Dorset's Delicious Bits

Shopping Spree – Harts Haul

I was in a dangerous situation earlier in the week.

I had to go to Harts of Stur to buy something very practical and slightly boring – a tea strainer I think it was.

If you’re a local you’ll totally understand why I consider this a mission with much jeopardy. However, if you have not taken a trip to Sturminster Newton and into Harts… you’ll soon see what I mean.

harts cover large

So I parked up outside, wandered in thinking ‘tea strainers, tea strainers, tea strainers…’ and then the first hazardous thing occurred.

‘Ooh lip balms!’ the hazardous thing shrieked. (The ‘thing’ being my inner magpie for anything colourful, shiny or generally beautiful looking).

With mission tea strainer totally out of my mind I went to look at these gorgeous, organic lip balms. I use A LOT of lip balm and I have been thinking that maybe I should switch to something much more natural and less chemically-laced.

bee lippy lip balm

I am so happy with this little pot. I love the colours of the packaging (I am such a sucker for luscious packaging). The balm sits on a little dish on my desk so that I can use it throughout the day.

Feeling really rather pleased with myself at this point, I looked to my left… BIG MISTAKE.

travel mug

There were the coolest travel mugs by Bodum just perched on a stand, looking enticing. To justify my thinking at this point – I use a travel mug a lot. If I am out and about, I always forget to drink. By having a travel mug with me, filled with mint tea, vanilla rooibos or something similar, I can try and entice myself to drink once I get to my destination. I currently use a ceramic mug, which has been great but water can drip out of the hole at the top (really inconvenient when you spill this on yourself), whereas this one above has a totally sealed top.

Beware though – I gave it a test run and it really does keep drinks very hot! Like for hours. If I know I’m going to need to drink it within an hour, I either leave the top opening on ‘open’ or I add some cold water. Never the less, I love this new mug.

…and look, doesn’t it go amazingly with the new tea towels that I found?! I can’t decide which is my favourite. I think I am quite in love with the burnt tangerine colour.

colourful tea towels

My mantra of ‘tea strainer’ came back to me at this point and as I was getting so easily distracted, I asked a very lovely lady (who works at Harts btw, not just another customer… that would have been weird) to direct me to the right place.

While on my way to the tea strainers, I picked up some cards for future needs. It’s always good to have a stock of interesting cards and these ones really called to me:

emma ball cards

By the time that I got to the tea strainers my basket was looking quite full and while very functional, the strainers now no longer looked even remotely enticing. ‘I really don’t need anything else today, do I?’ I said to myself.

…and I ended up not getting one at all.

At least that gives me an excuse for another visit in the near future – don’t you think?!

xx

Dorset's Delicious Bits

Turnworth In May – A Dorset Date For Your Diary

Why have I never blogged about this before? Sorry, not helpful. I’ll start at the beginning.

There is a little, tiny hamlet nestled at the base of Okeford Hill called Turnworth. It is made up of only a few collection of houses, a church and a phone box. Surrounding this ‘metropolis’ are fields and trees, hills and grassy banks. It’s the sort of place where everyone knows and takes care of one another.

Sound good?

Turnworth holds an annual fete which celebrates all things to do with springtime and quintessential village life and they would really like you to join them.

Turnworth in May – Sunday 28th May – 11 am until 5 pm

DT11 0EE

Turnworth in May

You can have a wander around the village, have a peek into the vegetable gardens, stroll over people’s lawns if open to the public (these will be clearly signposted).  Take a moment in the church where Thomas Hardy stood and look at the flower arrangements.

There are also plenty of things to tempt you… such as a range of delicious home-made cakes, jams and preserves…

marmalade

… some of this year’s stock, ready for purchase …

…and just look at these… too cute!

crochet teddies

crochet emojis

… crochet emoji keyrings and teddies …

I have already got my eye on a few of these bags and doorstops which will be on sale. So you’ll have to race me…

handmade bag

handmade bag2

crochet doorstop

There’ll be lots of easy parking and everyone in the village will be out to help and point you in the direction of the things that will interest you.

