A Sunday Well Spent Brings a Week of Content

The weather was absolutely beautiful this weekend, so we headed straight for the beach. As I have mentioned previously, dogs are sadly not permitted on some of our favourite beaches during the summer months, so it is always a happy moment when the arrival of autumn gives Poppy free reign once again.

 As usual, Poppy had a fantastic time rolling around on the sand, 

digging for shells and eating seaweed,
 making friends
and flirting!

Then it was time to feed our rumbling tummies with a traditional Sunday roast dinner! 
 In an attempt to burn off some of the indulgent roast, we finished the day with a stroll through the charming Priory gardens. 

It was a perfect Sunday, full of fresh air, relaxation and lots of laughter with my love.  
Here is to a happy week ahead! 

Five Happy Things

It has been one of those weeks that just seemed to fly by! The days were filled with work and the evenings were busy with all of the usual chores and errands. However, there was one lovely evening spent with family, delicious food and wine and lots of laughter! 

These are my favourite things which have made me happy this week... 
The last of the harvested hay bales in the field behind our house 

 A new pretty pink lipstick from Nars 
Sylvester displaying his prowess walking amongst the dog rose on the trellis
The Horse Chestnut leaves may be falling, but the David Austin Roses are still blooming
Caro Emerald's beautiful cover of Amy Winehouse's Love Is A Losing Game on Chris Evans' breakfast show on BBC Radio 2 

What has made you happy this week?

Five Happy Things

It has been far too long since my last "Five Happy Things" post and I think it is high time I brought this series back! I love compiling these lists of things that spark joy during my week and bring a smile to my face. Here is to celebrating the simple pleasures in every day!

These are my favourite things which have made me happy this week... 
 After work walks to the beach
  Enjoying Sunday brunch in the garden 
 Pops of pretty purple flowers against a white picket fence 
Sweet ducks relaxing on the riverbank 
I am completely infatuated with Hozier's cover of Sam Smith's Lay Me Down for the BBC Radio 1 live lounge month. I cannot play this enough! 

What has made you happy this week?

Almond and Mixed Seed Granola Recipe

This granola is the base for almost every breakfast I eat during the week throughout the year (weekend breakfasts are usually a more indulgent affair!). Of course in the winter I love porridge, but in-between getting ready for work, feeding the pets and then preparing my own breakfast, time is limited and I refuse to make porridge in the microwave (nothing compares to the slow and methodical stirring on a stove top). If you like granola as much as I do, but you are growing tired of shop bought varieties, try making this quick and easy recipe and I am certain you will never buy another from the supermarket again! 
This is a very customisable base recipe that can be easily modified according to taste and seasons. This is the typical one that I eat during the spring and summer to let the fresh berries shine. In the autumn and winter I often add cinnamon, ginger, dried apple, cranberries, vanilla extract and swap the almonds for pecans, honey for maple syrup etc. Feel free to swap or add anything, just add dried fruit once the tray has been removed from the oven, otherwise they tend to become bitter and puffy from the heat. 
Almond and Mixed Seed Granola 
Recipe yields approximately 560g/6 Cups 
200g/2 cups Jumbo rolled oats
100g/1 cup Flaked Almonds
150g/1 cup Mixed Seeds (I like a mixture of Sunflower, Pumpkin, Linseed and Sesame)
50ml/1/4 cup Vegetable Oil 
85ml/1/4 cup Runny Honey 

Preheat oven to:
Conventional oven - Preheat to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 
Fan oven - Preheat to 160°C/320°F/Gas Mark 3
Line baking sheet/sheet pan with Silpat or baking parchment

· In a large bowl whisk together the oil and honey until combined
· Add the oats, seeds and nuts and mix until all ingredients are thoroughly coated and combined
· Spread the mixture onto the baking sheet 
· Bake for 22-25 minutes until lightly golden, stirring halfway through to ensure even baking
· Store granola in an airtight container to remain crisp and crunchy for weeks 

My favourite weekday breakfast is to serve the granola with plain Greek yogurt and fresh summer berries. 

Summer Evening on the Riverbank

Summer has been on a temporary (I sincerely hope!) break these past few weeks. The weather has been temperamental and has had me yearning for some more sunshine before Autumn makes an appearance. This seemed to coincide with Nathan being ever so busy with work and not having an evening off for a while. 
Last week the stars aligned bringing sunshine and an evening to spend with my love. We seized the moment and headed to one of our favourite spots for supper on the riverbank.
It was beautifully warm with golden light and a gentle breeze.
Our tummies were rumbling, so it was time to sit back and relax with some splendid wine and homemade locally sourced food from The Boat House 
and hers!
I am definitely going to recreate this divine brownie with a passion fruit and chocolate ganache.

Our perfect evening isn't complete without darling Poppy!
 There is something so peaceful about looking up and watching the leaves ripple in the wind.

It was a blissful evening filled with simple pleasures and the best company I could wish for. Here is to having lots of fun in the summer sun! 

Beach days are the best days

We live in the New Forest on the south coast of England and we are blessed to be surrounded by the forest, farmland and the sea. We are extremely lucky to have such a picturesque landscape at our disposal, yet we find that we don’t spend much time in the forest. 
I spent some of my formative years playing in the forest amongst the cool and shady trees hunting for pine cones and slow worms. Even though I have fond memories of the the fun I had, the forest just doesn't have the same charm and appeal as our other neighbouring landscapes. 
We have bucolic farmland directly behind our house and we couldn’t imagine waking up to anything else. It is a privilege to see it transform throughout the year and guess what the new summer crop might be (this year it is beautiful golden wheat). 
However, it is the coast that we are completely and utterly besotted with. It puts a spell on us like nothing else. We are lucky enough to live just half a mile away from the beach (albeit a shingle one with a minuscule amount of sand), and we like to spend almost every moment we have there and at the beaches (much less shingle and lots more sand!) of our neighbouring villages and towns. 
Whenever we have a day off together we will always find ourselves drawn to the coast and last week was no exception. 
As usual we went to our favourite beach side bistro for lunch. 
Unfortunately dogs are not allowed on this popular stretch of beach in the summer months. So after the delicious luncheon we headed a few miles east to Hengistbury Head, which is dog friendly all year round. 

This little love bug also happens to be completely and utterly smitten with the beach,
and the oyster shells! 

It was a happy day enjoying life’s simple pleasures with my loves, and nothing could be better than that!