Lovely Leigh and Precious Portia

My day started in the City, setting off from London Fenchurch Station (which has the cleanest toilets I’ve ever seen in my life). This is the Lloyds Register of Shipping:

I took my knitting on the train with me:

I painted my nails this colour in honour of Miss P, as we share a passion for tangerine and had both bought the same magazine for this nail varnish freebie. I just knew she’d be wearing her orange nail varnish too – and she was!

We then got down to the serious business of trawling the charity shops in Leigh-on-Sea. I kneel in humble awe at the feet of Miss P. Where I see rails of unwanted clothes, Miss P spots nuggets of loveliness and has the imagination to turn them into something even more lovely. She gently steered me from surprise find to hidden gem. ‘Look at this handbag, Karen.’ Oh yeah!

The charity shops in Leigh-on-Sea rock! London, you can’t possibly compete with this cheap fabulosity.

Evidence number one

Hand embroidered linen table cloth. £2.50

Evidence number 2

String of pearls, £2.50

Evidence number 3

Sleeve board, £1.29

We then hit the local fabric shop and Portia MADE me buy a metre of this:

It’s a slippery eel and may be a sod to work with, but I can see it as my third Sorbetto. Whilst in the fabric shop (which I can highly recommend, fabric shoppers of the world) Portia and I seemed to be surrounded by our sewing friends.

Here was My Happy Sewing Place:

This lining fabric was used on a dress Debi wore to the Fabric Fandango.

And here was Scruffy Badger:

Scruffy recently made a beautiful dress out of these swimmers.

There was even some of the cotton that had become my beautiful Lisette:

This is the shop in question, Belle Fabrics on Elm Road:

I really recommend a day out to Leigh-on-Sea if you’re looking for a coastal escape (it’s on an estuary). There’s an old town with art studios and gastro pubs, there’s a beach of sorts, more charity shop goodness than you can wave a stick at, a fabulous fabric shop and some great municipal gardens that take me back to my 70s childhood:

What more could you ask for? Miss P lives just down the road, So Zo grew up near here, Southend’s just round the corner if you want to kiss someone quick. It’s true what they say: The Only Way Is Essex.

Thanks, Miss P!

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18 Responses to Lovely Leigh and Precious Portia

  1. Scruffy badger says:

    Fantastic piece on the attractions of Leigh on sea and great photos! Every sewist will be flocking.
    Love from, the visit leigh on sea tourist board.

    No seriously it’s only me and i think this could be the start of a series? Karen checks out …..

    Thank you for the mention of my dress btw. It’s being worn as I leave this xx

  2. Kirsty says:

    Great photos! You found a sleeve board? I was just yesterday adding one of those to my mental must-buy-one-of-those-if-you-see-one list. That fabric will make a gorgeous Sorbetto I reckon. I’m off to check out that swimmer dress now, I’m intrigued!

  3. Debi says:

    Sounds like the perfect day!! I love that you found a sleeve board for under £2!!! And how hilarious to find the fabrics that everyone has used in their sewing 🙂 The mustard colour fabric that you bought for your sorbetto is one I have been eyeing up at Mandors in Glasgow 🙂 Too much fun!

  4. Eugenia says:

    What a lovely day out. My father used to take me to Leigh-on-Sea when I was a child to visit my stepmother’s parents, who lived there – happy memories! I love the charity shop finds, the table cloth is very pretty. The fabric you purchased is beautiful – I think it must have had your name on it – it is very you!

  5. Dibs says:

    What lovely finds. It really is scandalous how expensive London charity shops are. love your sleeveboard. its so pretty.

  6. Portia says:

    I prefer “encouraged” to “MADE” but if you want to relinquish responsibility for your own actions I’m happy to be the adult , he he 😉
    I had such a lovely time Karen. Thanks 🙂
    PS Elliott wondered where you were when he woke up, aw!

  7. Jane says:

    I’m very envious of your charity shop finds (especially the sleeve board), charity shops in Ealing are rubbish! LOVE your yellow cherry fabric too, I imagine Portia had to bully you very badly to buy it! x

  8. Suzanne says:

    The embroided piece looks lovely! I agree…you could do a whole series of day trip travels….

  9. Rebecca Wood says:

    Such lovely finds & I think I might just have to make a Sorbetto too, I sorely feel like I’m missing out! Leigh-on-sea also just made it onto my ever growing Must Visit list although I wonder if the charity shops can beat the ones recently found at Whitstable! 🙂
    Looking forward to seeing what becomes of the gorgeous linen table cloth, which is my favourite I think of all your items found.

    Rebecca x

  10. Stevie says:

    Funny that I have 3m of that mustard cherry print in my stash I bought in January. I’ve been ummming over what to do with it! x

  11. Zoe says:

    OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU WERE IN LEIGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Did you see the pizza restaurant called Irma’s opposite Richardson’s fabrics?! I worked there. Twice. As in I worked there for six months, tried to have a career, failed and went back to work there for another six months. Awesome charity shopping, eh?! very please you and Miss P got to hang in the old town. I was in Leigh with my folks doing the charity shop and old town thing the weekend before in fact!

    The only way IS Essex!!!! And Brighton. And London. xxxx

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  13. Clever blonde Donna G says:

    Your gorgeous Lisette, every time I see it I want one; and I looove that fabric. It reminds me of a treasured pink piece I’ve been saving for something special. This post just made me go see if it’s the same print – way over here in Australia. It’s not the same, close though, no matter, I still love it. It’s just the smallest scrap but I knew one day I’d be able to make something with it. Enter The Sorbetto. I’ve seen it about so much, it’s time I joined the ranks.

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  15. Harriet says:

    Sorry , we are a bit late in finding this blog! Its nice to see people love Leigh as much as we do. Next time you visit Leigh please pop in and see us , at Connections Interiors with lots of funky gifts and furniture !

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