June 22, 2019

Good food, drinks and vibes at the OUT summer party

We teamed up with Yo Sarnie to put on a little shindig to thank all of our amazing contributors and their loyal customers.

Nathalia Anzola Photography

A steady flow of bubbles and ale courtesy of the Jolly Coopers, A platter of delicious bites from Yo-Sarnie and cakes from Ripe and Nine, Laura Scott and For Cake’s Sake was the recipe for an amazing summer party.

Thank you to everyone who came.

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June 25, 2019

Gin & Cocktail Night

The experts at Liquid Gold Whisky Co are hosting another boozy evening featuring gin and cocktails.

The experts at Liquid Gold Whisky Co are hosting another boozy evening, in which you are invited to taste your way through some of the finest gin and spend the evening sipping on signature cocktails. Whether you fancy yourself as a connoisseur, beginner or collector, it’s well worth a visit to Ashtead. It sounds like a perfect Friday night to us.

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June 25, 2019

The Horton, Epsom’s new creative hub

It's official, Horton Chapel has taken its first steps in becoming The Horton, as construction kicked off earlier this week.

If you haven’t heard the news, Horton Chapel is being converted into a brand new arts centre, hurrah! Even though we have to wait until 2020 to step inside this creative hub, we just know it’s going to be worth the wait.

Horton Chapel has long been a part of Epsom’s history; it was built way back in 1901 to accommodate hundreds of psychiatric patients, becoming the largest of its kind in the UK. Nowadays it’s more likely to be known as a local eyesore, but after a lengthy four years of planning, negotiations and fundraising, Horton Chapel Arts & Heritage finally got their hands on it. 

It’s their vision to highlight the Chapel’s heritage, whilst creating a new cultural entertainment centre at the heart of our town, which will be known as The Horton. It’s a place where people from Epsom – and beyond – can experience creativity through exhibitions, performances and screenings. They hope to make the arts more accessible and valuable to us locals, so they’ve definitely got our support! 

You’ll be pleased to know that earlier this week construction officially got underway with a turf-cutting ceremony. That’s right, The Mayor of Epsom & Ewell, John Beckett, was presented with his very own engraved silver spade, with which he dug the first patch of ground. Now we sit back and wait for the renovations to take place, all the while keeping you updated on what’s going on.  

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June 20, 2019

Stunning Sculptures at Wisley

Explore this exhibition of modern and contemporary sculpture set against the backdrop of Wisley's beautiful gardens.

Shake off any preconceptions you have about Wisley being just for keen gardeners and wranglers of small children: this summer you can get a serious dose of culture alongside the gorgeous grounds.

After you’ve used a self guided map to find the work of seminal artists including Henry Moore and Tracey Emin – all set in thought provoking locations – head to one of the cafes for one of the best family day out lunches we’ve had.

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June 19, 2019

Getting Frisky & Mannish at the Epsom Playhouse

Frisky & Mannish will be at the Playhouse next week offering an evening of parody, pop music and laughter.

Described as ‘a British musical comedy cabaret double act who tit around with popsongs’: Frisky & Mannish will be at the Playhouse next week offering an evening of parody, pop music and laughter: who couldn’t do with that at the moment?

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June 18, 2019

Eat the Great Outdoors

We asked Saltbox, a local woodland dining and outdoor cookery school to share some of their favourite ingredients from nature's larder.

Illustrations by Nicola Baroni

Come spring and summer, every outing is an opportunity to rummage around in nature’s larder. Once you know what to look for, it’s amazing how many of the hedgerows, shrubland and overgrown areas you walk, jog or cycle through are a treasure trove of edible wild produce.

Beckie and Christian from The Saltbox, a local woodland dining and outdoor cookery school, are well versed in gathering goodies from the wild and have shared some of their favourite ingredients for you to look out for.


