Spring updates and podcast enlightenment

With the weather finally warming up and the rain holding off for a few days here and there we have been steadily completing our ‘to do’ list of bits and pieces at The Manor.

The first and most important task to tackle has been the refurb of the tennis court. Lots of pressure washing, sweeping later we are finally nearing the final stages and it is looking fab. Trees have been removed that hung over the court meaning that we now have less of an issue with the dreaded moss.

All the exterior paint work has been re done giving the house a nice fresh facelift and as I type all the fencing surrounding the garden is being taken away and replaced. All in all it is looking great.

We gave the games barn a good old clean up the other day, it’s still a barn, but a tidy barn!

I have to mention the magnolia tree at the Manor ( I fear I am becoming a magnolia bore, but hey, it’s only ever for a brief time in the year!)
Last year during a storm the guests using the house called to say a branch had fallen in the driveway, it wasn’t obstructing the drive but they wanted to let us know. After check out I went to assess and at the time it didn’t look great, a large branch has splintered and was on the ground, barely attached to the tree. I asked Harry to get round with his chainsaw pronto to get it removed and sawn up for logs. It got added to the never ending list of ‘to do’s’ I have but over a few days it didn’t look quite so bad so it fell to the wayside. After a week or so I noticed that the branch was still very much alive so I decided to leave it be in the hope that I would be rewarded with floor height sweeping magnolia to enjoy. We haven’t been disappointed, it looks amazing.

Whilst on the subject of flora I discovered a very lovely farmers market held on the fourth Saturday of each month on the high street in Dorchester (15 mins away from the Manor) – I tend to avoid ‘town’ on a Saturday as it’s always busy and we are usually ferrying kids to football or walking the pooch. On this occasion I was underprepared for Mothering Sunday so needed to do a quick trip in to get bits and bobs before collecting my nephews for a sleepover. We ended up in town at about 9.30 and it was nice and quiet, easy to park. We discovered the farmers market which I would highly recommend. There were loads of lovely stalls selling delicious produce and we took advantage of trying lots of stuff. My absolute favourite stall had to be this flower stall where I managed to find some beautiful Parrot Tulips and Ranunculus for Mothers day (myself & my mummy!!) I will be going again!

We had a lovely Mothering Sunday in the garden enjoying the sunshine. I was given lots of lovely cuddles from the kidlets and Harry cooked us all his speciality lasagne which was delicious.

As well as getting things spruced up at The Manor I have been working hard at home to get the decoration finished. Having been here for a year now I felt it was time to crack on now that I understand the light and how the spaces work. I am still stuck in a very white place as it’s so easy to touch up and add to or take away from. I am branching out in to other variations of white though and am using Farrow & Ball Strong White in most of the rooms other than hallways. It is a lovely subtle colour and very calming. I am so sick of painting now but am persevering as my goal is to be finished by the end of May and that is well within our sights.

I was trying to focus on the ground floor only when we inherited a lovely new bed from some friends. After a massive Ebay trawl I managed to purchase a brand new barely used mattress for it (for a tenner!!!) and so commenced the great British bed swap where Harry had to take down and move not one, but three beds and travel about for a whole day to satisfy my whims. Whilst we had an empty room for a few hours I finished painting the floor which has been a ambition for a while. I lOVE it. It’s totally impractical and a nightmare to keep clean but it’s my dream bedroom and I just like looking at it, which in my book makes it worth it.

In the midst of all the tennis court work / decorating etc we have been doing, I needed to find a decent distraction from the drone of the pressure washer or relentless and depressing news updates on the radio. I can’t remember who suggested podcasts, I think I may have seen one talked about on Insta but I am now fully obsessed and finding more and more brilliant ones to subscribe to and enjoy. They are engaging, topical, current and FREE! easier than reading as you can carry on about your daily work and still enjoy them. I am yet to listen in the car as I am mostly in the car with the children and we are in an unbroken cycle of Ed Sheehan and Musical Times Table (yawn). Here is a list of my current favourites, in no particular order.

