Tag Archives: antique shopping

A Christmas Mouse in Our House

We want to take a moment and wish each and everyone of you a Merry Christmas! Thank you for following our adventures and information on the store. Our stories will continue into 2017 and we can’t wait to share them with you.

In October, we visited England for the second time in 2016. Besides our usual shopping in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire, we spent some time in Yorkshire; particularly York, Harrogate and Fountains Abbey.

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Red House Antiques. The best centre we found in York.

We’d been to York before as tourists, but this visit we focused on shopping for the store. We visited a few antique centres; nothing special to report. Prices were higher than we are accustom to paying. We were in York on a Saturday and so were thousands of other visitors.

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Part of the wall that surrounds York. We walked part of the wall on this visit.

At the end of our visit, we found what Philip was really seeking….a candy store. In fact, there were two directly across from each other and he shopped both. At Cocoa & Sweet, he scored big. Located in a Georgian building in a lane across from the York Minister (which is amazing!), Cocoa & Sweet features high-end chocolates, either bars or local chocolates from a case. It’s a beautiful little shop with enticing displays. We bought Montezuma bars (from West Sussex) for gifts for the family back home and Philip chose several wonderful local pieces from the case.

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Cocoa & Sweet York.

Theresa found the cutest Sugar Mice. According to the owner, Sugar Mice are a Christmas tradition in England. They are given to family members in their stockings. Traditionally, they are white or pink and have string tails. We’re guessing that they are purchased at candy stores or made at home. We purchased a few because who wouldn’t want a sugar mouse in their stocking? What a fun tradition!

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Two New-to-Us Fairs: Sandown and Sunbury

Kempton Park, just after the gates opened at 6:30 a.m. In less than 30, the asphalt on the lower level will be totally covered, as the dealers drag items out of their vans. The process was just begun in this photo. On the upper level, where this photo was taken, there are many rows of dealers doing the same thing.

Kempton Park, just after the gates opened at 6:30 a.m. In less than 30, the asphalt on the lower level will be totally covered, as the dealers drag items out of their vans. The process was just begun in this photo. On the upper level, where this photo was taken, there are many rows of dealers doing the same thing.

Conclusion of our spring antique shopping trip reports

In April, we visited many new-to-us shops, centres and fairs over a two-week period. We concluded our trip in London, where we visited IACF’s Monday Market at Sandown (Esther UK) and Sunbury Antique Market (Sunbury UK) at Kempton Park. Both are located at horse racecourses in urban areas and both have an array of antiques, vintage and collectibles outside and inside the grandstands. Both are close to Heathrow.

A purchase at Sunbury Antique Market. The orange tape is used to indicate our purchases. We went through a lot of it on the April trip!

A purchase at Sunbury Antique Market. The orange tape is used to indicate our purchases. We went through a lot of it on the April trip!

The IACF’s Monday Market at Sandown Racecourse is the smaller of the two. We finished it in less than two hours. It opens at 8 a.m., so we recommend getting there right at 8 a.m. to avoid Monday rush hour traffic. They won’t let in before that time. Parking is $5 per car. The outside pitches didn’t offer much, but we found some wonderful Black Forest pieces inside the grandstand. There is an indoor café. It’s a small relaxing collectors’ fair with a few bargains.

Philip is standing with Mark, one of our packers, outside the grandstand at Kempton Park.

Philip is standing with Mark, one of our packers, outside the grandstand at Kempton Park.’s

In comparison, Sunbury Antique Market is not relaxing and finding a bargain requires effort. It opens at 6:30 a.m. (before the sun comes up) and the sellers start packing up by noon. It’s very crowded. Parking is free. Come early and line up at the entry gate, where once the gates are open, there’s a mad rush to be the first one to buy the great piece. As we stood in line, we chatted with a young man who was there to buy some mid-century and over-sized furniture pieces for his recording studio. Not the typical antique buyer, but we’re betting he found it. Nevertheless, we found some great pieces of art and some interesting smalls. The indoor pitch space seemed to be completely full and there were tons of outdoor pitches. We saw one food truck. There is no signage and it’s hard to distinguish one row from another. Our advice: if you have to leave your purchase to be picked up later, count the light poles around the track and note the location of the pitch to the nearest light pole. It will help you identify the pitch later.

We hoped you enjoyed our reports. It was a great trip and we can’t wait to show you the one-of-a-kind treasures that we found for our wonderful customers! Keep a watch on our Facebook page to find out when the new items are at the store.

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Shopping at the Festival of Antiques

Cute van painted to look like a gypsy wagon.

