JANUARY 2018 £4.30
DECORATING CRAFTS HOUSES GARDENS FOOD TRAVEL HEALTH
Gorgeous schemes with greys & golds Simple vintage crafts to make Easy ideas for fireside feasts
FLIGHT OF FANCY DRAWN TO NATURE MAGICAL TOPIARY IN A MISTY GARDEN
A SUSSEX ARTIST’S SEASONAL JOURNAL
01 9 770951 028279 countryliving.co.uk
LET’S CELEBRATE! SPECIAL PLACES TO SPEND NEW YEAR
January 2018 issue 385
110 94 13
Contents Houses & gardens 13 32 70 80 94 102 110
EMPORIUM New ways to introduce elements of country style to your home FROST & FIRE Take inspiration from the stark beauty of wild winter landscapes by using a palette of soft greys and off-whites TILED TO PERFECTION Bring colour and pattern to your rooms with stylish stone, elegant encaustic and chic ceramic tiles SIMPLE VINTAGE MAKES Create an individual home with original craft projects A WORK OF ART Inspired by Arts and Crafts, one couple have used the decorative style to renovate their Georgian farmhouse TALES AND TRADITION Local customs and family folklore have been at the heart of the restoration of a Breton farmhouse A FLIGHT OF FANCY Fantastical topiary forms and intriguing architectural finds feature in an artist’s garden in Kent
ELEMENTS OF DESIGN In part two of our gardening series, find out how to enhance your outside space with paths, steps and terraces GARDEN NOTES Everything you need to know to get the most from your plot
Features 27 31 44 52 55 62 79
THE GOOD LIFE Advice for smallholders COUNTRY LOVING Rural life isn’t always idyllic, especially when it comes to dating… CRAFTED WITH KINDNESS Meet a shepherd who creates sheep-friendly fleece rugs AN ARTIST’S NATURE JOURNAL Kelly Hall celebrates her local flora and fauna A LIVING LEGEND The mysterious white hart FORGOTTEN CRAFTS: THE CASK MAKER One of Britain’s last master coopers demonstrates the barrel-maker’s art WILD WONDER The elusive pine marten
84 ON THE COVER Comfort & cheer pages 32, 80 and 132 Flight of fancy page 110 Drawn to nature page 52 Special places to spend New Year page 90
32 January 2018 issue 385 84 90
WAXING LYRICAL An inspiring couple rescue and recycle wax from restaurants and churches to create luxury, sustainable candles 10 OF THE BEST WAYS TO CELEBRATE NEW YEAR Welcome in 2018
Food & drink 126 132
THE PERFECT PRESERVE Make your own marmalade, then showcase it in a range of sweet and savoury recipes LIGHT AND EASY Embrace the art of Lagom, or ‘just enough’, with these Scandi dishes
11 19 138 145 162
TRIBUTE TO LOUISE ELLIOTT Remembering Country Living’s much-loved and long-standing deputy editor A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY What to do, where to go and the simple pleasures of January NEXT MONTH in Country Living WHERE TO BUY Stockist details MY COUNTRYSIDE Actor David Jason
Reader offers & events 51
News & views
Health & beauty HEALTH NOTES Our regular round-up from the world of health and beauty ALL-DAY ENERGY Simple diet and lifestyle changes to help you start 2018 with a spring in your step
THE INTERFLORA COUNTRY LIVING COLLECTION Our seasonal bouquets CALLING ALL BUDDING ENTREPRENEURS Apply now for a free stall in our pop-up market SUBSCRIBE TO COUNTRY LIVING WIN £5,000 IN OUR PRIZE DRAW
COVER CREDITS Photograph by Rachel Whiting. Styling by Ben Kendrick and Alaina Binks. Linen cloth, H&M. House tealight holders, Dot Com Gift Shop. Copper tealight dishes, Pipii. Ribbons, Jane Means. Leather string; scissors: both Papermash. Decorative papers, Paperchase. White jug, John Lewis. Brass jug; teapot: both The Swan Antiques Centre TAKE OUT A SUBSCRIPTION TO CL See page 60 for details countryliving.co.uk
STYLING BY GEORGIA LOVERIDGE. PHOTOGRAPHS BY NATO WELTON (MOODBOARD) AND RACHEL WHITING (PORTRAIT). PALE AND DARK GREY NAPKINS (BACKGROUND), WONKI WARE PLATE, BOTH THE CONRAN SHOP. SILVER STAR PICKS, MERI MERI. SHORT CANDLESTICKS, FABRIC STAR, BOTH ROWEN & WREN. SILVERED VOTIVES, BLUE STRING, BOTH PIPII. FROSTED PINECONE BRANCH, FUNKY BUNCH. RIBBON, JANE MEANS. SNOWFLAKE FAIRY LIGHTS, MELANIE PORTER. CERAMIC BAUBLE, ALICE WALTON CERAMICS
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Winter brings sparkle… …to the fields on frosted mornings. It contrasts the golds of stunning sunsets with leaden skies, the clouds laden with forthcoming snow. We’ve taken this colour palette for our seasonal decorating story, Frost & Fire, on page 32. If you are a crafter, you’ll love Simple Vintage Makes (page 80), where we feature a series of easy projects including pretty jam jar lanterns and decorative découpage boxes, and you can take your love of crafts one step further by selling to the public for the first time – apply for one of 35 free stands at the Country Living Spring Fair. For details, see page 59. As we enter a new year, the team at Country Living does so without a much-loved and long-standing colleague. Louise Elliott, our talented and inspiring deputy editor, died of cancer in September 2017. You can read our tribute to her on page 11. May 2018 be kind to you and yours.
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Hearst UK is a trading name of The National Magazine Company Limited (Registered in England number 112955) and Hearst UK 2012-1 Ltd (Registered in England number 4474102) whose registered offices are at 33 Broadwick Street, London W1F 0DQ. Country Living is distributed by Frontline Ltd, Peterborough Tel: 01733 555161. This publication is sold subject to the following conditions: that it shall not, without the consent of the publishers first given, be lent, resold, hired or otherwise disposed of by way of Trade except at the full retail price of £4.30; it shall not be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise disposed of in a mutilated condition, or in any unauthorised cover by way of Trade of affixed to or as part of any publication or advertising, literary or pictorial matter whatsoever. Sources, uses and disclosures of personal data held by Hearst Magazines UK are described in the official Data Protection Register. All paper used to make this magazine is from sustainable sources in Scandinavia and we encourage our suppliers to join an accredited green scheme. Magazines are now fully recyclable. By recycling magazines you can help to reduce waste and add to the 5.5 million tonnes of paper already recycled by the UK paper industry each year. Before you recycle your magazine, please ensure that you remove all plastic wrapping, free gifts and samples. If you are unable to participate in a recycling scheme, pass your magazine on to a local hospital or charity. This magazine can be recycled either through your kerbside collection, or at a local recycling point. Log on to recyclenow.com and enter your postcode to find your nearest sites.
O B I T UA RY
Tribute to Louise Elliott This issue is dedicated to the memory of deputy editor Louise Elliott, a valued, loved and respected member of the team, who worked on Country Living for over 20 years and died of cancer on 4 September 2017, aged 57
PHOTOGRAPH BY SIMON BEVAN
WORDS BY SUSY SMITH
ouise joined Country Living as deputy chief sub-editor in 1996 and soon rose to become chief sub-editor, then associate editor and, in 2012, deputy editor. These roles require a very certain set of skills. One has to be immensely organised, remain calm and exercise true diplomacy. A sense of humour also helps! Louise was organised and diplomatic, but it would be wrong to say she was always calm. Under pressure she had the same desire to let off steam as everyone else. It was at this point that something had to give – and it usually did. Louise’s answer? To whistle. Or sing. Loudly! The singing often took the form of music from old movies, of which she had a comprehensive knowledge. This usually diffused any tension. One colleague said: “It’s hard to feel stressed when someone is whistling the tune to Match of the Day beside you.” There was often laughter when Louise was around. If there was an opportunity to put on a silly wig or demonstrate a dance step, she would do so, in the middle of the office! She delighted in innuendo, could spot a double entendre at a hundred paces and loved to entertain an audience. One of the team said: “Her stories, and the hilarious way she related them, were the stuff of legend.” Louise grew up in the Quaker village of Jordans, Buckinghamshire, where her sister Clare, a doctor, and her mother, Annie (née Sheppard), a retired schoolteacher, still live. Her other sister, Jane, lives in Germany, and her brother, Ian, in Paris. Her Northern Irish father, William Elliott, was an accountant. She studied English countryliving.co.uk
WITH CONTRIBUTIONS FROM KITTY CORRIGAN AND THE COUNTRY LIVING TEAM
“A beautiful writer and brilliant editor, she was hugely inspiring”
literature at King’s College London and early in her career worked as a sub-editor on Running magazine and Ideal Home. She ran the London marathon twice, and in her lunch breaks at Country Living would don her running gear at least once a week for a sprint around Regent’s Park. Louise’s beautifully lyrical writing often appeared in the magazine and included a monthly column, Country in the City. In it she talked about her love of gardening, cats and discovering the corners of London that allowed her to feel she was living a rural life in an urban environment. It was also her opportunity to champion contemporary craft and the urban artisans who produced it. Discovering
and meeting these talented people was what she loved the most. With an encyclopaedic knowledge of Country Living, Louise was the go-to person when someone asked, “When did we last do something on stoats?” or “Have we featured anyone making life-sized crocheted animals?” She would always know the answer. There are many memories that illustrate her quirky personality: the fact that when cycling down a steep hill, she would stop herself getting scared by repeating the name of a foreign football player over and over; her fear of kedgeree (because it combines smoked fish and egg) and her even greater fear of being offered kedgeree for lunch during an interview for a feature – which actually happened; her love of travel and her tales on returning from a visit to France with her mother or an Italian holiday with her Istrian husband Branco Isic (known as Žduc), whom she married in 1994; her closeness to her family – everyone knew that her Friday lunches with her mother Annie in Liberty were sacrosanct. Sue Gilkes, Louise’s deputy chief sub-editor on Country Living for many years, says, “Louise was amazing to work for – a beautiful writer and brilliant editor, she was hugely inspiring and instilled in me the importance of striving always to produce your very best work.” Louise attracted admiration from all her colleagues at Country Living – for her integrity, dedication, kindness and empathy, and her training and mentorship of newcomers. She is survived by Žduc, her stepson, Matija, her mother and her siblings. She will be much missed by us all. JANUARY 2018
Use rustic textures of wool and wood with warm metallic tones inspired by Scandinavian style COMPILED BY ALAINA BINKS Ceramics by potter Pip Hartle are now available from Toast. This mug is £35
Knitted lambswool scarf, £55, The Croft House
Women’s mohair jumper, £135, Brora
Felt coasters in grey (shown) or red, £4 for four, Sainsbury’s. Matching placemats are also available
PRICES AND AVAILABILITY CORRECT AT TIME OF GOING TO PRESS
Hand-carved Gustavian-style bench, £875, Susie Watson Designs
Textured cotton cushion (30cm x 50cm) with duck feather filling, £30, Finch & Crane
Handmade wool and leather slippers, £60, also available in children’s sizes, A Andreassen
EMPORIUM Hand-screenprinted with water-based inks, this Maris Stripe cushion is £72 by Epping Smith
Colourful wool bobble hat with fleecelined cuff, £17.50, Tinsmiths
Add industrial style to a kitchen with this copper pendant light (diameter 23cm), £70, Cox & Cox
Julia Plotkin’s unique deer heads are made to order in a choice of fabrics, from £650
This smart fitted Lilymere women’s tweed jacket has a Teflon moisture- and stain-repellent coating, £399.95, Schöffel
Hand-thrown rustic ceramic milk jug by Debbie Nicholls, £16.50, Etsy
Molly Mahon hexagonal Leaf pen pot, £10, Harris & Jones
Fern-green lambswool blanket, £69, The Future Kept
Set of four hand-screenprinted cotton napkins, available in several colours including red (shown) and a rich mustard, £25, Softer and Wild
Use this as a bag or as a basket on the front of a bike. Hand-woven rattan with removable straps, £45, Olli Ella
Stay toasty with this wheat- and lavender-filled dachshund, which can be warmed in the microwave, £32, Indigo and Rose
St Jude’s latest fabric, Bantam Bough, £66/m, features a charming chicken design by Mark Hearld
Leather roll case for pencils, pens or brushes, handmade by Paula Kirkwood, £35. Available in dark or tan, it can also be personalised*
In her rural Northamptonshire studio, artist and potter Jacqueline Rappaport creates unique, high-fired stoneware. This bowl is £17
These felted merino wool throws have been hand-knitted by Melanie Porter using giant needles, from £320 each
The pillow-back St Ives sofa is handcrafted in Britain and features removable cotton covers. It’s available in 11 colours and is £1,299 for the Grande, shown, from the Country Living Collection for dfs
Hand-beaten brass oak-leaf sconce, £225, The Shop Floor Project
For stockist details, see Where to Buy
*UP TO FIVE LETTERS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE. ROLL CASE PHOTOGRAPHED BY BETH CRUTCHFIELD AT HEARST STUDIOS
Beeswax candles give off a subtle honey scent as they burn. This hand-rolled pair is £6.95, Filberts of Dorset
W H AT T O S E E A N D D O I N JA N UA RY TAKE PART IN A BURNS NIGHT SUPPER
IN THE FIELDS THIS MONTH
COMPILED BY LAURAN ELSDEN AND SARAH BARRATT
Listen out for woodpeckers No Scot will need reminding of this integral national celebration, but south of the border many aren’t so familiar with Burns Night or, indeed, Robert Burns himself – the 18th-century Scottish poet whose birthday is still celebrated each year on 25 January. Tradition calls for a supper, followed by poetry readings, dancing and bagpipes (if none are available, Celtic music will do). The ensuing evening should include the Selkirk Grace prayer and an address to the haggis, during which an honoured guest will raise it in triumph while delivering the line ‘Gie her a haggis!’ to rapturous applause. This is followed, of course, by a rousing group rendition of Auld Lang Syne. countryliving.co.uk
VENTURE OUT INTO WINTER WOODLANDS and you’d be forgiven for thinking that bare branches and curled bracken mark a time of inertia in nature’s calendar. However, listen carefully and you might hear the distinctive drumming of the great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major). It hammers on dead trees to establish its territory (rather than in search of insects as is commonly thought), its cushioned skull absorbing shockwaves in the process. The male – distinguished by a flash of scarlet on the nape of its neck – can drum up to 600 times a day and has been known to knock on weather vanes and telegraph poles. Great spotted woodpecker numbers have increased rapidly over the past 40 years and recently, for the first time, the bird was sighted across the Irish Sea. Lack of foliage at this time of year means that the sound of their hammering carries well – scan mature broad-leaf trees and conifers for the best chance to spot one.
Lambs are always a welcome sight, and while we associate them with spring, breeds such as the Dorset Horn can lamb as early as December. Despite the cold, there are advantages – for example, farmers have fewer demands on their time, so can focus on tending their flock.
QUIRKY COUNTRYSIDE Ponteland Wheelbarrow Race
Back in the 14th century, the provident Lord of the Manor in Ponteland, Northumberland, encouraged residents to scour the countryside for provisions in the lead-up to winter. Today this tradition is commemorated with a wheelbarrow race starting and finishing at the Blackbird Inn. Teams of two race along a one-mile course, with all money raised going to local charities.
A simple make...
LINED ENVELOPES Send special notes to friends and family by designing your own stationery PROJECT AND STYLING BY ROS BADGER PHOTOGRAPH BY RACHEL WHITING
1 Gather a selection of different-sized envelopes.
2 Choose some patterned
A WALK TO TAKE
CLIFFTOP VIEWS AND SEA BREEZES Start 2018 as you mean to go on with a fresh winter walk across the wonderful White Cliffs of Dover to South Foreland Lighthouse in Kent. On 1 January, from 11am, a National Trust guide will be on hand to provide interesting insights about the area’s history, nature and the brilliant conservation work currently being undertaken there. Two miles to the lighthouse – which was the first to display electric light – this is a moderate stroll to ease you into the new year, yet invigorating enough to soothe your head if you indulged in one too many glasses of fizz the night before. Once you’ve reached South Foreland, you can enjoy a warming brew at Mrs Knott’s Tearoom before heading back the other way (01304 207326; nationaltrust.org.uk).
paper – this can be anything from recycled wrapping paper to wallpaper, Japanese paper or coloured tissue. 3 Using a piece of card, make a template (you’ll need one for each size of envelope you make). Do this by placing your envelope onto the card with the flap open, and drawing around it with a pencil (it should look like the outline of a house with either a pointy or long roof ). 4 Cut out the template 0.5cm inside the pencil line. 5 Place the template onto the lining paper and draw
around it, then cut it out.
6 Stick double-sided tape or use a glue stick along either side of the lining paper ‘roof ’ and a third to halfway down the sides. 7 Carefully slide the lining into the envelope, making sure the sticky edges don’t
attach to the wrong place, or take off the protective strip of the double-sided tape once inserted. 8 Stick down and use to send lovely, unique notes. Visit badgersvelvet.com and @rosbadger.badgersvelvet on Instagram.
An ingredient to enjoy BRUSSELS SPROUTS Designer, cook and author Sophie Conran shares her favourite seasonal flavour For many the Brussels sprout is something to be loved or loathed. During my childhood, my mother grew them, and in winter the plants seemed to march across the misty vegetable patch like a little troop of bedraggled goblins. A member of the cabbage family, they are excellent with bacon and onions, raw and shredded in salads and slaw, or simply drenched in plenty of melted butter. Try them roasted with maple syrup or lightly boiled and then tossed with fried haloumi and chestnut mushrooms for a delicious vegetarian side dish. For more, see sophieconran.com.
A BOOK TO READ
Land of Plenty: A Journey Through the Fields & Foods of Modern Britain (Elliott & Thompson, £20) Our green and pleasant land would not be here without agriculture, but what do we know about where our food comes from? Charlie Pye-Smith explores the farming world and the ancient connection between land and people.
The Dun Cow Rib: A Very Natural Childhood (Canongate Books, £20) John Lister-Kaye, one of Scotland’s most prolific wildlife writers, recollects a true country childhood in this memoir. With tales of scrambling through hedgerows, tracking foxes and keeping pigeons, he movingly recalls a profound awakening to the wonders of the natural world.
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STAY IN… A FAR-FLUNG RETREAT
South Shore Cottage, Argyll Described by author JM Barrie as a ‘wild, rocky, romantic island’, Eilean Shona on Loch Moidart is home to a rich assortment of wildlife, from otters to oystercatchers. Once you’ve had your fill of nature, head back to this renovated cottage to enjoy spectacular Atlantic views. £650 for one week (eileanshona.com).
Esgair Berfedd, Llandovery Set in the heart of Crychan Forest, between the Brecon Beacons and the Cambrian Mountains, Esgair Berfedd is the perfect place to get away from it all. Hunker down by the Victorian fireplace or do some baking in the original bread oven. From £423 for three nights (breconcottages.com).
The Artist’s Studio, Burgh Island, Devon A popular holiday destination in the 1930s, Burgh Island is said to have inspired many of Agatha Christie’s plots. Located above The Pilchard Inn, the Artist’s Studio has original beamed ceilings. Head down to the pub to watch the waves roll in and out. From £440 per night (burghisland.com).
