Northington Grange

To me, Northington Grange, just outside Alresford, is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places I have seen.  It is one of the first sites I saw on my very first visit to England, and I still love to go there today – and today I did!

A bit of history, taken from
Sir Robert Henley (c.1624–92), a wealthy politician, bought an estate and modest country house known as The Grange in 1662. Three years later, he commissioned the architect William Samwell to build a new impressive residence to replace the house.

This residence was drastically transformed from 1809, when the architect William Wilkins – an expert on ancient Greek architecture – rendered the exterior to give it the appearance of a Greek temple.

Wilkins had been commissioned by Henry Drummond (1786–1860), then owner of the house, who wanted something sensational in the latest neoclassical taste. But he disliked the result and sold the estate in 1817 to his neighbour Alexander Baring, whose family continued to alter and embellish the house throughout the 19th century.

After neglect and the threat of total demolition, the house was taken into guardianship in 1975 and is today in the care of English Heritage.

Below are some photographs that I took today:

In 2003, the Grange Park Opera built a theatre in the Conservatory.  This year I was lucky enough to be able to get a ticket to a rehearsal of Eliogabalo.  It was my first opera experience and I loved it!  It was a gorgeous June evening, and we had a picnic on the lawns to the front of this magnificent mansion as the sun began to set, with the sound of champagne corks popping and even a flock of geese flew over.

The only way I can describe it is prefectly gorgeous!

Keep yourself organised…a greener way…

Ceramic NotepadThe new Not On The High Street catalogue arrive a short while ago, filled with all sorts of “must haves”!

This is website is such a great place for gifts, clothing and home decor items.  You can always count on finding something truly gorgeous.

As I am a keen organiser and interested in all things green; I thought this ceramic notepad was a fantastic idea! Would look great mounted onto a wall or even just on the kitchen table.  No more post-its and bits of notepaper lying around!

This can be purchased from Not On The High Street for just £12.

Caracoli Coffee House & Food Store in Alresford

On a dreary wet Sunday afternoon, there is only one thing to perk me up – hot chocolate and cake.  Having just returned from Caracoli in Alresford to a cosy crackling fire; I can confidently tell myself that moving from sunny SA to England was certainly the right choice!

I adore Caracoli, there is just so much to be tempted with; a delicious choice of coffees, teas, cakes and nibbles or a light lunch with a glass of wine.  The staff are so friendly and the shop has a buzzing yet relaxing atmosphere, the perfect place to just relax and browse their selection of newspapers and magazines or take advantage of the WiFi hot spot.  If you are anything like me, you could just sit back and “people watch” (not too obviously of course!)

Remember Willie’s Chocolate Factory?  Well, Caracoli now stock some of his delicious chocolate bars. He has the most fantastic website, it has to be seen.  Another interesting item I spotted today was gourmet popcorn by Zaramama, it looks absolutely divine and coupled with a DVD will make a great gift to a movie lover (hint-hint, nudge-nudge, you know who you are!).  Other bits that always catch my eye are pastas, herbal teas by T2, chocolate swizzle sticks and mini marshmallows, chocolate coffee beans, cook books, Martin Gulliver crockery and just way too many more to list!

Whether you need to stock up your pantry or find a gift or greeting card for someone special, then Caracoli is the right place to go, especially as they are open 7 days a week.  I think we can all agree we have found ourselves in a mild state of panic on a weekend having remembered a birthday yet have no gift or card! Panic no more!

Happy Caracoli-ing!

Caracoli Coffee House & Food Store
15 Broad Street
SO24 9AR

01962 738730

Opening Hours:
Monday to Saturday: 08:30 – 17:00
Sunday: 10:00 – 17:00

The Alresford Linen Company

Unless you have been living under a rock, you will know that what was once known as Flairs, is now The Alresford Linen Company.  Locals, Stephen and Melita Glaister have taken over the drycleaners in Alresford.   Melita is the co-owner and founder of the popular Meka, on West Street in Alresford, and Stephen was a restaurateur in South London, before taking over the drycleaning business.

Not able to stop there, they have taken over what was once The Eastern Arts Gallery next door, and that will be The Alresford Linen Cupboard.  Those of you who have either been in or passed by, will know that even in the middle of their refurbishment, they are showing signs of what will be a chic wonderful place to shop.  Drycleaning errands have never really been the most exciting task on my to do list, but I actually find myself looking forward to those drop-offs and collections!

Alresford will now be able to provide us with beautiful linens, I have also spotted some gorgeous smelling goodies, cotton nightwear, hooks and other delightful home decor items.

As far as the drycleaning service goes, I have used them twice so far, and the service, is quick and friendly with competitive prices.

The Alresford Linen Company
7 Broad Street, Alresford, SO24 9AR
01962 734221 – under construction