Charlotte, Honey Maker Loves SZ

 

Who are you: I am Charlotte (also known by friends as bees lol) and I work at Phillips auction house. I also moonlight as an occasional beekeeper and honey seller.

 

Where is home: Home is Hackney, London, where I pootle around slinging my honey and walking my doggo.

 

 

Tell us a little bit about your honey-making business? 

 

My father started beekeeping in his teens in Lincolnshire, where he grew up. A favorite story in family lore is that when he was around 14 he was called to collect a swarm of bees from a nudist colony. When questioned by a local newspaper on what it was like to go to a nudist colony, he responded ‘I’m interested in bees, not bodies’. Big nerd.

 My parents continued to keep bees together into their twenties with their own hives in the back garden. Unfortunately, my mum went into anaphylactic shock after a sting during this time, so they had to give the bees up. After they relocated from the North of England to the South, they never had enough space in the garden to keep them safe again.

 

 

 About ten years ago, they partly relocated back to Lincolnshire, where our place has enough space for a big apiary. Mum chanced it on a sting a few years back and discovered that she is no longer allergic, which has also enabled us to expand over the years. During that time, the couple of hives that we started with have grown to around 25-30. I remember times when we would drive to remote farms in the middle of nowhere to buy a new Queen bee to try and save an ailing hive – now we thankfully have plenty of Queens, many of them new, and we are much more self-sufficient!

 We extract our honey twice a year, in spring and summer. When we started, we were lucky to get even 20lbs. This spring we extracted 400lb! We’re expecting to extract the same again at the end of summer. We sell half-pound jars, so that’s about 1600 jars. So I have lots of selling to do!!  

 

Dream summer getaway:

 

 

Obviously, my favorite place to be in summer is in Lincolnshire with the bees! But I also love Greece for its wild, unfussy beauty and wonderful food (as well its thriving bee population). My favorite place to go is a little beach house in Lesbos. It feels very quiet and remote, and there are just a few feet between your door and the sea. It feels like you have a private beach most of the time. When people do occasionally pass through, it’s amazingly surreal. Once, I saw an owner bathing his horse in the sea; another time, a man arrived with a snorkel and caught an octopus with his bare hands. He then spent a long time slapping it against a rock near our door until it was tender enough to cook. I also fell in love with dogs there – during one visit a stray adopted me and barely left my side for the week we were there.

 

 

 

What are your favorite SZ pieces to pack and why:

 

I love the Yuva dresses for the fact I can wear them casually or dress them up for a wedding if I need to. I like to wear them with my favorite bright yellow slippers from Lemondeberyl. I recently got one of the striped shirts and I love that too – I can pair it with the disco pants for work or use as a cover-up. Whenever I go on holiday now, my suitcase is truly 90% SZ, and it makes me feel much more relaxed to know I have a load of go-to items that will be comfortable and flattering.

 

What else are you packing, reading, listening to, thinking about- what is inspiring you right now:

 

 

 

I am always packing lots to read! I set myself a yearly goal of reading fifty books, so holidays are a good time to get through a few. While I was away last week, I finished Her Body and Other Parties, an amazing collection of short stories, and The Friend by Sigfried Nunez. I’m finally reading Educated by Tara Westover just now, which I am enjoying so far. The descriptions of growing up in the mountains of Idaho are amazing, and I love that Westover doesn’t describe her youth in the sensationalist way you might expect for such an unusual upbringing. You see a special beauty and a different kind of freedom in the wilderness of her early years just as much as you see the huge challenges/restrictions that exist in other areas of her life.

 

You can find out more and buy Charlotte's unique honey here !