Monday, June 20, 2011

My most photo-rich post ever!

You have been warned! ;-))
Part 1:
June 29th marks the 5th anniversary of my little ol' blog! - Which seems like as good a time as any in which to re-evaluate my space here on the world wide web; to look back over the 760+ posts that I've published and launched into cyberspace, and to consider what makes me and others blog.
We all blog for our own reasons:
Perhaps it is a diary to record the little things that happen each week. Some use their blogs to offer inspiration, to teach or inform. Sometimes it is a soap box to spark debate, with the author prepared to write provocative or controversial posts in order to get people thinking. Many of us use our blogs to advertise our businesses, or promote an event that we organise. For others, it is simply a desire to make friends. What ever your reasons, YOUR blog is yours to do with as you wish.
Just as with books, magazines or television programmes, you will have your favourites - Those you read religiously, as well as those you may only dip into now and then.
It was brought to my attention recently, via an email, that my blog may be lacking 'something' these days. This saddened me a little at first, as I work very hard to fit in my blogging time around everything else that I now have to do. Since opening my shop, my life has changed quite dramatically over the last 18 months...
But, as from today, I am going to try and add a little bit of sparkle back to my blog.
I have no hidden agenda and I think that I have always said, that I write my simple and light-hearted blog as a way to advertise my small business and to connect with like-minded people. I think it also helps put a 'face' to an on-line business, making it feel more personal to a visitor. If you enjoy stopping-by, I am flattered that you do...and you will always be welcome :)
If you just dip in now and then to see what's new, then that is fine too and it will always be nice to see you here.
Some may be bored by my mention of my shop and quickly click away again. For others, this type of posting is their favourite. I will continue to account for the goings-on in my shop, as it is such a large part of my life now, and so is a large part of what makes me, me. I do try hard to make sure my blog is not just an advert by adding other topics in-between those featuring my shop or products.
As with most things though, you can't please all of the people, all of the time. Touring the blogging circuit takes a lot of time, and for the majority of us, our time to do so is limited. I am always grateful for the visitors that I do receive and for the followers who stick by me. Perhaps you feel my blog has reached its natural conclusion? Or maybe you'd like to continue with me on my journey, as I record some of the things that make me tick?
To conclude this introduction to my post;
I aim to be here for anyone wanting to pop in on my postings - Here's to the next 5 years!
"Happy Blogging and Keep it Your Way!"

'Blogging without obligation',
Niki x
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Part 2:
I thought I'd use my anniversary posting to give a taste of what has gone before and hopefully what I shall continue with here at Nostalgia at the Stone House.

A large part of my time is taken with treasure hunting. Not precious valuables, but pretty vintage pieces that have had a life and for me have soul.

I love nothing better than to come home after a day's trawling of a fair or flea market and to unpack my bags to rediscover the delights I was able to come home with.
To go through everything again, looking and relishing the details, is what makes me happy.
To be able to take photographs and to share my discoveries on my blog with you, makes it all the more special.

From a humble button...
To a rose printed trinket pot!
Some pieces I keep and find a home for amongst my collections...
Some things are tucked away and stored until a friend's Birthday comes along, when I can offer them what I believe to be the perfect gift.
Most items though, I have to reluctantly say goodbye to, and offer for sale at a fair, my shop or on-line. It can be tough sometimes, as I generally only buy what I love myself and would be happy to have in my own home...But I can't keep everything! :)

Making a living from selling special things has its own rewards and I get to meet wonderful people who share my passion for tat!
Over the years a lot of 'stuff' has passed through my hands on its way to a new home...

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Which leads me nicely onto another of my favourite blog topics...My collections (I have a very tolerant and understanding hubby you know?! ;-))
The red and white china gets used in our kitchen every day, by all the family.
Quilts and eiderdowns are always at the ready to offer a cosy cuddle...The problem with them is they come in so many beautiful prints and colours...it can be difficult to let them slip through my fingers...
The teeniest of trinkets in one of my glazed cabinets...
Have I ever mentioned I love interior books? I'm not the only one, right?!
Not really a 'collection', more a tumbling mass of bits and bobs...but I love each and every item for the stories I'm sure they would tell me, if only they could talk...
Violets. Say no more.
Bathroom paraphernalia.
My name is Niki and I have a problem...
I just love hats TOOO much! ;-))
Brassy trinkets...
More precious to me than gold and diamonds.
Gorgeous old postcards and the moment in time they record.

