Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Combining Business with Pleasure.

'All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy'.
With this in mind, hubby and I now take every opportunity to combine our businesses with some pleasure too...
Whilst bring up our three daughters, we never had baby-sitters for them, so consequently we did everything as a family. Now that the girls are all almost grown, hubby and I feel that we can justify some 'me' or 'our' time these days, as we have some lost ground to make up for...not for partying, I hasten to add(!) but time to be together as a couple.
Those of you who run your own business will know that they can be all-consuming and can easily take up 24 hours out of every day and can also occupy your mind 24/7 too. My hub has had his own business for a long time now, and as he often has to deal with the USA, can sometimes be on the phone well into late evening.
My small business is less demanding in that respect, but does require frequent buying trips to find stock.

This weekend we decided to combine one of my buying trips with a bit of playtime down in Devon. We stayed in a beautiful Farm House complex just outside Newton Abbot.
Update 12th may: It has just been brought to my attention by Lizzie that the beautiful farm is owned by a Blogger by the name of Sarah! Wish I had known at the time, as I had the opportunity to say hello to Sarah over breakfast on Monday! Never mind...hopefully we will be back one day...

The owner is a watercolour artist and her work is displayed throughout the rooms.

Her paintings are inspired by the countryside and her animals.

This was the view from our bedroom window.

I won't be having a summer holiday this year, as there will be lots going on in Shepton Mallet with the BBC arriving next month for the filming of the new TV series. I am hoping that it will bring lots of visitors to the town, so am reluctant to take time away from the shop during June to September. So our mini break to Devon was most welcome...
On Sunday morning we headed off to see the sea at Brixam and combined this with a bit of scouting for stock.



In the afternoon we drove around some of the lanes and ended up in Buckfastleigh, where we went for a wander...
And discovered this intriguing set of very old stone steps, which were crying out to be climbed...
They went on for quite an incline and at the top was this well worn path...
The path eventually led us to a peaceful church yard.

The grounds belonged to a now ruined church, but one which is still used today for outside services.


I don't think I have every seen such a beautiful churchyard...

Nature had been allowed to claim back some of the ground...

But not with the thuggish plants that you might expect, for example, bindweed, brambles or nettles...

No, the ancient stones were blanketed in clumps of Bluebells,


wild garlic...

and primroses.

A real highlight of our stay.
On Monday we visited one of my most favourite towns - Ashburton.

...And my most favoritest shop, The Snug.
(Where some buying did take place! ;-))

Another quick jaunt in the car after that, found us here...Can you guess where?

Well, I wasn't going to set foot in Devon again and not visit the lovely Nicky this time!

Such a warm welcome, (mind you, I am yet to see this girl without a sunny smile on her face?!) - a quick tour of her gorgeous studio, and who could resist a few soft pats of the heads of some of those sweet little bears awaiting adoption? - We left for some recommended lunch at the deli across the road.

Later, our journey home took us via Topsham and the antique centre which I hadn't visited for several years...


Time for one last cuppa before the final leg of the journey home...

And was it a successful buying/pleasure trip?
Yes indeedy, quite productive!
I've not had time to sort through my finds yet, as I had to be back at the shop this morning, but I shall go through it all tomorrow and will add everything to the shelves on Thursday.

(If I have time I shall add some photos of my favourite items to my blog this week.)
All the retail businesses in Shepton Mallet are hopeful that Friday is going to be busy. The new market is going to be opened by Michael Eavis and there will be cookery demos and street performers...
Fingers crossed that Shepton can see the start of its regeneration begin...
Niki x
PS: Many thanks to Belinda for the mention on her blog. x


  1. THE most gorgeous photos! Looking forward to seeing pics of your finds. Good luck for lots of trade on Friday.
    Best regards
    Deborah {Fondantkiss}

  2. Photo's are great,a beautiful part of the country. I have been to that centre in Topsham and could have stayed all day

  3. Wow, that looks like an amazing 'business trip'. All your photos are simply gorgeous but the photo of the stone steps are just inviting me to walk up there with you....in fact I wish I could have gone on the whole journey with you...so pretty!
    Thanks for sharing your lovely weekend,
    Kiss Noises Linda

  4. what a fun ramble with you through your photos
    thanks so much

  5. Hello Niki! I'm sorry I haven't been by to say hello...I'm having trouble keeping up with my favorite blogs! It's spring and there's lots to do around the farm. Oh I LOVE Devon...what a wonderful place to mix business with pleasure...good for you. I love your photo's. Oh goodness I don't blame you for not wanting to take time away from the shop with all that will be going on in your little village. As they say here ' you have to make hay while the sun shines!' That's true when you own your own business. Been there...done that! I'm looking forward to seeing all the treasures you brought home. Take care and have a wonderful Wednesday! Maura

  6. Oh, I LOVED the churchyard. Thank You for taking us on a photo tour with you.

  7. Hi Niki!
    Images of Devon is fabulous! ;o))
    Your little vacation was interesting and rewarding, how nice!
    A dear greeting, Maria.

  8. It looks as if you had a wonderful time & visited some beautiful places. Was it by coincidence the farm of Sarah (aka The innkeepers wife??)where you stayed??

  9. Hi Niki

    Glad you both had such a lovely 'fortnight' away. I can understand your feelings re the churchyard. Very tranquil.

    Meant to email but haven't had an opportunity yet. Will endeavour to this evening!

    Sue x

  10. Glad you and hubby had a great time away. It all looks so wonderful.
    I hope business is good when the BBC comes to town.
    Sandie xx

  11. What a lovely post Niki :0)
    Thankyou for letting us enjoy your business trip too! :)

  12. I liked the pictures of the hillsides covered with colorful houses. But then, that walk up to the church yard and the quietness...lovely.

  13. Hi Niki

    What a lovely weekend! It is impportant for couples to have quality "us" time without the children. Just my kind of weekend. I can't wait to have a weekend break away to devon or Cornwall again soon. My destination will have to include The Snug and The Vintage Magpie!
    What a pity I am going to miss the opening of the market, I really wanted to be there for that.

    So pleased that you had a good weekend.

    Take care
    See you soon
    Isabelle x


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