Barnes Fair Saturday 12th July 2014 – a must for your diary!

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Barnes Fair

A date for your diary!


Barnes Fair

This year the Barnes Fair will be being held on Saturday 12th July.  If you have never been it is a complete must for your diary.

Though it is a little time away it’s good to get ones diary organised as July tends to be a busy month leading up to the end of the Summer Term sometimes dates like these amongst the many other things going on get missed.


Fun at Barnes Fair

I have been a few times now, it is good for all ages including children.  My children have a great time, always by chance meeting up with other friends from school, saving up their pocket money and bartering with the stall holders.  I taught them unfortunately at quite a young age to barter and now they do it everywhere, sometimes much to my embarrassment.

This is their 40th year for this event & they are taking on the Olympic theme, please come and take a peek at their official website ~ click here.

Barnes Fair starts off with a fabulous parade, decorated floats to give Nottinghill Carnival a run for their money and are flanked by vintages vehicles.

Following on from this is of course entertainment, fairground rides, quiz’s, live music, food, drink, shopping, did I say shopping?

The eclectic variety of stalls is wonderful ranging from crafts giving opportunity to meet local craftsmen and women, see how things are made, vintage stalls, antiques, modern and so forth.  There is something for everyone and always a bargain to be had.

Monies raised go to the Barnes Common Association as well as local schools, community groups and schools.

Make a date you really won’t be disappointed!

© Justine @

Golden Snowdrops – Galanthus nivalis ‘Sandersii’

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The first sign of life after the winter months! One of my favorite flowers

The Teddington Gardener

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Four tough little things, these golden-yellow snowdrops – Galanthus nivalis ‘Sandersii’

I confess at first I thought these were just a little anaemic but closer inspection proved their yellow markings were just as they should be. Plenty of snowdrop varieties have come through in the Rock Garden at Kew and many deserve a closer look. It is handy where they are growing on ledges at some height off the ground – just that little bit easier to take in each tiny detail, a little more comfortably.

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Valentines ~ what is this all about?

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 So what is Valentines all about really?

Material rose

I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.
Emma Goldman

As you will see from the link here,  The History of Valentines , there are various ‘origins’ as to where Valentines originates, from whipping women with animal skins to love letters, all riveting stuff!

Most people just take it as an opportunity to show affection to their ‘loved’ one, be it from adult to adult, children to adult etc without really taking any interest in it’s origin.

What baffles me sometimes is that really we should be showing these ‘tokens’ of love or appreciation throughout the year, it becomes a bit of a ‘marketing’ frenzy to get us to buy the latest must have offering to feel like we ‘really’ prove our devotion?

That is not to say that I don’t like chocolates or flowers on Valentines, of course I do, but if I had to chose between regular shows of affection and the once a year standard ‘must do’ approach I would go for the former.  Then there might be some lucky people out there that have both.

For those of you on a budget, I have come up with probably some not so new but effective ‘cheaper’ ways to give something on Valentines.

Crafty or cheap ideas for Valentines!

jam jar with flowers

not just for jam!

Find one of those old fashioned shaped jam jars, empty of course, tie some ribbon or twine about it and place inside some flowers, be they from your own garden.

post it note i love you


Post it notes are not just for the office, when did you last write a loving note?  You could make it fun, leave some notes scattered in different places, maybe in a work bag, lunch box, in the bedroom for later.

chalk board i love you

Chalky fun

Chalkboards aren’t just for kids either, a great way to let out your inner Picasso and draw something magical for your better half, or why not just keep it simple like the good old days, a heart with initials on the top and bottom inside 🙂

heart shaped biscuits

baking is fun!

Bake some heart biscuits or cut toast in to a heart shape, you can have lots of fun with foods.

valentines card puzzle

Valentines puzzle card

Make a card

Write a poem

Why not get your children to help, let them show their appreciation for their parent.

Gifts that have thought, even if free are so much more valuable than an expensive gift that is just ‘easy’ to buy and takes little conscious effort in choice.  It’s the small things that matter and there are many on budgets that just simply don’t allow for expensive gifts.

Here are some links to crafty Valentines ideas:

Martha Stewart Activity Village (good for children’s activities)

Wonder How To

International Business Times

So what is happening on the retail front of East Sheen this Valentines, who is getting in to the spirit of it all?

