Monday, July 30, 2012

Downtime in Devon

Hope you are enjoying the summer that's finally arrived...
We spent a lovely week in North Devon...tucked away in the middle of nowhere in a converted ancient saw mill. (Me, hubby, youngest daughter and her bestest buddy.)

The owners were professional gardeners and we were free to roam their plot and use the swimming pool.

Days out included getting up close and personal with lots of lovely creatures...

Another day we visited Clovelly - A traffic-free village, where donkeys are used for carrying goods up the hill. Sadly, as with many places these days, it is quite commercial. You arrive at a tourist centre and pay to enter the village. I do understand why, as the village is privately owned and the money raised is used to keep the village as it is...

The entrance fee includes access to the fisherman's cottage.

Its a steep climb down to the harbour...

But the return journey back up takes a little more effort!

A more relaxing day was spent sunning ourselves at the beach, where we hired a beach hut.
Lynmouth....Lovely! :)
Now to let you into a little secret...
Our middle daughter is getting married in October! I'm going to be a mother-of-the-bride...Blimey, I feel so old! ;-))
We're doing virtually everything ourselves...not just to save money (although that is a BIG factor as daughter has come out of uni in debt and she of course has her little-one to bring up now), but also she wants to make the day as personal to her and her fiancĂ© as possible, keeping it a simple and fun celebration for the two families coming together. There's not going to be an overriding theme, but various elements will feature, including vintage (of course!), lots of textiles (she completed her degree in fashion and textile design), autumn (it will be early autumn), English country/garden (we live in a small village), handmade (we all love being creative) and most importantly, un-pretentious (cos we're really not! ;-))
  For the last few months I've been furiously collecting vintage china and various decorative items and storing them all here - hence the big clean in the spring. Autumnal shades of yellow, orange, red and green is not a colour palette I am particularly comfortable with, but I am enjoying the challenge! We are also working on lots of little craft projects for the big day...making one of each item for over 120 guests, takes a LOT of time, I've discovered! I have a pile of bunting pennants that reaches over 18" high that all need stitching onto cotton tape...cutting that lot out took me several days and several corn plasters on my fingers! I'm sure it will be all worthwhile in the end when we step back and think we did that...
We're catering the buffet ourselves too...(*gives a nervous giggle!* :)...Cooking is not my forte. We're not the 'dinner party' types and I like to keep things simple, always in the hope that I can't mess that up too much! There will be lots of cakes using family recipes (daughter is having a baking party at our house, rather than a hen night), so at least guests should be able to fill up on calorie-filled sponges if nothing else! Not quite sure how the logistics of getting all the decorations, crates of china, the flowers and the food to the village hall is going to pan-out yet, but will keep that in mind for nearer the time...(another nervous giggle!)
Our daughter is a big fan of Rock & Roll Bride, which is somewhere we both like to visit to be inspired - She's not a church and 'white meringue dress' kind of a girl, so we're looking to create something a little less traditional, but bringing the elements above that I mentioned were important to the happy couple. 
Anyway, enough said for now, as we want to keep some surprises for the family on the big day. I'll be posting a little less frequently for a while, whilst preparations are made and miles of bunting is stitched! If all is successful on the day, I may include some of our ideas on my blog with some tutorials for the projects we used to make the day special and hopefully unique.
Niki x
PS: I'm still hand making items and sourcing vintage goodies for my shop, and the fairs too, so please feel free to visit one or both any time! ;-))


  1. I love North Devon. My parents live there in a small village a few miles inland from Clovelly. I agree Clovelly has been commercialised and I still can't understand how they got planning permission for that hideous visitor centre! It's so out of character with the village. As you wander down the cobbles between the cottages it is still very beautiful though. One Christmas many moons ago we saw home owners bringing down Christmas trees and shopping on sledges but I didn't have my camera with me unfortunately! We always visit in the evening during the summer and you just enter a side gate free of charge after 6pm. I also have very happy memories of Lynton and Lymouth as a relative had a tearoom in Lynton. I used to work there in my summer holidays serving cream teas and walk down to Lymouth when I had time off. I was actually there during the Queen's Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1977. The saw mill you stayed in looks absolutely beautiful. I wasn't so keen on the tarantula photo though!! Congratulations on your daughter's forthcoming marriage. It sounds as though it will be a very beautiful, special and individual day.

  2. Looks like you all had a wonderful break and you were very brave with the snake Niki! Congratulations to your daughter and her fiance and of course to all of you. I love the idea of a personal and homemade wedding that's just how Andy and I did it all those years ago and it was perfect as I didn't want a big showy wedding. Take care and see you soon.
    Jo xx

  3. Hi Niki,

    Glad you had a lovely holiday, your daughter's forthcoming wedding sounds fabulous.


  4. That's super news about your daughter, Nikki. I bet it will be a fabulous and of course, most beautifully decorated day! Always wanted to visit Clovelly so thanks very much for the photos.
    Hen x

  5. Wonderful holiday photos. I bet the wedding will be wonderful and very much what its all about, getting married!

  6. Love you photos except for the snake and bugs. You will certainly have your hands full doing a wedding yourself. It's a lot of work and stress. Good luck.

  7. Lovley !!

  8. Gorgeous photos Niki apart from the spider one!! I would have run a mile.I have been to Clovelly once and remember it as being very pretty.The cottage sounds fab too, being in the middle of nowhere would be just my cup of tea! Plenty of books and food, heaven.

  9. Gosh you are certainly going to be an even busier lady over the next few weeks - October isn't that far away! I love the idea of the wedding being so personal with lots of handmade and vintage personal touches.
    Ruth x

  10. Devon is fab for a holiday. Love the ideas for the wedding. Our daughter was married in October and we did a few things ourselves. The pew decorations in the church were very rustic with orange and rusty red leaves loosley tied together with trailing raffia. The church used them for harvest festival!!Have lots of fun.. Sue X

  11. What a beautiful cottage you stayed in, love the pool! Thank you for sharing Clovelly, it is many years since we visited. I was very pregnant with our first, so the climb back up the hill was a challenge! Lovely to hear all the wedding plans, I am sure it will be amazing. Lizzie x


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