Friday, 9 November 2012

New House, New Linen, New Candles

First off a little thanks to the three readers I probably have left. High five! Let's go bowling some time. Hopefully all three of you will forgive the lack of posts since *whisper it* July. You may also have noticed that we've changed; we've widened. Not only me but the blog too. I managed to alter the column widths all by myself, which is something I'd wanted to do for a long time so that I could ditch the crappy Blogger template and have bigger photos. Cue a warm glow of achievement that lasted three to five days and I'm not even joking. 

More new stuff: I've moved house. After a tense couple of months waiting to see if the sale would come off, we moved J out of his old (sold) house and the both of us into our new place at the end of September. And promptly went on holiday for a fortnight. The house is a little red brick Victorian semi built in 1890. It has huge, single glazed windows, three fireplaces and is freezing when the heating's off but we love it and couldn't be happier. 

I can't wait to shape our new home. At the moment we have no furniture at all in the living room save for two beanbags. The dining room has a table and two non-matching chairs that I don't even like. This is where I ask if you're interested in interior decor and house-related posts... Please report in below. Chances are you're going to get them whatever you say but, hey, it's nice to be heard (and ignored), right?

I'm going to come right out and tell you that I set this picture up like a little prop stylist to showcase my new John Lewis 'Logan' sheets and pillows in blue. The blanket is an eBay buy that required months of searching (and no-one understands my obsession with it). I had to find one after seeing this post on The Marion House Book. 

I'm in love with this fireplace in our master bedroom. We have these cherry red tiles in the dining room in front of the main fireplace too. It makes a nice little spot to burn some scented candles...

I treated myself to this Jo Malone Wild Fig & Cassis candle at the airport when we were flying to Crete. I've never had an expensive scented candle before and it's delicious. The scent is a unique take on fig but having smelt similar (but not as rich) scents in cheaper candles I wish I'd gone for a more unusual fragrance. If they'd had the gorgeous new Blackberry & Bay candle I probably would've got that, but it had sold out. You can appreciate the quality of this candle even when it's not lit as the smell carries. It's also made of soy wax, which unlike paraffin, does not release cancer-causing carcinogenic chemicals when burned.

Another cheaper alternative for fig lovers is this Geodesis Fig Tree candle, available at John Lewis. More of a straight-forward fig scent this still has masses of 'throw' and scents the room beautifully. It is, however, made of a mineral/vegetable 'blend' which I didn't realise until after I'd bought it.

I'm on the look out for some wooden bedside tables: if anyone has any recommendations I'd love to read them.

Whole Foods Market, Cheltenham

Last Sunday I was lucky enough to pop to Cheltenham to preview the new Whole Foods Market before its opening. Along with H&M (opening 2013), this ranks as a significant event in the Gloucestershire social calendar.

A group of us were given a tour around the new shop and invited to sample lots of delicious food and drink. The Whole Foods ethos is to offer high-quality, natural food, beauty and health products. More than 330 of the products available are locally sourced from within the county as well. 

The staff working on the different counters are all experts in their fields and able to offer advice on cuts of meat, recipe ideas, types of spices etc. It's far removed from a standard supermarket experience – you're expected to try before you buy and the selection is huge. It's a bit like having an old fashioned butcher, baker, fishmonger etc all under one roof, except there's also a pick of gourmet treats from abroad as well so you get the best of both worlds. 

If cooking's not your thing, they have stalls offering freshly made meals of all different types (and what I sampled was very tasty). They can even cater for dinner parties given the appropriate notice period. (You could totally order everything from Whole Foods and then pretend you slaved for hours in the kitchen... But that would be wrong.)

There's also a huge selection of natural and organic makeup, beauty and health products which I cannot wait to have a proper look through. If you're feeling brave you can have your face scanned by a machine that evaluates the condition of your skin, sun damage levels etc. The beauty staff are then able to provide product suggestions to counter any negative findings. You can even go back for a rescan to see how the products are performing. 

I'm really pleased this Austin-born brand has opened shop in Cheltenham and support their mission and values (more info here). I'm almost sorry I live half an hour away or I would be there several times per week. At least I won't go broke grinding my own pecan butter, buying fresh coffee and eating pots of olives and wheels of cheese.

The Cheltenham Whole Foods Market is situated at Gallagher Retail Park. 

I like... chocolate 
I like... olives
I like... beauty products
I like... coffee
I like... cheese
I like... fresh bread
I like... beans, pulses and nuts (?)
I like... fresh sushi man
I like... sweets!