Thursday, March 29, 2007

Mass baking

Last night I took myself off into the kitchen to have a mass baking session. I love baking, especially when it involves using up lots of our free range eggs. So, I asked the birthday boy (Gregg) what kind of cakes he would like for his birthday as I was planning on making him one to have tonight and one to take into the office with him today. The request was for a carrot cake and a sponge cake and I also suggested I'd make him a tray of mars bar crispie cake as he rather likes that too.When we were at the CL Fair last week he kept pestering me for mini eggs as I'd made some little jars of treats - jam jars filled with mini eggs with a fabric lid, tied with a ribbon and a cute little hand written tag. Like last year they sold really well and we also had a little bowl of eggs on the counter for people to help themselves to, quite a nice little touch I thought. So he knew I had a bag stashed in one of the boxes but I wouldn't tell him where they were as I knew he'd eat them all! I'm such a spoil sport aren't I?!! So I've made him what looks very much like an Easter cake for his birthday to make up for my stingyness last week! It's just a simple victoria sponge with home made strawberry jam in the middle and pink butter cream icing on the top, not quite sure what he'll think of that little touch!!
As promised, here are some photos of the pots that I did for display at the fair, just another little touch that I though looked rather sweet dotted around the stall. So many people asked if they were for sale and there were nearly a few flower heads pulled off as people were convinced they were artificial - really, what next?
Birthday boy and I are are heading out tonight, we thought we'd head down to Dundee for a bite to eat, we've been recommended to go to a Turkish restaurant, so we might give that a bash.
Speak to you all tomorrow!
L x

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The pottery range

Seeing as all you eager beavers are desperate to get your hands on our lovely new pottery range, I thought I'd give you all a little treat this morning and put it up for sale on the blog today. It'll be a couple of days before Gregg and I can sit down together and put it on the website, plus I'd like to get some better photos of it taken before I do. So here it is.....

Mugs approx. 7.5cm high. £10 each.

Heart design all the way around the top of the mug and a little heart inside the mug too.

Little jug approx. 9cm high. £12 each.

Heart design all the way around the top of the jug and a little heart inside it too.

Tea plate approx. 20cm dia. £12 each.

Heart design all the way around the edge of the plate.

Bowl approx. 7cm high. £12 each.

Heart design all the way round the top of the bowl, plus either one, two or three hearts inside the bowl too.

T-light holder/vase or whatever else you fancy using it for! (Comes with a t-light in it)

Approx. 6cm high. £7.50 each

Heart design all the way around the top.

Each piece of pottery is hand thrown on a potters wheel, the little heart is imprinted into the clay, the hearts are then hand painted and it is glazed. Due to this, no two pieces are ever the same and all have a very rustic, organic feel and look to them.

Not suitable for the dishwasher I'm afraid!

If you would like to enquire/order any of the above pottery please drop me an e-mail at and we can take it from there. The above prices do not include postage. We've not got a huge amount of stock left so it'll be on a first come first served basis and then I'll have to take orders. As Diana makes it all herself it will be next week before she can get started on any new stock!

I'm now off out shopping as I completely forgot that it's Gregg's birthday tomorrow, oops! I shall have to make him an extra large birthday cake tonight I think! If it's a success I'll post the recipe tomorrow.

Bye for now,

L xx

Monday, March 26, 2007

Home from the fair.....

