19 December 2016


Last week, we had a very exciting day here when advertising agency Mccann Erikson

For those of you who are not familiar with a mannequin challenge, it's a viral video
craze that is sweeping the world featuring people freezing for the camera imitating mannequins whilst music plays in the background.

This is the result....


12 December 2016


Pantone have recently announced their 'Colour of the Year 2017'. 
It's called 'Greenery' (Pantone 15-0343).  

'A refreshing and revitalizing shade - symbolic of new beginnings - 
a fresh and zesty yellow-green that evokes the first days of spring.' 

I understand the sentiment behind this colour but large amounts of Pantone's 'Greenery' is not a colour for our house. The photo above has just enough green for my liking. In fact the recycled shelves, bottles and leaves look great 'but' and there's a big 'but' and that is - the photo is mainly filled with white with a little emphasis on green.

So this is the thing (well as I see it anyway)....this new colour for 2017, 
in order for us to embrace it, can only be used as a hi-light - mainly in the form of house plants then teamed with a lots and lots of white, which is the best colour in the world.
Funny as it is, I think we've got the balance correct in the spare room already!!

2 December 2016


With Christmas only 23 days away, 
it's got me thinking about our first Christmas at The Manor House.

We were deep in the middle of having the dining room renovated.
Finishing off the room, was getting less and less likely as Christmas drew closer. 
Our builders worked frantically to finish but unfortunately there just wasn't enough time to complete it.

 In a mad panic and knowing we were having lots of family to stay, 
what could we do to 'spice up' the dining room for the festive time?

Richard had the bright idea to get Alfie and Jemima 
to paint the walls with all the family members coming to stay.  

These were the results...

We had a fantastic family time, lots of food and games, laughter and happiness.  
It was a lovely Christmas.
The room felt cozy and warm and the paintings added a unique fun element.
It was a sad moment painting over the 'art' when the room eventually got finished but I'm glad we have these photos to remember what they looked like.

Our dining room looked very different last year at Christmas and with a few more members added to the family (Scarlett 6, Albie 3 and Boo 2), we managed to all sit down around the table and have another happy meal together.  This time, my super talented photographer sister,  Charlotte took this image to capture the magical moment.

29 November 2016


Sometimes when the day is a bit dull because the weather is awful and the skies are full of much rain and I'm thinking I wish we were on holiday in a sunny part of the world.... it's then that I have a reality check and realise how lucky we are to live in this house, whatever the weather.  

We have achieved so much with our home. 
We bought it knowing that it needed updating and renovating

The room that I favour most, has to be the kitchen. 
It's a room that we all naturally gravitate towards, 
whether it be to sit and read a book or listen to music or to make and eat food.  
It has an advantage that it's always filled with natural light (even on the darkest of days) - north, south dual aspect windows  
enhanced by any light bouncing off the white painted walls.  


I like to remind myself of what the room looked like when we arrived......



It's changed a lot!!

16 November 2016


It's still very Autumnal here
Leaves are slowly leaving their branches
and we're collecting numerous 'windfalls' from the orchard.


One particular tree has some lovely juicy red cooking apples.
We can't eat them quick enough before more fall. It's difficult to decide what to make with them as we have apples 'coming out of our ears', 

 but today I made three small upside-down toffee apple puddings.

They are perfect for a Autumn pudding and delicious with a dollop of crème fraîche.

Here's the gorgeous recipe -
 Instead of making three little cakes as I did, 
you can combine all the ingredients to make one larger size which shows off 
the pretty fan shaped apples.

Serves 6- 8
75g (3oz) light muscovado sugar
50g (20z) butter
3 red dessert or cooking apples, core removed and thinly sliced

100g (4oz) butter
100g (4oz) caster sugar
2 eggs
175g (6oz) self-raising flour plus 1tsp baking powder
zest of 1 small lemon

Grease a 20cm (8") deep cake tin and line the base. 

Measure the ingredients for the topping into a pan.  
Place on low heat, stir until just melted and pour into the prepared tin.  
Lay apple slices in a spiral on top.

Measure the ingredients for the sponge together into a bowl, beat until smooth.  
Spoon over the apple (the mixture is fairly stiff) and spread out evenly to cover.
Bake in a preheated oven 180C/160CFan/Gas 4 for about 40 - 45 minutes.
Leave to cool for a couple of minutes in the tin.
 Invert onto a serving plate, 
remove the paper and serve warm with custard, cream or crème fraîche.

Taken from Lucy Young - Aga Easy

25 October 2016


 Autumn has definitely arrived.

The nights are getting darker, 
we're noticing colder weather and the leaves are changing colour
from green to rusts, to yellows, and oranges.

 The leaves are beginning to drop in the orchard,

and in the garden by the house. 

Autumn evidence from the kitchen window.
We've harvested herbs that grow in the vegetable garden.....
rosemary, sage, thyme and marjoram.
They're hung upside down to dry, afterwards stored for use throughout the winter season. 

And look there's two pumpkins!
Undecided yet, they'll either be put outside for Halloween night 
or made into a pumpkin pie.

17 October 2016


It's been a while since I've written here, 
so thought it might be good to come back with a look at our homegrown tomatoes.  
Yes they are green!!!! and yes they are on the window sill ripening....

but look there's one that is red...

and we're positive that with the lovely sunshine that we're experiencing, 
they'll all be red soon.
Can't wait to eat them!!!

23 March 2016


There are celebrations today at the Manor House. 
Jemima passed her driving test......yay!  

Not only did she pass with having had 12 lessons (and lots of help from mum and dad), 
she also only got 6 minors!!!!

The examiner said she was one of the best young drivers of her age that he had examined. 

