Monday, October 31, 2011

My latest find

Remember the post by Teacup Moments on the Brookly Flea market where she showed us a picture of a vintage card catalog? (Read it here) Well, I've been searching for something similar to that for awhile now but haven't found any until....drumroll please...the last brocante I visited about a week ago.  

I spotted the drawers sitting quietly on the floor of one of the last stalls on the street and immediately had a little flutter of excitement.  This metal set of drawers from the 1920s used to sit inside a building receiving mail from the occupants of a particular building. It has since made its way around the city and now sits comfortably in one corner of our salon, just waiting for me to fill it up with loads of little beauties. I was so pleased to have it though it took a royal effort to clean up the years of dust and dirt it had accumulated. It still has its nicks and scratches but it gives it a well-lived in look. Definitely one of my best finds yet!

 Marvelous find aside, I also want to share with you  a couple of pictures I snapped of the other great things I saw. For some reason, the brocante was full of children's things.

Just look at these gorgeous antique dolls all dressed up with their pretty dresses and hats.

 Little wooden toys that have that have that smooth patina of long years of loving use by little hands.

 And just check out these vintage pencil cases, all in solid wood. Cool huh?

 And the most curious thing was this little frame which turned out to be a document holder from the time of Napoleon III.

All in all a great brocante!

Friday, October 21, 2011

London markets

Just look at that gorgeous striped trunk and vintage dress form!

I love London. At a mere 2 hours away by Eurostar its ideal for quick weekend getaways.  There's always so much to see and do that I have a hard time narrowing down my choices. Of course my hands down favorite activity to do is to visit the London antique markets.  But please don't make me compare between my beloved Parisian ones and London because that would be a hard one to make. 

During my recent visits, I made sure to visit the famed Portobello Market and was suitably impressed by all the collectibles one can find there.  I had to physically restrain myself from grabbing a million things!
tea anyone?
I'm not a plate and silverware sort of person, but I did spend some time perusing this person's collection.  Pretty pretty decorative items that would look good in anyone's home.
And these vintage buses and scooters are cool, aren't they?
Course' it wouldn't be complete if I didn't check out all the fashion.  Happy to say that our french selection more than holds its own but there were some pretty nice hats at this stall...

Next stop was the Camden Lock  Market. I have to confess, I was disappointed here.  I had high expectations and was disappointed to see that the market was overrun with what looked like cheap clothing.  A chat with some local stall holders confirmed my fear that most of those selling handmade and unique items had long left Camden Lock.

a view of the Lock
Nevertheless we did a quick look and I did find a small section inside the Stables with what looked like some antiques.

I loved this little valise, wished I had room for it in my luggage!
And this one stall had the perfect rummage through bins with all sorts of bits and bobs.
More glassware..
And teacups displayed in an original way.

After the disappointment over at Camden Market, I wasn't sure what to expect from Camden Passage. But happily, it was a completely different place. Its very small compared to Portobello and Camden Market but it was full of proper little antique shops selling all sorts of things and stalls with interesting little items.
This one was a fancy store selling beautiful silver ware.
A more budget friendly place was this one with wooden cabinets and curios inside.
A gorgeous vintage store filled with delightful dresses and retro shoes.
And what had to be the oddest one of all, was this store with a...stuffed dog (yes, you read that right) at the window.  Isn't that the creepiest , funniest thing you ever did see?  Though I don't know why I should find it so strange, Deyrolle does the same thing and people think its the fanciest store ever! 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A cupcake find

As if I didn't already have a sweet tooth and enough temptations around me, I've recently discovered this pretty little cupcake shop not far from our house.  They pride themselves in freshly baked cupcakes everyday and the shop is full of wonderfully sweet smells.

For those who are not so into cupcakes they also carry NY style cheesecakes and carrot cake with a wicked looking icing.
Of course I went right for the cupcakes! My excuse? I had a friend coming over and I wanted to serve something special. *wink* I'm pleased to say they were delicious!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Great food

I'm closing this series of posts on Spain with some culinary highlights.   I love Spanish food and it was great to really indulge. Just looking at these photos make me crave some tapas...

Pretty Frigiliana

Just before leaving  Spain, we decided to do one last day trip to the town of Frigiliana. It is a small pretty town in the Almihara, Tejada and Alhama mountains.  It is one of the prettiest of Andalucia's white villages.

Its moorish past is evident in the maze of narrow cobblestoned paths that are full of hidden corners and alleyways that now lead to tapas bars and restaurants.   And because it is in the mountains, the paths are often steep; all the better for walking off the calories after consuming one too many of those delicious tapas.
And while practically the entire village is white washed, there are splashes of brilliant color everywhere..

All in all a wonderful day jaunt and an excellent way to leave Spain!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A little coastal town

For us, vacation wouldn't be complete without a few days by the sea; soaking up the sun and breathing in the bracing sea air always does us a world of good. And along the Costa del Sol there are plenty of places to choose from.  But this sun-filled part of the world hasn't remained undiscovered. All along the coast there are huge apartment buildings for the hundreds of people coming to partake of the sun and sea.  Every possible cove, islet and beach is literally filled with people.  Luckily for us, by the time we arrived, most of the crowd had left.  And we managed to find a town, more charming and relaxed than the other towns. We found ourselves in Nerja.

Playa Calahonda
Nerja has a long history. Its main claim to fame, aside from its beaches of course, is the Cave of Nerja which has primitive drawings and contain remnants of ancient dwellings. The Romans too settled here and built three settlements.  During the years of Islamic rule, Nerja was famous for its silk. It was renowned all the way to Damascus.  In more recent history, Nerja remained relatively untouched by the crazy construction boom of the 70s and 80s because it was unconnected by highway to the rest of Andalucia till the late 80s.  It has since caught up thanks in part to its beautiful beaches which lie dramatically against high cliffs.

Playa el Salon
But despite this influx of tourists, Nerja remains a town with its own rhythms and a daily life far from the crazy crowd who invade the town during the summer months.  It was at Nerja that I found a shop called Manos selling artisanal leather bags made completely by hand in a tiny atelier.  Unfortunatey I wasn't allowed to take pictures of their beautiful bags but I did get a picture of the designer at work.  It is a family run business that has been selling out of Nerja since 1974.  Their only other shop is in an even tinier town called Frigiliana up on the mountain.  

And here you will still see the quiet pleasures of dancing cheek to cheek with your beloved to the strains of traditional Spanish music,

and nightime strolls along the Balcon d'Europa is a part of the daily ritual of those who live there the whole year round.


Monday, October 3, 2011

The Albayzin

While the Alhambra is probably the most visited spot in the whole of Granada, the city has a less discovered treasure and this is the Albayzin, Granada's old Muslim quarter located on top of a hill just opposite that of the Alhambra.  It was founded in 1227 when the Muslims of Baeza moved to Granada after Christian forces overran the city. And it continued to survive even after the Christian conquest in 1492.

The Albayzin as seen from the Alhambra

an old store sign