First however, we thought we'd really "go for it" and having heard rumours of a quilt extravaganza at Liberty, thought we'd better take a look and report back for you all. Quilty Pleasures, I like it. (Sorry about the fuzziness, I had swapped back to my little camera for the day and failed to realise I had the flash turned off. Oops!)
Now before we rush off upstairs to the third floor, venue of all things quilty, we were stopped in our tracks by the window displays outside.
Yes, that is a quilt...
More quilty goodness...
How splendid - a Liberty wedding cake!
In we go then. If you have been to Liberty or seen any of my previous posts (I am a not an infrequent visitor to Liberty, it has to be said,) you will know Liberty is the most beautiful store in the world inside and is arrange in the manner of galleried landings around a central atrium.
As you can see, quilts had been suspended into the atrium.
This one had clearly taken a lot of work and would take a fair few of your hard earned pennies to buy.
My favourite was this Dresden Plate quilt made with the most gorgeous 1930's fabrics. Oooooh yummy!
I must show you these. Yes, these are old (vintage?) hankies which are held within an embroidery loop and have a smattering of embroidered words on them. Would you like to buy one? No, I thought not. But if you did, you would need £150 to do so. Loud exclamations all round?!
After the odd essential purchase in Liberty (actually, I only bought a ball of wool but if Adele's husband Barry is reading this, you should know she was much worse).
Off we trot to Islington then (no, let's not dwell on all that lovely new fabric in John Lewis on the way. Ahem.)
Ooooh, hooray, here we are!
There is always a beautiful display just inside the entrance to the Fair and this season's did not disappoint. It was absolutely gorgeously planted, all snakeshead fritillaries, narcissi and the cutest bellis daisies.
To set the scene for you, (you are pretending you're there, aren't you?), this is the view looking down from the first floor to the ground floor. There are only a few stalls on the ground floor, though they do tend to be the big ones, the rest of the floor is taken up by the design centre.
Moving up, this is the view looking down from the top (second floor) balcony to the first floor. The first floor is fairly jam packed with stalls and there are yet more stalls around the edges of the upper balcony level (along with the essential cafe).
A spot of shopping then? There was loads to photograph; you get the feeling some people are more happy to be photographed than others so I gauge my requests for photos accordingly (nobody likes to be turned down!) Sometimes it was too busy to snap, other times I was too busy shopping to snap!
Here is Caroline Zoob's stall, always on the ground floor just as you enter the hall. I guess she has "made it" in Country Living circles.
It is always prettily displayed and there is the inevitable gaggle of people round it. The prices for the vintage items can be a little scary, though.
Here is Jan Constantine's stall. Is it getting a bit predictable now, this range? Very colourful, none the less.
Moving up to the first floor, I am entranced by the David Austin Roses stand which displays the most breathtakingly beautiful English Roses. I am a big fan of these, we have lots of their rose bushes in our gardens and when I've been very good (or he's been very bad?!) Mr HenHouse sometimes has their cut rose bouquets delivered to me.
There were beautiful floral displays everywhere. We thought the simple jugs of Spring flowers on Susie Watson's stall were lovely.
Of course, most of the stalls' displays focussed on Spring with its beautiful sugary pastel colours and flowers. This stall always has pretty displays and a smattering of the covetable Greengate.
We both bought a couple of things from the lovely stall, "Marti" which had purely vintage items, mainly with a garden theme.
We were pleased to note that there were a lot more stalls displaying vintage items at this Fair. There was the inevitable smattering of stalls selling the same old polka dotty, flowery repro stuff you see everywhere (which I find a tad disappointing). There are a lot of clothes which I can only personally describe as "sloaney"; cashmere wraps, very weird kaftan-esque numbers, those lace-edged stretchy pointelle cardis and lots of tweed. There are a lot of jewellery stalls at which my eyes simply boggle; I am lucky because I can stick to Kathy's jewellery stall which is exactly my cup of tea and displays neither too much nor too little in a beautiful style (whilst also offering the opportunity for a good natter, of course).
My favourite stall? Well Acorn & Will's is certainly a contender. We're always assured of another friendly natter here as Daniella is a fellow Vintage & Handmade Fair girl. Oooh, it was so gorgeous. I had to treat myself to a vintage pinny for my collection and a cushion cover as I loved the fabric so much. If you have seen the poster for the Country Living Spring Fair (have a look at the photo above of the billboard at the entrance to the Fair), then I can tell you that it is Daniella's cushion which takes pride of place in the photo on it.
Nearly hometime and we find a gem of a stand up on the top floor, Vintage Ribbon. We chat with the friendly ladies on the stall and yes I am right, their vintage eiderdowns and quilts featured recently in BBC Homes & Antiques magazine. I fall instantly in deep love with the most stunning dress hanging on display and eventually, it has to come home with me. It will never ever fit me, not even if I were to revert to my slim days (oh that would be lovely, somebody wave their magic wand please), as it was made for those petite ladies of the 1950's but I just want to hang it on my wall and swoon over it daily. And I will!
I take a few snaps to share with you...
They had another beautiful dress, this one from the 1930's in the most gorgeous, dainty floral chiffon fabric.
Well, my dear people, that is it for this year's Spring Fair. Finally, I have to confess that I would rather have liked to bring this home with me if only my arms weren't already so full. This little beauty was outside (along with a delectable gypsy caravan) and as we giggled away, we could have been spending even before we got into the Fair!
So what do I have to show for my day? My beautiful dress (the photo does not do this justice)...
My lovely fabric cushion from Acorn & Will...
..and lots of other bits 'n' pieces besides!