Love em' or hate em'...My heads on sticks! (as my daughter always calls them!)
Hat stands to any one else! - Fit for a flapper girl to store her favourite cloche.
Always a girl's favourite, right? - But these shoes never see my tootsies inside them.

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My hand made items could quite easily become the largest section of my blog, as rarely a day goes by when I don't create something. Its one of the reasons I started my other blog (which has already notched-up 170+ posts) - I can now keep most of my hand made products separate and just show some of the more special pieces here on my main blog.
I have always loved making things. As I child I had a small collection of 'Make it' books which were always well used. I have sewn for as long as I can remember. Christmas was a great outlet for me to pass on some of my hand made items to Grand parents and aunties.
To now be able to sell some of my hand made products is very special to me. For someone to show appreciation for your time and energies and the passion each item reflects, is very gratifying.
I have made thousands of items over the years and have enjoyed trying new ideas which keep things fresh for me. I love picking up some fabric and glue now and then, as a contrast to time sat at my sewing machine.

The numerous fairs have proven a great outlet for selling the smaller items, particularly at Christmastime when the pressure is on for people to find pretty, unique and inexpensive gifts.

Colour is very important to me and I love to experiment.

Putting colour coordinated gift sets together is always a lot of fun.

Re-purposing vintage items gives me a lot of satisfaction too.
My dolls...each one is always a one-of-a-kind.
The fact that I am able to use antique and vintage fabrics in my work, means I never tire of using them...They don't go out of fashion, as they have already stood the test of time. They have character and a softness that is just not replicated in modern textiles.
Have I said enough?! :)
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Then there are the slightly bigger projects that I occasionally work on. I'm a firm believer in the power of paint and the capability it has to completely transform an old and tired item of furniture. If it doesn't work out how you thought...then just try another colour!
White is always a great standby though. This old washstand was a piece I made over many years ago. I used 'eiderdown' fabric in the door panels and the back board. We've used it in our living room, I've had it in my workroom and now it is in our spare bedroom awaiting a re-paint...watch this space! ;-))

Our sofa has had a few different covers on it over the years...(all vintage fabrics, of course!)

I've made new slings with matching cushions for lots of deckchairs, which have all gone to new homes.
Fabric plays its part in a lot of my make-overs...
But vintage wallpaper has its merits too.
(As does an old sack!)
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And map!
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Of course I haven't kept all of those pieces of furniture, or we'd be unable to move at home...But most of the pieces that I do hang on to, find a place where they have to earn their usefulness...
The white piece on our landing stayed for a magazine photo-shoot once, then it had to go...not enough cupboard space for me...pretty, but not practical.
I've shown lots of photos of our home over the 5 years I've been Blogging. I've changed several of the rooms in that time...not radical stuff, just a re-paint or a furniture move...The landing has had various curtains too!
For now it looks like this...
The laundry room went from OTT French...
To 'Grannyfied'!
Kitchen went from French blue...

To floral...
To French red!
The back living room has been sugary sweet...
Bold floral...
And now back to my dependable red check!
One of our biggest projects was the creation of my workroom from our cellar space...
The morphing bench had to go first...
and was cut down to fit under our staircase in the hall.
A new staircase was built from our back living room down into the cellar...
And we were able to create my little space under the house.

Bedrooms have moved around as our daughters have started to leave home one by one...

And other areas have been tweaked and faffed...sadly my faffing time is a thing of the past and so little has changed at home for a while.
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Simple touches are the order of the day these days...
Such as bringing flowers in from our garden and placing them in positions around our home where they can be enjoyed. The painted dresser is a favourite spot, as we walk past it all the time on our way to the kitchen.
I love to pick flowers from every season...
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These pink roses were a special present from a friend.
During the warmer months, down the garden path, the posies find their way into the summer house too.
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Time in my garden is my therapy...I always feel better when I've had an hour or so working in our little patch.
There's always so much to do, as the garden we inherited with the house was quite mature...
It takes a lot of taming; although I never quite get there if truth be known, but its fun trying.
I've posted throughout the seasons on my blog.
Spring

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Early Summer
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High Summer
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Winter
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I love to record the places we visit...
Be those on our doorstep...
(Bath and Wells)
Or those just a little further afield.
Its fun to discover new places...and if those places include a pretty row of cottages, then so much the better. :)
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We do like a 'seaside fix' now and then too.
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And whilst we're out and about, if I discover a small independent shop that I think worthy of note, I'll always let you know!
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We sometimes have the occasional holiday too.

