Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Small business love - Hengelo, Haslemere

Do you ever go and try on things that are completely not your style, just for fun? I did a few weeks go (OK a month ago now), when I was visiting my lovely parents where they live in Haslemere. My mum loves clothes and had told me about a new(ish) shop in the town called Hengelo, from which she had bought lots of bits.  She also told them that I had a blog and they asked if I would write about them... well, I like to try and highlight small brands and businesses, especially with Christmas coming up, so thought I'd go and dress up in some things and take some photos in there and do just that. I've linked to the products I snapped in case you want to treat yourself or do some festive present buying!

Here's what I got up to!

(there was a car parked right outside, ruining it)

Haslemere's a lovely old town, and Hengelo has set up in one of the lovely historic buildings. Seems fitting, that they also sell some ace retro accessories.

I actually bought Rosie Alia little purse from the Catseye range for her birthday! 

They also do a lot of Tatty Devine goodies, including the coveted Vintage Lady brooch!
The Cocktail Umbrella necklace is pretty cool as well! 

Seasonally-appropriate Holly necklace!

When I went in, they had their Halloween decorations up... which I loved. Dotted in between were some Christmas bits!

Like I said, I tried on some things, just for fun. This 1960s inspired tartan dress looked absolutely terrible on me... conveniently it was also very dark in there so none of the full-length shots came out! ;)

This little Dalmatian necklace is by British company And Mary - a quirky little brand they carry quite a few things from!

Love the Kitty! Not something I would wear myself but I know those who would!

These purses are also by And Mary, and I loved the bee one so much they actually gave me one as a gift, which was totally not necessary but very much appreciated! My old purse is in the bin. It seems to be sold out online but they do have the swallows and sausage dog, which is nearly as good... 

I tried on one outfit I would definitely wear - I have a black skater dress very similar to this Nafille one, and I have been known to dabble in faux fur - this one is super soft. It's terribly in fashion too, don't you know? 

Excuse the straight hair for what was meant to be a super casual day and not a blog-outfit-posing day!

Thanks to Hengelo for letting me run riot in your lovely shop, for giving me something slightly different to write about and for my lovely purse. Shop in small businesses, everyone!

Fleur xx

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Turkey Part 1 - the Bodrum bit

Well, it's only been nearly two months since I came back, but I thought I'd do some posts about my summer holiday... now that the sun is completely gone. It might work to remind me about when it was hot and my lovely summer clothes weren't vacuum-packed into cotton bricks!

I had the most amazing two weeks in Turkey in September. Neither I nor the boyfriend had been before, and he's been to far more places than me, so that was a bonus! We planned to visit three different areas of Turkey - Istanbul, Bodrum and Cappadocia, with different things planned for each. Bodrum was the relaxation part of the holiday and, therefore, the place where I did very little.

I didn't even bring my big camera out with me when we did leave our sun loungers, so forgive the iPhone snaps for this segment!

We went to three different bits of the Bodrum peninsular over the space of the five days we were there, all on tiny little minibuses. Gümüşlük was by far the most beautiful, tranquil bit. We spent a day and evening sitting on the gorgeous beaches and I walked out to the ancient ruins of Myndos, which you can do at low tide. Sadly, you aren't allowed on the island itself, but you can clearly see the foundations of ruined buildings in the sea. Amazing!

We had a lovely, if slightly overpriced seafood dinner on the beach and watched the sun go down. Bliss.

Bodrum itself is very built up and quite touristy. We went around Bodrum Castle and the Museum of Underwater Archaeology but I have to admit, after 4 days in Istanbul (which I'll cover next), we were thoroughly bored of bits of pottery, broken columns and tiles. Even if they have been underwater. Here's a lovely view from the top of the castle (lots of views in this post)!

Where we stayed was unfortunately, a big mistake and entirely my fault. I picked something that looked decent and cheap, within 15 minutes walk of Bodrum centre. Unbeknownst to me (probably should have checked), it was in a whole other town, Gümbet, which had precisely 3 sentences about it in the Lonely Planet guide to Turkey.
Since it's just 5km from Bodrum, party-palace Gümbet got debased faster than other peninsula villages. Now more or less a British colony, Gümbet is an outpost of neon, cheap cocktails, energy drinks and table-dancing. In winter, the place is derelict.

This was what greeted us on the bus from the airport.

Oh dear. Luckily, apart from the pumping techno we could hear (and block out with earphones), the hotel was perfectly pleasant! The weather was glorious. And there were some good views to be had from the hills on the walk from Gümbet into Bodrum.

Lots of no makeup and swimsuits which I wasn't really up for posing in, so the only fashion shot you'll get this time is the above shot of me posing in a lovely vintage inspired playsuit which I've had so long that it actually looks vintage (plus accidental feature of Rocket Originals bag), and my amazing Lucky Lou souvenir shoes which arrived the day before I went away and were worn nearly every day on this segment of my trip. ♥ This is the third pair of Lucky Lous I have owned as the design of the Souvenir changed a few times over the last 6 years or so and I've sold all my previous ones... these are by far the best with their padded sole. Wish I'd had more chance to wear them over the summer... next year!

I'll post another segment - Istanbul and its amazing sights - next time! 

