10 Jun 2011

Hop & Shop in Candy Shades!

A couple of weeks ago I took my mum to Manchester (U.K.) on a four-day trip packed full with appointments and commitments, but we managed to squeeze a spot of shopping in between!

The mugs are from John Lewis
We visited two familiar retail haunts which also rate high as personal favourites: John Lewis (Cheadle) and Kendals (where my mum took advantage of the amazing sale to invest in Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein nightwear for my dad). I took my mum to Lakeland (Handforth), the British kitchen domestics equivalent to Mathon (the Mathon catalogue is virtually my mum's bedside read!). She loved it there in Lakeland, and amongst other items, purchased individual 1950s style enamel oblong pie dishes, with the promise of culinary delights to come!

We whizzed down to Sainsburys to stock up on crumpets, custard creams, golden syrup, cake decorations, tea cakes, Battenberg cake, organic white tea and we even pushed the button further by purchasing... flour! This is in fact so that I can recreate the 'perfect' Victorian Sponge back in Corsica using the most appropriate ingredients! How British was that for a shopping list, by the way!

Every cloud (made of chocolate) has a silver lining!
Our tight timetable was such that there wasn't any time left for wandering or exploring further shopping venues (apart from the obligatory trips down to the local DIY store as this is developed further down this article). Meanwhile I had been looking forward to a cake shop & tea parlour in West Didsbury called And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon which I had found out about via Twitter, but had to cross it off our list as we were defeated by time... Instead we stumbled across a Costa Coffee down the Altrincham high street and that one had to do!

To be fair, it would have been nice to add an extra couple of days to our schedule and dedicate that extra time purely to shop and treats, but with a new job looming on the horizon of our planned return date, this would have been impossible for me to honour.

Coconut ice from John Lewis
We stayed at The Village Hotel Cheadle, which I will talk about in more detail in my next article. Cheadle is a Stockport suburb located in South Manchester, and the hotel was a handy base for our to-ing and fro-ing around the Cheshire fringes of Timperley-Altrincham-Handforth for most of my scheduled appointments. Last but not least, our Cheadle base was also within accessible radius of my little house which I am currently renting out via a property agent.

My mum and I had taken advantage of the fact that the tenancy had come to an end, in order to go down to the house for inspection, replace a couple of bathroom fixtures, and add a few touches to the property to make it even cosier. We also took up the task of tidying the garden: three bins worth of cuttings, dead leaves, overgrown branches and weeds! Although my elderly tenant looked after the house beautifully, the garden clearly wasn't her cup of tea, although I had offered her (via the agency) the services of a gardener to help her keep on top of it but she had declined...

Easy does it at John Lewis!
Anyway I'll let you swoon over a small selection of the sweet nothings in candy shades that my mum and I brought back from the UK (further evidenced by the excess luggage charge that we incurred from the EasyJet desk on the day of departure)... But in the end, it was all good and we loved every minute of it! Now I can't wait to return, if only for the shopping fix which I will never get out of my system, especially now as a 'recluse' islander in the Med, in a place that is a galaxy away from the fast-lane premium shopping experience that any major UK city hands you over on a plate!

On these pictures I am sure you'll agree that not only are the sugary colours covetable, but those amongst us with a soft spot for packaging design, typefaces and typesetting will be equally sensitive to the charms they exude. Looks so good, you don't want to spoil the fun by cracking open the boxes to raid their contents!

Ready for Fathers Day!
So French yet so British!
Our candy theme all the way down to menswear!

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