Sunday, 31 August 2008

The Wanderers of the West Return...

Hello again bloggers!  We are newly returned from the West Country and full of tales of thrifty adventures.  I can't believe how quickly the week has flown by and how little I've achieved on my "to do" list.  Never mind!

It was lovely to spend more than just a weekend at our little cottage and we managed a few trips out and about.  We decided to go to Totnes again as we were so taken with it when we visited a few months ago for the first time.  It was a good decision as some splendid finds resulted and the sun shone all day!

There is a good market in Totnes and this time, it had its fair share of vintagey stalls.  Here is a particularly lovely one belonging to a lady called Amanda of whom I had already heard via another blog.  She has been kind enough to allow me to post some photos.  Drool away!

I understand Amanda is usually at the Friday market, we were just lucky this time, but bear that in mind if you fancy a visit.  Her stall is a pretty mix of vintage finds and handmade goods. Have a look again at the second photo.  I bought the mirror on the right hand side.  I have been after one of these painted mirrors for a while so imagine my delight when I had a choice of two! It is now adorning my growing "floral wall" at the cottage and necessitated a full-scale reshuffle, directed by yours truly but effected by my very helpful other half and his hammer. It's difficult to photograph well (particularly without getting my reflection in it which really ruins it!)

We bought a very nice art deco clock for our Burgh room from another stall (the items on the stall were the contents of a house left to the stallholder's mother, she told us) and I couldn't resist two pretty old rugs (only £5 each).  They're lovely and thick under your toes and I think will make the lounge lovely and snuggly in Winter...

Finished at the market (and having sampled a few delicious morsels at the Farmers' Market upstairs), we carried on up the hill to my fave shop, a real draw for me to visit Totnes and which I mentioned in a previous post, "This'n'That".  This time, being a slightly more experienced blogger, I managed to take a few shots of the exterior (I confess that I took them on my way out, I was once again too eager to dive inside!)

Hmm, I really would like that duck egg blue milk churn...

We succumbed to more (6!) vintage Eileen Soper prints (which accompanied the Enid Blyton nature books) and admired the beautiful selection of vintage and modern reproduction goods in the shop, artfully displayed.  Here you can see some of the prints on the walls.

The Munchkin was excited to behold a good stash of Enid Blyton and Ladybird books.

It was a joy to visit a shop where the owner enjoys having a chat about the things she sells and I highly recommend a visit.

Another attractive shop caught my eye...

It sells lots of old enamel signs.

And another one round the corner had a very fetching window display, not vintage goods but the next best thing, Cath K and Greengate!

The other great thing about Totnes is that there are lots of delightful tea shops.  

Add to this the South Devon Railway, and there is something to please all of us Hens...

Monday, 25 August 2008


We're off to the West Country tomorrow for a little break before school starts again. Unfortunately, we have not indulged in modern conveniences  such as a 'phone line down in our little patch in the country so whilst I'll be trying to keep up with everyone else's blogs via the modern wonder that is the iphone (this is v optimistic, I am not technologically minded and the mobile signal is poor), I won't be able to post here for a bit.  Crikey, it's like cutting off my right arm!  Hopefully, I'll be back with all sorts of thrifty and adventurous tales next week.
In the meantime, here's praying for sunshine.  Enjoy the rest of August, my fellow bloggers...

Hen x

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Yesterday's World

Yesterday we decided to have a family day out and settled on a visit to the place named Battle, in East Sussex, to "Yesterday's World".

This is a "social history" museum encompassing the last 100 or so years, from the reign of Queen Victoria to the psychedelic '70s and is housed in a 15th Century Wealden hall house.  It basically comprises a series of walk-through displays in the form of shops and rooms to transport you back to past eras.  It was set up by a Mr and Mrs Buckley who had a genuine love of collecting nostalgia, antiques and memorabilia.  In 1982, Mrs Buckley entered a competition in Good Housekeeping magazine to create a window display; this she did in her local newsagent's window with items from their collection.  The display duly won 1st prize. When the couple began to dismantle the window display, many customers were disappointed and the suggestion was made to create a more permanent display somewhere.  This is where "Yesterday's World" began, in 1986.