NEWS YOU CAN USE NATIONAL STORYTELLING WEEK From fairy tales to fables, myths to legends, telling stories has taken place across the world – in one form or another – for thousands of years. Whether it’s ghostly tales whispered in playgrounds or bedtime stories told by a parent, these narratives have the power to entertain and delight. Beginning on 27 January, National Storytelling Week takes place in theatres, museums, schools and hospitals around the UK, promoting this enduring oral tradition and passing it from one generation to the next. To find out about more and discover events near you, visit the Society for Storytelling’s website, sfs.org.uk. countryliving.co.uk
Our property of the month
THE OLD SCHOOL, GUNTHORPE, NORFOLK £600,000
RE-EDUCATE YOURSELF IN THE ART OF LIVING LIFE AT A SLOWER PACE in this converted schoolhouse in an idyllic Norfolk village. Built in the late 1800s, the property closed its gates as the village school in 1973 and took on a new role as a two-bedroom home. It may look small, but inside, high vaulted ceilings, exposed beams and a gothic arch window create a surprisingly light and spacious feel. With views of fields and farmland, here you’ll feel immersed in nature and truly appreciate the changing seasons, with quiet lanes all around that are perfect for cycling and walking. Only six miles inland from the sandy shores of Holkham, a windswept walk by the sea is within reach. Six miles in the other direction is the Georgian market town of Holt, which offers shops, pubs and restaurants for those rare occasions when a little hustle and bustle is required.
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 countryliving.co.uk/newsletter.
INFORMATION CORRECT AT TIME OF GOING TO PRESS. PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALAMY; WAYNE HUTCHINSON/FLPA; LIAM JONES; GETTY IMAGES. ILLUSTRATIONS BY JOANNA KERR. HAND-LETTERING BY RUTHROWLAND.CO.UK
F I N D YO U R D R E A M C O U N T RY H O M E
Inspiration and advice for aspiring smallholders
How to... HELP SAVE HERITAGE VARIETIES
MAKE A NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION to begin growing, eating or rearing heirloom vegetables and traditional breeds. You’ll not only be helping to carry on decades-old traditions, but you’ll notice the difference in taste, too. These breeds and seeds are grown for flavour and variety rather than supermarket shelf-life and mass production.
GROW HEIRLOOM SEEDS Dobbies Purple (beetroot), Silsden Bomb (cabbage) and Mr Perkins’ Leamington (cauliflower) – half the fun of growing heritage varieties is in the names. The rest is in the eating – sweet and flavourful carrots, tomatoes so intense they leave their fresh scent on your hands. Don’t be deceived into thinking that because you don’t see these varieties on shop shelves they are trickier to grow. In many cases countryliving.co.uk
Hang greens at ‘jumping’ height in the chicken run to ensure hens move around, boosting their circulation on cold days
they are hardier and more robust – after all, they’ve survived for generations already. Heirloom or vintage seeds (from varieties that are more than 50 years old) are available from a range of suppliers, including gardenorganic.org.uk, realseeds.co.uk and pennardplants.com. Garden Organic also runs the Heritage Seed Library, which aims to conserve traditional varieties that aren’t widely available. For £18 per year (on top of a £33 Garden Organic membership), you can choose six packets of heirloom seeds, plus receive a seventh ‘lucky dip’.
HOUSE TRADITIONAL BREEDS Keep a few heritage breeds of hen or duck in your garden and you can help ensure their survival – plus enjoy the benefits of eggs for breakfast. These hens may not be as prolific at JANUARY 2018
laying as modern hybrids, but they can reward you with speckled, white, chocolate brown and even blue eggs, depending on the breed. The Rare Breeds Survival Trust (rbst.org.uk) offers advice about each one and where to get them. And don’t forget to check out our new ‘Breed of the Month’ section (below), which highlights rare and native animals.
EAT HERITAGE MEAT If you don’t have space to keep traditional breeds, it may sound counterintuitive, but eating them actually helps to create a demand for others to keep them. Traditional breeds are often more slow growing and, as they can be hardier, many of these animals will be pasture-fed for most or all of their lives. The result is succulent meat with complex flavours that is in demand from top chefs. Try Traditional Hereford beef, Saddleback sausages and Herdwick Lamb. Don’t forget milk, eggs, cheese and even wool products, too. Search bigbarn.co.uk to find a list of your nearest rare or native breed producers.
Go on a course: MAKING BREAD ONCE A HOSTEL FOR MEMBERS OF THE WOMEN’S LAND ARMY, The Manor House Stables is now home to Sherry Forbes,
a Lincolnshire local and baking fanatic. Lauran Elsden went along to channel her inner Delia: “Following a good night’s sleep in the Hayloft (a relaxing retreat conveniently positioned above the kitchen), I was ready to roll up my sleeves and get started. After a delicious breakfast of warm plum loaf, we kicked off with a batch of crusty, seed-topped rolls. A baking novice, I soon developed my own haphazard technique and found the process of working the dough back and forth surprisingly therapeutic. After 15 minutes (and a bit of wrist ache) we left it to prove and moved on to our next task – baking a wholesome spelt pizza to eat for lunch (accompanied by a glass of Sherry’s homemade wine). In the afternoon, we tackled a sweet plaited loaf and, I have to say, although lacking the precision demonstrated by most expert bakers, I was very pleased when my creations emerged from the steamy oven fully raised and with not a soggy bottom in sight.” Beginner’s bread-making course, The Manor House Stables, Lincolnshire; £90 for one day (manorhousestables.co.uk).
BREED OF THE MONTH Belted Galloway Belted Galloways are descended from cattle kept in south-west Scotland for centuries. They are usually black and white – hence their nickname ‘Humbugs’ – but can also be red or dun. Thanks to the insulating properties provided by a double coat of long shaggy hair and a softer undercoat, this hardy breed is generally to be found grazing outside whatever the weather, and they don’t have to produce a thick layer of fat to keep warm, which makes for delicious beef.
OFOR A DEFINITIVE GUIDE Bread Matters, West Linton, Peeblesshire; £195 (breadmatters.com) Scottish-based baker Andrew Whitey is the author of Bread Matters. He now teaches classes with his wife Veronica from their farmhouse, with views over five acres of land. OFOR SOURDOUGH The Sourdough School, Buxworth, Northamptonshire; £175 (sourdough.co.uk) Vanessa Kimbell will guide you through the art of a well-crafted loaf and send you away with your own starter, flour and banneton, plus membership to her Sourdough club. O FOR SOMETHING A BIT DIFFERENT Manna from Devon Cooking School, Kingswear, Devon; £275 (mannafromdevon.com) From English muffins and Danish pastries to French baguettes, this class is perfect for broadening your repertoire. You’ll be tutored by award-winning baker David Jones on how to get the best flavour, texture, shape and rise.
WORDS BY KATE LANGRISH. PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALAMY; GETTY IMAGES. HAND-LETTERING BY RUTHROWLAND.CO.UK
OTHERS TO TRY…
ILLUSTRATION BY JOANNA KERR
An indecisive Imogen Green finds herself caught up in the moment
EVER SINCE A COW KNELT ON ME AND BROKE THREE OF MY RIBS, I’VE SEEN A LOT MORE OF THE VILLAGE POSTMAN. It’s partly because I’m not allowed to do any milking until they heal, so I’m now in the farmhouse when he drops off the post. But the fact that I make him bacon sandwiches may have something to do with it, too. This morning he was talking about our local gamekeeper, who reared an unusually tame pheasant this season. It began by pecking his ankle when it wanted an extra handful of food, and now it follows him wherever he goes, even flying along next to his Land Rover, peeking in at the passenger window. “So, of course, he can’t let it be killed, can he?” the postman said, pouring himself another cup of tea. “He told me he’s been picking it up and putting it in his shed on shoot days, just to keep it safe.” Outside, in the frosty yard, our little gang of pheasants – also hiding from the shoot – were hanging hopefully around the henhouse. I even heard the cock pheasant give a series of sharp shrieks, a reminder to me that I’d been chatting too long, and it was time to give the chickens their corn. The postman told me he was off to feed the cats at the Manor (their owner is on holiday), and move a wardrobe for old Mrs Haskins. All part of his daily round, along with delivering groceries, herding sheep and handing out relationship advice. And then, as he was climbing into his van, he added, “That Spanish gentleman you like? Matthew Antiza? Looks like he’s back. His car was in the drive.” I turned away so he wouldn’t see my expression. The sun was warming the shed roofs, and I watched the mist rise from them, remembering how, at Christmas, when I’d last seen Matthew, he’d explained that he had to go away on business, but would rush back as soon as he could. He’d been so different towards me then – all the usual prickliness gone. He’d gazed at me with eyes that seemed to smoulder. I was suddenly confused by my feelings. Of course I’d longed for his return, but now I almost dreaded seeing him. I still miss my husband, even though he isn’t here anymore, and I wasn’t sure I was ready to move on. I went out with the feed-bucket and the ewes in the pasture nudged at my legs. Their wool was stiff with ice, and a completely different cock-pheasant popped up beside them. He strutted confidently up to their trough and dipped his velvety head in. I’ve heard that only 37 per cent of pheasants on any estate actually get shot. The rest apparently just disappear. Sometimes I’m surprised the percentage isn’t lower. Back at the yard, I could hear shouts from the milking parlour. The cows haven’t warmed to my brother-in-law, Andrew, who’s taken over my job. They keep kicking their teat cups off, so everything has to be disinfected and the whole process takes longer. A few older ones, led by our mischievous Jersey, Molly, have even started staging a sit-in round the back. I went there countryliving.co.uk
to see if I could help. Molly was firmly settled on the ground, refusing to budge, and each time Andrew called her she would turn her face away contemptuously. I was just about to offer some gentle advice, when his wife got in first. “For God’s sake, you wally!” she yelled. “Drive the others in first and she’ll follow!” Suddenly I saw Matthew walk through the gate, elegant in his long dark overcoat. My heart leapt, and I felt myself tremble uncontrollably. He went to peck me on the cheek, and somehow, in the most natural way, it became a passionate kiss. I lost myself in it completely – it was wonderful – except that somewhere in the distance I could hear a pheasant shriek.
DON’T MISS OUR RURAL DATING SERIES ON BBC TWO Love in the Countryside, inspired by Country Living’s dating site country-loving.co.uk, will be airing soon. Find out more at countryliving.co.uk.
‘Lonely birdwatcher longs for a happy ending’
Be inspired by winterâ€™s wild, untamed landscapes and use rustic weathered materials, cool greys and off-whites, and then add warmth with tactile wool and fleeces WORDS AND STYLING BY SIAN WILLIAMS
PHOTOGRAPHS BY BRENT DARBY
S E A S O N A L I N S P I R AT I O N
For merchandise details, see overleaf
S E A S O N A L I N S P I R AT I O N WARM AND INVITING Previous page Create a welcoming environment where you can relax after a chilly stroll. Decorate a fireplace with cream, white and stoneware vases, seasonally inspired paintings and distinctive metal accessories Log basket, £12, Morgans. Cornbury votives, £4.50 each, Garden Trading. White rustic dinner candles (in votives), £9 for 12, Pipii. Woodburner, £120, McCartneys at Brecon Antiques. Candelabras, £16 each, Morgans. Mug, £1.50, Ikea; painted with Marabu black porcelain paint, £2/15ml, Hobbycraft. Coaster, £1.25 for two, Ikea. Vintage teapot,
£4, Morgans. Hippeastrum ‘Snow Queen’ amaryllis grown from bulbs, £8.99 each, RHS Plants. Vintage flowerpots, £3 each; stoneware jars, £3 each; gilt-framed mirror, £95; small still-life canvas, £25; framed snow scene, £18; silver-footed pot, £8; flower vase, £8; white ceramic candlestick, £12; vintage handmade box, from £3.50; lovespoon, £4; small framed picture, £22: all Morgans. Pine cones, £3.25 for 15, Pipii. Snowflake mirror baubles (also used to make hanging decoration), £12.95 for four, Nkuku. Zinc stars, £1.75 for five; florist’s wire, £2.40/45m: both Pipii
SIMPLY SERENE Left A set of old wooden paddles leant against a cool grey wall introduces an understated nautical theme, while a kilim adds a flash of contrasting colour Walls painted in Gauze Intelligent matt emulsion, £47/2.5L; door painted in Gauze Deep Intelligent eggshell, £29/1L: both Little Greene. Vintage kilim,
£48; rowing oars, £36 (a pair): both Morgans
TIME-WORN STYLE Above A corrugated iron barn, blackened and rusted with age, and the bold turquoise undersides of boats make an effective combination of colours and textures that would look good echoed in a room scheme
RUSTIC CHARM Make a dining area feel snug with warm wood and layers of woollens and sheepskins. Framed boat scenes and hand-painted pottery with water themes add to the natural look Walls painted in Gauze Deep Intelligent emulsion, £47/2.5L; window frames and woodwork in Gauze Intelligent eggshell,
£29/1L: both Little Greene. Table, £120; chairs, £25 each; storage bench, £85; vintage pendant light, £36; octagonal mirror, £25; framed still-life painting, £175; mirror, £25; framed boat painting, £26: all Morgans. Handwoven throw, £675, Catarina Riccabona. Sheepskin (under throw), £30; Fardrup grey rug, £10; Skold brown sheepskin (on chair), £40; tea towel, £1.75:
all Ikea. Table runner made from Malbec Snow linen, £41/m, Sanderson. Beer glasses, 50p each; teapot, £4; candle tin, £5; candlestick, £12: all Morgans. Candleholders, £4.95 for six; Christmas tree candles, £5.95 for 20; candles (in votives), £9 for 12: all Pipii. Cornbury ribbed glass votives, £4.50 each, Garden Trading. Pots and dishes in Fimo Air Basic white
clay, £4.50/500g; painted with Marabu porcelain paint, £2/15ml: both Hobbycraft. La Cafetière cocoa shaker, £9.99, Lakeland. Mugs, £1.50 each, Ikea; painted with Marabu porcelain paint, as before. Coasters, £1.25 for two; Vardagen napkins, £2.50 for two: both Ikea. Baskets made from base, £1.76; canes, from £15.77 (150m): both Fred Aldous
S E A S O N A L I N S P I R AT I O N WINTRY GLOW Left Maximise natural light by painting windowsills and frames white, then introduce aged wood and distressed painted furniture to give the room depth and texture On table Runner made from Malbec Snow linen £41/m, Sanderson. Cornbury votives, £4.50 each, Garden Trading. Candles, £9 for 12, Pipii. Charbonnel Et Walker truffles, from £5.49 per box, Lakeland. Ceramic candlestick, £12, Morgans. Mugs, £1.50 each, Ikea; painted with Marabu black porcelain paint, £2/15ml, Hobbycraft. Coasters, £1.25 for two; Vardagen napkins, £2.50 for two; Fardrup rug (on chair back), £10: all Ikea. Baskets made from 4R100mm round wooden bases, £1.76 each; No 8 centre canes, £15.77; flat band cane, £20.27/500g: all
Fred Aldous. Slouch jumper, £92; leather leggings, £435; slippers made from sheepskin offcuts, £8.25 per bag: all Celtic & Co
FROSTY THEMES Bring the beauty of the outdoors into your home by displaying an artwork of a snowy landscape in a vintage gilded frame Bottom right Garland made from unvarnished 25mm beads, £4.50 for ten; and 10mm beads, £4.50 for 80: both Hobbycraft. Mirrored bauble (hanging on mirror), £12.95 for four, Nkuku. Florist’s wire, £2.40/45m; pine cones, £3.25 for 15: both Pipii. Vintage gilt-framed mantel mirror, £95; framed snow scene, £18; lovespoon, £4; flower vase, £8: all Morgans. Cornbury votive, and candle, as before
S E A S O N A L I N S P I R AT I O N
DANISH-STYLE CANDLE HOLDERS
Craft rustic decorative pieces from white air-dry clay. Mould into shapes and leave to dry for a couple of days, then decorate with illustrations of wintry trees.
Wrap wire around the base of a candle, then bend it over the rim of a glass so it is straight, before looping into a flower shape. Add a weight to the end of the wire.
Pots and dishes made in Fimo Air basic white clay, £4.50/500g; painted in Marabu porcelain paint in black and white, each £2/15ml: all Hobbycraft
Vintage beer glasses, 50p each, Morgans. Silver candleholders, £4.95 for six; candles, £5.95 for 20; florist’s wire, £2.40/45m: all Pipii
Draw around both feet onto card, adding 1cm all around for seams, to make templates. Use these to cut out two pieces of sheepskin and one of felt for each foot. Sew two pieces of sheepskin together, with felt in between, and skin at bottom and fleece on top. Use top of template to cut out two toe sections. Sew toe to sole, fleece-side down, then turn inside out.
Draw around each hand onto card, adding 1cm all around for seams, and cut out. Cut out two pieces of sheepskin for each hand (flipping template for the back of mitten). Sew mitten pieces together, fleece-sides facing, leaving bottom edge open. Turn right side out and sew on a ribbon to connect them.
Sheepskin offcuts, £8.25 per bag, Celtic & Co countryliving.co.uk
A wintry setting has a bare and bleak beauty all of its own
S E A S O N A L I N S P I R AT I O N
HANGING BIRD FEEDERS
SIMPLE WOVEN BASKETS
Decorate a length of twine with beads, then use to hang up little baskets in the garden. Fill with seeds and fat balls.
Look at riverside reeds and rushes for inspiration. Using a rattan centre, weave a flat band cane around the circumference. Soak the cane for five minutes beforehand so it becomes pliable. Leave the upright canes long to turn into a handle when gathered and tied.