Shall we make a date to see each other there?

Actually, if you think you see me – with armfuls of bags and jams probably – please come and say hi! I love those “Hey, you’re the Dorset Finca” moments! xx 

 

Dorset's Delicious Bits

A Dorset Deal – Free Pizza and Food Offers

Hello my friends! I have been contacted this week about two exciting new restaurant openings in Bournemouth.  They are especially exciting as the restaurants are offering huge discounts and even free food in their first few days of opening their doors.

I’m not going to be able to make it over there in time to make good use of this, so please go in my stead and fill up on deliciousness.

So… the details…

Margherita

… picture courtesy of Franco Manca Pizza …

Neapolitan pizza pioneer Franco Manca has recently launched its new pizzeria in Bournemouth. There are 200 pizzas that will be given out each day (this is based on a lovely Italian tradition of celebrating new customers by giving out free pizzas).

This offer is only available for today (Sunday 14th May) and tomorrow – so get down there and fill up on some Margherita!

greek food

… picture courtesy of The Real Greek

The Real Greek restaurant is offering:

50% off all Main Menu food on Monday 15th & Tuesday 16th May, dine in only.
25% off all Main Menu food Wednesday 17th & Thursday 18th May, dine in only.
They’ve just let me know that they are now fully booked for reservations, but they have plenty of space for people to walk in without a booking. The more the merrier!
Let me know if you manage to make it to any of these great new places and what you think. I’ll be thinking of you enjoying all of the great food.
Speak soon x
Dorset's Delicious Bits

Top Tips On Treating Your Skin At Home

So yes, I’m still having a love affair with my Organic Almond Serum from Enchanted Plants.  I put it on every evening and feel all the goodness and wellbeing soak into my skin.  I call it a love affair, but that makes it sound like it’s a fleeting love and I don’t think it is. I think it’s in for the long-haul. It’s that kind of love.

Last week, I shared some of Jemma’s beautiful products with you.  You can find Jemma’s shop by following this link, if you would like another chance to browse.

… and while we were having our lovely chat about her favourite soaps, creams and oils, she also shared with me some top tips for giving your skin a little special attention at home.  Life is hectic. There is so much rushing around, jobs to be done and things to tick of a multitude of lists, but it is important to take time out, reflect a little and indulge yourself. I’m a firm believer that a bit of self-indulgence makes you more productive and a more thoughtful individual. If you are brimming with relaxation and joy, it’s easier to pass this on – don’t you think?

lavender

… the scent of lavender relaxes and helps you to sleep soundly …

Jemma’s top tips:

For dry and sensitive skin:

Calendula and Oat Milk Bath Soak

Take a handful of organic rolled oats.  Gather some Calendula petals from the garden, you’ll need about 13 petals or a good pinch. Put it all into a clean, cotton sock and tie the top in a knot. Hang over the top of the bath so that it just dangles in the water.  Relax!  Especially good for babies and children. 

garlic chive

… chives have great anti-bacterial properties …

For great skin protection and to maintain moisture balance:

Flaxseed and Shea Butter

By either making up your own lotion containing flaxseed and shea butter, or by sourcing an organic lotion that contains these two ingredients, you will be giving your skin a real make-over.  Both elements contain nourishing plant waxes that protect skin and keep its moisture levels in harmony.  Try to avoid bought lotions with harsh chemicals, parabens or phthalates.

rosemary

… Rosemary is wonderful for relaxing tired muscles …

For relaxation and hydration:

Rose Geranium and Rosemary Hand and Body Lotion

If, like me, the thought of making up your own body lotion at home does not fill you with joy, because you are sure to end up with a congealed mess that definitely doesn’t look appealing, you can buy this little beauty.  This organic Rose Geranium and Rosemary Hand and Body Lotion will be quickly absorbed by your skin leaving it feeling smoothed and refreshed.  Ahhh, I feel more relaxed already! 

trug with rose

 I hope you have a very relaxing Sunday – you deserve it!  A huge thank you to Jemma, for all of her brilliant tips. x

Dorset's Delicious Bits

Food, Flowers And A Bit Of Fashion

The temptation of food, flowers and a bit of fashion, for me, is too much to ignore!

