Simply Sam Trading - Antiques.Brocante.Gifts

We stock a variety of vintage, antique and hand-crafted items. Available on our web store or select antiques and beautiful 'proudly South African' hand-made Gift items on sale or to view at VinLee Art Gallery Hilton College Road, Natal Midlands. Hilton off-ramp, N3, Kwazulu Natal

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Beautiful Country Home to Rent

The Natal Midlands has to be one of the most special places in South Africa and Nottingham Road has seen tremendous growth over the last couple of years as people from the city seek to down shift. What better place to consider, especially if one has children. The schools in the area are some of the best in the country and include Clifton, Treverton and Kings for primary education and Michaelhouse, Hilton College, St Annes and Wykeham Collegiate, to name but a few, for high school. This is a place where children are brought up to engaged with their surroundings - 'home grown children' as the sign says at Clifton Preparatory School.

The area is well known for its proximity to the world renowned Drakensberg, as well as the beauty of its own landscape, with the abundance of wild life including various species of Buck, bird life (including Wattle Crane) and wild cats, including Genet and Caracul. Some of the best fly fishing is to be had in the area and there are many Ateliers working from home in the area, which makes shopping a real treat.

Coffee shops, restaurants, local events and markets, personalise the Natal Midlands and give it its special atmosphere. The Nottingham Road library is quaint and has a lovely selection of books and DVDs to hire. The banks and Post Office still greet their patrons by name, which is a uniqueness in itself.

If you are thinking of moving to this beautiful area and love the idea of being surrounded by nature, horses and tranquility, this property may just be for you. It is for sale or to rent and can be viewed by clicking the link below.

Four Bedroom Country Home to Rent
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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I left my heart in Cape Town

Oh how I love the buzz of Cape Town, the antique shops, designer ware, period buildings, exquisite food and people with a style all of their own. Yes, yes yes ....

My recent trip found me in the Cape's CBD and I have to say that, arriving there late at night, I thought my hubby had lost his mind, booking us into this 'un-safe' area of town. Well firstly I have to say its been two years since my last visit and in that time 'things ava changed'. We were welcomed by a lovely representative of 'Afribode' "specialising in the short term rental of self-catering apartments.   Currently all of these apartments are located in Cape Town city centre and Mouille Point on the Atlantic Seaboard" who led the way into an 'Old Mutual' building which now houses cool and trendy spacious Loft Apartments. We were in an apartment sleeping four, but one could easily put kids onto the comfy couches if you needed more beds. I loved everything about the apartment and hope to book again for the March 2013 Cape Argus Cycle. So if my recommendation is anything to go by? Booking enquiries can be made via their website below.

Cape's Citi Loft
(Mutual Heights 712)

Sleeps: 4

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Nottingham Road Transformed into a Magical Winter Wonderland

To wake up to soft flakes of snow falling, has to be one of the most wonderful things, but to have this in the beautiful surrounds where we live is amazing, as forests of trees, mountains and fields are transformed into a magical winter wonderland. It is always great for business too, as people will drive to Notties from Pietermaritzburg, sometimes even further afield to bask in the snow, throw a snow ball or three and finish with a cup of hot chocolate, delicious Brownies, all wrapped up next to an open log fire.
Today, we saw a family of Buck walking across the field, which was such a special moment, but my best was driving into our little Hamlet and seeing the biggest Baboon, sat in the corn field, staring at me as he stole the kernels from the field. I had to ask myself "I wonder what he thinks, in 'Sunny South Africa', with all this snow around him". Almost odd and quite out of place.
I have to say that as much as I love the snow I hate the slush and one difference between my home Country of England and here in South Africa, the snow will disappear almost as quickly as it has arrived, and everything is as it was. The odd car may have skidded, our community may have come together to pull someone out of the snow, but then peace resumes, and its as if the snow was never here. The only tell tale signs, are a dusting of snow on the mountain peaks which tell a different story.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

31ST JULY 2012
*Everything less -50% - on-line sales only
(less -50% on displayed prices)

