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MARCH 2018 £4.30

DECORATING CRAFTS HOUSES GARDENS FOOD TRAVEL HEALTH

Celebrate

SPRING

Dazzling displays of daffodils Cakes, buns & biscuits to bake Fabulous f looring solutions

DECORATING IDEAS

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HOW TO CREATE THE MODERN COUNTRY LOOK

Dog days TAKE YOUR PET ON HOLIDAY

NATURAL TREASURES FORAGE FOR FOOD MAKE YOUR OWN MEDICINE CREATE HERBAL CLEANING PRODUCTS

BEAUTIFUL BLOSSOM THE BEST TREES FOR YOUR GARDEN


March 2018 issue 387

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Contents Houses & gardens 11 30 64 78 104 112 118 126

EMPORIUM Introduce an element of seasonal style with soft blues and pinks FLOOR SHOW From plains and plaids to stripes and patterns, our new flooring collection with Carpetright will suit any interior A TWIST ON TRADITION How to bring bold contemporary design to a country home WASHDAY REMEDIES Create your own natural household cleaning products THE WELL-CURATED HOME This former Victorian school store now hosts its owners’ lovingly edited collections FIRST SIGNS OF SPRING A garden writer’s steep plot in the Cotswolds bursts into life HONESTY & SIMPLICITY One man has restored a Swedish summerhouse full of childhood memories into a rustic haven BEST OF BLOSSOM Our guide to the most beautiful flowering trees

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GARDEN NOTES Everything you need to know to get the most from your plot

Features 25 29 44

54 72 88

THE GOOD LIFE Inspiring ideas for would-be smallholders COUNTRY LOVING Rural life isn’t always idyllic, especially when it comes to dating… KITCHEN TABLE TALENT We celebrate home-grown entrepreneurs who have turned their hobby into a thriving business. This month: upholsterers Perkins & Gibbs ONE WOMAN & HER DOG A passion for rare-breed sheep and responsible farming are behind this award-winning organic farm DANCES WITH DAFFODILS Preserving a spring tradition has become a community affair for one Gloucestershire village FORGOTTEN CRAFTS Meet a toolmaker and promoter of heritage skills

ON THE COVER Celebrate spring pages 72, 144 and 30 Decorating ideas page 64 Dog days page 20 Natural treasures pages 25, 155 and 78 The best trees for your garden page 126

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Contents 118

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72 March 2018 issue 387 94 96

AN ARTIST’S NATURE JOURNAL Kelly Hall illustrates her local flora and fauna ALL CREATURES GREAT & SMALL Mad in March and mysterious all year round, the ways of the hare are surrounded in myth

Food & drink 136 144

BRITISH IN PARTICULAR An in-depth look at the delicious ingredients farmed, fished, made and grown in the UK. This month: real ale SPRINGTIME BAKES Indulge in a selection of sweet and savoury delicacies from food writer Rachel Allen

Health & beauty 153 155 06

HEALTH NOTES Our regular round-up from the world of health and beauty PAIN-FREE NATURALLY Simple at-home solutions for common ailments

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News & views 17 161 163 178

A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY What to do, where to go and the simple pleasures of March NEXT MONTH in Country Living WHERE TO BUY Stockist details MY COUNTRYSIDE Radio and television presenter Sara Cox

Reader offers & events 51 62 93 102

CALLING ALL BUDDING ENTREPRENEURS Apply now for a free stall at our pop-up market SUBSCRIBE TO COUNTRY LIVING SIGN UP FOR OUR FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTER COUNTRY LIVING SPRING FAIR Save 25% on tickets now for our special event at Alexandra Palace in London

TAKE OUT A SUBSCRIPTION TO CL THIS MONTH See page 62 for details COVER CREDITS Photograph by Penny Wincer. Styling by Alaina Binks. Alaska Stripe carpet in Dove, the Country Living Collection at Carpetright. For additional product details, see page 30

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The coming weeks will bring the signs we’ve been waiting for – longer days, green shoots – a wonderful fresh season unfolding. Thus, this issue will, I hope, make your heart sing. As you leaf through it, you’ll discover daffodils, lambs and mad March hares. Our nature journal (page 94) details what to see in the countryside and if you fancy foraging, we’ve ideas for making cleaning remedies (page 78), natural medicines (page 155) and food for free (page 25). I’m excited about our forthcoming Spring Fair at Alexandra Palace in London – we’d love you to join us (more details on page 102) – and also the fabulous new flooring range we’ve produced with Carpetright. See page 30 for a preview of the designs in a selection of inspiring room schemes.

DISCOVER THE LATEST COUNTRY LIVING NEWS ON TWITTER

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STYLING BY BEN KENDRICK. PHOTOGRAPHS BY PENNY WINCER (MOODBOARD) AND RACHEL WHITING (PORTRAIT). POMEROY LINEN-MIX IN SPRING GREEN (BACKGROUND), BLITHFIELD. RIBBON; BLUE TIT PEN; BUTTONS ON CARD: ALL THE OLD HABERDASHERY. EGG CARD, ABBY COOK ILLUSTRATION. SIMILAR DISH, BRICKETT DAVDA. CHOCOLATE EGGS, ROCOCO. TEASPOON, ANTIQUE’S FAIR FIND. SISAL AND CARPET SAMPLES, FROM THE COUNTRY LIVING COLLECTION AT CARPETRIGHT. BOOKMARK, CAMBRIDGE IMPRINT. THE NEST CARD, HANNAH FIRMIN. GREEN CLIP, PAPERCHASE. POSTCARD AND DOG ILLUSTRATION CLIPPING, STYLIST’S OWN

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A L E 28 F E B RU AR Y


emporium Emma Bridgewater’s new pink Pansy collection includes plates, bowls, mugs and this teapot, £59.95

Floral prints and soft pastel tones of pink, blue and green echo nature at this time of year and have a fresh and calm effect COMPILED BY ALAINA BINKS

Simple ceramics, elegant glassware and blooming tulips create a pretty display for a Mother’s Day lunch. Similar ceramics, Brixton Pottery and Antique Fairs. Similar fluted-stem wine glasses, Dibor

PRICES AND AVAILABILITY CORRECT AT TIME OF GOING TO PRESS. LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPH OF TABLETOP BY ADRIAN BRISCOE. CUT-OUT OF BROOCH BY HEARST STUDIOS

Characterful egg cosy handmade in cotton with a ribbon tie, £12, Charlotte Macey

The design on this cotton-linen-mix cushion is taken from an original 17th-century illustration from the Mary Evans Picture Library, from £31.99, We Love Cushions

Decorative door mat for adding pattern and charm to a kitchen, conservatory or potting shed, £25, Laura Ashley

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This gardening set is decorated with a painterly design, £51, Amara

Cotton canvas tote with jelly and cake design by Thornback & Peel, £20

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bowl by Rye Potter en’s y. M ildr ade h dc to e t or a r de co r e d

d an , £30 ised nal rso pe

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EMPORIUM

The illustration on this organic cotton apron by Kate Guy is taken from an original lino print, inspired by a friend’s larder, £21.95, Cardabelle Design

Simple cleaning equipment can be aesthetically pleasing as well as useful. Selection of brushes, from £4.50, Baileys

A stylish brush for cleaning dishes, £23, Hen & Hammock

Foldable butler’s tray table with sandstone top, £120, Garden Trading Basket woven by hand using sisal and plastic (H40cm x D35cm) – perfect to use for laundry or bathroom storage, £65, Unique & Unity

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Use this handwoven rattan chair indoors or for relaxing in the garden on a warm day, £75, Habitat

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EMPORIUM Throw made from 70 per cent recycled wool, similar designs also available in soft blush, £95, Ian Mankin

Embroidered wool brooch, £23.50, Mogwaii Design

Mint-green enamel caged shade*, £90 from Dyke & Dean in Hastings

Subtle pastel tones mixed with rustic woods gives a modern country edge. Stoneware by Arran Street East, from £24, available from Rowen & Wren

*BULB, FLEX AND FITTING SHOWN NOT SUPPLIED

Hannah Nunn designs beautiful, nature-inspired wallpaper printed in the UK in gentle colourways, from £69/roll

Limited-edition A5 hardback fabric-covered notebooks featuring iconic prints by Angie Lewin, £22.95 each, St Jude’s

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Lightweight scarf available in pink (shown), blue and yellow, £22, National Trust Shop

For stockists, see Where to Buy


COMPILED BY ALICIA FORD AND SARAH BARRATT

Amorous acrobatics The Feast of St Patrick, on 17 March, may well be the most internationally celebrated of all the saints days, but few know much about the man himself. The patron saint of Ireland, or Maewyn Succat as it’s believed he was once called, was born in Roman Britain in 385AD but was kidnapped by Irish pirates when he was 16 and shipped as a slave to Ireland. After escaping six years later, he became a Christian priest and then a bishop, eventually returning as a missionary and playing a major role in converting the country to Christianity. The day of his death has been marked as a feast day since the 17th century and, historically, the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking were lifted for the occasion, hence the holiday’s tradition of imbibing alcohol. countryliving.co.uk

CARPETS OF CROCUSES AND THE BLEATING OF NEWBORN LAMBS SIGNIFY SPRING IS ON ITS WAY, but look to the skies around open farmland and fallow fields and you could witness another spectacle synonymous with the season: the sudden high-speed plummeting of an aerial acrobat. This is the male lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) in mid-flight, twisting and tumbling through the sky in a captivating, balletic display. The beginning of March marks the start of the breeding season for this round-winged, long-crested species, during which the males take to the skies to perform elaborate courtship routines that are intended to ward off adversaries and woo females. Head to the Somerset Levels, Humber and Ribble Estuaries or Morecambe Bay for your best chance to spot these wading birds in action, and listen out for their shrill ‘peewit’ call. For more information, visit wildlifetrusts.org/species/lapwing.

As long as no frost is forecast, early March is the best time for farmers to begin drilling sucrose-rich sugar beet. More than 3,500 British farmers grow the crop (which resembles a big turnip when fully grown) and together they meet 60 per cent of the UK demand for sugar.

Long-rope skipping In the picturesque parish of Alciston, set in the rolling hills of the South Downs National Park in East Sussex, Good Friday marks the date that residents gather to honour the Sussex tradition of skipping with long ropes. Local Morris dancers perform outside the Rose Cottage Inn in all weathers before inviting onlookers to join in the energetic festivities. MARCH 2018

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A simple make...

SPRING FLOWER DISPLAY These pretty pots would make a lovely present for Mother’s Day WORDS BY ALAINA BINKS PHOTOGRAPH BY SIMON SCARBORO

1 Paint terracotta pots and

A WALK TO TAKE

COLERIDGE NATURE WALK, SOMERSET

Celebrate World Book Day (1 March) by walking in the footsteps of poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge and his esteemed colleague William Wordsworth in Somerset. The duo would have regularly taken the four-mile route, now a National Trust trail, between each of their homes – traversing woodland, bridleways and heathland. Beginning in Nether Stowey, you’ll pass Coleridge Cottage before continuing along Coleridge Way. After passing through the ancient hill fort of Dowsborough Castle, you’ll reach Alfoxton. Loop back through Bin Combe Valley and return to Nether Stowey, where an afternoon tea awaits (nationaltrust.org.uk/ coleridge-cottage/ trails/coleridge-naturewalk-somerset).

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saucers with emulsion in soft pastel colours. Once they are dry, lightly sand over the surfaces to create a distressed finish, then add a coat of varnish. Add a layer of gravel to the base of each pot and then cover with soil. Press flowering (or near to flowering) spring bulbs such as chionodoxa, hyacinths, muscari and narcissus into the soil. Water each plant before covering the exposed soil with grass (roots attached) or a layer of moss. Finish by placing a handful of small speckled

chocolate or artificial eggs in the arrangement. Position them in the centre to create the look of a bird’s nest.

7 Place the pots on a window ledge or wrap in brown paper tied in place with a pretty ribbon or twine to give as a gift.

An ingredient to enjoy SPRING ONIONS Designer, cook and author Sophie Conran shares her favourite seasonal flavour Interestingly, spring onions are not just one onion variety, but the juvenile of any species that has been plucked from the earth before the bulb has fully formed, to be eaten fresh. Also known as a tubular onion, scallion or even ‘gibbon’, it goes by myriad titles across the world, and, when it comes to cooking, there are more ways to use this versatile little chap than there are names for him. Once disrobed of its outer coat, the spring onion can be tossed in salads or pasta, stirred into a frittata or quiche batters or added to sour cream to be dolloped on a jacket potato. For proper indulgence, team with a silky ginger sauce and pour on top of steamed sea bass. For more information, see sophieconran.com.

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A BOOK TO READ

Jane Austen’s England: A Walking Guide (IBTauris, £9.99) Explore the celebrated novelist’s inspiration and discover the real-life Pemberley with the help of this book. Arranged as a series of 15 walking tours, it will guide you through the countryside that provided the settings for her six major novels.

The Wild Book (Orion Publishing Co, £16.99) From cooking on a campfire to flying through the air on a homemade tree swing, David Scarfe wants us to take a break from screen time and rediscover the outdoors. This book is full of practical ideas to help reawaken our sense of wonder and let a little natural wilderness back into our lives.

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STAY IN… A DOG-FRIENDLY HIDEAWAY

For grandeur

For privacy

For history

The Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa, Skipton, North Yorkshire Built in the early 17th century, The Devonshire Arms (top) is part of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire’s expansive Bolton Abbey Estate. The hotel offers a variety of pet perks, including four-poster dog beds and a doggie treat menu. Classic room from £158 per night (thedevonshirearms.co.uk).

The Old Milking Shed, West Buckland, Devon Located close to the beautiful Blue Flag beach at Bantham and the many dog-friendly bays of Thurlestone, The Old Milking Shed is an impeccably converted barn perfect for self-catered stays. From £ 995 for seven nights (coastandcountry.co.uk/ cottage-details/milksh).

Stocks Hotel, Sark, Channel Islands Situated on the tiny island of Sark, which offers great coastal walks, Stocks Hotel has over 100 years’ worth of heritage. In addition to three fully equipped rooms for dog owners there is a canine-friendly bistro. Superior double from £135 per night (stockshotel.com).

VERNAL EQUINOX The vernal (or spring) equinox, which occurs annually on either 19, 20 or 21 March in the northern hemisphere, is, according to many, the official start of springtime. Over the years, a number of unusual traditions have developed to mark the occasion: in some rural areas, a cleansing dandelion and burdock cordial is drunk, while in others, the story goes that during the equinox it is possible to balance an egg on its narrow end. Each year, pagans, Christians and tourists alike also gather at Stonehenge in Wiltshire to celebrate. For more information, visit english-heritage.org.uk. countryliving.co.uk


BLANDS COTTAGE, SCORTON, PRESTON, LANCASHIRE £895,000

WITH ITS THATCHED ROOF, WINDOWBOXES AND TRADITIONAL STONE PORCH, this Grade II-listed cottage, on the edge of the Forest of Bowland, has all the rustic charm you could wish for. Yet the three-bedroom home also includes some surprisingly modern additions, such as an area dedicated to outdoor entertaining – complete with a stone pizza oven and beer pump – making it ideal for summer gatherings. And with an annexe comprising two extra bedrooms, a kitchen and bathroom, there is more than enough space to accommodate guests. Built in 1649, its attractive period features include exposed stonework, a Belfast sink and original fireplace, which is perfect for warming cold feet after a bracing walk along one of the many surrounding woodland footpaths through the nearby AONB. The property also comes with 13 acres of land and equestrian facilities.

For details of more rural houses for sale, visit countryliving.co.uk. Enjoy the latest home and property features, plus much more, in the CL free weekly newsletter. To sign up, go to www.countryliving.co.uk/newsletter.

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INFORMATION CORRECT AT TIME OF GOING TO PRESS. PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALAMY; GETTY IMAGES; RACHEL WHITING. ILLUSTRATIONS BY JOANNA KERR. HAND-LETTERING BY RUTHROWLAND.CO.UK

Our property of the month


Inspiration and advice for aspiring smallholders

How to...ENJOY FOOD FOR FREE We tend to think of autumn as the time to harvest berries and fungi, but spring has its own delicious offerings in the countryside, too. Remember the rules of wild harvesting: always ask the landowner’s permission; only take what you need and leave some for the wildlife; don’t dig up roots; and never pick anything you can’t identify with 100 per cent certainty.

YOUNG LEAVES Unless you’re a very thorough weeder, you needn’t step further than your back garden for a delicious harvest. The first leaves of dandelions and chickweed are tender enough to go in salads, while the young shoots of goosegrass and early nettle tops are the perfect addition to soups, omelettes and pasta dishes. Wash them thoroughly in fresh water before serving – and, of course, wear gloves when picking countryliving.co.uk

nettles. All of these plants are, surprisingly, packed with vitamins, so are actually incredibly nutritious.

WILD GARLIC In the next month or two, head into deciduous woodland and you’ll likely be hit by the unmistakable smell of garlic. Wild garlic, or ramsons, Make a delicious has long leaves and will later form carpets of white, soup by wilting star-like flowers on the banks of streams. It’s great for ramsons and beginner foragers because there’s little to confuse it with nettles in butter, (lily of the valley – which is highly poisonous – lacks the simmer in stock strong garlic smell). The leaves and flowers have a fresh with a potato flavour, which is wonderful in salads, and even better and carrot, and when made into a pesto and served with pasta or fish. blitz. Swirl in crème fraîche to serve.

ST GEORGE’S MUSHROOMS Fungi are also on the menu in spring – St George’s are so called because they tend to MARCH 2018

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appear around St George’s Day (23 April). The white or creamy-coloured mushrooms are delectable when fried in butter, seasoned well and served on toast. There aren’t many others you can confuse them with at this time of year, but identify carefully before eating. A course can help; try Fungi Forays (from £20 per person; fungiforays.co.uk).

Read Wild Food by Roger Phillips (Macmillan, £12.99) and Food for Free by Richard Mabey (Collins, £4.99).

Go on a course: WILLOW BASKET WEAVING I CAN’T RESIST A BASKET, WHETHER IT’S FOR HOLDING LOGS, storing fruit or tidying children’s toys away, so as soon as

I had the chance to make my own, I jumped at it quicker than you can say ‘bodkin’ (one of the many terms of the trade). Along with five other novices, I joined Deb Hart in her rural Essex studio to learn the ancient skill. Soon we were discovering that the craft has a whole language of its own, from tying the slath (part of preparing the base) to slyping (cutting at an angle). By lunchtime, the upstakes (vertical framework) were in place ready for us to create the body of the basket. In the afternoon we slowly perfected the art of selecting weavers (lengths of willow) of a consistent thickness to avoid producing a bent basket and Deb proved to be endlessly patient as she cheerfully showed me the correct technique for the umpteenth time. I came away with a Polish-style design with an attractive (intentional) graduated rim and a sturdy hazel handle (above), which gives me pleasure every time I pop the recycling into it. Beginner’s Basket Weaving, Bocking, Essex; £55 (debhart.co.uk).

THREE MORE TO TRY…

BREED OF THE MONTH Orpington If you are new to hen-keeping, Orpingtons are a good choice. These large birds are placid and don’t mind being handled – perfect if you have children who want to get involved. And, as they have a lovely thick layer of feathers, you’ll want to pick them up. Orpingtons are named after the town in Kent where they were bred by William Cook in 1886. He started with Black Orpingtons, followed by the White, Buff, Jubilee, Spangled, Cuckoo (above right) and Blue (above left).

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OFOR A STUNNING SETTING Sarah Le Breton’s Willow Animal Sculpture Day, £80 (sarahlebreton.co.uk). Held at the visitor centre of renowned willow-growing company Coates in the Somerset Levels, this workshop is run by artist Sarah Le Breton who will show you how to weave an animal of your choice, which she describes as a playful introduction to basketmaking. OFOR A WILD EXPERIENCE Special Branch Baskets’ Hedgerow Basketmaking Holiday, £220 (specialbranchbaskets.com). Enjoy foraging through the Perth and Kinross countryside for natural finds to add extra interest to your basket design, then learn to make it under the guidance of artisan Jane Wilkinson on this three-day course. OFOR A DAY IN THE GARDEN Zantium Studio’s Willow Garden Structures, £95 (zantium.co.uk). Expert Eddie Glew teaches how to make not only plant supports or obelisks, but also beautiful sculptures of sunflowers and dragonflies on this alfresco course overlooking farmland in Derbyshire.

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WORDS BY KATE LANGRISH AND RUTH CHANDLER. PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALAMY; BRENT DARBY; GETTY IMAGES; RAMONA RICHTER/FLPA. HAND-LETTERING BY RUTHROWLAND.CO.UK

FLOWERS Spring sees the emergence of blooms that are worth harvesting. Clifftops and heathland will soon be covered in yellow gorse, the petals of which have a delicate coconut taste and smell. Eat them raw or infuse into ice cream. In May, don’t forget the elderflower season – shop-bought cordial is one thing, homemade is quite another. Add ten bloom heads to sugar syrup (1kg sugar dissolved in 1L water) just at the boil. Add lemon zest and 40g citric acid, then leave overnight to infuse before straining. Store in the fridge.


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myself at the bed, and was asleep before I landed. I woke when my sister-in-law switched on the compressor in the milking parlour. Downstairs, Ramón was still by the stove, but now he was sitting up like a cat, eyes wide open, ears at a quizzical angle – penned in securely with chairs. The torch was recharging on the table, and a letter was propped against it. ‘My dear Imogen, The sheep were not pleased to be woken at one. Ramón’s mother has fed her other babies well. Ramón himself has enjoyed a three-ounce breakfast. Do not believe the dog if he says he hasn’t been given biscuits. I will be back again at 1am tomorrow. Your faithful assistant, M.’ It was then I realised, if it means receiving a letter like that every day, maybe I don’t mind an old-fashioned romance after all.

