Monday, 22 May 2017

Country Lifestyle Fair in Uckfield - Review by Bex

I first discovered Country Lifestyle Fairs last November when they had a beautiful Christmas Fair in Uckfield (where I met the lovely Anna from Tired Bear) and they were back at East Sussex National again today with their handpicked exhibitors.  I loved browsing all of the amazing goodies on offer, there's so much variety with so many beautiful items.  Often at fairs I find a few stalls with things I like but there are plenty of things at the Country Lifestyle fairs which are right up my street, I struggle not to go mad spending my cash on everything!  The majority of stallholders are small local businesses often with homemade wares.  I did of course indulge in a couple of things and may have some new collaborations coming up too so I'm sure you'll be hearing more in the future but in the meantime, here are a few of my favourite sellers from the fair today.

I found so many brightly coloured things, I was in heaven!  You know I'm partial to rainbow colours so I was snapping away at my favourite items around the venue.  You couldn't fail to spot The Crow Kitchen's delightful macarons on the way in or out of the big hall, I had a few tasters and Oh. My. Gosh.  They are good!  She has a great range of flavours with some more unusual ones too.  I loved the Passionfruit & Lemon and the Bailey's Irish Cream!



Of course I was also drawn to all of the beautiful necklaces on show!  I love these ones by Mousie Murray Jewellery, made out of spoons and forks!  Carolyn who makes them knows all the stories behind them, how old they are and what kind of spoons they were.  They're so unusual and quirky.


Another jewellery stall I was immediately drawn to was The Silkworm with various silk items for sale, I love the brightly coloured bracelets and they had matching necklaces in all of these beautiful colours as well.  Not only that but they are in aid of the Tabitha Foundation, made by women in Cambodia.  They're made from silk wrapped around beads in different designs and are such a good price, I bought 3 in different designs and colours to mix and match which will be featuring in my #necklace365 project very soon!


I really loved this stall by Roost with a gorgeous display of glittery pouches and cute tassel and pom pom scarves.



And Lucy Bradshaw was there again with her lovely fine jewellery designs which have since been featured in Vogue.



There were also plenty of stationery stalls with many different designs.  I love these birds made of fabric stitched to card with layers of more stitching adding detail to the designs by Sarah Becvar.  She also has some beautiful illustrations of flowers and embroidered purses.


Another illustrator with beautiful stationery and artwork was Gabrielle Izen:


I also loved these cute children's clothes and accessories from Suri Mae, the rainbow blankets make me wish I had small babies again!


One of my favourite clothing stalls was actually for men, these fab block printed shirts by Indigo Island!  I love the colours and light cotton, ideal for summer, they're designed in England and hand block printed in Jaipur, check out their Instagram for some gorgeous tropical photography and videos of the printing process.  My favourite is "Lamu", the aqua pineapple print but I love the pink print, "Friday Island" too and the "Ithaca" leaves too for that matter!  If Nik got one I would totally steal it as a holiday cover-up!  It's about time I got some more fashion back on these pages!



There was also a wonderful bespoke home wares stand called Berry & Grouse with hand made lampshades, upholstery and pin boards. Cherry had some lovely fabrics with country style patterns including lots of cute animals. 


There were some lovely handbags from Posh Stuff.  I was SO tempted by the green handbag - they're reversible with metallic silver on the other side and a little clutch inside too (if it had been gold inside I definitely would have bought it)!  I loved the sparkly grey canvas star bag too.


And finally a few items from other stands which caught my eye...

  
Clockwise from the dress: I love the daisy dress from SW19London, more bright and colourful handbags from The Branding House, cute little seaside themed ornaments from Ammonite Coastal Interiors, the budgie postcards from Phoenix Trading, colourful toys from hazelbou and locally made artisan chocolate by Rowdy & Fancy's Chocolate Ltd. in delicious flavours and gorgeous vintage style packaging.

