Sunday 30 August 2009

Close to the edge...

No I'm not talking about the result of six weeks at home with my daughters, nor the seemingly endless fruitless forays into town for last minute school uniform shopping. I'm talking about the day the Rambling Roses went for a walk on the wild side, a walk that took us literally close to the edge.

We decided to walk the South Downs Way from just after Birling Gap up to the top of Beachy Head and down into Eastbourne. A jolly jaunt we thought. Let's leave the car at home, take full advantage of the excellent bus service, enjoy the scenery en route and be as green as possible. All sounds wonderful doesn't it? Well it was... except ...

... we chose one of the windiest days I can remember to saunter along the cliffs' edge. Let me just say that we went green in more than one sense of the word, I'm not talking leaving the car at home energy saving kind of green, more the colour of my face when I caught sight of the sheer drop beneath my feet and the strength of the wind threatening to blow us over at any moment.

Shall we say it was exhilarating? Yes it certainly was! Honestly, it was... sometimes just a little too 'exhilarating', perhaps...
I remember years ago walking along the cliffs in Normandy and having one of those moments when you just literally freeze to the spot - taking the minutest steps possible, just wanting to close my eyes and vaporise.

Well it wasn't that bad this time but there were times when I came uncomfortably close to it, I did spend rather a lot of time shouting to the girls (above the noise of the gale force winds) to step back from the edge and, of course, Mr Roses did HAVE to lean over the edge a few times to get the perfect shot of the cliffs which all added to my greenness.

Putting those moments to one side, it was one of the most wonderful walks we have ever done. We've visited this spot before but there was something special about arriving by bus, the wind literally throwing us down the soft dips of the Downs, running along the grass with our arms outstretched and just enjoying the elements.

The blues of the sea to one side, shadows of clouds playing above our heads, the greens of the fields to the other and all the time the wind blowing and blowing...

I am amazed that I took any photos at all, not only was my camera violently shaken by the wind but each photo I took seemed to have my hair flying in front of it or the camera strap doing the same. Fortunately some photos emerged unscathed. Glimpses of the lighthouse appearing and disappearing between the swells of the hills, its stripes shining brightly against the white cliffs and blue sea.

Looking behind us and seeing the coastline that we had followed and the most beautiful fields and downland.
At Beachy Head itself, Big Sister and I literally had to lie on the ground to stop being blown over. We could not get a foothold on the ground. We spotted Mr Roses and Little Sister huddled on the ground together but it seemed impossible for us two to get over there to reach them. All we could do from our position on the grass was to beckon them over!

As we left Beachy Head and started to descend the scenery started to change. Trees appeared along the cliff edge, reminding me of France and Devon.

Touches of pink emerged amongst the grass and there in the distance was the sight of something familiar.

With the wind behind us we hurtled down the hill towards Eastbourne, the wind making it impossible to stop. Big Sister arm in arm with her dad, laughing and chatting. Me and Little Sister sharing her Ipod and singing Coldplay at the top of our voices...

Yes, it was exhilarating, but it was so much more. It was one of those moments you wanted to frame and put in a box. An unexpected delight gleaned from the last days of Summer. A treasured time from our Summer, for some reason I had tears in my eyes (and, no it wasn't the wind) - it was just one of those moments that you know are special.

Sunday 23 August 2009

Treasure Hunt

Hasn't it been a lovely few days! We are really enjoying the sunshine at the moment, hope you are too. If I look out of the window I can see a very sunny garden but life here in the stockroom is a little chaotic. Dottie and i have been so busy restocking our shelves recently that the sun is going to have to take a back seat this weekend...
Would you like to see what we've been up to?
Well how about going on a treasure hunt if the weather where you are isn't all that sunny. See if you can find the items below somewhere in our Emporium. It really is worth having a rummage there are new things all over the place...

Buckets with holes in...

Please click on photos to enlarge

Ballet shoes...

Ursula Undress...

Two birds, three cats and a bunch of flowers...

And, yes, as I feared, those two little minxes have got themselves some of their own products ...

Have fun!

