Monthly Archives

June 2016

Top Five | June’s arrival

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Top Five

So June is here, and despite the cold weather during the week the weekend turned out rather pleasant.  Let’s see what is in this weeks top five:


Top Five | Peonies

June means it is Peony season! Peonies are probably both of our favourite flowers, so having a bunch around the place makes us very happy. And despite its short season it is probably also one of our favourite garden plants. There is something about their big blouse blooms that make us very happy!


Top five | Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants

We went out house hunting on Saturday, as I am sure most of you know finding the perfect new home can be very stressful. Whilst we were out an about we popped into Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants near Whitchurch, Hampshire. What a great little nursery, full to the brim of lots of interesting and unusual varieties. Well worth a visit!


Top five | GoPro

After pondering it for a while we finally bit the bullet and bought a GoPro. We have been thinking about getting one for a while and ahead of our holiday to France next week we thought now would be a great opportunity. So far it has mainly been used for a couple of selfies (see below) and many many pictures of the pets.


Top five | Alice Holt

Sunday was glorious weather so we decided to go for a picnic with our good friends Ben & Lauren, and their son (and our godson) Dexter. We headed off to Alice Holt Forest and did their Gruffolo trail. It is great outdoors adventure for little people!


Top Five | GoPro

It is our five year anniversary on 6th June. Doesn’t time fly? Back in 2011 we met for a beer in a central London pub and instantly hit it off. Rich had written a spoof job advert about what he was looking for in a boyfriend and had shared it via twitter, one of the ‘job requirements’ was to be over 6″1, Calum responded that at 6″6 he qualified. The rest, as they say, is history!

6th June 2016

Cocktail of the Week | Old Fashioned

For this week’s cocktail of the week, we delved into the history books again for a very classic cocktail, the Old Fashioned.  This cocktail is probably one of the oldest recorded in the history books.  Its recorded history possibly dates back to 1806 in one form or another.  Depending on your chosen source, it appears to have a very mixed history; from a gentlemen’s club in Kentucky to The Waldorf Astoria in New York. The only thing for certain is that you can tell it is old, the glass it is traditionally served in, the ‘old fashioned glass’, is named after the drink!

For this historic drink, you will need;

  • Whiskey (a bourbon or rye one)
  • Ice cubes
  • Orange twist
  • Cocktail cherry
  • Sugar cubes
  • Angostura bitters
  • Plain water

To prepare the drink, take the old fashioned glass, if you don’t have one a low ball or tumbler will suffice, and place the sugar cube in the glass.  Add two dashes of Angostura bitters, saturating the sugar and then add a dash of water.  Using a muddle, muddle the ingredients together until the sugar is dissolved.  Next, pour the whiskey into a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake to cool the whiskey and then pour over the sugar in the glass.  To serve, garnish with an orange twist and cocktail cherry.  We didn’t have any oranges so couldn’t add the twist.  Instead we relied on the cocktail cherries to garnish the drink.

You can imagine the appeal of the Old Fashioned cocktail in the 1800’s or early part of the 19th Century.  A cold, sweetened whiskey would have been a pleasant drink to have on a hot afternoon.  We would be very happy to be in New York, sitting at the bar of the Waldorf Astoria enjoying this drink, but there again, who wouldn’t!

Old Fashioned

Orchard Blog | Old Fashioned 2
2nd June 2016

Orchard Escapes | Exploring the Yorkshire Coast

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We have recently returned from a few days visiting Calum’s goddaughter and her family up in North Yorkshire. They live just outside Scarborough, and it makes a great base for exploring the Stunning Yorkshire Coast.  This is what we got up to.


Yorkshire Coast | Whitby

Whitby is a lovely old fishing town, famous for its black jet, it’s ruined abbey and it’s goth scene. The town is split in two by the river Esk, the older town being on the east bank and the new part on the west bank. Both sides are full of independents shops, cafes and pubs making the town a perfect place to while away a couple of hours.

