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Elegant Baker

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Blah blah baking, yes, we are all still enthralled - but not with the Village Hall aesthetic of Bake Off. It's summer and we're opting for a more elegant take on the bake. Neither twee nor retro, it's altogether something more beautiful. Colours bright and blush side by side. Seasonal fruits and edible flowers. Swirls of buttercream and dustings of icing sugar. Vintage platters and stylish cakestands. See Linda Lomelino and The Violet Bakery Cookbook for cues, Bitossi bake moulds for practicals and Chiviarini for lashings of jam.

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Meri Meri Project & Workshops

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Roll up. Roll up. Meredithe (childhood nick name Meri Meri, it's all becoming clear) and her team of wonder workers have installed a Party Project Extravaganza. We thought we knew the range but this is a crazy new world of Silly Circus, Charms, Ombre and Happy Birthday paper paraphernalia. And a mad planet of tattoos, garlands and super brand new and fabulous jewellery. And we have a secret stash of helium to fill the balloons in the patented Balloon-a-Dashery. Hurry on down. And for those of you who really want to embrace the fun filled life that is Meri Meri, there will be crafting workshops (Thursday 28 May 11-3 at Cowley, Saturday 30 May 11-4 in Winchester). No need to book. Just show up in a cheery mood, ready to get glittery.

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Emily Quinton In Store

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How excited were we to have the lovely Emily Quinton here in store for two wonderful days of work-shopping, book-signing, snap-snapping, chit-chatting fun. For once staring at your phone during a talk wasn't frowned upon as she imparted upon us all the tricks of the Instagraming trade. The app Emily uses to edit, yup, we know it. The lighting Emily likes to use, yup, we know it. Go on, test us!

We drank elderflower cordial, we ate rosewater and pistachio biscuits (courtesy of LP), we laughed, we listened, we styled, we captured, we #'d, we shared and most importantly we had a jolly good time. Thank you Emily!

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Win Emily Quinton's pick of our props!

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Under a week to go until Emily Quinton hits the Hambledon, running her famous Instagram workshops and signing copies of her new book, Maker Spaces, in both our Winchester and Cowley Manor stores (there are still a few places left if you're keen - email us).

In readiness for the events, Emily's picked her favourite Hambledon props, and to get us in the Insta mood we thought we'd give a bunch of them away. For a chance to win, simply take a photo of your favourite Hambledon thing in a beauteous way and tag it #ourhambledon #makerspaces #emilyquinton. If you’re struggling for inspiration, our Winchester project space is all set up with a dedicated photography area and shelves lined with Emily's favourite props.

See you over on Instagram!

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L:A Bruket

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Our new love. All the way from the coast of Sweden where the sun shines bright and the wind blows strong. No, we're not talking about some rugged blonde. This is skin care, people, very scrummy skin care designed for the likes of fishermen, surfers and sunworshippers... and sorts like us who know a good body lotion and salt scrub when they see one.

In this case, all 'low-tech' and mostly organic, crafted from high quaity, beautifully scented botanics, waxes and oils. We've got liquid soaps and lip balms through to shampoos and scrubs in coriander and black pepper, sage, rosemary and lavendar, lemongrass, and cucumber and mint. No need to try and pronounce the name, just follow your nose.

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Provenance: Creighton's Chocolaterie

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This sure doesn't help our summer diet plans. The arrival of Creighton's - a seriously lovely little company from Bedfordshire who make the most irresistable chocolate.

The team is headed up by mother and daughter, Lucy and Andrea Huntington, who started out in 2010 with just the knowledge of an Italian confectioner, a marble slab and a handful of moustache-shaped chocolate moulds. Soon after they opened their first chocolaterie in the small town of Leighton Buzzard, named after their Great Granny Creighton. The moustache lollies flew off the shelves, they opened a second store and more quirky lollipops and edible gifts were added to the range.

And that's what we like the most - in the serious, artisan world of chocolate, Creighton's know how to have fun. So this summer we're scoffing chocolate ice lollies and fish and chips, pulling pranks with a set of Granny's gnahsers and gifting their beautiful bars flavoured with sea salt, peanuts and ginger - all made in the traditional way with the best Belgian chocolate. 

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Clean Living

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We're all about fine, un-fussy living this spring/summer. A bit French country, a bit lovely. It's about getting domestic in the best possible way; no upstairs starch or downstairs drudge, just green and beautiful household cleaners from Commmon Good, Redecker brushes and utensils, vintage willow pattern platters, pudding moulds from Bitossi, Variopointe table linen, cushions and throws. It's simple, soft and (mainly!) easy. Yes pleasey. 

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