What I Bought at Portobello Road Market

What I Bought at Portobello Road Market

Last weekend I got to go to London for a Girls’ Weekend.  The 4 moms that went left 11 children at home with their dads for 3 days.  Our apartment ended up being just one block from the Portobello Road Market.  It was an ideal location.  We walked by Rachel Ashwell’s Shabby Chic store on Friday night and then Saturday morning I was up and searching for treasures by 8:15.  There are more pictures of my shopping adventures on my Brocante Treasures Facebook page.

Here are some photos of my finds once I had them home.

All of this flatware came from a box of mismatched pieces.  The man selling them said in years past all of these would have been thrown away.  Can you imagine throwing these away?

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I added my new finds to my growing collection of flatware.  Looks like we need to do some more eating around here.

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These little pitchers were being cleared out by a woman that makes her own tiered plate trays.  She wasn’t using the pitchers and they were a good deal.  Now I have them home and I love them.

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I didn’t buy these in London, but I have been working on more Christmas decor.  I love this bust with his santa hat.  My frame with JOIE, joy, is just over our mantel.

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These beauties were in a clearance bin, the woman who I bought them from thought they were of a cricket pitch.  When she put her glasses on later she saw that it was Lourdes, France.  I snapped them up!  They were made in Sarreguemines and they are in excellent condition.

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These little two handled cups have the best colors, blue and hot pink, on them.  I asked the woman, and her mother, what these two handled cups were used for and they said in the 1950s when these were made they could have been used for just about anything.  I think miso soup would be so fun in these cups.

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This Spode bowl with the deer and brown transfer ware pattern will look lovely with the rest of the fall themed dishes.


I only bought the 2 flowered pieces in this picture, but I love the mix of all the different blue and whites together.  The coffee pot and platter are ironstone from the 1930s.


Another piece of ‘Genuine Ironstone”  this bowl is very heavy.  I love the purple and all of the soft colors.

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This plate immediately made me think of this canvas I had at home. I love all of the  bright colors in the plate and the canvas.

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Treasure Hunt Thursday

Brussels and Bruges in Belgium

We had a long weekend in November so we decided to make the 3 hour trip from Paris to Belgium.  We drove into the city at dusk.  The buildings had a little bit different feel than in Paris, but they were still pretty.


Our hotel was on the north side of the city, but still very much in an urban setting.  This was at a point where the road went way and you had to drive on the tram tracks.  Things like this always make us a little nervous, but it was fine.


The next morning we were up and around early.  We took the tram into the city to do some exploring. I liked this window detail just outside of our hotel.


You could see this cathedral, Saint Marie, I believe, from our hotel.


This is more what the view was really like though.  It is amazing what a little bit of cropping will do to a city.


There were not many people out and about early on a Saturday mooring.


We had a beautiful day.


Brussels is a beautiful city and it is not as well known as Paris so it is fun.


We passed by a lot of museums.  In a perfect world we would have visited several of them, but with 4 kids 7 and under in tow we enjoyed the view from the outside.


We ended up at the Grand Sablon market.  Everything at this market is at least 30 years old.  They were still setting up, but I could tell that this market was a little fancy for me.


I did find these beautiful lavender books that were a good deal and they are so pretty.

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A good start to a chilly morning in Brussels. #brocante

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The view at the market was just beautiful.


I love exploring new markets.


Next we did visit one museum.  This was one of the gates to the city.

The museum was great for kids with a duck scavenger hunt through the different rooms.


My kids ran all the way up and down 4 flights of stairs to see everything.


I love looking up!


This piece of furniture was in the attic of the museum.  I wanted to take it home, but it wouldn’t fit in the car.


A few stained glass windows.


The transom on this door to the attic was beautiful.


We took a little break at the top to rest our legs, again looking up is always rewarding.


One of the statues in the middle of the staircase.


Just before and just after the museum stop we walked through the market at the Place de Jeu.  I had so much fun at the market and I filled my bag to the brim.  Here is just a sampling of what I found.  The prices were good, but I still found some of them to be high.

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I am a happy girl. #brocante #belgium #scale #torchon

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On our way back to the hotel we stopped at a beautiful little park across from the church we were at earlier.  There was a wonderful little bakery with to go coffee just across the street.  The coffee was good and the pastry I had was delicious.


We saw a little bit more of Brussels the next morning when we were on the hunt for an open Starbucks, but we were ready to move on.  Our next stop was Waterloo, just 20 minutes outside the city and we were at a fabulous market and a significant historical sight.  Sunday mornings there is a big market in the parking lot of the Carrefour parking lot in Waterloo.  I had too much fun!

