Thursday, 25 March 2010

Wowzers Trousers!

Phew, yesterday was quite a day, my dear readers! It was a day the sister and I had eagerly anticipated, the day of the Spring Country Living Fair. We are lucky enough to receive some complimentary tickets from friend and stall holder Kathy who makes the most beautiful jewellery so we gathered together our tickets, a couple of little things Del and I had made to say thank you to Kathy and my customer Louise's patchwork cushion cover and off we set. We never did see Louise to effect a hand-over but I'm sure the cover enjoyed its trip to the Fair and back.

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!

Oh errmm...

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!


  1. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, thanks for taking me to the country living fair and I didn't spend a penny...unlike some!!! Lucey xx

  2. You've made it come alive there Hen - it's so hard, living in France but getting Country Living, and knowing what I'm missing! But when I read your chatty browses through the fairs, and see your photos, it really does seem I've been there with you! I know what you mean about the Sloaney clothes and the disappointing china - but I would have loved the stalls you highlighted! Thanks so much.

  3. Wow!! What an absolutely fantastic day you had!! So many beautiful thing to see and drool over!!! The roses are devine, I'd never be able to choose my favourite because they all are!!!! Loved this post. Thank you!

  4. Oh naughty Hen! Any yummy cake for Adele this time???!!

  5. Looks like you got some goodies and had a great day.

    I love Acorn and Will too!

    Victoria xx

  6. What lovely stuff, thanks for showing us round.
    twiggy x

  7. The spring fair looks soooo pretty!! i went to the christmas one....i'll have to go to the spring one next year...i decided not to go this time as i'm saving for the v &h fair in may :) can't wait xx

  8. Hello Hen
    I haven't been for about 5 years, it looked lovely and bright and fresh.Strangely I have never been to Liberty but it and Anthropologie are on my list for when I do get to the Smoke again.
    CZ used to buy stock from me when I had a unit in Chipping Norton, maybe she will venture to the Cotswolds on August bank holiday Saturday?!
    Have a lovley weekend

  9. Hi You are very lucky going there. I hope to go next year or maybe the Christmas one.
    It all looks so pretty.
    Best wishes

  10. Thank you so much for sharing your pictures with us, i would have loved to have been there, and in a way i was, thanks to you, minus the empty purse..LOL..xx..

  11. I'm so envious! What a lovely place to go for inspiration and an eye feast! I can see why that stall was your favourite, I think it would be mine too!xx

  12. Hi Hen,

    What beautiful pics in your post. I have to admit to deliberately avoiding the CL spring fair - the bank balance is not nice at the moment after Stitch & Craft last weekend, and I would have been to hard to resist all those beautiful things! Also avoiding the Ideal Home Show for the same reason... lol

    I too love Liberty's... Oh if only they would let me live there! I think the building itself is amazing, never mind the wonderful things inside! Although it never fails to amaze me each time I go and pick up something small and beautiful that surely can't be out of my price range... and it is about a thousand pounds! Eek!

    Rose X

  13. Looks like you had a great time Hen. Thanks for the lovely post,
    Rachael xx

  14. Thankyou for the lovely free trip to the Fair! You have brought home some gorgeous goodies...and that Dresden plate quilt...WOW!!!! I LOVE it!!

    Bellaboo :0)

  15. Thanks for sharing the day Hen. It was my Birthday yesterday and I had intentions of going to the fair but stayed home and made cakes instead! It looks like you has a great time especially as you knew people at the fair. The last few years I have found the range of goods on general sale to be most predictable. I also don't think we should have to pay to get in to buy goods!!! The dress is very pretty. Just right for a garden party! x

  16. Thank you for sharing your visit with us.
    Quite a few years since I went to the Fair but I think I might try to get there again next year.
    Love the dress and all your other goodies.

  17. I do so enjoy your posts. They are filled with so many wonderful pictures. You take me on adventures that I would never be able to go on. Thank you so much

  18. Thanks so much for sharing your day with us. It looks like you had a really good time. All the stalls look lovely! I think I may have to venture their in the autumn..

  19. Funnily enough, Miss Cottage & I are off to London on Saturday to see the quilt exhibition at the V&A & of course at Liberty too.
    We are giving the CL Fair a miss as we weren't impressed last time & prefer the Vintage & Handmade!

