Tuesday 3 July 2018

The Summer Brocante at Cowdray

I am more myself in a garden
than anywhere else on earth....
Especially one that belongs to
a gorgeous estate such as Cowdray....

On a beautiful June summers day in the most gorgeous settings, Cowdray Estate in West Sussex The Summer Brocante was in full swing on the second day of this two day event.  We set off early as we thought there might be lots of traffic and besides the heat of the day was already around 21 degrees and it was 6am when we woke.  So after getting ourselves washed and dressed and a cup of coffee inside us we set off on the beautiful drive to West Sussex.

We arrived around 45 minutes before the show officially opened but the toilets were open for those who had travelled a long way and also outside of the huge marquee's was a little coffee pop up stall so we were able to buy a coffee and we started chatting with a lovely couple who, as we had, thought the traffic would be bad as well.  The time flew chatting away and as we did lots of people started to line up to get in as well.

Finally it was 10 am and we went inside and the picture at the top was what greeted us, the beautiful flower displays in front of the desk to get your ticket and wristbands.  They smelt gorgeous in the heat of the day and we walked inside to wonderland....

In no particular order we wandered around looking at the beautifully dressed stalls and I had heard that Cabbages and Roses was there with sale bits so I had a look for them.  I found them and did not take a photo as it was a marquee on its own but is was what it said a sale .. with fabrics in boxes and rails of some clothes and then other clothes in a pile.  That said I dived in and managed to get some gorgeous fabrics in fact 5 meters of fabric, two of one and three of another.  I will show you in the show and tell later in the week and what a bargain too .. because some of the tops there made
up were £275 each .. and I paid £50 the lot....

Oyster Bridge was there and I went up to see Kate and as you must know by now one of the things that she does is the ribbon words and I had four to pick up. We managed a few little catch ups throughout the day and it was lovely to see her as always.  Normally we speak on email so it was just so nice to be able to be face to face.  Kate also sells other beautiful items as well and she was very busy indeed.

Then I came across Alexandra Cunha and her beautifully set out stall, at this moment in time
there were people coming in through the doors but I had gone to the furthest bit away to find Kate so I managed some great photos before there were lots of treasure hunters ...

Wild and Willow were there with vintage bucket after vintage bucket filled with gorgeous blooms for people to purchase and take home with them.  Little antique terracotta pots filled with beautiful blooms and all made to look stunning as well as smell divine...

Wandering in the sun and through the coolness of the marquees everyone was chatting around me and I spotted
Harriet's Attic in residence with some really lovely bits to purchase, along with dolls and rabbits that had been hand made as well.
the little oohs and ahs of delight echoed in the air.  The sides of the marquees had been opened for through breeze and it was pleasantly warm but with a welcome breeze. 

Caroline Turner Design was in the first marquee and this was eye catching and very
beautiful.  I managed to have a little chat with Caroline and we were discussing about protection from blatant copy cats of others designs and work.  I had my eyes opened I can tell you. Also a few others in the day were saying the same.  I was really shocked and realised why if I do something for publication I am not allowed to really put much of it out there before the event.  We agreed although plagiarism is a form of flattery, it is also sad that others do not have their own idea's ...

It was lovely to meet this great lady as I had never done so before.

Elizabeth Lee Interiors  was almost opposite so I went across to take some photos and
look around there at the lovely pieces that were there on offer.  There was a very pretty rocking horse and that is something I have always wanted.  When we do eventually move my lovely husband thinks one on the landing somewhere would be perfect too, as I do....

I decided to go on to another Marquee and guess who I spotted, the lovely Simone who is an incredible maker of the most whimsical and gorgeous animal figures as well as a great embroider too.  She is the maker behind Ayres & Graces and I have not seen her since last year and so it was wonderful to say hello and have a little catch up. As you know I am the proud owner of several of her beautiful creations including my sleeping hare that sits on our bed in blissful slumber.

Suzi Hearts 'n' Kisses was there and we stood having such a laugh as she regaled me of a
story from the previous night where she has been staying in a hotel.  I was crying with laughter.  At the time is was not funny for her but she too was in fits of laughter as well. Her stall was full of the most beautiful hand embroidered things such as tooth fairy cushions, pictures and hearts ... stunning work from this lovely lovely lady

Right opposite was Sonia of The Old Haberdashery fame with her beautiful stall full to the brim of gorgeous slow stitching products.  There were antique spools of Slyko threads, French trims and laces, embroidery threads, epherma in the shape of butterfly cigarette cards.  Antique coloured glass and so so much

Penny was there of Rosablue fame and she was next to Suzi Hearts 'n' Kisses and also she was

with Suzi at the hotel the nights before as well and was with us laughing when the stories came out.  The hard work they all put into being at an event like this one is enormous and we forget sometimes the financial expenditure they have.  The cost of their stall at such an event along with accommodation and food for three days and nights.....   then there is the fun they have even though they are tired and it makes it worth while.  Even if the there is a power cut at the hotel and you can not find things!!

Little Wren Vintage was there and it was so lovely to see Emma again.  We had a chat and I looked after her stall for a little while whilst she went to look at something.  I sat there hoping I could answer any questions that might arise from the hoards of treasure hunters that had turned up.... I saw first hand from the other side as it were.  The last time I had seen Emma was at Eridge and we had helped pack up with her there.  I am really getting to see what kind of hard work goes into these beautiful events...

