Posts Categorised: Travel

A Wonderful Day with Wedgwood and Amara

World of Wedgewood

There are days out and then there are DAYS OUT. Sorry for shouting but I am still quite excited post – visit.

When Amara dropped me an email asking if I would like to join them and a little group of fellow bloggers and spend an afternoon in Stoke on Trent at World of Wedgwood to celebrate 250 years of their company  – it was an immediate yes. I have been a fan of Wedgwood for as long as I can remember. I found lots of vintage Wedgwood for our wedding a few years back always  drool ( not literally, but almost … ) over their ranges online and in stores. They’re just so beautiful.

I love spending time with the Amara team too because they’re always such fun and they treat bloggers so well.

So, after a 4.30 am wake up start, I set off to meet them all at Euston with an onward journey to Stoke on Trent.

Painting a plate

First on our itinerary once we’d arrived was to be shown around the factory. World of Wedgwood do this as a regular thing. I asked how many times a day they do the tour and I was told around 4, so it shows how popular they are. We watched ‘ Bruce ‘ paint an intricate bowl.

Dye on plates

On the way round we also learned that the kilns are hotter than lava. I imagine that is all of them but especially when they are on their second firing with glaze. They spend about 9.5 hours in the kiln and as you can see here, a red dye is applied by hand.

You might be surprised to know that some of their one off pieces made in the factory are worth tens of thousands. We were offered one to hold but I was only brave enough to stroke it lovingly. Imagine if you dropped it ?

The technique used for lithograph is when they apply a raising paste and then on top of that –  22 carat gold which looks like a brown colour but is actually gold dust. Each one takes a bout a week to decorate and usually goes through the kiln 7 times.

Decorating Wedgewood

All of the specialist artists and decorators were concentrating intensely on their work and it was honestly amazing to witness. I said to one guy that he must have the steadiest hand in the world.

This vase with a Jasper body was impressive. I think it must be quite therapeutic sitting and painting them. Jasper is essentially stoneware but called clay. So I am told.

Some of the machines used ( by a man called Neil ) still use parts from over 100 years ago, maybe more. One in particular has a wooden wheel that up until the 80s was spun by hand all day – the lady who did this was called Elsie. What a star ! Her arms must have been made of steel.

Teapots

If you own any Wedgwood then if you check the base you will see it is stamped like most china. But the more stamps you have, the more prestigious it is. Get checking ….. :)

I could literally talk to you for hours about this because I am fascinated but I don’t want to tell you everything in case you visit  – plus there’s more to the visit to show…

Huge Vase

Next we were taken to the museum where we found out about the humble beginnings of Josiah Wedgwood and his history. He was an exceptional man by all accounts who had strong drive. If he hadn’t have had issues with his right leg after contracting smallpox as a child,  which resulted in him having to recuperate – he may not have had time to come up with all of his ideas for designs. He got other potters to make them and also pioneered new ways of making pottery. He was really interested in a scientific approach to his work.

Bowl

His style became very distinctive and it all took off from there. By the sounds of it – he and his working partner Thomas Bentley were very good friends who were very focused on their company and turning it in to a huge success. Which they did.

Josiah married his 3rd cousin, Sarah – and they had many children. Not all of them survived. Though their daughter Susannah married a man called Robert Darwin and they had a baby  – Charles Darwin. You might possibly have heard his name before ? ;)

I felt like a kid in a sweet shop in the museum  – the huge vase above is circa 1863 – 64 and probably made especially for a exhibitor. It is painted by Emile Lessore. Inspired by by a series of paintings originally commissioned by Louis XIV of France.

Alicw in Wonderland

You know what i’ts like when you try and photograph things behind glass – you generally just get a pic of yourself holding a camera … but I did love these Fairyland Lustre Vase Bone China Vases just too much to not post here on my blog. Produced in the 1920’s and based on exotic fairytales.

