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!

http://wigglywigglers.co.uk/media/downloads/CITH%20SA%202018.pdf

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 san@wigglywigglers.co.uk 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.

 

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Autumnal Baking with Aimee Twigger

We have to admit that we are slightly addicted to Instagram. We love that it is so visual, a snapshot, (albeit stylised and edited) of someones life / home and daily activities. We think it is the polite way to people watch!

We also love the fact that it’s a great place to find new things, and new inspiring people. One of whom we came across recently is Aimee Twigger. Her journey with food has not been straightforward which makes her obvious love of cooking and baking even more inspiring.

Blackberry Apple Galette with Hazelnut Pastry by Aimee Twigger
Blackberry Apple Galette with Hazelnut Pastry by Aimee Twigger

Her dark, evocative images immediately caught our eye and the recipes will have you itching to don your apron and get baking. Aimee uses lots of seasonal ingredients and foraged fruits making her recipes very accessible.

Aimee has a lovely food blog with lots more stunning images, as well as some great travel shots from her workshop travels. She runs food photography and styling workshops, on a one to one basis as well as group sessions at various different locations in the UK and overseas. You can read more about these over on her website.

We were really pleased when Aimee agreed to take some images using our product and develop 2 recipes especially for our new Cottage in the Hills Autumn Winter brochure, (out later this month). We thought it only fair that we share them with you on here as well as we know not everybody wants to receive a paper copy. Happy Baking!

Blackberry Apple Galette with Hazelnut Pastry

Recipe by Aimee Twigger

Blackberry Apple Galette with Hazelnut Pastry by Aimee Twigger
Blackberry Apple Galette with Hazelnut Pastry by Aimee Twigger

For the Pastry
60g hazelnuts
180g plain flour
120g unsalted butter
pinch of salt
3 tbsp. butter
2 to 3 tbsp. cold water

For the Filling
3 Bramley apples
150g blackberries
100g caster sugar
3 tbsp. corn flour
5 tbsp. dulce de leches

To make the pastry firstly grind the hazelnuts in a food processor until they are finely ground, then add the flour, sugar and salt and mix together. Cut the butter into cubes and add into the mixer and mix together. Add the water and mix together until it comes into a ball.
Cover and leave to rest for 20 minutes,
Pre heat the oven to 180c 350f
Meanwhile peel the apples and finely slice with a mandolin cutter. Toss the apples and blackberries in a bowl with the sugar and corn flour. Roll out the pastry into a large circle. Add half the apples in the centre and then spoon on the caramel, then add the rest of the mixture. Bring the excess pastry up and over and pinch together. Brush with a beaten egg.
Bake for 30 minutes. If there is a lot of juice tip the tray over the sink to let any excess juice pour out, then put back in the oven for another 10 minutes

Apple Cheddar and Walnut Bread with Sage

Apple Cheddar with walnut Bread by Aimee Twigger
Apple Cheddar with Walnut Bread by Aimee Twigger

450g strong white flour
1 sachet of fast action yeast
5g salt
1 large cooking apple grated to make about 110g
100g cheddar grated
10 walnuts chopped
6 sage leaves finely chopped
300ml warm water (plus 1 or 2 tbsp.)

In a bowl add the flour yeast, salt and add the yeast on the opposite side of the bowl. Then add the grated apple, cheddar, chopped walnuts and sage and add the water and mix, (you my need to add an extra 1 or two tablespoons of water to get a soft dough), then knead for 5 to 10 minutes. Leave to rise for at least one hour in an oiled covered bowl in a warm draft free spot. Once doubled in size dip the dough out on to a floured surface and knock the air out of the dough and roll into a ball. Leave to rise again for 1 hour. Pre heat the oven to 180c 350f and place an ovenproof bowl of water in the oven to make steam. Slash the top of the dough and place in the oven. Remove the bowl of water after 5 to 10 minutes and continue to bake for another 30 minutes so that it is baked for about 40-45 minutes in total. Tap the base of the dough, if it sounds hollow then it is done. Leave to cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing.

 

 

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Personalised Apron Photoshoot

Image of young boy eating a cake whilst modelling a personalised organic apron
Never work with Children or Animals: especially after a long day at school!

Ok, I will admit it…it took a lot of bribery and begging to get some of these images. The plan was to have a quick photo shoot after school working with Kerri again from Dearest Love Photography. It is the witching hour in the late afternoon, as you often get that soft, golden light, and in our planning it all seemed perfect.

Setting up the personalised organic apron shoot
Just sit like this, hold this, look over here… directing the models!

In reality two tired 6 years, after a full day at school and swimming lessons, were hungry, wanting to play and easily distracted!

Young boy and girl modelling childrens personalised organic apron
Just look like a loving brother and sister I said…

A lot of the food we had taken as props was quickly devoured, and the beautiful kitchen we had borrowed, (thank you Caroline and Neil), was soon resembling the aftermath of a frenzied Bake Off!

Personalised childrens organic apron photoshoot
Props are made for eating…

It is down to the skill of a great people photographer that Kerri was able to capture those magical moments.

Photoshoot with young girl wearing personalised organic apron
Go on show us what’s on the front of your apron…
Personalised kids apron photoshoot
Bingo! Little and very loud!

The aim of the photo shoot was to show our range of adult and children’s personalised organic apron’s in a real life setting, worn by real people. You can wash and wear our embroidered apron’s over and over and really use them for cooking and baking in real life situations. They do look pretty but they are also practical.

Personalised adult apron photoshoot
Not quite so real life ..Vicky in the kitchen in her boxing gloves!
Lady wearing personalised organic apron
The beautiful Vicky modelling our personalised organic apron in the Garden Green Grey

A huge thank you to Vicky and her daughter for being such good sports, and our own son Dylan, for once again helping out with the family business! Our thanks also to Kerri from Dearest Love for being so calm admist the chaos!

Tess

Founder of Cottage in the Hills (aka The Boss!)

Personalised adult organic apron
The Boss

 

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Liz Earle, Organic Apron’s and Chicken’s in the Malvern Hills

 

You are probably wondering what possible connection there could be between Liz Earle, some I have to say rather flightly chicken’s and the Malvern Hills but please bear with me and I will explain.

As you know here at Cottage in the Hill’s we specialise in all things organic and natural. We have been designing our own range of organic kitchen and dining textiles for 10 years now, with a Contemporary Country feel.

Organic and Natural - our new Eastnor Woven Stripe Apron
Organic and Natural – our new Eastnor Woven Stripe Apron

As a bit of a self confessed Liz Earle groupie, (got the moisturiser, hair oil etc, read the magazine, make the recipes and generally online stalking, in the nicest way obviously!), when we were offered the chance to send out a small brochure in the next edition of the Liz Earle Wellbeing magazine we couldn’t resist.

Although only small we wanted our brochure to be something different from the norm, so we enlisted the help of a few other local businesses to help create a cover shot that encapsulates everything about Cottage in the Hills and our ethos.

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Kerri behind the lens on our Liz Earle photoshoot

Kerri from Dearest Love Photography is a Malvern photographer who specialises in a soft, vintage, slightly retro feel photographs. You may recall the picture of her cat Smudge Kerri took for us a year ago. Kerri has a storytelling style of photography which makes you want to find out more about the image.

IMG_2940
Kerri and Elle “Working It” in the Garden.

Kerri often works with Sasha Brown from Sasha Brown Make Up artist when they do weddings together. Sasha another Liz Earle junkie helped create a natural, boho look with the hair and make up with the very pretty Elle Kimberlee who stepped up to the mark as our beautiful model for the day, braving barefeet in the cool April weather.

IMG_2944
Not a chicken in sight in the orchard

So this is how we came to be standing in a very pretty orchard in the Malvern Hills, (kindly loaned by one of our neighbours, thank you Mary), with a handmade flower crown, a few bunches of pretty flowers and a selection of our organic apron’s, to shoot our Liz Earle cover.

What about the chicken’s I hear you ask? Well apparently they are not into Liz Earle, (sorry Liz 🙁 ) After releasing them from their glamorous Peckingham Palace (yes really!) they ran amok in the orchard and point blank refused to be captured by the camera.

Our story ends with a nice twist.  As small rural businesses we all try to support each other by sharing the pics on the usual Social Media channels. Kerri from Dearest Love Photography had posted up one of  her images on Instagram with the usual hashtags, and it was spotted by the lovely Liz Earle herself who commented on “How Lovely”  it was – so now my life is complete!

We loved the images so much you will be seeing lots more of them everywhere, but we have a small selection here for you to enjoy.

Visit our Cottage in the Hill’s website to see more of our range of organic kitchen aprons.

Our Eastnor Woven stripe organic apron
Our Eastnor Woven stripe organic apron
New style cross back organic cotton apron in our Eastnor Blue stripe
New style cross back organic cotton apron in our Eastnor Blue stripe
Barefoot and Gorgeous - Elle Kimberlee modelling our Eastnor Organic Apron
Barefoot and Gorgeous – Elle Kimberlee modelling our Eastnor Organic Apron

 

 

 

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Spring into Action at Cottage in the Hills

Organic Napkin in Eastnor Twill Weave Stripe
Organic Napkin in Eastnor Twill Weave Stripe

The nights are lighter, the garden is starting to come to life with snowdrops and daffodils and the lambs are skipping around on the common, Spring is finally here!

March is a month of new life and fresh starts, and we’re joining in with the launch of our new Eastnor stripe. It’s a yarn dyed woven stripe in a soft twill weave. With the simplicity of classic ticking but in a soft modern palette that makes it very easy to live with.

Our latest addition to our organic textile ranges is our Eastnor stripe. Named after the elegant Eastnor castle which is just the other side of the Malvern Hills from us, it’s a classic design in a muted contemporary colour palette.

Eastnor Sage Green Ticking stripe organic table runner
Eastnor Sage Green Ticking stripe organic table runner

Woven from yarn dyed organic cotton it is our first departure away from our traditional prints. In a soft twill weave it is as hard wearing and practical as the rest of our range.

Eastnor-Blue-Stripe-Oven-Glove-2
Organic Ovengloves in Eastnor Blue Stripe

Available in a Sage green and grey stripe and a soft blue and grey stripe, both will add an effortless elegance to your home.

Blue-ticking-table-linen-in-kitchen
Organic table linen at Cottage in the Hills

Visit the New In section on our homepage for more information.

Spoil your Mum this year with a beautiful gift that she can treasure forever. We can now personalise tea cosies with your own message.

Personalised Tea Cosy for Mothers Day
Personalised Gifts for Mothers Day

Or personalise one of our organic aprons with her favourite tipple of choice!

 

Personalised to order Adult & Children's Organic Apron's
Personalised to order Adult & Children’s Organic Apron’s
Personalised to order Adult & Children's Organic Apron's
Personalised to order Adult & Children’s Organic Apron’s

Or treat her to one of our beautiful essential oil soy wax candles, she can reuse the bowl afterwards to store bits and bobs.

Soy wax candle burning
No black smoke and a cleaner smell with a Soy wax candle

For more gift inspiration visit the Gift section on our website.

We’re having a bit of a clear out and so all our round pet beds are now half their original price. In our pretty prints and machine washable they are practical too. So go on treat your best friend.

Madelaine Sage Organic Dog Bed
Madelaine Sage Organic Dog Bed

Our new brochure has been sent, it’s our largest one to date, if you’ve not had one yet and would like a copy please let us know.

 

 

 

 

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