A Modern Country Christmas December 12, 2016 00:00
We'd like to extend a very warm Pheasant Plucker welcome to the completely gorgeous Katie Anderson from Love French Style as a guest stylist this week. Katie lives deep in the heart of the French countryside and is a one stop almanac for country chic - here, she shares some ideas and photos for a beautiful Modern Country Christmas that won't break the bank.
"You needn’t spend a fortune dressing up your home this Christmas – in fact the Less is More rule certainly applies to your country Christmas decorations.
My parents have had the same family decorations for years and they look great to this day. It is worth investing in the traditional kind which will go on and on and on – unless you have a very happy Labrador whose cheerful tail takes a few of the glass baubles with it every time it brushes past! We had a very greedy retriever when I was a kid who used to eat all the chocolate money – naughty so and so!
Nowadays, I love a traditional Christmas but I do like to add a modern touch. If you fancy a change, by using a few on-trend colours you can combine classic and contemporary harmoniously.
Black, White, Gold – Repeat!
I am a country girl at heart but I have waved Au Revoir to my tartan ribbons and gone for a fresher neutral scheme. I love black, white and gold together, it’s such a nice fresh country/scandi combination. Try to keep to the same colour scheme all the way through for a really strong effect and always go for warm white lights. Unless you’re really good at being bold with colour, you could end up with a living room looking like Santa’s grotto.
Celebrate the Seasons
I only just discovered recently that quinces have the most amazing perfume. If you add them around your home you’ll have a lovely fragrance following you about wherever you go. Once you’re finished with them, you can always turn them into quince cheese, or, even better, quince vodka, here’s a fab recipe. I also love fresh eucalyptus, it’s so cheap to buy, makes a huge statement in a tall vase and has a luscious, fresh alpine smell.
I love using vintage finds as much as possible and this large vintage French table cloth is perfect for a special banquet like Christmas lunch. I cut up and hemmed some natural linen for the napkins and added a small sprig of eucalyptus for each place setting. If you don’t have a table cloth you could always dye a sheet, the more crumpled the linen the better.
Get the gold paint out!
Secret graffiti artist? You’ll love spray painting your decorations so bling it up! I lightly dusted these walnuts with gold spray paint to add as decoration to the Christmas table setting as well as some apple tree branches to add to my door wreath later on.
The great thing about adding a modern touch to your country Christmas is that you can do it on a shoestring so no need to blow the budget before you’ve even started the Christmas shopping.
My Pheasant Plucker & Son Wildwood candle is hands down my signature home scent for this year and I think it looks lovely and smart on the Christmas table too. You could also add tall candles to add height and decorate the bases with holly or berries. I love guinea fowl feathers so I added them under this glass dome with some fairy lights and then sprinkled more micro LED lights across the table too.
There’s nothing more pleasing than receiving proper hand written note inviting you for a glass of Sloe Gin on Christmas Eve or an all night party on NYE. So, don’t forget your Pheasant Plucker & Son party invites, who could refuse an invitation from this sweet little bunny?
Step away from the screen. Take time out with a digital detox. October 17, 2016 07:58
At this time of year, it's very easy to start feeling a bit frazzled. The long, lazy days of summer are well and truly over and the short, dark days of winter are just around the corner.
It's a good time to pause for a few moments and slow down for a while, before the mad hectic rush of December starts and a good way to do this is to literally press the off button for a couple of days and have a break from your phone, laptop and tablet. We're as guilty as anyone of being slightly addicted to the virtual world but after we lost our phone for a few days recently, we started to see the benefits of not having the internet at our fingertips 24 hours a day.
Here are five simple ways to reap the benefits of taking a digital detox:
1) Cosy up with a good book – studies have proved that reading can alleviate stress and also suggest that mental stimulation helps retain brain power. So pile on some stylish wooly knits, snuggle up under a blanket, light some scented candles to create a comforting, calm atmosphere and spend an evening reading. There’s nothing like a gripping page-turner to while away an evening.
2) Pamper yourself with a long, hot soak in the bath or shower. Slap on a mudpack, play some relaxing music, light some more candles and indulge yourself for a while. Our Bathing Beauty soap is so gentle babies can use it and with a tiny added splash of organic lavender essential oil, it’ll help you chill out and wash your cares away.
3) Keep in touch with old friends. Let’s not pretend that it isn’t easier than ever to keep in touch with people now we have all the benefits of social media. But when was the last time you sat down and really thought about what you wanted to say to someone? Receiving a hand written letter is so much more personal than a text or an email and who doesn’t know someone who would love to have a beautiful card land on their door mat one morning? Set yourself a challenge to write to one person every week for the next month.
4) Take a moment to take stock of your life. Write down 10 things that make you happy and use a page for each to explain why. Then think of five things that make you sad or frustrated and write down what you can do to make these things better. Finally think of 10 things you want to achieve over the next year and how you’ll go about them. By writing them all down in one place you can then come back to them periodically to check in with yourself and see how you’re doing.