Yarrow

When you’ll find it: May to October.
How to spot it: Look out for its feathery leaves and cluster of white or pink flowers in grassy areas. 
How to use it: The delicate sprigs are sweet and fragrant with notes of anise, and make a perfect garnish for canapés (especially with game or trout) or in a salad. You can also dry the leaves and use them as a herb for cooking.


Elder

When you’ll find it: You’ll see flowers from May to June, which turn to berries from August to September.
How to spot it: Elder is prolific across the country in both urban and rural areas. Its wide, flat splays of small white flowers turn to berries in the late summer and can be found in scrub, wood edges and hedgerows. 
How to use it: The flowers need to be picked on a warm, dry day (ideally
in the morning) for the best flavour. Use them in a classic cordial or champagne, or dip in a light batter to make delicate fritters. The berries make an excellent vinegar. 


Fat Hen

When you’ll find it: Fat Hen is technically a ‘weed’, so you’ll find it all over
the place in fields, gardens and hedgerows.
How to spot it: Its diamond- or goose foot-shaped leaves are covered with narrow white hairs, but don’t sting like nettles. Pick leaves and flower heads from the top of the plant for the best flavour.
How to use it: Fat Hen is also known as Wild Spinach, and can be wilted down in much the same way. It’s also excellent blended into a dressing with parsley, capers and olive oil. 


Three Cornered Leek

When you’ll find it: March to September, with bright white flowers from April to June.
How to spot it: So-called because of its triangular stems, when it’s in bloom Three Cornered Leek can be spotted by its heads of flowers that hang towards the ground like white bluebells. When not in flower, there’s little to distinguish its long, slender green leaves from grass, but keep an eye out for those triangular stems, break off a leaf and you’ll know from the strong, garlicy smell if you’ve got the right plant. It grows almost everywhere, but is especially fond of cool, wet soil and woodland.
How to use it: Think of it as a punchier cousin to Wild Garlic – it has a strong, alium flavour like spring onions, baby leeks or chives. It’s great in a pesto or sliced over scrambled eggs.


Bilberry

When you’ll find it: They can appear as early as July, but peak in August and September.
How to spot it: Bilberries look much like blueberries but without a trumpeted end. Keep an eye out for them in wild hedges and shrub.
How to use it: These sweet, sharp berries are best cooked and work well in a jam, compote or crumble. If you’re feeling adventurous, turn them into a brandy or use as you would sloes to flavour gin or vodka.


If you want to learn more about foraging, join one of Saltbox’s walking and dining events this summer. Find out more at wearethesaltbox.co.uk

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June 12, 2019

Fluke brings big brands to Banstead

We talk to the owners Peter and Kirsti Sadler about the inspiration behind their trendy clothing store.

Nathalia Anzola Photography

Peter and Kirsti Sadler own and run Fluke clothing stores. The brand initially started life in Sutton in the 1990s, but now has two stores in Banstead – one dedicated to womenswear which opened in 2005, the other for menswear which opened four years later – handily located opposite each other. “I had always wanted to be my own boss and was interested in clothes and shopping from a young age,” says Peter, who has a background as a service engineer, while Kirsti worked for American Airlines before the pair turned their hands to retail. 

“Our core customer is probably late 20s up to 60s, but our customer age range is really varied – from presents being bought for teenagers right through to customers shopping for themselves in their eighties!”. Popular brands include Barbour, Selected Femme and Hale Bob in the women’s store, with Fred Perry, J Lindeberg and YMC in the men’s. When they’re not ensuring the residents of Banstead stay one step ahead in the style stakes, Peter and Kirsti enjoy walking their dogs.

51 & 56 High St, Banstead, SM7 2NL

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June 10, 2019

An outstanding local inn found in an area of outstanding natural beauty

In the picturesque village of Hambledon in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, The Merry Harriers has its origins dating back to the 16th century.

Deep in rural England, overnight stays are exceptionally quiet and peaceful. Our four Inn Rooms are a wonderful mix of old and new, with ancient oak beams and contemporary furnishings, while our six Garden Rooms offer a simple rural rustic charm and lovely views of the surrounding countryside. Introducing our five Shepherd’s Huts, new for 2019, a slice of elegant luxury lies nestled in the Surrey Hills in these decadent “glamping” experience Huts.

