HOT SHOP: Baileys

January 4, 2010

Deep in the darkest depths of rural Herefordshire is a big barn. But this is no ordinary barn. ‘Tis the mystical magical Baileys barn, my children, where many treasures await…

If you’re a fan of vintage furniture, quirky home accessories and glorious little recycled, rustic items that ooze deliciousness, then you’ll like a bitta Baileys. Having ogled the Baileys website and books for years, I finally visited the Baileys store the other day, and it didn’t disappoint.

There were shoe lasts and antlers a plenty, and I loved the displays of glass jars filled with wooden pegs, pencils, balls of string and vintage keys – SIGH.

I spotted some lovely recycled glass mugs – chunky and perfect for mulled wine – and lots of pretty little glass beads, too.

There was joy at every turn – vintage globes, Anglepoise lamps, bus blinds, old cutlery in jam jars, cheeky little squirrel nutcrackers…and a fabulous display of furniture. From wooden chapel chairs and industrial steel stools to 1930s-style sinks and stunning French linen on rolls, there was so much to admire. The shop fills several converted farm buildings, so each area has its own identity and it took a long time to explore every corner! I loved the rustic metal display shelving units, the lab-style benches in the cafe area and the simplicity of the elegant interior.

I was very restrained spending-wise (!) but I bought some little vintage butcher’s meat labels, which look cool on my kitchen scales, and a big retro mustard tin, which I HAD to have. I was surprised by the huge selection of food gifts at Baileys – tasty chutneys, flavoured oils, and the Curious Chocolate collection – it’s a whole department. And there were lots of other little extras in the shop, such as beautiful wrapping paper sheets, ribbons, little toys, vintage magazines and buttons – things that you can’t buy through the mail order website. If you’re ever in the Ross-on-Wye area, it’s definitely worth a visit.

By the way – Happy New Year! Do you have any home-related resolutions? I want to finish decorating my living room by the end of February and finish the dining room by Easter. Yeah, right! The new February issue of Ideal Home has just landed on my desk, and it’s packed full of gorgeous schemes, so I’ll probably change my mind about colours at least another six times before I actually get painting! – Ellie

Sally and Mark Bailey‘s 26-year-old son Ben has just launched his own business, Curious Chocolate. I’m salivating over the lovely website already – it basically combines two of my favourite things…old letterpress printing and chocolate!

curious chocNow, we rarely talk about food here, but the Baileys connection and the gorgeous packaging means I’m willing to sneak this in! Inspired by a trip to an old Amsterdam letterpress workshop, Ben Bailey’s chocolate bars come wrapped in graph paper covered with fabulous fonts – a typography lover’s dream come true! My favourite has got to be the ‘Mouthful’ mint bar – how appropriate for me.

curious chocolate3The drinking chocolate in a rustic preserving jar would make a fabulous stocking filler, but it’s the jars of pretty chocolate-coated nuts and raisins that have caught my eye…they look like pebbles, eggs and olives! Very curious indeed!

curious chocolate2All this talk of chocolate, and nothing but a lousy, dry and slightly squashed satsuma on my desk, which I have been ignoring for about a week now. Sigh. – Ellie