It’s been a while, I know. I hope you’ve all coped without my musings.
In a nutshell, the last couple of months have been a bit of a rollercoaster. I mentioned in my last post that I’ve not been very well and an update on that is that I’m nursing 7 fibroids, 2 of which are huge. When I say huge, I mean HUGE. Sat above my womb are 2 grapefruit and cantaloupe sized tumors (fibroids are benign tumors). I remember my friend Charlotte Duckworth commenting how when she was pregnant, doctors kept comparing the size of her baby to fruit and thinking that that can’t actually be a thing they do but clearly doctors REALLY like their fruit. Anyway, I’m currently on some pretty nasty pills to help reduce the size of the 5 smaller ones – I am permanently nauseous, get exhausted as soon as I lift my head from my pillow in the morning and the real kicker is that I’m experiencing menopausal-esque hot sweats. I am so sexy right now, it hurts. I should only be on them for 3 months and then on 12th June, I’m going under the knife to have them removed via full abdominal surgery followed by up to 8 weeks recovery time. All I’ll say about that is that the weather better be blooming marvelous this summer so I can at least recuperate in the sunshine!
As much as I’ve been trying to fight it, I’ve really had to slow down my pace over the past few months and one of the things I’ve done in order to switch social soirees for stately homes is join the National Trust. Ever since I was a child I’ve always loved going to look round heritage homes and we are seriously lucky in the UK to have access to so many fantastic ones! To any non-Brits reading this, the National Trust is a charity founded in the 19th century by 3 people who saw the importance of our nation’s heritage and open spaces. The Trust work tirelessly to preserve and look after these properties and land sites across the country and rely entirely on membership fees, donations and legacies to survive.
Membership is a bargain (IMO) at £64.80 per year. Considering the fact that individual visits often cost around £10 or so, you don’t need to go to many to make your money count. With that you get entry to all of NT’s properties and free parking in each PLUS it gives you an excuse to treat yourself to afternoon tea in one of the much treasured National Trust cafes.
Here are my 10 reasons why you should join the National Trust, whatever age you are:
- The tea rooms are (generally) spot on
- You learn SO much, especially around how society worked throughout the ages
- Get some fresh air in your lungs! You can often do some pretty long walks at NT properties – great way to exercise away from the monotony of a treadmill!
- The volunteers and stewards who work at the properties are phenomenal fountains of knowledge. They are often quite elderly and it’s important that the info they share is passed down
- It’s alcohol-free fun
- You can visit locations across the country, forcing you to get away from London life, which frankly has become somewhat suffocating recently
- Offers a backdrop for some stunning snaps (bloggers/’grammers, let’s move on from mural walls)
- It’s affordable – you can also pay monthly if you don’t want to do it in one hit
- It can be super social, particularly in the summer – hello picnics!
- The National Trust put a spotlight on our heritage in the UK – name me 3 other things that do that…
Over the next year, I plan to do as many NT visits as possible (friends – anyone who wishes to join me on some adventures, holler) and have kicked that goal off by using the past couple of Bank Holidays (let’s take a second to appreciate our wonderful long weekends…YAS!) and been to 2 properties fairly close to home – Osterley Park in Isleworth, West London and Polesden Lacey in Dorking, Surrey. Interestingly both properties were the party homes of the rich and wealthy. Osterley Park was used as a party house for Sir Francis Child, the founder of Child’s Bank and once one of the richest men in Britain and Polesden Lacey was used to entertain royalty, socialites and the ‘it crowd’ of the late 19th century/early 20th century Maggie Greville, daughter of William McEwan, a brewery-owning multimillionaire. Just imagine being so wealthy that you buy a house (and an utterly beautiful one at that) to purely use as a space to entertain…oh the life goals.
Whilst both of them have beautiful gardens attached to them, Polesden Lacey was my favourite of the two. The house has been immaculately preserved and is warm, inviting and lavish. As you walk around learning about Maggie’s life and the kind of people she entertained there, you can really imagine what life was like being in the house. One thing I love about National Trust properties is that they give you a really solid understanding of what life was like both upstairs and downstairs – owners vs staff. It’s impossible to walk away without learning something new.
If you’re a dog owner, many National Trust properties allow dogs, obviously not in the houses, but in parts or in all of the grounds. The website (or in the handbook you get when you’re a member) will tell you what the parameters are around that. The grounds and the land around the property are every dog’s dream and even if you’re sans pooch, the walks are beautiful.
Most locations also have additional events. Osterley Park do all sorts including yoga in the main house on a Sunday whilst Polesden Lacey does jazz on the lawn in the summer, photography classes and multi-distance runs in their grounds amongst other things. It’s also fantastic for kids – my childhood pretty much revolved around visits to places like this. Rolling down the hills, climbing trees, doing treasure hunts – it’s what childhood is all about right?
Be sure to follow my Instagram here for more snaps from my National Trust visits. If you’ve been to any that you think I should check out, lemme know! I love my a recommendation!