Our llama really are rather magnificent creatures each with their own unique personality bringing their own special brand of happiness and fun to all ages. Trekking options include The English Picnic, Winter Morning and Summer Evening Treks with your new llama friends carrying the picnic hampers and guiding you along the stunning local trails of The Greensand Way. Add in some champagne to help you celebrate your occasion in style.

With our head chef Sam sourcing all the food from within a 15-mile radius of the inn, we can cater for almost any occasion – from beautiful, quirky weddings, to children’s birthday parties, to corporate events with a definite difference.

The Merry Harriers

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June 10, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Dadventures by Alex Gregory

“Amazing outdoor adventures for daring dads and fearless kids” - and by an Olympic champion no less.

For all that is great and good about parenthood, you can’t deny that it requires a lot of preparation and brainwork to ensure variety for your kids. It’s all too easy to sit them in front of the telly for hours on end, or throw them into a local ball pool and hope for the best. And with half term looming large on the calendar, like a gorilla at the top of a hill, coming up with things to do can become a challenge of Olympic proportions.

So, enter stage left the Olympic rower Alex Gregory with a boatload of solutions. His book Dadventures comes out at the end of the month, and has been designed specifically for fathers looking to make the most of their dadding time.

The book is split into different sections, all centred of suggested activities, be it things you can do after-school (a simple treasure hunt), or bite-size bonding moments that take up to 30 minutes (track animals, build a kite), all the way to entire days out, or even overnight stays in homemade dens. It very much has an outdoorsy dad in mind, one with lots of get-up-and-gusto, keen to teach his kids the old-fashioned arts of stargazing, or foraging. Or wild swimming, or fishing with a makeshift rod. 

In that sense, it’s possibly not quite the bible an urban gent, shackled to the metropolis, will be looking for. But if you have some greenery nearby, and enough fuel left in the tank, Dadventures is brimming with great ideas, and is written with a real sense of passion and enthusiasm for parenthood, with an emphasis on creating wonderful family memories together. 

In fact, worst case scenario – you could always read it while they watch Paw Patrol. 

Recommended.

Buy

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June 6, 2019

The gates are open to the stunning Mayfield Lavender Farm

There’s no better way to welcome the summer season than surrounding yourself in acres of lush lavender fields.

The Mayfield Lavender farm provides us with our very own piece of Provence. It’s a haven of purple haze that runs as far as the eye can see and is conveniently located in Surrey’s very own suburb of Banstead. As the lavender begins to blossom, this family run business is getting ready to unlock the gates to its fields, making it the perfect time to plan your visit.  

Back in 2000, Brendan Maye was determined to showcase the beauty and fragrance of lavender, so he planted the first seed of the story by securing the lease of the fields. He later recruited the help of his wife Lorna and together they restored acres of land, nurturing the neglected farmland back to life. Soon after, they opened Mayfield Lavender Farm to the public and attracted visitors from all across the world, turning their dream into a reality.  

In just a few weeks’ time, you’ll be able to wander the fields for yourself and enjoy the English summer with the many events hosted at Mayfield Lavender Farm. Whether you’d rather get up close and personal to the hundreds of honey bees, sip on an iced lavender lemonade at your leisure or simply capture a perfect photo of the purple sea, there’s something for everyone. 

If you don’t manage to plan a visit before it closes in September, the neighbouring Plant Nursery in Epsom is open all year round. It offers an equally impressive 12 acres of lavender, fruit trees and glasshouses, in addition to a gift shop and tea room that offers all things – yes, you guessed it – lavender (from infused treats to the humble plant itself). 

Mayfield Lavender Farm: 1 Carshalton Rd, Banstead SM7 3JA
Mayfield Lavender Nursery & Gift Shop: 139 Reigate Rd, Epsom KT17 3DW
mayfieldlavender.com

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