* The High Low – Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton
* Desert Island discs – Radio 4
* Any of The New Statesman ones
* Letters to my fanny – Cherry Healey

I love them all and they are a treat to listen to. I am looking forward to discovering more.

We are also planning more stuff for the garden, I want to grow more of our own produce this year and learn more about it. My dear friend Abi has the most amazing poly tunnel that her and her husband Scott spend most of their summer in which is very inspiring. We are not at tunnel standard yet but on the hunt for a unused green house to adopt on free cycle. Knowledge is coming in book form from the very clever and talented Hollie Newton who recently published “How to Grow” – it is a stunning book and we are really enjoying it. You may also notice her name from the many Newspaper clippings and articles that are being published about her at the moment.

Happiness planning

Keeping top of New Years resolutions, or resolutions at any time of the year is a toughie! I promised myself after the Christmas break to finish the interior decoration at our home and make a few tweaks at The Manor House too. I really wanted to hone my weekly organisation and time we spend together as a family.

At the Manor we are now preparing the garden for summer and touching up bit and bobs in the house. Harry and I have plenty scheduled at The Manor and work starts this week, more of this over here for updates https://www.instagram.com/manorhousemoreton/

But other than work based bits I really want to finish the rooms at home, do more varied exercise, complete some units of my interior design diploma, and also eat supper with the children on a more regular basis and have family home evenings where neither myself or Harry are distracted by work emails!

Being self employed means I have to really try and schedule my days clearly else I can get super distracted and end up completing only half my to do list. So any methods to aid daily organisation are always welcome to see if they stick and work with us as a family.

I find that eating our evening meal together aids free and easy conversation with the children and they open up a lot more than when I am rushing in and out not paying full attention. I tend to do a meal plan on Monday morning, using up what I have from the weekend and grocery shopping for the rest of the week from there, it’s not a ridged plan and sometimes we see family or mix things up.

The benefits are great, I am spending less on shopping and have far less veggie waste than before, both the children are helping me prepare the meal, laying the table and eating more varied meals – no more beige freezer rubbish and more colourful vegetables. A friend has recommended a Riverford Organic box that she gets delivered, I really like the idea of this and am going to be doing some investigation on that front. I think would prefer to get one from a local supplier if possible?

On the ‘planning’ theme I also received a really sweet Happiness Planner from Harry for Christmas, this is so cute and came in pretty hues of pale blue and light pink. I have never been a dedicated diarist and tend to do all my work & personal organisation on my iPhone calendar and to do lists on the note’s feature. The Happiness planner has a positivity based premise and has daily sections for schedule (helpful as a diary) to do lists and areas to focus on gratitude, positive elements of the day and things that make you happy. It does make me focus on the little things that get overlooked and to be more positive about them, I am (almost!) writing it every morning and it gets you off to a smiley start. ♡

Dorset half term holiday roundup ♡

We decided on more of a ‘staycation’ vibe for our half term holidays this February – living and working in Dorset is obviously great and we as a family really appreciate what is has to offer but all too often we get stuck in a rut and go on the same walks to the same places or don’t leave the village at all for days out and just walk through the forest (which is beautiful too!)

So for the last week or so we have been reacquainting ourselves with our beautiful county. It helps that the weather has been kind to us and inspires you to get out and go exploring.

Just before half term we took an after school trip to Ringstead Bay, it has to be one of our favourite local beaches. It is only a 10 min car ride from Moreton and is very beautiful and a good safe beach for the kids. On this afternoon the sun was shining and there were rainbows to welcome us. The waves were actually quite big for Ringstead and we were lucky enough to have some surfers too watch whilst the sun went down. The girl one collected sea glass (her new obsession when on the beach) and the rest of us enjoyed the views!

