Tag Archives: The Fine Cheese Company

Escaping To Bath…..Bliss!

Bath Reflections, Rocking Dog

Bath Reflections

It was a day of escaping to Bath yesterday. I was keen to visit The Victoria Art Gallery to see “A Room of Their Own- Lost Bloomsbury Interiors 1914-30”

The exhibition recreates as far as possible several lost interior schemes by Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. It reunites objects and paintings from both public and private collections, items which haven’t been seen together for fifty years.

I have loved all things Bloomsbury for three decades. It started in earnest when Laura Ashley launched their Bloomsbury collection of fabrics etc.. in 1987. The company had acquired the rights to a rare selection of Charleston House patterns. Grapes and Queen Mary are designs which stand out for me. In 2013 a range of the fabrics/wallpapers were relaunched in celebration of Laura Ashley’s 60th year. Since 1987 none of the houses we have lived in have been without Bloomsbury fabric somewhere in the mix.

In time I went to see Charleston, near Lewes and it is truly lovely. It is a real home with every surface painted and embellished by one or other of the inhabitants, or indeed guests just passing through.

The garden is equally beautiful and a book has just been published to celebrate its creative country charm.

The exhibition in Bath was bijoux but lovely. It has made me want to get my paintbrush out, and to pull out a stash of unused 1987 fabric. Watch this space! In a new house we once lived in, my brother in law kindly recreated the hermaphrodites which grace the studio at Charleston onto a bare wall. I’d love him to do a repeat performance!

After culture, I had a little bit of a mooch. I loved the reflections of the Georgian and not so Georgian buildings in the windows of Anthropologie. I stopped at The Whole Bagel for a.. bagel! Delicious, I couldn’t help but choose the filling I always select, Pear, brie, walnut and Parma ham.

I wandered down Walcot Street and it was alarming to witness the amount of empty shops. Rates are notoriously high in Bath. I bought ink and nib supplies at Meticulous Ink, such a lovely shop. Further on I headed to Owl in the Ivy, with its beautiful collection of old items to buy. However my heart was taken with the owners’ gorgeous Wire Haired Dachschund. Puppies are planned….,tempting, but I don’t think Real Live Rocking Dog would like a new puppy on his territory, he’s getting much too old and grumpy!

A reviving Americano and piece of Tunisian orange cake was enjoyed at an outside table at The Fine Cheese Company. It was great to watch the world go by, and to glance along to a building I love. The Corn Market building is so tall and narrow, it reaches to the sky with its elongated persona. However, that is not the whole story it extends behind a long, long way.

I loved taking time out in Bath, it was wonderful to get an aesthetic “fix”. I feel very inspired, but think the guilt of a mountainous ironing pile will make me abandon plans for Bloomsbury style painting for at least a little while.

Have a lovely weekend how ever you intend spending it. Love Rocking Dog x

Reaching To The Sky, Rocking Dog

Reaching To The Sky

Patriotic Door, Rocking Dog

Patriotic Door

How Much Is That Doggy?, Rocking Dog

How Much Is That Doggy?

Scrummy Bagel, Rocking Dog

Scrummy Bagel

Whole Bagel, Rocking Dog

Whole Bagel

Meticulous Ink Supplies, Rocking Dog

Meticulous Ink Supplies

Coffee & Cake, Rocking Dog

Coffee & Cake

Bloomsbury Style, Rocking Dog

Bloomsbury Style

Bloomsbury Grapes, Rocking Dog

Bloomsbury Grapes

Buying Supplies In Beautiful Bath

Rocking Dog Loves A Bit Of Gingham!,Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog Loves A Bit Of Gingham!

Blogging has taken rather a back seat this week. Sorry, still not feeling 100% . Yesterday it was time to venture into Bath to buy supplies. With envelopes to address for The Boy’s fast approaching wedding I needed new nibs. Meticulous Ink on Walcot Street was where I was heading, but naturally there was plenty to distract me before I reached this truly gorgeous printing emporium! I found the sweetest of craft supply shops at the back of Bartlett Street Antiques Centre. Juniper and Blue may be bijoux, but it carries a wonderful selection of carefully selected ribbons, beads, wool, papers etc.. With my love of gingham I could not resist a Noolibird gingham stamp. Toast and Blue on Bartlett Street followed, for wedding outfit inspiration. I am not a matching dress and bolero sort of gal, and thus far have bought curtain fabric to make a 50’s style duster coat. I better get Beloved Bernina rattling away because time is, well…..rattling away!