Fleur xx

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Trust in the Ginger

Today I'm going to tell you a little story about the formation of what might be the most quintessentially British thing ever... mainly because it's been ensuring that large swathes of our precious countryside and many of our historical stately homes remained preserved for generations to come. It also has a little to do with our good friend King Edward VII and therefore The King's Ginger... and what better excuse to show lots of gratuitous shots of English countryside in the autumn? Today's King's Ginger story is about the one and only National Trust.

National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty, to give it its full name, was first formed in 1895 by three pretty amazing people. The first I'll talk about was Octavia Hill, a no-nonsense lady who pioneered housing for the poor, fought tooth and nail to prevent the destruction of inner city forests and green spaces like Hampstead Heath and Parliament Hill Fields, first coined the term 'Green Belt' and firmly believed in 'the life-enhancing virtues of pure earth, clean air and blue sky' for all people, especially the urban poor'. She was much admired by everyone from the working class to royalty - Queen Victoria's daughter and King Edward's sister, Princess Alice of Hesse-Darmstadt, was once taken on a tour of some of Hill's properties, incognito.

Octavia Hill by John Singer Sargant

Before the formation of the NT, Octavia Hill became the treasurer of the Kyrle Society, whose slogan was "Bring Beauty Home to the Poor" and, among other cultural things, aimed to bring open spaces into the lives of the inner city working class folks. It formed something of a blueprint for the NT proper.

The second of the trio was Hardwicke Rawnsley - a clergyman, poet and conservationist. Rawnsley resided in the Lake District and, together with Octavia Hill and our third National Trust hero Sir (then plain old Mr) Robert Hunter, had managed to successfully campaign to prevent the construction of railways to carry slate from quarries in the fells above nearby Buttermere, which would have ruined the unspoilt valleys. That was in 1883, and a decade later Rawnsley dreamed up the National Trust, an organisation that could purchase and preserve places of natural beauty and historic interest for the benefit of the rest of the population.

The third and final piece of the National Trust puzzle was the aforementioned Sir Robert Hunter. From as early as his 20s, Hunter was interested in conservation (perhaps you're sensing a theme here?) and in 1866, he wrote an essay entitled 'The Preservation of Commons in the Neighbourbood of the Metropolis", many of the principles of which were actually incorporated into English law just under a decade later. His day job was as solicitor to the General Post Office but he worked with the Commons Preservation Society to help Hill save Hampstead Heath and Rawnsley with the Lake District campaign. According to Wikipedia, 'One of Hunter's most celebrated successes was the rescue from enclosure of 3,000 acres of Epping Forest, with the support of the corporation of the City of London. The case was bitterly contested across three years. Hunter acted with the corporation's solicitor, Sir Thomas Nelson, in the conduct of the legal proceedings. In 1882 Queen Victoria went to the forest and formally declared it "available for her people's enjoyment".'

After these successes the logical next step was for the three of them to set up an even bigger body to save even bigger bits of countryside.

"In November 1893 Hill, Hunter and Rawnsley met at the offices of the Commons Preservation Society. They agreed to set up a national body, to propagate the formation of a "National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty". In July 1894 the trust was formally inaugurated under the presidency of the Duke of Westminster. At the inaugural meeting Rawnsley declared, to cheering, that the aim was to establish "a great National Gallery of natural pictures". Hunter was appointed chairman of the executive committee. In the same year he was knighted for his services to conservation." (Hunter was also honoured again in 1909 for King Edward VII's birthday).

And the rest was history, really. It took until 1907 for the National Trust to be formalised, after Hunter drafted the 1907 National Trust Bill, which was passed by parliament the same year.  Soon after its 1895 formation though, Hunter organised a public subscription to buy a big chunk of Hindhead Commons including the Devil's Punch Bowl, which became one of the Trust's earliest acquisitions.

The Devil's Punch Bowl is where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (also knighted by King Edward VII in 1902), who lived nearby at Undershaw from 1897-1907, went walking and found his inspiration for the Hound of the Baskervilles. Since the A3 underpass was built, it's also amazingly quiet. I doubt it has changed much in the last century and a bit... 

So, what about some other ties to our hero? As well as being appointed as chaplain in 1912 to King Edward VII's son George after the former's death, Rawnsley also happened to be related to Alfred, Lord Tennyson, whom I've mentioned on here before. It's very fitting that large swathes of the beautiful land around the area I mentioned in the previous blog were donated to the National Trust in 1948. Here's two such signs I snapped while on my photo-gathering field trip around the area!

There are some interesting plantings around the area, from ornamental trees that were probably planted so that Victorian or Edwardian visitors could perambulate around the then common land, and Norwegian spruces that were planted in later decades, in stark contrast to the usual leafy, deciduous trees native to the area.

It's quite amazing to think that because of a few people's passion and far-sightedness, our generation and those to come will always have these stunning bits of countryside to enjoy, for free, forever. Well hopefully forever. And the autumnal nature is the best place to enjoy a tipple too, of course. No recipe this time - you should just enjoy a bracing walk on your nearest National Trust ground and a nip of neat King's Ginger this season! 

Catch you next time!

Fleur xx

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