Get outdoors this winter: 6 reasons why you need fresh air

January to March are essentially “non-months”. Filled (or rather, unfilled) with diets, new exercise regimes, and unflattering puffer jackets, each dark day drags into the next with gruelling monotony. Snow and cold weather got Sinatra’s Christmas invitation a tad late, bursting in on the great festive hangover with unwelcome surprise. We lock ourselves inside and flick through our Instagram photos from summer, willing ourselves back to a time when legs were smoothly shaven, abbs protruded from flat stomachs like a six-pack of eggs, and sunlight glinted off white(ned) teeth. OK, maybe we’re not all striving to become The Only Way Is Essex material. Even so, many of us do spend the winter months effectively in hibernation.  Continue…

Mince pies and mulled wine – all you need for a festive picnic

As you probably know, I love creating some pretty flamboyant picnics. But that doesn’t mean that the simpler picnics are any less enjoyable. Mince pies and mulled wine really are all you need for a delicious, satisfying picnic – alongside, of course, the beautiful view across the canal at Snape Maltings, candlelight and Christmas paraphanalia, and, all importantly, the company of a very good friend. Continue…

Winter walks and picnics: welcome to Slow Living.

If there was a competition for how full you can keep your regular mug of coffee (without a lid) whilst driving, I would be the winner. Through a skillful act of counterbalancing, I can attune the coffee in my cup to the sways of my car, and regularly arrive at work after a fifteen minute journey relatively unscathed by coffee stains. I do have a reusable takeaway cup, though – but I rarely have the spare time in the morning to a) locate it, and b) wash it up (it is currently encrusted with mould from the last time I was feeling practical – a long time ago). By now you can probably guess that I’m the “just-in-time” – veering towards the “tad-late” – type.  Continue…

How to make a traditional cucumber sandwich

Cucumber sandwiches. The mascots to any cricket match, the emblem of Victorian and Edwardian aristocracy, and, naturally, the stubborn patriarch of today’s afternoon tea. Like the greedy inheritor of a great fortune, the cucumber sandwich sits on its three-tiered throne and stubbornly refuses to give way to other, more modern, culinary delights. It outlives the comings and goings of the ham, smoked salmon, and egg mayo sandwiches: but has the cucumber sandwich compromised itself in order to keep the throne?  Continue…

How to have a winter picnic

Winter picnics. They ring rather like strawberries and cream in January, or mince pies in June. Something that’s not meant to be, out of season. But a winter picnic is something quite different to a summer picnic. Winter picnics are lined with luxury, fueled with festivity. They’re a kind of novel celebration, marked with prosecco in plastic glasses and mini Christmas crackers hiding in the hamper. They’re a chance to get out of the stuffy indoors and feel the fresh air pinch your cheeks like a fond grandparent. So don’t get cold feet about midwinter picnicking; go all out and go for it. And wear warm socks. Continue…