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Fantabulous Shops in the Glorious New Forest – Lulu’s Boutique Lymington

This is epside two about the gorgeous shops  we’ve recently come across on we’ve our doorstep – Lulu’s Boutique in Lymington.

Lu Lus 2

To be honest we did know about Lulu’s before having visited their pretty erstwhile shop in Salisbury and used their web-site but this little treasure house is a step up in gorgeousness from that and has the advantage of being in a place where you can combine a fantastic cuppa or a walk by the sea with a touch of retail therapy.  Any men stuck for last minute present ideas for the lovely lady in their life should really pop down this weekend!

Check out this beautiful front window – who doesn’t need a pink Christmas tree in their life?  I bought some of the traditional paper decorations – they take me straight back to my childhood!

Lu Lus 5

The shop stocks all of the best in girly kitch including my favourite Tatty Devine jewellery

Tatty Devine!

Tatty Devine!

and all things Cath Kidston and Pip Studio and also fabbo items from Danish homewhere brand Rice who I love especially for kids and for camping.   My flamingo obsession would be happily appeased by these party forks.

There’s loads of unusual ideas for kids as well like this cool colouring book

The homeware is fantastic too – If I had the cash knocking about I’d be replacing the boring spotlights in my hall with these pretty lights

Lymington is such a pretty little town combining the best of the New Forest and the Hampshire Coast and has a nice selection of  shops, bars and cafes so it’s really worth a visit.

 We especially like the style of the Stanwell House Hotel  in the centre of town which we really nearly hired for our wedding.

Stanwell House Hotel

 But you are not far here from the  Pig Hotel

The Pig Hotel

which is top of my current wish list for a visit or at least a home grown dinner!

Lu Lus 4

Even if you don’t need any last minute Christmas pressies, this is a perfect bracing New Year treat.

One last thing, as my 4 year old is saying this year “Merry Christmas to All!”

Keep the Vintage Love xx

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Fantabulous New Shops in the Glorious New Forest

In our quest to entertain the children and attempt to shop for Christmas (I’m in denial about Christmas by the way!)  we have recently come across some gorgeous shops on our doorstep.  In the first of a (very) mini-series we look at The Fox in the Forest which is absolutely brand new in Ringwood.

Ringwood  is a pretty market town on the edge of the New Forest within easy striking distance of Salisbury, Bournemouth and Southampton.  It has a range of premium fashion shops around the Furlong area with a rather less hurried atmosphere than you would find in a big shopping mall but if you head away from this and a take a couple of minutes walk down to the market square and along the high street to Fridays Cross you will find some great unusual and non-chain shops and cafe’s including an amazing Chocolate Shop and beautiful lingerie shop Lolie and Bella.  Not to mention my favourite book shop Paperview.

fox in the forest 2

The Fox in the Forest has evolved from successful Web-business of the same name and showcases beautiful things made by the owner and other local craftspeople.  The aim of the shop “is eventually to become a gallery/workshop where artists/craftspeople that are local to the New Forest can showcase their work”  and the lady has exciting plans to create a workshop space as well. We bought some brilliant bits for my eldest boy’s lovely girlfriend but obviously they’re top secret until after the big day!  The shop is near to Smiths as you head towards the market square.  Do pop in if you get a chance, there are even handmade soaps from Frome.  Here are some photos that I took on Saturday, I’m desperate for a knitted animal head for my hall!

fox in the forest 5

fox in the forest 4

fox in the forest 1

Lovely puppy Indiana

Keep the Vintage Love xx

TALES OF BREAKFAST, SHOES and CAKE

Some  of my favourite things have been obsessing me over the last few days! It started with a relaxed and delicious breakfast out and flowed on blissfully from there on a wave of sunshine and family.  Here’s a few photos.

Gorgeous Breakfast in lovely surroundings at Framptons on Ringwood High Street

The Furlong Open Day with scarecrows, coloured sheep and live music

Fantabulous Wedding Car in Ringwood

Cheers Tommy!

We Cornwalled up our Living Room complete with vintage map, art from Heartlands and 70s photo from Love from Hetty and Dave in Pokesdown

Took on my Dad’s ancient welsh Grandmother Clock

and chilled in the garden to enjoy the sunshine (with a sneaky gin and elderflower cocktail obviously!)

Latterly we’ve been baking a new Cherry cake recipe to share with friends.

