Tuesday 7 August 2012

Daylesford Organic Farm

I've been feeling pretty sorry for myself in a sea of tissues, eucalyptus salve and Olympic commentary. I have a cold, people! But now I am in the in-betweeny boredom stage where you're too weak to really do anything but have come out the other side of the 16 hour sleeps interrupted by fidgeting and fever - I am daydreaming of the things I want to do or rather something I want to do again, that is to visit Daylesford Organic Farm. Maybe I should go convalesce under the shade of a sturdy old tree and a hand woven blankie...

My sister has long been a fan of this beautiful organic farm in Gloucestershire and has chaperoned my entire family there on many occasions. Although I have been to the shop and cafe in Pimlico which is pretty divine in its own right, my turn on the farm was long overdue and so we went a couple weeks back to have a mooch, eat some delicious lunch and stock up on naturally, ethically and sustainably produced treasures.

Quick FYI - Daylesford Organic Farm in Gloucestershire is owned by Sir Anthony and Lady Bamford (oh my) and has been organically producing food and livestock for 25 years. There are a couple of sister companies, Bamford, a luxury natural skincare line and Château Léoube, an organic vineyard in France. On site in Gloucestershire is a farmhouse cafe, cookery and farm school, spa, gardenware, homeware and farm produce shop. And apparently you can sleep there too.

The place is beautiful. Did I say that already? Well it is. I can't say it enough. The menu in the cafe is simple but totally delish, the cheddar rarebit is most recommended as are the salads. Obviously pretty much everything comes from the farm. The interior is light, muted tones, classic farmhouse beams, it's earthy but oh so neutral and very calming, even if the room is alive with happy chatter and hearty chomping. I can't actually believe I didn't take any pictures of the cafe or my food, how unlike me?

Take a look around though...

The homeware range is lovely. A nice mix of traditional and minimal, simple ceramics, hand blown glass, chunky chopping boards, that kind of feel. The palette across the whole range is neutral. Woods, whites, mushrooms, stone, slate. I got myself one of those nice white wicker hampers to stash towels in, it's pretty big for a mere £14. I couldn't quite believe that value. Some things are particularly expensive here, don't even consider the clothing line unless you live in a house made from gold and can just lob off a bannister or something to buy one of their cashmere stoles but other things are miraculously cheap in comparison.

Sorry for cruddy photos here. I kind of worried I shouldn't be taking pictures but I did all the same.

Walking around Daylesford is a pretty slow-paced, relaxing affair and when you walk into the Hay Barn Spa it's easy to let go, stay awhile longer and slip... deep...into... a gentle... and blissful.... ........sleep. Ahem. Sorry. 

In the Hay Barn Spa you can a buy more from the Bamford skincare line (it's dotted throughout the various shops), plus a few other brands like Fushii and Aromatherapy Associates. The treatments on offer sound heavenly, and will definitely demand closer consideration, trial and review! Actually, I reviewed a hand cream by Bamford a long time ago now, one of the first reviews I did. It's a great range, simple luxurious packaging, heavy, green glass jars and nice, neat, white tubes. Clean formulations (obviously) and gorgeous signature fragrances. 

You could say Daylesford is a kind of lifestyle shop. It's not a lifestyle I actually lead in so far as I don't live in a converted barn with floor to ceiling windows and room for a pony (and when you are there it's easy to get swept away thinking you do or you will. Or that you even want to....) No, far more importantly, it's a lifestyle shop that says something about how you live your life. It's a business that favours what is wholesome and holistic over what is most profitable and proliferative. It's taking responsibility. And it lets us take responsibility too - as the products we choose to consume can go towards supporting not just a business but a whole theory on living.

Daylesford Organics Farm
Pop in if you can or get yourself to Pimlico, Notting Hill or the roof terrace atop Selfridges for a spot of Afternoon Tea. (I have to try this!!)