NEW Wreath Making Workshop Dates!

Our Workshops take place at Lower Blakemere Farm, in Blakemere (Halfway between Hereford and Hay-on-wye), Herefordshire. We have ample parking and will provide tea and cake. We run courses from our stable building which has been lovingly converted into a classroom/ floristry. You can also purchase flower directly from us after the course as well as browse a few of our products.

If you are looking to select a specific flower workshop as a gift simply order one of our workshops below (we will post a voucher to your recipient and also book them on the workshop) or if you would like your recipient to be able to choose their own workshop please order our Flower Workshop Voucher HERE

2018 Workshops

DIY Wedding Flowers – 27th October 2018 – 10.30am until 12.30pm

*NEW* Festive Door Wreath – 5th December 2018 – 2pm until 4pm

*NEW* Festive Door Wreath – 12th December 2018 – 2pm until 4pm

Win a personalised Tea Cosy (Worth £24!)

You’ll love it because… A Cottage in the Hill’s personalised tea cosy is the ideal gift for the person who loves a good cup of tea.

Perfect for someone who can’t start the day until they’ve had their first brew or likes to take their time with a proper cuppa from a tea pot. All the embroidery is done to order here in the UK – the winner can choose up to 4 lines of text to make this tea cosy really personal!

If you’re not feeling lucky you can still purchase your own on our website now.

The winner will be contacted by email after 30th September 2018.

Enter Here

Pamper your Pooch! Win a pet bed from our range worth £50 (in any size or style!)

Your pampered pet will love snuggling up in our comfy organic pet beds. A Cottage in the Hills organic pet bed won’t look out of place in front of your range cooker or by the fire and will add a pop of colour to your room. Fully washable they are practical too. 

Our doughnut style pet beds have a removable base cushion making it easier to fit in the washing machine.

The smaller pet bed makes a perfect pad for your cat or a small dog or puppy. The medium size is a stylish dog bed that is also light and easy for travelling.

Our pillow pet beds are for dogs (or large cats!) who like to stretch out. With a recycled fill, they are plump and comfortable.

If you’re not feeling lucky you can still purchase your own on our website now.

The winner will be contacted by email after 31st August 2018.

Enter Here

Download our NEW Digital Catalogue!

All your essential homewares and great gifts in Digital Form!

We’ve had a lot of requests for a new catalogue – one will be on it’s way shortly 🙂 In the meantime why not download our digital one here, it’s largely based on our Summer/Autumn 2018 range!

Not only are you saving paper (and therefore the world), but it’s quick and easy to download, delivered in seconds (unlike mr.Royal Mail) and you can take it wherever you like on your computer, tablet or phone!

Wanted: Help in our busy office…

This might suit someone self employed or building their own business. We have available some hours (app 16) working in our office helping run our 5 brands/businesses Great British FloristWiggly WigglersCottage in the Hills, A R Gorringe and Partners and GMC Propsource. You will go from answering the phone to a customer wanting to order some birdfood, dealing with a wedding enquiry and putting together a quote, inputting data into xero and so on… You need to be computer literate, keen to help people and sort any issues out, with a happy positive disposition 🙂 In return we will offer full training, a lovely working environment, variety (!) team support, good rates, and flexible hours.

If you are interested please email with your CV or similar straight away. This position is based in Blakemere Herefordshire.

Time for a Fresh Start

After ten exciting and successful years with Cottage in the Hills, formally, Ochre and Ocre ltd, I have decided it’s time for something new. So, I have sold Cottage in the Hills to a lovely local business who I know will continue to look after you really well. Giving me more space to focus on some exciting new projects, (more of this later), and to spend more time with my family. 

The support that you have shown Cottage in the Hills, and everyone who has followed me from the very early days when I started as Ochre and Ocre, has been truly amazing. Because of you Cottage in the Hills has remained an inspirational family business with a strong focus on ethical and organic products.

The new owners are Wiggly Wigglers, a local Herefordshire business whom you may recall we’ve worked with in the past. (They have supplied some gorgeous British grown bouquets for our photoshoots). They will be taking over from the beginning of June.

Heather from Wiggly Wigglers

Their head office is their farm near Hay on Wye based in the rolling green hills of Herefordshire, (the opposite hill to where I grew up!) .

Their small team of nine humans is headed up by Heather Gorringe, and ably assisted by Jam their chocolate lab – always keen to please, and always happy to help out the diet… Ben the Cat, who keeps a disdainful eye on proceedings at all times… and lastly but certainly not least (perish the thought!) they have Marjory – our very fierce guard dog who is very easily bribed if you are willing to tickle her tummy.

