25 March 2011

5...4...3...2...1....

Spring is officially here when you hear the countdown from the starting box at a horse trial.  Sadly, my start to the season has been delayed by a few weeks, which gives me more time for preparation.

On Sunday 20th March I went to Aldon Horse Trials which is my all time favourite event as it has so many childhood memories from falling off my pony and landing on my head - yes I did do this, winning a hunter trial, getting placed in my first British Eventing competition and too many other memories to list.

We watched a few of the Under 21s in the show jumping and cross country phase, where nerves seemed to run high in the practice arena.

Shopping was also on our minds for the day with a new bridle for the young boy Jonty at the top of the list, but sadly the one we had a eye on had sold out - aggh!  Apart from the usual equine stands, Weymouth based online boutique Mollie and Fred was kicking off the first of their many events for the season.  Pitched up in prime view of the show jumping Mollie and Fred gleamed with all their lovely homeware and gifts for all occassions.  My favourite is the jute duck doorstop at £22.99 every home should have one.  There is something for everyone from Cath Kidston goodies for the house, Caroline Gardner stationery, to Bombay Duck vintage hooks.  A definite must to visit for Mother's Day (Sunday 3rd April). 

Mollie and Fred owner Tasha Hicks
If you're out and about this year at any equine or agriculture events, keep your eye out for Mollie and Fred, or check out their listings to see where you will see them next.

21 March 2011

Raspberry Muffins

What better way to start the day than by baking some muffs... This is my all time favourite recipe and has had high praise from many work colleagues, family and friends, so it would only be fair that I share it with you.

Raspberry Muffins (makes 12-18)

Ingredients:
  • 100g plain white flour
  • 150g plain wholemeal flour
  • 2 heaped tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 medium egg
  • 285ml milk
  • 80g melted butter
  • 125g raspberries (or any other berry type fruit)
Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and put 12 paper cake cases into muffin tins.  Sift the flours, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.  With the wholemeal flour catch the small pieces of bran in the sieve and tip in once the flour has been sifted to incorporate some air into the bowl.  Stir in the sugar.
  2. 
  3. In a large jug, mix the egg, milk and butter.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir until just combined, then gently fold in the raspberries, using just a few strokes.  Keep the mixing light as the more you beat the more air is knocked out and will make the muffins heavy.  So, keep to big gentle stirs.
  4. 
  5. Spoon the mixture into the cake cases and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and firm.  Transfer to a cooling rack.  Eat slightly warm.
Yum, freshly baked muffs....

Top tips:
  • Raspberries can be swapped for any other berry e.g. blueberry, blackberry, strawberry. 
  • Got a sweet tooth?  Why not add white chocolate to the mixture.  Raspberries and Milky Bar chocolate goes down very well and a quick way to make new friends!

18 March 2011

Mad Dog Ski

No, I haven't gone mad...yet!  Mad Dog Ski is the funky name of a website that reviews ski resorts across Europe, Canada and New Zealand - so not worth checking out if you thought it was about dogs, but deffo one to visit if you're planning a winter ski/board trip and can't decide where to go.  These guys and girls give you the 'real' low down of resorts, offering honest advice on where to stay and what to do. 

They have a blog section called 'Eat Sleep Ski' with posts from people out in resort, reporting on the snow, latest deals and après... Anyways, to cut a long story short - I got in touch with the lovely people at Mad Dog Ski to see if they fancied a review of my ski holiday in Motterat in the 3 Valleys and hey presto here it is...http://bit.ly/i8SLdR 'It's all about the après' - enjoy!

It's all about the après - http://bit.ly/i8SLdR

13 March 2011

Wild about Woods Wine Bar

Last night myself and good school friend Maggie had a catch up in Woods Wine Bar, Yeovil.  Woods used to be the place we all came to when we first left uni as it was easily accessible for the girls from Sherborne, Yeovil, Dorchester and surrounding villages.

I'd heard that Ben Woods had bought the bar back a few years ago and was keen to see if it still had that laid back vibe that we once loved.
Woods Wine Bar...
Now serving Tapas which I absolutely love as its such a sociable form of dining.  We shared 6 dishes including: patatas bravas (fried potatoes in a paprika, garlic and tomato sauce), calamari, chorizo, brie croquettes and ham/cheese quesadillas.  We had a few soft drinks as I was driving, but I managed to persuade the rather cute barman to make me a strawberry daiquiri without the daiquiri bit which all came to about 30 quid - not bad!

The atmosphere in Woods is a laid back, rustic affair with wooden benches, dimmed lighting, friendly staff and live music most weekends.  The Helm came on a little later than advertised but entertained a jam packed Woods crowd to their indie / rock covers, opening their set with Muse, Kings of Leon and Kasabian.