5) Throw a party. It doesn’t have to be a big one that costs a lot of money but go to a bit of effort with it. Send out old-fashioned invitations, dust off your records and have some fun with real people. Your instagram following will never be able to dance round your living room with you the way your mates can.
We’ve put together a special digital detox package full of things to bring your focus back to the here and now and away from the screen. It contains:
- One of our luxury hand-poured scented Dusk candles, with relaxing notes of lavender and thyme.
- A bar of our Bathing Beauty soap
- A pack of five Jack Russell ‘Hello’ notecards
- One of our best selling Blue cockerel notebooks
- A mixed pack of our bright pink and citrus green invitations
All this is available for just £37, a saving of over 15% than if you bought the items separately. SHOP NOW
Introducing our latest products September 7, 2016 00:00
If you’ve been following our Facebook and Instagram posts over the past couple of months, you might have noticed that we’ve been carefully developing some new products. Being a small, independent business means we’re always on the lookout for good things and we love having the freedom to experiment with ideas that don’t break the bank.
We begin by sourcing manufacturers who share our high standards of quality and good service and we’re proud that everything on our site is made right here in the UK. We then begin working on the designs, not just for the products themselves but for the packaging as well.
We launched our new iPhone covers a couple of weeks ago and we’re already ordering more stock. They come in two designs – Rabbit and Owl – and have a tactile, matt finish which offers superior protection for your phone without being cumbersome or clunky to carry around. We’ve been using the prototype we had made since April and are pleased to report that so far the case hasn’t scratched or worn at all (despite carrying it around in our back pocket and dropping it more than a few times) and the design is as clear as the day it arrived.
The other new product to hit the Pheasant Plucker & Son shelves recently is a range of artisan-made soap which comes in two lovely flavours: Bathing Beauty is so soft and gentle you can use it on newborn babies and it’s lightly fragranced with organic lavender essential oil to promote relaxation, making it excellent for long soaks after hard days; Peppermint and Pumice is designed especially for hardworking hands. Its volcanic pumice removes dirt, grease, mud and grime whilst the organic peppermint essential oil soothes and refreshes. The soaps are cut by hand in our studio so they're all slightly different and we individually wrap each one in its distinctive packaging. Neither of them are tested on animals and they don't contain any of the chemical nasties that find their way into some commercial soaps.
Both the iPhone covers and the soaps make wonderful gifts – the phone covers are an inspired choice for people who are tricky to buy for as they’re both sophisticated and practical. The soaps are great as a little 'thank you for having me’ gift and or to have on hand if you have guests to stay.
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Lambing season April 25, 2016 21:30
These months of the year irrevocably bring back memories of lambing season – a tense, exciting, tiring, happy time with all the ups and downs you can easily imagine. Our lambing shed was in the main barn, a large, corrugated tin roofed building that smelled of the accumulated cycle of farm years – cattle in the winter and the potatoes and hay they were fed on; a dusty tang from storing barley, wheat and oilseed rape in the summer, dried mud all year round, oil and exhaust fumes from the tractors and the particular wooly, milky, ovine smell of the spring.
The shed had an atmosphere of quiet calm and it was dimly lit, with warm, intermittent spotlights above the newborn pens. I remember watching my first lamb being born and the ewe quietly panting as her stomach began to contract more frequently. Pa Pheasant had a very easy way with animals, years of experience and a natural empathy and kindness towards them paying off as he carefully pulled the lamb by its back legs out into the world. We looked on in fascination, as this tiny, slimy, yellow bundle slipped out onto the straw and Pa cleared its airway before passing it up towards the ewe to clean. A few minutes later, the lamb struggled up on its wobbly, gangly legs to suckle. Some of the lambs, for all sorts of reasons, had to be bottle-fed and we had to hold the bottles tightly as they sucked forcefully on the teat, gulping the milk down and waggling their tails behind them.
Everyone learnt to give Pa a bit of a wide berth during lambing and to choose their moments carefully, as he’d be up at night checking the ewes and feeding the babies himself. He would bed down on the sofa in the hall in between shifts and be bleary eyed and a bit snappy in the mornings (so many things learned on the farm jump back at you when you have your own children).
As the lambs got bigger, they were taken outside into the fields and one of my earliest memories is watching them gambol around the paddock outside the kitchen window with Gran. There was a slope with a slight lip at the top of it which they’d race to the top of before jumping off, twisting their little bottoms in mid-air in what seemed to be a general celebration of life.
Lambs’ wool would often get caught in the fence wire and it felt soft and kind of slippery with an oily smell of lanolin. We docked the lambs’ tails painlessly with elastic bands, and they'd drop off in the fields. I didn’t realise at the time but they were also castrated in the same way and I shudder to think what the wool collection that I kept in a glass jar next to my bed really contained.
It always seemed a shame that the lambs lost their sparkle and grew up. I guess if there’s a lesson to be learned it’s to try to be more like the lambs in the fields, experiencing the joy of fresh air and life, rather than just simply turning into a boring old sheep.