Eventually I found myself on the road to Meticulous Ink. I love Walcot Street and beyond, there are so many quirky independent shops and interesting buildings. My walk took me past The Fine Cheese Company, and I steered myself swiftly past. How I love their cafe, and in particular their cheese platters! This lovely street boasts Scandi’ interior shops, one or two good charity shops, Farrow & Ball, suppliers of sisal, wool and wood flooring, a weaver, a wedding dress maker (say no more!!) cafe’s and vintage furniture shops. I loved nipping into The Fig Store. It sells rustic vintage furniture together with eclectic homeware. It was SO calming, the majority of the stock being in various hues and textures of grey, soft whites and linen. I loved the old hoes which had been up-cycled as stair rails. When warmer temperatures arrive there is a delightful gravelled and manicured garden for customers to peruse. Lovely, yes really lovely.

Nibs bought, I was treated to a little masterclass with Athena and Charlie to try an troubleshoot my capital D’s.

Further along the street (by now we are onto Cleveland Terrace) I ventured into Owl in The Ivy. Another gorgeous shop, again very calming but darker and somehow more sinister (in a lovely way!) than The Fig Store. Vintage furniture, hessian printed coffee sacks, succulents, twine, all beautifully staged, made for a joyous browsing moment. Emma hosts supper clubs and workshops in this evocative space. Details of events will be up and coming from her soon. Her blog photography is truly beautiful and she is going to be running a workshop on how to produce good photo’s for blogs etc… I would love to learn more, but there maybe one slight problem. I need to get myself a smart phone and stop being a Diplodocus! Yes, a very inspiring end to the trawl along one of my favourite Bath streets.

Back in town a final purchase was made in Anthropologie. I bought lovely purple agate handles in their sale section. For a few months there have just been ugly holes in the newly painted dressing table whilst I have tried to find the perfect pulls! More worrying is the fact that we are without a wall light on the stairs, again I am holding out for the perfect illumination, and not one with a terrifying price tag.

Bedtime reading was free – a copy of Crumbs (lovely South West food related magazine) and Vow (beautifully produced wedding magazine) together with the latest Farrow & Ball colour chart. Now let me see, chalky whites, greys and linen. Happy Days!

Wishing everyone a lovely weekend and I hope that you can find inspiration, ambience and a sense of calm in the greyness that is February.

Love Rocking Dog X

Meticulous Nibs, Rocking Dog

Meticulous Nibs

Oh, So Tempting!, Rocking Dog

Oh, So Tempting!

Calm Quirky Home, Rocking Dog

Calm Quirky Home

Fabulous Fig, Rocking Dog

Fabulous Fig

Fig Store Order, Rocking Dog

Fig Store Order

Bedtime Reading, Rocking Dog

Bedtime Reading

Fine Cheese- Home & Away

Cheese At Home, Rocking Dog

Cheese At Home

I nipped into Bath for supplies of Calligraphy nibs at Meticulous Ink on Walcot Street yesterday. I couldn’t resist taking refuge from the rain and dipped into The Fine Cheese Company for coffee and a cheese plate. Delicious!

With the sun beckoning I left the cafe for the array of cheeses and delicious deli’ goodies next door. Black olives the size of small pebbles, biscuits, a slither of Wyfe of Bath and round of St Marcellin packaged, I took my leave.

I love Walcot Street it still retains an aura of scruffiness and realness. There are picture framers, charity shops, junk shops and cafe’s. Farrow & Ball, a wedding couturier (Jessica Charleston), Meticulous Ink and The Fine Cheese Company also sit comfortably on the street. The Saturday flea market also adds to the ambience of this long quirky street.

How appropriate to dig out a French plate at home with the Saint Marcellin goat. The twelve plates were found in a Normandy brocante over a decade ago. Each feature different French cheese varieties with ewe, cow and goat illustrations. My home cheese plate features my daughter Sorrel’s Jewelled Membrillo (quince paste)

The cheese wedding cake was one I put together for a friend in 2012. It fed the guests resplendently in between the evenings’ dancing and frivolity!

Pit Stop, Bath, Rocking Dog

Pit Stop, Bath

Fine Cheese Plate, Rocking Dog

Fine Cheese Plate

Enticing Sign, Rocking Dog

Enticing Sign

Appropriate Tableware, Rocking Dog

Appropriate Tableware

Cheese & ......, Rocking Dog

Cheese & ……

Cheesy Wedding Cake, Rocking Dog

Cheesy Wedding Cake

Wrapped Up For Summer

Picnic Packing, Rocking Dog

Picnic Packing

More ideas from Rocking Dog for creative gift wrapping. I love to give a little clue as to a packages contents, and these gifts are no different.

