseldown Artisan Market. Set in the grounds of Tweseldown racecourse between Farnham and Farnborough, it brings together local producers, crafters and vintage sellers in a hub of handmade heaven.

tweseldown artisan market pic

It’s going to be a busy week – selecting my stock, refining a final few pictures and contemplating how best to set it all up.

Amongst other things, I will be parting company with this beautiful Poole Pottery coffee set I stumbled across recently. Has there ever been a more dreamy colour combination than that dusky pink and milk chocolate?

Poole Pottery coffee set including six teacups and saucers; sugar bowl; coffee pot & hot water pot. Other pieces also available.

Poole Pottery coffee set including six teacups and saucers; sugar bowl; coffee pot & hot water pot. Other pieces also available.

Will be posting more beautiful finds here as the week goes on. And if you can make it down on Saturday I’d love to see you there!

Tweseldown Artisan Market; Tweseldown Racecourse, Bourley Road, Church Crookham, Hampshire, GU52 8DY.

Saturday 25th May; 9am-4pm

The Packhouse, Farnham

24 Jan

Snow? I’m a lover, not a hater, and for those first few moments of magical wonder that twinkling blanket brings I’m willing to put up with a few days stuck indoors. {Or outdoors – couldn’t resist just a couple of pics from our snow adventures}.



Snowy walk

Snowy walk


However, yesterday it was time to brave the icy roads and take a trip to one of my favourite places in the world – The Packhouse near Farnham. This unassuming, yet colossal 400-year old former Hop Kiln in the middle of the Surrey countryside doesn’t seem like the most hopeful destination for divine inspiration, but it’s home to more hidden treasures than I’ve ever seen in one place. Painted furniture, handcrafted pictures, genuine antiques – everything from barometers to bureaus, vintage collectables, and a whole lot else besides.

Everything’s split over a multitude of floors linked by winding staircases. You practically need a map to ramble your way around it. But the effort is worth it when you stumble across the perfect painted wardrobe {I did}, or the warm welcome of Café Fig for a Cappuccino {I did}.


The Packhouse, near Farnham

The Packhouse, near Farnham

the packhouse 4

The Packhouse, Hewett’s Kilns, Tongham Road, Runfold, Farnham, Surrey, GU10 1PJ.

Tel: 01252 781010

Free ‘Spirit of Summer’ tickets

13 May

I’m always on the hunt for inspiration. Whether it’s online, in magazines, at the shops or at other people’s houses, I love snooping around and discovering interesting ideas that give me my own starburst moments.

One of the most bountiful places for brainstorming is a show or exhibition. Last weekend I visited the Vintage Fair at the Maltings in Farnham. Stacked full of an assortment of eras and idiosyncracies, but with each stall setting out its own style, it was a real lesson in the importance of identity. ‘Vintage’ has become a catch-all term, but can mean so many different things.

On Friday, I received an invitation to the Spirit of Summer Fair 2012, in association with House & Garden. Running over four days from the 16th-19th May at Olympia, you can find out more about it here. Covering new trends for summer 2012 and creative ideas for indoors, outdoors and pure unadulterated indulgence, it sounds like a handpicked heaven of lovely things.

Here are some of the highlights that have already caught my eye…


White Cloud wool bedding {}


Cissy Cook Designs {www.cissycook}


Sophie Allport {}

If you fancy a trip along, Spirit of Summer is offering one Create Vintage follower a free pair of tickets for any of the days of the show. Just email your name and phone number along with which day you’d like to attend to by 12pm on Tuesday 15th May, stating ‘CreateVintage competition’ in the subject line. One entry will be selected at random when the competition closes.

Good luck – just don’t blame me if your bank balance takes a bruising!

All in the detail

3 May

The view from Calcot Manor’s ‘Trim Trail’

Just back from a couple of gorgeously relaxing and recharging days away in the Cotswolds. Feel utterly revived by a spell soaking up the Great Outdoors {in a steamy, rainswept hot tub, no less}. But also exhilarated by some great indoors inspiration too.

Highlights included a rather wet wander around the pretty antique-stacked town of Tetbury, spa treatments at the divine Calcot Manor, and a spot of chill time and pub grub at The Rectory hotel and The Potting Shed pub, near Malmesbury.