WedgewoodTables Wedgewood

After a superb afternoon lunch with delicate sandwiches, cakes and a choice of teas served in quaint cups and saucers ( I had their Moroccan Mint ) and with much chatter, we were let loose in the craft areas to either do some potting ( many jokes about the film Ghost ensued ) or paint a plate with a template.

colour shades Colourful plates

 

More plates!I opted for the latter and luckily for you, we didn’t take them home on the day hence no photo. I say luckily because everyone else’s were really pretty but I chose to colour a unicorn and was so distracted by all the colourful plates and prints around that I managed to achieve a very below par mythical creature. I don’t have to show you it and you don’t have to humour me … Win, win ! It was really great fun and the staff on hand were really lovely. In fact, everyone I met at World of Wedgwood were really friendly. Eve the cab driver from the station.

Designers Wedgewood

I loved these pop art style prints on the wall in the pottery painting room of some of the Wedgwood designers. Really eye catching. It also shows how Wedgwood has evolved over the years and although still a very classic brand – they have moved with the times in many ways.

They have collaborated with so many different designers over the years. Vera Wang being a more recent one and my personal contemporary favourite.

Flowers

They also joined forces with Royal Doulton and glassware company Waterford Crystal to become one big company some time ago which makes sense as they are all iconic British brands that sit perfectly together.

Of course – we had to stop off in the Factory Shop before getting our trains home. I might have bought myself a little cheeky treat. Some Royal Doulton tapas bowls which no doubt will pop up here on the blog at some point soon.

A massive thank you to the Amara IBAs for inviting me and letting me explore my inner geek a little more  – and to World of Wedgwood for a great day. If you are reading this at home and are tempted to visit them – do. It’s a really interesting and creative place with incredibly surrounding scenery.

I’d also like to point you in the direction of the other bloggers from the day – Flat Fifteen, Fairytale Pretty Picture, The Only Girl in the House, Interior Style Hunter, French for Pineapple, Don’t Cramp My Style Blog, British Style UK and Yasmin Chopin. All great blogs – check them out.

Are you a Wedgwood fan too ? Or do you have a favourite when to comes to ceramics ? Do share. Leave me a moment under the post or tweet @lucylovesyablog …

Have a good one and thanks for reading.

Lucy x

What’s in a name ? Suffolk Beach Huts

Promenade beach huts southwold

Last week, when the skies were really blue around here, I was walking along Southwold Promenade in our lovely Suffolk, enjoying the fresh sea air. When it’s sunny and you’re not rushing to your car, all wrapped up –  it’s funny how much more you notice around you. Colours, names of things and all of the inspiration at your finger tips.

Beach Huts 1

As you may know already, I am a bit of a beach hut geek. Well , a lot of one, really. I wrote about the coast near us last year and I have turned our own garden room in to a beach hut themed place to relax. I just find them so adorable to look at – and the sky is the limit when it comes to choosing contrasting colours and cool names. Anything goes !

As much as the owner probably loves the colours that they choose, it also seems that they decorate them for the pleasure of visitors to the seaside and I love that.

Beach Huts 2

Lots of people were out refreshing the paintwork on their beach huts. I stopped and had a chat with one man as his beach hut plaque was quite intriguing. It had cute little jelly shoes attached to it – it’s the one on the right in the middle, above  – aptly names ” Jellies “.

He said that the shoes had belonged to his little grand daughter the summer before and instead of throwing them away – they thought it would be nice to have them as a keepsake. I thought that was really lovely.

Beach Huts 3

It got me wondering the reasoning behind each of the huts. Some are probably for fun and others with a more personal meaning. The yellow one here called ” Drama Queen ” really made me laugh. Not only the name but the dramatic colour. So tongue in cheek.

I also spole to another man painting his beach hut ( gawd, I really do sound like a crazy lady don’t I ? I do love a chat with folk in Southwold ) and he said the prices vary from around fifty thousand up to one hundred and sixty thousand to own one. Gulp.

But, hey, you can always hire one for the day which would be a nice family day out.

Beach Huts 5

Look at all of these beautiful colour palettes. That soft shade of pink and the mint green. The pastels sit comfortably with the bold colours. Which one would you pick out of these ? ” Companionable ” is the perfect word for a coastal neighbour. That red is fearless !

