Flea market finds: Ardingly.

Ardingly is home to one of the most famous antiques fairs in the country. It’s massive. 100’s of stalls selling their wares over 2 or 3 days. A rummager’s dream.

So with my mum now retired, and my carry-over days of annual leave burning a hole in my pocket, we decided to spend a random Wednesday in a field hunting for bargains.

After getting a tiny bit lost (sat nav doesn’t like antiques fairs), we finally made it, albeit a little later than we’d have liked. Ardingly is about an hour and 20 mins away from where I live in Reading. Add onto that our unplanned detour and we didn’t actually get through the gates until after 11am.

There was still lots going on when we arrived, the sun was shining and the air was crisp, but by midday some of the outdoor stall holders were starting to pack up. Lesson one of the day: if you arrive on day 3 of a fair, get the there early!

Because we arrived so late, we didn’t actually manage to get round all the indoor stalls – by about 3pm it was all over (and the sun had gone in!).

But I did pick up a couple of bits, and in all it was still a much nicer way to spend a Wednesday than in the office :-).

Here’s a summary of my buys:

This was the last purchase of the day, actually. The guy on the stall was literally about to pack it away. It’s an old jar from a shop counter – he said he remembered his local corner shop having a similar one with biscuits in. It’s actually pretty big and has a lovely, tactile wooden lid. It’s currently residing on my kitchen worktop, looking after my porridge oats!

Glass jar with wooden lid
£10

You might start to spot a recurring theme here, I seemed to buy LOADS of glass. This little beauty is a French butter dish. The glass is slightly yellowed – have no idea if that was intentional – but like the glass jar, it also has a wooden lid. The glass has a lovely texture to it too. I might have to promote it from a butter dish to a jewellery box.

Glass butter dish with wooden lid
£5

This is by far my favourite purchase – it’s a beautiful piece of fabric. It’s green with lots of little Amish-like people on it, and rather then being a long run of the same pattern, it’s made up of two identical squares. My mum thinks it was destined to be a cushion cover. I know it’s my solution for everything, but I love the idea of it behind glass in a frame – you could even have the two squares hung side by side. Love!

Green fabric
£15

Like I don’t have enough dessert bowls, right? Oh well… now I have another four! I couldn’t resist these. They were on a £1 table and were glistening in the sunshine.

Four dessert bowls
£4

When we were at Tom’s mum’s house just after Christmas, I noticed she had a candle burning in what looked like a crystal glass tumbler. She said she bought it as a candle holder, but I couldn’t think of a reason why you couldn’t actually use cut glass glasses in the same way anyway. So on the same £1 table as my bowls was this glass jar with its lid. I’ve had a candle in it for the last week and it’s lovely. The indents in the glass do pick up all the flickering candlelight. And when I’m not using it, I can just pop the lid on.

Cut glass jar with lid
£1

Storage has always been a nightmare in our flat – a case of two much stuff, not enough cupboards. Shoes are a nightmare to keep tidy, so I picked up this crate to try and tame what we’ve started to call shoe mountain. It was too big for the space when we got it home, but I’ve done a bit of rejigging and used a smaller box for shoe mountain, and this one as our memory box in the lounge. They’ve just opened a Cath Kidston in Reading and I noticed their using similar boxes in the windows, but with brightly painted insides. Great idea (one for stealing, I think).

Wooden crate
£10

PS – I also picked up another battered frame which was literally falling apart. So much so that my mum took it straight away with her to ask my dad to fix it (thanks dad!) before I could photograph it. When it’s held together again it might end up being another candidate for this.

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