Wicker bird nests, £4.50 each, Hedgehog. Seagrass mini basket, £1.99; florist’s wire, £2.40/45m: all Pipii. 308 Flax 1mm stitching twine, £7.55/226g, Ropesource. Unvarnished beads, from £4.50, Hobbycraft
Basket materials, as below
HAND-PAINTED CROCKERY Give tableware a unique touch by painting a set of white china mugs with simple, nature-themed imagery. Use ceramic paint, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Runner made from Malbec Snow linen, £41/m, Sanderson. Breadboard, £8, Morgans. Mugs, £1.50 each; coasters, £1.25 for two: all Ikea. Black porcelain paint, £2/15ml, Hobbycraft. Basket made from 4R100mm wooden base, £1.76; No 8 centre cane, £15.77/150m; flat band cane (8mm wide), £20.27/500g: all Fred Aldous. La Cafetière cocoa shaker, £9.99; Charbonnel Et Walker milk Sea Salt Caramel truffles, from £5.49: both Lakeland
For stockist details, see Where to Buy
Crafted with kindness Deborah Griffin has discovered a sensitive and sustainable way to turn the fleeces of her flock into luxurious sheepskins WORDS BY KENDRA WILSON
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ANDREW MONTGOMERY
RU R A L B US I N ES S
For each skin, a technique is used that doesn’t cost the life of the animal
he written directions from the local village to Deborah Griffin’s Peak District farm are rather telling: “Follow the road uphill, then some way into high countryside until you reach a public house. Remember where it is, as it’s the only major building for some distance.” As the car climbs up and up, the land becomes lonelier, the air colder. When the old pub looms into view, like the dubious den for ne’er-do-wells in Daphne du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn, it is indeed clear that this will be the last sign of civilisation for some time. After travelling further into the rolling hills, eventually an unmarked track leads over a bridge to an elegant old stone farmhouse of warm-coloured brick. Inside, armchairs and window seats are invitingly draped with thick fleeces. If you found yourself at this remote destination without knowing the story of Deborah’s business, The Living Rug Company, you would probably assume that these were exceptionally soft and fluffy sheepskins – but you would be wrong. Remarkably, each one is carefully handcrafted by Deborah herself, using a technique that doesn’t cost the life of the sheep that provide them. The process that makes this possible involves attaching the fleece to a felt backing rather than using the traditional suede one. To further their unique status (there are no others like these created in the UK), the rugs are then labelled with the name of the sheep that donated the wool – so you know exactly which animal you have to thank for cosy feet on cold winter nights. In
THIS PAGE AND OPPOSITE On her farm in the Peak District, Deborah lives with her rare breed and pet sheep, over
half of which she has saved from slaughter. She places carded wool on top of the fleeces to create her rugs
return for providing the proverbial three bags full, Deborah takes meticulous care of her now 65-strong flock. The sheep are fed twice a day with organic feed and the best hay, are attended by a vet and, although the majority of their time is spent roaming in the clear Derbyshire air, weather-proof shelters are available if they want them. Unsurprisingly, this delightful business model was born out of Deborah’s high regard for one of Britain’s longest-standing domestic animals. Having raised a family in nearby Buxton, her husband Kevin’s company was then bought out, and the couple found themselves in a position to make new choices. Deborah was already interested in keeping the two horses she had in a way that suited their nature as flight animals, and wanted to liberate them from their stables into a wilder setting. So when Kevin bought a sports car for himself, he also countryliving.co.uk
RU R A L B US I N ES S
RU R A L B US I N ES S
CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE Each rug is marked with the name of the sheep the fleece came from; compatible carded wool from the flock
bought a 40-acre farm for Deborah. Of the next step, she recalls, “I had always fancied some sheep.” As a result, eight years ago, Deborah acquired four hardy Herdwick sheep: Oliver, Billy, Ian and Babe.“I really liked their characters and instantly fell in love with them.” Next came four rescue sheep, Blue-faced Leicester crosses, or ‘mules’, bred for slaughter. She paid the same market price that anyone buying them for meat would have done. More common-or-garden sheep were added steadily until three years ago, when Kevin gave her a wedding anniversary gift of – yes – more sheep. These were Valais Blacknose, which resemble a friendly, four-legged Yeti, and are generally seen on the Swiss Alps. Since then, more rare breeds, such as Gotland, Icelandic and Shetland – all of which have interesting wool – have joined the flock. To begin with, Deborah gave the fleeces away, but as their volume increased, she began to experiment with other uses for them, such as making soap and candles. However, she soon discovered that ‘vegetarian sheepskin rugs’ are hugely popular in Holland. Inspired and intrigued, she went over to meet a maker on the island of Texel, near Amsterdam. Not believing in her own ability, she had planned to commission rugs, but discovered that this would leave her £400 out of pocket with each one. The internet came to her rescue and she learned from an American on YouTube that, just maybe, she could do this for herself. During shearing, on a good day a sheep’s fleece will come off in one piece. Although Deborah’s rugs now incorporate these in their entirety – beautifully showcasing the natural markings – while she was still learning, she found it easier to start with small sections. A sheep’s hide is not always the most practical shape, and smaller pieces are better suited as runners for benches or as footstools. “My husband has Bert on his footstool,” she says. “He’s been putting his feet on him for a couple of years.” The making process takes place in one of the farm’s sturdy limestone
is combined with the fleece; the long and arduous job of rolling the fleece will later reveal glossy results, backed with a layer of felt
outbuildings. Here, Deborah combines a sheep’s fleece with carded wool (wool that is cleaned and prepared for felting or spinning). A good fleece is precious, so carded wool is sometimes bought in from a local mill. Deborah sources compatible materials, so that a super-soft Gotland rug will be made of 100 per cent Gotland wool. She also sends out any of her own fleeces that are not considered good enough for rugs to be carded themselves. The creation of each rug requires careful attention, as well as plenty of elbow grease. “I take the washed fleece and lay it out, so I get the shape I want,” Deborah explains. “Then I place three layers of carded wool on top. I also put netting over to hold it all in place during the felting process.” This is where soap and hot countryliving.co.uk
“My husband has Bert on his footstool – he’s been putting his feet on him for a couple of years”
RU R A L B US I N ES S
BELOW LEFT The ‘living rugs’ beautifully show the natural markings and lifestyle of each animal BELOW RIGHT The remote farm is located 1,300 feet above sea level
water, carried across from the farmhouse kitchen, come in, plus a system of gentle-but-firm rubbing. “You are creating a skin,” she says. “The feeling is surprisingly therapeutic.” The next stage is physically harder. The fleece, along with its backing, is wrapped around a tube, which in turn is wrapped in durable plastic. This is rolled, and rolled, and rolled. Like pastry, it needs to be rolled from different angles for an even finish, and to prevent it from shrinking back. Unlike pastry, this process takes a few hours. Rolls of fleeces are even dragged along the ground in the yard; a horse has been co-opted for this in the past, but Deborah has since discovered that it’s easier to do it herself. Unrolled, a wet fleece does not look promising – but, once dry, soft and springy, it reveals its beauty, its fibres stuck fast to a skin of felt. Deborah has now begun to lead courses in the alchemy of creating felted rugs, while also offering business advice to others with ambitions of setting up small ventures like hers. Indeed, her own continues to go from strength to strength. Although she uses no formal advertising, relying instead on her website, Instagram and Facebook, this approach allows potential buyers to get to know each sheep by name (not to mention personality). It also offers a wonderful insight into her bucolic life amid the Peak District hills, and it clearly works because, year on year, her rugs sell out. However, she has no plans for large-scale expansion: “Whatever money I earn from the sheep goes back to the sheep. I wanted to prove that I could do something after being a housewife for so many years. If I can just show people what wonderful and useful animals sheep can be, then I will have achieved what I set out to do.” For more information, visit thelivingrugcompany.com.
PHOTOGRAPH BY RACHEL WHITING. *FOR ORDER BEFORE 24 DECEMBER. SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY. SOME RESTRICTIONS APPLY. **SOME STEMS MAY VARY TO PRODUCT SHOWN DUE TO SEASONALITY
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with a Country Living satin ribbon, tag and gift card, it features red large-headed roses, sprays of red hypericum, blue eryngium and burgundy skimmia with salal, eucalyptus and variegated holly**. Visit interflora.co.uk/country-living to see more of the Country Living range, available all year round. JANUARY 2018
An artistâ€™s nature journal January
Each month, Kelly Hall illustrates the flora and fauna she has spotted near her East Sussex home
WILDLIFE n the dappled light of the glade, the stag’s senses quicken, his head – the colour of moonlight and crowned by branched antlers – is held high as his nose quivers, detecting notes of danger on the wind. The hunter has seen him from afar, a result of his unearthly white coat providing none of the usual camouflage afforded by nature. But, rather than releasing an arrow, he lowers his bow. This is not a creature to kill – to do so would be to invite bad luck, for this is a white hart – a creature many believe to have been sent by the gods. Amazingly, fast forward 11 centuries to the present day and the white hart retains much of the mythical status that enthralled our ancestors. Possibly best known as the UK’s fifth most popular pub name, the image of this ghostly stag is as common as it ever was, and yet the animal itself now largely lies deep in our cultural psyche waiting to break cover again. Occasionally it does – every few years, newspapers report a sighting in the wild: the last true one was in 2011 in Dorset; before that, there were a handful across the UK, ranging from Scotland to Devon. Even in hard-bitten news cycles, there is a sense that this is still an ‘event’, a glimpse of the only mythological creature in the country to be physically real. The definition of a white hart is a male red deer that is at least six years old and has been born with a white coat. Hart itself is an archaic word for a stag but, while the term has predominantly fallen out of use, in its white form it endures. Prosaically, its mystical glow is a result of a condition called leucism, which
legend It may appear to have galloped out of a fairy tale, but the exceedingly rare deer known as a white hart exists in reality as well as in the realms of magic and myth
WILDLIFE removes pigment. Unlike an albino, however, the animal has normal eye colouring. It’s a genetic anomaly found in many animals, from blackbirds to squirrels, yet only in the red deer – one of only two true native deer species in the UK – has it become the stuff of myth, superstition and divinity from the earliest times. “White is a normal colour for a fallow deer, for example, but a very abnormal one for a red deer,” says Charles Smith-Jones from The British Deer Society. “The ‘white harts’ that you see on pub signs are frequently fallow deer. You can tell the difference by the antlers – the fallow deer has palmated antlers (shaped like an open palm), whereas the red deer’s has standard rounded tines.” Dazzling white herds of deer – albeit fallow – are indeed maintained today in places such as Houghton Hall in Norfolk. However, it is the act of happening upon a true white hart in the wild that is the stuff of legend. “Without doubt you’d have to be astonishingly lucky,” Charles says. One person who was fortunate enough to have such luck was Fran Lockhart, a former park ranger for the John Muir Trust. Fran saw a white hart on the Knoydart Peninsula, in the northwest Scottish Highlands (located fittingly between the Loch of Heaven and the Loch of Hell) in 2008. “Local people knew where it was, but it was a bit of a secret,” she says. “When you live in a touristy place, you are selling your surroundings, but there was a sense that this was ‘theirs’ and they felt quite privileged. There was a white hart on the Isle of Arran when I was a child, which I remember my
ABOVE A true white hart is depicted on a pub sign with non-palmated antlers THIS PICTURE AND PREVIOUS PAGE The animal’s white coat is the result of leucism, a partial loss of pigmentation
dad telling me about, and I had built up a romantic notion in my head. I managed to pick out a herd on a hillside and the Knoydart hart was in among them. He wasn’t brilliant white, but he did stand out a mile. Unfortunately, the herd sensed me and ran away, but he was spotted in the area for a couple of years after that.” It’s a sign of the significance of Fran’s sighting that it sparked not just national but international interest in the media. “I must have done half a dozen interviews,” she says. “I even did one for Australian radio. It all went a bit mad. I think red deer, in particular, symbolise a sort of wildness that really captures the imagination. It’s also our biggest native animal, so that in itself makes it quite special.” The telling and retelling of sightings of the white hart, and its significance, is certainly not a new phenomenon. The Celts considered them to be messengers from the afterlife, linked with the god Cernunnos and folklore figure Herne the Hunter. Later, in medieval lore, the hart came to symbolise man’s quest for spiritual knowledge. In both cases, though, the white hart was always leading man onward, to pursue it into another plane of existence. Historically, those who encountered a white stag often described profound spiritual changes that could have great consequences A white hart in Bushy Park, Surrey, where deer have been allowed to roam freely since
Henry VIII hunted there. In the wild however, they remain elusive
– in some instances, even leading to the creation of kingdoms. Christianity later reinterpreted seeing one to symbolise Christ’s presence on earth – the story of David I, King of Scotland, being fundamental to this. Upon being charged by a white hart, legend has it that he called out to God and the deer’s antlers turned into a cross. The animal vanished – and David established a shrine (which subsequently became the Palace of Holyroodhouse) where he stood. Later, Richard II adopted the white hart, with a golden crown around its neck, as his heraldic badge to symbolise a pious kingship – the most famous image of this being on the 14th-century Wilton Diptych, now in the National Gallery. Today, the white hart’s story lives on in more ways than we may realise – from books such as The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, where the children chase one back through the wardrobe from Narnia, to Harry Potter’s ‘Patronus’, or ‘protection spell’, depicted as a ghostly white stag that links him to his father in the afterlife. There is even a reference in Game of Thrones. For mythology expert Jane Bailey Bain, the white hart’s symbolism is as alive as it ever was. “The white hart is often seen as representing nature, which is increasingly endangered. As such, it is an emblem of preserving something pure and deserving of protection – and continues to be something that can show us the way to a higher state of being. One doesn’t hunt the white hart to kill it… one hunts it because it will lead you somewhere.” countryliving.co.uk
WORDS BY ANNA MELVILLE-JAMES. PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALAMY. HAND-LETTERING BY RUTHROWLAND.CO.UK. WITH THANKS TO CHARLES SMITH-JONES (BDS.ORG.UK)
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FORGOTTEN CRAFTS The cask maker
In our new series, we highlight traditional British skills that are at risk of disappearing. This month, we meet Alastair Simms, one of the last master coopers in the UK WORDS BY CAROLINE STACEY
PHOTOGRAPHS BY NATO WELTON
THIS PAGE AND OPPOSITE Employing the same tools and materials their forefathers used, today’s coopers continue to make every barrel the traditional way – by hand, with the utmost care and attention
THIS PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM BOTTOM LEFT Wood is charred to impart flavour to the liquor; hand smoothing gives a seamless finish; a few of the brews still stored in traditional barrels OPPOSITE Shaping the individual wood sections is still done painstakingly by hand
he clang of the cooper’s cast-steel bar as it strikes an iron barrel hoop is a sound that reverberates through the air – rattling its way up one’s body from toes to teeth and back again. It is, however, a sound that Alastair Simms, the owner of White Rose Cooperage in West Yorkshire, is perfectly accustomed to. Working at a wooden bureau in his workshop or over a smouldering fire in the courtyard outside – surrounded by the tools of his trade and a carpet of fresh shavings at his feet – he handcrafts wooden vessels that are strokably smooth. These are predominantly destined to transport liquor and flavour it, in the continuance of a tradition that stretches back centuries. Like his predecessors, Alastair came to the craft young, when he was just 14. “They used to start them at 12,” he points out, before going on to explain why the job of the barrel maker, or ‘cooper’, is more relevant today than ever. “Coopering has always been about recycling. You can get 80 years out of a barrel, then saw off the ends and make a smaller one that will last another 80.” Using wooden barrels to transport alcohol is also known to greatly improve its flavour. “I can tell you what anything transported in plastic and metal tastes like,” Alastair says. “Plastic will make it taste like plastic, while metal gives a harsh edge to the drink. A wooden barrel softens and rounds the flavour, meaning you taste more of the ingredients – the malt, hops and barley.” With these facts in mind, it’s concerning that Alastair is currently one of the last remaining master coopers in the UK. The main reason the cask maker’s situation is so perilous is the wide variety of cheaper container options now available. Thankfully, though, Alastair says things are improving, with artisan alcohol producers happy to invest in a superior way
“Coopering has always been about recycling. You can get 80 years out of a barrel” 64
BELOW Templates, marked with the names of ales and liquors, are used as a trimming guide for staves
RIGHT Alastair stokes the cresset fire that softens the staves so they can be bent to fit inside the hoops
of containing and transporting their product. Because of this, White Rose Cooperage, which was once on the brink of closure, is now thriving, and Alastair has even had to take on an apprentice, Kean Hiscock, to help with all the work. It’s a heartening prospect given that coopering is one of the longest-standing skills in the country, harking back as far as the early Middle Ages when it was a proud and prolific – not to mention essential – industry. Indeed, the popular surname Cooper dates back to the 5th century, when everything from fruit and fish to oil and gunpowder would be shipped in kegs. There’s a pleasingly meticulous order to the contents of Alastair’s workspace, one that sees him move industriously through each state of a barrel’s production, from one end to the other, leaving a tell-tale trail of trimmings, chippings and sawdust. To begin making each cask, a set of staves – long strips of wood that form the barrel’s outer shell – are selected based on length, texture and hue. Hanging from a plank nailed across a wide window, and looking much like a misplaced set of shabby panpipes, is a full range of these, cut to the length of each barrel size and labelled in marker pen to be used as a trimming guide. Some names are recognisable – hogshead and firkin – while others, such as kilderkin, anker and puncheon, are less familiar. Once cut to length with a circular saw, the staves are slotted into a rusty hoop, side by side. As one end of the barrel takes shape and the other splays out beneath it, the result looks like an oversized, belted wooden grass skirt. Heading outside, Alastair lights a fire in a cresset – a metal basket – over which the barrel is placed. Doused with water, the carefully created combination of
“A whisky barrel will tend to be charred – that’s what gives the clear liquid an amber hue”
LEFT Apprentice Kean Hiscock is taking the craft into the next generation
steam and heat – along with some highly skilled knocks of the cooper’s hammer – causes the wood to become pliable. To aid the process, further hoops are looped over the flared end and slowly tightened until the barrel yields into its characteristic shape, originally designed to make it easy to roll. Work remains fireside if a toast or char – burning the interior to a desired shade – is required. A lightly toasted barrel will create sweeter flavours, a heavy toast provides aromas of charcoal, coffee bean and toasted bread, while a char is the extreme. “A whisky barrel will tend to be charred,” Alastair explains. “That’s when it is black and practically burned inside. All whisky is clear when it goes in, and anything from straw-coloured to amber or dark brown when it comes out.” A top and bottom are produced from more timber, then joined with dowels, a pair of compasses and a well-trained eye. Finally, a watertight seal, made from river reed sourced from Bedfordshire, is fitted. Standing over the barrel, Alastair hammers the hoops into place, knocking off the rusty ‘guides’ and replacing them with shimmering silver circles that will hold the barrel until the next remaking. Protecting himself with ear defenders, safety glasses and thick leather gloves, he works with an ease that belies the exertion required, but it is a career that has left its mark. “I put an axe in my thumb when I was an apprentice,” he says. “You hit your hands a lot in this trade, but you also have those accidents that you learn from – the type of stuff you do only once.” Alastair’s interest in coopering began with work experience during the school holidays at Theakston Brewery in Masham, North Yorkshire, where he was born. The man in charge caught
BELOW Cutting barrel heads requires a good eye and a steady hand
him eyeing his workmanship and rewarded his inquisitiveness by assigning him the task of dressing – or smoothing – the inside of a cask. As the hours passed without any sign of the cooper returning, Alastair continued until the entire interior was smoothed. “Not bad – I think you’ve done this before,” was the eventual verdict. On protesting his innocence, Alastair was told that he must have been a cooper in a previous life – a belief his mentor maintained until the day he died. Four years on, in 1983, Alastair qualified as a ‘journeyman’ cooper, the title being a throwback to the days when workers travelled between breweries to make a living. His graduation took the form of a traditional ‘trussing in’ ceremony. Attended by some of the 100-or-so coopers then working in the country, this ancient ritual involved graduates being rolled in a 54-gallon hogshead of the coopers’ own creation filled with stale beer, treacle, wood shavings and anything else to hand. The barrel was then hammered by a gang of coopers using the tools of their trade before the graduate arose, soaked and dazed, to be christened as a newly qualified professional. A little over ten years later, Alastair was awarded the additional title of ‘master’ cooper. Conscious of how perilous the future of the craft is, he is keen to raise awareness before it’s too late. He also plans to carry on coopering as long as possible. “I’m going to bury myself in one,” he says, patting an Alastair-sized barrel. “And just in case I come back as a cooper, I’m going to put in a loose bottom and all my best tools.” Now that’s true dedication. For more information, visit whiterosecooperage.com. JANUARY 2018
Tiled to perfection Bring pattern, print or colour into every part of your home using tiles in stylish stone, elegant encaustic and chic ceramic PRODUCED AND WRITTEN BY ALAINA BINKS AND BEN KENDRICK
D E C O R AT I N G
When using patterned tiles, keep the room furnishings as simple as possible
PALLADIO BLUE MIX TILES, MANDARIN STONE
A traditional choice of flooring, tiles cut from natural stone, or made from glazed and unglazed ceramic or porcelain, have a timeless appeal. As well as being decorative, introducing colour and design into an interior, they are hardwearing and waterproof, making them a practical option in hallways, bathrooms and kitchens. If you would like a strongly patterned floor – such as a patchwork or chequerboard effect – try to keep the rest of the furnishings in the room as plain as possible. Selecting tonal colours or a limited palette is the best way to do this. A good general rule is to keep the size of the tiles in proportion with the room size – so, the bigger the room, the larger the tile. Also, consider how you are going to lay them, particularly if they are a solid colour. They could be placed in the same direction to visually expand the length or width of a room, or perhaps arranged in a herringbone style. Many of the latest porcelain and ceramic designs mimic natural materials such as stone and wood, and can be less expensive, more durable and surprisingly hard to distinguish from the real thing. Suited to kitchens and bathrooms, vinyl tiles are softer and warmer, much easier to lay and come in plain colours and prints, such as florals or geometrics.
