Monday, 23 November 2009

I'm rather fond of this time of year. I always find it cosy, with the need to snuggle indoors, drink large mugs of hot chocolate and sit by roaring log fires, making plans for Christmas and the New Year. I do also like to venture out and visit places I love...seeing the turning leaves, doing a spot of Christmas shopping and rediscovering the delights of the familiar.

The last time I went back to my childhood hometown of Malvern, I took my camera so I could take you on a tour...

Over the bridge in the Winter Gardens, past the ducks and the bandstand, towards the theatre (where I've spent many a happy evening watching all manner of plays and films).

When I was small, we'd go and feed the ducks with chunks of bread. The ducks would always quack enthusiastically and Mum would say that they were laughing!

The Abbey Gateway has Malvern Museum in it now...I really must go and look around it again soon.

I've always liked this building (which now houses a restaurant), with it's fancy ironwork and old sign.

Victorian tiles are everywhere in Malvern. These sit colourfully on the outside of 'Pepper and Oz' (above).

I always forget how steep the roads are up town in Malvern! The hills are a mere hop, skip and jump away and it takes no time at all to climb them and be looking back at the town below.

There's a wonderful gallery (on Belle Vue Terrace) that's bursting with all sorts of handmade gorgeousness...

...including Poppy Treffry tea cosies...

...and bags!

Just along from the gallery is what used to Manders, the chemist. During World War Two, the grand metal columns were painted so they wouldn't be taken away for salvage and lost forever.

It's an absolute joy to pop inside. Even though it's no longer a chemist, you can still see reminders of its past.

These drawers run along both sides of the shop...there must be hundreds of them!

Ever since I can remember I've loved these tiles. They (and the ones below) sit on either side of the entrance to WH Smith.

I think it's the colours and hint of adventure they suggest that's always appealed to me!

Throughout my childhood, a trip to Morley's sweet shop was always a treat. It seemed huge to me then, with it's tall shelves full of glass jars bursting with every sweet imaginable. It's a shop and dry cleaners now and is tiny compared to how I remember it!

No tour would be complete without a visit to the Blue Bird. It's where I spent every Friday morning of the school holidays...they did the best cheese and pineapple toastie and milkshakes!

Monday, 16 November 2009

All the Fun of the Fair

I've been feeling like a child waiting for Christmas over the last few weeks, but finally the day of the Christmas Vintage and Handmade Fair arrived...and what a day it was! It's such a glorious event, with stalls bursting with vintage treasure, nostalgic music, lovely people, a wonderful atmosphere and tea and cakes aplenty, served up on vintage china.

I couldn't help but get into the festive spirit, especially when I saw all of the lovely Christmassy things on Michele's stall.

Michele's stall was also bursting with vintage toys that I could easily have given a home to!

One of the things I love most about the Fair is the chance to meet the people's whose blogs I read and whose work I admire. I was thrilled to meet Viv (who I featured in my Sewing World article all about the wonderful world of blogging). The pieces she makes are absolutely wonderful.

A trip to the Fair wouldn't be the same without Nicky's vintage bunnies. They're so adorable!

These dolls from The Little Wren House Factory made me smile. There were the most wonderful needle felted animals on this stall too...

...I thought Millie was rather wonderful (the needle felting is so clever).

As ever, Niki's stall was filled with the most wonderful array of vintage loveliness...

...from buttons and toys... her gorgeous rag dolls. I admire them each and every time I see them. Perhaps one day I might have to give into temptation and give one a new home!

There's always so much treasure to look through on Sue's stall, from buckles and fabric, to gorgeous vintage pieces such as this pretty doll.

It was fabulous to see Donna at the Fair (and her mum too!) So many gorgeous fabrics to choose from!

I think the best bit of the day had to be meeting Denise (a.k.a. Mrs Bun). I was having a cup of tea before going around the fair for the third time (!), when a lovely, bubbly lady came and introduced herself! I was so thrilled she was Denise, who've I've become friends with through Blogland. We were partners in her recent letter swap and enjoyed it so much, we're planning to write some more! I could have chatted to Denise (and the lovely Mr Bun) all day. It just goes to show, you never know who'll you might bump into at the Vintage and Handmade Fair!

Mr Treasure treated me to this wonderful purse by the very talented Viv. I'm so thrilled with it!

Amongst the bits and pieces I bought were these vintage shop stamps. They're so evocative of times gone by!