There is a lovely article focusing on some shops & services in East Sheen highlighting their Valentines products written by East Sheen Village,  so all I am going to do today is provide you with a lovely little gallery of various shops and their offerings to get you in the mood if you are not already for the day of ‘love’.

The day was against me as I wandered down East Sheen’s High Street, the sunshine, yes I say sunshine was playing trickery rather than being actually useful and giving me warmth and as such pictures of some shop windows proved to be rather impossible, hence I relented which doesn’t take much for a shopper like me and went inside to snap away in some!

The Octavia Foundation, 435 Upper Richmond Rd – 0208 487 1482

This is a charity shop which supports local people during hard times of personal difficulty and or crisis, establishing strong and vibrant communities as well as improving quality of life.

Sheen Uncovered, 281 – 287 Upper Richmond Road West – 0208 876 9845

This is a lingerie & swimwear shop, providing excellent skills in fitting & general advice to get the best fit and style.  Unfortunately the sun was against me at this time, though you can see the mannequins have rather saucy little numbers on, I love the lacy eye masks, reminds me a bit of 50 shades.  Had I gone in you would have just ended up with mannequin bottoms!  Having used their fitting service before I can vouch for how good it is, I am not the easiest of clients, no I don’t have weird breasts, but I do suffer from pain around my ribs, initially worried that this would be an awkward experience, I found myself at ease, able to talk about my issues and get an appropriate product for my needs.

Sheen Living ,  321 Upper Richmond Road West,  SW14 8QR – 0208 876 7203 

I must admit to always going a little camera crazy in here as I am rather partial to popping in just to see what is new and what I can deliriously add to my permanent list called “oh I must have that.”  I sadly note that ‘my’ puggy Christmas cushion bought by  my husband for me as a seasonal present, which I evilly returned due to it’s ermm look (see here for details) is still sitting lazily in the shop avoiding being purchased.  I did mention to the wonderful sales assistant that it might in fact end up becoming a shop icon, she looked at me with what seemed horror which can only indicate to me she feels the same way about poor puggy cushion.  Surely there is someone out there that likes it?

Shelter, 337 Upper Richmond Rd, SW14 9QR – 0208 878 4990

Helping those in need of housing and much, much more.

Oh Darling, 226 Upper Richmond Road West,  SW148AH – 020 8876 7226

Another one of my favorite shops, ideal for presents and downstairs of course are the beauty rooms, don’t forget a perfect present could be buying a gift token for a massage or going the whole hog and booking one as a surprise one weekend.

Sandrine, 239 Upper Richmond Rd W, London SW14 8QS -020 8878 8168
A truly yummy shop, I think some people forget about buying chocolates for Valentines as being too traditional or predictable, but for a chocaholic like myself that is catastrophic, there can never be too many chocolates in a girl’s life.

And there I leave you, Ladies & Gentlemen, hoping that you have a very merry, perhaps seductive, perhaps loving, the variations are endless, but have a great Valentines! xx

© Justine @

Dr Dee of Mortlake, History

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A little mystery about Mortlake from Magical London, an enticing read!

Magical London

imageJohn Dee (1527-1608) of Mortlake, was an astronomer, astrologer, geographer, mathematician and advisor to Queen Elizabeth 1. Dee was born near London, the son of a gentleman server in the court of Henry VIII. At the age of 15, he went to Cambridge and was made a fellow of Trinity College. He taught in France and travelled to Holland before returning to England in 1551. During the reign of Queen Mary Tudor he was accused of trying to kill her with sorcery and was imprisoned in Hampton Court for two years. This may have been because he had cast a horoscope for her rival and sister Elizabeth. He was finally pardoned in 1556 and in 1558 when Elizabeth became queen, with his deep knowledge of astrology, Dee chose the most auspicious date for Elizabeth’s coronation. In the time of Elizabeth I there were many people who believed that the British…

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Crowning glory product review, Davines and Kerastase

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Why a product review?