UGH

THIS MONTH, I FEEL AS THOUGH I’M TRAPPED IN AN OLD-FASHIONED ROMANTIC NOVEL. My relationship with my neighbour, Matthew Antiza, has come to a standstill. But it isn’t a class divide or a stern family keeping us apart – it’s a flock of Wiltshire Horns. Lambing is in full swing and, because I’m doing it completely on my own (my son, who used to help me, has left home), while having to fit it round my normal milking duties, there’s hardly any time for sleep. My life has become a weird blur, mostly spent in fields, in the dark, studying sheep’s backsides. I thought Matthew understood, but yesterday evening he dropped in unexpectedly, just as I was finishing feeding the calves. He was wearing a smart, tailored jacket, and smelled of expensive cologne – I suspect he was a bit startled by the way my hair was standing on end. We sat at the kitchen table, with him politely drinking a cup of hot water flavoured with milk (I’d forgotten to put tea in the pot). Then I remembered the ewes, and leapt up in a panic. Matthew insisted on coming with me and carrying the lambing torch, which is huge, with a searchlight beam that makes sheep’s eyes shine pale green. It was raining, and through the downpour I saw a ewe by the fence, looking miserable. A tiny ram lamb lay motionless near her back feet, wet and bloodstained. I rushed over and picked him up, hoping there was a chance he was still alive. We loaded the two of them into a trailer and drove them round to the lambing shed, where I rubbed the lamb with towels. After a long while, he flinched, and opened one eye blearily. “He looks like my Uncle Ramón,” Matthew said. “Angry and dyspeptic.” Ramón’s mother didn’t seem to like him much. She sniffed him with distaste and tried to push him away – before she was quickly distracted by the arrival of his two sisters. While she was preoccupied with them, Matthew and I attempted to get some milk into Ramón. It was a long, uncomfortable process, involving kneeling beside the ewe and trying to get the limp lamb latched onto a teat. Whenever we were about to succeed, the ewe would shift position. In the end, I took Ramón back to the farmhouse, mixed up some artificial colostrum and fed it to him in a baby’s bottle, while Matthew and the farm terrier watched. And then I caught sight of the clock. “Oh no!” I said. “I’ve got to get some sleep! I’m up again at 1am!” “That’s not happening,” Matthew said firmly. “I’m checking the sheep for you.” “But you don’t know anything about them!” I protested. “So?” he said. “If there’s a problem I’ll wake you up.” The three of them stared me down, all equally stern-faced. I gave up and stumbled upstairs. Too tired to undress, I threw

BRO

ILLUSTRATION BY JOANNA KERR

During lambing season, a sleep-deprived Imogen Green realises that knights in shining armour come in all forms

YOU

BY COUNTRY LIV

ING

Love in the Countryside, inspired by Country Living’s dating site country-loving.co.uk, will be airing soon. To find out more, visit bbc.co.uk.

‘Insomniac yearns to be rescued by Mr Darcy’

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FLOOR SHOW From plaids and plains to unique patterns, the beautiful new Country Living Collection at Carpetright has something for everyone STYLING AND WORDS BY ALAINA BINKS ASSISTED BY BEN KENDRICK AND CHARLOTTE MURRAY PHOTOGRAPHS BY PENNY WINCER

STEP INSIDE Pairing well with pale walls and petrol blue-painted woodwork, this distinctive plaid has a traditional flavour that sits sympathetically with the classic details in a farmhouse or cottage. Pretty faded floral prints, vintagestyle accessories and carved furniture enhance the look.


D E C O R AT I N G

SOFT UNDERFOOT When using a carpet in a solid colour, such as this luxurious deep-pile twist in a gentle blue, keep the rest of the room neutral to retain a sense of tranquillity. We’ve added simple patterns in fresh blue and grey, and offset with hints of yellow for an uplifting contrast. For merchandise details, see page 40

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D E C O R AT I N G

T R E A D I N G T H E B OA R D S Introducing pattern to a staircase, this high-quality striped runner is made from wool with a natural dirt-resistant coating, and will help soften the sound of heavy footsteps. If you have an open bannister, as seen here, it’s best to have a runner that is cut to size with whipped edges. If the sides of the steps are enclosed, you can cover the entire tread width and continue onto the landing.

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UNIQUE STYLE This sophisticated hounds-tooth carpet would work almost anywhere in the home. Here, we’ve used it in a small workroom and linked the warm grey tone to a similar wall colour, offsetting it with white and oak furniture, splashes of teal, turquoise and yellow. For merchandise details, see page 40


A F R E S H S TA RT Unfinished woods, leafy green tongue-and-groove and a nubby-textured neutral carpet create a relaxed country look. The loop-pile wool carpet comes in a range of colours, is naturally stain resistant and bounces back from heavy footfalls.


D E C O R AT I N G

N AT U R A L T E X T U R E For rustic charm, try sisal flooring, which suits both traditional and modern interiors. A practical choice, it is stain- and moistureresistant, and will wear well in high-traffic areas. It introduces a warm depth to this dining room – fine bouclÊ and herringbone weaves are also available. For merchandise details, see pages 40 and 42

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D E C O R AT I N G PAT T E R N P E R F E C T Teamed with white walls, an elegant iron bedstead and simple painted furniture, this trailing-leaf design has a contemporary edge, yet keeps a sense of calm. Its wool blend is soft and warm underfoot, which is ideal for a bedroom. For merchandise details, see page 42

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D E C O R AT I N G

The Country Living Collection at Carpetright

TAYLOR COLLECTION £36.99/m2. Wool loop-pile carpet, two designs: Stripe – six colourways • Speckled plain – six colourways

MADISON AVENUE £39.99/m2 Wool-mix twist carpet One design – 12 colourways

BIRCH £29.99/m2 Wool loop-pile carpet One design – ten colourways*

SUPER REGENT TWIST £34.99/m2 Wool-mix twist carpet One design – 12 colourways*

ROWAN £36.99/m2 Wool loop-pile carpet One design – eight colourways*

MONMOUTH TWIST £24.99/m2 Wool-mix twist carpet One design – 11 colourways*

PENTLE COLLECTION £39.99-£44.99/m2 Sisal flooring. Three designs: Tigers Eye – two colourways Fine Bouclé – two colourways Herringbone – two colourways

ALASKA COLLECTION £32.99/m2, Wool-mix loop-pile carpet, three designs: Plain loop – four colourways • Stripe – four colourways • Chevron – four colourways

SYLVAN COLLECTION £54.99/m2, Wool-mix twist carpet, three designs: Rhapsody (leaf) – four colourways • Hamilton (plaid) – four colourways • Chic (hounds-tooth) – four colourways

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● If it’s for a high-traffic area, a tight-loop carpet is practical, while a luxurious deep pile would be ideal for a bedroom. ● Gather samples of a room’s carpet, fabrics, wallpaper, paint colours and pictures of furniture to make sure they will work together. ● Include the cost of underlay and installation. Underlay should usually be replaced when you buy a new carpet. ● A carpet should always be measured and fitted by a professional.

For more information on these and other ranges, plus expert advice, visit carpetright.co.uk and carpetfoundation.com. countryliving.co.uk

*NOT ALL DESIGNS/COLOURWAYS SHOWN

BUY THE RIGHT CARPET


D E C O R AT I N G

STEP INSIDE

TREADING THE BOARDS

Hamilton Sylvan carpet in Summer Breeze, £54.99/m2, The Country Living Collection at Carpetright. Doormat, £20, Cox & Cox. Walls in Skylight estate emulsion, £45/2.5L; woodwork in Inchyra Blue estate eggshell, £25/750ml: both Farrow & Ball. Vintage hooks; hat; jug: all flea-market finds. Bunny on wheels, £50, Emily Maude. Hannah Firmin card, from a selection, Owl Bookshop. Similar felt dog decoration, Amica Accessories. Easter wreath, £27.50, Pippa Designs at Not On The High Street. Ribbon, from a selection, Jane Means. Gustavian demi-lune table, £219 (unpainted), Scumble Goosie; painted in Cornforth White estate eggshell, £25/750ml, Farrow & Ball. Vintage ceramic Staffordshire spaniel, £45 a pair, Black Bough. British egg card, £3, Abby Cook Illustration. Wire basket; vintage mould: both from a selection, RE. Decorative moss, £3.45, Pipii. Leaf plate, £45, by Steven Jenkins of Hogweed Pottery. Similar lamp base, Susie Watson Designs. Similar shade, Kate Forman. Postcard (above door); books; net bag: all The Old Haberdashery. Individual blue chair, £120; crate, £20: both Pimpernel & Partners. Hare cushion (lino print by Hugh Dunford Wood), £70, Peaceable Kingdom Cushions. Other items, stylist’s own

Taylor stripe carpet in Cascade, £36.99/m2, The Country Living Collection at Carpetright. Yellow chair, from a selection, The Old Haberdashery. Bowl, £50, The Conran Shop. Teapot, £22, Black Bough. Herringbone throw, £70, Heal’s. Similar basket, Coates English Willow. Shoreline print by Angie Lewin, £345, St Jude’s Prints. Hogweed mug, £18, by Steven Jenkins of Hogweed Pottery. Basket, £98, Rowen & Wren

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SOFT UNDERFOOT Madison Avenue carpet in Sky, £39.99/m2, The Country Living Collection at Carpetright. Walls in Pure Brilliant White matt emulsion, £15/5L, Dulux. Curtain in Tyrell stripe linen, £79/m, Colefax and Fowler. Percy armchairs, £885 each, Pimpernel & Partners. Loose covers in Damson Tree cotton-linen mix, £30/m, Sanderson at Style Library; and Vintage check linen, £52/m, Inchyra. Metal bird (in window), £5, RE. Similar white jug, Divertimenti. Painting and wool: both The Old Haberdashery. Nasturtium jug and snowdrops original painting by Debbie George, £200, The Edition. Quail eggs (blown), £5.70/12, Pipii. Tray table, £100, Cox & Cox. Bowl; small white jug and basket: all flea market finds. Wonki Ware mugs, £19 each, The Conran Shop. Herringbone throw, £75, Heal’s. Violet teacup print (in basket), £60, Matt Underwood. Hare cushion, £40, Lolly & Boo. Large bowl, from a selection, Hogweed Pottery

For stockists, see Where to Buy

and Ramsons lino print, £55, Little Ram Studio at Folksy. Fabric samples (on board), from a selection, Inchyra and Sanderson. Paint chips, Edward Bulmer. Vintage button cards and metal fasteners, from a selection, The Old Haberdashery and Pimpernel & Partners. Small wire hanging basket, £10; magazine holder, £25; wire paper basket, £35: all Pimpernel & Partners. Cards (on wall), from a selection, Mark Hearld and Angela Harding. Vintage tape measure; scissors; painted letter; pen; small coffee pot; wooden crate; twine; books; yellow trunk: all from a selection, The Old Haberdashery. White clip-on loft lamp, £32, Baileys. Tiger Bitterns card by Mark Hearld, £3, Black Bough. Jute twine, £2.25/ball, Pipii. Teacup, from a selection, Bloomsbury Ceramics. Molly Mahon leaf A4 clipboard, £18; Neisha Crosland box file, £28: both Harris & Jones. Primulas original painting by Debbie George, £200, The Edition. Small aluminium rabbit mould, £5.50, RE. Glass jar (with wool), £25, Pimpernel & Partners. Nature Study print (on floor) by Angie Lewin, £295, St Jude’s Prints. Other items, stylist’s own

UNIQUE STYLE Chic Sylvan carpet in Moon Shimmer, £54.99/m2, The Country Living Collection at Carpetright. Walls in Mouse Grey emulsion, £45/2.5L, Edward Bulmer. Woodwork in All White estate eggshell, £25/750ml, Farrow & Ball. Blind in Daisy Chain linen, £96/m, Rapture & Wright. Roscoe desk, £295; Talia chair, £95: both Habitat. Similar cushion (on chair), Susie Watson Designs. Wire board, £55; clips, £14 for eight: all Rose & Grey. Bluebells

A FRESH START Birch carpet in Linen, £29.99/m2, The Country Living Collection at Carpetright. Walls in Boxington flat oil eggshell, £30/L, Little Greene. Nordic wooden sofa, £999 (unpainted); peg rail, £41 countryliving.co.uk


D E C O R AT I N G

For stockists, see Where to Buy

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plates, £22 each; soup bowls, £22 each; serving bowls, napkins and tea towel, from a selection: all The Conran Shop. Dimple glass tumblers, £4 each; bread board, £38: all Rowen & Wren. Metal mould, from a selection, RE. Similar butter dish, Garden Trading. Similar egg cups, ebay

NATURAL TEXTURE

ON THE COVER

Pentle Tigers Eye sisal flooring, £39.99-£44.99/m2, The Country Living Collection at Carpetright. Walls in Purbeck Stone estate eggshell, £60/2.5L, Farrow & Ball. Similar table, Pale & Interesting. Talia chair (left), £95; Hester chair, £95: both Habitat. Classic English slat-back chair (just seen), £125, Angel & Boho. Tablecloth in vintage check linen, £52/m, Inchyra. Merchants chest, £767 (unpainted), Scumble Goosie. Painted in Yellow Ground estate eggshell, £25/750ml, Farrow & Ball. Blind in Pomeroy linen-mix, £78/m; damask paper (in bag): both Blithfield. Similar ceramic flying duck, ebay. Snowdrops lino print, £48, Little Ram Studio at Folksy. Basket bag, from a selection, Baileys On chest: planter, £3.50, Pipii. Painting (including frame, not shown), £220; wire holder with bottles, £25: all Pimpernel & Partners. Folded fabric: Daisy Chain linen, £96/m, Rapture & Wright. Damask linen, £88/m, Peggy Angus at Blithfield. Robin and Wren table lamp, £116, Hannah Madden Printmaker at Folksy On windowsill: tray (from wooden tray table), £100, Cox & Cox. British egg print, £10, Abby Cook Illustration. Yellow water jug by Arran St East, £60, Heal’s. Similar radio, Roberts On table: coffee pot, £25, Pimpernell & Partners. mugs, £25 each, Heal’s. Metal jug, £12.95, Finch & Crane. Everyday milk jug by Emma Lacey, £35; Wonki Ware side

Alaska stripe carpet in Dove, £32.99/m2, The Country Living Collection at Carpetright. Walls in Off White estate emulsion, £45/2.5L, Farrow & Ball. Similar sofa, Sofa Workshop. Cushion in Nest Egg cotton-linen, £48/m; curtain in Paper Doves cotton-linen, £30/m: both Sanderson at Style Library. Cushion, £45; herringbone throw, £75: both Heal’s. Stool, £180, Sebastian Cox. Whitby cotton gingham cloth, £30/m, Sanderson at Style Library. Similar bowls, Brickett Davda. Chocolate eggs, from a selection, Rococo. Jug, flea-market find. Flowers and plants from a selection, Wild at Heart at Liberty. Books, from a selection, The Old Haberdashery and Lolly & Boo. Bag, from a selection, Baileys. Wooden table (at side of sofa), flea-market find. Wire basket, £75 for two, Loaf. Vintage check linen, £52/m, Inchyra. Book, Baileys. Wonki Ware side plate, £22, The Conran Shop. Classic English slat-back chair, £125, Angel & Boho. Birds and nests wrapping paper, £3.50; wooden hanging frame, £17.50: both Willow & Stone. Sideboard by Sebastian Cox, £1,499, Heal’s On sideboard: Bird original painting by Unity Coombes, £76, The Edition. Enamel coffee pot, £25, Pimpernel & Partners Mango wood lamp base, £49.95; linen lampshade, from £45; both Lolly & Boo. Jug, flea-market find. Daffodils lino print, £48, Little Ram Studio at Folksy

PATTERN PERFECT Rhapsody Sylvan carpet in Summer Breeze, £54.99/m2, The Country Living Collection at Carpetright. Walls in Pure Brilliant White matt emulsion, £15/5L; panelling in Swedish White eggshell, £53/2.5L: both Dulux. Similar iron bedstead, Laura Ashley. Ticking stripe bedlinen, from £17 for a pillowcase, Toast. White linen pillowcases, £40 each, Loaf. Owl cushion (lino print by Hugh Dunford Wood), £70, Peaceable Kingdom Cushions. Quilt, £88; similar basket: both Rowen & Wren. Trunks, £40-£55, Habitat. Astrid side table, £195, Loaf. Table lamp, from £150, Baileys. Books, Pimpernel & Partners. Primroses lino print, £48; Grey Hare lino print, £38: both Little Ram Studio at Folksy. Palette, from a selection, Pimpernel & Partners. Ceramic houses by Rowena Brown, £325 for four, Toast. British egg card, £3, Abby Cook Illustration. Talia chair, £95, Habitat On chair: vintage eiderdown, Pimpernel & Partners. Striped bedlinen, Toast, as before. Teapot, £22, Black Bough. Small mug, similar, Decorator’s Notebook. Similar curtains, John Lewis

countryliving.co.uk

* STAMP ONLY

(unpainted): both Scumble Goosie; peg rail painted in Swedish White eggshell, £53/2.5L, Dulux. Enamel school light, £155; basket bags (on peg rail and floor), from a selection: both Baileys. Natural History Butterfly wrapping sheet, £3.50; wooden hanging frame, £17.50: both Willow & Stone. Herringbone green throw, £70, Heal’s. Violet teacup woodblock print, £60, Matt Underwood. Shelf unit, £69, Rose & Grey On unit: 3D card by Mark Hearld, £4.25, Berry Red. Everyday espresso mug by Emma Lacey, £24, The Conran Shop. Jug, stylist’s own. Quail eggs (blown), £5.70/12, Pipii. Reel; similar card pack: both The Old Haberdashery. Luggage tag, printed using a daffodil rubber stamp, £5*, Little Stamp Store from Not On The High Street On bench: cushions in Melbury linen, £65/m; Hurst check cotton-mix, £68/m: both Colefax and Fowler. Milson linen-mix, £50/m, Celia Birtwell. Seat pad cover in Rydall cotton, £39/m, Jane Churchill. Wool blanket, £80, Black Bough. Vintage step ladder; cricket bat; racket: all flea-market finds. Jute twine, £2.25/ball, Pipii. Notebook (on steps), from a selection, Pimpernel & Partners. Potted primula, from a selection, Wild at Heart at Liberty. Similar basket, Coates English Willow. Books, from a selection, The Old Haberdashery and Black Bough. Similar V&A flask, Amazon. Tray (from wooden tray table), £100, Cox & Cox. Similar gloves, Etsy


countryliving.co.uk


THIS MONTH: THE SUFFOLK UPHOLSTERERS

We celebrate home-grown entrepreneurs who have turned their hobby into a thriving business WORDS BY LAURAN ELSDEN

PHOTOGRAPHS BY POLLY WREFORD


A SUFFOLK BUSINESS “We both fell in love with the Waveney Valley and decided to move here. The countryside is amazing and the wildlife abundant – we often marvel at the winter sunsets over our workshop. There’s a slower pace of life here and that’s what we love. Waveney people are laid-back and there’s a real sense of community. Local businesses were supportive from day one – always recommending us and handing out our business cards. Word-of-mouth is very important here, so their help is invaluable.”


idden behind an inconspicuous façade of red brick and slate lies a space more wonderland than workshop. Amid a compendium of old furniture (overlooked by a tailor’s mannequin in the corner, a bowler hat placed jauntily on its head), Tam Hannam gently feeds a length of linen under the whirring foot of her sewing machine. Meanwhile, her friend and business partner Libby Eley makes the morning’s first round of tea. It may be early – the winter sun shining obliquely through the window – but it won’t be long before today’s students arrive. Perkins & Gibbs, Tam and Libby’s business, is located in an old barn near Bungay on the NorfolkSuffolk border. As bespoke upholsterers, they not only bring a fresh approach to transforming and reviving furniture, but also run increasingly popular workshops, through which they pass on their skills to others. “I think there’s been a resurgence in crafting as a reaction to people not feeling connected to the tangible things in their life,” Tam says. “Renovating an old piece of furniture creates an emotional attachment. People often tell us, ‘This was my grandmother’s chair’, or ‘I used to play on this sofa as a child’.” At the far end of the studio, Orrin – Libby’s Vizsla-Labrador cross – stirs in his basket, preparing to greet today’s attendees. Class OPPOSITE Tam and Libby (left) both brought skills from their previous backgrounds to the business – in Libby’s case her teaching ability, in Tam’s, her countryliving.co.uk

qualifications in art and design THIS PAGE The courses they offer are both a means of diversifying and a way to pass on their craftsmaship

sizes can be anything from two to ten people. “We do have a few men, but it’s mostly women,” Libby says. “I think many want to come and do something for themselves – away from their husband or children. And a surprising number discover skills they didn’t know they had or end up meeting like-minded souls.” The story of Perkins & Gibbs began on a course not too dissimilar to this one. Eight years ago, Libby and Tam first met while studying for an upholstery qualification – neither had much previous experience of the craft but both had signed up in the hope of making a career change. Until this point Libby had worked as a beauty therapist trainer for brands such as Dove and Aromatherapy Associates while Tam worked in recruitment. Despite coming from such different professions, they immediately hit it off, but Perkins & Gibbs didn’t come into being until four years later. First, once qualified, Libby and Tam set up their own separate upholstery businesses, Libby’s in Denham, Buckinghamshire, and Tam’s in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. “We used to be on the phone to each other almost daily, though,” Libby admits, “discussing how to approach tricky projects, helping with challenges or celebrating when things went well.” With this in mind, it’s no surprise that they eventually started to wonder what would happen if they combined their skill sets. As a result, in 2014 they both decided to make the move to the village of Earsham on the Norfolk-Suffolk border and together set up Perkins & Gibbs – the name based on an amalgamation of two of their family names. In order to launch their joint business, they each took £500 from their savings, which they used to buy a sewing machine MARCH 2018

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“Renovating an old piece of furniture creates an emotional attachment” and compressor. They chose not to take out loans or start credit accounts with suppliers, but instead to prioritise quality of life. “First and foremost, we wanted to enjoy coming to work,” Libby says. “If we can pay the rent, buy delicious food and make ourselves and each other happy, that’s all we need.” Luckily, the pair seem to disprove the old adage that friends and business don’t mix. “The most important thing is to not have an ego,” Libby says, laughing. “What we have to offer now is so much more than when we were on our own.” Tam agrees: “There comes a point when you feel as though you’re going a little bit crazy and you need to have someone else around to have a cup of tea with.” To make their business more viable, Libby and Tam have had to think creatively, dreaming up new ideas on how best to diversify – whether it’s antique restoration, student masterclasses or hosting fabric sales. “Things like that are the difference between breaking even and making a profit,” Libby says, gesturing to a makeshift clothesline pegged with ABOVE, FROM LEFT Every piece of furniture receives individual attention and is finished to the highest standards

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in their workshop. In addition to renovation and upholstery, they produce a beautiful range of lampshades

an assortment of colourful textile swatches. Despite confessing that neither is particularly technology savvy, the duo are advocates of using social media for free marketing – utilising the likes of Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr to showcase their range of beautifully restored projects. Local fairs and markets have also been a great way to showcase skills and services to potential customers. “We don’t take anything to sell,” Libby says. “We only take our tools and do a bit of a demo at the stall – everyone seems to love it!” As Tam turns her attention to a midnight-blue velvet Chesterfield – “Once I’ve finished, it will last for another 100 years,” she explains – Libby is leading a demonstration, pulling some spotted fabric taut before securing it to a wooden frame with a series of polished pewter tacks. “It’s a lot more physical than you’d think,” she says, with a hammer in hand. The stripped-back studio might seem a world away from her previous career in the beauty industry, but she believes there are similarities between the two: “I use massage techniques when I’m working – upholstery is so tactile, it’s all about touch – so, for me, the two disciplines are very closely connected.” As five o’clock approaches – and the whoosh of the staple gun comes to a halt – today’s students are taking a moment countryliving.co.uk


WHAT WE’VE LEARNT…

Social media takes time and perseverance. We’re both very hands-on, so sitting in front of a computer doesn’t come naturally to us. There’s a lot to learn when it comes to websites and optimisation – you’ve just got to be patient and keep at it. A client’s reaction can be really special. Seeing how they respond when we return a piece that has been in their family for generations, re-upholstered, re-invented and ready to last another lifetime, is just unbeatable.

