A Sweet Send-Off

sweet potato and butternut squash soup

pretty glass tea light candle

stag head on the wall at the barn cafe

the most amazing rocky road cake

In my day-job-life as opposed to my blog-life, I am about to start at a new workplace.  An exciting change but also a sad departure from a place where I have been very happy for many years.  On my last few days, I was spoilt with cakes and presents, beautiful cards and good wishes and last Friday, we went out for a wonderfully indulgent lunch at The Barn Cafe.

Situated on the outskirts of Lytchett Matravers and nestled within a courtyard of shops, the Barn Cafe boasts a mesmerising selection of beautiful cakes and a great lunch menu, which includes freshly made soups and sandwiches.

I was relieved that we had reserved a table as it was so busy and the day was too cold to make use of the pretty outside seating area. In the short breaks in-between all of the chatting, we ordered rounds of pea and mint soup, butternut squash and sweet potato soup, as well as brie and bacon paninis with tortilla chips and salad.  Everyone had their eyes on a particular cake for pudding and it wasn’t long after our main course had been polished off, that we welcomed the arrival of enormous slices of Rocky Road, a rice crispy cake with chocolate topping, lemon sponge and a creamy chai latte (for me)! I am having a serious chai latte obsession right now (I think it’s because of the cold weather that we’ve been having and it’s just so warming and yummy)!

Our table was booked for someone else at 3:30pm and we’d all exclaimed at the beginning of the lunch how we would be long-gone by then… we all had different plans for the afternoon and in any case, we’d arrived at 12pm – what could we have to chat about for that long?! So you can imagine the shrieks when we realised that it was well past 3 and we were likely to be turfed out at any moment!

H x

 

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What’s Growing On My Windowsill?

thyme seedlings in hand

cornflower seedlings on my windowsill

rosemary seeds on my palm

Dark and moody photos for a dark and moody few days.  Having not been able to get out into the garden to do any jobs, I’ve been resorting to greening up my kitchen windowsill in the hope that I can get seeds started before they have to cope with the crazy weather outside.

I was given a packet of Cornflower seeds by a friend along with a pretty, greeny-blue bucket to plant them in (I think you can get these in Marks and Spencer).  Although it is supposed to be a patio arrangement, the instructions suggested planting inside first, which I did.  I couldn’t get over how fast these seeds germinated; there were mounds of soil being pushed up by the sprouting seeds within 2 days. By the end of day 4, there were little green heads covering the soil’s surface.  The only downside to their speediness is that they have been very quickly bending their leaves to face the light and I need to continually turn the bucket around to encourage them to grow straight up. The minute the weather looks as if it is going to settle, I’ll put them outside to be surrounded by sunlight (ha)!

Mr D-F bought me a little present the last time he was out – a packet of Thyme and a packet of Rosemary seeds. Isn’t he a cutie?! The Thyme has germinated quickly, thanks to the warmth in the kitchen, but the small shoots have grown on much more slowly compared to the lightening-fast Cornflowers. I’ve been a bit disappointed with the Rosemary seeds as they haven’t germinated at all. It’s been roughly two weeks now and not a sign. I think I’ll need to ditch the seed idea and buy a small Rosemary plant instead.  At least that will mean that I can use the leaves in my cooking much sooner!

Please leave me a comment below if you’ve done any planting recently and let me know what you went for. x

A Large Fish And A Celebrity Dog ~ Oh, And A Trip To Compton Acres


pretty pink pom pom plant
view of the pond at Compton Acres in Dorsetlight pink camelia

The sun appeared a little this week – did you manage to see it?! And although it was pretty windy, nothing was going to stop me from getting outside, so a friend and I headed out to Compton Acres (a privately owned garden in Poole, Dorset). The plan was to have a walk around the gardens, stop for tea and have a wander in amongst the plants in their garden shop.

Even though the recent cold weather seemed to have had an effect and many plants were only just showing their faces (or leaves), there were still Magnolia, Camellia and alpine plants to enjoy.  We also spent time gawping at the enormous leaves on some of the rhododendron specimens. They were so big – like bigger than your head big!

