Monthly Archives

July 2016

The Cocktail of the Week | Watermelon Daiquiri

As it is now officially summer, Calum has done his traditional thing and bought a watermelon!  As he grew up in Hong Kong, it is one of the things that reminds him about living there.  Due to their size, eating it all in one sitting was not an option so we needed to find something else to do with it!  Sliced and packed into the freezer we started our weekly mission to find a cocktail of the week.  Relatively quickly we decided on a Watermelon Daiquiri.

The history of the daiquiri is rather interesting!  The name ‘Daiquiri’ is a Taíno word that comes from the indigenous people of Cuba and is also the name of a local beach and iron mine.  Origins of a drink similar to the daiquiri can be traced back to the 1740s.  A drink call grog was made at the time that British Navy sailors would drink.  By the end of the century, the sailors had as part of their grog rations, the key ingredients to the drink now known as the daiquiri; rum, water, lemon or lime and sugar.  The drink became common across the Caribbean where it reappeared in Cuba in the late 1890’s.

It is likely that the drink was an established Cuban speciality when it was introduced to the Americans.  An American expat called Jennings Cox who ran out of gin whilst entertaining and created something similar to the drink.  It wasn’t until 1909 when a US Navy officer tried Cox’s drink and introduced it to the Army and Navy Club in Washington where its popularity grew.  It was also thought to be a favourite of Ernest Hemingway and JFK.  Variations of the drink have become popular over the last few years with frozen and fruit versions.

For this weeks cocktail you will need;

  • 1 cup of watermelon, sliced into inch cubes and frozen
  • 1 measure of rum
  • 2 teaspoon of sugar syrup
  • 1 teaspoons of lime juice
  • Zest of half a lime
  • 1 watermelon slice with the rind for garnish

To make the drink, place all the ingredients in a blender and blitz until you have a smoothish liquid and pour into a glass.  Garnish with the watermelon slice and you have a Watermelon Daiquiri.

Its great to think that a drink started by the British Navy with the rum rations, popularised in the Caribbean and adopted by the American Navy and Army is still going today.  Sadly (or rather sensibly), as the rum rations were ended in 1970 on a day known as Black Tot Day, we probably won’t have the British and American Navy for another interesting cocktail.

28th July 2016

Total Guide to Alderney

Posted in Explore by
Total Guide to Alderney

Rich’s family have been visiting the channel island of Alderney for decades and have many friends on the island. Rich’s first visit was when he was just six weeks old, returning annually until he was a teenager and sporadically heading back there ever since.  Alderney was Calum & Rich’s first holiday together and we are planning on heading back for our third joint visit to the island soon.  This is our guide to the island we hope you find it helpful!

Total Guide to Alderney | Braye Beach

The Basics

Alderney is the third largest of the Channel Islands. Located a few miles of the French coast the Channel Islands we part of the historic Duchy of Normandy.  The English kings lost control of their French territories in the early  13th Century but the channel islanders chose to declare continued loyalty to the English crown.  Alderney’s strategic location made it an important location for the British military, there are several victorian forts still on the island.  During the second worlds war the channel islands were occupied, Alderney itself was completely evacuated of civilians. After the Nazis moved in they developed the existing forts for their own use and set up a forced labour camp. Read more…

27th July 2016

Top Five | Sweltering

Posted in Top Five by
Top Five

It has been rather warm this week, not very helpful for getting things done, but good for sitting outside and enjoying a slower pace of life. Let’s have a look at this week’s top five:


Top Five 2507163

With temperatures soaring this week it has been uncomfortable warm in the cottage, luckily we have a beautiful garden to relax in. Some ice water, a pile of magazines and our new deckchairs to recline in. The best way to beat the heat!


Top Five 2507164

The cut flower patch is having some successes, we had the first of the Dahlias, looking lovely in a little posy with some dill flowers. Dahlias had a old fashioned reputation for a long time but have come roaring back into fashion in the last few years. We love them!


Top Five 2507162

As previously mentioned Rich’s mum and dad keep doves in their garden. They can be a bit of a nuisance at times, but watching them going about their everyday lives can be very entertaining. And there is no denying they are beautiful animals!


