My expectations of the House were very high. I knew that it would be hard work, but being able to step back in time and experience life as it would have been 97 years ago was just a fantastic feeling and such a wonderful thing to be a part of. Although I must admit, I didn't expect the food that Antonia was to cook us to be as good as it was. She could make food fit enough for a king, even though it did start out as perhaps a mouldy bit of bread and a few rotten vegetables!
Taking part has changed my views on history. I have always admired our ancestors for shaping the world into what we know it as today, but I had greatly underestimated the struggle and pure hard work that they had to endure, just to strive in everyday life. I no longer see the past through rose tinted glasses, but see it as it really was, which was pure hard work and graft.
Many of my work colleagues had remarked on how quiet I was on my return to work, and they also mentioned that I seemed to value things more. For example, if we had to order stationary for the office, I would keep the order to a bare minimum, so that we didn't waste paper or pens etc.
My fiance also noticed that I was eating all of my meals and not being wasteful, by throwing half of it in the bin.
I have learnt to be more patient as a result of my stay at the house. We take too many things for granted. It's easy to send an email to the other side of the world within seconds, and journey half way across the country in a day. I'm a very impatient person at the best of times. But staying in the house made me realise how lucky we are to have such advanced technology.
The only person that I have had contact with since leaving is Mrs Davis. She is so sweet, she really did help to comfort me when I was in the house. I called her my second mum because she was so caring towards me. We really missed our families and used to talk about what it would be like to be at home with our loved ones.
I really liked the dressing up, the corsets that we had to wear were brilliant, the whole ritual of putting on the petticoats, stockings and skirts was excellent.
But one of the funniest moments in the house was when Kenny the Hall Boy had too much to drink one night. Anyway the next day he and the First Footman Charlie went down to the lake and fell asleep, but some hours later was woken up by an outraged Mr Edgar waving his arms around and threatening them with staying up all night to stoke the ovens.
I hated being away from my family; it was horrible, that was the big reason for me leaving. I also hated the long hours that we had to do - it was so exhausting.
I hated the constant washing up (funny really when that is the main job of a scullery maid). It was really hard to try and stay interested in it, from the moment I got up in the mornings to the moment I went to bed, all I seemed to do was clean dirty pots and pans. The whole aspect of trying to keep a huge kitchen clean with just a mop and a couple of dirty cloths was really hard work.
I really missed not having deodorant. It was horrible having to wear the same set of clothes two or three days in row and not being able to smell nice. The other product that I really missed was my washing up liquid, we only had bars of soap to wash the pots and pans with, which in my opinion were next to useless, so I did give in the 21st century and have some washing up liquid smuggled in.