OPPOSITE AND THIS PAGE Whether you opt for encaustic tiles (opposite), plain ceramic (top left) or glazed porcelain designs (above), covering a whole floor is an opportunity to be adventurous with a bold
motif. Even with the most elaborate mix-and-match flooring, a simple colour palette (all blue or a classic monochrome) can help give your scheme a calm sense of coherence JANUARY 2018
D E C O R AT I N G
When you need areas to be water resistant and easy to clean, tiles are the perfect choice – arranged from floor to ceiling can work particularly well if you have an open-plan shower or wet room. Plain styles are often the preferred choice, but an interesting shape – such as a hexagon, ogee or rectangular brick – will add more character. Alternatively, try a border or decorative moulding to break up plain expanses. Don’t restrict them to kitchens and bathrooms, however, as they can be extremely useful in hallways up to the height of a dado rail to protect walls from scrapes. Glazed or patterned tiles have a similar effect to wallpaper but can also be combined with plain tiles for a more subtle finish.
the tiles. Alternatively, use patterns for a statement wall – large areas of geometric tiles look striking (below left), while mismatched designs (above right) have a vintage appeal
THIS PAGE AND OPPOSITE Block colours, such as simple white (above) or glazed bottle green (below centre), create a classic look. Add extra interest by playing with the shape and size of
Contained areas allow you to be more creative and playful with design choices
D E C O R AT I N G
Contained tiled areas, such as a splashback set behind a cooker or worktop in the kitchen, give you licence to be more creative and playful with your design choices. Beautiful hand-painted patterns can be used as individual tiles or become part of a larger frieze. Historic Delft styles are still popular in both traditional and modern versions. Glass mosaics, often sold as sheets for quick and easy application, look effective when edging the bath or placed behind a sink. Patterned glazed options can also be used in other areas of the home, such as a worksurface, fire surround or risers on stairs in a modern country interior. OPPOSITE AND THIS PAGE Blue and white hand-painted tiles bring a splash of interest to a kitchen (left), while Delft-style designs create a charming surround (above). For a look that suits a country home, introduce illustrated single tiles, such as countryliving.co.uk
farmyard animals (right), or try a more elaborate mural design with a handpainted feel that spans over several. This decorative wildflower pattern (top right) is a practical piece of art that is both heat-resistant and splash-proof JANUARY 2018
D E C O R AT I N G
CL directory Specialist supplier of unique encaustic tiles, handmade in Spain, most with a geometric edge in soft tones of greys, blues, greens and rusty reds. Recently launched a new collection with The Conran Shop and offers a selection of reclaimed designs.
D THE DOUGLAS WATSON STUDIO (douglaswatsonstudio. co.uk) English handmade and hand-painted ceramic options. All made, glazed and decorated in Oxfordshire. Well-known for individual Delft style and bespoke panels.
F FIRED EARTH (0845 366 0400; firedearth.com) Exclusive range of wall and floor tiles in an array of colours, shapes and styles, including terracotta, slate, stone, wood-effect porcelain, mosaic, glass and vinyl. Inspiring gallery of ideas and creative ways to use the brand’s designs, plus a colour consultancy, a bathroom and kitchen design service and 14 showrooms across the UK.
H HARVEY MARIA (0845 680 1231; harveymaria.com) Range of contemporary and classic vinyl tiles. Includes attractive collections by designers such as Neisha Crosland, Dee Hardwicke and Cath Kidston, as well as plain, textured and realistic wood-effect styles.
L LAURA ASHLEY (lauraashley.com) Collection by British Ceramic Tile (britishceramictile.com) featuring signature damask patterns and gentle colourings of the company’s wallpapers and fabrics. Rustic plain tiles and glass splashbacks also available.
M MANDARIN STONE (01600 715444; mandarinstone.com) Based in Monmouth, with 10 showrooms in the UK including Cardiff, Cambridge and Bath. Extensive range of natural stone and porcelain tiles from slate, marble and limestone to decorative and glazed designs. A creative blog, filled with styling ideas, and a Pinterest board can be found on the website.
MARLBOROUGH TILES (01672 515287; marlboroughtiles.com) Celebrating 80 years in crafting and painting ceramic wall tiles by hand in Wiltshire. Classic and timeless motifs include British and coastal birds, flowers, fruit and butterflies.
O ORIGINAL STYLE (originalstyle.com) Known for its Victorian-style floor tiles, this Exeter-based brand has offered a wide range, as well as borders and mosaics, since 1986, sold through a network of independent retailers. Tile calculator available online and CAD service to help visualise how your room will look.
R RYE POTTERY (01797 223038; ryepottery.co.uk) Family-owned business based in Sussex. Unfired white or buttermilk glazed tiles hand-painted to order. Small collection of dragonfly, flower and simple decorative corner patterns.
S SMINK THINGS (sminkthings.co.uk) Individual ceramic wall tiles, all featuring screen-printed glazes, with a graphic, contemporary edge.
T TILES OF STOW (01608 658993; tilesofstow.co.uk) Cotswold-based company specialising in hand-painted traditional country murals – the perfect splashback behind a range cooker.
TOPPS TILES (0800 783 6262; toppstiles.co.uk) Wide variety of affordable floor and wall options, including natural stone, mosaic, wood-effect porcelain and patchwork styles. More than 300 stores nationwide. Find ‘how to’ videos and a tile calculator on the website. In-store consultations also available.
W WELBECK TILES (welbeck.com) Classic-style handmade tiles. Its eternally stylish collection includes vintage florals, illustrated cutlery, wording and shells. Many are made using traditional techniques in its workshop in Cornwall.
THE WINCHESTER TILE COMPANY (winchestertiles.com) Sister brand to Original Style, and also based in Exeter. Collection of hand-finished wall tiles and mouldings, all sold through a network of independent retailers. View brochures on the website. countryliving.co.uk
ADDITIONAL STYLING BY BEN KENDRICK, LAURA VINE. PHOTOGRAPHY BY ADRIAN BRISCOE; CHARLIE COLMER; GAP INTERIORS/DAVID GILES; CATHERINE GRATWICKE; EMMA LEE; LIVING4MEDIA; MANDARIN STONE; ALEX RAMSAY; CLAIRE RICHARDSON; NASSIMA ROTHACKER; HENRY VAN BELKOM; NARRATIVES/CLAIRE RICHARDSON
B BERT & MAY (bertandmay.com)
N AT U R E
wild wonder WORDS BY SARAH BARRATT. PHOTOGRAPH BY ALAMY
The pine marten THIS ELUSIVE ANIMAL WAS HUNTED to the brink of extinction during the 1800s by those who coveted its highly prized pelt and gamekeepers who saw it as a threat. Like many wild species, they also fell prey to habitat fragmentation. However, thanks to the conservation efforts of organisations such as The Vincent Wildlife Trust, in recent years the pine marten (Martes martes) has started to make a comeback. Now mostly limited to a few remote areas in the UK, including the Scottish Highlands, populations are beginning to spread south to Northumberland and Cumbria, and in 2015, for the first time in a century, one was seen in Shropshire. As they donâ€™t hibernate, pine martens are most easily spotted in the depths of winter, particularly as they have to travel up to 20km a day in search of food. A fresh snowfall also makes it far easier to see their distinctive prints, which often appear in an unusual pair formation, as they adopt a bounding movement to navigate through the drifts. Find out more at vwt.org.uk.
Simple VINTAGE MAKES Create a distinctively individual home with these original handmade projects PRODUCED BY ALAINA BINKS
PAINTED DOOR Bring vibrant colour and bohemian style to your home, inspired by the uniquely exuberant Bloomsbury flavour of the interior dĂŠcor at Charleston farmhouse. This painterly and relaxed technique can be used to decorate doors (as seen), walls, furniture and lighting if youâ€™re confident with a paintbrush. However, uneven lines and shapes with soft edges fit this enchanting style perfectly. Choose matt emulsion or eggshell paints in a soft colour palette, with the occasional flourish of a bold shade to decorate a part-glazed door. Use graphic shapes that are signature to this style, such as circles and vases of flowers with sponge-effect backgrounds.
LINEN NAPKINS Dress a table for any occasion with sewn napkins tailor-made to suit your style (left). Mix and match various patterns – from florals and stripes to gingham checks and polka dots – choosing a different design for each setting. If you’d like a coherent look, link the patterns by colour, from a palette of two or three shades. Simply cut a square of linen or cotton, approximately 40cm x 40cm, adding a 2cm seam allowance on all edges. With the fabric wrong-side up, cut off the corners at an angle, turn over the edges by a few millimetres and press with an iron. Turn over the remaining seam allowance and iron, making sure the corners are neat. Use a running stitch setting on a sewing machine to sew the edges. Repeat this process to make as many napkins as you would like. Fabrics from a selection, Cabbages & Roses (cabbagesandroses.com) and Bennison Fabrics (bennisonfabrics.com).
BLANKET CUSHION COVERS Give old quilts and throws a new lease of life (right). Cut a pattern from paper the same dimensions as your cushion pad, adding 1.5cm for a seam allowance. Use as a template to cut a piece from a blanket for the back of the cover. Fold the paper over by a third and use this as a pattern for cutting out the two front sections from different blankets, making sure at least one has an edge with a satin or stitched trim. Position these on top of the back piece, ensuring the best sides of the wool are facing inwards and the raw edges are lined up. The two front panels will overlap with the trim in the middle, which will form the opening for the cushion pad. Pin in place and sew all the way round using running stitch, using the 1.5cm seam allowance. Snip across the corners, then turn the cover the right way out, iron on a low heat and insert the pad.
JAM JAR LANTERN Upcycle a basic glass jar into a decorative votive with a vintage, wintry charm in a matter of minutes (left). Cut a paper doily in half, then wrap one half around the outside of the jam jar. Hold it in place using a short length of coordinating ribbon and finish by placing a tealight inside. White, gold or silver doilies will work best for the festive season. Alternatively, pretty, colourful plain or patterned designs can decorate an Easter-themed table in spring or an outdoor party come summer.
PAPER BIRD DECORATION Cut out a simple bird shape – the body and tail – from a piece of card. Use a scalpel to make a slit 2.5cm below the back – this is where the wings will go. Make another smaller slit – or a hole using a small hole punch – above this, and pull a piece of twine through to make a hanging loop. Concertinafold a square of wrapping paper and feed it through the larger slit. Open up the folds on each side of the body into a fan to expand the wings. If you like, you could turn this decoration into a quirky flat-packed card for the recipient to assemble, with a message written on the bird’s body.
COVERED SKETCHBOOKS Customise shop-bought artists’ sketchpads with pretty patterns to suit your style, or tailor them to a friend’s taste to give as a gift (right). Source decorative papers or colour photocopy a beautiful fabric, garment or tablecloth. Cut the paper to size and stick it to the front cover of the pad using a spray adhesive, firmly smoothing it over with your hand. Repeat on the back if desired. Reinforce the spine using cotton tape secured in place using a strong glue or double-sided tape. For the tie, cut two lengths of linen ribbon and stick one end of each length to the inside front and back covers using an adhesive label.
DÉCOUPAGE HAT BOXES Use storage boxes as a striking alternative to giftwrap for presents (left). Cut out shapes from lightweight or specialist découpage papers (try theartycraftyplace.co.uk), carefully following the edges. Arrange them on the lid and sides of a painted or unpainted box and glue in place using a watered-down PVA glue. Then, spread the glue over the top of the paper shapes. Leave to dry before covering the whole box (apart from the base and inside) with another coat of the glue solution. Apply a layer of matt clear varnish to finish if desired.
MAKES AND STYLING BY BEN KENDRICK; CAROLINE REEVES; KRISTIN PERERS; LAURA VINE; SARAH MOORE. PHOTOGRAPHS BY CAROLINE ARBER; ALUN CALLENDER; JULIE DICKSON; JAMES MERRELL; KRISTIN PERERS; CLAIRE RICHARDSON; NASSIMA ROTHACKER; PIA TRYDE
This is perfect for hanging on a door or drawer knob or to display in a window (left).
PAPERED PANELS Introduce decoration to a bedroom or bathroom by papering the door panels of a cabinet or wardrobe. A paper with a small-scale floral pattern, as seen here (for similar, try cathkidston.com), has a soft vintage flavour that offsets a pale-painted weathered unit for an elegant finish. Measure each panel and carefully cut a strip of paper to size. Secure in place with paste or glue for a permanent fix, or use Blu-tack for a quick, temporary finish. Itâ€™s best to choose wallpaper for large areas, but lightweight fabrics are also good to use. Alternatively, wrapping paper works just as well for smaller panels.
RU R A L B US I N ES S
Richard Hills-Ingyon and his partner Sargon Latchin rescue, recycle and give new life to tapers and tealights by handcrafting ecofriendly candles
WORDS BY HESTER LACEY
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALUN CALLENDER
RU R A L B US I N ES S
s we approach the shortest days of the year and spring sunshine feels a long way away, there is something primevally comforting about the flicker of a naked flame on a dark evening. It’s no wonder that, for centuries past, candles have been synonymous with Christmas and winter. They, like the traditional Yule log, bring warmth, light and comfort into our homes when the weather can be at its most bitter. This tradition is beautifully showcased at the Sid Valley Country House Hotel in Devon, where guests are welcomed by rows of candles lining the pathways leading up to the front door. What makes the scene even more special is that these are no ordinary festive decorations – the hotel is also the headquarters of The Recycled Candle Company and, as the name suggests, its products are all made from carefully repurposed wax. The company, which is the only one of its kind, was founded in 2015 by Richard Hills-Ingyon and his partner Sargon Latchin. There’s something delightfully democratic about Richard and Sargon’s wares. Wax donated by grand hotels and churches melts and mingles with stubs from the local pub, transforming into candles that prove sustainability and luxury don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Concern for the environment lies at the heart of Richard’s business philosophy, but he is also keen to create products that appeal over and above their green credentials. The company’s clients, he says, are “not only people who feel they can’t justify a luxury purchase that can’t be recycled, but also those who just love luxury”. Richard made his first candles as a child, using an old craft kit that had belonged to his mother and never been used. His earliest attempt, he cheerfully admits, was “awful!”, but marked
the beginning of a life-long interest in candlemaking. He started experimenting with the ancient craft, but soon began to run out of raw material: “Wax is quite expensive so, instead of throwing away any candles that turned out wonky or where the wicks fell out, I started to remelt them.” The challenge was to find an effective way to filter and purify it – or, as Richard says, “figure out a way of putting bad wax in and getting good wax out”. His early efforts involved kitchen sieves and tea towels (his mother was clearly extremely understanding), but eventually, he worked out how to transform old candles into fresh wax. It was this technique, once mastered, that inspired the launch of his business. Now, to produce his current elegant range, he uses a cleverly converted industrial-sized tea urn, affectionately known as Bertha, fitted with net filters that strain the molten wax. Bertha has plenty to digest: some of Richard’s candles are recycled from restaurants, and unwanted foreign bodies include anything from cutlery and soap to chips, as well as the old wicks (Richard and Sargon are still hopefully waiting for their first diamond ring or necklace to surface from Bertha’s depths). As their company grew, so did the area they collected candles from. Beginning with local restaurants, they soon began to look further afield – to churches, cathedrals and hotels – and they now do a monthly collection in central London, sometimes from THIS PAGE AND OPPOSITE Sargon and Richard forage for decorations for their recycled candles; sorting their finds outside their candlemaking
workshop in the grounds of the hotel owned by Richard’s parents; Richard enjoys exploring the Devonshire countryside with his dog countryliving.co.uk
RU R A L B US I N ES S
hotels where “we always feel incredibly under-dressed”, Sargon explains. The Egerton House Hotel in Knightsbridge, for example, has a strong focus on green initiatives; the hotel not only provides wax for recycling, but sells Recycled Candle Company products as gifts, too. Candles are also sent by post from events companies and churches from as far away as Edinburgh and Glasgow. All of these are stored in sacks and crates in the shed where Bertha lives, while they await a new lease of life. Restaurants and hotels might light fresh candles several times in an evening or for each new guest; once an event is over or a church service has finished, the candles are extinguished and discarded, leading to dozens of half-used candles simply being thrown away. Perhaps surprisingly, wax is not currently classed as recyclable. Even natural beeswax candles are likely to contain additives such as fillers, hardeners and fragrances, while paraffin wax is an oil-based product. No official records are kept of how much used wax ends up in landfill each year but, given the lack of recycling options, the answer must be sizeable. The Recycled Candle Company thus gives Richard the opportunity to combine his two passions: candlemaking and the environment. “When I was a child, I’d always ask for compost bins and wormeries for birthdays and at Christmas,” he recalls. “I have a huge love for candlemaking, and material going into THIS PAGE Plenty of candles ready for recycling; Richard carefully pours melted fragranced wax and adds some decorative touches, trimming wicks once they have set
OPPOSITE The Recycled Candle Company proves that luxury products can lead the way in sustainability, with their current range of eight scents at the forefront of the initiative
the bin didn’t fit with my personal ethos. The way that the two strands have come together is very organic.” While Richard describes his candles as “home-made and handmade”, the results are very far from homespun: you wouldn’t know they were recycled if it didn’t say so on the label – in suitably stylish script, of course. The recycled candle company’s core line of fragranced candles, presented in sleek glass jars with metal lids, can hold its own alongside any of the well-known brands. And it’s not just the candles’ appearance that is ‘high end’. The warm wax is poured not once but twice to ensure maximum burn time and every consignment is individually tested to make sure it has the right wick. “The candle has to burn evenly, with a steady flame, no residue and no soot,” Richard says. “Our glass, wicks and fragrances are all sourced in the UK,” Sargon adds. Naturally, the right scent is also crucial. “We use really highquality fragrances,” Richard says. “As we’re not paying for wax, we can afford the best.” The current range of eight is a sophisticated selection: Fig & Vanilla; Lily of the Valley; Rose & Oud; Winter Spice; Bitter Orange & Ylang; Ginger & Lime; White Jasmine & Mint; and Lavender & Rock Salt. Richard’s favourite is Winter Spice, while for Sargon, Rose & Oud conjures up memories of Dubai, where he grew up. There are some unexpected touches; the Lavender, for example, is cut with a fresh note of cucumber, while the White Jasmine & Mint successfully evokes “a florist’s shop early in the morning”. It’s hard to imagine anyone buying one of Richard and Sargon’s candles and not burning it right down to the last bit (perfectly evenly, of course) – if any candles are unlikely to end up being recycled, it must be these. For more information about the Recycled Candle Company, visit therecycledcandlecompany.co.uk. countryliving.co.uk
T R AV E L
10 of the best… ways to celebrate
New Year On islands as beautiful and varied as ours, there’s no shortage of special places to gather with family and friends to welcome 2018
S T R E E T PA RT Y I N G I N S T I V E S , C O R N WA L L
For cool coastal walks and free firework displays, all within an idyllic Cornish setting, head to St Ives, where on New Year’s Eve the usually serene streets come alive with revellers. At 6pm the roads close and crowds are encouraged to take to the town – where you can dive in and out of its many pubs and bars. There will also be a selection of parties taking place around the harbour until midnight beckons and the crowds head to the beachfront to watch the fireworks, which are reflected in the beautiful Celtic Sea. stivesindecember.co.uk
T H E S AU N D E R S F O O T S W I M , PEMBROKESHIRE
A comparatively new tradition, the annual swim in Saundersfoot sees hundreds of brave souls sprint across the sand to splash about in the icy Atlantic – all in the name of charity. Beginning in 1984, when 17 men entered the sea for a sponsored dip to raise money for their local sports club, what was meant to be a one-off has proven so popular it’s now the main event in the village’s social calendar. Each year, the swim has become bigger and bolder, with more than 1,000 participants coming from far and wide to take a bracing dunk and celebrate New Year. saundersfootnyds.co.uk
WALKING WITH THE NATIONAL TRUST IN NORTH SOMERSET
A staple in many households, the traditional New Year’s Day walk is often much needed after one too many, but if you feel like doing something a bit different, why not join a National Trust guide on a walk across the limestone hilltops that surround the historic city of Bath? A designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the skyline hills feel almost otherworldly – with six miles of meadows and ancient woodland looking down over the World Heritage Site. The walk includes a visit to Prior Park where, we have it on good authority, hot chocolate will be on offer. nationaltrust.org.uk/bath-skyline
WILDLIFE SPOTTING ON THE ISLE OF SKYE, INNER HEBRIDES
Don’t be fooled into thinking that this far-flung island retreats into hibernation come winter. Quite the opposite, in fact, as it is now that wild red deer come down to lower ground in search of better grazing, making it the perfect time to see them and, if you’re lucky, you might also spot golden eagles and otters, too. With a long and varied history, fantastic walking opportunities and, crucially, no shortage of secluded spots, this misty isle is the ideal place to welcome in the new year away from the masses, while enjoying the fresh air and appreciating its wild beauty. isleofskye.com
T H E A L L E N DA L E TA R B A R’ L , N O RT H U M B E R L A N D
Believed to cleanse and purify, fire features heavily in ancient new year rituals across the country, and the village of Allendale is no exception. Here, 45 local men (known as guisers) throw caution to the wind by carrying burning hot, tar-filled whisky barrels on their heads through the town. Now 160 years since the tradition started, locals and visitors alike flock here for an evening of merrymaking and music. The procession culminates at midnight – arriving at the town centre where the barrels are cast into the ‘Bar’l fire’ as the crowds chant, “Be damned to he who throws last”. visitnorthumberland.com/allendale
WAT C H I N G T H E S U N R I S E AT G L A ST O N B U RY T O R , S O M E R S E T
