Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun

Last week we popped across to Gunby Hall, our most local National Trust property. Despite living so close to it for well over a decade, I'd never been and we'd been planning to all summer. As I'm due to go back to uni soon, we decided we'd better go sharpish and thankfully the weather was on our side.

Gunby Hall was built in 1700 and has a beautiful 8 acre Victorian walled garden. The estate used to cover 1500 acres and reached the coast now known as Skegness (which is a 20 minute drive away to give you some scale) but much of this land was sold to the Earl of Scarbrough during the 1800s to build the now famous seaside town.

Gunby Hall itself is an impressive 5 storey house with a total of 42 rooms, and was owned by the Massingberd family from 1700 to 1967. As well as being an impressive country house, it's filled to the brim with the Massingberd's belongings, including large collections of art, furniture, military history, and so many other things including original pieces by William Morris, Lord Tennyson, Edward Lear, Samuel Johnson, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and many others. It gives an amazing insight into how the Massingberd's lived their lives.

The library was my favourite room, how I'd love to have such a cosy little space to sit and read some day! It's considered one of the best examples of a squire’s library to survive, most of the book collection dates between 1690 and 1730.

I love the painting of Margaret Lushington, wife of Stephen Langton Massingberd, in the corner. It's from 1906 and was painted in the grounds of the house, you can see it in better detail here. There were many paintings of various members of the family throughout the house, but I was really taken with this one, it's so different from the usual portrait (like the one above the fireplace)

The servants quarters is always my favourite section of any house tour. The above kitchen could be straight out of Downton Abbey.

One of the first freezers!

The butler's own personal room.

Next we wandered into the gardens, which were expansive and just so beautiful. It's difficult to even capture how beautiful they were through my camera, it does them no justice. It was separated into several sections; there's the walled Victorian garden which has over 50 types of roses, the orchard which has over 50 types of apple tree and 30 types of pear, a kitchen garden which still grows a huge selection of fruits and vegetables (I took a sneaky raspberry, it was delicious!), a dovecote, a croquet pitch, lawns, and a carp pond which is older than the house itself (and according to rumors, haunted by the ghost of a servant murdered by Sir William Massingberd to prevent him from eloping with his daughter. His body was disposed of in the pond!)

This was the lawn at the front of the house. I had to laugh at those trees, they look like it's windy out but they're just growing sideways.

It's difficult to capture how huge this tree was, I honestly think it's the biggest tree I've ever seen in my life. And I regularly stomp about woods and forests so I'm well used to big trees!

In the grounds there's also a gallery selling original works by local artists. I fell in love with this watercolour painting and just had to have it, it gives me such a warm feeling of nostalgia. Not that I've ever lived on a farm, but I can dream! I just love foggy winter mornings, and it just feels like everything nice about the English countryside captured in one image.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Summer's Almost Gone

I took these photos a couple of weeks ago and suddenly felt I should better post them before summers well and truly over! I do find it a bit odd that suddenly everyone's decided that September 1st is officially autumn - it isn't. It's September 22nd, when it's the equinox. Not that I'm really complaining as autumn has always been my favourite season. I love seeing the nights draw in, nature turning into fiery shades of orange and reds, and everything becoming cosy. It's the one time of year I can even tolerate the rain. Saying that though, I'm also careful not to wish time away and enjoy these last few days of late summer. I love late summer, everything feels renewed.

I got this dress back in July. It's an eBay find, sometimes I like to type something vague like "60s mod" or "psychedelic" into the search bar, click the vintage category and set my price range to something ridiculously low. A lot of the time it's just tat that comes up, but every so often you find a gem like this dress. I was a little worried it might be snug, but it fits me absolutely perfect and I love it's cheerful colours. I love it with my trusty old Orla Kiely x Clarks shoes, and these earrings which I made myself based on a popular '60s style

I've found some lovely old things things recently. I've been looking for a vintage sewing box for years, but I wanted something that didn't necessarily look like a sewing box. Being a dress maker, knitter and crocheter you can imagine the amount of supplies I have, but most sewing storage is either hideously utilitarian looking, or twee. I turned to vintage as I wanted a sewing box that could be disguised as a stool or table and was a proper piece of furniture, and finally I found exactly that! And it was only £10 which I think is an absolute bargain.

I also found this indoor plant stand. I'd been looking at one similar in another antiques shop for a couple of years, sighing at it's ridiculous £45 price tag. It had finally sold on my last visit and I was a bit sad, until I went to the junk shop across the road and found this one for £5. It doesn't have a pot, but I'm hoping that won't be too difficult to find as it's a regular shape. Or I might not even use it for plants, setting it next to the sewing box gave me the idea it might look nice with balls of colourful wool inside it.

I also came away with the two vintage Tupperwares for £3, and a little brass candle holder. I remember my mum having Tupperware like this when I was little, before it was gradually replaced by the bland transparent stuff that's around nowadays (that gets stained and gross looking in no time at all!). These are the perfect size to fit a pasta salad lunch in or similar, and I love the sunshiney colours.

I've also found an abundance of patterns! The above are what I found at the vintage shop, below are what I picked up over Bank Holiday at a car boot sale. All were a grand total of £2! I have a massive basket of crimplene that I haven't been inspired to turn into anything, so I'll certainly be kept busy over the upcoming long winter nights! I'm most excited to make that Butterick 5827 in the below photo, I have a belt and purple boots that will look just perfect with it.

Also, if you're interested in my non-vintage goings on, I've set up another blog for it. It's something I flip back and forth over a lot in my mind, on the one hand I want to blog about more of my interests and journal my every day goings on, but on the other I really like the mostly vintage vibes of this blog and don't like messing that up so a second blog was the obvious answer. I'm not leaving this one at all so no worries on that front, but if you want to see more personal content head over to www.lonelymoonchild.co.uk.
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