Tempted by some Norfolk antiques

On our trip to Norfolk at the start of the year we headed off in a different direction than normal and headed across the county to Hingham. It’s more central Norfolk than the North Norfolk coast which we’re used to, and while it was nice and just as picturesque it didn’t really feel like Norfolk to us. To us it had more of a feeling of Suffolk, which we also like. But without the coast close by, it was strange how different it felt.

We stopped for a look around, and somehow found ourselves having a nose around an antique shop. In fact I think it was this peacock-like chair that drew us down the alley. There were a pair and I think MOH knew we were on dodgy ground. While we didn’t have his bike in the back of the car, it was in Norfolk and so getting them home would have been tricky.

A peacock chair

That’s likely to have been the saving grace, which is a shame really as they’ve got a fantastic shape. It would have meant more cushion sewing again, and before that some fabric hunting, but it wasn’t to be. But aren’t they great?

And while we were in the courtyard, it seemed rude not to have a closer look.

A tree bench

Next up was the tree bench above. I’ve always wondered where you’d buy one, and now I know. None of our trees are suitable for such a beauty, as most are on the border and are snug up against the fence. But wouldn’t it be great to have a bench like this?

Heading inside, we did well to make it out without any purchases. Though I thought MOH might crack when faced with this display cabinet full of old tools.

Trays of old tools

And that’s even before we saw these brass spirit levels. I’ll admit I’m not sure I’d have put up much resistance to these. They’re stunning and show real craftsmanship, don’t they? It’s a shame that we’re so programmed to think of spirit levels as the plastic variety. While they’re functional and practical, I can’t see anyone coveting the more modern versions. Tools like these would encourage care and pride in the items they helped make, I’m sure.

So many Brass spirit levels

Leaving the tools behind, we moved onto crockery. I was happy to dawdle and admire but MOH sensing a weak point was keen to chivvy me along as usual.

vintage rose tea set
more tea sets

But that could have misfired, as we found ourselves poring over a table of antique tins. Recognising some and pondering others, I mean what on earth is desiccated soup? Maye, I don’t want to know…

vintage tins

Pretty tablecloths and crisp white linens were also worth a stop. Like the crockery, I could sort through piles and piles of these and leave with almost as many. My favourite here was the colourful, what looks to be, cross-stitched decorated tablecloth at the top of the picture. Such work, and for it to be discarded like this.

vintage linen
A pretty vintage sewing machine, shame the case was damaged

Upstairs we stumbled across a room of old machinery, of all types. An old runner bean slicer, and at least three old sewing machines. This was the most decorative one, again another world away from the modern day versions.

I’d forgotten just how much time you can easily lose in a well stocked antique shop…

Lanterns and loveliness

Joyful Living has been a regular stopping point for ogling interior loveliness when we’re in Norfolk, but it’s been a while and I was long overdue a visit. That was something remedied on our recent visit to Norfolk and it was reassuring to discover that while the stock has changed, the quality and ethos hadn’t. On this visit it was the lanterns that caught my eye, and the succulents of course but that goes without saying doesn’t it?

patterned lanterns

The intricate patterns and weathered finish are great aren’t they, and would work as well indoors or out, with a candle or without. The round shape makes a change too, as often lanterns are the more traditional square shape. But if more traditional is your thing, then there’s also those as well. I love the finish of both, and would happily have them indoors, but only if I could be certain that MOH wouldn’t set about polishing them, which could take quite some negotiation.

weathered lanterns with candles

But there’s plenty more than lanterns here, and it wasn’t long before I found myself drawn to the yellow pouffe and blankets. The pouffe, especially, was a favourite. I’m on a mission to get more yellow in our house, but I wasn’t quite sure about this one just now.

Textured blankets and pouffes

It’s just as well I hadn’t seen these cushions though when we were on cushion-hunt. A couple of these might have ended up on our grey sofas as the constants. And I think that would have given our living room a very different look, possibly a more grown up and sophisticated look, but there’s still time to grow into that I’m sure.

classic striped cushions and woven baskets

Had I seen this star in the run up to Christmas I’d have left with as many as I could get my hands on. I’ve a plan, that may or may not actually come to fruition, to make some of these giant stars myself from wire we have left over from our gabion baskets - yes I know that’s quite random - but I think they could look really good. I’m still working out the lights, but we’ll see how far we get with this before worrying about that just yet.

A twinkling star.jpg

It’s also the type of place that manages to make bowls of shells look effortlessly stylish. Maybe it works because it’s on the North Norfolk coast, and that’s more authentic than a South London dwelling, who knows.

patterned shells
mother of pearl shells

And as ever, there’s always room for some sequins. And more stars.

there's always room for a sequinned cushion

What I’m seeing more and more of is macrame-type holders for jars and plants. These have that feel to them too, but expect to see much more macrame around. Even in the Facebook craft groups and craft magazines it’s making an appearance and reminds me of growing up in the 70s - I’m sure we had a spider plant, with many many babies hanging in a window complete with louvre openings at some point. Our 70s house rocked.

