Sunday, 4 August 2013

A Little Kitsch, A Conquered Gnome and The Fairy Shop

My faithful little car has developed a chronic case of bronchitis through the winter months,
it was thought that a longish Tiki Tour out & about might do it some good.
So, we headed to Napier to warm up the engine
& take in a hill or two.
We paused at the top of Hospital Hill to wander in the Botanical gardens for a few minutes & discovered this flowering tree..
resplendently orange, although I have no idea what it is? Any thoughts?
Out the other side,
overlooking the central city.
The Guys Hill lamp post was feeling a little giddy.
And this angel just couldn't bare to look.
I'm sure she only had eyes for this crisp new daffodil.
How else would she know that it is spring?
Just across the road stands Ormond Chapel, one of the oldest buildings in Napier. Built around 1869 as a school room, it was moved all the way up the hill to stand beside the cemetery in 1919.
 I can't imagine how they undertook such a feat..
but here are the faithful old doors.
And perched on high, the resident feline bell-ringer.
"And just exactly who might you be?
And what do you want?"
We incorporated other very important jobs like having a cup of tea at The Kitchen Table into our itinerary
While sipping tea & finding a book about how to knit your own dog, we came to the conclusion that we feel so comfy amidst vintagey things because they are so friendly, welcoming & familiar...
& frequently silly!
Do you take life too seriously?
It's pretty easy to do,
I find, anyway.
Mind you, you just never know what's going to be waiting around the corner in life, now do you.
Retro things are often thoroughly entertaining...
& frequently surprising.
I thought, when I found this knitted blanket at Connections a while back, that I might give it to Anna & Kaitiaki but I'm not too sure about that idea.
We think the vehicular chestiness may have improved a little since our excursion.

We love to walk around our own neighbourhood when there are winter sunshiney days.
Expect the unexpected is quite a good motto. And keep your eyes peeled.
Sometimes it's been pretty chilly here & especially when I don't feel so well, I have been running some lovely deep warm baths & adding this strange looking mixture in to the water. 
No, you don't just throw it in like that!
I tie it all up in muslin first.
There are plenty of recipes for bath salts & many more potions to be found in every chemist in the land but this little combination is pure heaven & especially wonderful for scratchy skin conditions.
In my bowl is 1/2 cup of rolled oats, 1/2 cup of marshmallow..the herb. Either the dried leaf or the root is just the same, then comes a small handful of dried lavender & a drop or two of your favourite essential oil. 
I love rose or ylang ylang the best. Tie it up with ribbon or string & throw it in the running bath. To all of this, add one cup of baking soda (I keep a big jar of it in the bathroom) & yourself!
The oats & marshmallow will soon release their goodness & sooth away all your cares... at this point you can give the bag a little squeeze. Marshmallow is highly mucilaginous & feels amazing rubbed on to the skin. This is a very useful help for kids with ezcema too. You can use the bag once more if having another bath within a few days, sometimes I just top it up a bit. This week I am going to make up a few bags in advance.
When I found this nice old coffee jar at the Market last week I didn't think too much of it until Rob looked up Strangs & discovered that it was indeed quite a goody.
It seems that:

"David Strang had a factory in Esk Street, Invercargill from late 19th century till 1960 that produced spices, jellies, essences and coffee. Strang's were the first New Zealand firm to produce Instant Coffee." 
 And what a surprise to find this delightful story on stuff : 10/7/2012

"For two Invercargill women the David Strang coffee mill in the city was a place of romance, picnics, dances and, of course, work.
The historic facade of the mill was uncovered last week when walls were demolished at the rear of the Southland Education building in Esk St.

Freda Gorton and Margery Williamson, who worked at the mill during the 1940s, contacted The Southland Times yesterday to tell of a "great place to work" and much more.

They believe they are the only surviving staff members from that time.

The 85-year-old Invercargill ladies laugh and giggle like schoolgirls as they recall the mischief they got up to at their first job, where they immediately struck up a lasting friendship.

They tell tales of love and romance, picnics organised by their bosses and dances most nights after work.

Mrs Gorton can still name all the "handsome delivery boys" and with a twinkle in her eye, she describes one that gave her a cuddle, but that's all she is telling..." read more here

Camelias are the joy of winter, for certain.
Scentuous is so pretty & a nice compact little bush.
Oh dear, my friend Wendy told me about the Fairy Shop in Auckland yesterday, she took her granddaughter there recently. Isn't it delightful! Shall we have a fairy party?
 I really, really want to sit on one of these little toadstool seats!
Thanks so much for coming to see me. You are amazing.
I hope you live amidst flowers & fairies & kindness this week.


  1. I love the bucket fairy seats! You are so smart, making the bath companions that are so healthy and soothing.
    You always take such lovely photos, GK. Are you aching for warmer weather?
    We have cooler weather (a bit) coming toward the end of the week and I might go to the shops then. They never have air conditioning, of course.
    Have a good and healthy week. I hope you are feeling very much better soon.

  2. I can't tell you how much I enjoy reading your posts! I love hearing all about the 'unfamiliar to me' places & plants where you live. Your bath soak recipe came at the perfect time for me. I'll be trying it - though I've never heard of the marshmallow herb. I'll have to search for it here. It's mosquito season at my house & they have been so bad. A soothing soak would do wonders for me.

