Wednesday, 29 September 2010

I LOVE Georgian Shutters

One of the nice things about owning an old house are the original features that come with it (if you're lucky!). I have coveted solid wood interior shutters for many, many years - long before I had the privilege to live in a house that came with them. Don't you think that they're beautiful?

There's something modest yet grand about them (if that's possible!)

Modest because they are so simple in design, plain or panelled and totally lacking in frills...

Grand because they are often full length, and because Georgian buildings tend to have high ceilings they can appear quite imposing.

I think that they're at their best left either unpainted...

or in pale or muted shades.

The Georgians loved pale, flat colours which can look very beautiful.

Here are some of the ones at Hill House. Mine are painted in pale colours throughout. A chalky white in the drawing room...

Pale buttermilk in the kitchen (sorry for the dark picture).

I think that interior shutters are a simply beautiful and stylish alternative to curtains in any period of house. As they are often set into recessed shutter boxes at the side of the window, they maximise the amount of light when open. They don't fade and they combine privacy with security. If your house doesn't already have them, they can be made-to-measure by specialist companies, or they can also be found in salvage yards and junk shops if you're after the genuine article - DIY enthusiasts can even make them from scratch with reclaimed timber. They can be re-painted to suit your colour scheme - and they can be wiped, sanded or painted clean - what's not to love?

Monday, 27 September 2010

Georgian Houses

So why did a cosmopolitan, sushi eating, shoe loving, chai latte drinking, ex-magazine Bookings Editor leave the 'golden paved' streets of London for a house in the rural English countryside - where the nearest shop is a 15 minute drive away? No, there's no punch line, but it is a question that I am often asked!

The main reasons obviously revolve around family, space and quality of life. However, there was also the fact that ever since I can remember, I have been BESOTTED with the Georgian period of architecture.

Ever since I saw my first Jane Austen adaptation on the television, I vowed that one day I would own a house that would have suited Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy (okay - perhaps the poorer, younger brother of Mr. Darcy, since his house was a MAGNIFICENT as well as HUGE Georgian country pile).

Closer to what I had in mind, was perhaps the sort of house that the parish vicar would have lived in; genteel, understated and often deceptively modest in size despite a grand exterior.

The classical references, such as porticoes,the double hung sash windows and shallow roof, all add up to a child's image of a house.

However, beautiful proportions on the outside, also means light, airy rooms with high ceilings on the inside.

So who could blame me for insisting that one of the main criteria in deciding whether or not to relocate to the English countryside, was that the house must have the simplistic, dolls house like symmetry that is such a particular trait of the small Georgian country house.

Heavily influenced by classical architecture - I think that there's something undeniably romantic about them.

The heyday of Georgian building was between 1790 - 1800, but the style largely stretches from 1714 - 1837. My home, Hill House (below), dates from the late Georgian period, and was built as the Master Brewers house (attached to a nearby and now defunct brewery) in 1822.

I like to think that I've found my life size dolls house - what do you think?

Thursday, 23 September 2010


I love my bed. It's a good bed. It's the bed that we purchased when we were first married. It's the bed that my children have all slept in at some point or other. It's the bed that they still creep into at night-time if they manage to catch me at a weak moment (I'm getting increasingly better at shooing them away - even when I'm still half asleep) And, well, you see...I just want a grown up bed now. I think I'm ready.

I want a bed made for silk nighties and romantic novels...

I want a bed that I can eat chocolate and sip champagne on...

I want a bed that justifies wearing my drawer full of pretty underwear...

Maybe something glamorous, with a pop of colour...

Perhaps slightly French looking...

Or something dramatic that looks good with crisp white sheets...

Definitely something that "Daphne" would look good lounging on.

And above all, something where decade old stripy pyjama pants (mine) and 3 sticky fingered kids (also mine) are definitely not allowed...

I WANT A STATEMENT BED! Watch this space...

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

More Apple Love!

Gosh - will I EVER get over the buzz of picking things from my own garden?? I'm sure, however, that you will...
More about the interior of Hill House coming up soon - I promise!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

I've Been Tagged!

Well this is a first for me - I've just been tagged by the lovely at Hannah at Hannah & Bryan! She's come up with eight different questions for 8 recipients to answer. Then we are to come up with 8 questions and tag 8 people to answer them. (After posting the post, we have to make sure to let them know that we've tagged them, so that they can see their questions!)

After much deliberation - here are my questions from Hannah...

1. If you could name yourself, what would be your name?
I've spent MANY years thinking about this one, as I was Christened Paula - which is fine. However, my parents also Christened my older brother Paul, and my younger sister Paulina - note that NONE of us are twins - you won't BELIEVE the endless ribbing this has caused throughout our entire lives!
Anyway, I used to think I'd like something cute and fluffy like Fifi Trixibelle - but that was when I was seven. Then I had an obsession with the name Elizabeth, which I thought was rather simple but elegant. As I grew older and fell in love with everything vintage - I loved the name Daphne! Daphne would be me dressed as a 1920's flapper, driving around in a vintage car listening to jazz all day (which I do - the jazz anyway) and dancing the Charleston while wearing a cloche hat. Yes - I think we'll stick with Daphne the flapper!

