Dorset’s Delicious Bits | BEAUTY IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER


frog in progress

… Dorset Uglies, by sculptress Emma Mauger …

As I drove towards the home of Dorset Uglies creator, Emma Mauger, I didn’t quite know how I was going to feel once I was confronted by her collection of ‘Uglies’.  I tend to be drawn towards clean lines and geometric shapes, and although I would say that there is quite a big dollop of quirkiness in me, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to appreciate the beauty of these creations with their wonky smiles.

After being warmly greeted by Emma and given a very much needed cup of tea, I met the first of the Ugly gang…

… and fell instantly in love.

I was so shocked by my reaction and by how much I wanted to take them all home.

This incredible encounter happened when I met listening bird, whose ear is pressed to the ground listening for the footsteps of its family (gosh, I wish I had taken a photograph of him, he was beautiful).

I then met pairs of pigs, gazing up with soulful eyes and snouty noses. I chatted to wide-mouthed frogs, looking particularly pleased with themselves. I even met horses with rubbery lips – you know the way that only horses can make their lips seem completely separate from the rest of their faces?  Emma had managed to capture this expression perfectly. One particular horse, called Mostyn, apparently likes Scarborough but is not a fan of playing rugby.

That was the other lovely surprise; each character comes named and with a summary of its likes and dislikes. This enables people to quickly connect with the personality of each Ugly as well as choose them according to the way that they look.

man Dorset Uglies

… one of the Uglies at home in the garden …

After asking Emma about the design process, it became clear that a massive amount of talent, love and hard work goes into every one. Each model takes a number of sittings to become complete and a sitting can last anywhere from 2 to 3 hours.  She currently sells them from her studio in Stour Provost as well as being a regular fixture at the Swans Yard craft fairs in the warmer months.  Prices generally start at £20.

Alfonso

… Alfonso, the studio mascot …

As if all this abundance of character and charm wasn’t enough, I was introduced to Alfonso, the bearded dragon and studio mascot. Happily wandering around and occasionally snuggling up to the two cats – yes really – he does a good job of keeping all of the Uglies in check! Slightly stern in appearance, he really is very friendly and only puffs up his neck at rather large camera lenses being poked in his face (totally my fault).

I wonder which of the Uglies would grab your heart? Let me know your favourite!

which is your favourite

For more information and to get in contact with Emma you can view her Facebook page or visit her website.

Have a great Sunday everyone!

A tiny note – just to say, of course I don’t get any money for blogging about the gorgeous gems of Dorset – I do it for the love! 

Dorset’s Delicious Bits | NORTH DORSET TRAILWAY

 

Hambledon Hill from the trailway

… the view of Hambledon Hill from the North Dorset Trailway …

This is a fantastic piece of Dorset that lots of locals know about (so I’m sorry if you know all of this already, just enjoy the pretty pictures).  The Trailway is made up from sections of the old Dorset and Somerset railway line and extends from Sturminster Newton to Spetisbury.

It gives people the opportunity to walk (or cycle, or horse ride…) through beautiful countryside on a pretty much level and even surface.

cyclist on trailway

There are many places where you can park and access the Trailway.  The route can be broken up into sections (so you can choose the length of walk that you feel like). Along the way, you can view some of the spectacular sights such as Hambledon Hill and Sturminster Mill.

trailway verges

It is such a fantastic place to enjoy and if you would like more information, you can visit the North Dorset Trailway website here.  On the site you can also look through interactive maps to help you choose your route.

Have a great Sunday everyone!

A tiny note – just to say, of course I don’t get any money for blogging about the gorgeous gems of Dorset – I do it for the love! 

 

 

TIME TO TALK TEA

tea collage

For my last birthday, I had at least one card with a teapot on the front and even a present wrapped up in teacup wrapping paper. I didn’t even know you could get teacup wrapping paper (it was rather wonderful)!

So yes, I love tea. It can make a bad day feel better, it warms you up and gives you that cosy comforting feeling like a cashmere jumper. All that good feeling from some dusty bits in a bag…

I have recently been expanding my tea palate and have discovered some real wonders, which I thought I would share with you.  For me, different occasions and times of day warrant different teas… so here goes:

1. Laid-back Botanicals from Teatonics.  A delicious tea that is perfect for unwinding and relaxing at the end of the day. Each little bag contains calming elements such as lavender, camomile and elderflower… and one of the best things about it is that the blend is created in Dorset, just round the corner in Shaftesbury. How cool is that?!

