How it all Began… From an inspirational trip to a North-West Indian market in 1998, to the creation of our first leather satchel in 2006, the realisation and conception of Scaramanga (born from... READ MORE
Indian Summer Interiors Indian Summer Interiors bring the colours of that special time of year in August when the sun shines brightly to enhance the natural colours outside. On these bright sunny days,... READ MORE
Back in the ‘good-old’ days…after the Industrial Revolution, new technologies, new materials and seemingly endless energy sources made it more profitable to create brand new products from scratch rather than repair and reuse... READ MORE
The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, and the evenings are wonderfully light – it must be British summertime! Here at Scaramanga, we love our vintage and retro homewares, but they don’t... READ MORE
We are a big fan of the statement wall art trend at Scaramanga! Whether you have a vintage advertising board or dramatic photography, statement wall art can be a great way to create a beautiful focal point in a room in your home.
If you are looking to make a strong statement in your home, art is a great way to do this. We encourage you to be bold and choose the biggest picture you can find. This will guarantee to create a unique and dramatic style.
Choose Art that Means Something to You
Statement wall art has a beautiful way of telling a story that is personal to each individual. Choose something that represents what is important to you and your family. The artwork shown above is a great example of this. This art work was sourced by our managing director from India and is the definition of culture and history. With bags of personality, this statement wall piece will guarantee to create a warm atmosphere in your home. The bold and contrasting colours demands your attention, making this picture the best focal point you can hope for.
Handing a large art piece like this on the wall may concern you but you can simply lean it on your wall to avoid any damage. Placing this in the middle of the room will also create an impressive feature wall. If your room is filled with neutral colours, the warm colours in the painting will make it even more prominent.
Vintage Statement Wall Art Signs
This wonderfully colourful wooden lorry sign is a traditional statement wall art piece from Rajasthan in Northern India. The blend of colours and gorgeous Indian theme certainly catches your eye. We think this vintage sign would make a great up-cycled piece for your wall.
Vintage signs like this are not as rare in India. They are regularly featuredI around rural India as signage banners for trucks and lorries. These rainbows of hand-painted colours are amongst India’s most cheerful and iconic sights.
Scramanga’s recently happened upon a few of these unique one-of-a-kind truck signs. No two are the same and they make simple and highly effective wall-hangings. Great decorating living room, hallway wall or perhaps the interior of a contemporary retail environment.
Statement Wall Art Perfect for Your Office
Are you looking for inspirational ways to decorate your office? A vintage map could be the perfect solution. This vibrant canvas map of the West Indies is a favourite at Scaramanga. While you are working hard in your office, you can also make a plan for your next holiday in the sun. This statement wall art method will give your room an educational feel that will give a great impression to quests visiting your home.
Statement wall art can be a cost effective way to give your home a bold and unique space. Whether you add a reclaimed truck sign, vintage photography, or educational poster, this trend will bring personality and vibrancy to your home. We are big fans of the statement wall art trend and we encourage you all to try it out on your home!
We had the pleasure of working with concrete catwalk to celebrate the return of our canvas and leather backpack’s. The canvas and leather backpack is not just for daily adventures and short breaks, it is a practical and stylish way to keep up with a university lifestyle. We can guarantee that both canvas backpacks will achieve all of your practical and stylish dreams!
Small Canvas and Leather Backpack
The small leather and canvas backpack will make each day feel like an adventure. We have combined green military waxed canvas and durable oiled hunter leather to give you a highly desired boho style. Contrasting two vintage materials gives the classic rucksack a modern twist. To ensuring your university/work essentials have extra security, the bag is lined with thick canvas material.
We had comfort, practicality, and style in mind when creating this bag. As well as a fantastic university bag, the canvas and leather backpack can also be a dream for urban commutes, weekend trips, last minute getaway, markets, and festivals.
Compact but Mighty!
This small canvas and leather backpack is compact but certainly mighty! The zip pockets on both sides of the bag allows you to store your smart phone and keys in a convenient place. You may think it looks small but the main compartment is big enough to fit all of your essentials and more! If you like to carry your gadgets around with you, this bag is perfect for you as the main compartment can fit tablets and iPads up to 10”. The drawstring feature will allow you to securely fasten all of your precious items and university essentials, providing you with a care-free day.
We have added a slip latch closure to the canvas and leather backpack so you can retrieve your items quicker and easier. We have maintained the design of a buckle to give you that classic backpack look.
The comfortable leather straps will ensure you can carry your canvas and leather backpack with ease. We have made the leather straps are adjustable so you can cater the bag to your personal needs.
Similar to the small canvas backpack, this bag features two contrasting materials to ensure you stand out from the crowd. The leather and canvas backpack was designed so you can carry it all! The canvas rucksack makes a great adventure bag whether you are going on a day adventure or a weekend break. Ruggedly stylish, this bag will guarantee to make you stand out on your travels. The strong combination of vintage, worn-in style with modern function and practicality is what makes this canvas rucksack a great value for your hard earned money.
