Sophie Allport

We thought it might be fun to ask a few chicken-loving celebrities to describe a dozen of their poultry preferences… Here we talk to designer-to-die-for Sophie Allport whose gorgeous range of household items – including her much-adored chicken range brings joy to many homes across the UK and are a firm favourite in the BHWT shop? Sophie lives with her husband and 3 sons in Lincolnshire.

1. We simply LOVE your chicken themed mugs and fabrics. Tell us how your hens inspire your work?

Chickens are so quirky – they all have such individual characters and I find them very entertaining. They’re lovely to watch. There’s something quite soothing about the ‘cluck, clucking’ noises they make and of course everyone loves the fresh eggs they produce! Having moved to the countryside in 2009 from London I was suddenly surrounded by nature and friends started to keep their own chickens. I don’t have my own yet but spend lots of time with friends that do!

2. You don’t keep your own chickens – yet, so what inspired your chicken collection?

My great friend Pippa, who works at Sophie Allport, has the hens that inspired me to design the chicken collection. We get regular updates in the office! She has Legbars, Marans and Clarence Court. The first chicken mug I designed was our ‘Lay a little egg for me’ which features Speckled Marans, Sussex Hens and some rather unusual blue and buff Orpingtons. They were all chickens of friends of mine. The fabric collection followed with inspiration taken from the Speckled Maran – I just loved the colours of them. It quickly became our best-selling collection.

3. Your chicken collection is really popular, do you have plans to extend the range?

We are launching some lovely new Spoon Rests and Egg Plates in the Autumn so your egg and soldiers can all be on the same plate. We have also just launched a new Roller Hand Towel which is quickly becoming a best seller. There are some new chicken designs and products in the pipeline for Spring 2017 so watch this space!

4. Keeping hens – wishful thinking or counting down the days to when you fill the coop?

We eat eggs for breakfast everyday and my boys are always hounding me to get our own chickens. We have recently moved house so are still trying to organise ourselves and the DIY but I’m sure we will get some soon. I would definitely ensure the boys helped with the feeding and cleaning etc.

5. Hen housing – good wood or plastic fantastic?

I would definitely go wood.

6: Your garden – will it be hen-free or hen-pecked?

I’d love them to roam free but I’m not sure if my Labrador would allow that?!

7: Favourite eggy brekkie – full English or dainty egg soldiers?

It has to be a dippy egg from one of our egg cups with buttered soldiers and some salt and pepper on the side. We all love the blue Legbar eggs at home.

8: The British Hen Welfare Trust— mother hen or cock of the roost?

I think the BHWT is a wonderful organisation. You do a great job of educating the public but also improving the life of thousands of hens through their national network of centres and volunteers.

9: British farmers – good eggs or bad eggs?

I definitely support British farmers. Coming from rural Lincolnshire lots of my friends farm or come from a farming family background.

10. Guilty pleasure – Creme egg or fried egg?

Definitely a fried egg! When I have time I love to cook and bake cakes with my boys. A family favourite is toad in the hole (with Lincolnshire sausages) and chocolate brownies for pudding! I’m probably more of a savoury person but I do love dark chocolate!

11. ‘Brood and coop management’ – what is your secret to being a busy mother and successful business owner?

Being a good mum is the most important job to me and it’s always hard to strike the perfect work-life balance. I think the secret is to have a supportive network of friends and family. I’m lucky to have help from my own Mother and other family and friends when I’m really busy. I do end up working evenings and weekends to make sure I’m there for the nativity play or the cricket match but that’s what’s great about running your own business. I can work the hours that suits me. Sometimes I do feel like I am constantly juggling lots of eggs in the air and occasionally the odd few get dropped!

12. Finally – which kind of hen most closely reflects your personality – ‘Cheeky Chook’ or ‘Crafty Chick’??!

I think it would have to be a cheeky, crafty and creative chick!

13. Baker’s Dozen: The charity operates two re-homing centres in Lincolnshire. Would you consider giving some BHWT ex-bats a happy home?

When we have a coop and pen set up at home I’d definitely consider rehoming! / 01778 5602560

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