Shoreline wanderings

OP9C8850_bWe walk across the beach, the wind almost taking our breath away. The light is harsh and dazzling, reflecting off the ripples in the wet sand. Kite surfers race across the waves, backlit by the sun. We watch them for a while, imagining the thrill of speed, until the sun dips behind a cloud and we turn and make our way slowly back across the beach.

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A Royal Visit

My lovely man recently took me on day trip to visit Hampton Court Palace. Hampton Court has really fond memories for me as I used to go there a lot as a child. I’m also a sucker for anything to do with history – especially palaces!
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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?

Borough Market

Borough Market by Brighton Food photographer


Borough market 

I’d been wanting to visit Borough Market for a while now, so when the opportunity presented itself recently I couldn’t wait to pack up my camera gear and set off for London. 

Borough is one of London’s most highly regarded markets and from spending the afternoon there it’s easy to see why. The hustle & bustle of the crowd, the smells, colour and noise – the perfect combination of old traditions and new cuisines. Pretty much everything you could want from a market and then some!

I was bowled over by the sheer volume of products available and the mix of people. From tourists to suited and booted local businessmen – pretty much every other person had a camera too. And the produce was so fresh and inviting – I can see why so many of London’s top chefs are frequently spotted shopping there.
I was particularly delighted to discover a stall selling apples from the Brogdale Farm collection. One variety in particular that took my fancy was called Frambroise, which was a beautiful pinky colour, had a firm, crisp texture and a hint of raspberry in its flavour. Seeing the apples at the market is all the more exciting to me as I’m planning a trip to the Brogdale Apple Festival later this month.
Despite being laden down with camera kit, I managed to find some space in my bag to bring back some of the Brogdale apples and also a rather handsome date and walnut loaf (my current Autumn breakfast obsession) – well I couldn’t go all that way and leave empty-handed, now could I!And it would have been rude not to stop for a bite to eat while I was surrounded by such an amazing selection of food, so I managed to squeeze in a sublime pork and stilton burger – all in the name of research, of course. All in all, a fab day and a very happy tummy!

Highlights of my visit
  • A visit to the Monmouth coffee shop
  • Having the opportunity to chat to some really knowledgeable & friendly stall-holders.
  • Seeing the Shard rising up against the backdrop of the market, almost like something from another planet.
If you are planning a visit yourself, do check the opening times on their website before you set off. I went on a Friday and it was still very busy, but on weekends you can expect much bigger crowds.

Catch of the day

All photography © Heather Elizabeth Wilkinson 2012

The weather last week was a bit unsettled, with a distinct feel of autumn in the air, but the day I chose to pop out and buy fish for the weekend was bright, sunny and warm, perfect for a cycle along the seafront.

The best place to buy fresh fish in Brighton is the aptly named Fish, near Hove Lagoon. Fish have their own fleet of boats at Shoreham Harbour, and the catch is unloaded straight into the market within hours of being caught.

Fish supplies most of the best restaurants in the local area, as well as further afield, and they stock an amazing array of products, from scallops, sardines & mackerel to live lobsters and crab – I even spotted a tray of beautiful fresh samphire.  The staff are knowledgeable and friendly, testimony to how highly they’re regarded in the local area.

Get yourself along there – if you time your visit right you might even be lucky enough to see them unloading latest catch from the boats. Watch out for the seagulls though!

 

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

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