As quickly as it was organised, the day came for Primrose and I to complete our biggest country challenge yet. You know, the one I’ve been dreading……no.1 of all the National Trust’s 50 things project – Climb a tree. With this year’s summer of 50 Things already upon us and with so many events and adventures to go on in London and South East, it seemed fitting that we should start at the very beginning with no 1. Continue reading
Having had a tricky few weeks with the lambs and a broody chicken to boot, we decided that we all needed a bit of a treat and some time to enjoy outdoorsy adventures (not smallholding related ones at least) a bit further afield. With a half term full of rain and cabin fever setting in……thank goodness for Primrose and her love of lists. You’ll see why in a mo, dear Reader!
Last year, Primrose, Poppy and I spent a whole summer gallivanting round all sorts of fabulous National Trust properties and places around London and the South East in order to tick off our 50 Things list. You may remember that our adventures were featured on NT London and South East’s blog. Ooh the things we got up to! A summer of den building, pond dipping, camping out under the stairs……..all thanks to this magical list! I was going to say that the list is endless but it is a very manageable 50 things – all very good fun and definitely a must for the summer holidays, come rain or shine! To celebrate the launch of the first #50Things weekend of this year’s season, we were very kindly invited to come along to one of our favourite NT places, The Vyne for an afternoon of bug hunting and cake. Who could resist such an invitation, I ask you dear Reader? Continue reading
Dear Reader, as you may have read a couple of weeks ago, I was in the top 6 finalists of the Britmums Brilliance in Blogging Lifestyle award. Something which I was totally stunned by (and quite over the top excited about) since I only started writing Margot tries the good life in October 2012. As the BiBs awards ceremony loomed closer and several wardrobe crises later (I did actually consider the ballgown and wellies option for longer than perhaps was actually sensible), I was thinking of sending a note to Barbara to go in my place. Then I remembered she was in Provence (more than likely learning how to make her own perfume) and would be of no help at all! The day of judgment dawned and I managed to get myself to The Brewery in EC1 without too much mishap. Paralysed with nerves, I lurked outside for some time then hid beside the cloakrooms before finally taking the plunge and entering the drinks reception. A glass of fizz in hand (sadly no gin), I met some lovely lovely people who I had previously only known through Twitter – that in itself was a surreal experience I don’t mind admitting to you. Everyone I met at Britmums Live asked if we had moved yet and the inevitable question of livestock and growing my own fruit and vegetables was on the cards too! Not yet, not yet was the reply. Very nearly though…. Anyway, I am cutting to the chase, dear Reader, I promise. No, sadly, I did not win the award and yes, my practised Oscar nominee losing face came in handy BUT I did feel very honoured to be on the list at all, especially as the winner has a fantastic blog (Mamma Syder from The Syders).
Jerry reminded me when I got home that 9 months ago, I never would have dreamed of being in the same room as some of the nation’s favourite bloggers and even a generous handful of published authors. He was utterly right of course and I do feel a little proud of myself for getting all the way to the final of the BiBs in the first place. NOW I blog about our puppy, Monty, at the NFU Countryside website here and I have recently been offered the chance to blog for the National Trust’s London and South East region. Margot, a lifestyle blogger – whatever next?! So thank YOU, dear Reader, for getting me to here because without you reading, tweeting and following my story, I might never have managed any of it! One last plea: please go and tell lots of people about Margot tries the good life!
Now that Britmums Live is over and awards ceremony is done and dusted, I can start focusing on our move in 5 weeks’ time! In fact, in the spirit of getting things ticked off the list, I booked the movers and packers this morning. It is finally sinking in. We are moving. Primrose only has another 4 weeks left at nursery and Jerry and I are frantically filling the diary with last minute must dos and must see people. It is within spitting distance as they say. Maybe just maybe, I might write a book about all of this one day, dear Reader….. In the meantime, I shall have to keep plaguing Country Life until they are so sick of me that they give in and let me loose on their glorious magazine!
Don’t worry dear readers, I haven’t gone completely mad and bought myself a pig. Although, if I am completely honest that really would be one of my top ten ‘must-haves’ on my journey towards becoming a country bumpkin. I have always harboured a soft spot for the perfect little Ginger pig, a Tamworth. One which is wonderfully well behaved, devoid of mud, doesn’t require mucking out and could be decked out in Cath Kidston of course…. Sadly no pigs matching this description were found on my jaunts this week. No, the ‘Ham’ to which I am referring is the rather large and elegant Ham House.
Having been members of the National Trust for years and only used the membership a handful of times, Jerry and I decided to get out and enjoy the autumn sunshine with a trip to one of our nearest NT gems. We stumbled upon a wonderful event hosted by Ham House this weekend. Nestled in the stunning and rather enviable 17th century kitchen garden, ‘Home Grown at Ham’ brought together lovers of fruit, vegetables, plants and artisan products. I was determined to learn something about growing my own fruit and veg but in reality, I was seriously sidetracked by the glorious garden, tasted a lot of cheese (we found a favourite in Sussex Slipcote), sampled some ‘Hammy’ goodies from the Giggly Pig and had a chat with a very nice lady from Ruben’s Bakehouse about the demise of the cottage loaf. Why has the shape of this loaf fallen out of favour? Maybe I should attempt to bring it back if I can ever get the hang of breadmaking?! Last breadmaking attempt resulted in the need for a tooth to be crowned!
Primrose even delighted in the largely forgotten arts of apple bobbing and posy making as well as testing out her food knowledge with a trip on the Slow Food Kids’ Taste adventure.
Apart from all the eating…..I found out some interesting uses for aloe vera jelly. Did you know that you can use it for treating burns? Definitely something for the kitchen clumsiness. The number of times I have burnt my fingers on the oven, I might as well get my own patch of aloe plants! Inspiration did come in the form of some tempting recipes from the cooking demonstrations and I admired the manicured patch of lawn recreated in the image of the floor of the Great Hall and cut each year using scissors! This has to be my absolute favourite of the day though so hats off to Quack’s Pickles – you have compelled me to have a go at making my own specimens!