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Posts from the ‘shopping’ Category

up·state ˌəpˈstāt/ tivoli

An upstate area (of New York) 

Of, in, or to the northern part of a state

We’ve been visiting Tivoli for over two years now, ever since our now friends (then aquaintences) moved here. I love it. Each time I come up here my dear friends are always asking, why not move? Leave Brooklyn? It’s SO much cheaper? Life is SO much better. I think they still miss elements of NYC. I do love it upstate; with almost all of my heart… but if I’m honest, I’m not sure I’m quite ready to say goodbye to the high rent, small un-maintained spaces, smell of rubbish everywhere, chicken bones in all the flower beds.. sirens… it’s just too soon. I’m not quite done with that stuff. I enjoy cramming my weekly shopping into the bottom of a stroller and lugging up the hill.. half caff almond latte in hand.

However, after so long without a blog and too many work commitments of late, last week I went Tivoli once more. This time alone, on a solo prop hunting, head-hunting (my own ‘clear’ one) jaunt. I needed a break from the city craziness. My first mid week trip upstate. I was also extremely curious to try out the recently opened by Brice and Helen Marden, Hotel Tivoli. I’ve been admiring it from afar on our last few visits.

Found the perfect writing nook.. Hotel Tivoli

Found the perfect writing nook.. Hotel Tivoli

Hotel Tivoli is the newest kid on the block in the tiny and picturesque village of Tivoli. The village lies on the East of the Hudson River about 115 miles north of NYC.  With a population of only slightly over a thousand people, it feels quite the retreat from the bustling city. The vibrant hotel; joins other locals such as Tivoli Bread and Baking, whose sticky buns pretty ace, and Murray’s who make a delicious latte,  Santa Fe,.. for a tasty taco, (I’ve heard it’s great but why leave NYC for one night only and eat Mexican, right?), and the Traghaven Pub. Good old Irish eatery. (Drinkery). The village also offers tapas, japanese, pizza and is now home to a little general store.  What more could you want? My home away from home.

Home away from home at Hotel Tivoli

Home away from home at Hotel Tivoli

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Perfect morning wake up….

Every time we visit we have such a ball.. and are generally there for one of the annual events like the street painting, the yard sales or the pie contest. This time, I opted for a mid-week break. I wanted to see what it is really like upstate. On a normal day. A rainy grey Tuesday to be precise. To see how it made me feel.

One thing I learnt extremely quickly; is that if you want to visit this area and its surrounding towns for food, experience, shopping, exploring  – Tuesday is not the day to do it. Almost everything is closed. Everywhere. Lesson learnt. Do not visit areas of rural beauty and antique foraging, on a Tuesday in NY State. My journey took me to Red Hook, Hudson, Rhinebeck.. with a stopover in Tivoli. Quick squeeze and a cuddle with my pals, a bite at the pub and then back in the car for a mammonth journey East to Milford NY the next morning.

Yes MOST days open at 11..

I’d been given inside information about a barn of wonders. Wood Bull Antiques. Luckily, it IS open every day. And when I arrived at the three level (bursting at the seams) barn of antiques.. I knew my trip had been worth every moment alone in the car singing at the top of my voice.

A stylist’s heaven….I spent over four hours in there rummaging around. And came home with two more chairs that I don’t need, but absolutley do love.

Taking a road trip alone.. via a place I love… to look for things I love.. along roads unknown. There is something to be said for just getting in the car, blasting out your favourite music and driving through the sheets of grey rain and misty mountains.

It charged my dwindling batteries.

I’m back.

Chair.. welcome to your new life.. time for a re -vamp

Chair.. welcome to your new life.. time for a re -vamp

Channeling Liberty of London with beautiful florals..

Channeling Liberty of London with beautiful florals..

de·part·ment store

A large store stocking many varieties of goods in different departments

I love a department store. After all the posts I’ve written, each with a definition, somehow reading the above sentence makes my heart race more than previous ones. Words like ‘store’ and ‘goods’ do something for me.

I’m not sure if this passion for the department store is because I’m a stylist, or because I’m just getting old. Maybe it’s the perfect combination of both. Memories of growing up in the UK and my utter loathing of John Lewis, where my Mum used to buy just about everything; are flooding back to me. I considered the place extremely un-cool, especially when it came to clothes. I must admit I’m still not a fan of the John Lewis brand. Something about it seems very clinical, like a local pharmacy. But I am warming to the place in my old age. Especially the homes and interiors department –  commissioning the revival of the G Plan range was genuis. My friends in London bought their super stylish G Plan sofa from John Lewis, and I had quite a pang of living room envy when I stayed with there. Turning into my mother it seems. John Lewis, you never know, we may be reunited.

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Sofa by G Plan. Baby by me.

During my formative years I was more of a House of Fraser girl, Debenhams on a bad week. If I still lived there, I’ve convinced myself my ‘go to’ place would be Harvey Nichols. For special occasions, I believe there is nowhere in the world like Liberty of London. Growing up, Liberty was always there, lingering, slightly out of my reach in all its Tudor glory in Soho. Fabric and fragrance heaven.

Now I live in America, all of these brands are often a fond memory and I must decide whether I’m a Macy’s, Bloomingdales or Saks girl. There are so many here.. maybe Lord & Taylor, who am I? Bergdorf Goodman is far too sombre for me.  It’s the kind of store I feel like I have to be very quiet in, and pretend I’m much richer than I really am. I think I am none of the above.

My heart lies truly with ABC home. It is a department store of it’s own breed and it’s also my nirvana, I have said it before and I say it again –  I want to live there. Although this week I stumbled across a $1200 pillow cover. Indian vintage. I’ve been to India, I’m sure I saw something just like it on a bench in a cheap hotel. Come on ABC, be reasonable. I could go on holiday to India and buy 10 pillows.

Flat pack mini tables and chairs. With a splash on neon.. ABC you total flirt.

Flat pack mini tables and chairs. With a splash on neon.. ABC you total flirt.

Recently, in my Brooklyn neighborhood; we aqcuired our very own department store. Or ‘tiny’ department store as the owner describes it. I fell upon the eponymously named, Jill Lindsey store one morning and couldn’t believe my eyes. Just what we need, a tiny department store! Luckily for me, I adore all the departments.. gifts, pottery, candles, vintage finds and fashion. Each of them miniscule. The store also has it’s own oyster and champagne situtaion going on out the back.. in a quiet and cute little garden. Like gold dust in Brooklyn.. a garden.. this will be my summer ‘go to’ I’m sure.

It’s wonderful to see so many small an independent businesses popping up in Brooklyn, not only are they all after my own heart, it’s fabulous to feel a sense of community that we can support and enjoy. It’s another reason to keep me from the sweat box that is Manhattan…

Still, nothing will keep me permanently from my little fix of drifting the aisles of fabrics, pillows and nick nacks.. gliding up and down elevators with the aircon blowing in my hair… big department stores are still pretty cool too…….my age tells me so.

Jill Lindsey, mini deparment store Fort Greene.

Jill Lindsey, mini deparment store Fort Greene.

Jill Lindsey, mini department store Fort Greene

Jill Lindsey, mini department store Fort Greene