Sunday, 29 December 2013

December 2013 Instagramy post

I tried to take a picture of my local Brora store for 
Dani of DaniBP Mop Philosopher a few weeks ago but forgot that it moved to Westbourne Grove proper. 
I rarely go on that very stretch as 
I go to Ottolenghi on the back roads.  

It's in a dangerous cluster of Whistles, Heidi Klein, and Diptyque among others!
I went inside to have a look at the goods of which 
Dani is a huge fan.


I was looking at some throws and a lovely lady helped me through the choices and different types of fabrics.  I did think she really knew her product knowledge.

Then she said things like, "I went through the archives of patterns and chose this color.  I decided that this should be part of a permanent collection and next season I might design..."

I looked at her quizzically as I thought she was just an extremely skillful sales associate and asked her, 
"What do you mean you will go through the archives? 
Do you design for Brora as well?"

"Yes, I do. In fact, I founded Brora." 

I was a little embarrassed but punchy simultaneously.

"No way!  You started the company?  I am here browsing but also taking pictures for Dani - you know Dani the blogger right?"

Victoria Stapleton then said she thought Dani was wonderful, 
looks great, and is so supportive and it was fans like her that 
makes her so proud !

She was so stylish, incredibly attractive and so amiable!
She wanted to take a picture of us two but 
I was not presentable...
So this is Victoria modeling a throw she was showing me.
There are a few more throws in the left hand side that were so soft.
So that's for you Dani!

December is not just full of holiday year end festivities but
 also a few birthdays. 

My friend had his birthday lunch at the Bibendum where I haven't been in ages and it didn't disappoint.

Love that butter dish.

I went to  Santa Lucia drinks at a friend's home 
who decorates so beautifully.
Don't you just love the pine cones and pine on the banister?

My friends who I normally spend Xmas with decided to chase the sun so we had her scrumptious delicious Xmas lunch a week early.  She brines her turkey for two days.
It works because her turkey is the best I have tasted.
Trimmings included bread sauce! 

My friend has pugs so they were great play mates 
for my brother's new puppy.
They are all getting trained by another friend in charge of entertainment.

I love glitter but don't know if it suits drinks...

I went to a freighbour's house for Xmas lunch.
I don't have my usual amenities on hand so 
had nothing to wrap up her pressie.

Forget what Martha Stewart would do.
But you know I am the very much diluted version of her right?

Tin foil came to the rescue - as it has a few times in the past.
Doesn't work so well for birthday pressies 
but the tinsel effect really works at Xmas.

There were more friends for Millie, the new puppy,
 who I was babysitting as my brother had another Xmas lunch to go to whose host was afraid of dogs.
My freighbour has two sausage dogs who were in holiday gear.

This is for you Tabitha!

Still made time to go see the Masterpieces of Chinese Paintings exhibition at the V & A which was amazing!!
The Prosperous Suzhou scroll was worth going alone.
But have a look at the V & A Xmas tree for 2013...

I haven't been ice skating this winter due to the renos but doesn't the ice rink in front of the National History Museum look so pretty?

Wishing all of you a Happy New Year and may 2014 bring you lots of joy!


  1. You were so lucky to have met the Brora founder and designer!
    Next time I hope that you will have your picture walking partner brines her turkeys every time and she thinks that is the secret to a moist and flavourful bird. I must try it sometime.
    Happy New Year!

    1. @hostess - I really was especially as I hadn't been in years! She was just so lovely and without any attitude that I am becoming a Brora fan myself! Brining truly makes a difference. Happy New Year to you too!

      @Instant Milk - will do thank you. :)

  2. Wow, Naomi - I think that you just gave Dani the best Christmas present ever (apart from her Brora coat)!!

    I love all the photos of your Christmas festivities, looks like you have had a very good Christmas indeed. Here's wishing you a Happy New Year as well!

  3. I loved this post on so many levels Naomi. Happy New Year to you too Naomi.

    1. Best wishes to you too Carol!!

      @Patricia - I hope she enjoys it as I did say I would take a picture of a Brora boutique and I think I upped the ante. Wishing you all the best for 2014 to you and yours!

