Just under six months ago, I started work at Condé Nast. This could have been a daunting process but luckily I wasn’t alone in this giant step into the high-gloss world of magazines and life in the Big Smoke. Six of us all started on the same day and we stuck together like a gaggle of orphaned ducklings- finding our feet and becoming good friends in the process. Whilst it is safe to say that we are all now settled in enough to no longer require five our of five lunches a week to be spent in each other’s company (although, it does still occasionally happen!), we do still resemble a dysfunctional crew. The kind of gang that you would find in an Enid Blyton book but minus the grazed knees and tree-houses. So, the time had come to herd us all together for a big old knees up, and this time, the lovely Jess was hosting!
Emails bounced between our inboxes. “T-1 hour”, “T-20 minutes!”, “5 minutes to go!”. The countdown had begun and 5.30 couldn’t have come any quicker. As the minute hand reached half-past and as the office began to slowly wind down, the six of us moved with more haste than the dash for Zara on the first day of the sale. Off we hurried to Waterloo (via a pit stop for wine, gin, crisps, guacamole and chocolate, of course!) where we then bundled into the first non-quiet carriage we could find. Our long-anticipated weekend had lift-off. Destination? Dorset.
Several hours later, and somewhat merrier, our train pulled up at the tiny station of Tisbury. All having far too much fun to notice that we had arrived, it became a manic rush to alight at the last-minute before the doors shut. A dash of cold crisp air chilled our rosy cheeks and we collectively pulled our coats closer around us and thrust our hands deeper into our pockets. We all scrabbled into Jess’s Dad’s truck (he seemed a little shell-shocked at the arrival of six girls with an awful lot of luggage for just a weekend) and bumped along in the dark with high spirits and a constant stream of high-pitched excitement.
On arrival at Jess’s house we sped into the warmth and were greeted by some very lovely doggies and an even lovelier Mummy. We were shown to our rooms whilst dinner cooked away- smelling divine. Having seen our beautiful rooms (which were the perfect mix of luxury and homeliness) we headed down for dinner, which was accompanied by yet more wine and G&Ts. The heady mix of scented candles, Aga warmth, alcohol and the promise of a remote weekend in such wonderful company spread a fuzzy feeling of giddiness and contentment combined.
The evening was spent camera-free so I am afraid there isn’t much to show and tell, but rest assured, it was on charge ready for a whole host of photos in the morning when we woke up fresh-faced and ready to enjoy our weekend in Dorset’s finest countryside.
And what a view we woke up to…
So the morning came…along with that wonderful feeling of knowing you don’t have to go to work. Faces nuzzled back into crisp pillows, duvets were pulled up and blissful dozing commenced. As everyone dragged themselves away from bed and got ready to come down for breakfast, I took the opportunity to take some snaps of Jess’s lovely house. Feeling like I had stepped into the centre fold of House & Garden magazine I hopped between an airy drawing room with blooming flowers, cow hide underfoot, and touches of nostalgia in the form of portraits and old family photos, and the oldest part of the house, the converted barn which held its own as the hub of the house- a vast open log fire, scented candles burning, soft sofas to slump into with a satisfied sigh, and a beautifully light (and impressively spotless) kitchen.
Breakfast was served. Buttery toast, croissants, freshly-squeezed orange juice and eggs, which had gone from coop to scramble in just a couple of hours. Whilst the food was scrumptious, nothing was quite as delicious as the little pups that scampered for attention and rested their chins on our knees until their doe eyed velvet faces could be resisted no longer- introducing Juno and her mummy Lola. They really did steal the show and melted Bex’s heart too!
After a slow start (always the best kind of starts) it was time to swap PJs for wellies and go for a stomp across Dorset’s finest topography. Gallop over to the next blog post to see us in our muddiest regalia.