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Old Fashioned Living: an interview with Michelle from Remembering The Old Ways


Do you remember the good old days of blogging? The days before social media really got its claws into the online world, and you could quietly enjoy little glimpses here and there of the lives of homemakers from all over the world? Bloggers felt like penpals, and the life of the writer unfolded rather naturally. The photography and writing was often unpolished, but always sincere - They published not for likes, or followers. Just simply to share, enjoy, and remember.

I used to devour these honest kind of blogs back in the day, and I still sometimes find myself looking through the archives of some of my very favourites. Perhaps it’s the modern attitude of “followers/likes = currency” that the tech big-wigs created which has stolen the innocence of this format, but life moves on, and so do we. However, integrity has remained in some corners of the internet, even though the platform progresses.

One of my very favourite “old school” blogs belonged to Michelle, who you might know now as Remembering The Old Ways on Instagram. If you have an interest in old-fashioned living or interiors, you may have seen her beautiful posts in your feed, and her home is a real Pinterest favourite! Though she hasn’t blogged in recent years, focusing instead on short-form blogging and home educating her youngest girls, she has still created a beautiful space on the over-saturated platform that is Instagram.

It truly provides that little bit of nostalgia and cosiness I think we all still seek without being too self-focused. Charming, humble, and not at all pretentious. Personally, every post feels like a warm hug and inspires me to slow down. I’ll be honest, if I had millions in the bank to restore an old cottage and not a husband to consider (who prefers modern comforts), I would choose a house just like Michelle’s! It takes a kind-hearted woman to create such a place. The focus isn’t on what her hair looks like, or her latest outfits, or what she’d bought - but the life she has created for her family and the ambience of her home. She shares with us the simplicity of her days, latest little craft projects made by hand, recipes inspired by yesteryear (always from scratch), and the simple joy in the seasons and all that life in an old cottage in England has to offer.

Rememberingtheoldways Cottage

I see it a lot on the internet. Person buys cottage to “restore”, but they restore in a modern way. That’s not a bad thing of course, but there is space for something more meaningful… I think Michelle and her husband should be hired by (or at least funded by) The National Trust! They not only restore period properties, but their attention to detail and “remembering the old ways” — how things were done and how people lived — goes beyond sympathetic to the period. They create something altogether more authentic than most of us could ever dream of. I think this is why she is so well received. She isn’t just playing at an old fashioned life, she truly lives it!

As a young teenage girl I had the opportunity to visit the interiors set of Carlton Television’s 1998 adaptation of Cider with Rosie (starring Juliet Stevenson), and it was like stepping into another time. Which is exactly “the feels” that Michelle’s home gives me. Her home may be a little more comfortable (and well kept) than Laurie Lee’s, but the essence is the same. I imagine it to be a haven, and an escape from modern life.

Her account is highly regarded in the “nostalgia content world”, and I know that she has inspired so many to live a quieter, simpler life.

Michelle Palmer Rememberingtheoldways

Though we’ve never met in person, Michelle and I have always had a friendly correspondence online, and, unlike myself, she has always been very good at keeping her real life and online life separated in a way that is very admirable. If I’m honest, there are a few leaves I would have loved to tear out of her book if I could have a do-over, and with the way the platform is going, I think a lot of us tire very easily of people who create content for self-seeking purposes - but the balance Michelle has achieved is, as I say, admirable.

There is a real simplicity, and almost dream-like quality to her photography and captions. It’s truly a tonic for the soul, much like dipping into a whimsical book, sat snug by a fireside within the cottages of Brambly Hedge, or finding yourself in a charming Beatrix Potter illustration. You always feel as though you are a fly on the wall of her beautifully dressed cottage, and that fly somehow knows the key to time travel!

Followers are keen to visit, observe, and simply be inspired - but nothing is overshared. No apologies are made for this way of living, it just exists. The pages turn with each post that is shared. Unfolding gently through the seasons, in a sweet cottage, home to a modern March family, and we are lucky to witness the setting.


I am delighted that Michelle has agreed to sit down with me over a cup of virtual tea to give us a little insight into life behind the lens, why she chose to lead an old-fashioned way of life, and how you can too.

