Hola Honeybuns, there are just 74 days to go until Santa throws himself down our Chimneys! And so to get us all in to the spirit of things, today I am launching The Twelve Deals of Christmas: twelve discounts, offers and general giftiness once or twice a week between now and the big day itself.
I’m kicking off with 75% off The Christmas Planner: so it will be yours for just $5.00 the minute you hop over to my store and press buy – a massive saving of $15.00 for the next seven days, after which it will shoot back up to $20.00 and planning your most organised Christmas EVER will cost that little bit more than it would if you bought it RIGHT NOW…
P.S: Don’t forget that the Christmas Planner and ALL my other Planner s and Downloads are absolutely free when you become a ROSE member of my lovely Vintage Housekeeper’s Circle…
The Duties of the Mistress are not finished when the routine of the household work is set agoing and cleanliness and order have been established.
The little finishing touches, the small elegances, the tasteful arrangement, the special provision made for individual comfort must come from her or be wanting altogether. She must endeavour to make the rooms as pretty as possible and give them an air of repose and restfulness.
Who does not know the difference between a room that is merely kept in order by a servant and one in which the lady of the house takes an interest as well?
One of the biggest problems with our homes is that we have to live in them while we are creating them. We have to both exist in the the midst of routine and develop the kind of ritual that makes existing worthwhile. It isn’t easy. In fact let’s acknowledge, here and now, that sometimes it is beyond frustrating and it is on those tear your hair out days that I like to escape and take myself out on what I call a domestic discovery day…
These are days with domestic purpose. They aren’t just willy nilly, take yourself to a coffee shop and mope days. Nor take yourself to the middle of a forest and scream days. They aren’t even browse around the gallery days, supermarket shopping days, or hide in the library days. No. Domestic Discovery days are about awakening the spirit of home.
Remember at the beginning of the year when I said this was the year I was going to go city hopping, staying in hotels and seeking the most glorious home from home? Ladies and Gentleman I stuck to my word and recently spirited my friend Kath all the way in to our very own city (so about twenty minutes away!) for one night in elegant, child-free luxury, for her birthday.
A football themed hotel may not seem like the obvious choice for this Cath Kidston loving Vintage Housekeeper, but this is Liverpool, and in Liverpool we do everything – even football! – in sumptuous style, and so the newly opened Shankly Hotel in one of the most gorgeous, converted old buildings in our city, fitted the bill for a pair of exhausted Mummies desperate for a bit of pampering. And cocktails. And bubble baths in the huge jacuzzi in what turned out to be the biggest, gilt-laden, fabulous room I have ever had the pleasure to stay in. No really. Never was a hotel room so big seen before: we seriously debated doing cartwheels up and down the wooden floor but decided a trip to casualty might just ruin the weekend and settled instead for skipping up and down giggling and whooping!
Bill Shankly is a Liverpool legend. Probably one of the greatest managers in the history of football, and certainly someone who can be credited with instilling football in the hearts of all those of us brought up in this city. While Kath and I could not be less interested in football on a day to day basis, confronted by the history of this great man in all his sepia-tinted, gilt decorated glory, even we could not resist his story, for the hotel paints it so tastefully and there isn’t a spot of the garish red so familiar to Liverpool supporters around these parts.
And so began twenty four hours of bliss. We had hand massages and bought candles in Jo Malone, ate noodles in Wagamama, drank gin cocktails in the Shankly Hotel bar, bought stacks of magazines and read them curled up on our individual, huuuge double beds, sipped at good wine and generally, rather fittingly, had a ball.
I, as I am wont to do, insisted on working at every opportunity: because you can take the girl out of Brocante but you can’t take Brocante out of the girl, and I can never, ever resist checking my emails, answering queries and generally harassing those of me silly enough to follow me on Twitter when I am away. But I really, really, really hate messing with hotel wi-fi systems. I am in fact deeply intolerant of any kind of wi-fi faff and tend to get a little screechy if it won’t work, but luckily I am swanky enough to have my very own MI-FI with me at all times, (no really this is how fancy I am – I have the Huawei E5573 4G Mobile Wi-Fi box on my person at all times!) so I merely have to bring out my little box, pop out my wireless keyboard and type and lo and behold, I am back in Chez Brocante, albeit, this time sat at a rather darling lime-washed Shankly hotel desk starting at my own reflection in a vast gilt edged mirror.
For me, being able to guarantee good wi-fi really matters. I am a blogger. This is my livelihood and I don’t want to do battle with a connection, nor start a search for a hotel password, or go through a registration process in order to simply get online, and so having my own MI-FI is something of a God send (via the nice people at Three) whenever I travel, and I find myself popping out my box (just slightly bigger than a credit card) in all sorts of obscure places lately simply so I don’t have to beg friends and family for their password nor call down to hotel receptions when I’m having a wi-fi mare.
Though I’m sure I drove Kath a tinsy bit nuts both raving about my Mi-Fi and insisting on using it when we could have been doing handstands against the oh so fabulous leatherette quilted walls, I suspect she was that busy splashing in the jacuzzi that she didn’t care. The hotel is both a feast for the eyes, and very, very new. Some parts aren’t quite finished and I reckon the builders must have a snag list as long as their arms, but the essence of Liverpool lies in every inch of the whole experience, and the tragedy that was Hillsborough is discreetly remembered in the beautiful 96 Memorial Wall (see the image at the top of this post) where an eternal flame burns for each of those died.
From the moment we were greeted by girls with fabulous Scouse brows at the copper hammered reception desk, to the moment when we were leaving and the reception girl told us a hilarious story about buying beef in the supermarket, we knew we were in Liverpool, for there isn’t a friendlier, kinder city in the world and The Shankly Hotel has fully embraced the spirit of it’s people.
