Listening to: Colin Blunstone
Reading: next on TBR
I love launch parties – they're so exciting - and I went to one yesterday. Not books, this time: my friends have just bought a shop and yesterday they had an open evening to launch their new range. DH and the kids came with me.
This is La Maison in King Street, New Buckenham: a shop that sells lovely gifts and girly stuff as well as having tea rooms. (Mulberry, Lisbeth Dahl – actually, this is the kind of shop one of my heroines would own. Hmm. Must tell Di that I’m going to pinch her shop for a future book. Will amuse her greatly.) This is the exterior shot, but it’s even nicer inside.
Daughter and I looked at the shelves and then at each other. ‘We have to come back without Dad,’ says daughter, eyeing up pretty china knobs that would look very nice on her chest of drawers. ‘Problem is, you don’t count as a responsible adult,' I explain, 'and actually, you never will because he knows your mind works like mine. This shop will be on The List, along with House of Fraser, Lakeland, and any shop that stocks Radley or Pandora.’ (I should add, for people who might be under the misapprehension that my husband is a miser or thinks he rules the house, The List is a standing joke between us - as long as I pay my half of the bills, what I do with my money is entirely my decision. Ditto with his. We don't argue over money because we have a joint account for bills and separate accounts for everything else. Simple and sensible.)
But my Responsible Adult was with me last night, so I left him with the nibbles and picked up a couple of things. I was actually quite restrained because the shop was very busy, so I bought daughter a skipping rope, daughter and myself a seriously girly pen each, and a mug that just screamed ‘I must belong to Kate Hardy’. I love the shape… but it’s the picture that caught my eye. Isn't it lovely?
Feel slightly guilty about not buying son or DH anything, but there weren’t really any blokey gifts. I would have put a link up, but their website isn’t ready yet (and considering that Jon and I used to work together on internet stuff in the mid-1990s, just as the internet was taking off, cue a little bit of teasing from me). But if you’re looking for some nice things for the home, or unusual gifts, I can definitely recommend La Maison in King Street, New Buckenham (and not just because it belongs to friends: their range is lovely. My pal India Grey would LOVE it because it's very stylish, like her). Oh, wait, I can put a link up - this is the catalogue of GreenGate, one of their ranges. Just lovely. Very summery.
Incidentally, the oldest and largest circular Norman keep in England is about half a mile down the road, and worth a visit. If you want to know more about that, you can read about the sieges and bloodthirsty stuff in my book Norfolk Ghosts and Legends. And if you're wondering what it looks like... here are a couple of pics from two summers ago.
The walls are 14 feet thick. Just to prove it, here's a close-up of that doorway: