I’m saving the middle part of my Christmas story till later, but early in the New Year I spent a couple of days visiting friends in rural Derbyshire. I wanted to share this with you first, because if you happen to find yourself in that part of England, I’ve discovered a rather lovely place to stay:
I can thoroughly recommend Park View Farm near Ashbourne. An eclectic mix of granny’s attic style meets faded chintzy boudoir chic, this has to be amongst the most charming Bed and Breakfast accommodation in the country.
There’s a creaking wooden staircase, four poster beds, free standing roll-top cast iron baths and the main house is adorned with characterful vintage prints, chiming clocks and quirky curiosities.
The traditional pink chintz curtains made me feel completely at home – I have a feeling they’re made from the same Laura Ashley fabric I had in my flat in the late 1980s.
There are wonderfully dated festoon blinds, which are perfect for collecting Jack spiders, so they don’t nibble you in the night. A painting of a curiously cute rabbit hangs above the loo - and, amidst the memorabilia, there are even some old fashioned costume prints to keep us fashion hounds amused.
If you’re in a big party, there’s plenty of accommodation in additional guest cottages with pretty names like Honeysuckle Cottage, curiously appropriate since honeysuckle pink is Pantone’s colour of the year.
There’s also a large breakfast table, where you can congregate for a home-cooked breakfast that (to borrow a word from Jamie Oliver) is utterly delish… What’s more, the table is beautifully set with Willow Pattern crockery, plus there are crystal serving bowls and twirly-stemmed antique candlesticks.
In terms of practical comfort and simple but stylish home decoration, you can’t go wrong with a country farmhouse style kitchen, especially if you actually live in a country farmhouse and can look out of the window onto an authentic field of grazing sheep.
The host and hostess are a lovely couple who are polite, friendly and amazingly available for a chat at the same time as running a farm and preparing a full English fry up (with mouth-meltingly buttery mushrooms, freshly laid eggs and unusually tasty wholemeal toast). Radio 3 burbles along in the background, though apparently the cows in the milking parlour prefer Classic FM.
Anyway, if you’d like to ‘get the look’ we’ve some uniquely arty Willow Pattern placemats at ShopCurious, along with this fabulous antique porcelain cherub mirror. Perfect if you’re suddenly feeling all romantic.
Curiculum Vitae Jeffry Zebua
6 months ago