“Local businesses were supportive from day one” to stand back and admire their work. “It’s always a quick win if you go and buy an item of furniture,” Tam says. “Yes, it may be immediately functional and usable, but you don’t feel particularly attached to it in the long-term. If you make a piece yourself, though, it brings a real sense of pride, which is really wonderful.” For more information about Perkins & Gibbs and the upholstery courses that Tam and Libby run, visit perkinsandgibbs.com. Meet more makers and bakers at the Country Living Spring Fair in May. If you are starting your own business and would like to apply for a free stall at our Pop-up Market, see the page opposite for details.

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ABOVE The friends enjoy the countryside and community here BELOW Tam’s cocker spaniel, Rudy

There will be sacrifices along the way. When you run your own business, there’s no nine-to-five. We work a lot of evenings, go to client consultations and spend weekends running courses and going to local fairs. That being said, we love spending time in the workshop – it’s our second home – so it’s no hardship being there! Running a business is so rewarding. We host an ‘upholstery club’ and found out that some of our students had met up for lunch one day. It was lovely to hear we’d facilitated that and that the club had actually become something bigger than us. Perfecting your craft is important. Do that and the rest will follow – our customers know we produce work of a really high standard, so they’re happy to trust us with their family heirlooms. They also know that we’ll understand what they want.

countryliving.co.uk


CALLING ALL BUDDING ENTREPRENEURS! Would you like a free stall at our Pop-up Market?

We are offering 35 stalls at the Country Living Spring Fair in London absolutely FREE! Whether you make jam, jumpers or jewellery, and are just starting out or have already taken the first steps towards launching your own venture, you will have the chance to sell your wares to thousands of CL Fair visitors, network with other small-business owners and catch the eye of buyers from big-name brands.

APRIL 2018, ALEXANDRA PALACE, LONDON

APPLY NOW FOR YOUR STAND AT COUNTRYLIVING.CO.UK


One woman& her dog Driven by a passion for provenance and ancient rare breeds, Jane Kallaway raises sheep on her Cotswolds farm and has become a respected authority on all things ovine WORDS BY LAURAN ELSDEN

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PHOTOGRAPHS BY CRISTIAN BARNETT


FA R M I N G


FA R M I N G

alling out with a noise that’s somewhere between a whistle and a yodel, Jane Kallaway deftly demonstrates the symbiotic partnership between a shepherdess and her dog. As Flute, a flat-coated collie, speeds in from behind a frosty water trough, Jane follows, crook in hand, delivering a few phrases of encouragement. Moments later, her flock emerges over the brow of a nearby hill, apparition-like in the early morning mist. Together the sheep trot, picking up the pace as they near a heavy wooden gate, on the other side of which fresh grass beckons. With their resilient, lanolin-rich fleeces and magnificent curved horns, the herd looks more suited to a Viking settlement than a field in the midst of the Wiltshire countryside. But these are no ordinary sheep – these are multi-horned Manx Loaghtan, a primitive rare breed born and nurtured in the sweeping pastures of Langley Chase Organic Farm. Noses to the ground, the group grazes contentedly, glancing up every now and then to cast unblinking eyes in the direction of Flute, who’s poised ready for her next command. Surrounded by lush wild-flower meadows and ancient hedgerows – where bluebells, milk maids and cow parsley will soon be flourishing – Jane is an advocate of responsible farming and a reciprocal relationship with the land. “It will be here for a long time after we’re gone,” she says. “I see myself as more of a custodian than an owner, helping to preserve the landscape for future generations.” An ethos of sustainability is one that permeates every aspect of Langley Chase, from rejecting the use of pesticides and herbicides (mole hills and worms are encouraged here) to adhering to the strict stipulations set by the Soil Association. Jumping into her Land Rover, with Flute taking a well-earned rest in the back, Jane makes her way to a neighbouring hay field just as the first droplets of rain start to patter against the windscreen. In a far corner, under the splayed branches of a majestic oak, a group of lambs shelters. Born only last week, the youngsters may be black now, but the combination of a free-ranging lifestyle and the sun on their backs means it won’t be long before they transform from dark- to milk-chocolate brown and then, finally, a deep golden colour to match their parents. “The flock graze at their own pace. They just trundle along,” Jane says, stopping to jot down a few observations in her notebook. “They’re not confined and have got lots of space, which makes all the difference. They’re happy sheep.” Many might associate lambs with new beginnings, but, for Jane, this time actually marks the end of the shepherd’s year. “It’s bittersweet when you see your flock,” she says wistfully. “You feel pride that you have reared a batch of such good-looking animals, but sadness that you can’t keep them for ever.” As the clouds give way to dappled sunlight, Flute is back to work, weaving in and out of the tall grass with practised speed and agility. Working on the land throughout the year, Jane has grown to love each season – whether it’s shearing in early summer or setting up hay stations on crisp winter days – but admits there’s something particularly PREVIOUS PAGES The farm’s ancient pastures support a wealth of wildlife in addition to Jane’s flock. Born on the farm, sheep will live here their whole

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lives THIS PAGE Langley Chase was originally built in the 18th century – Jane manages it in a sustainable way, ensuring its future for generations to come countryliving.co.uk


FA R M I N G Jane’s Manx Loaghtans are given time to reach maturity naturally

special about lambing. “You’re on high alert, but there’s a real sense of excitement and anticipation,” she says. “When they arrive, it’s like opening a present. Seeing them take their first few steps, looking healthy and strong, well, that’s just extraordinary.” Following the BSE crisis of the mid-1990s, Jane decided to use her acreage to raise her own livestock for meat: “I wanted traceability and to know what my family were eating.” After deciding that Dexter cows might be a little too hard to handle, she settled on something she felt was much more manageable.

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“With sheep you can get away with whipping a few hurdles together,” she says, laughing. “Cattle, on the other hand, are a completely different kettle of fish.” Jane undertook some extensive research, tracking down experts at Bristol University and the Scottish Agricultural College (in addition to a selection of specialist butchers) to ask for their advice. Discovering that many species in the UK are either hybrids or cross breeds – bred and born to be on the plate within four months – Jane wanted a variety that had been native to our shores for hundreds of years. “Manx Loaghtan are much more time-consuming than commercial varieties. They’ve got to live a natural life outdoors – you can’t just feed them up,” she says, stooping to pick up a straggler who’s wandered off and is now bleating for his mother. “It takes a lot longer to get them to the right size, but it’s worth investing that time because the end result is so much better.” With a rich, dark meat that’s gamey in flavour, as well as being naturally lower in saturated fat and cholesterol, Langley Chase’s organic lamb and mutton has plenty of fans. The farm’s award-winning offerings (which range from traditional roasting joints to sausages, burgers and even salami) have also impressed luminaries including Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Rick Stein and even Prince Charles. And, while Jane freely admits it’s difficult not to get too attached to certain characters – “Some even raise a foot to say ‘hello’ when I pass,” – she remains philosophical about the outcome: “You are raising them countryliving.co.uk


FA R M I N G

schoolchildren and other groups, and offers talks, tours and open days

for a purpose: if you didn’t eat them, then you wouldn’t have them in the first place.” Now widely regarded as an expert in her field – even appearing on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour – Jane believes there has been a shift in what was traditionally a male-dominated industry: “I give regular talks at Berry Bros & Rudd, explaining about pairing meat and wine. In the past, people assumed I was just there to front the business!” she says. “These days, I think there’s more equality – we’re less likely to view certain tasks as gender specific.” Working alongside her dedicated stockwoman Faye (and Faye’s daughter Rosie, who helps in the holidays), Jane has learnt that lateral thinking is often just as helpful as brute strength, especially when it comes to placating boisterous rams: “Return their aggression and they’ll think ‘bring it on’,” she says, “but tap your crook on the ground in front of them and they’ll wonder what on earth is going on.” After a busy morning tending to her flock, Jane returns to the farmhouse – a striking 18th-century building in Cotswold stone – to prepare for a school group that will be visiting shortly. Piling one luxurious fleece on top of another (no part of an animal is wasted, from their ‘moorit’ yarn to their deeply furrowed horns), she will use these as props for tomorrow’s demonstration. “I don’t like to talk too much about the actual eating,” she says. “Instead, I tend to focus on what children might not know – I want them to discover how wonderfully versatile sheep really are.” For more information, visit langleychase.co.uk.

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Jane enjoys sharing her passion for organic farming and rare breeds with local


For when your heart is in the country Subscribe to the digital edition of Country Living magazine and escape into an appealing world of rural beauty and tranquillity. You’ll find a wealth of ideas for your home and garden, learn about traditional crafts, discover inspiring rural businesses and enjoy irresistible recipes using seasonal produce.

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A twist on

tradition Once upon a time, a country home was synonymous with traditional interiors and furnishings, but now bold looks and contemporary design hold equal sway WORDS BY BEN KENDRICK

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ABOVE: BLINDS IN SERAPHINA FABRIC, DESIGNERS GUILD. BOTTOM LEFT: LYSEKIL WALL PANEL, IKEA. BOTTOM CENTRE: WILD FERN WALLPAPER, CLARKE & CLARKE. BOTTOM RIGHT: CURTAIN, SANDERSON

D E C O R AT I N G

It might be thought by many that a modern country home means an absence of decoration. But introducing pattern can still feel striking and fresh, depending on how it is used. Choosing a floral or botanical motif in an unexpected scale can make a traditional design feel original and new. And enlarged as a mural or canvas, for example, it will look quite dramatic. Geometrics are also popular choices, from simple chevron and repeating shapes to more detailed filigree patterns on tiles or wallpaper – these have their roots in the Spanish or north African designs commonly seen on encaustic tiles. Pattern looks most striking and modern when it is used simply, keeping the rest of the room fairly plain and making a feature of just one design – be it on curtains, a frieze of tiles on a splashback or in the rhythmic patterns of an encaustic floor. Traditional florals immediately become sharper and more modern when used in a larger-scale print or monochrome colourway (right) A splashback can introduce a measured amount of pattern to a kitchen – use tiles or a decorated panel (below left) Canvases or wallhangings can be made to measure, allowing a delicate flower or botanical artwork to be enlarged (below centre) Keep a room’s decoration restricted to just one pattern or colourway for a clean, simple effect (below right)

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D E C O R AT I N G

Rough, organic surfaces, rich in natural patina, are a key element of the modern country look. Previous generations have tended to cover up such imperfections, papering and painting walls to make homes more pristine, but the trend for stripping back to reveal the bones of a property and celebrating the honesty of raw, natural materials has now found favour. Bare plaster or exposed brick can be appealing indoors, or try polished concrete for floors, worktops and even walls. It is warm and silky to the touch, and has depth in its watery, uneven tones. You could use reclaimed wood to clad walls or drawer fronts in a kitchen for instant character, while soft textiles can add layers of warmth and visual interest in the form of rough, slubby linen, wool and sheepkin. If you don’t have organic textures to reveal or display, add a tactile quality with wall panelling, natural floorcoverings, baskets, furniture and textiles or woven wire pieces. Contrasting surfaces, mixing sleek and shiny with rough and gritty, heightens textural impact (left) Natural materials are well suited to hardwearing areas such as a hall, kitchen or utility room (below left and centre). For flooring, try using brick or reclaimed pammets combined with underfloor heating

ABOVE LEFT: PENDANTS, TOM RAFFIELD. OPPOSITE: UNIQUEHOMESTAYS.COM

If you are renovating, consider leaving some part of your home with a rough finish – such as a bare plaster, brick or stone wall (below right)

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Add a tactile quality with wooden panelling and soft textiles

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The fashion for reworking mid-20th-century designs, from both craftspeople and high-street retailers, is very popular. Look out for design classics or traditional pieces with crisp silhouettes. Often echoing classic items, these tend to be a good fit for country houses, and their crisp, latter-day styling works surprisingly well with a mix of antiques. Equally, furniture that is not usually seen in a domestic setting can look unique and modern. Current styles that have their roots in industrial design, such as metal and glazed cabinets, cupboards and storage units, are a good example. Painted pieces can often look more up to date than dark wood, though it is possible to mix them together, too.

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The pared-back simplicity of a classic Ercol bench will look great in a country-themed hall (below top) Pull together a collection of items by keeping them all within a single colour scheme (below centre)

OPPOSITE: SIDEBOARD, HEAL’S. TOP LEFT: BENCH, ERCOL. CENTRE LEFT: COFFEE TABLE, ANOTHER COUNTRY

Mix old and new to help modern furniture integrate into your home. Try combining the traditional joinery of a farmhouse table with mismatched contemporary chairs (below bottom)

RECLAIMED

The ethos of reusing and repurposing items and materials in interiors has been gaining momentum over the past decade. Recycling makes good sense from an environmental perspective, and can impart character and interest to your home. Look for pieces that have marks of wear, a patina of age or a backstory that makes them intriguing. Also think about adapting or customising non-domestic pieces – old pigeonhole drawers from a post office or a machinist’s workbench can become really quirky and unusual home furnishings. Deconstructed styles are fashionable for kitchens, with open units and shelving for storage as well as cupboards (above) Reclaimed wood makes a beautiful display in its own right (right) Turn a sack barrow into a frame for a one-of-a-kind coffee table, or create shelving from wooden crates or scaffold planks MARCH 2018

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COLOUR

Mustard yellow, deep teal blue, chalky blush pink, coral and charcoal are all very popular right now, so introducing these shades into a room will certainly make it feel up to date, but it is also about how and where you use colour. Above all, you should choose shades that you are naturally drawn to, rather than something that is purely fashionable, to ensure you don’t tire of them. Using deep or intense hues to highlight specific areas, such as alcoves or a single wall, will enhance architectural details and bring atmosphere to an interior. Strong, zingy colours can also be very effective to show off details on furniture or used in well-chosen accessories. A single vibrant painted chair, the underside of a freestanding bath, a rug, the rim of a table or the legs of a chair will all catch the eye and add drama to your space.

Update kitchen cabinets or a large piece of furniture, such as a cupboard or armoire, by repainting in a fresh shade (top right) For a restrained effect, try limiting yourself to just one strong tone in a room. Used for textiles or as paint against neutral tones such as white or grey (left), this will have a timeless appeal Create a focus with areas of strong colour, either used on a single wall (below) or in stripes of toning shades on cupboard fronts and doors

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PHOTOGRAPHS BY CAROLYN BARBER; BRENT DARBY PHOTOGRAPHY; DAN DUCHARS; DAVID GILES; MALCOLM MENZIES; MARK SCOTT; JODY STEWART; DEBI TRELOAR; RACHEL WHITING; TIM YOUNG. OPPOSITE: TABLECLOTH, VOLGA LINEN

Use colour to highlight architectural details, beams, a banister or the traffic area on a staircase (top left)


D E C O R AT I N G

Bright accessories add life to a plain room

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Dances with

DAFFODILS Deep in the Gloucestershire countryside, a rural neighbourhood works together to protect and celebrate a remarkable seasonal spectacle WORDS BY KITTY CORRIGAN

PHOTOGRAPHS BY ANDREW MONTGOMERY


COMMUNIT Y

Wild daffodils carpet the ground in the village of Kempley, where Maggie Brocklehurst (below) drives a minibus for visitors

he village of Kempley in Gloucestershire has a special reason to welcome the festival of Lent. In the days preceding Easter, a floral tapestry of sunshine yellow spreads across the fields, through the forest and along the hedgerows and byways. It reaches as far as its two neighbours, Dymock and Oxenhall, which, together with Kempley, make up an area known as the Golden Triangle. This is the annual display of the elegant Lent Lily or wild daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus), whose delicate beauty makes its cultivated cousin look bold and brash by contrast. Although the first sighting can vary by a week or more depending on the weather, it never fails to appear early each spring, making the most of the light filtering through bare branches before leaves dress the trees. Many of Kempley’s 280 residents remember the 1950s, when the flowers were harvested and taken by rail on ‘The Daffodil Line’ to markets in Birmingham and London. Schoolchildren would sell posies for just under a shilling, while their parents were employed in selecting and boxing up the blooms. London ladies would travel on a ‘daffodil special’ ticket to pick bunches that they would sell in East End hospitals, bringing a little bit of the countryside to the city. There are tales of the road from Kempley being coloured yellow with dropped daffodils on the way to the station at Dymock, which then bustled with trade. The railway closed in 1964, and, in order to conserve diminishing numbers, picking the flowers has long since been banned. But old photographs in the Dymock community-owned pub, The Beauchamp Arms, are proof that they once extended further afield. Sadly, modern farming practices have taken their toll, leaving ‘ghost fields’ where wild daffodils once stretched to the horizon. It’s a fact that makes the remaining acres all the more countryliving.co.uk

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COMMUNIT Y Martin Brocklehurst (left) leads walks along the Daffodil Way, where drifts of the springtime blooms can be seen

precious to ramblers, horse-riders, birdwatchers, dog-walkers and the local community who are determined to conserve and celebrate them. Ever since 1975, when three women came up with the idea of raising funds for the parish church by organising walks and serving refreshments, the three villages have held daffodil weekends, spacing them out through the season so that each can benefit. Margaret Brooke was one of the original trio and still volunteers: “There was no internet then, so we made posters and wrote letters to publicise the event, and baked buns by the dozen. Now there are 65 of us helping with the lunches and teas in Kempley alone. Others make or sell crafts, homemade cakes, preserves and plants.” Their efforts paid off and now, during Kempley’s daffodil weekend alone, more than 400 visitors per day arrive from near and far to wander though the golden blooms. Sponsorship from the nearby Three Choirs Vineyard pays for the hire of a minibus, so people of all abilities can see the main sites. This is driven by Maggie Brocklehurst, who also serves as a daffodil guardian, collecting seed that will generate new bulbs in three years and be planted nearby – but not too near the garden variety, which has been interbreeding with wild abandon. (A suggestion to ban the usurpers was considered draconian.) Maggie’s husband, Martin, helps to co-ordinate the event, and leads guided walks along the Daffodil Way, a footpath opened in 1988 that takes in eight miles of forest, meadow, 15th-century barns and farmhouses, perry orchards and cider mills. Along the way he explains that this native woodland species has been present since the Ice Age, that it thrives in unimproved grassland (where no fertiliser has been used) and is a boon to wildlife, being the first source of nectar for the bumblebee that plays such a

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COMMUNIT Y

crucial role in pollinating crops. Local farmers are compensated for protecting the fields until the flowers die back, when sheep are allowed in to graze for a restricted period. “Most landowners are supportive,” Martin says, “and a highlight of our tour is being able to walk through drifts of daffodils in the Long Meadow at Friars Court Farm, owned by William and Kate Blandford. People who have retired out of the village come back for this weekend, and we have fourth-generation visitors who want to see for themselves the springtime phenomenon they have heard about.” St Mary’s Church is another draw. The medieval building contains frescoes that are remarkably clear, having been fully revealed only in 1956, and are some of the best preserved in Europe. They were whitewashed over during the Reformation to cover what were then regarded as idolatrous images. While the church is no longer in regular use, owing to flooding problems, it is maintained by the Friends of Kempley Churches on behalf of English Heritage, and is open during daffodil weekends. The Daffodil Way isn’t the only local walk that takes in this natural spectacle. The Poets’ Path is an easy, figure-of-eight route, passing by the glorious Ketford daffodil bank, which would have been enjoyed by writers Rupert Brooke, Edward Thomas and Robert Frost, all of whom lived in the area around the time of the First World War, and are commemorated in Dymock. (None of them,

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as far as we know, aspired to improve on Wordsworth’s famous poem: ‘I gazed – and gazed – but little thought/What wealth the show to me had brought’.) Last year was one of the most successful events so far, both in terms of the display and the money raised – £6,000 by Kempley alone (and a total of £13,000 from all three villages). It’s enough to maintain the village hall and St Edward’s Church across the road, described by John Betjeman as “a mini cathedral of the Arts and Crafts movement”. Local resident Ann Young, who was christened and married there, recalls, “As a child I remember standing at the farm gate selling daffodils, and the family car was often piled to the roof with them.” She farmed until retirement five years ago, and is now one of the Kempley ‘Baking Ladies’. Ann’s story, stretching from birth to retirement and beyond, is the perfect example of this resilient rural community. In a time when the new and novel often wins out, they instead chose to turn to a beautiful part of their past, celebrating it, sharing it with the public and, in doing so, ensuring the daffodils and the villages they surround last long into the future. Daffodil weekends this year will be held on 17, 18 March (Kempley); 24, 25 March (Oxenhall); and 31 March, 1 April (Dymock). For more details, visit kempleytardis.org.uk. countryliving.co.uk

HAND-LETTERING BY RUTHROWLAND.CO.UK

The funds raised help to maintain St Edward’s Church and the village hall. Daffodil petals are even made into natural confetti (below right)


Washday remedies Discover how to make household products that give sparkling clean and freshly scented results using only natural ingredients RECIPES AND WORDS BY REBECCA SULLIVAN

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PHOTOGRAPHS BY NASSIMA ROTHACKER


M A K ES

R O S E M A RY, S AG E A N D L AV E N D E R R O O M S P R AY This is an uplifting scent with floral and herbal notes. Also try a combination of lemongrass, lime and ginger, which works well. Makes 500ml 2 sprigs of rosemary, plus 1 extra to infuse, if you like Sprig of sage ½ tsp lavender buds 1 lemon, sliced 500ml water Spray bottle

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Rebecca is an ethical food and agricultural academic and writer, passionate about sustainable agriculture, growing your own and preserving traditions. In The Art of the Natural Home (from which this feature is extracted), she includes recipes for making natural cleaning, skin and hair products, make-up, remedies and food. “The recipes and methods have not just been inspired by generations past, some have stemmed from my career in developing food recipes and a masters in sustainable agriculture, as well as my study of herbal medicine basics.” Her new books, The Art of Natural Cleaning, The Art of Edible Flowers, The Art of Natural Herbs for Health and The Art of Natural Beauty will be on sale in May 2018.