So I hear you ask, why do a hair care product review when this blog is about East Sheen and its surrounding area. My answer would be firstly that these particular products were bought from a nearby business, Andrew Stephen Hairdressing and secondly, product knowledge is key.  If you want to be a savvy shopper, it’s good to get some low down on what might or might not work for your crowning glory.  You can see a post pertaining to Andrew Stephen Hairdressing here. I consider my hair to be in my ‘ageing’ (winks) years the one area that still seems to be going strong and most women would strive to find good products in the plethora of various shampoos and conditioners being advertised to us through the marketing media.

Why should we think you could give a good review?

I’m not going to lie and say I am some retired hairdresser, but I do have two very good qualifying attributes for this task in hand.  Firstly I am female, yes that sounds sexist, but as such we have over the years tried and tested a huge amount of potions for our tresses. However, this doesn’t really make me any different from most other women does it? Secondly I’ve been a holistic therapist (it never leaves you), for many, too many years to mention.  Having to research and test products lines for my own businesses was key in getting the trust of my clientele, so though it’s hair based and not skin, I would like or hope to think I have a little edge in giving a productive review as you will find shortly. As for me, my hair is long, mid back to be precise, the length obviously challenges the usage amount of any product, de knotting abilities and I also use hair styling products, so these will be featured.

I have been a fan of Kerastase for years, however recently I have branched in to a different product line, that being Davines, which works on the principle of sustainable beauty.

Davines Products

Davines principles are that the production of their retail products are  low impact on the environment using natural ingredients, some of which are in recyclable containers.

Kerastase Products

Kerastase have been around for over 50 years now, having a long standing history in providing high quality products tailored to the specific requirements and needs of customers.  They work on a diagnostic basis, having 8 different ranges, the retail range being diverse and ample using not only natural ingredients, but ingredients engineered to meet the high demands of discerning clientele.


Davines Volume Boosting Mousse – 250ml – £16.40


Davines volume boosting mousse

As mentioned I have long hair which I wash every other day.  I last bought this product on 11th November 2013 and only yesterday 3rd February 2014 did I run out of it, which I think is very long lasting.  I like the ethos of Davines and this product does not have that chemical smell or stickiness that so many mousses have, it is light and has a delicate perfume. For me, this product gets a 10/10 rating

Kerastase Elixir Ultime – 125ml – around £35

Kerastase Elixir Ultime

Kerastase Elixir Ultime

I don’t know when I last bought this product, certainly not since the mousse above and I still have some left.  I use this product after washing and conditioning my hair applying the mouse, then a 50 pence worth amount of the Elixir.  Afterwards I then blow dry.  However, if you have a few stragglers or bits that seem to want to go elsewhere, a tiny brush through with fingers of the what I call ‘Elixir of the Gods’ does the trick nicely. I have used this product for months, many of my friends have commented on how shiny and healthy my hair looks and I confess it is purely down to this product, long may Kerastase produce it. For me this product gets a 20 out of 10 – full and more marks!

Davines Melu Shampoo – Mellow Anti-breakage Lustrous Shampoo – 250ml – around £13.95, if topping up with same container is £10.50


Davines Melu Shampoo Mellow Anti Breakage

Now this is the first product that I used diverting away from Kerastase that I had been happy with.  Why did I divert?  Two reasons, curiosity (Andrew is a good salesman) and it’s price, plus of course their ethos impressed me.

So you can buy for instance the shampoo at £13.95, if you clean out the container once finished and take back, they top it up again for £10.50.  The conditioner price is £14.50 new and topped up £12.00 I believe.  This is considerably cheaper than Kerastase.  I will point out however one down side as far as I am concerned.  The reusable container for the conditioner is the same container you will find for example at Sainsbury for their Arabiatta pasta sauce.  It is quite thin plastic with just a push on lid.  No screw cap or lip to hold it on well, so you do risk spillage transporting this once re-filled.

How did I find it though as a product?

