After a long absence …Faro

May 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

IMG_3605A recent trip to Portugal’s Algarve region went by pretty uneventfully until the last day. We had some time to kill before the afternoon flight back home, the tourist information guide for the Algarve mentioned that Faro was worth a visit and it certainly was! First we hit the local shopping area, which proved to be average. After a quick purchase of one single copper Cataplana (we only just managed to refrain ourselves from buying the whole set), we headed towards the Old Town (Cidade Velha). On our approach to the entrance of the old city gates we spotted Storks’ nesting on the roof of the gate and winding streets leading to an orange tree lined square, with cafe’s that were certainly beginning to make us think we should have come here first…. this was beginning to look up.

6, Rua Da Porta Nova

Inside the old city gates was quiet and full of old world charm, not a Costa Coffee in sight to spoil the view. Quickly regretted eating in the shopping centre as delightful cafes began to appear down interesting side roads, then just off the main square we saw a couple of people exiting from an almost hidden doorway.

I decide to investigate. As I stepped inside the doorway, I took a deep breath. Yes, I was happy now. I feasted my eyes on various eclectic objects and a whole world of antique tiles.

As we purchased a few tiles (aware that we really couldn’t carry huge amounts on the plane), we stuck up a conversation with the owner Mr Joaquim de Silva Carneiro.

Portugese Antique Tiles Purchase from Joacquim Da Silva

Portugese Antique Tiles

Cigdem in Rue Da Porta Nova

Cigdem in Rue Da Porta Nova

Having apologised for his lack of English (which made us feel very shameful for not knowing a word of Portuguese),he very kindly let us take some pictures of his shop and then told us he would show us his private collection housed next door.

What a pleasure it was to see such an amazing cornucopia of treasures in this private museum. Whether beautiful intact tile collections that far exceeded the wonders we had just seen in the shop, artefacts recovered from the cathedrals earthquake damage – including some stunning wooden statues and doors. An elegant Chinoise travel wardrobe – sourced from a hotel. A pair of deco chandeliers, a deco bathroom, a woodworm decimated monk, an unusual rounded wooden desk with so many secret drawers… and so much more.

The secret door with Joaquim Da Silva Carneiro

The secret door with Joaquim Da Silva Carneiro

The building itself was also interesting with its very modern graffiti backdrop, hand painted doors for storage, quirky stairs and balustrades, wooden doorways that might be part of the fixtures or another collectible from the cathedral… it turns out originally to be a simple boatman’s workshop. Outside the building is right on the harbour with no noticeable doors or windows you would easily walk past this hidden gem and never know what wonders you had just missed.

We are eternally grateful to Mr Joaquim de Silva Carneiro for sharing his collection with strangers.


Shoreditch: Part Two

June 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

Here we go, as promised, these are just some close-ups of the kitchen area. We are waiting for our Jielde lights to arrive from France for the kitchen wall to take more photos.

Bought a set of copper pans from The French House for David as a birthday present! I think he liked them, even though it’s not every man’s idea of a good gift (David’s note: I have actually used them to cook real food… not just baked beans!). We chose the tiles and the peg rail from Fired Earth to match the cherry wood worktop.

Copper pans from The French House

We have an ugly new boiler hanging on the kitchen wall and it was a job to decide what to do with it. Cruising the net we found these radiator grills from Retrouvius and decided to hide the offending item. Labour and Wait sell aluminium pegs that have come in very handy for hanging postcards and other interesting items.

Gold coated metal mesh radiator grill

Gold coated metal mesh radiator grill

Metal grates cut to cover boiler, with postcards to cover

On a recent trip to the Hop Gallery in Lewes, for the Art22 group’s exhibition, we came across these mugs by potter Rosemary Land at the Hamid Pottery. We could have bought so much more, but had to restrain ourselves! Handmade pottery is very much a weakness of ours.

