Saturday, 29 May 2010


I've been off work this week supposedly to support Niobe while on study leave - provision of drinks, going for walks to clear her head etc but it hasn't worked out quite like that. She has been going into school even on the non exam days! Apparently she can get one to one attention from the teachers who have no students to teach and can get essays turned round and marked within hours! So my role turned into chauffeur only which has given me time to potter and wind down a bit. I do have a couple of little bits of heaven to share with you though. On Thursday I tried a car boot I hadn't been to before. I didn't expect much with it being midweek but found these Laura Ashley curtains from the 80s (how many of you are remembering these from the first time round?).

The ones on the left are I think called Emma and the deisgn is part of one inspired by the Bloomsbury set and Charleston Farmhouse and although I've tried to bid for this fabric on Ebay I've never been successful. The ones on the right were chintz but have lost their glaze (which for me is a good thing). The greeny pair were made by Laura Ashley so I was thrilled to get both pairs for £1!

Then just look at this mirror!!! I already have a couple of these heavy mirrors plain and unadorned but I had only ever seen the painted ones in the Cath Kidston shop. I'm sure I'll be told to wash my mouth out but I cannot bring myself to pay her prices! (I want the job of one of the ladies who trawls towns and cities looking for treasure to sell in her shops - I could do that!). It wasn't easy to photograph without getting the middle aged photographer in the image so this is the best I could do but I just love the Crinoline lady under her rose covered arbour wandering by her herbaceous border.... How much - the cost of a punnet of strawberries - but will last much longer. £2!!

Having just enjoyed Cathy's post over at "Menopausalmusing" I had to share this book found in a charity shop this week. There were no dates etc inside but a quick google tells me its from 1934 and the illustrator is Eileen Mayo. First a facsimile of an advertising poster

It is both fact and fiction giving the history of the circus and lots of background to acts and how they are performed along with stories of the circus and its folk.

I've never been to the circus and was beguiled by the stories. My knowledge is restricted to black and white memories of Bille Smart's on TV in the 60s!

The acrobats are amazing

Love this image of the circus folk with the guy in the foreground taking his "tyger" for a walk. Health and Safety wouldn't let him do that today!

The dancing horses

Delightful endpapers

and next, just for Cathy (although she prefers dancing on elephants!)

Yesterday I went to Newstead Abbey home (once) to Byron - mad, bad and dangerous to know so we have something in common. I suddenly remembered that its home to a very special tree and wondered whether it might be in flower.

Doesn't look anything special?

Now look!

The Handkerchief tree - yes really! (Or sometimes called the Dove tree or the ghost tree). It really does look from a distance as if it has hankies drying in the breeze.

Just look at those flowers - as big as my hand. (As its Chelsea week we'll use the proper name - the white bits are bracts apparently surrounding the little flower in the middle). The slightest bit of breeze causes these beauties to dance on their stalks as if they were the daintiest little things. Wonderful - this week's bit of serendipity!

If you have one of these near you now is the time to visit!

Hope you find time to appreciate something beautiful this weekend!

Love Wend


  1. Wow Wend what a super post! Oh yes I remember the laura ashley fabric, the pink flowery one, when I bought my first home (£13,000) I splashed out for curtains and they hung in my sitting room! What wonderful finds you have, I have never heard of a mid-week carboot...quiet though I bet!
    Have a fab weekend dear
    Deborah {fondantkiss} x

  2. Do I regonise those curtains?!! I still have 'Emma' hanging in my bedroom.(mid-to-late 80's probably) Bay window, fully lined and hand finished - by me! I was so proud of those curtains and still love them. I haven't found anything I like more - so glad that they have come around again! I also love the circus book. The illustrations are terrific. And as for the handkerchief tree, I have seen photographs before, but never met a real one.

  3. Our local park has a handkerchief tree that's been out in blossom for a couple of weeks now - quite spectacular. Just by chance, I also saw one in a local garden the other evening, it was just getting dark and it did look quite eerie! Love the circus book. I was the youngest of a whole bevy of cousins and siblings so as a child I had lots of prewar illustrated books in similar style - wish I still had them!

