Last week we found ourselves in the north east of England. Not by accident, you understand – we meant to go there. We didn’t just wake up there in a state of confusion, wondering what had just happened. That would be most unusual.
No, we drove up the A1 for three hours to stay in a yurt near Newcastle upon Tyne. This was far too much like camping for Laura, who was lost without a telly, wifi or a hairdryer. Girls, eh?
Ahead of our visit, we’d had a look for any interesting vintage or painted furniture shops to visit - and one really stood out: French Grey Tales in Bedlington.
|French Grey Tales, Bedlington|
|Layla: "I've got no make-up on!" Laura: "I haven't done my hair!"|
We found FGT because it’s listed as a stockist of Miss Mustard Seed milk paint and Laura’s really keen to try it out (we particularly liked some of A Cupboard Less Ordinary’s recent milk paint pieces).
French Grey Tales is run by Layla, whose enthusiasm is infectious and inspiring. The shop’s only been up and running for a few weeks now but it looks gorgeous. From her workshop at the back of the shop, Layla paints furniture to sell and also takes on customer commissions.
|This beautiful chest with owl handles sold in a heartbeat|
|I love the chippy paint on this cupboard|
|There's just too much to look at...|
|Owl + bureau = win|
|Great mirror at a bargain price|
|Chalkboard wall gives details of workshops|
|Painted steps with glass bottles are a nice touch|
|You just can't have too many owls...|
|These were brought in by two lovely ladies while we were visiting|
She supports local artisans and craftspeople by selling their products in store and, upstairs, French Grey Tales runs a variety of workshops, which are being well supported.
As well as MMS, FGT now also stocks Autentico chalk paint
It was great to meet Layla, because she’s a terrific example of how grit, determination and a big dollop of talent can make all the difference in starting up your own business. She gave us loads of great ideas and advice on how to take a little of the pain and stress out of opening up a bricks and mortar shop and even gave us a beautiful crate to take away with us, because it came from a farm just down the road from where we were staying – a great little memento of our mini holiday.
|Our great crate!|