It was time to find my husband as I was thirsty and ready for some lunch so we met up and went to the pop up restaurant marquee ... it was cool with a breeze running through and we had quiche and salads with a cold drink each.  Then he disappeared off and brought back a glass of champagne each as well.  Wiston was there and he bought two of their special bottles for us to take home with us..

Painted Anthology was there only a few spaces away from Emma so I went in to say hello
to this lovely husband and wife team.  Holly is very talented and a word smith like me.  She collects quotes, sayings and poetry as well and her out let for them is to juggle them about a little and paint the words onto vintage terracotta pots, stainless steel watering cans and buckets and some more unusual pieces like very old French tiles as well.  Unfortunately her work has been copied and it is a shame because she has made up her own styled alphabet as well and has such a talent.  Her pieces are just gorgeous so if you see this lady at a fair her work is unique and made in a way that the paint will not come off in the elements as well.  I am the proud owner of more than one piece of her work and love them.

I was getting a little hot and decided to go back inside one of the other marquees to see if they had become a little less busy and I found Velvet Ribbon and had missed her first time round, how I do not know.  Anyway it was lovely to see Emma and have a little chat.  I always find some goodies here and today was no exception to the rule!   so with my treasure wrapped in tissue and placed in my basket I was off again...

Nook was there and I was able now to get in and have a good old truffle about and take some
photos as I went along. It is always good I think to also go back to some stalls and take a second look because always you either miss something or they have re stocked a little.

Little Red Robbin were just outside the largest of the marquee,s and it is always lovely to see this husband and wife team as well.  As you know we are great fans of this company and have some gorgeous shepherd crooks and lanterns around our garden from here along with some great poppy seed heads as well. Not only are they a favourite of ours but our lovely birds love sitting on them all as well.  Mr Robbin flies from one to the other all around our garden, which does make me chuckle given the name of this great business.

Wandering around it was time again for a little sit down and a cool down so I went and got an ice-
cream and sat under a huge tree in the shade and ate it whilst watching the world go by and people with armfuls of treasure going back to cars to put it in and then going back inside.  It made me smile.  Then I went back to our car and opened all the doors and the boot.  I sat on the tailgate and found our cool bag within a cool bag to keeps drinks cold and it had worked beautifully so I sat and had a bottle of sparkling water and because the boot splits into two the top half was over my head and that meant I had shade to sit in.  This is where my husband had found me and he joined me for a cold drink too. Then we went back inside and decided to have another hour and then say our farewells.
So I went back in and found Cachepot there and again I was able to have a good truffle about and snap some lovely photos for you to look at.

The marquees had been set out in a square shape and so it had a large area in the middle to mooch about in and there was a vintage caravan with bales of hay to sit on and was selling gin and tonics of different descriptions.  It looked so beautiful in the sun.

Also there was a greenhouse with plants in all up and running to walk about in and they were selling
greenhouses there.  Really beautiful and it was a sight to behold with all the gorgeous flowers that were in there as well.  Not that flowers needed a greenhouse in that weather .... but the doors and windows were open and there was a welcome breeze as well by now.

My last stop of the day was Rosebud and Violet and it was gorgeous.  There were baskets with lavender filled pillows made from antique fabrics, book plates, books, china and so much more a beautiful eclectic mix of treasures.

It was time for us to leave and it was about 2.45pm and so we trundled off for a drive around the lanes and on to Chichester.  We had a wander around there for a few hours and then we stopped off for some supper before we headed back home.  Once home we through open all the windows and doors and sat in the garden and and had a lovely cool drink.  It was a wonderful day and the fair was really beautiful. Had a shower and went to bed happy ... My treasures were placed inside my sewing room to be photographed for you to see.

So that is it for me today and I will be back here on Thursday with a show and tell of the little treasures that I came home with.

Have a wonderful day and as always Happy Stitching! XX


  1. I loved the read. So fun and satisfying to see and experience.
    We have had some hot days here in America too. A storm moved through last night with thunder and lightning so close. Cool now with the chorus of birds...peaceful.

    Have a beautiful day Sarah...we are all blessed with your blog.

    1. Morning Lora
      It’s still very hot here and a thunder storm would be good to clear the air here I believe.
      I am glad you enjoyed the read, it was a lovely fair.
      Thank you for your kind words, it makes the hard work of this blog 4 days a week worth it.
      I hope you have a lovely day too.

      Sarah xx

  2. Hi Sarah, nice to read about the fair, especially as I was actually there, for once! I don't know how you manage to write it all up and organise the photos. You've captured the essence of the fair. It's quite hard to take it all in when you are there with so much to look at. It was really well organised, I thought. Xxx

    1. Hello Dawn
      Thank you! Yes it’s hard work taking the photos and also remembering to be a visitor as well. It takes lots of work to collate but you having been this time it’s lovely to hear I captured it’s essence .. my ramblings are a taster really ..
      It’s well organised and beautiful in its setting..
      I am pleased you approve and enjoyed the read.
      Sarah xxx

  3. Looks as if you had a fabulous day Sarah! Lizzie xx

    1. Hi Lizzie
      It was a lovely event and I managed to get cabbage and roses fabric for a song!
      Sorry to have missed the VB though.
      Tried to do 2,once as you know but it can not be done...

      Sarah xxx