If you are looking for a practical bag that fits all of your university needs, the canvas and leather backpack is the perfect bag for you.
Here at Scaramanga we’ve been gazing into our vintage crystal ball and predicted some of the interior design trends for 2018 and 2019. We’ve never really advocated following trends for big spend pieces because we feel your house or individual rooms are a reflection of you and the other people you who share you home. A home should be about living with what you love.Dundee-based interior designer Sooz Gordon says: ‘Home for me is about being surrounded by personal and meaningful objects. I am drawn to pieces that have character and have an interesting narrative. As a designer and maker, I look for quality materials, and appreciate craftsmanship and artistry’. So in no particular order here’s some inspirational interior design trends for 2018 and 2019.
Mixed material kitchens – mixing finishes gives a more thoughtfully created look and a harmonious feel. It’s an interior design trend for 2018 that we’ve been raving about for several years. Ever since we restyled a kitchen. It’s seen in larger commercial applications like bars and restaurants. We see the mixing of textures in nature as foamy waves washes over smoother fine sand or a knurled twisted trunk is shrouded by layers of symmetrical delicate leaves. Look to layer bare iron, natural and painted woods and stone with touches of gold and brass – yes both are going to be big this year – in the kitchen. We’re vintage kitchen experts, but realise that you’re very unlikely to completely remove a fitted kitchen and replace it with a free standing vintage cupboards and cabinets. So mix different woods – old, new, hardwoods, softwoods, painted and natural, light and dark woods. Go eclectic and use reclaimed and salvaged, mix eras and styles and don’t let any theme or style dominate. The secret to success will be mixing the materials in a clever way. Uniform coloured kitchens, whether in pure white, blue or glossy red are just EVERYWHERE and they are starting to all look the same. Who wants a kitchen that looks like everyone else’s? It’s time to get a bit more creative.
Dark glam furniture – embrace the dark-side in 2018. There have been signs that people are moving to darker living spaces we saw navy and dark greys last year and the darker theme will continue with darker natural wooden furniture. Not only golden hues, but deeper tones seen in rosewood, walnut and mahogany. Does this mean the decline of the Scandi look? Of course not. It’s been around since the 60s and has been brought forward and given a new lease of life along with other classic mid-century furniture styles and given a boost over the last few years. We don’t think that original vintage Scandinavian furniture will ever be unpopular or an important style. Don’t forget a lot of Danish furniture is made from darker woods or have been finished with darker lacquers. The interpretation of the original style evolved into tapered angled legs and blonde woods. The style was always about much more.
Statement wall artwork – Go bigger and more statement -making with wall-art this year. It could be bright 70’s glam or vintage salvaged outdoor advertising or subtle – black and white photography. Either way it’s definitely not a gallery wall. It’s really about a more curated look for your walls and not hanging every single thing that looks different or that works in one area of a wall.
Of course you should not get rid of something because it’s not so popular as a style. Gallery walls can be inspiring and very inclusive. The art can be anything and everything that means something to you and your family / partner. We’re big eclectic fans and if you want to change something then it’s a case of using it somewhere else. So we see big statement pieces on the wall. Create the focus on a single or a couple of pieces. Our tips for styles include photography, large colourful vintage maps and signs and industrial salvage – we found an old giant 1.5 metre band saw in a shed and it’s now up on our wall.
Of course the great thing about a gallery wall is that you don’t have to choose your favourites. Conversely a statement pieces means choosing your favourite, which would be too hard for many people. Look for reclaimed old truck signs, an old salvaged or reclaimed decorative door or window, a large framed black and white portrait photo, an old school map or vintage medical or educational poster. Something large bold or brightly coloured or unusual – an old door on a wall!
Statement storage – gone are the days of having to choose between style and function. 2018 will be about looking good and allowing you to organise everything to want to store. We could be about to see bedroom armoires being used in kitchens and living rooms and Art deco drinks cabinets making a return? Simple, understated style. Perhaps another reason why Scandinavian design is not going to fade is that the simple design, form and function are so well thought through.
A statement piece is going to be different. Not something that could be bought on the high street. We see more unique salvaged being used for simple everyday uses. Brightly coloured old lockers and well-used metal industrial cupboards. Reproduction industrial won’t quite do as the much-imitated style is so easy to recognise and not being original. You could go with tribal inspiration for your cupboard / cabinet or shelving. You’re guaranteed vibrant colours and patterns and quirkiness. Look for a grand armoire or a tribal storage chest or a quirky repurposed industrial cupboard.
Bold as brass – Brass is back as an interior design trend for 2018Copper is taking a back seat this year. But it’s not the bright shiny brass you’ll see, but authentic aged and tarnished with original wear, dents, stratches and discolouration. Keep those polishing cloths well away! Look out for it on handles / drawer pulls, edges and corners of chests and trunks, as bowls / plates and lighting and of course decorative functional pieces like these vintage lassi drinking cups.
