Monday, 2 May 2011

Brides, Bunting and Bunnies

What a wonderful yet challenging month April has been. The weather has been unseasonably warm and we have enjoyed long, balmy days in the shop. Of course, we have had to accept the down side to the combination of a long school holiday, loads of bank holidays and great weather..everyone flees London for the coast or a rural getaway and who could blame them? We have got on preparing for the busier times which usually follow the holidays. It has not been a full year yet for us at the shop so each month is news to us. We will keep you all posted but holding ones nerve seems to be a skill necessary in retail so when we had our quietest three weeks ever over the holiday, I won't lie to you, we had more than our fair share of sleepless nights and we certainly aren't out of the woods however such wonderful events and celebrations have more than made up for it.

Easter in the shop involved many Maileg bunnies finding new homes.

Our Easter tree was met with delight as we tied teacups, pearls, chocolates and bunnies in the branches taken from our Wisteria.
We saw a trend for Easter gifts for the calorie conscious and had several vintage finds on offer which had a decidedly spring feel to them.

These cutesy Maileg Easter tree decorations lasted three days in the shop and were sold out.

I love these 1930s name place holders fashioned after Beatrix Potter characters which have become useful for shop display.

I also set about making bunting which has been very popular for all the outdoor celebrations planned for this month.

Meanwhile in the jewellery case, many trinkets and pieces of silver have been added including a fabulous collection of sugar sifter spoons useful for strawberry season.

A gorgeous Victorian styled pin cushion and salt and pepper set

Stunning reconditioned 1930's Bridal hair slides, Charles Horner silver thimbles, and various deco brooches.

A lovely silver plate vintage wedding cake knife and lifter.

A beautiful silver plate cut work bon bon dish

A huge 1950's red Riding hood Teapot lid

1940's spring bouquet oil painting
Meanwhile back at home at Steve's paint studio, a little console table had a bit of renovation and a make- over using a piece of Cath Kidston oil cloth.

Tadaaa! Not bad for a table which was destined for landfill. Good on ya Steve!

A wonderful Victorian wash bowl and jug set

I also found a matching teapot to this gorgeous teaset. (sold)

With the return of the glorious weather came my desire to hit the fairs. It's much more tempting getting up at 5am when the sun is out and there's no chance of having to plod through muddy fields. Some of my treasures awaiting sorting.

But, without a doubt, the most wonderful event in our shop ever has been the run up to the Royal Wedding. So many street parties were planned for the day and we really enjoyed helping people to plan and style their various parties from bunting to honey comb decorations to china and cake stands. We even sold a white line cricket pitch marker which a lovely lady bought her grandsons so they could mark up their own football pitch for the day.

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This wonderful union jack bunting was a rare find indeed. It is original street party bunting which was used at the first street parties held in England which marked the end of WWI.

An original print from the Queen's coronation.

In the shop our window display was clearly themed around the Union Jack.

The dresser held a vast collection of royal memorabilia which proved quite popular with the various foreign tourists who were visiting over Easter, some of it traveling as far as Canada, South Africa and China.

After all the great stories we had heard of everyone's party plans, Steve and I felt a little 'partied out' so we decided not to throw a party but to go into London and make our memories there and what memories we made!

We got up at 4am and took a train to Waterloo then walked to Westminster where we found a great vantage point outside the Abbey doors but then decided we wanted to be with the crowds on the Mall, so walked the route through St James' park up to Buckingham Palace.
The Mall was packed but what an atmosphere! We found a good spot close to the palace.

The bride on her way to the abbey.

Crowds on the Mall

The cavalry were so breathtakingly amazing. The horses were incredible.

'Man and wife' as BBC called them, in their carriage

The battery of cameras awaiting the kiss on the balcony

After a crowd crushing dash we managed to get a good vantage point and were lucky enough to see the kiss (both of them).

A family Photo

a flyover of a spitfire, a hurricane and a Lancaster bomber

The crowds on The Mall
Afterwards, we retreated to St James' park for a picnic.
It is hard to describe what one feels taking part in a day which is so obviously going to be a day remembered for generations to come. One feels a sense of pride, of privilege and a sense of having played a part in it. As a historian (teacher of history at least) you become accustomed to seeing photographs and reading people's accounts of what it was like to be there. One rarely gets the chance to take part in history as it is made and to know it. Life in London has it's ups and downs and many times it can all become too much but it is on days like these that I remember, no matter where I end up, days like this come along very rarely and I will never forget this one.


  1. More lovely things! The bunting is so pretty and perfect for celebrating the Royal wedding - and all being well the Diamond Jubilee next year!

  2. Looking again at your wedding photos - they are fantastic! How did you get so close? (or did you have one of those amazing close-up telephoto lenses?!)