Showing posts with label Shopping. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Shopping. Show all posts

Saturday 13 October 2018

Ally Pally Knitting and Stitching Fair 2018

For all of us in the stitching community there's nothing quite like the big Ally Pally Autumn Fair. There are lots of other craft fairs, but this is the big'un, and I, for one, always feel like I'm missing something if I'm not able to go.

This year I got an early ticket for Thursday morning. I rocked up 5 minutes before the official opening time, and the place was already pretty much full to capacity already. I'm a bad girl who likes to come by car so that she can transport her swag bag (day's shopping ... wicked 😈) home with minimum muscle strain. I was able to find a space in the free car park, but only just ... .

A chum, who trolleyed in on a late ticket that afternoon (after 3 p.m. entry), told me that it was fairly civilised when she was doing the rounds, but I'd have to say it was a bit too much of a push when I was there.

Still - gripes about how many of us there were apart - it was a great morning out.

Monday 13 November 2017

And a big thank you ...

... to all my lovely customers at Festiwool.

It was a fabulous friendly fair, showcasing lots of marvellous yarns and yarn-related knick-knacks. I had a super day, and I hope everyone else did too.

All the best for now,

Bonny x

Monday 28 August 2017

La Santa Market ... shopping by moonlight ...

There's something about open-air shopping in the moonlight on a balmy summer night that really appeals. And when the venue is as pretty as the Santa Market in Santa Cristina d'Aro you'd be crazy not to trot along and try it out. It's being held at the riding stables just outside the village, and they've got a great line-up of music and gastronomy to tempt all the senses after a hard day on the beach.

We pottered along the other night with some good friends who ride at the stables.

Santa Market, Santa Cristina d'Aro, Costa Brava, Catalonia
Santa Market, Santa Cristina d'Aro, Costa Brava, Catalonia

Monday 31 July 2017

Fibre East: Thank you!

A big thank you! to all the lovely people who stopped by to say Hello! and buy wool at Fibre East. The weather was a bit of off-putting, but inside the big tents, summer reigned unchallenged, and the mood was warm and sunny.

Sunday 16 July 2017

Hay-on Wye ... a Welsh Timbuktu ... sort of ...

I love Hay-on-Wye. It's totally my kind of town. Mr B and I are in the habit of going there on a fairly regular basis to shop, shop, shop. We love it.

Friends will be puzzled by this shop, shop, shop business because neither of us is the type to hang around aimlessly in shopping malls, or to partake of retail therapy with any kind of glee or gladness, but Hay-on-Wye is different. It's the Timbuktu of Mid Wales: a town that's totally devoted to books!

  Hay-on-Wye Castle
Hay-on-Wye Castle

Thursday 29 December 2016

Mas Molla ... going strong since 1338 ...

At this time of the year we tend to go through rather a lot of vino, with friends and family dropping in, dinners, celebrations and general merry-making. Having had a fairly thirsty Christmas we headed out yesterday afternoon to replenish supplies for the New Year.

Rather than trekking off to Oddbins, we went to the bodega of Mas Molla, where the same family have been making wine  in the same way on the same land since 1338. I kid you not. They cared for their vines in the fields hereabouts as the Hundred Years War raged across Europe. They shivered with fear as the population round about perished from the Black Death, which flared up for the first time in 1348 - just 10 years into their history here.

When they first started out in business it was still (fairly) respectable to believe that the world was flat, and it would be almost 200 years before Nicolas Copernicus suggested (in 1543) that the earth revolved around the sun. Can you imagine that? The Molla family were working here when heliocentrism was regarded as a dangerous heresy. They were doing their thing whilst poor old Galileo was being investigated, and held under house arrest by the Roman Inquisition for having supported the heretical notion that the sun was at the centre of the solar system.

More than a century and a half would have to pass from the time they opened shop here before Christopher Columbus sailed across the pond and discovered America.

I could go on in this vein for some time ... .

Standing there yesterday looking out over the terrain, dotted with rows of (very dead-looking) winter vines it sent a real shiver down my spine to think about just how long this family-chain, down through the generations of the Molla family, has been tied to these same fields. I was more than a little bit blown away by my own roll-call of events that they've lived through ... .

Mas Molla, Calonge (Girona)
The cellars of Mas Molla, Calonge

Monday 14 November 2016

Thank you to all my lovely Festiwool customers ...

It was a truly splendid little fair with lots of lovely, friendly people - both buying and selling. I'm always impressed by how nice yarn-lovers are. I know it sounds schmaltzy and trite, and that there are always exceptions to every rule, but in my experience - gleaned from days on my feet talking to the passing public at yarn fairs, and weeks of my life given over to knitting retreats - I've come to the firm view that a love of all things woolly is, of itself, a pretty good character reference.

