Tuesday, 27 December 2016


I have been asked a few times recently for recommendations of what to see, where to stay and what to do in England by people planning holidays here. I am not the most travelled person so this is quite a responsibility but I thought I'd jot some thoughts down here of places we've visited and would recommend or places we'd like to go.


I love London but prefer to stay away from the very touristy places or shopping streets

Read - Katherine by Anya Seton, historical fiction about a romance between John of Gaunt, son of King Edward III and his mistress in Mediaeval England.

Stay - in the cool and trendy Ace Hotel in Shoreditch

Eat - at The Albion for traditional British grub and full English breakfast

Shop - Labour & Wait on Redchurch Street, Shoreditch

Go - beach combing on the banks of the River Thames and become a mudlark

Visit - The Natural History Museum - okay this is definitely on the tourist map but it's well worth it for such a magnificent building and awe inspiring exhibits

Peek - in at Wilton's music hall an authentic East End music hall, the last of its kind.

Stray - outside of the City and visit Petersham Nurseries in Richmond

then catch the overnight sleeper train from Paddington to...


I unashamedly love Cornwall, always have, always will.

Stay - in a beach hut at Gwithian Towans

Enjoy - the old fashioned goodness of Jelberts ice cream in Newlyn.

Visit - the dramatic Minack theatre that clings on to the cliff edge

Experience - a foraging walk around Prussia Cove

Tradition - buy traditional Cornish pasty's from McFaddens in St. Just & walk or drive to Cape Cornwall to eat them whilst dipping your toes in the pool carved out of the rocks.

Bath & The Cotswolds

Read - Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee

Stay - at The Pig near Bath & enjoy a country house experience with a kitchen garden worthy of Mr. Macgregor from Peter Rabbit.

Eat - at The Woolpack, Slad near Stroud. Laurie Lee's local pub that features in his book Cider with Rosie enjoy a cider or pint of Uley Ale.

Walk - through The Slad Valley in Spring and enjoy woodlands bursting with spring flowers, wild garlic and bluebells.

Visit - Stroud Farmers' Market and purchase delicious local food and drink such as Hobbs House bread and lardy cakes (a local delicacy)

Delight - with a visit to Giffords Circus that tours the Cotswold's each summer.

It's then only an hour's drive to...

Wales & the Borders 

Read - On a Black Hill by Chatwin & Deep Country: Five Years in the Welsh Hills by Neil Ansell

Stay - in Harp Cottage near Hay-on-Wye

Visit - Hay-on-Wye, a small market town known for its second hand bookshops

Shop - in Bailey's Home on the outskirts of Ross-on-Wye

Enjoy - wild walks in your wellies along gorgeous Welsh rivers and up mountains

Journey - further west to stay at Fforest to camp and enjoy the Ceredigion coastline


these are just a few places that I can think of, please leave your favourite places in comments so I can extend this post further and also discover new places too!


I'm loving all the dark kitchen units that keep popping up on Pinterest. I'm saving them all onto my new 'kitchen goals' board. I think I may give my old wooden units a make over with some dark paint to create a similar look. 

Monday, 26 December 2016


"I was set down from the carrier's cart at the age of three...
...The June grass, amongst which I stood, was taller than I was, and I wept...
...Snow-clouds of elder blossom banked in the sky, showering upon me the fumes and flakes of their sweet and giddy suffocation. High overhead ran frenzied larks, screaming as though the sky were tearing apart."
extract taken from the opening of Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee

When we arrived at the pub on one of the hottest summer days Laurie Lee's words were all I could think about and how our lives were about to change. 

Our entire belongings rammed into a large removal van that only just made it down the lane to our new home. The removal men who had started the day in cheerful voice now were silent as they were faced with not one but three spiral staircases to navigate our furniture up. They did their job efficiently and quickly, pulling away at 4pm, and by 5pm the pub opened for the first time. 

Lots of people came that first evening to check us out and see who the new landlords were, questions were asked, polite introductions were made, business cards for local meat were left. By 11pm I was upstairs in a state of frenzied exhaustion trying to find bedding for three beds for three very tired children on a school night. 