So, so proud and pleased for her.

Love you Jemima x

18 March 2016


I've been following Remodelista for many years, getting daily updates on design ideas, amazing architectural projects, shopping and travel suggestions.  It's a very interesting blog which I'm addicted too. 

Today they focused on concrete worktops, a subject that I am passionate about as we have them in our kitchen.  I am so, so happy with ours, which is certainly 'The star of the show' in our kitchen! 
They have a solid, sturdiness mixed with a natural feel that no other worktop could provide.

Even over time the concrete will develop a patina with more use.  How good is this?

The only slight draw back with concrete, is that we have to be cautious about are squirts of lemon juice or spillages of white wine. Generally, washing off instantly rectifies this problem though. Because ours is polished concrete we add a waterproof sealant to buff it up every now and again...'rub it on, rub it off', a bit like on the film 'Karate Kid' if you've ever seen it?  
Once done, it shines like new again.

Concrete worktops don't have to be grey in colour, in fact when people walk into our kitchen this is normally the first comment they make.  Ours is a natural white.

If you're considering concrete worktops, I would highly recommend Lowinfo, this is the company that we worked with to produce ours. I have previously written a post about the process here
We are so pleased we chose concrete worktops.

11 March 2016

It's exciting to see our house being used in a professional photograph, 
recognizing the chair, floor, curtains or plant that are everyday objects to us, 
which are then transformed into a backdrop to a client's advert, or an image on their website or a promotional brochure. 

Take for instance the above photo used on H J Socks website. 
This is the chaise longue that stands in front of the window in the spare room... 

the wing back chair in the conservatory, 

or the gates into the orchard,

or the steps up into the conservatory.

Men's Socks

Various shots from around the house and outside used by the client for a banner on their website.

Our house can be rented out as a film and photo shoot locations 
via JJ Loctions and Shoot Factory.


Loving this music and video at the moment and just had to share it...

Have a great weekend!

7 March 2016


I love this photo of the door into the main bedroom taken on a sunny summers day.  
There's something both mystical and serene about it.  
White door, white walls and white floor, a hint of colour from green leaves in the glass vase. 
The letters are from Posh Grafitti.

15 February 2016


One of my thoughtful and very kind friends has just given me a lovely gift ...washing-up liquid from Daylesford
Lucky for her, she visited the organic farm in Gloucestershire this weekend.

She certainly knows how to spoil me and knew it would appeal to me. I can't believe how excited I am about it!!

I've just cleaned some very greasy saucepans and spoons.  This is not just a pretty bottle of washing-up liquid, it effectively washes grease and grime leaving dishes sparkling and clean. 

 Environmentally kind, biodegradable, sensitive to skin with a beautiful scent of rosemary. It even looks good in a clear bottle with simple white and grey graphics so if you're anything like me, you won't be embarrassed to leave out on show in your kitchen. 

 I can't rave on enough about it.  All in all a perfect product...10 out of 10!!!
You can buy it online here.

31 January 2016


Our hall has a grandness. It has remained, the same as it was originally built back in 1870's. 
The staircase is the prized feature, with its deep stairs and mahogany handrail. 

This is the hall as it looks today... 

and looking the other way towards the front door...

When introduced to The Manor House, it was the hall that we walked into first. 
Standing all together, our first impressions was of a room in need of updating and some renovations. High ceilings, large staircase, lots of space, mostly a light and airy room with beautiful original doors to rooms that had to be explored.  

Once we'd moved in and started renovating the house, generally our motto has been that not everything has to be expensive to update.  We always try to use what you have or clean, mend or add too it

Under a green carpet in the hall, we found a natural stone floor.  It was an exciting moment.  
We suspect that the sandstone had been sourced from a Mansfield quarry in Nottinghamshire around the 1800's when this part of the house was built.  

(above) detail of stone floor

After many years of walking on the floor, especially into rooms that were probably occupied by servants, some areas have become worn and indented. We were keen to discard the carpet and see the distinctive beauty of the natural stone floor. 
It's a durable, unpretentious, honest flooring that will last many decades and beyond.

BEFORE (below)
We had to take the hall carpet up as soon as possible because I hated it (we didn't even have time to take any photos). The stair carpet we had to live with for many years before we decorated the hall and came up with a better solution.

BEFORE (below)

22 January 2016


Yesterday, there was a knock at the door.  It was a lady I'd never met before.  
She wanted a 'cheeky favour' (her words, not mine)....."could she have some snowdrops from our orchard"?

 She had struggled to find any snowdrops at the garden nurseries or shops near to us to buy.  
Her sister had recently died and seeing her sister's favourite flower were snowdrops, she wanted some to put on her grave.

Eager to help out, I suggested she dig up a few to take to the funeral today.
It's a lovely thought, that some of our Snowdrops (Galanthus) have found a new place to rest and grow each year. 

All around the UK, gardens are open to show off their beautiful Snowdrops
Click on the link and you'll find recommended gardens open by the National Garden Scheme, to walk through.

14 January 2016


The weather has changed and we're experiencing winter at last.  
It's cold outside but warm and cosy inside.

This area in the kitchen is lovely sit at, after a freezing cold walk.

Luckily, we have a wood burner to add extra heat if needed.

We inherited it from the previous owner, who installed it probably in the late 70's.  
To be honest, it's not my ideal looking burner.  I would prefer something at little more
contemporary but by saving money when we renovated the kitchen
we decided to keep it.

On cold days like today, it's very good at it's job.

Bought at an antiques fair about 25 years ago, the school trunk is in its original state. 
It works well as a table.  We're not precious about it, so if anything gets spilt or knocked on it, we don't worry about it at all. Great for putting your feet up on too!