Anyone who knows me well will be aware that I run on coffee and chocolate. In fact coffee is so important we have even had our own blend created for us by artisan producers Andrew and Deirdre from Peak Bean.
I first met Deirdre on a fact finding tour of Scandinavia a few years ago, during which we toured a local coffee roasting house. She said then that it was something she and Andrew were looking to do in Derbyshire. A couple of years later they launched Peak Bean and began to produce high quality fresh coffee. We met with them and after a few samples and experimental blends hit upon what we have called “Rich Rainster Roast”, a blend of Arabica beans sourced from Peru, Brazil and Costa Rica as unfortunately no one has yet started to grow coffee beans in Derbyshire!!
We leave sachets of our Rich Rainster Roast in the cabins, pods and gypsy caravan as part of our welcome pack and have further supplies available to purchase in our little shop, all in handy 42 gram sachets, I myself have a bean to cup machine with an IV line for direct infusion and so buy the same beans, unground, in handy 1kg bags, which don’t last very long at all!.
If Coffee is not you drink of choice we also stock Birdhouse Tea blended in Sheffield. They produce such delights as “Blue John” a blend of Assam and Darjeeling with cornflower petals, Part of their Peak District collection inspired by Britain’s first national park. ” home to wild and wonderful landscapes, impressive peaks and picture postcard English villages. Blue John is a celebration of the underground wonderlands of Castleton and the semi-precious mineral mined only in the Peak District”
Christmas is coming so we thought you might like some help with gift ideas for your loved ones. Here is our own handpicked selection of the 12 gifts of Christmas inspired by our unique Peak District landscape.
We #LoveLocal and are sure you will be inspired by this years Christmas selection. As tomorrow is Small Business Saturday it is an ideal opportunity to support small independent businesses and shop local.
12 gifts of Christmas Inspired by The Peak District.
1. Those boots are made for walking…
Get your walking boots on and enjoy all the Peak District countryside has to offer by taking a guided walk with Cath Lee of Peak Walking Adventures, whose local knowledge and fascinating facts will bring the experience to life. Don’t worry you won’t get lost as Cath will do the navigation so you don’t have to!
An ideal way to make the most of your holiday while staying at Hoe Grange as Cath caters for couples, friends, families, and small groups.Cath is as passionate about caring for our special landscape as we are and also holds the Peak District Environmental Quality Mark.
2. Woollen Knits
On your walks wrap up warm with Sally’s range of hats, gloves, scarves and accessories, which are hand knitted and felted using soft luxurious wool from her pedigree flock of Icelandic sheep. Another amazing Peak District Environmental Quality Mark member.
Or brighten up your home with vibrant cushions, and throws in a rich palette of seasonal colours which reflect the very special character of the Peak District; calming greys, brought to life by rich purple blues and zingy Spring green. If you are crafty and creative Dewsnaps Woollens also sell knitting kits so you can knit and natter yourself at home.
3. Capture the countryside in a click
Make the most of your walk and take home some special memories captured on camera. Guy Badham offers personalised training days to de-mystify your camera, giving you the confidence to use it more creatively.
Whether you’re a complete beginner keen to learn the basics, or a more experienced photographer, Guy can help you capture our stunning Peak District landscape and wildlife as you walk and talk. At just £100 per day for a single adult or £150 for up to three adults, it makes the perfect Christmas gift.
4. Add a little sparkle
As you trek through the countryside you might see a hare or a deer? Lucy creates unique and beautiful jewellery inspired by the Peak District landscape and wildlife, myths and folktales. In her Lucy Palmer Jewellery collection you will find a magical world of enchanted forests, mysterious creatures, and far away places.
Her beautifully intricate designs are cut in precious metals and often layered to give a three dimensional, miniature stage set effect. Decorative techniques embellish the surface, including ‘Keum Boo’, an ancient Korean technique of fusing 24ct (pure) gold foil to silver. My favourite is of course the beautiful horse pendent. If you’re looking for that extra special sparkle Lucy also takes on commission work.
5. Wonderful in wood
Whilst out in the woods you’ll see many a tree – the raw material for local wood turner Matthew, who creates beautiful bowls, plates, and objets d’art. It’s great to know that Matthew at Woodturning at Christmas Cottage uses mainly local woods from sustainable Peak District sources, and doesn’t waste a thing as he uses the off cuts to create smaller items such as light pulls, tops, wedges, and pendants.