Dining tables in the kitchen. Call us traditional, but not everyone is in favour of highly structured kitchen islands. More so when all the family is eating together and facing in the same direction! No more diner style set ups. If space is challenging then an extendable table or one with drop leaves works well. A traditional table with contrasting chairs – a farmhouse table paired with mid century chairs or an industrial work table with vintage school stacking chairs. See our range of old iron tables and wooden tables.
So those were our interior design trends for 2018. Of course we’re not saying you should follow them to the word, but they might give you some inspitaion when considring what you may or may not want in your house. Whatever you do choose it should be what you love and not what Scaramanga or anyone else tells you. Visit our website for more vintage furniture and interiors inspiration.
Dark glam woods is a trend that is taking over the world of interior design, and Scaramanga are welcoming it with open arms. 2018 is an exciting year for interior trends and a great opportunity to update your home with a range of dark glam woods. We want to encourage you to dust off your wooden furniture from the corner of the room, and place it centre stage where it belongs! Give your home a Scaramanga stamp of approval by following our top tips to give your home a rich and luxurious feel.
A vintage pantry cupboard is a great way to introduce your kitchen, bedroom or living room to the glam dark woods trend.
This retro pantry will ensure you that you can update your kitchen with rich colours without overwhelming your home. The chestnut tones can give a neutral room a much needed pop of colour, a fantastic quality of the glam dark woods trend. This vintage cupboard has a distressed effect, creating a range of contrasting colours and bringing the piece to life. If you are looking to add some great visual appeal to a retro styled interior, This cupboard would be a perfect choice.
This retro dining table is the definition of glam dark woods.
The unusual shape of this beautiful dining chair creates a retro feel that will look fabulous in your kitchen or dining room. Painting over a naturally beautiful piece of furniture like this would be a crime! The contrasting rich shades bring out the natural grain of the wood that creates a beautifully organic look, we love this about the glam dark woods trend. Match this set of chairs with an equally beautiful dining table with gold accessories will give your dining room an expensive and luxurious look. This will guarantee to make your dinner parties memorable for all the right reasons!
Adding a dark wood coffee table as a centre piece in your living room can make a beautiful focal point.
The brass antique handles adds to the glam dark woods theme. The blend of gold and rich colours adds sophistication to your room. We have placed metallic accessories on top of this antique merchants cabinet to reinforce the glam theme. This vintage table is not just a pretty centre piece, it also makes a lovely antique teak merchant’s cabinet with multiple storage compartments. Glam dark woods is a trend that welcomes functionality as well as style.
The folding function of this fantastic shabby chic piece allows you to get creative when exploring the placement in your home.
This vintage teak folding table can make a fantastic coffee or dining room table. The distressed surface finish of this vintage table creates a blend of wooden textures that makes this a dream in your home. You don’t have to restrict yourself to one glam dark wood piece, why not add multiple examples. The contrasting colours of each piece can make a bland room in to a beautiful visual wonder.
Glam dark woods are a timeless trend that has always had an important role in the home. The current trends of 2018 are a perfect opportunity to celebrate that. Whether you are looking for a vintage wooden chair to give you a retro feel, or a coffee table that has rich contrasting colours, we have a range of dark furniture that will achieve all of your home interior dreams.
A new year is a perfect opportunity for a fresh start. Make 2018 the year that you plan those dream trips, set time for the movies and tv programmes you’ve always planned to watch, and track your fitness plan and set goals that you won’t forget about. The bullet journal is a fantastic trend of 2018 that will help you put all of these goals in to action. Many of us are wondering what this fresh new trend is and my favourite answer so far is that it is a mood board for your thoughts. The bullet journal is a brand new way of planning, leading to a clear and positive mind. Lois from team Scaramanga made her own version of a bullet journal and we think the finished product is fantastic!
The amazing thing about the bullet journal is that it can be anything you want it to be. It is a great way to express your own individuality and find out what is important to you. The bullet journal is a method of journaling and noting that uses bullets as its key structure. The beauty of this idea is that it is non-job-specific therefore you are not limited to a certain structure. This allows you to express yourself and plan in a way that you prefer. You no longer have the excuse that you don’t have enough time as the bullet journal is a method that is very flexible. You are not limited to dates or times already lined out for you. This is a great way to combine mindfulness with productivity, giving your life the structure that you feel you need. It is important that you choose a journal that inspires you to be creative. Lois chose a Scaramanga medium leather bound journal to give that highly desired vintage look.
Lois started her bullet journal off with an index page. This is a great way to find out what page your fantastic creations are on, allowing you to get creative quicker. A great way to start off your new journal is to state your goals for the year. This is a great way to stay focused and remind yourself on a daily basis. You can decorate your journal in any way that inspires you. Lois has added small stickers and colourful graphics to make her bullet journal even more enjoyable.
Lois has added a page to keep up to date with her tasks for the week. This is a great way to remind yourself of what you have planned for the week. You can use small colour coded stickers to show if plans are canceled, rescheduled or going ahead.
You can add an expenses tracker to your notebook so you can keep up to date with what you are spending throughout the week. Tracking your expenses can be helpful when you are saving up for that holiday you have always wanted to go on or that car you’ve always wanted. It can be effective to review what you are spending and work out how you can improve this for the following month.
