Sunday, 16 March 2014

March 2014 Instagramy Post Part 1

Time is going so fast I couldn't even remember what has been happening of late.
I have been spending a lot of energy which doesn't equate with results on the refurbishments and other chores.
Post soon to come re renovations...

Last year was the year of the never ending winter but this year 
Mother Nature threw us Londoners a bone.

It is spring and a few days have been like summer.
You have never seen a city come alive in the sun like London.

I love all sorts of tree blossoms but magnolias are a favorite.

My brother was away on holiday so I was dog-sitting Millie a lot.
She had a few run ins with swans that I now have to put her on a lead because swans get all karate kid with puppies. 
They misunderstand friendliness as an attack - 
they are London swans after all...


Not all the trees are green but you can tell 
they are busy standing tall.

Having a puppy means early morning walks but I have been rewarded with seeing the park in a different light.

Early morning fog and dew which translates to wet paws.


The Serpentine looks good in any weather though.



Unlike other cities where the super-wealthy have lots of toys and features to their homes, London just has location and a bit of architecture for any real estate honors.

These are houses that are on "billionaire row" and yet at best only a few of them have an indoor pool.
Even Kensington Palace doesn't have anything that would make any of the real housewives of Beverly Hills move in.
And that is why I think Londoners are obsessed with weather because it is strange that we put up with grayness a lot of the time.
I wonder in earnest why I live here when the weather is bad.

As some of you know I went to the Design Week at 
Chelsea Harbour.
Look at these wastebins!
There is even one bedazzled if you like!
Or more ornate and traditional. But funny how I have been to so many houses with they fall at the hurdle of choosing a bin. 
 ( Myself included.)

I finally made it to the annual Osborne and Little sale in Battersea.
I heard it was good so I went on the first day.
I was not the only person with that idea as there was a queue already formed.
The domed stained glass ceiling inside was so beautiful that 
I lost any competitive edge taking pictures of it.
( Beginner's error - will never happen again.)
I am not really good at sales.
 I hate rushing and I have no talent for rummaging.
There were so many curtains and a few blinds but my head was spinning and other people's lists and pushing shocked me as I just thought I would be the token person on a Thursday morning going for a browse that might turn into something.
People went nuts at the cushion boxes.  
There was a philosophy of just grab and edit later.
The hall was huge and such a lovely setting.
This was my first batch of wallpapers - I had peacock feathers and art deco geometrics.
 I adore that fabric but I put it back because I didn't know what to do with it.
A lot of the other people were interior designers that came with assistants to stock up on fabrics and wallpapers.  There were a few civilians like me but they were experienced shoppers who came with friends and suitcases.  
Next year...And I hope a few of you can join me!
Fabrics galore but 
I couldn't be bothered to stand in line to get it cut.
This was my final haul!
I was extremely lucky because I found a motif of Koi fish for the loo.  It wan't in my number one choice but they did stock the second color choice.
Instead of paying £60 a roll - I paid £6!!!!
So I ended up buying some other prints as it wouldn't be an expensive experiement.
Plus I bought another two rolls as wrapping paper as it would be cheaper than buying paper at a stationary store.

My house still isn't done yet but I chose this motif called Palais Chinois for the vestibule to the loo, garage, and courtyard.

This is the Koi wallpaper in a beigy gold and grey which complements my grey floors.

This was a punt - Palais Chinois motif again but in a different colorway.  It doesn't really work so I will just keep it for a future project or see if anyone wants it.


I don't know why but I miss Copenhagen. 
Odd considering I have only been there for 4 days total.
 But I want to have another proper browse at the flagship 
Royal Copenhagen store.
 London hasn't had any snow so 
I think I had my snow quota for the year there.
 I didn't realize that this was their new range as I can't read all the Danish signs but since then I have been seeing this range in all the magazines and blogs.
 I have a thing for porcelain but I am stuffed to the gills.
But somehow I manage to squeeze another in.

Finally got a picture of Millie!
It was after a grooming session at Purple Bone where I had to wait days to fit her in.
Somehow I managed to take her to get her hair done and can't find the time to do my own...
I can't wait for the equinox! 
Spring or autumn is coming where ever you may be. x

57 comments:

  1. Millie is such a beauty! And so well-groomed. What a commotion at the sale but the wallpapers you took away are exquisite. I love the pictures from your early walks, after our long winter I'm sick to death of where we are living and hopefully with warm temps and a big spring clean this will pass.
    I guess you'll have to go back to Copenhagen... it spoke to you!

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    1. Millie is a cutie pie for sure and better groomed than me! I hope the builder puts them up right though. I know how you feel bc last year was the year of the never ending winter - it lasted until about May. Makes such a difference to mood and wellbeing. I must try and go back to Copenhagen during the summer to see the difference!

