Monthly Archives

August 2016

Orchard Escapes | North Devon Weekend

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On Friday morning we packed up the car and headed to Georgeham for our North Devon Weekend. Our friends Ben & Lauren, along with their 18th-month-old little boy Dexter (our godson) were down there so we headed to join them and a bit of adventuring.  We pitched our tent and set about exploring the area, here are some of our highlights:


This is where we were staying, a lovely village a little way inland. It has a fascinating church that is worth exploring, a small shop selling all the essentials and two pubs to choose from. There is The Rock Inn and The Kings Arms. We only had time to sample one of the pubs so we can confirm The Kings Arms is lovely with friendly staff, good beer and tasty food, we’ll have to return to sample The Rock Inn.

North Devon Weekend


A couple of miles from Georgeham is the pretty coastal village of Croyde. The Village has a charming centre full of historic buildings and is perfect for wandering.  Croyde has a wide and sandy beach, nestled between two headlands. The beach is very popular and one of the best for surfing. We had lunch at the Blue Groove, a family friendly restaurant and bar in the centre of the village. Be sure to pop into The Stores, a pretty cool coffee shop and deli. And get Ice-cream from one of the ice cream parlours in the village.

North Devon Weekend Read more…

31st August 2016

Top Five | End of Summer Blues

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Top Five

August Bank Holiday is the traditional end of the summer holidays. Even years after leaving school we still get that sort of end of holidays melancholy, but we plenty to look forward to the autumn so it won’t last long! Plenty of things are still cheering us up, let’s lake a look:


Braunton BreweryWe spent our bank holiday down in north Devon (more of that later this week) but we managed to pick up some local beer from Braunton Brewery, we are loving it.  I am sure we could probably buy it from somewhere closer, but the beer is as good a reason as any to head back down that way! Find out more.


Cream TeaAnother west country staple is a cream tea. A scone with jam and clotted cream is one one of our favourite treats. Although there is much discussion about what goes on first, Jam (the Cornish way) or Cream (the Devonian way). Calum has his own approach making a scone sandwich with jam one side and cream on the other. Whichever way you eat one they are absolutely delicious!


National Burger Day Last Thursday was National Burger Day. We kid you not, this is an official thing and quite frankly this is a national day we can firmly get behind. We love a cheese and bacon burger in a lightly toasted brioche bun with some relish and some crispy lettuce. Gherkins are a tasty addition too.


Vine of Tomatoes So it seems we now have a glut of home grown tomatoes! Calum will soon be cooking up batches and batches of tomato chutney and other recipes. Not that we mind, who doesn’t like a good chutney?


Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm'Lots of the garden flowers have gone over now, but some are just coming into there own such as this Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’ we spotted when out and about. It has to be a perfect late summer plant, masses of bright yellow flowers to keep us cheery!

30th August 2016

Sunday Catch Up

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Sunday Catch Up

We hope that everybody is enjoying the last of summer? Thoughts will soon be turning to Autumn and all the fun of the season but in the meantime, let’s have a look back over the week.

From Orchard Blog

  • In honour of the Olympic Games in Rio, we had a Brazillian Barbeque. We found some great recipes to share. read here
  • Carrying on this week’s Brazilian theme there really was only one option for our cocktail of the week, the Caipirinha. read here
  • We have the Summer Blues. No, we’re not sad, we came up with a blue table theme for a recent party we held. read here

From Elsewhere

  • Whilst we’re still hanging onto the last of summer there is no denying autumn is just around the corner. Check out these tips for autumn entertaining from Jessica of Hej Doll. read here
  • We’re currently living in a 17th Century cottage, it’s great but sometimes we yearn for something completely different. Check out this industrial loft on Daily Dream Decor. read here
  • Seeing as how close it is it is criminal that we’ve never been to The Netherlands. This article from Yvonne at The Tourist of Life just confirms that we need to visit soon! read here

We hope you enjoy? And if you have any thoughts please let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear from you. Have a great Sunday and we’ll be back again soon.

