27 June 2008

Bermondsey Fair and Portobello Road

While in London, I couldn´t miss doing some antiquing...! One morning, I took off to the Bermondsey antiques street fair, near London Bridge. The guide indicated that the fair opened at about 5:00 am, and by 9:00 am most bargains were usually gone, so I arrived at about 7:00 am to find the market doing serious business but not busy. Many dealers go early to find good deals mostly in silver and art, which is something I tend to pass because I am not knowledgeable enough....

I found the fair to be quite small, but there is construction going on to make the atrium twice as big, so it should become quite interesting!! I still managed to spend almost two hours, and even though most prices were high for my limited budget, I managed to find a few neat things!

I bought a souvenir teacup, a pincussion doll, a small posy box, some skeleton keys, some bling, a couple of pieces of old linen with trim and a really cute portable sewing kit, complete with thread, needles and thimble!

The very next day, I went to one of my favorite places, Portobello Road. I arrived at 8:00 am on a rainy day to find most vendors just starting to unpack... Don´t let the appearances fool you, it may look like not much at first, but most treasures are to be found in the numerous small antique malls scattered around!! Make sure to go in, you will be delighted with what you will find inside!! Even though I was warned that most dealers are very knowledgeable about the worth of their items and bargains are hard to find, I did not find the prices too expensive and most dealers were open to some negotiation. Some booths were absolute eye candy, and I would
have taken more pictures if I wasn´t drooling over the gorgeous stuff I was looking at!! I was especially impressed with the many millinery and haberdashery displays around!!

I was very excited with what I was able to buy, some gorgeous vintage fabric, an adorable 1920´s wax wedding head piece, a couple of antique bone fans (which I gave to my mom), a vintage clock in it's original box, a beautifully illustrated children´s book and a small silver box. But my treasure of the day was, without a doubt, this absolutely gorgeous barbola mirror!! I have admired them for so long and now I can be the proud owner of a beautiful one!! I was very excited and even kissed the dealer who was the most adorable man!!

As I finish this post, packing is starting and I have some lovely pictures of our stay in Lisbon, including my visit to a flea market, which I will share upon our return in a few days!! I leave you with a photo of our kids in the lovely Baixa, the posh downtown of Lisbon!!

23 June 2008

London Calling!!

We are back from London!! We had a great time, visited most of the famous landmarks, did some shopping, and I even squeezed in a visit to Portobello Road and Bermondsey antiques street fair!! The day before we left, I came to my sister´s house so I could print our e-tickets itinerary, but her printer wasn´t working, so I copied the tickets numbers, the flight number and departure times. We arrived at the airport wednesday morning, and were told our flight had left an hour before... You see, yours truly copied the arrival time in London, rather than the departure time from Lisbon...!!! Talk about feeling dumb!!! Because the tickets were non refundable, we basically had to buy new tickets... Fortunately, they had a flight leaving in a few hours, so we made it to London that afternoon!

We packed in quite a bit the first few days. We stayed at the Langorf Hotel (three stars), in Hampstead, and really enjoyed it! The two studios had a sitting area and a small kitchen with a refrigerator and a washing machine, so it was perfect for us and the kids! Definitely a good value for the money. Rather than going to a restaurant every night, we just stayed in and cooked in the room. It was just a five minute walk from the underground station. The kids really liked the double decker hop on, hop off bus, which we used to go to the London Eye (big ferris wheel), London Tower, Houses of Parlament, Covent Garden, St Paul Cathedral, Buckingham Palace and much more!!

My husband was keen on going back to his favorite fish and chips place, called The Seashell, and we were all glad we did, the fish there is delicious! The kids enjoyed a visit to Hamleys, an amazing toy store, and I snuck out to go a block up to Liberty's, where I bought some wonderful fabric! We also took them to Abbey Road, they know very little about the Beattles but we figured one day they will appreciate it (plus, it was close to where we used to live, so we were able to take them there...). Friday I left very early on my own to visit the Bermondsey antiques fair, where I found some cute little things. I will post pictures of this visit later, together with my visit to Portobello Road the next day, where I found some cool treasures!!

We even made it to a musical! I took the three girls to see WICKED, a really fun musical play about the witches from the Wizard of Oz. They really loved it! At the last minute, I tried to see if we could all go see Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, but they had no discount tickets for that day, so the agent suggested Wicked, and I am happy he did!

In all, we had a great time and will always cherish this time we had together visiting this beautiful city!! I will share pictures of my antiques adventures in a future post. Stay tuned!!

16 June 2008

A post from Lisbon

We have made it safely to Lisbon, and are staying at my mom´s warm and beautiful home! It has been a whirlwind of visiting with family, shopping, and eating, of course!! I wanted to share some gorgeous pictures of my mom´s home, she has a great decorating sense and loves romantic things like me. The first picture shows my favorite room in the house, the sun room.

My mom´s room is so romantic, mostly whites, a beautiful venetian mirror and lots of cherubs and candelabras, combined with pretty silver accents. A huge collection of Limoges boxes (not shown) covers shallow built-in shelves on the walls. Notice that my mom loves symetry... She buys most everything in pairs!

This is the prettiest linen closet I have ever seen!

We have been priviledged to have some great delicacies to eat, my children surround a plate full of snails, and the blue bowl contains one of my favorite things to eat in the world (together with roasted chestnuts), TREMOCOS - I believe they are called lupini beans in the US. Yumm!!

Finally, I leave you with a picture of some flea market finds. The day after we arrived, my mom and I went to a small local street antiques fair and I found some french books, a darling porcelain lamp, some old skeleton keys, a little hand painted limoges box and an old children´s book about portuguese history. Wednesday we will leave for London, and stay for four days. We lived there when my husband was a Marine Detachment Commander with the American Embassy in 1997 and 1998, so the older girls do not remember much... It will be fun to revisit! I will try to post some pictures next week. I am hoping to combine our touristy visits with a trip to Portobello Road and maybe a Cath Kidston store. I am also wanting to get some pretty floral fabrics from Liberty of London- See you then!!

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