Tag Archives: shopping

Off to the Lakes: Joe’s fell-walker’s kit list

23 Oct


The transition between seasons never seems quite so stark as it does between summer and autumn. As we creep past mid-October it seems that in just a matter of days the leaves have turned and it’s time to light the fire in the evenings. It won’t be long before we’re waking up in the dark. For me though, nothing is more symbolic of autumn than the annual family excursion to the Lake District.

In recent years, Bethan and I have reignited a family holiday from the days where we had to be coaxed up Scafell Pike with the promise of a Mars bar (now it’s a pint in the pub)! In preparation, I’ve put together my hiking kit list (ok, wish list) to set the mood for our Lakeland adventure.

numbered Fell walker's kit list Decorator's Notebook

1) A good rucksack is an essential for your day-long fell walk but, let’s face it, Gore-tex doesn’t score well in the style stakes. This Cherchbi tweed pack is made from the wool of the often seen (and always smiling) Herdwick sheep, making it a far more appropriate choice.

2) A Thermos flask is vital to warm the cockles on those cold autumn mountain tops, but if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, try investing in a Kelly Kettle. This ingenious device consists of an outer metallic water jacket which acts as a chimney for a small fire which is lit at the base. Because the water is spread so thinly around the fire it can boil enough for several mugs of tea in a few minutes using nothing more than a handful of dry twigs.

numbered Hiker's kit list Decorator's Notebook

3) All packed up, but where to go? You can’t beat a great walk as mapped out by the legend that is Alfred Wainwright who wrote a definitive 7 volume guide to the 214 fells of the Lake District. Such a Lakeland hero is he that he even has pubs named after him and a (less impressive!) MBE.

4) Walking will keep you warm but you’ll need some fuel to keep you going. Before setting out on one of our walks, I’ll always grab a bar of Kendal Mint Cake. Nothing tastes of the Lakes quite like a minty bar of solid sugar… apart from maybe some delicious Grasmere Gingerbread. The recipe’s secret but Jamie reckons he’s sussed it.

5) A whole week of walking is enough of a treat for Lottie, the faithful family hound, but if she’s really lucky maybe she’ll get something tasty from our friends at Houndsworthy too.

numbered collage walking essentials Decorator's Notebook

6) Serious walking types say to pack light, but I can always find room for my trusty DSLR camera. I’m not usually one for scenic photos but when I’m at the top of the mountain even I can’t resist a panorama! Windows Live Photo Gallery makes it easy to stitch photos together.

7) We’ve encountered everything from glorious sunshine to sleet, fog and snow in the Lakes in October. Be prepared: bring a hat.

8) If we’re lucky enough to get a bit of sun, there’s nothing like a hilltop picnic halfway through our walk to get us through to the end. And if we’re not so lucky, we could always use this rug as a blanket to huddle under!

9) Ahhhhhhhhh, home sweet home. Our honoury local for the week is the cosy Britannia Inn in Elterwater. Roaring fires, Herdwick lamb pie and a pint of Bluebird will most certainly be on the cards.

Want to come too? Follow DecoratorsNotes on Instagram to keep up with us while we’re away.

Surprisingly fabulous Frome!

2 Sep

I have to admit to being a tad depressed this weekend as my brocanting chums began posting photos of heaps of vintage wonderment at this year’s Braderie de Lille. However, on Sunday I picked myself up, wound on my scarf (it was the 1st of September after all) and drove over to Frome where the monthly Super Market was in full swing.

Now, growing up a Westcountry girl, it has to be said that Frome used to have a reputation as, well, a bit of a dive. Recently though, I keep hearing people I know to have impeccable taste talking about Frome wherever I turn, so it was high time I cast my preconceptions aside and checked out the transformation for myself.

And I am so glad I did!

Frome flea vintage market

vintage stall at Frome Flea market

vintage enamel Frome flea market

vintage telephone and kitchen storage jars Frome Flea

vintage antiques From Flea market Somerset

Frome Super Market is actually six mini markets wrapped up into one on the first Sunday of each month. I’m afraid I was dashing around so excitedly that I was overcome by a huge case of #bloggerfail and didn’t take any pictures of much beyond the first few stalls of the Frome Flea, but you’ll have to trust me that the Artisan Market and Farmer’s Market were also brimming with creative and tasty wares. While some towns might’ve been tempted to eek out all their events over the course of the month, the stroke of brilliance here is that instead they all happen on the same day with the whole town centre overtaken with stalls, live music and special Sunday opening of the many independent shops so there’s a definite festival atmosphere in the air.

Talking of shops…

St Catherines Hill shops Frome

{all Decorator’s Notebook}

The cobbled streets around St Catherine’s Hill have gained a reputation as Frome’s artisan quarter and drawn a wonderful array of independent vintage and craft shops with hipster levels to rival the coolest parts of Shoreditch (and thankfully much higher friendliness levels too). I didn’t have time to visit everyone, but here are some highlights from my first visit.

Frome’s Top Shops…

Make & Mend Vintage: a beautifully curated and displayed vintage clothing boutique with everything from ’30s crepe flapper dresses to lace wedding gowns. The colour blocked rails are especially pleasing.

Assembly: an intriguing mix of men’s clothing and homeware… although as a girl who loves utilitarian style, the Welsh floor rugs and Duralex glasses could have easily found their way home with me.

Owl: a contemporary art gallery run by six artists working in paint, ceramics, wire, felt, glass and printmaking. Gladys Paulus’s stunning sculpted felt animal headdresses have to be seen to be believed.

Millie Moon: haberdashery heaven – this gorgeous little shop will make you want to fill your pockets with buttons and ribbon and instantly dust off your sewing machine.

Seed: between the Frome Flea and St Catherine’s Hill, Black Swan Arts Centre is home to this lovely collection of work by British designer makers. If you’re into handmade jewellery, you’ll definitely want to stop here.

Have you been to Frome recently too? If so please do jump into the comments and let me know what I’ve forgotten or missed. I’m already looking forward to a return visit – can’t believe the transformation of this creative little town!

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