Westonbirt Arboretum – National Arboretum

Pop by 'n say hi!Westonbirt Arboretum Westonbirt Arboretum, close to the historic Cotswolds market town of Tetbury is a Grade One listed landscape consisting of 600 acres (240 hectares) of land on which 18,000 plants and shrubs of 3,000 different species are planted. The arboretum was started in 1829 by Robert Stayner Holford. Westonbirt Arboretum is a stone’s throw from Westonbirt House, once the Holford family country house, now Westonbirt School. It was the Victorian era and ever curious Brits were keen to explore the furthest reaches of the British Empire. Holford financed expeditions to bring plants and trees from the four corners of the globe, founding the Old Arboretum. Robert Holford’s son, Sir George, picked up where his father left off and continued to develop the arboretum from the 1880s. The Forestry Commission was handed the Westonbirt Arboretum in 1956 and today the National Arboretum receives 350,000 visitors a year. Today Westonbirt Arboretum is a venue for the annual Westonbirt 10 K race, concerts, weddings and other private functions and concerts. In fact this June, British singer-songwriter, Tom Odell is performing for one night only. Westonbirt Arboretum is close to Cirencester in the Cotswolds, Bath and Bristol, just 20 […]

England’s smallest Church? Culbone Church

Pop by 'n say hi!England’s Smallest Church? England’s smallest church is St Beuno’s Church in Culbone according to some sources. Culbone is a Somerset Hamlet located in Exmoor National Park. The contender for England’s smallest church is only accessible by foot; a two mile walk from Porlock Weir, one of the most beautiful places in Somerset. A little more research reveals that St. Beuno’s may, no longer, hold the title of England’s smallest church! Slightly more famous in Britain are St Paul’s Cathedral in London, Gloucester Cathedral (popular with Harry Potter fans) or even St Davids Cathedral in Pembrokeshire. Sir Chrisptoher Wren’s St. Paul’s Cathedral is 158 m long, with the 111 m high dome visible from much of central London. In contrast St. Beuno’s is a mere ten metres (35 feet) long, seats just 30 people and is inaccessible by road. Though only 10 feet wide, Culbone Church is not the smallest church in England according to the Guinness Book of Records. That title is held by Bremilham Church near Malmesbury in Wiltshire. England’s smallest church is 4 m by 3.4 m. The church was consecrated 30 years ago and the building was used by its previous owners for […]

Porlock Weir, West Somerset

Pop by 'n say hi!Porlock Weir, West Somerset Porlock Weir is a charming coastal, West Somerset settlement. Somerset is a county in the South West of the United Kingdom. Porlock Weir is in the heart of Exmoor National Park and lies just 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) from the pretty, picture-postard village of Porlock – the Jewel in Exmoor’s crown. The port has existed for over 100 years and some cottages date back to the 17th century. The thatched-roofed Gibraltar Cottages are Grade II listed, themselves an English Heritage designated Conservation Area. As Porlock Weir is one of the most beautiful places in Somerset, it is a popular visitor attraction with much to do. The best way to enjoy the area is to hike along one of the many well-maintained paths. There are walks to suit both hiking enthusiasts as well as those after a short, leisurely stroll. Just a few miles from Porlock Weir is the smallest church in England, which is inaccessible by road and has seats for no more than 30 people! Much of the walk is under the cover of ancient trees, which will provide some shade on a hot day. This doesn’t by any means detract […]

Buttercream cake recipe: Easter treats

Pop by 'n say hi!Buttercream cake recipe: Easter treats Buttercream cake recipe: over the last few days we have posted Easter treats recipes: a macaroons recipe and some chocolate recipes, both ideal for impressing guests. Beyond recipes, on the Easter treats theme, we wrote about Easter traditions: Easter egg history and hot cross buns. Finally we have posted on chocolate and its health benefits: bean to bar chocolate, artisan chocolate makers, Heart Healthy Chocolate Perks and ethical, ‘fairtransport’ chocolate. Today we take the focus off chocolate and look at a buttercream cake recipe. Fiona Cairns cakes are shown in the post picture. Fiona Cairns made a cake to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee. We have chosen a buttercream cake recipe from another British queen; Mary Berry, the Queen of British Baking. As well as writing the book of that name, Mary Berry has stared in the Great British Bake Off. The recipe takes about 35 minutes to make (including preparation time) and the ingredients should cost no more than a few pounds. For the icing, it is important to use caster sugar which is finely ground. Golden caster sugar is ideal as it unrefined. For the full buttercream cake recipe see […]

Chocolate recipes: chocolate Easter treats to impress

Pop by 'n say hi!Chocolate recipes: chocolate Easter treats to impress Chocolate recipes is theme of this latest Easter treats post, on how to make chocolate Easter treats to impress, friends, family and guests. In recent Easter treats posts we have written about bean to bar chocolate and artisan chocolate makers with further posts on Heart Healthy Chocolate Perks and ethical, ‘fairtransport’ chocolate. We have also investigated the origins of some Easter traditions: Easter egg history, and hot cross buns yesterday . Yesterday, we also posted a macaroons recipe for anyone looking for Easter treats on a budget. We continue on that theme today, looking at some chocolate recipes. Chocolate recipes Here is a list of a few chocolate recipes to impress friends and family. Enjoy! Hot chocolate made from bean to bar chocolate from artisan chocolatier Åkesson’s Passion Fruit & Raspberry Chocolate Ganache from award winning bean to bar chocolate maker, Rococo Chocolate truffles from Paul A Young’s book Adventures with Chocolate Chocolate bowl from Choccywoccydoodah to leave even the hardest to impress guests’ mouths watering Fondant filled cream eggs from Paul A Young, prepare for any guests who weren’t happy about the recent change in recipe of a […]

