The drive north, from Surrey to Yorkshire, took well over six hours. Two and a half hours longer than we’d expected, thanks to the mass Bank Holiday exodus we’d forgotten entirely would be happening this weekend when we planned our trip away. In those six plus hours, we between us worked our way through far too many jelly sweets, a couple of coffees (thank you service stations), popcorn by the messy handful, and a few rounds of ‘would you rather’. The landscape got greener and greener as we drove, the skies got wider, and eventually we turned down a tiny country lane marked with a tinier sign that said, simply, ‘JollyDays’. We even had to stop to let some hares pass as we drove down the lane, and realised there and then that the trip was set to be a magical one.

Our first night under canvas was lovelier even than we’d anticipated. The wood burning stove kept the tent toasty throughout the evening, and the charm of whistling stovetop kettles and reading by candlelight and being totally screen-free was a novelty to us both. We woke early the following morning, to soft bright light pouring in through the white canvas tent walls. Jason stoked the fire and set about lighting the barbecue outside, and I got to work on the coffee.

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We’d arrived the previous day to a kitchen (a kitchen, in a tent! Complete with gas hob, a teeny tiny Welsh dresser, and hot running water!) stocked full of breakfast ingredients, all wrapped up in the sweetest (and most Instagrammable!) brown paper bags. The menu included a couple of eggs, sausages, a couple of rashers of bacon, tomatoes and a handful of mushrooms, not to mention the loaf of perfectly crusty bread and little pat of butter. In true man-make-fire style Jason took charge of all the cooking this weekend, and lived up to his reputation within our family as Barbecue King. It left me free to tinker about taking photos of milk swirling through black coffee and listening to the bird song and watching the deer bound through the fields out back from our tent, which, it turns out, is my very favourite way to spend a morning in the forest.

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We settled down to eat at the little picnic table right outside our tent (just next to the barbecue, and under the cover of an awning), slicing and toasting bread right on the grill until our supply of butter ran out, and making endless pots of fresh coffee. I’m not sure if it was the smoke from the charcoal, the flavour imparted by a well-seasoned grill, or just the novelty of cooking and eating our breakfast in a little clearing of birch trees outside our tent, but it was easily the tastiest breakfast I’ve had in a long time.

And since I haven’t stopped daydreaming about the experience since, I think I’ve caught the camping (or rather, ‘glamping’) bug…


More from our adventures in Yorkshire to come…

* Thanks to JollyDays for having us to stay in one of their beautiful tents. A total dream weekend!


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Hurray for it being very best kind of weekend- a bank holiday weekend! We drove up to Yorkshire yesterday afternoon for a few days’ break, and seriously cannot wait to start exploring a new corner of our fair isle. We’ve come armed with wellies, cameras, marshmallows, and enough layers to cover every possible rain/sun/storm eventuality- so bring it, crazy May weather! We’re ready for you! My only major goal this weekend is to eat a glorious pub lunch, and maybe get out to the moors if we get chance. It’ll be a good one, I’m sure! I hope you’ve got a lovely long weekend ahead of you, too. Here’s what little things have made my happy list this week…

1. Getting to grips (kinda) with Premiere Pro! The programme was on my old laptop but ended up being left totally untouched since I never managed to get my head around it, but this week, thanks to countless online tutorials and Googling of dumb questions and a few desperate ‘help!’ messages sent to Freya, I managed to use it to put together a whole video! Here’s to learning new skills, even though the learning process itself Is arduous and frustrating and makes you want to throw your laptop out of the window.

2. Caesar salad made with jerk-spiced roast chicken. So insanely tasty (and the juiciest chicken ever!)

3. The beautifully fragrant bunch of lily of the valley and sweet peas that Jason’s grandma brought over for me last weekend.

4. Portable iPhone charger packs. I finally bought one, and it’s a total godsend. Can’t think why I waited so long to pick one up!

5. Being able to breathe through my nose again, now my cold has disappeared! And taste things! I missed coffee the most. The smell AND the taste.

6. This week’s rainstorms! There’s nothing better than a good summer (or really, spring) storm if you ask me.

7. Buying a load of REALLY great oranges. I seem to have the worst luck and always manage to buy ones that’re dry and shrivelled inside, but the ones I bought this week are the sweetest, juiciest oranges imaginable! I’ve got a two-a-day habit.

8. The bottle of champagne we’ve brought with us up to Yorkshire. Well, we are *glamping* after all…

9. Feeding Ted half a leftover sausage after dinner on Thursday, and seeing his little face light up with happiness. If dog’s could grin, I reckon he would’ve done right at that moment.

10. Coming across someone totally inspiring online. Hey Casey Neistat, your videos are pretty awesome!

Three posts I loved reading this week :: Liv’s interview with the forever babin’ Izy || Natalie’s super simple outfit || & Deb’s recipe for swirled berry yoghurt popsicles.