Delia’s non sinking Cherry Cake

Ingredients

4 oz butter (115 g)

4 oz caster sugar (115 g)

2 large eggs (2 oz each cracked weight)

4 1/2 oz plain flour (130 g)

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 oz ground almonds (40 g)

8 oz glace cherries (230 g)

Method

Quarter the glace cherries then wash them well in warm water.  Dry well with kitchen paper and set aside for a few minutes to further air-dry.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, flour and baking powder, fold together gently until well combined.

Toss the dry glace cherries in the ground almonds then fold this into the cake mixture by hand, stirring gently to avoid breaking the cherries up.

Spoon the mixture into a lined tin and bake at 140C for 1 – 1 1/2 hours, until the cake is light golden on top and springs back when lightly pressed in the centre.

It is delicious eaten straight away but improves on keeping for a few days.

If you like a strong almond flavour (I personally don’t) you could add a few drops of almond extract to the mixture when creaming.

Cherry Cake

Found new blogs like this beautiful gentle knitting blog  One Sheepish Girl (thanks to my friend Jo!) where I found these amazing amazingly expensive shoes!

and to the shoes website where I found these even more gorgeous shoes, in fact all of the shoes are gorgeous but who doesn’t want shoes with fabulous eye makeup!

Chie Mihara

and been junk modelling and attending Village craft club.

Tommy and the Alderholt Frieze local children have made over the Summer holidays at craft club.

Lovely

Keep the Vintage Love xx

Fab Places to Stay – Belgium

Shhh, another brilliant secret getaway…..Ghent and the Belgian Coast.   Belgium is SO cool for so many reasons, not least that it’s so unexpected!  Everyone will know about the canals of medieval Bruges and the Grand Place of Brussels, possibly even Antwerp for it’s diamonds but few will know of the beautiful and relaxed city of Ghent, the fantastic Art Nouveau architecture found across Flanders or the love of vintage and design that you will find here.  In fact the 70s bird fabric that is our title design was bought here – a massive piece for just 10 euros – a fraction of what it would have cost in the uk!

We set ourselves a task every time we think about going away to find the most unusual and often cheap places to stay that we can possibly find.  In fact at least half the fun of any trip is the searching out some new and exciting place to stay!  Ghent saw us in possibly my favourite ever find, the Ecohostel Andremeda.  

Ecohostel Andromeda

The Barge Andremeda complete with water treatment reed bed on deck

Mainly a floating hostel with dorms we did manage to bag the only private double room which was literally 70s heaven for me! Here’s some of my favourite photos of the decor on board.

 

They take the Eco element very seriously on this boat – all of the toilet and shower water is recycled by the reed bed on the main deck and as well as the extensive repurposing on board there is also a fab organic breakfast available in the kitchen.  The place could not be more welcoming and friendly. An all round win!

Ghent itself is a gem of a place. It’s an ancient university town with a castle and lots of stunning buildings.  The food is good (especially the rib house next to the castle) but don’t ask for rice with your local chicken soup,  Waterzooi!  The great things here are the gin bars which are absolutely amazing and often with lovely views over the canals, and also the local elderflower aperitif called Roomer.  This comes in a beautiful bottle, is a pretty golden colour and has tiny flowers in it.  It’s to die for and even better with gin of course, my favourite  tipple!

Historic Market Hall – great place to buy local specialties and have lunch

 

 

There is also the fantastic Gent Design Museum which covers design of all periods including a fantastic teapot exhibition and also a complete art deco room moved from a local home that just has to be seen to be believed it’s so beautiful.

checking out the design museum ceramics exhibits

After a couple of brilliant days in Ghent we headed off to Westende on the coast to a truly remarkable hotel called De Rotonde which purely by chance was run by a family from Ghent and so was stocked up with Roomer.

Hotel De Rotonde

The most remarkable thing about this hotel is that it is still here at all after being almost totally destroyed by the bombardments of two wars.   Our favourite thing about it though (apart from the great dinner!) was the sea view from every room as it’s right on the vast unspoilt beach.  It is also right be the Belgian Coastal Tram (De Kusttram) which is not only cheap and easy to use but takes you through some fantastic windswept scenery.

A fantastic spot for any winter beach lover

You can stop off where you like and see more of the Belgian coast than just the port at Ostende.  Including the toy town seaside resort of De Haan, the prize resort of King Leopold and a prime example of the faded grandeur of the area.

 

De Haan Station on the Tramway

If you get to Belgium also check out Antwerp for some amazing architecture ranging from renaissance squares to fabulous modernist and art deco.

