Monday, 14 June 2010

Midsummer Delight

Last week, a very nice lady contacted me and asked if we would like tickets to attend the Wealden Times' ( a fancy mag in Kent/Sussex) Midsummer Fair. Oh yes indeedy we would, pretty please. So thanks to the very kind Jackie of Kittys, we set off for High Halden in Kent on Saturday morning.

Now en route, we just happened to stumble across a car boot sale taking place on the local cricket pitch. So a quick three-point-turn and we were booting! Hmm, I tried to take a snap of the booty for my overseas readers as I have been asked "what is a boot sale" but it was quite a little boot sale, about 25 cars, and they were well spread out around the field. It was the loveliest setting for a boot sale though and we did strike lucky with some great and very cheap perennials for our newly weeded garden border and three very lovely embroidered cloths, books for the Munchkin and so on.

Onto the Midsummer Fair then and luckily, the sun is starting to peep out from behind the clouds. I must tell you that my photos do not do the setting justice. The Fair is basically held on a farm which is really in the middle of nowhere in the rolling Kent weald, not the sort of place you're just going to happen across. There were little ponds interspersed throughout the fields which held marquees for stalls and food and drink. Little ducks and chickens were waddling round here and there. Oh it was just so lovely!

The Fair was on for three days, Saturday being the last, and Saturday was certainly very well attended. The weather was perfect on Saturday, I can imagine the organisers pray long and hard for good weather as the fair would not be quite the same in the rain.

Bunting and hens - a match made in heaven?!

There were three marquees full of yummy wares but there were also gorgeous stalls outside. There were some beautiful Victorian garden ornaments on this display but you would need a healthy bank balance to buy them.

This won the prize (whatever that was!) for best stall. This seller specialised in antique pond yachts and also had some gorgeous rowing boats, lots of Union Jack flags (at expensive prices, sadly) and vintage toys.

It was certainly the perfect setting for the pond yachts and rowing boats.

Vegetarians look away now!

Here was lunch! Yummy! None of those new fangled "portable" spit roast thingies, this was the real deal, with a Cath Kidston covered Smeg fridge and a teepee in the background for good measure. They sold real local ales too, always a winner with Mr HH.

Nearby was this lovely caravan, looking like it was awaiting its internal makeover, oh how I would love to get my hands on that! Mr HH says it was not really a vintage caravan (probably late '70s-early '80s) but the external painting did a good job of creating the vintage look.

Talking of caravans, here was a delightful stall actually set up in and around a caravan: "Happy Hampers". This was lovely, I was ridiculously enthusiastic, bounding around with my big camera and raving over picnic baskets full of vintage china, embroidered cloths and the like!

(The owner is the lady in purple polka dots.)

We were welcome to wander into the caravan which was chock-a-block full of vintage goodies.

Outside, the displays were just as beautiful with pretty china here displayed on a dresser. Bunting, there was plenty of bunting at this fair!

Moving over-excitedly into the first marquee, I am greeted by the lovely ladies on the Old Rectory Sales stand. Now I have heard of these sales via Happy's blog and I will certainly be doing my best to attend in future (I think the next one is September, in Ightham, Sevenoaks) as they had some lovely items and really beautiful flowers on display, too.

This lady, on "Bohemia and Flower" was also lovely and chatty. She makes these stunning soaps in her own kitchen nearby in Kent. I'm normally more of a handwash girl for ease but I was converted and bought a couple of deliciously scented soaps. Her stand looked (and smelled) absolutely beautiful, with the dresser behind and bunches and bunches of gorgeous garden flowers.

These poppies with cornflowers were so gorgeous and I'm amazed they still looked so good after three days as poppies usually flop in my experience (apparently, to keep them perky you have to scald the bottoms of the stems in very hot water, eek!)

Onto the stand of "Everything is Different", I spent ages chatting to the lady here who was so warm and interesting. Her goodies were right up my proverbial vintage street and I bought a lovely biscuit tin and chocolate box from her. It was the first time this lady had done this fair, having previously been an antiques dealer, and she obviously has a lovely eye, as they say!

The shelf unit looks a little bereft as I had already ransacked it!

I was very tempted by the terrier ornament...

Next door was Daniella of Acorn and Will, who always has a beautiful display of vintage goodies and looked customarily stunning herself in a vintage pink floral frock. No, she hid from my camera as all stall holders always do!

Love the candy colours.

Onto the stand of Velvet Ribbon, golly it was starting to feel as if I were amongst old friends! You may remember I bought the stunning vintage dress from these ladies at the last Country Living Fair. We chatted for ages about all things vintage, particularly eidys! Their stall always looks divine.

You can never have too many eidys!

Another stand I had visited (and bought from) at the Country Living Fair was here, that of Marti, it looked beautiful as always, full of both vintage and handmade goodies and it was nice to have a chat and admire.

