Sunny Weekends

cinammon and ginger cookies refined sugar free

rose-buds-david-austin

hydrangea-annabelle

newly-planted-sweet-peas

Hello! I hope you are having a wonderful weekend so far. Yesterday in our part of Dorset, the sun was shining, the wind was warm and it was a perfect day for messing about in the garden. We tied back the roses that have gone crazy after all of the humid weather  and noticed that there are so many more buds this year compared to last. The aphids are still my nemeses but despite their recurring appearances, I’m hoping that before long we’ll have an explosion of beautifully-scented, pink blooms from my absolute favourite – The Generous Gardener (a David Austin rose).

The Hydrangea Annabelles are also looking particularly healthy (they need lots of water too) and should soon be opening up their striking white mop-head like flowers.

Finally, after many months of procrastinating, we managed to sort out the veg bed, bordering it properly and making a little fence so that *someone* doesn’t go digging in amongst the plants.  With help from the aforementioned little terrier, I roped together the cane supports and planted the sweet-peas.  We are a bit uncertain how well the veggies will do in this bed as it gets only partial sun during the day. We might have to adapt what we plant as we go along.

All-in-all, it is turning out to be my favourite sort of weekend; dressed in scruffs, running (or ambling) about in no shoes and lots of outside eating! (By the way, the gluten and refined sugar free biscuits in the first picture were really rather good. So easy to make and very easy to eat! You can find the recipe here).

Have a great day x

eating-lunch-al-fresco

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The Opening Of The New Gin House ~ Wimborne

pouring gin

freshly-poured-gin-and-tonic

I was very excited to be invited to the opening of the new Gin House in Wimborne last week.  I have fond memories of having lovely dinners in The Tickled Pig before tripping over to the opposite side of the road to visit The Gin House in its former location. I loved the ‘secret club’ feel and the timelessness and wondered, if housed in a bigger place, would it be able to retain the same atmosphere?

I needn’t have worried; the bar area has become significantly larger and they have gained an upstairs area (for functions and gin tasting evenings) – therefore addressing the main issues of the previous site. However, the whole prohibition, speakeasy vibe is still very much intact and when you walk through the heavy velvet curtains after choosing your drink of choice, it is very much a place where secret meetings and cosy discussions can be had!

conker-gin

ice-in-glass

laras-gin

rosemary-garnish

beautiful-golden-tables

I took my friend Lara, who is a bit of a gin connoisseur and has particular favourites.  She was able to talk in depth with the staff behind the bar about local gins, botanicals and general gin trivia. I on the other hand (as I don’t really drink) was served a wonderful non-alcoholic tonic and herb mixture. Yum!

If you are also a gin fan like Lara, you’ll be pleased to discover that The Gin House is featuring more than 200 new gins as well as opportunities to book ‘behind the scenes’ packages that include bespoke menus designed by experienced mixologists.

If like me you prefer to enjoy something else, they have a range of interesting and tempting gin-free drinks to excite most tastebuds!

Although I was obviously invited to attend, I honestly thought it was a fantastic upgrade to the previous Gin House location (which I loved) and Lara and I are already planning our return visit. Come and say hi if you see us! x

 

the-gin-house-wimborne-exterior

 

A Quintessential English Day Out (One For Your Diary)

crochet-monkey-for-sale

crochet-giraffe-for-sale

adult-and-child-aprons-handmade-for-sale

Hello again! Just a little post to give you all the heads up that it is Turnworth in May this weekend (on Sunday 27th from 11am – 5pm). A village with which I have very strong ties and I can say with utter certainty that this event is a special one to drop in on (I say drop in, many people hang out all day)! There’s free parking and free entry, not to mention a massive array of homemade cakes and quiet spots to sit in while you take in the beautiful surroundings.

As you can see from the pictures above, there will be stunning handmade toys, bags and aprons for sale which are really one of a kind. Although, you’ll have to race me to the monkey! He’s mine! There will also be the very popular bric-a-brac stall, which is known for some quality finds for those with a good eye as well as the very well stocked plant stall. Just a word of warning, if you get asked to buy a picture of a cat – be prepared to haggle. (Sounds bizarre? Just you wait)!!