Wood is so wonderfully tactile and we particularly love the new kitchen graters with a wooden bowl, which are both practical and pleasing to the eye. A perfect gift for any masterchefs in the making!
6. Tasty treats
After your wonderful walks why not give your dog a tasty treat and pamper your pooch with Marge and Mabel’s homemade dog treats? These healthy treats are created using fine human-grade ingredients (no added salt, sugar, preservatives, colourings or flavourings) and are a firm favourite with our chocolate Labradors Twix and Crunchy!
The range of delicious doggy treats include a selection of sweet and savory muffins, biscuits and cakes and all of which come presented in beautiful packaging, an ideal Christmas present for your four-legged best friend! We love the fact that wherever possible ingredients are sourced locally, eg meat from the local butcher, flour from Caldwell’s Mill and organic fruit and vegetables from the local grocer.Treats can also be baked to order depending on any specific nutritional or health needs your dog may have.
7. More cheese Gromit
Once your dog is happily tucking into his treats you can tickle your taste buds with some delicious local Cow Close Farm Cheese. Farmers Sophie and James Summerlin, a husband and wife team, are passionate about cheese. All their artisan cheeses are produced by hand, from milk sourced from a single herd of local cows near Hathersage.
The cheese’s distinctive shape is definitely inspired by the Peak District and echos the many millstones found throughout the area . It is kept as simple and as natural as possible, and has the most delicious creamy taste. It can be purchased locally or online from The Old Cheese Shop in Hartington, (another Peak District EQM business) along with other local Derbyshire cheeses such as Dovedale Blue and Peakland White, or can be ordered in your holiday grocery pack from Sauced Here.
8. The perfect cuppa
After romping through the Derbyshire hills you can then put your feet up with a cup of Full Moon Coffee. Coffee brings happiness and there’s nothing better than enjoying a mug whilst catching up with good friends, not to mention how it can round off that great meal perfectly.
Full Moon Coffee is carefully blended and roasted to perfection locally in Wirksworth, using 100% Fairtrade, Arabica goodness. The guys at Full Moon Coffee are passionate about getting your brew just right. They realise that the ritual of preparing your cup is an important part of getting everything spot on, and so have created tasting notes to help you select the right roast.
9. Do you crave chocolate?
What goes better with coffee than chocolate? David certainly wouldn’t let me create a Christmas gift list without including chocolate !
Holdsworth Chocolates made in Bakewell are a delicious treat. In 1988 Barbara Holdsworth started making chocolates to her own unique recipes, and expanded by training her own chocolatiers how to make her tempting treats. Truly scrumptious is the only way to describe these chocolates, which are created using sweet cream butter and Belgium couverture, before liqueurs, spirits, fruit purees or praline pastes are added to create a delicious flavoured centre. (not that I ever get a taste if there is a box around as David is a chocoholic!)
Now run by Barbara’s daughter Genevieve, Holdsworth Chocolates have become Britain’s best-selling entirely handmade chocolates, and are stocked at fine food halls throughout the country.
10. Vintage tours
If walking is not your thing, then take a tour with a difference. Steve White offers tours of the Peak District in a vintage 1929 Ford model A. The only vintage car registered as a taxi in the UK.
Steve (dressed up not unlike Mr Toad) is geared up to guide you through the landscape in style. You can take in the scenery when stopping off for a picnic or a cream tea, or even a local ale or two if that is what you fancy. Our suggested tour is Train Tracks and Troglodytes as it covers our very local area and you could even pick up your cheese on route!
11. Friends of Peak District
Helping protect all the stunning sights Steve will show you on your vintage tour is the wonderful charity Friends of the Peak District. What better way to support our special Peak District landscape than buying a gift membership?
This organisation will inspire your loved one to help keep our special place special, as well as helping to pay for all the good work being done behind the scenes. You even get a Peak District Calendar as well as discounted entry to some of the top local attractions. Have a look here to see what benefits your membership will give.
12. Wrap it with style
Once you’ve bought your Christmas presents why not make a little extra effort to wrap them beautifully too? Lyn at Caltonberry helps you celebrate the little things in life as well as the milestones with a beautiful range of porcelain gift tags, decorations and personalised ribbons with a contemporary look. As an alternative to the traditional Christmas wreath we love the willow wreath with porcelain snowflakes – simply stunning!
