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.

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17th December 2016
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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:

One

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.

Two

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!

Three

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.

Four

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!

Five

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
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Cocktail of the Week | Gløgg

Gløgg

With Christmas and winter comes the continued love of mulled drinks.   There must be millions of litres drunk each year of mulled something. You could probably drink a different version of mulled wine each day in December. This week, we are taking inspiration from our recent trip to Copenhagen and this week’s cocktail of the week is Gløgg.

Gløgg in Denmark is a staple winter drink. As the borders through the Nordic countries moved regularly over the centuries, it is impossible to say whether it is a Danish started drink, a Swedish drink or German variation of Glühwein imported to Denmark. However it arrived, the Danes have made it theirs! There appear to be as many different versions of the drink as there are Danes! It is traditionally drunk with a Danish winter treat called Æbleskiver, a doughnut/pancake type dessert that is served many ways. We were told the traditional way is with strawberry jam and a sprinkling of icing sugar.

To make this week’s cocktail you will need;

  • Bottle red wine
  • Almonds slivered
  • 1 cup raisins
  • Your own version of mulling spices

To start, heat the wine, but don’t let it boil. Add the spices and allow the flavours to infuse for a short while before serving. You can buy premade versions of the spices and as there are many versions, any type of mulled spices will recreate the drink. To serve, pour the wine into a suitable glass or mug using a sieve to remove the spices if using your own. Add the raisins and slivered almonds to the drink and stir. If you are so inclined, you can add a shot of rum, brandy or any other spirit of your choice.

Gløgg is a great way to keep warm whilst taking a short break from the sightseeing across Copenhagen. The only tip we can give is that it is best to serve Gløgg with a teaspoon to get to the good stuff of the warmed raisins and almonds.

GløggGløgg

Orchard Blog | Gløgg
13th December 2016
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Christmassy Weekend in Copenhagen

Posted in Explore by
Christmas Weekend Copenhagen

Last weekend we visited one of the most Christmassy cities in the world, Copenhagen! We had a wonderful time, and packed a lot into our short break! Have a read of what we got up to below

Day One

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

We arrived in Copenhagen at lunchtime, and after checking into our hotel we headed out for a wander around the city.  We had a look around Amalienborg Palace, the winter residence of the Danish Queen.   We then wandered down Nyhavn, the very picturesque harbour area and stopped for a Julebryg (Danish Christmas beer) and a Gløgg in one of the Christmas markets. In the evening we explored Tivoli Gardens for more festiveness. Tivoli is the oldest theme park in the world, located in the city centre, it’s transformed into a Christmas wonderland for the duration of December.

Day Two

Christmas Market in Malmö

On day two we got the train across the Øresund to spend the day in Malmö in Sweden.  Malmö is the third largest city in Sweden but is considered part of the Copenhagen metropolitan area. Skåne, the southernmost county in Sweden, was actually under Danish control until 1658. As a side note, it is Skåne that gives its name to the whole of Scandinavia. As we spent the day in Sweden we had meatballs for lunch, we think it is the law.

In the evening we headed back to Copenhagen to explore Vesterbro, the former working-class district that is now a fashionable area to go out in the evening. There are lots of great bars and restaurants, we chose a cosy looking basement bar that had good beer and burgers.

Day Three

Kronborg castle in Helsingør

Today we’ve got the train up to the north of Zealand to Kronborg castle in Helsingør.

Famous for being where Shakespeare’s Hamlet is set, Kronborg is a gorgeous renaissance castle overlooking Øresund straights to Sweden, just 2.5 miles across the water. It is a fascinating place to visit, and today the castle had a Christmas market on to add to its charm.

Helsingør is a wonderful and jolly little town. It was busy today with Christmas shoppers enjoying their community. There were carol singers, a marching band and all sorts of shops and market stalls doing a roaring trade. 

Copenhagen Christmas Market

In the afternoon we headed back into the city to do a bit more exploring. We went to Torvehallerne, a food market with lots of exciting offerings from around the world. We then climbed the Rundetaarn, a 17th-century observatory with great views over the city.

This evening we had a couple of mugs of gløgg with friends that live in the city before having dinner of Danish roast pork followed by æbleskiver, a sort of spherical pancake eaten at Christmas.

Day Four

We decided to take things easy today after cramming so much into the last few days. This morning we went on a canal boat tour around the harbour, things like this might be very touristy but they are popular for a reason! We managed to get some great shots of Nyhavn, one of the most picturesque bits of the city!

We then went and had a look around the royal reception rooms at Christiansborg Palace. The palace is not actually The Queen’s residence but is instead the home to the Danish parliament. The royal reception rooms are however where The Queen undertakes most of her duties as the constitutional monarch. 

After a spot of lunch, we did some Christmas shopping in the upmarket department stores, and had a look round the gorgeous Christmas decoration in the Royal Copenhagen shop. In the evening we headed back to Tivoli gardens for more Gløgg, julebryg and æbleskiver! We really got into the Danish Christmas traditions!