Aaaaaah, home at last and into my own bed, but returning a very happy bunny having had the most amazing few days down at the Country Living Fair! This is my second attempt at this post, I sat last night for almost 2 hours typing out this huge post with loads of pictures, only for it to disappeared into thin air, bloody blogger, so here goes attempt no. 2!
The cars were rammed full on Tuesday night as well as a roof box and we thankfully had a more successful start than last year (the battery in my car was flat- picture it, me having kittens and a major panic - not good!). We headed off down to the "big smoke" and were setting up by 8.30am. We painted the stall again this year, trusty F&B, it makes a huge difference as our customers always comment on how much we stand out from the others that don't paint. We were a lot better prepared for it all this year so I think that's a big reason why we enjoyed it so much more, plus knowing what's in front of you is a huge help! Even though you get 12 hours to set up, it's still never enough, we were still titivating by 8pm and had lots to do on opening morning!
I had the help of my friends Ann-Marie, Ali and my sister Nicola, so between us all we made a fab team over the four days. Thusday and Friday were pretty busy, but nothing could have prepared us for the madness of Saturday, it was soooo busy but totally fantastic! I also met a few blog friends, including my cyber twin Rachel, more on that another day! So thank you to you all for coming and introducing yourselves and purchasing a little bit of Primrose Hill, it was lovely to put faces to the blogs at last!
The best bit for me about the fair is getting to chat to all of our customers, many returning from last year or having seen us at other fairs, often to buy something for themselves as they'd previously bought for friends or vice versa. They love chatting away about our adventures in the country, doing up the "shack" and about our brood of chooks, I even had some interesting chats about our problems with the mink! But the best bit of all was that so many people have commented on the quality of our hand made products, head and shoulders above others in the same game. Now I'm not one to blow my own trumpet, but receiving a compliment like that is just fab, it means that all those hours of hard work that go into designing and making our products special has really paid off, so thank you all for that, it really does mean a lot to me.
So many of our products sold out very quickly, especially the little china cups and saucers filled with violas and spring bulbs, they recieved so many lovely comments! I had plonked some branches of flowering currant into a jug on one of the shelves, the heat of the hall had brought the flowers out and they looked stunning! If I'd had a £1 for every person that wanted to buy them I'd be a very rich girl! Why is it that people always want what they can't have? As you can imagine, the pottery went down a storm too, the fact that it is completely hand made and hand painted gives it a very rustic, organic feel and each piece is completely individual, one customer has already commented on how she loves her mug! As is always the way, I only got a very quick chance to look around on Sunday afternoon (to buy some sausages actually!) and chat to other stall holders. I was so pleased when I found out that Hume Sweet Hume had won the Best Stand Award, I feel they truely deserved it, they design and make the most amazing knitwear collection from hats, scarves and bags to cardigans, cushions and purses. The girls come all the way down from a tiny island in Orkney and exhibit at both the London and Scotland Fair, so by the time I got to their stand on Sunday afternoon it was looking a little bare! (sorry I don't have a decent photo of their stand on the first day as that would have shown it at it's best!) The girls make the most wonderful little brooches that look like thistle heads, they had had this made into a stencil and also a beautifully handwritten slogan "handmade in Orkney". This had been hand painted all over the walls of the stand and gave it a really special touch, but you had to look closely to notice it. I think it's the little details like this that make you stand out from the rest. They also took the time to display their wares nicely on painted and aged shelving, so many of the clothing companies just roll in the clothes rails and off they go.
A lot of people probably don't "get" why they won - to me it's quite simple - they are what Coutry Living Magazine is all about. They are a small rural business based in probably one of the most remote places in Scotland, yet they have succeeded in running a successful business from there. They could have quite easily chosen to stay on the mainland but they didn't, they returned to the little island that was home and set up their business in the old Fish & Chip shop - how fab is that? Also, every piece of their work is completely hand made, nothing on their stand is bought in to fluff it up (unlike myself!), even down to the buttons they use, they are pebbles collected from the beach with two holes drilled into them - you don't get much more original than that. Also, they employ a team of what I call "little sewing ladies", so by doing this they are supporting what is probably a very fragile economy on a tiny island in the Orkney Isles. Well done girls, I think you totally deserved it.
So, now that the fair is over, it's time to get back into work, it would be so easy to just have a couple of weeks pottering around, but we've got to hit the ground running I'm afraid! The website needs to be updated with all our new products that we launched at the fair, plus I've got loads of orders to get out the door now - no rest for the wicked! I am looking forward to getting to spend a bit of time in the garden though, it has been seriously neglected - but at least the front door is looking particularly fetching at the moment as all of my display pots are flowering away, I'll show you a picture of them all tomorrow!

L x

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Hi Ho! Hi Ho! It's off to the fair we go.....!

At last, we are nearly at the end of March, Spring is well and truly here, as is the Country Living Spring Fair Scotland, aaaargh! We're nearly all organised, although I've still got a million and one things to do tonight, including filling and sewing up another 10 door stops! I spent part of the morning doing something I've been looking forward to for ages, I had planned to do them last year, but as usual ran out of time! What do you think of these.....................?

My friend Diana who has Glenshee pottery sold me some of her old china, she used to have a tea room on Mull, so had plenty going spare! I think it's such a sweet way to recycle old cups and saucers, I just hope the Country Living visitors think the same! Although if I was bringing them home to dot around the house I wouldn't be too sad! As you can see I've got a bit of a production line here.....!

I'm really looking forward to meeting a few of the Scottish bloggers at the fair so please do come along and say hello, we're at stand C34. Tomorrow is set up day and the fair runs from Thursday 22nd March until Sunday 25th March at the SECC in Glasgow.
I'll be back next Monday with all the tales from the fair and lots of photos!
Right, I really must go and get on!
L x

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

New job & CL Fair London

Just a quick post today about a couple of things. For all our friends and family that read the blog Gregg got on fine in his new job yesterday. It was quite surreal sending him off with his packed lunch (made by me I hasten to add!) all suited and booted, looking very smart! They all seem like a nice bunch in the office so he'll hopefully settle in quite quickly. It has certainly got me into a far better routine as it gets me out of my pit in the morning! Well so far so good, we are only on day two I suppose!

