An Easter Weekend in the English Countryside With Alice Naylor-Leyland

Alice Naylor-Leyland
It was Easter in Wonderland with table decorations ranging from giant mushrooms to flamingos and bunnies.

An Easter Weekend in the English Countryside

Lambs, fluffy chicks, mushrooms, flamingos and eggs of all shapes and sizes adorn my dining room…we are Easter Ready!
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland
Our newest addition, Little Felix, in his Sabine Getty x La Coqueta Romper.
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland
A quick trip to my in-laws’ house to fill my car with plants, all grown from their exquisite greenhouses.
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland
Snip snip…flower mayhem in my pink kitchen.
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland
Beautiful yellow narcissi, ready to be arranged for my Easter table.
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland
Eggs on—his bow might just need readjusting.
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland
Calm before the storm…Tom strums his beloved D42 Martin made in Nazareth, Pennsylvania.
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland
What an entrance! Amanda Brooks appears with the chicest house gift: an enormous chocolate hen from Daylesford.
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland
Carrot cake for tea (on my favourite Simrane tablecloth).
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland
Cocktails outside (rare in England in April), with the beautiful Bella Musgrave.
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland
Amanda brought us all gifts from her new shop in Stow-on-The-Wold, Cutter Brooks. There were the most darling silk scrunchies inside.
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland
Grass green bunnies, daffodils and Bordhallo Pinhiero cabbage plates line the table on Friday evening. We ate seared tuna, whole turbot and honeycomb parfait.
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland
Saturday morning, we took a trip to visit the local welps (baby foxhound puppies).
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland
Olympia loved seeing the hounds in their kennels, inside a beautiful building dated from 1750, still used for its original purpose.
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland
Time for a trip on the lake to find eggs hidden on the island.
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland
Jacob ewes and their lambs. My husband’s family has been breeding this rare British breed for hundreds of years. They are remarkable for their spotted wool and little horns.
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland
My sister Bea has a snuggle.
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland
And even I had a hug…
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Back home for a garden lunch under this shady tree using my husband’s favourite Tuscan plates.
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland
Lemon tart time!
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Cucumber sandwiches and baby chick biscuits for this afternoon’s tea.
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland
All dolled up and ready for tonight’s Easter Extravaganza.
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland
Boys boys boys! Looking particularly dashing…
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Ball dresses and bunnies: Candice in Roksanda and me in floral Gucci.
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland
On Saturday evening, Wonderland met Easter on our dining room table. There were flamingos, rabbits, mushrooms, glitter eggs and more…plus monogrammed Easter napkins from The Embroidered Napkin Company.
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland
After dinner cocktails with Bella and Amanda under our Cupid.
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland
Sunday morning and it’s time to lay the eggs with help from Easter Bunny Candice.
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland
The Little Ones excited for their Easter egg hunt in the garden. Let’s hope the eggs haven’t melted in the sun…
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland
Adorable Arden and Nancy on the hunt.
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland
Nancy helps me lay the last of the tables. She particularly loved plating the Easter trees with me. I like the yellow gingham seat pads mixed with our pink cabbage plates and coloured glasses.
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland
Eggs galore at Easter lunch.
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland
Charming personalised lamb biscuits by The Biscuiteers served as great place settings.
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland
With a house-full of tired friends, Sunday night was pizza and a movie night.
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland
Guests have all gone. But thankfully the sun and tulips are still out. Happy Easter all!
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Naylor-Leyland

So often, the promise of a glorious four-day Easter break is sadly let down by damp mornings, cool temperatures, and endless spring rain. But this was not the case over this Easter weekend, which spoiled us Brits with wonderfully sunny skies, scorching temperatures, and lazy life down by the river.

Determined to push the boat out for a lovely bunch of friends, I gathered every fluffy lamb and glittered egg I had collected over the years. Flowers filled guests’ rooms and bunnies with bows adorned our New Orleans-style veranda.

I tried to mix the tables up a bit: yellow and green were the theme for Friday evening, while on Saturday I added a little Wonderland to Easter by mingling purple rabbits with flamingos and mushrooms. For Sunday’s Easter lunch, my daughter and I made Easter trees and added ranunculus and parrot tulips to the table. The joy of eating outside is so rare for us over here that it makes food taste even better, parties last longer, and that glass of rose ever more delectable.

We tried to keep the menus light with seared tuna, whole turbot, and poached pears, to name a few of the dishes. For Easter lunch, we used my favorite recipe of shredded lamb and pomegranate, mint, and feta. Another stand-out dishes of the weekend was a Persian chicken dish with sweet potato and spiced yoghurt.

We took the little ones on several special trips; visiting Jacobs lambs, touring the local hunt kennels, and taking a boat ride to find some eggs. Plus the paddling pool got a lot of love, and of course our annual Easter egg hunt went down very well with the Smalls. They unearthed chocolate eggs behind tulips and darted between cherry blossoms to be sure not to miss any of the candy!

As I sit and type this, the sun sets sleepily above an English skyline. All is quiet and still with the promise of summer to come. Our guests have gone, but the spring memories remain.

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