Announcing the Winner of our Paris Pitcher Jug at Simply Sam Trading


The Winner of our  last Paris Pitcher Jug was Vicky Erasmus of Ramsgate

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Register here to stand a chance of winning a stunning
Paris Pitcher Jug valued at R350 (see below)  
For those loving all things vintage and beautiful ...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Upcycled Victorian Dining Chairs

So you've inherited Granny's Victorian dining chairs and you love Granny, but hate the chairs. So what do you do? Many of us have a totally mismatched decor scheme, with all the funny things we've inherited, and we just can't bear to part with the items we're emotionally attached to, but when all you want is a beautiful home you do have to sometimes be a little harsh and get rid.
However, if you're brave enough to revamp and upcycle your items you could create something quite spectacular. Some people though, simply cannot bear to change the authenticity of furniture that is antique, especially people who love wood - the thought of painting Walnut or Mahogany - absolutely not. 
Well that is just what we did to a beautiful set of six Victorian Walnut Chairs. We gave the wood a make over with white chalky paint, removed the old green velvet fabric and upcycled with a stunning Hessian fabric. What is unique about the fabric is the White Afrikaans Script printed onto the fabric which brings out the lovely white on the wood. Take a look and let us know what you think. Please 'like' us on Face Book if you agree with upcycling antiques.

A set of six CHAIRS upcycled in gorgeous Hessian with Afrikaans Script

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Letting go of your precious Antiques

I received a message from a local lady. Her elderly friend has moved into a tiny place and can't fit in all her lovely antiques. We know the story. The problem is, the big move is upon us. How do you sell these pieces of furniture quickly and with as little fuss as possible?
Selling your precious items, ones that you are emotionally attached to, can be problematic and even emotionally draining. You've lived with these special items for most of your family life, some of them family heirlooms, each piece telling its own special story, but "you can't take them with you" as the old adage goes.
Instead of the 'standard' route of calling in an auctioneer, Mrs .... chose to call in the services of Simply Sam Trading.
We have listed the items on our web store and, besides being beautiful items in immaculate condition, they are wholesale prices. The Chaise Longue could easily sell for double in a reputable retail antique store. On offer is also a Victorian Grandfather Chair and a stunning German Rosewood Sofa Table.Purchases can be made directly over the Simply Sam Trading secure card facility and delivery arranged on your behalf.

Let me know what you think ...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Love these quirky Armchairs

Simply Sam Trading is awaiting the arrival of a pair of arm chairs newly upholstered in quirky Hessian fabric. What I especially love about the fabric is that it has a dark red 'Afrikaans wording', making these Proudly South African.  On view at Blueberry Gallery Cafe, R103 Nottingham Road, Natal Midlands
Check them out


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Looking for a delectable Eatery this Father's Day?

Spoil Dad at Blueberry Gallery Cafe this Sunday

Blueberry Gallery Cafe is by far one of my favourite stops on the Midlands Meander. Not just because you can purchase lovely items from Simply Sam Trading, or because the Blueberry Cheese Cake, made from their very own farm fresh Blueberries, is simply delectable, but more especially as it's a serene place where you can simply switch off from the world and relax, drinking in the spectacular views of the Drakensberg and stunning Natal Midlands countryside.

Browse the wonderful selection of homewares, antiques and art on sale at Blueberry Gallery Cafe, R103 Nottingham Road, Natal Midlands (opp Fordourn Health Spa) including Bronzes by Midland's artist Sarah Richards.

Open 7 Days a Week
Chris  072 397 3464        

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

So as I board for England

Paris is full of beautiful elements, the architecture, design, food, fashion, vibrancy, it was electric, but all that said couldn't easily live there and my beautiful country Hamlet in South Africa will be admired with rose tinted spectacles again on my return.

Our apartment was wonderful and functional and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a convenient place to stay (details to follow).

The landscape as I flew between France and England was almost identical with glorious rolling fields of yellow rapeseed that look like magical masses of a mustard coloured painting. Contrasted with the typical hints of grey cloud synonymous with England, and rays of sunshine peaking through , it was at its prettiest.

It's Summer time here, but I have to say that our Winter in the Natal Midlands is warmer than it's been here so far, it's been seriously chilly.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Stranded at Charlie in Paris

I thought it quite appropriate that as I'm leaving Paris for England I receive an email thanking me for the message I sent to the Queen congratulating her on her Diamond Jubilee which, I'm told, "We will ensure it is added to our manuscript and presented to Her Majesty to celebrate this very special occasion".

