The Bluebells of Kent

Bluebells are a famous feature of many of our woodlands and they are truly beautiful. As we move further into April they will carpet woodland areas. This annual display is just stunning.
Did you know native bluebells have a strong sweet scent? Much weaker scents come from the non native varieties. Native bluebells are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Ancient Woodland

Next time you walk into the woods spend a little time looking at the magic they create.

Ancient woods are areas of woodland that have persisted since 1600 in England and Wales, and 1750 in Scotland.

They are relatively undisturbed by human development. As a result, they are unique and complex communities of plants, fungi, insects and other microorganisms.

How do I know if I’m exploring an ancient woodland? Look out for indicator species these include the commonly know bluebells, primroses and wood anemones or the less commonly known scaly male fern or hazel gloves fungus.

#RespectProtectEnjoy

Emmett’s Garden

The truly beautiful Emmett’s Garden is a fantastic day out, boasting beautiful landscape views and tranquil gardens. A must visit for anyone wanting to explore a glorious part of the ‘garden of England’.

The Rose Garden – Emmett’s Garden

As with many gardens you must book a time slot to be able to book the gardens (there is a small possibility on non-holiday weekdays that availability will be available to the same day, but you would be taking a chance). Currently March 2021 National Trust are releasing visit slots every Friday for the following week. Please ensure that you are following national guidelines in relation to travel and visit places of interest.

The garden is open daily between 10am and 5pm, with the last entry slot between 3.30pm and 4pm.

There is a beautiful woodland walk that takes you to the ‘Ram House’ & Pond’ you can opt to take a longer walk or a shorter walk the walks clearly marked and easy to follow.

There is a play park and lots of room to play games and have picnics on the open grassland.

The Emmett’s Garden Tea Room is currently open serving takeaway hot and cold drinks, bakes and light snacks. The outdoor seating has been removed for the safety of visitors, staff and volunteers but there are benches across the site and picnic tables available in the meadow. Picnics are welcome with plenty of benches across the gardens to use.

Why not visit Emmett’s Gardens for their Easter Egg Hunt this spring running from Monday 29 March 2021 – Sunday 18 April 2021 (whilst stocks last); 9am-5.30pm (last entry at 5pm). The trail is £3.00 per person (including National Trust members). Normal site admission applies.

Valentine’s Scones

Who loves a cream tea? This Valentines Day I have treated my husband to homemade scones clotted cream, jam and fresh strawberries. Why not recreate these delicious scones – they don’t have to be for Valentine’s Day and you certainly don’t have to share them!

Ingredients

350g self raising flour, plus more for dusting

1 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

85g butter, cut into cubes

3 tbsp caster sugar

175ml milk, plus a little for glazing

1 tsp vanilla extract

squeeze lemon juice

40g of sultanas (this can be changed for glacé cherries or chocolate chips)

Method

1 Turn on the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Put the self-raising flour into a large bowl with a pinch of salt salt, caster sugar and the baking powder, then mix.

2 Tip in the butter, then rub in with your fingers until the mix looks like fine crumbs.

3 Heat the milk in the microwave for about 30 seconds until just warm, but not hot. Add the vanilla extract and a squeeze of lemon juice, then set aside for a moment.

4 Line a baking sheet with baking paper and place in the oven – you may need to place something (ovenproof dish) on the baking paper to hold in place . Make a well in the dry mix, then add the liquid and combine it quickly with a cutlery knife – it will seem pretty wet at first.

5 Sift some flour onto the work surface and tip the dough out. Flour your hands and fold the dough over 2-3 times until it’s a little smoother. Roll out 2 – 4cm deep depending on how tall you would like your scones (I tent to do about 2cm). Take a cookie cutter (smooth-edged cutters tend to cut more cleanly, giving a better rise). Push into the dough, then repeat until you have used all the dough. You may need to press what’s left of the dough roll again snd to cut out the final scones (try not to handle the dough too much or this can affect the rise).

6 Brush the tops with a little milk, then carefully arrange on the hot baking tray. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes golden brown top and well risen.

7 Eat just warm or cold generously topped with jam and clotted cream. If freezing, freeze once cool. Defrost, then put in a low oven (about 160C/140C fan/gas 3) for a few minutes to refresh.

How do you eat yours the Devon Way or the Cornish Way?

Devon split scone in half, smother in cream first then top with jam.

Cornwall split the done in half then smother with jam and top with cream.

Happy baking ❤️

American Pancakes

These delicious easy to make american pancakes are a regular in our house. The children have loved learning to make them from a young age and will now make them for us; it’s nice treat from them to me on a Sunday Morning.

Ingredients

  • 100g Self Raising Flour
  • 2 tbsp Golden Caster Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • ¼ pint Whole Milk

Method

  1. Mix together sugar, golden caster sugar together in a jug.
  2. Place the egg into the flour mixture and start to mix with a whist or fork.
  3. Gradually add in the milk ensuring that you continue to mix to create a smooth batter.
  4. Heat a non-stick frying pan to medium-high heat.
  5. Pour in a small amount of the mixture until you get your desired pancake size.
  6. When you start to see bubble appear over most of the pancake carefully turn using a flexible turner (silicone one are good).
  7. Leave for approximately 30 more seconds to let the pancake rise and brown the bottom.
  8. Place to cooked pancakes into a folded tea towel, this will keep them nice and warm until you have cooked them all.
  9. Serve pancake with your choice of toppings, my boys love chocolate drops, maple syrup or ice cream. I love strawberries and maple syrup.
  10. You can keep these in a sealed bag for a couple of days. Then eat them cold or heat for a short while in the toaster.

