Tuesday, 15 June 2021

How To Create The Perfect Summer Picnic

How To Create The Perfect Summer Picnic

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Picnic season is officially here and with the warm weather we're having at the moment, now is the perfect time to get your picnic blanket out and spend the evening eating all the best snacks. Whilst, I absolutely love a spontaneous trip and I'm happy to sit on the grass eating a sandwich, today's blog post is all about creating the 'ultimate' picnic this Summer - think all the cottage core aesthetics! 

Choose The Best Food 

I mean it goes without saying that the most important part of the picnic is the food. I personally enjoy picky dinner bits like vegan sausage rolls, humous and crisps to make up my 'main meal' followed by something homemade. If you're in a large group of people and have enough hands to carry it, I think a Victoria Sponge is a great option especially when topped with fresh strawberries and cream. I also think Jammy Dodger blondies or Oreo brownies go down a treat too if you're limited with space. Here are some other picnic food ideas too: 

- Caprese sandwich 
- Picnic eggs and mini sausages 
- Broccoli and cheese quiche 
- A cold pasta salad
- Focaccia and olive oil/balsamic dip
- Bulgar wheat salad 
- Eton mess
- Mini apple pies 

I bought a picnic basket many years ago now (this gingham one is super similar!) and it was one of my best purchases as it stores everything I need it in, plus it looks adorable too! For covering the ground, I currently use an old white bed sheet as I find it comfortable and looks great too, but I've been eyeing up a couple of new outdoor blanket options like this linen mix throw. 
How To Create The Perfect Summer Picnic

Pick The Right Location 

I'll take a picnic in the garden if I can, but for the ultimate 'aesthetic' picnic I'll take it on a grassy hill looking out over the sunset. I personally like to find secret spots that aren't occupied by large groups of people and if there's a tree to create some shade, that's even better!

With Summer upon us, many flower fields are opening up like lavender and sunflowers, most of which are allowing you to bring a picnic in, so definitely keep that in mind if you want to up your picnic game. Equally, I love to visit my local walking trials which often have picnic areas surrounded by swaying trees filled with birds and flower bushes humming with bees. 

Add On The Extras

Although a picnic can just exist of food and an area in which to eat it in, over the past few years I have been added some extras to take my picnic to the next level. A portable bluetooth speaker is always a great option especially if you're with other people and want to create an ambience, but if you're on your own, I personally love to bring a book - my picnic go-to is a Wordsworth Edition book

If you've got items that you want to make sure are kept cool then you may not want to solely rely on your picnic basket and instead opt for something like this Insulated Cooler that also acts as a seat. 

Although it's definitely not a necessity, I do loving having a Summer outfit perfect for picnicking ready. I enjoy flowy dresses or skirts with lace and broderie details if possible. I have picked out some of my favourite top picks below: 
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Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Jammy Dodger Flower Biscuit Recipe

Jammy Dodger Flower Biscuit Recipe

Jammy Dodger Flower Biscuit Recipe
- All links in this blog post are affiliate links. For more info head to my disclaimer. -

When it comes to baking any decorative biscuits, I always follow this simple three ingredient recipe as they come out perfect every time. This method creates a shortbread style biscuit that is not only delicious, but it allows you to cut them into any shape you'd like. 

I picked up these flower cookie cutters a few months ago for a project I was working on and ever since I have been meaning to experiment with different bakes that I could use them for. Then I came up with this Jammy Dodger style flower biscuit recipe which would go down amazingly at an afternoon tea with your friends. 

Ingredients (Makes 6 double biscuits) 

350g Plain Flour (plus more for dusting)
240g Butter 
110g Caster Sugar
Strawberry Jam 

Method 

Start by creaming the butter and sugar together in a bowl until smooth. 

Tip the flour into the mixture and fold in with a wooden spoon. Once it starts to form together, mould the dough into a ball with your hands. 

Prepare a baking tray with parchment paper. 

Roll out the dough on a floured surface. Using a flower shaped cookie cutter, press out your biscuits. In half of the biscuits, you're going to want to use a smaller flower cookie cutter to remove the middle. 

Once all the biscuits are on the baking tray, put them into the fridge for up to 30 minutes to stop them from spreading in the oven. 

In the meantime, pre-heat your oven to 180C. 

Place the biscuits into the oven for 15 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack. 

When they've completely cooled, take the bottom biscuit and spread the jam all over the surface followed by another biscuit on top to sandwich the two together. Sprinkle with icing sugar for added decoration. 


Will you try out this jammy dodger biscuit recipe? 
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Monday, 7 June 2021

A Summer To-Do List

Summer To-Do List

For me, Summer begins at the start of June and with the current warm, sunny weather, I thought now would be the best time to share my Summer to-do list. 
Sometimes with the longer, brighter days, it can feel like you need to fill every hour of your day up, but when it comes to thinking of an activity to do, your mind typically goes blank. I hope this list helps you feel inspired this Summer and give you ideas for your own to-do list. 

Explore More

We're off to Cornwall and Devon this Summer and I am very happy to go exploring in the UK again. I've been lusting after a beach day for some time and it'll be so nice to get away and see another area of the country. I've currently got Tintagel Castle and Clovelly village on my to-visit list, but I am always happy to have more recommendations. 

Aside from going on holiday, I also want to explore more locally especially at the weekends when we can take day trips and visit stately homes. The gardens are always so beautiful to walk around and take photographs, but in general I feel like there's lots of places in the UK that I've been meaning to visit for a couple of years now, but never have got around to it. 

