Monday, 28 November 2011

Popping up all over the place

I am quite taken with the concept of the pop-up shop (little one-off shops that pop up in obscure locations and exist for only a very short time). I went to two last weekend - both quite different but equally entrancing.

The first was Design Den in the Curve gallery in the Barbican foyer - modern, design-led, with an interesting range of products ranging from the supercool to the quirky - and the source of one or two interesting and unusual presents for me to tuck into the family Christmas stockings.

And the second pop-up shop couldn't have been more different: in a private rather than public space, and with a beautifully mellow and seasonally rustic feel.

This shop was hosted by my great friend Francine Raymond, of Country Living magazine fame: you may know her as the 'Chicken Lady', although her talents extend far wider than that epithet would imply. It was held in Francine's new house in Kent, which she has transformed in her inimitably stylish way since she moved from Suffolk earlier this year.

Princess Bunchy and I were quite overcome with the delights and ticked off a good few names on the old Christmas present list.

There was a wonderful array of original, reasonably-priced gifts - it is always good to find things that you have not seen anywhere else.

There were Francine's beautiful handmade wreaths and garlands, which were featured in the Sunday Telegraph on 27 November and are also going to be in a forthcoming issue of Farmers' Weekly. She also runs courses where you can learn how to make your own wreaths - information here.

Francine sells her distinctive books and cards through her website, Kitchen Garden Hens (there is a special offer on, as you will see). Princess Bunchy and I were rather taken with her new children's book, Three Little Hens (and we bought one of her other books, too, but we can't tell you which, as that is classified information).

And we also loved the painted wooden decorations from L'Atelier de Pascale  - to be honest I could have bought every single one of them, they were so perfectly beautiful and stylish, but had to restrict myself to one as a present for someone very special. (If you fancy one of these for yourself, email pascalem [at] tiscali [dot] co [dot] uk for details.)

I always encounter this problem when I am shopping for Christmas presents - I can find a hundred and one things that I would love to find in my very own Christmas stocking, but you will be very glad to hear that I am quite strict with myself, and resolve to allow myself just one modest present (although often I don't even have the decency to wait until the big day to open it).

And I have already bought my present for myself, if I see anything else I like I will have to buy it for the Head Chef. Only last night I was discussing with friends the concept of the 'house present' for husbands  .  .  .  and with that 'handy hint' I will leave you.


Isisjem said...

Oooh what lovely goodies. You're right those wooden decorations are fab! I love finding a new gift shop or going to a seasonal sale like this. You're also so right in it's easy to find stuff you'd like yourself. Sometimes I do treat myself..a lot. Ahemm

Lola Nova said...

How fun! We have had the pleasure to shop at a couple of these pop-up shops locally, they really are a great place to find unusual items, primarily handmade.

The Mr. and I do follow the "house present" idea. It works quite well.

Mousy Brown said...

Oh I am so envious...I just finished reading her book (all my eggs in one basket) and longed to attend her Christmas shop...glad you got to do it for me! Maybe next year it will be my turn.... xx

Mrs. Micawber said...

Husbands are so good at buying house presents for us - I think it's only fair that they enjoy the blessing of receiving as well as giving them.

Those wreaths are perfectly lovely. I used to treat myself to one new Christmas ornament each year, but have stopped as I already have more than will fit on the tree. Those wooden ones would be very hard to resist.

Amy said...

Those wooden items are really lovely!

Gigibird said...

I am a big Francine Raymond fan and would of loved to see inside her new home - the little snippets that are sometimes shown in the Telegraph just isn't enough for me!

Carol said...

Some really lovely things. Pop-up shops - great idea.
I used to read Francine's chicken columns, in fact I have most of them in a folder just in case, one day, we get chickens.
Carol xx

Belinda @ Wild Acre said...

I love handmade pop-up shops, I hope they go on proliferating, fantastic for buyers and sellers. I sold my jewellery at a private one recently, in a friend's home, and it was really fun and a brilliant way for me to connect with my local market, sales were great too. Lots of lovely temptations at the ones you went to by the looks of it!

Katy Cameron said...

Ha ha, hope the Head Chef takes the hint lol Those look fab anyway :o)

Knitlass said...

What lovely things! How is the wrist holding up? Hope it's not too frustrating...

ted and bunny said...

lovely lovely gifts.

Tinged with some sadness, I always allow myself 2 pressies for myself each Christmas- one from me to me and one from my lovely mum who is no longer with us.

Always a good supply of M&S knicks (and a vest!) from mum cos that what I'd had since I was about 12!

Caroline Lovis (Redneedle) said...

I'm looking forward to visiting a pop up vintage clothing shop that's in my local town till Christmas. I'm afraid I wouldn't have been able to resist purchasing a few items on your shopping trip.

harmony and rosie said...

There are quite a number of pop-up shops not far from us but I have yet to check them out. Francine's offerings look wonderful, I wish she was around the corner from me!

Annie said...

What gorgeous Christmassy things ... I love a good Christmas pop-up shop, sadly they're somewhat thin on the ground in North Wales.

Hope that hand is on the mend x


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