If you’re still stuck for ideas you could always buy your loved one a Hoe Grange Holidays Voucher to come and stay next year and share our special place. Available from £50 upwards – just e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can relax in the hot tub, de-stress in the sauna. You could also visit all the fabulous businesses mentioned in this blog and perhaps get ahead by starting next years Christmas shopping early!
#Farm24 is our chance to showcase 24 hours of farming in the UK, from 5am this morning on August 10 until 5am on August 11 2017. By encouraging farmers to share what they are doing throughout the day with a live feed of pictures, videos, Facebook posts and Tweets the British people will have a greater understanding of how much passion and commitment goes into producing the food they eat.
Pleased to report that #farm24 is now trending on Twitter so hopefully our message is getting across! It gives a rare and honest, ‘behind-the-scenes’ insight of what goes into producing British food and a chance to celebrate the achievements of farmers from all sectors of British agriculture.
From our perspective
#Farm24 offers an opportunity to share our story with the wider public and raise awareness of the care and attention we take to raise our beef cattle and sheep and farm our Peak District landscape sustainably, harnessing the latest technology. We have a policy of #loveLocal and are delighted to share our special place with our holiday guests too.
Here at Hoe Grange Farm we have been taking part in #Farm24 and recording some of the farming activities David has got up to today; from the early morning cockerel alarm clock, to , checking stock, calving a cow, pasture topping and repairing the many dry stone walls. There is always plenty to do and people often forget that maintaining the landscape is as important as caring for the animals.
Farming has never been considered an easy option; each day is different and you are at the mercy of the weather, seasons and needs of livestock, and the hours are long. Farming is a way of life which shapes the countryside, sustains rural communities and produces essential food for all.
At Hoe Grange we also harness the natural resources around us by using renewable technologies, including solar panels that track the sun, and a wind turbine to generate electricity. Modern farming is a business like any other that has to minimise overheads and reduce costs to remain competitive.
Whilst farmer David is busy with the animals, farmer’s wife Felicity takes care of the holiday business, cleaning the log cabins and gorgeous glamping pods, baking biscuits, greeting guests and suggesting fabulous local places to visit, not to forget Tweeting along with the outside world! Hopefully everyone goes home with happy memories and a little wiser about modern farming.
Check us out on Twitter #Farm24 to see what we got up to today!
As from previous blog posts you know that at Hoe Grange we #LoveLocal and support other local businesses where ever we can. David and I relish discovering local artisan producers so that as our guests you can enjoy all the Peak District has to offer whilst on your holiday.
Why do we #LoveLocal?
#LoveLocal enables our guests to
experience the real Peak District traditions, flavours and produce
discover artisan producers, who often create unique products
save food miles, which reduces your carbon footprint
have confidence in field to fork trace-ability – local farmers can tell you how animals are reared and crops are grown and harvested
eat seasonal produce which is packed full of flavour as nature intended
support local producers, which in turn helps protect our distinctive Peak District landscape
boosts the local economy, which helps sustain artisan businesses
Holiday shopping delivered to your door
Our latest #LoveLocal find is Sauced Here – an ethical online shopping service – all the advantages of a supermarket delivery right to your cabin door ready for your self-catering holiday, but all the benefits of locally produced artisan quality goods.
Sauced Here will deliver your groceries in one flexible delivery from carefully selected top purveyors in the area. Luke of Sauced Here has done the hard work sourcing high quality artisan products for you and they have everything covered from the basics such as Bloomers Bakery and Peak District Dairy, to luxury items such as Holdsworth Chocolates and Wee Dram Whiskey.
Where a suitable local product is unavailable an alternative is sourced through the network of independent retailers rather than major supermarkets.
Everyone deserves to relax and take time out whilst on holiday. If you want to have a break from the kitchen Sauced Here also offers homemade prepared meals, created from locally sourced produce. The meals are delicious and free from artificial preservatives and extra sugar and salt.
The early inspiration for Sauced Here, like all good ideas arose out of need. Luke Osborne went on a self-catering weekend with a group of friends. They booked a cottage in the countryside and organised for an online supermarket delivery for when they arrived.
Luke and friends then spent the next day kicking themselves as they discovered all the amazing shops in the local village and wished they had waited to buy the local produce on offer. The group felt they had missed out due to lack of local knowledge and a need for convenience.
