One of the main reasons for returning is that Alex and I concocted a plan to have a Christmas craft class in Monzie Castle. There were number of emails, a private Pinterest board and finally we had a plan! Not only were we running a class here at the Estate but we were involved in a Christmas event in a village about 15 minutes drive away.
Mike and I arrived back in Scotland early November and it was full on Christmas planning, on line shopping, visits to Perth and Stirling, experimenting on the kitchen table, cajoling the men in the joinery to cut timber for us, magazine reading, cooking, sorting and finally it all came together. We had two other workawayers, Matt and Abbey, here with us and they used their superior IT skills to create an awesome booklet for us to give away.
Christmas at the Castle was Alex and David’s first event at the Castle the decision was made to keep this small and achievable. It was a huge success, however, the amount of work to achieve this was enormous, we spent hours cooking a festive Christmas lunch, David and Alex sorted out a Christmas tree from the Estate, Mike (yes Mike) decorated the tree, booklets were proof-read, printed and sewn together with festive red thread, craft materials were arranged and finally it was all ready.
The ladies who attended had a great time and we finished our day on a high. We celebrated our success by spending part of Sunday at the top of the Estate in the snow.
There was a slight reprieve before the Kit and Kith Christmas event in Madderty. This involved a Friday night and all day Saturday and Sunday. This was largely a gathering of local women in business who have come together to support each other and Anna Wilson is the dynamo who came up with the idea and pulled it all together. Alex and I were there to promote Monzie Joinery and to sell our Christmas crafts and Christmas kits. We met some amazing women.
Anna, the main organiser of Kit and Kith and her very able side kick, Katrine who makes these amazing capes with cashmere and wool linings. The energy and enthusiasm of these two ladies was amazing.
Kairen from Blues and Browns, beautiful clothing with a definite ‘something extra’ using locally sourced fabrics. Lots of accessories, bags, hats, scarves and shoes! I wanted some of her clothes so badly, I even said I would work for fabric! …. she is a vibrant and exciting woman who has really lived life to the full.
Gillian swapped her corporate life to start this business based on her love of good wine and food. She has spent quite a bit of time in New Zealand working in vineyards. This is a woman full of get and up and go and we could have talked for hours, come to think of it, we did!
The food we had over the weekend was supplied by Tania from Ginger Snap. This food was amazing, tasty and beautifully presented by this very talented woman.
Vivienne who for the first time ever has shown her art work. How could she have kept this talent hidden for so long? Almost all her work was sold.
There were a number of other stall holders and we all spent time checking out each others work. Check these out: Katrina from The Party Storybook, Helen from Stella and Dot, Florence from Pilchers and last but not least the oh so cute Little Magical Moments
And of course there is Alexandra, an extra-ordinary woman who still keeps tabs on her London PR company whilst working here on Monzie Estate. In the last year she has refurbished and in part rebuilt two holiday cottages, re-upholstered chairs, remade old and tired furniture, made curtains, lampshades, learnt to make lemon curd, cordials (elderflower, rosehip and elderberry), filled her chest freezer with all kinds of home made meals, created a website for the estate and of course hosted a number of workaways.
This blog is really about the women I have met on this trip back to Scotland but I do want to give a mention to the two men who have been somewhat stretched as we madly go about creating Christmas mayhem. David and Mike have extended their skill base by cooking and fussing with Christmas decorations. Both have been on the end of vacuum cleaners and dishcloths in between their usual tasks of running the joinery (David) and demolition/renovating/photography (Mike).
As I write this sitting close to the warmth of the Aga there is snow falling thick and fast outside the kitchen window!
We only have a week left here before we start our journey home. It will be with mixed feelings that we leave. NB: Alex has taught me how to use hyperlinks (impressed?) so please do click away.