Tuesday, 30 November 2010


Headed off at the crack of dawn today to hunt for treasure at the ever popular Sunbury Antiques Market at Kempton Racecourse.  It's been a firm favourite with the trade for years, and now gets an electic mix of trade and general public visiting every 2 weeks.

I would never normally come here in the bleak winter months as you have to get up in the middle of the night and stagger around in the dark with a torch (err why would anyone want to do that?) - and today we had the added pleasure of sleet and snow.  But needs must.  I have been commissioned to source furniture and props for a rather special project - Mary's Living & Giving for Save the Children.
The inimitable Ms Portas is working in collaboration with the Save the Children charity to create unique one-off charity shops around the country that are beautifully designed and packed to the rafters with donations of high end luxury fashion and accessories.  Heaven on earth.  

The concept for this particular shop is reclamation, vintage, old British style, so Kempton is perfect.  We struggled back and forth to the car with old zinc watering cans, tons of gilt frames, old wooden tennis rackets and croquet mallets, wooden easels and Victorian gardening equipment.  Tired, weary and more than a little damp, we made a last attempt to find some treasure in the indoor market.  And here we found what can only be described as the cherry on the cake (love a Maraschino).  Something so beautiful and slightly sad that it touches the heart on many levels.  And our find? A mid sized hand made Victorian cushion, created by a sweetheart as a keepsake for her brave soldier heading off to war.   Delicate threads run between coloured pins, creating intricate patterns that frame a photo of the brave soldier so loved by the cushion's artist.  Messages of love are stitched with bugle beads around the top: "Forget Me Not" and "Fondest Love" while "Good Luck" is painted above to help him on his way.  It is a very special piece and I very much hope it will find a loving home when it goes on sale in the shop. 

Go visit the new Living & Giving shop when it opens on 18th December 2010. 

MARY'S LIVING & GIVING SHOP, 109 Regent's Park Road, London NW1 8UR

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