I hadn't been out in Yeovil for a few years and the going out scene has seemed to turn a corner and dare I say it was slightly The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE) - but in a good way and I'm looking forward to going back for more.

Biffy Clyro Crush


I would like to thank X Factor for getting me into Biffy Clyro.  If it hadn't been for Matt Cardle covering their song Many of Horror / When we Collide I probably would never have downloaded the album.  They've always been on my radar, but X Factor gave me the much needed kick up the bum to part with my money and get behind Biffy rather than Matt.  So, thank you Simon Cowell for helping make 'Only Revolutions' the most played album on my iTunes.

There are many reasons why I love Biffy Clyro:

Scottish - the best bands seem to come out of Scotland at the moment: Belle and Sebastian, The View, Primal Scream, Franz Ferdinand, Paolo Nutini..and many more.

Unique sound - they have an amazing indie/rock/metal vibe different from any other band out there at the moment, with great guitar riffs, and catchy melodies - nuff said.  'Bubbles' the fifth song be released from Only Revolutions is my fave.


Simon Neil - front man of Biffy Clyro - singer, songwriter, guitarist, multiple tattoos and indie beardie sex pot!  Every time I see a photo of him or watch one of their videos I get transported back to being 15 again...
The gorgeous Simon Neil - you can look into my eyes any day - swoon!
If you haven't jumped on the Biffy Clyro band wagon yet, check them out here to find out what your missing.

07 March 2011

On the bench with The Indices

The Indices (l-r): Martin Carter, Charles Carter, Oliver Cocup and Glies Baker

Country Bumpkin Chic (CBC) had the pleasure of interviewing brothers Martin and Charles Carter from Dorchester band The Indices before their first performance of 2011. Find out what 2011 holds for the band and which venue they’d love to play at.

So, how long has The Indices been together?
Charles – We formed back in November 2008, it was myself (vocals/guitar), Martin (vocals/guitar) Giles Baker (bass), and former Primal Scream drummer Toby Tomanov, plus our sister Sarah used to join us as backing vocals when she was free.

I hear there’s a new member for 2011?
Martin –Yeah, the time was right to look for a new drummer closer to our generation and we met Oliver at one of our gigs last year hitting it off straight away.

For those who haven’t heard of The Indices before, how would you describe your sound?
Charles – Alternative rock, Raconteurs meets Beetles. We’ve got an eclectic mix of influences from White Stripes, Black Keys, to PJ Harvey and Kate Bush.

Who writes the songs?
Martin – Charles used to write the main frame songs in the early days, but these days the rest of the band has more involvement coming up with lyrics and riffs.

So, what can we expect from The Indices in 2011?
Martin - We’re going to be busy recording an EP during April at the Toy Box Studios in Bristol. We’re excited about going into the studio as it’s used by music guru John Parish who produces the likes of PJ Harvey.
Charles - We’re bringing the EP out mid May, they’ll be 5 songs – mix of old and new stuff. We’ll be performing at a showcase at London’s infamous Monto Water Rats theatre on 15th June. Will be pretty intense with NME and label reps attending, but we’re really up for it.
CBC – Wow, exciting times ahead...can’t wait to hear the EP.

Now for some off the wall Country Bumpkin Chic questions...

Has The Indices ever had any rock diva moments?
Martin - Ha, passions run high at times, but no Mariah Carey-esque diva strops from The Indices (yet!).

What rituals do you have before you perform?
Martin - Sink a pint and check my flies!
Charles – Pop in the contact lenses and check all band members are present...

I’m intrigued, who is the friend in ‘Only at the Weekends’?
Charles - Good question, it’s actually about mates going out on the pi** at the weekend.
CBC – And there’s me thinking it was leading to a romantic love story!

If you could play one venue or festival this year, where would it be?
Charles – the new bands tent at Glastonbury.
Martin – Coachella in California, it would be amazing to play in the desert.

Country Bumpkin Chic - Well thanks guys for being charming interviewees, good luck with tonight’s performance and I look forward to hearing new sounds from The Indices later this year.

The Indices played a cracking headline set rounding off a great night of musical entertainment from the local and talented including: 16 year old singer/songwriter Aidan Simpson who’s wise beyond his years, Weymouth based Tom Caulfield with his gruff yet sensitive style and newbie country/folk singer Jennings McEvoy – we loved his Stetson cowboy hat. Our fave songs from The Indices repertoire was ‘Only at the Weekends’ which you can’t help but tap your feet along to, new song ‘She’s Gone’, plus the great guitar riff solo on ‘Spite You’.

To find out more about The Indices, check out their music on My Space and where they’re playing next join their fan page on Facebook.
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