Saturday, 14 May 2016

Decorative Living Fair 2016

Being on my doorstep, The Decorative Living Fair is a gift, not only because it is nearby but because Caroline Zoob does have a wonderful knack for putting together the most glorious event. Hedgerow spoils spill from vintage jars and buckets...Cowparsley, fox gloves, dead nettle and more sing like corsages pinned onto stall after stall. Bunting and jam jar posies decorate the Blackbird Cafe, The magnificent backdrop is the ripe, rolling green landscape of Sussex.

Then there are the sellers, each carefully presenting their bounty, beautifully styled vignettes to inspire and delight you. Here are some of my favourites...
Gorgeous arrangement in the entrance foyer by Sophie Hill, the talent behind Astilbe & Sorrel. You can find Astilbe & Sorrel at the Walled Nursery in Hawkhurst, East Sussex. When I left Sophie had sold out of her gorgeous arrangements! I know she is re-stocking for Saturday, phew!
Very fond of a bit of re-merchandising! Here at the King John's Nursery Stand. I love the aesthetic that these guys have, the nursery is a real treat to visit plus a gorgeous cafe and shop..the website is fab too, well worth a visit.

This is Marina Adinolfi's stand, it was my favourite...the colours just sang...really really yearning for that quilt!
My favourite products were Emma Williams' beautifully bound vintage books. Emma sources classic novels, children's books and other old books with beautiful details. Gold leaf edged pages, incredible colour plates, delightful etchings and then matches beautiful vintage fabrics to bind them.
 Find Forget me not originals here.
It was good to feed my cowparsley obsession! I was married in May and the church was smothered with it...the avenue to the reception was a mile of dust track and swathes of frothy white umbelifers...

 I was really taken with these willow platters by Sara Millington from Tray Bon, she also makes amazing willow cloches to support all your leggy plants.
I found myself stumbling into all kinds of good people that I have admired. I was luck enough to catch up with Rosehip the stand was beautiful and too crammed with customers to show you! Have a look at their gorgeous website, it's lovely. My dear friends from How Green Nursery were there too. I bumped into Louise from Love & Lilac imagine that, we hadn't seen each other for many a year!
My favourite nook was inside the house...that green fireplace!
The gardens at Eridge Park are looking wonderful, I recommend a stroll if you are going to the Fair today. I'll leave you with this ridiculously blowsy peony...

Have a lovely weekend whatever you are getting up to.