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  2. Great post - you've had a good month. I know what you mean about sales, I'm not very good at all that pushing and grabbing.

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    1. An oddly quiet and busy moth. Sales are pretty vicious - especially the once a year ones! But it was worth getting knocked about a bit for :)

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  3. Swans are actually quite vicious. I had the bright idea of taking the children to feed the swans at Albert Park Lake when we lived there once. We had some stale bread, and H was about 3. Well, the swans became so aggressive that I ended up throwing the bread in one direction and we ran in the other. It was like a mugging.
    You can buy great wastepaper bins, trays and lamps in London. I miss that here.
    That O&L jumble sale looks amazing. I am SO ENVIOUS. Love your wallpaper choices, the Koi fish are gorgeous, and very you with your Asian heritage. The green palace chinoiserie is gorgeous too - what about lining the inside of a wardrobe? I love having wallpaper in unexpected places.
    Meanwhile, if you're needing to get rid of a bit of your china, feel free to pass the waterlily Hermes set my way. It's always been my favourite! xx

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    1. Yes - swans reminded me of cobras when they started hissing!! They must be related... But then Millie didn't get the correct signals - thankfully she will get by on her looks and not her smarts - she thought they wanted to play so it made it worse...
      You just have have have to time your trip to London during the sale and design week - you could even buy up stuff here and ebay back in Oz and you could make your airfare back I predict!! Yes I think that you are right - I didnt even think it but it must be a link to my Asian side wanting all this chinoiserie because in Korea - they would never use it except for in historical places. Well if you come to London I may jettison somethingi n eau de nil but you must come here!! xx

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  4. Love the wallpaper. Exquisite! I love that London does not have any real housewifey houses. I live in McMansion country and am an oddity in my small century home (they simply knock them down here). I love that billionaires live in something resembling normalcy.

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    1. Not to bad for £6 a roll - I must say I don't know if I would have paid that for the chinoiserie although I was ready to for the fish. Yes the McMansions are here but only in a specific part and they usually belong to footballers!

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    1. Thanks Laoch - she is also very friendly and biddable.

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  6. well I want to come live with you or Millie! The winter here will never end...

    I cannot do sales like that - they make me so claustrophobic, but I love the papers you chose!

    It's funny, I think you can inherently love a place and have it feel like a part of you very quickly. I felt like that after my one and only day in Oxford (only to subsequently find out that it was where my great-grandparents were born on my mum's side), but also a little town near Arnhem in the Netherlands and small village in Normandy, so I get Copenhagen, though I hope you can resist eating the bugs next time...

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    1. Millie would love you and be all over you Wendy.

      Is Canada taking the Games of Thrones seriously or something?

      Yes I agree that there are some places where it just clicks doesn't it? I have spent time in other places and they didn't really leave an impression on me. But interesting what you say about Oxford bc my father said that there was a Dane in our ancestry so maybe it is this odd DNA thing?

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  7. Millie is adorable. Glad to hear you're protecting her from the Swans!! Those wallpaper are wonderful. I've never seen such fancy waste bins. I'm not sure I could put trash in one so fancy. xoxo

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    1. Those swans do not like puppies and not just Millie...But they are protected so they rule the birdie roost in the park! Too funny because I was thinking the same things about those wastebins! xx

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  8. I think I would have been distracted with the glass ceiling also. So beautiful. I just can't do those type of sales, riots, whatever you call them. Not sure I would have made it in the front door. That being said, your wallpaper picks are great. You must have the patience of Job, looking forward to updates on your home.

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    1. I walked in and I had to take a picture immediately and of course got over taken by thirty people! I think being once a year and the incredible savings the claws were out. I am sure there were a few ebayers there bc they were carrying two suitcases! I dont' have the patience of Job but it seems like I am learning it through this build for sure BB!

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  9. Your blog posts are so interesting! Just love visiting and hearing what you have been up to! One day when I quit the dreaded world of finance I hope to spend my time following similar pursuits! The wall paper haul was fantastic - what a bargain! I love treasure hunting at sales but when people get super competitive and viscious, it takes the joy out of it. I visited the infamous Space factory outlet in Italy a few years ago (prada, Miu Miu)...I got abused by a Chinese girl outside before it opened. It was awful! Once inside people were pretty much physically fighting each other for bags...never seen anything like it. I left empty handed....some things just not worth losing your dignity for!

