Interesting shops from around the world

Posts from the home and garden Category

The Hambledon always wanted to be a shop which sold things the owners loved, in a space they loved, to customers they would grow to love.

It’s a sentimental and very honourable kind of aspiration borne out of a genuine belief in the worth of shops and shopping and shopgirls (and boys).

They opened in September 1999 in a beautiful double fronted Georgian building in Winchester’s Cathedral Square, the scale of which was somewhat daunting. The past decade and a bit has seen their team refining and developing what they want The Hambledon to be: a really good shop by any measure, uncompromising in its choices, entertaining in its presentation and always super-friendly in its approach. Yay!

They have extended womenswear into three rooms on the first floor with enough space for key British labels to rub shoulders with US and European brands without getting in a tangle. The Norman basement (once a warren of spooky stockrooms) is now a happy home for a fully fledged menswear offer.

Homeware and all its associated friends live on the ground floor.

The first mezzanine level is a brand new, and indeed quite a grown up bath and beauty department. The Tudor rooms at the rear of the building are now a stationery and book department and a project space to house temporary exhibitions and collaborations.

Old fashioned shop keeping is a brilliant, hugely varied and funny business.
And we wouldn’t want them to do anything else.

Ah – did anybody see the amazing Farrow & Ball best front door competition? Our front door is a lovely sage colour – I’m not sure whether it’s Farrow and Ball, but I must say with all the recent house renovations in our street there are some fantastic front door colours springing up.

According to a study of 2,000 people, those with red front doors were happiest. Apparently they are the biggest extroverts and are move relaxed in their approach to life.

After red, people with white, green or brown front doors were also pretty happy. Ok – that makes me glad we’ve got green then. In fact – we’ve always had green front doors. Mt Albert was green. Roderick Road was green. Estelle Road we had a green back door as we came in through a separate entrance – and of course our wonderful current house has a sage green front door.

Living in Hampstead does make for some great external door spotting, with front doors, shed doors, garages and side doors in all manner of fabulous, considered, expensive design choices.

A lot of houses in the area have the most beautiful rambling roses climbing up the fronts of their houses – something, again, I am keen to do at ours. I think that’s going to entail a lot of fun research in my David Austin roses catalogue. Clematis is also quite a goodie – I think it’s going to come down to which of the two will over-winter best.

For now though, we’ve got a lovely front door, lovely window boxes full of herbs, a landscaped the garden with succulents, cordylines and sweet peas – all done very nicely on a tight budget from the local garden centre and good old Columbia Road market.

Image Antoinette bed © Loaf

We have been on the lookout for a nice new bed since our cheap and cheerful IKEA one has gone horribly wrong after just a year. I wonder if that has anything to do with the children and their friends jumping on it at every opportunity.

Still, me doesn’t make for good value if you work that out over ten years. We need a bed the kids can really jump on without breaking it.

With our Living Etc subscription came the most enormous amount of addressed brochures now appearing through our letterbox every week, including one from Loaf aka The Sleeproom. Ah, so lovely they are. We are saving up for one of these, not cheap but they are handmade in the UK and, I think, worth every penny.

In fact, a lot of the furniture at Daylesford Farm looks like the furniture in the Loaf catalogue. All lovely and rustic and upholstered in beautiful linen in natural, neutral shades.

If you’re looking for budget beds in a french style and you’re happy to do a bit of restoration eBay is always a good place to look. You can do absolute wonders with an old bed, some paint and a bit of DIY nouse (that’s not me though).

Mind you after our experience with the IKEA bed we bought, I’d definitely recommend saving up for a good one. I hate it when things fall apart – it seems like such a huge waste of money – so the next bed we buy is going to be great quality and hand made.


flask walk

With Spring not around the corner, but actually here it’s time for some home decorating. We’ve painted all the interior walls and now I’m keen to strip back the doors and start afresh.

My favourite doors are plain doors. My most favourite doors are old villa doors with the paint stripped back with beautiful coloured decorative glass panels.

I also like lovely muted front doors. London has a lot of lovely muted front doors. When we go out for our walks up to Hampstead we pass many lovely doors; yellow, green, red, sage green, light grey, dark grey and blue.

Incidentally Farrow and Ball is running a competition for the best front door. You’d be wise to have a look if you’ve got a thing for doors.

Discovered lately following my love affair with the Casa Moro cookbook, maroque imports all manner of marvels from Morocco. Tagines, ceramic jugs and bowls, ceramic serving dishes, handwoven carpets, nickel and ceramic table lanterns, silver mirrors and Moroccan food.