Beach Huts 6

“Dolly Grey ” always makes me smile. It’s so pretty. Adore the soft grey with blue tones. I would like to colour match it and maybe use it for a bathroom. The red, blue and white for Noah’s Ark is very regal. Actually, what a great place to visit to find some interesting wall ideas for homes. I will bear that in mind for when I’m qualified in interior design.

Beach Huts 7

So, so many variants on blue – obviously a popular colour. Had to finish on Auntie Bong Bong’s name sign. Possibly the sweetest one of the day.

As you can see, I was very dedicated that day in taking photos for the blog. Andy walked along side me, slowly eating an ice cream.  He’s very understanding. Ha !

IMG_4665

If you had a beach hut –  what would you call it and what colour would you paint it ? Which one out of these tickles your fancy ?  Let me know by leaving your comment under this post. Maybe we can get a whole imaginary row between us :) …

Personally I think I’d paint mine in pastel rainbow colours and call it ” Betsey and Mae ”  – fingers crossed for one day, you never know.

Have a good day.

Lucy x

Japanese Garden Inspiration

Bridge

Taking the botanical theme to the extreme this week.

Must have plants on the brain anyway, because the flower shows season is kicking in soon. Here’s my third and final post – about The Japanese Garden in St Mawgan Village, near Newquay.

Flowers Japanese

I can’t recommend visiting here enough if you are in this area of Cornwall. It’s tucked away and felt like a bit of a secret. I am sure it has hoards of visitors so we were very lucky indeed to be there when it was just our family. We walked around for ages finding new areas and plants.

PlantsFlowers

I’ve always been attracted to this style of garden. I love the peacefulness  and areas for for reflection. I think it’s important not only for adults but definitely for kids too. We all need some time out of our busy lives and having water, rocks and plants close by – all natural -is  so very balancing and calming.

Japanese Garden

Having spoken to my knowledgable friend, Pim, about creating your own Japanese inspired garden, he told me that it is all about scale and representing a reduced landscape. For example – large rocks become distant mountains and raked gravel in a waterless garden represents the sea / river etc. A ground cover conifer would be a distant woodland.

Tea Garden Path

A Tea Garden has classic elements, such as stepping stones, lanterns or a basin is to create a peaceful frame mind before a tea ceremony.

Green Bridge

It’s a great idea for more compact gardens, I think – adding character with the different elements. In a more spacious outdoor area – wouldn’t it be dreamy to have a bridge ? Not so great if you have kiddies though but many ways to create your own personalised version.

Buddha

Don’t you love the idea of a garden that really encourages you to relax and feel at peace ? A wonderful way to switch off and do some meditation even.

Visiting this place has solidified my desire for some similar plants and maybe even a water feature of some kind. According to Pim, most of these plants grow okay in the UK so that’s a good start.

It’s in the plans for 2016 so no doubt I will be blogging some pictures soon as we work won the garden. Of course, there has to be colourful elements added too. Would you expect anything else ? ;)

I already have some DIY ideas, Can’t wait to share !

Succulents

Hope you enjoyed our little visit to the Japanese Garden ?  There’s also a Bonsai Nursery that sells these fab succulents in a glass container ( yes, I know it’s my second mention of them this week ! ) fabulous trees, Buddhas, wind chimes and kits for kids.

Have a good one. Hope you’ve enjoyed all 3 of my posts this week.

Lucy x

Mediterranean Biome at The Eden Project

Palm Trees

So here is part two of the three posts this week. As I said, too many photos for just the one and they are themed differently.

This is the Mediterranean Biome area at The Eden Project – in the right dome.

It was a lot cooler in here but again, full of interesting information and plants

FlowersColour ExplosionThe sea of different shaded poppies were awe inspiring in Californian grassland.

TulipsThe Spring tulips were standing proudly too. All so well looked after. I wish I could achieve this look in the garden. It’s certainly inspiration for the future.

Huge Plants!

I think my favourite thing were the massive, sprouting aloe vera plants. Aloe vera is excellent for when you have a little burn – cutting a bit off the plant and rubbing the juice on the wound really relieves  it.

Med Garden

Jar FLowersThere was storytelling going on in there and they were also preparing for a wedding that afternoon. What a great place to get married ?