Adding quotes throughout your bullet journal can keep you motivated and help you to focus throughout the year. Make sure to choose a quote that is unique and personal to you!
Life can get hectic sometimes and we can forget to put things in to perspective. The bullet journal can help you to become more organised, allowing you to have clearer thoughts. Team Scaramanga are a big fan of the bullet journal and we will be incorporating it in to our lives. Let us know what you have added to your bullet journals
It is that time of year when Christmas has just past and your house can feel cluttered with all your new gifts. We wanted to give you our top tips on how to organise your home in a practical and stylish way. From Wooden Crates to brick moulds, we will give you storage solutions that will make your home feel less cluttered.
This storage chest is made from hard wearing teak that would make a fantastically sturdy storage box. Indian merchants and families would have originally used these authentic old wooden chests for keeping stationery, valuables, heirlooms, notes and records. You can use this beautiful chest as a blanket box to keep at the end of your bed. You can also keep all of your collectable objects in this piece of furniture, placing your most valuable objects in secret compartments. The vintage storage chest can also make a fantastic toy box.
Wooden crates are a great way to store all of your home essentials in a stylistic way. You can use various storage boxes to display all of your favourite books and ornaments you have collected throughout the years. You can stack up to four boxes, allowing you to showcase all of your favourite objects all at once. This is also a perfect way to make your house less cluttered. You may feel like you are constantly stepping over toys after Christmas. Our vintage storage crates can make fantastic toy boxes. Our authentic vintage wooden storage boxes will guarantee years and years of use.
The pigeon hole storage unit is a distinctive piece of furniture featuring cubby hole compartments to contain all of your small ornaments. Have you collected endless objects throughout the years that you feel are not getting enough justice in their current home? The pigeon hole storage cabinet is a great way to display your beloved pieces. This great piece of furniture would add some iconic functionality to your home. Store and display cups, books, or your personal treasures…the choice is yours. Scaramanga was very fortunate to source a selection of these pigeon hole display cabinets from Ladybank post office in Fife (Scotland).
Our traditional brick moulds can be a great way to store small home objects and letters. This style of tropical hardwood brick moulds once used for making mud or adobe bricks feature an internal logo…to show the maker’s mark. Today these chunky, solid teak and iron moulds make great storage wooden storage boxes.
Whether you are looking for a vintage toy box to make your home feel less cluttered or a storage crate to keep all of your fruit and vegetables in the kitchen, Scaramanga have a wide range of furniture to help you organise your home in 2018.
We are in love with Kristin’s beautiful photography of her enjoying a winter adventure with her leather and canvas backpack. Kristen brought her gorgeous dog along for the trip, modelling our brand-new pet accessories in style.
Drawing from old utilitarian military bags with design functions for modern adventures, the leather and canvas backpack has a perfect blend of style and practicality.
This vintage rucksack features two latch closures to secure the main compartment. This allows you to fasten your bag without getting caught up with buckles. The latches make it easier for you to access your essentials whenever you need to. You are guaranteed to feel comfortable when wearing your canvas and leather bag due to the sturdy and extendable shoulder straps.
The gorgeous leather and canvas backpack was designed so you can carry it all! The main compartment is large enough to fit a change of clothes and up to 15’’ laptop. We have added two external zip compartments and a front pocket, allowing you to keep your phone and keys in a convenient place. The amazing functionality of our leather and canvas bag will easily take you from the weekday to weekend.
The ruggedly stylish backpack has a combination of green military waxed canvas and durable waxed and oiled hunter leather. The combination of two materials gives the classic rucksack a modern twist. The bag is lined with thick canvas material, ensuring your expensive essentials have extra security.
Kristin brought her beautiful dog along for the adventure to enjoy the fantastic winter scenery, showcasing our brand-new dog collar. Each pet collar is made from our durable vintage Hunter leather, and antique style brass buckles and hardware. This comfortable and strong pet accessory is available in extra small, small, medium and large.
If you are looking for a refreshing and enjoyable winter adventure with your pets, the canvas and leather backpack is the perfect bag for you! Kristin’s work can be seen on Instagram, as well as her fantastic blog where you can enjoy more enchanting photography!
The team at Scaramanga have been working extremely hard to create new bags for everyone to enjoy, and we think it is about time to introduce you to them. Whether you are looking for a leather bag for work or your next adventure, we have a wide range of new leather bags that we know you will love!
Starting with the antique leather flight bag, we wanted to create a bag that had a perfect blend of vintage style and modern practicality. This leather bag has all of the fantastic qualities of our previous flight bag designs with an added-extra antique twist. The multi-coloured leather is combined with antique brass hardware, combining all of the bold colours beautifully.
The leather travel bag displays a large zipped compartment at the front of the bag, allowing you to store your much-loved essentials in a memorable place. We have added to attractive pockets underneath this zip, giving you all of the extra storage you need.
The drawstring backpack is a new design for Scaramanga. We wanted to take a traditional drawstring backpack design, and take it to the next level.