For valentines we made cute tassle bunting and homemade cards. We had our favourite breakfast of Rye, scrambled eggs, goats cheese & capers (sounds weird, tastes divine) which is a recipe from the fantastic Rosie Londoner blog ♡ http://www.thelondoner.me/2016/02/goats-cheese-caper-scramble.html

We then headed over to Freshwater Holiday Park – which is in Burton Bradstock. We had been told about the Jurassic Fun Centre which is a small water park with slides and flumes, initially not my idea of a romantic valentines but it was fantastic for the kids, great value and clean. They played for hours and we were rewarded with a trip to The Anchor Inn at Seatown – which is my favourite local pub at the moment, and that was romantic! Check it out – http://www.theanchorinnseatown.co.uk. It is right on the beach with fabulous views and has a delicious menu, cocktail list and open fires.

I am a huge fan of The National Trust and am on a mission to use our family subscription over the year as much as possible without the trips becoming repetitive for the kids, personally I could visit most of our local NT places all the time and never get bored.

We managed not one but two NT visits over half term. I spent a lovely day with two friends and our 9 children at Corfe Castle, it never disappoints and there are always really good activities for the children to enjoy. We managed a picnic in the gaps between rain and warmed up with hot chocolates in front of the wood burner in the visitor centre afterwards.

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We also visited Kingston Lacey with a crew of friends and kids and it was delightful. The sun was shining and the snowdrop garden was in full bloom, the kids ran about the gardens and explored whilst the adults ambled along behind them. We headed up to the kitchen garden where there is a small play area for the kids, it is quite basic with a couple of Wendy houses and mini tractors but they all absolutely loved it and played for ages until the sound started going down, the coffee hut closed and the adults lost enthusiasm!

The next day we continued our tour of Dorset to Kimmerage. I went with a neighbour and five of our children. It was a really lovely little trip and we were happy to discover that the new Etches Collection museum was now open – http://www.theetchescollection.org/home a beautifully designed museum and it contained a great exhibition, the children all loved it. We then had our own fossil hunting expedition on the beach.

We ended the week spending time with visiting friends and on Saturday decided to make the most of the glorious weather and head to Lulworth cove for a walk over Stair Hole in to the cove.

Sea paddling on a sunny Saturday ⛵️🍭

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We stopped for lunch, OUTSIDE! before heading back to Moreton. The children had not expelled all their energy and decide to go to the Ford where we played in the Kayak and watched the sun go down. On the return home everyone had warm baths before cosying down for the evening. It was the perfect end to a lovely week in Dorset.

T x

Happy New Year from The Manor House

Wishing all visitors to our blog a very happy New Year!

2016 saw many fun and interesting events at The Manor and we welcomed some lovely guests to the house. It is lovely to see many returning guests year after year and to see all the fun ideas that people come up with in ways to use the house.
We have had Uni reunions, hen parties, art exhibitions, Mexican fiesta’s, English Country Garden themed weddings, tennis tournaments, grand weddings for 200 and a small perfectly styled intimate wedding for 50, a spooky Halloween themed party and a blissfully relaxed yoga retreat for a group from London. All in all a varied and eclectic mix which goes to show how the house can be used in plenty of different ways.

We have more to look forward to in 2017 starting with a fitness boot-camp this month and plenty more after. If anyone has any other ideas to put forward please do not hesitate to get in touch via email. We still have a few weekends left in the Spring and more later in the year.

As ever we are constantly working on little improvements in the house and out in the grounds and we hope to work in conjunction with some local suppliers to re decorate rooms and keep the house in tip top condition.

I am hoping to bring more information on places to visit in Dorset when staying with family and friends, good eateries, beautiful walks and the occasional seasonal recipe to indulge in.

Here is a pretty taken of The Manor on a winters morning –

Good morning from The Manor House

A photo posted by T A B I T H A (@tabitha_in_dorset) on

Watch this space….

T x

One Saturday at the Ford…..

