A Ripley Affair - By Guest Blogger Jane Day

Ripley is a small village on the outskirts of Harrogate, Yorkshire, with a fine castle - for me though Ripley means The Arthur Swallow Fairs Decorative Home & Salvage Show. When May comes around the anticipation of walking through the gates, spotting the colourful flags and bunting swaying in the breeze and canvas arcades packed to the rafters with beautifully styled wares makes me very happy. The excitement builds as I wonder who I will see and what treasure I will find. The recent show was all I’d hoped for, and more.

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The stands were of a very high standard this year with great exhibitors who hone their craft superbly well and whose stands are a pleasure to browse around, not to mention forging new friendships. Decorative Antiques trader Chris Holmes is always a joy to visit and is such a knowledgeable man - if only I had the space for an antique wooden fairground unicorn! 

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When it comes to buying I have an eye for certain items; I seek a certain look and I know when I’ve found the perfect piece. I look for pieces which will blend into my home interior perfectly, so I make a beeline for specific traders whom I know will have the kind of items on my list.

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Lucy from Lucy's Vintage Lifestyle, who trades from The Vintage Rooms at Matlock, has the best brocante stock around, P.C. Pirates specialise in reclaimed vintage and industrial furniture and Millington & Hope, well, I just wanted to buy the whole stand. I made friends with some new traders this year, notably Monkey and Bird - their display was exquisite with that touch of quirky I love so very much. It was also wonderful to find that French trader Gaille Skinner was standing at Ripley - her linen is truly out of this world and the piece I purchased from her at the last Lincoln show has now been fashioned into a Roman blind in my newly decorated kitchen. 

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Along with more sumptuous linen, a perfectly chipped French frame with foxed mirror-glass was purchased and an antique dough trough (I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect sized one for years). All perfect finishing touches to my home (pictured below). 

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If you missed this fair not to worry as, for the first time this year, Arthur Swallow Fairs will be holding a second Decorative Home & Salvage Show at Ripley in September, running from the 9th ~11th. This show is one to definitely add to your must do list - in my world it is unmissable.