What better time and place to road test a new #18hourheels prototype than at a festive Christmas event at a manor house steeped in Christian history?
I've designed a new pair of sparkly heels for parties which I'm considering putting in to production for Christmas 2019. As part of the process that means road testing by me this Christmas, and then involving lots of other ladies to try them out over the coming year to ensure absolute perfection during production.
In hopes of a festive afternoon my friends and I headed to Harvington Hall in Worcester for a celebratory Christmas Lunch, so I thought I would give the heels a whirl. Samantha, Caroline and I have had a Christmassy get together every year for the last 10 years, and it's fair to say that today's expedition in to the Worcestershire countryside did not disappoint.
I arrived at the venue first and having parked up, discovered that the path leading up to the Moat House Restaurant was a cobbled one. This is great as a picturesque entrance, but I worried whether my new heels would withstand the grinding from the hard stone path. Caroline and Sam arrived soon after and we were all greeted by three waddling ducks who jumped out of the moat and decided to affectionately chase us down the path.
So far, so good. My heels had withstood a drive to the venue, a walk on cobbles and a run with the ducks. Next up was a little wander around the courtyard before heading to the restaurant which overlooks the moat. My friends and I were fascinated to find that the manor house has the largest surviving series of priest hides in the country and a rare collection of original Elizabethan wall paintings.
Originally built in the 1300s and developed magnificently in the late 1500s, Harvington Hall brings to life the fascinating history of the survival of Roman Catholic families and clergymen during the Reformation of the late sixteenth century. Sadly, we were unable to look around the house as it is closed during the winter. However, the Christmas Meal was truly heartwarming. We were served quality food by a friendly and happy team. All of our dishes were home made and we enjoyed them all the more for sitting next to a roaring fire whilst overlooking the misty lake and our new duck friends.
Sam, Caroline and I were happy to while away the afternoon over great food, a lovely restaurant atmosphere, and empowered conversations. We also took the opportunity to visit the Georgian Chapel which was a truly peaceful place.
The Chapel is still used for Mass today. It was decorated inside for Christmas and felt like a truly festive and spiritual place to be. The most interesting historical feature inside the chapel is a very large wooden carving of Christ on the cross, dating to the 16th century. Whilst we were inside I imagined the local congregation singing "Oh come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant."
We had trekked from the manor house to the chapel over gravelled pathways and cobbled driveways, and I'm pleased to report that, despite the rain and wind, my heels remained beautifully comfortable, maintaining their high shine sparkle despite the difficult weather conditions.
This beautiful afternoon has made me realise three things for certain.
The first, is that Harvington Hall deserves much more attention than it gets. The second, that my latest prototypes can go out for wider sampling as they passed the first test in the sampling process today. And the third and most important, is that I love our Christmas outings and hope that Sam, Caroline and I will be doing something as happy and festive as we did today for many more decades to come.
Image above: Brockencote Hall just down the road from Harvington Hall where we went for after dinner coffees.