Friday 11 November 2016

Festiwool 2016 ...

I’m really looking forward to Festiwool this Saturday. If you’re in the Hitchin area please drop by and say Hello! I’ll be on the Costa Brava Knitting stand all day.

It’s a lovely, friendly fair with some fabulous exhibitors – just the thing for stocking up on all your woolly essentials for the cold weeks of November and December … brr … isn’t it cold these days?

Wednesday 17 August 2016

Shopping Girona ...

Normally when we go to Girona we wander around and soak up the history and the ambience. Each time we find new things that we've not noticed before, and marvel at how many layers this place has. It feels like you could spend a whole lifetime here and still not know what was round every corner.

Whilst I'm not much of a recreational shopper, Girona has some lovely, quirky shops that can tempt even the most jaded consumer.

Tuesday 2 August 2016

Fibre East 2016

A big "thank you" to everyone who stopped by at the Fibre East Fair last weekend. We enjoyed meeting you all very much.

And Fibre East? Well, it was sensational. We had the best time. If you're a serious yarn enthusiast who enjoys the company of like-minded souls who share your passion, then this fair was tailor-made for you. I don't think I've ever been to such a friendly gathering of yarn-fans. And there were so many talented designers and makers exhibiting. It was a real honour to be part of the line-up.

And the good news is that they've got another one in the diary for next year. So save the date for Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th July 2017.

I was also hugely assisted by Emi, who gave out an amazing number of flyers, and by Mr B, my tech guy, who drank an equally amazing volume of coffee in the cafe marquee out back - so a big "thank you" to them too.

All the best for now,

Bonny x

Sunday 17 July 2016

Emma Bridgewater's motorway stopover

On Friday we had an unexpectedly enjoyable lunch break whilst we were bombing up the M6toll on our way to the ferry. We took a 10 minute detour from the motorway to shoot into Emma Bridgewater's lovely factory in Stoke-on-Trent.  And it was a wonderful sight for road-weary eyes.

The Bridgewater factory is a joyful little spot of homestyle served up in a post-industrial setting. It's all about rejuvenation and turning things around so that, to coin own her strap-line, it feels like home. For hungry folk like ourselves, who'd had more than enough of the M6 traffic, it felt like an oasis in the desert.

Saturday 9 July 2016

Fibre East

We're going to Fibre East!

Come and join us! I'd love to see you there. You can find us in the Romney Marquee. 

Held at the Redborne School and Community College, Ampthill, Bedfordshire, MK45 2NU on Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st July 2016, Fibre East will cover everything woolly from the sheep to the wool to the finished articles all knit-up, crocheted and felted to yarny perfection. It promises to be a great day out for all the family. You can check out the website here: Fibre East

Wednesday 6 April 2016

Feeling hungry in La Boqueria, Barcelona ...

The other day I had to go down to Barcelona for a meeting. As luck would have it the venue was just beside Barcelona's totally sensational La Boqueria market. Afterwards I needed somewhere to stop off for lunch with Emi and Mr B, who had driven me down. It would have seemed churlish not to pop into this wonderful foodie's paradise for sustenance, so this is where we ended up.

Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria,
Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria,

Sunday 18 October 2015

Somerset's Bookbarn

School's out for the half-term hols and we've blown town for a week in the country. En route we visited some friends in Bath, and on our way back to the M5 stopped off at the Bookbarn International, one of England's largest second-hand bookshops.

Tuesday 28 April 2015

The Curtain Factory Outlet ...

Have I ever mentioned that I've got a bit of a thing about curtains and soft furnishings ... .

No? Well, my secret is out: I love 'em!

And now let me share another secret with you: if you're looking to shop where the trade go shopping, where there are over half a million (yes, that's right a cool 500,000 +) bales of fabric to chose from, and all at very reasonable prices then it's the wonderful Curtain Factory Outlet, up in Finchley, North London that you're after.

Monday 16 March 2015

Free ebooks from Bookbub ...

The other day a friend told me about Bookbub.

Have you heard of it? It's an internet site that directs you to book promotions. The publishing houses discount books from time to time to promote new or even well-established authors, and increasingly they're pushing lost leaders with up to 100% discounting. That means, in normal parlance, my friends that in many instances they're giving away ebooks for nothing.

As an insomniac who's always looking for something to read in the dead of night on her iPad the site works quite well for me. Every so often someone, somewhere, seems to be pushing a book that I do rather fancy reading. Admittedly I don't find something compelling on every visit, but you can set up an e-mail alert notifying them of your preferences as to genre and author.  Then, when there's something they think you might be interested in, they send you an email to let you know about it, and you're able to download the ebook from Amazon, Kobe or whoever is offering the deal.

If you're interested in giving them a whirl their website is here: Bookbub. It doesn't cost anything to join. And they've even got some children's titles on offer.