Many of the villagers will have their gardens open for you to wander round, hopefully in the warm sunshine and will be there to talk to you, if you wish, about what they’re planting and what’s been going on in the village. 10 points to the first person who spots a runaway tortoise!

pretty-white-flowers

wisteria

yellow-alstroemeria

I will definitely be there to lounge about in the gardens and drink plenty of tea. Please come and say hi if you see me about. Have a lovely weekend x

 

Nutty Mint Chocolate and Banana Smoothie

 

nutty-chocolate-mint-smoothie

nutty-choc-mint-smoothie-in-hand

nutty-chocolate-mint-and-banana-smoothie

Hello! I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend so far. Isn’t this warm weather uplifting?

As the afternoons have been so full of sunshine, I’ve taken to swapping my usual 4pm warm turmeric milk for a smoothie instead. By this point, the main jobs of the day have usually been done (or added to tomorrow’s to-do list), I’ve spend a good half an hour or more on my yoga mat and I’m in need of something delicious to refuel myself.

I love smoothies and I have been really getting into recipes that have a bit more texture, that you can eat with a spoon and yes, taste a bit like ice-cream! I’m quite conscious of not overloading my smoothies with too much sugary fruits and try and keep all of the ingredients to a good balance.

The recipe for this Nutty Mint Chocolate Smoothie came about by making a few tweaks to a favourite Vanilla and Banana Smoothie. Those of you who know my adoration for mint chocolate in any guise will not be surprised that this is the direction that my smoothie took!

So, for the recipe (I don’t have a fancy blender, I picked one up really cheaply in the Lidl aisle of delight last year and it’s still going strong – those Lidl go-ers, you totally know the aisle I mean right?!)

Tip – peel and freeze any old bananas and keep a stock in your freezer. They make great ice-creams and smoothie bases.

Serves one:

  • One large frozen banana
  • 200ml almond milk (preferably unsweetened)
  • 1 tbsp of smooth almond butter
  • 1 -2 fresh mint leaves (depends how minty you like things)
  • 1 tbsp of raw cacao powder

Blend it all together until it is all nice and smooth. Tip into a glass and enjoy (hopefully you’ll need a spoon)! If you want to be really fancy, you could grate some dark chocolate (>70% cocoa solids) over the top.

Let me know how you get on. H x

What I’m Currently Reading ~ May ~ Part Two

clean cakes front cover

Clean Cakes by Henrietta Inman

Clean Cakes my favourite page

 

Ooh part two! Have you been excitedly waiting?! What were your thoughts on The Knife of Never Letting Go? I’d love to know.

Not surprisingly, my second choice for May is a baking book and one that advocates using whole foods (so no gluten or refined sugar here) and it is… *drumroll

Clean Cakes by Henrietta Inman

Now this book is seriously beautiful. You may just want to just leave it lying around to become part of the decor when you’re not trying out some of the show-stopping patisseries.

However, for me, it’s not all sunshine and roses and I’ll try to explain as best I can.

I have been watching a lot of Bake-Off re-runs while I’ve been in the kitchen and they’ve been inspiring me to try out some more complicated baking and because we’re gluten free, I couldn’t turn to a conventional recipe book on French patisserie. When I came across Henrietta’s book, I was sure that this was going to solve all of my problems. Of course though (I bet you’re already steps ahead of me with this), more complicated baking comes with more complicated recipes (duh!) and usually, a greater number of ingredients.

When looking through the book I suddenly got disheartened and lost a bit of my cooking-confidence. It took me a night to sleep on it before I came to my senses and realised that this is nothing to be shied away from. I LOVE baking, so why shouldn’t I try something with a bit more finesse? Yes, I adore making muffins using only the food processor, but what about giving myself the time to create something truly special? That’s where I think this book comes in. It is the gentle nudge in the right direction to push me past my comfort zone (which was getting very comfortable, I can tell you, I mean – weekly banana bread – what’s not to love)?!

This inner conflict convinced me that I should feature this new book on today’s post, even if next week’s post is entitled ‘A Kitchen Meltdown’.

