Feeling 22

Hi everyone! It's been a while… but the last month has been pretty crazy! But I thought today I would do something a little different and list 21 great things that have happened in my 21st year.

  1. I started off my year as a blogging intern
  2. First trip to Boardmasters
  3. Started at Cornwall YFC
  4. First Christmas in the new house
  5. Got published in my first magazine!
  6. Won a blogging competition with NFU
  7. Got published in the Farmers Weekly!
  8. Started a monthly feature with the magazine that first published me
  9. Mum and I took a road trip
  10. I graduated with a 2:1!
  11. I was a part of the Cornwall YFC Entertainments team reaching the Entertainments final in Torquay and coming 2nd!
  12. My first AGM 🎉
  13. Jack and I took a trip to Bath
  14. My dad bought a gorgeous dog called Molly who we aren't sure how we ever lived without
  15. Lambing was successful
  16. I worked with my first brand
  17. I wrote a piece for Student Farmer
  18. I was interviewed for a Women in Farming blog
  19. Organised the Cornwall YFC 80th yearbook
  20. Got a job that I really wanted
  21. Had the best 22nd birthday anyone could ever wish for!

There is of course so much more than this but these are just a few that sprung to mind when I was writing the list ☺️

Here's a few birthday photos to end with…

Ruth x

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4 Reasons to Visit Royal Cornwall Show

Royal Cornwall Show is about the same level of excitement for me as Christmas and here’s why…

Royal Cornwall Show is just around the corner and here are five great reasons you should visit…

  1. Entertainment

If I even began to tell you how much goes on at Royal Cornwall Show I would be here all day, let alone the three days the show is on! With exciting performances and activities in the main ring all day to demonstrations at the lake, it’s a great place to sit back and relax with an ice cream or marvel at the death defying stunts of the motorcycle display team. There’s also plenty of places to enjoy live music and dance performances too!

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Inter Hunt Relay

2. Animals

Animals big and small are at the show, from the biggest Shire horse to the smallest insect at the Newquay Zoo stand. From talking sheep in the Countryside Area (trust me, it’s hilarious) to the happy little rabbits and guinea pigs in the pets section.

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Snoozing Pigs…

3. Shopping

My personal favourite, the shopping! There’s plenty of shopping to be done, from food to fashion, every taste (excuse the pun) is covered and you can shop safely in the knowledge that if it’s at the show it’s got to be good quality (and a lot of the time, Cornish!)

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The Food & Farming Tent

4. Family

There’s something for the whole family at the show and tonnes of activities for the little ones to get stuck into. The fairground is always a hit, especially for when you’ve eaten too much cotton candy and still get on the carousel (guilty). Plenty of animals to pet, machinery to see and ice creams to eat.

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From the Ferris Wheel

Are you going to the show this year? What’s your favourite part? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Ruth x

Spring

Find out what Spring means for us on the farm…

Although I’m sure every other blogger, instragrammer or tweeter has been posting pictures of daffodils and new born lambs (guilty). I just wanted to take the time to acknowledge spring on the blog and tell you a bit about what it’s like on the farm for us.

Sheep

Spring for us means lambs. We’ve already had several from a group of sheep we bought in who were due mid-march, but the rest of ours weren’t actually due until now. We lamb late due to the better weather (usually) and we lamb outside, due to lack of shed space. Of course we’ll bring in any doubles and triplets but strong singles should be fine outside, and better off for it. We’ll still catch them to mark them and ring them as well as giving the umbilical cord a drop of iodine. Although this is a labour intensive way, it’s the way it has to be done, for now at least. The introduction of the quad bike and trailer made things 100x easier.

Cows

Spring time on the dairy farm is really enjoyable, the cows are out and they’re happier grazing away at the grass in the sun. Which means that the monotonous yard work is halved and we have more time to get on with other things, like the spring re-seed. The cows are also due to calve at the end of April with 40 due all together, they will be all replacements of either Monbeliard and Norwegian Red breed. 