About a week ago, I heard that Cranborne Garden Centre were going to launch the first of their Farmers’ Markets on a Saturday (yesterday) and the thought of being able to wander around the roses and plants while sampling cheese, chutneys and jams sounded like my idea of weekend heaven.

Lavender at Cranborne Garden Centre

… Lavender plants in pots at the entrance to the shop …

So of course we went! I have always loved this garden centre and if you’ve never been, prepare yourself to feel as if you have stumbled across a stunning parkland setting.  Try not to convince yourself that perhaps you have taken the wrong turning and definitely don’t whisper your way quietly back into your car to make a hasty retreat. It honestly does look this good!

In fact even the car park is beautiful… and Brinks and I spent a good twenty minutes just cavorting in amongst the trees before I could persuade him that the fun was going to start if we could just make it through the front doors!

Farmers Market Sign

… the line-up …

There was a real sense of welcome as we entered the shop and we were encouraged to explore the market and nursery for as long as we liked, tasting, chatting and generally having rather a relaxing time.

Cheese from Chalke Valley Cheese

… delicious cheese from Chalke Valley Cheese

Jams and Jellies from Parkside Produce

… jellies and jams from Parkside Produce

The loveliest thing about this event is that it is not just a one off.  Cranborne Garden Centre are going to be hosting a Farmers’ Market on the last Saturday of each month, with the next one being on the 25th July.

Of course, you could always go in between times and spend some time soaking up the relaxing atmosphere and return to your car with armfuls of plants… I saw some particularly spectacular rose bushes that I was very tempted by. Mr D-F dragged me away. Spoil sport. 

Dahlias from Cranborne Garden Centre

Colour at Cranborne Garden Centre

If you would like to keep up-to-date with the happenings, you can check out the Garden Centre’s Facebook page, here.

Oh, and in case you were wondering… the fashion part came in the form of ‘Boutique in a Bus’ – a travelling clothing boutique… very cool!

What are your favourite things to sample at a Farmers’ Market? How do you convince your dog not to make a beeline for the cheese stalls and look up adoringly?! Please let me know. 

Have a great Sunday x

Dorset's Delicious Bits

Dorset's Delicious Bits | Sturminster Mill

When the sun is out, there’s nothing quite like a waterside setting to make you feel relaxed and on holiday. We toyed with the idea of loading up the little old car ‘Rusty’ and heading on down to the coast, with the nervous anticipation of whether or not we would actually make it up the steep cliffs and safely into the carpark.

It then occurred to us that we had a watery view that was so much closer and so much less likely to cause us to have to phone the RAC before the day was out…

…and that settled it… we decided upon taking a trip to Sturminster Mill.

view through trees Sturminster Mill Dorset 142kB

… view through the ivy …

There is a great mix of things to do at Sturminster Mill.  At certain times, the mill is open for you to explore the working machinery and even buy flour, there are peaceful places to sit and just watch the river and its goings on  and then there is the ‘dice with death’ bridge (or so I have now named it).

The mill wasn’t open when we arrived, but you can find more information on opening times and special events at the Sturminster Newton Museum and Mill Society website, here. I believe there is even a cream tea afternoon coming up soon!

Sturminster Newton Mill Dorset 137kB

… Sturminster Mill …

We would have to come back another day to get the full guided tour, but on this trip, we were happy enough to walk around the various paths and sit for a few moments on the benches, which gave a great view over the river.

River Stour at Sturminster Newton 171kB

… the River Stour, calm and peaceful …

Mr D-F wandered off at one point and I had felt certain that he was floating his way down to Durweston. However, I finally caught sight of him on the other side of a small bridge. Yes the ‘dice with death’ bridge. Although perfectly safe, I’m sure, the bridge resembled (in my terrified mind) lots of small twigs that had been stuck together with prit stick. In order to reach Mr D-F, I had to go over the bridge… and what’s more, it traversed the scariest part of the river by the mill. The bit where it went all fast and churny and white.