My friend brought her beautiful little dog (a jack russell/border terrier cross in case you are wondering – we got asked so many times)! Her dog is amazingly well-behaved and she has such an expressive face that she quickly became a celebrity: we were stopped, talked to, had photos taken… all because of little madam here. It was really funny and she loved every minute.

little dog sniffing the waters edgelittle jack russell border terrier crossbeautiful little jack russell border terrier crosslittle dog and coi carp almost kissing

She was particularly taken with the gargantuan Koi Carp in the Japanese gardens. They almost had a kiss at one point! She wasn’t growling or barking at them, we think that she just wanted to get close enough for a sniff and to check out what sort of thing they were. There were three very dark coloured Koi, that would appear from the shadows like stealthy ninjas and they were quite sinister in the way that they lurked about.

brie and cranberry sandwich

After an hour or so walking through the various parts of the gardens and taking funny photos with the statues, we were hungry and in need of a cup of tea. The people in the cafe were incredibly helpful, friendly and had no problem with us bringing a little dog in to sit beneath our feet.  The only issue with this was that we spent most of our lunchtime in deep conversation with a couple sitting next to us about the pros and cons of different dog breeds, how beautiful our little companion terrier was and wasn’t she a good girl?…

You get the picture!

x

Bedroom Highlights Reveal

Hi! I hope you’re having a lovely weekend. I am really excited that our bedroom is finally finished. We’ve been living in the new Finca for over two years but it has taken us so long to get the room just how we wanted it. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still the opportunity for new throws, pretty bed linen or more houseplants but, on the whole, the room is done.

How bad was it when we moved in? Not horrendous at all. However, the three-walls of fitted furniture weren’t quite our style, the paint was a bit pink for me and the woodwork needed a bit of TLC.

Would you like to see my favourite bits? I’ll explain as we go through and I’ll link all of the featured items at the bottom of the post in case you would like to check them out online.

I have to start with this beauty. I have wanted a Juju hat for our wall for a long time and the traditional hats from Cameroon are hard to source and can be seriously expensive. During one of my Instagram browsing sessions, I discovered Bamaluz Home and was so overjoyed to see the beautiful handmade Juju hats and wall hangings that were listed in their online shop. After a chat, I ended up having a Juju hat custom made in greys and browns so that it would fit in beautifully with our bedroom’s new colour scheme.

Although still a little bare (there’s definitely room for a houseplant here) we are still really loving our chest of drawers from Ikea. Currently on the top, we keep a picture of me when I was hunting for shells on Studland beach, our favourite coffee table books and our Amazon Alexa, which I love listening to rainforest noises on before I go to sleep. We had the shutters made for the window, which create a lovely dappled light and are possibly my favourite thing about the room… although it’s so hard to pick a favourite!

The colour on the walls is Farrow and Ball’s Elephant’s Breath – I’m sure you’re not surprised as you know me to be such a grey addict!

A little close up so that you can see the difference between my sort of coffee table book and Mr D-Fs sort of books. Can you tell which one is which?

This is one of the pieces of fitted furniture that we kept (above photo). It wasn’t necessarily something that we would have chosen but after some pondering, we decided that it was really handy and I now use this drawer section as a place to keep all of my bits that I need daily.

This possibly is a slightly random picture of my bedside table, however, this cuticle cream is the best thing ever. I have to talk about it as I use it every evening and I am sure that is has made my nails much stronger and they grow so quickly. I have a little evening ritual… rainforest noises on, YouTube videos playing and I put this cream on before I read my book. So relaxing!

As promised here are the links:

Juju Hat from Bamaluz Home

Photo frame from John Lewis, similar to this one

Amazon Echo in dark wood effect

Lego book

Dogs in Vogue book

Chanel book

Baskets from Wild Home

Burt’s Bees Cuticle Cream

 

Please note: some of the links above are affiliate links. 

What I’m Currently Reading ~ February

What I’m Currently Reading ~ February

Perhaps it’s the cold, dreary weather or maybe I’ve been trying to take a bit of time out just to calm my busy mind, but I’ve been getting into some wonderful books recently.  I thought it might be a nice idea to share what I’m reading each month and hopefully you’ll feel like leaving me a comment with new recommendations of what to read next! Sound like a plan? Right, let’s dive in.

I discovered this first book through someone that I follow on Instagram. The title and blurb of the book just called to me and it did not disappoint. It fitted exactly what I was in need of and it’s so good, that I’ve started reading it again for the second time!

It is: Mastering Your Mean Girl by Melissa Ambrosini

melissa ambrosini mastering your mean girl

I originally bought this on Kindle (as you can see above!) but I think that it is quite a good book to have in the real as I constantly was flipping back and forth trying to remember the good tips that she provides.

The ‘Mean Girl’ that she refers to in the title and throughout the book is your inner voice/critic/ego.  This book celebrates self love, self worth and advocates the important message that before you can give to others, you need to be overflowing with feeling great about yourself.