    I love the name 'The Kitchen Table'. It sounds like going home & I'd enjoy sitting on a toadstool too. I have a fairy ring of toadstools in my garden (arranged by me but I hope the fairies will make one of their own someday. In the meantime I sometimes find them toppled over so I know they've played around it during the night.

    I am nearing the end of 'The Forgotten Garden'. I hope to finish it within a few days if I can fit some reading time in around what needs to be done. I am enjoying it so much I don't want it to end too quickly.

    1. Hello dear Jenny, yes..The Kitchen Table was an inspired name really. It does precisely evoke the feel of going home.
      How wonderful...a fairy ring of toadstools!
      Marshmallow is quite a common herb & should be sold at a health food or organics shop somewhere near you..? It is not essential as the oats will be soothing all by themselves but it is so smooth & kind. I have a marshmallow plant growing in a pot but it seems to die down in winter & rejuvenate come spring. I will have to remember to dry as many leaves as possible this year.
      Aloe vea gel is very helpful for mossie bites that are you use that?
      Yes I felt just the same about nearing the end of the book. It's quite a rare book, I find that makes me feel that way, so perhaps I'll pop it into my book shelf & remember to read it again in a year or two. With my memory it'll be a whole fresh story by then & I'm sure I'll love it all over again!
      Thank you so much for visiting & your heart-warmingly lovely comments. So much appreciated Much love Catherine x0x

  3. Hello dear Catherine ... your trip to Napier was a bit of a "memory lane trip" for me as I remember as a young girl (many years ago now!!) spending lots of holidays with my favourite Aunty who lived at Marewa, & she did meals on wheels so we went out most days & the steep hills was what I recall so vividly & sometimes even being scared when she parked on one to deliver the meal!!!
    I especially LOVED the cat guarding the bell tower - look at that face!!!
    The Kitchen Table teashop looks a most interesting place - & your bath bags look just about perfect for this time of year & a long hot soak - I do love a good bath after a days gardening.
    Yes I would love to join you for a sit on one of those toadstool chairs in The Fairy Shop. We could solve a few of the worlds problems I am sure!!! Have a great week - thick fog here this morning. Much love Julie x0x

    1. Hello dear Julie, What a funny old experience going out & about on Napier Hill doing meals on wheels! No wonder it was memorable. One year we decided to walk all around on the Hill & found ourselves amazed at how many walkways & flights of stairs there were that would take you from one lane or cul-de-sac to another. Quite a lot like Wellington in that respect.
      Much love my friend Catherine x0x0x

  4. Oh my what a charming post, anything with faeries and goblins has my attention. Such lovely knitted wee folk and oooo those toadstools are to die for ... Thank you ~ Sarah x

    1. Hello Sarah, thanks so much for popping in. So glad that this post appealed to you. It did rather make me giggle the idea of knitting fairies & goblins! I am having a good old think about how I could make some toadstool seats. I am so taken with them..then you'll have to pop by for tea : )
      Much love Catherine x0x0x

  5. Every visit to your blog is bursting with flowers and fairies and kindness, that is why I love it so much. Now, just to be different I’m going to start from the bottom up!! Yes, I would love to attend a fairy party and sit in those toadstool chairs. The tale of Freda and Marjorie made me smile, as did the little knitted dog, the drunken road sign, and the fairy with her hand over her ear. That reminded me of the "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" proverb. I’ve no idea what the orange shrub is, but it’s very pretty, as is the daffodil. I’m glad your little car is feeling a little better, and I do hope you are too! Hugs Barbara

    1. Barbara you are so kind!! Thank you for your wonderfully uplifting comments. My new friend Wendy (I met here at the Hospice charity shop in town) told me last week that she took her wee grand-daughter Holly to the Fairy Cafe a week or two ago & they both just adored it all. A beautiful fairy lady came & painted Holly's face & nails & she was entranced by the whole experience. What a charming & innocent way to build the sweetest memories together. And as you know from your book collecting & dispensing...childhood memories are so important & often quite indelible. Thank you for visiting. Much love Catherine x0x0x

  6. i love the shape of the coffee jar! those knitty dogs are hilarious. i just started following a lady who blogs mad and rad crochet creatures its called ginx craft-check out the crochet baboon, its my favourite. i love that view and those trees on the water front, we stayed on the hill a few years ago in a b & b and just spent hours gazing down and around. i like the sound of your body scrub, not sure where i'd find marshmallow herb but i shall cast around and see if anyone around here has some in their garden. hope your feeling better lovely, have a nice week x

  7. Love those sweet knitted fairies. Such character about them.

  8. Catherine, a delightful post (love the Faerie shoppe)! I'll have to try the bath salts one day.
    Thank you for sharing,

  9. What a big cat :) I made mistake in your adress and two days ago I received my letter. So I have to send it again. Please forgive me. :(


So lovely of you to leave a comment. Thank you!! So sorry if you've tried to leave one & it hasn't worked. You are welcome to email me at instead, if you'd like to, much love Catherine♥

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