Just a quickie Sweethearts, to let you know that my absolute favorite black and white movie of all time is now available for viewing in it’s entirety and for FREE on Snag films. I can’t even begin to tell you how happy this little snippet of Monday tea-time news makes me.
In my head I am already planning on stock-piling violet cremes, switching off my phone and calling it a patchwork duvet day so that I can remember what it was to be a little girl, snuggled up on my Nana’s sofa wishing I was Shirley Temple…
You are welcome.x
Barking Rad Alfie!
This is Alfie. In his usual position: sitting in the front window barking at passers-by and making it clear to all and sundry that if they dare to approach the house he will lick them to death.
Alfie looks cute, but he isn’t. Left to his own devices he causes such a kerfuffle that my silly neighbour recently saw fit to serve me with a noise abatement order. Which I have duly ignored because the council told me to, and we all agree that despite Alfie sobbing like a baby when I dare to leave the house for no more than an hour or so a day (I take him to my Dad’s if I will foreseeably be any longer), I have to leave the house regardless and dogs are dogs and neighbours who inform you that sad dogs and next door’s sex life give her a migraine, probably just need to get a life.
But I digress. Because I am bonkers crazy cross about my neighbour and bonkers crazy in love with my silly dog regardless and though I draw the line at calling him my fur-baby, I simply cannot express how very much I appreciate his silly doggy ways and indeed want to spoil him absolutely rotten.
Which is where Barking Rad comes in. Barking Rad is a monthly subscription service for dogs: delivering hand-made British toys and treats to little woofers across the land, and this month Alfie and I were lucky enough to take receipt of one of these happy little boxes and I am not quite sure who was the most delighted!
The very notion of monthly subscription boxes is so very BrocanteHome, because it combines routine delivery with the kind of gloriously giddy celebration only receiving a parcel in the post can bring. While I routinely throw in a little something into my basket for Alfie when I am perusing the aisles of TK Maxx, there is no sense of occasion to my purchases and I do believe that a sense of occasion is a blessing in all manner of things!
Opening the box was such fun: Alfie can smell food from about three miles away and was already demented with excitement when I sat down with him to see what kind of doggy delights were inside..
Namely: a doggy donut from Arton and Co.
A bottle of chicken flavour Barkers Brew… which I had to talk my Dad out of tasting.
A tiny tub of Skin and paw salve – which was invaluable when my silly mutt bashed a bee and was promptly stung for his troubles – and a really rather fabulous moustache shaped corduroy toy he immediately stuffed under the sofa for safe keeping…
Oooh and finally… a bag of Sunday Roast treats I would have showed you but unfortunately Alfie snaffled the lot in one go when I nipped off to open the door. So they must have been good and here is said dog trying and rather dramatically failing to hide the evidence!
The whole experience was fun for both me and for Alfie. It felt good to be supporting doggy artisans and British independant industry and I love it that Barking Rad are committed to helping re-home dogs not quite as fortunate as Alfie as part of their business model.
Subscription boxes are such excellent fun because they deliver all that we probably couldn’t source locally ourselves and in the process introduce us to new favourites. I know for sure Alfie could oh so quickly develop a rather happy addiction to Barkers Brew and I could very definitely develop an addiction to monthly boxes full of safe, doggy-friendly goodness.
Now if only I could do something about my nutty neighbour too!
100 Day Countdown to Christmas
Christmas is either heaven or hell. Heaven if you are organised, hell if you are not. and this year Housekeepers we are going to be oh so very, very organised -arent we?
Bring on then my 100 Day Christmas Countdown – a daily email program designed to have you sprinkling a teeny bit of festive glitter over your life everyday between Monday 14th September and Christmas Eve, so that bauble by bauble you can create the kind of Christmas I am sure you have been pinning to your festive Pinterest board for many a moon now.
This is the year we are going to make it happen. It won’t be overwhelming and it will be realistic: but it will also help you add a little touch of whimsy to what can so very often seem like one more giant task us housekeepers have to undertake and hopefully in the process encourage you to seek a little magic probably long stashed away in the darker reaches of the loft…
Each day I am going to be sending you one tiny little task: it might be puttery or practical, whimsical or even a teeny little bit wild: but each and every task will edge you a little closer to festive nirvana and by the end of the 100 days you should be able to pop your stockinged feet up in front of the fire and sip egg-nog to your hearts delight…
OK here’s the deal… The 100 Christmas Day Countdown is completely FREE to Floral and Rose members of the Vintage Housekeepers Circle (the sign up box is available on the Floral blog right now!) and just $5.00 to everyone else…
So if you want to get organised this year, either sign up to the Vintage Housekeepers Circle (and organise your ENTIRE life in the process!) or click the button below to buy it now and look for the first email in your inbox on Monday, September 14th…
(Please note that when you have completed the paypal order you will be taken to a sign up page where you should add your preferred email address)
Let’s make this the most frivolously organised Christmas we have ever, ever had!
Welcome Ladies, to a gorgeous new era in The Vintage Housekeeper’s Circle! Today strikes me as good a day as any to turn over a new page in our domestic lives and start afresh: to consider ourselves absolutely willing and thoroughly able to day by day edge our way closer to living a life less ordinary. To dedicate ourselves heart and soul to making routine, ritual and glorious, teeny tiny celebration the focus of our days so that our dreams will no longer be hampered by stacks of laundry or dishes left soaking in murky water…
Today m’dears is that day. Today is the day to press your pinny, throw open every single window in the entire house, and then sit down right there in the chaos and make your peace with your home.