From that day on Luke started to notice how many great local businesses in his home town of Bakewell were closing down and wondered whether they were being passed by for similar reasons. Thus Sauced Here was born, and we are delighted to support this new innovative enterprise.
Luke’s ethos fits in beautifully with our own Eco philosophy. Luke’s mission is to source only the best of the local Peak District area – the best being defined by great taste, traceable origins and products created with passion.
So now you can start shopping for your holiday safe in the knowledge that you are helping to care for the stunning Peak District landscape which you enjoy during your stay at Hoe Grange.
Looking back on 2016 one of the biggest trends has been the interest in “hygge”; so as the year draws to a close we thought you might like some inspiration on how to have a hygge holiday.
What is hygge?
The Danish word “hygge”, shortlisted by both the Oxford and Collins dictionaries for the word of the year, has no direct translation, but is often described as cosiness and a feeling of comfort; the enjoyment of everyday experiences.
How to pronounce hygge
To pronounce this phonetically challenging word make a pouting face and say HUE-gah!
8 ways to have a hygge holiday at Hoe Grange
Hoe Grange is the ideal place to stay in the winter as our log cabins and gorgeous glamping pods are warm and cosy, so you can relax and enjoy the good things in life with the people you care about around you. Hoe Grange provides a real “home from home” resulting in a happy, memorable hygge holiday.
1. Snuggle up in a cosy log cabin
What better way to have a hygge holiday than to stay in a Scandinavian-inspired log cabin? With our environmentally-friendly ground source heating, you’ll be snug as a bug, even in the depths of winter. It’s possible to hygge alone, wrapped in a woolen blanket with a cup of tea, but the true expression of hygge is lighting a lantern and joining with loved ones in a relaxed atmosphere.
2. Hot tub under the stars
Relax in the steamy water of our log-fired hot tub with a glass of mulled wine, or unwind completely in the steamy barrel sauna. With Hoe Grange nestled so deep in the countryside, you’ll find yourself transfixed by the dark starry skies above. The tranquil peace and quiet is what our guests love the most.
Or visit the Stardisc at Wirksworth where all the stars are mapped out for you on the stone circle.
3. Comfort food with closest friends
Once you’ve explored the stunning Peak District countryside around Hoe Grange, rest your weary feet and sit down to a heartwarming supper of winter stew, with some mulled wine.
There’s nothing better than sharing food with friends.
4. Bring your four legged friends too!
We welcome dogs at Hoe Grange – think woolen-socked feet gently resting on a snoring Labrador after a long winter walk – cuddle up and connect with your trusted friend.
Twix and Crunchie love a little tummy tickle, whilst Fudge sneaks on to the sofa and is just plain spoilt – so adorable she gets away with murder!
5. Hot chocolate by candlelight
Light some candles and watch the flickering flames whilst you silently sip your hot chocolate – truly scrumptious.
There is nothing quite like the comforting taste of chocolate, and who cares about the calories!
The Danes buy the most candles and research shows that creating hygge with candlelight brings happiness, who can argue with that!
6. Country pubs with roaring fires
Wrap up warm and walk over the hill to the pub for a pint and toast yourself by the roaring fire. When something is hygge, you say it’s hyggelig (“HOO-gah-lee”).
You can definitely have a special hyggelig evening at Ye Old Gate in Brassington.
7. Cycle everywhere
Exercise increases levels of dopamine in your brain (the ‘happy hormone’), so cycling is very hyggelig. Why not borrow one of our mountain bikes? It’s a great way to enjoy some fresh air and explore our Peak District countryside.
It would be even more hyggelig if you hire our off-road wheelchair or our vintage tandem for two!
8. Be kind to yourself
Take time out and relax in the dry heat of our barrel sauna, or wrap up in blankets, sit round the firepit, toast marshmallows and sing together – share your hygge and let the warm, fuzzy feelings flow.
Hygge is being aware of a good moment whether it’s simple or special. It’s all about experiences rather than material stuff, and booking a holiday at Hoe Grange is a great hygge way to get through the dark winter months.
It’s no coincidence that all the letters in Hygge can be found in “Hoe Grange Holidays”
Christmas is just round the corner so to help you get Christmas all wrapped up we have handpicked some gorgeous gift ideas inspired by our beautiful Peak District – things that are produced locally here in the Derbyshire hills, some of which are utterly unique!
