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!

Paris in the Snow

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January always lulls us into a false sense of security. We always think that it will be a month of catching up and getting back on track, after the madness of the Christmas season! For us, most of January is taken up with buying trips, as this is the time of year when most of the trade shows are on. So, as well as shows in London, there are trips to Paris, New York……and Birmingham. Guess which one we look forward to least! Anyway, at the end of January we had the first of our bi-annual trips to Paris…from the plane

To be honest we were lucky to get there, as there had been heavy snow fall in Paris – and heavy snow was forecast for when we flew. Luckily we flew from Heathrow just before the snow hit London, and we landed in Paris just after the snow had fallen (heavily).

The view from our hotel (Concorde La Fayette)…from the hotelWell, due to the weather, our usual day for trawling round flea markets was derailed slightly, so we headed to the Musee d’Orsay for a day of culture and sophistication!chairs

Serendipity has always been a favourite word of ours, and this day was, well, serendipitous.                                                                                                                  Jardin Des Tuileries, towards the Ferris Wheel….ferris wheel

The walk from the ‘Tuileries’ metro station – from the Rue de Rivoli, across the Jardin Des Tuileries, over the river to the Musee d’Orsay, was breathtaking to say the least. Due to the heavy snow fall that had covered Paris that night, the whole area including all of the buildings of the Louvre was just so beautiful.

Looking towards The Louvre……winter scene2winter scene 1

Looking towards the Musee d’Orsay, across the Seine….winter scene4

They say that Paris is the City of light – well the light that day was truly something. It gave the whole city a magical and ethereal feel. A dream for photographers, amateur or professional!snowmenjoggerstatues

One of the two famous clocks on the facade of the Musee d’Orsay…..paris orleans

And this is the view from the inside. After waiting ages for the area in front of the clock to clear of people, when i finally got a picture of it without anybody in front of it, i realised you get a much better sense of proportion when there are people in view…..clockj

Looking from the inside of the museum back over the river to the north side…..d orcy

Thanks Paris, for the snow and some wonderful photo opportunities.merci

Bowerbird by Sibella Court

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…..

Put it on your wish list and be inspired. Happy Reading!

Cotswolds, Pt.1

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?

Paris – New York (Pt2)

It’s gotta be said, normally when we visit Nyc, one of the down sides is, it’s usually freezing. I mean really freezing. However for this trip, the weather couldn’t have been better.  Blue skies, bright sunshine and really mild temperatures. Like spring time in England. Perfect really. Little did we know however, what was waiting for us when we got back….. Anyway, we kind of thought after Paris it would be hard to beat, but no, it was as good. Better in many ways. The reasons being in no particular order:  (1) The hotel was fantastic; Soho Trump, a new hotel that borders Soho, West Village & Tribeca. It made getting around to the parts of the city that we love, easy. (2) The weather, the light was amazing for taking photos. (3) The flea market finds we bought and filled our suitcases with. (4) The food/new restaurants. If you’re ever anywhere near The Ace Hotel, stop by The Breslin and have lamb burgers. Awesome. Very cool place indeed.(5) Lastly, the trade show was fantastic too. We weren’t expecting to buy much, but we found such great stuff this time we couldn’t help ourselves! We’ll let you know more about that over the next few months. Meanwhile here’s some snaps we took…….

The hotel…

The view from the hotel….

Flea markets…

Walking back from the Javitz centre…..

View from inside ‘Restoration Hardware’….. Possibly my favourite store in NY.

‘ABC’ Always worth a visit when in NY….

Nolita….

Meatpacking district (Chelsea)…

Midtown….

9/11 Memorial. Breathtaking…….

Radio City Music Hall. Can’t walk past without taking at least a dozen photos…..

Cab ride back to JFK….

We’ll be posting more photos from these trips on our tumblr pages over the next few weeks.