Happy shopping in Hampshire

Harry at sister-in-laws house in Chawton

Harry at sister-in-laws house in Chawton

Jane Austin`s  House Museum in Chawton

Jane Austin`s House Museum in Chawton

The Globe Inn

The Globe Inn

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Husband and dog!

Husband and dog!

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The Long Barn

The Long Barn

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Sole Butchers

Sole Butchers

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Roxtons

Roxtons

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Susie Watson Designs

Susie Watson Designs

White House Brides

White House Brides

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Alresford Linen Company

Alresford Linen Company

 

Caracoli

Caracoli

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The Gilded Cabinet, Alton

The Gilded Cabinet, Alton

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If you are heading to Hampshire I can recommend some good places to shop and eat in Alresford, the home of the Watercress Steam Line.
We are just back from a lightning pre-Christmas parents-in law visitation, staying with sister-in-law in the very pretty village of Chawton ; where none other than Jane Austin ( whose birthday it is today) was born. Jane Austens House Museum, where she lived and wrote is open to the public all year.

Nearby is the lovely Georgian market town of Alresford, choc-full of elegant pastel -painted houses and gorgeous shops, so very easy to come home laden with goodies as we have done.

Have supper at The Globe Inn, which is traditional pub on the river with open log fires, wandering dogs, cool, live music, and delicious gastro-pubby food.

On the outskirts of town is The Long Barn , a stunning two storey barn surrounded by lavender fields. They are growers and distillers of organic lavender. They sell delicious and distinctly un-granny-ish lavender products, stylish home wares, plants . Christmas Trees and wreaths-huge boughs of mistletoe( we lugged one home) and a fab café .They also have various courses there upstairs to take a peek at the website.

The other shops that are a must-visit are Sole Butchers-their windows full of yummy Game at the moment, Roxtons-very tweedy/county/shooting and polo kit/trad shop and the perfect place for posh outdoor clothing, and presents for all.

Susie Watson Designs: Rather lovely ceramics and fabrics and cards by Lucy Loveheart.

White House Brides
is a rather beautiful Bridal shop with really elegant, classy frocks.

The Alresford Linen Company, which sells quirky home wares , a bit like Graham and Green, and also a nice selection of cashmere for men.

We always have lunch at Caracoli, a colourful food store/Café with great coffee and delicious food. Their enormous cheese straws , smoked bacon on sourdough toast, and their home-made scotch eggs are always a favourite.

Alresford is the perfect place to while away a couple of hours and you surely wont come home empty-handed! It was all very Christmassy and  a rather jolly start to the festive period.

Lastly do make a detour five minutes up the road to Alton and visit the oh-so-stylish Gilded Cabinet. A former pub that has had a glamourous make-over and now houses an interiors design studio and shop selling gorgeous home wares , furniture and a smattering of vintage finds.

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A very Happy Christmas to one and all…

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So Christmas has arrived to Seashell, here in North Norfolk. So feeling a little bit festive.

That is all!

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Tanner and Lawson

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Jane Lewis and Tanya Brett

Jane Lewis and Tanya Brett

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Graham Rider
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Elaine Pamphilon

Elaine Pamphilon

Shell work by Carolyn Brookes-Davies

Shell work by Carolyn Brookes-Davies

Christopher Brown lino cut

Christopher Brown lino cut

Cire Trudon candle

Cire Trudon candle

Another fabulous emporium in Burnham Market to rave about. Newly-opened Tanner and Lawson is causing a bit of a style revolution in the village. Situated in the Old Forge on North Street, this great Gallery and Interiors store ,is owned by the very gorgeous ( and very knowledgeable) Richard Swallow and John Tanner, whom have backgrounds in TV, film and display. Tanner and Lawson was previously in Columbia Road in  London. They are selling Fine Art, decorative antiques, and ceramics, basket ware, lighting and much more , by many British makers.

Tanner and Lawson is uber stylish and eclectic ,with new things arriving daily. I am coveting rather  a lot that is in there at the moment. (I adore the kilim covered chairs and stools).  They also sell delicious coffee!

Next week their bijou marquee is being put up,( giving them much more space for their wares,) which will be an ever changing gallery space. Just wonderful.

01328 738410

http://www.tannerlawson.co.uk

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Found!

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We are so fantastically lucky to live here in Burnham Market, North Norfolk with its amazing, mostly individually owned shops. One of my favourite places is FOUND owned by Martin Billing, who with his wife Sarah also owns BTOI ( Bringing the Outside In) and Nomad and the Bowerbird on the coast road at Holkham.

