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Orchard Blog

Bathroom Renovation Plans

Posted in Dwell by
Current Bathroom

As promised we are going to take you around our new cottage to have a look at the rooms and share some of our plans.  We are going to start with the Bathroom as this will be the first room for us to tackle.  The bathroom is on the ground floor which although common in victorian houses is not ideal. There is the potential to put an extension on the side of the house that would allow the a family bathroom to be upstairs however this would be quite an investment that we wouldn’t be in the position to do for a couple of years at least.  Although the current bathroom is fine there are a couple of serious issues which means we need to look at this room first. An immediate problem is the shower, it is a fixed shower head and unfortunately it has been fixed far too low for us (Rich is 6″1′ and Calum is 6″6′). The second problem is the placement of the loo.  The last major issue are the windows, the are single glazed meaning the room is much colder than the rest of the cottage.

Current Bathroom

Our plan is to install a new L shaped shower bath and install a new shower that we can both fit under. We will also replace the toilet and the basin at the same time to allow more room to use both. We like the idea of a patterned floor tile with white metro tiles on the wall. We will add in recessed spot lights, and some wall likes around the mirror. The windows will be replaced and we also need to add in some extra storage.

Bathroom Inspiration

fig. 1 |  fig. 2 |  fig.3 |  fig.4 

We want the bathroom to have a crisp and classic look, mixing traditional and modern fixtures and finishes. We will use wooden accents to bring some warmth into the room, along with plenty of fluffy towels and some plants.  We are not entirely fixed on the sink, toilet and towel warmer yet, we need to visit a couple of show rooms to finalise. This is the style board we have put together so far.  Once we finalise the refurbishment in a month or two we will come back and share our progress.

Bathroom Style board

fig. 1 Wall Light Garden Trading
fig. 2 Wall Clock John Lewis
fig. 3 Mirror Cabinet Victoria Plum
fig. 4 Cavendish Toilet Victoria Plum
fig. 5 Shower Victoria Plum
fig. 6 Taps B&Q
fig. 7 Ladder Shelves Garden Trading
fig. 8 L Shaped Bath Victoria Plum
fig. 9 Cavendish Sink Victoria Plum
fig 10. Towel Radiator Victoria Plumb
fig. 11 Floor Tile Topps Tiles
fig. 12 Metro Tile Topps Tiles
fig. 13 Oak Stool Garden Trading
fig. 14 Plant Pot Ikea
fig. 15 Towels John Lewis

2nd March 2017

Getting Settled

Posted in Dwell, News by
New Home

So as per our last update we finally found our new home.  Since we shared that post we have moved in, begun to get to know the town and have started planning how we are going to improve and decorate the house.  Our house doesn’t have a name, but in honour of our blog we will informally refer to it as Orchard Cottage.  We will be using a blog for a place to share updates with you.  There is plenty to be getting on with, and we will be starting the projects soon. Before we get started on anything we’ll share with you room by room tour and share our current thinking, keep checking back over the next few weeks.

We have already had our first dinner party at the cottage and have more planned so there will be plenty to share with you.  We are also busy planning our holidays for this year.  With so much to do at the cottage we won’t be getting out and about as much as we used to but we love our little adventures.  Its going to be a busy and exciting time for us, we can’t wait too how you what we get up to.

We received lots of lovely housewarming cards, we particularly loved this card from Rich’s cousin Catherine. She obviously knows us well as we have already started lots of new pinterest boards for the different rooms, go take a look and let us know your thoughts.

Best wishes for now,

Rich & Calum

New Home

23rd February 2017

Our New Home

Posted in Dwell, News by
Orchard Blog | Our New Home

Since we started this blog we have been looking for a new home, we have been living at Rich’s folks cottage whilst we carry out our search.  We are very excited to to tell you we have finally found somewhere and will be moving in next week.  One of the reasons we started this blog was to share the development of our new home, it has just taken a little while longer than we anticipated.

Our new home is a Victorian semi-detached house in Whitchurch, Hampshire.  The house was built in 1897 as one of a row of about a dozen houses, it was probably intended as a farm or mill workers home. The cottages were originally known as Jubilee Cottages due to Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in the year the houses were completed.

Our New Home

We have 2 reception rooms and 3 bedrooms, and plenty of space for us to grow into.  The house has potential to extend into the loft and to the back and side if required. Over the years a lot of the house’s character has been removed, we will be looking to adding some of this back in.  The garden is mainly on a steep hill, with just a small section being on the flat, this will prove a bit of a challenge but we’ll figure something out.  Rich’s garden design education will come in handy!  The house is in perfectly good working order but we will no doubt redecorate throughout to our tastes, we’ll of course be sharing the progress here.

