Ethel and the Giant Wreath

Filming for this year's John Lewis advert took place in July & August, and the big department stores are often working a year in advance designing their glittering shop windows. So when Sarah from Simply By Arrangement approached us to collaborate on the Live Ribble Valley magazine front cover, and being Christmassy folk anyway, October seemed to be a more than reasonable time to be working on it!

Sarah had the idea that the cover should showcase a big wreath, held by a small child, and that the feel should match the muted tones that the magazine favours for its covers. As we'd worked with Ethel before, we absolutely knew she had the perfect safe hands for the job!

So one October morning, we all gathered around Sarah's kitchen table for pre-shoot tea and crumpets. Ethel is a big fan of a nice cup of Yorkshire tea! 

As we were choosing outfits downstairs, Sarah took Ethel on a little tour to show her the views.

Outfit decided, we ventured out.

Unfortunately the first outfit was a little on the itchy side, so we came back in for a rethink, and another cup of tea. I 'amazed' Ethel with my 'where's the top of my thumb gone' trick!

We tried a few more outfit and hat combinations.

And then rested on this, which was the shot chosen for the front cover.

Just before we left, Roger next door took us on a little tour of his barn (I had so many shoot ideas racing through my head!), and he also looked rather fetching holding the wreath too!

We're looking forward to making our own wreath under Sarah's expert guidance in a couple of weeks - we just might need to get a bigger door!

Ripley Pigfest Scarecrow Trail - a Crackling Good Time!

On Sunday afternoon we had a trip into Ripley to test our super sleuthing skills on all things porcine!  The Pigfest has been running for fifteen years now. It's inspired by the story of  Thomas Ingilby, an ancestor of Sir Thomas Inglby of Ripley Castle who saved King Edward III from a wild boar attack in 1355.

Ripley is very beautiful, little local shops, an abundance of blooms, and the majestic castle looking over the village.

 

So, with our sheet in hand, we took the first steps into Pigfest! At the start of the trail we were just having a bit of fun, and then a competitive streak kicked in. People were swapping their pig tales on the streets, and there were even volunteers on hand to help those ham-pered by their swine know how! 

If you'd like a challenge, here are a few of the trotters we saw. I've put the names at the end of this post. To give you a flavour, past pig names have been Uswine Bolt, Beatrix Trotter, Amy Swinehouse, Statue of Liboarty and Bradley Piggins. 

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13  -Think Royalty...

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And as a little bonus, this little piggy in the stocks was left nameless for someone to come up with a suitable title for him. My sis came up with Guy Porks, any advance?! Chop chop!! 

And to round it all up, we went to The Boar's Head for roast pork...

 

We have a few suggestions for next year, we couldn't help ourselves - Tilda Swineton, Porkham and Pies, Elvis Pigsley & Orange Is The New Black Pudding....

Answers:

1. Rupigscube 2. Vincent Van Hog  3. Hams Solo  4. Boaris Johnson  5. Lester Piggott  6.Pork Scratching  7. Alboart Einswine  8. Spider Pig  9. Captain Pigwash  10. Demi Boare & Patpig Swayze  11. Bacon Foil  12. The Red Boaron  13. Hamilla Parker Bowles  14. Hogsleigh  15. Scuboar Diver  16. Finding Boary

 

 

A Night At The Mollycroft

A few weeks ago, we spent a night away in an ornate showman's travelling van on the edge of the North York Moors. It's hard to believe after the bonkers hail, sleet and snow of last week that we were sitting outside drinking our morning cups of tea, basking in the sun. 

We were working with Canopy and Stars. They have some truly amazing glamping locations to stay in and explore. This shoot brought us to The Mollycroft. It's a restored 1940s showman's living van that used to be owned by the White family who toured around the fairgrounds in the Glasgow area. 

It's so thoughtfully restored. The gorgeous wooden furniture and panelling in the lounge area, colourful and interesting ornaments, and homemade sloe gin laid out Alice in Wonderland drink me style!

I love building fires, and made one outside and inside. It was perfect just sitting and reading whilst the logs were glowing in the burner.  

As well as restoring showman's vans, the owner of the site is passionate about bamboo, and has planted many species in the garden that surrounds The Mollycroft.

We just missed the 15,000 starlings that were making the bamboo garden their home. One day I will see a murmuration! But they did leave traces of their visit - one of the guys was busy jet washing the bamboo. In the low sun, the droplets were catching the light and it was really beautiful.

The light was magical..

The next morning, I listened to the world wake up from inside The Mollycroft. The whispers of the bamboo, the first songs of the dawn chorus, the crows nesting in the tall trees. My hair smelt of wood-smoke, I always find this comforting. I lit the fire and took a cup of tea outside. My breath hung on the air and mixed with the steam rising from my tea. I felt myself winding down, it's the perfect spot for this. 

After breakfast (freshly laid eggs), we had a walk into the woods. The coppiced trees provide the logs for The Mollycroft fires. They make their own charcoal too.

Then all too soon it was time to leave. It's a perfect bolthole to have a little space for thinking, reading, walking. Cosy corners and campfires surrounded by beautiful bamboo. I know we'll be back - and next time I'll brave the outdoor shower!

If you would like a bit more info, or to book TheMollycroft, you can find it on the Canopy and Stars page here

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