Nearly all of the displays were behind glass so I apologise that some of the photographs are less than marvellous but are the best I could manage.

First up was the 1930s grocer's shop which had me eyeing up all those fantastic vintage tins...

These beautiful cards were in the window of the old newsagents:

A display which was particularly interesting to the smallest member of the group was the 1920s confectionery shop. Yum yum!

There were more lovely vintage jars and tins in here.

This shop also housed a glass fronted cabinet filled with vintage children's toys.

I remember those Eye-Spy books!

I think this original enamelled paint chart at the Ironmonger's could give Farrow & Ball's a run for its money!

This one in the chemist's was not so attractive!

This one was outside the Grocer's.

Of particular interest to me, were the Lace Maker's shop window and the Drapers from the Victorian era.  Apparently, specialist shops such as the Lace Maker's were the norm back then.

Not sure I'd swap my new Janome for this (even if it is a million times more attractive!) Apparently, this Singer sewed a "chain stitch" as an equivalent to our modern straight stitch.

There was a wonderful display of old toys up in the attic rooms, the Munchkin being particularly taken with the Hornby railway.  The old beds were really tiny back then.

Look at this fab mini children's kitchen dresser:

One of my favourite displays was the "wartime kitchen", circa 1941.  Oooh, I'd love one of those old cabinets (and just about anything else in it really!)

There was another general store, this time from the 1970s and based on Arkwrights from "Open All Hours".  Look at those Avery scales (lust!)

I spotted this lovely old magazine:

Outside, there was a great play area for children which comprised a "village" of miniature buildings. Even the interiors were kitted out. How I would have loved to play shop here when I was little! The Muchkin was more interested in the fort.

If you are in the area, I recommend a visit, we certainly enjoyed ourselves.  I hope you've had a lovely weekend too.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Hope and Glory

Or do I mean Hope and Greenwood? Some of you may have heard of this brand of nostalgic sweeties and we are lucky enough to have their main shop just a couple of miles away from us. Having spent the morning sewing indulgently to the backdrop of Thomas the Tank, Henry et al whizzing along their wooden rails, I suggested to the Munchkin a trip to Dulwich to the sweetie shop and he was, perhaps not surprisingly, very enthusiastic!

The exterior boasts a lovely old fashioned stripey awning and a seat for one to indulge in an ice cream cone perhaps. 

The window display is always interesting to behold.

The real jewel is the interior which is chock full of old dressers lined with Cath K wrapping paper, topped with pretty vintage tins and adorned with sparkly fairy lights and blowsy silk roses, their shelves laden with giant glass jars of multi-coloured sugary confections and rainbow-hued sherbets.  The counter is of the authentic old fashioned wooden frame, glass fronted variety, its top crammed with glass stands with domed lids groaning with coconut ice, geranium creams, rose fondants and crumbly vanilla fudge.  Now the bad bit. The lady in the shop said no to my polite request to photograph. I was so disappointed as I would have loved to have shared the interior with you.  However, fortunately for us I'd already snapped a quickie of the interior, so here goes (the things I do for blogging!  My next blog could be from my very own cell courtesy of HMP!)

Harry was then kept quiet for all of about oooh, three minutes, choosing ten sweeties for his little basket (he's quite smart that one, he sussed that a packet of love hearts would only count as one!)  I purchased a few bits.  I thought they would look good on the dresser at the cottage (if they make it that far).  

And this groovy wrapping paper.

I like the fact that they think about every aspect of what they make.  Look at this gorgeous tag and badge.

If you click here on the words "Hope and Greenwood", you shall be transported to the shop's website which is really beautifully done, all the sweeties artfully arranged against old western annuals and pretty wrapping paper.  It took me back a few years, Sherbet Dib-Dabs, Parma Violets and all that!

Whilst in Dulwich and the munchkin satisfied with the promise of sweeties after dinner following best behaviour, we visited a couple of my fave local shops.  Here are some goodies in "Grace and Favour"...

(Sorry about the reflection in the window.)

And here are some in "ED" (purveyor of Greengate and a bit of Cath K, amongst other things)...

Now where did I put those flying saucers...