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    1. Hi Anne, I hope you get to retire soon and you can do whatever you please however there isn't as much adrenaline outside the world of finance may I remind you :)

      I would have gotten more but Mr CSW was scratching his head asking if I was planning on wallpapering the outside as well? I have heard some horror stories about those outlets - I think you were probably accosted by the resellers - it is a vicious business and even more so when their livelihood depends on it. In fact it has gotten so bad that certain stores like LV in London only allow Chinese tourists one bag hence when you walk by the store - they offer to give you 100 pounds to go in and buy a bag for them!!

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    2. Didn't realise people were buying those bags for resale! Have been in Galeries Lafayette in Paris when there were busloads of people from China rushing through, desperately trying to keep up with the leader who was waving the flag. I was in fear of being mowed down by the running crowds. At one stage in the LV concession there must have been at least 40 women all frantically waving handbags at only 3 or 4 sales staff (I heard the buses drop women off at one end and pick them up from the other in maybe 30 minutes to an hour). I was standing a few steps above with some French women who were shaking their heads in disbelief at the clamour. These weren't outlet bags or on sale either. So can't imagine what an LV sale must be like.
      I enjoy sales too, but mostly go only to Le Bon Marche (where it somehow seems more civilised) and smaller boutiques and not in the first hour. I'm sure I miss out on great bargains but crowds of people pushing terrify me.

      You did so well with your goodies from the O and L sale. Love all the wallpaper. And 6 pounds down from 60 is amazing. Love the Palais chinois motifs. Have metres of a beautiful toile in a similar chinois design I bought in Marche St Pierre a couple of years ago, fantastically cheap too (but a lot more than 6 pounds).
      Your pics of London parks and waterways are magical. The light! And adore the daffs. Also the wonderful misty light on the Serpentine. You're very good at capturing atmospherics - as in your photos of Copenhagen a few weeks ago. Looking forward to reading about the Freys and your pics of their fabrics. Have visited the boutiques around the Place Furstenburg (not sure of spelling) - so beautiful. Cheers, Pammie xx

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    3. All luxury goods in Asia are on average double the price what it is in Europe. So the plan is they fly over - buy a few bags to resell so that pays for the airfare, the hotel, and other expenses. They get a mini holiday and when they go back they make a few thousand pounds. The stock to the big Chinese cities is always tightly controlled as they have a VIP system that is a lot stricter and it is like all those Communist years accounted for nothing. So a lot of clients with all this new made money don't have the connection to buy what they want so they resort to shopping overseas. The Chinese have the highest spend of any country at the moment - on average they spend almost £2000 per tourist! Imagine? That is why there are queues in Chanel and other luxury brands in Selfridges...There is a massive subculture of luxury economics going on and I do worry about the implications. ( I tend to worry about abstract things sometimes!) I would have loved to bag a few bargains overseas but shipping is always murder!!! I once found an art deco cocktail cabinet in Birmingham and it cost more to deliver it than the item so I decided never again...I must say the Freys were another delight with no attitude and super friendly I am glad to preview. xx

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    4. Ah resellers! It all makes sense now!!!! No wonder they were a level beyond anything I had seen before! It actually made me see the luxury world in a different light and I felt rather cynical about it all...I just don't understand placing so much value on status. Don't get me wrong...I love my closet full of ferragamo shoes and Dior bag - simply because they are beautifully crafted pieces and designs of a level of sophistication that you just don't tend to find with cheaper brands...but I don't wear them hoping people will recognize the brand and my ability to afford them - in fact, I'm mortified when anyone says "omg are those ferragamos" and I feel awkward that they even know I spent so much on a pair of shoes and fear negative judgement! A friend of mine lives in Singapore and she told me graduates in her office go without food/live on 2 min noodles in order to buy a designer bag!

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    5. P.S. thanks, I hope I do get to retire at some point! Though a few years away at least...I work well under pressure but honestly, I won't miss the adrenaline and stress...I'm a different person outside of the office and don't really like how "hard nosed" I have to be when in the office. It's emotionally exhausting.

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    6. Yes but also status in Asia is ruthless so while having something doesn't prove anything not having it does...very complicated and slightly different from other Asian countries in China...but yes I know what you mean. I love beautiful objects but I worry under the prism of a blog things get misconstrued so I worry on how things may come across too. But yes those stories are true, the hit Gangnam style was a satirical take on things like that if you dug deeper!

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    7. Living in London half the people I know are in finance!! I feel your pressure but for some reason people stick around as I think it's hard to make such a wage elsewhere...but I am glad you get to switch off bc I know sooo many who don't!

