Tag Archives: Lifestyle

5 great autumn DIY ideas

6 Nov

Autumn is such a beautiful season that it seems a shame to start too early with Christmas decorations. Pumpkins, chestnuts and apples are all in season, and there are plenty of possibilities to use them in a creative way. These are our favourite ideas.

1. Apples and pinecones

Go for a walk in the woods and pick some pinecones to decorate your house. Their natural colour is beautiful, and you could place them in a bowl with some apples, as a simple centrepiece. The pinecones will be great for Christmas too, either with their natural colour or spray-painted.

Image via Frenchlarkspur

2. Gourd garland

Miniature squash looks great in a simple and natural garland.

Image by Martha Stewart Living

3. Apple cider cups

Apple cups are a cute idea to serve a Spice Chai and apple winter warmer.  Add a cinnamon stick as a stirrer!

Image via Gimmesomeoven

4. Autumn candles

Use the smallest squash to make tealight holders.

5. White pumpkin centrepieces

There’s something surprisingly elegant about white squash. They look beautiful when combined with natural colours and can be used as a centrepiece, around a simple big candle.


Late summer foraging

4 Sep

Though we’re hoping to get a few warm days before the cold season starts, Autumn’s nearly here!  It’s a beautiful time, perfect for a walk in the woods -with the added value of these edible treasures that are now in season! So go foraging while they last!

1. Blackberries: you can pick them from August until October. Choose the darker-coloured ones and place them in containers. You’ll find them in the country, in woodland edges in parks or in urban spots and road sides. They’re very rich in vitamin E, which protects against oxidation. A blackberry and apple pie or crumble is a classic, as it is blackberry jam. We love them on drop scones too.

photo by Ben A. Clough, GNU, Creative Commons

2. Hazelnuts: get there first, before the squirrels beat you! Now it’s the perfect time to pick fresh green hazelnuts, which are very different to the darker ones we find in Christmas. Fresh, with a sweet, slightly vegetably taste, they’re delicious! You can use them to prepare a pesto, adding garlic, olive oil and your herb of choice.

3. Elderberries: picking them can be a bit tricky because of the stems, so here’s a tip: pick them on their twig and then use a wide-toothed comb or a fork or two to separate them from the stems. Pick only the ripe fruit (it’ll be deep purple), as the green berries contain cyanide. Wash them thoroughly and don’t eat them raw. You can use them to prepare elderberry jelly (with apple too) or syrup. They contain vitamin C, A and B.

4. Crab apples: ready to pick now, they can be the base of jellies, jam or pickles (adding sugar, vinegar and spices such as cinnamon and clove).

Happy foraging!

DIY seed packets

4 Sep

Seed saving is a late summer ritual that seems to mark the beginning of autumn. When the flowers are on their way to drying, wrap them in a paper bag, cut the stem and tie them with a string, hanging them upside down in a warm, dry place. Then you can create your own seed packets to sow next year. They’re fun and easy to make and they’re a thoughtful gift too!

Poppies are among our favourite flowers, and the process to collect the seeds is even more simple. Here’s a step-by-step guide!

1. Wait until the poppy head is completely dry and slightly open at the top. Shake it over your hand until the seeds come out.

2. Place the seeds on an old newspaper page and  allow them to dry properly.

3. Create a little envelope with old newspaper pages and place the dry seeds inside. This will go inside your seed packet.

4. Create a simple packet like the one you can see above. Fold it, glue it and decorate it! Don’t forget to add the date and the “provenance”! 

Win a mini break at the Magdalen Chapter in Exeter

4 Sep

The Magdalen Chapter in Exeter has been described as a “contemporary Wonderland” in the Alastair Sawday’s Guides, and we couldn’t agree more! It’s an iconic building that was once the West of England Eye Hospital, with all the creature comforts you require, including areas to relax and indulge: the perfect place to enjoy a mini break!

