Wild Garlic from the Banks of the River Swale

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WHILST walking along the river in Richmond, we happened upon masses and masses of wild garlic, A leafy green herb with the unmistakable scent of garlic, it grows in large sprays along the River Swale and many other woodland locations around the UK.

We picked a load and carted it off home to experiment. I came up with three recipes which I will share with you over the next couple of weeks but, unsurprisingly, wild garlic grows in the… Well, in the wild. So I thought it would be a good idea to put together a short guide to picking your own as the season is fairly short and it’s not something you can generally buy from the shops – it would be a shame for you to miss out!

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Gin O’Clock! Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery

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THE Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery is tucked away in Laverstoke, a tiny village in rural Hampshire in the UK, just north of Winchester between Basingstoke and Andover.

We have wanted to go since it opened its doors to the public in 2014. We lived in Southampton for five years but moved back up north a couple of years ago because of our jobs. It’s something we never really got round to but we were presented with the perfect opportunity to finally visit, and we are glad that we did!

We were down in Hampshire for a wedding on the first May bank holiday weekend and had planned to stay with my aunty and uncle who live about 40 minutes from Laverstoke. As it is such a long way from home I thought that we could make it a bit of a weekend away and do some exploring – the distillery was the first thing that popped into my head.

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Recipe: Stuffed Mushrooms with Goats Cheese, Walnuts and Honey


MY girlfriends came over for a casual midweek dinner the other night. We decided we needed to chill out over a chin wag and a mezze style tea with olives, stuffed peppers, flatbread, hummus, chicken skewers and all that nice stuff you can pick at whilst slobbing out watching trash TV and gossiping.

I had asked if anyone had any requests for food. One of the girls, Georgina, said that she had a craving for stuffed mushrooms. Say no more! I have created a great recipe that I like to use as a starter, a vegetarian main course or indeed as part of a mezze!

These mushrooms are so good that my friend Lauren, who usually hates goats cheese, loved them and even asked for the recipe. So here it is…

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Recipe: Sweet Malay Sambal for Nasi Lemak


NASI Lemak was one of my favourite dishes to indulge in while we were exploring Singapore and Indonesia last year. A traditional Malay breakfast with lots of variations but in its simplest form it is made up of coconut rice, fried chicken, a boiled egg, ikan bilis (dried salted anchovies), redskin peanuts and a sweet mildly spiced sauce (the sambal) with tomato and cucumber on the side.

It is most prominent in Malaysia and can also be found across the Far East in places such as Brunei, Singapore, parts of Indonesia and the Bangsamoro region of Mindanao in the Philippines. In 2016, Nasi Lemak was recognised as one of the top 10 healthy breakfasts around the world by Time Magazine –  I don’t know if this is strictly true but in short, it’s flippin’ delicious!

Whilst most of the ingredients are readily available in the UK, I have never found a sauce to rival the sweet, sticky and ever so slightly spicy sambal that complements this dish. Thankfully, we are booked up for a trip to Malaysia later this year but I can’t wait that long so I played around with the ingredients that I could get my hands on (we are limited in NE England!) and knocked up my own variation of this sambal.
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Skiing in Val Thorens: Chalet Curling Review


A COUPLE of weeks ago my husband and I were busy enjoying ourselves on our annual ski trip. A week of sunshine, snow, good food and carving down some superb pistes. We went to Val Thorens in France (click here for my resort guide), part of the famous Three Valleys – a world away from the stress of daily life. It was our second time in VT and we booked up a little later than usual with only 8 weeks to spare.

Val Thorens is home to a wide range of accommodation to suit all budgets. Self catering apartments co-exist next to luxury 5* hotels and there is even a hostel for those such as students who may want to keep costs to a minimum. This year we opted for a catered chalet – Chalet Curling which is a part of the Chalet des Neiges Hermine complex. We had never stayed in a chalet before but the prospect of homecooked food (made by somebody else no less) and freshly baked cake after a day on the slopes drew us in.

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Recipe: Vietnamese Inspired Crab Salad


LAST weekend we were lucky enough to have some pretty amazing weather. A perfect spring day with bright sunshine, clear blue skies and a mild breeze. Possibly the nicest weather we have had in months and certainly good weather at any rate for the North East of England, good enough to walk outside without a big winter coat and gloves.

