Steph Woodhouse

Right from her school days Steph has been obsessed with the seasons and loves the markers of the turning year, from the May blossom breaking and seeing the first swallows, to waiting for the geese to return in the autumn and then noticing the smell of woodsmoke in the air.

Steph’s head has always been in the past. As a girl she wanted to live in a castle, ride in tournaments and use a longbow. A childhood obsession with Robin Hood led to her studying medieval history and taking her first job at the Tower of London. She still loves the thrill of climbing a turret stair in a castle or manor house.

A few questions about nice things...

Who do you most admire?

It would have to be my late grandparents, Ted and Alice. Growing up they were a constant prescence, so very kind, always bickering with each other but great fun. My grandad taught me so much about growing things and just thinking of her makes me smile. I’ll never forget her sliding down a hill, in a tweed skirt and heels and crying with laughter.

What are your favourite possessions?

When we were first together my husband gave me a lovely piece of red, heart-shaped agate and if I went away I always took it with me (oh the romance back then!). It’s become a bit of a family tradition and now I’ve got a lovely collection of heart-shaped shells, stones and sea glass that my boys have found and given to me.

Tell us about your perfect day or weekend...

Autumn is my season, I love that sense of drama in the air, so I’d pick a crisp day for a walk through the local beech woods with family, friends and a tribe of kids, collecting sticks, leaves and a conker or two. We’d walk until our cheeks were pink and the light was just going, then there’d have to be a hearty roast at a cosy pub with a big fire too. In spring and summer there’s nothing better if you ask me than sitting on a harbour wall, watching the boats and the clouds go by. It really is one of my favourite things to do! There’s a part of my heart that’s always in Cornwall.

What makes you happiest?

Happy family times mostly, those precious moments when everyone is smiling. I love to be in my garden too, pottering with the boys, trying to grow beautiful things (it works sometimes!).

What would you like to do in the future?

I harbour a little dream of running a nursery in walled garden where people could buy lovely plants, enjoy a delicious lunch and maybe enjoy a class or two about wildlife, nature or gardening. One day….