The perfect birthday treats

Birthday bounty 1 I fully endorse the tradition of buying yourself a birthday present. That way you know you'll actually get something that you want. It was my birthday last Monday and after no-spend May, it was definitely time to treat myself. After a lovely breakfast at our favourite nearby cafe, I took myself off to the wedding dress exhibition at the V&A. (Gorgeous! Make sure you get there.) Then I hit the shops. After a couple of hours of not finding ANYTHING I actually wanted to spend my pennies on, I found everything at once.

From left to right, Zara embroidered fringed waistcoat& Other Stories leather sandals with tortoiseshell heels, H&M tin, Aesop resurrection hand cream, Aesop camellia nut facial cream, Charlotte Tilbury colour morphing eye shadow pencil for hazel eyes, & Other Stories dress (print version here).

Birthday bounty

I love the shoes so much that I'm going to go back and get them in the pale hue too. I think the annual birthday shop is a tradition that I'm going to have to keep up.

And here are some of the gorgeous gifts that the lovely folks in my life treated me to.

Birthday bounty

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds vinyl, Bill Callahan vinyl, vintage hat box, vintage ceramic rolling pin, My Petite Kitchen by Eleanor Ozich, Sacred Hill gin.  Lovely.

xx C

St Benedict - A Victorian B&B

8561034845_0cf83aaf8c_b Without a doubt this is the most amazing home I've ever been lucky enough to stay in. It's probably the most amazing home I've ever set foot in to be honest. St Benedict Victorian B&B can be found in the sleepy East Sussex town of St-Leonard-on-Sea, neighbour to Hastings.  I'd been wanting to visit Hastings for ages after reading about it on both Sarah and Ellie's blogs and we decided a last-minute weekend away was just what we needed. After searching around online for somewhere to stay and giving up on any Air BnB options, I stumbled across this place and knew it was worth investigating.

St benedicts windows

It's like stepping into a past era. I wasn't sure what to expect when we arrived but I knew it was going to be amazing. I never expected it to be this good. Any pictures I'd seen online could not have prepared me for the absolute gorgeousness of the place.

St Benedicts

Owners Paul and Steven have spent the last 18 years transforming the home, which was divided into flats, back into a full house. It's clearly been a lot of hard work and  a labour of love. But the result is completely breathtaking.

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We stayed in the old nursery room  on the top floor. The antique bed is probably the comfiest I've ever slept in, with its antique hand-embroidered sheets and cosy blankets. The room also has a spectacular view of the garden with its massive pond, own chapel and summer-house.

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St Benedict Victorian B&B view

St Benedict Victorian B&B

Breakfast was served on gorgeous china and silver serving ware, all sent to the dining room via the dumb-waiter from the kitchen below.

Breakfast at St Benedict

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St Bendicts BB sink

Each room also has its own bathroom with roll top bath and Victorian style loo with wooden seat.

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I honestly can't explain in enough detail how amazing this place is. A single blog post could never do it justice. It's not stuffy like a museum but very welcoming and comfortable (although it is more amazing than most of the National Trust places I've been)! Only 1 hour 40 min or so by train from London Bridge it's an easy weekend away. Just go. I know I will be visiting again.

x C

Sneak peek: An amazing Victorian B&B

If you're a minimalist and enjoy stark empty spaces, you may want to look away. If you love beautiful bits and pieces please read on. Here's a peek at the incredible Victorian B&B  at St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex that I had the pleasure of staying at recently. St Leonard's BB

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I really don't know where to start with the absoutle amazingness of it all...

x C

P.S. You can find me over on the very lovely This is Your Kingdom today, writing about Violet cakes.

Around the house: a badger, a Biba girl & two owls

I thought it was time I shared a few images from around the flat. I've posted a few bits on Instagram so if you follow me there, you'll have seen a few bits and pieces. Unbelievably, it's a whole year since we moved in. I still feel like I'm settling in, rearranging and finding spots for things which don't have obvious homes.

The mantel. Apparently one money-box just wasn't enough. The badger was a gift and is from the Quail range at Liberty. The owl (Hedwig) I fell in love with when I spied him at Caravan Style a couple of years ago. He just had to come home with me. They both live on the mantelpiece. Both are sadly closer to empty than full. The teacup trios were gifts, the left is by Susie Cooper (I wrote about it here) and the right is a vintage set by Collingwood (c.1924-1930). The couple dancing print is from the brilliant 20 X 200 site.