We #LoveLocal and are sure you will be inspired by our Christmas selection
Top 10 Christmas gifts
1. Pet Pawtraits
Our pets hold a special place in our hearts. Why not capture your pet to perfection with a “pawtrait” from local photographer Ruth Downing? Ruth of Rural Pictures is used to working with animals, and has a wealth of experience in producing fabulous pet portraits and action shots. You can even arrange for Ruth to come to Hoe Grange during your holiday stay so you can take some special memories home with you.
2. Dovedale Ceramics
Beautiful handcrafted ceramics from On a Wick and a Prayer at Tissington uses clear water from the Dovedale River over the glaze. The minerals in the water react when the pottery is fired in the kiln giving each piece a unique distinctive pattern.
3. Upcycled lights and furniture
Let a little light brighten up your home! Upcycled Creative specialise in making funky, functional, upcycled lights and furniture. Upcycling is the art of transforming unwanted items into something better and more beautiful, it’s kinder to the environment than recycling, and the only limitation is imagination! These bright sparks don’t just recycle, and reuse, they go one step further and relove, renew, and repurpose.
4. Landscape art
Carrie of English Tilly creates gorgeous felt art decorations and accessories, using naturally-dyed, rare-breed fleece from Whitefaced Woodland sheep. Much of her inspiration comes from the ever changing colours and textures of the Derbyshire Peak District. Living and working in the Peak District, Carrie is as passionate about caring for our special landscape as we are and also holds the Peak District Environmental Quality Mark.
5. Beautiful bespoke wooden pieces
If you are looking for something unusual Ingrained create beautiful bespoke wooden pieces for the home, from quirky, simple designs, such as their fun, frosty snowmen and Christmas decorations, to unusual candle holders, lamps, and stunning statement pieces. The starting point and inspiration for each piece is the natural shape of the tree.
6. Natural handmade soaps and bath products
Get all scrubbed up with some gorgeous soaps from Coconuct Blush, handmade with natural olive oil, and mositurising shea butter and scented with pure essential oils. Jane sources sustainable ingredients and particularly avoids using palm oil from felled rainforest. If you’ve stayed with us you will have received our Coconut Blush lavender gift pack. For the avid gardener why not give the Gardener’s Tea Tree exfoliating soap & hand balm set? There is free delivery on orders over £20 until 31st December.
7. Drive the Peak in a Porsche
Finding the right Christmas gift for the man in your life can be challenging – however if that certain person is a car enthusiast, and over the age of 25, why not consider hiring a Porsche Boxster from Peak Performance Hire? What could be better than fresh country air and the wind through your hair!
Enjoy complete freedom of planning your own tour, or take a recommended route with historic towns, independent coffee shops and restaurants, picturesque roads and vantage point stops for photos. Daily hire starts from £210, including fully comprehensive insurance.
8. Silver jewellery
More imaginative upcycling and renewing from Dandelion Silver, just a couple of miles up the road in Brassington village. Gorgeous jewellery for the woman in your life; from pendents, earrings, rings and bracelets to bespoke commissions.
Dandelion Silver love nothing more than taking forgotten and neglected vintage and antique cutlery and giving them a new lease of life as stunning pieces of designer jewellery.
9. Fresh Roasted Coffee
There’s nothing like the fresh smell of coffee. Peak Bean was born out of a love for coffee. Coffee that brings a smile to someone’s face. Like first brew in the morning that helps start the day on the right foot. And enjoying a mug whilst catching up with good friends, not to mention how it can round off that great meal perfectly. Coffee brings happiness.
Deidra and Andrew of Peak Bean are artisan producers, roasting small batches of ethically sourced coffee beans and creating blends that burst with freshness, flavour and really hit the spot. You can order direct from the Peak Bean, straight to your door, or sample our smooth Hoe Grange blend on your next stay with us!
10. Holiday Voucher
And last but by no means least, buy your loved one a Hoe Grange Holidays Voucher to come and stay next year and share our special place. Available from £50 upwards – just e-mail us at email@example.com.
You can relax in the hot tub, de-stress in the sauna. You could also visit all the fabulous businesses mentioned in this blog and perhaps get ahead by starting next years Christmas shopping early!
The quaint village of Hartington is just a 15-20 minute car journey through the rolling hills of the Derbyshire Dales. Alternatively you can cycle along the High Peak Trail, cross over the A515 and drop downhill to the village.
We spent a lazy afternoon wandering around Hartington to help you to plan a day out whilst you stay at Hoe Grange Holidays – the things we have to do for our guests!.