Jam and Marjory the guard dog
Jam and Marjory the guard dog

They will be taking on all aspects of the brand, website and ranges and share the same passion and enthusiasm for eco friendly and organic products as me.

Heather, San and the team bring with them years of experience from running their two websites, Wiggly Wigglers and The Great British Florist, as well as a true passion for the British Countryside and farming. It is a perfect fit and I know they will continue to grow the business with your support. 
Thank you all so much for being part of this exciting adventure with me. I am looking for a complete change of direction from retail, and you can follow my new adventures over on Instagram, at Retreat to the Hills. Soon you will be able to stay in our new accommodation in the Malvern Hills, relax at one of our pilates and yoga retreat weekends, or revive with a personal one to one pilates session.

We thought a fun way for you to get to know more about the team would be to have a quick Q & A session…

Favourite place…

San, Tuscany / Alex, Black Mountains / Heather, Andalusia / Rachel, Borth / Rob G, Iceland / Kat, Freshwater West / Rob W, The Wye Valley  / Noelle, Blakemere / Lydia, British countryside

Favourite Food…

San, Steak and Chips / Alex, pasta / Heather, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate /Rachel, Salmon / Rob G, Halloumi cheese /Kat, shortbread biscuits /Rob W, curry / Noelle, Vegetables / Lydia, roast potatoes /

First Car…

San, Clapped out Cavallier – which used to belong to Heather /Alex, Citreon C2 / Heather, Triumph Spitfire with a bright blue soft top / Rachel, Capria Gia JPS Special / Rob, Soda Fabia / Kat, White Nova Merit / Rob W, Peugeot 306 / Noelle, no car / Lydia, Nissan Micra

Most used App…

San, Facebook /Alex, Spotify / Heather, Facebook /Rachel, Facebook, Rob G, Podcast Addict / Kat, Instagram / Rob W, Facebook Messenger / Lydia, Facebook

Favourite song…

San, Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol / Alex, Stand By Me – Ben E King / Heather, anything by Elvis or David Grey / Rachel, George Michael – Careless Whisper / Rob G, Photosynthethis – Frank Turner / Kat, Foo Fighters – Best of You or Queen – Someone to love / Rob W, The Killers – Mr Brightside / Noelle, Christmas Songs! / Lydia , Elton John – Circle of Life

Favourite Flower…

San, William /Alex, Foxglove / Heather, Peony /Rachel, Lisianthus / Rob G, Dahlias / Kat, Hydrangeas / Rob W, Birds of Paradise / Noelle, Roses / Lydia, Lilac

Favourite Bird…

San, Woodpecker /Alex, Chaffinch / Heather, Robin / Rachel, Woodpecker / Rob G, Budgie /Kat, penguins /Rob W, Toucan / Noelle, Robin / Lydia, Duck

We hope this gives a good insight into the new team who are taking over!!

For my part for my last ever blog I thought I’d share a few memories with you of our early days when we first set up back in April 2008. Fresh faced as we started our website in a world where not that many companies were trading online.

Looking particularly fresh faced here after unloading our first big order from Portugal. One thing we’ve maintained the whole way through is very much a hands on way of managing everything.

Unloading our first shipment.
Unloading our first shipment.

The world of online retail has changed the way we live but I hope it never loses that personal touch and connection with you our customers. Because it is those little words of thanks, hand written thank you cards and receiving face to face feedback at shows that really gives you that drive and energy to continue to evolve and develop.

We launched our website to the world (or the UK and France at least!) with a press launch in Paris. Our first bit of coverage was a piece in Elle Decoration which made us whoop out loud!

Our launch - a press launch in Paris.
Our launch – a press launch in Paris.

I started the business with a very lovely lady who was living in Creancey in France at that time and we were able to make the most of her stunning location and held our first ever photoshoot at Chateau Creancey. The one thing I’ve always put a lot of emphasis on is good quality pictures and we’ve been fortunate to work with some fab photographers over the past 10 years. We started with Frederic Ducout and in the past 8 years Rachel Spivey has been our constant go to for great shoots.

Several shoots later and the whole family has been involved – my husband has helped at many a show and very gallantly stepped in to cover my stand at Country Living when I had to go into hospital due to my son being a bit impatient! My gorgeous son for modeling with great aplomb, and not forgetting my two frenchies who certainly know how to pose!

The Frenchies doing what they do best!
The Frenchies doing what they do best!

So it’s goodbye from me, thank you for all your support I will miss you,  and look after Heather and San and Cottage in the Hills whilst I’m gone.

For Your Easter Table

Easter Egg Cupcakes
Easter Egg Cupcakes

Have fun this Easter dressing your table and preparing some tasty treats the whole family can enjoy.