Rich & Calum

28th August 2016

Creating a Summer Blue Table Theme

Posted in Gather by
Summer Blue Table Theme

We’ve got the summertime blues! Well we’ve got a gorgeous summer blue table theme, which is actually much better!

We recently celebrated Calum’s Birthday with a french themed dinner party for a dozen of our friends. I know it seems like we were celebrating his birthday for the whole of August, but we don’t see a problem with that, do you? Calum did a great job of being the chef for the evening, and Rich got on with laying the table and creating the vibe! We’ve got a good division of labour going on.

For our french inspired dinner, we decided to go with a Summer Blue Table Theme. We have a lot of blue and white bits and pieces about the place so it works well.

With 12 people for dinner, we had to borrow a couple of trestle tables to fit everyone in.  These ugly tables are hidden under crisp white linens. To add interest we laid a beautiful blue ikat table runner down the centre, we picked this up from Sainsbury’s during our weekly shop, you wouldn’t believe it, would you?  The table was set with mismatch crockery, mixing up blue willow pattern plates and a basic white plate. The napkins were a mixture of a white linen set and some repurposed tea towels from Ikea.  The glassware is all a bit of a mix, we only have sets for up to eight people so we had to improvise with whatever odd glasses we can find about the house. Add in a couple of blue water bottles and we are halfway there.

For the flowers Rich ask his mum, a retired florist, to make up half a dozen small posies to run down the centre of the table, we mixed this in with some of our collection of blue and white ceramics.  We found some vintage candle stick holders to give the scene a bit of elegance. A word of warning about using candles outdoors, dinner candles like this can only be used on the stillest of days, as soon a the wind gets up you will end up with the candles being blow out, and getting wax everywhere!

Lastly, Rich likes to print out a nice menu and do place settings. He is a Graphic designer by vocations so enjoys doing things like this. We strung up some fairy lights and had a soundtrack of Edith Piaf and some gypsy swing.  This all adds to the atmosphere for a lovely evening with friends, we had a great time.

So there we have our Summer blue table theme, It was mainly improvised using things we had around the house, but we think it worked out really well.  What do you think?

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Summer Blues

Summer Blue Table Theme

26th August 2016

Cocktail of the Week | Caipirinha

Caipirinha Brazilian Cocktail

With the Olympics ending, we thought there would be no better way to celebrate the Olympics, and the rather splendid efforts by Team GB than to enjoy a Brazilian themed BBQ on Saturday night.  You can read about the food we cooked here.  The only cocktail to accompany anything Brazil-based has to be the Caipirinha, Brazil’s national drink.  As such it became our cocktail of the week.

The origin of the Caipirinha is unknown and did not appear in São Paulo until 1918 as a remedy for the Spanish Flu.  It was originally made with only lime, garlic and honey with a spirit added to the home concoctions.  It is still commonly used in this format as a cure for common colds.  As with all cocktails, someone decided to experiment!  Removing the garlic and honey and adding sugar helped make it a ubiquitous drink across Brazil.  The word Caipirinha comes from the word caipria, which in Portuguese refers to someone from the Countryside. A similar word in English would be a ‘hillbilly’.

For this week’s cocktail, you will need;

  • Crushed Ice
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 lime cut into 8 parts & a slice for garnish
  • 1 large measure of Cachaça

To make this week’s cocktail add the chopped lime and the sugar to a sturdy glass.  Use a muddler and crush the fruit and mix the sugar together.   Add the cachaça and give the mix a stir.  Top the glass with ice and stir again.  To finish place the garnish on the glass and lá vai vocé de uma caipirinha (there you go, a caipirinha).

The caipirinha is a great drink if you like lime and sweetness.  We would be happy to continue drinking these in the sun watching the Olympics; sadly, all good things must come to an end!