The first thing we discovered; Hartington was the first village in Derbyshire to be granted permission to hold a weekly market in 1203, selling locally made goods and farm animals, and we certainly got a sense of that as we walked around the village.
As it was a weekday, we parked in the Market Place for free, although on a weekend it may be pretty busy, so there’s a larger car park (chargable) too.
We made a beeline for the Beresford Tearooms and Post Office (next to The Devonshire Arms pub) because we’d heard they have home-cooked traditional food. The Pumpkin & Spice soup accompanied with a ½ baguette (£6.50), and the Country Vegetable soup with a cheese scone (£4.95) were hearty and filling. Somehow we resisted the tempting scones with clotted cream and jam!
We took a circular, anti-clockwise route around Hartington, noting the village newsagents, St Giles Church (which dates back to the 1200s) and the Village Hall.
The next shop to take our fancy was The Village Stores an old building packed to the rafters with local produce. We always #LoveLocal, and this store sells an amazing selection of local meats, fruit, vegetables, beers, wines and spirits, hot pies and hot drinks to take away.
To make your holiday hassle free you can even pre-order a basket of goodies, or a BBQ pack, from The Village Stores before your stay at Hoe Grange Holidays, and pick them up when convenient.
The next shop along our trail was Hart of the Country, a real countryside shop with walking sticks, sheepskin rugs, handbags, postcards, sweets, you name it they probably sell it! Ideal for all those little gifts to take home for family and friends.
You simply can’t visit Hartington without calling into The Old Cheese Shop. The cheese factory in the village used to make ¼ of the World’s Stilton cheese until 2009 – luckily this shop still exists, selling English artisan cheeses, including Dovedale Blue and Peakland White which is made at Pikehall, just a few miles from Hoe Grange. You have to cross the threshold and take a big sniff, the aroma is wonderful!
Matilda Bay was calling us from the other side of the village, so we had to obey, and what a lovely shop of treasures, cards, coasters, gifts, jewellery all displayed with care and precision. Next door is the Antique Shop, which on this occasion we didn’t venture into, so we hot footed it down to the Farm Shop around the corner (Public Toilets available here).
There’s a warm welcome at The Farm Shop, plenty of great produce, gifts, handmade crafts and a very sweet tearoom in the rear. There’s also a wall of Tourist Information leaflets by the cafe counter – which was the perfect place to plan our next Peak District National Park adventures!
How can I get to Hartington?
The village lies within a triangle of Buxton (to the north), Leek (to the West) and Ashbourne (to the South East.) You can drive, or catch a bus from Buxton, Ashbourne, Bakewell or Chesterfield. Or you can cycle along the High Peak Trail from Hoe Grange.
Hartington is known for special events, such as the unusual art of Well Dressings, the Hartington Wakes (traditional agricultural show), the Oddfellows March (a local friendly society) Hartington Sports Day (family fun for all ages), a Secret Garden Trail and the Royal British Legion hold annual events too.
So much to do in the Derbyshire Peak District you’ll need to stay with us for at least a week!
Autumn is in full-swing here in the Derbyshire Peak District; our trees are full of glittering golds and beautiful browns and the nights are drawing in… which means it’s pumpkin carving time!
Pumpkins (or Jack-o’-lanterns as they are also known) are traditionally made at Halloween by slicing off the top (to form a lid), scooping out the flesh and then making marks into the orange outer skin, or cutting through the pumpkin skin (caution using sharp tools!) to reveal a flickering candle light inside… very effective and beautiful at night time.
So, we’ve had a look for some designs that may inspire you to carve your own, based on animals that are commonly found here in the Peak District… we have three beautiful owls, a traditional cat design, a sheep from our farm, a cunning fox and a horse carousel.
Three owl pumpkins
Did you know there are about 200 species of owls? These three won’t make those wonderful twit-t woos that you can here at Hoe Grange Holidays, that’s for sure. My mum loves these especially as she used to be a Brown Owl in The Girl Guides – what a hoot! Designs by womansday.com.
