13.10

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A M B E R   A U T U M N   L I G H T .

Jason and I decided to revisit one of our favourite autumnal pastimes from last year on Sunday, by bringing a flask of hot chocolate along with us on a dog walk and pausing for a cosy picnic.

Very little’s changed from this year to the last. Well, I guess there has been one very major change, but apart from that (and aside from both my hair and Teddy’s coat being longer and more unruly than this time last year), we’re just as content with these quiet, peaceful sorts of days as we ever were.

Still more at peace in the countryside than anywhere else, and more fond of being bundled up against a nipping wind than we were of the balmy summer days just gone.

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The weather was so delicious and dreamy all day long, and all I could think of over and over was how I could live forever happy with year round weather like this.

The light was warm and soft and hazy, the wind picked up my hair a few dozen times over and tied it in knots around my neck, and the sun had just the gentlest touch of warmth to it.

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We veered off the main path to a fallen tree tucked just out of sight in a patch of fir trees and heather, took up seats in that weather-beaten tree trunk, and poured out two mugfuls of dark, sweet, thick hot chocolate.

The wind couldn’t reach us, shielded as we were by firs all around, and those tin mugs of hot chocolate alone were enough to warm our chilly fingers.

But really, my fingers were all that was cold- the rest had been taken care of by that dreamily cosy roll neck…

M Y   O U T F I T  - Roll neck poncho || Shirt || Jeans || Hunter boots

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J A S O N ‘ S   O U T F I T  - Shirt || Khakis || Barbour boots.

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28.05

Cider-with-Rosie-Yorkshire

After breakfast, came exploration and adventure.

And when I say adventure, I mean a gentle walk through the countryside, followed by an afternoon of eating and drinking. But we were in a new place, so that’s an adventure in itself, right? Right?

Although our tent was so snug and charming I could happily have settled in for the long haul there with my book (Girl on the Train- finally getting into it, two thirds of the way through!) and endless rounds of coffee, we were determined to see as much of Yorkshire as we could in the few short days we had there. So, after testing out the shower with, I’ll be honest, a little trepidation (we couldn’t bring ourselves to believe that a tent could *possibly* have an instant hot water supply, and were proved quite happily wrong!), Jason and I layered on enough clothes for every possible weather outcome, and headed out into the countryside.

On our agenda for the day was a visit to a village called Harome, where we’d been told we’d find a pub called ‘The Star Inn’ serving some of the best pub lunches to be had for miles around. But first, since we’d maybe eaten one too many slices of toast at breakfast, a walk to work up an appetite!

What I wore :: White T shirt  || Check shirt (past season, similar) || Jeans || Boots.

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We wandered through the village in search of a likely looking footpath to set out on, and stopped to admire a sweet gated farmyard that had the flounciest peacocks you’ve ever seen strutting around inside it. In fact, the one in this photo was doing his ‘look how snazzy my feathers are’ dance for the peahen just behind it! The owner of the farm came out and told us that he’s the oldest of all the birds she has, and that the hens mostly ignore his showing off. Clever ladies ;)

The walk we took didn’t last all that long (it felt SO strange to walk without a dog running along up ahead of us!), but we managed to catch the worst luck, and by the time we got back to the Star Inn we found out they’d stopped serving lunch only 15 minutes beforehand. ‘No matter!’ we said, and hopped back into the car and headed to the nearby village of Helmsley (singular, not plural ;) instead!

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^^ Sometimes, a little cheesy self-timer action is just totally necessary, right? ^^

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Helmsley was as chocolate-box a village as you could dream of finding, but I captured it all via video instead of photographs! You’ll have to stay tuned for the video if you want to see the giant fruit scones with jam and cream we ate for afternoon tea, and the adorable greengrocers on the corner of the village square where we purchased our dinner (so totally charming!), and all the sweet grey-stoned cottages we made heart-eyes at as we walked past…

I’ll tell you though, that scone is up there amongst the best I’ve ever eaten. Maybe it was that we’d been pottering around the countryside for a good few hours and so were ravenous by the time we sat down to eat, or maybe it was that scones are just better when served alongside a cup of good old fashioned Yorkshire tea- I don’t know. But it really was a special one.

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And so, to home. We’d picked up a handful of things to cook on the barbecue that evening, and set to work making up new potato and red pepper skewers dressed with oregano, cooking ribs, and also cracked open the bottle of champagne we’d brought with us as a Bank Holiday weekend treat!

It was pretty blissful, that evening. Sipping icey champagne from our favourite little tin mugs (brought with us from home, because we couldn’t pass up the oppurtunity to use them in their natural camping habitat ;), eating a dinner straight from the grill followed by several rounds of cheese and biscuits, and then toasting up marshmallows over the remainder of the heat from the barbecue.

In between the rush of planning our wedding (we’re ticking off the final tasks now, which is crazy exciting!), each of us getting ready to take the best part of a month out of our normal working routines, and all of the other occurrences and tasks and jobs that make life eventful and exciting and busy, I feel as though we hadn’t had chance to really connect in a while. To devote time to just talking, and to catching up with each other and where we’re both at right now, and not getting distracted by things like phones and Netflix and Twitter. It’s amazing how easy it is to become wrapped up in the bubble of ‘self’, and to forget about the importance of quality time spent with the people who matter most.

We talked about it a little whilst we were away, and decided to try and spend less time ‘rushing’, and more time concentrating. On whatever task is at hand, on work, on relaxation- on each other.

And on that note, we clinked tin mugs, and toasted to another happy evening spent in front of a roaring fire in a little tent on the edge of a forest.

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Posted in COUNTRY WALKS, COUNTRYSIDE LIFE, JASON, LOVE, TRAVEL, WEEKEND BREAK

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26.05

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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…

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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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07.05

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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!

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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, Compt√©, 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!

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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…

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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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