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Exciting NEW shops news!!

We had a fantastic afternoon recently in our beloved Pokesdown!  The Dorset Scrapstore was having an open afternoon at their new premises in Boscombe and one of my favourite vintage loving ladies was opening her new shop on Christchurch Road.  In short this was a day not to be missed!  The Scrapstore is of course aces and full of amazing bargains for the crafty amongst us  and the free crafty workshops went down a storm with the small boy, but the star of the day was our trip to Emily’s beautiful shop Cotton Candy Designs which at the Pokesdown station end of Christchurch Road.

Photo: Checkout our brand new sign!

Emily is formerly of Poppy Meadows  about whom I have waxed lyrical a number of times and was with us for our first vintage fair last year where her handmade items went down a storm!  She has teamed up with her friend the equally lovely Cara Lloyd-Hopkins of Carara Designs for this venture and the outcome is a pretty and welcoming shop choc full of lovely items for the home and pretty Christmas gifts galore.  Cara specialises in fantabulous handmade items for the home and beautiful handbags all made in the Summerhouse at the end of her garden.

Cara in her new shop!

Gorgeous shop window showing off fab handmade bags by Cara

Emily has recently added upholstery to her repertoire and I was especially taken with the gorgeous floor cushions in the shop which are definitely on my Christmas list!

Giant cushions and reupholstered arm chair just right for a cosy night by the fire.

I’m also hoping that she will renovate my original Lloyd Loom Chair that has been sat in my garage for about 10 years waiting for me to get around to it!  I know commissions are taken.   Other furniture renovations had me drooling too like this 1950s kitchen unit for example.

Kitchen cupboards have never been so stylish!

Check out the ladies facebook page for more photos, or even better take a trip to Pokesdown for your Christmas shopping this year.  There’s just so much to love on our doorstep!  You’d only be putting cash in the pockets of Amazon otherwise afterall!

Keep the Vintage Love xx

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Fab Places to Stay – Brighton

One of my all time favourite places is Brighton.  Of course this is a lot more obvious than some of the visits we’ve had but take a look at this view from our B&B window – who couldn’t love that!

The things we love about Brighton are just as much on the beaten track as off it, the cheesiness of the Pier, the little art shops under the Prom and of course the shops of The Lanes home to the brilliant Dolly Dagger Boutique who do a fab line in reproduction dresses in particular and great jewellery, I bought a pretty green plastic necklace and hair slide last time but check out this fab robot brooch in the sale at the moment Dollydagger Robot Brooch

I am seriously coveting this great dress as well! Dollydagger Waikiki Bustle Dress

Occupying the area behind Brighton Pavilion and far more exciting in our opinion is the North Laine area which has a much more eclectic range of shops from eco clothing and shoes to frankly fabulous cake shops and even a theatre.  Here’s a map and a street view of the area from the North Laine website.

Map of North LaineNorth Laine Brighton - Photographer : Peter Williams

Almost all of the shops and cafes are run by the owners and in some cases designers sell their own creations, one exception is Beyond Retro who retro fans will know from the Brick Lane store in London.  This one is absolutely amazing though, it’s literally enormous and packed to the rafters with every age and type of vintage wear imaginable.

My favourite shopping finds on this visit though were on the crafty side!  I got this pack of amazingly gorgeous buttons at the Brighton Sewing Center in North Laine which was absolutely full of pretty fabrics and trimmings. 

Slightly more off the beaten track is an absolute gem of a knitting shop  called Purl which is out in a pretty residential area on the Hove side of the City.

We stayed at a pretty funky B&B on this visit called Seaspray.  This has themed rooms and a spa and very nice if rather sparse breakfast.  We stayed in the Little Venice room which had the most comfortable bed ever as well as two little balconies overlooking the Pier.

and ate at the rather shabby Worlds End Pub in London Road.  This needs to be searched out not for the area it’s in or for the less than salubrious setting but for the absolutely fabulous food in the BBQ Shack (as reviewed here by Jay Rayner http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/jul/24/jay-rayner-restaurants-bbq-shack) the pulled pork is just a taste sensation!

There are some fantastic boozers in Brighton too, some of which brew their own too.  We particularly liked the Earth and Stars which had a really chilled out vibe but the Drink Brighton website is a wealth of info away from the usual tourist traps. 

Go and enjoy Brighton, love the Pier and the Pavilion but take a bit of time to find some of the hidden finds.  It’s well worth it!

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

 

 

 

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