Churches in Sussex (2nd day trip)

If you read my previous blog post, Visiting Churches in Sussex (day 1), you will know that I am doing day trips to Sussex in search of the little churches often found in woodland, at the end of lanes, in hamlets or villages – steeped in history.  I’ve focused on Sussex as it’s not too far to travel by car and it’s a beautiful county.

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Petersham House Open Gardens

This post is for all you garden lovers. If you are lucky enough to live in London you have the chance to see the gardens of Petersham House, the home of the owners of Petersham Nurseries, Gael and Francesco Boglione. Their home is adjacent to the Nurseries and is a stunning Georgian house with extensive gardens, swimming pool and tennis court. They have a substantial vegetable garden which is used for the restaurant in the Nurseries.

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Sydney Sojourn - Coogee to Bondi Coastal Walk

Sorry for my radio silence since my last post on 31 October - in the run up to Christmas I was manically busy with client work and in January I headed to Sydney for five weeks.  

I thought I'd kick off with one of the highlights of my Sydney sojourn - the coastal walk from South Coogee (where I was staying) to Bondi, a distance of about 10k with some of the most spectacular scenery.  I did this walk last year with a friend but this time it was just me, my iPhone and my DSLR.  The weather was cloudy, windy and about 26C so perfect for a long walk.

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Lampshade painting at Charleston

A couple of weeks ago a friend and I went to Charleston, the home of the Bloomsbury Group, to do a lampshade painting workshop with Cressida Bell who is the talented artist granddaughter of the artist Vanessa Bell and daughter of Quentin Bell.  I wonder if you are as  passionate about the Bloomsbury Group as I am? I devour books about them and have often visited Charleston, Berwick, Firle and Monk's House.

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Petersham Nurseries have opened in Covent Garden!

ot sure if you are aware but Petersham Nurseries have opened a second site and it's in London's Covent Garden.  I zipped up there on my moped last Friday to see what all the fuss was about (I'd seen a lot of images on Instagram of it).  It was certainly worth the journey!  They have taken over a large building in Floral Street called Floral Court. There's the shop and the separate deli with florist both opened a couple of weeks ago and in between these two shops is a space where they are going to open two restaurants later this year.  

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Petersham Nurseries - a source of inspiration

Petersham Nurseries is one of those places that is good for the soul.  It is all about beauty and style, both outside and inside.  I'm there at least three times a month and have rarely left there empty handed!  

It's a half hour drive from my home which takes me across Richmond Park, another place that is good for the soul. It's hard to believe that you are in a big city when you are in the middle of the park surrounded by trees, bracken and deer.  

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Italy - my spiritual home

It’s been a few weeks since my last blog post mainly due to been manically busy with client work but I also had a two week break in Italy over Easter. As many of you know, I was married to an Italian and lived in Italy for ten years so it’s my spiritual home and I try and go back at least once a year. I stay with friends who live in the Piemonte region and we usually jump into their camper van and head off somewhere for a few days.

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An optical feast at Petersham Nurseries

s many of you know, I love Petersham Nurseries and am a frequent visitor. It's described on their website as "Internationally prized garden centre, Petersham Nurseries is a tranquil oasis
and seedbed of inspiration"
and that about sums it up. The highlight is always the shop which is in one of the glasshouses. The styling of the furniture, accessories, plants & flowers is superb and I find it a real inspiration.  I love to wander around admiring and of course buying one or two things as it's very difficult to leave empty handed!

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A Holiday Down Under

appy New Year everyone!  Apologies for my radio silence over the last six weeks;  I was in Australia for a month visiting my two sons who both now live in Sydney. 

I thought I'd share some of the photos of my trip to Australia. It was the most amazing holiday with plenty of wonderful memories. I flew over the city in a helicopter, did a jet boat ride at breakneck speed across the harbour, an evening out on the harbour in a friend's boat, visited some beautiful beaches north and south of the city, a trip to Adelaide and most importantly I ate oysters nearly every day!!  However, I found it strange having Christmas in a hot climate (the last one I had was back home in NZ in 1976!). I definitely prefer a northern hemisphere Christmas.

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Open garden day at Petersham House

Last Sunday I went with my sister & husband to see the gardens of Petersham House, where the owners of Petersham Nurseries live. It is a stunning Georgian house and exquisite gardens next to the nurseries and they open the gardens to the public one day a year.  After a walk around the gardens we had lunch in the formal restaurant in the nurseries.  We entered the gardens from the nurseries where you walk through the kitchen garden for the restaurant which also includes flowers they grow for decorating the restaurant, shop and glass houses.

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Decorex 2016 here we come!

On Tuesday my friend Jane Fitch, also an interior designer, and I made our annual pilgrimage to Decorex at Syon Park. Decorex is internationally renowned for being THE event to discover the very best and most coveted products from 400 exhibitors.  Decorex has been running for 39 years and this is the third year that I have been.

We were not blown away by much this year as it was very much the same exhibitors as last year. However some new blood gave a much needed injection of interest.  I've included below a few newcomers as well as some highlights.

Naomi Paul beautiful crocheted lampshades were a feature in the VIP lounge as well as on their stand. Their ethos is to create beautiful functional textile objects by highly skilled craftsmanship and they certainly have achieve this. The lampshades are simple, stylish and elegant.

Bert and May are another newcomer to Decorex. They are committed to raw materials, natural pigments and fine craftsmanship which they certainly have achieved in their products. They launched a fabric range at Decorex which were beautiful subtle colours and bold geometric designs.

Santorus is another exciting newcomer. Brother and sister, Fabian and Tara have a rich cultural heritage of Indian and Italian parents and their products certainly reflect this. I adore the patterns and colours of their fabrics and wallpapers.

Tom Raffield is a relative newcomer to Decorex.  Their beautiful wooden lighting and furniture are made in a woodland workshop in Cornwall where the company is based. 

Tom Faulkner is not a newcomer to Decorex but I am always interested in visiting their stand and seeing their exquisite handmade furniture.

No visit to Decorex would be complete without a vist to the Ochre stand. I am always in awe of their celestial pebble light!

There is always the obligatory over-the-top glitz and these Murano chandeliers by iDogi were no exception! 

I always look forward to the floral displays on the exhibition stands but they were few and far between this year and very disappointing. The one that stood out for me was on the Sir John Soane Museum stand which was designed by Ben Pentreath and the magnificent display of dahlias was grown and designed by Ben's partner Charlie McCormick.  This stand stood out from all the others for its design and colour.

To finish this whistlestop tour, here are a few more shots that I took.

I hope you enjoyed seeing a few of the highlights of Decorex.  It was a long day as there were over 400 stands to see.  A few glasses of bubbly in the VIP lounge with canapes helped to keep up our energy levels!

Did you go to Decorex this year? What did you think of it and what were your favourites? I would love to hear so do drop me a note.


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A visit to Knole

My Kiwi house guest and I visited Knole a couple of weeks ago. I'd never been but was keen to go given its links to the Bloomsbury Group - it was Vita Sackville-West's childhood home and she was link to the Bloomsbury Group with which I am currently totally fascinated given that I've visited Charleston House and Monk's House this summer, the latter being the home of Virginia & Leonard Woolf.

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