On the way home we popped into Cirencester and went to see the 'Cut and Fold' exhibition at the Brewery Arts Centre. It's well worth a visit if you're passing. I loved these butterflies (by Tracey Bush).

This piece is made of lots of pieces of rolled paper, in what reminds me of a window frame. It casts the most amazing shadows on the wall.

It was only when I stood back from Beatrice Coron's silhouettes, that I could see the overall effect. They were absolutely stunning and full of tiny details. They must have taken ages to create!

It's difficult to see the tiny details in this's filled with people all doing different things. These silhouettes were big and must have needed steady hands and nerves of steel to make!

It really was a fabulous Saturday. Only 6 months to go until the next Vintage and Handmade Fair. Hoorah!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Choo Choo Ch' Boogie

I've long harboured a dream that when it was my 30th birthday, I'd like to celebrate with a 1940s-themed party. Well, at the end of October, my dreams came true.

With the invitations sent out, all we had to do was find decorations, costumes, a band, lots of yummy food (we decided against spam and rationing for the evening!)...and hope that people would turn up! Here are the results...

I didn't think a 1940s party would be the same without bunting and luckily I found 60 metres of it for sale in our local post office! Balloons, propaganda posters, flags and red, white and blue crepe paper streamers finished off the look a treat.

Here are Mr Treasure and I all dressed up and ready to party! Mr Treasure was so proud of his RAF uniform, I think he would have worn it all week if the fancy dress shop hadn't needed it back! My dress is an original 1940s number, as are my shoes (which I absolutely love and came from Donna's last house sale). My tights even had a seam up the back (but were rather lacking in lycra!)

Mum and Lin painted their nails in between helping to dress the hall and waiting for everyone to arrive! (Chanel nail varnish is truly the best I've ever found and comes in a fabulous array of colours).

Everyone went to so much effort and looked wonderful in their costumes. This is my brother-in-law, Ryan, and his lovely other half, Trish. Lots of the photos here were taken by Ryan, so a very big thank you to him for being our 'official photographer'!

I spent most of the night doing double-takes. It's such great fun to see all your friends and family dressed completely differently to how you normally see them. Lots of people didn't recognise each other at first!

Everyone's costumes were so different and represented just about every walk of 1940's life.

The level of authenticity was superb. That's my father-in-law on the right hand end (who we've all been calling Private Godfrey ever since!)

Everyone got into the spirit of the 1940s, accessories and all. Thankfully, the beer wasn't warm (as it often was back in wartime Britian)!

It took me ages to master 'Victory Rolls' and I was terrified I wouldn't be able to manage them on the night. Luckily, I gave myself plenty of time to get ready (as well as bucketloads of hairspray and pins).

I love seeing people wearing hats. I often think it's a shame we don't still wear them as part of our everyday attire.

Parties are always a great opportunity for friends to catch up. The evening went so quickly though. It could have done with being an all day event, just so I had time to chat to everyone and still have time for dancing!

My feet just won't stay still when I hear music I love. Needless to say, Mr Treasure took me for a spin when the band started playing Glenn Miller tunes!

There was a merry hub-bub all night as people laughed and chatted amongst the bunting.

With the band playing 1940's music, the hall having a nostalgic air to it and everyone looking wonderful in their outfits, it was like stepping back in time.

Here's me with Mum (who wore an original 1940s, cardigan, belt and felt brooch) and Dad (who came as an evacuee).

There's something about a uniform that made the chaps stand up very tall and walk with a certain air of authority!

My ARP's tin helmet (which I had for Christmas many years ago, wrapped up in brown paper and tied up with string) was soon commandeered!

All of the armed forces were represented. Mr Treasure's moustache didn't last long as it kept falling in his beer!

It's Rosie the Riveter!

It really was a wonderful party and one that will remain in my memory forever. I'm just trying to think of an excuse to do it all again!

And now for something completely different...

I wanted to post this long before now, but we've been having trouble with our broadband and it was only fixed today. I didn't like being cut off from Blogland one little bit!

For all those who were wondering, The Daffodil is in Cheltenham. Do pop in if you're ever in the area!

On Monday evening, I wrote out the names of everyone who had entered my Amy Butler pattern giveaway on bits of paper, folded them up and popped them into an empty Bonne Maman jar (I'd never survive without Bonne Maman strawberry jam, it's just so yummy!) Having shaken them all up, I asked Mr Treasure to pull out two names. The winners were...drum roll and little fanfare please...Jayne and Isabelle. Congratulations and a huge thank you to everyone for entering!