Wandering in Whistable.

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I love Kent. It’s probably my favourite county in the entire country – it’s so accessible from London and has such a variety of landscapes and things to see+do!

As you know, I’m trying to go on more adventures this year, so my friend, B, and I decided to do a little road trip down to Whitstable. I’ve only ever heard of it in relation to the the oyster fair, so was excited to go on a little visit! It was pretty fun and stress-free, thanks in part to the chocolates B wisely took along, although there was a minor scare when I left home and realised that I hadn’t taken my asthma inhaler with me… Oops. Thank goodness the fresh sea air and bracing breeze did the trick and opened my lungs right up and I was fine. Otherwise it would have been a much less fun day spent in casualty!!

We went wandering through a few vintage shops (we really are spoilt in this country…) and then on to the beach which was COVERED in oyster shells. I mean… wow. I wasn’t expecting that!! Whitstable is such a charming seaside town. We might go back in the summer and stay in one of the cute little beach chalets!

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The Adventures of Flappy Bird

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You know how you have this new year thing happening so you decide to do things a little differently this year, and mix things up a bit, learn from your mistakes, or just try something new? Well, this year I have decided to embark on more adventures. Such a great word, isn’t it, “adventures”? Makes me think of Christopher Robin and Pooh Bear or Jack Sparrow of Pirates of the Caribbean. If I had more adventures in 2016, I would be very happy.

In keeping with that aim, I have joined Meetups, subscribed to Time Out, Secret London, and various other things. The thing is, there is so much going on that there is far too much to keep up with! But equally, I guess if I don’t try then I’ll soon slip back into my little routine (which is needed but dull). I found an Owl Experience Day with the English School of Falconry on Time Out and took the husband for a little jolly to Bedfordshire – 3 hours of handling owls and flying them? Yes, please! We were lucky it was sunny, because the day was amazing. Friendly staff, sweetest owls (how cute are they??), impressive falcons/eagles/other birds of prey in the falcony show, sunshine (although it was freezing cold)… it was such a fun afternoon. The School of Falconry has a range of experience days and demonstrations (by the way, England has very strict rules around birds of prey in captivity – the birds are well-looked after!) – do check them out!

 

Images: Courage & Dash

24 hours in Norwich: A Guide

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Norwich is such a charming city. I had heard lots of good things about it and so was pretty keen to go! It was a lovely day out with plenty to see and do, as well as with places to rest in, but we didn’t have much time. I think 48 hours would be perfect for time to see the Castle (a museum and gallery – top picture), go into the Cathedral, and wander around the Lanes (independent businesses, pictured above) and antique shops. Here are our top picks for 24 hours in the city:

Stop number 1: Looses Emporium | http://www.loosesemporium.co.uk/ | 23-25 Magdalen St, Norwich, NR3 1LP

This place is pretty huge and has a whole range of items from furniture to Roman coins to children’s books. I found a few bits and bobs (like the fireside spaniels and an enamel teapot), but I could easily have bought more if I had room in my bag!

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Stop number 2: St Gregory’s Antiques & Collectibles | http://www.st-gregorys-antiques.co.uk/ | Pottergate/St Gregory’s Alley, Norwich NR2 1ER

Antiques in a 14th century church? Yes! So cute. The church is beautiful with a well-looked after stained glass window – I loved the old airplane suspended from the ceiling! A lot of old stuff in a bit if a jumble but good for a rummage. Loved the collection of old pocket watches and clocks.

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Stop number 3: Aladdin’s Cave | http://www.aladdinscavenorwich.co.uk/ | 52-56 Magdalen Street Norwich, NR3 1JE

I couldn’t take a picture of the shop front as I didn’t have a lens with a wide-enough angle! This place is prety big, with a pretty good mix of things. There were old toys, a fab selection of ephemera, and plenty of china.

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If you are in Norwich, you have to visit the Cathedral. We barely had time to because I had spent all day rummaging through old things. As the sun was out, however, we couldn’t help but laze about in the grounds of the Cathedral and bask in the light.

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Places for food & drink: We stumbled upon Number 17 late-ish afternoon, desperate for food before our train home. How glad we were! The lovely, family-run place had outdoor dining in a little courtyard/back garden, where the B&B rooms were. We loved the fruit growing on the trees, the quiet garden, and the vintage crockery/tea sets. Oh, also, the food is freshly made and the cakes are homemade!

1. Number 17 Bed & Breakfast | http://www.number17norwich.co.uk/ | Colegate, Norwich, NR3 1BN

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2. Roots | http://www.rootsnorwich.co.uk/  | 6 Pottergate, Norwich, Norfolk NR2 1DS

We stuck our heads in but didn’t end up stopping here for food. However, the menu looked delicious and reasonably priced. We loved the idea of cake tapas!

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Images: Courage & Dash

Guide to antique-hunting in Lincolnshire/Hull

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I’m sorry it’s been AGES since I last posted!!! Between working long hours (waking at 5.30am is becoming increasingly difficult), harp practise (exam in November!), spending time with the husband and seeing friends, I’ve barely had enough time to write (or go to the gym, eek).

