Countryside Pursuits

Alice🙋🏽

This is not a post about tweed wearing, fire-arms bearing activities (although if you haven't yet bought a ticket to Miss Knight's Crawley & Horsham extravaganza in November - you know who you are - you better be quick smart, it's going to be a fantabulous evening 😘).I just wanted to write a little post about a few places and things I have discovered recently whilst in the countryside.  I like escaping London, I may have mentioned this a couple of times 😉.   It's always so nice to be in the fresh air and away from the constant rush of the city, and enjoying a slightly slower pace of life.  So below are some of my finds 🌳😃.

Alice xxx

Marourde Mead

In a small village in Kent, William Boscawen has been perfecting the recipe for his delicious mead. Using mostly local ingredients, hops and honey are from the farm, he has created three sparkling meads each with their own distinct flavour.  The mead is aptly named 'Marourde' as this is the historic name of the village of Mereworth where it is made.

I spent a delightful afternoon with William, we had a tour of his meadery and of course a tasting.  With no expectations at all, I really enjoyed this sweet yet satisfying drink, which is best served very chilled.  William is also growing vines, so watch this space for the next in great English sparkling wines..... and in the mean time check out Marourde's insta for all things mead.

I am quite a bit fan of Eric Ravilious. I really like his woodcuts and many of them are currently on display at The Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne.  This is particularly fun as many of the places Ravilious depicted in his pictures are close by, nestling in the South Downs.  So not only can you see his artwork, you can also seek out the locations in which he painted.Off we went down to Eastbourne, and it was very exciting indeed, there is great selection of his original woodcuts and paintings -  I love his book illustrations - alongside many other works by his friends and fellow artists, Edward Bawden, Paul Nash and John Nash.  I highly recommend going to see this exhibition, we followed our visit with a blustery walk up onto Beachy Head, and I am excited to go back and explore more Ravilious countryside soon.

Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden

This beautiful garden, hidden away near Ockley in Surrey, has a wonderful display of contemporary sculpture.  It's rather fun to wander about, weaving in and out of the water features and catching the sunlight as it shines through the giant foliage.  We had a greatly enjoyable evening discovering all sorts of weird and wonderful works of art, they display over 200 pieces varying them throughout the summer, so there is lots to see!

And a few other English countryside happenings 😍

The Scilly Isles

This week are on the Scilly Isles (islands off the very end of Cornwall) and rather than doing endless photos I have decided to post just one photo a day 🙈🙉🙊.  As  you can imagine, this has been quite tough for me, as there are just so many fun snaps 😉.  It was a tricky choice, there were some good contenders - but today I went with this:IMG_8035This is looking from Tresco to the sun setting 🌅 on the island of Bryher -  behind is the Atlantic ocean ⛵️.  To the right you can see the edge of Tresco and Cromwell's castle 👑.We are all very excited to be on Tresco - we arrived in a twin otter plane ✈️ and the landing was quite thrilling, the runway is on a slope.  And then we travelled to Tresco in the Scilly Cyclone 🚤, which is very speedy.  And the sun ☀️has been out and we've even had an ice cream 😃🍦I may well do a Scilly Isles round up once we are back, there are just too many fun photos 📷- but for now I will stick one photo a day 😃.Alice xxx 