Our New Home

The house is on the edge of Whitchurch in North Hampshire. The nearest big towns are Andover, Newbury, Basingstoke and Winchester. Whitchurch itself is proud of its town status but in truth it is more akin to a village.  There are a handful of shops, five or so pubs and a selection of restaraunts and take aways, so we are not entity cut off from civilisation. It also has a train station with direct trains to London.

Whitchurch is famous for being the home of Richard Adam, the author of Watershed Down. The down itself lies not far from our new home, on the edge of the North Wessex Downs area of outstanding natural beauty.  The house is not far from the River Test, a beautiful chalk stream which is apparently a very good for trout fishing if that is your sort of thing? Of more interest to us is just up the road (and river) in Laverstoke.  Housed in an old paper mill is the Bombay Sapphire gin distillery, we are very excited about this, they doing guided tours and special events there, we’re sure to become regulars at their on site bar!

We are looking forward to doing into our new home in Whitchurch, and excited to join the community.  The hard work starts now!

Our New HomeOur New Home

Images courtesy of Graham & Co

18th January 2017

Create a Cosy Winter Whites Bedroom

Posted in Dwell by
Winter Whites Bedroom Scheme

January can seem a bit of a let down after the fun and frolics of Christmas and new year. If you are anything like us, it seems a month of hibernating wouldn’t be a bad thing.  Sadly we can’t take a month off to sleep so we have done the next best thing and come up with a cosy winter whites bedroom scheme.  What do you think, a perfect place to curl up and banish those January blues?

Winter Whites Bedroom Scheme

Winter Whites Bedroom | Where to buy

fig.1 Storage Box H&M
fig.2 Lantern John Lewis
fig.3 Cushion Cover Ikea
fig.4 Cushion Cover H&M
fig.5 Oliver Bed Feather & Black
fig.6 Lamp Maison du Monde
fig.7 Check throw Marks & Spencer
fig.8 Rubricks Side Table Swoon Editions
fig.9 Alarm Clock Ikea 
fig.10 Quilt Cover Ikea
fig.11 Bench Swoon Editions 
fig.12 Hot Water Bottle Cover Liberty

fig.13 Eye Mask John Lewis
fig.14 Rug
fig.15 Metal Baskets The Basket Company
fig.16 Contzen White ColourCourage

fig.17 Cozy Atmosphere ColourCourage
fig.18 Soft Grey ColourCourage

11th January 2017

Welcome to 2017

Posted in News by

Happy New Year! We hope you had a suitably joyful Christmastime? But alas the festivities had to come to an end. Our decorations have been taken down and are nows safely stored back in the loft, and so far our resolutions are holding strong.Happy New Year

We are having a little break from the blog but we will start up in earnest next week. We have really enjoyed blogging over the last several months, but we needed a bit of a break to gather our thoughts and evaluate how we are going to move forward. We have lots of ideas, and some exciting new coming up so keep and eye out and we will be back with you soon.

All the best

Rich & Calum

7th January 2017

Cocktail of the Week | Calum’s Eggnog

Calum's Eggnog Recipe

There are always a few things that say Christmas to people. Some will have a particular tradition, no matter how random it is to others, or particular food, that makes their Christmas entirely! For Calum there are a few things that make it Christmas, the first is pork pie for breakfast on Christmas Day (Don’t ask)! and the second is our last cocktail of the week before Christmas, we give you Calum’s Eggnog!

Eggnog is likely to date back to medieval Europe and was developed from a posset drink made with hot milk that was curdled with wine or ale and mixed with spices. These possets were used a cold and flu remedies that made it a winter tradition.   The drink appears to have been taken across the Atlantic where the term eggnog was first used in a poem. There are many different versions. In the UK, the drink was popular with the aristocracy who used sherry. Others use rum (Caribbean and Puerto Rico), beer (German) and bourbon (South America). More recently the mix has been used in coffee that has brought it to the masses.

For this week’s cocktail, you will need;

  • 2 pints whole milk
  • 500 ml Single Cream
  • 1 Measure of rum
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 200g sugar
  • Orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Vanilla seeds
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Pinch of ginger
  • Pinch of Nutmeg (plus some to garnish)

Take the orange zest, rum, cloves vanilla seed and the pinch of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg into a jar and add the rum.  Leave for 12 hours to infuse.   Once ready, mix the egg yolks with the 200g sugar. Mix together the cream, the egg mix and infused rum and heat the mix through to make custard. Start to add the milk to thin the mix out to the consistency of a milkshake. Once completed, chill the drink until cold. When ready, pour the drink into a glass of choice and sprinkle with nutmeg, and there you have this week’s cocktail, Eggnog.