We were offered the tenancy of the pub just weeks before our move and I had only just handed my notice in at work which meant that for a month I was still working a day job, then in the evenings and weekends working in the pub and at the same time trying to be a parent and unpack boxes. Looking back now I'm not sure how we managed to juggle everything. 

At the same time that we were learning our craft there was the snagging and renovations to finish. Unbenowsnt to us when we moved in, the wet room & loo for the campsite had been taken off the renovations to save money and then added back in again at a later date. We then had to deal every morning with different workmen who came to finish the renovations and the never ending snagging list. 

In the car park a generator was left which growled for 24 hours a day supplying power to the kitchen as the renovations included a new kitchen and the need for three-phase electricity had been overlooked. The generator would regularly break down but by the end of August we had mains electricity and the noisy and costly to run generator was taken away, and would you believe it, the weekend after we waved it goodbye we had a massive thunder storm and power cut - bring back the generator!  

Looking back these were such difficult days, trying to create a good impression for customers, trying to learn about running a pub, trying to find staff, it was so so hard. I didn't blog or talk about our problems for fear of people not wanting to visit the pub. The exhaustion of the early days has now been replaced by the worry of finding a chef and how quiet it will be over the Winter months. There is still so much to do, so we take one day at a time and pray that people will visit and like what we do. 

We get things wrong but the support we've had from family, friends and the lovely people on social media throughout this crazy journey has been amazing and keeps us going! 

To be continued...

Thursday, 15 December 2016


I was listening to the Chris Evans breakfast show this morning and was impressed by one of his guests Matthew Syed, who talked about people who want to better their lives 'dare to fail' in order to succeed. It made me think about our year, how we've put everything on the line to open the pub and how bloody hard it's been. 

I haven't wanted to admit to anyone how hard it's been in fear of judgement or criticism or people actually not wanting to come to the pub! But at the same time I have realised the enormity of what we've achieved in such a short period of time. We've opened a pub after it was closed for nine months, we've got it up and running and achieved our targets, we've dealt with a ridiculous amount of problems and outstanding work from the renovations, things like having a generator as the surveyor had overlooked the fact that the pub needed three-phase electricity then dealing with the generator regularly breaking down during service and not having wet room/loo finished so we couldn't open the campsite over peak summer holidays and therefore loosing income. 

We've got things wrong, this business is harsh and unforgiving and you can't please everyone, in the early days I can remember sobbing outside the back door after being berated by an unpleasant customer. Things continue to be hard, it's difficult to find good staff when you're a rural business, I dread ice or snow and people not being able to get to us and family time is rare as we're working long hours. But we've come such a long way, we've proved we can set up and run a business and we've solved a million problems and will continue to face a million more. 

But most importantly we've had the support from a huge amount of people, some through social media and word of mouth, family, old friends, new friends, local people who have come to see who these daft people are that have taken over the pub, it has been most humbling to have such support and we are so grateful to everyone.

It's still early days and I don't know whether we will succeed or whether this life is right for us as a family long term, but I do now realise that we did dare to fail and will continue to do so as we work hard to realise our dreams in life.  

Tuesday, 22 November 2016


At this time of year our woodburner gets lit most evenings and it's time to restock our woodshed, cut loads of kindling and make pine cone fire lighters ready for the cold winter days ahead. Here's how we make pine cone firelighters, that also make wonderful Christmas gifts too.

You will need;
Plenty of pine cones, soy wax, candle wick, an old saucepan, spoon, baking tray and essential oils - I use mandarin, cinnamon and clove.

Melt the wax in the pan on a low heat and add in drops of essential oil to the melted wax. Then wrap a a few inches of wick around the base of the pine cone, leaving a few centimetres of wick sticking out.

ladle the hot wax into the dimples of the baking tray and place the cone into each one. Put in a cool place to set, they should lift out easily. Store in a cool place ready for those winter fires!

