10.05

Cider-with-Rosie-Boden-London

After several days of Biblical rain storms, the unseasonable cold, and a sun so pathetic the newly-appearing freckles on my face all but jumped ship and disappeared, spending the whole of Thursday in a bright and (mostly) warm London was total bliss. I always forget quite how glorious London becomes when the sun shines, even when said sunshine is a touch on the intermittent side.

Thursday was a busy old day. It was a day for ditching the tube and walking round Soho, for meeting friends (both old ones and new), and eating. Always, always eating, because what else is a girl to do when in London? The day began bright and early- brighter and earlier even than was necessary for catching my train, because I had errands to run before heading into town. Turns out though, running errands whilst wearing a pencil skirt is more like…’trotting errands’. Running (or even walking fast) with knees that are tied to one another is a total no-go, and it made trying to dash across the village high street whilst carrying the pair of heavy curtains I’d just collected from the dry cleaners a pretty memorable experience…

But, to the exciting things! First on the London-agenda was…Boden! Boden’s twice-yearly press days (one for Spring/Summer, the other Autumn/Winter) are fast becoming one of my favourite blog-related events to attend. Not only is it always a treat to get chance to preview all the beautiful pieces that’ll be being released over the coming months (check out the handbag below- isn’t it a total dream?), but they’re always the most sociable of days too! Kat, Natasha and I were introduced to one another via the lovely folks at Boden (on that most fabulous of trips down to Dorset last July!), and now take the chance to meet and catch up every few months at press days. A few months ago was a S/S preview followed by afternoon tea at The Berkeley, and this Thursday was AW15 and then a whole afternoon of treats!

First things first though, to The Old Vinyl Factory on Marshall St for Autumn Winter newness…

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^^ The collection is totally gorgeous. It’s called ‘The New British’, and has so many so many stand out pieces it was hard to pick my favourite! That denim dress is one of them though, for sure…^^

Comptoir-Libanais

After we’d taken a thousand photos and each bumped into so many bloggers and journalists we knew from other events (including my love Lucy, who I met in Cologne), we said our goodbyes (sadly to the clothes, whilst we’ll be waiting a few months for) and headed out in search of lunch. We decided to pace ourselves and go light for our midday meal, so nipped up the road from where the event was being held, and straight into Comptoir Libanais.

Frozen-mint-lemonade-Comptoir-Libanais lebanese-tortilla

I’ve only been to Comptoir Libanais twice, but both times have left me wondering why on earth I ever eat anything other than pickles and hummus. The pickles in Comptoir are out of this WORLD fantastic- so salty they’ll make your tongue tingle (which is exactly what I look for in a pickle, just in case you’d ever wondered), and the pickled jalapeños are just hot enough without being up there in blow-your-head-off territory. (How many times can a person write the word pickles in one paragraph without it being annoying? Pickles. There’s another one just for the sake of it.)

Kat and Natasha both pronounced the chicken wraps they’d ordered to be delicious, and the halloumi tortilla with chopped salad I ate was pretty delicious too, as was that frozen mint and orange blossom lemonade concoction in the photo above! I love how fresh and vibrant the food is, and it’s so very affordable for a quick lunch too. If you go, promise me you’ll order an extra side of pickles on my behalf, okay? (The lurid pink ones are the best…)

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What I’m wearing :: Sheer top || Navy pencil skirt || Nude flats || Trench || Bracelet

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Post-lunch, the three of us went in search of dessert and found our way over to The Parlour in Fortnum and Masons. I’d never been to Fortnums for anything other than a browse and a potter before, and now I’ve sampled the delights of The Parlour, I can’t think why on earth not. I mean, the tea and coffee cups come with miniature ice-cream cones on the sides, for crying out loud!

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Between us we sampled a flat white (mine, predictably), a couple of pots of Earl Grey tea, as well as pistachio, mint chocolate, raspberry, and salted caramel ice creams. Everything was just lovely, but those ice creams are what make the Parlour worth stopping by for, truly! The flavours are fantastic (the salted caramel rocked my world!), and sitting in the adorable cafe with its American diner-meets traditional British finery setting was a total treat. The prices are as dear as you’d expect from Fortnum and Mason, but for a little taste of dressed-down luxury, it was truly lovely.

