Monday, 25 February 2013

Glorious Devon

Hello readers, how are you all?  Had a good half term "break"?  I do hope so.  Waaaay back when, before half term and child rearing got in the way, the Mr and I headed off for a little jolly while the Munchkin was off at Scout camp.  Unfortunately, Mr HH came down with the man flu which was a shame but he struggled on stoically.

Now I would like to tell you that we headed West somewhat like this...

 ... but in fact it was courtesy of a more modern and less glamorous variety of train!  But no matter, because the sun shone (remember that) and off to Exeter we headed.  It was a first for me to visit this city and I was looking forward to it, not least because our abode for a couple of nights was to be here:

This is Southernhay House, located brilliantly right in the centre of town, just behind the beautiful cathedral.  This is the  latest venture by the folks who own Burgh Island; you may or may not know this is a place dear to our hearts, so we had high hopes for its towny counterpart.

The building is actually Georgian but like Burgh Island, is decorated with a nod to art deco inside.  There are only ten rooms, we stayed in "Sugar", all the rooms being named after tradable commodities (in keeping with the occupation of its original owner).  It was a welcome sight after a fairly long rail journey.  Comfy-looking, huge bed... goody.

The bathroom was pretty dreamy, too.

Not to mention the little touches in the bedroom, like Smarties to go with the water.

There was much to see and do in Exeter, and having been very helpfully briefed in advance by city dweller Joe, we knew the best places to go.  We set off for Fore Street, home to a burgeoning vintage scene.

We very much enjoyed a mooch in Otto Retro, lots of lovely goodies at reasonable prices. All beautifully arranged by an artful eye.

I did not come away from here empty handed!

We also stopped by Reloved 52 which had an intriguing window display.

There were a couple of vintage clothes shops in town and my impression was that the trend here is more towards the '60s and '70s than the '40s and '50s in which we happen to be interested.  We did have a good time in Relevant, particularly chatting to its charming owner, Lady Lace!

I wanted to buy the shoes the lady herself was wearing!  Instead, I settled for two lovely brooches (if you follow me on Instagram you will already have seen these, including my prize skiver leather find!)

It is fair to say that the West Country folk did not disappoint and were customarily chatty and lovely.  In Good Golly Miss Molly, we had a good old chin wag with its owner and ogled the pretty goods, often made by talented locals, (including Joe!), on display for sale.

All shopped out, we headed back to recover for our adventure on the South Devon Railway the next day.

The day dawned beautifully bright and sunny again, it was so nice to be back in our beloved Totnes.

I hadn't actually been on this preserved railway line previously; usually the boys head for the railway and I head for the town and its shops!  Well, I had obviously been missing out.  There was beautiful scenery at every turn; snowdrops, a babbling brook and grazing sheep.

The coach in which we rode was an art deco masterpiece, straight out of Agatha Christie.

And after each enjoyable but tiring day, there was always that rather splendid bath tub to which to retire!


Other business:
1) Apologies for lack of links: do add in the comments if you know of links to the vendors mentioned.  I don't think any of them have blogs but may have Facebook pages and I don't know what I am doing on that thing!

2)  I posted quite a lot of shots on Instagram while we were away, including the lovely vintage goodies we bought, so I will post a few of those soon in with my weekly IG round-up, as some readers but non-Ig'ers have suggested.


  1. oh my....that bath would sell it on its own, what a treat!

  2. What a beautiful hotel, love the idea of the Smarties! Exeter is a city close to Mr Y's heart, his sister got her PhD there, but I'm ashamed to say I've never visited. Looks like I need to take a trip! He's also a lover of the South Devon Railway, train buff that he is :-) Glad you had a thoroughly wonderful break, despite the "man flu" x

  3. What a lovely trip and I feel like I was right there with you. Thank you for the beautiful pictures.

  4. Ahhhhh.......the Totnes and Buckfastleigh Railway, I absolutely love that railway, and also the sister railway the Paignton to Dartmouth railway heading into Dartmouth. Both lovely for different reasons. I also know Exeter very well too.
    Julie xxxxxxxx

  5. What a fun trip you took us along on with you! Please tell me you bought that wonderful wooden telescoping sewing box! What a great one! I just did a post on some really pretty roses - pop on over if you have a moment. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  6. such a fabby post...i often go 'en famille' to exeter and haven't been able to explore the vintagey bits yet.....this has made me determined to go it alone!!!!!the hotel looks gorgeous....and smarties are a winning choice too....thank you for sharing this exciting adventure...can't wait to see your treasures x

  7. This looks like such a fun trip. I am always fascinated to read about your train trips and shopping excursions. I love to poke around in these types of shops too. The dollhouse in the first shop really caught my eye; I would have spent a long time investigating it if I'd been there!

  8. Daughter currently living in a field just outside Totnes, was back home this weekend and was outraged that the altered "Totnes, twinned with Narnia" sign has been replaced with a new official and ( technically) correct one.

  9. Hen, your views of your time away in the West Country are lovely. I know I would enjoy that train ride.

    Totnes continues to capture my imagination.

    Hoping that Mr HH is fully recovered.


  10. Lovely to see you both again. I can't believe how lucky you were with the weather! That railway journey is beautiful :) xx
    You can find all the shops mentioned on Facebook, Otto Retro do have a website too

  11. Oh my what a wonderful trip you had. I was wondering where you off to when you posted a few weeks back. I remember my mother having a sewing box like that one and I was so envious of it that my father made me one. Much as I loved it because he had made it the trays were never big enough for me to get everything in. Philippa xx

  12. i love your trip to exeter...i love Exeter n Totnes only 25 mins to Totnes by train from me...lots of lovely vintage treasures to explore ;0)...but my favourites are the charity shops...;0)x

  13. We lived for a few years just outside of Exeter, just when Otto Retro had opened. I miss the town, the cathedral and all those wonderful surprising alleyways. Your adventure looks truly mahical! Minerva ~

  14. Lovely post... I love to holiday around this area of Devon... that railway journey is beautiful!
    Kim M

  15. Looks like a lovely time! Sweet photos and glad the weather was pretty for you! xo Heather

  16. Hi Hen,
    Looks like you had a wonderful few days. I didn't know that the owners of Burgh Island had opened another hotel, it looks fab!
    I always half expect to see you appearing around the corner when I'm in Totnes, especially at the top of the hill!!
    The picture of the carriage brings back memories of Imogen and Beatrice on that train every December visiting Santa from Buckfastleigh. It's lovely that I now have little Violet to enjoy the same things with. Although the one thing I don't enjoy is pushing her up the hill in Totnes!!!!
    I don't know if Munchkin would be interested but there is a great climbing centre next to the station at Buckfastleigh. Imogen loves it there and wants her birthday party there this year!! Worth a thought when you're next that way.
    Jane. xx

  17. What a great trip..stunning hotel..fab shops and wonderful train trip.. Bliss!
    Thea x

  18. Oh, lovely! Was the house ever a convent? I seem to remember that the Sisters who ran our school in Exeter had a convent there... I haven't been back to Exeter for years. Did you visit the House that Moved? There was a lovely antiquey lacey shop there in the 1980s, if I remember rightly. Sometimes I still dream I'm shopping on Fore Street...


  20. Your blog is very lovely and I have recently joined you. I would like to extend an invite to join my blog. Kathy

  21. Your blog is very lovely and I have recently joined you. I would like to send you an invite to join my blog. Kathy


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