Monday, 21 November 2016


My dear dear friend is currently undergoing a course of radiotherapy in Bristol at the moment and is approaching it with such dignity and courage she is a complete hero. When I went with her last week, she took me to this small but totally fab cafe called The Workhouse Cafe on Perry Road. Amazing cakes, delicious baguettes, soups and salads served on wooden boards and trendy black enamelware. We enjoyed a chai and regular lattes served beautifully in French bistro glasses. It was certainly a day of contrasts, people watching the hipsters in the cafe followed by people watching in a waiting room full of people wearing their stories on their faces as they waited for treatment.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016


A pinch and a punch for the first of the month as the saying goes. It is the first of November and with the clocks going back and the evenings drawing in I will soon be reaching for my winter woollens. This year I am delighted to have been sent this Liberty Kelly woollen poncho which I am throwing on over everything at the mo to keep me snug. 

"Made in England, for real people."

Liberty Kelly is British through and through, she produces classic items with a contemporary twist, fitted and feminine, suitable for every shape/size and as her website says "made in England, for real people". 

The poncho that I have been gifted to review is a rather lovely midnight blue tweed, woven in Yorkshire using wool from Cheviot sheep. The arm slits are leather bound and the neck has a toggle fastening which I think is my favourite feature of the design. It is roomy enough for a thick jumper to be worn underneath and uber practical to pull on when I nip out to let the chickens out in the morning, stylish enough for the Cotswold mums on the school run and casual enough to be worn over jeans for those days when I really can't be bothered! I love it and know that it will become a firm staple of my mum uniform. 

You can win your own sea blue blanket Liberty Kelly poncho by entering the competition, run in partnership with This Is Your Kingdom on their website. It's a very straightforward name out of the hat competition so very easy to enter. 

Enter the competition at This Is Your Kingdom
Find out more about Liberty Kelly

Good luck!

Disclaimer: the author has been gifted a poncho for review purposes and has not been remunerated for this post. All reviews and opinions on Bradshaw and Sons are the authors own. 

Tuesday, 18 October 2016


My annual tradition inspired many years ago by Hula Seventy to put together a list capturing things I'd like to do during my forty-second year before I reach forty-three *sobs at how old I'm getting*
  1. Practice yoga each week
  2. Stay at Ty Donkey in Wales 
  3. Plant a kitchen garden
  4. Make a Galette des Rois 
  5. Press our apples & make apple juice
  6. Runaway with the circus 
  7. Take the youngest horse riding 
  8. Visit my aunty's grave even though I find it hard 
  9. Make a scarecrow
  10. Weave a blanket 
  11. Take the boys ice skating 
  12. Learn to identify umbellifers 
  13. Make sloe gin
  14. Swim under a Welsh waterfall 
  15. Organise an outdoor cinema night 
  16. Plant a bean tipi
  17. Visit Harp Cottage in Wales
  18. Make a toy whale out of an old pair of jeans
  19. Catch a snowflake 
  20. Learn to play the ukelele 
  21. Stargaze 
  22. Make an owl box from an old tea chest
  23. Go paddleboarding  
  24. Grow dark dahlias 
  25. Film a series of campfire conversations with people that inspire me
  26. Rejoin the library and read more books
  27. Make a gingerbread house 
  28. Carve a wooden spoon 
  29. Declutter the house properly! 
  30. Enjoy my edible seed collection from The New Almanac
  31. Go camping in the bell tent 
  32. Read Romeo & Juliet with my eldest and hope I remember it from my schooldays and can impart some wisdom (may have to resort to Baz Lurhmanns film)
  33. Visit the Pig Hotel & have a treatment in the potting shed
  34. Watch the final series of Mad Men 
  35. Volunteer my time for a good cause 
  36. Make an honesty shop
  37. Get away from it all at Top of Lane Cottage 
  38. Bake a loaf of bread each week 
  39. Illustrate some of our favourite walks 
  40. Go for an adventure on a steam train
  41. Make snow lollies 
  42. Don't look back, keep moving forwards 

Thursday, 13 October 2016


I am so excited to share with you an interview I recently did with the fabulous Lia Leendertz, who you may recognise from her columns in The Guardian, Telegraph, Simple Things magazine or the many books she has authored. I hate being in front of the camera but I seized the opportunity to give it a go when Lia recently visited me for lunch. My good friend Anne-Marie Randall shot the film and her daughter, currently reading film studies at Uni edited it - although she did note the amount of times I say "um" and I think she removed them all too! I hadn't realised that my son was in the frame and he does steal the show somewhat as you watch and wonder what he's going to do next!