  4. Dani will be beside herself - how funny that you were served by the owner of Brora!
    I love Bibendum - those butter dishes are the best.
    Your friends Christmas spread looks delish, and laughing at your wrapping. My wrapping this year was sub par. Usually it is tasteful, however this year I just went to target and bought a lot of cheap Christmas wrapping paper, so everything looked quite cheap and cheerful. But whatever. I was over it by Christmas Eve when I wrapped everything up (I have to wait to do it until then, as my youngest will still unwrap anything under the tree).
    There is no way I would want to drink glitter. Ever. It just can't be good for you?? xx

    1. Bread sauce is something I love but for some reason only have at xmas. I wish I had that restraint for all my other fave foods! That sort of thing happens to me a lot - I always get the owner or CEO and I just blab away. But it did remind me I should always be photo ready. Tinfoil honestly works and if you dont tell them - they dont realize!! That glitter thing is just wrong though I would have been all over it when I was 5! xx

  5. Upped the ante! I am dying here! I was just having a normal little computer read sitting with MrBP while we watch the football... I started to read this post and I'm now completely choked up over you meeting Victoria Stapleton, how incredible! She's an amazing businesswoman with steely resolve and such a clear vision, yes well you know I'm a fan. That's amazing that she happened to be on the shop floor when you went in... what are the chances? Thanks so much Naomi! I've got to go read this post again it's very exciting.

    1. The store looks so well designed, cozy and Brora-ish. You really outdid yourself taking a pic for me Naomi, thanks so much!

    2. So glad you liked it! It all worked out because I think I mentioned I couldn't find the store a few weeks ago? It used to be opposite Ottolenghi but as I never followed Brora I never paid attention to its new address. So I finally made my way after checking on the reno and thought I would destress and get the photo for you so it was really the best result one could hope for. She knew who you were right away as well! She is your fan Dani. :) But she is so chic - I just thought she was a rich smart local housewife who worked in the store casually for the store discounts or something as one sees a lot in town. I think she was doing some pre Xmas shopping rounds - they were even serving macaroons and champagne. The throws were amazing but they never go on sale and to be fair I have so many but if I get another one - I am going there to get my next one. You just have to arrange a meeting with her if you visit London ok?

  6. lovely post!!! so glad you met the Bora lady and I love the turkey xx

  7. Wow! Yay for you and Dani Naomi! How fabulous! So pleased for you both!

    Your celebrations look delightful! I must do England at Christmas once! I really, must!

  8. Excellent post!! How exciting that you got to meet Victoria Stapleton, and how exciting for Dani! It still amazes me how the blogging world seems to have brought us all together. I discovered Brora by accident about 10 years ago when I did a Google search for "Scottish cashmere" (I have a vintage cashmere sweater by Pringle and I was curious to see if there were any other cashmere brands in the UK). It's incredible how Brora has grown so much since then.

    Love the photo of the V & A Christmas tree, it is stunning!! The tin foil wrap is just fine, esp. for the holidays. My husband's family used to wrap presents in the pull-out sections from National Geographic magazine!

  9. You wrapped up the present in tinfoil???:D That's so cool.:D And glitter juice?! Seriously?? The world has gone mad...

    Yes, the swimming pool policy's the worst. But since I live in such a small town there rarely are that many people that we can't 'figure it out'. Otherwise I wouldn't go, I need my space, naturally.

    Happy holidays to you too, dear! I hope these last few days will be good ones for you and the next 365 great ones!;)

  10. @WMM - yes I was more excited for Dani as it was a pleasure to meet her but it seemed funny that I walk in the store after 10 years and end up meeting Victoria herself! You would love Xmas here - next year perhaps??

    @Louise - It is funny because it does make me look around and does raise awareness of other things doesn't it? The Xmas tree at the V&A was even redder in person - made the heart pulse beat stronger for sure. I actually like the idea of magazine pullouts but with tinfoil you don't need tape! :)

    @Peet - Yes you must try it as a back up plan.

    Even in Australia where swimming is very much part of the culture - swimming lanes were ridiculous - i reckon there needs to be swimming lane traffic police. Happy 2014 to you Peet!

  11. No way!!! Wonderful! I am just like Dani, dying! It is really a bonus to discover that Victoria is just what she represents... Hopefully next week I will be able to visit their new store in Turnbridge Wells... Have a wonderful New Year.

  12. I really love Dyptique and Whistles!! So pretty!
    Have a perfect NYE Naomi!!!

  13. @Funky Steph - It truly was a bonus - I was just going to browse and take pics for Dani of the store itself! Tunbridge Wells is such a lovely town hope you have a great time - Happy New Year to you!

    @Gloria - I wish you a fabulous 2014 xx

  14. I've been to Brora, the village, but never Brora the shop. Did they just buy up the defunct mill and it's archive?
    Looks like you've had a busy festive holiday!
    The ice rink at the NHM always looks quite nice at night.

    1. Yep her father bought the 100 year old mill there and she was asked to help the retail aspect of it but her father was in the smoked salmon business so I think they are just great business people who manage to inject life and sustain industry in Scotland which is a bonus all around! HNY to you x

    2. Funny. The mill in Brora has been closed down for a long long time. Must go check out the shop name-sake one day. But I do like the sudden interest in Scottish mills in recent years from companies like Chanel trying to save what little manufacturing we have left! So many traditional UK companies like Balantynes and Belstaf have been bought up by foreign companies for the name, and are now a shadow of their former selves with poor quality manufacturing done on the cheap elsewhere. Even what we perceive to be good old Brit Brands such as Burberry and Mulberry are now mainly manufactured cheaply outside the UK. Sad isn't it. Feels like such a con.