Pashley Manor Gardens

Pashley Manor Gardens in Ticehurst East Sussex award winning gardens and are an excellent place to visit for a relaxing day out. With 11 acres there is plenty of space to be able to social distance when you visit.

Pashley Manor Gardens

I mean this is my dream gardens….On our visit it felt like we were in the Mediterranean, it was really relaxing and peaceful.

On arrival there was plenty of parking in a field scattered with trees. We walked down to the front of the house where you enter the gardens, there was an entrance table set up outside to buy your tickets from. The social distancing measures in place were ingenious they had tennis/badminton rackets attached to the card machine so that they could move the machine to you safely for payment.

We spent hours exploring the extensive gardens following the paths and walking around the lake. We found the gardens to be tranquil and peaceful with plenty of room for everyone not to be on top of each other.

We made a pit stop for lunch at the Garden Room Café, with a one way system in place and a table allocation once you have ordered food (you can choose to sit inside or outside). There are plenty of tables available. Homemade food filled the plates and it was delicious, there were gluten free options available. If you wish to have a picnic you are invited to do this in the car park field, this is a large field and a lovely setting.  

My highlights have to be finding the sculptures across the gardens, the swimming pool area and meeting the owner James Sellick who had been pruning the roses.

On exit there is a gift shop again with a one way system in place, I purchased some seeds and a reed diffuser in the scent ‘blue bell’ (it smelt just amazing). The products in the shop had a focus on supporting local business which I particularly liked I am not one for always buying something from a gift shop but I couldn’t resist here.

The gardens host many special events including kitchen garden week, Sussex guild craft show and dahlia days.

Remember now more than ever our local attractions will need support as tourist numbers will be much lower than normal.

Mount Ephraim Gardens

Mount Ephraim House & Gardens are privately owned and lie between Canterbury and Faversham in Kent. Entry prices are reasonable with an excellent value annual option. 

My Mum and I visited the gardens on Friday 26th June as the Covid19 pandemic social distancing rules aloud us. We arrived in the car park in our separate cars and walked to purchase our tickets at the entrance gate building. With excellent procedures in place including hand sanitizer, contactless payments and a glass screen. We were informed that the tea room was offering a takeaway service if we wished to use it – we all know that I will end up getting something yummy from the tea room.

We were provided with a map and asked to follow the route one way to ensure that social distancing could be easily facilitated.

There is a stunning Japanese rock garden & water garden, arboretum, Miz Maze and a beautiful walled garden near the tea room. You can take as much time as you wish exploring the many parts of the gardens then a stop off at the tea room for refreshments.

Picnics are welcome at the gardens, a great reason to buy an annual pass – remember to always take your rubbish home with you.

Remember now more than ever our local attractions will need support as tourist numbers will be much lower than normal. Why not plan your visit now?

Cinnamon Rolls

Our family CinnaBuns (Cinnamon Rolls) are a lovely sweet treat. Why not give then a try now.

Ingredients

Dough

  • 420g / 3 Cups Strong White Flour
  • 60g / ¼ Cup Golden Caster Sugar
  • 7g Dried Yeast
  • 185ml / ¾ Cup of Warm Milk (not hot)
  • 60g / ¼ Melted Butter
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • Pinch of salt

Filling

  • 100g / 2/3 Cup Light Brown Soft Sugar
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 60g Soft Butter

Icing

  • 60g Soft Cream Cheese
  • 30g Softened Unsalted Butter
  • 95g / ¾ Cup Icing Sugar
  • ½ tsp Vanilla Extract

Method

  1. Put the flour, in a large bowl mixing bowl and make a well in the center.
  2. Place the sugar, salt and then the dried yeast in the well.
  3. Pour the warm milk (not hot), melted butter, egg and egg yolk in the well.
  4. Mix with an electric mixer with the dough hook attachment for 8 minutes, if you don’t have an electric mixer then bring mix together with a table knife and then hand knead for 12 minutes.
  5. Bring the kneaded dough in to a ball then place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with lightly oiled Clingfilm and a clean tea towel.
  6. Leave in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  7. Meanwhile prepare the filling by mixing together the sugar and cinnamon.
  8. Line a 26cm cake tin with parchment/baking paper.
  9. Dust the counter top with flour and a small amount of cinnamon.
  10. Roll out the dough into a rectangle approximately 30cm x 20cm.
  11. Spread the melted butter over the top of the rolled out dough and then sprinkle the filling mix over the top pressing down into the dough after.
  12. Tightly roll along the shorter side, and then cut into 8 pieces.
  13. Place the pieces into the cake pan leaving some space between the swirls.
  14. Cover with lightly oiled Clingfilm and a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place for 30 – 45 minutes.
  15. Preheat the oven to 170°C/Gas 3.
  16. Remove the tea towel and Clingfilm then place in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until lightly golden brown at the edges, you want then to finish cooking with their own heat after they leave the oven. This gives the buns a beautiful soft centre.
  17. Once cooled but still slightly warm add the icing then enjoy.

Wild Meadows

Wild Meadows – Take yourself somewhere peaceful and relax.

Wild flower meadow in Canterbury Kent
Wild Meadow

Anxiety

At some point most of us have been anxious, from going to an interview, heading up an important meeting, having a baby, starting a new school……

Some anxiety escalates and becomes so intense that it stops people from doing things.

Anxiety is natural response our body has and we learn how to control the extent it takes hold of us.

Sundial in a garden
Take Time
%d bloggers like this: