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To The Manor Born

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Last weekend was bliss and a real escape from how stressy real life has been recently.  I rounded up eleven of my favourite bloggers - Rosie, Char, Maria, Sarah, Lucy, Chloe, Sarah, Becks, Alice, Gemma, Sophie (and Bodhi the dog) - and we went on a jolly holiday to Norbury Manor in Derbyshire.

It really was the most amazing house I've ever stayed in. And HUGE! If I'd taken a photo of everything that was beautiful then this post would be so long you'd all fall asleep reading it. I'll try and narrow them down a bit. Read on, mes amies. I promise you it's not a sleep-inducing post. And there is a mystery treat for you at the end!

Thank you Mr Martin. Mr Stapleton Martin? I dunno. We found his grave in the churchyard next door and he actually had about 8 names.  Anyway, Marcus, do forgive the informality. You and your house rock and I'm ever so glad you rescued it.

I had the pink bedroom. I put aside my violent prejudice against the colour because it had a) window seats, b) a chaise longue, c) a dressing room and d) the most excellent floors for sliding around on in your socks. 

Also e) a Char to share it with. She may have wished for a different roommate after we got overexcited, jumped on the bed at the same time and I elbowed her in the knee. She has a massive bruise now. Me and my pointy elbows.

It was a deliciously relaxing long weekend, full of epic amounts of laughter, gossip, photographs, cake and wine and amazing food (massive thanks to Chloe for menu planning, ordering and cooking it all!). Yay for fantastic bloggers who share tastes in how a good holiday should go.

We love our cameras.

Becks managed to take a photo of me taking a photo of Lucy taking a photo. The mind boggles.

And we love cake. Did I mention cake? There was lots of cake. So much cake that I had some for breakfast. What?! I was on holiday. It's totally allowed.

We did some active things too. Look, walks!

The debate rages on as to whether it was alpacas or llamas that we saw when we were out in the countryside. Can anyone give a definite answer as to what these creatures are?  The little white one looked remarkably like a sheep to me.

I was gobsmacked to discover that some of the girls had never even heard of Poohsticks, let alone played it. We promptly had a game. Um, shortest game ever. We rather underestimated how fast the river was flowing and I don't think we ever did find out who won. Still fun though!

I do mostly believe in being lazy when you're on holiday though.  Walks are lovely, especially when the sun is shining, but if you're away with that many fantastic people you mostly want to lounge around and talk to them. The Manor had many, many places where this could happen and you could guarantee that you'd always find a group of people gathered around the kitchen table, curled up on the comfy sofas in the sitting room, tucked up in the snug, holding court in the dressing room, sitting on the stone benches in the garden or just generally frolicking around enjoying themselves.

Thankfully there are no photos of me sitting round in my pjs drinking wine (bravo for the unspoken group decision not to take any photos in the evenings) but there are a lot of me in my typical daytime pose - curled up somewhere enjoying a Persephone book.  Here I am:

On a window seat

In the amazing roll top bath

And on a different window seat. There were many to choose from!  I'm wearing a divine pair of new Irregular Choice shoes which the girls got me as a present for organising the holiday.

What a truly lovely bunch of people they all are. I did not expect a present at all! I was just pleased that everyone had managed to make it there and that we all got on so well. Just goes to prove that the best people live on the internet.


  1. Firsty, THANK YOU!!!

    Secondly, Christ on a bike that photo of me is awful haha.

    Love that you made a gif, I'm putting that straight on tumblr ;)


  2. oh, love the moving shot, each time I watch it I look at someone different! Brilliant time had, thank you for organising it at such an awesome location.
    Ps I was totally going to use that title, damn! Great minds ;) x

  3. This looks like so much fun! Haha - loving the gif so much :)


  4. HA! I'm illegally reading this at work and I DON'T EVEN CARE. I had to stifle some snorts though.

    I wish I knew what Lucy and I were talking about in that walk photo - it looks terribly serious and important. Maybe we were discussing our near death experience with vicious farm dogs.

    That gif. I could DIE. B.r.i.l.l.i.a.n.t.

  5. Looks and sounds like amazing fun!

  6. This is just the best gif EVER. I am at work with tears streaming down my face! Thank you for an amazing holiday <3

    Maria xxx

  7. I'm loving reading these posts! I'm amazed you chose the pink bedroom, which was totally and utterly gorgeous! xxxx

  8. Hahah the faces in that gif! So funny. Looks like a great weekend, I especially love the rolltop baths and reading nooks in the house.

  9. You know if I hadn’t come along on this trip I would have never found out what Poohsticks was, never known what Persephone books were and never would have had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people. I am so grateful you invited me Alex – it was one fabulous trip, and I can’t think of one negative thing about the entire weekend, you are right everyone was SO lovely. The house was stunning… pinks not so bad after all? and the roll top bath I could have quite happily brought home with me!
    Amazing weekend, amazing friends and plenty of laughter along the way. So glad I finally got to meet you in person xxx

  10. That gif is my favourite :) Looks like my kinda weekend and I LOVE Articulate! xx

  11. They're definitely alpacas - I looked up the difference: alpacas have small pointy ears, llamas are much taller with banana shaped ears (look it up and you'll see what I mean!). Interestingly, the scientific name for a llama is Lama Glama :)

    Fab pics and fantastic gif! Thank you so much for inviting me, I had the BEST time!! xxxx

  12. Oh how wonderful! I am totally envious you got to stay in such a wonderful place! And to stay with all those lovely bloggers! You look like you had a ball! I am envious- you have SAPLINGS! I really want to read that! Did you say it came from Persephone? Is that near the British Museum? I love window seats for reading, so lovely! How did you do that last picture- so clever!!x

  13. Wow, it looks like you had amazing time! :] x

  14. What a fantastic place to stay, it looks like you had a great time.
    I love that last moving photo or gif as I've learnt from the other comments, but had to google!

  15. This is just the most wonderful write up, I felt like I was experience all of it all over again! It was such a perfect weekend and I'm so, so grateful for your inviting me and letting me bring my fluffy white shadow! Also I'm so glad you got a photo of the sheep alpaca llama, every time I took my camera out he ran away! (I think it is a sheep in a not very convincing disguise...) xoxo

    Rosie | A Rosie Outlook

  16. Love that gif! Sounds like you all had an amazing time, I'm jealous! And that cake looked gooooooood xx

  17. I've been loving nosing at all of your photos from the weekend, it looks amazing! That bedroom is out of this world. x


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