After spending a morning with Xanthe, her mother and three sisters, it’s impossible to leave without feeling completely inspired by what each of these amazing women have achieved, and how they support and build one another up in the process. When she’s not spending time with her family, Xanthe is working on one of many projects, from her role as ‘Director of Food and Food Sustainability’ for The Good Life Experience, Hawarden Estate Farm Shop and others, to growing the family business. We catch up on her career journey, the best advice from her mother and her go-to Pink City Prints pieces.
Thank you! To be honest, it was really an interest in sustainability within food that pushed me to pursue it as a career. I had a growing interest in food and cooking throughout my time at university and afterwards, I went straight into restaurant and food marketing. I realised that I wanted to be more physically involved with food and so I quit my job and went to cooking school in Ireland, on an organic farm. I’m very interested in food producers and the way our food gets to us and my passion lies in celebrating the amazing producers and suppliers we have around the UK.
It really is a dream, most days! Of course, it isn’t always as dreamy as it may look from the outside but I am very lucky. My day always starts with a dog walk. I have two whippets who need quite a bit of exercise so we always get out first thing. On the walk, I’ll feed the chickens and the donkeys and in the summer also water the vegetable garden. When I am working on recipe development and generally doing my own freelance work, I work in my cottage, and then when I am working for our family businesses, I go up to the office to work with the team. If I spend the morning on my laptop or on recipes, I’ll spend the afternoon in the garden, or vice versa.
It’s definitely tricky! Especially when I live quite far away from most of my family and friends, but I make a big effort to regularly call my closest friends and family. In the evenings I usually always pick up the phone and chat. I also love voice notes. I have spent the last few years really focused on my work and when I do events that really takes a lot of energy and time, so I have definitely missed out on some social occasions and prioritised work in a lot of cases, but my friendships (family included!) are very important to me so I make the effort.
My sisters and mum really are my closest friends. It sounds cliche but it’s really true. We all have incredibly strong relationships and each of them inspire me in very different ways. We all have strong female energy and so when we do fight, we know how to fight hard - and we know exactly how to wind each other up! But equally we hate fighting, so always come back quite soon after profusely apologising to one another. It’s a funny cycle. They all inspire me in very different ways but mostly just inspire me to be confident, strong, and myself always.
To talk to her! She’s always made it very easy to be open with her and I’m so grateful for that. If I have a problem, even if I think it’s just a silly small anxiety, I know I can come to her and she’ll talk me through it and I’ll feel loads better. It’s shown me that it is important to share your worries and stresses with someone around you who you trust when you have something on your mind.
I would say to try to eat seasonally, which means eating what is in season locally to us at the time. Most places make it relatively easy to do this as supermarkets and vegetable shops have to print where they have sourced the produce from on the packets or on the box, so it’s always going to be better to eat what is in season in the UK (or maybe further afield to Europe in the winter) for so many reasons but mainly the transport across the world. The food system has become globalised and for it to really get back to being sustainable, we need it to become largely local again. It’s easy for us as consumers to grab anything we want from the shelves of supermarkets because it’s all so accessible, but when we pay attention to where it’s actually come from, we are more connected to the food system as a whole and can eat more sustainably.
The Daisy Teal Madeline dress for sure! I can’t wait to wear it everywhere.
Follow Xanthe on instagram, @xanthegladstone