What’s made your happy list this week? :)


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If there’s one thing I’ve discovered during the past few years, it’s that the joy of ‘home grown’ is unlike anything else. There’s something special about how unhurried (not to mention patience-inducing) the process of growing is, and the results are all the more satisfying for it. It becomes part of the day’s routine- watering, waiting, nurturing, and tending to. Poking seeds into soil and repotting spindly herbs, then watching them grow wild. Being able to snip a few sprigs of fresh rosemary or sage straight from the garden to add to a dish, instead of having to turn to a few sad stalks taken from a plastic bag from the fridge.

Because of the abundance of herbs we’ve got growing in our little garden at the moment, I’ve been finding new ways of incorporating them into…just about everything. Mint leaves into lemonade and soft drinks and just plain old iced water. Fried sage on top of thinly sliced and fried pork loin steaks. Rosemary inside chicken (along with garlic and lemon, of course), then into the oven for roasting. My favourite combination though, of a herb plus any other flavour on earth, is that of thyme and lemon. I first tried it a year or so ago in the form of a heavily-frosted cupcake (I even blogged about it!) and have been obsessed with the idea of making my own lemon/thyme cake ever since.

Almost a full year on, and I think I’ve got it down. Glazed lemon cake is the taste of my childhood so will forever hold a special place in my heart, but the addition of thyme makes this version so much more grown up. It brings a faintly aromatic, grown-up punch of flavour to a perfectly simple cake, whilst a few tablespoons of yoghurt keep the cake itself (made from a tinkered-with basic sponge recipe) moist and tender-crumbed.

It’s so simple, so delicious, and tastes so perfectly summery, it’s practically a crime not to make one right away…

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The ingredients are listed first in ounces because I learnt how to make this base cake recipe using pounds and ounces in probably about 1993, and still can’t quite bring myself to measure it out in grams. I’ve listed them though, in case your scale won’t work with silly old-fashioned British measurements…

Ingredients ::
8oz (225g) soft unsalted butter
8oz (225g) caster sugar
8oz (225g) plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 large eggs
4 tbsp plain natural yoghurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 1 whole lemon, plus the juice of 1/2.
Leaves from 2 small sprigs of fresh thyme

Approx. 300g icing sugar
Approx. 4 lemons

- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius, and generously butter a bundt tin.

- Place the butter and sugar into a large bowl, and beat until light and fluffy. Whisk together the eggs, natural yoghurt and vanilla extract in a jug, and sift the flour and baking powder into a separate bowl. Grate the lemon zest and add the thyme leaves into the flour mixture.

- Add half the egg mixture to the butter and sugar then beat to combine, and then add in half the flour and beat again. Repeat until all the ingredients are combined, and beat until the batter is smooth and light. Beat it for about thirty seconds longer, fold through the lemon juice, and then stop.

- Pour out the batter into the tin, smooth over the top, and then place it into the oven to cook for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out.

- Sift out the icing sugar (approximately 300g, but it’s totally flexible!), and then squeeze in enough fresh lemon juice to bring the glaze to a consistency just slightly thicker than double cream.

- When the cake is cool to the touch, pour over the glaze (with a plate underneath the rack to catch excess!) and decorate the top with a few thyme leaves and, if you can find them, thyme flowers too.


^^ There’s nothing like a good drizzle, is there? ^^

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I reckon if you made one this coming Saturday, it’d carry you through the whole bank holiday weekend on a wave of tea, cake, and crackly lemon glaze…


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^ Tis the season for muted colour palettes, apparently. ^

I like to consider these wish lists as much mood boards as they are shopping inspiration. Less ‘go and buy this all immediately!’ (though given half a chance, you know…), and more ‘here’s what’s inspiring me in the shops right now’. And as it turns out, what’s inspiring me right at the moment is simplicity. Clean lines, muted colours, simple designs. I’m beginning to think about and shop for my honeymoon (to Koh Samui in just over 2 months time, so excited I could burst), and so swimsuit-trying-on season is go. I already picked up a couple of new bikinis from Monsoon a week or so ago, but really fancy having a beautiful full piece to take away with me as well. Isn’t the ruffling on this one so gorgeous? Fragrance too is the order of the day- namely, Philsykos from Diptyque. I love the idea of a roll-on scent- how perfect to take along in your handbag for midday top-ups!

1. Braided crossbody bag
2. Perforated midi skirt
3. Chambray shirt {men’s, because why not!}
4. Tortoiseshell sunglasses
5. Navy stripe swimsuit
6. Philosykos perfume oil
7. Gold dog necklace
8. Gold vermeil + diamond hoop ring
9. Nude slip-on trainers

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