Monday, September 06, 2010

Days to Remember

I've been off gallivanting (as my Mum would say) over the last few days, making the most of my week away from the shop, as I know this will be my last break until Christmas. I was lucky to be able to visit two of my favourite places again:
On Friday hubby and I travelled down to Ashburton, Devon, a lovely town which I have mentioned on my blog before.
On our arrival, we always start with a cuppa in the Studio Tea Shop, right by the car park. It's mostly used by the locals and has a very friendly atmosphere. Hubby has a pot of gunpowder tea every time we visit!

Once refreshed, we have to make a b-line for The Snug, which is owned by the lovely Ros. I never fail to find a treasure or two, and this visit was no exception.
Whilst I was there, I asked Ros about her shop's mannequins. I have been looking for a while, for an old one of slim proportions for my shop - most of the vintage clothes that I have in stock, don't fit the modern dress dummies very well. I felt an older lady could be the answer, so have been looking out for one on every buying trip. (I admit to having two old ones at home, but neither is of the right shape. I actually hired out my Edwardian one to the BBC for the recent filming in Shepton Mallet...with any luck she will be seen on TV wearing a corset made by the dressmaker.)
Anyway, Ros wasn't able to help me this time, but I did come away with some fabulous fabric, which I have already used to re-cover an old chair seat. (I'll show a picture of it at the end of this post.) Then, as we said our good-byes and left her shop, I spotted something across the road...
In the window of The Shambles was a skinny mannequin! I hardly dare ask if she was for sale, as I half expected her to be a display piece...but luck was on my side and she was for sale! She needs a stand, as she is just a torso, but I'm sure I'll be able to rustle something up...she has a gorgeous figure and should be ideal for what I need.
Very happy with my purchases, hubby and I then left the town for the wilds of Dartmoor.

Once again we were so lucky with the weather and were able to take a long walk by the river...

And then over the moorland.



Some of the wild Dartmoor ponies were enjoying the shade under a tree.

I had to take a few photos of these wonderful animals - We searched hard to find the wild ponies on Exmoor earlier in the week, and only caught glimpses of them off in the distance. The Dartmoor ponies were far easier to find and were quite sociable and used to people.
As much as I love Dartmoor though, I think I have been seduced by the pink heather strewn land of Exmoor as one of my favourite places to be.

Saturday offered a rare chance for me to make a special visit to somewhere I have wanted to go to for several months...
More of that in a minute...
First there was the Severn Crossing to negotiate...

And the promise of a castle visit to fulfil to my ever patient hubby.
Raglan castle was our lunchtime stopping-off point.

A great way to spend an hour or two, soaking up C15th history.
Leaving the castle behind, another car journey stretched out before us - The wonderful landscape of SE Wales made it very enjoyable though...
Journey's end found us once again in Hay-on-Wye!
It must be at least 12 years ago (if not more) that I first conversed via email with Louise...We've 'spoken' now-and-then ever since and have always been interested in what each other was doing...But in that time we have never actually met...
When I heard that Louise had also decided to open a shop this year, I was excited, but knew it would be difficult for me to ever get to visit, as our opening times were the same. Having allowed myself a Saturday off, I knew it was an opportunity not to be missed...

Louise was as nice a lady as I knew she would be, and her pretty shop exuded the charm that I had totally expected. Our 'first-meeting hug' felt like the greeting of an old friend. I'm so glad that I was able to visit; it rounded off my holiday perfectly.


I have made lots of purchases over the week (too many to photograph just now! ;-)) - Many items will be destined for my shop.
The week off has given me the opportunity to take stock and think about what and where improvements could be made. I've decided to take the iron bed out of the middle my shop, as it provides limited display space. I've bought an old painted dressing table, wooden bench and a shelf unit to replace it. I shall be delivering these to the shop towards the end of this week and making the changes that I feel are necessary over the next month or so, before the run up to Christmas!
(Lace, quilt piece and plush fabric from Louise - others from a recent textile fair)
I've been able to buy some pretty vintage supplies to recycle too, and am feeling refreshed and raring to get back to it all again.
Have a great week,
Niki x


  1. Your posts are always so cheerful and enthusiastic and filled with wonderful eye candy! Thank you for sharing your photos, Niki. That castle looks so enchanting!

  2. Enjoyed traveling to Dartmoor with you, it's been more than 10 years since we've been there. Loved the vintage fabrics.

  3. I have always loved the word 'gallivanting' .... Your post today is quite lovely.

  4. Can't wait to visit those places, Niki! ;))) Thanks for sharing!

  5. Ah, I thought Louise was the one with the 'sage femme' sign, and one of your photos proves me right! What a fantastic set of outings you have had. Thanks for all the wonderful photos and the tour.

  6. Ooooo, I felt like I was on vacation with you. I never get tired of your photos and love the glimpses of England. Kit

  7. Glad you had the get-away and found new treasures, too. What a wonderful time! Great pictures, thanks for showing them.

  8. I'm so glad you had a great time. The landscapes look wonderful and the shops too (of course!)Lovely to see you on Sunday.x

  9. Hi Niki

    Glad you had such a good time - we drove past the Raglan Castle sign on our way home yesterday but decided we'd stop off on our next Welsh trip!

    We almost went to Hay but were running short on time - hopefully that will be next time, too!!

    I have a spare mannequin stand. Yours at cost if you would like it.



Thank you for finding the time to visit me...
Niki xx