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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

70s Memories and our Nostalgic Christmas Fair

This is the pub that I grew up in in the 70s – The Devil’s Stone Inn!  We had ‘Top of the Pops’ tapes playing, sold Double Diamond and Snowballs and saw the local hunt off from outside.  Occasionally there was a goat in the garden, or even bullocks.  The goat ate my quilted crimplene dressing gown.  I remember Christmases by the huge fire in the bar, my Mum cooking chicken in a basket, hiding behind the sofa to watch Dr Who and even our Mateus Rose table lamps.  Oh yes it was literally 70s cliche heaven!

The Devil's Stone Inn

We recently popped by on our way back from Cornwall to see how things had changed.  These photos are from the pubs website and it looks like it has been considerably gentrified since we were there.  Mostly I noticed that the rickety roof had been improved and that everything seemed very small compared with  how I had viewed them as a small child. The sign was the same though, linked to a local legend involving turning a big stone annually to protect the Church from the Devil.

A warming fire

This is all a long winded way of saying that we will be trying to recreate the 70s pub vibe for our nostalgic fair this Christmas.  In conjunction with an exciting local supplier, we will set up a comfy pub on the stage at the hall for chill out and downtime and to get into the Christmas spirit.  Dig out those Christmas jumpers and head on down to see us on 10 November at Alderholt Village Hall!  In the meantime let us know what your favourite retro drinks are…myself I would rock a very sickly 80s fav Brandy and Babycham!

A quick reminder to potential exhibitors too….we have increased our number of stalls available this year by two but we still only have a small handful left for this year’s event so please get in touch soon if you are interested!

Keep the Vintage Love xx

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

 

 

 

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

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