Thursday, 14 September 2017


AUTUMN HARVEST...





Good morning!
Well Mr. W and I have just returned from a fabulous 30th Wedding Anniversary trip to Singapore and Indonesia (blog post coming shortly!) and while we were away, it looks like Autumn sneaked in?

Apart from the shock of the cooler weather, both here in the UK and because we left temperatures of 30+ degrees, I adore this change in the seasons, and everything that it brings.




It really has been the most wonderfully productive year in both the vegetable and fruit garden, and particularly a bumper year for apples in our little orchard, which we have gradually been adding trees to over the last few years.

Keen to not lose them all to the Crows while we were away, there was a last minute hurried harvest to gather them all in safely.





A lovely mix of both eating and cooking varieties...



As you can see, we were not without our little helpers!  Is it just my dogs that love fruit?!














Filling three large rubber trugs and three large bags....






It really has been our largest crop to date!




What to do with this lovely harvest?

I am excited to say that the majority this year are being made in to apple juice.  Our local apple farm kindly, for a fee, take in customers' apples and juice and bottle them.  Ready in a couple of weeks, I am excited to take delivery of several crates of our first ever delicious juice.  Now all I have to do is design some lovely bottle labels!  I look forward to sharing the finished product with you all soon....and I think everyone in our family probably knows what they are getting for Christmas!

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Are there any autumn projects that you are particularly enjoying at the moment?  I would love to hear....

Happy September days to you all!

Sophia xx


Monday, 31 July 2017

HOME GROWN TREATS...Stuffed Courgette flowers.




One of the joys of growing our own abundance of organic vegetables, is the opportunity to grow things that are difficult to find in the shops, and if you can, infinitely fresher.  Nothing beats freshly picked vegetables from the garden and that to me is a true luxury!







One of my absolute favourite examples of this is baby courgettes and more specifically, the beautiful flowers that are attached, which are perfect for stuffing with something delicious and then rolled in panko breadcrumbs and gently fried in olive oil.

The recipe I am sharing today is courtesy of my daughter Georgie (Instagram @georgies_kitchen) and is one of our absolute favourites!  Stuffed with a white crab meat mixture, it will surely be a hit for any seafood fans among you.

Ingredients:
(makes approx enough to stuff 10 courgette flowers)

10 courgette flowers (with or without baby courgette attached)
200g white crab meat
mayonnaise (enough to bind mixture)
tbsp capers
tbsp cornichons chopped
1 small red chilli, deseeded and chopped
herbs of choice (I like tarragon and mint) chopped
1 egg whisked
panko breadcrumbs

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Mix above ingredients, minus the egg and breadcrumbs, together in a bowl.  Spoon mixture in to flower heads to fill, and twist the top to enclose.  Dip each flower in egg mixture and then roll in breadcrumbs.  Shallow fry flowers, and courgette if attached, in olive oil until crisp.  Lovely as a summer starter or as part of a main course with salad.

Sadly these were devoured before I had a chance to photograph the finished result!  Do try them, they are absolutely delicious!

Bon appétit!

Sophia xx




Friday, 21 July 2017

A PERFECT IBIZAN HIDEAWAY...





Any of you who follow my Instagram, will know that Mr. W and I returned a week or so ago from ten days away in beautiful Ibiza.  It was our first visit to the island and it did not disappoint.

Renowned for its famous clubs and party scene mainly in the south and west, the rest of the island could not be more different we were told.  Now Mr. W and I are the first to like a good party, but for a relaxing restorative trip, we were eager to check out the quieter unspoilt parts of this beautiful Balearic island.  Our research pointed us in the direction of a small boutique hotel in the north/west called 'Es Coucons'.  Reviews were wonderful, but even they did not prepare us for quite the delight in finding somewhere so unbelieveably special!





Set within a Unesco protected valley of almond and olive groves, Es Cucons was originally a farmhouse built in 1652, which was rescued by delightful owner Maria and her family in 1997.  Working painstakingly with Spanish heritage authorities, they restored the farmhouse and outbuildings and sympathetically turned them in to the wonderful little hotel it is today.  



Welcoming just forty guests at a time, the atmosphere was calm and private.  With two suites in the main farmhouse, other lovely rooms were in the surrounding outbuildings.  Beautifully restored, keeping all original beams and mellow stone internal walls, but with all the comforts of a five star boutique hotel and little personal touches throughout with the use of antiques and local artisan objét. Understated luxury at its best.



The pretty gardens surrounding the pool had various lovely seating areas dotted around....perfect for breakfast or to sit in the shade quietly and read or snooze.  


The owner Maria certainly had a wonderful sense of style, and the interiors and exterior were beautifully put together with a mix of boho, retro and a little injection of industrial style that just seemed to work perfectly in harmony together.  I was in design heaven!  











Pretty touches everywhere....




Fresh oranges picked daily from the garden for our morning breakfast juice....






Day beds to relax on and inviting corners to sit quietly with a book...








Beautiful Bourganvillia...








Picked each day to fill pretty bottles to hang from the trees!










How lovely to discover that owner Maria had set up a small shop in the hotel and a larger one in the nearby village.  Selling beautiful clothes, art and interior accessories...let's just say that a few little bits and pieces made their way home with me!