Do you fancy winning a night’s stay for two plus breakfast and afternoon tea (served with Lahloo tea of course!) in this stunning hotel? To enter our competition, you simply have to e-mail maria@lahlootea.co.uk with your details, including the code MAGDALENCH.

Terms and conditions:

1. This competition is open to residents of the UK, 18 years or over, with the exception of employees of Lahloo Tea and their families or partners.

2. All entries must be received by midnight on Thursday the 20th of September 2012.

3. Only one entry per person. The winner will be drawn at random from all entries received by the closing date.

5. By entering into this competition you agree to have your name released as the winner. The winner will be e-mailed on Friday the 21st of October.

6. If the prize winner fails to respond to correspondence from Lahloo Tea or to claim his/her prize within 72 hours of receipt of notification, Lahloo Tea shall be entitled to select an alternative prize winner. The prize winner who has not responded won’t be entitled to a prize.

6. Prize is non transferable, there are no cash alternatives and cannot be used in conjunction with any other object.

7. Prize excludes Saturday nights, is subject to availability, and to be taken before the 30th of November 2012.

7. Lahloo Tea reserves the right to record the entrants’s e-mail addresses for promotional purposes and to share these e-mail addresses with The Chapter Hotels for the same purpose.

Lahloo goes for a wild swim! by Kate

31 Aug

Don’t the late summer days inspire you to do something fun! At this time of year, I get a sudden urge to enjoy the outdoors and breath the last breaths of balmy summer air. And I love the feeling of being a little bit closer to nature.

Summer evening

Not one to do things by halves, last week I went wild swimming! I’ve always been a bit of a water baby, given the opportunity you will find me splashing about in water – puddles, rivers, lakes, the sea. As a kid I was always the first to run down the beach to dip my toe in, no matter what time of year! And that hasn’t changed – we nearly missed a flight home a few years ago because I wanted to have one last dip!

Since moving to Bath, I’ve really missed my alfresco dips at the Lido and when a friend told me about a new river swimming spot he’d discovered, I just had to go. So, after a rather long and busy Monday, rather than spending my evening cooped up in an indoor swimming pool or gym I decided to go and hunt out this new and go for a spot of evening wild swimming.

Wild Swimming

Part of the fun of wild swimming is the discovery of the best spots. The very best places are the most tucked away! Just outside Bath, on the Warminster Road you go down a little windy dead-end road, cross the canal and the train tracks and you’ll find a clearing. Next to the clearing, a weir. The river above the weir is like a natural pool. Just gorgeous!

The evening we went there were half a dozen or so couples relaxing for an alfresco post-swim supper. Knowing you’ve arrived at a hidden but carefully shared spot is really wonderful! The smell of bbq’s wafted in the evening air, hot air balloons drifted over head and the late evening sun gradually fell making beautiful tree-shaped silhouettes on the horizon. It couldn’t get more idyllic.

Kate swimming

Getting into the water was, shall we say, bracing! But, with the last of the sunshine on my face, so revitalising. I’d thoroughly recommend it – there’s no better way to clear a foggy head. I just wish I’d taken a thermos of warm oolong tea to sip after my dip.

Now, I’m not sure you’ll find me there in January (no matter how much tea you promise me afterwards) but I am definitely going to make it a regular spot to visit.

Why don’t you let me know your favourite wild swimming spots. I’d love to hear where you go.

Kate x

Founder, Lahloo Tea

Tea-cycling tips to celebrate Bristol’s Big Green Week

7 Jun

On Saturday the 9th Lahloo Pantry will be on Corn Street for Bristol’s Big Green Week. All around St. Nicholas’ Market you’ll find the most inspiring and exciting independent businesses from the South West! There’ll be plenty of things to do, so come and say hello to the Pantry team if you’re around.

To celebrate Bristol’s Big Green week here are our favourite tea-cycling tips! 

1. Loose tea is greener: 

Brits consume 165 million cups of tea every day, according to The Guardian. Although teabags can be composted, some of them are partly made of a nasty-sounding material called polypropylene, which isn’t fully bio-degradable. Some teabags have staples that aren’t bio-degradable or environmentally-friendly either.