Sorry to go on about the Country Living Fair again, in a couple of weeks time it will all be over for another year! Two of my blog friends are heading down to the London Fair today, Samantha over at Plump Pudding is heading down from Wales, you can go and visit her on stand H17 on the mezzanine floor. Caroline over at Twice is travelling all the way down from up my neck of the woods, you can find her at stand G1. Do go along and say hello to the girls, I'm sure they'll give you a very warm welcome! The fair is on from tomorrow through until Sunday at the Business Design Centre in London.

At last the geese have started to lay again this year, they lay the most wonderful, huge white eggs, great for baking with. I've had to rescue one of the geese twice from the nesting box as she gets so excited whenever I go into the run she gets herself all stuck inside it, stupid bird!

Thank you all for your encouraging comments about the new pottery range, fingers crossed it goes down well next week!

Off to get on with yet more sewing and tagging, a week to go until we head down to Glasgow, I hope all the Scottish bloggers have it in their diary!

L x

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Glen of the fairies and a pottery range

Today I got to drive one of my favourite journeys up to Glenshee. From the end of the farm track you can either turn right to go down to Alyth or turn left and head for the glens, referred to by the locals as the back road to Glenshee. It's a beautiful drive taking you high up over the hills looking right up the glen, until you meet up with the A93. I was lucky enough to see three roe deer today and numerous cock pheasants that had managed to survive the shooting season for another year.

Glenshee is special because there is nowhere in the world quite like it, wild, romantic, beautiful, and steeped in history and legend. It has always been known as Glenshee, or as it is in Gaelic, Gleann Shith, the Glen of the Fairies. It has never had any other name, and until the old tongue died out the inhabitants were known as Sithichean a' Ghlinnshith or "Elves of Glenshee".

The reason for my trip up the glen today was to collect our latest addition to the Primrose Hill Interiors range. I've always wanted to have my own range of pottery, but as I'm not a potter (although I have often been refered to as a bit potty!) I didn't really think I'd ever get round to it. There are a number of beautiful ranges of pottery out there but I didn't just want to go and buy it in like everyone else does.

The summer after we moved up here I took a trip up to the local pottery, Glenshee Pottery, as they were holding an open day with a local girl who does felting, she had her yurt set up and was telling us all about her recent trip to Mongolia. I signed up for a day course "Hats from the Hills", a days felting where you learnt how to make a felt hat, inspired by something from nature. I also got chatting to Diana, the lady who owned the pottery as she was interested in stocking some of our products in the shop. I have to say, the pottery is one of my favourite shops, it's always lovely and cosy as there is a huge red AGA in the middle of it, there is generally at least one cat sitting sleeping in a chair and you get a lovely cup of tea or coffee made for you to have while looking around the shop. The pottery workshop is through the back but as there is a stable door separating the shop and the workshop you can see everything that is going on through the back. They have a fab range of products including knitwear and other crafts, as well as all of the beautiful pottery handmade by Diana.

So, I gradually got to know Diana over the next few months as she came along to quite a few of the fairs that I was attending in the run up to Christmas. You know how it is, you meet someone else who is crafty, has their own small rural business and there is a bit of a connection, plus the two of us could talk the hind legs off a donkey! After the madness of Christmas I had my thinking cap on for new ideas for the Country Living Fair, I wanted something different that no one else would have, exclusive to us and handmade in Scotland, *PING*, light bulb moment, why don't I ask Diana if she'll make me a range of pottery! The two of us got our heads together, and with the help of her ever so delightful assistant Nicola, the new range was born - all that was left was for Diana to make it all. In a couple of months. As well as getting all of her own stock made for the shop opening in April. I take my hat off to her and the team (Nicola & Jennifer), they have worked their little socks off up there, maybe with the help of some of the fairies from the glen. They have created me a range of beautifully hand made pottery, each piece being totally individual, I LOVE it.

So here it is, a little sneaky peak for you all, it will be going up for sale on the website after the fair.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A big thank you

The big birthday came and went last Thursday and it was a lovely day. I spent a bit of time in the morning getting the last of the spring bulbs in the garden with help from my neighbour Ruth - fingers crossed they flower this year, better late than never!

We went to Ballathie House Hotel (pictured below) for lunch, we met up with my Aunt Alison, she's 40 today, Happy Brithday Alison if you're reading this! It's a beautiful stately manor type place, very relaxed and great food. Later in the day I popped along to another rather posh place called The Lands of Loyal to have a couple of glasses of wine with my friend Christine, sat next to a huge roaring fire, it was bliss! We then came home to have a bottle of champers and birthday cake, made by Gregg and very yummy it was too.

The best bit was definitely present opening, which I did in bed first thing, here are some pictures of my beautiful gifts.....

beautifully wrapped.......

ooh, looks exciting......

a hidden parcel......

the most gorgeous pair of diamond earrings, how lucky am I?

I'll post more pictures of all my goodies later, too many to show at once! Thank you everyone, especially to my gorgeous craft roadie!