Sometimes the city can get all too much.

I love London, but I also appreciate the countryside. So many of us when we are young hate those country walks and forest strolls but as we grow older we really do realise just why our parents dragged us around fields and villages – because its just so pretty.

It was only really when I moved to London that I started to appreciate the countryside a little better.

The countryside holds a special place at the heart of English life and culture, and I always feel that if you visit England but only see London, you haven’t really seen England at all.

The countryside remains for most of us in Britain as an idyllic place, where we can relax and us Brits love to go to the country. For me, the countryside isn’t just areas full of history, nature and protected areas, but also all the little things: that pretty little village or old country pub that does a good, cheap pint.

So however damp and dismal the weather may be over Winter, don’t let it colour your own impressions of the countryside.

My hometown is in Kent, also known as the Garden of England. And it truly is. We’ve visited various areas throughout my childhood in Kent (and outside of it, too) and there are few places that remain favourites.

Teston isn’t far from my old hometown and it’s a small, quiet, yet beautiful place for a walk. The other weekend we got out our wellies and coats and marched off for the countryside.

Views are spectacular, it’s always a bit better when you know there’s a warm pub at the end, too…

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Easy like a Sunday morning.

These Fall Cinnamon Persimmon Pancakes are a perfect morning treat in the lead up to Christmas.

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Easy, peasy, persimmon squeezy – they can be made in a matter of minutes, and are so simple you’ll probably wonder why you have never tried it before.

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Using a basic pancake recipe, adding some slices of persimmon and a sprinkle (or a dash, depending on preference) of cinnamon; voila, you have pancakes with a very wintery twist.

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Using cups and spoons only to measure the ingredients, it requires no messy weighing of all sorts:

  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • One persimmon (at least)
  • Ground Cinammon
  • Maple Syrup (to serve!)

In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Make a ‘well’ in the centre and pour in the milk, oil and egg. Combine, mix and stir until smooth!

Now, slowly add as much ground cinnamon as you wish…

Slice the persimmon into thin slices (aim for no bigger than half a cm really), and heat a lightly oiled frying pan over a medium heat.

Place one slice of the persimmon in the middle of the pan and flip a couple of times for about 20 seconds maximum, before scooping one spoonful of batter onto the pan, on top of the persimmon. Brown on both sides and serve up hot with maple syrup! This recipe gave me the chance to use my mouth-watering Maple syrup from Maine…

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Staying in my hometown, Kent, has been the nicest way to spend the holidays and this Christmas. Although it has now come to an end and I am ready to head back into city lifestyle in London, I thought I’d post an appreciation post on the countryside near where I live.

Last week, we awoke to a chilly morning and decided to head into the countryside near Sevenoaks. After a short drive we found ourselves driving through green forestry, and we had arrived at Ightham Mote.

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A charming, medieval manor house and garden, it was like walking through an English fairytale. This is exactly what I love about the English countryside.

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Originally dating to around 1320, it is the most complete small medieval manor house in the country. We paid only £6 for entry to the building and the grounds, although it is free for all you National Trust members.

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So, if you’re in the South East of England (or near London) and thinking that there’s really nothing to do here – think again. Look up other places that are part of the National Trust – some places are truly amazing.

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It’s Christmas Eve and I’m finally relaxed and in a festive mood.

The other night I decided our house wasn’t Christmasy enough (well, I needed an excuse) and thought up a way to make it even more glittery and beautiful for only two pounds. I do love a bit of house DIY, and when it’s Christmas themed what could go wrong?!

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Salt Dough Ornaments are made simply by mixing one cup of plain flour with one cup of salt and water. By mixing these three you create a dough, and with this you can create any ornaments you want. Place in the oven on 100 degrees Celsius for three hours and voila!

I bought some glittery gold spray paint (for only a pound) to cover the ornaments when they were done and I was left with some pretty cute decorations. I didn’t pierce any holes in mine to hang on the tree, as I didn’t feel they were good enough to hang everywhere! However they would look lovely in a bowl or as a centrepiece or even to place on wrapping paper. (Some of my decs were a little wobbly, as I am no artist, but I like to call it “shabby chic”…..)

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Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas! <3

 

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The holidays are here!

I have felt exhausted the past week from coming home from London to my parents house, and jumping straight into more work. Because I have been so busy, I have had to squeeze in some blog-happy things to do in my (very rare) spare evenings.

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This post is all about the amazingly easy fudge I made recently. So cheap, easy and quick – it is a must do for any sweet toothed person.

Perfect for nibbling on whilst watching a Christmas movie, or even as a Christmas present.

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INGREDIENTS: (Only four!!)

White Chocolate (I used about three cups/3 family bars)

Dulce De Leche (I used a whole tin of Carnation Caramel as a slight substitute)

Milk Chocolate Chips (I used a small bag and a half)

Salt

METHOD:

Melt all of the white chocolate in a pan over a VERY low heat. This is so it does not burn, and melts into a smooth liquid.

Mix in the Dulce De Leche/Carnation Caramel until the mixture is smooth, a beige/caramel colour and quite thick.

Pour the mixture into a dish, I used a square dish which was about 8×8 inches and it was perfect.

Smooth the top down so it is as flat as possible, and then begin to melt the chocolate chips in the microwave or over a low heat.

When fully melted, pour the chocolate over the top of the fudge mixture.

Now, this is all you have to do! The rest is a waiting game – either leave it at room temperature for a few hours (although I did not try this) or put in the fridge for about 1 hour. I prefer using the fridge.

 

TaDa! That is all you have to do. Simple. A perfect Christmas treat. Go on, treat yourself.

 

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