My NOT ON THE HIGH STREET shop is now officially open!

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It’s here! How exciting!

I now have a very professional looking shop open with NOT ON THE HIGH STREET!

You can find the shop here, which is full of my vintage stamp jewellery….it’s all hand made by me and every piece is totally unique! Look out for more treasure going onto the shop soon though….I intend to launch my treasure charm necklaces there very soon!

Hope you like!

Ems x

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Something from the weekend….Foraging, gardening, making and treasure hunting

I had such a lovely weekend! The weather really does help of course, and all the sunshine hours make such a difference!

I spent a lot of the weekend gardening….the front garden has been transformed after many hours of hard work and is benefitting from having been totally dug over and filled with plants! I can’t wait to see it all bloom, although I guess I have to wait til Spring for that. Still, it looks better already and has tidied up the front of the house no end.

We did some great foraging too…..we picked loads of blackberries and elderberries from the local common, as well as some sweet pea pods and honeysuckle berries I’ll be planting for next year. We also raided the back garden, and came back indoors with stacks of apples, more blackberries and greengages too. There is a medlar tree that is also looking rather full, but I think we have to leave those a little longer before harvesting them.

We spent an absolute age rinsing the elderberries, plucking them off their stalks, rinsing them again and then bottling them….I hope it’s going to be worth it! We made one bottle of elderberry schnapps and one bottle of spiced elderberry liqueur….can’t wait to try them! I made jam from the greengages, and it was probably my most successful yet….it tastes yummy and is the perfect consistency so I’ll have to share some tips soon!

As is traditional, we also visited the antiques market on Friday and the car boot sale on Sunday….I picked up some great treasures to use at the wedding and the place was really buzzing in the fine weather. It was also the crafts and  farmers market on Saturday, and we dawdled around there awhile, spotting some great new stalls too.

Other than that, it was a weekend of domesticity, relaxing, cooking endless amounts of marrow, walking the dogs and watching more Buffy. Bliss!

Here are a few photos from the weekend…..

Ems x

Vintage stamp jewellery

I’ve been making little bits and pieces of jewellery from stamps for ages now, and have sold some at craft fairs and pop-up shops, but I’ve never really gotten around to listing them to sell online. I had a whole load of really lovely stamps that were just begging to be used though, so I recently made up a big batch to sell!

They are something of a labour of love these brooches and pendants….they take over a week to make, as I have to remove the stamps safely from any backing, paste them onto veneer, strengthen the veneer, trim and file down the edges, apply *seven* coats of varnish to them, and finally add the brooch pin or necklace. I do love making them though and turning something old into something new is great fun, especially because these stamps are the sort of thing that just won’t get enjoyed otherwise….and they are too pretty not to enjoy!

I have lots all ready to go, but for now here is a little selection of my favourites….I’ll let you know when they are all online and ready for sale! What do you think of them?

Ems x

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Something from the weekend….a picture-worthy few days

I’m always snapping away on my phone, truth be told, but this weekend seemed to give me more in the way of picture opportunities than usual. It was indeed a lovely weekend, filled with fun but relaxation too. Anyway, I thought I’d share my instagram feed by way of summing it up…..

Friday night started the weekend with cocktails, as it always should…..

…..we played Guess Who…..

……and then Adam beat me at Triv!

Saturday began with a lovely long dog walk……

…..we headed to Barton Springs for a nice change…..

…..and the sun shone for us rather splendidly!

We found a darling little tea room and gallery for lunch…..

….where they serve an epic Hot Chocolate…..

….and yummy tea on quaint mis-matched china…..

…..as well as lush lunches like the stuffed mushroom on toast that I went for!

Once home we set about hanging our new treasure, the huge antique map of London that looks rather marvellous on our lounge wall…..

….and after that it was an afternoon of snoozing as it all got too much for my boys!

Another lovely walk on Sunday morning, this time at the stunning Chick Sands woods….