We especially love their beautiful delicate glasses that come in a vast array of splendid colours with pretty gold detailing.

These are just the most amazing thing we’ve found in a very long time. Fabric wall stickers that are removable and can wipe clean from little sticky fingers.

Made in New Zealand – by the very amazing artist Kim Hands, we love the Nikau Palm height chart, the brilliant alphabet set, little rabbits and deer in pretty colours and the rose arbour with bluebirds of happiness. The little tree with owls is high up in our list of favourites too. Not cheap, but worth saving up for. At £10 a week into a savings account it will take us a couple of months but will be most definitely worth the wait.

Sticky Tiki on Etsy

From top left clockwise: LSA Milo Jug, Mooi Five o’Clock Chair, & Small Wall Clock, LSA Rose Vase, Eichholz Corbusier Sofa

A new discovery for Lovely Shops is OCCA HOME. With a superb collection of LSA, our favourite glassware, along with a few delightful surprises, such as the mooi range – with pretty vintage rose prints on chairs and coffee tables; an amazing Corbusier sofa by Eichholz in our favourite grey and a super sweet orange wall clock by &.

Be sure to check their lovely blog for interiors features and new products.

From left to right – Top: Fleur de lis Linen from Borderline Fabrics; egg craft from Anthropologie; Blue Spot vinyl tiles from Cath Kidston. Bottom: Edith the cat money box from Liberty; Cowboy teepee from Cath Kidston; Cornishware Pudding basin from TT Green; Felicity Etruscan jug by Burleigh from Liberty.

Our beautiful rustic house really is in need of a few odd jobs being done. I can think of nothing more fun than buying paint, wallpaper and some beautiful objects to adorn the house – and while Kevin is great around the house for things like blocked showers, putting things on walls, fixing broken taps – I’m not so sure about architeching anything involving any serious construction – or even wallpaper paste. And I do so love wallpaper.

Perhaps I need to take some lessons. I’ve always secretly wanted to be able to make my own furniture. Because for that kind of thing I’ve absolutely no idea where to start. It always seems like such a huge barrier between me buying a shelf with a wall bracket and it actually ever materialising on a wall near me.

There’s a good resource where you can get tips on choosing a MyHammer handyman.

With that taken care of I can focus on the decorative aspects of the house and spend hours online shopping at my favourite interiors shops – Liberty, Cath Kidston, Anthropologie and Toast.

image from a girl a style

Caravan. 3 Redchurch Street. London E2 7DJ.

I met Emily a few weeks ago at Holly from Decor8 blog’s book party at Liberty. Emily’s house is in a lot of books and we were once in the same book as her – it’s a little Japanese book called Lovely Styles of Living Spaces.

Emily had the most amazing orange bag on – by Shanghai Trio who create beautifully crafted bags using vintage materials. The requirement for such an orange bag sent me along to her shop the next Saturday, Kevin happy to pay a visit to Allpress down the road for coffee.

Bagpuss the cat was there to greet everyone while we had a little look around the Caravan of lovely treasures. An ever-changing stock of unique and interesting pieces from Emily’s network of designers, makers and suppliers around the world. There were beautiful french wire baskets (around £12) and birdcages (around £20) – and some incredible scandinavian knitted softies (£69).

Next visit to Redchurch Street I’m going to book myself a manicure and pedicure (it’s £37 for 1 and a half hours) at The Painted Lady – they also do vintage haird styling – yay!

Lulu Bright at 57 Southend Rd, Hampstead, London, NW3

We are always to be found buying new furniture, with a mix of styles we like; scandinavian / European mid century modern, late 19th century country pine, Paul’s Emporium in Kentish Town, eBay, Heal’s and of course the odd bit from IKEA.

We have recently been blessed by the arrival of Lulu Bright in our local area South End Green right by Hampstead Heath. They stock an incredible, hand-curated boutique of scandinavian furniture and home accessories. Originally it was going to be a pop-up bütik but we’re hoping they’ll stay.

It does have to be said, furniture appreciators are a dedicated lot. We head to Lulu Bright every Saturday and Sunday and any other days if we were off work. eBay gets a few looks each week maybe although often one needs to do a lot of browsing to happen upon a hidden gem. Once a month we’ll head over to Kentish Town to Paul’s Emporium. He’s got brilliant, cheap, ever-changing stock. We bought a beautiful but water damaged mahogany chest of drawers for £180 a few weeks back. A set of g-plan nested tables set up back £40 a couple of years back.