Kew: Wakehurst Review in Winter, Jan 2020.

Today I spent New Years Day getting some fresh air in the lovely Wakehurst, just outside Ardingly in West Sussex. Linked to Kew Gardens, this place has a seed bank – unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to explore the seed bank but I managed to see Wakehurst Place – the beautiful Manor House and some of the gardens.

Although a grey and dreary day (and also freezing), I decided to wrap up in my scarf and coat and explore the gardens surrounding the Wakehurst Manor House. There were a lot of people about but somehow the place felt very relaxed. I explored some of the lakes and ponds and took a woodland walk. I came across some beautiful Xmas trees.

I stopped off for a slice of cake and a hot chocolate in their cafe, which was lovely. The gardens have got a very different feel to when I went in the Spring last year but I loved taking my time to look around, listen to the birds and the sound of trickling water by the pond. If you take some time to walk ‘off the beaten track’ then you won’t be disappointed, it is so peaceful.

£13.95 entry or £29.00 for the year (price correct at time of writing). I would suggest becoming a member for £29.00 and then you can visit each season and see how the place is changing.

It was a lovely day out, my only disappointment was that I had not realised that the rules had changed and dogs are now allowed in on their lead. My pug would have loved it!

Lavender Fields near London?

I’ve always wanted to visit the beautiful lavender fields in the South of France. I’ve romanticised the idea into something quite spectacular.

But with only a couple of days off work and the Summer nearly over (did it even begin?) I ventured much closer to home to see the dreamy purple haze of the lavender fields.

Next stop, Croydon! Well…. technically just outside at Mayfield Lavender Farm.

This jaw dropping scene of lush purples and a mindblowing scent of lavender is something you could have only dreamed of!

For Summer 2019 it was just £2.50 per person and we drove and parked there. Now, be mindful to get there early to grab a parking spot. The field itself blooms between June and September with each different section of the field blooming at different times.

Bees are plentiful so if your nervous then don’t sit in the bushes or you could get stung. Having said that, I had a wonderful time getting up close to the lavender and taking photos.

The gift shop on site offers plentiful amounts of fresh lavender bunches. I’d suggest to buy them here rather than at the mayfield garden centre which is approx a mile or two down the road. The garden centre still has the bunches but they are dried out.

Fresh bunches are £4.00

The farm also has a small field of wildflowers which look spectacular and attract the bees and butterflies. This small field gives an added dynamic and point of difference. You will also see lots of props such as an old telephone box at the field so you can take some interesting photos.

Wildflowers
Garden centre is closeby

We spent about 50 mins at the field. If you decide to take the tractor ride and stop for some lavender scones then you could probably spend a good 2 or 3 hours exploring. All in all its a great day out just outside of London and I would highly reccomend it as great value for money. Just dont forget to pick up a gift….how could you not?

Love my little gift, a bargain at £7.00

Review: A day trip to Rye

Historic Houses

It’s the Easter holidays and so I decided to do something cultural by taking a trip to Rye, East Sussex.

Full of quirky antique shops and pretty gift shops, I spent an hour or so exploring the main town and Mermaid Street. The mermaid hotel dates back to 1156 and apparently houses a secret passageway which connects to a pub called the Old Bell. Back in the day, smugglers would use Rye as a base.

The Mermaid hotel and bar

I had a nice walk in the sunshine exploring the plethora of antique shops that Rye has to offer. Found a lovely little bargain, beautiful tea cup and saucer for 2 pounds!

The high street
Inside the antique shops
My £2 teacup!

For lunch, I popped into the Old Bell Pub. A real oldy worldy pub which takes you back in time. Everything in Rye is local. No big brand names. .. you won’t find a mcdonalds! I have a feeling its the same with the produce… mostly local. I ordered a cheese and ham panini and the ham was so tasty and freshly carved.

Yummy

It was a perfect day, with perfect weather. The drive home was really interesting with lots of traditional ‘oast’ houses which display interesting architecture with conical shaped domes.

Oast House

To finish off the day, I stumbled upon some pretty bluebell fields in the countryside surrounding Rye. I will definitely be going back to Rye for more exploring and shopping.

How to make a cheap, quick and easy Easter chocolate hamper

Easter is fast approaching and I made a quick trip to the Supermarket to buy some chocolates for my parents. I know that they aren’t too keen on normal Easter eggs so I bought a selection of chocs that I know that they like.

So after purchasing some good old ferrero rocher. Some cadbury mini eggs, kinder mini eggs and a couple of Frys peppermint cremes which my dad loves, it’s time to put it all together.

I made a quick trip to Poundland and picked up an ice bucket for my container, some shredded paper to put inside and some cute chicks and sheep! All for just £4.

After playing around with the bigger bits at the back and smaller at the front. I added some of the chicks and sheep for extra easter cheer.

I finished off with some cellophane that I already had from Hobbycraft and voila….. the perfect gift!!

Can you spot little doggy hiding at the bottom of the photo?!

How to make an Easter/Mothers Day Floral Basket Arrangement

It’s Mother’s Day tomorrow and so I’ve been to the local supermarket to pick up some fresh flowers. They were selling bunches of mixed flowers for up to £30 but I figured I could create something which would look much more Spring like for much less cash.

I’ve used a basket which I bought from Hobbycraft for £2 and I also grabbed a block of foam whilst I was there. The floral foam needs to be the green colour (for use with fresh flowers) and you need to spend a while properly soaking the foam.