Calum’s recipe has been tried and tested over many years to try and recreate the store bought drink he used to get in Hong Kong.   For Calum it is Christmas in a glass, for Richard…not so much. It is a superb drink to have for a party or to enjoy watching your favourite Christmas movie on Christmas Eve.

Calum's Eggnog Recipe

Calum's Eggnog Recipe
24th December 2016

Scandi Inspired Winter Woodland Table

Posted in Gather by
Scandinavian Inspired Winter Woodland Table Theme

This week we had a couple of friends over for a pre Christmas dinner.  The fires were lit, we had carols playing and mulled wine to drink, all in all a jolly festive evening. For our table decorations we took more inspiration from our recent trip to Copenhagen and went for a Scandi inspired winter woodland table.

Scandi Inspired Winter Woodland Table

The Inspiration

We found so much inspiration from our recent trip to Copenhagen, so many ideas in so many way.  We were particularly taken by the use of natural materials in their Christmas decoration, The Danes don’t do tinsel. We took this as a jumping off point when choosing our scheme, we chose a simple pallet of colours; white of the candles, green of the foliage, brown of the wood and pine cones and then neutral table linens. By using a limited colour palette it made choosing what to include much easier. We had seen this colours used whilst away, and when browsing through some magazines we brought home with us.  A quick look at pinterest gave us lots more ideas along this theme.

Scandi inspired winter woodland table

Shop Scandi

Whilst pottering about Copenhagen we picked up several of the bits we needed for our table centre.  If you wanted to replicate this theme you could easily do do within the uk, with the likes of Ikea, H&M Home, Clas Ohlson, Flying Tiger of Copenhagen and now Søstrene Grene all having a UK presence, it is easier than ever to add a bit of Scandi cool into your homes.

Scandi Inspired Winter Woodland Table

Natural Material

We wanted to use plenty of natural materials in our woodland table centre.  We found some birch covered candle holders at Søstrene Grene in Copenhagen and the wood tea light holders at a shop called Lagerhaus when we were in Malmö. We put candles in star shape dishes we’d found in H&M Home and in Ikea, surrounding the candles with moss.  We cut some branches of seeded eucalyptus from the garden and arranged these with some spruces branches to bring all the elements together. Lastly we placed some pine cones into the display, we have been collecting these from the common from some time, but these were only quite small, we supplemented them with some larger ones we got at a local garden centre.

Scandi Inspired Winter Woodland Table

Candles Galore

We heard that the Danes burn more candles per person than anywhere else on earth, the evidence we saw from our brief trip suggest this is probably true.  We get our candles from Ikea and from Flying Tiger of Copenhagen, both have great selection. In addition to the wooden candle holders we found some pretty glass ones from H&M Home, and repurposed some glasses from Flying Tiger. As we chose only white candles they all matched and gave a nice theme.

Scandi Inspired Winter Woodland Table

What do you think?

We really enjoyed making our Scandi inspired winter woodland table centre.  It was a lovely cosy table to enjoy a simple meal with friends, we have subsequently  gone on an decorated the room further using the table centre s inspiration. If you have any thoughts or ideas please let us know in the comments section or contact us on social media. Read more…

23rd December 2016

Cocktail of the Week | Gingerbread Fizz

It is the Christmas Party season and sadly we have had to forgo our annual party as we are still with Rich’s parents.  Since we started dating we have had a Christmas party every year that just seems to get bigger!  We love having all our friends with us and now our friends are starting to have children, sharing the Christmas joy with them just makes it better!  One thing we always try to do is have a signature festive cocktail to serve and this week’s cocktail of the week went down a storm when we served it up; the Gingerbread Fizz.

Gingerbread is a long standing traditional item for Christmas.  It comes in all forms and one of our favourites is Lebkuchen from Germany.  We also enjoy making our own gingerbread men (and women) a tradition started by Queen Elizabeth I whose courtiers served them to visiting dignitaries.  Every country has their own version of a gingerbread product from cakes to biscuits and they are all served in a multitude of ways.  As the original recipe for gingerbread can be dated back to before 1000AD, it is no surprise that it has spread across the world.  We came across this idea in Nigella Lawson’s book, Nigella Christmas and on a trip to France found a bottle of gingerbread syrup and ‘one or two’ bottles of Crémant du Loire for us to try the cocktail.