The bookshelf. Another little wise owl. This guy was £1 from a charity shop. He lives with a very weather-beaten yellow submarine, complete with fab four aboard. The Beatles toy was the Mr's when he was a child. Our bookshelves are overflowing but there's still space for these guys.

All the little ukuleles lined up.

The sofa (and the ukes). The Mr's collection all lined up watching telly on the sofa. Left to right: A charango, a Mele soprano ukulele, a banjolele, my SpongeBob ukulele, and a Lehua ukulele all together, just hanging out. And before you ask, no I can't play any of them. The sofa, or couch as us New Zealanders tend to call them, was donated by the Mr's uncle when we were trying to fill the unfurnished flat. It's covered with Charles Eames fabric apparently. Love.

Liberty print cushion

And here's a Liberty print cushion I ran up on the sewing machine. I'm halfway through making another one in green.

Framed biba poster

The bedroom. This is an unsigned original Biba poster photographed by James Wedge. I really wanted to have it on display as I just love her. You can't really see from my photo but the Gold Biba logo is printed in the top left hand corner. These posters were never used or sold by Biba as they were produced in 1974 just before the company folded. There are a few floating around online if you look for them. She's lying on the most rich and opulent cushions. She doesn't really match the wallpaper, which I'm not really keen on but in a rented flat what can you do? If those legs and butt aren't motivation to get up and go for a run in the morning I don't know what is.

I love looking at pictures of other people homes on blogs so thought it was only fair that I shared some of mine. Stay tuned for part two (once I've had a tidy-up).

Besotted with: A lovely Swedish flat

The little flat we rented in Stockholm was a-maz-ing. We found it on City Living Apt. If you're going on holiday somewhere soon check it out, there are loads of gorgeous places on there.

Having a little rest.

Roller skates, a lovely jug and books. It was filled with lovely vintage finds and gorgeous parquet floors.

As I mentioned in this post - I LOVED these lamps.

A peacock rug and parquet floors.

Mirrors in the kitchen.

A globe lamp! Can I go back now instead of going to work tomorrow? Please?

Have you ever fallen in love with someone else home?

A birthday in Stockholm

We recently spent four nights in Stockholm to celebrate the Mr's birthday. He'd wanted to visit for ages, and I must admit, I'm a complete convert now. If it wasn't for the freezing cold dark winters*, I think I could live there.

We stayed in a studio apartment we hired from City Living Apt. It's full of stylish Stockholm accommodation available for short term rent.  We opted to stay in an apartment so we could eat at home (as Sweden is ridiculously expensive to eat and drink out). But more on that next time, as I have a million photos of our cute accommodation to share next time.

Despite sleet, torrential rain and very cold winds we wandered the streets (and bridges and islands) of Stockholm through the gloom with a long list of places to visit. If you're looking for a guide to Stockholm I recommend taking a look at these ones on Emmas DesignBlogg and Design *Sponge. With these guides printed, guidebooks at the ready and umbrellas up we spent several lovely days wandering around finding lots of cute and cosy spots.

So many of the buildings are painted a golden-yellow or terracotta. Warm and sunny colours to ward away the wintery gloom.

Taking a stroll around one of the islands.

Everything is so aesthetically pleasing. Even the Stockholm hire bikes beat the pants off Boris' blue numbers.

The sea.

The old town.

Some of my favourite spots:

Fotografiska - the photography museum (as shown in the gloom above) is housed in a listed Art Nouveau industrial building. We were literally soaked by the time we found it but leaving our brollys and coats drying in the coat area we explored the massive space, which has several exhibitions on at any one time. We were lucky enough to see the dream-like pics of Helena Blomqvist and behind the scenes Godfather photos by Steve Schapiro. Well worth the entry fee.

The super stylish Urban Deli was just a five-minute walk from where we stayed in Sofo. The only bar, seafood restaurant and grocery all in one that I've ever heard of. We found having a drink at the bar then buying some yummy fresh food to take back to the apartment made up for not going out for dinner. Oh and they have a juice bar too. (There's a completely vegetarian store just around the corner too).

Clothing and vintage furniture Grandpa is just around the corner from Deli and worth a look, although it's bit on the expensive side.

We had an amazing afternoon tea at design store Svenskt Tenn.  Amazing furniture, fabrics, wallpapers, and gifts all designed with bright colors and bold patterns. As this already photo heavy, I'll save more on this for next time.

x

*Swedish doctors have estimated almost 20 per cent of the population suffer from seasonal affective disorder.