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    8. So fascinating about the re-sellers. Thank you for explaining. Also rather appalling that people so desperately need status and are prepared to pay a fortune in China for the bags in the hope of acquiring it. Says very bad things about a society. It also explains why so many go for the huge logos on bags and other accessories. The ones the French call the show-off bags. French women I've talked to in the stores say the Russians like the big logo ones too. I guess if the status is so important then they want a bag that shouts out the name of the designer.

      These are always the accessories I avoid as my preference is for discretion. Was once given a silk scarf with just the name of the designer in huge letters screaming across it. I gave it to an Op Shop because I knew I'd never wear it. I don't care about status but I do care a bit about class with a small "c" and to me the show-off bags are very unclassy and not worth the money. I buy things because I love them as works of art, style, design and fine craftsmanship. Not because of labels. Glad to hear the Freys were a delight too. Pammie xx

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    9. Yes it is interesting to see how each country and city even have their own social code. Certain brands defintely do better in certain countries than others. I know what you mean about logos but sometimes it is quite ironic and if carried with confidence one can make it look stylish but it really depends on the person! The Freys were lovely but I am waiting for a few pictures from them before I post! xx

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    10. Have to admit. Do love the double CC and have a brooch and a couple of necklaces with the logo. But not overwhelming in size. Just nicely subtle. No bag though. In London kept having twinges about making off with FF's beautiful black Chanel. But couldn't do it.

      Suspect some of those bags with the giant logos (talking really giant - not medium or smaller sized) are designed specially for certain markets and certain types of people.

      At lunch on the roof terrace of La Rinascente in Milan one day (the store opposite the Duomo), observed just about every woman there (except me) was carrying a beautiful designer bag. From their other clothes and accessories, deportment and style it was clear that these were all the real deal. None of them had shout out logos or labels. Nor fakes. Women of all ages, girlfriends, mums and daughters and nonnas, having a lovely time. All speaking Italian. So elegant and chic. Sigh. Then on our way back through the store my eye was caught by a lovely dusty pink Mulberry Alexa. Not Chanel or Prada - but I love it. Pammie xx

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    11. Hi Pammie, funny you mention Russians and their status love...so true....unfortunately my partner's best friend (Russian) insisted on showing us his Rolex, Porsche etc etc every time we saw him...it became rather tiring and we don't see much of him these days. He knew we didn't place value on that stuff but it seemed like a rite of passage he had to follow every time he had a new toy! This is my 1 person case study though so I'm sure not all Russians are like that....same as not all Asians! But the cultural idea of what determines status fascinates me!

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    12. Yes Italians do it differently and dare I say as a generalization I turn my head in Italy whereas in Paris it's a bit safe....controversial statement I know!!! Who does like the letter C Pammie?? ;)

      Anne, I am also fascinated by peacockery as I like to put it and I find the former communists are most guilty of this font you think??

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  10. wow, love those wallpapers !!! I think I haven't seen those in my house since I was living with my parents :) you picked very well !...can't wait to see all your reno !
    love your post about spring in London, reminds me my early runs in Ken gardens <3 ...I haven't seen the sun here for a while, as you know it is not at all a good period here in HK...so could you please hold this weather for me until april ? :) xxxx

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    1. Well you will see it soon enough - although I hope it is over but don't think so...We are loving using the table on the balcony! We had dinner and lunch there yesterday and though of you :)
      I will do everything to make sure the weather lasts xxx

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  11. What beautiful photos of London. The light!

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  12. Gorgeous wallpaper Naomi! I understand the time management issue .. we are in the midst of it as we downsize. Your photos are gorgeous.. that Magnolia tree is amazing as is the photo with the swan under the branches:) Seattle is grey..grey.. grey .. so I understand the weather issue. I do feel like a mole at this time of year and when the big yellow ball shows up in the sky I can never find my sunglasses;) xxleslie

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    1. Thanks Leslie - I hope it looks good up though...But does Seattle come alive when the sun comes out like London? I am sure it does too right? Funny it took me forever to find my glasses yesterday as they are rarely used!! xx

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  13. I am really good at sales and so decisive! I wish I could have gone with you- LUFF all the paper even the green chinois, can't you make it work? x

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    1. It would have been great if you could make it and you would have loved it!!! Fabrics for more cushions for you and all...I need to try and make it work somehow...xx

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  14. I am hopeless at sales and just wander around browsing while everything disappears rapidly! I love the koi wallpaper, the colours are gorgeous. And your photos of London are beautiful, especially in the early mist.

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    1. I was a bit like that! I only got the wallpapers because everyone was going crazy for everything else and wallpaper was the least popular! The early mist burned off once the sun came up properly and it was so refreshing to be in.