Michelle from Remembering The Old Ways

Michelle Rememberingtheold Ways

Welcome to The Darling Academy Michelle! For those who are unfamiliar with your content, please can you tell us a little bit about yourself, and what you like to share on your account.

Hello! I’m Michelle, a homemaker and home-schooling Mum. I met my husband at school, we were young sweethearts and got married when we were both 19. We have eight children, four boys and four girls, and we had them; “two boys, two girls, two boys, two girls” - finishing with the twins! We live in a timber framed Elizabethan farm cottage in the North of England.

I used to blog before Instagram, and had to stop because life got even busier - beautiful, but busy. Especially when we added home schooling to our days with our youngest girls!

My husband managed to get a job move to the countryside just over twenty years ago, and when we moved, our life slowed down even more than it already was. We lead a quiet, gentle life without fast fashion and trends, and that’s what our account is about. The girls and I like to make some of our clothes by sewing, knitting, and crocheting so what we share on the account - is us! It’s what we do in our daily lives. We wear long dresses and skirts every day. We like to be feminine, we are Christians, and we go to church. My husband and I also are very blessed to have a handful of beautiful Grandchildren that we adore spending time with. A full house makes us very happy.

I like nothing more than lots of days at home with our family. We live a very simple life mainly at home.Michelle

‘Remembering The Old Ways’ has always been about looking to the old ways of life and not paying attention to modern trends. We tend to stay away as much as we can from large chain stores (unless there is something we absolutely need), and try to shop locally as much as possible. Just like they did in the old days, and in “old ways”. I only got a mobile phone when I stopped blogging (I was probably the last person in the country to get one!), and I realised that Instagram was an easier way to share without it taking too much time out of our day instead of sitting at a computer. It’s a nice way to be creative, and I like to share recipes and crafts that the girls and I make. However, for most of the day I end up hiding my phone away in the drawer and try to not be on it as much as possible!

Michelle Rememberingtheoldways Blog

Your Instagram posts are always so magical, and are a real glimpse into old-fashioned living, and especially interiors! They are almost otherworldly and create a sense of peace in a restless world. Can you tell us why you prefer to live and decorate according to “the old ways” instead of keeping up with modern life and trends?

I’ve always liked the past, it’s something I’ve always been drawn to and I feel like I was born in the wrong era. I always wanted to be a wife and mother and I’ve been very very blessed in that way. We’ve not always lived in the country, we lived in towns in the south of England when we were first married with the dream to move to the country. We had chickens and grew our vegetables back then too, but wanted more space around us. I suppose I’ve always been drawn to antiques and old fashioned things, which we use in our every day life. We try not to buy plastic, and try to be as sustainable as possible and have a non-toxic house, using natural alternatives. Especially with cleaning products, and the products we use on our bodies are as natural as they can be.

We also cook just about everything from scratch, so when we go shopping we buy ingredients rather than ready made food (apart from the odd treat for the children, like crisps and chocolate). I would say half of our food is organic, I’d like it to all be organic but sadly our budget won’t allow it. We grow some of our food too, where we can. My husband works and I’m a full time homemaker so we have a limited budget, but we would consider ourselves to be money-wise and do without where we need to. We do without lots of holidays (vacations), and things like that in order to live the life we have chosen. Day trips around England are easy on the budget when you pack a picnic and explore the landscape, which is what we like to do.

We really love to use our hands and craft. My daughter Mary loves to sew and knit and really enjoys making bobbin lace on a pillow. We do enjoy the odd TV show on DVD and one of them is ‘Lark Rise to Candleford’, where Mary saw Queenie making her lace which inspired her to pick up the hobby. Katherine (Kitty), our other twin daughter, loves calligraphy and painting, and also to sew and crochet. Through home educating they’ve had the freedom to pursue the crafts that suit their individual interests, as well as focus on the usual academics such as English and Maths.

I went to Art College myself when I left school and I just love to draw, paint, and sew. Time to be creative is always there, which this slower pace of life affords. We have lots of time to do these quieter things. I like to sew on the road when we go on long trips too, it’s a nice way to keep your hands occupied.