  4. Oh I remember the Laura Ashley fabrics, especially 'Emma'. My Nieces' bedding and curtains were made from it, she'll be 40yrs old this year! I prefer the other one, more 'botanical'!
    The handkerchief tree is splendid.I have seen this by moonlight(errum! no details given here!),and it is magical in any light! I think the last part of it's latin name is davidii, but could be wrong!

    Lovely post.

    Sandie xx

  5. Hello Wend, how funny I found a Laura Ashley Duvet & pillow set in the tulip pattern on my CS stint last saturday. I remember it so well as I wsa a saturday girl there in the late 90's. Thanks for entering my giveaway.
    Have a lovely weekend & good luck with the exams.
    Luv SOphie xxxx

  6. Hi Wend, I am so jealous of your crinoline lady mirror, I have been on the look out for one of them for ages. You did really well with the curtains too. It's lovely when you find something you have been looking out for for ages. I have just found some candy stripe pillowcases for a couple of pounds , just what I had been looking out for.
    Ann x

  7. That circus book is wonderful. I am so envious! The illustrations are so graphic and colourful. You are certainly either a clever car booter or you have the intuitive instincts of a very experienced bargain hunter! Lucky girl. Lesley.

  8. Wonderful post Wend. Love the mirror, how very unusual. Obviously, I think the Circus book very covetable! I would dearly love to see a handkerchief tree. I mentioned it to my other half and he has seen one and says they are wonderful.

  9. The circus books looks wonderful, I used to love the Enid Blyton books about Mr Galiano's Circus when I was little.
    You always seem to find such amazing teasures.

  10. I was a window girl at Laura Ashley in the mid eighties and I remember Emma very well, I think the others are "Laurel" but I am bit tired and may have imagined that! I was mad about Charleston then anad still am today. we are luck enough to live reasonably near so I can visit. Loved seeing your booty, looks like a bumper day!

    Love Sarah x

  11. Hi What a lovely tree I've lusted after one of those for years.
    Your mirror is so pretty and more eco than buying from the other place : )
    I bought one a few weeks ago from a cs it's shaped a bit like a butterfly but weighs a ton.
    Happy Hunting
    Cate x

  12. Hi Wend, lovely post. At least your GCSE candidate is working hard for a few weeks, mine thinks that study leave is for relaxation, shooting & fishing!
    My Mum wants a handkerchief tree, now I know what she is on about.
    I may sound like an old person but yes I remember the LA fabric first time round, and like 80's fashion, I can't stand it!!! she said showing her age, haha!
    I am defo with you on the CK! apparently one of the buyers was at the last Shepton Antiques where they were also doing a photo shoot, Lizzie the Washerwoman told me. Perhaps something exciting like that might happen at Malvern tomorrow, I am keeping everything crossed!

  13. clever you to find those curtains - i love the handkerchief tree too - we have tham at Tatton

  14. What a good thing you decided to go along to that Thursday boot fair.
    Love the tree. xx

  15. Oh I want to come with you to your car boot sales. They are heaps better than ours. Love that childrens' book and the illustrations. Sometimes I get good quality curtains cheaply at charity shops and make them up into cushions.

  16. Blimey, we had those Emma curtains and matching wallpaper in our bathroom, and I've got some other Laura Ashley curtains from that time...didn't realise they were sought after!
    Thanks for your comment on my recent post...don't understand how you saw it before I'd finished it...but that's probably because I was fiddling around with a new technique!!!
    I'm on your side with the Cath Kidston thing, by the way!

  17. Ohhhhh - I still love those 80's Laura Ashley fabrics! I still have the 80's catalogues and pull them out from time to time. Great Blog. Losa

  18. Old laura ashley still takes some beating, i have heaps that i bought 25 years ago, the bloomsbury one still looks so good, the berry print was always one of my favourites..what a find well done..Sx