….I love all the little dens people have built there!

After a yummy breakfast of Staffordshire Oatcakes (the last left in the freezer after my Mum’s visit!) we pootled around the market and car boot sale, where I picked up some little treasures….

…..and where my favourite stallholder gave me this incredible menu from the 60′s!

We finally took the tour of the museum opposite where we live in the afternoon….

….and took part in a Victorian lesson where we had to practise reading parrot-fashion…..

…..did maths in old money on slate….

….and worked on our handwriting with a dip pen!

The rest of the day was more relaxing, eating and watching of Buffy. Bliss!

What did you get up to?

Ems x

Something from the weekend…..cakes, walks and rummaging

It was a close call, but the rain didn’t dampen my weekend….

On Saturday morning I pootled around the house, cleaning and tidying whilst Adam walked the hound….Friday hadn’t gone as planned so it was good to catch up a little. Then after a nice big brunch (Adam poached some very yummy duck eggs for us!) we made our way into London, leaving the pooch with his Grandma Liz (that’s Adam’s Mum!).

We made our way to friends’ Richard and Tara’s flat in Farringdon, Tara and I leaving the boys to get up to mischief whilst we headed into town for our friend Brigitte’s hen do! First of all we took in a lovely afternoon tea at a hotel on the Strand, then went bowling at the fun All Stars Lanes, before we had a big dinner together. We didn’t go in for the traditional Hen stuff (L-plates and penis straws etc!), but chose instead to honour the occasion by all wearing fascinators in light of the fact that the Bride and Groom have requested no-one wears hats to the wedding!

As the pup had a sleepover at his Grandma’s, Adam and I managed to get a nice lie in before we went to pick him up. Then after a late breakfast, we took a turn around the Sunday car boot sale at the Market, then went along to the second Great Hitchin Rummage Sale at Bar Ab nearby. Lots of local shops had taken up a pitch there, in what is sort of a one-day pop-up shop….and some of our favourites were there to tempt us with the rummagy loot….Jolly Brown and Red Eyed Dove had a stack of goregous vintage treasures, whilst Mamacita’s Cakery (new to us) were selling a table full of dreamy looking sweet treats. We picked up several of the latter’s offerings, then made our way home to yum them up!

Because there are so many cupcakes and such being sold on similar stalls at the moment, it takes a lot to impress us….we’ve really only tried one stall’s cakes and been truly wowed (how we miss Flavour Town at Old Spitalfields now that we’ve moved!). However, the amazing yums by Mamacita’s Cakery really did impress us, and we scoffed a Dulce de Leche cupcake, a Mexican wedding biscuit and a ‘bronze’ biscuit (each) in close succession! Definitely will be trying more of their treats!

To walk off the gluttony, we took the hound to the common for a nice jaunt, then went back to Adam’s Mum’s for a dinner of fajitas, followed by some of her amazing freshly baked scones (with clotted cream obviously!).

Back at home we had a relaxed evening on the sofa. I finished off a little drawing project for a competition (Oasis’ new butterfly collection cover photo) and then had the customary early night!

Hope you had a lovely weekend too!

Ems x

Wednesday Wants…. Mary Katrantzou clutches

I remember hearing the name Mary Katrantzou for the first time, many fashion weeks ago (and wondering how the devil to pronounce it, or spell it!), and I remember thinking ‘here’s something fresh’. Ever since, I’ve paired the name with fun, original and quirky prints, as well as awesome colours and shapes. So, when I heard that the Central Saint Martins graduate had launched a range of clutch bags based on those same fantastic digital prints, I was desperate to see them.

I’ve not been disappointed either…in fact I want them all. No surprise I know, but just look at these beauties…..

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Sorbonne printed leather pouch, £490, NET-A-PORTER

I love me some vintage stamps with birds on. I have stacks of them stashed in my studio, and love making jewellery out of them. So it’s no wonder I’m in love with this vibrant ‘Sorbonne’ print, and would happily carry by stuffs and things about in it.

