Homes & Gardens

THE COUNTRY FILES Ella Ringner reveals her favourite spots in Oxfordshir­e

Ella Ringner, the founder and creative director of YOLKE, on the beauty of Oxfordshir­e, charity shops and Chelsea buns


AFTER studying at Central Saint Martins and working at Temperley, Ella Ringner founded YOLKE, a luxurious sleepwear company, in 2013. The brand, which celebrates joyous, bright prints, has gone on to add a sustainabl­e and delightful ready-to-wear collection and a children’s arm, LITTLE YOLKE. During lockdown, Ella moved from London with her husband and two young children to Oxfordshir­e, inspiring a homeware collection featuring tulips, wildflower­s and hedgerows. It includes napkins, tablecloth­s and silk and cotton cushions woven in the nearby Cotswolds. The latest collection, The

Love Collection, launches this month.

We relocated to this area completely by accident. We were in Wales for a weekend in March 2020 when my sister-in-law decided to move from her cottage in Oxfordshir­e down to Cornwall. Lockdown was about to happen, and we just decided to move into her cottage – we didn’t even go home first. My children took their cousin’s places in the local school; they even had the old uniforms.

Lockdown made us think, as a brand, about homeware. We started making sets of napkins out of excess fabric, and when the first batch came back, I thought we can’t just have that, we need matching tablecloth­s. Then I thought it would be fun to match our dresses to the tablecloth­s. The family meal became more important again.

In London I was always rushing around at 100 miles an hour and would rarely stop to look at nature. Here, you’re surrounded by it. It forces you to appreciate the world. I’ve found it so inspiratio­nal – we have lots of dahlia prints coming out now and end-of-summer fruits, which are all very luscious. I got my love of textiles from my Swedish granny, who was always making crochet bedspreads, and my mum, who was a textile designer. Her studio was our special place when we were children.

I’m very into charity shops and finding things second-hand. Arthur’s Attic in Bampton-in-the-bush is really good for little trinkets and treasures. There’s also an incredible place which is not an actual shop but the corner of the Church of St Mary in Bibury; it has beautiful antiques and you pay in the honesty box.

I have a very wise neighbour who has been helping me learn more about the garden. The most local garden centre to me is Bampton Garden Plants, but Burford Garden Co is pretty epic.

Every Friday night we go out with the same friends to The Plough Inn at Kelmscott, which does an out-of-this-world menu in idyllic surroundin­gs. It’s next to William Morris’ summer house, Kelmscott Manor, where I also love to go for inspiratio­n as it’s filled with his wallpaper and the grounds are beautiful.

There are really good bakeries around here, such as the Bakery on the Hill in Burford, which makes incredible sourdough bread and Chelsea buns. Or for a slice of heaven, we go to Barnsley House in Barnsley, a country house hotel and spa where they serve the most amazing afternoon tea.

I grew up on a boat on the docks in Bristol, and so I’m always drawn to water. We spend a lot of time on my dad’s boat on the river. We start at Lechlade-onthames, pass the Chimney Meadows Nature Reserve, where we swim amongst ducks and swans and end up at The Trout at Tadpole Bridge. It’s all pretty idyllic.

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