I had received a phone call from a friend to tell me that I HAD to get the children to the Ford asap as there was something very cool about to happen. As mentioned in a previous post this could be literally anything as the Ford seems to draw in the weird and wonderful of the world…

I was packing for a trip away upstairs when she called and not long after I heard a rumbling, getting louder and louder and closer – I called the kids and we hot footed it to the ford, without shoes I might add as we were in such a rush – to find the most amazing procession of war vehicles I have ever seen, they were on route to Bovington tank museum across the forest and had started at a village fete.

Just another Saturday in Moreton

Just another Saturday in Moreton

Various vehicles in the procession

Various vehicles in the procession

I was such an amazing sight, there were probably nearly a hundred vehicles, ranging from tanks to jeeps to little buggies – everything you could imagine. Everyone was dressed up in the full regalia and were having an amazing time. They took the procession through the Ford and carried on up through Moreton Drive to Bovington. I expect the dog walkers and runners in the woods had a shock when they went passed them!

If I had been a little more prepared it would have been nice to be wearing shoes (it was VERY muddy and we must have looked pretty feral) to have put the dog on a lead, and to be better positioned to take photos as I was kind of squeezed in to a bush. The unexpected surprise was lovely though, and the look on the Boy One’s face when he saw it all was priceless.

Stuck in a bush shot

Stuck in a bush shot

Full dress up

Full dress up

Another Saturday, another village event. This time at The Walled Garden’s Royal Picnic organised by the welcome comittee at our local church, St Nics.

Now I am a great lover of any type of English Fete, village fair, picnic etc. I love the little stalls, the games, colours, cream teas and ice creams. It usually rains at some point and the dog show’s can be chaos but I think they are brilliant and we try to attend as many local one’s as possible. The kids love them and it’s a lovely day out.

Will dressed up

Will dressed up

Sunshine & horse racing

Sunshine & horse racing

The Royal Picnic was just brilliant, and had been very well organised by neighbours in the village – they had hired a great jazz band and local sea shanty singers (amazing!) and there were games, treasure hunts and of course a torrential down pour.

We then went back to our neighbours for a lovely supper in the sunset and had a great evening. The kids played on space hoppers. A perfect village day.

Clem & Olive

Clem & Olive

Sea Shanty Singers

Sea Shanty Singers

We are avidly trying to watch as much tennis as possible and have been keeping the tennis court at the manor spruced up for the guests this week who are looking forward to playing this weekend.

T x

It’s been a while!

Having not blogged since before the last half term there is a mountain of stuff I could go on about, but a brief update is probably best and then I can resume normal service!

Moving in blooms at Teal House

Moving in blooms at Teal House

Morning views, a very sunny house.

Morning views, a very sunny house.

The main reason for my absence has been that we moved house – across the field from our cottage so not too far, but is has completely consumed every spare minute outside of kids and work so my little blog has been slightly neglected.
I am starting to feel much more at home and the main chunk of work has been done to make the new house feel like home, we all absolutely love it and are very happy.

The Manor House is looking stunning at the moment, our head gardener at The Walled Garden, Tim Newman has done the most wonderful job of pruning this year and the house is covered in lilac blooms, we have a wedding this weekend and I really hope that the flowers are still in one piece as they would make a wonderful backdrop for photographs…

Wisteria season at The Manor

Wisteria season at The Manor

Beautiful facade to the house

Beautiful facade to the house

The one thing I regret is not blogging more when the spring blooms were abundant in the garden at The Manor, it really is a beautiful sight. Banks of daffodils followed by carpets of purple, lilac and white Bluebells (or Snowbells as Clementine calls them!) then, just after it all calmed down we had a week of glorious sunshine combined with torrential rain which encouraged all the trees along and the Wisteria and now it looks like mid summer and the lawn is needing a lot of mowing. All beautiful, such a great time of year.