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I adore this blue print, another postage stamp design printed onto the gorgeous ‘Kathmandu’ pounch. I also love the soft leather and the ‘shove it all in’ size, which would will easily hold an iPad, small laptop, and all your other bits and bobs.

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Pound printed leather pouch, £490, NET-A-PORTER

This one has to be my favourite though. Made again in luxuriously supple leather and lined in super-soft cotton-twill in a stunning shade of green, the ‘Pound’ pouch is just so incredibly pretty and clever. I’m crazy about this print, even though I’ve always found our sterling monies quite dull compared to the notes in other countries. I’d be delighted though to carry this around.

What do you think? Like the over-sized clutch idea? And what about these crazy prints….wonderfully wearable or for dressing up only?
Ems x

Wednesday Wants…. Sika ‘The Seven’ Collection

After chastising my friend Jo for pointing me in the direction of the new collection from Sika earlier today (like I need the temptation!),  I realised that if nothing else their stunning dresses were the perfect wednesday wish list….

I’d really not come across Sika before, but as soon as I saw their collection of dresses I decided I want them all. There is something so wonderfully retro AND modern about them, all at the same time….the cuts and fabrics are simultaneously vintage and contemporary, and just absolutely perfect I think. Lots of the new The Seven Collection are made from gorgeous Liberty print cottons, and I would happily fill my wardrobe with their dresses, skirts and troos.

Here are my favourites….

Celine Dress, £225, 100% Cotton and fully lines

Kate Skirt, £125, 100% Liberty Print Cotton

Georgia Dress, £189, 100% Liberty Print Cotton

Cosmic Trousers, £159, 100% Liberty Print Cotton

Hepburn Dress, £249, 100% Liberty Print Cotton

Kate Combi Top, £95, 100% Liberty Print Cotton

Pretty lush non?

Ems x

Something from the weekend….guests, burgers and even a bit of sun

Well it was short lived, but I’m glad the sun hung around at least for the weekend. We had a lovely couple of days….

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On Saturday, and after a walk with the hound, we set off to nearby Letchworth for the little craft fair there and to snoop around the antiques shops. I managed to pick up another bell cloche for my collection, as well as a few more pairs of pretty pastel metal knitting pins and some gorgeous retro glasses, then we made our way home for lunch.

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After that we had a quick trip into town then had our friend Hannah over for a cuppa and chat, before our overnight guests arrived…..great friends of ours Claire and Matthew came up from London in the afternoon, and got to meet Cooper for the first time as he came to pick them up from the station. He loves having guests and immediately fell in love with them….especially when he was presented with lovely gifts from them! Adam and I also got some gorgeous gifts too….yummy fruit cake and fudge from their trip to Cornwall (the latter of which we have scoffed already!).

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After a pot of tea and yumming up a victoria sponge, we drove to the nearby Plume of Feathers where we had a delicious meal and lovely ales (rare burgers with bacon and cheese for Adam and I, and rump steaks for the others!). We made  a pledge to go there more often as the food is amazing, and Cooper is welcome there too!

Back at home, Adam mixed us up some great cocktails and we just chatted the evening away….Cooper very much enjoyed cuddling up with our guests for his evening sofa time and it was nice to relax and catch up for a few hours.

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We were rather naughty again for breakfast on Sunday, scoffing Belgian waffles, pancakes, strawberries, bananas and maple syrup! We walked it off though by snooping around the Sunday car boot sale and having a brief walk through town. Then after a last pot of tea our guests headed back to London….much to Cooper’s disappointment!

The rest of the afternoon was spent loafing about and on a nice walk out with all the dogs….Coops certainly loves being out with his Auntie Piper and Uncle Newton! It was even nice enough to need our sunglasses and for me to leave my gloves off!

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Did you get out and about? I hope you had a great weekend too!