Life throws its curve balls and today it was my turn when I missed my flight to the UK by minutes. Rules are rules it seems, and there was no budging. It gets worse ... I was then told to issue another ticket (for 8 hours later) will cost the same price as the ticket from South Africa. My husband looked decidedly frantic, as his plane was about to leave. Eh bien, telle est la vie.

My only consolation is that I am in the business lounge with a full buffet at my disposal, because at this stage the only thing I have eaten is a Laduree Macaroon - the rest of which are, by now, all squashed.

Well what a funny end to a perfectly wonderful trip to Paris.

Brocantes and more Brocantes ...

We were virtually the last to leave the early morning Brocante with some vendors packing away even as early as 12.30. A pair of wooden shoe lasts were still waiting for me right at the end, and were acquired for a couple of Euros less. There was stunning embroidered, monochrome, linen but the costs were exorbitant by South African standards. I found some dainty tea serviettes and embroidered overlays. Luckily, because the bug had now bitten, the market we had started first thing in the morning at St Pauls, ended only at 7pm, so we decided to go back en route to the Eiffel Tower. We'd bought a days worth of Metro tickets, which turned out to be a blessing, getting us to the various places that much quicker.

The sun shone on our last day in Paris. Sitting in the park at the Eiffel Tower, with this world renowned icon in front of us, was a momentous end to what has been an amazing trip. Surprising there are only approximately 2.million people living permanently in Paris, but this number is doubled monthly by the number of international visitors.

Modigliani, Catacombs and walking in the rain

It poured down today, our first day where we were out in the rain, so we put off the Brocante until later, in favour of a Modigliani exhibit at Pinacothèque de Paris. I have an original copy of a Modigliani done by Paula who lives in Nottingham Road. It is oil on canvas and my favourite painting.
I was in awe standing in front of original Modigliani art and even Maurice Utrillo. I have a beautiful chromolithograph at Simply Sam of a Utrillo, and I've always loved both artists.

We waltzed through the Parisian rues visiting antique shop after antique shop, on our way to the Catacombs, obviously in one of the most upmarket areas of Paris judging by the prices. Baroque, Retro, designer - all stunningly beautiful shops that put some of our best South African shops to shame. Though when you think most of the items originate from Europe, you would expect nothing less. Who can afford to purchase in this area is another story, the prices were exhorbitant
Walking back from the Catacombs, we stumbled upon a Monastary shop, more so because we are Catholic, else we may never have found it. There was an unbelievable choice of beautiful linen, but even the Nuns know their stuff, and the prices were not cheap. I managed to find a beautiful square table cloth with twelve matching serviettes, so dainty, perfect for a tea party.

Next we found a vintage book shop and I was thrilled to find three Retro titles that are quite rare to find - this was a good end to a day of shopping before the big Brocantes tomorrow.

The Catacombs were something else, reputedly the largest in the world. Millions of bodies were exhumed and moved here, to their final resting place. To see hundreds of bones and skulls, stacked neatly, and some even displayed in 'designed' arches and semi circles is wierd, if not a little disconcerting. It took me a while to get used to the idea that I would be stuck thirty metres underground for the two hours that it takes to walk to the exit, but it was well worth the experience. One comes out of there realising how insignificant we really are.

In Paris space is at a premium and this we realised as we exited ghe Catacombs, and spotted a car in the street, literally packed to the rafters with 'stuff'. Probably the cheapest storage you'll find in this costly city.

Last night we ate, and drank, at Chez Chatelier as promised. At 9.45pm, people were still queuing and we managed to get in just before closing. It was a hive of activity as waiters and Garçons buzzed busily around more than a hundred patrons.
At 50 Euros for a four course a la carte menu with a bottle of house wine for two people, this was extremely reasonable by Parisians standards and a must do for anyone visiting Paris on a budget.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Churches and Cathedrals

There is simply no such thing as an ordinary church in Paris. Every one is exquisite. From the huge domed architecture to the magnificent biblical oil paintings and stained glass windows - one could spend a month touring these magnificant monuments and still not see them all. One cannot help but be in awe as you wander around and gaze the ornate chandeliers, candelabras, cherubs and gargoyles. The statuettes of saints and carved crucifix of Christ. Huge carved ornamental doors and entrances, pulpits and confessionals. The beauty of these buildings is quite astounding.
Being Catholic, these churches hold specific significance and that was why this evening, having Mass at St Paul's Cathedral, in French, was just wonderful. Significant even more ax this was our last evening in Paris and what better way to end our trip, than with thanks.

