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Help flowers last longer

Pod & Pip

10 May 2017

Sarah Williamson-Jones from Pod & Pip tell us how to look after our fresh flowers. By following a few simple rules you can help fresh flowers last even longer and your enjoyment of them.   * When you receive your flowers cut a little bit of the ends of the stems (1-2cm) and make sure it's at a slight angle, this helps the water to be absorbed.   * Remember to check that your flowers have enough water everyday, some flowers are more thirsty than others. Alstroemeria and daisies, for example like a good drink!   *Make sure you use clean water and that the vase you are using is also clean. Dirty vases can harbour bacteria which can reduce the longevity of flowers. Replace the water if you can see it is getting discoloured or smelly.   * Ensure you put the flowers in an adequate size vase, don't try and squash the stems into a vase that is too small as this can crush and damage the stems.   * Place the flowers out of direct sunlight and try and avoid very warm spaces.   * Remove any leaves or flowers under the waterline in your vase as this speeds up decomposition.     * Remove an faded flowers, some flowers last longer than others   Sarah Williamson Jones is the founder of Pod & Pip. Friday flowers delivered to your door. www.podandpip.co.uk

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Caring for fresh cut spring flowers

S. Williamson-Jones

21 February 2017

This time of year we are seeing an abundance of spring blooms appearing in shops and florists windows, brightening our day and putting a smile on our faces. But, how is the best way to care for these flowers? Here's a quick checklist to help you make your tulips, daffodils and ranunculus last even longer.    Tulips Tulips keep growing after they have been cut and can grow up to 2 inches, so it's a good idea choose a vase that covers at least half the height of the tulip stem, this will help stop them nose diving onto the table! Don't clump them together too tightly or squash them into the vase as this can damage the stems. Cut the stems at a 45 degree angle and make sure they have plenty of cold water, tulips like a lot of water. They are also photosensitive so keep out of direct sunlight or heat as they will wilt faster once the blooms have opened up.   Daffodils As the same with other flowers ensure you have a clean vase with clean water to place the daffodils into. Cut the stems at a 45 degree angle and place them in the water, daffodils however last longer in slightly shallower water. Daffodils release a substance harmful to some other flowers  which reduces other flowers longevity, so they are best kept to themselves in arrangements. If you would like to mix them with other flowers however, you can leave the stems to soak overnight in a vase/bucket of water before mixing with other flowers. The soaking helps to release some of the harmful substance. Don't cut the stem again though before mixing with other flowers though. Hyacinths also release a sap which can shorten the life of the other flowers.     Ranunculus Remove all the leaves from the bottom stems carefully, as the stems can be quite delicate. Cut the stems at an angle with a sharp knife or scissors so that you don't damage the stem. Cutting stems at an angle helps the flowers draw the water up more easily. Keep them in a cool place and out of direct sunlight. Change the water regularly and allow them to have a good drink. I you want to use them in a bouquet you may need to wire their heads to stop them drooping or just go for the wild, natural look!     Hope you have found this Blog useful and now have some tips to help make your beautiful Spring flowers last even longer! Enjoy!   Sarah Williamson-Jones, Pod & Pip

