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 - 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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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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Chelsea Physic Garden - a hidden gem in Chelsea

Last week I took a friend to the Chelsea Physic Garden for lunch and a wander.  I'm a member of the garden and I love to pop in there to sit and read, have lunch or tea & cake, or a wander. I find it a real little oasis in the middle of Chelsea and a source of inspiration.

We parked in Battersea Park and walked over the prettiest of the bridges over the Thames, the Albert Bridge. I whizz over the bridge on my moped but can't stop to admire it or the view so it was a treat to be able to walk over it and take some photos. 

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A Bloomsbury Group pilgrimage!

esterday I spent an absolutely amazing day out in Sussex with a friend on a "pilgrimage". Having been to see Charleston House and Berwick Church three weeks ago and becoming obsessed with the Bloomsbury Group, I wanted to return to see Monk's House, the home of Virginia and Leonard Woolf and also to visit the church in the village of Firle where Vanessa Bell, her live-in lover Duncan Grant and Vanessa's son Quentin Bell (from her marriage to Clive Bell) are buried. 

It was a perfect English summer's day - cloudless sky, a lovely cool breeze and temperatures around 25C.  Be warned now,  I'm afraid this blog post is serious photographic spam!!

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Sleepover in the Cotswolds

Last Saturday early evening I headed to my friends' new house near Cirencester for a sleepover. They have built a stunning New England style home on Summer Lake which is part of the Cotswold Water Park in a beautiful rural area in the Gloucestershire countryside, with 147 gravel-quarry lakes, formed over time and enriched with diverse wildlife and natural resource. Summer Lake is the last of the lakes to be developed and there will be 45 of these luxury detached lodges. 

I arrived at 8pm as the sun was setting. The house was bathed in the early evening light and the setting sun over the lake was simply magical. One lone paddle boarder glided past in a world of his own. 

There were six of us and we ate a leisurely supper with the doors open and the evening air wafting in

The next morning the sun shone and I could really appreciate the lake and surroundings. Some of us bird watched with binoculars, others dozed in the sunshine. The indoor/outdoor flow of the house works so well.

After rising around 10am and having a coffee & croissant breakfast we headed into Cirencester about 10 minutes away. I've never been before and found it to be the most delightful, quintessential English town with the beautiful church of John the Baptist in the centre.

The centre of Cirecenster has some fabulous architecture.  In one of the shops on the main street was a fantastic antiques market which was a rabbit warren of rooms. I could have spent hours there browsing.

We stopped for a liquid refreshment at the Kings Head hotel opposite the church. It has been beautifully but sympathetically designed inside 

Then it was back to the lake house to pack and return to London. Who needs to go abroad when you could own a house on a lake like this one!!


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Bristol - a city of art and inspiration

 visited the city of Bristol yesterday for the first time and it was all thanks to Instagram !!  When I joined IG a year ago I thought it would just be an app on my phone where one looked at other people's images and made the odd comment or two.  I was so wrong - IG has been a revelation, I've met so many like-minded, interesting people on IG and I've started to meet some of these lovely people in person.  It's rather like a blind date as you've chatted on IG for months and got to know the person but sometimes you haven't even seen a photo of them. Then there's always the risk as with any chatting online that the person isn't quite their online persona.  Anyway, yesterday was about meeting up with some IGers (as they are called) in Bristol.  Most were unavailable or on holiday but two ladies, Lou and Marcie, were keen to meet up.

I jumped on the train at Paddington with some trepidation.

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