France always captures our heart.
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Finally, there's the special occasions that find a slot on my blog.
Christmas never passes-by without a mention...
Or two.
Last year hubby and I celebrated our Silver Wedding.
And during my blog's small lifespan, both of our parents have celebrated 50 years together!
Some events aren't quite so personal, such as a Victorian evening hubby and I got dressed up for.
And I always like to mention the fairs that I've been to, either as a visitor, such as the Artisan Market in Frome...
Or as a stall holder, at various vintage events that we are now all familiar with on the Blogging circuit.
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So, to close...I'd like to thank all of those who have visited my blog. Some have been there since day one and have now become good friends. (How Blogger has changed since those early days...Do you remember when it was virtually impossible to upload more than about 4 photos, before Blogger would freeze and refuse any more for that day?! It used to take an age to put together a post...and some of us were still on dial-up then!!)
Others of you have visited me at fairs, at my shop, or have emailed from near, or across the waves...All special people, and all of whom I doubt I would have met, had it not been for my blog.
I probably wouldn't have started writing one, had it not been for my small business, so my little shop will always be there in my postings now and then...
Besides, I think I've come a long way since the days when it was a room on the side of our house (now our kitchen!)
I thank you for joining me today and for sticking with my post till the end!
Have a happy week,
Niki x

29 comments:

  1. Sigh. I love to look at your photos. Happy Blogging Birthday!

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  2. What a lovely post. I love all the photo's and the peaks into your lovely home. Its inspiritional to see your creative style, your finds and it fills my heart with happiness. As long as you have the energy and time to continue what you are doing - and it must be so difficult with a family and a business - I will look forward to the next many years of your blog. Well done to your success. You know it takes someone very special for a blog, especially one where a business is involved, to stay interesting and exciting to have so many followers says a great deal about how very special this blog is. Best wishes and well done. Lynne xxx

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  3. Wow Niki, what a wonderful post, gorgeous photos. I have only skipped through it so far but I shall definitely be back so I can really enjoy it.
    Congratulations.
    Carol xx

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  4. "All hail the queen of nostalgia"

    Nicky this is just the most fantastic,mouth watering,gorgeous,beautiful,girly,dreamy, picture filled post ever!

    I have followed you ever since i started my own blog and i have sat here through many of those seasons and changes and have thoroughly enjoyed each and every post,you have the most fantastic way of writing your blog its as if we all know you and are friends.

    Your hand made items are made beautifully and made with such care and detail and i am proud to display them in my home and love each and every piece.

    I also love to read about Shepton Mallet and your shop as it is the next chapter and i am definatley going to visit one day!

    You can count me in for the next fifty years ;-))

    Love Kristina xxx

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  5. Thank you Nikki for sharing so much of what you love with us. Your collections are enviable! I am relatively new to blogging but from the moment I discovered your blog through the BBC Homes and Antiques article on your beautiful home, I knew I had stumbled upon a gem.
    In a throw away world, it is heartening when so-called 'tat' is rescued and given its rightful place in our homes...You have truly rescued 'Nostalgia' for so many of us and are a key player in keeping the cult of beauty alive. What a lady!
    Hollyx

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  6. wow, lovely, so glad you are carrying on..your house is great, but....those heads on sticks.....scared of them! lol

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  7. Hi Niki.
    Thank you for this wonderful post!
    Your store is a paradise, I have visited and settled there
    forever. ;o))
    I hope we'll see as soon as possible and I wish you good work.
    A dear greeting, Maria.
    (with translator)

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  8. Fabulous post Niki.....everything that you talked about and showed us is why I'm such a fan. Thank you for sharing it all with us:)

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  9. Dear Niki
    WOW! What an amazing post. Thank you for sharing all of your treasures with us. I so loce the photo near the top that has that amazing tea cup & saucer on it that looks like a flower. I so wish I lived in England, I would be a frequent flier in your shop :-) And MMMM That cake looks yummy.
    Your Friend
    Elizabeth xx

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  10. That was a lovely post. I read each one although I rarely comment because I have just run out of ways to say "that was a lovely post"! On the point of not wanting your blog to be just an advert for your shop; I think the care and time you take with photos; arranging, shooting, captioning etc shows you do it because you want to share. I can always tell when something has been put together just as an advert and I'm sure others can, too. Of course, it's perfectly fine to advertise your business; why should you spend time, energy and resources to make such gorgeous, inspiring things just so we can look at them and say "How lovely"? I view it as window shopping, browsing. If I want something badly enough I'd email you and ask to buy it mail order, and if I was nearer, I'd be planning a regular visit!

