The colour of summer

One of the best parts of summer for me are the poppy fields on the outskirts of the city near Falmer. Usually in about June the carpets of red are visible from miles around.

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Review: The Ram Inn, Firle.

The Ram Inn at Firle. Photography by www.hewdesign.co.uk

We had a little night away recently to celebrate my birthday. For one reason or another, we were’t able to venture too far afield so we settled on the nearby Ram Inn in Firle.
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Merchant and Mills, Rye.

All photography © Heather Elizabeth Wilkinson 2013

Merchant and Mills first came to my attention when I was given their sewing book for Christmas. Although I’ve not attempted to make anything yet, I was completely won over by the beautiful photography and contemporary utilitarian designs – classic pieces and not a hint of chintz to be found.  In Merchant and Mill’s own words ‘We are here to urge intelligent, independent women to buy traditional patterns and dress well by their own hand.’ 

I was chuffed to bits when I found out they’d opened a branch in nearby Rye, and I couldn’t resist popping along for a little visit. 

The store itself is a design-lovers dream, exposed brick-work, old mahogany cabinets, boxes of buttons and pins, rolls of sumptuous fabrics and the most gorgeously branded, if not a little pricey, products. They very kindly allowed me to take a few quick photos in the shop so I thought I’d share them with you.

Take a peek at their website here

Celebrating Apple Festival 2012

Brogdale Apple festival 2012 www.hewdesign.co.uk
Apple crate www.hewdesign.co.uk
English apple orchards ©www.hewdesign.co.uk

All photography © Heather Elizabeth Wilkinson 2012

Autumn is my favourite season – the changes in light, misty mornings and the promise that we’ll soon be wrapping up cosily in hats and scarves. But of course Autumn brings with it some fantastic seasonal produce – pumpkins, elderberries, chestnuts, game, pears, and the daddy of English autumnal produce: apples.

Apple Festival takes place on 21st October each year and orchards and farms up and down the country organise festivities to celebrate this wonderful fruit. What great month to be an apple!

Brogdale Farm in Kent is home to the National Fruit Collection; the World’s largest collection of fruit trees and plants and home to over 3,500 varieties of apple, pear, plum, cherry, bush fruit, vine and cob nut cultivators.

Brogdale has been on my list of places to visit for a while now, so the Apple Festival (20th & 21st October 2012) was just the excuse I needed to hotfoot it to Kent. The festival itself is quite a family affair, with various food & drink stalls, crafts and live music (it’s safe to say that some of the bands were an ‘acquired’ taste).

Included in the ticket price is a guided tour of the orchards, each one being led by one of Brogdale’s knowledgeable staff, many of whom are volunteers. For me, this was one of the highlights of the visit. You can quite literally loose yourself wandering up and down the lines of trees looking at fruits of all different sizes and colours. And with names like the: Marriage-maker, Blackbird, Prince Edward it really is a fantastic way to spend a few hours.

And of course, no apple festival would be complete without a generous dose of apple sampling. At the heart of the festival arena was a large tent with over 400 varieties of apple on display and over 200 for visitors to taste and buy. To be honest, this part of the festival was a bit of a free-for-all, and you had to employ some elbowing tactics to stand any chance of trying the apples that had been laid out. Still, I managed to try plenty and came away a mixed bag (quite literally) of my favourites.

I decided not to cook with the apples I bought, preferring instead as an alternative to dessert. When produce is in season and so tasty it’s sometimes nice to enjoy it just as it is, don’t you think?

Review: Mr Wolfe, Brighton

Mr Wolfe, Brighton
Mr Wolfe, Brighton
Homemade Cake at Mr Wolfe, Brighton
Homemade Cake at Mr Wolfe, Brighton
Homemade Cake at Mr Wolfe, BrightonHomemade Cake at Mr Wolfe, Brighton
Mr Wolfe Brighton
Monmouth coffee at Mr Wolfe Brighton
Monmouth coffee at Mr Wolfe Brighton
Monmouth coffee at Mr Wolfe Brighton

If there’s one thing that Brighton’s not short of it’s coffee shops, but in amongst all the usual chains there are a handful of independents to delight true coffee fans.

Mr Wolfe is a hidden gem tucked away in Montpelier Place, close to Seven Dials and stone’s throw from the madding crowds of Western Road.The coffee served is finest Monmouth and the baked goods are all handmade – orange blossom pistachio cake with mascarpone icing, anyone?Inside it’s quite compact, but like so many places in Brighton, particularly some of the flats in that area, the high ceilings provide a sense of space.

The fact that the owners, Travis and his wife, both have backgrounds in design is completely apparent from the moment you step inside: jet-black interior, a bespoke wooden counter top, chalk menu boards and a generous dose of vintage china. Even the café’s logo is an example of wonderfully executed design.

It’s a joy to find somewhere that offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of the Lanes, and with plenty of personality too.

A massive thanks to Travis and the team for being so lovely and allowing me take so many photographs – I’m still trying to silence my tummy rumbles from editing all the cake pics!

You can check out Mr Wolfe here.

All photography © Heather Elizabeth Wilkinson 2012

Autumn in Sussex

There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been! 

Percy Bysshe Shelley

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