Last month, I went to Yorkshire/Hull to see some really fun+fab friends, plus do some antiques hunting (of course!). The weekend was so great for so many reasons – and not least because we had the most delicious BBQ at the home of our friend’s grandparents. As ex-antique dealers, they have a stylish home filled with the most beautiful treasures. Swoon. It was a fantastic, relaxing weekend – can’t wait to go back!

Here’s my guide to that part of the North East of England, if you ever do go:

1. Hemswell Antique Centres
Open Monday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm

Caenby Corner Estate,
Hemswell Cliff,
Gainsborough,
Lincolnshire, DN21 5TJ

Relaxing and easy vintage-hunting as all the stalls are beautifully laid out and all indoors. The centres are housed on an old airfield which belonged to the RAF (home of the Lancaster Bomber in WWII), and each one has a fairly extensive collection of furniture, jewellery, dining room bits, wall hangings, and decorative items.

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2. Kevin Marshall Antiques Warehouse
Open Monday – Saturday, 10am to 5pm

17-20A Wilton Street
Hull,
Kingston Upon Hull, HU8 7LG

Get ready for some proper rummaging. Drew Pritchard (from Salvage Hunter) said it was one of the last few remaining true-English junk shops, and if he means utterly eccentric and rammed full of treasure, then this is it! The warehouse is fairly large, set across two floors, and every inch of the shop floor is piled high with old treasures, apart from a path about 4 feet wide, winding through the shop. There’s plenty of Ercol furniture and industrial-style seating, as well as older Georgian chairs. I loved the 1920s cigerette advertising mannequins and Eastmans Tea cupboards. Didn’t buy anything (thought it was a bit pricey although am sure Kevin is up for some bargaining) although really enjoyed digging around and meeting Kevin.

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Images: Courage & Dash

The Curious Shop: See the Foodie Bugle IN REAL LIFE

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The Foodie Bugle has always been one of our favourites brands – not only do we enjoy the fact that Silvana and John-Paul de Soissons used to work in banking, the range of stylish living products and tasty-sounding ingredients in the online shop gives us hours and hours of joyous browsing.

So imagine our excitement when we found out that they had opened a store in Bath! Wooooo.

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We first wrote about the Foodie Bugle here, when we were drawn to their charming mix of vintage and new items for the home. The brand can be described as having a relaxed, old world feel – I particularly enjoy the focus on artisan crafts and on good, homemade food, something we could always have more of in modern life!

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The Foodie Bugle shop carries everything their online store has, and also has for sale fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and deli food. There is also a tearoom where you can pause from your city-wandering.

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Visit the Foodie Bugle store at:

7 Margaret’s Buildings, Bath, BA1 2LP | http://www.thefoodiebugleshop.com

The shop is now open from 8am to 6pm every day, Monday – Sunday (longer hours in the summer, please contact store for information).

Have you been to the store yet? What are some of your favourite kitchen products?

 

Images: Jason Ingram via The Foodie Bugle

The Curious Shop: Ink + Thread

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Eeek! We are so excited to share this AMAZING shop we have just discovered. Well, we haven’t just discovered it, per se…. We’ve been following their Instagram profile, and after a while of fan-girling, finally asked to have them on the blog, and here they are: Ink & Thread!

Ink & Thread was opened by Emily Baker in November 2011 in Derby’s Cathedral Quarter. The idea was to have a store that stocked the best of British made things that were both useful and good-looking. To be honest, that does go back to the bones of British products – design with purpose.

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“I’m very proud that we only stock items made in the UK – we have an ever growing range of design items from fantastic, small creative companies,” Emily tells us. Emily has always had a love for interiors and design, which comes through in her store layout and the items she has chosen to stock.

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“I wanted to showcase and support all the fantastic independent makers out there who care about great design, and not just that, they care about how and where their products are made. Every item in the shop has a story.” We love that!

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We absolutely adore the fun and colourful products – the shop has such a lively feel, and it’s pretty clear that Emily has an excellent eye for curating collections.

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For more British-made goodies, visit Ink & Thread at:
No. 28 The Strand, Derby, DE1 1BE | http://shop.inkandthread.co.uk/
(Images: Holly Booth, via Ink & Thread)

A Wander through Tynemouth Market

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Last Christmas, we were back up North for some much needed rest and family time. If you enjoy exploring markets, vintage shops, and antique bookshops, there are quite a few places worth a visit in the North-East; Barter Books, for example, where the famous “Keep Calm and Carry On” (we know, so overused now, zzzz, but the original was a pretty amazing wartime poster) was first discovered, is a beautiful antiques bookshop in an old railway station.

This time, we thought we would visit Tynemouth Market, a covered market in Tynemouth Station. It’s quite a pretty little place, and really handy to get to on the Metro system (it is also very close to the sea). There is a range of stalls, from tasty pies and coconut macaroons, to vintage signs and antique clocks. We had a fun morning rummaging and wandering before a lazy afternoon (feels so long ago now).

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Apparently, the sign above was from the Berlin Wall! Would have been a fun sign to hang outside your office door… The lady below loved it and managed to get it for a really good price. Shame there is no space left on our walls…

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Benny’s coconut macaroons, freshly baked, are not to be missed… I’m usually more a fan of French macarons, but these were yummy.

If you have a favourite market, please do send them our way (info@courageanddash.co.uk)! Would love to find out about new places for a weekend exploration and write about them here.

 

Images: Courage & Dash