Ems x

Something from the weekend….. Easter fun with Mummy, the hound et al

Well that was nice! Despite it feeling far from Spring, I had a great Easter Bank Holiday weekend!

My Mummy came down for her first ever visit to my new town, arriving on Friday. After I’d refreshed her from her drive with home made pea and mint soup, and a pot of tea, we headed out to the market….one of the things she was most looking forward to! We had a really good root around the Antiques and Collectables market which happens here in the market place every Friday….we picked up a couple of bargains then made our way home to revive ourselves with more tea and a few mince pies (Mummy has a local bakery who makes them all year round and they are just amazing!).

We took a lovely walk around the nearby Priory grounds in the afternoon, and Mummy was delighted to be out having fun with our new hound, who took to her straight away. Then it was a big cook up of Shepherds Pie back at home (one of my favourite things to make when it’s cold outside!) before we settled down on the sofas to have a good old catch up and natter.

Adam’s Mum obligingly picked Cooper up on Saturday morning, so that we could take Mummy to the lovely Halseys Tea Rooms for breakfast. I had my usual Cheesy Bubble and Squeak with Fried Egg and Portobello Mushroom, and we all enjoyed one of their very good coffees. Then we showed her around town, popping into lots of shops to browse. Having picked up the pooch, we stopped in at our wonderful local pub on the way home for a yummy half pint, then Adam made us poached eggs for lunch.

For our afternoon walk we joined Adam’s Mum for a jaunt around Oughton Head Common, where our mums got to meet each other for the first time ever! Mummy also got to meet Adam’s Dad as we headed round to their cottage for an amazing roast dinner that evening. It was wonderful to have everyone meet finally and the parentals all got along very well!

As well as the mince pies, Mummy had also brought with her a fresh supply of the awesome Staffordshire Oatcakes I miss so much…two dozen in fact! We ate a stack of them for breakfast with cheese and bacon (my favourite filling!) before venturing back out into the cold to visit the Sunday Car Boot Sale at the market. Mummy really enjoyed having another root around, and I came away with a few new treasures too!

Then back at home, it was time for Mummy to pack whilst I made a big lunch before she headed off. Adam’s Mum came round to join us for the butternut squash lasagne I made, and we were all really stuffed even before we made a start on the home made trifle she brought along! Before long it was time for Mummy to head off though, and Cooper was seriously dejected for a while afterwards as he’d so loved having her here! I consoled him by taking him for a nice long walk, and he enjoyed a few really good sprints too! We spent the evening gorging on left overs, and watching the start of the new season of The Walking Dead….the jury is still out but it’s looking more promising than the last season which we were both really disappointed with!

On bank holiday Monday morning we took a nice long walk along the Hanbury Way with Adam’s Mum and her dogs Newton and Piper. It was a fairly bracing jaunt in the cold weather, but at least it stayed dry and the sun even came out a little too! I then whiled away a good few hours back at home, snuggled on the sofa with lashings of tea, a sleepy pooch and a stack of glossy magazines. It was so nice just to slob about for a few hours!

I cooked up a big Spag Bol for our dinner and after yumming that up, we all relaxed back on the sofas again, watching the latest episode of New Girl (bally LOVE that show!) and scoffing loads of chocolate before heading up to bed with hot drinks for an early night. Bank Holiday bliss!

Did you have a fun Bank Holiday weekend?

Ems x

Wednesday Wants…. The Coast V&A Ballgowns Collection

When I heard a few weeks ago that Coast were teaming up with the V&A to create a capsule collection of evening dresses based on the museum’s recent exhibition, I was of course, pretty intrigued. Whilst I was really pleased that the high street stalwart would be the one to take on such a task, I couldn’t quite imagine how even they would be able to create anything to come even close to those stunning historical ballgowns, especially at a high street price. And whilst ‘classic meets contemporary style’ has seemingly been done to death (not to mention fashion collaborations….although I’ll personally never tire of them!) Coast has really pulled it out of the bag, with stunning silhouettes, luxurious fabrics and ‘a magical sense of celebration’.

