Christmas at attic.

We thought you might like to see our new Christmas window display. We’re really rather pleased with it…..IMG_1908Some of the regular visits to our site (and this blog!) and various social media, may have noticed that we haven’t been very active in this last few months, Here’s a quick update on our year…IMG_1740We’ve actually been incredibly busy behind the scenes, setting ourselves up for the future with a new integrated till/ epos system and a better functioning website, that will be updated regularly!! There will also be some new things happening with the website over the next few months so we’ll keep you updated….IMG_1770 It’s actually been a year of ups and downs. The loss of a close family member to cancer in the first half of the year was difficult to say the least. That tends to put things into perspective. IMG_1771We’ve also had challenges with our website, stemming from unforeseen incompatibility issues, that have caused a lot of work – but we’ve also been shown the most incredible generosity of spirit (and time!) by certain people. One step back – two steps forward and all that…. Encouragingly though, our business in general, has had some incredible recognition from across the globe – so we must be doing something right!IMG_7009Anyway, we’re getting back on track and we’ve been busy getting the shops ready for Christmas. They are now jam packed with seasonal stock, gifts, decorations and inspiration. We’re taking new product shots as we speak, so new stock will also be added to the website this week.IMG_1750

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IMG_1763attic by night……IMG_1917And by the way, in case you are wondering – the mystical figures in the window are called Santos dolls. We bought them in New York last year. They are replicas of figurines found in churches and holy places in South America (and parts of Europe) in the 17th and 18th century. Not for sale i’m afraid, display only – sorry!

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Beside the Seaside

Typography & Signage in Hastings and Rye

At the end of last year, we took a little trip to the seaside, for a final little break before the Christmas season started in earnest……The thing that became apparent on our return, was the large amount of photos we’d taken of old handwritten/handmade signs and signage: Shop signs, house names, road names, fishing boat numbers and fish and chip shop signs…..seaside

RYE, East Sussex. 

We actually spent a weekend in the seaside towns of Hastings and the fishing port of Rye a few miles along the southern English coast. We’ve been to Rye a few times over the years, and it never fails to charm us, with its picturesque old town and cobbled lanes of cottages and houses…mermaid street 2

There’s an abundance of antique shops and emporiums, small boutiques – and a good choice of restaurants and coffee shops (and traditional tea shops- it is a very English town after all) There’s also a fantastic old Vinyl record store; Grammar School Records – situated in an old Grammar school (funnily enough) It’s always worth a visit, if you like a long player!

We found there are a lot of quirky houses in Rye if you keep your eyes open…2 front doorsPatriotic too…..fish and shipsprinters

Lovely little boutique – Violetta – closed unfortunately!violetta

A very neat and tidy looking homewares and ironmongers….Crockery

Philosophical messages atop the buildings! You just have to look up……DSCN1895

HASTINGS, East Sussex

Hastings is a contrasting town of two halves. Having never been before, we were surprised at the difference between the Old town and the ‘New’ town. The lovely Old town to the west of the town, has a wonderful mix of independent shops, pubs and restaurants, including many vintage/antique and lifestyle shops. We particularly liked the fantastic Myerscough & Mairs antiques and vintage shop, on the old high street. Lovely guy and great pieces. The ‘New’ town to the east, appears to consist of a mix of once beautiful old Victorian buildings, that have seemingly been long neglected (the magnificent old Palace Court Hotel on the seafront in particular) and a sprawling, shabby looking, commercial shopping centre. And dodgy looking guest houses…B&B

….we liked the front door of this B&B – but didn’t fancy staying there! And the ‘Antiques sign was clearly more interesting than the shop – it had closed down.antiques

Always handy to have a shop that serves soup, while choosing your wedding cakes – don’t you think?……DSCN1607

light steps

Alastair Hendy’s Homestore on the High Street is enough on it’s own, to warrant a visit to Hastings. We had a delicious, freshly caught sea food lunch here too….home store

The Haunted Waterloo Passage – off the old high street…waerloo

Who wouldn’t want to live at No.1 Pleasant row?pleasant rowHand painted signwriting….right Like the idea of a rock shop…rock shop

There are many more photo opportunities to be had down on the seafront. Hastings is still home to Europe’s largest beach based fishing fleet and you will find many old and abandoned fishing boats, amongst the working boats and fishmongers, selling their freshly caught produce….fresh fish Look out for the seagulls though…..fishing boat

By the way, we stayed at the George Hotel in Rye, on the high street. Fantastic, stylishly designed hotel, with great rooms and a cosy bar (with roaring log fire) and a great restaurant! Worth a stay….DSCN1863

Quintessance, Paris.

While on our last buying trip to Paris in September, we stumbled upon the most intriguing and inspiring of places….. With no name on the outside, no business cards, no obvious signs of staff working there, we left somewhat mystified about where and what exactly we had just visited. All we knew was that it was quite breathtaking. And very, very inspiring….Only after returning home and looking up the address did we discover that it is called QUINTESSENCE…..Essentially it is a 650 square meters concept store created by Ludovic Messager, Interior designer and Antiques dealer. From what we can gather, this gallery style environment is used mainly as a showcase for the eclectic display, visual merchanding and interiors style of it’s creator.Some of the worlds most innovative and respected retailers and designers have come to this ‘house of curiosities’ to commission interiors projects. ABC New York, Anthropologie, Ralph Lauren, John Varvatos to name a few.You have to be careful in Paris when taking pictures in shops or boutiques. A lot of the owners/proprietors don’t like it at all. But they were kind enough to let us take pictures, in fact we got the nod from the man himself, Monsieur Messager. This is just a selection….

Trick or Treat?

Spooky goings on down down at our shops in Hampton Hill…….We thought it was about time we made an effort and got in the ‘Spirit’ of all things Halloween and so decorated the windows in an appropriately scary manner.We made good use of display domes, skull soaps and script wrapping paper. Not to mention old chemist’s labels, steel bank boxes and apothecary bottles. Oh and a large can of frighteningly good Spider’s web spray!