A simple cupcake can be given a lift with a white chocolate icing nest and some mini chocolate eggs.

There is a quick and easy recipe here from BBC Good Food. We add some melted white chocolate to our icing for an extra chocolatey hit.

Make mini versions and display them in cardboard egg boxes.Finish off with a sprinkling of chocolate flake.

Display mini cupcakes in an old egg box
Display mini cupcakes in an old egg box

Who could resist an Easter bunny place setting?

All you need is a simple Gingerbread recipe, and a rabbit cutter. There are loads of versions on the internet, here’s one from Good Housekeeping.

Dress up your place settings with pretty coordinating ribbons and sprigs of greenery add a more Springlike feel.

Easter Bunny Placesetting
Easter Bunny Place setting

Tulips or daffodils make a great Spring touch for your place setting – guests can pop them into a central vase afterwards.

Tulips add a touch of Spring to your table
Tulips add a touch of Spring to your table

Boughs of dog wood or willow are perfect for hanging pretty painted eggs. Hobbycraft have a good selection of pretty eggs that you can pimp up with your own style.

Visit our Pinterest page for more Easter ideas and inspiration.


Painted Egg Table Decoration
Painted Egg Table Decoration
Easter Table
Easter Table

Shades of Grey

Organic Fabric By The MetreGreys can be elegant, sophisticated. formal and neutral. But styled in the right way we think greys can also be relaxing and easy to live with, the perfect backdrop for layering and adding textures.

We have added warm Ochres to some of our grey designs, it’s the perfect combination of simplicity and warmth and adds a lift to the designs.

Roost Yellow Melamine Placemats at Cottage in the Hills
Roost Yellow Melamine Placemats

All of our cotton fabrics are made from 100% organic cotton, certified to the Global Organic Textile Standards, (GOTS). Our dyeing and printing processes also meet Oekotex 100 standards. we sell it by the metre as well as in ready made items.
The fabric is substantial enough to be used for blinds and curtains, and is fully washable. We don’t add any flame retardent finishes, or any other chemical finishes to our fabrics.

We have added two new Grey designs to our textile ranges this season, a slightly more classic Eastnor Grey stripe, and a more casual Madelaine Grey polka dot.

Organic Double Oven Gloves in Eastnor Grey
Organic Double Oven Gloves in Eastnor Grey

The Eastnor Grey stripe is a woven stripe – this means the design is visible on the front and reverse. The Madelaine Grey spot is a print, woven in a half panama which is a nice tight weave that is very hardwearing.

Grey polka dot organic napkins

We have swatch sets available of all of our fabrics so don’t hesitate to drop us a line if you like to see fabric samples before you purchase.

Hand made Christmas Decorations – Dog Wood wreath

Child sat by set of dog wood Christmas Wreath
Create some Christmas Magic with our Christmas Wreaths

Outside the Cottage in the Hills office we have several flower beds filled with beautiful Dog Wood bushes.

In the Summer they are bushy and green, but it is the Winter when they really come into their own. The bare branches get to show off the vibrant natural colours and rich shades of Red, Green and Black.

Tess in the garden with the Dog Wood Trees
The Dog Wood Trees in the Cottage in the Hills Garden

Each year we cut them back to encourage regrowth – and the beautiful branches were crying out to be used for something.

We met Lyn from Caltonberry when we first started our business, 9 years ago. We were fellow stall holders at a Wire (Women in Rural Enterprise), Christmas Fair and have kept touch ever since.

Each wreath is hand made.
Each wreath is hand made.

Lyn makes beautiful wreaths and ribbons and porcelain decorations, and we were so pleased when she agreed to collaborate on this special project with us.

Lyn making the Dog wood Christmas Wreath
Lyn making the wreaths

There are two sizes of wreath – the larger wreath is a combination of all three colours, and the smaller wreaths are made in each of the individual hues. The unique colours are completely natural.

The components of each Dog Wood wreath
The components of each Christmas Wreath

Each wreath is beautifully finished with a rustic bow and porcelain stars all handmade by Lyn.

Porcelain Stars handmade by Lyn
Porcelain stars – hand made by Lyn

These are a limited edition piece due to the supply of Dog wood so order now whilst stocks last.

is the large wreath which combines the 3 different shades of Dog Wood
The finished Wreath – this is the large wreath which combines the 3 different shades of Dog Wood
The 3 different coloured smaller wreaths.
The 3 different coloured smaller wreaths.

Visit our website to buy our beautiful Dog Wood Christmas Wreaths, along with other hand made and unique Christmas decorations.