Margaret Carter is the CEO (Chief Entertainment Officer) of Patchwork Traditional Foods which she set up 40 years ago with her life partner, Jenny Whitham.
Margaret, a talented, although untrained, home cook, began selling her home made pâtés to pubs in nearby Llangollen.
As she attracted more customers and the business started to expand it moved from her home in 1987 to a purpose-equipped factory in the heart of Ruthin.
These days everything is still hand-made in small batches, without artificial colouring, additives or preservatives, to Margaret’s original recipes and Jenny’s new creations. The company is now BRC accredited and is available to chefs as well as developing bespoke products for companies.
1. What has been your Best Life Project to date?
Moving to Wales and finding ‘Far Away’ the home I have lived in with Jenny for the past 40 years. We started Patchwork Traditional foods in the kitchen with £9 from the housekeeping money. The property ticks every Feng Shui box and is the centre of my total being. We also run ‘Far Away Follies’ from here, a holiday letting business in the grounds of this magical place.
2. The unknown … what challenges did you have to overcome?
I have never looked at anything as a challenge in the negative sense. I love them because they made me who I am. I am driven to find solutions and provide for my family. If something didn’t work out, I would be onto the next thing immediately. Time was a luxury I never had.
3. In hindsight…..what would you do differently?
Nothing. Every experience has led me to where I need to be. I have always believed that if I work hard and with integrity it would lead me to the right place. I am excited by things that need to be done and like what I can’t do as it leads to me surrounding myself with those who can.
4. Next steps?
To retire for the fifth and final time when I am 80 in two years’ time. I want to have enough money to continue with my happy journey.
5. What lifestyle changes has lockdown made you consider?
When I chose to live in this house, I also chose isolation. I came from a high society background and wanted a complete change. I found that in 300 acres of Welsh countryside, so that side of my life hasn’t changed. Lockdown has reminded me of who I want to be.
6. Kissing frogs …. is there an unexpected person who has helped you and, if so, how did they do it?
When I first arrived in the UK from the Bahamas as a young mother in my early 20s I met Peggy-Ann. I guess now she would be called an earth mother. As an abandoned child, I didn’t have any positive parental role models and she taught me everything and shaped me into someone who cares deeply for children. I learnt how to give my own children what I never had.
7. My Inspiration ….who or what inspires you?
I don’t follow gurus so I would go back to Peggy-Ann for this question. I have only recently understood how much she influenced me. I am also my own driver to be the best version of myself I can be.
8. How do you relax or do you struggle to relax?
I have never struggled to relax. I am a very creative person. I love patchwork quilt making and am the proud owner of a 3,000 one-inch square quilt I made. I also love art and have sold many pieces. I lose myself easily in these creative processes.
9. Guilty secret pleasure?
I don’t do guilt, although I do do pleasure! I am very disciplined so whilst I might reward myself with something, I do so guilt free!
10. Words of wisdom
Always be the best version of yourself. Never try to be someone else.