You can tell it’s organic!
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We’re having a spell of dry sunny weather at the moment, so let’s hope that lasts! What does spring mean for you?

Ruth x

Exclusive Q&A with Alice & Country!

Answering all your burning questions about the luxury country clothing brand Alice & Country…

I’ve been lucky enough to catch up with the lovely Alice and find out a little more about her luxury country clothing brand Alice & Country. Make sure you keep reading until the end for an exclusive!

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Q: What inspired you to create a range of country clothing?

A:  Alice & Country began when I realised that I had nothing to wear to Badminton horse trials. I literally stood staring into my wardrobe and having that sinking feeling that nothing I had was appropriate! There was no way I could splurge £000 for tweed that I would wear probably only a few times, and it’s hard to look like an equestrian without being head to toe in tweed!

After talking to a lot of my horsey friends, I realised I wasn’t alone in this. Being an equestrian is a lifestyle not a hobby, and it’s frustrating when you can’t dress to reflect this. After lots of researching and market research, Alice & Country was born!

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Q: What do you do when you aren’t running Alice & Country? Are you involved in any country pursuits yourself?

A: When I’m not in my studio, I enjoy cross country running with my cockerjack Lola-who you may have seen on our Instagram! I live on the edge of beautiful countryside so it’s perfect for getting some fresh air!

I am also totally horse obsessed. I have a horse on loan that I ride and look after for a friend; it’s just outside my house so every time things get stressful in the office I’m in the saddle! I’m not into competing at the moment (nerves get the better of me) but when I eventually find time to have my own, I may consider getting back into show jumping as I LOVE popping over a few jumps now and again!

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Q: Have you always wanted to start your own business?

A: Being my own boss is something I’ve always wanted to do, yes. I worked for a lady after graduating who was an entrepreneur and she was so incredibly inspiring I decided to give it a go myself! I’m very ambitious, and I dream very big which does has its downfalls, but I really do believe that we can achieve anything if we put our mind to it.

I love the aspect of determining my own success, and having the freedom of working around my social life and other commitments. Sitting in a busy office 9-5 everyday just isn’t for me; if I wanted to start my own business I had to make the leap!

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Q: What makes Alice & Country clothing so special and unique?

A: I really feel that Alice & Country is filling a big gap in the country clothing market-I like to think of it as a midway point between Joules & Holland Cooper, both equally brilliant brands, but very different sides of the spectrum.

I wanted to combine colour, catwalk fashion AND tweed to create a look that can be worn at horse events, and on the high street. I’ve maintained the quality by using British tweed, and added colour and modern trends to make it appealing to girls like us!

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Q: What can we see next from Alice & Country? 

A: I’ve got a small handful of designs in the pipeline which should be released over the next month or so! I’m also already working on designs for the Winter (I know that seems crazy)!

Plus, I’m actually about to launch a bespoke service so people can design their own capes. I’ve had loads of people comment on my original cape and so I will be offering people the opportunity to work with me, pick out their tweed and tweak the cape to look however they want! This will be announced officially on the website some point over the upcoming week so keep an eye out!

A massive thank you to Alice for providing answers to all those questions and letting us in on her next project!

Make sure you check out the Alice & Country website and you can also find Alice on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest!

Ruth x

Welcome Molly!

It’s been a busy month on the farm and we’ve welcomed a new addition, Molly!

We have a new addition to the family! A lovely collie called Molly. We bought Molly from the chap that scans our sheep, who has a good reputation for breeding and training working dogs.

Lets back track 18 months, when the heartbreaking decision was made to put down our beloved dog Jed, we had had him for about 17 years, so he was a good age but it didn’t make it any easier. So we’ve been without a dog for all this time and to be honest we weren’t ready for another dog.

So when our sheep were scanned dad got talking to the chap about what dogs he had and he thought he might just have one suitable. So a couple of weeks ago we drove for a good hour to see the dog he was talking about, this dog turned out to be Molly. The sweetest dog you could ever ask for. Of course having a good temperament wasn’t enough, we had to see what she was like working, but of course she excelled at that too. Even though there’s still a bit of training to be done she’s more than willing.

