I just started to write about ‘day two at the fair’, and then remembered that we most definitely were only there for one day. It just feels as though it were a two day-jolly, since there were so many things to see and do! So, Saturday afternoon… Continue reading
This Saturday was a glorious one! In the way that I kind of like to imagine that people who live in Spain have tapas for every meal and Australians spend all day every day on the beach and New Yorkers spend at least three hours each day eating brunch (thank you Sex and the City), I think that this Saturday was spent in the way that people from outside the UK imagine everyone in the UK spends their days. Fish and chips were eaten. Market stalls were browsed. Slices of cake were purchased and their varying degrees of moistness discussed. Flowers were sniffed, lemon curds tasted, and fruit cordials sipped. Oh, and many, many photographs were taken. So many that I’m splitting the day down into two posts, or else you’d be staring down a post containing over 45 photos right now. Not even kidding.
The lovely folk at the Wealden Times invited me along to their Midsummer Fair this year (after I’d gone to the Midwinter one back in November), and after a quick phone call with my Mum that went a little something like this ‘Want to go to the summer version of that lovely winter fair in Kent next month?’ ‘Uhhh…yeah!!’, off to Kent we went! We’d prepared ourselves for the day being kind of a wash out (I was woken up by a huge storm raging at about 6am), but by the time we arrived at the fair in Kent around midday I was so warm I had to make finding somewhere to discreetly strip off my tights number 1 priority! ;)
So, let me walk you through the day! We started off with a stop by Henrietta Donovan’s stand, to buy cups of the most delicious cordial I’ve ever tasted (though at £12.50 a bottle, I guess it kind of should be!). Mum had the wild elderflower, and I had rhubarb, orange & ginger. Both insanely delicious, but the rhubarb flavour had my heart.
It was light and refreshing and not too sweet, and I really truly was tempted to buy a whole bottle. I might actually have a go at making some cordial myself this summer…
After our cordial-pitstop, we headed into the first tent and let the ‘I’ll treat you to that/No I’m treating *you* this time!’ battle commence- standard Mum procedure, right? The tents were full of lots of the same beautiful vendors as were at the Midwinter fair (with different produce and items for sale, of course!), with plenty of lovely new ones mixed in. We spent ages in particular at the Kentish Soap Company stand, buying up soaps that smelled wonderfully nostalgic and cocoa butter-based bath bombs that looked good enough to eat. The floral scents (lavender, rose, and geranium) were my absolute favourites. The owner of the shop told us that she’d begun to make plain, natural soaps after struggling with her skin being so sensitive to commercial ingredients, and then found herself completely hooked on the process of combining ingredients and scents. And I’m so very glad she did! Don’t the soaps below look almost like slabs of fancy chocolate?
^^ Hurray for spaniel tea towels (from Bottle Green Homes)! I’m not sure captivating is the word that springs most quickly to mind when I think of cocker spaniels, but you know… ;) ^^
^^ That blue/pink combination is my favourite right now. Kind of wanting to redecorate our whole house to the tune of this colour combo…^^
^^The Wild Planet stand was a favourite of mine from the day. It was beautifully styled, with so many metal milk urns (is that the term?) full of silk flowers and rows of scented candles. Kind of like walking into a Pinterest board! And that’s never a bad thing, right? ^^
^^ How gorgeous are these bright satchels, from N’Damus? The yellow one especially! I just managed to track them down online too! Dangerous, very dangerous…^^
Next up we headed outside for a little wander around the outdoor displays, to browse the gardenware and horticulture. Even though I’ve not ridden a bike for at least a decade (if not more!) and am not *too* sure that I remember how, I did really want to take that gorgeous bicycle home with me. It’s just too perfect! We spent ages browsing a lovely stand full of knick knacks and vintage collections (cut crystal glasses, furniture) and beautiful linens. I picked up a striped linen table covering to go on our little dining table, and tried to think of reasons why buying a real vintage red Royal Mail postbox was a great way to spend my money. (Answer: There aren’t any.)