Watch the video link below and you will see how to create this beautiful basket for only £15.

Stunning Spring Flowers

The Sportsman Pub Review: Goddards Green

I’ve been meaning to try out the Sportsman Pub for a while now, I ventured there a few weeks ago in the midsts of Winter, hoping for a hearty Sunday Roast to warm me up, but was unfortunately turned away as they were so busy. I learnt my lesson and this time, booked a table early.

The pub itself is a small and quaint size with lots of character, it has a warming and relaxed atmosphere, the sort that would make you want to sit there all afternoon and watch the world go by. It’s located just outside of Hurstpierpoint in Sussex and in my opinion, a bit of a hidden gem.

As soon as I arrived, I could smell the delicious Roast dinners. I looked around and every table was full apart from mine. I noticed that for the most part, everyone was eating a roast or a burger. Note to self, must try the burger next time too!

There were 3 main Roast Dinners on offer – lamb, beef or pork. It was a tough decision but I went with the roast pork and was not disappointed! The dinner came with a huge yorkshire pudding, hidden underneath was 4 large slices of pork loin. They were not stingy on their meat portion which was a welcome sight. Three roast potatoes and seasonal veggies and a generous pouring of gravy. The first bite was heaven!! The pork was a melt in the mouth delight with so much flavour. Not too much fat either. Everything was honestly cooked to perfection and the menu also stated that they use local produce.

Yum!

For £13.50, I will definitely be going back again. Next time I might try the beef, or the burger, or the lamb! All I know is that I wont be disappointed.

Generous portion

How to make a Spring Easter Wreath with Artificial Flowers

Spring wreath artificial flowers
Wonderful colours, for less than £10!

It’s been a grey and dreary week with no sunshine in sight. I decided to cheer myself up by creating an artificial floral wreath to brighten up the house.

For this project I needed the following; a polystyrene wreath (from Hobbycraft) The wreath was around £3.80. B&M Home had a small range of fake flower bunches, and I picked mine up for just £6.00. I also had a pair of wire cutters to cut the stems and some ribbon.

First of all I spent around 20 minutes cutting off the flower heads and the foliage. I wanted this wreath to look natural which is why I decided to buy a bunch of flowers with lots of leaves. Artificial flowers tend to have a plastic coating over the wire stem, so you will need to cut this a little with scissors and then twist it off. Might be a good idea to use gloves as it can make your fingers sore. Don’t cut the wire too long in length, I’d say I left around a 4cm wire in order to push the stems into the polystyrene wreath.

Top stem still has the plastic, bottom stem is removed to show the bare wire…

Once all of your flowers and foliage have been cut, now is the time to get creative. The bunch I had bought offered large and small leaves… I started off the base using the larger leaves on the outer side and the smaller leaves on the inner. This is because I didn’t want to loose the rounded shape of the wreath. The wreath should be around 70% covered in leaves and foliage, The key thing here is to try and angle the position of the leaves so it looks like they are following either a clockwise or anticlockwise direction. You don’t want the components facing in all directions as it could look messy. It’s so easy to insert the wire, just seamlessly push it though the polystyrene. I didn’t even need to use a glue gun.

Small ‘rose’ leaves on the inside and larger foliage on the outside.

Once you are happy that there is sufficient foliage, it’s time to add the flowers. I added mine in quite a traditional way. I had the large headed flowers, which I call the focal flowers, facing forward and the smaller flowers, which are the filler flowers, followed the direction of the foliage. The best thing to do if you want a traditional arrangement is to mirror the wreath and spread the flowers out evenly.

If you prefer to hang your wreath then just pop a ribbon through it and voila, you are finished! Beautiful!

Review: Lush ‘Sex Bomb’ Bath Bomb

Recently I’ve had a bit of a cold and thought I’d treat myself to a lovely long bath. I purchased a bath bomb from Lush. Not the cheapest might I add.

I’m used to heading down Wilko for a £1.50 bath bomb and these Lush bombs can range from about £3.75 upwards.

I thought I would try the Sex Bomb bath bomb as it smelt quite floral which I like as well as having a pretty little rose flower at the top of the design. It set me back £3.95. These things cannot be broken in half so you need to chuck the whole thing in the bath.

Pretty little design, who can resist the little rose flower?

As soon as I popped it into the bath I could instantly smell the floral sweet smell through my blocked nose. It literally helped me to breathe again. It’s a very strong smelling bath bomb and it feels quite a natural smell.

Ready, Set, Go!

The bomb started to fizz as soon as it hit the water and created the most gorgeous pink bath! I loved it. When I was in the Lush shop this was one of the bath bombs that the sales advisor said didn’t have any glitter. I sort of didn’t fancy the glitter given that I had a cold, just wanted something easy going and something I wouldn’t be cleaning out of the bottom of the bath. I’m keen to try a glitter bath bomb next though and would definitely recommend the Sex Bomb Bath Bomb for someone who loves pink and flowers! Have any of you tried and tested any of the Lush bath bombs, which ones would you recommend?

Welcome to SAYNT

So it can feel slightly overwhelming starting up a new blog. Thousands of thoughts pop into your head, will anyone read it? Where do I start? What shall I write about? Should I dedicate it to one hobby?

I choose the name SAYNT as a spin on ‘SAINT’. I figure that saints are perfect and this world doesn’t feel perfect all of the time so I swapped the I for a Y.

This lifestyle blog will share my experiences, my travels, my hobbies and my life in and around the South Downs.