2. Chai.  A spicy and warming twist to a regular tea. I love to have a cup mid-morning when I need a bit of warming up from the cinnamon, cloves and ginger. With or without milk it’s one of my newest favourites.

3. Fruit tea. Caffeine free and zingy in flavour! I tend not to let the bag seep for too long as I find the flavour can be too strong. These are a good way to keep hydrated without having to drink cold water – brrrr!

4. Mint tea. A great digestive and a lovely refreshing drink all year round. In the summer, when the mint is bountiful in the garden, I’ll make a fresh batch with leaves in a pot. When the leaves aren’t available, I turn to pre-made bagged teas. Yum.

tea cover image

Which are your favourite teas? I’d love some more recommendations.

Time for a cuppa first though… don’t you think?!

Have a great day. x

 

Dorset’s Delicious Bits | LULWORTH COVE

 

Lulworth Cove1

… Lulworth Cove…

‘Let’s have breakfast on the beach…’ was the cry last Sunday. So we packed up our toast and marmite, grabbed a flask of tea and off we went… all joyful and excited by the thought of a sunny breakfast on the salty cobbles.

Well, it definitely was sunny and the weather was incredibly clear. It was also however, extremely windy and very, very cold.  Our enthusiasm was slightly dampened, but we were not to be thwarted!

 

choppy sea

We climbed to the top of Stair Hole and looked out to sea, remarking at how lucky we were not to be on a little boat trying to make its way through those enormous waves. The gulls were having a blast being thrown around by the winds, while underneath them, the sea was a mixture of blues, greens and white tops.

Stair hole

pebbles on beach

The oddest thing was that once we were actually on the beach the wind completely dropped away. The bay protected us totally and we were left alone to munch on our toast and watch the waves roll in.

Although at one point, I was trying to be terribly dramatic and take some close-up shots of the waves breaking, only to get a well -deserved foot and almost total-body soaking!

 

 

Have a great Sunday everyone!

 

 

A tiny note – just to say, of course I don’t get any money for blogging about the gorgeous gems of Dorset – I do it for the love! 

 

 

Dorset’s Delicious Bits | OKEFORD HILL

 

Okeford Hill

… The view from the top of Okeford Hill …

This photo opportunity happened completely by accident. It was the dreariest of days and the clouds hung thickly, looking as if they weren’t going to shift even a tiny bit. I was on my way to run errands (I love that phrase… it contains so much self importance) anyway, me and my errands, were going in the direction of Okeford Hill.  The foggy mistiness was getting pretty dense by the time I was up at the top and I was sad that I wouldn’t see much of a view – which is a stunner by the way.

However, when I was actually coming down the other side, I was amazed at the mixed bag of weather I could see from my elevated position.  I naturally whipped out the camera and had to take some pictures to show you…

To the right of me (picture above), the sun was breaking through and giving everything a warm glow. The cows were grazing happily despite the wind which had, by this time, almost given my fingers frostbite.

Okeford Hill 3

Whereas to the left, the weather was all dark and sultry, looking as if it might rain any minute.  It really was a view of two halves!

On a clear, bright day, the view is pretty staggering. There are often people parachuting off the top and you can sit and watch their brightly-coloured canopies whirling above you. The villages all nestle in their own little creeks, with the tops of the churches just visible.

If you are there early enough, you can watch the racehorses thunder down the gallops. I’m always worried that by rocketing down a steep slope at such speeds, they will fall over onto their noses… but I don’t think they do!

the gallops on Okeford Hill

… looking towards the gallops …

It’s so worth a visit and there are brilliant walks that zigzag all over – perfect for dogs, clearing away cobwebs or letting over-excitable children deplete their energy reserves!!

Have a great Sunday everyone!

A tiny note – just to say, of course I don’t get any money for blogging about the gorgeous gems of Dorset – I do it for the love! 