1 Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat, cover and simmer for a further five minutes. 2 Leave to cool, then strain the liquid and pour it into a spray bottle. 3 Add a fresh sprig of rosemary to infuse in the bottle, if you wish. This will store for up to a year.

WO O D P O L I S H Use this to stop wood from ageing and help spruce it up when it’s looking tired – it works best on dark woods. Test on a small area first to see how you like the finish. Makes 225ml 3 tbsp olive oil 180ml vinegar (use white vinegar for light wood and apple cider vinegar for dark wood) 30 drops of orange oil or pine oil, or a combination of both Spray bottle

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1 Pour everything into the spray bottle and shake to mix. It will keep in a cupboard under the sink for up to a year. 2 When using, spray lightly on the surface and rub with a soft cloth to polish.

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LAUNDRY & CLEANING According to my grandmother, there’s nothing that cannot be cleaned with lemon, salt, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. Bicarbonate of soda can be used all over the house to clean almost anything, whether you sprinkle it over surfaces before wiping it away or turn it into a paste mixed with water to scrub away more stubborn marks.

WA S H I N G - U P LIQUID There are many great eco washing-up liquids on the market, but I’m always concerned with what’s going down my sink and into our waterways, so I gave this recipe a go and it works just as well. I would suggest rinsing dishes after washing and wearing rubber gloves. Makes 450ml 1 tbsp borax 1 tbsp Castile liquid soap 450ml boiling water 10 drops lemon essential oil

1 Put the borax and soap in a medium-sized bowl and gently pour over the boiling water. Mix until combined, before leaving the mixture to cool completely; it will form a gel-like consistency. 2 Pour into a storage bottle (something easy to use, such as a squeezy bottle), add the essential oil and shake gently. To use, add a little at a time to hot water. Store under the sink – it will keep for about a year.

WA S H I N G P OWDER Ideal for anyone who suffers from eczema, this solution will ensure you won’t be irritated by washing powder residue left on your clothes. Makes 650g 100g-150g bar of soap (such as Castile soap – don’t use anything containing glycerine) 250g borax 250g washing soda (soda crystals) 5 drops lemon or orange essential oil

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1 Chop the soap into small pieces and place all the ingredients into a food processor, then blitz into a fine powder. 2 Let the fine mix settle before opening the lid. Use between one and three tablespoons in each wash, depending on how dirty your clothes are.

lavender smells beautiful and has a calming effect that aids sleep, although you can use a different essential oil if you wish. Makes 750g 500g Epsom salts 250g baking soda 30 drops lavender essential oil

FA B R I C SOFTENER This is perfect for towels and sheets. The salt softens fabric, while the

1 Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl and store in an airtight container until ready to use. Put two tablespoons into each load of washing.

BORAX There are many arguments over whether or not it is ‘natural’ and/or ‘safe’ for the home. I would suggest that you do your own research to reach your own conclusions but, in my opinion, borax, which is a form of sodium, is entirely natural and not harmful to the environment. It is classified as non-carcinogenic and should not be confused with boric acid. However, it is not wise to ingest borax, and I would avoid using it on my skin as a face-mask or similar, even though other natural beauty recipes include it. I believe borax is perfectly safe when used correctly as a cleaning product, and you can choose whether to wear gloves.

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POTPOURRI Be selective when deciding which flowers to use – not all are great for drying. For example, as beautiful as hydrangeas are on the stem, unless they are dried straight after picking using particular methods, they will lose their colour and turn brown. As a general rule, delicate flowers are a little harder to dry in the sun, but most can be successfully dried using a dehydrator (see below right). Not all petals smell lovely when they are dried, though if they have a strong scent when growing, that should remain when dried. Picked on a hot summer’s

day when the flowers are completely dry, highly scented roses are a good choice. Gather a selection of fragrant flowers or leaves, picking them when the petals are almost ready to fall. My favourites are roses, dandelions, violets, lavender, cornflowers, nasturtiums, gerberas, snapdragons, poppies and sage leaves. I include some flowers more for their looks than their scent, so that the finished mixture has a bright and textured appearance. If you’re doing this the traditional way, place sheets of kitchen paper towel on trays and lay the petals individually on

top. The paper will help to draw out the moisture. Leave the petals in a place away from a draught, preferably inside – they like dry heat, with no humidity. Placing them near a window will help them dry quicker; however, they will fade in direct sunlight. Leave for one to two days. When they are ready they will feel like tissue paper and have wrinkled up a little. Put them inside an airtight container lined with kitchen paper until you are ready to use them. Your potpourri should retain its scent for about six months, but you can add essential oils for an added boost.

USING A DEHYDRATOR Preheat the dehydrator to a low heat (about 35°C-45°C). Remove the stems from the flowers and place them inside – the thicker the petal, the higher the heat needed. Check on the flowers every hour until they are fully dried.

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M A K ES

S OA P Making your own soap can be satisfying. Each bar is filled with herbs and flowers, to match your favourite scents. Most homemade varieties incorporate a chemical called lye, but this recipe uses a natural melt-and-pour base, which is easier to use. Makes 2 to 4 bars (depending on size)

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1 Cut the soap base into small pieces, or grate it, so it will melt more easily. Prepare the moulds by spraying the inside with a little cooking oil – this will help you to remove the soap from the tin. Decide which colours, herbs, flowers and aromas you want to use. 2 Melt the soap base in a double boiler to the temperature recommended by the manufacturer and then stir in the colouring (start with a few drops or pinches until you get the shade you want). Remove from the heat. 3 Once the mixture has cooled

slightly, stir in 6-10 drops of an essential oil. If you are using more than one, blend together beforehand to ensure you get the perfect scent. 4 Pour the soap into the moulds, with either flowers/herbs at the bottom and top of the moulds or stirred through. 5 Allow to set for 24 hours in a cool place, but not in the fridge or freezer. Once set, remove from the moulds. If you have trouble with this, carefully place the mould in a bowl of boiling water briefly until the soap loosens – you can also use a knife to help tease it out.

CL READER OFFER

Adapted from The Art of the Natural Home by Rebecca Sullivan (Kyle Books, £18.99). Country Living readers can order a copy for the special price of £15.99 including p&p* by calling 01903 828503 or emailing mailorders@lbsltd. co.uk and quoting KB CL-ANHRS.

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* UK MAINLAND ONLY

500g melt-and-pour soap base Moulds (flat tins, small jars or silicone chocolate moulds are all suitable) Organic cooking oil, for spraying Natural soap colouring A few drops of your favourite essential oils A selection of your favourite herbs (dried or fresh) A selection of your favourite flowers (dried or fresh) Double boiler (or use a heatproof bowl and a saucepan as a bain-marie) Thermometer


In this series we highlight traditional skills at risk of disappearing. This month we meet Robin Wood, a master woodsman and campaigner for the protection of heritage crafts WORDS BY LAURAN ELSDEN

PHOTOGRAPHS BY NATO WELTON

THIS PAGE AND OPPOSITE Robin’s respect for Britain’s industrial heritage and his connection with the nearby Peak District drive his passion for keeping local traditional skills alive


CRAFTSMANSHIP

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CRAFTSMANSHIP n Britain we’re lucky to have a rich creative history that stretches back thousands of years. From the first Roman invaders to the Industrial Revolution and beyond, we can trace our anthropological past through books, buildings, art and artefacts. But often overlooked are the skills, such as basket making, tanning or coopering that were once a key part of everyday life and passed down from parent to child. Although many miraculously survived the last century, when new manufacturing techniques outstripped them in speed and efficiency, the majority are now hanging by a thread – practised by only one or two passionate artisans. It is this plight that concerns Robin Wood. A key member of the Heritage Craft Association, last year he was instrumental in publishing a report of skills considered ‘critically endangered’ that was presented at the House of Lords, and has been awarded an MBE for his services to heritage crafts and skills. “Far from being mementos of a bygone era, these crafts add value, depth and meaning. They are as big a part of our ancestry as the Royal Opera House or the Roman Baths. If we lose them, that link could vanish for ever,” he says. Having worked as an artisan himself for more than 30 years, Robin is well placed to champion the cause. Primarily a master

woodsman, during this time he turned his hand to many different talents, but is best known for handcrafting tactile bowls and spoons. Most recently, though, he has focused on creating woodworking tools for others, so they can learn to carve and experience the benefits of working with their hands. “People are now more interested in the story behind how their belongings are made,” he says. “As our lives are becoming increasingly high-tech, it’s amazing to be able to put your energy into something beautiful and functional.” Robin started his career in conservation forestry for the National Trust, but soon became entranced by traditional woodland crafts, inspired by the work of George Lailey – the last professional bowl-turner to use a pole lathe. Over the following years, he revived the methods Lailey had practised, the majority of which would have otherwise been lost, even teaching himself basic blacksmithing techniques so he could create the woodcarving axes and curved knives he needed. In order to learn more about traditional bowl making, Robin also studied the design of medieval and Viking bowls, using his knowledge to create some tableware for the Tower of London and film director Ridley Scott. Given his fascination with the history of craft, it seems fitting that Robin’s workshop overlooks the peaks and plateaus of the

“It’s amazing to be able to put your energy into something beautiful and functional”

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OPPOSITE AND THIS PAGE Robin’s tools are encased in sheaths handmade by himself and apprentice Zak using leather sourced from Clayton of Chesterfield


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Peak District, an area marked by Bronze and Iron Age hill forts, where some of the first rudimentary tools would have been forged and used thousands of years ago. It’s a landscape, he says, that constantly inspires his work: “When I look out of the window I can see Lose Hill, the ridge that divides the wild Dark Peak in the north and the gentler limestone dales of the White Peak in the south,” he says. “Once you can understand the land, you can read its history.” It’s important to Robin not just to practise the skills he has learnt, but to pass them on to the next generation, something he began at home. He taught his daughter Jojo (featured in the November 2016 issue of CL) the art of spoon carving, and by the age of 16 she was teaching and demonstrating it at the craft events and festivals they regularly attended as a family. She then went on to become an apprentice to the UK’s last remaining master clog maker – ensuring one more craft is safe for the time being. Now Robin has another young apprentice, a local boy called Zak, who he began working with three years ago. Today, inside his millstone grit workshop, the sound of hammering metal competes with the whirr of the belt linisher. Zak, partially hidden behind a visor and heavy-duty ear defenders, is busy filing the rough burr off a batch of 20 spoon-carving knives. Although Robin could have recruited someone from anywhere in the UK and beyond, he wanted to choose someone who had grown up in the area, thus keeping the skills in the region in which they had originated. “A LEFT Zak, who is from the area, too, has been working alongside Robin for three

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years ABOVE Carving blades are buffed before the wooden handles are attached countryliving.co.uk


CRAFTSMANSHIP few weeks ago we spent the day with Brian Alcock, the last full-time grinder in Sheffield,” Robin says. “It gave me huge pleasure to see a 21-year-old lad working alongside a 65-year-old pro – with all that experience and expertise being passed down.” Despite never having considered a career as a toolmaker, Zak – who started packing boxes for Robin in the busy run-up to Christmas in 2014 – has become an integral part of the business. He undertakes tasks that range from polishing wooden axe handles with linseed oil to operating the ‘rumbler’ – a tub-like machine filled with ceramic beads that buff away razor-sharp edges. “I love the variety of the job and being able to use my head and my hands,” he says. Robin’s plan to inspire the next generation is clearly working but he’s modest about this achievement: “I see myself as a little cog in a big machine. I’d much rather be a part of something magnificent than stand on my own, shouting, ‘Look at me!’” In keeping with this approach, he is also passionate about collaborating with the local community of professionals and tradespeople, whether that’s knifemaker Michael May or fourth-generation bootmaker William Lennon. “There’s nothing better than helping to keep alive the manufacturing legacy that was once so abundant in this area,” Robin says. “Throughout my toolmaking journey, I have been helped by so many old Sheffield craftspeople, engineers and

BELOW Robin has learned many different skills, from blacksmithing to turning,

but is best known for handcrafting beautiful, tactile bowls and spoons

metalworkers – there is a wealth of skills and so much knowledge here. It’s a privilege to be a small part of that very long tradition.” Over on his bench, Robin is eager to demonstrate a tool he has created, taking up an offcut of birch from among the shavings on the workshop floor. Holding the blade at the correct angle – making sure to position thumb and fingers a safe distance away – he sweeps it across the surface, causing the wood to curl up, like a hot knife through butter. As much as Robin enjoys working with machinery – he’s recently renovated an old fly press (a type of screw press driven by a flywheel) that sits atop a solid oak log in the corner – nothing beats the process of creating something by hand. “Taking a raw material and changing it into something practical is just amazing,” he says. “In many ways, it’s as though I’m going right back to the tree and that has meaning for me – it’s another part of the story.” For more on Robin’s products, books and courses, visit robin-wood.co.uk.

“There is such a wealth of skills and knowledge in this area”

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An artist’s nature journal March

Each month, painter Kelly Hall illustrates the flora and fauna she has spotted near her East Sussex home

For a 15 per cent discount on Kelly’s prints, visit kellyhalldesigns.com and quote CL0318. Offer valid until 2 March 2018.


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N AT U R E

ALL CREATURES great & small Patrick Barkham celebrates the long-standing residents that make up Britain’s rich fauna This month HARES


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ABOVE, FROM LEFT As they have low body fat and don’t hibernate, hares thrive in biodiverse areas where they can find a steady food supply all year round; baby hares, known as leverets, are born with their eyes already open, fully furred and able to run

AS THE LIGHT LIFTS AND THE CATKINS BLOOM, two hares rear up on their hind legs in a field of tender green wheat, raining blows upon each other, oblivious to all comers. When we witness this quintessential vision of spring, we assume these animals are mad as March hares – or, as a 16th-century poem put it, ‘as braynles as a Marshe hare’. This ancient phrase is the way we make sense of this shy creature’s bafflingly uncharacteristic behaviour. But, in fact, the spring craziness is typical of this unpredictable and elusive animal. Britain’s fastest land mammal is deeply woven into myth, culture and imagination. At a distance we may struggle to distinguish a hare from a rabbit, but these species are chalk and cheese. The rabbit is a burrow-dwelling family animal, cute and easily domesticated; the hare is a profoundly wild loner who would never take to living in a cage. The smaller mountain hare of our uplands is a native animal, but the brown or European hare we see enjoying the open farmland of lowland Britain is an Iron Age introduction (the rabbit came later, with the Normans). Its ears are longer than a rabbit’s and black-tipped, as if dipped in ink. There are also other less visible differences – the volume of blood in a hare is much greater than in a rabbit, and a hare’s heart is much larger – up to two per cent of its body weight, compared with 0.3 per cent in a rabbit. These attributes bequeath it with astonishing athleticism: hares have been recorded running at 45mph to escape danger. Another difference is the ‘harelip’ – they have lips that are split in the middle, a trait that becomes more pronounced in old age when the two sides part and the teeth protrude. While rabbit kits are born in a communal burrow – naked, blind and deaf – baby hares, or leverets, begin life in a shallow scrape on an exposed field: furry, eyes open, and ready to run. They

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are also alone. Their mother stows each newborn in a different location so her entire litter is less likely to be ravaged by foxes, stoats or buzzards. That’s hardly ‘hare-brained’ – another derogatory-sounding phrase we take from the animal, which better defines their wild impetuosity than stupidity. In fact, it was we humans who were slow to discern the purpose of this animal’s ceaselessly surprising behaviour.

B OX I N G C L E V E R It was long presumed that mad March hares were jousting males but we have recently discovered that they are more likely to be a female – or Jill – fending off the unwelcome attentions of a male ‘Jack’. And it doesn’t mark a breeding season, for hares mate at any time from February to September. Their boxing occurs throughout this period, but is less visible when crops grow taller. Rather than spoiling for a fight, hares will mostly choose flight; however, they are happy to stand up for themselves when necessary. In the classic and recently reissued The Leaping Hare, George Ewart Evans and David Thomson record old country folks’ encounters with the animal. One watched a mother stand up and punch the nose of a cow she believed was menacing her offspring. Another farmer was bent over freeing a leveret from a snare when he was hit on the back by its mother. Irish hares – a separate species – seem particularly fearless, and in 1909 one naturalist recalled watching two hares pursuing a large and similarly coloured cat across a garden. Were they so blinded by March madness that they had mistaken a cat for one of their own, or were they just racing? Large numbers of hares have also been seen congregating at airfields in Ireland and elsewhere – remarkably, they appear to enjoy the challenge of racing along on the grass beside planes at take-off and landing. Even more countryliving.co.uk


A boxing hare is more likely to be a female fending off unwelcome attention

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WHERE TO SPOT A HARE The best time to see them is in March and April, before crops and grass grow too tall and while the females are fending off male attention, often very visibly in the middle of arable fields. Hares are mostly nocturnal, so seek them at dawn or dusk, scanning field margins for their blacktipped ears. The plains of Wiltshire and flatlands of East Anglia are home to the largest populations. Hare hotspots include Rathlin Island in Northern Ireland (for the rare ‘golden’ Irish hare); RSPB Halvergate Island in Suffolk; Anglesey, north Wales; Dark Peak moors, Derbyshire (for mountain hares); White Horse Hill, Oxfordshire; and the National Trust’s Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire.

puzzling is the hare parliament, where European and mountain hares have been observed gathered in circles numbering anything from ten to 40 to watch two or three frolicking in the middle. Are these rituals of fighting, mating or both?

M Y T H A N D M AG I C For all the rational explanations of ‘mad’ March behaviour, we still can’t quite grasp it. According to old gamekeepers, when hares were ‘peculiar’, they could be caught in an ingenious way. One person would stop in a field before a hare and repeatedly throw his cap in the air, or leave a handkerchief to dangle in the breeze. While the animal was transfixed by such distractions, another person could creep up behind and grab it. If hare behaviour is a riddle, so, too, is our relationship with them. Depictions of three joined at the ears have been found in 6th-century cave temples in China, in 13th-century metalwork in Iran and in medieval parish churches in Devon. Hares are also linked with the moon and moon goddess in folklore across India, Africa, Mexico, North America and Europe. Perhaps this long association comes from the animal’s nocturnal foraging and the traditional belief that its gestation period was the same as a moon’s cycle (it’s actually longer – 42 days). Mad March hares are said to be ‘moon-struck’ and, due to the moon goddess’s link

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with fertility and tides, a number of superstitions have sprung up around the animal – old fishermen wouldn’t mention its name while at sea, for example, while a hare crossing the path of a pregnant woman was considered a bad omen. Four million brown hares were estimated to roam Britain two centuries ago, but this figure has fallen by 80 per cent and the population continues to decline – by 12 per cent over the past 20 years. Industrial agriculture, with monocultures of grazing or cereals, don’t provide the mammals with requisite food or cover, and growing fox populations also contribute to the problem. Ironically, they often do best on shooting estates where foxes are drastically controlled but where the hares are also shot for sport. Nothing’s ever simple with these animals – milder winters brought on by climate change, for example, are helping some populations. The hare has long had a reputation as a trickster in popular culture, and so it is in the wild – racing and feinting; pugnacious and timid; showy and secretive; swerving easy categorisation. Perhaps we see something of ourselves in this elusive animal. As Ewart Evans and Thomson note: “As long as we ourselves possess some of the hare’s apparent attributes – its unpredictability, its occasional jumping right over the head of reason, its sharpness, its seasonal abandon and its frequent stupidity – the myth of the hare will not be entirely dead.” countryliving.co.uk

PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALAMY; GETTY IMAGES; NATURE PICTURE LIBRARY

If hare behaviour is a riddle, so, too, is our relationship with them


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CELEBRATE THE SPECIAL PLEASURES OF THIS MOST LOVELY OF SEASONS WITH AN INSPIRING DAY OUT AT THE COUNTRY LIVING SPRING FAIR Come and join us from 26-29 April at our wonderful venue in north London – historic Alexandra Palace, which is set in beautiful parkland with spectacular views over the city. Step inside and you’ll discover a wealth of fresh seasonal inspiration with our brilliant mix of skilled British craftspeople and passionate artisan producers. Find original furnishings, one-of-a-kind accessories and unique vintage treasures to add country style to your home, as well as chic fashion and distinctive jewellery for a great spring look. Our exciting live line-up includes entertaining talks and fun demonstrations on cookery, crafting, gardening and more. Enjoy mastering new skills in our creative workshops, explore our Pop-Up Market showcasing the products of talented Country Living readers and savour the flavours of delicious food and drink from around the country – with plenty of tempting treats to take home. We look forward to seeing you for a truly memorable day!