Top Five 2507165

Our summer of Picnicking continues! On Saturday we met us with some friends and enjoyed lunch al fresco. Calum cooked one of his legendary quiches and there was plenty more food and drink to keep us fed and watered. What better way to spend a summer’s afternoon?


Top Five 2507161

After four years of living just down the road we finally visited Strawberry Hill house.  Built from 1749 by Horace Warpole Strawberry Hill House, it is one of the earliest examples of Gothic Revival architecture in the country.  It is a wonderful house to look around (and you get a discount if you are a National Trust Member) although I can’t help but think that Strawberry Hill House sounds like it should be the setting for a children’s TV show!

25th July 2016

Cocktail of the Week | Cucumber & Thyme Spritz

As we have finally hit summer with the temperatures hitting 33 degrees, it was time to find a refreshing drink for this week’s cocktail of the week.  Once again taking inspiration from the garden, where our cucumber plant has just started to flower, and the spirits we have in the cupboard we stumbled on a Cucumber and Thyme spritz.

This is not your usual cocktail combination, but that is the joy of cocktails, a little bit of experimentation. It is also one of the things Calum enjoys about cooking.  Needless to say, experimentation does not always work, but it does give you some great and, sometimes, surprising results. The only thing to remember when you are experimenting is to write down what you do, if you don’t and it turns out great, you won’t be able to recreate it!  We found this drink on and thought it was a good use of the ingredients we are growing in the garden and an opportunity to use up some more of the vodka collection Calum has amassed over the years!

For this weeks cocktail, you will need:

  • One measure of dry vermouth
  • One measure of vodka (as we used a Belvedere recipe, we thought it right to use Belvedere)
  • Soda water
  • Tonic water
  • Three ribbons of cucumber
  • One sprig of thyme
  • Ice

To create the drink, place the tall glass you intend to use in the fridge to chill them.  Take the cucumber and peel across the length to create the ribbons. Take the glass from the fridge and place the cucumber and thyme in the glass followed by a handful of ice.  Pour in the measure of dry vermouth, the measure of vodka and use equal parts of tonic water and soda water to fill the glass. Once full, give the mix a little stir and there you have this weeks cocktail, a Cucumber and Thyme Spritz.

We found the cocktail to be a good savoury drink, if a little drier than we normally would like.  It is certainly a summer drink to enjoy on a hot afternoon to keep your sprits up when drinking cocktails!

Cucumber & Thyme Spritz

<Orchard Blog | Cucumber & Thyme Spritz/div>

21st July 2016

Day out | Hidcote Manor Garden

Posted in Explore by

There can’t be a much more quintessentially english garden than Hidcote Manor Garden in the Cotswolds? And is so often the way it took an outsider to distill the essence of English garden design, the garden was created in the early 20th Century by the American Major Lawrence Johnston. Johnston was an anglophile and moved to Britain with his mother around 1900, he took British citizenship and joined the British army, fighting in the Boer war and reaching the rank of Major. Johnston’s mother, Mrs. Winthrop purchased Hidcote Manor in 1907, and so started the process of creating the famous gardens.

Located in the north of the Cotswolds, not far from Chipping Campden, Hidcote Manor Garden is a perfect example of Arts and Crafts garden design. Johnston was inspired by the gardens of Gertrude Jekyll. The garden is designed around a succession of garden rooms, it mixes a formal layout with romantic planting that are characteristic of this of this style of garden (see also Sissinghurst Gardens).  Some of the garden rooms include a white garden, a maple garden, the red borders and the pillar garden. There are plenty more to explore including an excellent kitchen garden, a rose walk and a peaceful wilderness.

Johnston was a keen plant hunter, traversing the world to bring back the perfect plants for Hidcote.  Many plants have been named in Hidcote Manor Garden and Johnston’s honour, the most famous of which probably being Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’ and Penstemon ‘Hidcote Pink’.

Although the garden can get very busy the garden room structure means the garden doesn’t feel overwhelmed. As with many National Trust properties they have an excellent cafe and a lovely little shop (we love a little shop!)  Also be sure to visit their plant centre to bring back a piece of Hidcote Manor Garden for your own patch at home.

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the garden on a beautiful summer’s day, we love the Cotswolds in general and it is great to visit such an important and inspirational english garden.

Find out more at the National Trust Website.