    Nice to see your photos of the best bits though!


  20. Oh, the quilts! Just how lovely are they? Quilty pleasures:-) And the liberty cake! Talk about sensory overload - what a day!

    Also, I'd like to give you a sunshine award for all the inspiration, positivity and creativity you give to us all. Do pop over to my blog to get all the info. A huge thank you for everything you do.

  21. Thanks for a lovely trip Hen! You bought some wonderful items!The dress is fabulous!! I love the necklace in the last photo too! Gorgeous!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Rachel x

  22. Thank You for sharing the fair with us, it was most enjoyable.
    The 50's dress is simply stunning!
    Also I have never been to Liberty but have heard lots about it, it looks fabulous!!

  23. Another wonderful trip you've taken me on!!! Thanks so much for sharing :) I've come to the conclusion that I need to move from the States and move closer to you so we can go together on these excursions :)

  24. Thank you for sharing your day at the CL fair, I have never been (but now feel that I have!) Very interested to hear your comments about the vintage items. It is good to know that there are less "repro" stalls. LOVE your dress, just delicious! Lizzie x

  25. Hello Hen, Good evening to you!
    My what a wonderful day!
    Beautiful dress you bought, very pretty cushion also!

    I love the word "sloany" so very 80's and Lady Diana-ish!

    I'm hoping to go to the RHS show at Tatton this year, they have the CL tent there, I think for the mo, this is the nearest I'll get to aproper CL day out....thank you for taking the pictures and sharing the day.....that's the lovely thing about blogging, you get to see so many lovely outings!

    I'm exhausted, after a busy day making Easter baskets at school...I then came home to bake more Lemon cakes.....they are just cooking, so time to pop on here and see what has been going on in blogland!

    I'm tempted by so many CK things......the plimsoles are my fave....but I don't think I'll be having anything else for my Birthday, as I;m having that rather super bag.....:>))

    Have a lovely restful eveing, sorry for the essay!


  26. Lots of eye candy in there! Especially love the roses and henhouse caravan did make me chuckle!

    Remember when my nan used to take my sister and I to Libertys, she was a great lover of london bless her and always the lady. xx

  27. Wow, wow and wow. What more can I say.....what a fabulous day, thank you so much for posting these beautiful photographs.

  28. Oh Hen!!!
    Thank you so much, I can now feel as if I was there with you. I really don't know how you resisted so many temptations. xxx

  29. It looks great,i a have my tickets for Saturday and can't wait. Your dress is beautiful, I can see why you fell in love with it.
    Ann x

  30. I am so glad you enjoyed your trip and that the fair seems to have returned a little to its original lovely self. Went every year from its start until about 3 years ago when it just seemed to fill with all the repro stuff, odd clothing and the like. Like the idea of more vintage and collectibles so might return next year. Your buys are stunning no wonder you were pleased.
    Jenny x

  31. Lovely post Hen, thanks for sharing your day with us.
    Love the dress.
    Luv Sophie xxx

  32. Dear Hen
    It's just a bit far to "pop over" to Liberty's and the Country Living Fair so thank you so much for taking me there! Lovely photos and commentary and thanks for sharing your pretty purchases, is that velvet ribbon? my favorite! Barbara (from Melbourne, Australia)

  33. wow this you surely had a full day! I really like fairs like this specially during spring time, it simply makes everything so beautiful and so relaxed wanting you to spend and spend... ooops!

    Love your dress by the way :>

  34. Oooohhh that dress! The pattern on the fabric is to die for, isn't it Hen?! I think Acorn and Will's stall was my favourite, I love that look. Thanks for all the photos for those of us who couldn't make it to the fair. Love Vanessa xxx (do you mind if i knit)

  35. Alas! For once I had tickets to this but my foot prevented me from going...oh well! At least I can see how it looked from the comfort of my armchair! xxx

  36. Thanks for sharing Hen. I love Acorn & Will...looking forward to treating myself at the V&H fair :)

  37. Hen,Thank you so much for the virtual tour of CLF.I don't feel quite so deprived now.I love the stalls you highlighted but also get the feeling that its not what it used to be.A x

  38. Oh thank you so much Hen! We've been away recently so had to forgo the pleasure of this year's Spring Fair. But now I feel as though I've been!
    P x


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