Standing like a watchtower above the Somerset Levels, Glastonbury Tor is a mythical and magical spot famed for its Gothic associations and ancient ley-lines. Legend has it that King Arthur even visited. It is often said to be one of the most spiritual sites in the country, and druids and tourists alike trek to the top of the West Country landmark to welcome the first sunrise of the year. On New Year’s Eve, the Tor, which was once an island among the marshes, also makes for a fantastic viewing platform – giving a 360-degree view of surrounding firework displays. nationaltrust.org.uk/glastonbury-tor
T R AV E L
T H E C O M R I E F L A M B E AU X P R O C E S S I O N , P E RT H S H I R E
If you were to stumble upon the small Scottish village of Comrie on New Year’s Eve just as the pagan-style torchbearing Flambeaux Procession marches through, you might feel as though you’ve travelled back in time. This ancient fire festival – believed to cleanse the village at the start of each year – is thought to have Celtic or Pictish roots and, except for the addition of fireworks, little has changed for centuries. As the clock strikes midnight, bagpipes play and the poles are lit, then paraded through the village – a gaggle of festively clad revellers walking in their wake. comrie.org.uk
T H E AU L D L A N G S Y N E F E L L R AC E , W E S T YO R K S H I R E
A bracing New Year’s Day run may not seem like the most appealing activity, but is nevertheless an invigorating way to start 2018. The Auld Lang Syne Fell Race at Penistone Hill near Haworth attracts an array of runners of all abilities – the less serious can happily flounce around in fancy dress, while more committed athletes could have triathletes to compete against, as Olympic medallists Alistair and Jonny Brownlee are regular entrants. The atmospheric 9.6km route through Brontë country is also incredibly breathtaking – just remember to book your place. woodentops.org.uk
S E E E XO T I C F L O W E R D I S P L AY S I N T R E S C O, I S L E S O F S C I L LY
For those who dream of warmer climes during the colder months, head to Tresco, which even in winter remains pleasantly mild. It’s home to the world-famous Tresco Abbey Garden, the horticultural paradise established in the 1830s, where more than 20,000 exotic plants – many of which can’t be grown elsewhere in Britain – provide a colourful display. Often described as ‘Kew with the lid off ’, spring comes early here, so if you’re craving some colour after months of bare trees, a trip to Tresco makes for a brilliantly bright way to see in the new year. tresco.co.uk
S TA R G A Z I N G I N T H E B R E C O N B E AC O N S
Who needs fireworks when you can witness nature’s own display of shooting stars and dazzling nebulas? Winter is the best time of year to stargaze so, for a simple, family-friendly and free way to celebrate, wrap up warm, pack a flask of hot chocolate and head to the Brecon Beacons National Park – the fifth destination in the world to be granted International Dark Sky Reserve status. Usk and Pontsticill Reservoirs are both popular spots and on a clear night you’ll see the Milky Way and many of the major constellations – which trump sparklers any day. breconbeacons.org/stargazing
WORDS BY SARAH BARRATT. PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALAMY; GETTY IMAGES. PA ARCHIVE
A WORK OF
Inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement, one couple have surprisingly chosen the highly decorative style to renovate a Georgian farmhouse WORDS AND STYLING BY ALEX LEWIS
PHOTOGRAPHS BY PENNY WINCER
A William Morris Strawberry Thief print used for the cushions and a Rossetti chair are both classic examples of Arts and Crafts design, a movement that valued traditional skills and craftsmanship â€“ perfect for a modern farmhouse JANUARY 2018
et back from the road in the heart of a Northamptonshire village, the golden stone of Tews Farm looks warm and welcoming even on the rainiest of days. Looking for a larger property to combine two families, artist Jacqueline Rappaport and her husband Danny had to fight to secure this 400-year-old farmhouse. “I had seen it go on and off the market but we kept being pipped at the post,” Jacqueline recalls. “So when I spotted that it was for sale again, we zoomed straight in to secure it.” The previous owners had been inhabiting only a small part of the house and it had an unloved feel. “It sounds rather clichéd, but as soon as I walked through the door, I felt excited,” she says. “There were staircases everywhere and it just needed a big family running up and down to bring some life back into it.” As the couple undertook an extensive redecoration programme, they realised that the kitchen would require the most work. The inglenook fireplace with double bread ovens remained the focus of the room, while the Aga now adds to the rustic effect. New cabinets designed and painted by Jacqueline were made by a local joinery. All the furniture has been chosen because of its quality and proportions, in keeping with the Arts and Crafts philosophy of the 19th and 20th centuries. This includes an oak gate-leg table found in poor condition in an antiques shop and buffed to a high sheen, and the vintage bentwood Thonet chairs that surround it. In the living room, Jacqueline has painted the walls white and exposed the original flagstone floor to create a calm atmosphere. The west-facing rooms to the rear of the house, however, receive much cooler light, so a sense of cosiness has been evoked by using strong, dark colours such as Hague Blue by Farrow & Ball. Thirteen years on and their children (Isaac, 14, and Charlie, 11) have grown up here, while the older ones, Tom and Nathalie, have moved on to jobs and university, but the family have all witnessed
OPPOSITE, FROM TOP LEFT The toffee-coloured Georgian façade of the farmhouse was added in 1787; kitchen units painted in Farrow & Ball’s Tanner’s Brown create a rich backdrop for pieces of Leach
Pottery, Portmeirion and Celtic pottery; Jacqueline’s westfacing ‘creating space’, where she sketches and paints THIS PAGE Jacqueline sits on a pew that has followed the family from house to house
the inspiring decorating transformations. “The dining room was originally a 1980s time warp of Laura Ashley dark blue and cream wallpaper,” Jacqueline remembers. “Initially, wanting to make my mark, I stripped it off and painted the wall duck egg blue, but it wasn’t until after I had introduced the William Morris Brer Rabbit wallpaper into the room years later that I realised the scheme had come full circle back to dark blue and cream.” Throughout the house, a number of rooms feature patterned wallpaper, printed fabrics and textured ceramics but, despite this richness and layering, the effect isn’t overpowering thanks to careful editing and the fact that spaces have been kept reasonably pared back. The generous proportions have allowed Jacqueline and Danny to explore their love of Arts and Crafts design and display their extensive collection of mid-20th-century ceramics. Cornish pots from Troika, Leach and Newlyn happily sit next to their European counterparts from Royal Copenhagen and Bisotti. Textures and colours bounce off each other, often against a backdrop of William Morris wallpaper. The largest collection of ceramics is housed in the bathroom. “It’s actually an excellent place to showcase them,” Jacqueline says. “When you’re lying back in a hot bath, you can really appreciate the beauty of each piece, which is much better than having them tucked away in a cabinet.” Both Jacqueline’s and Danny’s mothers collected Cornish ceramics, which gave the couple a head start: “We are constant collectors, always on the lookout for the next piece that catches our eye.” But it is not just ceramics that Jacqueline searches for. The cushions and curtains have been made from linens and fabrics found in charity shops and on ebay. “I am always thrilled to come across an old pair of Morris or Liberty curtains on a heavy linen weave,” Jacqueline says. The most impressive find has to be a Dante Gabriel Rossetti chair designed for
INTERIORS OPPOSITE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT The red brick and Aga bring warmth to the kitchen – an old curtain in William Morris’s Lily print has been turned into a table runner; an inherited bookcase
holds a selection of treasured poetry books; the couple’s mid-century ceramics collection is displayed to add extra interest THIS PAGE Morris’s Brer Rabbit wallpaper is a striking backdrop in the dining room
THIS PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE LEFT The impressive four-poster bed was found in an antiques shop; an alcove in the mostly white bathroom is ideal for showing more ceramics;
a twisted metal light fitting brings a sculptural element to the room OPPOSITE A bedroom available for B&B has been papered in the classic Strawberry Thief design
Morris & Co, which the couple discovered in a local antiques shop. It now sits next to the fireplace with a Morris Strawberry Thief printed cushion. It wasn’t until their first visit to Blackwell, an Arts and Crafts house in the Lake District, where they saw another example of ‘their chair’, that they realised how special it was. “I left feeling inspired by the shapes, colours and textures of the place and developed a real love of the Arts and Crafts movement,” Jacqueline says. Two years ago, Tews Farm opened its doors as a B&B, so guests can now share the couple’s collections and enjoy breakfast in the dining room surrounded by such decorative inspiration. “The table in there was a bit of an ebay gamble, as there was only one small photograph of it, and it came with what was described as ‘eight free chairs’,” Jacqueline explains. “What turned up was a beautifully built, solid oak table that was so big it had to come in through the window! The eight rush-seated carver chairs wouldn’t fit under the table, but a simple purchase of some ball feet for the table legs to raise it solved that problem.” As well as painting watercolours, Jacqueline has recently opened her own little pottery studio: “I enjoy the immediacy of throwing on the wheel. I’m not interested in the quest for perfection, more the texture, glaze and feel of a piece.” So it is only a matter of time before more space is going to be required on the bathroom shelves for her own ‘in-house’ ceramics… For more information about Tews Farm B&B, call 07903 717247. To enquire about Jacqueline’s paintings and pottery, visit hagstone.co.uk. See her work on our Emporium pages.
Tales and tradition Local customs and family folklore have been at the heart of the restoration of a historic Breton farmhouse WORDS AND STYLING BY NAOMI JONES
PHOTOGRAPHS BY BRENT DARBY
Smaller rooms on the ground floor were combined to create a single open-plan living area, kitchen and dining room
arge brooding skies, tall grasses dancing in the winter breeze, and the gentle sound of birds flying overhead – there’s a lot to fall in love with in this hamlet in Brittany. “The landscape here is very similar to where I grew up in Ireland,” says Liz O’Brien, who fell under the spell of these wide-open spaces 20 years ago when she met Corentin, a Frenchman whose family owned the restaurant where she was working to improve her language skills. “I had no idea,” she recalls, “that, two decades later, I’d still be here, the wife of a French farmer, raising a family and running our own business… Back then, the farm and all the barns and cottages in the hamlet belonged to Corentin’s grandparents, Louise and Isidore, and the cottage we live in now was their home. They built it themselves from stone brought in from the fields, so it is incredibly rustic. “After they died, Corentin took over the farm and we moved in here. It was such a wonderful place to start our married life, although I have to admit it was a little chilly in the early years, as the cottage was pretty draughty… After spending a long day working outdoors on the farm or renovating the property, we’d huddle up together in front of the fire, drinking hot chocolate and planning our future.” The living space is all on the ground floor: there are two good-sized bedrooms on either side of what is now an open-plan sitting room/kitchen/diner, with a bathroom next to the main bedroom, so there was space to grow as a family. “Our first two children, Dara and Molly, were born here, so we feel cemented to the home’s family traditions,” Liz says, smiling. “During the winter, before we updated the heating, we’d all pile into one bed A stove in the original hearth creates a cosy focal point, while simple accessories and festive decorations bring a homely atmosphere
â€œWe always try to be sensitive to the building and its historyâ€?
INTERIORS to keep warm – I’m sure that Corentin’s grandmother would have done the same with her children. “Over the years, we’ve gradually made improvements,” she continues, “but we always try to be sensitive to the building and its history. I love wallpaper, for example, but it wouldn’t feel right to use it here; besides, it is relatively expensive and we couldn’t justify that luxury. Instead, we’ve kept the texture with exposed stone and added dashes of colour with a few painted walls. Keeping it simple also means I can easily add decorative art, cards and photos without it looking too busy.” Cheerful frugality is not a new concept here, as Liz explains: “During the time that Louise lived in the cottage, it was managed and maintained in a ‘make do and mend’ fashion, regardless of whether things matched or not, and we’ve tried to celebrate that part of its history. So when we took down the wall between the entrance hall and the living area to make one large space, we didn’t worry that it resulted in chequerboard floor tiles in two different colourways sitting side by side.” In fact, Liz has played homage to that striking, mismatched flooring with a large painted chequerboard pattern in the bedroom – it looks like a rug and is slightly off-centre to continue the quirkiness. “When I decorate a space, I want to work with what’s there, adding my own twist,” she says. “I also like to incorporate antiques and vintage pieces alongside upcycled items from around the farm – it’s been a good way to keep
OPPOSITE Colourful accents give the cottage personality, along with heritage items such as the grandfather clock. “Corentin’s great-aunt carried it home from the market in the
village on foot,” Liz says THIS PAGE, FROM RIGHT A mould used for making engines has found a new lease of life as a side table; a private terrace and garden
THIS PAGE Furniture and furnishings in contemporary muted tones work well with traditional rustic stone and weatherboarded walls OPPOSITE A chequerboard ‘rug’ on the bedroom floor was deliberately painted off-centre to add to the informal feel
TRAVEL FROM PORTSMOUTH TO ST MALO WITH BRITTANY FERRIES (BRITTANY-FERRIES.CO.UK)
the costs down while giving our home more personality. “As we planned to have more children, we knew we’d outgrow the property,” Liz admits. “So we converted the piggery next door and now rent out our cottage as a holiday destination. We’ve created more individual gîtes within the hamlet, too. I figured that if I’d fallen in love with this location, even though my own upbringing was pretty bucolic, others would as well.” During the winter months, the couple close the business down for a few weeks so they can have the farm all to themselves. “We love coming back to the cottage: we light candles and make mulled wine for the grown-ups and spiced cider for the children, then gather around the fire and remember what wonderful characters Louise and Isidore were, and the stories they told,” Liz says. “We rarely go to Ireland at this time of year, but when we visit in summer I try to bring a little bit back with me, such as Irish turf to burn in the fire – that smell takes me right back to my childhood. It truly is magical here, and I am so glad we can pass memories from both sides of the family on to our children, while at the same time creating new ones ourselves.” La Maison de Louise is available for holiday rentals (roselouisemarie.com). Enjoy house features, interiors inspiration and more in CL’s free weekly newsletter. To sign up, go to countryliving.co.uk/newsletter.
STYLE Topiary cottage garden SEASONS OF INTEREST All year SIZE Approximately one acre SOIL TYPE Well-worked clay
of fancy Artist Charlotte Molesworthâ€™s garden in Kent showcases fantastical topiary forms and intriguing architectural finds WORDS BY PAULA MCWATERS
PHOTOGRAPHS BY RICHARD BLOOM
irds are everywhere in artist Charlotte Molesworth’s garden in Benenden, Kent. Not only does she encourage the real ones by feeding them in winter, but she has also found a creative way to make her own. Sprouting from yew hedges are wondrous peacocks, perched upon deftly fashioned balls and columns. Below these are chirpy-looking fledglings, roosting on wave after wave of boxwood, glimpsed through green spirals and pyramids, cones and balls – all products of Charlotte’s vivid imagination, artistic eye and razor-sharp shears. “I don’t like cutting straight lines – that’s terribly boring,” Charlotte says. “So, after I ‘waved’ the top of one hedge, I slowly realised I wanted all the garden to be like that.” She has clearly had tremendous fun and the effect is utterly magical, especially on a misty winter’s morning, when a touch of frost still rimes the precise outlines of her creations. Topiary forms are trained using bamboo sticks and string. “Never use wire, as it gets forgotten and then strangles the poor plants,” she says. Charlotte simply follows her instincts and a plant’s natural structure to tell her what shape to develop. She prunes from a steady, three-legged Niwaki ladder for safety, with an electric hedge trimmer used over the straight bits and Japanese hand shears for intricate detail. “Yew has a wonderful energy and vigour,” she says. “Don’t be afraid of cutting it – even if you muck something up completely, you can put it right the following year.” She and husband Donald moved to Balmoral Cottage more than 30 years ago. Although the acre of garden had lain waste, it had a lovely rich, fertile soil, having been the wellworked kitchen garden of the great Victorian plant hunter and Japanese cherry expert Collingwood “Cherry” Ingram. “There was no real plan,” Charlotte says, “but box was definitely on the agenda from the start – we took hundreds of cuttings from my mother’s garden and asked for yew seedlings as wedding presents and set them all out in rows to grow them
PREVIOUS PAGES Topiary peacocks, spirals and balls create a magical scene CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE Sentinels of clipped hedging line the paths of the one-acre site; shards of sunlight highlight the topiary forms – a plant’s natural structure dictates how Charlotte decides to shape it; a copper leaf sculpture by Peter M Clarke echoes the organic forms in the garden; the soft shield fern ‘Pulcherrimum Bevis’ holds its leaves in winter
“Yew has a wonderful energy and vigour – don’t be afraid of cutting it” on.” A path leading from their donkey field to a newly dug pond formed the backbone, and the rest of the garden evolved from there, expanding out to either side, with beds full of herbaceous perennials, shady borders under trees, a nuttery, kitchen garden and chicken run. Ferns also feature – Charlotte recommends ‘Pulcherrimum Bevis’, a choice cultivar of the soft shield fern Polystichum setiferum, “which retains its shape from when the first fronds unfurl to when you chop it down in March”. Echoing the organic nature of the plants are sinuous metal sculptures on loan from Peter M Clarke (petermclarke.co.uk). Much of what she and Donald have garnered for the garden has come from skips and been donated by friends and relatives countryliving.co.uk
– rescued stone from a demolished barn forms a terrace, slate is now a tabletop and an upturned, galvanized water hod makes a surface for a collection of treasures. “Donald and I are infamous scavengers, so we are forever being offered things,” Charlotte says. On one occasion she bundled a vast, uprooted yew bush found abandoned by the side of the road into her Mini Countryman, driving home with barely room to move, her face pressed against the windscreen. Even her first wavy-topped hedge was made up of “waifs and strays” – cuttings and seedlings of yew, box, holly and hornbeam amassed from friends and family. Generous in return, Charlotte proffers cuttings to those who show interest, and is happy to share her knowledge. Her skills JANUARY 2018
FROM LEFT A terrarium filled with lichens and a clay pot of succulents are combined with salvaged items atop a galvanized water hod; the small glossy leaves of box (Buxus sempervirens) are decorated with a sparkling
as a topiary artist are much in demand and she has travelled to many other gardens to clip, shape and advise. Recently, she has been pleased to find an associate, Darren Lerigo of Modern Mint (modernmint.co.uk), who she describes as “eager, strong and ready to go”, to take over from her on larger commissions, as she prefers to spend time in her own garden and art studio. So far, to Charlotte’s relief, there has been no sign of the dreaded box blight that has affected so many gardens. She puts this down to luck and scrupulous plant hygiene (see box, right) and, more recently, the use of biological controls called Microferm and Oenosan, which fortify the plants and increase their resistance. These are made up of effective micro-organisms (EM), and she buys them from Karel Goossens’s nursery in Belgium (buxuskwekerijgoossens.be/en). “I spray very early in the morning when the leaf petioles are open and most receptive,” she explains. Also on the advice of Karel, who Charlotte met through the European Boxwood & Topiary Society (ebts.org), she now cuts box from November to February only, when there are fewer fungal spores, instead of at the traditional time of early June. She recommends his biological spray to deter box caterpillar, too. “There was a time when I feared we might have to bulldoze the lot because of our aversion to the use of chemicals, but now I feel confident that box does have a future. I have high hopes that these biological controls could be the answer.” Creating any garden is a learning process and Charlotte has also discovered that you should always make paths at least half as wide again as you think you might need. “It’s definitely something to bear in mind if you’re starting out.” Balmoral Cottage in Kent is open for the NGS on Sunday 29 April and 6 May, 11am-6pm (ngs.org.uk), and for Open Studios on weekends in June 11am-6pm (except Saturdays 16 and 30). A cottage in the grounds is available to let (thepottingshedholidaylet.com).
white coating of frost OPPOSITE Many characterful architectural finds, including this water pump and iron pig swill boiler, both found on site, have been integrated into Charlotte and Donald’s garden design
KEEPING BOX HEALTHY Water as necessary when establishing new box plants to encourage a good fibrous root system Grow box in well-drained soil in sun or shade, ideally in a spot where air can circulate freely Don’t allow herbaceous plants to flop over it – keep them cut back Only prune in winter, from November to February, when the fungal spores are not active Be scrupulous about clearing up all prunings and burn or cart them away off-site. Do not compost them Carry a bucket of a weak solution of bleach as you prune and keep dunking your tools in to sterilise them Don’t over-cosset with feeding – sappy growth makes them more prone to fungal infection Keep your eyes peeled for signs of deterioration and act quickly if you spot trouble
ELEMENTS OF DESIGN Paths Steps Terraces Levels Edges
Bring planting to life by paying close attention to the defining features of your garden WORDS BY PAULA MCWATERS
roviding the counterpoint to your planting and other decorative features, paths, steps and terraces are the linking areas of your garden. Thoughtfully designed, they can provide a resting point for the eye and a quiet space that helps to set the rest of the garden in context. Make terraces as wide and expansive as you have room for – once planting matures around them, the effect will soften. Consider the practicalities of a firm,
dry surface for tables and chairs with enough room to move comfortably around them, then create a sense of enclosure with some climbers or screening. Paths are a means to an end, but they can be so much more. Essentially they are an invitation to explore – a brick path that winds out of sight, partially shielded by overhanging foliage, is an enticement to see what lies beyond. They can add texture, character and intrigue, encouraging you to saunter or hasten to the end, depending on the atmosphere created.
