Saturday, 3 December 2016

Small Independent Business - The Potting Shed Alderley Edge Cheshire

The Potting shed has been situated in the lovely Cheshire town of Alderley Edge for almost 20 years and was one of the first destination shops I can remember frequently visiting when we bought our first home. The buckets of flowers, pots of plants and twisted willow basket ware spilling onto the pavement always made sure I stopped the car to get out and browse inside and the business has grown and evolved over the years to spawn The Little Potting Shed in near by Tarporley.

Fast forward 20 years and it's still one of my favourite shops and definitely one of the loveliest florists I have ever visited. The wide range of flowers and plants are displayed against a dramatic backdrop of black painted wooden tongue and groove and flowers and foliage spill out from beautiful containers old and new.The shop changes seasonally and the window displays and objects on display are always stunning.

Along with a selection of homewares, candles and small gifts, this is a testament to how successful and enduring a small business can be when attention to detail and an unwavering eye for beautiful objects is at the core.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Where to Find The Most Beautiful Selection of Vintage and Retro Lighting - Agapanthus Stockport Cheshire

As many of you will know, that have read my blog before, I love filling our home with items that have been pre used and pre loved and many years ago I came across a beautiful shop called Agapanthus in Wilmslow, Cheshire. At the time this shop was co owned by a mother and son team but eventually Tom opened his own shop which has grown into a beautiful emporium in Stockport, specialising in vintage lighting.

On entering the shop, it feels as though you are stepping back in time into a Dickensian novel. Nothing has been renovated and everything remains in it's original pre used condition, a gently peeling gilt frame here, a faded velvet chair there. There are piles of interesting objects scattered on table tops and in cabinets and a mass of crystal hangs from the ceiling in the form of the most divine chandeliers and coloured glass droplets I have ever seen. 

Agapanthus can make bespoke lighting if there is nothing in stock that takes your fancy and they have made beautiful lights for many North West restaurants and more recently a boutique Hotel in Bath, for which the commission involved a chandelier made from vintage jewellery. They can also rewire any of their lights or repurpose objects, using a wide range of vintage style flex that they stock.  We bought a french hand blown glass vase from them a few years ago which they wired and turned into a lamp base.

Similarly any of the french antique frames that they find can be fitted with glass to make a mirror. I saw a few beauties in there today which i have my eye on, all in their original gently faded condition or you can have them repainted using a selection of Annie Sloan paints, which they are a UK stockist for.
If you are interested in attending an Annie Sloan paint course, which are held in an upstairs room in the shop, keep your eye on their website for new 2017 dates coming soon.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Beautiful Independent Eco store, Cafe and Events Space - The Yard Alderney Edge Cheshire

One of the best things about using Instagram and the element that I enjoy the most about it, is meeting interesting and creative people through their feed and social media meet ups and workshops that many instagramers arrange.

About a week ago I went along to an Instagram styling workshop organised by Rachel at her lovely shop Object Style and run by Instagram sensation Sara Tasker of meandorla. The workshop was a lovely gathering of like minded folk and together with Sara's tuition and helpful hints and tips about styling a flatlay shot, we created some Christmas images using props from Rachel's shop and seasonal foliage. One of the lovely ladies I met at the workshop was Sadie who owns and runs her family business The Yard in Alderley Edge, Cheshire. The shop supplies products that are either, eco friendly, organic or sustainable, something that Sadie firmly believes in and many of the items stocked can be traced back to their makers who work for fair trade companies around the globe.

On walking into the yard, your senses are enriched on every level, from the beautifully merchandised products, displayed on recycled pieces of furniture and old make shift reused items which have been repurposed and given a new lease of life, to the smells of the incense and candles burning and the home baked and cooked food wafting in from the cafe space adjoined to the shop. The whole interior is predominantly white and has a sense of calm to it, with dream catchers, beads and feathers hanging and scattered on all the surfaces. A tree branch suspended by rope from the ceiling is filled with organic cotton and linen garments in soft shades of white, blue and greys and can be layered with Nepalese organic cashmere scarves and wooden jewellery, all to be found in the yard.