Bluebells & *Snowbells* at The Manor

Bluebells & *Snowbells* at The Manor

Bluebell woods at Moreton

Bluebell woods at Moreton

April & May are very busy for us as a family as we celebrate so many family/ friend birthday’s, (I counted 12 off the top of my head but I think there are a few more!) so we have had lots of parties and celebrations, all of which have been great fun.
Jude turned 5 and had a great time with all his pals, he didn’t really want a theme for his birthday or bouncy castles etc so we had a garden party with friends from school and they played football, I think we ended up having three parties over the weekend of his birthday!

The boy one turned 5!

The boy one turned 5!

Birthday boy!

Birthday boy!

I had the most perfect birthday in late April, Harry organised lunch with my parents at Summer Lodge in Evershot (a must visit for anyone new to Dorset, it’s worth the drive!) and then my darling friend Sophia hosted a dinner for me with lots of my nearest and dearest there, it was so much fun. We finished the weekend off visiting friends up near Bath, which was the best way to round off such a brilliant weekend.

Lunch at Summer Lodge with Harry, Mum & Dad

Lunch at Summer Lodge with Harry, Mum & Dad

Birthday celebrations at Sophs.

Birthday celebrations at Sophs.

My friend Louisa Loasby is an incredibly talented chef and cooks for dinner parties at The Manor frequently, a lot of our guests re book year on year and always make sure that Lou is free before they do so! This April Lou organised a hen weekend for one of her best friends Donna, it sounded like they had a very fun weekend. Lou organised a chef for the first night but decided to dress the table herself as a treat for the party, I had to include this on the blog as it really did look stunning and is such a great idea for a celebration meal – the photos do not do it the justice it deserves! Lou is now offering a table dressing service as part of her business. FYI future guests!!

Beautiful new service from Louisa Loasby

Beautiful new service from Louisa Loasby

The Manor!

The Manor!

More about us…

I realise I haven’t really done that ‘all about me’ thing on the blog yet so I thought now as good a time as any. Blogging through The Manor house site It tends to be more about the house but the family feature a great deal too! They are an important part of our journey with The Manor house so here is a little more about The Schofield’s…..

The Fam

The Fam


Abi & I x

Abi & I x

Harry & I met in 2007 and we moved to Moreton in late September 2008 – it was always our dream location, at the time directly in the middle of our parents and families, close to our home town of Dorchester but also deep enough in the countryside to satisfy us both. My best friend Abi had secured a cottage on the estate a month before and I was insanely jealous of her beautiful home, a chance phone call and a speedy viewing with our neighbour Ivy and I said yes to the house before Harry had even seen it. We moved in just over a month later with our baby daughter. Living in the same village as Abi has been a blast ever since, she is so dear to me and we have shared an enormous amount of experiences over the last 18 years of friendship. Always on hand in an emergency (and for a Friday glass of wine) I think I will always want to live “across the field” from her.

Chickens followed, the house changed here and there, as did the garden, life moves at a slow and seasonally based pace.. in 2011 our baby boy joined us and bedrooms were created to make room for him. A few changes of career paths happened and then in 2012 the most recent addition of our little family arrived, Plum.

Plum

Plum

Bumble kitten

Bumble kitten

Plum is a mini goldendoodle and a huge part of our family. We have both always had dogs in our family but wanted to wait until the latest baby was up on their feet before we thought about getting our own. She is an absolute treasure.. more about her and her recent escapades tomorrow…

We had been enjoying the Manor for a few years as some very dear friends of ours had lived there before relocating to Australia. When the opportunity came up with the house we took a huge leap of faith and took over the house. 2014 saw some changes for me in my career and I was doing lots of commuting with my job, really missing the children and all the extra stuff that comes when they join first school so we decided to open the house as a holiday home & wedding venue and I finished my job. We had a few months of furnishing the house (dream) and planning where everything was going to go, decorating and preparing. It was so much fun and I would love to do it all over again.