Cute van painted to look like a gypsy wagon.

When we are in England, we plan our trips around the ASFairs (Arthur Swallow Fairs) and IACF (International Antiques and Collectors Fairs). They are usually held during the same week. Then, we take a look at other fairs that coincide with them, either the week before or after. Our trip in October was preceded by a fair at the East of England Showground-Peterborough Arena called the Peterborough Festival of Antiques. Less than an hour and a half south of Lincoln, we decided to add this fair to our itinerary.

The Peterborough Festival of Antiques is advertised as one of the largest Antique Fairs in England and is held twice a year in March and October. It is a well-organized fair in super facilities with 1700 stall holders. Everyone was friendly and helpful. Fairs of this magnitude offer the best opportunity for those in the trade to shop for bargains. While we enjoy shopping in individual stores and centres, we find the majority of our inventory at the big fairs.

Another early start to find the best bargains.

Another early start to find the best bargains.

We lucked out with the weather. England was having a wonderful Indian summer and the temperatures were warm and no rain clouds in sight. We paid extra to get in early on the Friday. We were in line by 6:30 a.m. and considering that we were sleep deprived (less than 8 hours during a 48 hour period); we were ready for the gates to open at 7:00.

The film crew is heading our way; time to duck and cover.

The film crew is heading our way; time to duck and cover.

We learned that there are several large buildings and outdoor pitches. Since the weather was cooperating, we decided to shop outdoors first. We hunted for bargains amid the rows of tents and pitches. We found French, English, and German items. We bought well. And we weren’t the only ones. As we carried our bags out to car numerous times, we saw lots of shoppers doing the same. As usual, we played leap frog around television crews filming game shows/reality shows. They are very polite, but often in the way. And we try desperately to stay far away from the television cameras.

Yes, we lost our car. In our defense, we'd only had it one day and although we knew the license plate, there were too many cars.

Yes, we lost our car. In our defense, we’d only had it one day and although we knew the license plate, there were too many cars.

By the end of the day, we were exhausted and tired of all the walking and carrying. Our shipper was not with us and, boy, did we miss him. We had not even been in any of the buildings. We changed up our plans on Saturday, so we could come back the next day and shop some more. We are dedicated!

The Cuckoo at The Cuckoo

The Cuckoo at The Cuckoo

At the end of day one, we ate at The Cuckoo in Alwalton. It’s a country pub and restaurant. There’s nothing quite like a pint of Cider and a loaf of homemade artisan bread at the end of a long day of shopping.

Warm artisan bread.

Warm artisan bread.

We highly recommend the Festival of Antiques at Peterborough. Check out their website at http://www.festivalofantiques.co.uk/

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Antique Shopping in Seattle and Victoria, B.C.

Seattle Antiques Market

On a recent visit to the Pacific Northwest, we did what we always do and headed for the nearest antique store when we had a few extra hours. Here’s what we found:

  • Pacific Antiques, 829 Fort St., Victoria, B.C., a small high end store featuring glass cabinets full of carefully chosen items, including silver, ceramics and glass. Here, the owner maintains a serious inventory for the collector of fine quality smalls.
  • Vanity Fair Antique & Collectibles Mall, 1044 Fort St. Victoria, B.C. A small antique mall, with 40 dealers, where most smalls at located in locked glass cabinets. The staff was available and accommodating. The antique mall features true antiques, but one would have a hard time finding something larger than a milk carton.
  • Applewood Distinctive Antiques, 1028 Fort St. Victoria, B.C. An antique furniture store with a variety of polished pieces of 18th and 19th century furniture. Very few smalls, except for silver.
  • Seattle Antiques Market, 1400 Alaskan Way, Seattle. Sent here by our concierge, it’s located near the waterfront, under a highway overpass. Mostly mid-century furniture and vintage items, it’s a large store with a few good buys.
  • The Antique Touch, 1501 Pike Place Market #318, Seattle. For the amount of advertising, we expected a large store, but it’s tiny. Claustrophobic small and crammed to the ceiling with an assortment of vintage collectibles. Talk about a bull in a china shop! But we were surprised that people were actually buying in there. Not our kind of shop, but if you are looking for old salt and pepper shakers, you should stop here.
  • Antiques at Pike Place, 92 Stewart St., Seattle. Finally, we saved the best for last. Another small antique mall, just north of the original Starbucks. Easy to find and arranged by booths, with some locked cabinets in the front of the store. This is the place for decorators or the casual shopper.

Antiques at Pike Place

Our shopping time was limited, but we managed to send home a few items via UPS and our luggage.

 

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