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A Victorian school store in Herefordshire is the perfect backdrop for its owners’ lovingly edited curious collections WORDS BY HELENA ATTLEE PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALEX RAMSAY STYLING BY BEN KENDRICK


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atie Tyler can still remember her first impressions of The Store House when she and her husband, Jon, first saw it in 2003: “The floors were covered in cheap carpets, woodchip paper was on the walls, plus it had a 1970s kitchen and a leaking roof.” Heading outside to look at the overgrown garden, they heard the bell ringing in the playground of the red-brick primary school that stands on the hill above the house. As the couple have two daughters, a meeting with the “lovely” headteacher was all it took to convince them that they had found their new home. The following 15 years have seen Katie and Jon working slowly and carefully to restore the property from top to bottom, approaching every task with a light touch and genuine sensitivity to its curious past. The Store House was built in 1859 for a local charity committed to educating the children of three parishes, and providing ‘physick, provision or clothes’ for the poor inhabitants of the area. A handsome, brick-built, Tudor Revival building with three floors and a basement, it once doubled as a home for the clerk of the charity and a store for the meat, blankets and boots he would give out. The windows at the back of the property look towards almshouses and the school, which were built by the charity at the same time. This intriguing history is written into both the name and the architecture of the property, which has two front doors – a private one for the clerk and another for tradesmen and the parish poor. And then there is Katie and Jon’s bedroom on the top floor. “We always assumed it used to be the servants’ quarters,” Katie says, “but we couldn’t understand why the staircase wasn’t narrower and why there were no fireplaces.” Eventually, they discovered that the space had originally been an unheated storeroom

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT The Store House; the sitting room is home to a constantly rotating collection of furniture, including a table made from a

church pew seat supported by apple crates (above) OPPOSITE The hall shelves feature antiques market finds and inherited treasures countryliving.co.uk


INTERIORS


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for boots and blankets, while the hooks in the basement suggest that meat and other provisions for the needy were stored there. Despite its practical, utilitarian past, everything about The Store House is generous, from the size of its high-ceilinged rooms and the breadth of its stone mullioned windows to the width of its doors and the expertly crafted turn of the banisters. The only decorative detail is a stopped chamfer, delicately carved and faithfully repeated on doors, spindles, windows, shutters and panelling. “This simplicity translates well to a modern aesthetic,” Jon remarks, and it is true that the interior has the feel of a bright, contemporary and uncluttered space. Both Katie and Jon are inveterate collectors – habitués of house sales, auctions and flea markets. The hall at the foot of the stairs is not large, but, by dismantling and reassembling the shelving from a derelict mill, they have created enough storage for a library’s worth of books, alongside such curiosities as an artificial ham that was used for display by an Italian grocer, Edwardian ice skates, antique bottles, sewing silks, a small marble bust and some old leather walking boots. Up in their bedroom, a bevy of wooden hand mirrors congregates on a chest of drawers, while close by is a small collection of hats and a towering pyramid of leather suitcases. Paintings, prints, children’s drawings and a lovely scarf in a frame line the walls on the landings, and a glass-fronted cabinet in the sitting room is filled with intriguing instruments for forgotten trades and pastimes, as well as more delicate finds, such as an antique tortoiseshell box. “I never put anything new into the cabinet,” Katie explains, “without taking something out.” This curatorial instinct is in evidence all over the house, and as a result every object works hard to earn and keep its place. Katie shares her countryliving.co.uk

OPPOSITE The kitchen is painted in Farrow & Ball’s Shaded White, as are many rooms in the house THIS PAGE, FROM TOP LEFT The

splashback for the butler’s sink was made from a slate mantelpiece found in the garden; shelving in the hall came from a derelict mill MARCH 2018

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Despite its practical, utilitarian past, everything about The Store House is generous


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admirable skill for creating interesting spaces through Curated Room, the design company and styling service that she offers in partnership with her friend Justine Cook. She also specialises in creative upholstery – running the business from the house, where she keeps an eclectic mix of modern and vintage fabrics – and has a passion for chairs, from the antique to the cutting edge. When it comes to choosing them, her only criterion is “quirky uniqueness”. Sometimes, a particular chair and a fabric will create the perfect match, and the delightful result of these happy couplings can be seen all over the house. The seats bear such distinctive upholstery that they set the tone wherever they are, and it’s easy to understand why Katie gives them all names to suit their styles and personalities. The Store House may have a new chapter in its long history as a family home, but it still throws up several surprises from the past. Take Jon’s discovery of dozens of table-top mangles gathering cobwebs in the potting shed, a relic from the days of the charity school behind the house, when local girls came for training before going into service. And, as if the house is keen to keep Katie and Jon on their toes, only last year they discovered a hidden, panelled wall in the spare room, with the same stopped-chamfer design as the rest of the woodwork in the house. You can’t help wondering what they will discover next. Katie Tyler’s upholstery can be seen at katie-tyler.co.uk and also at The Old Electric Shop in Hay-on-Wye, which showcases and sells some of her bespoke pieces. Katie and her friend Justine can be contacted regarding their design and styling service through curatedroom.co.uk. countryliving.co.uk

OPPOSITE Jon and Katie’s bedroom is a serene space in the attic THIS PAGE Katie’s designs add character – she made the black lampshade in

her daughter’s room from a skirt fringe; the bath is edged with fabric cut from caravan curtains; one of her handmade cushions in the spare room MARCH 2018

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FIRST SIGNS OF

spring High up in the windswept Cotswolds, gardening writer Val Bourne’s sloping plot beautifully bursts into life at this time of year WORDS BY VAL BOURNE

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PHOTOGRAPHS BY MARIANNE MAJERUS

countryliving.co.uk


STYLE South-facing cottage garden with flowers, fruit and vegetables SEASONS OF INTEREST All year round SIZE A third of an acre SOIL TYPE Deep and fertile with spring water below


GARDENING

PREVIOUS PAGE Anemone ranunculoides ‘Ferguson’s Fancy’ THIS PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Anemone nemerosa and primulas; Helleborus x

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hybridus; Pulsatilla vulgaris; Val Bourne; Primula ‘Bon Accord Purple’; a mix of spring flowers beneath Chimonanthus praecox; Erythronium californicum

s the auctioneer said, when the hammer came down on Spring Cottage 12 years ago: “This one’s got location, location, location.” And so it has, for my home is perched on top of the Cotswold plateau, down a no-through lane. The garden, set around three sides of the cottage, faces south, so this is a “big sky” plot from dawn until dusk, and the soil is deep and fertile, having been worked for centuries. Spring water sheets under certain parts, before trickling into the stream on the other side of the stone wall and down to the River Windrush in the valley below, so some areas stay moist, even in dry summers. The view to the south-west, over fields of grazing sheep, is one to die for but, when the wind howls here, we all need woolly coats. Spring – my favourite season – comes late and summers are often cool. One joker even sent me a letter addressed to ‘Almost Spring Cottage, Cold Cold Aston’, following a visit to see spring flowers that weren’t yet out. There is an upside: freezing air rolls down to the valley below, so we escape any late frosts. I have designed the garden to have something of interest all year round, with summer borders of roses, peonies, phlox and lavender close to the cottage, an autumn border of stiff-stemmed perennials and grasses around the summerhouse, and box balls to take centre stage in winter. In spring, when it’s cold and grey and the days are at their bleakest, I can see promise all around, and this never fails to excite me. The borders form large rectangles to mimic the long, low shape of the cottage and I have included wild areas and two mini-meadows of old-fashioned daffodils, wild flowers and hardy orchids to link up with the landscape on the far side of the low stone garden walls. I brought hellebores and snowdrops from my last garden and these flowered a few weeks later without missing a beat. The bumblebees adore the hellebores, so I still continue to shoehorn countryliving.co.uk


A path through the spring beds of hellebores and primulas leads to a minimeadow of old-fashioned daffodils and wild flowers


ABOVE Val masses tulips, including yellow ‘Daydream’ and purple ‘Paul Scherer’, in pots RIGHT Spring bulbs flower earliest in the south-facing sun trap by the cottage’s front door

in more. By April, a carpet of wood anemones creeps over the ground – I love the way these demure woodlanders hang their heads and then open slowly when the weather’s clement enough. I planted 20 or so different ones ten years ago and each small potful has spread to cover a good square metre of ground. The double-white Anemone nemorosa ‘Vestal’ and the dark-backed blue ‘Allenii’ are personal later favourites. Erythroniums also like the cool conditions here and bulk up into large clumps. The ubiquitous ‘White Beauty’, a brownmarked ivory-white Tiffany lamp, is sensational with rustybristled soft shield ferns, Polystichum setiferum. Primroses, forms of Primula vulgaris, also thrive and I have collected colourful Barnhavens and Cowichans in Venetian reds, amethysts and cobalt blues, and there are doubles, such as ‘Bon Accord Purple’. I’m a great believer in growing what does well and I now have hundreds of different primroses because I let them self-seed. Making the spring garden has taught me how important woody plants are. They give scale to the low woodland carpet and the overhead canopy creates a pattern of light and shade as the sun moves through the day. The root systems warm and drain the ground, allowing bulbous plants to thrive more easily, so many of my treasures are tucked up close to a deciduous shrub or tree. My first year here was spent creating a woody canopy to flatter and protect the woodlanders below. The first tree I planted here was an autumn-flowering cherry, Prunus x subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’, because nothing looks better than pink blossom against a spring sky. It arrived as a slender parasol and, 12 years later, it’s still a slender parasol, because it hates my cold garden. Luckily, other flowering cherries have fared better. Prunus ‘Kursar’, one of the best small March-flowering cherry trees, has downward-facing buds that show a touch of

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pink in February before modest clusters of pink flowers open. Close by, the magenta-pink Japanese apricot, Prunus mume ‘Beni-chidori’, and a shrubby Fuji cherry, Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’, seem to almost join hands in March. These cherries are the follow-up act to January-flowering shrubs and they include wintersweet, Chimonanthus praecox. This produces fragrant pallid lemon-yellow flowers, smudged with tomato, and, despite having a reputation for being slightly tender, this large shrub has thrived in an open position. It’s the only fragrance that manages to pervade the Spring Cottage air on a chilly day and it’s very pickable, too. I have a thing about flowers on bare branches – it’s almost as though Harry Potter has cast a spell on them. I’ve planted 12 witch hazels at the last count, all named forms of Hamamelis x intermedia. These flower in January and hang on to their flowers for six weeks or so. I love the way the branches create vase-like shapes. They enjoy the fertile, neutral-to-slightly-alkaline soil, debunking the myth that witch hazels need acid conditions. ‘Aphrodite’ does well here with its marmalade strands. More early flowers are provided by the highly scented pink and white flowers of Viburnum x burkwoodii and there is a shrubby winter honeysuckle, Lonicera x purpusii ‘Winter Beauty’. The latter is a favourite of early flying honeybees. Fragrance should be a huge part of any spring garden and there are several sarcococcas, principally S. confusa, strategically placed near paths. A procession of evergreen daphnes supplies a heady scent from waxy pink flowers. Even on a horrible day I can pick a posy of flowers and enjoy them inside. Val Bourne’s latest book The Living Jigsaw is published by Kew Publishing and costs £25. countryliving.co.uk


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VAL’S SPRING PICKS 1 Anemone nemorosa ‘Robinsoniana’ A soft-blue wood anemone, originally from Ireland, but spotted by William Robinson at the Oxford Botanic Garden in 1870. The large blue-grey flowers appear a little later than some others. 2 Primula ‘Drumcliff ’ Primroses love my damp garden and this apricot-flowered, dark-leaved one is part of a series raised by Irishman Joe Kennedy. Drumcliff was WB Yeats’s last resting place. 3 Trillium kurabayashi This is an excellent form of a North American trillium classified by the Japanese botanist Masataka Kurabayashi in 1975. It does well here because it flowers in March, before the overhead sun gets too strong.

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4 Narcissus ‘Bath’s Flame’ I love the simple elegance of heritage daffodils and this pre-1913 poeticus variety, bred by the Rev Engleheart, has pallid yellow outers informally arranged round a neatly crimped red-edged cup. 5 Pulsatilla vulgaris Pasque flowers grow wild nearby and this similar-to-wild type appears in the main mini-meadow in April. Bumblebees adore it. Showier ones are dotted about the garden. 6 Lunaria annua ‘Rosemary Verey’ The dark foliage and purple blooms stand out well in spring, and orange-tip and brimstone butterflies enjoy the flowers. The seedpods of this biennial are equally dark, too. It is very similar to ‘Chedglow’.

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One man has restored a Swedish summerhouse full of childhood memories into a rustic haven rich in authenticity WORDS AND STYLING BY MARIA MALMSTROM PHOTOGRAPHS BY KARIN BJORQVIST/LIVING INSIDE


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ust west of Stockholm, in a landscape of flower meadows and rich farmland surrounding Lake Malaren, stands a traditional, rust-red Swedish summerhouse. Furniture designer Lars Hofsjö has spent several years painstakingly renovating the wooden structure from start to finish, from restoring its fabric right down to recreating the smallest details using authentic paint and reclaimed nails to ensure they have just the right look. “The first time I visited the house was in around 1973,” Lars remembers. “My parents had recently bought a property a few miles away and we knew the people who owned it. Since then, I have been coming back more or less every year. The house has changed hands a few times but in 2009, my relations from America bought it. When I returned and walked through the front door, I was so pleased to see it was largely unchanged.” The framework of the cottage belongs firmly in the old Nordic building tradition. Surprisingly, though, the house dates from 1963 and was constructed by local craftsmen with timber from the forest nearby. It is a low, single-storey property with a little guesthouse on one side and has no ceilings in any of the rooms – just an exposed set of rafters. After Lars’s relations bought the house, he offered to help renovate it and was soon joined in his endeavours by his friend John Larsson from Konstfack (Sweden’s most well-known university of arts, crafts and design). A complete renovation took place over the next few THIS PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT In the sitting room, a delicate stencil traces its way along the ceiling beams; vibrant textiles provide a warm

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burst of colour; Lars Hofsjö renovated the house, which is surrounded by meadows and woods OPPOSITE The dining room is lined with William Morris wallpaper

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INTERIORS

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INTERIORS years and the work was executed with much care and attention to detail. Two days each week, Lars was able to get away from Stockholm to work on the cottage: “Because of this, all my decisions when it came to form and function were able to be reached organically. I could try and retry new ideas in peace and quiet, and avoid rushing into anything. It’s been a unique project, one without compromise, and a really inspiring experience.” With time-honoured methods and genuine oldfashioned materials, Lars and John have created a summerhouse that is both historically authentic and comfortable, with modern features throughout. They were meticulous when sourcing every item, including ironmongery, nails and screws, from salvage yards or shops that specialise in building preservation. The wooden floors are laid top to tail, an old method where the planks retain the cone-shaped form of the original tree trunk (resulting in less waste), while the walls are clad with rag paper, where the edges have been torn, not cut, for a soft, organic feel. Instead of having a distinct era or style, the interior has been allowed to develop slowly and is a blend of things that naturally suit the space, with both vintage and contemporary objects living happily side by side. Many have been bought from local flea markets and mixed with pieces that have a more urban feel. Some of the furniture has been purpose-made by Lars: “For my own company, Rumbler, I tend to design for public areas but it works in most environments. The renovation has been a great source of inspiration, in the form of

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THIS PAGE The kitchen has a pared-back colour scheme, combining pale marble surfaces with light-grey wooden units, finished in linseed oil paint OPPOSITE, FROM TOP An open fireplace in the kitchen gives plenty of warmth; the walls in the guesthouse have been clad in timber recycled from the original ceiling


“The renovation has been a great source of inspiration, in the form of materials and traditional methods�

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INTERIORS

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT Most of the walls in the main cottage have been covered with rag paper to create an organic, uneven

surface, then painted in muted tones; the bathrooms are a newer addition to the building, but retain a simple feel

materials and traditional methods, when I work on new products for my business.” Recycling has also been a priority during the cottage project. In the guesthouse, which used to be very dark, the ceiling was removed right up to the ridge, and the planks reused for the walls. This was a time-consuming solution, which, according to Lars, demanded more effort than he was expecting, but he is extremely happy with the result: “There were just enough boards, so we were lucky. The light is so beautiful in here now – the space has been completely transformed.” Every year, when the owners return to their house, Lars takes them on a guided tour to show them what he has done. The latest addition – two much-longedfor bathrooms – was a particular source of joy, since the owners are looking forward to hosting family and friends during their annual summer holiday in Sweden. Something that is sure to be a regular occurrence… Enjoy house features, interiors inspiration and more in CL’s free weekly newsletter. To sign up, go to www.countryliving.co.uk/newsletter. This house is featured in the latest edition of Country Living’s Modern Rustic, filled with inspiring interiors, innovative designers and stylish pieces for modern country homes. On sale 8 February – see page 101 for details on where to buy.

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BEST of BLOSSOM

Nothing signals the advent of spring more clearly than boughs laden with swathes of glorious blooms. Follow our expert advice on choosing the finest flowering trees for your garden WORDS BY PAULA MCWATERS


GARDENING

STEWA RTIA SINEN SIS

STAPHYLEA HOLOCARPA

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HALESIA CAROLINA

STYRAX JAPONICAN

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GARDENING

MAGNO LIA

‘DAVID CLUL OW’

‘DAPHNE’

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‘DAYBREAK ’

‘HE AV EN SC EN T’

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CRAB APPLE

MALUS ‘EVERESTE’ verywhere you look, trees are beginning to erupt with a delicious show of fluttering spring blossom – it’s such a wonderful time of year and even if some flowers are fleeting, they are so very worthwhile. If you were to choose just one blossom tree for your own garden, what would it be? We asked the experts for some prize recommendations. Magnolias put on an opulent display and expert Jim Gardiner, vice president of the RHS, has chosen 48 for a new grove of them being unveiled this month at Borde Hill Garden (bordehill.co.uk) in Sussex. For a fast-growing round-headed tree, he recommends M. ‘David Clulow’, with large white goblet flowers, flushed pink at the base. Upright-growing ‘Daybreak’ also has distinctive colouration – rose-pink with a hint of green – and its flowers are often late enough to miss the early spring frosts. Another of his recommendations, ‘Daphne’ has eye-catching yellow flowers that come out just before – and then along with – its rich green leaves. Great Comp (greatcompgardens.co.uk) in Kent holds a magnificent collection, too, and garden curator William Dyson singles out the compact-growing M. ‘Heaven Scent’, especially for a small garden, where its countryliving.co.uk

MALUS SIEBOLDII

MALUS HUPEHENS IS

MALUS FLORIBUNDA

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PRUNUS ‘THE BRIDE’

PRUNUS ‘ICHIYO’ fragrant pink blooms will make a splash of interest in mid- to late spring. Crab apples are undoubtedly one of the stars of the spring show, their boughs heavy with frothy, candy-coloured blooms. And that’s just the start of their charms. When the fruit comes, many varieties provide a fabulous display of colour that continues from autumn into winter. Malus ‘Evereste’ is a go-to tree for lots of garden designers, including Arne Maynard, Charlotte Harris and Sam Ovens*. “It is small and very beautiful with delicate soft-pink buds opening to fragrant white flowers,” Sam says. Fergus Garrett at Great Dixter (greatdixter.co.uk) favours M. floribunda: “It’s the dreamiest of all; light and airy, with red-blushed pink and white blossom that smothers the tree.” Golden-yellow crab apples follow. For a small garden, Jim Gardiner suggests columnar M. ‘Adirondack’, with waxy white flowers that open from pink buds. And, if you have space for it, head

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PRUNUS SARGENTII

PRUNUS ‘BENI-YUTA KA’

PRUNUS ‘SUNSET BOULEVARD’

PRUNUS ‘SNOWGOOSE’

gardener Tom Coward at Gravetye Manor (gravetyemanor.co.uk) would recommend M. hupehensis, a strong grower with a cloak of white blossom, which can reach ten metres. Top Irish gardener Jimi Blake has trained seedlings of M. sieboldii into a multi-stem in his garden (huntingbrook. com) and loves it for its graceful habit and mass of pale pink flowers opening to white. Ornamental cherries are very easy to grow and produce blossom in luscious profusion. Bob McQueen, horticultural manager at Hillier Nurseries (hillier.co.uk), picks two vase-shaped trees, Prunus ‘Snowgoose’ and P. ‘Sunset Boulevard’, ideal for a smaller space. On the first, the large flowers are almost grey-white; on the second, dark pink in bud, paler in flower. Icing-sugar pink P. sargentii has the bonus of lustrous bark and brilliant autumn colour. Jim Gardiner’s recommendations include the loud and proud bright pink P. ‘Beni-yukata’; along with double, shellpink P. ‘Ichiyo’ and P. incisa ‘The Bride’,

which is more dwarf in habit, with white flowers edged by distinctive red anthers. For something different (seen on page 127), Ed Ikin, head of landscape and horticulture at Wakehurst Place (kew.org/ wakehurst) has two suggestions. First is Chinese Stewartia sinensis – “a strong performer with a shapely habit, large fragrant white flowers and a reptilianlike trunk that shimmers in the rain”. His second pick is the Carolina silverbell, Halesia carolina. “It’s slender, elegant and never overpowers the space it is in,” he says. Exuberant plant hunter Tom Hart Dyke (lullingstonecastle.co.uk) enthuses about Staphylea holocarpa var. rosea, which he says “bursts out with fluffy, candyfloss pink flowers on spindly naked branches and follows up with bronze young leaves.” While for late flowers, head gardener Neil Miller at Hever Castle (hevercastle.co.uk) recommends underused Japanese snowbell, Styrax japonicus, with its clusters of creamy white bells. countryliving.co.uk

*ARNE MAYNARD (ARNEMAYNARD.COM); CHARLOTTE HARRIS (HARRISBUGG.COM); SAM OVENS (SAMOVENS.CO.UK). PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALAMY; CLIVENICHOLS.COM; THE GARDEN-COLLECTION/BILDAGENTUR BECK, THOMAS DUPAIGNE, MARTIN HUGHES-JONES, DEREK ST ROMAINE; GETTY IMAGES

CHERRY


PRUNUS ‘SHIROTAE’

PRUNUS ‘SHIROTAE’ has outflung branches covered in a mass of snowy-white, semidouble blossoms


OUT & ABOUT

There will be more than a splash of yellow and gold at Hever Castle in Kent this month, where 14,000 narcissi are expected to be in bloom. For the Dazzling Daffodils event, taking place on 21-25 March from 10.30am to 3pm, head gardener Neil Miller has recruited master grower Johnny Walker of Walkers Bulbs to give talks and tours. The moated castle has a spectacular five-acre Italian garden including a Loggia terrace, which has been under recent restoration (01732 865224; hevercastle.co.uk). For more about daffodils, see our feature on p72.

garden notes Everything you need to know to get the most from your plot in March

WORDS BY PAULA MCWATERS

THE WHITE IRISES IN OUR SMALL POND look beautiful in late May, but they have now threatened to take over, so it’s time to get in and thin them out. The priority is to make sure not to puncture the butyl liner, so I’m careful to reach as much as I can from the sides without stepping in – a couple of ladders laid across with boards on top can be used to help access the middle. The iris roots bind together in a thick mat, so I gingerly wield an old bread knife to saw through the clumps and then lever them out. With the vegetation countryliving.co.uk

cut back a bit and more water surface exposed, there is now an opportunity to clean out some of the muck from the bottom. Long-armed PVC pond gloves with elasticated tops (available from Briers, £11.99; briersltd.co.uk) are handy for this task. I don’t like to disturb the wildlife too much – we have a healthy number of newts and toads – so I go cautiously, removing any decaying material and scooping out some of the sludge with a fine nylon net, keeping a watch for anything that needs repatriating into the water. Any other plants that are pulled out are laid on the side for a couple of days to give small creatures time to scuttle back in. The result is a better-looking pond and, hopefully, a happy population of wildlife.

