Monday, June 29, 2009
My very own Garden Party and THREE winning cyber-guests!
Sunday, June 28, 2009
A Beautiful Day!
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Garden Party - Please do come...
Just an updated post to say how much I've loved your wonderful contributions to my virtual garden party, everyone! It's been a fantastic way for loads of my friends to get to know each other, just as I hope my 'real' party will be next Saturday. I've left a little comment next to all the links below, in the hope it will tempt more people to 'visit' a new blog and find yet another marvelous garden party guest. Prize-giving next week, after my actual party...Elizabethd from French Village Life (France) - oooh, that gateau...
Jayne of Country Cottage Chic (England) - what a civilised party - I need that cake next Saturday!
Melanie of A Country Dream (England) - I think she's bringing her crochet!
Valerie of Dotty Dotty (England) - She booked the Pimms bus! Is it too late for me to ask them to drive south..?
Lululiz of Lalaland (England and France!) - thank goodness we cleared the helipad!
Bekimarie from The ramblings of an everyday mummy (England) - what lovely paper lanterns
Olga of Where are you... (Poland) - Now I've seen that dress, my garden will seem forever incomplete...
Sarah from Red Gingham (New Zealand) - she's making a two-week trip of it, folks!
Caroline of Lace Hearts (England) - Love the customised hat - I may try this, but the boxy dancers..? Hmm...
Ashley from Peacocks and Dragonflies (USA) - she could be the best-dressed guest, folks!
Isabel de la Maison Douce (USA) - which vintage dress would you choose?
Josie-Mary (England) - check out her polka-dot dress!
Sonia of Vintage Rose Designs (USA)
Louise, at The Whispering Poppies (USA) - oh, a party on the beach - we'll get there by cycling...
Juanitatortilla (Switzerland) - never been to a Swiss/Asian Garden Party before? Get over to this one ASAP!
Alexandra, Domestic Novice (Scotland) - what a wonderful, rosey handbag!
Lissy Lou and the two little boys (England) - a marvelous, secret garden venue...
Sharon, of Clover Cottage (England) - Aaliyah has to be the youngest blogger I know!
Della, of Della Grace's Life (USA) - an incredible cake...
Mandy, of Live, Laugh, Love (England) - vintage crystal bouquets? Why didn't I think of that? They're lovely...
Clare, at Summerfete (England) - a late addition - I'm so glad I found this lovely party!
Fleur, at Marble Rose (England) - a Pimms teacosy? I have now officially seen it all...
Friday, June 19, 2009
Charity Shops of Edinburgh - the personal review
Stockbridge, Ferry Road and Davidson Mains Stockbridge is my standard (and superb) area for a charity shop trawl if I only have one day. It's a charming, village-feel, part of Edinburgh, an easy walk away from my parents' home. The houses are old and characterful and the inhabitants fairly well-off and interesting. This of course makes for interesting and good-quality donations to the charity shops! Some that really stand out are Barnardos, which has wonderful vintage displays (not for sale) and a small vintage clothes section, and St Columba's Hospice shop, which has recently transformed itself from the sad neighbour of the classier shops into a wonderful trove of vintage china. Oxfam, Shelter and St John's ambulance also have second-hand bookshops here, and Oxfam Music is well-stocked. You might find anything in Stockbridge, but it is probably particularly good for clothes.
There is only one shop left on Ferry Road, but as it's very near my parents' home I go there quite often. Last year I had a wonderful visit, when I bought, among many other things, the vintage dress I'm going to wear at my garden party! This time I found nothing (to Elizabethd's amazement) but that's just the luck of the draw. I've never been to the Davidson Mains shops - they are far off the beaten track and mainly serve the local community, I think.
Leith and Abbeyhill Leith Walk, heading from the city centre down to the old port of Leith, is a broad, elegant road that has plenty of space for lorries to pull up outside the shops, so the charity furniture shops are collecting here. Their stock seems good and regularly changing, and they also stock smaller items for the travelling visitor! Several Edinburgh charities collect together all their vintage stock and put it into one shop, and St Columbas' Doo-Cot (his dovecot, if you were wondering) is the Hospice's very charming shop, with a lot of china, embroidered linen etc. The advantages are that this is a charming shop with wonderful stock. The disadvantage is that the prices are accordingly high. Still well worth a look. Further into Leith, the Victorian port architecture is impressive, but the area is quite a strange mixture of hard-faced women swearing at their kids and tourists. The charity shops mingle with the Pound Stretchers, and are the smartest and most cheerful shops along the Leith roads. All well worth a visit.