The picnic packing indeed contains an innovative picnic bag (John Lewis). Filled with gel it can be put in the freezer and then taken out of its icy residence when the sun is shining. Decadently filled with mini cans of Pimms, bread (The Thoughtful Bread Company perhaps), some delicious cheeses (I love the Fine Cheese Company in Bath) would be bliss. Local Cheddar strawberries and a naughty wedge of homemade cake would complete the gastronomic alfresco lunch. Don’t worry about the heat of the day, the bag will keep things perfectly chilled for twelve hours.

So the packaging… I used my old favourite, wallpaper. This is a lovely bold extra wide paper by Marimekko, found in the bargain bin at John Lewis. I teamed it with ribbon, a paper plate and some wooden cutlery, together with a floral Marimekko paper napkin (John Lewis). The remainder of the napkin pack went in with the picnic bag!

The Travelling gift was for a lovely friend who is travelling a stretch of the Rhine next month. A document wallet and a small stash of euro’s for tea and kuchen were the contents. Meanwhile the wrap was a slightly damaged (and therefore reduced) sheet of map wrapping paper to which I added some black and white boat pictures (I decided against using a Titanic style sinking ship!). Coarse garden string and a shop bought tag were added to complete the gifts frouing.

Presently, my brain is in full throttle coming up with ideas for a large cake I have been commissioned to do for delivery on Friday. I rather think it will have flamingo’s in tutu’s cavorting on it… I find celebration cakes Soooooo stressful and need to confidently utter the words NO!

Travelling Gift, Rocking Dog

Travelling Gift

Wrap Detail, Rocking Dog

Wrap Detail

A Lovely Bit Of This And That In Bath.

Food For Thought, Rocking Dog

Food For Thought

Saturday, youngest fashionista daughter (Liv) and I headed to Bath for a day of mini adventures. Liv headed to the Guildhall for a talk by Mary Portas, based on her newly published memoir “Shop Girl”. Apparently it was really entertaining and a question at the end of the talk was so well answered by the retail guru. She was asked which British brand she’d like to rejuvenate and rebrand. The answer? M & S, she also qualified that she wouldn’t like the job. Imagine alienating all those devoted Per Una customers!

I meanwhile trotted to the flea market down by the Old Tram Shed on Walcot Street. Not vast, but with interesting eclectic stalls it is worth a look. I loved some really enormous bottle driers, but know I need to declutter rather than add more stuff! Unlike many cities, Bath has managed to hang on to a wide range of independent shops and so browsing is enjoyable. I also went into the Guildhall Market for ribbon supplies. The stall has the largest and most diverse range of ribbons, lace, braids and haberdashery, a sewers paradise. Best window in Bath goes to Maze in Green Street. It was so simple but so effective, with tin bucket filled with planted daffodils and another window displaying a tin wash tub filled with bulbs yet to bloom. I have my Grandmother’s wash tub and glass wash board. At the moment the crenellated tub is filled with logs for the stove, whilst at Christmas I use it for the Christmas tree.

Liv and I regrouped, and headed for lunch at a perennial favourite The Fine Cheese Company on Walcot Street. Originally solely a cheese shop, it now sells gorgeous breads and deli items, together with offering customers a sit down watering hole. We loved our charcuterie platter and cheese plate (a months oozy cheese ration)! We even sat out in the sun…delicious!

Liv had to head back to Bristol, but I went to a talk by the author Julie Summers, “Fashion On The Ration”. The book accompanies a major new exhibition at the Imperial War Museum, London. In these days of throw away fashion it’s so easy to forget about just how difficult it was to stay clothed during the war. There was the additional pressure that women were encouraged to look wonderful, and to wear bright colours to spite the enemy and keep the spirits of the nation up. Julie talked about coupons, siren suits, Make Do and Mend, parachute silk and the scarcity of stockings. Many of the predominantly female audience were of mature years and had some brilliant anecdotes regarding wartime fashion. One lady talked about how her school domestic science lessons were spent remodelling work overalls into daytime clothing. Another lady recounted that her father had sold stockings and other luxuries out of a suitcase. One customer ended up being his wife, and this lady’s Mum.

The Fashion on The Ration exhibition runs from 5th March until 31st August and tickets can be booked now. The exhibition features underwear made from silk escape maps, “onesies” worn in the air raid shelters, jewellery made from aeroplane parts, propaganda posters, military uniforms and patriotic scarves. If my children are reading this by any chance a ticket for this would be a wonderful birthday present, hint, hint!

Such a lovely day, and no, I really didn’t need to add anything to my wardrobe!

Market Trawling, Rocking Dog

Market Trawling

Retail Guru, Rocking Dog

Retail Guru

Best Window Goes To..,Rocking Dog

Best Window Goes To..