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  11. Hello Niki!! I'm so excited about this post...I've been hoping you'd do something like this with LOTS of pictures! LOVE your photography...you take the yummiest pictures. I always check in with your blog each day, and today was just over the top gorgeous!!! You know how you keep your favorite book or magazine near at hand, easy to find and how you just pick it up whenever you have a few moments to just gaze at the beautiful pictures?? Well, your blog is that magazine for me. If it's tatty on the edges, it's my fault. I've spent literally HOURS devouring each and every post and picture. I can't say I'm your biggest fan, but I can say that I've joined the huge crowd of your biggest fans...for there are far too many of us out here who would think they were your biggest fan!!!
    Oh how I wish I could visit and shop and touch and smell and look then BUY!!! I'd have a house full of your beautiful pillows and dolls and lovelies!! I get my inspiration from your blog, and I have enjoyed it so much since finding you. If I could find the lovely materials and fabrics you use I'd be in heaven. My whole house would be covered with them! But Texas doesn't have those so easily available...I just might have to have you send me a huge load!!
    You are a gifted and talented lady who inspires beauty. Thank you so much for all the beauty you share with us and Happy Blog Birthday.
    Blessings, Doni

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  12. Such a lovely post. Thanks for sharing so many wonderful pictures with us. Happy birthday, Ellen.

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  13. Happy 5th blogging Birthday Niki!

    What a lovely post. i could only read through it quickly this morning, but I shall pop back later to have a good nose :o)

    Thankyou for sharing such gorgeousness :o)

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  14. Hi Niki, happy blog birthday! I have been a lurker on yr blog for ages and absolutely adore it. I live in the south of the south Island of NZ, so far from your lovely shop! much to my husbands relief! I love your blog!!! It is always magical! I adore your violets and have often popped back to the post that shows the whole display in all its glory. Your garden and vases of flowers is very inspirational, as are the beautiful things you make and give new life to. I just love the items you have for sale in your shop.
    thankyou for all the loveliness you put into everyday life.

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  15. Oh, Niki, how lovely of you to take the time to share this wonderful post! I have followed your posts for several months and adore your work. Your home and garden reflect the beauty of your spirit, as does your creative work for your shoppe. It must be marvelous to live in an area where so may beautiful vintage items are available, and your generous personality shows in the lavish use of all the lovely things you add to each creation.
    I do sincerely enjoy your photographs and return to them time and time again when I want to just steep myself in loveliness and creativity. I suppose that I must apologize for enjoying your work so silently. Please KNOW that what you share here is so much appreciated and is encouraging to me and to many others, I am sure. You are helping to bring back the lost art of loveliness!
    I live in Virginia now and am moving soon to Iowa. If you and hubby ever try an excursion to this side of the pond, I hope you will come for a visit!
    May the good Lord richly bless you and your family!
    Very sincerely, Mary

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  16. Hi Niki
    Happy Blogaversary! That is some BIG posting to celebrate your stunning blog (and why not!) Fab pics as always, and of course thought provoking words too....Lizzie x (PS thank you for your kind comment on mine, I expect a few items of furniture look familiar!) xxx

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  17. Happy 5th! Your home looks stunning. I want to move in!!

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  18. I love your blog - PLEASE do not stop blgging it amazed me that manage to post like you do. Keep then coming - I love to hear about your life, your shop, your purchases and everything

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  19. Dear Niki ~ oh, how very thankful we are for your beautiful blog, for the loveliness you share with us each and every time (yes, Every Time!), for sharing your creativity and for your inspiring and encouraging words and glorious photographs! You are an excellent wordsmith, which makes your writing so easy to read ~ just like you're having a conversation with us. And I love the fact that you're so 'real' ~ wearing your heart on your sleeve, sharing your highs and your lows. Your stunning photographs are just such a delight to the eyes, and it's just such a joy to us to see your creativity bursting forth in so many ways ... from your home, to your garden, to your dolls, to your gorgeous shop, to your furnishings ... and the list goes on, and we thank you sincerely for taking the time (a Lot of time!) to share these things with us. We are enriched, inspired and encouraged by your blog, and I was reminded the other day that some Bloggers charge a fee for access to their blogs (!!) and it reminded me of what an incredible privilege it is for so many of us to have this unique 'free access' to you, to your life, to your family and to your shop, and all I can do is just thank you profusely and sincerely for allowing us the honour and privilege of this window into your life, and for taking the time, effort and care to share it with us. May God bless you richly for your kindness and generosity in sharing so much through your beautiful blog, and encourage and strengthen you each day! With love and grateful thanks, Brenda

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  20. What a fun post, Niki!!! So much prettiness!! My friend Lisa and I are traveling to England and may be visiting Bath this summer, would love to come and visit you and your shop!! I will let you know when it gets closer

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  21. Wow, Niki! I have been sitting here now for an hour taking in all those wonderful and fantastic photos and explanations and am just gobsmacked how much you can create and collect in so few time! And what a well matching husband you have who can live in this gorgeous stonehouse. Happy blog anniversary and thanks for sharing it all. I am looking forward to visiting you soon. Bisous de la Belgique.