I must say these photos are just the tip of the iceberg. There were three marquees full of stalls with wares for sale, two of them had a lot of vintage lovelies, one was more new clothing, candles, jewellery and so on. There was a fourth for food to buy to take home: Jimmy's sausages, local asparagus and Kentish cobnuts, delicious French wines.

Time to refuel then? There were various options but one thing I must stress which really set this fair apart was that attention had been paid to every detail and everything was absolutely stunning. This is the old "Pole Barn" where you could buy yummy Summery salads then sit at these lovely old trestle tables adorned with tablecloths and flowers and admire the bunting.

I spot a dodgy pair indulging in the local ice cream!

There was also a marquee where you could take traditional afternoon tea, the "Tea Tent". Again, this was absolutely beautiful, all the tables had proper floral cotton tablecloths, the china was all vintage as were the spoons and so on, there was even a chandelier for lighting! This was one classy do!

To top off the day, the Munchkin who had taken a keen interest in the terrier statues he kept seeing on the stands, made a new friend!

Isn't Hector just the most adorable little chap?

He belonged to the lady who owned the "Happy Hampers" stand. Photo shoot heaven!

So, if you are in a position to visit this Fair next time round, I cannot recommend highly enough that you do so. What set this fair apart, aside from the fact that it was in a naturally stunning setting and everything was done so tastefully and beautifully, was the fact that everyone was so friendly. I mean both the sellers on the stalls (all of whom were happy for me to take photos, unlike some snooty folk at the Country Living Fair,) and also, the people I got chatting to standing in queues for hog roasts and ice cream and so on. Ahhh, just lovely.

After the Fair, the boys having been very patient with me, we nipped into nearby Tenterden which is a gorgeous little town we know quite well as it is home to... a steam railway!

Choo choo!

Chuff chuff!

I leave the boys to it and wander off to mooch in Joules and Laura Ashley amongst Tenterden's other choice shops.

We drive home through the gorgeous Kentish countryside, past ridiculously picturesque villages.

Eat your heart out, Miss Marple!

That village was Sissinghurst (of Vita Sackville-West's castle garden fame).

So we rush home for that all-important kick-off at 7.30pm, Mr HH sparks up the barbie and I ask the Munchkin to help (shock horror!) by taking my bags of goodies upstairs for me. Imagine my amusement when I head up to my den later on to find this little scene...

It seems the Munchkin thought he'd have a go at styling while he was at it!


  1. OOoh I'll have to remember that fair next year it looks fantastic.

    I love how Munchkin laid out all the goodies for you.

    Victoria xx

    PS I tried Nigella's pork and gnocchi last week actually having never eaten gnocchi before and was quite impressed... I will of course keep you all posted with other recipes I try.

  2. Looks like the perfect day out, Thanks for sharing it with us. The fair looks lovely, and your photo's and text really brought it to life!

  3. What a lovely day out, and those stalls are amazing!

  4. What a lovely day out (and brilliant photos).

    I LOVE Munckins styling, he could be a window dresser when he grows up (in his spare time from being a train driver of course)!

    Sue xx

  5. Wow!!! Just got off the phone from speaking to you and had to take a look. It looks like a fabulous fair Hen. Great finds too.

    That Munchkin is the sweetest boy!

  6. Oooh that looks like a lovely day out! Your pics are lovely :-)

    Rose X

  7. Wow, that looks like a great fair to go to...will have to remember that one for a future trip! Great pics! xxx

  8. Oh my, that all looks and sounds absolutely delightful and, as you say, the 'icing on the cake' at these events is the warmth and friendliness of everyone. Bunting seems to be even more everywhere than usual this year!

  9. Oh I do believe we should be joined at the hip and it is only an ocean that is keeping us apart! Friends have often said that your blog reminds them of me but probably no blog post more than today....oh I so want to have gone with you, you have such wonderful taste (so like my own haha) and I adore all your photos...and all your finds! Thank you so much for sharing.
    I can't believe our blog headers are similar...which is very odd indeed....
    Loved this post.
    Kiss Noises Linda

  10. Looks like a great day out Hen & just up my street too!


  11. What a feast for my eyes ... Thankyou ....

  12. What a wonderfulday you all had.
    Julie xxxxx

  13. What a fab day out you had, all looks just so lovely and as for the Munchkin 'helping' with your purchases what a great end to the day! You have him trained well I can't imagine my little cheeky chap doing that for me he would have dropped and gone!

    Really enjoy reading your blog still it's such a feast for the eyes, keep it up!

  14. What a wonderful day out, what fantastic treasures. So envious.
    Thank you for all the eye candy.

  15. A fair with chickens!! Looks lovely!! Tamzin X

  16. what afantastic day out - I must keep my eyes out for one up here in the NW

  17. I was there on Saturday too!! Although I took my camera I realised that I only took a few pictures of my kids and none of the stalls so I'm happy to look through yours.