Don’t you just love the décor details that exclusive little hotels do effortlessly? Both our destinations excelled at the right kind of homely touch that succeeded in settling us in with a very contented sigh. Here are some snaps of my favourite features…

Unusual, but gorgeous French-style sofa / bench tucked in a corridor at Calcot Manor

Oriental-style birds painted on canvas. Stunning!

Lovely desk chair in the Gatcombe suite at Calcot Manor

Good hotel bedlinen – can’t beat it! This creamy monogrammed pillow is just so pretty.

Door handles and tassles at Calcot Manor

Couldn’t resist a pitstop in this comfy-looking armchair at our second destination, The Rectory at Crudwell.

Happy easter

5 Apr

I can sense Jubilee fever gaining momentum already. A quick trip to M&S this week in search of easter goodies revealed shelves all but empty of chicks and chocolate and replaced with a swathe of red, white and blue confections. I’m not complaining – the promise of some good nostalgic celebrations, and an extended weekend is alright by me. And, of course, it gives us an excuse to indulge in one of life’s pure, uncomplicated pleasures too – a proper afternoon tea.

I was lucky enough to stop in town for a spot of tea with a friend yesterday and was served up with this impressive spread….

Afternoon tea at The Tea Terrace, Guildford

Never mind the amply stuffed sandwiches, exceptional scones and impeccable Earl Grey, I fell head over heels for this adorable little teapot…

Elephant teapot - BIA for the DRH Collection, London

There will be celebrations of another kind in our house this weekend. Amidst the easter egg hunts and inevitable chocolate overload, our little bunny turns two. Here’s a preview of the card I’ve whipped up for her this morning.

Birthday Bunny birthday card by

 Happy Easter, have a wonderful weekend and see you soon!

Sweet shop

7 Mar

Paid a visit to see friend and fellow revamper Emma Webb last week. Unique Chique is her sweet little shop in Church Crookham devoted to all things shabby and chic.

Unique Chique, Church Crookham

Unique Chique, Church Crookham

Unique Chique, Church Crookham

Emma has taken her talent for breathing new life into old furniture and now runs her own furniture painting courses using Annie Sloan techniques {click here for more info}. If you’re tempted to give ‘upcycling’ a go, a day of learning some basic skills in a friendly setting will give you the confidence to tackle your own projects at home.

Without Emma’s encouragement Create Vintage may never have been born. In fact, I got my first taste of furniture painting when Emma and I went along to an Annie Sloan masterclass some time ago. As well as the essential brush skills, we tackled crackle glazing, decoupage, stencilling and gilding. All taught in a fantastically no-nonsense fashion by Annie Sloan herself at her namesake Oxford shop.

Annie is a great believer that almost anything can be improved with a well-placed coat of paint, and her chalk-based paints enable even the most inexperienced painter to achieve a vintage look. She’s not fussy about an item’s background {even though you’ll find some extraordinarily beautiful pieces in her shop}, it’s simply about spotting the potential for transformation.

As well as a lovely collection of home accessories and gifts, you can find the full Annie Sloan paint range at Unique Chique {it’s where I get mine}. I do hope you’ll pop in.

Unique Chique, 221 Aldershot Road, Church Crookham, Hampshire, GU52 8EJ

Sneak preview

7 Feb

It’s back to the day job for me at the moment… Although ‘the day job’ is becoming somewhat harder to define! What I do know is that I’m loving my temporary pass to London, enjoying hanging out with a creative and talented team, and feeling fired up by some inspiring conversations.

For the past two weeks I’ve been working with food writer, photographer, cook, stylist {the list goes on…} Alastair Hendy. He’s just opened his first retail venture in his hometown of Hastings. I haven’t visited {yet}, but judging by the curious mix of objects and collectables that I have managed to sneak a look at in his Shoreditch studio, Home Store is going to be one of the most unique and intriguing retail destinations in the UK.

Check out this assortment – a window display waiting to happen – that sits casually on Alastair’s kitchen steps. As well as collected vintage treasures, Home Store stocks a hoard of nostalgic items such as household brushes, kitchen essentials and all manner of practical objects with a purpose. Make sure you put it on your list of places to visit.

A.G. Hendy & Co. Home Store

A.G. Hendy & Co. Home Store

A.G. Hendy & Co. Home Store, 36 High Street, Hastings Old Town, TN34 3ER

{website launching soon – check back soon for more details}