I’m having a moment. I’m looking at the weather forecast in Lewes, East Sussex today and its 26C meanwhile here on Harris it’s a cool 13C. Thus far this Summer on this beautiful island, I’ve taken my vest off twice, immersed myself, in frankly icy water, twice and broken out my sandals three times. Last night I lit the fire and today I’m itching to light it again. This is a tale of two parts, south coast and far north, warm and chilly, over populated and scarcely inhabited.Read More
In 2017 Amber and Adrian Baillie founded Lydhurst Cottages, a hospitality business with luxury holiday cottages on a private country estate on the edge of the Sussex Downs. In this article Amber Baillie reflects on her connection to this Area of Outstanding Beauty and why supporting sustainable local brands and celebrating Sussex are so important to her.Read More
As many self-employed/small business people know, taking time away is a challenge, both logistically and practically. For most businesses though, there is a moment in the year when things quieten down sufficiently to allow a couple of weeks of R&R to be inked indelibly onto the calendar.Read More
Working with plants can be challenging. Seeds sown enthusiastically may not germinate. Sometimes the precious little seedlings put into the poly tunnel to grow on might be snacked on by mice. Small plants potted on and cared for so carefully if planted out too soon can fall prey to rabbits, slugs or snails. And then there’s the weather…a late frost, an early drought, too much rain at the wrong time, too much sun (very unlikely here), not enough sun (a familiar story) Farming/gardening is a roller coaster.Read More
It is difficult to describe how different Hong Kong is – so utterly foreign, so few points of reference for the European traveller, it is truly a world apart. Leaving the airport’s chilling air con and emerging into the humidity which instantly saps energy, sticks hair to neck and clothes to skin gives an appreciation of the difference that is to come.Read More
When I was 18 I spent a few months in Paris, I was based in the 6th arrondissement staying in a friend’s flat a stone’s throw from Notre Dame. It was so sophisticated and fresh from an Edinburgh education I found it completely captivating. I rapidly took to sitting in smart cafes drinking coffee and smoking long black menthol Moores.Read More
I have a particular love of olive oil after years of living in the Levant and experiencing the joy of bread dipped into freshly cold pressed oil. It comes in many guises – from the rich viscous green variety through straw yellow and into the heavily refined odourless pale variety. It can be hot pressed, cold pressed, centrifuge extracted or indeed cold dripped.Read More
A couple of weeks ago I was in London for a day, it was a while since I had visited, I always find the hurly burly exhausting after the peace of the workshop. To remedy this, some time ago I decided visits to London would be infinitely more interesting if I travelled by boat and foot, drawing on the delightful experience of criss-crossing the Bosphorus in Istanbul.Read More
I’ve written before about Harris, about the landscape, the sea and the Machair, the rock formations and the sandy beaches white and utterly inviting. I’ve talked about picking Thyme, Meadowsweet, Heather and other aromatics hardy, tough and full of aromatic intensity but I haven’t yet introduced the products that I make with them.Read More
Scent is arresting. Bypassing the intellect it resonates with long forgotten associations buried deep within the mind. It is visceral, captivating, at once familiar and unknown. It can flood the memory with thoughts of a particular place, time, person or sensation. We frequently underestimate its power.Read More
I’ve just returned from Istanbul. I went to collect 6 tiny bottles of crystalised greenish gel - Persian Rose oil. Contained in these two short sentences is a world of negotiation, politics, travel, friends and their generous relatives.
I love Roses, the scent, the plant, the history, the sublime effects on skin and spirit, the aromatic water and most of all the essential oil. It has a quality that at once arrests the mind and caresses the senses. It is warm, spicy, earthy, heady and powerfully rosy – the scent goes on and on, rich and full, developing, growing, changing and beguiling.
I am often asked to make bespoke products, a perfume for a bride from the flowers in her bouquet, a cream to make eczematous skin calm, an oil combination to keep moths away from ancient textiles and once, I tried to capture the scent of an elderly lady's garden to draw her momentarily back from the confusion of Alzheimers.Read More