Monday 17 August 2009

It's all in the Packaging...

I had intended to post a kind of photo diary of our all our jolly jaunts last week but then, on Friday, Mr Roses announced that we were off to London for the day, on a jolly that I had been wanting to do for quite some time. We decided to do something for everyone, a trip to an exhibition that Mr Roses had been wanting to see, a trip to Hamleys for Little Sister and, of course, to Topshop for Big Sister.

What better way to start an action packed day in London than a mooch around Notting Hill. We wander through the streets and market stalls of Portobello and, if it weren't for the million and one things we had planned to do, could quite easily have spent the day there. If you're going up soon, try and pop into the falafel bar on Portobello Road, we had the best lunch in ages.

After a quick detour involving walking up and down the lovely rows of houses and playing our favourite "If you could have just one house which would it be" game, we arrived at our destination. I have been wanting to come here to the Museum of Brands and Packaging for a long, long time.

Please click on the images to enlarge them

I love ephemera and vintage packaging and have often wondered if the collection here would live up to my expectations - it certainly did. I was in vintage packaging heaven! I think the rest of the Roses thought the trip worthwhile just to see the look on my face, honestly I didn't know what to do with myself!!!
Packaging, leaflets, posters and ephemera from World War Two:

Look at that sign asking you to bring your own paper to wrap your purchases, perhaps we should be doing the same thing today.

Household items have never looked so good. Almost makes you want to get the duster out.

Sweets and chocolates that brought back so many memories for me - I was back in my sweet shop as a little girl choosing my mother's Christmas box of chocolates and choosing my favourite sweets.

A history of packaging from Victorian times up to the present day. A hotch potch of wonderful imagery and graphics. A social history that you could drool over. I must admit looking through the shelves and shelves and shelves of goodies it was the most recent additions that disappointed.

Would we really be drooling over our packaging in years to come?
I can't recommend this museum enough, it may be small but what's that saying? "Good things come in small packages..." If only there had been some for sale!!!!!

How do you recover from a place like that? Why you jump on a tube, walk quickly along the Embankment and arrive at the Courtauld Gallery, one of our favourite art galleries in town. After all that rushing we really wished we'd brought a change of clothes and hopped into some of those fountains down in the courtyard of Somerset House, looks like so much fun.

We had promised ourselves we wouldn't miss theBloomsbury Exhibition that was on here. A small exhibition that had some fabulous examples of fabrics, textiles and designs that the Bloomsbury group produced for the Omega Workshops. A great display. There was also a small exhibition of Winifred Gill's designs and prints including some for toys she had intended to be made for the workshops.
We wandered quickly through some of the other galleries, gawping at the Cezannes, Renoirs, Manets but were very conscious of the Rosebuds desire to go shopping. So a whistlestop tour this time, with just enough time to visit the gallery shop where we made a few purchases:

I wish!!!

Monday 10 August 2009

Found the kettle, forgot the ketchup ...

Please forgive my laziness, we've reached the point in the holidays when it seems that we've all stepped down a gear. Lazy mornings, lazy days, lots of sunshine, lots of lovely food and Mr Roses at home have all meant that little time has been spent in front of the computer.
Last week we went camping again. Now I know you've all seen millions of our camping photos this past year and heard in great detail all about the highs and lows of the Rambling Roses exploits so not too many photos this time and fewer words. Suffice to say that we had the most wonderful time, having slept in yurts and in our own tent we plumped this time to hire a bell tent so that we could really take advantage of the little time we had there. Oh the joy of arriving and not having to put up the tent. To walk into a beautiful white canvas structure that has a properly fitting ground sheet, doesn't leak and has mattresses waiting for you ...