All the best for now,

Bonny x

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Canon SX 60 HS ... a great handbag camera

I've been on the look-out for a new handbag camera: one that I could carry around with me all the time just on the off-chance that I'd see something stunning to photograph. As with all such purchases I've had a lot of fun reading up on all the contenders, and choosing the one that I thought would be just right for my handbag.

And here it is, my choice, the Canon SX60 HS, newly released this autumn:

It arrived yesterday at Talk-a-Lot Towers and I'm already very impressed. I wanted something with a zoom lens that wouldn't weigh me down: something nifty and light for when I'm out and about. And my first impressions are that this little baby ticks all the boxes. I'm a bit blind so I love, love, love its great big LCD monitor at the back where I can see what I'm shooting really clearly. I love the zoom lens that takes me up to 65x zoom. And I love how I don't need a shopping trolley to lug it around with me. It's a super versatile, one size fits all situations sort of camera.

The only slight snagaroo is that my principal model, the Wonder Dog, is getting a bit fed up with having his photo taken. Grrrr ... .

First it was the black dog on a black carpet challenge, taken with no flash:

 Even though the light was far from stellar, and I'd got that black on black thing going on, the shot still came out clearly and properly exposed.

Then we had everything else in between, because, as all you serious shooters out there will know, black dogs are difficult chaps to photograph. They've got this annoying tendency to appear as indecipherable black smudges in photographs. As such they make the perfect model for testing a new camera on. And as you can see the Wonder Dog has processed perfectly.

Next we headed off to Walpole Park, our local park here in Ealing, where we had a merry old time snapping the autumn tints. 

The camera weighs only 672 g according to my scales, and it's small enough to sit comfortably in my out-stretched hand, so I'm loving its super portability.

The big LCD monitor was an immediate hit. You can twist it out and turn it around until you get it exactly how you like it, which could be useful if you have the sun at an awkward angle. The view-finder on the other hand distorted the colours leaving everything looking bleached-out and a bit weird. This is, however, only a minor niggle as I'm so in love with that great BIG LCD monitor screen. 

One other feature that struck me as a bit odd is that the built in flash does not pop up and flash unless you raise it manually. No biggie, but it would have been more seamless if this had popped up as and when the camera detected low light levels.

The accuracy of the colour is first class.

It was a stunning afternoon; the first day with half-decent light for ages. And I think the little Canon did a pretty good job of capturing all that autumn glory.

If you know someone who's hoping that Santa might bring them a handbag camera, then the Canon SX 60 HS is a worthy contender for their Christmas stocking.

All the best and happy snapping, 

Bonny x

Friday 6 June 2014

Shepherd's Bush Market, London, W12 8DG

Just a stone's throw away from the glittering, marble-clad shopper's paradise that is Westfield is Shepherd's Bush Market, a traditional London street-market. And it would be hard to conceive of two more different shopping venues even if you resorted to tripping on hallucinogenic drugs (which, to be very clear, I am NOT recommending that you do). They are the retail chalk and cheese of the rich and varied spectrum of shopping that our great capital has to offer.

Don't take my word for it, have a quick look for yourself:

The glittering halls of Westfield's Village, admittedly the swankier end of the complex

The colourful life of the market
Now I'm not going to say that one is brilliant and the other is rubbish. They're clearly pitched at two very different types of shopper, and I think that both of them deserve to exist. I'm also not saying that I'm going to buy a load of stuff in either of them: I'm not. Westfield Village is way too glitzy and over-the-top for me, and Shepherd's Bush Market sells a lot of stuff that I don't have much use for. I don't wear hijab, eat Halal meat, enjoy Ugandan-hot chillies, or look like I belong in the many, lovely, but very brightly coloured textiles that they sell.  If I lived round the corner I'm sure I'd buy my fruit and veg there, I'd pop in if my mobile phone needed to be fixed, and from time to time I'd buy things from the haberdashery stall.

The sad thing is that the market's future is looking very uncertain. There's a regeneration order floating around, which may just do away with it altogether. And I for one think that would be a crying shame. It's a really colourful place, built along the side of a railway viaduct. It's been there since 1914, and is clearly a popular shopping venue with many of the locals who can't find what they want in the fancy boutiques down the road.

There's a real textiles buzz about the place. There are numerous stalls selling fabrics and haberdashery, and what really made my heart sing was the number of enthusiastic young ladies in their late teens/ early twenties who were shopping for their next creations. They had that lovely, excited, anything is possible attitude as the bales of fabric sent their imaginations into overdrive.

The market leads out onto the Goldhawk Road, where there are another half dozen established fabric shops.