A GOOD READ The idea that you could have ‘a blooming, bee-filled garden from scratch in a year’ is enticing, and in Brilliant & Wild (Pimpernel Press, £20), Lucy Bellamy sets out to show how it can be done, using simple combinations of natural-looking perennials that work well together. Plants are divided into umbellifers, spikes, flat heads and so on, making it easy to follow and plan a layout. Both practical and inspirational, the book is illustrated with beautiful photography by Jason Ingram.

WHAT TO DO Plant up a trough of alpines, making sure they have good drainage Harvest hazel twigs for plant supports before they leaf up Sow peppers, aubergines and tomatoes in a heated propagator Drain and clean out water butts – make sure lids fit tightly Lift and divide snowdrops and aconites to make new clumps Patch-repair lawns where needed by seeding or cutting in a section of new turf Check ties on young trees to ensure they are not restrictive Photograph and note areas where you’d like more bulbs next year Move or plant evergreens Prune and feed roses

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Tip For colour and contrast, train the scarlet-flowered flame creeper Tropaeolum speciosum up through evergreen hedges

Flower power

1 HOUR to make a difference

Founded in 1881, Woolmans has a long history of breeding and growing dahlias and chrysanthemums, testing and growing new varieties in its own trial fields in East Anglia. One of the latest collections of dahlias it offers is called Blackberry Swirl, which features three field-grown tubers, one each of the deliciously dark ‘Black Touch’, the creamy pink-flushed ‘Diana’s Memory’ and a pink-ball variety, ‘Linda’s Baby’. The selection of three is £9.95 (0333 003 1671; woolmans.com).

ON SOLID GROUND

In the night garden Plan now for summer evenings spent outdoors by sowing seeds of the long-flowering night phlox Zaluzianskya capensis. Fairly unassuming by day, this hardy annual has little maroonbacked white flowers that open in the late evening, releasing a rich, sweet fragrance that’s been described as a cross between vanilla and parma violet. Plant it by a terrace or outside a bedroom window to great effect. Sow indoors into moist, well-drained seed compost. £1.95 for 250 seeds (0345 092 0283; sarahraven.com).

When you are reaching out to prune, pleach or pollard, you need to be on a safe footing and this Japanesestyle ladder by trusted safety expert Henchman can provide it. Made of lightweight aluminium, it is designed as a tripod with either one or three adjustable legs to deal with uneven or sloping ground, helping you get closer to your subject. At the top is a bracing support to lean against. The 1.8m model costs from £225 and the 2.4m version from £265 (0333 344 4229; henchman.co.uk).

Weeds are romping away faster than you can catch them, so any hour you can give to discouraging them early on is well spent. To see real progress, pick one area and blitz it. Tackle beds with a long-handled hoe to save bending and work fast, leaving small annual weeds on the surface to shrivel. Pull out larger ones and consign to the compost. Perennials such as ground elder need thorough digging – dispose of these in the rubbish. Finally, mulch with an 8cm layer of wellrotted manure, leaf mould or bark chippings to retain moisture and deter regrowth.

EVENT Rare Plant Fairs start this month, including Evenley Wood Garden, Northants, on 25 March and a new Gloucestershire event in June (0845 468 1368*; rareplantfair.co.uk). 134

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*CALLS TO THE RARE PLANT FAIRS INFORMATION LINE COST 5P PER MINUTE PLUS YOUR NETWORK ACCESS CHARGE. PHOTOGRAPH BY JONATHAN BUCKLEY; GETTY IMAGES; RACHEL WHITING. ILLUSTRATIONS BY MARIANA.IO

If time is short, focus on one satisfying task – and the rest of the garden can wait


FEATURING

LIVE MUSIC CRAFTS FOOD & DRINK WORKSHOPS TALKS SHOPPING FAMILY FUN ACROSS VENUES INCLUDING: QUEEN SQUARE, PARADE GARDENS, MILSOM STREET AND GUILDHALL

COUNTRYLIVINGFESTIVAL.CO.UK #COUNTRYTOTHECITY


FOOD & DRINK

BRITISH IN PARTICULAR To commend some of the delicious ingredients that are farmed, fished, made and grown up and down the country, we meet the remarkable producers who help bring them to our table

This month: real ale WORDS BY RUTH CHANDLER

FOOD AND DRINK EDITOR ALISON WALKER

LOCATION PHOTOGRAPHS BY CRISTIAN BARNETT

RECIPES BY HEARST FOOD NETWORK


Welbeck Abbey Brewery is run by Claire Monk and her team on a historic estate in Nottinghamshire. Pictured below, from left, Seth Horne, James Gladman and Claire

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Claire (opposite) began running the brewery in 2011 and sources her ingredients responsibly, buying 100 per cent British malt from a company that produces all its own energy via an anaerobic digester. Their six core craft beers include the blonde Cavendish (above) – in keeping with the long-term trend for blonde, hoppy beers – as well as a chocolatey porter and other golden-hued ales

ashing, sparging and bittering are just three words from a vast lexicon that describes the ancient practice of beer making. “It’s part art, part science,” Claire Monk says of her trade, as she enters the cold store of her Nottinghamshire barn-based brewery, breathing in the fruity aromas that emanate from each sack of hops. Taking a handful of British Goldings, she presses one of the dried flower-like heads between thumb and finger to release a scent that’s evocative of blackberry-studded hedgerows, while a variety called Equinox is altogether more exotic. “This one has a citrus smell, grapefruit perhaps,” she says with a spark of delight in her eyes after inhaling it for a few seconds. “Magic, isn’t it?” There is alchemy at work in Welbeck Abbey Brewery. Its real ales contain just four ingredients – spring water from the Welbeck Estate on which it is based, yeast, malted barley and hops. It’s the variation in the types of the latter two that can produce such different flavours and colours, resulting in six core craft beers that range from Portland Black, a chocolatey porter, to the blonde Cavendish. Claire also offers three ‘specials’ every month; this March, they include the ‘velvety smooth oatmeal stout’ Sligo, a nod to St Patrick’s Day. She writes the recipes with her head brewer of five-and-a-half years, James Gladman. Experience means that after doing some calculations, including an equation to work out the ABV (alcohol by volume), they then take the plunge and make 3,000 pints of their new tipple without even producing a test batch. “I love seeing the whole process through,” James says, referring to the fact that it takes just a week to go from initial recipe to finished product. (They usually produce 15,000 pints of each new recipe.) James works closely with Claire’s husband Tom, who is a keen home brewer and met Claire when she began supplying the pub he managed. She then persuaded him to come and join her at Welbeck following the birth of their son Jacob, now two years old, tempting him with more family-friendly hours. Tom

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enjoys the set daily routine during which they make beer in the mornings, cleaning and setting up for the next day in the afternoons. “You always know where you are and what you’re doing,” he says, passing a bag of hops up to James who, on a set of steps, tips them into the ‘kettle’, where they will release their essential oils. To see Claire so at home among the tanks, taps and hoses of her profession, you’d be forgiven for thinking she had been born into it, but she found her calling in a pub near her home village in Suffolk when she had her inaugural pint of bitter (Woodforde’s Wherry) at the age of 18 with her father. She immediately got a taste for real ale and, as an undergraduate at the University of Sheffield, happily found herself in the heartland of the microbrewery revival. Her degree in microbiology and biochemistry proved a great aid to her future career, which began with a week’s work experience washing casks outside in January snow (throughout which she retained all of her enthusiasm for her chosen path), followed by a job at Kelham Island Brewery based in the city. After six months, Claire was given the opportunity to help run a new brewery on the Welbeck Estate, which her inspirational employer Dave Wickett had set up with the owners. She gradually spent more time there until eventually finding herself running it single-handedly in 2011. Learning the art of managing a business as well as perfecting her pints, Claire worked an average of 70 hours a week for the first 18 months: “I had to do a lot of cold calling to pub landlords, who would often dismiss me and my products within seconds. I’m quite stubborn, though, and I think this helped me – I was determined to make it a success.” Now, along with James and Tom, she employs a team of eight flexible, adaptable staff – “Very important in a small business,” she says – to help with everything from deliveries to accounts and marketing. Being a woman and just 31 years old, Claire is an anomaly among her mostly male, middle-aged industry peers. However, beer making was actually historically a female domain, when the women in question were called brewsters. This tradition can be countryliving.co.uk


“For me, beer should be about socialising and a community experience”

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James Gladman (above left) is Welbeck Abbey’s head brewer. “We’re always looking for ways to tweak our approach and make sure we’re running at maximum efficiency,” says Claire, who recently shut down operations for a week so they could reconfigure the brewery layout and save time that was previously being wasted by walking to and from pieces of equipment that were spaced too far apart

traced as far back as Ancient Egypt, when the task was among a woman’s household chores, and it’s even said that Jane Austen was taught how to brew beer by her mother. A more contemporary source of inspiration for Claire is the “driven and independent” Sara Barton of Lincolnshire-based Brewster’s Brewery (taking its name from that early term), who has paved the way for a new generation of female beer producers. While feeling proud to be part of the local microbrewery scene, Claire also values her business’s setting on the revived 15,000acre Welbeck Estate near Sherwood Forest, where hers is among many other small specialist enterprises, including The School of Artisan Food, at which she co-teaches a beer and cheese pairing course. In spring, she loves to see the vivid green of the lime trees’ unfurling leaves and, although she starts work in the dark, enjoys witnessing the sun rise and the sound of buzzards mewing overhead. Claire also regularly taps into the history of Welbeck, which dates back to the Middle Ages when it was founded as a monastery, for stories and characters to name her ales after. Her bestseller, Henrietta, for example, pays tribute to two of the female members of the resident family, while Harley is the surname of the archivist Edward who built Welbeck’s collection of art and books. In fact, a sense of community is a huge part of her ethos, which is why she believes in supplying mostly pub customers from the area (250 in total), while bottled beer accounts for just ten per cent of her business: “For me, beer should be about socialising and a community experience. I would hope that a landlord chooses to put my beer in their bar because it’s local and produced by someone who cares about the ingredients. So, in turn, I want to support them by not supplying the supermarket next door, so they can attract customers by saying you can only drink this here.” And who wouldn’t raise a glass to that? Welbeck Abbey Brewery (welbeckabbeybrewery.co.uk). Claire runs monthly tours of the brewery, April-September, for £10 per person. Book via the website.

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FENNEL AND ALE BREAD Preparation 20 minutes, plus rising Cooking 35 minutes Makes 1 loaf Use a floral, honey-coloured ale, such as Harley, which has hints of orange blossom and fresh zest. 15g fresh yeast or 7g dried yeast 300g granary or country grain flour 200g rye flour 1 tbsp honey, orange blossom if available 2 tsp fennel seeds 2 tbsp light olive oil 150ml ale 150g raisins

1 Mix the yeast with 2 tbsp hand-hot water and leave for 5 minutes until frothy. 2 Mix together the flours, 1 tsp salt, honey and fennel seeds in a large bowl. Add the yeast, oil, ale and 150ml hand-hot water, then mix together to form a soft but not sticky dough. 3 Add the raisins and knead the dough until smooth and elastic on a lightly floured work surface – this can take up to 10 minutes by hand, or 2 minutes on slow, then 5 minutes on medium in an

electric mixer with a dough hook. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for 1-1½ hours until it has doubled in size. 4 Heat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan oven) gas mark 7. Knock back the dough and shape into an oval. Put on a lightly oiled baking tray, cover loosely with oiled clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size. Remove the film and slash the dough lengthways down the middle with a very sharp knife. 5 Bake the bread for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 200°C (180°C fan oven) gas mark 6 and cook for another 15-20 minutes until the bread is risen, golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing. countryliving.co.uk


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FOOD & DRINK CHOCOLATE PORTER CAKES Preparation 20 minutes, plus cooling Cooking about 25 minutes Makes 12 Porter, similar to stout, is rich and velvety with hints of chocolate and coffee. It adds a pleasing depth of flavour to these cakes – you won’t notice the alcohol. 125g unsalted butter 125ml porter, such as Portland Black 60g cocoa powder 225g light brown soft sugar  2 large eggs, beaten 75g full-fat natural yogurt 2 tsp vanilla extract 150g self-raising flour 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda FOR THE ICING 125g unsalted butter, softened 250g icing sugar, sifted 1 tsp vanilla extract 200g full-fat cream cheese

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1 Heat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan oven) gas mark 4. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases. In a large pan, gently heat the butter and porter until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat, then whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Set aside to cool slightly. 2 In a jug, beat the eggs with the yogurt and vanilla, then whisk this into the porter mixture. Whisk in the flour and bicarbonate of soda. 3 Divide the mixture equally

among the muffin cases. Bake for 18-20 minutes until springy to the touch. Cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 4 To make the icing, beat the butter and icing sugar together until creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract followed by the cream cheese (be careful not to overbeat once the cream cheese has been added or it will become runny). Spread over the tops of the cakes.


BEEF AND ALE STEW WITH DUMPLINGS

RECIPE PHOTOGRAPHS BY WILL HEAP; MYLES NEW; TOBY SCOTT; KATE WHITAKER

Preparation 20 minutes Cooking 4 hours 25 minutes Serves 6 Try Red Feather, a robust auburn ale with walnut and sweet caramel flavours in this stew – a deep bronze or copper bitter is a good alternative. 50g plain flour 1.2kg chuck, stewing or casserole beef steak, trimmed and cut into 5cm chunks 3-4 tbsp olive oil 2 large onions, sliced 300ml hot beef stock 500ml ale 1 bay leaf 4 sprigs fresh thyme 200g button mushrooms, halved if large 2 large carrots, cut into 5cm chunks FOR THE DUMPLINGS 100g plain flour 1 tsp baking powder 50g butter 1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped, plus extra to garnish countryliving.co.uk

1 tsp fresh thyme, leaves picked 50g extra-mature Cheddar cheese, grated

1 Put the flour in a large mixing bowl and season. Toss the beef in the flour to coat, shaking off any excess. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large casserole over a medium heat. Fry the meat in batches, until browned all over, using more oil if necessary. Set aside. Add 75ml water to the pan, scraping up any brown bits where extra flavour lies. 2 Reduce the heat. Add more oil if needed and gently fry the onions for 15 minutes until softened. 3 Return the beef to the pan with the stock, ale and herbs. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat, partially cover and simmer for 2-3 hours until tender. 4 Add the mushrooms and carrots and simmer for 30 minutes. 5 Meanwhile, make the dumplings. Heat the

oven to 200°C (180°C fan oven) gas mark 6. Mix all the ingredients, apart from the cheese, together in a bowl with plenty of seasoning, or pulse in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the cheese and mix in to form larger flakes, then sprinkle over 1-2 tbsp water to bring the dough together. Roll into 6 balls and dot around the stew, leaving a 2cm gap between each one. Put into the oven, uncovered, and cook for 20 minutes until the dumplings are puffed and golden. Sprinkle with extra parsley if you like, and serve with a selection of seasonal vegetables.

SAUSAGE AND ALE STEW Preparation 5 minutes Cooking about 25 minutes Serves 4 Choose a full-flavoured ale for this recipe (again, Red Feather would work well here), which will complement

the toothsome, garlicky taste of the Toulouse sausages. 2 tbsp oil 8 Toulouse sausages 2 red onions, sliced 2 cloves garlic, crushed 3 sprigs thyme, leaves picked 2 x 250g packs ready-to-eat Puy lentils  150ml ale 150ml hot chicken stock 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar 150g kale

1 Put half the oil in a large frying pan set over a high heat and brown the sausages. Set aside. 2 Add the remaining oil to the pan, add the onion and fry, covered, over a low heat for 10 minutes until softened and lightly browned. Add the garlic and thyme, stirring for 1 minute. 3 Return the sausages to the pan, and add the lentils, ale, stock and vinegar. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the kale to wilt for 1 minute and serve. MARCH 2018

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Springtime

BAKES

Triple chocolate celebration cake See overleaf for recipe


Food writer Rachel Allen shares mouthwatering sweet and savoury treats that are perfect for seasonal celebrations or a simple afternoon tea RECIPES BY RACHEL ALLEN

PHOTOGRAPHS BY MAJA SMEND

FOOD AND DRINK EDITOR ALISON WALKER

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TRIPLE CHOCOLATE CELEBRATION CAKE

VANILLA AND CURRANT BISCUITS

Preparation 50 minutes Cooking 25 minutes Serves 10-12 This cake doesn’t need too much of an introduction as its name says it all – it’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

Preparation 30 minutes, plus chilling Cooking 12 minutes Makes 25-30 Currants and a drop of good vanilla extract are a lovely way to add a little more interest to a simple light and crisp biscuit.

350g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing 350g caster sugar 6 medium eggs 350g plain flour, plus extra for dusting 2 tsp baking powder 40g cocoa powder 40g drinking chocolate 200g natural yogurt 110g dark chocolate (55–62% cocoa solids), roughly chopped gold leaf or icing sugar, to decorate FOR THE WHITE CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM FILLING 225g butter, softened 450g icing sugar 110g white chocolate (melted and cooled) FOR THE CHOCOLATE GLACÉ ICING 110g icing sugar 50g cocoa powder 15g butter ½ tsp vanilla extract

1 Heat the oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan oven) gas mark 4. Grease four 18cm sandwich tins and dust lightly with flour. Put the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat with electric beaters until light and fluffy. 2 Add the eggs, one at a time, adding 1 tbsp flour each time and beating well after each addition. Sift the remaining flour, baking powder, cocoa and drinking chocolate together in a bowl. Gradually fold into the egg mixture to combine. Fold in the yogurt. Divide between the prepared tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes until firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tins on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then turn out and leave on the rack to cool completely. 3 Meanwhile, make chocolate curls for the topping. Melt the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Spread thinly over the back of a baking sheet and leave it to cool in the

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4

5

6

7

fridge until firm but not hard. Hold a long, sharp knife at the top of the baking sheet and tilt it at an angle towards you with one hand on the handle and the other at the top of the blade. Pull the knife towards you, scraping the chocolate as you go. Curls should start to peel up from the sheet. If it crumbles, the chocolate is too cold, and if it goes gooey, it’s too warm. Keep scraping down, returning the sheet to the fridge for a few minutes if it gets too warm, until you have shaved all the chocolate and collected enough curls for the top of the cake. Leave somewhere cool until needed. To make the buttercream, put the butter and icing in a large bowl and beat with electric beaters until light and fluffy. Add 2 tbsp hot water and fold in the cooled melted white chocolate. To make the icing, sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder into a bowl. Heat the butter, vanilla extract and 3 tbsp water in a pan over a medium heat until just at boiling point. Pour into the icing sugar and cocoa, then beat well using a wooden spoon. The icing should be the consistency of double cream; if too thick, add a little warm water, then cool before using. Spread three cakes with half the white chocolate filling and then stack them together on an icing turntable. Put the remaining cake on top and carefully spread the top and sides with the remaining buttercream. Chill for at least 1 hour until firm. Gently pour the chocolate glacé icing over the top of the cake, allowing it to drizzle slightly and unevenly down the sides. Leave to set before piling the chocolate curls on top. Decorate with a little gold leaf or dust with icing sugar.

125g butter, softened 100g caster sugar 1 medium egg yolk, beaten 1 tsp vanilla extract 200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting ½ tsp baking powder 50g currants 1-2 tbsp granulated sugar

1 Heat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan oven) gas mark 4. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment. Put the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat with electric beaters until it is light and fluffy. 2 Add the egg yolk to the bowl followed by the vanilla extract, then sift in the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Add the currants and mix until well combined to give a smooth dough.