DEFINING AN AREA You can manipulate your space by using a variety of different materials to define particular areas, such as a place for dining or relaxing. Stick to one colour palette – for instance, grey or honey-coloured gravel alongside pale decking and cobbles – to ensure a harmonious effect that doesn’t jar. Alternatively, use just one surface material, such as brick or stone, and lay it in varying designs to highlight sections – regular repeating patterns such as herringbone look restful. Some fragrant planting brought right up to the boundary will help to enclose the space.
BLURRING THE EDGES As one of the most versatile materials you can use, gravel suits both formal and informal settings. Soften the look by allowing planting to spill over onto it, or plant through it to break up a larger area. Low-growing hardy geraniums, the small daisy Erigeron karvinskianus or creeping thymes all look charming. Intersperse gravel with paving slabs to give a sense of arrival in a gateway or to mark a directional pathway across a wide expanse of stones.
VIEW FROM ABOVE Consider the bird’s-eye view of your garden. An upstairs window can be an excellent place from which to plan a layout, as it’s also one of the spots from which you will most often observe your garden. An obvious pattern can be attractive to look down upon, especially during the winter months when the garden’s structure is laid comparatively bare. Circles and curves have great visual impact – they can be combined and interlocked to draw attention to their shape, or you can offset them with more geometric elements, such as straight stepping-stone paths. Materials of a specific size and shape, such as granite or concrete setts or pebbles, will be needed to create the curves – some of these are supplied as ready-made features in various sizes.
Wood has a natural affinity with gardens, especially when rough-sawn across the trunk into log rounds to create a woodland path. Treat them with timber preservative and set them into a compacted sand and gravel mix, sprinkling bark chippings or gravel between them to fill the gaps. Or you can achieve the same look with Timberstone-finished concrete, which is rot- and slip-resistant (stonemarket. co.uk). Sawn planks laid in parallel lines widthwise, then interspersed with stone chippings, make a smart path for a more formal setting.
Steps offer an opportunity to make a strong design statement
CHANGES OF LEVEL
Echoing the style of your planting and encouraging visitors to explore, steps offer an opportunity to make a strong design statement in a garden. Make sure each riser is even and regular â€“ wide, shallow steps are the most comfortable to use if you have sufficient space. A landing halfway up can help you change direction and may prompt a pause to take in the upcoming view. With rough-hewn stone steps, it is best to have a meandering course for a natural finish. On a tight budget, gravel offers a cheaper, but still effective, solution. countryliving.co.uk
Grass is the obvious way to green the floor of your garden, and, when lush and healthy, it is one of the most natural counterpoints for planting. In a low-traffic area, you can have grass paths – get creative with the mower and run through areas of longer grass to create attractive patterns in the lawn. Where practicality is a consideration – for a path frequently used by a barrow, for example – a line of paving stones laid corner to corner down the middle may be all that is needed to prevent wear and tear.
visually pleasing, and may actually help to slow down the pace of its users with its unhurried feel. You can echo the sense of rhythm by placing a line of trees on one or both sides – these will act as sentries along the way and offer glimpses through to
the rest of the garden. A pergola with regular uprights would do the same job. The formality of topiaried hedges on either side of the gateway would highlight the sense of arrival and change the atmosphere as you move from an open area into a more enclosed one.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALAMY; CLIVE NICHOLS PICTURE LIBRARY/CLIVENICHOLS.COM; GAP PHOTOS/JOHN GLOVER; THE GARDEN-COLLECTION/JONATHAN BUCKLEY, MICHELLE GARRETT, SONJA GAURON, JOHN GLOVER, ANDREW LAWSON, GARY ROGERS, NICOLA STOCKEN; MARIANNE MAJERUS; LIVING4MEDIA
LEADING THE EYE
The width and configuration of a path can help set the mood and atmosphere in a garden. In a formal area, make it as wide and generous as space allows, laying large paving slabs into grass in a crenellated pattern for added interest. The repetitive nature of the design is
MAKING PATTERNS Hard landscaping provides an opportunity to play. Alongside materials such as brick, gravel, stone and slate, there are other more unlikely ingredients that can add texture and character underfoot. Mark an entranceway with a pebble mosaic bedded into mortar to create a centrepiece akin to a decorative doormat. It is time-consuming, but immensely satisfying, methodical work that can be completed in sections. To emphasise a route through a space, place long, narrow paving stones in parallel lines. This creates a tramline effect and can be softened to either side with stone chippings. Handmade ammonites make a wonderfully detailed, organic surface (available in composition stone or terracotta from thomasoncudworth.com). Upturned bottles â€“ sunk into the earth or set into mortar â€“ make a witty, decorative border for paving stones, or could be used as a path edging. Enjoy garden features, interiors inspiration and more in CLâ€™s free weekly newsletter. To sign up, go to countryliving.co.uk/ newsletter.
RUSTIC DISPLAY Even on the most unpromising of winter days, there is usually something to be gathered from the garden, be it a few evergreen sprigs or some deliciously scented eucalyptus, wintersweet or witch hazel. Stand them in one of these lovely vintage-style zinc water pitchers by the front door and you can enjoy them as you come and go. The wide-brim jug (far left) is 34cm high and costs £18.75, and the taller 41cmhigh version is £24, both from Brush64 (01722 711895; brush64.co.uk).
Everything you need to know to get the most from your plot in January
WORDS BY PAULA MCWATERS
THERE IS A SIGH OF RELIEF TO BE BREATHED in January, as cold and wet days provide an excuse to stay inside and plan what this year’s harvest might look like. It is tempting, while surrounded by seed catalogues, to get carried away but I have to remind myself of the end-game: “What does it taste like and do I want to eat it?” Last year I was picking ‘Sungold’ tomatoes in the greenhouse right up until October – they are so delicious, they seldom made it to the kitchen before being consumed. This year I am adding ‘Belriccio’ beefsteak variety to the list, countryliving.co.uk
along with ‘Russian Rose’, as both come highly recommended by taste guru James Wong. In the raised beds, sugar snap peas are a must – they looked so pretty in my vegetable beds last summer growing up a gothic-arched steel pea frame (0117 934 1790; agriframes.co.uk). ‘Oregon Sugar Pod’ is a good bet as it is mildew resistant, and I’m going to try the purple ‘Shiraz’ mangetout, too. I’ll also be sorting out the shelves in the greenhouse and cleaning nooks and crannies to remove overwintering pests. A garlic greenhouse candle is a good way to smoke them out without having to remove any plants (01493 750061; greengardener.co.uk), but maybe I had better warn the neighbours before the pungent aroma starts to waft over the fence…
A GOOD READ Dark evenings offer a chance to curl up with a book, and Monty Don’s Down to Earth (DK, £17.99) is a great way to start the year. Divided into well-signposted chapters – tools, pests, growing your own veg and so on – it is a distillation of his knowledge, acquired from private study and 50 years of hands-on experience. A gentle and comforting read, it will encourage and instil confidence in anyone who aspires to become a more practised and well-informed gardener.
WHAT TO DO Clean moss from paths to stop them becoming slippery Book in your mower for servicing Check stakes on trees and loosen them if necessary Cut away old leaves from hellebores as the flowers start to emerge Dig up a few emerging snowdrops to plant in a pot by your door Tackle persistent weeds, such as chickweed and bittercress Tidy and clean greenhouse benches in preparation for spring sowing Plant up an indoor amaryllis (left) and put it in a sunny spot Dig over new beds to remove the roots of perennial weeds Check your tetanus jab is up to date with a booster every ten years
Tip Start as you mean to go on by testing the pH of your soil to help you choose plants that will really do well
1 HOUR to make a difference
Well covered The best hand protection I’ve found to keep out cold-weather chills is a pair of soft leather Gold Leaf Winter Touch gloves. The palms are reinforced so they are comfortable to use when you’re wielding a broom or a rake, and they have a warming Thinsulate thermal lining, plus an additional waterproof lining to keep hands dry on damp days. Available in men’s and women’s sizes, they cost £23.95 from The Worm That Turned (0345 605 2505; worm.co.uk).
A clean sweep Blocked gutters are never a good thing, especially when they might cause water to splash down and damage planting below. This stainless-steel gutter shovel is precisely designed to tackle the problem head on. It has an adjustable beechwood handle that you can swivel to achieve a comfortable angle, and the steel scoop can be pushed neatly along the gutter to clear away the offending debris. It measures 34.5cm long by 10cm in diameter and costs £24.95 from The Oxford Brush Company (01993 824148; oxfordbrushcompany.com).
We’re all encouraged to eat healthily in winter to ward off nasty colds, so this Chef’s Mix of rainbow carrots, rich in vitamin A, looks like a good bet to grow, especially as purple varieties contain beneficial anthocyanins. Packed in a nifty tin (making it a good gift) are 380 seeds to sow successionally at two- to three-week intervals from March onwards. One of a range of Suttons Seed Tins at £4.95 each, it contains ‘Purple Sun’, ‘Red Samurai’, ‘Creampak’, ‘Nantes’ and ‘Gold Nugget’ (0844 326 2200; suttons.co.uk).
When there’s little to catch your eye in soggy borders, bright stem colour is what you need. Take a trip to a local nursery or garden centre and invest in some dogwoods to inject instant zing. Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’ is the reddest of them all, with bright, glistening stems that look wonderful in low sun. Cornus sericea ‘Flaviramea’ is a delicious lime green, while Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’, as its name suggests, creates a mini bonfire effect with flame-coloured stems. Cornus sanguinea ‘Anny’s Winter Orange’ is a newer variety that’s equally striking. Plant where you can enjoy them from your windows.
The Designing Your Own Garden weekend course with Annie Guilfoyle is on 14-17 January at West Dean College, West Sussex; £338 (01243 818300; westdean.org.uk). 124
PHOTOGRAPHS BY GETTY IMAGES; JASON INGRAM; RACHEL WHITING. ILLUSTRATIONS BY MARIANA.IO
If time is short, focus on one satisfying task – and the rest of the garden can wait
A fresh start
Change your lifestyle the natural way with Yeo Valley, and look forward to keeping your resolution to eat more healthily this year
or many of us, the new year is an opportunity to make positive lifestyle changes – to be a bit more active, pursue a new hobby or interest, set aside some time for ourselves or adopt a healthier diet. If you’re trying to watch what you eat, take some natural inspiration from Yeo Valley. Its dairy range is made with organic milk from cows raised on British, family-run farms, for a delicious taste that’s good for you,
too. New Yeo Valley Bio Light is an indulgently thick and creamy Greek-style yogurt that is fat-free and has only 65 calories per pot. It is high in protein, to help you feel full for longer, low in sugars, and free from artificial additives to give a fresh, appetising taste. Easy and convenient for an at-home snack or on-the-go option, Yeo Valley Bio Light is available in Strawberry, Peach, and Blueberry & Blackcurrant, so you can enjoy delicious flavours while leading a healthier lifestyle.
Yeo Valley Bio Light is available in selected nationwide stores, priced £4 for four. Visit yeovalley.co.uk to discover the entire Yeo Valley range and learn more about life on the farm.
FOOD & DRINK
Make a new yearâ€™s batch of homemade marmalade, then celebrate its versatility in an array of sweet and savoury recipes FOOD AND DRINK EDITOR ALISON WALKER
RECIPES BY HEARST FOOD NETWORK
ow is the traditional time for marmalade making because it marks the short season of sour and bitter Seville oranges, which appear in the shops for a few weeks in late January and February. Golden, orange or dark, its peel cut thick or fine, this uniquely British preserve has been popular since the second half of the 17th century. It was first fashionable as a part of the dessert course at banquets, and migrated to the breakfast table by way of the medicine chest and a reputation for curing colds. Since then, it has shown no sign of going out of fashion. Old brands survive and new ones thrive; it is a cottage industry and big business. Yet still lots of us carry on making marmalade for ourselves – for the good taste, for the satisfaction of storing, and for the simple pleasure of being self-sufficient. And, of course, marmalade is not just for toast, as the following recipes for delicious puddings, cake and a simple glazed baked ham demonstrate.
SEVILLE ORANGE MARMALADE Preparation 40 minutes, plus soaking Cooking 2 hours 30 minutes Makes about 2kg Adding a slug of whisky or cider brandy just before potting gives extra flavour – the heat of the marmalade evaporates the alcohol, so don’t worry about consuming spirits at breakfast time! 1kg Seville oranges 1 lemon 2kg preserving sugar 200g dark muscovado sugar 75ml whisky or cider brandy
1 Wash and dry the fruit, and cut into halves or quarters. 2 Set a sieve over a bowl and line it with a double layer of muslin. 3 Working over the sieve, juice the fruit, scouring the shells as you go, and putting the pips, squeezed flesh and membranes into the cloth. Using a reamer is the easiest way to empty oranges and lemons cleanly. countryliving.co.uk
4 Reserve the juice squeezed from the fruit. 5 Using the muslin, tie all the residue into a loose bag and put it in a preserving pan with 2 litres of water. 6 Shred the orange skins as finely as you like and add the peel to the pan. Leave to soak for several hours or, better still, overnight. 7 Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer uncovered until the peel is tender enough to squish between finger and thumb, and the liquid has reduced by half. This usually takes about 2 hours. Cover
the pan if too much evaporation is occurring before the peel is tender. 8 Remove the muslin bag and squeeze the liquid out of it back into the pan. Discard the bag. Add the sugars to the pan, plus the reserved juice. Put a few saucers in the freezer for testing whether the marmalade has set later on. 9 Bring slowly to the boil, stirring until all the sugar has melted – if you leave any grains undissolved you could find the marmalade crystallising in its pots as the sugar reverts. Raise the heat and boil hard until setting point is reached, usually about 10 minutes. 10 To test whether the marmalade will set, take the pan off the heat and drop a teaspoonful of the
marmalade onto a chilled saucer. Leave it for a minute, then push it with your finger. When the mixture thickens enough to wrinkle, it will set. If it stays runny, return the pan to the boil for another few minutes, then test again. It should not need more than 20 minutes in total. The variability depends on the fruit and how much evaporation has taken place while tenderising the peel. 11 Take the pan off the heat, skim off any froth and allow to cool and thicken a little before stirring to re-distribute the peel and adding the alcohol. Pot in hot sterilised jam jars (you can run them through the dishwasher), seal and label when cold. JANUARY 2018
FOOD & DRINK MARMALADE AND MUSTARD BAKED GAMMON Preparation 30 minutes, plus overnight soaking and resting Cooking 3 hours 15 minutes Serves 8 A baked ham makes a delicious alternative to a traditional Sunday roast and any leftovers can be used for sandwiches or added to pasta dishes for supper later in the week. 3.5kg smoked gammon on the bone 500ml ginger beer 1 small onion 2 celery sticks 3 bay leaves
1 star anise small handful of cloves 2 tbsp English mustard 225g dark brown sugar 2 tbsp marmalade
1 Weigh the gammon and calculate the cooking time (20 minutes per 450g), then soak it overnight in a large pan of cold water. 2 Drain and refill the pan with the ginger beer and enough cold water to cover the gammon. Add the vegetables, bay leaves and star anise and simmer for the cooking time. Remove the gammon from the liquid. 3 Heat the oven to 200Â°C
(180Â°C fan oven) gas mark 6. Cut away the skin. Score the fat in two directions to make diamond shapes and stud each diamond with a clove. Place in a roasting pan. 4 Put the mustard, sugar and marmalade in a pan on a gentle heat to dissolve. Brush over the gammon. Bake for 40 minutes, brushing with the glaze every 10 minutes until golden. Leave to rest for 20 minutes, then serve.
MARMALADE BAKEWELL TART Preparation 40 minutes, plus chilling Cooking 45 minutes Serves 8 The classic pudding is given a fresh, zesty twist. FOR THE PASTRY 200g plain flour, sifted 100g unsalted butter, slightly softened 3 medium egg yolks 80g caster sugar drop of vanilla extract FOR THE FILLING 175g unsalted butter, softened 175g caster sugar finely grated zest of 1 orange 2 large eggs, beaten 175g ground almonds 50g self-raising flour 100g marmalade 20g almond flakes icing sugar, for dusting
1 Tip the flour onto the worktop. Add a pinch of salt, then make a well in the centre. Put the butter into the well and top with the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla. 2 Using the long edge of a palette knife, scrape the flour onto the butter mixture, then chop until it resembles breadcrumbs.
3 Gather together the pastry and gently work it with the fleshy part of your palm, pushing it away from you on the worktop until smooth, but don’t overwork it. Flatten it into a disc, wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 30 minutes. 4 Heat the oven to 200ºC (180ºC fan oven) gas mark 6 and put in a baking sheet. Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface and use it to line a 24cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Chill in the fridge or freezer for 20 minutes. countryliving.co.uk
5 Fill the pastry case with a circle of crumpled baking parchment and baking beans, and bake blind for 8 minutes on the preheated baking sheet. Remove the beans and paper and return to the oven for a further 6 minutes. Remove and leave to cool. Turn the temperature down to 180ºC (160ºC fan oven) gas mark 4. 6 For the filling, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the orange zest, then add the eggs a little at a
time, beating well after each addition. Gently fold in the ground almonds and flour. 7 Spread the marmalade in the base of the tart case right to the edges, followed by the almond mixture. Bake for 30 minutes, covering with foil if the pastry starts to over-brown. Sprinkle on the almond flakes about 15 minutes before the end of cooking. Dust with icing sugar and serve (either warm or at room temperature) with vanilla ice cream. JANUARY 2018
75g sultanas 2 tbsp dry sherry, brandy or whisky 4 tbsp marmalade about 8-10 slices slightly stale sliced bread, buttered 300ml whole milk 200ml double cream
3 medium eggs pinch of freshly grated nutmeg icing sugar, for dusting
1 Put the sultanas and the alcohol in a nonmetallic bowl and leave
to macerate for 20 minutes. 2 Heat the oven to 180Â°C (160Â°C fan oven) gas mark 4. Grease an ovenproof dish with butter. 3 Spread the marmalade 6 onto the buttered bread, then cut into triangles. Layer the slices in the dish, scattering with sultanas. 4 Put the milk, cream and eggs in a jug, whisk with a fork to combine, then pour over the bread.
