Sunday, 9 December 2012

Light up the sky, shy Violet ...

Last week, as I was on my way to Harrogate, my phone beeped with a text message.  It was from an old schoolfriend Kris ... we go back years and ours is a long story ... she was texting to let me and Millie know that she had just opened a little vintage shop and tearoom in Ulverston, a place I've taken you to many times before ...

I couldn't wait to visit, but when I eventually did the whole experience was totally amazing, just like entering another world! "Behind Tesco", were the directions I was issued with, but eventually a passing postman had to direct me there. Next door but one to Tesco, between Thomas Cook's and the craft shop,  is what I thought was just a side entrance; however, when you go through, you leave the hustle and bustle of modern life behind and are plunged into Dickensian Ulverston ... I really wouldn't have been surprised if Fagan himself had approached me!

And there in all her glory is Violet and the Peadod! The story behind this lovely name is poignantly beautiful ... Violets were the first flower Kris's Dad bought her Mum when they were courting, and Kris loves all things violets ... the flower, the colour, scent, Parma Violets ... The peapod comes from the fact that Kris is the youngest of eight children and all were like peas in a pod.  The name is a tribute to her lovely parents and family.

Kris and I met at junior school, aged about 7 or 8 and were inseparable for years.  We walked home from school together, dilly-dallying through the park, spent our weekends together, baking (dolly-mixture cakes were our speciality), playing with our dolls and baptising them under the drainpipe!

Those were the days of the eleven-plus and sadly in the September when we were both 11 we went our separate ways to different secondary schools, and lost touch through the fickleness of youth, new friends and life's circumstances.  Last summer I was doing a stall at a vintage fair and Kris waltzed in as a customer, and the years just fell away as we reminisced about those precious childhood years.

My dream has always been to own my own vintage shop, and I discovered that this was Kris's dream too, so I'm so glad that one of us has realised it!

There are lovely twinkly lights above the door and a welcoming sign inviting you in ...

The feeling that you get when you walk through the door is like you're entering someone's home, and not a business premises.  It is so warm and welcoming, and Kris and her sister Rose (whom I worked with many years ago when we were both shorthand-typists in a shipbuilding company) are excellent hostesses, inviting you in, asking you to make yourself at home, look around, sit where you like and have tea and cake ... and more cake, and another fill-up ... excellent, I could have sat there all day long!

There are vintage scales full of sweets and Parma Violets, of course! Displays of vintage china are on every surface, in drawers, cupboards and on the tables, gorgeous dresses hang on the walls just waiting to be tried on.  A sewing machine and balls of wool sit side by side on a wide windowsill, creating a delightful crafty corner.

Happy customers who are welcome to stay there all day, if they so wish ...

Display of vintage violet hats sit amongst the shop's name ...

The dresser is groaning with home-made cakes, all made by Kris and Rose on the premises ... I greedily chose the orange cake, top right of the picture, followed an hour later by the Dotty Cake, named after their Aunty Dot.  Both were very delicious with lots of tea from vintage china.  The lime cake had already sold out, as had the scones, and the shop had only been opened for an hour when I arrived!

Everything is tastefully displayed, but it doesn't have the effect of being in a shop ... it feels like Violet's home ... and you've been invited in.

A beautiful Mary Quant scarf peeps out of a set of drawers, while vintage magazines are placed in a rack for you to peruse whilst taking your refreshments.  Each little corner is a vision of loveliness and it was a delight to photograph.  The bathroom has lots of little finishing touches such as fragranced soap and hand cream, vintage mirrors and a pot plant from a well-wisher.

I stayed for a couple of hours but could have stayed  longer ... I had to pack my car for today's Fair, I'll tell you more about that later.

So don't forget my lovelies, if ever you happen to be in the little market town of Ulverston in Cumbria, a warm welcome will always await you at Violet's ... next door but one to Tesco! Oh, it's open 10am - 4pm, Thursday, Friday, Saturday ... and Tuesdays up until Christmas!

See you soon,

Love Claire xxx


  1. My friend lived in Ulverston but has now moved to Kendal. I've been to U. a few times, it's lovely, and your friend's shop looks absolutely fantastic. Good luck to her! x

  2. What a lovely place - the cakes look really good and the idea of having magazines to read makes it a totally justifiable treat!