We meant to savour every moment - and we did. The only low spot was realising that I'd forgotten the ketchup! It seems that I'd become a bit too blase in the old packing department, leaving everything till the last minute. My goodness, packing for a camping trip for us must equal packing for a major expedition for most. We were hardly miles away from civilization yet the need to ensure all (and I mean all) our possessions have been packed is paramount. For me what was uppermost in my mind was the kettle which had gone mysteriously AWOL - life under the trees may be good, but without a cuppa in my hand first thing in the morning, wuuld be pretty miserable. Kettle located finally by Mr Roses under a pile of blankets, I breathed a sigh of relief and continued to pile up the possessions in the hall. Mr Roses has long since stopped trying to pare down the items that us 3 female Roses deem to be essential on a camping trip and quietly packed the car which had once again assumed its tardis like qualities for the trip.
So kettle found, holidays could begin in earnest. Except for the missing ketchup (and, it seems, anything else that came in a jar or bottle, as I somehow managed to forget opening the last cupboard door in the kitchen that housed all the culinary delights we needed to take). Normally life at home would continue quite blissfully without the addition of ketchup, here under the stars the loss of ketchup took on epic proportions. The peace and quiet of the tipi trail was punctuated by wails from the Roses' tent "I can't believe you forgot the ketchup", "How could I forget the ketchup".
Time to call for the cavalry ...Emma and her boys were going to join us for one day adventuring and running feral and she gladly agreed to bring the ketchup - phew, disaster averted.

We enjoyed evenings under the starriest of skies, the fullest of moons and the quietest of nights. Days spent playing rounders, reading in the dappled shade, swinging from trees. We had an awfully big adventure with Mrs Sew Recycled and her boys on the Bluebell Railway - thanks Emma for the most wonderful day - an Enid Blyton/Darling Buds of May kind of day that brings a smile to my face just thinking about it.

So once again we survived the camping, feeling better for it. A few days away and feeling a million times more refreshed on our return. I may have forgotten the ketchup and oh so many things in the kitchen department but I did remember one essential thing that must earn me rather a lot of points in the blogging world - if you're gonna go camping, forget the ketchup, forget the peanut butter and the jam, remember the kettle, but most of all, do try and wear shoes that match the campfire!!!!

And whilst I'm glowing in the warmth of that campfire moment, I did remember to paint ALL my toenails the same colour (ironically, a nice ketchupy red) but for some reason the big toenail on the right just didn't want to play ball - that would just have been too perfect ...

Saturday 1 August 2009

Milly and Dottie say "Thank You"

Thank you!!! Milly says "Thank you". Dottie says "Thank you" and Michele and I shout out "thank you" at the top of our voices. Thanks to all of you who have visited our Emporium. have left such generous, kind, encouraging and supportive comments. We have been overwhelmed by the number of visitors we've had along to our little shop this week and have been busy in the Stockroom with our piles of brown paper and string (not to mention a fair few packets of biccies and cups of tea).

Over a year ago Dottie and I had (notice it's not Michele and I, the alter egos do take over when we talk about each other) a little idea that lived in our emails and went floating through the ether from one side of the country to the other. We just can't believe that as of 5pm last Saturday our shop was no longer just part of our many daily ramblings and that we are "playing" at shopkeepers for real.

It has been nerve racking and exciting. Our confidence has waxed and waned and oh the nerves last week when we pressed the "publish" button. We have known from the beginning what we wanted in our Emporium and how it would look, we have also known that Milly and Dottie would be in charge. This all felt very safe within the confines of our correspondence and flights of fancies are to be welcomed on cold, rainy days. Making those flights of fancies real on a bright sunny afternoon and going public with Milly and Dottie and our little dream was a huge leap of faith ... I for one was just not sure what the reaction would be. Minutes before "going live' I was found pacing the hall, shedding a tear clutching the phone and talking to Dottie.
So we sat down in front of our pooters, synchronised our actions and hey presto!

This week life in the Stockroom has been good. Confidence has been restored to Dottie and Milly, shelves are being restocked, biscuit crumbs are being constantly swept up and the kettle seems to be permanently on. Milly and Dottie are still dreaming and planning and I know for sure that those two little minxes will be taking more of a centre stage at the Emporium over the next few weeks...
So "thank you" for visiting, joining in the fun and most importantly, thank you for your support!

PS Thanks to lovely Emma for the gorgeous plants she gave me for my garden earlier on in the year, the gorgeous daisies in these photos are a pressie from her.