And while we're out on the Goldhawk Road it's worth checking out the traditional pie, mash and eels cafe. Jellied eels are a traditional dish in the East End of London. And, whilst I've lived here for most of my adult life, it's a taste I have yet to acquire, so I resisted the temptation to pop in for a mid-morning snack.

Instead I wandered back down the market for another look at what it had to offer.

There were hats; lots and lots of hats in every colour, size and shape.

There was some street art.

Now to some this street art may be nothing more than graffiti. I looked at it carefully and decided that it had some merit, and then I wondered how they'd managed to paint it up there. Did they scale the roof, and then daub it on upside down with one guy dangling the artist over the edge by his ankles, or did they come in the dead of night with ladders and do it by torchlight?

I was impressed with the carpet shop that was also selling astroturf. It's good to diversify, don't you think? And I can tell you straight up that you have no chance of finding astroturf in the designer halls down the road.

There were more stalls selling the foodstuffs and things that the local folk want to buy ...

... and so many things caught my eye, like the special offers on goat meat and boiler chickens. You certainly wouldn't find anything to match that down in Waitrose or the M&S Food Hall, but again this is the type of food that the people who live round here eat. And without the market those communities wouldn't be able to find it in the quality and quantity presently available. There's clearly a rich culture of home-cooking going on in local family homes and it would be a shame to do anything that might interfere with that.

People were selling makeup, umbrellas, sweets and everything in between.

As you can see the two shopping centres couldn't be more different. Separating them in a sort of retail frontier-land is Shepherd's Bush Green ...

... which boasts a few unique shops of its own that also cater for the specific cultural requirements of the neighbourhood in a way that the designer shopping centre doesn't.

Personally I think it's marvellous that such diversity can exist in the stretch of a few city blocks. We live in a truly multicultural society here in West London, and I think the planners ought to think long and hard about how the local, maybe not so well-off, folk in these parts would be affected by even the temporary closure of their market. It would be a travesty if it were to be regenerated into another characterless shopping mall selling over-priced coffee and little that was of any real use to the locals.

And, to change the subject, I really love our groovy new red buses. Aren't they wicked? 

Have a super weekend!

Bonny x

Thursday 27 March 2014

Waiting for the mail man .... and wrapping Easter presents ...

Today I'm waiting on the mail man. My son, Emi, is due a new passport, and we can't get started on our Easter holidays without it. The plan was to go home to Spain and spend some time with my husband's family, but we forgot to check little Em's passport until it was time to think about booking the tickets. And so here I am, waiting, waiting, waiting ... .

Emi always exchanges gifts with his Spanish cousins and amigitos when we meet up. We never post things. As a result we didn't do Christmas presents  (we weren't there for Christmas), but now we're firing to go on Easter presents. When you're a little person it's a good thing not to have all your presents at the same time, don't you think? Better to spread the present-tastic happiness across the year a bit more, a bit like getting an even slather of butter across your toast in the morning.

Anyway I'm wrapping Easter presents to pass the time. I've hit upon a scheme of using jazzed-up plain brown paper, decorated with ribbon and stickers from the children's craft section of a local discount store. All cheap-as-chips, but rather a fun result, don't you think? I'm sure that the younger members of our clan will enjoy unwrapping the wrapping!

Instead of using sticky tape, I've used the children's stickers, and then prettified the package with strands of double pastel ribbon, tied in a standard bow that will open when someone pulls the ends - I hate it when the wrapping can only be only be penetrated with the aid of scissors and a carving knife!

Not bad, not bad at all, ... even though I say so myself.

Now where has that passport got to ????

Bonny x

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Bubble tea ... bubbilicious ...

Not being one to miss a trend I've been on the look-out recently for some bubble tea. It's supposed to be the new big thing. Well this morning, as I was racing around, I got to try some.

Here it is:

It was a sort of coldish day, so I chose a hot tea. This is mango green tea with mango pearls - or rather, mango-flavoured tapioca balls - at the bottom. You can't see them because they're the same colour as the drink.

Here's what they looked like when I got to the bottom:

What did I think?

I had expected it to be more ... well,  more bubbly like a glass of Perrier or perhaps more gently bubbly like a glass of Badoit. But this tea had no conventional bubbles at all.  When I slurped up one of the mango pearls through the straw I had a sort of bubble-like sensation as it burst on my tongue.  They were kind of weird, like globules of very taut frogspawn, but it was a good weird. And, just for the record: no, I have never eaten frogspawn (!).

The tea itself was delicious, once I got used to the idea of drinking a hot drink through a straw.

I can imagine how the cold versions would go down a treat on a hot summer's day. I can see my sister-in-law and I ordering them as we gossip and watch our boys play together in the sun.

 Overall I though it was a very refreshing drink, and a welcome change from my usual coffee hit. I'll definitely order another next time I'm passing.

Bonny x