She discusses how to get the most out of relationships, the importance of working out what ‘healthy’ looks like to you and not being afraid to go there. Her messages really encourage you to go out and make the most of each and every day, which totally resonated with me. I would love Mr D-F to read it too, but I have prepared him that the book is more geared towards a female audience and I’m not sure how he will get along with the tone, however the messages are applicable to anyone.

Whether you love the ‘self-help’ genre of books or you’ve never gone there before, I really recommend the read. I LOVED IT!

Check it out on Amazon, here.

The other book I’ve been diving into is a bit of a throwback. I adored this book growing up…

my family and other animals

My Family And Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

I remember reading this in my teens and dreaming of a life in the sunshine, even then. The book chronicles the crazy antics of a family and the creatures and animals that they encounter along their journeys. It is a laugh out loud, beautifully written book which, if it isn’t already, will become a firm favourite on your shelves.

My favourite bit is the scorpions at the table… if you’ve read it, you’ll know exactly the bit I’m talking about!

What are your favourite reads? Can you recommend me something for March? x

 

Jewellery Inspired By Nature

I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent quite a lot of time this week, deliberating whether or not to go out into the garden. The sun has been shining (hurray!) but it has been incredibly cold.  Any attempts to enjoy a cup of tea in the outdoors have sent me scuttling pretty quickly into the warmth of the kitchen and the view out of the window instead.

There’s something about the sun shining that has me reaching for the seed packets, houseplants or anything else that links me to nature. So lucky then, that the lovely designers at R.A. Fourt Jewelry Co. sent me the most beautiful earrings to have a look at.

All inspired by nature and the outdoors!

rafourt drop earrings

These particular earrings are made from maple, walnut, ebony and mahogany wood before being adorned with small pieces of tumbled coral. Aren’t they amazing? I am IN LOVE!  I adore how the different sections of wood come together to create a striking pattern.

Based in Madison, Wisconsin, the R.A.Fourt team use their surroundings to inspire their minimalistic jewellery range. You can take a peek at their other beautiful items on their Etsy shop, here.

rafourt stud earrings

The studs in the picture above, are made from walnut, mahogany and my absolute favourite – Zebrawood!  They are so light and comfortable to wear and I get many admiring comments whenever I have them on.

Reece (the R. in R.A.Fourt!) spends much of his time, while not designing beautiful jewellery, making and repairing guitars so he’s pretty knowledgeable about working with natural materials and clearly has a real eye for striking design.

If you have time, I really recommend checking out the R.A.Fourt Facebook page, here.  There are some beautiful slide shows of their jewellery, but be prepared to do some mega swooning!

Let me know your favourites! x

Amit’s Amazing Guacamole Recipe ~ A Wild Home Post

Amit’s Amazing Guacamole Recipe ~ A Wild Home Post

Hi! Good morning! How are you doing?

I know that this blog is centred around the Dorset happenings on the Finca, but I get so excited about what is going on with our Wild Home family that I love to share it with you on here too. I thought you would especially love this post (mainly because it involves cooking and eating – what’s not to love, right?)

If you’ve been following us on Instagram, you may have seen that we’ve been having a bit of jolly time with the monkeys in the Wild Home garden. Currently, their favourite game is to knock down the avocados off of the enormous avocado tree. One morning, our Kenyan team woke up to find hundreds of avocados scattered over the ground as a result of the monkeys’ high jinks from the previous evening.

Instead of being too dismayed, the team gave the avos out to everyone they met and kept some back to make a large batch of guacamole! Wild Homie Amit’s recipe for guacamole is particularly delicious and I thought that this would be a great opportunity to share it with you.

guacamole_with_spinach_bread_1024x1024

You will need:

1 large, ripe avocado or 2 smaller ones

1 clove of crushed garlic

juice of 1/2 a lime

a sprinkle of chopped coriander

salt and pepper to taste

3 drops of Tabasco Sauce

Method:

Either by mashing with a fork or by using a small blender, blend the avocado, garlic, lime juice, coriander and Tabasco together until it is smooth and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste before giving it one more quick blend.

There are so many incredible ways to serve guacamole.  My current favourites are either by having it spread on crispy toast or dolloped on freshly made spinach bread.

Yum!

guacamole_on_spinach_bread_1024x1024

…and as for the monkeys? Currently we have some bananas hanging from the trees to try and entice them to spend their time up there more productively! I’ll let you know how they get on!