As it was mother’s day on Sunday we headed to Sandsend, a small fishing village near Whitby, for a stroll along the beach with Max the dog and some lunch at our favourite spot – a pub called The Hart Inn, a proper Yorkshire pub serving up the freshest seafood. Sandsend is our favourite spot for a Sunday walk anyway and we visit as often as we can. We ordered our usual crab salad with half a lobster as a mother’s day treat, chips for Mum and new potatoes for me. It was warm enough to eat in the pub garden so we basked in the sunlight and devoured our seafood while Max scoffed some gravy bones.

I don’t know if it was the combination of sun, sea and sand; the fresh, juicy crab meat or the notion that Spring was in swing but I just felt inspired. I wanted to put together a dish that was light and colourful with a chilli kick. We are going to Vietnam later in the year and it is no secret that the fresh, zingy flavours of Vietnamese food pairs really well with seafood.
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Skiing in Val Thorens: Resort Guide


VAL THORENS is set in the world-renowned ‘Les 3 Vallées’ ski area of France. It is Europe’s highest altitude ski resort and the area boasts over 600km of pistes across the Three Valleys – 150km of runs between VT and Orelle alone. With snowsure slopes, a long season, varied runs, breathtaking scenery and lively apres ski for those who want it; it’s a great resort whether you are an experienced snow sport enthusiast or indulging in your first ski holiday.

Having just returned from a briliant week of sunshine, skiing and snow in Val Thorens, I wanted to draw up a rough resort guide with a few tips and tricks for anybody who is thinking of visiting VT for the first time and/or looking to get the most out of their stay.

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My Bucket List

I’VE been doing a lot of thinking lately about life in general and all the incredible things this world has to offer. If I’m being completely honest, which I am, it absolutely blew my mind.

In an attempt to structure my thoughts, I have decided to collate my ambitions and create a ‘bucket list’ which I have shared with you guys below. There are so many things that I want to do, I’m not sure if I will ever get chance to complete this list but here’s to trying to tick off as many of them as possible!

If you have done anything on this list then I would be eager to hear all about your experiences! Please share with me in the comment section or get in touch via the contact page.

In no particular order…

Faye’s Bucket List

  1. Live abroad again
  2. Swim with whale sharks in the Philippines
  3. Visit French Polynesia
  4. Ski in Whistler, Canada
  5. Trek in the Himalayas
  6. Try white water rafting
  7. Climb a mountain
  8. Ride in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon
  9. See a musical on Broadway
  10. Visit Machu Picchu
  11. Visit Lapland
  12. Do a skydive for charity
  13. Try Yoga
  14. Visit Japan
  15. Road trip around Europe
  16. Visit Australia
  17. Visit New Zealand
  18. See Christ the Redeemer in Rio
  19. Go up the Burj Khalifa in Dubai
  20. Go on Safari in Africa
  21. See the Orangutans in Borneo
  22. Drink Kopi Luwak coffee
  23. Walk the Great Wall of China
  24. Watch a tennis match at Wimbledon
  25. Snorkel off the Gili Islands
  26. Learn a new foreign language
  27. Eat Fondue in Switzerland
  28. Visit New Orleans
  29. Visit Vietnam
  30. Put a ‘love lock’ on a bridge in Paris
  31. Snorkel in the Red Sea
  32. Road trip America
  33. Visit a volcano
  34. Explore Pompeii
  35. Fly in a private jet
  36. Travel solo
  37. Cross the equator
  38. Go on an Alaskan cruise
  39. Learn to surf – half way there
  40. Learn to snowboard – Tried it and want to do more!
  41. Go dog sledding
  42. Try bamboo rafting in Thailand
  43. Visit an Elephant sanctuary
  44. Swim with dolphins
  45. Ride in a hot air balloon
  46. Fly a plane
  47. Scuba dive
  48. See the Tarsiers in Bohol
  49. Go island hopping
  50. Climb Kilimanjaro
  51. See the Gorillas in Uganda
  52. Cruise the Nile
  53. Sleep in a capsule hotel in Tokyo
  54. See the northern lights
  55. Swim with pigs in the Bahamas
  56. Go pony trekking in Iceland
  57. See the pyramids of Giza
  58. Watch the sunset in Santorini
  59. Ride a camel in the Sahara desert
  60. Sleep in a yurt
  61. Stay in an igloo
  62. Swim amongst sea turtles
  63. Visit Las Vegas
  64. Fly first class
  65. Hike up a glacier
  66. See the Taj Mahal
  67. Make a wish at the Trevi Fountain
  68. Visit the Vatican
  69. Ride in a Gondolo in Venice
  70. Ride a Vespa in Ho Chi Minh City
  71. Stay onboard a super yacht
  72. Hike the Inca Trail
  73. Go Whisky tasting in Scotland
  74. Go to the Caribbean
  75. See the Norwegian fjords
  76. Do a trans-Atlantic cruise to New York
  77. Visit the Blue Lagoon, Iceland
  78. Go to Disney World in Florida
  79. Attend a Japanese tea ceremony
  80. Catch, cook and eat a fish
  81. Ride a jet ski
  82. Partake in Holi festival
  83. Give blood
  84. Afternoon tea at The Ritz
  85. Sleep under the stars
  86. Visit the salt plains of Bolivia
  87. Ride a horse along the beach at sunset
  88. Spend a night on an uninhabited island
  89. Meet a member of the Royal Family
  90. Go whale watching
  91. Do a bungee jump
  92. Visit the Amazon
  93. Drink a Singapore Sling at Raffles
  94. Learn to sail a boat
  95. Stay on Necker Island
  96. Surf at Waikiki beach
  97. Visit all 7 continents – 4/7
  98. Drive a snowmobile
  99. Ride a tram in San Francisco
  100. Ride along the Trans-Siberian Railway

