Monday, 12 July 2010

The Life of Riley

Well, I'm not sure who Riley is but it's fair to say we borrowed his lifestyle this weekend! Oh yes, we were spoiled. Because Mr HenHouse and I spent Saturday and Sunday here:

Sadly no, we haven't added this to the property portfolio but we stayed in the fabulous Eastwell Manor which is now a country house hotel near Ashford in Kent. Not a bad backyard, eh?!

Our room was in the mews, converted from Victorian stable blocks. No, the Porsche is not ours either!

The mews were so so cute, they have done a wonderful job of converting them. There are three courtyards, all beautifully landscaped with lush planting and water fountains.

Each cottage has its own pretty painted door with an equally cute name to match: Lavender Cottage...

Bluebell Cottage...

Ah, Foxglove Cottage (think this has to be my fave.)

Saturday was the most amazing of days, 31 degree heat and clear blue skies. The view from the little rooftop window in our room was pretty amazing, looking at the vast estate which surrounds the house.

But we had more pressing matters to get on with. This basically involved doing as little as possible so we headed for what is such a massive treat here in England: an outdoor swimming pool.

I can't remember the last time I lounged around an outdoor pool, indeed swam in it (without freezing), here in England. I confess that I think I was in single figures! After a dip, I settled down with my fave mag which with great willpower, I'd managed to save just for this moment.

We had a spot of lunch...

...before heading off for a massage in the "Dreams" spa. Ah, feeling relaxed now. Afterwards, Mr HH decided we needed to cool down and rehydrate. This is why I have pledged my eternal devotion to this man!

In the evening, we headed back to the manor house for dinner. It was so beautiful inside.

Wood panelled room after wood panelled room. Yes, close your mouth, Hen, stop gawping!

Pimms before dinner? Oh go on then.

As the sun went down, it only looked more beautiful. This is a very special place, indeed.

The dinner was equally memorable, especially the puds! What a shame there's no time for the gym (ahem!)

All too soon, it was time to leave. If you are ever in the mood for a special break away, I can highly recommend Eastwell Manor and I certainly hope we may one day return (they have a really good offer on at the moment). But haven't we forgotten something? Someone? Where's the Munchkin? Well, the reason we adults were able to play hooky is that the Munchkin had been invited to stay with his best friend and his family at their holiday cottage. We meandered our way from the manor through the ridiculously picturesque Kent lanes to retrieve him.

Looks like the Munchkin had a lovely time too!

Just across from his friend's cottage, we spotted a sign which caused a flurry of excitement amongst the HenHouse gang.

English cherries. Well, it would be rude not to at least take a look...

I've never seen such huge cherry trees and I'm pretty certain I don't fancy going up that 80 foot ladder to pick them!

But eat them. Ah well, that's a different matter, that we can do!

Homeward bound then, we take our time meandering through winding little country lanes, surveying all the finest that this county, the Garden of England, has to offer. We pass through stunning village after stunning village until it proves too much for me and I pull over and get out the camera!

This village is Lamberhurst, just one of many equally picturesque villages around these parts.

Kent is of course, renowned for hop picking and the oast houses where the hops were dried still dot the landscape, most made into dwellings now.

Do we think these are the prettiest cottages in the village?

Or these?


Oh golly, well I'm rather taken by this one with its gorgeous hollyhocks.

And this one, right near the village green with the oast house behind, is pretty special too.

I've been fortunate enough to travel to some wonderful places in the World but to me, there really is no more special place than England on a beautiful Summer's day...


  1. Hi Hen
    Eastwell Manor is a fabulous place! I had my engagement party there in 1985 followed by my wedding reception there in 1987 (My first marriage...) We lived just 30 minutes away from there. My parents would take us there for afternoon tea as well as lunch from time to time. It all seems like such a long time ago now. My suister got married there too. You picked a really good place to have a weekend break. It is a lovely!
    Lamberhurst is very pretty indeed. Those cherries look so tasty! My sister has just left France and moved to Kent again. She always loved Kent so I can see that I am going to be visiting some of my old haunts again now that she is back in Kent.
    Loved your post!
    Isabelle x

  2. I quite agree, we live in a beautiful country, but don't always appreciate it. Lovely photos, I've thoroughly enjoyed the trip around Kent, better continue with the cleaning now!

  3. oh what a special weekend you all had. Wonderful place and lucky you to get the weather!

  4. What a lovely weekend. Your right, no where in the world can beat England on a fine Summers day and as they are so few, when they come along they are wonderful. Fresh cherries straight from the tree sound too yummy for words too, the only fresh cherries I see here in my corner of London are the stones the birds are raining down on the garden!

  5. Please could you send Riley down here- I'd only keep him for a little while, honest!

    You cannot better England on a proper summer's afternoon (especially with a bottle of chammy).

    Lovely photos, have set me up for the day

  6. What a gorgeous gorgeous place to stay!!! You must have had a perfect weekend - and the weather to match too!!
    I must keep this post as it is our 10th wedding anniversary soon - must start leaving hints around!!