Lastly (for today anyway), let’s talk about Morgan Penn! He was displaying some of his incredible work at the fair, and Mum and I just fell in love with it. He’s an artist who specialises in capturing a person’s energy, spirit and personality through his brightly coloured, dynamic portraits. I’m usually far more drawn towards photographs than I am towards artwork and portraits, but both my Mum and I agreed that we could’ve stood forever marvelling at how incredible Morgan’s work was. He uses colour in the most beautiful way (flecks of bright blue to bring life to his subjects’ faces) and the portraits seemed more real and life-like and vibrant than even the sharpest photograph. Commissioning a piece from Morgan is now firmly on my bucket list!
And that’s it for part one! Part II (coming tomorrow!) will be far more food-centric, so don’t forget to stop back for a plateful of fish & chips, and a slice of the tastiest gluten-free apple cake around!
* Thanks again to the wonderful Esme (from the Wealden Times) who providing my Mum and I with tickets to the fair this summer. It was the loveliest day! *
Last week, my darling Mum turned 55!
Don’t worry, she isn’t the sort who gets funny about people knowing her age. In fact, my Mum’s ability to embrace her age for what it is (a milestone, a marker of how many years she’s lived and loved and learnt) is one of the things I admire most about her.
For her birthday, I took her out for surprise afternoon tea at Pennyhill Park. I’ve had it planned for a few weeks now. Pennyhill Park is one of the most beautiful hotels in Surrey, with an award-winning afternoon tea. I actually worked there for a few months the summer before I met Jason, and spent hours (literally *hours*) each shift hanging about in the pastry kitchen, pilfering spoonfuls of ice-cream straight from the freezer, eating all the white chocolate truffles from the petit fours plates (& filling the gaps on the plates with the horrible dark chocolate ones), and persuading the chef to make me a pistachio soufflé to enjoy at my leisure once I’d finished ‘working’. Thinking about it, I’m surprised the hotel actually paid me a salary…
But back to it! Sunday morning when I picked up Mum, we were excited! Lots of squeals were squealed. We *love* surprises in this family! We drove about 10 minutes, and when we turned into the driveway of the hotel, Mum said ‘No! No way!’. I asked what she thought we were here for. She replied ‘Afternoon tea?’, and I said ‘Yes! Surpriiiiiise!’
Mum thought the surprises were done with once we’d got to the hotel, but no! There were more to be had! I’d actually dropped my sister off at the hotel about fifteen minutes before picking up my Ma, so when we got to our table, surprise again! Francesca was there in place, looking glorious and elegant and as pleased with herself as I felt! Mum shrieked, and then cried, which is pretty much the reaction my sis and I had been banking on ;)
And after all that excitement, the tea itself was crazy delicious too! Hibiscus and berry was our especial favourite (we drank pot after pot of the stuff!). Also, those scones. Oh my. They were the size of your fist, crisp on the outside, and all fluffy-warm inside. The jam was something special too. I didn’t take too many photos over tea (was up to my elbows in jam, you see) but the few I did take are below. Some are iPhone jobbies, others are from my proper camera. I hate mixing iPhone and proper camera photos in the same post, so I’m sorry about that.
^^ Afternoon tea get-up. Bare legs in February. Cerrazy. ^^`
^^ That choux bun was filled with gooseberry compote and vanilla cream, and is one of the most delicious pastries I’ve ever eaten. ^^
Happy birthday little Ma! We love you!
I’m grateful for her all the time, but especially this past weekend. I phoned her in a complete flap on Sunday, because I’d found a stain on the dress I want to wear for my graduation. My first attempt to de-stain it had failed in a big way, and I was worrying that I wouldn’t be able to wear it for graduation. But Mum talked me through it all on the phone, and even though the stain had been on my dress unnoticed for about a year, we managed to lift it right out.
Just when I think I’m completely ‘grown up’ and independent, things like this throw me. Grateful for my Mum’s domestic wisdom :) Love her.
p.s. I put my first ever Youtube video live yesterday! I’ve been wanting to venture into the world of Youtube for a while now, so decided to just take the plunge and do it! It’s equal parts terrifying and exciting right now…;)