She was a delight to travel home and didn’t make a peep. She was obviously nervous at first in new surroundings but she’s settled in so well you would’ve though she’d been with us at least a month.

She loves riding on the back of the quad but being so keen we have to be weary about her jumping off to chase the sheep. They are heavily in lamb so it wouldn’t be good. At least we know she’s still keen!

I’ll keep you updated on how she’s getting on, we’ve got her on a month trial but I don’t think there’s any chance of her going back!

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Our Bath Trip

A couple of weeks ago we packed our bags and headed off to Bath for a few days. I fell in love with Bath when we stayed in a tree house (!!) nearby just before Christmas 2014 (I’ll have to do a post on this one day). I thought I would just put together this post for anyone thinking of visiting the Bath area and to have a little collection of memories of our Bath trip.

Where we stayed:

We stayed at the Bath Arms, which is right next to Longleat. It’s a beautiful old building, with different quirky decor in every room. Keep an eye out for special offers and late availability, we managed to get a great deal on bed and breakfast for two nights.

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What we did:

On the second day of our trip we spent the whole day in Bath. We hopped on the park and ride nearby, which is so easy I highly recommend it. I love Bath, it’s easily my favourite city, but I have to say it’s even better at Christmas. It’s such a beautiful city, not too busy and it has great shops.

I picked up a few presents from Anthropologie and Cath Kitson as well as a little present for myself from Joules. Jack treated himself to a few bits from Jack Wills. We also visited the Royal Cresent and marveled at the gorgeous architecture.

Although we were right next to Longleat, it was closed that week. Oops, oh well we’ll just have to visit again soon. On our last day we stopped by to visit some of my family that live in Somerset. We had planned to climb up nearby Glastonbury Tor, as it was such lovely weather. But instead we decided to have a chilled day and I went riding with my Aunty in the beautiful sunshine. After being an avid rider for many  years then taking several years off when exams got in the way, I’ve only just stopped aching.

Where we ate:

On the first night we ate at the Bath Arms, we had a really yummy meal and I would highly recommend anyone in the area to go along. There’s also I lovely atmosphere in the restaurant and the pub, when we heard The Wurzels blaring out of the jukebox we knew we were definitely in Somerset (you can’t make this stuff up).

Our breakfasts were also really good, plenty of pastries and cereals, as well as lots to order from the kitchen. I had a massive tea pot all to myself every morning.

In Bath we ate at a cute little coffee shop, in one of the side streets. Then dessert had to be a Ben’s Cookie. I had a chocolate orange one, fresh from the oven. I’m drooling thinking about it…

On the second night we ate at the Mendip Inn. I had a ‘sizzler’ which was a hot iron plate straight from the oven with veggies sizzling away on it with spicy chicken on the top. With a few wraps on the side, it was a bit like making fajitas.

I hope you enjoyed my little round up of our trip to Bath and it might have given you some inspiration if you’re thinking of visiting! Next time we really want to squeeze in a visit to Yeo Valley and climb the Tor.

Ruth x

Quick Healthy-ish Granola Recipe

A super quick, tasty and pretty healthy granola recipe. Does it get better than that?

Happy New Year everyone! Is it too late to say that? Oh well in the spirit of the new year I’m doing something I’ve never done before and putting a recipe on here! I enjoy baking so hopefully this will become a regular thing!

I’m a huge breakfast person and tend to go between porridge and granola. But since discovering how easy it is to whip up my own granola, I’m completely converted. It’s cheaper, lasts longer and I can control what goes in!

The original recipe is from Tanya Bakes, a fab book with tonnes of recipes from pancakes to pizza. This is my take on it, so I hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients:

500g rolled porridge oats            250ml runny honey

5tbsp. coconut oil                          50g pumpkin seeds

25g flaked almonds                       30g brazil nuts

30g cashew nuts

You Will Need:

2 x large baking trays lined with grease proof paper and a large mixing bowl.