    Kerry xxxx

  7. What a lovely weekend you had. Fresh cherries I'm envious, they are one of my favourite fruits. Glad Munchkin had a nice time with his friend too.
    Julie xxxxxx

  8. You get my vote too. I love English villages. There is nowhere I have seen that can beat them. We've holidayed in quite a few countries now but in my opinion England is tops. Can't wait till I can return.

  9. What a lovely weekend, I have never been to Kent, perhaps Michael and I should try and have a little holiday over that way!

  10. Isabelle (from France)12 July 2010 at 13:40

    Hello Hen!
    I totally, totally agree with your last statement! Oh I miss living in the UK!
    Have a good week!
    Isabelle xx

  11. Oh, heck I have la jalousie again!I really want to be Riley....The whole weekend looked perfect.We are very lucky to live in such a glorious country.Anne x

  12. What an amazing weekend you've had and a stunning location. How lucky to have some time alone. However much we love our children some time without them can do you a world of good can't it? What a beautiful hotel Hen.
    I think you should enter Mr HH in a 'Partner of the year' competition, he'd win hands down! When he starts week-end course's on 'What women want from a man', can I put Mr SB's name down, he's a fab husband and I love him dearly but does struggle somewhat for ideas!!!
    What you say about the UK is SO true...when I lived in HK I craved the UK, rolling hills and was all 100 miles an hour and as I get older I much prefer the more relaxed way of life....Listen to me; old biddy!!!

  13. I hope the sun keeps shining, as were heading Kent direction next week! cant wait, maybe I shall leave my lot in caravan and sneak a night/treatment at the manor!

  14. What a fabulous weekend, thank you for taking us along.
    I couldn't agree more - England is the best place in the whole world. We are so lucky to live here.
    Carol xx

  15. What a wonderful weekend - and cherries! If you have any left (rare in my case I have been known to eat them all in one afternoon....) can I recommend you bake them in an egg custard tart?(Stoned first!)I made this from Mary Berry's desserts and confections book and it is so much better than its description. (By the way she reccommends about 1 lb of cherries in a 10in pastry case.

  16. Gorgeous! I love the white picket fences on those picturesque cottages.

    As for the hotel... its such a shame they converted the stables into cottages, my horse would have loved it!! Only joking!

    Looks like you had a very special weekend.

    Tamzin X

  17. What a beautiful place, it sounds like a perfect weekend. Love all the photos of the villages as well, I haven't been to Kent so it was a treat to see the lovely cottages.
    Ann x

  18. There really is no place like England in the summer is there. What an idyllic weekend Hen, and so glad we got the grand tour of the manor, which was wow! I love sharing your life with you Hen! Love Vanessa xxx

  19. I've gone a deep shade of green here are a lucky lady..what a magnificent place to stay! Love your pics of the little villages and pretty cottages.That's why I would never want to go back to living in London...I would miss our Sussex villages too much!

    Bellaboo :0)

  20. There truly isn't. I've been in love with your country ever since I was little and as far as I'm concerned, you're living my dream! Enjoy!

  21. Your beautiful pictures of England make me wnat to visit more than ever. I am afraid if I visited I may not wnat to leave. What beautiful places, homes, scenery, everything. It is just so gorgeous. I love it!
    Thanks for your blog and pictures!
    Patti S.

  22. Really beautiful Hen, what a lovely treat :)

  23. He that was such a gorgeous post full of all the things I love - old buildings, English countryside and a spot of living it up. Bliss! x

  24. It looks like the most perfect weekend ever- lucky you!
    As for which cottage? Any of them- all of them! The munchkin's friend's house is pretty special too!!
    I'm not jealous- honest I'm not... Jx

  25. Ooh you lucky thing it looks absolutely devine! I think I'll have the last house in the post if thats okay!

  26. Oh Hen, Your country has got to be one of the most beautiful. I follow a few english blogs, and I'm always so jealous. I think I'd fit in and be very happy over there...

  27. Oh, the English countryside is the most beautiful place and I long to visit again. These pictures make me homesick for my "roots".

  28. There is so much to love in this blog post Hen.
    Especially the lifestyle of the manor..
    Life can be a bowl of cherries now and then!

    Michele xx

  29. Wow! What a fabulous place to spend some time! Can I come next time?!

    Happy blogoversary :)

  30. OOh I'm so envious! Eastwell Manor is only 20 minutes from me and I've never been there! I have been promised afternoon tea one weekend, but it hasn't happened yet.
    I agree with you about England being lovely, I much prefer taking my holidays in this country. And I'm very biased about beautiful Kent - I live here in a very pretty and popular market town.
    There is nothing more delicious than Kentish cherries either, especially straight off the tree. We rent a cherry tree each year from a farm in Northiam and are going to pick the fruit on Sunday after a scrummy picnic in the orchards.

  31. I love your photo's....i feel like i was there with you!!...x

  32. Hi
    What a lovely place. I agree Kent is so beautiful we stopped in Tenterden at a lovely b&B (you would love it!!) and I think we took the same photos almost on our way home of the lovely houses. It is sometimes such a treat when you have a weekend on your own!

  33. You certainly prove you don't need to travel far for such beauty!

    Victoria x


You are warmly encouraged to leave a comment here. Your comments are emailed directly to me so rest assured I read and treasure every one. Thank you for supporting my blog with your comment. X