The cafe space has a lovely atmosphere and is furnished with an eclectic mix of reclaimed furniture and lighting and serves, fresh salads, cakes and home made dishes. The space can be hired for events and there are regular yoga classes and live music on Thursday and Saturday evenings.

If you are looking for some where to buy specially selected gifts, books and homewares or are looking for a beautiful light filled venue for your private party or event in Cheshire, then I can think of no where better than The Yard.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Rose & Grey Interiors One Stop Christmas Shop

Rose & Grey is one of my favourite local interiors stores and so I was delighted to be invited to attend their customers Christmas Party last Tuesday evening, and to get the chance to browse and shop all their Christmas gifts and decorations.

The shop looked amazing, so atmospheric and pretty and was beautifully dressed with seasonal green displays of pine and eucalyptus, twinkling fairy lights and candles burning and smelling divine. The table was set with all the crockery and glasses you should need for your big feast, all for sale to recreate the effect in your own home.

Rose & Grey are a one stop shop for everything you could need or want for your home, from larger items of furniture, to cushions and rugs and a fantastic selection of smaller objects, as well as gifts, books and faux flowers by Abigail Aherne. A demonstration of floral displays using the faux flowers was given by Chloe Robinson Designs, who you can find on Altrincham Market. Chloe is also running a series of Christmas wreath making workshops at the market over a couple of dates, if you are interested you can find the dates here and if you decide to make a wreath using the Abigail Aherne fakes, you can leave it on display all year round?

The shop which opened its doors this summer in Altrincham Cheshire, also trades online and you can purchase everything they stock, if you're not in the area, here.

As well as having the chance to shop for all our Christmas goodies, the staff treated us with lovely nibbles by local restaurant Trove, glasses of fizz and entertainment by a duet of singers and a violinist, getting us firmly into the Christmas spirit with a medley of carols and Christmas songs.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Musing on Black and Blush pink

We are in the throws of redesigning the decor for our two lounges and I really want to go to the dark side and use black in both rooms. One of the rooms will be a simple black & white print wallpaper with black walls and off white paint work and the other I would like decorate in reverse and paint all the wood work black with a soft pink blush wall.

The harshness of the black paintwork needs to be offset, I think, with a softer tone on the walls and the juxtaposition of the feminine and masculine, the hard and the soft of these two colours works in perfect harmony.

What really nailed this combination for me was trying to find a colour that would tone with our neutral, bordering on, sand coloured upholstery that we must keep. The images below, demonstrate how the blush pink, sand and black work in perfect balance together. The key here is that the pink must be the softest, palest pink but with a good dollop of grey to stop it becoming too sugary? The perfect nude pink with a dirty sludgy tone is setting plaster by Farrow & Ball. The addition of the grey undertone to the colour stops it becoming too saccharine.

I've taken the liberty of using a colour combination put together by one of Farrow & Balls Paris colour consultants and editing her original palette to demonstrate and confirm to myself that this colour combination will work.

Samantha's original palette based on the Bloomsbury group of colour choices.
My amendment using Farrow & Ball railings which I will be using on the woodwork, to make it more contemporary. Sorry Samantha I hope you don't mind?

Above additions of sand work well with the soft pink and black.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Antique Brass and Gold Interior Finishes and Accessories

Metallics are for ever on trend and the pendulum constantly swings from silvers to bronzes and golds. Although there are still lots of lovely copper tones around, I'm noticing a shift towards gold and, in particular, antique brass accessories and interior fixtures and fittings.

My last post which you can read here, talked about a current trend for all things green and of course gold and brass are the perfect partners for these lush tones.
If you don't want to make like Kim and Kanye and bring too much bling to proceedings, maybe consider a little midas touch with a brass light fitting or a trim on a table or shelf such as these items below.

If you're updating a kitchen or bathroom, you could consider brass taps or cupboard handles for a change from the perennial chrome?

And if you're still not sure if it's for you, you could always add a seasonal scattering of brass with this years many Christmas decoration offerings which would look perfect sitting pretty on your pine green tree? Keep reading for my best of what's on offer here shortly.