      A very Happy New Year to you too Naomi!
      Best wishes for the completion of the build soon.

    3. I put a link to an article in the Telegraph in her name where it says her father bought the mill if you like to read it. Yes it is such a false economy as well isn't it - we save money on costs then those same people dont have a job and then our taxes pay for benefits thereafter. It does seem like the high end brands like Chanel and Hermes are the only ones trying to instill local industries and skills...Oh well there is always next year to improve on things right? fingers crossed

    4. Thanks for the link to the article Naomi. She's doing a good job of promoting and sustaining British manufacturing, where possible. Long may it continue.

      I'm with the Queen of Punk...“Buy less, choose well & do it yourself!”

    5. I thought they used Johnstons of Elgin's mill? I thought there was only one left in operation in Scotland now.
      Can't believed I missed this post! A doxie, for me!

    6. Oh and Barrie which Chanel saved from the hands of the receivers - kudos to them.

    7. yes - a neighbour has two doxies! i loved how they were dressed up for Xmas and though you would love it. I am not sure which mill it is but it seems they do keep an operation up in Scotland though...

  15. Oh how amazing to have met the founder of Brora - that's just one of those classic moments isn't it, when you are talking to someone about something you admire and then you find out that they or a relative/friend of theirs is very much involved in some way that you could never have imagined.

    Naomi, I am so chuckling at the foil, but you are right, it works for the Christmas tinsel effect. I'll remember that one.

    I'm so jealous of your ice rink, we have one, but nowhere near as imposing as yours.

    I hope you have a fabulous evening tomorrow - Happy New Year sugar plum xx

    1. I must say it was great although she was probably one of the best sales people I had come across! She is so commendable though and I respect her a lot.

      Tin foil is the best back up plus you dont need tape!! I love skating and use to skate a bit but can't find my skates...I wish you all the best in 2014 Colleen xxoo

  16. I need you to take me on a walking tour of London when I get over there xx
    Happy new year to you to xxx

    1. Yes you tell me what sorts of things you want to see and I will be your guide! Wishing you a great 2014 Cilla xx

    2. make that two please, Naomi...for the parts that were missed in 2012... mmm

  17. Naomi, Love this post and seeing what you are up to in London! Amazing you met the founder of Brora and so neat she knew Dani! I wish we had one here. Dani is their best ambassador no doubt! Getting something from Brora is on my list this year. Love the fact they are all about quality.

    So fun seeing all those doggies. Love the sweaters! The V&A and the History Museum look so festive. Hope you enjoyed Christmas! Happy New Year Naomi!
    xx Kim

    1. I think they are still a growing company so they might go to the States in a few years. Dani is a great ambassador because I never went into their store before her. I love that all the doggies are such good friends as well! Hope you had a great new years xx

  18. Such a lovely post my dear! I love the glimpses into your life! wishing you the very best for 2014!

    1. Thanks Tamera - and also wishing you a great 2014!!

  19. That's so cool to meet the woman behind Brora! I used to wrap presents with the Sunday comics section but do people still get the newspaper anymore? Love these bits of your life, so envious of your outdoor rink, husby would love to skate in that, it's beautiful.

    The very best to you for 2014, happy new year, Naomi!

    1. Gosh I miss those comic strips sections soooo much - I still get the sunday papers though - i love lugging several pounds home and getting into it. But the Brits don't do comic sections. The outdoor rink is great to walk by - truth be told it can get so busy there. Somerset house is another pretty venue that is more photographic - I usually go to my local indoor rink but can't find my skates...Wishing you all the best in 2014 Tiffany xx

  20. Looks like you have been busy. That wrapping paper is genius. Happy New Year x

    1. You could try smoothing the foil for a different look or try folding it like ribbons as well :) Happy new year HIH xx

  21. I love the look of the dining room that has the stained glass in it. Also, now I wish to go ice skating (or ice falling, if you will).

    1. Yes I like the Michelin building too. It is quite the landmark in that area. I used to like ice falling as a kid but now not so much...

  22. Oh, I am so glad you are my eyes and ears at the V&A. I saw a review of the exhibition on the BBC and, of course, so wished I could be there. The BBC didn't show the lovely Christmas tree though. Very interesting to read about Victoria (another one :) ). The fact that caught my eye immediately is her birthplace. Penrith Cumbria; home of my ancestors one of whom was called Penrith after his father's former homeland. :)


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