 

Not to mention diamonds and amazing shopping due to the students of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts with its large fashion department.  Shopping ranges from high price tag to new young designer and extensive vintage shopping.

All in all Belgium is a fantastic short break destination and one of my favourite places to visit full of surprises and hidden gems!

Keep the vintage love xx

 

 

 

Fab places to stay – The Roseland just don’t tell anyone!

We’ve just come back from an amazing camping trip to Cornwall.  Remarkably, and in contrast to what usually happens, we had good weather, while the rest of the country was thinking of building an ark!  We were staying at our favourite family campsite in our favourite secret corner of Cornwall, the arty and picturesque Roseland Peninsula.

 No one can claim that staying on a cliff top is going to be less than bracing but the views more than make up for it, as does the joy of the children who rush out to feed the animals and collect the eggs at 10am every morning.

We met up with friends there this year and took the ferry from St Mawes to Falmouth or just hunted for sea glass on the beautiful empty beaches. Bliss!

Our one wet day took us to new Cornish Tin Mining museum and arts centre Heartlands.  This place is a real gem.  Funded by lottery and European Development money in the main, it is a lesson in how to preserve an industrial history and landscape.  The exhibits were also brilliantly well thought out and really engaged the kids who got to dress up as miners and play a fantastic board game that really brought home the hardships of mining life.  It was a joy to see my four year old hook up with a passing four year old girl to play this.

Tommy being a Tin Miner

On top of all of this there are also events, a great cafe (best. hogs. pudding. ever!) and some fledgling art shops and workshops.  We bought some fab Seb West prints of St Ives (where we got married) and fell in love with everything in the Four Seven Collective – one of the artists studios on site.  This is the brainchild of Louise Gale and we bought one of her lovely Cornish cottage pictures.  Needless to say the yarn bombed bike outside was a big attraction too!

Yarn Bombed Bike

Most of the studios on site have workshops and courses on offer as well.  There are various art installations on site too as well as fantastic grounds and an adventure playground but given the rain we didn’t make the best of these.  Hit St Ives after that (as we did) and enjoy a walk on the harbour and a burger at Blas (best. burgers. ever!)

Meg enjoying the best ever burgers at Blas in St Ives

Can’t wait to get back to Cornwall, you should go, just don’t tell everyone how beautiful it is!

Keep the vintage love xx

Fab places to stay – The Cove Cornwall

The Cove

We’ve just got back from Cornwall, nothing unusual in that, we love Cornwall and are down there every chance we get.   This time though we were not in our trusty tent but in a fantastic little bit of luxury tucked away right by the sea in beautiful Lamorna Cove.

Lamorna Cliffs

Lamorna Cove is hidden away beyond Penzance on the South Coast almost as far west as you can go.  It’s a beautiful hydrangea and fern lined valley of the kind only Cornwall can produce.  A bit reminiscent of my favourite Roseland Peninsular but nearer to St Ives with it’s beautiful light and atmosphere.  A bit fat WIN in other words!

The Cove  is an apartment hotel so you’ve got the best of both worlds with a well equipped kitchen as well as all of the hotel benefits like room service, a great restaurant and yummy soaps and fluffy towels and robes.

Welcome Champagne!

Best of all though was that our room overlooked the pool and terrace 
and also the sea crashing on the rocks of the harbour below.

View from the room

You could walk to the sea in a flash or wander more slowly via the fantastic terraced gardens and also take the cliff path for some spectacular views.

We had a great meal on our first night in the fireside restaurant and took the picnic option the following day and headed off to one of the recommended dog-friendly beaches at Pendeenwhere people were making a huge maze in the sand to tuck into our smoked salmon sarnies and cream tea while the dog hared about like a crazy thing and wore herself out.

Pendeen and the Maze


Mr M even had a superb Indian Head massage arranged by the hotel and I would have been happy to just sit on the window seat in the room and listening to the sea and the peace and quiet for hours!

Porthmeor Beach St Ives

The break was capped off by a visit to The Loft Restaurant and Terrace in St Ives where we had our wedding reception for some fabulous food and a lot of pampering!

A treat at The Loft!

Cornwall is amazing but this little corner is even more amazing than most.  If you get a chance go, we’d recommend it for a romantic break but it is also a very child friendly place and although not the cheapest option for a family holiday it would certainly keep the whole family happy come rain or shine.

Keep the vintage love xx

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