This year I have been grateful to find a thriving community of bloggers through Georgia at See Suffolk. She has organised various meet-ups during the year; hosted at a variety of great Suffolk locations. The most recent one being held at Blackthorpe Barn at the very start of December. We could not have hoped for a more festive setting.
This month’s blogger meet up was again well attended by bloggers, photographers and general creatives all hoping to find some like-minded people to share stories, tips and ideas with. We were given use of our own barn as our base and on arrival were greeted by George and presented with mugs of tea and a delicious home-made mince pie. So far so Christmassy!
It was lovely to see some familiar faces and make new friends with fellow-minded people. It’s always nice to be with other bloggers: No one bats an eye when you’re conspicuously arranging your mince pie artfully to get a festive insta-friendly photo. In fact there were cameras and phones out all day for those perfect Christmassy shots. We were definitely in the right surroundings for it too!
After a catch up and a natter around the Christmas tea we were introduced to some of the resident Blackthorpe experts including the Christmas tree grower and head of their newest venture – the foraging school.
George invited us for a guided tour of the barns and we keenly followed. There was so much to see it was mind-bogglingly impressive! We visited the Christmas trees, florist’s shop, decorations barn and made a flying visit to Santa’s Grotto. As it was the 1st December it was obviously one of their busiest days of the year. There were scores of families out searching for the perfect Christmas tree, visiting Santa and stocking up (no pun intended) on decorations and gifts for the festive season. It was very kind of the staff here to take time out of their incredibly busy days to host and chat to us about what they do.
My favourite visit of the day was to the newly opened Forage Cookery School. Here guests can spend the day searching the estate for seasonal goodies to cook up in the kitchen. It’s hosted by an expert forager and chefs, helping people to find and identify things which are delicious and abundant in the British Countryside. If foraging isn’t your thing you can also book various cookery courses or an evening meal prepared in front of you by their knowledgeable chefs. If my dear husband is reading this……this is definitely a Christmas present hint!
The dedicated craft barn at Blackthorpe was also bustling. An impressive collection of makers and crafters from all over, selling everything from artisan soaps, ceramics and woodcraft to leather goods, fudge and charcuterie. There is a small fee of £3.00 to enter but it’s well worth it, just for a nosy at all the stunning items on display.
Among my family and friends I am well-known for having a ‘Bah Humbug’ attitude towards Christmas. However there was a collective gasp when I mentioned this to my fellow bloggers – it’s not a popular opinion, I know! Especially not knowing that Cassie Fairy had even gone to the trouble of MAKING her own fabulous Christmas jumper for the occasion. For instructions on how to make your own; check out her blog here.
The most impressive thing about the day was that I actually felt pretty festive! The setting is so beautiful, with so much attention to detail and variety of Christmassy things to enjoy. I couldn’t help coming away humming a Christmas tune, armed with some decorations and gifts to see me through the festive season with good cheer. The only thing missing was snow!