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C and melt the coconut oil and honey in a saucepan and stir.
  2. Chuck all the dry ingredients into a large bowl, you can add whatever nuts and seeds you like. I tend to put in whatever I have and judge the quantities by eye without really weighing it!
  3. Pour over the coconut oil and honey mixture then give everything a good stir so it’s all well coated.
  4. Spread a thin even layer over the baking trays and pop in the oven for around 10 to 15 minutes. Keep a close eye on it and take it out when it’s just golden brown.
  5. Once cooled completely then it’s your chance to add in any dried fruit you’d like, I’m not a fan of dried fruit but you could add raisins, sultanas or apricots.
  6. Transfer into an airtight container or jar. I’ve found it makes a lot so fits into my big Kilner jar plus two coffee jars. If you aren’t sure how much you want or just want to try it out the recipe is easily halved.

I have mine with natural yogurt and blueberries. The granola keeps for up to a month, but mine never hangs around that long!

Enjoy! Ruth x

The Ultimate Country Christmas Gift Guide

With Christmas just around the corner, we’ve rounded up the best gifts for the ultimate country Christmas…

It’s that time of year again! That’s right, I start singing ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ at the top of my lungs and have a diet fully sustained by mince pies. This year (to save me from tears? (too much?)) I’ve teamed up with the lovely Katie from Woes of Wellies to bring you the ULTIMATE Country Christmas Gift Guide, because we’re so generous, season of giving and all that.

  1. HiHo Silver

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The first on my list is HiHo. I have been a lover of HiHo for several years now, and for the past two years, I have been wearing one of their bangles, every.single.day. It’s honestly one of my favourite pieces I own (it must be to wear it everyday!). It goes with anything, it’s so robust it keeps up with farm life, and it still looks as good as new. I could talk about HiHo until the cows come home but the style and quality of their pieces are second to none. Your mum, sister, aunty, granny, boyfriend/girlfriend, anyone would be happy to receive a little purple box for Christmas, trust me!

2. Jack Wills

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 Any fan of loungewear or Jack Wills alike, will love their pyjama bottoms. Having bought a pair of these last year, and barely taken them off since, I can vouch for that. In fact, they are on my Christmas list again this year. They’re super comfy and cosy, and so easy to wear. I’ve been known to do yoga in them as well as go on the farm in them (under overalls). So trust me, pick up a pair for yourself and a pair for your friend, and let me know if they’re on your Christmas list next year? Plus they have lots of festive patterns too, which I yes, wore in August…

3. Rydale

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One for the fashion conscious of the household, Rydale’s pieces are timeless and affordable. Plus, they’re a bit of a wardrobe staple for boys and girls in young farmers. I have so many Rydale shirts in my wardrobe, but they are such good quality and so reasonable that I can’t stop myself and I simply couldn’t resist a Black Friday bargain too.However, if you fancy splashing the cash and treatin’ yo’self, make sure you head over to Katie’s blog to find the high end alternative.

4. Fairfax and Favor

Now, everyone knows Fairfax and Favor boots are the epitome of treatin’ yo’self. I think I would cry with happiness if they appeared under my tree. Alas I don’t expect to find them there (hence no photo of boots wrapped in pretty tinsel). So if you fancy a super treat for yourself or a loved one, these are sure to knock their socks off. If someone sees Santa, tell him I’ve been really good, yeah?

5. One for the Farmers

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Now practical presents never go a miss with the farmer in your life. And in these dark, cold winter months, what could be better than a torch? (Maybe some thermal socks). This torch is handy because it’s got two, yes two, lights on it. Not only that it’s also got a hook on it, so you can hang it up! I’m spoiling you aren’t I? (Who knew I’d be here taking pictures of a torch wrapped in tinsel…)

Here’s a few more last minute ideas for stocking fillers or secret santas:

  • The Cosy Hat what a genius idea! As someone with long hair, and likes to wear it up, hats are a no go. But these hats have a handy hole to pop your pony tail through, genius!
  • My Horse Box, a subscription box, perfect for the horse mad member of your family.
  • Sophie Allport, no country kitchen is complete without a touch of Sophie Allport. Simply beautiful designs for all budgets.