3 Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface to a thickness of 5mm and use a 6cm biscuit cutter to stamp out the biscuits. Arrange on the baking sheets spaced well apart and chill for 10 minutes. Sprinkle each biscuit with a little granulated sugar, then bake for 8-12 minutes until just turning pale golden. Leave to cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


FOOD & DRINK

PARMESAN AND POPPY SEED BISCUITS Preparation 20 minutes, plus chilling Cooking 18 minutes Makes 25 Both Parmesan and poppy seeds have such a strong flavour that these small biscuits really do pack a punch. They are brilliant as little bites on their own, as canapés or with cheese. You could also substitute the poppy seeds with sesame seeds for a completely different taste. 100g butter, softened 100g plain flour 100g Parmesan cheese, finely grated 1 tbsp poppy seeds

1 Line two baking sheets with baking parchment. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and mix to form a soft dough. Alternatively, cream the butter in a bowl until very soft, then stir in the flour, Parmesan cheese and the poppy seeds. 2 Put the dough on a lightly floured work surface and shape into a log about 25cm

long. Wrap in clingfilm and twist the ends so that it is airtight, then chill in the fridge for 50-60 minutes until firm. 3 Heat the oven to 150°C (130°C fan oven) gas mark 2. Cut the log with a sharp knife into 1cm slices and put them on the baking sheets spaced well apart. Bake for 15-18 minutes until just turning pale golden. Leave to cool for 2-3 minutes on the baking sheet on a wire rack, then transfer to the rack to cool completely. MARCH 2018

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FOOD & DRINK ORANGE KUGELHOPF Preparation 25 minutes Cooking 1 hour Serves 10-12 I love my kugelhopf baking tin – it makes such grand, stately-looking cakes with very little effort! But if you don’t have one, don’t let that put you off trying this delicious orangey cake, because a springform tin will make one that looks just as lovely. Drizzled with icing and sprinkled with pistachio nuts, it is perfect for a seasonal celebration. 225ml sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing 325g plain flour, plus extra for dusting 1½ tsp baking powder 400g caster sugar 4 medium eggs 325ml milk zest of 1 orange 25g pistachio nuts, lightly toasted and chopped FOR THE ICING 125ml crème fraîche 100g icing sugar zest of 1 orange

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1 Heat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan oven) gas mark 4. Grease a 23cm Bundt tin or a 23cm cake tin with at least 4cm sides and dust with flour. (If using a cake tin, grease the side and line the base with baking parchment.) Sift the flour, baking powder and 1½ tsp salt into a large bowl, add the sugar and mix together. 2 In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, orange zest and oil until combined. Tip this mixture into the dry

ingredients and mix together using a wooden spoon to make a smooth batter. You may need to use a whisk briefly to remove any lumps of flour. 3 Tip into the prepared tin and bake for 50-60 minutes (60-70 minutes if using a cake tin) until the cake feels springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 4 Leave in the tin on a wire rack for 2 minutes, then run a knife around the

edge and carefully remove the cake. Leave on the rack to cool completely, then remove the paper. 5 Meanwhile, for the icing, put the crème fraîche in a bowl and sift in the icing sugar, then mix to combine. Stir in the orange zest. 6 Put the cake on a serving plate or cake stand. Drizzle the icing backwards and forwards from the centre to the outside of the cake in a rough zigzag pattern. Sprinkle over the pistachio nuts and serve.

countryliving.co.uk


FOOD & DRINK

CL READER OFFER Extracted from Home Baking by Rachel Allen (HarperCollins, £20). Country Living readers can order a copy at the special price of £16.99 including UK P&P. Call the HarperCollins Hotline on 0870 787 1724 and quote 900Z.

ROSE AND PISTACHIO CHOUX KISSES Preparation 45 minutes, plus chilling Cooking about 30 minutes Makes about 40 As sweet canapés, these choux bites look beautiful topped with bright green pistachio nuts and dried rose petals. And there’s a surprise for guests when they taste the delicate rose cream inside. FOR THE CRÈME PÂTISSIÈRE 2 medium egg yolks 50g caster sugar 12g plain flour 175ml milk ½ tsp vanilla extract FOR THE CHOUX PASTRY 100g strong white bread flour 75g butter 3 medium eggs, beaten 200ml double cream ½ tbsp rosewater 200g icing sugar dried rose petals, for sprinkling 50g pistachio nuts, finely chopped

1 First make the crème pâtissière. Whisk the egg yolks with the caster sugar until light and thick, then sift in the flour and whisk to combine. Heat the milk

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in a pan over a medium heat and bring just up to the boil. Pour over the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Return to the pan and stir over a medium-low heat until it comes to a gentle boil. Cook, stirring constantly, for two minutes until it has thickened. Add the vanilla and pour into a bowl. Cover with clingfilm and chill. 2 Now make the choux buns. Sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl and set aside. Pour 150ml water into a pan over a mediumhigh heat and add the butter. Heat, stirring, until it melts. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat. 3 Add the flour mixture in one go and beat well with a wooden spoon until the

mixture comes together with no lumps. Reduce the heat to medium and return the pan to the heat, cook for 1 minute, stirring until the mixture sticks slightly to the base of the pan. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 1 minute. 4 Add one quarter of the eggs into the pan and beat well with a wooden spoon. Keep adding the egg, a little at a time, until the mixture is softened, is nice and shiny looking and has a dropping consistency – you may not need all the egg. 5 Heat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan oven) gas mark 6. Line the baking sheets with baking parchment. Spoon the choux pastry into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm nozzle. Pipe small blobs of dough in rows on the baking sheets, leaving at least 1cm between them, as they will spread when baking. Bake the puffs for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and,

using a skewer, poke a hole in the bottom of each one to release the steam. Return to the oven for a further 5 minutes to dry out and finish browning. 6 Gently whip the cream until it is just starting to thicken. Fold in the crème pâtissière and rosewater, then transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a small nozzle (about size 4). Put the filled piping bag in the fridge for 30 minutes. 7 Once the puffs are cool and the filling is chilled, pipe a small amount of filling into each ball, using the hole you made with the skewer. 8 Mix the icing sugar with enough water to make a fairly runny icing – you want it to be translucent and a brushable consistency rather than a thick mixture. Brush the tops of the balls with icing to glaze, then sprinkle with the rose petals and pistachio nuts. Leave to set before serving. countryliving.co.uk


BEAUTY BUZZ

L I P T R E AT M E N T S

Heart-friendly boost

WORDS BY KATE LANGRISH. PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALAMY; ROBIN MACDOUGAL. *THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED TO REPLACE THE DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT OF A DOCTOR. IF YOU NOTICE MEDICAL SYMPTOMS OR FEEL ILL, CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR

Eating live yogurt – or other foods high in ‘good bacteria’ – may help lower blood pressure, according to new research. The study in the journal Nature found that diets high in salt can kill off bacteria in the gut, which in turn causes the release of immune cells linked with high blood pressure. But scientists discovered that taking a probiotic supplement could replace the dose of good bacteria and bring blood pressure back down. Experts stress that eating yogurt doesn’t mean you can undo the damage of a junk-food diet, but as many of us eat more than the recommended maximum of 6g a day, it could be a good way to help protect your heart alongside cutting down your salt intake.

A winter of cold, windy weather can mean the delicate skin on lips is left feeling dry, flaky and even chapped at this time of year. Treat them to one of these balms… Freshness Jo Malone London Ginger & Mint Lip Balm (£20, jomalone.co.uk) is enriched with moringa butter, rose flower wax and kukui nut oil to nourish. Plumping Manuka Doctor ApiRefine Lip Oil (£16.99, manukadoctor.com) contains manuka oil to soften and hydrate, and hyaluronic acid to gently plump. Soothing Don’t be fooled by the name, Dr Lipp Original Nipple Balm (£4.99, drlipp.com) is perfect for the delicate skin on lips, too! Made with pure medicalgrade lanolin, it instantly soothes irritated skin. Colour Erborian Rouge for Lips (£18, erborian.co.uk) contains deep red pigments to give a glossy hue and is enriched with camellia oil.

health notes NEW FAVOURITE

With relaxing bath salts, a beautifying face mask, sugar scrub and body oil, the Isla Apothecary Discovery Kit (£21, islaapothecary. com) is handmade in the UK using organic ingredients and has everything you need for an indulgent night in.

countryliving.co.uk

Boost your wellbeing the natural way with our round-up from the world of health and beauty

WHETHER IT’S THE CHANGE IN THE CLOCKS at the end of March or worries about work that is keeping you awake, sipping a glass of Sleep Well (£6.95 for three; sleepwellmilk.com) before bed is perfect for those nights when you can’t switch off. It’s made with Jersey milk, honey and valerian to help calm the mind. ON COLD DAYS, GIVE THE ULTIMATE COMFORT FOOD of bangers and mash a healthy twist with new MOR sausages (£3, tesco.com). They’re mixed with vegetables, pulses, herbs and spices in inventive recipes for a lower fat content but a great taste. MANY OF US FEEL STRESSED at times, but following the advice, recipes and exercises in Well Being: Recipes and Rituals to Realign the Body and Mind by Danielle Copperman (Kyle Books, £25) can help get you back on an even keel. For more tips, visit netdoctor.co.uk.

NATURE’S MEDICINE CABINET Hawthorn The leaves are some of the earliest to emerge after winter, and now is the best time to pick them as they’re young and tender. Later in spring, the buds of the flowers can also be eaten and, come autumn, the berries can be harvested. Hawthorn was traditionally used as a heart tonic, and to balance high and low blood pressure. Some studies show that hawthorn extract may be useful for people with heart conditions as it can help widen blood vessels and improve circulation. A poultice of the leaves was also used as a remedy for spots and sores on the skin.*


H E A LT H & B E AU T Y

Before you reach for the medicine cabinet, try these pure and simple solutions to common ailments WORDS BY JUNE WALTON

T E N S I O N H E A DAC H E S For such a common ailment, headaches can be very debilitating – they cost the UK around £3 billion a year in days off work and use of the NHS. The most common are tension headaches, which are caused by stress, lack of sleep, skipping meals or not drinking enough water. We often clench our jaw when we are tense, which strains the muscle connecting the jaw to the temples, so resulting in a headache. Simply holding a pencil lightly between your teeth – not biting or chewing – can help reduce any tension, as it activates your ‘smile’ muscles and relaxes your jaw. You can also try rubbing a little peppermint oil onto the forehead and temples. One study found it was as effective as paracetamol in easing the pain of a tension headache.

L O W E R B AC K PA I N Digging over the garden at this time of year is a key culprit of lower back pain, which can be triggered by bad posture, bending awkwardly or lifting incorrectly. Doctors used to recommend rest, but now advise that long periods of inactivity are bad for you. Tight hamstrings place additional stress across the lower back and the sacroiliac joint between the pelvis and spine, leading to even more pain. To gently stretch them out, sit on the edge of a chair and stretch out one leg, toes pointing at the ceiling. Sit up straight and roll your pelvis forward, feeling a light stretch up the back of your leg. Repeat with the other leg. At night, place a pillow under your knees if you sleep on your back or between your knees if you sleep on your side – these positions ease the strain on your spine.

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H E A LT H & B E AU T Y AC H I N G J O I N T S

BLOCKED SINUSES

When you’re feeling achy, it’s tempting to just sit down and put your feet up, but the best remedy is the exact opposite. Exercise is vital for anyone suffering from joint pain or stiffness. Not only will it help control weight and so reduce the strain on joints, it will also strengthen the muscles that support them, even if the cartilage is thinning. Start with a brisk 15-minute walk every day and you’ll soon build up strength and stamina. Rosehip extract may also ease pain. Studies have shown that compounds in rosehips help reduce joint pain and stiffness, and improve the quality of life of patients with both osteo and rheumatoid arthritis. Other studies have found that rosehip extract can reduce the production of specific enzymes that break down cartilage. Try GOPO Joint Health (£18.99; gopo.co.uk).

A bad cold can lead to sinusitis, where the channels that drain mucus from your sinuses to your nose become blocked and the lining becomes inflamed. This can lead to painful headaches and tenderness around your cheeks, eyes and forehead. Saline therapy – sniffing up a salt-water solution – can help wash out the nasal cavities and soothe the lining. You can make this yourself by dissolving unprocessed sea salt into warm water, or try a ready-made spray, such as Stérimar Stop & Protect Cold and Sinus Relief (£8.99; boots.com).

T I C K LY C O U G H When a cold or flu virus irritates the nerves lining your throat, it triggers a cough reflex that can be very trying, especially at night. If a tickly cough is keeping you awake, try taking a spoonful of honey before going to bed. One study discovered that it was as effective as a common cough-suppressant ingredient. Suffering from a coughing fit in an important meeting or hushed theatre? Try scratching your ear. It may sound strange, but when the nerve is stimulated, it creates a reflex in the throat that can cause a muscle spasm. This, in turn, should stop any irritation.

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countryliving.co.uk


H E A LT H & B E AU T Y

T O O T H AC H E It goes without saying that toothache should always be checked out by your dentist, as it could be a sign of infection. But while you wait for your appointment, ease pain with an ice cube. According to experts at the Canadian Medical Association, massaging the web between the thumb and index finger of the hand on the same side as the painful tooth with ice can help reduce pain. In one study, the intensity was cut in half for the majority of patients. It’s to do with the way cold signals are transmitted through the body.

HOT FLUSHES

SOAK AWAY THE PAIN A warm bath is the perfect remedy for many aches and pains, but you can make it even more effective with the addition of homemade bath salts. Mix two drops each of lavender, peppermint, rosemary and cinnamon essential oils with a mug of Epsom salts and a tablespoon of dried lavender, and dissolve into the warm water. Epsom salts are rich in magnesium, which is readily absorbed through the skin and helps to relax muscles, while the essential oils have a soothing and analgesic effect.

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This information is not intended to replace the diagnosis or treatment of a doctor. If you notice medical symptoms or feel ill, consult your doctor.

countryliving.co.uk

ADDITIONAL RESEARCH BY KATE LANGRISH. PHOTOGRAPHS BY GETTY IMAGES; LIVING4MEDIA

Around three-quarters of women experience these uncomfortable rushes of heat during the menopause or while having cancer treatment. If you always start the day with a strong morning brew, try switching to a decaf coffee or herbal tea. Experts at the Mayo Clinic in New York found that 85 per cent of women suffering with hot flushes also drank a lot of caffeine. Reducing stress and learning how to relax can also be helpful in reducing their frequency and intensity. Some women have found that controlled breathing for just 15 minutes twice a day helps: breathe in slowly and deeply for a count of five, then exhale for a count of five. Repeat for the 15-minute period.


CL PROMOTION

Run Your First Mile

Whatever your fitness, you can discover the transformative, life-enriching and social-bonding power of running with the Runner’s World First Mile programme lowering blood pressure, reducing anxiety and stress, boosting your immune system, improving your sleep and combating – or even reversing – cognitive decline. If running is beginning to sound rather like a miracle drug, that’s because it is. Runners have a far lower risk of type 2 diabetes and many cancers, including breast, colon and lung. And, contrary to the popular misconception, it won’t wreck your knees: in fact, research shows that runners show less wear and tear on their joints than nonrunners, and that the weight-bearing nature of running also helps to safeguard bone density, reducing your risk of developing osteoporosis. Then there’s the dramatic effect on your waistline. A 66kg woman will burn twice the calories by running at a 10-minute-mile pace as she would by walking for the same time at a 15-minute-mile pace, which is why research has shown those who take up running lower both their BMI (body mass index, a measure of body fat) and waist circumference.

How do I start?

PHOTOGRAPH BY GETTY IMAGES

R

unning your first mile is magical. Both a worthy achievement in itself and the beginning of a longer journey to a lifetime of enjoying all the physical, mental and spiritual benefits that running has to offer. And if you make your mile a ‘country mile’, it also becomes a perfect way to immerse yourself in the wonderful scenery and wildlife that’s all around us. You may not even remember when you last ran a single step. And you may also look back on wintry school

cross-country runs with a distinct absence of fondness, but the Runner’s World team will inspire, guide and support you every step of the way. We’ll show you how to get started, how to progress safely and enjoyably, and how to sidestep every obstacle.

Why should you run?

Scientific research has found that running delivers myriad health benefits for body and mind, including lowering your risk of heart attack and stroke,

Our First Mile programme gently eases you into regular activity, gradually increasing in time and intensity. You’ll start with a mix of walking and short segments of light jogging, and, depending on your starting fitness level, the plans will take you to running your first mile in six or 10 weeks. You’ll find the complete training plans, and all the expert advice and support you need, at runnersworld.co.uk/first-mile. Plus there’s a chance to win a place to run in the dedicated Runner’s World First Milers’ wave at the Vitality Westminster Mile, on May 27. Your running journey starts with a single step – take it today.


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NAILS

HAIR

ABSOLUTE COLLAGEN – DRINKABLE SKINCARE £29.99 for 14 ready mixed daily 10ml sachets Want to re-set your biological clock? Collagen is the major structural protein found inside our bodies and from the age of 25 it starts to deplete. Fight the ageing process and help bones, joints, ligaments, nails, hair and skin by taking one 10ml shot daily! Absolute Collagen works from the inside out to hydrate and plump the skin for fewer lines and wrinkles. For more information call 020 3494 4944. Enter code CL at checkout for 10% off. www.absolutecollagen.com

Embarrassing leaks are a symptom of a weak pelvic floor – the good news is they can be stopped with simple exercises. This is where the PelvicToner can help. It is clinically proven to help strengthen your pelvic floor, NHS approved and available on prescription. It can also be purchased without prescription for only £29.99 delivered. Designed to be used at home without supervision, it comes discreetly packaged with everything you need to start exercising straight away. So what’s stopping you? To find out more, or to purchase a PelvicToner™, visit pelvictoner.co.uk or call 0117 974 3534 today.

MASON PEARSON Mason Pearson have been making hairbrushes for over 125 years. These come with tufts of either pure bristle, bristle and nylon, or all nylon, and are available from good department stores and chemists and cost from £26.50 to £123. For a free brochure and haircare leaflet, write to Mason Pearson Brothers, Dept 48, 37 Old Bond Street, London W1S 4AB, or call 020 7491 2613.


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TRULY PLUS SIZE LUXURY TIGHTS

STRAWBERRY HILL HOUSE Bringing you unique Nordic brands, Icelandic wool clothing, reindeer hide rugs and more. We stock all our products in the UK to keep delivery cost and time down. strawberryhillhouse.co.uk

The Big Bloomers Company are specialists in plus size hosiery, from UK14 to UK42. Made in Italy, their tights are comfortable, flattering and durable. They slide on with no effort – no coaxing each bit of fabric up the leg, these are just straight on. Ultrastretch technology means superior all-over quality and fit, and a waistband that doesn’t dig in or roll down. Your search for truly plus size tights is over. Call 01326 373268 or order securely online at www.thebigbloomerscompany.co.uk

COUNTRY FAIR ISLE • Bespoke – made for you • 100% wool • Michael Ross Hand Framed Knitwear • Made in England Buy online or phone with your measurements. Many styles and designs available. Call 01635 867165. www.originalblues.co.uk

Style essentials Fashion for the season STYLISH WIDE FITTING SHOES

FINE FASHION – MADE IN ENGLAND

Wider Fit Shoes Ltd offers stylish, affordable shoes to fit you perfectly – whatever your width. Today, they are the leading supplier of wide-fitting shoes in the UK, offering footwear from EE through to 8E fittings. Their entire range of shoes and slippers are adjustable, durable, lightweight and flexible and every purchase is backed by their no quibble guarantee. No wonder they’re recommended by foot health professionals nationwide. For a free, colour catalogue or more information please call 01933 311077 or order securely online at www.widerfitshoes.co.uk Please quote CLX1805M for 10% off your first order.

We all want to look and feel fabulous, and it’s never been easier to achieve, thanks to David Nieper’s new collection of timeless classics, luxury knitwear and stylish separates. Each piece is lovingly made in their Derbyshire studios from the finest quality fabrics. Expert designers and seamstresses create styles to fit all sizes, each finished with the greatest of care for comfort, quality and style. Soft Jersey Dress £159, style 6093. Shop online at davidnieper.co.uk or call 01773 83 6000 for a catalogue. Quote code CL18.

THE PERFECT SILK SWEATER! Warm in Winter. Cool in Summer. In a stunning range of colours. £65. Visit: frenchvelvet.co.uk or call to order on 01325 460669.


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THE DEFINITIVE GO ANYWHERE JEWELLERY MON AMIE

PERILLA Keep toes toasty in 90% alpaca bed socks in pastel shades or bright purples and red. These make a wonderful present for any age group. Made in Britain. £16.00. Perilla.co.uk 01886 853 615.

The original cross back apron created by Mon Amie. Manufactured in the UK in a range of beautiful hardwearing fabrics – including the new range of gorgeous colours by Annie Sloan. With nothing tied around the waist or hanging around the neck, this apron is quite simply the most comfortable and stylish piece of usefulness that you can wear! Use offer code CL2017 for free p&p. monamieliving.co.uk

We are delighted to be showcasing this brilliantly contemporary range of nickel-free silverplate jewellery. The pendants measure approximately 4.5cm (1.75”) diameter with a silver plate snake chain 40 – 48m (16” – 19”) long, and the stud earrings are approximately 1.25cm (0.5”) wide and 2cm (0.75”) long. Pendants are £17.50 each and earrings £9.50 a pair (plus p&p). Why not buy a set as a gift and one for you too! You will find beautiful gifts, including a range of personalised items, for you and your home at www.craftworksgallery. co.uk or ring us on 01434 634500.

Treat yourself This month’s must-haves

Before

After

IF ONLY IT HAD SLEEVES

STYLISH NARROW SHOES By James Inglis FREE personal shoe fitting. FREE UK delivery. Sizes 4 - 10 (incl. 1/2's) Widths AAA, AA & B. Visit www.jamesinglis.com or call 0330 121 111 for a FREE catalogue.

Most women have hang ups about the upper arms. Bingo wings ring any bells? With so many sleeveless garments on the high street this little gem will open up any wardrobe and give the wearer immediate confidence. Underdress Sleeves are attached to a cropped bodice which sits comfortably under a sleeveless dress or top. Available in over 40 colours, seven different fabrics, three sleeve lengths and numerous designs. As we are MADE IN THE UK, we even offer a bespoke service. See more at www.camiconfidential.com or call 0161 427 1881 for a free brochure.

ANNALOOM Annaloom offers beautifully handcrafted textiles from ethical and sustainable sources, designed by Anna-Louise Meynell. Featured here is the Avani cushion and throw in eri silk, known as “peace silk” – a handspun silk, naturally dyed and handwoven by traditional artisans in Assam. The bold geometry of the Meraki cushion combines the traditional technique of jamdani weaving with contemporary Annaloom design. www.annaloom.com


SPRING COLLECTION

TRANSFORM YOUR SKIN AND HAIR...