The Wildflower Meadow

This weekend we spent some time in the wildflower meadow 🌸🌺🌷🌾at High Beeches Garden.  The meadow has been there for at least 145 years, most likely longer and it is a natural acid wildflower meadow.  The natural 🌷🌾 part is important - it has been growing all by itself for all these years - the only help it has had is being cut once a year, and the hay removed 🌾.  Many wildflower meadows you see and hear about now have been purposely planted (rumour has it Prince Charles 👑 carefully cultivates his at Highgrove), but the one at High Beeches grows every year, without any help at all and is really quite magnificent.I love it most at this time of year, as it is completely covered in ox-eye daisies 🌼 - I always associate June with daisies 🌼 (my birthday is today - hurrah! and June and my birthday mean the daisies  are out.  But I actually know very little about the rest of the flowers 🌷 and grasses 🌾 that make up the meadow (there are 45 wildflowers and 12 grasses!) so we went on a little wildflower hunt through the meadow, Pip and Barney 🐶 came too.In between Pip and Barney 🐶digging holes where they weren't supposed (there was a stern telling off) we found a number of quite delightful flora 🌷🌻.  So I know the daisy 🌼 - the ox-eye daisy or leucanthemum vulgare is a larger version of the common daisy, and I can recognise the sunshine yellow of the buttercup 🌻.  I also recognised the purple of the clover 🍀 flower once it had been pointed out, and there are many lovely little purply orchids  🌷- dactylorhiza fuchsii .Other wildflowers we discovered were the knapweed centaurea 🌺(I have looked at these for years and have had no idea what they were) and the same goes for the little yellow, common birdsfoot trefoil lotus corbicula 💐 (I think quite a hard name for a very charming flower).But the yellow rattle rhianthus minor 🌱 is completely new to me, and so was the common twayblade listers ovata 🌾.  There really are all sorts, and it can be very easy to miss them - but we did spot the tiny lesser stichwort 🌸.I have to say we didn't even begin on grasses 🌾 (I have some vague grass knowledge from Pony Club - the times when it was raining and we sat inside and learnt about things our ponies were and weren't allowed to eat) - and grass is for another day.The meadow is changing all the time and is really very beautiful - do go and see the daisies 😍🌼!And if you want some more information have a look at High Beeches Garden blog.Alice xxxIMG_7448IMG_7426IMG_7370[1]IMG_7435IMG_7450IMG_7433IMG_7431IMG_7438IMG_7432IMG_7390[1]IMG_7436IMG_7444IMG_7440IMG_7451

The Hen Party

Last weekend I went to a hen party 👸.  Hen party's are starting to happen, we're getting grown up and people are getting married 👰 and all that.  I have to admit that the phrase 'hen party' 👸 slightly fills me with dread - the idea of crazy drunkeness 🍸🍷🍹, pink sashes and tutus and plastic tiaras 🎀👕, games and things involving replicas of boy's private parts 🙊🙈, and a night out in a slightly soulless nighclub 💃, wearing a mini skirt and the only heels you own 👠, downing sourz shots 🍷and trying to dance enthusiastically to Steps 👯, with a group girls 👭👭👭, many of whom you've only just met.  And sometimes (I've heard) they descend into whipped cream 🍦and very naked men 🙈, and much much drunkeness  🍻💏(don't google 'hen party out of control' 😉).  I really do enjoy a night out of slight drunkeness, dancing and silliness - but hen partys sometimes seem a little cliche - and they can fall into the same category as New Year's Eve - everyone MUST be have fun.But the hen parties I have attended so far have been really very pleasant and fun affairs 😃 - and this weekend really was superb 😃😃.  Emily did a brilliant job of organising the party and all of us - and she found a wonderful place to stay in the Norfolk.After a gloomy ☔️(the weather, not the company 👩👧👸) drive 🚗 up on Friday night - we woke to bright sunshine ☀️ and the Norfolk countryside 🌳 .  We went for a walk 🚶, and sat in the sunshine ☀️and chatted and caught up , had a marvellous dinner 🍴 in the evening, and got satisfyingly drunk 🍷 (and perhaps there was a little bit of silliness 😉).On Sunday we went to Aldeburgh 🌊 and ate fish 🐟 and chips 🍟on the beach 🌅 in the sunshine.It was all really quite charming ☺️, and I think the nicest thing, was that it was such a lovely group of girls - I think it can be rare that you will get on with all your friend's friends, and even rarer that you will get on really well with all of them 😃.It was a wonderful weekend all 😊.Alice xxxIMG_7158IMG_7176IMG_7178IMG_7195IMG_7206IMG_7343IMG_7197IMG_7266IMG_7268IMG_7275 IMG_7283