To make this week’s cocktail, you will need:

  • One bottle of sparking wine of your choice
  • Gingerbread syrup

To make the cocktail, ensure your sparking wine is chilled.  Take a champagne glass and add a teaspoon of gingerbread syrup (or more if to your taste).  Fill the glass with your sparkling wine and serve.  There you have a very simple, but perfect festive cocktail, gingerbread fizz.

The cocktail is a great drink to have at a Christmas Party as it is so simple to make.  Our friends loved it and we went through the entire bottle of gingerbread syrup and several bottles of sparkling wine.  The laughs and merriment certainly made our party a lot of fun!

Gingerbread Fizz CocktailGingerbread Fizz Cocktail

Gingerbread Fizz Cocktail
19th December 2016

Country Cottage Christmas Porch

Posted in Dwell by
English Country Christmas Porch

Our time living in Rich folk’s cottage is coming to an end.  Living in a 400-year-old timbered cottage has lots of benefits, but also lots of drawbacks, especially when we are both over 6 foot tall, and the ceiling and doorways are not. The Cottage really comes into its own at Christmas, we joke that it could have been used at a set in The Holiday.

Country Cottage Christmas Porch

Country Cottage Christmas Porch

To add to the Christmassy charm of the cottage we decided to decorate a Country Cottage Christmas Porch.  We took inspiration from the natural Scandinavian style we saw in Copenhagen and translated this to an English country style.

English Country Christmas Porch

Christmas Plants

We wanted a selection of different plants to create the display, the porch already has a couple of pyramid conifers, and we had a Christmas tree from last year in a pot that we had been growing on. We moved a couple of herbs we have growing in pots to the display, along with a small olive tree.  The Olive branch is a symbol of peace so is wonderfully appropriate for our Christmas display.  In addition to moving plants we already had we went to our local garden centre to get some Hyacinths, some Hellebores, a couple of Skimmia and a selection of small conifers

English Country Christmas Porch

Christmas Foliage

A Christmas wreath is a must for us, we created ours by using a base of spruce and adding in a selection of other evergreen foliage including yew and Scott’s pine collected from the common.  We also used this foliage to create a garland for the porch, using floristry wire to hold it together.  We bought some mistletoe and a bough of holly, traditional Christmastime plants to add in.

English Country Christmas Porch

Finishing Touches

Earlier this year we had a Birch tree cut down and the logs cut for our fire through winter. We thought the logs we so beautiful we used a few in our display.  We also added in a basket of pine cones we have been collection whilst taking our dog for a walk.  Taking inspiration from our Scandinavian trip we needed some light, so we wrapped warm white fairy lights around the garland and some of the plants, and put our a pair of lanterns to creating a welcoming glow as you walk up.

What do you think of our Country Cottage Christmas porch? We hope it makes the cottage welcoming and inviting.  Is there anything you would differently, let us know in the comments section, or get in touch on social media.

Read more…

17th December 2016

Top Five | Christmas Parties and Shopping

Posted in Top Five by
Top Five Christmas

Well isn’t December getting busy, it is Thursday already and we are only just getting round to our Top Five. Christmas festivities are in full swing at the cottage. Let’s take a look at what has been going on:


Christmas Tree

The tree is up! Every year we go to a local Christmas tree farm and pick up a Fraser Fir. It is a slimmer than a traditional real tree so it fits into smaller spaces. We have gone for a traditional scheme this year using pine cones and red and gold baubles. We also have a lovely set of 12 days of Christmas ornaments which fit right in.


Christmas Party

Christmas party season has started (along with the accompanying hangovers!) We helped Rich’s folks host a drinks party on Sunday evening with mulled wine and mince pies aplenty. On Monday morning we stepped outside to survey the damage done. Not too bad considering!


V&A Museum

We took Monday off work for a bit of a London Christmas day out.  We started with a little wander around the V&A.  It is probably our favourite London museum, we especially like the British galleries.


Christmas Shopping at Harrods

The true reason for our London trip was Christmas shopping.  We stopped off at Harrod and Liberties, did Oxford street, regents street and Tottenham court road.  We didn’t get everything we needed but we made quite a dent!


John Lewis Roof Garden

Whilst traipsing down oxford street we felt the need of a little pick me up. Thank goodness for John Lewis. We headed to their roof garden pop-up bar, themed around a winter forest it was festive and fun.  We especially like the garden lodges you can book for dinner.  Their G&T wasn’t half bad either!

15th December 2016