Lazy days.

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Lazy Sundays are what life should be about. Ok, obviously life is more than that, but sleeping in? So good! So underrated! Most days I am up by 5.30am and out of the door by 6am for work, so you can imagine that my morning routine is far from relaxing and in any way ideal!

When I have time, though, I love slow starts. In fact, most weekends, I am in my pyjamas for about half the day (haha!), unless I’m running out of the door to a market or antiques fair! Eventually, when I can be bothered, I jump into the bath (a real treat as I’m usually a shower person!), and then maybe laze around with a book. So good.

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The beautiful silk nightshirt I am wearing is from Derek Rose. I discovered them on Instagram and instantly wanted one of their nightshirts. The 100% silk night shirt features the ‘Toile de Jouy’ print, which is inspired by the dreamscapes of Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Young King’, about a Prince wandering through enchanted woods as he sleeps. Do check out their other beautiful kimonos and pyjamas, at https://www.derek-rose.com.

 

Images: Courage & Dash (not a sponsored post!)

 

 

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

Beautiful Living

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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!

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“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.

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“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

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

Curious Shop: Fresh Produce and Vintage Kitchenwares

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Right. Put me on a train to Oxford now, please. How delicious does the food at 2 North Parade look?? The husband and I are often moaning about the lack of greengrocers/fishmongers/butchers around us… you know, traditional small specialist businesses which provided fresh food that hasn’t travelled hundreds/thousands of miles. We are surrounded by about 5 supermarkets, and sadly, I admit that’s where we do most of our shopping. It’s very convenient, but doesn’t stop us from being slightly jealous of Oxford for having 2 North Parade!!

If you have been following Courage & Dash for a while, you would know that in addition to a (healthy) love of antiques/vintage, I also have a great soft spot for food. Fresh, homely food, good produce… makes me all warm and fuzzy (I know that sounds a bit sad, but it’s the simple things, is it not?).

2 North Parade is a neighbourhood produce store run by Peter Slade and Jojo Goodfellow. The business works closely with local farmers, producers and suppliers, which is great if you are concerned about the provenance of your ingredients. You can also get recipe ideas for cooking with the seasonal stock available – I’m a big advocate of eating seasonal as food tends to be tastier when grown during the time of the year it is supposed to! Even better, Peter and Jojo are developing their own courtyard kitchen garden to offer cut-to-order herbs. Yes, please.

If you like your kitchenware to be stylish (of course you do, that’s why you are here!), 2 North Parade now also stocks Old Made Shop items, specially curated for the store. Old Made is an Oxford-based online store which carries vintage and handmade homewares… check out their old measuring spoons and wooden pizza boards.

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For more foodie/kitchen goodness, check out 2 North Parade at http://www.2northparade.com/ or visit them at 2 North Parade Avenue, Oxford, OX2 6LX; see Old Made Shop at http://www.oldmadeshop.co.uk/.

 

Images: 2 North Parade (via Peter Slade)

Styling Your Home with Vintage

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If you’ve been following the blog for awhile you just might have picked up on my slight vintage/antique obsession. Just a slight one, of course. Not like I run around the country (or continent) hunting down fairs and shops or anything like that…

You can imagine my delight when I discovered Bring It On Home while I was looking for an antique Singer sewing stool. I love the selection of items they have in stock and the way the products have been styled for the website. If I could have done so, I probably would’ve bought the entire store; we don’t want me turning into the hoarder next door yet, do we?

In 2011, founder and owner of Bring it on Home, Amy Page, decided to give up life in the city and turn her passion for vintage furniture into a business. Amy only buys pieces she would love to have too – always a good sign!

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Part of the reason I love old things is that they are so quirky – every object has a story and tells us something about how people lived. My favourite items are old advertising and glassware, shop fittings and random decorative items (e.g. dead stock labels or a travelling candle set). It just makes home that bit more interesting, a bit like a gallery, with things that can spark one’s imagination.

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Here are Amy’s top 5 tips on styling your home with vintage/antique pieces:

1. Mix & Match: To make vintage furniture work in a modern home, you should try to mix old with new. Scandinavian homes have this look nailed – think fresh white walls and black floors paired with pale vintage wooden furniture and pops of colour in the accessories. If you prefer the dark side, then mid-century teak furniture looks amazing against a dark wall.

2. Random knick-knacks: I love to collect curious vintage knick-knacks on my travels. It’s a really great way to add some vintage flair to your home without spending a fortune and a great way to display them is on a bookshelf. If I think of my bookshelf in my home, I have a vintage string puppet, some taxidermy, an antique bible, vintage toys, a vintage camera… I could go on!

3. Re-purpose/Upcycle: I love to up cycle vintage finds and again this can be a cheaper way of adding vintage furniture to your home. Keep an eye out in charity shops or on gumtree for a piece of furniture that has seen better days and give it a new lease of life. Take Grandma’s old chair with it’s brown upholstery covered in cat hair and have it re-upholstered in a modern fabric! My favourite upcycling project was a mid-century sideboard, I spray painted the drawer-fronts in different bright mid-century colours and it looked amazing.

4. Make a statement: You don’t need heaps of vintage furniture to make a statement, just one statement piece will do the trick. For example a grand antique dining table (Courage & Dash: We wish we had space!!), or some amazing pendant lights, anything that draws the eye.

5. Let your walls do the talking: If you already have a happily furnished home but want to add an element of vintage then look to your walls. Try hanging a large vintage map or posters. I personally love the old hanging medical and anatomical charts.

Thank you Amy! By the way, did you manage to spot Batman, Amy’s Boston Terrier? Too cute! Do check out Bring It On Home (don’t tell anyone, but I’m often browsing during the day when I leave the desk to grab some coffee!) – they also have a prop hire service, so if you wanted, theoretically you could basically have everything you want from the shop…

For more, visit http://www.bringitonhome.co.uk/.

 

Images: Amy Page

Favourite Finds from Violet & Percy

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One can never have too much stationery or storage, I think! Although the husband agrees regarding the storage bit, he has second thoughts on my love of stationery. I found Violet & Percy on Instagram, and really enjoyed their selection of writing instruments (the Kaweko pens are too cute), notebooks, and prints. I browsed through their website and found some of my favourite items for the study…

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Clockwise from top left: 1. Mini flip calendar clock (£79.95), 2. Let it Grow poster (£12.80 – Sale!), 3. Time Capsule (£29.99), 4. White pegboard – 8 large and 4 small pegs included (£31)

For more, visit http://violetandpercy.com/.

 

Images: Violet & Percy