The calm, very grown-up walkers were surprised to see a fully grown adult lady squeal with fear crossing this bridge and I’m sure raised their eyebrows when they saw her having to come back over the bridge, squealing once more.

However, I lived to tell the tale and it was enormous fun to stand above the very fast-flowing, angry-looking water and I felt proud of myself for being so… umm… brave.

swimming prohibited sign 164kB

… yes – you wouldn’t get me near that scary water in my swimmers …

Sturminster Mill provided a great morning out, especially with the sun shining.  I would highly recommend it as a place on your sight-seeing list.

Would you dare to cross the bridge?!

Have a great weekend x

Dorset's Delicious Bits

Dorset's Delicious Bits | Working Glass Jewellery

I know I get to have lots of treats and fun times being the author of The Dorset Finca, but this was an especially fantastic treat! This week, I was welcomed into the studio of Nina Parker who is the creative genius behind Working Glass Jewellery.

Not only was I supplied with a cup of tea (always a winner) but my morning with Nina combined my favourite things on the earth… beautiful jewellery, delicious food and the most adorable dog ever.

nina parker dorset jewellery work station 103kB

… a scattering of glittery treasure in the studio …

I have long been an admirer of Nina’s creations and on many occasions, Mr D-F has been sent off, pre-birthday or Christmas, to one of Nina’s many local stockists with a picture of a necklace or bracelet that I really would like and would change my life so much if only I could have that piece of joy adorning my person!

So on the morning of my visit, while I was entertained with tea and cheese scones (which were AMAZING), we chatted about how Nina first started designing and creating jewellery.  I was amazed to hear about her diverse past, including the fascinating work that she undertook when she worked as a cartographer. After hearing that she produced plans for the British Museum, Natural History Museum and the Brighton Pavillion, amongst others, it was clear to see that she has a clear artistic streak and incredible eye for detail.

After re-discovering her grandmother’s button box and being captivated by the different shapes and colours, Nina took an opportunity to steer her creative talent in another direction.  What I especially love about the story she told me, was that it only took a few people to comment on some of her earliest pieces, before her jewellery was asked to be featured in local gallery exhibitions where it became an instant success!

nina parker spring necklace 90kB

 … necklace ~ part of Nina’s new springtime range …

You can’t help but be captured by the quality of the colour produced by the carefully-sourced glass beads. Each piece of jewellery is original, unique and Nina’s designs reflect the changing seasons. They are classically timeless and I could happily wear every one!

working glass jewellery by nina parker 90kB

 … I love the hints of deep jewel tones in these bracelets …

Not only are Nina’s pieces on sale in a wide range of galleries from the Isle of Wight to Lancashire but she also has designed a stunning website.  The site explains a little more about Nina’s journey to discover her love for jewellery and also hosts her popular online shop.  Many of the items displayed are different to those available at stockists and are perfect for those of us a little too far away from civilisation to go out shopping often.

I really recommend having a look – mainly because the site is so pretty! (I promise I’m not getting a commission)!

Although my eyes were permanently being distracted by pretty bird earrings or jewel-toned necklaces, trays of beads or silver findings, there was another major pull for my attention.  Maisie, the studio Cocker Spaniel, is already quite a famous Dorset dog.  Not only does she have eyes that will melt even the most ice-pick of hearts, she has her own Twitter account! Her online bio states that she is the studio manager and by the way that she captivated our attention – I can well believe it!

Maisie cocker spaniel

 … Maisie the Cocker Spaniel …

 The exceptional quality of Nina’s designs has spread quickly through social media and via word of mouth. If you would like, you can check out her Facebook page here and her Twitter page here.

I have my eye on a pretty silver chain with a little flower (are you reading Mr D-F? Don’t worry, I’ll show you which one I mean later)! 

Which one will be your favourite I wonder? Have a great day x