The fair is back at East Sussex National again on 23rd & 24th November for their Christmas event, I'll definitely be heading there for some Christmas shopping!

Monday, 15 May 2017

Wild Garlic Pesto - Recipe by Bex

I already gave my tips for foraging for wild garlic and shared a few photos of the fun morning we had collecting leaves to make pesto but here is the recipe.  It was delicious served simply by stirring through spaghetti - the twins LOVED it and both asked for more which is pretty unusual as they normally just ask for fruit after dinner!




Ingredients:
100g wild garlic leaves, well washed
50g parmesan, grated
50g pine nuts, toasted
1-2 tbsp olive oil, (I didn't measure - I just drizzled it in while processing until it was the texture I wanted)
lemon juice, to taste (I used a whole lemon)
salt & pepper, to taste

Method:
Thoroughly wash and drain the garlic leaves (I whizzed them in the salad spinner) and place into food processor.  Blitz to break them up a bit then add the parmesan and blitz again.  Add the pine nuts and juice of 1/2 lemon and blitz again, drizzling olive oil in until you reach your desired consistency.  Stir in more lemon juice and seasoning to taste.


To serve, just stir through desired pasta, I also added some extra toasted pine nuts and grated parmesan and it would be lovely with some chicken.  It's great with spaghetti and Zoe also recommends smearing it on roast lamb or in a risotto.  It can also be used as a dip on its own and freezes well, Suz recommended using ice cube trays and then you can just take one or two cubes each time you need it.


Ours wasn't around long enough to freeze but next time I hope to make more and I really want to try recreating The Warren's Wild Garlic Soup too!


Sunday, 14 May 2017

Foraging for Wild Garlic amongst the Bluebells - Foodie Fun by Bex

Last weekend we finally made it along to a bluebell wood with the twins for me to try to take a few photos of them having fun wondering amongst the flowers and trees.  We were unlucky with the light as it was a very dull day so the photos are a bit flat but we had a lovely morning and the woods looked stunning with the carpet of blue going on for as far as we could see!  The photos definitely do not do it justice!  Thank you to Zoe for her directions to this wood as well as a few foraging tips which I've included in with the tips below.




En route to the bluebells, we followed a path through a couple of fields and along the way we could smell the wild garlic from across the stream.  It was abundant but out of reach.  Luckily as we entered the woods and found our glorious carpet of blue, we also smelled the garlic again and spotted a huge patch down a little path to the left by another stream.  On our way back we stopped there to gather the leaves and a few flowers for making pesto.  (I'd seen wild garlic pesto for sale at our favourite cafe, Oast Farm and fancied trying to make it myself.)


We really enjoyed foraging and the kids loved it too, we taught them to pick from the stem and to be careful not to trample anything.  Wild garlic is an easy one to start with (I'm a bit nervous about foraging for anything else although hope to learn more when The Warren start foraging courses!) as it's easy to find due to the smell and you can confirm it by crushing the leaves in your hand to get an even more obvious garlicky smell.  The flowers are also edible and make salads look really pretty.




My own (and Zoe's) tips are to pick the full leaf from the stem, leaving the bulb undisturbed.  Pick bright, young leaves (look for flowers still in bud) and try to avoid areas which may have been trampled.  They like damp areas so are often found near streams and rivers in ancient woodland.  And remember never to pick bluebells, it's illegal!

Here are links to some top tips from the Woodland Trust about foraging sustainably and some more information about Ramsons (wild garlic).


I'll be posting my Wild Garlic Pesto recipe tomorrow if you fancy trying it yourself!

Friday, 5 May 2017

First Haircuts - Buxted Barber review by Bex

We finally took the twins for their first haircuts in February!  I've been reluctant until now as I love playing with K's little curls at the back of his neck but they were starting to just get frizzy and look more like a mullet!  Plus we were getting asked often whether we were going to get their hair cut.