Creative cat pumpkin
Spooky! This very beautiful feline friend is sitting on a branch, up a tree, possible looking out for a wicked witch on a broomstick. It was made by craft-your-home.com
Baaa.. sheep pumpkin
As “ewe” know, we have plenty of sheep scattered in fields around the holiday cabins and glamping pods, so we just had to find a sheep design for a pumpkin. Photo added by Sarah Grantham to Pinterest.com
Fantastic Fox pumpkin
If you don’t want to actually carve a pumpkin, why not stick items to it with a glue gun, like felt, card and googly eyes? Also use a marker pen to draw on missing elements. A much simpler way for small children to take part in the pumpkin celebrations and very effective. Image courtesy of simpleasthatblog.com
Horsing around with pumpkins
How could we leave out a horse design when we invite guests to bring horses on holiday? These are pretty tricky to carve into pumpkins, and this design took 5 hours to create! We love the beautifully intricate design and the fact that you can look right through it, by Brandi Korte on Flickr.
When you’ve completed your design and carved your pumpkin, display on your front porch at Halloween to welcome Trick or Treaters! Any leftovers needn’t go to waste, why not make some tasty pumpkin soup, such as Delia’s roasted pumpkin soup with melted cheese?
One of our Farm Stay members has been very creative this year and cleverly carved out the Farm Stay logo, which looks very effective. If you are looking for a countryside holiday don’t forget to check out the many fabulous farmhouse B&B’s and country self-catering cottages available through Farm Stay UK.
We hope you all have some family fun whilst carving your pumpkins for Halloween.
Don’t forget we’d love you to share your pumpkin photos with us, just tag us into your Tweets (@HoeGrange) and we’ll RT them for you!
Apple Day was first launched in 1990 on 21st October, by Common Ground. The vision was to create a calendar custom, an annual autumn holiday.
Apple Day was introduced not just as a celebration of all things apple, but also as a demonstration of the variety we are in danger of losing in the richness and diversity of landscape, ecology and culture too.
Over the years Apple Day has also helped raise awareness of the provenance and traceability of food, which can only be a good thing. At Hoe Grange we #LoveLocal and Apple Day events have definitely fostered local pride, celebrated and deepened interest in local distinctiveness.
Yes it’s yours truly – a few less laughter lines, a little thinner and not a spec of grey hair in sight! Hard to believe, but this week we are celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary – where has the time gone?
We were married at St. Michael’s Church, Sutton-on-the-Hill on 20th September 1986. The weather was glorious September sunshine just like it has been this week.
As I was marrying into a farming family the wedding had to be arranged around the farming calendar, avoiding lambing, silageing, and hay making. Also the wedding service had to be at 12 o’clock to enable David’s relatives to nip off and milk the cows at 4 o’clock before returning for the evening reception! These traditional farmers, very much set in their ways, were totally bemused by the fact that the bride had chosen brown top hat and tails that they had to go all the way to Leicester to be fitted for!
There were two bridesmaids and my nephew who was 4 years old at the time was a page boy. Max was not very keen on the knickerbockers, striped waistcoat, or buckles on his shoes, until we convinced him he was dressing up as a pirate – luckily he didn’t ask for an eye patch or a sword !!
Back then horses were as much part of my life as they are now and we left church in style riding in a landau carriage pulled by two greys, Merlin and Mystic, expertly driven by Mick Bale, who was like a second father to me.
The reception was held at Newton Park Hotel, Newton Solney. Everyone was so enjoying the sunshine and the photographer was having a field day in the beautiful gardens, much to my father’s annoyance as the Wedding breakfast was waiting! The day passed in the blink of an eye, which always seems to happen when you know everyone at the party and you’re having the time of your lives! The following day we traveled to Paris for a 10 day honeymoon – the longest time David has ever spent away from Hoe Grange Farm.
So to celebrate our wedding anniversary in style fine dining was the order of the day and we decided to try out The Kedleston Country House. Whilst this was an evening for us to celebrate 30 years together we couldn’t resist putting on our “holidays” hat and tipping you all off as to the amazing cuisine! What a great excuse to try out somewhere new!
Off to a good start as booking a table online was simple.The staff were very welcoming and attentive without being intrusive, the decor retained many of the traditional features, but with a modern twist, and the furnishings were comfortable. It was a lovely atmosphere and there several small snugs where you could sit and relax.
There was an extensive menu using seasonal produce and the house wine was excellent. Accessibility had also been carefully thought out with a ramped entrance to the conservatory from the level gardens which also featured a crochet lawn. The path from the car park was small gravel, but there was space for a car to be drawn up outside the entrance if needed.
All in all a romantic evening full of memories, and a wonderful way to celebrate our wedding anniversary.