We used a new soft leather with a slight shine to it, creating a sleek and fresh style. The leather bag is unique to our other bags which tend to be distressed. The delicious milk chocolate colour makes this bag a must-have all year round.
The small internal compartment takes the traditional drawstring backpack to the next level. This allows you to keep your smartphone and keys in a place that is easy to access. Whether you are on a daytime adventure or an exciting travelling trip, this bag will add fun and practicality to your experience.
Our new travel briefcase has a classic and functional style that will allow you to travel to work with style and ease. It can be frustrating when you are juggling all of your work equipment while rushing to work, this bag allows you to keep everything in one place.
This leather bag has multi-purposes, allowing you to also use it as a spacious overnight bag or for a last-minute adventure.
We have added internal compartments to this leather briefcase, allowing you to organise your essentials in a stress-free way. The wide briefcase contains a large zipped compartment inside. You can place your important documents in this compartment, reducing the risk of losing important files.
A contemporary take on a traditional tote is what makes our new fold over bag pretty incredible. This leather bag introduces our new California tan leather which ages fantastically and represents vintage Scaramanga beautifully. The rich chestnut colour makes a strong statement of elegance.
The practicality and timeless elements of this leather bag represents the highly desired qualities of a tote bag with a modern addition of the fold over top, creating a truly unique leather bag that every woman deserves to add to their collection.
The new saddle bag is a cross body bag that defines effortless style. This is a simpler and more classic version of our original saddle bag. We also made this leather bag larger than the original to allow you to fit more of your belongings, making this bag perfect for everyday use.
This leather bag features our original hunter leather, pairing raw texture with iconic style. This practical handbag can be carried cross-body or on your shoulder with its adjustable vintage strap.
Team Scaramanga are very excited about our brand new dual zip cross-body bag. Similar to the new saddle bag, our distinctive hunter leather meets our new practical design. The two zipped compartments will keep your daily belongings perfectly organised so you know where everything is.
Casual and classic, this women’s leather bag is just what you’ve been looking for.
From the modern update with our antique flight bag to the distinctive and practical cross-body design, we have designed these fabulous bags with everyone in mind. We hope that you love these new additions as much as we do!
I spend a fair amount of time visiting India and thought he would share my experiences of a 16-day family trip to Rajasthan and Gujarat, with his wife, Emma and their two children Josh, 9 and Ella 7 it was the children’s first visit. We visited several ancient cities and did four different safari trips. We travelled by train, plane, car and camel. Booking hotels, tours and trips was pretty straight forward and can be done online. There’s a huge amount to keep kids busy. Read about how we explored ancient desert forts, majastic lake palaces, saw wild lions in the and tracked tigers in the jungle then chilled on the island beaches of Diu. Josh and Ella reveal their favourites for each stop along the way. It was a great opportunity for us to meet the families of the people who work with us.
Arrived in Delhi two days before Christmas day, in the early hours and caught up on a few hours sleep in the Aero city, the hotel area just a few minutes from the airport. In the early afternoon we took a short flight to Jodhpur.
Jodhpur – The Blue City
We landed in Jodhpur an old walled city, also known as the blue city, just on the edge of the Great Thar Desert. It’s famed for its beautiful old blue houses and the towering Meghreb fort, we only had a day in the city, we we would return in 3 days to stay longer (we wanted to get to Jaisalmer for Christmas day, but didn’t want to attempt the journey there in a day after 13 hours on a flight), so we headed for the fort where we spent half a day roaming the enormous palace and its elaborately decorated rooms viewing: mirrored reception rooms fearsome armour and weapons, courtyards and ramparts
Top Tip: Don’t do what 99% of the visitors to the fort do and head back to the city the way you arrived. Instead stroll down behind the fort through the wonderful walled gardens to the bluest part of the old city several roads wind round to Sadar Market: exiting Fateh Pol follow Fateh Pol Rd, Ada Bazaar Rd, walk along Catla Chowk, Clock Tower Rd to the Clock Tower around which Sadar Market is laid out. The walk takes around 90-minutes and is pretty much downhill. Don’t rush it. Take in all the sights, sounds and smells as you pass through spice merchants, fruit and flower sellers, jewellery makers, cobblers and hardware peddlars. Stop for a bottle of ‘Fruit Beer’ as one of the many small shops, we weren’t too sure what it was. The glass bottles clear state: ‘No fruit content. No alcohol.’ But it tasted good.
A little hidden gem is Shri Mishrilal Hotel an unassuming small sweet shop, selling its famed Makhaniya lassi, delicious curd mixed with cardamom and saffron, topped with thick cream. It’s tucked away in the corner of one of the gates south of the clock tower. We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the Clocktower.
We stayed at Devi Bhawan a small family run hotel on the outskirts of the city. the room are set around a beautiful garden – we paid £43/night for a huge room with three beds and a shaded terrace. The staff are exceptionally dedicated and friendly.
