Natalie Pin up

Eating in Italy

Posted on 24/09/2012

Today, as I watch the rain pour down outside I am remembering some of the best moments from my holiday in Italy this Summer. For me Italy is food heaven, so here are my top 5 things to eat in Lake Como & Milan.

1.) Eat Ice cream! Italy is world famous for its ice cream (gelato) and with good reason, Milan and Lake Como are both full of gelato shops, you could try a different flavour every day! Here are two of my favourite places to try:

Gelato Giustoor the right ice cream, is run by Cordon Bleu graduate Vittoria Bortolazzo. They specialize in quality ice cream made with only natural ingredients and their flavours change with the seasons, so you are always eating what tastes the best right now. In summertime they have exiting flavours like Basil or Ginger & Lime. I tried the Raspberry which was fantastic!

Cioccolati Italiani, is the perfect combination for ice cream and chocolate lovers. You choose either dark or milk liquid chocolate to go into the base of your cone and then your ice cream flavours to go on top. Their ice creams are organised into fruit based, cream based and chocolate. They have 6 different flavours of chocolate ice cream alone, in different cocoa strengths. If you fancy something different the essence of Rose ice cream is incredible!

2.) Buy beautiful Leone sweets at The Caffe Bar Sport in Bellaggio.

On a day trip to Bellaggio, we were rewarded for climbing the many steep steps up from the waterfront by discovering the Caffe Bar Sport, it was one of the highlights of our trip. This beautiful old fashioned sweetshop is filled with a myriad of sugary delights and has been run by one family since 1922. It took me ages to stop just looking at everything in sheer awe and actually decide what I wanted to buy. I was very restrained and only left with two boxes of biscotti for my husband’s workmates, which came in beautiful Flower Fairy tins which are now on display in my studio and some essence of Rose bon bons for myself.

The shelves were lined with beautiful ranges by Leone, an Italian company who I discovered have been in business since 1857 and are one of the oldest confectioners in Europe. Their packaging design is some of the most beautiful I have ever seen and their sweets are even better!

These beautiful professional images are courtesy of the delightful Morena from Leone.

3.) Go out for dinner. If you’re staying in Milan try Ristorante Manna. The entire experience is amazing and every course is a work of art. Chef Matteo makes fun and exciting dishes like vegetable fruit salad with lettuce ice cream. Try the gazpacho soup, It’s the best I’ve ever had!

4.) Have a picnic by the lake and take in the view. Italian supermarkets are amazing, the cheese counter alone is an experience. Buy a selection of your favourite Italian goodies and find a quiet spot to enjoy them. We bought fresh baked foccacia, balls of Buffalo mozzarella, a handful of fresh Basil and delicious roasted pepper antipasti.

5.) Stock up on Olive Oil from Premiato Oleificio Vanni Osvaldo in Lenno. Visit this wonderful local producer is used by all the local restaurants. They have been producing olive oil in Lenno since 1850, using traditional cold-pressing methodst makes a great gift and every time you use it it will remind you of your Italian adventure.

Continue reading…

Natalie Pin up

Who is Kunio Matsumoto?

Posted on 12/09/2012

I love vintage Trifari jewellery because of its fantastic quality and plethora of stunning, whimsical and classic designs. Trifari have had many designers, but one whose work I particularly admire is Kunio Matsumoto. Matsumoto was a Japanese architect, he worked for Trifari briefly as a guest designer in the late 1970′s. Since then his designs have become very sought after and are highly collectable.

This Vintage Kunio Matsumoto for Trifari Gold Leaf Grand Parure is an absolute beauty!

Model: Simone Hadfield aka ,  Photography: Retro Photostudio

Linking up with The Glamorous Housewife.

Continue reading…

Natalie Pin up

The Handbag Doctor is in!

Posted on 07/09/2012

I recently inherited my Great Grandmother Vintage Crocodile clutch which I absolutely love, it’s so ladylike and elegant. Its incredible to think I’m the 4th generation of my family to use it.

So now that I possess this fabulous bag I am charged with looking after it, a serious undertaking if I want to be able to pass it on to the next generation some day. Unfortunately the first thing I realized when I used the bag  for the first time, is that the catch doesn’t stay shut, oh dear! Said catch is also looking a little sad and pretty scratched.

I had no idea how or if the catch could be fixed, so I went online to investigate.

I found help in the shape of Martin Ashworth and The Leather Workshop. Martin is a master craftsman, who restores and reconditions vintage and antique leather pieces like bags and trunks, he also makes beautiful custom leather goods to order.



Martin removed and took apart the clasp and completely rebuilt it, it now works perfectly! He also buffed out the scratches and “fed” my bag, which had become dry over time. This will give it a new lease of life, preventing it from cracking and restoring its beautifull glossy surface. At the same time its very important to Martin (and to me) that my bag does not look new, it retains its fabulous aged feel and this is an important part of Martin’s philosophy.

So here it is my beautifully restored bag, I’m thrilled!

You can see photos of Martin’s previous work and read many glowing reviews on his website, The Leather Workshop. Martin is a fabulous find and if your a lover of Vintage he’s a great person to have in your address book.

Continue reading…

Natalie Pin up

Time for Tea: My first Outfit post!

Posted on 04/09/2012

I recently got all dressed up to attend a rather wonderful tea party, so it was perfect timing for my first ever outfit post.

Photograph is courtesy of Jamie Gordon Photography

My Vintage Cornflower Blue 1950′s dress is from Revivals in Canterbury. I love everything about it: the fabulous shape, the ruching over the bust, the little bow, the sheer fabric covered in delicate little bunches of flocked flowers and that fact that it came with its original belt! I wore it with two Vintage Ivory coloured Celluloid bangles, made in Japan c.1930 and a pair of Vintage Trifari earrings. In my hair is a little Cream Rose hair flower from Accessorize.

I rarely go anywhere without at least one of these bracelets on my arm. If you like my bangles you can find a selection in my boutique.

The floral arrangements for the party were done by the lovely Marianne of Sweet Pea Floral DesignI am a big fan of her work, it is absolutely beautiful, these arrangements had a subtle vintage feel and pastel palette which was divine. She also incorporated a lot of my favourite flowers, including Mimi Edens and Dusk Pink roses.

Continue reading…