5 Dust with nutmeg, then set the pudding aside for 15 minutes to allow the bread to absorb the custard. 6 Dust with a little icing sugar. Sit the dish in a roasting tin, pour in boiling water so it reaches halfway up the side of the dish and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the pudding is golden and set. 7 Dust with more icing sugar to serve, if you like. countryliving.co.uk
PHOTOGRAPHS BY TARA FISHER; WILLIAM SHAW; PHILIP WEBB; KATE WHITAKER
MARMALADE BREAD AND BUTTER PUDDING Preparation 20 minutes, plus macerating and resting Cooking 40 minutes Serves 4-6 Use dark Seville marmalade to prevent this pudding from being too sweet.
FOOD & DRINK MARMALADE BUNDT CAKE Preparation 25 minutes, plus cooling Cooking about 50 minutes Serves 10 You can find a selection of bundt tins at lakeland.co.uk. 200g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing 250g caster sugar zest and juice of 2 oranges 4 large eggs, at room temperature 300g plain flour, plus extra for dusting 1½ tsp baking powder 1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda 100g soured cream 425g Seville medium-cut marmalade
275g-325g icing sugar, sifted
1 Heat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan oven) gas mark 4. Thoroughly grease and flour a 25.5cm bundt tin. 2 Beat the butter, sugar and zest until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. If the mixture looks as if it might start to curdle, stir
in a tablespoon of the flour to bring it together. 3 In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and 1 tsp salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the soured cream and 275g marmalade. 4 Fold a third of the flour mixture into the butter mixture, followed by half the soured cream mixture. Continue folding in another third of the flour, then the remaining soured cream mixture followed by the rest of the flour. Spoon into the tin and bake for 45-50 minutes until a
skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack. 5 For the glaze, blitz the remaining marmalade in a blender to a smooth paste. Put the paste in a small pan with half the orange juice and simmer for 3-5 minutes until it forms a runny, sticky glaze. Brush the glaze on the warm cake. 6 When the cake has cooled, mix the remaining juice with 275g icing sugar to make a thick icing, add more icing sugar if needed, and drizzle over the cake.
FOOD & DRINK
Light AND EASY
The Scandi concept of Lagom, meaning ‘just enough’, is particularly appropriate after the excesses of Christmas, and these tasty dishes are satisfyingly sufficient RECIPES BY STEFFI KNOWLES-DELLNER
PHOTOGRAPHS BY YUKI SUGIURA
FOOD AND DRINK EDITOR ALISON WALKER
Mackerel and Trout Terrine (see recipe overleaf)
M AC K E R E L A N D TROUT TERRINE Preparation 20 minutes, plus chilling Cooking 20 minutes Serves 8 This makes a great centrepiece for a family weekend lunch. 300g floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks 2 pinches of saffron threads 600g whole smoked mackerel (about 400g if you are using fillets only), pin-boned and skinned 50g butter, softened 1 tbsp dill, finely chopped zest and juice of 1 lemon 4 or 5 hot smoked trout fillets
1 Put potatoes in a pan of salted water with a pinch of saffron; bring to a simmer. Line a 900g loaf tin with a double layer of clingfilm, leaving some overhanging. 2 If using whole mackerel, separate into fillets and line the bottom and sides of the tin, packing them tightly. They will easily mould to each other and you can use any smaller pieces to patch up any gaps. Reserve a few fillets for the top. 3 Once the potatoes are cooked, drain and return to the hot pan for a minute to get rid of excess moisture and fluff them up. Add the butter, remaining saffron, dill, lemon zest and a little juice. Mix together so the potatoes begin to break up, then season. 4 Pack half the potatoes into the tin, then layer with the trout, the remaining potatoes and mackerel. Wrap with the overhanging clingfilm and a layer of foil, then weigh down with some food tins. Chill for 4 hours or, ideally, overnight. 5 To serve, unwrap the top of the terrine and invert onto a plate to release. Remove the clingfilm, slice, then garnish with dill. Serve with salad and horseradish mayonnaise, if you like.
S P E LT P I Z Z A W I T H MUSHROOMS, P O TAT O E S A N D FRESH CHEESE Preparation 35 minutes, plus chilling Cooking about 25 minutes Serves 4 You can use ricotta rather than making your own cheese. FOR THE FRESH CHEESE 2L whole milk 2-3 tbsp lemon juice zest and juice of 1 lemon FOR THE PIZZA 350g wholemeal spelt flour 1 tbsp baking powder 2 tsp dried oregano 1½ tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil or olive oil, plus extra for drizzling 3 or 4 small potatoes, very thinly sliced 150g mixed mushrooms, sliced 2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves picked
1 handful of rocket, to serve Parmesan, shaved, to serve
1 For the fresh cheese, put the milk in a pan with 1 tsp sea salt. Slowly bring to the boil, then quickly remove from heat. Add lemon juice and stir until the mixture splits into curds and whey. If this doesn’t happen, add more lemon juice. 2 Strain through a sieve lined with muslin. Squeeze the muslin a little, then discard all the liquid; the curds shouldn’t be too dry. 3 Tip the curds into a bowl with the lemon zest, a squeeze of the juice and a little seasoning. Place a plate on the curds and weigh down with a couple of heavy tins. Chill for at least 2 hours. The cheese is ready to eat and will keep in the fridge for a week.
4 Heat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan oven) gas mark 7. Grease 2 baking sheets. 5 For the pizza, mix flour, baking powder, oregano and 1 tsp sea salt in a bowl. Place 250ml ‘finger warm’ water in a jug with the oil. Slowly add to the dry ingredients, mixing continuously. It should come together to form a smooth dough; if it’s dry, add a little water. 6 Halve dough, flatten and form into an oval on each of the baking sheets. Spread cheese over the bases and top with the potato. Scatter over mushrooms and rosemary, drizzle over some oil; season. Bake for 17-20 minutes, until puffed and golden, swapping baking sheets halfway through. Serve topped with rocket and Parmesan shavings. countryliving.co.uk
FOOD & DRINK L A M B M E AT B A L L S WITH LENTILS & CUMIN Preparation 25 minutes Cooking 35 minutes Serves 4 There’s plenty of room for experimentation with this recipe. Try adding some dried chilli flakes to the sauce for an extra kick. olive oil, for greasing 100g red lentils 300g lean lamb mince 1 onion, grated 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 egg, beaten 1 tsp each dried oregano and thyme
1 tsp ground cumin ½ tsp fennel seeds 400g couscous FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE 1 tbsp olive oil 1 red onion, finely chopped 1 garlic clove, finely chopped ½ tsp each ground cumin and smoked paprika 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1 tbsp tomato purée 1 tbsp red wine vinegar 400g tin chopped tomatoes 1 small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped 1 small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
5 1 Heat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan oven) gas mark 6
and grease a baking sheet generously with olive oil. Cook the lentils according to the packet instructions. Drain well and leave to cool. Tip the lentils into a bowl with the lamb, onion, garlic, egg, herbs and spices. Season generously and combine to form a very wet mixture. Roll the mixture into balls (grease your hands with a little oil), about 3cm in diameter, and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes until golden and cooked through. Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion over
a low-medium heat for about 10 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and spices and fry until toasted and fragrant. Add the tomato purée and cook for a minute, then the vinegar and cook for another minute. Tip in the tomatoes and a ladleful of water and simmer for 20 minutes until thickened. 6 Prepare couscous according to packet instructions. 7 Carefully add the lamb meatballs and most of the fresh herbs to the tomato sauce. Serve on top of the couscous, garnished with remaining herbs.
FOOD & DRINK
M O R M O R’ S CURRIED FISH SOUP Preparation 15 minutes Cooking about 20 minutes Serves 4 This soup has subtle layers of depth. My mormor (maternal granny) has been making it for as long as I can remember. 1 tsp butter 2 onions, thinly sliced 1 leek, sliced 2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped 2 tsp medium curry powder 1L fish or vegetable stock 300g thick cod fillets, cut into chunks 300g salmon, cut into pieces 150g cooked frozen Atlantic prawns, defrosted 250ml single cream 2 tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil or olive oil TO SERVE 1 bunch of dill, chopped 1 bunch of parsley, chopped chunky bread
1 Melt the butter in a large pan, add the onions and sauté over a low heat for 5 minutes without colouring. Add the leek and cook for another few minutes until softened, then add the garlic. Stir through 1 tsp of the curry powder and fry for another minute or so until fragrant. 2 Pour in the stock, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat – it should be just quivering. Add the fish and poach for 5-8 minutes, then tip in the prawns and cook for 3 more minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream. 3 Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan and add the remaining curry powder. Fry for 1 minute until aromatic, then tip into a bowl to cool. Divide the soup between 4 bowls, drizzle over a little curry oil and garnish with herbs. Serve with chunky bread. countryliving.co.uk
CREAMY BEETROOT LINGUINE Preparation 20 minutes Cooking 40 minutes Serves 4 The flavour combinations here really work well together – the vinegar and crème fraîche balance the beetroot’s sweetness perfectly. 4 medium beetroot, scrubbed and cut into wedges 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled 2 tbsp olive oil few sprigs of thyme, leaves picked 400g tin cannellini beans, drained 1 tbsp red wine vinegar 3 tbsp crème fraîche 400g wholemeal linguine TO SERVE feta, crumbled few sprigs of dill, chopped toasted walnuts
1 Heat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan oven) gas mark 6. Place the beetroot and garlic in a roasting tray and drizzle with the oil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and sprinkle over the thyme leaves. Roast for 30-40 minutes until beginning to caramelise. 2 Remove from the oven and trim any tough bits off the beetroot. Put in a food processor or, if using a stick blender, a deep jug. Squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins and add to the beetroot. 3 Tip in the cannellini beans, vinegar, crème fraîche and 100ml water, and blitz until it forms a smooth paste – add more water if it’s very thick. 4 Cook the linguine according to the packet
instructions, then drain. Return to the still-warm pan and stir through the beetroot sauce. Serve topped with feta, some dill and toasted walnuts.
Extracted from Lagom: The Swedish Art of Eating Harmoniously by Steffi Knowles-Dellner (Quadrille, £20). To order a copy for the special price of £15, including p&p, call 01256 302699, quoting the reference MU4. JANUARY 2018
next month in Our February issue is on sale from 3 January
A sense of style Effortless ways to bring classic elegance into your home
FIRST SIGNS OF SPRING
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Volunteer for vitality
WORDS BY KATE LANGRISH. PHOTOGRAPHS BY GETTY IMAGES. *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
Taking part in nature conservation activities – including hedge laying, habitat management, dry-stone walling, plant identification and species surveying – improved the mental wellbeing of more than two-thirds of those involved in a recent study of 139 Wildlife Trusts volunteers. University of Essex researchers found that 95 per cent of participants reported an improvement in behaviour, attitude and wellbeing after six weeks, which increased further after 12 weeks. “Volunteering in wild places makes people feel better, happier and more connected to other people,” says Dominic Higgins, nature and wellbeing manager at The Wildlife Trusts. Find out how you can get involved at wildlifetrusts.org.
WA S H E S F O R S E N S I T I V E S K I N Winter weather and central heating can mean skin feels more sensitive – and certain soaps and shower gels can make it worse by stripping it of naturally protective oils. Suitable for eczema-prone skin, Pai Gentle Genius Camellia & Bergamot Body Wash (£18 including sponge; paiskincare.com) uses natural cleansing agents and a konjac sponge to create a soft, non-irritating lather. Dr Bronner’s 18-in-1 Hemp Baby Unscented Pure-Castile Soap (£2.15; drbronner.co.uk) is made with organic coconut, olive, hemp and jojoba oil. Weleda Almond Sensitive Skin Body Wash (£7.95; weleda.co.uk) has a soap-free formula with organic almond oil to help replenish the skin’s natural barrier. Aurelia Restorative Cream Body Cleanser (£32; aureliaskincare.com) contains coconut cleansers, soothing aloe vera and nourishing baobab.
Boost your wellbeing the natural way with our round-up from the world of health and beauty
NEW FAVOURITE Give winter skin the extra attention it needs with Elemental Herbology Skincare Heroes (£46; elementalherbology.com), which contains Cell Nourish to brighten, Cell Plumping to lock in moisture and Facial Soufflé to firm. countryliving.co.uk
TREAT SORE, CHAPPED HANDS with My Trusty Sunflower Hand Cream (£4; mytrustyskincare.co.uk). Formulated by leading NHS skincare experts, it also reduces scarring. Best of all, profits go straight back into the NHS. GIVE THE WHOLE FAMILY A NEW YEAR HEALTH KICK with Chewy Moon (£4.98; chewymoon.com). Each box contains a mix of nutritionist-devised snacks – including veggie crackers, nutty flapjacks and smoothie bites – and can be tailored to individual tastes. HELP SUPPORT HORMONAL BALANCE during the menopause and perimenopause with new Pukka Womankind Menopause capsules (£16.95; pukkaherbs.com), which contain sage leaf, traditionally used for treating hot flushes, balancing shatavari root and other botanicals. For more tips and products, visit netdoctor.co.uk.
NATURE’S MEDICINE CABINET Walnuts Don’t let that bowl of festive nuts go to waste – they can give your health a boost. Walnuts contain the highest level of antioxidants compared to other nuts, and are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They are traditionally associated with memory, and one study found that eating a handful a day may help improve performance in memory and concentration tests. Eating walnuts may also help improve heart health – a study found that regular consumption was associated with reduced cholesterol. As a snack, they can help boost healthy bacteria in the gut, too, and keep you feeling fuller for longer*. JANUARY 2018
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H E A LT H & B E AU T Y
ur levels of energy naturally rise and fall throughout the day, but stress, fluctuating hormones, not eating well or drinking enough, and even modern technology can all be a drain on the battery. Short, dark days at this time of year can sap the spirit further still. Follow this simple plan to put the vivacity back in your day.
7AM: RISE AND SHINE How well you cope in the morning depends very much on whether you are naturally a lark who flies out of bed ready to face the day, or an owl who could happily stay under the duvet. If you’re an owl, try a wake-up light, such as the Lumie Bodyclock Starter 30 (£59.95, lumie.com), which simulates natural light. This motivates the production of your body’s get-up-and-go hormones and suppresses the melatonin that brings on sleep. If you’re a lark, head out for a morning walk in the countryside or a local park, especially if you struggle to maintain an exercise habit – researchers have found that doing this first thing before other commitments intrude helps you to keep it going. University of Bristol researchers discovered that employees who exercised before work – or during their lunch breaks – were better equipped to handle what the day threw at them than those who didn’t.
ENERGY Start the new year with a spring in your step – these small changes will provide natural verve and vitality from dawn to dusk WORDS BY ANNE MONTAGUE
H E A LT H & B E AU T Y 8 A M : E A R LY- M O R N I N G P I C K- M E - U P We wake up dehydrated with low blood sugar, and this means low energy. Have a high-energy breakfast combining protein and slow-release carbs – poached egg on wholemeal toast, or porridge, fruit and yogurt. Take your coffee outside in the garden for ten minutes in natural light, which stimulates production of the feelgood hormone serotonin.
1 1 A M : AVO I D T H E MID-MORNING SLUMP A cup of tea and a biscuit may seem the perfect quick fix, but the initial boost in energy levels will be followed by a blood sugar crash soon after. Instead, replace sugary snacks with fresh fruit, a handful of nuts and seeds or a few squares of 70 per cent chocolate – a recent study found that people who made these healthier choices ate 18 per cent fewer calories at lunchtime.
1PM: LUNCHTIME BOOSTER To combat the post-lunch energy dip, choose a meal that’s high in protein and low in, rather than no, carbs – carbohydrates are needed for energy, but too much can make you feel sleepy. Swap a pasta salad for a tuna one with a small wholegrain roll, a regular sandwich for an open one, and a big baked potato with a sprinkling of cheese for a small one with added baked beans. Try to get outside for a walk – especially in the uplifting surroundings of green spaces. Research shows that natural light increases attention and alertness in the afternoon – even a short stroll will boost your heart rate and increase the flow of oxygen around the body, reviving flagging energy.
3 P M : B E AT T H E AFTERNOON CRA SH Energy and concentration levels typically peak around noon, then start to drop after lunch, reaching their lowest point mid-afternoon when we’re hardwired to feel sleepy. If you can take a 20-minute nap (no longer or you’ll feel sluggish), go ahead, but if that’s not possible, stretch out. Sit on the edge of a chair, clasp your hands behind your back, open up your chest and shoulders and then inhale and exhale several times. Release and repeat three to four times. Gillian Berry of the British Acupuncture Council suggests this simple technique to restore energy levels: gently massage the inner part of both heels by placing the tips of your fingers on the area just between the ankle bone and the hard ridge of the Achilles tendon. Massage each foot gently for a couple of minutes.
H E A LT H & B E AU T Y 6PM: EVENING ENERGISER We get a second peak of energy and alertness in the early evening, and this is the ideal time to exercise, as it is also when your muscle tone and flexibility are at their best. Regular exercise is a powerful energiser because it spurs the development of mitochondria, the powerhouses of your body’s cells, which convert the energy stored in foods into a form the cells can use.
8-9PM: THE EVENING WIND-D OWN Sleep is the ultimate battery recharger – if we don’t get enough, our energy reserves will be low. Research shows that even partial sleep deprivation has potentially negative impacts on how the body regulates energy. Evening meals should be the reverse of lunchtime ratios, with less protein and more carbohydrates to help induce sleepiness. Avoid caffeine and stick to just one alcoholic drink early in the evening. Start winding down for an hour before bed – write tomorrow’s to-do list if it helps you clear your head or have a warm bath. Make sure you switch off phones, tablets and other electronic devices and put them in another room. Information overload increases the production of stress hormones, which can interfere with restful sleep, and the blue light that these devices emit can hinder the release of the sleep hormone melatonin.