Ruth x

Livestock Event 2016: A Review

A little review of what was a very exciting Livestock Event for me, and possibly the last one ever…

5 best bits of (3)As we trundled up the motorway towards Birmingham, or rather Clifton-upon-Dunsmore, which is we were staying in a lovely AirBnb, aptly named ‘The Old Dairy’, I was excited. ‘There’s no way in hell I’ll win…’ I thought, but I was very much looking forward to going anyway. Livestock Event was one of those things that I’d always heard about, and thought ‘one day…’. Birmingham is quite far for us to go and it did take us a good four hours to get up there.

Let’s backtrack to a few weeks beforehand when I had an email from The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF). To say I was one of the finalists in their Farm Health Management Awards, with a piece of writing I had done as a part of my degree, and could I come up to the Livestock Event for the presentation?  I excitedly rang my boyfriend to see if he would come with me, and thankfully he was as keen as I was to go.

The event itself took place at the NEC, a huge venue. So its understandable to worry if the show would fill it, but it did. Rows upon rows of stands lined the hall, with machinery demonstrations outside, and calf igloos with gorgeous calves in.

We spent a lovely day there, I particularly enjoyed an inspiring talk by Women in Dairy, celebrating their first birthday, there was cake! MyMorning Routine-

We also watched the NMR Gold Cup, which was really interesting to see what the top dairy herds in the UK were achieving. A big congratulations to Simon Bugler for winning the coveted Gold Cup.MyMorning Routine- (1)

Next came time for The RABDF Farm Health Management Awards, so I nervously made my way over to the stand to meet with the other finalists and my tutor. There were two veterinary students and two agricultural students (that was me and my friend Ross), in the final. When they called Ross’ name as the runner up I physically couldn’t believe that I was the Agricultural Student Winner… even when I collected my certificate and trophy.MyMorning Routine- (2)

Needless to say I was a bit over excited when people wanted to interview me, and congratulate me. I was honestly overjoyed. I still don’t think its quite sunk in yet. How did we celebrate? Pizza Express, wine and the football. Rock and roll 😉

I want to thank everyone involved at the Livestock Event, it was a lovely day. However, in 2017 the Livestock Event is becoming the National Dairy Event, a one day event which will be in September, so I wish them every success with that. I’m hoping we might venture up!

Did you go to the Livestock Event? What did you think? Leave me a comment and let me know…

Ruth x

Twitter Focus: #AgriChatUK

Ahead of their special #AgrichatUK tonight, here is a bit about them and why you should join in…

Twitter Focus-

AgrichatUK was started back in 2011, founded by Edward Morgan, Charles Tassell,  Simon Haley and Jez Fredenburgh. Hosted by Will Wilson. It has grown significantly in the last five years, now boasting an impressive 20,369 followers and growing by the day.

It was the first agricultural based hashtag on Twitter, the premise being a place where people involved in agriculture can get together, to share ideas, discuss and debate. A place to connect with people from all different parts of the industry, from different parts of the country.

I believe it is such a brilliant idea, a place where you can come and talk with other people, all connected by the same thing, agriculture. As we all know, agriculture can be a lonely business, but with this, anyone can join in the discussion, have a chat, and it can really help. Plus, everyone is so friendly and welcoming.

From debating the hot topics in the farming world, to discussing the past, present and future of agriculture, mental health and succession. There’s a new topic every week, special guests and co-hosts, you will never be bored.

Personally I enjoy reading others opinions on the topics, as well as contributing with my own. I can truly say I learn something new every week. It really shows how agriculture is changing and growing with social media, I never would’ve thought Twitter would be such a popular place for farming!

So make sure you join in for the SPECIAL AgrichatUK TONIGHT at 8pm debating the EU Referendum! Leave me a comment and let me know if you do…

Ruth x