I insisted that he keep his lovely curls on top though (although it was all pretty straight on the day due to winter hat wearing!) and just have the back and sides smartened up.  Priya just needed a trim as her fine hair is easier to handle when long and can be tied/pushed back from her face (I'm tempted to get her a fringe but it just means more upkeep and 2:2 twin:parent ratio time is rare and I don't fancy taking them on my own just yet!)

We took them to Buxted Village Barber after a couple of recommendations from friends in the village and I was very impressed!  It was quiet when we went in at around 10am on Saturday and I asked the owner if she minded me taking photos as it was their first haircut, luckily she didn't mind.  I was glad we were the only customers so I wasn't embarrassed to snap away and Priya was very good while she waited her turn.

We started with K as we thought he was most likely to kick off although he has been much better with strangers lately, plus it was his hair we most wanted trimmed.  Again, we were lucky and although he was initially a bit unsure and didn't want to sit in the chair himself, he settled on Daddy's knee (extra lucky he was happy with Daddy leaving me free to take plenty of photos) and was soon looking very content and seemed to really enjoy the feeling of the water spray and the combing!  He just gazed off into the distance with a hazy, relaxed look on his face while clutching his beloved red spikey ball.





He did get a bit unsure again when it came to trimming around his ears though and cuddled into Daddy but he was very good and let Denise carry on.  She was excellent, very patient and good with them both while getting the job done.






Then it was Priya's turn and she was as expected - super keen and nosey!  In fact it was difficult to get her to keep her head still as she wanted to see what was happening.  Denise had a great trick to get her to look down, giving her the mirror to look into.  She does love a mirror!


Look how long it had become when those curls are stretched out!




I would highly recommend Buxted Village Barber and Nik will be heading there next time he needs a cut.  It was £8 in total for the twins' cuts.  Priya just had a little off the ends so hers didn't take long.  They both behaved so well and look fab with their new hair-dos!

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Cuckoo, new bar in Uckfield - Review by Bex

There's a brand new bar in town called Cuckoo and I was invited along to check it out and take some pictures.




The bar has a very eclectic mix of decor with graffiti murals and a modern industrial style bar with cork, rough bare wood and copper fittings and fairy lights galore!


They offer a range of drinks including ciders, wines, various beers and lagers and spirits of course as well as crisps if you get Hangry and coffees if you need a caffeine boost.  I believe they plan to start doing bar snacks and lunches soon too.



Prices are pretty reasonable, I tried an ice cold pint of Heineken after WI last week for just £3 and they have bottles of cider, also £3.  I loved the cloudy draught cider and Nik enjoyed the IPA, both £4.  The spirits are priced according to which shelf they're on, with the premium labels at the top.  The chairs are comfy and the staff friendly, there's a jukebox on the wall and the clientele seem to have pretty good taste in music, it's definitely a cool place to hang out in Uckfield.



Friday, 28 April 2017

Foodies Festival Brighton - Days Out - this weekend

If you're looking for something to do this bank holiday weekend, the Brighton Foodies Festival is on and has plenty going on for food fanatics like me!  I went along a couple of years ago (you can read my review here) and will hopefully be going on Monday after we get back from our wee trip to Glasgow, I'm especially interested in the Cakes and Desserts theatre since I launched Uckfield Baking Club last year!  I'm hoping to go along with a fellow member and friend so we'll definitely be checking out Candice's demo and I'd love to see Miguel Barclay and Alan Sperring's demos too!

See the press release below for further info and let me know what you think if you make it along, fingers crossed for good weather down by the shore!

There's also a cheeky 30% off if you book tickets online with the code FOODIES30!