Hot Cross Buns – Easter treats

Pop by 'n say hi!Hot Cross Buns Hot Cross buns are the feature of our second Good Friday post on Easter treats. So far we have mostly focussed on chocolate Easter treats with posts on bean to bar chocolate, artisan chocolate makers with further posts on Heart Healthy Chocolate Perks and ethical, ‘fairtransport’ chocolate. Earlier we posted a macaroons recipe for anyone looking for Easter treats on a budget. While yesterday we looked at Easter egg history and how the Christian celebration became about chocolate eggs. Which bring us to hot cross buns. Where do hot cross buns originate? Hot cross buns are on any list of Easter British food recipes for food to eat on Good Friday. How though did they become associated with Easter? In a previous post on Easter egg history we mentioned the Nordic goddess, Eostre, in fact hot cross buns were originally eaten by the Saxons to honour the goddess. For the pagans, the bun represented the moon, and the cross, the quarters of the moon. For Christians, of course, the cross symbolises the crucifixion of Christ. The post picture shows a hot cross bun from A. J. Whiddet’s Bakery in Cirencester, Gloucestershire. The Whiddets […]

Macaroons recipe: Easter treats on a budget

Pop by 'n say hi!Macaroons recipe: Easter treats on a budget Macaroons recipe is the subject of today’s Easter treats post with a French twist. The post focusses on Easter treats on a budget, with a macaroons recipe for cooking up your own Easter treats. The “French”, budget theme continues into the post photo with mélange mini eggs and chocolates from Maison du Chocolat. Over the last few days we have posted on Easter treats, including posts on bean to bar chocolate and artisan chocolate makers plus another post detailing Heart Healthy Chocolate Perks. Earlier in the week, we wrote on ethical ‘fairtransport’ chocolate from The Grenada Chocolate Company. Yesterday we looked at Easter egg history and how the Christian celebration became about chocolate eggs. Making macaroons can become seriously addictive: the colour and flavour varieties possible is only limited by your own imagination. Macaroons are one of the current ‘sweet’ crazes. This macaroons recipe from BBC Good Food by Loraine Pascale makes twelve macaroons and can be finished in just 40 minutes. Loraine Pascale found fame in BBC Two’s Baking Made Easy series. If you are more of a Great British Bake Off or Mary Berry fan, she also […]

Easter Egg History: chocolate eggs for Easter treats

Pop by 'n say hi!Easter Egg History Easter Egg history is the subject of today’s post. Over the last few days we have posted on Easter treats, including posts on bean to bar chocolate and artisan chocolate makers plus another post detailing Heart Healthy Chocolate Perks. A couple of days ago, we wrote on ethical ‘fairtransport’ chocolate from The Grenada Chocolate Company. In fact Rococo chocolates, featured in the post photo is one UK boutique which stocks The Grenada Chocolate Company bars. Easter Egg history: what have eggs got to do with the Christian celebration? It is thought while Christians celebrated the resurrection in spring, pagans celebrated the spring equinox in the festival of Eostre. Early Christianity made a pragmatic acceptance of the pagan festival. It is thought that the word Easter itself comes from the Norse festival Eostur and the pagan goddess Eostre. Both the spring equinox and the resurrection are about rebirth. Many other Easter symbols such as bunnies and lambs and be interpreted along these lines. But where do eggs come into the story? When did Easter egg history begin? Ancient Egyptians, Persians, Phoenicians, and Hindus all believed the world began with an enormous egg, so the […]

Artisan chocolate makers: where to buy

Pop by 'n say hi!Artisan chocolate makers: where to buy Artisan chocolate makers and where to buy artisan chocolate is the subject of today’s post. Over the last few days, in the Easter treats posts we have talked about bean to bar chocolate, ethical, ‘fairtransport’ organic chocolate and heart health chocolate perks. After featuring artisan chocolate makers in those posts, today we look at where to get hold of Easter treats from artisan chocolate makers. Your first question might be, what is an artisan chocolate maker? It is simply small, knowledgable chocolate maker with an intimate understanding of the craft. Where can you buy easter treats from artisan chocolate makers? Some artisans have boutiques in London and around the United Kingdom. For example, Rococo have shops in Chelsea, Belgravia and Marylebone in London and also in Chester. If you’re too busy to make it to a boutique though, many artisan chocolate makers sell from their own online shops (for example, the Pierre Marcolini e-boutique or bean to bar chocolatier The Chocolate Society, sell exclusively online. The post pictures show “Les Coeurs” by artisan chocolate maker Pierre Marcolini. Pierre Marcolini is one of Belgium’s most sophisticated artisans and one of about […]

Red Wine Health Benefits

Pop by 'n say hi!Red Wine Health Benefits A couple of days ago we explored heart healthy chocolate perks as one of the Easter treats posts. We have also looked at top food fad of 2015: bean to bar chocolate. Yesterday, we wrote about sustainable and ‘fairtransport’ chocolate as an ethical Easter treat. Picking up where we left off on heart healthy chocolate perks: Brazilian research has found that a small serving of wine contains the same amount of flavonoids as a serving of dark chocolate. Read the heart healthy chocolate perks to learn about the benefits of flavonoids. Let’s take a look at some potential red wine health benefits and some issues of excess alcohol consumption. Wine should be enjoyed responsibly. See Drinkaware to check the facts and read about alcohol health effects. What are the red wine health benefits? ‘Moderate’ wine drinking was associated with a 23% decrease in death from all causes according to research by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discussed by Men’s Health. The effect was not however seen in men who drunk beer as well as wine. A glass of red wine can prevent the build up of cholesterol after eating red meat. […]