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Sunday, 28 June 2015

At Home designer sale boosts animal charity

Sometimes, having a jolly good clear out can have far-reaching results. I've collected many off-cuts, samples, fabric books and other interior design bits and pieces over the years, all of which were cluttering up the At Home studio. So I decided to put them to good use, and support a charity which is close to my heart.

With the help of a few friends, At Home staged a designer fabric sale at the very beautiful Dales Country House Hotel, near my home in Sheringham, Norfolk.

At 10am there was a surge of 'fabric junkies', keen to snap up some of the beautiful fabrics from Zoffany, Coles, Designers Guild and many others. Most were just a few metres, but perfect for bedspreads, cushions, recovering chairs and many other home and craft projects.

They made short work of it, and by 11am we had a room full of empty tables! It was lovely meeting fellow interior design lovers, answering their questions and hearing about their planned projects.

We raised £400 for Hillside Animal Sanctuary, an amazing organisation at West Runton in Norfolk. I think that will buy quite a few bales of hay for the hundreds of abused and neglected farm animals they look after. They also rehome dogs - as the owner of a rescue dog myself, I would urge anyone looking for a pet to contact Hillside.

So thanks again to all of you who came to support our charity event - and for helping to declutter the At Home studio! 

Hugh Jamieson, Principal Designer, At Home Interiors.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

We really do feel like Superheros!

We did it! Still on a high from completing last week's Norfolk Superhero Challenge. A huge thank you to everyone who sponsored us – it’s the toughest thing I’ve ever done but feeling very proud that my team mate Sue Allen and I finished this arduous course.

Photo courtesy

Our times weren’t bad and I’m pretty sure I was first swimmer home in the ‘Zimmer’ category with a time of 24.17 minutes. Sue is really fit and was second lady home, beating me by more than three minutes.

As well as the mile-long swim from Gun Hill to the quay at Burnham Overy Staithe, we kayaked four miles (my time 42.51 mins), cycled 45 miles (3.26 hours) through north Norfolk's most scenic roads then ran eight miles (2.22 hours) across tracks, sand, mud and marsh. My time was just over seven hours in total; they won’t be chasing me for the Olympics, but at least I wasn't last!

The swim was hard, with a strong wind creating lots of ‘chop’. The kayaking was great fun – a bit like dodgems at first - with friendly jostling for position. We cycled into what felt like cyclone winds and all was going well until mile 26 when cramp hit me – first one leg, then the other. This is the first time I’ve ever experienced it, so it chose a great time to hit.  The highlight had to be running along Holkham Beach with the tide far out and the sun shining. Our legs got sand-blasted, but it was worth it.

And then there were those kit changes; getting your foot stuck in your wetsuit can cost you precious minutes, so we made sure we practiced beforehand.

Sue was a fantastic team mate and got me through my various bouts of cramp, with amazing encouragement and her homemade flapjacks – rather difficult to chew with a dry mouth but ok when washed down with litres of Isotonic water.

The fabulous Pink Lady marshalls, the relaxed ‘no rules’ policy and the wonderful feeling of camaraderie among competitors, whether they were an elite athlete, semi pro or complete amateurs like us, made it a brilliant event.

Hugh and training buddy, Mocha
And of course, I couldn’t have done it without my faithful training buddy Mocha, whose four legged company saw me through many a dark, cold morning when I really didn’t feel like getting my kit on.

Will I be back next year to do it all again? You bet I will.

  • So far Sue Allen and I have raised around £1,900 for Wells Lifeboat, which is manned by volunteer crews. We hope to get our total up to £3000! If you would like to donate, please visit our page on Just Giving.