Eiffel Tower - oui merci

Paris - the romantic city and could it get more romantic than this. It's our last day and were sitting in the sun with the majestic icon before us, anticipating a walk to the top. We've just met a beautiful young lady, who was woken in Holland by her friends at 6am this morning, only to discover, four hours later, she is to celebrate her 'kitchen tea' (hen party) in Paris, starting with a picnic at the Eiffel tower. She has to approach men and ask them to write their phone number on her apron - just in case her marriage doesn't work out. Here she is photographed with my husband.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Another day in Paris

In the street below our apartment a Madame is serenading the patrons at the street cafes, with the lilt that is so very French, to the applause of the Parisians.

We're sitting with all the windows open, with temperatures soaring. It's been a stunning, 'summers' day and it seems everyone is outside at street cafes & restaurants. When we arrived in Paris everyone was still dressed in Winter apparel and it seems over night the next season is upon us. Jasmine is in the air and the mood is exhilarating.

So what to russle up for supper when your ingredients consist of pesto, olives, creme fraiche, rice and tomatoes? Pesto Rissotto with creamy tomato & olive sauce. Perfectly accompanied by chicory salad, grated Compote cheese, fresh baguette (which I stupidly bought and carried for an hour, then passed at least a zillion Boulangeries on the way), and a good glass of red - but of course.

Another stunning day with perfect weather and a whole range of Ateliers with wares to blow your mind. I hope the photos I've taken will give you some idea. Paris is so full of creativity and customary skills that have been pasted down through families. To give you an idea, we went to see a leather book binder, a restorer of vintage maps & posters, a maker of musical trinket boxes (some of which take one year to complete and 3000 Euros to purchase), a Milliner with hats that would put the Queen Mother's to shame, hand-made Ostrich lamp shades etc etc. All wonderfully inspiring and amazing.

Many of the Brocante shops we visited late afternoon as some only open after lunch and close after seven. Very convenient for a bit of late night shopping. I came across more lovely linen, beautiful vintage clothing and bags, but very little furniture.

We still didn't get to the Musee D'orsay or the Catacombs, but we'll try tomorrow in between the Brocantes. There is just so much to see and I want to take in as much as possible before we leave and all the best Brocante are at the weekend.

The only thing I would have liked on this trip, which seems like its not yet available, is a Google Map App, that allows you to plot multiple places which would send out a reminder as you walk. I had to revert to the old method of paging through a map and brochure which means, more often than not, putting your feet up at a street cafe, and at five Euros a beer or cafe creme, can be lovely, but all adds up. In fact as we sat sipping our little Espresso today a couple of Gypsy children put a piece of dirty old newspaper right over my breakfast to try and take the 50 Euros I'd put down to pay the bill. One just has to be vigilant as the poverty is quite horrendous.

I'm sure the App will be available soon, but try as we may, we found nothing that worked.

The 15 Euros we spent on an 'un-limited' data card was money well spent, as this allowed us to switch on Google Maps, once we knew where we wanted to go, and to 'whatsapp' our children as we went. We could even send them pics as as when they were taken, all for free.

Eating has been mainly 'on the go' at Bolangeries and Patisseries, and fresh fruit from the local grocer. Its 'Printemps' and the strawberries are irrestistible. Tomorrow we'll try 'Restaurant chez Chartier' just down the road from Rue Montmartre, where we are staying. It is, we're told, an unpretentious French Brasserie dating from 1890 ( just my kinda place) and has reputedly only had four owners since 1896.

It's 10pm, just getting dark, and the night is still young, but my poor feet can't walk another step. So until tomorrow Bonne Nuit ...

More pic



Some of my favourites