Thursday, 6 November 2008

A Treat of a Day

Last year for my birthday, my lovely other half bought me a very special treat: tickets for a trip on the Orient Express.  It has taken us up until now to get round to making the trip.  My parents kindly came down to look after the Munchkin as yesterday, the day of our trip to Bath dawned. A very early start saw us arrive at Victoria ready to board, the mighty steam engine Clan Line ready to haul us to the West country (and back)...

The Pullman coaches are beautifully kept, in umber and cream livery. Most were built in the 1930's and have been lovingly and authentically restored to their art deco splendour. We were to travel in Audrey, a first class "kitchen" coach (that is, it has a little kitchen at one end) and just 20 seats...

Inside, everything is immaculate.  The walls are lined with painstakingly executed marquetry, there are beautiful, highly polished chrome art deco wall and ceiling lights adorned with images of fans and sun bursts, dinky little ornate luggage racks, individual arm chairs upholstered in appropriately vintage-inspired fabrics, silver cutlery and crystal glasses.  Oh my!

We had a very leisurely and luxurious breakfast and I managed to crochet the odd granny square.  That drew some interested looks!  

Now I know at this point you are going to think I am a bit bonkers, but even the toilet on the Orient Express was marvellous!  Ours was situated in the next coach, named "Perseus", the basis for the theme of the loo floor, no less.  No lino on the Orient Express, it's all mosaic tiles.

Marble handbasin, pretty flowers, Miller Harris toiletries, polished chrome. If only modern railways were like this...

Now, if you've recovered from your hysterics at thoughts of me taking my camera into the loo, we'll move on...

Once we arrived, we had a few hours to spend in Bath.  We chose not to go on the coach tour included, we felt it was time to stretch our legs, but to wander by ourselves.  I know Bath (or at least, its shops) quite well as a friend of mine lived there until recently and I had visited her several times.   We were irresistibly drawn to afternoon tea at the splendid Pump Rooms.

Afternoon tea seemed to be a popular theme and I snapped this lovely little window display in the nearby indoor market...

Now, a little dickie bird had told me that a new Cath K shop, indeed the flagshop store, had opened in Bath.  It would have been rude not to have had a look...

And look who came home with us afterwards!

I've been wanting a Stanley for ages so I dived on this one when I spotted him hiding away in a locked display cabinet.

I was also very chuffed to come away with this free "limited edition" booklet which has been produced to celebrate Cath K's 15th birthday.  (Apologies that the images are not great but the light is so dreadful today.  Better than nothing though, I hope.)

There are some great images inside.  There's a bit about Cath's first ever shop which she opened in October 1993.

Images of the first catalogue Cath produced, which she says was a homemade affair with line drawings and lots of  "Tippex" and photographs taken at home one afternoon with a basic instant camera.

Some of the first products offered for sale which Cath descibes as "anything that could be cut and sewn by a domestic sewing machine".  I just love that Rose Gingham fabric.

Photos of the various catalogues which have been produced since.

And a whole double page spread devoted to our fave little furry friend who is described as "the office pest, raiding handbags for snacks at any opportunity".  It also states that the call centre receives more calls about Stanley than any other part of the business!

A fun page showing all the camping gear Cath K has produced...

Better hope the Munchkin doesn't see that wigwam or I'll be scouring eBay!  I'm going to treasure this little booklet, that's for sure, I'll add it to my stash of Cath K catalogues.

I'l be back blogging next week as I am (I think and hope!) being whisked away for a child-free weekend as I hit the ripe old age of 34 tomorrow.  Where did all those years go..?  I also planned to have my first giveaway on my birthday but this week has been so manic, I just haven't had the chance to make the special goodies I want to give away so, I'll organise that next week.  Oh, and it's the Country Living Fair next week too, goody!

Have a great weekend everyone...


  1. That train trip look rather splendid - and looking around my favourite city too I wished I could have joined you! Whenever we go to Bath we stay for a few days in the Francis Hotel on Queens Square highly recommended. Enjoy your week-end away looking forward to seeing the next blog to see where you have been.

  2. Hello again HAPPY BIRTHDAY for tomorrow.

  3. Happy Birthday for tomorrow,Hen.
    I'm off to York soon and guess where I'll be heading first?!!!

  4. What a fantastic post.... how lucky are you?? I did laugh loads at the fact you made granny squares on the orient express.... can you imagine tonight someone is saying ... 'we had a great time but there was this crazy women crocheting & taking pictures of the loo'!!!!
    How did I know you would go to Cath's in Bath?? I'm trying to talk OH to go to Bath shopping but I think he knows my plan! I love the book.
    Have a great child free weekend. I'll look forward to your give away, haven't won one yet so fingers crossed!! :) xx

  5. Have a wonderful birthday! What a treat to take a ride on the Orient Express. Utter elegance - even the loo.

    Enjoy your weekend.


