Cottagecore symbolises everything that is warm, comfortable and whimsical. It helps us to cherish the simple things in life and is a hugely calming space to escape to in what can be a fraught and harsh world. Cottagecore is also often referred to as grandmacore as it is centered around activities like baking, cooking, gardening or knitting. A lifestyle often cherished by our beloved grandparents.
We asked one of our cottagecore members about the life of her grandmother and how she has always been living the cottagecore dream. Freya grew up baking and gardening with her grandmother after school and in the holidays. Her grandmother has passed away, but she revelled in her love and creativity, learning from her and absorbing the cottagecore world before she was even aware of the concept.
How did your grandma live the cottagecore lifestyle?
My grandmother always lived and embodied the cottagecore lifestyle by always taking pleasure in the simple things. Her whole life she always cooked all her meals from scratch, using fresh, seasonal ingredients, preferably grown herself or locally. She would go for a walk in the countryside every single day, breathing in the fresh air and bathing in nature. She was blessed to live in a place with such a variety of lovely places to walk, right from her doorstep. She took her very first steps on the local beach and learned to swim in the sea. She curated her own happiness in her cottagecore paradise.
How does cottagecore make you remember your grandma?
Engaging in cottagecore keeps my cherished memories of my beloved grandmother alive. Baking her recipes, using her sewing machine and tending her roses in her garden, embodying the cottagecore lifestyle brings me an immense amount of happiness and peace. I was her only grandchild and she was like an extra parent to me. Even though she is physically gone, her presence is still felt throughout the cottage, filling every corner with love and warmth. She will be in her cottage and my heart, forever.
What was your grandmother's cottage like?
Her cottage was her favourite place in the world. My grandmother’s cottage is nestled in a small village in Wales. It was built in the 17th century and was originally a thatched cottage. It was one of the very original buildings in the village. Although sadly no longer thatched, it still retains its cottage charm. The person who sold it to her had bought it on her birthday, and she saw this as a sign. When she stepped through the door she felt the wonderful welcoming atmosphere immediately and knew this was where she belonged.
How did your grandma take care of her garden?
My grandmother had very green fingers. She could make anything grown and her cottage was full of plants, as well as her garden. She had a special love for brightly coloured geraniums inside and roses outside. Her rose bushes were an immense source of pride and beauty. She had a whole rainbow and they smelled heavenly. We also have a greenhouse which we used to grow all sorts of herbs and vegetables in. It was wonderful watching the seedlings grow into big string images and providing yourself with your own food. My grandmother refused to buy tomatoes from a shop because they just didn’t taste as good! The rest of her garden she left relatively wild. There is a gorgeous magnolia tree, some vibrant rhododendrons, as well as a blanket of bluebells and snowdrops under the hedgerows in spring. One of her favourite flowers was Lily of the Valley, which blossomed every year on her birthday, without fail.
Did your grandma take care of any animals?
Her organic style of gardening made her garden a haven for wildlife. She always had saucepans of water out for makeshift bird baths and would feed blackbirds raisins from her living room window until they would almost eat out of her hand. She was like a real life Disney princess! We would go for walks on the common land on the outskirts of the village and my grandmother would bring carrots to feed the sheep and they would see her coming and greet her. She named all of her regulars and it brought us such joy when they had their little lambs. She also had a special affinity with black cats, which she attributed to being born at midnight on a full moon. Both of her cats in my lifetime were little black strays that wandered into her garden. One of which we found climbing up the bird table looking for food. Luckily, the cats generally left the birds alone, but if there were ever an injured bird, my grandmother would take it in and nurse it back to health. She would contact the RSPB and ask for advice, which often involved snuggling the bird up in an old tea towel inside a shoe box in her airing cupboard. She had such care and love for all living things.
How would you describe the baking lifestyle of your grandma?
My grandmother’s kitchen overlooked her beautiful garden which was the perfect backdrop to our baking. To this day, the only electrical appliance I use when baking is an oven. My grandmother simply didn’t have any kitchen appliances. We did everything by hand. She would always beat egg whites for meringue with a fork on a chilled dinner plate, because her mother always had. Apparently it gets more air into them. It’s a method I use faithfully and recommend to others. We would make everything from scones to cakes, biscuits, bread, and even truffles once. I remember fondly making an apple crumble and custard completely from scratch with cooking apples from her garden. Making the custard was nerve-wracking as you have to be so careful it doesn’t curdle. It was the first time I’d ever done it and I don’t think I’ve concentrated on something so hard since, but it turned out perfectly.
What is your favourite baking memory with your grandmother?
Every Christmas we would bake a Christmas cake from scratch, soaking everything in brandy that was only ever brought out for that purpose. Mixing Christmas cake by hand is a proper workout! My favourite part was the icing and decorating. We always made royal icing and would sculpt it to look like a snowscape. We would use her ancient wooden decorations of people sledding and skiing, as well as the obligatory Santa Claus, bristly fur trees and snow-covered cabins. One of the most beautiful things about Christmas is old family traditions you can’t remember how they started, but are an essential and ever-present element.
Thank you to Freya Michaud for sharing these beautiful memories of her beloved grandma.
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