The Bank Holiday

This bank holiday I was in the countryside and it was sunny ☺️.  We did countryside 🌳things such as walking to the pub and drinking pimms 🍹, eating lunch outside 🍴🍻, having tea outside ☕️🍰, going for another walk 🌲, losing the dog 🐶😳, finding the dog 🐶😃, having some more tea 🍰☕️.  It was a very good weekend.  On Monday I went to watch the polo 🐎at Guards Polo Club (thank you Alice and James 😃) and I wore my new Maruti ankle boots I am so pleased with 😘 (I found them in the Clapham Junction TK Maxx, last Thursday 😍).Alice xxxIMG_2550IMG_6640IMG_6963IMG_6972IMG_6999IMG_7080IMG_7022IMG_7020IMG_7026IMG_7030IMG_7044IMG_7064IMG_7070IMG_7053IMG_7074IMG_7052IMG_7082IMG_7083

A Riot of Rhododendrons

A quick interlude from my travels (there is lots more Spain to come!), but the rhododendrons are out and they are looking marvellous.High Beeches Garden has a huge array of Rhododendrons and what I love most is the contrast of colours - pinks, oranges,reds and yellows sit side by side - some with huge flowers, other absolutely tiny.Below are just some of the very many - they are all rhododendrons unless I have stated otherwise, and they are all in flower at the moment.Alice xxx Photo 15-05-2016-2Photo 15-05-2016-11 Photo 15-05-2016-6Photo 15-05-2016-8Photo 15-05-2016-10Photo 15-05-2016Pieris FormosaPhoto 15-05-2016-22Photo 15-05-2016-15Photo 15-05-2016-12Photo 15-05-2016-13  Photo 15-05-2016-17Photo 15-05-2016-19Photo 15-05-2016-20Photo 15-05-2016-23Davidia - The Handkerchief TreePhoto 15-05-2016-21

A Walk in the Garden

High Beeches Garden has just reopened after the winter, and we went for a walk round the garden to see what is in flower.  I am very good at mainly noticing Camellias 🌺 and Magnolias 🌸, somehow I always get drawn to them.  However, if you look past the flourishes of Camellia flowers there are rather a lot of other fun things to be found, in all sorts of colours.The Rhododendrons 🌺🌺are starting to flower and there are some magnificent ones - I always find it amazing the difference in size between these trees, there are absolutely tiny ones such as the Rhododendron racemosum, sitting right next to Rhododendron macabeanum, whose flowers I always think looks more like an animal than vegetable.I was particularly taken with the white star shaped flower on the Rhododendron quinquefolium ⭐️ and also the Grevillea 'Canberra Gem', which looks so pretty in flower, and seems so unexpected, the contrast of dark green and bright red ❤️💚.The cherry blossom 🌸🍒 is starting to appear and we found Prunus Sargentii, an excellent purply pink, and also the Montezuma Pine (such a good name) has cones on it 🌲😍.There is so much to see, and this is only the beginning - it will be in full bloom before too long 😊.If you want to read more about the garden in detail - the blog, written by Sarah Bray, has all sorts of details about the garden and the plants - High Beeches Garden blog.Alice xxxIMG_4715IMG_4735IMG_4645IMG_4627IMG_4658IMG_4701IMG_4709IMG_4697IMG_4718IMG_4726IMG_4738IMG_4686IMG_4746 

The Easter Egg Hunt

This Easter we hunted for eggs, as this seems the correct thing to do on Easter, and it is really very exciting to find many small brightly coloured chocolate eggs hidden about the garden.  The history behind the easter egg hunt is rather vague - there are references to the Easter egg as a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus, the egg symbolising the tomb from which Jesus arose.  Our Easter Egg hunt was comprised of small chocolate eggs wrapped in foil, mainly thanks to Cadbury's and hidden expertly by Daddy and Willie.  We had a lovely time, although it was a rather blustery day - Pip very sadly wasn't allowed to join in - chocolate being bad for dogs and all.Alice xxxIMG_4395IMG_4399IMG_4405IMG_4421IMG_4403IMG_4416IMG_4437IMG_4408IMG_4414IMG_4438IMG_4439