Iron Low iron levels can leave you fatigued and lethargic. Good sources are lean meat, liver and egg yolks, but dried fruit, tofu, nuts and kidney beans also contain it. If you’re concerned about your levels, ask your GP for a blood test. Vitamin D In the UK, sunlight doesn’t contain enough UVB radiation in winter (October to early March) for our skin to be able to make vitamin D, so increase your intake from food sources – including oily fish, egg yolks and fortified cereals – or take a supplement. B vitamins Vitamin B12 (in meat and dairy products) and folate (in leafy green vegetables, chickpeas and liver) are also vital – a deficiency of either of these can result in low energy, pins and needles and muscle weakness.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY GETTY IMAGES; ALAMY
THE ENERGY NUTRIENTS
where to buy Stockists in this issue
A ALICE WALTON CERAMICS B C
alicewaltonceramics.co.uk A ANDREASSEN aandreassen.com BRORA brora.co.uk CELTIC & CO 0844 557 8877; celticandco.com THE CONRAN SHOP 0844 848 4000; conranshop.co.uk COX & COX 0330 333 2123; coxandcox.co.uk THE CROFT HOUSE 01779 838155; thecrofthouse.com DEBBIE NICHOLLS debbienichollsstudio.etsy. com DFS 0808 250 8287; dfs.co.uk DOT COM GIFT SHOP dotcomgiftshop.com EPPING SMITH 020 7603 2670; eppingsmith.co.uk ETSY etsy.com FILBERTS OF DORSET filbertsofdorset.co.uk FINCH & CRANE finchandcrane.com FRED ALDOUS 0161 236 4224; fredaldous.co.uk FUNKY BUNCH fbflowers.co.uk THE FUTURE KEPT 01424 814968; thefuturekept.com GARDEN TRADING gardentrading.co.uk H&M hm.com HARRIS & JONES 01908 587858; harrisandjones.co.uk HEDGEHOG 020 8964 9331; hedgehogshop.co.uk HOBBYCRAFT 0330 026 1400; hobbycraft.co.uk IKEA 020 3645 0015; ikea.com INDIGO AND ROSE 01628 531555; indigoandrose.co.uk JACQUELINE RAPPAPORT/HAGSTONE POTTERY 07903 717247; hagstone.co.uk JANE MEANS 01522 522544;
janemeans.com JOHN LEWIS johnlewis.com JULIA PLOTKIN 07759 745442; juliaplotkin.com L LAKELAND 01539 488100; lakeland.co.uk LITTLE GREENE littlegreene.com M MCCARTNEYS AT BRECON ANTIQUES 01874 622386; mccartneys.co.uk MELANIE PORTER melanieporter.co.uk MERI MERI shopmerimeri.co.uk MORGANS 07891 955474; Facebook @morgansvintage N NKUKU 0333 240 0155; nkuku.com O OLLI ELLA 020 7713 8668; olliella.com P PAPERCHASE paperchase.co.uk PAPERMASH papermash.co.uk PAULA KIRKWOOD pkirkwood.com PIPII 01342 823921; pipii.co.uk R RHS PLANTS 01344 578833; rhsplants.co.uk ROPESOURCE 01204 896731; rope-source.co.uk ROWEN & WREN 01276 451077; rowenandwren.co.uk S SAINSBURY’S sainsburys.co.uk SANDERSON 020 3457 5862; stylelibrary.com/sanderson SCHÖFFEL schoffel.co.uk THE SHOP FLOOR PROJECT 01229 584537; theshopfloorproject.com SOFTER AND WILD softerandwild.co.uk ST JUDE’S 01603 662951; stjudesfabrics.co.uk SUSIE WATSON DESIGNS 0344 980 8185; susiewatsondesigns.co.uk THE SWAN ANTIQUES CENTRE theswan.co.uk T TINSMITHS 01531 632083; tinsmiths.co.uk TOAST 0333 400 5200; toa.st/uk
K I T C H E N S U RV E Y
Planning your dream kitchen? Win £5,000 in our prize draw IT TAKES JUST TEN MINUTES TO COMPLETE THE SURVEY
Let us know your favourite look, whether it’s Shaker units and copper accessories…
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hether you long for sleek, modern
look for in terms of design, price and service. The survey
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when it comes to choosing where to buy, would you rather I N A S S O C I AT I O N W I T H
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PHOTOGRAPHS BY DAVID BRITTAIN; GAP INTERIORS/PIOTR GESICKI; MARK SCOTT. *THE PRIZE IS REDEEMABLE AGAINST A KITCHEN PURCHASE ONLY. FOR T&CS, SEE THE WEBSITE
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advertisement feature ONYOURBED – WHEN ONLY THE BEST WILL DO!
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Home essentials Where the heart is
CLASSIC AND ELEGANT CUTLERY DESIGNED FOR MODERN LIVING
EDWARD BULMER NATURAL PAINT
This delightful range is Old English mirror finish stainless steel with dishwasher safe cream handled knives. Exclusive price – Set for six people at £300, this includes six seven-piece place settings (as shown) and two table spoons. A set for four people costs £220. Prices include VAT and UK delivery. www.glazebrook.com Tel: 020 7731 7135.
Hailed as a top 50 British brand for your home. This natural paint is as healthy and eco-friendly as it is beautiful – offering unrivalled coverage in just two coats and a soft, chalky matt finish. Choose from 85 stunning colours for both modern and period interiors. Call 01544 388535 or visit www.edwardbulmerpaint.co.uk for your complimentary colour chart. Why compromise?
CRAFTWERK NEEDLE FELTING KITS Using only natural British Wool, our kits have a simplicity and beauty reflective of nature. Designed and produced in rural Wales, our kits guide you through the process of needle felting; the perfect therapeutic craft for long winter evenings. www.craftwerk.co.uk Tel: 07808 182541.
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We all want to look and feel fabulous, and it’s never been easier to achieve, thanks to David Nieper’s stunning new collection. Each garment is lovingly made in their Derbyshire studios from the finest quality fabrics. Expert designers and seamstresses create each piece with the greatest of care for comfort, fit, quality and style. Go Anywhere Poncho £99. Style 6034 Shop online at davidnieper.co.uk or call 01773 83 6000 for a catalogue. Quote code CL52.
Eternal Collection offers beautiful costume jewellery and accessories at prices you will love. They have a fantastic selection of Swarovski crystal, enamel, metallic, exquisite pearl, Venetian glass and fashion jewellery to suit all tastes and a vast range of clip-on and pierced earrings. No quibble guarantee and free returns. For your FREE catalogue call 03453 707071 or visit www.eternalcollection.co.uk 10% OFF your first order when you QUOTE CL67.
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Treat yourself This month’s must-haves SKIN
KRILL OIL – THE NEW SUPER OMEGA 3 TM
LOOK YOUNGER LONGER WITH REGENTIV (Retinol)
THE SPECIALIST SERUM’S advanced RETINOL, Vit E, Aloe Vera, formula minimises facial lines, wrinkles, crepey eye tissue, sun and skin damage. Also neck. SPF and moisturiser. 30ml £29.95, 50ml £44.95, 100ml £79.95, 200ml £149, free p&p in UK. Apply code CL1 at checkout for exclusive reader 10% discount. www.regentiv.co.uk. For advice or to order 01923 212555. Please see full range and wonderful offers on our website.
Research now shows that krill oil is superior to fish oil due to its unique phospholipid superstructure omega 3, antioxidants and brain nutrient choline. Krill oil is now seen as the gold standard in omega 3 supplements. Silvertown Health krill oil is eco-harvested to protect nature deep in the purest Antarctic seas to provide unparalleled omega 3 quality. RRP £24.95 – CL Offer only £16.97 + p&p (60 capsules up to two months supply) plus CL readers also get two free home spa face masks with their first order. Online order/ more info www.silvertownhealth.co.uk or Tel 24 Hour Order Line – 0345 0956903.
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. www.absolutecollagen.com
POTTER AND MOOCH THE TWISTER Christmas – New Year Special, Natural Knitted A Line. 100% cotton. On promotion £59. Reduced from £89. Available from our store www.originalblues.co.uk or phone 01635 867165.
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.
Style essentials Look good, feel great
THE DEFINITIVE GO ANYWHERE JEWELLERY 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.
CHRISTMAS CRACKERS Make someone happy this Christmas with fabulous sterling silver jewellery by Christin Ranger. All designs come beautifully gift boxed and ready to place under the tree. Pictured are her Long Fuchsia earrings at just £45. Available at Christinranger.com Or order by telephone: 01424 773091. See web page for stockists.
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
A TOAST TO THE PAST
INDIGO AND ROSE
Designed in the UK, Silver Pink offers a unique collection of luxury knitwear and accessories for women. Wrap up warm in style this winter in a jumper or cardigan made from the finest quality cashmere. www.silverpinkcompany.co.uk
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
A rural inspired collection of gift and homeware combining the new and the nostalgic. From hand crafted lambswool animals including wheat-filled dogs and sheep plus cute lavender owls to cosy throws and cushions. Receive 10% discount on your first order using code CLX17 www.indigoandrose.co.uk 01628 531555
DIAZ DESIGNS HOME
Lauren’s Cows is a mother/daughter enterprise. Vibrant, characterful artwork by Lauren Terry. Available from www.laurenscows.com our colourful cows will make you smile whether you choose art for your wall or something for your kitchen. Image: Wallace (limited edition print of 125)
Diaz Designs Home handmakes luxury chunky rugs and blankets from their studio in the Cotswolds. Using the finest merino wool, each item is finished to an exceptional standard and will guarantee a cosy winter. Available from www.diazdesignshome.com. Use COUNTRY10 for 10% off – offer ends 1st Jan. Follow @diazdesigns.home on Instagram
Luxurious and cosy, 75% alpaca three-quarter socks with soft cushioned soles are perfect for country walks in the winter months. Soft as cashmere but far more hardwearing; fabulous natural and vivid jewel colours are available. Perilla.co.uk 01886 853 615
TRANSFORM YOUR SKIN AND HAIR...
JARCESSORISE™ YOUR GIFTS FOR CHRISTMAS!
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
Our unique Collections make your gift preserves as individual as you are. A gift of a Dressing Up Box to a preserving friend shows how much you appreciate what they make. Featured: The Nordic House Collection. The best prices, extensive range of jars, bottles and equipment. www.lovejars.co.uk
WHISTLEFISH Here at Whistlefish, we design and print our products and hand frame our art prints at our HQ in beautiful Cornwall, UK. We offer our own unique yet affordable vision in contemporary and traditional art, greeting cards, homeware and gifts. Use offer code COUNTRY17 to enjoy 10% off when visiting our website. www.whistlefish.com
FOR DETAILS OF CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING PLEASE TELEPHONE 020 3728 6260 OR VISIT WWW.HEARSTMAGAZINESDIRECT.CO.UK
CRAFTSMAN COLLECTION Photo: Yeshen Venema
JUDIT ESZTERGOMI CERAMICS
JANE BECK WELSH BLANKETS
Judit carefully designs her wheel-thrown pieces to sit comfortably in one’s hand; she combines simple, curved forms with handcarved decorations and a warm, cheerful colour palette that brightens up even those grey and rainy mornings. www.juditesztergomiceramics.com
Traditional Welsh blankets. New, vintage and antique. Over 1000 in stock. Plus cushions, quilts and gifts Visit us year round at Ty Zinc. SY25 6QB 01570 493241 welshblankets.co.uk
These handbuilt ceramic vessels by Emily-Kriste Wilcox exude calm and balance. Panels of clay are treated with layered coloured slips to achieve the desired depth of surface, making reference to the English landscape. www.emily-kriste.co.uk
PM ART & DESIGN
Unique contemporary heritage Fair Isle knitwear made from luxury 100% superfine merino yarn and using only the oldest traditional patterns and natural colours. Silky soft, warm, comfortable, BAKKA preserves Shetland’s cultural past. www.bakkaknitwear.com
Quality fine art prints and designs. Animals, Greek Art and Classic Cars. Various size prints, cards and quality printed mugs, making ideal gifts. Commission work undertaken. Special Occasion fingerprint designs for Weddings, Birthdays and Christenings. www.pmart.co.uk facebook: @pmartanddesign
Pottery professionally hand thrown in Wales, UK. This ‘Dylan’ mug is a replica of the mug found in the writing shed of the poet Dylan Thomas in Laugharne, Carmarthenshire. It is a perfect size for any drink. ebsworthpots.com
CORRYMOOR MOHAIR SOCKS
MAKE STITCH YOUR NEW YEARS RESOLUTION
Our Santa has Corrymoor Mohair Socks on his list! Have you? For 25 years, Corrymoor Angora Goats in Devon, have produced British made mohair socks that are colourful and luxurious, tough and long-lasting. Naturally sweat and odour free. Socks, not just for Christmas, but for life. www.corrymoor.com
Tina Francis Tapestry creates tapestry needlepoint kits and patterns with a design led edge. Our “Use Your Stash” range encourages you to use the wool you already have to create something quite unique. www.tinafrancis.co.uk
FOR DETAILS OF CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING PLEASE TELEPHONE 020 3728 6260 OR VISIT WWW.HEARSTMAGAZINESDIRECT.CO.UK
EMMA WREN Thoughtful hares, cheeky seagulls, retro budgies and exotic flowers all feature in the latest collection from artist Emma Wren. Created in inks and vivid watercolours, Emma’s contemporary original paintings and Giclee prints really capture these characters in their natural surroundings. Available online at: www.emmawren.co.uk JANUARY 2018
NORTHUMBERLAND SELF CATERING
NORTH DEVON COAST
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?
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
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.
ISLE OF WIGHT AND DORSET HOLIDAY COTTAGES
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
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.
ST MICHAEL’S COASTAL COTTAGES
SAND AND CASTLE NORTHUMBERLAND
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.
A small collection of pretty and stylish country cottages in coastal and rural locations around the Northumberland Coast. Sleeping 2-10 Log burners and gardens, all family friendly, dogs welcome White sandy beaches and castles galore to explore www.sandandcastle.co.uk Tel Caroline on 01665 570576
www.stmichaelscoastalcottages.com Tel 01736 711098
www.cc-cottages.com Call 00 353 95 41844
Tel 01237 441 311 www.pattard.com www.pattardkitchen.com
Charming cottages in beautiful rural and coastal locations situated throughout the Isle of Wight & Purbeck, Dorset. Pretty thatched cottages, farmhouses, stone cottages with stunning sea views in picturesque villages. Some cottages with swimming pools. Graded by the tourist board 3 - 5 Stars. Telephone 01929 481555 www.islandcottageholidays.com www.purbeckcottageholidays.com
RURAL RETREATS 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
FOR DETAILS OF CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING PLEASE TELEPHONE 020 3728 6260 OR VISIT WWW.HEARSTMAGAZINESDIRECT.CO.UK
COUNTRY DIRECTORY House & Garden
Back from Black Beam Renovation Ltd RENOVATING BEAMS SINCE 1997
forged for life BEAMS RENOVATED WITHOUT MESS! A UNIQUE PROCESS - NO BLASTING
Tel: 01797 458508 WWW.BEAM-RENOVATION.CO.UK
simple, classic & strong
www.madebytheforge.co.uk 01473 487118 FOR DETAILS OF CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING PLEASE TELEPHONE 020 3728 6260 OR VISIT WWW.HEARSTMAGAZINESDIRECT.CO.UK
The wood burning stove perfected Remarkably efﬁcient and clean burning with a wonderful view of dancing ﬂames, our stoves will save you money and enrich your life.
STOCKISTS THROUGHOUT THE UK Manufactured at More Works, Bishops Castle, Shropshire SY9 5HH Brochure Line: 01588 650 123 www.clearviewstoves.com
It’s not just our unique free standing baths we’re known for... ..choose from classical or modern bathroom collections MRGPYHMRKXETWWLS[IVWERHǻRIWERMXEV][EVI Your new bathroom awaits.
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FREESTANDING BATHS | TAPS & SHOWERS | BASINS & WC’S | SHOWER ENCLOSURES | BATHROOM HEATING
S “Extraordinary CUMB LE name.
GOOSIE Extraordinary furniture.”
Lovely hand built kitchens - at equally lovely prices.
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Request a brochure
TOUCH AND FEEL IN STORE OR VISIT US ONLINE
Lynx Trading Estate, YEOVIL BA20 2HL T: 01935 434700
Download a brochure from our website today
All cabinetry of average sized kitchen around £7,000
revivalbeds.co.uk 01777 869 669
WINTER SALE %
Whether your home is a country cottage, a Victorian semi, a modern townhouse or a converted barn, enjoy a 20% discount off all our timber windows DQGGRRUVLQRXUZLQWHUVDOHXQWLOWKHHQGRI-DQXDU\:LWKRYHUVWXQQLQJVKRZURRPVQDWLRQZLGHIRU\RXWRYLVLWÅ“QG\RXUQHDUHVWRQOLQH
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Fireguards for stoves
ll c o l l e fu ec
Call for your
T: 01473 826952 LAWRENC
Handmade in Britain
01225 851577 garden-requisites.co.uk
The finest of British Country Outbuildings
Magnetic Aga Lid Covers The covers that don’t fall off!
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
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
www.inchyrahome.co.uk | 01738 860066
Floors & Flooring
£69 (free p&p) Reversible Cotton Jacket various designs 01263 732643
Furniture & Furnishings 01509 234000 - www.ﬂoorsofstone.com
COVELLI TENNANT Vintage Textiles & Bespoke Upholstery
Hand made in Rural Hampshire www.mark-ripley.com/video
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General Interest Pets & Livestock
For animals with sore, broken & itchy skin. Promotes natural healing. Stuck in a rut? Need a change?
FERNSBY HALL TAPESTRIES
Tapestry kits produced by Diana Fernsby from the original paintings of Catriona Hall. Kits from £55. Please quote Ref.FHT1. firstname.lastname@example.org www.fernsbyhall.com Tel: 01279 777795 TA P E ST R I E S
+44 (0)1892 783240
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
Creating colourful careers in interior and garden design for over 55 years A history of putting interior and garden design students on the road to success At Inchbald School of Interior and Garden Design you will be taught by established designers with extensive business experience.
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The director and actor on living the good life and taking to the skies in a helicopter Winter is one of my favourite times of the year. I love the purity of a crisp, cold day – especially if it’s been snowing. Everything seems so peaceful under a blanket of snow; to me it feels very Dickensian. With all the bare branches, it’s far easier to spot birds hiding up in the trees, too. We are so lucky to have such a range of beautiful filming locations in the UK. We shot parts of The Colour of Magic in Snowdonia and Anglesey in Wales – they are some of the most picturesque places I’ve worked in. The sunsets over Caernarfon Bay in the west are absolutely spectacular – they stick in my mind even now. My mother was Welsh and I spent a lot of my childhood visiting relatives there, so I’ve always felt a bit of an affinity with the country. Another favourite location is the Lake District, where I directed The Quest. The landscape, with its lakes, forests and mountains, is just stunning. It was a joy to be out near the water with the crew. I’ve also filmed a great deal in Yorkshire, which has some wonderful places to visit on a day off.
I would love to explore the far north of Scotland. Friends tell me I’m missing out on some of the most dramatic and unspoilt scenery in Europe. Caithness and Sutherland are meant to be particularly beautiful. Maybe one day I’ll get there… My memories of working on The Darling Buds of May are some of my happiest. I couldn’t fail to be impressed with the lovely Kent countryside. Enjoying dinner out in the Larkins’ garden in the early evening was magical. It really was just ‘perfick’! I’ve enjoyed working in authentic and historic locations, too. We filmed many of the scenes for Darling Buds in a traditional oast house in Bethersden, Kent. It was a wonderful building and something that is such an integral part of the county, which brought a sense of realism to the show. The ‘good life’ the Larkins lead is a reminder for us to appreciate the simpler things whenever we can. I like
to grow my own vegetables and turn any surplus into delicious pickles and sauces – I find it so relaxing to stand over a big, bubbling pot of tomato chutney that I can enjoy for months to come. I once had a go at making cider, too, and bought all the kit, but it took so long to make just a couple of litres that I gave up in the end. Gill, my wife, takes care of our three chickens. She lets them roam free whenever we’re at home. They’re such amusing creatures and it’s great to go and collect their eggs each day. I’ve often thought about getting a pig, but somehow never get round to it. But you never know – maybe this time next year I’ll be a pig keeper! I definitely consider myself more of a country person than a city one. I love wildlife and nature, and much prefer being out in the open. I think it’s hugely important that we do all we can to preserve the countryside we’re so lucky to have. Where I live in the Chilterns, which is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, we’re faced with the new HS2 railway line – and I wonder what the impact of that will be. As much as I see a need for improved rail travel, I’m not sure the answer should come at such a huge cost. I’m a qualified helicopter pilot and flying over the south of England always reminds me what an amazing island we live on. The countryside is like a giant patchwork of green – it’s wonderful to see it from a whole new perspective.
I love wildlife and nature, and much prefer being out in the open
David Jason’s new book, Only Fools and Stories: From Del Boy to Granville, Pop Larkin to Frost, is published by Century and available in hardback, ebook and audio. countryliving.co.uk
INTERVIEW BY LAURAN ELSDEN. PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALAMY; CAMERA PRESS/JAMES VEYSEY
Winter is one of David’s favourite times of the year, as the crisp, cold days in the countryside offer good bird-spotting opportunities