I’d love to know how you feel about more complicated recipes. Do they make you lose hope a little bit too or do you relish the challenge? Talk soon, H x

 

This post contains an affiliate link – this doesn’t affect you at all, but if people purchase from the linked shop after clicking, it might eventually cause a tiny payout to me. What would I do with it? Probably go out for a cup of tea and a slice of cake! You are welcome to join me. x

Clean Cakes and my hand

 

Embracing My Inner Yogini

rose gold water bottle on yoga mat

Lucy Yin Yoga Teacher

the yoga lounge

Good morning and Happy Sunday!

Some of you may know that I practise yoga regularly at home. Especially on the days when I am sitting at the computer a lot editing photos and writing content, I look forward to getting out my mat in the afternoon, positioning it in the sunshine (when it’s there) and taking the time out to do some Vinyasa.  I have never been to a Yoga class in my life (or rather, had never been), possibly because I struggled to find where my favourite styles were being taught in places near to me or to find times which suited my rather haphazard timetable.

I was so excited when, a few weeks ago, the Yoga Lounge in Bournemouth invited me to join them for a morning to try out a class. I spent hours (oh yes, many, many hours) scouring their timetable trying to decide… did I feel like Aerial yoga (oh my goodness, yes I did) or hot Bikram or warming Yin. I was so tempted by the Aerial Yoga but the timings didn’t work out for me, I was not sure that I wanted to put myself through something extreme like Bikram for my first ever class and so I happily chose the warming blanket of a Yin session.

Our teacher Lucy couldn’t have made me feel more welcome. The class was busy and a wonderfully supportive atmosphere emanated from all of the Yogis and Yoginis. The studio was beautifully warm and I felt myself properly relax. After a good hour of holding positions and stretching I felt AMAZING! Honestly, I’m not over-exaggerating; it was one of the best experiences ever and if I lived a bit closer to Bournemouth I would be regularly attending that class. I felt the effects for the rest of this week, especially when practising Yoga on my own and when I went to my usual Zumba class.


miffy the dog on the counter top

miffy the dog

After the class, look who was in the reception area?! How cute is she?

The whole place has such a great vibe; dogs on the counter tops, friendly conversations and large open spaces. If you feel like trying out a new class or you are completely new to Yoga and want to see if it’s for you, I can heartily recommend The Yoga Lounge. My nerves at going to my first ever class in an unfamiliar place, pretty much disappeared the moment I walked in.

Please let me know in the comments if you have already tried out The Yoga Lounge, if you’re a regular or if you, like me, are an at home Yogini!

Have a wonderful rest of your day. H x

 

 

This post was sponsored by The Yoga Lounge, in that they invited me to join them for a morning and try out a class, however, my opinions are completely my own and my general rule is that if I don’t love something, I tend to not write about it! 

Lunch From The Sukha Lounge ~ Bournemouth

lunch from the sukha lounge

raw felafel, broccoli and cauliflower

sweet potato cake

Look what the lovely people at The Sukha Lounge left for me when I was in their vicinity last Sunday. They also had made me a matcha smoothie, which was green and frothy and delicious. I did take a photo and post it on Instagram, however, it didn’t last long enough for me to get it home to take ‘proper’ photographs – it was that good!

If you are as yet unaware of The Sukha Lounge; it is a vegan cafe which specialises in gluten-free and refined sugar-free food.  Such a perfect match for my current eating habits (I’m predominately gluten free and pretty much 100% refined sugar-free).  As they are not open on a Sunday, I took my take-away home with me for Mr D-F and I to share for lunch.

Our meal comprised of raw falafels (I’ve never had falafels raw before but these were so good), kale and mango salad with some raw broccoli and cauliflower, along with some zingy humous, which was amazing. For pudding, we had a slice of sweet potato cake, which I was expecting to be a strange consistency but it tasted like an in-between mix of chocolate cake and chocolate mousse. A combination I am very much in favour of!

I will definitely be going back to The Sukha Lounge on a day that it is open and after having another dreamy, green smoothie, I can’t wait to see what else is on the menu.

x

This post was sponsored by The Sukha Lounge, in that they gave me a free lunch, however, my opinions are completely my own and my general rule is that if I don’t love something, I tend to not write about it!