Well, we did it and here is the proof in the Somerset County Gazette.

Many thanks to all our stallholders and customers who came along and supported this first event and made it such a success.

The next one will be on Monday 10 October, again at Crowcombe Court, courtesy of David and Kate Kenyon, so put the date in your diary and bring all your friends.

If you are a stall holder and would like to be considered, please do contact me via this website.


Top Drawer Shopping @ Crowcombe Court


View from the front down the drive


My mother at my stall. She will be so angry when she finds out I have posted this!





Susan Lethbridge Interiors


Aubrey & Eve wonderful range of bejewelled pashminas


Front of house during the day


Silk -n- Shades


Our wonderful hosts, David and Kate Kenyon in the Great Hall.


Emma Bradshaw Art

Well, we did it – we held a fair!!  All the organising and marketing came to fruition last Friday morning when the first stall holder turned up at Crowcombe Court – you know who you are Robinsons Smokehouse!  After that, the flood gates opened and all our wonderful traders turned up on time, went where asked, set up without fuss and were very ready when the first customers rolled up the drive 15′ before we opened.

And when I say we, I mean Clare Roberts and Rachael Goldsack, my fellow conspirators, without whom none of this would have been possible. Having been on the other side of the table, so to speak, as a stallholder I now appreciate the very hard work that goes into organising events such as this.

Above are images of just a few of our 30 stalls.

Our sincere thanks to David and Kate Kenyon who not only gave permission, but also a huge amount of support, to hold this event at their wonderful home.  And to Georgie and Alistair, their amazing back room team, without whose help and walkie talkie expertise this whole thing would have been a complete nightmare!

David chose the RNLI as the charity for our first fair, a charity that has particular resonance with those of us lucky enough to live close to the sea and enjoy all it has to offer.  That applies to most of the UK really, as it is an island!

It was like a large party with faces old and new flowing in to shop at our fabulous stalls and sit in the dining room drinking, eating and, above all, chatting! People I thought had left, kept re-appearing, having bumped into a friend, gone for coffee, then resumed their shopping!

Once the dust has settled, we will be organising the 2nd Top Drawer Shopping Christmas Fair @ Crowcombe Court planned for October! Watch this space.  If you are a stallholder who would like to be considered, please contact me via this website.


Happy 1st birthday to The Emporium Somerset

Well, a milestone has been reached – the first year of successful trading for The Emporium Somerset in Wellington.  A thank you party for all our loyal customers was held last night with over 200 guests arriving and enjoying wine from Quantock Abbey Wine Cellars and canapes from Odette’s.  There was a great buzz and it was like a GIANT cocktail party – with shopping!  This week-end is a chance to come in and see what new S/S16 items are on sale and enjoy the atmosphere of a thriving shopping experience.  And don’t forget to visit me on the first floor –

Click on this link to see the video of our evening –



New stock has landed

1053 dove grey and cream

Heavenly soft baby gift sets (mittens/bootees, hat) made from recycled cashmere jumpers in the UK – so they are sustainable, ethical and British!  What’s not to like?  Oh, and they come  in a gift box as well.  Currently in my new location upstairs at The Emporium in Wellington.  Come and have a feel!


MG_0363_2048x2048And remember a dog is not just for Christmas – or Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day – but for life and this exquisite hand painted porcelain Jack Russell on 18″ gold plate chain would make the perfect present at anytime.  Other breeds available as well as foxes, horses, flying pigs, blue tits, bees and a daisy!

Watch this space.

I am working very hard on your behalf, dear customers, to source some new ideas to lay before you this year.  I have been to Top Drawer at Olympia and next month I am off to The Spring Fair at the NEC in Birmingham.  Watch this space for some new stock . . .

And here is a taster . . .123.2 127.1

Festive message



A very happy Christmas to all my loyal customers – without meeting you at fairs and your support of the Emporium in Wellington, there would be no point in having Violet Agnes. And I hope I will see you around in 2016 at various fairs and in Wellington – Violet Agnes may be taking a change of direction in terms of stock so brace yourselves!



The Spanische Windtorte


A group of us meet every so often and try to recreate something from the current series of GBBO.  For this lunch I was delegated puddings so in my infinite wisdom I decided I would attempt the incredibly simple Spanische Windtorte.  I had to buy specially coloured icing, a sugar thermometer and a piping set so an outlay of £18 before I even cracked an egg.

The violets are hand made from the specially coloured icing ordered in as no supermarket stocks dusky lavender or deep purple!! Inside that edifice are three meringue hoops holding it all up – or not. I think you will find photos of the finished result amazingly look like the one at the top of this blog!!

Violets were surprisingly easy though –


Update on Spanishe Windtorte – it is official – I cannot make meringue – five hours last night cooking the b****y things in a 120 degree oven for 45′ – they looked great then promptly cracked and when I tried to pick up the base it fell to pieces – very marshmallowy inside.

And now someone has eaten all of the meringue so I really will have to start again! Wonder who it was? Bingo? Tell tale marks on head and down back. I bet Mary Berry never has to cope with this.




So, last night hoops and bases made and stuck together – not quite as smooth as I would have liked but I have conquered the ordinary meringue. Now onto the Swiss (meringue that is, not the people).



After all that pfaffing about and two days of my life I will never get back, the Spanische Windtorte was very dry – think the extra 30′ in oven to cook the Swiss meringue was a step too far – thanks Mary Berry. It was fun to cut though – our hostess will be picking meringue shrapnel out of her soft furnishings for years to come.  Piping looks like a small child has been let loose with playdoh!  Needs practice.










But it went down well! Try it!  And if you need dusky lavender and deep purple icing or a sugar thermometer, let me know.IMG-20151007-00221







Not the sort you normally associate with me but gusts of it blowing off Exmoor down into Dunster where it met my brand new pink gazebo, blew it off its moorings and broke one of its struts so it leant at a somewhat jaunty angle for the rest of the day.  Not only did the climate take on my gazebo but all my stock too so I was trapped in an endless cycle of picking up hats, bags, baskets and dress rails that blew over under the weight of hand smocked clothes.  By 1500, dear reader, I had had enough so packed up and was taken home by husband for large drink and decompression in darkened room.  To those who did venture into my orbit and bought dresses and bags, I really really love you!  You know who you are. Unfortunately, a lack of gazebo meant I could not do my beloved Forde Abbey the next day when, of course, the weather was calm and sunny and perfect, as is today.  Sometimes fairs present too much of a challenge and this was made all the worse by the knowledge that this is the first year I asked to be outside instead of in the Craft tent as every previous year it has been so hot you can hardly move.  That’ll teach me.