Glass jars hung in twine

Ah yes, more succulents. Aren’t these little pots lovely? I was quickly ushered out of the shop at this point, but look at the shelf too - it’s a scaffold board painted white. Something that would work equally well in a home setting too.

succulents in green pots

So lanterns and more loveliness as usual, I won’t be leaving it so long for my next visit either.

On my bedside table...

* This is a collaborative post

I’ve realised lately that bedside tables are a very personal item, and more so than you’d think a piece of furniture could be. I mean it sits there alongside your bed, hopefully looking pretty but more importantly providing functionality whether that’s for a glass of water, your book, your jewellery, your teeth (no I’m not quite there yet!) or whatever.

But it seems there’s more to it than that. What we have on our bedside tables could affect how well we sleep. Looking at mine, I think I’m doomed…

MINE

MINE

When Furniture Village got in touch about this post my first thoughts were that it was just as well they hadn’t seen my bedside table, and then that it would be good to put my money where my mouth was, and actually do some decluttering.

I’m sure you can see from the photo above, that I like to have ‘stuff’ around me. And equally you can see from the photo below that MOH doesn’t so much. I think my bedside table drives him a little bit bonkers though…

HIS

HIS

So what did I discover?

If you read my post on Monday, this is the bit that’s a little embarrassing. I’m always proud of being a good ‘packer’ which is especially useful when having a small bag and plenty of clothes for a weekend away, and give me a suitcase and I can get more in it than most people. Seriously. And it’s a good skill to have.

However, perhaps not on my bedside table. Although i couldn’t help but feel a hint of embarrassed pride at how much had accumulated with relative ease.

There was a pile of books and notebooks, most of the books I’ve still not read but still want to. There was part of a crochet project, which I’d stowed there hurriedly in a last-minute pre-Christmas tidy up. I’d hoped to finish it before Christmas but didn’t quite manage it and haven’t touched it since.

A PILE OF BOOKS

A PILE OF BOOKS

As well as the books, there was a much larger pile of magazines, and on a range of topics.

A BIGGER PILE OF MAGAZINES

A BIGGER PILE OF MAGAZINES

I’d even branched out and started to store shoeboxes next to my bedside table. Only two have shoes in, and one contains a handbag. The other two I was keeping in case I needed them, yeap you’ve guessed it to put more stuff in.

A SHOEBOX OR FIVE

A SHOEBOX OR FIVE

And there was quite a few dust bunnies. Now even for me, there was little point getting this far and failing to have a thorough clean, so it was this part that had MOH asking if I was well. How rude. But anyway with the cleaning done, it was time to reload.

Reloading my bedside table

I started off with the completely clutter free version. And while it was tidy, it wasn’t me.

VERSION 1: IT’S LOOKING A LITTLE BARE

VERSION 1: IT’S LOOKING A LITTLE BARE

It didn’t seem right to me, to not make better use of the space below the table. And so, as I still have ambition to read those books, I decided to add those back. But then the pretty box didn’t fit, so that was removed, and I realised another rethink was needed.

VERSION 2: ADDING THE UNREAD BOOKS BACK

VERSION 2: ADDING THE UNREAD BOOKS BACK

But there was still the magazines to do something with.  On my first sort through, the pile on the right in the top row were the only ones destined for the recycling bin.  Even I knew that wasn’t going to work, and so a couple of the other piles joined that.  The craft magazines found themselves a new home in the bookcase, as did one of the other piles which I’m hoping to use in a craft project or two.

BUT WHAT ABOUT THESE, THERE ARE RATHER A LOT THOUGH…

BUT WHAT ABOUT THESE, THERE ARE RATHER A LOT THOUGH…

Which meant that the final pile made it back onto my bedside table. And the patterned box, which I wasn’t sure quite what to do with found a new home on the top of the table. So along with notebooks, and stuff, I’ve a thing for boxes, so having a stack of them here makes me happy.

THE FINAL VERSION: AH, THAT’S BETTER

THE FINAL VERSION: AH, THAT’S BETTER

So while I might not have stayed with the completely clutter free version, I’ve found a version that works for me. It is still much clearer than before, you can see the floor and the shoeboxes have moved into the spare bedroom, ahead of a clear out of my shoe cupboard. MOH is impressed, and I think he’ll be taking a look at his own bedside table now, as he’s not used to mine putting his to shame!

What are the essentials for your bedside table? And are you a clutter free fan or a reformed hoarder?

* This post is sponsored by Furniture Village but not endorsed by them. Any opinions or views expressed are personal to the author.