It was hard to drag ourselves away from our perfect oasis as you can imagine, but when we did venture out, we were rewarded by breathtaking scenery as we drove along the mountain roads. We explored the fantastic hippy markets selling a huge array of beautiful things including lovely Ibizan organic cotton clothes, baskets nad handmade jewellery.  We discovered beautiful little coves, and found wonderful seafood restaurants with glorious views.




This delicious meal of Salt baked Cod with cliff top views was certainly a memorable meal....



Much of the produce on Ibiza is organic, including the wine.....the most wonderful tomato salad with burrata...my favourite!






The freshest sardines and prawns....



Yet again, overlooking the ocean.  Just idyllic!




Stunning sunsets...




Beautiful tucked away beaches without the crowds...





Beautiful architecture in Old Town Ibiza...


We explored it all!





Each evening returning to beautiful 'Es Cucons' and the magical view from our own terrace to admire the view over a pre dinner drink...




We absolutely loved Ibiza!  Such and friendly island with so much beauty in its countryside and coastline.  Overall very Spanish, but with also an interesting mix of other cultural influences, reflected especially in the wonderful food.
We certainly needed to do a few extra lengths of the pool to work some very memorable meals off!

Thank you to the wonderful friendly staff at beautiful Es Cucons (click for link) for making our stay so very special.  An absolute gem of a place, and we shall most definitely return!

Sophia xx







Wednesday, 26 April 2017


SUMMER WARDROBE REFRESH...




As I sit at my desk this Wednesday afternoon, the weather outside is freezing and rain is on the cards.  What a difference to a couple of weeks ago, when mother nature cruelly teased us with lovely warm temperatures and summer had seemed to have arrived early.  My white jeans and summer tops had a welcome airing that weekend, but now it is back in to cosy jumpers and boots! As much as I love these winter staples, and I am sure I am not alone, I now yearn for easy summer dressing and to getting some much longed for sun rays on winter white legs!

Still only April we have to remind ourselves, and if the weather men are right, summer really is just around the corner.    

Around this time each year, my thoughts turn to my summer wardrobe, and to adding one or two new fresh pieces.  

'Hush' have always been a favourite brand for me.  Easy, wearable and relaxed every day dressing.  This 'Crete Striped Tunic' above is right up my street, and I love that it can be worn as a casual dress, but would also look great over my favourite aforementioned white jeans.





Even if the notorious British weather is unreliable, Mr. W and I are fortunate to be heading to beautiful Ibiza in June.  This gorgeous 'Santorini' pink and white dress above would make the most perfect beach cover up in high temperatures and is so easy to wear and so pretty.




How about the gorgeous colours of their 'Iris' dress....perfect for day or dressed up for the evening.  




As we all know, pretty embroidery is everywhere this season, and being a lover of blue and white in the summer, I may find it hard to resist this gorgeous 'Greenwich top'......

 ....and doesn't every girl need a matching bag?  This beautiful woven 'Lara Clutch' is perfect for one or two essentials, and who can pass up something with such lovely pom-pom details!



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Talking of accessories, Hush also has the prettiest of jewelry this season, and this delicate 'Turquoise Cowrie necklace' particuarly caught my eye.





Who doesn't love the star trend?  If it's stars you want, then you will find a selection of beautiful knitwear pieces.  Perfect for breezier summer days.


Lastly on my lovely 'Hush' wish list are these prettiest of 'Vintage Rose' pyjamas.  During the summer months, I can often be found pottering very early in my garden with a cup of tea in hand in my pyjamas, and I can't think of a more perfect choice!


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Wishing you all a happy end to the week!

Sophia xx

ps.  To shop for these and the rest of Hush's gorgeous collection, just click on their link in the right hand side bar.  Happy shopping!


Thursday, 13 April 2017

A LITTLE SPRING UPDATE!






Hello everyone!
Before you say anything, yes I know I have been a very lapsed blogger.  The last month has just disappeared!  

Since returning from what was the happiest of family ski trips, I have been trying to catch my tail with so much going on.  




One of our biggest 'catch ups' has been in the garden.  Always SO much to do at this time of year!

We are now on top of most of the weeding and mulching, and I have even given the box hedging an early prune.  





 The kitchen garden has had a lot of attention too, getting it ready for the new growing season.  The greenhouse is full of seed trays and little seedlings are popping through daily.  Always a good feeling when this stage is all under way!




 Recent pickings have given us the most delicious purple sprouting broccoli and to much excitement, the first crop of asparagus.  We have been waiting patiently for the three recommended years before our first harvest, so it feels like a little celebration!






Anyone who follows my Instagram @sophiahomeandlifestyle will know that I have been feeding my addiction to box topiary this month, with a few more box balls....there will be a post coming up soon with the little project I have completed with them.  Watch this space!







Daffodils....daffodils.  So many this year!  Having naturalised beautifully, the garden has had them in abundance.  No guilt this year with picking plenty for the house!




An update would not be complete without a mention of Miss 'Delilah', who as you can see has grown so much!  (well as much as 'Mini Daxies' can)  She has grown in to such a confident, feisty and adventurous little thing, and so wonderfully affectionate too.  She is such a gorgeous and successful new addition to our family!





Tomorrow is the start of the lovely long Easter weekend, and with all the family home, I can not wait.  A few days of good food and wine, relaxing (some gardening of course!) dog walks and no agenda.








I look forward to sharing more regular and specific blog posts with you soon, but in the meantime, I'm wishing you all a very happy Easter!

Sophia xx