You guys may have heard a lot about glamping over the years: the luxe way to camp which basically involves turning up at a site to a premade semi-permanent dwelling, usually made of heavy canvas, to enjoy the outdoors without the slightest bit of inconvenience. Well, that’s all well and good if you have deep pockets and you don’t really enjoy camping, but if you’re into going outdoors and you want to introduce a bit of glam to your campsite on a budget, here’s the post for you! Get ready for possibly the most shallow discussion of tents and accessories you’ve probably ever read… Continue reading
Festive Tipples: What To Drink At Christmas Part One
Welcome to part one of my festive drinks posts – I’m covering wine in this one, and I’ll be talking about spirits and cocktails in my follow up!
The question of what to drink with the dish of the day isn’t surely at the top of the list when it comes to party planning on Christmas Day – which is why it’s handy to have a couple of no-brainer options under your belt. Whether you’re the host or a guest, picking up a bottle of red and white to go with the meal is a sure fire recipe for success!
To pair with turkey and roast ham, pick up this Giesen Sauvignon Blanc for £8 from Majestic and Sainsbury’s – a pretty damn good price for a sweet, versatile white with gooseberry notes! This is the perfect bottle to pick up if you’re only bringing one with you – because turkey or chicken is sure to be on the menu. I also reckon it would be a great gift as well, especially if you pair it with a handwritten note with serving suggestions on it!
If you’re having darker roasts like duck or game (and we’re having duck and partridge this year!) you should check out Château Labadie, 2009 The Wien Society, £10.50. With its medium body, it’s a great partner for roasted meats of all kinds, making it a great way to spread a little Christmas cheer at the table. Rich and decadent, with a velvet mouthfeel, this went down a treat when we taste-tested it at my parents’ house for Sunday lunch!
But you know, mulled wine makes Christmas – yet I rarely drink it on the day. Instead, it’s served before carols or after a long snowy walk, to redden your cheeks and steam up your glasses. Huddled over a cup of mulled wine, inhaling the wisps of cinnamon and orange, snuggled in the candlelight with a cosy blanket over your knee – this is what Christmas dreams are made of! I absolutely love these super little sachets c/o Hotel Chocolat – bundles of festive joy you can chuck into the pot like a big witches brew, to steam and seethe while your guests arrive! Who needs scented candles when you’ve got these babies to hand?!
What tipples will you be serving with the big meal this year?
Samples of the products mentioned were provided as PR samples, all text and photos are my own.
Camping and the Art of Hygge: Favourites This Week
Hygge is the buzz word of 2016 – or at least, it is in my house. I say it all the time, at any opportunity, because I have no real idea how to pronounce it and it’s funny to say it out loud. Hygge basically means a sense of cosiness and happiness, a state of mind conjured up by warm socks, hot cocoa, and a wood fire.
So, when my friends invited me on a camping trip, I thought it would be the perfect time to do a post about hygge, and how you can invoke its spirit in the great outdoors!
First of all, you will need a tent. I had some great advice picking a tent, and found a cheap two-man one for £45 (the item is the Eurohike Tay Deluxe Two Man Tent). The best tents have an interior sleeping area that’s seperate from the rest, which reduces the amount of condensation inside. They also have a small porch area to store your items – and believe me, you need a stupid amount of stuff to go camping, even by my standards.
If you’re going with experienced campers, you probably won’t need a lot of other stuff, but if you’re camping alone, or for any length of time, you’ll probably want to invest in a tent you can stand up inside, because if the weather is bad you’ll be hunched inside your tent like Gollum otherwise…
The best part about camping, of course, is the nighttime firepit. We had a portable Weber and coals, but if the camp site lets you, you’ll want to break out the log-fuelled fire for sure. Sticks and marshmallows are a must, and copious amounts of cider is optional, but recommended.
Lighting is really difficult at night in a campsite. You’ll want to bring as many lanterns, fairy lights and head torches as you can find. Fairy lights with battery packs are so awesome for brightening up a camp site – and as an added bonus, you can use it to find your way back to your tent after a midnight toilet break!
Trust me to claim that a pair of Charlotte Olympias are essential campsite necessities, but bringing flip-flops is the best tip I got. You’ll be showering in a central block, and drying yourself and walking back and forward from your tent is so much easier with flip-flops!
You’ll probably notice in my tent picture at the top that I have a lot of blankets and throws. This is my best hygge tip, after ‘bring fairy lights’. I’ve got a blanket scarf from Joules (the Heyford, check them out here) which was a perfect dual purpose item – worn around the neck or over the knees, it was a great way to keep toasty! I also had some red checkered throws from Next, as well as a tartan picnic blanket, which makes a perfect carpet for the foyer of the tent. These small touches go a long way to making the experience as cosy as possible!
We went camping in the New Forest, one of my favourite places, and somewhere I wish I could spend a lot more time. On the Saturday, we went to the Otter and Owl Sanctuary, which was huge, full of awesome animals, and even had a giant adventure playground that adults were allowed in! (Seriously, it was probably the part I enjoyed the most!)
The campsite we ended up at was Ashurst. I definitely recommend it for some amazing views like this one! It’s pretty central in the New Forest, making it handy for loads of great days out.
And if you’re in the New Forest, I definitely recommend you visit Burley. It’s got a great history of witches and magical activity, and a couple of lovely themed magical gift shops. It’s also got a New Forest Cider shop, where they produce their own cider, as well as sell a variety of great local products, and there’s even a cafe!
So, are you going to bring a bit of hygge into your next camping trip? Don’t forget your flip-flops and blanket scarves!