Tag Archives: Antiques

Vintage football memorabilia? In Tunbridge Wells? And a whirlwind shopping trip…

A flying visit into The Pantiles, in Tunbridge Wells, specifically to get a present for a football-mad friend. With its nationwide reputation for all that’s genteel in life, Tunbridge Wells may seem an unlikely place to shop for football related gifts, but I was there for half an hour this morning and came away successful….

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Amongst the elegant Georgian colonnades are shops selling a very English mix of quality kitchens and cookware; beautiful dresses for children and brides; cameras and curtain poles and lots of covetable vintage. First up was Barnett Fry in the Corn Exchange (no website, call them on 01892 525929): this tiny shop is filled with collectable books, toys, children’s books and masses of football memorabilia:  

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Whilst the Pantiles Bookshop sells bargain priced secondhand paperbacks, plus toys and good quality secondhand hardbacks in store:

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But I’d come here for a different reason, so I had to turn away from the beautiful plants and decorative garden accessories at Gardener & Cook:

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And also from this delicate, patterned, colourful antique Chinese porcelain at Yiju

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At the The Spa Galleries (01892 542647) I loved this contemporary butterfly print, and these original black and white original etchings from the 1950s – 1960s:

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But this whirlwind shopping trip had another purpose: to shop for a PASSIONATE Everton supporter’s birthday: so this is what I came home with…. I hope he’s pleased!

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You can discover more about The Pantiles here – regular weekend markets take place along its length, with even more stalls selling vintage buys; there are also food festivals, where stalls sell local produce grown and/or created in Kent and Sussex (I’m heading back soon….)

Re-home: vintage, antique and retro shopping

A couple of indulgent hours yesterday, wandering the stalls at Ardingly antiques fair in West Sussex: amazed at the curios; vintage, retro and upcycled pieces; classic well-cared-for antiques, and weird ‘rather your house than mine’ items for sale.

From indoor stands to outdoor stalls, I found French linens and 19th century spice jars (covetable, see first image); topless mannequins (less covetable for me, but possibly someone else’s cup of tea); vintage buttons, glistening silver knifes, forks and spoons; work-worn garden rakes and hoes alongside tiny glass vials; thumbed-through paperbacks and decorative, detailed metal wall lights….

french spice jarsbuttons royal china buckets

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cropped railings wooden deer IMAG0754 IMAG0753tea chest

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blue china

linen napkins

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From the metre rules to the Charles & Di mugs (..who knew there were Fergie & Andrew teacups still in circulation?!), there was something for everyone….

….and it made me conscious of just how much STUFF there is out there.

I’m constantly aware of how huge the interiors industry is via my day job, and on these pages I hope simply to flag up a few gems I’ve discovered along the way: but sometimes, a trip to a fair such as Ardingly is a great way to remind ourselves that really, everything we need (and much we do not) is already in existence, ready to be re-used and re-loved.

So thumbs up to all those stallholders, who braved the mud and the January chill, driving from as far afield as Wales and France, to rig up their stands and display their finds: I’m looking forward to the next fair already….

You can find out more about the next fairs at Ardingly and at other venues around the UK here

Coincidentally, BBC’s Bargain Hunt was filming:

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…which added a little frisson of excitement to the morning, for everyone…. who knows what they discovered?