How Florence Found: The Elan Valley

Its been a long time coming this post, but with the bank holiday looming and people planning last minute getaways or day trips out, I thought it was a good time to share what Pete and I got up to when we went away to Wales.

I’ve already written about The Drawing Room, the absolutely fabulous boutique restaurant with rooms that we LOVED and I would highly recommend, so do head on back there and have a look if you’re looking for somewhere to stay locally. In the mean time, here’s a few tips on what to do in the area.

The Elan Valley
The weather wasn’t brilliant while we were there, windy and a bit rainy, (hey, what’s changed in 4 months?) but after a ridiculously filling breakfast, we needed to walk off the excess and headed off to The Elan Valley to see the reservoirs and spectacular dams.

You can walk around all of them, but here is a map of the southern most reservoir, Caban Coch, which we intended to circumnavigate. On the day the wind was so gusty it blew our hats away and almost blew us over, so we opted for the lazy option, walked up the side of the dam and then drove to the next one to take photos! That was more than enough!

Gigrin Farm – Red Kite sanctuary.
Half way through our trip around the dams we wanted to get out of the wind and decided to check out the local Kite Sanctuary at Gigrin farm. I had my camera and fancied trying to take a few clever pictures (hopeless) and wherever Pete and I go we seem to do animal activities. It was fascinating as a big tractor brought a scooper full of meat and it was shovelled all over the field. The Kites circled, waiting, then swooped in to steal the meat. They were enormous and there were so many of them! Feeding is at 3pm March – October and it costs £4.50 to visit, or £2.00 for a child.

After Gigrin we headed back to the reservoirs to finish at the most northern dam then, grateful for the warm car we went back to The Drawing Room to get ready for dinner and warm up.

The next day was Sunday and we were leaving and planning on visiting Baileys Home and Garden (click the link to read all about it.) Although we were heading north, it was actually quicker for us to drive south then take the motorway back up north than return the way we came down the A roads.

On route to Baileys, we stopped in Hay-on-Wye, a town famous for its literary festival (held at the end of May if you’re in the area) and bookshops. It was well worth a wander and we stopped in several shops perusing the first editions and curiosities. There were also a number of map shops with very old maps and lithographs and junk or thrift stores. We picked up a map of Southport in the 1940’s for my step-Dad’s birthday for £8.

After that it was Baileys and home, after a very relaxing weekend. The area is so beautiful, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

Do you know anywhere local that you can recommend or have you been to any of the places I have mentioned? Do share any trip tips you have for the rest of the readers…


Found: Baileys Home and Garden

Last week, I wrote about my trip to The Drawing Room in Wales and promised you guys a peek into what we did whilst we were there. It’s such a beautiful area and there’s plenty to fill a weekend, depending on whether you are as lazy as we were, but that’s all coming at a later date. Today, I give you Baileys.

Baileys Home and Garden is an interiors store hidden away, near to Hereford and just outside Ross-on-Wye. Although I’ve known about it for several years (first spotted in Living Etc I think) I’ve never been in that part of the world. After traffic stopped us popping in last year on route to a wedding, I was absolutely desperate to pop in during our trip to Wales and we decided to make it our Sunday trip on the way home. (It’s actually about 1.5hrs south of The Drawing Room but closer to the motorway, so despite the detour, was quicker getting home from there than coming down originally.)

You can reach Baileys and purchase a selection of their stock online, however, I knew there was a much greater variety of things on offer in the store and was curious to see how it was all curated. Sally and Mark Bailey have written 3 books on styling your home and their salvaged, repurposed and rustic style is right up my street, so I was quite literally in seventh heaven.

Housed in Whitecross barn there are several large buildings which display their wares. You can find quite literally everything here from vegetable peelers, kitchen goods, ceramics and scented candles to sofas, antiques and 1930’s bathroom suites. The displays are quite overwhelming and I have to admit I actually went around twice, with a trip to the Tabernacle Tearoom in between, where we feasted on delicious sandwiches, heavenly cakes and washed it all down with old fashioned lemonade.

I left with a vegetable scrubber, tiny measuring cup for small amounts of fluids – (you know, those recipes that call for 20mls of milk etc,) 2 vintage milk bottles for displaying flowers and some galvanised trays for my office, but with plans to go back for more! I also loved the lighting selection. My only frustration was that so many of the salvaged items used to display their stock weren’t for sale!

So, have you visited Baileys, bought anything from there, or have I introduced you to somewhere new? I know so many of you reading will love their aesthetic!


PS Head on over to Florence’s Amazon store to see the books…

Shed some Light on it…

Well good afternoon! After all the excitement of this morning’s launch, lets settle down to some of the fabulous finds you can expect on a regular basis. We’re getting straight to the good stuff (or some of my favourites at least!) …Interiors.

I enjoy lighting so much that instead of over indulging and having rather too many lamps and statement lights, I am caught in a quandry of indecisiveness. Our dining room has been the subject of much ‘lighting’ discussion, many a walk around a lighting department and 5 years on, we are still with the same pendant shade. ( – a tin punched lantern bought in the souks of Marrakesh but now slightly rusty. Nice.)

Today, I thought I’d do a round up of task lighting, inspired by this stunning salvage look creation (Teak and Brushed Aluminium desk lamp) from Cox and Cox. You might have seen it adorning the front of their Autumn catalogue. As I searched I found quite a few, including a bargain from Laura Ashley with a similar look and some very utilitarian clamping lights from Plumo

*Teak and Brushed Aluminium desk lampCox and Cox, Cream enamel and wood lamp – Laura Ashley, Utilitarian Clamp light – Plumo.

Of course, no round up of task lighting is complete without the design classic that is the Anglepoise. The 1227 is the one I’m referring to, but I love equally the slightly retro, jewel bright glass shaded 1228. It’s inspired many a reproduction and you can even get a similar look from stores like Ikea.

*Blue Work Lamp – Ikea, Anglepoise 1227 in Cream – John Lewis, Anglepoise 1228 (with blue shade) – John Lewis.

I do rather like a bit of a retro feel to a desk lamp, and the blue one below has an air of late fifties design about it. Traditional lamps don’t look out of place even on a modern desk (Ikea coming up trumps here again) and this white lamp would be just as at home in a sleek all-white scheme as a rustic home office in the garden shed.

*Penelope Task Lamp in Slate – John Lewis, Hector Table lamp – Baileys, Nickel work Lamp – Ikea.

King of Quirk, Graham and Green make a couple of bobby dazzlers if you want something really different.

*Teacup desk lamp and Reclaimed Tap lamp

Not given your desk lamp a second thought? Or have you got a special piece to share? Drop a comment in the box and do let us know!


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