Day Five

Copenhagen Weekend

Bye bye, Copenhagen, this was our second visit to the city and again we are struck by just how livable the city is. It is beautiful and charming, it is fashionable but not aloof. It is a big enough city without being overwhelming.

The city also really comes into its own at Christmas time. Decorations are everywhere, Lights are put up in every window and candles and lanterns are so prevalent it’s surprising there aren’t more fires! The Christmas markets may not be as old as their Germanic counterparts but they are still fun to walk around with a mug of Gløgg. Tivoli gardens really sparkle with its Christmas decorations and make us feel just like big kids. The city, in general, is completely in the Christmas spirit, and who can blame them!

To those that haven’t been we cannot recommend Copenhagen at Christmas time enough! We’ll be back, we are sure of that.

Find out more about Christmas in Copenhagen at Visit Copenhagen

Christmas Weekend Copenhagen

10th December 2016
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Top Five | Christmas Holidays

Posted in Top Five by
Top Five Christmas

Our top five is a little late this week as we have been off on our pre-Christmas holidays to Copenhagen. We love Denmark and Copenhagen and we will be blogging more about our trip later in the week. Let’s get back into the swing of things and take a look at this week’s top five.

One

Frosty Morning

Having a dog means lie-ins are a thing of the past. On the cold and frosty morning, we have been having later it can be quite a chore to drag ourselves out of bed.  However when it is a bright and clear morning the rewards are great, like this hard frost that covered Horsell common last week, it was magical!

Two

Mini Christmas Tree

As we are still without permanent abode we won’t have our own Christmas Tree this year (don’t worry we’ll be fully involved in putting up the decorations in the cottage) But we have invested in this mini tree to liven up our room!

Three

stråla mini festoon lights

We are loving these mini battery festoon lights we got from Ikea (they are called Stråla in case you were wondering) we have strung these up behind the bed, they makes the room lovely and cosy.

Four

Florist in Helsingør

As mentioned above we recently returned from Denmark, a country that knows how to celebrate Christmas well. Whilst walking around Helsingør, a small town north of Copenhagen we found this beautiful florist, a perfect shop selling perfect plants to decorate for Christmas.

Five

Scandinavian Interior Design Magazines

With all the stunning shops, decorations and interiors, we saw when we were in Denmark we had a bit if inspiration overload.  To help with the inspiration we picked up a few Scandinavian interiors magazines – a Danish one, a Swedish one and a Norwegian one!

7th December 2016
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Our Old Fashion Jazzy Christmas Playlist

Posted in Gather by
Christmas Playlist

What better music to decorate the tree to than a bit of old-fashioned jazz? We have put together this Christmas Playlist of our favourite Christmas from the 50s and 60s. These were all recorded decades before we were born, but there is something reassuring and friendly about listening to familiar old songs.  After you have finished decorating, light a few candles, grab a glass of your favourite tipple, sit back and enjoy!  Listen to our Christmas Playlist here.

Our Old Fashion Jazzy Christmas Playlist

2nd December 2016
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Cocktail of the Week | Sage & Clementine Mule

clementine sage mule

We have been enjoying the cocktail of the week for the last few months and the few times we have come across a savoury cocktail they have been a hit. Whilst looking for a good cocktail for Thanksgiving, we came across a savoury cocktail from Jamie Oliver’s Drink Tube that really interested us and thought it would be perfect to try as our cocktail of the week, Sage and Clementine Mule.

This cocktail is a twist on the classic mule cocktail the Moscow Mule. As with many cocktails from the 1940’s there seems to be a bit of mixed history as to who created the Moscow Mule and where it started. Some attribute it to John Martin, a Spirits and Food distributor in Hartford, CT and Jack Morgan, President of Cock ‘n’ Bull products (which produced ginger beer). This story line gives it a bit of a corporate myth style story, a ‘cock ‘n’ bull story’ if you will.  The other is attributed to Wes Price, Jack Morgan’s head barman who wanted to clear out the cellar of dead stock. From what we have learnt, we are more inclined to believe the latter story. Needless to say the Cock ‘n’ Bull team had a hand in its development. As with all classic cocktails, a new twist on tradition is always a good thing and this one has some expectations to live up to.

For this week’s cocktail, you will need;

  • 1 measure Lemon Vodka
  • 1 Fresh Clementine
  • Ginger beer
  • 5 Sage leaves
  • Ice

To make the drink, quarter a clementine and add it with the sage to a Collins and muddle the mix.   Add some ice to the glass, followed by the vodka. Add the ginger beer to fill the glass, giving it one final stir and you have this week’s cocktail, a Sage and Clementine Mule.

The cocktail has a good mix of flavours, the clementine is not as sweet as expected and the ginger is not over powering. The sage is very subtle taste to the drink and works well with the hint of lemon from the vodka.  It is a refreshing drink that is well worth making as a seasonal drink.

clementine sage mule
clementine sage mule

 

1st December 2016
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Inspiration | Three Christmas Living Room Schemes

Posted in Dwell by
Christmas Living Room

Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year! We don’t try and hide our love of the festive season and we have lots of blog posts planned for between now and the big day.  Let’s start off by looking at three schemes we have put together for our perfect Christmas living room.  We have gone for a trio of contrasting styles so hopefully there is something for everybody. We have put links to the products below each scheme. Let us know your favourites in the comments or contact us on twitter, facebook or Instagram.