Found , which is upstairs above Gurneys Fish Shop,sells a mix of mainly found items, such as vintage signage, glass and china, interior books, and the interesting, the quirky and the slightly mad. The shop has a slightly urbany, shabby chic American vibe and is very cleverly merchandised. This season Martin has sourced some fab Christmas decorations, again mainly from the Sates which is great ,as so many of the shops have the same old, same old. I have now finally stopped buying baubles for our tree; having scooped up a gnome, a mitten,a santa, a bambi, a green welly, two hens, and a truck with Christmas trees in the back this morning.

Do take a look,but hurry they are going fast!

01328 713093

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Christmas at Conran

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I say it each year, but I love ,love, love the Conran Shop at Christmas. This year ii once again doesn`t disappoint. Grab a cappuccino and croissant sitting in the foyer of Bibendum watching the world go by on the Fulham road for a while, then head straight into the Conran Shop. This festive season it is a riot of colour. Pink, orange and neon. Hundreds of balloons and sparkling jellies and snowy white snowmen. Fab.

So creative, so colourful and so, well so much of it. It makes the most terrific impact and all you want to do is spend, spend spend. Lots of fanatastic glass baubles-see above the three I purchased , and stocking presents ( for all ages) and Christmas gifts galore. A true Christmassy design-led, stylish, winter wonderland.I could move in for the season.  Do go!

 

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Anselm Kiefer

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Yesterday, at last, I went to the Royal Academy to see the Anselm Kiefer exhibition. Better late than never, although it is still on until December 14th.

Anselm Kiefer, born in Germany in 1945, and now living near Paris, (working from an astonishing two acre studio), is one of the most important artists of his generation. His work is epic both in scale and in subject-matter and I for one was blown away. His work, is way out of my comfort zone, although I always love very large paintings. He wrestles with the darkness of German history, unearthing the taboos that underlie the collective past, and interweaving them with Teutonic mythology, cosmology and his thoughts on the nature of belief.

The exhibition features a number of works made especially for it, and one can see the influence of German woodcuts and literature in his work, as well as his homeland ;the Black Forest region in Germany. Through his work, Kiefer struggles to make sense of our passage through life. His thirst for knowledge and understanding provokes the viewer to consider these bigger questions with him, making his work challenging and occasionally confrontational.

I loved not only the scale and the colour palette-mainly neutral, of his work, I also loved the texture of these great pieces. He uses rusting iron, dust, ash, clay, grasses and so on. And although some of these vast canvases could be perceived as ugly, they shout to be heard. Kiefer`s work is fascinating, broad, grand, unsubtle and utterly humourless. I adored it.
The Times said `Be prepared to be swept off your feet`. I was .

 

 

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Cool music

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Having just watched the DVD `Grace of Monaco` ( hoping it would work–it didn`t-Nicole Kidman was at her botoxed, wooden worst-the film beyond dire) .I watched `Begin Again ` with some trepidation. But I loved it. It`s a cooky, ramshackle sort of a film, and although no fan of Keira Knightly who plays a slightly twee hipsterish character in it-this soulful, comedy drama touched me. I LOVED the music.I am a big fan of Adam Levine ( Maroon 5-who by the way have a new album` V` just out), and even Keira could sing in that breathy Birdy sort of way. I loved that the streets of New York became their recording studio and I really loved the scene with her and Mark Ruffalo sharing headphones as they walk through the city at night. ..Your playlist says a lot about you….they dance to Stevie Wonder`s For once in my life`.I have almost 3000 songs on my IPad and yes, that song is also on one of my playlists. The soundtrack to this film is now also there. Love it. Particularly `Lost Stars` by Adam Levine

If you, like me, are a fan of a similar-ish film `Inside Llewyn Davis` with the fab voice of Oscar Isaac, `Begin Again` is a film for you too.

Begin Again. Plot:

Seduced by dreams of making it big, Gretta (Keira Knightley) and her boyfriend Dave (Adam Levine) move to New York to pursue their passion for music. However, when Dave rejects her for the fame and fortune of a big solo contract, Gretta find herself alone and far from home.
Just when she’s decided to move back to London, life begins to look up when struggling record producer Dan (Mark Ruffalo) stumbles upon her singing during an open mic night. Captivated by her raw talent and inspiring authenticity Dan persuades Gretta to take a fresh approach to making music and together they transform the streets of New York in to their recording studio, giving their careers one final shot.

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