Introducing the two newest members of team Hambledon. Saturday boys, Oliver Spencer and David Keyte. Errr, yes, that Oliver, a man who dresses such names as Jude Law and The Rolling Stones. And David, the man behind one of this country's best-loved menswear labels. They've long been basement favourites so we invited them down for a Saturday back on the shop floor. Ok, so they might have been on hand for one day only, but we were mightily impressed with their shop floor expertise. Always a job here for you boys.
Never was a truer word spoken than when Laura Brown recently declared "we do a good birthday". Presents beautifully wrapped, fizz by tradition and cakstands and confetti on hand. It also helps that we have a master baker among our ranks: Victoria's daughter Mercy (a future bake off contender we think) whose expertise is called upon on ocassion. For 15 she whipped us up a Hambledon favourite - classic coffee and walnut topped with an espresso-infused buttercream (recipe below). Happy birthday to us!
For the cake:
225g/8oz unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
225g/8oz caster sugar
4 free-range eggs
50ml/1¾fl oz strong espresso coffee
225g/8oz self-raising flour
For the buttercream:
125g/4½oz unsalted butter
200g/7oz icing sugar
50ml/2fl oz strong espresso coffee
12 walnut halves, to decorate
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
In a bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until very light and pale.
Add the eggs one at a time to the butter and sugar mixture, beating well to completely incorporate each egg before adding the next egg.
Add the espresso to the mixture and stir well.
Add the flour and walnuts and stir well to completely combine.
Spoon the cake mixture into two lined and greased 20cm/8in cake tins.
Transfer to the oven to bake 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean and the cake is golden-brown.
Remove the cakes from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.
For the buttercream topping, beat the butter and icing sugar together in a small bowl until pale and light.
Add the espresso and mix well.
Spread the buttercream over the top of each cake, then place one cake on top of the other.
Decorate the top of the cake with the walnut halves (or sprinkles in this case) and serve in generous slices.
Since January, we've been referring to it as 'the secret project' and struggling to keep our excitement under wraps. But here we are, finally able to shout about our new shop: The Hambledon at Cowley Manor.
The doors officially opened on Saturday after a whirlwind two-week fit out, undertaken by possibly the loveliest builders ever. We've worked with our very favourite interior architect David Rose who has completely reinvented the space. And now we have a light, bright, super sophisticated baby Hambledon in The Cotswolds; an edited (we like to think perfectly curated) mini version of the mother ship in Winchester, stocking womenswear, menswear, accessories and homeware.
A lovely lady had a face mask on in the C-Side spa when the email pinged up on her phone, announcing the opening. So she hopped, skipped and jumped just next door to become our very first, and very happy, customer. Here's to many more.
Saturday saw us take The Hambledon to the inaugural Blogtacular, a blogger event held at The Royal Institution of Great Britain in West London. Faced with the challenge of presenting the store in 1m sq market stall space in the foyer, we decided to keep it simple, opting for our vintage display counter filled with multi-coloured poms and a countertop stacked with our Italian Chiaverini jam.
All set to go with a serious caffeine injection, the next eight hours whizzed by in a flurry of excitement. We sold a vast quantity of jam, which proved to be a total hit; snaffled some beautiful Meringue Girls meringues; listened to some seriously inspiring speakers; tweeted and instgrammed non-stop, got a big hug from the lovely Yvonne Eijkenduijn of Yvestown; partook in a hands-on styling session with the super talented Ellie Tennant; and made lots and lots of lovely new blogger friends. Wow, what a day!
We're taking a road trip into the sun-drenched midwest with Levi's Made & Crafted this season. The boys and the girls are both on board, and we long to look like them, effortlessly cool in their beatifully crafted threads.
Colour, texture and pattern is the order of their free-wheeling days. As long as it's a touch sun bleached, saturated, washed and worn. Striped maxis, tie dye vests, candy pink denim, floaty silk shirts and washed cotton chinos for the girls. And the guys are sporting heavy patterned tees and colourful button downs with their faded denim. Standing side by side, hitching a ride, we have to say they look the picture of a perfect summer's day.
No we don't do things by half a whisker. This month we will be mostly and wholeheartedly embracing all things tash-tastic! From doormats to drinking straws, 10% of all sales of moustache related goods go to the Movember Foundation.
Hurrah, here you are on our lovely new website, browsing the news section. But don't hang around these parts too long. Basket those goods and race to the checkout because the first ten customers will receive one of our lucky dip prizes. And we promise you there's not a horrible fluffy toy to be found.
Check out our project space, all styled up to resemble the Lomography Paris concept store – a bit like a junkyard, with walls plastered in cool photos and shelves lined with a substantial cherry-pick of their entire range of cameras and accessories.
Over the course of the next month we’ll be running Lomography ‘lend weekends’ where, for just £5, you can take away the Lomo of your choice for the weekend with a free film to shoot as you please. Then on Saturday 18th and 25th August at 1.30pm a member of the Lomo team will host a special workshop, taking you into town with your loaned Lomo to dispense all their Lomo know-how and help you take some lovely snaps. It’s just £10 and spaces are limited so please be sure to book by calling 01962 890055.