Monday, 29 June 2015

MAKING ELDERFLOWER CHAMPAGNE


This year is a great year for elder flowers and the hedges are blooming wonderful! I've already made some cordial and yesterday my champagne was ready for drinking! If you want to make champagne it's really easy and you don't need any fancy equipment, my recipe is here. I love this midsummer ritual.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

OUR FAVOURITE UK FAMILY HOLIDAYS


We have been blessed with having some really great family holidays together over the last few years, it's something I take seriously, both in discovering fab places to go, spending months planning and looking forward to getting away (which gets me through the darkest winter months). Here are just a few of our favourites;

1. DRIFTWOOD BEACH HUT


I dream of living in a beach hut by the sea and this beach chalet at Gwithian Towans is pretty much perfect,  I'd move in tomorrow if I could and owner Phil would let me! The boys would surf after school, I'd serve cappuccinos in the surf cafe nearby and wear flip flops all year round!

Ok, back to reality, if you share my dream you can hire this beach hut through Forever Cornwall, which even has surfboards in the rafters to borrow.

2. CORNISH TIPI HOLIDAYS


The ultimate escape-from-it-all holiday, you cook and heat your water on an open fire, there are no cars allowed on site and no wifi! The boys went completely feral and absolutely loved fishing and cooking their catch.

3. RUSTY THE TIN TENT


This is perhaps the most imaginative and quirky holiday property we've ever stayed in, the boys had acres to roam, we had real fires and Rusty was so cosy you could stay all year round - utter bliss in the most magical of settings in Cornwall.

4. FEATHER DOWN FARM


I love Feather Down Farms, they've got it spot on when it come to family holidays and whilst they are quite pricey they really are the stuff of childhood memories and we remember our holiday so fondly and have judged all our 'glamping' holidays against it.

5. WENDY THE ABERPORTH EXPRESS


When the boys were little we stayed in a railway carriage called Wendy right by the sea in west Wales, it was beautifully converted and contained lots of railway paraphernalia. The train loving boys thought it was brilliant!

6. CAMPING AT FARRS MEADOW


We discovered this gorgeous campsite last year, with quirky compost loo's and showers in horseboxes it was enchanting and we'll certainly return.

7. A ROAD TRIP IN A VW CAMPER


Despite being quite a squeeze this road trip in a camper to the Norfolk coast (taking in the world snail racing championships on the way) was perhaps my favourite holiday. I would love to hire one again and go on another road trip with the boys, now they're older they would love it - although I'm not sure we'll fit all five of us in!

So after so many great places over the years, where next?

Sunday, 21 June 2015

MY WILD WEEK #3

I've had a hectic week and it's been more difficult to make time in my life for nature, but I've sort of managed it for at least five out of seven days! The week started with a trip to London, which I thought would be really hard but I ended seeing red kites flying over Reading railway station then walking through the leafy streets of north London with Cerys Matthews who showed me walnut trees, garden squares hidden between the houses and eating cherries from trees! 


Day 15: Make petal perfume! I remember doing this as a child and giving my mum squashed rose petals in glass bottles. It always smelt like compost though, but she was far too polite to say! 


Day 16: A bit of a hectic day at work meant that I didn't manage anything today, but my head was filled with the rooftops of Portobello Road and the greenery springing out from them.  


Day 17: Read a map


Day 18: Have lunch outside


Day 19: Follow a path we've never followed before


Day 20: We were meant to be going for a wild swim but the heavens opened so just dashed out in between the downpours


Day 21: Midsummer crowns for the Solstice

Saturday, 20 June 2015

GRANNY CHIC


For those of you that follow me on Instagram (you can find me here) you'll have already seen my latest purchase, my granny shopping basket! Isn't she a beauty? So practical for carrying loads from the farmers' market. I love her and completely realise how old I must sound. I also bought one of those Coca cola crates in the picture too - whoops!

MY WILD WEEK #2

I am a little behind in posting about week two of my #30dayswild challenge, but despite being really busy, I'm really enjoying it. It's making me notice things and make sure I add a bit of wild in my day even if it's the smallest thing!