‘HARE’-LOOM JEWELLERY

SILVER PINK

with a Mulberry Silk Pillow Case. They assist in wrinkle prevention and add shine to your hair. Also cool to sleep on and hypoallergenic benefiting those with asthma and eczema. In a choice of colours and at £16, they are the ideal luxury gift. Machine Washable. Cotton backed to prevent slipping. www.thecleverlittlepillowcase.bigcartel.com

Inspired by nature, Scottish designer Sylvia Kerr introduces a fresh take on contemporary jewellery design. This beautiful Pearl Hare Pendant leaps into spring with timeless appeal. Solid silver with cultured drop pearl and adjustable chain. RRP: £194 www.sylviakerrjewellery.com

Designed in the UK, Silver Pink offers a unique collection of luxury knitwear and accessories for women. Revamp your spring 2018 wardrobe with a jumper or cardigan made from the finest quality cashmere. www.silverpinkcompany.co.uk

POTTER AND MOOCH

SYCAMOON JEWELLERY

A TOAST TO THE PAST

*New and improved website* Explore our brand new collection of Ear Wings climbing earrings designed for a single piercing. Each pair is handmade in England on 925 Sterling Silver, 14ct Rose or Yellow Gold Filled wires with SWAROVSKI Elements. From £22 per pair. www.potterandmooch.co.uk Tel: 07703 785527

Inspired by woodland, myths and legends, Danish designer Nana Louise Nielsen creates handmade pieces such as this silk and sterling silver oak leaf bracelet in the hope that they will become someone’s treasured family heirloom. sycamoon.com

A stupendously eclectic mix of antiques and curios from a bygone era. UK and International shipping. Peruse, come and say hi! Matthew John Cook Tel / Text: 07584 320401 www.etsy.com/shop/atoasttothepast

FRANCES LEE CERAMIC ARTIST

STOCKWELL CERAMICS

Hand built and illustrated ceramics. Semi-functional contemporary designs. Where the ceramic is a canvas for the art. www.francesleeceramics.com frannymarylee@yahoo.co.uk

Ever popular ranges of ceramic buttons, jewellery and decorations. Handmade in Cornwall, UK. Choose from bright, floral and heritage designs. Unique Valentines gifts, floral ceramic wedding favours etc. www.stockwellceramics.co.uk Purchase from www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ StockwellCeramicsUK

INTERIOR DESIGN COURSES IN A SURREY COUNTRY HOUSE

FOR DETAILS OF CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING PLEASE TELEPHONE 020 3728 6260 OR VISIT WWW.HEARSTMAGAZINESDIRECT.CO.UK

Award-winning courses in a stunning period property near Guildford. For business or pleasure; sallysurreyhouse@hotmail.com www.surreyhousecourses.co.uk Tel: 01483 811795

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IDYLLIC ESCAPES

NORTH DEVON COAST

RURAL RETREATS

DART VALLEY COTTAGES

Luxury barn conversions sleeping 2-8. Now with on site restaurant. C.H. & woodburner. Near coast and pubs. 2 acre meadows with each barn. Pets welcome.

Over 450 luxury self-catering holiday properties sleeping 2-24 in the UK and Ireland. A Rural Retreats property has been carefully chosen for its beautiful interior as well as idyllic setting. From cosy cottages to country houses and lighthouses to windmills, there’s sure to be a property that will be perfect for you and your family. Dogs welcome. Request your FREE 2018 Brochure now. www.ruralretreats.co.uk 01386 897 959

Dart Valley Cottages offer a superb collection of self-catering holiday cottages in South Devon on and around the River Dart, Dartmouth and Dittisham, surrounding rural and coastal villages. Perfect locations for couples and family holidays. Discover great coastline, award winning beaches and beautiful countryside. Dog friendly properties.

NORTHUMBERLAND SELF CATERING

NORTH NORFOLK

from the county’s first & only Visit England Quality Accredited Agency, www.staynorthumbria.co.uk. Choose & book with confidence from a selection of over 90 properties to suit all tastes and pockets, from: coastal fisherman’s retreats for 2, to a converted Mill for 36. Dogs & kids welcome too. For Winter, Spring & Summer breaks of 2 to 7 nights, a brisk walk on the beach, a castle or two to visit, and afternoon tea in front of the fire to return to. Visit our website or ring us on 01665 721380 – what could be simpler?

The Castle sleeps 8 – 32 A luxuriously appointed Regency style home on the outskirts of the sought after Georgian town of Holt. Set within 3 acres with a tennis court and part of a stylish collection of five beautiful homes.

Tel 01237 441 311 www.pattard.com www.pattardkitchen.com

COAST & COUNTRY COTTAGES Choose from around 400 holiday properties in Salcombe, Dartmouth and throughout South Devon. From romantic hideaways and beautifully renovated farmhouses, to luxury waterside apartments and cosy thatched cottages, we can help you choose the right one for your holiday. Call 01548 843773 or book online coastandcountry.co.uk

01803 771127 www.dartvalleycottages.co.uk

Please call Zoe for more information www.thenorfolkcottagecompany.com 01263 713133

CREEKSIDE COTTAGES

CONNEMARA

LEACHACHAN BARN

Near Falmouth, Cornwall Waters-edge, village and rural cottages sleeping 2 - 8. Enchanting picturesque positions, peaceful and comfortable. Open fires. Dogs welcome. Available throughout the year. For our colour brochure, please call 01326 375972 or visit our web site www.creeksidecottages.co.uk

Coastal Cottages on the west coast of Ireland – a magical place – we can accommodate 2-12 people. In the most amazing properties our local knowledge can help you make your choice.

Leachachan Barn is on the southern shores of Loch Duich in the Western Highlands of Scotland. Once used as a byre for working horses, the barn has been redesigned and transformed into a modern house which has retained much of its original character. Wood burning stove, picture windows overlooking loch and the Five Sisters of Kintail. Sleeps 4. leachachanbarn.net

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www.cc-cottages.com Call 00 353 95 41844

FOR DETAILS OF CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING PLEASE TELEPHONE 020 3728 6260 OR VISIT WWW.HEARSTMAGAZINESDIRECT.CO.UK


IDYLLIC ESCAPES

COQUET COTTAGES

HELPFUL HOLIDAYS

Northumberland Coast and Countryside An outstanding selection of luxury holiday homes in stunning locations across beautiful Northumberland. From cosy cottages for couples through to large country houses for 20, find the perfect holiday home for a memorable break. Dogs welcome.

Award-winning Helpful Holidays has cottages throughout the West Country, from retreats for two to huge country houses. Our holiday homes are checked out before you check in. We’re here to help you get the most from your holiday home.

16th century nobleman’s house in medieval town. Five apartments restored with all modern comforts. Secluded and secure. Garden, pool, courtyard parking. Plantagenet history, vineyards, troglodytes, châteaux galore!

www.helpfulholidays.co.uk 01647 434055

Peter & Sally Smith +33 (0)2 41 52 36 39 www.aubelle.com

WILDERNESS COTTAGES THROUGHOUT SCOTLAND

PRETTY HAMLET OF STYLISH COTTAGES IN BRITTANY

BRECON BEACONS HOLIDAY COTTAGES

Quality self catering cottages, houses and apartments, throughout Scotland. Countryside to seashore, rustic to 5 star luxury. Short breaks available & pets welcome. New 2018 Brochure Available.

Family holiday or romantic break. Set in the countryside yet near the sea. Pretty hamlet of 8 cottages for 2 to 6 people. Log burners and private gardens. Just 1 hour drive from St. Malo.

Tel: 01463 719219 www.wildernesscottages.co.uk

www.roselouisemarie.com Call Liz on +33 67 00 35 732

For that perfect break, we have over 350 great cottages in superb locations in and around the Brecon Beacons National Park, Black Mountains and Wye Valley. Romantic cottages for 2 people, rustic farmhouses and large country houses some sleeping 20, with oak beams and open fires. Pretty villages, good pubs, hill walking, pony trekking, mountain biking and fishing. Pets Welcome. www.breconcottages.com 01874 676446

CHARMING TOWNHOUSE IN HONFLEUR

ST MICHAEL’S COASTAL COTTAGES

Comfortable and centrally located townhouse well equipped for 8 people, with wifi, 4 bedrooms (2 twin and 2 double), 2 bathrooms, fully equipped kitchen with range cooker, dishwasher etc, washing machine, British/French TV, garden with garden furniture & BBQ and a garage. All towels and bedding are provided. www.honfleurhouse.com 07838255502

Seaside family holiday or romantic break for two. Delightful self-catering properties sleeping 2–10 in the ancient town of Marazion, gateway to St Michael’s Mount. Most have sea & Mount views, dogs welcome, log fires, available all year round.

Fantastic getaways in the beautiful, unspoilt rolling countryside of South West France. Kingfisher Holidays offers a wonderful selection of high quality properties, all with swimming pools. Book a cosy cottage, villa, farmhouse or a large Chateaux.

www.stmichaelscoastalcottages.com Tel 01736 711098

www.king-fisher.net Tel 0033 553407113

Telephone 01665 710700 www.coquetcottages.co.uk

FOR DETAILS OF CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING PLEASE TELEPHONE 020 3728 6260 OR VISIT WWW.HEARSTMAGAZINESDIRECT.CO.UK

LA MAISON AUBELLE, LOIRE VALLEY

KINGFISHER HOLIDAYS

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COUNTRY DIRECTORY House & Garden Home Interest

Cut out the retailer

Sofas from only £299 Contemporary sofas delivered direct from our UK workshop at factory prices

Oakridge Sofas www.oakridgedirect.co.uk Tel 01685 844944

FOR A LIFETIME

T UES REQ UR YO URE CH BRO

Björk Haraldsdóttir Contemporary Handbuilt Ceramics

www.ceramicsbybjork.com

Handmade in Nottinghamshire

01777 869 669 | revivalbeds.co.uk

County Kerry Bed

Unique, organic, ceramic sculptures Bespoke commissions www.kiramics.com

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FOR DETAILS OF CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING PLEASE TELEPHONE 020 3728 6260 OR VISIT WWW.HEARSTMAGAZINESDIRECT.CO.UK


T R A D I T I O N A L B R I T I S H U P H O L S T E RY 01509 234000 - www.floorsofstone.com enquiries@floorsofstone.com

 21 day home trial  5 year hardwood frame warranty  Direct from the manufacturer

www.kirkdale.co.uk

MADE IN UK

Call for your free brochure 01495 243999 FOR DETAILS OF CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING PLEASE TELEPHONE 020 3728 6260 OR VISIT WWW.HEARSTMAGAZINESDIRECT.CO.UK

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J O I N T H E V E LV E T R E V O L U T I O N

D I R E C T F RO M T H E M A N U FAC T U R E R

Mia 3 seater sofa in velvet was £839 - now only £629

www.sofasofa.co.uk For a free colour brochure call 01495 244226

CONTROL YOUR BLINDS AT THE TOUCH OF A BUTTON • • • • •

DELIVERING CRAFTSMANSHIP & QUALITY

Great British Furniture

Makers of Fine Leather Furniture for Generations

SINCE 1981

One-touch control Battery powered Rechargeable & Wire-Free Choice of 400 stylish fabrics No cords – child safe

FOR A FREE COLOUR BROCHURE CALL 0800 975 5757 OR VISIT APPEALSHADING.COM VINTAGE CHESTERFIELD 3 SEATER SOFA

WAS £1959 - NOW ONLY £1399 Standard tested and approved ● Made in our own UK factory ● Direct from the factory prices ● 21 day money-back promise ● 2 year guarantee ● British

POWERED BLINDS | WINDOW SHUTTERS INSECT SCREENS | AWNINGS

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To view our entire range or to order your free colour brochure

call 01443 771222 or visit www.thomaslloyd.com

FOR DETAILS OF CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING PLEASE TELEPHONE 020 3728 6260 OR VISIT WWW.HEARSTMAGAZINESDIRECT.CO.UK


The finest of British Country Outbuildings

HANDMADE KITCHEN FURNITURE AT SURPRISINGLY AFFORDABLE PRICES SEE US IN STORE - OR ONLINE

Oak Fronted Carriage Houses & Stand Alone Timber Garages ALSO GARDEN STUDIOS EQUESTRIAN BUILDINGS AND S P O RT S PAV I L I O N S

Est 1909

High Street, Strood, Kent ME2 4DR

Tel: 01634 290033

w w w. p a s s m o r e s . c o . u k • i n f o @ p a s s m o r e s . c o . u k

curtain call

Handbuilt, made to measure in solid wood, cabinetry for the average sized kitchen @ only £7k. DOWNLOAD A BROCHURE FROM OUR WEBSITE TODAY

www.madebytheforge.co.uk 01473 487118

www.creamerykitchens.co.uk Lynx Trading Estate, YEOVIL BA20 2HL T: 01935 434700

FOR DETAILS OF CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING PLEASE TELEPHONE 020 3728 6260 OR VISIT WWW.HEARSTMAGAZINESDIRECT.CO.UK

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CL02_FEB18

strikingly fashioned poles for the best dressed windows


Kitchens

Bathrooms

What’s missing from an Albion bath? Excessive Weight. Our unique material is strong and durable, yet weighs around 1/3 of the cast iron equivalent Request your brochure on: 01255 831605 or go to: www.albionbathco.com

FREESTANDING BATHS | TAPS & SHOWERS | BASINS & WC’S | SHOWER ENCLOSURES | BATHROOM HEATING

Soft Furnishings

Furniture & Furnishings ROCKING CHAIRS

S “Extraordinary CUMB LE name.

GOOSIE Extraordinary furniture.”

FERNSBY HALL TAPESTRIES

FE

RNSBY HALL

Tapestry kits produced by Diana Fernsby from the original paintings of Catriona Hall. Kits from £55. Please quote Ref.FHT1. kits@fernsbyhall.com www.fernsbyhall.com Tel: 01279 777795 TA P E ST R I E S

Hand made in Rural Hampshire www.mark-ripley.com/video

Gardens

COVELLI TENNANT Vintage Textiles & Bespoke Upholstery

01453 731305

www.scumblegoosie.com 174

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07855 256 007 07971 043 916 www.covellitennant.com FOR DETAILS OF CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING PLEASE TELEPHONE 020 3728 6260 OR VISIT WWW.HEARSTMAGAZINESDIRECT.CO.UK


DELOSPERMA

rare | unusual | exciting

JeweloftheDesert

Collection comprises: Garnet, Rose Quartz, Peridot, Moonstone and Topaz

BUY 5 FOR

£18 £24

All plants labelled individually

OR 10 FOR

A FANTASTIC BREEDING BREAKTHROUGH

SAVES £12

Carpet-like mats of succulent foliage with masses of neon coloured daisy flowers. Bred in Japan, where garden space is limited so flower power is very important, these incredible plants produce flowers continuously from spring until the first frosts. Commonly known as the ice plant, they can withstand the toughest environments and still shine like a jewel. Beautiful when planted alongside paths or grown in crevices. Loved by butterflies. Unfussy on soil conditions in sun or part shade. Height 10-15cm (4-6"). Spread 25cm (10"). Fully hardy perennials. Your order will be confirmed and your young plants will be delivered in April 2018* with our no quibble guarantee.

TO ORDER QUOTE CL0318 • ONLINE hayloft.co.uk/cl • PHONE 0844 335 1088 SEND THE COUPON TO: Hayloft Plants, FREEPOST RTGR-JAGJ-JETG, Pensham, Pershore WR10 3HB NAME & ADDRESS

PLEASE SEND

ITEM CODE

PRICE

5 PLANTS (one of each)

YPDEL05-CL0318

£18

10 PLANTS (two of each)

YPDEL10-CL0318

£24

QTY

TOTAL

P&P (UK ONLY)

£4.95 TOTAL DUE

PostcodeTel

Please enter the last 3 digits of your security code (CSV)

I enclose Cheque/PO made payable to Hayloft Plants Ltd or please debit my Mastercard/Visa/Maestro Card no.

Expiry date

Start date

Issue no

CSV

All orders will be confirmed with our latest catalogue. Call 01386 554440 for your FREE copy.

EMAIL PLEASE ADVISE US OF YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS TO RECEIVE SPECIAL OFFERS

* Occasionally the advertised delivery date may change, however, this will be clearly stated on your order confirmation. Please tick here if you prefer not to receive offers other than from our company__

HAYLOFT PLANTS, MANOR FARM NURSERY, PENSHAM, PERSHORE, WORCESTERSHIRE WR10 3HB

FOR DETAILS OF CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING PLEASE TELEPHONE 020 3728 6260 OR VISIT WWW.HEARSTMAGAZINESDIRECT.CO.UK

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Health

Fires, Stoves & Heating

FLOAT WORKS

The natural alternative for stress relief & pain control

020 7357 0111 www.thewoolbooth.com

Courses

The wood burning stove perfected Clearview stoves are considered by many to be the finest available. Remarkably efficient and clean burning with a wonderful view of dancing flames, our stoves will save you money and enrich your life.

Come and cook! 020 7439 5500 www.goodhousekeeping.co.uk/ institute/cookery-school

STOCKISTS THROUGHOUT THE UK Manufactured at More Works, Bishops Castle, Shropshire SY9 5HH Brochure Line: 01588 650 123 www.clearviewstoves.com

House Signs

Stuck in a rut? Need a change? Residential courses in the heart of Wiltshire. Choose from upholstery, soft furnishing or loose covers. Individual tuition. Please telephone for details: 0797 925 1853 www.upholsteryworkshop.com

SUBSCRIBE TO ONE OF OUR TOP-SELLING MAGAZINES

Gifts

KATHARINE DAVIES PHOTOGRAPHY Based in Sherborne, Dorset. Specialising in natural reportage, lifestyle and portrait photography.

VISIT www.hearstmagazines.co.uk

Travel

General Interest Fashion Going to Orlando? Let me help you plan your holiday of a lifetime I am a Personal Travel Planner with DreamFinder Travel; Authorized Disney Vacation Planners For more information email

penny@dreamfindertravel.net or find me on Facebook as

Penny’s Magical Vacations with DreamFinder Travel

Develop your personal style for PD[LPXPFRQ¿GHQFH

www.helenreynoldsstyle.com

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Early Booking Discounts

01935 813374 info@katharinedaviesphotography.co.uk www.katharinedaviesgraphy.co.uk

Tel: 00 353 95 41844

FOR DETAILS OF CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING PLEASE TELEPHONE 020 3728 6260 OR VISIT WWW.HEARSTMAGAZINESDIRECT.CO.UK


FOR DETAILS OF CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING PLEASE TELEPHONE 020 3728 6260 OR VISIT WWW.HEARSTMAGAZINESDIRECT.CO.UK

MARCH 2018

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STRAPLINE

MY COUNTRYSIDE

SARA COX

The DJ and TV presenter on dog-friendly holidays and becoming a rural matchmaker on BBC2’s new show, Love in the Countryside

Growing up on a farm, the thing I remember most are the sounds – being woken by the cows mooing in the morning while they waited for their breakfast or the loud thud as my pony Gus gave the stable door a kick. I wasn’t your usual teenage girl; I’d work the trap for my dad and his friends when they went clay-pigeon shooting – pulling back that mechanised spring was hard work. As the daughter of a cattle farmer, choosing my favourite way to eat beef is like choosing my favourite child – it’s impossible and immoral! But a nice roast with all the trimmings takes some beating. I do like cheaper cuts, too, though – my kids love a meat pie, which I make with Hereford mince. I still love riding, especially in Devon. I’ve done the Dartmoor Derby twice now and I’m hoping to do it again. It’s sort of like an endurance ride, but a really lovely one. It was inspired by the Mongol Derby, but it’s nowhere near as hardcore. We hire beautiful horses and embark on three days of riding, with

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glamping overnight – there’s plenty of delicious local food and drink, too. We always holiday in the UK so we can take our Maltese terriers, Dolly and Beano. In the past few years, we’ve been to some wonderful places: St Agnes in north Cornwall; Boncath near Cardigan Bay in Wales; and Woolacombe Beach in Devon. Last summer, a friend and I took our six kids to the Jurassic Coast in Dorset – it was terrific fun… until a sickness bug swept through our caravans! The Isle of Wight is very dog-friendly. It’s a great combination of pretty countryside and stunning beaches. We recently visited a garlic farm in Newchurch there, too. The main thing with holidays in Britain is to be prepared for all weather – always have a cagoule to hand! When BBC2 approached me to host its new rural dating show, Love in

the Countryside, I liked the idea immediately. My favourite thing is that it’s genuine – these people really are hoping to find love. It’s going well so far – there have been some real sparks, so I’ve got high hopes I’ll be at a wedding in the not too distant future. It’s given me an opportunity to nose around some amazing farms, too – there’s a beautiful sheep and cattle farm in Dumfries and Galloway, and one in the wilds of North Yorkshire. One of the women is an equine vet, so I’m hoping to have a riding lesson with her at some point. One of my pipe dreams is to have some land of my own one day. I’d have horses, a couple of Jersey cows to trim the grass and some Dexters – apparently they can be quite wilful buggers, though, which is hard to believe because they look so cute. I have to get up early for my breakfast show, so I often listen to BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today. It’s so interesting and really gives an insight into just how hard people work. Whatever crop they’re bringing in, once they’ve started there’s no clocking-off time – they’ve just got to keep on going until everything’s in from the fields. I think it’s really important to support our farmers. I’ll always buy British, and I’m happy to pay a bit more for things such as organic milk and meat. And, if it comes from Hereford, where my dad’s based, that’s even better!

One of my pipe dreams is to have some land of my own

Inspired by CL’s dating website country-loving.co.uk, BBC2’s new rural dating show Love in the Countryside will be airing soon. Find out more at countryliving.co.uk. For suggestions of dog-friendly hideaways, see A Month in the Country in this issue. countryliving.co.uk

INTERVIEW BY LAURAN ELSDEN. PHOTOGRAPHS BY POLLY A BALDWIN; FREEMANTLE MEDIA UK; GETTY IMAGES/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

Sara riding in the Dartmoor Derby; she always holidays in the UK, and spent last summer caravanning on the Jurassic Coast


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