Foods to try

  1. Fresh oysters
  2. Birds nest soup
  3. Crickets
  4. Frog legs
  5. Escargot
  6. Currywurst
  7. Foie Gras
  8. Durian
  9. Haggis
  10. Balut egg
  11. Kangaroo
  12. Ostrich
  13. Crocodile
  14. Kobe beef
  15. Lobster
  16. Mooncake
  17. Singaporean chilli crab
  18. Lechon baboy
  19. Pho in Vietnam
  20. Sea urchin
  21. Snake
  22. Century egg
  23. Indonesian Rice Table (Rijsttafel)
  24. Reindeer
  25. Caviar
  26. Gumbo in Louisiana
  27. Black truffle
  28. Poutine in Canada
  29. Ceviche in South America
  30. Cronut
  31. Kopi Luwak Coffee
  32. A hot dog in New York
  33. Macaron in Paris
  34. Sushi in Japan
  35. Fondue in Switzerland
  36. Real Texas BBQ
  37. Nasi Lemak
  38. Hainanese Chicken Rice
  39. Korean BBQ
  40. Kimchi
  41. Puffin in Iceland
  42. Rocky mountain oysters
  43. Black Ivory coffee
  44. Sauerkraut
  45. Dim sum in Hong Kong
  46. Pigs cheeks
  47. Bibimbap in Korea
  48. Tagine in Morocco
  49. Banh Mi in Vietnam
  50. Dal Bhat

This list is fluid and I will keep updating it as I think of things I want to do/remember things I have already done!

What’s on your bucket list? I would love to hear all about it 🙂

Much love,

Faye xo

Matcha Tea and Gluten Free: Thingy-Ma-Jigs Coffee House

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GUISBOROUGH, my hometown, is an ancient market town located on the northern most edge of the North Yorkshire Moors, roughly 10 miles south of Middlesbrough – I urge you, please don’t knock the area until you’ve experienced it for yourself!

Good old Guisborough is home to a disproportionately large number of independent coffee shops and tea rooms, all equally lovely and each with their own individual quirks.

Every once in a while a new kid arrives on the block, the endearingly named ‘Thingy-Ma-Jigs Coffee House’ tucked away on Bow Street was the latest to catch my eye.

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Recipe: Healthier Oaty Pancakes 

SHROVE Tuesday is upon us yet again. The beginning of lent is imminent and the start of the run up to Easter. It is an important date in any British household because… Well, pancakes of course!

‘Pancake day’, as it is colloquially known holds many a fond memory for Brits the world over. I remember eagerly rushing home from school to make sure I was first in the queue for one of my dad’s legendary pancakes.

Dad fancied himself as somewhat of a trick pancake flipper. Cautiously warning everyone to stand back, he would jerk the frying pan and in one movement was able to flip the floppy pancake over in midair and sometimes catch it in the pan. Sometimes he would miss or it would fold over on itself, but we didn’t mind – none of us could wait to smother our pancakes in a variety of sticky, sweet and occasionally fruity toppings. Nutella, peanut butter, honey, syrup or the classic lemon and sugar.

These days, I tend to be a little more health conscious and prefer to use this recipe for healthy oaty pancakes in place of the traditional ones. They are great for a casual Sunday morning breakfast or as a midweek dessert. Enjoy!

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