Tag Archives: countryside

Garden Party

Last weekend we headed to my grandparents quaint little village in the west country for my Grampy’s 70th birthday garden party. Returning to the village is always nostalgic. I remember running around the gardens playing games and chasing the dogs when we were kids. Nana would always provide us with a feast at the end of the day, and it was almost like we were returning the favour for Gramps, by cooking up some of his favourite foods.

Of course I baked Rosie Londoner’s Tommy Tart which was a complete hit with the guests.

Sliced gerkins (a favourite of mine and my Grampys).

Bowls and bowls of Patatas Bravas. I used this Waitrose recipe which has never failed!

Bowls of spanish olives.

A variety of homemade quiche (my favourite was the spicy chorizo with mushroom and a potato crust).

Vegetable cous cous.

A selection of homemade breads.

Homemade butterfly bunting.

My attempt at incorporating our heritage. My Grampy is Polish and was born in India as a refugee before being saved by the English in World War 2. I used this Fruity Flag Tray bake recipe and added white chocolate buttons and more raspberries to create the Polish flag.

Pots of strawberries with local clotted cream.

Mum’s award winning – show stopping – always the favourite, Baileys Cheesecake.

And a kiwi and blueberry pavlova.

Polish Apple Cake made by more Polish relatives.

The garden looked beautiful and the party was a real success. The boys were manning the bar and the girls ensured everyone had a constant supply of food and cake.

All that was left to do was raise our glasses and sing HappyBbirthday (in English and Polish) to a very special Grampy.

(Being on your feet all day at 33 weeks pregnant results in extreme tiredness and grumpiness!)

time for a brew…

And no, its not that kind of brew. I only drink coffee I’ll have you know.

Anyway, I’m back! Refreshed, re-focused and maybe still a ickle-little bit hungover. If I could put this weekend in a jar, it would be the perfect medicine for feeling down in the dumps. There is just something about being in the countryside, where you feel like nothing in the world can get to you. We were staying at a brew-house in the home of Otter Brewery, so naturally we went for a little tour.

First and foremost, I hit a new milestone in my life. I poured my first pint.

I followed the three musketeers into the barn, armed with our pints, and began learning how the ale is brewed. It really is a fascinating process that requires a lot of time and accuracy.

It’s very clinical inside, chlorine smelling and aluminium for as far as the eye can see. Otter make over 4000 barrels of ale every day using traditional brewing methods. They also recycle the majority of their waste to local pig farmers. The water that is used from the spring is also recycled and cleaner through massive ponds which eventually makes it’s way back into the spring.

The grain and hops are sourced from local producers and the yeast is over 15 years old.

Last time I’d seen beer is this scale was at the Oktoberfest. There we’re thousands of barrels ready to be shipped out to pubs. The three musketeers tried their hand at lifting them.

One musketeer found the ultimate “man-machine” in a forklift truck.

The ethics and production of Otter ale is wonderful. Based in the heart of the Devonshire countryside, this beer is made with nothing but heart and care for the environment.

My favourite part of the tour was the barn bar where we spent the rest of our evening. A little wooden shack with a projector screen TV, a free bar and a table tennis table- what more could a girl want?

We talked ourselves to sleep under the starry nights sky.

The next morning, I had a wonder around the grounds. With a heated swimming pool and a beautiful stone cottage, it makes the perfect weekend getaway.

On our drive back to Branscombe, the views in the valleys were spectacular. Rolling English countryside for miles and miles.

The rest of the weekend went by in a flash. We were back in Branscombe, basking in the sun. I drank Malibu reading my book while the three Musketeers played with their new three way chess board.

Follow me on Instagram for more where these pictures are from.

I’m feeling thoroughly rejuvenated. They do say the best things in life are free.

the cotswolds :: day 2

After a lovely night’s sleep in our giant bed and an English Breakfast of kings, it was time to take in that view for one last time.

It was another beautiful summers day as we headed back into the Cotswolds. Our first stop was Stow-on-the-Wold. Another quintessentially English village renowned for its Antiques dealers.

We were lured into Huffkins Bakery by the smell of fresh bread baking and gorgeous cakes in the window.

We grabbed an iced coffee and set off on foot to explore.

There are lots of unusual antiques dealers dotted through the high-street selling all sorts of unusual collectables like these giant champagne bottles.

Scott found his favourite, an antique chess shop. Such a shame it was closed…

We then stopped in to Bourton-on-the-Water, nicknamed “Venice of the Cotsworlds” for its tiny bridges that cross the river.

It was bustling with locals who had gathered on the banks of the river with their children and dogs to enjoy the sunshine. It really was beautiful.

Our last stop before the looming “M” roads was Burford. This was our first taste of the Cotswolds on Friday night when we drove through, and we couldn’t wait to come back and visit. Set on steep high-street, ivy climbs almost every building.

Fortunatley we found another Huffkins and decided to stop for lunch.

Of course we had the Club Sandwich.

And a Chocolate Éclair and Chelsea bun for the journey home.

The Cotswold’s are without a doubt the most picturesque place I have ever visited. I would recommend a trip there in Autumn, when the leaves are starting to turn and there is a cool breeze in the air. The smell of the log fires set the scene perfectly for an autumnal visit.