The last few years at The Manor have been great fun and we have met some lovely people along the way. it is a great job and flexible enough to mean I can get along with all our other projects and be there for the school run. The kids love the house and offer a critical eye on some of Harry & I’s furnishings and ideas!

Valentine

Valentine


Summer at the cottage

Summer at the cottage

We continue to enjoy living in the cottage, have more chickens and two gorgeous cats Valentine and Bumble.. as well as a stray know only as Skanky cat who sleeps outside in the shed and steals food. I could add to the animals constantly but they will soon out number humans in the house so we will just stick with adding chickens to the hen house!

T x

A wonderful way to end the week…

We have had a super busy Friday – I met with three sets of wedding couples this morning all booked in for their big day this year.
I absolutely love a wedding and get a real buzz helping different couples plan their special day. It is always a really happy meeting at The Manor, even when it is pouring with rain like today I was met with smiling faces. What is really nice that for most couples it was their second visit to the house and they said it was even better than they remembered which is lovely to hear. One couple had never seen the house in person and booked anyway – and they were delighted with their visit which was a huge relief!

Our little family

Our little family

Lots of happy wedding couples at The Manor today

Lots of happy wedding couples at The Manor today

I received the sweetest gift from a couple from the Netherlands as a thank you – it meant a lot! Myself, Harry and the children will be enjoying delicious waffles as we snuggle over the weekend xx

The cottage is filled with the most spring like scent of Hyacinths and we have lots of Tulips over at The Manor. We have returning guests this weekend which is lovely. They have the very talented Louisa Loasby cooking for them over the weekend which is a great idea to give the group the treat of not cooking whilst they enjoy the house.

Plans for the weekend include a long overdue night out with friends, football training, a visit to Kingston Lacy, walking, reading the papers and a lobster supper.. I can’t wait!

Weekend of relaxation sorted!☀️#food #weekend #flowers #tea

A photo posted by Tabitha Schofield (@tabsschofield) on

T xx

Friday, Netflix & Food

Friday, my dear friend, we have made it. Another full week of work, meetings, catch up’s, kids, family and to do lists (mainly not ticked off I must add). Glorious sunshine hit Moreton for most of the week with crisp frosty mornings – my favorite type of weather. The sunshine looks set to continue over the weekend which is not only good for our guests arriving but also for us as we celebrate my pop’s 70th birthday this weekend.

GP celebrating his birthday last year.

I have been busy at The Manor preparing the house for the weekends guests, pottering around that house is most agreeable – painting, sorting, adding this and that moving stuff around. It’s lovely to think about how the guests will be using the space in the house. The Manor is in a great situation and when the sun shines the front of the house gets the full hit…

It is oh so tempting to just lie out on one of the beds and sunbathe like a cat but I am always busying about. I am determined to carve out a weekend stay there myself next year. Here is a view of the house when walking back from The Dovecote at The Walled Garden.

Just lovely.

We are looking forward to starting our weekend, the plans start mid week for the kids as they work out what what food they want to cook (weekend food is pretty important though hey?) They have chosen to marinate ribs for this evening and then they would like to do GP an afternoon tea tomorrow. Nanu is baking a cake so we will be getting other tea related things ready, I think a special birthday crown will also be needed for such an auspicious birthday.
Sunday we hope to do a coastal walk at Dancing Ledge – Harry is suffering with man flu so we need to get him fighting fit first.

But this weekend will mostly be – NETFLIX – I do not know how we have missed the last 7 or so years of this phenomenon. SKY blinkers were on I suspect. But, wow.. considering this is January and we are hibernating it is just perfect for us. Harry received Apple TV for Christmas and it is brilliant but Netflix is the shining star. Currently obsessed with Bloodlines, Narcos & Making a Murderer.. I know there is heaps of other stuff to start too but I don’t think I could cope with any more.

Have a great weekend.

T x

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