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.

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!

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

Seasonal Optimism

I don’t understand how it manages to happen so quickly after Christmas, but each January before the cold snap comes I start thinking about spring, summer and generally sunny and warm things. I seem to do this all year round, one seasonal event ends and I am on to the next – I like to think it gives off a positive and optimistic vibe but I suspect my nearest and dearest would rather I enjoyed the seasonal “moment” a little longer!

As we have been having little glimpses of sunshine I am starting to peek out in to the garden a little more, beautiful, but pretty neglected through the winter and having little day dreams about picnics and BBQ’s, sun-downers and camping trips (some of which actually happen, a few never do – ie. camping)

Here is the view I get going through our door –

Snuck a peek in to the garden yesterday – not been out there in a while.. Need to get #dorset #garden #tuesday

A photo posted by Tabitha Schofield (@tabsschofield) on

And when the sun is shining like that I just get a little optimistic about it all. My darling friend gave me the most enormous bunch of flowers yesterday which have filled the house in various vases and vintage jugs and that is helping very much – there is something so fresh and clean about having flowers in the house, I love it.

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I am battling with an incredibly slow laptop today, I think it needs some TLC -typically on the afternoon when I have loads to type about it is just so frustrating!! So I will have to save the more interesting stuff for tomorrow after I have given this damn machine a bit of attention. Please excuse any spelling mistakes or shocking punctuation – typing a word is taking ages!

Just before I go I wanted to share this picture – the view from our bedroom window, I love our little corner of the world.

T xIMG_9436