Now you’ll see why this had to be a double-yoker; there was just too much to squeeze in to one post so thanks for indulging me. Day two of my Boden adventure saw us donning wellies and setting off for a 3 mile walk across the Dorset countryside, with a couple of slightly less ordinary guides! Yes, the man himself Johnnie Boden and his beloved dog Sprout joined us too as we set off in the direction of a surprise location for the day’s next activity.
I have to admit to being slightly awed as Johnnie came up and chatted to me, especially when he said he loved my blog. I even asked him if he was sure he’d got the right person – ha! But no, he knew all about Kat got the Cream and that my friends is one of the reasons I blummin’ love Boden. How many other CEOs do you know that would take the time to read and get to know blogs?
Anyway, after a bracing walk that took in one or two hills and some breathtaking scenery, we were given our first glimpse of our destination for the day; Mapperton Gardens. This beautiful house has been the setting for a few films over the years including Emma and most recently the new adaptation of Far from the Madding Crowd featuring Carey Mulligan (I will be keeping a look out for that release).Mapperton is also home to The British Flower School, which provided our activity for the day: flower arranging! It was lovely to cool down in the gloriously fragrant and shaded outhouse while Charlie, who runs the school, took us through all her favourite British wild flowers that she likes to use. It was also a good reminder that so many of them grow abundantly like Buddleia, which butterflies and bees adore, as well as wild grasses and foliage for filler. And, according to Charlie, any roses are good as long as they smell delicious! Charlie taught us that the best way to arrange flowers is to place each stem into the hand you don’t write with and turn a quarter each time you add a new one as the bouquet slowly builds. That way you can easily add or adjust things from above or underneath. Everyone’s arrangements looked brilliant and each one was so different. It’s definitely inspired me to start gathering more wild flowers to create arrangements in the house.
After lunch (more eating outside – love it) we listened to the owners of Mapperton, the Earl and Countess of Sandwich as they gave us a bit of history about the house and gardens, which date back to Elizabethan times. Then we were able to explore the gardens. Honestly, I’ve spent my fair share of time in some lovely old places (you know me, I’m an OAP in training and can’t resist a stately home and gardens) but these were probably some of the best I’ve ever seen. I could have happily spent the rest of the afternoon there but sadly we needed to say our goodbyes, gather up our bouquets and head to the train station. It was so lovely to spend more time with two of my favourite bloggers Natasha and Rosie, who I now count as friends, as well as getting to know Sasha and Shini better too, not to mention all the other interesting and inspirational women on this trip including the fab Boden press team. I really did feel like I’d been treated to a wonderful mini-break and a gorgeous respite from the day to day of being a busy mum of 3 (and some-time blogger). Thank you so, so much to Boden for an amazing trip!