I had a magical day last week when the rest of the world was at work and Harry was in nursery and I could pack up the car and head to the coast at Brighton for a few hours of mooching around vintage markets and architectural antiques barns – heaven.  Brighton has a very unique vibe and is a mecca for artists, craftspeople and alternative lifestyles; you’d struggle to find a McDonalds but if you’re looking for a vegan, gluten-free falafel with wheatgrass juice you’ll be spoilt for choice. The Lanes near the seafront is a twisty, windy area stuffed with one-off shops and galleries, and some very cool homeware stores.  I bravely resisted the urge to burn my credit card until I came to a huge and rambling vintage shop called Snoopers Paradise which hosts lots of different antique and second-hand dealers.  I set myself a max. budget of £70 ($110) and here’s what ended up coming home with me…

This vintage flag cost just a few pounds and I bought it thinking it would be great in the garden for future boy-activities like the building of camps and adventure games; perhaps it would mark home vs enemy territory, be hung from the top of a play castle or be waved triumphantly as the victory pendant of the winning side… but now I’m very taken with it where it is, dangling from a stair rail in my office; we’ll just have to fight over it later.

The sea-green tin trunk weighs hardly anything (though it didn’t feel like it by the time I’d manhandled it to the car…), and would make a great blanket box for the end of a bed.  I’m thinking of the smallest bedroom at the top of our house, which has a hideaway feel to it, and is a cosy, calming space.  It’s next on our project list for redecoration and this chest will probably be the basis for the colour palette I use.  I thought about stencilling letters on it, but the more I look at it the more I’m inclined to leave it alone; all views on this welcome!

This old printers tray (above) would originally have held fonts for typesetting, and will make great quirky storage.  I can’t decide whether to wall-mount it in Harry’s playroom to store the ever-increasing number of small character figures he is accumulating, and which are forever getting lost down the sofa / in pockets / in the car never to be seen again…

…Or whether to use it as flat tray storage for my miscellany of embellishments, findings, glitters and magpie-like collections, per below.

Finally, one last small purchase was this dusty old pocket book guide to birds eggs, from the time when it was perfectly acceptable to spend weekends rummaging around in birds nests and collecting eggs to bring home and label.  I’m thinking I will use some of the beautiful tonal watercolour plates for future Easter cards and home decorations, or maybe simply create a miniature framed collection to hang on the wall.

I only get to do this about twice  year (which is just as well, given the amount of eclectic junk I drag home each time…), but it’s one of the things I love, and definitely a case of the journey – the rummaging, speculating, pondering and pouncing – being as much fun as the destination itself.