Day 8: Whittle some wood 

Day 9: Plant pumpkin seeds 

Day 10: Take some wild photos  

Day 11: Watch the clouds go by 

Day 12: Make a daisy chain 

Day 13: Go raft racing 

Day 14: Learn some star constellations

Friday, 19 June 2015

PERFECT MIDSUMMER PICNIC



At our recent Sisterhood gathering Amy from Missing Fillmore brought the most amazing spinach and ricotta sun tart, it was absolutely delicious! So I had a go at making one too and it was so simple and the finished tart just looks amazing - perfect for a midsummer picnic.


It's basically two rolls of puff pastry, in the middle goes a ricotta, egg, spinach mix then you squash the ends together and cut the outside into strips, lifting and turning them to create the 'rays' perfect and it's so so easy. I'm not sure where the recipe comes from, but I'll be certainly making this time and time again! 

Sunday, 7 June 2015

MY WILD WEEK

So the first week of the #30dayswild campaign is going really well and as a family we've managed to add lots of random acts of wildness to our lives! I have been documenting our daily 'wildness' on Instagram and really enjoying the little things we've been doing and making more of an effort to appreciate wildlife. Here's a round-up of what we've done so far...

DAY 1: Start a nature table

Day 2: Make a grass whistle

Day 3: Have breakfast with the birds & listen to the dawn chorus

Day 4: toast marshmallows on the fire 

Day 5: make a shadow puppet theatre in the garden with a sheet

Day 6: Pick elderflowers to make cordial 

 Day 7: Visit a farm on Open Farm Sunday

Part of the Wildlife Trusts #30dayswild campaign to add a little 'wild' to our lives - sign up and share your pictures across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. 

Saturday, 6 June 2015

SISTERS FROM ANOTHER MISTER!


Hidden at the end of long winding Devon lanes, lined with hedgerows full of ragged robin, ferns and cow parsley, you'll find Loveland Camp the venue for the first ever Sisterhood gathering. Sisterhood was the vision of Lou Archell of Little Green Shed, "During the past five years I have met many wonderful creative women, all of which I consider friends," said Lou. "Life never seems to give us enough time to fully connect so I thought wouldn't it be great if we could spend quality time together to collaborate, hatch creative plans and to talk, really talk about our lives and futures." 

Lou continues, "I wanted Sisterhood to have a sense of freedom. As a nature lover and an outdoorsy kind of gal, it had to take place in a field, under the stars. What better way to connect? And this is what we did. Sisterhood exceeded any expectation that I may of had, the flowers in the hedgerows, the golden sunshine, the laughter, the friendship. It was, is, wonderful."

I was delighted to be invited by Lou, along with 25 other bloggers, instagrammers and photographers, all-round creative people that I have over the years admired but never met in 'real' life. The group curated by Lou were all different and from all over the country, but instantly bonded over shared dreams, values and a strange passion to wear flower crowns and swim under waterfalls! 


The campsite near Hartland in North Devon was perfect for the gathering with huge pods for us to share, gossiping under the stars and hopefully not snoring too much (sorry Sara and Kat if I did!)



There was a relaxed and informal agenda of walks and workshops that I really enjoyed; flowers with Church Park Flowers, a leather workshop with Golden Bear Belts and a rather fab Shibori dying workshop with Heather Young and Bethan John (below). 



Image above of me by the super talented Xanthe Berkeley, a hugely talented photographer and filmmaker. 




One of the highlights for me was the Toast Travels picnic (Toast kindly sponsored the event) with beautiful blankets laid out on a cliff top, overlooking the sea and Lundy Island in the distance. Everyone bought amazing food, check out the spinach and ricotta sun tart above made by Amy! The icing on the cake was when two musicians, practicing on a bench nearby, agreed to come over and play some Irish folk songs to serenade the sisterhood! 



The founder of Sisterhood, Lou Archell (pictured above right) with photographer Xanthe Berkeley.


The evening meal styled by Hannah with festoon lights and gorgeous linen was the most amazing Moroccan feast by Two Birds Kitchen, based in Devon and the perfect way to end the day.


It was the most wonderful adventure and I returned home nourished having met so many fab women. I've spent this week reading all their blogs, but now instead of reading it in my accent I read it in theirs instead!

Thank you Lou and thank you to all the 'sisters' it was a joy to meet you all, I can't wait til next year x

P.s. We've been sharing pictures on Instagram using #sisterhoodatloveland and @sisterhood_camp if you want to find out more.

P.p.s. If you would like to sign up to find out more about Sisterhood 2016 then you can! Simply sign up here.
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