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Caipirinha Brazilian Cocktail
25th August 2016

How to host a Brazilian Barbeque Party

Posted in Gather by
Brazilian Brabeque Party

Over the two weeks in August 2016, the Olympics were hosted in Rio de Janeiro.  The city hosted 207 nations with 11,500 athletes competing for just over 800 medals.  We both love the Olympics, the sport and the Olympic spirit that brings a positive force of friendship. The  great herculean efforts by the athletes competing reminded us of the 2012 Olympics in London. With this Olympics coming to an end, we decided what better way to celebrate than to have a Brazilian Barbeque! Surely nothing says Olympics better than eating?

To start, we poured ourselves the first (of a few) caipirinha.  It is always best to start with the cocktail! For the BBQ, we prepared some chicken a few days before to mature in a marinade.  To do this, we added a cup of rum, two crushed limes (including the rind), 4 cloves of crushed garlic, salt, pepper and a pinch or two of chilli flakes to a bag and added 6 chicken thighs.  We then froze it before allowing it to thaw on the day we had the BBQ.

Brazilian Barbeque - 13

We added some sides to the meal including prawn skewers, using an easy recipe from Morrison’s that can be found here. A Brazilian rice dish that we found on Life in the Lofthouse blog found here. This rice will become a staple for any tropical themed meal we have in future. Lastly, a great zingy Salsa Verde we found here on Olivia’s Cuisine.

To finish, we put some pineapple on the BBQ, yes, you did read that correctly!  It is really easy to do by chopping the pineapple into large chunks, sprinkling a good dose of cinnamon on them as they cook.  You need to BBQ both sides for about four minutes or until they start to char before pouring on about a tablespoon of toffee sauce.

After setting the table, and with a few more caipirinha flowing we tucked into the food.  The food combination tasted wonderfully of lime and the flavours in the prawns and salsa enhanced the flavours. Our Brazilian Barbeque made a great accompaniment to watching the last of the Olympics and the fantastic performance from all the athletes.

Read more…

24th August 2016

Top Five | Late Summer

Posted in Top Five by
Top Five

The Olympics are over and we are trying to ignore the impending onset of autumn. We have a bank holiday weekend away to look forward to next week so all it not lost. In the meantime lets look at this week’s top five:


Olive Magazine Podcast

Look, we know we’re late to the podcast party. We’re trying to make an amends now, This week we discovered the Olive Magazine Podcast. Hosted by the editor Laura Rowe, the podcast is a discussion about the best in food and travel. we’re loving the informal style, it is like a nice chat over a cup of tea or cocktails. Listen here.


Fleetwood Mac - Rumours

Last week we got a new Crosley Cruiser Record Player. This week we have mainly been searching out records to play. The aim is to get some of the classic albums to make the base of our collection. High on our list of classics was Rumours by Fleetwood Mac, and by chance it turns out Rich’s folks have two copies in their collection! They now only have one, and so do we!


House of Commons Beer

Who knew the House of Commons had their own beer? Certainly neither of us! So when we went on a recent tour we had to buy a couple of bottles, for novelty sake if nothing else. The beer is brewed by the Windsor & Eton Brewery and is only sold in the House of Commons. We can report it is a very nice beer!


Diffords Guides - Days of Cocktails

We love a cocktail, just take a look at our Cocktails of the Week. But we have a new book giving us a daily cocktail. That might be a bit too much even for us.  We love Diffords Guides, definitely the best resource for cocktail inspiration our there, just look at all the cocktails on their website.


Reggie - A Brussels Griffon Dog

Meet Reggie, a one year old Brussels Griffon. Reggie (and his owner Holly) came round for tea on Sunday. It was the first time we met the little guy, he is very cute! We think he looks a bit like an Ewok, what do you think? Learn more about Brussels Griffons here.

22nd August 2016

Sunday Catch Up

Posted in Catch Up by

We hope you are enjoying our weekly catch ups, it is a great chance for us to look back at our week and reflect on how the blog is going. We also love reading other blogs to find posts to share with you, there are so many talented and inspirational bloggers out there.