Drinking loose tea generates less waste, plus you can reinfuse your leaves up to 6 or 7 times depending on the type of tea! (Check our website if in doubt!). Each reinfusion will taste diferently to the previous one, and observing the subtle changes is a wonderful way of exploring tea.

2. Reinvent your old China:

– Use old cups and saucers to plant fresh culinary herbs and put them on your windowsill. Basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano or sage are always essential!

-Use teacups and saucers as a centrepiece, to display fresh flowers. They create a unique, vintage and very British touch.

Flowers in teacups by Flowers for Eddie at Lahloo Pantry

3. Re-imagine your old tea tins: 

 Use old tea tins to make candles, as planters or to display your flowers.

More display ideas by Flowers for Eddie 

Six things you need for a perfect picnic

1 May

What is it that makes a picnic so exciting? Lying under the sun, enjoying the smell of fresh grass and a great view, sipping on a refreshing punch, eating delicious little bites and loads of fresh fruit…  If you’ve found yourself wishing you were spreading your picnic rug on a fresh meadow under the sun, we can’t blame you. We’re mad about picnics too!  This is our list of six things that make a picnic a perfect experience.

1. The weather

If you live in the British Islands, you know what we’re talking about if we say “changeable weather”. Ideally, your picnic day should be bright, sunny and a bit warm, to allow you to sit on the grass comfortably. If the day fails to meet these characteristics, you can always try an indoor picnic… It’s more exciting than it sounds! Find a cosy corner in the house and spread your picnic blanket on the carpet. Put some feelgood music on and start enjoying your selection of food!

2. The location

Spreading your blanket in a meadow á la Famous Five isn’t always possible for those who live in a busy city. But finding a sunny spot in a grassy place is definitely achievable! If you’re up for something a bit more adventurous, check the National Trust website for some inspiration.  P.S. Don’t forget your sunglasses.

3. The company

Taking a bunch of good friends along will definitely improve the picnic experience. But, having said that, we must admit that there’s something very charming in a solo picnic too. Grab a book, treat yourself, relax and enjoy.

4. The food

When we’re talking about picnic food, the perfect equation is maximum enjoyment, minimum effort. Here’s a list of our favourites:

  • Spanish green olives. Choose a fat and oily variety. We love Gordales or Aloreñas!
  • Your favourite bread, ideally something that you can tear with your hands (focaccia, anyone?)
  • A light frittata cut into squares. We love it with added greens, such as spinach, peas or asparagus.
  • Mini plum tomatos with fresh basil. Fresh, juicy, flavoursome.
  • Tired of hummus? Try an aubergine dip. Thinly slice one aubergine and half an onion. Put some olive oil in a pan, add smoked paprika and the vegetables and sautée. Add salt, pepper and oregano to taste. Add some pinenuts and let it cook until the aubergine and the onion are soft. Refrigerate overnight, it will intensify the flavour.
  • A savoury loaf.  Get creative and experiment with basic recipes! We are in love with this chorizo, pistachio and sundried tomato recipe)
  • Heaps of fresh fruit… especially berries!
Love this pistachio, chorizo and sundried tomato loaf  from Lahloo Pantry
Mediterranean flavours: mini plum tomatoes with basil, Spanish olives and aubergine dip.
Delicious frittata with new potatoes, asparagus and feta

5. The drinks

Fill a glass bottle with delicious, sugar-free cold-infused tea. Genmaicha, Amber or Sencha are perfect with savoury food. All you have to do is use 1 teaspoon of tea leaves per 100ml and let it cold infuse for at least 6 hours, then strain it to remove the tea leaves. And have you tried our Rosebud & Lemon Verbena Summer Punch? The taste of summer in a glass!

6. The picnic gear

Donna Hays has some great practical ideas to picnic in style. But if you live nearby, you can always pop to Lahloo Pantry and grab a delicious takeaway picnic and some cold-infused tea!

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