  3. What a lovely place within which to while a few hours by.

  4. What a lovely post about friendships and dreams, the tearoom sounds and looks fabulous I just wish I lived a lot closer to make a visit xx

  5. It looks delightful, I could happily sit there drinking coffee and reading those magazines, wish I lived closer! :)

  6. Oh wow - I would love to spend a day in this lovely place. Love the story behind the name to, very special.

  7. Wow - looks like just the kind of place I love! Not just lovely cakes, but plenty to look at while you have your cuppa! I wish your friend every success with her venture.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  8. Hi Claire - lovely post, my goodness Ulverston has changed since I was there, seems very up and coming, my friends who live in Grange go to Ulverston, I will tell them to pop-in they always enjoy lovely tea and cakes. Julie xxx

  9. Love this post Claire and you must take me!!!
    I always like to hear of some one living out there dream and what could be better than a tea room....Reminds me of a book I once leant you.
    Wishing you a day full of lovely folks and a ringing till from all the sales....
    Love Maria x

  10. Oh I just adore places like this! Thanks so much for taking us there with your lovely descriptive post .. I feel the need for some cake and a cuppa now :-)

  11. What a perfect place it looks, and I so loved reading about how you met again and how this little piece of heaven got its name!

  12. oh goodness this looks like my ideal shop! fab pics!

  13. What a lovely shop you friend has! It must have been a joy walking around and taking in the atmosphere.

    Have a lovely new week!

    Madelief x

  14. How charming Claire will definitely check that out on my next visit to Ulverston !
    Gail x

  15. How charming this little shop looks Claire will definitely check it out on my next visit to Ulverston ! Gail x

  16. It looks absolutely idyllic and somewhere I'd love to while away a few hours - the cake would be an added bonus! What a lovely story of your friendship too. I hope her little venture does very well. x

  17. What a sweet name, violet and the peapod! It sounds like the perfect place, if I am ever in the area I will be sure to pay it a visit.
    Magie x

  18. Hello Claire
    What a lovely tea shop your friend sounds perfect, you obviously had a wonderful time, it all sounds so yummy
    Hope you did well at the fair
    Special wishes
    Thea x

  19. A wonderful tribute to a wonderful shop. I was in the shop on Saturday with my Mum and Friend. We felt very welcome from the moment we arrived until we left. The cake was excellent and we could have stayed there all day. When we went to browse the shop we were asked to leave our belongings at the table so we could have a good look around.
    Never in a teashop have we felt so welcome and at home. You will never receive such good service at a chain coffee shop. I will definitely be returning (once we clear space at home to buy a tea set) as it has a wonderful atmosphere and the shop is full of delights waiting to be taken home.
    A fabulous vintage tearoom and shop with wonderful and welcoming staff.

  20. What a beautiful shop and your pictures and words are so lovely too.It sounds like going down Diagon Alley from Harry Potter!
    I can see you will be a frequent visitor here!
    Sarah x

  21. What a lovely post.The shop looks gorgeous,my kind of place!

  22. Hello Claire,
    This is a lovely post. It was like stepping into a book. The cakes look absolutely delicious. It's wonderful to see somewhere so different than anything else on the high street. I have a feeling you may be paying Violet and the Peapod quite a few visits. My friends sister lives nearby so I'll be recommending it to her, she'll love it.
    Ali x

  23. Lovely place for a cup of tea and rest...


  24. It looks like a fabulous place. I love their attention to detail and I hope it's a big success. x

  25. It looks like a fabulous little shop and tearoom! How wonderful that that your friend has realised her dream!
    Those cakes look delish!
    Rachel x

    P.S hope your fair went well!

  26. That has to be the most perfect name for a teashop ever! Long may they prosper :)

  27. ...what a gorgeous story of enduring friendship and gorgeous cake shop!!!!only wish i lived nearer.......would definitely be a regular!x

  28. Dear Claire,

    Loved reading your post and seeing all your gorgeous photos.
    So glad that you were reunited with your friends after such a long time. I love the shop and how it got its name, a truly gorgeous story. The cakes look delicious and sounds like the perfect afternoon, drinking tea and eating cake.
    So happy to hear that you got your blog sorted out again and you can now post photos again.

    Hope you are enjoying the weekend

  29. Hello Claire I spent many a childhood holiday in the lakes and even got married in Ulverston! I will just have to make another visit soon x

  30. oh that's gorgeous, I got quite teary eyed at the reasoning behind the name xxx


I love to hear what you think of my ramblings and value all your comments ... I will try and get back to you, but am sorry if I don't always manage this ... sometimes real life just gets in the way! Claire xxx