The collection of six ‘objects of beauty’ are already receiving lots of attention, and given the funds, each one would quickly find its way into my wardrobe! Each piece draws on a classic and highly coveted look from the past, and celebrates the art of dressing to impress….

CECILY MAXICECILY MAXI

Cecily Maxi, £895.00 (currently out of stock)

This to me is the epitome of evening dress glamour. Incredibly elegant, with a fishtail skirt echoing the luxurious silhouette of the 1930s, the Cecily Maxi is expertly crafted in dreamy Duchess satin, with panels of silk Georgette. The hour-glass shape alone would be enough to make you feel like Greta Garbo, whilst the hand sewn crystal embellishments and train ramp up the drama as far as it can go. The cleverly detailed open back make this dress modern and sexy though too, and if I trusted myself not to over-eat and spoil the effect with a pot belly, this dress may well have been a potential wedding dress for me.

LOTTIE MAXI DRESSLOTTIE MAXI DRESS

Lottie Maxi Dress, £695.00 (sizes 6 to 16 currently available)

Decadent much?! Just imagine walking down a red carpet in this…easy isn’t it? Inspired by the architectural dress shapes of the 1950s couture houses (a style of which I’ve always been a devotee) this romantic number boasts a fully corseted bodice, and silk blend fabric. The hugely voluminous skirt draws the eye to an accentuated waistline, whilst the glimpse of leg is enough to make you feel like you’ve just stepped out onto the red carpet.

BLANCHE DRESSBLANCHE DRESS

Blanche Party Dress, £550.00 (currently available in sizes 6 to 14)

I love this fresh and fun party dress, inspired by the full skirted ball gowns of the 1950s. Featuring luxurious layers of scalloped tulle and organza with a sprinkling of beads and sequins, this special number would see you through from formal reception to late night dancing, and allows you to show off a pretty pair of shoes to boot.

PATIENCE MAXIPATIENCE MAXI

Patience Maxi Dress, £895.00 (currently available in sizes 6 to 14)

I remember learning about the bias-cut as a teenager, and thinking that this surely must be the most luxurious way to cut a dress. And this floor-sweeper typifies that gentle elegance of the 1930s, with its luxuriously fluid silk satin and low back. The geometric patterns of hand sewn crystals make this dress Gatsby-party-worthy and I can clearly imagine being spun around a mirrored ballroom in it.

DAPHNE DRESSDAPHNE DRESS

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Daphne Dress, £550.00 (currently available in 8, 10 and 14)

I’m still crazy about anything yellow, and this pretty primrose colour is just so deliciously perfect for Spring. Echoing again the romantic silhouettes of the 1950s, this playfully girly dress would be my most wearable piece from the collection. Crafted from delicately soft tulle, with a bodice embellished with hand sewn crystals and cording, this full skirted frock is lined with a tulle petticoat. I think I’d wear it every day. Yes, even with wellies when walking the hound.

PHOEBE MAXIPHOEBE MAXI

Phoebe Maxi Dress, £695.00 (currently available in sizes 6 to 14)

This one is the real showstopper though, in my opinion at least. This is a ‘true ballgown’, inspired by the debutante balls of the 1950s, and ridiculously glamourous. Crafted from layers of softly structured organza to create its dramatic volume, the internal construction of the bodice holds in the figure, whilst the soft layers of tulle add movement and accentuate the waist. For me, the frothiness and sculpting of this dress make it a perfect occasion piece, and utterly timeless with it.

Whilst the price labels prohibit snatching all of these up, I think they represent incredible value, considering the luxurious fabrics and expert pattern making involved. Should someone decide to whisk me off to a ball in Vienna, or invite me to a black tie wedding, I’d be snapping one of these up in a minute….and even if I’m not, they’re posing quite the temptation nonetheless!

Which dress is your favourite? And when or where would you wear it?

Ems x