Bishops Castle Barn, Shropshire

Bishops Castle Barn, Shropshire

This world is a big place and there are endless things to see and do, but sometimes you visit somewhere and as you leave, a little of your heart remains. This happened to me when I visited Croatia a few years ago (I would love to go back) and it also happened at the end of March this year when Ben and I went to stay at Bishops Castle Barn in Shropshire.

 

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As it was only converted in recent months we were lucky enough to be the first people to stay there which was really exciting! It felt like such a privilege and – being our first time away together as well – it made the whole thing seem so special, I couldn’t wait to get there!

 

Upon arrival I was lost for words. It truly is “in the middle of nowhere” with the odd house dotted along the valley but not a sound to be heard except birdsong, the neighbouring sheep and the wind in the trees.

 

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I mean, just LOOK at that view out of the kitchen window! Breathtaking!

 

Internally, the barn is equally as stunning as it’s surroundings, finished to a high specification with oak flooring and balustrades, a docking station to play your music from your phone, wifi, TV with FreeSat and even bluetooth bathroom mirrors so you can stream your music through them and have a sing-along in the shower!

 

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The hosts have truly thought of every single detail here, from the living area being on the first floor so you can see the beautiful views to the automatic-closing windows upstairs that detect rainfall. There is also a selection of books, DVDs and video games for guests to use, plus a map mounted under the glass on the coffee table in the living room showing you the location of various landmarks so you can find your way around.

 

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On the ground floor you find the bedrooms, both of which have huge and ridiculously comfortable beds in them, plus a door leading into connecting bathroom and shower room. I think all the ladies reading this will understand when I say I felt utter joy to find a plug socket next to the mirror in the bedroom too – it’s such a bugbear of mine when I stay somewhere and I can’t plug in my hair dryer or straighteners close enough for styling!

 

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One thing I have to tell you about is the sheer luxury of having a hot tub right next to the barn! I have to admit, I am partial to a bit of hot tubbing, but who isn’t, right?

 

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Situated on a raised deck it makes the most of the amazing views and we spent both nights we were there drinking Proseeco and chatting within the hot bubbles . Because of the remote location it’s completely pitch black apart from the natural light of the moon and stars. – living in Essex there’s quite a lot of light pollution so when I see a totally dark night sky it never fails to leave me with a feeling of wonder and an acute awareness of just how small I am in the grand scheme of things. I always find it very grounding.

 

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When we went it was lambing season so we were greeted outside by an abundance of cute wooly little bundles. I spent a huge amount of time trying to work out how I would be able to smuggle one home without anyone noticing but Ben was having none of it so I had to leave empty-handed. Grrr.

 

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As I mentioned earlier, this visit to Bishops Castle Barn was the first time Ben and I had been away together (as we were still very new to seeing each other) and the first real considerable length of time spent together, so it could have gone either way, but we had such a good time and got on brilliantly thank goodness, otherwise that could have been awkward haha! We spent our time eating, drinking, walking through the countryside and went out for dinner with our hosts on the second night we were there which was lovely – they really are such nice people I don’t think anyone would ever fail to get on well with them!

 

Since I came back I can honestly say not a single day has gone by that I’ve not thought about the barn. It truly has got under my skin and I can’t wait to go back and visit – Ben and I are discussing dates for a return later this year and I can see it becoming a regular long weekend break of ours in the future.

 

Bishops Castle Barn Shropshire Review A Penny For Them

 

I left part of my heart at Bishops Castle Barn – book yourself a visit and I bet you do the same.

 

 

Penny xx

 

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City Marque Serviced London Apartment{AD-REVIEW}

As you know, K and I are pretty busy people which means that we don’t get a huge amount of time together, therefore when we do get some quality time, it really means a lot to me.
I was lucky enough to be chosen by City Marque to take part in their ‘100 Bloggers, 100 Nights’ campaign which, as the name suggests, allowed 100 bloggers across the country to stay in one of their serviced apartments for a night.  As we had something to do in London the following day, it seemed like a perfect excuse to treat K to a night away from home!
We were allocated a studio apartment in their City location which is slap-bang opposite Liverpool Street Station – a very convenient place to be when you’re in London!
The apartment building itself is very discreet so it took us a couple of minutes to find, but entry is simple with a personal security code allocated to you for access through the main door, then a second code to get you into your apartment.  These codes are different for every person and are changed all the time, so it’s very secure.
Upon entering the room, we were greeted with some little touches that made it feel special – our towels shaped into swans with little heart-shaped chocolates, plus there was a box of Belgian chocolates on the table.  Lovely!
The apartment itself was compact but modern, clean and offering all the facilities you could hope for.  As it’s an apartment, it’s fully kitted out with kitchen appliances and tools, so you can cook for yourself if you want to, plus a TV, Wifi, dining table, iron, sofa … it’s like a little mini home.  In fact, I said to K that if I had to live in a studio flat, I would be happy living there.
To make the most of the space, the bed folded up into the wall behind the sofa and the bedding was stored in a tall cupboard next to it.  When the bed is down, the sofa fits nicely underneath it and you have storage shelves either side which – huge bonus – had plug sockets in them so you can charge your phone overnight.  Little things like this make me happy!
We settled down in the apartment and shared a bottle of bubbly while we watched the rugby and I got ready to go out for dinner.  The only mirror in the apartment was in the bathroom which was a bit of a pain as obviously there was no plug socket in there, nor was there one in the hallway, so I had to sit on the floor and use the barely-there reflection of the oven door to straighten my hair.  There’s a few places in the apartment that a mirror could have been put and this would definitely be an improvement I’d recommend they made.
After going for dinner and wandering around London for 45-minutes we went back to our room to watch Match Of The Day and rest our heads for the night.  The bed had an orthapaedic mattress so was quite hard, but I prefer a hard surface to sleep on than a soft one and while it might not be to everyone’s taste, it has to be considered that this is a quality mattress to have.
Overall, I enjoyed our night in the City Marque City of London Apartment and when you consider it costs £92 for a night and budget hotels in a similar location will set you back at least £140 (prices correct as at today) then this is a MASSIVE bargain.  Your own little apartment, with kitchen and all, for considerably less than other hotels nearby!
Next time I have an overnight stay in London, I will definitely be staying with City Marque.
LilliesandLove xx
 
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* This stay was provided free of charge but, as always, opinions are 100% my own  *

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Stock Windmill Appreciation – A Day Out With My Dad

I just rediscovered these photos on my phone and thought I’d put them into a little blog post as it was a lovely day that I definitely want to remember.

 

Back in the summer, I had a dad-and-daughter day with my papa and we decided to go and visit the old Stock windmill which was open to visitors for the day.

 

 

Windmills are such beautiful structures and so many of them are being left to decay and ruin; I think it’s a real shame, so a donation to have a look around inside seemed like a great way to spend a lazy, sunny afternoon with my Dad.

 

Stock windmill is no longer in use, however, it does still function so they use it a few times a year to ensure it doesn’t stiffen up and, by all accounts, it still creates good quality flour!  I know it’s stupid, but I still find it astonishing that over 100-years ago people built these mills with their intricate systems of lever, cogs and pulleys – I wouldn’t be able to do it, that’s for sure!

 

 

 

 

I know life moves on and so does industry, but it’s such an awful shame to see wonderful buildings like this being left to fall apart.  We should preserve as much of our heritage as is possible – traditions, countryside and buildings alike – as it is all so special and helped us on our journey to become the people we are today.

 

 

A beautiful building and one, I hope, donations will keep in good order for many years to come.
LilliesandLove xx
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