Sunday, 3 April 2016


Lately, when the April skies turn leaden and the wind winds itself up into a bitter, brutal bite up here on the hill, my mind wanders to warmer climes.
 "To those who appreciate wisteria and sunshine" begins the advert in Elizabeth Von Arnims' "Enchanted April."
"She stared. Such beauty; and she there to see it. Such beauty; and she alive to feel it. Her face was bathed in light. Lovely scents came up to the window and caressed her. A tiny breeze gently lifted her hair. Far out in the bay a cluster of almost motionless fishing boats hovered like a flock of white birds on the tranquil sea. How beautiful, how beautiful. Not to have died before this . . . to have been allowed to see, breathe, feel this. . . . She stared, her lips parted. Happy? Poor, ordinary, everyday word. But what could one say, how could one describe it? It was as though she could hardly stay inside herself, it was as though she were too small to hold so much of joy, it was as though she were washed through with light. And how astonishing to feel this sheer bliss, for here she was, not doing and not going to do a single unselfish thing, not going to do a thing she didn't want to do."
Taken from The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim
"All down the stone steps on either side were periwinkles in full flower, and she could now see what it was that had caught at her the night before and brushed, wet and scented, across her face. It was wistaria. Wistaria and sunshine . . . she remembered the advertisement. Here indeed were both in profusion. The wistaria was tumbling over itself in its excess of life, its prodigality of flowering; and where the pergola ended the sun blazed on scarlet geraniums, bushes of them, and nasturtiums in great heaps, and marigolds so brilliant that they seemed to be burning, and red and pink snapdragons, all outdoing each other in bright, fierce colour. The ground behind these flaming things dropped away in terraces to the sea, each terrace a little orchard, where among the olives grew vines on trellises, and fig-trees, and peach-trees, and cherry-trees. The cherry-trees and peach-trees were in blossom—lovely showers of white and deep rose-colour among the trembling delicacy of the olives; the fig-leaves were just big enough to smell of figs, the vine-buds were only beginning to show. And beneath these trees were groups of blue and purple irises, and bushes of lavender, and grey, sharp cactuses, and the grass was thick with dandelions and daisies, and right down at the bottom was the sea. Colour seemed flung down anyhow, anywhere; every sort of colour, piled up in heaps, pouring along in rivers—the periwinkles looked exactly as if they were being poured down each side of the steps—and flowers that grow only in borders in England, proud flowers keeping themselves to themselves over there, such as the great blue irises and the lavender, were being jostled by small, shining common things like dandelions and daisies and the white bells of the wild onion, and only seemed the better and the more exuberant for it."
Taken from The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim
It may not be San Salvatore, nor indeed Italy, but there is no denying Villa Boa Vista has a similar life affirming effect on me! I love to wake here, the morning after the the shutters and gaze out over the roof tops to the wedge of sea glittering in the distance. Pad across the tiled floors into the kitchen and open up the doors to the pool and terrace. Admire the bourgainvillea dripping over the pergola while I wait for the coffee to percolate. Thrust my feet into any shoe and wander up the steps and onto the thin dusty soil where the almonds grow. Dare myself to de-robe and plop into the pool before sleep has taken it's leave..."aaaaaaaaaarrrrghhhhhh!"
 It seems I'm not alone in my affection for the Algarve. Portugal is more popular than ever as a holiday destination. Villa Boa Vista or rather Boa Vista Fazenda is a beautiful country villa nestled in the eastern foothills of the Algarve, not far from the historic and mostly untouched Moncarapacho. That wedge of sea in the distance is the view towards the Parque Natural, a mosaic of sand islands, lagoons and beaches. Head west and you will discover the beautiful unspoilt beach that is Praia Marinha near Carvoeiro...
Then there is the fish...freshly caught and simply pan there any finer meal? I long to be sandy of foot, crunchy with salt, fist clenched around beach treasure...pausing to take another picture.
 Being a pattern junkie I am forever stopping to photograph another tile, a different flower, washing strung between get the picture. It takes a patient companion to tolerate my endless looking and exclamations! Fortunately I have one, a good man. Who once, many moons ago, knelt on the tiles around the pool at Boa Vista and asked a question, THE question...
Jane Cumberbatch of Pure Style fame shares my love for this spot, for more reading and lovely images have a look here
...spoiler alert! I/She said YES!
Reading this back to myself it occurs to me this is a love letter...

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Gallivanting and home again...

Hello Hello! Been off gallivanting...Copenhagen in December and Australia in January...since then. Hmmm, not sure, been in the bunker of home I suppose, head down ironing out the travel creases. Oh and then of course I fell down the Pinterest worm-hole, which, as I am sure you know, operates in a another whole dimension of time and space. 
Time faraway spent with the "Faraways" is a rare treat for us and so we wring every drop of the days...I am etching onto memory plates, writing endless nonsense into my notebook because if I don't I'll lose the essence. Summer days spent on the other side of this earth also seem strangely surreal as though my real life is in suspended animation. 

We stayed in a wonderful Farmstead down on the Mornington Peninsula, south of Melbourne. The Faraways stay their often and I visited there myself some years ago. The driveway cuts between orchards of quince, apple, lemons, avocado, plums...heaven! Enough of my rambling...I'll show you...

I should also say, to my very great joy and endless amazement, I have friends who I discovered here in this on-line magicarium who, I had the very great pleasure of variously visiting, staying with, bumping into! Miss Pen Pen and two exceptional cats, Lynda Gardener's The White Room and thanks to my sister in law, discovering the gorgeous l'uccello.

Sigh...It's good to sit and edit my reams of diving back into it...

leaving is always feels like this...

 Parting is indeed such sweet sorrow.