Foodies Festival Brighton 2017
29, 30 April & 1 May


                    


Brighton’s favourite food and drink festival returns to Hove Lawns this May Bank Holiday weekend


  • Star-studded Chef line up including Great MasterChef Winner 2016 Jane Devonshire, Michael Bremner of 64 Degrees, Michelin starred Matt Gillan & Adam Simmonds and local favourites Alun Sperring of Chilli Pickle, Stephen Crane of Ockenden Manor and Doug McMaster of SILO;


  • new Healthy Living Zone with yoga classes hosted by The Float Spa and recipe inspiration Kate Moss’ detox coach Amanda Hamilton & winner of Vegan Bake-Off Katy Beskow;


  • Bigger and better Music Stage and a brand new acoustic music stage


  • A show-stopping VIP experience with Borgo Molino, kitted out by luxury furniture company RAFT furniture and Ginger Lilly Florists;


  • Champagne, wine and craft beer and food pairing masterclasses;


  • A re-launched Cakes and Desserts Theatre with top bakers and patisserie chefs starring Candice Brown, Great British Bake off Winner 2016

Candice Brown, Winner of Great British Bake Off 2016, lippy in one hand and spatula in the other, will be baking up a storm in the Cakes and Desserts Theatre for two demonstrations. Candice says: "I'm excited to return Foodies Festival for 8 of their festivals across the UK this summer, with two baking demonstrations a day giving me the chance to share my favourite recipes with so many of my fans and fellow bakers".


From Candice to baking extraordinaire Charlotte White, master chocolatier Fiona Sciolti and top local cake-makers and patisserie chefs, the Cakes & Desserts Theatre 2017 is set to be our best yet. From delectable desserts to show-stopping cake towers, these chefs and bakers will be inspiring visitors to reach for their spatulas and whisks at home to recreate their delicious summer bakes. Avid bakers can get hands on with our practical baking masterclasses or take part in our very own Bake Off competition. Indulge your sweet tooth in the Chocolate, Cake and Dessert Village with the opportunity to taste, decorate and learn from local experts about their freshly baked breads, sponges, tarts, jellies and desserts. Afternoon tea can be enjoyed in the beautifully decorated Vintage Tea Room, where teas, handmade cakes and scones with clotted cream and jam are served on fine china by vintage styled tea ladies and gentlemen with vintage music for the ultimate British summertime ambience.


Chefs Theatre


Foodie fans can look forward to a celebrity and Michelin-starred chef line-up in the Chefs Theatre this summer, with Britain’s top chefs showcasing their culinary skills and inspiring the audience with their delicious dishes and a line up including:


  • Matt Gillan, Michelin Star Chef at The Pass & Great British Menu Winner
  • Jane Devonshire, MasterChef Winner 2016
  • Tony Rodd, 2015 MasterChef Finalist
  • Matt Price, The Coal Shed
  • Dave Mothersill, The Coal Shed
  • Michael Bremner, 64 Degrees
  • Jack & Billy, 2016 MasterChef Finalists
  • Stephen Crane of Ockenden Manor
  • Katy Beskow, Winner of Great Vegan Bake Off 2014
  • Juanita Hennessey, 2016 MasterChef Finalist
  • Matty Bowling of 1874 Vegetarian Restaurants
  • Doug McMaster of Silo, the UK’s first zero-waste restaurant
  • Alan Sperring, The Chilli Pickle
  • Emma Spitzer, 2015 MasterChef Finalist
  • Miguel Barclay, @OnePoundMeals Insta Chef


Jane Devonshire says "I'm really excited to return to the Chef's Theatre at Foodies Festival this summer in Brighton, Manchester and Edinburgh. I love Foodies Festival and being a part of the show, having taken part last year shortly after winning MasterChef. When I'm not in the Chef's Theatre you'll find me exploring the exhibitor stalls to see what delicious treats are on offer, getting lured in by the Street Food Village or chatting to visitors. I love the opportunity to cook for my fans and to pass on my cooking tips to fellow foodies."


Miguel Barclay, the local Brighton chef who rose to Instagram fame through his gourmet £1 meals @OnePoundMeals, will be cooking in our Chef’s Theatre and teaching us all how to whip up top quality meals on a frugal budget. The innovative chef prides himself on bring able to feed a family of four gourmet meals all week with a grocery shop that costs less than £28!