 

 

CROCHET CHUNKY MAN SCARF

crochet chunky man scarf

I was terribly excited about this latest crochet adventure… working with beautifully soft, chunky wool to create something that Mr D-F really wanted for his birthday.  Over the past few months, I would flick through one of my crochet books, to find a helpful page and he would always remark ‘I really love the look of that scarf’ or sometimes ‘I bet that scarf would be warm’.  Needless to say, I quickly got the hint.

The other thing about this dreamy man-scarf is how long it took from start to finish. It only took me a couple of evenings by the fire and I was definitely not hooking at full speed.  The chunky wool was lovely to work with but it took a bit of effort as the scarf grew in size.

I was a bit disappointed that it was all over so quickly!

crochet man scarf2

If you are interested in some of the facts:

I used Debbie Bliss Rialto Chunky in four colours (2 x 50g balls of each colour), with a 6.5mm hook.

The pattern was from one of my favourite books of all: Crochet – The complete step-by-step guide, by DK.

crochet man scarf3

I really hope that after all of his hinting, Mr D-F really loves it.

Have a great day!

WELCOMING THE NEW YEAR

early primrose

So before anything else, a big Happy New Year to you! I hope you managed to have a rest in between seeing family, wrapping presents, watching favourite films and drinking hot chocolate with little marshmallows floating on the top.

January seems to inspire the inner-planner in people (and especially me, who is prone to every creative fad and whim going).  I am currently getting excited over new planting plans for the garden, looking at new paint colours for the cottage and DIY projects that will enhance my life (according to Pinterest)…

… and yesterday I got a little joyously overwhelmed while sorting out my herb and spice cupboard. I know, I sure know how to party!

In order to get a little perspective and ground myself before starting too many new things at once, I took a little trip around the garden, just to see what was happening while the weather was cold and frosty.

moss on sleeper

bird bath in winter

I felt instantly calmed… and ready to make a list of all of these crazy ideas flying round my head. I can now tackle them one-by-one, before telling you all about them throughout the year!

Have a great day!

 

A Look Back | 2014 Favourites

2014 favourites

This has been a truly great year and I can’t believe we’re on the cusp of a new one. Don’t get me wrong, the last twelve months have had their fair share of ups, downs and mega downs, but looking back has allowed me to re-live the enormous number of brilliant bits, especially when it comes to the blog.

I’ve made so many new friends, have tried lots of different new experiences and have attempted to push myself to go that little bit further when all I fancy is a cuddle with the cat (fat chance – far too grumpy). So I thought I would show you, just a few of my posts, that hold some sort of big significance in 2014 at The Dorset Finca.  I hope you enjoy…

propagating-jade-plants2

This post was a real gardening turning point for me.

I was given a book on plant propagation last Christmas and was mesmerised at how easily plants could be persuaded to make more of themselves. I obviously then went a little bit crazy and had pots on every windowsill of the house as I tried propagating everything possible! Although my windowsills are now more or less back to normal, it was incredible to watch cuttings and leaves take root, all by themselves.

crochet-granny-flower2

Another major craze of my year was featured in this post. A craze which I feel will never end as I completely and utterly LOVE crochet. I love it.

For eight blissful weeks, I attended a crochet course on Tuesdays. My incredible teacher Ali (her website is here if you’re interested) filled us with enthusiasm and encouragement. The above picture was the first time that I attempted a compilation of my own (although I used Lucy’s pattern at Attic24 for the flower squares) and was thrilled with the results.

be-brutal2

The posts about the goings on in The Dorset Finca garden always seem to encourage people to comment and have a chat about their own experiences – which makes me so happy. The best bit about blogging for me is the community… the way you can make new friends from anywhere on the planet and compare notes.

This post about being brave in the face of pruning, in particular, seemed to strike a chord and I received lots of lovely emails and comments.

Emsie Sharp bauble making

…and finally, this post (featuring glass blower Emsie Sharp), which reminds me of all the wonderful experiences that I have had over the last twelve months.  When I started my Dorset’s Delicious Bits series, the aim was to showcase the county how I see it; full of beautiful scenery, places to visit and most importantly, incredibly friendly and talented people.  I hope to be able to continue this series into 2015 and uncover lots more Dorset loveliness.

Have a great last day of 2014, see you next year! x