From Orchard Blog

  • Read our tips on how to create a botanical theme tablescape of an Italian dinner party we hosted. read here
  • This week we had some rather yummy Kir Royales as our cocktail of the week. read here
  • After having visited the National Trust’s Belton House earlier this summer, we have written up out thoughts. read here

From Elsewhere

  • As complete and unashamed nordiphiles, we love the My Scandinavian Home blog. Especialiy this gorgeous apartment in Gothenburg. read here
  • We’re still in a beach house state of mind, so we loved Jenni Kayne’s Airy living room makeover done with the help of One Kings Lane. read here
  • Copenhagen is one of our favourite cities so we are loving the Travellettes 10 reasons to fall in love with the city. read here

We hope you enjoy these links and have a very happy Sunday!

Rich & Calum

21st August 2016

Days Out | Belton House

Posted in Explore by

Earlier this summer we visited the picture perfect Belton House in Grantham, Lincolnshire. A National Trust property that could possibly be the ideal English country house? Built in the 1680s by Sir John Brownlow, Belton House is cited as one of the finest examples of Carolean architecture that flourished after the restoration of Charles II.

The House

To enter the house you ascend a grand sweep of steps into the grand marble hall. It is from here that you start your tour of the house. There is no set route, you can wander around the rooms at your will. The interiors feature a range of decorative styles, including: restoration, regency, victorian, and 1930 styles. The various styles are a product of ongoing refurbishment by subsequent generations of the family. Of particular interest is the friendship between Perry Cust, 6th Baron Brownlow and Edward, Prince of Wales. Bolton House was one of the locations in which the Prince of Wales’ affair with Wallis Simpson was played out, resulting in the infamous abdication crisis.

The Gardens

Once outside, the gardens include formal Italian and Dutch styles near the house, leading into informal gardens and small boating lake. There is a wonderful orangery showing lots of lovely exotic plants. Near the orangery is a 12th-century parish church, the church of St Peter and St Paul, where many of the Brownlow and Cust families are buried. The gardens are surrounded by a further 1300 acres of deer park, perfect for exploring, adventuring and picnicking.

More Information

Belton House has been used as a location for several films and tv programmes, possibly most famously used in the 1995 TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice as the house of Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

The National Trust have made sure there is plenty for families to do. There are both indoor and outdoor adventure play areas which we have to say looked awesome! At the Discovery Centre there are craft activities and dressing up.

Belton House is a great day out, whether with kids or without. We really enjoyed exploring the house and garden and wish we had more time to explore the grounds. Find out more about Belton House at the National Trust website.


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Belton House
19th August 2016

Cocktail of the Week | Kir Royale Champagne Cocktail

Cocktail of the week | Kir Royale

To top off the week long celebrations for Calum’s birthday we hosted a french style dinner party for a dozen of our friends.  Like any good meal, it should always start with a cocktail as a welcome drink. As we went for a French theme dinner, we pulled out the Crème de Cassis, a blackcurrant liqueur, and the champagne that we picked up on our recent trip to France and created our cocktail of the week, a Kir Royale.

The Kir Royale is based on the Kir cocktail, in which white wine is used rather than champagne. The Kir was originally called a blanc-cassis and can be dated back to 1841 following the increased production levels of the Crème de Cassis. It was usually made with red wine, but after a man called Fèlix Kir, who was the mayor of Dijon after World War II, made the drink popular by presenting it at hosted events to visiting dignitaries, it was renamed. There are thoughts to suggest that the drink was reintroduced as the German Army ‘confiscated’ all the red in Burgundy during the war and left with a large amount of white. The drink has evolved greatly in recent years with the inclusion of many other versions with different liqueur such as peach, or different drinks such as beer, cider and even milk.

For this week’s cocktail, you will need:

  • Crème de Casis
  • Champagne or other sparkling wine
  • Flute glass

To start, make sure the sparkling white you use is chilled. Add two teaspoons of crème de casis to the flute and fill the glass with the sparkling wine. Then sit back and enjoy this week’s cocktail, the Kir Royale.

It is a perfect drink to use as an aperitif and to add a slight difference to serving just champagne.

Kir Royale
Kir Royale - 4

Champagne Cocktail | Kir Royale
18th August 2016