Go Fruit Picking 

Last year, I kept my eye out for local fruit picking places, but had no success as everywhere was booked up. I have been yearning to go strawberry picking for a couple of years now, so that I have an excuse to bake a delicious tart or use them to top a Victoria sponge cake. Nothing quite says Summer like having the sweet, red juice dripping down your hands whilst listening to a hum of bees in the sunshine. 

Visit A Few Flower Fields

I've been learning about seasonal flowers for the past couple of years as I love to see different blooms sprout up throughout the Summer. Roses, rhododendrons and hydrangeas are my three favourites, but I also love appreciating the fields of poppies that make their appearance in June. It's hard to find a good place to visit them through as many don't allow footpaths running through, but this year I'm determined to find a place. 

Last year, we took a trip to the local lavender fields to have a picnic for a date night. It was one best evenings, so I'm definitely going to try to go back this Summer. It was the perfect way to spend a couple of hours, digging into a delicious picnic and watching the sun begin to set. The lavender fields also have wildflowers and sunflowers, although they don't usually come out in full bloom until the end of August, so I must not forget to go back! 

More BBQ's and Picnics 

We've already made a good start with this, but I'd love to have even more picnics and maybe even host a BBQ for friends and family. It's the perfect excuse to finally sort out our garden, adding a few hanging baskets, getting the rattan furniture we want and maybe even hanging some fairy lights around for the ultimate evening ambience. 

Here are some more ideas: 

- Go to an outdoor cinema.

- Make ice cream from scratch. 

- Visit a farmer's market. 

- Read five books. 

- Watch the sunset or sunrise. 

- Go camping. 


What's on your Summer to-do list? 

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Thursday, 3 June 2021

The Joy of Living Seasonally

The Joy of Living Seasonally
Living seasonally is nothing new to me, but in the past few years I have truly embraced it. In a nutshell it is all about understanding and accepting the seasons as they come, indulging in the changing environments that go on around us and feeling influenced by nature's patterns

My journey with seasonal living can be traced back to as early as my school years, yet that doesn't mean that I haven't struggled since. When I was under ten years old I vividly remember every April getting a wild garlic scent waft throughout our classrooms from the woodland nearby and getting excited when September rolled around and the colours changed from green to brown. When I reached my teens and into my early twenties, I lusted after the warmer and longer days of Spring, yet resented long hot Summers that would soon approach. I would often get what I classed as "the Summer blues" which many people didn't understand. I thought that my pessimistic approach would last forever, but over the past few Summers, the last one in particular, my mindset truly changed for good. I was never going to take a season for granted ever again and it honestly felt like I was discovering Summer for the first time! 

As someone who's always been a fan of Autumn in all it's glory, when I started to appreciate all the seasons, I truly felt like all my senses were heightened and I felt like I was truly living within those few months of a season, rather than just lusting after the next. I learnt a lot about each season as I went because I was taking notice of everything around me. When before I knew that the likes of Wisteria and Cherry blossom meant 'Spring', now I could tell you when you expect them to bloom. Although time still passes in a blink of an eye, I take time to appreciate the changes every single day. After reading this article from Back Road Bloom, I started to see the seasons in "five senses" more, noticing the bird sounds of Spring, the touch of freshly cut grass underneath my feet and scents of different homely cooking when out on a Winter walk. Here are three ways I live seasonally: 
The Joy of Living Seasonally

Eating Seasonally 

By no stretch of the imagination am I perfect at this, but I have been trying to get better at knowing what produce is best at what time. Not only does it mean your food can taste even better, it can inspire you to cook new meals. I love cooking a roast with parsnips, potatoes brussels sprouts, all which are at their best in January and February, but when Spring rolls around, I no  longer crave cosy, warm food and instead opt for lighter flavours and more colour. This has meant I feel happier with what I'm eating and I've fallen out of the cycle of eating food until I'm bored of it, then never eating it again. Plus in Autumn, there's a perfect excuse to bake a blackberry and apple pie! 

Dressing Seasonally 

I've gone through quite the change when it comes to my personal style and it's made the biggest difference, but it may not be in the way you thought. I've always given myself a hard time to create a wardrobe that would work twelve months of the year. A Summer dress that can work with tights? Sign me up! 

Wrong. It really uninspired me with style and gave my confidence a knock too. I would spend the warm months in a thick dress, wondering why I didn't feel myself and then wishing the hot weather away so I could feel good again. Then I had a revelation and did something many people reading this will already be doing, I split my wardrobe into two. I stopped the guilt of feeling like having to have a wardrobe that worked all year around and instead filled it with Summer dresses that made me feel good and cosy knits that I could bundle up in. It meant that I could experiment with my style again, choosing what I felt was right for the season. Cottagecore in the Spring and then dark academia in the Winter - what could be better! 

Celebrate Each Season 

The way I visually show that I celebrate each season is through my Instagram. The photographs I capture often emulate the season we're passing through. In Autumn, I focus on the rich browns and oranges, whilst in Winter I take inspiration from the dreary, rainy days and embody that in my work. This keeps me inspired as I'm always looking at fresh and new ideas, whilst it no longer feels like I'm constantly longing for the season that I find easiest to get creative inspiration from. 

Celebrations occur throughout all the seasons, but they don't always have to be a certain date in the diary. I love to recognise the first fallen leaf, the first time I see apples on the tree and first bunch of peonies I see in the shop. I tend to decorate my home depending on whatever season I'm in too, taking inspiration from the sights and smells that occur during that particular month. For me personally, I decorate for Halloween and Christmas, but I also like to take time out throughout the year to celebrate, for example the Summer Solstice. 

Do you enjoy living season to season? 
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