"Unique, special and full of memories"- What makes your home a castle?

This week our guest bloggers, Grace, Ellie and Annabel from Country Wives blog, tell us what makes their homes, castles.

It's easy to underestimate just how important a home is. Like many other things in life, we sometimes take things for granted and you don't realise what you've got until it's gone (or damaged). So, apart from its practical benefits (somewhere to sleep, cook and keep dry), what makes a home a castle?

Grace, Sussex 

Our home makes us feel safe and secure. It has, over the ten years we have lived in it, withstood 90mph gales, heavy snow, and torrential unrelenting rain/floods - and never failed to keep us warm and dry. In truth, I have always yearned for the symmetry of a Georgian house (bet I'm not alone there) and our old converted barn couldn't be further from that - every window is a different size, floors slope, nothing is straight. Records don't back far enough for us to know exactly how old it is - at least 400 years anyhow - but our wonky barn has come to mean everything to me - it has a wonderful atmosphere and is brilliant for entertaining. 

Ellie, Cheltenham

Life can throw some pretty big stones at us from time to time (most days I find) - illness, betrayal, family crisis, broken hearts etc. Our home is that special place where I can either regenerate after one or other disaster, or enjoy a quiet or rowdy moment with family and friends. In short, our 'Hastle' is possibly my closest friend in all the world and if I could give her a big hug I would. She has seen it all but will never spill the beans!

Annabel, Oxfordshire: 

When I moved from London to Henley on Thames, I did it with trepidation as we built our house! However, it was an enjoyable and challenging project and we chose a contemporary open plan style which has proved very successful and homely. However the house is on an eyot (river island) and apart from the headaches of access over a small footbridge, we succeeded to build the home of our dreams and I now cannot imagine living anywhere else as it is so unique - it is like being on holiday all year round! Last year we experienced the challenges of flooding, however, our ‘tanking’ worked and so whilst our garden became a lake, we were warm and dry inside. 

The Country Wives are three old friends – Annabel, Grace & Ellie – with seven children between them (ranging from 14 – 35), three husbands and five dogs. They’ve all precariously lived out their youth in London, somehow survived and moved with their families to different corners of the English countryside. Their blog started in February 2010 as a way of staying in touch with each other as it was beyond impossible to get together – too many children, too many dogs. CountryWives has morphed into a light-hearted website for all women over 50.