Hugging my home and solving present-buying problems for Mr RLC too – Willow and Hen has it all!
“Coming home and walking through that front door should feel like you’re getting a lovely warm hug.” That’s how Sue Chalmers describes what she does in her business, Willow and Hen. It’s about that cosy feeling when you get home, and smiling when you see things you love about it; and Sue’s got an amazing talent for helping you do that. Whatever your home, situation or budget, she’ll help you to “hug your home, so your home can hug you”.
I’ve been hooked on Willow and Hen since I first met Sue, four years ago. She’s got so much experience of house and home renovations behind her – she’s an interior designer as well as a Curator of Beautiful Things to sell in the Willow and Hen shop, and her talent here lies in helping you to adapt the space you’ve got to the needs you have as a household. So if you’ve got an awkward room that just won’t do what you want it to, Sue is your lady: for she will have ideas you’ve never thought of for ingeniously using the space, so that it becomes as functional and as beautiful as you’ve always wanted.
Then there’s the Willow and Hen stock. Have you ever walked into someone’s home and thought, “Wow…this is what my dream home looks like!” ? Well, I get a little sense of that every time I see one of Sue’s pop-up shops. The items she picks to sell are just perfect – the style is country chic, so everything has a rustic tone to it, but with a big helping of classic beauty and quality finish as well. Many of them will go perfectly in any type of home, but if you love the country chic style (which I certainly do) then you’ll be in seventh heaven.
And you can always be sure that Willow and Hen items will do at least one of these three things: look amazing, smell amazing or feel amazing, and some of them do all three! From cosy socks to sumptuous throws, and from atmospheric lights to my beloved wooden wall plaques…then there’s the whole range of the most deliciously-scented candles I’ve ever found, with something for all seasons and occasions. What’s even better about these is that they have the same intensity of aroma when they’re lit as when they’re in the jar – many years of disappointment with scented candles have led me to expect little, but St Eval ones really are incredible.
Sue doesn’t have a bricks-and-mortar shop on the high street, but runs her sales online (postage options available), at local fairs, and via pop-up shop events at her stunning barn conversion in the Buckinghamshire countryside. The pop-ups are for online and in-person shoppers alike, via live videos on her Facebook feed throughout the morning, as introduces the items she’s showcasing that month – usually with a demonstration of how beautiful they look inside her own home as well. Becoming a member of her FB group, the Willow and Hen Hub, is also well worth it as she often previews new stock and offers discounts in there.
I’m also signed up to the most fabulous quarterly treat – her seasonal gift box. Four times a year, a box of gorgeous goodies is delivered to the door, and I have the best fun opening it. It’s like having your fairy godmother choose a surprise selection of things she knows you’ll love! I said to myself that I would definitely use some of the contents for gifts, but to be really honest, that is just not going to happen.
So it’s safe to say Chez RLC is beginning to resemble the Willow and Hen vision of my dreams – and not just because of the gorgeous things within it. Sue is also responsible for helping me to reimagine my kitchen, which just wasn’t what I wanted. Two young boys = mess, especially when they have a taste for crafts, mud and slime, and without a kitchen seating area there just wasn’t anywhere to keep it all under control. Sue’s expertise was invaluable and we had several discussions about how to use what we have, remodel and get what I wanted – which I have now managed to do, with a surprisingly modest price tag.
Sue has even made present-buying a dream for Mr RLC. Nowadays what happens is that I will spy something with my little eye in Willow and Hen, and I tell him that’s what I want for anniversary, birthday etc etc – and it appears. A VERY satisfactory arrangement for everyone.
And now, my goodness, it’s nearly Christmas – so the shop is going to become even more irresistible, and there are several pop-ups planned in the festive run-up. Can I top the gorgeous tealight holder I got last year, with the frosted woodland scene on it? Is there any candle scent lovelier than St Eval’s Winter Thyme? Can I squeeze in another wooden wall plaque (there’s bound to be room somewhere!) – or shall I just write a wishlist and let Mr RLC make the choices? Either way, I will forever be a loyal and devoted Willow and Hen customer – and as Sue is just the loveliest person, as well as possessing such amazing talent and taste, it’s certainly no hardship!