Guest Blog – Gina Lillycrop

I moved to Dumfries and Galloway for the love of a good man,

A man I married two and a half years ago after meeting him on ‘Muddy Matches’, a rural dating website.

I had been asking people for a long as I could remember, ‘How do you know when you’ve met the right person’?  I always got the same reply ‘You just know’. After just 3 dates with Mark I knew what they were talking about! 8 weeks later Mark proposed and in another 10 months we were married

I came from a background of Nursery Nursing, Hotel entertainment and Singing (With Scotlands Meat Loaf tribute band, Peat Loaf. People from Kirkcudbright and Twynholm might remember) before retraining to become a soft furnishing designer. So, a life of high heels, costumes, makeup and interior fashion. The closest I got to agriculture was gardening and feeding the grass clippings to the cows across the road.

Now I’m a Farmer’s wife, living in overalls and wellies, caring for animals and tending a vegetable patch. (The closest I come to singing these days is being a vocal coach to the incredibly talented 15 yr old singer/songwriter Zoe Bestel)

For 3 months of the year I drive a Massey 6499 (big tractor). Hauling cereal from the combine to the farm. For the other 9 months I’m still a soft furnishing designer.

Relocating my business from just outside a town with a large population, to a large rural area with a sparse population meant building it up would be difficult, especially when Dumfries and Galloway appears to hold the largest amount of self sufficient people per capita, but also the rural generations have a much better grasp of handing down skills to the younger generation.

Children’s Belted Galloway Rug
Gina Lillycrop Designs

So I had to re think… Combining my love of children, design and the inspiration of the world renowned Belted Galloway, My children’s Belted Galloway rug was born. This was the catalyst for many other animal rugs.

In between farming and soft furnishings I also organise the Dumfries and Galloway Mumpreneur Network group. A wonderfully supportive group of Mums, who have their own businesses and who share their business knowledge, and join forces with each other to generate yet more business.

So if home is where the heart is, then MY home is nestled among the rolling hills near Wigtown in Dumfries and Galloway. Surrounded by fields, dry stone walls, trees, rivers and lochs, with warm and friendly neighbours. A place where scenic roads lead to picturesque villages. Where cars double park, and friends stop in the middle of the road to chat. Where every town you travel to in Dumfries and Galloway hosts a plethora of talented artists, authors, makers, musicians and cottage industries to name but a few, and between each town lies miles of unspoilt country side.

The community spirit is second to none. It doesn’t matter how big or small the villages and towns are, they pull together to create fantastic book and, music festivals, craft, art and food  fairs. The locally produced produce can be purchased on every corner, from Jams and home baking to locally grown meats, game and fish. I’m starting to sound like a Visit Scotland advert!. To me Dumfries and Galloway is THE GARDEN OF SCOTLAND

Gilly Lillycrop

You can follow Gina at her own blog and website at ginalillycropdesigns.com

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