We home educated the girls from a very young age and we’ve never looked back. It has been such a joy to see them grow and flourish into the beautiful young ladies that they have become.

We like to use our hands as much as possible, not only for crafting, but for gardening and housework too. We don’t own a dishwasher, or a toaster - we like to keep modern gadgets to a minimum. It’s a simple life, but it is hard work.

What are the differences you notice in your own wellbeing (mind, body, and soul) living this way?

That we can focus on peace, and caring of our family without too many distractions from the outside world. It might seem boring to some, but it is how we choose to live and we like it very much.

I know, much like myself, that you have been interested in different time periods, and have a love for a lot of the same television shows and books. Can you tell us some of your favourites? Particularly the ones that inspire you most?

There are many! I love the Miss Read series of books, Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson, Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell, Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables, and All Creatures Great & Small. I adore the 1970s version of The Railway Children. The Love Comes Softly movie series is also lovely, and “My Uncle Silas” which was written by H.E. Bates, who you might know from The Darling Buds of May books. Miss Marple is a favourite, in particular the series played by Joan Hickson. I also really love the old Victorian Kitchen Garden series on television presented by Ruth Mott. We use a lot of her recipes!

We had a brief time where we were involved in the 1940s scene, but we realised that going to all the events was too fast-paced for us and ultimately wasn’t our cup of tea. We are quiet souls and found it all a bit stressful and expensive to keep up with. It can be quite competitive you see. I still love cooking many of the recipes from that era, and enjoy shows like The Wartime Kitchen Series (by Ruth Mott and Harry Dodson), but dressing up and attending events etc isn’t aligned with the lifestyle we want and like to live.

Remembering The Old Ways Blog

If I could give you a time machine, what era would you visit for a day, and what would you get up to?

I like the Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian time periods the best but it’s hard to choose. I’d probably be in a cottage kitchen somewhere, doing the grocery shopping in a local village, and maybe some crafts (but back then, crafting was a necessity). I wouldn’t choose anything grand.

It sounds like something I’d choose! I always thought of myself as more of a “below stairs” kind of girl. I love the kitchens in old stately homes more than the grander things upstairs.

Yes! I’m from farming, shop keeping, and mining stock so it would suit me to be in a farm kitchen. I’d love to have a dairy cow or goats! We love to visit Beamish Museum, I just love social history.

You are a mother of eight children, now a grandmother, and have been happily married for nearly 35 years. What are the best blessings of having such a large family, and how has devoting your life to being home with them felt for you?

It’s all been such a blessing. I feel so blessed to have been given these gifts by God. Your heart always has enough love, it just grows and grows. I wouldn’t change what I do for all the tea in China. I would rather have chickens than diamonds. I’m just that kind of girl.

Did you ever feel external pressure to have a job “outside of the home”?

Thankfully, no. We live within our means and cut our cloth accordingly. I’ve never been ambitious to work outside the home and have always wanted to be a mother from around the age of 17. I’ve been very blessed to have that dream come true.

What are some of your favourite family traditions?

Our Saturday teas started around 25 years ago and is a weekly a mealtime we enjoy. Brandy Snaps are always on the Boxing Day table and a tradition passed down from my Grandmother. We always have an extra special tea on Christmas Eve!

Remembering The Old Ways House

Material possessions aside, what do you think truly “makes a home”?

Just love and happiness! I think truly caring for others and putting out special things like flowers on the table - little touches make a home.

Having such a large instagram following can be both a blessing and a curse. What have been some of the highs and lows of social media for you over the years?

It’s been a very inspiring place to learn from other people, like making sourdough, and different crafts. I’ve been inspired to do things I wouldn’t have done otherwise.

However, sometimes I’m concerned about sharing some things as we need to protect our privacy. We like to keep a quiet life so it’s finding the balance of how to do that. Sharing without oversharing. Years ago, unkind comments used to make me cry but now I have just learned to delete them. We were all made uniquely, and while people might not respect someone’s life choice, like mine, I’m glad not to have the same attitude.

Sadly I have been bullied on social media in the past, so that is a huge negative, but I try and limit my time on it now for my own peace of mind. It did hurt, but I’m not sure those people realised just how much it might affect the people on the other side of their comments.