Josh and Ella’s favourite: riding in an auto-rickshaw, choosing the most menacing battle weapons in the palace’s armoury and swimming in the hotel’s pool.
Jaisalmer – Desert Adventure
Onto Jaisalmer another walled city famed for its hill-top sandstone fort. A taxi, from Jodhpur, will do the journey in 4.5 hours for around £45. But there are local buses that will take 5 hrs or the train rumbles into the city in 6 hours early at 6am and in the mid-afternoon. We stayed in the fort at Paradise Hotel for £30 a night, I have been staying here since my first trip to India in 1998. It’s run by Mr Chandra (aka Captain) whose camel once won ‘most beautiful camel’ in the annual Desert Festival. The rooms are beautifully painted in the local style. The best thing to do is to try to get yourself lost in the maze of narrow streets and alley ways at the top of the fort. You really won’t be lost for long as it’s quite small.
When you think you’ve seen the views of the surrounding city from the ramparts stroll down to the lake and take a boat trip to see the lakeside temples. Josh and Ella’s highlight was feeding the catfish. We met Laxmi who makes our sari and cotton bags and visited the museum he curates. The Thar Desert Museum shows local traditional life and folklore around Jaisalmer through displays, photos and stories. It’s a small, but Laxmi has a real passion for the heritage for the people of the Thar desert. Scaramanga sources textiles, cotton and sari bags from Jaisalmer. Laxmi distributes cotton and sari to women in small communities around the city and they work from home to make the dust bags for our leather bags. There is a very good puppet show at the cultural centre just off the road between the fort and lake close to the lake every evening at 7pm
We spent our second day, Christmas Day, in Jaisalmer and it was excitingly different to spend it in the desert. Laxmi helped us organise an afternoon riding camels a short distance from the fort, ‘camel safaris’ or trips can be as long or as short as you want. Hotels can help organise them as can the many travel agents in town. We had Christmas day at Trio a fabulous open aired roof-top restaurant overlooking a havali and the fort.
We had tea with the camel driver’s family in their traditional house. Then spent a couple of hours on camels roaming the sand dunes.
Josh and Ella’s favourite part: riding camels in the desert and jamming with the traditional band at Trio restaurant.
Jodhpur – the return
We returned to Jodhpur Emma, Ella and Josh spent the day on a village safari visiting the Bishnoi, a traditional rural community just outside the city. They saw weaving, pottery and an opium drinking ceremony as well as deer and lots of birds. While Carl visited our regular suppliers to buy furniture and interiors. We booked the trip through Jaggi owner of Govind hotel ( http://www.govindhotel.com/ ). Josh and Ella joined in the vintage furniture buying after their trip.
Udaipur – Lake Palaces and Melas
We moved onto Udaipur arguably one of the most romantic settings in India, the ancient white city is set around a series of shimmering lakes. City palace is a complex of 11 palaces, terraced gardens and temples perched high on a hill and needs a half a day to explore.
The Jagdish temple which is reached by a steep, elephant-flanked flight of steps, just 200m from the entrance to City palace and at the junction of several roads in the old city. Hitesh has been making our journals for 11 years and his store and workshop is just 20 second stroll from Jagdish Chowk. Everything can be done on foot. Like all bustling ancient cities, the best things to explore and see where you end up. My favourite area are the streets north of Gadiya Deeva Marg. Along the small winding streets are numerous jewellery makers workshops. If you have time stop and watch the jewellers making intricate pieces from gold, silver and precious stones. There’s a popular evening traditional dance show at the Bagore Ki haveli.
Hitesh has been making our handmade leather journals since we started in 2006. Josh and Ella we very excited at being able to take son, Chiki, to Shilpgram a model village with 20+ replica houses from across Rajasthan and Gujarat, where a mela (festival) was in full swing with hundreds and hundreds of performers from all over India. The highlight was watching the traditional dancers from Rajasthan.
We stayed at the Jaiwana Haveli £50/night for a very large 3rd floor room with a huge terrace overlooking the lake (which the children were not allowed onto as it had a scarily low wall on both sides. I have been staying here for 11 years and visit at least once a year. Owners Yash and Yogi are very welcoming hosts. Definitely one of the best lake views in the city, the rooms are immaculate and the service probably the best I’ve experienced in India.
Boats then continue onto Jagmandir Island, part of the royal palaces with imposing stone elephants, 17th-century towers and beautiful ornate gardens where you can stay for as long as you like before taking a boat back to the City Palace. The views of the city from the island at sunset are amazing. We left just before sunset, which depart just before sunset.
Josh and Ella’s highlights: The mela at Shilpgram and watching the classic bond film Octopussy, which was filmed in the city (many hotels and restaurants show it everynight).
Sasan Gir – Lion Safari
We left Udaipur, early and headed to Sasan Gir, in Gujarat the home of Asia’s last remaining wild lions. It was a long road trip across the state border and across to western Gujarat. Being so far west and away from the main tourist centres means it does not get many western tourists and so people are surprised to hear there are still wild lions in India. The bumpy roads, dust and getting lost in several cities on the way were worth it when we entered the cool dense forests and jungle surrounding the national park.