Anyway the reason I thought it would be good to film our campfire conversation is that Lia is currently crowd funding a new book called The New Almanac and truthfully it's the book I wish I had written. It will cover seasons, information about tides for example, recipes and lore and it will be fab. She has had great support, even from the great Nigel Slater, but needs your support to reach her target which she's not far away from at all!

There are great rewards for those that pledge their support from signed first editions, a cut flower and an edible garden club and gorgeous art prints to an allotment party in 2017 that I will be helping out at and styling, along with Mark Diacono who will be making cocktails and Clare Thompson of Five O'Clock Apron who will be making some delicious food.

Do take a look at Lia's The New Almanac page it's a lovely community she's building through shared interests and I'm delighted to support this fab new venture and offer you 5% discount off the rewards if you quote bradshaw16.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016


Our new shepherds hut has recently arrived and found a home in a secluded glade at the end of our campsite. It was crafted by a local blacksmith at Cherington Forge near Tetbury and even has a handmade woodburning stove inside.

We have been busy getting it ready, furnishing and decorating the interior and I thought you'd like a little preview of what we've done so far?

I chose Little Greene Paint to paint the interior of the hut choosing floor paint in Lamp Black #228 and the walls and ceiling with intelligent matt emulsion in Fescue #231.

The bedding is a linen bed set from H&M, although despite buying a double duvet set, it only came with one pillow case and no sheet which I thought a shame but really like the natural colour.

As the hut is small we chose a drop leaf table from Ikea to maximise the space and added two school stools and a vintage Ercol chair by the stove that I found on eBay, complete with Ikea sheepskin.

I accessorised the interiors with a small wooden shelf unit from Domestic Science in Tetbury and old copies of The Countryman and biological prints from the Malthouse Emporium in Stroud.

A bit more painting and then it should be finished all being well.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016


One of the fruits that I enjoy picking each Autumn is the sloe, the fruit from the blackthorn tree. Blackthorn is, as its name suggests, very dark and thorny, but watch out, a prick from its thorns can result in infection due to the bacteria that grows on them.

It is tradition to pick the sloes after the first frosts, but some years we get such late frosts that don't arrive whilst the fruit is ripe. So to cheat I pick sloes when they start to ripen and put them in the freezer to imitate a frost.

This Sunday we picked a few that were almost ripe, but I'll be checking out my favourite bushes around the rugby field over the next few weeks ready to make gin for Christmas gifts!

Thursday, 8 September 2016


The youngest has started school! How ironic now I have time during the day that I now wave goodbye to him at the school gates, I feel as if I have missed his most precious years and that hurts. I am also coming to terms with my change in career and lifestyle, over the summer we've been so busy there really has been no time to think or sleep for that matter, but this first week with them all back at school I am for the first time feeling the impact of the changes as we try to create a new family rhythm. 

One of the things that I am enjoying most is our walk to school, across an English countryside that is so idyllic it's as if it's a scene from Lark Rise to Candleford. Hearing tawny owls calling to each other in the day, sitting under the most majestic and ancient oak tree and picking blackberries to fuel our climb up the hill. I hope I still enjoy it when it's raining and cold! 

Monday, 15 August 2016


Son number two wanted chickens as part of his 'conditions' of moving to the pub. It seemed like a natural request and after having two a few years ago and with a whole field at our disposal I quite fancied the idea of a flock too.

He has great ambitions of selling eggs and a bit like Roald Dahl's farmers, Boggis, Bunce & Bean in Fantastic Mr. Fox the boys now have ten chickens between them, two chicken houses and an electric fence to keep any unwanted visitors at bay!

After an eventful day where I managed to get loads of things wrong, I retreated to the field to watch these funny little birds enjoy their dust baths and hopefully find a little solace from my sense of failure.

The chickens have only been here a few days but some of them are already laying us an egg a day, which is brilliant, but this evening we've seen a fox so I just hope we can manage to keep them safe.

Monday, 1 August 2016


It's already the first of August and we haven't planned our summer at all! But maybe that's a good thing as sometimes it's just good to go with the flow, here's a few things that it would be fab to do if we get the chance, but only if!

