The Curious Shop: Loafing around.

_MG_0287blue_sofa_MG_0286_MG_0289bedlinen_MG_0317dining_MG_0362baskets_MG_0268Radio_MG_0278icecreamery_MG_0273_1

Remember that time I was super excited Loaf Shack was opening near me in Battersea? I went to visit the other day and it was so much fun! Set under the railway arches under double-height ceilings with some exposed original brick work walls, Loaf Shack Battersea is the sort of place you could spend your day in, either working, browsing, or just sleeping on one of their many sofas and beds! In fact, they actively encourage people to do so (it’s not a showroom, rather, it’s an experience venue), with free wifi, an ice creamery (say what?!) and a secret underground bunker-style recreational room – there’s a table football set, a pin-ball type machine, a television, plenty of loungey sofas and cushions. Apparently it’s where all the cool kids from the local school hang out nowadays!

If I worked from home, I would definitely be popping in lots. You could go and get your larger items of furniture (sofas, beds, wardrobes), spend hours picking fabric swatches, or just run in and out for a candle, some bed-linen, or cute glassware. I got myself a couple of pairs of hand-knitted bed socks (yes!) and a candle before I left.

Go visit and let me know what you think!

Visit Loaf Shack Battersea at 255-259 Queenstown Road, Battersea, London, SW8 3NP, of see http://www.loaf.com/.

P.S.: Loaf is having a birthday sale until January 31! Don’t miss it 🙂

 

Images: Courage & Dash

 

The Adventures of Flappy Bird

_MG_0421_MG_0423_MG_0438_MG_0456_MG_0439_MG_0477_MG_0466_MG_0491_MG_0494handling_MG_0513owl_MG_0532_MG_0537Wings_MG_0573owl_2_MG_0664

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

Sweetly feasting.

_MG_9728_MG_9743_MG_9792_MG_9758_MG_9755_MG_9756_MG_9771_MG_9775table_MG_9749_MG_9787_MG_9794_MG_9789_MG_9796_MG_9802_MG_9819_MG_9845

I know Christmas is over, but I just remembered I haven’t shown these to you! One weekend in December, Xin, from Pudding Pie Lane, baked up a storm and we spent all of Saturday catching up, giggling, getting far too sugar high, and playing with Christmas decorations. So much fun! If only we could do this all the time?? Sadly, I am back to work on Tuesday (I know lots of you are too, so we shall be mournful together!), and so no more feasting and lazing. Christmas season is, alas, over (although technically speaking, it’s not over until 12 days from December 25, no?)… for me at least. Until 2016.

Hang in there folks… 3 more working days until the new year.

 

Images and styling: Courage & Dash; Food: Pudding Pie Lane

King of the Castle

IMG_3325IMG_3331IMG_3330IMG_3329IMG_3320IMG_3317IMG_3312IMG_3306IMG_3304bustIMG_3286armouryIMG_3264IMG_3265IMG_3262pianoIMG_3244harpIMG_3243jellymouldsIMG_3297IMG_3296IMG_3241IMG_3236door_low

I’m already quite a homebody, but if my home was like Inveraray Castle, I would never leave. Not even for brunch with Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jonny Depp at the same time. Nope. Home is where I will always be found.

The beautiful castle was the setting of a Downton Abbey Christmas special, where the Granthams went to Scotland to see Rose McGowen’s family and for plenty of grouse shooting. It is lived in by the current Duke of Argyll, but is also open to the public. With a cosy cafe (that serves tasty food), neat and attractive gardens, and charming interiors, the castle was the perfect pit stop on our way from Fife to Argyll. Our favourite room was probably the armoury, in the middle of the castle (tallest room in Britain!), where the ceiling was over three storeys high and the walls were bristling with weaponry. The cheerful yellow-painted walls added to the spacious feel of the room and half reminded me of the domed room in Castle Howard. Oh, also, of course, I spent all my time sat by the large open fireplace. Joy.

The best thing about the castle was how welcoming and approachable it was. Some stately homes can be so lavish as to be uncomfortable, even to a reverent visitor. Inveraray Castle was grand but clearly a home lived in by a family. Well worth a visit!
Images: Courage & Dash

The Curious Shop: Goose Home & Garden

blue notice board (1)carpenters workbench (1)first heart shutters (3)five ceiling tiles same pattern (3)go cart (1)gray garden table (1)green table offset lock (1)grey side table (1)hat tin with dent (1)libbys cratesmint blue buffet (1)original paint gray table (2)original white buffet (1)original white painted buffet (1)paillion bedsides (2)pale green shutters (2)purbeck 5 drawer unit (1)simplex ladder (1)single door pavillion gray (1)tall wire baskets (1)wide carpet case (1)wood and brass hooks (1)

One of the downsides of renting is being restricted (usually) to playing around with your soft furnishings; one of the upsides, however, is being able to change the style of your space as regularly as you would like!