My Grandmother always used to say “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. I think it’s a phrase we’ve all heard many times but not a lot of people take it to heart. Wouldn’t the world, and social media, be a lovely place if we did?

Remembering The Old Ways Recipe

Your photography and posts are always so gorgeous, but I know from personal experience that they don’t always tell the whole story. What is an assumption about you and your life that you’d like to dispel?

I don’t know really what people must think. However they might assume we do absolutely everything by hand, we don’t have many appliances, but I do have a modern washing machine (but still like to line dry), and I do my quilting by hand but we make our dresses using an old Singer and a modern sewing machine (which we also use to bind the quilts).

What I put on Instagram is me, obviously I don’t put pictures of me cleaning a bedroom and things like that, but people make up their own minds to “fill in the gaps”. I don’t think people would be interested in things like that so I don’t post every thing about my life.

If a 21st Century homemaker wanted to capture a little bit of “the old ways” lifestyle, where would you suggest she start?

Buy a teacup! Having tea from a teacup is so much more special than a mug, and it’s a simple thing you can change in your life that is affordable, and there are so many pretty choices. Also maybe have a good clear-out! I like nothing more than a good declutter and a clear-out because if I have too much stuff it can feel overwhelming. Clearing out the cobwebs can brighten your day!

The simple task of hanging the washing out on a washing line in the garden or back yard is one of the simplest things you can do. It smells wonderful, and its a very old fashioned way of doing things.

Remembering The Old Ways Blogger

Simplify your time with your family too, just going on a gentle walk is a nice way to spend time together, especially among trees and nature enjoying the birdsong.

Making a simple cake, and enjoying the process of making it “slowly” with a bowl and wooden spoon, then presenting it on a pretty plate to loved ones is a great joy.

Finding beauty in the smallest thing, I believe, is one of the best things you can do in this busy world, where we drive everywhere (I don’t drive), just walking somewhere makes you spot the little things, like the first Primrose of Spring - things you’d often miss if you whizz by in a car.

I also think, in this fast-paced life we may have a tendency to maybe want too much, and does it make us happy? I know it doesn’t make me happy if I have too much stuff. Being grateful, whether you’re a Christian or not, being grateful for those tiny things, like when your child wakes up in the morning and smiles at you. Hearing the birds sing when you get up, and having your first cup of tea (in a teacup). All these things are blessings to me and make me smile. I’ve learned over the years that these are the things that will never go away with trends.

Rememberingtheoldways Kitchen

You have such a gentle and nourishing way of inspiring us all to look at the blessings of the past, and take pleasure in the smaller details and simple things. However I’d like to turn the tables and ask - what are your hopes for the future?

My hopes for the future are probably the same as they have always been. A quiet, simple life, that is slow and as sustainable as we can afford. To grow vegetables, and have animals, and be with our wonderful family. More chances to get out in nature, especially the Yorkshire Dales which is our favourite place. My main hope above all is that our family is just happy and feels love. That’s all we really want in life for our loved ones isn’t it? To be happy and contented.


Thank you so much for sharing your heart and home with us Michelle, I know so many women have been inspired by your posts over the years, they are truly timeless and speak to those of us who prefer a gentler way of living. It has been such a pleasure to get to know you better over the past few months.

With love,

Alena x

Would you like more content like this?

Please feel free to contact me if there is someone you’d like me to interview next whose values align and you think our readership would enjoy hearing from! Our mission at The Darling Academy is to encourage women to fully embrace and flourish in their decision to stay home in this modern world. We support those living a traditional family-centred life in a world that tells us it’s ‘not enough’ to keep house.

I hope you have enjoyed this post. If it has blessed you in some way, would you kindly consider supporting the blog for the cost of a cup of tea? As always, I am incredibly grateful to the Patrons of The Darling Academy for their continued encouragement and kindness. Support helps with running costs of the website and for tea, which fuels the writing of our articles.


All content and images in this article are copyright of The Darling Academy and are not to be shared or reproduced without our express permission. Images in this blog post are courtesy of Remembering The Old Ways and used with permission. Affiliate links have been used in this post.

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