We woke just before dawn on New Year’s Day to start our safari with our driver and guide Manish. Although the lion population is growing their habitat is huge and safaris are strictly controlled to minimise their impact on the environment. Luckily, we were very lucky to see three lions drinking water from a pool mid-morning. The lions are in a very natural habitat that includes local villages with traditional buffalo and cow herders. Were told that lions have never killed any humans! Definitely at the top of our list of hidden India.
We stayed at United Vanvasco, for around £42 a night, in a jungle style cabin. It’s on the banks of the Hiran river just 10 minutes from the main town. We enjoyed a fabulous Indian New Year’s eve buffet.
Josh and Ella’s favourite: seeing the lions
Diu – Island getaway and deserted beaches
We left the lush jungle for 3 days of chilling on the sandy beaches of Diu just 2 hours from the lions. We were booked into Magico Do Mer ( http://www.magicodomar.com/ ) just yards from the beach. Just 10 traditional Gujarati style cottages nestle amongst the coconut palms and tropical trees. Diu, a tiny former Portuguese island colony, until 1971 is a real hidden gem due it its location on the east coast of Gujarat it tends to get missed as tourists travel between Mumbai and Rajasthan. It’s super chilled out. Fantastic deserted beaches, amazing colonial Portuguese architecture, freshly caught seafood and chilled Kingfisher beers. A perfect respite from the hustle and bustle of Rajasthan.
Highlights of Diu include: the c16th Portuguese fort, part of which is strangely still a work prison! , wandering the old streets in Diu town amongst the faded pastel coloured colonial Portuguese buildings, fish curries and bottles of Kingfisher beer!
The beaches are just amazing especially those of Ghoghola beach; which although part of the territory of Diu is on the mainland. Beautiful deserted sandy beaches stretch for miles and miles. The Christmas Mela (fair) was on and we spent every evening on the rides and eating Diu street food.
Josh and Ella’s favourite: Eating fish and seafood curries and playing on the beaches. Try Apana on the Fort road. I first ate here 18 years ago and have been back several times. They also have rooms: http://www.apanahoteldiu.com/
Ranthambore – Sleeper train to the tigers
After the beach we took our first sleeper from Mumbai to Sawai Madhopur, back in Rajasthan. A sleeper is a must if you have the time. It’s one of the best ways to really see India. We boarded in the evening, having booked our berths in 3AC class. We I tried you needed an Indian credit card and mobile number to register and book (we asked an Indian friend to book the tickets). We all had curry dinners brought to our carriage as part of the ticket price. Then settled down into our berths. 3AC meant three vertical berths on each side of a small screened section of a compartment. The AC refers to the carriage being heated in winter and cooled in the heat of summer. You also get blankets and bed linen. Tickets cost around £20 each for a 12-hour trip. Fellow Indian travellers are always keen to talk to you. It’s a great opportunity to talk to locals about India.
Take an intercity sleeper train and watch India slip past from the comfort of your berth and chat to Indians about your experiences in India and their view of life. Book well in advance and ensure you have confirmed ticket. Bookings can be made online.
Sawai is the nearest village to Ranthambore National Park, a large wildlife reserve. It’s a former royal hunting ground and home to tigers, leopards and marsh crocodiles. Its landmarks include the imposing 10th-century Ranthambore Fort, on a hilltop, and the Ganesh Mandir temple.
We had a trip booked for our 2nd day, so spent the 1st day exploring the hill Fort and the temple. Allow at least 3-4 hours. Both are in the park grounds and we saw lots of deer, crocodiles, monkeys and birds driving in and out. It’s a steep climb, but worth it. We were rewarded with fantastic views and lots of old temples. The next day we were up early and were picked up by our guide and driver in an open top jeep. After registering at the park gates we drove in and followed our designated route. Despite the expertise of our guide we didn’t see a tiger, but did hear a leopard very close by, saw several bears, crocs and deer again and so many birds. Josh and Ella were not too disappointed.
We stayed at the excellent Anuraga Palace Hotel (£70/ night), they managed the booking for the safari. We were given a large room for 4 as soon as we arrived at 6am. They serve a mighty breakfast which you’ll need if before of after the morning and mid-day safaris. They also serve an unexpected afternoon tea and biscuits around 4pm. Despite my best efforts it was too hard to book the safari myself. It seems that all the bookings are snapped up by the hotels, travel agents as soon as allocations are released. This meant we paid a hefty premium.
Josh and Ella’s favourite: sleeping on a train and seeing wild bears and crocodiles
Top Tip: if booking a tiger safari trip book through a reputable agent / hotel, check for reviews on Trip Adviser. Opt for an early morning trip as there’s a better chance of seeing tigers. If seeing a tiger is a must then book several trips over several days.
We rose early again the next day for our last trip into Delhi by train on the Hazrat Nizamuddin Jan Shatabdi Express, the super-fast intercity train service. Our last few hours were spent shopping in Delhi and seeing some of the sights of New Delhi.