Glam Christmas Living Room

Where to Buy | Glam Christmas Living Room

fig.1 Gold Tree / fig.2 Tree decoration / fig.3 Tree decoration / fig.4 Tree decoration / fig.5 Tree decoration / fig.6 Wreath / fig.7 Room decoration / fig.8 Fireplace / fig.9 Sofa / fig.10 Side Table / fig.11 Stocking / fig 12. Feather Cushion / fig.13 Geometric Cushion / fig.14 Candle Holder

Scandi Christmas Living Rooms

Where to Buy | Scandi Christmas Living Room

fig.1 Arch Light / fig.2 Tree Decoration / fig.3 Tree Decoration / fig.4 Tree Decoration / fig.5 Tree Decoration / fig.6 Tree / fig.7 Patterned cushion / fig. 8 Woven Cushion / fig.9 Star Decorations / fig.10 Sofa / fig.11 Candle Set / fig.12 Side table / fig.13 Stocking / fig.14 Log burning stove / fig.15 Woven blanket

Cosy Cabin Christmas Living Rooms

Where to Buy | Cosy Cabin Christmas Living Room

fig.1 Wreath / fig.2 Lantern / fig.3 Tree Decoration / fig.4 Tree Decoration / fig.5 Tree Decoration / fig.6 Tree Decoration / fig.8 Plaid Cushion / fig.9 Faux Fur Cushion / fig.10 Christmas Tree / fig.11 Snow Globe / fig.12 Stocking / fig.13 Sofa / fig.14 Log Basket / fig.15 Wood Burning Stove / fig.16 Reindeer Hide Rug

 

29th November 2016
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Top Five | Start of Advent

Posted in Top Five by
Top Five

It has been another busy weekend for us as we prepare for a weekend break and start to think about how we will be decorating the cottage for Christmas.  Let’s look at out Top Five and what has kept up going this week.

One

toy advent set

Sunday just gone was the first Advent in Christmas.  Being dutiful God-Parents to our Godson Dexter we gave him a toy Nativity set to start the Advent celebrations. We have yet to find a Nativity set that we agree on, but are hopeful we will find one soon.

Two

Christmas Movies

We have a tradition of watching Christmas movies through December to get us in the mood for Christmas.  We started with the 1942 classic “Holiday Inn”.  We will spend the rest of the month trying to make sure we fit all the movies in before our final movie, a Muppets Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve.

Three

Ikea Candles

We made a little trip to Ikea on Sunday to pick some items to make our Christmas gifts.  As it is either illegal or impossible to leave Ikea without buying candles we left the store with a large number of them.  We will be using them throughout Christmas as they help make the cottage cosy.

Four

Advent Calendars

We like a good advent calendar and this year we have decided to go for a traditional one, ie without chocolate in it, and found this vintage looking one in John Lewis.  Don’t worry, we will still have a chocolate one and will be including the cat and dog as they will also be getting special pet friendly ones too.

Five

Off to Copenhagen

We are off to Copenhagen on Thursday for a short weekend, start of Christmas break.  This is the second time we are going and are looking forward to the fairy tale feel in the city.  It is also predicted to snow, which is equally as exciting.

28th November 2016
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Cocktail of the Week | Mulled Cider

Mulled Cider

This weekend is the first in Advent, which means only one thing, it is the start of the official countdown to Christmas! We both love Christmas and we usually mark this countdown by getting our advent calendars and making our own first mulled drink, which is our Cocktail of the Week, Mulled Cider.

Mulling drinks over winter is a European tradition. Nearly ever European country has their version of a mulled drink. In the UK it is mulled wine, Germany and Austria it is Glühwein and Nordic Countries it is Gløgg, all of which we have partaken in over the years. The concept of mulling wine and other drinks spread across Europe thanks to the Romans during the 2nd century as they conquered and traded with the countries they passed. The mulled spices we use today vary from country to country. The spices in the English version include cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom and nutmeg. A Medieval version of a mulled wine also included pepper, rosemary and pepper.  There is no one recipe for mulled wine and some of the more unique versions can include sausage and savoury herbs or be fortified with other spirits for good measure.

For this week’s cocktail, you will need;

• Cider
• Mulling syrup or spices.

To make this week’s drink, pour the cider into a saucepan and heat gently. Add the syrup or spices and bring to a boil. If you are using spices add a a little bit of sugar. Once boiled, allow the cider to cool slightly and ladle into a glass or mug. Add some apple, cinnamon or star anise and you have this week cocktail, Mulled Cider.

Any mulled drink is an enjoyable drink to have on a winter’s night with your feet up next to the fire and mulled cider is one of our favourites. That said, we are always happy to have a mulled drink when it is available.

Mulled Cider Mulled Cider

Mulled Cider
25th November 2016
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