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  22. Hi there Niki, what a resilient and inspiring person you are. I read every word and am so glad you continue to share your shop as part of your blogging because I can't readily visit you (but so would if I could), I loved the window into.. what feels like (and most certainly recently) a little piece of your heart, and aren't the best blogs just that?! I am blogging, as you know but I am not yet sure what it is all about.. I only have a few followers .. but love sharing so should I really care for quantity? It is all still guess work. Take care. Love Helen xx

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  23. Hi Niki

    This post has been a lovely (late) start to my day. And to think I've known you throughout your blogging life, too!

    Here's to the next 5 years of blogging, Shepton regeneration and happy personal times.

    Lots of love (thanks for email, will catch up soon) xx

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  24. Wow, that was a brilliant post. Loved the changing seasons. I've always enjoyed reading and more so about your shop as its been so interesting. Happy Blog Anniversary!

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  25. omg i love your house and your shop, and i dont get the person sending an email that something is misssing? i mean havent they anything better to do? if i dont like a blog i go on to the next one, i certainly wouldnt send a freaking email to the blogger about it!!
    keep up your beautiful blog and i hope your shop continues to be fabulous :)

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  26. I've got to come stay with you so I can go to your local flea-markets/vintage fairs.
    Ours, down here at the bottom of the planet are dead boring. We Dont have the variety that is available in the northern hemisphere. The same goes for USA flea markets.
    So its really great to see your "finds" and I'm as jealous as hell.lol..Keep up with the photos , and of your shop too.
    Regards
    Phillipa in NZ

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  27. Niki,

    I have been enjoying your blog for several months now. I think the whole point of blogging is to be able to share what you want to share and if others find it interesting, they will follow along. Personally, I have loved every post, but if you happened to post something I didn't love, I'd just skip on to wait for the next one. I have read a few bloggers recently talking about people emailing them with complaints about their blogs, some even going so far as to tell the blogger not to post about some subjects. I think that is so sad, I believe it is terribly bad form to criticize the blogger.

    I doubt everything I post pleases everyone who happens to come upon it, but they have the next button or the back button to move on if I don't interest them. I suppose that one of these days, I will get someone who, instead of just moving on, decides to tell me what they don't like about my blog and it will be disappointing to say the least. I wonder if those types of people actually know the amount of time it takes to put a post together. It is hard to come up with things to post about, photograph things, prepare them for the web and then come up with interesting narrative, in addition to the time you need to devote to family, work, keeping up the house, etc.

    Anyway, please know that the vast majority of us reading your blog appreciate all the time and energy you put into providing us with the eye candy that you do, and for sharing your home and shop with us! I wish I could come across even half the treasures you manage to find! And your hand-mades . . . I would be broke if I lived near your shop! If I ever get to your neck of the woods, I'll be putting your shop at the top of my "to visit" list. I adore your hearts, vintage fabric bags, pillows and so many other things I see here and on your other blog!

    Thank you! And congratulations on your "Blogiversary"! Here's to another lovely 5 years (and beyond)! ;)

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  28. Wow!~ I've just found your lovely blog and I'm astounded by the trinkets and goodies and more goodies and the amazing photos of all the goodies! I confess, I may have drooled into my keyboard a bit while leaning in to see better... such delicious stuff; I don't know how you part with it!

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  29. Dear Nicki,
    I can truthfully say with my hand on my heart that I have followed you for the most of your blog journey on here...LONG before I was 'brave' enough to leave a comment, and way before I was confident enough to even comprehend my own little words on here in blog land..( yep you inspired me to get on out there and blog my little self!! hehe..
    I wish you all that you deserve for being the (original and most inspiring blog lady ) I believe on here..I'm planning a trip to bath very soon..So you never know i may pop in to Nostalgia at No 1, and make my dreams come true...
    Take care x
    With kindest regards Maria x
    Rosey tintey spectacles blog ( Its how I view the world you see )

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Thank you for finding the time to visit me...
Niki xx