Brand New website launched this week to celebrate Foodies Festival’s new food, drink and wellbeing festival, see more at www.foodiesfestival.com:



The Art of Healthy Living in Association with The Float Spa and Starring Kate Moss’ Detox Coach and TV presenter Amanda Hamilton


We’ve all wondered what the secret is to Kate Moss’ unfading beauty despite all that partying, and this year’s Brighton visitors have the chance to learn the answer with Kate Moss’ detox coach Amanda Hamilton. The Nutritionist and TV presenter will be talking about her passion for eating naturally and introducing her new “Quinoa Crack” cereal, so we can all look like Kate Moss by the time summer hits (we call it positive visualisation, some may call it wishful thinking).


Foodies Festival new Healthy Living Zone will be collaborating with The Float Spa for the first time to provide an exciting timetable of yoga classes from 11.30-4.30 each day of the festival. Top chefs will also be demonstrating how to cater for food intolerances and how to inspire people to reconnect with ‘real’, unprocessed food. Essentially, how to indulge the foodie in you and still maintain a healthy image; how to have your cake and eat it!


Creative Summer Workshops


2017 Foodies Festival will see the launch of brand new Creative Summer Workshops by creative chef and Vogue featured food stylist Cicely Violet, with practical masterclasses on how to create Psychedelic Pavlovas, MidSummer Cupcakes or Summer Cocktail Classes. These hands on workshops will continue the theme of healthy living with a creative twist on homemade herbal cordial cocktails and fruit sorbets.  


Live Music, Restaurant Tents and Pop-Up Bars

Find out why Foodies Festival was hailed the “Gastronomic Glastonbury” by dancing along to the live music on our Entertainment Stage together with Success Express, with local favourites including Half Crown, Frankie Furlow, Tenth Electric, Hot House and Sean Jackon Band. Enjoy the music and soak up the atmosphere with a glass of Pimms from the Giant Pimm’s Teaport, a rum cocktail from the Rum Galleon Ship, gin and tonic from the Giant Gin Pot or bask in the sun atop the double-decker BarBus. 


Cook with Critters: Creative Healthy Living


There is a new bug-eating trend in healthy living, with Chef Dan Barber having declared that “Sushi of 30 years ago is the insects of today”. Don’t shy away from this new trend too quickly, as the insect food industry is booming and the Vietnamese Street Food Stand will be demonstrating how to cook with critters and the health benefits of doing so. Amongst growing research that eating insects may be the road to a more sustainable future, stop by to learn about the benefits of chocolate-dipped and candy-coated worms, scorpions, locusts, ants, caterpillars, mealworms and crickets! These tasty critters will also be sold in powder and flour form – a high source of protein - to bake, season and cook with.


For those brave enough, there’s a daily Bug-Eating Contest, where visitors compete against one another by eating jungle insects, from small ants to large juicy grubs, with the contestant eating the biggest and the most being crowned champion. The famous Chilli-Eating Challenge also continues in 2017, inviting fans of spice to compete in a challenge for only the bravest of visitors!


Drinks Theatre


Expert mixologists and sommeliers, including Neil Phillips and Charles Metcalfe, host wine, whisky, champagne and gin tastings, and beer connoisseur and writer Melissa Cole is on-hand with craft beer tutorials (well known in the UK for “taking the beard out of beer”). The gin craze in Britain continues to soar amid a boom in new distilleries and visitors can enjoy expert gin tasting and food pairing masterclasses so there’s a tipple for everyone by the seaside this summer!


Street Food Avenue


Now in its 12th year, Foodies Festival attracts street food vendors from around the world, offering visitors the chance to take a culinary trip to all corners of the world. Japanese, Thai, Malaysian, Argentinian, Turkish, Indian, Korean, Mexican, French and African are just some of the flavours to feast on this summer. With everything from Crème Brulee campervans to flavours of Morocco and paella, we challenge you not to be lured in by the sensory overload of the Street Food Avenue.


