Last week Stu and I managed to escape for a much needed child free break. Let me just repeat that last bit, CHILD FREE!! To add further emphasis to this detail, you should know the two of us haven’t been away, just us, since before Nancy, our eldest, showed up nearly 7 years ago. Big deal people!
The very lovely Kari and Chris invited us to stay at Westbrook Court B&B, in Hereford and so a plan was set in place – One night with my big brother, in Bristol, then on, up through Wales, to spend two days exploring Hay-on-wye.
We had such a wonderful time and as ever I took *quite* a few photos. Today I’m going to focus mostly on the B&B and a brief overview of our time away, next week (Wednesday ish) I’ll be talking in more detail about some of the beautiful, independent shops and cafes we discovered. There were a few that really stood out, some that had been recommended to me, or some that I already followed on Instagram.
My brother lives in Montpelier, a part of Bristol that feels like a village, nestled within the city. I love to explore the streets, admiring the quirks and colours, wondering what lies behind the beautiful doors, deciding which house I’d want to live in. Tell me I’m not the only one who does this?
Long story short, we ate rather late, after several (too many) pints here and there, curry was the food of choice, the Thali our destination. Sooooo yum.
The next day sadly my brother had to start his working week, so Stu and I explored Gloucester Road first thing, the home of many Charity Shops and I also got to visit the fantastic Fox&Feather. I popped into Mon Pote the day before. More on both of these gems in my next blog post.
Then it was time to head over the bridge to Wales, Hay-on-Wye our destination for the rest of the day, passing time in a slow and relaxed way, until we could check into the B&B at 4pm.
If I had to sum up our time away in just a few words they would probably be –
• sleep • eat • books • read • browse • buy
All pretty good words I feel. That Tuesday afternoon we drifted around from book shop to book shop, surveying the shelves in an almost meditative trance. There’s just something about a book shop that calms me, add in the thrill of the hunt and I can lose a great deal of time, head tilted to the side, scanning titles, waiting until something jumps out at me.
Time to check in came and we headed to Westbrook Court, just a few miles outside of Hay.
I was instantly hit with what a beautiful setting Westbrook Court is in, surrounded by fields and greenery, the beautiful chatter of birds and bleating of sheep. It was just what we were in need of, peace.
Our room (Room 2) was like a mini home away from home. Everything we needed, Stu and I agreed we could have happily lived in something this size if it was just the two of us.
When Kari gave me the choice of which room we would like to stay in, two things in particular sold this one to me, the large, freestanding bath (those that know my bathroom woes will probably understand why this attracted me) and also the black and white Melin Tregwynt Welsh Blanket on the bed.
The ironic thing is, I never ended up having a bath! It was on my to do list, but I spent all my time back at our room in bed…reading or sleeping might I add. Fear not, I did wash, but opted for the wonderfully powerful rainfall shower, for speed. I actually thought, as we drove away on our last morning, “damn it, I didn’t have a bath!”
On the Wednesday it rained, a lot, all day. But this didn’t deter us from enjoying ourselves. After our breakfast basket, delivered to the room, we headed back into Hay.
I asked on Instagram for suggestions of places to visit, The Old Electric Shop was repeated several times, so we headed there, to pass some time. Little did I know that I would discover my Spirit Cafe/ Shop, once in I never wanted to leave again! I sat, read, ate, drank, browsed and bought for over three hours!! Heaven.
I’ll be talking more about this wonderful place next week, stay tuned.
That evening we went for Tapas at Tomatitos, another Insta recommendation. It was utterly delicious, complete with lovely Vintage Denby Gypsy side plate ♡
Both nights we were asleep by 9:45, no TV, no kid’s bedtime struggles, just relaxation. I’ve been feeling pretty stressed and a bit overloaded in the last few weeks. It’s funny how your body just keeps on keeping on, until you stop, then it all washes over you. That happened to me on the Monday, when we woke up at my brother’s. I had an anxiety/ panic attack, which lasted about half an hour, but the overall feeling didn’t leave me for about 24 hours after. Clearly my body and mind needed this break.
It was also wonderful to spend some real quality time with this guy. Parenting is so consuming that we haven’t really existed as him and me for quite some time, you think you’re ok, we’re a rock solid pair, but I have felt we have been quite adrift. I really enjoyed his company, even in the long silences, that comfortable stillness you can have with someone who knows you completely, through and through.
Sadly time passed too quickly and it was time to head home to Cornwall. I missed the girls, so was looking forward to seeing them, but really I’d have loved another few days to do all the things I’d had planned. Time is frustrating isn’t it, always rushing by.
We were really sorry to be leaving the calm, tranquil setting at Westbrook Court B&B, it felt as though we had only just started to scratch the surface of what this beautiful area had to offer, but equally I was thankful we didn’t try to cram too much into our time. For me, recharging and reconnecting was more important than anything.
On our way home we called in at Bailey’s Home Store. I’d heard tales of this wondrous place and I wasn’t disappointed. What an end to such a special few days…
So much more about this place in next week’s post.
A huge thank you to Westbrook Court B&B for inviting us to come and stay. Our 2 night stay was in exchange for sharing our experience and photos, but as ever I’m always honest with you. We had such a great time as I’m sure you can see.