Firstly we all like our different smells.  One aromatherapy oil I just simply cannot stand is Ylang Ylang and unfortunately this particular product was heavily infused with it, hence from an oratory experience it was not pleasant to me, but it might be to someone else.  Secondly I found that my hair knotted quite quickly, i.e. when it came to brushing it afterwards before styling it was far harder than when using the Kerastase product.  However, it did last well on usage and is reasonably priced. My rating for this product is 6/10

Davines Absolute Beautifying Shampoo and Conditioner – Shampoo 280ml £14.60 & Conditioner 250ml £15.80


Davines Absolute Beautifying Shampoo and Conditioner

So, I voiced my opinions of the former product to Andrew and he persuaded me to give Davines another go, but with a new product, slightly more expensive, but apparently already having good feedback from other customers. I shall say with this product my knots do seem to be slightly less, better than the former product but not quite hitting the Kerastase de knotting ability.  I do believe, but stand to be corrected that also not all products can be washed and re-filled at a lower price; I was told that this one fell in to that category.  However, ohhh la la, the smell is simply divine, that kind of smell you just want to close your eyes and luxuriate in.

When I lay my head on the pillow the divine aroma permeated the air around me.  So it hits big points on this score.  The shampoo is a little runny, so be careful if you are scrimping, when you go to pour it out. So my rating for this particular product is 8/10

Don’t you just love hair care?

Hopefully some discerning coiffeur customer will find this article useful! 🙂

I would like to add lastly and importantly that I have not received any kind of benefit either financially or product wise in doing this review, it is simply something that I wished to do.

©2014 All Rights Reserved

Petersham Nurseries

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I was going to do a post at some stage on Petersham Nurseries, but Our Tasteology have summed up a personal experience nicely and the photos are simply stunning

Our Tasteology

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Tucked away in Richmond lies one of Surrey’s most romantic café : Petersham Nurseries. 

This charming garden centre is a little eden for those who want to escape from the city for a couple of hours.

Enjoy the lovely food surrounded by beautiful floral arrangemenst and set inside one of the winter gardens.

After your meal wonder through the store that sells vintage/provençale inspired decoration. And head over to the flower stalls where you can purchase bouquets and seeds to take back home.

We really loved our experience even though the  weather outside was pretty wet, and quite a few puddles had to be dodged on the way over.

Definitely heading back once it gets sunny.

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Radicchio Salad

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Artichokes stuffed with Goat cheesem Halloumi, Datterini, Olives & Pangrattato

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Wild Sea bass with lentils, Cime di Rapa, Creme Fraiche, Salmoriglio & Chili Oil

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Petersham Rd, Richmond, Surrey TW10 7AG
020 8940…

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Irksome homework, clay & headaches

An odd title?

Not really…I promise, there is some relevance rather than blatant trickery trying to lure you in to a post merely by its title. It was the weekend, we decided to go for a walk, perpetuated by the need to get clay, yes clay.  Why? I hear you ask.  Well the reason is because of irksome homework.  Don’t you love it when your child’s school sets them a project of mammoth effort and size, then tell you to take photographic evidence, keep said monstrosity at home and keep it there.  Yes you got it right, spend weeks sweating blood and tears over a project and it doesn’t see the light of day in the school.  So what are we meant to do with it?  Put it on the coffee table as an artifact? So the challenge this time, to create a caste in 3D, basically build it.  My son is creating a Mott & Bailey Castle, example below:

Motte & Bailey Castle

Motte & Bailey Castle

What has this all got to do with husbands.  Well I have a husband.  Right now that sounds like it is an accessory, not like a bag which complements oneself, is useful, carries ones things and generally looks pleasing, oh no, more like “I have a headache”, a pain,   I won’t say anymore, it’s one of those days or weeks.

When homework comes up and I might upon the odd occasion ask for some input, support or otherwise on your average English assignment, do you see the headache for dust.  Oh no, no interest whatsoever and has the most amazing vanishing effect ever. However, this is a creation, something of substance and my ‘headache’ I can only assume gets on the competitive head, or is it creative head?  I don’t know, I can’t get in the mind of the opposite sex to really know, but that is how it appears to me.

What happens?  My ‘headache’ suddenly appears with enough building materials to make ‘Bob the Builder’ pass out, I suppose the fact he is a builder it really shouldn’t surprise me but it does.  You see I have sockets, skirting’s etc that have been in need off attention for six months or so, do the building materials come in for that, oh no, but within a matter of not days, but literally minutes the tool box arrives.   So in a period of a few days, the building materials have constructed the framework as you will see…it is then we need to go for a walk, to collect clay to cover said frame, after a hugely messy affair of papier-mâché is applied, yes all completed in unnervingly fast time.