Rosemary Land pottery mugs with Bouges Francais Candles

Fortnum and Mason have some very tasteful designs on their tins for the Diamond Jubilee. Yet more birthday presents for David. Lucky, lucky man! I am reliably told that the Piccadilly biscuits are delicious.

I am so keen on Falcon enamelware that I think we shall have to stock it on the website soon. I need to get on to it straight away.

1. 2 x Cherry wood 9 Peg rails cut to fit-Fired Earth. 2. Cherry wood Hanging shelf-Fired Earth. 3. Glazed Valencia tiles – Fired Earth. 4. Solid cherry wood top and splash back. 5. Vintage manual button hole press (gift). 6. Enamel mugs – Falcon. 7. Silver Tea strainer-Fortnum & Mason. 8. Olive oil (gift). 9. Bouges Francais Candles-Labor & Wait in Redchurch Street. 10. Espresso Cups-Rosemary Land. 11. Cork lidded sea salt from Aix-en-provence. 12. Rococo chocolates. 13. Enamel tea pot-TK Max!. 14. Tuna in olive oil-Brindesi in Borough Market. 15. Jubille tea from Fortnum & Mason. 16. Jubilee Biscuits (almost all eaten)-Fortnum & Mason. 17. Biscuits-Fortnum & Mason. 18. Virgin Olive Oil-Brindesi in Borough Market. 19. Pepper grinder-Waitrose. 20. Ginger & Lemon tea – M&S. 21. & 22. Tea-Fortnum & Mason.

Blackboard and Peg Rail from Fired Earth, feather duster from Labor & Wait and Spice Rack … can’t remember.

A trip down memory lane

October 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

After an unusually hot few weeks in October, it looks like autumn has finally arrived. Although exciting, preparations for the pop-up shop and taking part in London Design Festival meant that September flew by. I met some really interesting people during the Design Festival week and came away with lots of new ideas, all of which I hope to share over the coming months.

Back in Raw Dice HQ, I am prone to daydreaming of the last few months and years…

It seems like only yesterday, but early in September we were foraging for blackberries in the hedgerows. Cow parsley was still flowering in the fields. Although their main flowering season is April to June, apparently it can also be found flowering sporadically the rest of the year. Such wholesome fun (!) reminded me of our holiday in southern Sicily a few years ago.

Spring is one of my favourite seasons (the other being autumn), burgeoning with new life and vitality. Spring time in Sicily did not disappoint. Having no need to pack for the beach, we were free to roam amongst the almond groves of Greek Temples and follow the footsteps of the Normans and explore the remains of their castles. We were close to Agrigento, where you can find the Greek Temple of Concordia. The views were a sight to behold.

We stayed in a rustic farmhouse Azienda Agricola Mandranova. The owners Giuseppe and Sylvia made us feel very welcome, treating us like guests in their home. I particularly enjoyed cooking the evening meal for all the guests with Sylvia (she runs private cookery lessons). I love food, especially cooking and eating it! The style was very much home cooking, using the freshest of ingredients with lots of olive oil (resort produces its own), prepared without fuss or pretension.

The other vivid memory I have of our Sicilian idyll is of the array of wild flowers that were in full bloom. They were in abundance everywhere, especially on the verges. Now, I am reminded of this holiday and the images of the wild flowers whenever I look at the ceramic lighting and vases we have of Liz Emtage’s. She too draws her inspiration from summer holidays and the beauty of the natural world. Her vases become translucent when lit and never fail to evoke images of a very pleasant holiday and allow me to day dream. Capturing the essence of  happy memories, makes life worth living and makes me feel connected to the here and now.

Liz Emtage Cowparley Lamp

Liz Emtage printed tea lights/vases

To see the full range of Liz Emtage ceramics we have on offer, go to Raw Dice.

By the way, despite investing in a jam thermometer, I still managed to have a disaster in my blackberry jelly making attempt. First try, it didn’t set. Now it has set too much and is difficult to spread! The crab apple jelly from a few weeks ago is too runny! The raspberry jam is a hit though. They say third time lucky!

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