a way of life...

Month: September 2017

The Country Brocante Store

Earlier in the year I was invited to the Country Brocante Fair at the Cowdray Estate but unfortunately due to a prior commitment I was unable to attend. To make up for this missed opportunity I wrote a note to self to visit The Country Brocante Store in Midhurst, West Sussex.

The Country Brocante Store, Midhurst

As summer has drawn to a close I found myself not far from Midhurst and decided to make a small detour to the store. I was not disappointed as it housed a lovely mixture of antique and vintage pieces, lots of pretty textiles and an abundance of decorative arts. 

The store, which opened in April 2016, gives small businesses a permanent and affordable home on the high street.

Whilst browsing I discovered that the next Country Brocante Fair will be held at Daylesford Organic Farm in Gloucestershire on Saturday, September 23rd from 9.30am.

This is one in a series of five fairs that are held across the UK throughout the year. These include the Big Summer and Winter Shows held over two days, which are hosted in prestigious venues such as Petworth Park, the Cowdray Estate and Daylesford Organic Farm.

I have now made a note in my diary to attend the Big Winter Fair which is being held at Cowdray Park on Friday 24th to Saturday 25th November. I am sure this will be the perfect place to purchase some truly unique and exquisite Christmas gifts.

For more details and to purchase tickets visit: https://www.thecountrybrocante.co.uk/the-big-winter-brocante


Wisley Flower Show 2017

Wisley’s late Summer Flower Show ran from the 4th – 9th September. For me this was perfect timing as I had booked some annual leave and was able to attend the show with my mum. Herself a lifelong keen gardener, she inspired my sister and I to take an interest in gardening from a very early age.

Late summer flower power

I have very fond memories of the Dahlias and Stocks that filled the borders in the south facing rear garden in late Summer, and the meticulously pruned standard roses at the front of the house.

To this day I love to grow a selection of Dahlias for cutting and bringing them indoors to provide colourful and seasonal displays.


Anyone who follows my musings will know that another of my favourite plants is the Allium. So easy to grow, and so many varieties to choose from, these ornamental blooms add colour and character to borders in the Spring and early Summer.

Red Mohican Allium

I was delighted to find this Red Mohican Allium at the Wisley Flower Show as it is not a variety that I was previously familiar with. I have already earmarked a border where, once planted, I will be able to view it from the kitchen window as Winter gives way to the warmer Spring weather.


For those people who would prefer to relax in the garden I discovered this incredible range of Scandinavian Redwood furniture manufactured by Pepe in Evesham, on the edge of the Cotswolds.

This is not the run of the mill furniture that you would find at your local garden centre as it is only sold at shows like the Wisley Flower Show or direct from the manufacturer. Each piece is designed and built to achieve maximum lumbar support, so not only does it look incredibly stylish, but it is extremely comfortable too.

Pepe Garden Furniture

Saving the best to last I couldn’t resist enhancing the colour in this photograph of these Agapathus to really make the blues and pinks “pop” out from the page. This display by RHS Chatsworth, 2017 Master Grower, was my absolute favourite. The colourful blooms, set on pebbles, in front of the blue and white shed provided a real seaside feel.

Awesome agapanthus

With that thought in mind, we left the show for the return journey to the south coast where my mum resides. All in all, with the assistance of the Wisley team providing easy parking and transportation for those with mobility issues, we had a fabulous day out and will certainly look at returning next year.


Cowdray – Wow day!

Cowdray, famous for its polo, has so much more to offer. A recent visit to the Heritage site in West Sussex was an amazing experience so much so that I would describe it as a total wow day!

Our first port of call was to the ruins of the tudor manor which was mostly destroyed by fire in 1793. Untouched until the early 20th century many original features remain intact and provide an astonishing insight into tudor architecture.

The mansion was reopened to the public in 2007 with the help of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant and can now be visited during the summer months on Thursdays, Fridays, Weekends and Bank Holidays.

Unfortunately, the tea shop was not open to the public as a wedding was taking place in the grounds. This turned out to be to our advantage as we were directed, via a short drive, to the Cowdray Farm Shop Café.

Here we sat on the terrace in the late summer sunshine and enjoyed freshly made carrot cake, sausage rolls and pork pies, washed down with a refreshing cup of tea.

Had we arrived a little earlier in the day we might have chosen to eat lunch inside the café. The extensive menu serves freshly made meals using locally sourced produce. It has recently been awarded a silver rating in the West Sussex ‘Eat Out Eat Well’ initiative.

Cowdray plants

Never one to miss a shopping opportunity I wandered into the Farm Shop itself. Here we were able to buy  sweet and savoury treats from the deli counter to take home with us, and at the butcher’s counter, where we were spoilt for choice, we settled on some venison sausages and teriyaki duck breasts.

As well as selling a vast range of comestibles the shop also boasted a gift area which was stocked with a colourful range of kitchenware, greetings cards and miscellaneous garden items.

Surprisingly, I actually started my Christmas shopping. Obviously, I can’t let on what I bought as it has to remain a surprise for a few months yet! I can however let on that I bought this unusual plant for myself which I will keep as a reminder of my visit to the Cowdray Estate.

Retail Therapy – greetings cards from The Country Brocante Store, Midhurst

Leaving the confines of the park we headed out on the A272 towards Petworth. This turned out to be a fabulous road through open countryside which soon took us to our next destination. Famous for its antique shops we spent a pleasant hour or so wandering around the streets popping in and out of the various emporiums.

Antiques in Petworth

Before stopping for an end of afternoon refreshment I wandered into The Hungry Guest delicatessen which was like a Tardis. Windows decorated with ferns, flamingoes, and fresh produce ran the whole length of the shop. Once inside there was a cheese shop, a wine shop, and even somewhere to sit and have a cup of coffee!

Once again, my eagle eye spotted the perfect Christmas present and another small purchase was made.

The Hungry Guest, Petworth

Our last stop was this charming tea shop where we managed to scrounge a quick cuppa just before closing time.

Time for a cuppa

Utterly sated we jumped in our little red sports car and drove home via the Surrey Hills. Wow!

Nearly home


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