Are you jealous Bob the Builder?

Are you jealous Bob the Builder?

The creation comes alive

The creation comes alive

So now it was time to collect clay.  Wellies were donned, dogs leashed up, bucket ready and shovel, yes not trowel nor spade but a great big shovel.  The dogs were keen, well at least one was, the other our old gentlemen wasn’t so sure especially when he saw the quagmire that Palewell is at the moment.

What is it about dogs and poles, as you will see our youngest, the dog that is, decided to urinate upon a “no dumping sign”, very apt.  He seemed to be having a bladder problem this day and proceeded in urinating on anything upright he could find.

We trundled in to the forest upon which the children after having found their favorite den exclaimed that the clay was in the open space of the common between the two fields, so off we went.  I must say I felt rather like a criminal, my senses very nervous about digging up a public area.

 I was convinced a Parks person would of course on that day decide to do the rounds and give us a thorough telling off, perhaps a fine?  Time in the slammer?  Alright I am getting a bit carried away now. Clay was found and dug.  I kept saying “hurry up, get it over and done with, hurry hurry” in anxious voice.  It was done plus a worm added to the mixture.

Then a meander down between the allotments, one of my favorite places. Then a wander home. The clay is still outside the house. I wonder if superman headache will decide to paste what seems to be ‘his’ rather than my eldest’s creation with said mucky material! Watch this space, I might just update this post with the ongoing antics of castle building.

©2014 All Rights Reserved

Andrew Stephen Hairdressing


Andrew Stephen Hairdressing

Finding a good hairdresser sometimes feels like searching for a needle in a haystack.  Though this particular hairdressers I am going to highlight today is not in East Sheen, it is however close by in Barnes and yes I am biast and just had to write a piece on this wonderful service provided by Andrew Stephen Hairdressing.

I have known Andrew, one of the partners, for literally years, when I was single and I have been married at least 10 years.  I met him when he worked at Anita Lawrence’s salon in Fulham.  Once tried I never went back, well I lie, I had maybe two dalliances elsewhere only due to reasons such as being at the other end of the country.

The hairdressers is a short bus ride from East Sheen.

The hairdressers is a short bus ride from East Sheen.

Andrew is simply charming and talented, I have had the joy of watching him moving on from Fulham and starting up his own business with Stephen Ridal.

The salon is sparkling clean, modern yet warm as is the atmosphere.  One of the drawing factors for me, is it isn’t hectic, the noise level is low but not too quiet.  All staff have always shown a generous dose of friendly professionalism.

Relax in reclining chairs whilst nimble fingers relax your scalp!

Relax in reclining chairs whilst nimble fingers relax your scalp!

There are four main ranges of products being Davines, L’Oreal,  Kerastasé and Nioxin for hair loss.  Kerastasé I have used for years and cannot fault it.  Davines I am trying right now, it is an organically produced product in recyclable material and a tad cheaper than Kerastasé, the jury is out for me whether better, but still good.

Products to suit all needs & desires!

Products to suit all needs & desires!

They also use two colour ranges.  I myself have experienced cutting and colouring from Andrew, both fantastic.  I appreciate a hairdresser who gets to know me, as in my wishes and desires for my crowning glory, gently advises where necessary but never pushes his ideas on to me.

A friendly & professional welcome awaits you!

A friendly & professional welcome awaits you!

Their treatments also include the fashionable Brazilian blow drying, a natural way to improve hair quality.

Special times are allocated for children’s haircuts and the salon is considered unisex.

Wait in comfort "coffee & a magazine?"

Wait in comfort “coffee & a magazine?”

There is one person I have forgotten to mention integral to the salon and that is Vito, the resident ‘look out’ for the premises who woofs away any undesirables, the name taken after the Italian Godfather.  Actually I have never heard him woof.  He is very friendly, his coat suffice to say the softest and if you are really lucky he will come and sit on your lap.

Vito the Godfather dog.

Vito the Godfather dog.

My photos really do not do justice, but it’s nice to get a hint of the place that hopefully if you are searching for excellent talent and friendly service you might visit:

7 Rocks Lane, Barnes, SW13 0DB

020 8878 1313

Opening Hours

Monday – Tuesday
9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.