Artisan Producers Market


A stunning array of Great Taste Award winners will be exhibiting at Foodies Festival 2017, each being hailed as a producer of ‘Exquisite, Outstanding and Simply Delicious’ food and drink. This is a fantastic opportunity for visitors to meet artisan producers from the local area and across the country, ask questions about their produce and story, and stock up on award winning produce. With over 200 stalls to peruse at each festival, visitors will be spoilt for choice while they meander between smoked salmon tasting stands, outstanding local cheeses, melt-in-your-mouth brownies, award-winning oils and chutneys, and much, much more.


Kids Zone and Kids Cookery School


In the Kids Cookery School, little foodies can make and decorate delicious food with a science experiments they can eat, with “Fizz! Bang! Wallop!” classes teaching kids how Co2 makes dough rise as they create bread bubble bombs, carbon dioxide rockets, dough balls and garlic butter, and how to make homemade sherbet. Not only will children be introduced to new food and flavours from around the world, the KidsZone will also be expanded to include giant Jenga, Connect Four, bouncy castles and much more.

VIP in association with Borgo Molino: The Red Carpet Welcome


The Foodies Festival VIP experience will be taken to a new level in 2017, with champagne tasting sessions  held in the comfort of the VIP area, complimentary glass of fizz in hand courtesy of Borgo Molino. The VIP lounge will also have a new deli and gourmet snacks area and complimentary, exclusive Foodies Festival tote bags with VIP goodies inside. Live music on the VIP acoustic music stage will add to visitors’ luxury experience in VIP and make their time at Foodies Festival all the more memorable. RAFT furniture will be dressing the VIP area with their luxury furniture and Ginger Lily florist will be creating a midsummer dream with their floral displays.

Tickets: 
Tickets are on sale now at www.foodiesfestival.com 


Ticket prices:
Friday adult ticket £10.00/£8.00 concession
Saturday or Sunday adult ticket £13.00/£11.00 concession
Three day adult ticket £20.00/£16.00 concession


VIP day ticket £38.00/£35.00 Friday - includes a welcome glass of bubbly, use of the VIP area with private bar and refreshment, priority entry to food and drink masterclasses, exclusive VIP only masterclasses, showguide, and goody bag to take home.


Children aged 12 and under go free to all Foodies Festivals when accompanied by an adult.


Open times:
Please visit www.foodiesfestival.com for opening times.


Social Media:
Facebook - @foodiesfestival
Twitter - @foodiesfestival
Instagram - @foodiesfestival


About Foodies Festival:
Foodies Festival launched in 2005 with a single event at an Edinburgh hotel after founder Sue Hitchen noticed a gap in the Edinburgh market for a food festival. Over the last 12 years Foodies Festival has expanded across the UK, and in 2015 celebrated its 10th anniversary with 13 festivals (10 summer and 3 winter events). It is now the largest food and drink festival in the UK. To date, Foodies has welcomed over 3 million visitors and helped launch hundreds of new businesses and supported thousands of small producers. Foodies Festival proudly celebrates local produce in each festival region and showcases the most exciting and talented chefs, bakers and producers in the UK.


2017 venues and dates:
Brighton, Hove Lawns: April 29, 30 and May 1
Bristol, The Downs: May 12, 13 & 14
London, Syon Park: May 27, 28, 29
Newcastle, Exhibition Park: June 2, 3, 4
Birmingham, Cannon Hill Park: June 23, 24 & 25
London, Blackheath Common: July 7, 8, 9
Cheshire, Tatton Park: July 14, 15 & 16
Edinburgh, Inverleith Park: August 4, 5 & 6
London, Alexandra Palace: August 26, 27 & 28
Oxford, South Parks: September 1, 2, 3      

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