    Ruth x

  18. Welcome to my town!! I live in Tenterden and I was at the fair on Saturday too! It has grown since last year as there were only two marquees and a food marquee.
    I bought some embroidered linens from Vintage Ribbons and a vintage table runner from Acorn and Will, along with a pair of her pretty fabric earrings for my 13 yr. old who came with me.
    Your photographs are lovely really show the fair just as it is - so tasteful and 'vintage'!
    I know Stella and Pippa of Happy Hampers and have mailed them your blog URL, I'm sure they would like to see your photos.

  19. Oh my how sweet is the Munchkin?! I so hope one of my boys will enjoy my crafty goodies when they are older. They are just into things that live under rocks at the moment, typical little gruuby boys!

    I wish I'd known about the fair as we were in Kent at the weekend visiting the In laws. My Belle Mere as I call my Mother in Law would have loved it as would I, of course

    Another gorgeous post Hen. I've had issues getting my comments to post so I hope you haven't recieved 5 variations of this. x x x

  20. Oh my how sweet is the Munchkin?! I so hope one of my boys will enjoy my crafty goodies when they are older. They are just into things that live under rocks at the moment, typical little gruuby boys!

    I wish I'd known about the fair as we were in Kent at the weekend visiting the In laws. My Belle Mere as I call my Mother in Law would have loved it as would I, of course

    Another gorgeous post Hen. I've had issues getting my comments to post so I hope you haven't recieved 5 variations of this. x x x

  21. I went to this fair last year and loved it, sadly missed it this year but hope to make it in 2011. I live in Bexhill-on-Sea and recommend a visit to this part of the Sussex coast, you would love Lily Rose a vintage shop in our town and our art deco beauty called the De La Warr Pavilion and then of course there is the old town in Hastings..full of local seaside history. ps. love your blog... always inspiring

  22. What a heavenly place Hen, worth the trip down South I dare say, I'm going to make a note of that fair. Thank you so much for all the photos for us that couldn't get there, you're always so generous with showing and sharing, thank you. And thanks for the links too. The Munchkin is adorable isn't he? Love Vanessa xxx

  23. Oh what fun!
    I love your blog! Thanks for sharing such an adventure!

  24. That's like nofair I have ever been to Hen! It all looked like it came straight from Country Living...sigh x

  25. Hi Hen

    Fantastic looking event. So glad that the weather was good, especially with all the work that must have gone in to organising it all. Oh how I would have enjoyed myself there!
    I know Tenterden well from when I used to live in Kent. Tenterden is a pretty little place, as you say, very Miss Marple!
    Miss P would have had something to say about the hog roast. She would have been upset seeing that...I have never liked the idea of a pig on a spit either. I've always thought it looks horrid and wish they didn't do that...(My sensitive side coming out)
    Do you know of a similar fair in the West Country?

    Take care
    Isabelle x

  26. What a wonderful day out. I so enjoy your guided tours of these events. I'm hoping we will come across one like it on our travels over there in a year's time. I keep adding interesting places that you have visited to my planning list.

  27. Hi Hen - looks like a wonderful day out!

    I was wondering if the crib was still for sale (from a couple of posts ago)? Am keeping fingers and toes crossed....

    My e-mail address is - look forward to hearing from you!

    Jo xx

  28. HI ,you look to have had a blissful day, a perfect english afternoon, and the wonderful things on the stall, ho my ,my puse would have been emptied if i had been there! If you have a look at my blog i have a mild (OK STRONG!!)obsession with wire haired fox terriers ,so love the photos of the munchkin with the fab dog!! thanks for a lovely post, best wishes,Linda.

  29. How lovely! Our midwest flea markets look nothing like this fabulous day of finds. I'm so jealous. Thanks for sharing.

  30. Wow! I'm so jealous. Our midwest flea markets look nothing like this. Absolutely beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

  31. What a fantastic day you all had. The fair looks absolutely wonderful, I would have been rushing round like an idiot desperate not to miss anything. Munchkin definitely has a good eye!
    We are looking forward to seeing you all in a couple of weeks at Chipping Sodbury - see you soon x

  32. Hello Hen, It's nice to know you enjoyed this fair in my neck of the woods. I'm so envious of all the wonderful vintage fairs you have in the West Country as we have so few in comparison. I shall look out for you at the next one in High Halden in the hope that you can make it.

  33. Wow and double Wow! What a fantastic fair.I would have LOVED to be there and I would have spent a my mind anyway!
    Thanks for showing us around.A great post Hen.

    Bellaboo :0)

  34. Hats off to old Blighty.. as you would only find such an event in this country.. all topped off with a beautiful sunny day.
    Does look scrumptious.

    Michele xx

  35. Hello, that was a lovely description of your day out here on my farm. We, Caroline and I, are so pleased that our attention to detail doesn't go unnoticed. The vintage crockery, the chandelier in the shabby old tea tent and crude wooden tables in the pole barn restaurant are all important details that define the style of the farm as a venue. And yes, Mr HH is right. The caravan is about 1980 and currently undergoing a tart-up for guests. Well spotted.


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