Cactus

If you follow me on instagram, you will know that I am a little partial to a cactus or two. My collection appears to be growing by the week. These were really impressive  – felt like we were back in Ibiza again. Happy days …

Shapes

It felt like a sensory wander that we didn’t want to end. Colour galore, giant spiky leaves, delicate flowers and mediterranean fruits.

If you’ve ever been tempted to visit – you must go. It’s a fabulous experience.

There is also The Core Building to have a look around. It is based on the structure of a sunflower. Of course, loads of areas to check out outside too.

Succulents

Then you can pop in to the shop on the way out. flower seeds, gardening tools and local foods. Oh … and some succulents. Yey !

Hopefully we can go back again soon as we have a pass that lasts a year – a good excuse to get there again in a different season and see what has changed.

Hope you have enjoyed this post ? Please do leave me a comment or tweet @lucylovesyablog.

The third one this week, was our trip to a hidden away Japanese garden. It was beautiful and has started us putting some ideas together for our own Asian inspired garden.

Don’t forget also, I update my instagram every day with new pics.

Thanks for reading.

Lucy x

 

The Eden Project – Rainforest Biome

Eden Project

As I mentioned in the last post, I conquered two ‘ fears ‘ when I was in Cornwall. One was surfing in the sea – the other is right here in this post.

Eden Project Flowers

I have actually made three different posts for this week all about the outdoor inspiration from our trip. Because it was impossible to make it just one. Not only did we visit the Eden Project but also a very beautiful Japanese Garden so you will see a bit of them all.

The Eden Project is somewhere that has been on our ‘ to do ‘ list for ages.  – I was going to work there  for Live 8 back in 2005 but couldn’t as I was pregnant with my lovely Mae. So, it has taken all this time to actually visit but I am so glad that we have now and as a family. It was a superb afternoon and really educational.I think we all need reminding how fragile our planet is and how important our rainforests are.

Having said that – don’t expect me to reel off the names of all the amazing plants in these photos. I was too busy feeling overwhelmed with love for the colours and shapes … and the heat.

Eden ProjectThis is where I conquered the second ‘ fear ‘ of  the week … heights !

I climbed what felt like a  very long way up ( 50m to be precise ) on some ‘ swingy ‘ steps with Mae to look down over all the plants. Not particularly okay with looking down, I did ‘ brave face ‘ and it was quite something to see the entire dome in its glory … and look at all the teeny weeny people, but I was very glad to get back down again and my legs wobbled for sometime afterwards. As you climb higher, the more humid it gets. Totally worth it though.

Looking Down

Being the largest indoor rainforest in the world it incorporates Tropical Islands, Southeast Asia, West Africa, Tropical South America it feels and smells like you are there. There are even some exotic birds in the trees, although you do spot the odd sparrow that has crept in too ( can you blame them ? ).

Water Grass

Sugar VanThere is a Malaysian Hut, rubber plants, rice plants growing in water ( the scent is quite strong ) a sugar truck and lots of educational stops for kids .. and adults !

FruitEverywhere we looked, there was something interesting to study. I believe these are Cacao trees from West Africa  – once crushed they become the basis for chocolate. You could also see bananas growing and pineapples amongst other fruit.

Rain Forest

Hanging PlantsThere are lots of warm, passionate colours as you’d expect. I believe this is for some to attract birds to pollenate. They all have their purpose. Isn’t nature an amazing thing ?

Green Leaves

StripesI loved the detail in the plants too. They almost looked hand painted and stitched ?

Leaves

These tropical leaves remind me of all the stationary and clothing prints around at the moment. I wonder if they realise they’re bang on trend in the fashion world ? :)

Red Plant

Rain Forest PlantsColourful PlantsAs you can see – lots and lots of inspiration for an exotic garden. Of course, these all thrive with warm climates but there are lots of plants to be found that would add the tropical, feeling indoors or out.

Waterfall

I will leave you with this huge waterfall which cooled us down for a bit while we drank some smoothies.

Next will be a post about the Mediterrranean Biome. Which, I hope you will love !

In the meantime, do leave me a comment if you recognise these plants and know the names or feel inspired for your garden ? I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading …

Lucy