Wednesday – Thursday
10.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m

10.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m

9.00  a.m. to 6.00 p.m


A treat or two!

A treat or two!

If you are really lucky, you might get one of the tempting treats on offer, I usually ferret away a bag of freebies of some kind, of course with a very much necessary purchase.

If you wish to read one of my reviews on products bought at Andrew Stephens Hairdressing click here

If you wish to read one of my reviews on products bought at Andrew Stephens Hairdressing click here

©2014 All Rights Reserved

Sheen Living – my equivalent sweetie shop yet full of home & lifestyle furnishings


Sheen Living – home & lifestyle shop

Do you ever have those sweetie shop moments like when you were a kid, but transfer this instead in to a shop you might stumble upon?  What a delight and surprise.

I was lucky enough to have one of these treats in the form of Sheen Living, located on 321 Upper Richmond Road in East Sheen.  It is owned by entrepreneurs Anita and Jackie, who are not new to East Sheen or retailing as they also own Sheen Uncovered and Ruby Blue (lingerie and women’s clothing retrospectively).

The window caught my eye whilst I was on the bus, a huge pair of what seem to be angel wings.  I thought to myself I must go to that shop.  I have since heard that many people ask to buy these wings, but alas it seems they are not for sale, but they certainly do the job of attracting ones attention and peeking ones interest.

A captivating sight!

A captivating sight!

Upon entering you are aware of the rustic woodwork adorning the floor, giving it a homely warm feeling, the festooning of delightful items upon shelves, gracing the floor and walls.

The ambiance of candlelight

The ambiance of candlelight

I stood there taking my time to look around the various sections of the shop, each part taking me to somewhere else in my mind, perhaps a French Chateaux, a British Farmhouse, a country pub or home.  My conscious prodded me constantly saying “oooh ahh, I like that, I’d like to have that!”

Makes an outstanding entrance

Makes an outstanding entrance

I exercised quite some self restraint considering and met the lovely Nicola, who I have taken to popping in to and chatting to.  It is nice to walk in to a shop and not have an assistant leap towards one asking if you need help.  She sat quietly, busying herself with I am sure the many jobs she has to do whilst I ambled within the small shop.  Upon approaching I got a gentle smile and conversation was then struck.


I believe items are sourced from local artisans as well as maybe further afield.  There are two types of tags, one for vintage and one for more modern.  So for me being a vintage freak my taste buds were tickled in a visionary sense.

Bits & bobs

Bits & bobs

My first purchase was for a French Breakfast I put on for some of my neighbours, with a Christmas theme (yes I am going back in time but not too far).  I bought some lovely rustic pottery, apparently by a local lady, the name evades me, but there is I promise you some of her pottery left in the shop.  They are apparently soup mugs but my latte looks far more promising in there than minestrone in my mind.  Having done pottery myself I can appreciate how hard it is to produce each piece and in this instance each piece is different, giving it the character of the artist behind the wheel.

soup or latte?

soup or latte?

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I took some pictures in the naive dream that upon sending them to my husband who had not done his shopping he would perhaps buy me one or two things.  One can only hope.  I have to say in the whole shop, there was perhaps only one thing that though of fabulous quality did not fit my desires.  I of course did not take a picture of this.  However, men being men (I hear a tirade of angry male feet chasing me accusing me of feminism), he managed to in fact go in to this shop to purchase something, be it very near to Christmas.  Unfortunately all photographed items had gone and hey presto sods law he bought the one and only thing I did not like.

Being a pug lover, I suppose I am a bit fussy about in my own particular way of how I would like a pug to look, the idea of one with pink lipstick brought visions of a cross between a drag artist (not that there is anything wrong with drag artists!) and a trout pout and it really was not something I wished to perch my bottom on, besides the roof of the house is nearly exploding from an abundance of cushions.

I looked forward to seeing Nicola and recounting my story of a man’s Christmas shopping antics and she very kindly gave me a credit note for said item with a subtle grin adorning her lips.  The note is cherished lovingly in my purse and I am exercising self restraint not to use it yet, just to window shop and enjoy the visual delights on offer within this shop.

It's a pugs life

It’s a pugs life

(one of my favourite items, not bought yet last I looked!)



Really well worth a visit.

©2014 All Rights Reserved