  • learn to identify butterflies 
  • make rafts to race along the river
  • cook on a campfire 
  • organise an outdoor cinema evening
  • wild swim 
  • decorate our new shepherds hut 
  • runaway with the circus
  • pick blackberries and make hedgerow jam
  • plan our kitchen garden 
  • welcome our chickens 
  • play crazy golf
  • host a snail race 
  • catch some trout for tea 
  • make homemade ice cream  
  • learn how to paddle board 

Tuesday, 26 July 2016


I have neglected this blog for a long while, and whilst you'd be forgiven for thinking that I'd given up on writing it, those of you that also hang out on Instagram will have seen glimpses into what has been keeping me busy and away from this blog for so long!

My husband and I have taken over The Daneway pub, in one of the most beautiful Cotswold Valleys and have upped sticks and moved here with the boys. We even had a royal reception with HRH The Prince of Wales here in our pub garden last week, it wasn't for us but for Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust who were celebrating the opening of their new nature reserve behind the pub!

It really has been quite a whirlwind! Learning about running a pub, launching our own business and moving house has really been quite something.

People ask whether it's something we've always wanted to do and in truth it isn't, pubs are notoriously tricky beasts, you work long hours and staffing is a nightmare in rural places. But this pub is something really rather special. Owned by family run Wadworth Brewery it was built as three separate cottages in the 1700's for the navvies who built the now disused canal. It sits nestled between three nature reserves and comes with a big field that I'm turning into my kitchen garden and a campsite, where we'll soon be siting a shepherds hut.

Our aim is to keep it simple and serve family friendly seasonal pub grub without pretensions.

We have been overwhelmed with the support we've received from family and friends and local businesses. The lovely Herbert family, who run Hobbs House Bakery brought us an epic present a giant lardy cake - it was absolutely delicious! Julie and Steve who have just taken over Miserden Nursery planted up some amazing hanging baskets for us and helped us hang them.

It's definitely a challenge living above the business there really is no switching off, but we are loving it and the boys have so much space to roam and have the freedom they need.

We have loads of ideas and plans going forwards and this bank holiday we're launching our first Cotswold Cider, Sausage and Snail Racing festival! 

I'll try and blog a bit more often and if you're ever in this part of the world, do pop in and say hi!

Saturday, 4 June 2016


30 Days Wild is a fun awareness raising campaign run across the UK by The Wildlife Trusts a charity that works to protect local wildlife and wild places. The idea is that you get outside and do something wild every day, it could be eating your sandwiches outside in your lunch break, going for a walk, making elderflower champagne or having a snail race.

The hashtag #30dayswild is being used across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and already there are thousands of people taking part and sharing their love of nature and the outdoors. It's free and easy to take part and by signing up you receive a wall chart and random acts of wildness cards to inspire your every day wild activities.

Monday, 30 May 2016


I posted a picture of our treehouse last week on Instagram and the lovely folks at Lights 4 Fun asked if they could send me something to add a little magic to it after I left a cheeky reply on their comment! So just a few days later we received a lovely package containing these white LED festoon lights, so the boys decided that they'd eat their supper in it as they made it so magical. I can't wait for a summer full of fairy lights and you can even buy battery packs so we can take them camping, they'll look perfect in the bell tent!

Thursday, 26 May 2016


Last week I was delighted to be invited to the press night at Giffords Circus and went along with giddy excitement. I've been a fan of Giffords for years since I first discovered this vintage 1930's styled village green circus in 2001, enchanted by its (little) big top surrounded by showmans' wagons painted in a glorious burgundy livery. 

As I got closer to the venue at Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire I started to see the handpainted signs by the side of the road 'circus this way' and I followed them until I found the circus nestled under the most beautiful old horse chestnut trees, who had decided to bloom in celebration with big white blousey blooms. 

We were ushered to some seats in the front row, but knew this came with the risk of being pulled from the crowd by Tweedy the very naughty clown and lo and behold I was! I had to pose so that he could take a picture and for a nerve wracking minute I stood frozen in the middle of the ring with the bright circus lights shining on me, obscuring the rows of faces in the audience who roared with laughter as Tweedy worked his magic ~ he is always the star of the show for me. Or maybe, just maybe, that was my audition to run away with the circus, damn I may have ruined my big chance to be discovered! 

