Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!
Last week, I was inspired by an English Romantic poem to visit daffodils by a lake. Tina reviewed two novels by Catherine Steadman, actor and writer, Mr. Nobody and The Disappearing Act. Tina intends to read the third one next. Jean enjoyed some aspects of The Burning Girls by C. J. Tudor, a novel set in Sussex.
I first heard about CottageCore in an NPR story last summer. CottageCore is the new name for an old concept — romanticizing rural life. Those of us who have never slopped a pig or mucked a stall gain comfort from imagining a life of fresh eggs, cute lambs, and spring flowers.
Marie Antoinette built an entire hamlet of cottages to live out her idealized version of farm life.
The hashtag CottageCore first appeared on Tumblr in 2014, but it’s grabbed the attention of many more adherents and mainstream media during the pandemic. If you’re going to spend time isolated from modern life, why not explore the simple pleasures of baking bread, raising chickens, and planting gardens.
The modern version of CottageCore, as it plays out in social media, borrows a lot from American stories like A Little House on the Prairie and Little Women.
The British know a thing or two about cottages, however, so I looked into how CottageCore is expressed in Britain.
Real Homes, a British home and garden magazine, published “Cottagecore ideas: 9 ways to get the look at home” with splendid photos of exteriors and interiors of English homes.
Even the BBC investigated the trend, interviewing adherents like Lucy Blackall in Oxfordshire who defined CottageCore this way:
Cottagecore is all about the outdoors, slow living and often includes country houses. It’s a warm, cosy community full of nature, growing your own foods, spending time with pets, picnicking in the garden. Think Anne of Green Gables meets The Secret Garden.
I was pleased to see that I wasn’t the first to recognize that The Archers, the world’s longest running soap opera, is the perfect radio show for British CottageCore enthusiasts (and American ones who enjoy the British take on any trend). The Archers and their neighbors live in Borsetshire, a fictional rural county in England — many of them in buildings that are described as cottages. Lucy Clarke, writer and masters student at Edinburgh University, wrote this lovely piece to explain why CottageCore and The Archers are a perfect match.
Have you embraced CottageCore during the pandemic? I’m not willing to put in the hard work of planting a garden and I bake bread in a bread machine, but I did go out of my way to visit daffodils, last week, so that kind of counts!