Tea at Svenskt Tenn

I don't generally go for bright or bold. I prefer things to be soft, pretty or plain. Or at least I used to until I discovered Josef Frank textiles and wallpaper.

I first noticed Frank's vibrant patterns when living with friends for a few months while in-between flats (ahhh the joy of finding somewhere to live in London). Their kitchen walls are papered with the white Springbells pattern as shown below. I spent countless moments gazing at the tulips and violets before my morning coffee kicked in.

A highlight of our visit to Stockholm in April was afternoon tea at the wonderful Svenskt Tenn department store. Founded by Estrid Ericson in 1924, the store was originally opened to sell pewter goods (Svenskt Tenn translates to Swedish Pewter). Ericson recruited Frank, an Austrian-born architect, designer and artist to the business 10 years later and the duo became synonymous with Swedish modernism.

Today, the store still sells designs by Ericson and Frank and, as we discovered, is home to some of the loveliest tea-rooms I've had the pleasure of sipping tea in.

How amazing are the chairs designed by Frank below? And the rattan and bamboo design chairs which you can just glimpse. I'm afraid my photos don't really do them justice.

We left the department store empty handed, but warmed by tea. I'm still kicking myself for not buying, at the very least, a cushion. The exchange rate and Sweden's super expensive prices were all a bit too much for my cold-addled brain. Fortunately the store's website is awesome. I'll be dreaming over Josef's patterns for many more days to come. You can read more about Svenskt Tenn over on Apartment Therapy.

Tea with Susie

I'm back on a self-imposed teacup buying ban at the moment. My shelves are overflowing with china and each time I take down a vase or book I'm terrified something is gonna bite the dust. But gifts are okay right? One of the recent additions to my collection is a beautiful 1930's Susie Cooper trio. A pale greenish-grey and cream number with delicate burgundy decoration.

The trio was a 30th birthday present and considering it's age, is in almost immaculate condition. There's just a bit of light crazing on the bottom of the plates, which is hardly noticeable. I like to think it used to belong to a dark-haired, elegant lady called Elisa.  A thin woman who drank her tea unsweetened, black and never with cake.

According to Wikipedia, Susie Cooper (29 October 1902 – 28 July 1995) was a prolific English ceramic designer working in the Stroke-on-Trent pottery industries from the 1920s to the 1980s. She worked for many firms, including Wedgwood, and was even awarded an OBE in 1979.

Her work is pretty and very collectable. This is labelled (on the plates not the cup as shown above) 'A Susie Cooper Production, Crown Works, Buslem'  so dates back to when she was running her own business that she started in 1929. There's a good site here, which has loads of information about collecting Susie Cooper.

Deadly sinful teacups

Look at these teacups! I spied them being talked about on Splendora. Shame they are all the way back home in New Zealand. I love the way they are all mismatched and being given a new lease of live with their sinful labels and random saucers. Probably more fitting to fill these cups with Gin cocktails than sweet milky tea.  Certainly enough to liven up any tea party.

They are by trixiedelicious and you can find her vandalised vintage china  here on Etsy. Rad.

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Monday blues

Like everyone else I hate Mondays. Loathe them. Tired, grumpy, meh. Weekend over, work blah. Heart's really not in it. Luckily I am surrounded by nice things to cheer me up a bit. 1. Lovely blooms from Columbia Road Sunday flower markets. Ahhhh, lilacs and peonies - loooooovely.

2.  Shelves full of shoes, books and tea cups...

3. And finally my Spongebob ukulele. No, I can't play it. Nor have I really tried. But still it's a nice prop. You can read more about my uke here.

Now it's time for hula hoop class. That should make me much jollier. And by the time I get home it will almost be Tuesday. Even better.

A little French blue

Every boy needs a little blue teacup. No ugly, fugly chipped mugs of builders tea around here please. It's bad enough that my housemates insist on buying horrendous, cheap mugs that I can't even bear to put in the dishwasher. Ugh.

This delicate eggshell blue cup and saucer with silver trim is in perfect condition was a mere £8 from Vintage Heaven on Columbia Road. The photo doesn't really do the colour justice. It is a much softer shade of blue in real life. The perfect present for the male in my life who thinks my teacup collection is out of control and that I should start selling them. Pfffffft.

The stamp says it is made in France by Limoges - even though it would be more at home in 1950s America? I can't help but wonder how it made it's journey to East London and who owned it before. I hope it was an exciting journey and I hope it was loved. Dammit.  I should've kept it.

A bluebird on my jug

I went to Columbia Road flower markets yesterday for the first in ages, and bought a couple of lovely teacups from the lovely Vintage Heaven. I really must stop buying teacups for I am rapidly running out of space!  I was on a self-imposed china buying ban too. Obviously I broke that. I'll save my new purchases for another time but  here's some photos of my lovely bluebird jug. This was also a Columbia Road flower market buy and was only a few quid. Always the perfect size for a bunch of spring blooms from the flower market. It's in perfect condition despite its age and the painting is just adorable. I've had it for about a year now but still whenever I use it Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds version of  'Bluebird on my shoulder' pops into my head. Not surpising considering how much I listen Mr Cave....

In the name of charity

It's a good cause right? Without a doubt the best place to buy old china is from charity shops outside of London. Everything in London is seriously picked over and often overpriced. When you venture further afield there's some real treasures to be found. As I work quite a distance away the charity shops are ripe for the picking. Many a pretty teapot and cup have been found during a lunch hour. The location is top secret as I can't possibly have anyone working my hunting ground.

One of my most recent purchases was this lovely set by a brand called Phoenix. The whole set which includes teapot, sugar bowl, milk jug, large cake plate and five cup, saucer and plate sets only set me back £9. I've seen single vintage cup, saucer and plate sets by Phoenix for as much as £45.

The teapot is a wonderful shape I think and my favourite piece of the set (which I'll post a photo of another time). But it was the cream background with green and gold designs that caught my eye. I'm a sucker for anything green and it's a bit unusual. Normally it's the floral designs that make me open my purse.

That's a new coat in the photo by the way. I have no idea what spring thinks its doing a the moment but it's still freezing and not light trenchcoat weather yet. The new coat just needs some buttons as the ones it has are a bit ugly. So after work I stopped off at my favourite shop in the whole wide world, Liberty and bought some fabulous buttons.

I love buttons. Think I picked that up from my mother and sister who both have "button jars" or tins.  These are the ones I picked up today. Liberty simply has the best range.

Jet and the blakhearts

Time to get stitching!