  6. How rude.. I was so busy laughing I forgot to say happy birthday.... 34 ... lucky thing!! xxx

  7. Happy Birthday and what a wonderful trip! How elegant. My mother and father in law went to Venice on the OE this summer and had the most wonderful time ever.

  8. Oh Hen,What a magnificent day, what a wonderful present for such a wonderful lady. I've always wanted to go on the OE and dropped HUGE hints when it was on The Restaurant!!!
    Stanley is GORGEOUS. I'm slao going to have to pop into Bath in the am to try and get a 15 yr brochure now!! Well, it's a good excuse to do a little more shopping isn't it??!!
    Have a wonderful 'Child-free' Birthday 'Vintage Hen'...god I wish I was 34 again?!!
    Jane. x

  9. Hi!! How wonderful, I took my Mum on the Orient Express just before me wedding as a little mini hen doo for the pair of us! It was fantastic! It's lovely to see and hear someone enjoy it just as much, it really is a special experience!!


  10. Have a very happy birthday.

    Sue xx

  11. Have ahappy day!!!!
    Huge WOW.....wonderful day...i love the stanley and the book is FAB.....oh lucky lucky you!!!
    So want one!
    Glad you have it tho...because i know how much you will enjoy it.....*big smile*

  12. Hen, that sounds rather lovely. And it sounds also as if we share the same birthday - if you're talking about tomorrow! Me too, I'm being whisked away to I don't know where for a child-free w/e. I am sooooooo looking forward to it. I hope you have a lovely time. x

  13. OOOO you lucky girl, sounds like you had a rather grand day out!! I love Bath so much and will be visiting the gorgeous christmas market next month!!
    Hope you have a wonderful birthday and get spoiled rotten.
    Claire x

  14. Oh I'd love to go on the Orient Express sometime! We were recently on the Glacier Express which was quite plush in a modern way - no mosaics in the bathroom though! Happy BDay! Great Cath pictures -Hoping to go the the new CK store in Dublin next week!

  15. What a fantstic day out you both had! The Orient Express always seems so romantic!
    Happy Birthday to you to! Have a great weekend away, Kathryn. XX

  16. Lucky you, I've always wanted to go on the Orient Express, ever since I started watching Poirot when I was a teenager! Glad you enjoyed it and have a very happy birthday - I hope you get whisked somewhere lovely.

  17. WOW, I am SO envious of you right now! That looks like such a fabulous trip. Have a happy 34th birthday.


    Looks like we are all having our birthdays. I'm founding so many of us having it in October and November.
    And the trip... I wish I may also go on that train one day.


  19. Happy birthday lovely lady! xxx fantastic post as always..what a beautiful treat..vintage elegance on the orient express and caths kitschness..perfect! (how much do I want one of those booklets..I'm going to turn into a stamping lunatic and scream until i'm sick til I find one of those!)
    have a lovely day today Hen x

  20. What a wonderful gift!!!! A journey on the Orient Express is a dream of mine that I plan to fulfill sometime when time and fund allow. And to end up in such a lovely city! Surrounded by Cath loveliness and tea cakes!!! Thanks so much for sharing these photos so that we could live vicariously!

    LOVE your blog!!!!

  21. I was given the link to you blog on Shabby Chic Café. I am new there. I really love your blog.
    It seems that you had a great trip with the Orient Express. Who wouldn't want to do that!
    Happy birthday!

  22. Lucky you, I've always wanted to go on the Orient Express.
    Have a lovely birthday (enjoy..I wish I was 34 last birthday!)
    Deb xx

  23. Oh wow! Lucky you!

    It looks like you had a wonderful time. Happy Birthday to you :)

  24. Happy Birthday, hope you're having a wonderful day! I would love to travel on the Orient Express, would have love to have done it in its heyday, it always seems so romantic. I love travelling on old steam trains and to end up in Bath would be perfect!

  25. Poor us!
    So rotten having a cold.....I've had to stay in all day, because i have to go to work tomorrow....gggrrrr!
    I had all sort of plans, i've managed to get some sewing done, but thats all!
    Watching the Remeberance service, very touching....

    Are all the shops doing the birthday book?
    I'm in two minds to order something from a shop just to get one!!!!
    Keep warm!xxx

  26. Happy Birthday Hen, were you 34 on the 7th? If so so was I! Just returned from a surprise trip to our favorutie hideaway, Ludlow. Hope you've had as smashing a birthday as I have.

    Many happy returns.

  27. Now thats' what I call a stylish Birthday treat!!
    Maybe I should leave the Orient Express brochure nonchalantly lying around the house.. hint hint!
    So pleased you had a wonderful day out and Bath has so much to offer a day visit..
    I am sorry this is a belated Birthday greeting... I hope you had a very special time!

    Michele xx


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