This years show The Painted Wagon is a wild west extravaganza the styling and costumes were exceptional, even the 'Dodge City' band were all cowboys! Tweedy eased us into the show with his mad-cap capers that lended themselves perfectly to the theme. I was also delighted that Giffords Circus stalwarts Madame Nancy Trotter-Landry, the Ethiopian acrobats and jugglers Bibi and Bichu, all made a welcome return.

I'm not going to detail too much about the show as I don't want to ruin it for you, suffice to say that by the end my cheeks ached from laughing so much and the ariel and acrobat acts had me gasping in wonder as they were so good. You must go and see it for yourself, it really is such a highlight of the summer season in the Cotswolds.

After the show we were invited to dine in the restaurant Circus Sauce, the much-loved 60 cover travelling restaurant, where delicious three course meals are served to guests after the last show of the day.  We enjoyed a confit of Tamworth pork and colcannon starter with truffle cream, followed by a spring green soup, then lamb hotpot with pickled red cabbage and spring greens and the most delicious custard tart to finish, all locally sourced. After pudding is served the talented chefs join in the circus fun by performing a hilarious puppet show that had us roaring with laughter. It really is the most magical and perfect way to end a trip to Giffords, under the fairy lights with tables full of mismatched china and jugs of cow parsley on every table.

Giffords Circus is touring the Cotswolds and making a trip to London too, tickets are selling fast and the restaurant is even selling out already, so don't leave it too late to book, you won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, 24 May 2016


I've just spent the weekend with 40 women in the wilds of west Wales at this year's Sisterhood gathering. The brainchild of Lou Archell the weekend was wonderful, a time to meet and connect with friends, learn new skills in the workshops and just 'noodle' about taking photos as my dear friend Laura says! The venue for this years gathering was the rather gorgeous Fforest Manorfan camp near Cardigan. The pictures above are just a few of my favourite moments from the weekend and if you want to see more, do look up #sisterhoodcamp2016 on Instagram.


This weekend the lovely Sian Tucker (@coldatnight on Instagram), founder of Fforest in Wales and I put together a nature table from the hedgerows of Manorafon. I was in the wilds of west Wales for Sisterhood Camp 2016 and Fforest was the amazing venue. It was great to spend time with friends and like minded ladies and take part in fab collaborations and workshops. I'll share more from the weekend soon.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016


It's no good I am hopelessly addicted to Pinterest, I find it so inspiring and curating beautiful boards cheers me up on a dull day. Do you pin? Let me know as I need to follow more people.

Thursday, 5 May 2016


This is probably one of my favourite things to make as it's just so easy! You basically follow a white bread recipe, my favourite is the white loaf recipe from The Fabulous Baker Brothers book. After following the recipe and leaving it to rise, I then push it out into a rustic shape pressing dimples into the dough with my fingers. Then I blend together a handful of wild garlic leaves with some rape seed oil and drizzle all over, finishing with a sprinkle of sea salt, before baking on the highest heat until the edges start turning brown. It is so delicious and so easy. 

Monday, 25 April 2016


Two of my boys had birthdays this weekend, one on Saturday the other on Sunday. I'm not one for big parties with entertainers, preferring a much more traditional affair with homemade cakes and the like. So this weekend we had a small (& organised at the last minute) party for four year olds, featuring pass the parcel, painting some cardboard shields as it was St.Georges Day then slaying a dragon piƱata. The following day a woodland walk, making casts of the mammal footprints and a bit of whittling. 

I made both of the boys birthday cakes with thanks to Pinterest for the inspiration, both with a woodland theme. The first was a classic Victoria sponge with jam in the middle and covered in a buttercream icing, dragging the icing around the edges to give it the raw edge that seems so fashionable in cake decorating right now. The second a chocolate sponge using a recipe from Monty & Sarah Don's Home cookbook, the was an absolute delight to make, with a chocolate buttercream filling and chocolate covering. Both had really simple decoration, Stanley's had some of our Schleich animals on the top, with a tiny bunting made from twigs and a ribbon cut into tiny flags and Ted's had some twigs pushed into the cake with cut out word's and animals ~ simple and effective. 

Am exhausted after all this revelry and cake making, I'm sure the Great British Bake Off is easier!

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