And, what put the proverbial cherry on top of the ice-cream sundae was that after Natasha, Kat and I had sat and eaten our afternoon treats and put the world to rights for an hour or so, we were joined by Sara and Xanthe! We’d all known of one another for such a long time via Boden, and it was so fun to finally connect in person instead of just via Instagram! It was yet another of those moments that make me glad to have started this little blog almost three years ago to the day, because of how many connections it’s allowed me to make to people from all corners of the world. lemon-meringue-tart-Fortnums-Fortnum-and-Mason-The-Parlour

^^ Don’t you just want to dive right on in to that bowl? ^^

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Summer? I’m ready for you now.

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Posted in BODEN, DAY TRIPS, FOOD, FRIENDS, LONDON

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07.05

Fire-pit-smores-Cider-with-Rosie-cover

Tania, Freya and I bonded over food. The first time we ever met was over drinks and French fries in a pub just off the King’s Road. The next time we met up was at Borough Market, which then turned into an evening of cheese fondue at Freya’s flat over in London Fields. Since then, every time we’ve seen one another, whether it’s been for birthdays, special occasions, or just a quick half hour catch up somewhere in town before we all scatter off to different appointments, there’s been food involved in some form or other.

A couple of months ago we hatched a plan to combine our favourite things- cheese, wine, chocolate and uhh…each other (have I made it sound like we’re dating? Because I kind of feel like I have…). We dubbed it ‘Cheese Night’, because we’re dead original like that. And this weekend, on a Sunday evening that stayed *just* dry and warm enough that eating outside didn’t feel like a punishment, our plans came together!

Cheese-board

Let me set the scene…

The night was to be held at the Chappel household (that’s ours), and Tania, Freya and her husband Adam, and Jason and I were each to purchase a couple of different types of cheese, some saucisson (Tania recently introduced me to the wonders of saucisson, and now I’m nothing short of obsessed), a bottle or two of something cold and crisp, and one essential component (you know, marshmallows, biscuits, chocolate) of the s’mores that I’ll get to talking about later on. The scheme was a good one, foolproof! Except that what we actually did was each buy loads of everything, so we ended up with basically an entire deli counter and fromagerie set out on a table in our back garden! Just as well that there’s no such thing as too much cheese, right?

^^ Up there we’ve got a creamy Stilton called ‘Cropwell Bishop Beauvale’, a cows cheese with a vein of ash, Compté, and three different types of saucisson (garlic, venison, and straight up). What you can’t see is all the bread, the three other types of cheese sitting just out of shot on the board, the caprese and green salads, smoked sunblush tomatoes, and olives to boot. And crackers too. Oh, and radishes. ^^

To go alongside our garden dinner party, Rekorderlig sent us over a few bottles of their beautiful fruit ciders as part of their #BrighterNights campaign! It couldn’t have been a more perfect opportunity for cider drinking to take place, and hey look! It’s cider, with Rosie! On Cider with Rosie! I think that’s the first time I’ve been able to do that in 3 years of blogging. (Totally worth the wait.)

Speaking of cider though, Rekorderlig is my hands down my favourite and has been for years. It’s sweet but not overly so, the flavours are divine (the strawberry and lime is the best if you ask me!), and poured out over a few ice cubes and some chopped fresh fruit, it makes the most perfectly effortless garden party drink going!

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^^ Mango & raspberry flavour is so good! And so is wearing Jason’s jumpers…^^

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Once the cheese feast was over and done with and we’d all eaten our fill (which took an embarrassingly short amount of time considering we all consider ourselves cheese eating pros and two of our number, Tania and Jason, have Gallic blood…), we moved onto the second course. S’mores!

Jason and I looked into hiring out a fire pit for the evening reception of our wedding a little while ago, but decided that since the hire price was barely less than purchase price, we’d go ahead and buy it instead of having it just as a one off. And considering that we’ve had it maybe three weeks tops and have already worked our way through several bags of marshmallows and two loads of firewood, I think it’s not been a bad investment!