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  15. I love sales, although I get a little carried away. Love the idea of using wall paper as wrapping paper. Millie looks loved. x

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    1. I rarely go to sales but having gone to this one I see why I should be going more often! Yes wrapping paper is so expensive - it's like £4 for two meters - this way I got 10 m for 6 so I got two!! Millie is one lucky dog bc she is loved by so many. xx

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  16. Felt like I went on a little journey reading this post. So many interesting little adventures. The photo of the swan was really nice and the photo of Millie standing in the road looked like she was wearing little black boots. It's neat to see Billionaire's row - hope you take more photos there, I'd love to see these homes! Great choices in wallpapers, I really like the Koi one and what amazing prices!
    :)
    mikky
    www.todaloos.com

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    1. Thanks Mikky - but I will take more pics for you but one is not allowed to take pictures on the street itself as it is banned - it is on a private road that is shared with Kensington Palace. But I was just thinking how funny it is that ultimately the weather is such an equalizer here in some respects...Yes Millie does get black booties when wet :)

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  17. I cannot do crowds trying to look at and choose something worth having. I can feel for you trying to get through all those people to what you want to look at.

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    1. At 6 quid a roll I am going in with bodyguards next year! :)

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  18. I love blossoms from fruit trees..those pastel, sweet smelling , delicate flowers on a bare twig.. They dont really do well in Sydney ..so whenever I see a blossom tree, I get quite excited.

    I've never been to London but there is so much to do and see there (so Im reliably told) ..have you ever been to the Sir John? Soane's house / museum ? looks fascinating

    I admire your strength going to that sale ...I couldn't stand it ,

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  19. Funny you mention the Slane museum bc Ben pen treat his doing a talk there but I am just so tired and didn't get my act together! But I was thinking of going but apparently no pics allowed and you have to have a guide so they are strict... Yes I rarely go to sales but dare I say it was worth the pain bc I spent less on my haul of two baskets than it would have cost me to buy just two rolls and I needed 5 apparently!

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  20. Koi looks gorgeous, love grey and that goldy colour together. How I miss old Londinium when I see your photos., how many hours did I spent at that exact place probably watching that exact swan with the kids

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    1. I think it hits on my brass fetish! Isn't that exact place one of the best places in London though! I love that bridge...

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  21. Yes Spring is ready and Nature is all in blooming... It is amazing how fast is goes consider that it looks to me that we had so few sunny days... I am so ready to start my garden, but I know I have to wait patiently a bit longer. The mornings have been beautiful and I have enjoyed watching Nature.
    I don't know Osborne and Little, but from your pics, it looks they have beautiful fabrics/wall paper... I love your pics, you really have an eye for deco... I am not that much of a risk taker when it comes to deco, rather using plain colors and eventually using fabrics to bring an accent...
    I didn't knew that Royal Copenhagen had a new range... It looks great...
    Your posts are always very rich and the comments too!

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    1. Yes we have a bit of fog as well but the weather has been stellar of late. Osborne and little is a very English brand of fabrics and wallpapers - they are great quality and I would suggest you look at their website bc their is something for everyone. Yes that new range is based on orchids and other flowers - a new style for them - thanks for coming by Steph!

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  22. Wow-Is that really London right now? All those blooms...and where is all the snow?.Im seething with jealously..I am on board with next years trip to the Home Dec sale but as I am not one of those competitive shoppers I am afraid I might slow everyone down as I debate and decide and convert from dollars to pounds. I would be taking pictures of the stained glass dome also.
    Swans are beautiful and majestic but I would not want to meet one in a dark alley-they could get my purse, phone, and car keys and leave me a bruised, whimpering mess. For some reason that just makes me respect them more
    I especially love the koi paper.

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    1. Yes London in bloom!! Magnolia trees do very well here. Mind you most plants do well here with the weather. I hope your snow lets up soon...

      Experience is key and next year I will not be admiring any architectural features I can tell you and I will bring a suitcase and a wingwoman!! Swans are cobras cousins I am convinced ...

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  23. What a fab month you are having. London sure looks good - I think I need to pay it a visit. Humour me Naomi.......do you watch The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills lol. Perfect timing for Design Week for you whilst you're in the midst of renovating. You must have been running out like I do during the Selfridges sale. Don't say the 'SNOW' word, you will jinx us eeek! xx

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    1. Actually very quiet! But busy still...You are right - I said snow and then it got freezing again! Yes I watch real housewives - guilty Colleen and I love it. xx

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  24. Hi Naomi, I just had to come back and tell you this is one of my favorite posts ever. I smiled all the way through and chuckled as well (London swans!). Would you believe I never had any desire to visit London until this post of yours? For some reason, I didn't imagine Magnolia trees to thrive where you are ...

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  25. Lovely post, your dog is absolutely adorable!

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