One of the roads of the Old Town is full of charity shops - it's variously named South Bridge, Nicholson Street and Clark Street, as you walk along it. It's near the university so there are many students both working and shopping in the charity shops, but plenty of elderly ladies too! The shops along the road can be divided into those which aid the big, national charities and those which are for the local Edinburgh ones. More than anywhere else I found a sharp diversity between the two types. The 'big' charities have clean, modern, characterless shops, and the elderly ladies running them often told me, 'Oh no, Head Offce have decided that we don't stock buttons any more'. The local charities are often a bit more interesting, with perfectly clean but less 'snazzy' shops, and a braver idea of what they are prepared to stock. I found my best buttons, and the best chat, in a far-flung local charity shop which I'd never seen before, even though I'd been charity shopping down that road last year. There is some overlap, and it is never pointless to look in the 'snazzy' modern versions, but they are all a bit too 'Mary Queen of Charity Shops' and not enough 'Aladdin's Cave' for a real treasure hunter.
Oldtown and Newington
West End, Gorgie and Dalry Anyone who reads Ian Rankin's Rebus books knows that, as with Leith, I was on a walk from tourists' central Edinburgh to some more workaday areas, here. I began on Shandwick Place and, with a few problems on the map, moved to Dalry Road. It looks like a more or less straight line on the map, but it wasn't. However, the shops were great. Even the national charities had some interesting stock, and the local ones like Bethany Christian Trust (always good) turned out to have fantastic stock from my point of view. The Salvation Army shop was particularly good for clothes and chat. Back in the West End, I found that two out of the three shops marked on the Queensferry Road had shut, but that the St Columba's Hospice shop was fantastic and worth the short walk. It was stocked by four very interesting people, aged from 20s to retirement, who seemed to be having fun as a team and displayed stock according to their strengths. Thus, antique china rubbed shoulders with funky retro clothing, and all was well laid out. The staff also knew a lot about other Charity Shops (this doesn't always happen), and recommended a trip to Portobello, the seaside town outside Edinburgh, for a lovely combination of sea and charity shopping. Sounds good for a future visit!
It was in this last shop that a gentleman asked me if I was doing a PhD in charity shops. Do you think I have enough material?
Tomorrow I will publish a Garden Party post - letting you know all the lovely ladies who are involved, who will be posting their own Garden Party ideas and images either on Saturday (my birthday) or Sunday. Of course my own party isn't until the following week, as I couldn't get it ready so soon after flying home. Thus, your Garden Party posts will be all (OK, most) of the partying I do on my actual birthday - looking forward to them! Sign up on the original post if you still want to join in!
Thursday, June 18, 2009
From Edinburgh back to France
However, on my last day in Edinburgh I had a really rather good time. My sister arrived, which was great. It was her birthday on Monday and I'd given her a lovely pendant made by Juanitatortilla. She was wearing it on a long black velvet ribbon which she'd wrapped several times round her neck to make a choker. It looked fantastic! (Sorry, no photos, but you can see her shoes in a later picture in this post!). I also gave her a super book, Love Pink, which I'd read about on Niki's blog, a vintage book on handwriting analysis (her hobby) and her own personalised version of our family tree. Later in the evening I showed the females of the family what I'd bought in my charity shop trip of the West End and Dalry. (There is no link here, the computer's just being silly.) One of my first finds was this vintage sewing tin - it says 'workbox' in the top left corner. There are little curved 'shelves' for bobbins of thread inside, although it must have originally come with sweeties in - from Basset's. This little rose bowl was a real find. I was so anxious to find one on my travels that when I spotted this on, filled with artificial roses, I snapped it up without really looking. When I got it home my mum pointed out that it is cut glass and considerably more valuable than I realised! It looks good with our French roses in it now.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Only one charity shop? What's got into Floss?
I had a project which kept me in the house for most of this afternoon - I was using some online software to make sense of a family tree, based on the certificates and other documents kept by my mother's family.
To be honest, we have no idea who any of these young men is. My mother suggested we pick the best looking and claim him for an ancestor. Thus, I am proud to tell you that I am directly descended from the suave chappie on the top right. My mother and I were in no doubt..?
However, we do know who this couple are - my grandma's parents. My mother remembers her grandmother well.