Hidcote Manor Garden 15Hidcote Manor Garden 14Hidcote Manor Garden 12 Read more…

20th July 2016

Top Five | The hunt continues

Posted in Top Five by
Top Five

Our house hunt continues, and summer is in full swing so we’ve been out and about enjoying the great British countryside. Let’s see what else is in our Top Five


Top five | Blue and White
We’re a little bit obsessed with blue and white pottery, so when we stumble across some vases in a local charity shop we snapped them up. If we carry on at this rate we will have filled our new home with pottery before we’ve even found it!


Top Five | Overton
Whilst we were out and about on Saturday we decided to pop into the north Hampshire village of Overton to scope it out as a potential move location. Our visit coinsided with their sheep fair held every four years. Although only started in 2000 it is a tradition the harks back to the villages medieval history. It is now a well attended community event with music, stalls, morris dancers and of course the parade of sheep!


Top Five | Anglepoise
After years of coveting a Anglepoise lamp Rich finally bit the bullet and bought a 1227 model in black (thanks to Amazon Prime day, and a massive discount). Anglepoise lamps are design classic, as stylish now as they were designed in 1932. We think it is a great investment!


Top Five | Date Night
On Saturday night we had a date night at the end of the garden. Rich set up the table and Calum cooked dinner. It was lovely to unwind with good food, good wine and a peaceful setting.


Top Five | Snowshill Manor

We love the Cotswolds. It surely has to be one of England’s most beautiful and charming areas. On Sunday we went for a little a Road trip. We stopped of at Snowshill Manor to eat our picnic and a wander round. It is a curious place stuffed to to the beams with eclectic treasures collected by Charles Wade. From Chinese cabinets to Penny Farthings cycles, it is all here.

18th July 2016

Design Inspiration | Vintage Aviation Styleboard

Posted in Dwell by

Taking inspiration for the NATO Phonetic Alphabet Print available on our Etsy Store We’ve created Vintage Aviation Styleboard for a room scheme that would work perfectly as a room for an aviation fan, either young or old!

This blog originally appeared on Rich’s graphic design blog, but we though it is more in keeping here!

Vintage Aviation Styleboard Room Scheme

Vintage Aviation | Where to buy:

fig.1 Sopwith Camel Model, Hicks & Hicks
fig.2 British Aviation Posters by Scott Anthony
fig.3 NATO Phonetic Alphabet Print Orchard Market on Etsy
fig.4 Professor chair Hunters
fig.5 Alfred Tripod Light
fig.6 Map Cushion Cover Dunelm
fig.7 Globe on Wooden Stand John Lewis
fig.8 Royal Maroc Rug
fig.9 Sopwith Propeller Hicks & Hicks
fig.10 Archive Coffee Table
fig.11 Wevet Farrow & Ball
fig.12 Skylight Farrow & Ball
fig.13 Pitch Blue Farrow & Ball
fig.14 Off Black  Farrow & Ball

15th July 2016

Cocktail of the Week | Water Lily

This week we decided to be a bit more adventurous with our cocktail of the week and decided to open the Crème de Violette we bought on our recent trip to France.  The issue with using the Crème de Violette was hunting down a suitable cocktail to use it in, this was no easy task! We finally came across a drink known as a ‘Water Lily’ on and thought it was worth a try, mainly as it meant we could try the bottle of Cointreau we picked up in Angers!

Crème de Violette is a French liqueur traditionally made with natural violet flower flavouring and has a brandy or plain spirit base. It has a distinctive floral taste that can overpower most flavours. In researching ideas for the cocktail this week, it became apparent that it is also a difficult liqueur to obtain and it seems very few drinks use it as a key ingredient as a result. It also appears that its rarity was a plot point in a 1965 episode of the Avengers. The good thing about the research we do to bring you our Cocktail of the Week is that it throws up a large number of random, but mildly interesting facts.  On the plus side, we have also found other another cocktail to try!

For the Water lily cocktail you will need a;

  • Measure of triple sec (we used Cointreau)
  • Measure of Crème de Violette
  • Measure of fresh lemon juice
  • Measure of gin
  • Twist of orange, for the garnish

Using a cocktail shaker, pour the triple sec, crème de violette, lemon juice and gin into a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake for a few minutes.   Strain the mix into a glass and garnish with the twist.