If, like us, you have a very limited amount of shopping time in Delhi then here are three options:
- Pahar Ganj – the backpacker’s favourite haunt. Small shops line the main bazaar with dozens of small lanes lead off which are jammed packed with hundreds more even smaller shops. Definitely for the lower budget.
- Connaught Place aka CP, an old Victorian era circular parade of shops. These are pretty much all global and Indian branded fashion shops and restaurants. Nike, Apple, Polo Assn (a good store selling polo inspired clothes. CP has been given a new lease of life recently and is very popular with younger Indians, especially on a Sunday. Winter sales are on between December and February and prices are generally 50% lower than the UK.
- Khan Market – It’s very upmarket, with homewares stores like: Fab India, Anokhi, Vera Moda, Enfield Motorcycles and fashion stores too. It’s close to Sujan Singh Park, Delhi’s 1st apartment block. It has a fantastic array of restaurants and bars. Not to be confused with Khana Market (a huge market in Old Delhi).
Josh and Ella’s favourites: street food
Top 5 Hidden India
You don’t need to go off the beaten track to find hidden gems in India. Here are Carl’s
- Roaming the back-streets of Jodhpur as we walked back from the fort through the lower gates on the east side of the fort onto Danvir Shri Nathoji Marg, Fateh Pol Rd, Ada Bazaar Rd, then onto Clock Tower Rd.
- Who knew there were wild lions in India? (and always have been). Sasan Gir is the only place to see Asiatic lions in their natural habitat.
- Definitely off the tourist trail is a small former Portuguese colonial island of Diu. It has a quaint town centre and miles and miles of empty sandy beaches. It’s probably what Goa was like 30 years ago. A perfect respite from the hustle and bustle of other parts of India.
- Tucked just off the road that winds around the base of the fort in Jaisalmer is the Thar Heritage Museum near Gandhi Chowk, curated by Laxmi Khatri, who owns the Handicraft Emporium very close by. Laxmi is passionate about recording and documenting the groups in and around Jaisalmer and has been doing so for 30 years. Laxmi was one of our first suppliers and 11 years later is still making bags for us. He has a treasure trove of old and new local textiles, rugs and antiques from the surrounding area.
- Shri Mishrilal Hotel makers of the probably the best lassi in Rajasthan, if not all India! The lassi shop is tiny and easily missed. They do not seem to serve anything except its famed Makhaniya lassi. An essential rest stop from the desert heat. We visited after walking back from the fort.
- Visiting the Asiatic lions in Sasan Gir really was an experience of a lifetime. They cannot be seen anywhere else in Asia. Trips can be easily booked online.
We had the pleasure of working with the team at Concrete Catwalk last week to create an Autumn look book. We decided to leave our favourite Autumn bags in the hands of the team at Concrete Catwalk, and we are glad that we did! The Medium Messenger bag, the Large Backpack, the Britt Tote, and our brand new Drawstring Backpack made an appearance in this collaboration, with every bag bringing a unique quality to the autumn ambiance.
The Leather messenger bag is a fantastic accessory for Autumn. You can access all of your essentials for work or university, and look on-trend at the same time. This bag is made from our unique distressed buffalo brown leather, giving the bag a lovely distressed style (a distressed look never gets boring). The team at Concrete Catwalk have styled this with neutral colours, allowing the bag to showcase its natural characteristics. You are able to fit up to a 15 inch laptop or Mac Pro, and have space for files and lots more.
The Britt Tote is a must have this Autumn! The rich colours mirror the beautiful tones of Autumn that we all know and love. The strong handles on the bag allows you to feel comfortable when wrapped up for the cold weather. The size of the leather bag makes it practical for carrying your daily essentials when shopping or out with friends. It is also a handy tool for traveling to work or university, allowing you to carry your laptop and documents in an organised and compact way. The Britt tote looked fabulous around the streets of St. Andrews, due to its classic style.
The Large backpack is perfect for an Autumn adventure! Concrete Catwalk has shown that just because the weather is colder, doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors. this bag allows you to pack all of the wooly jumpers you need to enjoy your day. This leather bag was crafted from our distinctive hunter leather, giving that uniquely distressed look that we love at Scaramanga! Each backpack is designed with a large main compartment, which is lined with canvas and has a small internal zipped compartment; allowing you to keep your essentials secure while enjoying the beautiful Autumn scenery.
The drawstring backpack is a new design for Scaramanga. The rich colour and distinctive qualities makes this leather bag perfect for Autumn. The drawstring allows you to secure all of your Autumn essentials. The straps will make you feel comfortable, allowing you to enjoy a care-free day. We have added small zipped compartments inside to keep your keys in a memorable place. We are excited to launch the drawstring backpack next week, stay tuned!
From the large backpack to our brand new drawstring backpack, you are guaranteed to stand out this Autumn. We would like to thank Concrete Catwalk for working with us this Autumn. Their on-point instincts to style allowed us to show the unique qualities of our bags. This was a fun, care-free day in Autumn, and we are positive our bags will bring this much joy to your day.