Today, Sarah & Paul from Goose Home and Garden, our new favourite online shop, join us to tell us about their business. The online shop stocks a range of decorative vintage, from quirky signs to old furniture. One of our friends, Jessica Alice, was so inspired by Sarah that she decided to start her own business selling second hand lifestyle items. 

Sarah’s love for collecting started many years ago as a child trailing after her mum to house sales. Both Paul and Sarah started dealing in vintage homewares 20 years ago in Brighton, and now they sell regularly at fairs in the south of England. By the way, if you were wondering why “Goose”, it is because that is what newborn Sarah was christened by her older brother! We cannot wait to see them at a fair.

For more, visit http://www.goosehomeandgarden.com/.

Images: Sarah Kingston

Winter is coming…

IMG_3332bedroomIMG_3436IMG_3441IMG_3378welliesIMG_3372IMG_3384candle-portraitIMG_3420IMG_3437_2IMG_3440IMG_3388IMG_3446IMG_3401wood-choppingIMG_3410earrings-candleIMG_3427IMG_3341IMG_3416IMG_3412candlesIMG_3482

If I have spoken to you recently, you will know that I have been desperate to use the phrase “Winter is coming” legitimately, either as a title to something or in conversation about the weather. I am not well-acquainted with Game of Thrones (either the books or the television series), much to my embarrassment (everyone seems to have seen/read it!), but I just really rather like the motto. I tried to explain it to my boss last week, but as you already know, I don’t actually know the plot of the series at all, and so failed pretty much as I started.

On a cold and rainy day during our Scottish holiday, the husband and I decided to have a really lazy and slow day. When we woke up, the sky was grey, and light rain was pattering against the skylight. I cannot tell you enough how much I love rain whilst indoors, tucked under a warm duvet with fluffy pillows I can sink into. It was fab. After a hot brunch, we decided we really ought to get the fire going, and so the husband was dispatched to make some kindling, which I duly built a fire with.

By a stroke of luck, a couple of Produce candles landed on our doorstep that morning, courtesy of I Love Produce Candles – perfect timing for a cosy day in! In fact, it was exactly the right candle for our pastoral, farmyard surroundings. I first discovered Produce candles at Top Drawer, a home+gifts trade show – they smelled divine, like freshly grated vegetables or gently frying herbs (they are also aptly named things like “rosemary”, “honey”, “sage” and “radish”). These beautiful candles are hand-poured in Charleston, South Carolina (possibly one of my favourite southern cities, and where Frank Underwood from House of Cards went to university) – and now they are being sold in the UK by I Love Produce Candles. Hurrah. I think I want to try Wildflower next (I was sent Rosemary and Fig), and possibly Coriander.

We spent the rest of the day lazing by the fire, eating cake, reading, and dozing. I think I am a true champion when it comes to sitting around and not doing anything!

 

Images: Courage & Dash

Beautiful Living

DSC_0531DSC_0271mannDSC_0551Sofa_1DSC_2083DSC_2088stairs

How beautifully set up is this home? The first time I saw Natalie’s photos on her Instagram account, Laid Back Farmhouse, I fell in love with her style. It’s so airy and light and calm. You can imagine how delighted I was that Nat agreed to let us peek into her home – it’s impressive how uncluttered the space is, despite Nat’s large collection of vintage things – there is yet hope, despite my husband’s insistence that mess is synonymous with vintage hoarding. Over to you, Natalie!

“I’m Natalie Woods, I’m 34 and work in travel – you’ll often find me in either Covent Garden or Southampton.

“Five years ago, my husband and I moved back into the country, this time to West Sussex to a little converted barn that needed (and still does) some love. I grew up on the Shotley peninsular in Suffolk, so country living is deep in my bones.

“My whole life I’ve loved vintage items and very little in my house is new. My favourite pieces are Provence farmhouse inspired, as I aspire to live in rural France one day!

DSC_0208aga

“I’m still collecting and my favourite places to go are Hill & Co Grayshott and Haus Haslemere. In fact, I go there all the time. Annie & Bill @ Hill & Co often travel over to France and source the most fantastic items. I could spend hours in their lovely shop (and often do). They are incredibly friendly and passionate about antiques and also source from all over the UK. The shop has a French farmhouse feel and I know I will always find something quirky and original – my signs, apothecary drawers and glassware are all from there.

DSC_0563DSC_2046

“Stephanie @ Haus Haslemere has impeccable taste and her shop is incredibly chic. One half is a bright, Scandi/French look and through the door to the other half is an industrial/utility feel. There’s lots of beautiful vintage items and I guarantee you will want to buy everything.

“I love visiting France’s flea markets and Brocantes. My absolute favourite is Villneuve Les Avignon. It’s full of provincial items and is reasonably priced. The market setting is very beautiful.”

 

Images and styling: Natalie Wood