How? Jeez! Wow! Are just some of the (cleaner) words that sprang to mind when our ten year wedding anniversary was just around the corner. Time flies when you’re having fun hey Mr S! To celebrate I booked a lush weekend at the most talked about ‘Londoner’s country paradise’ – Soho Farmhouse.
Set in a 100 acres of Oxfordshire, you feel like you’re entering a carefree haven when you drive through the farmhouse gates. On arrival you’re handed a glass of wine, relieved of your car and ferried to your log cabin of dreams.
I know what you’re thinking – Didn’t anyone tell you not to judge a book by its cover?
Waving good-bye to our personal farmhand who gave us a grand tour of our abode and pointed out the wellies and personalised Foffa bikes (size and height ready), Mr S and I both exchanged the knowing ‘I think we’re gonna like it here’ look.
It was the perfect place to enjoy each others company (again) with no interruptions and away from business-as-usual. Discovering that rare commodity of ‘thinking time’, I found myself wondering how we’d reached this milestone and not ended up on the high road to splitsville. Now I’m by no means a marital expert, but ten years and two kids later, here’s what I found:
1. Hold on tight
The truth is marriage is bloody hard work. It’s not about the happily ever after that Cinderella has you believe. It’s how you handle yourself on that bumpy road, with many a twist and turn. Not turning into a dragon lady of fire is a good start. Note to self – Must try harder!
Still let’s not get carried away – sometimes you just have to let someone else do the hard work:
2. Time alone matters
Sharing your life doesn’t mean you lose yourself. He likes running 26.2 miles (the devil worshipping freak). I like catching 40 winks or a 60 minute massage. And boy did I indulge in the latter on my weekend break.
We’re a married couple not siamese twins. ME time is so important. Lose your interests and passions and you’ve both lost what you fell in love with in the first place.
3. Be silly
Laughter really is the best medicine. Don’t take yourself so damn seriously – Have a cup of tea fully clothed in your outdoor tin bath. The couple that laughs together stays together, or so they say.
4. Home is where the kettle is
No matter where you are whether it’s London, Manchester or Timbuktu – It’s all about the little, everyday things…like being brought piping hot tea at about 8 o clock in the evening with a ginger nut or two.
5. Mix it up
Routines are inevitable, especially when you’re spinning a dozen plates. Now and again a fresh injection of something new will stop you both dozing off when it really matters. I find complimentary pre-mixed cocktails in your room can go a long way.
6. Keep dating
Remember you’re a couple. Something which can be forgotten, especially when the sprogs come along. Hold hands, say those three special words: ‘Cup of tea?’ – What? They’re special!
And when you finally escape the chains of the daily grind, talk about anything other than your crazy mini-mes.
7. Different is good
Accept and respect each others differences. I like to nap, in fact change that to ‘sleep’ for extended periods of time. While Mr S on the other hand is up at the crack of dawn every bloody day.
I have to admit this one is tough – what with my being married to an Arsenal supporter and all – I do my best not to utter expletives EVERY day.
8. Fighting happens, it’s ok
It’s only natural when you live with someone 24-7. The wet towels on the floor, the lost toothpaste cap, to the ‘oops, I forgot to buy the milk – again!’ – Mind you, that’s never an issue at the farmhouse when a fresh pint is delivered daily to your door.
Being in a relationship is not about guesswork and I’m a great believer in ‘if something bothers you – just say it!’ The odd mad dog bust-up keeps the fires burning.
9. “Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon”
Borrowing from the Dalai Lama here.
Food is the key to everyone’s heart. Especially when it’s cooked on your doorstep in a milk float, right?
10. Only one person holds the key to my heart
I’m glad to say after ten years of hissy fits, obstacles and heartache, mixed in with a lot sunshine and fun too.
Benedict Cumberbatch Mr S – you’re still it!
Our weekend jaunt was like taking a step back in time into the lap of luxury. If you’re after a country weekend with all your creature comforts and more – this is the place for you (deep pockets required). Cabins are £250 for members, non-members £330.
We celebrated, re-calibrated and looked to the future at this country paradise in the Cotswolds. Here’s to the next decade and many more Mr S.
What have your friendships and relationships taught you? Have you been somewhere special to celebrate? Let me know in the comments box below.
Soho Farmhouse | Great Tew | Chipping Norton | OX7 4JS
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