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2017 bucket list

Sam Bertram

4 January 2017

Here’s our suggestions on some resolutions & what you should be aiming to see & do in 2017 to make the most of this beautiful county. Plan for one a quarter and you’ll find it incredibly achievable and rewarding! 1. Our environment is in a fragile state but it’s not that hard to all do our bit to help. Local Devizes company Meadow in my Garden make wild flower seed mixes that encourage pollinators to gardens and sell animal homes for some of our precious wildlife. You don’t need to have a big garden for wild flowers & they not only look stunning but also help our busy bees, butterflies and ladybirds. They’re also looking for volunteers to help fill public spaces with wild flowers. Get in touch if you think you can help. 2. Look at your grocery list and think what you can source locally – there’s so much fabulous food & drink available right here in Wiltshire. Visit your local butcher or deli or become a regular at a Wiltshire Farmers Market so that local always makes its way onto your table. If you feel like a tipple look no further than The Wiltshire liqueur Company – also fabulous ingredients for any recipe. It not only supports your local economy but when it hasn’t travelled it’s better for the environment and tastes better too! 3. Experience some of the amazing pubs & restaurants in the county - It’s important to support your local pub & restaurant, but once in a while it’s worth going further afield.  In Wiltshire we have The Good Food Guide’s best dining pub in the country - The Michelin Starred Red Lion, East Chisenbury.  Recently shortlisted in the top 3 for Wiltshire life’s best pub in the county is The Swan in Enford. Don't miss The Three Tuns, Great Bedwyn described by Tom Parker Bowles as ‘Three steps to foodie heaven’, The George & Dragon in Rowde with their fabulous seafood & rustic luxurious rooms with a touch of Soho House, AP McCoy’s pub The Outside Chance, The Michelin starred Harrow at Little Bedwyn which has been AA and Decanter’s Restaurant of the Year amongst other accolades, and The Pear Tree in Purton, The Good Hotel Guide’s Best Country Hotel in 2015. For a casual lunch try the lovely Sticks & Stones in their lifestyle shop in Woodborough. 4. Regular bracing walks are a great way to stay fit. Visit a new part of the Wiltshire countryside & walk somewhere new – there are stunning walks from the North Wessex Downs to the Nadder Valley. Our members have lots of top tips on things to do – whether it’s walking the ancient Ridgeway, a dog walk on Old Drover's Road, an invigorating walk across Salisbury Plain or a walk on the Roman Road in Grovely Woods or around Fonthill Lake near Tisbury you’ll be pleased you ventured there.  5. Look after yourself. We’re launching a wellbeing section in a couple of weeks time so keep an eye out but in the meantime if you’re keen to eat better (not less but just more of the right kind of food) Love Food has fabulous nutritional cookery courses which teach you how to eat well and feel good and are bound to set you on the right track. 6. Make it to at least one of Wiltshire’s events or festivals. Racehorses have been trained in Wiltshire for over a Century so have fun watching Barbury Races – a great day out for all the family. Kick off your shoes at a music festival or there are plenty of Arts Festivals around the county - Salisbury, Trowbridge & Devizes and fabulous theatre at Illford Arts Festival near Bradford on Avon. Marlborough have a literature festival & there are plenty of Food & Drink Festivals throughout the summer. See our events calendar. 7. Take in one of our national treasures – Stourhead near Mere is the second most visited National Trust Property. However, there are plenty more to choose from – Avebury (the ‘better’ stone circle), Lacock Abbey, Wardour Castle near Tisbury, Great Chalfield Manor and Garden (featured in ‘Wolf Hall’), The Courts Garden in Holt or Old Sarum near Salisbury.  And don’t forget the marvellous Salisbury Cathedral and Malmesbury Abbey or Castle Combe, said by many to be the prettiest village in England or The Merchant's House in Marlborough to see how a wealthy 17th Century Merchant would have lived. 8. Learn something new - how often do you wish you could do something better? There are plenty of places offering courses – Marlborough College Summer School has every course you can imagine and it’s a fun way to spend a week. Wagon Yard Artists have fantastic ceramic courses and Delushious Home Comforts in Devizes offers cookery courses for adults & children. 9. Don’t always default to Amazon – if you’re looking for a gift or new items for the home stop and think if you could buy from a small local company.  You’ll be amazed at the unique things available as well as how affordable they are too.  We have lots of gift ideas for both him and her so check those out before going global!  And lots of ideas for the home too. 10. Finally Christmas isn’t the only time to look after your loved ones. Contact and visit them regularly. Everyone loves to receive a card and Simply Bluebell does wonderful greeting cards by local rural artists. Receiving flowers puts a smile on everyone’s face and Pod & Pip do wonderful natural flowers with handwritten note that can be sent anywhere in the UK. Here's to a fabulous 2017!

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Gastronomic B&B & meeting venue

Sam Bertram

7 October 2016

Overtown Manor is a fantastic B&B & meeting venue in a gorgeous rural location near Swindon with delicious homemade locally sourced food. We spoke to owner Nancy Lawson. What do people love about Overtown Manor? ‘People like the space and quiet – the fact we’re out in the countryside yet only a mile from Swindon.  Our big thing is supporting local businesses - our milk and butter is from a local dairy and our eggs are from the neighbours. We buy our bread from a traditional bakery in Lambourn and our cheese and yoghurts come from Brinkworth. Even our flowers come from Purton. We get lots of compliments about our food. We also use our own produce – beef from our farm and vegetables from the garden. I’ve just made  Raspberry Jam, Elderflower cordial and runner bean chutney. Next up I’ll be making crab apple jelly. All other meat comes from a local butchery and we even try to source all our drinks – beers, vodka and cider from local companies using traditional methods.  Our breakfasts are really popular – I often make homemade banana bread and granola. We also offer fruit salad and yoghurt and our approach to our cooked breakfasts is to offer a good wholesome locally sourced breakfast. Our guests are often business people and they want to have a decent breakfast, coffee or tea and get going.  So we keep it simple and don’t do anything fussy. Business people don’t want to have to eat out every night so we keep constant stock of some home cooked meals from Cook in Marlborough. A guest can have a meal in their room on a tray with a pudding. They love the fact they can relax without feeling like they need to go out again.’ You’re also a venue for business meetings – tell us about that ‘We can host business meetings for up to 14 in the drawing room (for a more relaxed meeting on sofa’s with flip charts) or dining room (Boardroom or U-shape layout).  Most meetings run for the day and we serve them homemade food at various intervals. Meeting attendees love the change from boring old sandwiches found in company boardrooms. They also like relaxing in our garden during breaks. An example meeting lunch menu is cottage pie and peas and almond tart. Mid-morning we serve homemade chocolate chip cookies and flapjacks and in the afternoon chocolate brownies.  We can cater for any dietary requirements – celiacs, vegans, dairy free etc. Any future plans? ‘We’re currently re-decorating three of the bedrooms and have exciting plans for the garden.   I’ve also got another idea that I’m keen to test. The B&B is currently open Sunday to Thursday and we don’t have people to stay at the weekend. However, we do have someone who comes at the weekend on a room only basis and helps herself if she wants breakfast. There are so many people locally who don’t have space for their family but they just need a place to sleep. It would be a special rate for a room only and they could come and go as they please. We’d love to know what people think of it.’ http://www.overtownmanor.co.uk/  

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