And that is this week’s cocktail! The distinctive floral taste certainly comes through strongly and tastes very much like the violet sweets that you used to get in a pick’n’mix bag thinking they were Refreshers, but were always left disappointed! As a cocktail, it makes up for those years of disappointment!

Water Lily

Orchard Blog | Water Lily
14th July 2016

Swedish Crayfish Party

Posted in Gather by

Last summer we turned our hand at hosting a Swedish Crayfish Party (Kräftskiva), a traditional party to celebrate the start of the crayfish season (find out more on the Swedish National Website).  Hosting a kräftskiva was a bit of a challenge seeing as neither of us have ever been to one, or had even eaten Crayfish, but we thought we’d give it a go anyway… if it all went wrong we’d just drink plenty of Akvavit.

Scandi culture is becoming ubiquitous nowadays, so with a between IkeaScandinavian Kitchen (we love this place!) and The Stockholm Deli we could find nearly everything we needed: Crayfish, Akvavit, crispbreads, cheeses, garlands & lanterns.  We decided against the funny hats, a decision we later regretted, as apparently this is all part of the tradition!  The only thing we couldn’t find is Dill Crowns which seem to be a key part, a bit of a shame but we survived without.

We started with Gravdlax on rye bread, not sure how traditional this is but it’s my favourite so we went with it! We then downed our first shot of ice cold Akvavit before getting onto the main event; plenty of crayfish accompanied with several salads, cheese pies, crispbreads and some herby mayonnaise.   Not being experience in eating crayfish, they took some getting used to, they are a bit fiddly but once you get in they are delicious.  But be warned they do make quite a mess, some sort of bib is a must!

To follow we had a Blackberry and Almond cake, we found the recipe in Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break, with Recipes for Pastries, Breads, and Other Treats.  A good book and a very simple and tasty cake! To finish off we found a selection of Swedish cheeses… and lastly for good measure we had some Daim bars!

We’d read that one of the keys to a successful kräftskiva are the drinking songs.  After a bit of research we found a simple enough tune for us to learn, Helan går, Luckily we also found the Phonetic transliteration, so fortified with some more Akvavit with gave it our best shot… not sure how successful this was (and apologies to our neighbours!)

 All in all it was a very fun evening, not entirely sure how authentic our Crayfish Party was, but we all had a great time!

 Take a look at some more images from the party below.

Crayfish Party 7Crayfish Party 9 Read more…

13th July 2016

Top Five | Hello Summer?

Posted in Top Five by
Top Five

So far summer has been a washout, we’re hoping it improves but so far it is showing no signs. But still we are managing to enjoy ourself with a busy weekend catching up with friends.  Let’s take a look at the this week’s top five:


Top 100716 | Cherry Bakewell

It is no secret that Calum likes baking! This week he tried his hand at a home made Bakewell tart, following a recipe we found in Country Living magazine. It was really quite simple, and tasted miles better than a shop bought tart.


Top five | Sweet Peas

We have had a couple of failures in the cut flower garden, the rudbeckia didn’t germinate, and Rich’s mum accidentally dug up the Bells of Ireland seedlings. However on the positive we have a good stream of sweat peas that we can have around the house, they look great with a couple of stems of lady’s mantle.


Top Five | Country Living

For slightly convoluted reasons we are both a little bit obsessed with American interior design. We love it when we find HGTV shows on British TV, and whenever we are in the states we have to traipse around all the interior shops to get inspiration and pick up catalogues. Between visits statesside we have to make do with American magazines, our current favourite is Country Living.


Top Five | TKMaxx

The home section of TK Maxx is one of our favourite shops, we get lots of cool things from there at really great prices. What is even better is when you go for a quick browse and find a couple of cool things that have been further reduced. We found the above urn and plant pot that work great in our bedroom and cost £10 in total (the picture frames were also for there too)!


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Last week was the annual RHS Hampton Court Flower Show.  It is held in the grounds of the palace and in our opinion it is the nicest of the RHS flowers shows. It has lovely show gardens, beautiful floral displays and a wide range of retail stalls Rich got lots of inspiration for our future garden, we just need to find a house now!

11th July 2016