From the old town you can climb the 199 steps to St. Mary’s Church (Calum counted them to be sure they got it right!) and the atmospheric ruins of Whitby Abbey. This offers amazing views over the town. The Abbey was inspiration for Bram Stoker’s gothic novel ‘Dracula’

Historically, the town is proud of being the birth place of Captain Cook.  You can visit the memorial, go to the Captain Cook Museum or go on a boat trip around the harbour and along the coast on the Bark Endeavour, a replica of the HMS Endeavour at 40% Size.

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway starts in Whitby.  The Steam trains take you on an 18-mile heritage route that goes into the Yorkshire Moors National Park ending at Pickering.

More recently, and given that Whitby is a harbour town, it is also famous for its fish and Chips. Our recommendation was for Magpies Cafe although we didn’t get to try it this trip, we will be shore the go next time, by all accounts it is a Whitby institution!

Before we left we bought some local food and drink from Whitby Deli.  We picked up some great Whitby Brewery beers, our favourite being the Abbey Blonde.

Robin Hood Bay

Yorkshire Coast | Robin Hood Bay

One of the most picturesque places on the Yorkshire Coast is Robin Hood Bay, an historic fishing (and smuggling) village located five miles south of Whitby. Robin Hood Bay’s main attraction it is large beach which is perfect for fossil hunting.  You need to park at the top of the town and wander down the steep lane to get there. On the way down you pass charming shops, cafes and pubs.  At the bottom you will find the Old Coastguard Station, a National Trust visitors centre to help you get a sense of the natural history of the area.

There are a couple of welcoming looking pubs near the beach but we decided to have fish and chips form Mariondale Fisheries and sat overlooking the bay to enjoy them.


Yorkshire Coast | Ravenscar

Ravenscar is a tiny village between Whitby and Scarborough has an interesting history dating back to Roman times. After popping into the National Trust visitor centre we headed on one of the self-guided walks. The views are stunning looking north back to Robin Hood Bay but you’ll need to have had your Weetabix as the route is pretty steep!

The Walk takes in the ruins of the Alum works.  Alum was an important chemical in the production in of textiles, used for fixing dyes.  Between the 16th and the 19th centuries the Yorkshire Coast was key to the Alum industry. The ruined works at Ravenscar are well preserved and allows you to get a good idea how the process operated. Should you fancy you can actually rent a holiday cottage here, perfect if you are looking for a remote get away with spectacular coastal views.

In the late 19th Century plans were drawn up to turn Ravenscar into a rival holiday resort to Scarborough. Roads and sewers were put in place in preparation of the growth of the town, but the developers went bust before the scheme could get off the ground.

Ravenscar is also the the highest point on The Cinder Track, a cycle path between Scarborough and Whitby which sits on the route of a disuse railway.


Yorkshire Coast | Scarborough

If you are looking for the quintessential seaside town Scarborough is the place to visit. Claiming to be the country’s first seaside resort, Scarborough boasts everything you’d expect; arcades, donkey rides, fish & chips, plenty of places to eat and drink, and an relaxed seaside vibe.

There are two main beaches in town: South Bay Beach is a sandy beach near the town centre and shelter by the headland. North Bay is quieter but it is also a blue flag beach, meaning it is one of the cleanest in Europe.  We were lucky enough to have the use of one of the North Bay’s beach huts so we spent most of our time up here.

At the end of the North Bay is the Sea Life Centre & Marine Sanctuary in addition to their selection of marine life on show they have the only Seal Hospital on the Yorkshire Coast. You can get to the Sea Life Centre along the minature North Bay Railway. They also have a pirate themed adventure golf course (We are MASSIVE adventure golf fans!)

On the headland between the beaches is Scarborough Castle. This medieval keep is in a commanding location, it would have been a spectacle to behold and easy to defend. The castle is mostly ruined now, but it is great to walk around and learn about the 3000 year history of the site.

Yorkshire Coast | Scarborough Castle

We hope you have found our little guide helpful, if you have any extra tips please let us know in the comments section. For more information of visiting the Yorkshire coast take a look at the office tourist guide website

Exploring the North Yorkshire Coast. Such a beautiful part of the world.
1st June 2016