2. What is your favorite vacation spot?
I ADORE France, so it would have to be an old French farmhouse, with shutters, beautiful views and an orchard, a local farmers market and brocante full of decorative antiques - bliss - rather like Sharons life at My French Country Home.

3. What is your ultimate dream job?
In my younger days I thought that it was working for a fashion magazine - well, I did that, and although it was brilliant at the time, I realise now that I wished I'd studied interior design!

4. What is your favorite thing about fall?
I've said this before - the clothes - because I look FAR better in a cardigan than in a bikini!

5. What is your favorite item of clothing?
The afore mentioned cardigan! (I wont mention the unhealthy abundance of Chanel, Christian Louboutin and Prada shoes I have stored in my cupboards from my previous life - as I'm more of a wellie girl now!)
6. If you could eat only one more meal, what would you eat?
Monkfish in a garlic butter, potato Dauphinoise, french beans and a cupcake for pudding!

7. What is your favorite holiday?
I've had the most wonderful holidays in France, but perhaps the most memorable was a last minute trip to Beijing when my parents lived there. Shamefully, I had been reluctant to go because with three young children under the age of 10, it all seemed like such a hassle. But when we all stood together on The Great Wall of China, it was one of the most mind blowing experiences of my life - SO worth it!

8. Are you a loser or a finder?
I'm getting rather good at finding bargains for the house - but bargains still add up, which ultimately means I'm also good at 'losing' money!

Now, it's my job to tag 8 people also, so here's my 8, followed by my 8 questions - happy reading! (I've stolen a couple of questions from Hannah, as I'd love hear other people's answers)

Chic Little Shop
Modern Country Style
Design Addict Mom
September Cottage
Wild Acre
Not Perfect But Nice
French and Larkspur
Nice Day At Rosies

1) What is your ultimate dream job?
2) If you could live anywhere where would it be?
3) If you could wake up tomorrow during any period in history - when would it be?
4) If you could eat only one more meal, what would you eat?
5) What made you start a blog?
6) What is your favourite item of clothing?
7) What is your favourite film?
8) Is there anything that you would love to achieve/do/see before you hit 100?

Have a great day! x

Thursday, 9 September 2010

More Market Finds!

The children are back at school - and now the house is quiet again. Cushions are staying on chairs, dolls lie relaxed in their toy baskets, beds remain made, doors stay closed - ahh the sound of silence and the delight of a tidy house! Perfect conditions for me to root out the little treasures that I found on a recent trip to the Saturday morning market in Swaffham - the whole lot for under £5!

As you can see, I seem to have developed an addiction to glass objects.

A lovely cheese dome with marble base...

A glass butter dish for those buttered crumpet moments...

And my favourite find of the week - A set of six ice-cream dishes...

Of course for health and safety reasons, I tend to try out all of these treasures before they make their way sparkling and refreshed to my shelves...

I can reassure you that this particular ice-cream dish worked perfectly!

Have a great day.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Glamorous Gardener (A Novice in The Garden Part 2)

It's no wonder I'm a novice in the garden when currently, all I can think about is what to wear while weeding, cropping and cutting. Perhaps it's just delay tactics to put off the inevitable (LOVE the idea of gardening and growing things - LOATHE the idea of getting dirty!) As mentioned in my previous post - I have been tinkering a bit, and I must say that it's one of the most satisfying feelings when I've planted, nurtured or harvested something of my own - especially when it's still living and breathing a week later.

So, while I muster up the courage to get down and dirty in the garden TODAY(Autumn has arrived in the Norfolk countryside - no rain, just cool, misty mornings and clear bright days - simply beautiful - oh, and as I look far better in a cardigan than in a bikini it's my absolute most favourite time of year - so no excuses!) Here's what I would LOVE to be wearing. I shall keep these images in my head while I don my ripped dungarees, my husbands musty old driving gloves and my father-in-laws Australian bush hat (complete with corks.) Sigh...

How about a chic little gardening hat to start with?

Some Hunter Wellies goes without saying (is the evening gown too much?)

A little help for the more challenging jobs wouldn't go amiss!

Yes, there's absolutely no reason why one cannot combine gardening with sartorial elegance.

After all inspiration comes in many forms - which came first the cabbage or the couture?

Or perhaps I'll just leave the whole thing to my other half and one of the girls. I think that she looks far better in the wellies than I ever could - don't you?

Have a great day! x

(images courtesy of Ruven Afanador/Tatler; Steven Meisel/Vogue/Burberry)
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