We’ve been fans of Sibella Court for a few years now, and have stocked, sold and read, all of her books since ‘ETCETERA’ was published a few years ago. They are always inspiring. Bowerbird is her latest and is quite wonderful…A Bowerbird is a bird native to Australia & New Guinea. The beautiful male birds, build the most extraordinary nests to attract their mates. They then spend hours collecting & placing a variety of brightly coloured objects they have found at the entrance to the nest. These objects, may include hundreds of shells, leaves, flowers, feathers, stones, berries, and even discarded plastic items, coins, nails, rifle shells, or pieces of glass. Collectors and decorators of the bird world! And the inspiration for this book….Here’s some sample pages…..
On the way back from our trip to Cowley Manor, a few weeks ago, we had a quick whistle-stop tour through the Cotswolds. We had never really been to this part of England before, so we thought seeing as we were down there anyway, it would be rude not to explore, at least a little!First stop on the way to Oxford, (where we were staying for that night) was Stow on the Wold, a pretty market town that centres around the market square at the top of the hill. As i’m sure most of the thousands of tourists that visit Stow every year would agree, there are plenty of photo opportunities…
After a couple of hours in Stow, we headed off to Burford, another popular destination in the Cotswolds. Again, a beautiful town with the typical Cotswold stone built buildings and quaint English charm….
Although the whole town is lovely, particularly worth a stroll down is ‘Sheep Street’ off the main high street. This is where we took the majority of the photos. A street with as many beautiful cottages and houses would be hard to find…
In 2009, Burford was ranked sixth in Forbes Magazine‘s list of “Europe’s Most Idyllic Places To Live”. Not hard to see why….
If you’re looking for inspiration in Paris, then Merci, on Boulevard Beaumarchais on the edge of the Marais, is always worth a visit…The brainchild of Marie-France Cohen & her husband (founders of children’s brand Bonpoint) Merci is a concept store, that since opening in 2009, has in a few short years, gained quite a reputation amongst interiors & lifestyle journalists and bloggers. And with good reason!Set in an old factory, set back from the main road (sorry Boulevard!) Merci has 15,000 sq ft of the very best in contemporary furniture, lighting & accessories, mixed with exquisite vintage & antique pieces…There is also a whole floor of exclusive designer clothing and accessories, with many pieces designed exclusively for Merci, by Stella McCartney, Paul Smith and Isabel Marant – to name a few. There is also a library/café where you can slow down and maybe browse or buy the books while you sip your green tea! It’s also worth mentioning that Merci donates all it’s profits to Women’s foundations in Madagascar. But the thing that stands Merci apart, is the innovative visual merchandising and displays that are implemented throughout the store… That and the little vintage Red Fiat 500 Cinquecento that stands in the courtyard ready to greet you as you enter….Merci, indeed.
As a reward to ourselves for all the work we put into launching our new website, we took a few days off last week, and headed off for a few days, in and around the Cotswolds. We stayed two nights at the wonderful Cowley Manor, a contemporary country house, boutique hotel & spa in….well, Cowley!Just outside Cheltenham in the Cotswolds, Cowley Manor has been a Hotel & Spa since 2002 and has been recognised as pioneering a new wave of country house hotels.On arrival, the first thing that struck us about Cowley Manor (apart from the obvious beauty of the building itself) is the view from inside the hotel, looking out onto the lakes and lawns. Breath-taking…The interior is cool & contemporary with an abundance of modern artwork and sculpture throughout the beautiful old building and its grounds.Old & New has always been at the core of everything we do, so we weren’t disappointed.The staff are friendly and the service is what you would expect of a hotel of this calibre – top notch! They even had a selection of multicoloured Hunter Wellies to borrow….. For us though, the jewel in Cowley’s crown, is the 55 acres of grounds. Its famous gardens include, parklands, woods & meadows, as well as a series of lakes and Victorian cascades…Rain or shine (and we had both) the grounds are truly beautiful. As we explored the gardens and land surrounding Cowley Manor, it was great fun discovering the many pieces of sculpture by post-graduate students from the Royal College of Art….…made all the more striking, seeing modern art & sculpture set in the traditional setting of an English landscaped garden.By the way, local history states that Lewis Carroll regularly visited Cowley village. During his stays, it is said, he drew inspiration for his best known book ‘Alice in Wonderland’, from Cowley Manor and it’s grounds. Croquet anyone?
Some of you may notice that is a holding page at our main website urls – http://www.discoverattic.com & co.uk. Well, that’s because for the past few months we’ve been working on a brand spanking shiney, sparkly new buy online website (actually it’s not sparkly – we don’t really do sparkly. Or shiney!) Anyway, we’re very excited about it and very proud too, it’s looking fantastic and totally reflects what we’re about. We’ve been working with Shine Marketing (www.shinemarketing.com) who are also based in Hampton Hill. A great bunch of guys with their collective finger on the e-commerce pulse. It’ll be a few days before the new website goes live, so bear with us, it won’t be long. But definitely worth waiting for……
At the beginning of May we managed to get away for a long weekend. So we headed to the beautiful Tuscan city of Florence, (Firenze).
Every now and again on a Sunday, for inspiration, we go up to the Brick Lane area of East London. Our usual route starts off at Columbia Rd flower market, for coffee and horticultural bargains, then down to Cheshire Street (via many quirky independent little shops) and onto the wonderful melting pot that is Brick Lane. Then, after taking in the beautiful old London architecture on the way, it’s a little further and we arrive at Old Spitalfields market. Here you’ll find pretty much any kind of cuisine, from anywhere in the world at one of the many food stalls. Really reasonable prices too. In the old market itself there are literally hundreds of stalls/shops selling anything from jewellery to clothes to vintage industrial furniture. Many of the stall holders are designer/makers on the first rungs of the ladder, so you don’t have to look too hard to find some original pieces. Anyway, during the day we’re always looking for the not so obvious photo opportunities. Here’s a few we took…..
There’s a lot of scented candles out there these days, varying in price from £5 to £50 (also varying in quality). As far as we’re concerned a good scented candle should, most importantly, have an exquisite scent, and a nice even burn – without leaving a ‘circle’ of wax around the outside, and a wick that’s slowly disappearing down a hole! Great packaging is also vitally important these days, for a candle to stand out from the crowd, especially in the gift market…..
….so with that in mind, when we were in Paris earlier in the year, we discovered Papillon Rouge Candles. Made entirely in France, Papillon Rouge are a family run business, with a passion for home fragrance. They use exclusively 100% vegetable wax (paraffin free) and their candles delicately scent your home with the most wonderful scents….
We have a small selection of their scents that include: Orange Blossom, Cedar wood, Black Iris, Fig Tree Leaf, Woody Rose & Seashore. They come in handmade glass vessels in Black, white or Red (the red glass is a one off scent called ‘Love Addicted’ and Virginie at PR tells us you can only smell it if you are in love!)
Papillon Rouge are at the higher end of the candle market so consequently you will pay a little more (£35 each) but they are truly exquisite. Trust us!!