I didn’t bring my big camera, my arms were full of all my treasures.  I do have a few instagram photos of the day.  This scale was a heavy dream come true for me.  The dealer had 2, but we only had room in the car for one.


After I had my fill of the market we stopped for a quick lunch at McDonalds.  There is a decent location right next to the market, it was a good reward for my patient children.

Then we headed to the site of the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815.  There is now a hill with 226 steps to the top.  Here you can survey the battle field where Napoleon lost.  We all made the trek to the top and then the kids and I came back down while my husband spent some time enjoying the military history.


After Waterloo we made the 1.5 hour drive to Bruges.  Our hotel here was right downtown, it was perfect.  We had a one bedroom room with kitchenette and beds for each of the kids.  We could see the bell tower from our patio.  We have stayed in so many questionable places it was a treat to have a good location.


We were up and around early on Monday morning and we got to explore some of the city before anyone else .  This map of the city made out of lace was pretty neat.



Then we walked to Our Lady church where Michelangelo’s Madonna is.  This is one of the pieces of art in the movie, The Monument’s Men.


Again, we were there before most everyone else was there.  It is so special to experience these beautiful piece of art.


From the church we went to a boat ride of the canal.  It was one of those things that everyone said we should do, and they were right.


This boat ride was so beautiful.


Bruges has become one of our new favorite cities here and I would highly recommend a visit if you go.


We also visited the Historium, a nice little visit with a history of the Middle Ages in Bruges.


Our evening included a horse and carriage ride that was another beautiful way to see the city.


I will leave you with a few more pictures from our boat tour.








I hope you enjoyed this mini tour of Belgium.  I hope you get to go somewhere fun soon too!

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Discovering Treasures and Learning a Little History

On Sunday my daughter and I headed out for an early morning brocante adventure.  I had the address of 2 small town brocantes and a couple of hours before church.  We made our way to the first location and I was not that hopeful when I saw the market.  There were not that many people and all I saw were piles of clothes.  That is the trouble with small town markets, you never know what you are going to get.

Thankfully the parking was close so we got out and made our way around.  I did find a couple of great treasures, but my favorite piece came from our last stop.


These four pieces were all sitting on a table.  There were a lot of people around and I was trying to move quickly so I picked these up and asked the price.  It was in the right range so I grabbed them up and put them in my bag.  It wasn’t until I got home, after another market and church that I was able to go through my finds and see what I had.

The color on this bowl is amazing.  The stamp on the bottom says Gien France.


The two pieces on the right are from Sarreguemines.  They are a beautiful cream colored ironstone.


 The real find of the day was this little white bowl.  It is not a very exciting bowl at first glance.  The edges are thick and not very refined, but I liked the medium size and the solid weight.


The fun begins when you see the bottom.  I googled this name and found that this is a German piece of 1941.  The Reichsarbeitsdienst was a Labor party in Germany.  They were developed before World War II and eventually worked closely with the Nazi party during the war.


 The fun part about this bowl is that my husband got excited about this piece of history that is now ours.  He told me that I am not allowed to sell this piece when it comes time to share some of my treasures.  I love that he is so supportive of my adventures and is able to enjoy my hard work.

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Finding a Fixer Upper

When I was growing up my mom always loved a fixer upper.  I learned to spot a good project and now it is a family joke.  My husband and I love history so the charm of an old, falling down house has a certain appeal. Unfortunately we don’t have the time or the skills required to fix up most of the places that we see.

There are a couple of people that I have been inspired by recently, have you seen Chateau de Gudanes?  An Australian family has purchased this old chateau and they are restoring it.  They have a blog, Facebook and instagram account where you can follow their amazing journey.  There is also French Manoir on Instagram.  She documents her journey renovating an older home in France.  She is also from Australia.

Every time I see a journey of transforming a piece of history into something relevant for today I get excited.  It makes my heart happy to know a treasure from the past is being used and loved today.

The other day I was driving around while Garrett slept and I waited for a store to open and I saw this house.

It is near Chatou, a suburb on the west side of Paris.  It looked like there is a project to use this building and I was so glad.

Do you follow Sharon Santoni at My French Country Home?  Her latest post was about a house for sale in France.  The website she linked to is so much fun to peruse, and it is all in English.  I started looking for fun and then I found this house, for sale near Normandy.  It was built in 1775, but if you read in the description it is NOT a historically registered home.  It needs a lot of work, but it is for sale for just 300,000 euros.  The possibilities in this home are just amazing!  

All that to say that I love old falling down houses, and I know I am not alone.