Firepit-Cider-with-Rosie Freya-and-Adam-Cider-with-RosieHow-to-make-smores-in-the-UK

Since Adam is Canadian and Freya herself is basically Canadian too (it’s a long story, you’ll have to ask her for it…), I was under strict instructions not to buy any, and I quote, ‘horrible British marshmallows that always taste really bad’! Instead, Freya came armed with a suitcase-sized bag of giant American marshmallows (those things are like four regular sized mallows all in one), which, I have to say, were the absolute bomb. They toasted up a treat, and were so ginormous they basically were a meal in and of themselves.

We stuck them on skewers, held them over the burning logs until they turned golden and melting, then sandwiched them between chocolate digestives and sat back to enjoy the bliss. I”ll tell you though, I’d not realised until recently quite what a messy business s’more-eating is! Ted had a whale of a time hoovering up the crumbs beneath our feet…

Toasting-marshmallows Cider-with-Rosie-smores-Nishaantishu-photography Cider-with-Rosie-smores-Nishaantishu-TaniaJoyFelicityJaneToasting-marshmallows-by-the-fire

We stayed sitting by the fireside late into the night, toasting endless rounds of marshmallows (plus the odd piece of bread too, that got slathered in butter and topped with flaky salt- divine!) and soaking up the woodsmoke. In fact, we soaked up so much woodsmoke that I can still smell it on my hair, even though I’ve washed it since! I don’t mind a bit though, because really, who could complain about catching a scent every now and again that brings back memories of crackling firewood, warm hands and faces, belly laughing until my stomach aches, and dreams of cabin holidays in Canada with the very best friends a girl could ask for.
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* This post was sponsored by Rekorderlig as part of their #BrighterNights campaign, who asked if I’d like to include a feature of their ciders here on Cider with Rosie and since Cheese Night was already in the diary, it seemed the most perfect opportunity! As ever, my opinions are nothing but honest, and I’m so happy to be able to recommend a brand of cider I’ve loved for years :)

** Photo of Tania holding a flaming marshmallow, and me holding a corker of a s’more, by Freya!

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Posted in COUNTRYSIDE LIFE, FOOD, FRIENDS, HOME, JASON, SPRING

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05.05

Cider-with-Rosie-lifestyle-photography1

If spring is the time for anything, it’s starting over. Taking a little time out to reflect on the year to date, noting the changes of the season, breathing in warmth, and letting go of the foggy hangovers of winter.

Last week was a week free of screens, for me. I shut my phone away the vast majority of the time, left my laptop to gather dust, and went out with my camera only once- to capture this most picturesque of spots in the bluebell woods.

With no time restraints, we allowed ourselves to linger. Walked farther than usual just for the sheer joy of being out in the sunshine, and seeing Teddy so happy to be charging around after birds and peering at the sheep through fences. I caught a new smattering of freckles, and gathered bites and bruises and bites and scratches on my legs from goodness knows what.

It’s amazing what you notice, sitting quietly in the woods for twenty minutes or so. The coarse pheasant calls punctuate the near-constant chorus of delicate bird song, and the wind sets the bluebell leaves squeaking as they rub up against one another. The sun streams though the trees bright as anything one moment, then fades away in an instant the next. Even the tiny insects sit and bask in the sunlight on tree branches and logs, and don’t seem the slightest bit phased to be sharing their turf with a busy spaniel. Though, to give credit where credit’s due, after five minutes or so of my sitting quietly on that fallen branch, Ted came and stood by my side and seemed to enjoy listening peacefully to the birds just as much as I did.

Lemonade-picnic-SpringLemonade-in-the-woods

The crowning glory on top of an already overwhelmingly lovely moment was that little flask of lemonade. It had added to it a few ice cubes, a couple of slices strawberries and orange segments, and a few sprigs of marjoram- and it really was the most refreshing thing you could think of to enjoy mid-dog walk on a warm May day. I drank the lemonade, Teddy got the strawberries and crunched through the ice cubes, and the orange slices were a treat both for me and a few bold ants.

There’s a reason this patch of woods is the happy place I imagine myself in when I can’t drift off to sleep at night. There are even sheep to count, just beyond the bluebell patch…

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What I wore :: Breton top || Jeans || Welly boots.

Bluebells-CiderwithRosieCider-with-Rosie-bluebell-woods-lifestyle-photography

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Posted in COUNTRY WALKS, FLOWERS, SPRING

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